Chapter One: Prophethood and Promulgation of the Religion
Chapter Two: The Public Propagation and the Start of Oppositions
Chapter Three: The Consequences and Reactions of Opposition to the Qur'an
The Holy Prophet’s ancestors were all monotheists and his household was pure. Beside the sincerity and purity of his ancestors and household, he enjoyed pure and high education and always stayed away from the unseemliness and abomination of idolatry practiced by the Meccan people.1 Referring to the period of the Holy Prophet’s training and education, Imam ‘Ali (a.s) states:
From the time of Muhammad's nursing days, God provided him with His most elegant angels to guide him towards the most appropriate virtues.2
Imam al-Baqir (s) has said,
From the time the Holy Prophet stopped suckling, God appointed him an elegant angel to teach and train him good manners and appropriate behavior. It was the same angel who, prior to his prophethood, called him saying “Blessings be to you, Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah.” However, the Holy Prophet thought that the voice was coming from the stones and the ground; and the more he paid attention the less he could observe anything.3
Approaching his prophethood, Muhammad (S) had reached the highest point in rational thinking; he could not tolerate corrupted surroundings anymore and preferred seclusion.4
From the time he was thirty-seven years old, he was dominated by some specific spiritual conditions. He felt there was a window open to him from the unknown world. Whatever he had heard from Bahira, Nustur and others was taking place, because he was observing a new light and exposed to some secrets: he repeatedly received some messages from Gabriel, but he could not identify the sender.5 For a time during his sleep, he was addressed as the Prophet. Once, in the desert surrounding Mecca, he heard someone calling him Messenger of Allah. He asked, “Who are you?” The answer was, “I am Gabriel; God has sent me to tell you that you are His Messenger.” When he told his wife of the content of the message, she became delighted, saying, “I hope it is true.”6
During this time, Muhammad (S) used to resort to Hara’ Mount to pray God7 in seclusion.8 It was a common practice among the Qurayshi monotheists to stay at Hara’ and worship God.9 The first person to carry out such a practice was ‘Abd al-Muttalib, the Holy Prophet's grandfather, who used to go to Hara’ during the months of Ramadhan. He used to feed the needy in this month.10
When Muhammad (S) was at the age of forty, he still attended the Hara’ Mount to pray to God where he received the first verses of the Holy Qur’an as the first revelations:11
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Read in name of your Lord who created. He created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is most honorable, who taught to write with the pen, taught man what he knew not. (96:1-5)12
In two places of the Holy Qur’an, God has referred to the meeting of Muhammad (S) with Gabriel.
I swear by the star when it goes down; Your companion (i.e. Muhammad) does not err, nor does he go astray; nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed; the Lord of Mighty Powers has taught him, the Lord of strength; so he attained completion, and he (i.e. the angel) is in the highest part of the horizon. Then he drew near (to Muhammad) then he bowed so he was the measure of two bows or closer still. And He revealed to His servant what he revealed. The heart (of Muhammad) was not untrue, making him see what he saw. (53:1-12)13
I swear by the stars, that run their course and hide themselves, and the night when it departs, And the morning when it brightens, Most surely it is the Word of an honored messenger, The possessor of strength, having an honorable place with the Lord of the Dominion, One to abide, and faithful in trust. And Your companion (Muhammad) has not gone mad. And of a truth, he saw himself on the clear horizon. Nor of the unseen has he tenacious concealed. Nor is it the word of the cursed Shaitan, Wither then will you go? (81:15-25)
An Untrue Account of the Start of the Revelation
In some historical books, there is an erroneous and mystical account of the prophethood of Muhammad (S). This account is widespread; it has found its way into some Persian books as well; therefore, it is better for us to evaluate it critically.
‘A’ishah reports: When revelation occurred to Muhammad (S), its content was right. Any dream that he had previously had come true. Then, he became fond of seclusion; he took refuge in Hara’ cave. He used to stay there praying God, and then he would return to his family and receive some food from Khadijah to return to the cave. When the angel came to him, he was staying at the cave. The angel said, “Read.” The Prophet answered, “I do not know how to read.” The angel took and squeezed him so much that he lost his temper! Then, the angel let go of him, saying, “Read.” The Prophet, once more, answered, “I do not know how to read.” The angel again squeezed and ordered him to read. Once again, the Prophet replied that he could not read. On the third time, the pressure was so great on the Prophet’s body that he could tolerate no more. Then, the angel said, “Read in the name of your Lord Who created.” The Prophet returned home trembling all over. Going directly to Khadijah, he asked her to cover him. As she did, his fear and anxiety went away. The Prophet then told Khadijah about what had happened and about his anxiety. At that time, she tried to ease him, saying, “I swear to God that He would never humiliate you since you have been kind to everybody; you have been helping the needy and hosting the guests.” Then, Khadijah accompanied him to her cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal. He was a blind elderly man who had converted to Christianity and translated the Gospel into Hebrew. Khadijah said, “It is prophethood, cousin! Listen to what he will tell you.” Waraqah asked Muhammad (S), “What do you see, my nephew?” The Prophet told him what had happened. Waraqah then said, “This is the same angel who had revealed to Moses. I wish I were young now. I wish I would be alive when your people would expel you.”14
As we have already said, this narration in this form is not acceptable. The following reasons show that it lacks the required authenticity:
(1) The narrator is ‘A’ishah who was born in the fourth (or fifth) year after prophethood.15 Therefore, she was not mature enough at that time to have reported this account and since she does not mention the name of the original narrator, her reporting lacks the required authenticity.
(2) According to this narration, the angel of revelation forced Muhammad (S) to read while he was illiterate! If we assume that Muhammad (S) had to read God's verses, a written plate, it is neither natural nor logical, since God and the angel knew that he was illiterate and he did not have the skill of reading. If it is meant that the Prophet had to repeat the verses after the angel, this should not have been very difficult for Muhammad (S) who was mentally mature and advanced at that age.
(3) What is meant by the angel's persistence in putting pressure on the Prophet? This is absurd when we realize that learning is a mental act; therefore, bodily pressure would not have any effect on it. If we assume that the Prophet could have suddenly become capable of reading through God's Power, God's determination would have sufficed and these arrangements would have looked absurd. Even if we assumed that the source of this bodily pressure had been due to Muhammad's relationship to the unknown world and the source of creation (This is because he, with all his grandeur, was earthly and had an earthly and mundane origin), this assumption would be hard to justify. This is because, according to the Holy Qur’an, the revelation of God’s word to the Prophets happens in the following ways:
a) Direct connection and the receipt of the Divine Revelation without any intermediary,
b) Through hearing the voice without observing the owner of the voice, and
c) Through Gabriel or the Angel of Revelation.16
The Holy Prophet suffered a lot of pressures only when he was receiving the revelations; in accordance with some narrations, he suffered such tremendous amount of pressures that he would lose the color of his face and perspire a great deal so much so that the drops of sweat would fall from his complexion.17 However, if he received the revelations indirectly through the angel, he would not undergo any drastic bodily changes. This state is reported by Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) who said,
Whenever the revelation came through Gabriel; he said so and so; however, if he received the revelation directly, he would show the pressures he was under and sometimes he would become unconscious.18
Meeting with Gabriel did not produce any special emotional reaction in the Holy Prophet and Gabriel would never enter his presence without permission. He would sit in front of him quite politely.19
Historians unanimously contend that since the first verses of the Holy Qur’an were revealed in the Hara’ cave by Gabriel, the Holy Prophet did not suffer any unusual pressure. Of course, this does not negate the worry which the Holy Prophet had vis-à-vis the idolaters and their animosities.
(4) Taking into consideration the fact that the Holy Prophet received the revelations continuously, there is no need to assume that he would be taken by surprise or have been perplexed. Besides, in most records, Gabriel attended the Holy Prophet’s presence for the first time on Saturday night, Sunday night and Monday night to ascend revelations to him.20
So, Gabriel’s visit in Hara’ was not the first so that he might have been perplexed. Generally, it is the case that a person would not receive God's revelation unless he was quite prepared for such a huge position.
(5) How could it happen for Khadijah to have known more than the Holy Prophet and to have comforted him when she had seen him anxious?
(6) The worst part of the above fable is the assumption that the Holy Prophet had been raised to this position of prophethood without previous knowledge; and that he had not recognized Gabriel and could not have recognized him or his Message until an old Christian confirmed; and Muhammad (S) had relied on his prediction and had been assured of his prophethood and had become quiet! We do not need to elaborate on this story because it is so absurd that it would not need to be criticized.
(7) It is noteworthy that such unfounded myths have never been presented for the prophethood of the previous prophets.
(8) This myth is incompatible with what the Holy Qur’an states about the Holy Prophet:
The heart was not untrue making him see what he saw. (53:11)
Tabirsi, well-known Shi’ite scholar and interpreter of the Holy Qur'an, writes:
God would not reveal anything to His Prophet unless His revelations are accompanied by some vivid reasons and unless He assures to the Prophet that what is revealed unto him is from God. The Prophet would not need anything more and he does not need to be worried.21
When Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked by one of his followers, “Why didn't the Holy Prophet assume that the revelation could have been nothing but Satan’s temptations when he received them?” The Imam answered,
“When God appoints a servant of His as a prophet, He would give him the required assurances in such a way that he would vividly observe what is revealed unto him.”22
Although they are distinguished scholars, the interpreters of Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim (in which ‘A’ishah’s account appears) have taken the narration as authentic and then tried to explain it, but they resorted to spurious reasoning which at times seems irrational.23
Similar narrations have been reported by narrators such as ‘Abdullah ibn Shaddad, ‘Ubayd ibn ‘Umayr, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr. However, since their accounts are baseless and invented, we will not deal with them.24 These spurious and unfounded accounts have penetrated into some Christian sources and misused against the Holy Prophet.25 This critique of ours would make them useless.
For three years, the Holy Prophet invited people to the new religion secretly, because the circumstances at Mecca were not yet ready for an open invitation. During these three years, he secretly met people whom he thought mentally ready to accept the new religion.26 He invited them to accept the uniqueness of Allah and his prophethood. Meanwhile, Quraysh became aware of his claims; whenever they saw him on the roads and streets, they used to remark, “The young man of Banu-’Abd al-Muttalib talks about the heavens.”27 However, they were not aware of the content of his invitations since he did not proclaim his ideology. Therefore, they would not react harshly.
During this time, some people became Muslims. Then, one of these newly converted, named Arqam, offered his house which was at the foot of Safa Mount to be used by the Prophet.
