(Allah praises and grants peace upon the Prophet
(Salla Allahu (sa) alihi wa sallam)
Allah is the Arabic word for the Creator
Islam is the Arabic word for submission to Allah
THE MILLENNIUM BIOGRAPHY OF MUHAMMAD
THE PROPHET OF ALLAH
Grand Shaykh, Professor Hasan Qaribullah
Dean of Umm Durman Islamic University and Sammania Grand Shaykh
Grand Muhaddith Master Abdullah Ben Sadek
Shaykha Anne Khadeijah Darwish
Shaykh Ahmad Darwish, Personal Secretary in USA to Shaykh Qaribulla
founder of the Mosque of the Internet
Please email this work to friends and family
Available in Palm, Word and Web Formats
Bismillah Ir Rahman Ir Raheem
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1 Prophet Abraham and the First House of Allah on Earth
Chapter 2 The New Governors of Mecca
Chapter 3 Hashim
Chapter 4 Abd Al Mutalib
Chapter 5 The Vow
Chapter 6 The Marriage of Abdullah to Amina
Chapter 7 The Memorable Year of the Elephant
Chapter 8 The Birth of the Last Prophet of Allah, the Sealing of the Prophethood
Chapter 9 Life in the Desert
Chapter 10 A New Life in Mecca
Chapter 11 The Early Years
Chapter 12 Marriage
Chapter 13 Sayd
Chapter 14 Ka’ba
Chapter 15 Ali, son of Abu Talib
Chapter 16 The Prophethood
Chapter 17 The Revelation, Rank of the Prophets, Messengers and the Arch Angel Gabriel
Chapter 18 The Miraculous Koran
Chapter 19 The Early Revelations
Chapter 20 The First to Believe
Chapter 21 The Characteristics of the Early Muslims
Chapter 22 The Hierarchy of the Koraysh
Chapter 23 The Command to Preach
Chapter 24 The Koraysh and Abu Talib
Chapter 25 Tufayl from the Tribe of Daws
Chapter 26 Pre-Islamic Conditions in Yathrib
Chapter 27 Unrest in Mecca
Chapter 28 An Attempt to Bribe
Chapter 29 Nadar, the son of Al Harith
Chapter 30 Persecution
Chapter 31 The Eavesdroppers
Chapter 32 Waleed, Chief of the Makhzum
Chapter 33 The Splitting of the Moon
Chapter 34 Idolatry Through Lack of Divine Guidance – the Conversion of Omar, son of Khattab
Chapter 35 The Boycott
Chapter 36 The Companions Migrate to Abyssinia
Chapter 37 The Delegation from Abyssinia
Chapter 38 The Cessation of the Boycott
Chapter 39 The Year of Sorrow
Chapter 40 The Vision
Chapter 41 Abu Bakr and Talha
Chapter 42 The Journey to Ta’if
Chapter 43 The Message and the Tribes
Chapter 44 The Night Journey and the Ascent
Chapter 45 The Six Men from the Tribe of Khazraj
Chapter 46 Madinat Al Nabi – the City of the Prophet
Chapter 47 The Visitor from Najd
Chapter 48 The Migration
Chapter 49 A Time for Readjustment
Chapter 50 The Jews of Medina
Chapter 51 The Second Year after the Migration
Chapter 52 A Threat from Mecca
Chapter 53 The Second Year after the Migration
Chapter 54 Prelude to the Encounter of Badr
Chapter 55 The Encounter of Badr
Chapter 56 The Revenge of Bilal and the Persecuted
Chapter 57 The Spoils of War
Chapter 58 The Death of Lady Rukayyah
Chapter 59 The Arrival of the Prisoners
Chapter 60 The Return of the Koraysh
Chapter 61 Three Resolutions
Chapter 62 The Marriage of Lady Fatima
Chapter 63 “When you are touched with good fortune, they grieve”
Chapter 64 The Market Place of the Tribe of Kaynuka
Chapter 65 The Oath of Abu Sufyan
Chapter 66 Lady Hafsah
Chapter 67 The Request of Lady Fatima
Chapter 68 The Caravan to Iraq
Chapter 69 Prelude to the Encounter at Uhud
Chapter 70 The Births of Al Hassan and Al Hussain
Chapter 71 The Encounter at Uhud
Chapter 72 The Return to Medina
Chapter 73 The Day after Uhud
Chapter 74 Revelations Concerning Uhud
Chapter 75 After Uhud
Chapter 76 Lady Zaynab, Daughter of Khuzaymah
Chapter 77 A Plot to Murder the Prophet (sa)
Chapter 78 The Tribe of Nadir Declare War
Chapter 79 The Fourth Year
Chapter 80 The Second Meeting at Badr
Chapter 81 The Fifth Year
Chapter 82 Salman of Persia
Chapter 83 The Marauders of Dumat Al Jandal
Chapter 84 A Pattern of Life Emerges
Chapter 85 Lady Zaynab, Daughter of Jahsh
Chapter 86 The Revenge of the Tribe of Nadir
Chapter 87 The Koraysh Prepare for the Attack
Chapter 88 The Encounter at the Trench
Chapter 89 The Aftermath
Chapter 90 The Death of Sa’ad, Mu’adhs son
Chapter 91 The Koraysh Caravan
Chapter 92 The Tribe of Mutalik
Chapter 93 The Necklace of Lady Ayesha
Chapter 94 The Vicious Lie
Chapter 95 The Death of Ubayd Allah, son of Jahsh
Chapter 96 The Prelude to the Opening of Mecca
Chapter 97 The Treat of Hudaybiyah
Chapter 98 The Escapees from Mecca
Chapter 99 The Waiving of the Clause
Chapter 100 The Blowers upon Knots
Chapter 101 A Time of Sadness, a Time for Rejoicing
Chapter 102 The Marriage between the Prophet (sa) and Lady Umm Habibah
Chapter 103 The Jews of Khybar
Chapter 104 The March to Khybar
Chapter 105 The Events of Khybar
Chapter 106 Lady Safiyah, Daughter of Huyay
Chapter 107 The Victorious Arrival
Chapter 108 The Tribes of Hawazin and Ghatafan
Chapter 109 The Trial of Wealth
Chapter 110 Gifts from the Muqawqas, Primate of
the Christian, Coptic Church in Egypt
Chapter 111 Umrah – the Lesser Pilgrimage
Chapter 112 The Dispute
Chapter 113 The Turner of Hearts
Chapter 114 The Eighth Year
Chapter 115 The Intercepted Letter
Chapter 116 The Tribes of Bakr and Khuzah
Chapter 117 The Road to Mecca
Chapter 118 The Opening of Mecca
Chapter 119 The Encounter at Hunain
Chapter 120 The Spoils of War
Chapter 121 The Return Journey to Medina
Chapter 122 A Son is Born
Chapter 123 Smaller Expeditions
Chapter 124 Tabuk
Chapter 125 The Return from Tabuk
Chapter 126 The Delegation from Ta’if
Chapter 127 The Year of Deputations
Chapter 128 The First Pilgrimage after the Opening of Mecca
Chapter 129 Life in Medina
Chapter 130 A Time of Great Sorrow
Chapter 131 A Time to Learn
Chapter 132 The Farewell Pilgrimage
Chapter 133 The Return from Yemen
Chapter 134 The 11th Year
Prophetic Homestead – His Genealogy and Description
BISMILLAH IR RAHMAN IR RAHEEM
YOU, THE READER AND HERACLIUS,
EMPEROR OF ROME HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON
The authors were unable to find a more eloquent preface to this millennium biography than a letter sent by the Prophet to his contemporary the Emperor Heraclius. In reply, Heraclius commenced an imperial investigative effort to cross examine the current Prophethood.
In the year 610 CE, Heraclius, succeeded Phocas as Emperor of Rome. His empire flourished and extended as far west as the Danube in Europe, and included all the countries on the Mediterranean coast. It also included the Balkans of which Turkey with its famed city Constantinople, named after the Emperor Constantine was a jewel in the crown of the Roman empire, and many of the Arab countries surrounding Arabia.
As part of his prophetic duty Prophet Muhammad (sa) invited Heraclius to Islam and in response Heraclius decided to examine Prophet Muhammad. By exploring this book you are, by default, examining Prophet Muhammad (sa) and this what is meant by referring to the reader as having something in common with Heraclius.
Prophet Muhammad (sa) sent his messenger, Dihyah Al Kalbi to the governor of Bostra with a letter for Heraclius inviting him to Islam saying:
PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S LETTER TO HERACLIUS
In the Name of Allah,
the Merciful, the Most Merciful.
From: The Prophet of Allah
To: Heraclius, the greatest of Romans
Peace be upon those who follow Divine Guidance.
I therefore invite you to embrace Islam. Surrender to Allah and live in peace.
Allah will doubly reward you, but if you turn away, the sin of the Arians will rest upon you." Then he quoted the Koran:
'Say: People of the Book! (Jews, Nazarenes and Christians)
Let us come to a common word between us and you,
that we will worship none except Allah, that we will associate none with Him,
and that none of us take others for lords beside Allah.’
If they turn away, say: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims’
IMPERIAL, INVESTIGATIVE CROSS EXAMINATION
OF THE PROPHETHOOD
A peace treaty was in effect between the Prophet (sa) and the hostile tribe of Koraysh. Abu Sufyan, its chieftain, one of the most bitter enemies of Islam, knew that on account of the peace treaty he could rely upon the safe passage of his caravan to trade in far away Syria (Ash-Sham).
Heraclius had many questions he wanted answered. When he learned that a Koraysh caravan from Mecca was now in the vicinity, he sent a rider with a message to the caravaners saying he wished them to accompany his rider back to Jerusalem so that he may speak with them.
As Abu Sufyan and his caravan journeyed to Jerusalem, he wondered why the Emperor of Rome had sent for him but he didn't have to wait long. As soon as they reached Jerusalem, Abu Sufyan and his companions were presented to Heraclius and his court whereupon Heraclius called for an interpreter and inquired about Prophet Muhammad (sa).
He asked Abu Sufyan and his companions who amongst them was closest to the Prophet (sa) in kinship. Abu Sufyan replied that it was he and told him that the Prophet (sa) hailed from a noble lineage. Then, Heraclius turned to his companions and said, "If he says something you know to be contradictory, you must speak."
Heraclius' questions were direct, he asked Abu Sufyan if any of his tribe had ever before claimed to be a prophet whereupon Abu Sufyan replied that none had. Then he asked if any of his ancestors had been a king and Abu Sufyan replied that they had not. Heraclius was interested to know what kind of people followed the Prophet (sa) and if their numbers were increasing or decreasing. Abu Sufyan replied that they were poor people and that their numbers were increasing. Then, Heraclius asked if he knew of anyone of his followers had reverted to their old religion, and Abu Sufyan replied that he knew of none.
Referring to the Prophet's character Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan if he had ever known the Prophet (sa) to lie, or if he had ever betrayed or broken his word, whereupon Abu Sufyan replied no to all counts, then, referring to the latter Abu Sufyan commented in a tone of resentment, "We have a treaty with him, but we do not know what he will do."
Heraclius asked next if they had ever fought against the Prophet (sa) and if so to tell him about the outcome. Abu Sufyan replied that they had fought; sometimes they had been victorious and upon other occasions victory belonged to the Prophet (sa).
Then, Heraclius inquired about his teachings whereupon Abu Sufyan told him that the Prophet (sa) ordered his followers to worship Allah alone and not to associate anything with Him, and to renounce the idols their forefathers had worshipped. Abu Sufyan continued to tell him that the Prophet (sa) also ordered them to pray, not to lie, to be chaste and to foster kindred relationship.
THE WITNESSING TO THE AUTHENTICITY OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD (SA)
From these answers Heraclius derived his opinion of the Prophet (sa) saying, "All the prophets came from noble families, I asked you if anyone before him from your tribe claimed to be a prophet and your reply was no. If your reply had affirmed it then I would have deduced he was mimicking that man. I asked if any of your ancestors had been a king, you replied they had not. If your answer had been otherwise I would have assumed that he wanted to reclaim his ancestral kingdom. When I asked if he lied, you replied that he did not, so I wondered how a person who does not lie could ever tell a lie about Allah.
I also asked you about his followers, whether they were rich or poor and you replied they were poor -- the followers of all the prophets were poor. When I asked if his followers were increasing or decreasing, you replied increasing; this is the course of true belief. Then, I asked if there was anyone, who, after embracing Islam recanted and you replied that you knew of none; this is another sign of belief as it enters the heart.
When I asked you if he had ever been known to betray, you replied that he had not; this is the way of all prophets. Then I asked you what he ordered his followers to do, and you told me that he orders that Allah alone is to be worshipped, and forbade the worship of idols. Then you told me that he orders you to pray, speak the truth, and be chaste. If what you say is true, he will, in the near future occupy this seat." Then Heraclius told Abu Sufyan:
"I knew he was about to appear, but did not know he would be from you. If I could meet him I would wash his feet with water."
Then Heraclius called for the letter the Prophet (sa) had sent him and read it aloud whereupon there was a sudden outcry from the court and Abu Sufyan and his companions were thrown out onto the street.
As soon as they were able to pull themselves together Abu Sufyan told his companions, "He has become so prominent that even the King of the light-skinned Byzantine people is afraid of him!" and knew in his heart that it would not be long until the Prophet (sa) conquered.
Abu Sufyan was a proud man and his reputation mattered greatly to him and was heard to say in the years to come, "By Allah, if it were not for the fact that I would have been ashamed that my companions would label me as a liar, I would not have told the truth."
ARCH ANGEL GABRIEL’S DISCRIPTION OF THE PRINCIPALS OF ISLAM:
Omar, the son of Khattab narrated, “We were sitting with the Holy Prophet (sa) one day, when an unknown man appeared to us. His clothes were brilliantly white, his hair jet black but there was no sign of traveling upon him.
1. SUBMISSION TO ALLAH (ISLAM)
He sat down in front of the Prophet (sa) and their knees touched. Placing his hands on his thighs he said, ‘Prophet Muhammad (sa) tell me about Islam.’ The Prophet (sa) replied, ‘Islam is that you bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger, and that you establish the prayer, pay the obligatory charity, fast the month of Ramadan, and make the Pilgrimage to the House (Ka’ba) if you can afford it.’ Then to our surprise the man confirmed the correctness of the answer saying, ‘That is right.’
2. FAITH AND BELIEF (IMAN)
Then the man said, ‘Tell me about faith.’ To this the Prophet (sa) replied, ‘ It is that you believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day and that you believe in predestination.’
3. SPIRITUAL PERFECTION (IHSAN, ISLAMIC SUFISM)
Again the man said, ‘That is right, now tell me about perfection.’
The Prophet (sa) replied, ‘It is that you worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, and if you do not see Him, know that He is watching you.’
The man asked again, ‘Tell me about the Hour of Judgement.’ The Prophet (sa) replied, ‘He who is being asked knows no more about it than the one who asks.’ So the man asked, ‘Tell me about some of the signs of its approach.’ To this the Prophet (sa) replied, ‘The female slave will give birth to her master, and the bare-footed, naked, penniless goat-herders will live arrogantly in high mansions.’
The man departed, and I remained for a while. The Prophet (sa) asked me, ‘Omar, do you know who the inquirer was?’ I replied, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ So he told me, ‘It was Gabriel who came to teach you your Religion.’”
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MERCIFUL THE MOST MERCIFUL
PROPHET ABRAHAM AND THE FIRST HOUSE OF ALLAH ON EARTH
Prophet Abraham was born to honorable parents descended from Prophet Noah. He was born in the city of Hara, Iraq during the reign of King Nimrod and is often referred to as “The Friend of Allah” and "The Father of the Prophets".
Before Abraham reached maturity his father passed away, and as was the custom in those days, he would, out of respect for his paternal uncle, refer to him as his father.
There had been a void in guidance since the death of Prophet Noah and the people of Hara reverted to idolatry. Hara was renowned for its ornate, pagan temples and its citizens took great pride in the idols housed within them. Offerings were sacrificed to the idols and ritual ceremonies, wishfully invoking their favors performed before them.
A lucrative commerce had grown around the activities of the temples. Carved replicas of the idols were a much sought after possession and it was to this profession that Azar, Abraham’s uncle, whom he now called “father” directed his talents.
WHO IS MY LORD
Abraham was unlike his contemporaries, he grew to be an upright, caring, young man repulsed by idol worship and sought the answer to a question that had consumed him for many years -- who was his Lord?
In the process of his guidance, Allah in His Mercy caused Abraham to contemplate upon the kingdoms of the heavens and earth. One evening, as he gazed up into the night sky, he saw a planet shinning more brightly than the others and exclaimed, "This is surely my Lord!" but, as the morning light came the planet set he rejected his thought saying, "I do not like the setting ones!" On another occasion as he saw the moon rise he said once again, "This is my Lord!" But like the planet as the light of the morning broke it disappeared whereupon he said, "If my Lord does not guide me, I shall be amongst the astray nation!" Then, when he saw the sun rise upon the horizon he said, "This must be my Lord, it is larger!" But as it set he turned to his people saying, "O nation I am quit of what you associate (with Allah, the Creator) I have turned my face to Him who created the heavens and the earth, uprightly, and I am not among the idolaters!" Koran, Chapter 6 verses 76-79
ABRAHAM IS CHOSEN BY ALLAH AND BECOMES A PROPHET
Shortly after this Allah sent the Arch Angel Gabriel to inform Abraham that He had chosen him to be His Messenger. Abraham was deeply humbled by the news and Gabriel brought him, over a period of forty-two visits, ten Holy Scrolls. Prophet Muhammad informed his companions later on that the contents of the Scrolls were examples.
Abraham's open rejection of idolatry caused a commotion, no one had ever challenged the deity of the idols of Hara; to his fellow citizens the notion was deemed blasphemous. However, Abraham was resolved, he had no doubt that Allah was the only One to be worshipped because he was convinced that it was He alone who had created everything.
THE LOGIC OF ABRAHAM
Abraham tried reasoning with those around him in the best manner, but they refused to accept his logic even after he had drawn their attention to the obvious fact that their idols had either been hewn from stone or carved from wood by people such as themselves.
Abraham never stopped challenging his people and asked if their idols could do anything else other than just stand motionless, year after year, in the same place -- the place in which they themselves had been positioned many years before! He reminded his people that the idols neither ate nor drank from the offerings placed before them nor could they harm or benefit anyone. But still the people refused to abandon their idolatry.
Over the course of time the idolaters became outraged and told Abraham that it was he who was wrong and that he must fear their gods. Abraham shook his head and asked, "And how should I fear what you have associated when you yourselves are not afraid that you have associated with Allah that which He did not send down for it upon you an authority.” Koran, Chapter 6 verse 81
ABRAHAM AND KING NIMROD
The news of Abraham's preaching reached King Nimrod who considered himself to be a deity. Abraham feared no one except Allah, so when he was presented to the king he challenged him saying, "My Lord is He who revives and causes to die." But the artful king scoffed at Abraham and told him, "I revive and cause to die."
The king knew exactly what Abraham meant, but had tired to outwit him with his reply by referring to the power he had as king to either spare the life of a guilty criminal, or put to death an innocent person -- whichever suited his whim. Abraham challenged him yet again saying, "Allah brings up the sun from the east, so you bring it from the west." This time the king knew he had been revealed and the color drained from his face, and Abraham waited to see if he would surrender to Allah but he did not and so Abraham returned home. Koran, Chapter 2 verse 258
ABRAHAM AND THE MIRACLE OF THE FOUR BIRDS
One day, Abraham asked Allah to show him how He revived the dead. Allah asked Abraham, "Haven't you believed?" Abraham told Him that it wasn't that, rather, it was just to satisfy his heart. So Allah told him to take four birds, sacrifice them, then cut them into pieces and mix their bits and pieces together then go to the neighboring hills and place some of the mixed pieces on each of them. Allah told Abraham that after he had done this to call the birds and their severed parts would reassemble and fly to him.
Abraham did exactly as he was told, he sacrificed a peacock, an eagle, a crow and a rooster, then, after he had mixed their body parts together he placed them upon the neighboring hills, keeping only their heads with him. Once this had been done he called to them whereupon their mixed parts were brought back to life, reassembled, and flew to join themselves to their respective head that Abraham still held in his hand. Koran.
ABRAHAM AND HIS “FATHER” PART COMPANY:
Now Azar was among those who refused to accept Allah as his Lord. Abraham asked him why he was so devoted to the idols but Azar could offer no better reply than to say that many people before him had worshipped them, and what was good enough for them was good enough for him also. Azar became upset and embarrassed by his nephew’s preaching and threatened to stone him if he persisted.
Such was Abraham’s conviction that he did not stop preaching and after a while, Azar realized that his threats were of no use so he told his nephew he did not wish to see him again for sometime. As they parted company, tender-hearted Abraham told Azar he would ask Allah to forgive him, and that perhaps his Lord would accept his prayer.
Abraham continued to preach against the idols but the people continued to spurn what he had to say. After each refusal he would ask them the same question he had asked his uncle -- what made them so devoted to their idols -- but they replied in the same way, which was simply because their fathers and ancestors had worshipped them. Some even accused Abraham of jesting with them, but he swore that this was not so, and that without doubt their Lord and Creator is and always had been the Lord of all that is in the heavens and earth, and that they should abandon their useless idols.
ABRAHAM OUTWITS THE IDOLS
No matter how hard Abraham tried they would not accept the truth, so he told them, "By Allah, I shall outwit your idols as soon as you have turned your backs and gone." No one took Abraham seriously so they left and went about their business.
Some time later, Abraham, unseen with ax in hand, entered the temple in which the most revered idols were housed, and smashed all except the largest into pieces then left unseen.
It wasn't long before the idolaters returned to the temple and saw their gods lying broken into pieces on the floor. There was an outcry of horror and those who had heard Abraham's challenge immediately suspected him, and so he was summoned before them. "Abraham," they asked, "was it you who did this to our gods?" Abraham replied, "It was their great one that did it. Ask them if they can speak." The idolaters huddled together in a corner knowing well in their hearts the truth of the matter and that Abraham had at last succeeded in exposing the worthlessness of their idols. Begrudgingly, they admitted, "You know they do not speak." Thereupon Abraham challenged them saying, "Would you then worship that which can neither benefit nor harm you, instead of Allah? Shame on you and that you worship other than Allah! Have you no understanding?" Koran, Chapter 21:68
It was more than the idolaters could bear, their idols lay broken in pieces unable to do anything for themselves. Outraged by the whole situation they cried out, "Burn him and help your gods!"
The idolaters hastened to build a huge bonfire with the intent of burning Abraham to death, however, Abraham remained calm having complete trust in His Lord and did not flinch. There was nothing that would tear him away from his belief in the Oneness of Allah.
Abraham was led to the bonfire and placed in its center, and the kindling wood lit. It wasn't long until the flames leapt high into the air -- but not even a single hair of Abraham's head was scorched.
That was because Allah had caused a miracle to occur. He commanded the flames to be cool and safe for Abraham and eventually, when the fire had consumed itself, Abraham walked away unharmed praising and thanking Allah for His mercy.
Even though the idolaters had witness this great miracle they continued in their arrogance and refused to abandon their idols. In their hearts they knew that nothing they did would ever harm Abraham because he was protected by Allah, so in desperation they banished him and his wife, Lady Sarah, from their homeland.
ABRAHAM AND SARAH IN EGYPT
After a long, tiring journey, Prophet Abraham and Lady Sarah reached Egypt and it was there they decided to make their home.
During their time in Egypt, Haggar, one of the noble ladies-in-waiting in the court of Pharaoh, came to live in Abraham's household as a companion to Sarah. Haggar was a sweet natured lady, she loved Lady Sarah dearly and a very special friendship bonded them together.
Idolatry was also commonplace in Egypt especially in the court of Pharaoh but when Haggar heard Abraham speak about Allah she was quick to recognize the truth and accepted it.
In those days it was common place for a man to have more than one wife and Prophet Abraham and Lady Sarah, who were now elderly remained childless. Lady Sarah had given up hope of ever bearing a child so she suggested to Abraham that he might like to take Haggar to be her co-wife. Both Abraham and Haggar accepted her suggestion and shortly after Haggar became his lawful second wife.
The family's wish was fulfilled when Lady Haggar conceived and gave birth to a fine son whom they named Ishmael. Lady Sarah was delighted and happy that Abraham had at long last been blessed with a son -- little did she know at that time that she too would be blessed in later years for her patience with a son of her own, Isaac.
Throughout the centuries nationalistic Jews and Orientalists have sort to distort the truth about Prophet Abraham’s legal marriage to Lady Haggar and the very close relationship between Ladies Sarah and Haggar. Their object has been and still is to undermine the great event which had been promised and recorded in the original, unadulterated Holy Scriptures that announced the coming of Islam with its protected revelation, the Holy Koran and the seal of all the prophets, Prophet Muhammad (sa).
PROPHETS OF ALLAH
Both the sons of Abraham were legitimate and destined to become prophets of Allah. Ishmael was sent as a prophet to the Arabs and Isaac as a prophet to the Hebrews, later on to be called the children of Israel and then Jews, peace be upon all the prophets.
It is from the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac that two great nations evolved each having Prophet Abraham as their common ancestor. However, neither Jew nor Christian can claim he was a follower of their religion as both prophets Moses and Jesus were sent many centuries after the death of Prophet Abraham.
ABRAHAM AND HAGGAR IN BECCA, ARABIA
Before Ishmael completed his weaning, Prophet Abraham saw a vision in which he was instructed to take Lady Haggar and their son to a place called Becca, in the peninsular of Arabia, known today as Mecca, and leave them there.
Mecca lies in a valley surrounded by mountains and hills with three passes. One to the north, another to the south and the other to the west. The valley had long been one of the most traveled caravan routes in Arabia, however, it remained uninhabited largely because it lacked water.
Upon reaching Becca, Prophet Abraham settled Lady Haggar and Ishmael under the shade of a large tree and gave his wife a large bag of dates and a water-skin full of water, then, turned away and started to leave them. Lady Haggar followed after him and asked, "Abraham, where are you going, are you leaving us in an uninhabited provisionless wilderness?" She asked the same question several times, but Abraham did not reply. Then, searching for a reason and knowing her husband would never do anything to earn the displeasure of Allah she inquired, "Has Allah commanded you to do this?" whereupon he replied, "Yes". So she comforted them both saying, "Then He will not let us perish," and returned to her infant.
ABRAHAM SUPPLICATES FOR LADY HAGGAR, ISHMAEL & FUTURE GENERATIONS OF MUSLIMS
At a place called Thania, Abraham stopped and turned his face in the direction of the ruins of Ka'ba -- the first House of Allah to be built on earth -- which lay buried in the sand. He raised his hands and supplicated,
I have settled some of my offspring
in a barren valley
near Your Holy House;
in order that they establish the prayer.
Make the hearts of people
yearn towards them,
and provide them with fruits,
in order that they are thankful."
Koran, Chapter 14 verse 37.
Allah had promised Abraham that from his offspring would arise great nations, that is why Abraham referred to having settled "some of his offspring" near Ka'ba. This promised was fulfilled as it was from the descendants of Prophet Ishmael that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon all the prophets, was born.
Lady Haggar suckled her infant son and gave him water from the skin until none remained. It wasn't long until both were very thirsty but she was more concerned for Ishmael. Lady Haggar could not bear to have her son go without water so she searched frantically for some but could find none. In desperation she climbed a nearby hill, the hill of Safwa, and stood at its top and looked around in all directions to see if there was anyone in sight to help her -- but there was no one. She ran back down the hill and in her anxiety ran across the valley and climbed to the top of the neighboring hill of Marwah, but again to no avail. She ran between the two hills seven times, but could find neither caravaners nor water.
ALLAH HEARS THE CRY OF LADY HAGGAR
Upon the seventh time she reached the hill of Marwah Haggar heard a voice. She calmed herself and listened attentively, and called out, "I have heard Your voice, would that my supplication might reach You." And there, standing near the place we know today as Zamzam stood Angel Gabriel. Gabriel struck the ground with either his heel or wings, and water gushed forth. Hastily, she dug a hole in the ground into which the water flowed and filled her water-skin to the top as the water gushed forth with still greater force. Quickly, she drank a handful of water and raced back to her son to give him some. Then, Gabriel spoke saying, "Do not be afraid of perishing here, because it is here that your son and his father will build a House for Allah. Allah will not let those around it perish."
THE RUINS OF KA'BA
In those days, the ruins of Ka'ba were elevated on a piece of land covered by sand in the shape of a mound, and when rain eventually fell it would run on either side.
Ishmael and his mother continued to live in Mecca by themselves until one day caravaners from the tribe of Jurhum returning from Kada'a, struck camp a little distance from the place where Lady Haggar had made her home. As the caravaners were unloading their camels they observed birds circling in the sky not far away. Their experience had taught them that birds circling in this manner might well indicate water. Ever hopeful of finding a fresh supply of water in that desolate region, they thought it was worth investigating, although from their past experience they had never found water anywhere in that area.
Several tribesmen were sent to investigate. When they reached the place over which the birds circled, to their great surprise and joy they found the spring of Zamzam and returned quickly to tell their fellow travelers. Upon hearing the good news the caravaners stopped what they were doing and rushed to both see and drink the fresh water.
LADY HAGGAR MEETS THE JURHUM CARAVANERS
When they reached Zamzam, the caravaners found Lady Haggar standing nearby and asked her permission to strike camp near her. Lady Haggar agreed on condition that she retained the water rights and that her son would be the prince. The Jurhumites agreed and settled themselves in Becca whilst sending word to their families to come and join them there.
ANGELS DO NOT EAT
Meanwhile, one day, when Prophet Abraham was at home with Lady Sarah they were visited by strangers.
It was not uncommon to find strangers visiting their home as each day Abraham would light a large bonfire on the top of a nearby mountain to attract and welcome travelers.
Abraham’s generous hospitality was well known, no one was ever turned away and as such he hardly ever ate alone. His guests were always well fed and during the course of a much welcomed meal Abraham would take the opportunity to tell to his guests about Allah.
One day, strangers arrived at his home, and as was his custom he arranged for a fine meal of a roasted calf to be prepared for his guests. The meal was set before them but his guests declined to either eat or drink. Abraham was deeply trouble by this strange situation -- travelers were always hungry, or at least thirsty. Abraham's guests perceived his anxiety and told him not to be afraid because although they had taken the form of humans they were not humans as he supposed, rather, they were angels on their way to the city of his cousin Prophet Lot.
Prophet Abraham felt at ease once more as he knew that angels, who are neither male nor female, and created from light, only worship Allah and do whatsoever they are ordered to do by Him.
The angels proceeded to inform Abraham that the city of Prophet Lot, had become disobedient to Allah and were sexual perverts. The angels continued to tell him that it was because of this that Allah had ordered them to punish its people by utterly destroying both them and their city.
LADY SARAH BECOMES PREGNANT
As Lady Sarah entered the room, the angels told her that she would give birth to a son. She was overwhelmed by the news and clasped her hands on her cheeks in delight. She had been so happy when Lady Haggar gave birth to Ishmael several years before and now she too was to be blessed with a son of her own.
THE SEEDS OF ISHMAEL’S FORTHCOMING PROPHETHOOD
In His Wisdom, Allah had protected Ishmael in the harsh environment of the Holy Land in which he had matured. He had learned to speak Arabic in its purest, most eloquent form from the Jurhumites together with the art of horsemanship and had also become a highly skilled archer. The Jurhumites loved him, for his character was not only truthful and honorable but he was trustworthy and cared for their welfare; later on he was to marry from their tribe.
ISHMAEL, THE FIRST SACRIFICE
Despite his advanced years, Prophet Abraham would often journey to Mecca to visit Lady Hagar and his dearly beloved, eldest son, Ishmael who was now a young man.
On one such visit Prophet Abraham saw a vision in which he was told to sacrifice his son for Allah. Soon after the vision shaytan came to Abraham and whispered, “How could you kill your beloved son?” Abraham instantly rejected and cursed shaytan, and in obedience to Allah went to Ishmael and said: "My son, I saw while sleeping that I shall sacrifice you, tell me what you think." It was time for shaytan’s second attempt to prevent the fulfillment of the vision and he whispered to Ishmael in a similar manner. Ishmael immediately rejected and cursed shaytan. Like his father, Ishmael’s love of Allah and obedience to Him was unquestionable and he replied: "Father, do as you are ordered (by Allah), Allah willing, you shall find me one of those who are steadfast." Koran, Chapter 37:102.
Shaytan had failed twice, in his final attempt to prevent the fulfillment of the vision he went to Lady Hagar and whispered, “How could you let Abraham kill your only son?” But like her husband and son, she too loved Allah and was obedient to Him, and without hesitation she cursed and rejected shaytan.
THE THOUGHTFULNESS OF ISHMAEL
Prophet Abraham took Ishmael to a quiet place far from the people. As Abraham prepared himself to sacrifice his beloved son for Allah, Ishmael, being a loving, caring young man and without thought for himself, asked his father for three things. He requested that he should be permitted to face the ground so that his father would not see his eyes and then be overcome with mercy towards him, and disobey to command of Allah. Ishmael also feared for the safety of his father so he requested him to sit upon his shoulders so that if he struggled when the knife struck him he would not injure him. He knew his mother would be sad so his final request was to ask his father to give her his shirt to console her.
It was time, Prophet Abraham tried to slit the back of his son's neck three times, but on each occasion the blade was prevented from penetration. After the third attempt, Allah called out to Abraham saying, "O Abraham, you have confirmed your vision.’ As such We recompense the good-doers. That was indeed a clear trial. So, we ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice.” Koran, Chapter 37 verse 104-107
Later on, Prophet Muhammad, (sa) said referring to Prophet Ishmael and his own father Abdullah whose life was ransomed by the slaying of a hundred camels: "I am the son of the two sacrifices."
When Prophet Muhammad (sa) revived the pilgrimage many centuries later, three stone pillars were erected outside Mecca en route to Arafat as a reminder of the three whisperings of shaytan to Prophets Abraham, Ishmael and Lady Hagar. These three pillars are cursed and stoned by all those who make the pilgrimage.
THE UNGRATEFUL SPOUSE
Lady Hagar had passed away before Prophet Abraham's next visit to Becca. When he reached the valley he made his way to Ishmael's home but when he found he was not at home he started to look for an object he left behind on a previous visit. Soon after Ishmael's wife returned, she showed him no respect, neither did she welcome him, nor was she hospitable to her elderly visitor. Abraham asked her where her husband was whereupon she told him he was away hunting. He then inquired about their life and circumstances but rather than being grateful, she told him things were difficult then proceeded to complain about everything in their life.
Ishmael's hunting expedition took longer than expected and so Abraham, who had been made unwelcome, decided it was time to leave. Before he left he asked Ishmael’s wife to give her husband a message saying, "When your husband returns, convey my greetings of peace to him and tell him that he should change the threshold of his door."
A while after Abraham's departure Ishmael returned and sensed something unusual had happened during his absence, so he asked his wife if there had, in his absence, been any visitors. She told him of the elderly man that had stopped by and how he had asked about his whereabouts and their welfare. Ishmael asked if the visitor had left a message whereupon she told him that he had sent him greetings of peace and told him to change the threshold of his door. Upon hearing this Ishmael told his wife that the elderly gentleman was none other than his father and that he had directed him to divorce her. So Ishmael divorced his wife, and, as was his nature, treated her fairly and caused her no harm, and she returned to her people.
Ishmael was loved by the Jurhumites and when he decided to remarry from their tribe they were delighted.
THE GRATEFUL SPOUSE
After a period of time Prophet Abraham returned to visit his son but once again he did not find Ishmael at home. He asked his new wife where he was and she told him that he had gone out to search for provisions and prepared a meal her visitor. As before, he asked Ishmael's wife about their circumstances but unlike the previous wife she praised Allah and told him they were comfortable. Abraham then inquired about their food whereupon she told him that they ate meat and drank water. Then, Prophet Abraham supplicated, "O Allah, bless their meat and water." Before leaving, Abraham asked her to convey the greetings of peace to Ishmael but this time he left instructions to strengthen the threshold.
Soon after Ishmael returned and once again sensed something unusual so he inquired if there had been any visitors during his absence. His wife told him of the elderly gentleman and spoke kindly about him. Ishmael asked if he had said anything to her, she told him that he had inquired about their well-being and that she had replied everything was well. She also told him that the elderly gentleman had asked her to convey his greetings of peace to him and said that he was to strengthen the threshold of his house.
Ishmael smiled, and told his wife that the elderly gentleman was none other than his father, Abraham, and that she was the "threshold" he had ordered him to keep.
In the years that followed, Ishmael had twelve children, and it is from his son Kidar that many Arabs are descended.
RAISING THE HOUSE OF ALLAH
Time passed, and the next time Prophet Abraham came to visit Ishmael he found him sitting under a large tree near the spring of Zamzam repairing his arrows. As soon as he saw his father he stood up and they greeted each other affectionately with peace. After the greetings, Abraham told his son that Allah had given him another command -- the command to rebuild Ka'ba, the Holy Mosque of Allah. When Abraham asked Ishmael if he would help him fulfill his task he felt highly honored and accepted whereupon Abraham pointed to a mound of large stones and to its surrounding area and told him that it was the place where Allah had commanded him to raise the foundations of the Holy Mosque.
Soon the rebuilding of Ka'ba was underway, Ishmael picked up the large stones, handed them to Abraham, who then positioned them to form a roofless cubic house with its corners pointing to the north, south, east and west.
During its rebuilding, an angel came to them bearing a black stone that had lain on Abu Kubays, a nearby hill, ever since it had been brought from Paradise many, many centuries before. And so it was that Prophet Abraham positioned the Black Stone at the eastern corner of the Ka'ba.
Many centuries later, their descendant, Prophet Muhammad, (sa) told his companions that when the stone was brought from Paradise it was whiter than milk, but, on account of the many sins committed by the children of Adam, it had changed color.
Once Ka'ba had been rebuilt, Abraham and Ishmael supplicated,
"O our Lord, accept this from us.
You are the Hearer, the Knower.
Our Lord, make us both submissive (Muslims) to You,
and of our descendants
a submissive nation to You.
Show us our (pilgrimage) rites,
and accept (repentance from) us.
You are the Receiver
send among them
(the inhabitants of this House)
a Messenger from them
(Allah answered the supplication by sending Prophet Muhammad)
who shall recite to them Your verses
and teach them the Book (Al Koran)
and wisdom (Prophetic sayings),
and purify them.
You are the Mighty, the Wise."
Koran Chapter 2 verses 127 -129 with the explanation of Sawi.
Prophets Abraham and Ishmael asked for the acceptance of repentance on behalf of their descendants as they, like all prophets, were protected from sin.
PILGRIMAGE TO KA'BA IS ESTABLISHED
Following the supplication Allah took a covenant from Abraham and Ishmael to purify His House for those who would make their pilgrimage to it and for those who would worship Him there.
Allah accepted the supplication of Prophets Abraham and Ishmael and soon pilgrims from all over Arabia and beyond made their way to Mecca where they learned about Allah and worshipped Him alone and were also instructed how to offer their pilgrimage.
Among those who offered their pilgrimage was Ishmael's younger, beloved half-brother, Prophet Isaac. Centuries later their descendants, prophets Solomon, David, John and Jesus made their pilgrimage to the Holy Mosque, Ka'ba, where they too worshiped Allah.
It was not always possible for pilgrims to offer their pilgrimage during its special season. Those unable to offer what is known as the “Greater Pilgrimage” would come when they could during other times of the year and offer a lesser pilgrimage. And so it was that Mecca became the center of worship in Arabia, and a hub of activity on account of both its pilgrims and caravaners.
THE NEW GOVERNORS OF MECCA
REVERSION TO IDOLATRY
Prophet's Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac had passed away, and as the centuries passed, the worship of Allah, the Creator, became corrupted. However, the pilgrimage to Ka'ba continued with great treasures being brought by pilgrims that were then stored in the Ka'ba.
Prophet Ishmael's descendants and the tribe of Jurhumites had increased greatly in number to the extent that many decided to leave Mecca and settle elsewhere. However, before leaving it had become their practice to gather stones from around the Ka'ba to take with them, then, upon reaching their new settlement position the stones and perform the pilgrimage rites around them.
With the new settlements there also came new neighbors, and with their new neighbors came their reversion to idolatry. Their new pagan neighbors influenced them to the extent that soon idols were added to the stones; and as time progressed these idols were brought to Mecca, placed around Ka'ba and worshipped with the idolaters claim that their idols had powers to intercede between Allah and mankind. To them Allah had become remote and many ceased to believe in the Everlasting Life.
THE GOVERNORS OF MECCA
After the death of Prophet Ishmael, his eldest son, Nabit, became the custodian of Ka'ba, and after his death the custodianship had been entrusted to his maternal grand-father, Madad, and so it was in this way that the custodianship passed from the direct descendants of Ishmael to the tribe of Jurhum.
The Jurhumites governed Mecca for many, many years but throughout this period terrible wars ignited and finally they were driven out of the city.
THE BURYING OF ZAMZAM
Before the Jurhumites left Mecca, they buried the well of Zamzam and hid many of the treasures stored in the Ka'ba inside the well.
The new governors of Mecca were distant descendants of Prophet Ishmael from the tribe of Khuza'ah in Yemen. However, they failed to find the blessed well that had been given to Lady Hagar and Prophet Ishmael; although its miraculous story was still told and continued to be handed down from one generation to the next.
THE KHUZA'AH, NEW GOVERNORS OF MECCA
The coming of the new governors did not mean that the idols were to be barred from Ka'ba, on the contrary, some of the Khuza'ah inclined to idolatry.
Once, when one of their chieftains was returning from an expedition that had taken him through the region we know to day as Syria, he came across the idol worshipping Moabites. Their idols made a great impression upon him so he asked if he might have an idol named Hubal to take back with him to Mecca. The Moabites agreed and upon his return he placed it inside the Ka'ba itself and for many centuries after, up until the opening of Mecca, Hubal became the chief idol of Mecca.
THE RELIGIONS OF ARABIA
Idolatry was commonplace in Arabia, as it was now claimed that Allah had become too remote for them to worship alone and only fragments of the teachings of Prophets Abraham and Ishmael remained. Pagan temples had been erected in many locations and distant second to Ka'ba, the most visited temples were those in the Hijaz dedicated to the idols of Al Lat, Al Uzza, and Manat whom their worshipers claimed were the trinity, daughters of Allah, capable of interceding on their behalf with Him!
To the people of Yathrib, the most prestigious temple of Manat was in Kdayd by the Red Sea. As for the Koraysh of Mecca, their second choice was the main temple of Al Uzza, a short journey south of Mecca in the valley called the “Tree” (Nakhlah).
It was in the fertile land of Ta'if, that lay some distance outside Mecca, that the Thakif, a branch of the tribe of Hawazin, who were descended from Prophet Ishmael, erected a highly revered temple dedicated to Al Lat. The Thakif took great pride in their temple and adorned it with riches, but despite its lavish adornments, and pleasant location they knew it could never reach the rank of Ka'ba. The importance of Ka'ba was acknowledged throughout Arabia and it was to the Ka'ba, and not to the other temples, that pilgrims flocked in great numbers each year.
In Arabia there were also minority groups of Jews, Nazarenes and Christians, some of whom were knowledgeable of their scriptures and believed in the Oneness of the Creator. Their ancestors had chosen to settle in that barren region on account of a prophecy described in their ancient Holy Books that heralded the arrival of a new prophet to be born there. Each family hoped that the prophet would arise from their own family or tribe.
THE TRIBE OF KORAYSH
Among the descendants of Prophet Ishmael arose a powerful, yet chivalrous, honorable and noble tribe, the tribe of Koraysh. It’s hospitality and generosity, especially to pilgrims, was well recognized and it was from this honored lineage that Prophet Muhammad (sa) was destined to be born.
Approximately four hundred years after Prophet Jesus ascent, a man from this tribe called Ksay, married Hubba, the daughter of Hulayl, chief of the Khuza'ah. Ksay was a prominent Arab and Hulayl preferred him to his own sons.
Hulayl died during a skirmish that was later resolved through arbitration. Each party agreed that Ksay should become the new governor of Mecca and receive the much coveted custodianship of Ka'ba. Ksay accepted the appointment and sent for the rest of his family then settled them near the Ka'ba.
Amongst the members of Ksay's family was a brother named Zuhra, an uncle named Taym, a cousin named Makhzum and several other cousins who were not as close to him as other members of his family. They, together with their families became known as the Koraysh of the Valley. Distant members of his family settled themselves outside Mecca in the surrounding hills and became known as the Koraysh of the Outskirts.
THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
Ksay governed Mecca with fairness and loved by everyone and was its undisputed, powerful leader. He took the matter of being the custodian of the Sacred House very seriously, and raised the standard of living of those who tended its upkeep by replacing their tents with permanent dwellings.
It was during this time that he built a spacious house for himself in which he conducted tribal meetings. The house was also used for other important gatherings such as weddings and as a point of departure for caravans, and so it was that Ksay's house became known as "The House of Assembly".
PROVISION FOR THE PILGRIMS
Pilgrims flocked to Mecca each year to offer their pilgrimage, and among them were many needy pilgrims. As custodian of the Ka'ba it was Ksay's responsibility to ensure that the needs of the pilgrims were met and that they should neither suffer nor thirst.
His own wealth was insufficient to cope with the needs of the ever increasing number of pilgrims so he called for a meeting to raise funds in which he asked the people of Mecca to pledge a modest annual contribution on their flocks. The Meccans were agreeable and by the time the pilgrims arrived for the Greater Pilgrimage there was sufficient food and water to accommodate the pilgrim’s needs.
Ksay, anxious to do the best he could for the pilgrims also commissioned an additional leather trough of water to those already provided in Mecca at Mina. Mina lies several miles away on the route to Mecca across the arid and dusty desert, so the trough provided much welcomed relief not only for the pilgrims but for travelers.
The income raised through the pledge was more than enough to meet the pilgrim’s needs and so it was through this excess that the first covering was made for the Ka'ba from cloth woven in Yemen.
A MATTER OF SUCCESSION
Abdu Manaf was one of Ksay's four sons, and had shown great signs of leadership beyond those of his brothers, who were themselves very capable. However, when the matter of succession arose Ksay's eldest son, Abd Ad-Dharr was Ksay's choice.
Just before Ksay died he called for Abd Ad-Dharr and gave him the House of Assembly. He told him that he was going to equalize the matter of rank by decreeing, amongst other matters, that none should be allowed to enter Ka'ba unless he, Abd Ad-Dharr, opened it for them; that no pilgrim be allowed to draw water in Mecca unless he permitted them to do so and that pilgrims were to eat unless he provided for them.
OBEDIENCE OF ADU MANAF
When death came to Ksay, his son Abdu Manaf, complied with his father's wishes and accepted his brother as the new governor and matters ran smoothly.
DISCORD AMONG THE FAMILY
It was however, the next generation of Koraysh -- including the descendants of Ksay's brother Zuhra and is Uncle Taym -- that dissatisfaction was expressed regarding the way in which matters were being administered. They felt that Hashim, a son of Abdu Manaf, who had already succeeded in distinguishing himself in many honorable ways, was more capable and should have the rights transferred to him. Soon, there was a division among the Koraysh that left only the Makhzum and some distant relatives as well as Abd Ad-Dharr's near relatives in support of Abd Ad-Dharr.
THE ALLIANCE OF THE PERFUMED ONES
Hashim and his supporters met together in the precincts of Ka'ba where the daughters of Abdu Manaf prepared a bowl of expensive perfume and placed it before Ka'ba. Each of Hashim's supporters dipped their hands into the bowl and as they did took a solemn oath never to abandon one another.
To seal their solemn pact, each supporter rubbed his perfumed hands over the stones of Ka'ba and from that time onward they were referred to as the "Perfumed Ones".
THE ALLIANCE OF THE CONFEDERATES
Those who supported Abd Ad-Dharr likewise swore an oath of allegiance, and became known as the "Confederates".
THE SANCTITY OF KA'BA AND ITS PRECINCTS
Soon there was an ice-cold atmosphere between the two parties. Matters deteriorated to the extent that the two factions reached the brink of fighting to the death to resolve the matter. However, Ka'ba and its surrounding area -- the perimeters of which extend for several miles -- had always been held sacred and fighting within this area had been strictly forbidden since the time of Prophets Abraham and Ishmael.
However, before things reached the point of no return a compromise was proposed which proved acceptable to both parties. The compromise was that Abd Ad-Dharr should retain the keys to Ka'ba together with its rights and also keep his home -- the House of Assembly. On the other hand, Hashim should from now onward receive the right to collect the pledged contributions for welfare of the pilgrims.
HASHIM AND THE PILGRIMS
Before the pilgrimage each year, Hashim would invite the leaders of the tribes to attend a meeting in the House of Assembly to discuss the preparations for the pilgrimage. He would remind them that they had been blessed by being the neighbors of the House of Allah, and that the pilgrims were visitors to His House. He told them that because the pilgrims were the guests of Allah they had more rights upon their generosity than ordinary guests and after having drawn their attention to this right he would ask them to give their pledged contribution. Like his grandfather, he told them that if his own wealth had been sufficient, he would have accommodated the expense himself and not asked them for their contribution to the fund. All complied with Hashim's request and the contribution pledge was collected.
HASHIM ESTABLISHES CARAVAN ROUTES
The life of a caravaner was perilous, but for many it brought prosperity. A caravaner could expect to face many hazards other than the extreme heat of the desert followed by the intense cold of the night during certain times of the year. But, perhaps the greatest hazard of all was the fear of being attacked by marauding tribes. All too often caravans were attacked resulting in the loss of both life and merchandise. Hashim knew well the burden of the caravaner so he decided to visit with the tribal chieftains along the trade routes traveled by the Koraysh and use his powers of friendly persuasion and fairness to secure a safe passage. One by one the tribes agreed and soon the trade routes became less hazardous.
Hashim's sense of fairness and compassion toward his fellow beings was demonstrated yet again during a year in which there was extreme drought followed by famine. Upon hearing of a neighboring tribe's suffering he arranged for a supply of food and water to be distributed among the stricken tribe. This upright act, and others like it, led to the strengthening of bonds between the Koraysh and other tribes.
Hashim's just character and ability to organize were known not only by his fellow Arabs but to the great powers of the day, namely the Emperor of Rome and the King of Abyssinia, ruler of Yemen.
It was through their admiration of Hashim that he succeeded to negotiate peaceful, lasting treaties, which in turn exempted the Koraysh from the payment of previously enforced trading taxes. Hashim's popularity was such that whenever Koraysh traders reach Angoria -- now Ankara, the Emperor himself would go out to welcome them and show great hospitality and inquire about Hashim.
The two great trade routes were now secure, so during the winter when the heat of the desert had died down, caravans would set off on their journey to Yemen, then as summer advanced caravans would set off in the opposite direction on their long trail to the north-west reaching as far away as Palestine or Syria which was at that time part of the Roman Empire.
HASHIM MEETS SALMA, DAUGHTER OF AMR
On the route northwards caravans would make their way to a desert oasis called Yathrib -- now called Medina -- to trade and replenish supplies before setting off again on their long trip.
The inhabitants of Yathrib were both Arab and Jew. At first, the Arabs were known as the children of Kaylah but as time passed they had divided into two tribes, the tribes of Aws and the tribe of Khazraj, both of whom were the sons of Kaylah.
In those days its was common for a man to have many wives, some as many as forty. Hashim was already married when he met, in Yathrib, a noble, influential lady named Salma, the daughter of Amr from the tribe of Najjar, a branch of Khazraj. Hashim proposed to her and she accepted on condition that she remained in control of her own affairs and that when she gave birth to a son, the boy would remain with her in Yathrib until he reached the age of puberty. Hashim accepted her conditions and the two were married.
