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Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (2/3)

Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (2/3)

the prophet

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.

Immigration

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.

Read also: 

Biography of Prophet Muhammad (1/3)

Biography of Prophet Muhammad (2/3)

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Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (3/3)

 

Waves

“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)

Read also: 

Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (1)

Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (2)

 

 

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Who Is Muhammad? (Part 2) The Prophet at Makkah

Who Is Muhammad? (Part 2) The Prophet at Makkah

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.

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Migration to Medina and Brotherhood in Islam

Migration to Medina and Brotherhood in Islam

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.

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Source: Way to Jennah channel on Youtube

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Hijrah: Perfect Planning and Reliance on Allah

Hijrah: Perfect Planning and Reliance on Allah

By Dr. Ali Al-Halawani
Hijrah Perfect Planning and Reliance on Allah

The Hijrah witnessed a number of extraordinary incidents that show Allah’s perfect care for His Prophet.

If greatness of historical events is measured by their constructive influences and decisive resultant effects on the motion of life as well as the march of human beings on earth, the value of such events is – besides this – known through the elevated morals, noble principles and ethical demeanors that co-occur with these events.

Hence, the Hijrah event was by all measures an outstanding milestone. It yielded great fruits, displayed lofty principles and values in action, and expounded Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) prominent skill in planning as well as putting his whole trust in Allah the Almighty.

This can be seen in so many situations and incidents that took place throughout the course of Hijrah. Some of these will be cited here to help Muslims emulate them and put them into action in due, similar contexts. Two of the many perfect aspects of the Prophet’s personality that appeared during the Hijrah event will be highlighted here: the Prophet’s paramount ability to plan, and putting his full trust in Allah following observing all the possible material means.

Perfect planning

No doubt the Hijrah witnessed a number of extraordinary incidents that show Allah’s perfect care for His Prophet and his personal safety. Foremost among these is the fact that Allah provided him with unseen aides besides showering mercy and tranquility upon him. The Qur’an states this as saying: “And Allah sent down His tranquility upon him and supported him with soldiers [i.e., angels] you did not see.” (At-Tawbah 9:40)

However, the flow of incidents was guided by the natural laws set by Allah to manage this present life and govern all that takes place therein. This can be seen in what follows.

  • As soon as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was commanded to emigrate to Madinah he entrusted Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him), his closest friend and companion, with the information. Two she-camels were purchased and prepared for the journey by the latter. The Prophet agreed to take one of them for himself, known as Al-Qaswaa’ afterwards, provided that he would pay its price.
  • In order to deceive the Quraishites, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told `Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), his cousin and companion, to sleep in his bed and cover himself with his green mantle and assured him full security under Allah’s protection and told him that no harm would come to him. It is remarkable that `Ali was then less than twenty years old!
  • The Prophet (peace be upon him) hired a guide who knew the desert’s pathways very well to guide them throughout the way to Madinah to ward off any possibility of getting lost. It is also remarkable that the guide who is known by the name `Abdullah ibn Urayqit was then still a disbeliever. However, the divinely-guided Prophet hired him on the basis of having two basic qualities: professional experience as a guide and his well-known honesty.
  • When the Prophet (peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr set out for Madinah they went out from the latter’s house through a skylight or a wicket in order to evade the Quraishites who were resolved on capturing them.
  • In order to further camouflage their escape, the Prophet and Abu Bakr took an unusual route to Madinah. Instead of taking the road to Madinah in north side of Makkah as the polytheists would expect, they walked along a least expected road south of Makkah leading to Yemen. They reached the cave known by the name Thawr where they stayed for three days until the search for them lessened.
  • `Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr used to mix with the Quraishites in their gatherings in order to collect information and then visit the Prophet and his father at the cave to apprise them of the latest situation in Makkah. His sister, Asmaa’ bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her) used to carry food provisions to the Prophet and her father twice a day. In addition, `Amir ibn Fuhairah who was tending his master Abu Bakr’s flock, used to follow both `Abdullah and Asmaa’ to erase their footprints. This is due to the fact that the Arabs were famous for tracking and through these footprints they could have figured out which road the Prophet and his companion have taken and the whole plan would have failed.
  • The great caution exercised by the Prophet and Abu Bakr in all their actions throughout the journey; whoever asked Abu Bakr about the identity of his honorable companion (i.e., the Prophet), he would reply that he was a man who guided him on his way. The questioner would think that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was a guide, in terms of roads, whereas Abu Bakr used to mean guide to the way of righteousness. (Al-Bukhari)
  • Thus, using his wit, Abu Bakr answered the questioner without revealing the Prophet’s identity or resorting to telling lies.
  • Choosing Madinah as the final destination was not a passing thought or a mere chance. Rather, it was a well-studied decision and a predetermined fate. This is due to the strategic geographic location Madinah then enjoyed that would give the forthcoming Muslim state a great influence on stirring events and happenings all over the Arabian Peninsula. Added to this the unique demographical structure as it encompassed the three Jewish tribes: BanuQainuqa`, BanuQuraizah and Banu An-Nadir side by side with the Arabs who belonged to the Aws and Al-Khazraj tribes. Besides, the people of Madinah had amicable relations with Da`wah as they met with the Prophet (peace be upon him) twice in `Aqabah where they swore allegiance to him. Thus, they were prepared for receiving Muslims as well as the Prophet as a first step towards establishing the first Muslim state.

