Unwavering Steadfastness at Makkah:
“The growth in the mind of Muhammad of the conviction, that he was appointed to be the Prophet and Reformer, is intimately connected with his belief in a special Providence embracing the spiritual as well as the material world; and out of that conviction arose the confidence that the Almighty would crown his mission with success. While still at Makkah, there is no reason to doubt that the questionings and aspirations of his inner soul were regarded by him as proceeding directly from God. The light which gradually illuminated his mind with a knowledge of the divine unity and perfections, and of the duties and destiny of man, -light amidst gross darkness, -must have emanated from the same source; and He Who in His own good pleasure had thus begun the work, would surely carry it through to a successful ending. What was Muhammad himself, but an instrument in the hand of the Great Worker? Such, no doubt, were the thoughts which strengthened him, alone and unsupported, to brave for many weary years the taunts and persecutions of a whole people.
“It may be doubted whether he ever engaged personality in active conflict on the battlefields. Though he often accompanied his forces, he never himself led them into action, or exposed his person to avoidable danger. Yet even so, it only brings out in higher relief the singular display of moral daring. Let us for a moment look to the period when a ban was proclaimed at Makkah against all citizens, whether professed converts or not, who espoused his cause or ventured to protect him; and when along with these, he was shut up in the ‘Shi’b’, or quarter of Abu Talib, and these for three years, without prospect or relief endured want and hardship. Strong and steadfast must have been the motives which enabled him, amidst such opposition and apparent hopelessness of success to maintain his principles unshaken. No sooner had he been released from this restraint than, despairing of his native city, he went forth solitary and unaided to At-Taif, and there summoned its rulers and inhabitants to repentance, with the message which he said he had from his Lord; on the third day was driven out of the town with humiliation, while blood flowed from wounds inflicted on him by the common people.
Retiring to a little distance, he poured forth his complaint to God, and then returned to Makkah, there to resume the same outwardly hopeless cause, with the same high confidence in its ultimate success. We search in vain through the pages of profane history for a parallel to the struggle, in which for thirteen years the Prophet of Arabia, in the face of discouragement and threats, rejection and persecution, retained thus his faith unwavering, preached repentance, and denounced God’s wrath against his godless fellow-citizens. Surrounded by a little band of faithful men and women, he met insults, threats, and danger with a lofty and patient trust in the future. And when at last the promise of safety came from a distant quarter, he calmly waited until his followers had all departed, and then disappeared from amongst ungrateful and rebellious people.
“Not less marked was the firm front and unchanging faith in eventual victory which at Medina bore him through seven years of mortal conflict with his native city; and enabled him, sometimes even under defeat, and while his influence and authority were yet limited and insecure, even in the city of his adoption, to speak and to act in the constant and undoubted expectation of victory.”
Earnestness and Honesty of Muhammad at Makkah:
“As he was himself subject to convictions thus deep and powerful, it will readily be conceived that his exhortations were distinguished by a corresponding strength and clear thought. Master of eloquence, his language was cast in the purest and most persuasive style of Arabian oratory. His genius exhausted the imagery of nature in the illustration of spiritual truths; and a vivid imagination enabled him to bring before his people the Resurrection and the Day of Judgment, the joys of believers, in Paradise, and the agonies of lost spirits in Hell, as close and impending realities. In ordinary address, his speech was slow, distinct, and emphatic; but when he preached, his eyes would redden, his voice rise high and loud, and his whole frame agitate with passion, even as if he were warning the people of an enemy, about to fall on them the next morning or that very night”.
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