The Beginning of the Call
This chapter will present a brief account of the life of the Messenger of Allah (Allah's blessings and peace be upon him and the people of his household) from the time of his call until his migration to Medina. It will indicate the time when he was commanded to fight, and will present some of the signs and miracles which were wrought at his hands during that period. It consists of eight sections.
'Ali ibn Ibrahim (al‑Qummi, who is one of our most respected traditionists, related that when the Prophet was thirty‑seven years of age, a person used to come to him in his dreams, addressing him and saying: “O Apostle of Allah ! ”, but he used to ignore this. After a long time had passed, and as he was among the hills grazing the sheep of his uncle Abu Talib, he saw and heard a person addressing him: “O Messenger of Allah ! ” He asked: “Who are you?” “I am Gabriel”, the person answered; “Allah has sent me to you so that He may take you for a messenger.” The Messenger of Allah told Khadijah of what happened. Khadijah had already been informed of the accounts of the Jews and Bahira', and what Muhammad's mother Aminah had also recounted.
Thus, she answered: “O Muhammad, I do hope that it is true!” The Prophet used to hide all this, until one day Gabriel came to him with heavenly water and said: “O Muhammad, rise and perform your ablutions for prayers! ” Gabriel taught him the ablutions ‑ washing the face and the two hands from the elbows down, rubbing the head and the two feet to the two heels. He also taught him prostration (sujud) and kneeling (ruku'). When the Prophet attained his fortieth year, Gabriel commanded him to perform the prayers and taught him their rites, except their prescribed times. The Messenger of Allah used to pray two rak`ahs every time he prayed.
'Ali ibn Abi Talib was very much attached to the Prophet, accompanying him wherever he went. One day he saw him praying. He asked: “O Abu 'l-Qasim, what is this that you are doing?” The Prophet answered: “It is the prayer which Allah commanded me to perform.” He then called 'Ali to Islam; he accepted, and used to pray with him. Khadijah also entered into Islam. Thus at that time only the Messenger of Allah, 'Ali and Khadijah used to pray.
After a few days, Abu Talib came in to see the Messenger of Allah, accompanied by Ja'far (the Prophet's cousin). He saw the Prophet and `Ali standing beside him in prayer. Abu Talib said to Ja'far, “Stand by the side of your cousin.” As he stood at the other side of the Prophet, the Messenger of Allah stepped forward and stood in front of the two men (as prayer leader). Seeing them, Abu Talib recited the following verses:
In truth, Ali and Ja`far are my trust,
In times of hardship and sorrow.
By Allah, I shall never abandon the Prophet,
Nor would any of my sons of high birth abandon him ‑Nor would any of my sons of high birth abandon him ‑
Do not abandon, but rather support your cousin,
The son of my brother from my mother as well as my father.
Al‑Qummi related further that the Prophet used to trade for Khadijah before he married her. When he was working for her, she sent him with a caravan belonging to the people of Quraysh to Syria. He was accompanied by a servant of hers called Maysarah. They encamped one day beneath a hermitage belonging to one of the monks living in the area. The monk came down from his cell and looked intently at the Messenger of Allah. He then asked: “Who is this man?” The people answered: “He is the son of `Abdu'l-Muttalib.” The monk retorted: “His father could not be alive.”
Then looking at his eyes and between his shoulders, he exclaimed: “This is the Prophet of the people! This is the Prophet sent with the sword!” When Maysarah returned, he told Khadijah what happened and what had convinced her to offer herself to the Prophet in marriage. Khadijah gained a thousand dinars from that caravan.
One day the Prophet went into a market of the Arabs where he saw Zayd (ibn al‑Harithah). Zayd was a smart youth; the Prophet thus bought him for Khadijah. When, however, the Prophet married her, she gave him Zayd as a gift. When the Messenger of Allah received the call to Prophethood, and 'Ali accepted Islam, Zayd also became a Muslim after him. Thus `Ali, Ja'far, Zayd and Khadijah used to pray behind the Messenger of Allah.
Ash‑Shaykh Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn al‑Hasan al‑Bayhaqi reported in his book Dala'ilu'n‑Nubuwwah on the authority of `Ali, who said: “We were with the Messenger of Allah in Mecca when he went out into its suburbs. He did not pass by a tree or mountain but that it met him with the greeting `Peace be upon you O Apostle of Allah.' ”1 It is reported that 'Ali said: “I remember when I used to go with the Prophet into the valley, how he did not pass by a stone or tree but that it exclaimed, `Peace be upon you O Apostle of Allah', while I stood and listened.”
A man called `Afif (al‑Kindi) related that, “I was a merchant; I came to Mina one day during the hajj (pilgrimage) season. al‑`Abbas ibn `Abdi'l-Muttalib was also a merchant. I therefore came to trade with him.. As we were thus occupied, a man came out of a tent to pray: He faced the Ka'bah, and soon a woman came out and likewise stood in prayer. A youth also came out to pray with them. I exclaimed, `O `Abbas, what is this religion? We do not know what this religion is.' He answered, `This is Muhammad ibn `Abdillah, who claims that Allah called him to be a messenger, and that the treasures of Kisra (Khusraw, the Sasanid Persian Emperor) and Qaysar (Caesar, the Byzantine Emperor) will be opened for him. This is his wife Khadijah, daughter of Khuwaylid, who has believed in him. The youth is his cousin 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, who also believed in him.' ” `Afif then concluded: “Would that I had believed in him on that day so that I would have been the second man to follow him.” Ibn Ishaq reported that when the Prophet came out of the tent he looked at the sky, and when he saw the sun had inclined, he rose up to pray. Ibn Ishaq also mentioned Khadijah's standing in prayer behind him.
It is related on the authority of Mujahid ibn Jabr ( a well‑known Qur'an interpreter and traditionist), who said: “Among the favors which Allah bestowed upon 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and the great good He willed for him, was this: The people of Quraysh suffered a great shortage of food. Abu Talib had many children. Thus the Messenger of Allah said one day to his uncle `Abbas, who was one of the wealthiest men among the sons of Hashim, `O `Abbas, your brother Abu Talib is a man with many children, and you can see for yourself how people are suffering as a result of this crisis. Come let us go and relieve him and his children.'
They thus went to him and discussed the matter. He answered: `Leave `Aqil (a brother of 'Ali) .and take whomever you wish.' The Messenger of Allah took . 'Ali into his home, and `Ali remained with the Messenger of Allah until Allah called him to be a prophet. `Ali then followed him, believed in him and assented to him.”
'Ali ibn Ibrahim (al‑Qummi) related that three years after this, Allah revealed to the Apostle of Allah: Declare openly what you have been commanded and be not concerned with the Associators (Quran S : 94) . The Messenger of Allah therefore went out, stood up at al‑Hijr (that space which encompasses the Ka'bah on the north) and proclaimed: “O people of Quraysh and you Arab people, I call you all to the worship of Allah alone, and call you to reject all partners with Him, and all idols. I call you all to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah. Heed my call that you may through it have dominion over all the Arabs. Through it also would non‑Arabs submit to your authority. Through it you would be kings in Paradise.” But they mocked and laughed at him, exclaiming: “Muhammad son of `Abdullah has gone mad!” They caused him much hurt with their tongues.
Abu Talib asked: “O son of my brother, what is this?” He answered: “Uncle, this is Allah's religion which He chose for His angels and prophets. It is the religion of Abraham and the prophets after him. Allah has sent me also as a messenger to humankind.” Abu Talib said: “O son of my brother, surely your people will not accept this from you! Desist, therefore, from proclaiming it to them.” “I shall not do so”, the Prophet answered, “because Allah has commanded me to call (people to Islam).” Thus, Abu Talib left him alone. The Messenger of Allah intensified his effort in calling the people and warning them at all times.
Those among the People of the Book who heard the news accepted Islam. When, however, the people of Quraysh saw people entering Islam, they were alarmed. They thus went to Abu Talib and demanded: “Restrain your nephew from us, for he has declared our mind to be foolish, and has insulted our gods! He has corrupted our youths, and has dissolved our unity!” Abu Talib then called him and said: “O my brother's son, the people have come to me asking that you desist from insulting their gods.”
The Prophet answered: “O uncle, I cannot disobey the command of my Lord.” Thus he used to call them and warn them of the impending divine punishment. The people of Quraysh gathered in assembly and enquired: “To what does Muhammad call us?” He answered: “I call you to bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and to reject all associates with Him.” They protested: “Shall we then abandon three hundred and sixty gods and worship only one God?” Thus Allah mentions in the Qur'an their saying:
They marvel that a warner from among them came to them, and the rejecters of faith said, “He is a magician, a liar. Does he wish to render all gods one? This, indeed is a strange thing”. . ., and so on to His saying, No! But they have not yet tasted the torment (Qur'an 38: 4 ‑ 8) .
The people then came together to Abu Talib and said: “O Abu Talib, if poverty is the cause of your nephew's action, then we will gather so much wealth for him that he would be the wealthiest man of Quraysh.” Abu Talib called him and informed him of their offer. The Messenger of Allah, however, said: “Uncle, I have no need of wealth! Heed my call, so that you may be kings in this world and in the world to come! Then will both Arabs and non‑Arabs submit to your authority.” They dispersed, but soon returned to Abu Talib and said: “O Abu Talib, you are one of our foremost notables! You see that your nephew has declared us to be of foolish mind. He has cursed our gods and dissolve our unity! Let us give you `Umarah ibn al‑Walid, the most handsome and bright youth of Quraysh, the freshest youth and the noblest of lineage to be your son ‑ on condition that you turn over Muhammad to us that we may kill him.” He answered: “You have not dealt justly with me! Would you give me your son that I may bring him up, and yet take my son to kill him?” Finally, despairing of convincing him, they desisted.
Al‑Hafiz (al‑Bayhaqi) related in his book Dala'ilu'n-Nubuwwah on the authority of Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Talhah, that Talhah ibn `Ubaydillah said: “I was present one day at the market of Busra, where I heard a monk who lived in a cell say: `Enquire of the people of this fair if there is anyone among them of the people of the Sanctuary (that is, Mecca).' I replied: `Yes, I am.' He asked: `Has Ahmad come forth yet?' `Who is Ahmad?' I asked. He replied: `The son of `Abdullah ibn `Abdi 'l-Muttalib. This is the month in which he should come forth. He is the last of the prophets. The place of his appearance is the Sanctuary, and that of his migration is a place of date‑palms and black stones (that is, Medina). Beware lest anyone accept him before you do.' ”
Talhah continued: “I kept what he said in my heart, and .hastened to Mecca. I enquired if anything unusual had happened, and was told that, 'Muhammad ibn `Abdillah al‑Amin has declared himself a prophet. Ibn Abi Quhafah (that is, Abu Bakr) has followed him.' I thus went to Abu Bakr and said: `Have you really become a follower of this man?' `Yes', he answered. `You too go to him and follow him, for he invites men to the truth.' ”
Talhah then told Abu Bakr what the monk had said. Abu. Bakr took Talhah to the Apostle of Allah, whereupon Talhah became a Muslim. He told the Messenger of Allah what the monk had said, which gladdened the Apostle of Allah.2
When both Abu Bakr and Talhah had accepted Islam, a man called Nawfal ibn Khuwaylid ibn al‑`Adawiyyah took them and tied them together with one rope. The people of Taym (the tribe to which Abu Bakr belonged) did not protect them. Nawfal ibn Khuwaylid was known as the harshest man of the Quraysh.
The Messenger of Allah never ceased to insult the gods of the Associators, nor did he cease reciting the Qur'an to them. But they used to say: “This is only the poetry of Muhammad.” Some of them also said: “It is rather oratory discourse.”
