SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) –The heavenly character of the venerated Prophet Muhammad, who was appointed fourteen hundred lunar years ago by God, the Almighty, as messenger, leader and guide of the world, and the divine Qur’an, which is a compendium of God’s words containing theoretical and practical generalities and is the Prophet’s lasting miracle, have defined the lifestyle of hundreds of millions of followers and have claimed the attention of all humanity.
This must be considered one of the most important factors in the refinement and evolution of humanity. In fact, it is the most important factor and has had great effect upon the human society due to the influence it has had on the beliefs and acts of untold millions.
Islam and other religions
It is true that Islam is younger than Brahmanism with a history of approximately thirty centuries, Buddhism with a past of around twenty-five centuries, and Christianity that has lived in the human society for close to twenty centuries.
It is true that followers of this religion are more numerous than those of Islam; however, by referring to the Brahmin Vedas and their other religious texts it is clear that all or most of their religious decrees are negative and are only used by a small number of the religion’s followers. Most believers neither benefit from the religion’s spirituality nor their holy book. In truth, as regards action and reaction beyond its domain, the Brahmin society is futile.
In negative commandments, Buddhism is similar to Brahmanism. Also, as is plain to see from the four Gospels and other major texts, Christianity is almost completely devoid of applied edicts and social laws and is unreservedly skeptical of philosophy and reason.
Fundamentally, the story of Jesus Christ’s sacrifices and the forgiveness of all of humanity’s sins or those of the Christian persuasion are in no way compatible with positive religious laws. Other religions such as Sabianism and Manichaeism, have either utterly lost their good image or accommodate a specific people and are thus bereft of an increase in followers.
Indeed, only Islam has become accepted and honored by countless millions by virtue of its logical beliefs and its positive individual and social laws. It continually has millions of adherents who put into practice its positive laws throughout their lives. It goes without saying that the positive and systematic lifestyle of one individual can directly and indirectly influence thousands of people or even a large society.
As a result, others are never idle in enacting policies against this pure religion—by their own acknowledgement—and continually attempt to extinguish its light.1
“They desire to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths; however, Allah will complete His light though unbelievers be loath.”2
Of course, understanding a heavenly character requires a heavenly intellect and describing it, a heavenly tongue. Even so, the extent that this pure personage and his attributes may be studied and debated goes beyond the bounds of a single article.
This discussion addresses the virtuous personality of the Prophet (S) through a general analysis of the method in which he imparted his pure teachings upon the human society because following these teachings is a necessity for the true happiness of humanity.
Authenticity of the individual [isālat-e fard] and worldview
In order to completely understand these discussions, I must say in introduction that the human nature has no higher purpose than to carry on its existence as much as possible and attain its instinctive needs.
As such, the first step humans take is to get together and form a community and submit to laws in order to safeguard the society whereby depriving themselves of a proportionate degree of individual freedom. This is all because, by depriving themselves of some elements of their freedom, they intend to realize other components of freedom and in this way better secure their survival and inherent desires.
The cardinal issue in human happiness, as per creation, is individual bliss. The prosperity of the society is subordinate, not vice versa. In other words, the purpose of creation is the human nature, which is in fact individual existence, not the social aspect of individuals.
As necessitated by this elemental aim—i.e. happiness and success in life—we must choose a methodical style of life, which would inevitably be social; to drink, eat, dress, rest, marry, procreate, endeavor to fulfill needs, and level the path of survival using the intellect.
The features of this method and the configuration of this systemic process depends on a person’s notion of the truth of the world of existence and one’s own self, which is an inseparable element of the universe. Thus, we see that some humans do not ratify a Creator for the world.
They consider the world’s origination to be accidental and consider humans to be no more than their material body—whose existence is limited to the time between their birth and death. They order their styles and rules of life such that they only resolve the ephemeral material needs of mundane life and follow the way toward limited worldly success. It is also obvious that those who consider matter and material life to be that which is valid and genuine follow this same method.
Those who believe in a world creator and consider existence and everything in it to be managed by gods do not regard humanity’s being to be confined to the physical universe. They arrange their lives to continually satisfy the gods and to keep from incurring their wrath so they may be successful and safe from unpleasant incidents, which are born of the fury of the gods.
Those who believe in monotheism, consider the world to have One Wise and Powerful God, and support the existence of an eternal human life that does not end with death and an ideology that orders their lifestyle so as to guaranty their happiness and prosperity in both worlds—before and after death—attaining everlasting prosperity and bliss.
Thus, it becomes clear that religion is lifestyle and there can be no differentiation between the two. Those who consider lifestyle genuine and religion and its laws formalities are committing a serious error.
According to this principle, Islam regards lifestyle as religion and identifies the divine course before humans as the straight path. The right method of living is the straight path and the wrong lifestyle is the deviate way. Thus, God states in the Qur’an: “Allah’s damnation is upon the evildoers; who debar people from the path of Allah and seek to deviate it, and they disbelieve the Hereafter.”3
By: Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn at-Tabataba’i