The Prophet’s Early Life Before Prophethood

The Prophet’s Early Life Before Prophethood

By Editorial Staff

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was an orphan who lived under the guardianship of his grandfather, ‘Abd al-Muttalib after his mother’s death. Few years later, his grandfather died. He, then, went to live with his paternal uncle, Abu Talib. Abu Talib used to defend Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him); however, he did not accept Islam. In general, there are several incidents, supported by authentic proofs from the Sunnah, happened before Muhammad’s prophethood. They include the following:

He worked as a shepherd:

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Every Prophet has tended sheep”. He was asked: “And did you?” He replied, “Yes, I tended them for a few carats for the Makkans.” (Al-Bukhari)

It is also very well-known that the Prophet (peace be upon him) worked as a merchant for Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) (look below: The Prophet’s marriage to Khadija)

The alliance of Al-Mutayyabin

There was a war between the tribes of Quraish and Kinana on the one side and the tribe of Qais ‘Ailan on the other. This was called Harb al-Fujjar (the sacrilegious war). All reports that state that Muhammad (peace be upon him) took part in this war are not authentic. However, there are authentic proofs denoting that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) participated in forming the alliance of al-Mutayyabin after the end of the war.

‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn ‘Awf reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I was present with my uncles at the alliance of the perfumed (Hilf al-Mutayyabin). I would not wish to break it, even for red camels.” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad) Al-Albany declared this hadith as authentic.

The tribes who entered the alliance agreed to defend the weak and the oppressed and to maintain justice. On the other hand, there was another alliance called Hilf Al-Fudul. The tribes who entered the two alliances are the same.

The Prophet’s marriage to Khadijah

Scholars agree that Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) was the first woman who the Prophet (peace be upon him) married. He did not marry any other woman until she had died. She enjoyed high status in Islam because of her well-known stances on lots of vital incidents. The prophet (peace be upon him) praised her for these stances. She was older than the Prophet (peace be upon him). Some scholars say she was 40 when the Prophet (peace be upon him) married her. Others say she was only 25. The latter opinion may be more preferred because she had two boys and four girls during her marriage. The sons are Al-Qasim and Abdullah. The daughters are Zainab, Um Kulthum, Fatima and Ruqayya.

She was the first woman/one to accept Islam. Moreover, Abu Bakr al-siddiq, was the first man to accept Islam. Ali ibn Abu Talib was the first boy to accept Islam.

All the reports that mention the details of the Prophet’s marriage to Khadija and how they got to know each other are very weak. There is a weak story about the very wealthy business woman Khadija who used to employ men to do her business. She wanted Muhammad (peace be upon him) to work for her because of his honesty. When the profits increased and Khadija’s servant, Maisarah, told her about Muhammad’s good manners and honesty, she liked him.

By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.

How did the divine revelation start?

Narrated ‘Aisha (The mother of the faithful believers): The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was in the form of good dreams which came true like bright daylight, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food likewise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira.

How did the Prophet worship Allah?

In this part of the Hadith, scholars interpret this as a sign that the teachings of Abraham (peace be upon him) were known among a few of the Arabs at that time. To support their opinion, they mention the story of Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufail who worshipped only one God, Allah during the time of the pre-Islamic period. Then, the Prophet (peace be upon him) worshipped Allah following the way of Abraham.

The Hadith goes on to say: The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet (ﷺ) replied, “I do not know how to read.” The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?’ Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said,

“Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists), created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.” (Quran 96:1-3)

Then Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, “Cover me! Cover me!” They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, “I fear that something may happen to me.”

Khadija replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.”

Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza, who, during the pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, “Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!” Waraqa asked, “O my nephew! What have you seen?”