Up to the time when he initiated his open invitation, the Holy Prophet and Muslims would gather at this house, which had become a center for the religious propaganda, and prayed therein.28
In accordance with the unanimous view of Muslim historians, Khadijah was the first woman to accept Islam. Among men, ‘Ali29 was the first man to accept Islam.30 This is because it was natural for the Prophet to inform Khadijah, his wife, and ‘Ali, who was a member of his household and was educated and nourished by him, of his ideology as soon as he returned home from Hara’. Those two who were familiar with Muhammad's sincerity, confirmed him immediately. It would not be difficult to prove this issue even in the absence of valid historical documents. However, there are ample documents, some of which we will address here:
(1) The Holy Prophet explicitly referred to ‘Ali's pioneering in accepting Islam. At the presence of a group of Muslims, he declared:
The first person among you, who will meet me at the side of the heavenly fountain [Kawthar], on the Resurrection day, will be ‘Ali, who is the first among you who accepted Islam.31
(2) Great and well-known narrators report that Muhammad (S) became a prophet on Monday and ‘Ali prayed with him on Tuesday.32
(3) Imam ‘Ali (s), concerning this issue, remarks:
On that day, Islam had not yet entered the house of the Holy Prophet and Khadijah: I was the third one after them. I could vividly see the light of prophethood and smell its fragrance.33
(4) Elsewhere, Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) refers to his pioneering in Islam:
O God, I am the only person who answered the Prophet's call and turned to You. Except for the Prophet, nobody else prayed You before me.34
(5) Imam ‘Ali (s) says elsewhere:
I am God's servant and the brother of the trustworthy Prophet. I prayed with him seven years prior to the others. Nobody may deny it except for a wicked liar.35
(6) ‘Ufayf ibn Qays al-Kindi says:
During the Ignorance Era, I used to be a trader of perfumes. On one of my journeys, I entered Mecca and visited ‘Abbas, one of the Meccan merchants and the Prophet's uncle, on an extremely hot day. A young man whose face was as bright as the moon came. He looked up at the sky, stood in the direction of the Kaaba and started praying. After a short time, another good-looking young man arrived, stood next to him and started praying. Then a veiled woman arrived, stood behind them and started praying. I was astonished to see three persons praying at the center of the idolaters. I turned my face toward ‘Abbas and exclaimed, “What restful scenery!” He repeated my sentence and added, “Do you recognize these three?” I replied, No, I do not.” He said, “The first person was my nephew, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah; the second was my other nephew, ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib; the third was Muhammad's wife. Muhammad claims that his religion has come from Allah. Now, these are the only believers in this religion on the entire earth.”36
This issue vividly shows that at the beginning of the spread of Islam, it was Imam ‘Ali who joined the Prophet after Khadijah. Pioneering in the acceptance of Islam is a value which the Holy Qur’an has highly stressed:
And the foremost are the foremost; these are they who are drawn near to Allah. (56:10-11)
The Holy Qur’an also considers of great value the conversion to Islam of those who, prior to the conquest of Mecca, sacrificed their lives and wealth for God’s sake and accepted the new religion:
…not alike; among you are those who spent before the victory and fought. They are more exalted in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards; and Allah has promised good to all; and Allah is aware of what you do. (57:10)
The significance of conversions to Islam prior to the conquest of Mecca (which occurred at the eighth year AH) lies in the fact that they accepted Islam at a time when it was not yet powerful and when Mecca was still the stronghold for the idolaters and Muslims' lives and wealth were at risk from permanent danger. Of course, Muslims achieved some security after their migration to Medina and the acceptance of Islam by the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj and the other neighboring tribes; in later military conflicts, Muslims were triumphant. However, the environment was still dangerous. For these reasons, the acceptance of Islam under those perilous and turbulent times was quite significant. Such early acceptance of Islam was a great honor for the Prophet's close followers. Having this in mind, we will realize how important Imam ‘Ali's early acceptance could have been.
Among the social groups of those days, two groups pioneered in accepting Islam:
A cursory look at the list of the early Muslims indicates that most of them were youth. Elderly people were conservative; idolatry was deeply rooted in them. Due to their bright minds, the youth were more ready to accept the new faith—a fact applying to religious revelations.
On the basis of a historical report, during the early days of the secret invitation to Islam, there were groups of youth and destitute people who joined Islam.37 When the Holy Prophet started his public invitation and when his followers increased in number, people of Quraysh complained to Abu-Talib about Muhammad, saying, “We have come to you several times to ask you to ask your nephew to stop cursing our ancestors and idols and seducing our children, men, women, and servants into the new faith...”38
On the Holy Prophet's journey to Ta’if for the propagation of Islam, the noblemen refused to accept Islam for fear that their youth might follow Muhammad.39 After the migration to Abyssinia, representatives of Quraysh went to the royal court of the Abyssinian king, al-Najashi, to force these Muslims to return home. In that court, there were some complaints regarding the spread of Islam among the youth of Mecca.40
A man from the Hudhayl tribe entered Mecca and the Holy Prophet invited him to Islam. Abu-Jahl warned him, saying, “Never listen to Muhammad; this man considers us stupid and says that our dead parents would go to hell. Besides, he utters nonsense.” The man asked, “How come you don’t expel him from your city?” Abu-Jahl replied, “If he is expelled, our youth will go after him and listen to his flowery speech and then they will attack us.”41
‘Utbah, a dignitary of Quraysh, complained to Asad ibn Zurarah, a nobleman from the Khazraj tribe in Yathrib, about the inclinations of the youth towards the Holy Prophet.42
An investigation of the list of the early Muslims shows that most of them were under thirty years of age. For instance, Sa’d ibn Abi-Waqqaz was either seventeen43 or nineteen44 years old; al-Zubayr ibn al-’Awwam was fifteen45 or sixteen;46 ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf was thirty; he was born ten years after the Elephant Year.47 Muz’ab ibn ‘Umayr was nearly twenty-five years old; at the time of his martyrdom at the Battle of Uhud that took place at the third year after Hegira, he was nearly forty years old.48 Arqam, who submitted his house to the Prophet, was between twenty and thirty years old; when he died in 55 AH, he was eighty years old.49
By these two expressions, so prevalent in the Islamic sources, is meant the freed slaved who, despite superficial freedom, had some relationships with their previous owners. They were called mawla meaning made free. Another group of these oppressed ones was the strangers who had come to Mecca from other places to live. Since they lacked tribal associations, they had to be under the protection of a certain tribe in order for them to be secured. They did not enjoy the same rights that members of Quraysh had. They were socially disadvantaged.
This group, who had no tribe in Mecca to be affiliated with and who lacked power, represented the pioneers in the acceptance of Islam.50 Their conversion to Islam was not tolerated by the infidels, according to a narration; whenever the Holy Prophet (S) sat in the Holy Precinct with his oppressed followers—such as ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, Khabbab ibn al-Aratt, Suhayb ibn Sinan, Bilal, Abu-Fukayhah and Amir ibn Fuhayrah—they were ridiculed by people of Quraysh who sarcastically remarked, “Look at his companions! God has chosen from among us these bare-footed individuals who have adopted Islam!”51
The chiefs of Quraysh, once, passed by a gathering which the Holy Prophet had held with Suhayb, Khabbab, Bilal, ‘Ammar and some others. Observing this, they addressed the Holy Prophet, saying, “Muhammad! Have you selected only this few from among your nation and you are happy with them? Should we follow this group? Has God only guided this group? If you dismiss this group, we might then be your followers.” At this time, the following Qur'anic verses were revealed:
And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, they desire only His favor; neither are you answerable for any reckoning of theirs, nor are they answerable for any reckoning of yours, so that you should drive them away and thus be of the unjust.
And thus, so We try some of them by others so that they say: Are these they upon whom Allah has conferred benefit from among us? Does not Allah best know the grateful? (6:52-53)
During the first years of his mission, people of Quraysh dispatched some representatives to ask about the Holy Prophet. They went to the Jews: “We have come here to seek your advice regarding the event that is taking place in our town. A young orphan thinks that he has been sent by Rahman (the All-beneficent God); and we do not know any person by this name except for one living in Yamamah.” The Jew asked for the characteristics of the Holy Prophet: “Who are his followers?” They replied, “The lowliest persons!” The great Jewish scholar replied smilingly, “This is the same Prophet whose signs are predicted in our Holy Book. His nation will be his worst enemies.”52
Of course, the rapid inclinations of the oppressed towards Islam did not mean securing the interests or benefits of special social classes; rather, they implied the negation of the worldly domination of man over man; they implied the adoption of Allah's government and domination—an immediate threat to the power of the aggressors and oppressors that excited their severe opposition. This matter had happened with the previous prophets as well:
But the chiefs of those who disbelieved from among his people said: We consider you but a mortal like ourselves, and we do not see who have followed you but those who are the meanest of us at first thought and we do not see in you any excellence over us; nay, we deem you liars. (11:27)
The chief of those who behaved proudly among his people said to those considered weak to those who believed from among them: Do you know that Salih is sent by his Lord? They said: Surely, we are believers in what he has been sent with. (7:75-76)
After three years of his mission, the Holy Prophet received an order from Allah to invite his relatives to his faith:
And warn your nearest relations, and be kind to him who follows you of the believers. But if they disobey you, then say: Surely, I am clear of what you do. (26:214-216)
Having received this revelation, the Holy Prophet ordered Imam ‘Ali to prepare some food and invite the sons of ‘Abd al-Muttalib to hear God's revelation. Imam ‘Ali (s) carried out the order. Nearly forty people showed up. Among them were Abu-Talib, Hamzah and Abu-Lahab. The food seemed insufficiently little; however, everybody was able to eat their fill. Abu-Lahab declared, “This man has hypnotized you.” This statement caused the Holy Prophet to abandon his propagation of the faith on that day and the meeting came to an end with no result. Next day, ‘Ali (a.s.) once again prepared some food and invited the same group. This time, the Holy Prophet, after dinner remarked,
I do not know of anybody among Arabs who has brought to his people anything better than what I am bringing to you. I am bringing to you the good of this world and the Other World. God has ordered me to guide you all to Him. Now, who is ready among you to help me and he will be my brother and successor?”53
Nobody answered. ‘Ali (a.s.), who was the youngest among them, said, “O Messenger of God; I will help you.” Then, the Holy Prophet replied,
“This is my brother, my representative and my successor. Listen to obey him.”
This event leads us to the basic fact that the issues of prophethood and Imamate are inseparable; during the first years of his prophethood and on the first day of his mission, the Holy Prophet brought up the topic of Imamate and the future leadership of Muslims.
On the other hand, it should not be assumed that the Holy Prophet, up to his death and during the event of Ghadir Khumm, brought up ‘Ali's Imamate. Later on, he brought up the same issue on other occasions, such as in the famous hadith al-manzilah (Narration of Position).54 However, the event of Ghadir Khumm was the most significant for the announcement of ‘Ali's successorship due to the fact that there were so many witnesses present.
With regards to the sequence of the surahs (chapters of the Holy Qur'an), it could be understood that the invitation of the relatives could have happened prior to the public invitation to the new faith.55
Having made the public invitation for some time, the Holy Prophet received an order from God to make his propagation public and not to be afraid of the infidels:
Therefore, declare openly what you are bidden and turn aside from the polytheists. Surely, We will suffice you against the scoffers. (15:94-95)
Having received this revelation, the Holy Prophet rose up in the Abtah56 and declared:
I am God's apostle. I invite you to my new faith to worship the One and Only God. Stop worshipping idols which are neither useful nor can they create, nor provide you with sustenance, nor give you life, nor cause you to die.57
From then on, the Prophet's invitation entered a new stage as he was engaged in the propagation of his faith in social gatherings, at the Hajj ceremonies, at Mina, and among the tribes living in the outskirts of Mecca.
People of Quraysh did not show any severe reactions during the early stages of the propagation for Islam. However, as soon as the Holy Prophet started explicitly negating their idols, calling them senseless and useless entities, they became exasperated; they started animosity against him.58 With regards to the tribal system which existed in Mecca, attacking Muhammad (S) would entail revenge-taking of Banu-Hashim. Therefore, the chiefs of Quraysh, after much deliberation, came to the conclusion that they would better make use of his uncle, Abu-Talib, and talk to him in such a way so that he could discourage his nephew from the way he was following. To this end, they arranged for several meetings with Abu-Talib during which they reminded him of his dignity and high social status. They asked him to discourage his nephew from cursing their idols, humiliating their customs and belittling their ancestors. They used threats at times and tried to bribe him by offering wealth and social ranks. Receiving no positive feedback from him, they offered to exchange Muhammad with ‘Imarah ibn al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah, the young, powerful, and handsome poet. Abu-Talib did not accept either. Once, when Abu-Talib and his nephew were threatened with death, the Holy Prophet had the following reaction:
“If they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in the left, I would not stop my way. I have two options, either God will help me or I will be destroyed.”59
Upon these threats, Abu-Talib announced his support to Muhammad (S) and mobilized the members of Banu-Hashim, both Muslims and non-Muslims, to protect Muhammad (S). He warned the chiefs of Quraysh against a bloody revenge by Banu-Hashim in case anything would happen to his nephew.60 Since tribal wars were hazardous and their consequences unpredictable; and due to the fact that the chiefs of Quraysh lacked the capacity for such a war, they could not carry out their threats; rather, they became disillusioned. Out of Banu-Hashim, only Abu-Lahab joined the enemy front.