It was a happy, successful arrangement and Hashim made frequent trips to Yathrib to stay with Salma. On several occasions Hashim continued on from Yathrib to Syria, however, on one such journey he was taken ill in the city of Gaza, Palestine. His illness proved to be serious and he did not recover. Salma was pregnant and later gave birth to a son whom she named Shayba. As Shayba grew up he loved to listen to the heart warming stories about his generous father, and it was through the example of his father’s noble sense of fairness and peaceful character that Shayba modeled his own life.
THE BROTHERS OF HASHIM
Hashim had two blood brothers named Abdu Shams and Muttalib, and a half-brother named Nawfal. Both Abdu Shams and Nawfal were traders, Abdu Shams' trade route lay between Mecca, Yemen and Syria, whereas, Nawfal's trade route, for the most part, took him to distant Iraq.
On account of their commerce, the brothers were away from Mecca for long periods of time resulting in Muttalib, their younger brother, assuming the responsibility of the rights to collect the pilgrimage contribution pledge.
As time passed, Muttalib pondered over who should be his successor. His deceased elder brother Hashim had married four wives and from them he had three sons.
Shayba, the son of Salma, although younger than his half-brothers, displayed signs of leadership at an early age. Traders passing through Yathrib would relate reports about him to Muttalib, and the more he heard about his nephew the more impressed he became as his character appeared to be developing to be much like that of his father.
Wishing to know more about Shayba he decided to go to Yathrib to see for himself and visit with his extended family. Muttalib was not disappointed, the reports he received were correct, so he asked his mother to entrust Shayba to his guardianship. At first Salma was reluctant to let her son go with him, and Shayba, out of love and respect for his mother, refused to leave without her consent.
Muttalib explained to Salma that Mecca had more to offer her son than Yathrib. He reminded her of the nobility of the Koraysh tribe and that it was they who had been entrusted with the prestigious custodianship of the House of Allah. He told her that he was of the opinion that her son stood an excellent chance of receiving the office his father had once held and thereby become one of the chieftains of the Koraysh tribe. Muttalib stressed the point however, that in order for her son to be considered as a candidate for such honors it was imperative for the people of Mecca to know him in person, otherwise he would simply be overlooked.
Salma, was convinced by Muttalib's reasoning and knew the proposal was in her son's best interest, so she agreed to let his uncle take him to Mecca. She consoled herself with the knowledge that she could visit him fairly regularly as the journey to Mecca was relatively short, taking ten to eleven days of travel.
THE ARRIVAL OF SHAYBA IN MECCA
Muttalib, with Shayba riding behind him on the camel set out for Mecca. As they entered the City, the people saw Muttalib and thought the youth riding behind him was his new servant and commented: "Look, the servant of Muttalib -- Abd Al Muttalib!" Muttalib was amused and replied, "Be off with you, he is the son of my brother Hashim!" The mistake was a source of amusement and news of his arrival spread throughout Mecca, but the name stuck, so Shayba became affectionately known as Abd al Muttalib.
NAWFAL DISPUTES SHAYBAH'S INHERITANCE
It wasn't long after Shayba's arrival when Nawfal disputed the young man's right over his father's estate. Muttalib stood by his nephew, and pressure was also brought to bear from Yathrib and Shayba, now known as Abd Al Muttalib, received his rights.
THE DEATH OF MUTTALIB
As time passed, Abd Al Muttalib's character continued to grew in both integrity and honor; the people of Mecca loved him and without doubt he lived up to and surpassed the expectations of his uncle. From an early age he had displayed strong capabilities of just leadership. His uncle had taught him the importance of administering the rights of the pilgrims and he diligently assisted his uncle in its preparation.
Several years after is arrival in Mecca, Abd Al Muttalib's uncle passed away. No one in Mecca disputed his nephew's qualifications to succeed him. In fact many Meccans were of the opinion that Abd Al Muttalib surpassed both his father and uncle in fulfilling the duties of Custodian of the House of Allah with all its weighty responsibilities.
ABD AL MUTALIB
THE VISION OF ABD AL MUTTALIB
Abd Al Muttalib was not an idolater, he directed his prayer to Allah alone and loved to be near the Ka'ba. It was because of this love that he would often have his mattress spread out in a place known as 'Hijr Ishmael' -- which is the place where Prophet Ishmael and his mother Lady Hagar lie buried and also where Prophet Ishmael used to pen his sheep --- and sleep there.
It was on one such night that he had a vision in which it was said to him, "Dig the sweet one." He asked, "What is the sweet one?" but there was no reply. The next morning he awoke with an overwhelming feeling of happiness and peace, the like of which he had never experience before, so he decided to spend the following night near Hijr Ishmael.
That night he had another vision in which the voice told him, "Dig for mercy". He asked the meaning of it but again there was no answer. When he returned to sleep there on the third night the vision came yet again but this time he was told, "Dig for the treasure." When Abd Al Muttalib asked what was meant by the treasure, the vision vanished as before.
The vision came again on the fourth night, however this time the voice was more specific and told him to dig for Zamzam. Abd Al Muttalib asked about Zamzam, but unlike the previous occasions the voice answered saying, "Dig for it, you will have no regrets, it is your inheritance from your greatest ancestor. It will neither dry up, nor fail to suffice the pilgrims." The voice told Abd Al Muttalib that Zamzam lay buried under a place in which there was blood, dung and an ants' nest, and that amongst it all he would see a crow pecking. Before the vision departed, the voice told him to supplicate to Allah for the continuous flow of pure water that would suffice all pilgrims.
THE REALIZATION OF ABD AL MUTTALIB'S VISIONS
At dawn, Abd al Muttalib arose and as in the tradition passed down from one generation to the next from the time of Prophet's Abraham and Ishmael, he circumambulated Ka'ba seven times and reverently kissed the Black Stone. Having completed his rites, he made his way to the door of Ka'ba, took hold the metal ring that hung from its lock and started to supplicate in the manner in which the voice had instructed.
As he supplicated a large black crow flew down behind him and not long after another crow joined it. After Abd Al Muttalib had finished his supplication he turned and observed the birds strutting toward two rocks that had been taken as idols, approximately a hundred yards away. The two idols had been named Isaf and Nailah and were among the lesser idols of Mecca. Legend had it that the idols had been early Jurhumites that had been turned into stone because of their profanity. It was between these two idols that the idolaters would slaughter their animals and consequently it was common to find both blood and dung upon the ground. As Abd Al Muttalib approached he noticed an ants nest and knew that this must be the place referred to by the voice in the vision.
Wasting no time at all, he returned to his home to get a spade. His son Harith was there so he told him to go and fetch another spade and to come with him to the Ka'ba.
THE DISCOVERY OF ZAMZAM
The sun had risen as they set to work digging between the two idols. As the people started to rise and go about their daily chores and business they noticed Abd Al Muttalib and Harith digging away in the sacred area between their idols and not long after a crowd started to gather to see what they were doing.
As much as the Meccans respected Abd Al Muttalib they felt he was going too far and told him he must stop desecrating the ground with his digging. Abd Al Muttalib refused and told his son to stand on guard to prevent anyone interfering with his digging. The digging progressed without any incident and the people began to tire of standing around and had started to disperse when to Abd Al Muttalib's great joy he struck the stone cover of the well of Zamzam. Immediately he thanked Allah, and the excited crowd regrouped around him.
News of his find spread quickly throughout Mecca and it wasn't long until a very large, joyous crowd had gathered to celebrate this great discovery.
THE TREASURE OF ZAMZAM
Abd Al Muttalib and his son removed the large stone cover from the forsaken well of Zamzam and as they did to the amazement of everyone, their eyes fell upon the treasure that had been taken from Ka'ba many centuries before when the Jurhumites had been driven from Mecca. There was great excitement and everyone laid claim to a share of the treasure.
In those days it was the practice of Meccans to use divining arrows and cast lots to settle major issues with the ceremony taking place within the confines of Ka'ba before their chief idol Hubal. There were three stakes; one that the treasure should be returned to Ka'ba, another that it should be retained by Abd Al Muttalib, and the other that the treasure be divided between the tribes.
When the time came for the settlement everyone gathered anxiously by the Ka'ba and the diviner cast the arrows. As the arrows fell they fell in favor of some of the treasure being restored to the Ka'ba, and the remainder being retained by Abd Al Muttalib, none fell in favor of the Koraysh. After the division had been settled it was also decided that the tribe of Hashim should take charge of the Well of Zamzam as it was their responsibility to provide water for the pilgrims.
ABD AL MUTTALIB TAKES A VOW
To many it would have appeared that Abd Al Muttalib had everything he could desire. He was the Custodian of Ka'ba, handsome, wealthy, generous, and of noble character that had won him the respect of the people of Mecca. However, he only had one son, Harith, whereas his cousins Umayyah, chief of the tribe of Abdu Shams and Mughirah, chief of the tribe of Makhzum had many.
The fact that he had just one son hadn't concerned him greatly until he met with resistance from his fellow Meccans during the excavation of Zamzam. At that time he felt weaker than at any other and wished he had more sons to support him.
He felt humble to be chosen as the one to be honored to restore the well and was grateful to Allah for His blessings to him, but his heart prompted him to supplicate to Him for ten sons. As he supplicated in earnest, he promised Allah that if He would favor him with ten sons that reached the age of manhood, he would sacrifice one of them in the Ka'ba. Allah heard his supplication and as the years passed he had, to his great pleasure, nine more sons. He never forgot the promise he made to Allah and as his sons reached manhood the matter pressed hard upon his mind, especially as the youngest of his sons, Abdullah, had now reached maturity.
Abdullah had grown into a handsome, fine, upstanding young man like his father and although Abd Al Muttalib loved his other sons, Abdullah had become his favorite.
Abd Al Muttalib knew that the time had come to fulfill his vow. He was a man of his word and had no intention of turning away from his oath. Until this time, Abd Al Muttalib had kept the matter between Allah and himself secret, no one in his family knew of the oath he had taken many years before.
Abd Al Muttalib had raised his sons to be true men, and all were obedient to him. One day he called his ten sons together and told them of the oath he had taken. They all accepted, their father's vow was their vow, and bravely they asked him how the matter would be decided. He told them that the matter would be determined by arrow divining and that they must each take an arrow and make their mark on it.
After their marks had been made, Abd Al Muttalib sent a message to the arrow-diviner of the Koraysh tribe to meet him in the Ka'ba. Then he took his ten sons into the Sanctuary and led them inside the Ka'ba, then, when the arrow-diviner arrived he told him of his oath. Each son presented his arrow and Abd Al Muttalib stood ready with his knife drawn. The arrows were cast, and the lot fell against Abdullah. Without hesitation, Abd Al Muttalib took his son's hand and led him to the door intending to make straight for the place of sacrifice.
ABDULLAH'S REMALE RELATIVES
Abd Al Muttalib had not considered the fact that he might have to deal with his wives as he did not know they had learned of his intention. Fatima, the mother of Zubair, Abu Talib and Abdullah who were all candidates for the sacrifice, was, on her mother's side, descended from Abd, one of the sons of Ksay and belonged to the very influential tribe of Makhzum. When Fatima learned of the vow, she immediately rallied her co-wives, who were from less influential tribes, and together with her own powerful tribe they now marched in force to the Ka'ba to prevent the sacrifice.
As Abd Al Muttalib opened the door of Ka'ba his eyes fell upon the large crowd assembled in the courtyard. Everyone noticed that the expression on Abd Al Muttalib and Abdullah's faces had changed. Fatima and her kinsmen were quick to realize that it was Abdullah who had been chosen as the sacrifice. Just then, someone in the crowd called out, "For whom is the knife!" and others took up the cry although it was evident for whom the knife was intended.
Abd Al Muttalib tried to tell them of his vow, but was interrupted by Mughirah, the chief of Makhzum who told him that they would not permit him to make the sacrifice. He told him that they were prepared to offer a sacrifice in his stead, even to the extent of ransoming Abdullah with all the property of the sons of Makhzum. They were adamant, and prepared to take whatever steps were necessary in order to spare the life of Abdullah.
By this time Abdullah's brothers had come out of Ka'ba. Until then none had spoken, but now they too turned to their father imploring him to spare the life of their brother and to offer some other kind of sacrifice instead. There was no one present who did not urge him not to do so.
Being an upright man, Abd Al Muttalib did not want to break the vow he had taken, but the pressure upon him was great. Reluctantly he agreed to consult with a wise, Jewess who lived in Yathrib and was familiar with matters such as this and could tell him whether a substitution was in fact permissible in this case, and if it was, what form of ransom would be required.
THE WISE WOMAN OF YATHRIB
Abd Al Muttalib set off with Abdullah and several of his brothers for Yathrib -- Abd Al Muttalib's birth-place. When they reached Yathrib they inquired the whereabouts of the wise lady and were told she no longer lived there but in Khyber that was approximately ninety miles north of Yathrib.
So they continued their journey through the hot desert until the reached Khyber were they found the wise woman. Abd Al Muttalib told her of the oath he had taken and inquired whether it was possible to offer a ransom instead. She listened intently and told them to return the following day after she had time to consider the matter and that she would give them an answer.
Abd Al Muttalib prayed fervently to Allah and the next morning he and his sons returned for the verdict. The wise woman greeted them and asked what was the usual compensation offered amongst their tribe, so they told her that it was common place to offer ten camels. Upon hearing this she told them to return home and as soon as they arrived to put Abdullah and ten camels side by side and cast lots between them. She told them that in the event the arrow should fall against Abdullah they were to increase the number of camels by ten, and cast lots yet again until Allah accepted them by the arrow falling against the camels. She also told them that once the number of camels had been determined all were to be sacrificed immediately in order that Abdullah might live.
THE SACRIFICE OF 100 CAMELS
After having thanked the wise woman, Abd Al Muttalib and his sons set out for home straight away and upon reaching Mecca Abdullah and ten camels were taken into the courtyard of Ka'ba. Abd Al Muttalib went inside the Ka'ba and supplicated to Allah asking Him to accept what they were about to do. Upon the conclusion of his supplication he came out of the Ka'ba and the lots began to be cast. The first arrow fell against Abdullah, so ten more camels were added. The lot was cast again, but once more the arrow fell against Abdullah, and ten more camels were added and so it continued. It was only when the number of camels reached one hundred that the arrow finally fell against the camels.
THE RANSOM IS ACCEPTED
Everyone was overjoyed including Abd Al Muttalib, however, he wanted to make quite sure that this was, without a shadow of a doubt the ransom required by Allah to decide the issue, so he insisted that the lots be cast twice more. Anxiously, everyone looked on as the lots were cast, but to everyone's relief on each occasion, the arrow fell against the camels. There was no doubt left in Abd Al Muttalib's mind that Allah had accepted his expiation, and the camels were sacrificed immediately and the abundant supply of meat was amply distributed amongst the poor, needy and the orphans. There was so much meat left over that every sector of the community ate from it and joined in the great celebration.
THE MARRIAGE OF ABDULLAH TO AMINA
There was great happiness amongst Abd al Muttalib's family, not to mention his tribe, and the day-to-day life resumed once more. Shortly after this significant event, Abd al Muttalib started to make plans for Abdullah's future.
Abdullah was now eighteen years of age and his father thought it was time for him to marry, so he started to search for a suitable match. After much consideration he came to the conclusion that Amina, the orphaned daughter of Wahb, would be the most compatible bride for his son.
Amina was of noble birth, her father, Wahb had been the chief of the Zuhra -- a branch of the Koraysh -- but upon his death, her paternal uncle, Wuhayb had become its new chieftain and taken care of her. His own daughter, Halah, was of similar age and so the two girls had grown up together like sisters.
Among Amina's many qualities she was known for her honorable, endearing character and to compliment these characteristics she was very intelligent. Years later, Prophet Muhammad, (sa) confirmed her status when he told his companions, "I have been chosen from the most choice."
During Abd Al Muttalib's search for a suitable bride for his beloved son, it came to his notice that Wuhayb's daughter, Halah, was also of marriageable age, so he asked his permission to marry her himself. A proposal such as this was indeed a great honor and through these kind of arrangements essential inter-tribal ties were often strengthened.
Upon his return, Abd Al Muttalib told Abdullah that he had found the perfect match for him. Abdullah was overjoyed when he heard all the wonderful things his father had to say about Amina and so preparations for a double wedding were made.
As soon as the wedding preparations had been finalized, the bridal party set out for the house of Wahb. On the way to the celebration, people came out of their houses to greet the procession and wish them well. Abdullah had always been handsome, but that day he looked more handsome than ever.
As the party passed the homes of the Bani Asad, Abdullah's cousin, Kutaylah, sister of Warakah, called to him and with the permission of his father he stopped to speak with her. Kutaylah had noticed something very special about Abdullah that day, she had seen a radiant light upon his face, the like of which she had never seen before. On impulse she asked Abdullah to marry her, offering him the same number of camels that been sacrificed in order to save him. Abdullah was astonished by the proposal but decline her offer and the bridal procession continued on its way.
In those days it was the custom to stay in the house of the bride for several days after the marriage and then take her to her new home shortly afterwards. However, a few days after Abdullah and Amina's marriage, it was necessary for Abdullah to return home. On his way he met Kutaylah who told him that she was no longer interested in him because the radiant light she had seen on his face was no longer there.
Amina conceived on the first night of their marriage and the young couple were very happy together. Everything his father had told him proved to be true, and Abdullah was as delighted with Amina as she was with him.
Two months after their marriage Abdullah joined a trading caravan destined for Al Shams. Today, Al Shams is a conglomerate of several countries known to us as Syria, Jordan and Palestine. On the return journey, Abdullah was taken seriously ill in Yathrib. Abdullah had many relatives in Yathrib and so the caravan left him in their care and continued on to Mecca without him.
THE DEATH OF ABDULLAH
A messenger bearing news of Abdullah's illness was sent on in advance of the caravan and as soon as Abd Al Muttalib heard the disturbing news he sent his eldest son, Harith, to Yathrib to bring Abdullah home. Harith was not destined to see his brother again as Abdullah died before he reached Yathrib and so he was buried near his cousins, the children of Adiyy, the son of Najjar in Yathrib.
Harith returned to Mecca and conveyed the saddening news to his father and Amina whereupon great sorrow fell upon the entire family.
LADY AMINA'S PREGNANCY
Allah, the Most High, made Lady Amina's pregnancy easy for her, in fact she commented that she didn't feel any different from her usual self. However, as her pregnancy progressed Lady Amina became aware of a light shinning from within her. One night in particular, the light was so spiritually, intensely bright
that she had the ability to see the castles and turrets of far away Basra in Al Shams.
During her pregnancy Lady Amina had many visions concerning her unborn baby. On one such occasion she heard a voice telling her, "You are carrying in your womb the master of this nation. When he is born say, 'I place him under the protection of the One from the evil of every envier; call him Muhammad.'"
THE MEMORABLE YEAR OF THE ELEPHANT
Fifty days before Muhammad was born, an event occurred which every person in Mecca would remember for the rest of their life. It was an attempt by Abraha, the governor of Yemen, to destroy the Sacred Ka'ba with an elephant's might.
Before that time the Arabs paid little attention to the passage of years, although each month was recognized by the new moon. From that year onwards the Arabs would refer to events as being either before the year of the elephant or after it.
At that time, Yemen was under the rule of Abyssinia. The King of Abyssinia, called the Negus, had appointed a governor named Abraha to govern Yemen in his absence. The Negus was a Nazarene who followed the true teachings of Prophet Jesus and not the trinitarian teachings of Paul, and Abraha, anxious to promote himself still further in the eyes of his king, decided he would build a magnificent church with the intent of luring pilgrims from Ka'ba to it.
The church was built in Sanna with marble pillaged from the ruined palaces of Sheba, whilst its interior was embellished with gold and silver, and its pulpit carved from ivory and ebony.
Upon completion, Abraha sent word to the Negus that he had built a magnificent church in his honor and mentioned his underlying intention. Abraha bragged so much of his intention to lure pilgrims away from the Ka'ba that word spread like the fury of a violent sandstorm throughout Arabia.
As could be expected the Arabs were enraged by the whole affair to the extent that a man from the tribe of Kinanah, a branch of the Koraysh, was so incensed by the audacity of Abraha that he set out for Sanna determined to defile the church. When he reached Sanna night had fallen so he crept unseen into the church and defiled it with trash and filth. Having accomplished his mission he left undetected.
When news of the defilement reached Abraha his anger was so great that he swore to take revenge and to lead an army to would destroy Ka'ba once and for all. Immediately, orders were issued to his army and they prepared themselves for the long march across the hot and sandy desert to Mecca. He also gave orders that an elephant should lead them as a sign of his might. As soon as the preparations were complete Abraha gave the order to march with the canopied elephant leading the way.
Not far out of Sanna the army encountered resistance from a small band of Arabs, but they were greatly out numbered and fled. Their leader, Nufayl, from the tribe of Khathan, was captured and in fear for his life offered to guide Abraha and his soldiers on to Ka'ba.
The news of Abraha's march to destroy Ka'ba reached Ta'if ahead of their arrival, so a delegation from the Thakif, fearing Abraha might mistake their temple of Al Lat for Ka'ba, rode out to meet him and offered to be Nufayl's co-guides, and Abraha accepted.
At a place called Mughammis, a few miles outside Mecca, Abraha decided to strike camp and it was there that Nufayl died and was buried.
Meanwhile, Abraha sent his spies on in advance to the outskirts of Mecca. On their way they came across a herd of camels belonging to Abd Al Muttalib together with some other animals so they seized them together with anything else they could lay their hands on and sent their plunder back to Abraha.
In the meantime, Abd Al Muttalib, together with other Korayshi chieftains and chiefs from neighboring tribes met together to discuss how they might best defend their beloved Ka'ba. After much deliberation all concluded that Abraha's army was so great in number that they did not stand a chance against him, so Abd Al Muttalib decided it was best for the people of Mecca to seek refuge on the slopes of Mount Thabir saying, "O people of Koraysh, you will be protected," and assured them that Ka'ba would be unharmed saying, "Abraha and his army will not reach the Holy Ka'ba because it has a Protecting Lord."
As the people of Mecca made their way to the mountain, Abd Al Muttalib supplicated saying, "O Allah, it is customary for one to protect his possessions, so please, protect Yours."
Soon after, Abraha sent his envoy into Mecca inviting their leader to visit him in his camp and so Abd Al Muttalib, together with one of his sons accompanied Abraha's envoy back to the camp.
As Abd Al Muttalib approached, Abraha was greatly impressed by his noble composure and rose to greet him. Abraha then told Abd Al Muttalib of his intent to destroy the Ka'ba and asked him if there was any favor he might grant him. Abraha was extremely surprised by Abd Al Muttalib's reply, he expected him to plead with him to spare Ka'ba but instead Abd Al Muttalib asked for the return of his herd of camels. Abraha scoffed at his request but the wise, trusting, Abd Al Muttalib replied, "I am the lord of my herd of camels, so I must protect them. The Lord of Ka'ba will protect His House." After this totally unexpected reply, Abd Al Muttalib and his son returned to Mecca.
Soon after this Abraha gave the order to advance on Ka'ba and the soldiers took their marching positions behind the elephant. Now that all was ready the elephant was given the command to rise and march, but it refused and sat still. Its handlers tried to tempt it, but when that failed they beat it, driving iron hooks deep into its flesh, but still the elephant refused to march on Ka'ba.
Then, one of its handlers had an idea to trick the poor elephant by turning it around to face the direction of Yemen, then, as soon as it started to walk to turn it around to march on Ka'ba. His deception worked for a while. They succeeded to get the elephant to stand, and even take a few steps in the direction of Yemen, but when he tried to turn it around to march on Ka'ba, the elephant, with all its might, sat down and despite the renewed extreme cruelty it endured the elephant still refused to march on Ka'ba.
Suddenly, the sky became blackened with flocks of birds named "Ababil". Each bird carried three stones, one in each claw and another in its beak. When the birds reached Abraha's army they pelted the soldiers with them. As soon as a soldier was struck by a stone he died -- not one single stone missed its mark. As for Abraha, he did not die instantly, the stones that hit him brought about a painfully slow death that caused his bones to crumble thereby bringing about the agonizing collapse of his ribs.
These miraculous affairs were witnessed by all the citizens present in Mecca that day, and as a result the year became known as the "Year of the Elephant."
As for the grave of Nufayl, the guide who had led Abraha to Ka'ba, the Koraysh took stoning it.
Unfortunately, there are some misguided people who promote the theory that the stones carried by the birds were not in fact stones but rather microbes or germs. Their knowledge of the Words of Allah is indeed pitiful, because their theory is in direct contradiction to the unchangeable word Allah, Himself, uses in the Koran to describe the event. The word Allah uses is "Hijaratin" which means "stones" -- and the knowledge of Allah is the truth.
Allah sent down the following chapter confirming the event:
In the Name of Allah,
the Merciful, the Most Merciful.
Have you not seen
how Allah dealt with the companions
of the Elephant?
Did He not cause their schemes
to go astray?
And He sent against them flights of birds
pelting them with stones of baked clay,
so that He made them like straw eaten (by cattle).
Chapter 105, The Elephant
THE BIRTH OF THE LAST PROPHET OF ALLAH, THE SEALING OF THE PROPHETHOOD
THE PROPHECY IS FULFILLED
On Monday, 12th of Rabi-al-Awwal -- 570 years after Jesus ascended into heaven to await his return before the end of the world -- Lady Amina gave birth to her blessed son in the house of Abu Talib. Ash-Shaffa, the mother of Abd Al Rahman, attended his birth and as Lady Amina gave birth her blessed baby was delivered prostrating upon his tiny hands and knees, then sneezed and said, "Al Hamdulillah" -- praise be to Allah -- whereupon a voice from the heavens replied, "May Allah have mercy upon you." As Ash-Shaffa looked out into the night sky the horizon became illuminated so that the very distant castles of Greece became clearly visible to her. Incidentally, "Al Hamdulillah” was the same praise Prophet Adam offered as he sneezed upon reaching earth.
The beautiful baby was born without a trace of dirt upon him, and a sweet aroma caressed his perfect little body. Lady Amina remembered the instruction she had been given in her vision and supplicated to Allah with it for her little son, then gave him to Ash-Shaffa, the mother of Abd Al Rahman to hold.
News that Lady Amina had given birth to a son was sent straight away to Abd Al Muttalib. As soon as he heard the good news he rushed to see his new grandson. When he reached the house his heart was filled with joy and tender loving care. He cradled the sweet baby wrapped in a white cloth in his arms and then took him to the Ka'ba where he offered a prayer of thanksgiving to Allah for the safe delivery of his grandson.
Before returning his new grandson to Lady Amina he went home to show him to his own family. Standing at the door waiting for his father's return was his three year old son Abbas. Lovingly, Abd Al Muttalib told his son, "Abbas, this is your brother, give him a kiss," so Abbas, who was in reality his uncle, bent over and kissed his new baby brother.
After everyone had admired the baby, Abd Al Muttalib returned to Lady Amina and in accordance with her vision and a vision Abd Al Muttalib had seen, the sweet baby was named Muhammad. When people asked why they had named him Muhammad they replied, "To be praised in the heavens and earth." Before that time the name Muhammad was unknown and no other child had ever been given that special name.
Abu Talib's house, the house in which the Holy Prophet (sa) was born exists today and is used to house an Islamic library.
SPECIAL EVENTS DURING THIS BLESSED NIGHT
Ash-Shaffa was not the only person to witness miraculous events of this very special night. As Othman, the son of Abi As's mother gazed up into the night sky she witnessed the stars lower themselves and a light so brilliant appeared at the time of his birth that she could see nothing except light.
In the kingdom of Chosroes, fortifications shook and balconies collapsed, whilst the waters of Lake Tiberias ebbed, and the famous flame of Persia, which had not been extinguished since it was lit a thousand years before, was suddenly quite unexplainably extinguished.
In the heavens, meteors were commanded to be on guard so as to prevent the satans from listening to the news the angels bore about the events of this very blessed night.
THE KNOWLEDGEABLE JEW
Amongst the citizens of Mecca were several Jews, one of whom was knowledgeable of the scriptures. He knew from his learning and the signs of the time that the birth of a new prophet was imminent and anxiously awaited his arrival.
On the night Prophet Muhammad, (sa) was born, a strange feeling came over him that prompted him to rush to the door of his house and ask some Koraysh tribesmen, who happened to be passing, if they had heard of any births that night. The tribesmen replied that they knew of none, so he asked them to go and find out then bring word to him. He felt sure that this was the night in which the new prophet had been born, and if his feelings were correct he knew he would indeed be able to recognize him by a special, prominent mark on his skin that lay between his shoulders.
Sometime later, the tribesmen returned to the expectant Jew and told him that a son had indeed been born to Lady Amina, the widowed wife of Abdullah, son of Abd Al Muttalib. The Jew asked them to take him to see the newly born and his mother, so in haste they made their way to Abu Talib's house.
When they arrived, Lady Amina presented her darling son to them and as the cloth that covered him was gently rolled back the Jew saw the unmistakable mark and fainted. When he regained consciousness he announced the prophethood had been taken away from the Children of Israel and said, "O people of Koraysh, by Allah, he will conquer you in a way that the news will traverse both east and west."
The mark the Jew referred to was circular and read, "There is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet", and it was from this identifying mark that the sweet aroma of musk exuded.
THE DECISION OF LADY AMINA AND ABD AL MUTTALIB
Abdullah was a young man when he died and therefore had very little to leave his wife and unborn baby. All he was able to leave them was an Abyssinian maid named Barakah, which means blessing, a few camels and some goats. Barakah was also known by the name Umm Ayman.
During the first days of our beloved Prophet's life, Barakah helped his mother to take care of him, and Thuwaybah, who attended his birth, became his first wet-nurse.
In those days it was the practice of noble and well-to-do families to entrust their newly born infants to the care of good families living far from Mecca where the infant would be less likely to contract the many diseases that all too often accompanied the pilgrims.
Among the many advantages of sending a newly born to be raised in the desert was that it was there that Arabic in its purest form was spoken, and the accomplishment of speaking pure Arabic was a most sought after quality. Youngsters also learned the essential art of survival through the mutual love and care for one another that in turn lead to excellent manners and a chivalrous nature.
With this in mind Lady Amina and Abd Al Muttalib decided to send Muhammad to be raised in the desert.
Soon after his birth, several Bedouin families made their twice yearly journey to Mecca in search of a child to foster. No fee was requested by the foster parents as one might suppose, rather, the intent was to strengthen ties between noble, well-to-do families and perhaps receive a favor from its parents or relatives.
Amongst the prospective foster mothers was a lady called Halima, the daughter of Abdullah Al Sadiyyah from the tribe of Banu Hawazin. Halima's family had always been poor, and that year in particular had been harsh for them on account of the drought that devastated the area.
Halima had a young baby of her own, so together with her husband, Abi Kabshah, and baby they traveled in the company of other families from their tribe to Mecca. Halima carried her son as she rode upon their donkey whilst her husband walked by her side and the sheep ran along beside them. When they set out, the sheep's milk had been a constant source of nourishment for them, but the strain of the journey took its toll and its milk dried up. Halima's own milk was insufficient to satisfy her baby, and many a time her baby cried itself to sleep out of hunger.
Before reaching Mecca, there was another setback, Halima's donkey started to show signs of lameness, so they proceeded slowly at their own pace whilst the others went on ahead. Because of the delay, Halima and her family were the last of the prospective foster parents to reach Mecca. By the time she arrived each of the other prospective foster mothers had visited the homes of parents wishing to send their newly born to the safety of the desert, and chosen a baby. However, the planning of Allah was that all had declined the offer to take Lady Amina's baby on account of him being an orphan, and so when Halima arrived he was the only one available.
As Halima entered Lady Amina's house she found the tiny baby sleeping upon his back wrapped in a white woolen shawl under which a green piece of silk had been placed. Instantaneously, with just one glance, in the same way that the wife of Pharaoh’s heart had been filled with love for the baby Moses, Allah filled Halima’s heart with overflowing love.
Halima was overcome by his beauty, and as she bent down to pick him up she smelt the delicate fragrance of musk. Fearing she might disturb him, she placed her had over his chest and as she did he smiled, then opened his eyes and from his eyes beamed a radiant light. Gently, and lovingly she kissed him between his eyes and offered him her right breast and immediately felt a surge of milk, he accepted her breast and suckled away contentedly. After a little while she offered him her left breast but even at this very tender age fairness was inherent in his nature and he declined leaving it for his new suckling brother.
Later on that day, Halima returned to her husband and told him that there was no doubt in her mind that she wanted to foster Lady Amina's baby -- it was of no consequence to her that the baby was an orphan, or that future favors may not be possible -- the baby had completely captivated her heart.
It is through the nourishing milk a foster mother gives to her charge that the baby gains an extended family into which marriage to its siblings is not permitted. And so it was that Halima's foster child would refer to her in later years as his mother, and to her children as his brothers and sisters.
Right from the very beginning, the bonding between Halima and her foster child proved to be a very great blessing for not only her family but the entire tribe. And it was because of this very close relationship that her people were, in the years that followed, protected and led to Paradise.
THE PEACEFUL NIGHT
Whilst Halima was nursing Lady Amina's baby, her husband, Abi Kabshah, went to tend his sheep and was very surprised to find its udder full of milk. When he milked it there was so much milk that there was more than enough to satisfy the entire family, that night they drank their fill and slept peacefully. When they awoke, Abi Kabshah exclaimed, "Halima, by Allah, I see you have chosen a blessed spirit, did you notice how we spent such a blessed night and are enjoying its benefits?"
LIFE IN THE DESERT
The time soon came for the foster parents to set off for their desert home with their charges, so Halima made her farewells to Lady Amina who handed her beloved son up to her as she sat upon her donkey.
Halima and her husband were quick to notice the multiple blessings that constantly came their way. Their donkey had always been the slowest ride because it was frail, and more recently showed signs of progressive lameness, but now it out-ran the others whilst the rest of the party looked on in amazement asking Halima if the donkey was the same one she had come with.
THE LAND OF BANI SA’AD
Before they reached the land of Bani Sa’ad, the vegetation had already become scant, but upon reaching it there was no vegetation in sight, the land was barren with signs of drought everywhere. However, Halima's sheep would wander off yet always return full. It was so noticeable that the others in her party told their shepherds to take their sheep and follow Halima's, however, hers always returned full but theirs did not and yielded abundant milk.
The blessings never ceased to escape the attention of Halima's family and when they reached home their land became fertile once more an the palm trees bore an abundance of dates.
Halima had an older daughter named Hudhafa, also known as Al Shaima. Al Shaima loved her new brother dearly and never had to wait to be asked to look after him. It was a very happy time for the entire family and Halima's foster child grew rapidly in strength and out grew other children of similar age.
Halima's tribe in particular was famous for speaking pure Arabic and many of its tribesmen had become famous on account of their eloquent speech and poetry; it was in such an environment that the young Muhammad learned the art of the precise diction of pure Arabic, however he did not learn how to read or write.
THE RETURN TO MECCA
Halima never ceased to wonder at the growth and strength of her foster son and thought it was time for him to visit his mother in Mecca so preparations were made for the journey.
When they reached Mecca Lady Amina was delighted to see and hold her son once more, but an epidemic had broken out and she feared for his safety so it was agreed that Halima should take him back with her to their desert home.
THE TWO ANGELS
Little Muhammad loved to play with his brothers but also enjoyed sitting alone by himself. Several months had passed since his return from Mecca when one day as his brothers were playing not far away among the sheep and he sat alone, two angels, having taken the appearance of men, dressed in pure white robes came to him with a golden bowl containing snow.
Muhammad was neither afraid nor yet concerned when they miraculously opened his chest, felt around his heart, washed it, then sealed his chest and left leaving no trace whatsoever of an incision.
His brothers saw the two men, and watched in awe what had happened and as soon as they left ran as fast as their legs could carry them to tell their mother. Halima and her husband rushed to Muhammad and found him standing alone. His face looked somewhat pale and Halima held him gently in her arms and asked what had happened. He told them about the two men and how they had opened his chest and looked for something, but what it was they were looking for he told them he did not know. Halima looked at his chest but there were no signs of an opening whatsoever, nor yet were there any traces of blood. She looked for the two men, but there was no sign of them either. The only difference she could find was that the small mark she had taken to be a birth-mark between his shoulders appeared to be raised a little more than usual.
Halima and her husband questioned their sons repeatedly, but none deviated from the account they first related and were convinced that the boys had spoken the truth. Halima and her husband were extremely worried by the incident and feared that bad jinn were trying to harm their beloved foster son.
Fearing for his safety, it was decided to return the young Muhammad to Lady Amina, so once again Halima set off with Muhammad to Mecca.
Halima decided not to tell Lady Amina the real reason for his early return but Lady Amina was quick to realize she was concealing something. At last Lady Amina persuaded Halima to tell her the real reason for her son's hasty return.
Lady Amina listened intently to the account of the opening of his chest and of Halima's fear that some bad jinn may be trying to harm him. Lady Amina comforted her and told her that no harm would come to him because she had been told that he was destined for an important role. She also told Halima about her blessed pregnancy and of the light that had shone from her womb. After hearing this Halima's heart was at peace once more and greatly relieved to know her fears for her beloved foster child were unfounded.
Lady Amina thanked Halima for the loving care she gave her son and once again Halima and her foster son returned to their home in the desert where he lived with his extended family until he reached five years old at which time he returned to live with his mother in Mecca.
The event of his chest opening was described in detail by Prophet Muhammad, (sa) in later years. He told his companions that the men were angels and when they opened his chest they were looking for a speck of black. Upon finding it they removed it and washed his heart in pure snow from the golden bowl then resealed his chest. He also said that each son of Adam, except Mary and her son, is touched by satan at birth.
A NEW LIFE IN MECCA
It wasn't long before the young Muhammad had settled down very happily to his new lifestyle in the City of Mecca and found that he had lots of cousins, an affectionate grandfather named Abd Al Muttalib, as well as many uncles and aunts.
Amongst the children Muhammad loved most were Hamza and his young sister Saffiyah, the children of his grandfather, Abd Al Muttalib. Muhammad and Hamza were practically the same age, however, Muhammad was the elder, although technically speaking, Hamza was his uncle and Saffiyah his aunt.
THE JOURNEY TO YATHRIB
One day, Lady Amina learned that a caravan would soon be leaving Mecca and pass through Yathrib (Medina) on its way north. It was a wonderful opportunity for Muhammad, who was now six, to meet the rest of his cousins and relatives that lived there.
Barakah, Lady Amina's maid, made the necessary preparations for the eleven day journey and they left with the caravan riding two camels, one ridden by Lady Amina and her son, the other by Barakah.
They stayed in Yathrib for a month and the young Muhammad met more of his cousins, the children of Adiyy. He enjoyed being with them and went kite flying and sometimes they would take him to their large well where he learned to swim. It was a happy time but the month soon passed and the caravan destined for Mecca was ready to leave, so they made their farewells and departed.
THE DEATH OF LADY AMINA
As the caravan journeyed to Mecca, Lady Amina was taken seriously ill and never recovered. The angels took away her soul at a village called Al Abwa and it is there that she lies buried.
Barakah did her best to comfort the sobbing young Muhammad whose heart became vacant at the loss of his mother and together they made the heartbreaking journey to the house of his grandfather in Mecca. Abd Al Muttalib, deeply saddened by the loss, took his grandson into his own household and a very special love bonded them even more closely together.
THE LOVE OF ABD AL MUTTALIB
For many years Abd Al Muttalib had taken to sleeping near the Ka'ba at Hijr Ishmael, the place where he had been told in a vision to dig for the well of Zamzam many years before Abdullah, Muhammad's father was born. At Hijr Ishmael his couch would be spread out for him and more often than not it was there that one would find him.
There was an unwritten rule that no one sat on his couch, not even his young son Hamza, however, such was the love he had for his grandson Muhammad that he alone was welcome to join him there. One day some of Muhammad's uncles found him sitting on the couch and suggested he should not do so. Immediately, his grandfather told them, "Let my son stay, by Allah, he has a great future." The young Muhammad was a constant source of pleasure to his grandfather and both enjoyed the company of each other. Such was his endearing personality that anyone who met him loved Muhammad.
It was noticeable that even at such a tender age, Muhammad showed signs of wisdom far beyond his years and when Abd Al Muttalib attended important tribal meetings in the House of Assembly with other elders of the tribe, he would take his grandson with him. Muhammad's opinion was often sought in earnest despite his age, whereupon, Abd Al Muttalib would proudly comment, "There is a great future ahead for my son!" Abd Al Muttalib always referred with pride to his grandson as being his "son".
THE DEATH OF ABD AL MUTTALIB
Abd Al Muttalib was now eighty-two years of age and a few months after his grandson's eighth birthday he was taken ill and passed away. Before Abd Al Muttalib died he entrusted the care of his grandson to his son Abu Talib, the blood brother of Muhammad's father Abdullah, so without hesitation Abu Talib gladly became Muhammad's guardian and took him into his own household.
As Abd Al Muttalib's bier was carried to a place known as Al Hujun for burial, many walked in his funeral procession and his young grandson shed many tears as he walked with them to the graveside. It was a time of great sorrow.
Like his father before him, Abu Talib became a loving guardian to his nephew and his wife, Fatima, daughter of Asad, Hashim's son, and half brother of Abd Al Muttalib, did all she could to compensate for the mother he had lost. Indeed, such was the degree of her care that in later years after her beloved trust had attained prophethood, he told those around him that rather than let him go hungry, Fatima would have preferred to let her own children go without, but he was never of a greedy nature and would share whatever he was given.
Upon the death of Abd Al Muttalib the ascendancy to the house of Hashim had weakened for his family. All but one of the honorable offices he had held for so long now passed to Harb, the son of Umayya. The only position left for his household was that of providing for the pilgrims.
THE GUARDIANSHIP OF ABU TALIB
When Abd Al Muttalib passed away there was very little left for his heirs to inherit and Abu Talib, although his circumstances were restricted, was rich in heritage, honor and nobility. Like his father, he loved his nephew dearly, there wasn't anything he would not do for him. Many a night the young Muhammad would be found snuggled up to his uncle in bed, sleeping peacefully until the light of the morning.
During the day, Muhammad would go with him wherever he might go and when he was old enough Abu Talib taught him the skill of how to masterfully shepherd, with both tenderness and care his sheep, which was a vital source of food and income to his family.
It was a position of trust and one will no doubt recall that most prophets, peace be upon him, were shepherds at one time or another during their life.
Drought had stricken Mecca and its neighboring settlements in the valley yet again. It was a hard time for everyone both old and young alike. Abu Talib was highly respected in his tribe and in times of need, such as this, they would often turn to him for help and advice.
The situation continued to worsen and so in desperation several of the Koraysh went to Abu Talib to ask him to pray for rain. Muhammad was with him and heard their request so together, with Abu Talib carrying him on his shoulders, they made their way to the Ka'ba to supplicate to Allah.
As they entered the precincts of Ka'ba the sky was blue and the heat of the sun beat down just as it had done so for many weeks. Muhammad, with his delicate tiny hand held on tightly to his uncle's fingers and together they supplicated for rain. Within moments, clouds gathered from all directions and rain started to fall -- the drought was over. Like Halima, Abu Talib was quick to recognize the multiple blessings he and others shared on account of his nephew.
THE EARLY YEARS
It was time for the annual trip to Syria. Even though Hashim had secured pacts with tribes along the caravan route many years before, the journey was arduous and not without danger. With this in mind Abu Talib decided to leave his nephew behind thinking it was better for him to remain at home with Fatima and his other children.
When the time came for the caravan to depart, Muhammad, who was now twelve years old, rushed up to him and threw his arms around him. Abu Talib never had the heart to refuse his nephew anything at all and so it was agreed that he would join him on the long trip north to Syria.
BUHAIRAH, THE MONK
After many weeks of arduous travel the caravan reached a place called Tayma, a village on the outskirts of Basra.
It was there that a monk by the name of Buhairah lived alone in a hermitage that had been inherited by a succession of hermit monks. Over the centuries, important religious documents had been brought to the hermitage and left by his predecessors so Buhairah had made it his life's work to study them well and had become very knowledgeable. In the documents were prophecies that told of another prophet to come after Jesus, peace be upon him. The prophecies described in detail the time in which he would be born, his appearance, character and background and it was Buhairah's dearest wish to be blessed to live long enough to see him.
One day as Buhairah was meditating outside his hermitage he noticed a caravan in the distance making its way towards the city. It was a common sight to see caravans making their way there, but as he gazed towards it he noticed there was something very different about this one. In the blue sky was a lone white cloud that floated just above the caravaners heads, when the caravan changed direction the cloud would follow. He watched the caravan more intently and when it started to descend the neighboring hills he witnessed the palm tress bow their branches as the caravan passed by. He noticed something else even more strange, when the caravan came to rest under the trees the cloud disappeared and the palm branches bowed down still further to provide a dense and cooling shade.
Just before the caravan reached the market place it halted again under the shade of the trees and Muhammad, being the youngest, was asked to tend to the camels whilst the others went to the marketplace. Buhairah made haste to greet the caravaners and invited them to eat with him; caravans had stopped there many times before, but Buhairah had never invited them nor yet any other caravaners to join him.
As they sat down to eat Buhairah looked at each one in turn, then asked if there was anyone missing from the party. They informed him that there was another, a boy, whom they had asked to tend the camels. Buhairah insisted that the boy should join them, and the caravaners felt embarrassed at their unintentional forgetfulness and so Muhammad was invited to join them. When he arrived, Buhairah observed his appearance and manners closely. After a while he questioned him and then asked him to swear by the idols of Mecca -- which was common practice amongst the Arabs. Muhammad refused saying, "There is nothing more hateful to me than to do that."
The answers Muhammad gave Buhairah convinced him ninety-nine percent that the young boy, in whose company he was, was none other than the one prophesied in the scriptures to become the last Prophet of Allah. However, one thing bothered him, Abu Talib had referred to Muhammad as being his son, and the scriptures stated quite clearly that the last prophet would be an orphan, so he inquired about Muhammad's parents and was told that indeed Muhammad was an orphan, and that Abu Talib was not his real father, rather, he was his paternal uncle.
Now, Buhairah knew for certain that his dearest wish had been fulfilled and that he had been blessed to live long enough to meet the boy destined to be the last Prophet of Allah. He was overcome with joy but at the same time a great sense of fear struck deep within his heart. He told Abu Talib that he must take great care of Muhammad and advised him not to continue onto Basra as he feared the descendants of the Jews that had migrated to Arabia many years before to await the arrival of the last prophet would also notice his signs and try to harm him as he was not of their race. Abu Talib took Buhairah's advice and they returned to Mecca.
Muhammad had grown into a quiet, thoughtful youth preferring to look after his uncle's sheep rather than playing with the other children of Mecca. He loved the peace and tranquility of the valleys and mountainside and whilst tending his uncle’s flock would pass his time observing and marveling at the wonders of the creation of Allah.
Like all boys of the Koraysh tribe he was taught the art of manhood and how best to defend himself. Muhammad had very keen eyesight and so it wasn't surprising that he became an excellent archer like his ancestor Prophet Ishmael.
His reputation for being honest, trustworthy and among other fine qualities, intelligent, was recognized by all who knew him, however, it wasn't until after his prophethood that he learned to read or write.
There was to be a wedding in the city, elaborate preparations had already been made, and a fine table prepared. When Muhammad's friends learned of the festivities they were anxious to join in all the fun and rushed to find Muhammad to ask him to go with them. Festivities such as these did not attract him very much but his friends wanted him to go with him and he was not a person to disappoint anyone so he agreed to accompany them.
As they neared the bride's house the sound of music grew louder and louder. Suddenly, Muhammad was overcome by extreme tiredness so he told his friends to go on without him, and shortly thereafter fell sound asleep and didn't wake up until the following day when all the festivities were over.
THE AGE OF IGNORANCE
The situation in Arabia had deteriorated to such an extent that murder, lewdness, profanity, gambling and drunkenness in conjunction with other depravities had become common. The poor and weak were treated very badly and the position of women was quite deplorable. Many women were deprived of all their rights, they could be bought and sold at whim, and if they happened to inherit, their wealth was, more likely than not, ceased by their spouse.
To many, the greatest shame for a woman was to give birth to a daughter. She alone was blamed and disgrace fell upon the family and all too often innocent baby girls were buried alive or even strangled at birth.
Most tribes knew little or no form of government, each tribe was independent from the other except for the occasional alliance; as a result rivalries and deep rooted jealously often prevailed. Tribal feuds were common and all too often the origin of the feud had faded from memory but that was of no consequence, a feud was a feud, and therefore it was perpetuated without regard from one generation to the next resulting in the shedding of much blood.
As for the Ka'ba, it now housed over 360 idols and fortune-tellers were consulted for both major and trivial decisions. Superstition was now a way of life and very few knew how to read or write -- it was a dark age -- the age of ignorance.
THE BATTLE OF FIJAR
Muhammad was fifteen years of age when a clash between the tribes of Koraysh under the command of Harb, Ummaya's son and the Banu Huwazin erupted.
Since the time of Prophets Abraham and Ishmael, certain months of the years had been held sacred. During these months physical hostilities between the tribes had become strictly forbidden. However, the rule was broken when Al Barrad, Kais Al Kinani's son, killed Urwah Al Rahal, Utbah Al Huwazini's son.
The battle that ensued became known as the "Battle of Fijar" because it took place during the forbidden months. Abu Talib took part in the fighting which was destined to erupt spasmodically over a period of four years, however, Muhammad did not take part, rather, he gathered stray arrows for his uncle.
THE TREATY OF FUDUL
After the recent battle the chieftains of the divided tribe of Koraysh known as the "Perfumed Ones" and the "Confederates" put aside their differences and met together in the house of Abdullah, Judan's son. They realized that if they were to show any sign of weakness between them it could result in either party falling prey to an enemy, and in the long term bring about the fall of the Koraysh tribe.
There was also another important factor to take care of that related to the protection of the harmed and the rescue of not only of the weak living in Mecca but also the visitors who suffered injustice on account of their weakened position. All who were present took an oath that from that day onward they would take them under their protection and ensure that the injured party received their rights. This treaty was indeed a landmark as injustice was rampant.
Such was the importance of this treaty that the Prophet (sa) later told his companions, "Indeed, I witnessed with my uncles, in the house of Abdullah Judan's son, a treaty which is more beloved to me than a herd of cattle. Now in Islam, if I were to be asked to partake in something similar, I would accept."
Those that participated in the treaty were the descendants of Hashim, Muttalib, Abd Manaf, Asad, Zuhra and Tamin together with the young Muhammad and his uncles. Abu Bakr, who was in later years to become one of the most sincere and dearest friends of the Prophet (sa), together with his and his father Abu Kuhafah of Taym were also participants.
THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE TREATY
Amongst the Koraysh tribes known as "Confederates" was that of Sahm. It was from that tribe that a man of note agreed to purchase some valuable goods from a merchant visiting Mecca from Yemen. The deal was struck, the tribesman of Sahm received his goods, but then refused to pay the agreed price.
Although the merchant from Yemen was far from home and had no fellow tribesmen to support him, he was not daunted by the weakness of his position. He climbed to the top of Abu Kubays, a nearby hill on which the Black Stone which now graced the wall of Ka'ba had been found, and appealed to those present about the unjust transaction. His plaint fell upon the ears of Abdullah, Judan's son, chief of Taym who offered the use of his house to hear the matter, and so a meeting was convened.
Notables from both the "Perfumed Ones" and the "Confederates" gathered together in his house to hear the complaint whereupon the tribesman from Sahm was ordered to pay his debt and those allied to his tribe who were not present at the recent oath-taking raised no objection.
By now, Muhammad was a young man. The caravan journeys he had made with his uncle had taught him many things, so it was natural that he too should take to trading as a livelihood.
