By Khurram Murad
The Prophet sent letters to various neighbouring Arab and non-Arab rulers, including Chosroes of Iran and Heraclitus of the Byzantine Empire.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) after arriving in Madinah, first formed an alliance with the Jews. Next, he approached all the nearby tribes and tried to persuade them to make an alliance or at least enter into a no war-pact. Many did. Thus the small group evicted from Makkah assumed strategic importance.
The Makkans who had earlier planned to kill the Prophet, were now determined to annihilate this nascent community of Islam. Having failed in all other ways, they decided on a military solution.
A heavily armed Makkan force marched towards Madinah in the second year after Hijrah, on the pretext of protecting their trade caravan. The Prophet, despite his community’s small number and lack of arms, decided to face their threat boldly.
On the 17th of Ramadan, at Badr, the two forces met and fought a battle in which 313 Muslims defeated the 1,000- strong Makkan army. Seventy of the Makkan chiefs who had been most active and vehement in persecuting the Muslims were killed; many others were taken prisoner, later to be released for ransom.
For the first time, prisoners of war were treated humanely and kindly; they were fed and housed in the same way as their captors ate and lived. In the third year after Hijrah, a 3,000-strong Makkan force again marched on Madinah, both to avenge the defeat at Badr and to make another attempt to defeat the Muslims; 700 of them were mailed and 200 mounted. The Muslims numbered only 700. The two sides met just outside Madinah near the Uhud Mountain.
The initial Muslim victory was, however, reversed; the Muslim contingent posted to protect the rear, violated the Prophet’s instructions and abandoned its position. The Quraysh attacked from behind, and victory was turned into defeat, resulting in the deaths of about 65 Muslims. The Makkans, however, failed to pursue their advantage and clinch victory.
The Makkans now planned to make a final assault on Madinah to settle the matter once and for all. All Bedouin tribes, Jews, and hypocrites within Madinah joined forces with them.
In the fifth year after Hijrah, 24,000 of them advanced on Madinah. It was impossible to fight them on the open battlefield, or defend Madinah which was without walls. The Muslims therefore defended themselves by digging ditches all round Madinah. After laying siege to Madinah for 25 days, due to inner dissension, lack of supplies, cold weather and high winds, the Makkan army was forced to withdraw.
This was the turning point in the history of confrontation with the Makkans. Madinah was never to be attacked again. From the beginning, the Jews were given full rights of citizenship, yet they still committed acts of treason and treachery. Some had to be expelled; some were killed as a result of judgements given by an arbitrator appointed by them.
However, subsequent generations of Jews were never held responsible for the misdeeds of the Jews of Madinah, as they were in Christendom for 2,000 years, for the crucifixion of Jesus. Instead, the Muslims always treated them justly and kindly.
The next year, the sixth after Hijrah, the Prophet and 1,400 Companions journeyed to Makkah to perform Umrah, the lesser Pilgrimage, in accordance with several traditions of the time. They were unarmed. The Quraysh chiefs, against all established and accepted traditions, refused them admission. However, the Quraysh were now so low in morale and strength that they had to sign a peace treaty with the Prophet, the Hudaybiyah Treaty.
Though the terms appeared highly unfavourable, even humiliating, for the Muslims, they made tremendous gains by virtue of this Treaty. They, who were driven out of Makkah and attacked thrice, were now recognized as an equal force, to be treated respectfully, taken seriously.
Peace provided an opportunity for the wavering and the neutral, even the hostile, to witness Islam at first hand, and many sensed the imminent victory of Islam. The result was that many Makkans and Arab tribes either embraced Islam or made peace with the Prophet.
As soon as the Hudaybiyah Treaty was signed, the Prophet sent letters to various neighbouring Arab and non-Arab rulers, including Chosroes of Iran and Heraclitus of the Byzantine Empire. He invited them to Islam, and assured them that he did not covet their kingdoms or riches. They could retain both, but only if they surrendered themselves to serve and worship the One God.
