Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his message by Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi

In this month of Rabi ul Awal we are celebrating the birth of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). From my personal view the best way to do it is to talk about the message revealed to him in Quran. It is not possible to discuss the whole message in this small email. If I make a mistake I ask for your and God’s forgiveness.

I have a particular interest in all religions. I have held discussions with preachers of Hinduism, Christianity, and Buddhism as well as some newer religions. An interesting conclusion is that they all have the root of believing in one god. But these religions had to create tangible manifestation of god to be able to maintain faith. Some created fires, some stone idols; some considered animals sacred; and some natural phenomena. This gives us a hint towards human condition and its reliance on sense perceptions to be comfortable with the idea of god. It is also probably because the original text of all these other religions are either lost or amended except Quran which is still in its original form. Quran throws this challenge at men that he has to believe in God without relying on any sense perception. At the same time Quran does not promote an idea of blind faith but gives us the liberty to quest for the knowledge of God through reflection on what is around us. Quran also makes it clear that there is a boundary between creation and Creator. Development of idol is like crossing the boundary to give a particular shape and form to the idea of God who is infinite and can not be fully grasped by the finite intellect of men.

When Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) started preaching his message they asked him to confirm his prophecy by demonstrating a miracle. God revealed verses to Prophet informing him that those whose minds are closed will not believe in the message even if he digs a hole to the center of the earth or build a stair that climbs to the sky. We should remember that God did give miracles to earlier Prophets like Essa, Musa, Yusuf and Solomon (RATA on all) just to name few. This was an indication that at the time of advent of Islam the intellectual and rational capabilities of men were evolved enough to understand the message without relying on physical miracles. Islam is the most rational and modern religion present in the world today free of any superstition and contradictions.

When I speak to atheists, I find it intriguing that most of them have not read Quran in its entirety. When I probe them why? Most of them say they don’t believe in it. To which I respond that they would read the fictional work of Shakespeare or Dickens or philosophical works of Aristotle, Kant or Confucius but they can’t bring themselves around to reading a book that they may not believe in but is in their reach to read just out of curiosity. It seems they have a certain fear of this book. I have yet to meet an atheist that has read Quran completely. If I meet one I would like to ask them some questions.

Stephen Hawkins is a renowned scientist that has done marvelous work in the field of physics especially explaining the phenomena of black holes. The conclusion of his work is that before the big bang the universe was condensed to a size smaller than an atom. Mr. Hawkins confesses that he does not know how that condense matter came to be. But he did not feel any qualms in rejecting the idea of God as a creator in a recent interview. He is comfortable in accepting void in his knowledge but can not come around to accept that there could be possibility of a Creator or first cause. Another scientist Professor Brian Greene of Harvard and Oxford University created a documentary about creation of universe in which he explained that new theories have suggested that instead of one big bang there were many bangs and that there is a possibility of existence of unknown number of multiple universes. I sent him two verses of Quran in which God says that I created seven universes each with its own characteristics. I suggested to him to probe whether the number of bangs could be seven rather than an uncertain amount.

The message of Quran is evolutionary as we arrive at new understandings of the verses when discoveries are made by science. For instance in many verses God has said that in the alternation of day and night there is signs for those who can understand it. Or in some other verses that We have created everything from water. In the stories of Yusuf and Abraham (RATA on both) suggest that dreams can provide actionable information. But science has not yet reached a stage to decipher the phenomena of dreams.

It is unfortunate that when it comes to religious education to understand the message we do not spend enough time and our intellectual capacities on it. Here are the four real life stories that may help you understand the social importance of spending time on the message of Quran.

I was invited at the Gomal University to talk about steps in evolution of an economic policy. There were around 350 people including faculty members. At the end of the presentation one of the students asked me whether Islamic economic system can be implemented in Pakistan. I responded with a counter question. I asked them how many of you have read Quran from start to finish in your native language? There were total 4 or 5 out of 350 hands raised. So we want to implement Islamic economic system without making an effort to know what it means.

During election 2013 I was visiting villages to speak to them about our party. In one of those events the candidate was running late so they asked me to speak for a little longer. There were around 500 people and most of them were with long flowing beards with signs of piety on their forehead. I asked them do you all want Islamic system in Pakistan. Everyone enthusiastically raised their hand. Then I asked them a follow up question, how many of you have read Quran in your own language. Not a single hand was raised. Zero. Zilch. And all of them wanted Islamic system in the country without making efforts to know what it is. We are a society of religious illiterates both in cities and villages.

I wanted to contest elections so I submitted my nomination papers with the election commission of Pakistan (ECP). ECP had decided that they are going to make Muslims out of all of us. I was ready for it. I was invited for reviewing of papers by the Returning Officer (RO). District President of our party accompanied me but he was nervous as he knew my capacity of not giving a straight answer. The first question the RO asked me was, Are you a Muslim? I responded yes I am a Muslim by choice not by birth. He looked at me but realized it would be better for him not to probe it any further.

The point I am trying to make is this. In Quran there are multiple verses in which God says are you going to blindly follow the faith of your fathers without contemplating on it. These verses are not for unbelievers only. These verses are for every one of us. Each person is responsible for his own faith. When you embark on this journey remember that the original message was revealed in 23 years so you will not understand it in a day’s time. Ponder over it and take your time. But it is a journey worth taking.

I would like to end with a prayer, may God help us understand his message as he intended it to be.

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