There were those in Mecca who gained much wealth through trading. Some of them, for one reason or another, choose not to accompany the caravans on their missions, preferring to entrust their goods and money to a caravaner who would in return be given a share of the profit. However, reliable, trustworthy people had become increasingly difficult to find.
Muhammad's word was his bond, his reputation for fairness, honesty and trustworthiness were known by all in Mecca so when he took to trading, Meccan businessmen welcomed him as their profit-sharing partner.
It was not only with their trade that the Meccans trusted him. They trusted him completely in the knowledge that anything placed in his safe-keeping would be returned without decrease. One might have expected that he would have been paid a fee for such service, however he never requested, desired, nor accepted a fee. His inherent sense of fairness dictated that receiving a fee would ultimately detract from the value of the person’s wealth.
Such was his impeccable reputation that both businessmen and tribesmen would refer to him as "Al Amin", the trustworthy.
It was through Muhammad’s example of fair-trading that, in later years, his companions emulated his practice and became very successful in all aspects of commerce. Those who traded with them, be they Muslim or non-Muslim in Arabia or in other countries, knew that they could rely upon their trading partner and would never be cheated.
THE UNSETTLED TRANSACTION
Muhammad had negotiated a business transaction with a man by the name of Abdullah, however, part of the transaction remained unsettled, so it was agreed that the two should meet again to finalize the matter on a specific day.
The matter slipped Abdullah's memory and Muhammad waited patiently for him to arrive for three days. On the third day when Abdullah finally arrived, Muhammad neither raised his voice nor did he take offense at being kept waiting, the only comment he made was that he had been concerned for him on account of his delayed arrival. This degree of tolerance and concern were indeed very rare qualities to be found in Arabs of that day.
It was not in Muhammad’s nature to quarrel nor yet to turn anyone away. In fact the more impertinent and ill-tempered a person behaved towards him, the more tolerant and graceful he became. Later on during his prophethood, the sincere followers of prophets Moses and Jesus, made it known that this characteristic, together with his description and other signs, were written in their Holy Books so that they might easily recognize and follow the last Prophet of the Creator.
KHADIJAH, DAUGHTER OF KHUWAULID
Among the traders of Mecca was a well respected, honorable, refined, wealthy widowed lady named Khadijah. She was very beautiful and had many suitors, however, she declined their offers of marriage.
Abu Talib suggested to his nephew, who was now twenty-four, that he might wish to contact Khadijah to ask whether she might like him to trade on her behalf. Muhammad, having dealt only with male traders, was somewhat respectfully shy to ask her, so he told his uncle that perhaps she would contact him if she needed his services.
When news of the conversation reached Khadijah, who was twelve years his senior. She told those close to her that if she had only known he was willing to trade with her wealth she would have offered him the opportunity long before, and so a messenger was sent to invite him to come to her house and discuss arrangements.
When Khadijah met Muhammad she respectfully asked if he would take it upon himself to act on her behalf with her merchandize. She told him that she had already learned of his reputation for honesty, truthfulness and knew of his high morality. Muhammad, agreed and as a mark of appreciation she told him she would gift him with twice the usual amount. Muhammad accepted and thanked Khadijah for her generosity and returned to his uncle to tell him the good news. His uncle was delighted and told him Allah had sent him this blessing.
Just before the end of the month of Dhul Hijjah, Muhammad, in the company of Khadijah's devoted servant Maysarah, set out on his first trip. Upon reaching a placed called Tayma, Muhammad and Maysarah sat down to rest under the shade of a tree not far from the hermitage of a monk named Nastura, who, surprisingly rushed out to greet him.
After the exchange of greetings, Nastura kissed Muhammad's head and feet then said, "I believe you, and bear witness that you are the one Allah mentioned in the Torah." When Nastura saw the mark between his shoulders, he kissed him yet again and bore witness that Muhammad was to become none other than the Messenger of Allah, the illiterate prophet of whom Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, had prophesied would come. Then, he turned to Maysarah and told him, "He is the last Prophet, I wish I could be with him when he is called!" Maysarah was taken aback by Nastura's statement, it was indeed something to tell his mistress.
After taking their farewells Muhammad and Maysarah continued on their way to Basra and as the heat of the mid-day sun blazed down, Maysarah noticed clouds, driven by two angels, casting their continuous, protective shade over his companion.
When they reached their destination Muhammad concluded his commerce and wasted no time setting off back to Mecca. Many days passed before they reached the familiar outskirts of Mecca then, at long last, they finally reached Khadijah's house around mid-day.
Just before their arrival Khadijah, who had been resting in an upper room, happened to glance out of her window and saw them returning riding on their camels, then, to her amazement as she looked up into the sky she saw the clouds drifting above Muhammad, shading him from the intense heat of the sun.
After the camels had been attended Muhammad went to greet Khadijah and tell her of the trades he had made; to her surprise she found her commerce had doubled. Khadijah, true to her word kept her promise and gave Muhammad his handsome gift. Later, Khadijah spoke to Maysarah about the matter of the clouds and he too confirmed he had seen the same thing throughout the journey. He also related the bewildering conversation and witnessing of the hermit monk, Nastura, and told of the many blessings they encountered upon their journey.
THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN MUHAMMAD AND KHADIJAH
Khadijah had been deeply moved and impressed by the things Maysarah told her. Her cousin, Warakah, who was well versed in the scriptures, also spoke highly of him and so she sent her friend, Nufaysah, to discreetly inquire why he had not married.
His reply was simple, it was because he had very little money to support a wife and family. Nufaysah asked him if he would consider marrying a rich, beautiful lady of noble birth, whereupon Muhammad inquired who the lady might be and was told it was Khadijah. Muhammad was very happy, he respected Khadijah as she was known among the ladies of the Koraysh as the "Mistress of the Koraysh" and "Al Tahirah" - the pure.
Muhammad went to Abu Talib to tell of the proposal, and they, together with Hamza went to ask Khadijah's uncle for her hand in marriage as her father has passed away. Khadijah's uncle, Amr, Asad's son gave his permission and the day of the wedding was set.
On the day of their marriage Muhammad released Barakah, his maid, from service. Shortly after Barakah married a man from Yathrib and later gave birth to a son named Ayman, however, in the years to come Barakah was to return to the Prophet's household.
As part of his wedding gift, Khadijah gave her husband the services of a youth name Zayd from the tribe of Kalb in Syria.
Several years before, Zayd's mother had taken her son to visit her family in the tribe of Tayy. During their visit the village had been raided by marauders from the tribe of Bani Kayn and amongst their plunder they seized Zayd then sold him in Mecca. Zayd's father, Haritha, had led a search party to find his son, but the search proved unsuccessful -- there was no trace whatsoever of him and he feared the worst.
Khadijah and Muhammad had been married for only a few months when the pilgrimage season began and soon pilgrims from all over Arabia and beyond came to Mecca. It was in that year that tribesmen from Kalb decided to partake in the pilgrimage and by chance Zayd happened to see and recognized some of them.
Zayd knew his parents would have grieved over his loss. At first, he too had been devastated at being torn from his parents, but nowadays his circumstances had changed and he was very happy living in the household of Muhammad. However, now that the opportunity presented itself he was able to send his parents a comforting message via the pilgrims.
Members of Zayd's family were recognized as master poets so he composed a verse conveying the news that he was alive, happy and well. The verse told them not to grieve for him any longer because he lived near the Holy Ka'ba with a blessed and noble family.
As soon as the pilgrims reached home they went straight to Haritha and delivered the poem. Haritha was overjoyed to receive news that his son was alive and immediately ordered mounts to be made ready for himself and his brother to ride to Mecca to ransom his son.
Upon reaching Mecca they inquired the way to the house of Muhammad and when they reached it earnestly begged him to allow them to ransom Zayd. Haritha was prepared to offer any amount of money to free his son, however, they were surprised when Muhammad told them that if Zayd wished to return with them he was free to do so and the payment of a ransom was unnecessary.
Zayd was sent for and asked if he recognized the two men standing before him. Zayd was overjoyed to see his father and uncle again and confirmed that they were indeed his family. Then, Muhammad asked if he wished to return with them or remain with him in his household. The reply Zayd's father and uncle were about to hear astounded them, Zayd replied that he wished to remain as he was happy where he was. Zayd's father could not comprehend how anyone, let alone his own son, could choose the life of a servant to that of a freeman, but Zayd respectfully told them that he did not wish it otherwise.
Upon hearing these touching words, Muhammad took Zayd by the hand and went to the Ka'ba. There he announced Zayd's freedom saying, "All those who are present, bear witness that Zayd is as my son, I am his heir and he is mine."
Haritha and his brother returned home and told their fellow tribesmen of Zayd's decision. They recounted the circumstances and the great bond they had witnessed between Muhammad and Zayd, and told them that Zayd was a freeman.
THE DAILY LIFE OF MUHAMMAD AND KHADIJAH
Muhammad’s marriage with Khadijah was very happy and blissful. He continued to manage Khadijah's affairs with great skill and her business flourished bringing further wealth to the household. Despite the abundance of wealth, Muhammad choose to live a simple life giving most of his away to those in need.
Muhammad’s aunt, Saffiyah, Abd Muttalib's daughter, and sister of Hamza, married a relative of Khadijah and visited with them often taking her son, Zubair, whom she had named after her elder brother, with her.
When Khadijah became pregnant, Saffiyah offered the services of her own maid Salma, to assist with the birth. Khadijah gratefully accepted and so Salma became the midwife to all of the children born to them. Their sons names were Kasim and Abdullah -- who was also known as Al Tahir or Al Tayyib -- and their daughters were named Zaynab, Rukiyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatima. However, their sons were not destined to live long. Kasim died shortly before his second birthday, and Abdullah died during infancy shortly after his father became the Seal of the Prophets of Allah, (sa).
THE RECONSTRUCTION OF KA'BA
Muhammad was thirty-five when a fire broke out in the Ka'ba, causing a weakness to its walls. Thereafter, the already unstable walls were weakened yet again by a tremendous flood which engulfed the Ka'ba.
The Koraysh were deeply concerned about its condition and felt it necessary to demolish it completely then rebuild it using the same stones. They also proposed to make it larger and to add a roof -- before that time the Ka'ba was roofless. All agreed that its reconstruction must be funded with pure money, money gained unlawfully such as that earned by interest, prostitution and such like was automatically rejected.
Such was the deep rooted reverence for the Ka'ba that the Koraysh feared their actions might be deemed sacrilegious. Although their intentions were honorable, they remembered what had happened to Abraha when he tried to raze it to the ground some thirty-five years before.
This fear was greatly increased when a large serpent was seen slithering out of Ka'ba each day and then sunning itself against its walls. When anyone attempted to approach it, it would raise itself up in readiness to strike and hiss violently at the intruder. Then, one day whilst the serpent was sunning itself, Allah sent an eagle that swooped down, seized it and flew off with it in its talons. The Koraysh were deeply relieved by this sign and their hearts were satisfied that their intention to rebuild Ka'ba had been approved.
The Koraysh were about to start upon its reconstruction when news came that a ship had been wrecked off the coast near Jeddah, whereupon one of their tribesmen named Walid, Mughira's son, hastened to Jeddah to purchase its salvageable timber. One of the ship's survivors was a Roman mason named Bakum, so Walid procured his services and together they journeyed back to Mecca with the timber for Ka'ba.
The first person to start removing the stones was Abu Wahb, brother of Fatima, but, as soon as he picked up the stone, it leapt out of his hands and returned to its original position. The greatly perturbed the onlookers were afraid to continue with the work, however, Walid supplicated to Allah saying, "O Allah, we intend nothing but good," and then started to demolish part of the wall near the Black Stone.
This time nothing happened, but the tribesmen were reluctant to continue and agreed that they should wait overnight to see if anything happened to Walid. The consensus was that if nothing happened to him then they would continue with the proposed work knowing that Allah was pleased with their actions, but, on the other hand if something happened to him before sunrise they would know their actions were not acceptable in which case they would just reinforce its walls. Sunrise came and nothing had happened to Walid so work resumed.
When it came to the removal of the Black Stone, a Syriac inscription -- the language of Prophet Abraham -- was unearthed. No one knew what it said so it was put to one side and shown later on to a knowledgeable Jew. To the wonder of all the deciphered inscription read: 'I am Allah, the Lord of Becca, I created her the day I created the heavens and the earth, the day I formed the sun and the moon, and I placed round about her seven inviolable angels. She shall stand so long as her two hills stand, blessed for her people with milk and water.'
After a lot of effort they reached the foundations Prophet Abraham laid so many centuries before and came across large, round, greenish colored stones. A tribesman, using a lever, tried to lift one of the stones, but as he did the stone quaked and its shudders were felt throughout Mecca so the stones were left alone. Everyone took it as a sign that these stones should remain undisturbed.
Near the door of Ka'ba lay and still lies, a small rock. Miraculously imprinted in the rock is the footprint of Prophet Abraham. During the reconstruction of Ka'ba another inscription was found beneath the rock that read: 'Ka'ba, the Holy House of Allah. Her sustenance comes to her from three directions. Do not let her people be the first to profane her.'
Amongst those who took part in the rebuilding was Muhammad. In those days it was the custom of builders to raise the lower portion of their garments above their head when building. Shyly, Muhammad was about to do the same when he was prevented. He fell to the ground and heard an angel call reminding him, "Your privates". This was the first occasion an angel had spoken to him. Upon picking himself up his uncle advised him to raise his garment above his head but Muhammad declined telling him that the reason he had fallen was to prevent his privates from being seen.
As the rebuilding progressed new stones were added to the original stones to make the Ka'ba higher; before its rebuilding its height had been approximately that of a man. Work on the reconstruction continued to go well until it was time for the repositioning of the Black Stone. Each tribal chieftain was anxious to receive the honor its placing and so inevitably a heated dispute arose between them. The dispute continued for four days and nights without a decision being reached and tempers neared breaking point.
It was obvious that none of the chieftains would relinquish their right to place the stone. After much deliberation it was accepted by all that they would let the first person to enter the precincts of Ka'ba place the stone.
The first person to enter was Muhammad, everyone was delighted, his character was impeccable and no one raised the slightest objection so they went and informed him of his most honorable role.
Muhammad was guided by blessed wisdom that was to satisfy everyone. He asked for a piece of cloth to be spread out on the ground, then, placed the Black Stone in the middle and asked the chief of each tribe to take hold of the cloth, raise and carry it to the corner of the eastern wall of Ka'ba. Each took hold of the cloth and carried it, then, when they reached the corner, Muhammad picked it up and positioned it, just as his blessed ancestor, Prophet Abraham, had done so many centuries before. The honor of each tribe was secured and everyone was happy with the solution.
It was around that time that Muhammad started to receive visions, all of which were to materialized shortly after.
ALI, SON OF ABU TALIB
There was one year in particular when many areas, including Mecca, were stricken by drought followed by inevitable famine. Abu Talib, Muhammad’s uncle, had a large family, but by now some of his children had married and left home. However, the drought had made it all but impossible for him to provide adequately for those still remaining at home. Muhammad realized the hardship his uncle and family faced so he went to Abbas and suggested that they should each take one of Abu Talib's sons into their own household until matters improved.
Without hesitation, Abbas and his wife, Umm Al Fadl, agreed so they went to Abu Talib to ask his permission. Their proposal was gratefully accepted and it was agreed that Abbas should take Jaffar and that Muhammad should take Ali into their homes.
Ali was around the same age as Muhammad’s daughters, and so they played happily together under the supervision of Zayd.
THE GIFT OF KHADIJAH
The land of the Bani Sa’ad, the vicinity in which Muhammad had been raised, suffered greatly on account of the drought.
Whenever Halima visited Mecca she would make a point of visiting with Muhammad and his family. Khadijah always welcomed her and her visits caused great joy among the family, but this time it was obvious something was troubling Halima. The drought had caused her to loose almost all her livestock and when Khadijah learned of her plight she, without a moment’s hesitation, gave her forty of her own sheep as well as a healthy, strong camel to ease her situation.
THE MARRIAGE OF THREE DAUGHTERS
Muhammad’s uncle Abu Lahab was a prominent figure amongst the Koraysh, however, even at this early stage he was not as close to Muhammad as the rest of his uncles.
However, Abu Lahab recognized the high regard people had for his nephew and proposed the marriage of his two sons Utba and Utayba to Muhammad’s daughters Rukiyah and Umm Kulthum. The proposals were accepted, however, the marriages remained unconsummated.
Lady Khadijah thought the match between their daughter Zaynab and her nephew Al As, Rabi's son would be a happy union and so she discussed the matter with her husband. Muhammad was agreeable for he never opposed Khadijah's wishes and so the young couple were married.
Just outside Mecca lies a mountain called Mount Hira and it was there that Muhammad would often retreat to one of its cave to contemplate and worship Allah alone through the means of mediation. The formal way in which his ancestors, Prophets Abraham and Ishmael, had worshipped were long forgotten and he knew no other way of worship.
During the month of Ramadan, it had become his custom to make a special retreat to the cave taking with him some water and dates for his provision. When Khadijah thought his provisions might be getting low she would either go there herself or send her maid to bring him fresh supplies.
The affairs Muhammad observed in Mecca troubled him deeply, but most of all he abhorred the increased worship of the idols placed in and around Ka'ba, for he had never been an idolater, he directed his worship to the One and only God, Allah, who created and creates all things.
Muhammad was now forty years old and the month of Ramadan had come around again, so he made his way once more up to the cave. And it was there during his retreat, on the 27th day of Ramadan, that Allah sent the Arch Angel Gabriel to him.
Prophet Muhammad (sa) was deeply disturbed when Gabriel appeared, and tried to look away, but no matter which direction he turned his face, the angel filled the horizon. Then, the angel spoke commanding him to read.
Prophet Muhammad (sa) had never learned to read and respectfully replied, "I cannot read" whereupon Gabriel took him and pressed him firmly to him and commanded him again to read. Once again the Prophet (sa) respectfully replied saying, "I cannot read." Gabriel took the Prophet (sa) yet again and pressed him firmly to him but this time when he released him he commanded him saying,
"Read in the Name of your Lord
created the human from a (blood) clot.
Read! Your Lord is the Most Generous,
who taught by the pen,
taught the human what he did not know."
Koran Chapter 96 verses 1-5
and so the Prophet (sa) recited the words exactly as the angel had taught him. The verses he had been given were indelibly written deep into his very being and Gabriel departed.
The event was of tremendous proportion and constantly consumed his thoughts but at the same time he was a little concerned that perhaps he had been visited by a bad spirit or an evil jinn.
In haste, the Prophet (sa), left the cave and as he made his way down the mountainside towards his home when he met Khadijah climbing up the mountain with fresh provisions. As soon as he saw her he exclaimed with respect in plurality, "Zammiluni, Zammiluni “ meaning “You all, cover me, cover me!” Khadijah had never seen him like this before and he told her of his experience in the cave then of his thoughts. Khadijah tried her best to comfort and reassure him telling him that she was certain his concern was unfounded and that the event was nothing other than good tidings from Allah. She reassured him saying that Allah would never disappoint him because he was not only good to his family, but to those in need, and reminded him that he always spoke the truth and whenever asked he would comfort and help people solve their problems and then again, he was always hospitable.
Lady Khadijah had an elderly cousin by the name of Warakah, Nawfal's son who was knowledgeable of the Scriptures. He had studied both the Torah and the Gospel and became a Nazarene many years before, but now his sight had failed and blindness overtook him, so she suggest that they should go to him and tell him exactly what had happened and ask his authoritative opinion.
Warakah, like a handful of other people knowledgeable of the Scriptures, felt sure from their learning that the time was imminent for the coming of the last Prophet of Allah. He remembered the prophecy of Jesus, peace be upon him, to his disciples,
"But now I go my way to God
who sent me,
and none of you asketh me,
'Whither goest thou?'
But because I have said
these things unto you,
sorrow hath filled your heart.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth;
It is expedient for you that I go away;
for if I go not away,
the Comforter (Prophet Muhammad)
will not come unto you;
but if I depart, he will be sent unto you.
And when he is come,
he will reprove the world of sin,
and of its lack of righteousness,
Nevertheless when he,
the Spirit of Truth (Gabriel) is come,
he will guide you into all truth:
for he (Prophet Muhammad)
shall not speak of himself;
but whatsoever he shall hear,
that shall he speak:
and he will show you things to come."
Bible, New Testament John 58:80-82
and so Warakah listened intently to the events the Holy Prophet (sa) described.
Warakah had no doubt whatsoever in his mind that Muhammad had been chosen to be the last Prophet of Allah (sa) and informed him that the angel that appeared to him was the same as he who had visited Prophet Moses and that it was none other than the Arch Angel Gabriel.
Warakah told the Prophet (sa) how much he wished he could have been a youth when the order came from Allah for him to preach His Message, and warned that he would have to migrate from Mecca. The Prophet (sa) was surprised by Warakah's comment and asked, "Will I have to migrate?" Warakah confirmed what he had said saying, "Yes, there has never been a man who brought what you are going to come with that has not been the target of his enemies, but, if I am alive when your time comes, I will be your strong supporter."
THE REVELATION, RANK OF THE PROPHETS, MESSENGERS AND THE ARCH ANGEL GABRIEL
The night before Prophet Muhammad, (sa) received the first revelation in the cave, Allah sent the Holy Koran from the protected tablet "Al Lawh Al Muhfz" to be lodged in the lower heavens in the House of Honor and there it remained until Allah commanded its verses and chapters to be sent down at their predetermined time.
The Revelation of the Holy Koran took place over a period of twenty-three years, sometimes with long intervals between their sending.
Allah refers to this great event in Chapter 97 of the Koran:
"We sent this (the Holy Koran)
down on the Night of Honor.
What could let you know
what the Night of Honor is!
The Night of Honor is better than a thousand months,
in that the angels
and the Spirit (Gabriel) descend
by the permission of their Lord
upon every command.
Peace it is, till the break of dawn."
Allah refers to it again in the Koran, Chapter 2 verse 185
"The month of Ramadan
is the month in which the Koran
was sent down,
a guidance for people,
and clear verses of guidance
and the criterion ..."
Until the advent of Prophet Muhammad, (sa) each prophet had been sent for their own specific nation -- they were not sent to save the whole of humanity. In one of his sermons Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, spoke of his own particular mission in the New Testament, "He answered, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel." (Matthew 24 40:15), in other words, the sincere Jews who were trying to follow the true teachings of Moses but found it difficult to do so on account of the corrupt teachings of erring rabbis who better served and feared their secular masters rather than their Creator.
The mission of Prophet Muhammad, (sa) was not to be restricted to the Arab nation but for all nations of the world. He was sent with a Book, -- Al Koran -- that Allah, in His Mercy has promised to protect from any form of corruption.
"It is We who sent down the Koran,
and We watch over it."
Koran Chapter 15 verse 9
Before the prophets were sent to their respective nations, each took a covenant with Allah:
"'And when Allah
took the covenant of the Prophets:
‘That I have given you
of the Book and Wisdom.
Then there shall come to you
a Messenger (Muhammad)
confirming what is with you,
you shall believe in him,
and you shall support him,
to be victorious,
do you agree and take My load this?'
They answered: 'We do agree.'
Allah said: 'Then bear witness,
and I will be with you among the witnesses.'"
Koran Chapter 3 verse 81
The rank of the Arch Angel Gabriel is that of the highest of all angels. It is he who received the honor of delivering the Scriptures to all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, from the time of Adam up until the Seal of the Prophets, Prophet Muhammad and visited Mary, the mother of Prophet Jesus, bringing her the news of her miraculous conception, peace be upon all the prophets and their righteous families.
Amongst authentic Islamic records are that Gabriel visited Prophet Adam twelve times, Prophet Idris four times, Prophet Noah fifty times, Prophet Job three times, Prophet Moses four hundred times, Prophet Jesus ten times - thrice when he was young and seven times after he reached the age of maturity - and that he visited Prophet Muhammad on twenty-four thousand occasions during which time he delivered the Divine Revelation, the Koran that contains 6236 verses as well as 12,000 prophetic quotations.
We also know that he visited Prophet Ishmael at least once when Gabriel struck his feet on the ground and Zamzam started to flow, and at least once to Prophet Joseph when he was thrown into the well by his brothers. Peace be upon all the prophets.
THE MIRACULOUS KORAN
When Allah intended His special miracles to be demonstrated by His Prophets, He created something similar, yet clearly superior to the highly acclaimed skills of that day. To all but the proud, the miracles He sent were clearly recognizable and accepted as such by practitioner and layman alike.
For example, during the time of Moses and Pharaoh, sorcery and magic had reached its highest peak. To prove to Pharaoh and his nation that Prophet Moses had been sent with the truth, Allah caused the Staff of Moses, as well as other miracles, to turn into a serpent and devour the magical snakes of the sorcerers. When the sorcerers saw the miracle they surrendered immediately to the truth, knowing well that the miracle was a reality whereas their skills were nothing other than skilled trickery.
Another example is that of the miracles given to Jesus. Prophet Jesus was sent at a time when the art of healing had reached an extremely high level. Among the healing miracles Allah permitted him was that he might raise the dead, and heal the sick from incurable diseases. Physician and layman alike witnessed these miracles and knew that they were not the skills of a skillful physician, rather, they were divine, holy miracles given to him by his Creator.
Earlier, we spoke of the pride Arabs took in their language and of the prestigious rank of a poet within their tribe. At no time in the history of Arabia had the science of language been greater or more eloquent. Annual poetry competitions were held in Mecca and elsewhere in Arabia to which people flocked just to listen to the beauty of the language and perhaps partake.
Although Prophet Muhammad, (sa) was given many great miracles the greatest miracle given to him, was the Holy Koran for its composition, grammar, eloquence and fineries surpasses the work of any author or poet.
Allah issues a challenge in the Koran to anyone to compose a chapter or even just a verse of the same quality and beauty to those in His Koran and at the same time warns that no one will ever be able to do so. In His Mercy, Allah has promised to keep the Arabic Koran free from alteration or corruption. The miracle of the Koran was and still is apparent to all whose ego does not resist.
"If you are in doubt
of what We have sent down
to Our worshipper (Prophet Muhammad),
produce a chapter comparable to it.
Call upon your helpers, other than Allah,
to assist you, if you are true.
But if you fail, as you are sure to fail,
then guard yourselves against the Fire
whose fuel is people and stones
prepared for the unbelievers."
Koran Chapter 2 verses 23:24
Prophet Muhammad, (sa) was also given miracles both similar and superior to those of Prophets Jesus and Moses, peace be upon them.
THE EARLY REVELATIONS
Not long after the Prophet (sa) received the first verses of the Revelation he received another. This time it was a single letter with a mystical meaning. Later on during the Revelations the Prophet received other mystical letters.
The next time Prophet Muhammad, (sa) received verses they included a Divine Oath of reassurance, these verses were also preceded by one of the mystical letters, the letter "nuun".
By the Pen and that (the angels) write,
you are not,
because of the favor of your Lord, mad.
Indeed, there is an unfailing wage for you.
Surely, you (Prophet Muhammad)
are of a great morality ..."
Koran Chapter 68 verses 1 - 4
There was to be a long interval between these last verses and the sending down of the next, whereupon, the Prophet (sa) was concerned thinking that perhaps he had done something to displease Allah. Lady Khadijah tried her best to console and reassure him, but now that Warakah had passed away there was no one else except her to turn to. Then, the much awaited Revelations resumed once more and again it contained a Divine Oath that laid to rest his concern and comforted both his heart and soul.
It was in this Revelation he received the order to preach, telling of the favors of his Lord.
"By the mid-morning,
and by the night when it covers,
your Lord has not forsaken you
nor does He hate you.
The Last shall be better
for you than the First.
Your Lord will give you,
and you will be satisfied.
Did He not find you an orphan
and give you shelter?
Did He not find you a wanderer
so He guided you?
Did He not find you poor and suffice you?
Do not oppress the orphan,
nor drive away the one who asks.
But tell of the favors of your Lord!"
Koran, Chapter 93
THE FIRST TO BELIEVE
Now that Prophet Muhammad, (sa) had received the instruction to tell of the favors of his Lord, he spoke to Lady Khadijah in depth about Allah. Lady Khadijah recognized the truth and became the first to embrace Islam. In those early days of Islam, the Prophet (sa) confined his preaching to his immediate family.
At the time Lady Khadijah embraced Islam, Prophet Muhammad, (sa) had not received instructions as to the manner in which he should offer his prayers. Then, one day on the outskirts of Mecca, Angel Gabriel came to him and struck the ground with his heels. From the indentation, a spring of water began to flow and the Angel showed the Prophet (sa) the ritual cleansing procedure he should make before offering his prayer.
Now that the Prophet (sa) had learned how to perform the ritual ablution, Angel Gabriel taught him how to offer his prayers with its postures of standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting which was the same way in which his great ancestors, Prophets Abraham and Ishmael has offered their prayers so many centuries before. He informed him that he should commence the prayer with the words "Allahu Akbar" -- Allah is the Greatest, and to conclude the prayer by turning the head first to the right then saying "As-Salaamu alaykum" -- peace be upon you -- and then to repeat the same to the left. Thereafter, Gabriel departed and the Prophet (sa) returned home to teach Lady Khadijah and together they offered their prayer in unison.
ALI EMBRACES ISLAM
One day, Ali, Abu Talib's son, who had lived with them since the time of the famine, entered the room and found the Prophet and Lady Khadijah praying together. As soon as they concluded their prayer Ali asked what they were doing whereupon he was told that they were praising and giving thanks to Allah, then, the Prophet (sa) spoke to him about Islam.
Ali was struck by the things he learned. He thought deeply about them and was unable to sleep that night. The following morning Ali went to the Prophet (sa) to tell him that he believed and wanted to follow him. And so Ali, at the tender age of ten, became the first male to embrace Islam.
Abu Bakr, who had been a friend of the Prophet (sa) for many years was next. He was a very amiable, tender-hearted man from the tribe of Taym, respected not only by his own tribe but by others. He had gained a reputation for offering sound advice and interpreting visions, therefore it was not uncommon for tribesmen to consult and confide in him.
Whenever circumstances presented themselves Abu Bakr would speak to those whom he trusted about the Prophet (sa) and his message. Amongst those who were receptive were Abdu Amr and Abu Ubayda both of whom embraced Islam and changed their names to Abd Ar Rahman -- worshiper of the Merciful.
THE VISION OF KHALID, SON OF SA'ID
One day, Abu Bakr received an unexpected visit from Khalid, Sa'ids son. It was obvious from Khalid's face that something was worrying him. Khalid took Abu Bakr to one side and told him that as he slept he had seen a very disturbing vision and knew it should not be dismissed.
Khalid told Abu Bakr that in his vision he had seen his father trying to push him into a very deep, raging pit of fire and of a violent struggle he had with him. He was about to fall when suddenly, he felt a strong pair of hands grip him tightly around his waist and that he was sure that if it had not been for those hands he would have undoubtedly been pushed into the fire. Khalid told Abu Bakr that when he looked round to see who had saved him, he saw the hands were none other than those of Prophet Muhammad (sa), and then vision vanished.
Abu Bakr's face lit up as he told Khalid that Muhammad had become the Prophet of Allah, (sa) and that if he followed him he would indeed be protected from the burning fires of Hell.
Khalid was awe struck and made straight for the house of the Prophet (sa) to ask him about the message he had been given. After listening intently he embraced Islam. However, the Prophet (sa) told him that for the time being he should keep the matter a secret from the rest of his family.
Abdullah, Masood's son was a shepherd who tended a flock of sheep belonging to Ukba, Abd Muayt's son. One day when the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr were passing they stopped and asked him for a cup of milk. Abdullah told them that unfortunately the sheep did not belong to him and that he did not have any of his own to be able to offer them a cup of milk.
The Prophet (sa) asked Abdullah if there happened to be a lamb that had not yet been mated in the flock. Abdullah told him that there was and went to fetch it. The lamb was set down in front of the Prophet (sa) whereupon he massaged its udder as he supplicated to Allah. Miraculously, the udder filled with milk and they all drank. After thanking Allah they continued on their way. A few days later Abdullah went to the Prophet (sa) and embraced Islam.
Later on, Allah in His Mercy, blessed Abdullah in such a way that he was able to recite by heart no less than seventy chapters of Koran with its precise diction.
OTHMAN AND TALHA
Othman, Ahllan's son, was a trader and was upon his return journey from Syria, when one night as he and his fellow caravaners slept he heard a voice saying, "O you who sleep, wake up, indeed Ahmad has come forth!" The voice with its message penetrated deep inside him and consumed his thoughts for many days. He did not know what to make of the message, and who was “Ahmad” -- which means the “praised one” and is one of Prophet’s names mentioned in the previous Holy Books.
As he drew near to Mecca, Talha, a cousin of Abu Bakr, caught up with the caravan and rode along with Othman. Talha had an experience similar to that of Othman. He had been on a journey that had taken him through Bostra, when, much to his surprise a monk approached him asked if "Ahmad" from the people of the Holy House had come forth.
Talha was taken aback and asked the monk who "Ahmad" might be, the monk answered that his grandfather was Abd Al Muttalib and that his father was Abdullah, then he told him that it would be during that month he would appear. Talha did not know what to make of the monk's inquiry and like Othman the matter had consumed his thoughts.
Talha and Othman shared their experiences with one another; both were completely bewildered and agreed that the only way to understand the meaning of these events would be to go straight to Abu Bakr upon reaching Mecca and ask him.
As soon as they reached Mecca they went to Abu Bakr to tell of their experiences and he in turn took them to see the Prophet (sa) and asked them to relate their accounts. The Prophet (sa), listened then told them about Allah and that he had been called to the prophethood. Without hesitation both Othman and Talha embraced Islam.
Abu Dharr belonged to the tribe of Bani Ghifar, and had defended his rights in many hold-ups. He was also amongst the first to convert to Islam.
Abu Dharr had heard that a man from Mecca laid claim to being a prophet, so he asked his brother to go to Mecca and bring back news of him, so dutifully, his brother left for Mecca. Upon his return Abu Dharr asked him what he had heard, whereupon his brother told him that he had heard him advocating goodness and forbidding evil. Abu Dharr was not satisfied with this meager amount of information so he gathered his water-skin and stick and set off.
When he reached Mecca he did not like to ask anyone straight away about him so he settled himself in the precincts of the Mosque and waited. As he waited, Ali happened to pass by and realizing he was a stranger offered him a place to stay. Abu Dharr accepted and followed Ali back to his house, but did not disclose the reason for his visit. The following morning Abu Dharr went to Ka'ba again to wait, but this time he asked about the Prophet (sa) but no one was forthcoming. Ali happened to see him there again so he went across to him and asked why he had come to Mecca. Abu Dharr told him, in confidence, that he had heard that a Prophet had appeared in Mecca and that he had sent his brother a while before to find out more about him. However, he told Ali, his brother had returned with an answer that did not altogether satisfy him, so he had decided to journey to Mecca himself to hear more. Ali told him he had found what he had come for and to follow him at an undetectable distance to avoid any possible harassment. He also told him that if he saw someone whom he thought might bother him, he would pretend to adjust his shoe and this would be warning for him to go away. However, there was no need for concern, and Abu Dharr followed him and was at last was brought to the Prophet (sa).
That same day, Abu Dharr embraced Islam and the Prophet (sa) advised him to return to his village but keep his conversion secret until he learned of their victory. But Abu Dharr was so enthused that he declared, "By Him, who has sent you with the truth, I will announce my conversion to Islam publicly!" Then, he went directly to the Ka'ba where he proclaimed for all to hear. "I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger." The Koraysh tribesmen were infuriated and almost beat Abu Dharr to death and if it had not been for Abbas who threw himself between him and his assailants he would have been severely injured. Abbas rebuked the angry crowd saying, "Woe to you, do you want to kill a man from the tribe of Ghifar, when your caravans pass through their territory!!"
Abu Dharr was not to be put off, and the next day he went to Ka'ba and declared his witnessing again. The same thing happened over again and Abbas intervened once more then he returned home to his tribe.
Later on when the ever-increasing number of Muslims met with extreme hostility and persecution from the Koraysh Abu Dharr took to the roads once more. There he would lie in wait, ambush the Koraysh caravans and retrieve the stolen belongings and restore them to their rightful Muslim owners.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE EARLY MUSLIMS
Those who embraced Islam in its early years were seekers of the truth and by nature, upright and truthful.
Living in Mecca at that time were a group of people called "Ahnaf". To them idol worship was repugnant. They tried their best to follow the way of their great ancestor, Prophet Abraham, but apart from their belief that God is One, there was little else left of the religion of Abraham to guide them and it was in this group of people that Sa'id, Zayd's son belonged.
Othman, Maz'un's son had abstained from alcohol long before the advent of Islam. After embracing Islam he wished to live the life of a recluse, however, Prophet Muhammad, (sa) persuaded him otherwise.
Another characteristic of the early Muslims was that none of them were from the Koraysh hierarchy which prompted the scorn of the unbelievers. Allah quotes their mockery in the Koran when they said to the believers:
"Are those whom Allah favors
Koran Chapter 6 verse 53
Upon reflection, one remembers that the followers of previous prophets were, for the most part, those considered by some to be on the lower and unimportant edge of society. The Holy Koran reminds how the council said to Prophet Noah:
" We see your followers are none
but the lowliest amongst us,
and their opinion is not to be considered.
We do not see you superior to us,
rather, we consider you liars."
Koran Chapter 11 verse 27
The early followers of Prophet Jesus were also of the same upright nature and similar in status and his leading disciple James, was known as “James the Just”.
THE HIERARCHY OF THE KORAYSH
To gain a better understanding of the leaders and their position within the tribe of Koraysh during these early years of Islam we should know the roles of these prominent people, because each one was destined to play an important role in one way or another in the years that followed:
The custodianship of the Ka'ba and keeper of its keys was Othman, Talha's son, whilst the family entrusted to look after the welfare of the pilgrims was Nuwfal, under the direction of Harith, Amir's son, whereas it was the responsibility of Abbas to provide them with water.
The advisor to the Koraysh was Yazid, Rabi'a Al Aswad's son from the tribe of Asad. However, when the need came for an arbitrator, Abu Bakr was called upon.
The chief of the tribe of Ummaya was Abu Sufyan, who was also its standard bearer.
During times of war, Walid, Mughira's son from the tribe of Makhzum was responsible for organizing camp affairs. He also commanded the cavalry, however, when Harb, Ummaya's son died, Abu Sufyan, was thought not be sufficiently proficient to assume the command, so the position was given to Waleed who was also the uncle of the Abu Lahab, also known as Abu Jahl.
Omar from the Koraysh tribe of Adi was the liaison officer. He would also decided upon important issues such as lineage.
Superstition was rampant, and the chief interpreter of omens was Safwan, another son of Ummaya.
The office of treasurer was administered by Harith, Kais' son from the tribe of Sahm.
The chieftain of the tribe of Hashim was Abu Talib, later to be succeeded by the infamous Abu Lahab.
It is important to remember that the tribes of Hashim and Ummaya were equally prominent, for many years they had been jealous of one another and acute rivalry existed between them.
THE COMMAND TO PREACH
Three years after the Prophet (sa) received the first Revelation, Allah commanded him to extend his preaching publicly saying:
"Proclaim then, what you are commanded
and turn away from the unbelievers.
We suffice you against those who mock,
and those who set up other gods
indeed, they will soon know.
Indeed, We know your chest is straitened by that they say."
Koran Chapter 15 verse 94-97
The number of converts had risen steadily, many of whom were relatives of the Prophet (sa). However, there were many more in his large family, including four uncles who were not among them.
When the Prophet (sa) received another revelation telling him:
"Warn your tribe
and your near kinsmen,
and lower your wing to the believers
who follow you."
Koran Chapter 26 verse 214-215
he thought of ways in which he could best fulfill this command. He knew that he could expect resistance from some members of his family and tribe so he concluded the best way to present Islam to them would be to invite them all to a meal and then tell them. Approximately forty invitations were delivered and the Prophet (sa) asked Ali to prepare a shoulder of lamb and a cup of milk to feed them.
THE MIRACULOUS MEAL
The uncles of the Prophet, Abu Talib, Hamza, Abbas and Abu Lahab arrived with the other guests and the Prophet (sa) asked Ali to bring the shoulder of lamb and the cup of milk he had prepared. Ali thought that the meat and milk were scarcely enough to satisfy just one man let alone forty, but the Prophet (sa) took the meat, broke it in half, put it back into the dish and invited his guests to eat saying, "Take it in the Name of Allah."
Everyone ate from the shoulder and drank from the milk until their stomachs were full, not one among them remained either hungry or thirsty.
This was to be amongst the first miracles of the Prophet (sa) however, before he had chance to address his guests, Abu Lahab arose exclaiming, "Your host has bewitched you!" Whereupon his guests got up and left.
The next day, the Prophet (sa) asked Ali to invite them all together for another meal that very day and to prepare another shoulder of lamb and cup of milk just as he had done the day before. The invitations were accepted and once again they gathered together for another meal. After they had all sat down the Prophet (sa) supplicated then divided the meat just as he had done the last time, and they ate and drank as before.
No sooner had they finished eating, the Prophet (sa) wasted no time to address them saying, "O sons of Abd Al Muttalib, I know of no Arab who has come to his people with a nobler message. I have brought you the best of this world and the next. Allah has ordered me to invite you to Him. So who will help me in this matter, my brother, my executor and successor being among you?"
Silence fell heavily over the gathering and no one stirred, then, young Ali got up and went to the Prophet's side and said, "Prophet of Allah, I will be your helper in this matter." Whereupon the Prophet (sa) put his hand on the back of Ali's neck and said, "This is my brother, my executor and my successor among you. Listen to him and obey him." There was an outburst of laughter from his guests who now turned to Abu Talib and said mockingly, "He has ordered you to listen to your son and obey him!"
Although Abu Talib, Hamza and Abbas had not accepted the invitation to Islam, their love and loyalty to the Prophet (sa) remained unquestioned, so it was not surprising that Abu Talib did not object to the conversion of his children, Ali, Jaffar and Saffiayah. Saffiayah had five other sisters, but they were not as yet prepared to make a commitment, however, Abbas' wife, Umm Al Fadl was and embraced Islam.
THE INVITATION TO THE KORAYSH
One day, the Prophet climbed to the top of Safwa -- the hill Lady Hagar had once climbed centuries before in search of water -- and called the Koraysh to come and listen to the message he brought, and amongst those that came to listen was none other than his uncle Abu Lahab.
Silence fell upon the crowd as the Prophet (sa) asked, "If I were to tell you that behind this hill there was a great army, would you believe me?" Without any hesitation they replied, "Yes, you have never been known to lie!" The Prophet continued, "Then I urge you to surrender to Allah because if you do not a harsh punishment will befall you." The crowd that had just testified to the truthfulness of the Prophet lost their senses, became deeply offended and left.
EARLY PHYSICAL HOSTILITY TOWARDS MUSLIMS
In order to avoid the taunts of the unbelievers, the companions would often offer their prayers in the peaceful valleys that lay just outside Mecca. It was upon one such occasion when Sa’ad, Abu Wakkas' son, in the company of several other friends, were in the midst of saying their prayers that some passersby from Mecca came across them. The passersby could not resist the temptation to make fun, so they started to jeer and insult them.
The provocation worsened to the extent that it became difficult for the companions to continue with their prayer. Understandably, the believers were very upset by this unwarranted intrusion, so they asked why they weren't content to leave them alone to offer their prayer in peace. The Meccans had hoped that their provocation would prove fruitful and soon the situation got out of hand whereupon there was an exchange of blows.
During the disturbance, Sa’ad happened to glance upon the ground and saw the jawbone of a camel laying there, he seized it, struck and wounded one of the Meccans; this was the first time blood had been shed by a Muslim.
Later, when the Prophet (sa) learned of the encounter, he told his followers that it was better to be patient with the unbelievers until Allah commanded otherwise.
Not long after, the companions were to be blessed by the offer of the use of Arkam's, house located near the hill of Safwa. At last they had a place large enough in which to gather and offer their prayers in peace and safety, far from the unwarranted hostile taunts of the Koraysh.
THE KORAYSH AND ABU TALIB
Prophet Muhammad, (sa) was not to be deterred by the ever growing resistance to the Message he brought, and continued his preaching, inviting all who would listen to Islam. However, he was deeply saddened, and concerned that many appeared to disbelieve him when he told them that what he brought was from Allah. Thereafter, Allah sent down the following verse that told the Prophet (sa) that it was not him they disbelieved, rather, it was the verses of Allah.
“We know what they say saddens you.
It is not you that they belie;
but the harmdoers
belie the verses of Allah.”
Koran, Chapter 6 verse 33
Such was their anger that a state of open hostilities began to emerge. Road blocks were set up along the routes leading into Mecca to warn pilgrims and traders not to listen to a man named Muhammad who claimed to be the Prophet of Allah and preached against their idols. However, the Koraysh miscalculated and the warnings served to arouse the curiosity of many travelers and actually helped spread the news of his arrival. There wasn't a visitor to Mecca who had not heard of the Prophet and when they returned to their homes in distant parts of Arabia and beyond they took with them the news the Koraysh had attempted to suppress, his name was about to become a household word; a topic of conversation.
The Koraysh were angered by the Prophet's preaching on several counts. They hated the fact that he preached against their idols because the idols housed in and around Ka'ba attracted pilgrims by the thousands each year. Lucrative trades such as idol carving, fortune telling and their like played an important role in the economy of Mecca, and they didn't want the situation to change.
However, the Sacred House together with its City had been created for the worship of the Creator, even before the creation of Adam and humanity. First the angels had built it, then, it was rebuilt later on by the jinn and restored by Prophet Abraham.
There were also those steeped in the folklore of their idolatrous traditions, who, on account of pride, refused to acknowledge its value as being tantamount to nothing. To this sector, the fact that their forefathers had seen fit to practice and uphold the folklore was sufficient reason for them to continue in the same way. As such they were not prepared to question the authenticity of their heritage, rather, they chose to blindly defend the tradition their forefathers invented.
Allah speaks about them in the Holy Koran saying:
"When it is said to them:
'Come to that which Allah has sent down,
and to the Messenger,'
'Sufficient for us
is what we found our fathers upon,'
even though their fathers knew nothing
and were not guided."
Koran Chapter 5 verse 104
THE SUPPORT OF ABU TALIB
Although Abu Talib had not converted to Islam, he unconditionally offered his support and his love for his nephew remained unfaltering. Abu Talib would not entertain a word against him and was always his strong supporter whenever the need arose.
One day, in desperation, a group of influential Koraysh approached Abu Talib to ask him to persuade his nephew to stop preaching against their idols, however, Abu Talib avoided giving a direct answer and did nothing.
After a while the Koraysh realized their visit to Abu Talib had been unfruitful so they visited him yet again, but this time their visit was more forceful. This time they spoke harshly to him reminding him of his rank and honor saying, "Abu Talib! We have asked you to speak with your nephew yet you have not done so. We swear that we will neither allow our forefathers to be insulted, our ways rebuked, or our gods reviled. You must stop him or else we will fight both of you!" Having delivered their ultimatum they left in the same manner in which they had come.
Abu Talib went straight away to the Prophet (sa) to report the alarming conversation and said, "O son of my brother, spare me and yourself, do not burden me with more than I can bear." Caringly, yet saddened by the request, the Prophet (sa) answered, "I swear by Allah, if they were able to give me the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left in exchange for my abandonment of this way before He has made it victorious, or I have died on account of it, I will never do so."
Abu Talib could see the deep upset of the Prophet (sa) and how certain he was of his mission that he replied, "O son of my brother, go, say what you will, because, by Allah I will never abandon you on any account."
TUFAYL FROM THE TRIBE OF DAWS
Tufayl's tribe resided outside Mecca, he was a poet of high renown and as such had earned great respect from not only his own tribe but also that of others.
It became necessary for Tufayl to journey to Mecca, so he set out on his journey to the City. As he neared Mecca he was stopped by a party of the Koraysh blocking the road. The Koraysh warned Tufayl about the Prophet, whom they now described as being, amongst other things, a sorcerer. The frightening things the Koraysh said disturbed him to the extent that upon reaching Mecca he plugged his ears tightly with cotton to protect and prevent him from hearing anything.
When he reached Mecca, the familiar sounds of passersby and the market place were now silenced on account of the cotton placed firmly in his ears and he felt at ease. For many years it had been Tufayl's custom to visit the Ka'ba and circumambulate it before attending to business. As he entered the precincts of Ka'ba he noticed a lone figure standing near the Black Stone offering his prayer. It was never the practice of the Prophet (sa) to offer his prayer in a loud manner, and this prayer was no exception, yet Allah, allowed his quiet recitation to penetrate the cotton with which Tufayl had plugged his ears.
Tufyal knew well the intricacies of the Arabic language and was captivated by the compelling beauty and rhythm of the verses. He had heard many poets recite most excellent poetry, but the composition and arrangement of these words with their message was quite the most beautiful and certainly unique. He had never heard anything that could be remotely compared to the verses he now heard. Suddenly, he remembered the warning, but Allah caused reason to prevail. Tufayl knew he was able to distinguish between right and wrong and realized that what he had just heard was anything but evil.
After the Prophet (sa) finished offering his prayer, Tufayl followed him to his home and entered. He told the Prophet how the Koraysh warned against him and how he had plugged his ears tightly with cotton so that he would be unable to hear him, yet, he had heard his beautiful recitation.
Tufayl asked the Prophet (sa) to tell him more about his message, whereupon the Prophet (sa) told him that the verses he recited were not his own composition, rather, they were from the Holy Koran sent to him from Allah via the Angel Gabriel. The Prophet (sa) to the great pleasure of Tufayl, proceeded to recite several more verses. As soon as the recitation had finished Tufayl could no longer restrain himself and converted to Islam, then returned home with the instruction to tell others in his tribe about Islam.
Upon his return, Tufayl recited verses from the Koran and spoke about Islam to his family and tribesmen, but only his father and wife came into its fold. Tufayl was both very disappointed and angry that so few had accepted the invitation so he returned to the Prophet (sa) in Mecca to ask him to curse those who refused to follow. The Prophet (sa) spoke kindly to Tufayl, but rather than cursing his tribe he supplicated to Allah for their guidance and told him to return home, continue preaching and to be patient with their shortcomings. Tufayl obeyed the Prophet (sa) and in the years to come many families in his tribe accepted Islam under his patient guidance.
PRE-ISLAMIC CONDITIONS IN YATHRIB
Many generations before, no less than twenty-one Jewish tribes settled themselves in Yathrib and in the early days of their migration gained a reputation for their religious schools. However, over the passage of time the tribes dispersed and their numbers dwindled, leaving behind them just a fragment of people.
Secularism was common although a religious minority still remained. The Jews were also well known for their business acumen through which they had amassed great wealth and in their hay-day they had once governed the City.
After a devastating flood in Yemen, the Arab Yemeni tribe of Bani Kahtan left their homeland and settled in Yathrib. The Bani Kahtan divided themselves into two tribes named after two brothers -- Aws and Khazraj -- and over time their population grew and exceeded both that of the Jews and other Arabs. However, their was friction between the two tribes, disputes arose followed by blood feuds.
All was not well within the Jewish community as corruption was rampant. There had been a sharp decline in morals most notably in one of their chieftains named Fityun. Fityun usurped his power in such a disgraceful manner that Arab brides-to-be were forced to sleep with him the night before their wedding whilst other Jewish leaders did nothing to prevent him from satisfying his lust, but that was soon to end.
When the time came for the sister of Malik, Ajlan's son to be married, Malik felt ashamed of what was about to befall her. So, on the day before her wedding, his sister, dressed in her bridal gown, made her way to Fityun's house accompanied by her brother disguised as a female attendant. Before Fityun could take advantage of Malik's sister, Malik took him by surprise, killed him, then fled to the safety of the tribe of Ghassan in Syria whose chieftain was Abu Jabillah. When Abu Jabillah heard of the corrupt ways of the Jews he and his warriors were utterly outraged and set off with Malik back to Yathrib with the intent of putting matters right.