The Quraysh, however, soon broke the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. It was, thus, time to deal with their continuing hostility. The Prophet marched to Makkah, and captured the town. The fall of Makkah witnessed unparalleled acts of mercy, forgiveness and generosity. Not a single drop of blood was shed. Everybody who remained indoors was granted security of life and property. The Prophet forgave all who had been his bitterest foes all his life, who had persecuted him and planned to kill him, who had driven him out of Makkah, and who had marched thrice to Madinah to defeat the Muslims.
The neighbouring Byzantine Empire now prepared to attack and destroy the Muslim community in Madinah. However, when the Prophet marched to Tabuk on the northern border, his determination, courage and timely response made the enemy lose heart and withdraw.
Source: Taken from the author’s Who Is Muhammad? Published by Islamic Foundation, London, 1998.
Who Is Muhammad? (Part 1) Early Life in Makkah
Who Is Muhammad? (Part 2) The Prophet at Makkah
Who Is Muhammad? (Part 3) The Prophet at Madinah
By Khurram Murad
More and more people over the course of a year – tribal leaders, men and women – in Yathrib became Muslims.
The Message that Makkah and Taif rejected, found responsive hearts in Yathrib, a small oasis about 400 kilometres to the north of Makkah. Now known as Madinatun Nabi, the city of the Prophet, or Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, the radiant city, it was destined to be the centre of the Divine light that was to spread to all parts of the world for all times to come.
In quick succession, the Prophet (peace be upon him) suffered the terrible loss of Khadijah, his intimate and beloved companion for 25 years, and of Abu Talib, his guardian and protector against the bloodthirsty Makkan foes, and encountered the worst ever rejection, humiliation and persecution at nearby Taif.
As the Prophet reached the lowest point in his vocation, God brought him comfort and solace. On the one hand, spiritually, He took him during the Night of the Ascension to the highest of highs, realities and divinities, face to face with the Unseen.
And on the other, materially, he opened the hearts of the people of Yathrib to the Message and mission of Muhammad. Soon after Muhammad’s return from Taif and the Night Journey, at the time of the Pilgrimage, six men from Yathrib embraced Islam.
They delivered the Message of Islam to as many as they could, and at the time of the next Pilgrimage in the year 621 CE, 12 persons came. They pledged themselves to the Prophet, that they would make no god beside God, that they would neither steal nor commit fornication, nor slay their infants, nor utter slanders, nor disobey him in that which is right.
The Prophet said: ‘If you fulfil this pledge, then Paradise is yours.’ This time the Prophet sent Mus`ab ibn `Umayr with them to teach them the Quran and Islam and to spread the Message of Islam.
More and more people over the course of a year – tribal leaders, men and women – in Yathrib became Muslims. At the time of the next Pilgrimage, they decided to send a delegation to the Prophet, make a pledge to him, and invite him and all Muslims in Makkah to Yathrib as a sanctuary and as a base for spreading the Divine Message of Islam. In all 73 men and two women came. They met the Prophet at [Aqabah.
They pledged to protect the Prophet as they would protect their own women and children, and to fight against all men, red and black, even if their nobles were killed and they suffered the loss of all their possessions.
When asked what would be theirs if they fulfilled their pledge, the Prophet said: ‘Paradise’. Thus, the beginning was made, the foundations of the Islamic society, state and civilization were set. The road was now open for the persecuted and tortured followers of the Prophet to come to the House of Islam, that was to be Madinah. He, therefore, instructed them to emigrate, and gradually most of them found their way to Yathrib.
Their Makkan foes could not bear to see the Muslims living in peace. They knew the power of the Prophet’s Message, they knew the strength of those dedicated believers who cared nothing for the age-old Arab customs and ties of kinship, and who if they had to would fight for their faith.
The Makkans sensed the danger that the Muslims’ presence in Madinah posed for their northern trade caravan routes. They saw no other way to stop all this but to kill the Prophet. Hence they hatched a conspiracy: one strong and well-connected young man was to be nominated by each clan, and all of them were to pounce upon and kill the Prophet one morning as he came out of his house, so that his blood would be on all the clans’ hands.
Thus, the Prophet’s clan would have to accept blood-money in place of revenge. Informed of the plot by the Angel Gabriel, and instructed to leave Makkah for Madinah, the Prophet went to Abu Bakr’s house to finalize the travel arrangements.
