Understanding Islam – Abul Al\’a Maududi
Along with this, he now appeared before his people as a unique philosopher, a wonderful reformer, a renowned molder of culture and civilization, an illustrious politician, a great leader, a judge of the highest eminence and an incomparable general. This unlettered Bedouin, this dweller of the desert, spoke with such learning and wisdom the like of which none had said before and none could say after him. He expounded the intricate problems of metaphysics and theology. He delivered speeches on the principles of the decline and fall of nations and empires, supporting his thesis by the historical data of the past. He reviewed the achievements of the old reformers, passed judgments on the various religions of the world, and gave verdicts on the differences and disputes between nations. He taught ethical canons and principles of culture. He formulated such laws of social culture, economic organization, group conduct, and international relations that even eminent thinkers and scholars can grasp their true wisdom only after life-long research and vast experience of men and thing. Their beauties, indeed, unfold themselves progressively as man advances in theoretical knowledge and practical experience. This silent and peace-loving trader who had never handled a sword before, who had no military training, who had but once participated in a battle and that also just as a spectator, turned suddenly into such a brave soldier that he did not even once retreat in the fiercest battles.
He became such a great general that he conquered the whole of Arabia in nine years, at a time when the weapons of war primitive and the means of communication poorest. His military acumen and efficiency developed to such a high pitch and the military spirit which he infused and the military training which he imparted to motley crowd of Arabs (who had no equipment worth the name) wrought such a miracle that within a few years they overthrew the two most formidable military powers of the day and became the masters of the greater part of the then known world. This reserved and quiet man who, for full forty years, never gave indication of any political Interest or activity, appeared suddenly on the stage of the world as such a great political reformer and statesman that, without, the aid of radio and wireless and press, he brought together the scattered inhabitants of a desert of twelve hundred thousand square miles, -a people who were warlike, ignorant, unruly, uncultured, and plunged in internecine tribal warfare-under one banner, one law, one religion, one culture, one civilization, and one form of government.
He changed their modes of thought, their very habits, and their morals. He turned into the cultured, the barbarous into the civilized, the evildoers and bad characters into pious, God-fearing, and righteous persons. Their unruly and stiff-necked natures were transformed into models of obedience and submission to law and order. A nation which had not produced a single great man worth the name for centuries gave birth, under his influence and guidance, to thousands of noble souls who went forth to far-off corners of the world to preach and teach the principles of religion, morals, and civilization. He accomplished this feat not through any worldly lure, oppression, or cruelty, but by his captivating manners, his endearing moral personality, and his convincing manners, his endearing moral personality, and his convincing teaching. With his noble and gentle behavior, he befriended even his enemies. He captured the hearts of the people with his unbounded sympathy and the milk of human kindness.
He ruled justly. He did not swerve from truth and righteousness. He did not oppress even his deadly enemies who were after his life, who had pelted him with stones, who had turned him out of his native place, who had pitched the whole of Arabia against him nay, not even those who had chewed raw the liver of his dead uncle in a frenzy of vengeance. He forgave them all when he triumphed over them. He never took revenge from anyone for his personal grievances, or the wrongs perpetrated on his person. In spite of the fact that he became the ruler of his country, he was so selfless and modest that he remained very simple and sparing in his habits. He lived poorly, as before, in his humble thatched mud-cottage. He slept on a mattress, wore coarse clothes, ate the simplest food of the poor, and sometimes went without any food at all. He used to spend whole nights standing in prayer before his Lord. He came to the to the rescue of the destitute and the penniless. He felt not the least humility in working as a laborer. Till his last moments there was not the slightest tinge of kingly pomp and show or hauteur of the high and the rich in him. Like an ordinary man he would sit and walk with people and share their joys and sorrows. He would so mix up and mingle with the crowd that a stranger, an outsider, would find it difficult to point out the leader of the people and the ruler of the nation from the rest of the company. In spite of his greatness, his behavior with the humblest person was that of an ordinary human being. In the struggles and endeavors of his whole life he did not seek any reward or profit for his own person, not left any property for his heirs. He dedicated his all to Millat. He did not ask his adherents to earmark anything for him or his descendants, so much so that he forbade his progeny from receiving the benefit of Zakat (or poor tax), lest his follower at any future time may dole out the whole share of Zakat to them.