Upon reaching Yathrib, Abu Jabillah honored the Arab chieftains with fine gifts and invited the Jewish leaders to join them in a feast. During the feast Abu Jabillah and his warriors overcame the Jewish leaders and all were slain. So it was from that time onward that the Jews lost the control of Yathrib and the tribes of Aws and Khazraj became the governors of Yathrib.
Time passed and the Jews, in their weakened position, deemed it more prudent to ally themselves with the now stronger pagan Arab tribes of Aws and Khazraj. However, the Jews, considering themselves to be the chosen people of Allah, resented the fact that they were now beholden to pagan Arabs and all too often sharp words were exchanged. Many were the times they would taunt the Arabs with the news that a prophet was about to come and that Allah would slay them on account of their idolatry just as He had done to the people of Aad and Thamood.
There were also other times when the religious Jews would speak to their allies about their religion; they told of their belief in One God and in the life after death. Their allies found the matter of being raised from the dead difficult to believe so the Jews told them that when the prophet came he would confirm the truth of the matter. The idea of the coming of a prophet aroused both the curiosity and also the apprehension of the Arabs of Yathrib, so they asked where he would appear and were told in the direction of their ancestral homeland, Yemen, which also lies in the same direction of Mecca.
For many years there had been a feud between a certain Awsite and Khazrajite tribe, and as time passed more tribes, including the Jews of Yathrib, were drawn into the feud. Three battles had already been waged with losses on both sides and now a fourth was imminent, so in an effort to strengthen their position, the tribe of Aws sent a delegation to Mecca to ask the Koraysh to side with them against the Khazraj.
While they were waiting for the decision, the Prophet (sa) went to the delegation and asked if they would like to hear something better than that which they were seeking. The delegation asked what he had in mind whereupon the Prophet (sa) told them about Islam and of his mission, then recited some verses of the Koran.
After he had finished the recitation, a young man named Iyas, Mu'adh's son, remembered the taunt of the Jews and got up and said, "By Allah, this is better than that which we were seeking!" Iyas' spontaneous outburst annoyed the leader of the delegation who picked up a handful of sand and threw it in his face saying, "That's enough! By my life, we came here seeking something other than this!" The young man became quiet and the Prophet (sa) left.
Meanwhile, the Koraysh reached the decision that it was not in their best interest to take sides in the feud and so the delegation returned to Yathrib without their help and the battle of Bu'ath ensued.
Not long after their return Iyas died, but as he lay on his deathbed those around him confirmed that his last words were spent in praise and exaltation of Allah, testifying to His Oneness. And so it was that, Iyas became the first person to die in Yathrib as a Muslim.
It wasn't long after that traders and pilgrims returning from Mecca brought more news of the Prophet (sa) to Yathrib, the word spread quickly and soon the entire City was talking about him. The Jews listened intently to the reports and recognized the truth in the Prophet's preaching, but for the most part, they could not bring themselves to entertain the fact that he was the long awaited Prophet because he was not a Jew
UNREST IN MECCA
THE FAILURE OF MECCANS TO RECOGNIZE THE VALUE OF THE PROPHET
In these early days of Islam, those who opposed the Prophet (sa) and his message were blinded by their own arrogant, useless idolatrous traditions and pride. Yet strange as it may seem, when it came to taking solemn oaths or when they wished people to take them seriously, the Arabs preferred to swear by Allah rather than their pagan gods
For many years the pagan, materialistic society suffered on every count. They received no benefit for their dedication to the idols and corruption abounded in every form. Women were treated as worthless human beings and seldom afford their rights, injustice, murder and thievery were, amongst other depravities, were rampant. Yet even as these sad, intolerable state of affairs persisted those who opposed the Prophet (sa) failed to recognize or admit that what the Prophet (sa), whom they had until recently, attested to having an honest and upright character, brought and practiced a much better, higher standard of life for all; a standard where justice and happiness prevailed. But more importantly they rejected the news that there was life after death where they would be held accountable for their disbelief in the Oneness of their Creator for which there is either eternal punishment or the unfailing eternal rewards of Paradise with its continuous peace and happiness.
The fact of the matter was that they failed to recognize the true value of the Prophet (sa) both spiritually and materialistically.
ANGER AND RESTMENT
Anger and resentment towards the message th Prophet Muhammad (sa) brought continued to intensify in Mecca as the number of his followers began to increase. One day, inside the precincts of Ka'ba at the Hijr Ishmael, a group of unbelievers gathered and were indulging in slanderous remarks about the Prophet (sa) as he entered. However, he paid not attention and continued to make his way across to the Ka'ba where he kissed the Black Stone then proceeded to circumambulate the Ka'ba.
The first time he passed by the Hijr Ishmael, the unbelievers shouted at him in a very disrespectful, degrading manner, the same occurred on his second and third round, but on the third round as they jeered and shouted their slanderous remarks he stopped and said: "O Koraysh, will you listen to me? Indeed, by Him who holds my soul in His Hand, I bring you slaughter." The unbelievers were silenced by this unexpected statement, and silence hovered like a heavy weight above the gathering.
After a while the silence was broken by the one who had been the most venomous with his slander, and in a surprisingly gently tone he addressed Prophet Muhammad, (sa) saying, "Go on you way, father of Kasim, for by Allah you are not an ignorant fool." Soon the unbelievers began to regret their momentary weakness and vowed they would never allow a situation like that to be repeated.
ABU JAHL - THE FATHER OF IGNORANCE
Amr, Hisham's son, was an influential, power seeking young man of the Makhzum tribe. He was the grandson of Mughirah and nephew of Waleed, the now elderly chieftain of his tribe.
Amr had amassed considerable wealth and was, to those who had not earned his anger, hospitable and had high hopes of becoming the next chief of the tribe so he erroneously viewed the Prophet (sa) as a possible threat to his future.
Amr was also a man to be feared for he was known for his ruthlessness toward those who dared to cross his path, and that now included Prophet Muhammad, (sa) as well as his followers. Such was his hatred of the Prophet (sa) and his Message, and disregard for the next life, that he had been among those responsible for setting up the road-blocks into Mecca.
When members of Amr's own tribe embraced Islam his outrage became so bitter that he persecuted them without mercy; it was because of this that Amr became known to the companions as "Abu Jahl" – “The Father of Ignorance” and his supportive wife “The Mother of all Ignorance”.
One day, as the Prophet (sa) sat by himself outside the Ka'ba, Abu Jahl caught sight of him and ceased upon the opportunity to display his foul behavior. He went across to the Prophet (sa) and in an extremely abusive manner, insulted him in a very base manner, however, the Prophet (sa) was patient and did not allow himself to be provoked and went home. Arrogantly, Abu Jahl felt he had made a good impression on a party of Koraysh gathered near the Hijr Ishmael, and returned to them gloating in what he perceived to be triumph.
Hamza, the young uncle of the Prophet, known for his gentle disposition despite the fact he had grown into a very strong man, had been away on a hunting expedition and had just returned to Mecca. As he entered the City Hamza was met by an elderly lady who had once served the now deceased, Abdullah, Judan's son, and told him of Abu Jahl's disgusting outburst.
When Hamza learned of the abuse, raging anger swelled deep within his gentle being and he thundered towards the still gloating Abu Jahl and his gleeful comrades who were still gathered around the Hijr Ishmael. Upon seeing Abu Jahl, Hamza raised his hunting bow above Abu Jahl's head and struck him forcefully across his back saying, "How dare you. Would you insult him! Know that I am of his religion and swear what he swears. Strike me now if you can!" Those that had been seated rose up to join the others in support of Abu Jahl, but he chose not retaliate saying, "Let him alone, for by Allah, I reviled his brother's son in a crude manner."
Such was Abu Jahl’s hatred for the Prophet (sa) and his message, that he was to die in disbelief. However, when the news of the Prophet’s birth reached him over forty years before, he had been so elated that he freed a female slave, and for this noble act, each Monday – the day on which the Prophet (sa) was born - Allah in His Mercy reduces his punishment in Hell.
That same day Hamza went to the Prophet (sa) and embraced Islam. Now that Hamza had embraced Islam, the Koraysh were hesitant to continue with their vile behavior. They realized from now onwards they would have to answer to him for their actions, so they revised their tactics, for no one wanted to cross Hamza’s path.
AN ATTEMPT TO BRIBE
Utba, Rabia's son, belonged to the tribe of Shams, Abdu Shams was a brother of Hashim and it was he, who, together with notables of the Koraysh tribe now met to discuss how they might best deal with the Prophet (sa). During the course of the meeting Utba suggested that perhaps the Prophet (sa) might incline to accept certain gifts and privileges in exchange for his silence, but it they had searched in the depths of their hearts all would have known he was not like them and would never accept a bribe no matter how it was presented. However, all were of the opinion that every man had his price and so they placed high hopes on his suggestion saying that they would be prepared to offer him absolutely anything he might desire as recompense in exchange for his silence.
They had just reached their agreement when a late comer joined the meeting and told the gathering that he had just seen the Prophet (sa) sitting alone beside the Ka'ba. They agreed that now was a good time to approach him with their proposal, and as Utba was related to him they chose him to be their representative.
Utba made his way toward to the Prophet (sa) whereupon the Prophet (sa) expressed his pleasure in seeing him, welcomed and invited him to sit down and talk. When Utba sat down the Prophet (sa) hoped he might have come to learn about Islam but Utba proceeded to say, "My nephew, you are one of us, from a noble tribe, a descendant of the finest ancestors. You have come to our tribes with an important matter that is dividing us. You have denounced our customs, insulted our gods and our religions. As for our ancestors, you say they were unbelievers, so listen to me because I have come to you with several proposals, perhaps you may accept one of them."
The Prophet (sa) was very saddened but listened out of politeness as he never turned anyone away as Utba proceeded to describe the bribes. "If it is money you want, we are prepared to combine our properties and make you the richest one among us. If it is honor that you wish, we will make you our chief with complete and absolute power. If it is leadership, we will make you our leader and if the Spirit you see comes to you and you cannot rid yourself of it, then we will find a physician to cure you."
After Utba finished presenting his bribe, the Prophet (sa) received a new Revelation from Allah:
"In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Most Merciful.
A sending down from the Merciful, the Most Merciful.
A Book, the verses of which are distinguished,
an Arabic Koran for a nation who know.
It bears glad tidings and a warning,
yet most of them turn away and do not listen.
'Our hearts are veiled from that to which you call us,
and in our ears there is heaviness.
And between us and you is a veil.
So work (as you will) and we are working.’"
The compelling beauty of the Koranic recitation held Utba's attention in wonderment and as he listened further he heard of the creation of the heavens and the earth. Then he heard of the prophets sent to the arrogant people of Aad, and of the proud people of Thamood. He learned that all, but a few of their citizens refused to listen to the Message Allah had given to their prophets so they, with the exception of those who believed, were subjected to punishments of the severest kind in this world and then even greater in the Everlasting Life.
The Prophet (sa) continued his recitation with verses that drew attention to the multiple signs surrounding us and concluded with:
"Among His signs are the night and the day,
and the sun and the moon.
But do not prostrate yourselves
before the sun or the moon
rather prostrate before Allah,
who created them both, if it is He whom you worship.”
As soon as the Prophet (sa) finished the recitation, he prostrated his head upon the ground in exaltation and thanksgiving. Then arose saying, "O (Utba) father of Waleed, you have heard what you have heard, it is now up to you to decided."
The sun had started to set and Utba's companions had waited patiently for his return. No doubt their hopes were high as he had been with the Prophet (sa) for a considerable length of time. However, when he returned they were struck by the changed expression upon his face and asked what had happened. Utba told them that he had heard a recitation that was uniquely beautiful yet it was neither poetry, nor was it the words of a soothsayer, nor yet sorcery. He advised his companions to do as he intended, which was, not to come between the Prophet (sa) and his affair. Then he swore by Allah that the words he had just heard would be received by many as great tidings.
Utba thought it more prudent that his blood should not be on their hands and commented if other Arabs were to kill him, then the responsibility would rest upon them, however, if his nephew were to become successful, he would govern them and his power would also be their power, and they would benefit.
Utba's companions mocked him harshly and told him that he had been bewitched, but all Utba said was, "I have given you my opinion, do whatever you please." The Koraysh were angered by his advice so they decided to speak to the Prophet (sa) themselves so that no blame for their future actions could be attached to them and so they sent for him.
The Prophet (sa) ever hopeful of guiding his tribe to Allah, went to them in haste. Soon he realized they had not called for him because their hearts had turned to Allah, rather the opposite was the case. The Koraysh rebuked him saying that never before had an Arab treated them in such a manner, reviling their gods, their customs and traditions. Once again, an effort to silence him was made as they endorsed the offer made earlier by Utba.
As soon as the Koraysh finished offering their bribe, the Prophet (sa) turned to them in his usual gentle manner saying, "I am neither possessed, nor do I seek honor among you, nor the leadership. Allah has sent me as a Messenger to you and has sent down to me a Book with the command that I should give you good tidings but also a warning. I convey to you the Message of my Lord and counsel you. If you accept what I have brought you, you will receive blessings in this world and in the Everlasting life, but if you reject what I have brought, then, I will wait patiently for Allah to judge between us."
The Koraysh, deeply disappointed by the Prophet's reply told him to leave. But before he left, they contemptuously told him that if he was really the Messenger of Allah he would have to prove it to them with something that would make their life easier.
Their first demand was that he should ask Allah to remove the mountains that surround Mecca and to level the land so that rivers would flow through it just as they did in Syria and Iraq. Their demands continued; next they said that Ksay should be raised from the dead along with several of their ancestors, saying that they would ask Ksay if what the Prophet (sa) said was true or false, yet they knew he never lied. They continued saying that if he was able to bring about their demands, then, and only then, might they conceded he was who he said he was, and near to Allah. With respect, the Prophet (sa) replied that it was not on this account that he been sent. He told them that he had been sent to convey the Message of Allah and that they were free to either accept the Message or if they were adamant, reject it, and await the Judgement of Allah.
On hearing his reply, the Koraysh changed their tactics saying that if he would not ask for these things, then, why not ask for something for himself. They told him to ask Allah to send an Angel to him who would confirm the truth of his preaching, and for gardens, and castles with treasures of gold and silver for himself. But the Prophet (sa) repeated his reply.
The Koraysh continued to deride the Prophet (sa) asking if his Lord knew that he would be sitting amongst them and that they would ask him these questions. Their mockery continued as they asked why, if Allah had known these questions were going to be asked, hadn't He instructed him how to answer and tell him what He was going to do with them if they refused the Message he brought.
The word "Rahman" means "the Merciful", and is one of the many attributes of Allah. The Koraysh noticed "Rahman" occurred at the beginning of each chapter of the Koran so in an effort to discredit the Revelation rumors were spread that the Prophet (sa) received tutorship in the art of poetry by a man from Yamamah called Rahman.
When next they met with the Prophet (sa) they seized upon the opportunity to chide him still further saying, "We have heard your recitation is taught to you by a man from Yamamah called Rahman -- we will never believe in Rahman! We have made our position clear to you Muhammad, and swear by Allah, that we will neither leave you in peace nor desist in our treatment of you until we have either destroyed you or you have destroyed us!"
The Prophet (sa) was about to leave when Abdullah, Ummaya's son from the tribe of Makhzum disrespectfully shouted, "O Muhammad, your people have offered you several propositions -- you have rejected all! First they asked for themselves, then they asked you to ask for yourself! They have even asked you to hasten some of the punishment you have spoken about upon them. By Allah, I will never believe you until I see you take a ladder, climb it, and reach the heavens, then bring four angels to bear witness that you are what you claim, and even then I doubt whether I will believe you!"
Upon hearing this last remark the Prophet (sa) was deeply saddened because it had been made by Abdullah, the son of his aunt Atikah who had named her son after her beloved brother, the Prophet's father, which means “Worshiper of Allah”.
Allah sent the Prophet verses that would forever record the contempt and rejection of the Koraysh leaders:
"As such, We have sent you forth to a nation
before whom others have passed away
in order that you recite to them
what We have revealed to you.
Yet they disbelieve the Merciful (Rahman).
Say: 'He is my Lord.
There is not god except He.
In Him I have put my trust,
and to Him I turn.'
If only a Koran
whereby the mountains were set in motion,
or the earth cleaved asunder,
or the dead spoken to.
No, but Allah is the affair altogether.
Do those who believe know that had Allah willed
He could have guided all people?
As for those who disbelieve,
because of what they do,
disaster will not cease to afflict them,
or it alights near their home
until the promise of Allah comes.
Allah will not break His promise."
"They also say:
'How is it that this Messenger
eats and walks about the markets?
Why has no angel been sent down
with him to warn us?
Or, why has no treasure been thrown to him,
or a garden for him to eat from?'
And the harmdoers say:
'The man you follow is surely bewitched.'"
'We will not believe in you until
you make a spring gush from the earth for us,
or, until you own a garden of palms and vines
and cause rivers to gush forth
with abundant water in them;
or, until you cause the sky to fall upon us in pieces,
as you have claimed,
or, as a surety bring Allah
with the angels in front;
or, until you possess an ornate house of gold,
or ascend into the heavens;
and we will not believe in your ascension until
you have brought down for us
a book which we can read.'
Say: 'Exaltations to my Lord!
Am I anything except a human Messenger?'"
ABU JAHL AND THE STONE
Abu Jahl continued to deride the Prophet (sa) after he had left and took an oath saying, "Tomorrow, I will lie in wait for him with a heavy stone, and when he prostrates I will split his skull with it. Betray me or defend me -- let the children of Abdu Manaf do what they like after that!"
The next morning, the Prophet (sa) arose before dawn and made his customary way to offer his prayer near the Black Stone in the wall of Ka'ba. The Koraysh had already gathered and Abu Jahl, carrying a very heavy stone staggered as he approached the Prophet (sa) who was now humbly absorbed in his prayer, with the intent of fulfilling his oath.
Before Abu Jahl was able to get close enough to the Prophet (sa) he turned back in deathly fright. His hand had started to wither on the stone whereupon he dropped it and ran as fast as he could. The Koraysh rushed towards him and asked what had come over him whereupon he told them he had seen a terrifying camel, with a tremendously large head, enormous shoulders and a fearsome set of teeth that looked as if it was about to devour him if he continued.
Later on, the Prophet (sa) told his companions that the camel was none other than Gabriel, and if Abu Jahl had persisted he would indeed have seized him.
THE CONTEMPT OF ABU JAHL
Even though Abu Jahl had witnessed and given, first hand, many signs he still persisted in his egotistical obsession. He now bragged before the Koraysh that he would stamp on the back of the Prophet’s neck the next time he saw him praying.
When the Prophet (sa) arrived at the Ka’ba to pray the Koraysh drew Abu Jahl’s attention to the opportunity. However, as before when Abu Jahl approached the Prophet (sa) with his evil intent, he ran away in fright, trying to protect himself with his hands. His fellow tribesmen asked what had happened whereupon he admitted, “As I came near to him, I looked down and saw a ditch full of fire and I almost fell into it. I saw a terrifying sight and heard enough fluttering of wings that would fill the earth!” Later, when Abu Jahl’s words were reported to him the Prophet (sa) told his companions that the fluttering of wings where those of the angels and that if he had come any nearer to him they would have torn him limb from limb. Soon after the following verse was sent down:
“Indeed, surely the human is very insolent.”
NADAR, THE SON OF AL HARTIH
The Koraysh admitted the situation was now beyond their ability to remedy and although Nadar, Harith's son, whose grandfather had been the illustrious Ksay, had become notorious for his slander of the Prophet (sa) he reminded the Koraysh that the Prophet (sa) had grown up amongst them as a likable person known for his excellent standing in the society.
Nadar now warned the Koraysh to be careful of their accusations for he was sure that they too knew that he was neither a poet nor yet a sorcerer. He reminded them that they also knew the ways of a sorcerer and by no means could he be described as such. He continued to advise them saying that they should be careful of what they said as he felt a serious matter had befallen them which called for a change in their tactics, and so the slanderous remarks subsided for the time being.
NADAR’S ATTEMPT TO COMPETE
WITH THE PROPHET (sa)
Nadar was a trader and had traveled the caravan routes not only in Arabia but to distant countries. Whenever he reached his destination it was his habit to seek out the storytellers in the market place and listen to their tales. On one particular trip he heard a tale about the kings of Persia, which, over the passage of time had been embellished by one storyteller then the next, and so the tale made a great impression upon him.
One day as the Prophet (sa) spoke to a group of people he told them stories the like of which they had never heard before, of bygone generations and the consequences that befell them on account of their refusal to listen to their prophet.
Nadar and Utba were among the gathering and no sooner had the Prophet (sa) finished his narration, Nadar jumped up and told them that he could tell them better stories than these then began to tell his captive audience about the kings of Persia, Rustum and Isbandiyar. After he finished the story he asked, "Who then is better at story telling, Muhammad or I?"
Someone in the gathering suggested that Nadar and Utba visit the rabbis in Yathrib and ask them about the stories the Prophet had just told them. It was a challenge, and so Nadar and Utba decided to journey to Yathrib to confront the rabbis.
THE THREE QUESTIONS
When they arrived in Yathrib they asked where they might find the rabbis and upon being taken to them said, "You are the people of the Torah, we have come to you to ask how we should deal with one of our tribesmen," and proceeded to describe the Prophet (sa) and speak of his teachings. The rabbis remained silent until they had finished then one spoke saying, "You should ask him these three questions, if he answers you correctly then he is a prophet, however, if he is unable, then he is not, and from this you can form your own opinion."
The rabbis asked their visitors to question the Prophet (sa) about the young men that disappeared from their people in ancient days, and then to question him about the great traveler who journeyed to the east and to the west. The final question they were to ask was about the Spirit.
THE PROPHET (sa) IS QUESTIONED
Nadar and Utba returned to Mecca and announced to their fellow tribesmen that the rabbis of Yathrib had given them three questions that would determine whether or not Muhammad was indeed the Prophet of Allah.
When they reached the Prophet (sa) he listened to the questions in silence and told them he would give them a reply the next day, for he never spoke on religious matters without receiving its knowledge via the Angel Gabriel. However, when told them he would give them a reply the following day he forgot to say "Insha-Allah" which means – “Allah willing.” The next day came and passed, however, Gabriel did not visited him with the answers which no doubt pleased the unbelievers.
ANGEL GABRIEL BRINGS THE ANSWERS
Several days elapsed and the Prophet (sa) patiently awaited the answers to the questions as rumors began to abound in every sector. Then, on the fifteenth day, Angel Gabriel came to him and he asked why he had not come before. Gabriel responded with a new verse from the Koran that said:
‘We do not descend except
at the command of your Lord.
To Him belongs all that is before us
and all that is behind us,
and all that lies between,
Your Lord does not forget.’"
THE STORY OF THE BELIEVING YOUNG MEN IN THE CAVE
In reply to the question about the young men in the cave Gabriel recited to the Prophet (sa) verses detailing their circumstances so later on when Nadar, Utba and their companions came to him he was able to recite the story to them.
The verses told of some young men who lived in a city of idolaters. The young men, however, were not idolaters and told their fellow tribesmen:
"Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth.
We call on no other god except Him;
(for if we did), we would have
spoken outrageously (in disbelief).”
Then the young men challenged the idolaters to bring them some proof of their authority to worship more than One God asking:
"Who does greater evil than he
who forges a lie against Allah?"
The idolaters turned against the young men and it was then that Allah put into their hearts the notion to seek refuge in a cave where they would be safe from the idolaters.
Taking their dog along with them, the young men set off for the cave and upon reaching it Allah caused them to fall into a deep sleep.
"You might have seen the rising sun incline
towards the right of their Cave,
and, as it set go past them on the left,
while they stayed within an open space in the Cave.
That was one of the signs of Allah ....
You might have thought them awake,
though they were sleeping.
We turned them about to the right and to the left,
while their dog stretched its paws at the entrance.
Had you seen them
you would surely have become
filled with terror and turned your back
on them in flight.
As such We revived them
so that they might question one another.
'How long have you stayed here?' asked one of them.
'We have been here a day, or part of it,' they replied. They said: 'Your Lord knows best how long
we have stayed here.
Let one of you go to the city with this silver (coin)
and let him search for one who has the purest food
and bring provision from it.
Let him be courteous,
but let no one sense it is you.
For, if they appear in front of you,
they will stone you to death
or restore you to their religion.
Then you will never prosper.'
And so We made them (the unbelievers)
stumble upon them,
so that they might know that the promise
of Allah is true and that
there is no doubt about the Hour.
They argued among themselves
over the affair,
then (the unbelievers) said:
‘Build a building over them (their remains).
Their Lord knows best who they were.'
But those who prevailed over the matter said:
'We will build around them a Mosque.'"
Regarding their number, the Revelation warned there was a difference of opinion among those who had heard the story and that:
"Some will say:
'They were three;
their dog was the fourth.'
Others, guessing at the Unseen, will say:
'They were five and their dog was the sixth.'
And yet others: 'Seven, their dog was the eighth,'
Say: 'My Lord knows best their number.
Except for a few none know their number.'
Therefore, do not dispute with them
except in outward disputation,
and do not ask any of them concerning them."
THE STORY OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT (THUL-KARNAIN)
The answer to the second question concerning the great traveler, Alexander, was sent down to the Prophet (sa) in the following verses:
"They will ask you about Thul-Karnain (Alexander).
Say: 'I will recite to you something of this story.
We established him in the land
and gave him means to all things.
He journeyed on a way until
when he reached the setting of the sun,
he found it setting in a muddy spring,
and nearby he found a nation.
'Thul-Karnain,' We said,
'you must either punish them
or show them kindness.'
'The evil-doer we shall punish.
Then he shall return to his Lord
and He will punish him
with a stern punishment.
As for he who believes and does good works
he shall receive a fine reward in recompense
and we shall bestow on them a rich reward
and shall speak to him with a mild command.'
Then he followed the road
until he reached the rising of the sun,
he found it rising upon a nation
for whom We provided no veil against it to shade them.
So, We encompassed in knowledge
what was with him.
Then he followed the road,
when he reached between the two barriers
he found on one side of them,
a nation who could barely understand speech.
'Thul-Karnain,' they said,
'Look, Gog and Magog are corrupting the earth.
Build us a barrier between us and them,
and we will pay you tribute.'
'That which my Lord has given me is better,
therefore help me with all your power,
and I will build a barrier between you and them.
Bring me ingots of iron.'
After he had leveled between the two cliffs,
he said: 'Blow.'
And when he made it a fire, he said:
'Bring me molten copper
so that I may pour over it.’
Thereafter they could neither scale it,
nor could they pierce it.
He said: 'This is a mercy from my Lord.
But when my Lord's promise is come,
He will make it dust.
The promise of my Lord is true.'
On that day, We will let them surge on one another,
and the Horn shall be blown,
and We will gather them all together.
On that Day We shall present Gehenna
to the unbelievers whose eyes were blinded
to My remembrance
and they were not able to hear."
CONCERNING THE SPIRIT
Concerning the answer relating to the Spirit it was revealed:
"They question you about the spirit.
Say: 'The spirit is from the command of my Lord.
Except for a little knowledge
all of you have been given nothing.'”
The Revelation also bore the reminder:
"'Do not say of anything:
'I will do it tomorrow unless (you add) if Allah wills.'
And remember your Lord when you forget and say:
‘It may be that my Lord will guide me
to something nearer to rectitude than this.'"
The Prophet's life was full of guidance and examples. There was once an occasion later on in his prophethood where he offered three units of prayer when there should have been four. Had he not made this omission we would never have known how to correct our errors when we do the same. His omission to say "InshaAllah" was also another exemplary reminder to us through which we are guided.
NADAR AND UTBA RETURN WITH THE ANSWERS TO THE RABBIS
No one in Mecca had ever heard the story of the young men in the cave and the new Revelation attracted more people to Islam. As for the rabbis of Yathrib, they anxiously awaited for the news to arrive, and when it did, they acknowledged the truthfulness of the answers, however, they still wished to question the Prophet (sa) further upon the matter of the spirit.
Even though the questions Nadar and Utba had challenged the Prophet (sa) with had been answered and acknowledged to be correct, their hearts remained hardened.
Later, after his migration to Yathrib, the Prophet (sa) was questioned again by the rabbis concerning the spirit. They asked: "Who, 'Little indeed is the knowledge all of you have been given" referred too -- was it to them?”
Prophet Muhammad (sa), told them that it referred to them, whereupon the rabbis objected saying that they had been given its knowledge in the Torah. The Prophet (sa) replied that indeed they had been given sufficient knowledge to satisfy their needs, if only they would practice it, but in comparison with the Knowledge of Allah, their knowledge was indeed little. It was during this discourse that the Prophet (sa) received another Revelation that informed:
"till Gog and Magog are let loose
and slide down out of every slope."
THE TIME OF GOG AND MAGOG
Later in his prophethood, the Prophet (sa) told his companions that near the end of the world, Gog, Magog and their followers would advance upon the Lake of Tabariah in Palestine. They will consume all of its water and it is then that Prophet Jesus - who will have descended from the heavens - together with his companions be besieged and suffer dreadfully from starvation. He continued to tell that when the siege reaches its height, Prophet Jesus and his companions will supplicate to Allah who will create in the back of the necks of Gog and Magog and their followers, worms, that will cause their death the very next morning. Then, Allah will send a flock of birds with necks as large as those of camels to carry away their foul smelling corpses.
Prophet Muhammad (sa), conveyed good news to his companions that after this trial, Allah will send down rain from the heavens which will cleanse the earth and the earth will provide an abundance of fruit for everyone to enjoy.
Then, the Prophet (sa) told his companions that it is while the Muslims are enjoying such blessings that Allah will send a sweet, gentle breeze to take away the soul of each and every one of them, thereby leaving only those who disbelieve behind on the earth.
The Prophet (sa) concluded his prophecy by telling his companions that after the death of the believers, only the most vile people will remain on the earth who will copulate in public just like donkeys for all to see and that it will be during this time that the final hour will commence.
Meanwhile, the Koraysh chieftains continued in varying degrees in their relentless hostility toward the Muslims. If a convert happened to be among the hierarchy of a tribe, Abu Jahl would reprimand him then ridicule the convert before his fellow tribesmen so that he lost their respect.
Traders also suffered. When Abu Jahl discovered a trader had converted he gave orders that no one should deal with him anymore. As a result, the convert trader was unable to sell his wares and his circumstances were soon reduced to that of an impoverished person.
The freemen who suffered most were poor converts, who, in the eyes of Abu Jahl, were the least important on the social scale. When one of them converted he would beat them without mercy and urge others to follow his example.
As for convert slaves belonging to the unbelieving Koraysh, they received the worst and harshest punishment, for their standing was by far the weakest. Punishment such as brutal beatings followed by depravation of food and water were common, but perhaps the most severe punishment was that of being pinned down upon the scorching hot sands of Mecca and leaving the slave to endure the blistering heat of the sun without the relief of even a sip of water.
Some of the physically weaker converts were unable to endure their prolonged punishment and forced to recant. However, their recantations were not from their heart, but just noises made by their tongues. Those who remained undetected would offer their prayers in secret, but there were many who did not have the privilege of privacy and their grief at not being able to offer their prayers was considerable.
BILAL, THE SON OF RIBAH
Amongst those that suffered the torture of the burning sands was Bilal, Hamamma and Ribah's son, who had never known what it was like to be a freeman as they had been born into slavery.
Bilal was a slave of African descent and owned by the children of Jumah. When news of Bilal's conversion came to the attention of the children of Jumah, Ummaya, Khalaf's son, subjected him to the most severe kinds of punishment. The harshest torture Ummaya devised was to take him out into the desert during the hottest part of the day, throw him down upon his back so that it lay flat upon the already scorching sand, then place heavy rocks on top of Bilal's chest that prevented him from moving. With a voice full of hatred he would yell at him, "You will stay here until you either die or renounce Muhammad and worship Al-Lat and Al Uzza!"
The strength of Bilal's faith was truly great, he never gave into the demands of Ummaya, and as he suffered in the unbearable heat, his weak, parched, strained voice would be heard faintly saying, "One, One!"
ABU BAKR FREES BILAL
Abu Bakr had already bought and freed six believing slaves when one day he came across Bilal whilst he was being tortured yet again. Shocked, and greatly distressed at seeing him in such an appalling condition, he went straight to Ummaya demanding, "Have you no fear of Allah that you treat this poor man in such a way -- how long do you intend continuing like this!" With a sneer, Ummaya replied, "It is you who have corrupted him -- save him from it!"
Without hesitation Abu Bakr made him an offer. Bilal was no longer of any use to Ummaya, so the offer was accepted and Abu Bakr took Bilal home with him where he was cared for, nursed back to health and given his freedom.
THE FAMILY OF YASIR
Yasir had migrated to Mecca from Yemen, and there he met and married a slave-girl by the name of Sumayya. From their union was born a son whom they named Ammar.
Ammar had been among the early converts to Islam and succeeded to bring his parents into its fold. All three were subjected to the same kind of torture as Bilal, but Yasir and Sumayya were to become martyrs.
Sumayya's martyrdom finally came when Abu Jahl brutally thrust his lance into her and killed her.
KHABBAB, THE SLAVE OF UMM AMMAR
Khabbab was the slave of Umm Ammar and when he converted the Koraysh took to subjecting him to many forms of torture. On one such occasion they lit a fire, then spread its burning coals over the ground and forced him to lie down upon his back. To add to this, one of his torturers placed his foot firmly upon Khabbab's chest so that he could not move until the coals had burned themselves to ashes, however, Khabbab survived.
In the years that followed Khabbab spoke to Omar about his torture and showed him his dreadfully scared back which was now white and pitted like that of a leper.
LUBAINA AND ZINNIRA, NADIA AND UMM UMAIS
Lubaina was the slave of Omar. Before Omar's conversion his harsh treatment of his convert slaves was well known.
Omar was extremely strong, and when he discovered that Lubaina had converted he beat her until he was exhausted and then said, "I have not stopped out of pity, but because I am tired!" Lubaina held on strongly to her belief and said after her severe beating, "If this does not persuade you, Allah shall revenge me!"
Zinnira was yet another slave owned by Omar. One day when Abu Jahl was visiting Omar he took it upon himself to beat her. Zinnira was beaten so harshly that she lost her eyesight.
Nadia and Umm Umais were yet two more slaves who were among those tortured but refused to recant.
When it came to freeing believing slaves, Abu Bakr did not think twice to pay the handsome sum demanded by their torturers to secure their release and the ladies just mentioned were among those blessed by his compassionate generosity.
THE REQUEST OF SOME OF THE COMPANIONS
Khabbab, Al Aratt's son, and some of the companions went to visit Prophet Muhammad (sa), to complain against their increased persecution and ask him to supplicate for victory over their aggressors.
The Prophet (sa) listened with heartfelt sympathy and them with the story of a man, who, centuries before, had been taken captive by his enemy and told to renounce his belief. The man refused to give up his belief and so he was flung into a pit and left there.
Later, after his captors thought his spirit would have weakened, he was dragged up out of the pit and told to recant, but still the man refused whereupon his flesh was torn from his bones by rakes, but he would not give up his belief. Finally, a saw was sent for and placed on top of his head and he was martyred as he was sawn in half. There was absolutely nothing that would tear him away from his faith.
The Prophet (sa) consoled his companions saying, "Allah will surely bring this matter to an end, when a rider will be able to leave Sanna for Hadramet fearing nothing except Allah and the danger of a wolf attacking his sheep."
Abu Jahl, Al Akhnas son of Sharik's and Abu Sufyan were curious to learn why so many people were attracted to the Prophet (sa) so they decided to spy upon one of his gatherings. One night after the believers had gathered in the Prophet's house, they met together and then hid among the shadows so as not to be detected and waited for him to begin.
The Prophet (sa) and his followers spent the night in prayer and also listened to the Prophet’s captivating recitation of the Koran. After its recitation, the Prophet (sa) much to the delight of his followers, lovingly expanded upon its meaning and stories from the knowledge he had been given by Gabriel. He never spoke on religious matters without having first been given knowledge from Gabriel, who was entrusted by Allah to deliver the Koran and its explanation.
The hours slipped by and it was only just before dawn that the three returned home in fear that if they stayed any longer someone might see them and then misinterpret their reason for presence. As they made their way home they warned each other that they must never do such a thing again. However, they were to return yet again on the second, and third night then leave as they had done before dawn, but as they parted company on the third night each took a binding oath never, ever, to return again.
Later on that day Al Akhnas, with stick in hand, went to the home of Abu Sufyan to ask his opinion of the past three nights. Abu Sufyan told him that he had heard things he knew and already knew what was meant by them, and that he had also heard things he had not heard before and had not known their meaning. Al Akhnas concurred with Abu Sufyan and then went to Abu Jahl's home to ask his opinion.
Al Akhnas found that Abu Jahl's position had not soften in the slightest, in fact he understood that Abu Jahl now saw the Prophet (sa) as an even greater threat and had become more opposed than ever. Abu Jahl reminded his visitor that he and his tribesmen competed with the Prophet (sa) and his followers for honor saying, "They have fed the poor, so have we; they have been generous, so have we, we are like two horses running neck-to-neck in a race. But, they say we have a Prophet to whom a Revelation is sent down from heaven -- when will we ever attain anything like that!"
It was now more evident than ever that Abu Jahl feared he would loose his chance to be the chieftain of this very powerful tribe when his uncle died. Although, if he had put his pride to one side and listened without bias he would have realized his fear was completely unfounded as the Prophet (sa) was honorable and respectful, and never took away the authority of tribal chieftains or claimed such rank for himself. Now, in a fit of arrogant rage, Abu Jahl swore never to believe in the message the Prophet (sa) brought, nor would he ever again consider him to be truthful.
The unbelievers persisted in their mockery of the Prophet (sa) saying, "There is a veil over our hearts, we do not understand what you say. There is also a heaviness in our ears so we are unable to hear you, and a curtain that divides us from you. You follow your path and we will follow ours. We do not understand any thing you say!" It was then that Allah sent down the verses:
"When you recite the Koran,
We place between you and those who do not believe
in the Everlasting Life an obstructing barrier.
We lay veils upon their hearts and
heaviness in their ears,
lest they understand it.
When you (Prophet Muhammad)
mention your Lord alone in the Koran,
they turn their backs in aversion.
When they listen to you,
We know very well how they listen.
When they conspire,
when the evildoers declare:
'You are only following a man who is bewitched.'
See what they compare you to.
They have surely gone astray and cannot find the Path.
'What!' they say,
'When we are (turned to) bones and broken bits,
shall we be raised again in a new creation?'
Say: 'Let you be stones or iron,
or any other creation
yet more monstrous in your minds.'
They will ask: 'Who will restore us?'
Say: 'He who originated you at first.'
They will shake their heads and ask:
'When will this be?'
Say: 'Maybe it is near, on that Day,
He will summon you,
and you shall answer Him with praise and
you shall think you have stayed but for a little.'"
WALEED, CHIEF OF THE MAKHZUM
The status of Waleed, the elderly chieftain of the Makhzum, and uncle of Abu Jahl, within the Koraysh tribes was that of great standing and influence to the extent that one might say he was virtually the unofficial leader of all the Koraysh tribes.
Prophet Muhammad (sa), was ever hopeful that the Message he brought would touch the hearts of tribal leaders, which would not only turn them into believers and the rest of their tribes, but make for strong allies and bring about the cessation of the relentless persecution of his companions. His uncle, Abu Talib, supported him but had not embraced Islam, which was a source of deep regret to the Prophet (sa), so now he sought the opportunity to approach Waleed.
The opportunity was soon to present itself when one day they unexpectedly met together. Waleed did not brush the Prophet (sa) away and soon the two became engrossed in their discussion.
During the course of their conversation, the Prophet (sa) was overheard by a blind passerby, who had recently converted to Islam. The blind man interrupted the conversation at an inopportune moment and asked the Prophet (sa) to recite to him some verses whereupon Waleed frowned and turned away. The conversation ended shortly after the interruption and Waleed left without being persuaded.
Later, Waleed was heard to arrogantly exclaim to his fellow tribesmen, "Are Revelations sent to Muhammad and not to me! I am the most important among the Koraysh, and I am their lord! Why are they not sent to Abu Masoud, the lord of Thakif or myself -- we are the two great men of the two great cities!" The cities referred to were those of Mecca and Ta'if.
Not long after the Prophet (sa) had spoken with Waleed he received a new, short chapter that refers, in part, to the blind man and Waleed:
"He frowned and turned away
when the blind man came to him.
And what could let you know?
Perhaps he (comes to hear you) to be purified.
(He might) remember,
and the Reminder might profit him.
As for he who is sufficed, you attended to him,
although it is not for your to be concerned
if he remained unpurified.
And to him who came to you eagerly and fearfully,
of him you were unmindful.
No indeed, this is a Reminder;
and whosoever wills shall remember it."
Koran 80:1 - 12
THE SPLITTING OF THE MOON
It was the night of the full moon and as it rose over Mount Hira its silvery light lit the City of Mecca below. Prophet Muhammad (sa), happened to be out walking with Ali and some of his companions when a group of unbelievers passed by. As might be expected, the unbelievers started hurling their usual mockery, then, one of them issued a challenge to the Prophet (sa) saying, "If you really are the Messenger of Allah, then split the moon into half!"
The Prophet (sa) supplicated and to the absolute amazement of the unbelievers, Allah, the Most Able, caused the moon to split and draw away from its other half so that one half shone on one side of Mount Hira and the other below. The small crowd looked on in wonderment, then the Prophet (sa) turned to the unbelievers and his customary, innate, gentle manner asked them to bear witness, for his only desire was to bring them to Allah and save them from the Fire. Some converted immediately, whilst others were not ready to commit themselves, but those whose hearts were hardened refused to believe claiming that the miracle was nothing other than magic and persisted, even after others from remote areas were questioned and bore witness that they too had seen the division of the moon, that the Prophet (sa) had cast a spell over their eyes.
Allah refers to this miraculous event and the lies of the unbelievers saying:
“The Hour is drawing near,
and the moon is split (in two).
Yet if they see a sign (the unbelievers) turn their backs and say: ‘This is but a continuation of sorcery!’
They have belied,
and follow their own fancies.
But every issue will be settled!”
IDOLATORY THROUGH LACK OF DIVINE GUIDANCE - THE CONVERSION OF OMAR, SON OF KHATTAB
Although Omar disliked the Prophet (sa) and his companions, his reasons were different from those of his uncle Abu Jahl. Omar came from a family steeped in conservatism and tradition, and as such taught to respect, but not question through lack of Divine Guidance, the age-old custom of reverence for the idols and Ka'ba. The very idea of even challenging the validity of worshipping its idols was to Omar something that was simply not open for discussion. Traditions and heritage went hand in hand, and were to him, something to be preserved at all costs, although there was nothing to support the worship of the idols. As for the Ka'ba itself, only fragments of its real reason for reverence remained. To Omar, and most of the people of Mecca, he was content with the age-old illogical excuse that his fathers and ancestors had worshipped them and what had been good enough for them, was still good enough for his generation.
When Omar heard the Prophet (sa) calling upon people to renounce the idols and worship just One God, Allah, it was more than he could bear. To Omar's way of thinking, the Prophet (sa) and his Message had become a threat to the very fabric of his society's heritage, unity and ultimately its existence so he had come to the conclusion that the only way to stop the escalation would be the elimination of the Prophet (sa).
THE ATTEMPT OF OMAR AND ABU JAHM TO KILL THE PROPHET (sa)
Omar and Abu Jahm, Hudhayfa’s son were of a similar mind so they agreed that on a specified night to go to the Prophet’s home and accomplish the matter. However, upon reaching his house they heard him reciting the words:
“The Resurrection Verifier;
and what is the Resurrection Verifier?
What makes you to know
what the Ressurection Verifier is?
Thamood and Aad belied the Clatterer.
Thamood, they were destroyed
by the violent shout (of Gabriel),
as for Aad,
they were destroyed by a howling, violent wind
that He subjected upon them
for seven nights and eight days consecutively
and you might have seen them struck down
as if they were the stumps of palm tress
that had fallen down.
Can you see any remnant of them now?”
When Abu Jahm heard these words he struck Omar’s arm violently exclaiming, “Save yourself!” and they ran away in fright.
NU'AYM DIVERTS OMAR
The matter, however, still weighed heavily upon Omar’s mind, he could bear it no longer. The matter had, in his opinion, to be resolved once and for all, so he fastened his sword to his belt and stormed out of the house.
He had not gone far when Omar was met by a fellow tribesman by the name of Nu'aym, Abdullah's son. Nu'aym had embraced Islam, however, very few people knew of his conversion and without doubt Omar was completely unaware.
Upon seeing the determined look upon Omar's face and then the sword fastened to his belt, Nu'aym suspected trouble and asked casually, so as not to arouse suspicion, where he was going. Omar replied, "I am going to kill Muhammad; he has divided us!"
Nu'aym, trying to conceal his fear for the Prophet (sa) tried to dissuade Omar by telling him that even if he succeeded the children of Abdu Manaf would never rest until they had taken their revenge and killed him.
Nu'aym was quick to realize that Omar was not to be put off by his advice so desperately, in an effort to buy time in which he could alert the Prophet (sa) and his companions, he said, "Omar, you should put things right in your own house first!"
Omar was startled, and asked what he meant by such a statement. Nu'aym replied, "Your sister, Fatima and her husband Sa'id, they are followers of Muhammad and his religion." Without so much as a word, Omar stormed off to his sister's house. Nu'aym felt badly at having exposed Fatima and Sa'id to Omar's wrath, but he knew they would understand his intention as they, like every convert loved and would do anything to shield their beloved Prophet (sa) from the prospect of harm.
THE RECITATION OF KHABBAB
Now among the literate people of the tribe of Zuhra was a convert called Khabbab. Khabbab had a very sweet voice and had learned the recitation of the Koran. Fatima and Sa'id loved to both recite and listen to its recitation and so Khabbab had become a most welcome visitor to their home.
On the day Omar discovered his sister and her husband had become Muslims, Khabbab happened to be visiting them. It was as they were sitting together reciting the new chapter "Ta Ha" which had recently been sent down, then written upon a piece of parchment, that Omar arrived at her house and made his presence known by calling out his sister's name in a thunderous voice.
Khabbab was stricken with fear, for he was among those who were poor and of little standing, so he hid himself in Fatima's house hoping that Omar would not discover his presence, but before hiding, Fatima took the parchment from him and hid it under her gown.
Omar burst into Fatima's house and demanded, "What was that mumbling I heard?" Fatima and Sa'id told him that he heard no mumbling. Angrily, Omar replied, "Indeed, I heard you and I have been told that you have both become followers of Muhammad!" Omar restrained himself no longer, and started beating his brother-in-law without mercy. Fatima tried to intervene but a blow intended for Sa'id struck her and she began to bleed profusely whereupon she cried out to her brother to do whatever he wanted, and told him that, yes, he was right, they had indeed become Muslims.
When Omar realized what he had done to his sister he was overcome with remorse and his attitude changed. In a soften tone he asked, "Give me what I have just heard you reading from so that I might see what Muhammad has brought."
Fatima, fearful of her brother's intention, replied, "I am afraid to trust you with it" whereupon Omar laid down his sword and said, "Do not fear, by Allah, I will give it back to you." Fatima knew her brother to be a man of his word and hoped with all her heart he would embrace Islam and spoke to him gently saying, "O my brother, because of your idolatry you are unclean, and only the cleansed may touch it." Omar heeded his sister's words and went to wash himself. When Omar returned Fatima gave him the parchment and Allah, in His Mercy caused the light of faith to enter his heart and he began to read.
THE SUPPLICATION OF THE PROPHET (sa)
After Omar had finished reading, Khabbab came out from his hiding place and said, "Omar, I hope that through the prayer of our Prophet (sa) Allah has chosen you, because yesterday I heard him supplicate, 'O Allah, strengthen Islam with either Abdul Hakam, Hisham's son or with Omar, Khattab's son."
These encompassing words of Khabbab touched Omar in such a way that he asked where he might find the Prophet (sa) so that he might go to him and embrace Islam. Khabbab no longer feared for the Prophet's safety under the hand of Omar and told him that he would find him together with his companions in the house of Akram, near the Hill of Safwa.
OMAR'S ARRIVAL AT THE HOUSE OF AKRAM
Omar fastened his sword and made ready to leave for the house of Akram. When he reached the house he knocked at the door and announced himself.
Meanwhile, Nu'aym had been able to warn the Prophet (sa) and his companions of Omar's original intent, so they were taken by surprise when they heard the gentle tone of his voice. One of the companions got up and went to look through a small crack in the door and returned to the Prophet (sa) to confirm that it was indeed Omar and that he was wearing his sword.
The Prophet (sa) was not afraid for he trusted Allah and knew He had answered his supplication, and gave permission to let Omar enter. However, Hamza told his companion to open the door saying, "If he comes with good intent, he will receive much good, but on the other hand, if his intentions are evil then he would kill him with his own sword."
OMAR EMBRACES ISLAM
As Omar entered, the Prophet (sa) caught hold of his belt by surprise and led him into the middle of the room then asked in his usual gentle manner, "What brings you here, son of Khattab." Meekly, Omar replied, "O Messenger of Allah (sa) I have come to you so that I may proclaim my belief in Allah and in His Messenger, and in that which He has sent down to you."
In gratitude and humility, the Prophet (sa) exalted Allah saying, "Allah is the Greatest!" Those present felt an overwhelming sense of relief and followed the Prophet’s example and exalted Allah as they realized Omar was no longer their enemy, but one of them, a Muslim.
ABU JAHL LEARNS OF OMAR'S CONVERSION
The next morning, Omar went to the house of Abu Jahl and knocked at his door. Abu Jahl was happy to see his favorite nephew and came out to welcome him asking what had brought him there. Omar told him that he had come to tell him that he believed in Allah and bore witness that Muhammad is His Messenger, and to the truth which is sent down to him. Abu Jahl's face blackened and as he cursed his nephew, slammed the door in his face.
THE KORAYSH LEARN OF OMAR'S CONVERSION
Omar had no intention of keeping his conversion secret, so he went to Jamil, Mamar Al Jumahi's son, the Koraysh gossip, knowing well he would spread the news quickest and told him of his conversion.
Omar's assumption was correct, Jamil jumped up, and made straight for the Ka'ba with Omar following a few steps behind.
At the door of Ka'ba, Jamil proclaimed loudly for all to hear, "Omar has apostatized!" Then Omar shouted! "He is a liar, I have become a Muslim and testify that there is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet and His Messenger! Several unbelievers, standing near Ka'ba witnessed Omar's proclamation and started to fight him. The fighting continued until the heat of the mid-day when Omar took a rest saying, "Do as you will, I swear by Allah that if you were three hundred men I would have fought it out on equal terms!"
Just then, a Koraysh chieftain, robed in a Yemeni cloak intervened and asked what was going on. When he was told that Omar had embraced Islam, he turned to them and asked, "Why shouldn't a man choose a religion for himself -- what are you trying to do? Do you think that the children of Adiyy will surrender their companion to you? Let the man alone!" And so Omar was left in peace.
Now that Omar had proclaimed his acceptance of Islam, the companions felt more secure to worship Allah at the Ka'ba, as the unbelievers feared a formidable encounter with Omar and Hamza.
Now that Hamza and Omar had converted to Islam, the Koraysh viewed the Prophet (sa) in a different light. Their persecution had failed to halt the ever increasing number of their fellow tribesmen from following the him, so they decided to call for a meeting of all the Koraysh chieftains to devise an alternate plan which would cause the Muslims hardship in as many aspects of their lives as possible.
No less than forty chieftains from the Koraysh with its branches gathered to discuss the matter. The plan which proved acceptable to the majority was, that from now onward they would boycott the tribes of the children of Hashim, and Muttalib with the exception of Abu Lahab who was their staunch ally. No longer would their children be permitted to marry members of these tribes and trade between them was now strictly forbidden.
