Muhammad, Messenger of Peace and Tolerance

A biography of the life of the Prophet Muhammad, including a chapter on his ancestors, the settings of Hijaz at that time, and the events surrounding his birth. This well-researched text covers all important features of the Prophet's life and provides detailed reference where necessary.

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Published by: Ansariyan Publications, P.O. Box 187, 22 Shohada St., Qum; Islamic Republic of Iran; Tel: ++89 251 7741744 Fax: 7742647; Email:; &

Publisher's Preface

We are pleased to present this book to its readers world-wide and solicit their comments and suggestions not only about this book but about other books by this author. The first book by this author was titled Fast of the Month of Ramadan: Philsophy and Ahkam. It was followed by Allah: The Concept of God by Islam then by Kerbala and Beyond. The author has also translated a good number of books some of which have already been published while others are waiting for their turn to be published. The reader is advised to surf the Internet to see an extensive list of the books, works and translations, by this author.

Often, readers are interested to know who the author is, his background, academic achievements, etc. In order to satisfy this curiosity, we are providing you here below with his bio-data:

Education: Obtained his B.A. in English on June 30, 1969 from the College of Arts, Baghdad University, and his Master's Degree in English from (then) Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta University), Atlanta, Georgia, on December 20, 1978. He obtained in March of 1988 a Certificate with Honors in Microprocessors and Microcomputers from N.R.I. of Washington, D.C. He also obtained three Certificates in electronics and programming, including advanced programming. He wrote more than 100 programs in dBASE.

* Taught English as a second language at high schools in Iraq, a vocational institute in Saudi Arabia, and a University in the U.S.

* Edited and revised three English translations of the Holy Qur’an:
1) by S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali,
2) by A. Yusuf Ali, and
3) by M.H. Shakir

* Edited several newsletters and magazines, including Middle East Business Magazine of which he became Senior Editor. Among the books he edited are:

1. Socio-Economic Justice with Particular Reference to Nahjul-Balagha by Dr. S.M. Waseem,
2. A Biography of Leaders of Islam by Sayyid Ali Naqi Naqwi, English translation by Dr. Sayyid Nazir Hasan Zaidi,
3. Your Kalima and the Savior by Wajahat Hussain

* First person ever to translate works of the martyred economist Imam Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr such as:

1) Contemporary Man and the Social Problem,
2) A General Outlook at Rituals,
3) The General Bases of Banking in the Muslim Society, and
4) What Do You Know About Islamic Economics?

* Translated and/or published numerous titles; among them are:
1) A Biography of Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr,
2) The Form of Islamic Government and Wilayat al-Faqeeh,
3) About the World Political Situation From a Muslim’s Viewpoint,
4) Our Faith by Sayyid Muhammad Husain al-Jalali,
5) A Biography of Imam al-Rida by the late Marhoom Shaikh Muhammad Jawad Fadlallah,
in addition to a large number of political tracts, pamphlets, translations, and newsletters.
* Translated the following:

1) The first four volumes of the series titled Al-Islam Risalatuna,
2) Al-Murajaat: A Shii-Sunni Dialogue, the first authentic English translation of Al-Muraja’at by Imam Sayyid Sharafuddeen Sadrud-Deen al-Musawi,

3) Al-Shia hum Ahl al-Sunnah by Dr. Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi,
4) Al-Maqtal (the martyrdom epic of Imam Husain) by Abd al-Razzaq al-Muqarram's book.

* Also translated the following titles originally authored in Arabic by Rachad el-Moussaoui:

1) Best Month, Best Night;
2) The Book of Istikhara;
3) Weapon of the Prophets;
4) Miracles of the Holy Qur’an; and
5) The Great Names of Allah (Asmaa’ Allah al-Husna). These titles do not carry the Translator's name, however.

* Translated 2 books by the late Grand Ayatullah Muhammad al-Shirazi:
1) Canon: A Glimpse at the Islamic Law,
2) The Pathway to an Islamic Revival

* Wrote articles for Islamic Monitor, bulletin of the Islamic Research & Information Center

* Wrote eight books:
1) Volume One of his autobiography titled Memoirs of a Shia Missionary in America: Two Decades of Dawah,
2) Fast of the Month of Ramadan: Philosophy and Ahkam,
3) The Ninety-Nine Attributes of Allah,
4) Mary and Jesus in Islam,
5) Allah: The Concept of God in Islam,
6) Muhammad: The Prophet and Messenger of Allah (this book),
7) Ghadir Khumm: Where Islam was Perfected, and
8) Kerbala and Beyond

The author founded the Islamic Society of Georgia, Inc. (Atlanta, Georgia) in 1973, the Islamic Revival Movement in 1980, the International Islamic Society of Virginia, Inc. in 1982, and the Iraq News Monitor in 1992. Edited Islamic Affairs from January 1974 till June 1989.

New translations by al-Jibouri have recently been published. Their titles are:
1) Al-Siraj: The Lantern,
2) Kashf al-Reeba an Ahkam al-Gheeba: Removal of Doubt about Rulings Relevant to Backbiting,
3) Riyaa wa Ujub: Pretension and Conceit and
4) Uswat al-Arifeen: A Role Model for Those Who Know.
Ansariyan hopes to publish more such books.
Thank you for your interest in our publications.

Muhammad: Background and Immediate Family

To know Allah is know His creation, and the best of His creation is Muhammad, Prophet and Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, the one loved most by Allah. To love Muhammad is to love Allah, and to love Allah is to love Muhammad. Whoever loves Muhammad is loved by Allah, and whoever is loved by Allah will have nothing to worry about. And how can anyone not love Muhammad unless he is sick in the heart and in the mind, sick with prejudice and arrogance, with ignorance and conceit?!

One who studies the life of this greatest personality that ever walked on the face of earth will come to realize why he is so much loved by the Almighty, why he is so holy, so pure, so refined. Such knowledge, it is hoped, will benefit the Muslims who wish to follow in his footsteps and be gathered in his company on the Day of Judgment; this is the ultimate desire and hope of every true believer. May Allah count us and your own self among them, Allahomma Aameen.

Prophet's Genealogy

He is Muhammad ibn (son of) ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn ‘Abd Munaf ibn Qusayy ibn Kilab ibn Murrah ibn Ka’b ibn Ghalib ibn Fahr ibn Malik ibn Nadar ibn Kinanah ibn Khuzaymah ibn Mudrikah ibn Ilyas ibn Mazar ibn Nazar ibn Ma’ad ibn ‘Adnan ibn Isma’eel (Ishmael) ibn Ibrahim (Abraham), peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his progeny, and righteous ancestors, especially his great grandfathers Isma’eel and Ibrahim.

Prophet's Immediate Family

Prophet's Grandfathers

Hashim ibn Abd Manaf

Al-Mutallib ibn Abd Manaf, from him come the Mutallibis. Imam al-Shafi’i was one of them.

Nawfal ibn Abd Manaf; from him, the Nawfalis descend.

Abd Shams ibn Abd Manaf; from him descend the Umayyads.

Abdul-Mutallib ibn Hashim. He was called “Shaybatul-amd’ (gray of praise) because he was born with some gray hair. While returning home from a visit to his maternal relatives, Banu Najjar, the boy rode behind al-Mutallib. The Quraishis asked him, “Who is this boy?’ The uncle (jestingly) said “This is my slave;’ henceforth, he was called “Mutallib's slave’ (‘Abdul-Mutallib). The exact date of birth of ‘Abdul-Muttalib is unknown; he died in 578 A.D. when the Prophet (s.a.w) was eight years old. When he prayed for rain, invoking the name of Allah's Blessed Messenger (s.a.w), the little one, his prayers were answered.

Prophet's Father

Abdullah ibn Abdul-Mutallib (545 - 570 A.D.). The Blessed Prophet's father, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul-Mutallib, was born in 545 A.D., 25 years before the Year of the Elephant. Abu Talib and az-Zubair were his brothers by the same father and mother. So were the girls, except afiyya. When his father died, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w) was two months old, though reports about this differ. ‘Abdul-Mutallib loved ‘Abdullah immensely because he was the best of his children, the most chaste and the most noble among them. Once ‘Abdul-Mutallib sent his son on business, and when the caravan passed by Yathrib (Medina), ‘Abdullah died there. He was buried in the house of Arqam ibn Ibrahim ibn Suraqah al-’Adawi.

Prophet's Foster Father

Al-Arith, the Prophet's foster father and husband of alima, son of ‘Abd al-’Uzza ibn Rifa’ah ibn Millan ibn Nairah ibn Fuayya ibn Nar ibn Sa’d ibn Bakr ibn Hawazin.

Prophet's Foster Mothers

Thawbiyya, the Prophet's foster mother. She was a bondmaid of Abu Lahab, the paternal uncle of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). She breast-fed him with the milk of her son Masruh.
Halima, the Prophet's foster mother. She was the daughter of “Abu Thu'aib’ ‘Abdullah ibn Shajnah ibn Jabir ibn Rizam ibn Nairah ibn Sa’d ibn Bakr ibn Hawazin al-Qaisi. She breast-fed the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) with the milk of her son ‘Abdullah and reared him (s.a.w) for four years (till the year 574 A.D.).

Prophet's Paternal Uncles

The Prophet's paternal uncles are the offspring of ‘Abdul-Mutallib ibn Hashim. These are:

Abu Talib. His mother was Fatima al-Quraishiya daughter of ‘Amr ibn Makhzum. She was the mother of the Prophet's father ‘Abdullah and also the mother of Zubair and of all daughters of ‘Abdul-Mutallib. Called “al-Mumalliq’, he undertook the guardianship of the Prophet (s.a.w). He was son of ‘Abdul-Mutallib.

Al-Abbas ibn Abdul-Mutallib (567 - 655 A.D.). He left behind him offspring, and he used to be called “Abul-Fal’ (father of al-Fal). His mother was called “Umm irar’. He was older than the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). He was born 30 year before the Year of the Elephant. His mother's full name was: Qubaila daughter of Hyyan ibn Kulaib ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘amir ibn Sa’d ibn Khazraj ibn Taim ibn Allat ibn An-Nimr ibn Qasi ibn Haib ibn Quayy ibn Da’mi ibn Judailah ibn Asad ibn Rabi’ah al-Faras ibn Nizar ibn Ma’add ibn ‘Adnan. Al-’Abbas was three years older than the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w). The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) loved his uncle ‘Abbas and held him in high esteem.

While in Mecca with the idol-worshipers, ‘Abbas kept his faith secret, but he joined the ‘Aqaba group in swearing the oath of allegiance to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). When Mecca was conquered by the Muslims (630 A.D.), ‘Abbas openly declared his belief in Islam and took part in the battles of Hunain, a-a'if and Tabuk. Chivalrous and noble, he stood by the Blessed One in the Battle of unain, holding the reins of the Prophet's mule, demonstrating the zenith of steadfastness and courage. During his caliphate, ‘’Omar ibn al-Khaab placed him in charge of water provisions which, till then, had been the task of his brother, Abu Talib. ‘Abbas spent 56 years of his life during the pre-Islamic period of jahiliyya, ignorance, and 32 years in Islam. Every time ‘’Omar ibn al-Khaab and ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan came across him during their caliphate, they paid him their profound respect.

Hamzah (566 - 625 A.D.). His father was ‘Abdul-Mutallib and his mother Hala daughter of Uhaib ibn ‘Abd Manaf ibn Zuhrah ibn Kilab. Hamzah was nicknamed “Abu Ya’li’ and also “Abu ‘Ammar’. He was four years older than the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). Through him, Allah strengthened Islam when he accepted the faith. He declared his faith in the second year of the revelation (611 A.D.). However, it is also said that he embraced Islam in the sixth year of the Blessed Prophet's calling (616 A.D.). Ibn ‘Abd al-Bar says, “I do not think it is correct that he was four years older than the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) (i.e. born in 568 A.D.) because he was his foster brother. They were both breast-fed by Thawbiyya, a bondmaid of Abu Lahab, who did not live long to be a Muslim except that she might have breast-fed them during two different periods.’

It is also said that Hamzah was only two years older than the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) (i.e. born in 568 A.D.). He took part in the Battle of Badr (624 A.D.) and was graced by Allah for his good performance that made him become a hero. He killed ‘Uqbah ibn Rabi’ah in a duel, but it is also said that he killed Shaibah and Tu’mah ibn ‘Udayy, both of whom he killed in a duel. It is also said that he killed aba ibn al-Khuza’i, but some say he killed him during the Battle of Uud before he himself was killed. In the Battle of Uhud (625 A.D.), Hamzah was martyred at the hands of Washi ibn Harb, the Ethiopian slave of Jubair ibn Mu’im ibn ‘Udayy whose uncle, u’mah ibn ‘Udayy, Hamzah had killed.

Washi killed amzah according to his master's orders. It is also said that lying in ambush for amzah, Washi attacked him with a spear and pierced it all through him, causing him a quick death. May Allah be pleased with amzah. As soon as he was martyred, Hind daughter of ‘Utbah ibn Rabi’ah had sworn to seek revenge on Hamzah because, some say, he had killed her father during the Battle of Badr. She promised to emancipate Washi if he would kill amzah. Once amzah was killed, she went to his corpse and chewed his liver then mutilated his body. amzah was shrouded in a gown then buried after the Messenger of Allah had prayed seventy time for him as he lied in state with other martyrs.

Abd al-Kaba. His father was ‘Abdul-Mutallib. There are some scholars who omit ‘Abd al-Ka’ba's name, saying that he and al-Muqawwim were one and the same person.

Hajal (or Hijl). His real name was Mughirah, and he had no children. His father was ‘Abdul-Mutallib, and his mother was also the mother of Hamzah.

Qatham ibn Abdul-Mutallib. His mother was Umm al-arith and his father ‘Abdul-Mutallib. He died young.

Al-Harith ibn Abdul-Mutallib. Al-arith had children. His mother was Samra' daughter of Jundab ibn Hujair ibn Ri'ab ibn Surat ibn ‘amir ibn a’a’ah ibn Qais ibn ‘Abdul-Mutallib. His father got his nickname “Mutallib’ because of him. Together they dug the well of Zamzam.

Az-Zubair ibn Abdul-Mutallib. He is known by his nickname “Abu ahir’; he left no children behind. His father was ‘Abdul-Mutallib ibn Hashim.

Dirar ibn Abdul-Mutallib. He left no descendants. When he lost his way during a pilgrimage season, causing his mother to almost lose her mind fearing for his life, she made an oath to clothe the Ka’ba if Allah returned him to her, and a man of Jutham brought him back.

Al-Muqawwim. His father was ‘Abdul-Mutallib.

Al-Ghaidaq. His father was ‘Abdul-Mutallib. Some scholars omit al-Ghaidaq's name, saying that he was none other than Hajal (or Hijl). In either case, he left no offspring. Some say that al-Ghaidaq's real name was Nawfal.

Abu Lahab, nicknamed “Abd al-Uzza, ibn Abdul-Mutallib. His father was ‘Abdul-Mutallib and his mother was Lubna daughter of Hajar ibn ‘Abd Manaf ibn Shair ibn Habshah ibn Sallul ibn Ka’b ibn ‘Amr al-Khuza’i. Abu Lahab died an apostate and was one of the most hostile of all enemies of the Prophet (s.a.w).

