“Corruption has appeared on land and sea on account of what the hands of people have wrought;”
(Chapter 30, Section 5)
GENERAL CORRUPTION BEFORE THE HOLY PROPHET
Before the advent of our Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) corruption was not limited to the peninsula of Arabia, but it prevailed throughout the world, as the Qur’aanic verse heading this page shows. Every nation of the earth had depraved itself and all the people were sunk deep in vice. The Holy Qur’aan describes the time before the advent of the Holy Prophet as “THE TIME OF IGNORANCE” and history affords strong testimony of this claim.
CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE OF ARABIA
Politically, the condition of Arabia was so bad that it defied all attempts at civilisation. There was no Government at all. Each tribe had its own head, and that too for the purpose of leading it into war with another tribe. Might was right and he who could wield the sword with greater skill and strength could also exercise authority. But the tribe, the family and the individual all yearned for independence and did not submit to authority, so long as they could. The conditions were, in short, most unfavourable for a political union which, only, could make civilization possible. As to learning and science, no trace of them was to be found among the Arabs before their conversion to Islam, with the single exception of poetry, which is not lacked in society even in its infancy. The art of writing was known, but the events were not recorded and we do not meet with even the rudest conception of the science history. Masses were generally illiterate. There is not a single prose composition dating from the pre-Islamic times. Philosophy, mathematics, science etc. were quite unknown and they were in fact, utterly, inconsistent with the nomad condition of the Arab hordes.
There were atheists among the Arabs who believed in the all-pervading power of natural law. They did not think that there was any guiding personal power behind all the working of natural laws. They did not think that the universe had any need of a Creator to bring it into existence or a guide to steer it towards a certain pre-ordained goal. There were, again, people who, though they believed in the existence of God and life after death, they did not believe in prophethood. They could not conceive that Divine Revelations could be bestowed on a human being.
The majority of the Arabs were, however, polytheists. Some worshipped the sun, others the moon, still others the different stars and planets. And there were those, also, who worshipped idols carved out of stone. The most famous of these gods of stone were al-Lat, Wudd Suwa, al-Uzza, al-Manat, Yaghus, Yaq, and lastly, Hubal, which was the greatest of them all.
The origin of idolatory in Arabia is ascribed to various causes. Some historians think that it had its origin in a certain Arab named Amr, who imported some idols from Syria, where he had seen people worshipping the same. He placed those idols in the Ka’aba. The worship of the idol was spread throughout Arabia by the Arabs who came to perform their annual pilgrimage to that sacred place.
Those who came to Ka’aba from distant places took away with them pieces of stone from the Haram and worshipped them in their homes. This gave rise to idolatary.
Besides the above, there were to be found in Arabia the followers of religions like Christianity, Judaism and Magianism. They were scattered over the country and at certain points, there were flourishing colonies of Christians and Jews.
THE RELIGION OF IBRAHAM
There were, among the Arabs, certain individuals who always longed to know and follow the religion of Ibraham, peace be on him, their fore-father. They travelled from place to place in search of that Religion. But they failed and they were only a few.
MORALITY IN PRE-ISLAMIC ARABIA
The above Religions had little influence on the morality of the people who professed them. Human beings were sacrificed to please the gods. The son inherited his father’s wives, excepting his own mother. Daughters were buried alive, there was no limit to the number of wives a man could take to himself. Rape, gambling and drinking were the amusements of everybody. People publicly sang of their immoral activities. Indecent songs were composed and hung on the walls of Ka’aba. A step-son could marry his step-mother. The position of women was very low. Fornication prevailed to an enormous extent. Civil wars were common. If a murder was committed, the injured family took the law into its own hands. They had a belief that if blood was not avenged by blood, a small winged insect issued from the skull of the murdered person, and fled screeching through the sky. It was also a point of honour on the part of the guilty tribe to protect the murderer, and to adopt his cause. Thus blood feuds rose easily and died hard. Such feuds were, in certain cases kept alive for hundreds of years. In short, the delegates of all the vices, evils and religions were gathered there in Arabia when our Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be on him) appeared as a guide to instruct mankind. To know how far he (Holy Prophet) succeeded in his mission (i.e.) transformation of such a degenerate people, see next week’s pamphlet.
(17.N.K.) Nazir Ahmad (Simab), Muslim Missionary.
NO. 16 San Juan, Dated the 1st, September, 1939.