Monday, February 1, 2016

Mercy and Compassion Embraced Everyone


In order to understand to what degree the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a mercy ("We sent you as a mercy to the world" Al-Anbiya 107), it is necessary to take a look at the situation of the world before him. It has been historically established that, just as in many regions of the world, idols were dominant in  Meccan society and, consequently, a full human drama was taking place. According to a statement in the Quran, "Evil appeared on land and in the seas because of the acts of man, and disorder reigned everywhere" (Rumi 41). When the Prophet was still in his twenties, he participated in the Hilfu'l-Fudul which had been founded for the purpose of struggling against injustice, and he took an active role in it. Mentioning this event himself during his period of prophethood, he said, "If I were called to such an organization today, I would immediately accept and follow it" (Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat I, 129); thus, he announced how he maintained the ebullience of his inner stream of mercy.

a. Meccan Years

The compassion and mercy of the  Prophet and the patience he demonstrated against the bad treatment and unbearable rudeness he saw during the Meccan years was manifested in the form of always wishing for the salvation of the oppressors who had long since been worthy of damnation. During his return from the trip to Taif, Gabriel informed him that he would immediately act against the Meccan idolaters in any way the Prophet wished.  Muhammad's pleading, "My Lord, forgive my people; they do not know what they are doing" (Bukhari, Istitabe, 5), his forgiving and asking for salvation for his enemies who were merciless to him, and his praying to Allah to bring a generation with faith from their linage (Bukhari, Bad'ul-Halk, 7) is evidence of mercy and compassion unequaled in the world.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had the duty of conveying the message of Islam. This required compassion and mercy. He presented such a compassion-laden call to everyone he could reach. He spoke with everyone he could in every place. He especially never hesitated to speak with prominent Quraysh polytheists. However, at the same time he was cautioned in the Abasa Sura never to neglect ordinary citizens and believers. It was necessary to carefully pursue, every time and in every place, propagation activities with compassion that did not neglect the believers. In fact, throughout his life the Prophet spoke with everyone who came to him and particularly during the Medina period, he treated them with amazing hospitably and complimented them.

His manifestation of mercy, patience, wishing for their forgiveness and salvation and his conveying Islam's message (training-teaching) would infuriate the Meccans who understood no language other than coarseness and roughness. They could not understand why he was patient and did not respond in kind to all they had done to him. The torture they made was not enough for them because, as stated in the Holy Quran, mercy and patience are the most powerful weapons (Balad 17). He would have an impact even on the most oppressive persons. The Meccans did not endure this war of patience; they had to exile Muhammad, the focal point of mercy and compassion, from Mecca. Whereas, he was a great blessing: "I swear that by sending a prophet who reads Allah's verses, purifies them and teaches the people the book and wisdom, Allah has given believers a great blessing. Whereas, they were formerly clearly in perversion" (Al-i Imran 164).

Since the Prophet's apostleship was directed towards all people, naturally compassion and mercy would be aimed towards all mankind, as well. In fact, Allah described him to us as follows:

"I swear that such a prophet has come to you that your falling into difficulty will weigh heavy upon him. He is concerned about you and very compassionate and very merciful to believers" (Al-Tawba 128).

The Prophet, some of whose higher virtues are found together in this verse, was happy with the salvation of believers and extremely sad when they fell into difficulty, and he showed them great compassion. In spite of the behavior of the hypocrites that made him extremely uncomfortable, he did not have them killed and gave them the same treatment as Muslims received. He never gave an opportunity for the propaganda, "Muhammad is killing the sahaba," to be materialized. Those who did not declare their faith were a constant source of pain for him and a subject of his call. The verse, "(My prophet!)You are almost going to give your life because they do not declare their faith!" (Al-Shuara 3), shows the dimensions of the compassion he felt towards people and, consequently, the sadness he felt for their not knowing the tranquility of faith.

b. Medina Days

The Prophet's Medina life was the period when the Mercy of Muhammad (pbuh) reached its zenith.

The Prophet was a natural head of the family at home. He was very compassionate to members of the family and children. Anas ibn Malik was very happy to say that during the ten years he served the Prophet he never heard reproach from him even once. In fact, once when he got caught up in playing with some children he saw on the road to where he was going, the Prophet, who came to the same spot, only smilingly asked whether or not he had gone to the place he was sent. On another day an elderly woman was going to take the Prophet to oversee her work in a neighborhood outside of Medina. His mercy did not allow him to say "no" to anyone who asked something from him. If he had it, he would give it; if he did not have it, he would remain silent and wait.

Children, orphans, the forlorn, the elderly and the weak received the biggest share of the Mercy of Muhammad. The children he took on his shoulders even during salat, the children he accepted on the back of his saddle on his return from trips and those he took in his lap, the little ones he always  greeted and patted on the head wherever he saw them were all nurtured and trained as future compassionate adults with the Mercy of  Muhammad.

Rough and coarse behavior like dirtying the masjid and hanging on to the Prophet to ask for something were always met with understanding and a smile. By means of the compassionate warnings of Muhammad, animals were saved from being killed as hunting targets, from being seared with fire, from being left hungry and thirsty, from carrying heavy loads, and from being beaten, cursed and damned. It was the Prophet who said that a woman who caused a cat's death by confining it and leaving it without water would go to Hell, and that a sinful woman who saved a dying dog from a well and gave it water would go to Heaven. A locus of mercy, the Prophet saw a dog nursing its new-born pups on the side of the road in the Arch valley during the year 8 H. as he was going towards the conquest of Mecca. He immediately called its owner, Juayl ibn Suraqa, to stand guard there until the army had passed so the dogs would not be disturbed (ash-Shami, Subulu'l-huda va'r-rashad, Vii, 51). The Prophet, who went to the grave of the custodian of the masjid (whose death he was not informed of) and prayed for him, also reminded the imams that there may be sick, poor and elderly in the congregation. In matters that were left optional he always chose the easier one indicating that a trace of mercy should prevail in actions of the community. He would warn those who refrained from and abstained from the easiness and permission he had given, for whatever reason, that he knew Allah better than others and reminded them that he feared Allah more than anyone else (Bukhari, Itisam 5).