THE WITHERED FINGERS
To ensure that none would be tempted to break the boycott, Mansoor, Ikrima's son, wrote down the pact details and fastened it onto a wall inside the Ka'ba as a reminder to anyone who might be tempted to break the pact, for some of the Koraysh tribes did not agree wholeheartedly to the harshness of the sanctions. When the Prophet (sa) heard of Mansoor's action, he supplicated to Allah against him, whereupon several of Mansoor's fingers withered away. In addition to this the Prophet (sa) prophesized to the Koraysh that the pact would be eaten by termites and only the Name of Allah would remain.
As a matter of safety, the Prophet (sa) who was always concerned for the welfare of his companions, decided it would be better for the Muslims to live close to one another. With this in mind, it was decided that they would settle near the home of Abu Talib, who, although still a non-Muslim choose to remain allied to the Prophet (sa).
THE RELOCATION OF ABU LAHAB
Until that time, Abu Lahab, whose unwarranted, violent hatred of the Prophet (sa) and his Message was common knowledge, lived near Abu Talib. However, when the Prophet (sa) and Lady Khadijah arrived to live there Abu Lahab and his household packed their belongings and moved away.
Now that the boycott was in place, Abu Jahl, obsessed in his hatred, occupied his time ensuring that it was strictly observed.
FLOUR FOR LADY KHADIJAH
Lady Khadijah had a nephew called Hakim who belonged to one of the tribes participating in the boycott. One day, Hakim, and his servant were seen by Abu Jahl taking a bag of flour into the predominately Muslim sector. Abu Jahl accused Hakim of breaking the boycott and a heated argument ensued in which Abu Jahl threatened to expose Hakim to the others.
During the argument Abdul Bakhtari, from the tribe of Asad, overhead the two arguing and asked what all the fuss was about. When it was explained to him, he sided with Hakim arguing that he could see no harm in what Hakim was doing as he was just returning a bag of flour belonging to his aunt. Abdul Bakhtari told Abu Jahl that there was no need to make such a big issue of the matter and to let Hakim go on his way,
Now that Abdul Bakhtari had taken sides in the argument, tension increased and a scuffle broke out. In self defense, Abdul Bakhtari picked up the jaw-bone of a camel and struck Abu Jahl with such forced upon his head that he fell concussed to the ground.
HISHAM, THE SON OF AMR
Among the tribes whose chieftains had signed the pact were tribesmen -- especially those closely related through marriage -- who felt compassion towards the Muslims. One such person was Hisham, Amr' son. When night fell, and no one was about, Hisham would often load his camel with food, clothing and gifts, lead it towards the Muslim houses then strike the camel on its rump so that it ran down into the streets of the boycotted area. The food and gifts were immediately shared amongst the Muslims, and they were grateful for his courage and generosity.
A little over two years had now passed, the boycott remained in force and the Prophet (sa) and his companions faced the severe hardship of poverty and deprivation with patience, knowing that Allah would bless them. Even Abu Bakr who had once been among the wealthiest of Meccans was now reduced to a poor man. With the shortage of food, times were difficult but the light of faith and the much loved companionship of their every caring Prophet (sa) made the hardship easier to endure.
THE SACRED MONTHS
It was only during the Sacred months that the Muslims felt safe enough to leave their homes to pray at their beloved Ka'ba. However, although they suffered no physical harm during these months, the unbelievers did not withhold their verbal abuse.
Amongst those whose verbal abuse was the most offensive was Ummaya, Khalaf's son. Whenever he saw the Prophet (sa) he seized the opportunity to hurl slanderous, backbiting statements at him. It was during this time that Allah sent down verses that warned of the punishment of backbiters and slanderers:
"Woe to every backbiter, slanderer
who amasses wealth and counts it,
thinking his wealth will render him immortal!
On the contrary! He shall be flung to the Crusher.
What shall let you know what the Crusher is?
(It is) the kindled Fire of Allah,
which shall oversee the hearts,
closed around them in extended columns."
Koran Chapter 104
THE FATE OF SOME THAT MOCKED
There were five men who were the most vile in their mockery. From the tribe of Asad there was Al Aswad, Muttalib's son, who grandfather was Asad Abu Zama'a. From the tribe of Zuhra, it was Al Aswad, Abdu Yaghuth's son. From the Makhzum tribe the most notorious was Al Waleed, Mughira's son. From the tribe of Sahm, it was Al As, Wa'il's son, grandson of Hisham. Then, from the tribe of Khuzaha, Al Harith, Tulatila's son was certainly the most vile.
Concerning those that mocked, Allah sent down the verses:
"Proclaim then, what you are commanded
and turn away from the unbelievers.
We suffice you against those who mock,
and those who set other gods with Allah,
indeed, they will soon know.
Indeed, We know your chest is straitened
by that they say."
One day when the Prophet (sa) was near the Ka'ba, those foremost in mockery were circumambulating it when the Angel Gabriel came to the Prophet (sa) and stood beside him.
Al Aswad, Muttalib's son was the first to pass by the Prophet (sa) and as he did Gabriel threw a green leaf at face that caused Al Aswad to become blind.
Al Aswad Abdu Yaghuth's son was the next to pass, whereupon Gabriel pointed to his stomach that became so bloated that he died.
Following these two came Al Waleed. Several years before Al Waleed had passed by a man repairing his arrows. Some of the arrows became tangled up in his long robe and caused a minor wound that left him with a small scar. Gabriel now pointed at it, the wound reopened, festered and Al Waleed died.
Next came Al As, whereupon Gabriel pointed to his instep. Later, on a journey to Ta'if, Al As stopped to rest under a thorny tree to which he tethered his mount. As he did he stepped upon a thorn; the wound became infected and shortly afterwards he died.
Al Harith was the last to pass. Angel Gabriel pointed to his head which immediately filled with pus and thereafter he died.
THE CRUELTY OF ABU LAHAB AND HIS WIFE
Abu Lahab and his wife, Umm Jamil, reveled in the effort they took to try and demean or harm the Prophet (sa). Umm Jamil, took great pleasure in gathering sharp thorns then strewing them at night along the paths most frequented by the Prophet (sa) in hope of injuring him, however, Allah caused the thorns to be as soft sand and blessed him with such keen eye sight that he could see as well during the darkness of night as he could during the day.
Such was their unwarranted hatred of Prophet Muhammad (sa) that Abu Lahab, ordered his sons to divorce Ladies Rukayyah and Umm Kulthum, the daughters of the Prophet (sa) before their marriages had been consummated, then pressed upon Lady Zaynab's father-in-law to do make his son do the same. However, Lady Zaynab's husband, Al As, loved her and refused saying he had no wish to marry another.
It was during these times of hardship that Allah sent down a short chapter that spoke of the punishment in the Everlasting life of Abu Lahab and his wife.
"Perish the hands of Abi-Lahab, and perish he!
His wealth will not suffice him
neither what he has gained;
he shall roast at a Flaming Fire,
and his wife, laden with firewood
shall have a rope of palm-fiber round her neck!"
Koran Chapter 111
THE REACTION OF UMM JAMIL
When Umm Jamil heard the Revelation, the hatred she harbored towards the Prophet (sa) reached a new height. In a violent rage she fetched her stone pestle and headed straight to the Ka'ba where she expected to find the Prophet (sa).
As she entered its confines she caught sight of Abu Bakr and went up to him demanding, "Where is your companion!" Abu Bakr was taken by surprise, he knew well to whom she referred, yet she had not seen the Prophet (sa) who was sitting close to him.
Umm Jamil continued her ranting, "I have heard he has satirized me, by Allah, if I had found him here I would have destroyed his mouth with this pestle. Indeed, I am no lesser poet than he!" Then she recited a short, degrading rhyme she had written, then left.
Abu Bakr turned to the Prophet (sa) and asked whether or not he thought she had seen him. The Prophet (sa) informed Abu Bakr that she had not because Allah in His Mercy to him had concealed his person from her sight. Then the Prophet (sa) commented upon her rhyme drawing his companion's attention to the use of the word "mudhammam" which she had chosen to use, meaning reprobate, which is the opposite to "Muhammad" which means praised. He also commented, "Isn't it surprising that the injuries the Koraysh try to inflict are deflected away from me? They curse and satirize Mudhammam, whereas I am Muhammad."
KHABBAB, THE SWORD MAKER AND AL AS
Amongst the companions of the Prophet (sa) was a sword-smith by the name of Khabbab, Aratt's son. Now Al As, Wa'il's son asked Khabbab to sell him some of his swords, the price was agreed but he had no intention of paying him. Khabbab waited and waited then finally went to him and asked for his money.
With contempt Al As asked, "Doesn't your companion, Muhammad, whose religion you follow, say that in Paradise there is as much gold, silver, clothes and servants that his people could ever wish for?" "Yes, indeed," replied Khabbab. "Then," said Al As, "give me until the Day of Repayment when I return to that House and I pay my debt to you there. By Allah, you and your companion will be no more influential with Allah than I, nor will you have a great share in it!"
Not long after Al As had spoken these words, Allah sent down to the Prophet (sa):
"Have you see he who disbelieves Our verses and yet says:
'I shall surely be given wealth and children!'
Has he gained knowledge of the Unseen?
Or taken a covenant with the Merciful?
On the contrary, We will write down what he says and prolong the length of his punishment.
We shall inherit that of which he speaks
and he will come before Us alone."
THE CAMEL TRADER FROM IRASH
A camel trader from Irash had driven his camels to Mecca where he hoped to sell them for a fair price. When Abu Jahl saw the camels he decided to buy them and the price was agreed, however, he took the camels and then refused to pay for them.
The trader was very distressed by Abu Jahl's unjust behavior and went to the Ka'ba where he found a group of Koraysh and told him of his plight saying, "Who will help me to receive what is rightfully mine from Abu Hakam, Hisham's son (Abu Jahl's given name). I am a traveler, a stranger, and he will not pay his debt!"
The tribesmen paid no heed to his plight and out of contempt, the Koraysh directed the trader to the Prophet (sa), who was sitting near the Ka’ba. They knew he would never turn away anyone in distress and hoped the situation would provoke hostile encounter with Abu Jahl. In mockery they told the trader, "Go to him, he will help you receive your rights!" So the trader made his way to the Prophet (sa) to entreat his help. Respectfully, the Prophet (sa) invited him to sit down and listened to the trader’s complaint. It was of no consequence whether or not an injured party was a Muslim or not, the Prophet (sa) always advocated justice for all and it was clear that an injustice had been done to the trader and so they made their way to Abu Jahl's house and attend to the matter.
When the Koraysh saw Prophet Muhammad (sa) and the trader leaving together, they sent one of their companions after them with the instruction to follow and report back upon the happenings. When the Prophet (sa) and the trader reached Abu Jahl's house, the Prophet (sa) knocked at the door and Abu Jahl asked from behind closed doors who was there. The Prophet (sa) replied that it was he and asked him to come out.
As Abu Jahl came out of his house it was noticeable how pale his face had become and that he was very agitated. The Prophet (sa) asked him to settle his debt with the trader whereupon Abu Jahl raised no objections and went inside to fetch the agreed sum of money.
The money was given to the trader who thanked the Prophet (sa) and they parted company. The trader returned to the Koraysh saying, "May Allah reward him, I have received my rights on his account!"
When the companion of the Koraysh returned he confirmed what happened. Just then, Abu Jahl joined them and they asked what had happened, adding they had neither expected nor had they ever seen him do anything like that before. Abu Jahl swore by Allah that when the Prophet (sa) knocked at the door he had become filled with terror, so he had opened it. As he did he saw, towering above his head, the same rogue camel with a massive head, sharp teeth and broad shoulders he had seen once before at the Ka’ba. He told them that there was no doubt in his mind that if he had refused to pay the trader the camel would have set upon him and devoured him.
THE COMPANIONS MIGRATE TO ABYSINNIA
As the persecution and suffering of the Muslims, be they well connected or not, increased, the Prophet (sa) who was always concerned for their welfare and security approved the migration to Abyssinia of all those wishing to leave.
The reputation for justice and tolerance of the Nazarene ruler of Abyssinia, the Negus, was well known, and so in secrecy, during the month of Rajab, twelve companions with their families, a total of eighty-three adults and children, set out for Abyssinia.
Amongst the migrants were Lady Rukayyah, the Prophet's daughter who was married to Othman, Affan's son, Abu Hudhayfah, whose father Utba was one of the principal persecutors of the Prophet (sa). Abu Sabra, Ruhm's son a cousin of the Prophet (sa) through his aunt Bara. Abu Salama Al Makhzumi and his wife Umm Salama, who, upon the death of her husband was to marry the Prophet (sa). Othman, the son of Makhzum Humahi, a close companion of the Prophet (sa). Amir the son of Rabia and his wife Leila -- Amir had been one of the early converts. Zubair, Al Awwam's son cousin of the Prophet (sa) and his close companion who later married Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr. Musab the son of Umair, grandson of Hashim. Abd Al Rahman, the son of Auf from the tribe of Zuhra, another relative and close companion of the Prophet (sa) who was informed by the Prophet (sa) that Paradise was assured for him. Abu Hatib, Amr's son, Suhail, Baida's son and Abdullah, Masoud's son, who was yet another of the close companions of the Prophet (sa).
When the migrants reached the coast they found two half-empty ships bound for Abyssinia and the captains agreed to carry them for the sum of five dirhams per passenger.
The language spoke in Abyssinia at that time was very much akin to Arabic and so it wasn't long until the companions settled down and made friends with their welcoming new neighbors.
THE KORAYSH LEARN OF THE MIGRATION
So subtle had been the migration of the companions that the Koraysh remained unaware of their departure until long after they had reached the safety of Abyssinia.
When it suddenly dawned upon the Koraysh that they had not seen several Muslim families for some time they realized something was amiss and became greatly angered as they discovered that not only they, but other families, had migrated to Abyssinia without their knowledge.
Although the Koraysh had made it very clear that the Muslims were unwelcome to practice their religion in Mecca they now wished they had contained them in the City because they began to fear they would become successful in converting others and so gain strength.
THE ATTEMPT TO BRING THE MIGRANTS BACK
In an attempt to regain control over the migrant Muslims, the Koraysh called for an urgent meeting to discuss what they should do to remedy the situation. The meeting was concluded when the decision was reached that they would send two of their trusted tribesmen, Abdullah, Abu Rabia's son and Amr, Al As' son, to the Negus bearing gifts of the finest leather, which they knew were highly prized by Abyssinians, with the request that the migrants be returned to Mecca. It was also agreed that Abdullah and Amr should approach the Negus' high ranking generals behind his back and bribe them individually with a fine hide in return for their support in securing their aim.
Before Abdullah and Amr departed, Abu Talib, whose sons Jafar and Amr were among the migrants, sent a short poem he had composed to the Negus asking him to protect his sons.
The poetic message was subtle, it asked the Negus if his sons remained under his protection, or if they had been delivered into the hands of mischief makers. He told of the happiness the refugees must be enjoying by being permitted to stay in his county. He closed the poem with tender words in praise of the Negus for his hospitality to both friend and stranger alike.
Upon reaching the Negus' palace, Abdullah and Amr first visited and succeeded to bribe the generals saying, "Some foolish people of ours have taken refuge in your country. They have abandoned their religion, yet they have not converted to yours because they have devised one of their own, the like of which is unknown to us and to you. Our noble leaders have sent us to ask the Negus to let them return with us and it is our desire that you advise him so that they might return."
Abdullah and Amr were quick to add that they thought it preferable that the migrants should not be permitted to speak with the Negus. Like the Koraysh chieftains, Abdullah and Amr were afraid that if the Muslims were given the opportunity to speak to the Negus, he would listen kindly and incline to what they had to say. With this in mind they told the generals that they knew well their people's ways and faults and it was not only their desire that they should return home but those of their close relatives.
The Negus received his visitors courteously, and the envoys presented their gifts then asked for the return of their fellow tribesmen. As one might expect the generals were strongly supportive of the request and tried to persuade the Negus to agree.
The Negus, being both wise and fair became outraged at the suggestion that these people who sought refuge in his country should be sent back without a hearing and replied, "No, by Allah, I will not surrender them! On no account will anyone, who, having sought my protection, settled in my country and chosen me rather than their own be betrayed. I will question them about the matter these two men allege, then, if they are as they say, I will send them back with their people. On the other hand, if what has been said is false, I will respect them and they will receive both my hospitality and protection."
THE NEGUS AND THE MIGRANTS
The Negus sent for the migrants to come to the palace and at the same time called upon his bishops to attend the meeting and asked them to bring their scriptures with them. When all were assembled, the Negus asked the companions several direct questions relating to their reasons for leaving their people. Among the questions were, why had they chosen not to adopt his religion, this was then followed by an inquiry about their belief.
Jafar, Abu Talib's son, acted as spokesman for the Muslims. He told the Negus that before Islam they had been ignorant people, worshipping idols, committing the most regrettable things, and showing little or no mercy to those weaker than themselves. Then he told him about Prophet Muhammad (sa), who had been sent to them and detailed his lineage, and spoke of his reputation for being upright, truthful and trustworthy.
Jafar continued to tell the Negus that the Prophet (sa) called them to the Oneness of Allah and to worship Him alone. He told them how he had said they must renounce their idols and the false concepts their fathers and ancestors had followed.
Then, he told the Negus that the Prophet (sa) instructed them to speak truthfully, fulfill their promises, care for their relatives and neighbors. That they must neither kill, nor consume the wealth of orphans, nor should they falsely accuse good women. Jafar also explained how they had been taught to pray five times each day, to be charitable and to fast.
Nearing the end of the audience, Jafar told the Negus that it was on account of these matters that their people had turned against and persecuted them in an effort to force them revert to their old religion. He also told the Negus that the reason for their migration to his country was because they knew they would be secure under his protection.
The Negus was impressed by Jafar's honorable reply and asked if he was able to recite some of the Revelation to him, so Jafar recited verses from the Chapter Mary:
"And mention in the Book, Mary,
how she withdrew from her people to an eastern place
and she took a veil apart from them;
We sent to her Our Spirit (Gabriel)
in the resemblance of a perfect human.
(And when she saw him) she said:
'I take refuge in the Merciful from you!
If you are fearful.'
'I am the Messenger of your Lord,' he replied,
'and have come to give you a pure boy.'
'How shall I bear a son,' she answered,
'when I am not touched by a human and not unchaste?'
‘Even so’ he replied, ‘as such your Lord has said:
'Easy it is for Me.
And We shall make him a sign to mankind
and a mercy from Us.
It is a matter decreed.'"
When the Negus and his bishops heard these words they wept and declared that the religion the companions followed was from the same source as their own. Then the Negus swore an oath that he would never betray the migrants, then asked Abdullah and Amr to leave.
THE PLOT OF AMR AND ABDULLAH
Angrily, Amr and Abdullah left the palace and as they did Amr said, "Tomorrow, I will go to the Negus and tell him something I know will destroy their newly found prosperity and its roots! I will tell him that they believe Jesus, the son of Mary, is just the worshiper of Allah!"
The following morning, Amr went to the Negus saying, "Your majesty, you must also be informed that they adhere to an enormous lie about Jesus, the son of Mary, send for them and ask what they say about him!"
The Negus sent for the companions and asked what they believed about Jesus. Once again Jafar acted as their spokesman and told him, 'We say what has been sent down to our Prophet (sa), “Indeed, the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, is only a Messenger (and Prophet) of Allah. And His Word (Be) which He gave to Mary, and a (created) spirit by Him." Koran, Ch.19:171
The Negus bent down, picked up a stick and said, "Jesus, the son of Mary does not exceed that which you have said by the length of this stick." Upon hearing this, his generals started to mutter among themselves. Then he turned to Jafar and his companions telling them that they might go wherever they pleased and to know they would never be harmed, not even if he were to be offered a mountain of gold in exchange.
The Negus instructed the gifts Abdullah and Amr had brought to be returned to them and so Abdullah and Amr left rebuked without achieving their aim.
News of the Negus' statement about Jesus spread rapidly; many were troubled and demanded an explanation, accusing him of abandoning their religion.
The Negus now feared for the safety of Jafar and his companions so he gave him enough ships to carry them to safety in the event of him being overthrown. Now that the Negus had made provisions for their safety, he sat down and wrote on a piece of parchment, "I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is His worshiper, and His Messenger." Then, he tucked it under his cloak near his right shoulder and went out to face his people.
"My people," he said, "do I not have the best claim among you?" The crowd agreed he did. Next he asked, "Then, what is your opinion of the way in which I deal with you?" "Excellent!" came the reply. Then he asked, "What troubles you?" The crowd replied, "You have left our religion, and now say that Jesus is the worshiper of Allah." "What do you say of Jesus," asked the Negus. "We say that he is the son of Allah," they answered. Then, the Negus, putting his hand over the place in his cloak under which he concealed his testimony said, "This!"
The crowd were satisfied and thought he had reaffirmed their belief and dispersed. Now that the crisis had been averted the Negus sent word to Jafar that all was well and they could return to their new homes where they could live in peace and harmony for as long as they wished.
Shortly after the companions had settled in their new homeland, the Negus faced the threat of invasion and took up arms with his troops. The companions agreed to fight alongside the Negus should the need arise, so Zubair, who was the youngest, set off as an observer across the river Nile to the battlefield. Meanwhile the companions prayed for the success of the Negus and within a few days Zubair returned with the news that the battle was over and victory belonged to the Negus.
Some years later when Gabriel brought the news of the death of the Negus he informed him that the Negus had died as a Muslim. The Prophet (sa) gently imparted the news to his companions who were saddened by his passing but at the same time grateful to Allah for his conversion. Shortly afterwards, the Prophet (sa) led his companions in the absent funeral prayer for the Negus and they knew from the teachings of their beloved Prophet (sa) that the Negus would receive two very great rewards in Paradise because he had followed two great prophets, Prophets Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon all the Prophets of Allah.
THE DELEGATION FROM ABYSINNIA
During their stay in Abyssinia, the companions spoke of Islam, its principals and of their beloved Prophet (sa) to their new Nazarene and Christian neighbors. Many of the Koranic narratives were very similar to those the Nazarenes and Christians already knew, however, other narratives were new and this, together with tender, loving accounts they had heard about the Prophet’s character kindled an earnest desire to know more about Islam and its Prophet (sa), for some knew from their Books that another prophet would come and wondered if this might be he.
With these matters pressing upon their minds, the Abyssinians decided to send a delegation to Mecca to hear the Prophet (sa) speak first hand, and then return home to report the news to those unable to accompany them.
THE ARRIVAL IN MECCA
Upon reaching Mecca, the delegation went to the Ka'ba where they found Prophet Muhammad (sa). As they made their way across its courtyard they passed by Abu Jahl and a group of hostile Koraysh busy in a meeting, however, their presence did not go unnoticed.
The delegation approached the Prophet (sa) and happiness radiated from his face as he greeted and welcomed them to sit down and join him. There were so many questions they wanted to ask about Islam and the Prophet (sa) in his endearing, knowledgeable way answered all in a way that satisfied their hearts. Then, he recited portions of the Koran and their eyes filled, overflowing with tears. They knew without a shadow of doubt that the man before them was indeed the Prophet of Allah, the one whose coming Jesus, the son of Mary had prophesied and that they had been blessed to meet him. When the Prophet (sa) invited them to embrace Islam they accepted without the slightest reservation.
Allah tells us:
“You will find hat the most people
in enmity to the believers are
the Jews and idolaters,
and that the nearest in affection to the believers
are those who say: ‘We are Nazarenes.’
That is because amongst them
there are priests and monks;
and because they are not proud.
When they listen to
that which was sent down to the Messenger,
you will see their eyes fill with tears
as they recognize its truth.
They say: ‘Lord, we believe.
Write us among the witnesses.
Why should we not believe in Allah
and in the truth that has come down to us?
Why should we not hope for admission
among the righteous?’
For their words Allah has rewarded them
with Gardens underneath which rivers flow
where they shall live for ever.
Such is the recompense of the righteous.
But those who disbelieve and belie Our verses
shall be the companions of Hell.”
From afar, Abu Jahl and his companions monitored the meeting and when the joyous Abyssinians passed them as they left the courtyard of Ka'ba, Abu Jahl and his companions stopped them saying, "Indeed, you are a feeble group. Your people sent you here to bring them news about that man, then after you had sat with him for a short while you renounced your religion and now believe what he says. You are very foolish!" But his words fell upon deaf ears, the happiness of certain belief engulfed their hearts and they returned to Abyssinia to tell their families and friends the good news.
THE MIGRANTS RETURN FROM ABYSINNIA
Some time after the return of the delegation a false report reached Abyssinia that the Koraysh had accepted Islam. There was great happiness amongst the migrants and some, including Lady Rukayyah, daughter of the Prophet (sa) together with her cousins, could not wait to be with the Prophet (sa) once again, for they loved him dearer than anyone else in the world and their separation from him had been a great hardship. However, Jafar and Ubayd remained in their adopted country to preach.
It was a long journey but a happy one until they were but a few miles outside Mecca when they learned, to their great dismay, that the report was far from accurate. They knew it would be dangerous to enter Mecca altogether, so it was decided that each family should make their way secretly into its Muslim sector and pray they would not be detected.
THE CESSATION OF THE BOYCOTT
Among the Koraysh were those having close ties to the tribes of Hashim and Muttalib and felt the length of the boycott to be excessive. The first person to take action was Hisham, Amr's son, who had for sometime been sending camels laden with food and clothing into the Muslim sector at night.
He was aware that any effort he might take by himself would be wasted, so he went to Zuhayr, one of the two sons of Atika, the Prophet's aunt and asked, "Are you content to eat well, clothe yourself, and marry when you know the circumstances of your relatives? They can neither buy nor sell, marry nor yet give in marriage. I swear, if they had been the relatives of Abu Jahl, he would never have done this!" "What can I do, I am just one person, if there was another then I would do something to end it!" replied Zuhayr. "There is another," replied Hisham. "Who is it?" asked Zuhayr. "Myself," replied Hisham, "so let us get a third!" replied Zuhayr.
Hisham went to Mutim, Adi's son, who was an influential member of the tribe of Nawfal and also the grandson of the brother of both Hashim and Muttalib. Mutim agreed, and asked for a fourth to join them as he warned that the Koraysh would most likely turn against them.
Hisham approached Abdul Bakhtari, from the tribe of Asad, who had sided with Hakim when he was caught by Abu Jahl returning flour to his aunt, Lady Khadijah. Abdul Bakhtari agreed and asked for another to join them as there was strength in number, so Hisham approached Zamah, Al Aswad's son, who was also from the tribe of Asad. Zamah agreed but thought it unnecessary for a sixth person to join them.
That night the five met together at Hajun, which is a place situated on the outskirts of Mecca. There they agreed that none of them would rest until the pact fastened to the inside of the Ka'ba had been revoked. It was agreed that Zuhayr would act as their spokesman and speak first to the Koraysh on account of his kinship to the Prophet (sa).
The next day, when many of the Koraysh gathered near the Ka'ba, Zuhayr and his companions entered its courtyard. Zuhayr circumambulated Ka'ba seven times, then turned to the gathering and said, "O people of Mecca, should we eat and wear clothes while the sons of Hashim suffer on account of their being unable to trade? By Allah, I will not sit until this terrible pact is torn up!"
Abu Jahl was quick to rise up in protest saying, "It will not be torn up, you are a liar!" Zamah now spoke up, "It is you who are the liar, we were not in favor of it even when it was written." At that point Abdul Bakhtari interjected, "We are not in favor of its contents, neither do we hold with it!" Both Mutim and Hisham supported their companions whereupon Abu Jahl accused them all of conspiracy.
Just then, Mutim went into the Ka'ba to fetch the document. To his amazement termites had eaten all but a short phrase at the beginning of the document that read, "In Your Name, O Allah", and so Mutim brought the remaining portion out and showed to the gathering.
Many of the Koraysh had already soften to the words of Zuhayr and his companions, but when they saw the remains of the document they remembered the words of the Prophet (sa) that nothing would remain of it except the Name of Allah, and took it to be an omen and so it was that the boycott finally came to an end. Abu Jahl knew it was pointless to go against the wishes of the crowd so it was with great reluctance that he accepted its termination.
News that the boycott had been revoked was delivered to the Prophet (sa) and his followers and there was great rejoicing of thanksgiving to Allah for its lifting.
AN ATTEMPT TO PERSUADE
Although the Koraysh had caused the Prophet (sa) and his companions considerable hardship, the boycott failed to produce a positive result. So once again, the Koraysh directed their efforts to tempt the Prophet (sa) into modifying his opposition to their idolatrous worship. With this in mind, Waleed, the elderly chieftain of the Makhzum, together with other chieftains went to the Prophet (sa) to suggest a compromise which was that both parties be permitted to practice their religion at the Ka'ba.
When it came to important matters, it was the custom of the Prophet (sa) not to respond to a proposition straight away, rather, he would wait for Allah to send down a Revelation to him. On this occasion he did not have to wait long and the answer was revealed in a short chapter, the chapter "The Unbelievers".
"Say: 'O unbelievers,
I do not worship what you worship,
nor do you worship what I worship.
Nor am I worshiping what you have worshipped,
neither will you worship what I worship.
To you your religion,
and to me my Religion.'"
Koran Chapter 109
As soon as the Koraysh heard these verses, the brief, peaceful interlude faded into oblivion.
THE YEAR OF SORROW
The year was 619 after Christ, and ten years after Prophet Muhammad (sa), received the first Revelation. It was a time for happiness but also of great sorrow for it was in that year, during the month of Ramadan, that Lady Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, returned to her Creator.
Out of all the ladies of the world, Allah selected her to be the wife of His beloved Prophet (sa). She was indeed, the best wife for the best husband and had been blissfully married for twenty-five years. Her love and devotion to calling, and to him were unquestionable. A cross word was never exchanged between them, they were the perfect couple and loved being in each other’s company.
Lady Khadijah had been the first to accept Islam and her faith was like the brilliance of the brightest planet that causes all the planets and stars to appear dim in the darkest hour of the night.
Although Lady Khadijah had known excesses of wealth and luxury she never uttered a single word of complaint when the Holy family’s circumstances had been reduced to the poverty of this materialistic world, rather, she was ever thankful to Allah for whatever came her way. She was charitable and considerate, and never looked down on anyone, and lovingly treated members of her household in the same way as she did her family. Such was the love and care she gave them that none wished to leave her service even when the Holy family’s circumstances were reduced.
Whenever she had noticed or heard of someone in a distressed state she had always been there to lend a helping hand and like her beloved husband never turned anyone away. She always looked for the good in people and brushed away anything that might to others have appeared negative. She was both pure in heart, mind, body and soul and was known as the Mother of Believers.
Lady Khadijah had been an exemplary mother who dearly loved her children, and raised them to be the best, most loving, obedient children of their time. Many were the days when she would be found fondly playing with them, or, much to their delight telling them the stories of other prophets that her beloved husband had narrated to her. When her two sons returned to Allah, she had been naturally saddened but she trusted in Allah and never complained, and gently comforted her grieving daughters who missed their little brothers.
Lady Khadijah had been the most perfect wife, mother, friend and neighbor, those ladies fortunate to know her wished they had her qualities for she set the standard on earth for every woman who longed for Paradise in the life Hereafter.
The Prophet (sa) and his four daughters, ladies Zaynab, Rukayyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatima were deeply sorrowed by their loss. However, peace and comfort descended upon them when the Prophet (sa) gently and lovingly told his daughters that many years before, when he had been in retreat in the Cave of Mount Hira, the Angel Gabriel had visited him bearing greetings for their mother from her Lord. Tenderly, the Prophet (sa) told the children of the wonderful news Gabriel had given him, which was, that he should tell their mother that a palace of gold had been prepared especially for her in Paradise where she would no longer suffer from either noise or fatigue.
The news of the Gabriel's message comforted his daughters greatly and they were content in the knowledge that Allah had called her home and removed her far from the enemies of her Lord.
THE DEATH OF ABU TALIB
Not long after Lady Khadijah had passed away, Abu Talib was taken ill. The illness proved to be terminal and as he lay on his deathbed he was visited, amongst other notables of the Koraysh tribe, by Utba, Shayba, Ummaya from the tribe of Jummah, Abu Sufyan and Abu Jahl.
His visitors were well aware of the bond between the Prophet (sa) and Abu Talib and now that he lay on his deathbed they hoped that the Prophet (sa) would listen to his dying wishes. They approached the subject delicately saying, "O Abu Talib, you know how much we respect you, and now these circumstances have come upon you, and we fear for you. We know the bond you and your nephew share, so ask him to come to you. Give him this gift from us, and take from him a gift for us, which is that he should leave us alone, whilst we, in turn leave him alone -- let him leave us and our religion in peace!"
Abu Talib sent word to the Prophet (sa) and when he arrived he spoke to him saying, "Son of my brother, these leaders of your people have come to me asking that both you and they be flexible with one another." The Prophet (sa) replied, "Then give me a word, a word by which they shall rule over both the Arabs and Persians." Excitedly, Abu Jahl replied, "Indeed, by your father, for that we will give you not only one word, but ten more!" The Prophet (sa) replied, "Then you must say, 'There is no god except Allah' and renounce all that you worship except for Him." In exasperation the Koraysh threw up their hands saying, "Muhammad, would you make our gods, one God, what you say is indeed strange!"
The leaders realized their mission had been in vain and turned to each other saying, "This man will give us nothing we ask for, we will go our own way and uphold our religion which is the religion of our fathers until Allah judges between us and him!"
After the leaders had left, Abu Talib drew the Prophet (sa) to his side and said, "Son of my brother, in my eyes you were not unreasonable."
The unshakable love the Prophet (sa) and Abu Talib shared for one another was very deep and the Prophet (sa) longed that his uncle should embrace Islam. Abu Talib had supported him through thick and thin, and when others of his family deserted him, he had always been there, yet he had not submitted himself to Islam but he was ever hopeful.
During Abu Talib's last hours, the Prophet (sa) asked him gently, "Uncle, say these words, so that on the Day of Resurrection I may intercede for you." Abu Talib replied, "Son of my brother, if it were not that the Koraysh would think I had just said these words because I feared death, then I would say them. Yet, if I said them would they be said just to please you?" The time of departure arrived soon after and the angels of death took away Abu Talib's soul.
Some scholars of Islam are of the opinion that Abu Talib, the wise man of the Koraysh, had a hidden agenda not to embrace Islam openly. At that time the five pillars of Islam, which are the articles of belief and will be discussed in the appropriate section, had not been revealed and several scholars are of the opinion that he died a believer. His death was not considered to be an integral issue and no further details are available. However, it has been reported in the authentic quotations of the Prophet (sa) that the Prophet (sa) visited the graves of his parents, Abdullah and Amina, and by the permission of Allah raised them from the dead and instructed them in the five pillars of Islam and that they both embraced Islam. It is likely that the same applied to Abu Talib, but Allah knows best.
THE SUCCESSOR TO THE TRIBE OF HASHIM
Now that Abu Talib was dead the leadership of the tribe of Hashim fell to Abu Lahab whose hatred of the Prophet (sa) was well established. As could be expected, Abu Lahab was not prepared to offer him any support and so the persecution accelerated to a new height.
One day as the Prophet (sa) offered his prayer at the Ka'ba, Abu Jahl, in his hateful way, said to his four companions, "I wish someone would bring the bowels of a camel with all its dirt and throw it over Muhammad!" Without hesitation, Ukba, Muait's son brought the filth and emptied it over the Prophet's neck as he prostrated. The Koraysh looked on making fun of him, delighting in their attempt to degrade the Prophet (sa), but he remained calm and grieved for their disbelief.
Meanwhile, someone told Lady Fatima, the youngest daughter of the Prophet (sa), who was five or six years old, of the disgusting act, and so she ran as quickly as her little legs would carry her to him and removed the filth from her beloved father and cried as she rebuked and cursed Ukba for his foul deed.
Ukba was not of a mind to stop his foul behavior in fact he was encouraged. On another occasion as the Prophet (sa) was humbly absorbed in his prayer near the Ka'ba, Ukba approached him with a piece of cloth in his hand, threw it around his neck, pulled it tight and dragged him down until he fell upon his knees. At that moment Abu Bakr entered and saw what Ukba had done and released the Prophet (sa), and in doing so turned to Ukba saying, "Would you kill a man just because he says that Allah is his Lord!"
There were many such disgraceful, unprovoked acts the Prophet (sa) patiently endured which caused his young daughter to weep, she could not bear to see her beloved father treated so badly. On each occasion the Prophet (sa) would comfort her with words of tenderness and reassure her saying, "Do not cry little daughter, Allah will protect your father," and kissed her as he dried away the tears from her darling little face.
In the years that followed, during the first major hostility in Islam, the Encounter of Badr, all those who took part in throwing the camel's filth over the Prophet (sa) were reported by Masood's son to have been killed by the angels of Allah.
The Prophet (sa) was now fifty years old when he saw a vision in which a man came to him carrying a figure wrapped in silk. The man told the Prophet (sa), "This is your wife, look." Gently, the Prophet (sa) unwrapped the silk covering and saw Ayesha, however Ayesha was still a young girl similar in age to Lady Fatima and Abu Bakr had already promised her in marriage Jubair, Mutim's son. The Prophet (sa), who never disobeyed Allah in anything, did not question the vision but thought to himself, "If this is what Allah intends, then it will be."
A few nights later as the Prophet (sa) slept peacefully, he saw another vision. This time it was not a man that came to him but an angel carrying a figure wrapped in silk. With respect, the Prophet (sa) asked the angel to show him what was wrapped in the piece of silk, whereupon the angel raised the cover and once more he beheld Ayesha. Again the Prophet (sa) did not question the vision but thought whatever Allah had ordained would surely come to be.
The Prophet (sa) had not mention his visions to anyone, not even Abu Bakr, when Khawlah, who had attended to his household affairs since the death of Lady Khadijah suggested he should remarry. Politely, the Prophet (sa) asked if she had anyone in mind to which she replied, "Perhaps Ayesha, Abu Bakr's daughter, or Swaydah, Zamah's daughter," who was about thirty years old and had lost her husband, Sakran, shortly after their return from Abyssinia.
The Prophet (sa) modestly asked Khawlah to propose both marriages, so she went to Swaydah who was honored by the proposal and sent word back saying, "Obedient to you, O Messenger of Allah." Upon receiving her acceptance, the Prophet (sa) respectfully requested her to chose one of her tribesmen to give her in marriage. Lady Swaydah chose her brother-in-law Hatib who had recently returned from Abyssinia and shortly after the marriage took place.
Meanwhile, Abu Bakr went to Mutim and asked him to release Ayesha from the agreement with his son Jubair. Mutim agreed and a marriage by proxy took place several months after his marriage to Lady Swaydah, however, it was not consummated until many years later during the second year after the migration.
ABU BAKR AND TALHA
Abu Bakr had, until shortly after his conversion, been a wealthy, influential and well respected citizen of Mecca, but now, on account of the boycott, he was no longer wealthy and his influence had dwindled amongst the unbelievers. There had been a time when all would turn to him with their troubles when he would either help financially or give sound advice, but now many of those whom he had helped turned away and shunned him.
One day, when Abu Bakr and his cousin Talha were taking a stroll, Nawfal -- whose son, Aswad, had embraced Islam under the hand of Abu Bakr -- in the company of others attacked the pair, tied their hands and feet together and left them lying on the road for passerbys to see and mock.
In those days it was customary for the tribe of the injured party to revenge themselves against the offender, but the leaders of the tribe of Taym, to which Abu Bakr belonged, chose to ignore the incident which was a clear indication that they now considered him to be of little or no standing.
Now that it was known no action would be taken by the Taym tribe if Abu Bakr were to be harmed he became the object of persistent abuse so he went to the Prophet (sa) to ask his permission to join those that remained behind in Abyssinia, the Prophet (sa) always had the welfare and safety of his companions at heart agreed so with a sorrowful heart Abu Bakr set out for Abyssinia.
As he neared the Red Sea, he met an old friend by the name of ibn Ad-Dughunnah, the chieftain of a small tribe that had settled not far from Mecca and were allied to the Koraysh. Ibn Ad-Dughunnah hardly recognized him and was both shocked and distressed to see Abu Bakr in such an impoverished condition and inquired what had brought about such a dramatic change in his affairs. Abu Bakr related several of the unwarranted hostilities he had faced in Mecca on account of his conversion, then told him that now all he wanted was to be able to worship Allah in peace and to preach during his travels.
Ibn Ad-Dughunnah reflected upon former times in wonderment of how people could turn to be so fickle and said, "How could they have done such things? You were without doubt the gem amongst your tribe, in times of trouble you were always there to call upon, your deeds are good, and you always helped others in times of need! Go back, I will support you."
Abu Bakr accepted ibn Ad-Dughannah's support and they returned together. Upon reaching Mecca, ibn Ad-Dughunnah declared for all to hear, "People of Koraysh, the son of Abu Khafah has my support -- let no one treat him badly!"
The Koraysh accepted the ultimatum, however, a fellow from the tribe of Jummah -- the tribe from whom Abu Bakr had rescued Bilal, demanded, "Tell him to worship his Lord behind closed doors, and to let his prayers and recitation be confined there so that he can neither be seen nor heard. We fear that if our sons or women see him they will be seduced by his ways!" Ibn Ad-Dughunnah turned to Abu Bakr and asked him to comply, and he agreed.
THE JOURNEY TO TA’IF
The people of Mecca knew that Abu Lahab, the new chief of the tribe of Hashim, was not inclined to take action against those who perpetrated the bounds of decency against the Prophet (sa). Now, the road was clear for all and sundry to abuse Prophet Muhammad (sa) and his companions, and so their persecution continued.
In hope of spreading the message of Islam and gaining the support of the influential tribe of Thakif, the Prophet (sa) journeyed to Ta'if. Upon reaching the city he went straight to the house of Amr, Umair's son whose sons Abd Yalil, Masood and Habib were its tribal leaders and invited them to Islam, then sought their alliance.
The hearts of the brothers were unreceptive, one of them swore that he would tear down the covering of Ka'ba if Allah had sent him as His Messenger. Another mocked the Prophet (sa) saying, "Couldn't Allah have found someone better than you to send!" As for the third brother he said, "By Allah, don't let me speak to you ever again. If you are as you claim, the Messenger of Allah, then you are far too important to speak with me; on the other hand, if you are lying, it is not befitting for me to speak with you!"
As the Prophet (sa) endured these harsh remarks with patience and as he got up to leave the brothers called their household and slaves together and encouraged them to hurl abusive statements at the Prophet (sa). The commotion attracted other members of the tribe who joined them and so the Prophet (sa) sought the peace and quite of an orchard belonging to Utba and Shayba. Gradually the crowd dispersed and the Prophet (sa) tied his camel to a palm tree then sat down under its shade and reproached himself as he supplicated to Allah.
THE NAZARENE SLAVE FROM NINEVEH
Now Utba and Shayba had seen what had happened to the Prophet (sa) and their hearts softened a little toward him so they sent a young Nazarene slave by the name of Addas with a dish of grapes to him.
As Addas gave the dish to the Prophet (sa) he looked up smiled and thanked him then took some grapes and before eating them said, "Bismillah". The pronouncement astonished Addas who said, "By Allah, this is not the way the people of this country speak." The Prophet (sa) looked up at him and inquired, "Which country do you come from, and what is your religion?" Addas replied that he was a Nazarene, a follower of Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, from far away Nineveh (Ninawah).
The Prophet (sa) heart was full of joy and commented, "From the town of the righteous man Jonah, the son of Mattal." Addas was even more surprised and asked the Prophet (sa) how he knew about Jonah to which he replied, "He is my brother, he was a prophet and I am a prophet." Addas' heart rejoiced and he bent over and kissed his head, then his hands and feet.
Meanwhile, Utba and Shayba had been observing the Prophet (sa) from a distance and were disturbed when they saw Addas respecting the Prophet (sa) by kissing him and said to each other, "Look, he is already corrupting our slave!" When Addas returned to them they asked why he had acted as he did. Addas answered, "He is the finest man in this country and has told me things that only a prophet would know." To this Utba and Shayba exclaimed, "Do not let him seduce you from your religion - your religion is better than his!"
THE VALLEY OF NAKHLAH
The Prophet (sa) realized he could expect no help whatsoever from the people of Thakif, so he mounted his camel and set off back to Mecca.
Several days had passed and dusk was about to descend but he decided to continue on his journey then take his rest in the valley of Nakhlah -- which is about a days ride from Mecca. Upon reaching the valley he dismounted and offered his prayer. Whilst he was standing in prayer a party of Jinn from Nasibhin happened to pass by and were captivated by his recitation of the Koran and stopped to listen.
The jinn were created before humans, and unlike the human who was created from clay and whose father is Adam, the jinn were created from smokeless fire and their father is satan, the stoned and cursed. But before the creation of the jinn and human, the angels were created from light. Despite the fact that satan is the father of the Jinn, there are among them believers.
The Prophet (sa) had received several Revelations that spoke of not only mankind but also jinn, in which both were given good news of Paradise and warned of the punishment of Hell. Now, in the valley of Nakhlah he received another Revelation:
"Say: 'It is revealed to me that a party of jinn
listened and then said:
'We have indeed heard a wonderful Koran,
that guides to the Right Path.
We believe in it and
we will not associate anyone with our Lord.
He - exalted be the Majesty of our Lord
who has neither taken to Himself a wife, nor a son!
The ignorant fool among us
has spoken outrageously against Allah,
we never thought that either human or jinn
would ever tell a lie against Allah!'"
THE ROAD TO MECCA
As he set off on the final stage of his homeward journey, the matter of the people of the Thakif’s refusal to accept the mercy of Allah weighed heavily upon the Prophet’s mind.
Not long after he had set off, a Meccan riding a fast horse, caught up with him whereupon the Prophet (sa) expressed his concern to him. The Meccan agreed to ride on ahead of the Prophet (sa) and go to Al Akhnas, Sharik's son to ask him if he would be prepared to ally his tribe to the Prophet (sa). However, Al Akhnas was not considered to be a full-blood member of the Koraysh and sent a reply back to the Prophet (sa) saying that on this account he was unable to help in this matter.
When the Prophet (sa) learned of Al Akhnas' refusal, his thoughts turned to Suhail, Amr's son, so he asked the Meccan to return again to Mecca and approach Suhail, but Suhail also declined.
The Meccan returned yet again to Mecca, but this time the Prophet (sa) asked him to approach Al Mutim, Adiy's son, who, some time ago, retrieved what remained of the boycott document posted in the Ka'ba.
Mutim was agreeable, so the Prophet (sa) entered Mecca with his support, where, fully armed, Mutim stood near the Ka'ba with his sons and nephews and announced that he had allied himself to the Prophet (sa). Abu Jahl was among those present that day and asked, "Are you giving him your support, or are you following him!" "Support of course!" replied Al Mutim.
THE ANGER OF UTBA
One day, Prophet Muhammad (sa), Abu Jahl and some of the leaders of the Koraysh happened to be near the Ka'ba at the same time. In his usual way Abu Jahl turned to some members of the tribe of Abdu Manaf and said in a tone that mocked, "Is this your Prophet, children of Abdu Manaf?" Utba, Rabia's son replied in an angered tone saying, "What is wrong if we have a Prophet or a king!" The Prophet (sa) overheard his reply and spoke to Utba in a kindly reminded, "O Utba, your anger was not for the sake of Allah, but on your own account." Then he turned to Abu Jahl and warned, "As for you Abu Jahl, a great affair will befall you. It will cause you to laugh a little, but weep a lot." Then he spoke to the leaders of the Koraysh saying, "A great affair will come upon you which you will indeed hate."
Despite Mutim's inclination toward the Prophet (sa) he did not embrace Islam and died shortly before the encounter of Badr.
THE MESSAGE AND THE TRIBES
It was the time of the pilgrimage and many pilgrims camped outside Mecca before visiting their idols at Ka'ba. It was also the season of many fairs such as the one at Ukaz to which many eloquent poets would gather and compete against one another.
The Prophet (sa) decided to visit the camps of the tribes of Kinda, Kalb, Amir, Maharib, Fazara, Ghassan. Murra, Sulaim, Abs, Nadir, Adhruh, Hudharima, Hanifa, Harith, and Ka’b’s son to recite portions of the Koran to them and then ask if they would like to allie themselves, but it was not to be, and the beauty of his recitation as well as his invitation to ally themselves with him fell on deaf ears.
The most bitter response to the Prophet (sa) came from the tribe of Hanifa. Later, its chief, Musailima proclaimed that he himself was a prophet!
The fair was well underway when the Prophet (sa) approached Bayhara, Firas' son, from the tribe of Amir the son of Sasaa. Bayhara listened to the Prophet (sa) then exclaimed, "By Allah, given this man I could conquer all of Arabia." Then, a thought occurred to him and he asked, "If we give you our allegiance and Allah gives you victory over the enemies of Islam, shall we then be given leadership after you?" To this the Prophet (sa) replied, "The matter rests with Allah." Bayhara didn't like the reply and exclaimed, "Then I think you want us to lend you our support against the Arabs, and then, if Allah gives you victory someone else will reap the benefit - no we do not accept!"
Abu Bakr had accompanied the Prophet (sa) when he visited the tribe of Dhul, Shaiban's son - the chiefs of this tribe were Mafruk, Muthanna and Hani, Kabisa's son. When Abu Bakr met Mafruk, Mafruk asked if he had heard about the coming of a Prophet, whereupon Abu Bakr turned towards the Prophet (sa) and introduced him saying, "This is he." Mafruk asked the Prophet (sa) to tell him about the message entrusted to him, to which the Prophet (sa) replied, "There is no god except Allah, and I am His Messenger." Then the Prophet (sa) with the sweetness of his voice proceeded to recite the following verse from the Koran:
"Say: 'Come, I will recite to you
what your Lord forbids you;
that you shall associate anything with Him;
that you shall be good to your parents,
that you shall not kill your children because of poverty,
We provide for you and for them,
that you shall not commit foul deeds
whether openly or in secret;
and that you shall not kill the soul that Allah
has forbidden except by right.
With such Allah charges you,
in order that you understand."
The three leaders listened to the recitation and all expressed their liking of the verse, however, they told the Prophet (sa) they were reluctant to abandon the religion of their ancestors because they would loose their authority with their fellow tribesmen. They also pointed out that they had already pledged their allegiance to the King of Persia and as such were already bound.
The Prophet diligently (sa) continued to invite all who would listen to Islam and asked their leaders to ally themselves to him. Like Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab viewed Islam as a threat and whenever he heard the Prophet (sa) preaching, he would make it his business to try and break-up the gatherings by crying out, "This man is an apostate, he lies. He is trying to mislead you and wants you to abandon Al Lat and Al Uzza as well as your allies, the jinn from the tribe of Malik!"
Although no allies were gained, many had listened to the verses of the Koran and were aware of the message the Prophet (sa) preached.
THE NIGHT JOURNEY AND THE ASCENT
It was during these early years of his prophethood that one of the greatest miracles of all time occurred.
The Prophet (sa) happened to be visiting the house of Hubayrah, the husband of Hind, better known as Umm Hani, the daughter of Fatima and Abu Talib when night fell so they invited him to stay over night.
Although Hubayrah had not converted to Islam his wife and mother-in-law had, and so they were blessed to join the Prophet (sa) in offering the night prayer.
That night the Prophet (sa) slept but a little, then arose and made his way to his beloved Ka'ba. After a while drowsiness overcame him and he lay down to sleep near the Hijr Ishmael. Whilst he slept, the Angel Gabriel came to him and stirred him with his foot, the Prophet (sa) awoke, sat up, but saw no one and so he settled himself down. The same thing occurred three times, but upon the third time as he looked up he saw Gabriel who greeted him and took hold of his arm to help him arise.
