The Sealed Nectar
Ar Raheeq Al Makhtum
Part | 2
Life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Before & After Islam
Chapter | 11
General Social Boycott
‘First Revelation Regarding Revelation The Preaching:”
Ar-Raheeq-ul-Makhtum (in Arabic: الرحيق المختوم ; meaning The Sealed Nectar) is a biography of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, written in Arabic and Urdu by Safi-ur-Rehman Mubarakpuri. The Arabic version was awarded first prize by the Muslim World League, at the first Islamic Conference on Seerah, following an open competition for a book on the Sirah Rasul Allah (life of Muhammad) in 1979 (1399 AH). The book competed with 170 other manuscripts, 84 in Arabic, 64 in Urdu, 21 in English, one in French and one in Hausa.
The book takes into account various phases of the life of Muhammad. The book has been extensively undergone supervision from The Quran Publishing and Printing, Riyadh and deemed authentic and suitable for all audience, who wish to know more about the life of Muhammad. The revised edition of the book is less than 600 pages. It has been translated into English as The Sealed Nectar.
Four events of special significance occurred within less than four weeks — the conversion of Hamzah, the conversion of ‘Umar, Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) refusal to negotiate any sort of compromise and then the pact drawn up between Banu Muttalib and Banu Hashim to immunize Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and shield him against any treacherous attempt to kill him. The polytheists were baffled and at a loss as to what course they would follow to rid themselves of this obstinate and relentless obstacle that had appeared to shatter to pieces their whole tradition of life.
They had already been aware that if they killed Muhammad (Peace be upon him) theblood would surely flow profusely in the valleys of Makkah and they would certainly be exterminated. Taking this dreadful prospect into consideration, they grudgingly resorted to a different iniquitous course that would not imply murder.
A Pact of Injustice
The pagans of Makkah held a meeting in a place called Wadi Al-Muhassab, and formed a confederation hostile to both Bani Hashim and Bani Al-Muttalib. They decided not to have any business dealings with them nor any sort of inter-marriage. Social relations, visits and even verbal contacts with Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his supporters would discontinue until the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was given up to them to be killed. The articles of their proclamation, which had provided for merciless measures against Bani Hashim, were committed to writing by an idolater, Bagheed bin ‘Amir bin Hashim and then suspended in Al-Ka‘bah. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) invoked Allâh’s imprecations upon Bagheed, whose hand was later paralysed.
Abu Talib wisely and quietly took stock of the situation and decided to withdraw to a valley on the eastern outskirts of Makkah. Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib, who followed suit, were thus confined within a narrow pass (Shi‘b of Abu Talib), from the beginning of Muharram, the seventh year of Muhammad’s mission till the tenth year, viz., a period of three years. It was a stifling siege. The supply of food was almost stopped and the people in confinement faced great hardships.
The idolaters used to buy whatever food commodities entered Makkah lest they should leak to the people in Ash-Shi‘b, who were so overstrained that they had to eat leaves of trees and skins of animals. Cries of little children suffering from hunger used to be heard clearly.
Nothing to eat reached them except, on few occasions, some meagre quantities of food were smuggled by some compassionate Makkans. During ‘the prohibited months’ – when hostilities traditionally ceased, they would leave their confinement and buy food coming from outside Makkah. Even then, the food stuff was unjustly overpriced so that their financial situation would fall short of finding access to it.
Hakeem bin Hizam was once on his way to smuggle some wheat to his aunt Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) when Abu Jahl intercepted and wanted to debar him. Only when Al-Bukhtari intervened, did Hakeem manage to reach his destination. Abu Talib was so much concerned about the personal safety of his nephew. Whenever people retired to sleep, he would ask the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to lie in his place, but when all the others fell asleep, he would order him to change his place and take another, all of which in an attempt to trick a potential assassin.
Despite all odds, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) persisted in his line and his determination and courage never weakened. He continued to go to Al-Ka‘bah and to pray publicly. He used every opportunity to preach to outsiders who visited Makkah for business or on pilgrimage during the sacred months and special seasons of assemblies. This situation ultimately created dissension amongst the various Makkan factions, who were tied with the besieged people by blood relations.
After three years of blockade and in Muharram, the tenth year of Muhammad’s mission, the pact was broken. Hisham bin ‘Amr, who used to smuggle some food to Bani Hashim secretly at night, went to see Zuhair bin Abi Omaiyah Al-Makhzoumy and reproached him for resigning to that intolerable treatment meted out to his uncles in exile. The latter pleaded impotence, but agreed to work with Hisham and form a pressure group that would secure the extrication of the exiles. On the ground of motivation by uterine relations, there emerged a group of five people who set out to abrogate the pact and declare all relevant clauses null and void.
They were Hisham bin ‘Amr, Zuhair bin Abi Omaiya, Al-Mut‘im bin ‘Adi, Abu Al-Bukhtari and Zam‘a bin Al-Aswad. They decided to meet in their assembly place and start their self-charged mission from the very precinct of the Sacred House. Zuhair, after circumambulating seven times, along with his colleagues approached the hosts of people there and rebuked them for indulging in the amenities of life whereas their kith and kin of Bani Hashim were perishing on account of starvation and economic boycott.
They swore they would never relent until the parchment of boycott was torn to piece and the pact broken at once. Abu Jahl, standing nearby, retorted that it would never be torn. Zam‘a was infuriated and accused Abu Jahl of telling lies, adding that the pact was established and the parchment was written without seeking their approval. Al-Bukhtari intervened and backed Zam‘a. Al-Mut‘im bin ‘Adi and Hisham bin ‘Amr attested to the truthfulness of their two companions.
Abu Jahl, with a cunning attempt to liquidate the hot argument that was running counter to his malicious goals, answered that the issue had already been resolved sometime and somewhere before. Abu Talib meanwhile was sitting in a corner of the Mosque. He came to communicate to them that a Revelation had been sent to his nephew, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to the effect that ants had eaten away all their proclamation that smacked of injustice and aggression except those parts that bore the Name of Allâh.
He contended that he would be ready to give Muhammad (Peace be upon him) up to them if his words proved untrue, otherwise, they would have to recant and repeal their boycott. The Makkans agreed to the soundness of his proposition. Al-Mut‘im went to see the parchment and there he did discover that it was eaten away by ants and nothing was left save the part bearing (in the Name of Allâh).
The proclamation was thus abrogated, and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and the other people were permitted to leave Ash-Sh‘ib and return home. In the context of this trial to which the Muslims were subjected, the polytheists had a golden opportunity to experience a striking sign of Muhammad’s Prophethood (the white ants eating away the parchment) but to their miserable lot they desisted and augmented in disbelief:
“But if they see a Sign, they turn away, and say ‘This is continuous magic.” [54:2]
Chapter | 12
The Final Phase of the
Diplomacy of Negotiation
The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) left his confinement and went on preaching his Faith as usual. Quraish, likewise, repealed the boycott but went on in their atrocities and oppression on the Muslims. Abu Talib, the octogenarian notable, was still keen on shielding his nephew but by that time, and on account of the series of tremendous events and continual pains, he began to develop certain fits of weakness. No sooner had he emerged victorious from the inhuman boycott, than he was caught in a persistent illness and physical enervation.
The polytheists of Makkah, seeing this serious situation and fearing that the stain of infamy that the other Arabs could attribute to them in case they took any aggressive action against the Prophet (Peace be upon him) after he had lost his main support, Abu Talib, took a decision to negotiate with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) once more and submit some concessions withheld previously.
They then delegated some representatives to see Abu Talib and discuss the issue with him. Ibn Ishaq and others related: “When a serious illness caught Abu Talib, the people of Quraish began to deliberate on the situation and reviewed the main features that characterized that period and which included the conversion of ‘Umar and Hamzah to Islam, coupled with the tremendous stir that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had created amongst all the tribes of Quraish.
They then deemed it imperative to see Abu Talib before he died to pressure his nephew to negotiate a compromise on the various disputed points. They were afraid that the other Arabs might attribute to them the charge of opportunism.” The delegation of Quraish comprised 25 men including notables like ‘Utbah bin Rabi‘a, Shaibah bin Rabi‘a, Abu Jahl bin Hisham, Omaiyah bin Khalaf, Abu Sufyan bin Harb. They first paid tribute to him and confirmed their high esteem of his person and position among them.
They then shifted to the newgive-and-take policy that they claimed they wanted to follow. To substantiate their argument they alleged that they would refrain from intervening in his religion if he did the same. Abu Talib summoned his nephew and apprised him of the minutes of his meeting with them, and said: “Well, my nephew, here are the celebrities of your people. They have proposed this meeting to submit a policy of mutual concessions and peaceful coexistence.” The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) turned to them saying:
“I will guide you to the means by which you will gain sovereignty over both the Arabs and non-Arabs.” In another version, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) addressed Abu Talib in the following words: “O uncle! Why don’t you call them unto something better?” Abu Talib asked him, “What is it that you invite them to?” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied, “I invite them to hold fast to a Message that is bound to give them access to kingship over the Arabs and non-Arabs.”
According to Ibn Ishaq’s version, “It is just one word that will give you supremacy over the Arabs and non-Arabs.” The Makkan deputies were taken by incredible surprise and began to wonder what sort of word was that which would benefit them to that extent. Abu Jahl asked, “What is that word? I swear by your father that we will surely grant you your wish followed by ten times as much.” He said, “I want you to testify that there is no god worthy to be worshipped but Allâh, and then divest yourselves of any sort of worship you harbour for any deities other than Allâh.”
They immediately clapped their hands in ridicule, and said “How can you expect us to combine all the deities in one God. It is really something incredible.” On their way out leaving, they said to one another, “By god this man [Muhammad (Peace be upon him)] will never relent, nor will he offer any concessions. Let us hold fast to the religion of our forefathers, and Allâh will in due course adjudicate and settle the dispute between us and him.” As regards this incident, Allâh revealed the following verses:
“Sâd: [These letters (Sâd, etc.) are one of the miracles of the Qur’ân and none but Allâh (Alone) knows their meanings]. By the Qur’ân full of reminding. Nay, those who disbelieve are in false pride and Apposition. How many a generation We have destroyed before them, and they cried out when there was no longer time for escape! And they (Arab pagans) wonder that a warner [Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)] has come to them from among themselves! And the disbelievers say, ‘This [Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ] is a sorcerer, a liar. Has he made the gods (all) into One God (Allâh). Verily, this is a curious thing!’ And the leaders among them went about (saying): ‘Go on, and remain constant to your gods! Verily, this is a thing designed (against you)! We have not heard (the like) of this among the people of these later days. This is nothing but an invention.’” [38:1-7]
Chapter | 13
The Year of Grief:
Abu Talib’s Death
In Rajab, the tenth year of the Prophethood, Abu Talib fell ill and passed away, six months after leaving the confinement at Ash-Sh‘ib. In another version, Abu Talib breathed his last in Ramadan, three days prior to the death of Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her). On the authority of Al-Musaiyab, when Abu Talib was on the death bed, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) entered the room where he saw Abu Jahl and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Omaiyah. He requested his uncle:
“My uncle, you just make a profession that there is no true god but Allâh, and I will bear testimony before Allâh (of your being a believer)”. Abu Jahl and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Omaiyah addressing him said: “Abu Talib, would you abandon the religion of ‘Abdul-Muttalib?” The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) constantly requested him (to accept his offer), and (on the other hand) was repeated the same statement (of Abu Jahl and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Omaiyah) — till Abu Talib gave his final decision and he stuck to the religion of ‘Abdul-Muttalib and refused to profess that there is no true god but Allâh. Upon this the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) remarked:
“By Allâh, I will persistently beg pardon for you till I am forbidden to do so (by Allâh)”. It was then that Allâh, the Magnificent and Glorious revealed this verse:
“It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allâh’s forgiveness for the Mushrikûn (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh) even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in a state of disbelief).” [9:113]
And it was said to the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him):
“Verily! You [O Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ] guide not whom you like.” [28:56]
It goes without saying that Abu Talib was very much attached to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) . For forty years, Abu Talib had been the faithful friend – the prop of his childhood, the guardian of his youth and in later life a very tower of defence. The sacrifices to which Abu Talib exposed himself and his family for the sake of his nephew, while yet incredulous of his mission, stamp his character as singularly noble and unselfish.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) did his best to persuade his octogenarian uncle to make profession of the true faith, but he remained obdurate and stuck to the paganism of his forefathers, and thus could not achieve complete success. Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib narrated that he said to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) “You have not been of any avail to your uncle (Abu Talib) (though) by Allâh, he used to protect you and get angry on your behalf.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “He is in a shallow fire, and had it not been for me, he would have been at the bottom of the (Hell) Fire.”
Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudri narrated that he heard the Prophet (Peace be upon him) say, when the mention of his uncle was made, “I hope that my intercession may avail him, and he be placed in a shallow fire that rises up only to his heels.”
Khadijah Passes Away
to the Mercy of ALLAH
Only two months after the death of his uncle, did the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) experience another great personal loss viz., the Mother of believers, his wife Khadijah passed away in Ramadan of the tenth year of his Prophethood, when she was sixty-five years old, and he was fifty.
Khadijah was in fact a blessing of Allâh for the Prophet (Peace be upon him). She, for twenty-five years, shared with him the toils and trials of life, especially in the first ten years of his ministry of Prophethood. He deeply mourned over her death, and once he replied in an honest burst of tender emotions:
“She believed in me when none else did. She embraced Islam when people disbelieved me. And she helped and comforted me in her person and wealth when there was none else to lend me a helping hand. I had children from her only.”
Abu Hurairah reported that Gabriel came to Allâh’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) and said: “Allâh’s Messenger, lo, Khadijah is coming to you with a vessel of seasoned food or drink. When she comes to you, offer her greetings from her Lord, and give her glad tidings of a palace of jewels in Paradise where there is no noise and no toil.”
These two painful events took place within a short lapse of time and added a lot to his grief and suffering. The Makkans now openly declared their campaign of torture and oppression. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) lost all hope of bringing them back to the right path, so he set out for Al-Ta’if seeking a supportive atmosphere. But there too, he was disappointed and he sustained unbearable tortures and maltreatment that far outweighed his miserable situation in his native town.
His Companions were on equal footing subjected to unspeakable torture and unbearable oppression to such an extent that his closest friend, Abu Bakr, to escape pressure, fled out of Makkah and wanted to leave for Abyssinia (Ethiopia) if it were not for Ibn Ad-Daghanah who met him at Bark Al-Ghamad and managed to dissuade him from completing his journey of escape and brought him back under his protection.
The death of Abu Talib rendered the Prophet (Peace be upon him) vulnerable, and the polytheists availed them of that opportunity to give free rein to their hatred and highhandedness and to translate them in terms of oppression and physical tortures. Once an insolent Quraishite intercepted him and sprinkled sand on his head.
When he arrived home, a daughter of his washed the sand away and wept. “Do not weep, my daughter. Allâh will verily protect your father.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said. Rapid succession of misfortunes, led the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to call that period, ‘the year of grief and mourning’. Thenceforth, that year bore that appellation.
His Marriage to Sawda in Shawwal,
The Tenth Year of Prophetood
The death of Khadijah left the Prophet (Peace be upon him) lonely. The name of Sawdah was suggested to him for marriage which he accepted. This lady had suffered many hardships for the sake of Islam. She was an early convert to the Islamic Faith and it was by her persuasion that her husband had embraced Islam.
On the second emigration to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), Sawdah had accompanied her husband As-Sakran bin ‘Amr. He died on their way back to Makkah leaving her in a terrible state of destitution. She was the first woman for the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to marry after the death of Khadijah. Some years later she granted her turn with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to her co-wife, ‘Aishah.
Chapter | 14
Factors Inspiring Patience and Perseverance:
It is natural for sensible and mild-tempered people to meditate deeply on the factors that inspired those early Muslims that miraculous constancy and perseverance. It is normal to wonder how those people managed to tolerate unspeakable persecutions, and stand fast in the face of tyrannical tortures. With respect to these questions, we deem it wise just to touch on those underlying reasons:
1: Unshakable Belief in Allâh. The first and foremost factor is no doubt, unshakable Belief in Allâh Alone coupled with a wonderful degree of perception of His Attributes. A man with this Belief deeply averred in his heart will look at those foreseen difficulties as triflings and can under no circumstance compare with the sweetness of Belief:
“Then, as for the foam, it passes away as scum upon the banks, while that which is for the good of mankind remains in the earth.” [13:17]
Other sub-factors that branch out from that Belief and assist in strengthening it and promoting long amity are:
2: Wholeheartedly-loved leadership. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) the great leader of the Muslim community, and mankind at large, was an exemplary man in his perfect manners and noble attributes; no one could measure up to his endowments of nobility, honesty, trustworthiness and abstinence; unanimously and uncontestedly acknowledged even by his enemies. Abu Jahl himself, the great enemy of Islam, used repeatedly to say: “O Muhammad (Peace be upon him), we are in no position to belie you, we rather disbelieve what you have brought us (Islam).”
It is narrated that three people of Quraish each separately and secretly listened to some verses of the Noble Qur’ân. Later, this secret was uncovered and one of them asked Abu Jahl (one of the three) what he thought of what he heard from Muhammad (Peace be upon him). He answered: We contested the honour of leadership and generosity with Banu ‘Abd Munaf and shared equal privileges competitively. They then began to boast saying that a Prophet rose among them whom Revelation came down upon from heavens. I swear we will never believe in him.
So Allâh said:
“… It is not you that they deny, but it is the Verses (the Qur’ân) of Allâh that the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers) deny.” [6:33]
One day, the disbelievers of Quraish leveled to him a cynical remark three times. He remained silent but for the third one he remarked, “O Quraish! Slaughter is in store for you.” They were taken aback and ulterior fear filled their hearts to such an extent that the most hostile among them began to make up for their insult by the best friendly terms they could afford. When they slung the entrails of a camel on him while prostrating himself in prayer, he invoked Allâh’s wrath on them, and they immediately were caught in an inexpressible state of worry and were almost convinced that they would be destroyed. Ubai bin Khalaf used always to threaten he would kill Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
One day the Prophet (Peace be upon him) retorted that he would kill him by Allâh’s Will. When Ubai received a scratch in his neck, on the day of Uhud, he, under the sense of horror, remembered the Prophet’s words and remarked, “I am convinced he would be able to kill me even if he spat on me. ” Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh said to Omaiyah bin Khalaf in Makkah, “I heard the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) one day say that the Muslims would surely kill you.” Omaiyah was extremely panicked and swore he would never step out of Makkah.
Even when Abu Jahl obliged him to march with them to fight the Prophet (Peace be upon him) on the day of Badr, he bought the best and swift camels in Makkah in order that they hasten his escape. Even his wife warned him against going out reminding him of Sa‘d’s words, his reply was “By Allâh, I have no intention of going out with Quraish, I will disengage from them after a short distance.”
That was the clear sense of horror and terror haunting his enemies wherever they were. His friends and companions, on the other hand, held him dearest to them, and he occupied the innermost cells of their hearts. They were always ready to defend him and secure his well-being even at the risk of their lives. One day, Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafa was severely beaten by ‘Utbah bin Rabi‘a, a terrible polytheist.
His whole body was almost bleeding and he was on the verge of death, yet when his people took him back home extremely indignant at his misfortune, he swore he would never eat or drink anything until they had told him about the well-being of his noble Companion, Muhammad (Peace be upon him). That was the spirit of selflessness and sacrifice that characterized the behaviour of those early Companions.
3: The sense of responsibility. The early Companions were fully aware of the daunting responsibility they were expected to shoulder. They were also convinced that those charges were inescapable even though they were being persecuted for fear of the far-reaching ramifications, and the horrible impact that humanity would suffer in case they shirked their obligations.
4: Unwavering Belief in the truth of the Hereafter. This was the corner-stone that strengthened their sense of responsibility. There was a deep certainty established through the light of their religion that one day they would have to rise on the Day of Resurrection and account for all worldly deeds, small or big. They were sure that their future in the other world would depend wholly on their acts in their provisional life on earth, either to everlasting Garden (Paradise) or perpetual chastisement in Hell. Their whole life was divided between hope for Allâh’s mercy and fear of His punishment.
“… Who give that (their charity) which they give (and also do other good deeds) with their hearts full of fear (whether their alms and charities, etc., have been accepted or not), because they are sure to return to their Lord.” [23:60]
They had already known that life with all its amenities and pains was worthless when compared with the Hereafter. Such deep convictions brought about in them a sense of indifference to all troubles and hardships that attended their life.
5: The Qur’ân. The verses and chapters of the Noble Qur’ân were attractively, forcefully and successively revealed at that gloomy and critical stage, supporting and advancing arguments on the truth and soundness of the principles of Islam, round whose axis the whole Call of Muhammad صلى الله علیه وسلم was revolving. They constituted the immune basis upon which the best and most wonderful Divinely decreed society was to be established. The Qur’ânic verses served also to excite the feelings of the believers, strengthen their selves on their course of patience and endurance and introduce them to the most purposeful examples and suggestive instructions:
“Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When (will come) the Help of Allâh?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allâh is near!” [2:214]
* * *
“Alif-Lam-Mim. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe’, and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allâh will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allâh knows all that before putting them to test).” [29: 1-3]
Mere lip profession of Faith is not enough. It must be tried and tested in the real turmoil of life. The test will be applied in all kinds of circumstances, in individual life and in relation to the environment around us to see whether we can strive constantly and put the Lord above self. Much pain, sorrow and self-sacrifice may be necessary, not because they are good in themselves, but because they will purify us, like fire applied to a goldsmith’s crucible to burn out the dross.
These verses also constituted an irrefutable answer to the false allegations of the disbelievers, and a clear ultimatum that smacked of the horrible consequethat would ensue in case they persisted in their disbelief. On the other hand, the Noble Qur’ân was leading the Muslims to a new world and enlightening them as to its features, the beauty of Lordship, the perfection of Godship, the impact of kindness and mercy and the manifestations of the yearned for Allâh’s pleasure. They implicitly connoted meaningful messages carrying glad tidings of definitely approaching Divine Mercy leading to eternal bliss in a blissful Garden (Paradise).
They, at the same time, envisaged the end of the tyrants and disbelievers who would be brought to Divine Justice and then dragged through the Fire where they would taste the touch of Hell. 6. Glad tidings of success. Ever since the time they experienced the adversities of life, the Muslims had been certain that entrance into the fold of Islam did not entail involvement into hardships or digging one’s own grave.
They had been aware that the Islamic Call had one goal, viz extermination of pre-Islamic tradition and destroying its iniquitous system, to go on parallel lines with extending its influence allover the earth and holding in firm control the political situation worldwide to lead humanity along a course conducive to Allâh’s Pleasure, and perfect enough to rid people of worshipping Allâh’s servant to worshipping Allâh, Himself. Glad tidings of this sort were being revealed sometimes explicitly and at other times implicitly, in a manner relevant to the situation.
When the Muslims were forced to undergo constraints, or when their life was kept under continual restraint, there would be revealed verses telling identical stories of past Prophets with their people and the sufferings and pains they had experienced. The verses would also include suggestive clues to the final tragic end of the Makkan disbelievers envisaging their final perdition, yet and at the same time, bearing glad tidings to the believers and promising the true servants of vicegerency on earth to go with absolute success, and victory to attend the Islamic Call and its proponents.