Reliance on Allah

In this pattern that is characterized by putting the Prophet’s full trust in Allah as well as cherishing the material means or natural laws set by Him in the universe, the Hijrah incidents succeeded in a row. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was so protected and supported by Allah Almighty that all the Quraishites’ malicious schemes were defeated. It was Allah’s Will that the plans of Prophet Muhammad succeed and those of the disbelievers fail. He says in the Ever-Glorious Qur’an: “Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.“ (At-Talaq 65:3) And, regarding DhulQarnain, Allah says: “Indeed, We established him upon the earth, and We gave him to everything a way [i.e., means]. So he followed a way.“ (Al-Kahf 18:84-85)

In a narration by Imam Ahmad on the authority of Asmaa bint Abi Bakr that she said: “We prepared food provision for them… they set out going around the mountains of Makkah until they found the mountain which they chose as their [temporary] resort. Upon seeing a man in front of the cave, Abu Bakr said, “O Prophet of Allah! He could see us!” The Prophet replied, “No! There are angels that cover us with their wings”. The man sat to relieve himself facing [the mouth of] the cave. Thereupon the Prophet said, “If he could see us, he would not do that.” (Musnad Ahmad)

Despite all the efforts the Prophet has exerted to camouflage the Hijrah event and maintain its secrecy, the Quraishites reached the mouth of the cave where he and Abu Bakr were hiding. This means that when the required human effort is exhausted, comes the aid from Allah Who never lets down or abandons His Prophet and/or his worshippers in a way that may deliver them to His and their adversaries.

The Almighty reaffirms this meaning in the Qur’an that He will protect His Prophet when he is forsaken and/or unattended by all other supporters. The companions were scattered at that time as many of them have emigrated to Madinah earlier, while some remained in Makkah. Thus, the Prophet (peace be upon him) had no one else left beside him at that very time except Allah and Abu Bakr…  

If you do not aid him [i.e., the Prophet] – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he [Muhammad] said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down His tranquility upon him and supported him with soldiers [i.e., angels] you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:40)

Thus, following taking care of all material means in terms of planning and preparing for the action, the Prophet put his trust in Allah and declared his complete dependence on Him Alone and he earnestly directed his face along with his heart towards Allah seeking His mercy, guidance and assistance. In short, the Prophet (peace be upon him) put his trust in Allah without negligence of material means.

This is a great lesson that needs to be learnt by each and every Muslim who should have strict faith that Allah’s help will descend when one’s human means are exhausted and that s/he should be confident that victory is always from Allah who states: “And victory is not except from Allah, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Aal `Imran 3:126)

To conclude, human effort in the world of observing material means cannot be neglected or made little of by Muslims especially those who shoulder the responsibility of inviting others to the way of Allah under the pretense of depending on Allah and leaving everything to Him.

If Prophet Muhammad – though was well protected by Allah – observed all possible human material means to make his plan work out, no doubt we would be more entitled to observe all possible means and use all our cunning and planning skills to make our designs succeed. We have to do all what we can then leave the results to Allah Who knows better than any of His creatures.

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Who Is Muhammad? (Part 1) Early Life in Makkah

Who Is Muhammad? (Part 1) Early Life in Makkah

By Khurram Murad
Who Is Muhammad?

Muhammad was a direct descendant of the Prophet Abraham through the Prophet Ishmael.

It was in the year 570, after Jesus, that Muhammad was born in Makkah, in what is now Saudi Arabia. Arabia, by all accounts, is the cradle of the human race. All the oldest human remains so far found come from the area of its location.

Hemmed in by red, black and brown volcanic hills about 80 kilometres to the east of the Red Sea, stands the city of Makkah. It was then a small merchant town on the ancient ‘incense’ route through which passed the great trade caravans between the south and north.

However, Makkah was, and remains, important for an altogether different reason. For here lies the Kabah, the ‘first House’ ever set up for mankind to worship their only God.

More than 1,000 years before the Prophet Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, his ancestor, the Prophet Abraham, aided by his elder son the Prophet Ishmael, raised its walls on very ancient foundations.

Close by the Kabah lies the well called Zam Zam. Its origin, too, goes back to the Prophet Abraham’s time. It was this well which sprang up miraculously to save the life of the infant Ishmael.