Abu Bakr was overjoyed at having been chosen for the honour and blessing of being the Prophet’s Companion on this blessed and momentous, sacred and epoch-making journey. He offered his she-camel to the Prophet, but the Prophet insisted on paying its price.
On the fateful night, as darkness fell, the youths selected by the Quraish leaders to kill the Prophet surrounded his house. They decided to pounce on him when he came out of his house for the dawn Prayers.
Meanwhile, the Prophet handed over all the money left by the Makkans with him for safe keeping to Ali. Ali offered to lie in the Prophet’s bed.
The Prophet slipped out of his house, threw a little dust in their direction, and walked past his enemies, whose eyes were still on the house. He met Abu Bakr at his house, and they both travelled to a nearby cave, the Jabal Thawr.
When the Quraish realized that the Prophet had evaded them, they were furious. They looked for him everywhere and on all roads; they also offered a reward of 100 she-camels for anybody who would bring them the Prophet, dead or alive.
A tribal chief, Suraqa, sighted the Prophet and followed him, hoping to earn the reward. The Prophet, with bloodthirsty foes in pursuit and an uncertain future ahead of him in Madinah, told Suraqa: ‘A day will soon come when Kisra’s golden hand bracelet will be in Suraqa’s hands.’
Thereafter, Suraqa retreated, and the Prophet proceeded towards Madinah. This was Hijrah, the emigration – a small distance in space, a mighty leap in history, an event that was to become a threshold in the shaping of the Islamic Ummah.
This is why the Muslims date their calendar from Hijrah, and not from Hira or from the birth of the Prophet.
In Qubah, 10 kilometres outside Madinah, the Prophet made his first sojourn. Here he built the first mosque. Here he also made his first public address: ‘Spread peace among yourselves, give away food to the needy, pray while people sleep – and you enter Paradise, the house of peace.’ Three days later, the Prophet entered Madinah.
Men, women, children, the entire populace came out on the streets and jubilantly welcomed him. Never was there a day of greater rejoicing and happiness. ‘Come is the Prophet! Come is the Prophet!’, sang the little children.
The first thing the Prophet did after arriving in Madinah was to weld the Emigrants (called Muhajirs) and the hosts, called the Helpers (or Ansar) into one brotherhood. Still today this brotherhood remains the hallmark of the Muslims.
One person from the Emigrants was made the brother of one from amongst the Helpers. The Helpers offered to share equally all that they possessed with the Emigrants. So the Muslims were forged into a close-knit community of faith and brotherhood, and the structure of their society and polity was being built.
The first structure was also raised. This was the Mosque, or Masjid, the building consecrated to the worship of One God – called Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, the Prophet’s Mosque.
Since then the Masjid has also remained the hallmark of the Muslims’ collective and social life, the convenient space for the integration of the religious and political dimensions of Islam, a source of identification, a witness to Muslim existence.
At the same time, steps were taken and the required institutions built to integrate the entire social life around the centre and pivot of the worship of One God.
For this purpose, five daily Prayers in congregation were established. Ramadan, fasting every day from dawn to sunset for an entire month, was also prescribed. Similarly, to establish ‘giving’ as the way of life, zakah, a percentage of one’s wealth to be given in the way of God, was made obligatory.
As long as there was no different instruction from God, the Muslims followed the practices observed by the Jews and Christians. Hence, they used to pray with their faces turned towards Jerusalem.
But soon this direction to which the Muslims faced in Prayer was changed from Jerusalem to Makkah. This historic episode signalled the formation of a new Muslim community, charged with Divine trust and the mission of God’s guidance, replacing the earlier Jews and Christians, and following the most ancient message of Abraham, turning towards the most ancient House of God, built by him.
Source: Taken from the author’s Who Is Muhammad? Published by Islamic Foundation, London, 1998.
Who Is Muhammad? (Part 1) Early Life in Makkah
Who Is Muhammad? (Part 2) The Prophet at Makkah
The Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad and he preached the Word of Allah to the Makkans, inviting them to abandon idolatry and become monotheists.
The Makkan Period
For the next thirteen years, the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he preached the Word of Allah to the Makkans, inviting them to abandon idolatry and become monotheists.
A few of them, ranging between 80 and 200 persons, accepted his call. Yet, most Makkans, particularly those of his own tribe, opposed him violently.
