The pre-Islamic era is known as the Age of Ignorance. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) appeared at a time when people had lost their knowledge of the true religion and had reverted to worshipping idols of stones, earth and bread . As stated in the Quran: "And they serve beside Allah(God) what can neither harm them nor profit them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allah(God) " . (Quran : 10/18)
In the Age of Ignorance, they also buried their daughters alive: "And when a daughter is announced to one of them his face becomes black and he is full of wrath. He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that which is announced to him. Shall he keep it with disgrace or bury it (alive) in the dust? Now surely evil is what they judge. " (Quran: 16 / 58-59)
Women were despised, not only in pre-Islamic Arabia but also in the Roman and Sassanid lands. The Quran openly declares that men will be questioned concerning this: "And when the female-infant buried alive is questioned about - for what crime was she killed?" ( Quran: 81/8-9).
After Muhammad(pbuh) had declared his Prophethood, a Companion told him what he had done with his daughter:
O Messenger of Allah(God), I had a daughter. One day I told her mother to dress her, for I was taking her to her uncle. My poor wife knew what this meant, but could do nothing but obey and weep. She dressed the girl, who was very happy that she was going to see her uncle. I took her near a well, and told her to look down into it. While she was looking into the well, I kicked her into it. While she was rolling down, she was shouting: "Daddy, Daddy!"
As he was recounting this, the Prophet (pbuh) sobbed as if he had lost one of his nearest kinsfolk. ( Hadith )
Hearts had become hard. Every day a pit was dug in the desert for an innocent girl to be buried. Human beings were more brutal and cruel than hyenas. The powerful crushed the weak. Brutality was taken for humanity, cruelty received approval, the bloodthirsty were exalted, bloodshed was considered a virtue, and adultery and fornication were more common than legal marriage. The family structure had been destroyed.
This dark period was followed by Islam. In addition to eradicating all other evils, Allah(God) declared in the Quran: "Do not slay your children for (fear of) poverty -- We provide for you and for them" (Quran: 6/151).
When humanity was in dire need of someone to destroy unbelief and breathe new life into the world, Allah(God) raised Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) to stop all forms of wickedness. In the words of Ahmad Shawky:
" The sun of guidance was born,
and the entire universe was illumined.
A smile appeared on the lips of time,
and his praises were sung. "
pbuh : peace be upon him
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