The natural environment eventually became green due to his compassionate hands and effective suggestions. He persistently recommended that obstructions be removed from the roads, that still waters and oases not be polluted, that a tree be planted even on Doomsday, that trees not be cut unnecessarily even in war, and that crops not be burnt.  Declaring Mecca and Medina to be a forbidden region and giving everything there a special status were extremely important precautions in respect to urbanization and environmentalism. Pilgrims being forbidden to kill any living creature in the Harem area and their not being allowed to pull up or cut plants or trees  when they are dressed in pilgrim's garments sanctifies the idea of "not harming the environment" and protection of the environment, and also spreads this idea throughout all Islamic countries. The environment received its share of the blessing of the Mercy of Muhammad in this way.

Young people became subject to love and compassion and older people to respect and deference. The statement, "Those who do not show respect to their elders and compassion to the young are not from us" (Tirmidhi, Birr 15), created a superior level and simplicity in human relations. Encouragement of compassion was stated in the principle, "Those who are not merciful will not be treated mercifully." Muhammad forewent making some recommendations due to his concern that they would be hard for Muslims or that they would lead to difficulty over the long run (saying "lawlâ an ashukka alâa ümmatî" - if it were not difficult for my community) (Bukhari, Iman 26).

Signing the Hudaybiya peace treaty with its harsh conditions and meeting opposition from those around him because of it, the Mercy of  Muhammad declared a general amnesty two years later at the conquest of Mecca and forgave the Meccans who were awaiting death. And in a manner that amazed everyone...

He accepted repentance from everyone who understood their mistake and repented, and he never blamed them for their past, which made it easier for them to become purified and change. Thus, he did what a Prophet of repentance should and showed that compassion and forgiveness were necessary.


Outside of war, he did not even flick anyone with his finger, and he cursed almost no one. When the Prophet exceeded these limits and cursed a Muslim, the Prophet asked Allah to make this a reason for forgiveness for him (Muslim, Birr 88-95). He only damned the enemy who laid a trap and killed Muslims.

The Mercy of Muhammad (pbuh) took sides with the Muslims who were treacherously martyred while they were going to teach the people and responded to this injustice with damning. This is quite natural... because he was a compassionate, but cautious commander who was careful to resurrect hearts with Islam rather than killing them even in war. His statement, "I am a prophet of mercy; I am a prophet of war" (O. Hanbal, Musned V, 405), affirms this. According to the findings of contemporary scholar Prof. M. Hamidullah, in ten years of war in an area of approximately two million kilometers, a total of 250 enemy soldiers and 150 Muslims gave their lives for the advent of Islam. This means that war had ceased to be a vehicle of destruction due to the Mercy of Muhammad. He always taught that women, children, civilians, places of worship and religious officials should not be touched, the environment should not be destroyed, and that being the means for one person's salvation was more important than possessing the world (Bukhari, Jihad 102). In other words, futuhu'l-kulub precedes fütûhu'l-bul. He commanded that captives be treated humanely and that a mother should not be separated from her child even if they were slaves. With his guidance, people were saved from being killed by having their organs cut out, from being tortured, and from having their female children buried alive.

His being a "prophet of war" did not contradict his status as a "prophet of mercy." For he made war into an activity of mercy and turned it into a vehicle and means of implementation for a final call to make the affirmation of Allah. He fought against those who did not accept his call to Islam and who pointed their weapons against Muslims. It became a principle that, regardless of the conditions, those who proclaimed faith were spared. Jihad was no longer a display of heroism or a vehicle for exploitation, and was practiced as a last resort for people to be able to see the truth and accept it. This was a natural and even necessary attitude like resorting to surgery as a last means. In other words, armed struggle in Islam was like surgical intervention in medicine. For this reason, jihad is a principle and practice of mercy and compassion. Starting off from the word "melhame" which means both war and peace (İ. Manzur, Lisanu'l-Arap,XII, l-h-m article), it is also possible to understand and interpret the statement, "ane nabiyyu'r-rahma wa ane nabiyyü'l-melhame," as "I am a prophet of mercy; I am a prophet of tranquility and peace." In fact, during the final official parade of troops on the way to the conquest of Mecca, the Ansar commander, Sa'd Ubade, shouted in a voice loud enough for Abu Sufyan to hear, "Today is the day of the great battle." When Abu Sufyan complained, the Prophet corrected Sa'd Ubade's words saying, "Today is the day Allah will exalt the glory of the Kaaba. Today is the day of mercy..." (Vakidi, Megazi, II, 822), and thus declared the day of conquest to be a day of mercy.

After he made this statement and then cleansed the Kaaba of idols, he announced a general amnesty for the Quraish who had forced him to migrate from Mecca eight years previously. This shows what kind of war or peace prophet he was.

With a brand new perspective gained for believers through their belief in the unity of Allah, the Prophet both declared and actively showed that legally everyone was the same and equal (some were not right or wrong from birth), and that like the natural environment, other creatures possessed certain rights and deserved merciful treatment.

Freedom of Religion and Belief

Saying, "Wasn't he a person, too?" (Bukhari, Janaiz 50) the Prophet even showed respect to a Jewish corpse. Those who accepted the rule of Islam continued to live their own religion and beliefs and secured protection by the state with the tax they paid. For he never thought to force anyone to become Muslim.