There was an old man called al‑Walid ibn al‑Mughirah who was a judge among the Arabs, whom they brought difficult cases. They likewise used to recite their poems to him in order that he might judge among them. Whatever he judged to be good, that was chosen by all. He had many sons, who never left Mecca. He also possessed ten slaves, every one of whom had one thousand dinars to use as capital in trade. At that time he alone owned a qintar, (the skin of a bull filled with gold). al‑Walid was one of those who mocked the Messenger of Allah and he was the uncle of Abu Jahl ibn Hisham.
The people went to al‑Walid and asked: “O Abu `Abd ash‑Shams, what is this which Muhammad is uttering? Is it magic, soothsaying, or oratory?” He replied: “Let me hear his words.” He thus came to the Messenger of Allah while he was sitting in the Ka'bah and said: “O Muhammad, recite for me some of your poetry! ” He answered: “It is not poetry, but rather the word of Allah, with which He sent His prophets and apostles.” al‑Walid insisted: “Recite some of it to me.” The Messenger of Allah then recited:
“In the name of Allah, the All‑merciful, the Compassionate. ”
When al‑Walid heard the name ar‑Rahman (the All‑merciful), he mockingly said: “Do you call us to follow a man of Yamamah who is called ar‑Rahman?” The Prophet answered: “No, rather I call men to Allah, Who is the All‑merciful, the Compassionate.” He then recited the beginning of
”Ha mim: as‑Sajdah ”, (Surah 41)
until he reached verse 13.
But if they turn back, say: “I have warned you of a great catastrophe like the catastrophe of Ad and Thamud. ”
When al‑Walid heard this, he trembled and every hair on his head and in his beard stood on end. He then rose and went to his home, and did not return to the people of Quraysh. The people said to Abu Jahl, “O Abu 'l-Hakam, (that is, al‑Walid) has abandoned his religion for the religion of Muhammad! Do you not see that he has not returned to us? He must have, therefore, accepted his claim and gone to his home.” The people of Quraysh became exceedingly saddened by this. Abu Jahl went to al‑Walid the next day and said: “O uncle, you have brought low our heads and disgraced us!” He answered: “How have I done that, O son of my brother?” “Have you turned to the religion of Muhammad?” he asked. “No”, answered al‑Walid, “I did not do so. Rather, I stand by the religion of my people and my forefathers. I have, however, heard great words which cause skins to shudder.” Abu Jahl asked: “Is it poetry?” “No, it is not poetry”, answered his uncle. Abu Jahl asked further: “Is it oratory discourse?” al‑Walid answered: “No, for oratory discourse is of connected rhymed prose; yet this is free prose whose different parts do not resemble one another. It is possessed of great beauty.” Abu Jahl insisted: “So it is oratory.” “No”, answered his uncle. Abu Jahl asked: “What is it then?” al‑Walid said: “Let me think about it for a while.”
The next day, the people asked al‑Walid: “O Abu `Abd ash‑Shams, what do you say?” He answered: “Say it is magic, for it has truly attracted the hearts of the people.” Thus, Allah sent down concerning him in the Qur'an –
Leave me to deal with him whom I have alone created, and whom I have granted great wealth and sons, constantly present with him . . . and so on to Allah's saying: Over it (that is, Hell) stand nineteen (angels) (Qur.74:11‑30).
In a tradition related by Hammad ibn Zayd on the authority of `Ikrimah (a slave and pupil of Ibn `Abb5s and a well‑known traditionist), he reported that al‑Walid ibn al‑Mughirah came to the Messenger of Allah and asked him to recite some verses of the Qur'an. He recited:
“Allah surely commands justice and doing good, and giving (of one's wealth) to near relatives. He likewise forbids lewdness, indecency and insolence. He thus admonishes you, that perhaps you may remember” (Qur'an. 16:90) .
al‑Walid said: “Recite the verse once more!” He did, and al‑Walid exclaimed: “By Allah, it indeed is possessed of great sweetness and adorned with great beauty. Its top is indeed fruitful, and its bottom is like a palm‑tree laden with fruits! Nor can any mortal utter such speech.”
It is related that those who mocked the Messenger of Allah were five: al‑Walid ibn al‑Mughirah, al‑`As ibn Wail as‑Sahmi, al‑Aswad ibn al‑Muttalib, who was also known as Abu Zama'ah, al‑Aswad ibn `Abd Yaghuth of the tribe of Zuhrah and al‑Harith ibn at‑Tulatilah al‑Khuza`i. It is said that al‑Walid ibn al‑Mughirah passed one day by the Messenger of Allah, while the angel Gabriel was with him. Gabriel addressed the Prophet, saying: “Here comes al-Walid ibn al‑Mughirah, who is one of the mockers.” “Yes”, he answered. Then al‑Walid passed by a man of the tribe of Khuza'ah, sharpening his arrows at the door of the mosque. He accidentally stepped on some of them, a silver went into the bottom of his foot, and blood gushed out.
Gabriel pointed to that spot, and blood continued to flow until it stained the bed of his daughter. Frightened, the girl cried out: “O maid, the mouth of the water skin has come untied! ” “This is not the water of the water skin”, said al‑Walid, “it is the blood of your father. Call together for me my sons and the sons of my brother, for I am about to die.” When they all gathered, he made his will, and immediately breathed his last.
Al‑Aswad ibn al‑Muttalib passed one day by the Messenger of Allah. Gabriel pointed to his eyes and he became blind, and soon after died. al‑Aswad ibn `Abd Yaghuth also passed by the Prophet one day; Gabriel pointed to his stomach, and he drank so much water that his belly swelled until it burst. al‑`As ibn Wail passed also by the Prophet, and Gabriel pointed to his foot. Soon a splinter went into the bottom of his foot and came out of the top. His foot swelled up, and soon he died. at‑Tulatilah passed by the Prophet, and Gabriel spat in his face. The man then went out into the Tihamah mountains (in the vicinity of Mecca), where he was hit by a burning sand storm. He was burnt and turned black. When he returned home. his family would not let him in, saying, “You are not of this family.” He went away and was afflicted with great thirst. He thus drank until his stomach burst, and he died. All this happened in fulfilment of Allah's saying:
We have surely protected you against the mockers (Qur'an. 15:95).
When the people of Quraysh intensified their harsh treatment of the Messenger of Allah and his Companions, he ordered some of his Companions to migrate to Abyssinia. He delegated Ja'far son of Abu Talib to take charge of them, and he set out with seventy men until they took to sea. When the people of Quraysh knew of their departure, they sent `Amr ibn al‑`As as‑Sahmi and `Umarah ibn al‑Walid to an‑Najashi (Negus) .of Abyssinia, requesting him to return the men to the people of Quraysh. They were also instructed to tell the King that these men had gone against the wishes and traditions of their people.
`Umarah was a handsome and wealthy man. `Amr ibn al`As set out with his wife. When they boarded the ship, they became intoxicated with wine. `Umarah then said to `Amr ibn al‑`As : “Tell your wife to kiss me!” The latter answered: “Glorified be Allah! Is this possible?” `Umarah waited until `Amr got drunk, then he pushed him overboard. `Amr was on the edge of the ship; thus he held on to the edge, and people rushed to his rescue. When `Amr saw what `Umarah had done to him, he said to his wife, “Kiss him! ”, which she did.
When they reached Abyssinia, they went straight to an-Najashi bearing presents for him. `Amr addressed him saying: “O King, these people have gone against our religion and sought refuge with you. Return them, therefore, to us! ” The King sent for Ja'far and said to him: “These men are requesting that I return you all to them.” He answered: “O King, ask them, are we their slaves?” “No”, answered `Amr, “rather they are free and noble men.” “Ask them,” Ja'far continued, “do we then owe them debts which they have come to claim from us?” `Amr answered: “They owe us no debts which we have come to claim.” Ja'far continued:
“Have they come then to avenge any blood of theirs that we had wrongfully shed?” `Amr answered: “They have shed no blood for which we come to exact vengeance or blood money.” Ja'far asked: “What then do you want from us?” `Amr said: “They have opposed us in our religion and the religion of our forefathers and insulted our gods. They have corrupted our youths and spread dissension among us. Return them to us, therefore, that our unity might be restored.”
Ja'far then addressed the King saying: “O King, we have opposed them in order to follow a prophet whom Allah has raised among us. He commands us to repudiate equals to Allah, and that we abandon chance games by means of arrows. He enjoins prayers and almsgiving upon us. He has prohibited wrongdoing, oppression and the unlawful shedding of blood. He has prohibited adultery, usury, and eating the flesh of dead animals which have not been properly slaughtered, as well as eating blood. He has enjoined decency and good works upon us, and that we show kindness to near relatives. He forbids grave immorality, indecency and insolence.”
The King said: “It is with such (teachings) that Allah also sent Jesus son of Mary! ” Then addressing Ja`far, he continued: “Do you know by heart any of the revelations which Allah sent down to your prophet?” “Yes”, he answered. “Recite then! ” the King demanded. Ja'far recited the Surah of Maryam (Surah 19). When he reached the words –
Shake down towards you the branch of the palm‑tree, and it shall drop down before you ripened dates ready to be picked. Eat and drink, therefore, and be of good cheer (Qur'an. 19 : 25 ‑ 26 ) –
an‑Najashi wept and exclaimed: “By Allah this is the truth!” `Amr protested: “O King, this man has abandoned our religion; give him to us that we may take him back to our country! ” an‑Najashi lifted his hand and slapped him saying: “If you utter any evil against him, I will kill you!” `Amr finally said: “O King, if this is what you say, then we shall not interfere with him.”
A young maid stood by an‑Najashi keeping flies away from him. She kept her eyes on `Umarah ibn al‑Walid, as he was a handsome young man. When they went to their lodgings, `Amr said to him: “Why do you not send a message to the King's maid?” `Umarah sent a message to her, and she answered him. `Amr said: “Tell her to bring you with her some of the King's perfumes. She did so, and `Amr ibn al`As took the perfume. He had kept in his heart what `Umarah had done to him when he attempted to throw him overboard. Thus, he took the perfume and went to an‑Najashi, and said to him: “O King, it is fitting that we take cognition of the King's honour and magnanimity toward us, and that we do not betray him in his own realm. Yet, my companion who is with me has sent messages to your maid and tempted her. She even brought him some of your perfumes.”
He then showed the King the perfume. an‑Najashi was exceedingly angry and was about to kill `Umarah. But he changed his mind and said: “It is not right that I kill him, for they entered our realm under a pledge of protection.” He thus called his magicians and said to them: “Do something to him that would be worse than death! ” They took him and injected mercury into his generative organ. He lost his mind, so that he lived with the wild beasts and shunned human company. 3
The people of Quraysh sent men to bring `Umarah back home. The men lay in wait for him until he came with wild beasts to drink at a spring. Thus they caught him, but he continued to struggle and scream in their hands until he expired. `Amr, however, returned to the people of Quraysh and recounted to them his story.
As for Ja'far, he remained in Abyssinia enjoying the best of hospitality and honour. He remained there until he heard that the Messenger of Allah had established a truce with the people of Quraysh and that peace had prevailed between them and the Muslims. He then returned with a large company of people. He arrived to find that the Messenger of Allah had conquered Khaybar (a Jewish settlement near Medina).
A son was born to Ja'far by Asma', daughter of `Umays. an‑Najashi also had a son, whom he called Muhammad. Asma' gave an‑Najashi's son of her own milk to drink (thus making him a nursing brother of her own son). Abu Talib recited these verses urging an‑Najashi to support the Prophet and his followers:
Know, O King of the Ethiopians, that Muhammad is a prophet like Moses and Jesus son of Mary.