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, “This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) asked, “Will they drive me out?” Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, “Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly.” But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while. (Al-Bukhari)

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Muhammad’s Birth and the Sacred Covenant

Muhammad’s Birth and the Sacred Covenant

By Editorial Staff

The Sacred Covenant

Messengers who Allah sent before Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told their peoples about Muhammad’s Prophethood and mission. Moreover, Allah described him in the Holy Scriptures previous to the Gracious Quran. A covenant was made between Allah and all prophets that if He sent Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) while they were alive, they would believe and support him. Allah says,

And behold! God made (a sacred) covenant with all the prophets, (saying: Convey to your people) whatever I give you of the Scripture and (of revealed) wisdom. Then when there comes to you a (final) messenger who confirms what is with (all of) you (in fulfillment of My promise- ardently) shall you believe in him and (ardently) shall you support him. (God) said: Do you pledge your consent and accept My solemn compact (to fulfill this trust)? They said: We do so consent. He said: Then bear you witness (to it)! For, indeed, I am with you among those who so bear witness. (Quran 3:81)

Abraham’s Supplication

After leaving Hagar and Ishmael at the place of the Sacred Mosque before it was built, Prophet Abraham (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) made the following supplication:

“Our Lord! And send forth among (our descendants) a messenger from their own (midst) who shall recite to them Your verses, and teach them the (revealed) Book and the (way of prophetic) wisdom, and purify them. Indeed, it is You, You (alone) who are the Overpowering (One), the All-Wise.” (Quran 2:129)

Allah answered Prophet Abraham’s supplication and sent Prophet Muhammad as His last Messenger.

Our Lord! And send forth among (our descendants) a messenger from their own (midst) who shall recite to them Your verses, and teach them the (revealed) Book and the (way of prophetic) wisdom, and purify them.

Muhammad’s Description in the Holy Scriptures

Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) also gave glad tidings of the coming of Prophet Muhammad after him. Not only was the description of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mentioned in the early Holy Scriptures but also that of his companions (may Allah be pleased with them).

Narrated Ata bin Yasar: I met `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As and asked him, “Tell me about the description of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) which is mentioned in Torah (i.e. Old Testament.”)

He replied, ‘Yes. By Allah, he is described in Torah with some of the qualities attributed to him in the Qur’an as follows: “O Prophet! We have sent you as a witness (for Allah’s True religion) and a giver of glad tidings (to the faithful believers), and a warner (to the unbelievers) and guardian of the illiterates. You are My slave and My messenger (i.e. Apostle). I have named you “Al-Mutawakkil” (who depends upon Allah). You are neither discourteous, harsh nor a noisemaker in the markets and you do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness. Allah will not let him (the Prophet) die till he makes straight the crooked people by making them say: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,” With which will be opened blind eyes and deaf ears and enveloped hearts.” (Al-Bukhari)

This hadith highlights that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was precisely described in the Old Testament.

The Reaction of the Jews who Lived in Medina

Indeed, before the advent of Islam, the Jews who lived in Medina with the two rival tribes of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj were weak and helpless. When the two tribes were cruel and harsh against them, the Jews would say that a prophet from among them was going to be sent and they would overpower the two tribes. Thus, the Jews knew very well about the coming of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) although they did not think that he would be from among the Arabs. Allah says,

“So when this very Book came to them from God confirming what is with them, (they belied it) _ though beforehand they were (ardently) seeking (God’s) victory over those who disbelieved. Yet when that which they recognized (as a true message) came to them, they disbelieved in it. So may the curse of God be upon the disbelievers!” (Quran 2:89)

Prophet Muhammad’s Birth

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was born in the Year of the Elephant when Abraha, ruler of Yemen, and his army wanted to use an elephant to destroy the Ka’bah. According to the authentic prophetic traditions, he was born on Monday. There are different opinions about the specific year of his birth being approximately 570, 568 or 569 CE. Also, there is no agreement about the month in which he was born. Some scholars think it is the month of Rabi’ Al-Awwal while others think it is the month of Rajab.

During the early months of his wife’s pregnancy, Muhammad’s father died. So, it is Allah Who cared for and protected him. Being born as an orphan, Muhammad was placed under the guardianship of his grandfather, ‘Abd al-Muttalib.

His name

Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf….

The genealogy of his family continues to Prophet Ishmael son of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon them). According to the majority of scholars, the information found in some relevant books tracing the lineage beyond Abraham back to Adam is not authentic.

The early babyhood and childhood

Muhammad was given to a wet nurse to breastfeed and look after him. This was a very well-known custom among Arabs. The wet nurse was called Halima al-Sa’diya (from the tribe of Bani Sa’d). There were other women who breastfed the Prophet (pace and blessing of Allah be upon him). Among those other wet nurses is a woman called Thuwaibah who breastfed him and his uncle Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib. So, Hamza (may Allah be pleased with him) is Muhammad’s foster-brother. Also, Um Aiman used to look after him. When he was a small child living at Halima’s house, a very important incident which is the opening of his heart occurred.