The Need for a Secure Environment

Islam needs a free and secure environment. There is need for this environment in order to be able to influence minds and hearts. For this reason, loci of terror (individual and institutional) were removed as a necessity of the Prophet's compassion towards mankind. Those who gathered power against the homeland of Islam and Muslims and attempted to make provocation were made ineffective from the beginning by special forces, and the Masjid-i Dirar event mentioned in the Quran (Al-Tawba 107) is one of the most striking examples of this.

As is known, there was a masjid made in Medina for the use of the hypocrites against the Muslims. A secret weapon depot at the same time, this masjid is called the Dirar Masjid in the Quran. Upon revelation that came on the return from the Tabuk campaign, this masjid was razed by the Prophet. This shows that due to compassion for the community, divine mercy and the Mercy of Muhammad did not close their eyes to an institution basic to Islam being used against Muslims and to exploit them.

Construction of a Higher Identity

There is no denial of identity in his compassion. To the contrary, there is construction of a higher identity. In the Medina agreement the Arab tribes that were a party to it were listed one by one. It brought the opportunity for the Jews and Christians to continue living according to the commands of their identities and religions.

Tribalism was defined as love for a person's nation, not as support for it in spite of injustice (Abu Davud, Adab 112).

Universal Document of Compassion

The twenty-three years of struggle for unity (tawhid) made with broad mercy and compassion by the Prophet (pbuh) was crowned by the universal document of compassion, the Farewell Address. The Mercy of  Muhammad attained a truth and warmth that embraced centuries in the Farewell Address.

Forgiving Wahshi who martyred the Prophet's uncle Hamza and Hind who chewed his liver, the Mercy of Muhammad announced in the Farewell Address that all blood feuds were abolished and left behind the comfort and fairness of practices that were proof of this declaration.

The Farewell Address was the final document to the effect that the Prophet Muhammad represented divine mercy in the universal plan. It was the most sacred duty of those who heard it to inform those who had not heard it. For the Mercy of Muhammad was directed towards all creatures of the world until Doomsday. Because Muhammad was a universal mercy. Whoever follows him will attain salvation and happiness; whoever rejects his leadership will fall into full destitution. 

İsmail Lütfi Çakan

Friday, January 22, 2016

How is Prophet Muhammad Introduced in the Qur’an?

The Qur’an instructs and guides us in every aspect of life. introduces us to Prophet Muhammad (saw) and informs us of his characteristics. In this article, we will be examining ten of the Prophet’s characteristics mentioned in the Qur’an:

1- Prophet Muhammad is the Last Messenger and Last Prophet

“I am like the last brick (of an excellent structure that has one brick missing). I am the last of the Prophets.” (Muslim, Fazail 22)

Messenger, envoy, and prophet mean one who informs, one who conveys messages. “Messenger” or “prophet” is used as a term to define those assigned to convey Allah’s Messages, His commands and prohibitions, and His recommendations and warnings. In the Turkish language, the word “prophet” is used for both prophet and messenger. In the Qur’an the “envoys” defined as mursal and nadhir (warner), bashir (bearer of good tidings) and hadi (guide to the truth), are those blessed with the Divine revelations, and those to whom the scriptures, commands and Divine wisdom were sent. (see; Al-Hadid 25-26; Al-Hajj 52; Al-Imran 79, 81; An-Nisa 63-165; Al-Ahzab 45)

Allah the Almighty sent a Prophet to every nation, Prophet Muhammad was sent as a Messenger to the whole of humanity. “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and the last of the Prophets.” (Al-Ahzab 33:40)  

The word hatem pronounced with predominate letter “te” in the Arabic text of the verse and in the Asim qiraat, is pronounced “hatim” in the other qiraatsHatem is a verb that means the end of prophethood, or that the prophethood has been sealed, whereas hatim is the noun form that means the end or the seal of Prophethood. As a “seal” is used to confirm and certify something, it means the “end” and “verification.”

The verse defines that Prophet Muhammad is the last Prophet, and also that he was ranked as the divine seal acknowledging and certifying the previous Prophets, and that prophethood had come to an end.

The Prophet Muhammad described himself as the last in the chain of Messengers and the last Prophet: “I am like the last brick (of an excellent structure that has one brick missing). I am the last of the Prophets.” (Muslim, Fazail 22)

The development of humanism, in terms of religion, reached a climax and religion reached perfection with Prophet Muhammad. (Al-Ma’idah 5:3) There was to be no Prophet or Messenger after Prophet Muhammad. So whoever claims to be a Prophet, Messenger or Warner would be a liar and therefore would have claimed false prophecy.

2- Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of the Whole of Humanity

“And We have not sent you except comprehensively to mankind as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know.” (Saba 34:28)   

Since Adam, Allah the Almighty has sent a messenger to every nation. This is clearly defined in the verses of the Qur’an mentioned here: “And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, (saying), “Worship Allah and avoid Taghut (evil).” (An-Nahl 16:36)“And there was no nation but that there had passed within it a warner. (Fatir 35:24) “..for every people is a guide.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:7)    

Prophets prior to Prophet Muhammad were sent as messengers to one or more nations, whereas Prophet Muhammad was sent as a Prophet to the whole of humanity from 610 A.D. until the Day of Judgment. This is clearly stated in the Qur’an:

Prophet Muhammad is the Last Messenger and Last Prophet

“And We have not sent you except comprehensively to mankind as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know.” (Saba 34:28)   

“And We have sent you, (O Muhammad), to the people as a messenger, and sufficient is Allah as witness.” (An-Nisa 4:79)

These verses of the Qur’an affirm the universality of Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood.

3- Prophet Muhammad is a bearer of glad tidings and a warner.

