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Islam is based on the foundation of mysticism, total trustworthiness of the Prophet and his social activism, fight against oppression and exploitation, said Sultan Shahin, founder and editor of the multilingual Islamic website NewAgeIslam.com, addressing a mixed gathering of intellectuals, activists and youths in Pune, Maharashtra. The session was chaired by Syed Bhai, president of Muslim Satyashodhak Samaj, Pune. The founder of the Society Mr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay is at present Consul General of India, New York and was earlier India's High Commissioner in Maldives.

People who peddle hate and intolerance, exclusivisim and fascism, in the name of Islam, should study the character of the Prophet (saw), his early life as much as his career as a prophet, said Mr. Shahin. He went on: " It is very important for us to study what did the Prophet do before he was chosen by God to be his messenger. We don't know much but what we do tells us that he spent hours and days in mediation, in the way of our Sufis and Rishis, was considered a man of impeccable honesty by the people of Mecca including later his enemies and ran what today would be called a human rights NGO, called The Alliance of the Virtuous, fighting oppression, protecting the weak."

Mr. Shahin continued: "The mystic meditations of the prophet in the cave of Hira (Ghar-e-Hira) for weeks at a stretch are well known, and so are his personality traits like honesty and total trustworthiness, for which the Meccans had named him al-Ameen (The Trustworthy). But perhaps not many know about his social activism and his fond memories and moving descriptions of these activities during his days as prophet. The Prophet and his allies in the organisation were active in search of justice for all, particularly the wayfarers, traders from foreign soil who had been wronged by Meccans and other oppressed and exploited. "  

"This group of Meccan activists The Alliance of the Virtuous," explained Mr. Shahin, "had been formed by the prophet's uncles Zubair and Abu Talib, in his presence, in a meeting at the house of Abd Allah ibn Judan. The circumstances in which this Alliance  was formed and the purpose behind it are quite instructive. South African author  Farid Esack quotes a narration by Ibn S'ad (1967,1, p., 144) to tell this fascinating story of pre-Islamic Mecca. ....