Gabriel led the Prophet (sa) to the door of Ka'ba, and there before it stood Burak, a winged white animal from Paradise, greater in size than a donkey but lesser than a mule, with wings on its hind legs. Burak was surrounded by angels on either side but as the Prophet (sa) tried to mount, it shied away, whereupon Gabriel placed his hand on its mane and said, "O Burak, are you not ashamed to behave in such a manner? By Allah, no one that has ridden you before this is more honorable before Allah," whereupon, Burak broke out in a sweat and stood still for the Prophet (sa) to mount.
As soon as the Prophet (sa) was seated, the Angels Gabriel and Mikail also mounted. Gabriel sat in front of the Prophet (sa) holding Burak's saddle and Mikail sat behind the Prophet (sa) holding its rein.
As Gabriel pointed the way Burak set forth. Each stride it took reached the end of his vision, miraculously breaking the barrier of light which NASA, with all its technical advances has been unable to achieve, and as they passed over the mountains Burak raised his legs higher so that they passed over them in comfort.
When Burak reached Jerusalem, he stopped and raised his front leg so that the Prophet (sa) could dismount. There, in Jerusalem, the Prophet (sa) was greeted by several prophets amongst whom were Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, and it was there on the site of the ancient temple of Jerusalem that Prophet Muhammad (sa) led them in prayer. After its conclusion, the Prophet (sa) was offered two goblets, one contained wine and the other milk. The Prophet (sa) chose the goblet of milk and drank from it whereupon Gabriel said, "You have been rightly guided and so will your nation; for wine is forbidden."
After this the Prophet (sa) and Gabriel ascended to the nearest heaven. Upon reaching it Gabriel asked for its gate to be opened whereupon its guardian inquired, "Who is there?" "Gabriel," he replied, and "who is with you," asked the guardian. Gabriel replied, "Muhammad," and the gate was opened. The same questions and replies were to be asked and given at the gate of each heaven.
THE FIRST, LOWER HEAVEN
As the Prophet (sa) entered the first heaven all but one of the angels expressed signs of happiness and smiled a welcoming smile. The Prophet (sa) turned to Gabriel and asked about the unsmiling angel and was told, "He is Malik, the Guardian of Hell, he does not smile but if he were to smile at anyone, it would be to you."
Whilst the Prophet (sa) was in the first heaven, he saw Prophet Adam observing the souls of the deceased. When a good soul passed by he was very happy and said, "A good soul for a good body," however when a bad soul passed by he would frown and say, "A bad soul for a bad body." Upon seeing Prophet Muhammad (sa) Prophet Adam welcomed and supplicated for him and asked Gabriel if he had been sent for, and Gabriel confirm that it was so.
THE SECOND HEAVEN
In the second heaven, the Prophet (sa) and Gabriel were met by Prophet Jesus, the son of Mary, and John, the son of Zechariah who also welcomed him and supplicated for him and inquired if he had been sent for. Later the Prophet (sa) described Prophet Jesus as being a man of medium height, straight hair, with a reddish, freckled complexion.
THE THIRD HEAVEN
In the third heaven the Prophet (sa) met Joseph, the son of Prophet Jacob, who was so handsome that the Prophet (sa) described him as being as beautiful as the full moon and had been given half of all the beauty, whereas Prophet Muhammad was given all the beauty. He welcomed and supplicated for the Prophet and also inquired if the Prophet had been sent for and was told that he had.
THE FOURTH HEAVEN
In the fourth heaven they encountered Idris of whom the Koran speaks:
"And mention in the Book, Idris;
he too was of the truth and a Prophet,
We raised him to a high place."
Koran 19:56 - 57
Idris welcomed and supplicated for the Prophet and inquired if he had been sent for and Gabriel affirmed that he had.
THE FIFTH HEAVEN
In the fifth heaven the Prophet (sa) met a handsome man with white hair and a long beard, it was Prophet Aaron, the son of Imran. Like the prophets before him he too welcomed and supplicated for him and inquired if he had been sent.
THE SIXTH HEAVEN
In the sixth heaven he met a man with a prominent nose, similar to those of the people of Shanu'a. The man was Prophet Moses, brother of Aaron and son of Imran, and as before he too welcomed and supplicated for him and inquired.
THE SEVENTH HEAVEN
When Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Gabriel entered the seventh heaven they saw a man sitting on a throne at the entrance of an eternal, crowded mansion – Al Bayt al Mamor. The entrance of the eternal mansion has been explained by scholars as being the entrance to Paradise. The man was Prophet Abraham of whom Prophet Muhammad observed, "I have never seen a man more like myself."
It was in the seventh heaven that the Prophet saw a beautiful, heavenly maiden -- a houri -- and asked to whom she would be espoused and was told Zaid, the son of Haritha.
Then he saw angels entering the gates of the mansion and was told that each day seventy thousand angels enter never to return again until the Day of Resurrection.
The Gabriel took the Prophet (sa) to the Lote tree of the Furthest Limit. The Prophet (sa) described the tree as having leaves the size of elephants ears and fruit like earthenware vessels. When the command of Allah covers it, that which is covered undergoes a change, the beauty of which none in all creation is able to describe. Thereafter Allah obligated that fifty prayers were to be offered during the day and night.
Before the Prophet (sa) left Allah said to him, ‘Peace be unto you O Prophet,” and the Prophet (sa) replied, ‘Peace be unto us all, and good worshipers.”
THE PROPHET’S RETURN JOURNEY THROUGH THE HEAVENS
On the Prophet's return through the heavens he met Moses once again who asked how many daily prayers had become incumbent upon him and his followers. When Prophet Muhammad (sa) told him fifty, Moses replied, "Prayer is a weighty matter, and your nation is weak. I have tested the Children of Israel and know by experience, return to our Lord and ask Him to reduce the number for you and your nation."
Prophet Muhammad (sa) returned to his Lord and asked for a reduction, and the number was reduced to forty. Once again the Prophet (sa) met Moses upon his return who asked him the same question, whereupon he returned, and so it continued until the number of daily prayers became reduced to five.
When the Prophet (sa) met Moses upon his final return, Moses inquired as he had done before, but Prophet Muhammad (sa) told him that he felt ashamed to ask Allah to reduce the number yet again.
In later years the Prophet (sa) informed his companions that when they offer each of the five obligatory daily prayers in faith and trust they receive the reward of ten prayers for each obligated prayer. He reminded them that they should be grateful to Moses for the reduction in number.
The Prophet (sa) also told his companions that he was told that for whosoever intends doing something good and does not do it, a meritous act is recorded for them, however, if he or she does it they are the recipients of the reward for ten meritous acts. When a person intends to do a wrong action nothing will be written against them, but if the wrong action is carried through then only one wrong action is recorded against them.
Peace be upon all the Prophets of Allah.
THE RETURN JOURNEY
Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Angel Gabriel now returned to Burak who waited patiently on the Mount in readiness for the return journey to Mecca.
As they sped over the mountains and desert they overtook several southward bound caravans. When they neared Syria a camel saw Burak, took fright and bolted away from its camp. The Prophet (sa) saw where the camel had stopped and as the traders searched for the camel they heard his voice telling them where it could be found.
They had reached Dajanan -- approximately twenty-five miles from Mecca -- when the Prophet (sa) saw a caravan and stopped for brief moment. Not far from the sleeping traders was a covered jug of water, he removed its cover, drank the remaining water, replaced the cover and without disturbing anyone left to continue home to Mecca.
The Prophet (sa) arrived in Mecca before dawn and just before it broke he awoke Umm Hani to pray. After the prayer he told her, "O Umm Hani, as you witnessed, I prayed here last night with you in this valley. After that I went to Jerusalem and prayed there. Now, as you have seen, I prayed the dawn prayer here with you." Umm Hani was concerned for the Prophet (sa) and said, "O Prophet of Allah (sa), do not tell anyone about this because they will belie and insult you." As the Prophet (sa) made ready to leave for the Ka'ba he replied, "By Allah, I will certainly tell them," whereupon Umm Hani asked her servant to follow him to make sure no harm came to him and to report back to her.
ABU BAKR'S SINCERE BELIEF
Upon reaching the Ka'ba, the Prophet (sa) told those present, believer and unbeliever alike, about his miraculous journey. Immediately, the unbelievers laughed and mocked him. They did not believe in his miracles and on no account would they believe him now, as the return journey of such distance was known to take well over two months.
Gloating in what they deemed to be their triumph, a group of Koraysh made their way to Abu Bakr's house to tell him the news. When they reached him they said, "What do you think of your friend now! He tells us that last night he went to Jerusalem, prayed there and then returned to Mecca!" Abu Bakr's immediate reaction was that they were trying to trick him, for he distrusted his visitors, but as soon as Abu Bakr realized they were in earnest, he turned to them and said, "If he said it, then it is indeed true! What makes you wonder, he tells me greater news that is sent down from the heavens to earth in any hour of the day or night. I know he speaks the truth!"
Then, Abu Bakr left his home and went to the Ka'ba and repeated his conviction. When the Prophet (sa) learned of Abu Bakr's forthrightness, he named him "As-Sideek" -- "The Sincere" -- the confirmer of the truth.
THE CARAVAN RETURNS
Among the Prophet's followers were those who needed additional reassurance. They had heard the Prophet (sa) tell of the caravans nearing Mecca and of the camel that bolted as well as the empty jug of water, so they waited for the caravans to return to ask them. One by one the caravans returned and each trader confirmed the incidents.
THE PRIVILEGED FEW
The Prophet (sa) told only a few select companions about his ascent through the heavens and the meeting at the Sidrat Tree. It wasn't until some years later that he narrated the events of his ascent to the rest of the companions.
Concerning the Night Ascent it was revealed:
"Indeed it is not except a Revelation which is revealed,
taught by One who is Stern in power.
Of might, he (Gabriel) stood firm
while he was in the highest horizon;
then he drew near, and become close
he was but two bows' length or even nearer
so (Allah) revealed to His worshipper (Gabriel) that which he revealed (to Prophet Muhammad).
His heart did not lie of what he saw.
What, will you dispute with him about what he sees!
Indeed, he saw him in another descent
at the Lote Tree (Sidrat tree) of the ending
close to the Garden of Refuge.
When there comes to the Lote Tree,
that which comes his eyes did not swerve,
nor did they stray
for indeed he saw
one of the greatest signs of his Lord."
THE SIX MEN FROM THE TRIBE OF KHAZRAJ
The time for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca had arrived once again and pilgrims set up camp at Mina before going on to Ka'ba. It had become customary for the Prophet (sa) to journey to Mina each year and speak to the pilgrims about Islam, but all too often he and his message were met with rejection.
It was during this season, when the Prophet (sa) was at Aqabah, that he met six men from the Yathrib tribe of Khazraj. The men were anxious to meet the Prophet (sa), many were the times they had heard the Jews speak of the expected Prophet and knew his time must be near at hand as the Jews had expressed their opinion that the signs heralding his appearance had reached their fulfillment.
As they sat before him, Prophet Muhammad (sa) recited verses from the Koran and confirmed that he was the expected Prophet they had heard about. He spoke of the principals of Islam and as he did the light of Islam was kindled in their hearts.
The Khazrajites asked the Prophet (sa) many questions and his replies satisfied their hearts. None doubted that the man sitting before them was indeed the one the Jews awaited and turned to one another saying, "This is indeed the Prophet the Jews warned us about, don't let them be the first to reach him!" They remembered how the Jews had told them that when he came they would be destroyed on account of their worshipping more than one god, just as the people of Aad and Thamood had been in centuries past, and so they embraced Islam.
Before they departed, the Khazrajites told the Prophet (sa), "We left our people because there are no other tribes like them torn apart by enmity and evil, perhaps Allah will unite them through you. We will go and invite them to Islam just as we have accepted it, and if Allah gathers them together on your account, then, no man will be greater than you!"
THE ALLEGIANCE OF AQABAH
The year after the six Khazrajites embraced Islam, twelve men from Yathrib went to the Prophet (sa) to embrace Islam.
The men were anxious to learn more about Islam and asked the Prophet (sa) to send one of his companions back with them to teach. The Prophet (sa) chose Musab, Umair's son, who was the grandson of Hashim. When he reached Yathrib they lodged him with respect in the home of a wealthy man of good standing by the name of Asad, Zurarah's son.
As the days passed new converts came into the fold of Islam, the only families not to respond to the invitation were those of Katimah, Wa'il and Wakif.
SA’AD THE SON OF MUDAH
Sa’ad was the chief of the tribe of Aws and duly respected among his tribe. One day Musab visited him and invited him to Islam. At first Sa’ad did not incline to the invitation but when he heard Musab recite a portion of the Koran, Allah caused his heart to turn toward Him and he embraced Islam, whereupon he returned to his tribe to invited them to join him.
THE SEVENTY-TWO MEN OF YATHRIB
The following year, when the time for pilgrimage arrived, seventy-two men and women, set forth in a caravan to Mecca. Unknown to the unbelievers in their party were a group of new converts, who, when the time was right, slipped away unnoticed to meet the Prophet (sa) at Aqabah where they affirmed their belief in the Oneness of Allah and embraced Islam.
On account of the increased hostilities toward the Prophet (sa) and his companions in Mecca, the Prophet's thoughts turned to migrating with his companions to Yathrib where a strong community of Muslims was now established. However, his own migration was out of the question until Allah made it known to him.
When Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet (sa) who had not yet embraced Islam, learned of the Prophet's inclination he became concerned for his safety and reminded him that at least in Mecca his family loved and honored him, and that they had always stood by him against his enemies.
On account of his concern, Abbas turned to the party from Yathrib and asked, "If he inclines to live with you, will you support him with your life and body -- if you cannot, tell me." Bara turned and said, "We have been born and raised as warriors", just then Abu Al Haitham interjected saying, "O Prophet of Allah (sa) we are on good terms with the Jews, after this pledge we shall have to break with them. Is it possible that you may leave us to return to your own City when your authority is realized?" The Prophet (sa) smiled reassuringly and said: "No, my blood is your blood, you are mine and I am yours" and he was known as a man of his word.
Following this the Prophet (sa) asked them to take a pledge to abandon idolatry, theft, infanticide and to promise to obey him. As they were about to take their pledge, Sa’ad, Zuraha's son, stood up and asked, "My tribesmen, do you understand what is meant by such a pledge, it is a declaration of conflict against Arab and non-Arab alike." His tribesmen replied that they had understood and were ready to pledge their word.
Sa’ad’s statement is one of great significance and has regrettably been misunderstood and misinterpreted by some Muslims - especially in the recently emerged bellicose, non-mainstream Wahabi cult - who failed to understand one of the basic, elementary duties of a Muslim to his fellow neighbor. It is not a call for Jihad or for hostilities to be levied against those who have not embraced Islam. Rather, it is obligatory upon all Muslims, especially those who have migrated to a foreign land, to tell their neighbors about Islam and demonstrate its teachings by leading an exemplary life in accordance to the Koran and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (sa).
From the gathering, the Prophet (sa) chose twelve men to go out and preach. Nine belonged to the tribe of Khazraj and three from the tribe of Aws. They were:
Usayd, Hudair's son, Hudair had been the Aws commander at the encounter of Bu'ath.
Abu Al Haitham, Tihan's son.
Sa’ad, Khaithama's son, later to be martyred during the Encounter of Badr.
Asad, Zurarah's son, who would often lead the congregational prayer on Friday.
Sa'ad, Rabi's son, later to be martyred during the Encounter of Uhud.
Abdullah, Rawahah's son, a famous poet, martyred during the Encounter of Mutah.
Sa'ad, Ubadah's son, a close companion of the Prophet (sa).
Mundhar, Umair's son, martyred at the Encounter of Bi'r Maunah.
Bara Marur's son, spokesman during the Allegiance of Aqabah. Bara died before the migration of the Prophet (sa).
Abdullah, Omar's son, martyred at the Encounter of Uhud.
Ubadah, Al Samit's son, a close companion of the Prophet (sa), transmitter of many prophetic sayings.
Rafi, Malik's son, martyred at the Encounter of Uhud.
THE KORAYSH LEARN OF THE ALLEGIANCE AT AQABAH:
The following morning, the Koraysh received word of the pledge and challenged their unbelieving companions who remained ignorant of the meeting. The unbelievers told the Koraysh that what they heard must be just a rumor because if there was any truth in the matter they felt certain they would have knowledge of it.
MADINAT AL NABI (sa) –
THE CITY OF THE PROPHET (sa)
Prophet (sa) was satisfied that Yathrib, which in the years to come was renamed "Madinat Al Nabi" -- the City of the Prophet, later to be abbreviated to Medina -- was a safe haven for his companions and ordered all those able to migrate to Medina.
When the Koraysh learned of the impending migration they tried to prevent the companions, however, they were unsuccessful and all but a few of the companions were permitted by the Prophet (sa) to remain behind with him in Mecca.
In connection with the migration, Allah sent down the verses:
"Except the men, women and children, who,
being abased have no means
and they are unable to guide themselves to a way.
Those, Allah may pardon them,
He is the Pardoner, the Forgiver."
THE FIRST IMMIGRANT TO YATHRIB
Abu Salamah's family originated from Yathrib, from the tribe of Asad, however, some of his family had settled in Mecca under the protection and sponsorship of his uncle, the late Abu Talib.
Not long after Abu Talib's death, Abu Salamah and his wife Umm Salamah, from the tribe of Mughirah, a branch of the Makhzum tribe, and first cousin to the infamous Abu Jahl, converted to Islam, so they decided to migrate to the safety of Yathrib with their young son Salamah.
When the time came to leave, Abu Salamah saddled his camel and seated his wife as she cradled her young son in her arms, and set off walking alongside the camel leading it by a rope. Almost immediately, men from Umm Salamah's tribe perceived their intent and rushed up to Abu Salamah, snatched the camel's rope from his hand saying, "You can do as you like! As for your wife, do you think we will allow her to go with you?"
The disturbance caught the attention of Abu Salamah's own tribesmen who were greatly angered by the situation. In retaliation they grabbed hold of the young child, Salamah, with such force that they dislocated his little arm, and shouted as Abu Salamah was sent on his way, "You have separated her from our kinsman. We will not leave your son with her and you!"
THE GRIEF OF UMM SALAMAH
Umm Salamah was broken hearted and each day she would make her way to a nearby valley where she would weep for the family she had lost. A year or more had passed when one of Umm Salamah's cousins came across her in the valley and as he saw her weeping took pity on her so he returned to his tribesmen rebuking them saying, "You have separated her from her husband and child, why don't you let the poor woman go!"
Umm Salamah's tribesmen relented and told her that she was free to go to her husband, and upon hearing the good news, Abu Salamah's tribesmen returned her son to her so that the family might be reunited.
Once again Umm Salamah's camel was saddled, and she and her young son mounted then set off by themselves for Yathrib. They journeyed on to Tanim -- which lies approximately six miles outside Mecca -- when they were met by Othman, Talha's son who asked where they were going, and inquired if they were traveling alone. Umm Salamah told him that except for Allah, and her son she was traveling alone in hope of finding her husband.
Othman was perturbed by their plight and offered to accompany them to Yathrib. Umm Salamah accepted Othman's kind gesture and so she and her son continued their journey under Othman's protection.
Later, Umm Salamah would say of Othman, "Othman is one of the most honorable Arabs I have ever met. When we stopped for a rest he would make my camel kneel for me so that I might dismount and then withdraw and tend to the camel for me. Then, he would distance himself from me and sleep. When evening came, Othman would bring my saddled camel to me, then he would turn away so that I might settle myself. When I was ready he would take hold of the reins and lead us."
The days passed and eventually they drew near to the village of Quba, which lies on the outskirts of Yathrib near the ancient lava flows. Othman told Umm Salamah that she would find her husband in the village and to enter it with the blessing of Allah. Now that Othman had accomplished his mission he wasted no time and returned to Mecca knowing that Umm Salamah would soon be safely reunited with her husband.
THE SECOND FAMILY TO MIGRATE TO YATHRIB
The migration of the companions was accomplished in phases over an extended passage of time. Following Abu Salamah's migration, the next to migrate was Amir, Rabia's son, with his wife Leila, the daughter of Hathma.
THE MIGRATION OF OMAR
Omar, Khattab's son, together with Ayyash and Hisham, Al As' son, decided to migrate together, and agreed to meet each other by the thorn trees that grew on land belonging to the Ghifar some six miles outside Mecca. It was a dangerous time, and so Omar told them that in the event of anyone's failure to reach the thorn trees by the following morning, whosoever was there must not wait but go on as it would be understood that the missing party had been forced to stay behind.
Omar and Ayyash reached the thorn trees and waited for Hisham to arrive. There was still no sign of Hisham as the time approached so reluctantly they left for Quba where they stayed with the children of Amr, Auf's son. As they suspected Hisham had been detained, and forced to outwardly apostatize.
ABU JAHL ARRIVES IN YATHRIB
Shortly after their arrival, Ayyash received two unexpected visitors, Abu Jahl and Harith, both of whom were his relatives. Abu Jahl, knowing how much Ayyash loved his mother concocted a story about her that trouble Ayyash deeply.
He told him his mother was greatly distressed by his leaving and had taken a vow that she would neither comb her hair, even if it became full of lice, nor would she sit in the shade of a tree but sit unprotected under the blazing heat of the sun until she saw her son again. The thought of his mother's suffering disturbed Ayyash greatly so he went to Omar and told him of her vow.
Omar knew well the tricks of Abu Jahl and warned him that in his opinion it was nothing but an attempt to seduce him from his religion and that he must be very careful of them.
Ayyash could not be dissuaded and told Omar that he would return to release his mother from her vow and at the same time retrieve some of the money he had left behind.
In a final effort to prevent Ayyash from returning with Abu Jahl and Harith, Omar, in the spirit of true brotherhood, told him that he was willing to give him half of his wealth, if only he would stay.
When Omar realized that Ayyash was not going to change his mind, he gave him his camel telling him that it was well bred and easy to ride. Omar also advised Ayyash not to dismount and if he detected the slightest suspicion of treachery he could make good his escape on it.
Ayyash thanked Omar and gave him the farewell greetings, then set off towards Mecca with Abu Jahl and Harith. After they had traveled some distance, Abu Jahl said, "My nephew, my camel is proving hard to ride will you let me ride with you?" Ayyash agreed and they made their camels kneel. No sooner had the camels knelt, than Abu Jahl and Harith attacked him, bound him tightly and took him back to Mecca where they forced him to apostatize. As Abu Jahl and Harith entered Mecca they called out, "O people of Mecca, deal with your fools in the same way we have dealt with ours!"
The news of Ayyash's wretched condition reached Omar and he feared Allah would not accept the repentance of those who apostatized. Omar continued to be of the same opinion until the Messenger of Allah (sa) arrived sometime later in Medina and the following verses were sent down:
"Say: 'O My worshipers,
who have sinned excessively against themselves,
do not despair of the Mercy of Allah,
surely, Allah forgives all sins.
He is the Forgiver, the Most Merciful.
Turn to your Lord
and surrender yourselves to Him
before the punishment overtakes you,
for then you will not be helped.
Follow the best of what has been sent down
from your Lord before the punishment overtakes you suddenly, while you are unaware.'"
When Omar heard these verses he wrote them down and sent it to Hisham who was in Mecca. Hisham had difficulty reading so in desperation he supplicated saying, "O Allah, make me understand it!" Allah heard his supplication and Hisham realized that the verses referred to Ayyash and himself whereupon he mounted his camel and set out to rejoin the Prophet (sa) who had by then, migrated to Yathrib.
THE VISITOR FROM NAJD
With the exception of the Prophet (sa) and two of his close companions, Ali and Abu Bakr and his family, only those Muslims stricken by illness or forcefully detained by the Koraysh remained in Mecca.
The reason the Prophet (sa) remained behind was that he awaited the sending down of the permission of Allah to migrate, for he never did anything of significance without first receiving an instruction from Allah.
On several occasions Abu Bakr had asked the Prophet (sa) for permission to migrate with his family, but each time the Prophet (sa) would say, "Don't be in such a hurry Abu Bakr, perhaps Allah will provide a traveling companion for you." So Abu Bakr waited obediently ever hopeful that he would be permitted to migrate with the Prophet (sa) himself.
Although the Koraysh hated having Muslims in their midst, they became increasingly anxious over the matter of their migration to Yathrib, for they knew that they would never migrate there unless they had the support of many of its citizens.
The Koraysh chieftains began to fear, with half-hearted contempt, the warnings of the Koran and the Prophet (sa). The warning which bothered them most was: " ... as for you, leaders of Koraysh, a great affair will come upon you that you will indeed hate." So they decided it was time to call a meeting in the time honored house, the House of Assembly, to discuss how they might best rid themselves of Prophet Muhammad (sa).
It was agreed by those present to invite other Korayshi chieftains as well as the chieftains of other tribes to the meeting and that the meeting should take place at night. Trusted messengers were then sent to the outlying tribes and upon the appointed night, they and other chieftains met in secret in the House of Assembly.
The meeting proved to be less than harmonious as none could agree upon a solution and soon tempers became frayed as raised voices filled the air. All the shouting and arguing subsided when, suddenly, a very loud knock at the door was heard. Someone got up and opened it, and there before them stood a man, unknown to any of them. The newcomer's facial characteristics and clothing were those of the people of the Najd, and so when he told the gathering he was from that region he was not disbelieved -- later, the Prophet (sa) told his companions that the man was none other than satan in disguise.
The chieftains invited the newcomer to sit with them and satan inquired the reason for the meeting then asked why there was so much discord between them. The situation was explained to him -- although he already knew it -- so satan asked each of the chieftains to tell him their proposal and listened to them but did not pass a comment, however, the situation changed when it came time for Abu Jahl to present his solution and their visitor listened enthusiastically.
Abu Jahl told him that in his opinion, the only way to rid themselves of the Prophet (sa) would be to kill him. However, this was not an easy matter. Abu Jahl went on to say that in his opinion the safest manner would be for each branch of the tribe to select and arm their strongest, most powerful warrior, then, upon a given night, wait of the Prophet (sa) to come out from his house, then pounce upon him altogether at the same time and kill him. Abu Jahl drew the attention of their visitor and those present, that by killing the Prophet (sa) in such a manner his blood would rest upon all their hands, and not just an individual branch of the Koraysh tribe which would, without doubt, be singled out for the revenge of his killing.
Abu Jahl also pointed out that it was reasonable to assume that the family of the Prophet (sa) and his companions would be unlikely to take revenge on all the branches of the Koraysh because not only were they united in the matter, great in number, but much to strong to oppose.
Up until that moment, satan had remained silent, but now his eyes darted with delight as he said, "Abu Jahl is right, in my opinion this is the only way to do it!"
The chieftains accepted his advice, plans were drawn up and satan left them gloating in his wickedness.
On the night the Koraysh planned to kill Prophet Muhammad (sa) Angel Gabriel visited him and told him he must not sleep in his bed that night. He also gave him the news that Allah had given him permission to migrate. When the Prophet (sa) told Ali Gabriel's news he was delighted and volunteered immediately to sleep in his bed whereupon the Prophet (sa) assured him that no harm would befall him.
On account of his honesty, several people had entrusted their valuables to the Prophet (sa) for safekeeping. Now that permission to migrate had been given he could no longer take charge of them so he asked Ali to remain behind and return them to their rightful owners then to come to Yathrib as soon as he had discharged his duty.
Later that night, Ali wrapped himself up in the Prophet's cloak and slept soundly on the Prophet's bed.
THE PLAN IS HATCHED
It was the month of Safar and in the still of the night warriors from each branch of the Koraysh concealed themselves around the Prophet's house and lay in wait for him to come out. Some time later during the night the Prophet (sa) emerged from his house and as he did he recited the following verses from the Koran:
By the Wise Koran,
you (Prophet Muhammad) are truly
among the Messengers sent upon a Straight Path.
The sending down of the Mighty, the Most Merciful
so that you may warn a people
whose fathers were not warned,
and so were heedless.
The Phrase has become obligatory upon most of them,
yet they do not believe.
We have bound their necks with fetters up to their chin,
so that their heads are raised and cannot be lowered.
We have set a barrier before them
and a barrier behind them,
and, We have covered them so that they do not see."
As he stooped down he picked up a handful of dust and cast it over them. Immediately, a deep sleep descended upon the warriors and the Prophet (sa) passed through their midst without anyone seeing him.
The warriors slept on outside the house of the Prophet (sa) until someone came and woke them asking why they were still there. When they replied they were waiting for the Prophet (sa) to come out, the man rebuked them telling them that he had seen the Prophet (sa) elsewhere in the City, and told them of the dust in their hair.
The warriors refused to accept the possibility that the Prophet (sa) had escaped without their knowledge so they entered the house and found Ali, who they mistakenly took to be the Prophet (sa), sleeping peacefully wrapped in the Prophet's green cloak. After having satisfied themselves that the Prophet (sa) was still in the house they continued to wait outside.
When Ali awoke they realized that the man had been correct and pandemonium reigned -- the Koraysh plan had been thwarted -- and the warriors returned to their chieftains to raise the alarm.
THE FIRST STAGE OF THE MIGRATION
Upon the noon of that same day, the Prophet (sa) made his way to the house of his dear companion, Abu Bakr. It was unusual for him to visit Abu Bakr at that time of day so instinctively he knew there must be an important reason for his visit. After the exchange of greetings the Prophet (sa) informed him that Allah had given him permission to migrate from Mecca. Abu Bakr asked whether they were to migrate together and when the Prophet (sa) told him they were, he was so overcome with joy that tears rolled down his cheeks.
Abu Bakr had hoped that Allah would permit him to accompany the Prophet (sa) so in anticipation he had purchased two strong camels and set aside some provisions for the journey. Abu Bakr offered the Prophet (sa) the finest of the camels, however, on account of the importance of the occasion he declined his generosity saying, "I shall only ride a camel that belongs to me," so the Prophet (sa) bought one from Abu Bakr.
In the past, the Prophet (sa) had accepted several gifts from his good friend, but this occasion was different from that of the others. The Prophet (sa) named his camel "Kaswa" and of all the camels he was to own, Kaswa was his favorite.
At the back of the house, Abu Bakr had the camels prepared and asked his son Abdullah to accompany them to a cave in Mount Thawr, which lies to the south of Mecca, in the opposite direction to Yathrib. He also asked the shepherd Amir, Fuhayrah's son, whom he had freed from service sometime before, to follow behind them with his flock to obliterate their tracks for the desert Arabs were expert trackers and the camel's hoof prints might easily be detected.
It was time to depart so Prophet Muhammad (sa), Abu Bakr with Abdullah riding pillion behind his father mounted their camels and set off for Mount Thawr and left Mecca undetected. After they had been riding for a while, the Prophet (sa) brought his camel to a halt and looked back in sadness at his beloved City and said, "Upon all the earth of Allah, you are the dearest place to me, and the dearest to Allah, had my people not driven me out from you I would not have left you."
When they reached the caves of Mount Thawr, Abu Bakr told his son to return to Mecca with both camels and instructed him to pay attention to any plot he might hear. Abu Bakr also told his son to return only when he felt it was safe to do so and to bring fresh supplies.
It was common place to see camels being driven into Mecca so Abu Bakr felt his son would not be in any immediate danger, also, it was logical to suppose the Koraysh would be searching for the Prophet (sa) on the road to Yathrib and not on the road to Yemen, at least for a while.
THE REACTION OF THE KORAYSH
The Koraysh were deeply angered that the Prophet (sa) had slipped through their fingers. They searched Mecca from beginning to end but there was no sign of him, nor could anyone throw light upon his whereabouts.
Abu Bakr had left his daughters, Ayesha, who was now seven years old, and her elder sister Asma with his wife Umm Ruman in Mecca. Eventually several members of the Koraysh, including Abu Jahl, suspected that Abu Bakr might have accompanied the Prophet (sa) so they went to his house to demand his whereabouts.
Ayesha answered the door and when she told them that she did not know where her father was, Abu Jahl struck her with such force that her earring flew off. Abu Jahl and his companions failed to extract the information they sought and so they left in the hope that they would be more successful elsewhere.
In the meantime, the Koraysh chieftains offered a substantial reward of no less than one hundred camels for his capture. The lure of owning such a herd encouraged many parties to set off on the road to Yathrib in search of him.
Three days had now passed but this time when Abdullah and his sister Asma brought provisions they also brought news of the reward that had been offered. Abu Bakr then told his son that the next time he came he should bring Abdullah, Arkat's son to guide them on to Yathrib and that they should also bring enough provisions for the journey and their camels. Although Abdullah, Arkat's son had not yet embraced Islam, Abu Bakr knew him to be not only reliable but trustworthy, and was confident he would never betray them.
There were many caves in Mount Thawr and when they found one which was suitable, Abu Bakr had entered first on that eventful first day of the migration. However, as he entered he had noticed there were several holes in both its walls and floor and feared they might be home to snakes or other poisonous insects, or even reptiles, so he looked around the cave and found some stones to plug them. He had almost finished plugging them when he ran out of stones. He searched for some more but there were none to be found so he tore pieces of cloth from his garment and pushed them deep down into the holes.
When the Prophet (sa) entered he lay down and rested his head upon Abu Bakr's lap and slept. Only one hole remained unplugged, as there had be insufficient cloth with which to plug it so Abu Bakr lodged his elbow in it to seal the hole. As the Prophet (sa) slept, a scorpion that had been hiding in that very hole bit Abu Bakr. The bite was extremely painful, yet Abu Bakr, whose manners where of such high quality, did not move, nor yet did he cry out in pain as he feared he might disturb the Prophet (sa) whilst he slept.
The pain increased as the flesh around the bite became red and very swollen as the poison took effect. At last a tear fell from Abu Bakr's eye onto the Prophet (sa) before he could catch it and the Prophet (sa) awoke. When he saw the very pained expression on his face he was troubled and asked what ailed him whereupon Abu Bakr told him of the scorpion's bite. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said, "Bismillah" and treated the bite with his salvia and breath and immediately, both the pain and swelling left him -- Abu Bakr had been blessed with a miraculous cure.
A CHANGE OF DIRECTION
By now the search parties had exhausted the roads leading to Yathrib so they started to look in other directions so it wasn't surprising that one such party decided to search the caves of Mount Thawr.
As they neared Mount Thawr. Allah caused yet another miracle to occur, a spider spun a huge web across the entrance of the cave, and a pair of pigeons gathered some twigs from a nearby tree, then built a nest beneath the web on the ledge.
When the search party reached the Mount they explored the caves thoroughly and as they neared the cave the female pigeon settled herself on the nest and laid her eggs whilst her mate perched nearby.
The shouts and tramping of footsteps grew nearer and nearer. Soon, footsteps could be heard on the ledge directly above the cave. Abu Bakr became alarmed at the thought of being discovered and whispered to the Prophet (sa), "If they look under their feet they will see us!" In his gentle, reassuring manner, Prophet Muhammad (sa) consoled him saying, "What do you think of two people who have Allah with them as their third?" When Abu Bakr heard these words peace descended upon him and his fear vanished.
Shortly after, one of the search party noticed the cave underneath the ledge on which he was standing and peered over to take a better look at it. When he saw the spider's web and the pigeon sitting on its nest he told the others that it would be a complete waste of time and effort to climb down to check the cave as he was sure it must be empty on account of the nest and the spider's web. Another peered over the ledge and agreed saying the cob-web was so old that it must have been spun before the Prophet (sa) had even been born!
The bounty hunters agreed and left not knowing how close they had been to the Prophet (sa) and his companion. As for the pigeons, their descendants are those that fly around Ka'ba today.
That night Abdullah and his sister Asma, accompanied by Amir, the shepherd, who came without his flock this time, and Arkat's son Abdullah, made their way with the camels to the cave where they were awaited.
When they reached the mountain, Abdullah and his companions waited for the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr to descend its slope. Asma had packed a bag full of provisions for the journey, however, in her haste she had forgotten to bring a rope to secure them on to the camel's back. Being a resourceful young lady, she untied the rope belt from around her waist, divided it in two and tied the bag securely onto the camel then used the remainder as her belt, from that time onward she was often referred to with tenderness as "she of the pair of belts.”
And so the Prophet (sa), Abu Bakr and their guide set out on the second stage of their migration to Yathrib, soon to be renamed Medina, whilst his children and the shepherd returned in safety to Mecca.
THE JOURNEY TO YATHRIB
Abdullah, Arkat's son, knew the trails of the desert well for he was a very experienced guide. It was decided that it would be more prudent not to go straight on to Yathrib, but to make an extensive detour and so Abdullah led the holy party across the desert to the sea near a village called Usfan.
At a place called Kudayd they met an old lady named Umm Mabad, and asked if she would sell them some milk and meat. Meanwhile Prophet Muhammad (sa) had noticed a weak goat lagging behind the others in the herd, it was evident that its udder was dry, so he went to it, massaged its udder then miraculously milked it. There was so much milk that it filled a large jug and they all took their fill whilst Umm Mabad looked on in amazement. After they had enjoyed the milk, the Prophet (sa) massaged its udder again and filled the jug to the brim with milk and gave it to Umm Mabad, then they continued on their journey.
From that time onward the goat never ceased to produce milk in the morning and night, and lived up until the caliphate of Omar, the son of Khattab.
Later, when Umm Mabad's husband returned she told him how a blessed man happened to have passed by and showed him the jug of milk then related what had happened. Her husband asked her to describe the man whereupon she described him in detail and her husband exclaimed, "By Allah, this is the companion of the Koraysh, if I see him I will follow him!" Umm Mabad had no idea she had been in the company of the Prophet (sa) and had not been shy to observe his features; it is through her observations and another like her that we receive a detailed account of his physical description.
During their migration they were to encounter a slave shepherding his master's flock, when they asked if they might buy some milk the slave told them that none yielded milk and that the one that lambed the year before way now dry. Once again, the Prophet (sa) gently took the sheep, milked it three times and the shepherd embraced Islam.
THE ENCOUNTER WITH SURAKA, MALIK'S SON
Suraka, Malik's son, who was the son of Ju'shum, was among the bounty hunters with high hopes of capturing the Prophet (sa) and claiming the handsome reward of one hundred camels.
One day as Suraka attended a tribal meeting, a man from the tribe of Madlij approached and told him that only a short while ago he had observed silhouettes in the distance riding by the beach and wondered if it might possibly be that Prophet (sa) and his companion.
Suraka was quick to realize that the party was indeed most probably that of the Prophet (sa) however, he wanted to claim the reward for himself so he told the man he must be mistaken as he had seen a party from Mecca earlier on that day set off in the same direction.
Suraka waited for an hour or two to pass, then armed himself with his bow and arrows, ordered his slave to bring his horse round to the back of the house and set off toward the shore.
When Suraka came within sight of the Prophet (sa) Abu Bakr spotted him and cried out, "O Messenger of Allah, we have been discovered!" Whereupon the Messenger of Allah with calmness of voice replied, "Never," and supplicated to Allah for their safekeeping. Immediately, the legs of Suraka's horse started to sink deep into the sand whereupon Suraka cried out in alarm to the Prophet (sa) saying, "I know you have supplicated against me, supplicate for me and I will act as a decoy for you; neither shall I harm you nor will others harm you." No sooner had the words left his mouth and the Prophet (sa) supplicated than the legs of his horse were raised up out of the sand and he rode on to catch up with the Prophet (sa).
Upon catching up with the Prophet (sa) Suraka offered him his provisions, but the Prophet (sa) politely thanked him and declined. Then, quite unexpectedly the Prophet (sa) asked, "How would you like to wear the robes of Chosroes (the King of Persia)?" Suraka was astonished and knew that the word of the Prophet (sa) would surely be fulfilled so he requested the statement to be written down for him as a sign, and so Abu Bakr wrote it down on a piece of leather which Suraka then placed in his quiver for safekeeping and returned to Mecca.
Suraka kept his promised and told no one of the encounter. In the years that followed when the Prophet (sa) was returning from the Encounter of Hunayn, Suraka met him again and embraced Islam.
Suraka's tribe opposed the Prophet (sa) for many years and in the years that followed when Khalid was sent to remedy the matter, Suraka interceded for them but it was not until after the opening of Mecca that they all embraced Islam.
The promise made to Suraka was fulfilled during the caliphate of Omar when the possessions of Chosroes came into the keeping of Omar. Omar was an upright caliph and had heard Suraka’s story and in obedience to the Prophet (sa) and in the honorable spirit of Islam, Omar sent for Suraka and placed the crown of Persia upon his head then gave him the regalia and belt of Chosroes.
THE MEETING WITH TALHA
At sometime during their migration a small caravan was spotted traveling toward the holy party. However, there was no cause for alarm as it belonged to none other than the cousin of Abu Bakr, Talha who was returning to Mecca with merchandise from Syria.
Talha had broken his journey in Yathrib and told Prophet Muhammad (sa) that the news of his migration had already reached them and that the Muslims anxiously awaited his arrival. As they parted company, Talha told them that as soon as he had sold his merchandise in Mecca it was his intention to join them in Yathrib.
THE JOURNEY TO YATHRIB CONTINUES
From Usfan the holy party journeyed to a place outside Amaj, then after passing Kudayd by way of Al Kharrar and Thaniyyatu'l Marra they went on to Likf where they watered their camels.
From Likf they journeyed to Marjih of Dh'l Ghadwayn then on to the valley of Dhu Kashr. After crossing the valley they made their way to A'da passing by Al Ajrad and Dhu Salaam by way of Al Fajja. Before they reached the valley of A'da, one of the camels started to show signs of weakness so a man from the tribe of Aslam by the name of Aus, Hujr's son took the Prophet onto the outskirts of Yathrib on his camel.
THE RECEPTION IN QUBA
Each morning at dawn after Fajr prayer, the believers of Quba, a suburb of Yathrib, would make their way to the lava mounds near the fertile oasis which marked the City limits and anxiously awaited the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (sa). There, they would stay until no shade was left to protect them from the harsh, relentless rays of the sun.
It was now midday, Monday 12th Rabi'ul Awwal, the Prophet's birthday, the sun had reached its height and the gathering had returned to the shelter of their homes when a Jew happened to observe the small party making its way to the lava mounds. The Jew had heard of the Prophet's expected arrival and called out loudly: "O children of Kayla, your luck has arrived!"
There was much rejoicing as the believers rushed from their homes and raced back toward the lava mounts where they found the Prophet (sa) resting with Abu Bakr under the shade of a palm tree. As they approached the Prophet (sa), he smiled tenderly as the ladies and children burst into a song of welcoming they had composed in honor of the occasion:
"The full moon has appeared before us
from Thaniyyat, (the Place of Farewell).
Thanks is obligated upon us
whenever an inviter of Allah invites."
Prophet Muhammad (sa), was greatly moved by their sincere welcome and exhorted his new companions saying, "O people, greet one another with peace, feed the hungry; honor the ties of kinship, pray when others sleep and you shall enter Paradise in peace."
This simple, yet beautiful song of sincerity in praise and love of the Prophet (sa) was among the first to be composed and sung in his presence. It is important for all those who love Allah and His Prophet (sa) to realize that the Prophet (sa) neither objected nor forbade such compositions and we would do well to remember the words of Allah that say:
“Allah and His angels praise and venerate the Prophet.
Believers, praise and venerate him,
and pronounce peace upon him in abundance.”
One of the most famous poets during the life of the Prophet (sa) was Hassan, Thabit’s son. His poetry extols and praises the virtues of the Prophet (sa) and is recited by the lovers of the Prophet (sa) to this very day.
Such was the of acceptance of his poetry by the Prophet (sa) that he requested Hassan’s seat to be raised in the Mosque so that everyone in the congregation would be able to hear and enjoy his poetry. The Prophet (sa) also informed Hassan that the Arch Angel Gabriel would defend him continuously whilst he was defending Allah and His Prophet (sa).
Since that time and throughout the centuries, there have been many well-known Sufi (Ihsan) poets who continued in the same excellence. One such poet being Berzinji Bosairi whose poetry touched the heart and soul of so many that it was printed in gold.
In more recent times, the late Yusuf Ishmael of Nabahan, Mufti of Beirut, Lebanon wrote the most endearing poetry in praise and love of the Prophet (sa). However, the Wahabi cult that emerged from the Najd in Saudi Arabia last century – and one would do well to remember the historical fact reported earlier on in this book of how satan, disguised as a man from the Najd consulted with the unbelievers of Mecca as to the most effective way in which they should kill the Prophet (sa), and thereafter the authentic warning of the Prophet (sa) that the horn of the devil would appear from the Najd – proclaimed that Mufti Yusuf Ishmael, on account of his poetry praising the Prophet (sa), as being a heretic and he like so many other innocent, true lovers of the Prophet (sa) became either hunted or martyred by the fanatical Wahabi cult.
Such has been the false influence of the innovated Wahabi cult that many innocent Muslims are now confused and fearful of reading these beautiful poems and have either overlooked or neglected the preceding verse.
A MATTER OF LODGING
It is uncertain in whose home the Prophet (sa) stayed first in Quba, however, it has been reported that it was either the home of Kulthum, Hidm's son or else the home of Sa'ad Khaythama's son.
The same circumstances apply to the lodging of Abu Bakr, he either stayed with Khubaub, Isaf's son from the children of Harith or with Kharija, Zayd's son.
ALI JOINS THE PROPHET (sa) AT QUBA
A few days after the Prophet (sa) had set out on his migration Ali was able to complete his task of returning all the valuables entrusted to the Prophet (sa). He was now able to journey to Yathrib and it was there at Quba that he finally caught up with him and was lodged in the house of Kulthum.
THE FINAL STAGE OF THE MIGRATION
Word reached the Prophet (sa) that the people of the City of Yathrib anxiously awaited his arrival. However, before his departure three days later, the foundations for the Mosque of Quba were laid after Kaswa, the Prophet”s camel led by an angel showed the Muslims where it was to be built.
Prophet Muhammad (sa) arrived at Ranuna, in Yathrib at noon that Friday. A large crowd had accompanied the Prophet (sa) amongst whom were some of his kinsmen from the tribe of Bani Najjar that had ridden from Yathrib to meet him in Quba.
There, in the valley of Ranuna he met members of the Khazrajite tribe, the children of Salim. Their combined numbers were approximately one hundred and it is there, in his new homeland, that the Prophet (sa) led his followers in the first Friday congregational prayer.
After the prayer, Itban, Malik's son and Abbas, Ubada's son, together with people from the tribe of Salim invited the Prophet (sa) to live with them. However, the Prophet (sa) graciously declined their kind offer saying that he would settle wherever his camel sat down to rest because Kaswa, his camel had been ordered and was being led by an angel.
Kaswa wandered pass the homes of the children of Bayaa, and it was there that the Prophet (sa) was met by Ziyad, Labid's son and Farwa, Amr's son with more of their fellow tribesmen. They too offered the Prophet (sa) the same invitation but he declined graciously with the same reply.
Invitations abounded from everywhere amongst whom were those of Sa'ad, Ubada's son and Al Mundir, Amir's son; and Sa'ad, Rabi's son and Kharika, Zayd's son, and Abdullah, Rawaha's son from the tribe of Harith, Al Khazraj's son but once again the Prophet (sa) declined and replied in the same manner.
At last the camel came to a house the Prophet (sa) remembered well from his childhood days, it was the home of his maternal relatives, the children of Adiyy, Najjar's son. His maternal relatives invited him to stay with them, but he told him his camel was being led by an angel and would take him to the place where he would stay.
Kaswa wandered on towards the houses belonging to the children of Malik, a branch of the Najjar tribe. Amongst their tribesmen were Asad and Awf, two of the six men that pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (sa) during the first pledging at Aqabah the year before. When Kaswa reached the buildings she wandered into a walled courtyard in which there were a few date palms, a place used to dry dates, an ancient grave yard and a building that had fallen into a state of disrepair.
Asad had constructed a modest prayer area within the confines of the courtyard, and slowly Kaswa made her way to it then knelt down. The Prophet (sa) let go the reins but did not dismount, then, after a moment she got up and walked away. She had not gone far when she turned around and walked back to the place where she had knelt, once again she knelt down but this time settled herself upon the ground and Prophet Muhammad (sa) dismounted saying, "If Allah wills, this is the place."
The Prophet (sa) then asked who owned the courtyard and so Mu'adh, the brother of Awf told him that it belonged to Sahl and Suhayl, two orphaned boys fostered by Asad. The Prophet (sa) smiled as he asked for someone to bring the boys to him, but they were already in the gathering and stepped forward. He asked the boys whether they would sell the courtyard to him, but they refused saying, "No, we will give it to you, O Messenger of Allah!" The Prophet (sa) was touched by the generosity of the orphans but insisted that he should pay them for it and so with the help of Asad a price was determined.
During this time Abu Ayyoub Khalid, who lived nearby, had unloaded the Prophet's baggage from Kaswa and had taken it into his house. Once again the Prophet (sa) was besieged with invitations from his followers, but he declined saying, "I must be where my baggage is." And so the Prophet (sa) stayed in the home of Abu Ayyoub who had been the first of his tribe to pledge allegiance during the second pledging at Aqabah.
The girls of the household and the neighboring households were so happy to have the Prophet (sa) staying there that they went out to meet him beating their drums singing:
"We are the girls
from the children of Al Najjar,
Muhammad is the best neighbor!"
Once again, the Prophet (sa) smiled as he listened to the song and neither objected nor forbade the girls to sing or beat their drums.
Abu Ayyoub's house had two storeys, so he and his wife moved upstairs leaving the ground floor for the Prophet (sa). Each meal-time they would take the Prophet (sa) his food and ate whatever remained, putting their fingers in the imprint of the Prophet's in anticipation of receiving a blessing.
Shortly after, Prophet Muhammad (sa) gave the Muslims of Medina a new title, from now on they were referred to as the "Ansar" - the "Supporters". As for those that migrated, they were also give a new title and referred to as the "Muhajir" - the "Emigrants". Allah honors these companions by mentioning them together with their reward in the Koran saying:
“As for the first outstrippers
among the migrants and supporters
and those who followed them in doing good,
Allah is pleased with them
and they are pleased with Him.
He has prepared for them gardens
underneath which rivers flow,
where they shall live for ever.
That is the greatest winning.”
THE BUILDING OF THE PROPHET'S MOSQUE
Immediately after his arrival in Medina, the Prophet (sa) together with the elated band of followers started work on building the Mosque, the graveyard was removed and the ground prepared, some brought stones whilst others made adobe mud bricks for its walls. The palm trees that once stood in the courtyard were felled and prepared for use as support pillars for the Mosque's roof that was made from palm branches whilst the floor remained bare. It was a time for thanksgiving and throughout its building the happy band of Muslims would be heard supplicating to Allah asking Him for His Mercy and Help on both the Ansar and Muhajir saying:
“O Allah, if it was not for You
we would not have been guided
neither would we have fasted nor prayed.
Therefore send down upon us Your tranquility (Sakina) and strengthen us when we meet in times of war.”
At the end of the Mosque they erected another roofed area. It was to become the home of those who embraced Islam but had neither family nor a home of their own.
Upon the completion of the Mosque, the Prophet's home, consisting of two very simple, small apartments was built onto the side of the Mosque. One for Lady Swaydah and the other for Lady Ayesha.
Now that the Mosque and the Prophet's home were ready, he sent Zayd and Abu Rafi with two camels and five hundred dirhams to Mecca to bring his daughters and Lady Swaydah to their new home in Medina. Abu Bakr also sent word to his son Abdullah that the time was right for them to migrate with his mother and sisters, Lady Ayesha and Asma to Yathrib.
However, two of the Prophet's daughters were unable to return with Zayd and Abu Rafi', one was Lady Rukiyyah whose husband, Othman, was still in Abyssinia, and the other was Lady Zaynab whose husband refused to permit her to migrate, and so Zayd and Abu Rafi' returned with Ladies Fatima, Umm Kulthum and Swaydah.