They saw in the new religion a grave danger to their economic and social domination based upon their control of the Makkah and especially the Kabah.
The new Muslims were tortured and even killed because they said that Allah is One and that we should abandon a sinful life in submission to Allah Alone.
Nevertheless, the Prophet (peace be upon him) continued calling people to Islam and gradually a larger number of men and women began to accept the new faith and submit themselves to its teachings.
An interesting event happened after some of the nobles of Quraish accepted Islam, such as Umar ibn Al-Khattab and Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib.
The people of Quraish gathered and decided that since Muhammad is from the Quraish and he is of noble lineage, they will use this to save their lifestyle and control of Makkah.
They decided to go to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and offer him the dominion of Makkah as the king of the Quraish. They promised him all he could desire if he would just simply give up his message. But in their ignorance, they didn’t realize his faith and sincerity. He told them:
“If you put the Sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand, I will never leave the call of my Lord.”
The Makkan period revelations consisted of defining true monotheism, correcting the peoples corrupt beliefs, calling to accountability for our sins, describing the reality of life after death, calling to good morals and ethics, teaching people about the previous Prophet’s, and describing the creation of the heavens and the earth as well as all the blessings Allah has given us in it.
In 622 A. C. after long period of humiliation, torture and attacks as well as assassination attempts at the Prophet (peace be upon him) Allah commanded the Muslims to migrate to Yathrib, a city north of Makkah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) sent a small delegation headed by Musab ibn Umair to call the people of Yathrib to Islam first. Musab did a good job in convincing the major tribe heads of Yathrib to accept Islam by reciting the Qur’an to them and explaining it as Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) had.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) followed the Divine Command and left with his followers for that city which was to be called from then on “Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah”.
This event was so momentous that the Islamic calendar begins with this migration (Hijrah). In Madinah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions established the first Islamic state which should serve as the model for all later Islamic societies.
Sadly, most Muslim societies today run much differently than the way the Prophet and the righteous Caliphs did in their days. This sad reality has led to weakness, ignorance, poverty and injustice among Muslim communities.
In Makkah, Umar ibn Al-Khattab asked the Prophet about why Muslims do not assemble an army and take revenge upon the pagans who had oppressed them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) told him that this is not the time for such an idea.
After the Prophet and his companions settled in Madinah, the pagans of Makkah began plotting to attack the Muslims. Muslim informants from Makkah warned Madinah of this plot. After praying for Allah’s guidance, the command came from the Heavens to Muslims to defend themselves and secure Madinah.
So, they set out to an area called Badr between Makkah and Madinah for the sake of Allah and intercepted the pagans who were 1000+ and heavily armed. The Muslims were 300+ with mostly swords and spears and little armor.
In the end, the faith of the believers was more powerful and Divine Assistance took place. After this, there were 2 more major battles which consisted of the pagans coming to surround Makkah with 3000+ men at the mountain of Uhud and later the Jewish tribes gathered 4000 soldiers with the pagans of 6000+ surrounding Madinah. All of these attacks on the believers were unsuccessful in stopping Islam and Allah’s Messenger.
Arabia becomes Islamic
Throughout these battles and especially afterwards, when it became apparent that divine help is in favor of the believers, more tribes began to join Islam and within a few years most of Arabia had embraced Islam.
The believers showed perseverance through the relentless efforts of the pagans and Jews to attack Islam and the Muslims. After the pagans broke a peace treaty initiated by Muhammad (peace be upon him) by killing a group of Muslims, the Prophet was commanded by Allah to go to Makkah with an army of 10,000 in order to finally return Makkah back to its roots of monotheism and free it from paganism and oppression until the Day of Judgment.
Biography of Prophet Muhammad (1/3)
Biography of Prophet Muhammad (2/3)
“All men are equal, be they black or white, rich or poor, or Arab or non-Arab. The thing that distinguishes us from one another is piety,” the Prophet said.
After hundreds of Muslims were tortured and killed by the polytheist Makkans the question arises, “Did the Prophet take revenge and massacre these people once he has the chance?”
