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Celebrating the Mawlid at the Houses of Parliament

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A talk delivered by Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada on Wednesday 22 May 2002
at the Grand Committee Room, House of Commons, London.

Allah’s name I begin with, the utmost Kind, the ever Merciful.

Your excellencies, religious and political leaders, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great pleasure and an honour for me to say a few words about Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in Parliament House, which is the most important building in this country. Here, the chief law-makers of the United Kingdom meet to guide and introduce laws for this country. It is a fortunate chance that in this building, we are celebrating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who had also introduced the laws for civilization 1400 years ago.

The people of that age were ignorant, uncivilized, terrorist and barbaric. But Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) invited them towards peace and within a score of years he had transformed these ignorant people into a high level of civilization.

Dear Audience! To change the mentality and attitude of a nation takes generations but Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had brought this revolution within just twenty three years. It is an historical fact, which is unique and matchless in the history of mankind.

This is not only our belief but a famous historian, Michael H. Hart, has also declared that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is a matchless leader ever to be found in human history. You may have heard about his book, The 100 - A ranking of the most influential persons in history, printed in 1978 and today you can see a copy of it in my hands. He selected one hundred persons who were the world’s most influential leaders in history and ranked them according to their achievements. But you will be pleased to know that he placed Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the top position at number one, declaring that he is the most influential person in history. He writes on page 33:

“My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive.”

Dear audience! Have a glance at just one example. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab was the second Caliph after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He was a ruler of 2.3 million square miles of territory. Once he said that before embracing Islam, he was not able to control even a few camels but after becoming a Muslim he was able to manage millions of people.

1400 years ago, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab had established a system of social security not only for human beings but also for animals. He declared that if a goat died due to hunger in any corner of his country, he would be responsible for its death. He was also the founder of child benefit starting from the day the child was born. He was a true representative of human and animal rights.

If Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had not come into this world, our situation might have been far worse. It is Islam that has contributed much in creating modern Europe. His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, shows a very good understanding as he said in his lecture Islam and the West:

“Islam nurtured and preserved the quest for learning. In the words of the tradition, ‘the ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.’ Cordoba in the tenth century was by far the most civilized city of Europe. We know of lending libraries in Spain at the time King Alfred was making terrible blunders with the culinary arts in this country. It is said that the 400,000 volumes in its ruler’s library amounted to more books than all the libraries of the rest of Europe put together. Many of the traits on which modern Europe prides itself came from Muslim Spain. Diplomacy, free trade, open borders, the techniques of academic research, of anthropology, etiquette, fashion, various types of medicine, hospitals, all came from this great city of cities. Islam is part of our past and our present, in all fields of human endeavour. It has helped to create modern Europe. It is part of our own inheritance, not a thing apart.”

Concerning these remarks, I would like to salute the honest and realistic attitude of the Prince of Wales who has studied the history of Islam without prejudice and has given his opinion without any hesitation.

This is Islam but where do we stand today?

Dear audience! Coming to my last point, If we look at the history of mankind, the weak and less fortunate sections of humanity had to fight for ages to obtain their rights and their leaders often used this as a tool for their own political success; however, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had given them their rights 1400 years ago without them demanding. For example, looking at the rights of women, Prince Charles has said:

“The rights of Muslim women to property and inheritance, to some protection if divorced, and to the conducting of business, were rights prescribed by the Qur’an fourteen hundred years ago. In Britain at least, some of these rights were novel even to my grandmother’s generation.”

Thank you very much for listening.

 
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