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Tuesday 18th of January 2022
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The background to the appointment of the Prophet

In the previous lesson, the background to the appointment of the Prophets was discussed with regard to a few statements of the Nahj-ul-Balagha. This lesson is aimed at completing what was mentioned before by analyzing in detail the peculiarities of two periods which are of concern in our discussion, i.e. the pre-Islamic period or the \'Age of Ignorance\' (the period before the appointment) and the Islamic period (the period after the appointment).
The Age of Ignorance
According to Ali\'s words, in the Age of Ignorance, the people suffered from two kinds of inadequacies: material and spiritual.
Material Inadequacy
In this period, the level of social welfare and security was very low. This is explicitly expressed both in the Nahj-ul-Balagha (in different sermons) and the Holy Qur\'an. The Qur\'an refers to the Age of Ignorance saying (106:4)
Spiritual Inadequacy
Spiritual inadequacy is the very ignorance and bewilderment of the people, i.e., they are devoid of a clear way of living and an aspiration for life. It is, in fact, a great suffering for man and society not to seek a sublime aim in life but only to try to provide for the daily requirements and necessities. Unfortunately, this state of living was characteristic of the \'time of strangulation\' (Pahlavi reign), when life was without any aspiration and the best and most active individuals, in the eyes of people, were those who made their utmost effort to enjoy a life of welfare or those who did not have any involvement at all but spent their time in lewdness and buffoonery.
Generally speaking, the middle class, i.e., traders, workers, housewives, university students and others were all endeavoring to provide for the ordinary requirements of their lives. The similitude of them was the similitude of the car which refuels from one gasoline station to another gasoline being a means for it to constantly go from station to station.
In fact, the people worked in order to gain their daily bread which enabled them, in turn, to work again. They actually spent their lives in eating bread and gaining bread. This state of living cannot be perfectly felt by the idealist youth of today who have specific aims and aspirations in mind, who work for the establishment of the true Islamic government and who seek the fall of the superpowers. It is the existence of these aspirations in the society of today which reveals the spiritual inadequacy (lack of aims and aspirations) of the society during the Pahlavi rule.
Society during the \'Age of Ignorance\', i.e. before the appointment and revolution of the Prophet, was likewise an aimless and deviated society. The people were bewildered. They turned round themselves just like the \'mill donkey\' that permanently turns round the millstone, perhaps traversing ten or fifteen kilometers a day, but never moving more than a short distance away from the mill. They were ignorant but more ignorant than them were those who followed destructive aims and aspirations which, if realized, would destroy themselves as well as the whole community.
In this regard the Holy Qur\'an says, „Hast thou not seen those who exchanged the bounty of God with unthankfulness, and caused their people to dwell in the abode of ruin?-Gehenna, wherein they are roasted,- an evil establishment!" (14:28-29)
In fact, all the holders of power and authoritative rulers of the world, all the great capitalists who commit any crime to establish their vast economic networks and all those who have brought about great corruption upon the earth in the course of history can be categorized among the spiritually deviated people with destructive aims and aspirations.
To say the least, it was in such a deviated society and among such a misled people that the Prophets were appointed to prophethood. The most outstanding characteristic of such a society is the alienation of man which causes the development of material aspirations in a group of people who follow the aim of making material, monopolies and increasing the rate of material products which, in turn, results in the poverty of other people.
The Commander of the Faithful says, „I never saw an ample blessing (wealth) unless beside it I saw a trampled right." Poverty gives rise to class distinctions which bring about deeper gaps among the different classes of people and causes other problems such as the unjust division of social authority under which rich classes gain more power than others, although money is not always efficacious in gaining power, but sometimes social power, too, is effective in making use of money and creating material monopolies.
Thus, both social and economic factors are influential in the appearance of tyranny, exploitation, ignorance and deceit in a society where perversive and destructive aims have replaced noble aims and aspirations.
This is where Islamic analysis and material analysis come face to face, for according to materialists, mental possessions, beliefs and whatever comprises one\'s soul, mind and thought originate from one\'s \'class position\' which includes the social, economic and even the cultural dimensions of life, whereas the Islamic viewpoint is that the origin of all pressures and adversities existing in a society results from the dominance of ignorance and alienation in that society. Islam says that it is alienation which brings about class distinctions and which divides society into two classes, i.e. the oppressed and the oppressors.
