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Chapter 10: The life of Muhammad

"Verily! this Qur'an guides unto that which is straightest, and gives glad tidings unto the believers who do good works that theirs will be a magnificent reward."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Isra(17):9

Note: The main sources of the following information were the books "Al-Seerah al-Nabawiyya" by Ibn Hisham, and "Al-Seerah al-Nabawiyya" by Abu-AlHasan Al-Nadwi. Other sources were used as well.

The lands surrounding the Arabian peninsula:

In the sixth century AD, at the time of the birth of Muhammad (pbuh), the Arabian Peninsula was surrounded by a number of great empires. These empires were in a state of constant conflict, waging wars and claiming territories. The boarders of nations were constantly being redrawn, and at times whole nations would crumble under the advancing forces of a more vicious and powerful neighbor. However, in an age when the people of all of these nations had become accustomed to countless rulers, conquerors, philosophies, and religions, throughout all of this, Allah Almighty saw fit to protect the Arabian peninsula from these forces and allow it's inhabitants to roam free, with great pride in their freedom, never bowing to man-gods or rulers who claimed to be "incarnations" of mythological gods such as had become the fate of the Persians, the Romans, the Hindus, and many other nations surrounding them. Although steeped in paganism and idol worship, theirs was a simplistic and very basic sort of paganism as compared to the infinitely more complex and multifaceted paganism of the multi-cultured nations surrounding them, their religious philosophies, and their untold rituals.

The situation the Roman empire has been dealt with in some detail in previous chapters, so it will only be dealt with very briefly here (see chapters 1-3).

The Roman empire

The situation the Roman empire was far from enviable. The Byzantine Empire (the eastern part of the later Roman Empire), became a land of crippling taxation and rampant bribery. The citizens had become so frustrated with their miserable condition that civil unrest and rioting became commonplace. In the year 532C.E., during the rule of Justin I, only one single such riot resulted in the death of over thirty thousand citizens in the capital of Costantinople.

During this period, the amassing of material wealth and money by any means possible became a virtual obsession. The religious elite had become severely intolerant of unconformance to their beliefs and this resulted in massive bloodshed and campaigns of persecution. The rulers immersed themselves in all manner of luxury and indulgence, caring little what the cost of their entertainment might happen to be upon the citizens. Recreation and amusement consisted of blood sports of the utmost viciousness. Up to 80,000 people at a time would attend these events in huge coliseums in order to amuse themselves watching battles to the death at times between men and men, or at others between men and lions or other man-eating carnivores.

Egypt supplied both the grain that fed Rome and much of the government's revenue. The empire sucked this lush and fertile farm land dry under crippling taxation, tyrannical rule, and religious persecution in order to maintain the extravagant lifestyles of the elite ruling class. This sad state of affairs was no better in Syria which was ruled with an iron fist resulting in taxation so severs that the citizens found no recourse but to sell their children into slavery in order to pay their taxes.

Map 1 Middle-eastern region during sixth century C.E.

The Iranian empire

Zoroastrianism was the official religion of the Sassanian empire during this period as it had been the faith of the Persian kings since it was founded in the seventh century BC by Zoroaster (or Zarathusthra). In ancient Iran, two groups of gods were worshipped, the Ahuras and the Daevas. The message of Zoroaster was that Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord of light, was the sole creator and lord of the world and that the worship of the Daevas was the worship of darkness and evil. Other ancient mythological gods were later revived throughout this land, the most noteworthy of them being Mithra (associated with the sun), and Anahita (associated with water and fertility) in addition to Ahura Mazda and his evil adversary Ahriman. The sacred literature of Zoroastrianism is found in the Avesta, only a small portion of which remains today.

The followers of this religion were required to worship the sun four times a day in addition to the worship of the moon, fire and water. A complex collection of rituals and practices were associated with these gods. This religion was modified later by such as Mani (Manes), c.216-c.276 who called for monasticism and celibacy, and Mazdak (fifth century AD), who called for a socialistic group ownership of both money and women. People would enter into one another's homes, lay claim to their property and wealth and take liberties with their women. Unemployment and disenchantment prevailed, and the citizens were utilized by their rulers as cheap fodder for their armies. In their desperate search for a meaning for their pitiful existence these citizens experimented with every conceivable philosophy from Eicureanism to monasticism and everything in-between. All of this eventually lead to the development of vast rifts between the different levels of this society.

During this period, bandits would sack the palaces of the rich, pillage and loot them and lay claim to the women. These new land owner's ignorance in matters of farming eventually lead to the ruin of the farm land. So disenchanted did the people become with the tyranny and abuse of their rulers that it later lead to a popular revolt by the farmers.

The rulers of this empire ascended the throne of their fathers through inheritance, ruling with an iron hand, crippling taxation, and the theory that this ruler was a god, the descendant of gods. This ruler would surround himself with all manner of rare and precious possessions including gold, rare animals, precious jewelry, fine clothing, exquisite furniture, imperial palaces, endless slaves, and delicate cuisine. Their life was indeed the stuff that fairytales were made of, and it has been recorded that when this regime finally fell before the Islamic empire, their ruler Yazdegird III (r. 632-51) fled his land with one thousand cooks, one thousand musicians, one thousand trainers for his tigers, one thousand hawk trainers, and other members of his royal staff, all the while considering himself to be in a very miserable and pitiful state of affairs.

India

In ancient times, this land had been the birthplace of many great advances in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy, and many other disciplines. However, over the centuries, a steady decline in moral values and religious knowledge eventually lead in the sixth century C.E. to what many historians consider to be it's lowest state of decline.

During this period nakedness became commonplace even in the temples. Women became public property and changed hands through gambling. If a woman's husband were to die her existence would lose all meaning and remarriage was prohibited for her for the rest of her existence. Higher levels of society developed the ritual of "Seti" which required a widow of a nobleman to burn herself to death as a sign of faithfulness to her deceased husband.

The Aryan invaders and Brahmans developed a four-level classification for society called the Caste system, it consisted of:

1) The religious elite, or priests, called the "Brahmins". They were considered superior to all others and sinless.

2) The Ksatriyas, or warriors and rulers;

3) The Vaisyas, or merchants and farmers;

4) The Sudras, or peasants and laborers.

There was also a fifth class called "Panchamas", or Untouchables. They include those whose occupations require them to handle unclean objects. It is speculated that the Untouchables were originally assigned such lowly tasks because of their non-Aryan origins. The law stated that if an untouchable stretched out his hand or his stick against a Brahman then his hand would be chopped off. And if he kicked a Brahman then his leg would be severed. And if an Untouchable claimed to teach a Brahman then he would be made to drink boiling oil. Under their law the punishment for the killing of an untouchable was equal to that of the killing of a frog, a crow, an owl, a cat, or a dog. The Untouchables were also forced to live outside the city.

The Sudras were considered to have been created from the feet of the creator of the heavens and their purpose in life was to serve the higher classes. They were not allowed to own money, sit with a Brahman, touch him with their hand, or read the sacred books.

The original religion of India was Hinduism. However, with time a more general state religion was created incorporating Buddhism and other faiths as well as Hinduism. So deeply engrained into this society did polytheism become that it is recorded that by the sixth century C.E. the inhabitants of this land had adopted over 330 million gods (L.S.S. O'Malley, Popular Hinduism, the Religion of the Masses, Cambridge, 1935, pp. 6-7). During this era, anything grand, or anything wonderful, or anything useful was worshipped as a god

The Arabian Peninsula

The Arabs during this century has sunk to a very low state. They became obsessed with intoxicants, gambling, and idol worship. Girls became such a disgraceful commodity among them that they would bury their infant girls alive for fear of disgrace.

Women in this society became a commodity that was inherited by her husband's heirs just as they would inherit his money or livestock. Men could marry an unlimited number of women, and would sometimes kill their own children if they feared they would cause them poverty. The men would further designate specific foods that were for their personal consumption and prohibited upon their wives or children.

Slavery and treachery were rampant throughout the land. Tribal feudalism became commonplace, and great battles would be waged over the outcome of a horse race or other trivial matters. Over the centuries, the house that Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael had built in Makkah (the Kaaba) was taken by these people as home for their idols and their pagan worship. By the time Muhammad (pbuh) came, 360 idols had been fashioned and placed inside and around the Kaaba, and the surrounding tribes had distorted the pilgrimage first instituted by prophet Abraham into a pagan ritual of running naked around these idols while whistling and clapping. The pagans of Arabia continued to believe in God, however, they regarded Him as the "supreme" god and felt it necessary to set up "intermediary" gods (idols) who would "intercede" with God/Allah for them.

The Birth of Muhammad (pbuh):Muhammad, Birth of

Muhammad (pbuh) was born on Monday the 12th of the month of "Rabi-AlAwwal" "The Year of the Elephant" ("A'am al-Feel" in Arabic) which corresponds roughly to April 20, 571. The reason it was given this name was because it was the year when Abraha Al-Ashram, the local governor of the Ethiopian protectorate of al-Yemen, mounted his elephant and lead his army in an attempt to storm Makkah and destroy the Kaaba.

Muhammad's father's name was Abdullah and his mother's name was Amina the Daughter of Wahab. His full name was Muhammad the son of Abdullah the son of AbdulMuttalib the son of Hashim the son of AbdulManaf the son of Kusai the son of Kilab the son of Murrah the son of Kaab the son of Luai the son of Ghalib the son of Fihir the son of Malik the son of Al-Nadhar the son of Knana the son of Khuzaima the son of Mdraka the son of Ilias the son of Mudir the son of Nizar the son of Ma'ad the son of Adnan. The ancestry of Adnan goes back to Ishmael the son of Prophet Abraham (pbut). Muhammad's grandfather, AbdulMuttalib, was the leader of the tribe of Quraish, the noblest of the tribes of the region, and his mother was a woman of prominent nobility and ancestry in the same tribe.

Muhammad's father, Abdullah, died before he was born and never saw him. Just before his birth, Muhammad's mother Amina had a dream wherein she saw a light issuing forth from her and illuminating the palaces of Basra. As was the custom in that day, upon his birth Muhammad's mother Amina sent him to live the first years of his life in the desert in order to learn the pure uncorrupted classical Arabic and to breathe the fresh desert air far from the boundaries of the city of Makkah. For the first two years of his life he nursed from Halima Al-Saadia. At the end of the two year term Halima asked his mother to allow him to remain with her a while longer and she consented.

Muhammad's (pbuh) mother Amina died when he was six years old and was followed shortly thereafter by his grandfather AbdulMuttalib when he was eight years old. At this point, he went to live with his uncle AbuTalib and his three cousins Ali, Jaafar, and Akeel. Under the guidance of his uncle he learned to be a sheepherder and a tradesman. As he grew up he earned a reputation for honesty, fairness, humbleness, and integrity. It was not long before the people of Quraish gave him the nickname of "Al-Ameen" ("The Trustworthy").

When Muhammad (pbuh) was about sixteen years old he entered into the employ of Khadeejah the daughter of Khuwailid, a widow, a prominent businesswomen, and one of the nobles of Quraish. Upon reaching the age of twenty five, he married her. It is estimated that she was approximately forty years old when he married her. She became the mother of all of his children except Ibraheem. Their children were Al-Qasim, Al-Tahir, Al-Tayyib, Zainab, Rukayyah, Um-Kalthoom, and Fatima. After the death of Khadeejah, Muhammad married Maria the Coptic who gave birth to his last child, Ibraheem.

One of the first signs of Muhammad's wisdom and diplomacy came when he was thirty five years old. The tribes of Quraish found it necessary to rebuild the Kaaba in order to prevent it from collapse. When they got to the point in the construction when it was necessary to insert the "Black Stone", the tribes began to contend with one another for the honor of placing the stone in it's place. This continued for a number of days until the situation became extremely volatile. Blood pacts were consummated between the various tribes to fight to the death and all-out war was on the verge of breaking out between them over this matter. At this point they came to a peaceful compromise. They agreed that the first person to enter the door of the holy mosque shall choose the one who shall receive this honor and they shall all abide by his judgment.

As it happened, the first person to enter the holy mosque was Muhammad (pbuh). Upon seeing him the tribes all breathed a sigh of relief and proclaimed: "It is Al-Ameen (The trustworthy), we accept him! It is Muhammad!."

Muhammad called for a garment, laid it upon the ground, and then placed the stone in the middle of it. He then asked all of the tribes to select a single representative from their tribe who was then asked to grasp an edge of the garment. All of the chosen representatives then carried the stone together to the Kaaba. When they reached it Muhammad (pbuh) rolled it in place.
 

The Beginning of the Prophethood:

It is narrated that the first signs of Muhammad's prophethood was a series of visions he would receive at night which would then come true exactly as he had envisioned them.
 

 

Fig. 9 The cave of Hira where Muhammad first became the prophet of Islam.

The story of the first visit of the angel Gabriel to Muhammad (pbuh) has been narrated in detail in section 6.2. Immediately after receiving this visit, Muhammad (pbuh) ran back home to his wife, trembling and in a state of terror crying "Cover me! Cover me!".