He came with guidance such as they brought, for each of them was by Allah's command well ‑protected.
Concerning him, you recite verses in your own scriptures; a true account it is, not a fantastic tale.
Do not, therefore, set up equals with Allah; rather become Muslims, for the way of truth is not obscured in darkness.
The traditionist Abu `Abdillah (al‑Bayhaqi) transmitted on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ishaq that the Messenger of Allah sent `Amr ibn Umayyah ad‑Damri to an‑Najashi regarding Ja'far ibn Abi Talib and his Companions. He sent a letter with him which read thus:
“In the name of Allah, the All‑merciful, the Compassionate ‑ From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah to the Negus, the King of Abyssinia ‑ I convey to you the praises of Allah
the King, the Holy, the Accepter of Faith, the Guardian (Qur.59:23).
I furthermore bear witness that Jesus son of Mary is the Spirit of Allah
and His Word, which He sent down to Mary (Qur'an. 4 : 171) ,
the pure and chaste virgin who then conceived Jesus, whom Allah created of His Spirit which he breathed into him ‑just as he created Adam with His Hand and breathed of His Spirit into him. I thus call you to the worship of the One and only Allah alone Who has no associate, and that you obey Him, follow me and believe in me and the message which was vouchsafed me. For I indeed am the Messenger of Allah. I have, moreover, sent to you my cousin Ja'far with a company of the Muslims. When they come to you, show hospitality to them and do not be arrogant. I call you and your hosts to Allah! I have conveyed my message to you and given good counsel. Peace be with those who follow true guidance.”
An‑Najashi wrote in answer to the Messenger of Allah:
“In the name of Allah, the All‑merciful, the Compassionate ‑ to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah ‑ from the Negus al‑Ashamah ibn Abhar: peace be upon you O Prophet of Allah and Allah's mercy and blessings ‑ there is no god but He Who guided me to Islam. I have received your letter, O Messenger of Allah, concerning the importance you give in the case of Jesus. By the Lord of the heaven and earth, Jesus does not exceed what you have mentioned concerning him. We acknowledge what you have written to us, and have thus shown hospitality to your cousin and Companions. I bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah truly and that you tell the truth. I have, therefore, given allegiance (bay `ah) to you and your cousin. I have accepted Islam to Allah, the Lord of all beings at his hands. I have sent to you, O Messenger of Allah, Arijan ibn Ashamah ibn Abhar, I have‑indeed no authority except over myself alone. If, therefore, you wish that I come to you, I would come, O Messenger of Allah. For I bear witness that what you say is the truth.”
An‑Najashi then sent presents to the Prophet. He sent him also Mariyah the Copt, the mother of the Prophet's son Ibrahim. He sent him much clothing and aromatics, and a mare. He also sent him thirty learned men to hear his words and observe his conduct. When they arrived in Medina, the Messenger of Allah called them to. Islam, and they accepted Islam and returned to the Negus. Jabir ibn `Abdillah al‑Ansari reported that, “When an‑Najashi died, the Messenger of Allah prayed over Ashamah, the Negus.”
The people of Quraysh redoubled their efforts in troubling the Messenger of Allah. The harshest of men toward him was his uncle Abu Lahab. One day the Prophet was sitting in the precincts of the Ka'bah, when the people sent for a birth sack of a sheep and threw it at him.( According to al‑Jazari, the well‑known lexicographer and traditionist, this happened while the Prophet was praying. (ed. ))
The Messenger of Allah was greatly saddened by this, and went to Abu Talib to complain, saying: “O uncle, how is my status among you?” Abu Talib asked: “What is the matter O son of my brother?” He replied: “The people of Quraysh threw a birth sack at me.”
Abu Talib then said to Hamzah: “Take up the sword!” The people of Quraysh were assembled in the Mosque. Both Hamzah and Abu Talib went in with their swords. Abu Talib ordered Hamzah, saying: “Rub the birth sack over their moustaches, and if anyone resists, cut off his head!” But no one moved while he rubbed the birth sack over their moustaches.. He then turned to the Messenger of Allah, and said: “O son of my brother, this is your status among us!”
In the book Dala'ilu'n‑Nubuwwah (of al‑Bayhaqi),4 it is reported on the authority of Abu Dawud who reported from Shu'bah who reported from Abu Ishaq (as‑Sabi`i), who heard `Amr ibn Maymun relate on the authority of `Abdullah (ibn Mas'ud), who said: “While the Messenger of Allah was prostrating in prayer one day, with some men of Quraysh sitting all around him, and the birth sack of a she‑camel lying around, some dared others men saying: `Who would take this birth sack and throw it at his back?' A man called `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu'ayt took up the birth sack and threw it at the Prophet's back. Fatimah (the Prophet's daughter) came and took the camel's birth sack off the Prophet's back, and cursed those who did that to him.”
`Abdullah continued: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah invoke Allah against them except on that day. He said: “O Allah, I leave to you the people of Quraysh! O Allah to you do I leave Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, `Utbah ibn Rabi `ah, Shaybah ibn Rabi `ah, `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu'ayt, Umayyah ibn Khalaf or Ubayy ibn Khalaf (Shu'bah was confused). The Prophet enumerated seven men in all.” `Abdullah went on: “I saw them all slain in the Battle of Badr and thrown into a well. Umayyah ibn Khalaf, however, was a very fat man. His body disintegrated as it was dragged along before reaching the well.' ”5
It is related on the authority of Khabbab (a well‑known Companion), who said: “I came one day to the Messenger of Allah, while he lay in the shade of the Ka` bah using his mantle as a pillow. We had endured much suffering at the hands of the people of Quraysh. Thus I asked: `O Messenger of Allah, would you not invoke Allah on our behalf?'
He sat up, red in the safe, and said: `Those who were before you ‑often were their flesh and nerves scraped with sharp iron combs. Yet they did not turn away from their faith. A man would be sawed in half from his head down, yet he would not be turned away from his faith. But Allah shall indeed bring this affair to fruition, so that a horseman would travel all the way between San'a and Hadramawt fearing no one but Allah, or the wolf that may attack his sheep.' ”6
It is also related on the authority of Jabir (son of the famous Companion, `Abdullah al‑Ansari) that the Messenger of Allah passed one day by `Ammar ibn Yasir and his family while they were being tortured for Allah's sake. He said: “Be of good cheer, O family of `Ammar, for you shall soon enter Paradise! ” It is reported on the authority of Mujahid ( ibn Jabr) (a well‑known traditionist of the second generation) that the first martyr in Islam was Sumayyah, the mother of `Ammar, whom Abu Jahl stabbed in the heart.
'Ali ibn Ibrahim al‑Qummi reported that Abu Jahl met the Messenger of Allah one day and spoke harsh words to him. All the men of the Hashimite clan angrily assembled. Hamzah had just returned from hunting, when he saw the crowd and enquired about the commotion. A woman called down to him from one of the roof‑tops saying: “O Abu Ya'la, `Amr ibn Hisham (i.e., Abu Jahl) confronted Muhammad and insulted him.” Hamzah enraged, went to Abu Jahl hit him with his bow on the head and picked him up and beat him hard against the ground. People crowded around them, and it was feared that great conflict might ensue.
People then asked Hamzah: “O Abu Ya'la, have you then turned to the religion of your nephew?” “Yes”, he answered: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.” He said this only as a result of anger and feeling of support for his nephew. When, however, he returned to his home, he regretted his decision. Thus he went to the Messenger of Allah and asked: “O son of my brother, is what you say the truth?” The Messenger of Allah recited to him a Surah of the Qur'an, and Hamzah saw the truth and stood firm in the faith of Islam. The Messenger of Allah was exceedingly happy. Abu Talib also was glad to learn of Hamzah's Islam, and recited the following verses:
Be steadfast, O Abu Ya`la in the faith of Ahmad;
Show forth your faith; may you be strengthened inShow forth your faith; may you be strengthened in
Follow the footsteps of him who came with true' faithFollow the footsteps of him who came with true' faith
from his Lord; Do not, O Hamzah, be a rejecter of faith!
It made me glad when you said that you are a man of faith; Be then a true supporter of the Messenger of Allah in Allah's cause.
Call openly the people of Quraysh to that which youCall openly the people of Quraysh to that which you
yourself have been given; Proclaim to them that Ahmad is indeed not a magician!
The Messenger of Allah was transported by Allah from Mecca to Jerusalem, (see Qur'an. 17 :1) . Gabriel carried him thither on al‑Buraq (a celestial horse), and showed him the prayer chambers of the prophets before him. After the Prophet had led them all in prayer, Gabriel brought him back to Mecca. On his way back, the Prophet passed by a caravan belonging to the people of Quraysh. They had with them water in a vessel, from which he drank, and poured out the rest. They also lost one of their camels and went out in search of it.
Next morning Muhammad recounted to the people of Quraysh: “Allah transported me by night to Jerusalem where He showed me the signs and stations of the prophets. I have also passed by a caravan in such and such a place, where they lost one of their camels. I drank from a vessel of water which they had, and poured out the rest of the water.” Abu Jahl said: “You have now an opportune moment; ask him, therefore, how many columns and lamps are in Jerusalem! ” They thus said to him: “O Muhammad, here is someone who has been to Jerusalem! ” Describe for us its columns, lamps, and prayer chambers! ” Gabriel came and suspended an image of Jerusalem before the Prophet's eyes, and he told them whatever they wished to know about the holy city. When he had informed them, they said: “Let us wait until the caravan returns and we question the people about what you have told us:” “The sign of the truth of what I have said is that the caravan will appear at sunrise led by a red camel carrying two white sacks”, the Prophet said.
Next morning, they went out looking towards the hill outside the city and saying: “The sun shall soon rise.” As they were thus wondering, the caravan appeared, led by a red camel, just as the disk of the sun was becoming visible. They asked the men with the caravan about the things which the Messenger of Allah had told them. The men answered: “It is true, it was as he said. We lost a camel in such and such a place; we left water by night, but when we woke up next morning, the water was all poured out.” Yet, all this only increased the people of Quraysh in their stubbornness.
They then all gathered in their assembly hall and prepared a written pledge neither to share food with the sons of Hashim, nor to speak to them. Nor would they transact any trade with them, or intermarry with them. They would not even socialize with them in any way, until they turned Muhammad over to them that they might kill him. They agreed to be as one hand against Muhammad, either to assassinate him, or kill him openly.
When Abu Talib learned of all this, he gathered the sons of Hashim, forty men in all, and went into a secret ravine. Abu Talib swore to them by the Ka'bah, the haram, the rukn and the station (maqam of Abraham) that if even a thorn was to prick Muhammad, “I will steadfastly fight against you all, 0 sons of Hashim.” Abu Talib fortified the ravine and set up guards over it night and day. At night he kept guard himself with his sword, while the Messenger of Allah slept. Then he had him get up and sleep in another spot, guarded by his own sons and the sons of his brother. They watched over the Prophet during the day as well.
In the end, they endured much hardship. Thus it was that no one of the Arabs entering Mecca dared buy from or sell anything to the family of Hashim, for fear that his wealth would be seized. To that end, Abu Jahl, al‑`As ibn Wail as-Sahmi, an‑Nadr ibn al‑Harith ibn Kaladah and `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu'ayt used to go out to the roads leading to Mecca, and anyone they saw carrying goods, they forbade to trade with the sons of Hashim. Otherwise they threatened to seize his wealth. Khadijah, however, had much wealth, which she spent in caring for the Messenger of Allah while he was in the ravine. Mut'im ibn `Adiyy ibn Nawfal ibn `Abdi'lMuttalib refused to sign the pledge, saying: “This is wrongdoing.” The document was, nonetheless, sealed with forty seals, representing all the notables of Quraysh. They then hung it in the Ka'bah. Abu Lahab also concurred with them in this action.
