Page 113 - Islam In Focus

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or radio or television or even regular mail service. There was no way of public
information or preaching except by personal contacts. There was no respect for life or
property or honor or treaties of the individuals and of the weak nations. There was no
security or freedom of expression. Whoever stood for a noble cause or came out with
unpopular beliefs was menaced. This is revealed from the history of Socrates the
Greek philosopher, of the Christian pioneers, and of the early Muslims. Many
emissaries commissioned to deliver special messages to rulers and governors never
came back alive. They were cold-bloodedly murdered or captured by their very hosts
With all these hardships the Muslims of Arabia had to cope, and under all these
circumstances they had to work. They had a message to deliver to mankind, a
contribution to make to humanity, and a formula of salvation to offer. The Qur’ an
says invite to the Way of God by wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue in the
most gracious manner. But who was there prepared to listen to the peaceful Call of
God? It is a fact that many disbelievers used to avoid hearing the Prophet lest they
might be affected by his peaceful preaching. They even resisted by force the peaceful
Call of Islam. The early experience of Arabia taught the Muslims that it is more
effective to be peaceful and at the same time stand on guard; that you can move in
peace only when you are strong enough to guard your peace; that your voice of peace
would echo better when you are able to resist pressure and eliminate oppression
Now they had, by the order of God, to make Islam known to the outside world, but
there was no telecommunication system or press or any other mass medium of
communication. There was only one course to take, namely, personal and direct
contacts, which meant that they had to cross the borders. But they could not do that in
small or unarmed groups. So they had to move in large protected groups which must
have appeared like an army, but was not an army in the real sense. They crossed the
borders in various directions at different times. What took place then deserves
consideration. In some areas they were warmly welcomed by the natives, who had
long been oppressed and subjugated by the foreign powers of Rome and Persia. In
some other areas they were first to offer Islam to those who were prepared to accept
it, and there were many. Those who did not embrace Islam were asked to pay tributes
equivalent to the Islamic tax (Zakah). The reasons for demanding the kind of tax were
(i) that they wanted to be sure this taxpayer knew what he was doing, and that Islam
was presented to him but he rejected it with his own free will and choice; (ii) that they
undertook to protect the taxpayer and guarantee his security and freedom in a way
equal to that of the Muslim himself, because any danger to him was a danger to his
Muslim compatriot – and, to defend the Muslim, they had to defend the non-Muslim
and insure his security; (iii) that the new state of affairs demanded the support and
cooperation of all sectors, Muslims and non-Muslims alike: the former by Zakah, the
latter by tributes, which were all spent in the public interest; and (iv) that they wanted
to be certain he was not hostile to them and their new brethren, or inclined to make
troubles for his Muslim compatriots
Those who rejected Islam and refused to pay tributes in collaboration with other
sectors to support their state made it hard for themselves. They resorted to a hostile
course from the beginning, and meant to create trouble, not so much for the new
Muslim comers as for the new Muslim converts and their compatriots, the tribute-
payers. In a national sense, that attitude was treacherous; in a human sense, mean; in a
social sense, careless; and in a military sense, pro- vocative. But in a practical sense it