The Incident of Opening Muhammad’s Chest

Anas b. Malik reported that Gabriel came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) while he was playing with his playmates. He took hold of him and lay him prostrate on the ground and tore open his breast and took out the heart from it and then extracted a blood-clot out of it and said:

That was the part of Satan in thee. And then he washed it with the water of Zamzam in a golden basin and then it was joined together and restored to it place. The boys came running to his mother, i. e. his nurse, and said: Verily Muhammad has been murdered. They all rushed toward him (and found him all right) His color was changed, Anas said. I myself saw the marks of needle on his breast. (Muslim)

 

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Egypt’s 2019 AFCON: Here Are Teams with Key Muslim Players

Egypt’s 2019 AFCON: Here Are Teams with Key Muslim Players

The 2019 continental Africa Cup of Nations will start in few days, precisely on June 21, in Egypt.

The 32nd edition of the biennial competition will be the first enlarged version to be contested between 24 teams.

Because of the massive number of Muslim players and countries participating in the tournament, it was moved from its original dates of 15 June – 13 July because of Ramadan as hundreds of religiously devoted players were fasting during the holy month.

Half of the teams come from Muslim countries in different regions of Africa. Here are some facts on some prominent Muslim players in some of the participating teams.

Egypt, the Host Nation

Mohamed Salah

The host nation Egypt, where Muslims represent 90% of its population, is the most successful country in the cup’s history, winning the tournament a record of seven times. Egyptian winger and forward Mohamed Salah is considered by experts to be one of the best players in the world.

 

Tunisia

Wahbi Khazri

Another Muslim country participating in the competition is Tunisia where Muslim form 98% of its population. The Tunisian team won one African Cup of Nations in 2004 and it has been runner-up twice in 1965 and 1996.

Wahbi Khazri, who plays for French Ligue 1 side Saint-Étienne, is one of the most prominent players in the Tunisia national team.

 

 

 

Senegal

Sadio Mane

Senegal is a country where Muslims constitute 92% of its total population.

Established in the early 1960s, the Senegalese national football team has been a regular competitor in the Africa Cup of Nations, where their best performance was  being a runner-up in 2002.

Sadio Mané, 27, is the captain of the Muslim West African country of Senegal. Mané has earned 60 caps for Senegal since his debut in 2012 and represented the national team at the 2012 Olympics, 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. A few days ago, Mané won the 2019 Premier League Golden Boot with 22 goals.

Nigeria

Ahmed Musa

The most populous African country, Nigeria, where Muslims form the majority by 55%, has also qualified for the Nations cup. Nigeria is three-time winners. In 1994, it was ranked 5th as the highest FIFA ranking position ever achieved by an African team.

Ahmed Musa is one of the best players in the Nigerian national team. Born in Nigeria in October 1992, the Muslim player was  among the key players who played for Nigeria in the World Cup 2014. The forward player currently plays for Saudi Arabian team Al-Nassr.

Mali

Sékou Koïta

Sékou Koïta

Hailing from the Muslim country of Mali where 90% of its population adhere to Islam, the Malian team was the runner-up of the 1972 edition. It has qualified for the cup eleven times, finishing as 3rd twice, and 4th three times.

19-Year-old Sékou Koïta is one of the most important players in the Malian national team. He plays for forward for Austrian Football Bundesliga club Wolfsberger AC and the Mali national team. He is on loan from FC Liefering.

Morocco

Hakim Ziyech

Morocco has also qualified to the awaited tournament. In fact, about 99% of Moroccans are Muslim. As one of Africa’s most prestigious football teams, Morocco is the winner of the 1976 African Nations Cup. The team was also the runner-up of 2004 edition.

Hakim Ziyech, who plays as an attacking midfielder for Ajax and for the Morocco national team, is known for his finishing, dribbling, speed, technique and free kick ability.

 

Guinea

Naby Laye Keïta

About 85% of Guinea’s population believes in Islam. Their Guinea national football team was the runner-up of the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations. It reached the quarter-finals in four editions 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2015.

Naby Laye Keïta, 24, is a Guinean professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Liverpool and captains the Guinea national team.

