Islam Stands the Test of History
Islam Stands the Test of History
slam claims to be an eternal religion. Any claim of this kind invites people to judge its validity on historical grounds. If latter day history testifies to its claim, it stands endorsed, otherwise it must be rejected.
Marxism in the 20th century is a clear-cut example of historical rejection. According to his concept of historical determinism, Karl Marx held that modern industrial capitalism bore within it the seeds of its own destruction.
He further observed that according to its own inherent laws its antithesis would emerge which would destroy it.
Whereupon a new synthesis would come into being. But, quite contrary to his prediction, industrial capitalism has not only survived, but is making great progress. Historical events have thus buried Marxist theory.
Then there is the case of Adolph Hitler who made grandiose claims that Germans were the “master race” and were destined to rule all Europe. The rout of Hitler and his Nazi party at the end of World War II put paid to all such theorizing.
But the case of Islam is quite different. Even after a period of one thousand five hundred years, Islam has suffered no erosion of its validity.
The well- known British historian, Edward Gibbon, describes the rise and expansion of Islam as “one of the most memorable revolutions which has impressed a new and lasting character on the nations of the globe.”
An Indian historian, M.N. Roy, has observed: “Muhammad must be recognized as by far the greatest of all prophets, before or after him.” He goes on to say that “the expansion of Islam is the most miraculous of all miracles.” (The Historical Role of Islam, pp. 4-5)
The American writer, Michael Heart, in his book, “The 100” has made a selection of the 100 most influential persons in history, who have achieved the most outstanding success in this world. Right at the top of this list is the Prophet Muhammad e, of whom the author writes:
He was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.
The great success that the Prophet Muhammad e had predicted for his mission at the very outset exactly came true. This too, in spite of the stiff opposition which Muhammad e faced right from the beginning, both from within his own family and from the outside world.
This was in 610 AD, the year when he first started receiving divine revelations. At this stage he felt totally helpless. But then, in this adverse situation, he received a revelation from God, which said:
They want to extinguish God’s light with their mouths. But God will perfect His light, even though the unbelievers may detest it. It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the Religion of Truth, so that He may exalt it over all religions, much as the pagans may dislike it. (61:8-9)
At the very beginning of his prophetic career, the Qur’an declared that Muhammad e would certainly succeed in his mission. All his opponents, however powerful they might be, would ultimately be defeated.
(This is pointed out at several places in the Qur’an in different wording). In history we find numerous personalities who began their work with towering claims, but none of them achieved the envisioned success.
Throughout human history, the Prophet Muhammad e is the only exception to this rule, in that his predictions were fulfilled to the fullest extent.
Through the efforts of the Prophet and his companions, a unique event took place: starting from scratch, they succeeded in extending their influence to the entire populated world of that age.
During this brief period, they not only conquered Arabia but also succeeded in crushing the two great empires of their time—the Roman and the Sassanid.
Historians have almost universally acknowledged this exceptional phase in history.
The Qur’an was revealed prior to the modern age of knowledge, yet fourteen hundred years ago, at the time of revelation, the Qur’an declared that the proof of its being divine in origin lay in its being in complete accordance with historical facts and in its remaining consistent with discoveries made contemporaneously and at all future times.
Advances may be made in human knowledge, but they will never contradict Qur’anic statements. To a remarkable degree, latter day history has testified to this.
While many statements contained in all the ancient books have been at loggerheads with the latest scientific discoveries, the Qur’an is unique in steering clear of all such contradictions.
As the Qur’an says: “Do they not ponder on the Qur’an? had it been from other than God, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.” (4:82) (The word “discrepancy” here means inconsistency, that is, a Qur’anic statement not agreeing with eternal knowledge).