The following few lectures about different aspects of the life of the Prophet of Islam (Peace be upon him) were delivered under the patronage of the Muslim Educational Society of Madras, India, in 1925. For the past few years, it has been a regular practice in Madras that every year some distinguished scholar of Christianity gives lectures on Christianity and Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him), which are received with great interest. This gave the idea to certain well educated Muslims of Madras that a similar attempt should be made for the benefit of the Muslim students of English-medium schools there. Every year, the services of a Muslim scholar should be acquired to give lectures about Islam and the Prophet of Islam (Peace be upon him), and these lectures should suit the taste of the students of English-medium schools and appeal to the modern mind. Fortunately, Seth M. Jamal Mohammad took upon himself to sponsor these lectures and it is hoped that his good work will continue for a long time to come and this series of the “Islamic Lectures of Madras” will be popular and fruitful.
I feel privileged that I was the first to be chosen for this noble and extremely important task. Eight lectures were held at Laly Hall, Madras, beginning in October, 1925, and were completed in the last week of November. I am grateful to Seth Hameed Hassan, Secretary of the Muslim Education Society, who made all the arrangements, including the announcements and the English translation of these lectures. I am also grateful to the Muslims of Madras for their patient hearing and appreciation of the lectures some of which lasted for nearly three
hours. The non-Muslims too, deserve my thanks who in their search for truth attended these meetings despite the fact that Urdu is not their native language. I extend my gratitude to the Urdu and English newspapers of Madras for publishing weekly a summary of my lectures in their columns. Daily Express and The Hindu of Madras deserve a special mention in this regard who generously devoted their columns for the English translation of these lectures.
Finally, while I present these lectures in the written form, I bow my head in humble gratitude to Almighty Allah, asking for His acceptance and Mercy and that He may grant me the sincerity of purpose in presenting this work to the readers.
Seeking Allah’s Mercy,
Syed Sulaiman Nadvi
Foreword to the Third Edition
All praise be to Allah, who has granted immense popularity to these lectures which were written rather hastily. They were received with equal enthusiasm and warmth by all classes of Muslim society and were read with great adoration. It is only due to Allah’s Grace and Kindness that they have become so popular and beneficial, and are vastly read in schools and in religious gatherings all over the country.
In the course of these lectures, there has come a certain inevitable comparison between the life and personality of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) and of other prophets of Allah, which is permissible. However, it must be borne in mind that on such occasions the comparison has been made by way of argument and is in reply to what the non-Muslims believe about certain prophets and what has been written about their personalities in their own religious books. As far as the Islamic point of view is concerned every prophet of Allah had the purest of character, was infallible in his conveyance of the Divine message and was an ideal personality for the guidance
of mankind. In spite of the differences in recording their life histories due to different times and different abilities of the biographers, their real personalities remain above and beyond all criticism and fault finding.
These lectures were first published in 1926, while I was in the Hejaz, from an unrevised draft. The same
thing happened with the second edition. I have been able to revise the third edition but still it cannot be claimed that a man’s every effort is free from all error. Therefore, I say this short prayer using the words of the holy Quran:
“Our Lord condemn us not, if we forget or fall into error”
Syed Sulaiman Nadvi
27th Sha’ban, 1355
(14th November, 1936)