A TIME FOR READJUSTMENT
Most migrants arrived in Medina with only a few possessions. Before their migration some had been in a position to re-establish their wealth but as they had been forced to leave their homes in secrecy they were unable to take most of their possessions with them and all they had left behind was now seized by the Koraysh.
THE BONDING OF THE ANSAR AND MUHAJIR
A day or so shortly after his arrival, the Prophet (sa) called the Muslims together and took one man from the Ansar and another from the Muhajir then announced: "Each of you is a brother to the other," whereupon each Ansari household took a Muhajir family into its own and shared all they possessed with them. The Prophet (sa) took Ali for his brother and made Hamza the brother of Zayd.
The Ansars gleaned their livelihood from farming the fertile land of the oasis whereas the Muhajirs had been traders and knew little about cultivating the land, so it was decided that the Ansars should keep their orchards and groves and divide its produce with their Muhajir brothers. Such was the extent of the brotherhood that when an Ansar died his property was inherited not just by his family but by his extended Muhajir family. Allah refers to this in the Koran saying:
"Those who believed and migrated from their homes
and fought for the Way of Allah,
and those who sheltered them
and helped them
they are truly the believers.
Theirs shall be forgiveness
and a generous provision."
The generosity of the Ansars was widespread and it wasn't long before the Muhajir had settled themselves to their new life. Abu Bakr set up business trading in cloth and Omar took to trading that took him as far away as Iran whereas some of the others traded on a lesser scale, however, they remained poor.
Amongst the Ansar and Muhajir were those that lived in the communal room adjoining the Mosque known as
“As-hab al Suffa”.
These companions rarely took to trade or farming, and then when they did it was only as a means to an end. Instead, they preferred to devote their lives to prayer and spiritual discipline under the guidance of the Prophet (sa). These people had neither wives nor children, however, marriage was not forbidden to them like the monks of Christianity.
The Suffa, better known as Sufi contented themselves with the bare necessities of life; as a means of support they would also be seen gathering bundles of firewood and selling it in order to feed themselves and their companions. They were extremely poor and none could afford two garments, instead they would wear a single piece of cloth fastened at the neck that reached a little above the knee. Whenever the Prophet (sa) received a charitable gift of food, he would divide it amongst them and encourage his followers to feed them.
Many were the times that the Suffa did not eat on two successive days. On account of their lack of nourishment some would faint during prayers, which prompted the opponents of Islam to ridicule and denounced them saying they were either epileptic or else mad.
The Suffa as well as other companions were blessed on many occasions and miraculously fed through the blessings of the supplication of the Prophet (sa). Among these occasions was the time when the Prophet (sa) called the Suffa together to eat from a single plate of food over which he had supplicated. Each of the Suffa, and there were many, ate until they were completely satisfied and after all had left, the same amount of food that had first been served remained on the plate.
ABU HURAYRAH, THE SUFI
Seven years later, Abu Hurayrah, the famous reporter of prophetic quotations embraced Islam and joined the ranks of the Suffa. It is through him that we are blessed to receive so many of the prophetic quotations known as Hadith. Abu Hurayrah had an excellent memory and would precisely memorize the words of the Prophet (sa). When asked why he had not taken to trade or some other profession, he informed his inquirer that he was too occupied listening to the Prophet (sa) and preferred to remain in his company.
Unlike her son, Abu Hurayah’s mother had not embraced Islam and this was of great concern to him so he went to her one day and tried yet again to persuade her, but she resisted and said something disagreeable about the Prophet (sa) that deeply upset Abu Hurayrah.
When the Prophet (sa) saw Abu Hurayrah weeping he asked what was troubling him, whereupon he reluctantly told him what had happened and asked the Prophet (sa) to supplicate for his mother whereupon he supplicated, “O Allah, guide the mother of Abu Hurayrah to the Straight Path.”
Later on that day, Abu Hurayrah went to visit his mother and as he approached her home she recognized his footsteps and called out to him asking him to wait outside for a minute. As he waited he heard the sound of the splashing of water, and a few minutes later, after she had dressed, she opened the door and said, “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet.” She had taken the major bath of purification before embracing Islam.
Abu Hurayrah, means father of the kitten, he was given this endearing name on account of a kitten he befriended that would curl up and sleep in the sleeve of his shirt.
THE JEWS OF MEDINA
PROPHET MUHMAMMAD (sa), THE DIPLOMAT
Although the majority of Jews in Medina refused to accept Prophet Muhammad (sa) as a prophet, they knew it was in their best interest to ally themselves to him as he had become the most influential person in Medina so they went to him, without coercion, and a written contract was drawn up to which both parties pledged they would abide.
The contract afforded fair benefits to both Muslim and Jew. Amongst the contractual articles was that if a Muslim or Jew were harmed then the harmed party would receive the support of both Muslims and Jews alike.
It was also agreed that in the event of war they would fight as one party against the pagans, and that the expense would be shared equally. It was also agreed that neither Muslim nor Jew would enter into a separate peace treaty behind the back of the other.
The Jews acknowledged the Prophet (sa) to be both fair and diplomatic, so they willingly agreed that if a dispute should arise between a Muslim and a Jew, the matter would be decided by him. One day, a Muslim thinking he would have the support of his fellow Muslims, took advantage of a Jew. The issue was taken to the Prophet (sa) and the Jew received his rights.
On the surface things appeared to be in harmony, but the underlying resentment of the Jews lay dormant for the time being. There were also members of the Arab tribes of Aws and Khazraj who said, when they were invited to believe, they believed. However they did not, to them it was simply a matter of politics, some doubted the Message whilst others were hypocrites. It was during this era that Allah sent down the second chapter of the Koran, the Cow chapter, in which the likeness of those who believe and those who disbelieve is clarified.
In the latter verses the Prophet (sa) and the believers were made aware that things were not always as they seemed:
"That is the (Holy) Book
where there is no doubt.
It is a guidance for the cautious (of evil and Hell).
Who believe in the unseen
and establish the (daily) prayer;
who spend out of what We have provided them.
Who believe in that which has been sent down
to you (Prophet Muhammad)
and what has been sent down before you
(to Prophets Jesus and Moses),
and firmly believe in the Everlasting Life.
These are guided by their Lord;
these surely are the prosperous.
Those who disbelieve,
whether you forewarn them or not,
they will not believe.
Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and ears;
their sight is dimmed
and for them is a great punishment.
There are some people who say:
'We believe in Allah and the Last Day,'
yet they are not believers.
They seek to deceive Allah
and those who believe,
but they deceive none except themselves,
though they do not sense it.
There is a sickness in their hearts
which Allah has increased.
For them there is a painful punishment
because they lie.
When it is said to them,
'Do not corrupt in the land,'
'We are only reformers.'
But it is they who are the evildoers,
though they do not sense it.
When it is said to them:
'Believe as (other) people believe,'
'Are we to believe as fools believe?'
It is they who are the fools,
if only they knew!
When they meet those who believe they say,
'We, too believe.'
But when they are alone with their devils,
they say to them:
'We follow none but you,
we were only mocking.'
Allah will mock at them
and prolong them in sin,
Later on in the same chapter, Allah informed the Prophet (sa) and his followers of the jealously the Jews harbored towards them:
"Many of the People of the Book wish
they might turn you back as unbelievers,
after you have believed,
in envy of their souls,
after the truth has been clarified to them.
So pardon and forgive until
Allah brings His command.
Allah is Powerful over everything."
There were among those who did not believe people who would seize any opportunity that came their way to cast doubt upon the prophethood of Muhammad (sa).
On one such occasion a camel belonging to the Prophet (sa) happened to stray whereupon an unbeliever seized the opportunity to jeer saying, "Muhammad claims that news comes to him from the heavens, yet he does not know where his camel is!" When the matter was reported to the Prophet (sa) he was not angered and replied, "I only know what Allah permits me to know. Now He has made it known to me that her halter has become tangled in the branches of a tree in a valley which I will describe." Then the Prophet (sa) described the valley whereupon some of his companions recognized the valley in which she was and went to retrieve the camel. When they reached the valley they found the camel's halter had indeed become tangled in the branches of a tree and brought it back to the Prophet (sa).
Among the Jewish tribe of Kaynuka was an elderly man known for his ability to stir up trouble. Before the advent of Islam and the Prophet's arrival in Medina, the tribes of Aws and Khazraj had been continually at each other’s throat and consequently many conflicts were fought. The Jew felt uneasy about the newly established bond between the tribes and wished to see an end to it. With this object in mind he connived a plan to break up this newly established peace.
In recent years, there had been a conflict between the two tribes. In an effort to reinforce their numbers the tribe of Aws had sent a delegation to Mecca to enlist the support of the Koraysh. However, the Aws were not successful as the Koraysh deemed it more prudent to remain neutral in the matter and not long after the conflict at Bu'ath had ensued.
Both sides had written impassioned poetry in tribute of their warriors expounding the merits and virtues of their tribe over the other. The Jew knew of a young man with a very fine, provocative voice who knew both these tribal poems and persuaded him to go and sit amongst the newly established friends and recite the poems to them. The result was exactly as the Jew planned, soon old passions were re-ignited, wounds reopened, memories revived and a call to arms ensued.
As the tribes of Aws and Khazraj made their way to the lava mounds outside Quba to fight the matter out, news of the impending breach in the peace reached the Prophet (sa). Together with the Muhajirs they made haste to the lava mounds; the conflict was about to erupt when the Prophet (sa) reached them and called to them passionately saying, "O Muslims!" he continued: "Allah, Allah -- would you do as you did in the Days of Ignorance even though I am with you? Allah has guided you to Islam, and honored you with it and rid you of your pagan ways saving you from disbelief, and has united your hearts!" Immediately, the two sides realized they had been easy victims of pride so they laid down their arms and the Jew's scheme came to naught.
This fine example of the immediate response to the remembrance of Allah, obedience to His Prophet (sa), and the unifying brotherhood of Islam in extenuating circumstances is one that in many cases, in this day and age, been unfortunately forgotten or overlooked, and the Words of Allah neglected or even disregarded. He says:
“Believers are indeed brothers,
therefore make things right among your two brothers
and fear Allah,
so you will be subject to mercy.”
The Prophet (sa) warned: “When two Muslims oppose each other with swords, both the killer and the murdered will be in Hell.” A companion asked, “O Messenger of Allah (sa) surely, it is only the killer. What about the one who has been killed?” The Prophet (sa) answered, “The other was also eager to kill his companion.”
THE DEATH OF TWO COMPANIONS
AND TWO ADVERSARIES
AND THE FIRST BORN IN MEDINA
During the first year after the Prophet's migration, Kulthum, Hidm's son, and Asad, Zurarah's son passed away. Both of the companions had been very close to the Prophet (sa). It was in Kulthum's house that the Prophet (sa) had stayed during part of his time in Quba, Kulthum had been especially kind to the migrants and given many of them a home.
Asad, Zurarah's son had been among the first men of Yathrib to pledge his allegiance at Aqabah and it was in his house that Mus'ab, Umair's son, the envoy of the Prophet (sa) stayed in the very early days of Islam in Medina. Later, Asad had become the Imam of his tribe, the tribe of Najjar.
There were those in Medina who chose to take these deaths as an argument against the prophethood, contending that if Prophet Muhammad (sa) had been a prophet, then these deaths would not have occurred. When the Prophet (sa) heard what was being said he was not angered but commented, "I have no power with Allah either for myself or for my companions."
It was also during this first year that the infamous enemies of Islam, Waleed, Mughirah's son, father of Khalid and As, the son of Wa'il Sahmi, the father of Amr, who was later to become the famous Opener of Egypt died.
Asma, the eldest daughter of Abu Bakr and her husband Zubair were blessed with a son whom they named Abdullah. Up until that time no child had been born to a Muslim family in Medina.
THE CHIEF RABBI OF THE TRIBE OF KAYNUKA
Ben Shalom was the Chief Rabbi of the tribe of Kaynuka and also the most knowledgeable Jew in Medina. He had already learned of the Prophet's teachings from traders returning from Mecca and was in no doubt that he was the one prophesied in the scriptures, for his message, description and circumstances exactly matched those he had learned by heart, however, he decided to conceal his conviction until he had a chance to meet him.
The time of year had come when the palm trees needed tending in his aunt's garden so he climbed to the top of one of them and set about his work. As he busied himself, a man from the children of Amr, the son of Auf, came bearing the news that the man the Arabs called the Prophet (sa) had reached Quba and was staying there.
Much to the surprise of his aunt Khalida, who was sitting below the tree, Ben Shalom was so excited that he exclaimed, "Allah is Great!" and climbed down the tree. His aunt was surprised by his exuberant outburst and said, "Indeed, you could not have made so much fuss if you had heard that Moses, the son of Imran had come!" Ben Shalom replied, "My aunt, he is the brother of Moses and upholds his religion, he has been sent with the same mission!" His aunt inquired if he really thought that this man could be the long expected Prophet, whereupon he told her that he had absolutely no doubt whatsoever that he was for all the signs had been fulfilled in him.
Without further hesitation, Ben Shalom went to Quba to meet the Prophet (sa) and embraced Islam taking the name Abdullah -- worshiper of Allah. Upon his return to Medina he spoke to his family and encouraged them to embrace Islam. However, he concealed his conversion from his fellow Jews for a while longer as he anticipated an adverse reaction.
Abdullah had always been an exemplary figure to his community and knew both their strengths and weaknesses. He had, on many occasions, spoken of the prophecy and told his congregation that his time was near at hand, however, he knew it would be hard for all but the humble to accept the fact that the prophethood had been taken away from the Jews but hoped that through his example they would trust him and accept Prophet Muhammad (sa). He also recognized the fact that once his conversion became known he would most likely be denounced by his former colleagues, who, as a result, would no longer utter a good word about him. So, when the Prophet (sa) reached Medina, he visited him and requested him to call the other rabbis and leaders of his tribe together and ask them for their opinion of him, not as a matter for self-esteem but as a matter of exposition.
The invitations were delivered and the rabbis and tribal leaders accepted. When the time arrived, Abdullah Ben Shalom concealed himself in the Prophet's house and awaited their arrival. Upon their arrival the Prophet (sa) welcomed them in his usual hospitable customary way and gave them food and drink, then, during the course of the conversation asked their opinion of Ben Shalom. Without hesitation they spoke highly of him telling the Prophet (sa) that he was their chief rabbi, in fact he was the son of their former chief rabbi and without doubt the most knowledgeable among them. Upon hearing their witnessing, Abdullah Ben Shalom stepped forward and said, "O Jews, fear Allah and accept what He has sent you, indeed you know that this man is the Messenger of Allah (sa)." Then, before his peers he declared his acceptance of Islam. Immediately the rabbis and leaders no longer had a good word to say about him, rather they began to rebuke and spurn him, which was a complete reversal of their attestation just a few moments before.
Later Abdullah was heard to say, "I recognized him as soon as I saw him, in the same way that I know my son, rather, my knowledge of him is even greater."
Allah endorses the fact that the rabbis were able to recognize Prophet Muhammad (sa) from his description in their Holy Books by saying:
"Those to whom We have given the Book,
know him (Prophet Muhammad)
as they know their own sons.
But a party of them conceal the truth
while they know."
Another rabbi embraced Islam, his name was Zayd, Sa'nah's son. However, he did not embrace Islam immediately as he was not as knowledgeable as Abdullah. Later he explained the reason for his delay saying, "In the Prophet's face there were characteristics. I recognized all of the signs except two because I had not as yet had the opportunity to observe them. They are that his kindness is swift when facing the ignorance of others, and the second is that the more foolishness directed towards him only increases his kindness."
LIFE IN MEDINA
THE FIRST ADHAN - CALL TO PRAYER
Up until this time, Muslims used their own judgment to determine the time of prayer by estimating the sun's passage through the heavens and as a result they arrived at the Mosque to pray at varying times. This state of affairs concerned the Prophet (sa) who asked his companions if they had any suggestions as to how best they could announce the due time of prayer.
Several suggestions were made, amongst which was the hoisting of a flag, rattling a wooden clapper and the blowing of a horn. However, these suggestions were not acceptable to the Prophet (sa).
Not long after, Abdullah, Zayd's son had a vision. In his vision a man with a clapper in hand, dressed in a green robe passed by, Abdullah noticed the clapper and asked if he would sell it. The man asked why he wanted it whereupon Abdullah told him that he wanted it to call his fellow Muslims to prayer. The man told him that he knew of a better way than that which was that the call to prayer should be made by a caller in this manner.
"Allah is the Most Great,
Allah is the Most Great,
Allah is the Most Great.
I bear witness that there is no god except Allah,
I bear witness that there is no god except Allah,
I bear witness that there is no god except Allah,
Come to prayer,
come to prayer.
Come to success,
come to success.
Allah is the Most Great,
Allah is the Most Great.
There is no god except Allah.
there is no god except Allah."
Abdullah went to the Prophet (sa) and told him of his vision and Omar mentioned that he likewise had seen a similar vision. Happiness encompassed the Prophet’s face as he told Abdullah and Omar that they had both seen true visions and informed them that this was the method they would now use to call the people to prayer.
The Prophet (sa) then asked one of his companions to look Bilal and ask him to come to him -- the former slave that had been so badly torture for his belief. Bilal had a very pleasant voice and Abdullah was asked to teach him the words with which he was to call the worshippers to prayer. Bilal was honored to be chosen as the caller to prayer, and from that time onward, before each prayer, he made his way to the roof-top of the highest house near the Mosque and the sweetness of his voice would ring out across the City calling believers to the prayer.
Later on the Prophet (sa) told his companions that when the call to prayer is made, satan, the stoned and cursed, turns his back and rushes away belching to prevent him from hearing the words of the call.
The reason for his running away and belching is that all those who hear the call to prayer become a witness to it and satan does not want to be a witness. However, once the call has finished he returns until the second call to prayer is made, then he runs away again only to return after it has finished to distract the minds of worshippers with his whispering, “Remember this, remember that”, putting in the mind of the believer irrelevant matters until he/she does not know how many units of prayer they have offered.
LADY SWAYDAH AND LADY AYESHA
When Lady Swaydah arrived in Medina she lived in her quarters built onto the outside of the Mosque together with the daughters of the Prophet (sa). Later on Lady Ayesha came to live in the room next to her.
Lady Ayesha had known the Prophet (sa) from a very tender age, she loved to be in his company and after his marriage to her he would often play and run races with her, but although he was very capable of out running her he always, out of the kindness of his heart, let her win until she was mature.
Although she was married to the Prophet her life had changed but a little, she still played with her girl friends from Mecca and also made new friends with the girls of Medina. However, the parents of her friends had taught their daughters that they must at all times respect the Prophet (sa) and not to make a nuisance of themselves.
Fearing that he might disturb her, Prophet Muhammad (sa) would often take great delight watching her play with her friends from behind a curtain. However, if her friends happened to realize he was there they would stop playing and try to slip away, whereupon the Prophet (sa) would reassure them that there was no need for them to go and to continue enjoying themselves. On many occasions he would sit down and join them in their games, just as he had done with his own daughters for he loved children and never turned them away.
Once, when the Prophet (sa) returned home after a journey he found Lady Ayesha playing with a small wooden horse that had a piece of cloth attached to its back. The Prophet (sa) was amused and inquired why she had tied the cloth to its back whereupon Lady Ayesha replied, "O Prophet of Allah (sa), don't you know, it is the winged horse of Solomon," and the Prophet (sa) smiled as happiness spread over his caring face.
ILLNESS IN MEDINA
The native people of Medina were, for the most part, immune to the fevers that came during certain seasons of the year, however, for strangers who happened to be in the City during these seasons there was always the risk that they might contract them.
One day, Lady Ayesha went to visit her father, Abu Bakr, and found that he, Bilal and Amir had been taken ill with the fever, although Bilal was nearing recovery he remained extremely weak. She spoke to her father but he answered her in a rhyme and she did not fully understand, although she remembered his words.
Amir and Bilal also spoke to her in rhyme but once again she remembered them but did not fully comprehend. Seeing them in such a pitiful condition distressed Lady Ayesha greatly so she returned home to the Prophet (sa) to tell him of their circumstances.
The Prophet (sa) comforted her and gently asked what they had said so she repeated their words, whereupon the Prophet (sa) supplicated saying, "O Allah, make Medina as dear to us as You have made Mecca, or yet even dearer. Bless its water and grain for us and remove the fever from it as far as Mahya'ah." Allah accepted the supplication and they were no longer ill.
A THREAT FROM MECCA
It is obligatory upon Muslims to protect their soul, the honor of their womenfolk, and wealth, but also to show mercy. No matter how good the philosophy of turning the other cheek may be for an individual in insignificant day-to-day affairs, it spells suicide for a community when it is implemented as an absolute value.
One might have supposed that the Prophet's circumstances in Medina were easier than in Mecca, and in may respects that was indeed the case. However, in Mecca it had been easy to determine who had given themselves to Islam and who had not.
In Medina the situation was somewhat different. Many of its citizens had embraced Islam, however, several had done so not out of conviction but because they feared the loss of their status within their tribe as more fellow tribesmen started to embrace Islam. These people posed an undetectable source of treachery which was a factor the Prophet (sa) had not had to contend with in Mecca.
Until this time, Medina had little or no influence on the affairs of Arabia, it had just been a place on the trade route where caravans would stop, replenish their supplies, sell their wares then go on their way. As such it had been impervious to outside affairs, however, now that the Prophet (sa) had settled there, the Koraysh viewed Medina in a different light.
It was not long after his arrival that the Prophet (sa) met with neighboring tribes outside Medina and as his reputation had preceded him they gladly contracted alliances that closed the access of the northern trade routes to the Koraysh who used to pass through Medina. This meant that from now on the Koraysh caravans would have to use the coastal road on their journeys and their paths would not cross.
However, shortly after the Prophet's arrival in Medina, the Koraysh sent a letter to Abdullah, Ubbay's son, who was a newly elected chieftain. The letter read: "You have sheltered one of our men. We tell you either to kill him or throw him out of Medina. If you do not, we swear by Allah we will attack, destroy you and seize your women."
When the Prophet (sa) learned of the Koraysh letter, he went to Abdullah and asked if he intended to fight against his own kinsmen for many of them had embraced Islam and were now his supporters. Abdullah weighed the implications and decided to ignore the letter.
The Koraysh had not only persecuted Muslims for their belief, robbed them of most of their possessions before and after their migration, but now the threat of war loomed large on the horizon. It was obvious they had no intention of letting Islam and its followers live in peace; their intent was annihilation.
THE FIRST ATTACK ON MEDINA
The first physical act of aggression by the Koraysh on the Muslims of Medina was perpetrated by Kerz, Jabir's son.
Kerz, together with a marauding part set off from Mecca with the intent of looting whatever property belonging to Muslims they could lay their hands on. Just outside Medina they came across and seized Sa'ad, Wakkas's son and Utba, Ghazwan's son and took them back to Mecca as prisoners together with a flock of sheep and a herd of camels.
This was the first attack which was soon followed by several similar incidents.
PERMISSION TO FIGHT FOR DEFENSE OR REVENGE
Under the patient guidance of the Prophet (sa) the Muslims had never taken a physical aggressive stand against their adversaries, for permission to do so had not been received from Allah.
Even when they had been subjected to outrageous provocation they had restrained themselves by reciting the Words of Allah to state their case. One must not suppose them to have been faint hearted in such matters, rather they controlled themselves, and obeyed their Prophet (sa).
It was about this time that Allah sent down the following verse:
"Permission is given to those who fight
because they were wronged.
Allah has power to grant them victory:
those who have been unjustly driven from their homes,
just because they said:
'Our Lord is Allah ....'"
But Allah also warned:
“Fight in the way of Allah
those who fight against you,
but do not aggress.
Allah does not love the aggressors.”
This last verse is a clear warning to all Muslims that they must not be the first to aggress.
It was not the Prophet (sa) who instigated the state of war, persecuted or pillaged, on the contrary, it was the Koraysh who were the open aggressors. Now, permission had come to the Muslims to assert themselves, stand up for their rights, and take back that which had been stolen from them.
With the possible threat of war on the horizon, and the command to fight because of the wrongs afforded them, the Prophet (sa) sent observation parties of migrants to monitor caravans.
From time to time they received news from their allies of caravan movements, however, more likely than not, by the time the news reached them, the Koraysh caravans were no where to be found. However, the time was not wasted as successful treaties were negotiated with several Bedouin tribes along the coast of the Red Sea.
ELEVEN MONTHS AFTER THE MIGRATION
Eleven months had passed since the Prophet's migration when, in the autumn, news of a richly laden caravan escorted by a hundred armed men led by Ummaya, the chief of Jummah, was reported. Ummaya was one of Islam's greatest opponents and so the Prophet (sa) called upon the help of the Ansars to assist the Muhajirs rid themselves of their adversary and seize the spoils of war as restitution. However, Ummaya and his caravan eluded them and there was no encounter.
THE SECOND YEAR
Two months into the second year after the migration news of another caravan on its way to Syria led by Abu Sufyan, from the tribe of Shams came. The Prophet (sa) and his companions set off in search of the caravan, but the news they had received was old and when they reached Ushayrah, which lies in the valley of Yanbu, near the Red Sea, their adversaries had long gone.
The cooler winter months were upon them and the number of caravans to the north dwindled. Since the time of their ancestor Hashim, caravans had taken advantaged of these cooler months to cross the inhospitable, desolate, southern part of the desert to Yemen.
The month was now Rajab, one of the four sacred months in which fighting is not permissible, when news reached Medina that a caravan making its way from Yemen was nearing Mecca. The Prophet (sa) decided to send his cousin Abdullah, Jahsh' son with eight of the Muhajir on a reconnaissance assignment. Before leaving, Abdullah was given written instructions and told not to read them until they reached a certain place. When they reached the given place, Abdullah read the instructions that told him to journey on to Nakhlah, observe the Koraysh and return with the news. There were no orders to attack the caravan.
Upon reaching the valley of Nakhlah, they concealed themselves not far from the main route and sat in wait. This time the information was correct and the Koraysh caravan stopped for a while not far from where the Muhajirs had positioned themselves. From their vantage point they observed that among the caravaners were those from the very hostile tribe of Makhzum who had been responsible for great harm to the Muslims. Abdullah was in a quandary not knowing what to do, he was unsure if the pre-Islamic rules not to fight during the Sacred Months still applied or not, and pondered deeply upon the verse:
"Permission is given to those who fight
because they were wronged."
The Sacred Month was nearing its end, and the moon of Shaban was expected that same night, however, Abdullah knew that if he waited until the sighting of the new moon was visible, the caravan would be miles away and no doubt have entered the sacred precincts of Mecca in which no fighting at any time is permissible.
Abdullah reflected upon the numerous occasions they had been so unjustly persecuted, provoked and plundered for no other reason than their belief in One God, Allah, and so it wasn't until after a great deal of deliberation he gave the order to attack. As they fired their arrows, the arrow of Wakid, Abdullah Tamini's son struck and killed Amr Hadrami, and ally of the tribe of Shams.
The caravaners realized they were outnumbered and their chances of survival were small indeed, so Othman Hadrami, from the tribe of Makhzum and a freed man named Hakam surrendered. However, Nawfal, the brother of Othman managed to escape and returned to Mecca but now there was a blood feud with which to contend.
Abdullah and the Muhajirs returned to Medina with their prisoners, camels and spoils. When they reached Medina they divided the spoils among themselves, leaving one-fifth for the Prophet (sa) to distribute as charity. When Abdullah and his companions took the spoils to the Prophet (sa) and presented them to him, he declined to accept it reminding them, "I did not order you to fight in the Sacred Months."
Abdullah and his companions were greatly distressed by the Prophet's refusal, and were rebuked by their fellow Muslims for their violation of the Sacred Month. The unbelievers of Medina took it upon themselves to say that this was indeed a bad omen for the Prophet (sa) and made great issue of the matter. As for the Koraysh, they falsely accused the Prophet (sa) for being responsible for the violation of the Sacred Month of Rajab.
Abdullah and his companions were devastated, it had not been their intention to disobey the Prophet (sa) and had acted only after a great deal of heart-searching, but the fact remained, they had not been given permission to fight. After a while relief came to them when Angel Gabriel brought down the verse from Allah that said:
"They ask you about the Sacred Month
and fighting in it.
Say: 'To fight in this month is a grave (offense);
but to bar others from the Path of Allah,
and disbelief in Him, and the Holy Mosque,
and to expel its inhabitants from it is great with Allah.
Dissension is great than killing.
They will not cease to fight against you
until they force you to renounce your religion,
if they are able.
But whosoever of you recants from his religion
and dies an unbeliever,
their works shall be annulled in this world
and in the Everlasting Life,
and those shall be the companions of Hell,
and there they shall live forever."
Now that this verse had been revealed, the Prophet (sa) knew that Abdullah and his men had been absolved and accepted a fifth of the spoils which were then distributed as charity.
Abdullah and his companions asked the Prophet (sa), "May we hope that this will count as a raid for which we shall receive a reward as combatants?" For they were more anxious to receive the reward of Allah than the worldly spoils they had repossessed. The Prophet (sa) in his customary manner did not reply straight away and waited until the following verse was sent down from Allah:
"But those who believe
and those who migrate
and struggle in the Way of Allah,
those, have hope of the Mercy of Allah,
Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
Meanwhile, the tribe of Makhzum sent ransom money to Medina for Othman and Hakam. However, Sa'ad and Utba who had been taken prisoners by Kerz remained in Mecca and the Prophet (sa), who was always concerned for the welfare of his companions, did not wish to place them in life threatening situation so he sent a message saying, "We will not accept your ransom until our two companions are returned. If you kill them, we will kill your two."
After Sa'ad and Utba had been released and arrived safely in Medina, the Prophet (sa), who was not one to break his word, released Othman and Hakam, however, Hakam expressed his wish to embrace Islam and remained in Medina whilst Othman returned to Mecca where he died an unbeliever. Hakam, on the other hand, was later to become a martyr at the encounter of Bi'r Ma'una.
THE SECOND YEAR AFTER THE MIGRATION
THE DIRECTION OF PRAYER
In Medina there were now three communities, Muslims, People of the Book and unbelievers. The Jews, Nazarenes and Christians of whom their were a handful, or People of the Book as the Koran refers to them, offered their prayers in a common direction, which was Jerusalem, as it was there that many Prophets had preached. The unbelievers on the other hand would turn themselves toward their many idols housed within the confines of Ka'ba in Mecca.
Sixteen months had now passed since the Prophet's migration and during this time he had offered his prayers in the direction of Jerusalem rather than the direction of Ka'ba. However, his heart was far from being settled about the matter. Instinctively, he wished to offer his prayer facing the direction of Ka'ba, the House his ancestors, Prophets Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt so many centuries before, but the fact that there were so many idols in and around it prevented him from doing so.
The matter weighed heavily upon his heart, then Allah directed him in the following verses that were sent down at the time of the mid-day prayer on a Tuesday, sometime in the middle of the month of Shaban.
"We have seen you turning your face
towards the heaven.
We shall surely turn you to a direction
that shall satisfy you.
So turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque
(built by Abraham);
wherever you are,
turn your faces to it.
Those to whom the Book was given
know this to be the truth from their Lord.
Allah is not inattentive of what they do.
But even if you brought those to whom the Book
had been given every proof,
they would not accept your direction,
nor would you accept theirs;
nor would any of them accept the direction of the other.
If after all the knowledge you have been given
you yield to their desires,
then you will surely be among the harmdoers."
"The truth comes from your Lord,
so do not be among the doubters.
And for everyone is a direction
for which he turns.
So race in goodness.
And wherever you are,
Allah will bring you all together.
He has power over all things.
From wherever you emerge,
turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque.
This is surely the truth from your Lord.
Allah is never inattentive of what you do.
From wherever you emerge,
turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque,
and wherever you are,
face towards it,
so that the people will have no argument against you,
except the harm-doers among them.
Do not fear of them,
so that I will perfect My Favor to you
and that you will be guided."
From that time onward the Prophet (sa) and his followers offered their prayers facing the direction of the Ka'ba in Mecca.
The Mosque in which the verses were sent down was known from then onwards as "The Mosque of the Two Kiblas" - kibla meaning direction of prayer.
Before the advent of the Nazarenes and Christians the Jews directed their prayers towards Jerusalem and prided themselves that the Nazarenes and Christians, and up until now, the Muslims had done the same, thereby acknowledging their importance through its religious significance. Without doubt, Islam acknowledges the significance of Jerusalem as a very Holy site and the changing of the direction of prayer was by no means to demean it. But to the Jews, Jerusalem was not just a Holy place, it had become an important status symbol which served to enhance their self proclaimed superiority.
For many years, the unbelievers respected the Jews, admiring the adeptness and business acumen. Such was their admiration that when faced by the death of a child they would often take a vow that if the child was spared they would have him raised as a Jew.
When Allah changed the direction of prayer to Ka'ba, the Jews were very displeased, as they perceived it to be an outright rejection of their social status and this caused further resentment. The Muslims had not in fact rejected its religious significance at all, but the Ka'ba, the House which Abraham had built, the first House of Allah on earth, had been the direction chosen by Allah for Muslims to face during prayer.
Soon after, the Jews dormant resentment of the Prophet (sa) and the Message given to him by Allah began to surface. False accusations that he pursued a policy of opposition against them were common, for many of the verses in the recently revealed sections of the Cow chapter exposed the concealed corruption of their ancestors and revealed their present day contempt.
Their pride prevented them from acknowledging that some of their ancestors had clearly wronged themselves and that they themselves would follow parts of the Torah that were acceptable to them whilst neglecting or rejecting other parts.
Their contention that they were the chosen ones of Allah, despite the fact that they defied, killed and rejected many of their prophets including their last prophet, Jesus, the Messiah, the son of Mary, who warned them that if they did not reform, the covenant would be taken away from them.
Among the Muslims were some whose faith was yet to mature, they also questioned the changing of the Kibla to the Ka'ba, forgetting that the order was not the decision of the Prophet (sa) but that of Allah who warned that the Jews and unbelievers would question the redirection:
"The fools among the people will say:
'What has made them turn away
from the direction they were facing?'
Say: 'The east and the west belong to Allah.
He guides whom He will to a Straight Path.'"
"… We did not change the direction
that you were facing
except that We might know
who followed the Messenger
from him who turned on both his heels.
Though it was a hardship
except for those whom Allah has guided.
Allah is Gentle with people, the Most Merciful."
"Righteousness is not whether
you face towards the east or the west.
But righteousness is
to believe in Allah, and the Last Day,
in the angels and the Book, and the Prophets,
and to give wealth however cherished,
to kinsmen, to the orphans,
to the needy, to the destitute traveler,
and to the beggars, and to ransom the slave;
who establish their prayers,
and pay the obligatory charity…"
PRELUDE TO THE ENCOUNTER OF BADR
THE CARAVAN OF ABU SUFYAN
There was unrest amongst the unbelievers, the Jews and hypocrites of Medina for each concealed either their own tribal or racial grudge.
When news that Abu Sufyan, and his caravan -- which included a member from each branch of the Koraysh tribe -- had set out on its return journey from Syria laden with merchandise, the Prophet (sa) called the Muslims together and informed them of his intent to attack so that the Muslims might have at least some of their former wealth restored to them.
Shortly after this, the Prophet (sa) sent Talha and Sa'id, Zayd's son to reconnoiter the area near the coastal village of Hawra that lies approximately one hundred miles from Medina. At Hawra, Talha and Sa'id were met by the chief of Juhaynah who took them under his protection and concealed them in his home until Abu Sufyan's caravan has passed by.
THE CONSPIRACY OF THE UNBELIEVERS AND JEWS
Despite their alliance, the unbelievers and Jews of Medina conspired against the Prophet (sa) and sent word to Abu Sufyan informing him that he could expect to be attacked. Abu Sufyan was alarmed and hired Damdam, Amr Al Ghifari's son to hasten on to Mecca to rally the Koraysh to come out and join him in defense of the caravan as he feared the attack to be imminent.
NEW REACHES MECCA
Damdam did not spare his camel as he sped onto Mecca at break-neck pace. In order to draw immediate attention to the urgency of the matter when Damdam reached the valley of Mecca he severely mutilated his camel, slitting its ears and cutting of its nose, then he turned his saddle backwards, tore his shirt and screamed the news at the top of his voice as he entered the City.
The alarm soon spread through every quarter of Mecca, for they knew the caravan was richly laden and also, each tribe had one of their own accompanying it.
Abu Jahl immediately called the Koraysh chieftains, its warriors, and in fact all men able to fight, to prepare themselves and met him in the precincts of Ka'ba. Utba, Rabia's son was appointed their Commander-in-Chief, and the combined Koraysh army looked formidable. There were no less than nine-hundred and fifty armed soldiers, seven hundred camels and three horses with more than adequate provisions to feed themselves.
The tribe of Adi, however, decided not to partake in the forthcoming hostilities and remained behind. Two other people also declined, they were Abu Lahab and Ummaya, Khalf's son.
Abu Lahab told Al-As, Hisham's son, that if he were to go in his place he would release him from the substantial debt of the four thousand dirhams he owed him. Al-As accepted his offer as he had no other way in which to repay the debt.
As for Ummaya, he was elderly and rather corpulent, so he decided not to go. However, his honor was challenged by Ukba, Abu Mu'ayt's son who sought him out near the Ka'ba with a vessel of burning scented wood and insulted him by saying, "Perfume yourself with this -- you belong with the women!" Outraged, Ummaya got up saying, "May Allah curse you and what you have brought!" and rode off to join the others who had already set off to engage the Prophet (sa). Meanwhile Abu Sufyan force-marched his caravan by day and night along the coastal route.
As for the tribes closely related to the Prophet (sa) the tribes of Hashim and Muttalib, they too had reluctantly joined with the Koraysh. Talib took command of both tribes, whilst Abbas and Hakim, Lady Khadijah's nephew from the tribe of Asad accompanied them.
Before leaving Abbas took his wife, Umm Fadl to one-side and told her how he wished his wealth to be distributed in the event of his death and named Abdullah, Kutham, and Ubaydullah as his heirs.
THE FIRST STAGE OF THE PROPHET'S MARCH
The Prophet (sa) decided not to wait for Talha and Sa'id to return, but to press on, and appointed two standard bearers, one from the Ansar and the other from the Muhajir.
On 12th Ramadan, with the exception of eight Muslims, who for valid reasons remained in Medina, the Prophet (sa) together with 311 Muhajirs and Ansars set off in search of Abu Sufyan's caravan. The army was ill equipped and provisions less than adequate due to their circumstances but they trusted Allah and His Prophet (sa) so their spirits were high. Between them they had but seventy-two mounts -- seventy camels and two horses -- which they took turns to ride, sometimes they rode two or three at a time.
Among those that remained behind was Othman, husband of the Prophet's daughter, Lady Rukiyyah. Lady Rukiyyah had been taken seriously so compassionately the Prophet (sa) told Othman that he should remain at her side. In his absence he appointed Amru, Ummu Makhtum's son to act as their leader as the hypocrites and Jews could no longer be trusted to remain loyal.
UMAIR, THE SON OF ABI WAKKAS
A mile or so outside Medina, the Prophet (sa) called his army to a halt and discovered that in their anxiousness to support him, several youngsters had joined them. Out of kindness he told them they must return as it was no place for boys so young. Amongst them was a boy named Umair, Abi Wakas's son who cried inconsolably when he was told to return, and so the Prophet (sa) took pity on him and allowed him to accompany them. Umair stopped his crying and a great big smile spread over his face as his elder brother, Sa'ad, hung a sword around his neck.
TWO TRIESMEN FROM JUHAYNAH
The Prophet (sa) gave the order to proceed and so they continued their march southward and then turned towards Badr that lay further down the coast from Hawra. The Prophet's intention was to reach Badr before Abu Sufyan and intercept him there. In the meantime, he sent two of his allies from the Bedouin tribe of Juhaynah, who were familiar with the area, to look for the caravan and bring news whilst he and his small army rested.
Just outside Badr lies a water-well at the foot of a hill. Upon reaching the hill, the tribesmen of Juhaynah went down to replenish their water supply and let their camels drink. At the well two girls were talking as they drew water, one girl was overheard saying to the other: "The caravan will arrive either tomorrow or the next day. I will work for them so that I can repay the money I owe to you." It was the news they had been hoping for, so they hastened back to the Prophet's camp to tell him.
ABU SUFYAN AT THE WELL OF BADR
The quickest route to Mecca lay through Badr so Abu Sufyan rode on in advance of the caravan to make sure that it was safe for it to proceed in that direction. He reached the well only a short time after the scouts had left and came across a man from the village who had come to draw water. Abu Sufyan asked if he had seen any strangers recently whereupon the villager told him that the only strangers he had seen were two men who had come over the hill and stopped to draw some water.
Abu Sufyan was always on the alert for any signs and furtively glanced around for some camel's dung. He retraced the camel's hoof prints up the hill and found what he was searching for and examined it quickly. As he broke the dung in half his heart started to pound as he saw some date stones and undigested date fiber then cried out: "By Allah, its the food of Yathrib!" His worst fear was confirmed. He knew the Prophet's army could not be far away whereupon he returned with great haste to this caravan camped further up the coast.
THE RETURN OF THE SCOUTS
By now the scouts of Juhaynah had returned to the Prophet (sa) and told him that the caravan's arrival was imminent at Badr. It was good news for they thought themselves to have the upper hand and would be able to overcome them in a surprise attack.
THE RESOLVE OF THE MUHJAIR AND ANSAR
Hopes were high when news arrived that a large army of Koraysh had set out from Mecca to support Abu Sufyan. The Prophet (sa) wasted no time and called the Muhajir and Ansar together to tell them the news.
Abu Bakr and Omar represented the Muhajir and Omar acted as their spokesman. Omar told the Prophet (sa) that they were of one voice -- they should advance. Then, one of the latest migrants, Mikdad, from the tribe of Zuhra got up and spoke saying, "O Messenger of Allah, do what Allah has directed. We will not be like the Children of Israel who said to Moses: Go with your Lord and fight, we shall wait here. Rather, we say, 'Go with your Lord and fight, we will fight with you to the right and to the left, in front and behind!'" When the Prophet (sa) heard these faithful words, his face shone knowing well the strength of the Muhajir's faith.
Then, Sa'ad. Mu'adh's son of the Ansar stood up and said, "O Messenger of Allah, we believe you and we believe what you have brought us. We bear witness that what you have brought is the truth. We have given you our oath to hear and obey. Do whatsoever you wish, we are with you. By Him who sent you with the truth, if you ask us to cross the sea and plunged yourself into it, we would do the same -- no man amongst us would not do so. We are not against meeting our enemy tomorrow, we have fought before and are to relied upon. Allah willing, our courage will bring coolness to your eyes, so lead us with the blessing of Allah!"
There was great rejoicing, the Ansars and Muhajirs were united in their resolve, yet only a matter of a few years prior to this, such unification would have been absolutely unthinkable.
The Prophet (sa) was greatly pleased by their united response and told them to be of good heart, because Allah, the Most High had promised him success over one of the two parties, and that even as he spoke it was as if he could see their enemy lying prostrate.
The Prophet (sa) together with his small army of companions marched on toward Badr. Less than a day's march away, the Prophet (sa) called for a halt and he and Abu Bakr rode on for a while until they came across an elderly Bedouin. Abu Bakr asked the Bedouin if he had any news, but the Bedouin was cunning and asked to which party they belonged; that of Muhammad, or that of the Koraysh. Abu Bakr told the man that if he told him the whereabouts of each party he would tell him where they were from. The old Bedouin knew well the paths of the desert and told him that in his opinion as Muhammad's party had left Yathrib on 12th Ramadan, they should by now have reached such and such a place -- his estimation was correct -- and that the Koraysh should be very near the place in which they were standing.
Then the man asked Abu Bakr where he and his companion were from, Abu Bakr could not afford to trust this wily old Bedouin, so he replied with a clever conundrum saying that they were from "Ma", which is Arabic for water, as man is created from water. The Bedouin was satisfied with his answer and supposed he referred to Iraq on account of its two rivers.
Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Abu Bakr returned to their camp and when night fell, the Prophet (sa) sent for Ali, Zubair, and Sa'ad together with their companions and told them to go to the well and see if anyone there had news of their enemies, or if they had drawn water from the well.
THE FIRST PRISONERS
When they reached the well, they found two men from the Koraysh filling their containers with water and loading them onto the backs of their camels. One of the men was a slave belonging to the children of Al Hajjaj, the other was Arid Abu Yasar, from the children of Al-As.
Stealthily, Ali, Zubair, Sa'ad and the others overcame them and took them back to the Prophet (sa) as prisoners. When they reached the camp, the Prophet (sa) was occupied in his prayer so a crowd gathered around the prisoners and started questioning them. The prisoners told them that they were only Koraysh water-men, whereupon their inquisitors started to beat them hoping that they had lied and were from the caravan. It became clear to the water-men that their captors wanted to hear them say that they were Abu Sufyan's men so the retracted their first claim and told them what they wanted to hear.
After the Prophet (sa) concluded his prayer, he came out and told his companions that they should not have treated their prisoners in that way, and informed them that their prisoners were indeed from the Koraysh and not from Abu Sufyan.
When the Prophet (sa) asked them where the Koraysh were camped they told him, without coercion, pointing to the hill of Akankal, that their camp lay on its slopes on the other side. He asked the size of the army, but the men were unable to estimate its number but said there were many. Wisely, the Prophet (sa) then asked how many camels were slaughtered each day to feed them and was told nine or maybe ten. From this the Prophet (sa) was able to deduce their numbers must be within the range of nine-hundred to a thousand.
Then he asked the prisoners for the names of their leaders and learned that the brothers Utba and Shayba were amongst them together with Abu Jahl, Abu'l Bakhtari, Hakim, Nawfal, Al Harith, son of Amir, Tu'mauma, Al Nadr, Zama'a, Ummaya, Nabih, Munabbih, Suhail, and Amr Abu Wudd's son. The Prophet (sa) then turned to his followers and said, "Mecca has thrown to you pieces of its liver!" And from this they understood that they would fight against the chief enemies of Islam.
A FEELING OF SAFETY
After Abu Sufyan had discovered date stones in the camel's dung he decided to take the longer coastal route to Mecca felling confident that he had escaped the attack. He now felt a sense of security and sent word to his fellow chieftains saying, "You came out to save your caravan, your tribesmen and your merchandise, but Allah has delivered us, therefore return." Strange as it may seem, despite all the idols worshipped in Ka'ba, the Koraysh preferred to swear by Allah even though they thought Him to be too remote to worship directly.
When Abu Jahl heard these words he rallied his men saying, "By Allah, we will not return until we have been to Badr! We will spend three days there feasting, slaughtering camels, drinking wine and the girls will play for us. When the other Arab tribes hear of us they will from hence forth hold us high in their esteem -- come on!"
TALIB, AL AKHNAS AND THE TRIBE OF ZUHRA
When Al Akhnas, Sharik's son, an ally of the tribe of Zuhra heard Abu Jahl's intent, he said to his allies, "Allah has saved you, your property and your tribesmen, Makhrama, Nawfal's son, your only reason for coming was to protect them, should you be charged with cowardice blame it on me! There is no point going to war with this man without profit as Abu Jahl would have us do!" The tribe of Zuhra heeded Al Akhnas's words and together they returned to Mecca.
Talib, the son of Abu Talib, and uncle of the Prophet (sa) had reluctantly ridden out with the Koraysh hating the thought of fighting against his nephew so he had supplicated, "O Allah, it is not my desire to join the Koraysh in their way, but if it should be, let me be plundered and not the plunderer, and be the conquered and not the conqueror." Some of the Koraysh realized what was in Talib's heart and informed him that they knew, so he and some others with similar feelings also returned to Mecca.
THE WELLS OF YALYAL
The Prophet (sa) ordered his followers to break camp and march on to the well near Badr before their enemy had chance to reach it. As they commenced their march rain began to fall and they gave thanks to Allah because it is both a blessing and purification. The sands of Yalyal were always soft, but the rain now made them firm and so the Muslims crossed the valley in comparative ease.
The rain helped the Muslims, however, it was a hindrance to the Koraysh army for they had to climb the hill of Akankal that lay to the left of the Prophet (sa) and his companions on the opposite side of the valley of Badr.
When the Prophet (sa) reached one of the many wells he called a halt. Hubab, Al Mundhir's son, an Ansar, approached and asked, "O Messenger of Allah, is this the place which Allah has made known to you from which we should neither advance nor retreat, or is it a matter of opinion; a strategy of war?" The Prophet (sa) replied that it was a matter of opinion whereupon Hubab said that in his opinion it was not the best place to establish themselves. He advised the Prophet (sa) that it would be much better to march on to one of the larger wells, closer to the Koraysh, and that once they had situated themselves, to send groups out to locate the remaining wells and plug them so that the Koraysh would be deprived of water. He also advised that a reservoir should be dug to contain water from the well. The Prophet (sa) was grateful for his suggestion and approved the plan, and so when they reached a larger well no time was lost carrying out Hubbub's plan.
Sa’ad, Mu'adh's son was concerned for the Prophet's safety so he went to him saying, "O Messenger of Allah, let us erect a shelter for you and keep your camels in readiness next to it. If Allah gives us strength when we meet the enemy we will be victorious, but if it is not written, you can ride and rejoin those we left behind. They love you as much as we do and would never have remained behind if they had known there was going to be an encounter. Allah will protect you, and they will give you good advice and fight at your side." The Prophet (sa) thanked him for his thoughtfulness, praised him and then supplicated for blessings upon him and so a shelter was built from palm branches.
HOURS BEFORE THE ENCOUNTER
It was the night of Friday, 17th of Ramadan and as the three hundred and thirteen believers settled themselves for the night, Allah in His Mercy sent down upon them a blessed, peaceful sleep so that when they awoke to offer their prayer in the morning they felt totally refreshed and prepared for conflict.
Meanwhile in the other camp, the Koraysh army with their large, well equipped army stirred and struggled as made their way with their camels to the top of Akankal.
By the time the Koraysh reached the top of the hill the sun had already risen and they were visible to the Prophet (sa). Upon seeing the army, the Prophet (sa) supplicated saying, "O Allah, the Koraysh are here. In arrogance and pride they come, opposing You and belieing your Messenger. O Lord, give to us Your help which You have promised. O Lord, destroy them this day."
Not long after, the Prophet (sa) chanced to see Utba, Rabia's son, riding a red camel and said to his companions, "If there is any good at all with any one of them, it will be with this man riding the red camel. If they obey him they will take the right path."
The Koraysh also had sight of the believers and were surprised to find they were so few and thought perhaps there may be another force concealed somewhere to the rear. When they reached the valley the Koraysh made their camp and sent Umair on horseback to estimate their numbers and see if there were in fact any concealed reinforcements. When Umair returned he proclaimed, "O men of Koraysh, I have seen camels carrying death. These men have no defense or refuge, they have only their swords, but I do not think any man of them will be killed before he has first killed one of us. Even if each party were to kill the other in equal numbers what good will there be left in life after this, what will you do!"
Upon hearing Umair, Hakim, from the tribe of Asad, nephew of Lady Khadijah went straight to Utba, the father of Waleed with the men of Abdu Shams. Utba had consented to join the Koraysh against the believers on account of his dead kinsmen, the brother of Amir Al Hadrami, killed at Nakhlah during the Sacred Month. When Hakim found Utba he said. "You are the greatest man, the lord of the Koraysh, and one who is obeyed. Would you like men to remember you with praise for all time?" Utba asked, "How could this be?" "Lead them back, the Koraysh demand nothing more than blood from Muhammad for the blood of your ally, Hadrami,' replied Hakim.
Hakim's words appealed to Utba and he agreed whilst encouraging him also to speak with Abu Jahl but he had for many years opposed the Prophet (sa) and was the most anxious among them to wage war against him.
