Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) Vs St. Augustine Journey

The journeys of Saint Augustine and Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) are not only physical in nature but were spiritual as well. Augustines journey encompasses the journey of his life under the strong influence of Platonism and Stoicism, in his native land along with his renunciation of Christianity to his search of unanswered questions about mans eternal damnation and Gods grace that reached at its peak in the phase of conversion into Christianity. It also included his journey from South Africa where he worked as a parson to Canterbury. Prophet (P.B.U.H)s journey is divided into two parts. The first was from Mecca to Medina and the second was of Sire and Marajo.

The two journeys of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) are important owing to their significance in the history of Islam and Muslims, the first was his journey from Mecca (Prophets native land) to Medina in 622 and the second was his journey from Mecca to Heaven and Hell that also included his meeting with God and some of the Prophets. The journey from Mecca to Medina was preceded by a long run of hardships that resulted in his journey along with his closest friend Abu Baker and some of his followers. After that Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) led the foundation of a new Islamic empire in Medina.

The second journey of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) is remembered by the name of Sire and Marajo that the Prophet attended in a night in 621 A.D. The journey has a vital importance for the Muslims because in that journey the Muslim Umea was granted of five prayers (Numazu) in a day by God that is considered as the strongest pillar on which the religion of Islam is standing. The Muslims are asked to search God in prayers therefore the memories of the journey of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) are still celebrated with great reverence and the day of the journey is remembered as the night of Marajo. Many disbelievers question the validity of the journey and call it an illusion but it is the philosophy behind the journey that is more important than the event itself. The Holy Quran verifies the truth of the journey in Chapter 17, Sure Al Sire (The Night Journey)

Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs for He is the One Who hears and sees (all things)(Koran 17 01).

The event of Sire is said to have begin when in the midnight the archangel Gabriel comes with the message of God to bring the Prophet in the holy carriage called Borax. Gabriel brings the Prophet to Mosque of Aksa in Jerusalem where Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) offers prayer leading all the prophets who have been descended before him and brought the message of God to His creatures in different parts of the world. The prophet leads all the other prophets that signify his status above the other prophets. Then the second part of the journey, Marajo, begins and the Prophet is taken to Heavens and Hell. This journey is one of the miracles of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H).

The story of St. Augustines journey has also attained vital importance in Christianity as Prophet Mohammads (P.B.U.H) journey is important in Islam. Augustines seven year missionary services in Kent have profound impact on the development of Christianity in England (Green). The great saint of Christianity was born in 354 A.D in a Roman province by the name of Aurelius Augustine and has acclaimed world-wide fame as the most influential Christian thinker. He made philosophy as the center of his interest and passion but his interest in religion did not develop until his thirties after his religious experience. He studied rhetoric in Carthage to become a lawyer and was brought up as a Christian but was not baptized. At first he had adopted Manichaeism as a result of the influence of the teachings in Carthage from where he received education and denounced Christianity. Manichaeism was the dualistic religious philosophy founded by Mani that held the belief that world was a mixture of spirit and matter and that the fallen soul could get out of the material and evil world by the way of spirit. The religion was assaulted severely by Church and Roman Empire and disappeared from the western world. He traveled from Rome to Milan to teach rhetoric but then gave up Manichaeism.

St. Augustine was converted to Christianity under the influence of St. Ambrose in 387 then he started his missionary activities from South Africa where got hold of the position of bishop of Hippo. Augustine authored various books to emanate his philosophy. His book Confessions is an autobiographical meditation on Gods grace and in the book Augustine recounts his conflicts during his conversion from Manichaeism to Christianity. In The City of God he made the nature of human society and Christianitys place in history his focus. On Christian Doctrine and On the Trinity are his famous theological works that best express his views (Lawless). His works are occasioned by controversies with Manichaeism, Pelagius and Demotists leading his thoughts to develop his ideas on Creation, the Sacrament, Grace and the Church. Despite the world-wide influence of his teachings on Christianity, his doctrine of Predestination has been under severe criticism.