Spiritual alienation is, therefore, an outstanding characteristic of the Age of Ignorance and the Prophets appear, in effect, to lead the people to the straight path and to remove their spiritual depravities. This is what the Commander of the Faithful emphasizes in the second Sermon of the Nahj-ul-Balagha which was previously mentioned and which is hereunder reviewed and explained in detail.
He says, „I also stand witness that Muhammad, peace and the mercy of God be upon him and his descendants, is His slave and His Prophet. sent him with the illustrious religion, effective emblem, written Book, effulgent light, sparkling gleam and decisive injunction in order to dispel doubts (shubuhat) present clear proofs ... „
Shubuha is the plural form of \'shubha\' and means doubts and differences of opinion which exist in the human mind and thought as regards truth and falsehood. These doubts and differences appear, as far as the people\'s beliefs are concerned, when the society at large goes astray. In fact, society comes to believe that it lacks reality and to disbelieve the most manifest realities.
For instance, during the rule of the previous regime, the people had come to believe in and accept \'monarchy\' which was an untrue phenomenon, and had completely forgotten a clear and undeniable reality named, \'Imamat\'.
Thus, the Prophet was sent by God to remove mental doubts and errors and to "present clear proofs," as the Commander of the Faithful says i.e. to save people from the perplexity of philosophical reasoning by offering them clear proofs. This does not mean, however, that such reasonings are basically useless and philosophy must be abandoned. Some people today, find fault with Islamic philosophy, the classic philosophy of Islam on the false basis that it is mixed with Greek philosophy. They insinuate that Islamic philosophy is mixed with Aristotelian philosophy. They do not realize that Islamic scholars and philosophers, centuries ago, cleansed Islamic philosophy of Greek philosophy. Moreover, they are unaware of the fact that a philosophy with a heavenly world-view cannot be mixed with a philosophy having a material world-view, although they may share some common aspects.
Thus, philosophy should not be abandoned, although philosophical reasoning is not very effective in awakening and provoking people at a time when a revolution is to be conceived. At such a time, only the clearest proofs and reasonings can make the people aware of the prevailing
situations, the wrong ways upon which they step and the right path they should choose.
This has been the manner of all Prophets of God. They called people to the belief in the One God. They called them to their nature and to their natural beliefs, without exposing them to ordinary, spiritual reasonings
In the case of the Islamic Revolution of Iran the reasonings of the intellectuals for fighting the West never contented the least number of people because the intellectuals themselves were not satisfied with their own reasonings due to the fact that they never made their appearance in the battle arena, whereas the words and lectures of the Imam Khomeini, which contained clear realities concerning the dependence of the tyrannical regime of Pahlavi on the superpowers and the prevention of the society from practicing their religion (Islam), doctrinal beliefs and worship, could be perfectly understood by the people, and finally resulted in that great movement in our society. It can be concluded, therefore, that the Prophets presented clear proofs and reasonings which not only elicited but also which the middle class of people could understand and then follow naturally.
The Commander of the Faithful continues to enumerate the tasks of the Prophet saying, administer warning through signs and to warn of punishments.» In fact, he means that the Prophet came to acquaint the people with the signs of chastisement and with the punishments which happened to the past nations in the course of history, and to tell them that they would also be afflicted with the same punishments if they followed the manners of those nations.
Then he portrays the situations during the Age of Ignorance (before the appointment of the Prophet) and points out the troubles and calamities which endangered the minds, hearts and the spirituality of the people, which blocked the ways of guidance to them and which led them astray - the troubles which did not have anything to do with the material life and apparent welfare of the people.
He says „... At that time, people had fallen in to vices, whereby the rope of religion had been broken, the pillars of belief had been shaken, principles had been sacrileged, systems had become topsy turvy, openings were narrow, passages were dark, guidance was unknown and darkness prevailed. God was being disobeyed. Satan was given support and belief had been forsaken. As a result, pillars of religion fell down, its traces could not be discerned, its passages had been destroyed and its streets had fallen into decay."
The general message of these words is that the society in which the Prophets were appointed to prophethood was devoid of guidance and the Prophets\' mission was to lead the people to the straight path so that they could forsake the state of indifference prevailing among them and seek good aims and aspirations.
As was mentioned before, should a motive more sublime and nobler than eating, drinking and providing for the ordinary requirements of life become dominant in the people\'s efforts and endeavors and should destructive aims and aspirations forsake society, then social, political and economic conditions will prosper, class distinctions will vanish and the idols of wealth and power will be smashed.