 

Algeria

Islam Slimani

Another participant team is Algeria where 99% of the country’s population adheres to Islam. The Algerian football national team won the African Cup of Nations once in 1990 when they were the hosts.

Algerian team puts hopes on many starts including Islam Slimani who plays as a striker for Süper Lig club Fenerbahçe on loan from Leicester City.

 

Mauritania

Cheikh El Khalil Moulaye Ahmed

As a newcomer in the cup, Mauritania made history on November 18, 2018, when they succeeded in qualifying to their first ever African Cup of Nations. About 99% of Mauritanians adhere to Islam.

Cheikh El Khalil Moulaye Ahmed, more commonly known as Bessam, who currently plays for Ligue 1 Mauritania club FC Nouadhibou, is one of the Mauritanian team stars.

Countries with Predominantly Muslim Population

The national football team of Côte d’Ivoire which qualified to the cup has previously won two editions in 1992 and 2015. It achieved the 2nd place twice and the 3rd place four times. Islam is the most followed religion in Côte d’Ivoire as Muslims form the plurality religious group by 43%.

Guinea Bissau succeeded in returning to the cup after their first participation in the previous 2017 edition. Islam is the most followed religion in Guinea Bissau as Muslims form the plurality religious group by 45%.

After 39 years from their debut in the 1980 edition, Tanzania succeeded on March 24, 2019, to qualify to the cup. About 50% of Tanzania’s total population adheres to Islam.

As a newcomer in the cup, Mauritania made history on November 18, 2018, when they succeeded in qualifying to their first ever African Cup of Nations. About 99% of Mauritanians adhere to Islam.

Moreover, several Muslim players can also be found in the other 12 participating teams.


Source: aboutislam.net

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Being Human in Islam: Their Rights and Dignity

Being Human in Islam: Their Rights and Dignity

By: Abdul-Rahman Al-Sheha

Islam condemns the abuse of power, position and authority to obtain personal gains. In fact, Islam empowers the ruler to reclaim all assets taken through abusive means and deposit them into the Islamic treasury. But what rights do humans have in Islam?

human-rights

In Islam it is not allowed to be unjust with anyone, even to one’s own self.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) appointed a man called Ibn-ul-Lutbiyyah, as a zakah collector. When the collector brought the zakah amount, he said: This is for you (the Islamic Treasury) and this has been given to me as gifts. The Prophet became very upset upon hearing this from the collector. He said:

“Where he is sitting in his father’s or mother’s house, would  he have received any of these gifts? By Him in Whose hands is my soul, nobody would take anything from this except that he would be carrying it on his neck on the Day of Resurrection, even if it be a camel. Then he raised his hands until we saw the whiteness of his armpits and said: “ O Allah! Bear witness that I have conveyed the Message three times.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Islam prohibits all forms of intoxicants that affect the minds or brains of users. It is commanded in the Qur’an:

O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication to) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork: eschew such (abomination), so that you may prosper. (Al-Ma’idah 5:90)

All types of injuries to a person or animal such as beating and other vices such as backbiting, tattle-telling, false testimony, etc. are also prohibited. The verse in the Qur’an warns:

O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sins, and spy not, nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, you would abhor it. And fear Allah, for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most-Merciful. (Al-Hujurat 49:12)

Being Human in Islam: Dignity

It upholds the dignity and honor of others and forbids slandering them. The Almighty Allah states in the Qur’an:

And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) a calumny and a glaring sin. (Al-Ahzab 33:58)

In Islam great importance is given to the privacy of a person and any type of intrusion is prohibited. Allah states in the Qur’an:

If you find none in the house, enter not until permission is given to you; if you are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves and Allah knows all that you do. (An-Nur 24:27)

Justice is one of the basics of the religion of Islam. It is not allowed to be unjust with anyone, even to one’s own self. Allah commands in the Qur’an:

Allah commands justice, the doing of good and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds and injustice and rebellion, He admonishes you that you may take heed. So fulfill the Covenant of Allah when you have entered it, and break not your oaths after you have confirmed them, indeed, you have made Allah your surety; for Allah knows all that you do. (An-Nahl 16:90-91)

In addition, in a hadith qudsi (divine revelation other than the Qur’an), Allah says:

“My slaves! I have banned injustice for Myself. I have declared injustice unlawful among you. Therefore, do not do any act of injustice to one another.” (Muslim)