During the special seasons (when fighting was banned), the Messenger of Allah would go around the Arab tribes and plead with them: “If you would protect me, I would recite to you the Book of my Lord, and your reward with Allah shall be Paradise.” Abu Lahab would follow close behind him and say: “Do not accept his offer! He is my brother's son. He is a magician and a liar.” Thus it went on, and the sons of Hashim remained in the ravine for four years, having no security except during special seasons, nor could they buy or sell anything except during these seasons. There were two seasons held in Mecca every year: that of the `umrah (lesser pilgrimage) during Rajab, and the pilgrimage season in Dhi'l‑Hijjah (the 7th and 12th months respectively). Hence, only when either of these two special seasons come did the sons of Hashim leave their ravine to buy and sell. Then no one of them dared venture out till the next season. They therefore suffered much hardship and hunger.
The people of Quraysh sent a message to Abu Talib, saying: “Turn Muhammad over to us that we may kill him; then we would make you king over us.” In response, Abu Talib recited a long poem, in which he says:
When I saw that these people had no love,
having cut off all ties and means of friendship;
(I said): Do you not know that we do not regard our son as a liar,
Nor does he utter vain words.
Pure is he, that for the sake of his face prayers for rain are answered;
Generous towards orphans is he, and a protection for widows.
The errant of the clan of Hashim crowd around him;
For with him they find bounty and generous gifts.
You lie, by Allah's house! We shall never abandon Muhammad;
Rather we shall wield the sword and strive to protect him.
We shall never betray him, until we fall slain before him;
For his sake we shall neglect our sons and wives.
By my life! I have been charged with great affection for Ahmad!By my life! I have been charged with great affection for Ahmad!
I loved him with the love of a faithful lover.
I have sacrificed willingly my soul for him and protected him;
I have defended him with all that is precious,
Even the bones of my breast!
He remains an object of beauty in this world for its inhabitants;
A harsh match to anyone showing enmity toward him is he, and the ornament of every assembly.
He is clement, wise, unwavering and not foolish;
Friend of the Lord of Truth, never indulging in vain disputation.
Thus the Lord of human servants has strengthened him with His victory;
He caused a religion to prevail whose truth knows no falsehood.
When they heard this poem, they despaired of convincing Abu Talib.
Abu 'l-`As ibn Rabi', who was the Messenger of Allah's son‑in‑law, used to bring by night camels laden with wheat and dates to the entrance of the ravine and call out loudly to them, so that they would rush in, and the sons of Hashim would have provisions. The Messenger of Allah used to say: “Abu 'l-`As has established a tie of marriage with us and has honoured well this marriage relation. He brought laden camels to us when we were besieged and delivered them to our ravine by night.”
When the Messenger of Allah had spent four years in the ravine, Allah sent against the hostile document of the Quraysh an earthworm which licked clean all words of unkindness to next of kin, and all wrongdoing and oppression. It only spared the name of Allah.
Gabriel came down to the Messenger of Allah and told him about it. The Messenger of Allah then told Abu Talib, who went to the men of Quraysh as they assembled in the mosque. When they saw him they said: “Abu Talib has finally given in; he has now come to turn his nephew in.” He drew near and greeted them with the salutation of peace. They all rose up and received him with deference. They then said: “O Abu Talib, we know that you wish our friendship and return to our society! You will turn your nephew over to us.” He answered: “No, by Allah, it is not for this that I have come to you. Rather my nephew tells me ‑ and he utters no lies ‑ that Allah has told him that He sent an earthworm against your hostile document, which ate every word of unkindness to next of kin, of wrongdoing and oppression. It only spared the name of Allah. Bring your document, and if what he says is true, then fear Allah and abandon your wrongdoing, oppression and unkindness toward blood relations. If, on the other hand, what he says is false, I will turn him over to you. If you wish, you may kill him, or if you wish you may spare his life.” They brought the document down from the Ka'bah, still bearing forty seals. When it was brought before them, every man saw his seal. When, however, they .opened it, they found no letters except the phrase: `in your name, O Allah.' Abu Talib then pleaded with them saying: “O people, fear Allah and desist from what you are doing! ” But the people dispersed, and no one spoke a word. Abu Talib then returned to the ravine and recited his poem rhyming with the letter `b' and which begins as follows:
Who shall endure standing on guard till night's end,
Or the retreat which your divided people have decreed.
In the document there was indeed a lesson;
Anyone knowing about it would surely marvel.
Allah had Himself erased from it their rejection of faith and insolence,
As well as their hostility toward him who proclaimed the truth openly.
Thus what they said came to nought,
For anyone inventing falsehood only tells lies.
Yet the son of Abdullah has been truthful among us,
in spite of our people's wrath.
Do not think that we shall betray Muhammad; For neither our honour nor fidelity would permit it!
A strong Hashimite hand shall protect him;
He whose deeds among men are the best of deeds.
Then some of the sons of `Abd Manaf and the sons of Qusayy, as well as other men of Quraysh who were born to women of the sons of Hashim ‑ among whom was Mut'im ibn `Adiyy ibn `Amir ibn Lu'ayy, an old man of great wealth and many children, and Abu 'l-Bakhtari ibn Hisham and Zuhayr ibn (Abi) Umayyah al‑Makhzumi and other of their notables ‑ said: “We dissociate ourselves from this document.” Abu Jahl likewise said: “This is a matter which was decided in the dark.” Thus the Prophet and those who were with him were able to leave the ravine.
Two months later, Abu Talib died. Khadijah also died soon after. These were two grave occurrences which the Messenger of Allah had to endure, and he was greatly saddened. He went in to see Abu Talib while he was breathing his last. He said: “O uncle, you cared for a child until he grew up. You supported him when he was a grown man, and cared for him as an orphan. May Allah, therefore, reward you on my behalf with the best reward. Give me a word (that is, the shahadah) that I may intercede with it on your behalf with my Lord.” Abu Talib replied: “O son of my brother, were I not to fear the reproach of people after me, I would have gladdened your heart.” Saying this he died.
Muhammad ibn Ishaq reported that Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid, and Abu Talib died in the same year.7 Thus afflictions followed one another for the Messenger of Allah after the death of Khadijah and Abu Talib ‑ for she was a true helper (wazir) to him in Islam, and he found comfort in her. Abu `Abdillah ibn Mandah reported in the Kitabu'l-Ma`rifah that Khadijah died three days after Abu Talib,8 al‑Waqidi claimed that they all left the ravine three years before the Migration. In that year Khadijah and Abu Talib died within the space of thirty‑five nights.
The Prophet Offers Himself To Neighboring Arab Tribes. The Allegiance Of The Ansar To Him, And The Event Of Al‑`Aqabah
It is reported in the book entitled Dala'ilu'n‑Nubuwwah 9 on the authority of az‑Zuhri (a well‑known traditionist), that the Messenger of Allah used to offer himself as a prophet to the Arab tribes every year during the pilgrimage season. He used to speak to the chief of every tribe, requesting only that they give him shelter and protection. He said: “I shall not ask anyone of you to do anything he does not wish to do. For anyone of you who accepts what I have come to call you to, it is well. But I shall not compel anyone who would refuse. I only ask that you protect me from those who wish to kill me, so that I might convey the messages of my Lord ‑ and Allah decrees what He wills for me and those who will follow him.” Yet no one of them accepted him. Everyone he spoke to of these tribes would say: “The people of this man know best his claims. Do you think that a man can reform us when he has corrupted his own people, and who have therefore, abandoned him? ”
When Abu Talib died, trials increased greatly as never before for the Messenger of Allah. He thus turned to the tribe of Thaqif in the city of at‑Ta'if in the hope that they might give him shelter. He sought three men, who were the notables of Thaqif in those days. They were brothers: `Abd Yalayl ibn `Amr, Habib ibn `Amr and Mas'ud ibn `Amr. He offered himself to them and told them of the trials that had afflicted him at the hands of his people. One of them exclaimed: “I swear that I would even steal the curtains of the Ka'bah, if Allah had truly sent you with anything! ” The other said: “Could not Allah send someone other than you?” The third exclaimed: “By Allah, I shall never speak to you henceforth. By Allah, if you are truly the Messenger of Allah, you would be of too great honour for me even to speak to you. If, on the other hand, you lie concerning Allah, you would be too evil for me to speak to you.” They mocked him and revealed to their people their conversation with him.
The men then placed people in two lines in his way. When the Messenger of Allah passed between the two lines, he did not lift his feet or put them down but that they pelted them with stones. They repeated this until his feet bled. He escaped from them with his feet gushing blood, and ran to one of their gardens and took shelter under a tree, sad and suffering much pain.
`Utbah ibn Rabi `ah and Shaybah ibn Rabi `ah were in the garden. He therefore did not wish to remain with them, as he knew their great hostility to Allah and His Messenger. When they saw him, they sent to him a servant of theirs called `Addas who was of the people of Naynawa (Nineveh), with grapes. When `Addas came to him, the Messenger of Allah asked: “From which land are you?” He answered: “I am of the people of Nineveh.” He said to him: “So you are from the city of the righteous man Yunus (Jonah) son of Mitts (Matthew).” `Addas asked him: “How do you know who Yunus was? ”
The Messenger of Allah, who never looked down at anyone so much as not to convey to him the message of his Lord, answered: “I am the Messenger of Allah. Allah, exalted be He, informed me of the account of Yunus ibn Mitts.” When he had told him what Allah had revealed to him concerning Yunus ibn Mitts, `Addas fell prostrate before Allah and began to kiss the Prophet's feet while they continued to gush blood. When `Utbah and Shaybah saw what their servant was doing, they kept silent. But when he returned to them they asked: “Why did you prostrate yourself before Muhammad and kiss his feet, while we never saw you do so to any of us?”
He answered: “He is a righteous man who told me things which I recognized concerning a messenger whom Allah had sent to us, whose name was Yunus ibn Mitts.” They laughed and said “Let him not tempt you away from your Christianity, for he is a deceitful man.” The Messenger of Allah then returned to Mecca.
`Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Hashim (al‑Qummi) reports that when the Messenger. of Allah returned from the city of at-Ta'if and approached Mecca with the intention of performing the `umrah (lesser pilgrimage), he did not wish to enter Mecca where he had no protector. He saw a man of the Quraysh who had secretly embraced Islam and said to him: “Go to al‑Akhnas ibn Shurayq and tell him that Muhammad asks you to protect him until he performs the circumambulations ( tawaf , around the Ka'bah) and the running (sa`i) between the two hills of as‑Safa and al‑Marwa, for he has come to perform the `umrah.” The man went to al‑Akhnas and conveyed to him what the Messenger of Allah had said.
Al‑Akhnas answered: “I am not of the Quraysh, but only an ally, and an ally cannot offer protection. I fear that they would violate my protection, and that would be an insult.” The man returned to the Messenger of Allah and told him. The Messenger of Allah was hiding in the ravine of Harra' with Zayd ibn al‑Harithah. He said to the man: “Go to Suhayl ibn `Amr and ask him to protect me only until I circumambulate the House (that is, the Ka'bah) and perform the sa`i (running between as‑Safa and al‑Marwa).”
The man went and told Suhayl, but he answered: “No, I will not.” The Messenger of Allah sent the man to Mut'im ibn `Adiyy (ibn `Amir) to make the same request. When the man went to him he asked: “Where is Muhammad?” The man, however, did not wish to tell him where the Prophet was. He rather answered: “He is nearby.” Mut'im said: “Go to him and say that I shall give you protection. Come, therefore, and circumambulate and run as you wish.”