This was experienced during early Islam, at the time of all the Prophets and even in our own revolutionary society (if the opponents let us finish this experience). This is why we believe that our Islamic Revolution has rendered useless all the social, political and revolutionary formulas which support the idea that movements and revolutions originate from material motives, class distinctions and class quarrels in societies which have apparently political systems of their own and which are not subject to colonial rule (like Iran during the Pahlavi regime). What happened in Iran was exactly the experience of the Prophets, i.e. the people who lived in a mentally-perverted society were awakened by factors of guidance and hurried towards their natural promise to worship naught but God, to appreciate God\'s plentiful blessings and to believe in their own social power.
Guided in such a way, these people who had for many years been subjected to the oppression and coercion of the so-called masters and kings, suddenly arose, revolted by the millions and brought about the Islamic Revolution. Today, to continue the Revolution and to guarantee its survival, it is necessary to keep the people\'s mental guidance intact in order to deepen their belief in God and Islam and to make them more aware of their human dignity and responsibility.
The Commander of the Faithful continues his Sermon with the following statements, providing more details about the mental and spiritual atmosphere of the Age of Ignorance (before the appearance of the Prophet). He says „ ... People obeyed Satan and tread his paths. They sought water from his watering places. Through them, Satan\'s emblems flew and his standard was raised in vices which trampled the people under their hoofs, and treaded upon them with their feet. The vices stood on their toes (in full stature) and the people immersed in them were strayed, perplexen, ignorant and seduced as though in a good house with bad neighbors. Instead of sleep they had wakefulness and for antimony they had tears in the eyes ... ".
In fact, he believes that the origin of all adversities, oppressions, corruptions, sufferings, disorders and crimes existing in society during the Age of Ignorance, resulted from obedience to the satans of the time who, with reliance on their social authority, i.e. wealth, power and deceit, wasted God\'s noble blessings and devastated the plentiful, vital resources of the time with unthankfulness and the transient lives of the people or exploited them for their own benefit, regardless of what happened to the real owners of those valuable resources. It was on the basis of such obedience that the people went only the ways which the masters and dominant groups showed them, the ways which ended in no desired destination, which brought them nothing but increasing poverty, ignorance and captivity and which provided the dominant groups of society, i.e. the creators of evil, corruption and decadence, with their personal interests.
In the Islamic world-view, the human being is considered a thoughtful, innovative and independent creature. From these three characteristics, the power of thinking of the human being is more important than others, for it provides one with awareness which enables one to move and make progress.
Thus, the most significant and fundamental factor for the movement of history and society are the knowledge and awareness which stimulate human beings to action. It is awareness which induces humanity to move and act. In the course of history spontaneous actions and movements have never resulted in a Revolution.
Maxim Gorki in his book, Mother, endeavors to prove that it was the labor movements which gave rise to the October Revolution in Russia, whereas a careful study of his book indicates that these blind movements could obtain no results. In fact, without the existence of awareness and guidance, the spontaneous movements brought about in the history of revolutions could never end in the desired aims.
Thus, class conflicts and wars which materialists emphasize as the origin of all movements and revolutions have not been effective at all.. Rather, the most significant factor for the movement of history and society have been understanding, guidance and stimulating awareness. Without these, all actions and endeavors have usually ended in undesired effects which can be observed in a great number of the revolutions throughout the world.
Now, since awareness is the main source of inspiration in societies in which ignorance is dominant, the antihuman elements (holders of corrupt authority), in order to retain their tyrannical system, have always tried to stifle any liberating thought by exposing people\'s minds to stupefaction and poisonous instructions and to destroy the origins of consciousness.
As a result, in such societies, the people follow only the desires of these satans, learn only what they teach and, like sheep, go only towards the water to which they are led by these treacherous shepherds („they sought water from his watering places").
It is quite painful that, in the light of the sacrifices and endeavors of the oppressed people, those who stand against the oppressors and criminals are usually defeated and killed, while the chiefs of the atheists are rarely killed. For instance, Mu\'awiya, the manifest example of blasphemy, never accepted Ali\'s call to challenge him in person because, as a Satan, his emblems flew through the deprived people who have always been employed in the course of history as a ladder which the arrogant have climbed to approach their self-centeredness, dominance and power.
