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The grace that Muhammad is to Muslims and non-Muslims alike

ARTICLE SUMMARY: All humanity has been influenced, knowingly or unknowingly, by the code of living that the Prophet outlined. This grace continues to be available in plenty for anyone who wishes to benefit by it.

ARTICLE BACKGROUND: Extracted from Vol. 12 of In the Shade of the Qur’an, this article is part of the author’s commentary on Chapter 22:107 of the Qur’an, which states, “We have sent you (O Muhammad) as a grace towards all the worlds.”

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY: Sayyid Qutb is one of Islam’s greatest activists of the 20th Century. His Islamic advocacy cost him his life in 1966 at hands of the tyrannical Egyptian regime.

God has sent His last Messenger as a manifestation of His grace to all mankind. He takes them by the hand to show them divine guidance. It is only those who are ready to receive such guidance that benefit by it, but God’s grace is bestowed on believers and unbelievers alike.

The code of living given to us through the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is one that ensures the happiness of all mankind, and which will lead to the highest level of perfection humanity can attain. Muhammad’s message was given to mankind at a time when it attained its full mental maturity. Hence, it is a book open to all minds across all generations. It includes the unchangeable fundamentals of human life, and it is ready to meet changing needs that are known only to the One who created man, and who knows His creation well. He is most kind and aware of all things.

This book sets out the principles and the framework of a permanent code for an ever-renewing human life, leaving to human beings the task of deducing detailed rules necessary for organizing their relations as life progresses. It is also up to human beings to determine the methods and the means of implementation, according to their different situations and circumstances, without conflict with the principles of the permanent code.

Having guaranteed the right to freedom of thought and established the society that allows the human mind to think, this book also allows the human mind the freedom to determine what actions need to be taken. Thus, under Islam and within its fundamental principles, man is free to develop and progress towards the highest attainable standard of human life.

All human experience, up to the present moment, confirms that the Islamic system, in general, remains ahead of man’s progress, able to provide the environment that ensures steady human progress in all directions. It will always be ahead of human life, providing the lead, and never restraining its march. In meeting human desire for development and progress, Islam never suppresses any human potential whether of individuals or the community. Nor does it deprive them of their ability to enjoy the fruits of their efforts or the pleasures of life.

The most important aspect of this code of living is that it is both balanced and coherent. It neither advocates physical torment in order to elevate man’s spirit, nor does it neglect the spiritual dimension in order to indulge in physical pleasures. It neither imposes restrictions on the individual and his healthy, natural desires in order to serve the interests of the community or the state, nor does it give rein to the individual’s deviant desires at the expense of the safety of the community.

It is clear that all the tasks the Islamic code of living assigns to man are within his ability and serve his interests. Moreover, he has been given the means and faculties that help him fulfil these tasks, looking at them as desirable, even though he may at times have to contend with difficulties and hardships in order to achieve them.

The message of Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a manifestation of grace to his own people and to humanity at large. The principles he laid down sounded strange at first because humanity was then far removed from a truly sound practical and spiritual life. After the revelation of the message of Islam, humanity drew gradually closer to these principles, which then started to sound familiar, acceptable and easy to implement.

Islam calls for a humanity in which there is no room for ethnic or geographical distinction, united by its single faith and social system. To the human mind and in the prevailing conditions at the time, this sounded very strange. Noble classes then were accustomed to thinking of themselves as having a different make up to that of ordinary human beings. Yet humanity has been trying for nearly fourteen centuries to follow the lead of Islam, but it stumbles along the way because it does not benefit by the full light of Islam. It achieves only limited standards of the Islamic code, at least in what it professes to advocate.

Still we find European and American countries holding on to disgraceful racial values which Islam removed at its very outset. Islam advocated full equality between all people under the law. It did this at a time when all humanity used to divide people into classes with a different law for each class. In fact a master’s will was the law in the age of slavery and feudalism. At that time it was very strange for humanity to hear a voice advocating the principle of full and universal equality under the law. Yet gradually humanity continues to try to achieve, at least theoretically, a measure of what Islam put in practice nearly 1,400 years ago.

Numerous other aspects confirm that Muhammad’s message was a manifestation of divine grace for all humanity, and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was certainly sent to bring mercy and grace to mankind, including those who did not believe in him. All humanity has been influenced, willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or unknowingly, by the code of living he outlined. This grace continues to be available in plenty for anyone who wishes to benefit by it. Its implementation enables humanity to enjoy the lovely breeze of heaven to dispel the burning heat of the earth, especially these days.

Today, humanity most urgently needs a fresh taste of this grace. Yet it persists in confusion as it gropes along in the maze of materialism, in the endless wars, and in the spiritual void in which it finds itself.