A question is raised here as to why the Quraysh did not show animosity toward Muhammad (S) in the first years of his propagations during which not many verses of the Holy Qur'an were revealed to him yet. What kind of threats did they feel in the first verses revealed during the early days of prophethood? Did they oppose him because of their insistence on their idolatry or were there other reasons?
Of course, we are talking about the motives of the chiefs of Quraysh, because the general public’s were simple and naive followers of those chiefs; and to mobilize them against the new religion was not a hard job. This is because they were not strong believers of their sect and customs anyhow.
Considering Quraysh's influence and high social status in Mecca, we could easily find the reasons behind their opposition. This is because, as we have seen above, Quraysh had monopolized some social privileges related to Mecca, such as social and economic power; they would not tolerate any rival. They used to receive tribute and toll from other tribes by force and imposed their own policies over other tribes related to the pilgrims.
Thus, it was natural for them not to tolerate Muhammad (S), because they found out very early in Muhammad's propagations that the new faith was in conflict with their ideology. They could also anticipate that one day, the Holy Prophet would become famous and this was in conflict with their pride.
However, an investigation of the content of some surahs and verses revealed to the Holy Prophet at Mecca, we could pinpoint some of the most significant motives for the opposition of Quraysh to the Holy Prophet during the first years of propagations:
Concerning the tribal system dominating the social order in Mecca and due to Quraysh’s special prerogatives, a form of aristocratic government was prevailing there. The chiefs of Quraysh were accustomed to this system; they did not expect any blow to be leveled against it. This was the social condition while the first followers of Muhammad (S) were the youths, the impoverished, the deprived and the slaves. Muhammad (S) did not belong to the nobility. From his childhood, he was an orphan; and during his youth, he was poor belonging to the second class inside Quraysh. His uncle, Abu-Talib, despite his ancestral prestige and dignity, was insolvent. All these were warnings to the tribal system of Quraysh that the very basis of their social order would be shaken. Having noticed that, they worried about the youth and the deprived for their inclinations towards the new faith. The envoy of Quraysh to Abyssinia to bring back the Muslim migrants introduced themselves to the king as the special envoy of the Meccan nobility.
The Holy Qur'an reveals the Quraysh's aristocratic attitude in their objection to the idea of prophethood not being offered to one of the noblemen of either Mecca or Ta’if:
And they say: Why has not the Qur'an been revealed to a man of importance in the two towns? (43:31)
According to an interpretation, by men of importance is meant Walid Ibn Mughirah, the head of Banu-Makhzum in Mecca, and ‘Urwah ibn Mas’ud al-Thaqafi, the well-known wealthy man of Ta’if.61 The reason behind the revelation of this verse is said to be the following event:
Once, Walid said, “Why should the Qur'an be revealed to Muhammad and not to me while I am the head of Quraysh?”62 Thus, the Quraysh showed their animosity to Muhammad (S) because his faith was a real threat to their social order.
Some recent researchers have considered the economic factor among the motives for Quraysh’s opposition to Islam. This is because a series of Meccan verses of the Holy Qur'an63 severely reprimand the hoarders and money-mongers of those days. The great Meccan wealthy men, who had earned their huge wealth in the trades and through the supervision over the Kaaba, felt a great danger when they heard these verses. The progress of Islam would jeopardize their benefits badly. Here are some samples of such verses:
Leave Me and him whom I created alone, and give him vast riches, and sons dwelling in his presence, And I adjusted affairs for him adjustably; and yet he desires that I should add more, By no means! Surely, he offers opposition to our communications. (74:11-16)
I will cast him into hell. And what will make you realize what hell is? It leaves naught nor does spare naught. It scorches the mortal. (74:26)64
Perdition overtake both hands of Abu-Lahab, and he will perish. Neither his wealth nor what he earns will avail him. He shall soon burn in fire that flames, and his wife, the bearer of fuel. (111:1-4)65
Woe to every slanderer, defamer, who amasses wealth and considers it a provision against mishap; He thinks that his wealth will make him immortal. Nay! He shall most certainly be hurled into the crushing disaster, and what will make you realize what the crushing disaster is? It is the fire kindled by Allah, which rises above the hearts. Surely, it shall be closed over upon them, in extended columns. (104:1-7)
Then as for him who gives away and guards against evil, and accepts the best, We will facilitate for him the easy end. And as for him who is niggardly and considers himself from need of Allah, and rejects the best, we will facilitate for him the difficult end. And his wealth will not avail him when he perishes. (92:4:11)66
A careful observation of the content of these surahs reveals that they were revealed to the Holy Prophet after Quraysh’s opposition. The increase in number of opponents might have been the reason for the revelation of these verses. However, the toughest opponents of the Holy Prophet were the traders and the wealthy. In accordance with a historical report, when the Messenger of God started guiding his people towards the light of the Religion, they at first did not go away from him; rather, they were about to accept his ideology. Then he started insulting their idols and the wealthy people from Ta’if.67 These people did not like his statements; they began struggling against him and invoking their followers against him. Then, the mass offended and deserted him.68
The Holy Qur'an refers to their fear of the neighboring states and powers and finds this worry baseless:
And they say: If we follow the guidance with you, we shall be carried off from our country. What! Have We not settled them in a safe, sacred territory to which fruits of every kind shall be drawn? Sustenance from Us; but most of them do not know. (28:57)
Once, Harith ibn Nawfal ibn ‘Abd-Manaf said to the Holy Prophet, “We know that what you say is right; but if we believe in you, we fear that the Arabs might throw us out of our land and we are not strong enough to confront them.69
From their statements, worry could be observed and fear of the Iranian kings and Roman emperors70 could be identified; this was the Arabs’ weak point towards the neighboring political powers.
This fear could be seen in the following event: The Holy Prophet had invited some of the great Arab personalities and read them some of the verses of the Holy Qur'an which dealt with ethical training. All of them were highly impressed and each one of them started admiring them. However, their leader, Muthanna, said, “We are caught between two waters: on one side are the Arab waters and shores, and on the other side there lie Iran and Khosrow rivers. Khosrow has ordered us not to use any turmoil and not to shelter any wrongdoer. The acceptance of your faith by us is not palatable for the kings. If we do anything wrong here in our land, it might be excused. However, such an error around Iran is not pardonable by their king.”71
Tribal competitions and false pride were prevalent among the Arab tribes and communities. Since the Holy Prophet belonged to Banu-Hashim, the chiefs of the other tribes—due to their jealousy—could not accept his faith, which was in the long run a sign of dignity for Banu-Hashim. Abu-Jahl, who was from Banu-Makhzum tribe and one of the most influential and wealthy people of Quraysh, frankly revealed his secret, “We struggled against the children of ‘Abd-Manaf over the attainment of dignity. They fed the needy; so did we. They gave horses to the needy; so did we. They provided the needy with money; so did we. Then we were neck to neck. But, then, they say that they have a prophet among themselves who gets revelation from God. Now how can we ever get equal to them? By God, we shall never believe in what he says nor shall we ever confirm him.”72
Umayyah ibn Abi-Salt, a nobleman and great poet of Ta’if, did not believe in Islam for the same reason. For years, he waited for the arrival of the Promised Prophet and at the same time, he wished that he himself would be that Prophet. When he heard about the prophethood of Muhammad (S), he abstained from following him and the reason he offered for his denial was the following: “How could I tell the women of Ta’if that another person had obtained the status of prophethood? I have always told them that I would be the promised prophet. Now how could I endure this shame on my side to follow the young man of ‘Abd-Manaf?”73
With the daily increase in the number of Muslims,74 Quraysh who had not reached any conclusion with Abu-Talib, who were observing Banu-Hashim’s support for the Holy Prophet and who had earned nothing from threatening his life, started torturing Muslims in the hope of stopping them from following Islam. The problem for Quraysh was that the newly-converted Muslims did not belong to one tribe so that they could have been discouraged somehow; rather, a few of these new Muslims belonged to different tribes. A look at the immigrants to Abyssinia, who due to the tortures by the infidels had to leave Mecca, reveal that these escapees were from the following tribes: Banu-’Abd Shams, Banu-Asad, Banu-’Abd al-Dar, Banu-Zuhrah, Banu-Makhzum, Banu-Jumah, Banu-’Adi, Banu-Hurayth, Banu-Amir and Banu-Umayyah. For this reason, the infidels decided to torture Muslims inside their own tribes so that through the interference of other tribes their prejudice might not be excited and not to show any harsh reaction.
Most of torture was leveled against the young who had converted to Islam. These young people, as we have already mentioned, were mostly slaves or strangers who had no tribal protection of any sort.75 Yasir and his son ‘Ammar, Bilal ibn Rabah, Khabbab ibn al-Aratt, Abu-Fukayhah, Amir ibn Fuhayrah, Suhayb ibn Sinan, and, among women and female slaves, Sumayyah, Umm-’Ubays, Zinnirah, Labibah (or Lubaynah) and finally Nahdiyyah76 were tortured by various means such like keeping them hungry or thirsty, imprisonment, striking and hitting, being forced to lie on the hot sands of the desert of Mecca at noon or to wear iron coats, or being tied up with rope and ridiculed by children.
Having been protected by Abu-Talib and Banu-Hashim, the Holy Prophet was safe from the aggressions of Quraysh. However, since Muslims were unprotected and vulnerable, the Holy Prophet recommended that they might migrate to Abyssinia and told them, “It is a land of truth and there lives a just king.”77 In those days, the only safe place for Muslims was Abyssinia. Neither Iran nor Rome or the dominated areas by these super-powers, such as Damascus or Yemen, would accept the Muslims. Besides, Abyssinia was a well-known land to Muslims because Meccans used to make trade journeys to that land.78 Furthermore, people of Abyssinia were Christians; they had a lot in common with Muslims, such as belief in God. It is said that the Abyssinian people were Ya’qubian Christians who considered God as one entity and not part of a Trinity. For this reason, they were close to the Islamic monotheism.79
On the Prophet's recommendation, a group of fifteen80 defenseless Muslims in the fifth year after the Divine Mission secretly headed for Abyssinia and arrived there through Shu’aybah port or the Red Sea. This group stayed there for two or three months. Upon the spread of the rumor that people of Quraysh embraced Islam and ceased torturing Muslims, they returned to Mecca.81
However, since the torture of Muslims continued, a group of them headed for Abyssinia. This time, there were one hundred and one Muslims (both men and women).82 They were sponsored by Ja’far ibn Abi-Talib. With the passage of time, Muslims' migration brought about worry to the people of Quraysh who, then, dispatched an envoy to the royal court of al-Najashi, asking for the Muslims' deportation. Realizing the conspiracy, Abu-Talib wrote a letter to al-Najashi asking him to protect the Muslims.83
After Quraysh had set forth their claim for the return of the Muslims to Mecca, Ja’far ibn Abu-Talib vehemently defended the Muslims. The king of Abyssinia was greatly moved; he consequently refused to let the Muslims go and decided to protect them.84
Of course, the emigrants included both the tortured ones and others from the strongest tribes whom nobody dared to punish. However, Mecca remained an area of pressure, torture and suppression of beliefs. By sending them to Abyssinia, the Holy Prophet had in mind to build up a center for struggle against idolatry. At the same time, he planned to keep Muslims out of danger. As we know, the Muslims’ stay in Abyssinia was accompanied by Islamic propagation, because al-Najashi accepted Islam and established some relations with the Holy Prophet.85 Quraysh, most probably, were worried of this issue; they therefore dispatched their representatives to that area to stop such relationships.
