Achievements of Islam

This article was published in Rabi-ul-Awwal, 1387 A.H.

“It is he who has sent among the unlettered an Apostle from among themselves, to recite to them His signs and verses, to purify them, Qur’an: and to instruct them in the scripture and wisdom” (Chapter 62; Verse 2).

This week Muslims all over the world, are celebrating the birthday of the Holy Prophet. This year has a special significance; it is the 1400th year of the declaration of the prophethood and the revelation of the Holy Book, i.e. the Qur’an.

The achievements of the Holy Prophet, in a short period of 23 years, are too numerous and far-reaching in their impact to be described here. To give a glimpse of some of the aspects of Islam, I would like to mention that it was Islam that re-established the belief in One and Universal God. It was Islam that recognized the prophets, who had appeared in other nations before Muhammad, as true Prophets. It was Islam which freed mankind from the supposed stigma of inherent evil and sin, and thus bestowed an everlasting dignity to humanity. It was Islam that said that “no bearer of burdens bears the burden of another” – that is the children of Adam cannot be condemned for Adam’s supposed sin. It was Islam that laid no special rituals to accept a man in its fold, declaring that “every child is born a Muslim; it is his parents who take him away from Islam and convert him Judaism, Christianity or other religion” – that is, he does not need any permit to come back to his original home, Islam.

It was Islam that created a direct relationship between God and individual man. If he abstains from sins, or if, after committing a sin, repents sincerely, there would be no need of any intercessor. God Himself will forgive him. Muslim preachers have no privilege of forgiving sin on behalf of God, or of granting paradise quarters to their followers. Thus Islam has made each and every person responsible for his own actions.

Islam treated man as man, not as God; it recognized the shortcoming of human beings; and gave them a code of conduct which combines the lofty ideals of Love with the practical aspects of Justice. It has laid down clear rules for every aspect of life, which are based on justice and cannot be violated and after a man has achieved that minimum degree of piety, he is exhorted and encouraged to reach the higher and higher goal of moral and spiritual perfection. This combination of minimum requirements of justice with maximum aspiration of lofty morals is the most unique aspect of the religion of God which is Islam.