When he had had a chance to calm down, Khadeejah asked him what had happened and he told her the whole story. Muhammad's wife Khadeejah was very well acquainted with his character and when this story was narrated to her and she saw the terror in his eyes she said: "No, by Allah! God shall not disgrace you. You do good by your kin, carry the burdens of others, give to the needy, aid the weak, and assist in all good things." However, as she did not know exactly what to make of this matter, she decided to ask the advice of her Christian cousin, Waraka the son of Nawfal.

When Waraka heard what had happened he said: "By Him in who's hands my soul rests, you are the prophet of this nation, and the one who visited you is none other than the chief of the angels who visited Moses. Verily, your people shall call you a liar, abuse you, expel you, and wage war against you."

When Muhammad (pbuh) heard these words he was bewildered, for he knew of his noble standing with his people, their great respect and admiration for him, and how they called him "The Truthful, the Trustworthy," so he asked Waraka: "Will they expel me?." Waraka replied "Yes! Never has there come a man before you with similar to that which you have come with except his people fought him and waged war against him. If I were to live to that day, I shall stand by you and assist you mightily." However, Waraka died shortly thereafter.

The first people to believe in Muhammad (pbuh) were his closest of kin and some of his close friends. Among them were his wife Khadeejah, his cousin Ali ibn Abi-Talib, his close friend Abu Bakr Al-Siddik, and his adopted son Zaid ibn Haritha, as well as many of the poor and weak such as Bilal the Ethiopian, and Abdullah ibn Masood, among others. Some of those who accepted Muhammad's call were nobles and leaders in the tribe of Quraish, such as Uthman ibn Affan, Abdulrahman ibn Auf, Saad ibn Abi-Wakkas, and Talha ibn Ubaidallah. However, Muhammad's call to Islam continued in secret for a period of three years at which point the following verse was revealed to him:

"Therefore expound openly that which you are commanded, and be heedless of those who associate partners with God."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Hijir(15):94

Upon receiving this command, Muhammad (pbuh) climbed to the top of the hill of Al-Safa and shouted at the top of his lungs: "Ya sabaha!." This call was well known to be a call of dire distress and impending peril. It was usually reserved to warn of a siege by a hostile army.

Immediately the citizens clamored around him to learn what alarming news he had to reveal to them. When they had assembled around him he proclaimed:
 

"O children of Abdul-Muttalib, O children of Fihr, O children of Kaab, if I were to warn you that at the bottom of this hill are horses [of war] about to attack you, would you believe me? ."

The people replied: "Yes!."

Then Muhammad said: "Then [be notified that] I am a warner, before me is a terrible punishment."

Everyone fell silent and did not know what to say until one of the nobles, Muhammad's uncle Abu Lahab, blurted out: "Damn you the rest of the day! Is this why you assembled us?"

From that day forward, Muhammad (pbuh) called to Islam openly and without fear. With time, more and more people began to accept this call and became Muslims. Most of them, however, were of the poor, the weak, and the destitute of Quraish. In the beginning, the nobles did not pay him much heed until they learned that he was deriding their idols. This is when their animosity and their campaign of retribution began.

At first, the nobles tried to convince Muhammad's followers that he was a lunatic or a magician. However, when this method did not succeed they resorted to physical abuse and torture. Those of them who had no clan to protect them were subjected to the worst of this torture. Many were whipped, stoned, beaten, starved and burned. The nobles took great pains to come up with new and innovative ways to torture them. Among these was the method employed by Umayya against his slave Bilal the Ethiopian. He would take him out to the desert at the hottest time of day, lay him on his back under the scorching sun, then order that a large boulder be rolled onto his stomach. All the while Bilal remained resolute, repeating: "[God is] one, [God is] one."

At the same time, the tribe of Makhzoom would take the family of Yasir, the father the mother and the son, out to the desert during the midday heat and torture them severely. While this was going on, Muhammad (pbuh) would pass by them and say: "Have patience family of Yasir. Your appointment is with heaven."

Khabbab ibn Al-Art narrated that: "They used to take me out, light a fire, and then roast me over it. A man then came and placed his foot on my chest extinguishing the fire with my back."

It was well known in the Arabian peninsula that one does not attack or abuse members of a strong clan or tribe for fear that that tribe might seek retribution. Those who did not belong to such a tribe would enter into a pact of protection with a noble of a strong clan or tribe. In such a manner people would protect their families and wealth from the aggression of their neighbors.

When Quraish first began it's campaign of persecution of Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions many of them sought protection by allying themselves with non-Muslims in this manner. For example, Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq had allied himself with ibn Al-Daghnah, and Uthman ibn Madhgoon allied himself with Al-Waleed ibn al-Mugeerah. Muhammad (pbuh) himself was under the protection of his uncle Abu-Talib. This protection by no means protected them from all abuse, however, it did afford them a measure of protection against the severest torture or murder. It is worth mentioning though that both Abu-Bakr and Uthman both felt such protection by non-Muslims inappropriate and later renounced that protection in favor of the protection of Allah Almighty.

Because of the continuous and unrelenting persecution of Quraish towards the Muslims, it was next to impossible for any among them to publicly declare his acceptance of the faith much less call others to Islam. One day the companions of Muhammad (pbuh) gathered together and said to one another "By Allah, Quraish has yet to hear this Qur'an recited to them out loud, so who among you shall recite it to them?" Abdullah the son of Masood volunteered: "I shall do it." They objected: "We are afraid that they might attack you, we want someone who has a strong tribe or clan to protect him if they decide to harm him." Abdullah replied: "Let me be the one, God shall protect me."

At day break, Abdullah set out to their gathering place next to the Kaaba and in a loud voice he began to recite the Qur'an. He read:

"In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. The Most Compassionate! [He] has taught the Qur'an. He created man. He taught him eloquent speech ..."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Rahman(55):1-4

As Abdullah continued to recite the Qur'an the nobles of Quraish asked one another "What is he saying?" Then one of them said "He is reading part of that which Muhammad has brought!" So they all sprang up and began to strike him about his face, all the while he continued to recite this chapter to them until he felt that they had heard enough.

When Abdullah returned to the Muslims and they saw the marks which the beating had left on his face they said: "This is what we feared would happen to you." Abdullah replied: "The enemies of Allah have never been more impotent against me than they were today, and if you wish I shall return and recite before them it's equivalent tomorrow!" They responded: "No, that is enough. You have spoken to them words which they hate [to hear]"

However, if this was the situation of the followers of Muhammad (pbuh) then how was Muhammad himself treated by these people?

The nobles of Quraish consolidated all of their resources in an effort to stamp out Muhammad's message. They told everyone he was a liar, a magician, a poet, and a lunatic. They sat in the streets and did their utmost to terrify the people of Muhammad and bar them from speaking to him. They tortured his friends and did their best to constantly abuse him. They would throw thorns and sharp objects in his path, dump camel entrails on his head while he prayed to God, curse and swear at him whenever they saw him, starve him and his companions, and even attempted to kill him. With time the nobles of Quraish even chose to change Muhammad's name from Muhammad (the praised one) to Muthammam (The reviled one). Thus, whenever they would speak of him they would say: "Cursed be the reviled one" etc. For this reason, Muhammad (pbuh) used to say to his Companions: "Do you not marvel at how Allah has even deflected their curses from me? They curse Muthammam and I am Muhammad"

When this continued for a long while the nobles of Quraish went to Muhammad's uncle Abu-Talib and attempted to bribe him to renounce his protection of Muhammad (pbuh). When this did not succeed, they went to Muhammad directly and attempted to bribe him with wealth, leadership, nobility, and to appoint him as their leader if he would but renounce his message. He refused.

When the torture of Quraish became unbearable, Muhammad (pbuh) authorized his companions to emigrate to Ethiopia (Abyssinia) . At this point eighty three Muslims fled Makkah and traveled to Ethiopia. When Quraish received news of their emigration they sent a delegation to Negus (Al-Najashi) the Christian king of Ethiopia with many gifts in the hope that they might persuade him to return the emigrants to them. A famous exchange occurred between the three parties with the outcome being the refusal of the king to deliver the Muslims back into the hands of Quraish. This could be deemed the first strategic victory of the Muslims against their persecutors, so let us hear this story.

When the nobles of Quraish saw that the Muslims had found a reprieve from their torture and abuse in Abyssinia and that they were allowed to practice their religion freely there, these nobles decided to send a delegation to the King of Abyssinia consisting of Abdullah the son of Rabia and Amr the son of Al-Aas, and with them they sent many gifts for the king and his generals.

When this delegation arrived in Abyssinia, they first presented their gifts to the king's generals and received passage to speak to the king. When they stood before the king they said:

"There has come to your land a scrapping lot of our most ignorant juveniles. They have departed from the religion of their fathers and have not accepted your religion, rather, they have invented a completely new religion which neither we nor you have heard of before. The nobles among their people, their fathers, their uncles, and their clan have sent to you to return them to them, for they are best acquainted with them and closer in bond to them." The king's officers then spoke up saying: "They have spoken the truth O king so let us return them to their people."

Upon hearing this the king became very angry and refused to accept their words or to return those who had sought sanctuary with him to this delegation. He then commanded that the Muslims be assembled before him as well as his Bishops. When they had all assembled before him he asked the Muslims:

"What is this religion which has caused you to relinquish the religion of your fathers and not to accept our religion nor any of these other faiths?" Ja'far the son of Abu-Talib, the cousin of Muhammad (pbuh) then arose and said: "O King of Abyssinia, We used to be a people of ignorance, worshipping idols, eating dead animals, performing indecencies, casting off family bonds, doing evil to our neighbors, and the strong among us would eat the weak. This remained our common trait until God sent to us a messenger. We knew his ancestry, his truthfulness, his trustworthiness, and his chastity. He called us to Allah that we might worship Him alone and forsake all that which we had been worshipping other than Him of these stones and idols. He commanded us to be truthful in speech, to keep our trusts, to strengthen our family bonds, to be good to our neighbors, to avoid the prohibitions and blood, and to avoid all indecencies, lying, theft of the orphan's money, and the slander of chaste women. He further commanded us to worship Allah alone, not associating anything in worship with Him. He commanded us to pray, pay charity, and fast (and he listed for him the requirements of Islam). So we believed him, accepted his message, and followed him in that which he received from Allah, worshipping Allah alone, not associating any partners with Him, refraining from all prohibitions, and accepting all that which was made permissible for us. For this our people greeted us with animosity and vindication. They tortured us and persecuted us in our religion in the hope that they might turn us from the worship of Allah to the worship of idols, and that we might accept that which we had accepted of old of our evil deeds. So when they overcame us, dealt unjustly with us, restricted us, and bared us from our religion, we fled to your land and chose you above all others, hoping for your sanctuary, and hoping that we would not fear injustice in your presence. "

The King listened to Ja'far's words patiently and quietly then he said: "Do you have with you any of that which your companion has brought to you?" Ja'far replied "Yes." The King said: "Then recite it before me." So Ja'far recited to him the verses of the chapter of Maryam (chapter 19). It reads:

"Kaf, Ha, Ya, Ain, Saad. [This is a] recital of the mercy of your Lord to His slave Zachariah. When he called unto his Lord a call in secret. Saying: 'My Lord, indeed my bones have grown feeble, and my head glistens with gray hair, and I have never been unblessed in my supplication unto you my Lord. And verily, I fear [what] my relatives [shall do] after me, and my wife is barren, so grant me from Yourself an heir. Who shall inherit me, and inherit from the family of Jacob, and make him O Lord one in whom You are well pleased.' [Allah said:] O Zachariah! Verily We give you glad tidings of a son whose name is Yahya(John). We have granted this name to none before him. He said: 'My Lord, whence can I have a son when my wife is barren, and I have grown quite decrepit in old age?' He said: 'So has your Lord said. It is trivial upon Me. [Indeed,] I had created you previously when you were nothing..."

(For the rest of this chapter please obtain one of the acceptable English translations of the Qur'an as outlined in the book list at the end of this book)

When the king heard these verses he wept till he soaked his beard, and with him his Bishops also wept. The king then said: "Verily, this and that which was brought by Jesus have indeed come from the same burning light." He then turned to the emissaries of Quraish and said to them: "Return to your people, for I shall never deliver them to you"

Then next morning, Amr the son of Al-Aas returned to the king and said: "They say a most monstrous thing regarding Jesus the son of Mary." At this the king summoned the Muslims again and asked them: "What do you have to say regarding Jesus the son of Mary?"

Ja'far the son of Abu-Talib replied: "We say in his regard that which our prophet says: That he was the servant of God and his messenger, a spirit from Him, and His Word which He bestowed upon Mary the chaste, the pure."

Upon hearing this the king struck the ground with his hand and lifted up a stick. He then said "Verily, Jesus the son of Mary did not surpass what you have just said even so much as this stick." The king granted the Muslims sanctuary and the emissaries of Quraish returned with empty hands.

This king of Ethiopia later passed away during the lifetime of Muhammad (pbuh). When Muhammad learned of his death, he commanded the Muslims to assemble for a congregational "prayer upon the deceased" (funeral prayers) on the king's behalf.