In accordance with some documents, the Holy Prophet followed the news of the emigrants; he received the news of the apostasy and later death of ‘Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh.86
This time, the Muslim emigrants stayed there even longer. Eleven of them passed away there. Thirty-nine of them returned to Mecca prior to the Holy Prophet's emigration. Twenty-six men and some women returned to Mecca after the Battle of Badr. The last group, supervised by Ja’far Ibn Abi-Talib, returned home on the 7th year of Hegira and met the Holy Prophet after the Conquest Khaybar.87
Shi’ite historians unanimously contend that Lady Fatimah was born in Mecca in the fifth year after Hegira.88 The youngest child of the Holy Prophet and Khadijah, Fatimah (s.a.) married Imam ‘Ali (a.s) in Medina after the Holy Prophet's Hegira. During her early age, she witnessed her father's severest struggles against the unbelievers; she could vividly remember all the troubles of that period.
The Holy Prophet's nocturnal journey from Mecca to Jerusalem (isra' [Qur'an 17:1]) in a supernatural way and his journey from Jerusalem to the Heavens (mi’raj [Qur'an: 70]) through God's power are both significant events of Mecca, because these two events are recorded in the Meccan surahs; however, there are disagreements related to the exact date of their occurrence.
The Holy Prophet's objectives of these two journeys was to closely observe God's Grandeur across the heavens and skies, to meet the angels and the souls of the previous prophets, to watch Paradise and Hell and to observe the differing ranks of the dwellers of Paradise and the residents of Hell. God refers to this journey as follows:
Glory be to Him who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the Remote Mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our Signs; Surely, He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (17:1)
Concerning mi’raj, God remarks:
Certainly, he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord. (53:18)
Imam al-Ridha (a.s.) was asked, “Why did God take the Prophet to the skies when He has no definite place?” Imam al-Ridha (a.s.) replied, “God would not need any place or time. By taking the Holy Prophet to the skies, God intended to glorify the angels and the sky-dwellers. God also wanted Muhammad (S) to observe the extension of the creation so that upon his descent he could inform people of God's Grandeur. God does not need time or place as the skeptics erroneously assume.”89
Concerning the Holy Prophet's Divine journey, there are several narrations available. However, Tabirsi, a well-known exegete of the Holy Qur'an, has divided these narrations into four headings:
(1) Uninterruptedly reported narrations (mutawatir); they are definite and certain; one of these is the principle of mi’raj.
(2) Narrations reporting issues that are logically and rationally accepted and are not in opposition with any known principle; such as those reporting the Holy Prophet's travel in the skies for the purpose of visiting Paradise and Hell.
(3) Narrations that are superficially in conflict with the absolute principles derived from the verses of the Holy Qur'an and Islamic traditions, but are interpretable anyway. Such narrations should be interpreted in such a way that they could be in harmony with correct beliefs. An example is the content of the traditions reporting the Holy Prophet’s meeting with a group of people in Paradise and another group in Hell. These scenes are a kind of allegory for us to visualize Paradise and Hell.
(4) Materials that are superficially unacceptable and not interpretable, such as the report that the Holy Prophet saw God with his own eyes, talked to Him and sat on His Throne next to Him. Such issues are null and void.90
In the opinion of the Twelvers Imamiyyah, the Holy Prophet's heavenly journey was material; i.e. he made this ascension in body and soul.91 According to Islamic narrations, during the mi’raj, the daily and nightly prayers were set at five.92 If, prior to mi’raj, some prayers are observed being performed by either the Holy Prophet or Imam ‘Ali, it has been either a non-compulsory prayer or a kind of prayer based on the specific situations which was not a regular daily prayer with which we are familiar.93
The chiefs of Quraysh failed to contact with Abu-Talib and to force Muslims in Abyssinia to come back to Mecca. Some socially significant personalities were absorbed by Islam. In view of these two facts, they had no alternative but to impose an economic and social boycott on Banu-Hashim in the hope that they would cease their protection of the Holy Prophet and submit him to Quraysh. To this end, they reached an agreement that none would marry a woman from Banu-Hashim or have any transactions with them.94
The life of the people of Mecca was based on trade; economic activities were in the hands of Quraysh; therefore, they were able to deprive anybody or any group of this asset. They had an effective weapon at their disposal and it was expected that Banu-Hashim would be made destitute within a short time. Hence, the chiefs of Quraysh imposed such sanctions on Banu-Hashim so as to make them socially deprived.95
On Abu-Talib's recommendation,96 all the members of Banu-Hashim, both Muslims and non-Muslims,97 except for Abu-Lahab, gathered at Abu-Talib Col and for three years after the boycott, they lived there. Although Quraysh’s sanctions were both social and economic in nature, Abu-Talib asked the Holy Prophet and Banu-Hashim to reside in that col because people of Quraysh had become outrageous; and the only thing which could satisfy them was to kill Muhammad (S). Abu-Talib appointed forty men98 of Banu-Hashim to guard the col and each night he asked the Holy Prophet to change his bed so that he might be secure. Abu-Talib’s son, ‘Ali, then used to replace the Holy Prophet in his bed so as to save him from any anticipated danger.99
During this harsh time, Quraysh stopped any food from entering the col. The residents of this col could only buy their sustenance during the sacred months.100 Even at that time, Quraysh warned the caravans that entered Mecca not to sell anything to Banu-Hashim, lest their wealth would be plundered.101 If Banu-Hashim desired to buy anything, the prices would rise dramatically so that they could not have any buying power.102
At times, Abu’l-’Az ibn Rabi’103 or Hakim ibn Hizam104 secretly took some foodstuff for Banu-Hashim. Among Banu-Hashim, Imam ‘Ali (a.s) used to leave the col to bring some foodstuff.105 During this period, the Holy Prophet, Abu-Talib and Khadijah lost all their wealth.106 Khadijah, in particular, spent all her money for the Holy Prophet in that col.107
Three years later, the Holy Prophet informed108 people of Quraysh, through Abu-Talib, that the treaty was rotted by termites and some of the signing parties had become sorry109 for having signed on such a shameful treaty. Only then, they volunteered to annul this treaty.110 In this way, Banu-Hashim returned home.111 In one of his letters to Mu’awiyah, Imam ‘Ali (a.s) remembers those harsh days:
Our own tribe (i.e. Quraysh) decided to murder our Prophet and destroy us completely; they added to our disasters and worries and they did strange things to us. They made our lives bitter, causing us to live in worry and pain. They forced us to live in difficult conditions. They kindled the fire of war and hatred against us. However, God willed that we would be the supporter of His religion. The believers among us hoped that God would bless them and give them rewards. However, the unbelievers continued protecting the interests of their own households. None of Quraysh who had converted to Islam received any torture that we received, because each one of them had somebody among their relatives to take care of him. So, they were secure.112
Ten years after prophethood of Muhammad (S) and a little time leaving the col, Khadijah passed away. A short time after that, Abu-Talib also passed away.113 The passing away of these two persons was a great blow to the Holy Prophet.114
With the death of these two loyal friends, mishaps and disasters fell over the shoulders of the Holy Prophet one by one and he was put in a terribly difficult situation.115
Naturally, the loss of these two personalities brought about a great sorrow; although Khadijah could not protect the Holy Prophet in the same way that Abu-Talib did, she was so kind and caring wife; she was a staunch supporter of Islam and its Prophet. She was the source of hope for the Holy Prophet against hardships.116 The Holy Prophet kept Khadijah's memories to the last of his life. He would never forget her pioneering in accepting Islam.117 Once, he told ‘A’ishah,
“God has never given me a better wife than Khadijah. She accepted my faith when everyone else rejected; she praised and confirmed me when everyone else denounced; she spent her wealth for me when everyone else deprived me of everything. Finally, God gave me as gifts children from her.”118
Not only was Abu-Talib the Holy Prophet’s sponsor in his childhood and adolescence, but he was also a staunch supporter during his prophethood. He stood firm against the aggressions of the unbelievers. As long as he was alive, Quraysh rarely dared to harm Muhammad (S). Once, they incited a man to throw a camel's tripe over the Holy Prophet's body at the sacred Mosque. His body became dirty. When Abu-Talib knew of the event, he drew his sword and, along with Hamzah, went to meet the offenders. He ordered Hamzah to put the tripe over the face of each one those offenders.119
With the demise of Abu-Talib, Quraysh became more aggressive and tyrannical toward the Holy Prophet; they even threw dirt on him.120 He once said,
“Quraysh had not dared to hurt me until Abu-Talib passed away.”121
Shi’ite scholars unanimously agree that Abu-Talib was Muslim;122 but he had not declared his faith so that he would protect the Holy Prophet. Because familial prejudices prevailed at that time, he pretended that he was protecting Muhammad (S) out of tribal zeal.123 In this regard, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said,
Abu-Talib acted like the Companions of the Cave (Seven Sleepers of Ephesus) who concealed their faith and pretended to be unbelievers; so, they received double rewards from God.124
However, some historians claim that Abu-Talib had not embraced the new faith and passed away an unbeliever. There are pieces of evidence which lead us to believe that he was a believer of Muhammad's faith and ideology. We will present two of them hereinafter:
We have several statements and poems in which Abu-Talib explicitly refers to Muhammad's truthfulness.125 This clearly shows his commitment to Islam. Here are some examples of his poems:
O king of Abyssinia, be aware that Muhammad, like Moses and Jesus, is a prophet. He has brought the same light of guidance that those two brought to man. All prophets are commissioned by God to lead people away from sins.126
You should have known that we have believed that Muhammad, just like Moses, is a Messenger whose name is mentioned in the previous bibles.127
I am certain that Muhammad's faith is the best faith in the world.128
Abu-Talib's excessive protections of the Holy Prophet against the aggressions of Quraysh, which continued for seven years, are clear indications of his faith. Those who deny his faith ascribe his protections to tribal affiliations with the Holy Prophet. However, familial bonds could not have been so strong as to force him to sacrifice his life for the Holy Prophet. These kinds of sacrifices definitely have their roots in religious fervor. If Abu-Talib's motives were tribal, why did the other uncles of the Holy Prophet, such as ‘Abbas and Abu-Lahab, not make the same sacrifices?129
In the opinion of some historians, some of those who have tried to prove Abu-Talib's atheism do so out of political motives and tribal jealousies, because the Holy Prophet's followers (who later turned into his political rivals) were mostly idol-worshippers. Only ‘Ali (a.s) lacked such idol-worshipping background since he was nurtured in the Holy Prophet’s school. Those who wish to belittle Imam ‘Ali claim that his father was not a believer. In this way, they claim that he had idolatry in his blood. In fact, the only guilt Abu-Talib had was his fatherhood of ‘Ali (a.s). He would not receive such an accusation if he had not been ‘Ali's father.
The Umayyad and ‘Abbasid rulers were at the center of these cruelties, because their ancestors could never reach the rank of Imam ‘Ali (a.s); they never had such a prestige; therefore, they tried in vain to humiliate him in any way they could.