No! He forgave all his former enemies and declared that anyone who did not bear arms is safe and under the protection of the new rule. After all of what the media tries to portray Allah says:
And we have not sent Muhammad, except as a Mercy to the universe. (Al-Anbiya’ 21:107)
He then marched to the Kabah, where he ordered his companions to join him in destroying all the idols. He (peace be upon him) asked [Bilal] to climb on top of the Kabah and call for the Prayer.
Upon this great event most pagans embraced Islam realizing the Prophet’s mercy and seeing how he had in just over 20 years gone from an accused mad sorcerer with virtually no followers, to a respected and deeply revered Prophet backed solely by the Word of Allah and those who joined him in it.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) then returned to Madinah and made his pilgrimage to Makkah the next year. In this pilgrimage, the Prophet (peace be upon him) delivered a sermon saying,
“We have put the means of ignorance behind us now; we must drop all ties with usury. There is to be justice and no one should ever be oppressed in this Holy Land again. All men are equal, be they black or white, rich or poor, or Arab or non-Arab. The thing that distinguishes us from one another is piety. There shall be no more paganism in the Arabian Peninsula. We must be respectful, loving, gentle and just in dealing with our women. We will be called to account for how we dealt with our mothers, wives and daughters on the Day of Judgment.” (Al-Tabari)
During this time the verse was revealed to him:
This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. (Al-Ma’idah 5:3)
The Legacy of Prophethood Is Sealed
Soon after this he fell ill and after almost three months, he died in 632 C. E. in Madinah. He was buried in the chamber of his house next to the first mosque of Islam which is named after Him.
May Allah’s Peace and Mercy be upon Him!
Amazingly, through 23 years, over a hundred assassination attempts and a number of battles he did not die. Yet, when the finality of Allah’s message came he passed within a few months. This is exactly what we should expect for the final Messenger to mankind.
The Qur’an itself emphasizes that Allah has chosen in the Prophet (peace be upon him) an example for Muslims to follow and that obeying him is the same as obeying Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) only spoke regarding guidance as Allah guided him to say.
It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom – although they were before in clear error. (Al-Jumu`ah 62:2)
The book of Allah is known as the Qur’an, and the wisdom is contained in what we call the Sunnah, which is a compilation of authentically recorded Hadiths (i.e. narrations) handed down by a few generations word for word. The scholars then agreed to collect all these available Hadiths which consist of the Prophet’s sayings, actions, his description physically and morally, and tacit approvals. These Hadiths have been collected into hundreds of books and classified into authentic, weak and fabricated based upon many rules. The Sunnah contains the living example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the practical application of Allah’s revelation.
When asked by some of companions “How was the general manner of the Prophet (peace be upon him)?” `Aishah, the widow of the Prophet and Mother of the Believers, (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “His character was the Qur’an” (Al-Bukhari)
Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (1)
Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (2)
By Khurram Murad
This simple message shook the very foundations of the Makkan society as well as the seventh-century world.
Muhammad was not only a wise, just, compassionate, honoured and respected man, but also a profoundly contemplative and spiritual person. As he approached the age of 40, increasingly he came to spend more and more of his time in retreat, in contemplation, worship, prayer, in the Cave of Hira in Jabal al-Nur, sometimes for several days at a time.
It was here that one night before dawn, in the last part of the month of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, the Angel Gabriel appeared before him in the form of a man, and said to him: ‘Read’, and the Prophet said: ‘I am not a reader.’
Thereupon, as he himself told it, ‘the Angel Gabriel overwhelmed me in his embrace until I reached the limit of my endurance. Then he returned me and said: ‘Read.’ Again I said: ‘I am not a reader.’
Thrice the same thing happened. The third time, after releasing me from his embrace, the Angel finally said:
Read in the name of your Lord Who has created. He has created man from a clot of blood. Read, and your Lord is the Most Bountiful: He who has taught by the pen, taught man what he knew not. (Al-[Alaq 96:1–5)
He recited these words after the Angel. And, then, the Angel said to him: ‘You are the Messenger of God.’
Overawed by the unique experience of the Divine and overwhelmed by the huge burden of truth and message, he came out of the cave, his body trembling and his heart quaking. The Prophet returned home. ‘Cover me! Cover me!’, he said to his wife Khadijah. She quickly covered him with a cloak. Wrapped in the cloak, he told her what had happened in the Cave of Hira, how he had come to be appointed as God’s Messenger.