Here we could adduce some of the verses of this category pregnant with glad tidings referring to the final victory that would crown the perseverance and patience of the Muslims:
“And, verily, Our Word has gone forth of old for Our slaves, — the Messengers, that they verily would be made triumphant. And that Our hosts, they verily would be the victors. So turn away [O Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ] from them for a while, and watch them and they shall see (the punishment)! Do they seek to hasten on Our torment? Then, when it descends into their courtyard (i.e. near to them), evil will be the morning for those who had been warned.” [37:171-177]
In the same context, Allâh told His Prophet (Peace be upon him):
“Their multitude will be put to flight, and they will show their backs.” [54:45]
He also said:
“They will be a defeated host like the confederates of the old times.” [38:11]
The Muslims who migrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) had the following:
“And as for those who emigrated for the cause of Allâh, after suffering oppression, We will certainly give them goodly residence in this world, but indeed the reward of the Hereafter will be greater, if they but knew.” [16:41]
In the context of the story of Joseph, there was:
“Verily, in Joseph and his brethren there were Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) for those who ask.” [12:7]
i.e., the Makkans will receive the same fate that befell Joseph’s brothers, viz, failure and surrender. In another instance, Allâh speaks about the Messengers:
“And those who disbelieved, said to their Messengers: ‘Surely, we shall drive you out of our land, or you shall return to our religion!’ So their Lord inspired them: ‘Truly, We shall destroy the Zâlimûn (polytheists, disbelievers and wrong-doers). And indeed, We shall make you dwell in the land after them. This is for him who fears standing before Me (on the Day of Resurrection or fears My punishment) and also fears My threat.” [14:13,14]
During the war between the Persians and the Romans, the disbelievers had a sincere wish that victory be the former’s lot, because both parties professed polytheism, whereas the Muslims prayed for a Roman victory because both groups believed in Allâh, His Messengers, Books, the Revelation and the Hereafter.
The war resulted in the overthrow of Rome by Persia. They were pro-Persian, as we have said, and in their hearts they hoped that the nascent movement of Islam, which at that time was, from a worldly point of view, very weak and helpless, would collapse under their persecution. But they misread the true signs of the times. They were told that they would soon be disillusioned in both their calculations, and it actually so happened when Heraclius carried his campaign into the heart of Persia and the Makkan Quraish were beaten off at Badr:
“And on that Day, the believers (i.e. Muslims) will rejoice (at the victory given by Allâh to the Romans against the Persians) with the help of Allâh.” [30:4,5]
During the season of ‘Ukaz forum, and other such occasions, the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) himself would communicate not only glad tidings pertinent to the Garden (Paradise) but also news of promising prospects for the true believers in the Call of Islam. He would openly tell them that they would surely prosper, rule the whole of Arabia and subdue Persia if they professed the most serious pillar of Islam, i.e. the Oneness of Allâh.
Khabbab bin Al-Aratt once urged the Messenger to call upon Allâh to shield him against the adversities he was suffering at the hand of the polytheists. The Prophet’s face reddened and he remarked that the true believer must not precipitate things, it was incumbent upon a believer to undergo all the odds of life as much as he could, fearing nobody except Allâh until the religion was established, which would surely happen.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) in this regard, referred to the perseverance that the Muslims had to show and the hardships they had to undergo in order to establish the land of Islam where peace and security would prevail all over it. Glad tidings of better prospects for Islam and the Muslims were not confined to Muhammad’s followers, in fact they were being disclosed time and again to both believers and disbelievers.
Whenever the two parties met, the latter would jeer at the former and mockingly say “Here are the sovereigns of earth who will defeat Chosroes and Caesar.” But the believers, in anticipation of that shining and Godly-orientated future, would always persevere and tolerate all sorts of persecution and humiliation regarding them as summer clouds that would soon clear away.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him), on his part, would always maintain and sustain his followers’ souls with the light of belief, sanctify them through inculcating the Qur’ânic wisdom in their hearts and cultivate their minds deeply with the spirit of Islam that would elevate them to a state of noble spirituality, pure heartedness and an absolute degree of freedom from the yoke of materialism, a high morale powerful enough to resist worldly lusts and consequently lead them from darkness to light.
He would constantly teach them to be tolerant, forgiving and overpowering over their selves in order to get well established in their religion, disdain lust, and devote themselves to attaining the Pleasure of Allâh, yearning for the Garden (Paradise), enthusiasm in sciences relating to their faith, calling themselves to account, subordinating fleeing whims, holding under firm control all rage-provoking incidents and finally observing sobriety, patience and gravity.
Chapter | 15
The Third Phase Calling unto Islam Beyond Makkah
In Shawwal (in the last of May or in the beginning of June 619 A.D.), ten years after receiving his mission from his Lord, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) set out towards At-Ta’if, about 60 kilometres from Makkah, in the company of his freed slave Zaid bin Haritha inviting people to Islam. But contrary to his expectations, the general atmosphere was terribly hostile. He approached the family of ‘Umair, who were reckoned amongst the nobility of the town.
But, to his disappointment, all of them turned deaf ear to his message and used abusive language as regards the noble cause he had been striving for. Three brothers from the chieftains of Thaqeef – ‘Abd Yaleel, Mas‘ud and Habeeb – sons of ‘Amr bin ‘Umair Ath-Thaqafy met the Prophet (Peace be upon him) , who invited them to embrace Islam and worship Allâh, but they impudently jeered at him and refused his invitation. “He is tearing the cloths of Al-Ka‘bah; is it true that Allâh has sent you as a Messenger?” said one of them.
“Has not Allâh found someone else to entrust him with His Message?” said the second. “I swear by Allâh that I will never have any contact with you. If you are really the Messenger of Allâh, then you are too serious to retort back; and if you are belying Allâh, then I feel it is imperative not to speak to.” said the third. The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) , finding that they were hopeless cases, stood up and left them saying: “Should you indulge in these practices of yours, never divulge them to me.”
For ten days he stayed there delivering his message to several people, one after another, but all to no purpose. Stirred up to hasten the departure of the unwelcome visitor, the people hooted him through the alley-ways, pelted him with stones and obliged him to flee from the city pursued by a relentless rabble. Blood flowed down both his legs; and Zaid, endeavouring to shield him, was wounded in the head. The mob did not desist until they had chased him two or three miles across the sandy plains to the foot of the surrounding hills.
There, wearied and exhausted, he took refuge in one of the numerous orchards, and rested against the wall of a vineyard. At a time when the whole world seemed to have turned against him, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) turned to his Lord and betook himself to prayer and the following touching words are still preserved as those through which his oppressed soul gave vent to its distress. He was weary and wounded but confident of the help of his Lord:
“O Allâh! To You alone I make complaint of my helplessness, the paucity of my resources and my insignificance before mankind. You are the most Merciful of the mercifuls. You are the Lord of the helpless and the weak, O Lord of mine! Into whose hands would You abandon me: into the hands of an unsympathetic distant relative who would sullenly frown at me, or to the enemy who has been given control over my affairs? But if Your wrath does not fall on me, there is nothing for me to worry about.”
“I seek protection in the light of Your Countenance, which illuminates the heavens and dispels darkness, and which controls all affairs in this world as well as in the Hereafter. May it never be that I should incur Your wrath, or that You should be wrathful to me. And there is no power nor resource, but Yours alone.”
Seeing him in this helpless situation, Rabi‘a’s two sons, wealthy Makkans, were moved on grounds of kinship and compassion, and sent to him one of their Christian servants with a tray of grapes. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) accepted the fruit with pious invocation: “In the Name of the Allâh.” The Christian servant ‘Addas was greatly impressed by these words and said: “These are words which people in this land do not generally use.”
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) inquired of him whence he came and what religion he professed. ‘Addas replied: “I am a Christian by faith and come from Nineveh.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) then said: “You belong to the city of the righteous Jonah, son of Matta.” ‘Addas asked him anxiously if he knew anything about Jonah. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) significantly remarked: “He is my brother. He was a Prophet and so am I.”
Thereupon ‘Addas paid homage to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and kissed his hands. His masters admonished him at this act but he replied: “None on the earth is better than he is. He has revealed to me a truth which only a Prophet can do.” They again reprimanded him and said: “We forewarn you against the consequences of abandoning the faith of your forefathers. The religion which you profess is far better than the one you feel inclined to.”
Heart-broken and depressed, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) set out on the way back to Makkah. When he reached Qarn Al-Manazil, Allâh, the Almighty sent him Gabriel together with the angel of mountains. The latter asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for permission to bury Makkah between Al–Akhshabain —Abu Qubais and Qu‘ayqa‘an mountains. Full narration of this event was given by ‘Aishah (May be pleased with her) (the Prophet’s spouse).
She said: “I asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him) if he had ever experienced a worse day than Uhud. He answered that he had suffered a lot from those people (the idolaters) but the most painful was on the day of ‘Aqabah. I went seeking support from Ibn ‘Abd Yalil bin ‘Abd Kalal, but he spurned me. I set out wearied and grieved heedless of anything around me until I suddenly realized I was in Qarn Ath-Tha‘alib, called Qarn Al-Manazil.
There, I looked up and saw a cloud casting its shade on me, and Gabriel addressing me: Allâh has heard your people’s words and sent you the angel of mountains to your aid. The latter called and gave me his greetings and asked for my permission to bury Makkah between Al-Akhshabain, the two mountains flanking Makkah. I said in reply that I would rather have someone from their loins who will worship Allâh, the All–Mighty with no associate.”
A concise meaningful answer fully indicative of the Prophet’s matchless character and the fathomless magnanimous manners. The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) then came back to wakefulness and his heart was set at rest in the light of that invisible Divinely provided aid. He proceeded to Wadi Nakhlah where he stayed for a few days.
During his stay there, Allâh sent him a company of jinns who listened to him reciting the Noble Qur’ân:
“And (remember) when We sent towards you [Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ] Nafran (three to ten persons) of the jinns, (quietly) listening to the Qur’ân, when they stood in the presence thereof, they said: ‘Listen in silence!’ And when it was finished, they returned to their people, as warners. They said: ‘O our people! Verily! We have heard a Book (this Qur’ân) sent down after Moses, confirming what came before it, it guides to the Truth and to a Straight Path (i.e. Islam).
* * *
”O our people! Respond (with obedience) to Allâh’s Caller [i.e. Allâh’s Messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ], and believe in him (i.e. believe in that which Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has brought from Allâh and follow him). He (Allâh) will forgive you of your sins, and will save you from a painful torment (i.e. Hell-fire).’” [46:29-31]
The same incident is referred to in Sûrah Al-Jinn:
“Say [O Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ]: “It has been revealed to me that a group (from three to ten in number) of jinns listened (to this Qur’ân). They said: ‘Verily! We have heard a wonderful Recital (this Qur’ân)! It guides to the Right Path, and we have believed therein, and we shall never join (in worship) anything with our Lord (Allâh).’” [72:1,2]
… Till the end of the 15th verse.
From the context of these verses and their relevant interpretation, we can safely establish it that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was not aware of the presence of that group of jinns. It was only when Allâh revealed those verses that he came to know of it. The verses also confirm that it was the first time they came. However, the context of the different versions suggests that the jinns repeated their visits later on.
The presence of that company of jinns comes in the context of the Divine support givto His Messenger, and constitutes a propitious sign of ultimate victory and success for the Call of Islam. It provides an unshakable proof that no power however mighty could alter what is wrought by Allâh:
“And whosoever does not respond to Allâh’s Caller, he cannot escape on earth, and there will be no Auliyâ (protectors) from him besides Allâh (from Allâh’s punishment). Those are in manifest error.” [46:32]
* * *
“And we think that we cannot escape (from the punishment of) Allâ h in the earth, nor can we escape (from the punishment) by flight.” [72:12]
Given this support and auspicious start, depression, dismay and sadness that used to beset him since he was driven out of At-Ta’if, he turned his face towards Makkah with fresh determination to resume his earlier plan to expose people to Islam and communicate his Message in a great spirit of zeal and matchless enthusiasm.
Zaid bin Harithah, his companion, addressing the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “How dare you step into Makkah after they (Quraish) have expatriated you?” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) answered: “Hearken Zaid, Allâh will surely provide relief and He will verily support His religion and Prophet.” When he was a short distance from Makkah, he retired to Hira’ Cave. Whence he despatched a man from Khuza‘ah tribe to Al-Akhnas bin Shuraiq seeking his protection.
