These are notes from Friday Classes I give:
POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS STATUS OF ARABIA:
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came at the end of 6th century of the Gregorian calendar.
There were two major super powers of the world, Roman (eastern Byzantine empire) and the Persian Empires (sassinads—sassinad dynasty).
Roman empire was a Christian empire. Constantine had converted to Christianity in 320. And the emperor at the time of Prophet was Heraculus, who was very learned and pious Christian, a scholar, which was very rare especially among the rulers. He knew that a prophet is about to come.
Sassinads had two major religions.
Zarasosthra (Zoroastrian—Parsis of our time) and the leader of Sassinads were upon this religion. They considered themselves walking gods and divine children of gods.
Manicunism, were from Prophet Mani. Their religion was very hidden, not much is known about them.
Arabia was in the dead center between Rome and Persian Empires. And this is one of the reasons, we can venture, and Allah knows best, that Arabia was chosen to be the cradle of Islam.
What made Arabia so special that Allah chose to send the Prophet from this place?
- It was in between the major superpowers of the earth. Geographically it was, literally, the center of the earth. And ironically, when the maps are printed in our time, dead center is the Arabia.
- Arabia didn’t have any history of colonialism or of aggressiveness. It was a passive country in general. They had internal problems, but never anyone else came and conquered them.
So it was a perfect reason to send a prophet in this land because no one will think that there are colonial reasons why Arabs are expanding. If Romans had a prophet people would say ‘this prophet is a hoax because Romans want to expand their kingdom’. Similarly with Persians. But by sending a prophet in Arabia, there were never such hopes nor were ever such aspirations that Arabia will become politically strong.
- Secondly, since Arabia was so backward, both the Roman and the Sassinads never considered that Arabia will ever pose a military threat. They never thought of attacking and conquering Arabia. They thought Arabians were backward people, fighting among themselves.
That is why when Heraculus met Abu Sufyan, he said (after confirming the signs of Prophet Muhammad ) “I knew that a Prophet was about to come but I never thought he would come of you.”
Similar statement was said by Yuzdajaj—Sassinad Emperor to the companions when they went to speak to him.
Why? Because Arabs were a backward nation and no one could imagine that a Prophet will come form among them.
So by sending a prophet form this country was a complete, unexpected surprise which helped and aided them as well in what they were about to do.
- Also, there was a religious reason too. Mecca was the cradle of Islam. When we say Islam, we refer to the ‘original’ Islam and not just the Islam at the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
- The first house built to worship Allah was Ka’bah. Narrations say that Adam (as) built the ka’bah and then Ibraheem came and revived It. So the first house ever built to worship Allah was in Mecca. And it is only befitting that the last prophet who was sent to seal all the Prophets is sent to where the first house of Allah was.
- Also, religiously Mecca was also the sanctuary of Ibraheem and Islmaeel (AS). And Ibraheem and Ismaeel were the prophets of Arabs. So it was befitting that Muhmmad (pbuh) also comes from the same city that Ibraheem and Ismaeel settled in and built the ka’bah in.