The Messenger of Allah entered the city. Mut'im said to his sons, his sister, and to his brother, who was called Tu'aymah ibn `Adiyy: “Take up your arms, for I have offered Muhammad protection! Stay around the Ka'bah until he performs the circumambulation and running.” There were ten men in all who took up arms. Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, then came in to the mosque. Abu Jahl saw him and said: “O people of Quraysh, here is Muhammad alone. His supporter has died; do with him, therefore, as you please.” Tu'aymah ibn `Adiyy said to him: “O uncle, do not speak, for Abu Wahb (that is, Mut'im) has offered Muhammad protection.” Abu Jahl went to Mut`im and asked: “Are you a protector, or one who has abandoned his religion for another?” He answered: “I am only a protector.” Abu Jahl said: “In that case your protection will not be violated.”
When the Messenger of Allah had finished his circumambulation and running, he came to Mut'im and said: “O Abu Wahb, you have protected and done well! Release me now from your protection.” Mut'im replied: “What would prevent you from remaining in my protection?” He answered: “I detest remaining in the protection of an Associator for more than one day.” Mut'im then exclaimed: “O people of Quraysh, Muhammad has released himself from my protection! ”
'Ali ibn Ibrahim (al‑Qummi) reported that As'ad ibn Zurarah and Dhakwan ibn `Abd Qays, both of whom were of the Khazraj tribe of Medina, came to Mecca during one of the pilgrimage seasons. At that time a state of war, which had already lasted for a long time, existed between the Aws and Khazraj (both of which were Medinan tribes). The people did not lay down their arms by day or night.
In the last engagement between them on the day of Bu'ath (40), the Aws tribe had prevailed over the Khazraj. As'ad ibn Zurarah and Dhakwan came to Mecca for the `umrah of the sacred month of Rajab seeking an alliance against the Aws tribe. As'ad ibn Zurarah was a friend of `Utbah ibn Rabi `ah. He thus came to him as a guest and said: “A long period of war has prevailed between us and our people. We have come, therefore, seeking alliance against them.”
`Utbah answered: “Your dwellings are far from ours, and we have an important preoccupation which prevents us from undertaking any other.” As'ad asked: “What is your preoccupation, when you live securely in your sacred city? ” “A man has appeared among us who claims that he is the Messenger of Allah”, answered `Utbah. He continued: “This man has declared our minds foolish, and insulted our gods. He has also corrupted our youths and dissolved our unity.” “Who is he?”
`Utbah replied: “He is the son of `Abdullah son of `Abdu 'l-Muttalib. He is of a family that is of high honour and status among us.” As'ad and Dhakwan as well as all the people of the Aws and Khazraj tribes used to hear from the Jews of an‑Nadir, Qurayzah and Qaynuqa' ‑ who lived among them ‑ that: “The time has come when a prophet shall appear in Mecca, whose migration shall be to Medina. With him we shall slay you all, O people of the Arabs! ”
When As'ad heard all this from `Utbah, the things which he had heard from the Jews came back into his mind. He thus asked: “Where is he?” `Utbah answered: “He is sitting in the Ka'bah. They do not come out of their ravine except during the pilgrimage season. As for you, do not listen to him or speak to him, for he is a sorcerer who would bewitch you with his words.” All this took place at the time when the men of Hashim were besieged in the ravine. As'ad said: “What shall I do when I have come for the `umrah and it is necessary for me to circumambulate the House? ” He answered: “Plug your ears up with cotton.”
As'ad then went into the sanctuary, having stuffed his ears with cotton. He circumambulated the House while the Messenger of Allah was sitting in the sanctuary with some of the men of Hashim. He looked at the Prophet and passed him by. As he passed by, however, performing the second circumambulation, he said to himself: “Truly, there is no one more foolish than I ! Should all this occur in Mecca, and I know not what it is so that I might go back to my people and tell them? ” He thus took the cotton out of his ears, threw it away and addressed the Messenger of Allah, saying: “Have a happy morning!” This was the greeting of the Arabs before Islam. The Messenger of Allah turned to him and said: “Allah has given us another greeting instead which is better than this one; it is the greeting of the people of Paradise: `as‑Salamu `alaykum' (peace be upon you) .” As'ad said: “You must have come recently to this! What do you call men to, O Muhammad?”
He replied: “To the witness (shahadah) that there is no god but Allah, and that I am the Messenger of Allah! I enjoin upon you that:
`You associate nothing with Him, and that you act kindly towards your parents. Do not kill your children for fear of poverty, for We shall provide both for you and them. Do not come near vile transgressions, be they disclosed or hidden, and do not kill a soul, which Allah has made unlawful except with justice. With all this you have been charged that perhaps you may understand. Do not come near the wealth of an orphan except in the fairest manner, until he reaches the age of discretion. Give full and just measure and weight. Yet We do not charge a soul except in accordance with its capacity. When you speak, speak justly, even if it be against one who is nearest of kin. Fulfil Allah's covenant. You are enjoined to all this, that perhaps you may recollect.' ” 10
When As'ad heard this, he exclaimed: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, having no associate, and that you are the Messenger of Allah! O Messenger of Allah, may my father and my mother be a ransom for you! I am of the city of Yathrib (Medina), of the Khazraj tribe. All relations between us and our brothers of the Aws tribe are cut off. If Allah were to re‑establish them by means of you, I would find no one more honoured than you. Another man of my people is accompanying me. I trust that he too will enter into this matter, and that Allah will set our affairs right through you. By Allah, 0 Messenger of Allah, we often heard reports of you from the Jews. They used to announce to us your coming forth and inform us of your characteristics. I trust that our abode shall be the abode of your migration, and that with us shall be your dwelling. The Jews have informed us of this. Praise be to Allah Who led me to you! By Allah, I came only to seek some alliance against our opponents. Yet Allah has given us something better than the purpose for which I came.”
Dhakwan then came, and As'ad told him: “This is the Messenger of Allah whom the Jews announced and of whose characteristics they informed us. Come, therefore, and declare your Islam.” Dhakwan thus accepted Islam and said: “O Messenger of Allah, send with us a man who would teach us the Qur'an and call the people to your message.” The Messenger of Allah sent Mus'ab ibn `Umayr, a youth who had lived in luxury with his parents, who preferred him over all their other children, and who had never left Mecca. But when Mus'ab became a Muslim, his parents disowned him, and he remained with the Messenger of Allah in the ravine until the signs of exhaustion were visible on his changed face. The Messenger of Allah ordered him to go with As'ad, as he had learned much of the Qur'an. Dhakwan then left for Medina with As'ad accompanied by Mus'ab ibn `Umayr.
When As'ad and Dhakwan came to their people, they told them about the Messenger of Allah and his message. From every family one or two men accepted Islam. Mus'ab lived with As'ad ibn Zurarah, and every day he would go around the assemblies of the men of Khazraj calling them to Islam, but only the youths would accept his call. There was a man called `Abdullah ibn Ubayy who was a notable of the Khazraj tribe. They all agreed to appoint him as king over them because of his honourable status and generosity. They had made a crown for him which they then presented to him, seeking by this mediation in their long hostilities, for he had not fought on the side of his people of the Khazraj in the war of Bu'ath, nor had he supported them against the Aws tribe. He had said, rather, “You commit wrongdoing towards the Aws tribe, and I will not support wrongdoing.” Thus both the Aws and Khazraj accepted him.
When As'ad returned, `Abdullah ibn Ubayy did not like what he and Dhakwan brought back with them. He was, for this reason, indifferent. As'ad then said to Mus'ab: “My maternal uncle Sa'd ibn Mu'adh is one of the chiefs of the Aws tribe. He is a wise and honourable man, and is well respected among the people of `Amr ibn `Awf. If he were to enter into Islam, our cause would triumph. Let us, therefore, go to their dwellings.” Thus, Mus'ab went with As'ad to the quarter of Sa'd ibn Mu'adh and sat at one of their wells. A number of their youths gathered around him (Mus'ab), while he recited the Qur'an to them. When Sa'd ibn Mu'adh learnt of this, he said to Usayd ibn Hudayr, who was also one of their notables: “I have heard that Abu Umamah, As'ad ibn Zurarah has returned with a man of Quraysh to corrupt our youths. Go, therefore, to him and order him to desist.” Usayd ibn Hudayr went to them, and As'ad, looking at him, said to Mus'ab: “This is an honourable man, and if he joins our cause, I have hope that it will be strengthened. Exert yourself with him in the cause of Allah.”
When Usayd came near them, he said: “O Abu Umamah, your uncle says that you should not come to our assembly, nor should you corrupt our youths. Beware of the men of the Aws, for your own safety! ” Mus'ab said: “Would you not sit down that we may put before you a cause, which you may join if you so wish; otherwise, we shall remove from you anything you may dislike.” He sat down, and Mus'ab recited to him a Surah of the Qur'an. Usayd asked: “What do you do when you join this cause? ” Mus`ab answered, “We purify ourselves, wear two clean garments, proclaim the profession of faith (shahadah) and pray two rak'ahs.
Usayd threw himself with his clothes into the well; he came out, he wrung his garments and said: “Put it before me!” Mus'ab thus taught him the profession of faith that, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Usayd repeated the shahadah and offered two rak'ahs of prayers. He then said to As'ad: “O Abu Umamah, I shall now send your uncle to you; I shall use every persuasion to make him come to you.” Usayd then went back to Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, and when the latter looked at him, he said: “I swear that Usayd has returned to us with a different face from that with which he left us.”
Sa'd ibn Mu'adh then went to them, and Mus'ab recited to him:
Ha mim, a revelation from the All‑merciful, the Compassionate (Qur'an 41:1‑ 2) . “
By Allah,” the two men exclaimed, “we saw Islam in his face even before he uttered a word! ” He sent for two clean garments from his home; he proclaimed the two shahadahs and offered two rak'ahs of prayer. He then rose, took Mus'ab by the hand and took him to his home. He said to him: “Declare your cause and do not fear anyone!” Then Sa'd went and stood before the people of `Amr ibn `Awf and exclaimed: “O people of `Amr ibn `Awf, let there be Do man, woman, virgin or married woman, neither old man, nor youth but that they should come forth; this is not a day of hiding or seclusion! ” When they had all gathered, he said: “What is my status with you?” With one voice they said: “You are our master who is obeyed among us, nor shall we‑oppose you in anything! Command us then to do whatever you wish.”
He said: “It shall be unlawful for me to speak to your men, women or children until you bear witness that, `There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.' Praise be to Allah Who has honoured us with that (faith). He (Muhammad) is the one of whom the Jews informed us.” There was not a house of the people of `Amr ibn `Awf but that a man or woman of its inhabitants then accepted Islam. He then said to Mus'ab ibn `Umayr: “Declare your cause and call the people openly to it.” Thus, Islam spread widely in Medina. All the notables of the two tribes (that is, the Aws and Khazraj) entered into Islam, because of what they remembered of the reports of the Jews.
The Messenger of Allah was then informed of the coming of the Aws and Khazraj into Islam, for Mus'ab had written to him concerning this matter. But anyone of the Quraysh who had accepted Islam was beaten and tortured by his people. For this reason the Messenger of Allah ordered all such people to migrate to Medina. They used to escape secretly one man at a time and when they arrived in Medina, the people of the Aws and Khazraj opened their homes to them and received them with hospitality and kindness.
It is reported that when the people of the Aws and Khazraj came to Mecca (for the pilgrimage), the Messenger of Allah came to them and pleaded: “Would you protect me so that I may recite to you the Book of your Lord, and that your reward with Allah be Paradise? ” “Yes, O Messenger of Allah”, they answered. “You shall have whatever you wish for yourself and your Lord.”