The life of the deprived has always been blended with fear, anxiety, confusion, poverty, hunger, ignorance, disgrace and lack of awareness. This has been an out standing characteristic of the ages of ignorance. But according to the principles of our religion and Islamic ideology and according to the Holy Qur\'an which says, „We have honored the children of Adam ... >", human beings are honorable. In fact, the belief in the Oneness of God is followed in Islamic thought by the dignity and worth of human beings.
Generally speaking, those societies in which human beings are honored because of believing in God and having will-power, and not on the basis of their social positions, move towards perfection and prosperity; while those societies which grant no worth to human beings and their thoughts do not tread the path of improvement and goodness and are usually administered through dictatorship. Today, other than the Iranian community upon which Islam has shed its light, all human communities throughout the world are ruled either by black strangulation (such as the socialist communities in which the Proletariat dictatorship is dominant and the so-called supporters of the labor classes, i.e. their leaders, have never felt the hardship and poverty of the laborers) or by despotism prevalent in such despotic countries as Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and so forth.
There are, however, other communities (Western ones) which are ruled by the stupefaction of the people, i.e. keeping the people amused with passions, sexual matters, alcoholic drinks and other means of corruption and adversity.
It is only the Islamic community which establishes equal rights for all the people, whether they be workers, physicians or peasants. But that very Islamic community will keep aloof from Islam, should decision-making, judgment and awareness be confined to a special class of people (whoever they might be) and others be compelled to follow them blindly.
On the whole, what the Commander of the Faithful says is that in societies which are dominated by ignorance and alienation, although humility and worthlessness cast shadows over all human aims and aspirations and hunger, horror, disease, captivity, corruption and bewilderment threaten the society, the people are surprisingly tolerant and in agreement with the oppressors. This is what he calls sedition and calamity (fetna), something which brings a person to the state of consternation and deception, which causes damage to one\'s heart and mind and which destroys one\'s life completely. It is, in fact, under these circumstances that the Prophets appear.
They do not appear merely to remove poverty, to establish social welfare, to eliminate ignorance and to teach the people how to read and write. But each of these is a part of a great whole which comprises the aims of the Prophets. The Prophets\' aim is to eradicate human deviation, alienation and bewilderment and to give one spiritual elevation. The realization of this aim will, however, be followed by material welfare, social security, eradication of ignorance and class distinctions and so forth.
Questions and Answers
Q. You said that alienation gives rise to class distinctions. Now what are the causes of alienation?
A. The cause of alienation is the lack of the use of the power of thinking, for this faculty can be effective only if it is trained, educated and used properly. It is just like a very powerful projector which can offer its sparkling nature only if it is clean and not covered by dust and mist. The power of thinking may lose its usefulness under the influence of various factors, the most important of which being whims and passions. Of course, other spiritual factors as well as the holders of worldly power are also effective in this respect, but material and economic factors alone should not be regarded as a basis for lack of thinking and alienation. Thinking is the faculty by which the human being analyzes different matters and comes to a general conclusion. It is, therefore, independent and can provide people with reasons concerning their doings.
Q. In one of his sermons, Ali says, „I shall bring out the truth from falsehood.» How do you interpret the leftists\' justification of the \'dialectic conflict\' on the basis of this statement?
A. \'Dialectic conflict\' cannot be justified by this statement. By this statement he implies that he can analyze a collection of saying in which right and wrong have been mixed, distinguish the right from the wrong and introduce it to the people. This is the art of all the thinkers who know the truth.
Q. What is a classless, monotheistic society? Are monotheism and class not two contradictory notions?
A. A classless society is one in which there is no legal distinction among different groups of people and all the individuals are provided with equal rights and opportunities. In such a society, every individual makes efforts in accordance with one\'s physical and mental faculties and whatever one earns belongs to one\'s self. No one has the right to ask another for a part of what one has earned. Of course, if an individual kept a long distance from others, that person would be advised to assist them. Islam holds equal possibilities and opportunities for all individuals. Every one has the right to educate one\'s self, to enhance one\'s knowledge, to take one\'s desired job, to work in the best possible manner and so forth. At the same time, lazy people are not permitted in Islam to have a share in what hardworking people acquire. In Islam the people are free to work and endeavor for themselves, contrary to socialist communities in which all productive jobs and services are a monopoly of the governments and thus being wrongly called classless.