Prophet's Paternal Aunts

Afiyya daughter of Abdul-Mutallib. Her mother, Hala daughter of Uhaib, was also the mother of Hamzah, al-Muqawwim and Hajal. Among the Blessed Prophet's paternal aunts, only afiyya embraced Islam, may Allah be pleased with her, as some historians say, yet there is no difference of opinion about her conversion. She was the wife of ‘Awwam ibn al-Khuwailid, brother of Khadija, Mother of the Believers, peace be with her. Az-Zubair ibn al-’Awwam is son of the above-mentioned afiyya, a disciple of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). She also gave birth to al-Sa'ib who was martyred at Yamama. She is buried in al-Baqi’ and her well-known grave is famous among the people of Medina. It is said that except for herself, no other paternal aunt of the Blessed Prophet (s.a.w) embraced Islam, although some say that Arwa and ‘atika also converted.

Atika daughter of Abdul-Mutallib. She was married to Abu Umayyah al-Mughirah ibn ‘Abdillah ibn Makhzum ibn Yaqaah ibn Taim ibn Murrah ibn Ka’b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fahr, the latter known as Quraish. She gave birth by him to ‘Abdullah, Zuhair, and Qaribat al-Kubra.

Umaima daughter of Abdul-Mutallib (d. 685 A.D.). Her mother was the mother of both ‘Abdullah and Abu Talib. She gave birth to al-Jash ibn Ri'ab ibn Ya’mur ibn abrah ibn Murrah ibn Ghunm ibn Thudan ibn Asad ibn Khuzaimah. She also gave birth to ‘Abdullah, who became a martyr during the battle of Uud, and to “Abu Amad’, the blind poet, whose name was ‘Abd, and who migrated to Medina. Another son of hers was ‘Ubaidullah who converted to Christianity in Ethiopia.

He was the one who advised the Blessed Prophet's Companions to migrate to Ethiopia. Umaima also gave birth to Zainab (daughter of Jahsh), wife of Allah's Blessed Prophet. Prior to that marriage, which was done according to a Divine Order, she was married to Zaid ibn Harithah who was raised by the Prophet, and to Habiba, who married ‘Abdur-Raman ibn ‘Awf, but had no children. Umaima also gave birth to Hamna daughter of Jash who married Mus’ab ibn ‘Umair ibn Hashim. But Allah knows best.

Barra daughter of Abdul-Mutallib ibn Hashim. Her mother was the mother of ‘Abdullah, Abu Talib and Az-Zubair. She was married to ‘Abd al-Asad ibn Hilal ibn ‘Abdillah ibn ‘Amr ibn Makhzum. She bore him “Abu Salamah’ ‘Abdullah. After him she married “Abu Rahm’ ibn ‘Abd al-’Uzza ibn Abu Qais ibn ‘Abd Wudd ibn Nar ibn Malik ibn Hisl al-’amiri, and she bore him Abu abra. Allah knows best.

Arwa daughter of Abdul-Mutallib. Her mother was the mother of ‘Abdullah, Abu Talib, and Fatima daughter of ‘Amr ibn ‘abid ibn ‘Umran ibn Makhzum. Arwa's husband was ‘Umair ibn Wahb ibn ‘Abd Manaf ibn ‘Abd ad-Dar ibn Quayy ibn Kilab ibn Murrah ibn Ka’b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fahr, to whom she bore ulaib, who was among the first to migrate. He was at Badr and remained childless. She also gave birth to al-Kaladah ibn Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf ibn ‘Abd ad-Dar ibn Quayy ibn Fatima.

Umm Hakim al-Baia' daughter of Abdul-Mutallib ibn Hashim. Her mother was the mother of ‘Abdullah, father of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w), and the mother of Abu Talib. She married Kuthayyir ibn Habib ibn Rabi’ah ibn ‘Abd Shams ibn ‘Abd Manaf. She bore him ‘amir and Umm alah, whose real name was Arnab, and Arwa, the mother of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan and who was one of the Ten who swore allegiance to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w).

Prophet's Maternal Uncles

Abdullah ibn Arqam ibn al-Aswad ibn Abd Yaghuth. His mother was Hind daughter of Mazin ibn ‘amir ibn ‘Alqamat al-Yemen. There was an occasion when the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) made ‘Abdullah his scribe. During the caliphate of ‘’Omar, ‘Abdullah supervised the treasury.

Abu Wahab ibn Abd Manaf ibn Zuhrah ibn Kilab, brother of amina, mother of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) from her father's side. His mother was a’ufa daughter of Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf ibn Quayy ibn Kilab ibn Murrah ibn Nizar. He is the one to whom the name of al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad al-Kindi is attributed. The latter's real name was al-Miqdad ibn ‘’Omar al-Nahrawani, of Buhra' of Qua’ah. The one referred to as “al-Aswad’ had married al-Miqdad's mother and adopted al-Miqdad, making an alliance with him during the time of jahiliyya, so he came to be known as “al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad.’ He is called “al-Kindi’ (of the Kindah tribe) because his father, ‘Asmi ibn Tha’labah, was an ally of Kindah.

Al-Aswad ibn Abd Yaghuth, “Abu Wahab’, ibn ‘Abd Manaf ibn Zuhrah ibn Kilab. ‘Abd Yaghuth and Amina, the Blessed Prophet's mother, were born for the same father. His mother was a’ufa daughter of Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf ibn Quayy ibn Kilab ibn Murrah ibn Nizar. This Aswad is the one to whom the lineage of al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad al-Kindi has been linked. He is also called al-Miqdad ibn ‘’Omar al-Nahrawani of Buhra' of Qua’ah. Aswad married al-Miqdad's mother and adopted him as his son. That was in (the pre-Islamic era of) ignorance. When he left Mecca seeking refuge in Ethiopia, he was joined by six other persons. He was called al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, also al-Kindi, because his father, ‘Asmi ibn Tha’labah, was an ally of the Kindah tribe.

Prophet's Foster Brothers and Sisters

Unaisa. Her mother was Halima as-Sa’diyya daughter of Abu Thu'aib, and her father was al-Harith ibn ‘Abd al-’Uzza, a paternal cousin of Halima, the Blessed Prophet's foster mother.

Abdullah. His mother was Halima as-Sa’diyya daughter of Abu Thu'aib. He was son of al-Harith ibn ‘Abd al-’Uzza, a paternal cousin of Halima, the Prophet's foster mother.

Khuthama. Her mother was Halima daughter of Abu Thu'aib ‘Abdullah ibn al-Harith ibn Shijnah ibn Jabir ibn Razzam ibn Nairah ibn Fuayyah, mentioned in the lineage of her husband, and she was the foster-mother of Allah's messenger (s.a.w).

Masruh. His mother was Thawbiyya, the bondmaid of “Abu Lahab’ (father of the flame) ‘Abd al-’Uzza ibn ‘Abdul-Mutallib, paternal uncle of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). It was the milk for Masru from which the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) was fed.

Hamzah. He was a son of ‘Abdul-Mutallib, paternal uncle of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). Before it was the turn of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w), Hamzah was breast-fed by Thawbiyya, bondmaid of Abu Lahab who was a paternal uncle of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). Hamzah was four years older than his foster brother, the Prophet (s.a.w).
Muslamah. He was the son of ‘Abd al-Asad al-Makhzumi, the husband of Umm Salamah, mother of the Believers. He was breast-fed by Thawbiyya, bondmaid of Abu Lahab, paternal uncle of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). She was feeding him four years before she began feeding the Prophet (s.a.w).

Descendants of the Prophet's Paternal Uncles

Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abu Talib (600 - 661 A.D.). Among his offspring are the Talibis and Ja’faris. A man of many virtues, Ali ibn Abu Talib was the “brother of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w)’, his paternal cousin and son-in-law and right hand, the Imam of the righteous. He used to be nicknamed “Abu Turab’, the man who humbles himself in the dust. Due to his courage, he was also called “Haidara’, the Lion. He was born inside Allah's Holy House, the Ka’ba, in Mecca, according to some reports, on the 13th of Rajab in the year 30 of the Elephant (600 A.D.). Attacked on the 19th of the month of Ramaan in the year 40 A.H., which corresponded to January 29, 661 A.D., he died during the night of the 21st. (January 31, 661 A.D.). He was killed by ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn Muljim al-Muradi, may Allah curse him. During the battle of Badr, an angel called out, full of admiration: “There is no sword like Thul-Fiqar and no knight like Ali!’

Talib ibn Abu Talib.

Aqil ibn Abu Talib. He was ten years older than the Commander of the Faithful. ‘Aqil was killed during the reign of Mu’awiyah.

Ja’far ibn Abu Talib. Nicknamed “the Flying One’ (al-ayyar), he died a martyr in the Battle of Mu'ta (629 A.D.).

Umm Hani daughter of Abu Talib.

Hulaib ibn Abu Talib. He narrated the biography of the Prophet (s.a.w).

Hamna daughter of Abu Talib. She was one of those who swore the oath of allegiance to the Prophet (s.a.w) in 622 A.D. She gave birth to al-Harith and ‘Abdul-Mutallib by her cousin (husband).

Abdullah ibn Abbas, the scholar of this nation. ‘Abdullah was born in 619 A.D., three years before the Hegira (migration from Mecca to Medina) in the Shi’b (of Abu Talib). This was before the Hashimi clan had left (following the end of the siege enforced on the Prophet (s.a.w) and his clansmen by Quraish). When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) died, ‘Abdullah was fifteen years old.

Kathir ibn Abbas (b. 618 A.D.). He and his brother ‘Abdullah, the renown scholar, were of the same mother. Kathir was one year younger than ‘Abdullah.

Saud ibn Abbas. He and his brother ‘Abdullah were of the same mother. Sa’ud died as a martyr in Africa, leaving children behind.

Al-Fal ibn Abbas. He begot one daughter.

Qatham ibn Abbas. He and his brother ‘Abdullah, the Islamic nation's scholar, were by the same mother. Qatham died as a martyr in Samarkand.

Al-Harith ibn Abbas. He had offspring. His mother belonged to Banu Hilal.

Abdur-Raman ibn Abbas. He and his brother ‘Abdullah were of the same mother. He had no offspring.

Safiyya daughter of Abbas

Amina daughter of Abbas

Tamam ibn Abbas. He and his brother Kathir were of the same mother. Tamam had no offspring.

Mihrab ibn Abbas. He and Sub were of the same mother. Mihrab had no offspring.

Subh ibn Abbas. His mother was a bondswoman. He had no offspring.

Umm Habiba daughter of Abbas

Abdullah ibn az-Zubair. He died without leaving any offspring. He stood firmly on the Prophet's side in the Battle of Hunain. His mother, ‘atika al-Makhzumiya, was the daughter of Abu Wahab. ‘Abdullah died a martyr's death during the battle of Ajnadain during the reign of Abu Bakr.

ahir ibn az-Zubair. He was among the most victorious of the young warriors of Quraish, even of the Hashimites. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) named his own son, a-Tahir, after him. He had no children.

Umm Hakim daughter of az-Zubair

Sunaa daughter of az-Zubair. She was married to Rabi’ah ibn al-Harith ibn ‘Abdul-Mutallib. una’a is one of the companions, sahaba, to whom we owe reports about the Prophet (s.a.w). May Allah be pleased with her.

Abdullah ibn al-Harith, the Prophet's paternal uncle. His name was “Servant of the Sun’ (‘Abd Shams), but the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) called him “Servant of Allah’ (‘Abdullah). He died during the Prophet's lifetime and had no offspring.

Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith al-Mughirah, the poet. He was one of those who stood firmly by the Prophet (s.a.w) when other people fled away.

Umayya daughter of al-Harith

Arwa daughter of al-Harith. She married Abu Wada’ah ibn abrah ibn Sa’d as-Sahmi and gave birth to al-Mutallib, Abu Sufyan and Abu Wada’ah. After marrying Hilal, she gave birth to ‘’Omar.

Nawfal ibn al-Harith (his father was al-arith). Nawfal was older than both his paternal uncles, Hamzah and al-’Abbas, and also older than his own two brothers. He was among those who stood by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) during the battle of Hunain. Nawfal had children.

Rabiah ibn al-Harith. He used to be called “Abu Raw’a’. He was older than both his paternal uncles, amzah and al-’Abbas. He did not witness the battle against the idol-worshippers at Badr, because he was in Syria at that time. Every year he used to provide the Prophet (s.a.w) with food and drink. He died during the reign of ‘’Omar.

Umarah ibn Hamzah. His wife was Ruqayya, step-daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w), and he had no children.

Fatima daughter of Hamzah. She was married to the renowned Miqdad al-Aswad al-Bahrani, also known as al-Kindi. She narrated details about the Blessed Prophet's life.

Yali ibn Hamzah

Qurra daughter of Hajal

Hind daughter of al-Muqawwim

Utbah ibn Abu Lahab

Utaibah ibn Abu Lahab

Tharra daughter of Abu Lahab

Khalida daughter of Abu Lahab

Ghurra daughter of Abu Lahab. She was married to Awfa ibn Umayyah ibn Harithah ibn al-Awqa.

Muattib ibn Abu Lahab. He embraced Islam on the conquest of Mecca (in 630 A.D.). The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) prayed for him, and Mu’attib stood by him during the battle of unain in the course of which he lost an eye.

Children of the Prophet's Paternal Aunts

Abd al-Kaba son of az-Zubair and afiyya, the Prophet's paternal aunt.

Umm Habib daughter of az-Zubair and Safiyya

As-Sa'ib son of Az-Zubair and Safiyya. As-Sa'ib participated in the Battle of Uhud and in all other battles of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). He died a martyr's death during the battle of Yamama. May Allah be pleased with him.
The father of all the three was az-Zubair ibn al-’Awwam ibn Khuwailid ibn ‘Abd al-’Uzza ibn Quayy ibn Kilab, brother of Khadija, may Allah be pleased with both of them. Khadija was the Blessed Prophet's first wife.

Az-Zubair ibn Safiyya. He and the Commander of the Faithful, Ali, were born in the same year (600 A.D.). He stood by the Prophet (s.a.w) in the Battle of Hunain (630 A.D.), and, according to some reports, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said, “Every prophet has a disciple, and my disciple is az-Zubair.’ Az-Zubair took part in the Battle of Badr. He also participated in the Battle of the Camel. There, he fought for an hour, but when he saw Ali, he went over to him and remembered what the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) had told both of them when he made them commit themselves to one another: “One day you will fight Ali, and you will be transgressing against him.’ Reminded of those words, Az-Zubair withdrew from the battleground, followed by Ibn Jarmuz ‘Abdullah, others say ‘’Omar, or ‘’Omar as-Sa’d, who killed him in a place known as the Lions' Valley. He brought his sword to Ali who said to him, “Be forewarned, O killer of afiyya's son, of hellfire!’ This happened on a Thursday, the 10th of Jumada al-Awwal of the year 36 A.H. (November 7, 656 A.D.).