The doctrine of Trinity presented by Augustine comes under sharp contrast with the monotheism taught by Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H). Trinity is derived from a Latin word Trinities that means number three, a tirade. It is the fundamental Christian doctrine by which God is considered as existing in three persons- God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. On the other hand Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) denounced the concept of multiple gods and emphasized the unity of God. Polytheism is the greatest sin according to the doctrine taught by Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H). As Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) fought against the pagans of Mecca, Augustine also fought the heresies of Manicheans, Pelagius and Demotists.

Augustine was sent on a missionary journey from Rome to England by Pope Gregory the Great to evangelize it. In 597 A.D Augustine came in the Isle of Thanes and in a short period of a year he succeeded to influence Ethelbert, the king of Kent, as he was baptized along with a bulk of his followers. The basic reasons behind the triumph of Augustinian Christianity include the reason that his ideology was best suited for the dominant classes of Roman society. It further strengthened the hierarchical order in the existing Roman world with the emphasis on human sinfulness and divine justice (Scott). Augustines doctrine encouraged every person to accept his or her position in the hierarchical order and to accept the will of God without queries that resulted in the strengthening the power of the ruling elite. That controversial doctrine transported the source of power to the ruling class who dominated the church as well. The poor, as a matter of fact were left of no other choice except to comply with the power of their elders who enjoyed the blessing of God. The unjust hierarchy of power then came into being. On the other hand Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H)s message was of equality and justice. The philosophy held by the prophet was not relished by the ruling class of Arab that consisted of chiefs of Koresh (the most honorable and rich tribe of Arab) who resisted Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) to the extent that the prophet had to migrate from his native land on the command of God. Unlike Augustines teachings Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H)s teachings were popular among the oppressed classes of his time who trusted the verses of the Holy Koran told by the prophet. While the affluent ones denounced the message of God as it was conveyed by His prophet. According to the Islamic ideology there is no concept of predestination. The grace of God is not something that would be awarded to the chosen ones but it must be earned by accepting the message of the prophet and with piety only. The philosophies of the two influential personalities are different in these respects.

Another reason behind the acceptance of a controversial ideology as Augustines been that it was coherent and complete than any other philosophies. His concept of will has also got acceptance by his followers (Harrison). One question that occupied the mind of Augustine during his life was about the existence of evil in the world which he tried to explore in his philosophy. He was the one who endured sufferings as he lost his loved ones and was puzzled with the queries that if God is Omnipotent then why does he allow sufferings to continue to haunt human beings. He found the answer of his queries that evil exists owing to the existence of free will. As God has given the human beings the power to choose for themselves and this choice can lead men to evil. These explanations that he had drawn stemmed from Neo-Platonism and Manichaeism which shaped Augustines ideas.

One of the most prolific writers of his times, Augustine, travels towards Christianity and his spiritual classics-The Confessions, The City of God and Trinity where he is scholar, theologian and historian simultaneously. His book The Confessions show his account of his journey to God and the work is not only admittance of his sins but is itself a long prayer. Confessions holds a vital importance in the history of Western literature and shows true and simple confession of a pious soul. In the personal narrative Augustine relates his rare ascent from an Algerian farm to the powers of imperial court in Milan, his struggle against the domination of lust, his renunciation of secular ambition and marriage and the recovery of the faith with which he was born (Augustine).