Many verses of the Qur’an states that Prophet Muhammad was sent as a bearer of glad tidings (bashir) and a warner (nadhir-munzir):

“We have sent you with the Truth as a bearer of good news and a warning...” (Fatir 35:24)

“You (O Muhammad) are not but a warner.” (Fatir 35:23)

The words bashir and mubashir mean a conveyer of the glad tidings of Allah’s pleasure, Paradise and its blessings; whereas nadhir and munzir means the warner of the torment and punishment of those who reject and disobey the Divine commands. Being a warner and bearer of glad tidings was a mutual characteristic of all the Prophets. Prophet Muhammad (saw) was assigned not only to warn his own people with the Qur’an, but also to to warn the whole of humanity: “…this Quran has been inspired to me, to preach it to you and whomever it reaches.” (Al-An’am 6:19)

“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and (who) remembers Allah often.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

4-The Prophet Muhammad is the Most Excellent Model.

The example of the Prophet Muhammad is stated in the Qur’an as shaheed and uswa-al hasana. The dictionary meaning of shaheed is to witness, to testify, to know, be aware, to be present, and to confirm. In the Qur’an just as a witness is someone appealed to regarding information or evidence in respect of a certain event or issue of rights, (see An-Nisa 4:135) the Messengers and believers who are a good example to others in their faith, words, actions, behavior and conduct were also referred to as witnesses. (see Al-Ahzab 33:45)

Prophet Muhammad (saw) was an example to his followers in his speech, worship, morality, actions, activities, dealings and behavior. These verses of the Qur’an clearly define this: “And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.(Al-Baqara 2:143)  “Allah named you “Muslims” before (in former scriptures) and in this (revelation) that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people.” (Al-Hajj 22:78)  

The words shaheed and shuhada mentioned in the Qur’an, not only indicate that on the Day of Judgment the Muslims will witness that previous Prophets conveyed the true faith to their nations, and that Prophet Muhammad (saw) will bear witness to the Muslims (Baydawi, I 214; Hazin, I 214), but also signifies a meaning of being an example in this world. (Yazir I 524)

Uswa-al hasana means being the most excellent example. The Prophet Muhammad as the most excellent model is defined in the Qur’an with the words: “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and (who) remembers Allah often.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

This verse mentioning Prophet Muhammad (saw) as an example first for all Muslims in general, and then particularly for those who bear hope in Allah and the Last Day, is in fact aimed at defining the qualities of those to whom the Prophet will be an example. Prophet Muhammad is an example of excellence to the believers in his faith, worship, morality, in his words and every action.

5- Prophet Muhammad is an Advisor

The Qur’an clearly states that Prophet Muhammad is an advisor: “So remind, (O Muhammad); you are only a reminder. You are not over them a controller.” (Al-Ghashiya 88:21-22) “And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:55)  So remind, if the reminder should benefit; He who fears (Allah) will be reminded. But the wretched one will avoid it.” (Al-A’la 87:9-11)

6- Prophet Muhammad is a Caller to Truth and an Illuminating Lamp to All Those Around Him

One of the main characteristics and duties of Prophet Muhammad was calling the people to the truth. Those who perform the duty of calling people to the truth are called da’i. Prophet was referred to by this characteristic in the Qur’an. “And one who invites to Allah, by His permission, and an illuminating lamp.” (Al-Ahzab 33:46)

Prophet Muhammad is an Advisor

7- Prophet Muhammad is a Guide

One of the fundamental characteristics of a Prophet is guiding the People to the path of truth:

“You are only a warner, and for every people is a guide.” (Ar-Ra’d 13:7)

As in the case of all the previous Prophets, being a hadi (guide) as mentioned in the Qur’an, was also an attribute of Prophet Muhammad. The fact that the Prophet was a guide to the path of truth is clearly stated in the Qur’an. This verse is one of the examples: “And indeed, (O Muhammad), you guide to a straight path.” (Ash-Shuraa 42:52)  The Prophets guidance consists of teaching people the path of righteousness, indeed Allah is the One who bestows guidance.

“And one who invites to Allah , by His permission, and an illuminating lamp.”(Al-Ahzab 33:46)

8- Prophet Muhammad Bears the Most Excellent Morals

 “And indeed, you are of a great moral character.” (Al-Qalam 4) Hazrat Ali said: “The greatest of morals is the morals of the Qur’an.” (Qurtubi XVIII 227) Tabari (d.310) commented on the Prophets conduct with the words to the effect: “This is the morals of the Qur’an. Allah disciplined His Messenger with the Qur’an. And excellent morals are the objective of the Islamic religion.” (Tabari XIV 29/18)

Prophets morals favored by Allah’s compliments, were the morals of the Qur’an. When Said b. Hisham asked the Prophet’s dear wife Aisha, about the morals and manners of the Prophet, she asked him, “Do you recite the Qur’an” when he replied “Yes”, she said “His morals were the Qur’an” (Tabari XIV 29/18) and then recited the verse: “And indeed, you are of a great moral character.” (Al-Qalam 68:4) (Tabari XIV 29/19)

Prophet Muhammad bore the most excellent of manners. (Bukhari; Adab 112) As the religion of truth reached perfection, good conduct also reached perfection with Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet said: “I have been sent to perfect good character.” (Ahmad III-175; Malik, Huluk 8)

The Prophet gave great importance to good manners and supplicated: “O Allah! Grant me a character of beauty just as You created me with beauty.” (Ahmad, I 403. VI 68, 155) “O Allah! Guide me to the best of deeds and the best of morals, as none can guide to the best except You, and save me from bad deeds, as none can save me from what is bad except You.” (Nasai Iftitah 16, II 129) “O Allah! I seek Your protection from disunity, hypocrisy and bad character.” (Abu Dawud, Salah 367; see Nasai, Istiazah 21)

9- Prophet Muhammad was Immensely Merciful and Affectionate, and Very Devoted to His Followers