Qurnabah ibn Abdullah ibn ‘atika. His grandmother ‘atika was the Prophet's paternal aunt. He was one of the fiercest enemies of the Muslims, opposing the Prophet and rebelling against Allah. Qurnabah is the one who said to the Prophet, “We shall not believe in you even if you made a well gush forth for us from under the earth.’ Later he went out toward Medina in search of the Prophet (s.a.w) who happened to be heading in the other direction towards Mecca. This was in the Year of the Conquest of Mecca. They met between Shaqiyah and al-’Araj, but when the Prophet (s.a.w) saw Qurnabah, he turned his face away from him.

Zuhair ibn atika. Hhis grandmother, ‘atika, was the Prophet's paternal aunt. He was one of those whose heart was won for Islam early on. His father was ‘’Omar ibn Wahab ibn ‘Abd al-’Uzza ibn Quayy ibn Kilab. Zuhair migrated to Ethiopia (in 615 A.D.). Then he participated in the Battle of Badr (in 624 A.D.). One of the Prophet's best companions, he died a martyr's death, may Allah be pleased with him. Zuhair had no children.

Tulaib ibn Arwa, the Prophet's paternal aunt. He used to be called Abu ‘Adiyy.

Fatima daughter of ulaib ibn Arwa. Her grandmother, Arwa, was the Prophet's paternal aunt. Her father was Kaladah ibn ‘Abd Manaf ibn ‘Abd ad-Dar ibn Quayy ibn Kilab.

Hamna daughter of Abu Amad, the man who participated in both migrations to Abyssinia.

Ubaidullah ibn Abu Ahmad, the man who went on both migrations, son of ‘Abdullah “the one Mutilated in the Path of Allah’ son of Umaima, the Prophet's paternal aunt. He converted to Christianity in Ethiopia and died there as a Christian. His wife, Umm Habiba, daughter of Abu Sufyan, had a daughter by him. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) married her.

Umm Habiba daughter of Abu Ahmad, the man who went on both migrations, son of ‘Abdullah “the one Mutilated in the Path of Allah’ son of Umaima, the Prophet's paternal aunt. Her father is al-Harith ibn Harb ibn Umayyah ibn ‘Abd Shams. She was married to Mu’ab ibn ‘Umayr ibn Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf ibn ‘Abd ad-Dar ibn Quayy, who was killed in the Battle of Uhud. She then married alah ibn ‘Abdillah.

Zainab daughter of Abu Ahmad, the man who went on both migrations, son of ‘Abdullah “the one Mutilated in the Path of Allah’ son of Umaima, the Prophet's paternal aunt. Zainab was the wife of the Prophet (s.a.w) about whom Allah said in His revelation: “When Zaid had dissolved (his marriage) with her…’ (Qur'an, 33:39).

Abdullah “the one Mutilated in the Path of Allah’ son of Umaima, the Prophet's paternal aunt. ‘Abdullah was among the first to migrate (to Ethiopia), taking part in both migrations. He was martyred in the Battle of Uhud and people said about him that he was mutilated in the path of Allah. As his sword was snatched away from him, the Prophet (s.a.w) gave him a date-stalk. In his hand it turned into a sword which he held unflinchingly; it was then called “the Help.’ Their father was Jash ibn Ri'ab ibn Ya’mur ibn abrah ibn Murrah al-Asad.

Umm Talhah daughter of amir ibn al-Baia'. Her grandmother, al-Baia' (“the white one’), was the Prophet's paternal aunt.

Arwa daughter of amir ibn al-Baia'. Her grandmother, al-Baia', was the Prophet's paternal aunt.

Abu Shabrah ibn Barra, the Prophet's paternal aunt. His father was Abu Rahm ibn ‘Abd al-’Uzza ibn Abu Qais ibn ‘Abd Wadd ibn Nar ibn Malik ibn Hisl ibn ‘amir ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fahr (the latter is known as Quraish). He took part in both migrations to Abyssinia (Ethiopia). The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) joined him in brotherhood to Salamah. Abu Shabrah had children.

Abd al-Asad ibn Hilal ibn ‘Abdillah ibn ‘’Omar ibn Makhzum, nicknamed “Abu Salamah’. He migrated to Ethiopia (in 615 A.D.) with his wife Umm Salamah daughter of Abu Umaima al-Makhzumi, daughter of his paternal uncle. Having participated in both migrations, he took part in the Battle of Badr and was fatally wounded at Uhud, dying afterwards of his wounds.

Prophet's Children

the Prophet's son Ibrahim, 2) the Prophet's son ‘Abdullah; 3) the Prophet's son al-Qasim; 4) the Prophet's daughter or stepdaughter Zainab (d. 629 A.D.); 5) the Prophet's stepdaughter Ruqayya (d. 624 A.D.), 6) the Prophet's stepdaughter Umm Kulthum (d. 630 A.D.); 7) the Prophet's daughter Fatima, peace be upon her and her progeny.

Children of the Prophet's Daughters, and Those Among them who had Descendants

Imam al-Hasan, peace be with him, was born in mid-Ramaan in the year three of the Hegira (March 3, 625 A.D.). The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) slaughtered a ram to celebrate the occasion, and he shaved his head, as he also shaved usain's head. He weighed their hair and distributed their weight in silver as charity among the poor. Fatima then became pregnant with usain. It is said that Husain was born when the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) returned from Badr. According to some reports, this took place sixteen or seventeen months after the battle of Badr.

Perhaps it was after Uhud because Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, married Fatima four months after that. Allah knows best. The name al-Hasan (“the good one’) was bestowed upon him by the Archangel Gabriel who brought it to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) in a piece of cloth made of the silk of Paradise. His brother's name, al-Husain (“al-asan Junior’), was derived from the name “al-asan’. The Blessed One called him “al-Hasan’ in analogy to Shabar son of Aaron, brother of prophet Moses.

Imam Husain; he was born in the fourth Hijri year (626 A.D.), although it is also said that it was in the year 5 (627 A.D.). The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) celebrated usain's birth by slaughtering a ram as he had done on the occasion of his brother's birth. Among all people, Imam usain was the one who resembled the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) the most. May Allah be pleased with him. He was martyred on a Friday, the 10th of Muharram of the year 61 A.H. (corresponding to October 13, 680 A.D.), at a place called Kerbala', in the vicinity of Kufa, Iraq. The place is also known as a-aff. His head was cut off by Shimr ibn Thul-Jawshan a-Dubabi. Shimr was a leper. The commander of the troop that killed him was ‘’Omar ibn Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqa az-Zuhri.

Umm Kulthum granddaughter of the Prophet. She is daughter of the Prophet's daughter Fatima. Her father was the Commander of the Faithful, Ali ibn Abu Talib, may Allah be pleased with him. ‘’Omar ibn al-Khaab asked for her hand in marriage, so Ali entrusted her guardianship to her uncle, ‘Abbas. ‘’Omar ibn al-Khaab then married her, according to some reports. It is also narrated that she gave birth before the death of the Prophet (s.a.w).

For this reason, Ibn ‘Abdillah an-Nimri, in a book which he wrote about the Prophet's companions, has counted her among those who were born during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). ‘’Omar asked for her hand. He said to Ali, “O Abul-asan! Give her to me in marriage. I shall take care of her honor as nobody else does.’ Ali's answer was: “I am going to send her to you. If you like her, I shall marry her to you.’ He then sent her to him with a garment, telling her that she should say to him that this was the garment he had told him about. She did what she was told, and ‘’Omar said, “Tell him that I like it.’ Allah knows best.

Muhsin, grandson of the Prophet's daughter Fatima. It is said that he was miscarried. If you wish to know the whole tragic story about Muhsin, read one of my translations titled Tragedy of (Fatima) al-Zahra written by Ayatullah Allamah Sayed Ja'far Murtadha Al-'Amili and published by Imam Hussain Foundation of Beirut, Lebanon. A number of Internet websites post some or all of this translation.

Zainab daughter of the Prophet's daughter Fatima. She married ‘Abdullah ibn Ja’far “the Flying One’ son of Abu Talib and gave birth by him to Ja’far, ‘Awn al-Akbar, Umm Kulthum, and Ali, who had offspring. His descendants are called the Zainabis because of their mother. Whatever this Zainab narrated about her mother, Fatima, has been mentioned by Yaya ibn al-Hasan ibn Ja’far al-’Abdi, the genealogist, who wrote the book The Best People of Medina. May peace and blessings be upon the city's inhabitants.

Abdullah son of the Prophet's daughter Ruqayya. Some scholars emphatically claim that Ruqayya was a stepdaughter of the Prophet, that she was daughter of his first wife, Khadija, who had twice married before marrying the Prophet. This book will later discuss Khadija and introduce you to both her husbands and their offspring. ‘Abdullah son of Ruqayya was born in Ethiopia during his mother's sojourn in that country where she stayed with her husband ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, the Umayyad ruler. The child stayed in Medina until the age of two, according to other reports until the age of six. While he was playing in his father's house, a cock picked him in his eye, causing a swelling of his face from which he then died. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) led the funeral prayers for him and buried him.

Ali son of the Prophet's daughter (or stepdaughter) Zainab. His father was Ibn al-’a Laqi ibn ar-Rabi’ ibn ‘Abd al-’Uzza ibn ‘Abd Shams ibn ‘Abd Manaf. He was a maternal cousin of Zainab daughter (or stepdaughter) of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) because his mother was the maternal aunt of Khadija daughter of Khuwailid. Ali ibn Zainab was nursed with the Banu ‘a. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) then took him home, saying that as a close relative he had a greater right to the child because in those days the boy's father was still an idol worshipper. But the child died before the age of puberty.

Umama daughter of the Prophet's daughter (or stepdaughter) Zainab. Her father was the above-mentioned Ibn al-’a ibn ar-Rabi’. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) loved her a lot and may have carried her on his neck during prayers. Once someone presented him with a necklace of onyx, but he said that this was for her. Allah knows best.

His Governors

Ali ibn Abu Talib
Abu ‘Ubaidah
Al-’Ala' ibn al-Harami
Ibn al-Laithiyya
Qais ibn ‘aim
Az-Zuburqan ibn Badr
Malik ibn Nuwairah
‘Udayy ibn atim
Ziyad ibn Labud
Al-Muhajir ibn Abul-’Aqaba

His Judges

Ali ibn Abu Talib
Mu’ath ibn Jabal

His Police Officers and Law Enforcers

Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al-Jarra
Bilal ibn Raba
Abu ibn Abu Fatima

His Police Officers and Law Enforcers

Ali ibn Abu Talib
Az-Zubair ibn al-’Awwam
Al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad
Muhammad ibn Maslamah
‘Aim ibn Thabit

Qais ibn Sad ibn Abadah. His full name is Qais ibn Sa’d ibn ‘Abadah ibn Dulaim, one of the ansar, of the Khazraj tribe. He was very generous and a genius. His form was large; whenever he rode a donkey, his feet would be dragging. He was the standard bearer of the ansar, fighting on the side of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). His judgment was always sought, and he participated with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) in all military campaigns and battles. He also participated in the conquest of Egypt where he built a house, then he became its ruler during the caliphate of Ali ibn Abu Talib (a.s). He used to be regarded as the head of the Prophet's police force. On the Conquest of Mecca, the Messenger of Allah took the standard from Qais's father, Sa’d ibn ‘Abadah, chief of the ansar, and handed it over to him. He kept the Prophet company for ten years. During a time of extreme hardship, he slaughtered animals to feed the Muslim army that had been consumed by acute hunger. He participated in the Battle of iffin siding with Ali (a.s), and he died during the last years of the rule of Mu’awiyah. The Prophet (s.a.w) lauded the generosity and open-handedness of Qais. Qais once sold merchandise to Mu’awiyah for 90,000 dinars then ordered a crier to cry out throughout Medina urging anyone who needed a loan to go to the house of Qais ibn Sa’d. He loaned forty to fifty thousand dinars and kept the rest, taking a receipt from all those who borrowed from him. It is also said that he once lent a man 30,000 dirhams, and when the man wanted to pay him back, he refused to take it.

His Confidants

Fatima, may Allah be pleased with her. She is the daughter of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (s.a.w). Her mother is Khadija daughter of Khuwailid, and she used to be called “Ummu Abeeha,’ mother of her father, due to the extreme care with which she surrounded him. She was the youngest of the Prophet's daughters and the dearest to him. History books record several reports about when she was born. Some say she was born in the same year when the Ka’ba was rebuilt, that is, when the Prophet was 35 years old. Others say she was born only a few months before the inception of the Prophetic mission. Ali ibn Abu Talib, cousin of the Prophet, married her at the beginning of the month of Muarram of 2 A.H. when she was 18 years old, but others say differently

‘A’isha is quoted as having said, “I never saw anyone better than Fatima other than her father.’ Abu Huraira has quoted the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) as saying, “The best of all the women of the world are four: Mary (mother of Jesus), Asiya (wife of Pharaoh), Khadija (wife of Prophet Muhammad) and Fatima.’ In two ahih books, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said the following as he was sitting on his pulpit: “Fatima is part of me; whoever harms her harms me, and I am disturbed by anyone who disturbs her.’ The Prophet supplicated to Ali and Fatima when they got married saying, “O Allah! I implore You to bless them, to let Your blessing descend upon them, and to bless their offspring.’

Umm Salamah, wife of the Prophet, said once, “It was at my house that the verse saying, ‘Surely Allah only desires to keep away all uncleanness from you, O People of the House (of the Prophet, i.e. Ahl al-Bayt), and to purify you a (thorough) purifying' (Qur'an, 33:33) was revealed, whereupon the Prophet ordered to bring Fatima, Ali, al-Hasan, and al-Husain to him then said, ‘These are my Ahl al-Bayt.'‘

She gave birth to al-Hasan, al-Husain and Zainab, and she died six months after her father's demise, but there are reports indicating differently.

Anas ibn Malik Huthaifah (al-Yemani)

His Missionaries

Yasar, who was killed by the ‘Arnites
Abu Salma, also said to be Abu Salamah

His Financial Secretary

Bilal, may Allah be pleased with him. He (s.a.w) said to him, “Spend, O Bilal, and do not fear any decrease from the Lord of the Throne (the Almighty).’

His Standard Bearers

Ali ibn Abu Talib
Az-Zubair ibn al-’Awwam
Sa’d ibn ‘Abadah
Zaid ibn arithah
Ja’far ibn Abu Talib
Khalid ibn al-Walid
‘Abdullah ibn Ruwaah

His Stable-Masters

Al-Asla’ ibn Sharik
‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud

His Poets

Kab ibn Zuhair. He is Ka’b ibn Zuhair ibn Abu Sulma, a poet. His father, Zuhair ibn Abu Sulma, was a pre-Islamic poet known as one of those whose poems were hung on the Ka’ba (al-muallaqat). Ka’b ibn Zuhair once went out with his brother Bujair, who also was a poet, to meet the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). When they reached a place known as Abraq al-’Azzaf, Bujair said to Ka’b, “Stay with our herd till I see this man (meaning the Messenger of Allah) and listen to him.’ Ka’b remained with the flock as Bujair went to meet the Messenger of Allah who invited him to embrace Islam, and he did. When news of his brother accepting Islam reached him, Ka’b instantantly composed these lines of poetry:

I beg you convey a message from me to Ka’b:
To what did he lead you, may someone else perish?
To what neither your mother nor your father do?
Nor did you find a brother of yours accepting it.
May Abu Bakr give you a drink
So the one who drinks of it chews and dies.