While all of this was going on in Ethiopia, Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions who had chosen to remain behind in Makkah continued to endure the punishment and torture of Quraish. However, their numbers continued to increase with every passing day in spite of the best efforts of Quraish. Many of those who converted to Islam were nobles among them such as Umar ibn al-Khattab.

In the seventh year of Muhammad's (pbuh) message, the nobles of Quraish became desperate to stop the growth of Islam in their city, so they all met together and wrote the "Sanction of Hashim and Banu Muttalib." In this pact, the nobles all agreed to neither buy the goods of the sons of Hashim and Banu Muttalib (the tribe of Muhammad), nor to sell to them. They further agreed not to marry from them nor to allow them to marry from their tribes. This document was then hung inside the Kaaba. This sanction continued for three years. During this period, the children of Hashim and AbdulMuttalib suffered severely until they were reduced to eating the leaves off of the trees. They could neither buy nor sell goods from Quraish and Quraish prevented all other merchants from dealing with them except at exorbitantly high prices.

Although the Arabs of this time period had become steeped in many evil traits, nevertheless, they were also known for a number of good ones as well. Among these was a limited sense of honor and justice prevalent among many of them. It was this trait which finally drove a number of people of Quraish, among them Amr ibn Rabeea, to collect a number of like-minded people in order to pressure the nobles who had signed the sanction into nullify it. When the people then rose to tear up the document they found that the insects had eaten it except for the following words at it's top: "In your name O Lord..."

In the tenth year of the message, Muhammad's uncle Abu-Talib and his wife Khadeejah both died With their death the abuse of Quraish multiplied greatly. Of those few people who were allowed to hear the Qur'an many became Muslims. However, the continuous and unrelenting torture of Quraish towards the Muslims drove Muhammad (pbuh) to seek an ally for them to protect them against Quraish and allow the people to hear the message of Islam. So he traveled to Al-Taif* in search of the protection of the tribe of Thaqeef and with the hope that they might accept his message. He presented his message to Ibn Abd-Yalayl ibn Abdu Kulal and the nobles of Al-Taif. They, however, met him with curses and abuse. They then roused the citizens and enflamed their passions against him till they stoned him out of their city and he fled from them into a farm belonging to Utba and Shaiba the sons of Rabeea. These two watched him from a distance as he sat below one of their grape arbors and supplicated to Allah.

When Muhammad (pbuh) saw that the people of Thaqeef had left him alone and returned to their daily lives, with a heavy heart he lifted his hands towards the heavens and prayed:

"O my Lord, unto you I bewail my weakness, inability, and disregard of mankind towards me. O Most Merciful of the merciful, you are the Lord of the weak and my Lord. Unto whom shall you deliver me?. Unto one who is distant and shall glower at me, or unto an enemy whom you have given authority over me? If you are not angry against me then I do not care [what befalls me], but your [gifts of] well being are more commodious for me. I seek refuge in the light of your face that has overcome all darkness, and through which all matters of this life and the hereafter have been established in justice, that your retribution should fall upon me, or your disdain should befall me. Unto you is [all] appeasement until you are appeased, and no one has power or ability except in You"

As Utba and Shaiba watched Muhammad (pbuh) they felt pity on him and sent to him their slave boy, Addas, to collect a bowl of grapes and take it to him. Addas collected the grapes and took them to Muhammad placing them in his hand. He then said: "Eat." As Muhammad was about to eat he began with the words "In the name of Allah" (which all Muslims say before eating or drinking). Addas was a Christian and when he heard these words he said to Muhammad "Verily, these are not the words of the people of this land." Muhammad asked him from which land he came and Addas replied "From 'Ninwa'." Muhammad said: "From the land of the pious man Jonah the son of Amittai." Addas marveled: "And how do you know Jonah the son of Amittai?" Muhammad (pbuh) responded: "He is my brother. He was a messenger and I am a messenger" Upon hearing these words Addas took to kissing the hands, head and feet of prophet Muhammad

When Urwa and Shaiba saw this they said to one another: "Verily, he has quite corrupted our slave boy." When Addas returned to them they said to him: "Fie upon you Addas! Why did you kiss the man's head, hands and feet?" Addas replied: "O masters, there is nothing in this earth better than this matter. He has told me of a matter which is only known to a messenger" They rebuked him saying: "Fie unto you Addas! Do not allow him to divert you from your religion. Your religion is far better than his!"

Muhammad (pbuh) then departed and returned home practically overwhelmed with excessive sorrow. On his way home he stopped in Qarn ath-Tha'alib, as he looked up, he saw a cloud shadowing him and he saw angel Gabriel in it. Angel Gabriel then addressed him saying: "Allah has heard what your people said to you, and how they have replied to you. Allah has sent the Angel of the Mountains to you so that you may order him to do whatever you wish to these people." The Angel of the Mountains then called out greeting him and then said, "O Muhammad! Order what you wish. If you like, I shall cause al-Akhshabayn (two mountains surrounding Al-Taif) to fall upon them." The Prophet (pbuh), replied "No, for I hope that there shall be among their children those who will worship Allah alone, and will worship none besides Him." He then returned to Makkah and to the abuse of it's people.

Shortly thereafter, Allah Almighty sent for Muhammad (pbuh) who was taken to the "Furthest Mosque" ('Temple mount' in Palestine) and then up into the heavens where he met the prophets of God, saw many of the signs of God, and then the five prescribed daily prayers were prescribed upon him and all Muslims. All of this happened in one night which was later called the night of "Israa and Miraj" (travel by night and ascension).

Muhammad (pbuh) continued to call the surrounding tribes to Islam and to the aid of the Muslims at every possible opportunity. During the trading season when the surrounding tribes would all convene in Makkah, Muhammad (pbuh) would go out, speak to them and encourage them to accept Islam. All the while his uncle, Abu-Lahab, would follow him around. Whenever he spoke to a tribe or invited them to Islam, Abu-Lahab would stand in his way and do his best to dissuade them.
 

When Muhammad (pbuh) would speak to one of these tribes, he would tell them that he was the messenger of God and that he had been sent to guide them out of their ignorance and out of the worship of idols into the light of God and the worship of one single God, the Creator and Sustainer of all creation. He would then recite to them the Qur'an and encourage them to accept Islam. One of the tribes who eventually met Muhammad in this manner was the tribe of Al-Kazraj of the city of Al-Madinah Al-Munawara (called Yethrib at that time). When they heard Muhammad's claims they began to remember the prophesies of the Jews in their city and how the Jews were continually threatening them with the impending arrival of their "final prophet" who would lead them to a great victory over them and establish the kingdom of God on earth.

When they heard the words of Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur'an they began to say among themselves: "This is indeed the prophet that the Jews have been threatening you with, so do not allow them to beat you to him." So they believed in him and accepted his message. Most of the Jews, on the other hand rejected Muhammad For this reason, we read in the Qur'an

"And when there came to them (the Jews) a Book from God, confirming that which is with them,- although before that they were praying for victory against those who disbelieved,- so when there came to them that which they recognized, they refused to believe in it. So [let] the curse of Allah [fall] on those who disbelieve."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Baqarah(2):89
 

The citizens of Al-Madinah then returned home and spread the word. The next year, twelve of them returned and gave Muhammad (pbuh) their pledge of submission and acceptance of his message. This was called "The first pledge of Al-Aqaba"

When this delegation left to return to their people, Muhammad (pbuh) sent with them teachers who taught the people of their city the Qur'an and the religion of Islam. This continued for one year until there was hardly a house in Al-Madinah except there were people in it who had accepted Islam. At the end of the year the people sent another delegation to Muhammad (pbuh) consisting of seventy five representatives. They gave Muhammad the famous second pledge of Al-Aqaba, the "pledge of war." In it they pledged to protect Muhammad and his companions within their city with their wealth and their might no matter what the cost to themselves and their families, and to protect them as they would protect their own wives and children. Upon receiving this pledge, Muhammad (pbuh) authorized his followers to emigrate to Al-Madinah (for more see section 6.4).

A Muslim by the name of Salamah the son of Salamah the son of Waksh, a citizen of Al-Madinah, once narrated:

"We used to have a Jewish neighbor from the tribe of Abd-Alash'hal. One day he left his house and came out to talk to some members of the tribe of Abd-Alash'hal. At that time I was the youngest among them. I was wearing a mantle of mine and laying on it in my family's yard. He (the neighbor) then began to make mention of Judgment Day, the resurrection of all mankind, judgment, the scales, Paradise, and Hell. He was saying all of this to a tribe of polytheist, followers of idols, people who did not believe in an afterlife or a resurrection after death. For this reason they replied to him: 'Do you really believe that all of this shall come to pass? Do you really believe that mankind shall be resurrected after their death to a place where there is a Paradise and a Fire to be rewarded for their deeds?' He replied, 'Yes, by He in whom we testify!.' He continued that he would prefer to be roasted in the most tremendous furnace in this earthly life rather than have to endure the fire of Hell in the hereafter. The others then replied: 'What then is your proof of what you say?' He replied 'A prophet who shall come from that vicinity' and he pointed in the general direction of Makkah and Yemen (South). They replied 'And when shall we see him?' He looked at me, a young child, and answered 'If this child reaches his prime he shall see him'" Salamah then continued "By Allah!, night and day did not pass but Muhammad had become the messenger, and he was alive among us. We then believed in him and accepted him but he disbelieved in him and rejected him out of transgression and envy. We then said to him one day '[what is the matter with you?] Are you not the same one who previously told us so much about him?' He replied 'Yes! but he is not the one.'"

Asim the son of Omar the son of Qutadah narrated that an elder from the Jewish tribe of Bani-Quraidah said to him:

"Do you know the story of how Thalaba the son of Sa'iah, Usaid the son of Sa'iah, and Asab the son of Ubaid, the children of the tribe of Hadal the brethren of Bani-Quraidah, became Muslims?" He said "I replied: No I do not." He said: "There was once a man from the children of Israel who came to us from the land of Al-Sham (Babylon, Palestine, etc.). His name was Ibn-Alhai'iban. He came to us two years prior to the beginning of Islam. As he lived among us we never before saw a man better or more devout in his daily worship than he. Whenever rain would be withheld from us we would go to him and say to him: Go out O Ibn-Alhai'iban and pray to God to grant us rain. He would reply: I shall not do so unless you agree to pay out of your harvest a charity [to the needy]. We would ask him, how much? And he would reply a 'Saa' (weight) of dates or two 'Muud' (weights) of wheat. He said: So we would pay this charity and he would accompany us out to the edge of town and beseech God on our behalf. Before he would rise to leave a cloud would overshadow us and the rain would begin to pour. He did this for us not once, or twice, or even three times [but more]. When he was on his death bed and he knew that he was about to pass away, he said: O children of Israel, what do you think drove me to leave the land of wine and leavened bread to come to the land of wretchedness and hunger?. They replied: 'You know best' He said: Then know that I only came to this land in anticipation of a prophet of God whose time has drawn near, and this land is the destination of his emigration (see chapter 6). I had hoped that his time might come so that I might follow him. So do not allow anyone to beat you to him O children of Israel for he shall be sent to spill blood and to take as spoils the women and children of those who oppose him. Therefore do not allow that to prevent you from him. When Muhammad was sent, and when he surrounded Bani-Quraidah, these young men who had attended his speech told their people: 'By Allah!, this is indeed the prophet which Ibn-Alhai'iban told you of.' They replied: 'It is not him.' They returned: 'But it is!, and it is his description.' So these [three] young men left their people and accepted Islam."

The Emigration to Al-Madinah:

When the Muslims received authorization from Muhammad (pbuh) to emigrate to Al-Madinah, they began to flee in droves under the cover of night for fear that they might be discovered by Quraish. Those who fled Makkah were from that day forward named "Al-Muhajireen" (The Emigrators). When they departed from Makkah they left behind all of their wealth, their livestock, and their homes. The people of Quraish wasted no time in claiming this property and their zeal in amassing their newfound wealth helped to occupy them from setting out in pursuit of the Muslims who had fled with only the clothes on their backs, enough provisions for their trip, and an undying love of God burning brightly in their hearts.

Although the Muslims had forsaken all of their worldly possessions to the people of Quraish, still, this did not prevent many of them from being captured and tormented by Quraish.

Hind the daughter of Abi-Umayya Huthaifah ibn Al-Mugeerah Al-Qurasiyya Al-Makhzoomiyya (more popularly known as Um-Salama) was one such victim. She was married at the time to Abdullah ibn Abdulasad, one of the first ten converts to Islam. They had a son named Salama. Upon receiving the authorization to emigrate to Al-Madinah, Abdullah collected some provisions, placed his wife and son on the back of their camel and set out for Al-Madinah.

As they reached the outskirts of the city some of the men of the tribe of Makhzoom (the tribe of Um-Salama), saw them. They came running and said: "Although we may be powerless to stop you, still, you shall not be allowed to take our daughter and travel throughout the land with her," and they wrenched the reins of the camel from his hands.

As this was going on, a group of men from the tribe of Um-Salama's husband Abdullah, the tribe of Abdulasad, became enraged by this display and shouted: "By God, if you take her you shall not take his son, the son of our tribe" and they wrenched the boy away. Both tribes then began to pull on the boy until they dislocated his arm. Finally, the tribe of Makhzoom took Um-Salama and the tribe of Abdulasad took her son Salama, and they both left Abdullah with no recourse but to flee to Yethrib alone.

