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Pre-Islamic World is the era of "Ignorance" (Jahiliah)

Pre-Islamic World is the era of Ignorance (Jahiliah)Before the advent of Islam, people all over the world were sadly impoverished in thought, opinions, and individual and social attitudes. Although such conditions were not the same in all parts of the world, generally speaking, all the people of the world shared superstitious beliefs, intellectual deviations, inhumane social traditions, myths and social and moral conflicts.

Before Islam emerged, the Jews had changed the religion of Prophet Musa / Moses (as) into hidebound dogma and its principles into hollow, lifeless rules and precepts. The spirit of materialism had penetrated into people's lives. Unfortunately, Christianity, which had been presented for the moral rectification and spiritual refinement of the people, was changed in nature by the Christian clergy and became a vehicle for the passionate ambitions of most of them. Since it lacked complete, comprehensive laws and regulations for social systems, it proved unable to provide the people with deliverance and comprehensive guidance.

It was due to such conditions that people all over the world shared superstitious ideas, inhuman social traditions, myths, social and moral conflicts.

The fire of corruption and perdition was raging. Superstitions and false views ruled people in the name of religion! Paganism and the concept of the Trinity had been imposed upon them. Many worshipped idols, fire, cows and stars. This same moral and spiritual corruption and regression, which had spread everywhere, caused dishonesty, darkness and deviations in human societies. Bloodshed, murder, tyranny, and oppression prevailed all over the world. In fact, humanity had been put on the verge of the abyss of total destruction!

Arabia during the dark Pre-Islamic Times (Before Prophet Muhammed (saw))

The people of the Arabian Peninsula suffered from their tribal and pastoral life in the deserts, coupled with blood-thirsty feudalism. The economic crisis resulting from the exploitation of the people by the ruling class and by bands of usurers had robbed human life of its meaning and darkened the horizon of social well-being.

What was lacking was law and justice. The wealthy usurers who engaged in trade in Makkah had amassed enormous amounts of wealth by illegitimate means and exploited the weak and poor classes of society and by overcharging the orphan and the widow. In fact, they increasingly exacerbated anti-human social class differences through usury and oppressive exploitation.

Due to their ignorance, the Arab tribes in those days generally engaged in worshipping natural phenomena. Most shameful of all was their worship of lifeless statues - idols. The House of God, the Kaaba, was used as the idol-temple of the Arabs.

Any one of the indecent, degrading social and moral customs in Arabia at that time was enough to destroy the honour of a whole nation. False beliefs and class differences were strong. The Arabs wrongly believed that only those were superior who descended from the Arab race and had Arab blood! As a matter of fact, the twentieth-century form of nationalism and racism was quite prevalent among the Arabs during the first pagan period.

Arabia during the dark Pre-Islamic TimesMurder, bloodshed, drinking, and illegitimate sexual intercourse were quite ordinary and commonplace. Plunder, robbery, savagery, aggression, and treachery were their obvious characteristics, and genocide was considered a sign of bravery and courage. As the Arabs before the time of the Prophet Muhammed (saw) believed the birth of a daughter to be harmful or were either afraid of poverty and destitution, they either killed their innocent daughters or buried them alive. In some cases even the existence of one daughter in a family was considered shameful.

"And do not kill your children for fear of poverty; We give them sustenance and yourselves (too); surely to kill them is a great wrong." (Noble Qur'an 17:31)

Such was the situation and moral conditions of a miserable society out of whose dark horizon came the light of Islam.

There is no doubt that a leader who is himself immoral, unscrupulous, and without praise-worthy human characteristics is unable to rectify human societies and save the people. It is only divine leaders who, inspired by Almighty Allah (SWT), are able to make profound basic transformations in all phases of the people's individual and social life.

Now we must try to understand what kind of person such a leader of the worldwide revolution was and what changes he made in the world. It is crystal clear that a person who not only is not affected by such a corrosive society, but also grieves over it and attempts to combat it, possesses a great divine character and is competent to lead people and guide them onto the path of salvation.

Prophet Muhammed (saw) and Animal Rights

In that age when men were often cruel to each other, let alone to animals, Prophet Muhammed's (saw) taught his companions (Sahabah), that one should be kind to all living things, animal or plant, since they are all part of Allah's creation. Prophet Muhammed's (saw) mercy and compassion was so deep that animals, even plants would benefit from His existence as their guardian.

"Fear Allah (SWT) with regard to animals", said Prophet Muhammed (saw), "ride them when they are fit to be ridden, and get off their backs when they are tired; surely, there are rewards for being kind and gentle to animals, and for giving them water to drink."

