Sri Sathya Sai On: Teachings of Prophet Muhammad and Islam

TEACHINGS OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD

Muhammad, who sought to establish the primacy of the One Formless Absolute had a large share of persecution, defamation, and privation.
…Those who seek to know God must steel themselves to bear insult, injury and torture, with a smile.
- “Name, the Never-failing Fountain”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 8, May 16, 1968, Mumbai

Truth should not be confined to speech. It must express itself in action. 
Only the one who is truthful in word and deed can be esteemed as a genuine human being, according to Prophet Muhammad.
- “Secure God’s Love”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 17, December 25, 1984, Prasanthi Nilayam

Prophet Muhammad, likewise (referring to discharging one’s debts) told His disciples before His passing that, the money He owed to a camel driver should be paid before His end came. The discharging of one’s debts is regarded as a pious obligation for every Bharatiya. 
- “Love: Sacrifice: Unity”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 23, December 25, 1990, Prasanthi Nilayam
The Holy Pilgrimage
All founders of religions have heard this impersonal Voice of God revealing the Atma that activates the entire Creation. Just as the Vedas (revealed sacred scriptures) were ‘heard’ and propagated as ‘heard’ (Shruti), the Quran too was ‘heard’ by Hazrat Muhammad. The Quran has Salat and Zakat as the two eyes. Salat means prayer; Zakat means charity. Those who consider charity as a high duty and elevate their consciousness through prayers and continuous meditation on God are Muslims. Islam is a word which denotes not a particular religion but a state of mind, the state of total surrender to the Will of God. Islam means dedication, surrender, peace, tranquility.

Hazrat Muhammad announced the message of God that he had heard to the townsmen of Mecca. At that time, people did not give heed to the Divine Declarations. They forced him to leave the place. But, Hazrat Muhammad knew that truth will win and God will prevail. He knew that the insult and injury were only for the body; the Atma can never be hurt.

The Ramzan month is set apart for the holy task of bringing into memory and practice the teachings that Hazrat Muhammad conveyed and attaining that stage of unity and purity which is truly Divine.
- “Unity And Purity: Message of Ramzan”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 16, July 12, 1983, Prasanthi Nilayam

Hazrat Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, laid down stern punishment for crimes committed by the people. The punishment which He prescribed for a crime was a hundred lashes. Once, it was found that His own son had committed a crime and Hazrat Muhammad bowing to the inexorable law of justice, sentenced His own son to a hundred lashes. His son gave up His body at the fiftieth stroke delivered by the whip. When the executors asked Hazrat Muhammad what they should do about the rest of the fifty lashes, He ordered them to deliver the strokes on the tomb of His dead son. 

See Hazrat Muhammad’s tenacious adherence to justice, which transcended the barriers of ‘mine’ and ‘thine’! How sacred! How sublime! But, the law courts today, said to be the seats of justice, flagrantly flout all codes of justice by favoring its own people. People explore the intricacies of law to extricate their own kith and kin from due punishment. It is no justice if it is besmirched by meanness and narrow-mindedness.
- “The Philosophy of Gautama”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1993, Brindavan

Muhammedan worship (Muhammadan Upasana) – ‘Acquire self-confidence and place all burdens on God; have implicit faith in the power of God every moment of living; recognize it at every step (Imamdare Khaldaamey Ho, Paigambar Mey Bharosa)’ these are the rules for meaningful life. One has to evidence one’s rectitude in the court of the Lord, when one lays down one’s body. So, one has to follow the straight path laid down by the Lord until the very end. For this, the holy Koran is the guide; it has to be revered and observed down to the very letter. This is the spiritual instruction to be observed in this worship. 

‘Allaho Akbar; La Illah Ill Allah’- This sacred formula of Islam signifies that God is the supermost sovereign; Allah is the undisputed unexcelled ruler of creation. He alone is worthy of worship. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says, “There is nothing higher than Me.” The Koran formula says the same. The Muhammadan worship is a form of the same spiritual practice, based on the same truth.
- “Modes of Worship”, Sathya Sai Vahini

PROPHET MUHAMMAD AND ISLAM

Islam denotes the social community whose members have achieved supreme peace through surrender to the all merciful, all powerful God and who have vowed to live in peace with their fellowmen. Later, it came to be applied to communities that considered themselves separate and different and so hostile to the rest. Islam taught something higher. It directed attention to the One in the Many, the unity in diversity and led people to the Reality named God.

…Islam gives importance to the Moon which regulates the months. Hindus consider the Moon as the deity presiding over the mind. With the Darshan of the New Moon, the Ramzan fast begins and when the New Moon is seen again, the fast ends. ‘Fast’ does not consist in merely desisting from food and drink. The fast starts at sunrise and is broken only after sunset and is observed most rigourously.