When the Messenger of Allah heard about these lines, he permitted killing him. Bujair wrote his brother Ka’b saying, “Seek help! I do not think that you can survive this one!’ Then he wrote him again saying that anyone who came to the Prophet to testify that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, he would accept his testimony and would not hold him accountable for anything which he had done before. “So,’ he went on, “once this letter reaches you, come and declare your acceptance of Islam.’ Ka’b did, indeed, go there.

He delivered a poem in praise of the Prophet. He went and tied his camel at the Mosque's gate then entered as the Messenger of Allah was talking to people. Ka’b took a few more steps till he sat close to him, declared his acceptance of Islam then sought asylum. When the Prophet asked him who he was, he said, “I am Ka’b ibn Zuhair.’ The Prophet then turned to Abu Bakr and asked him about the phrase of Ka’b stating “… so the one who drinks of it chews and dies.’ But Ka’b was quick to alter the wording so as to mean “the one who is granted asylum;’ therefore, the Messenger of Allah said, “You, by Allah, are now safe and secure.’ Then Ka’b delivered his famous poem in praise of the Prophet which came to be known as the “burda’ (garment) because the Messenger of Allah took off his garment which he was then wearing and gave it to Ka’b. Some of its lines (roughly) run like this:

Su’ad could be seen, and I could see
How weak with love my heart came to be,
Like an orphan following her, bearing love not light.
Surely the Prophet is a sword that emits light
One of Allah's swords, ever unsheathed is he.
I was told that death did the Prophet promise me,
But pardon from Allah's Messenger
Is anticipated, from peril it does deliver.

Hassan ibn Thabit. His full name is Hassan ibn Thabit ibn al-Munthir, poet of the Messenger of Allah. He belonged to the ansar from the Khazraj tribe. It is said that he lived for 60 years during the pre-Islamic period and 60 more thereafter. He did not participate in the Prophet's invasions because he did not feel strong enough to do so. Whenever he wanted Hassan to compose a satiric poem defaming the polytheists, the Messenger of Allah used to say to him, “Assault, may the Holy Spirit be with you!’ The Prophet used to put a pulpit for him at the Mosque so that he would stand on it to defend the Messenger of Allah (with his poetry). When he wanted once to blast Quraish with his poetry, the Messenger of Allah said to him, “But I am related to Quraish! Go to Abu Bakr, for he is the most knowledgeable of Quraish's genealogy, and he will trace for you my kinship thereto.’ He once responded to Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith (who abused the Prophet) by composing these lines:

You attacked Muammad, whereas behind him I stand,
And for this I shall have from Allah my reward;
My father, my father's father, and my honor
Are for Muhammad a shield from you and a cover.
Do you really defame him while you are not his peer?!
Your worst be sacrificed for one held by Allah as dear.

It is also said that assan was quite articulate and brave, but an ailment afflicted him, rendering him unable to bear arms. Hassan died in 54 A.H. (674 A.D.), but some say in 40 A.H. (660 A.D.).

Abdullah ibn Ruwaah

His Weapon Bearers

Al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah
Abu alhah

His Caravan Leader

‘amir ibn ‘Abdillah ibn Ruwahah

His Preacher

Thabit ibn Qais ibn Shammas
May Allah be pleased with them all.

Mu'aththins of The Prophet (s.a.w)

Abu Mathurah
Sa’d al-Qur
Al-A’ma (the blind man) ibn Umm Maktum
Bilal ibn Raba

His Chamberlain

Abu Masra, Anasah ibn Badah, who was raised by al-Aswad.

His Messenger

Salamah ibn al-Akwa’

His Guard

Sa’d ibn Mu’ath; he guarded him during the battle of Badr.
Muhammad ibn Maslamah; he guarded him during the battle of Uhud.
‘Abbad ibn Bishr, his guard.
Bilal, his guard.
Az-Zubair ibn al-’Awwam; he guarded him during the battle of the Khandaq (moat).
Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqa, his guard.
Abu Ayyub (al-ansari), his guard.

His Bondmaids

Umm ‘Abbas; she was mentioned by al-Baghawi.
umaira; she was mentioned by Ibn Kathir.
Maimuna daughter of Hafsa; she was mentioned by Ibn Mundah.
Maimuna daughter of Sa’d; she was mentioned by Imam Amad.
Maria (Mary) the Copt, the mother of Ibrahim. She was given to him (s.a.w) as a present by the Muqauqas of Egypt.
Laila, ‘A’isha's bondmaid.
‘Unquda the Ethiopian, mother of ubai.
Sirin, the Copt, Maria's sister, whom the Prophet gave to his poet Hassan ibn Thabit..
Salma, Rafi's mother. She was Abu Rafi's wife.
Salama, Ibrahim's nurse.
Sudaisa; she was mentioned by Abu Na’um.
Amatullah daughter of Razuna. She was mentioned by Abu Ya’li.
Umaima; she was mentioned by Ibn al-Athir.
Tirka, Umm Ayman. She was wife of Zaid ibn arithah and mother of Usamah.
Khara; mentioned by Ibn Mundah
isliya; mentioned by Ibn al-Athir
Ruzaina; mentioned by Ibn ‘Asakir
Raawi; mentioned by Ibn al-Athir
Raiana; mentioned by Ibn Kathir
Razuna; mentioned by Ibn Kathir
Sa'iba; mentioned by Ibn al-Athir

His Freed Slaves

Salman al-Farisi
Zaid ibn arithah
Abu Rafi’ the Copt
Usamah ibn Zaid
Abu Masruh
Ayman ibn ‘Ubaid
Thawban ibn Kaidad
Rabah al-Aswad
Abu Rafi’, also called simply “Rafi’’
Abu Yasar
Abu ‘Abdir-Rahman
Damrah ibn Shaqra ibn al-Habashi
Faqur; he is mentioned by al-Baghawi.
Kaisan; he is mentioned by al-Baghawi.
Mabor the Copt; he was presented to him (s.a.w) by the Muqauqas together with Maria the Copt and her sister Sirin, and he was a eunuch.
Mudgham the Black
Nafi’; he used to carry his shoes.
Rabu’; he was presented to him by some man of fame, and he was killed.
Waqid; he is mentioned by Ibn ‘Asakir.
Hurmuz; some say he is called Masruh, and he is mentioned by Ibn Kathir.
Hisham; he is the father of Kaisan, although some say he is the father of Waqid; he is mentioned by Abu Na’im.
Yasar; he is mentioned by Ibn Sa’d in his Tabaqat.
Abul-Hamra'; it is said that he was killed by the ‘Arnites.
Abu Salma; it is said that his name is Hilal ibn al-Harith.
Abu afiyya; he is his shepherd.
Abu amura; he is mentioned by al-Baghawi.
Abu ‘Ubaid; he is mentioned by Imam Amad.
Abu ‘Usaib; he is mentioned by Ibn Kathir.
Abu Muwaihabah; he is mentioned by Ibn Kathir; his name is Salum but some say it is ‘Amr.

His Free Servants

Anas ibn Malik, who served him for ten years
Al-Ala’ ibn Sharik. He was mentioned by Ibn Badr and by others.
Qais ibn Sa’d
Asma’ ibn Harithah; mentioned by Imam Amad
Bilal ibn Rabah, slave of Abu Bakr
Bakr ibn ash-Shadakh, mentioned by Ibn Mundah
Hasbah, mentioned by Imam Amad
Thu Mikhmar, nephew of the Negus (Emperor of Ethiopia who died in 9 A.H./630 A.D.)
Rabi’ah ibn Ka’b, mentioned by al-Awza’i
Sa’d ibn Abu Bakr, mentioned by Abu Dawud
‘Abdullah ibn Ruwahah, mentioned by Ibn Kathir
‘Uqbah ibn ‘amir, mentioned by Imam Amad
‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, who used to carry his sandals
Al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah, mentioned by Ibn Kathir and others
Al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, mentioned by Imam Amad
Muhajir, slave of Umm Salamah, mentioned by a-abrani
Hind ibn Harithah, mentioned by Ibn Shakir and Ibn Kathir
Hilal ibn al-Harith, mentioned by Ibn Shakir and others
Zaid ibn Himyar, mentioned by Ibn Shakir
Al-Aswad ibn Malik, mentioned by Ibn Shakir
Al-Jarjan ibn Malik, mentioned by Ibn Shakir
Al-Jarah ibn al-Jarjan, mentioned by Ibn Shakir
Tha’labah ibn ‘Abdir-Raman, mentioned by Ibn Shakir
Salim, slave of Tha’labah, mentioned by Ibn Shakir
Na’im ibn Rabi’ah, mentioned by Ibn Shakir
Abus-Samh, mentioned by Ibn Ishaq
Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, mentioned by Ibn Shakir

His Tools and Other Belongings

Clothes, Shoes, Accessories and Other Household Items

Dyestuff called stonelight
A kohl container, scissors
A mirror
Four slippers (two pairs)
Two sabiya shoes
A shawl;
An Omani loincloth
Two desert garments
A desert shirt
A sijuli shirt
A Yemeni coat and a Syrian coat
A white gown
Small caps
A long shirt
A square overcoat
A bed of skin stuffed with fibers
Four turbans: a woven turban which he wore most of the time; a tuft turban which he rarely wore; a white turban which he wore most of the time; a black turban which he wore on festive occasions
He entered Mecca on the day of conquest wearing a black turban with both ends dangling down to his shoulders
A clod of earth to rub onto his skin
A waterskin from which he used to drink and perform his ablution
A knife
A pot in which food was cooked for him
A skin-covered rod with three inlaid silver buttons and a ring probably made for trips
Three glasses
Henna coloring substances
A utensil called as-Sadura
A washing sink made of leather
An Alexandrian ivory box in which he used to keep his comb, scissors, and mirror. This box was a present from Muqauqas (the ruler of Egypt).
A kettle
A bedstead
A piece of velvet plush
A red outfit which he used to wear frequently
An outfit made of (camel) hair
A black outfit
A handkerchief to wipe his face
A pot into which to urinate at night
A “armal’ mat
A basket in which to keep his perfumes
A comb to comb his hair
An overcoat
A rug called al-Karr

Three Rings:

A gold ring which he threw away and did not wear
A silver ring which he used to wear
An iron ring with silver plating

His Animals

The mule al-Shahba'; it was presented to him by the Muqauqas (the ruler of Egypt). It is said that it was also called “Duldul.’
A mule called “Silver’ which was presented to him by Farwah.
A mule presented to him by the ruler of Dumat al-Jandal.
A mule presented to him by Khosrau (Emperor of Persia). Reports about this differ, and the correct one is that this is not true.
A mule presented to him by the Negus (emperor of Ethiopia).
A donkey called Ya’fur
A donkey called ‘afir



Nine Mixed Breeds


Seven Goats

It is said that he had 100 ewes, and whenever a lamb was born, he slaughtered a ewe. Their shepherd was the son of Umm Ayman.

21 Horses

As-Sakab, which he bought from a Bedouin,
Al-Murtajiz, which he had during the battle of Khuzaimah ibn Thabit
Lizaz, presented to him by the Muqauqas (governor of Egypt)
A-arb, presented to him ibn Abul-Bara'
Al-Lahuf, presented to him by Farwah
Al-Ward, presented to him by Tamim ad-Dari

… and Seven Sheep

Itlal, Zamzam, ‘Ajwa, Itraf, Saqiya, Baraka, and Warisa

Miscellaneous Military Items

Seven Armor Plates

That al-Fuul
That al-Wishah
That al-Hawashi

A Quiver
This was a quiver for arrows called al-Jam’.

Three Shields

A Cane
Made of Shua wood; it was called al-Mamshuq.

Two Helmets

Five Bows
Ar-Rua, made of the Naba’ tree
A-afra', made of the Naba’ tree
Al-Baida', made of the Shua tree

A Baton
called ‘Arjun

Nine Swords
Al-atf, which originally belonged to the armor of the (Jewish) Qainuqa’ tribe;
Ar-Rusub, which he got as a booty from an idol worshipped by Tay;
Al-Makhtham, which he got from items given by ay (tribesmen) to an idol as an offering;
Ma'thur, which he inherited from his father;
Al-’Ab, which he got from Sa’d ibn ‘Abadah (as a gift);
Thul-Fiqar, which he acquired during the battle of Badr;
A-amama, the sword of ‘Amr ibn Ma’addi Karb;
Al-Qal’i, from the armor of the Qainuqa’ tribe;
Al-Battar, from the armor of the Qainuqa’ tribe.

Three Spears
An-Nab’a, which was mentioned by al-Suhaili;
Al-Baia', a large spear;
Al-’Anza, on which he leaned during prayer.

A Saddle
The Blessed One (s.a.w) also had a saddle called as-Siraj.

A Hooked Stick
This was al-Haukan, an arm's length, called ar-Rifq.

Three Banners
Ar-Raya was white; in its center read: “There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’
A-afra' (the yellow one) was mentioned by Abu Dawud and others;
Al-’Uqab was black and square, and in its midst there was a white crescent.

Five Lances
Three lances taken from the Qainuqa’ tribe

A Tent
It was called Ar-Rukn.

A List Of Events During the Lifetime of Prophet (s.a.w) from the Time of his Call to Prophethood till his Death

- Beginning of the revelation (610 A.D.).

- Telling Waraqah ibn Nawfal about it .

- Ali, Khadija, Abu Bakr, Zaid ibn arithah embrace Islam.

- Abu Bakr attemps to propagate Islam publicly. ‘Uthman (ibn ‘Affan), Zubair, ‘Abdur-Raman ibn ‘Awf, Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqa, and alah ibn ‘Abdillah embrace Islam. ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasa, also called ibn ‘Anbasah, may Allah be pleased with him, embraces Islam. Khalid ibn Sa’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, embraces Islam.

- Preaching the message publicly

- The Shi’b matter

- Amzah, may Allah be pleased with him, embraces Islam.

- Emigration to Ethiopia (615 A.D.). (a delegation of) the Quraish go (to Ethiopia, where the Muslims had sought asylum and were protected by the Negus) to get the emigrants handed back to them

- The Ahifa matter. The Prophet (s.a.w) is informed that an agreement (written against him) has been eaten by termites.
- The miraj (the Prophet's ascension)

- Death of Khadija and death of Abu Talib

- The Prophet's marriage with ‘A’isha , his marriage with Sawda

- Preaching to the tribes.

- Preaching to the Ansar (supporters or helpers from the people of Medina) and their conversion to Islam, may Allah be pleased with them,
- the first Pledge of the ‘Aqaba.

- It is said that this is when the miraj occurred; the Second Pledge of ‘Aqaba.

- Migration of the Prophet (s.a.w) from Mecca to Medina.

The first year after the Hegira (Hijra) (1 A.H./622 A.D.):

• The building of a domed mosque in Quba' then another in Medina;

• The Prophet engages ‘A’isha;

• Sawda's emigration to Medina;

• Birth of ‘Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair;

• Hamzah's victory;

• ‘Ubaidah ibn al-arith' victory;

• The military expedition to Bu’ath;

• Death of Abu Umamah;

• Death of Kulthum ibn Hadm;

• Al-Walud ibn al-Mughirah perishes;

• Al-’a ibn Wa'il perishes.