As to the \'monotheistic society\', it should be stated that it is a society in which all the people stand at the same level so far as legal, judicial and social laws and regulations are concerned. In a monotheistic society, there is no difference between the ruler and a layman before the law. A Jew and a Muslim are equally treated (the judge calls Ali and the Jew to his presence and addresses both of them in the same manner).
A monotheistic society is an Islamic society and a classless one is also Islamic but only within the limits which were explained above. We do not believe in the classless society which Marxists define. We do not believe in what they call class, classlessness and class war. These are all Marxist concepts which the group of so-called Mujahidin (the anti-Islamic group of hypocrites) have mixed with Islamic notions to deceive people. To say the least, society should either be called \'monotheistic\', which is in conformity with Islamic culture, or classless (as defined by the Mujahidin) which reminds one of Marxist ideology.
Q. Are all human beings equipped with equal talents and faculties?
A. No, not all human beings enjoy the same talents and faculties and not all of them are equal in understanding different matters and performing various tasks. In fact, every individual has a talent for certain types of work and no one is found to be devoid of certain gifts and talents.

Lesson Three
TO WHICH CLASS OF SOCIETYDO THE PROPHETS BELONG?

In this chapter we are going to discuss the social origins of the Prophets themselves, i.e., to find out the social class to which the Prophets belonged. We are going to see whether they belonged to the rich people, aristocrats and holders of worldly power or to the poor, the needy and the deprived. It is, in fact, very import-ant to know the social and economic classes from which the Prophets have arisen in the course of history, founded monotheistic movements and revolutions and provided the masses with divine words and messages.
The Holy Qur\'an, the Traditions and the Nahj-ul-Balagha are rich sources which can help us in the analysis of this matter, but here the emphasis is only on the words of the Nahj-ul-Balagha. In the long and famous sermon of al-Qasi\'ah (the Sermon of Disparagement) there are statements which deserve careful reflection and which offer information concerning the matter being discussed.
The statements run as follows: „Certainly , if God were to allow anyone to indulge in pride, He would have allowed it to His selected prophets and vicegerents. But God, the Sublime, disliked vanity for them and liked humbleness for them. Therefore, they laid their cheeks on the ground, smeared their faces with dust, bent themselves down for the believers and remained humiliated people (they were from the oppressed people). God tested them with hunger, afflicted them with difficulties, tested them with fear, and upset them with troubles."6
Here, the Commander of the Faithful speaks about pride and vanity and emphasizes that since God disliked these two qualities, He misrepresented them in the eyes of His Prophets and righteous beings. Therefore, the Prophets hated self-deceit and superiority complexes, but liked humbleness and humility. Thus, they bent themselves down for the believers, lived among the lowest classes of the people, rubbed their faces with the dust (in prostration) before God and refrained from indulging in haughtiness. They did, in effect, what the Holy Qur\'an orders to be done to the parents. It says: „... and lower to them (one\'s parents) the wing of humbleness out of mercy ... " (17:24)
The Prophets., according to the Commander of the Faithful were from the oppressed masses of the people. They knew the, pains and agonies of the needy. They felt, for instance, what hunger was, because God had tried them with hunger. The Holy Qur\'an quotes Moses, peace be upon him, to have said, „Oh God! I need what you shall send me." According to narrations, Moses, peace be upon him, was hungry and implored God in this manner to send him bread so that he could satiate his hunger. Thus, the Prophets felt the pains of hungry people. They had tasted the sufferings of life. They knew well the troubles of hard physical labor in cold and hot weathers. They understood the meaning of hardship.
Timidity and the state of being fearful are characteristics of the oppressed. They are usually fearful of the future, poverty and the dominance of a powerful hand over their destinies. They are always worried and in a state of mental disturbance, concerning the existing situations and the coming conditions. They expect at any moment to be put under pressure by a Powerful oppressor. Likewise, the Prophets suffered from such fears and anxieties and, to say the least, were so surrounded by hardships and difficulties as to become pure in the same way as gold derives its purity under the pressure of very hot temperature. In fact, the Prophets were not pampered individuals to suddenly come Out of their Palaces and call the people to make a revolution.
There was a close link between them and the common people. They had, like all members of the society been subjected to ignorance, tasted the pains and sufferings of life and then became worthy to be called \'Prophets\'.
