the first revelation sent to the prophet [pbuh] implied several injunctions, simple in form but highly effective and of serious far-reaching ramifications. the angel communicated to him a manifest message saying:
"o you (muhammad [pbuh]) enveloped (in garments)! arise and warn! and your lord (allâh) magnify! and your garments purify! and keep away from ar-rujz (the idols). and give not a thing in order to have more (or consider not your deeds of allâh’s obedience as a favour to allâh). and be patient for the sake of your lord (i.e. perform your duty to allâh)!" [al-qur'an 74:1-7]
for convenience and ease of understanding, we are going to segment the message into its immediate constituents:
- the ultimate objective of warning is to make sure that no one breaching the pleasures of allâh in the whole universe is ignorant of the serious consequences that his behaviour entails, and to create a sort of unprecedented shock within his mind and heart.
- ‘magnifying the lord’ dictates explicitly that the only pride allowed to nourish on the earth is exclusively allâh’s to the exclusion of all the others’.
- ‘cleansing the garments and shunning all aspects of abomination’ point directly to the indispensable need to render both the exterior and interior exceptionally chaste and pure, in addition to the prerequisite of sanctifying the soul and establishing it highly immune against the different sorts of impurities and the various kinds of pollutants. only through this avenue can the soul of the prophet [pbuh] reach an ideal status and become eligible to enjoy the shady mercy of allâh and his protection, security, guidance and ever-shining light; and will consequently set the highest example to the human community, attract the sound hearts and inspire awe and reverence in the stray ones in such a manner that all the world, in agreement or disagreement, will head for it and take it as the rock-bed in all facets of their welfare.
- the prophet [pbuh] must not regard his strife in the way of allâh as a deed of grace that entitles him to a great reward. on the contrary, he has to exert himself to the utmost, dedicate his whole efforts and be ready to offer all sacrifices in a spirit of self-forgetfulness enveloped by an ever-present awareness of allâh, without the least sense of pride in his deeds or sacrifices.
- the last verse of the qur’ân revealed to the prophet [pbuh] alludes to the hostile attitude of the obdurate disbelievers, who will jeer at him and his followers. they are expected to disparage him and step up their malice to the point of scheming against his life and lives of all the believers around him. in this case he has got to be patient and is supposed to persevere and display the highest degree of stamina for the sole purpose of attaining the pleasure of allâh.
these were the basic preliminaries that the prophet [pbuh] had to observe, very simple injunctions in appearance, greatly fascinating in their calm rhythm, but highly effective in practice. they constituted the trigger that aroused a far-ranging tempest in all the corners of the world.
the verses comprise the constituents of the new call and propagation of the new faith. a warning logically implies that there are malpractices with painful consequences to be sustained by the perpetrators, and since the present life is not necessarily the only room to bring people to account for their misdeeds or some of them, then the warning would necessarily imply calling people to account on another day, i.e. the day of resurrection, and this per se suggests the existence of a life other than this one we are living. all the verses of the noble qur’ân call people to testify explicitly to the oneness of allâh, to delegate all their affairs to allâh, the all-high, and to subordinate the desires of the self and the desires of allâh’s servants to the attainment of his pleasures.
the constituents of the call to islam could, briefly speaking, go as follows:
- testimony to the oneness of allâh.
- belief in the hereafter.
- sanctifying one’s soul and elevating it high above evils and abominations that conduce to terrible consequences, besides this, there is the dire need for virtues and perfect manners coupled with habituating oneself to righteous deeds.
- committing one’s all affairs to allâh, the all-high.
- all the foregoing should run as a natural corollary to unwavering belief in muhammad’s message, and abidance by his noble leadership and righteous guidance.
the verses have been prefaced, in the voice of the most high, by a heavenly call mandating the prophet [pbuh] to undertake this daunting responsibility (calling people unto allâh). the verses meant to extract him forcibly out of his sleep, divest him of his mantle and detach him from the warmth and quiet of life, and then drive him down a new course attended with countless hardships, and requiring a great deal of strife in the way of allâh:
"o you (muhammad [pbuh]) enveloped (in garments)! arise and warn." [al-qur'an 74:1-2]
suggesting that to live to oneself is quite easy, but it has been decided that you have to shoulder this heavy burden; consequently sleep, comfort, or warm bed are items decreed to be alien in your lexicon of life. o muhammad, arise quickly for the strife and toil awaiting you; no time is there for sleep and such amenities; grave responsibilities have been divinely determined to fall to your lot, and drive you into the turmoil of life to develop a new sort of precarious affinity with the conscience of people and the reality of life.
the prophet [pbuh] managed quite successfully to rise to his feet and measure up to the new task, he went ahead in a spirit of complete selflessness, relentlessly striving and never abating in carrying the burden of the great trust, the burden of enlightening mankind, and the heavy weight of the new faith and strife for over twenty years, nothing distracting his attention from the awesome commission. may allâh reward him, for us and all humanity, the best ending. the following research at hand gives an account in miniature of his long strive and uninterrupted struggle he made after receiving the ministry of messengership. [fi zilal al-qur'an 29/168-171,182]