Contextualizing Prophet Muhammad’s Role as a Social Reformer

  • Mohd Shafi Bhat Doctoral Candidate, Shah-i-Hamadan Institute of Islamic Studies University of Kashmir, Srinagar, 190006
Keywords: Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Islah ,Ummah, Tajdid, Virtues


Islam encompasses in its inclusive teachings both the spiritual and the temporal aspects of human life. Apart from its comprehensive and holistic nature, Islamic faith is founded on the principles of primordial belief system; the first human being on earth being Adam, who besides being referred to as the first vice-gerent of God on earth was also the first Messenger of God on earth; and this process of Messengers continued up to the last messenger, Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who was a perfect Messenger-cum reformer in His life and teachings. The seventh-century Arabian society was enveloped by the corruptions of unbelief, polytheism, while diverse forms of ignorance and immoralities were prevalent in the society. People of Arabia were valorizing ancestral authority over the divine commands, they were preferring tribal customs over divinely sanctioned law. Prophet (SAW) with his penetrating vision and dynamic character, intervened to mend, resolve, and reform that disorder which was prevalent in the society at that particular time. Though Prophet transformed his community from ignorance to knowledge, from faithlessness and corruption to faithfulness and dignified community. However with the changing time and space, due to forgetfulness and other such reasons, Muslim community is always in need of reform both intellectually and socially. The guiding principle for all the times, for the pursuit of reform in Muslim community uncontestably would be the Prophetic model of reform (Islah).  The present paper will study the contribution of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) towards social reform of his community vis-à-vis its contemporary relevance. The fundamental features and principles of Prophetic model of social reform will be highlighted which can be utilized for the transformation of humanity in general and Muslim community in particular.


Al-Quran 20:15
The usual term used in Arabic (Islamic) discourse for reform, for further study about the term Islah and its use in Islamic history, see Islah from Encyclopaedia of Islam, Leiden Brill, Vol. 4. P. 161-181
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Al-Quran. 16:58-59
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Safiur-Rehman Mubarakpuri, ibid, P. 59
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Naeem Siddiqui, ibid. P. 10
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Professor A.R. Momin, ibid, p.71
Ibid. p. 74