The charges and accusations which they had leveled at Abu-Talib were more becoming of ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (the Holy Prophet's uncle and the ancestor of the ‘Abbasid rulers), because ‘Abbas used to be in Mecca up to the siege in the 8th year of Hegira. Moreover, he was taken as a prisoner in the army of the unbelievers and was then freed by paying tribute. When the siege of Mecca was underway, he reached the Islamic army and asked the Holy Prophet to release Abu-Sufyan, the head of the unbelievers. Considering all these, nobody has ever claimed that he was an unbeliever! Is this a just evaluation of these two figures? For this reason, scholars look at the accusation of being an atheist on the part of Abu-Talib as suspect.130
While Khadijah was alive, the Holy Prophet did not marry any lady.131 After her death, he married several women all of whom, except for ‘A’ishah, were widows. The first was Sawdah. Her husband was Sakran ibn ‘Amr; one of the emigrants to Abyssinia who had died there leaving his wife without sponsor.
Orientalists have used the Holy Prophet's marriages as an excuse to level inhuman accusations against him. They have referred to his marriages as indulgence in pleasure and lusts.132 A careful and impartial judgment, however, will reveal the fact that behind these marriages, there lay some political and social motives and some gains and common good for Islam; some of those women lost any sponsor or protector; therefore, the Holy Prophet wanted to guide and protect them under the cover of marriage. Some others belonged to great households and the Holy Prophet wanted to have their protections. At some other time, the purpose was to fight against some wrong customs of the Ignorance Era. Here are some evidences:
(1) The Holy Prophet married Khadijah when he was twenty-five years old and at the zenith of youthful zeal and passion whereas she had lost the passion of youth when she married him. She lived with him for twenty-five years.
(2) The Holy Prophet did not marry any other woman as long as Khadijah was alive, while polygamy was prevalent in Arabia at that time.
(3) The other marriages of the Holy Prophet took place after the age of fifty, before or after Hegira, when he was in the center of political, social and military turmoil. Could a person get into pleasure seeking activities under such circumstances? Could the Holy Prophet, while living in Medina, find a chance to be involved in lust and whims?
(4) Was life easy and smooth with different wives, each of whom had a special set of likes and dislikes and a series of womanly jealousies; wives who had hurt the Holy Prophet on various occasions?133 Is such a life compatible with pleasure-seeking?
(5) Each one of the Holy Prophet's wives belonged to a different tribe; they were not relatives. Was such a marriage accidental and haphazard?
(6) After the Holy Prophet's emigration to Yathrib and the expansion of Islam and an increase in his spiritual influence, his social and political power had greatly risen and the Arab leaders would take pride in having their daughters married to the Holy Prophet. However, most of the women that he married were widows or elderly women lacking any protector, while he encouraged men to marry young girls.
Let us introduce some of the Holy Prophet's wives:
Ummu-Habibah: The daughter of Abu-Sufyan, the bitter enemy of Islam, Ummu-Habibah emigrated with her husband, ‘Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh, the Holy Prophet’s cousin. When ‘Ubaydullah reached that land, he apostatized Islam. Due to excessive wine drinking, he died there.134 When the Holy Prophet knew about this, he sent ‘Amr ibn Umayyah al-®amari135 to al-Najashi asking him to give Ummu-Habibah in marriage to him. That was in the sixth year after the Hegira, and al-Najashi did. She stayed in Abyssinia for one more year and then returned to Medina with the last group.136 She was between thirty and forty years old.137
It is clear that this marriage took place to pacify this Muslim woman not to be carried away through worries and grief. This is because she had cut relations with her unbelieving relatives, including her parents, and had gone to Abyssinia with her husband. Now, in a foreign land, she had lost her husband. What other action could be better than having the privilege of getting married to the Holy Prophet?
Ummu-Salamah: Ummu-Salamah (Hind) was the daughter of Abi-Umayyah Makhzumi; her ex-husband was Abu-Salamah (‘Abdullah) Makhzumi,138 one of the Holy Prophet’s cousins.139 They had four children one of whom was Salamah.140
Abu-Salamah was wounded in the Battle of Uhud and then passed away in Jumada II, in the third year of Hegira.141 Most probably, there was no relative of Ummu-Salamah in Medina, because she is reported to have said, “When Abu-Salamah died, I became very depressed; I said to myself, ‘Now that I am lonely, I will weep so much that I become well-known as a great weeper!’”142 The Holy Prophet married her in the 4th year of Hegira.143 At that time, she had become old.144
It is clear that the purpose of this marriage was to sponsor her orphan children. Was it not a hard job for the Holy Prophet to sponsor four orphan children?
After Khadijah, Ummu-Salamah ranked high in sincerity, virtue and spirituality. She was second to Khadijah in these human traits.145 She had a special bond with the Household of the Holy Prophet. Most of the time, she kept the secrets of the divinely leadership of the Holy Prophet’s Household.146
Zaynab bint Jahsh: A close relative of the Holy Prophet, Zaynab was married to Zayd ibn Harithah, the Holy Prophet's stepchild.147 She married the Holy Prophet after her separation from Zayd.
Zayd had been the slave of Khadijah before he was freed and adopted by the Holy Prophet. From then on, he was called Zayd son of Muhammad.148
After the prophethood, God made the adoption of sons illegal:
Allah has not made for any man two hearts within him; nor has He made your wives whose backs you liken to the backs of your mothers as your mothers, nor has He made those whom you assert to be your sons your real sons; these are the words of your mouths; And Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the way. Assert their relationship to their fathers; this is more equitable with Allah, but if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brethren in faith and your friends; and there is no blame on you concerning that in which you made a mistake, but concerning that which your hearts do purposely blame may rest on you, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (33:4-5)
Upon receiving these revelations, the Holy Prophet said to Zayd, “You are Zayd son of Harithah.” From then on, he was nicknamed freed by the Holy Prophet.149
The Holy Prophet proposed Zaynab for himself. However, since she was one of the granddaughters of ‘Abd al-Muttalib and she belonged to a well-known tribe, she refused to accept such a proposal in the beginning, because Zayd was not from a Quraysh family; rather, he was freed slave. However, the Holy Prophet insisted; and Zaynab agreed. This marriage was the annihilation of racial and class privileges, which were so emphatically approved of. The Prophet's insistence on such a marriage was aimed at removing such unfounded principles.
Due to some ethical maladjustment, the marriage of Zaynab and Zayd became vulnerable; it was on the threshold of being cut. Several times, Zayd decided to divorce her, but the Holy Prophet called them for more perseverance by saying, “Keep your spouse.”150 Finally, Zayd divorced her. After their divorce, the Holy Prophet received direction from God to marry Zaynab so that the marriage of an adopted son's divorcee would not create a problem for Muslims. In this way, a wrong custom was broken, because an adopted son was considered real son. For this reason, marrying the wife of such a person was not allowed. The Holy Qur'an describes the aim of this marriage in the following manner:
And when you said to him to whom Allah had shown favor and to whom you had shown a favor: Keep your wife to yourself and be careful of your duty to Allah; and you concealed in your soul what Allah would bring to light, and you feared men, and Allah had a greater right that you should fear Him. But when Zayd had accomplished his want of her, We gave her to you as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished their want of them; and Allah's command shall be performed. (33:37)
The unbelievers found an excuse in this marriage to level some accusations against the Holy Prophet: they accused him of marrying the wife of his son!151 Then God revealed to the Holy Prophet:
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Apostle of Allah and the last of the Holy Prophets; and Allah is Cognizant of all things. (33:40)
Some Christian Orientalists have changed this event into a romance and have added unfounded details to it,152 but this accusation does not comply with the Holy Prophet’s traits. Besides, we have seen that the issue was something else and this is vividly explained in the Holy Qur'an.
The aforementioned accounts of the Holy Prophet’s wives are enough for an explanation of the real motives behind his polygamy. The other wives of the Holy Prophet had more or less similar traits.
Seventy-two kilometers away from Mecca, Ta’if is a countryside with mild weather. It was known for its vineyards in those days.153 Some of Quraysh’s noblemen had gardens and pastures there. The citizens of Ta’if were wealthy; they were famous usurers. It was the resort of the strong tribe of Thaqif.
After the death of Khadijah and Abu-Talib, the tormenting of the Holy Prophet by Quraysh increased and propagating the religion became difficult. However, the invitation to Islam could not be stopped. Therefore, the Holy Prophet decided to journey to Ta’if in order to invite its people to his religion. He hoped to find some protectors there. On this journey, Zayd ibn Harithah154 and Imam ‘Ali155 accompanied him.
The Holy Prophet met three brothers of the noblemen of Thaqif; the wife of one of these three was from a branch of Quraysh, called Banu-Jumah.156 He invited them to Islam and asked them for help. However, they refused and used strong words in reply. He also asked them to keep his journey secret so that the chiefs of Quraysh might not be annoyed. But they did not pay attention to what he said.
The Holy Prophet visited other leaders of Ta’if as well, but they rejected his invitation and feared that their youth might be inclined towards Islam.157 The leaders of Ta’if provoked the rogues, the destitute, and their slaves to curse, humiliate and throw stones at him. In this conflict, some parts of the Holy Prophet's legs were badly hurt and Zayd's head was wounded.
The Holy Prophet headed for a vineyard which belonged to ‘Utbah and Shaybah, two chiefs of Quraysh, and rested in the shade of a vine, praying to God.
‘Utbah and Shaybah, who had been watching the tormenting of the Holy Prophet, sympathized with him; they sent him some grapes through their Christian servant, ‘Addas, who was from Nineveh. While eating the grapes, the Holy Prophet said, “In the Name of Allah.” This statement roused ‘Addas's curiosity. After some conversation through which the Holy Prophet told ‘Addas about his Divine mission, ‘Addas threw himself at the Holy Prophet's feet, kissed his hands and feet,158 and became Muslim.159 Having stayed in Ta’if160 for ten days and discouraged by the refusal of the Thaqif tribe, he returned to Mecca.
It is said that the Holy Prophet, upon his return to Mecca, asked Mut’im ibn ‘Adi to give him refuge; he then entered Mecca under his protection. However, with regards to a series of evidence, this seems highly improbable:
(1) How could the Holy Prophet, after ten years of hard struggles and severe confrontations with the idolaters, have accepted the humiliation of asking an idol-worshipper for refuge and asylum while this humiliation he never accepted during his whole life?
(2) Despite the death of Abu-Talib at that time, the rest of Banu-Hashim were still on the scene; among them, there were brave individuals like Hamzah whom Quraysh feared very much as is shown in their attempts to unite several tribes to murder the Holy Prophet at the night of his emigration to Yathrib.
(3) According to some historical documents, Zayd and Imam ‘Ali accompanied him. So, they were a group of three persons who could depend on themselves and needed no assistance.
(4) The Holy Prophet was one of the bravest Arabs; weakness has never seen on him. Recalling the Holy Prophet's bravery in battles, Imam ‘Ali (a.s) remarks:
When the fire of war was severely kindled, we used to resort to the Holy Prophet; under those circumstances, there was nobody closer to the enemy than he was.161
(5) The Holy Prophet severely struggled against the system of tribalism which was the source of his calamity. How could he approve of the tradition of taking refuge which was an offshoot of tribalism? How could he confirm it?
(6) As is reported by Buladhari and Ibn Sa’d, the Holy Prophet's journey to Ta’if took place at the end of month Shawwal. If we accept this report as valid, it means that his stay in Ta’if and his return to Mecca could have occurred within the sacred month in which bloodshed and molestation are suspended. Thus, there was no danger against the Holy Prophet's life and consequently he did not need any protection.