Prophet Muhammad was sent as a mercy to the whole of creation. And this fact is stated in the Qur’an: “And We have not sent you, (O Muhammad), except as a mercy to the worlds.” (An-Anbiya 21:107) “There has come to you a Messenger from among yourselves; Grievous to him is what you suffer; (he is) concerned over you, and to the believers is kind and merciful.” (At-Taubah 9:128)

The word haris in the Arabic text means something which is greatly aspired. The Prophet Muhammad deeply wanted all those around him to be believers, to do good deeds and attain the pleasure of Allah. “Perhaps, [O Muhammad], you would kill yourself with grief that they will not be believers.” (Ash-Shu’ara 26:3; also see Al-Kahf  18:6)

Raufmeans the most affectionate, the most tender, very kind and pitiful. (Qurtabi Al-Asna, p. 73-75) Indeed, the Prophet Muhammad was very kind and compassionate to his followers. Rahim means the most compassionate. Prophet (saw) was the most compassionate of all humans. He was merciful to all those around him, when someone said to the Prophet: “O Messenger of Allah! Curse the polytheists”, he replied: “I am sent as a mercy, not as a curse on humanity.” (Muslim, Birr, 87) Even when his face had been wounded during the battle of Uhud, he prayed for the disbelievers: “O Allah! Forgive my people for they know not.” (Ibn Hibban, Ad’iya No:973)  

Prophet Muhammad is a Guide

10- Prophet Muhammad was Kind and Gentle

Prophet Muhammad was a very modest, gentle person. And because of this, he attracted the people around him. Allah the Almighty revealed this in the Qur’an: “So by mercy from Allah, (O Muhammad), you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude (in speech) and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely (upon Him).”(Al-Imran 3:159)

As a result, Prophet Muhammad (saw); was sent as a Messenger to the whole of humanity, and he is the last of the Prophets. Prophet-hood came to an end with Prophet Muhammad (saw).

He is bearer of glad tidings, a warner, an advisor caller to the truth, a guide, a Prophet of tenderness and mercy.

He was a Prophet who invited the people to the truth, who conveyed faith. (Al-Ma’idah 5:99; see An-Nahl 16:82) He was not a tyrant (Qaf 50:45), a controller (Al-Ghashiyah 88:22) or harsh (Al-Imran 3:159). He was lenient (Al-Imran 3:159) and a reminder (Al-Ghashiyah 88:21)

He related the revelations of Allah to the people, purified them from polytheism, blasphemy and hypocrisy, and taught them the Qur’an, its wisdom and what they did not know (Al-Jumu’ah 62:2; Al- Baqarah 2:151). He guided the people to the straight path (Ash-Shuraa 42:52). He commanded good and prohibited evil (Al-A’raf 7:157). He fought on the path of Allah (An-Nisa 4:84), he revealed the commands of the Qur’an and commands of religious topics (An-Nahl 16:44), and conveyed the lawful and unlawful (Al-A’raf 7:157; See At-Taubah 9:29)

He practiced the commands, rulings and prohibitions of the Qur’an in every aspect of his life. In his speech, behavior and essence, he was the most excellent example to the whole of humanity. He was a Prophet of love, affection and compassion, not of hatred and harshness.

Prophet Muhammad fulfilled his duty towards his followers in the most excellent manner. And the duty of his followers is to bear witness to his prophecy, obey his teachings, love him and embed this love into the hearts of others, and to practice and continue the religion he preached.  

İsmail Karagöz, PhD

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Prophet as a Teacher


According to the Quran, the Prophet (pbuh) is responsible for tabligh (delivering the message): "O Messenger, proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith.(Al-Maida 5/67). "The Messenger's duty is but to proclaim (the message). But Allah knoweth all that ye reveal and ye conceal" (Al-Maida 5/99).
The lexicographical meaning of "tabligh" is to deliver, inform, and spread. As a term, it points to the Prophet's delivering the message to humans exactly as he received it from Allah. This is one of the inalienable qualities of prophets. If the thing to be delivered is information, a message, or news, then teaching is an issue, as well. In fact, some dictionaries define "tabligh" as teaching. This shows the relation between "tabligh" and teaching.
"Tabligh" is not randomly delivering a message in some form of expression to people. A message will be considered to have been delivered if it is correctly understood and comprehended by the person receiving it. Thus, the person to whom the message is delivered should understand the meaning of the message exactly the same way the source person does. If the meaning of the message is not understood in exactly the same way by both the person who receives it and the source person, then the message is not delivered. In short, there should be correct communication between these two people. In this context, it is possible to see "tabligh" as a form of communication and a task of education and training.
In Quran, Allah states that prophets are obliged to deliver His messages and describes prophets as an "instructor and trainer: "Allah did confer a great favour on the believers when He sent among them an apostle from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the Signs of Allah, sanctifying them, and instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom, while, before that, they had been in manifest error(Al-Imran 3/164). "It is He Who has sent amongst the Unlettered an apostle from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom,- although they had been, before, in manifest error" (Al-Juma 62/2).
These verses all prove that the Prophet was a teacher assigned the duty of delivering the message of God. Indeed, the Prophet himself emphasized that his primary duty as a Prophet was to teach by saying, "I have been sent only as a teacher to you." To explain his duty he also said, "I have been sent only to complete moral virtues."
In Quran, God also warns the Prophet not to exceed the boundaries of his duty: "We have not sent thee as a guard over them. Thy duty is but to convey (the Message)(Al-Shura 42/48). "...Therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish. Thou art not one to manage (men's) affairs" (Al-Gashiya 88/21-22). "Let there be no compulsion in religion" (Al-Baqara 2/256). In this sense, the duty of the Prophet was to reach and communicate with people and carry out educational activities.


