Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I Islam Today

“Whenever Our revelations are recited to them, they say: “We have heard them. If we wished, we could speak the like. They are but fables of the ancients.” (The Quran, 8: 31)

These words refer particularly to a man, Nazar ibn Harith who was a contemporary of the Prophet. He conducted business in Persia where he would hear grand stories about kings and commanders, and on returning home would give highly exaggerated versions of them to his countrymen in order to mock the contents of the Quran. After narrat­ing his stories with great relish, he would boast to his friends: “Whose stories are better, mine or Muhammad’s?” Later, this man came to fight the Muslims in the battle of Badr and was slain.

Today, no one in Makkah would think of uttering such words. Then how was it that fourteen hundred years ago one could dare to do so? The reason is the difference of the times. Fourteen hundred years ago, both the Quran and Prophet Muhammad were objects of controversy. But today, as a matter of ancient history, the divine origin of the Quran and the prophethood of Muhammad have come to be acknowledged as established facts.

The historical standing of the companions of the Prophet remains undiminished, for they attached themselves to Islam, judging the Quran and the Prophet purely on merit, at a time when Islam had yet to establish its glory. Today it is regrettable that many of those who wax eloquent on the subject of Islam do no more than recognise the glory that is Islam, forgetting that, whether or not it has fourteen hundred years of history to back it, Islam has to be accepted as truth.