PRE-ISLAMIC CONDITIONS IN YATHRIB
Many generations before, no less than twenty-one Jewish tribes settled themselves in Yathrib and in the early days of their migration gained a reputation for their religious schools. However, over the passage of time the tribes dispersed and their numbers dwindled, leaving behind them just a fragment of people. Secularism was common although a religious minority still remained. The Jews were also well known for their business acumen through which they had amassed great wealth and in their hay-day they had once governed the City. After a devastating flood in Yemen, the Arab Yemeni tribe of Bani Kahtan left their homeland and settled in Yathrib. The Bani Kahtan divided themselves into two tribes named after two brothers -- Aws and Khazraj -- and over time their population grew and exceeded both that of the Jews and other Arabs. However, their was friction between the two tribes, disputes arose followed by blood feuds. All was not well within the Jewish community as corruption was rampant. There had been a sharp decline in morals most notably in one of their chieftains named Fityun. Fityun usurped his power in such a disgraceful manner that Arab brides-to-be were forced to sleep with him the night before their wedding whilst other Jewish leaders did nothing to prevent him from satisfying his lust, but that was soon to end. When the time came for the sister of Malik, Ajlan's son to be married, Malik felt ashamed of what was about to befall her. So, on the day before her wedding, his sister, dressed in her bridal gown, made her way to Fityun's house accompanied by her brother disguised as a female attendant. Before Fityun could take advantage of Malik's sister, Malik took him by surprise, killed him, then fled to the safety of the tribe of Ghassan in Syria whose chieftain was Abu Jabillah. When Abu Jabillah heard of the corrupt ways of the Jews he and his warriors were utterly outraged and set off with Malik back to Yathrib with the intent of putting matters right. Upon reaching Yathrib, Abu Jabillah honored the Arab chieftains with fine gifts and invited the Jewish leaders to join them in a feast. During the feast Abu Jabillah and his warriors overcame the Jewish leaders and all were slain. So it was from that time onward that the Jews lost the control of Yathrib and the tribes of Aws and Khazraj became the governors of Yathrib. Time passed and the Jews, in their weakened position, deemed it more prudent to ally themselves with the now stronger pagan Arab tribes of Aws and Khazraj. However, the Jews, considering themselves to be the chosen people of Allah, resented the fact that they were now beholden to pagan Arabs and all too often sharp words were exchanged. Many were the times they would taunt the Arabs with the news that a prophet was about to come and that Allah would slay them on account of their idolatry just as He had done to the people of Aad and Thamood. There were also other times when the religious Jews would speak to their allies about their religion; they told of their belief in One God and in the life after death. Their allies found the matter of being raised from the dead difficult to believe so the Jews told them that when the prophet came he would confirm the truth of the matter. The idea of the coming of a prophet aroused both the curiosity and also the apprehension of the Arabs of Yathrib, so they asked where he would appear and were told in the direction of their ancestral homeland, Yemen, which also lies in the same direction of Mecca.
For many years there had been a feud between a certain Awsite and Khazrajite tribe, and as time passed more tribes, including the Jews of Yathrib, were drawn into the feud. Three battles had already been waged with losses on both sides and now a fourth was imminent, so in an effort to strengthen their position, the tribe of Aws sent a delegation to Mecca to ask the Koraysh to side with them against the Khazraj. While they were waiting for the decision, the Prophet (sa) went to the delegation and asked if they would like to hear something better than that which they were seeking. The delegation asked what he had in mind whereupon the Prophet (sa) told them about Islam and of his mission, then recited some verses of the Koran. After he had finished the recitation, a young man named Iyas, Mu'adh's son, remembered the taunt of the Jews and got up and said, "By Allah, this is better than that which we were seeking!" Iyas' spontaneous outburst annoyed the leader of the delegation who picked up a handful of sand and threw it in his face saying, "That's enough! By my life, we came here seeking something other than this!" The young man became quiet and the Prophet (sa) left. Meanwhile, the Koraysh reached the decision that it was not in their best interest to take sides in the feud and so the delegation returned to Yathrib without their help and the battle of Bu'ath ensued. Not long after their return Iyas died, but as he lay on his deathbed those around him confirmed that his last words were spent in praise and exaltation of Allah, testifying to His Oneness. And so it was that, Iyas became the first person to die in Yathrib as a Muslim. It wasn't long after that traders and pilgrims returning from Mecca brought more news of the Prophet (sa) to Yathrib, the word spread quickly and soon the entire City was talking about him. The Jews listened intently to the reports and recognized the truth in the Prophet's preaching, but for he most part, they could not bring themselves to entertain the fact that he was the long awaited Prophet because he was not a Jew
UNREST IN MECCA
THE FAILURE OF MECCANS TO RECOGNIZE THE VALUE OF THE PROPHET
In these early days of Islam, those who opposed the Prophet (sa) and his message were blinded by their own arrogant, useless idolatrous traditions and pride. Yet strange as it may seem, when it came to taking solemn oaths or when they wished people to take them seriously, the Arabs preferred to swear by Allah rather than their pagan gods For many years the pagan, materialistic society suffered on every count. They received no benefit for their dedication to the idols and corruption abounded in every form. Women were treated as worthless human beings and seldom afford their rights, injustice, murder and thievery were, amongst other depravities, were rampant. Yet even as these sad, intolerable state of affairs persisted those who opposed the Prophet (sa) failed to recognize or admit that what the Prophet (sa), whom they had until recently, attested to having an honest and upright character, brought and practiced a much better, higher standard of life for all; a standard where justice and happiness prevailed. But more importantly they rejected the news that there was life after death where they would be held accountable for their disbelief in the Oneness of their Creator for which there is either eternal punishment or the unfailing eternal rewards of Paradise with its continuous peace and happiness. The fact of the matter was that they failed to recognize the true value of the Prophet (sa) both spiritually and materialistically.
ANGER AND RESTMENT
Anger and resentment towards the message th Prophet Muhammad (sa) brought continued to intensify in Mecca as the number of his followers began to increase. One day, inside the precincts of Ka'ba at the Hijr Ishmael, a group of unbelievers gathered and were indulging in slanderous remarks about the Prophet (sa) as he entered. However, he paid not attention and continued to make his way across to the Ka'ba where he kissed the Black Stone then proceeded to circumambulate the Ka'ba. The first time he passed by the Hijr Ishmael, the unbelievers shouted at him in a very disrespectful, degrading manner, the same occurred on his second and third round, but on the third round as they jeered and shouted their slanderous remarks he stopped and said: "O Koraysh, will you listen to me? Indeed, by Him who holds my soul in His Hand, I bring you slaughter." The unbelievers were silenced by this unexpected statement, and silence hovered like a heavy weight above the gathering. After a while the silence was broken by the one who had been the most venomous with his slander, and in a surprisingly gently tone he addressed Prophet Muhammad, (sa) saying, "Go on you way, father of Kasim, for by Allah you are not an ignorant fool." Soon the unbelievers began to regret their momentary weakness and vowed they would never allow a situation like that to be repeated.
ABU JAHL - THE FATHER OF IGNORANCE
Amr, Hisham's son, was an influential, power seeking young man of the Makhzum tribe. He was the grandson of Mughirah and nephew of Waleed, the now elderly chieftain of his tribe. Amr had amassed considerable wealth and was, to those who had not earned his anger, hospitable and had high hopes of becoming the next chief of the tribe so he erroneously viewed the Prophet (sa) as a possible threat to his future. Amr was also a man to be feared for he was known for his ruthlessness toward those who dared to cross his path, and that now included Prophet Muhammad, (sa) as well as his followers. Such was his hatred of the Prophet (sa) and his Message, and disregard for the next life, that he had been among those responsible for setting up the road-blocks into Mecca. When members of Amr's own tribe embraced Islam his outrage became so bitter that he persecuted them without mercy; it was because of this that Amr became known to the companions as "Abu Jahl" - "The Father of Ignorance" and his supportive wife "The Mother of all Ignorance". One day, as the Prophet (sa) sat by himself outside the Ka'ba, Abu Jahl caught sight of him and ceased upon the opportunity to display his foul behavior. He went across to the Prophet (sa) and in an extremely abusive manner, insulted him in a very base manner, however, the Prophet (sa) was patient and did not allow himself to be provoked and went home. Arrogantly, Abu Jahl felt he had made a good impression on a party of Koraysh gathered near the Hijr Ishmael, and returned to them gloating in what he perceived to be triumph. Hamza, the young uncle of the Prophet, known for his gentle disposition despite the fact he had grown into a very strong man, had been away on a hunting expedition and had just returned to Mecca. As he entered the City Hamza was met by an elderly lady who had once served the now deceased, Abdullah, Judan's son, and told him of Abu Jahl's disgusting outburst. When Hamza learned of the abuse, raging anger swelled deep within his gentle being and he thundered towards the still gloating Abu Jahl and his gleeful comrades who were still gathered around the Hijr Ishmael. Upon seeing Abu Jahl, Hamza raised his hunting bow above Abu Jahl's head and struck him forcefully across his back saying, "How dare you. Would you insult him! Know that I am of his religion and swear what he swears. Strike me now if you can!" Those that had been seated rose up to join the others in support of Abu Jahl, but he chose not retaliate saying, "Let him alone, for by Allah, I reviled his brother's son in a crude manner." Such was Abu Jahl's hatred for the Prophet (sa) and his message, that he was to die in disbelief. However, when the news of the Prophet's birth reached him over forty years before, he had been so elated that he freed a female slave, and for this noble act, each Monday - the day on which the Prophet (sa) was born - Allah in His Mercy reduces his punishment in Hell. That same day Hamza went to the Prophet (sa) and embraced Islam. Now that Hamza had embraced Islam, the Koraysh were hesitant to continue with their vile behavior. They realized from now onwards they would have to answer to him for their actions, so they revised their tactics, for no one wanted to cross Hamza's path.
AN ATTEMPT TO BRIBE
Utba, Rabia's son, belonged to the tribe of Shams, Abdu Shams was a brother of Hashim and it was he, who, together with notables of the Koraysh tribe now met to discuss how they might best deal with the Prophet (sa). During the course of the meeting Utba suggested that perhaps the Prophet (sa) might incline to accept certain gifts and privileges in exchange for his silence, but it they had searched in the depths of their hearts all would have known he was not like them and would never accept a bribe no matter how it was presented. However, all were of the opinion that every man had his price and so they placed high hopes on his suggestion saying that they would be prepared to offer him absolutely anything he might desire as recompense in exchange for his silence. They had just reached their agreement when a late comer joined the meeting and told the gathering that he had just seen the Prophet (sa) sitting alone beside the Ka'ba. They agreed that now was a good time to approach him with their proposal, and as Utba was related to him they chose him to be their representative. Utba made his way toward to the Prophet (sa) whereupon the Prophet (sa) expressed his pleasure in seeing him, welcomed and invited him to sit down and talk. When Utba sat down the Prophet (sa) hoped he might have come to learn about Islam but Utba proceeded to say, "My nephew, you are one of us, from a noble tribe, a descendant of the finest ancestors. You have come to our tribes with an important matter that is dividing us. You have denounced our customs, insulted our gods and our religions. As for our ancestors, you say they were unbelievers, so listen to me because I have come to you with several proposals, perhaps you may accept one of them." The Prophet (sa) was very saddened but listened out of politeness as he never turned anyone away as Utba proceeded to describe the bribes. "If it is money you want, we are prepared to combine our properties and make you the richest one among us. If it is honor that you wish, we will make you our chief with complete and absolute power. If it is leadership, we will make you our leader and if the Spirit you see comes to you and you cannot rid yourself of it, then we will find a physician to cure you." After Utba finished presenting his bribe, the Prophet (sa) received a new Revelation from Allah:
"In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Most Merciful. Ha Meem. A sending down from the Merciful, the Most Merciful. A Book, the verses of which are distinguished, an Arabic Koran for a nation who know. It bears glad tidings and a warning, yet most of them turn away and do not listen. They say: 'Our hearts are veiled from that to which you call us, and in our ears there is heaviness. And between us and you is a veil. So work (as you will) and we are working." Koran 41:1-5
The compelling beauty of the Koranic recitation held Utba's attention in wonderment and as he listened further he heard of the creation of the heavens and the earth. Then he heard of the prophets sent to the arrogant people of Aad, and of the proud people of Thamood. He learned that all, but a few of their citizens refused to listen to the Message Allah had given to their prophets so they, with the exception of those who believed, were subjected to punishments of the severest kind in this world and then even greater in the Everlasting Life. The Prophet (sa) continued his recitation with verses that drew attention to the multiple signs surrounding us and concluded with:
"Among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. But do not prostrate yourselves before the sun or the moon rather prostrate before Allah, who created them both, if it is He whom you worship." Koran 41:37
As soon as the Prophet (sa) finished the recitation, he prostrated his head upon the ground in exaltation and thanksgiving. Then arose saying, "O (Utba) father of Waleed, you have heard what you have heard, it is now up to you to decided." The sun had started to set and Utba's companions had waited patiently for his return. No doubt their hopes were high as he had been with the Prophet (sa) for a considerable length of time. However, when he returned they were struck by the changed expression upon his face and asked what had happened. Utba told them that he had heard a recitation that was uniquely beautiful yet it was neither poetry, nor was it the words of a soothsayer, nor yet sorcery. He advised his companions to do as he intended, which was, not to come between the Prophet (sa) and his affair. Then he swore by Allah that the words he had just heard would be received by many as great tidings. Utba thought it more prudent that his blood should not be on their hands and commented if other Arabs were to kill him, then the responsibility would rest upon them, however, if his nephew were to become successful, he would govern them and his power would also be their power, and they would benefit. Utba's companions mocked him harshly and told him that he had been bewitched, but all Utba said was, "I have given you my opinion, do whatever you please." The Koraysh were angered by his advice so they decided to speak to the Prophet (sa) themselves so that no blame for their future actions could be attached to them and so they sent for him. The Prophet (sa) ever hopeful of guiding his tribe to Allah, went to them in haste. Soon he realized they had not called for him because their hearts had turned to Allah, rather the opposite was the case. The Koraysh rebuked him saying that never before had an Arab treated them in such a manner, reviling their gods, their customs and traditions. Once again, an effort to silence him was made as they endorsed the offer made earlier by Utba. As soon as the Koraysh finished offering their bribe, the Prophet (sa) turned to them in his usual gentle manner saying, "I am neither possessed, nor do I seek honor among you, nor the leadership. Allah has sent me as a Messenger to you and has sent down to me a Book with the command that I should give you good tidings but also a warning. I convey to you the Message of my Lord and counsel you. If you accept what I have brought you, you will receive blessings in this world and in the Everlasting life, but if you reject what I have brought, then, I will wait patiently for Allah to judge between us." The Koraysh, deeply disappointed by the Prophet's reply told him to leave. But before he left, they contemptuously told him that if he was really the Messenger of Allah he would have to prove it to them with something that would make their life easier. Their first demand was that he should ask Allah to remove the mountains that surround Mecca and to level the land so that rivers would flow through it just as they did in Syria and Iraq. Their demands continued; next they said that Ksay should be raised from the dead along with several of their ancestors, saying that they would ask Ksay if what the Prophet (sa) said was true or false, yet they knew he never lied. They continued saying that if he was able to bring about their demands, then, and only then, might they conceded he was who he said he was, and near to Allah. With respect, the Prophet (sa) replied that it was not on this account that he been sent. He told them that he had been sent to convey the Message of Allah and that they were free to either accept the Message or if they were adamant, reject it, and await the Judgement of Allah. On hearing his reply, the Koraysh changed their tactics saying that if he would not ask for these things, then, why not ask for something for himself. They told him to ask Allah to send an Angel to him who would confirm the truth of his preaching, and for gardens, and castles with treasures of gold and silver for himself. But the Prophet (sa) repeated his reply. The Koraysh continued to deride the Prophet (sa) asking if his Lord knew that he would be sitting amongst them and that they would ask him these questions. Their mockery continued as they asked why, if Allah had known these questions were going to be asked, hadn't He instructed him how to answer and tell him what He was going to do with them if they refused the Message he brought.
The word "Rahman" means "the Merciful", and is one of the many attributes of Allah. The Koraysh noticed "Rahman" occurred at the beginning of each chapter of the Koran so in an effort to discredit the Revelation rumors were spread that the Prophet (sa) received tutorship in the art of poetry by a man from Yamamah called Rahman. When next they met with the Prophet (sa) they seized upon the opportunity to chide him still further saying, "We have heard your recitation is taught to you by a man from Yamamah called Rahman -- we will never believe in Rahman! We have made our position clear to you Muhammad, and swear by Allah, that we will neither leave you in peace nor desist in our treatment of you until we have either destroyed you or you have destroyed us!" The Prophet (sa) was about to leave when Abdullah, Ummaya's son from the tribe of Makhzum disrespectfully shouted, "O Muhammad, your people have offered you several propositions -- you have rejected all! First they asked for themselves, then they asked you to ask for yourself! They have even asked you to hasten some of the punishment you have spoken about upon them. By Allah, I will never believe you until I see you take a ladder, climb it, and reach the heavens, then bring four angels to bear witness that you are what you claim, and even then I doubt whether I will believe you!" Upon hearing this last remark the Prophet (sa) was deeply saddened because it had been made by Abdullah, the son of his aunt Atikah who had named her son after her beloved brother, the Prophet's father, which means "Worshiper of Allah". Allah sent the Prophet verses that would forever record the contempt and rejection of the Koraysh leaders:
"As such, We have sent you forth to a nation before whom others have passed away in order that you recite to them what We have revealed to you. Yet they disbelieve the Merciful (Rahman). Say: 'He is my Lord. There is not god except He. In Him I have put my trust, and to Him I turn.' If only a Koran whereby the mountains were set in motion, or the earth cleaved asunder, or the dead spoken to. No, but Allah is the affair altogether. Do those who believe know that had Allah willed He could have guided all people? As for those who disbelieve, because of what they do, disaster will not cease to afflict them, or it alights near their home until the promise of Allah comes. Allah will not break His promise." Koran 13:30-31
"They also say: 'How is it that this Messenger eats and walks about the markets? Why has no angel been sent down with him to warn us? Or, why has no treasure been thrown to him, or a garden for him to eat from?' And the harmdoers say: 'The man you follow is surely bewitched.'" Koran 25:7-8
"They say: 'We will not believe in you until you make a spring gush from the earth for us, or, until you own a garden of palms and vines and cause rivers to gush forth with abundant water in them; or, until you cause the sky to fall upon us in pieces, as you have claimed, or, as a surety bring Allah with the angels in front; or, until you possess an ornate house of gold, or ascend into the heavens; and we will not believe in your ascension until you have brought down for us a book which we can read.' Say: 'Exaltations to my Lord! Am I anything except a human Messenger?'" Koran 17:90-93
ABU JAHL AND THE STONE
Abu Jahl continued to deride the Prophet (sa) after he had left and took an oath saying, "Tomorrow, I will lie in wait for him with a heavy stone, and when he prostrates I will split his skull with it. Betray me or defend me -- let the children of Abdu Manaf do what they like after that!" The next morning, the Prophet (sa) arose before dawn and made his customary way to offer his prayer near the Black Stone in the wall of Ka'ba. The Koraysh had already gathered and Abu Jahl, carrying a very heavy stone staggered as he approached the Prophet (sa) who was now humbly absorbed in his prayer, with the intent of fulfilling his oath. Before Abu Jahl was able to get close enough to the Prophet (sa) he turned back in deathly fright. His hand had started to wither on the stone whereupon he dropped it and ran as fast as he could. The Koraysh rushed towards him and asked what had come over him whereupon he told them he had seen a terrifying camel, with a tremendously large head, enormous shoulders and a fearsome set of teeth that looked as if it was about to devour him if he continued. Later on, the Prophet (sa) told his companions that the camel was none other than Gabriel, and if Abu Jahl had persisted he would indeed have seized him.
THE CONTEMPT OF ABU JAHL
Even though Abu Jahl had witnessed and given, first hand, many signs he still persisted in his egotistical obsession. He now bragged before the Koraysh that he would stamp on the back of the Prophet's neck the next time he saw him praying. When the Prophet (sa) arrived at the Ka'ba to pray the Koraysh drew Abu Jahls attention to the opportunity. However, as before when Abu Jahl approached the Prophet (sa) with his evil intent, he ran away in fright, trying to protect himself with his hands. His fellow tribesmen asked what had happened whereupon he admitted, "As I came near to him, I looked down and saw a ditch full of fire and I almost fell into it. I saw a terrifying sight and heard enough fluttering of wings that would fill the earth!" Later, when Abu Jahl's words were reported to him the Prophet (sa) told his companions that the fluttering of wings where those of the angels and that if he had come any nearer to him they would have torn him limb from limb. Soon after the following verse was sent down: "Indeed, surely the human is very insolent." Koran 96:6
NADAR, THE SON OF AL HARTIH
The Koraysh admitted the situation was now beyond their ability to remedy and although Nadar, Harith's son, whose grandfather had been the illustrious Ksay, had become notorious for his slander of the Prophet (sa) he reminded the Koraysh that the Prophet (sa) had grown up amongst them as a likable person known for his excellent standing in the society. Nadar now warned the Koraysh to be careful of their accusations for he was sure that they too knew that he was neither a poet nor yet a sorcerer. He reminded them that they also knew the ways of a sorcerer and by no means could he be described as such. He continued to advise them saying that they should be careful of what they said as he felt a serious matter had befallen them which called for a change in their tactics, and so the slanderous remarks subsided for the time being.
NADAR'S ATTEMPT TO COMPETE WITH THE PROPHET (sa)
Nadar was a trader and had traveled the caravan routes not only in Arabia but to distant countries. Whenever he reached his destination it was his habit to seek out the storytellers in the market place and listen to their tales. On one particular trip he heard a tale about the kings of Persia, which, over the passage of time had been embellished by one storyteller then the next, and so the tale made a great impression upon him. One day as the Prophet (sa) spoke to a group of people he told them stories the like of which they had never heard before, of bygone generations and the consequences that befell them on account of their refusal to listen to their prophet. Nadar and Utba were among the gathering and no sooner had the Prophet (sa) finished his narration, Nadar jumped up and told them that he could tell them better stories than these then began to tell his captive audience about the kings of Persia, Rustum and Isbandiyar. After he finished the story he asked, "Who then is better at story telling, Muhammad or I?" Someone in the gathering suggested that Nadar and Utba visit the rabbis in Yathrib and ask them about the stories the Prophet had just told them. It was a challenge, and so Nadar and Utba decided to journey to Yathrib to confront the rabbis.
THE THREE QUESTIONS
When they arrived in Yathrib they asked where they might find the rabbis and upon being taken to them said, "You are the people of the Torah, we have come to you to ask how we should deal with one of our tribesmen," and proceeded to describe the Prophet (sa) and speak of his teachings. The rabbis remained silent until they had finished then one spoke saying, "You should ask him these three questions, if he answers you correctly then he is a prophet, however, if he is unable, then he is not, and from this you can form your own opinion." The rabbis asked their visitors to question the Prophet (sa) about the young men that disappeared from their people in ancient days, and then to question him about the great traveler who journeyed to the east and to the west. The final question they were to ask was about the Spirit.
THE PROPHET (sa) IS QUESTIONED
Nadar and Utba returned to Mecca and announced to their fellow tribesmen that the rabbis of Yathrib had given them three questions that would determine whether or not Muhammad was indeed the Prophet of Allah. When they reached the Prophet (sa) he listened to the questions in silence and told them he would give them a reply the next day, for he never spoke on religious matters without receiving its knowledge via the Angel Gabriel. However, when told them he would give them a reply the following day he forgot to say "Insha-Allah" which means - "Allah willing." The next day came and passed, however, Gabriel did not visited him with the answers which no doubt pleased the unbelievers.
ANGEL JIBREEL BRINGS THE ANSWERS
Several days elapsed and the Prophet (sa) patiently awaited the answers to the questions as rumors began to abound in every sector. Then, on the fifteenth day, Angel Gabriel came to him and he asked why he had not come before. Gabriel responded with a new verse from the Koran that said:
"(Gabriel said:) "We do not descend except at the command of your Lord. To Him belongs all that is before us and all that is behind us, and all that lies between, Your Lord does not forget" Koran 19:64
THE STORY OF THE BELIEVING YOUNG MEN IN THE CAVE
In reply to the question about the young men in the cave Gabriel recited to the Prophet (sa) verses detailing their circumstances so later on when Nadar, Utba and their companions came to him he was able to recite the story to them. The verses told of some young men who lived in a city of idolaters. The young men, however, were not idolaters and told their fellow tribesmen:
"Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. We call on no other god except Him; (for if we did), we would have spoken outrageously (in disbelief)." Koran 18:14
Then the young men challenged the idolaters to bring them some proof of their authority to worship more than One God asking:
"Who does greater evil than he who forges a lie against Allah?" Koran, 18:15
The idolaters turned against the young men and it was then that Allah put into their hearts the notion to seek refuge in a cave where they would be safe from the idolaters. Taking their dog along with them, the young men set off for the cave and upon reaching it Allah caused them to fall into a deep sleep.