Since the practices of the Prophet (pbuh) also demonstrate his duty as an educator, there is no difference between theory and practice. The Prophet conveyed the message of Islam which aims at universal "reform" for humanity. The task was difficult, but the Prophet never thought of using compulsion. While delivering the message of Allah, he behaved as described in the Quran. He perceived "tabligh" as a task for teaching and training and he tried to realize the social reform he aimed at by educating people. He started educating people close to him immediately after he was charged with delivering the message and then the circle of people widened day by day. He worked to teach the fundamentals of religion to people individually or as a group in his house or other houses, even in markets. In spite of torture and opposition in the Mecca period, he continued to teach productively. He never gave up on educating people. After emigration to Medina his educational activities increased, accelerated, and became widespread. In Medina, the Prophet first had the masjid built. One of the most significant reasons for building a masjid open to the public was to be able to lead the educational activities more effectively. In this masjid there was a room (suffah) reserved only for education. Moreover, the Prophet had other masjids, first schools or preparatory schools built in Medina. Thus, the number of educational institutions increased very quickly.
Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah (Quran, surah Al-Ahzab 33/21)
The Prophet was not only teaching the fundamentals of religion, but he was also acting as a model for people with his attitude and behavior. He was showing them how to put the things he was teaching into practice in their lives. In other words, he was supporting and complementing his teaching with his personal life. Therefore, Allah introduces him to us as an exemplary guide: "And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character" (Al-Qalam 68/4). "Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah" (Al-Ahzab 33/21).
Certainly the Prophet was not alone in carrying out the educational activities which would encompass all humanity alone. Just as it was not possible for him to reach everyone and everywhere, it was not possible for him to reach everyone in exactly the same way. Therefore, he worked on educating people with his Companions. Indeed, every Muslim was responsible for learning the religion and teaching what he learnt to others. So every Muslim was a student and a teacher at the same time within the limit of his opportunities and capabilities.
However, the Prophet appointed special teachers for people and places he was not able to reach. Those teachers were educated by the Prophet and were comparatively knowledgeable and competent individuals. Their supreme successes in their tasks serve as a proof for this.
In Medina there were instructors in masjids and suffa, as well as many teachers in schools. The needs for education changed and varied gradually. Thus expertise in education was necessary. The Prophet assigned different teachers for people who wanted to learn different subjects. Non-Muslim teachers were also employed when needed. In the first years reading and writing teachers were mostly non-Muslims because there were just a few literate Muslims back then. Allah assigned the wives of the Prophet to teach as well. There were female Companions who were famous for their knowledge. In short, the Prophet integrated all his Companions into educational activities. The task of delivering the message of Allah was carried out through educating people. This practice of the Prophet demonstrates the presence of an overlap between "tabligh" and education.
It is necessary to emphasize that as the political and social power of the Prophet increased, the educational activities became more intense and widespread. Therefore, it is impossible to tie his not using compulsion for the religion to his being powerless. Not using compulsion is an essential condition for "tabligh." The Quran envisages faith as a product of human free will: "Let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject (it)" (Al-Qahf 18/29). Islam neither coerces anyone to believe nor perceives disbelieving as inappropriate. Islam desires a person to prefer faith with his intelligence and free will. The important thing is the decision of mind and heart. "Tabligh" is to help people in this way and guide them to pass barriers on the way. Therefore, the Prophet never thought of using compulsion even in times when he was most powerful. On the contrary, he tried to make the educational activities more intense, widespread, and effective.
In his battles, the Prophet never aimed to coerce people to believe in Islam. The purpose of the battles was to stop the torture and pressure made to people and create an environment in which people could act with their free will using their intelligence.
The Prophet reached the hearts and minds of people through educational activities. He helped people to feel more human
The primary reason for the success of the Prophet in calling people to Islam in the Arabian Peninsula in such a short time was its emphasis on education. This call gave new life to people. The Prophet reached the hearts and minds of people through educational activities. He helped people to feel more human. When people learned the qualities of Islam and witnessed how individuals who became Muslim were transformed, they accepted the invitation of the Prophet.


The most important reason behind the effectiveness of the educational activities carried out by the Prophet (pbuh) was the truth of the content. But, the appropriateness of style in presenting the content was also important. We should pay attention to "whom" and "how" the Prophet taught as well as "what" he taught. He had methods for teaching. His style was not random.
We can see the education principles and methods put forward by modern education scholars in the practices of the Prophet. For instance, the following are model principles and methods used by the Prophet:
  • To identify the learners and organize the content appropriate to their level
  • To be tolerant to learners
  • To make them like what was being taught and to avoid their hating it or getting bored
  • To arouse learners' interest and to show that they need to learn the material
  • To take the intelligence, spirit, emotions and physical state of learners into consideration and to design the teaching considering their needs
  • To make learners participate actively by thinking, searching, and asking questions
  • To make abstract concepts concrete by giving examples
  • To have the most appropriate attitude, behavior, and talking style before learners
  • To create activities to reinforce what is learnt
The Prophet was very sincere in what he was teaching and he applied what he taught in his daily life. So he was showing people how to apply those principles he taught. The people he assigned to teach others were also knowledgeable and skillful, and they had superior characteristics.
It is also a fact that the teachers assigned by the Prophet were good examples for people with their mature personalities, attitudes and behavior and that helped the educational activities of the Prophet to be successful. This is accepted by modern education scholars as well. Indeed, behavior sciences indicate that the teacher's attitudes and behaviors influence the learners. The intellectual position, emotional reactions, habits, gestures and postures of the teacher affect the learner and play a role in shaping his personality. Most of the time the learner pays attention to the teacher's approach to the subject rather than what he says. Therefore, teachers play a significant role in classrooms as a model for students.
The Prophet, who said that he was sent only as a teacher, was a perfect one indeed
The Prophet, who said that he was sent only as a teacher, was a perfect one indeed.He carried out his educational activities successfully, productively, and effectively. Muawiyya said: "I have never seen a teacher better than him." The Prophet was a good example for people as a teacher, as well.
At this point, the following question may rise: "How could an illiterate prophet carry out so perfectly such a complex educational activity?" It is because being a teacher requires expertise, special ability, knowledge and skill. Just as not every person can be a teacher, also a person who has the relevant education for being a teacher may not necessarily be a successful teacher. Moreover, what we said here applies to teachers who were educated in a special branch. However, the Prophet's teaching covered a very large area. He had to be a teacher at any possible time and place. He had learners in all age groups and all levels. Therefore, his educational activities had a much more complex structure. Such a sensitive and difficult duty could be accomplished by only very skilled people. Since the Prophet fulfilled his duty as a successful teacher, it can be claimed that the Prophet had had a special education.
Both the Prophet's life and the Quran and hadith prove that the Prophet was born as a capable person and raised specially for "tabligh." He was from a distinguished family in Mecca, a cultural center at that time. He was given to a nurse in the country to be raised healthily and to learn to speak in the best way. He attracted attention with his bright intelligence and superior abilities. He lived a pure life before becoming a prophet. He did not adopt any tradition which was not acceptable to common sense. Sometimes it appeared that he was protected by a secret hand. He took trips with his uncle or on his own and he worked as a merchant. He knew people and life very well. Sometimes he had retreats for contemplation.
In some verses of the Quran, Allah states that the Prophet was endowed with some special gifts. In the Surat Al-Inshirah, Allah indicates that the Prophet gained knowledge and wisdom by means of a special method. In another verse, Allah says that He taught him the things he did not know. There are many other verses indicating that the Prophet was educated by Allah. Additionally, the verses of the Quran enlighten the Prophet in what to heed in delivering the message from Allah. This shows us that being a teacher is not a simple task that can be accomplished by an ordinary person.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Proofs about Prophethood Hz. Muhammad (sav) in the Distorted Bibles