After that, Um-Salama would go out every day to the edge of the city and weep over the loss of her son and her husband until well into the night. This continued for about a year until the tribes finally had mercy upon her, returned her child to her and allowed them to catch up with her husband.

Another example is that of Suhaib Al-Roomi of the Arab tribe of Numair. As a child he had been taken captive by the Romans in one of their raids on the city of Al-Thani in Iraq. After spending many years as a slave in the service of the Roman nobles he escaped and returned to Arabia. He came to Makkah as an emigrant barely remembering a single word of Arabic. Due to his heavy accent and his bright red hair he was given the nick-name of "Al-Roomi" (The Roman). Suhaib spent many years in Makkah bartering and trading, and eventually he managed to amass substantial wealth. During his stay in Rome, Suhaib had once heard a Christian priest commenting to a Roman noble that the time was near when a final prophet of God would be coming from the land of Arabia and would confirm the message of Jesus (see chapter 6). When Suhaib later heard of Muhammad's message he inquired after him and ultimately, he accepted Islam.

When Muhammad (pbuh) authorized the emigration to Al-Madinah Suhaib collected his belongings, and set out for Al-Madinah. However, the nobles of Quraish had heard of his intentions and prevented him from leaving the city. They then set up a continuous guard to ensure that he would not leave the city, nevertheless, through his cunning he later managed to elude them and leave.

It was not long after that Quraish learned that Suhaib had tricked them and escaped, so they sent out their best riders on their fastest horses in heated pursuit of him. Somewhere along the road to Al-Madinah they caught up with him. Upon seeing them Suhaib dismounted, pulled out his bow and arrows and called to them: "O people of Quraish. By Allah, you know that I am a very skilled archer. By Allah, you shall not reach me until I kill with each arrow in my quiver a man among you, and then I shall smite you with my sword until it falls from my hand."

The detachment of Quraish replied: "You came to us as a lowly emigrant with no money. Now that you have prospered by way of us you wish to leave? By Allah, we shall not allow you to leave with your life and your wealth!" Whereupon Suhaib replied: "If I were to deliver my wealth to you, will you let me be?" They replied "Yes." So Suhaib revealed to them the location where his wealth was buried and they retrieved it and let him go.

When Suhaib reached Quba (a city located two miles from Al-Madinah), Muhammad (pbuh) saw him and hastened to greet him saying: "You have indeed prospered in your trade O father of Yahya, you have indeed prospered in your trade."

When Suhaib heard these words he replied: "By Allah, no one has beat me to you [with this news]. You have not been informed of it except by way of [the angel] Gabriel."

All of the Muslims in Makkah emigrated in secret and under the cover of night out of fear of the persecution of Quraish. All, that is, except Umar ibn Al-Khattab. Umar was a powerful man and greatly respected by Quraish. He was ambidextrous and highly skilled in matters of war. When he resolved to emigrate he stood up in the middle of the holy mosque in Makkah in front of it's nobles and proclaimed: "I have resolved to emigrate. Let he who wishes his parents to lose their child or wishes to make his children orphans, let him meet me behind this hill," and he departed. Of course, no one followed him.

After Muhammad (pbuh) authorized the Muslims to emigrate to Al-Madinah, all able bodied Muslims departed until there was no one left behind except himself, his close friend Abu-Bakr, his cousin Ali, and those who had been persecuted and imprisoned.

When Quraish saw that Muhammad (pbuh) had found a strong ally and a tribe that would protect him and his followers from their persecution they began to fear that he might leave and join them. They decided that extreme measures were necessitated in order to prevent this from happening. It was time for Muhammad to die.

The nobles of Quraish met in "Dar-Alnadwa" and plotted as to how they shall execute this deed. They decided that the best strategy was to choose a young and capable representative from each of their tribes and to dispatch these representatives to his home. They would all then strike Muhammad (pbuh) with their swords simultaneously such that his blood would be distributed between all of the tribes. In this manner, the children of AbdulManaf would not be able to take vengeance against all of the tribes of Quraish combined.

Gabriel visited Muhammad (pbuh) and informed him of this plot, so Muhammad requested from his cousin Ali that he take his place in his bed and he informed him of this plot. He consoled him not to worry, no harm shall befall him.

When the young men of Quraish collected outside Muhammad's home, Allah momentarily took away their sight. Muhammad (pbuh) then scooped up a handful of dust, sprinkled it upon their heads, and then departed. As he did this he read the first verses of Yaseen(36):

"YaSeen. By the Qur'an full of Wisdom, Truly you [O Muhammad] are one of the messengers. On a straight path. [This is] a Revelation sent down by the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful, that you may warn a people that which their forefathers were warned, but they are heedless"

until he reached the verse "And We have set a barrier before them and a barrier behind them, and [thus] we have covered them so that they see not."

A man then passed by them and said "what are you waiting for here?" They replied "For Muhammad" He responded "He has already departed and left dust on your heads." They then placed their hands upon their heads and found the dust. So they peered inside the house and saw Ali in the bed and thought he was Muhammad The next morning Ali got up out of the bed and they realized that Muhammad (pbuh) had indeed escaped just as that man had told them. They quickly set out in his pursuit.

Muhammad (pbuh) set out with Abu-Bakr towards Yethrib. When the two reached the cave of Thor at the edge of Makkah, Abu Bakr said: "Wait O messenger of Allah while I inspect it [for dangerous creatures]." Once he had inspected it he asked Muhammad (pbuh) to enter. While they were inside the cave, the dispatchment of Quraish reached them. As they walked about all around the cave Abu Bakr became terrified and said: "O Messenger of Allah, if one of them were but to look beneath his feet he would see us." Muhammad (pbuh) turned to him and said:

"O Abu Bakr, what shall you think of two [men] the third of whom is God? [through guidance and protection]"

In this regard the following verses were later revealed:

"If you help him not [it matters not], for Allah helped him when those who disbelieved drove him forth, the second of two; when they two were in the cave, when he said unto his comrade: Grieve not. Verily! Allah is with us. Then Allah caused His peace of reassurance to descend upon him and supported him with troops you did not see, and made the word of those who disbelieved the nethermost, while Allah's Word is the highest. For Allah is Exalted in Might, Wise."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Tawba(9):40

Muhammad (pbuh) and Abu-Bakr remained inside the cave for three days while Abdullah the son of Abu-Bakr brought them news of the plotting of Quraish. His daughter, Asma, would also bring them food every day. After three days, they took a guide by the name of Abdullah ibn Arqat and set out for Makkah. At times Abu-Bakr would walk behind Muhammad (pbuh) and at others he would walk in front of him. Finally, Muhammad (pbuh) asked him about that and Abu-Bakr explained that at times he would fear that an attack would come at Muhammad from behind, so he would walk behind Muhammad (pbuh) to protect him. At other times he would fear an attack from in front of them so he would walk in front of him for the same reason.

When Quraish realized that Muhammad (pbuh) had eluded they announced a reward of one hundred camels for anyone who would capture him and return him to them. Suraqa ibn Malik ibn Ju'ushum heard of this reward and set out in pursuit of Muhammad (pbuh).

Suraqa was a skilled tracker and Muhammad (pbuh) and Abu Bakr had spent three days in the cave before departing, eventually he caught up with them. However, as he began to close in on them his horse tripped and fell. He then got up and mounted his horse, and again it tripped and fell. When this happened a third time his horse began to sink into the ground and a strong wind began to blow. When Suraqa saw this he realized that he would not be allowed to capture them. So he called out to them: "I am Suraqa ibn Ju'ushum. Will you allow me to speak to you? By Allah, I promise not to harm you" They asked him what he wanted and he replied: "I want you to write a pact for me that shall be a sign between me and you." Muhammad (pbuh) commanded that this pack be written and Suraqa took it and left. As he departed, Muhammad said to him: "conceal our location" and they parted ways.

Suraqa never spoke to anyone about what had happened until many years later, after the Muslims captured Makkah. At that point, Suraqa returned to Muhammad (pbuh) with the pact in his hand and embraced Islam.

When Muhammad (pbuh) drew near Al-Madinah, he came upon the city of Quba (two miles away from Al-Madinah). Ever since the beginning of the emigration of the Muslims to Al-Madinah, the citizens of the city had been waiting with the utmost anticipation for his arrival. They had received word that he had left Makkah and was en route to them. Every day a party of them would go out to the outskirts of the city at daybreak and look for him, they would stay there waiting for him until the midday heat would force them indoors.

Muhammad (pbuh) and Abu Bakr first arrived on Monday the 12th of Safar (the third lunar month). Muhammad was fifty three years old at the time. When they arrived the citizens had already returned home for the afternoon. The first person to see him called out at the top of his lungs announcing his arrival.

Muhammad (pbuh) and Abu Bakr were men of similar age. Most of the citizens of Al-Madinah had never seen Muhammad (pbuh) in person, so they could not tell which one was him. When Abu Bakr realized this he stood over Muhammad (pbuh) and shaded him with his coat whereupon the people recognized Muhammad (pbuh).

It is estimated that about five hundred people greeted them on that day and the people clamored on the roof tops trying to get a glimpse of him and crying: "Which one is him? Which one is him?" while the children and the slaves filled the streets shouting "God is great! God's messenger has come! God is great! Muhammad has arrived!"

The people then joined together in singing:
 

The full moon (Muhammad) has risen upon us

From the direction of "Thaniyyat al-Wada'a"

And all thanks [to Allah] is incumbent upon us

So long as a caller calls to Allah

O you who were sent among us

You have come with a heeded command

You have brought favor upon the city

Welcome, O best of callers

Fig. 10 The Mosque of Quba. The first Mosque built in Islam. Here it has been expanded greatly since it's simple beginnings at the time of Muhammad (pbuh)

Muhammad (pbuh) remained in Quba four days. During his stay he laid the foundations for the first masjid (mosque) to be built in Islam, the masjid of Quba. After these four days he departed on Friday and prayed the Friday (congregational) prayer in Bani Salim ibn Ouf.

When Muhammad (pbuh) entered the city of Al-Madinah all of it's people vied for the honor of having him as their guest in their home and they would call to him: "stay with us and under our protection." Some of the people would also take hold of his camel's reins in order to guide it to their homes. However, each time Muhammad (pbuh) would respond to them with the words: "Leave it (my camel) be, for it has been commanded [where to go]"

Muhammad (pbuh) released the reins of his camel and allowed it to roam freely. The people all followed the camel through the city hoping against hope that it might stop at their home. Each time it would come upon one of their homes it's owner's heart would soar; perhaps I shall be the one. And each time it passed by a home their hearts would plummet, for they had lost the honor of the best of guests, the messenger of God. Finally the camel of Muhammad (pbuh) came to a stop and sat down at a location in the city where the Masjid of the Prophet stands today.

The nearest home to that location was the home of Khalid the son of Zaid Al-Najjari Al-Khuza'i, more popularly known as Abu-Ayyoob. Abu Ayyoob carried Muhammad's belongings into his home, cleared out the top (second) floor for him and left the bottom floor for himself and his wife. He did this out of respect for the messenger of Allah so that he would not reside above him. Muhammad (pbuh), however, objected and told him that he received many visitors each day and he feared that they would cause Abu-Ayyoob distress by passing back and forth to reach him. Abu-Ayyoob finally consented and took the top floor. However, a few nights later Abu-Ayyoob accidentally struck a jar of water during the night and spilled it all over the floor. He and his wife hastened to soak it up with their sheets fearing that it might leak through and drip on Muhammad (pbuh). In the morning Abu Ayyoob pleaded with Muhammad to allow him to take the lower floor and Muhammad (pbuh) consented.

The land that Muhammad's camel had come to a stop upon was at that time owned by two orphans from Banu Al-Najjar named Sahil and Suhail, the children of Amr. This land was used as a "Marbad" (a place to dry their dates). Muhammad (pbuh) asked them to sell it to him but they insisted that he accept it as a gift. Muhammad (pbuh) refused to take it without paying for it and insisted on paying for it until they finally sold it to him. He then commanded that the masjid be built on that spot. This masjid was later named "The masjid of the Prophet Muhammad"

Muhammad (pbuh) worked with the Muslims in the construction of this masjid, transporting the bricks, and laying them in place. All the while he would recite:

O my lord, verily the true reward is that of the hereafter

So forgive the "Ansar" and the "Muhajereen"

 

Fig. 11 The "Prophet's Mosque" in Al-Madinah. Here it has been expanded greatly from it's humble beginnings at the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
 

As he was doing this, the Muslims would work with him chanting and reciting poetry while they raised the construction of the masjid. This continued for approximately eleven months until the masjid was finally completed.

As mentioned previously, those Muslims who emigrated from Makkah were from that day forward called the "Muhajereen" (the "Emigrators"). The Muslims who received them in Yethrib were named the "Ansar" (The "supporters"). The city of Yethrib was also later renamed to "Al-Madinah Al-Munawara" (The illuminated city) and this has remained it's name to this day, however, this name is sometimes shortened to "Al-Madinah" only (I have referred to it as such in this book in many places).