The latter answered that he was Quraish’s ally and in no position to offer protection. He despatched the messenger to Suhail bin ‘Amr, but to no avail, either. Al-Mut‘im bin ‘Adi, a notable in Makkah, however, volunteered to respond to the Prophet’s appeal for shelter. He asked his people to prepare themselves fully armed and then asked Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to enter into the town and directly into the Holy Sanctuary.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) observed a two-Rak‘a prayer and left for his house guarded by the heavily-armed vigilant ‘Adi’s. It has been reported that later Abu Jahl, the archenemy of Islam, asked Mut‘im if his behavior suggested protection or conversion, the latter replied it was merely protection. Abu Jahl was relieved and said that he would give Muhammad protection for his sake.
The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) never forgot Mut‘im’s favour. At the conclusion of the battle of Badr, he declared publicly that if Mut‘im had been still alive and asked for the release of the Quraishite captives, he would not deny him his request.
Chapter | 16
Islam Being Introduced to Arabian Tribes and Individuals:
In Dhul Qa‘dah, the tenth year of Prophethood, i.e. July 619, the Prophet (Peace be upon him), returned to Makkah to resume his activities. The time for pilgrimage to Makkah was approaching so he hastened to introduce people both tribes and individuals to Islam and call upon them to embrace it, just as it was his practice since the fourth year of his Prophethood.
On the authority of Az-Zuhri, of the tribes that Islam was introduced to, we could speak of Banu ‘Amir bin Sa‘sa‘ah, Muharib bin Khasfa, Fazarah, Ghassan, Murrah, Haneefah, Saleem, ‘Abs, Banu Nasr, Banu Al-Buka’, Kindah, Kalb, Al-Harith bin Ka‘b, Udhrah and people of Hadrmout. Islam was not introduced to them in one single year but rather repeatedly from the fourth year till the last pre-migration season of pilgrimage. They however, remained obdurate and none of them responded positively.
The following is a resume of aspects relating to the Prophet’s appeals as regards the new faith he was preaching:
- 1 He visited a sept of Banu Kalb known as Banu ‘Abdullah. He called them to Allâh’s Message and entreated them to accept it for the sake of Allâh Who had chosen a beautiful name for their father, but without avail.
- He called on Bani Haneefah in their habitation, but received very repugnant treatment.
- He addressed Bani ‘Amir bin Sa‘sa‘ah in their encampment, calling them to abandon idolatry and join him. One of them called Buhairah bin Firras, answered him back:
“Should we give you allegiance and Allâh give you power over your opponents, will you give us right to inheritance and succeed you in power?” The Prophet replied: “The whole affair lies in Allâh’s Hands. He gives the power to whomever He desires.” The man commented: “Do you expect us to incur the wrath and vengeance of the Arabs without the least hope of leadership? We can in fact readily dispense with your offers.”
When Banu ‘Amir returned to their habitations, they narrated the story to an elderly man who had lingered behind because he was too old. They told him, “A young man of Quraish of Bani ‘Abdul Muttalib, claiming that he is a Prophet, contacted us, asked for support and invited us to embrace his religion.” The old sheikh was struck by the news, and wondered if there was no way of making amends for the loss of that opportunity and swore, “He is really Ishmaelite (he descends from Ishmael). He is the Truth (he is a real Prophet). How did it happen that you misjudged his words?”
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was not dismayed at all. He persisted in his mission for the fulfillment of which he had been commissioned to strive despite all odds. He did not confine his efforts to the tribes but also conducted contacts with individuals from some of whom he was able to receive a favourable response. Moreover, later in the same season, some of them did believe in his Prophethood and entered the fold of Islam. The following list included some of those early converts:
1: Swaid bin Samit . He was an intelligent discreet poet from Yathrib (Madinah). During his stay in Makkah for pilgrimage (or lesser pilgrimage), he encountered the Prophet (Peace be upon him) who invited him to embrace Islam. At this invitation, Swaid imparted to the Prophet some sound words from Luqman’s wisdom. The Prophet approved of that wisdom but told the man that he had something far better. He recited some verses from the Qur’ân, the man listened meditatively and the words appealed to his originally pure nature and accepted Islam as his faith at once. He was killed in the battle of Bu‘ath. That was in the eleventh year of the Prophethood.
2: Eyas bin Mu‘adh. He was still a youth from Aws tribe. He came as a member of delegation seeking alliance with Quraish against another rival tribe dwelling in Madinah, Al-Khazraj. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) met them and advised them to follow a better course than that they had in mind. He introduced himself and Islam to them, apprised them of his mission and narrated some verses from the Noble Qur’ân. Eyas’s heart immediately absorbed the Divine Message and agreed with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) .
Abul Haisar Anas bin Rafi‘, a member of the delegation disapproved of the boy’s behaviour and silenced him by hurling some dust into his face. The people then left Madinah after having failed in establishing alliance with Quraish. Shortly after arrival in Madinah, the boy breathed his last acclaiming Allâh’s Name and celebrating His Glory.
3: Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari. He used to live in the suburbs of Yathrib. News of the Islamization of Swaid bin Samit and Eyas bin Mu‘adh reached him and constituted a turning point in his life per se. He sent his brother to Makkah for more details about the Prophet’s intentions. The man came back and reported to Abu Dhar that the ‘said man’ enjoined good and forbade evil.
Abu Dhar was not satisfied and decided that he himself should go out and probe the real situation. After some attempts to identify the person of the Prophet(Peace be upon him) , he managed to meet him though not without some difficulties due to the antagonistic atmosphere within which the proponents of the new faith were trying to work their way. No sooner than Abu Dhar was exposed to the real nature of Islam, he embraced it.
Despite the Prophet’s earnest plea not to divulge his new move, Abu Dhar went directly to the Holy Sanctuary where he publicly declared that he had testified to the Oneness of Allâh and Prophethood of Muhammad. The heathens all around hurried and began beating him. He almost died when Al-‘Abbas intervened warning against killing someone whose tribe was in full command of the strategic commercial caravan routes leading to Makkah. Thevent recurred in the following morning with the same man to come to the scene and rescue him.
4: Tufail bin ‘Amr Ad-Dausi. He was an honest poet and chief of Ad-Daus tribe inhabiting an area close to Yemen in South Arabia. He arrived in Makkah in the eleventh year of Prophethood. Great reception ceremonies were accorded to him on his advent.
The Makkans soon started to inculcate in his ears all sorts of antipathy against the Prophet (Peace be upon him) . They even alleged that he had caused the most horrible societal schism, dividing all sorts of social life even the family ties were subject to his schemes and plans of dissension. They even warned him against speaking or even listening to him. The man overpowered by these pleas, complied by their requests. He even stuffed his ears with a piece of cotton in order not to hear any word of his.
However, when this tribesman entered the mosque, he saw Muhammad (Peace be upon him) observing his prayer and out of curiosity, he approached him for it was a Divine Will to hear the Prophet’s sound and appealing words. The temptation to hear more was irresistible so he followed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) into his house, briefed him on his advent and all the story of the people of Quraish. The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) recited some verses of the Noble Qur’ân and the man managed to taste something exceptionally beautiful and discern the truth latent within.
He embraced Islam and testified that there was no god but Allâh and that Muhammad was His Messenger. He then said that he was an influential man among his people and that he would call them to profess Islam, yet he wanted the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to equip him with a supportive sign that would ease his future task. It was in fact a Divinely bestowed light in his whip. He called his father and wife to embrace Islam and they did respond.
His people lagged a little but he exhorted them fervently and was fully successful. He and seventy or eighty of his followers emigrated to Madinah after the Trench Battle. He was a perfect fighter in the cause of Allâh and was martyred in Al-Yamama events.
5: Dhumad Al-Azdi. He came from Azd Shanu’a in Yemen, specialist in incantation. He arrived in Makkah to hear the fools there say that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was out of his mind. He decided to practise his craft on the Prophet (Peace be upon him) , who on seeing him said:
“Praise is to Allâh, we entertain His praise and seek His help. Whomsoever Allâh guides, none will lead astray, and whomsoever Allâh leads astray, none will guide. I testify there is no god but Allâh and Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.” Dhumad heard the words and requested the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to echo them again, and he was granted his wish thrice. Here he said: “I have heard the soothsayers, sorcerers and poets, but never have I experienced the sweetness of your words.” He then gave a pledge of a sincere convert.
Hope Inspiring Breezes
From The Madinese
It was during the pilgrimage season, in the eleventh year of Prophethood, that the Islamic Call found the righteous seeds through which it would grow up to constitute tall trees whose leaves would foster the new faith and shelter the new vulnerable converts from the blows of injustices and high-handness of Quraish. It was the Prophet’s wise practice to meet the delegates of the Arabian tribes by night so that the hostile Makkans would not debar him from achieving his objectives.
In the company of his two truthful Companions ‘Ali and Abu Bakr, he had an interesting talk regarding Islamization with Bani Dhuhal, but the latter suspended their conversion. In pursuit of the same objective, the Prophet and his Companions passed by ‘Aqabat Mina where they heard people talking. They went at their heels until they encountered six men from Yathrib, all of whom from Khazraj tribe: As‘ad bin Zurarah, ‘Awf bin Harith, Rafi‘ bin Malik, Qutbah bin ‘Amir, ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir and Jabir bin ‘Abdullah.
The last two being from Aws and the former four from Khazraj. The Madinese always heard the Jews say that a Prophet was about to rise, for the time for a new dispensation had arrived. Him they would follow and then smite their enemies as the children of ‘Ad and Iram had been smitten.
“Of what tribe are you?” asked the Prophet. “Of the tribe of Khazraj,” they replied. “Are you the allies of the Jews?” The Prophet enquired. They said: “Yes.” “Then why not sit down for a little and I will speak to you.” The offer was readily accepted for the fame of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had spread to Madinah and the strangers were curious to see more of the man who had created a stir in the whole area.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) presented to them an expose of Islam, explained its implications, and the responsibilities that fell upon the men who accepted it. When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) concluded his talk, they exchanged among themselves ideas to the following effect:
“Know surely, this is the Prophet with whom the Jews are ever threatening us; wherefore let us make haste and be the first to join him.” They, therefore, embraced Islam, and said to the Prophet, “We have left our community for no tribe is so divided by hatred and rancour as they are. Allâh may cement our ties through you. So let us go and invite them to this religion of yours; and if Allâh unites them in it, no man will be dearer than you.”
The handful of Madinese converts remained steady to the cause and they preached the Islam with full zeal and devotion with the result that they succeeded in winning adherents for Islam from amongst their fellow citizens and hardly was there a house in Madinah not talking curiously and enthusiastically about the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) .
Marriage of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased her):
In Shawwal of the same year, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) concluded a marriage contract with ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) ‘the truth verifier’, when she was six of age and consummated his marriage with her in Shawwal, the year 1 A.H. in Madinah when she was nine.
Chapter | 17
Al-Isrà And Al-Mi’ràj:
(”The Miraculous Night Journey from Makkah to the Farthest Mosque in Jerusalem, and the Ascent through the Spheres of Heavens”)
The last days of the Makkan phase of the Prophet’s life are noted for alternate fortunes ranging between two extremes: gradual success and continual persecution. However, glimpses of propitious lights were looming on the distant horizon, to ultimately materialize in the event of the Prophet’s Night Journey to Jerusalem and then Ascension through the spheres of the heavens.
As for its exact date, it is still controversial and no common consent has been reached. However, the majority of jurists is in favour of a date between 16-12 months prior to migration to Madinah. The following is a epitome of the details of that miraculous event narrated on the authority of Ibn Al-Qayyim.
The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) was carried in body from the Sacred Mosque in Makkah to the Distant Mosque in Jerusalem on a horse called Al-Buraq in the company of Gabriel, the archangel. There he alighted, tethered the horse to a ring in the gate of the Mosque and led the Prophets in prayer. After that Gabriel took him to the heavens on the same horse.
When they reached the first heaven Gabriel asked the guardian angel to open the door of heaven. It was opened and he saw Adam, the progenitor of mankind. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) saluted him and the other welcomed him and expressed his faith in Muhammad’s Prophethood. He saw the souls of martyrs on his right and those of the wretched on his left.
Gabriel then ascended with the Prophet to the second heaven, asked for opening the gate and there he saw and saluted John, son of Zachariya (Yahya bin Zakariya) and Jesus, son of Mary. They returned the salutation, welcomed him and expressed their faith in his Prophethood. Then they reached the third heaven where they saw Joseph (Yusuf) and saluted him. The latter welcomed the Prophet and expressed faith in his Prophethood.