"You might have seen the rising sun incline towards the right of their Cave, and, as it set go past them on the left, while they stayed within an open space in the Cave. That was one of the signs of Allah .... You might have thought them awake, though they were sleeping. We turned them about to the right and to the left, while their dog stretched its paws at the entrance. Had you seen them you would surely have become filled with terror and turned your back on them in flight. As such We revived them so that they might question one another. 'How long have you stayed here?' asked one of them. 'We have been here a day, or part of it,' they replied. They said: 'Your Lord knows best how long we have stayed here. Let one of you go to the city with this silver (coin) and let him search for one who has the purest food and bring provision from it. Let him be courteous, but let no one sense it is you. For, if they appear in front of you, they will stone you to death or restore you to their religion. Then you will never prosper.' And so We made them (the unbelievers) stumble upon them, so that they might know that the promise of Allah is true and that there is no doubt about the Hour. They argued among themselves over the affair, then (the unbelievers) said: "Build a building over them (their remains). Their Lord knows best who they were.' But those who prevailed over the matter said: 'We will build around them a Mosque.'" Koran 18:17-22
Regarding their number, the Revelation warned there was a difference of opinion among those who had heard the story and that:
"Some will say: 'They were three; their dog was the fourth.' Others, guessing at the Unseen, will say: 'They were five and their dog was the sixth.' And yet others: 'Seven, their dog was the eighth,' Say: 'My Lord knows best their number. Except for a few none know their number.' Therefore, do not dispute with them except in outward disputation, and do not ask any of them concerning them." Koran 18:22
THE STORY OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT (THUL-KARNAIN)
The answer to the second question concerning the great traveler, Alexander, was sent down to the Prophet (sa) in the following verses:
"They will ask you about Thul-Karnain (Alexander). Say: 'I will recite to you something of this story. We established him in the land and gave him means to all things. He journeyed on a way until when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and nearby he found a nation. 'Thul-Karnain,' We said, 'you must either punish them or show them kindness.' He replied: 'The evil-doer we shall punish. Then he shall return to his Lord and He will punish him with a stern punishment. As for he who believes and does good works he shall receive a fine reward in recompense and we shall bestow on them a rich reward and shall speak to him with a mild command.' Then he followed the road until he reached the rising of the sun, he found it rising upon a nation for whom We provided no veil against it to shade them. So, We encompassed in knowledge what was with him. Then he followed the road, when he reached between the two barriers he found on one side of them, a nation who could barely understand speech. 'Thul-Karnain,' they said, 'Look, Gog and Magog are corrupting the earth. Build us a barrier between us and them, and we will pay you tribute.' He replied: 'That which my Lord has given me is better, therefore help me with all your power, and I will build a barrier between you and them. Bring me ingots of iron.' After he had leveled between the two cliffs, he said: 'Blow.' And when he made it a fire, he said: 'Bring me molten copper so that I may pour over it. Thereafter they could neither scale it, nor could they pierce it. He said: 'This is a mercy from my Lord. But when my Lord's promise is come, He will make it dust. The promise of my Lord is true.' On that day, We will let them surge on one another, and the Horn shall be blown, and We will gather them all together. On that Day We shall present Gehenna to the unbelievers whose eyes were blinded to My remembrance and they were not able to hear." Koran 18:83-101
CONCERNING THE SPIRIT
Concerning the answer relating to the Spirit it was revealed:
"They question you about the spirit. Say: 'The spirit is from the command of my Lord. Except for a little knowledge all of you have been given nothing.' Koran 17:85
The Revelation also bore the reminder:
"'Do not say of anything: 'I will do it tomorrow unless (you add) if Allah wills.' And remember your Lord when you forget and say: It may be that my Lord will guide me to something nearer to rectitude than this.'" Koran 18:23-24
The Prophet's life was full of guidance and examples. There was once an occasion later on in his prophethood where he offered three units of prayer when there should have been four. Had he not made this omission we would never have known how to correct our errors when we do the same. His omission to say "InshaAllah" was also another exemplary reminder to us through which we are guided.
NADAR AND UTBA RETURN WITH THE ANSWERS TO THE RABBIS
No one in Mecca had ever heard the story of the young men in the cave and the new Revelation attracted more people to Islam. As for the rabbis of Yathrib, they anxiously awaited for the news to arrive, and when it did, they acknowledged the truthfulness of the answers, however, they still wished to question the Prophet (sa) further upon the matter of the spirit. Even though the questions Nadar and Utba had challenged the Prophet (sa) with had been answered and acknowledged to be correct, their hearts remained hardened. Later, after his migration to Yathrib, the Prophet (sa) was questioned again by the rabbis concerning the spirit. They asked: "Who, 'Little indeed is the knowledge all of you have been given" referred too -- was it to them? Prophet Muhammad (sa), told them that it referred to them, whereupon the rabbis objected saying that they had been given its knowledge in the Torah. The Prophet (sa) replied that indeed they had been given sufficient knowledge to satisfy their needs, if only they would practice it, but in comparison with the Knowledge of Allah, their knowledge was indeed little. It was during this discourse that the Prophet (sa) received another Revelation that informed:
"till Gog and Magog are let loose and slide down out of every slope." Koran 21:96
THE TIME OF GOG AND MAGOG
Later in his prophethood, the Prophet (sa) told his companions that near the end of the world, Gog, Magog and their followers would advance upon the Lake of Tabariah in Palestine. They will consume all of its water and it is then that Prophet Jesus - who will have descended from the heavens - together with his companions be besieged and suffer dreadfully from starvation. He continued to tell that when the siege reaches its height, Prophet Jesus and his companions will supplicate to Allah who will create in the back of the necks of Gog and Magog and their followers, worms, that will cause their death the very next morning. Then, Allah will send a flock of birds with necks as large as those of camels to carry away their foul smelling corpses. Prophet Muhammad (sa), conveyed good news to his companions that after this trial, Allah will send down rain from the heavens which will cleanse the earth and the earth will provide an abundance of fruit for everyone to enjoy. Then, the Prophet (sa) told his companions that it is while the Muslims are enjoying such blessings that Allah will send a sweet, gentle breeze to take away the soul of each and every one of them, thereby leaving only those who disbelieve behind on the earth. The Prophet (sa) concluded his prophecy by telling his companions that after the death of the believers, only the most vile people will remain on the earth who will copulate in public just like donkeys for all to see and that it will be during this time that the final hour will commence.
Meanwhile, the Koraysh chieftains continued in varying degrees in their relentless hostility toward the Muslims. If a convert happened to be among the hierarchy of a tribe, Abu Jahl would reprimand him then ridicule the convert before his fellow tribesmen so that he lost their respect. Traders also suffered. When Abu Jahl discovered a trader had converted he gave orders that no one should deal with him anymore. As a result, the convert trader was unable to sell his wares and his circumstances were soon reduced to that of an impoverished person. The freemen who suffered most were poor converts, who, in the eyes of Abu Jahl, were the least important on the social scale. When one of them converted he would beat them without mercy and urge others to follow his example. As for convert slaves belonging to the unbelieving Koraysh, they received the worst and harshest punishment, for their standing was by far the weakest. Punishment such as brutal beatings followed by depravation of food and water were common, but perhaps the most severe punishment was that of being pinned down upon the scorching hot sands of Mecca and leaving the slave to endure the blistering heat of the sun without the relief of even a sip of water. Some of the physically weaker converts were unable to endure their prolonged punishment and forced to recant. However, their recantations were not from their heart, but just noises made by their tongues. Those who remained undetected would offer their prayers in secret, but there were many who did not have the privilege of privacy and their grief at not being able to offer their prayers was considerable.
BILAL, THE SON OF RIBAH
Amongst those that suffered the torture of the burning sands was Bilal, Hamamma and Ribah's son, who had never known what it was like to be a freeman as they had been born into slavery. Bilal was a slave of African descent and owned by the children of Jumah. When news of Bilal's conversion came to the attention of the children of Jumah, Ummaya, Khalaf's son, subjected him to the most severe kinds of punishment. The harshest torture Ummaya devised was to take him out into the desert during the hottest part of the day, throw him down upon his back so that it lay flat upon the already scorching sand, then place heavy rocks on top of Bilal's chest that prevented him from moving. With a voice full of hatred he would yell at him, "You will stay here until you either die or renounce Muhammad and worship Al-Lat and Al Uzza!" The strength of Bilal's faith was truly great, he never gave into the demands of Ummaya, and as he suffered in the unbearable heat, his weak, parched, strained voice would be heard faintly saying, (AHAD, AHAD) "One, One!"
ABU BAKR FREES BILAL
Abu Bakr had already bought and freed six believing slaves when one day he came across Bilal whilst he was being tortured yet again. Shocked, and greatly distressed at seeing him in such an appalling condition, he went straight to Ummaya demanding, "Have you no fear of Allah that you treat this poor man in such a way -- how long do you intend continuing like this!" With a sneer, Ummaya replied, "It is you who have corrupted him -- save him from it!" Without hesitation Abu Bakr made him an offer. Bilal was no longer of any use to Ummaya, so the offer was accepted and Abu Bakr took Bilal home with him where he was cared for, nursed back to health and given his freedom.
THE FAMILY OF YASIR
Yasir had migrated to Mecca from Yemen, and there he met and married a slave-girl by the name of Sumayya. From their union was born a son whom they named Ammar. Ammar had been among the early converts to Islam and succeeded to bring his parents into its fold. All three were subjected to the same kind of torture as Bilal, but Yasir and Sumayya were to become martyrs. Sumayya's martyrdom finally came when Abu Jahl brutally thrust his lance into her and killed her.
KHABBAB, THE SLAVE OF UMM AMMAR
Khabbab was the slave of Umm Ammar and when he converted the Koraysh took to subjecting him to many forms of torture. On one such occasion they lit a fire, then spread its burning coals over the ground and forced him to lie down upon his back. To add to this, one of his torturers placed his foot firmly upon Khabbab's chest so that he could not move until the coals had burned themselves to ashes, however, Khabbab survived. In the years that followed Khabbab spoke to Omar about his torture and showed him his dreadfully scared back which was now white and pitted like that of a leper.
LUBAINA AND ZINNIRA, NADIA AND UMM UMAIS
Lubaina was the slave of Omar. Before Omar's conversion his harsh treatment of his convert slaves was well known. Omar was extremely strong, and when he discovered that Lubaina had converted he beat her until he was exhausted and then said, "I have not stopped out of pity, but because I am tired!" Lubaina held on strongly to her belief and said after her severe beating, "If this does not persuade you, Allah shall revenge me!" Zinnira was yet another slave owned by Omar. One day when Abu Jahl was visiting Omar he took it upon himself to beat her. Zinnira was beaten so harshly that she lost her eyesight. Nadia and Umm Umais were yet two more slaves who were among those tortured but refused to recant. When it came to freeing believing slaves, Abu Bakr did not think twice to pay the handsome sum demanded by their torturers to secure their release and the ladies just mentioned were among those blessed by his compassionate generosity.
THE REQUEST OF SOME OF THE COMPANIONS
Khabbab, Al Aratt's son, and some of the companions went to visit Prophet Muhammad (sa), to complain against their increased persecution and ask him to supplicate for victory over their aggressors. The Prophet (sa) listened with heartfelt sympathy and them with the story of a man, who, centuries before, had been taken captive by his enemy and told to renounce his belief. The man refused to give up his belief and so he was flung into a pit and left there. Later, after his captors thought his spirit would have weakened, he was dragged up out of the pit and told to recant, but still the man refused whereupon his flesh was torn from his bones by rakes, but he would not give up his belief. Finally, a saw was sent for and placed on top of his head and he was martyred as he was sawn in half. There was absolutely nothing that would tear him away from his faith. The Prophet (sa) consoled his companions saying, "Allah will surely bring this matter to an end, when a rider will be able to leave Sanna for Hadramet fearing nothing except Allah and the danger of a wolf attacking his sheep."
Abu Jahl, Al Akhnas son of Sharik's and Abu Sufyan were curious to learn why so many people were attracted to the Prophet (sa) so they decided to spy upon one of his gatherings. One night after the believers had gathered in the Prophet's house, they met together and then hid among the shadows so as not to be detected and waited for him to begin. The Prophet (sa) and his followers spent the night in prayer and also listened to the Prophets captivating recitation of the Koran. After its recitation, the Prophet (sa) much to the delight of his followers, lovingly expanded upon its meaning and stories from the knowledge he had been given by Gabriel. He never spoke on religious matters without having first been given knowledge from Gabriel, who was entrusted by Allah to deliver the Koran and its explanation. The hours slipped by and it was only just before dawn that the three returned home in fear that if they stayed any longer someone might see them and then misinterpret their reason for presence. As they made their way home they warned each other that they must never do such a thing again. However, they were to return yet again on the second, and third night then leave as they had done before dawn, but as they parted company on the third night each took a binding oath never, ever, to return again. Later on that day Al Akhnas, with stick in hand, went to the home of Abu Sufyan to ask his opinion of the past three nights. Abu Sufyan told him that he had heard things he knew and already knew what was meant by them, and that he had also heard things he had not heard before and had not known their meaning. Al Akhnas concurred with Abu Sufyan and then went to Abu Jahl's home to ask his opinion. Al Akhnas found that Abu Jahl's position had not soften in the slightest, in fact he understood that Abu Jahl now saw the Prophet (sa) as an even greater threat and had become more opposed than ever. Abu Jahl reminded his visitor that he and his tribesmen competed with the Prophet (sa) and his followers for honor saying, "They have fed the poor, so have we; they have been generous, so have we, we are like two horses running neck-to-neck in a race. But, they say we have a Prophet to whom a Revelation is sent down from heaven -- when will we ever attain anything like that!" It was now more evident than ever that Abu Jahl feared he would loose his chance to be the chieftain of this very powerful tribe when his uncle died. Although, if he had put his pride to one side and listened without bias he would have realized his fear was completely unfounded as the Prophet (sa) was honorable and respectful, and never took away the authority of tribal chieftains or claimed such rank for himself. Now, in a fit of arrogant rage, Abu Jahl swore never to believe in the message the Prophet (sa) brought, nor would he ever again consider him to be truthful. The unbelievers persisted in their mockery of the Prophet (sa) saying, "There is a veil over our hearts, we do not understand what you say. There is also a heaviness in our ears so we are unable to hear you, and a curtain that divides us from you. You follow your path and we will follow ours. We do not understand any thing you say!" It was then that Allah sent down the verses:
"When you recite the Koran, We place between you and those who do not believe in the Everlasting Life an obstructing barrier. We lay veils upon their hearts and heaviness in their ears, lest they understand it. When you (Prophet Muhammad) mention your Lord alone in the Koran, they turn their backs in aversion. When they listen to you, We know very well how they listen. When they conspire, when the evildoers declare: 'You are only following a man who is bewitched.' See what they compare you to. They have surely gone astray and cannot find the Path. 'What!' they say, 'When we are (turned to) bones and broken bits, shall we be raised again in a new creation?' Say: 'Let you be stones or iron, or any other creation yet more monstrous in your minds.' They will ask: 'Who will restore us?' Say: 'He who originated you at first.' They will shake their heads and ask: 'When will this be?' Say: 'Maybe it is near, on that Day, He will summon you, and you shall answer Him with praise and you shall think you have stayed but for a little.'" Koran 17:45-52
WALEED, CHIEF OF THE MAKHZUM
The status of Waleed, the elderly chieftain of the Makhzum, and uncle of Abu Jahl, within the Koraysh tribes was that of great standing and influence to the extent that one might say he was virtually the unofficial leader of all the Koraysh tribes. Prophet Muhammad (sa), was ever hopeful that the Message he brought would touch the hearts of tribal leaders, which would not only turn them into believers and the rest of their tribes, but make for strong allies and bring about the cessation of the relentless persecution of his companions. His uncle, Abu Talib, supported him but had not embraced Islam, which was a source of deep regret to the Prophet (sa), so now he sought the opportunity to approach Waleed. The opportunity was soon to present itself when one day they unexpectedly met together. Waleed did not brush the Prophet (sa) away and soon the two became engrossed in their discussion. During the course of their conversation, the Prophet (sa) was overheard by a blind passerby, who had recently converted to Islam. The blind man interrupted the conversation at an inopportune moment and asked the Prophet (sa) to recite to him some verses whereupon Waleed frowned and turned away. The conversation ended shortly after the interruption and Waleed left without being persuaded. Later, Waleed was heard to arrogantly exclaim to his fellow tribesmen, "Are Revelations sent to Muhammad and not to me! I am the most important among the Koraysh, and I am their lord! Why are they not sent to Abu Masoud, the lord of Thakif or myself -- we are the two great men of the two great cities!" The cities referred to were those of Mecca and Ta'if. Not long after the Prophet (sa) had spoken with Waleed he received a new, short chapter that refers, in part, to the blind man and Waleed:
"He frowned and turned away when the blind man came to him. And what could let you know? Perhaps he (comes to hear you) to be purified. (He might) remember, and the Reminder might profit him. As for he who is sufficed, you attended to him, although it is not for your to be concerned if he remained unpurified. And to him who came to you eagerly and fearfully, of him you were unmindful. No indeed, this is a Reminder; and whosoever wills shall remember it." Koran 80:1 - 12
THE SPLITTING OF THE MOON
It was the night of the full moon and as it rose over Mount Hira its silvery light lit the City of Mecca below. Prophet Muhammad (sa), happened to be out walking with Ali and some of his companions when a group of unbelievers passed by. As might be expected, the unbelievers started hurling their usual mockery, then, one of them issued a challenge to the Prophet (sa) saying, "If you really are the Messenger of Allah, then split the moon into half!" The Prophet (sa) supplicated and to the absolute amazement of the unbelievers, Allah, the Most Able, caused the moon to split and draw away from its other half so that one half shone on one side of Mount Hira and the other below. The small crowd looked on in wonderment, then the Prophet (sa) turned to the unbelievers and his customary, innate, gentle manner asked them to bear witness, for his only desire was to bring them to Allah and save them from the Fire. Some converted immediately, whilst others were not ready to commit themselves, but those whose hearts were hardened refused to believe claiming that the miracle was nothing other than magic and persisted, even after others from remote areas were questioned and bore witness that they too had seen the division of the moon, that the Prophet (sa) had cast a spell over their eyes. Allah refers to this miraculous event and the lies of the unbelievers saying:
The Hour is drawing near, and the moon is split (in two). Yet if they see a sign (the unbelievers) turn their backs and say: This is but a continuation of sorcery! They have belied, and follow their own fancies. But every issue will be settled! Koran 54:1-4
IDOLATORY THROUGH LACK OF DIVINE GUIDANCE - THE CONVERSION OF OMAR, SON OF KHATTAB
Although Omar disliked the Prophet (sa) and his companions, his reasons were different from those of his uncle Abu Jahl. Omar came from a family steeped in conservatism and tradition, and as such taught to respect, but not question through lack of Divine Guidance, the age-old custom of reverence for the idols and Ka'ba. The very idea of even challenging the validity of worshipping its idols was to Omar something that was simply not open for discussion. Traditions and heritage went hand in hand, and were to him, something to be preserved at all costs, although there was nothing to support the worship of the idols. As for the Ka'ba itself, only fragments of its real reason for reverence remained. To Omar, and most of the people of Mecca, he was content with the age-old illogical excuse that his fathers and ancestors had worshipped them and what had been good enough for them, was still good enough for his generation. When Omar heard the Prophet (sa) calling upon people to renounce the idols and worship just One God, Allah, it was more than he could bear. To Omar's way of thinking, the Prophet (sa) and his Message had become a threat to the very fabric of his society's heritage, unity and ultimately its existence so he had come to the conclusion that the only way to stop the escalation would be the elimination of the Prophet (sa).
THE ATTEMPT OF OMAR AND ABU JAHM TO KILL THE PROPHET (sa)
Omar and Abu Jahm, Hudhayfas son were of a similar mind so they agreed that on a specified night to go to the Prophets home and accomplish the matter. However, upon reaching his house they heard him reciting the words: The Resurrection Verifier; and what is the Resurrection Verifier? What makes you to know what the Ressurection Verifier is? Thamood and Aad belied the Clatterer. Thamood, they were destroyed by the violent shout (of Gabriel), as for Aad, they were destroyed by a howling, violent wind that He subjected upon them for seven nights and eight days consecutively and you might have seen them struck down as if they were the stumps of palm tress that had fallen down. Can you see any remnant of them now? Koran 69:1-8
When Abu Jahm heard these words he struck Omars arm violently exclaiming, Save yourself! and they ran away in fright.
NU'AYM DIVERTS OMAR
The matter, however, still weighed heavily upon Omars mind, he could bear it no longer. The matter had, in his opinion, to be resolved once and for all, so he fastened his sword to his belt and stormed out of the house. He had not gone far when Omar was met by a fellow tribesman by the name of Nu'aym, Abdullah's son. Nu'aym had embraced Islam, however, very few people knew of his conversion and without doubt Omar was completely unaware. Upon seeing the determined look upon Omar's face and then the sword fastened to his belt, Nu'aym suspected trouble and asked casually, so as not to arouse suspicion, where he was going. Omar replied, "I am going to kill Muhammad; he has divided us!" Nu'aym, trying to conceal his fear for the Prophet (sa) tried to dissuade Omar by telling him that even if he succeeded the children of Abdu Manaf would never rest until they had taken their revenge and killed him. Nu'aym was quick to realize that Omar was not to be put off by his advice so desperately, in an effort to buy time in which he could alert the Prophet (sa) and his companions, he said, "Omar, you should put things right in your own house first!" Omar was startled, and asked what he meant by such a statement. Nu'aym replied, "Your sister, Fatima and her husband Sa'id, they are followers of Muhammad and his religion." Without so much as a word, Omar stormed off to his sister's house. Nu'aym felt badly at having exposed Fatima and Sa'id to Omar's wrath, but he knew they would understand his intention as they, like every convert loved and would do anything to shield their beloved Prophet (sa) from the prospect of harm.
THE RECITATION OF KHABBAB
Now among the literate people of the tribe of Zuhra was a convert called Khabbab. Khabbab had a very sweet voice and had learned the recitation of the Koran. Fatima and Sa'id loved to both recite and listen to its recitation and so Khabbab had become a most welcome visitor to their home. On the day Omar discovered his sister and her husband had become Muslims, Khabbab happened to be visiting them. It was as they were sitting together reciting the new chapter "Ta Ha" which had recently been sent down, then written upon a piece of parchment, that Omar arrived at her house and made his presence known by calling out his sister's name in a thunderous voice. Khabbab was stricken with fear, for he was among those who were poor and of little standing, so he hid himself in Fatima's house hoping that Omar would not discover his presence, but before hiding, Fatima took the parchment from him and hid it under her gown. Omar burst into Fatima's house and demanded, "What was that mumbling I heard?" Fatima and Sa'id told him that he heard no mumbling. Angrily, Omar replied, "Indeed, I heard you and I have been told that you have both become followers of Muhammad!" Omar restrained himself no longer, and started beating his brother-in-law without mercy. Fatima tried to intervene but a blow intended for Sa'id struck her and she began to bleed profusely whereupon she cried out to her brother to do whatever he wanted, and told him that, yes, he was right, they had indeed become Muslims. When Omar realized what he had done to his sister he was overcome with remorse and his attitude changed. In a soften tone he asked, "Give me what I have just heard you reading from so that I might see what Muhammad has brought." Fatima, fearful of her brother's intention, replied, "I am afraid to trust you with it" whereupon Omar laid down his sword and said, "Do not fear, by Allah, I will give it back to you." Fatima knew her brother to be a man of his word and hoped with all her heart he would embrace Islam and spoke to him gently saying, "O my brother, because of your idolatry you are unclean, and only the cleansed may touch it." Omar heeded his sister's words and went to wash himself. When Omar returned Fatima gave him the parchment and Allah, in His Mercy caused the light of faith to enter his heart and he began to read.
THE SUPPLICATION OF THE PROPHET (sa)
After Omar had finished reading, Khabbab came out from his hiding place and said, "Omar, I hope that through the prayer of our Prophet (sa) Allah has chosen you, because yesterday I heard him supplicate, 'O Allah, strengthen Islam with either Abdul Hakam, Hisham's son or with Omar, Khattab's son." These encompassing words of Khabbab touched Omar in such a way that he asked where he might find the Prophet (sa) so that he might go to him and embrace Islam. Khabbab no longer feared for the Prophet's safety under the hand of Omar and told him that he would find him together with his companions in the house of Akram, near the Hill of Safwa.
OMAR'S ARRIVAL AT THE HOUSE OF AKRAM
Omar fastened his sword and made ready to leave for the house of Akram. When he reached the house he knocked at the door and announced himself. Meanwhile, Nu'aym had been able to warn the Prophet (sa) and his companions of Omar's original intent, so they were taken by surprise when they heard the gentle tone of his voice. One of the companions got up and went to look through a small crack in the door and returned to the Prophet (sa) to confirm that it was indeed Omar and that he was wearing his sword. The Prophet (sa) was not afraid for he trusted Allah and knew He had answered his supplication, and gave permission to let Omar enter. However, Hamza told his companion to open the door saying, "If he comes with good intent, he will receive much good, but on the other hand, if his intentions are evil then he would kill him with his own sword."
OMAR EMBRACES ISLAM
As Omar entered, the Prophet (sa) caught hold of his belt by surprise and led him into the middle of the room then asked in his usual gentle manner, "What brings you here, son of Khattab." Meekly, Omar replied, "O Messenger of Allah (sa) I have come to you so that I may proclaim my belief in Allah and in His Messenger, and in that which He has sent down to you." In gratitude and humility, the Prophet (sa) exalted Allah saying "Allah is the Greatest!" Those present felt an overwhelming sense of relief and followed the Prophets example and exalted Allah as they realized Omar was no longer their enemy, but one of them, a Muslim.
ABU JAHL LEARNS OF OMAR'S CONVERSION
The next morning, Omar went to the house of Abu Jahl and knocked at his door. Abu Jahl was happy to see his favorite nephew and came out to welcome him asking what had brought him there. Omar told him that he had come to tell him that he believed in Allah and bore witness that Muhammad is His Messenger, and to the truth which is sent down to him. Abu Jahl's face blackened and as he cursed his nephew, slammed the door in his face.