Like a Colossus bestriding two worlds, St. Augustine stands as the last patristic and the first medieval father of Christianity in the West. He conserved the motifs of Latin Christianity from Tertullian to Ambrose he drew Nicene orthodoxy and Chalcedonies orthodoxy into the garb of Christian community of Roman Empire. He also redeveloped the religious philosophy of Greco-Roman world. While he did not strayed away from Holy Scripture and made them the center of his philosophy. Augustine was not a reformer of Christianity but was a defender. Another way in which this reformer was different from the reformer cum defender- the prophet (P.B.U.H) - was that the prophet (P.B.U.H) came to complete all the reformations from Adam, the first prophet of God (according to the Islamic Ideology), to the last prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H). There would be no other prophet, God declared in the Holy Koran, after prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) and the journey of Islam has been completed while after the last Prophet the message of God and Islam would be carried out by the saints and scholars who would lead the creatures of God to the true message of Islam. There has been circumstances during the life of Mohammad (P.B.U.H) when the prophet has to defend Islam against the disbelievers who assaulted Muslims in Arab, then the Prophet along with his followers defended their faith first by migrating to Medina but when situation got out of hand then he answered the attacks of the disbelievers in fights which are known in the history of Islam by the name of fights at Bade, Had, Honan and some others. Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) did not add or subtract in the message of God but transferred the message without changes as he had vowed before God. On the other hand Augustine reformed the true form of Christian doctrines. He recast patristic tradition into the new pattern in which the new form of European Christianity would be molded. He attempted to defend Christianity from the impurities of heresies and the pagan dogmas which had been attacked Christianity severely. Augustines influence in the Medieval Ages is so pervasive that Thomas Aquinas is said to be more of an Augustinian than an Aristotelian. Augustines doctrine of God holds plutonian notions of Divine unity that goes in contrast with the notion of Gods involvement in creation and redemption. His theology was never Christ centric despite his sincere devotion to Jesus Christ. He made the doctrines of original sin and seminal transmission of guilt the cornerstones of his system. His philosophy centers on the concept of eternal damnation that says that although God is all merciful and gracious the creatures of God are condemned. The prophet of Islam, Mohammad (P.B.U.H) preached the unchangeable doctrine that only piety can be said to assure the road to Heaven.

Even the son of any prophet would not be granted the grace of God until he abides by the rule of God. The message of Mohammad (P.B.U.H) centers on the grace and mercy of God. Although he also preached Gods message in which He ushered that whatever illness is brought upon the human beings is owing to their own faults, hence man is responsible for his own deeds and if he follows the word of God he can be redeemed and the gate of pardon and redemption is left open until the demise of men. Augustine also did not deny the reality of human freedom and never allowed the excuse of mans unaccountability before God. The theme running behind Augustines works was the sovereign God of grace and sovereign grace of God that implies Gods freedom to act without external necessity. Gods grace, according to Augustine, incarnated in Jesus Christ is immanent in Holy Spirit in the Church. His journey to search God involves the search of the unanswered questions which concerned salvation of man from his damned position through Gods grace. His entire genius was invested in searching his concerns.

Augustine was not only a philosopher but was also considered the best psychologist in the ancient world. His profound understanding of human motives, behaviors and inner self was comprehensive. Augustine has been a credential source for contemporary psychology and existentialist philosophy. His concept of society as a single entity strung together with fidelity and love has been historical in the tradition of Christendom. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) also invested his efforts to build a Muslim unity and he started to materialize his efforts by building Muslim community in Medina at the end of his journey.

The journeys of the two great personalities are important as they show not only their physical travel that they did in the search of God but also spiritual travel that they did in the way of God. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) was not born prophet but he was adherent of Islam. In his forties he was given the responsibility of prophet hood while he was busy in the prayers when the archangel Gabriel brought the message of God in the cave of Hire. The journey of Prophet (P.B.U.H) was not mainly for the search of God as many scholars look at it, but his journey from Mecca to Medina was to protect Islam and the followers of Islam from the assaults of disbelievers. The journey of Sire and Marajo was for the purpose of demonstrating the truism of the prophet hood of Mohammad (P.B.U.H) and as God has declared in the Holy Koran, to distinguish between the believers and the non-believers. Therefore when the prophet (P.B.U.H) reported the event of Sire and Marajo some of the people verified and accepted the truth of Prophet (P.B.U.H)s words while the disbelievers made fun of the event. Hence those who accepted the truth of Prophet were included in the group of the Muslims and God has praised those believers in the Holy Koran. The attempts of the two great personalities were focused upon one aim-to search and defend truth and the word of God for the sake of humanity. Both of them were succeeded in their attempts as their message reached all the corners of the world. Their journey to truth, verily, is their journey to God.


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