Muhammad (pbuh) paired the Muhajereen and the Ansar together in brotherhood. The Ansar competed with one another to be host to one of the Muhajereen. They would split everything they owned in half and allow their guest to choose which half they would prefer. Muhammad (pbuh) then commanded that a pact be written between the Muhajereen and the Ansar wherein he outlined a contract of peace with the tribes of the Jews within the city and confirmed their right to free practice of their religion and protection of their wealth. He also outlined their rights and their obligations and then all parties pledged to uphold this pact and observe it. For the details of this treaty see "Al-Seerah Al-Nabawiyya" by Ibn Hisham.

Not long after the masjid was built, the Muslims began to go to it five times a day to attend the five daily prayers. The Jews had a horn they use to call to prayer, and the Christians had a bell, however, Muhammad (pbuh) did not like these methods. Someone suggested raising a flag, however, he disliked this idea too. Not long after, Abdullah ibn Zayd received a vision at night revealing to him how to call the people to prayer. He came to Muhammad (pbuh) and recounted to him what he had heard and seen in his dream. Muhammad (pbuh) told him that this was a revelation from God and then he ordered Bilal the Ethiopian to call to the five daily prayers as Abdullah had been taught. To this day, in Muslim countries throughout the world, when the time of prayer arrives we can hear the "Adhan" recited all over the city from the tops of the masjids. It translates loosely to:
 

Allah is the Almighty! Allah is the Almighty!

Allah is the Almighty! Allah is the Almighty!

I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah!

I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah!

I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah!

I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah!

Welcome, and come unto prayer!

Welcome, and come unto prayer!

Welcome, and come unto prosperity!

Welcome, and come unto prosperity!

Allah is the Almighty! Allah is the Almighty!

There is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah!

Sixteen months after Muhammad (pbuh) arrived in Al-Madinah, he was commanded to change the direction of prayer of the Muslims from the holy mosque in Jerusalem to the Kaaba in Makkah. From that day forward all Muslims have directed their prayers towards the Kaaba in Makkah.

Within the boundaries of the city of Al-Madinah there lived a number of tribes of the Jews. Most notable among them were the tribes of Quraidha, Qainuqaa, and Nadheer. One of the most learned Rabbis in the tribe of Qainuqaa was a man by the name of Al-Husain the son of Salam. When Muhammad came to Al-Madinah Al-Husain accepted him and became a Muslim. Muhammad then changed his name to Abdullah (servant of God). Thus, he became known as Abdullah ibn Salam. Let us leave it to Abdullah himself to tell us his story.

Abdullah ibn Salam narrated:

"When I first heard of the messenger of Allah (from the news that came to me from Makkah), I recognized his description, his name and his time, all of which we (the Jews) had been anticipating. This caused me great joy, however, I kept silent until the messenger of Allah came to Al-Madinah. When he arrived in Quba, among the children of Amr the sons of Ouf, a man came and informed us of his arrival. At the time I was at the top of one of my date palms working on it and my aunt, Khalida the daughter of Al-Harith, was sitting beneath me on the ground. When I heard the news of his arrival I shouted the praise of my Lord. When my aunt heard me she rebuked me saying: 'Fie upon you! If you had heard of the arrival of Moses the son of Umran you would have done no more than this' So I replied to her: My aunt, verily he is the brother of Moses the son of Umran and upon the same religion. He was sent with that which was sent with Moses. My aunt queried: 'My cousin, is he the prophet whom we were told would come at this hour?' I replied, yes. Then she said: 'It is good then.' So I departed to meet the messenger of Allah and accepted Islam. I then returned to my family and told them to embrace Islam, and they did"
 

Abdullah continues:

"I kept the news of my acceptance of Islam a secret from the Jews. I then went to the messenger of Allah and told him: O messenger of Allah. Verily, the Jews are a slanderous people, and I ask that you conceal me in your home so that they shall not see me, then ask them about my stature among them before they learn of my acceptance of Islam. For if they were to learn of this news they shall slander me and revile me. So the messenger of Allah hid me in part of his home and asked that they come assemble before him. They then spoke to him and asked him questions. Finally, he asked them: 'What sort of man is Al-Husain the son of Salam among you?' They replied: 'Our master, the son of our master. He is our Rabbi and scholar.' When they were through, I stepped out before them. I then told them: O children of Israel, seek refuge in Allah and accept that which he has brought you. For by Allah, you know that he is the messenger of Allah, you find it written in the Torah that is with you in both name and description. Verily I bear witness that he is the messenger of Allah. I accept him, believe him and recognize him. They said 'You lie!' Then they slandered me excessively. So I asked the messenger of Allah: Did I not tell you that they are a slanderous people? A treacherous, lying, trespassing people? So I publicized my acceptance of Islam and that of my family. My aunt also embraced Islam and became a devout Muslim."

Safiyah bint Huyay once narrated the following story regarding her father and uncle, who were Jews:

"When the Messenger of Allah arrived at Quba, my father Huyay ibn Akhtab and my uncle Abu Yaser went to him after morning prayer while it was still dark and they did not return until sunset. They returned tired and demoralised, and were walking slowly. I went near them but they did not even turn towards me due to their sadness. Then I hear my uncle say to my father, 'Is he the one?' He replied: 'Yes, by Allah'. My uncle said: 'Do you know him and confirm him?' He said: 'Yes'. My uncle said: 'How do you feel about him?' He said: 'By Allah! Hatred and enmity as long as I live.'"

The people of Quraish continued to display animosity and hatred towards the Muslims in Al-Madinah however, Muhammad (pbuh) continued to console them to

"Stay your hands and Perfect your prayers."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Nissa(4):77
 

After the Muslims had learned how to pray and how to humble themselves in the following of the commands of Allah and the obeying of His messenger, they were then given sanction to fight, however, it was not mandated upon them. This sanction was delivered in the following verse:

"Sanction [to fight] is given unto those who are fought against because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed able to grant them victory"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Hajj(22):39
 

Muhammad (pbuh) began to send out detachments to different tribes in the area. Although these detachments did not always do battle with these tribes, their main objective was to instill a healthy respect for the might of the Muslim nation so that their neighbors would think twice about abusing them or terrorizing them. Among these detachments was that of Abdullah ibn Jahsh.

In the second year after the emigration, Muhammad (pbuh) sent Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his detachment to a location near Makkah in order to collect intelligence and bring news of Quraish's actions. While they were there, a caravan of Quraish passed by and after long consultations the Muslims decided to attack it and take it. They did this in Rajab, one of the four "forbidden months" that the Arabs had for many centuries recognized as being unlawful for one to fight in them. When they attacked the caravan they killed one man and captured two others. They then drove the caravan to Al-Madinah and presented it to Muhammad (pbuh).

When Muhammad (pbuh) saw what they had done he said: "I did not command you to fight in the forbidden month!. I did not command you to fight in the forbidden month!" and he refused to take anything from that caravan.

All of the Muslims then severely rebuked and chastised them until they felt that indeed they had lost. At this point the following verse was revealed:

"They question you (O Muhammad) with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: Warfare therein is a great [transgression], but to turn [people] from the path of Allah, and to disbelieve in Him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel His people thence, is [even] greater with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing..."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Baqara(2):217

The Battle of Badr, battle of:

The second year after the emigration was the year that the fasting of the month of Ramadan was prescribed upon all Muslims. However, it was famous for another reason, for it was in this year, the fifteenth year of the Islamic message, that the great turning point of Islam arrived. This was the year of the great battle of Badr (see section 6.5). Due to it's tremendous importance in the history of the Islamic message, this day was named in the Qur'an "Yawm al-Furqaan" (loosely translated: "The day of discerning and decisiveness").

For fifteen years, the Muslims had born the abuse and torture of Quraish and their nobles. They had lost their wealth, land and homes, and had endured great hardship. Many had died. Even after the emigration, Quraish insisted on following them with their abuse and every so often they would send small detachments to fight with them. These detachments would go so far as to enter the outskirts of the city and their farms.

In the third month of the next lunar year, the month of Safar (twelve months after the emigration), Muhammad (pbuh) received news of a caravan headed towards Quraish that was being lead by Abu-Sufyan, one of the staunchest of the nobles of Quraish in animosity to the Muslims. Muhammad (pbuh) decided to take this caravan and reimburse the Muslims part of their wealth which had been wrongfully taken from them when they fled Makkah.

As he traveled towards Makkah, Abu-Sufyan received word of Muhammad's intentions and this news alarmed him greatly. Abu-Sufyan sent hurried word to Quraish appealing for their assistance and urging their swift response. When Quraish received this plea they immediately summoned all of their nobles, all of the tribes of Makkah, and a number of the surrounding tribes and readied the provisions of war. Not a single one of the nobles of Quraish stayed behind except for Abu-Lahab who sent Al-Aasi ibn Hisham ibn Al-Mugheera in his place (upon the condition that Abu-Lahab pay off his debt of 4000 dirhams). This was the day the nobles had been waiting for. This was the day when they would finally put this upstart nation in it's place and would finally stamp out Muhammad and his followers. They would make an example of them so severe that all of the tribes of Arabia would be terrified of them for generations to come. The army of Quraish then hastened to cut off the Muslims before they reached the caravan.

Muhammad (pbuh) received word of Quraish's army, their numbers and their weapons. His men had agreed to set out with him for a much more innocuous matter than this and were not prepared for all-out war. For this reason, Muhammad (pbuh) collected them before him and informed them of the army of Quraish. He then sought their council and asked them all for their opinions.

When Muhammad (pbuh) asked for their council, he was in reality seeking the response of the Ansar. They had pledged to protect him and his followers with their life and their wealth so long as they resided within their city. However, he was now asking them to leave the city and wage war in another land. He wished to see how they would respond.

The first to respond to Muhammad's query were the Muhajereen. They pledged to follow him to the ends of the earth and to die Muslims. Muhammad (pbuh) then posed the question again, and again the Muhajereen responded well. After Muhammad (pbuh) asked a third time, Saad ibn Muath, one of the leaders of the tribes of Al-Madinah stood up and said:

"Perhaps your question is directed at us O messenger of Allah? Perhaps you feel that the Ansar believe that they are only obligated to assist you within the boundaries of the city? I hereby speak in the name of the Ansar when I say and answer on their behalf: Journey were you will, and extend the hand of friendship to whom you will, and reject whom you will, and take from our wealth what you will, and give us what you will. Indeed, that which you take from us is more beloved to us than that which you give us. Whatever you may decree in a matter, our decree proceeds from yours. By Allah, were you to march with us to the lakes of Ghamadan (in Yemen), we would march with you!. By Allah, were you to traverse this sea, we would traverse it with you!."

Another man from the Ansar then arose and said similar words. When Muhammad (pbuh) heard these words his face lit up and he was greatly pleased. He then commanded them:

"March forth [then] and receive glad tidings. For Allah has promised me one of two (victory or Heaven). By Allah, it is as if I am looking at their places of death [as I speak]"

Muhammad's army consisted of 313 men, two horses, and seventy camels. Two or three men would take turns riding these camels, and no preference in this matter would be given to an officer or a soldier. The flag was given to Musab ibn Omair, and the banners of the Muhajereen and the Ansar were given to Ali ibn abi Talib and Saad ibn Muath respectively. The flag was white and the two banners were black. The army of Quraish consisted of between nine hundred and one thousand men.

While the two armies were advancing upon one-another, Abu-Sufyan diverted his caravan away from the beaten path and down towards the shoreline. When he managed to take his caravan out of the face of danger he sent a messenger to the army of Quraish to return home for the caravan was safe. However, the nobles of Quraish insisted on fighting the Muslims and refused to return without having taught them a lesson.

When the two armies met, Muhammad (pbuh) lined his men up and prepared them for war. He then entered into his tent and supplicated to God, prayed to Him, and beseeched Him to grant them victory over their enemy. For if this handful of men were to be slaughtered this day, the message of God would vanish from the face of the earth for all time. Muhammad (pbuh) continued to supplicate to God, reverence His name and beseech Him for His assistance in great earnest and in all humbleness and submissiveness for some time. When Abu Bakr saw his state he attempted to console and comfort him as best he could. Finally, Muhammad (pbuh) withdrew from the tent and addressed his men. He encouraged them to fight, to fear God and to seek His great reward. The fighting then began.

It was the custom in that time that such battles would begin with celebrated representatives from each party fencing individually with one another until one party's representative killed the other's. Quraish sent three skilled swordsmen from among their nobles to represent them. They were, Utba ibn Rabeea, his brother Shaiba, and his son Al-Waleed. Muhammad (pbuh) met them with Obaida ibn Al-Harith (himself the son of Muhammad's grandfather), his uncle Hamza, and his cousin Ali. The Muslim party made short work of the representatives of Quraish and killed them quickly. However, Obaidah was injured severely by his opponent and died later on.

Both armies began to edge closer and closer to one-another until Muhammad (pbuh) finally gave the command: "Rise up to a Paradise the width of which is the heavens and the earth."