THE KORAYSH LEARN OF OMAR'S CONVERSION
Omar had no intention of keeping his conversion secret, so he went to Jamil, Mamar Al Jumahi's son, the Koraysh gossip, knowing well he would spread the news quickest and told him of his conversion. Omar's assumption was correct, Jamil jumped up, and made straight for the Ka'ba with Omar following a few steps behind. At the door of Ka'ba, Jamil proclaimed loudly for all to hear, "Omar has apostatized!" Then Omar shouted! "He is a liar, I have become a Muslim and testify that there is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet and His Messenger! Several unbelievers, standing near Ka'ba witnessed Omar's proclamation and started to fight him. The fighting continued until the heat of the mid-day when Omar took a rest saying, "Do as you will, I swear by Allah that if you were three hundred men I would have fought it out on equal terms!" Just then, a Koraysh chieftain, robed in a Yemeni cloak intervened and asked what was going on. When he was told that Omar had embraced Islam, he turned to them and asked, "Why shouldn't a man choose a religion for himself -- what are you trying to do? Do you think that the children of Adiyy will surrender their companion to you? Let the man alone!" And so Omar was left in peace. Now that Omar had proclaimed his acceptance of Islam, the companions felt more secure to worship Allah at the Ka'ba, as the unbelievers feared a formidable encounter with Omar and Hamza.
Now that Hamza and Omar had converted to Islam, the Koraysh viewed the Prophet (sa) in a different light. Their persecution had failed to halt the ever increasing number of their fellow tribesmen from following the him, so they decided to call for a meeting of all the Koraysh chieftains to devise an alternate plan which would cause the Muslims hardship in as many aspects of their lives as possible. No less than forty chieftains from the Koraysh with its branches gathered to discuss the matter. The plan which proved acceptable to the majority was, that from now onward they would boycott the tribes of the children of Hashim, and Muttalib with the exception of Abu Lahab who was their staunch ally. No longer would their children be permitted to marry members of these tribes and trade between them was now strictly forbidden.
THE WITHERED FINGERS
To ensure that none would be tempted to break the boycott, Mansoor, Ikrima's son, wrote down the pact details and fastened it onto a wall inside the Ka'ba as a reminder to anyone who might be tempted to break the pact, for some of the Koraysh tribes did not agree wholeheartedly to the harshness of the sanctions. When the Prophet (sa) heard of Mansoor's action, he supplicated to Allah against him, whereupon several of Mansoor's fingers withered away. In addition to this the Prophet (sa) prophesized to the Koraysh that the pact would be eaten by termites and only the Name of Allah would remain. As a matter of safety, the Prophet (sa) who was always concerned for the welfare of his companions, decided it would be better for the Muslims to live close to one another. With this in mind, it was decided that they would settle near the home of Abu Talib, who, although still a non-Muslim choose to remain allied to the Prophet (sa).
THE RELOCATION OF ABU LAHAB
Until that time, Abu Lahab, whose unwarranted, violent hatred of the Prophet (sa) and his Message was common knowledge, lived near Abu Talib. However, when the Prophet (sa) and Lady Khadijah arrived to live there Abu Lahab and his household packed their belongings and moved away. Now that the boycott was in place, Abu Jahl, obsessed in his hatred, occupied his time ensuring that it was strictly observed.
FLOUR FOR LADY KHADIJAH
Lady Khadijah had a nephew called Hakim who belonged to one of the tribes participating in the boycott. One day, Hakim, and his servant were seen by Abu Jahl taking a bag of flour into the predominately Muslim sector. Abu Jahl accused Hakim of breaking the boycott and a heated argument ensued in which Abu Jahl threatened to expose Hakim to the others. During the argument Abdul Bakhtari, from the tribe of Asad, overhead the two arguing and asked what all the fuss was about. When it was explained to him, he sided with Hakim arguing that he could see no harm in what Hakim was doing as he was just returning a bag of flour belonging to his aunt. Abdul Bakhtari told Abu Jahl that there was no need to make such a big issue of the matter and to let Hakim go on his way, Now that Abdul Bakhtari had taken sides in the argument, tension increased and a scuffle broke out. In self defense, Abdul Bakhtari picked up the jaw-bone of a camel and struck Abu Jahl with such forced upon his head that he fell concussed to the ground.
HISHAM, THE SON OF AMR
Among the tribes whose chieftains had signed the pact were tribesmen -- especially those closely related through marriage -- who felt compassion towards the Muslims. One such person was Hisham, Amr' son. When night fell, and no one was about, Hisham would often load his camel with food, clothing and gifts, lead it towards the Muslim houses then strike the camel on its rump so that it ran down into the streets of the boycotted area. The food and gifts were immediately shared amongst the Muslims, and they were grateful for his courage and generosity. A little over two years had now passed, the boycott remained in force and the Prophet (sa) and his companions faced the severe hardship of poverty and deprivation with patience, knowing that Allah would bless them. Even Abu Bakr who had once been among the wealthiest of Meccans was now reduced to a poor man. With the shortage of food, times were difficult but the light of faith and the much loved companionship of their every caring Prophet (sa) made the hardship easier to endure.
THE SACRED MONTHS
It was only during the Sacred months that the Muslims felt safe enough to leave their homes to pray at their beloved Ka'ba. However, although they suffered no physical harm during these months, the unbelievers did not withhold their verbal abuse. Amongst those whose verbal abuse was the most offensive was Ummaya, Khalaf's son. Whenever he saw the Prophet (sa) he seized the opportunity to hurl slanderous, backbiting statements at him. It was during this time that Allah sent down verses that warned of the punishment of backbiters and slanderers:
"Woe to every backbiter, slanderer who amasses wealth and counts it, thinking his wealth will render him immortal! On the contrary! He shall be flung to the Crusher. What shall let you know what the Crusher is? (It is) the kindled Fire of Allah, which shall oversee the hearts, closed around them in extended columns." Koran Chapter 104
THE FATE OF SOME THAT MOCKED
There were five men who were the most vile in their mockery. From the tribe of Asad there was Al Aswad, Muttalib's son, who grandfather was Asad Abu Zama'a. From the tribe of Zuhra, it was Al Aswad, Abdu Yaghuth's son. From the Makhzum tribe the most notorious was Al Waleed, Mughira's son. From the tribe of Sahm, it was Al As, Wa'il's son, grandson of Hisham. Then, from the tribe of Khuzaha, Al Harith, Tulatila's son was certainly the most vile. Concerning those that mocked, Allah sent down the verses:
"Proclaim then, what you are commanded and turn away from the unbelievers. We suffice you against those who mock, and those who set other gods with Allah, indeed, they will soon know. Indeed, We know your chest is straitened by that they say." Koran 15:94-97
One day when the Prophet (sa) was near the Ka'ba, those foremost in mockery were circumambulating it when the Angel Gabriel came to the Prophet (sa) and stood beside him. Al Aswad, Muttalib's son was the first to pass by the Prophet (sa) and as he did Gabriel threw a green leaf at face that caused Al Aswad to become blind. Al Aswad Abdu Yaghuth's son was the next to pass, whereupon Gabriel pointed to his stomach that became so bloated that he died. Following these two came Al Waleed. Several years before Al Waleed had passed by a man repairing his arrows. Some of the arrows became tangled up in his long robe and caused a minor wound that left him with a small scar. Gabriel now pointed at it, the wound reopened, festered and Al Waleed died. Next came Al As, whereupon Gabriel pointed to his instep. Later, on a journey to Ta'if, Al As stopped to rest under a thorny tree to which he tethered his mount. As he did he stepped upon a thorn; the wound became infected and shortly afterwards he died. Al Harith was the last to pass. Angel Gabriel pointed to his head which immediately filled with pus and thereafter he died.
THE CRUELTY OF ABY LAHAB AND HIS WIFE
Abu Lahab and his wife, Umm Jamil, reveled in the effort they took to try and demean or harm the Prophet (sa). Umm Jamil, took great pleasure in gathering sharp thorns then strewing them at night along the paths most frequented by the Prophet (sa) in hope of injuring him, however, Allah caused the thorns to be as soft sand and blessed him with such keen eye sight that he could see as well during the darkness of night as he could during the day. Such was their unwarranted hatred of Prophet Muhammad (sa) that Abu Lahab, ordered his sons to divorce Ladies Rukayyah and Umm Kulthum, the daughters of the Prophet (sa) before their marriages had been consummated, then pressed upon Lady Zaynab's father-in-law to do make his son do the same. However, Lady Zaynab's husband, Al As, loved her and refused saying he had no wish to marry another. It was during these times of hardship that Allah sent down a short chapter that spoke of the punishment in the Everlasting life of Abu Lahab and his wife.
"Perish the hands of Abi-Lahab, and perish he! His wealth will not suffice him neither what he has gained; he shall roast at a Flaming Fire, and his wife, laden with firewood shall have a rope of palm-fiber round her neck!" Koran Chapter 111
THE REACTION OF UMM JAMIL
When Umm Jamil heard the Revelation, the hatred she harbored towards the Prophet (sa) reached a new height. In a violent rage she fetched her stone pestle and headed straight to the Ka'ba where she expected to find the Prophet (sa). As she entered its confines she caught sight of Abu Bakr and went up to him demanding, "Where is your companion!" Abu Bakr was taken by surprise, he knew well to whom she referred, yet she had not seen the Prophet (sa) who was sitting close to him. Umm Jamil continued her ranting, "I have heard he has satirized me, by Allah, if I had found him here I would have destroyed his mouth with this pestle. Indeed, I am no lesser poet than he!" Then she recited a short, degrading rhyme she had written, then left. Abu Bakr turned to the Prophet (sa) and asked whether or not he thought she had seen him. The Prophet (sa) informed Abu Bakr that she had not because Allah in His Mercy to him had concealed his person from her sight. Then the Prophet (sa) commented upon her rhyme drawing his companion's attention to the use of the word "mudhammam" which she had chosen to use, meaning reprobate, which is the opposite to "Muhammad" which means praised. He also commented, "Isn't it surprising that the injuries the Koraysh try to inflict are deflected away from me? They curse and satirize Mudhammam, whereas I am Muhammad."
KHABBAB, THE SWORD MAKER AND AL AS
Amongst the companions of the Prophet (sa) was a sword-smith by the name of Khabbab, Aratt's son. Now Al As, Wa'il's son asked Khabbab to sell him some of his swords, the price was agreed but he had no intention of paying him. Khabbab waited and waited then finally went to him and asked for his money. With contempt Al As asked, "Doesn't your companion, Muhammad, whose religion you follow, say that in Paradise there is as much gold, silver, clothes and servants that his people could ever wish for?" "Yes, indeed," replied Khabbab. "Then," said Al As, "give me until the Day of Repayment when I return to that House and I pay my debt to you there. By Allah, you and your companion will be no more influential with Allah than I, nor will you have a great share in it!" Not long after Al As had spoken these words, Allah sent down to the Prophet (sa):
"Have you see he who disbelieves Our verses and yet says:
'I shall surely be given wealth and children!' Has he gained knowledge of the Unseen? Or taken a covenant with the Merciful? On the contrary, We will write down what he says and prolong the length of his punishment.
We shall inherit that of which he speaks and he will come before Us alone." Koran 19:77-80.
THE CAMEL TRADER FROM IRASH
A camel trader from Irash had driven his camels to Mecca where he hoped to sell them for a fair price. When Abu Jahl saw the camels he decided to buy them and the price was agreed, however, he took the camels and then refused to pay for them. The trader was very distressed by Abu Jahl's unjust behavior and went to the Ka'ba where he found a group of Koraysh and told him of his plight saying, "Who will help me to receive what is rightfully mine from Abu Hakam, Hisham's son (Abu Jahl's given name). I am a traveler, a stranger, and he will not pay his debt!" The tribesmen paid no heed to his plight and out of contempt, the Koraysh directed the trader to the Prophet (sa), who was sitting near the Kaba. They knew he would never turn away anyone in distress and hoped the situation would provoke hostile encounter with Abu Jahl. In mockery they told the trader, "Go to him, he will help you receive your rights!" So the trader made his way to the Prophet (sa) to entreat his help. Respectfully, the Prophet (sa) invited him to sit down and listened to the traders complaint. It was of no consequence whether or not an injured party was a Muslim or not, the Prophet (sa) always advocated justice for all and it was clear that an injustice had been done to the trader and so they made their way to Abu Jahl's house and attend to the matter. When the Koraysh saw Prophet Muhammad (sa) and the trader leaving together, they sent one of their companions after them with the instruction to follow and report back upon the happenings. When the Prophet (sa) and the trader reached Abu Jahl's house, the Prophet (sa) knocked at the door and Abu Jahl asked from behind closed doors who was there. The Prophet (sa) replied that it was he and asked him to come out. As Abu Jahl came out of his house it was noticeable how pale his face had become and that he was very agitated. The Prophet (sa) asked him to settle his debt with the trader whereupon Abu Jahl raised no objections and went inside to fetch the agreed sum of money. The money was given to the trader who thanked the Prophet (sa) and they parted company. The trader returned to the Koraysh saying, "May Allah reward him, I have received my rights on his account!" When the companion of the Koraysh returned he confirmed what happened. Just then, Abu Jahl joined them and they asked what had happened, adding they had neither expected nor had they ever seen him do anything like that before. Abu Jahl swore by Allah that when the Prophet (sa) knocked at the door he had become filled with terror, so he had opened it. As he did he saw, towering above his head, the same rogue camel with a massive head, sharp teeth and broad shoulders he had seen once before at the Kaba. He told them that there was no doubt in his mind that if he had refused to pay the trader the camel would have set upon him and devoured him.
THE COMPANIONS MIGRATE TO ABYSINNIA
As the persecution and suffering of the Muslims, be they well connected or not, increased, the Prophet (sa) who was always concerned for their welfare and security approved the migration to Abyssinia of all those wishing to leave. The reputation for justice and tolerance of the Nazarene ruler of Abyssinia, the Negus, was well known, and so in secrecy, during the month of Rajab, twelve companions with their families, a total of eighty-three adults and children, set out for Abyssinia. Amongst the migrants were Lady Rukayyah, the Prophet's daughter who was married to Othman, Affan's son, Abu Hudhayfah, whose father Utba was one of the principal persecutors of the Prophet (sa). Abu Sabra, Ruhm's son a cousin of the Prophet (sa) through his aunt Bara. Abu Salama Al Makhzumi and his wife Umm Salama, who, upon the death of her husband was to marry the Prophet (sa). Othman, the son of Makhzum Humahi, a close companion of the Prophet (sa). Amir the son of Rabia and his wife Leila -- Amir had been one of the early converts. Zubair, Al Awwam's son cousin of the Prophet (sa) and his close companion who later married Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr. Musab the son of Umair, grandson of Hashim. Abd Al Rahman, the son of Auf from the tribe of Zuhra, another relative and close companion of the Prophet (sa) who was informed by the Prophet (sa) that Paradise was assured for him. Abu Hatib, Amr's son, Suhail, Baida's son and Abdullah, Masoud's son, who was yet another of the close companions of the Prophet (sa). When the migrants reached the coast they found two half-empty ships bound for Abyssinia and the captains agreed to carry them for the sum of five dirhams per passenger. The language spoke in Abyssinia at that time was very much akin to Arabic and so it wasn't long until the companions settled down and made friends with their welcoming new neighbors.
THE KORAYSH LEARN OF THE MIGRATION
So subtle had been the migration of the companions that the Koraysh remained unaware of their departure until long after they had reached the safety of Abyssinia. When it suddenly dawned upon the Koraysh that they had not seen several Muslim families for some time they realized something was amiss and became greatly angered as they discovered that not only they, but other families, had migrated to Abyssinia without their knowledge. Although the Koraysh had made it very clear that the Muslims were unwelcome to practice their religion in Mecca they now wished they had contained them in the City because they began to fear they would become successful in converting others and so gain strength.
THE ATTEMPT TO BRING THE MIGRANTS BACK
In an attempt to regain control over the migrant Muslims, the Koraysh called for an urgent meeting to discuss what they should do to remedy the situation. The meeting was concluded when the decision was reached that they would send two of their trusted tribesmen, Abdullah, Abu Rabia's son and Amr, Al As' son, to the Negus bearing gifts of the finest leather, which they knew were highly prized by Abyssinians, with the request that the migrants be returned to Mecca. It was also agreed that Abdullah and Amr should approach the Negus' high ranking generals behind his back and bribe them individually with a fine hide in return for their support in securing their aim. Before Abdullah and Amr departed, Abu Talib, whose sons Jafar and Amr were among the migrants, sent a short poem he had composed to the Negus asking him to protect his sons. The poetic message was subtle, it asked the Negus if his sons remained under his protection, or if they had been delivered into the hands of mischief makers. He told of the happiness the refugees must be enjoying by being permitted to stay in his county. He closed the poem with tender words in praise of the Negus for his hospitality to both friend and stranger alike.
Upon reaching the Negus' palace, Abdullah and Amr first visited and succeeded to bribe the generals saying, "Some foolish people of ours have taken refuge in your country. They have abandoned their religion, yet they have not converted to yours because they have devised one of their own, the like of which is unknown to us and to you. Our noble leaders have sent us to ask the Negus to let them return with us and it is our desire that you advise him so that they might return." Abdullah and Amr were quick to add that they thought it preferable that the migrants should not be permitted to speak with the Negus. Like the Koraysh chieftains, Abdullah and Amr were afraid that if the Muslims were given the opportunity to speak to the Negus, he would listen kindly and incline to what they had to say. With this in mind they told the generals that they knew well their people's ways and faults and it was not only their desire that they should return home but those of their close relatives.
The Negus received his visitors courteously, and the envoys presented their gifts then asked for the return of their fellow tribesmen. As one might expect the generals were strongly supportive of the request and tried to persuade the Negus to agree. The Negus, being both wise and fair became outraged at the suggestion that these people who sought refuge in his country should be sent back without a hearing and replied, "No, by Allah, I will not surrender them! On no account will anyone, who, having sought my protection, settled in my country and chosen me rather than their own be betrayed. I will question them about the matter these two men allege, then, if they are as they say, I will send them back with their people. On the other hand, if what has been said is false, I will respect them and they will receive both my hospitality and protection."
THE NEGUS AND THE MIGRANTS
The Negus sent for the migrants to come to the palace and at the same time called upon his bishops to attend the meeting and asked them to bring their scriptures with them. When all were assembled, the Negus asked the companions several direct questions relating to their reasons for leaving their people. Among the questions were, why had they chosen not to adopt his religion, this was then followed by an inquiry about their belief. Jafar, Abu Talib's son, acted as spokesman for the Muslims. He told the Negus that before Islam they had been ignorant people, worshipping idols, committing the most regrettable things, and showing little or no mercy to those weaker than themselves. Then he told him about Prophet Muhammad (sa), who had been sent to them and detailed his lineage, and spoke of his reputation for being upright, truthful and trustworthy. Jafar continued to tell the Negus that the Prophet (sa) called them to the Oneness of Allah and to worship Him alone. He told them how he had said they must renounce their idols and the false concepts their fathers and ancestors had followed. Then, he told the Negus that the Prophet (sa) instructed them to speak truthfully, fulfill their promises, care for their relatives and neighbors. That they must neither kill, nor consume the wealth of orphans, nor should they falsely accuse good women. Jafar also explained how they had been taught to pray five times each day, to be charitable and to fast. Nearing the end of the audience, Jafar told the Negus that it was on account of these matters that their people had turned against and persecuted them in an effort to force them revert to their old religion. He also told the Negus that the reason for their migration to his country was because they knew they would be secure under his protection. The Negus was impressed by Jafar's honorable reply and asked if he was able to recite some of the Revelation to him, so Jafar recited verses from the Chapter Mary:
"And mention in the Book, Mary, how she withdrew from her people to an eastern place and she took a veil apart from them; We sent to her Our Spirit (Gabriel) in the resemblance of a perfect human. (And when she saw him) she said: 'I take refuge in the Merciful from you! If you are fearful.' 'I am the Messenger of your Lord,' he replied, 'and have come to give you a pure boy.' 'How shall I bear a son,' she answered, 'when I am not touched by a human and not unchaste?' Even so he replied, as such your Lord has said: 'Easy it is for Me. And We shall make him a sign to mankind and a mercy from Us. It is a matter decreed.'" Koran 19:16-21
When the Negus and his bishops heard these words they wept and declared that the religion the companions followed was from the same source as their own. Then the Negus swore an oath that he would never betray the migrants, then asked Abdullah and Amr to leave.
THE PLOT OF AMR AND ABDULLAH
Angrily, Amr and Abdullah left the palace and as they did Amr said, "Tomorrow, I will go to the Negus and tell him something I know will destroy their newly found prosperity and its roots! I will tell him that they believe Jesus, the son of Mary, is just the worshiper of Allah!" The following morning, Amr went to the Negus saying, "Your majesty, you must also be informed that they adhere to an enormous lie about Jesus, the son of Mary, send for them and ask what they say about him!" The Negus sent for the companions and asked what they believed about Jesus. Once again Jafar acted as their spokesman and told him, 'We say what has been sent down to our Prophet (sa), Indeed, the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, is only a Messenger (and Prophet) of Allah. And His Word (Be) which He gave to Mary, and a (created) spirit by Him." Koran, Ch.19:171 The Negus bent down, picked up a stick and said, "Jesus, the son of Mary does not exceed that which you have said by the length of this stick." Upon hearing this, his generals started to mutter among themselves. Then he turned to Jafar and his companions telling them that they might go wherever they pleased and to know they would never be harmed, not even if he were to be offered a mountain of gold in exchange. The Negus instructed the gifts Abdullah and Amr had brought to be returned to them and so Abdullah and Amr left rebuked without achieving their aim.
News of the Negus' statement about Jesus spread rapidly; many were troubled and demanded an explanation, accusing him of abandoning their religion. The Negus now feared for the safety of Jafar and his companions so he gave him enough ships to carry them to safety in the event of him being overthrown. Now that the Negus had made provisions for their safety, he sat down and wrote on a piece of parchment, "I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is His worshiper, and His Messenger." Then, he tucked it under his cloak near his right shoulder and went out to face his people. "My people," he said, "do I not have the best claim among you?" The crowd agreed he did. Next he asked, "Then, what is your opinion of the way in which I deal with you?" "Excellent!" came the reply. Then he asked, "What troubles you?" The crowd replied, "You have left our religion, and now say that Jesus is the worshiper of Allah." "What do you say of Jesus," asked the Negus. "We say that he is the son of Allah," they answered. Then, the Negus, putting his hand over the place in his cloak under which he concealed his testimony said, "This!" The crowd were satisfied and thought he had reaffirmed their belief and dispersed. Now that the crisis had been averted the Negus sent word to Jafar that all was well and they could return to their new homes where they could live in peace and harmony for as long as they wished.
Shortly after the companions had settled in their new homeland, the Negus faced the threat of invasion and took up arms with his troops. The companions agreed to fight alongside the Negus should the need arise, so Zubair, who was the youngest, set off as an observer across the river Nile to the battlefield. Meanwhile the companions prayed for the success of the Negus and within a few days Zubair returned with the news that the battle was over and victory belonged to the Negus. Some years later when Gabriel brought the news of the death of the Negus he informed him that the Negus had died as a Muslim. The Prophet (sa) gently imparted the news to his companions who were saddened by his passing but at the same time grateful to Allah for his conversion. Shortly afterwards, the Prophet (sa) led his companions in the absent funeral prayer for the Negus and they knew from the teachings of their beloved Prophet (sa) that the Negus would receive two very great rewards in Paradise because he had followed two great prophets, Prophets Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon all the Prophets of Allah.
THE DELEGATION FROM ABYSINNIA
During their stay in Abyssinia, the companions spoke of Islam, its principals and of their beloved Prophet (sa) to their new Nazarene and Christian neighbors. Many of the Koranic narratives were very similar to those the Nazarenes and Christians already knew, however, other narratives were new and this, together with tender, loving accounts they had heard about the Prophets character kindled an earnest desire to know more about Islam and its Prophet (sa), for some knew from their Books that another prophet would come and wondered if this might be he. With these matters pressing upon their minds, the Abyssinians decided to send a delegation to Mecca to hear the Prophet (sa) speak first hand, and then return home to report the news to those unable to accompany them.
THE ARRIVAL IN MECCA
Upon reaching Mecca, the delegation went to the Ka'ba where they found Prophet Muhammad (sa). As they made their way across its courtyard they passed by Abu Jahl and a group of hostile Koraysh busy in a meeting, however, their presence did not go unnoticed. The delegation approached the Prophet (sa) and happiness radiated from his face as he greeted and welcomed them to sit down and join him. There were so many questions they wanted to ask about Islam and the Prophet (sa) in his endearing, knowledgeable way answered all in a way that satisfied their hearts. Then, he recited portions of the Koran and their eyes filled, overflowing with tears. They knew without a shadow of doubt that the man before them was indeed the Prophet of Allah, the one whose coming Jesus, the son of Mary had prophesied and that they had been blessed to meet him. When the Prophet (sa) invited them to embrace Islam they accepted without the slightest reservation. Allah tells us:
You will find hat the most people in enmity to the believers are the Jews and idolaters, and that the nearest in affection to the believers are those who say: We are Nazarenes. That is because amongst them there are priests and monks; and because they are not proud. When they listen to that which was sent down to the Messenger, you will see their eyes fill with tears as they recognize its truth. They say: Lord, we believe. Write us among the witnesses. Why should we not believe in Allah and in the truth that has come down to us? Why should we not hope for admission among the righteous? For their words Allah has rewarded them with Gardens underneath which rivers flow where they shall live for ever. Such is the recompense of the righteous. But those who disbelieve and belie Our verses shall be the companions of Hell. Koran 5:82-86
From afar, Abu Jahl and his companions monitored the meeting and when the joyous Abyssinians passed them as they left the courtyard of Ka'ba, Abu Jahl and his companions stopped them saying, "Indeed, you are a feeble group. Your people sent you here to bring them news about that man, then after you had sat with him for a short while you renounced your religion and now believe what he says. You are very foolish!" But his words fell upon deaf ears, the happiness of certain belief engulfed their hearts and they returned to Abyssinia to tell their families and friends the good news.