The Definition of the Deprived (mustad\'af)
A society dominated by ignorance is always made up of two groups of people. One group consists of those who make Plans, administer society and have total authority over all affairs. The other group consists of the subjects and subordinates who have nothing to do with different affairs of society. They work hard (and thus they are not good-for-nothings as they are usually called, compared for example, to the amount of work Pharaoh performed with the slaves in building the Pyramids), but they have no right to apply their will, personality and points of view in the administration of the affairs of their society.
The first group is a minority consisting of the powerful families and dynasties with various degrees of authority over society. They are called \'the arrogant\' (mustakbirin). The second group are the common people and the masses who are regarded as the weak and who are devoid of authority whatsoever. They are called \'the deprived\' (mustad\'afin). Our own country, during the corrupt regime of Pahlavi, was administered by a limited number of individuals, with the Shah at the head of them. It is true that an institution named the \'National Consultative Assembly\' existed but all the decisions were made by the Shah and his American advisers and dictated to the members of the Assembly, who had no will of their own.
At the lower levels, decisions were made by the big money makers who acted in collusion with governmental personages, by governor generals and so forth. In fact, the total authority was centralized in the hands of one person, the Shah. If all the ministers, Assembly members, director
generals and the like agreed on something, but the Shah opposed; it was his will and decision which prevailed. The rest of the people, i.e. the masses, had no authority (even over their own destinies) to interfere with the affairs pertaining to foreign relations (with Russia and America, for instance), internal industries, agriculture, animal husbandry, etc. let alone matters concerning religion and morality. They had no right to meddle with the total course of affairs of their society due to the absolute lack of democracy, voting and elections in the country.
This state of affairs is nowadays an obvious characteristic of all socialist countries but in a more respectable form, i.e. one party (the Communist Party) possesses the total power and authority in administering the affairs of these countries. In fact, all the affairs of these countries are determined by the high governmental cadres, supreme councils and the general secretary himself. Other people have no right to express their viewpoints, and their will and decisions are not taken for granted. Thus, mental development is repressed in such countries, and perhaps this is why the youth usually engage in Sports and physical training and blossom out as the first rate athletes in international competition such as the Olympics as we observed in the recent Olympic games held in Russia.
In western societies, too, the situation is more or less the same (mostly in the so-called civilized countries of America and Europe where \'freedom\' and \'democracy\' have widespread literal application). Nowadays, there are unfortunately some people who try to transform freedom and democracy to western conceptions of freedom and democracy, without knowing that the West itself is bereft of real freedom; (in America, West Germany and the likes, people imagine that they elect their representatives freely whereas the reality is that it is specific currents which lead them to one side or another to cast their votes in favor of one party or another. Recent elections in America and the conflicts between the Democratic and Republican parties are the best evidence, verifying this reality).
Generally speaking, in all countries of the world, people are divided into two classes: the deprived and the arrogant. The deprived masses are themselves two groups: the needy and the non-needy. In fact, a poor and wretched peasant who performs fifteen hours of physical labor a day under the difficulties of rain, snow and hot weather and one who lives an ordinary life, being a shopkeeper, or employee, etc., without suffering so much, are both in the category of the deprived, because both of them are considered to be worthless and good-for-nothing and are devoid of the right to participate in the administration of their society.
According to the Commander of the Faithful in the quoted Sermon, the Prophets belonged to the deprived classes and, like them, have been deprived of the authority to carry out a responsibility in their society. A historical review of the life-accounts of Muhammad, peace and the mercy of God be upon him and his descendants, and other Prophets will clarify this matter further.
Moses, peace be upon him, was born to a deprived family among the children of Israel who lived under severe pressures. But after birth he was brought in a completely arrogant house and became a favorite with the Pharaoh\'s family although he had not been born of the Pharaoh\'s wife.
He was brought up under the best living possibilities, the most delicious food and different kinds of luxuries (as a perfect aristocrat). Then, when Pharaoh noticed that he was nourishing an enemy within his house, Moses decided to escape. In fact, Moses had begun his invitation and calling people to God, had started his revolutionary propagations within the royal palace and had succeeded in converting the Pharaoh\'s wife to submission to God when Pharaoh experienced a feeling of danger and decided to prosecute him. Moses escaped to Egypt.
To say the least, Moses became a Prophet and invited the people to make a revolution when he was within the royal house and at the peak of arrogance (this biographical account of Moses is narrated in the Qur\'an, and no use was made here of the Traditions).