The Prophet, in the company of Gabriel, then reached the fourth heaven where he met the Prophet (Idris) and saluted him. Prophet Enoch returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Then he was carried to the fifth heaven where he met the Prophet Aaron (Harun) and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. In the sixth heaven he met Moses (Musa) and saluted him.
The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) on leaving, saw that Moses began to weep. He asked about the reason. Moses answered that he was weeping because he witnessed a man sent after him as a Messenger (Muhammad) who was able to lead more of his people to the Paradise than he himself did.
Then Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) reached the seventh heaven and met Abraham (Ibrahim) (Peace be upon him) and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Then he was carried to Sidrat-al-Muntaha (the remotest lote tree) and was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma‘mûr [(the much frequented house) which is like the Ka‘bah (Sacred House) encompassed daily by seventy thousand angels, so that the angels who once encompassed it would not have their turn again till the Resurrection].
He was then presented to the Divine Presence and experienced the thrill of witnessing the Divine Glory and Manifestation at the closest possible propinquity. There the Lord revealed unto His servant that which He revealed, and ordained fifty daily prayers for him. On his return, he spoke to Moses that his followers had been enjoined to pray fifty times a day. Moses addressing the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Your followers cannot perform so many prayers. Go back to your Lord and ask for a remission in number.”
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) turned to Gabriel as if holding counsel with him. Gabriel nodded, “Yes, if you desire,” and ascended with him to the Presence of Allâh. The All-Mighty Allâh, Glory is to Him, made a reduction of ten prayers. He then descended and reported that to Moses, who again urged him to request for a further reduction. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) once more begged his Lord to reduce the number still further.
He went again and again in the Presence of Allâh at the suggestion of Moses for reduction in the number of prayers till these were reduced to five only. Moses again asked him to implore for more reduction, but he said: “I feel ashamed now of repeatedly asking my Lord for reduction. I accept and resign to His Will.” When Muhammad(Peace be upon him) went farther, a Caller was heard saying: “I have imposed My Ordinance and alleviated the burden of My servants.”
There is however some difference as regards the issue whether the Prophet saw Allâh with his physical eye or not. Some interpreters say that seeing Allâh with his naked eyes was not confirmed. Ibn ‘Abbas, on the other hand, says that the word Ru’ya as used in the Noble Qur’ân signifies the observation with the help of the eye.
In Sûrah An–Najm (Chapter —The Star) we read:
“Then he approached and came closer.” [53:8]
Here (he) refers to archangel Gabriel, and this context is completely different from that in the Prophetic tradition of Isra’ and Mi‘raj, where ‘the approach’ relates to that of the Lord, Glory is to Him. Some significant suggestive incidents featured the ‘Night Journey’ of the Prophet, of which we could mention:
1: The Prophet’s breast was cleft by Gabriel, his heart extracted and washed with the water of Zamzam – a sacred spring in Makkah.
2: In the same context, there were brought to him two gold vessels. There was milk in one, while the other was full of wine. He was asked to choose either of them, so he selected the vessel containing milk and drank it. He (the angel) said: “You have been guided on Al-Fitrah or you have attained Al-Fitrah. Had you selected wine, your nation would have been misled.” [It is a symbolic way of saying that good and evil in the form of milk and wine were brought before the Prophet and he instinctively made a choice for the good.
It is very difficult to render the Arabic term ‘Fitrah’ into English. It denotes the original constitution or disposition, with which a child comes into this world, as contrasted with qualities or inclinations acquired during life; besides it refers to the spiritual inclination inherent in man in his unspoilt state].
3: The Prophet صلى الله علیه وسلم told that he saw two manifest rivers, – the Nile and the Euphrates – and two hidden ones. It appears that the two manifest rivers, the Nile and the Euphrates, symbolically describe the area in whose fertile valleys, Muhammad’s Message will settle, and the people whereof will always remain the adherent bearers of Islam that will be passed on from generation to another. They can by no means suggest that they well up from the Garden.
4: He had the opportunity to see Malik, the guardian of Hell, with a cheerless frowning face.
Therein, he saw the Hell dwellers, of whom were those who unjustly eat up the property of the orphans. They have flews similar to those of camels, swallowing red-hot stones and then issuing out of their backs. There were also the people who take usury with bellies too big to be able to move around; they are trodden by the people of Pharaoh when these are admitted into Hell. In the same abode, he saw the adulterers offered tasty fatty meat and rotten smelly one but they make option for the latter. The licentious women were also there hanging from their breasts.
5: The ‘Night Journey’ raised a good deal of stir among the people and the sceptical audience plied Muhammad with all sorts of questions. He told them that he saw the camels of Makkan merchants to and fro. He also guided them to some of their animals that went astray. He informed them that he had drunk some of their water while they were fast asleep and left the container covered.
The disbelievers, however, found it a suitable opportunity to jeer at the Muslims and their creed. They pestered the Prophet (Peace be upon him) with questions as to the description of the Mosque at Jerusalem, where he had never gone before and, to the astonishment of many, the Prophet’s replies furnished the most accurate information about that city. He supplied them with all the news about their caravans and the routes of their camels. However, all this increased in them nothing but flight from the Truth, and they accepted nothing but disbelief.
For the true Muslims, however there was nothing unusual about the Night Journey. The All-Mighty Allâh, Who is Powerful enough to have created the heavens and the earth by an act of His Will, is surely Powerful enough to take His Messenger beyond the heavens and show him those signs of His at firsthand which are inaccessible to man otherwise. The disbelievers on their part went to see Abu Bakr on account of this event, and he readily said: “Yes, I do verify it.” It was on this occasion that he earned the title of As-Siddiq (the verifier of the truth).
The most eloquent and most concise justification of this ‘Journey’ is expressed in Allâh’s Words:
“… in order that We might show him (Muhammad) of Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, signs, etc.)” [17:1].
The Divine rules as regards the Prophets goes as follows:
“Thus did We show Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth that he be one of those who have Faith with certainty.” [6:75]
To Moses, his Lord said:
“That We may show you (some) of Our Greater Signs.” [20:23]
In order that: “He be of those who have Faith with certainty.”
The Prophets, after seeing Allâh’s Signs, will establish their Faith on solid certainty too immune to be parted with. They are in fact eligible for this Divine privilege because they are the ones who will bear burdens too heavy for other ordinary people to carry, and in the process of their mission, they will regard all worldly ordeals and agonies too small to care about.
There are simple facts that emanate from this blessed Journey, and flow along into the flowery garden of the Prophetic biography; peace and blessings of Allâh be upon its author, Muhammad. The story of ‘the Night Journey’ as we see in the Noble Qur’ân is epitomised in the first verse of the Sûrah Isra’(Chapter 17 – The Jourby Night) then there is a quick shift to uncover the shameful deeds and crimes of the Jews, followed by an admonition saying that the Qur’ân guides to that which is most just and right. This arrangement is not in fact a mere coincidence.
Jerusalem was the first scene of the Night Journey, and here lies the message directed to the Jews and which explicitly suggested that they would be discharged of the office of leadership of mankind due to the crimes they had perpetrated and which no longer justified their occupation of that office. The message suggested explicitly that the office of leadership would be reinstituted by the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) to hold in his hand both headquarters of the Abrahamic Faith, the Holy Sanctuary in Makkah and the Farthest Mosque in Jerusalem.
It was high time for the spiritual authority to be transferred from a nation whose history got pregnant with treachery, covenant-breaching and aggression to another nation blessed with piety, and dutifulness to Allâh, with a Messenger who enjoys the privilege of the Qur’ânic Revelation, which leads to that which is best and right. There, however, remains a crucial question waiting to be answered: How could this foreseen transition of authority be effected while the champion himself (Muhammad) was left deserted and forsaken stumbling in the hillocks of Makkah?
This question per se uncovered the secrets of another issue which referred to a phase of the Islamic Call and the appearance of another role it was about to take up, different in its course and noble in its approaches. The forerunners of that new task took the shape of Qur’ânic verses smacking of direct and unequivocal warning accompanied by a severe ultimatum directed to the polytheists and their agents:
“And when We decide to destroy a town (population), We (first) send a definite order (to obey Allâh and be righteous) to those among them [ or We (first) increase in number those of its population] who are given the good things of this life. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against it (them). Then We destroy it with complete destruction. And how many generations (past nations) have We destroyed after Noah! And Sufficient is your Lord as an All-Knower and All-Beholder of the sins of His slaves.” [17:16, 17]
Together with these verses, there were others revealed to show the Muslims the rules and items of the civilization upon which they could erect their Muslim community, and foreshadowing their ownership of a piece of land, exercising full freedom over it and establishing a coherent society around whose axis the whole humanity would rotate.
Those verses in reality implied better prospects for the Prophet (Peace be upon him) comprising a secure shelter to settle in, and headquarters safe enough to empower and embolden him to communicate his Message to all the world at large; that was in fact the inner secret of that blessed journey. For this very wisdom and the like we deem it appropriate to suggest that ‘the Night Journey’ took place either before the First Pledge of ‘Aqabah or between the two; after all, Allâh knows best.
Chapter | 18
The First Aqabah Pledge
We have already spoken about six Madinese who embraced Islam in the pilgrimage season in the eleventh year of Prophethood. They promised to communicate the Message of Islam to their townsfolk. The following year, on the occasion of the pilgrimage, there came a group of twelve disciples ready to acknowledge Muhammad as their Prophet. The group of men comprised five of the six who had met the Prophet (Peace be upon him) the year before, the sixth who stayed away was Jabir bin ‘Abdullah bin Reyab, the other seven were:
- Mu‘adh bin Al-Harith, Ibn ‘Afra, from Khazraj.
- Dhakwan bin ‘Abd Al-Qais, from Khazraj.
- ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit, from Khazraj.
- Yazeed bin Tha‘labah, from Khazraj.
- ‘Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Ubadah bin Nadalah, from Khazraj.
- Abul Haitham bin At-Taihan, from Aws.
- ‘Uwaim bin Sa‘idah, from Aws.
They avowed their faith in Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as a Prophet and swore: “We will not worship any one but one Allah; we will not steal; neither will we commit adultery, nor kill our children; we will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood and we will not disobey you in any just matter.” When they had taken the pledge, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “He who carries it out, Allâh will reward him; and who neglects anything and is afflicted in this world, it may prove redemption for him in the Hereafter; and if the sin remains hidden from the eyes of the men and no grief comes to him, then his affair is with Allâh. He may forgive him or He may not.”
The Muslim Envoy In Madinah:
After the Pledge (in the form of an oath had been taken) the Prophet (Peace be upon him) sent to Yathrib (Madinah) Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair Al-‘Abdari, (May Allah be pleased with him) the first Muslim ‘ambassador’ to teach the people there the doctrines of Islam, give them practical guidance and make attempts at propagating the Islam among those who still professed polytheism. As‘ad bin Zurarah hosted him in Madinah.
So prepared was the ground, and so zealous the propagation that the Islam spread rapidly from house to house and from tribe to tribe. There were various cheerful and promising aspects of success that characterized Mus‘ab’s task. One day Mus‘ab and As‘ad were on their way to the habitations of Bani ‘Abd Al-Ashhal and Bani Zafar, when they went into the premises of the latter clan.
There they sat near a well conversing with some new converts. Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh and Usaid bin Hudair, chiefs of the two clans heard of this meeting, so Usaid approached the Muslims armed with his lance while the other Sa‘d excused himself on grounds that As‘ad was his maternal cousin. Usaid came closer cursing and swearing and accused the two men of befooling people weak of heart, and ordered that they stop it altogether.
Mus‘ab calmly invited him to sit saying, “If you are pleased with our talk, you can accept it; should you hold it in abhorrence, you could freely immunize yourself against what you hate.” “That’s fair,” said Usaid, pierced his lance in the sand, listened to Mus‘ab and then heard some verses of the Noble Qur’ân. His face bespoke satisfaction and pleasure before uttering any words of approval. He asked the two men about the procedures pertinent to embracing Islam.