The Second Year (2 A.H./623 A.D.):

• Military expedition to al-Abwa';

• Military expedition to al-’Ashira;

• Through Ali's military exploit, Medina's grazing area is regained;

• Mission of Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqa;

• ‘Abdullah ibn Jash's raid;

• Change of the qibla (direction of prayer: toward Mecca instead of Jerusalem);

• Introduction of zakatul-fir (the special mandatory charity tax paid at the end of the fasting month of Ramaan);

• Introduction of alatul-ud;

• The Great Battle of Badr;

• The battle with the Qainuqa’ tribe;

• Battle of al-Kadr;

• Battle of As-Suwaiq.

The Third Year (3 A.H./624 A.D.):

• The Blessed Prophet's excursion to Banu Tha’labah;

• Battle of Banu Sulaim;

• The slaying of Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf;

• Battle of Thi Qird';

• The slaying of Abu Rabi;

• The Blessed Prophet's marriage with Hafa;

• Battle of Uhud;

• Battle of Hamra' al-Aswad;

• Martyrdom of Hamzah;

• Martyrdom of ‘Amr ibn al-Jarrah;

• Martyrdom of Anas ibn An-Naar;

• Martyrdom of Sa’d ibn Ar-Rabu’.

The Fourth Year (4 A.H./625 A.D.):

• Battle of Ar-Raju’;

• ‘Amr's mission to kill Abu Sufyan;

• Battle of Bi'r Ma’unah;

• Expulsion of the Nair tribe;

• Battle of That ar-Riqa’;

• Second Battle of Badr;

• His marriage with Umm Salamah;

• Birth of usain, Allah be pleased with him;

• Martyrdom of ‘aim ibn Thabit;

• Martyrdom of ‘amir ibn Fuhair;

• Death of ‘Abdullah son of ‘Uthman (ibn ‘Affan) and Ruqayya;

• Departure of Abu Sufyan for Jara Az-Zahrani;

The Fifth Year (5 A.H./626 A.D.):

• The marriage of the Prophet (s.a.w) to Zainab daughter of Jahsh;

• Battle of Dumat al-Jandal;

• Battle of the Ditch (Khandaq);

• Battle of Banu Quraiah;

• Sa’d's judgment about the Quraizah tribe;

• Death of Sa’d ibn Mu’ath;

• Martyrdom of Khallad ibn Suwaid;

• Umayyah ibn Abu-alt perishes;

• The military exercise of Ali and his friends;

• Jabir hosts a gathering in the Ditch;

• Death of the mother of Sa’d ibn ‘Abadah;

• The Blessed One bids farewell to ‘Uyaynah ibn aun;

The Sixth Year (6 A.H./627 A.D.):

• Battle of Banu Liyan;

• Battle of Thi Qird;

• Battle of Banu Moaliq;

• The calumny case (against ‘A’isha);

• Military expedition to Hudaibiya;

• ‘Ukashah's raid;

• Ibn Maslamah's raid;

• Abu ‘Ubaidah's raid;

• Zaid ibn arithah's raid;

• His military expedition to al-’Ais;

• Another expedition of Zaid's to Banu Tha’labah;

• Still another expedition of Zaid's to assi;

• ‘Abdur-Raman ibn ‘Awf's raid;

• Zaid ibn arithah's military expedition to Umm Qarfah;

• Kadar ibn Jabir's raid;

• Al-Jandal and the prayer of the Blessed One for rain;

• The Prophet (s.a.w) sends letters to the rulers of the world;

• ‘Amr ibn al-’a embraces Islam;

• Khalid ibn al-Walud embraces Islam;

• Death of Umm Ruman;

• Death of ‘Utbah ibn Asad, as has been reported;

• The matter of Abu Baur and his friends, as has been reported.

The Seventh Year (7 A.H./628 A.D.):

• The Battle of Khaibar;

• Bashur ibn Sa’d's raid;

• ‘’Omar ibn al-Khaab's mission to Hawazin;

• Ghalib's military expedition to Banu Murrah;

• Ghalib ibn ‘Abdillah's military expedition to Banu ‘Ubaid;

• Bashur ibn ‘Abdillah's raid;

• The lesser pilgrimage (umra) of al-Qaa;

• Death of Bashur ibn al-Bara;

• Death of Thawbiyya;

• Death of al-Walud ibn al-Mughirah;

• Death of Yasar the Ethiopian;

• Battle of Ibn Abil-’Awja

The Eighth Year (8 A.H./628 A.D.):

• Ghalib ibn ‘Abdillah's raid;

• Ghalib's raid of the tent lodge of the fellows of Masad;

• Ash-Shuja’ ibn Wahab's raid;

• Introduction of the minbar (preacher's pulpit in a mosque);

• Thawbah's raid;

• Battle of That as-Salasil;

• Al-Khabt's military expedition;

• Al-Khabt's military expedition to Abu Qatadah;

• The Conquest of Mecca;

• The Battle of Banu Juthaima;

• The Battle of unain;

• The Battle of a'if;

• Arrival of a delegation from Hawazin;

• The Birth of Ibrahim (son of the Prophet and Mary the Copt);

• Mission of Ka’b ibn ‘Umair;

• Mission of ‘Uyaynah ibn Hasin;

• Mission of A-ifl ibn ‘Amr;

• Arrival of ‘Urwah ibn Mas’ud;

• Martyrdom of Ja’far ibn Abu Talib;

• Martyrdom of Zaid ibn Harithah;

• Martyrdom of ‘Abdullah ibn Ruwahah;

• The Mu'ta campaign;

• Khalid invades Mu'ta without orders;

• The Blessed One dispatches troops to avenge the death of those killed at Mu'ta;

• Ka’b ibn Zuhair embraces Islam;

• Battle of Tabuk;

• Quna's raid;

• A-Dahhak's raid;

• Raid of ‘Alqamah ibn Mahraz;

• Ali ibn Abu Talib's raid;

• ‘Ukashah's raid;

• The Prophet (s.a.w) stays aloof from his wives;

• Thaquf's arrival;

• Asad's delegation;

• Az-Zarabin's delegation;

• Tamum's delegation

The Ninth Year (9 A.H./629 A.D.):

• Arrival of letters from the kings of Himyar;

• Bahra's delegation;

• Banu al-Baka's delegation;

• Banu Fizara's delegation;

• Tha’labah's delegation;

• Sa’d ibn Tamim's delegation;

• Abu Bakr's pilgrimage;

• Death of Suhail ibn al-Baida';

• Death of Umm Kulthum;

• The Prophet (s.a.w) sends a mission to the Negus;

• Death of the Negus;

• The Prophet (s.a.w) prays for the Negus.

The Tenth Year (10 A.H./631 A.D.):

• A delegation from Najran;

• A delegation from ‘Asas;

• Arrival of al-Jarid;

• Banu Khaifah's delegation;

• Arrival of Zaid al-Khail;

• Arrival of ‘Udayy ibn Hatim;

• Arrival of Farwah ibn Masbak;

• Arrival of Ma’di Karb;

• Arrival of al-Ash’ath;

• Arrival of Sumad; arrival of other delegations;

• Arrival of Najub;

• Asad's delegation;

• The Farewell Pilgrimage

The Eleventh Year (11 A.H./632 A.D.):

• Dispatching Usamah's army to Syria;

• Delegation from An-Nakh’i;

• Appearance of Musailimah the Liar;

• Appearance of al-Aswad al-’Ansi;

• Death of the Blessed One (s.a.w).

Birth and Ancestors

Setting: Hijaz

Most of the events and incidents narrated in this chapter took place in Hijaz, the northern part of today's Saudi Arabia. Hijaz is the region along the mountainous Red Sea coast of the Arabian Peninsula from Jordan on the north to the region of ‘Asir on the south. Its northern part was occupied as early as the 6th century B.C. when the Chaldean kings of Babylon kept Taym (or Tayma') as its summer capital. Later, Hijaz became part of the Nabataean kingdom which lasted for three hunded years: from 100 B.C. to 200 A.D. Its center was Mada'in Salih. This is the place where the Arabian prophet Salih and his people lived. The province was again placed under Baghdad's control till 1258 A.D. when it fell to the Egyptians and, in 1517 A.D., to Ottoman Turks. The most important cities in Hijaz are: Mecca, Medina, Jidda and Taif.

What Does ‘Muhammad’ Mean?

According to the great traditionist Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him, the Messenger of Allah has said, “I more than anyone else look like Adam, peace be upon him, while Ibrahim, more than anyone else, looks like me and deals with people as I do. Allah, from His Arsh, gave me ten names. He conveyed the glad tidings of my advent to every messenger whom He sent to his respective people. In the Torah and in the Gospel (Bible), He included my name and taught me to speak divinely; He raised me in His heavens and derived a name for me from one of His Own, calling me ‘Muhammad,' while He Himself is the ‘Mahmood.'

And He extracted my seed out of the best from among my umma, making my name in the Torah ‘Aheed,' for it is through tawhid that He has forbidden the bodies of my umma from entering the fire. In the Gospel, He called me ‘ Ahmad,' for I am more praised by the people of the heavens (than by those on earth), making the members of my umma the hamidin (those who laud me). In the Psalms, He made my name ‘Mahi,' for Allah, the Most Exalted, the Most Sublime, wiped out through me idol-worship. And in the Qur'an,

He made my name ‘Muhammad,' for I am praised by everyone on the Day of Judgment when decrees will be issued, and none besides me will receive such praise. On the Day of Resurrection, He will call me ‘Hashir,' for people will be gathered together from underneath my feet. And on the Day of Standing, He will call me ‘al-Mawqif,' for I will make all people stand before Him for judgment. And He called me ‘al-’Aqib,' for I am the last of His prophets; none shall succeed me as such. And He made me the Messenger of mercy and repentance, the Imam of all those who stand before others and lead them in the prayers, since it was I who led all the prophets for congregational prayers. Moreover, I am also al-Qayyim, al-Kamil, and al-Jami’.'‘

First, It was the Light of Muhammad

When Allah intended to create the living beings, He first created the noor (light) of Muhammad. Refer to al-Qastalani's Al-Mawahib al-Ladunniyah, Vol. 1, pp. 5, 9, and 10, where he quotes the Prophet's traditions to this effect as transmitted by Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari1 and Ali ibn Abu Talib. In his Muruju al-Thahab, the well-known historian al-Mas’udi2 quotes a lengthy tradition from Ali to the effect that when Allah created, first of all, the Light of Muhammad, He said to it: “You are My chosen one and the Trustee of My Light and Guidance. It is because of you that I am going to create the earth and the skies, lay down reward and punishment, and bring into being the Garden and the Fire.’

Then the tradition goes on to speak about the family of the Prophet, about the creation of angels, the souls, the cosmos, the covenant taken from the souls which combined the belief in the One God with acceptance of Muhammad's Prophethood. This is why Ibn ‘Abbas narrates saying that the Prophet said: “I was Prophet when Adam was between soul and body (i.e. when Adam's creation was in its preliminary stages)’ (see at-Tabrani's book Al-Mujam al-Kabir, and Vol. 1, p. 4, of Al-Khasa'is al-Kubra).

Muhammad's Light adorned the ‘Arsh (Throne) of God. Aeons later, Adam was created. That Light was then placed in his forehead. It continued its journey, generation after generation, through numerous prophets and their successors till it came to Prophet Ibrahim. From Ibrahim (Abraham), it came to his eldest son, Prophet Isma’il (Ishmael).

The Prophet said: “Verily Allah chose Isma’il from the progeny of Ibrahim, and chose Banu Kinanah from the progeny of Isma’il, and chose Quraish from Banu Kinanah, and chose Banu Hashim from Quraish, and chose me from Banu Hashim.’ At-Tirmithi has narrated this tradition from Wasilat ibn al-Asqa' and has said that this tradition is sahih (correct or authentic).

Abu al-Fida' quotes in his Tarikh (book of history) a tradition wherein the Prophet says: “Gabriel said to me: ‘I looked at the earth from the east to the west, but I did not find anyone superior to Muhammad, and I looked at the Earth from the east to the west but did not find any progeny superior to the progeny of Hashim.’

The Children of Isma'il

Prophet Ibrahim had brought his eldest son Isma’il with his mother Hajira (Hagar) from Ken’an to the barren valley of Mecca. He used to visit them once a year. When Isma’il was old enough to help him, Prophet Ibrahim built the House of Allah known as the Ka’ba.
There was no water in the land when Isma’il and Hajira were left there. The well of Zamzam miraculously appeared for Isma’il. Read how this miraculous event is portrayed in the Bible:

And God heard the voice of the lad [Ishmael]; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said to her: What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise and lift up the lad and hold him in thy hand, for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.
Genesis, 21:17-20

Finding the well, the tribe of Jurham sought the permission of Hajira to settle there. During Prophet Ibrahim's annual visit, permission was given to them, and ultimately Ishmael married in the same tribe. He begot twelve sons; the eldest was called Qidar (Cedar).

The Ishmaelites increased in number, thus fulfilling the promise of Allah to Ibrahim to multiply Ishmael exceedingly, as we read in Genesis.

The Ishmaelites, by and by, spread all over Hijaz. They were not organized and consequently had no power. About 200 years before Christ, ‘Adnan from the children of Qidar arose to some fame. The genealogy of ‘Adnan up to Qidar is not agreed upon. The Arabs have narrated various genealogies. The Prophet, in order to emphasize the Islamic ideology that personal qualities, rather than genealogy, was the criterion of excellence, and with a view not to entangle himself in such unnecessary and useless arguments, ordered the Muslims thus: “When my genealogy reaches ‘Adnan, stop.’

In the third century of the Christian Era (CE), there arose a leader named Fahr in that family. He was son of Malik, son of Nadar, son of Kinanah, son of Khuzaymah, son of Mudrikah, son of Ilyas, son of Mazar, son of Nazar, son of Ma’d, son of ‘Adnan.

Some people think that this Fahr was called Quraish, and that is why his children came to be known as Quraish.
In the fifth generation after Fahr, in the fifth century of the Christian era, a very powerful personality appeared on the scene. He was Qusayy, son of Kilab, son of Murrah, son of Lu'ayy, son of Ghalib, son of Fahr.

Many people say that it was not Fahr but Qusayy who was called Quraish. The famous Muslim scholar Shibli al-Nu’man, writes: “Qusayy became so famous and achieved such a high prestige that some people say that he was the first man to be called Quraish, as Ibn ‘Abdi Rabbih has written in his book Al-Iqd al-Farid, clearly saying that as Qusayy gathered all the children of Isma’il from far and wide and made them leave the nomadic way of life, settling them around the Ka’ba, he was called Quraish (the gatherer).’ Al-Tabari quotes ‘Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan as saying that Qusayy was Quraish, and that nobody was given this name before him.

A man from the tribe of Khuza’ah named Hulail was the trustee of the Ka’ba when Qusayy came of age. Qusayy married his daughter and, according to Hulail's will, got the trusteeship of the Ka’ba after Hulail. Qusayy established many new institutions:
It was Qusayy who established Dar al-Nadwa (Assembly House). It was there that discussions were held to settle important matters like war and peace. Caravans assembled there before going out, and marriages and other ceremonies were conducted.

It was Qusayy who established the system of siqaya (making arrangements to supply water to the pilgrims during the hajj days) and rifada (to feed the pilgrims during those days).
It appears from al-Tabari that this system was followed in Islam up to his time, i.e. 500 years after Qusayy.