When Muhammad (pbuh) gave this command Omair ibn Al-Hamam asked: "A Paradise the width of which is the heavens and the earth?" Muhammad replied: "Yes!" Then Omair said: "Bakhin, Bakhin (a term of satisfaction) O messenger of Allah." Muhammad asked him: "What drove you to say Bakhin, Bakhin?" He replied: "Nothing O Messenger of Allah except that I had hoped to be of it's inhabitants." Muhammad replied: "Then, you are of it's inhabitants."

Obaidah took some dates out of his sack and began to put them in his mouth but stopped suddenly and said: "If I am given life enough to eat these dates, indeed I would have lived [too] long." He then tossed them aside and fought until he was killed.

Both parties fought long and hard until the Muslims gained the upper hand and defeated Quraish. Seventy men of Quraish were killed and seventy were taken as prisoners. Of the Muslims six men of the Muhajereen were killed and eight men from the Ansar. All of the greatest nobles of Quraish died on that day at the hands of the Muslims. The following verse of the Qur'an was then revealed:

"And Allah has granted you victory in Badr, battle of when you were weak. So fear Allah that you might [learn to] be thankful [to Him]"

The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):123

After he had buried the dead of Quraish, Muhammad (pbuh) turned to their grave and said: "O inhabitants of [this grave], we have found what our Lord promised us to be true, so have you found what your Lord promised you to be true?."

When the Muslims returned home Muhammad (pbuh) ordered them to treat the prisoners well. Abu Aziz narrated:

"I was [among the prisoners] in a group of the Ansar when they brought me back from Badr. Whenever they would bring me my dinner they would give me the bread [a delicacy] and suffice with dates for themselves out of respect for the command of the Messenger of Allah (to do good by the prisoners). Whenever a man among [my guards] would come into the possession of a piece of bread he would pass it over to me. Out of bashfulness I would pass it back to him, but he would return it to me and refuse to eat it."

Among the prisoners were the relatives of Muhammad (pbuh) such as his uncle Al-Abbas, his cousin Akeel, and others. However, he insisted that they not be given preferential treatment and be treated just like any of the other prisoners.

Muhammad (pbuh) did not kill the prisoners, rather, he forgave them and allowed them to be ransomed back to their people. He ransomed them back according to their wealth. Those who did not have anything were forgiven and set free without a ransom. Others were set free with the condition that they teach ten of the Ansar how to read and write. Zaid ibn Thabit* was one of the Muslims who learned to read and write in this way.

During the battle of Badr, the Jews of the tribe of Banu-Qainuqa broke their treaty with Muhammad (pbuh) and fought with the pagans of Quraish against him. Muhammad (pbuh) later surrounded them and ordered them to leave the city. He allowed them to go wherever they pleased and to carry whatever belongings they wished with them, however they were no longer welcome in Al-Madinah. They then left and migrated to Northern Arabia (al-Sham).

Other battles:

Other battles ensued after that, however, the details shall be left for other books to elaborate upon. Any number of book stores can provide a number of books that describe them in detail. Contact any of the book stores listed at the back of this book for more on this topic.

Some of the highlights of these battles are:

The battle of Uhud which was fought in the third year after the emigration. In this battle Muhammad (pbuh) had given the Muslims specific commands on where and how to fight. In the beginning, they followed his command and were victorious. However, no sooner did they have the pagans of Quraish on the run than they forgot his commands and were subsequently defeated. Seven hundred Muslims and roughly three thousand pagans fought in this battle. Seventy men of the Ansar and twenty two men of Quraish died in this battle.

In the fifth year after the "Hijra" (the emigration), the Muslims and the pagans again met on the field of battle. This time, the men of Quraish summoned many of the tribes of Arabia and enlisted their aid. They also received the aid of another of the tribes of the Jews in the city of Al-Madinah, called the tribe of Bani-Quraidha. The city of Al-Madinah was vulnerable from one direction only, the direction of the homes of Bani-Quraidha. The Muslims made a pact with the tribe of Bani-Quraidha to protect that side of the city and not to allow the pagans entry. They, however, betrayed their pact with Muhammad and allowed the confederates to attack them from behind. This battle was named the battle of Al-Ahzab (the confederates), or the battle of Al-Khandaq (the trench).

The Muslims consisted of three thousand fighters. The Pagans had managed to collect four thousand men from Quraish and six thousand from the tribe of Ghatfan in addition to their allies from the Jews of Bani-Quraidha. The Muslims dug a trench which held the pagans off for a long time, and Muhammad (pbuh) managed to employ a measure of physiological warfare against them as well. Finally Allah sent a strong wind that overthrew their pots and ripped their tents out of the ground chasing them away. It is estimated that seven Muslims and four men from the confederates died in this battle.

It was in regard to this battle that the following verses were later revealed:

"When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats, and you imagined vain thoughts concerning Allah. There were the believers sorely tried, and were shaken a tremendous shaking."

up to the verses: "When the Believers saw the Confederate [forces], they said: 'This is what God and his Apostle had promised us, and God and His Apostle indeed spoke the truth.' And it only added to their faith and their obedience. Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with God: of them some have paid their vow by death [in battle], and some of them still are waiting; and they have not altered in the least: That God may reward the truthful for their Truth, and punish the hypocrites if He will, or relent toward them [if He will]. Verily! Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And Allah repulsed the disbelievers in their fury; they gained no good. Allah averted their attack from the believers. And Allah is ever All-Strong, All-Mighty. And He brought those of the People of the Scripture who supported them down from their strongholds, and cast terror into their hearts. Some you slew, and some you made captive. And He caused you to inherit their land and their houses and their wealth, and land you have not trodden. and Allah is Able to do all things."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Ahzab(33):10-27
 

Immediately after they had defeated the confederates, Muhammad (pbuh) and the Muslims surrounded the Jews of Bani-Quraidha and finally defeated them and expelled them from the city for their breaking of the treaty and their assistance of the confederates against them.

The treaty of Al-Hudaibia and the Opening of Makkah:

In the sixth year after the emigration, Muhammad (pbuh) saw a vision wherein he entered Makkah and circumambulated (circled) the Kaaba. This vision did not specify a date but he realized that he would soon capture Makkah. Muhammad (pbuh) commanded his men to prepare for "Umrah" (minor pilgrimage) to Makkah. In the eleventh month of the sixth year, (the month of Thul-Qida), Muhammad departed for Makkah with approximately one thousand and five hundred men. He had no intention of waging war but only to perform pilgrimage. The people of Makkah heard that he was coming and feared for their lives. When he reached Al-Hudaibiyya, his camel stopped and sat down. The Muslims said "Al-Qaswa (the name of his camel) has refused to advance!" Muhammad (pbuh) replied "No! it has not refused, nor is that fitting conduct for it. But the bar that prevented the elephant (in "The year of the elephant" above) has held it back"

He then said: "Quraish shall not come to me requesting a treaty that raises the name of God and reverences the bonds of kinship but I shall accept it from them" He then poked his camel and rebuked it and it arose and continued onwards.

Quraish came to Muhammad and made a pact with him stipulating that the Muslims shall not perform their pilgrimage this year but shall wait till next year. And no man shall come from Quraish without the authorization of his master seeking refuge with the Muslims but he shall be returned to Quraish. And that no man from the Muslims shall come to Quraish seeking refuge but he shall be allowed to stay with Quraish. They also agreed to refrain from fighting for ten years and that whosoever wished to enter into Muhammad's pact and treaty could do so, and whosoever wished to enter into Quraish's pact and treaty could do so. Muhammad (pbuh) agreed to this truce which was named "The Truce of Al-Hudaibiyya".

When the Muslims saw Muhammad accept this pact they were dumb-struck. How could he possible accept such a one-sided and unjust treaty (in their estimation)? However, Muhammad (pbuh) commanded them to return and they did.

During the course of the next year, Muhammad (pbuh) abided by his promise and anyone who came to him seeking refuge without the consent of his master was returned to Quraish. Eventually, these men escaped from Quraish and became bandits, holding up Quraish's caravans and terrifying their people. Finally, Quraish begged Muhammad (pbuh) to please accept those who sought his protection and he did.

One of the outcomes of this treaty was that the people of Arabia were finally able to enter into the religion of Islam without the fear of persecution or death. The Muslims were finally able to travel to the tribes and recite the Qur'an to them freely and without hindrance. In this one year (after the start of the truce) more people entered into Islam than had entered into it in all the fifteen years prior to that combined. One of the signs of this was that in the first attempt at pilgrimage (when Muhammad accepted the truce) 1500 Muslims traveled with him. The next year, over ten thousand Muslims returned with him to perform the pilgrimage.
 

Allah said in the Qur'an:

"But it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows, and you know not."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Baqarah(2):216
 

It is estimated that Muhammad's letters to the kings of the surrounding nations were sent out around the end of the sixth year after the emigration. Muhammad (pbuh) sent messengers to the leaders of Rome, Persia, Egypt, and Ethiopia among others. This was the beginning of the global call to Islam. Allah says in the Qur'an:
 

"We have not sent you but as a universal [Messenger] to mankind, giving them glad tidings, and warning them, but most of mankind understand not."

The noble Qur'an, Saba(24):38

and also: "Say: O mankind! I am [sent] to you only as a plain warner."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Hajj(22):49

When Muhammad (pbuh) was about to send these letters, it was said to him: "They do not accept a letter except with a seal," so a metal ring was made for him with the words "Muhammad, the messenger of Allah" engraved in it. This became his official seal.
 

Muhammad's letter to the king of Persia, Khosru (590-628AD), was as follows:

"In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. From Muhammad the messenger of God to Khosru the great one of Persia. Peace be unto he who follows [true] guidance, believes in God and his messenger, and bears witness that there is no god but Allah, and I am the messenger of Allah to all of mankind that I may warn [all] those who live. Embrace Islam and yours shall be peace and safety. But if you refuse then upon you shall be the sin of the Zoroastrians"

His message to the king of Ethiopia (the successor of the king to whom the Muslims had previously emigrated) was as follows:

"In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. From Muhammad the messenger of Allah to Negashi the great one of Ethiopia. Peace be unto he who follows [true] guidance. [Further], I thank God on your behalf, the One who there is no god but He. The King, the Holy, the Source of Peace and Perfection, the Giver of security, the Guardian. And I bear witness that Jesus the son of Mary was the spirit of Allah and His word which He sent down unto Mary, the virgin (and devoted), the pure, the chaste. So she bore him from His spirit and His blowing, just as He created Adam with His Hand. I invite you to God, the One. No partners has He. And [I invite you] to Friendship and consistency in His obedience, to follow me, and believe in that which has come unto me. For I am the messenger of God, and I invite you and your soldiers to God, the Noble, the Supreme. [Indeed,] I have delivered [the message] and advised, so accept my advice. And peace be unto he who follows [true] guidance"
 

Muhammad's message to the ruler of the Coptics, "Al-Muqokas":

"In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. From Muhammad the slave and messenger of Allah to 'Al-Muqokas' the great one of the Coptics. Peace be unto he who follows [true] guidance. [Further,] I greet you with the greeting of Islam. Embrace Islam and yours shall be peace and safety. Embrace Islam and God shall double your reward. But if you turn away then upon you shall be the sin of the Coptics. {Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a word that is just between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. But if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered [unto Him]}1"

Muhammad's message to Hercules (610-641AD), Emperor of Rome:

"In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. From Muhammad the slave and messenger of Allah to Hercules the great one of Rome. Peace be unto he who follows [true] guidance. [Further,] I greet you with the greeting of Islam. Embrace Islam and yours shall be peace and safety, and God shall double your reward. But if you turn away then upon you shall be the sin of the 'Ariusins'* . {Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to a word that is just between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. But if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered [unto Him]}"

Delving into the details of the responses of these kings to Muhammad's messages is beyond the scope of this book. For more see any of the many books available at one of the bookstores listed at the back of this book. However, one response in particular bears a short mention. It is the response of the Caesar of Rome (Hercules) to Muhammad's message. Abdullah ibn Abbas narrates for us this story in Sahih Al-Bukhari. He says:

"Allah's Messenger (pbuh) wrote to Caesar and invited him to Islam. Allah's Messenger (pbuh) sent Dihyah al-Kalbi with his letter and ordered him to hand it over to the Governor of Busrah who would forward it to Caesar, who as a sign of gratitude to Allah, had walked from Hims to Ilya (i.e. Jerusalem) when Allah had granted him victory over the Persian forces.

So when the letter of Allah's Messenger (pbuh) reached Caesar, he said after reading it, "Seek for me any one of his people, if at present here, in order to ask him about Muhammad" At that time AbuSufyan ibn Harb* was in Sha'm with some men from Quraysh who had come (to Sha'm) as merchants during the truce that had been concluded between Allah's Messenger (pbuh) and the pagans of Quraysh.

AbuSufyan said, "Caesar's messenger found us somewhere in Sha'm so he took me and my companions to Ilya (Jerusalem). We were admitted into Caesar's court, to find him sitting in his royal court wearing a crown and surrounded by the senior dignitaries of the Byzantines.