THE MIGRANTS RETURN FROM ABYSINNIA
Some time after the return of the delegation a false report reached Abyssinia that the Koraysh had accepted Islam. There was great happiness amongst the migrants and some, including Lady Rukayyah, daughter of the Prophet (sa) together with her cousins, could not wait to be with the Prophet (sa) once again, for they loved him dearer than anyone else in the world and their separation from him had been a great hardship. However, Jafar and Ubayd remained in their adopted country to preach. It was a long journey but a happy one until they were but a few miles outside Mecca when they learned, to their great dismay, that the report was far from accurate. They knew it would be dangerous to enter Mecca altogether, so it was decided that each family should make their way secretly into its Muslim sector and pray they would not be detected.
THE CESSATION OF THE BOYCOTT
Among the Koraysh were those having close ties to the tribes of Hashim and Muttalib and felt the length of the boycott to be excessive. The first person to take action was Hisham, Amr's son, who had for sometime been sending camels laden with food and clothing into the Muslim sector at night. He was aware that any effort he might take by himself would be wasted, so he went to Zuhayr, one of the two sons of Atika, the Prophet's aunt and asked, "Are you content to eat well, clothe yourself, and marry when you know the circumstances of your relatives? They can neither buy nor sell, marry nor yet give in marriage. I swear, if they had been the relatives of Abu Jahl, he would never have done this!" "What can I do, I am just one person, if there was another then I would do something to end it!" replied Zuhayr. "There is another," replied Hisham. "Who is it?" asked Zuhayr. "Myself," replied Hisham, "so let us get a third!" replied Zuhayr. Hisham went to Mutim, Adi's son, who was an influential member of the tribe of Nawfal and also the grandson of the brother of both Hashim and Muttalib. Mutim agreed, and asked for a fourth to join them as he warned that the Koraysh would most likely turn against them. Hisham approached Abdul Bakhtari, from the tribe of Asad, who had sided with Hakim when he was caught by Abu Jahl returning flour to his aunt, Lady Khadijah. Abdul Bakhtari agreed and asked for another to join them as there was strength in number, so Hisham approached Zamah, Al Aswad's son, who was also from the tribe of Asad. Zamah agreed but thought it unnecessary for a sixth person to join them. That night the five met together at Hajun, which is a place situated on the outskirts of Mecca. There they agreed that none of them would rest until the pact fastened to the inside of the Ka'ba had been revoked. It was agreed that Zuhayr would act as their spokesman and speak first to the Koraysh on account of his kinship to the Prophet (sa).
The next day, when many of the Koraysh gathered near the Ka'ba, Zuhayr and his companions entered its courtyard. Zuhayr circumambulated Ka'ba seven times, then turned to the gathering and said, "O people of Mecca, should we eat and wear clothes while the sons of Hashim suffer on account of their being unable to trade? By Allah, I will not sit until this terrible pact is torn up!" Abu Jahl was quick to rise up in protest saying, "It will not be torn up, you are a liar!" Zamah now spoke up, "It is you who are the liar, we were not in favor of it even when it was written." At that point Abdul Bakhtari interjected, "We are not in favor of its contents, neither do we hold with it!" Both Mutim and Hisham supported their companions whereupon Abu Jahl accused them all of conspiracy. Just then, Mutim went into the Ka'ba to fetch the document. To his amazement termites had eaten all but a short phrase at the beginning of the document that read, "In Your Name, O Allah", and so Mutim brought the remaining portion out and showed to the gathering. Many of the Koraysh had already soften to the words of Zuhayr and his companions, but when they saw the remains of the document they remembered the words of the Prophet (sa) that nothing would remain of it except the Name of Allah, and took it to be an omen and so it was that the boycott finally came to an end. Abu Jahl knew it was pointless to go against the wishes of the crowd so it was with great reluctance that he accepted its termination. News that the boycott had been revoked was delivered to the Prophet (sa) and his followers and there was great rejoicing of thanksgiving to Allah for its lifting.
AN ATTEMPT TO PERSUADE
Although the Koraysh had caused the Prophet (sa) and his companions considerable hardship, the boycott failed to produce a positive result. So once again, the Koraysh directed their efforts to tempt the Prophet (sa) into modifying his opposition to their idolatrous worship. With this in mind, Waleed, the elderly chieftain of the Makhzum, together with other chieftains went to the Prophet (sa) to suggest a compromise which was that both parties be permitted to practice their religion at the Ka'ba. When it came to important matters, it was the custom of the Prophet (sa) not to respond to a proposition straight away, rather, he would wait for Allah to send down a Revelation to him. On this occasion he did not have to wait long and the answer was revealed in a short chapter, the chapter "The Unbelievers".
"Say: 'O unbelievers, I do not worship what you worship, nor do you worship what I worship. Nor am I worshiping what you have worshipped, neither will you worship what I worship. To you your religion, and to me my Religion.'" Koran 109
As soon as the Koraysh heard these verses, the brief, peaceful interlude faded into oblivion.
THE YEAR OF SORROW
The year was 619 after Christ, and ten years after Prophet Muhammad (sa), received the first Revelation. It was a time for happiness but also of great sorrow for it was in that year, during the month of Ramadan, that Lady Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, returned to her Creator. Out of all the ladies of the world, Allah selected her to be the wife of His beloved Prophet (sa). She was indeed, the best wife for the best husband and had been blissfully married for twenty-five years. Her love and devotion to calling, and to him were unquestionable. A cross word was never exchanged between them, they were the perfect couple and loved being in each others company. Lady Khadijah had been the first to accept Islam and her faith was like the brilliance of the brightest planet that causes all the planets and stars to appear dim in the darkest hour of the night. Although Lady Khadijah had known excesses of wealth and luxury she never uttered a single word of complaint when the Holy familys circumstances had been reduced to the poverty of this materialistic world, rather, she was ever thankful to Allah for whatever came her way. She was charitable and considerate, and never looked down on anyone, and lovingly treated members of her household in the same way as she did her family. Such was the love and care she gave them that none wished to leave her service even when the Holy familys circumstances were reduced. Whenever she had noticed or heard of someone in a distressed state she had always been there to lend a helping hand and like her beloved husband never turned anyone away. She always looked for the good in people and brushed away anything that might to others have appeared negative. She was both pure in heart, mind, body and soul and was known as the Mother of Believers. Lady Khadijah had been an exemplary mother who dearly loved her children, and raised them to be the best, most loving, obedient children of their time. Many were the days when she would be found fondly playing with them, or, much to their delight telling them the stories of other prophets that her beloved husband had narrated to her. When her two sons returned to Allah, she had been naturally saddened but she trusted in Allah and never complained, and gently comforted her grieving daughters who missed their little brothers. Lady Khadijah had been the most perfect wife, mother, friend and neighbor, those ladies fortunate to know her wished they had her qualities for she set the standard on earth for every woman who longed for Paradise in the life Hereafter. The Prophet (sa) and his four daughters, ladies Zaynab, Rukayyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatima were deeply sorrowed by their loss. However, peace and comfort descended upon them when the Prophet (sa) gently and lovingly told his daughters that many years before, when he had been in retreat in the Cave of Mount Hira, the Angel Gabriel had visited him bearing greetings for their mother from her Lord. Tenderly, the Prophet (sa) told the children of the wonderful news Gabriel had given him, which was, that he should tell their mother that a palace of gold had been prepared especially for her in Paradise where she would no longer suffer from either noise or fatigue. The news of the Gabriel's message comforted his daughters greatly and they were content in the knowledge that Allah had called her home and removed her far from the enemies of her Lord.
THE DEATH OF ABU TALIB
Not long after Lady Khadijah had passed away, Abu Talib was taken ill. The illness proved to be terminal and as he lay on his deathbed he was visited, amongst other notables of the Koraysh tribe, by Utba, Shayba, Ummaya from the tribe of Jummah, Abu Sufyan and Abu Jahl. His visitors were well aware of the bond between the Prophet (sa) and Abu Talib and now that he lay on his deathbed they hoped that the Prophet (sa) would listen to his dying wishes. They approached the subject delicately saying, "O Abu Talib, you know how much we respect you, and now these circumstances have come upon you, and we fear for you. We know the bond you and your nephew share, so ask him to come to you. Give him this gift from us, and take from him a gift for us, which is that he should leave us alone, whilst we, in turn leave him alone -- let him leave us and our religion in peace!" Abu Talib sent word to the Prophet (sa) and when he arrived he spoke to him saying, "Son of my brother, these leaders of your people have come to me asking that both you and they be flexible with one another." The Prophet (sa) replied, "Then give me a word, a word by which they shall rule over both the Arabs and Persians." Excitedly, Abu Jahl replied, "Indeed, by your father, for that we will give you not only one word, but ten more!" The Prophet (sa) replied, "Then you must say, 'There is no god except Allah' and renounce all that you worship except for Him." In exasperation the Koraysh threw up their hands saying, "Muhammad, would you make our gods, one God, what you say is indeed strange!" The leaders realized their mission had been in vain and turned to each other saying, "This man will give us nothing we ask for, we will go our own way and uphold our religion which is the religion of our fathers until Allah judges between us and him!" After the leaders had left, Abu Talib drew the Prophet (sa) to his side and said, "Son of my brother, in my eyes you were not unreasonable." The unshakable love the Prophet (sa) and Abu Talib shared for one another was very deep and the Prophet (sa) longed that his uncle should embrace Islam. Abu Talib had supported him through thick and thin, and when others of his family deserted him, he had always been there, yet he had not submitted himself to Islam but he was ever hopeful. During Abu Talib's last hours, the Prophet (sa) asked him gently, "Uncle, say these words, so that on the Day of Resurrection I may intercede for you." Abu Talib replied, "Son of my brother, if it were not that the Koraysh would think I had just said these words because I feared death, then I would say them. Yet, if I said them would they be said just to please you?" The time of departure arrived soon after and the angels of death took away Abu Talib's soul. Some scholars of Islam are of the opinion that Abu Talib, the wise man of the Koraysh, had a hidden agenda not to embrace Islam openly. At that time the five pillars of Islam, which are the articles of belief and will be discussed in the appropriate section, had not been revealed and several scholars are of the opinion that he died a believer. His death was not considered to be an integral issue and no further details are available. However, it has been reported in the authentic quotations of the Prophet (sa) that the Prophet (sa) visited the graves of his parents, Abdullah and Amina, and by the permission of Allah raised them from the dead and instructed them in the five pillars of Islam and that they both embraced Islam. It is likely that the same applied to Abu Talib, but Allah knows best.
THE SUCCESSOR TO THE TRIBE OF HASHIM
Now that Abu Talib was dead the leadership of the tribe of Hashim fell to Abu Lahab whose hatred of the Prophet (sa) was well established. As could be expected, Abu Lahab was not prepared to offer him any support and so the persecution accelerated to a new height.
One day as the Prophet (sa) offered his prayer at the Ka'ba, Abu Jahl, in his hateful way, said to his four companions, "I wish someone would bring the bowels of a camel with all its dirt and throw it over Muhammad!" Without hesitation, Ukba, Muait's son brought the filth and emptied it over the Prophet's neck as he prostrated. The Koraysh looked on making fun of him, delighting in their attempt to degrade the Prophet (sa), but he remained calm and grieved for their disbelief. Meanwhile, someone told Lady Fatima, the youngest daughter of the Prophet (sa), who was five or six years old, of the disgusting act, and so she ran as quickly as her little legs would carry her to him and removed the filth from her beloved father and cried as she rebuked and cursed Ukba for his foul deed. Ukba was not of a mind to stop his foul behavior in fact he was encouraged. On another occasion as the Prophet (sa) was humbly absorbed in his prayer near the Ka'ba, Ukba approached him with a piece of cloth in his hand, threw it around his neck, pulled it tight and dragged him down until he fell upon his knees. At that moment Abu Bakr entered and saw what Ukba had done and released the Prophet (sa), and in doing so turned to Ukba saying, "Would you kill a man just because he says that Allah is his Lord is his Lord!" There were many such disgraceful, unprovoked acts the Prophet (sa) patiently endured which caused his young daughter to weep, she could not bear to see her beloved father treated so badly. On each occasion the Prophet (sa) would comfort her with words of tenderness and reassure her saying, "Do not cry little daughter, Allah will protect your father," and kissed her as he dried away the tears from her darling little face. In the years that followed, during the first major hostility in Islam, the Encounter of Badr, all those who took part in throwing the camel's filth over the Prophet (sa) were reported by Masood's son to have been killed by the angels of Allah.
The Prophet (sa) was now fifty years old when he saw a vision in which a man came to him carrying a figure wrapped in silk. The man told the Prophet (sa), "This is your wife, look." Gently, the Prophet (sa) unwrapped the silk covering and saw Ayesha, however Ayesha was still a young girl similar in age to Lady Fatima and Abu Bakr had already promised her in marriage Jubair, Mutim's son. The Prophet (sa), who never disobeyed Allah in anything, did not question the vision but thought to himself, "If this is what Allah intends, then it will be." A few nights later as the Prophet (sa) slept peacefully, he saw another vision. This time it was not a man that came to him but an angel carrying a figure wrapped in silk. With respect, the Prophet (sa) asked the angel to show him what was wrapped in the piece of silk, whereupon the angel raised the cover and once more he beheld Ayesha. Again the Prophet (sa) did not question the vision but thought whatever Allah had ordained would surely come to be. The Prophet (sa) had not mention his visions to anyone, not even Abu Bakr, when Khawlah, who had attended to his household affairs since the death of Lady Khadijah suggested he should remarry. Politely, the Prophet (sa) asked if she had anyone in mind to which she replied, "Perhaps Ayesha, Abu Bakr's daughter, or Swaydah, Zamah's daughter," who was about thirty years old and had lost her husband, Sakran, shortly after their return from Abyssinia. The Prophet (sa) modestly asked Khawlah to propose both marriages, so she went to Swaydah who was honored by the proposal and sent word back saying, "Obedient to you, O Messenger of Allah." Upon receiving her acceptance, the Prophet (sa) respectfully requested her to chose one of her tribesmen to give her in marriage. Lady Swaydah chose her brother-in-law Hatib who had recently returned from Abyssinia and shortly after the marriage took place. Meanwhile, Abu Bakr went to Mutim and asked him to release Ayesha from the agreement with his son Jubair. Mutim agreed and a marriage by proxy took place several months after his marriage to Lady Swaydah, however, it was not consummated until many years later during the second year after the migration.
ABU BAKR AND TALHA
Abu Bakr had, until shortly after his conversion, been a wealthy, influential and well respected citizen of Mecca, but now, on account of the boycott, he was no longer wealthy and his influence had dwindled amongst the unbelievers. There had been a time when all would turn to him with their troubles when he would either help financially or give sound advice, but now many of those whom he had helped turned away and shunned him. One day, when Abu Bakr and his cousin Talha were taking a stroll, Nawfal -- whose son, Aswad, had embraced Islam under the hand of Abu Bakr -- in the company of others attacked the pair, tied their hands and feet together and left them lying on the road for passerbys to see and mock. In those days it was customary for the tribe of the injured party to revenge themselves against the offender, but the leaders of the tribe of Taym, to which Abu Bakr belonged, chose to ignore the incident which was a clear indication that they now considered him to be of little or no standing. Now that it was known no action would be taken by the Taym tribe if Abu Bakr were to be harmed he became the object of persistent abuse so he went to the Prophet (sa) to ask his permission to join those that remained behind in Abyssinia, the Prophet (sa) always had the welfare and safety of his companions at heart agreed so with a sorrowful heart Abu Bakr set out for Abyssinia. As he neared the Red Sea, he met an old friend by the name of ibn Ad-Dughunnah, the chieftain of a small tribe that had settled not far from Mecca and were allied to the Koraysh. Ibn Ad-Dughunnah hardly recognized him and was both shocked and distressed to see Abu Bakr in such an impoverished condition and inquired what had brought about such a dramatic change in his affairs. Abu Bakr related several of the unwarranted hostilities he had faced in Mecca on account of his conversion, then told him that now all he wanted was to be able to worship Allah in peace and to preach during his travels. Ibn Ad-Dughunnah reflected upon former times in wonderment of how people could turn to be so fickle and said, "How could they have done such things? You were without doubt the gem amongst your tribe, in times of trouble you were always there to call upon, your deeds are good, and you always helped others in times of need! Go back, I will support you." Abu Bakr accepted ibn Ad-Dughannah's support and they returned together. Upon reaching Mecca, ibn Ad-Dughunnah declared for all to hear, "People of Koraysh, the son of Abu Khafah has my support -- let no one treat him badly!" The Koraysh accepted the ultimatum, however, a fellow from the tribe of Jummah -- the tribe from whom Abu Bakr had rescued Bilal, demanded, "Tell him to worship his Lord behind closed doors, and to let his prayers and recitation be confined there so that he can neither be seen nor heard. We fear that if our sons or women see him they will be seduced by his ways!" Ibn Ad-Dughunnah turned to Abu Bakr and asked him to comply, and he agreed.
THE JOURNEY TO TAIF
The people of Mecca knew that Abu Lahab, the new chief of the tribe of Hashim, was not inclined to take action against those who perpetrated the bounds of decency against the Prophet (sa). Now, the road was clear for all and sundry to abuse Prophet Muhammad (sa) and his companions, and so their persecution continued. In hope of spreading the message of Islam and gaining the support of the influential tribe of Thakif, the Prophet (sa) journeyed to Ta'if. Upon reaching the city he went straight to the house of Amr, Umair's son whose sons Abd Yalil, Masood and Habib were its tribal leaders and invited them to Islam, then sought their alliance. The hearts of the brothers were unreceptive, one of them swore that he would tear down the covering of Ka'ba if Allah had sent him as His Messenger. Another mocked the Prophet (sa) saying, "Couldn't Allah have found someone better than you to send!" As for the third brother he said, "By Allah, don't let me speak to you ever again. If you are as you claim, the Messenger of Allah, then you are far too important to speak with me; on the other hand, if you are lying, it is not befitting for me to speak with you!" As the Prophet (sa) endured these harsh remarks with patience and as he got up to leave the brothers called their household and slaves together and encouraged them to hurl abusive statements at the Prophet (sa). The commotion attracted other members of the tribe who joined them and so the Prophet (sa) sought the peace and quite of an orchard belonging to Utba and Shayba. Gradually the crowd dispersed and the Prophet (sa) tied his camel to a palm tree then sat down under its shade and reproached himself as he supplicated to Allah.
THE NAZARENE SLAVE FROM NINEVEH
Now Utba and Shayba had seen what had happened to the Prophet (sa) and their hearts softened a little toward him so they sent a young Nazarene slave by the name of Addas with a dish of grapes to him. As Addas gave the dish to the Prophet (sa) he looked up smiled and thanked him then took some grapes and before eating them said, "Bismillah". The pronouncement astonished Addas who said, "By Allah, this is not the way the people of this country speak." The Prophet (sa) looked up at him and inquired, "Which country do you come from, and what is your religion?" Addas replied that he was a Nazarene, a follower of Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, from far away Nineveh (Ninawah). The Prophet (sa) heart was full of joy and commented, "From the town of the righteous man Jonah, the son of Mattal." Addas was even more surprised and asked the Prophet (sa) how he knew about Jonah to which he replied, "He is my brother, he was a prophet and I am a prophet." Addas' heart rejoiced and he bent over and kissed his head, then his hands and feet. Meanwhile, Utba and Shayba had been observing the Prophet (sa) from a distance and were disturbed when they saw Addas respecting the Prophet (sa) by kissing him and said to each other, "Look, he is already corrupting our slave!" When Addas returned to them they asked why he had acted as he did. Addas answered, "He is the finest man in this country and has told me things that only a prophet would know." To this Utba and Shayba exclaimed, "Do not let him seduce you from your religion - your religion is better than his!"
THE VALLEY OF NAKHLAH
The Prophet (sa) realized he could expect no help whatsoever from the people of Thakif, so he mounted his camel and set off back to Mecca. Several days had passed and dusk was about to descend but he decided to continue on his journey then take his rest in the valley of Nakhlah -- which is about a days ride from Mecca. Upon reaching the valley he dismounted and offered his prayer. Whilst he was standing in prayer a party of Jinn from Nasibhin happened to pass by and were captivated by his recitation of the Koran and stopped to listen. The jinn were created before humans, and unlike the human who was created from clay and whose father is Adam, the jinn were created from smokeless fire and their father is satan, the stoned and cursed. But before the creation of the jinn and human, the angels were created from light. Despite the fact that satan is the father of the Jinn, there are among them believers. The Prophet (sa) had received several Revelations that spoke of not only mankind but also jinn, in which both were given good news of Paradise and warned of the punishment of Hell. Now, in the valley of Nakhlah he received another Revelation:
"Say: 'It is revealed to me that a party of jinn listened and then said: 'We have indeed heard a wonderful Koran, that guides to the Right Path. We believe in it and we will not associate anyone with our Lord. He - exalted be the Majesty of our Lord who has neither taken to Himself a wife, nor a son! The ignorant fool among us has spoken outrageously against Allah, we never thought that either human or jinn would ever tell a lie against Allah!'" Koran 72:1-5
THE ROAD TO MECCA
As he set off on the final stage of his homeward journey, the matter of the people of the Thakifs refusal to accept the mercy of Allah weighed heavily upon the Prophets mind. Not long after he had set off, a Meccan riding a fast horse, caught up with him whereupon the Prophet (sa) expressed his concern to him. The Meccan agreed to ride on ahead of the Prophet (sa) and go to Al Akhnas, Sharik's son to ask him if he would be prepared to ally his tribe to the Prophet (sa). However, Al Akhnas was not considered to be a full-blood member of the Koraysh and sent a reply back to the Prophet (sa) saying that on this account he was unable to help in this matter. When the Prophet (sa) learned of Al Akhnas' refusal, his thoughts turned to Suhail, Amr's son, so he asked the Meccan to return again to Mecca and approach Suhail, but Suhail also declined. The Meccan returned yet again to Mecca, but this time the Prophet (sa) asked him to approach Al Mutim, Adiy's son, who, some time ago, retrieved what remained of the boycott document posted in the Ka'ba. Mutim was agreeable, so the Prophet (sa) entered Mecca with his support, where, fully armed, Mutim stood near the Ka'ba with his sons and nephews and announced that he had allied himself to the Prophet (sa). Abu Jahl was among those present that day and asked, "Are you giving him your support, or are you following him!" "Support of course!" replied Al Mutim.
THE ANGER OF UTBA
One day, Prophet Muhammad (sa), Abu Jahl and some of the leaders of the Koraysh happened to be near the Ka'ba at the same time. In his usual way Abu Jahl turned to some members of the tribe of Abdu Manaf and said in a tone that mocked, "Is this your Prophet, children of Abdu Manaf?" Utba, Rabia's son replied in an angered tone saying, "What is wrong if we have a Prophet or a king!" The Prophet (sa) overheard his reply and spoke to Utba in a kindly reminded, "O Utba, your anger was not for the sake of Allah, but on your own account." Then he turned to Abu Jahl and warned, "As for you Abu Jahl, a great affair will befall you. It will cause you to laugh a little, but weep a lot." Then he spoke to the leaders of the Koraysh saying, "A great affair will come upon you which you will indeed hate." Despite Mutim's inclination toward the Prophet (sa) he did not embrace Islam and died shortly before the encounter of Badr.
THE MESSAGE AND THE TRIBES
It was the time of the pilgrimage and many pilgrims camped outside Mecca before visiting their idols at Ka'ba. It was also the season of many fairs such as the one at Ukaz to which many eloquent poets would gather and compete against one another. The Prophet (sa) decided to visit the camps of the tribes of Kinda, Kalb, Amir, Maharib, Fazara, Ghassan. Murra, Sulaim, Abs, Nadir, Adhruh, Hudharima, Hanifa, Harith, and Kabs son to recite portions of the Koran to them and then ask if they would like to allie themselves, but it was not to be, and the beauty of his recitation as well as his invitation to ally themselves with him fell on deaf ears. The most bitter response to the Prophet (sa) came from the tribe of Hanifa. Later, its chief, Musailima proclaimed that he himself was a prophet! The fair was well underway when the Prophet (sa) approached Bayhara, Firas' son, from the tribe of Amir the son of Sasaa. Bayhara listened to the Prophet (sa) then exclaimed, "By Allah, given this man I could conquer all of Arabia." Then, a thought occurred to him and he asked, "If we give you our allegiance and Allah gives you victory over the enemies of Islam, shall we then be given leadership after you?" To this the Prophet (sa) replied, "The matter rests with Allah." Bayhara didn't like the reply and exclaimed, "Then I think you want us to lend you our support against the Arabs, and then, if Allah gives you victory someone else will reap the benefit - no we do not accept!" Abu Bakr had accompanied the Prophet (sa) when he visited the tribe of Dhul, Shaiban's son - the chiefs of this tribe were Mafruk, Muthanna and Hani, Kabisa's son. When Abu Bakr met Mafruk, Mafruk asked if he had heard about the coming of a Prophet, whereupon Abu Bakr turned towards the Prophet (sa) and introduced him saying, "This is he." Mafruk asked the Prophet (sa) to tell him about the message entrusted to him, to which the Prophet (sa) replied, "There is no god except Allah, and I am His Messenger." Then the Prophet (sa) with the sweetness of his voice proceeded to recite the following verse from the Koran:
"Say: 'Come, I will recite to you what your Lord forbids you; that you shall associate anything with Him; that you shall be good to your parents, that you shall not kill your children because of poverty, We provide for you and for them, that you shall not commit foul deeds whether openly or in secret; and that you shall not kill the soul that Allah has forbidden except by right. With such Allah charges you, in order that you understand." Koran 6:151
The three leaders listened to the recitation and all expressed their liking of the verse, however, they told the Prophet (sa) they were reluctant to abandon the religion of their ancestors because they would loose their authority with their fellow tribesmen. They also pointed out that they had already pledged their allegiance to the King of Persia and as such were already bound. The Prophet diligently (sa) continued to invite all who would listen to Islam and asked their leaders to ally themselves to him. Like Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab viewed Islam as a threat and whenever he heard the Prophet (sa) preaching, he would make it his business to try and break-up the gatherings by crying out, "This man is an apostate, he lies. He is trying to mislead you and wants you to abandon Al Lat and Al Uzza as well as your allies, the jinn from the tribe of Malik!" Although no allies were gained, many had listened to the verses of the Koran and were aware of the message the Prophet (sa) preached.