The event in Hira, as narrated by Muhammad, was the supreme and most crucial event of his life.
All that happened later has been happening over the centuries, and all the positions that he enjoys in the eyes of his followers, or his detractors, hinges on the veracity, truthfulness, authenticity and nature of this event in Hira.
Yet the only thing to support his claim in this respect was and remains his own word. Was he truly a Messenger of God? Was what he saw real and true? Or, was it an hallucination? Was he a man possessed? Did he just compose in words as poets do, the ideas he found in his heart? These questions are raised today, as they were raised by his compatriots then.
Of these his wife of 15 years was to be the first judge. She knew him too well to doubt even for a moment that he could say anything but the truth. She also knew his character. So, she believed in him without a moment’s hesitation.
As with his wife Khadijah, so his closest friend Abu Bakr, his adopted son Zayd, his cousin Ali who lived with him, in short all who knew the Prophet most intimately, believed in his truthfulness most spontaneously.
Khadijah took the Prophet to her cousin Waraqah, who had converted to Christianity, and
acquired great learning in Christian Scriptures.
Both the Jews and Christians had been expecting the coming of the last Prophet as foretold in their Scriptures. Had not Moses, just before he died, been told:
‘I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth’ (Deuteronomy 18: 18)?
Who could be the brethren of the sons of Israel except the sons of Ishmael? Who could be the mysterious Shiloh but the Prophet Muhammad, about whom Jacob prophesied immediately before his death, that to him would be transferred the Divine mission in ‘the latter days’:
‘And Jacob called his sons and said, gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days . . . The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him the gathering of the people be.’ (Genesis 49:1, 10)
And, whom did Jesus mean other than Muhammad when he said: ‘If I do not go away, the
Helper will not come to you . . . he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak’ (John 16: 7–14)?
Waraqah, therefore, had no doubts that the last Prophet had come; so, he, too, believed in him. But most of the people of Makkah who had acclaimed him as the Trustworthy (Al-Amin) and the Truthful (Al-Sadiq) could not bring themselves to believe in him. Nor could the Jews and Christians who had for so long been living in expectation of his arrival. Not that they doubted his truthfulness or integrity. But they were not prepared to turn their
whole established way of life upside down by submitting to his simple but radical message:
When I recite the Qur’an, I find the following clear instructions: God is He who has created you, and the heavens and the earth, He is your only Lord and Master. Surrender your beings and your lives totally to Him alone, and worship and serve no one but Him. Let God be the only God. The words I speak, He places in my mouth, I speak on His authority. Obey me and forsake all false claimants to human obedience. Everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to God; no man has a right to be master of another man, to spread
oppression and corruption on earth. An eternal life beyond awaits you; where you will meet God face to face, and your life will be judged; for that you must prepare.
This simple message shook the very foundations of the Makkan society as well as the seventh-century world. That world, as today, lived under the yoke of many false gods: kings and emperors, priests and monks, feudal lords and rich businessmen, soothsayers and spell-binders who claimed to know what others knew not – all lorded over man. Not only that: man-made gods of their own desires, their tribal loyalties, their ancestors, and the powers of nature, like the nations, cultures, science and technology today all lorded over man.
The Prophet’s message challenged them all, exposed them all, threatened them all. His
immediate opponents in Makkah could do no better than brand him unconvincingly as a liar, a poet, a soothsayer, a man possessed. But how could he who was illiterate, he who had never composed a single verse, he who had shown no inclination to lead men, suddenly, have words flowing from his lips, so full of wisdom and light, morally so uplifting, specifically so enlivening, so beautiful and powerful, that they began to change the hearts and minds and lives of the hearers?
His detractors and opponents had no answer. When challenged to produce
anything even remotely similar to the words Muhammad claimed he was receiving from God, they could not match God’s words.
First privately, then publicly, the Prophet continued to proclaim his Message. He himself had
an intense, living relationship with God, totally committed to the Message and mission entrusted to him. Slowly and gradually, people came forward and embraced Islam.
