The writer, Zamena Manekia Manji (Bujumbura, Burundi) is a bookworm with a passion for writing and community service.
This article forms part of the series ‘ Muhammad – A Beacon of Hope, a Shining Star’ – an initiative to recall and appreciate the messages and lessons behind the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, its relevance, and connection to life today, for both Shi’a Muslims and the rest of the global population.
There’s this little orphan boy, who would one day be loved and revered by billions even centuries after his death by people who haven’t even talked to him let alone seen him yet to the billions, he is crowned as the most merciful and kind hearted of men to have ever existed. A man who is envied even 1400 years after his demise. A man so humble, that his one stride on the battlefield roared with valor yet he would bend down and play with little children. A man who fought against the odds to revive humanity. His very name sends shivers down the spines of the wrongdoers for if one would even swim on the surface of the mercy his mere name radiates, they would change overnight; he is Muhammad, the beacon of hope.
Uprooting an entire nation plunged into deep ignorance in a span of a few decades was impossible yet the Prophet Muhammad (saw) braved through and revived humanity. Battling rigid mindsets of the haughty Arabs meant having to risk his life several times yet he left no stone unturned in spreading the message of his Lord. But perhaps what really speaks volumes of his personality, was his stand for the voiceless i.e., the women and the slaves.
It was the Holy Prophet who rose a black man – Bilal, to proclaim the Adhan, an honor that the privileged thought belonged to them only. It was the Holy Prophet who compelled the masters to treat their slaves as equal and found ways to eventually free them. It was the Prophet Muhammad who even sat at level with the slaves and treated them as family, a gesture that was previously very much frowned upon yet he showed how the best of God’s creation valued everyone and helped the slaves gain the respect they deserved from the society.
The Prophet even brought about a revolutionary milestone for women when the Holy Prophet (saw) sought to revive our dignity – leading to a mass shift in how the world perceived the female, for one of his main missions was to show the arrogant men of his time who belittled women to a point of absolute disgrace, that women were as bold, intelligent and capable as men if not more. From putting an end to the burying of baby girls to allowing the female to inherit and not get inherited, to permitting them for divorce should they ask for one, to constantly reminding the people on the value a mother has and beyond, this was the time women after decades of considering themselves as worthless finally felt honor shine through their selves. While the men fought alongside him during wars, the women served as frontline doctors and nurses. His own daughter, Bibi Fatimah Zahra (a.s) was famously known for carrying water during the battles and tending to her injured father and husband’s wounds.
The Prophet then allowed women to inherit a share of wealth from their deceased family member instead of being inherited, for prior to this rule, the Arab men would leave behind their wives as properties to be owned by the eldest son after their death, if it wasn’t for this once little orphan boy nurtured by his Lord into the most merciful of people, the women and slaves would have never been valued perhaps even in today’s world, for the billions may have never seen him but his teachings and values still prevail today, serving as the very pillars of humanity.