With regards to these documents, we may infer that the Holy Prophet, on his return from Ta’if, had entered Wadi Nakhlah before he entered Mecca. On his return, he spent a night there162 when a group of jinn163 heard the verses of the Holy Qur'an.164
Inviting people to his religion, the Holy Prophet rarely spoke of himself; rather, he made use of the best means available to him, i.e. the verses of the Holy Qur'an which had enchanting effects on the Arab's ears. The Holy Qur'an is the Holy Prophet's great miracle—a miracle of eloquence. The lexicon and the lexical items, the structure of the verses, and the melody of the Qur'anic verses are so attractive that nobody could ever be able to produce anything even similar to them. For this reason, the Holy Qur'an invites the unbelievers to produce anything like its chapters. (2:23)
The Arabs of Hijaz who were mostly poets and experts in poetry were absorbed in and enchanted by the grace and eloquence of the sacred verses of the Holy Qur'an. The words of revelation appeared to them most graceful and elegant. At times, they would be mesmerized and motionless for a long time.
One night, some chiefs of Quraysh, such as Abu-Sufyan and Abu-Jahl hid behind the door of the Holy Prophet's house and listened to the verses that he was uttering. On their return in the morning, they saw one another and started blaming each other by saying, “Let us not do this again, because if people see us, they would think otherwise. They might think that we have become Muslims.” However, for the coming nights, they did it again, each time promising not to do it again. (2:23)
The ceremony of Hajj was the best time for the Holy Prophet to carry out his propagation, because the different Arab tribes came to Mecca then. In those days, the Holy Prophet had a chance to let people hear the call for monotheism. For this reason, the chiefs of Quraysh feared the Hajj time the most.
At the time of Hajj ceremony, a group of noblemen of Quraysh went to visit Walid ibn Mughirah, an elderly man and the head of Banu-Makhzum, who said, “It is the Hajj time, people come to your city from everywhere; they have heard Muhammad's story. Let us talk about him in a single fashion and not try to contradict one another.” They replied, “Whatever you say, we will follow you. We will say that he is a Jewish priest.” He said, “No, By God. He is not a Jewish priest; we have seen such priests before. He neither hums like such priests nor does he use rhymed speech.” One of them suggested, “Let us say that he is a lunatic.” Walid answered, “No! He could not be a lunatic. We have seen lunatic people and we know how they behave. Neither do any of his limbs shake, nor is he tempted by some devil.” They said, “Let us say that he is a poet.” Walid answered, “He cannot be a poet either. We know all kinds of poetry. What he says is not poems.” They further suggested, “We shall say that he is a magician.” Walid answered, “This is not accurate either. We have seen the magician's incantations and charms. His work is not sorcery.” They asked, “Then, what shall we say?” He remarked, “By God, his speech is delicious; its roots are vigorous and branches are fruitful. Whatever of these categories you say about him will turn out to be wrong. The best thing for you is to say that he is a magician because through his words he is able to separate children from their parents, brothers from brothers, wives from husbands and tribe members from one another.”165
Having arrived at this decision, the Arab leaders spread. From then on, they would provoke the Hajj pilgrims not to be carried away by the indoctrinations of the Holy Prophet.166
What the higher council of Quraysh called magic and attributed to the Holy Prophet was in fact an attribute for the attractive verses of the Holy Qur'an which hypnotized everyone who listened to them. The sanctions against the listening to the Qur'anic verses reached such a point that the chiefs of Quraysh recommended that a great person such as As’ad ibn Zurarah should insert cotton in his ears in order to be safe against Muhammad's magic!”167
The Holy Prophet carried out his invitation to people in Mecca and elsewhere. For instance, he went to the following tribes: Kindah, Kalb, Banu-Hanifah and Banu-Amir ibn Sa’za’ah to invite them to the new religion. However, Abu-Lahab used to follow him and discourage people from accepting his religion.168
In his dialogues with Banu-’Amir, the Holy Prophet was told by one of the elderly chiefs of that tribe, named Bayharah ibn Firas, “If we swear allegiance to you and God makes you victorious over your opponents, will you promise your succession to us?” The Holy Prophet replied, “That is God's affair, not mine. God will nominate anybody He wishes.” Aggressively, the man replied, “You want us to stand against the Arabs for your sake and defend you; and upon your victory, somebody else gets the initiatives? We do not need your religion.”169
It is narrated that the same issue was brought up by the elders of the Kindah tribe to whom the Holy Prophet gave the same reaction.170 This kind of reply and taking position on the part of the Holy Prophet is significant in two ways:
First: He emphasized that the issue of succession is God's affair. This confirms the issue that he has been appointed by God; i.e. his position is a Divine selection and this adoption takes place by God, not through people.
Second: The Holy Prophet, contrary to other statesmen who do everything in order to obtain their objectives, did not make use of unethical instruments. Although the adoption of Islam by the members of a large tribe was of utmost significance and value in those days, the Holy Prophet did not promise anything which he could not keep.
During the Hajj and ‘Umrah ceremonies in which security prevailed due to the sacredness of those months and during which a great number of people could come from different areas to Mecca and Mina or the markets outside Mecca, such as the seasonal markets of ‘Uka¨, al-Majannah and Dhi’l-Majaz,171 the Holy Prophet extended his invitation and visited the elderly chiefs of the tribes. Even if the pilgrims themselves did not accept Islam, they spread the news of the Holy Prophet's prophethood in their cities and towns; and this was a step ahead towards victory and success.
- 1. Al-Halabi, al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah 1:199-204; Ibn al-Athir, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:250.
- 2. Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon No 192.
- 3. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 13:207.
- 4. Ibn Kathir, op cit, 1:389.
- 5. Halabi, op cit, 1:380-381; Ibn Husham, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:250; Tabari, Tarikh al-Umam wa’l-Muluk 2:203-204; Ibn Shahrashub, Manaqib 1:43; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 18:84,193; Tarikh al-Ya’qubi 2:17.
- 6. Ibn Shahrashub, op cit, 1:44; al-Majlisi, op cit, 18:194; Tabarsi, I’lam al-Wara, pp. 36.
Concerning these records and documents, Shaykh al-Kulayni states the Muhammad was a prophet but he had not yet been Messenger of God. Al-Uzul min al-Kafi 1:176.
- 7. Mount Hara' is situated northeast of Mecca. Because it was the place where the Divine Revelation came to the Holy Prophet for the first time, it was called jabal al-nur (Mountain of Light). Until several years ago, this mountain was far away from the city of Mecca. However, the city skirts have now reached the foot of this mountain due to modern construction. Because of its situation inside a series of interrelated mountains, Mount Hara' is the most handsome and most distinguished. The Hara' Cave, which is high in the mountain, is not a cave in reality; rather, it is a huge rock over two other huge rocks, creating a space of one and a half meters high. The entrance is wide enough for people to enter. However, the inner half of it is narrower. Sunlight can penetrate only half of the cave.
- 8. Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon 193; Ibn Husham, op cit, 1:25.
- 9. Ibn Husham, op cit, 1:251; Tabari, op cit, 2:206; Ibn al-Athir, op cit, 1:390; al-Buladhari, Ansab al-Ashraf 1:105.
- 10. Halabi, op cit, pp. 382.
- 11. Ibn Husham, op cit, pp. 249; Tabari, op cit, pp. 209; al-Buladhari, op cit, pp 114-115; Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 1:190; Mas’udi, al-Tanbih wa’l-Ishraf, pp. 198; Halabi, op cit, pp. 363; al-Majlisi, op cit, pp. 204.
- 12. Tabarsi, Majma’ al-Bayan 10:514; Mas’udi, Muruj al-Dhahab 2:276.
- 13. Muslim scholars ascribe these verses to the prophethood of Muhammad. There are some pieces of evidence which confirm this issue. See al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 18:246; Muhammad Hadi Ma’rifat, al-Tamhid fi ‘Ulum al-Qur'an 1:35; al-Qastalani, al-Mawahib al-Ludaniyyah 3:88-89. According to other exegeses, these verses are related to the Night Ascension (Mi’raj).
- 14. Sahih al-Bukhari 1:59-60; Sahih Muslim 2:197-204.
- 15. Al-’Asqalani, al-Izabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah 4:359.
- 16. Bihar al-Anwar 18:246, 254, 257.
- 17. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 1:197; Ibn Shahrashub, Manaqib, op cit, 1:43; al-Majlisi, op cit, 18:271.
- 18. al-Majlisi, op cit, pp 268, 271; Saduq, al-Tawhid, pp. 115.
- 19. Saduq, Kamal al-Din 1:85; ‘Ilal al-Shara'i’ 7:7.
- 20. Tabari, op cit, 2:207; al-Buladhari, op cit, 1:105; Mas’udi, Muruj al-Dhahab 2:276; Tarikh al-Ya’qubi 2:17.
- 21. Majma’ al-Bayan 10:384.
- 22. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 18:262; Muhammad Hadi Ma’rifat, al-Tamhid fi ‘Ulum al-Qur'an 1:49.
- 23. As far as we know, the first person who realized the lack of authenticity of this narration was Sayyid ‘Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din al-Musawi (1390-1377 AH), one of the distinguished Shi’ite scholars of Jabal ‘Amil, who discussed and criticized it in his epistle to the Arab Scientific Congress in Damascus, and in his book al-Nazz wa’l-Ijtihad, pp 319-322. Then other scholars, such as ‘Ali Dawani, criticized this narration in the following sources: The Rays of revelation over Mount Hara', pp 70-108; the history of Islam from the start up to the prophet's Migration, pp 98-110; the role of the Imams In the revival of the religion 4:6-44; al-Sahih min Sirat al-Nabi al-A’¨am 1:216-232, Treason in the historical accounts 2:3-23; al-Tamhid 1:52-56; Some Analytical Lessons From The History Of Islam 2:196-236.
- 24. Murtadha ‘Amili, The role of the Imams In the revival of the religion 4:12.
- 25. Islamic Encyclopedia 3:398. Montgomery Watt, the head of the Arabic department of Edinburgh University, is one of those who insinuates against Islam. He writes, “It is amazing for a man who used to live in a far-away city, like Mecca in the seventh century AD, to have been appointed as a prophet by God. Therefore, we are not amazed when we hear that Muhammad was frightened and worried when he became aware of this issue. Regarding this, there are some hints and documents in the Qur'an and in other narrations related to his life. It is not clear at what time he realized that God had not forgotten him. His other fear was the fear of mental breakdown; this is because in those days Arabs assumed that persons like him were under the domination of jinn or spirits. Some Meccan Arabs interpreted Muhammad's revelations in this way and he himself at times doubted whether people were right or wrong in their assumptions.” See Muhammad, the prophet and the politician, pp 26-27.
- 26. Ibn Husham, op cit, 1:280; Tabari, op cit, 2:216; Mas’udi, Muruj al-Dhahab 2:275-276; al-Buladhari, op cit, 1:116; Tarikh al-Ya’qubi 2:19; Halabi, op cit, 1:456; Tusi, al-Ghaybah, pp. 202.
- 27. Tarikh al-Ya’qubi 2:19; Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 1:199; al-Buladhari, op cit, 1:115.
- 28. Halabi, op cit, 1:456-457.
- 29. Ibn Husham mentions the names of the first eight Muslims as follows: ‘Ali, Zayd ibn Harith, Abu-Bakr, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, al-Zubayr ibn al-’Awwam, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Sa’d ibn Abi-Waqqaz, and Talhah ibn ‘Ubaydullah. See al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:262-364.