Utba spoke to his people saying, "O men of Koraysh, there is nothing to gain fighting Muhammad and his companions. If you defeat them each man among you will always look with despise at another who has killed either his uncle, a cousin or kinsmen. Therefore, turn back and leave Muhammad to the rest of the Arabs. If they kill him you have your desire, on the other hand, if they do not you will have shown self-restraint towards him."
When Hakim found Abu Jahl he was oiling his coat of mail and conveyed the message to him. Abu Jahl was infuriated and addressed the army saying, "By Allah, we will not turn back until it is decided between us and Muhammad." Then he called Utba a coward, afraid of death for himself and his son Abu Hudhayfah who was a Muslim.
To add fuel to the fire Abu Jahl called upon Amir, the brother of the deceased Amr and challenged him not to let this opportunity to revenge his brother's death slip from him. Emotions ran high and Amir in a state of traditional distress tore his clothes as he screamed at the top of his voice, "Woe for Amr, woe for Amr," which incited the army still further to fight.
Utba's words had fallen on deaf ears, nothing would stop them now. When he heard that Abu Jahl had accused him of cowardice his pride was challenged, so he searched for a helmet to prove him wrong, but was unable to find one large enough, so he wound a piece of cloth around his head to protect him -- the final preparations for the conflict were now underway.
ABDULLAH, SON OF UMMAYA JOINS THE PROPHET (sa)
Abdullah, Ummaya's son, was a Muslim, However, his father, the chief of the tribe of Jummah, torturer of Bilal, had brought pressure to bear upon his son that prevented him from joining the Prophet (sa), and his brothers-in-law, Abu Sabra and Abu Hudhayfah in Medina.
Ummaya had forced his son to join him the march, however, the opportunity to escape to the Prophet (sa) was soon to present itself as his father, and every other soldier were busy with their preparations for the hostilities. Unnoticed, Abdullah managed to slip away and made his way to the camp of the Prophet (sa). As soon as he reached it he made straight for the Prophet (sa) and as they greeted each other immense joy spread over both their faces.
Sometime later, several other Koraysh tribesmen dared to make their way to the reservoir the believers had made and drink from it. When the believers saw this they drew the matter to the attention of the Prophet (sa) who told them to let them take their fill. With the exception of Hakim, Lady Khadijah's nephew, all who drank its water were killed in conflict that day.
THE ENCOUNTER OF BADR
As the Koraysh began to advance, the Prophet (sa) called upon his companions to form their ranks and spoke to them with words of encouragement, and they knew Allah was with them. Their lines were as straight as arrow with one exception, an Ansar by the name of Sawad, stood slightly more forward than the rest, so the Prophet (sa) went to him and gently prodded his midriff with an arrow. Sawad seized upon the opportunity and said, "O Messenger of Allah, you have hurt me, Allah has sent you with truth and justice, so give me my rights." Upon this, the Prophet (sa) uncovered his midriff and Sawad bent down and kissed it. The Prophet (sa) asked him what had prompted him to do this whereupon Sawad said, "O Messenger of Allah, with matters as they are, and if it is written, it is my wish that my last moments should be spent with you -- that my skin has touched yours." Upon hearing these moving remarks, the Prophet (sa) supplicated to Allah asking for blessings upon Sawad.
Not long after, the Prophet (sa) withdrew to his shelter with Abu Bakr and prayed to Allah for help. After his prayer, a short slumber overtook him and upon waking he said to Abu Bakr, "Be well pleased, Allah has sent His help to you. Gabriel is here and in his hand is the rein of a horse which he leads, and he is armed for the conflict!"
By now the Koraysh army had drawn nearer and Allah in His Mercy made their numbers appear considerably smaller than they were to the believers; the unbelievers were now only a short distance from the reservoir.
Referring to their numbers an the prompts of satan, Allah says in the Koran:
"Indeed, there was a sign for you in the two armies
which met on the battlefield.
One was fighting in the way of Allah,
and another unbelieving.
They (the believers) saw with their eyes
that they were twice their own number.
But Allah strengthens with His victory whom He will.
Surely, in that there was a lesson
for those possessed of eyes."
"And when Allah made them appear to you
in a vision as a small band,
had He showed them to you as many,
your courage would have failed you
and you would have quarreled over the affair.
But Allah saved;
He knows the innermost thoughts in the chests.
And when you met them,
He showed them in your eyes as being few,
and decreased (your number) in their eyes
so that Allah might determine what was ordained.
To Allah all matters return.
Believers, when you meet an army
stand firm and remember Allah abundantly,
in order that you are prosperous.
Obey Allah and His Messenger
and do not dispute with one another
lest you should lose courage and your resolve weaken.
Have patience - Allah is with those who are patient.
Do not be like those who left their homes
elated with insolence and showing off to people,
barring others from the Path of Allah -
but Allah encompasses what the do.
And when satan made their foul deeds
seem fair to them, he said:
‘No man shall conquer you this day.
I shall be your savior.’
But when the two armies
came within sight of each other
he took to his heels saying:
‘I reject you, for I can see what you cannot.
I fear Allah,
Allah is Stern in retribution.’"
Al Aswad, Abdullah Asad's son from the tribe of Makhzum, known for his disagreeable personality, was the first to initiate hostilities as he cried out defiantly, "I will drink from their reservoir, destroy it or else die before reaching it." Hamza, Abdul Muttalib's son challenged him and as the two engaged in combat, Hamza struck him with such force that his foot and shin were severed and flew through the air. Al Aswad was determined to fulfill his word and crawled towards the reservoir, however, Hamza killed him and his body fell into it.
Utba, Rabia's son, accompanied by his brother Shayba and his son were the next to challenge and cried out for one-to-one combat. From the Ansar three men stepped forward, they were the brothers Awf and Muawwidh, the sons of Afra and another, probably, Abdullah, the son of Rawaha. Utba asked who they were, and they replied, "We are from the Ansar," whereupon Utba replied, "Our affair is not with you, we know that you are equal to us in lineage but we wish to fight those of similar standing from our own tribe." At that moment, someone from the Koraysh called out: "Muhammad, send out against us our peers from our own tribe!"
The Prophet (sa) called upon Ubayda, Harith's son, Hamza and Ali to go forth to meet their enemies and as they approached, the Koraysh asked them to identify themselves. After their identifications had been made known the Koraysh accepted to fight them.
Ubayda fought Utba, Hamza fought Shayba, and Ali fought Shayba’s son. The fight between Ali and Shayba's son, and Hamza and Shayba was over quickly -- both Ali and Hamza killed the enemies of Allah. Meanwhile Ubayda and Utba had struck each other twice and Ubayda had fallen victim. When Hamza and Ali saw what had befallen their companion they turned upon Utba and he did not live to see the evening.
Gently, Hamza and Ali carried Ubayda to the Prophet (sa). His leg had been severed and he had lost a tremendous amount of blood. When he saw the Prophet (sa) he gazed up at him and asked, "O Messenger of Allah, am I to be a martyr?" "Indeed you are," replied the Prophet (sa) in a soft tone and Ubayda was happy. Then Ubayda said in his weakened voice, "If Abu Talib were alive today he would know that his words: 'We will not give him up until we lie dead around him, forgetting our women and children,' have been fulfilled in me."
Three out of the four enemies of Islam that lay dead on the battlefield were killed by Hamza and were related to a high-ranking woman named Hind. Such was Hind's hatred of Hamza that she swore to take her revenge as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
Before the armies advanced on each other, the Prophet (sa) ordered his companions not to attack until he gave the word, and told them that in the event they should find themselves surrounded by the enemy they were to keep them at bay by showering their arrows above their heads.
He also told them that among the Koraysh were those that had been forced to take up arms against them and if they happened to encounter any of them they must not kill them. Those people were Abbas, the Prophet's uncle, the children of Hashim and Abdul Bakhtari who had supported the Prophet (sa) on several occasions.
Meanwhile, the adrenaline coursed quickly through the veins of the Koraysh and in their anxiousness to ignite the conflict two arrows were fired. The first struck Mihja, the freedman of Omar who became the next believer to be martyred, then the second arrow pierced the neck of Haritha, Suraka's son from the tribe of Najjar as he drank from the reservoir.
THE ORDER TO FIGHT
The engagement was about to begin; the Prophet (sa) picked up a handful of small pebbles and said as he looked toward the Koraysh, "May their faces be defaced," then he threw the pebbles toward them and commanded his companions saying, "Now, stand up and proceed towards Paradise. Its extent encompasses the heavens and the earth!"
When Umair, Hamam's son, heard this he inquired, "O Messenger of Allah (sa) does Paradise encompass the heavens and the earth?" "Yes," he answered, Umair exclaimed, "Well, well," so the Prophet (sa) asked, "What prompted you to say this". Umair answered: "O Messenger of Allah (sa) by Allah, I uttered these words to express the hope that I might become an inhabitant of Paradise." Whereupon the Messenger of Allah (sa) smiled as he gave him the good news, "You are indeed one of its inhabitants."
With happiness in his heart he took some dates from his quiver and began to eat them, then paused saying, "If I were to survive until I finished eating these dates, that would indeed be a long interval." So he threw down the remaining dates, plunged into the conflict, and fought with great courage until he was martyred.
The Prophet (sa) heartened his companions saying, "By Allah, in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, there is no man killed this day; fighting against them with unwavering courage advancing and not retreating that Allah will not cause to enter Paradise." The promise of Paradise was the best reward they could ever hope for and the intensity of the engagement accelerated.
THE SWORD OF UKASHAH
As Ukashah, from the tribe of Jahsh, fought valiantly against the unbelievers, his sword broke so he returned to the Prophet (sa) to request another weapon. Instead of a sword, the Prophet (sa) gave him a wooden club. As Ukashah took hold of it, a miracle occurred, the club was transformed into a strong, long shinning sword and he threw himself once more in the heat of the conflict. From that time onward, Ukashah used the sword in every conflict and called it "Al Awn" which means Divine Help.
At some point later on, the Prophet (sa) told his companions that 70,000 people from his nation would enter Paradise like the full moon. Ukashah asked if he could be among them, whereupon the Prophet (sa) supplicated for him. When an Ansar heard this he asked the Prophet (sa) for the same but he was too late and told, "Ukashah has beaten you to it, the prayer has been offered."
THE RECOMPENSE OF ABU JAHL
The Prophet (sa) had ordered his companions to be on the look-out for Abu Jahl. Muawwidh and Awf, the young sons of Afra caught sight of Abu Jahl as he rode his horse. Abu Jahl was strong and no match for a young boy so Afra's sons decided to attack him together and leapt upon him from either side of his horse and severely injured him as his horse ran off. The boys thought he was dead and left him, however, when he regained consciousness he crawled to safety into a nearby thicket.
However, his escape had not gone unnoticed and Muadh, Amr's son overheard one of his companions report that Abu Jahl had been seen somewhere in a thicket, however, it was difficult to reach him. Muadh was not to be deterred and began searching for him. Shortly afterwards he found him and they engaged each other in fierce combat until Muadh struck him with such force that Abu Jahl's foot and shin were sliced off and literally flew through the air.
When Ikrima, Abu Jahl's son, saw what had happened he turned upon Muadh and yielded him such a blow that his arm was virtually severed and hung on dangling by a piece of flesh. Muadh continued to fight with his other hand until the pain became too great for him to bear, so he knelt down, severed his arm completely then courageously continued to fight as best he could. Muadh was to survive the hostilities of that day and died during the caliphate of Othman.
Sometime later, Muawwidh, Afra's son discovered Abu Jahl lying in the thicket and realized he was still alive. They engaged each other in combat during which both sustain severe injuries. At last, Muawwidh was able to inflict a tremendous blow to Abu Jahl and he fell unconsciousness to the ground. Muawwidh, whose hand had been severed, left Abu Jahl for dead, however, Abu Jahl still hung on to life.
Muawwidh carried his severed hand to the Prophet (sa), who, by the Mercy of Allah replaced it and blew his saliva upon it. Immediately the hand was restored to its former position. Muawwidh returned to the hostilities, and continued to fight with all his might and was among those martyred that day at Badr.
Later on during the day, after the cessation of hostilities, the Prophet (sa) ordered his companions to search for the body of Abu Jahl, telling them that they would be able to identify him by a scar just above his knee. Abdullah, Massaud's son found him in the throes of death and put his foot upon his neck and said, "Allah has put you to shame, you are the enemy of Allah!" Arrogant to the end, Abu Jahl replied, "How has He shamed me, am I anything other than a man you are about to kill?" How did the fighting go?" whereupon Abdullah informed him that it had been in favor of Allah and His Messenger (sa) then cut off his head.
MIRACLES DURING THE ENCOUNTER
Throughout the hostilities continuous winds had blown against the unbelievers. Allah had answered the supplication of His Prophet (sa) and his companions were not left alone to fight the hostilities by themselves:
"And when you (Prophet Muhammad)
prayed to your Lord for help,
'I am sending to your aid
a thousand angels in succession.'"
Directly after the hostilities the Prophet (sa) received another Revelation that informed:
"It was not you who killed them,
but Allah slew them,
neither was it you who threw at them.
Allah threw at them
in order that He confers on the believers a fair benefit.
Indeed, Allah is Hearing, Knowing."
Miraculous events occurred continually throughout the encounter. Many were the times, when the believers in pursuit of their enemy, found the heads of the unbelievers would fly off before they had chance to strike them.
After the hostilities were over, during the search for their martyred companions, they noticed burn marks upon the necks of the dead unbelievers and drew the matter to the attention of the Prophet (sa). Prophet Muhammad (sa) told them that they were the marks left by the swords of the angels. Some of the companions were blessed to witness the angels fighting alongside them and reported that the hooves of their horses never touched the ground.
Later, the Prophet (sa) spoke of the winds saying that the first had been brought by the Angel Gabriel, together with a thousand angels. The second by the Angel Mikhail, with a thousand angels on his right flank. The third by the Angel Israfil with a thousand angels on his left flank, and that the angels had fought alongside the believers wearing turbans with a piece of cloth hanging down at the back; as for their mounts, they were piebald horses.
Amongst the many healing miracles that day was that of Khubayb, Yasaf's son. Khubayb's neck had been all but sliced in half and hung limply. When he came before the Prophet (sa) the Prophet gently repositioned the injured part, blew upon it with his saliva and his neck was immediately restored.
THE CLOUD OF ANGELS
A non-combatant from the tribe of Ghifar later told ibn Abbas that during the encounter he and his cousin had positioned themselves at the top of a hill overlooking the battlefield with the intention of looting once the hostilities were over. While they were waiting, a white cloud approached the hill, and in it they heard the whinnying of horses and a voice that struck terror into them saying, "Onward, Hayzum!" The man's cousin was terrified, it was too much for him and his head burst open and he died. The narrator himself told ibn Abbas that he too had almost died from absolute terror.
Fourteen believers were martyred that day. Six were from the Muhajir and eight from the Ansar. Among their ranks were Umair, the young brother of Sa’ad who had pleaded with the Prophet (sa) to let him accompany them.
When the time came to bury the martyrs the Prophet (sa) caringly informed his companions that their bodies should not be washed, as on the Day of Judgement their wounds will exude with the fragrance of musk, and so it was that they were laid to rest.
THE LOSSES OF THE UNBELIEVERS
As for the Koraysh, their loss was many times greater than the Muslims. Seventy unbelievers were killed many of whom were the chieftains of the Koraysh, and a further seventy taken captive for whom their tribesmen were to pay ransoms of between three or four thousand dirhams each. However, Prophet Muhammad (sa), was always merciful and set the standard of excellence by freeing many captives whose families were unable to pay the ransom.
THE REVENGE OF BILAL AND THE PERSECUTED
Amongst those taken prisoner was Ummaya, the notorious persecutor of impoverished, under privileged Muslims. Before Islam his captor, Abdu Amr, who had now taken the name Abdul Rahman, had been Ummaya's friend, however, Ummaya refused to recognize him by his new name, instead he would call him Abdulillah, which was acceptable to Abdul Rahman.
After the encounter, as Abdul Rahman searched among the dead for coats of mail as spoils of war, he caught sight of Ummaya holding his son Ali's hand and heard him call out "Abdu Amr', but he ignored him until he addressed him as Abdulillah saying, "Won't you take me prisoner, I am more valuable than those coats of mail!" Abdul Rahman answered, "By Allah, I will!" as he threw down the coats of mail.
Abdul Rahman took them both by the hand and led them toward the camp. As they walked, Ummaya asked the name of the person that had worn an ostrich feather on his chest. Abdul Rahman told him that the man was Hamza, whereupon Ummaya commented that it was he who had harmed them most.
Bilal, who had been tortured unmercifully by Ummaya caught sight of Abdul Rahman leading his prisoners to the camp and cried out, "It is the great unbelievers, Ummaya, Khalaf's son, may I not live as long as he lives!" Abdul Rahman retorted, "They are my prisoners!" but Bilal continued to cry out, "O helpers of Allah, the great unbeliever Ummaya, Khalaf's son, may I not live as long as he lives!"
The believers soon began to gather around Abdul Rahman, Ummaya and Ali, then one stepped forward and cut off Ali's foot and Ummaya screamed out in protest with all his might. Abdul Rahman told him that there was nothing he could do for him and the crowd set upon the two and killed them.
THE DRIED-UP WELL
When it came time to bury the twenty-four unbelieving Koraysh chieftains, the Prophet (sa) ordered their corpses to be cast into a disused, dried-up well. A few days after as the Prophet (sa) left Badr he passed by the well and addressed each of the corpses by their own name saying, "Would it have pleased you if you had obeyed Allah and His Messenger? We have found what our Lord has promised to be true, have you found what your lord has promised you to be true?"
When Omar heard him speaking to the dead he asked, "O Messenger of Allah (sa), do you speak to bodies without souls?" whereupon he informed him that they could indeed hear him better than Omar had heard him ask.
As for Ummaya, he was not buried with his comrades as his body had swollen to such an extent that when they tried to remove his armor it started to disintegrate, so they covered him with earth and stones, leaving him where he had fallen.
THE BURIAL OF UTBA
As the body of Utba was about to be thrown into the pit along with the other unbelievers, the Prophet (sa) caught sight of Abu Hudhayfah who was Utaba's son.
Compassionately, the Prophet (sa) inquired about his feelings, whereupon he replied, "No, I have no misgivings about my father and his death, rather, I remember him for his wisdom, and better qualities. I had hoped that he would be guided to Islam and when I saw he had died in disbelief it saddened me." The Messenger of Allah (sa) spoke kindly to him and then supplicated for Abu Hudhayfah.
Amongst those who had fought against the Prophet (sa) were Harith, Zamaa's son; Abu Kays, Fakih's son, Al Walid's son; Ali, Ummaya's son and Al As, Munabbih's son. All of these men had embraced Islam when the Prophet (sa) was in Mecca, however, when it was time for them to migrate their families had compelled them to stay behind and succeeded to seduce them once more into disbelief. Then, more recently, when the Koraysh asked them to join with them against the Prophet (sa) they had done so without the least hesitation. Now a verse referring to them was sent down.
"And the angels
who take those who wronged themselves,
will say: ‘In what condition were you?’
They will reply:
'We were oppressed in the land,'
They (the angels) will say:
'Was not the earth of Allah wide enough for you
in order that you migrate in it?"
Those, their shelter will be Gehenna (Hell),
an evil arrival."
THE SPOILS OF WAR
Satan, the stoned and cursed, threw the seeds of discord among the Muslims who had but a few hours before fought as one against a common enemy -- now a dispute over the distribution of the spoils of war started to fester.
Some of the Muslims who had stood guard around the Prophet (sa) during the hostilities claimed that although they had not fought, they were entitled to a share of the prisoners, weapons, coats of mail and rides. When the Messenger of Allah (sa) heard the arguing he immediately ordered all the spoils to be brought before him and it was during this time that a new Revelation was sent down that called them back to the remembrance of Allah, whereupon they felt ashamed of their actions.
"They ask you about the spoils (of war),
Say: 'The spoils belong to Allah and the Messenger.
Therefore, have fear of Allah,
and set things right between you.
Obey Allah and His Messenger,
if you are believers.’
Indeed the believers are those whose hearts quake
at the mention of Allah,
and when His verses are recited to them
it increased them in faith.
They are those who put their trust in their Lord.
Those who pray steadfastly,
and spend of that which We have provided them,
Those are, in truth, the believers.
They shall have degrees with their Lord
and a generous provision.”
After the Prophet (sa) received the new Revelation he appointed Abdullah, Ka'bs son, to take charge of the spoils.
It was now time to set off on the return journey to Medina and so the companions, together with their prisoners made ready, but before they set off the Prophet (sa), knowing that his followers that had remained behind in Medina would be anxious for news of them, sent Abdullah, Rawaha's son on ahead of them to Medina, and Zayd to its suburbs to convey the news of their blessed victory.
THE TREATMENT OF PRISONERS
Before Islam, when feuding Arabs were taken captive, they knew they could expect little or no mercy from their captors. When the unbelievers learned that the Prophet (sa) had given instructions that they should be bound but treated well they were surprised and heartened still further upon learning that they were not to go hungry but to share their captors food.
Amongst the prisoners were several members of the Prophet's own family including Suhail, the chief of Amir, cousin and former brother-in-law of Lady Swaydah, the Prophet's wife. Other family members were the Prophet's uncle, Abbas, who inclined to Islam, but feared that if the Koraysh learned about his inclination they would refuse to repay the vast sums of money owed to him. Then, there was Abd Al As, husband of the Prophet's daughter, Lady Zaynab, with two of his cousins, Nawfal and Akil, who were also nephews of Abbas.
Earlier on that day Musab discovered that his brother Abu Aziz had been taken captive by one of the Ansar. When he saw him, he turned to the Ansar saying, "Bind him well, his mother is rich and she might be prepared to pay handsomely for him!" When Abu Aziz heard his brother's remark he exclaimed, "Brother, is this how you speak of me to others?" Musab replied, "He is my brother in your stead." Musab proved to be right, his mother offered 4,000 dirhams for her son's release. However, Abu Aziz never forgot how well the Ansar treated him and would often speak of it in the years to come.
That night as the companions prepared themselves to sleep the Prophet (sa) was restless. He disliked the thought of his uncle being bound so he sent word for him to be untied.
NADR AND UKBA
Amongst their captives, the companions succeeded in taking two of their most hostile enemies -- Nadr, from the tribe of Ad Dharr and Ukba, from the tribe of Shams.
The Prophet (sa) contemplated on whether or not to let them live, for he knew that if they were to remain alive they would, no doubt, continued to incite further hostilities against them. However, there was the chance that the events of the encounter had caused them to reflect and thereby convert to Islam. With this in mind, the Prophet (sa) patiently decided to observe their attitude and actions before taking any further steps.
By the time they had reached their first halt, the Prophet (sa) had chance to assess Nadr and Ukba and found them both as resolute as they had always been, nothing had changed, so he ordered Ali to put Nadr to death and an Ansar to put Ukba to death.
Three days before reaching Medina, the Prophet (sa) halted his army and divided the prisoners and spoils of war between them so that each companion received an equal share.
REACTIONS IN MEDINA
When Zayd and Abdullah reached Medina, the news of the Prophet's victory spread like wild-fire throughout the City, whereupon the Muslims rejoiced and gave thanks to Allah.
Zayd now made his way to Afra's house to break the news that her two sons Awf and Muawwidh had both been martyred at Badr. It was indeed a great loss for Afra, but deep down she knew that her sons had been honored with the death of martyrdom.
From Afra's house Zayd visited Haritha's mother and told her that her son had been one of the first to be mortally wounded at the onset of the hostilities. A few days after the Prophet's return Haritha's mother went to him and asked, "O Messenger of Allah (sa), tell me about Haritha. If he is in Paradise I can endure it with patience, but if not I shall weep." The Messenger of Allah (sa) compassionately consoled her with the words, "O mother of Haritha, there are many ranks in Paradise and your son has achieved the best -- Firdous!" The heart of Haritha's mother was now at rest, and she gave thanks to Allah, she could not have wished for more than this for her beloved son.
As for the hypocrites, and Jewish tribes of Nadir, Krayzah and Kaynuka their hopes were dashed. All had all hoped for the destruction of the Prophet (sa) and his followers so that their way of life might return to how it had been before his arrival in Medina.
KA'B, THE SON OF ASHRAF
Such was the disregard for their faith, that many Jews had taken to marrying pagan Arabs, even though Judaism forbade it. Ka'b, Ashraf's son had been born of a Jewish mother and an idol worshipping Arab from the tribe of Tayy but on account of his mother being a Jewess, the Jews accepted him as one of their own into her tribe of Nadir.
Ka'b was wealthy and known for his poetry, and over the years had become an influential Nadir tribesman. When he heard the news of the Koraysh defeat, with the demise of so many if its chieftains, he could not accept it and his tongue revealed his innermost thoughts as he exclaimed, "By Allah, if Muhammad has killed these, can the depths of the earth be better than its surface!" Ka'b could not accept the news to be true so he questioned those whom he knew to be reliable, but to his dismay all confirmed the same account.
Despondent, yet angered Ka'b rode off for Mecca with the intention of inciting the Koraysh to revenge themselves by riding against the Prophet (sa) again, but, this time to fight him in Yathrib. To add fuel to the fire he composed an impassioned poem in honor of the lamented Koraysh chieftains and their fallen tribes which he knew would kindle the emotions of everyone in Mecca.
THE DEATH OF LADY RUKAYYAH
Although it was a time for great elation in Medina, it was also a time for great sorrow. Shortly before the Prophet (sa) left for Badr, his daughter, Lady Rukayyah, had been taken seriously ill. Her illness has been of such great concern to the Prophet (sa) that he had instructed her husband, Uthman, to stay at her side and not to accompany them to Badr. Lady Rukayyah's illness proved terminal and on the very day Zayd and Abdullah brought news of the glorious victory, Uthman and Osama buried her, may Allah be pleased with her.
One of the first things the Prophet (sa) did upon his return was to visit her grave. Lady Fatima, the youngest daughter of the Prophet (sa) was very upset by the loss of her sister and so the Prophet (sa) took her to visit the tomb. As they approached the grave Lady Fatima could not withhold her sorrow and many tears rolled down her cheek whereupon the Prophet (sa) comforted her and dried away her tears with his cloak.
There had been a misunderstanding over the Prophet's instruction regarding the extent of expressing one's bereavement. Omar had heard someone weeping for the martyred of Badr and then again for Lady Rukayyah and spoken harshly to them. When the Prophet (sa) learned of Omar's harsh words, he told him it was all right to let them weep, for what comes from the heart and from the eyes is from Allah and His Mercy. He explained that it was only the excess of the hand and tongue which was forbidden because they are the prompts of satan, the stone and cursed. By this he referred to the pagan customer where mourners would beat their chest, dig their nails into their cheeks and scream in an uncontrollable manner.
THE ARRIVAL OF THE PRISONERS
The Koraysh prisoners arrived in Medina the day after Prophet Muhammad (sa). They had been well cared for and the attitude of the Muslims towards them gave the Koraysh a chance to experience Islam in action. Not only had they been treated unexpectedly well but they could not help but observe the considerate Islamic behavior of Muslims toward one another that had succeeded in breaking down, what would have appeared to other Arabs, as impregnable tribal differences and barriers.
THE RANSOM OF SUHAYL
Suhayl, Lady Swaydah's cousin and former brother-in-law was confined in the house of the Prophet (sa) as was Al As, the husband of Lady Zaynab, the Prophet's daughter.
When Suhayl arrived, Lady Swaydah was not at home, she had been to visit Afra whose sons had been martyred, so upon her return she was taken by surprise to find him sitting in the corner of a room in her apartment with his hands bound.
When Suhayl's tribesmen learned of his capture they made haste to Medina to negotiate his release, as he was considered by many, to be the most able to lead the tribe of Amir.
Suhayl was Malik, the son of Al Dukhshum's captive, and so it was with him that the ransom was negotiated. The amount was agreed upon, however, Suhayl's tribesmen had not brought the ransom with them so he permitted Suhayl to return with them to raise the sum and left Mikraz, Haf's son behind as surety until their return.
THE RANSOM OF ABBAS
Abbas was a well-built man yet he had been taken captive by Abu'l Yassar who was of slight build. When the Prophet (sa) asked how he managed to capture him, Abdu'l Yassar told him that a man, the like of which he had neither seen before or after, had helped him, whereupon the Prophet (sa) informed him that the man was none other than an angel sent for that purpose.
When Abbas was brought before the Prophet (sa) he was asked, "You are a rich man, why don't you ransom yourself Abbas, and your nephews, Akil and Nawfal was well as Utba, Amr's son?" Abbas replied, "My tribesmen coerced me into joining them." The Prophet (sa) answered, "Allah knows best, however, it would appear you have acted against us, therefore a ransom is due."
As part of the spoils of war Abbas had been relieved of twenty pieces of gold, so he reminded the Prophet (sa) of them telling him to use that as his ransom. When the Prophet (sa) heard this he replied, "Allah has taken this away from you and given it to us." Abbas insisted, "I have no money!" whereupon the Prophet (sa) asked, "Where then is the money you left with Umm Fadl, Harith's daughter when you left Mecca?"
Abbas was completely taken aback and exclaimed, "None except Umm Fadl knew of this -- now I know you have been sent with the truth!" whereupon Abbas ransomed himself, his nephews and Utba.
THE RETURN OF THE KORAYSH
The first people to reach Mecca with the news of the Koraysh defeat were Al Haysuman and Abdullah, Al Khuzai's son, who bewailed the fact that so many of their chieftains had fallen on the battlefield of Badr.
In the large tent of Zamzam, the converts Abu Rafi, former slave of Abbas freed by the Prophet (sa) and Abbas' wife, Umm Fadl sat sharpening their arrows. They had both been overjoyed to hear the news of the Prophet's victory, however, they felt it was more prudent to restrain their happiness.
As they sharpened the arrows, Abu Lahab who had not taken part in the encounter but sent Al As in his place entered. His face looked as black as thunder as he sat himself down at the other end of the tent with his back toward Abu Rafi.
Not long after Abu Lahab heard some others in the tent saying, "Abu Sufyan, Al Harith's son has returned," whereupon he looked up, saw his nephew and called him. A small crowd gathered around the two as Abu Sufyan told his uncle, "The facts are the Koraysh met our enemy and turned their backs. They put us to flight taking prisoners as they pleased, I cannot blame our tribesmen because they faced not only them but men wearing white robes riding piebald horses, who were between heaven and earth. They spared nothing and no one had a chance."
When Umm Fadl and Abu Rafi heard the news of the men in white riding between heaven and earth, they could no longer contain their happiness and Abu Rafi exclaimed for all to hear, "They were angels!"
THE DEATH OF ABU LAHAB
Abu Rafi's outburst was more than Abu Lahab could bear, in a raging fury he forced Abu Rafi, who was frail, to the ground and struck him over and over again. Umm Fadl grabbed hold of a tent pole that lay nearby and with all her might hit her brother-in-law's head with it crying out. "Do you think that you can abuse him just because Abbas is away!" She wounded him so severely that his head was split open and laid bare part of his skull. The wound was never to heal, it turned septic and its poison spread rapidly through his entire body erupting into open pustules that caused his death within the week.
When he died, his family, fearing that they might be afflicted with disease -- for they feared the plague, and his condition resembled it -- were hesitant to bury him and so they left his decaying body decomposing in his home for two or three nights.
It was only when someone rebuked them strongly saying, "It is disgraceful, you should be ashamed of yourselves to leave your father to rot in his house and not bury him from the sight of men!" that they did something. With great reluctance and from a safe distance, his sons threw water over his body, then removed his corpse and left it by a wall on a high piece of ground outside Mecca and threw stones over it until it was completely covered.
As the fragmented Koraysh army returned home, the extent of their unexpected, devastating loss be came apparent to the Koraysh. Each day the Koraysh waited anxiously for their kinsmen to return or learn from others whether they knew if their kinsmen were alive, dead or taken captive.
It was feared, by the remaining Koraysh hierarchy, that the Prophet (sa) would soon learn that the people of Mecca were deeply affected by their defeat and grief-stricken, so a meeting was convened in the House of Assembly.
It was proposed that none should make an open issue of their grief and in an effort to make the matter appear light, the council of chieftains agreed that the Koraysh must delay sending the ransom money to free their kinsmen. As a matter of bravado in support of this resolution, Amr's father shouted out, "Must I loose twice! They have killed Hanzalah, now I must pay for the ransom of Amr! Let him stay with them, they can keep him as long as they wish!"
During the meeting it was also agreed that the profit from the sale of the caravan's merchandise would be spent upon rebuilding their army. The consensus was that it should be larger, better equipped and more powerful than ever before and from now on their women folk should accompany into battle and encourage them. It was also agreed to send messages to all their allies, throughout the length and breadth of Arabia, explaining, why, in their opinion, they should unite with them against the Prophet (sa).
THE BREAKING OF THE RESOLUTION
For the majority of Koraysh tribesmen, the matter to delay sending the ransom for their loved ones proved too difficult, so they broke the resolution and sent fellow tribesmen to Medina to secure their release.
JUBAIR, SON OF MUTIM
Jubair, Mutim's son had been sent to Medina to ransom his cousin and two tribal allies. Before and after meeting with the Prophet (sa) Jubair had a chance to wander around Medina where he saw the small community of Muslims going about their daily business, sharing and caring for each other in a way he had neither seen nor yet experienced before, there was an air of unity, a sense of tranquility and devotion to Allah and great love for His Messenger everywhere he went.
When he met the Prophet (sa) he told him why he had come to Medina whereupon the Prophet (sa) spoke with soft words and told him that if his father had been alive and come to ransom them he would not have accepted it, rather, he would have released them without ransom.
As the daylight faded and evening approached, Jubair watched the believers make their way to the Mosque to offer the Maghrib prayer. Jubair felt drawn to the Mosque but did not enter but listened to the prayers from outside.
That evening the Prophet (sa) recited the chapter "The Mount" which warns, at it’s beginning, of the Day of Judgement, its consequences, and the punishment of the Fires of Hell for those who belie it. The chapter then expounded the delights of Paradise with its serenity, and rich, unending rewards. Further on in the chapter he heard how Allah challenges mankind with His ability to create and then draws attention to mankind's inability to do so. The recitation concluded with the verses:
"So leave them till they encounter their Day
in which they shall be thunderstruck.
The Day when their guile shall not relieve them a thing,
and they shall not be helped.
For the harmdoers there is indeed, a punishment
before that, but most of them do not know.
And be patient under the Judgement of your Lord,
surely, you are before Our Eyes.
And exalt with the praise of your Lord when you arise,
and exalt Him in the night
and at the declining of the stars."
When the Prophet (sa) reached the words:
"And be patient under the Judgement of your Lord,
surely, you are before Our Eyes.
And exalt with the praise of your Lord when you arise,
and exalt Him in the night
and at the declining of the stars."
Jubair said later that it was then that the light of belief was sown in his heart, however, he put it to one side for the time being, as the grief he felt for his beloved uncle Tuaymah killed by Hamza during Badr consumed him for there was, in his opinion, a matter of honor to be settled. He felt obliged to engage Hamza in mortal combat for his uncle's death, and so he distanced himself from his inclination and returned to Mecca with his cousin and the two allies.
THE RANSOM OF WALID
Waleed, the chieftain of the Makhzum had been killed on the battlefield and his youngest son, also by the same name, had been taken captive and given to Abdullah, Jahsh's son and some of the other companions for ransom.
Waleed had two other brothers, one full blood and the other half, both of whom had made their journey to Medina to pay for his release. When his half brother, Khalid, learned that Abdullah would accept no less than four thousand dirhams, he was unwilling to pay such a large amount. Hisham, his full blood brother, rebuked him saying, "Indeed, he is not your mother's son!" whereupon Khalid felt ashamed and agreed to pay the amount. However, before the final agreement was reached, Prophet Muhammad (sa) advised Abdullah that he should also ask for their deceased father's coat of armor and weapons. When Khalid learned of this he expressed yet again his reluctance to part with his father's possessions, but Hisham managed to convince him to part with them and so the armor and weapons were brought from Mecca so they could not longer be used against the Muslims.
The ransom was now paid in full and the three brothers left for Mecca. They had traveled for quite a while when they felt the need to rest. As the brothers took their rest, Waleed slipped away and returned to Medina where he went directly to the Prophet (sa) and embraced Islam. When his brothers awoke, they searched for Waleed then decided to follow his tracks which led them back to Medina.
Upon reaching the City they searched for their brother and upon finding him, Khalid, who was extremely angry, demanded to know why he had let them pay the ransom and surrender their father's armor when all the time he intended to convert to Islam and stay with the Prophet (sa) in Medina. Waleed's answer was direct, he told them that he had no wish for people to think that he had converted in order not to pay the ransom; it was a matter of honor.
Unwisely, Waleed decided to return to Mecca with his brothers in order to bring his belongings to Medina. As soon as he arrived home he was imprisoned and placed under heavy guard by Ikrima, Abu Jahl's son, whose uncles Ayyah and Salamah had embraced Islam.
When the Prophet (sa) learned of Waleed's pitiful condition he included him in his supplications along with the other Muslims who were unfortunate enough to be incarcerated in Mecca.
UMAIR AND HIS SON
The hearts of Ubay from the tribe of Jumah, his nephews Safwan and Umair, as well as many others, had not softened toward the Prophet (sa) and his Message. Ubay had lost his brother Ummaya as well as his close friend Ukba during the hostilities. This grief, coupled with the humiliation of loosing the encounter in which their numbers far exceeded those of the Prophet (sa) only accentuated their hatred and bitterness.
Umair felt further humiliated as he was already heavily in debt and now that his son had been taken captive he expected to have to pay a ransom. Umair's very being was consumed with resentment and bitterness to the extent that he was prepared to die attempting to kill the Prophet (sa), however, the matter of his debt restrained him as he did not wish to leave his family destitute.
Safwan, the next-in-succession to the tribe of Jumah since the killing of his father, spoke in secrecy to Umair. He told him that, if as he had said, the only thing holding him back from riding out to kill the Prophet (sa) was the fact that he did not want to leave his family destitute, he would bear the debt for him, and in the event that anything should happen to him, he would look after his family. Umair was agreeable and both Safwan and Umair swore never to disclose their arrangement to anyone until after the event.
Umair returned home to prepare himself for the journey and as he sharpened his sword, he smeared its blade with poison and carefully placed it in its sheath then told his family he was going to Medina to ransom his son.
When he reached Medina, he found the Prophet (sa) sitting in the Mosque. Omar immediately suspected Umair's intentions when he saw him wearing his sword and told some of the Ansar, who were nearby, to go and sit close to the Prophet (sa) and to be on their guard as he felt Umair was their enemy; a person not to be trusted.
Umair concealed his intention under the guise of politeness and greeted the Prophet (sa) in the way Arabs usually greeted one another. The Prophet (sa) responded saying, "Allah has given us a better greeting than this Umair, it is 'peace' which is the greeting of the people of Paradise."
Then the Prophet (sa) inquired about the nature of his visit so Umair told him that he had come on account of his son, so the Prophet (sa) asked why he wore a sword. Unexpectedly, Umair cursed the sword, exclaiming, "Have they done us any good!" The Prophet (sa) spoke gently to him, asking, "Tell me the truth Umair, why have you come?" Umair repeated his reason, then much to his astonishment, the Prophet (sa) informed him verbatim of the conversation he and Safwan exchanged in Mecca. Umair cried out, "Who has told you this, by Allah there were only two of us present -- no one else!" whereupon the Prophet (sa) told him that Gabriel had informed him of their conversation.
Umair was in awe of the Prophet (sa) and said, "We called you a liar when you brought us news of Paradise, praise be to Allah who has guided me to Islam. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger." It was a time for thanksgiving and the Prophet (sa) asked his companions to teach their new brother in Islam and to free his son.
The light of guidance had certainly shed itself upon Umair. Sometime after, when he was more knowledgeable of Islam, he asked the Prophet (sa) for his permission to return to Mecca so that he might tell his family and friends. And so it was that Umair was blessed to guide many of his tribe to Islam, however, his one-time best friend, Safwan, refused to have anything to do with him and viewed him as a traitor.
Such was the love of Umair for the Prophet (sa) that he could not bear to be away from him for long and so several months after his return to Mecca he and his family migrated to Medina.
AL AS, HUSBAND OF LADY ZAYNAB
Lady Zaynab had married Al As before the Prophet (sa) had been given the command to preach and as a wedding gift, her mother, Lady Khadijah gave her daughter a most beautiful necklace, her favorite necklace, one which she often wore. Much to Lady Zaynab’s dismay Al As had not been among the early converts to Islam and their relationship had not been as close as it had once been.
When the Prophet (sa) migrated to Medina, Al As refused to allow her to migrate with her sisters and this had caused her to grieve. Then in more recent days, their relationship had become even more strained when Al As sided with his fellow tribesmen to fight against her beloved father, and now Al As found himself a captive in Medina.
When Lady Zaynab learned of her husband’s capture she sent the necklace as part of the ransom to secure his release. However, when the Prophet (sa) caught sight of the necklace, he immediately recognized it as having once belonged to his dearly beloved wife Khadijah and tears of loving remembrance swelled up and flowed from his eyes then gently ran down his noble face as he softly said to his companions, “If you would like to let her have her captive husband and return the ransom you may do so.” The companions realized the significance of the necklace and were overcome with emotion whereupon the necklace, together with the ransom were returned to Al As and he was free to return to Mecca.
When Al As returned to Mecca, he told Lady Zaynab that she and their young daughter were free to join her father. Lady Zaynab was delighted and started to make preparations for the journey. One day Hind, Utba's daughter happened to see her packing and asked whether she was leaving for Medina. Lady Zaynab was unsure whether to trust Hind so she replied with an evasive answer even though Hind offered to give her money as well as provisions for the journey.
A month had now passed since the encounter, and so the Prophet (sa) asked Zayd, Haritha's son and a companion to journey to the valley of Yajaj, which lies eight miles out of Mecca, and wait for her there then accompany them onto Medina.
The time to leave had arrived, and so her brother-in-law, Kinanah, brought her canopied camel for her and little Umama to ride and led the way out of Mecca with his bow in hand.
When the Koraysh learned of Lady Zaynab's departure a party of them rode after her and finally caught up with them at a place called Dhu Tuwa. Habbar, Al Aswad's son was the first to approach and threatened her menacingly with his lance as she rode the camel. Kinanah armed his bow and cried out, "By Allah, if any one of you comes near us I will put an arrow through him!" The Koraysh knew Kinanah was in earnest and withdrew. Shortly afterwards Abu Sufyan arrived with several other Koraysh chieftains and asked him to disarm his bow so that they might talk things over and Kinanah agreed.
Abu Sufyan rebuked Kinanah for taking Lady Zaynab out of Mecca in broad daylight for all to see and asked why he had done such a thing. "Didn't he know their predicament and might it not be taken as a further sign of humiliation and weakness on their part?" he asked him. Abu Sufyan told him that they did not want to keep her, however, she must return until things died down and then leave discreetly to join her father.
And so, Lady Zaynab and Kinanah returned to Mecca and waited until the time was right, then set off once again on their journey to Yajaj where arrangements had once more been made for Zayd and his companion to accompany the holy family on to Medina.
THE ELDERLY ANSAR AND ABU SUFYAN
In an attempt not to lose face among the Koraysh, Abu Sufyan continued to refuse to send money for his son's ransom. However, during the pilgrimage season of the following year, Abu Sufyan seized and elderly Ansar on his return to Medina from his pilgrimage and sent word that he would not release him until Amr was released. It was not an honorable act to capture one so elderly and without hesitation the Prophet (sa) agreed to the exchange and both were reunited with their families.
THE MARRIAGE OF LADY FATIMA
In the second year after the Migration, now referred to as Hijra 2, during the month of Dhul Hija, which equates approximately to the Christian era 623/624, Lady Fatima, daughter of the Prophet (sa) and Lady Khadijah, was married.
Lady Fatima was now eighteen years of age and her father had made mention to his family that he thought Ali, who had been raised with her for many years, but now lived in a very modest house near the mosque, would be the most suitable husband for her. However, the issue had not been settled.
Lady Fatima was not without suitors. Abu Bakr and Omar had both offered their hand in marriage but the Prophet (sa) deferred them saying he would wait until Allah clarified the matter.
A few weeks after the Encounter at Badr, in which Ali had fought so bravely, the Prophet (sa) suggested that he might like to ask for Lady Fatima's hand in marriage. Ali had been too shy to come forward before now as he was very poor and did not consider himself to be in a position to offer Lady Fatima a worthy dowry and drew the Prophet's attention to it. The Prophet (sa) was touched by Ali’s humility and asked referring to a piece of armor he had won at the Encounter of Badr, "What have you done with 'Huttiyah'?" Ali replied that he still owned it, whereupon the Prophet (sa) said it was sufficient for his daughter's dowry.
Ali's worldly possessions were indeed meager, all he owned was the piece of armor, a sheep skin and an old piece of Yemeni cloth that he used as a sheet. However, now that he had received encouragement from the Prophet (sa) he asked Lady Fatima for her hand in marriage in the presence of her father. It was customary in those days for brides-to-be not to answer her suitor if she was agreeable to his proposal, so Lady Fatima remained silent and Ali knew that his proposal had been accepted.
Up until now, several schools of Islamic jurisprudence consider a prospective bride’s shy silence as an indication of acceptance to a proposal.
A HOME FOR THE BLESSED COUPLE
One of the Ansar, Haritha, Numan's son, owned many houses and had already given several of them to the Prophet (sa) who accepted them graciously and then given them to those in need. Lady Fatima knew of Haritha's generosity, and asked her father if it might be possible for him to also give them one. The Prophet (sa) was reluctant to press upon Haritha's generosity, however, when Haritha learned of Lady Fatima's forthcoming marriage he went immediately to the Prophet (sa) saying, "Whatever I have is yours. By Allah, whenever you accept any of my houses, it gives me greater pleasure than if I still owned them." Haritha's generous offer was accepted and Ali with his bride-to-be now had a home awaiting them.
As a wedding gift, the Prophet (sa) gave his daughter and Ali a bed woven from Arkanda fiber. A leather mattress stuffed with soft palm leaves, a water-skin, two sets of mill stones with which to grind grain, and two earthenware pitchers.
When the day of the marriage arrived, Lady Ayesha and Lady Umm Salama went together to prepare the house for the young couple and soft sand was brought then strewn over the floor. In celebration of the occasion, the Prophet (sa) requested that a ram be sacrificed and prepared in readiness for their guests. Grain, dates, figs and perfumed water were also brought to feed their guests. It was a very happy occasion and one that was well remembered for a long time afterwards.
As the celebration drew to a close the Prophet (sa) arose and left whereupon the guests realized that it was also time for them to leave, but just before he departed he spoke to Ali telling him not to approach Lady Fatima until after he returned. The only person to remain behind was the faithful, long time family maid, Umm Ayman, who had consoled the Prophet (sa) upon the death of his mother nearly fifty years before, and she busied herself with tidying up after the guests had left.
When the Prophet (sa) returned, Umm Ayman answered the door and he asked: "Where is my brother?" Umm Ayman was somewhat surprised and inquired, using an expression common to Arabs of that time, "May my father and mother be your ransom! O Messenger of Allah, who is your brother?" Whereupon the Prophet (sa) replied: "Ali, the son of Abu Talib." The reply puzzled Umm Ayman and she asked: "How can he be your brother, when you have just married your daughter to him?" "It is as I said," replied the Prophet (sa) and asked her to bring some water.
Upon hearing the Prophet's voice Ali entered the room and sat down in front of him. Umm Ayman returned and gave the water to the Prophet (sa) whereupon he took a mouthful of water then returned it to the vessel. Then he dipped his hand into the vessel and sprinkled some water over Ali's shoulders, chest and arms. Then he called for his daughter and did the same, as he supplicated for blessings upon them both and upon their children.
“WHEN YOU ARE TOUCHED WITH GOOD FORTUNE, THEY GRIEVE”
The Jews of Medina had entered into a binding agreement with the Prophet (sa) and through it were afforded many benefits. However, an integral part of the agreement was that they would neither ally, nor assist the unbelievers against the Prophet (sa).
On the surface, with the exception of a few minor taunts, the Jews and the hypocrites appeared to tolerate the Muslims. However, deep-rooted resentment festered and the Jews yearned even more for the return of the old days even though they had been beholden to idolatrous Arabs.
When the news of the Prophet's victory over the Koraysh at Badr reached Medina, the Jews, hypocrites and those who remained pagan, were unable to conceal their great disappointment. The most disappointed were those from the Jewish tribes of Kaynuka, domiciled in the City of Medina, together with their cousins from the tribes of Krayzah and Nadir that lived on the outskirts, all had hoped that the Koraysh would rid them of the Prophet (sa) and his followers.
It was during this time that Allah sent down the following verse which records and warned the Prophet (sa) and his followers of these hidden feelings:
"Believers, do not take intimates
with other than your own.
They spare nothing to ruin you,
they yearn for you to suffer.
Hatred has already shown itself from their mouths,
and what their chests conceal is yet greater.
Indeed, We have made clear to you the signs,
if you understand.
There you are loving them,
And they do not love you.
You believe in the entire Book.
When they meet you they say:
But when alone,
they bite their finger-tips at you out of rage.
Say: ‘Die in your rage!
Allah has knowledge of what is in your chests.”
Allah also drew the attention of the Prophet (sa) and his followers to the following, saying:
"When you are touched with good fortune, they grieve,
but when evil befalls you, they rejoice.
If you are patient and cautious,
their guile will never harm you.
Allah encompasses what they do."
Allah also sent down verses that permitted the Prophet (sa) to counteract acts of treachery with justice and instructions how his adversaries should be treated if they should incline to peace, saying:
“If you fear treachery from any of your allies,
you can dissolve with them equally.
Allah does not love the treacherous."
"If they incline to peace,
incline to it also,
and put your trust in Allah.
Surely, He is the Hearing, the Knowing."
In the meantime, much to the delight of the Koraysh, they found they had unexpected allies in Medina, for each time a Jewish caravan arrived in Mecca they brought news of the Prophet's movements. And so it was that the Jews began to break the treaty, just as the waves of the sea gently erode a mound of sand upon the shore until none remains.
THE MARKET PLACE OF THE TRIBE OF KAYNUKA
Not long after the Prophet's return from Badr he went to the Jewish market place of the Kaynuka which was also frequented by Muslims. He hoped the widely reported miraculous events of Badr might have touched the hearts of the Jews and caused them to reflect.
As he walked through the market place he invited them to Islam and entreated them not to let the anger of Allah come upon them as it had just done upon the Koraysh. However, his invitation fell on deaf ears and someone called out in defiance, "Muhammad, do not be fooled by those circumstances. You fought against men who did not know how to fight; that is why you were able to get the better of them! By Allah, if you make war on us you will soon know that we are a force to reckon with!" The Prophet (sa) did not respond and returned home.
THE INSULT OF THE GOLDSMITH
A few days following the rejection, a Muslim lady made her way to the same market and was insulted in a despicable manner by a goldsmith. An Ansar happened to overhear the insult and came to her assistance. Sharp words were exchanged which ultimately led to blows during which the goldsmith fell and was accidentally killed.
Once again the Jews who had agreed that such matters were to be brought before the Prophet (sa) to be resolved, threw the agreement to the wind, and sent word to their former Arab allies that had not converted from the tribes of Aws and Khazraj to rise up with them against the Prophet (sa).
THE FORTRESSES OF KAYNUKA
Many years before, not far from the market place, the Jews had built fortresses to protect themselves in times of trouble. These fortresses were soon to be come a hive of activity with provisions and arms being delivered by all possible means available. No sooner had the supplies been delivered than the Jews barricaded themselves inside and waited for their allies to arrive. The tribesmen of the Kaynuka numbered twice that of the Muslims who fought at Badr and expected their force to swell still further as soon as their pagan allies learned of their up rise.