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FAITH THAT MOVES MOUNTAINS:
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior is a great book to help people understand how they can make a difference. It is written by Dan Millman, whose other books are worth pondering.
“On an otherwise ordinary day, an angel appeared to a young merchant and former camel herder, known to everyone in the town where he was born. The angel’s words filled him with awe and fear – it told him that he must fight the religion of the human ancestors, condemn the 360 deities who carved in stone and worshiped for centuries, to declare himself a prophet of one God, to abolish a way of life upon which countless lives and beliefs were built, and to establish a new religion out of nothing. Of course he would be met with disbelief, rejection, violent persecution, and banishment. Or his apparently insane could the quest bring anything but failure or at best martyrdom?
Or will this mortal, obedient to the angel’s divine command, achieve the victory it could have predicted?
He was born in Mecca in 570 AD. His father died before he was born. His devastated mother, unable to feed him, named him Muhammad and handed him over to a nanny, a Ghanaian woman from a Bedouin group. Muhammad spent his first five years with these nomads, living a hardy open-air existence, following the grazing flocks through the desert grass and scrub, sleeping in tents under the vast desert sky. When he was weaned, he drank camel’s milk and ate mainly rice, dates, wild fowl and locusts fried in oil. From the beginning, the desert claimed Muhammad as its own. He would always be a Bedouin at heart.
At the age of six, he returned to his mother, but she died later that year. He ended up with his uncle, a caravan merchant. In the years that followed, Muhammad traveled through Arabia with his uncle’s caravan, learning the wisdom of the desert, the ways of business, and the art of war as he fought against marauders. His travels brought him into close contact with various tribes and religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Arab sects that worshiped hundreds of gods and goddesses in the form of stone idols. This experience left a deep impression on this thoughtful, introspective young man. From these early threads was woven the tapestry of his destiny.
He grew up to be a handsome young man admired for his strong character, moral integrity and sharp mind. But he had fallen into the life of a merchant more by chance than by choice. Driven by money and loneliness, he left the caravan to work as a shepherd in the desert for months.
When he was 25, Muhammad took a position in a trading company owned by a beautiful woman 15 years his senior. Her name was Khadija. For two years, he led Khadija’s caravans across Arabia, rising to the position of head of the company. Not surprisingly, Khadija fell in love with him. Finally, she proposed to him through an intermediary. Their marriage, which blessed them with six daughters, lasted until Khadija’s death 21 years later.
But almost as soon as the wedding ceremony was over, Muhammad’s mind turned inward again. His encounters with so many cultures and religions had planted hidden seeds within him that began to grow. He pondered how the 360 stone gods in the Mecca temple could save souls. Such questions made him search for his soul again in the solitude of the desert.
Muhammad began spending his days in a cave in the hills outside Mecca, fasting, praying and meditating. With little sleep, he began to enter into altered states It seems that a man away from a woman having visions of a shepherd and a pauper might have come to be attractive in the literary tradition. and had waking visions to experience the inner life. from the mystic. At times he was seized with a violent tremor and lost consciousness. A practical man of robust health who had endured many wearisome journeys through the desert, he found these phenomena strange and disturbing. But this inner earthquake There are many things of this kind in the story of the Buddha. What would become of them to-day? which he feared might be a portent of ill-health, were in reality great tremors of foreboding awakening.
One night in the holy month of Ramadan, at the age of 40, while fasting and praying in his desert cave, Muhammad heard a voice calling him with great urgency. Looking into the darkness of his cave, he saw an angel standing before him, emitting a dazzling light. Muhammad fainted from fear, when he awoke he found the angel still standing.
“Read it, you,” the angel commanded him in a stern voice of authority.
“I can’t,” Muhammad stammered because he could barely read.
“Read, you,” the angel commanded him again in the verse, “in the name of the Lord who made all things, who made man from a clot. Read in the name of the Most High who taught man to use the pen and taught him what he did not know before.
In awe, Muhammad repeated these words, memorizing each one. Then the angel said, “Muhammad, you are the Messenger of Allah, and I am his angel, Gabriel.”