In fact, Allah disapproves injustice done even to those who differ with Muslims in faith and religion. Allah has demanded Muslims to be kind and fair to non-Muslim residents in an Islamic State. Allah states in the Glorious Qur’an:

Allah forbids you not with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: Verily Allah loves those who are just. (Al-Mumtahanah 60:8)

Towards Non-Muslims

Islam forbids abusing the beliefs of non-Muslims, when it provokes the other party to respond with reciprocal abuse. The Allah says:

Revile not you those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they revile Allah out of spite in their ignorance. (Al-An`am 6:108)

Instead, Allah  instructed Muslims to use a fair and well-matured dialogue with such people: Allah says:

Say: “O People of the Book! Come to common terms between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah. If then they turn back, say you: “Bear witness that we are Muslims (submitting to Allah’s Will). (Aal `Imran 3:64)

Islam, further, bans all types of social, political and moral corruption and mischief. It is commanded in the Qur’an:

Do no mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, but call on Him with fear and hope, for the Mercy of Allah is near to those who do good. (Al-A`raf 7:56)

Islam forbids the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam by force. Allah states in the Qur’an:

If it had been your Lord’s Will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Will you then compel mankind against their will to believe! (Yunus 10:99)

This does not mean that Muslims should not call others to join the Islamic monotheistic faith by delivering the Message of Allah to people but indicates that Muslims should call to Islam in a wise, kind and comely manner. Islam has an international mission and it is neither a regional nor ethnical call. But the guidance is in the Hands of Allah alone and not in the hands of people.

human rights

Islam commands people to assist an oppressed person even with the use of force when necessary.

Justice & Consultation

Islam commands people to run their governments with consultation. The principle of consultation is operative in situations where there are no clear scriptures from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Allah states in the Qur’an:

…their affairs are conducted by mutual consultation…  (Ash-Shura 42:38)

Islam commands that all relative rights be given to their deserving people. Islam also calls for full justice among people.

The Almighty Allah states in the Qur’an:

Allah does command you to render back your T rusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between man and man, that you judge with justice: verily how excellent is the teaching which He gives you! For Allah is He Who hears and sees all things. (An-Nisaa’  4:58)

Islam commands people to assist an oppressed person even with the use of force when necessary. This is based on the verse in the Qur’an, the meaning of which is translated as:

And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children, whose cry is:

Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect; and raise for us from You one who will help! (An-Nisaa’ 4:75)

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Source: The article is an excerpt from the author’s book Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions”.

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Prophet’s Physical Features: As If You Were Seeing Him

Prophet’s Physical Features: As If You Were Seeing Him

By: Salman Al-Oadah

One feels amazed by the degree of detailing in the description of the Prophet’s physical features. The scholars talked about his external traits in the minutest way.

Prophet’s Physical Features

His body was moderate in everything. He was neither too tall, nor too short, but average height.

His Hair

Thus, they described the hair on his head. It was neither tightly curly nor completely straight, but between the two. At times it would grow until it reached his shoulders, and at others he would cut it to the level of half the ears. And he took good care of it:

Aisha said that “when he was combing his hair, it was like paths of sand being furrowed by that comb”. (Al-Bayhaqi))

Um Hani’ reports that ‘the Messenger of God once came to Mecca, and he had four braids’. (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi)

In another report, she says: “I saw four braids in the hair of the Messenger of God”. (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tabarani)

His Face

His face was also meticulously portrayed. He had a round face (Muslim, Ibn Hibban), not a complete roundness, but it was like the moon when it is complete. And it was white with a slight ruddiness, as if the sun or the moon were running in it. (Ahmad, Muslim, Al-Bayhaqi) He also had a broad forehead.