In the words of the Bible:

And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her: ‘What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Arise, lift up the boy, and hold him in your hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the boy a drink. And God was with the boy; and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. (Genesis 21:17–20 )

Or, as the Psalmist sings:

As they pass through the dry Valley of Baca, it becomes a place of springs; the early rain fills it with pools. (Psalms 84: 6)

Makkah never had, nor does it have now, any worldly inducement to offer for settlement. It is a barren, desolate place, where even grass does not grow! There were springs and wells of abundant water nearby in Taif, and a short distance away in Madinah. But it was the first House of God, architecturally an unremarkable cube, but spiritually and civilizationally the most remarkable fountain and spring of life – which made it supremely important, a place of attraction for people from all over the world. Forever, therefore, Makkah has been a great centre of pilgrimage.

By the time Muhammad was born, the Kabah’s latest guardians, the tribe of Quraish, had more than 300 idols installed in and around the Kabah to be worshipped as lords, gods and intercessors besides the One God.

Muhammad was a direct descendant of the Prophet Abraham through the Prophet Ishmael. He belonged to the financially poor but politically strong and noble clan of Banu Hashim from the tribe of Quraysh.

As guardians of the Kabah, the House of God and the centre of pilgrimage for all Arabia, the Quraysh ranked higher in dignity and power than any other tribe. Hashim held the high office of levying taxes and providing the pilgrims with food and water.

Muhammad was born an orphan. His father, Abdullah, died before he was born. His mother,

Aminah, too, passed away when he was only six years old. Doubly an orphan, his grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib, took him into his care. Only two years later, however, the orphaned boy was bereaved of his grandfather as well, leaving him in the care of his uncle, Abu Talib.

After his birth, the infant child was sent to the desert to be suckled and weaned and to spend part of his childhood among one of the Bedouin tribes, Bani Sad ibn Bakr, who live in the southeast of Makkah. This was the usual custom of all the great families in Makkah.

As Muhammad grew up, to earn his livelihood he pastured sheep and goats, as have done most prophets. His uncle and guardian, Abu Talib, also took him along with him on his travels with the trade caravans to greater Syria. He, thus, gained experience in trading.

Because of his great honesty and diligence and the business acumen he showed in trading, he was soon being sought after to take charge of other people’s merchandise, i.e. for those who could not travel themselves, and to trade on their behalf.

At the age of 25, Muhammad married a lady named Khadijah. A widow, Khadijah was 15 years older than Muhammad. She was a rich merchant of Makkah, and Muhammad had managed some of her trade affairs. It was she who proposed marriage.

Khadijah remained Muhammad’s wife and his closest friend and companion all her life till

her death 25 years later. She bore him six children, of whom four daughters survived.

Until he was 40, Muhammad led a very uneventful life, showing no signs of the Prophet in the making that he was suddenly to be. What set him apart from his compatriots was his absolute truthfulness, trustworthiness and integrity, his sense of justice and compassion for the poor, oppressed and downtrodden, as well as his total refusal to worship any idol or do anything immoral.

He was popularly acclaimed for these qualities. Al-Amin, the Trustworthy, the Honest, al-Sadiq, the Truthful, were the titles on everybody’s lips for Muhammad, which itself means the Praised One.

At a very young age, Muhammad enthusiastically joined a pact of chivalry for the establishment of justice and the protection of the weak and the oppressed made by certain chiefs of the Quraysh.

He took part in the Oath when they all vowed ‘that henceforth they would stand together as one man on the side of the oppressed against the oppressor until justice was done, whether the oppressed were a man of the Quraysh or one who had come from abroad.’

In later years, at Madinah, Muhammad used to say: ‘I was present in the house of Abd Allah ibn Judan at so excellent a pact that I would not exchange my part in it for a herd of red camels, and if now, in Islam, I were summoned to a similar pact, I would gladly respond.’

A testimony to Muhammad’s character was given by his wife Khadijah as she comforted him at the time when the first Revelation came to him. He said later: ‘I fear for my life.’ She replied: ‘By no means! I swear by God that God will never lose you. You join ties of relationship, you speak the truth, you bear people’s burdens, you earn for the poor, you entertain guests, and you help against the vicissitudes which affect people’s rights.’

Muhammad’s wisdom was also acknowledged by all. Once, while repairing the Kabah, various clans of the Quraysh disputed violently as to who should have the honour of placing the Black Stone in its place. As they were about to unsheathe their swords

and go to war, they made the Prophet their arbitrator and he brought them peace. He placed the Black Stone on his cloak and asked all the clan chiefs to hold its edges and raise it, and then he placed the Black Stone in its appointed spot with his own hands.

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Source: Taken from the author’s Who Is Muhammad? Published by Islamic Foundation, London, 1998.

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