With that, the angel disappeared.
Muhammad went away in a dazed elation and told Khadija what had happened. She embraced him and clearly expressed her faith in his vision and mission, saying, “Rejoice, dear husband. He who holds Khadija’s life in His hands is my witness that you will be the herald of His people.
But Muhammad could not accept his vision. How could he, an ordinary man, so far from perfect, be such a messenger? He was afraid that he might be deluded or perhaps insane. Days passed. He was waiting for another sign, further confirmation, so he could believe in himself and know what to do. But no sign came.
Finally he returned to the cave on Mount Hira in search of the angel Gabriel. He waited and prayed but to no avail. In desperation, haunted by terrible doubts and overcome with fear of madness, Muhammad climbed a precipice and prepared to jump to his death. At the same moment the angel appeared before him again and, raising his hands, repeated: “I am Gabriel, and you are Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah.” Muhammad froze on the edge of the crack in a mesmerizing trance. Hours passed. That night, one of Khadija’s servants arrived and found Muhammad still standing on the rock, enraptured, and took him home.
After this event, Muhammad began to quietly spread the revelation of his new faith to only a few close friends and family members. But in this close-knit culture, word spread quickly. After a short time, his persecution began – gossip, brutal beatings, conspiracies against him and attempts on his life. Over time, his honesty and virtue, the words of the Holy Scriptures revealed through him, and the mysterious works of destiny led to the return of several of Mecca’s greatest warriors. All this greatly strengthened the nascent faith of Islam and struck fear into the hearts of its enemies.
People demanded that he perform miracles as proof of his divine mission. Muhammad replied that he had not come to perform miracles; he had come to preach the word of Allah. Challenged to move a mountain, he looked at it, but it did not move, so he uttered the now famous words that demonstrated his wisdom, humor and humility: “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad will go to the mountain. . . .”
From beginning to end, Muhammad recognized himself as an ordinary man, full of faults and limitations, a man chosen by God for reasons beyond his understanding to deliver a new revelation of Islam, which means ‘submission to God’. Islam demanded faith in God, charity, chastity and a life without idols, lived with the courage of a soldier in battle, with prayer as a purifying immersion in His spirit.
The citizens of Mecca were enraged by Muhammad’s attack on their cherished idols and his declaration that there is only one God named Allah and that he, Muhammad, is His prophet. Forced to flee across the desert to the city of Medina, he began his mission anew, once again a solitary prophet with a handful of followers in a city of infidels.
In time, the angel Gabriel revealed the Holy Scriptures to Muhammad, which he recited aloud and which Khadijah and others wrote down. This scripture became known as the Holy Qur’an (Qur’an). The Qur’an was Muhammad’s defining miracle—the writing of this masterpiece of poetic religious writing by a simple, half-educated man could in itself have earned him the fame of a prophet. But this feat was only one chapter in Muhammad’s life.
For almost two decades the people of Makkah persecuted them as heretics How was Khadijah still alive if he spent almost two decades there? The math doesn’t work, but perhaps the semi-literates don’t care., including many of his own relatives and former friends, the once young Bedouin became a fearless military general in his old age. More than once the Meccan army laid siege to Medina, where Muhammad and his followers lived, their war not to end until Muhammad or Mecca fell. In the final battle, outnumbered three to one but filled with the power of Allah, Muhammad and his followers descended like a storm on the Meccan army and destroyed it. This battle turned the tide.” (1)
People making fun of legends about Indians and natives are not funny, and I don’t think it’s right either. However, it seems a bad example to win followers with the sword of Allah or Yahweh (Yahu) or Shiva. We are all paying the price that these storytellers have done since the days of Caliph Omar and Constantine who embraced the new beliefs and built empires in their ignorance. Omar said that nothing but the Koran should be read, for he ordered one of the raiders to destroy the great library of Alexandria, which contained all knowledge; we really need to know about our roots. There is much good in Islam and it is less intolerant than other religions based on Ur Story. The caliphate still has a stranglehold on people’s souls. It doesn’t want people to have knowledge – so it encourages reading old books with limited meaning as I see it.
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