THE NIGHT JOURNEY AND THE ASCENT
It was during these early years of his prophethood that one of the greatest miracles of all time occurred. The Prophet (sa) happened to be visiting the house of Hubayrah, the husband of Hind, better known as Umm Hani, the daughter of Fatima and Abu Talib when night fell so they invited him to stay over night. Although Hubayrah had not converted to Islam his wife and mother-in-law had, and so they were blessed to join the Prophet (sa) in offering the night prayer. That night the Prophet (sa) slept but a little, then arose and made his way to his beloved Ka'ba. After a while drowsiness overcame him and he lay down to sleep near the Hijr Ishmael. Whilst he slept, the Angel Gabriel came to him and stirred him with his foot, the Prophet (sa) awoke, sat up, but saw no one and so he settled himself down. The same thing occurred three times, but upon the third time as he looked up he saw Gabriel who greeted him and took hold of his arm to help him arise. Gabriel led the Prophet (sa) to the door of Ka'ba, and there before it stood Burak, a winged white animal from Paradise, greater in size than a donkey but lesser than a mule, with wings on its hind legs. Burak was surrounded by angels on either side but as the Prophet (sa) tried to mount, it shied away, whereupon Gabriel placed his hand on its mane and said, "O Burak, are you not ashamed to behave in such a manner? By Allah, no one that has ridden you before this is more honorable before Allah," whereupon, Burak broke out in a sweat and stood still for the Prophet (sa) to mount. As soon as the Prophet (sa) was seated, the Angels Gabriel and Mikail also mounted. Gabriel sat in front of the Prophet (sa) holding Burak's saddle and Mikail sat behind the Prophet (sa) holding its rein. As Gabriel pointed the way Burak set forth. Each stride it took reached the end of his vision, miraculously breaking the barrier of light which NASA, with all its technical advances has been unable to achieve, and as they passed over the mountains Burak raised his legs higher so that they passed over them in comfort. When Burak reached Jerusalem, he stopped and raised his front leg so that the Prophet (sa) could dismount. There, in Jerusalem, the Prophet (sa) was greeted by several prophets amongst whom were Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, and it was there on the site of the ancient temple of Jerusalem that Prophet Muhammad (sa) led them in prayer. After its conclusion, the Prophet (sa) was offered two goblets, one contained wine and the other milk. The Prophet (sa) chose the goblet of milk and drank from it whereupon Gabriel said, "You have been rightly guided and so will your nation; for wine is forbidden." After this the Prophet (sa) and Gabriel ascended to the nearest heaven. Upon reaching it Gabriel asked for its gate to be opened whereupon its guardian inquired, "Who is there?" "Gabriel," he replied, and "who is with you," asked the guardian. Gabriel replied, "Muhammad," and the gate was opened. The same questions and replies were to be asked and given at the gate of each heaven.
THE FIRST, LOWER HEAVEN
As the Prophet (sa) entered the first heaven all but one of the angels expressed signs of happiness and smiled a welcoming smile. The Prophet (sa) turned to Gabriel and asked about the unsmiling angel and was told, "He is Malik, the Guardian of Hell, he does not smile but if he were to smile at anyone, it would be to you." Whilst the Prophet (sa) was in the first heaven, he saw Prophet Adam observing the souls of the deceased. When a good soul passed by he was very happy and said, "A good soul for a good body," however when a bad soul passed by he would frown and say, "A bad soul for a bad body." Upon seeing Prophet Muhammad (sa) Prophet Adam welcomed and supplicated for him and asked Gabriel if he had been sent for, and Gabriel confirm that it was so.
THE SECOND HEAVEN
In the second heaven, the Prophet (sa) and Gabriel were met by Prophet Jesus, the son of Mary, and John, the son of Zechariah who also welcomed him and supplicated for him and inquired if he had been sent for. Later the Prophet (sa) described Prophet Jesus as being a man of medium height, straight hair, with a reddish, freckled complexion.
THE THIRD HEAVEN
In the third heaven the Prophet (sa) met Joseph, the son of Prophet Jacob, who was so handsome that the Prophet (sa) described him as being as beautiful as the full moon and had been given half of all the beauty, whereas Prophet Muhammad was given all the beauty. He welcomed and supplicated for the Prophet and also inquired if the Prophet had been sent for and was told that he had. THE FOURTH HEAVEN In the fourth heaven they encountered Idris of whom the Koran speaks: "And mention in the Book, Idris; he too was of the truth and a Prophet, We raised him to a high place." Koran 19:56 - 57
Idris welcomed and supplicated for the Prophet and inquired if he had been sent for and Gabriel affirmed that he had.
THE FIFTH HEAVEN
In the fifth heaven the Prophet (sa) met a handsome man with white hair and a long beard, it was Prophet Aaron, the son of Imran. Like the prophets before him he too welcomed and supplicated for him and inquired if he had been sent.
THE SIXTH HEAVEN
In the sixth heaven he met a man with a prominent nose, similar to those of the people of Shanu'a. The man was Prophet Moses, brother of Aaron and son of Imran, and as before he too welcomed and supplicated for him and inquired.
THE SEVENTH HEAVEN
When Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Gabriel entered the seventh heaven they saw a man sitting on a throne at the entrance of an eternal, crowded mansion - Al Bayt al Mamor. The entrance of the eternal mansion has been explained by scholars as being the entrance to Paradise. The man was Prophet Abraham of whom Prophet Muhammad observed, "I have never seen a man more like myself." It was in the seventh heaven that the Prophet saw a beautiful, heavenly maiden -- a houri -- and asked to whom she would be espoused and was told Zaid, the son of Haritha. Then he saw angels entering the gates of the mansion and was told that each day seventy thousand angels enter never to return again until the Day of Resurrection. The Gabriel took the Prophet (sa) to the Lote tree of the Furthest Limit. The Prophet (sa) described the tree as having leaves the size of elephants ears and fruit like earthenware vessels. When the command of Allah covers it, that which is covered undergoes a change, the beauty of which none in all creation is able to describe. Thereafter Allah obligated that fifty prayers were to be offered during the day and night. Before the Prophet (sa) left Allah said to him, Peace be unto you O Prophet, and the Prophet (sa) replied, Peace be unto us all, and good worshipers.
THE PROPHETS RETURN JOURNEY THROUGH THE HEAVENS
On the Prophet's return through the heavens he met Moses once again who asked how many daily prayers had become incumbent upon him and his followers. When Prophet Muhammad (sa) told him fifty, Moses replied, "Prayer is a weighty matter, and your nation is weak. I have tested the Children of Israel and know by experience, return to our Lord and ask Him to reduce the number for you and your nation." Prophet Muhammad (sa) returned to his Lord and asked for a reduction, and the number was reduced to forty. Once again the Prophet (sa) met Moses upon his return who asked him the same question, whereupon he returned, and so it continued until the number of daily prayers became reduced to five. When the Prophet (sa) met Moses upon his final return, Moses inquired as he had done before, but Prophet Muhammad (sa) told him that he felt ashamed to ask Allah to reduce the number yet again. In later years the Prophet (sa) informed his companions that when they offer each of the five obligatory daily prayers in faith and trust they receive the reward of ten prayers for each obligated prayer. He reminded them that they should be grateful to Moses for the reduction in number. The Prophet (sa) also told his companions that he was told that for whosoever intends doing something good and does not do it, a meritous act is recorded for them, however, if he or she does it they are the recipients of the reward for ten meritous acts. When a person intends to do a wrong action nothing will be written against them, but if the wrong action is carried through then only one wrong action is recorded against them. Peace be upon all the Prophets of Allah.
THE RETURN JOURNEY
Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Angel Gabriel now returned to Burak who waited patiently on the Mount in readiness for the return journey to Mecca. As they sped over the mountains and desert they overtook several southward bound caravans. When they neared Syria a camel saw Burak, took fright and bolted away from its camp. The Prophet (sa) saw where the camel had stopped and as the traders searched for the camel they heard his voice telling them where it could be found. They had reached Dajanan -- approximately twenty-five miles from Mecca -- when the Prophet (sa) saw a caravan and stopped for brief moment. Not far from the sleeping traders was a covered jug of water, he removed its cover, drank the remaining water, replaced the cover and without disturbing anyone left to continue home to Mecca. The Prophet (sa) arrived in Mecca before dawn and just before it broke he awoke Umm Hani to pray. After the prayer he told her, "O Umm Hani, as you witnessed, I prayed here last night with you in this valley. After that I went to Jerusalem and prayed there. Now, as you have seen, I prayed the dawn prayer here with you." Umm Hani was concerned for the Prophet (sa) and said, "O Prophet of Allah (sa), do not tell anyone about this because they will belie and insult you." As the Prophet (sa) made ready to leave for the Ka'ba he replied, "By Allah, I will certainly tell them," whereupon Umm Hani asked her servant to follow him to make sure no harm came to him and to report back to her.
ABU BAKR'S SINCERE BELIEF
Upon reaching the Ka'ba, the Prophet (sa) told those present, believer and unbeliever alike, about his miraculous journey. Immediately, the unbelievers laughed and mocked him. They did not believe in his miracles and on no account would they believe him now, as the return journey of such distance was known to take well over two months. Gloating in what they deemed to be their triumph, a group of Koraysh made their way to Abu Bakr's house to tell him the news. When they reached him they said, "What do you think of your friend now! He tells us that last night he went to Jerusalem, prayed there and then returned to Mecca!" Abu Bakr's immediate reaction was that they were trying to trick him, for he distrusted his visitors, but as soon as Abu Bakr realized they were in earnest, he turned to them and said, "If he said it, then it is indeed true! What makes you wonder, he tells me greater news that is sent down from the heavens to earth in any hour of the day or night. I know he speaks the truth!" Then, Abu Bakr left his home and went to the Ka'ba and repeated his conviction. When the Prophet (sa) learned of Abu Bakr's forthrightness, he named him "As-Sideek" -- "The Sincere" -- the confirmer of the truth.
THE CARAVAN RETURNS
Among the Prophet's followers were those who needed additional reassurance. They had heard the Prophet (sa) tell of the caravans nearing Mecca and of the camel that bolted as well as the empty jug of water, so they waited for the caravans to return to ask them. One by one the caravans returned and each trader confirmed the incidents.
THE PRIVILEGED FEW
The Prophet (sa) told only a few select companions about his ascent through the heavens and the meeting at the Sidrat Tree. It wasn't until some years later that he narrated the events of his ascent to the rest of the companions. Concerning the Night Ascent it was revealed:
"Indeed it is not except a Revelation which is revealed, taught by One who is Stern in power. Of might, he (Gabriel) stood firm while he was in the highest horizon; then he drew near, and become close he was but two bows' length or even nearer so (Allah) revealed to His worshipper (Gabriel) that which he revealed (to Prophet Muhammad). His heart did not lie of what he saw. What, will you dispute with him about what he sees! Indeed, he saw him in another descent at the Lote Tree (Sidrat tree) of the ending close to the Garden of Refuge. When there comes to the Lote Tree, that which comes his eyes did not swerve, nor did they stray for indeed he saw one of the greatest signs of his Lord." Koran 53:4-18
THE SIX MEN FROM THE TRIBE OF KHAZRAJ
The time for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca had arrived once again and pilgrims set up camp at Mina before going on to Ka'ba. It had become customary for the Prophet (sa) to journey to Mina each year and speak to the pilgrims about Islam, but all too often he and his message were met with rejection. It was during this season, when the Prophet (sa) was at Aqabah, that he met six men from the Yathrib tribe of Khazraj. The men were anxious to meet the Prophet (sa), many were the times they had heard the Jews speak of the expected Prophet and knew his time must be near at hand as the Jews had expressed their opinion that the signs heralding his appearance had reached their fulfillment. As they sat before him, Prophet Muhammad (sa) recited verses from the Koran and confirmed that he was the expected Prophet they had heard about. He spoke of the principals of Islam and as he did the light of Islam was kindled in their hearts. The Khazrajites asked the Prophet (sa) many questions and his replies satisfied their hearts. None doubted that the man sitting before them was indeed the one the Jews awaited and turned to one another saying, "This is indeed the Prophet the Jews warned us about, don't let them be the first to reach him!" They remembered how the Jews had told them that when he came they would be destroyed on account of their worshipping more than one god, just as the people of Aad and Thamood had been in centuries past, and so they embraced Islam. Before they departed, the Khazrajites told the Prophet (sa), "We left our people because there are no other tribes like them torn apart by enmity and evil, perhaps Allah will unite them through you. We will go and invite them to Islam just as we have accepted it, and if Allah gathers them together on your account, then, no man will be greater than you!"
THE ALLEGIANCE OF AQABAH
The year after the six Khazrajites embraced Islam, twelve men from Yathrib went to the Prophet (sa) to embrace Islam. The men were anxious to learn more about Islam and asked the Prophet (sa) to send one of his companions back with them to teach. The Prophet (sa) chose Musab, Umair's son, who was the grandson of Hashim. When he reached Yathrib they lodged him with respect in the home of a wealthy man of good standing by the name of Asad, Zurarah's son. As the days passed new converts came into the fold of Islam, the only families not to respond to the invitation were those of Katimah, Wa'il and Wakif.
SAAD THE SON OF MUDAH
Saad was the chief of the tribe of Aws and duly respected among his tribe. One day Musab visited him and invited him to Islam. At first Saad did not incline to the invitation but when he heard Musab recite a portion of the Koran, Allah caused his heart to turn toward Him and he embraced Islam, whereupon he returned to his tribe to invited them to join him.
THE SEVENTY-TWO MEN OF YATHRIB
The following year, when the time for pilgrimage arrived, seventy-two men and women, set forth in a caravan to Mecca. Unknown to the unbelievers in their party were a group of new converts, who, when the time was right, slipped away unnoticed to meet the Prophet (sa) at Aqabah where they affirmed their belief in the Oneness of Allah and embraced Islam. On account of the increased hostilities toward the Prophet (sa) and his companions in Mecca, the Prophet's thoughts turned to migrating with his companions to Yathrib where a strong community of Muslims was now established. However, his own migration was out of the question until Allah made it known to him. When Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet (sa) who had not yet embraced Islam, learned of the Prophet's inclination he became concerned for his safety and reminded him that at least in Mecca his family loved and honored him, and that they had always stood by him against his enemies. On account of his concern, Abbas turned to the party from Yathrib and asked, "If he inclines to live with you, will you support him with your life and body -- if you cannot, tell me." Bara turned and said, "We have been born and raised as warriors", just then Abu Al Haitham interjected saying, "O Prophet of Allah (sa) we are on good terms with the Jews, after this pledge we shall have to break with them. Is it possible that you may leave us to return to your own City when your authority is realized?" The Prophet (sa) smiled reassuringly and said: "No, my blood is your blood, you are mine and I am yours" and he was known as a man of his word. Following this the Prophet (sa) asked them to take a pledge to abandon idolatry, theft, infanticide and to promise to obey him. As they were about to take their pledge, Saad, Zuraha's son, stood up and asked, "My tribesmen, do you understand what is meant by such a pledge, it is a declaration of conflict against Arab and non-Arab alike." His tribesmen replied that they had understood and were ready to pledge their word. Saads statement is one of great significance and has regrettably been misunderstood and misinterpreted by some Muslims - especially in the recently emerged bellicose, non-mainstream Wahabi cult - who failed to understand one of the basic, elementary duties of a Muslim to his fellow neighbor. It is not a call for Jihad or for hostilities to be levied against those who have not embraced Islam. Rather, it is obligatory upon all Muslims, especially those who have migrated to a foreign land, to tell their neighbors about Islam and demonstrate its teachings by leading an exemplary life in accordance to the Koran and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (sa). From the gathering, the Prophet (sa) chose twelve men to go out and preach. Nine belonged to the tribe of Khazraj and three from the tribe of Aws. They were: Usayd, Hudair's son, Hudair had been the Aws commander at the encounter of Bu'ath. Abu Al Haitham, Tihan's son. Saad, Khaithama's son, later to be martyred during the Encounter of Badr. Asad, Zurarah's son, who would often lead the congregational prayer on Friday. Sa'ad, Rabi's son, later to be martyred during the Encounter of Uhud. Abdullah, Rawahah's son, a famous poet, martyred during the Encounter of Mutah. Sa'ad, Ubadah's son, a close companion of the Prophet (sa). Mundhar, Umair's son, martyred at the Encounter of Bi'r Maunah. Bara Marur's son, spokesman during the Allegiance of Aqabah. Bara died before the migration of the Prophet (sa). Abdullah, Omar's son, martyred at the Encounter of Uhud. Ubadah, Al Samit's son, a close companion of the Prophet (sa), transmitter of many prophetic sayings. Rafi, Malik's son, martyred at the Encounter of Uhud.
THE KORAYSH LEARN OF THE ALLEGIANCE AT AQABAH:
The following morning, the Koraysh received word of the pledge and challenged their unbelieving companions who remained ignorant of the meeting. The unbelievers told the Koraysh that what they heard must be just a rumor because if there was any truth in the matter they felt certain they would have knowledge of it.
MADINAT AL NABI (sa) - THE CITY OF THE PROPHET (sa)
Prophet (sa) was satisfied that Yathrib, which in the years to come was renamed "Madinat Al Nabi" -- the City of the Prophet, later to be abbreviated to Medina -- was a safe haven for his companions and ordered all those able to migrate to Medina. When the Koraysh learned of the impending migration they tried to prevent the companions, however, they were unsuccessful and all but a few of the companions were permitted by the Prophet (sa) to remain behind with him in Mecca. In connection with the migration, Allah sent down the verses:
"Except the men, women and children, who, being abased have no means and they are unable to guide themselves to a way. Those, Allah may pardon them, He is the Pardoner, the Forgiver." Koran 4:98-99
THE FIRST IMMIGRANT TO YATHRIB
Abu Salamah's family originated from Yathrib, from the tribe of Asad, however, some of his family had settled in Mecca under the protection and sponsorship of his uncle, the late Abu Talib. Not long after Abu Talib's death, Abu Salamah and his wife Umm Salamah, from the tribe of Mughirah, a branch of the Makhzum tribe, and first cousin to the infamous Abu Jahl, converted to Islam, so they decided to migrate to the safety of Yathrib with their young son Salamah. When the time came to leave, Abu Salamah saddled his camel and seated his wife as she cradled her young son in her arms, and set off walking alongside the camel leading it by a rope. Almost immediately, men from Umm Salamah's tribe perceived their intent and rushed up to Abu Salamah, snatched the camel's rope from his hand saying, "You can do as you like! As for your wife, do you think we will allow her to go with you?" The disturbance caught the attention of Abu Salamah's own tribesmen who were greatly angered by the situation. In retaliation they grabbed hold of the young child, Salamah, with such force that they dislocated his little arm, and shouted as Abu Salamah was sent on his way, "You have separated her from our kinsman. We will not leave your son with her and you!"
THE GRIEF OF UMM SALAMAH
Umm Salamah was broken hearted and each day she would make her way to a nearby valley where she would weep for the family she had lost. A year or more had passed when one of Umm Salamah's cousins came across her in the valley and as he saw her weeping took pity on her so he returned to his tribesmen rebuking them saying, "You have separated her from her husband and child, why don't you let the poor woman go!" Umm Salamah's tribesmen relented and told her that she was free to go to her husband, and upon hearing the good news, Abu Salamah's tribesmen returned her son to her so that the family might be reunited. Once again Umm Salamah's camel was saddled, and she and her young son mounted then set off by themselves for Yathrib. They journeyed on to Tanim -- which lies approximately six miles outside Mecca -- when they were met by Othman, Talha's son who asked where they were going, and inquired if they were traveling alone. Umm Salamah told him that except for Allah, and her son she was traveling alone in hope of finding her husband. Othman was perturbed by their plight and offered to accompany them to Yathrib. Umm Salamah accepted Othman's kind gesture and so she and her son continued their journey under Othman's protection. Later, Umm Salamah would say of Othman, "Othman is one of the most honorable Arabs I have ever met. When we stopped for a rest he would make my camel kneel for me so that I might dismount and then withdraw and tend to the camel for me. Then, he would distance himself from me and sleep. When evening came, Othman would bring my saddled camel to me, then he would turn away so that I might settle myself. When I was ready he would take hold of the reins and lead us." The days passed and eventually they drew near to the village of Quba, which lies on the outskirts of Yathrib near the ancient lava flows. Othman told Umm Salamah that she would find her husband in the village and to enter it with the blessing of Allah. Now that Othman had accomplished his mission he wasted no time and returned to Mecca knowing that Umm Salamah would soon be safely reunited with her husband.
THE SECOND FAMILY TO MIGRATE TO YATHRIB
The migration of the companions was accomplished in phases over an extended passage of time. Following Abu Salamah's migration, the next to migrate was Amir, Rabia's son, with his wife Leila, the daughter of Hathma.
THE MIGRATION OF OMAR
Omar, Khattab's son, together with Ayyash and Hisham, Al As' son, decided to migrate together, and agreed to meet each other by the thorn trees that grew on land belonging to the Ghifar some six miles outside Mecca. It was a dangerous time, and so Omar told them that in the event of anyone's failure to reach the thorn trees by the following morning, whosoever was there must not wait but go on as it would be understood that the missing party had been forced to stay behind. Omar and Ayyash reached the thorn trees and waited for Hisham to arrive. There was still no sign of Hisham as the time approached so reluctantly they left for Quba where they stayed with the children of Amr, Auf's son. As they suspected Hisham had been detained, and forced to outwardly apostatize.
ABU JAHL ARRIVES IN YATHRIB
Shortly after their arrival, Ayyash received two unexpected visitors, Abu Jahl and Harith, both of whom were his relatives. Abu Jahl, knowing how much Ayyash loved his mother concocted a story about her that trouble Ayyash deeply. He told him his mother was greatly distressed by his leaving and had taken a vow that she would neither comb her hair, even if it became full of lice, nor would she sit in the shade of a tree but sit unprotected under the blazing heat of the sun until she saw her son again. The thought of his mother's suffering disturbed Ayyash greatly so he went to Omar and told him of her vow. Omar knew well the tricks of Abu Jahl and warned him that in his opinion it was nothing but an attempt to seduce him from his religion and that he must be very careful of them. Ayyash could not be dissuaded and told Omar that he would return to release his mother from her vow and at the same time retrieve some of the money he had left behind. In a final effort to prevent Ayyash from returning with Abu Jahl and Harith, Omar, in the spirit of true brotherhood, told him that he was willing to give him half of his wealth, if only he would stay. When Omar realized that Ayyash was not going to change his mind, he gave him his camel telling him that it was well bred and easy to ride. Omar also advised Ayyash not to dismount and if he detected the slightest suspicion of treachery he could make good his escape on it. Ayyash thanked Omar and gave him the farewell greetings, then set off towards Mecca with Abu Jahl and Harith. After they had traveled some distance, Abu Jahl said, "My nephew, my camel is proving hard to ride will you let me ride with you?" Ayyash agreed and they made their camels kneel. No sooner had the camels knelt, than Abu Jahl and Harith attacked him, bound him tightly and took him back to Mecca where they forced him to apostatize. As Abu Jahl and Harith entered Mecca they called out, "O people of Mecca, deal with your fools in the same way we have dealt with ours!" The news of Ayyash's wretched condition reached Omar and he feared Allah would not accept the repentance of those who apostatized. Omar continued to be of the same opinion until the Messenger of Allah (sa) arrived sometime later in Medina and the following verses were sent down:
"Say: 'O My worshipers, who have sinned excessively against themselves, do not despair of the Mercy of Allah, surely, Allah forgives all sins. He is the Forgiver, the Most Merciful. Turn to your Lord and surrender yourselves to Him before the punishment overtakes you, for then you will not be helped. Follow the best of what has been sent down from your Lord before the punishment overtakes you suddenly, while you are unaware.'" Koran 39:53-55
When Omar heard these verses he wrote them down and sent it to Hisham who was in Mecca. Hisham had difficulty reading so in desperation he supplicated saying, "O Allah, make me understand it!" Allah heard his supplication and Hisham realized that the verses referred to Ayyash and himself whereupon he mounted his camel and set out to rejoin the Prophet (sa) who had by then, migrated to Yathrib.