- 30. Imam ‘Ali was monotheist even at his early age; he never served idols. Thus, his becoming a Muslim does not imply that he stopped worshipping idols like the other companions of the Holy Prophet. Imam ‘Ali accepted Islam that is based on the Divine principle of monotheism. Concerning this, Dahlan wrote, “‘Ali never practiced idolatry. He followed the Holy Prophet closely. It is narrated that three persons were never involved in idolatry; the Faithful of Al-Yasin, ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib, and Asiyah, Pharaoh’s wife.” See al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:92. Concerning Imam ‘Ali, Ibn Sa’d narrates that he never worshipped any idol because he was too young! See Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 3:21. Ibn Hajar (974 AH), quoting Ibn Sa’d’s previous statement, states, “For this reason, ‘Ali is mentioned with the statement of ‘karrama allahu wajhahu (May Allah honor his face)’. See al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, pp. 120.
Regarding ‘Ali's age when he accepted Islam, see Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, 13:234-235.
- 31. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Isi’ab 3:28; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, op cit, 13:229; al-Hakim al-Naysaburi, al-Mustadrak ‘Ala’l-Sahihayn 2:81, Halabi, op cit, 1:432. In some narrations, we read, “The first to join the Divine Pond (on the Resurrection Day) will be the first to accept Islam; namely, ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib.” See Halabi, op cit, pp. 432.
- 32. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, op cit, pp. 32; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi’l-Tarikh 2:57. Al-Hakim al-Naysaburi (al-Mustadrak ‘Ala’l-Sahihayn 3:112) has recorded this narration in two ways, “Allah’s Messenger received prophethood…” and “Allah’s Messenger received the Divine Revelation on Monday.” In some narrations, we will read, “The Prophet received prophethood on Monday, and ‘Ali accepted Islam on Tuesday.” See, Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, op cit, pp. 229; al-Juwayni, Fara'id al-Simtayn. Emphasizing the same issue, Imam ‘Ali used to remark, “Allah’s Messenger received the Divine Message on Monday, and I accepted Islam on Tuesday.” See al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa', pp. 166; Muhammad al-Sabban, Is’af al-Raghibin, pp. 148; Ibn Hajar, al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah.
- 33. Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon 192.
- 34. Ibid, Sermon 131.
- 35. Tabari, op cit, 2:212; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi’l-Tarikh.
The same issue is brought up in al-Mustadrak ‘Ala’l-Sahihayn 3:112; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 13:200, 228; Ibn Mardawayh, Manaqib ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib, pp 47-48.
- 36. Tabari, op cit, 2:212; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, op cit, 13:226. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid has reported the same from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Isi’ab 3:165; Ibn Ishaq, al-Siyar wa’l-Maghazi, pp. 137-138; al-Karajaki, Kanz al-Fawa'id 1:262. For further information concerning Ali's pioneering in the acceptance of Islam, see al-Ghadir 2:214, 3:220-224.
- 37. Ibn Sa’d, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 1:199.
- 38. al-Buladhari, Ansab al-Ashraf 1:299; Bihar al-Anwar 18:185.
- 39. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, pp. 212.
- 40. Ibn Husham, op cit, 1:358; Tabarsi, I’lam al-Wara, pp. 44; Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, Tadhkirat al-Khawazz, pp. 186.
- 41. al-Buladhari, op cit, pp. 128.
- 42. Tabarsi, op cit, pp. 56.
- 43. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 3:139.
- 44. Halabi, al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah 1:446.
- 45. Halabi, op cit, 1:434.
- 46. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 3:102.
- 47. op cit, pp. 124.
- 48. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 3:222.
- 49. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 3:244. ‘Abd al-Muta’al al-Sa’idi al-Mizri has written a book entitled Youth of Quraysh in the Beginning of Islam (pp. 33-34) in which he has introduced forty young men from Quraysh who had pioneered in accepting Islam. In his list, Imam ‘Ali is the first.
- 50. al-Buladhari, op cit, 1:156, pp. 181, see Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 3:248.
- 51. Op cit.
- 52. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 1:164; Halabi, op cit, 1:499.
- 53. Muslim scholars name this issue as bid' al-da’wah (The Beginning of the Promulgation), yawm al-dar (The Day of the House), and yawm al-indhar (The Day of Warning). It is reported in the following reference books with some difference: Tarikh al-Tabari 2:217; Ibn Athir, al-Kamil fi’l-Tarikh 2:63; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 13:211; al-Bayhaqi, Dala'il al-Nubuwwah 1:278; Tabarsi, Majma’ al-Bayan 7:206; Shaykh Mufid, al-Irshad, pp. 29; Tawus, al-Tara’if 1:20; Halabi, al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah 1:461; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 18:78, 181, 191, 214; ‘Allamah Amini, al-Ghadir 2:278-279; Murtadha ‘Askari, the role of the Imams in the revival of the Religion 2:86, 6:17-18; Musnad Ahmad 1:159. It is worthy noting that among historians, Tabari has distorted the Holy Prophet's statement drastically in his interpretation: he has changed representative and successor into so and so. Ibn Kathir, too, has distorted the truth in his three books in his three books (Tafsir 3:351, al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 3:40, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:459). Considering the attitude of these two, it is not difficult to recognize their motive for this dramatic distortion.
- 54. Hadith al-Manzilah reads: “O ‘Ali, your position to me is the same as Prophet Aaron’s position to Prophet Moses except that there shall be no prophet after me.”
- 55. Surah al-Shu’ara' was revealed to the Holy Prophet after Surah al-Waqi’ah. The following are the Surahs that were revealed after that: al-Naml, al-Qazaz, al-Isra', Yunus, Hud, Yusuf and then al-Hijr in which the order for the public invitation was given. See Muhammad Hadi Ma’rifat, al-Tamhid fi ‘Ulum al-Qur'an 1:105.
- 56. Abtuh is a valley near Mina. See Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu’jam al-Buldan. 1:74. This event probably took place at the time of Hajj when pilgrims had gathered at Mina.
- 57. Tarikh al-Ya’qubi 1:19. There are other reports on the Holy Prophet’s first open declaration of his faith. Most probably, he invited the idolaters within short time intervals through the same statements. See Tarikh al-Ya’qubi, pp. 19; Tabari, op cit, 2:21; al-Buladhari, Ansab al-Ashraf 1:121; al-Bayhaqi, op cit, 1:279; Tabarsi, I’lam al-Wara, pp. 39; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 18:185; Halabi, op cit, 1:461.
- 58. Tabari, op cit, 2:218; Ibn Husham, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:282; Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 1:199; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi’l-Tarikh 2:63.
- 59. Tabari, op cit, 2:218-220; Ibn Husham, op cit, pp. 282-287, 313, 316; al-Bayhaqi, op cit, 1:282; Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 1:202-203; al-Buladhari, op cit, 1:231-232; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi’l-Tarikh 2:63-65; Halabi, op cit, 1:462-463; Ibn Kathir, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah. 1:479; al-Majlisi, op cit, 18:185.
- 60. Ibn Husham, op cit, pp. 287; Tabari, op cit, pp. 220; Ibn Shahrashub, al-Manaqib 1:59; Ibn al-Athir, op cit, pp. 65; Ibn Kathir, op cit, pp. 477, Halabi, op cit, pp. 463.
- 61. Tabarsi, Majma’ al-Bayan 9:46.
- 62. Ibn Husham, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:387; Ibn Shahrashub, al-Manaqib 1:50.
- 63. The Holy Qur'an’s chapters (i.e. Surahs) are divided according to their revelation into Meccan and Medinan.
- 64. This holy Surah is the fourth in revelation. See al-Tamhid fi ‘Ulum al-Qur'an 1:104.
- 65. This Surah is the sixth.
- 66. This Surah is the ninth.
- 67. These people, most probably, had invested their money in a Mecca economic center.
- 68. Tabari, Tarikh al-Umam wa’l-Muluk 2:221.
Those who look at man from a material prospect only concentrate all their attentions to the economic motive and base all other motives to it. The analysis of Petroshfsky, a famous Russian analyst of Islam and Iran and a professor of Oriental Studies Department at the University of Leningrad writes, “Meccan chiefs were among the traders and usurers. They opposed Muhammad openly. We could not say that the cause of this opposition was religious dogmatism; rather, the Prophet's propagation against their idolatry was the real motive of their opposition because their trade and political supremacy was greatly jeopardized. They assumed that his religious propagation would cause the fall of the Kaaba and the worship of their idols. This might result in fewer pilgrims to visit the Kaaba and a financial loss for them. In this way, the Kaaba might lose its political supremacy. For this reason, the Meccan chiefs interpreted Muhammad's religious propaganda as a direct threat to their own interests. They hated him for these reasons. See Islam in Iran, pp. 26. In view of our previous discussions, we do not have to say how baseless the statement of this professor is.
- 69. Tabarsi, Majma’ al-Bayan 7:260; Ibn Shahrashub, Manaqib 1:51.
- 70. Manaqib 1:59.
- 71. Qizaz al-’Arab 2:258; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 3:144.
- 72. Ibn Husham, op cit, 1:337; Ibn Shahrashub, Manaqib 1:50; Ibn Kathir, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:506-507.
- 73. Ibn Kathir, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:130.
- 74. Tarikh al-Tabari 2:221.
- 75. al-Buladhari, Ansab al-Ashraf 1:197; Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil fi’l-Tarikh 2:66.
- 76. al-Buladhari, op cit, pp. 156-196; Ibn al-Athir, op cit, 2:66-70.
- 77. Ibn Husham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah; Tabari, Tarikh al-Umam wa’l-Muluk 2:222; Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil fi’l-Tarikh 2:76.
- 78. Tabari, op cit, pp. 221.
- 79. ‘Umar Farrukh, Tarikh Sadr al-Islam wa’l-Dawlah al-Umawiyyah, pp. 54; ‘Abbas Ziryab, Sirat Rasulillah, pp. 169.
- 80. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, pp. 204; Ibn Husham, op cit, pp. 344; Tabari, op cit, pp. 221-222.
- 81. al-Buladhari, op cit, pp. 227.
- 82. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, pp. 207. The number of emigrants is recorded even less. But the number of their names, recorded in books of history, is the same as the above. See Ibn Husham, op cit, pp. 346-353; Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Ayati, The History of The Prophet of Islam, pp. 122-132.
- 83. Ibn Husham, op cit, 1:357; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 18:418.
Tabarsi has recorded that Abu-Talib wrote the following poetic verses in his letter:
King of Abyssinia, be it known to you that Muhammad, just like Moses and Jesus son of Mary, is a Prophet.
He came with the true guidance with which they had come; and all of them guide to God’s commission and seek His protection.
Verily, you are uttering his name in your Book through authentic, not fabricated, report.
So, do not associate others with God and follow Islam, for the path of the Right can never be darkened.
- 84. Tabarsi, op cit, pp. 43-44, Ibn Husham, op cit, pp. 356-360; Ibn al-Athir, op cit, 2:79-81.
- 85. It is reported that Ja’far ibn Abi-Talib was escorted by seventy Abyssinians on his way back to Mecca. All of these, converted to Islam after they had had a conversation with the Holy Prophet. See Majma’’ al-Bayan 3:234.
- 86. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, pp. 208.
- 87. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 8:97; Ibn Husham, op cit, pp. 238; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 4:143; Ayati, op cit, pp. 132.
- 88. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 43:7.
The majority of Sunni scholars believe that Lady Fatimah was born five years after prophethood. See Sayyid Ja’far Shahidi, Life of Fatimah.
- 89. Tafsir al-Burhan 2:400.
- 90. Majma’ al-Bayan 6:395.
- 91. al-Majlisi, op cit,; 18, pp. 290; Tafsir Nemuneh 12:17. A physics-based explanation of the Night Ascension can be seen in Tafsir Nemuneh 12:17-20 and Furugh Abadiyyat 2:393.
- 92. Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Furu’ min al-Kafi 3:482-487; Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 1:213; Sahih al-Bukhari; al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 3:76; al-Majlisi, op cit, 18:238; Tafsir al-Burhan 2:933.
