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[文化博览] 【整理】2008-05-12 Prophet Muhammad 先知穆罕默德 - 16

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This is not a something their fly-by-night. This is something big and important. Islam has come to stay.

 

In just a hundred years, Muhammad’s vision had transformed the spiritual and political map of the world. And his followers had established an empire larger than Rome. But Muhammad never lived to see it. In the 11th year of the Islamic calendar, 632 AD, only two years after the taking of Mecca, Muhammad died. Medina fell into despair. For days, the city was consumed with sorrow and ceremony.

 

He’s known to have said that he wanted to be buried very simply, with no marker over his grave. He didn’t want people to worship his grave. That would interfere with their worship of god.

 

God had spoken to them only through Muhammad. Now that the prophet had left them, perhaps god would as well.

 

Muhammad’s death set up a crisis in the young Islamic community. The question of succession was the first thing that really occupied people’s concerns. At this point, there was a divergence of opinion as to how the community should go about choosing a new leader. According to the Shiites faction, the Shia of Ali, Muhammad had indeed designated Ali his son-in-law and cousin as his successor.

 

The opinion that came to be the majority opinion or the Sunni opinion held that Muhammad had not appointed a successor during his life, but had said “After I'm gone, choose one from among your peers, from among the elders.” And from the house there came out a man who’d be his successor, Abu Bakr, and he addressed people and said “If you worship Muhammad, know that he is dead; if you worship god, know that he lives forever.”

 

Here was the secret to Islam's strength and profound influence, the unifying power of one god, merciful and compassionate, the power of one people bound by a common faith. Muhammad did not lead the conquest or create the empire to come. The transforming power of his message did.

 

Out of that message would spring a fount of knowledge that would transform humanity, as Islam continued to spread its reach, far and wide. Awaiting the Muslims would be a new age. They would be destined for enlightenment, for new horizons and a clash of great powers the like of which the world have never seen.

 

 

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