They asked him to observe washing, purge his garment, bear witness to the Truth and then perform two Rak‘a. He responded and did exactly what he was asked to do, and then said there was a man (Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh) whose people would never hang back if he followed the Islam. He then left to see Sa‘d and his people. Sa‘d could immediately understand that Usaid had changed. To a question posed by Sa‘d, Usaid said that two men were ready to comply with whatever orders they received. He then managed a certain situation that provided the two men with a chance to talk with Sa‘d privately.
The previous scene with Usaid recurred and Sa‘d embraced Islam, and directly turned to his people swearing that he would never talk with them until they had believed in Allâh, and in His Messenger. Hardly did the evening of that day arrive when all the men and women of that sept of Arabians embraced Islam with the exception of one, Al-Usairim, who hung back until the Day of Uhud. On that day he embraced Islam and fought the polytheists but was eventually killed before observing any prostration in the way of prayer.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) commented saying: “He has done a little but his reward is great.”Mus‘ab stayed in Madinah carrying out his mission diligently and successfully until all the houses of Al-Ansar (the future Helpers) had Muslims elements, men and women. One family only stood obdurate to the Islamic Da‘wah (Call). They were under the influence of the poet Qais bin Al-Aslat, who managed to hold them at bay and screen off the Call of Islam from their ears until the year 5 A.H.
Shortly before the approach of the following pilgrimage season, i.e. the thirteenth year of Prophethood, Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair returned to Makkah carrying to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) glad tidings about the new fertile soil ofIslam in Madinah, and its environment rich in the prospects of good, and the power and immunity that that city was bound to provide to the cause of Islam.
The Second Aqabah Pledge
The next year, thirteenth of Prophethood, June 622 A.D., during the pilgrimage season, over seventy converts from Madinah came in the trail of their polytheist people to perform the rituals of pilgrimage in Makkah. The oft-repeated question amongst them was “Isn’t it high time we protect Muhammad instead of leaving him forsaken, deserted and stumbling in the hillocks of Makkah?” Shortly after arrival, they conducted clandestine contacts with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and agreed to meet him secretly at night in mid Tashreeq Days (the 11th, 12th and 13th days of Dhul Hijja) in a hillock at Al-‘Aqabah, the last year’s meeting place.
One of the leaders of the Ansâr (Helpers), Ka‘b bin Malik Al-Ansari (May Allah be pleased with him), gave an account of the historic meeting which changed the whole course of the struggle between Islam and paganism, he said:
We set out for pilgrimage and struck a rendezvous in mid Tashreeq Days. We were accompanied by a celebrity and a notable of ours called ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Haram, who was still a polytheist. We disclosed to him our intention of meeting Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and exhorted him to join our ranks and give up polytheism lest he should serve as wood for Hell in the Hereafter. He promptly embraced Islam and witnessed the serious meeting at Al-‘Aqabah.
That very night we slept with our people in our camps. After a third of the night had elapsed, we began to leave stealthily and met in a hillock nearby. We were seventy three men and two women Nusaibah bint Ka‘b from the Najjars and Asma’ bint ‘Amr from Bani Salamah. We waited for the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) until he came in the company of his uncle Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib who (though himself not a Muslim), adjured us not to draw his nephew away from the protection of his own kindred unless we were fully prepared to defend him even at the risk of our lives. He was the first to speak:
“O you people of the Khazraj – the Arabs used to call the Ansâr (Helpers) Khazraj, whether from Khazraj or Aws – you all know the position that Muhammad holds among us. We have protected him from our people as much as we could. He is honoured and respected among his people. He refuses to join any party except you. So if you think you can carry out what you promise while inviting him to your town, and if you can defend him against the enemies, then assume the burden that you have taken.
But if you are going to surrender him and betray him after having taken him away with you, you had better leave him now because he is respected and well defended in his own place.” Ka‘b replied: “We have heard your words, and now O Messenger of Allâh, it is for you to speak and take from us any pledge that you want regarding your Lord and yourself.”
It was a definite stance showing full determination, courage and deep faith to shoulder the daunting responsibility and bear its serious consequences. The Messenger of Allâh then preached the Faith, and the pledge was taken. Al-Imam Ahmad, on the authority of Jabir, gave the following details:
The Ansâr (Helpers) asked the Messenger of Allâh about the principles over which they would take a pledge. The Prophet answered:
- To listen and obey in all sets of circumstances.
- To spend in plenty as well as in scarcity.
- To enjoin good and forbid evil.
- In Allâh’s service, you will fear the censure of none.
- To defend me in case I seek your help, and debar me from anything you debar yourself, your spouses and children from. And if you observe those precepts, Paradise is in store for you. In another version narrated by Ka‘b, he said:
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) began to speak, recited some Qur’ânic verses, called people unto Allâh, exhorted them to enter the fold of Islam and concluded saying: “I give you my pledge that you debar me from whatever you debar your women and children from.” Here Al-Bara’ bin Ma‘rur, caught him by hand, and said: “Oh yes, we swear by Allâh, Who sent you as a Prophet in Truth, that we will debar you from whatever we debar our women from. Have confidence in us, O Messenger of Allâh. By Allâh, we are genuine fighters and quite reliable in war, it is a trait passed down to us from our ancestors.”
Then ‘Abul Haitham At-Taihan interrupted and said: “O Prophet of Allâh! Between us and the Jews, there are agreements which we would then sever. If Allâh grants you power and victory, should we expect that you would not leave us, and join the ranks of your people (meaning Quraish)?” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) smiled and replied:
“Nay, it would never be; your blood will be my blood. In life and death I will be with you and you with me. I will fight whom you fight and I will make peace with those with whom you make peace.” After the negotiations concerning the conditions of allegiance had ended, and all of the audience were unanimously agreed to ratify it, two men of the early generation of converts who had embraced Islam in the eleventh and twelfth years rose to their feet to apprise the others of the serious step they were about to take so that they could give their pledge fully aware of the whole affair and consequently be ready for the sacrifice they were expected to make. Al ‘Abbas bin Ubada bin Nadlah, in this context, remarked:
“O you people of Khazraj! Do you know the significance of the pact that you are entering into with this man? You are in fact avowing that you will fight against all and sundry. If you fear that your property will be at stake or the lives of your nobles will be endangered, then leave him now, because if you do this after the pledge, it will be degrading for you both in this world and the world to come. But if you think that you can carry out what you are called upon to do in spite of the loss of precious lives and property, then undertake this heavy responsibility, and I swear by Allâh, that herein lies the good of this world and that of the next.”
They replied, “We have already considered the loss of property and the murder of our notables, yet we pay him allegiance. But what is our reward if we observe all the items of this pact?” The Prophet replied: “Paradise is in store for you.” Then they asked him to stretch out his hand, and they all stretched out their hands and took the pledge. Only at that time did As‘ad bin Zurarah come to realize the people’s readiness for sacrifice in the cause of Allâh.
On the authority of Jabir, who said: “When we started to pay allegiance to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) , As‘ad bin Zurarah stood up and gave the following short address: “Take it easy people of Yathrib! We have not covered that long distance except because we have had deep belief that he (Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ) is the Messenger of Allâh. We are already convinced that following him entails departure from the pagan Arabs even if it were at the risk of our life.
Should you preserve in this course, holdfast to it, and your great reward is placed in the Hand of Allâh, but if you are caught in fear, I admonish you to give it up just now, and then you would be more excusable by Allâh.” With respect to the two women, the pledge was taken orally for the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had never shaken hands with a strange lady. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) then asked the group to appoint twelve deputies to preach Islam to their people in Madinah, to shoulder the responsibility of implementing the articles of this pledge and to guide the respective men of their own tribes in matters relating to the propagation of Islam.
The deputies elected were nine from Al-Khazraj: As‘ad bin Zurarah bin ‘Ads, Sa‘d bin Ar-Rabi‘ bin ‘Amr, ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah bin Tha‘labah, Rafi‘ bin Malik bin Al-‘Ajlan, Al-Bara’ bin Ma‘rur bin Sakhr, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Haram, ‘Ubadah bin As-Samit bin Qais, Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadah bin Dulaim and Al-Mundhir bin ‘Amr bin Khunais. Three others were from Al-Aws: Usaid bin Hudair bin Sammak, Sa‘d bin Khaithamah bin Al-Harith and Rifa‘a bin ‘Abdul Mundhir bin Zubair. Once again, those twelvemen were sworn to act as surety over the affairs of their people just as the Christ’s disciples did, and the Prophet would act as surety over his people, meaning all the Muslims.
Somehow or other, the news of these secret desert meetings with the Madinese leaked out. The Prophet immediately knew that it was a certain pudgy ugly devil, inhabited in Al-‘Aqabah, who discovered their meeting, and he threatened to settle his account with him as soon as possible. On hearing this, Al-‘Abbas bin Nadlah said “By Allâh, Who has sent you in Truth, we are powerful enough to put the people of Mina (the Quraishites) to our swords tomorrow, if you desire.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said “We have not been commanded to follow that course. Now, back to your camps.” They went back to sleep till morning.
No sooner did Quraish hear of this treaty than a kind of trouble-provoking tumult began to mushroom in all directions. They realized quite fully that an allegiance of this sort is bound to produce far-reaching ramifications of direct impact on their lives and wealth. The following day, a large delegation comprising the leaders and arch-criminals of Makkah set out for the camp of the Madinese to protest severely against the treaty. They addressed the Madinese: “O people of Khazraj, it transpired to us that you have come here to conclude a treaty with this man (Muhammad) and evacuate him out of Makkah.
By Allâh, we do really hold in abhorrence any sort of fight between you and us.” The Madinese polytheists having known nothing about the secretly taken pledge, began to swear by Allâh and answered in good faith that there was no truth in the report. ‘Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul, a Madinese polytheist, refuted their allegations denouncing them as null and void, claiming that his people would never initiate anything unless he gave them clear orders. The Madinese Muslims, however, remained silent neither negating nor confirming.
The Quraishite leaders seemed to be almost convinced by the arguments presented by the polytheists, and went back home frustrated. However, they did not fully acquiesce in the words they heard. They began to scrutinize the smallest details, and trace the minutest news till it was established beyond a shadow of doubt that the pact did take place, but that was after the Madinese pilgrims had left Makkah. In a fit of rage, they pursued the pilgrims but did not succeed in catching hold of anyone except Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadah.
They subjected him to unspeakable tortures, but he was later rescued by Al-Mut‘im bin ‘Adi and Harith bin Harb bin Omaiya with whom he had trade relations. That is the story of the Second ‘Aqabah Pledge, later known as the Great ‘Aqabah Pledge, effected in an atmosphere of love, allegiance and mutual support between Madinese believers and weak Makkan Muslims. This new spirit of affection, rapport and cooperation could never be attributable to a fleeing whim, on the contrary, it totally derived from an already deeply-established approach, viz.
Belief in Allâh, His Messenger and His Book. It was a Belief so rooted in the selves that it managed to stand immune to all powers of injustice and aggression, and could be translated into miracles in the practical aspects of action and ideology pursuit. That sort of Belief was the real instrument for the Muslims to record in the annals of history unprecedented breakthroughs. We are also sure that the future will always remain wanting as regards those great achievements carried out by those great men.
The Vanguad of Migration (In the Cause of Allâh)
After the endorsement of the Second ‘Aqabah Pledge and the establishment of a petite Muslim state in a vast desert surging with disbelief and ignorance — the most serious gain in terms of Islam, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) gave his leave for the Muslims to migrate to Madinah, the nascent Muslim state.
Migration to Madinah, in terms of personal interests, was no more than material waste and sacrifice of wealth, all in return for personal safety only. Even here, the migrant could not expect full security; he was liable to be robbed or even killed either at the beginning or end of his departure. The future was foggy, pregnant with various unpredictable sorts of sorrows and crises.