Aisha said: ‘The Messenger had a spread out forehead. When it appeared from among the hair, or he would look at us at daybreak or at the onset of the night, or when he turned up to face people, they would see as if the light of a lantern were twinkling on his forehead’. (Al-Bayhaqi, Ibn `Assakir)

His eyes were large and white, as if having kohl. (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) His nose was straight with a little protruding in the middle. (At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) His cheeks were straight and white. (At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) His mouth was rather large (Ahmad, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi) and had space between his foreteeth. (At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi) He took great care to clean his teeth by brushing them. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

He also had a thick beard. (Ahmad, Muslim, Ibn Hibban) Yet it was neither too long nor too short. He made a point of combing it, cleaning it, anointing it and perfuming it. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Hibban)

His Body

His body was moderate in everything. He was neither too tall, nor too short, but average height. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

His Clothing

As for his clothing, he was not particularly strict on garments. He would not ask for what was not to be found, nor refute what was at hand. He put on a gown imported from Levant. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

He put on a turban. (Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, At-Tirmidhi)

And he put on a cloak and a wrapper. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim) He used to like good, clean clothing. But he did not exaggerate in it and dressed without the least sense of pride. He never wore long clothes. He warned people against it, especially if it was accompanied by vanity. He said: ‘God turns away from one who drags his clothes out of vanity’. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi)

His Humility

The Prophet was the best exemplar of simplicity, and hated vanity and arrogance. His constant aim was to remain close to the people in his nutrition, clothing, transport, and when sitting. One day he slept on a bed which left its traces on the side of his body (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim) because there was nothing thick between him and the bed. He would often sit on the ground, eat on the floor, and sit on a straw mat. (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

One day, Mulaikah, Anas iin Malik’s grandmother, invited the Prophet over to share a meal which she had prepared in his honor.

He answered and ate of the food, then said: ‘Stand up so you can pray behind me’. Anas said: ‘So I brought a straw mat which had grown black with use. I sprayed it with water, and then the Prophet stood on it. The orphan and I stood behind him, and the elderly woman behind us. He prayed two rak’has and then he left.’ (Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i)

The mountains would have been made gold and silver for him if so he had wished. Yet what he loved was simplicity (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, At-Tabari) and spontaneity. He stayed away from affected behaviour. He preferred to be close to the people and be one of them, never assigning on them tasks beyond their capacity.

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The article is excerpted from the author’s book “In the Company of the Prophet (God’s Chosen Messenger)”.

 

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The Hijrah: History and Living Lessons

The Hijrah: History and Living Lessons

By Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed

The significance of Hijrah (the migration of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to Madinah) is not limited to the Islamic history or to the Muslims. The Hijrah not only reshaped – socially and politically – the Arab Peninsula, but also had its impact on worldwide civilizations.

God says in the Qur’an:

Those who believe, and have emigrated, and have struggled in the way of God with their possessions and their lives are greater in degree with God; and those, they are the triumphant.
Their Lord gives them good tidings of mercy from Him and beatitude; for them shall be gardens wherein is enduring bliss, therein they shall abide forever. Surely with God is a tremendous reward.
(At-Tawbah 9: 20-2)

Meaning of Hijrah

Throughout the history of Islam, the migration was a transitional line between the two major eras, regarding to the message of Islam; the era of Makkah and the era of Madinah. In its essence, this signified a transition from one phase to another, as follows:

– Transition from the position of weakness, where the non-believers of Makkah – particularly the people of Quraysh- humiliated, tortured and killed Muslims, to the position of strength. This is where Muslims were allowed to defend themselves and were able to defeat their adversaries.

– Transition from spreading Islam through individual Da`wah (inviting others to Islam) to the spreading of Islam through institutionalized Da’wah, initiated by the state.

– Transition from a position where Muslims represented a small group of people, surrounded by enemies and threatened by death, to the position of a regional power with a strong central leadership. This was one that was surrounded by a large number of followers and allies.

– Transition of Da`wah from regionalism, in which the focus was only on Quraysh and the tribes surrounding Makkah, to the phase of universalism. This is where the Muslim State began reaching out to Persia, Egypt, and the Byzantine Empire.

– Transition from being a simple Islamic group of believers, to being the Islamic nation. This was an organized Islamic state, with a central leadership and other organizations.

– Transition, which is most significantly for early Muslims, to the phase in which Islam was not only the act of worship, but a way of life. This was encompassing (surrounding) politics, economy, social interactions and every other aspect of life. This was the first time when Islam was looked upon as a comprehensive religion.

This contrast between the two periods is clearly noticeable in the Qur’anic discourse. Muslim scholars describe the part of Qur’an that was revealed in Makkah as the Makkan Qur’an, and that which was revealed in Madinah as the Madani Qur’an.