- 93. Allamah Amini, al-Ghadir 3:242.
- 94. Ibn Husham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:375; Tabari, op cit, 2:225; al-Buladhari, Ansab al-Ashraf 1:234.
- 95. al-Buladhari, op cit, 1:234; Ibn Sa’d, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 1:209; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 4:58.
- 96. al-Buladhari, op cit, pp. 230; Is op cit, 1:63; Ibn Ishaq, al-Siyar wal-Maghazi, pp. 159; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 19:18.
- 97. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 14:64; al-Fattal al-Naysaburi, Rawdhat al-Wa’i¨in, pp. 63.
- 98. Ibn Shahrashub, op cit, 1:63; Tabarsi, I’lam al-Wara, pp. 49.
- 99. Al-Fattal al-Naysaburi, Rawdhat al-Wa’i¨in, pp. 64; Ibn Shahrashub, op cit, pp. 64; Tabarsi, op cit, pp. 50; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, op cit, 14:64; see Ibn Ishaq, op cit, pp. 160.
- 100. Ibn Shahrashub, op cit, pp. 65; Ibn Sa’d, op cit, pp. 209; al-Buladhari, op cit, pp. 234; Ibn Ishaq, op cit, pp. 159.
- 101. Tabarsi, op cit, pp. 50.
- 102. al-Majlisi, op cit, 19; Ibn Ishaq, op cit, pp. 159.
- 103. Ibn Shahrashub, op cit, pp. 65; Tabarsi, op cit, pp. 51.
- 104. Ibn Ishaq, op cit, pp. 161; Ibn Husham, op cit, 1:379; al-Buladhari, op cit, pp. 235; al-Majlisi, op cit, pp. 19.
- 105. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 13:254.
- 106. Ibn Wadhih, Tarikh al-Ya’qubi 2:25; Tabarsi, I’lam al-Wara, pp. 50.
- 107. Tabarsi, op cit, pp. 50; Is op cit, 1:65.
- 108. Ibn Ishaq, op cit, pp. 161; al-Buladhari, op cit, 1:234, Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 1:210; Ibn Shahrashub, op cit, 1:65.
- 109. Ibn Ishaq, op cit, pp. 162, 165, 166; al-Buladhari, op cit, p236; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, op cit, 14:59; Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil fi’l-Tarikh 2:88; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 19:19.
- 110. That took place on the tenth year of Hegira. See Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 1:210; al-Buladhari, op cit, 1:236.
- 111. Tabarsi, op cit, pp. 51-52.
- 112. Nahj al-Balaghah, letter 9.
- 113. al-Buladhari, op cit, 1:236; Ibn al-Athir, op cit, 2:90.
- 114. Ibn Wadhih, Tarikh al-Ya’qubi 2:29; the Holy Prophet called that year “Year of Sadness”. See Bihar al-Anwar 19:25.
- 115. Ibn Ishaq, op cit, pp. 243; Ibn Husham, op cit, 2:57; Tabarsi, I’lam al-Wara, pp. 53.
- 116. Ibn Ishaq, op cit, pp. 243; Ibn Husham, op cit, pp. 57.
- 117. Amir Muhanna al-Khayyami, pp. 62-63; Al-Dulabi, al-Dhurriyyah al-Tahirah, pp. 63-64.
- 118. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Isi’ab 4:287; Dulabi, op cit, pp. 51.
- 119. Al-Kulayni, al-Uzul min al-Kafi 1:449; ‘Allamah Amini, al-Ghadir 7:393; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 18:187; al-Ghadir 7:259, 388, 393; Tarikh al-Ya’qubi 2:20.
- 120. Ibn Sa’d, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 1:211; Tabari, Tarikh al-Umam wa’l-Muluk (Tarikh al-Tabari) 2:229; al-Bayhaqi, Dala'il al-Nubuwwah 2:80; Ibn al-Athir, op cit 2:91.
- 121. Ibn Ishaq, al-Siyar wal-Maghazi, pp. 239; Ibn Husham, op cit, 2:58; Tabari, op cit, pp. 229; Ibn Shahrashub, Manaqib 1:67; Ibn al-Athir, op cit, pp. 91; al-Bayhaqi, op cit, pp. 80; Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, Tadhkirat al-Khawazz, pp. 9.
- 122. Shaykh Mufid, Awa’il al-Maqalat, pp. 13; al-Fattal al-Naysaburi, op cit, pp. 155; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 14:65; Tabarsi, Majma’ al-Bayan 3:287; Ibn Tawus; al-Tara’if, pp. 298.
- 123. Tabarsi, op cit, 7:260.
- 124. Shaykh al-Kulayni, op cit, 1:448; Saduq, al-Amali, pp. 366; al-Fattal al-Naysaburi, op cit, pp. 156; Allamah Amini, al-Ghadir 7:390; Mufid, al-Ikhtizaz, pp. 241.
- 125. The poems of Abu-Talib has been collected by Abu-Na’im ‘Ali ibn Hamzah al-Bazri al-Tamimi, the linguist (375 AD). Shaykh Agha Buzurg Tehrani saw a copy of this book in the Library of Sayyid ‘«sa al-’Attar in Baghdad. This book comprised more than five thousand poetic verses and was published in al-Najaf in AH 1356.
Imam ‘Ali liked to see his father’s poems being collected. He used to remark, “Learn these poems and teach them to your children. Abu-Talib was a follower of God's religion and his poems contain a lot of knowledge.” al-Ghadir 7:393.
- 126. Tabarsi, I’lam al-Wara, pp. 45; Majma’ al-Bayan 4:288; Allamah Amini, al-Ghadir 7:331.
- 127. Shaykh al-Kulayni, op cit, pp. 449. Tabarsi, Majma’ al-Bayan 4:4, 287; Ibn Husham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:277; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, op cit, 14:72; al-Karajaki, Kanz al-Fawa'id 1:181; Amini, al-Ghadir 7:332.
- 128. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, op cit, pp. 55; Amini, op cit, p334; ‘Asqalani, al-Izabah 4, pp. 116. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 3:42.
- 129. Many books have been written on Abu-Talib's Faith. Some are referred to in Agha Buzurg’s al-Dhari’ah 2:510-514. Allamah Amini in, al-Ghadir 7:330-403, deals with this issue in some details. He refers to nineteen books written by great Muslim scholars on Abu-Talib’s belief in Islam. He cites forty narrations proving this fact. At the beginning of the eighth volume, he answers the questions of the opponents regarding Abu-Talib's belief in Islam.
- 130. ‘Abbas Ziryab, Sirat Rasulillah, pp. 178-179.
- 131. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Isi’ab 4:282; Sahih Muslim 15:201.
- 132. Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal, Hayat Muhammad, pp. 315-316, 325.
- 133. For further information, see commentaries on Surah al-Tahrim, verses 1-5.
- 134. Muhammad Ibn Sa’d, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 7:97, Shaykh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, Safinat al-Bihar 1:204.
- 135. Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah 5:458; Mas’udi, Muruj al-Dhahab 2:289; Hamdullah Muztafawi, Tarikh Gozideh, pp. 161.
- 136. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 4:144; Hamdullah Muztafawi, Tarikh Gozideh, pp. 161.
- 137. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, pp. 99; ‘Abbas al-Qummi, op cit, pp. 204.
- 138. ‘Asqalani, al-Izabah 4:458; Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah 5:588.
- 139. Ibn al-Athir, op cit, pp. 218.
- 140. op cit, pp. 588; Ibn Husham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 4:294, Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 8:87.
- 141. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Isi’ab 4:82.
- 142. Al-Khayyami, Zawjat al-Nabi wa-Awladuhu, pp. 199.
- 143. Ibn Hajar, op cit, pp. 458; Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 8:87.
- 144. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, pp. 90-91; Muhammad Ibn Habib, al-Muhabbar, pp. 84.
- 145. Mamuqani, Tanqih al-Maqal 3:72.
- 146. Mamuqani, op cit, Al-Tustari, Qamus al-Rijal 10:396.
- 147. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 8:101; Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah 2:226; Ibn Hajar, al-Izabah 4:564.
- 148. Ibn Sa’d, op cit; Ibn al-Athir, op cit, 2:224; Ibn Hajar, op cit, pp. 563.
- 149. al-Alusi, Tafsir Ruh al-Ma’ani 21:147.
- 150. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 8:103.
- 151. Ibn al-Athir, op cit, 7:494; Tabarsi, Majma’ al-Bayan 8:337; Qastalani, al-Mawahib al-Ludaniyyah 2:87.
- 152. Islamic Encyclopedia; Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal, Hayat Muhammad, pp. 316, 323.
According to Orientalists, Muhammad passed by Zayd's house and accidentally saw his wife, Zaynab. He fell in love with her!! When Zayd noticed this, he divorced Zaynab who was one of the Prophet's relatives and was not unknown to the Prophet since, in those days, women’s veil was not yet common!!
To refute this fable, members of a family must know who is beautiful and who is not among them. We should add here that these Orientalists have got this fable from some baseless narrations recorded in some reference books, such as Tarikh Tabari 3:42; Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 8:101. Some other writers, too, have unknowingly adopted these sources. However, the Holy Qur’an has vividly revealed the truth. Of course, some Muslim scholars have proved the forgery of this story. One of these is Sayyid Murtadha ‘Alam al-Huda, a well-known Shi’ite scholar (436 AH). He has described such reports as dirty and ugly. See Tanzih al-Anbiya', pp. 114. Al-Alusi considers the issue as a myth uttered by story-tellers. He says, “We should acquit the Prophet from such accusations.” See Tafsir Ruh al-Ma’ani 22:24-25.
- 153. Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu’jam al-Buldan 4:9.
- 154. Tabari, Tarikh al-Umam wa’l-Muluk 2:230; al-Buladhari, Ansab al-Ashraf 1:237.
- 155. Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 14:97 and 4:127-128.
- 156. Tabari, op cit, pp. 230; Ibn Husham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 2:60.
- 157. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, pp. 212.
- 158. Tabari, op cit, 2:230; Ibn Husham, op cit, 2:62.
- 159. Ibn Wadhih, Tarikh al-Ya’qubi 2:30.
- 160. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 1:212; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, op cit, 14:91; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 19:22. It is also reported that the Holy Prophet stayed at Aa’if more than this period.
- 161. Nahj al-Balaghah, pp. 530.
- 162. This incident took place at a place between Ta’if and Mecca. See al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 3:63.
- 163. Tabari, op cit, pp. 231; Ibn Husham, op cit, pp. 63.
- 164. Al-Sahih min Sirat al-Nabi al-A’¨am 2:167-168.
- 165. Ibn Husham, op cit, pp. 288-289.
- 166. Ibn Husham, op cit, pp. 288-289.
- 167. Tabari, I’lam al-Wara, pp. 56.
- 168. Ibn Husham, op cit, 2:65-66; Tabari, Tarikh 2:232-233; al-Buladhari, Ansab al-Ashraf 1:237-238; Ibn Ishaq, al-Siyar wa’l-Maghazi, pp. 232.
He invited the following tribes to Islam one by one: Banu-Fazarah, Ghassan, Banu-Murrah, Banu-Sulaym, Banu-’Abs, Banu-Harith, Banu-’Udhrah, al-Hadharimah, Banu-Nazr, and Banu-Buka'. However, none of them accepted his religion. See Ibn Sa’d, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 1:216-217.
- 169. Ibn Husham, op cit, 2:66; Zayni Dahlan, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah 1:145; Murtadha al-’Amili, al-Sahih min Sirat al-Nabi al-A’¨am 2:157-176.
- 170. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 3:140.
- 171. Ibn Sa’d, op cit, 1:216.