They came from all walks of life – chiefs and slaves, businessmen and artisans, men and women – most of them young.
Some simply heard the Qur’an, and that was enough to transform them. Some saw the Prophet, and were immediately captivated by the light of mercy, generosity and humanity that was visible in his manners and morals, in his words and works, and in his face too.
So also the opposition continued to harden and sharpen. It grew furious and ferocious. Those who joined the Prophet as also the Prophet himself were tortured in innumerable ways: they were mocked, abused, beaten, flogged, imprisoned, and boycotted.
Some were subjected to much more inhuman tortures: made to lie on burning coal fires until the melting body fat extinguished them, or were dragged over burning sand and rocks. Yet such was the strength of their faith that none of them gave it up in the face of such trials and tribulations.
However, as the persecutions became unbearable, the Prophet said to them: ‘If you go to Abyssinia, you will find there a king, a Christian, under whom no one suffers wrong.’ About 80 of his followers, therefore, forsook their homes and emigrated to
Abyssinia, where the Christian king gave them full protection despite the pleadings and machinations of the emissaries sent by the Quraysh chiefs. This was the first emigration of Islam.
All the while, the Prophet and his Companions continued to nourish their souls and intellects and strengthen their character and resolve for the great task that lay ahead. They met regularly, especially at a house near the Kabah called Dar al-Arqam, to read and study the Quran, to worship and pray, and to forge the ties of brotherhood.
Ten years passed, but the people of Makkah would not give their allegiance to the Prophet’s
Message nor showed any signs of mitigating their persecution. At the same time, the Prophet lost his closest Companions and his wife Khadijah, as also
his uncle Abu Talib, his chief protector in the tribal world of Makkah.
The Prophet now decided to carry his Message to the people of the nearby town of Taif, known for its wealth. In Taif, too, the tribal leaders mocked and ridiculed him and rejected his Message. They also stirred up their slaves and the street urchins to insult him, mock him, and throw stones at him.
Thus, he was stoned until he bled and was driven out of Taif. And yet when his Companion, Zayd, requested him to curse the people of Taif, and when God placed at his command the Angel of Mountains to crush the valley of Taif if he som wished, he only prayed for their being guided.
Such was the mercy and compassion of the one who is the ‘mercy for all the worlds’.
The Taif episode was the hardest moment in the Prophet’s life. It signaled the advent of a new era for him, when his mission was to find a secure base, and was to ascend higher and higher in the coming days until the end of time.
To mark that, one night the Prophet was awakened and taken, in the company of the Angel
Gabriel, first to Jerusalem. There he was met by all the Prophets, who gathered together behind him as he prayed on the rock in the centre of the site of the Temple, the spot where the Dome of the Rock stands today.
From the rock, led by the Archangel, he ascended through the seven heavens and beyond.
Thus he saw whatever God made him see, the heavenly worlds which no human eye can see, and which were the focus of his Message and mission.
During this journey, the five daily Prayers were ordained for his people. Furthermore, it was then that the Prophet was given the charter for the new society and state soon to be born, which, too, was prophesied and which is described in Surat Al-Israa’ (Chapter 17) of the Qur’an.
Source: Taken from the author’s Who Is Muhammad? Published by Islamic Foundation, London, 1998.
By Editorial Staff
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) commenced his mission in Makkah as a Prophet, both he and those who answered his call have been subject to great persecution and torture at the hands of the polytheists of Makkah.
Thus, those Muslims had to flee their home city to other places where they can get a space of freedom to practice the rituals of their religion without obstruction. They migrated to Yathrib (later it was named Madinah where its people offered to host the Prophet and his followers at their lands.
It was a turning point in history and later it represented the cornerstone of the Muslim state to come.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) laid down significant bases for the Muslim community to manage its life. Among the social rules set by Prophet Muhammad was the brotherhood between the Muslim migrants of Makkah and the Muslims of Maddina. It was about an unprecedented connection which people did not know before.
Regarding this new concept, Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem, talks about its meaning and application following the migration of Prophet Muhammad and Muslims to Medina. The Sheikh explains to us the greatest sacrifices and generosity on behalf of the Muslims of Madinah towards their Muslim brothers from Makkah.
Source: Way to Jennah channel on Youtube