It was Qusayy who made arrangements for the pilgrims to stay at al-Mash’arul al-Haram at night. He used to illuminate the valley with lamps, making their stay comfortable.
It was Qusayy who rebuilt the Ka’ba and who dug the first well at Mecca. Zamzam was filled up long ago and nobody knew of its actual location.

Arab historians unanimously say that he was generous, brave, and sympathetic; his ideas were pure, his thinking clean, and his manners very refined. His word was followed like a religion during his lifetime and even after his death. People used to visit his grave at Hajun (present day Jannatul Ma’alla). No wonder that he was the undisputed chief of the tribe which owed its strength and power to his leadership. To him had converged all the responsibilities and privileges of the tribe: He was the trustee of the Ka’ba (hijaba), he was the chairman of Dar al-Nadwa which he himself had established; he fed the pilgrims (rifada); he arranged to provide them with drinking water (siqaya); he was the standard-bearer of Quraish in wartime (liwa), and he was the commander of the army (qiyada).

These were the six privileges which were looked upon with great respect and before which all of Arabia bowed down. The most wonderful aspect of his life is his selflessness. In all the accounts of his life, there never appears any hint that by being the undisputed leader of the tribe, he had gained anything for himself.

Qusayy had five sons and a daughter: ‘Abduddar was the eldest, then Mughirah (known as ‘Abd Munaf). Qusayy loved his eldest son very much, and at the time of his death, he entrusted him with all the six responsibilities mentioned above.

But ‘Abduddar was not a very able man, whereas ‘Abd Munaf was acknowledged as a wise leader even during the life of his father, and his words were dutifully obeyed by the whole tribe. Because of his nobility and benevolence, he was commonly known as “generous.’ Thus, it came to pass that ‘Abduddar shared all his responsibilities with ‘Abd Munaf. ‘Abd Munaf even became the paramount chief of Quraish.

‘Abd Munaf had six sons: Hashim, Muttalib, ‘Abdush-Shams, and Nawfal were the most famous among them.

There was no trouble while ‘Abduddar and ‘Abd Munaf were alive. After their death, a dispute started between their children concerning the distribution of the six responsibilities. A war had almost started before it was agreed upon that siqaya, rifada, and qiyada should go to the children of ‘Abdu Munaf, and liwa' and hijaba should remain with the children of ‘Abduddar, while the chairmanship of Dar al-Nadwa should be shared by both families.


Hashim's name will always shine in the history of Arabia and Islam not only because he was the great grandfather of the Prophet, but in his own right due to his tremendous achievements.

He may well be compared with any great leader of his time. He was the most generous, the most prestigious, and the most respected leader of Quraish. He used to feed the pilgrims during hajj with royal open-handedness. But the best testimonial to his benevolence is his title “Hashim’ whereby he came to be known. Once, there was a great famine in Mecca. Hashim could not look silently at the sorry plight of the Meccans. He took all his wealth, went to Syria, purchased flour and dried bread, brought it to Mecca and daily slaughtered his camels for gravy; the bread was broken into the gravy and the whole tribe was invited to partake of it. This continued till the famine was averted and all lives were saved. It was this extraordinary feat that earned him the name “Hashim,’ the one who breaks (the bread). Hashim's real name was ‘Amr.

Hashim was the founder of the trade caravans of Quraish. He obtained an edict from the Byzantine emperor which exempted Quraish from all kinds of duties or taxes when entering or leaving the countries under his domain. He obtained the same concession from the emperor of Ethiopia. Thus, Quraishites started taking their trade caravans in the winter to Yemen (which was under the Ethiopian rule) and in the summer to Syria and beyond up to Ankara (under Byzantine rule). But the trade routes were not safe; therefore, Hashim visited all the dominant tribes between Yemen and Ankara and entered into agreements with them. They agreed that they would not attack the trade caravans of Quraish, and Hashim undertook on behalf of Quraish that their trade caravans would bring all their necessities to their places of abode and would buy and sell at reasonable prices. Thus, in spite of all the looting and plundering that prevailed in Arabia then, the trade caravans of Quraish were always safe.

It is to this achievement of Hashim that Allah refers in the Qur'an, counting it as a great bounty of God upon Quraish:

In the Name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful

For the security and safeguard enjoyed by Quraish, their safety during (their) journeys by winter and by summer, let them worship the Lord of this House Who provides them with food against hunger and with security against fear.(Qur'an, 106:1-4)

There was a pathetically pessimistic tradition in Quraish known as ihtifad. When a poor family could not feed itself, it would go out to the desert and, entering a tent, remain there till death claimed all of its members one by one. They thought that nobody would know of their plight and, by thus starving to death, they would protect their honour.

It was Hashim who persuaded Quraish to actively combat the poverty instead of succumbing to it. His scheme: He joined one rich person with a poor one, provided that their dependents were equal in number. That poor person was to help the rich one during the trade journey. Whatever increase of capital accrued by way of profit would be shared equally by both. Thus, there would be no need for ihtifad.

This scheme was wholeheartedly accepted and implemented by the tribe. This wise suggestion not only removed poverty from Quraish but also created a feeling of brotherhood and unity among them.

These achievements were enough to justify a very long life. But our wonder knows no bounds when we learn that Hashim was only 25 years old when death overtook him at Gaza, Palestine, in approximately 488 A.D. His grave is preserved, and Gaza is also called “Ghazzat Hashim,’ i.e. Hashim's Gaza.

Hashim was very handsome, and because of his looks and prestige, many chiefs and even rulers wanted him to marry their daughters. But he married Selma daughter of ‘Amr (from the tribe of ‘Adi Banu Najjar) of Yathrib. She was the mother of Shaybatul-Hamd who was an infant when Hashim died. According to a number of sources, ‘Abdul-Muttalib is also known as “Shaybatul-Hamd.’ “Shayba’ means: gray hair; it is said that when he was born, one gray hair was found on his head, hence his name.


Hashim had five sons: ‘Abdul-Muttalib, Asad, Nadlah, Saifi and Abu Saifi. But the last three had no children; Asad had only a daughter, Fatima bint Asad, mother of Ali ibn Abu Talib. Thus, it was only through ‘Abdul-Muttalib that the progeny of Hashim survived.

‘Abdul-Muttalib was born in Yathrib (later named Medina) in his maternal grandfather's house, and he was only a few months old when Hashim died. After Hashim, his brother Muttalib succeeded him in all the privileges mentioned earlier. After some time, Muttalib went to Yathrib and brought his nephew to Mecca. When Muttalib entered Mecca with his nephew behind him on his camel, some people said: “This is the slave of Muttalib!’ Muttalib said: “No! He is my nephew and son of my deceased brother Hashim.’ But the name stuck, and nowadays few people know that the real name of ‘Abdul-Muttalib was Shaybatul-Hamd.

Muttalib loved ‘Abdul-Muttalib and looked after him very well. But ‘Abdush-Shams and Nawfal were hostile towards him. At the death of Muttalib, ‘Abdul-Muttalib succeeded him in the two privileges held by him, i.e. siqaya and rifada.

In spite of the enmity of his own uncles, his personal virtues and qualities of leadership earned him in later days the title of “Sayyidul-Batha’ (the Chief of Mecca). He lived to the ripe age of 82. A carpet was put for him before the Ka’ba and nobody else dared to put his foot on it. In later days, this rule was broken only by the orphaned son of ‘Abdullah (i.e. the Prophet) who used to sit there and ‘Abdul-Muttalib forbade Quraish from interfering with the child because, he told them, “This child of mine is to have a special dignity.’

It was ‘Abdul-Muttalib who had forbidden his children from using intoxicants. It was he who used to enter the cave of Hira during the month of Ramadan to spend the month in remembrance of Allah and in feeding the poor. Like his father and uncle, he used to feed and provide water for the pilgrims during the hajj season. During the whole year, even the beasts and birds were fed from his house and, accordingly, he was called “Mut’imut-tayr’ (feeder of the birds).

Some of the systems originated by ‘Abdul-Muttalib were later adopted in Islam. He was the first person to make nathr and to fulfill it, to give one fifth (khums) of the treasure in the way of Allah, to forbid marriage between prohibited degrees, to cut a thief's hand, to make intoxicants unlawful, to forbid fornication and adultery, to discourage the system of killing the daughters, to discourage the tawaf around the Ka’ba without clothes, and to fix the compensation of manslaughter (killing someone by mistake or unintentionally) at 100 camels. All these systems were adopted by Islam. It is not possible to give the whole history of ‘Abdul-Muttalib in this short chapter, but two important events must be mentioned: the recovery of Zamzam and the attempted attack on the Ka’ba by Abraha, governor of Yemen on behalf of the Ethiopian Negus3.


Hundreds of years ago before the birth of Prophet Muhammad, Zamzam was filled up and nobody knew where it was. One day, ‘Abdul-Muttalib was sleeping in Hatim of the Ka’ba. Someone told him in a dream to dig the Taybah and to get water. He asked where Taybah was, but the vision vanished without any reply. The same vision was repeated the second and the third day, but the names were changed every time. On the fourth day, he was told to dig Zamzam. ‘Abdul-Muttalib asked where Zamzam was. He was given the signs. ‘Abdul-Muttalib, with his eldest (and at that time the only) son, al-Harith, dug the place where Zamzam is nowadays. On the fourth day, the wall of the well appeared, and after some more digging, the water level was reached. Inside the well there was a treasure of two gold deer, swords and shields.

At this success, ‘Abdul-Muttalib cried: ‘Allahu Akbar!’ and said: “This is the well of Isma’il!’ The Quraishites gathered around him and started arguing that since the original well was the property of Isma’il, the recovered well, too, belonged to the whole tribe. ‘Abdul-Muttalib rejected their claim, saying that it was given especially to him by Allah. Quraishites wanted to fight and fill up the well then dig it up again.

At last, they agreed to put their case before the wise woman of the tribe of Sa’d in Syria. Every clan sent one man to represent it. ‘Abdul-Muttalib, with his son and a few companions, were in the same caravan, but he had his separate arrangements. The water with ‘Abdul-Muttalib was depleted when the latter was in the middle of the desert. The whole group was suffering from acute thirst. The leaders of the other party refused to give them any water. They were near their death. ‘Abdul-Muttalib advised his group to dig some graves so that when anybody died, others would bury him. Thus, only one person, the last to die, would remain unburied. They dug up their own graves. The opposite party was enjoying the scene.

On the second day, ‘Abdul-Muttalib exhorted his companions that it was cowardice to succumb to death like that without making a last ditch effort. Thus, he rode his camel, and the camel arose. In doing so, its foot hit the earth and Lo! A stream of cool sweet water appeared! ‘Abdul-Muttalib cried: ‘Allahu Akbar!’ His companions, too, cried ‘Allahu Akbar!’ They quenched their thirst, filled their water-skins, and then ‘Abdul-Muttalib invited the opposite group to fill their water-skins from that fountain. His own companions objected, but he said, “If we do the same as they had done, there would be no difference between us and them.’

The whole caravan gathered around that fountain. They drank and filled their water-skins. Then they said: “O ‘Abdul-Muttalib! By Allah! Allah has decided between you and us. He has given you victory. By Allah, we will never dispute with you about Zamzam. The same God Who has created this fountain here in this desert for you has given Zamzam to you.’
Zamzam became the personal property of ‘Abdul-Muttalib.

  • 1. Jabir ibn `Abdullah al-Ansari is one of the greatest sahabis of Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w), a first-class traditionist and a most zealous supporter of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (a.s). According to Al-Isti`ab, he died at the age of 94 in 74 A.H. (some say in 77 and others in 78), and his funeral prayers were led by Aban ibn `Uthman, then governor of Medina. He was the very last to die from among the Prophet's close sahaba.
  • 2. He is `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Abdullah al-Mas`udi. He died in 165 A.H./781 A.D. His descendant, Yahya ibn Muhammed ibn Abi `Obaydah ibn Ma`n was one of the major isnad authorities upon whom Abu Ja`fer Muhammed ibn Jarir al-Tabari (839 - 923 A.D.) relied in writing his famous work Tarikh al-rusul wal muluk (history of the Messengers and the kings).
  • 3. “Negus” means “king” in the Amheric language, title of the supreme ruler of Abyssinia (Ethiopia).

Birth and Da'wah

At a market-place known as ‘Okaz, a great annual fair used to be held in the month of Thul-Qi’dah during which war and bloodshed were forbidden. At the time of the fair, ‘Okaz presented a scene of pleasure and abandonment with its dancing girls, gaming tables, drunken orgies, poetic contests and shows of prowess ending frequently in brawls and bloodshed. At one of the fairs, war broke out between Quraish and Banu Kinanah (the parent tribe) on one side and the Qais ‘Aylan on the other.

I happened during the sacred months (during which Arabs were supposed to stop all wars and feuds). This war continued for 9 years with a considerable loss of life and varying fortunes. This is referred to by historians as Harb al-Fijar or the “Sacrilegious War.’ Muhammad was 14 or 15 years old when he was obligated to take part twice to help his uncle Zubayr. His height was average, and so was his strength, yet he had a marked aptitude for archery and gave every promise of being an excellent bowman like his great ancestors Abraham and Ishmael. A powerful wartime asset of his lay in the strength of his eyesight: he was reputed to be able to count no less than twelve of the stars of the constellation of the Pleiades.

The lewd scenes, drunken affrays and the horrors of the war must have created a deep impression on the sensitive mind of young Muhammad whose heart bled as he witnessed the detestation that war had brought and for those who fell victim to it. Quraish were ultimately victorious. A league was formed, on the suggestion of Zubayr, Muhammad's uncle, to prevent disturbances of the peace, to help the victims of oppression, and to protect travellers. It was founded at the house of ‘Abdullah ibn Ju’dan. Muhammad took a very active interest in the functioning of this league which came into being as a result of a settlement known as Hilf al-Fudul between Banu Hashim, Banu Taym, Banu Asad, Banu Zuhrah and Banu Muttalib.

He, despite his young age, diligently worked to improve people's morals and ethics and to cultivate in their hearts the fear of the Almighty God. At the age of twenty, Muhammad proposed certain measures to contain if not end the violence and the injustice of the time. At this instance, Zubayr, the oldest surviving sons of ‘Abdul-Muttalib, formed a league whose members would explain to the main tribes comprising Quraish to bind themselves by an oath to secure justice to the helpless. The Hashimites, the Banu Zohra, and the Banu Taym took part in the league and swore that they would stand up as the champions of the injured and would see that injustices did not remain unpunished and that the claims of the oppressed were fully satisfied. This oath is known as “Hilf al-Fudul,’ League of the Virtuous. It proved its usefulness both in preventing violence and as a means to enforce restitution. In his later years, Muhammad expressed his pleasure at having taken the initiative in that league which was formed at the house of ‘Abdullah ibn Jod’an. It continued to function for half a century following the inception of Islam.

Year of The Elephant (570 A.D.)

The above-mentioned episode had happened when ‘Abdul-Muttalib was young. Now we come to the most important event of his life. It took place just eight years before his death. By then, he was the patriarch of the tribe.