Although both parts are intermingled in the Qur’an and constitute one divine script, the discourse of both parts is clearly distinguishable. Whereas the part revealed in Makkah concentrated on Tawheed (the Oneness of God/monotheism), the part revealed in Madinah covered rules regarding Islamic life in general.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the migration of Prophet Muhammad to Madinah was the crucial event, which established the Islamic civilization. This was a civilization that thrived for many centuries.

Hijrah, the Turning Point in Islamic History

Hijrah (Immigration to Madinah), no doubt, kindled the light of hope in the hearts of the early Muslims who set a shining example for all Muslims, in every generation, to emulate.

Hijrah, in essence, is a process of transfer to a better situation. It is not meant to find a comfortable place where one would relax and stop endeavor (attempt). Rather, it is a search for an environment more favorable to continuous and constructive effort. Immediately after reaching Madinah, the Prophet undertook an all-embracing process to establish a faithful and strong society. This is a significant aspect and important lesson to learn from hijrah.

Hijrah was one of the most important events in the history of Islam. It is for this reason the Caliph `Umar adopted hijrah date to calculate years. Muslims chose hijrah as the focal point to reckon their chronology.

In physical terms, hijrah was a journey between two cities about 200 miles apart, but in its grand significance it marked the beginning of an era, a civilization, a culture and a history for the whole mankind. Islam progressed not only from the physical Hijrah, but because Muslims took Hijrah seriously in all its aspects and dimensions.

When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) immigrated from Makkah to Madinah, he did not just transfer his residence or took shelter in another city, but as soon as he arrived to Madinah he began the transformation of that city in every aspect:

Masjid (Mosque): The Prophet first established a mosque to worship God. He himself worked in carrying the stones and building that small, humble but most powerful structure. That was the beginning, but soon other mosques were established in Madinah.

Brotherhood: He established brotherly relations between the Muslims who migrated from Makkah and the residents of Madinah who helped the Prophet and his companions. What was important was to have good relations between Muslims. They should have their brotherhood on the basis of faith, not on the basis of tribes as they used to have prior to Islam.

Intercommunity and Interfaith Relations: Prophet Muhammad also established good relations with other communities living in Madinah. There was a large Jewish community as well as some other Arab tribes who had not accepted Islam. The Prophet prepared a covenant for relations between these communities.

Cleaning the City: Yathrib, previous name of Madinah, was a dirty city. When the Companions came from Makkah to Madinah, many of them got sick and did not like that city. The Prophet asked them to clean the city and remove its dirt and filth. Aisha said: “We came to Madinah and it was the most polluted land of Allah. The water there was most stinking. (Al-Bukhari)

Water System in the City: The Prophet asked the companions to dig wells in different parts of the city. It is mentioned that more than 50 wells were opened in the city of Madinah and there was enough clean water for everyone.

Agriculture and Gardening: The Prophet encouraged the Companions to cultivate the land and make gardens. He told them that anyone who would cultivate any dead land, would own it. Many people started working and cultivating and soon there was enough food for everyone.

Poverty Eradication: In a short period of time it happened that there were no poor people in Madinah. Everyone had enough food and shelter and the Prophet used to give gifts to coming delegations.

Safety, Security, Law and Order: Madinah became the safest city in the world. There were very few incidents of theft, rape, drunkenness or murder and they were immediately taken care of.

In short, Hijrah teaches that wherever Muslims go, they should bring goodness to that land. Muslims should work for both moral and material goodness of the society.

Did Other Prophets Perform Hijrah?

A hijrah was not something special for Prophet Muhammad. Rather, other Prophets emigrated before Prophet Muhammad. Yet, the hijrah of Prophet Muhammad differed from those of other Prophets because it was not intended as a flight from torture but as the beginning of the Islamic state. The eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states the following:

Most of Allah’s Messengers, if not all, emigrated. However, their emigrations differed from that of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). For example, Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) emigrated, as related in the Qur’an : “And Lot believed him, and said: Lo! I am a fugitive unto my Lord. Lo! He, only He, is the Mighty, the Wise” (Al-`Ankabut 29: 26). In another verse, God says:  “And he said: Lo! I am going unto my Lord Who will guide me” (As-Saffat 37: 99). So, Prophet Abraham migrated from place to place till he settled at a town in Palestine, where he was then buried. That town, Al-Khalil Ibrahim (Hebron) is now named after him.

Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) also emigrated before he was assigned with the divine mission. He fled from Egypt after he had mistakenly killed an Egyptian. He sought God’s forgiveness for that, and a man advised him to get out of Egypt in order to escape people’s revenge. God says:  “And a man came from the uttermost part of the city, running. He said: O Moses! Lo! the chiefs take counsel against thee to slay thee; therefore escape. Lo! I am of those who give thee good advice. So he escaped from thence, fearing, vigilant. He said: My Lord! Deliver me from the wrongdoing folk” (Al-Qasas 28: 20-21)

Then Prophet Moses went to a country called Madyan, where he married the daughter of a righteous old man (Prophet Shu`aib, peace be upon him) and stayed with him for ten years. Throughout that period, Moses had no divine mission. He lived as a righteous man, a good husband, and a generous son-in-law; however, he had no prominent role to perform. That is to say, Prophet Moses emigrated for fear of revenge. He said, as related in the Qur’an: “Then I fled from you when I feared you, and my Lord vouchsafed me a command and appointed me (of the number) of those sent (by Him)” (Ash-Shu`ara’ 26:21).

On the other hand, the hijrah of Prophet Muhammad was not only to escape temptation and torture of his people. It was the starting point to establish the Muslim nation, a new Muslim community based on Islam, the universal divine message that calls for morality and human rights. That was the very purpose of Prophet Muhammad’s hijrah to Madinah, and he performed his role as best as possible. He put the foundation of a sound Muslim community and established the best nation ever created.

What Is the Hijrah Calendar?

Muslims measure the passage of time using the Islamic (hijrah) calendar. This calendar has twelve lunar months, the beginnings and endings of which are determined by the sighting of the crescent moon. Years are counted since the hijrah, which is when the Prophet Muhammad migrated from Makkah to Madinah (approximately July 622 CE).

The Islamic calendar was first introduced by the close companion of the Prophet, `Umar ibn Al-Khattab. During his leadership of the Muslim community, in approximately 638 CE, he consulted with his advisors in order to come to a decision regarding the various dating systems used at that time. It was agreed that the most appropriate reference point for the Islamic calendar was the hijrah, since it was an important turning point for the Muslim community.

After the emigration to Madinah, the Muslims were able to organize and establish the first real Muslim “community,” with social, political, and economic independence. Life in Madinah allowed the Muslim community to mature and strengthen, and the people developed an entire society based on Islamic principles.

The Islamic calendar is the official calendar in many Muslim countries, especially Saudi Arabia. Other Muslim countries use the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes and only turn to the Islamic calendar for religious purposes.

Lunar Months Each Year

The Islamic year has twelve months that are based on a lunar cycle. God says in the Qur’an:

The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year) – so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth…. (At-Tawbah, 9: 36)

It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory, and the moon to be a light of beauty, and measured out stages for it, that you might know the number of years and the count of time. Allah did not create this except in truth and righteousness. And He explains His signs in detail, for those who understand (Yunus, 10: 5)

And in his final sermon before his death, the Prophet Muhammad said, among other things: “With Allah the months are twelve; four of them are holy; three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Sha`ban.” (Al Bukhari)

Islamic months begin at sunset of the first day, the day when the lunar crescent is visually sighted. The lunar year is approximately 354 days long, so the months rotate backward through the seasons and are not fixed to the Gregorian calendar.

The months of the Islamic year are:

1. Muharram (“Forbidden” – it is one of the four months during which it is forbidden to wage war or fight)

2. Safar (“Empty” or “Yellow”)

3. Rabi` Awwal (“First spring”)

4. Rabi` Thani (“Second spring”)

5. Jumada Awwal (“First freeze”)

6. Jumada Thani (“Second freeze”)

7. Rajab (“To respect” – this is another holy month when fighting is prohibited)

8. Sha`ban (“To spread and distribute”)

9. Ramadan (“Parched thirst” – this is the month of daytime fasting)

10. Shawwal (“To be light and vigorous”)

11. Dhul-Qi`dah (“The month of rest” – another month when no warfare or fighting is allowed)

12. Dhul-Hijjah (“The month of Hajj” – this is the month of the annual pilgrimage to Makkah, again when no warfare or fighting is allowed)

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Source: Islamic Research Foundation International – www.irfi.org.

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