THE VISITOR FROM NAJD
With the exception of the Prophet (sa) and two of his close companions, Ali and Abu Bakr and his family, only those Muslims stricken by illness or forcefully detained by the Koraysh remained in Mecca. The reason the Prophet (sa) remained behind was that he awaited the sending down of the permission of Allah to migrate, for he never did anything of significance without first receiving an instruction from Allah. On several occasions Abu Bakr had asked the Prophet (sa) for permission to migrate with his family, but each time the Prophet (sa) would say, "Don't be in such a hurry Abu Bakr, perhaps Allah will provide a traveling companion for you." So Abu Bakr waited obediently ever hopeful that he would be permitted to migrate with the Prophet (sa) himself. Although the Koraysh hated having Muslims in their midst, they became increasingly anxious over the matter of their migration to Yathrib, for they knew that they would never migrate there unless they had the support of many of its citizens. The Koraysh chieftains began to fear, with half-hearted contempt, the warnings of the Koran and the Prophet (sa). The warning which bothered them most was: " ... as for you, leaders of Koraysh, a great affair will come upon you that you will indeed hate." So they decided it was time to call a meeting in the time honored house, the House of Assembly, to discuss how they might best rid themselves of Prophet Muhammad (sa). It was agreed by those present to invite other Korayshi chieftains as well as the chieftains of other tribes to the meeting and that the meeting should take place at night. Trusted messengers were then sent to the outlying tribes and upon the appointed night, they and other chieftains met in secret in the House of Assembly. The meeting proved to be less than harmonious as none could agree upon a solution and soon tempers became frayed as raised voices filled the air. All the shouting and arguing subsided when, suddenly, a very loud knock at the door was heard. Someone got up and opened it, and there before them stood a man, unknown to any of them. The newcomer's facial characteristics and clothing were those of the people of the Najd, and so when he told the gathering he was from that region he was not disbelieved -- later, the Prophet (sa) told his companions that the man was none other than satan in disguise. The chieftains invited the newcomer to sit with them and satan inquired the reason for the meeting then asked why there was so much discord between them. The situation was explained to him -- although he already knew it -- so satan asked each of the chieftains to tell him their proposal and listened to them but did not pass a comment, however, the situation changed when it came time for Abu Jahl to present his solution and their visitor listened enthusiastically. Abu Jahl told him that in his opinion, the only way to rid themselves of the Prophet (sa) would be to kill him. However, this was not an easy matter. Abu Jahl went on to say that in his opinion the safest manner would be for each branch of the tribe to select and arm their strongest, most powerful warrior, then, upon a given night, wait of the Prophet (sa) to come out from his house, then pounce upon him altogether at the same time and kill him. Abu Jahl drew the attention of their visitor and those present, that by killing the Prophet (sa) in such a manner his blood would rest upon all their hands, and not just an individual branch of the Koraysh tribe which would, without doubt, be singled out for the revenge of his killing. Abu Jahl also pointed out that it was reasonable to assume that the family of the Prophet (sa) and his companions would be unlikely to take revenge on all the branches of the Koraysh because not only were they united in the matter, great in number, but much to strong to oppose. Up until that moment, satan had remained silent, but now his eyes darted with delight as he said, "Abu Jahl is right, in my opinion this is the only way to do it!" The chieftains accepted his advice, plans were drawn up and satan left them gloating in his wickedness.
On the night the Koraysh planned to kill Prophet Muhammad (sa) Angel Gabriel visited him and told him he must not sleep in his bed that night. He also gave him the news that Allah had given him permission to migrate. When the Prophet (sa) told Ali Gabriel's news he was delighted and volunteered immediately to sleep in his bed whereupon the Prophet (sa) assured him that no harm would befall him. On account of his honesty, several people had entrusted their valuables to the Prophet (sa) for safekeeping. Now that permission to migrate had been given he could no longer take charge of them so he asked Ali to remain behind and return them to their rightful owners then to come to Yathrib as soon as he had discharged his duty. Later that night, Ali wrapped himself up in the Prophet's cloak and slept soundly on the Prophet's bed.
THE PLAN IS HATCHED
It was the month of Safar and in the still of the night warriors from each branch of the Koraysh concealed themselves around the Prophet's house and lay in wait for him to come out. Some time later during the night the Prophet (sa) emerged from his house and as he did he recited the following verses from the Koran:
"Ya Seen. By the Wise Koran, you (Prophet Muhammad) are truly among the Messengers sent upon a Straight Path. The sending down of the Mighty, the Most Merciful so that you may warn a people whose fathers were not warned, and so were heedless. The Phrase has become obligatory upon most of them, yet they do not believe. We have bound their necks with fetters up to their chin, so that their heads are raised and cannot be lowered. We have set a barrier before them and a barrier behind them, and, We have covered them so that they do not see." Koran 36:1-9
As he stooped down he picked up a handful of dust and cast it over them. Immediately, a deep sleep descended upon the warriors and the Prophet (sa) passed through their midst without anyone seeing him. The warriors slept on outside the house of the Prophet (sa) until someone came and woke them asking why they were still there. When they replied they were waiting for the Prophet (sa) to come out, the man rebuked them telling them that he had seen the Prophet (sa) elsewhere in the City, and told them of the dust in their hair. The warriors refused to accept the possibility that the Prophet (sa) had escaped without their knowledge so they entered the house and found Ali, who they mistakenly took to be the Prophet (sa), sleeping peacefully wrapped in the Prophet's green cloak. After having satisfied themselves that the Prophet (sa) was still in the house they continued to wait outside. When Ali awoke they realized that the man had been correct and pandemonium reigned -- the Koraysh plan had been thwarted -- and the warriors returned to their chieftains to raise the alarm.
THE FIRST STAGE OF THE MIGRATION
Upon the noon of that same day, the Prophet (sa) made his way to the house of his dear companion, Abu Bakr. It was unusual for him to visit Abu Bakr at that time of day so instinctively he knew there must be an important reason for his visit. After the exchange of greetings the Prophet (sa) informed him that Allah had given him permission to migrate from Mecca. Abu Bakr asked whether they were to migrate together and when the Prophet (sa) told him they were, he was so overcome with joy that tears rolled down his cheeks. Abu Bakr had hoped that Allah would permit him to accompany the Prophet (sa) so in anticipation he had purchased two strong camels and set aside some provisions for the journey. Abu Bakr offered the Prophet (sa) the finest of the camels, however, on account of the importance of the occasion he declined his generosity saying, "I shall only ride a camel that belongs to me," so the Prophet (sa) bought one from Abu Bakr. In the past, the Prophet (sa) had accepted several gifts from his good friend, but this occasion was different from that of the others. The Prophet (sa) named his camel "Kaswa" and of all the camels he was to own, Kaswa was his favorite. At the back of the house, Abu Bakr had the camels prepared and asked his son Abdullah to accompany them to a cave in Mount Thawr, which lies to the south of Mecca, in the opposite direction to Yathrib. He also asked the shepherd Amir, Fuhayrah's son, whom he had freed from service sometime before, to follow behind them with his flock to obliterate their tracks for the desert Arabs were expert trackers and the camel's hoof prints might easily be detected. It was time to depart so Prophet Muhammad (sa), Abu Bakr with Abdullah riding pillion behind his father mounted their camels and set off for Mount Thawr and left Mecca undetected. After they had been riding for a while, the Prophet (sa) brought his camel to a halt and looked back in sadness at his beloved City and said, "Upon all the earth of Allah, you are the dearest place to me, and the dearest to Allah, had my people not driven me out from you I would not have left you." When they reached the caves of Mount Thawr, Abu Bakr told his son to return to Mecca with both camels and instructed him to pay attention to any plot he might hear. Abu Bakr also told his son to return only when he felt it was safe to do so and to bring fresh supplies. It was common place to see camels being driven into Mecca so Abu Bakr felt his son would not be in any immediate danger, also, it was logical to suppose the Koraysh would be searching for the Prophet (sa) on the road to Yathrib and not on the road to Yemen, at least for a while.
THE REACTION OF THE KORAYSH
The Koraysh were deeply angered that the Prophet (sa) had slipped through their fingers. They searched Mecca from beginning to end but there was no sign of him, nor could anyone throw light upon his whereabouts. Abu Bakr had left his daughters, Ayesha, who was now seven years old, and her elder sister Asma with his wife Umm Ruman in Mecca. Eventually several members of the Koraysh, including Abu Jahl, suspected that Abu Bakr might have accompanied the Prophet (sa) so they went to his house to demand his whereabouts. Ayesha answered the door and when she told them that she did not know where her father was, Abu Jahl struck her with such force that her earring flew off. Abu Jahl and his companions failed to extract the information they sought and so they left in the hope that they would be more successful elsewhere. In the meantime, the Koraysh chieftains offered a substantial reward of no less than one hundred camels for his capture. The lure of owning such a herd encouraged many parties to set off on the road to Yathrib in search of him. Three days had now passed but this time when Abdullah and his sister Asma brought provisions they also brought news of the reward that had been offered. Abu Bakr then told his son that the next time he came he should bring Abdullah, Arkat's son to guide them on to Yathrib and that they should also bring enough provisions for the journey and their camels. Although Abdullah, Arkat's son had not yet embraced Islam, Abu Bakr knew him to be not only reliable but trustworthy, and was confident he would never betray them.
There were many caves in Mount Thawr and when they found one which was suitable, Abu Bakr had entered first on that eventful first day of the migration. However, as he entered he had noticed there were several holes in both its walls and floor and feared they might be home to snakes or other poisonous insects, or even reptiles, so he looked around the cave and found some stones to plug them. He had almost finished plugging them when he ran out of stones. He searched for some more but there were none to be found so he tore pieces of cloth from his garment and pushed them deep down into the holes. When the Prophet (sa) entered he lay down and rested his head upon Abu Bakr's lap and slept. Only one hole remained unplugged, as there had be insufficient cloth with which to plug it so Abu Bakr lodged his elbow in it to seal the hole. As the Prophet (sa) slept, a scorpion that had been hiding in that very hole bit Abu Bakr. The bite was extremely painful, yet Abu Bakr, whose manners where of such high quality, did not move, nor yet did he cry out in pain as he feared he might disturb the Prophet (sa) whilst he slept. The pain increased as the flesh around the bite became red and very swollen as the poison took effect. At last a tear fell from Abu Bakr's eye onto the Prophet (sa) before he could catch it and the Prophet (sa) awoke. When he saw the very pained expression on his face he was troubled and asked what ailed him whereupon Abu Bakr told him of the scorpion's bite. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said, "Bismillah" and treated the bite with his salvia and breath and immediately, both the pain and swelling left him -- Abu Bakr had been blessed with a miraculous cure.
A CHANGE OF DIRECTION
By now the search parties had exhausted the roads leading to Yathrib so they started to look in other directions so it wasn't surprising that one such party decided to search the caves of Mount Thawr. As they neared Mount Thawr. Allah caused yet another miracle to occur, a spider spun a huge web across the entrance of the cave, and a pair of pigeons gathered some twigs from a nearby tree, then built a nest beneath the web on the ledge. When the search party reached the Mount they explored the caves thoroughly and as they neared the cave the female pigeon settled herself on the nest and laid her eggs whilst her mate perched nearby. The shouts and tramping of footsteps grew nearer and nearer. Soon, footsteps could be heard on the ledge directly above the cave. Abu Bakr became alarmed at the thought of being discovered and whispered to the Prophet (sa), "If they look under their feet they will see us!" In his gentle, reassuring manner, Prophet Muhammad (sa) consoled him saying, "What do you think of two people who have Allah with them as their third?" When Abu Bakr heard these words peace descended upon him and his fear vanished. Shortly after, one of the search party noticed the cave underneath the ledge on which he was standing and peered over to take a better look at it. When he saw the spider's web and the pigeon sitting on its nest he told the others that it would be a complete waste of time and effort to climb down to check the cave as he was sure it must be empty on account of the nest and the spider's web. Another peered over the ledge and agreed saying the cob-web was so old that it must have been spun before the Prophet (sa) had even been born! The bounty hunters agreed and left not knowing how close they had been to the Prophet (sa) and his companion. As for the pigeons, their descendants are those that fly around Ka'ba today. That night Abdullah and his sister Asma, accompanied by Amir, the shepherd, who came without his flock this time, and Arkat's son Abdullah, made their way with the camels to the cave where they were awaited. When they reached the mountain, Abdullah and his companions waited for the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr to descend its slope. Asma had packed a bag full of provisions for the journey, however, in her haste she had forgotten to bring a rope to secure them on to the camel's back. Being a resourceful young lady, she untied the rope belt from around her waist, divided it in two and tied the bag securely onto the camel then used the remainder as her belt, from that time onward she was often referred to with tenderness as "she of the pair of belts. And so the Prophet (sa), Abu Bakr and their guide set out on the second stage of their migration to Yathrib, soon to be renamed Medina, whilst his children and the shepherd returned in safety to Mecca.
THE JOURNEY TO YATHRIB
Abdullah, Arkat's son, knew the trails of the desert well for he was a very experienced guide. It was decided that it would be more prudent not to go straight on to Yathrib, but to make an extensive detour and so Abdullah led the holy party across the desert to the sea near a village called Usfan.
At a place called Kudayd they met an old lady named Umm Mabad, and asked if she would sell them some milk and meat. Meanwhile Prophet Muhammad (sa) had noticed a weak goat lagging behind the others in the herd, it was evident that its udder was dry, so he went to it, massaged its udder then miraculously milked it. There was so much milk that it filled a large jug and they all took their fill whilst Umm Mabad looked on in amazement. After they had enjoyed the milk, the Prophet (sa) massaged its udder again and filled the jug to the brim with milk and gave it to Umm Mabad, then they continued on their journey. From that time onward the goat never ceased to produce milk in the morning and night, and lived up until the caliphate of Omar, the son of Khattab. Later, when Umm Mabad's husband returned she told him how a blessed man happened to have passed by and showed him the jug of milk then related what had happened. Her husband asked her to describe the man whereupon she described him in detail and her husband exclaimed, "By Allah, this is the companion of the Koraysh, if I see him I will follow him!" Umm Mabad had no idea she had been in the company of the Prophet (sa) and had not been shy to observe his features; it is through her observations and another like her that we receive a detailed account of his physical description. During their migration they were to encounter a slave shepherding his master's flock, when they asked if they might buy some milk the slave told them that none yielded milk and that the one that lambed the year before way now dry. Once again, the Prophet (sa) gently took the sheep, milked it three times and the shepherd embraced Islam.
THE ENCOUNTER WITH SURAKA, MALIK'S SON
Suraka, Malik's son, who was the son of Ju'shum, was among the bounty hunters with high hopes of capturing the Prophet (sa) and claiming the handsome reward of one hundred camels. One day as Suraka attended a tribal meeting, a man from the tribe of Madlij approached and told him that only a short while ago he had observed silhouettes in the distance riding by the beach and wondered if it might possibly be that Prophet (sa) and his companion. Suraka was quick to realize that the party was indeed most probably that of the Prophet (sa) however, he wanted to claim the reward for himself so he told the man he must be mistaken as he had seen a party from Mecca earlier on that day set off in the same direction. Suraka waited for an hour or two to pass, then armed himself with his bow and arrows, ordered his slave to bring his horse round to the back of the house and set off toward the shore. When Suraka came within sight of the Prophet (sa) Abu Bakr spotted him and cried out, "O Messenger of Allah, we have been discovered!" Whereupon the Messenger of Allah with calmness of voice replied, "Never," and supplicated to Allah for their safekeeping. Immediately, the legs of Suraka's horse started to sink deep into the sand whereupon Suraka cried out in alarm to the Prophet (sa) saying, "I know you have supplicated against me, supplicate for me and I will act as a decoy for you; neither shall I harm you nor will others harm you." No sooner had the words left his mouth and the Prophet (sa) supplicated than the legs of his horse were raised up out of the sand and he rode on to catch up with the Prophet (sa). Upon catching up with the Prophet (sa) Suraka offered him his provisions, but the Prophet (sa) politely thanked him and declined. Then, quite unexpectedly the Prophet (sa) asked, "How would you like to wear the robes of Chosroes (the King of Persia)?" Suraka was astonished and knew that the word of the Prophet (sa) would surely be fulfilled so he requested the statement to be written down for him as a sign, and so Abu Bakr wrote it down on a piece of leather which Suraka then placed in his quiver for safekeeping and returned to Mecca. Suraka kept his promised and told no one of the encounter. In the years that followed when the Prophet (sa) was returning from the Encounter of Hunayn, Suraka met him again and embraced Islam. Suraka's tribe opposed the Prophet (sa) for many years and in the years that followed when Khalid was sent to remedy the matter, Suraka interceded for them but it was not until after the opening of Mecca that they all embraced Islam. The promise made to Suraka was fulfilled during the caliphate of Omar when the possessions of Chosroes came into the keeping of Omar. Omar was an upright caliph and had heard Surakas story and in obedience to the Prophet (sa) and in the honorable spirit of Islam, Omar sent for Suraka and placed the crown of Persia upon his head then gave him the regalia and belt of Chosroes.
THE MEETING WITH TALHA
At sometime during their migration a small caravan was spotted traveling toward the holy party. However, there was no cause for alarm as it belonged to none other than the cousin of Abu Bakr, Talha who was returning to Mecca with merchandise from Syria. Talha had broken his journey in Yathrib and told Prophet Muhammad (sa) that the news of his migration had already reached them and that the Muslims anxiously awaited his arrival. As they parted company, Talha told them that as soon as he had sold his merchandise in Mecca it was his intention to join them in Yathrib.
THE JOURNEY TO YATHRIB CONTINUES
From Usfan the holy party journeyed to a place outside Amaj, then after passing Kudayd by way of Al Kharrar and Thaniyyatu'l Marra they went on to Likf where they watered their camels. From Likf they journeyed to Marjih of Dh'l Ghadwayn then on to the valley of Dhu Kashr. After crossing the valley they made their way to A'da passing by Al Ajrad and Dhu Salaam by way of Al Fajja. Before they reached the valley of A'da, one of the camels started to show signs of weakness so a man from the tribe of Aslam by the name of Aus, Hujr's son took the Prophet onto the outskirts of Yathrib on his camel.
Migration of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) & Abu Bakr Saddiq (RA), Welcomed in Yathrib (Madina)
THE RECEPTION IN QUBA
Each morning at dawn after Fajr prayer, the believers of Quba, a suburb of Yathrib, would make their way to the lava mounds near the fertile oasis which marked the City limits and anxiously awaited the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (sa). There, they would stay until no shade was left to protect them from the harsh, relentless rays of the sun. It was now midday, Monday 12th Rabi'ul Awwal, the Prophet's birthday, the sun had reached its height and the gathering had returned to the shelter of their homes when a Jew happened to observe the small party making its way to the lava mounds. The Jew had heard of the Prophet's expected arrival and called out loudly: "O children of Kayla, your luck has arrived!" There was much rejoicing as the believers rushed from their homes and raced back toward the lava mounts where they found the Prophet (sa) resting with Abu Bakr under the shade of a palm tree. As they approached the Prophet (sa), he smiled tenderly as the ladies and children burst into a song of welcoming they had composed in honor of the occasion:
"The full moon has appeared before us from Thaniyyat, (the Place of Farewell). Thanks is obligated upon us whenever an inviter of Allah invites."
Prophet Muhammad (sa), was greatly moved by their sincere welcome and exhorted his new companions saying, "O people, greet one another with peace, feed the hungry; honor the ties of kinship, pray when others sleep and you shall enter Paradise in peace." This simple, yet beautiful song of sincerity in praise and love of the Prophet (sa) was among the first to be composed and sung in his presence. It is important for all those who love Allah and His Prophet (sa) to realize that the Prophet (sa) neither objected nor forbade such compositions and we would do well to remember the words of Allah that say:
Allah and His angels praise and venerate the Prophet. Believers, praise and venerate him, and pronounce peace upon him in abundance. Koran 33:56 One of the most famous poets during the life of the Prophet (sa) was Hassan, Thabits son. His poetry extols and praises the virtues of the Prophet (sa) and is recited by the lovers of the Prophet (sa) to this very day. Such was the of acceptance of his poetry by the Prophet (sa) that he requested Hassans seat to be raised in the Mosque so that everyone in the congregation would be able to hear and enjoy his poetry. The Prophet (sa) also informed Hassan that the Arch Angel Gabriel would defend him continuously whilst he was defending Allah and His Prophet (sa). Since that time and throughout the centuries, there have been many well-known Sufi (Ihsan) poets who continued in the same excellence. One such poet being Berzinji Bosairi whose poetry touched the heart and soul of so many that it was printed in gold. In more recent times, the late Yusuf Ishmael of Nabahan, Mufti of Beirut, Lebanon wrote the most endearing poetry in praise and love of the Prophet (sa). However, the Wahabi cult that emerged from the Najd in Saudi Arabia last century - and one would do well to remember the historical fact reported earlier on in this book of how satan, disguised as a man from the Najd consulted with the unbelievers of Mecca as to the most effective way in which they should kill the Prophet (sa), and thereafter the authentic warning of the Prophet (sa) that the horn of the devil would appear from the Najd - proclaimed that Mufti Yusuf Ishmael, on account of his poetry praising the Prophet (sa), as being a heretic and he like so many other innocent, true lovers of the Prophet (sa) became either hunted or martyred by the fanatical Wahabi cult. Such has been the false influence of the innovated Wahabi cult that many innocent Muslims are now confused and fearful of reading these beautiful poems and have either overlooked or neglected the preceding verse.
A MATTER OF LODGING
It is uncertain in whose home the Prophet (sa) stayed first in Quba, however, it has been reported that it was either the home of Kulthum, Hidm's son or else the home of Sa'ad Khaythama's son. The same circumstances apply to the lodging of Abu Bakr, he either stayed with Khubaub, Isaf's son from the children of Harith or with Kharija, Zayd's son.
ALI JOINS THE PROPHET (sa) AT QUBA
A few days after the Prophet (sa) had set out on his migration Ali was able to complete his task of returning all the valuables entrusted to the Prophet (sa). He was now able to journey to Yathrib and it was there at Quba that he finally caught up with him and was lodged in the house of Kulthum.
THE FINAL STAGE OF THE MIGRATION
Word reached the Prophet (sa) that the people of the City of Yathrib anxiously awaited his arrival. However, before his departure three days later, the foundations for the Mosque of Quba were laid after Kaswa, the Prophets camel led by an angel showed the Muslims where it was to be built. Prophet Muhammad (sa) arrived at Ranuna, in Yathrib at noon that Friday. A large crowd had accompanied the Prophet (sa) amongst whom were some of his kinsmen from the tribe of Bani Najjar that had ridden from Yathrib to meet him in Quba. There, in the valley of Ranuna he met members of the Khazrajite tribe, the children of Salim. Their combined numbers were approximately one hundred and it is there, in his new homeland, that the Prophet (sa) led his followers in the first Friday congregational prayer. After the prayer, Itban, Malik's son and Abbas, Ubada's son, together with people from the tribe of Salim invited the Prophet (sa) to live with them. However, the Prophet (sa) graciously declined their kind offer saying that he would settle wherever his camel sat down to rest because Kaswa, his camel had been ordered and was being led by an angel. Kaswa wandered pass the homes of the children of Bayaa, and it was there that the Prophet (sa) was met by Ziyad, Labid's son and Farwa, Amr's son with more of their fellow tribesmen. They too offered the Prophet (sa) the same invitation but he declined graciously with the same reply. Invitations abounded from everywhere amongst whom were those of Sa'ad, Ubada's son and Al Mundir, Amir's son; and Sa'ad, Rabi's son and Kharika, Zayd's son, and Abdullah, Rawaha's son from the tribe of Harith, Al Khazraj's son but once again the Prophet (sa) declined and replied in the same manner. At last the camel came to a house the Prophet (sa) remembered well from his childhood days, it was the home of his maternal relatives, the children of Adiyy, Najjar's son. His maternal relatives invited him to stay with them, but he told him his camel was being led by an angel and would take him to the place where he would stay. Kaswa wandered on towards the houses belonging to the children of Malik, a branch of the Najjar tribe. Amongst their tribesmen were Asad and Awf, two of the six men that pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (sa) during the first pledging at Aqabah the year before. When Kaswa reached the buildings she wandered into a walled courtyard in which there were a few date palms, a place used to dry dates, an ancient grave yard and a building that had fallen into a state of disrepair. Asad had constructed a modest prayer area within the confines of the courtyard, and slowly Kaswa made her way to it then knelt down. The Prophet (sa) let go the reins but did not dismount, then, after a moment she got up and walked away. She had not gone far when she turned around and walked back to the place where she had knelt, once again she knelt down but this time settled herself upon the ground and Prophet Muhammad (sa) dismounted saying, "If Allah wills, this is the place." The Prophet (sa) then asked who owned the courtyard and so Mu'adh, the brother of Awf told him that it belonged to Sahl and Suhayl, two orphaned boys fostered by Asad. The Prophet (sa) smiled as he asked for someone to bring the boys to him, but they were already in the gathering and stepped forward. He asked the boys whether they would sell the courtyard to him, but they refused saying, "No, we will give it to you, O Messenger of Allah!" The Prophet (sa) was touched by the generosity of the orphans but insisted that he should pay them for it and so with the help of Asad a price was determined. During this time Abu Ayyoub Khalid, who lived nearby, had unloaded the Prophet's baggage from Kaswa and had taken it into his house. Once again the Prophet (sa) was besieged with invitations from his followers, but he declined saying, "I must be where my baggage is." And so the Prophet (sa) stayed in the home of Abu Ayyoub who had been the first of his tribe to pledge allegiance during the second pledging at Aqabah. The girls of the household and the neighboring households were so happy to have the Prophet (sa) staying there that they went out to meet him beating their drums singing:
"We are the girls from the children of Al Najjar, Muhammad is the best neighbor!"