He said to his interpreter, 'Ask them who among them is a close relation to the man who claims to be a prophet.'" AbuSufyan said, "I replied, 'I am the nearest relative to him.' He asked, 'What degree of relationship do you have with him?' I replied, 'He is my cousin,' and there was none of Banu Abdul Manaf* in the caravan except myself. Caesar said, 'Let him come nearer.' He then ordered my companions to stand behind me near my shoulder and said to his interpreter, 'Tell his companions that I am going to ask this man about the man who claims to be a prophet. If he tells a lie, they should give me a sign.'"

AbuSufyan added, 'By Allah! Had it not been shameful that my companions label me a liar, I should not have spoken the truth about Muhammad when Caesar asked me. But I considered it shameful to be labeled a liar by my companions. So I told the truth.*'

Caesar then said to his interpreter, 'Ask him what kind of family does Muhammad belong to.' I replied, 'He belongs to a noble family among us.' He said, 'Has anybody else among you ever claimed the same before him?' I replied, 'No.' He said, 'Had you ever known him to tell lies before he claimed that which he claimed?' I replied, 'No.' He said, 'Was anybody amongst his ancestors a king?' I replied, 'No.' He said, 'Do the noble or the poor follow him?' I replied, 'It is the poor who follow him.' He said, 'Are they increasing or decreasing?' I replied, 'They are increasing.' He said, 'Does anybody among those who embrace his religion become displeased and then renounce his religion?.' I replied, 'No.' He said, 'Does he break his promises?' I replied, 'No, but we have now a truce with him and we are afraid that he may betray us.'" AbuSufyan added, "Other than the last sentence, I could not work in a single word against him. Caesar then asked, 'Have you ever waged war with him?' I replied, 'Yes.' He said, 'What was the outcome of your battles against him?' I replied, 'The result varied; sometimes he was victorious and sometimes we were.' He said, 'What does he order you to do?' I said, 'He tells us to worship Allah alone, not to worship others with Him, and to discard all that our forefathers used to worship. He orders us to pray, give in charity, be chaste, keep our promises and return that which is entrusted to us.'

When I had said that, Caesar said to his interpreter, 'Say to him: I asked you about his lineage and your reply was that he belonged to a noble family. In fact, all messengers of God came from the noblest lineage of their nations. Then I questioned you whether anybody else among you had claimed such a thing, and your reply was in the negative. If the answer had been in the affirmative, I should have thought that this man was following a claim that had been made before him. When I asked you whether he was ever known to tell lies, your reply was in the negative, so I took it for granted that a person who did not tell a lie about people could never tell a lie about God. Then I asked you whether any of his ancestors was a king. Your reply was in the negative, and if it had been in the affirmative, I should have thought that this man sought the return of his ancestral kingdom.

When I asked you whether the rich or the poor people followed him, you replied that it was the poor who followed him. In fact, such are the followers of the messengers of God. Then I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing. You replied that they were increasing. In fact, this is the result of true faith until it is complete (in all respects). I asked you whether there was anybody who, after embracing his religion, became displeased and renounced his religion; your reply was in the negative. In fact, this is the sign of true faith, for when its blessedness enters and mixes in the hearts completely, nobody will be displeased with it.

I asked you whether he had ever broken his promise. You replied in the negative. And such are the messengers of God; they never break their promises. When I asked you whether you fought with him and he fought with you, you replied that he did, and that sometimes he was victorious and sometimes you. Indeed, such are the messengers of God; they are put to trials and the final victory is always theirs.

Then I asked you what he commanded of you. You replied that he ordered you to worship Allah alone and not to worship others along with Him, to leave all that your fore-fathers used to worship, to offer prayers, to speak the truth, to be chaste, to keep promises, and to return what is entrusted to you. These are the qualities of a prophet who I knew (from the previous Scriptures) would appear, but I did not know that he would be from amongst you. If what you say is true, he will very soon capture the land under my feet, and if I knew that I would reach him definitely, I would go immediately to meet Him; and were I with him, then I would have certainly washed his feet.'"

Caesar then collected his nobles and military leaders and asked them what would be their response if he were to accept Muhammad's request. The whole court was thrown into a great uproar, the officers became extremely restless raising their voices in objection and their eyes grew wild. When he saw this he quickly interjected and claimed that he had only asked that question in order to test their resolve and their firm stance. So he renounced his previous resolve and refused Muhammad's message.

Jabir ibn Samurah narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari:

Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said:

"When Khusraw (Chosroes) is ruined, there will be no Khusraw after him; and when Caesar is ruined, their will be no Caesar after him. By Him in Whose Hands my life is, you will spend their treasures in Allah's Cause."

After exactly one year, in the eleventh month of the seventh year after the emigration, Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers set out for Makkah once more and this time were allowed to enter it and perform the minor-pilgrimage that they were bared from performing the year before.

One of the conditions of the treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya was that anyone who wished to enter into Muhammad's pact could do so, and anyone who wished to enter into Quraish's pack could do so. Of those who later entered into Muhammad's pact was the tribe of Khuza'a. And of those who later entered into Quraish's pact was the tribe of Banu-Bikr.

The two tribes of Khuza'a and Banu-Bikr were ancient enemies. This hatred and animosity was handed down through the generations, father to son. When Islam came, it put an end to this matter and everyone moved on with their lives. After the two tribes had entered into the treaty between Quraish and the Muslims, the tribe of Banu-Bikr attacked some men from the tribe of Khuza'a at night while they were at one of their wells and killed many of them. Some men from Quraish had assisted Banu-Bikr in their attack with weapons and men. Those men of Khuza'a who escaped fled to the sanctity of holy masjid (mosque) in Makkah (wherein the Kaaba resides). Once they were inside the holy masjid, the men of Banu-Bikr said: "They have entered the sanctity of the holy mosque. Your Lord! Your Lord!." Some of the party responded: "There is no Lord today! If you allow them to escape from you now then you shall never again find such a chance as this."

Amr ibn Salim of the tribe of Khuza'a immediately went to the messenger of Allah (pbuh) and recited before him some verses of poetry wherein he called upon him to uphold the pact between the Muslims and Khuza'a. Muhammad (pbuh) replied: "Receive our aid [then] O Amr the son of Salim!."

Muslims are commanded in the Qur'an to verify all claims before acting upon them lest they inflict retribution upon an innocent unjustly. For this reason, Muhammad (pbuh) sent a messenger named Dhamrah to Quraish to verify this news and to give them notice. This messenger was told to give them a choice between three matters:

1) Either pay the "Diya" (Blood money) incumbent upon all murderers towards their victims, or

2) To renounce the treaty between Quraish and the group of men who had perpetrated this act, and they were the men of "Nufasa" of the tribe of Banu-Bikr, or

3) For Quraish to "throw back" (annul) the treaty between the Muslims and Quraish.

The Qur'an says:

"If you fear treachery from any people throw back [their covenant] to them [so as to be] on equal terms. Certainly, Allah likes not the treacherous"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Anfal(8):58

Quraish chose the third alternative and chose to annul the treaty. However, soon after the messenger of Muhammad (pbuh) had departed, the nobles of Quraish regretted their annulment of the treaty and feared the consequences of this act. So they sent one of their most respected nobles, Abu-Sufyan, in person to renew the treaty and to increase in it's term, however, Muhammad (pbuh) refused to meet with him and he returned to Quraish empty handed.

Muhammad (pbuh) prepared himself and the Muslims to march upon Makkah. At first he kept their objective a secret. However, before their departure for Makkah he informed them of their goal. As he did this he supplicated to God: "O my Lord, bar the spies and the news from Quraish so that we might surprise them in their land."

Hatib ibn Abi Balta'a was a Muslim in Yethrib who had kin in Makkah. When he learned of Muhammad's intent he wrote a letter of warning to Quraish and paid a woman to deliver it to Quraish with great urgency.

No sooner had this woman set out than angel Gabriel came to Muhammad (pbuh) informing him of what Hatib had done. So he sent Ali ibn Abi-Talib and Al-Zubair ibn Al-Awwam to retrieve it before she reached Quraish. Ali and Al-Zubair set out on their horses in great haste and caught up with her before she reached Makkah. They then ordered her to get down off of her camel and asked her to hand over the letter. She replied that she had no letter, so they searched her belongings thoroughly but did not find the message. At this point Ali said: "I swear by Allah that the messenger of Allah did not lie nor have we lied! You shall hand over the letter or we shall strip you [till we find it]!." When she saw their resolve she told them to turn away. When they did so she removed it from her braids and handed it over to them.

Muhammad (pbuh) sent for Hatib and when he arrived he said: "Do not judge me in haste O messenger of Allah. By Allah, I believe in Allah and His messenger and I have not renounced my belief, however, I was a man of no clan in Quraish, and I have among them family, kin, and children. Further, I have no clan among them to protect my family. But those who are with you have clans [with Quraish] to protect [their families]. So I hoped in the absence of that that I might gain their good will in protecting my family."

When Umar ibn Al-Khattab heard these words he said: "Allow me to strike his neck O messenger of Allah, for he has betrayed Allah and His messenger and has apostatized!." Muhammad turned to Umar and said: "He has attended Badr. And how do you know O Umar?, perhaps Allah gazed upon the people of Badr and said to them: 'Do as you will for I have forgiven you [all]'" When Umar heard these words he wept bitterly and said: "God and His messenger know best."

Eight and a half years after the emigration, in the month of Ramadan, Muhammad (pbuh) departed Al-Madinah with ten thousand Muslims and rode towards Makkah. When they reached "Mar Al-Dhahran" they stopped and set up camp. Allah had answered Muhammad's prayer and had kept the news from Quraish. All that they knew was that the treaty had been nullified and they had not yet received news of Muhammad's intentions

On the way to Makkah, Muhammad's cousin Abu-Sufyan ibn Al-Harith ibn AbdulMuttalib, met him. Muhammad refused to speak to him due to his past abuse and animosity. Finally, Abu-Sufyan gave up trying to speak to him and went to Ali complaining of his situation and asking for his advice.

Ali advised Abu-Sufyan to go and stand directly in front of Muhammad (pbuh) and then say to him the words of the brothers of Joseph to Joseph:

"By Allah, verily Allah has preferred you above us, and we were indeed among the sinners."

The noble Qur'an, Yousuf(12):91

Ali Explained: "For Muhammad (pbuh) does not love for someone to be better in speech than him (and in all good conduct in general)."
 

Abu-Sufyan went to Muhammad (pbuh) as he was instructed, stood directly before him and recited this verse. When he did so, Muhammad gazed upon him and responded with the verse directly following it:

"No blame shall be [cast] upon you today. May God forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!."

The noble Qur'an, Yousuf(12):92.
 

Abu-Sufyan embraced Islam and from that day forward never again did he gaze upon Muhammad (pbuh) directly, out of shame for his previous actions* .

Before entering into Makkah, Muhammad (pbuh) did his utmost to ensure the safety of everyone in Makkah save those who explicitly refused it. Muhammad addressed the Muslims before they rode into Makkah saying: "He who enters into Abu-Sufyan's home shall be given sanctuary. And he who closes his door shall be given sanctuary. And he who enters the holy masjid shall be given sanctuary" Muhammad then severely cautioned all Muslims against raising their weapons against anyone who did not attack them first. He also severely cautioned them against taking their money, property, or homes, and to not lay their hands upon the citizens.

It is recorded that Muhammad (pbuh) entered Makkah on the Friday the 20th of Ramadan (ninth lunar month) in the eighth year after the emigration. Muhammad (pbuh) directed Al-Abbas to sit Abu-Sufyan somewhere in the city where he shall see the passing of the Muslim army. As the tribes of the Muslims would pass by holding their flags, Abu-Sufyan would ask Al-Abbas "Who is this group?," and Al-Abbas would tell him, until finally Muhammad (pbuh) passed by in the "green" brigade clad in their chain-mail coats and their armor, extending as far as the eye could see. Abu-Sufyan exclaimed "My Lord! who are these?" Al-Abbas replied: "This is the messenger of Allah with the Muhajereen and the Ansar." Abu-Sufyan said: "No force shall ever resist such as these! By Allah O Abbas, the dominion of your nephew (Muhammad) has become immense indeed on this day!" Al-Abbas replied: "It is the prophethood" Abu-Sufyan replied: "How admirable it is!"
 

As the Muslims entered into Makkah victorious, Muhammad bowed his head down low in humility to God who had bestowed upon him this bloodless triumph. So low did he lower his head in humility and submission that his beard nearly touched his camel's back. As he was in this state he recited the chapter of Al-Fath(48):

"Verily, We have given you [O Muhammad] a manifest victory, that Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future, complete his favor upon you, and guide you on the straight path....." up to the end of the chapter.

As Muhammad and his army strode through the heart of Makkah, the capital of Arabia and it's political and spiritual center, he did so in all peace, humbleness, and justice. A man spoke to him on the that day, trembling with fear. As he did so, Muhammad (pbuh) consoled him saying: "Calm yourself, for I am not a king. I am but the son of a woman from Quraish who eats 'jerked' meat."

As Saad ibn Obadah (one of the leaders of the Ansar) passed by Abu-Sufyan, he called unto him saying: "Today is the day of the great poems (immortalizing this day). Today that which is unlawful is made lawful. Today Allah has dishonored Quraish." When Muhammad (pbuh) passed by Abu-Sufyan he complained to him of what Saad had said to him. Muhammad disliked what he heard and responded: "Rather, today is the day of mercy. Today Allah shall honor Quraish, and shall honor the Kaaba!" Muhammad (pbuh) then commanded that the banner be taken from Saad and given to his son Kais.