Our Prophet, Muhammad, peace and the mercy of God be upon him and his descendants was born in a tribal house of high rank. He was the grandson of and a favorite with \'Abd al-Muttalib, the chief of Mecca (although he was, unlike Pharaoh, a pious, chief and a believer in God). When his father, Abdullah, who was one of the dearest children of \'Abd al-Muttalib, died in youth, the latter brought up Muhammad, peace and the mercy of God be upon him and his descendants, until he became four years of age (although Moses was the favorite with a great emperor and Muhammad with a tribal chief, both of them enjoyed the favor of highly respectful families). Then \'Abd al-Muttalib passed away and Muhammad came under the guardianship of his uncle Abu Talib who did not enjoy the same respect as his father, \'Abd al-Muttalib, but who was himself a distinguished personality, not belonging to the masses.
Abu Talib acted as a good guardian for a period of time and then he was afflicted with poverty. Thus, Muhammad lost the (financial) support of his uncle at this time. But before long he married Khadija, a rich woman. He first acted as a functionary to Khadija but later on, (fifteen years before his appointment to prophethood) he married her, thus becoming a relatively rich man in Medina.
The very financial state remained with him until he became a Prophet at the age of forty (this is why it is said that Islam advanced through Khadija\'s wealth and Ali\'s sword).
Accordingly, the Prophet of Islam was born to an aristocratic family and lived a comfortable and affluent life until he was appointed to prophethood by God. After the appointment, however, due to the high expenses of propagation and calling people to monotheism and due to the lack of opportunity for conducting business, he became poor.
Other prophets, too, were more or less wealthy. It is in the Traditions (although there is no clear, historical accounts available) that Job, for example, possessed lands, gardens and trees which were destroyed when God wanted to test his belief. David, too, had a rural origin. He was a commoner. Yet he became a commander and a ruler. Solomon was born in the house of this commander (David). In fact, this chosen Prophet of God (although there is no difference between him and Moses as far as his purity, piety, revolutionary spirit and prophethood are concerned) was the son of a ruler. Abraham was born in the house of an idol-carver, and the history of nations and religions reveals that idol-carvers were not only not among the low, deprived classes but were also considered to be saintly and respectable.
We come to the conclusion, therefore, that a considerable number (not all of them) of the Prophets have been brought up among affluent and powerful families. Thus, we have two points here to be considered along with each other: First, in the Commander of the Faithful saying that Prophets have belonged to the deprived and humble masses of the people. Second, the Prophets (some of them), as we see above, have been born among the socially, comfortable families of high ranks.
Are these two realities incompatible? No It is not the main point here to see whether they are compatible or not, The main point is to nullify the (communists\') imaginary legend that all the revolutionary agents have originated from the proletarian, bare-footed and needy classes. What is essential is that a revolutionary person (be he a leader of the revolution or a commoner) should be dressed with revolutionary morals and Attributes.
Materialists and the interpreters of Marxism, in fact, hold a wrong belief that only those individuals can enjoy revolutionary morals and Attributes who themselves belong to the poor, bare-footed or proletarian classes, for man is always and everywhere a human being and thus corrigible. He can, like the Prophets about whom Ali says, „They were from the deprived people," equip himself with correct, revolutionary habits and with the attributes of the deprived.
It is true that aristocratic training and education entail no result but an aristocrat human being, yet it is untrue to believe that such an education (in a person who is brought up in an aristocratic atmosphere) is unchangeable and indestructible. In fact, should divine guidance (either in the form of thinking, meditation and the awakening of conscience of the individuals themselves or through training and purification of the soul by the teachers of morality, i.e. the Prophets) enlighten the sick bodies of those who are under the influence of aristocratic habits and training, they would come out of their spiritual depression and become dressed with revolutionary dispositions.
SUMMARY
Two points are perceived when the social origin of the Prophets is put to discussion: First those who are appointed to prophethood are dressed with the Attributes of the deprived, revolutionary morals and combative spirit against the existing class systems of the arrogant, i.e. at the time of the appointment (and even before it) they have an anti-arrogant position in support of the deprived.
Second, having these Attributes does not necessarily imply that all the Prophets belong to the deprived classes. They can either belong to these classes or not but, as was mentioned before, even at the time of appointment to prophethood and at the beginning of their revolution they may belong to the arrogant strata, having a comfortable life. There is no need for them to have suffered from forced labor and hard work before the appointment. Of course, they should have felt pain and distress but this does not necessarily mean that they should curtail the bonds of relationship with their social class and their (comfortable) life.
