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Ismaili History 334 - Demise of Muhammad

Muhammad was seriously taken ill for several days. At noon on Monday (12th Rabi I, 11/June 8, 632), whilst praying earnestly in whisper, the spirit of the great Prophet Muhammad took flight to the 'blessed companionship on high.' So ended a life consecrated from first to last to the service of God and humanity. H.M. Hyndman writes in 'The Awakening of Asia' (London, 1919, p. 9) that, '...this very human prophet of God had such a remarkable personal influence over all with whom he was brought into contact that, neither when a poverty-stricken and hunted fugitive, nor at the height of his prosperity, did he ever have to complain of treachery from those who had once embraced his faith. His confidence in himself, and in his inspiration from on high, was ever greater when he was suffering under disappointment and defeat than when he was able to dictate his own terms to his conquered enemies. Muhammad died as he had lived, surrounded by his early followers, friends and votaries: his death as devoid of mystery as his life of disguise.' His apostleship lasted for 23 years, 2 months and 21 days; or 9 years, 9 months and 8 days in Mecca and 13 years, 5 months and 13 days in Medina.
Muhammad was an embodiment or rather an institution by himself of many ethical code. No doubt, when a fair-minded person studies various aspects of the life of Muhammad as a man, head of family, a member of the society, a judge, an administrator, a teacher, a military commander and a guide, he comes to the conclusion that his all round perfection is a definite proof of his being a Divine Messenger. Muhammad made wonderful contributions for the welfare of humanity at large. First, he himself acted upon the divine message and then he asked to follow him. He established the rights of the people when rights were being usurped; he administered justice when tyranny was rampant everywhere; he introduced equality when undue discrimination was so common; and he gave freedom to the people when they were groaning under oppression, cruelty and injustice. He brought a message which taught man to obey and fear God only, and seek help from Him alone. His universal message covers all the aspects of human life, including rights, justice, equality and freedom. Edward Gibbon writes in 'The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire' (London, 1848, 5th vol., p. 487) that, 'More pure than the system of Zoroaster, more liberal than the law of Moses, the religion of Mahomet might seem less inconsistent with reason than the creed of mystery and superstition which, in the seventh century, disgraced the simplicity of the gospels.'

The European criticism seems to have lost the sense to deal with Muhammad justly. All rules of that criticism seem to be subject to the one consideration that whatever is unfavourable and damaging to Muhammad's reputation must be accepted as true. The negative views of the Europeans for Islam and Muhammad need here sufficient space to examine from its root. The readers may refer in this context a separate write-up, entitled 'The Image of Islam and Muhammad', vide Appendix I.

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