Bearing all this in mind, the Muslims began to migrate, while the polytheists spared no effort in hindering and debarring them, knowing beforehand that such a move implied unimaginable threats and unthinkable destructive dangers to their whole society:
1: The first one to migrate was Abu Salamah, a year before the Great ‘Aqabah Pledge. When he had made up his mind to leave Makkah, his in-laws, in a desperate attempt to raise obstacles, detained his wife and snatched his son and dislocated his hand. Umm Salamah, after the departure of her husband and the loss of her son spent a year by herself weeping and lamenting. A relative of hers eventually had pity on her and exhorted the others to release her son and let her join her husband. She then set out on a journey of 500 kilometres with no help whatsoever. At a spot called At-Tan‘im, ‘Uthman bin Talhah came across her and offered to give her a ride to Madinah. She, along with her son, joined Abu Salamah in the village of Quba’, a suburb of Madinah.
2: Another instance of the atrocities of the polytheist Makkans, as regards migration, is Suhaib. This man expressed his wish to migrate and of course this was a source of indignation to the disbelievers. They began to insult him claiming that he had come into Makkah as a worthless tramp, but their town was gracious enough and thanks to them he managed to make a lot of money and become wealthy. They gave orders that he would not leave. Seeing this, he offered to give away all his wealth to them. They eventually agreed to release him on that condition. The Prophet heard this story and commented on it saying:
“Suhaib is the winner, after all.”
3: Then, there was the story of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, ‘Ayyash bin Abi Rabi‘a and Hisham bin Al-‘Asi, who agreed to meet at a certain place one morning in order to leave for Madinah; ‘Umar and ‘Ayyash came but Hisham was detained by the Makkans. Shortly afterwards Abu Jahl, and his brother Al-Harith came to Madinah to see their third brother ‘Ayyash. They cunningly tried to touch the most sensitive area in man, i.e. his relation with his mother.
They addressed him claiming that his mother had sworn she would never comb her hair, nor shadeherself off the sun unless she had seen him. ‘Ayyash took pity on his mother, but ‘Umar was intelligent enough to understand that they wanted to entice ‘Ayyash away from Islam so he cautioned him against their tricks, and added “your mother would comb her hair if lice pestered her, and would shade herself off if the sun of Makkah got too hot for her.”
These words notwithstanding, ‘Ayyash was determined to go and see his mother, so ‘Umar gave him his manageable docile camel advising him to stick to its back because it would provide rescue for him if he perceived anything suspicious on their part. The party of three then set forth towards Makkah. As soon as they covered part of the distance, Abu Jahl complained about his camel and requested ‘Ayyash to allow him to ride behind him on his camel. When they knelt down to the level of the ground, the two polytheists fell upon ‘Ayyash and tied him.
They rode on into Makkah shouting at people to follow their example with respect to ‘fools’ These are just three self-explanatory models of the Makkans’ reaction towards anyone intending to migrate. Nevertheless, the believers still managed to escape in successive groups and so rapidly that within two months of the Second ‘Aqabah Pledge, entire quarters of Makkah were deserted. Almost all the followers of Muhammad had migrated to their new abode, except Abu Bakr, ‘Ali, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself, and those helpless noble souls who had been detained in confinement or were unable to escape.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) , together with Abu Bakr and ‘Ali, had made all the necessary preparations for migration but was waiting for leave from his Lord.
It is noteworthy that most of the Mwho had migrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), came back to Madinah to join the rest of the Muslims there. The situation was no doubt critical in Makkah but Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was not at all perturbed. Abu Bakr was, however, urging the Prophet to depart from that town. He was also eagerly waiting for an opportunity to accompany Muhammad (Peace be upon him) on this eventful journey.
But the Prophet told him that the time had not yet come; the Lord had not given him the command to migrate. In anticipation of the Command of Allâh, Abu Bakr had made preparations for the journey. He had purchased two swift camels and had fed them properly for four months so that they could successively stand the ordeals of the long desert journey.
In An-Nadwah (Council) House
The Parliament of Quraish
The polytheists were paralysed by the carefully planned and speedy movement of Muhammad’s followers towards their new abode in Madinah. They were caught in unprecedented anxiety and got deeply worried over their whole pagan and economic entity. They already experienced Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as an influential leader; and his followers as determined, decent and always ready to sacrifice all they had for the sake of the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him).
Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj tribes, the would-be-hosts of the Makkan Muslims, were also known in Arabia for their might and power in war, and judicious and sensible approach in peace. They were also averse to rancour and prejudice for they themselves had had bitter days of inter-tribal warfare. Madinah , itself, the prospective headquarters of the ever-growing Islamic Call, enjoyed the most serious strategic position.
It commanded the commercial routes leading to Makkah whose people used to deal in about a quarter of a million gold dinar-worth commodities every year. Security of the caravan routes was crucial for the perpetuity of prosperous economic life. All those factors borne in mind, the polytheists felt they were in the grip of a serious threat. They, therefore, began to seek the most effective method that could avert this imminent danger. They convened a meeting on Thursday, 26th Safar, the year fourteen of Prophethood – 12th September 622 A.D., i.e. two and a half months after the Great ‘Aqabah Pledge.
On that day, “the Parliament of Makkah” held the most serious meeting ever, with one item on the agenda: How to take effective measures with a view to stopping that tidal wave.
Delegates representing all the Quraishite tribes attended the meeting, the most significant of whom were:
- Abu Jahl bin Hisham, from Bani Makhzum;
- Jubair bin Mut‘im, Tuaima bin ‘Adi, and Al-Harith bin ‘Amir representing Bani Naufal bin ‘Abd Munaf;
- Rabi‘a’s two sons Shaibah and ‘Utbah besides Abu Sufyan bin Harb from Bani ‘Abd Shams bin ‘Abd Munaf;
- An-Nadr bin Al-Harith (who had besmeared the Prophet (Peace be upon him) with animal entrails) to speak for Bani ‘Abd Ad-Dar;
- Abul Bukhtary bin Hisham, Zama‘a bin Al-Aswad and Hakeem bin Hizam to represent Bani Asad bin ‘Abd Al-‘Uzza;
- Al-Hajjaj’s two sons Nabih and Munbih from Bani Sahm;
- Omaiyah bin Khalaf from Bani Jumah.
On their way to An-Nadwah House, Iblis (Satan) in the guise of a venerable elderly man standing at the door interrupted their talk and introduced himself as a man from Najd curious enough to attend the meeting, listen to the debate and wish them success to reach a sound opinion. He was readily admitted in.
There was a lengthy debate and several proposals were put forward. Expulsion from Makkah was proposed and debated in turn but finally turned down on grounds that his sweet and heart-touching words could entice the other Arabs to attack them in their own city. Imprisonment for life was also debated but also refused for fear that his followers might increase in number, overpower them and release him by force. At this point, the arch-criminal of Makkah, Abu Jahl bin Hisham suggested that they assassinate him.
But assassination by one man would have exposed him and his family to the vengeance of blood. The difficulty was at last solved by Abu Jahl himself, who suggested that a band of young men, one from each tribe, should strike Muhammad simultaneously with their swords so that the blood-money would be spread over them all and therefore could not be exacted, and his people would seek a mind-based recourse for settlement. The sinful proposal was unanimously accepted, and the representatives broke up the meeting and went back home with full determination for immediate implementation.
Chapter | 20
Migration of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) :
When the iniquitous decision had been made, Gabriel was sent down to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to reveal to him Quraish’s plot and give him his Lord’s Permission to leave Makkah. He fixed to him the time of migration and asked him not to sleep that night in his usual bed. At noon, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) went to see his Companion Abu Bakr and arranged with him everything for the intended migration.
Abu Bakr was surprised to see the Prophet (Peace be upon him) masked coming to visit him at that unusual time, but he soon learned that Allâh’s Command had arrived, and he proposed that they should migrate together, to which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) gave his consent. To make the necessary preparations for the implementation of their devilish plan, the chiefs of Makkah had chosen eleven men: Abu Jahl, Hakam bin Abil Al-‘As, ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu‘ait, An-Nadr bin Harith, Omaiyah bin Khalaf, Zama‘a bin Al-Aswad, Tu‘aima bin ‘Adi, Abu Lahab, Ubai bin Khalaf, Nabih bin Al-Hajjaj and his brother Munbih bin Al-Hajjaj.
All were on the alert. As night advanced, they posted assassins around the Prophet’s house. Thus they kept vigil all night long, waiting to kill him the moment he left his house early in the morning, peeping now and then through a hole in the door to make sure that he was still lying in his bed. Abu Jahl, the great enemy of Islam, used to walk about haughtily and arrogantly jeering at Muhammad’s words, saying to the people around him: “Muhammad claims that if you follow him, he will appoint you rulers over the Arabs and non-Arabs and in the Hereafter your reward will be Gardens similar to those in Jordan, otherwise, he will slaughter you and after death you will be burnt in fire.”
He was too confident of the success of his devilish plan. Allâh, the All-Mighty, however, in Whose Hands lie the sovereignty of the heavens and earth, does what He desires; He renders succour and can never be overpowered. He did exactly what He later said to His Prophet:
“And (remember) when the disbelievers plotted against you [O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)] to imprison you, or to kill you, or to get you out (from your home, i.e. Makkah); they were plotting and Allâh too was planning, and Allâh is the Best of the planners.” [8:30]
At that critical time the plans of Quraish utterly failed despite the tight siege they laid to the Prophet’s house, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and ‘Ali were inside the house. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) told ‘Ali to sleep in his bed and cover himself with his green mantle and assured him full security under Allâh’s protection and told him that no harm would come to him. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) then came out of the room and cast a handful of dust at the assassins and managed to work his way through them reciting verses of the Noble Qur’ân:
“And We have put a barrier before them, and a barrier behind them, and We have covered them up, so that they cannot see.” [36:9]
He proceeded direct to the house of Abu Bakr who, immediately accompanied him and both set out southwards, clambered up the lofty peak of Mountain Thawr, and decided to take refuge in a cave. The assassins who laid siege to the house were waiting for the zero hour when someone came and informed them that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had already left. They rushed in and to their utter surprise, found that the person lying in the Prophet’s bed was ‘Ali not Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
This created a stir in the whole town. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) had thus left his house on Safar 27th, the fourteenth year of Prophethood, i.e. 12/13 September 622 A.D. Knowing already that Quraish would mobilize all its potentials to find him, he played a clever trick on them and instead of taking the road to Madinah in north side of Makkah as the polythiest would expect, he walked along a road least expected lying south of Makkah and leading to Yemen. He walked for 5 miles until he reached a rough rocky mountain called Thawr.
There his shoes were worn out, some said he used to walk tiptoe in order not to leave a trail behind him. Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) carried him up the mountain to a cave called after the name of the mountain, Cave Thawr. Abu Bakr first entered to explore the cave and be sure that it was safe, closed all holes with pieces torn off from his clothes, cleaned it and then asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to step in. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) went in and immediately laid his head in Abu Bakr’s lap and fell asleep.
Suddenly Abu Bakr’s foot was stung by a poisonous insect. It hurt so much that his tears fell on the Prophet’s face. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) immediately applied his saliva on Abu Bakr’s foot and the pain went off on the spot. They confined themselves to this cave for three nights, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. ‘Abdullah, the son of Abu Bakr would go to see them after dusk, stay the night there, apprise them of the latest situation in Makkah, and then leave in the early morning to mix with the Makkans as usual and not to draw the least attention to his clandestine activities.
‘Amir bin Fuhairah, while in the company of other shepherds of Makkah tending his master Abu Bakr’s flock, used to stole away unobserved every evening with a few goats to the cave and furnished its inmates with a plentiful supply of milk. Quraish, on the other hand, were quite baffled and exasperated when the news of the escape of the two companions was confirmed. They brought ‘Ali to Al-Ka‘bah, beat him brutally and confined him there for an hour attempting desperately to make him divulge the secret of the disappearance of the two ‘fugitives’, but to no avail.
They then went to see Asma’, Abu Bakr’s daughter, but here also their attempts went in vain. While at her door Abu Jahl slapped the girl so severely that her earring broke up. The notables of Makkah convened an emergency session to determine the future course of action and explore all areas that could help arrest the two men.
