The Islamic Call

The Egyptian Society for Spiritual and Cultural Research

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Much confusion about the Islamic Call, and the relation to be established between Muslims and followers of other creeds, stems from distorted, literal and partial readings of the Holy Qur’an, prophetic Sunna and events that took place during the life of The Prophet (PBUH) . Consequently, some Muslim groups assume that they have to spread Islam by all means even by violence; something that contradicts bluntly with the basics of the Islamic Call that The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) conveyed and lived both in Macca and Madina. The way that The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) adhered to on carrying the divine mission was characterized by respect to freedom of faith, professing diversity of creeds as part of the natural laws of creation, keenness on spreading peace, and tolerance with followers of other revelations.

On rejecting the paganism in Macca, The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was not attempting to impose his belief system on the non-believers. Actually he, out of love to all, and according to the Divine’s commandment to him, was inviting those who made of their economic and political power a legitimate reason for exploiting the less powerful, to realize that they were worshipping false gods (money, authority and tribal pride), which would lead to their own spiritual mischief. He was also inviting the poor to be liberated from fear and submission to their exploiters. In other words, he was inviting people to come to awareness of the ultimate goal of their existence: to be realized as human beings. Attaining such a goal implies man’s strive to be spiritually free from devotion to any aspect of the transient life. That was/is the core of the Islamic Testimony Shahada: “there is no god but God” (La Ilaha Illa Allah). With “People of the Book” (Christians and Jews) the Islamic Call was an invitation to come to “common terms” with Muslims: to worship none but Allah, Namely, The Prophet (PBUH) called upon them to share the approach to life that would make them feel belonging to each other since what he called upon existed in the very Revelations to Moses (PBUH) and Jesus (PBUH) . It was/is not a prime goal in itself that they would convert to the worshipping system adopted in the Revelation to The Prophet (PBUH) , or follow the Islamic legal system. Rather, he guided them to follow the pure guidance of prophets Moses (PBUH) and Jesus (PBUH) attracting their attention to the essence of the Primordial Religion of Abraham (PBUH) that they all shared.

Spreading Peace was/is the core of the Islamic Call. Peace starts from within man when s/he is spiritually liberated from devotion to any transient goal. The inner peace is spontaneously reflected around towards all aspects of nature and human beings. Teachings guide Muslims to give a chance to the higher Self to express peace, and have control over the lower self. This is the main battle advocated by the Islamic call, which is pointed to as the great struggle al-Jihad al-Akbr. The smaller struggle (Al-jihad al- asghar), which is fighting an outside physical enemy, was never advocated or initiated by The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions all through his life. In every stage of the Islamic Call, in Macca and Madina, The Prophet (PBUH) exhausted all possible efforts to reach agreements with his opponents about a mechanism for maintaining peaceful coexistence. In Macca, masters of Quraish initiated hostility with The Prophet (PBUH) and his followers and attempted to kill him. Then when he immigrated to Madina, they planned to exhaust the newly born Muslim society, and they waged war against Muslims. The Prophet’s attempts to live in peace with the Jewish tribes in Madina giving them full rights as one nation with Muslims also went in vain. Jewish tribes, one after another, broke the treaties they signed with The Prophet (PBUH) and committed many acts of treason. However, according to the guidance of the Divine in the Holy Qur’an and prophetic Sunna, Muslims were told never to initiate war or transgress, and never to lust for revenge or shedding blood. They were also told that whenever there was a chance for restoring peace they should agree on the spot. When fighting was unavoidable, The Prophet’s guidance to his followers was to minimize the losses in any new land they entered. His strict teachings were: never to destroy a church, a temple or any place of worship of any kind, and never to destroy a house or cut a tree, or cause terror to people.

Tolerance with people from other creeds is highly advocated in the Holy Qur’an and prophetic Sunna. People from different creeds are granted full guarantees to practice their religious rites safely. Muslims are guided never to attempt to urge people of different faiths to convert to Islam. Muslims, in the meantime, are encouraged to make friendship with non-Muslims, invite them to banquets, accept their invitations, and exchange presents with them as signs of love and intimacy. Islamic guidance as such makes it possible that people from different creeds can make of the “common terms” a base for peaceful coexistence and cooperation in leading a life that reflects their oneness. Tolerance extends to all, even non-believers because clear teachings say that freedom of faith is to be fully and unconditionally guaranteed. Namely, a person is never to be rejected among a Muslim community because of her/his thoughts or belief system. Rather, a person is denounced, regardless of her/his belief, when s/he makes a harmful action towards another because s/he is considered as breaking the feeling of oneness among humans.

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