It is significant that we have named the Bible as “distorted” in the heading. Distorted means falsified and changed. All proofs that we are going to present here are proofs about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that were carefully removed from the Bible and hence distorted. Despite the precise and careful works of the distorting process to remove each verse that informed about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from the Bible, there remained so many proofs. If there are so many signs for Him (PBUH) in the distorted Bible, then how many signs were there in the authentic Bible that was revealed to the Jesus (AS)? Just think of it!
The distortions that Christians and Jews made in their books especially their removing the verses of news that informed about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are mentioned in the Qur’an as follows:
“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: "This is from Allah" to traffic with it for a miserable price! Woe to them for what their hands do write and for the gain they make thereby.” (al-Baqara, 2/79)
“O People of the Book! there hath come to you Our Messenger, revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary): there hath come to you from Allah a (new) Light and a perspicuous Book.―” (al-Maeda, 5/15)
The Qur’an informs us that Christians covered up a lot of information that was revealed to Jesus (AS). Some portion of this information is the expression in the Bible about the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In this section, we are going to analyze the expressions about the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that exist in the Bible.
1. Jesus said; “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. Then I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Paraclete to be with you forever —“ (John 14:16,17)
2. Jesus said; “But the Paraclete, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.” (John 14: 26)
3. Jesus said; “I have told you now before the Paraclete comes, so that when he comes you may believe.” (John 14: 29)
4. Jesus said; “When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send you from the Father – will testify about me…” (John 15: 26)
5. Jesus said; “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Paraclete will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16: 7)
6. Jesus said; “… But when the Paraclete comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come.” (John 16: 13)
7. Jesus said; “… The Paraclate will glorify me, because he will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you.” (John 16: 14)
The original word of the Biblical expression given above as Paraclete and given as good news by the prophet Jesus (PBUH) is “Munhamenna” in Syriac and “Periklytos” in Greek. The equivalent word of it in Arabic is “Ahmad”.
The Greek expression of Periklytos of the Bible, that is, “Ahmad” exists as “Briklitus” in some sources. As “Ahmad” (PBUH) is a name of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), it is expressed by the Qur’an that His name is “Ahmad” in the Bible. (See. Saff, 61/6)
And also all characteristics that were mentioned above are owned only by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Then, it is the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who is mentioned as the awaited person in the Bible and given the good news about.
Besides, the word of “Paraclete” is explained in Biblical interpretations as "the rightful person who will distinguish the truth and falsehood"; that it, is the name of the person who will lead humans to the truth after Jesus (AS). Can anyone other than Hz. Muhammad (PBUH) who performed this duty more than him be shown in this world?
8. Jesus said; “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Paraclete will not come to you, but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16: 7)
Who other than Hz. Muhammad (PBUH) exists in this world and gives real consolation to the mankind? Yes, it is the prophet (PBUH) that saves man from eternal execution of death and gives them real consolation.
9. Jesus said; “I shall not speak with you for much longer, for the ruler of the world is coming, and I am nothing compared with him.“ (John 14: 30)
10. Jesus said; “…When he comes, he will give the world convincing evidence concerning its sin, its righteousness, and its judgment.” (John 16:8)
After the Prophet Jesus (AS), who came other than the Prophet Muhammad (PUBH)as the master of the world and distinguished the right from the wrong and showed humans the true path? And who is worthy of having the title of “the ruler of the world” other than him? And which prophet after Hz. Dawud (AS) other than the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) spread his religion from the west to the east and established a tax system in countries and conquered the hearts of sultans and one fifth of the humanity praised him with prayers and glorification every day? Who can other than Hz. Muhammad (PBUH) be shown as a single person who performed them all? So, the expression used for the person after the Jesus (AS) in the Bible as “the ruler of the world” is for the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). His famous title is “the pride of universe”.
11. “The testimony of John the Baptist is as follows; He confessed – he did not deny but confessed – “I am not the Christ!” So they asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not!” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No!”…” (John 1:20-21)
The prophet John (Yahya) is asked three questions and his answers to all of the three questions are negative:
a. Are you the Christ, that is, Jesus?
b. Are you Elijah?
c. Are you that Prophet?
So, three different prophets are mentioned in the Bible of John. They are Jesus (AS), Elijah and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)!..
What is understood from these expressions is that; “that Prophet” is different from Jesus (AS). So, who is the person that revealed to the people of what he heard from God and that not lived during the time of the Prophet Jesus and mentioned as “that Prophet” other than the Prophet Jesus? Of course; the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). For no other person apart from the Prophet Muhammad can be shown as a second person after Jesus (AS) who performed the duty of the prophethood and gained an important place in history.
12. “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-20)
No part of the Bible says that there is no prophet after Jesus (AS). However, the following criterion is given in order to recognize the ones who claim prophethood:
“Recognize them by their fruit and identify the liar and truthful…”
