Heraculus was the Emperor of Rome who was one of the few, if not the ONLY one, who was a Christian scholar. It was not common for the rulers to be learned in their religion.

He saw in a dream that a king has been sent, a ‘king of circumcised people’ as he narrated to his governors. His wazeer/governors comforted him that it must be Jews, because Jews circumcise but Christians don’t. They asked him that why doesn’t he send out a command for a mass-slaughter of all the Jews. So, right when he was about to send the command, Prophet Muhammad’s letter came to him (Prophet used to send out letters to kings and emperors inviting them to Islam). The first thing Heraculus asked was to check if the Messenger was circumcised. So they checked and he was. So then Hearculus said, “This is my dream not the Jews’.

Then he called for any Arab tribe that was passing by and it happened so that Abu Sufyaan’s caravan was passing by Rome. They were stopped and brought to Heraculus. He asked Abu Sufyaan many questions and signs and characteristics of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) (the complete narration is in Bukhari) and he concluded, ‘If what you are saying is true, this is the Prophet that has been promised. And if what you are saying is true then he shall conquer and control the very land under my feet (at that time he was in Jerusalem—and truly Muslims did conquer and controlled that land shortly after, and even the capitol of Roman Empire Constantinople was conquered—in our times it is Istanbul in Turkey). He also told Abu Sufyaan, “I knew that a prophet is about to appear. But I didn’t assume that he will be of your race.”

In any case, he got very agitated and he sent a letter to Batreeq (Patriot of Rome)—the greatest Christian authority of that time. He sent the letter to a close friend of his who believed in the same thing as he did, and inquired if the Prophet in Arabia was the prophet that had been foretold. Batreeq wrote back, “Yes indeed it is!” However, Heraculus refused to accept Islam because if he did then he would have had to give up his kingdom.

** All these narrations (see Seerah VI, VII) clearly show that there were indications of a prophet to be about to appear. But the vast majority of mankind were not worshipping Allah, they were in the state of Jahiliyyah (ignorance) and were strayed.

There is a long hadeeth in Sahih Muslim in which Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stated that before Allah sent him, He (swt) looked down upon humanity. And He was extremely angry at all of them (Arabic word used is ‘maqat’ which means extreme anger), Arabs and non-Arabs, except for a few remanence of People of the Book (illa baqaya min ahlil kitaab). Otherwise Allah was angry at all of them because they had strayed form tawheed. There was not a single group of people, not a single community, not any city that was worshipping Allah collective (except for few individuals). [I tried to search for this hadeeth but couldn’t find it. If someone knows the exact hadeeth, please be kind enough to post it under the comments–JazakAllah khair]

** When we understand this hadeeth then we can understand why that period was called the period of Jahiliyah (ignorance).

** When we understand this hadeeth then we will understand why Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has been called ‘rahmatal lil alameen’ (Mercy to mankind). He claimed with the Light of guidance, light of Islam, light of tawheed, light of ‘la illaha illa Allah’.

** There shall be no ‘Jahiliyyah’ after the coming of Prophet (pbuh). There cannot be Jahiliyyah after the ‘Rahmatul lil Alameen’ has been sent for we will always find people worshipping Allah alone, we will always find people upon the truth until the Day of Judgment.

 

Some benefits of what has Preceded:

 

 

  • Intellect is not a Mean of Guidance:

 

Mankind is in need of Allah’s guidance. Mankind cannot guide themselves. This is a very important point. Mankind cannot arrive at the truth either as an individual or as a community or as a nation, never!

Greek philosophers and Roman philosophers were well-known at that time. The heritage of India, the heritage of China existed at that time, yet Allah looked at the mankind and He was extremely angry at all of them. Mankind cannot survive without guidance of Allah.

“Say (O Muhammad, unto mankind): I warn you only by ‘wahy’. But the deaf hear not the call when they are warned.” (21:45)

So the FIRST source of our religion, the FINAL source of our religion, the ONLY source of our religion is the inspiration from Allah (swt).

Why is this so important to mention? Frankly, because we are living in a unique time where a movement is forming that claims to combine between the values and heritage of another nation, nation/s far more powerful and influential and tries to mix that with Islam thinking they will develop something better with a ‘new Islam’ or ‘progressive Islam’!

However, they forget, that the people before them, in fact , the biological ancestors of the ‘powerful’ nations of our time, lived before the time of Prophet: the Romans. However, their power, glory, strength didn’t guide them to the truth!

We have no need for any guidance except the guidance of Qur’an and Sunnah. Our religion is based upon what Allah revealed through angel Jibreel to Prophet Muhammad. That is it and that is the perfect Islam.

Mankind through all their ingenuity, through all their philosophies, through all their heritage, couldn’t worship Allah properly until the guidance came through the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). So we are not in any need of any philosopher, of any intellectual, of any civilization, of any race, except for the guidance of our Prophet (pbuh).

  • Majority is not an ‘Evidence’:

Majority of mankind is like sheep. They go with the flow. Look at the Jahiliyyah (ignorant) Arabs and how they worshipped their idols. Only a few of them were able to break away! And even when these few warned the other vast majority, they didn’t listen to those few because mankind follows the mainstream in most cases. Allah (swt) said:

“And if you (O Muhammad) obey most of the people on Earth, they will lead you astray” (6:116).

“And most of mankind will not believe, even if you (O Muhammad) desire it eagerly” (12: 103)

“And truly, most of mankind are rebellious and disobedient (to Allah).” (5:49)

So, majority is not evidence. The evidence is Qur’an & Sunnah. Just because majority of people do something, it doesn’t mean anything, rather the evidence is found in adhering to Qur’an & Sunnah.

  • Sincerity is the Key to Guidance:

Anyone who desires the truth and searches for it shall be guided to it. Ponder over the stories of Zaid, Waraqah and especially Salman. Look how from worshipping fire, to spending years and years with monks, to being bought into slavery until finally Allah guided him to Islam. But he was sincere in finding the truth and he kept persistent in finding the truth until he found Muhammad (pbuh).

It is not possible that a person desires guidance, sincerely, and then he is led astray by Allah. This is a rule in Islam. It is not possible that a person desires guidance and he turns to Allah saying ‘O You who created me guide me to the truth’ sincerely—Muslim or non-Muslim–except that Allah guides him to the truth. This is the ‘sunnah’ of Allah (swt). Ponder over it!

So, SINCERITY, in guidance is an important factor, even as a Muslim. Why stress on this point? Because, there is so much confusion even among Muslims, there are so many sects, opinions, so much confusions, so we are always constantly in struggle to arrive at the truth and if we are sincere, and we turn to Allah pleading Him to guide us, inshaAllah, we shall arrive at the truth.

(Next, inshaAllah, is the story of three major events before the birth of Prophet Muhammad: Digging of well of Zamzam, Sacrifice of Abdullah ibn Abdul Muttalib, and the story of Feel)

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