He then said to them: “Your appointment with me shall be at the `Aqabah (a place outside Mecca) on the middle night of the nights of tashriq (that is, the three days following the Day of Sacrifice, which concludes the pilgrimage rites).” After they had performed the pilgrimage rites, they returned to Mina (one of the stations of the pilgrimage), many of them having accepted Islam, but the majority still adherents of their old religion. Among them on that journey was `Abdullah ibn Ubayy. The Messenger of Allah said to them on the second day of the days of tashriq, “Gather all of you in the house of `Abdu 'l-Muttalib, which is in the `Aqabah. Let each one come alone stealthily so that you wake up no one who is asleep.”
The Messenger of Allah was staying in the house of `Abdu 'l-Muttalib along with Hamzah, `Ali and al‑`Abbas. Forty men of the people of the Aws and Khazraj gathered together with him at the house of `Abdu 'l-Muttalib. When they had all settled down, the Messenger of Allah repeated his former plea: “Would you protect me so that I may recite to you the Book of your Lord, and that your reward with Allah be Paradise?” As'ad ibn Zurarah, al‑Bard' ibn Ma'rur and `Abdullah ibn Hizam all answered: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah, lay upon us whatever conditions you wish for yourself and your Lord.” The Messenger of Allah went on: “You shall protect me as you would protect yourselves, and protect my family as you would your families and children.” They enquired: “What shall be our benefit from all this?” He answered: “You shall have Paradise. You shall also rule over the Arabs and non‑Arabs in this world, and you shall be kings.” “We accept”, they all concurred.
Then al‑`Abbas ibn Nadlah of the Aws tribe arose and spoke to the people thus: “O people of the Aws and Khazraj, do you know full well where are you going? You are indeed headed for warfare with peoples both red and white (an expression indicating great scope and variety), as well as with the kings of this world! If you think that you will abandon him whenever calamity befalls you, then do not imperil him. For even though the people of the Messenger of Allah have opposed him, still he lives here in security and honour.” `Abdullah ibn Hizam, As'ad ibn Zurarah and Abu 'l-Haytham ibn at‑Tayyihan said: “Why should you be dismayed by such words, O Messenger of Allah? Rather, we shall ransom your blood with our blood and your soul with our souls. Lay down, therefore, whatever conditions you wish both for yourself and for your Lord! ”
The Messenger of Allah demanded: “Appoint for me twelve chiefs from among you who would guarantee all this for me, just as Moses took from among the Children of Israel twelve chiefs.11
They said: “Rather, choose them yourself if you so wish.” Gabriel pointed them out to him. Thus the Prophet, chose nine ‑of the Khazraj pointing to each man: As'ad ibn Zurarah, al‑Bard' ibn Ma'rur, `Abdullah ibn Hizam, Abu Jabir ibn `Abdillah, Rafi` ibn Malik, Sa'd ibn `Ubadah, al‑Mundhir ibn `Amr, `Abdullah ibn Rawdhah, Sa'd ibn ar‑Rabi` and `Ubadah ibn as‑Samit. Of the Aws tribe, he chose: Abu'lHaytham ibn at‑Tayyihan ‑ who was a man from Yemen and an ally of the people of `Amr ibn `Awf ‑ Usayd ibn Hudayr and Sad ibn Khaythamah.
When they had all come together to pledge allegiance to the Messenger of Allah, Satan cried out among the people of Quraysh saying: “O people of Quraysh and all you Arabs, behold Muhammad and the apostates with him at `Aqabah pledging their allegiance to him that they may wage war against you! ” His voice was so loud that it was heard by all the pilgrims who were in Mina. The people of Quraysh were greatly stirred up so that they rushed to arms. The Messenger of Allah heard the clamour, and ordered the Helpers (al‑Ansar) : “Disperse!” But they all said: “O Messenger of Allah, if you were to command us to rush at them with our swords, we would do so.” The Messenger of Allah replied: “I was not commanded to do this. Allah has not permitted me to wage war against them.” They persisted, saying: “O Messenger of Allah, would you then come out with us? ” “I must wait for Allah's Command”, he answered.
All the people of Quraysh to the last one came forth, heavily armed. Hamzah went out with his sword, accompanied by 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, and stood at the `Aqabah. When they saw Hamzah, they asked: “To what purpose have you all gathered together?” He answered: “No, we have not gathered together; nor is there anyone here. By Allah, no one shall go through this `Aqabah, but that I shall smite him with my sword! ”
They thus turned back and went to `Abdullah ibn Ubayy and said: “It has reached us that your people have pledged allegiance to Muhammad that they will wage war with him against us! ” But `Abdullah swore to them that his people had done nothing of the sort, that he had no knowledge of it and that they had not informed him of any such intention. The people of Quraysh believed him; the Ansar went their way, and the Messenger of Allah returned to Mecca.
The Associators plot against the Prophet; the Prophet migrates to Medina; and the Jubilation of the Ansar at his Arrival.
The Signs Which were Revealed Concerning His Prophethood, and Other Events of His Life Until He was Commanded to Fight
Following these events, the people of Quraysh assembled in the House of Assembly (Daru'n‑Nadwah), where forty of their notables were present. It was the custom that no one was allowed to enter that house until he was over forty years of age, except `Utbah ibn Rabi `ah, even though he was less than forty years old.
The accursed Satan came to them in the image of an old man. The door‑keeper asked him: “Who are you?” “I am an old man of Najd”, Satan replied. He asked permission to enter, and was permitted to do so. He then addressed the people saying: “I have come to know about your meeting regarding that man (that is, Muhammad) and have therefore come to advise you, so that you should not lose the opportunity of having my sound advice.”
When they had all taken their seats, Abu Jahl spoke and said: “O people of Quraysh, there was once no one among the Arabs with more honour than we had ‑ living as we were in the safety of Allah's sanctuary. The Arabs came to us from far and wide twice a year. No one coveted our fortunes until Muhammad grew up among us. Because of his goodness, we called him `al‑Amin' (the Trustworthy). Then he claimed to be the Messenger of the Lord of all beings. He insulted our gods and mocked us as men of foolish mind. He corrupted our youth, and dissolved our unity. My opinion is that we should send a man secretly to assassinate him. If the people of Hashim demand the price of his blood, we will give them the blood price of ten men.” Satan retorted: “This is bad advice, for the sons of Hashim would never allow Muhammad's assassin to walk on the earth. Wars would then be waged between you and them in your sanctuary.”
Another man said: “We should rather imprison him in a house, which he would not be allowed to leave. We would provide him with essential food until he dies, as did Zuhayr and an‑Nabighah. 12
Satan rejected this view: “The sons of Hashim would never agree to this course of action”, he objected. He went on: “When the pilgrimage season of the Arabs comes, they would all gather against you until they release him. Then he would surely deceive them with his sorcery.”
Another man suggested: “We should rather expel him from our lands, and thus be free to serve our gods.” Satan again said: “This view is even worse than the two preceding. This is because you are dealing with one who is of the fairest countenance, and the most eloquent of the Arabs. You shall only be sending him out to the desert dwellings of the Arabs that he may deceive them with his magic and eloquence. You will not have long to wait until he overwhelms you with men and horses.” Thus were they all bewildered.
Finally they asked Satan: “What do you advise?” He answered: “The only way is that you bring one notable from every clan of the Quraysh; one man of the sons of Hashim should also be included. They should each take an iron bar or a sword and rush at him, dealing him altogether one single blow! Then would the responsibility of his blood fall on all the people of Quraysh. The sons of Hashim would be unable to demand revenge for his blood, since they themselves would share in shedding it. Their only recourse would be to accept the blood price. Give them blood money for three ‑ or even ten ‑ men, if they so wish.” Then with one voice, they all said: “The right opinion is that of the old man of Najd! ”
They thus chose fifteen men, among whom was Abu Lahab (the uncle of the Prophet), and agreed that they would enter into the house of the Messenger of Allah and kill him. Allah then sent down to His Apostle:
Remember when those who rejected faith plotted against you: to imprison, kill or drive you out. . . (Qur'an 8:30) .
Thus agreed, they dispersed with the plan to attack the Prophet by night, keeping their plan secret. Abu Lahab suggested: “We should rather keep watch over him till the morning, then go in to attack him! ” They thus spent the night around the Messenger of Allah's house.
The Messenger of Allah asked that a bed be spread out for him. Then he said to `Ali: “O 'Ali, would you defend me with your own soul?” “Yes, O Messenger of Allah”, he readily agreed. The Prophet continued: “Sleep in my bed, and use my mantle as cover.” 'Ali then slept in the bed of the Messenger of Allah and covered himself with his mantle. Gabriel came and said to the Messenger of Allah, “Depart!”. The people gathered around the house, and seeing someone sleeping in his bed, they surmised that it was the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah went away reciting Surah Yasin till Allah's saying:
Thus have We enveloped them, so that they do not see (Qur'an 36:1‑9).
He took a handful of dust and threw it at them while they slept, and went on his way. Then Gabriel (directing the Messenger of Allah) said to him: “O Muhammad, take the route of Thawr ‑ a mountain located on the way to Mina, the shape of which resembles the hump of a bull (in Arabic: `thawr' ). Thus the Messenger of Allah continued on; Abu Bakr met him on the way and the Prophet took hold of his hand and went with him. Then when he reached the mountain of Thawr he entered the Cave.
Next morning, at the break of dawn, the people of Quraysh rushed into the room and went for the bed. `Ali jumped up, and facing them, asked: “What do you want?” They demanded: “Where is your cousin Muhammad?” He answered: “Did you set me as a guard over him! Did you not tell him to depart your town? He is gone; what more do you want? ” They rushed at `Ali, beating and reviling him. Abu Lahab, however, restrained them, saying: “It is you (`Ali) who have been deceiving us since last night.”
They thus scattered themselves in the mountains (in search of the Prophet). There was a man among them called Abu Kurz, of the tribe of Khuza'ah, who was known for his ability in tracking. They said to him: “Today is your day!” He continued to track the Messenger of Allah until he stood with them at the door of his room. He said: “This is the footprint of Muhammad, for it is, by Allah, a match of his footprint which is in the Ka'bah. These also are the footprints of Abu Quhafah (that is, Abu Bakr's father) and his son. He then said: “The son of Abu Quhafah (that is, Abu Bakr) went this way!” He then went on with them until they came to the entrance of the Cave, whereupon he said to them: “They did not go beyond this spot. Either they went up to heaven, or went into the ground.”
Allah, however, sent a spider which wove its web at the Cave's entrance (as we have already mentioned). It is reported that an angel came down in the image of a horseman and stood at the entrance of the Cave. He said to them: “Look for him around these ravines, for he is not here.” They began to search around in the countryside, while the Messenger of Allah remained in the Cave for three days. Finally, Allah permitted him to migrate.
It was revealed to the Messenger of Allah: “O Muhammad, depart from Mecca, for there is no longer a supporter in it after Abu Talib.” When the Messenger of Allah left the Cave, he met a shepherd who worked for a man of the Quraysh called `Abdullah ibn Urayqit. The Messenger of Allah called him and said: “O Ibn Urayqit, can I trust you with my life?” He answered: “If you do, I would guard you, keep your trust and never tell anyone of your whereabouts. Where do you wish to go, O Muhammad?” He answered: “To Yathrib.” The shepherd exclaimed: “By Allah, I shall take you through a way that no one will ever be able to find.” The Messenger of Allah said: “Go to 'Ali and tell him that Allah has permitted me to migrate, and that he should prepare for me provisions and a mount.”