Islam has taught that in the eyes of Almighty Allah (SWT), animals also have rights in the same way as man has. They should not be treated badly, tortured or left to starve without food or water.

One day, Prophet Muhammed (saw) told his companions (Sahabah) the story of two women: "A prostitute was guided by Allah's truth and ultimately went to paradise because she gave water to a dog dying of thirst in the desert." While a dog was going round a well and was about to die of thirst, prostitute saw it and took off her shoe and watered it. So Allah (SWT) forgave her because of that good deed." And for the other women, Prophet Muhammed (saw) said, "A woman was tortured and was put in Hell because of a cat which she had kept locked till it died of hunger." Prophet Muhammed (saw) further said, "You neither fed it nor watered when you locked it up, nor did you set it free to eat the insects of the earth."

Prophet Muhammed (saw) and Animal RightsProphet Muhammed (saw) said: A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well, he descended into it, drank his fill, and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its excessive thirst.

The man said, "This dog is feeling the same thirst that I felt." So he went down into the well again, filled his shoe with water and gave the dog a drink.

So, Almighty Allah (SWT) forgave his sins.

Prophet Muhammed (saw) was asked, "O Messenger of Allah (SWT), are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?" Prophet Muhammed (saw) replied: There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human.

Prophet Muhammed (saw) was once performing ablution (Wudhu) for prayers from a pot of water. A Cat passed there and turned its eyes at the pot of water with a thirsty look. Prophet Muhammed (saw) realized at once that the Cat was very thirsty, so he stopped the ablution (Wudhu) and placed the pot before the Cat.

Only after the Cat had fully quenched its thirst, did Prophet Muhammed (saw) resume the ablution (Wudhu). By this action, Prophet Muhammed (saw) has shown that quenching the thirst of even a small dumb animal is a noble act full of virtue and should be given first attention before one prepares for offering prayers to Almighty Allah (SWT).

A man brought the chick of a bird to the gathering of Prophet Muhammed (saw) and his companions (Sahabah), and they noticed that the parent of the chick was following it, flapping around it. When the man sat down its parent threw itself upon its chick, and did not concern itself with the danger, out of care towards its chick. This astonished the companions.

Prophet Muhammed (saw) then turned to his companions said: 'Are you amazed at this bird? You have taken its chick and it threw itself into danger out of mercy for the chick! I swear by Allah (SWT), your Lord is more merciful to you than this bird is to its chick. Then he turned to the man and asked him to let the chick go.

Even the means of slaughtering animals in Islam is done in a way which will bring minimal pain to the animal. Is not it amazing that these laws came about 1400 years ago. Yet, we are still struggling to keep animals from being abused and mistreated.

Prophet Muhammed (saw) and Beating the Servant

Prophet Muhammed (saw) and Beating the ServantOnce, a companion of Prophet Muhammed (saw) began hitting his slave. The slave kept pleading: "By Allah! Do not beat me. For Allah's sake forgive me." The master, however, refused to pardon him and continued to shower beatings upon him.

Some people informed Prophet Muhammed (saw) of the slave's predicament whereupon he (saw) got up and started out towards the scene of this incident. As soon as the companion's eyes fell upon Prophet Muhammed (saw) he stopped his beatings whereupon Prophet Muhammed (saw) said to him: "He placed you under the oath of Allah (SWT), but you refused to pardon him and now that you have set your eyes upon me, you have restrained yourself?"

The man, in order to make amends for his deplorable behaviour, said: "I now free him for the sake (and pleasure) of Allah (SWT)!"

Prophet Muhammed (saw) said: "Had you not freed him, you would have dropped face-down into the fire of Hell."

Prophet Muhammed (saw) and Impartiality between Children

Prophet Muhammed (saw) and Impartiality between ChildrenOnce, a lady entered the house of Aishah, the wife of Prophet Muhammed (saw), with her two children. Aishah presented three dates to the lady, who gave one date to each of her two children and taking the third date she halved it and once again distributed it evenly amongst them.

When Prophet Muhammed (saw) returned, Aishah narrated the episode to him whereupon he (saw) said: "Did the lady's act leave you astonished? Due to her fairness and even-handedness, Allah (SWT) shall place her in Paradise."

It has also been reported that once, a father arrived in the presence of Prophet Muhammed (saw) accompanied by his two children. In his presence he kissed one child and ignored the other. Noticing this incorrect act Prophet Muhammed (saw) commented: "Why do you not treat your children equally?"

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Islamic Moral Stories is designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016