By the second millennium B.C., the Minaeans1 of South Arabia had already extended their trade far into the north of the Arabian Peninsula. After them, the Sabeans created a kingdom which prevented the emergence of any strong central power. They were succeeded by the Himyarites (to whom Queen Balqees of Sheba [Saba'], wife of prophet Solomon, belonged) were lucky enough to escape the domination of the Roman empire after Aelius Gallus's attempt to subject them to the dominion of Augustus had misfired.

These Himyarites had once extended their kingdom to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) to the west of the Red Sea, but the tide of politics shifted. In 530 A.D., the Christian Abyssinian governor over Yemen and Southern Arabia, Abraha ibn al-Sabah al-Ashram, conquered South Arabia and pressed forward for an attack on Persia in the north but failed to advance beyond Mecca when his army was attacked, as we are told in the Holy Qur'an, by a heavenly host of tiny birds called Ababeel.

It was on August 29th of that year, the Year of the Elephant, that the last Messenger of God, Muhammad, was born. After his conquest of Yemen and Nejran, Abraha became the region's vicegerent on behalf of the Ethiopian Negus. He built a magnificent cathedral in San’a, Yemen, in the hope that it would supersede Mecca as the great place of pilgrimage for all Arabia. He had marble brought to it from one of the palaces of Balqees the Queen of Sheba and he set up crosses in it of gold and silver. Its pulpits were made of ivory and ebony.

He wrote to the Negus saying, “I have built thee a church, O King, the like of which was never built for any king before thee, and I shall not rest until I have diverted unto it the pilgrimage of the Arabs.’ He did not keep that thought to himself, and the tribes throughout Hijaz and Nejd were very angry. A man of Kinanah, a branch of Quraish, went to San’a for the deliberate purpose of defiling the church which he did one night then returned safely to his people.

When Abraha heard of it, he vowed that in revenge he would raze the Ka’ba to the ground. Having made his preparations, he set off for Mecca with a large army in van of which he placed an elephant. Some Arab tribes of north San’a tried to stop him, but the Abyssinians overpowered them and captured their leader, Nufayl of Khath’am. By way of ransom for his life, Nufayl offered to act as Abraha's road guide. When Abraha's army reached Taif, the men of Thaqif came out to meet him, being afraid that he might destroy the temple they had built for their god al-Lat in mistake for the Ka’ba. They pointed out to him that he had not yet reached his destination, offering him a road guide of their own for the remainder of the trip. Although Nufyal was already with him, Abraha accepted their offer, but the Thaqif guide died on the way, about two miles from Mecca, at a place called al-Mughammis where he was buried. The Arabs took to stoning his grave which is still being stoned to this day.

Abraha halted at al-Mughammis and sent a detachment of horsemen to Mecca's outskirts. They plundered whatever they could find on the way and sent it back to Abraha including two hundred camels which were the property of ‘Abdul-Muttalib, Muhammad's grandfather. Quraish and other neighbouring tribes held a war council and decided that it was useless to try to resist the enemy. Meanwhile, Abraha sent a messenger to Mecca to ask for their chief. He was to tell him that Abraha had not come to fight but only to destroy the Ka’ba, and if he wished to avoid bloodshed, he must come to the Abyssinian camp.

‘Abdul-Muttalib, therefore, had no choice except to meet Abraha. When the latter saw him entering his tent, he was so impressed by him that he rose from his royal seat to greet him and to seat him beside himself on the carpet. Abraha did not speak Arabic; Amheric was his tongue, so he had to communicate with ‘Abdul-Muttalib through an interpreter whom he told to inquire if ‘Abdul-Muttalib had a favour to ask. ‘Abdul-Muttalib replied that the army had taken two hundred of his camels and he asked that they should be returned to him. Abraha was surprised at this request and said that he was disappointed in him because he was thinking of his camels rather than his religion which was being attacked. ‘Abdul-Muttalib replied, “I am the lord of the camels, and the Ka’ba likewise has a Lord Who will defend it.’

‘Abdul-Muttalib returned with his camels to Quraish whom he advised to withdraw to the hills above the town. Accompanied by his family and others, he went to the Sanctuary, stood beside it then prayed the Almighty for His help against Abraha and his army. He took hold of the door of the Ka’ba and, crying to Allah, prayed in the following words (of poetry):

Allah! Surely a man defends his own home, therefore, Thou shouldst protect Thy Own House. Their cross and their wrath can never overcome Thy wrath. O Allah, help Thy Own people against the fellows of the cross and its worshippers.

‘Abdul-Muttalib's light covered the Ka’ba, so much so that the Meccans asked him about it. “Go home! By Allah, never did my forehead's light overwhelm anything except that I won victory, and now it has done just that!’ Then he, too, went to the summit of the hill, Abu Qubays. The next morning, Abraha prepared to march into the town with the intention to destroy the Ka’ba and then return to San’a. His elephant, richly decorated, was led into the front of the army which was already drawn up.

When the huge animal reached its position, his keeper Unays turned him the same way as the troops were turned, that is, towards Mecca, but instead of marching, the elephant knelt down and refused to move. Even beating him about the head with iron bars and sticking iron hooks into his belly did not stir him to move; he remained like a solid rock. When the entire army turned in the direction opposite of that of Mecca, the elephant voluntarily rose to its feet, turned around and followed. When they turned round about again in the direction of Mecca, the elephant knelt down as if it was prostrating in humility.

Earlier that same day, ‘Abdul-Muttalib had an encounter with the elephant. He asked the animal, “Do you know why they had brought you here?’ The animal beckoned with his head that he did not. “They brought you here so that you may demolish the House of your Lord. Are you going to do that?’ The elephant shook his head as a signal negating that he would2. Then ‘Abdul-Muttalib withdrew.

Suddenly the sky grew dark and a strange sound was heard. Soon a great wave of darkness swept upon the army from the direction of the sea, and the air above their heads, as high as they could see, was full of birds called “ababeel.’ Those few who survived said that each bird had three pebbles the size of dried peas, one in its beak and one between the claws of each foot. They kept pelting Abraha's army with those pebbles which were very hard and launched with such velocity that they pierced even coats of mail.

Every stone found its mark and killed its man. As soon as a body was struck, its flesh began to rot, some more gradually than others. Among the survivors were Unays and the elephant, but all were terror-stricken. A few survivors remained in Hijaz and worked as shepherds or did other work, but the main part of the army returned in disorder to San’a. Many died by the wayside and many others, including Abraha, died soon after their return. After that day, Quraish were called “the people of God,’ earning more respect than ever before because God had answered their prayers and saved the Ka’ba from destruction.

It is to this important event that Allah refers in Chapter 105:

In the Name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful
Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the fellows of the Elephant? Did He not make their treacherous plan go astray? And He sent against them birds in flocks, striking them with stones of baked clay, so He rendered them like straw eaten up. (Qur'an, 105:1-5)

Some historians have tried to minimize the impact of the Divine intervention by suggesting that the army perished because of an epidemic of smallpox. But that explanation creates more puzzles than it solves. How was it that the whole army was seized by that epidemic just when it was advancing on the Ka’ba? How was it that not a single soldier survived that epidemic? Why no Meccan caught that contagious epidemic? And, if there was no epidemic in Mecca before or after that sudden burst of the plague, where did that epidemic come from?

This epoch-making episode happened in 570 A.D. It was on August 29th of this same year that the Prophet of Islam was born ‘Abdullah and Amina.

‘Abdullah son of ‘Abdul-Muttalib, Muhammad's father, was not in Mecca to witness that miracle. He had gone to trade in Palestine and Syria with one of the caravans. On his way home, he had lodged with his grandmother's family in Yathrib. It was there and then that he fell ill and shortly thereafter died at the youthful age of 25 before the birth of his holy son. To his wife Amina, the news was a death blow which she could not survive. Mecca was overtaken with grief at the news of ‘Abdullah's son. ‘Abdullah was greatly cherished, loved and respected as his father, the chief of Mecca.

Amina daughter of Wahab ibn ‘Abd Munaf, his wife and mother of our holy prophet Muhammad, never felt any heaviness on account of her pregnancy and, therefore, for quite some time could not tell for sure that she was pregnant. She was conscious of a light within her. One day it shone forth from her so intensely that she could see the castles of Bostra (or Busra) in Greater Syria (actually in Trans-Jordan, to be exact). She is reported to have said,

When I conceived him, I saw in a vision someone approaching me and saying to me: “You have conceived the best person among all mankind.’ In every month of that year, I used to hear someone calling from somewhere in the heavens: “Glad tidings! Time has come for the blessed one to come out to earth!’ When birth-pangs overtook me, I saw women as tall as palm-trees who gazed at me, whereupon a light emanated from me at the very moment when Muhammad emerged into the world, and I saw him prostrating, so much so that I was able, through that light, to see everything as far as the castles of Bostra.

It was then that I heard a voice saying: “Name him Muhammad, for I am the Praised One, and this is the one who will always be praised, and whose name I derived even from My own!’ I also saw three persons looking as though the sun rises from their faces and who were carrying a silver can and a wash bowl of green chrysolite. They washed him and marked the back area between his shoulders, then they wrapped him in silk and said to him: “Glad tidings to you, O one loved by Allah! You are the master of all the descendants of Adam, the dignity of life on earth, and the honour of the life hereafter! Congratulations to whoever accepts your call and loves you and upholds your wasi after you and the Imams from among your descendants, the wasis who will be pleased!’

The voice also told her ‘… When he is born, say: ‘I place him under the protection of the One God from the evil of every envier', then name him Muhammad.’ She was frightened and did not know what to make of that voice. In order to repel its effects, she was advised to wear iron lockers till her delivery. Indeed, what Amina heard had a precedent. In Genesis XVII:19, we read: “And God said (to Abraham): Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed, and thou shalt call his name Isaac.’ Also in Matthew I:21: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus.’

At the time of Muhammad's birth, Amina was at her uncle's home, and she sent word to ‘Abdul-Muttalib asking him to come to see his grandson. ‘Abdul-Muttalib hastened joyfully to see the infant, took him in his arms and went to the Ka’ba. There, he offered thanks to God for the gift and named him “Muhammad’ which means “the praised.’ Then he took him back to his mother. On the way, he showed him to his own family. He himself was shortly to have another son by Amina's cousin Hala. At the moment, his youngest son, ‘Abbas, was three years old. Abbas met him at the house door. “This is your brother! Kiss him,’ said he. And Abbas kissed him.

Amina's grief for the loss of her young husband was so intense, it dried the milk in her breasts, and she could not nurse Muhammad. For this reason, he had to be entrusted to Thuwayba, a maid servant of Abu Lahab, one of Muhammad's uncles, for a short period of time. Some tribes in Mecca were famous for nursing and rearing children, and one of them was that Banu Sa’d ibn Bakr, a branch of Hawazin, whose territory lay to the north-east of Mecca, the hills south of Taif, to be exact. Amina was in favour of entrusting her son to the care of a woman of this tribe.

And so it was: Halima daughter of Abu Thu'ayb of Banu Sa’d, wife of Harith, became Muhammad's nurse. Halima kept Muhammad with her for about five years. He was now grown up and no longer needed his foster mother's care. Halima reluctantly gave him back to his mother Amina. But Muhammad's mother did not enjoy the company of her first-born for any length of time: in 575 A.D., she proceeded to Medina accompanied by Umm Ayman to visit the grave of her late husband and to show her son to his father's maternal relatives.

Umm Ayman was the slave girl of ‘Abdullah, Muhammad's father. After no longer than a month of staying at Medina, Amina felt that her heart was failing. She eventually died at Abwa' midway between Medina and Mecca where she was buried. Umm Ayman brought Muhammad, who was now six years old, back to Mecca where he was placed in the charge of his grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib who had already reached the patriarchal age of four scores.

Umm Ayman remained his nurse. ‘Abdul-Muttalib took charge of raising young Muhammad thereafter for no more than two years following which he died in 578 A.D., leaving an 8-year old orphan. Muhammad very bitterly felt the loss of his grandfather, and he followed his bier weeping. On his death-bed, ‘Abdul-Muttalib embraced Muhammad for the last time and entrusted him to the care of his son Abu Talib, brother of ‘Abdullah, Muhammad's father, by both parents, enjoining him to treat the orphan as he would his own son. Abu Talib very affectionately promised his father to do so, and he lived up to his promise. He loved Muhammad very much, let him sleep by his own bed-side and took him whenever he went. He continued doing so till Muhammad was about twelve years old.

Faith of The Ancestors of The Prophet

It is the accepted belief of the Shi’a Ithna-’Asheris, the Hanafis, and the Shafi’is, that the ancestors of the Prophet from ‘Abdullah to Qidar ibn Isma’il, and from there right up to Adam, were true believers. They believed in the One and Only God and faithfully followed the Divine religion of their times. From Qidar to ‘Abdullah, all of them followed the Sharia of Prophet Ibrahim which was the religion prescribed for them by God.

Imam Jalaluddin al-Sayyuti has written nine books on this subject and has proven beyond doubt that all the ancestors of the Prophet were true believers. Shaykh ‘Abdul-Haqq Muhaddith Dehlawi has written the following: “All the ancestors of the Prophet from Adam up to ‘Abdullah were pure and clean from the uncleanness of disbelief and paganism. It was not possible for Allah to put that Holy Light (of the Prophet) into dark and dirty places, i.e. the loin of a pagan man or the womb of a pagan woman. Also, how could it be possible for Allah to punish the ancestors of the Prophet on the Day of Judgement and thus humiliate him in the eyes of the world?’

The Prophet himself has said: “I was always being transferred from the loins of the clean ones to the wombs of the clean ones.’

‘Allamah al-Majlisi3 has written that it is the unanimous belief of Shi’a scholars that the father, mother and all ancestors of the Prophet followed the true religion, that his Light never entered into the loin of any pagan man or the womb of any pagan woman. Also, they accept traditions saying that all his ancestors were “Siddiqun’ (truthful ones): They were either prophets or successors of prophets (wasis).

After Isma’il, all his ancestors were successors of Isma’il. Other traditions specify that ‘Abdul-Muttalib was a “Hujjat’ (Proof) of Allah and that Abu Talib was his successor.

The Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abu Talib said: “By Allah, neither my father ever worshipped the idols, nor my grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib, nor his father Hashim, nor his father ‘Abd Munaf. They prayed facing towards the Ka’ba and followed the religion of Ibrahim.’

If you look again at the preceding life-sketches of some of the ancestors of the Prophet, you will find that many traditions established by them are now included into the tenets of Islam. Qusayy started the night-stay at al-Mash’ar al-Haram during the hajj, and Allah kept that system in Islam. Can anybody think that Allah would confirm a religious rite established by a pagan?!
Likewise, you have seen how the customs established by ‘Abdul-Muttalib were adopted in Islam. Could Allah glorify ‘Abdul-Muttalib if he had been a pagan?!

Also, read again the events of the discovery of Zamzam and the appearance of the well in the desert. Read again the events of ‘Amul-Fil, and see the firm conviction that Allah would surely save His House. That statement, repeated several times, shows that ‘Abdul-Muttalib knew before hand what was going to happen. Why was he so sure? There can only be one explanation: He was informed by Allah. And this, in turn, proves the earlier statement that he was a “Hujjat’ of Allah.