…Waking as early as three or four, in the Brahma Muhurat, prayer is started, and throughout the day, the constant presence of God is sought to be experienced. This is the meaning of Upavasa (fast). Also, during the Ramzan month, rivalry is avoided, hatred is suspended, husband and wife live apart though in the same home, mother and children both follow the same spiritual regimen and an atmosphere of brotherhood is maintained. 
Sri Sathya Sai with the Muhammadans of Puttaparthi at the mosque He built for them in August 1978
The body, the senses and the mind are subject to rigourous discipline. Periods of fast comprising a month are prescribed in all religions. The Hindus observe it in Magh and Shravan months. Zoroastrians and Christians have allotted for themselves months for the same purpose.

The Quran lays down that all men should cultivate the sense of unity, of interdependence, of selfless love and of the immanence of Divinity. Generally, all men take food of some kind or other for the body five times a day, an early cup of coffee in bed, breakfast two hours later, a heavy lunch at noon, tea at four and a fat dinner at nine. Islam prescribes food for the spiritual nature of man and directs that it be taken five times a day, as prayer. For the arousal of the Atmic consciousness, for earning spiritual joy and for promoting the manifestation of Atmic illumination, prayer is prescribed as many as five times a day, from the dawn of discretion up to the moment of death. Prayer, in Islam, is also a congregational activity. Prayer in a group produces beneficial vibrations. Islam promises a greater flow of ecstasy when God is adored by a huge concourse of yearning hearts. All of them bow low at the sight of the Masjid. They sit in rows on their bended knees and lean forward until their palms and foreheads touch the ground in humble submission to God’s will. Misunderstanding, conflict and enmity should not disturb the serenity of the occasion. Thus Islam emphasises the One in the Many, the urge for God which manifests in various degrees in various minds. Unity is the basic teaching of every religion. Faith in Unity is cardinal. Without it, no system of belief and conduct can be a religion. God is One and the teachings in all faiths that exalt Him are all on Love, Compassion, Tolerance and Sympathy. 

The tragedy is neither the Muhammadans, nor the Hindus, nor are the followers of other religions practicing these qualities in daily life. Islam teaches that God’s Grace can be won through justice and righteous living; wealth, scholarship and power cannot earn It. Holy Love alone can please the Lord. This is the message of every religion. But mankind has ignored this crucial point. 

Ramzan brings together in bonds of love kith and kin, near and far, friend and foe. This type of negligence is happening in every religion. The followers adopt the rules they like and break those which they find exacting. So, they become narrow-minded and crooked and they rationalise their defects and justify their failings. They have become habituated to this practice of self-deceit. Since Islam means surrender to God, all who in a spirit of surrender and dedication, live in peace and harmony in society, do really speaking, belong to Islam. Islam insists on full co-ordination between thought, word and deed. Muslim holy men and sages have been emphasising that we must inquire into the validity of the ‘I’ which feels it is the body and the ‘I’ which feels it is the mind and reach the conclusion that the real ‘I’ is the Self yearning for the Omniself, God. The Ramzan month, the fast and the prayers are designed to awaken and manifest this realisation.
- “Unity And Purity: Message of Ramzan”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 16, July 12, 1983, Prasanthi Nilayam

In Islam, the expression ‘Salaam’ is used as a form of greeting. ‘Sa’ in this term signifies the combined expression of Salokyam, Saroopyam, Sameepyam and Sayujyam (Seeing the Divine, having the vision of the form of the Divine, nearing the Divine and merging in the Divine). When these four expressions are combined and merged into one- ‘La’ signifying merger, you have Salaam (the merging of the many in the One). 
 - “Develop Spiritual Oneness”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 24, December 25, 1991, Prasanthi Nilayam
Sri Sathya Sai with the Holy Quran presented by Muslim Students in Prasanthi Nilayam on Ramzan Eid 2009
In Persian, ‘Islam’ means ‘surrender’ or ‘peace’. The inner meaning of this term is that man should surrender to God and live in peace with his fellow men. The holy book of Islam, the Quran, contains many sacred precepts. ‘Salat’ is one such precept. It enjoins one to worship God with steady faith. Another precept is ‘Zakat’, which enjoins the believer to practise charity for relieving fellow-beings in need or in distress.
- “Religions and Morals”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 22, July 23, 1989, Prasanthi Nilayam

About Prophet Muhammad:

Muhammad or Hazrat (Prophet) Muhammad was born in A.D. 570 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He is considered to be the founder of Islam and is accepted by Muslims as the last among the prophets of God. Quran, the religious text of Islam, is believed to represent the words of God revealed to Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel. He continued to receive them from the age of 40 till his death. His primary teachings focused on ‘God is one - Allah’ and ‘Complete Surrender to Him is the way to salvation’. To escape persecution from certain hostile Meccan tribesmen, Muhammad migrated to Medina in 622 AD. However, before his death he won over Mecca as well, and most of the Arabian Peninsula converted to Islam. Muhammad's teachings and practices (Sunnah), found in the Hadith and Sira literature are upheld by Muslims and used as sources of Islamic law (Sharia), prevalent in most Islamic nations till date. He died in A.D. 632 in Medina, Saudi Arabia.

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