Once again, the Prophet (sa) smiled as he listened to the song and neither objected nor forbade the girls to sing or beat their drums. Abu Ayyoub's house had two storeys, so he and his wife moved upstairs leaving the ground floor for the Prophet (sa). Each meal-time they would take the Prophet (sa) his food and ate whatever remained, putting their fingers in the imprint of the Prophet's in anticipation of receiving a blessing. Shortly after, Prophet Muhammad (sa) gave the Muslims of Medina a new title, from now on they were referred to as the "Ansar" - the "Supporters". As for those that migrated, they were also give a new title and referred to as the "Muhajir" - the "Emigrants". Allah honors these companions by mentioning them together with their reward in the Koran saying:
As for the first outstrippers among the migrants and supporters and those who followed them in doing good, Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. He has prepared for them gardens underneath which rivers flow, where they shall live for ever. That is the greatest winning. Koran, 9:100
THE BUILDING OF THE PROPHET'S MOSQUE
Immediately after his arrival in Medina, the Prophet (sa) together with the elated band of followers started work on building the Mosque, the graveyard was removed and the ground prepared, some brought stones whilst others made adobe mud bricks for its walls. The palm trees that once stood in the courtyard were felled and prepared for use as support pillars for the Mosque's roof that was made from palm branches whilst the floor remained bare. It was a time for thanksgiving and throughout its building the happy band of Muslims would be heard supplicating to Allah asking Him for His Mercy and Help on both the Ansar and Muhajir saying: O Allah, if it was not for You we would not have been guided neither would we have fasted nor prayed. Therefore send down upon us Your tranquility (Sakina) and strengthen us when we meet in times of war. At the end of the Mosque they erected another roofed area. It was to become the home of those who embraced Islam but had neither family nor a home of their own. Upon the completion of the Mosque, the Prophet's home, consisting of two very simple, small apartments was built onto the side of the Mosque. One for Lady Swaydah and the other for Lady Ayesha. Now that the Mosque and the Prophet's home were ready, he sent Zayd and Abu Rafi with two camels and five hundred dirhams to Mecca to bring his daughters and Lady Swaydah to their new home in Medina. Abu Bakr also sent word to his son Abdullah that the time was right for them to migrate with his mother and sisters, Lady Ayesha and Asma to Yathrib. However, two of the Prophet's daughters were unable to return with Zayd and Abu Rafi', one was Lady Rukiyyah whose husband, Othman, was still in Abyssinia, and the other was Lady Zaynab whose husband refused to permit her to migrate, and so Zayd and Abu Rafi' returned with Ladies Fatima, Umm Kulthum and Swaydah.
A TIME FOR READJUSTMENT
Most migrants arrived in Medina with only a few possessions. Before their migration some had been in a position to re-establish their wealth but as they had been forced to leave their homes in secrecy they were unable to take most of their possessions with them and all they had left behind was now seized by the Koraysh.
THE BONDING OF THE ANSAR AND MUHAJIR
A day or so shortly after his arrival, the Prophet (sa) called the Muslims together and took one man from the Ansar and another from the Muhajir then announced: "Each of you is a brother to the other," whereupon each Ansari household took a Muhajir family into its own and shared all they possessed with them. The Prophet (sa) took Ali for his brother and made Hamza the brother of Zayd. The Ansars gleaned their livelihood from farming the fertile land of the oasis whereas the Muhajirs had been traders and knew little about cultivating the land, so it was decided that the Ansars should keep their orchards and groves and divide its produce with their Muhajir brothers. Such was the extent of the brotherhood that when an Ansar died his property was inherited not just by his family but by his extended Muhajir family. Allah refers to this in the Koran saying:
"Those who believed and migrated from their homes and fought for the Way of Allah, and those who sheltered them and helped them they are truly the believers. Theirs shall be forgiveness and a generous provision." Koran 8:74
The generosity of the Ansars was widespread and it wasn't long before the Muhajir had settled themselves to their new life. Abu Bakr set up business trading in cloth and Omar took to trading that took him as far away as Iran whereas some of the others traded on a lesser scale, however, they remained poor.
Amongst the Ansar and Muhajir were those that lived in the communal room adjoining the Mosque known as As-hab al Suffa. These companions rarely took to trade or farming, and then when they did it was only as a means to an end. Instead, they preferred to devote their lives to prayer and spiritual discipline under the guidance of the Prophet (sa). These people had neither wives nor children, however, marriage was not forbidden to them like the monks of Christianity. The Suffa, better known as Sufi contented themselves with the bare necessities of life; as a means of support they would also be seen gathering bundles of firewood and selling it in order to feed themselves and their companions. They were extremely poor and none could afford two garments, instead they would wear a single piece of cloth fastened at the neck that reached a little above the knee. Whenever the Prophet (sa) received a charitable gift of food, he would divide it amongst them and encourage his followers to feed them. Many were the times that the Suffa did not eat on two successive days. On account of their lack of nourishment some would faint during prayers, which prompted the opponents of Islam to ridicule and denounced them saying they were either epileptic or else mad. The Suffa as well as other companions were blessed on many occasions and miraculously fed through the blessings of the supplication of the Prophet (sa). Among these occasions was the time when the Prophet (sa) called the Suffa together to eat from a single plate of food over which he had supplicated. Each of the Suffa, and there were many, ate until they were completely satisfied and after all had left, the same amount of food that had first been served remained on the plate.
ABU HURAYRAH, THE SUFI
Seven years later, Abu Hurayrah, the famous reporter of prophetic quotations embraced Islam and joined the ranks of the Suffa. It is through him that we are blessed to receive so many of the prophetic quotations known as Hadith. Abu Hurayrah had an excellent memory and would precisely memorize the words of the Prophet (sa). When asked why he had not taken to trade or some other profession, he informed his inquirer that he was too occupied listening to the Prophet (sa) and preferred to remain in his company. Unlike her son, Abu Hurayahs mother had not embraced Islam and this was of great concern to him so he went to her one day and tried yet again to persuade her, but she resisted and said something disagreeable about the Prophet (sa) that deeply upset Abu Hurayrah. When the Prophet (sa) saw Abu Hurayrah weeping he asked what was troubling him, whereupon he reluctantly told him what had happened and asked the Prophet (sa) to supplicate for his mother whereupon he supplicated, O Allah, guide the mother of Abu Hurayrah to the Straight Path. Later on that day, Abu Hurayrah went to visit his mother and as he approached her home she recognized his footsteps and called out to him asking him to wait outside for a minute. As he waited he heard the sound of the splashing of water, and a few minutes later, after she had dressed, she opened the door and said, I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet. She had taken the major bath of purification before embracing Islam. Abu Hurayrah, means father of the kitten, he was given this endearing name on account of a kitten he befriended that would curl up and sleep in the sleeve of his shirt.
THE JEWS OF MEDINAPROPHET MUHMAMMAD (sa), THE DIPLOMAT
Although the majority of Jews in Medina refused to accept Prophet Muhammad (sa) as a prophet, they knew it was in their best interest to ally themselves to him as he had become the most influential person in Medina so they went to him, without coercion, and a written contract was drawn up to which both parties pledged they would abide. The contract afforded fair benefits to both Muslim and Jew. Amongst the contractual articles was that if a Muslim or Jew were harmed then the harmed party would receive the support of both Muslims and Jews alike. It was also agreed that in the event of war they would fight as one party against the pagans, and that the expense would be shared equally. It was also agreed that neither Muslim nor Jew would enter into a separate peace treaty behind the back of the other. The Jews acknowledged the Prophet (sa) to be both fair and diplomatic, so they willingly agreed that if a dispute should arise between a Muslim and a Jew, the matter would be decided by him. One day, a Muslim thinking he would have the support of his fellow Muslims, took advantage of a Jew. The issue was taken to the Prophet (sa) and the Jew received his rights. On the surface things appeared to be in harmony, but the underlying resentment of the Jews lay dormant for the time being. There were also members of the Arab tribes of Aws and Khazraj who said, when they were invited to believe, they believed. However they did not, to them it was simply a matter of politics, some doubted the Message whilst others were hypocrites. It was during this era that Allah sent down the second chapter of the Koran, the Cow chapter, in which the likeness of those who believe and those who disbelieve is clarified. In the latter verses the Prophet (sa) and the believers were made aware that things were not always as they seemed:
"That is the (Holy) Book where there is no doubt. It is a guidance for the cautious (of evil and Hell). Who believe in the unseen and establish the (daily) prayer; who spend out of what We have provided them. Who believe in that which has been sent down to you (Prophet Muhammad) and what has been sent down before you (to Prophets Jesus and Moses), and firmly believe in the Everlasting Life. These are guided by their Lord; these surely are the prosperous.
Those who disbelieve, whether you forewarn them or not, they will not believe. Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and ears; their sight is dimmed and for them is a great punishment. There are some people who say: 'We believe in Allah and the Last Day,' yet they are not believers. They seek to deceive Allah and those who believe, but they deceive none except themselves, though they do not sense it. There is a sickness in their hearts which Allah has increased. For them there is a painful punishment because they lie. When it is said to them, 'Do not corrupt in the land,' they reply, 'We are only reformers.' But it is they who are the evildoers, though they do not sense it. When it is said to them: 'Believe as (other) people believe,' they reply, 'Are we to believe as fools believe?' It is they who are the fools, if only they knew! When they meet those who believe they say, 'We, too believe.' But when they are alone with their devils, they say to them: 'We follow none but you, we were only mocking.' Allah will mock at them and prolong them in sin, blundering blindly." Koran 2:2-15
Later on in the same chapter, Allah informed the Prophet (sa) and his followers of the jealously the Jews harbored towards them:
v "Many of the People of the Book wish they might turn you back as unbelievers, after you have believed, in envy of their souls, after the truth has been clarified to them. So pardon and forgive until Allah brings His command. Allah is Powerful over everything." Koran 2:109
There were among those who did not believe people who would seize any opportunity that came their way to cast doubt upon the prophethood of Muhammad (sa). On one such occasion a camel belonging to the Prophet (sa) happened to stray whereupon an unbeliever seized the opportunity to jeer saying, "Muhammad claims that news comes to him from the heavens, yet he does not know where his camel is!" When the matter was reported to the Prophet (sa) he was not angered and replied, "I only know what Allah permits me to know. Now He has made it known to me that her halter has become tangled in the branches of a tree in a valley which I will describe." Then the Prophet (sa) described the valley whereupon some of his companions recognized the valley in which she was and went to retrieve the camel. When they reached the valley they found the camel's halter had indeed become tangled in the branches of a tree and brought it back to the Prophet (sa).
Among the Jewish tribe of Kaynuka was an elderly man known for his ability to stir up trouble. Before the advent of Islam and the Prophet's arrival in Medina, the tribes of Aws and Khazraj had been continually at each others throat and consequently many conflicts were fought. The Jew felt uneasy about the newly established bond between the tribes and wished to see an end to it. With this object in mind he connived a plan to break up this newly established peace. In recent years, there had been a conflict between the two tribes. In an effort to reinforce their numbers the tribe of Aws had sent a delegation to Mecca to enlist the support of the Koraysh. However, the Aws were not successful as the Koraysh deemed it more prudent to remain neutral in the matter and not long after the conflict at Bu'ath had ensued. Both sides had written impassioned poetry in tribute of their warriors expounding the merits and virtues of their tribe over the other. The Jew knew of a young man with a very fine, provocative voice who knew both these tribal poems and persuaded him to go and sit amongst the newly established friends and recite the poems to them. The result was exactly as the Jew planned, soon old passions were re-ignited, wounds reopened, memories revived and a call to arms ensued. As the tribes of Aws and Khazraj made their way to the lava mounds outside Quba to fight the matter out, news of the impending breach in the peace reached the Prophet (sa). Together with the Muhajirs they made haste to the lava mounds; the conflict was about to erupt when the Prophet (sa) reached them and called to them passionately saying, "O Muslims!" he continued: "Allah, Allah -- would you do as you did in the Days of Ignorance even though I am with you? Allah has guided you to Islam, and honored you with it and rid you of your pagan ways saving you from disbelief, and has united your hearts!" Immediately, the two sides realized they had been easy victims of pride so they laid down their arms and the Jew's scheme came to naught. This fine example of the immediate response to the remembrance of Allah, obedience to His Prophet (sa), and the unifying brotherhood of Islam in extenuating circumstances is one that in many cases, in this day and age, been unfortunately forgotten or overlooked, and the Words of Allah neglected or even disregarded. He says:
Believers are indeed brothers, therefore make things right among your two brothers and fear Allah, so you will be subject to mercy. Koran 49:10
The Prophet (sa) warned: When two Muslims oppose each other with swords, both the killer and the murdered will be in Hell. A companion asked, O Messenger of Allah (sa) surely, it is only the killer. What about the one who has been killed? The Prophet (sa) answered, The other was also eager to kill his companion.
THE DEATH OF TWO COMPANIONS AND TWO ADVERSARIES AND THE FIRST BORN IN MEDINA
During the first year after the Prophet's migration, Kulthum, Hidm's son, and Asad, Zurarah's son passed away. Both of the companions had been very close to the Prophet (sa). It was in Kulthum's house that the Prophet (sa) had stayed during part of his time in Quba, Kulthum had been especially kind to the migrants and given many of them a home. Asad, Zurarah's son had been among the first men of Yathrib to pledge his allegiance at Aqabah and it was in his house that Mus'ab, Umair's son, the envoy of the Prophet (sa) stayed in the very early days of Islam in Medina. Later, Asad had become the Imam of his tribe, the tribe of Najjar. There were those in Medina who chose to take these deaths as an argument against the prophethood, contending that if Prophet Muhammad (sa) had been a prophet, then these deaths would not have occurred. When the Prophet (sa) heard what was being said he was not angered but commented, "I have no power with Allah either for myself or for my companions." It was also during this first year that the infamous enemies of Islam, Waleed, Mughirah's son, father of Khalid and As, the son of Wa'il Sahmi, the father of Amr, who was later to become the famous Opener of Egypt died. Asma, the eldest daughter of Abu Bakr and her husband Zubair were blessed with a son whom they named Abdullah. Up until that time no child had been born to a Muslim family in Medina.
THE CHIEF RABBI OF THE TRIBE OF KAYNUKA
Ben Shalom was the Chief Rabbi of the tribe of Kaynuka and also the most knowledgeable Jew in Medina. He had already learned of the Prophet's teachings from traders returning from Mecca and was in no doubt that he was the one prophesied in the scriptures, for his message, description and circumstances exactly matched those he had learned by heart, however, he decided to conceal his conviction until he had a chance to meet him. The time of year had come when the palm trees needed tending in his aunt's garden so he climbed to the top of one of them and set about his work. As he busied himself, a man from the children of Amr, the son of Auf, came bearing the news that the man the Arabs called the Prophet (sa) had reached Quba and was staying there. Much to the surprise of his aunt Khalida, who was sitting below the tree, Ben Shalom was so excited that he exclaimed, "Allah is Great!" and climbed down the tree. His aunt was surprised by his exuberant outburst and said, "Indeed, you could not have made so much fuss if you had heard that Moses, the son of Imran had come!" Ben Shalom replied, "My aunt, he is the brother of Moses and upholds his religion, he has been sent with the same mission!" His aunt inquired if he really thought that this man could be the long expected Prophet, whereupon he told her that he had absolutely no doubt whatsoever that he was for all the signs had been fulfilled in him. Without further hesitation, Ben Shalom went to Quba to meet the Prophet (sa) and embraced Islam taking the name Abdullah -- worshiper of Allah. Upon his return to Medina he spoke to his family and encouraged them to embrace Islam. However, he concealed his conversion from his fellow Jews for a while longer as he anticipated an adverse reaction. Abdullah had always been an exemplary figure to his community and knew both their strengths and weaknesses. He had, on many occasions, spoken of the prophecy and told his congregation that his time was near at hand, however, he knew it would be hard for all but the humble to accept the fact that the prophethood had been taken away from the Jews but hoped that through his example they would trust him and accept Prophet Muhammad (sa). He also recognized the fact that once his conversion became known he would most likely be denounced by his former colleagues, who, as a result, would no longer utter a good word about him. So, when the Prophet (sa) reached Medina, he visited him and requested him to call the other rabbis and leaders of his tribe together and ask them for their opinion of him, not as a matter for self-esteem but as a matter of exposition. The invitations were delivered and the rabbis and tribal leaders accepted. When the time arrived, Abdullah Ben Shalom concealed himself in the Prophet's house and awaited their arrival. Upon their arrival the Prophet (sa) welcomed them in his usual hospitable customary way and gave them food and drink, then, during the course of the conversation asked their opinion of Ben Shalom. Without hesitation they spoke highly of him telling the Prophet (sa) that he was their chief rabbi, in fact he was the son of their former chief rabbi and without doubt the most knowledgeable among them. Upon hearing their witnessing, Abdullah Ben Shalom stepped forward and said, "O Jews, fear Allah and accept what He has sent you, indeed you know that this man is the Messenger of Allah (sa)." Then, before his peers he declared his acceptance of Islam. Immediately the rabbis and leaders no longer had a good word to say about him, rather they began to rebuke and spurn him, which was a complete reversal of their attestation just a few moments before. Later Abdullah was heard to say, "I recognized him as soon as I saw him, in the same way that I know my son, rather, my knowledge of him is even greater." Allah endorses the fact that the rabbis were able to recognize Prophet Muhammad (sa) from his description in their Holy Books by saying:
"Those to whom We have given the Book, know him (Prophet Muhammad) as they know their own sons. But a party of them conceal the truth while they know." Koran 2:146
Another rabbi embraced Islam, his name was Zayd, Sa'nah's son. However, he did not embrace Islam immediately as he was not as knowledgeable as Abdullah. Later he explained the reason for his delay saying, "In the Prophet's face there were characteristics. I recognized all of the signs except two because I had not as yet had the opportunity to observe them. They are that his kindness is swift when facing the ignorance of others, and the second is that the more foolishness directed towards him only increases his kindness."
LIFE IN MEDINA
THE FIRST ADHAN - CALL TO PRAYER
Up until this time, Muslims used their own judgment to determine the time of prayer by estimating the sun's passage through the heavens and as a result they arrived at the Mosque to pray at varying times. This state of affairs concerned the Prophet (sa) who asked his companions if they had any suggestions as to how best they could announce the due time of prayer. Several suggestions were made, amongst which was the hoisting of a flag, rattling a wooden clapper and the blowing of a horn. However, these suggestions were not acceptable to the Prophet (sa). Not long after, Abdullah, Zayd's son had a vision. In his vision a man with a clapper in hand, dressed in a green robe passed by, Abdullah noticed the clapper and asked if he would sell it. The man asked why he wanted it whereupon Abdullah told him that he wanted it to call his fellow Muslims to prayer. The man told him that he knew of a better way than that which was that the call to prayer should be made by a caller in this manner.
"Allah is the Most Great, Allah is the Most Great, Allah is the Most Great.
I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, I bear witness that there is no god except Allah,
Come to prayer, come to prayer.
Come to success, come to success.
Allah is the Most Great, Allah is the Most Great.
There is no god except Allah. there is no god except Allah."
Abdullah went to the Prophet (sa) and told him of his vision and Omar mentioned that he likewise had seen a similar vision. Happiness encompassed the Prophets face as he told Abdullah and Omar that they had both seen true visions and informed them that this was the method they would now use to call the people to prayer. The Prophet (sa) then asked one of his companions to look Bilal and ask him to come to him -- the former slave that had been so badly torture for his belief. Bilal had a very pleasant voice and Abdullah was asked to teach him the words with which he was to call the worshippers to prayer. Bilal was honored to be chosen as the caller to prayer, and from that time onward, before each prayer, he made his way to the roof-top of the highest house near the Mosque and the sweetness of his voice would ring out across the City calling believers to the prayer. Later on the Prophet (sa) told his companions that when the call to prayer is made, satan, the stoned and cursed, turns his back and rushes away belching to prevent him from hearing the words of the call. The reason for his running away and belching is that all those who hear the call to prayer become a witness to it and satan does not want to be a witness. However, once the call has finished he returns until the second call to prayer is made, then he runs away again only to return after it has finished to distract the minds of worshippers with his whispering, Remember this, remember that, putting in the mind of the believer irrelevant matters until he/she does not know how many units of prayer they have offered.
LADY SWAYDAH AND LADY AYESHA
When Lady Swaydah arrived in Medina she lived in her quarters built onto the outside of the Mosque together with the daughters of the Prophet (sa). Later on Lady Ayesha came to live in the room next to her. Lady Ayesha had known the Prophet (sa) from a very tender age, she loved to be in his company and after his marriage to her he would often play and run races with her, but although he was very capable of out running her he always, out of the kindness of his heart, let her win until she was mature. Although she was married to the Prophet her life had changed but a little, she still played with her girl friends from Mecca and also made new friends with the girls of Medina. However, the parents of her friends had taught their daughters that they must at all times respect the Prophet (sa) and not to make a nuisance of themselves. Fearing that he might disturb her, Prophet Muhammad (sa) would often take great delight watching her play with her friends from behind a curtain. However, if her friends happened to realize he was there they would stop playing and try to slip away, whereupon the Prophet (sa) would reassure them that there was no need for them to go and to continue enjoying themselves. On many occasions he would sit down and join them in their games, just as he had done with his own daughters for he loved children and never turned them away. Once, when the Prophet (sa) returned home after a journey he found Lady Ayesha playing with a small wooden horse that had a piece of cloth attached to its back. The Prophet (sa) was amused and inquired why she had tied the cloth to its back whereupon Lady Ayesha replied, "O Prophet of Allah (sa), don't you know, it is the winged horse of Solomon," and the Prophet (sa) smiled as happiness spread over his caring face.
ILLNESS IN MEDINA
The native people of Medina were, for the most part, immune to the fevers that came during certain seasons of the year, however, for strangers who happened to be in the City during these seasons there was always the risk that they might contract them. One day, Lady Ayesha went to visit her father, Abu Bakr, and found that he, Bilal and Amir had been taken ill with the fever, although Bilal was nearing recovery he remained extremely weak. She spoke to her father but he answered her in a rhyme and she did not fully understand, although she remembered his words. Amir and Bilal also spoke to her in rhyme but once again she remembered them but did not fully comprehend. Seeing them in such a pitiful condition distressed Lady Ayesha greatly so she returned home to the Prophet (sa) to tell him of their circumstances. The Prophet (sa) comforted her and gently asked what they had said so she repeated their words, whereupon the Prophet (sa) supplicated saying, "O Allah, make Medina as dear to us as You have made Mecca, or yet even dearer. Bless its water and grain for us and remove the fever from it as far as Mahya'ah." Allah accepted the supplication and they were no longer ill.
A THREAT FROM MECCA
It is obligatory upon Muslims to protect their soul, the honor of their womenfolk, and wealth, but also to show mercy. No matter how good the philosophy of turning the other cheek may be for an individual in insignificant day-to-day affairs, it spells suicide for a community when it is implemented as an absolute value. One might have supposed that the Prophet's circumstances in Medina were easier than in Mecca, and in may respects that was indeed the case. However, in Mecca it had been easy to determine who had given themselves to Islam and who had not. In Medina the situation was somewhat different. Many of its citizens had embraced Islam, however, several had done so not out of conviction but because they feared the loss of their status within their tribe as more fellow tribesmen started to embrace Islam. These people posed an undetectable source of treachery which was a factor the Prophet (sa) had not had to contend with in Mecca. Until this time, Medina had little or no influence on the affairs of Arabia, it had just been a place on the trade route where caravans would stop, replenish their supplies, sell their wares then go on their way. As such it had been impervious to outside affairs, however, now that the Prophet (sa) had settled there, the Koraysh viewed Medina in a different light. It was not long after his arrival that the Prophet (sa) met with neighboring tribes outside Medina and as his reputation had preceded him they gladly contracted alliances that closed the access of the northern trade routes to the Koraysh who used to pass through Medina. This meant that from now on the Koraysh caravans would have to use the coastal road on their journeys and their paths would not cross. However, shortly after the Prophet's arrival in Medina, the Koraysh sent a letter to Abdullah, Ubbay's son, who was a newly elected chieftain. The letter read: "You have sheltered one of our men. We tell you either to kill him or throw him out of Medina. If you do not, we swear by Allah we will attack, destroy you and seize your women." When the Prophet (sa) learned of the Koraysh letter, he went to Abdullah and asked if he intended to fight against his own kinsmen for many of them had embraced Islam and were now his supporters. Abdullah weighed the implications and decided to ignore the letter. The Koraysh had not only persecuted Muslims for their belief, robbed them of most of their possessions before and after their migration, but now the threat of war loomed large on the horizon. It was obvious they had no intention of letting Islam and its followers live in peace; their intent was annihilation.
THE FIRST ATTACK ON MEDINA
The first physical act of aggression by the Koraysh on the Muslims of Medina was perpetrated by Kerz, Jabir's son. Kerz, together with a marauding part set off from Mecca with the intent of looting whatever property belonging to Muslims they could lay their hands on. Just outside Medina they came across and seized Sa'ad, Wakkas's son and Utba, Ghazwan's son and took them back to Mecca as prisoners together with a flock of sheep and a herd of camels. This was the first attack which was soon followed by several similar incidents.
PERMISSION TO FIGHT FOR DEFENSE OR REVENGE
Under the patient guidance of the Prophet (sa) the Muslims had never taken a physical aggressive stand against their adversaries, for permission to do so had not been received from Allah. Even when they had been subjected to outrageous provocation they had restrained themselves by reciting the Words of Allah to state their case. One must not suppose them to have been faint hearted in such matters, rather they controlled themselves, and obeyed their Prophet (sa). It was about this time that Allah sent down the following verse:
"Permission is given to those who fight because they were wronged. Allah has power to grant them victory: those who have been unjustly driven from their homes, just because they said: 'Our Lord is Allah ....'" Koran 22:39-40
But Allah also warned:
Fight in the way of Allah those who fight against you, but do not aggress. Allah does not love the aggressors. Koran 2:190
This last verse is a clear warning to all Muslims that they must not be the first to aggress. It was not the Prophet (sa) who instigated the state of war, persecuted or pillaged, on the contrary, it was the Koraysh who were the open aggressors. Now, permission had come to the Muslims to assert themselves, stand up for their rights, and take back that which had been stolen from them. With the possible threat of war on the horizon, and the command to fight because of the wrongs afforded them, the Prophet (sa) sent observation parties of migrants to monitor caravans. From time to time they received news from their allies of caravan movements, however, more likely than not, by the time the news reached them, the Koraysh caravans were no where to be found. However, the time was not wasted as successful treaties were negotiated with several Bedouin tribes along the coast of the Red Sea.