Spiritually-exalted Beings Have Understanding as Well as the Feeling of Sympathy.
Subsequent to the discussion concerning the arrogant and the deprived, it should be added here that such a class division does not exist in monotheistic societies. It is, in fact, the exclusive characteristic of\' societies suffering from ignorance and alienation. We have of course, rulers, ruling classes, caliphs, holders of religious authority and governments in monotheistic societies but none of them are arrogant enough to manage the affairs of these societies on the basis of personal beliefs. Also, there are commoners in such societies, consisting of workers, businessmen, peasants, bricklayers, government employees and so forth, but none of them arrogant either. Each class has, in fact, some authority over its own social affairs in proportion to the total number of its members.
For example, under the present situations of Iran (although Iran is not a 100% or even 50% Islamic society at the present time), every individual has some authority and the right to vote as a member of a society with thirty-six million individuals. It is on this basis that the great movements and even the political affairs of our country are nowadays managed and led by the people themselves, although it may be considered wrong so far as the prevailing patterns of politics on the international level are concerned. The truth is that if the people were not inclined towards certain actions and policies, connections and disconnections, the government (itself consisting of Muslims belonging to the low classes of people) would not dare take such positions as it does today and perform such courageous actions. This is indicative of an Islamic country (although Iran is still not a perfect Islamic country).
When Islam shall, God-willing, shed its light on our society in all its dimensions, the role of every individual in the administration of the whole country will be to the extent that he or she (although being the lowest in social position) can act and promise on behalf of the Islamic community. Today, if a given government or a certain action be condemned in the sermons of the Friday ritual prayer in front of a multitude of people, or if a treaty between our country and a given government be orally made (or violated) in such sermons, neither our own government nor the addressee will take care of it.
But in a perfect Islamic community, there is no irresponsible individual. In such a community, in which Islamic culture and education are perfectly dominant, every individual (being a businessman, a housewife and so forth) can conclude a treaty or announce an agreement for the cessation of hostilities or a special occasion and the Islamic government is obliged to take it into account, although that individual not be a minister, an army commander or a diplomat. In fact, every individual can decide for the whole community on specific occasions, and his or her decision is accepted by all.
This is not, however, practicable under the present culture and habits of our society. But as the society gets closer to Islam and its teachings, this is more likely to be accomplished. It should be added, of course, that when we say something is not for the time being practicable, it does not mean that Islam as a whole cannot be materialized. It can, but only when the world has a complete readiness for its acceptance.
Questions and Answers
Q. You said that Khadija\'s wealth and Ali\'s sword made the progress of Islam possible. Does this not lead to a deviating concept that wealth and material things have been the only factors for the spread of Islam?
A. We do not believe that wealth alone played a role in this regard, but the truth is that wealth, too, had certain roles and this is undeniable. It was, is fact, necessary for the satiation of the newly-converted people\'s hunger as well as for providing the expenses of those who were sent here and there by the Prophet. This does not negate the influence of the spirituality and dynamism of Islamic thought and ideology, since the very dynamism is in need of material things when acting and making progress in the same way as it needs physical labor and activity.
Q. You defined the deprived in its social and political aspects. Is it not necessary to explain the economic and cultural aspects of it as well?
A. The economic activities of the deprived (as previously defined) are also under the influence of the powerful, i.e. economic activities are usually centralized where power is centralized (under the previous regime of Iran, for example, no productive and economic activity took place except through the direct or indirect interference of the government). Therefore, economic aspects are dependent on political aspects. It may, however, be argued that political power originates from economic power. This is possible but it lacks universality. Sometimes political power is the cause for the absorption of money and sometimes money gives rise to political power. They are inter-connected, but in a society wherein political power is centralized in a certain group, economics cannot grow and progress independently. The cultural aspects (culture in its prevailing, not in its revolutionary sense) of society, too, are affected by the opinion of those who possess political and economic power. Thus, when political oppression dominates society, the existing cultural and political aspects of the deprived are also influenced by lt.
Q. Is the following tradition, narrated from the Imams concerning deprivation, authentic? „The deprived are those who endeavored in the way of God but could not achieve their aim in establishing the divine system. The highest of them are the Prophets and saints, next to them are the believers who make efforts in the way of God."
A. It may be authentic for all the Prophets and their true followers belong to the category of the deprived. It provides us with the definition of the deprived not with the concept of deprivation.


source : http://shiastudies.net
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