The Eternal Message of Muhammad By: Abd-al-Rahman azzam table of contents

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The Eternal Message of Muhammad

By: Abd-al-Rahman AZZAM



Author's Preface 4

Translator's Note 5

The Life of the prophet Muhammad 6

A second explanation is presented by another scholar: 6


The Two Fundamentals 12


Belief in the One God 14

The Consequences of Belief in the Unity of God 16


Purifying the Individual's Moral Character 22

Solidarity 23

To the group, Islam declares: 24

Beneficence 27



Pledges, Pacts, and Treaties 36

Legitimate War 39

War in Aid of the Oppressed 41

The Rules and Etiquette of War 43

Lasting Peace 46


Dissemination of the message among the Pagans 47

Dissemination of the Message Among Christian Nations 50

The Crusaders Adopt Islam 52

Bringing Islam to the Europeans 53


Colonialism 56

Class struggle 57

Racial and National Strife 61

The Defeat of Spiritual Forces 63

The Triangular Forces of Corruption 65


Trusteeship over Civilization 66

The Maintenance and Perpetuation of Civilization 67

A New Order for the World 70

Duty before Right 72

MENTOR Books of Related Interest 74


The author of this book occupies a very special position in the eyes of Arabs and in the Islamic world. As father and first secretary general of the Arab League, he gave an impetus toward unity and strength which, during the years at the end of the Second World War, brought new life into old lands. Indeed, it is memorable that the years of `Azzam Pasha's leadership in the League (1945-1952) were a time of energetic hope and wide and true aspiration, and something has gone out of it since then. He brought an age-old promise, ever new, of which this book is another expression in its way: that is, the promise of universalism in Islam, unity and equality and brotherhood.
Azzam has many more claims to the gratitude of his own people than the creation of the Arab League, however. He has had an immensely active life in the service of the Islamic countries around the Mediterranean, and there is more than one state or region to acknowledge it. Indeed, `Azzam may be said to exemplify in his own life one of the principles ex pounded in this book, which is that a citizen of any Islamic state is a citizen of them all. This universalism within the fold-Islam as world and as world community-seems to have inspired his extraordinary range of effort for decades, although perhaps he would have been less explicit about it than he is today. He was only a boy when he ran away to fight for the Turks (that is, for Islam) in the Balkan wars; he fought the Italians in the deserts of Libya for eight years; he served Egypt in the diplomatic service and in parliament; he is today a representative of the King of Saudi Arabia in some delicate negotiations. In Damascus as in Djakarta, Istanbul, and Baghdad, this man is known for valor of spirit and elevation of mind. For it seems that no matter how urgent the affairs of the day, no matter how critical the fight Azzam always had time to reflect upon his own religious heritage, to read the Qur’an and the commentaries, and to meditate upon the mission of the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace!). Thus he combines, in the best Islamic mode, the aspects of thought and action, like the Muslim warriors of another time who are typified for us Westerners by the figure of Saladin.
`Azzam Pasha-although such titles are now abolished, it is thus that we think of him by habit-was born into an Egyptian land-owning family which originated centuries ago in the Arabian Peninsula. His family had taken to parliamentary government from the earliest days, and there was always an `Azzam in the Egyptian chamber. `Azzam emphasizes the strength and vitality of Egyptian parliamentary democracy because, as he feels, it is too often forgotten that this institution had been well established and had become a natural political expression for Egyptians a century ago.
For that democracy, hampered and oppressed as it was by the British Occupation, he was driven to the sword, the camel, and the desert-open rebellion. His exploits in former years are well remembered in Libya, and that country is one of the Arab states in which he feels especially at home. His attribution to its national emergence, as to that of some others, has never yet been fully recounted.
It was some twenty-seven years ago that I first encountered `Abd-al-Rahman `Azzam. It was in Cairo, by the kind offices of our old friend George Antonius (author of The Arab Awakening), who told me then and always believed that `Azzam represented a new hope for the Arab world. `Azzam then- a dashing figure, easy to imagine leading a charge of camels -way leaving parliament for a new life in diplomacy, and had just been named Egyptian ambassador to Baghdad and Tehran. It was there that he began those explorations of the possible and the probable which led him into thoughts of unity, not as an immediate objective but as an ultimate aim -thoughts which would in time find expression in the constitution of the Arab League.
Since then, at various times and places, it has been my privilege to talk with `Azzam, sometimes for hours on end.
Every such conversation has been illuminating; as Jefferson said of Franklin, I never leave his presence unrefreshed. The practical details of administration may have taken up a great deal of `Azzam 's time when he directed the League offices, but he was always ready to abandon them for the sake of more general considerations, reflections, and observations. His mind was never bogged down; it could rise at will. Often I used to think that the study of the Qur’an and the commentaries, leading him to the analysis of distinctly Islamic ideas and forms of thought, had given him this power of abstraction, which is not too common among men in public affairs. Readers of his book will see that although he quotes texts and is soundly based upon them, he makes his own probe into their meaning and constructs a coherent thesis of Islam in the modern world. As he says, it is not always easy to analyze or describe in English concepts for which we do not possess the vocabulary or, conversely, for which our vocabulary is too precise. Ideas of the state, of nationality, of citizen- ship, even of law have a defined sense and connotation in English which do not correspond to Muslim modes of thought, all impregnated with the spirit of universal community in one faith. In conveying this spirit through modern terminology `Azzam has rendered, once again, a service all his own. Now, in the afternoon of a great life, this noble Arab and deeply Islamic citizen of the world has time to share with us the fruits of his experience and study, the garland of his wisdom. Ours is the benefit-and it has been years since this subject reached us so cogently-but we can feel sure that `Azzam has worked above all in the service of the faith that has inspired his whole life.


Vincent SHEEANs

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