ELEVEN MONTHS AFTER THE MIGRATION
Eleven months had passed since the Prophet's migration when, in the autumn, news of a richly laden caravan escorted by a hundred armed men led by Ummaya, the chief of Jummah, was reported. Ummaya was one of Islam's greatest opponents and so the Prophet (sa) called upon the help of the Ansars to assist the Muhajirs rid themselves of their adversary and seize the spoils of war as restitution. However, Ummaya and his caravan eluded them and there was no encounter.
THE SECOND YEAR
Two months into the second year after the migration news of another caravan on its way to Syria led by Abu Sufyan, from the tribe of Shams came. The Prophet (sa) and his companions set off in search of the caravan, but the news they had received was old and when they reached Ushayrah, which lies in the valley of Yanbu, near the Red Sea, their adversaries had long gone. The cooler winter months were upon them and the number of caravans to the north dwindled. Since the time of their ancestor Hashim, caravans had taken advantaged of these cooler months to cross the inhospitable, desolate, southern part of the desert to Yemen. The month was now Rajab, one of the four sacred months in which fighting is not permissible, when news reached Medina that a caravan making its way from Yemen was nearing Mecca. The Prophet (sa) decided to send his cousin Abdullah, Jahsh' son with eight of the Muhajir on a reconnaissance assignment. Before leaving, Abdullah was given written instructions and told not to read them until they reached a certain place. When they reached the given place, Abdullah read the instructions that told him to journey on to Nakhlah, observe the Koraysh and return with the news. There were no orders to attack the caravan. Upon reaching the valley of Nakhlah, they concealed themselves not far from the main route and sat in wait. This time the information was correct and the Koraysh caravan stopped for a while not far from where the Muhajirs had positioned themselves. From their vantage point they observed that among the caravaners were those from the very hostile tribe of Makhzum who had been responsible for great harm to the Muslims. Abdullah was in a quandary not knowing what to do, he was unsure if the pre-Islamic rules not to fight during the Sacred Months still applied or not, and pondered deeply upon the verse:
"Permission is given to those who fight because they were wronged." Koran 22:39
The Sacred Month was nearing its end, and the moon of Shaban was expected that same night, however, Abdullah knew that if he waited until the sighting of the new moon was visible, the caravan would be miles away and no doubt have entered the sacred precincts of Mecca in which no fighting at any time is permissible. Abdullah reflected upon the numerous occasions they had been so unjustly persecuted, provoked and plundered for no other reason than their belief in One God, Allah, and so it wasn't until after a great deal of deliberation he gave the order to attack. As they fired their arrows, the arrow of Wakid, Abdullah Tamini's son struck and killed Amr Hadrami, and ally of the tribe of Shams. The caravaners realized they were outnumbered and their chances of survival were small indeed, so Othman Hadrami, from the tribe of Makhzum and a freed man named Hakam surrendered. However, Nawfal, the brother of Othman managed to escape and returned to Mecca but now there was a blood feud with which to contend. Abdullah and the Muhajirs returned to Medina with their prisoners, camels and spoils. When they reached Medina they divided the spoils among themselves, leaving one-fifth for the Prophet (sa) to distribute as charity. When Abdullah and his companions took the spoils to the Prophet (sa) and presented them to him, he declined to accept it reminding them, "I did not order you to fight in the Sacred Months." Abdullah and his companions were greatly distressed by the Prophet's refusal, and were rebuked by their fellow Muslims for their violation of the Sacred Month. The unbelievers of Medina took it upon themselves to say that this was indeed a bad omen for the Prophet (sa) and made great issue of the matter. As for the Koraysh, they falsely accused the Prophet (sa) for being responsible for the violation of the Sacred Month of Rajab. Abdullah and his companions were devastated, it had not been their intention to disobey the Prophet (sa) and had acted only after a great deal of heart-searching, but the fact remained, they had not been given permission to fight. After a while relief came to them when Angel Gabriel brought down the verse from Allah that said:
"They ask you about the Sacred Month and fighting in it. Say: 'To fight in this month is a grave (offense); but to bar others from the Path of Allah, and disbelief in Him, and the Holy Mosque, and to expel its inhabitants from it is great with Allah. Dissension is great than killing. They will not cease to fight against you until they force you to renounce your religion, if they are able. But whosoever of you recants from his religion and dies an unbeliever, their works shall be annulled in this world and in the Everlasting Life, and those shall be the companions of Hell, and there they shall live forever." Koran 2:217
Now that this verse had been revealed, the Prophet (sa) knew that Abdullah and his men had been absolved and accepted a fifth of the spoils which were then distributed as charity. Abdullah and his companions asked the Prophet (sa), "May we hope that this will count as a raid for which we shall receive a reward as combatants?" For they were more anxious to receive the reward of Allah than the worldly spoils they had repossessed. The Prophet (sa) in his customary manner did not reply straight away and waited until the following verse was sent down from Allah:
"But those who believe and those who migrate and struggle in the Way of Allah, those, have hope of the Mercy of Allah, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." Koran 2:218
Meanwhile, the tribe of Makhzum sent ransom money to Medina for Othman and Hakam. However, Sa'ad and Utba who had been taken prisoners by Kerz remained in Mecca and the Prophet (sa), who was always concerned for the welfare of his companions, did not wish to place them in life threatening situation so he sent a message saying, "We will not accept your ransom until our two companions are returned. If you kill them, we will kill your two." After Sa'ad and Utba had been released and arrived safely in Medina, the Prophet (sa), who was not one to break his word, released Othman and Hakam, however, Hakam expressed his wish to embrace Islam and remained in Medina whilst Othman returned to Mecca where he died an unbeliever. Hakam, on the other hand, was later to become a martyr at the encounter of Bi'r Ma'una.
THE SECOND YEAR AFTER THE MIGRATION
THE DIRECTION OF PRAYER
In Medina there were now three communities, Muslims, People of the Book and unbelievers. The Jews, Nazarenes and Christians of whom their were a handful, or People of the Book as the Koran refers to them, offered their prayers in a common direction, which was Jerusalem, as it was there that many Prophets had preached. The unbelievers on the other hand would turn themselves toward their many idols housed within the confines of Ka'ba in Mecca. Sixteen months had now passed since the Prophet's migration and during this time he had offered his prayers in the direction of Jerusalem rather than the direction of Ka'ba. However, his heart was far from being settled about the matter. Instinctively, he wished to offer his prayer facing the direction of Ka'ba, the House his ancestors, Prophets Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt so many centuries before, but the fact that there were so many idols in and around it prevented him from doing so. The matter weighed heavily upon his heart, then Allah directed him in the following verses that were sent down at the time of the mid-day prayer on a Tuesday, sometime in the middle of the month of Shaban.
"We have seen you turning your face towards the heaven. We shall surely turn you to a direction that shall satisfy you. So turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque (built by Abraham); wherever you are, turn your faces to it. Those to whom the Book was given know this to be the truth from their Lord. Allah is not inattentive of what they do. But even if you brought those to whom the Book had been given every proof, they would not accept your direction, nor would you accept theirs; nor would any of them accept the direction of the other. If after all the knowledge you have been given you yield to their desires, then you will surely be among the harmdoers." Koran 2:144-145
"The truth comes from your Lord, so do not be among the doubters. And for everyone is a direction for which he turns. So race in goodness. And wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together. He has power over all things. From wherever you emerge, turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque. This is surely the truth from your Lord. Allah is never inattentive of what you do. From wherever you emerge, turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque, and wherever you are, face towards it, so that the people will have no argument against you, except the harm-doers among them. Do not fear of them, fear Me, so that I will perfect My Favor to you and that you will be guided." Koran 2:147-150
From that time onward the Prophet (sa) and his followers offered their prayers facing the direction of the Ka'ba in Mecca. The Mosque in which the verses were sent down was known from then onwards as "The Mosque of the Two Kiblas" - kibla meaning direction of prayer. Before the advent of the Nazarenes and Christians the Jews directed their prayers towards Jerusalem and prided themselves that the Nazarenes and Christians, and up until now, the Muslims had done the same, thereby acknowledging their importance through its religious significance. Without doubt, Islam acknowledges the significance of Jerusalem as a very Holy site and the changing of the direction of prayer was by no means to demean it. But to the Jews, Jerusalem was not just a Holy place, it had become an important status symbol which served to enhance their self proclaimed superiority. For many years, the unbelievers respected the Jews, admiring the adeptness and business acumen. Such was their admiration that when faced by the death of a child they would often take a vow that if the child was spared they would have him raised as a Jew. When Allah changed the direction of prayer to Ka'ba, the Jews were very displeased, as they perceived it to be an outright rejection of their social status and this caused further resentment. The Muslims had not in fact rejected its religious significance at all, but the Ka'ba, the House which Abraham had built, the first House of Allah on earth, had been the direction chosen by Allah for Muslims to face during prayer. Soon after, the Jews dormant resentment of the Prophet (sa) and the Message given to him by Allah began to surface. False accusations that he pursued a policy of opposition against them were common, for many of the verses in the recently revealed sections of the Cow chapter exposed the concealed corruption of their ancestors and revealed their present day contempt. Their pride prevented them from acknowledging that some of their ancestors had clearly wronged themselves and that they themselves would follow parts of the Torah that were acceptable to them whilst neglecting or rejecting other parts. Their contention that they were the chosen ones of Allah, despite the fact that they defied, killed and rejected many of their prophets including their last prophet, Jesus, the Messiah, the son of Mary, who warned them that if they did not reform, the covenant would be taken away from them. Among the Muslims were some whose faith was yet to mature, they also questioned the changing of the Kibla to the Ka'ba, forgetting that the order was not the decision of the Prophet (sa) but that of Allah who warned that the Jews and unbelievers would question the redirection:
"The fools among the people will say: 'What has made them turn away from the direction they were facing?' Say: 'The east and the west belong to Allah. He guides whom He will to a Straight Path.'" Koran 2:142
" We did not change the direction that you were facing except that We might know who followed the Messenger from him who turned on both his heels. Though it was a hardship except for those whom Allah has guided. Allah is Gentle with people, the Most Merciful." Koran 2:143
"Righteousness is not whether you face towards the east or the west. But righteousness is to believe in Allah, and the Last Day, in the angels and the Book, and the Prophets, and to give wealth however cherished, to kinsmen, to the orphans, to the needy, to the destitute traveler, and to the beggars, and to ransom the slave; who establish their prayers, and pay the obligatory charity" Koran 2:177
PRELUDE TO THE ENCOUNTER OF BADR
THE CARAVAN OF ABU SUFYAN
There was unrest amongst the unbelievers, the Jews and hypocrites of Medina for each concealed either their own tribal or racial grudge. When news that Abu Sufyan, and his caravan -- which included a member from each branch of the Koraysh tribe -- had set out on its return journey from Syria laden with merchandise, the Prophet (sa) called the Muslims together and informed them of his intent to attack so that the Muslims might have at least some of their former wealth restored to them. Shortly after this, the Prophet (sa) sent Talha and Sa'id, Zayd's son to reconnoiter the area near the coastal village of Hawra that lies approximately one hundred miles from Medina. At Hawra, Talha and Sa'id were met by the chief of Juhaynah who took them under his protection and concealed them in his home until Abu Sufyan's caravan has passed by.
THE CONSPIRACY OF THE UNBELIEVERS AND JEWS
Despite their alliance, the unbelievers and Jews of Medina conspired against the Prophet (sa) and sent word to Abu Sufyan informing him that he could expect to be attacked. Abu Sufyan was alarmed and hired Damdam, Amr Al Ghifari's son to hasten on to Mecca to rally the Koraysh to come out and join him in defense of the caravan as he feared the attack to be imminent.
NEW REACHES MECCA
Damdam did not spare his camel as he sped onto Mecca at break-neck pace. In order to draw immediate attention to the urgency of the matter when Damdam reached the valley of Mecca he severely mutilated his camel, slitting its ears and cutting of its nose, then he turned his saddle backwards, tore his shirt and screamed the news at the top of his voice as he entered the City. The alarm soon spread through every quarter of Mecca, for they knew the caravan was richly laden and also, each tribe had one of their own accompanying it. Abu Jahl immediately called the Koraysh chieftains, its warriors, and in fact all men able to fight, to prepare themselves and met him in the precincts of Ka'ba. Utba, Rabia's son was appointed their Commander-in-Chief, and the combined Koraysh army looked formidable. There were no less than nine-hundred and fifty armed soldiers, seven hundred camels and three horses with more than adequate provisions to feed themselves. The tribe of Adi, however, decided not to partake in the forthcoming hostilities and remained behind. Two other people also declined, they were Abu Lahab and Ummaya, Khalf's son. Abu Lahab told Al-As, Hisham's son, that if he were to go in his place he would release him from the substantial debt of the four thousand dirhams he owed him. Al-As accepted his offer as he had no other way in which to repay the debt. As for Ummaya, he was elderly and rather corpulent, so he decided not to go. However, his honor was challenged by Ukba, Abu Mu'ayt's son who sought him out near the Ka'ba with a vessel of burning scented wood and insulted him by saying, "Perfume yourself with this -- you belong with the women!" Outraged, Ummaya got up saying, "May Allah curse you and what you have brought!" and rode off to join the others who had already set off to engage the Prophet (sa). Meanwhile Abu Sufyan force-marched his caravan by day and night along the coastal route. As for the tribes closely related to the Prophet (sa) the tribes of Hashim and Muttalib, they too had reluctantly joined with the Koraysh. Talib took command of both tribes, whilst Abbas and Hakim, Lady Khadijah's nephew from the tribe of Asad accompanied them. Before leaving Abbas took his wife, Umm Fadl to one-side and told her how he wished his wealth to be distributed in the event of his death and named Abdullah, Kutham, and Ubaydullah as his heirs.
THE FIRST STAGE OF THE PROPHET'S MARCH
The Prophet (sa) decided not to wait for Talha and Sa'id to return, but to press on, and appointed two standard bearers, one from the Ansar and the other from the Muhajir. On 12th Ramadan, with the exception of eight Muslims, who for valid reasons remained in Medina, the Prophet (sa) together with 311 Muhajirs and Ansars set off in search of Abu Sufyan's caravan. The army was ill equipped and provisions less than adequate due to their circumstances but they trusted Allah and His Prophet (sa) so their spirits were high. Between them they had but seventy-two mounts -- seventy camels and two horses -- which they took turns to ride, sometimes they rode two or three at a time. Among those that remained behind was Othman, husband of the Prophet's daughter, Lady Rukiyyah. Lady Rukiyyah had been taken seriously so compassionately the Prophet (sa) told Othman that he should remain at her side. In his absence he appointed Amru, Ummu Makhtum's son to act as their leader as the hypocrites and Jews could no longer be trusted to remain loyal.
UMAIR, THE SON OF ABI WAKKAS
A mile or so outside Medina, the Prophet (sa) called his army to a halt and discovered that in their anxiousness to support him, several youngsters had joined them. Out of kindness he told them they must return as it was no place for boys so young. Amongst them was a boy named Umair, Abi Wakas's son who cried inconsolably when he was told to return, and so the Prophet (sa) took pity on him and allowed him to accompany them. Umair stopped his crying and a great big smile spread over his face as his elder brother, Sa'ad, hung a sword around his neck.
TWO TRIESMEN FROM JUHAYNAH
The Prophet (sa) gave the order to proceed and so they continued their march southward and then turned towards Badr that lay further down the coast from Hawra. The Prophet's intention was to reach Badr before Abu Sufyan and intercept him there. In the meantime, he sent two of his allies from the Bedouin tribe of Juhaynah, who were familiar with the area, to look for the caravan and bring news whilst he and his small army rested. Just outside Badr lies a water-well at the foot of a hill. Upon reaching the hill, the tribesmen of Juhaynah went down to replenish their water supply and let their camels drink. At the well two girls were talking as they drew water, one girl was overheard saying to the other: "The caravan will arrive either tomorrow or the next day. I will work for them so that I can repay the money I owe to you." It was the news they had been hoping for, so they hastened back to the Prophet's camp to tell him.
ABU SUFYAN AT THE WELL OF BADR
The quickest route to Mecca lay through Badr so Abu Sufyan rode on in advance of the caravan to make sure that it was safe for it to proceed in that direction. He reached the well only a short time after the scouts had left and came across a man from the village who had come to draw water. Abu Sufyan asked if he had seen any strangers recently whereupon the villager told him that the only strangers he had seen were two men who had come over the hill and stopped to draw some water. Abu Sufyan was always on the alert for any signs and furtively glanced around for some camel's dung. He retraced the camel's hoof prints up the hill and found what he was searching for and examined it quickly. As he broke the dung in half his heart started to pound as he saw some date stones and undigested date fiber then cried out: "By Allah, its the food of Yathrib!" His worst fear was confirmed. He knew the Prophet's army could not be far away whereupon he returned with great haste to this caravan camped further up the coast.
THE RETURN OF THE SCOUTS
By now the scouts of Juhaynah had returned to the Prophet (sa) and told him that the caravan's arrival was imminent at Badr. It was good news for they thought themselves to have the upper hand and would be able to overcome them in a surprise attack.
THE RESOLVE OF THE MUHJAIR AND ANSAR
Hopes were high when news arrived that a large army of Koraysh had set out from Mecca to support Abu Sufyan. The Prophet (sa) wasted no time and called the Muhajir and Ansar together to tell them the news. Abu Bakr and Omar represented the Muhajir and Omar acted as their spokesman. Omar told the Prophet (sa) that they were of one voice -- they should advance. Then, one of the latest migrants, Mikdad, from the tribe of Zuhra got up and spoke saying, "O Messenger of Allah, do what Allah has directed. We will not be like the Children of Israel who said to Moses: Go with your Lord and fight, we shall wait here. Rather, we say, 'Go with your Lord and fight, we will fight with you to the right and to the left, in front and behind!'" When the Prophet (sa) heard these faithful words, his face shone knowing well the strength of the Muhajir's faith. Then, Sa'ad. Mu'adh's son of the Ansar stood up and said, "O Messenger of Allah, we believe you and we believe what you have brought us. We bear witness that what you have brought is the truth. We have given you our oath to hear and obey. Do whatsoever you wish, we are with you. By Him who sent you with the truth, if you ask us to cross the sea and plunged yourself into it, we would do the same -- no man amongst us would not do so. We are not against meeting our enemy tomorrow, we have fought before and are to relied upon. Allah willing, our courage will bring coolness to your eyes, so lead us with the blessing of Allah!" There was great rejoicing, the Ansars and Muhajirs were united in their resolve, yet only a matter of a few years prior to this, such unification would have been absolutely unthinkable. The Prophet (sa) was greatly pleased by their united response and told them to be of good heart, because Allah, the Most High had promised him success over one of the two parties, and that even as he spoke it was as if he could see their enemy lying prostrate. The Prophet (sa) together with his small army of companions marched on toward Badr. Less than a day's march away, the Prophet (sa) called for a halt and he and Abu Bakr rode on for a while until they came across an elderly Bedouin. Abu Bakr asked the Bedouin if he had any news, but the Bedouin was cunning and asked to which party they belonged; that of Muhammad, or that of the Koraysh. Abu Bakr told the man that if he told him the whereabouts of each party he would tell him where they were from. The old Bedouin knew well the paths of the desert and told him that in his opinion as Muhammad's party had left Yathrib on 12th Ramadan, they should by now have reached such and such a place -- his estimation was correct -- and that the Koraysh should be very near the place in which they were standing. Then the man asked Abu Bakr where he and his companion were from, Abu Bakr could not afford to trust this wily old Bedouin, so he replied with a clever conundrum saying that they were from "Ma", which is Arabic for water, as man is created from water. The Bedouin was satisfied with his answer and supposed he referred to Iraq on account of its two rivers. Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Abu Bakr returned to their camp and when night fell, the Prophet (sa) sent for Ali, Zubair, and Sa'ad together with their companions and told them to go to the well and see if anyone there had news of their enemies, or if they had drawn water from the well.
THE FIRST PRISONERS
When they reached the well, they found two men from the Koraysh filling their containers with water and loading them onto the backs of their camels. One of the men was a slave belonging to the children of Al Hajjaj, the other was Arid Abu Yasar, from the children of Al-As. Stealthily, Ali, Zubair, Sa'ad and the others overcame them and took them back to the Prophet (sa) as prisoners. When they reached the camp, the Prophet (sa) was occupied in his prayer so a crowd gathered around the prisoners and started questioning them. The prisoners told them that they were only Koraysh water-men, whereupon their inquisitors started to beat them hoping that they had lied and were from the caravan. It became clear to the water-men that their captors wanted to hear them say that they were Abu Sufyan's men so the retracted their first claim and told them what they wanted to hear. After the Prophet (sa) concluded his prayer, he came out and told his companions that they should not have treated their prisoners in that way, and informed them that their prisoners were indeed from the Koraysh and not from Abu Sufyan. When the Prophet (sa) asked them where the Koraysh were camped they told him, without coercion, pointing to the hill of Akankal, that their camp lay on its slopes on the other side. He asked the size of the army, but the men were unable to estimate its number but said there were many. Wisely, the Prophet (sa) then asked how many camels were slaughtered each day to feed them and was told nine or maybe ten. From this the Prophet (sa) was able to deduce their numbers must be within the range of nine-hundred to a thousand. Then he asked the prisoners for the names of their leaders and learned that the brothers Utba and Shayba were amongst them together with Abu Jahl, Abu'l Bakhtari, Hakim, Nawfal, Al Harith, son of Amir, Tu'mauma, Al Nadr, Zama'a, Ummaya, Nabih, Munabbih, Suhail, and Amr Abu Wudd's son. The Prophet (sa) then turned to his followers and said, "Mecca has thrown to you pieces of its liver!" And from this they understood that they would fight against the chief enemies of Islam.
A FEELING OF SAFETY
After Abu Sufyan had discovered date stones in the camel's dung he decided to take the longer coastal route to Mecca felling confident that he had escaped the attack. He now felt a sense of security and sent word to his fellow chieftains saying, "You came out to save your caravan, your tribesmen and your merchandise, but Allah has delivered us, therefore return." Strange as it may seem, despite all the idols worshipped in Ka'ba, the Koraysh preferred to swear by Allah even though they thought Him to be too remote to worship directly. When Abu Jahl heard these words he rallied his men saying, "By Allah, we will not return until we have been to Badr! We will spend three days there feasting, slaughtering camels, drinking wine and the girls will play for us. When the other Arab tribes hear of us they will from hence forth hold us high in their esteem -- come on!"
TALIB, AL AKHNAS AND THE TRIBE OF ZUHRA
When Al Akhnas, Sharik's son, an ally of the tribe of Zuhra heard Abu Jahl's intent, he said to his allies, "Allah has saved you, your property and your tribesmen, Makhrama, Nawfal's son, your only reason for coming was to protect them, should you be charged with cowardice blame it on me! There is no point going to war with this man without profit as Abu Jahl would have us do!" The tribe of Zuhra heeded Al Akhnas's words and together they returned to Mecca. Talib, the son of Abu Talib, and uncle of the Prophet (sa) had reluctantly ridden out with the Koraysh hating the thought of fighting against his nephew so he had supplicated, "O Allah, it is not my desire to join the Koraysh in their way, but if it should be, let me be plundered and not the plunderer, and be the conquered and not the conqueror." Some of the Koraysh realized what was in Talib's heart and informed him that they knew, so he and some others with similar feelings also returned to Mecca.
THE WELLS OF YALYAL
The Prophet (sa) ordered his followers to break camp and march on to the well near Badr before their enemy had chance to reach it. As they commenced their march rain began to fall and they gave thanks to Allah because it is both a blessing and purification. The sands of Yalyal were always soft, but the rain now made them firm and so the Muslims crossed the valley in comparative ease. The rain helped the Muslims, however, it was a hindrance to the Koraysh army for they had to climb the hill of Akankal that lay to the left of the Prophet (sa) and his companions on the opposite side of the valley of Badr. When the Prophet (sa) reached one of the many wells he called a halt. Hubab, Al Mundhir's son, an Ansar, approached and asked, "O Messenger of Allah, is this the place which Allah has made known to you from which we should neither advance nor retreat, or is it a matter of opinion; a strategy of war?" The Prophet (sa) replied that it was a matter of opinion whereupon Hubab said that in his opinion it was not the best place to establish themselves. He advised the Prophet (sa) that it would be much better to march on to one of the larger wells, closer to the Koraysh, and that once they had situated themselves, to send groups out to locate the remaining wells and plug them so that the Koraysh would be deprived of water. He also advised that a reservoir should be dug to contain water from the well. The Prophet (sa) was grateful for his suggestion and approved the plan, and so when they reached a larger well no time was lost carrying out Hubbub's plan. Saad, Mu'adh's son was concerned for the Prophet's safety so he went to him saying, "O Messenger of Allah, let us erect a shelter for you and keep your camels in readiness next to it. If Allah gives us strength when we meet the enemy we will be victorious, but if it is not written, you can ride and rejoin those we left behind. They love you as much as we do and would never have remained behind if they had known there was going to be an encounter. Allah will protect you, and they will give you good advice and fight at your side." The Prophet (sa) thanked him for his thoughtfulness, praised him and then supplicated for blessings upon him and so a shelter was built from palm branches.