Abu Bakr also said: “Go to my daughter Asma' and tell her to make ready for me provisions and two mounts. Also, inform `Amir ibn Fuhayrah of our decision.” `Amir was one of Abu Bakr's clients who had accepted Islam. “Tell him”, Abu Bakr directed, “to bring us, the provisions and two mounts.” Ibn Urayqit went to 'Ali and told him what the Prophet had requested. 'Ali thus sent to the Messenger of Allah provisions and a mount, and `Amir ibn Fuhayrah sent provisions and two mounts.
The Messenger of Allah finally left the Cave and Ibn Urayqit took the road to Nakhlah, a tortuous road between mountains. They did not join the main road until they reached Qudayd, a place near Mecca. They came as guests to Umm Ma'bad, the story of whose ewe and its miracle has already been related. Likewise, the account of Suraqah ibn Malik ibn Ju'shum al‑Mudliji and the sinking of the legs of his horse in the ground has been related; hence there is no need to repeat them.
After Suraqah had, however, left the Prophet, the people of Quraysh saw him. They asked if he knew where Muhammad was, and he answered: “I came to know that he had departed from you, and I combed this whole area for you, and saw no trace of anyone. Return, therefore; he is not here.”
News of the coming of the Messenger of Allah reached the Ansar, who continued to expect his arrival. Men and women would go out every morning to meet him, but when the heat grew stronger, they would return. It is related on the authority of Ibn Shihab az‑Zuhri that between the night of al‑`Aqabah and the Migration of the Messenger of Allah there were three months. The pledge of allegiance (bay `ah) of the Ansar to the Messenger of Allah took place on the night of al‑`Aqabah in the month of Dhi'l-Hijjah, and he arrived in Medina on the 12th of Rabi`u'l-Awwal, on Monday.
The Ansar used to go out seeking news of him. When, however, they despaired of his arrival, they returned to their homes.
Finally, the Apostle of Allah did arrive. When he reached Dhu'l-Hulayfah (a small village around six miles distance from Medina), he asked the way to the quarters of the people of `Amr ibn `Awf, and people directed him. The sun's glare showed his shadow clearly. A Jewish man sitting on a hillock in his land, when he saw three riders coming towards the quarter of Banu `Amr ibn `Awf, cried out: “O Muslims, here is your companion; he has arrived.” A great clamour arose in Medina, and men, women and children came out to meet him, overtaking one another in their haste.
As soon as he arrived, the Messenger of Allah went straightway to the Mosque of Quba, where he dismounted. The people of `Amr ibn `Awf gathered around him rejoicing. He went as guest to the home of Kulthum ibn al‑Hidm, an old and pious blind man. All the families of the Aws tribe gathered, but because there were old hostilities between the Aws and Khazraj tribes, they did not dare come to the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah looked carefully at the faces of the assembled people, but did not see among them any men of the Khazraj. A few men of the Immigrants (muhajirun) had already come to Medina and settled at the quarter of `Amr ibn `Awf. It is reported that when the Prophet arrived in Medina, women and children met him chanting:
The full moon has arisen over us from Thaniyyatu'l- Wada`.
Gratitude is due from us so long as there is someone who invites to Allah.13
Salman, the Persian (a well‑known Companion and an important personality in Shi'i piety) was a slave of one of the Jews. He had left his home in Persia in search of the pure (hanif) religion of which the people of the scriptures (Jews and Christians) had informed him. He came one day upon a Christian monk in Syria with whom he stayed for a while and whom he questioned concerning this religion. The monk said: “Go look for him! In Mecca shall be his appearance, and to Yathrib (Medina) shall be his migration; seek him out there.” Salman thus set out for Yathrib, where some Bedouins captured him and sold him to a Jew. He set him to work on his date‑palm. As he was one day in the tree pruning it, another Jew came to his master and said: “O father of so‑and‑so, are you aware that the Prophet of these Muslims has come to them?” Salman exclaimed: “May I be a ransom for you what is it that you say?” “What is it to you” ‑ his master retorted, “that you ask concerning this? Go on with your work!”
Salman climbed down and filled a tray with the dates of that palm and took it to the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah asked: “What is this?” “It is only a freewill gift (sadaqah) of our dates”, Salman answered. He continued: “We heard that you people are strangers who have come to these lands. I wish, therefore, that you eat of our charitable gift.” The Messenger of Allah said to his Companions: “Go ahead and eat.” Salman said to himself in Persian and counted on his fingers, “This is one (test).” Later, he brought the Prophet another tray of dates. The Messenger of Allah again asked: “What is this?” Salman answered: “I see that you do not eat of a freewill gift. This is, therefore, a gift (hadiyyah), which I present to you.” The Prophet said to his Companions: “Mention the name of Allah and eat.” He too ate. Salman counted again on his fingers saying: “This is a second (test)”, again muttering to himself in Persian.
Salman then went around to the back of the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah took down his shirt off his shoulders, and Salman saw the seal of Prophethood and the mole, which he began to kiss fervently. The Messenger of Allah asked: “Who are you?” He answered: “I am a man of the Persians. I left my home since such and such a time.” He then recounted to him his long story.
Salman entered into Islam, and the Messenger of Allah gave him the glad tidings: “Be patient and of good cheer, for Allah shall find a way of relief from the yoke of this Jewish man.”
That evening, Abu Bakr left the Prophet and went to Medina where he stayed with one of the Ansar. The Messenger of Allah, however, remained in Quba, in the house of Kulthum ibn al‑Hidm. After the Messenger of Allah had offered the sunset and night prayers, As'ad ibn Zurarah came to him masked. He greeted the Messenger of Allah and was glad at his coming. As'ad then said: “O Messenger of Allah, I would not hear that you are in a place and stay so long away from you. It is rather because of the things you know which exist between us and our brothers of the Aws. For this reason, I did not wish to come to them. But I could no longer bear to stay away from you.”
The Messenger of Allah cried out to the people of Aws: “Who among you would give him protection?” They all answered: “O Messenger of Allah, our protection is yours to grant; you grant him protection! ” “No”, he replied, “rather let some of you take him into their protection.” Then `Uwaym ibn Sa'idah and Sa'd ibn Khaythamah said: “We shall do so, O Messenger of Allah.” They thus took As'ad into their protection, and he used to come daily to the Messenger of Allah, listening to his words and praying behind him.
The Messenger of Allah remained there fifteen days. Abu Bakr then came to him and said: “O Messenger of Allah, enter Medina, for the people are eager for you to dwell among them.” He answered: “I shall not leave this place until my brother 'Ali joins me.” The Messenger of Allah had already sent to him saying: “Bring the family and come.” Abu Bakr said: “I do not think that `All would join you.” “Yes”, the Prophet said, “soon he shall come, if Allah wills.”
After these fifteen days had passed, `Ali came with his family. When he arrived, Sa'd ibn ar‑Rabi` and `Abdullah ibn Rawahah were busy smashing the idols of the Khazraj. Every man of high status had an idol in his house, which he cleaned and perfumed. As well, every clan of the Aws and Khazraj had their special idol in their house of assembly. They honored such idols, covering them with a special cloth and offering to them animal sacrifices. When, however, the twelve men of the Ansar (whom the Prophet had chosen) came to the city, they cast out the idols from their homes and the homes of those who heeded them. When later the seventy (chosen men) came, Islam spread rapidly among the people, who then began to break their own idols.
After `Ali's arrival, the Messenger of Allah remained (in Quba) for one or two days, after which he mounted his she‑camel and prepared to depart. All the people of `Amr ibn `Awf came to him saying: “O Messenger of Allah, stay with us, for we are indeed a people of serious purpose and constant striving. We are a people of true alliance and protection.” He answered: “Rather she (his mount) has been so commanded.”
The tribes of the Aws and Khazraj heard of the coming of the Messenger of Allah, and they took up arms and came running around him and his she‑camel. He did not pass by any quarter of the Ansar but that they jumped up before him and, taking hold of the rope of his she‑camel, beseeched him to stay with them. All the while the Messenger of Allah would say: “Let her go, for she is so commanded.” He went on until he arrived at the quarter of the tribe of Salim.
The Messenger of Allah left Quba on Friday, and arrived at the quarter of Banu Salim around noon. The men of the tribe of Salim came to him and exclaimed: “Come O Messenger of Allah to men of serious purpose, steadfastness, true allegiance and protection.” His she‑camel knelt down at the door of their mosque ‑ they had in fact built a mosque before the arrival of the Messenger of Allah. He dismounted at their mosque and offered the noon prayer and delivered a sermon. This was the first mosque in which the Messenger of Allah delivered a Friday sermon. He prayed towards Jerusalem, and the number of those who prayed behind him on that day was around one hundred.
The Messenger of Allah rode his she‑camel and let loose her rope, and she roamed freely until she halted at the dwelling of `Abdullah ibn Ubayy. The Prophet stopped, thinking that the latter would offer him hospitality. As dust rose, `Abdullah ibn Ubayy placed his sleeve over his nose and said: “Go you to those who have beguiled and deceived you, and brought you here. Go enjoy their hospitality, but do not impose yourself on us in our homes.” Allah then sent against the people of Banu l-Hubla small ants which destroyed their houses, so that they had to beg hospitality of others. The people of Banul-Hubla were so called because the grandfather of `Abdullah ibn Ubayy was nicknamed `Ibnu'l-Hubla' (son of the pregnant woman).
Sa'd ibn `Ubadah (a well‑known Companion of the Ansar) said: “O Messenger of Allah, let not your heart be troubled by anything which this man may say. For we had all agreed to set him up as king over us, but now he sees that you have despoiled him of an opportunity which was close at hand. Come and be my guest, O Messenger of Allah, for there is no one in the Aws or Khazraj who owns as many wells as I do. We are people of steadfastness and honour. Do not, therefore, bypass us, O Messenger of Allah.”
The Messenger of Allah, however, let loose his she camel's rope, and she trotted until she halted in the spot of the Mosque of Medina, which was then not a mosque but a resting ground for animals, belong to two orphans called Sahl and Suhayl. The two boys were in the protection of As'ad ibn Zurarah. The she‑camel knelt down at the door of Abu Ayyub Khalid ibn Yazid. The Messenger of Allah dismounted and immediately people gathered around him offering their hospitality. The mother of Abu Ayyub, however, quickly ran and removed the she‑camel's saddle and took it into her home. As the men continued to insist, the Messenger of Allah asked: “Where is the saddle?”, and was told that Abu Ayyub's mother had taken it into her home.
The Prophet said: “A man should always be with his goods.” As'ad took hold of the she‑camel's rope and led her into his home. Abu Ayyub had a room over his house, and he did not wish to be higher than the Messenger of Allah. Thus he asked: “O Apostle of Allah, which is preferable to you, an elevated house, or one at ground level?” He answered: “Ground level is more suitable for us on account of the people who will come to see us.” Abu Ayyub later recounted: “Thus my mother and I lived in the upper room. But I was afraid any time I brought in a pail full of water that a drop may fall on the Messenger of Allah. My mother and I, moreover, used to go up to the room carefully in order that he might not notice us, and we spoke in whispers. When he slept, we made no movement. Whenever we cooked in our room, we used to close the door for fear that the Messenger of Allah might be affected by the smoke. An earthenware jug of water fell one day so that the water was spilled. The mother of Abu Ayyub took a velvet garment which, by Allah, was the only one we had, and used it to mop the water for fear that it might drip down over the Messenger of Allah.”