Some small scuffles ensued as a few men from Quraish attempted to attack some of the Muslims and put up a token resistance, however, they were quickly quelled. It is recorded that only twelve people were injured in the opening of Makkah.

Muhammad (pbuh) entered into the holy masjid and circled around the Kaaba with his bow in hand. As he did so, he would poke the 360 idols which had been placed around it with his bow and recite:

"And say: Truth has come and has crushed falsehood. Verily, falsehood [by it's nature] was destined to perish."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Israa(17):81

Muhammad (pbuh) then commanded that all idols and statues be removed from the Kaaba and destroyed.

Muhammad (pbuh) then stood in the door of the Kaaba. The people had collected below him and had filled the masjid, row upon row, waiting for him to issue his decree regarding their fate. Finally he spoke and said:

"There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, no partners has He. He has fulfilled His promise, given victory to his servant, and defeated the confederates by His own Self. [I declare that] every glory, money, or blood has been placed under these, my two feet, except for the "sidanah" (custodianship of the Kaaba), and "siqaya" (watering of the pilgrims)*... O people of Quraish, I relieve you of the false pride of the age of ignorance, and it's pride in it's ancestry. Mankind is from Adam, and Adam was from dust."

He then recited: "O Mankind, We have created you from a male and a female and made you nations and tribes that you may know each other. Verily the noblest among you in the sight of Allah is the most God-fearing among you. Verily, Allah is all-knowing, All-Aware" (The noble Qur'an, AlHujurat(49):13)

Muhammad (pbuh) then asked the people: "O people of Quraish. What do you imagine that I shall do with you?." The people reflected on their twenty one years (13+8) of abuse and open warfare against Muhammad and the Muslims and feared the worst. However, they were completely and utterly at his mercy now and could only respond: "[We hope it shall be] Goodness. [You are] a noble brother, the son of a noble brother" Muhammad (pbuh) replied to them: "Go, for you are [all] free!." He then descended, purified himself and then prayed eight "raka" (cycles) to God.

Muhammad (pbuh) then commanded Bilal the Ethiopian to perform the "adhan" (call to prayer) from the center of the holy masjid. From that day forward, the inhabitants of Arabia began to enter into Islam in droves, wave after wave. Islam had finally succeeded in eradicating paganism from the heart of Arabia, from Makkah.

Makkah was, and is to this day, the capital of Islam in the world. It is the home of the Kaaba, the birthplace of the message of Islam, and the birthplace of Muhammad (pbuh) himself. When Muhammad (pbuh) was finally blessed with the opening of Makkah the Muslims of Al-Madinah (the Ansar) feared that he would leave them and return to his hometown. However, out of loyalty to the Ansar for all they had done and sacrificed for Islam, Muhammad chose to return with them and live in Al-Madinah.

Over the next two years (the eighth and ninth years after the emigration), many more treaties were written, many more battles were fought, many nations sent their messengers to Muhammad (pbuh), and many more letters were sent to neighboring nations. The requirements of Islam were finally completed with the introduction of the fifth and final pillar of Islam, that of Hajj (pilgrimage).
 

The Pilgrimage:

The tenth year after the emigration was the year when Hajj (major pilgrimage) was revealed as the final requirement of the Islamic religion. In the eleventh month of the tenth year after the emigration, Muhammad (pbuh) informed the Muslims that Hajj had been prescribed upon all Muslims who had the means to perform it. The news spread quickly to the Muslims of the neighboring lands that Muhammad intended to perform pilgrimage and as he set out for Makkah, many more delegations of Muslims joined up with him along the way. The Hajj was one of the best recorded and documented events of the Islamic message during the lifetime of Muhammad (pbuh). Countless Muslims recorded it in great detail, all the way down to the minutest aspect and nuance. The interested reader my seek any of the countless references that deal with this topic.

During this pilgrimage, Muhammad (pbuh) delivered his famous speech. On the day of Arafa, at the beginning of the Hajj Muhammad (pbuh) stood before them and delivered a lengthy sermon. At the end of this sermon he said:

"... I have left among you that which you shall never be lead astray if you adhere to it; the Book of Allah. [Verily] you shall be asked about me [on the Day of Resurrection], so what will you say?."

They replied: "We will bear witness that you have conveyed the message, discharged the ministry of Prophethood and given wise and sincere counsel."

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) then raised his forefinger towards the sky and then pointing it at the people said: "O Allah, bear witness. O Allah bear witness," saying it thrice. Bilal then pronounced Adhan and later on Iqamah (calls to prayer) and then Muhammad (pbuh) led the noon prayer.

Just prior to the end of the Hajj, in the days of "Tashreeq", Muhammad (pbuh) again addressed the people and said:

"Verily your blood, your property, and your honor are as sacred and inviolable as the sacredness of this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this town of yours until the day you meet Him. Hear what I say now that you may live! Do not commit injustice! Do not commit injustice! Do not commit injustice! Verily, the wealth of a Muslim shall never be justified except with his good will. Verily, every blood or property or pride is under my feet (completely abolished) until the day of judgment. The first blood-claim which I abolish is that of the son of Rabi'ah ibn al-Harith, who was nursed among the tribe of Sa'ad and killed by Huthayl. And Allah, the Mighty, the Supreme, has ordained that the first usury to be abolished is that of [my uncle] Abbas ibn AbdulMuttalib. The 'principle' of your money (without usury) is lawful for you. Do not deal unjustly and do not be dealt with unjustly. Verily, time has made a complete cycle [and returned] to it's condition when Allah created the heavens and the earth."

He then recited: "Verily! the number of the months with Allah is twelve months. So was it ordained by Allah on the day when He created the heavens and the earth. Of them, four are sacred: that is the right religion. So wrong not yourselves therein."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Tawba(9):36

He continued: "Do not return after me disbelievers; some among you striking the necks of others. Verily, the Devil has lost hope that the worshipers shall worship him, but he [shall continue to] seek animosity between you..."
 

The Death of Muhammad (pbuh)Muhammad, Death of:

After the Hajj in the tenth year, the following verse was revealed:

"This day I (God) have perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion"

The Qur'an, Al-Maida(5):3
 

Allah also said:

"You are the best people sent out to mankind. You instruct that which is good and dissuade from that which is evil and you believe in God."

The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):111.

Allah also took it upon Himself to personally preserve this religion (by preserving the book). He said:

"Verily, It is We who have sent down 'the Reminder' (the Qur'an), and it is We who shall preserve it"

The noble Qur'an, Al-Hijr(15):9

It was at this time that the following chapter was revealed:

"When comes unto you (O Muhammad) the aid of Allah, and the conquest (of Makkah), and you saw the people enter into the religion in waves, then glorify the praises of your Lord, and ask His forgiveness. Verily, He is the one who accepts the repentance and forgives."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Nasr(110)

When the companions of Muhammad (pbuh) heard this chapter being recited they understood that the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would not be with them much longer and their hearts began to weigh heavy with the thought of losing him. In this final year of Muhammad's life, he redoubled his efforts in worship, in the praise of his Lord, and in the recitation of the Qur'an in preparation for his final journey. The illness which finally claimed the life of the messenger of Allah began in the second month of the eleventh year after the emigration.

Muhammad (pbuh) had taught his followers that Allah is Just. He repays goodness with goodness and exacts retribution for evil. However, he also is Merciful. He multiplies all good deeds from ten to many hundreds of times and He counts an evil deed as a single evil deed or He forgives it.

Of the ways that Muhammad (pbuh) taught us that Allah bestows His mercy upon us is that He occasionally ordains upon us trials in this life. The evil among mankind lose hope when inflicted with such trials and engross themselves in further evil. The faithful among them, however, are blessed by this trial. That is because they accept the trial and seek it's reward. The reward is then either bestowed upon them in this life or in the hereafter. Trials are also inflicted upon mankind to erase their sins or to multiply their reward so that on the day of judgment when they are presented with the reward of their perseverance and compliance, they would wish that they had been inflicted with a thousand such trials.

Similarly, when Muhammad (pbuh) was stricken with this illness, it ravaged him and sapped his strength. He would tie a piece of cloth around his head in order to reduce the severity of the migraines that would afflict him, and when he wished to move about he would lean upon the shoulders of two men as they guided him to his destination. This continued for a little over a month until he finally passed away in the third month of the eleventh year after the emigration.

As Muhammad (pbuh) was on his death bed he asked his wife Aisha: "O Aisha, what news of the gold?" (what money do we posses?). She came to him with between five and nine pieces which were all they owned. As he overturned them in his hand he said: "What shall Muhammad say if he met his Lord and these are in his possession? Dispose of them [O Aisha]! (in charity)"

After leading the Muslims for the last time in prayer, Muhammad sat upon the "minbar" in the masjid and delivered the "sermon of parting." Among his words in this speech he said:

"Allah gave a choice to one of [His] slaves either to choose this world or what is with Him in the hereafter. He chose the latter."

Abu-Bakr understood the meaning of these words and began to weep bitterly, saying: "Rather, we would sacrifice ourselves and our children for you O messenger of Allah." The Prophet (pbuh) said: "O Abu-Bakr! Don't weep. There is none among mankind more beloved to me in his self and his money than Abu-Bakr. And were I to take a confidant in this life I would have taken Abu-Bakr as my confidant. However, the confidence of Islam is better." He then commanded that all doors into the masjid be closed except the door of Abu-Bakr. When Muhammad (pbuh) became too ill to lead the daily prayers, he commanded that Abu-Bakr assume this responsibility.
 

Aisha the wife of Muhammad (pbuh) narrated "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace [once] said, 'No prophet dies until he is given the choice (between being a king on earth or receiving the reward of the hereafter).'" She continued, "[While on his death bed] I heard him say, '[Rather] In the highest company. In the highest company' and I knew that he was departing." (Narrated in the Muwatta by Malik)

On the day of Muhammad's passing, he pulled back the curtain between his room and the masjid and watched the Muslims as they followed Abu-Bakr in prayer. He was pleased with this sight and with having lived to see his followers upholding the religion and devoted to their prayer. He smiled as he watched them. The Muslims saw him as he peered through the curtain at them and joy began to overcome their hearts. He looked so much healthier than they had come to expect, perhaps he had been cured? Muhammad (pbuh) gestured to them to continue their prayers and he drew the curtain closed again. It was not long after that he passed away.

The last verse of the Qur'an revealed by Muhammad (pbuh) was:

"And guard yourselves against a day when you shall be returned to your Lord, then every soul shall be paid in full that which it earned and they shall not be wronged."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Baqarah(2):281

The last words uttered by Muhammad (pbuh) before his death were a warning to his followers against their taking his grave as a place of worship. He then advised the Muslims to attend to their prayers, their charity, and that which their right hands do possess (do well by their slaves). Muhammad was sixty three years old when he passed away, having spent exactly twenty three years in the call to Islam, the belief in one God, and the eradication of all false gods other than He.

Shortly after Muhammad (pbuh) passed away, Abu-Bakr was elected the first "Khalifa" (Caliph) in Islam. He ruled them until his death and then he was followed by Umar ibn Al-Khattab, then Uthman ibn Affan, then Ali ibn Abi-Talib. These four were later named the four "Rightly Guided Caliphs." Jerusalem was opened by Umar in the year 641 during the period of his rule. He entered into it riding upon a donkey, thus fulfilling the prophesy of Zachariah 9:9 (please see point 43 in the table of section 2.2).

After the Muslims captured Jerusalem the Jews and Christians were not forced to convert but were allowed to continue their worship and pilgrimage freely. As a supreme example of the tolerance all Muslims are commanded for the religious practices of others, when Caliph Umar received the keys to Jerusalem from the patriarch Sophronius in the 7th century he was then asked to pray in a Jerusalem church, he refused saying he did not want to provide a pretext for Muslims to appropriate a Christian holy site. During Caliph Umar's rule the mighty Sassanian (Persian) dynasty too fell before the Muslims.

Abu-Hurayra said: I heard Allah's Messenger (pbuh) saying:

"My example and the example of the people is that of a man who lit a fire, and when it was lit, the things around it, moths and other insects started falling into the fire. The man tried [his best] to prevent them, [from falling in the fire] but they overpowered him and rushed into the fire." The Prophet (pbuh) added: "Now, similarly, I am grasping your belts to prevent you from falling into the Fire, but you insist on plunging into it." (narrated by Al-Bukhari)

For those who would like to learn more about the life of Muhammad and Islam, you are encouraged to read the books:

  1. "Ar-raheeq Al-Makhtum" (Translated into English), by Safi-ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, Maktaba Dar-Us-Salam
  2. "The Life of Muhammad", by Muhammad Husayn Haykal, translated from the eighth edition by Ismail Ragi A. al Faruqi, Crescent Publishing Co. or North American Trust Publications, ISBN# 0-89259-002-5.
  3. "Concept of Islam," by Mahmoud Abu-Saud, American Trust Publications, ISBN# 0-89259-043-2

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