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Prophet Muhammad: Not just a mythological figure, but a real life hero

 

Undoubtedly, the most basic quality of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which differentiates him from other religious figures, founders of faith and leaders is, along with the fact that he is someone who received revelation from Allah, that he is human like us. These words of Abu Rimsa At-Taymi, upon first meeting Prophet Muhammad, are very interesting: "I used to think that the Messenger of Allah was unlike humans. However, I saw that he was long-haired like us." Yes, Rasulallah was human like us. He worked, ate, roamed the market, sat and got up and took care of his own needs ... Even though he had manners which were superior to other humans, his attributes and needs which were like those of regular human beings...

This status of Prophet Muhammad was not accepted by the Arab community during the time in which the Holy Quran was revealed. This is because, much like many systems of belief, the Jahiliyya era (Age of Ignorance) beliefs held that there must be an intermediary between Allah and people, who is different from regular humans and creatures in every way. Arabs expected that the Prophets would have worldly and metaphysical strengths which were different from other people, similar to how they believed that the idols, which they held to be intermediaries between god and themselves despite being lifeless rocks, pieces of metal and wood, believed that they possessed godly sprits. For this reason, they vehemently opposed Prophet Muhammad's prophecy because according to them, he was not different from the others in terms of worldly wealth or financial strength and nor did he have extraordinary powers.

In actuality, Prophet Muhammad was not someone who possessed extraordinary wealth or strength. He was orphaned Muhammad, the son of Abdullah from the tribe of Quraish; he was raised under the care of his grandfather and uncle and worked with his future wife Khadijah in order to make a living. For this reason, his selection as a Prophet, as someone who was not in the forefront in terms of his financial strength, wealth and social-political popularity, was unfathomable to the people of the time. Prophet Muhammad did not exceed people greatly in terms of miraculous strengths and metaphysical authority, save Allah having selected him as a Prophet, giving him divine revelation and facilitating the Isra (the ascension into Heavens). However, according to Arab belief, as well as Jewish and Christian tradition and the beliefs of the Middle East,  ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, religious leaders, prophets and similar people were differentiated from others in their being equipped with the ability to perform miracles. For example, according to Christian beliefs, Prophet Jesus, whom they believed to be the son of God, was someone who not only resurrected Pavlus and others who had passed away, he also had the miraculous ability to heal the deaf and blind. Similarly, according to the Judaic belief, Prophet Jacob is said to have wrestled God and came through as the triumphant winner.  Similarly, in ancient Egyptian, Persian and Roman beliefs, gods were believed to be descendents of a divine lineage and were manifestations of god on earth, holding unique supernatural powers not found in anyone else. Furthermore, not just these individuals, but also their wives, children and relatives were believed to be superior to other people in every way.

This is the most important factor setting Prophet Muhammad aside from other religious figures; he is not a mythological figure who is equipped with supernatural strength and abilities or a semi-god like creature. In the words of Aisha, he was someone who "would mend his own cloths, milk sheep and do all of his own work." He was a congenial husband, a merciful father and loyal friend. He would consult with people when necessary and ask them for ideas; he would joke around, host his guests, and help the weak and those who had the right over something. He would share his problems with friends. He was also someone who supplicated to Allah frequently and asked his close friends to do the same for him.

Prophet Muhammad never saw it befitting that either he or his family be associated with supernatural qualities; he never allowed for this. Furthermore, he was asked in the Quran to frequently remind the people whom he addressed of this fact. To this end, Prophet Muhammad said, "I am not saying that Allah's treasures are with me; I don't know about the unseen. I am not telling you that I'm an angel. I simply follow whatever is revealed to me." Again, Prophet Muhammad warned the person who came to him after the conquest of Mecca and was trembling out of anxiety (toward Prophet Muhammad), saying: "Come to your senses; I am not a king. I am merely the son of a woman who ate dried meat." Finally, he was aware of how he and his family were like the people around them and he felt the need to remind the people around him of this fact from time to time. For example, when he became aware of the people who believed that the event of the solar eclipse [one of his miracles] coinciding with the death of his son Ibrahim, he warned them saying: "Surely the sun and moon are two verses from the verses of Allah. These do not undergo an eclipse for the death or life any person. Whenever you see them in state of eclipse, hastily pray to Allah..."

In summary, all of this is proof that Allah's religion Islam, which invites people to  frequently contemplate on Allah's creation and calls on people to exercise their logic, vehemently opposes the association of Prophets, spiritual leaders with supernatural powers with deification or  transformation into mythological heroes as we see evident in many religions; Islam teaches us that Prophet Muhammad is a model to mankind with his attitude and behavior and an extraordinary hero who lead an ordinary life.

 

Comments

 
Ardian
Ardian05.03.2012

Very well-spoken.

05.03.2012

 

Şinasi Gündüz

Professor Şinasi Gündüz, the head of the Religious History department at the Faculty of Theology, Istanbul University, graduated from the Faculty of Theology, Ankara University in 1984. In 1991 he completed his doctorate at the Middle East Research Department, Manchester University. In 1995 he received his associate professorship from Ondokuz Mayıs University, Faculty of Theology, and he became a professor in 2003 at Istanbul University, Faculty of Theology. Still head of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Istanbul University, Faculty of Theology, Şinasi Gündüz is a member of the Executive Board of the Faculty of Theology, Istanbul University and is a member of the Senate of Istanbul University; Professor Gündüz has published a large number of international articles. He has written sections for international publications and presented articles in a number of refereed journals and at international academic conferences, making great contributions to the field of religious history. In 2004 Professor Gündüz was seen worthy of the Successful Researcher Award by the Istanbul University Rector's Office and in 2005 by the Istanbul University Academic Research Projects Institute.

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