If there had not been any prophets after Jesus (AS), he could have given a short and decisive answer like this: “There will not be any prophets after me, He who claims prophethood after me, is definitely a liar.” So, the method of Jesus (AS) for identifying the liar and truthful prophet is a proof which is enough for the coming of a new prophet after Jesus.
The coming of a prophet after Jesus (AS) is also enough for the prophethood of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) because after Jesus (AS), the fruitful result of the forming of societies who believe in God, reliance for God, love for God and quitting of idol worshipping was achieved only with the religion that was brought by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
13. Jesus (AS) comes to Jerusalem. He starts to preach every day. However, prominent figures, oracles and religious figures want to kill him. Jesus (AS) gives them the following message:
“If you do not believe in these truths, God will bestow them on another nation that will believe and live according to them…”
In one of his teachings, he explains the example given below and the truth behind it to the oracles;
The parable of Landowner (Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19)
“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a pit for its winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went on a journey. When the harvest time was near, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his portion of the crop. But the tenants seized his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first, and they treated them the same way. Finally he sent his son to them,  saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and get his inheritance!’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
They replied to Jesus as follows:
“He will utterly destroy those evil men! Then he will lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him his portion at the harvest.”
Jesus asked them:
“Have you never read in the scriptures? “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes!” For this reason, I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.” (Matthew 21:43)
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them.
They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, because the crowds regarded him as a prophet.
“…For this reason I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit…”
“The Stone” stated in those sentences are definitely the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the people who will be given the property of God are the ummah (community) of Islam… The efforts of interpreting “the stone” as Jesus (AS) by Christian scholars are in vain.
a. It is certainly understood from the sentence that the person explained with the imagery of stone will be different from Jesus (AS) who is claimed as the son of God. (God forbid).
b. According to their claim, Jesus (AS) was killed by Jews. Is not appropriate to ask what is the point of falling of the stone on them as the one on whom it falls will be crushed?
c. Jesus (AS) said in the Bible of John, 12:47; “If anyone hears my words and does not obey them, I do not judge him. For I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world…” as this is against the function being a “stone” as explained above because according to the expression of the Bible, the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.”
d. In Psalms, it is stated that it was astonishing that the stone became the cornerstone with the expression, “… and it is marvelous in our eyes.” According to the claim of Christians, David (AS) respected Jesus (AS) so much that –God forbid- he used to think that Jesus is God. So why does he find it astonishing that Jesus is the cornerstone? So, this person must be different from Jesus (AS) and his prophethood must be regarded astonishing. The reality behind this is as follows: Since the Sons of Israelites were not born from Hz. Hajar and do not come from this family, they see the Sons of Ishmael as equivalent with themselves and actually no appearance of any prophets from the family of Ishmael (AS) may be the cause of their bewilderment.
e. The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) whose trueness and rightness is proved by certain proofs, expressed in the following hadith that the stone was himself:
“The simile of the prophets before me and me is like a mansion which is made so beautiful but a stone of it is missing. The people who look at it are amazed with its beauty; however, they wonder about the missing stone. Here that mansion is completed with me and the prophethood end with me.” (1)
14. In the Bible, it is mentioned about the prophet that will come and that will become the master of the universe as “the one who has got Sayf and staff.” (2) The Arabic word of Sayf here means sword. So, the prophet has a duty of Jihad. So, this person cannot be Jesus (AS) because he was not appointed to make Jihad and He did not fight in a war. “The owner of sword” can only be the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). For the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and His ummah was appointed  to make Jihad. Besides, the Prophet Muhammad has a staff and he used to carry a staff with him.
15. And again, the prophet that will come in the future is mentioned as “Sahib-ut Taj” (the owner of crown). (3) This is also peculiar to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Taj means turban that is wrapped around the head. In ancient times, the people who used to wear turban (head dress) among nations were Arabs. So ‘Sahib-ut Taj’ mentioned in the Bible certainly means Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
QESTION: Why is it that while the other prophets foretell the coming of Muhammad (PBUH), Jesus (PUH) does so more fully and in the form of good news?
THE ANSWER: Because Ahmad (PBUH) defended Jesus (PBUH) against the terrible denials and slanders of the Jews, and saved his religion from corruption. Furthermore, in the face of the burdensome Shari‘a of the Children of Israel, who did not recognize Jesus, he came with an elevated Shari‘a which was easy, all-encompassing, and completed the deficiencies of Jesus’ Shari‘a. For these reasons, Jesus often gave the good news that "the Ruler of the World" will come!
[1]Sahihu’l-Bukhari, IV, 162- 163
[2]Nabhani, Hujjatullah ala’l-Alamin, 99, 114.
[3] Nabhani, Hujjatullah ala’l-Alamin, 113,114; Ali al-Qari, Sharhu’sh-Shifa, 1:739.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Little Zaid was crying his heart out, for he was far away from
his house and alone. Bandits had kidnapped him from his
family and taken him to a place that he did not know. They wanted
to earn money by selling him to the wealthy people.