They decided to block all avenues leading out of Makkah and imposed heavy armed surveillance over all potential exits. A price of 100 camels was set upon the head of each one. Horsemen, infantry and tracers of tracks scoured the country. Once they even reached the mouth of the cave where the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr were hiding.
When he saw the enemy at a very close distance, Abu Bakr whispered to the Prophet (Peace be upon him): “What, if they were to look through the crevice and detect us?” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) in his God-inspired calm replied:
“Silence Abu Bakr! What do you think of those two with whom the Third is Allâh.”
It was really a Divine miracle, the chasers were only a few steps from the cave. For three days Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr lived in the cave and Quraish continued their frantic efforts to get hold of them. Someone called ‘Abdullah bin Uraiquit, who had as yet not embraced Islam, but was trusted by Abu Bakr, and had been hired by him as a guide, reached the cave after three nights according to a plan bringing with him Abu Bakr’s two camels. His report satisfied the noble ‘fugitives’ that the search had slackened.
The opportunity to depart was come. Here Abu Bakr offered the Prophet (Peace be upon him) the swift animal to ride on. The latter agreed provided that he would pay its price. They took with them the food provisions that Asma’, daughter of Abu Bakr, brought and tied in a bundle of her waistband, after tearing it into two parts, hence the appellation attached to her: “Asma’ of the two waistbands.”
The Prophet (Peace be upon him), Abu Bakr and ‘Amir bin Fuhairah departed, and their guide ‘Abdullah bin Uraiquit led them on hardly ever trodden ways along the coastal route. That was in Rabi‘ Al-Awwal, 1st year A.H., i.e. September 622 A.D. The little caravan travelled through many villages on their way to Quba’. In this context, it is relevant to introduce some interesting incidents that featured their wearying journey:
1: One day they could find no shelter from the scorching heat so Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) cast a glance and found a little shade beside a rock. He cleaned the ground, spread his mantle for the Prophet(Peace be upon him) to lie on and himself went off in search of food. He came across a shepherd, a bedouin boy, who was also seeking a shelter. Abu Bakr asked him for some milk and took it to the Prophet (Peace be upon him), cooled it with some water and waited till the Prophet (Peace be upon him) woke up and quenched his thirst.
2: Whoever asked Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) about the identity of his honourable companion, he would reply that he was a man who guided him on his way. The questioner would think that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was a guide, in terms of roads, whereas Abu Bakr used to mean guide to the way of righteousness.
3: Quraish, as we have already mentioned, had declared that whoever would seize Muhammad (Peace be upon him) would receive a hundred camels as reward. This had spurred many persons to try their luck. Among those who were on the lookout for the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companion in order to win the reward was Suraqah, the son of Malik.
He, on receiving information that a party of four, had been spotted on a certain route, decided to pursue it secretly so that he alone should be the winner of the reward. He mounted a swift horse and went in hot pursuit of them. On the way the horse stumbled and he fell on the ground. On drawing a lot so as to divine whether he should continue the chase or not, as the Arabs used to do in such circumstances, he found the omens unpropitious.
But the lust for material wealth blinded him altogether and he resumed the chase. Once more he met with the same fate but paid no heed to it. Again he jumped onto the saddle and galloped at a break-neck speed till he came quite close to the Prophet (Peace be upon him). Abu Bakr’s heart agitated and he kept looking back while the Prophet (Peace be upon him) remained steadfast and continued reciting verses of the Qur’ân.
The repeated stumbling of Suraqah’s horse and his falling off awakened him to the situation, and he realized that it was a constant warning of Allâh for his evil design which he contemplated against the Prophet (Peace be upon him). He approached the travelling group with a penitent heart and begged of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) forgiveness in all humility. He addressed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companion, saying: “Your people (the Quraishites) have promised a generous reward to anyone who captures you.”
He added that he offered them provision but they declined his offer. They only asked him to screen off their departure and blind the polytheists to their hiding place. Then the Prophet (Peace be upon him) forgave him and confirmed it with a token written by ‘Amir bin Fuhairah on a piece of parchment. Suraqah hurried back to Makkah and tried to foil the attempts of those who were in pursuit of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his noble companions. The sworn enemy was converted into an honest believer.
In a version by Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him), he said: “We emigrated while the Makkans were in pursuit of us. None caught up with us except Suraqah bin Malik bin Ju‘sham on a horse. I said: ‘O Messenger of Allâh, this one has caught up with us.’ The Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied:
‘Don’t be cast down, verily, Allâh is with us.’”
4: The party continued its journey until it reached to solitary tents belonging to a woman called Umm Ma‘bad Al-Khuza‘iyah. She was a gracious lady who sat at her tent-door with a mat spread out for any chance traveller that might pass by the way. Fatigued and thirsty, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companions wanted to refresh themselves with food and some milk. The lady told them that the flock was out in the pasture and the goat standing nearby was almost dry. It was a rainless year.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him), with her permission, touched its udders, reciting over them the Name of Allâh, and to their great joy, there flowed plenty of milk out of them. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) first offered that to the lady of the house, and he shared what was left with the members of the party. Before he left, he milked the goat, filled the container and gave it to Umm Ma‘bad. Later on, her husband arrived with slender goats hardly having any milk in their udders. He was astonished to see milk in the house.
His wife told him that a blessed man passed by the way, and then she gavedetails about his physical appearance and manner of talk. Here Abu Ma‘bad realized on the spot that the man was the one whom Quraish were searching for and asked her to give full description of him. She gave a wonderful account of his physique and manners, to which we will go in detail later in the process of talking about his attributes and merits.
Abu Ma‘bad, after listening to his wife’s account, expressed a sincere wish to accompany the Prophet (Peace be upon him) whenever that was possible, and reiterated his admiration in verses of poetry that echoed all over Makkah to such an extent that the people therein thought it was a jinn inculcating words in their ears. Asma’, daughter of Abu Bakr, on hearing those lines, got to know that the two companions were heading for Madinah .
The short poem opened with thanks giving to Allâh having given them (the Ma‘bads) the chance to host the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for a while. It then gave an account of the bliss that would settle in the heart of the Prophet’s companion whosoever he was; it closed with an invitation to all mankind to come and see by themselves Umm Ma‘bad, her goat and the container of milk that would all testify to the truthfulness of the Prophet (Peace be upon him).
5: On his way to Madinah , the Prophet (Peace be upon him) met Abu Buraidah, one of those driven by their lust for the reward of Quraish. No sooner did he face the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and talk with him, than he embraced Islam along with seventy of his men. He took off his turban, tied it round his lance and took it as a banner bearing witness that the angel of security and peace had come to imbue the whole world with justice and fairness.
6: The two Emigrants resumed their journey. It was during this time that they met Az-Zubair at the head of a caravan returning from Syria. There was warm greeting and Az-Zubair presented to them two white garments which they thankfully accepted. On Monday, 8th Rabi‘ Al-Awwal, the fourteenth year of Prophethood, i.e. September 23rd. 622, the Messenger of Allâh arrived at Quba’. As soon as the news of Muhammad’s arrival began to spread, crowds came flocking out of Madinah .
They would come every morning and wait eagerly for his appearance until forced by the unbearable heat of the midday sun to return. One day they had gone as usual, and after a long wait and watch they retired to the city when a Jew, catching a glimpse of three travellers clad in white winding their way to Madinah , shouted from the top of a hillock: “O you people of Arabia! Your grandfather has come! He, whom you have been eagerly waiting for, has come!” The Muslims immediately rushed holding their weapons, (to defend him). The joyful news soon spread through the city and people marched forward to greet their noble guest.
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “The shouts of ‘Allâhu Akbar’ (Allâh is Great) resounded in Banu ‘Amr bin ‘Auf. Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) elation correspondingly increased, but with rare sense of timing and propriety, called a halt. Serenity enveloped him and theٌ evelation was sent down:
“… then verily, Allâh is his Maula (Lord, Master or Protector), and Gabriel, and the righteous among the believers, – and furthermore, the angels – are his helpers.” [66:4]
‘Urwah bin Az-Zubair said: They received the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him), and went with them to the right. There Banu ‘Amr bin ‘Awf hosted him. That was on Monday, Rabi‘ Al-Awwal. He sat down silent, and Al-Ansar (the Helpers), who had not had the opportunity to see him before, came in to greet him: It is said that the sun became too hot so Abu Bakr stood up to shade him from the hot sun rays. It was really an unprecedented day in Madinah . The Jews could perceive concretely the veracity of their Prophet Habquq, who said: ‘God has come from At-Taiman, and the Qudus one from Faran Mount.’
Muhammad (Peace be upon him) stayed in Quba’ with Kulthum bin Al-Hadm, a hospitable chief of the tribe of ‘Amr bin ‘Awf. Here he spent four days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday . It was during this period that the foundation of Quba’ Mosque was laid on the basis of pure piety. ‘Ali hung back in Makkah for three days to return the trusts, on behalf of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), to their respective owners. After that he started his emigration journey to catch up with him at Quba’.
On Friday morning, the Prophet (Peace be upon him), sent for Bani An-Najjar, his maternal uncles, to come and escort him and Abu Bakr to Madinah . He rode towards the new headquarters amidst thecordial greetings of his Madinese followers who had lined his path. He halted at a place in the vale of Banu Salim and there he performed his Friday prayer with a hundred others. Meanwhile the tribes and families of Madinah , the new name for Yathrib and a short form of ‘The Messenger’s Madinah (City)’, came streaming forth, and vied with one another in inviting the noble visitor to their homes.
The girls of the Madinese used to chant beautiful verses of welcome rich in all meanings of obedience and dutifulness to the new Messenger. Though not wealthy, every Ansar (Helper) was wholeheartedly eager and anxious to receive the Messenger in his house. It was indeed a triumphal procession.
Around the camel of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his immediate followers, rode the chiefs of the city in their best raiment and in glittering armour, everyone saying: “Alight here O Messenger of Allâh, abide by us.” Muhammad (Peace be upon him) used to answer everyone courteously and kindly: “This camel is commanded by Allâh, wherever it stops, that will be my abode.” The camel moved onward with slackened rein, reached the site of the Prophetic Mosque and knelt down. He did not dismount until it rose up again, went on forward, turned back and then returned to kneel down in the very former spot.
Here, he alighted in a quarter inhabited by Banu Najjar, a tribe related to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) from the maternal side. In fact, it was his wish to honour his maternal uncles and live among them. The fortunate host, Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, stepped forward with unbounded joy for the Divine blessing appropriated to him, welcomed the Noble Guest and solicited him to enter his house.
A few days later, there arrived the Prophet’s spouse Sawdah, his two daughters Fatimah and Umm Kulthum, Usama bin Zaid, Umm Aiman, ‘Abdullah — son of Abu Bakr with Abu Bakr’s house-hold including ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her). Zainab was not able to emigrate and stayed with her husband Abi Al-‘As till Badr Battle.
‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: “When the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) arrived in Madinah , both Abu Bakr and Bilal fell ill. I used to attend to their needs. When the fever took firm grip of Abu Bakr he used to recite verses of poetry that smacked of near death; Bilal, when the fit of fever alleviated, would also recite verses of poetry that pointed to clear homesickness.” ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) added:
“I briefed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) on their grave situation, and he replied: O Allâh, we entreat You to establish in our hearts a strong love for Madinah equal to that we used to have for Makkah, or even more. O Allâh, bless and increase the wealth of Madinah and we beseech You to transmute its rotten mud into wholesome edible fat.”
Life In Madinah:
The Madinese era could be divided into three phases:
- The first phase was characterized by too much trouble and discord, and too many obstacles from within coupled by a hostile wave from without aiming at total extermination of the rising faith. It ended with Al-Hudaibiyah Peace Treaty in Dhul Qa‘da 6 A.H.
- The second phase featured a truce with the pagan leadership and ended in the conquest of Makkah in Ramadan 8 A.H. It also witnessed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) inviting kings beyond Arabia to enter the fold of Islam.
- In the third phase, people came to embrace Islam in hosts. Tribes and other folks arrived in Madinah to pay homage to the Prophet (Peace be upon him). It ended at the death of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in Rabi‘ Al-Awwal 11 A.H.