Muslims of the Aws, Khazraj and the Immigrants (muhajirin) used to come to have audience with the Messenger of Allah. Abu Umamah (the agnomen of) As'ad ibn Zurarah used to send every day to the Prophet a large dish of tharid (that is, of sopped bread with broth), covered by a large chunk of meat. All present would eat to satiation, but the dish would be returned as though untouched. Likewise, Sa'd ibn `Ubadah used to send to the Prophet supper every day which he would share with whomever was present. The dish was also returned full as it was brought. As'ad ibn Zurarah, Sa'd ibn Khaythamah, al‑Mundhir ibn `Amr, Sa'd ibn ar‑Rabi ` and Usayd ibn Hudayr used to take turns in sending lunch and supper to the Prophet. It is reported that one day Usayd cooked for him a large earthenware pot full of food, which he himself carried to him because he found no one else to do so. He was a noble man, chieftain.
He came to the Messenger of Allah just as the latter had returned from offering prayers. “Did you yourself carry it?” asked the Prophet. “Yes”, answered Usayd, “I found no one else to carry it.” The Prophet exclaimed: “Allah's blessings be upon such a household! ”
It is reported in the book entitled Dala'ilu'n‑Nubuwwah 14 on the authority of Anas ibn Malik who said: “The Messenger of Allah came to Medina; as soon as he entered it, the men and women of the Ansar came to him begging, `Come stay with us, O Messenger of Allah!' He answered: `Let the she‑camel go, for she is so commanded.” The she camel finally knelt down at the door of Abu Ayyub. Thereupon, a few maidens of the tribe of Banu'n‑Najjar came forth with tambourines which they beat as they chanted: `We are maidens of Banu'n‑Najjar! How we would love to have Muhammad as a guest in our protection.' The Messenger of Allah came out to them and asked, `Do you love me?' They answered: `Yes, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah!' He repeated three times: `I too love you O Banu'n‑Najjar.' ”
'Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Hashim reported that the Jews of the Qurayzah, an‑Nadir and Qaynuqa` tribes came to the Prophet and asked: “O Muhammad, to what are you inviting people?” He answered: “I call men to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Apostle of Allah, whom you find described in the Torah15 and of whom your own learned men have already informed you ‑ my appearance shall be in Mecca, and my migration shall be to this land. One of your own learned men who came from Syria also spoke to you saying: `I left both wine and leavened bread and came to privation and a diet of dates, seeking a prophet who shall be sent forth in this plain (that is, Medina).
His appearance shall be in Mecca and his migration to this city. He is the last of the prophets and the most excellent of them. He shall ride a donkey, wrap himself in an outer garment, and will be satisfied with a piece of dry bread. In his eyes there is redness, and between his shoulders is the seal of Prophethood. He shall carry his sword upon his shoulder, and will not be dismayed by anyone he confronts. He shall be a smiling man, but also a slayer. His authority shall spread to the furthest regions that can be reached by the hoof of a camel or that of a horse.' ”
They answered: “We have heard what you have to say, and have come to ask for a truce between us, that we shall be neither with you, nor against you. We would not support anyone against you. In return, you shall neither trouble us, nor anyone of our coreligionists until we see how it shall be with you and your people.” The Messenger of Allah. agreed with them on these conditions. Thus, they drew up a written agreement that they would not support anyone against the Messenger of Allah or anyone of his Companions, be it with the tongue or hand, with arms or horses, neither openly nor in secret, neither by night nor by day. “To all this, Allah shall be an All‑knowing Witness. If they revoke this covenant, then it shall be lawful for the Messenger of Allah to shed their blood, capture their children and women and seize their wealth.” The Messenger of Allah then wrote a pledge to each tribe separately.
The man who represented the tribe of Banu'n‑Nadir was Huyayy ibn Akhtab. When he returned to his home, his brothers Judayy ibn Akhtab and Abu Yasir ibn Akhtab asked: “What do you say?” He answered: “He is indeed the one whom we find described in the Torah, and of whom our learned men had informed us. Yet I shall continue to be his enemy, because Prophethood has ceased to be in the progeny of Isaac and has instead been established in the line of Ishmael. Nor should we ever become followers of the descendants of Ishmael.”
The man who represented the tribe of Qurayzah was Ka'b ibn Asad. A man called Mukhayriq represented the tribe of Banu Qaynuqa`. He‑was the wealthiest man among them, possessing much wealth and orchards. He said to his people: “If you know for certain that he is the Prophet sent by Allah, then let us believe in him. In this way, we would possess both scriptures.” But the tribe of Qaynuqa` did not agree with him on the matter.
It is reported that the Messenger of Allah continued to pray with his Companions in the animal fold. He said one day to As'ad ibn Zurarah: “Go and buy this animal fold from its owners!” He thus went to purchase it from the two orphans, .but they said: “Rather, we give 'it to the Messenger of Allah.” The Messenger of Allah objected saying: “No, only if you accept its price.” He bought it for ten dinars. There was a swamp .of stagnant water in it which the Messenger of Allah ordered drained. Then the Messenger of Allah had baked mud bricks prepared, which he used to build it into a mosque. He dug the foundations and had stones carried from al‑Harrah (at the outskirts of Medina). As the Muslims were carrying them, the Messenger of Allah came carrying a stone on his chest. Usayd ibn Hudayr met him and said: “O Messenger of Allah, give it to me that I may carry it for you! ” “No”, he answered, “go and carry another one.”
In this way, they carried the stones which they used to build the foundations, until they reached ground level. The Prophet first used regular mud bricks, one over the other. He then used samit, that is, bricks equalling one and a half bricks each. Finally, he used two alternate bricks at a time which fit into one another. Thus he raised up the walls to the height of a man. The width of the Mosque in the back was 100 cubits.
As the heat became intolerable, the people made a request of the Prophet, saying: “O Messenger of Allah, would that you raise up some shade over us! ” He thus raised up columns of wood as far as the vestibule, over which he laid palm branches. They were then able to stay in it. The people again suggested: “O Apostle of Allah, would that you build an actual roof!” “No”, he replied, “rather an awning made of branches like the booths of Moses. Matters are too urgent for all that.”
The Messenger of Allah then built his houses and those of his Companions around the mosque. He plotted a space for his Companions wherein they built their houses. Every one of them opened a door of his house into the mosque. He plotted a space for Hamzah and had the door of his house opened into the mosque. He plotted a similar space for `All ibn Abi Talib. They were all able to come out of their homes directly into the mosque. Gabriel, however, came down to him and said: “O Muhammad, Allah commands you to order everyone whose house opens out into the mosque to close that door. Let no one have a door which opens out into the mosque except you and `All. This is because whatever is made lawful for you in this matter, is also made lawful for `Ali.”
The Prophet's Companions became angry because of this. Hamzah angrily complained: “I am his uncle, yet he orders that my door be closed, and leaves open the door of my nephew who is younger than me.” The Prophet came to him and said: “O uncle, be not dismayed because your door was closed, while 'Ali's door was left open. By Allah, it was not I who ordered that; rather Allah commanded that all your doors be closed but that `All's door be left open.” Hamzah answered: “O Apostle of Allah, I accept and willingly submit to Allah and His Apostle.”
It is reported that when the Messenger of Allah built his houses Fatimah was with him; and that Abu Bakr asked for her hand in marriage, upon which the Messenger of Allah said to him, “Wait for the command of Allah, glorified and exalted be He.” Then `Umar asked for her hand, and the Prophet replied in a similar manner. It was asked of 'Ali, “Why do you not ask for Fatimah's hand? ”, he answered, “By Allah, I have nothing! ” He was told, “The Messenger of Allah will not ask for anything.” He then came to the Prophet, but found himself shy to ask him and thus left. He came another time the next day, but again was too shy and left. Again he came a third day, and the Messenger of Allah said to him, ” 'Ali, is there something you want?” “Yes, O Messenger of Allah”, he answered. The Messenger of Allah said: “Perhaps you come as a suitor?”, and 'Ali replied, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet then asked, “Do you have anything, `All?” “I have nothing”, 'Ali replied, “save my armour.”
Thus the Messenger of Allah married him for twelve and one‑half awqiyyahs (that is, two hundred and fifty dirhams), for which `All sold his armour. Then the Messenger of Allah said to him, “Prepare a house so that Fatimah can move into it”, to which 'Ali replied, “O Messenger of Allah, there is no house here except a house of Harithah ibn an‑Nu'man. And on the day the Commander of the Faithful consummated his marriage with Fatimah she was nine years of age. But the Messenger of Allah said, “By Allah, we are ashamed before Harithah, for we have already taken almost all of his houses!” News of this reached Harithah, and he came to the Messenger of Allah and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I and my wealth belong to Allah and His Messenger, and by Allah there is nothing which I would like more than that you take it (the house), for what you take from me is then more dear than that which you leave.” The Messenger of Allah thus blessed him and sent Fatimah to 'Ali in the house of Harithah. And their bed was of the skin of a ram, the fleece of which they placed facing up under them.
It is reported that the Messenger of Allah used to pray toward Jerusalem during his stay in Mecca, and also during his Migration (to Medina) for a period of seven months. When he had passed seven months there, however, the Jews reproached him, saying, “You are our follower, praying toward our qiblah (direction of pray) and we precede you in prayer!”
The Messenger of Allah was greatly troubled by this, and wished that Allah would change his qiblah to the Ka'bah. He went out in the middle of the night and gazed at the horizons of heaven, awaiting the command of Allah. The next day he went to the Mosque of the Banu Salim, in which the first commual Friday prayers in Medina had been held, and there he prayed the afternoon (zuhr) prayers with them, two rak'ahs toward Jerusalem and two toward Mecca. Thus was sent down:
We have seen you turning your face to the heavens, and We shall surely give you a qiblah with which you shall be pleased (Qur'an 2 :144) .
Then the Verse of Fighting (ayatu'l‑qital) was sent down to the Messenger of Allah permitting him to fight against the Quraysh, as He says:
Sanction is given to those who fight because they have been wronged, and Allah is well able to give them victory (Qur'an 22:39) ,
to those who have been driven unjustly from their homes only because they say, “Our Lord is Allah”. . . (Qur'an 22:40).
- 1. See al‑Bayhaqi, vol. 1, p. 409.
- 2. ibid., vol.1, pp. 418 ‑ 9.
- 3. See for a detailed account of the migration to Abyssinia, Ibn Hisham, vol.1, pp. 343 ‑ 63, and Guillaume, pp. 146 ‑ 55.
- 4. See al‑Bayhaqi, vol. 2, pp. 53 ‑ 54.
- 5. See the previous footnote. See also al‑Bukhari, vol. 5, pp. 8‑ 9.
- 6. See al‑Bukhari, vol. 4, pp. 238 ‑ 9.
- 7. That is, the Kitab Ma`rifatu's‑Sahabah of the traditionist Ibn Mandah, Abu `Abdillah Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya al‑`Abdi al‑Isfahani (d. 395/ 1005). The work remains in manuscript. See Sezgin, Band I, pp. 214 ‑ 5.
- 8. See al‑Bayhaqi, vol. 2, p. 158.
- 9. Bu'ath was a fortress belonging to the Aws tribe. The Battle of Bu'ath took place between the warring tribes of al‑Aws and al‑Khazraj some years before the Migration.
- 10. See Qur'an 6 :151 ‑ 2.
- 11. See Qur'an 5:12.
- 12. This apparently refers to the two well‑known poets: an‑Nabighah adh‑Dhubyani and Zuhayr as‑Sulami. Kitabu'l-Aghani of al‑Isfahani, and other sources consulted, do not corroborate the incident alluded to in this account.
- 13. This poem has become a favorite chant in Muslim piety. Two more lines have been added, which read: You who have been sent as a Messenger from God to us, you come with a command worthy of obedience! You have come honoring Medina, welcome to you, O best of those who invite to God!
- 14. See al‑Bayhaqi, vol. 2, p. 234.
- 15. See Qur'an 7:157.