In all these events and narrations, he is always seen praying to Allah, and there is no hint from any quarter that he ever prayed to the idols of Quraish (to Hubal, Lat or ‘Uzza). When he finds Zamzam, he exclaims: ‘Allahu Akbar!’ When he emphasizes anything, he swears by the Name of Allah. When he stakes his claim, he says that it was given to him by Allah. What further proof is needed to show that it was a family of true believers?

The Prophet said: “Jibril (Gabriel) said to me: ‘I searched the east and the west of the earth, but I did not find anyone superior to Muhammad; and I searched the east and the west of the earth, but I did not find the children of any father better than the children of Hashim.'‘
Also, the Prophet said: “Verily, Allah chose Kinanah from the children of Isma’il, and He selected Quraish from Kinanah, chose the children of Hashim from Quraish, and selected me from the children of Hashim.’


At the discovery of Zamzam, ‘Abdul-Muttalib encountered the enmity of Quraish. He was quite worried because he had only one son to help him. He, therefore, prayed to Allah, making a nathr (vow, pledge or covenant) that if Allah gave him ten sons to help him against his enemies, he would sacrifice one of them to please Allah. His prayer was answered, and Allah gave him not ten but twelve sons, out of whom 5 are famous in the Islamic history: ‘Abdullah (the Prophet's father), Abu Talib (Ali's father), Hamzah, ‘Abbas and Abu Lahab. The other seven were: al-Harith (already mentioned), Zubayr, Ghaydaq, al-Muqawwim, Dharar, Qutham, and Hijl (or Mughirah). He had six daughters: ‘Atika, Umayma, Bayda', Barra, Safiyya, and Arwi.

When ten sons were born, ‘Abdul-Muttalib decided to sacrifice one of them according to his nathr. Lot was cast and ‘Abdullah's name came out. ‘Abdullah was the dearest to him, but he did not flinch from the decision of the fate. He took ‘Abdullah's hands and started towards the place where sacrifices were offered. His daughters started crying, begging him to sacrifice ten camels in place of ‘Abdullah. At first, ‘Abdul-Muttalib refused. But when the pressure of the whole family and, in fact, the whole tribe, mounted, he agreed to cast lot between ‘Abdullah and ten camels. Again the name of ‘Abdullah came out. On the suggestion of the people, the number of the camels was increased to twenty; again, the same result. Repeatedly, the number was increased to thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty and ninety.

But the result was always the same. At last the lot was cast between 100 camels and ‘Abdullah. Now the lot came out for the camels. The family was jubilant, but ‘Abdul-Muttalib was not satisfied. He said: “Ten times the name of ‘Abdullah has come out. It is not fair to ignore those lots just for one lot.’ Three times more, he repeated the lot between ‘Abdullah and 100 camels, and every time the lot came out for the camels. Then he sacrificed the camels, and the life of ‘Abdullah was saved.

It was to this incident that the Prophet referred when once he said: “I am the son of the two sacrifices,’ meaning the sacrifices of Isma’il and ‘Abdullah.

The mother of ‘Abdullah (and the grandmother of the Prophet) was Fatima daughter of ‘Amr ibn ‘Aith ibn ‘Amr ibn Makhzum. She was also the mother of Abu Talib, Zubayr, Bayda', Umayma, Barra and ‘Atika.

A year before “the year of the elephant,’ ‘Abdullah was married to Aminah daughter of Wahab ibn ‘Abd Munaf ibn Zuhrah ibn Kilab. In that very gathering, ‘Abdul-Muttalib married Hala, daughter of Wuhayb, a cousin of Amina. Hala gave birth to Hamzah, and Thuwayba, slave-girl of Abu-Lahab, breast-fed him. She also gave her milk to the Prophet for some time. Thus, Hamzah was the uncle of the Prophet and also his cousin as well as foster brother.

Various traditions put the age of ‘Abdullah at the time of his marriage at 17, 24 or 27 years.
‘Abdullah, like many other Meccan businessmen, used to go with the trade caravans to Syria. While returning, he fell ill and stayed at Yathrib. When ‘Abdul-Muttalib sent al-Harith to look after him and bring him back, he had already passed away. ‘Abdullah was buried in Yathrib. His grave was walled up by the Wahhabis and nobody was allowed to visit it. Then, in the 1970s, the Wahhabis dug up his body together with those of 7 companions of the Prophet and buried them somewhere else. It was done on the pretext of extending the Mosque.
‘Abdullah had left some camels, goats, and a slave-girl, Umm Ayman. The Prophet got them all as his inheritance.

Prophecies Predicting His Advent

The advent of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) was prophecized in sacred scriptures of many creeds. Here are proofs:

Prophecy in Hindu Sanskrit Scriptures:

Here is the original Sanskrit text:

People, listen emphatically! The Man of Praise (Muhammad) will be raised among the people. We take the emigrant in our shelter from sixty thousand and ninety enemies whose conveyances are twenty camels and she-camels, whose loftiness of position touches the heavens and lowers it.

Prophecy in the Parsi (Ancient Persian) Scripture:

Here is the original text written in ancient Pahlavi4:

When the Persians sink so low in morality, a man will be born in Arabia whose followers will upset their throne, religion and everything. The mighty stiff-necked ones of Persia will be over-powered. The house which was built (the Ka’ba) and in which many idols have been placed will be purged of idols, and people will say their prayes facing towards it. His followers will capture the towns of the Parsis and Taus and Balkh and other big places round about. People will embroil with one another. The wise men of Persia and others will join his followers.

Prophecy in the Bible:

Following is the text on pp. 225 - 227 of the Gospel of Saint Barnabas, an English translation by Lonsdale and Laura Ragg of the original Italian manuscript found at Vienna's Imperial Library:
The priest (disciple) asked, “How shall the Messiah be called, and what sign shall reveal his coming?’ Jesus answered: “The name of the Messiah is Admirable, for God Himself gave him the name when He created his soul and placed it in celestial splendor. God said: 'Wait, Muhammad, for thy sake I will create Paradise, the world, and a great multitude of creastures whereas I make thee a present, in so much that whoso shall bless thee shall be blessed, and whoso shall curse thee shall be cursed.

When I shall send thee into the world, I shall send thee as My Messenger of Salvation, and thy word shall be true insomuch that the heavens and the earth shall fail but thy faith shall never fail.' Muhammad is his blessed name.’ Then the crowd raised their voices saying, “O God! Send us Thy Messenger! O Muhammad! Come quickly for the salvation of the world!’

The Prophet is Born (570 A.D.)

Muhammad was born in such a family on Friday, the 17th of Rabi’ul-Awwal, in the first year of ‘Amul-Fil, Year of the Elephant, which corresponded to August 29, 570 A.D., to bring the Message of God to the world. In Sunni circles, the 12th of Rabi’ul-Awwal is more famous. Thus, the prayer of Ibrahim while constructing the Ka’ba was granted:

“Lord! And raise a Messenger from among them who shall recite to them Thy verses, and teach them the Book and the wisdom, and purify them, indeed Thou art the Mighty, the Wise’ (Qur'an, 2:129).

And the tidings of Christ came true:

Children of Israel! Surely I am the messenger of Allah to you, verifying that which is before me of the Torah and giving the good news of a Messenger who will come after me whose name will be Ahmad.(Qur'an, 61:6)

When Muhammad was about six years old (in 575 A.D.), he lost his mother as well; so, the doubly-orphaned child was brought up by ‘Abdul-Muttalib with the most tender care. Umm Ayman was now his governess. It was the will of God that Muhammad should undergo all the suffering, pain and privation incidental to human life in order that he would bear them with becoming fortitude and raise his stature in human perfection. Not two years had passed before ‘Abdul-Muttalib also expired.

‘Abdul-Muttalib died in 578 A.D. at the age of 82, leaving the care and custody of the orphaned Muhammad to Abu Talib. Abu Talib and his wife, Fatima bint Asad, loved Muhammad more than their own children. As the Prophet himself said, Fatima bint Asad was his “mother’ who kept her own children waiting while she fed the Prophet, kept her own children cold while she gave him warm clothes. Abu Talib always kept the child with him day and night.

Abu Talib had succeeded ‘Abdul-Muttalib in siqaya and rifada and was an active participant in the trade caravans. When Muhammad was 12 years old (now we are in 582 A.D.), Abu Talib bade farewell to his family to go to Syria. Muhammad clung to him and cried. “Who are you leaving me with, O uncle,’ asked him Muhammad, “with my mother, or with my father?’ Both his parents had by then died. Abu Talib was so moved that he took the child with him. The caravan reached Busra (or Bostra) on the highway to the ancient city of Damascus, Syria. Abu Talib's trade caravan stayed near the monastery of a Nestorian5 monk, Buhayrah, whose Christian name was Sergius (or Georgius) and whose small Nestorian church or monastery was on the highway to Bostra.

Buhayrah noticed something unusual about the caravan with which Abu Talib and Muhammad travelled: A piece of cloud was shadowing Muhammad from the merciless heat of the sun, going with him wherever he went. When he came and sat under a tree there, the tree branches bowed down as if they were paying him homage. All this was noticed by Buhayrah (or Bahirah) the monk who sent word to the caravan to go to his church cell to eat. That cell contained, among other few items, some old manuscripts among which was one that contained the prediction of the coming of a Prophet to the Arabs.

Buhayrah was quite familiar with the contents of that book. He felt that the coming of the prophet would soon take place, and during his own lifetime. This feeling was shared by another Christian monk who was living in Mecca, and his name was Waraqah ibn Nawfal. He was first cousin of Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid, wife of the Prophet . Buhayrah knew that such a sign was of great significance. “Could it be that he had at last come and was among those travellers?,’ He asked himself. “O men of Quraish! I have prepared food for you,’ he addressed them, “And I would like you to come to me, every one of you, young and old, bondman and freeman.’

They came to his cell. Muhammad was left to look after their camels and belongings. As they approached, Buhayrah examined them carefully, one by one, but he could not see anything corresponding to the description in his book, nor did anyone among them seem to be adequately great enough to warrant two miracles which he himself had just witnessed. Perhaps they had not all come to him, so he asked them: “Men of Quraish! Let none of you stay behind.’ “There is none that has been left behind,’ they said, “save a boy, the youngest among us.’ “Treat him not so,’ said Buhayrah, “but call him to come, and let him be present with us at this meal.’ Abu Talib and the others realized their thoughtlessness and blamed themselves, saying, “Ibn (the son of) ‘Abd-Allah should not have been left behind,’ and one of them went back to him, hugged him, and brought him to sit with everyone there.

The very first glance that Buhayrah cast at young Muhammad was sufficient to explain the miracles which he had just witnessed. He looked at him attentively the whole time, examining each movement he made and every word he uttered. When they had finished eating, Buhayrah went to his youngest guest and asked him a few questions about how he lived and slept, and about his general affairs. Muhammad unhesitatingly informed him of these things, for he looked to him as a venerable man, and his questions were courteous. He did not even hesitate to draw off his cloak when finally the monk asked him if he could see his back, his shoulders. Buhayrah was now convinced beyond the shadow of doubt that he saw the new Arabian Messenger of Allah when the latter's shoulders were exposed to the examining eyes of Buhayrah the monk: the mark of the seal of Prophethood was there, just as it was described in his ancient book, and in the exact place.

He turned to Abu Talib and said: “What kinship hath this boy with thee?’ “He is my son,’ Abu Talib said. “He is not thy son,’ the monk emphatically responded, adding, “it cannot be that this boy's father is alive.’ “He is my brother's son,’ said Abu Talib. “Then what of his father?’ asked the monk. “He died,’ said Abu Talib, “when the boy was still in his mother's womb.’ “That is the truth,’ said Buhayrah. “Take thy brother's son back to his country, and guard him against the Jews, for by God, if they see him and know of him that which I know, they will contrive evil against him. Great things are in store for this nephew of thine. He shall be the Prophet of this nation6.’

This encounter is recorded in several English references, but we would like to introduce to the reader another testimonial which he most likely has not read yet; it is an English translation from a major Arabic source; here it is:
Ibn Abbas, the Prophet's uncle, quotes his father Abbas who in turn quotes ‘Abdul-Muttalib quoting Abu Talib as saying:

Eight years had passed since the birth of the Messenger of Allah when I went out to Syria in a trade caravan. It was extremely hot. When I decided to start the trip, some of my people said to me, “What will you do with Muhammad? And to whose charge are you going to leave him?’ I said, “I shall not leave him with anyone; he will be with me.’ They said, “Are you going to take a child out in such extremely hot weather?! Do you really take such person out with you?!’ I said, “By Allah! He shall never part with me wherever I go, and I shall have a low conveyance for him.’ Muhammad and the camel he was riding were in front of me, and he was always ahead of everyone else, always in the vanguard. Whenever the heat intensified, a white cloud like a piece of snow would greet him then stand over his head and would never leave him.

The cloud may even sometimes rain upon us different kinds of fruit as it followed us. We were short of water once to the extent that we could not buy a water-bag for less than two dinars, but whenever and wherever we alighted, lakes would be filled, water would become plentiful, and the ground would turn green with grass. We were enjoying fertility and goodness. The camels of some among us would refuse to advance, so Muhammad would rub his hands on them, and they would then instantly move on.

When we came near to Bostra, some priests advanced towards us as fast as beasts of burden. And the cloud never parted with the Messenger of Allah. A priest from among them did not pay any attention to the caravan or to any of its merchants, nor did he speak to anyone at all. He looked at Muhammad and immediately recognized him. I heard him saying, “If there is anyone at all, it has to be you!’ We alighted under a huge tree having only a few branches near the monk's monastery. It was not a fruit tree. Caravans used to sit in its shade. When the Messenger of Allah alighted under that tree, it shook and spread its branches over the Messenger of Allah, instantly bearing three kinds of fruit: two of them grow in the summer and one in the winter.

Each and every one of us was extremely surprised. When Buhayrah, the monk, saw that, he took sufficient food for the Messenger of Allah, then he came to us and asked us, “Who is in charge of this child?’ I said, “I am.’ He asked me, “What kinship are you to him?’ “His uncle,’ I said. He said, “Man, he has many uncles; which one of them are you?’ I said, “I am the brother of his father by the same mother.’ He said, “I testify that it is he or else I am not Buhayrah at all!’ Then he asked me,’Do you permit me to serve him this food so he may eat of it?’ I turned to the Prophet and said, “Son! There is a man here who would like to be generous to you; so, you may eat of his food.’ Muhammad asked me, “Is it food for just myself rather than for any of my companions?’ Buhayrah answered, “Yes, it is specifically for you.’

The Prophet said, “I shall not eat any food so long as these men do not.’ Buhayrah said, “But I do not have food more than this much.’ He now asked Buhayrah, “O Buhayrah! Do you permit them to eat with me?’ Buhayrah answered in the affirmative. He said, ‘Bismillah,’ then ate, and we ate with him. By Allah! We were one hundred and seventy men, and each one of us ate to his fill, so much so that we even belched! Buhayrah, meanwhile, was standing next to the Prophet, keeping insects away from him. He was puzzled to see how many men ate of that very little food. From time to time, Buhayrah would kneel down to kiss Muhammad's head and cheeks. Whenever he kissed him, he said, “It is he! It is he! I swear by the Lord of Jesus!’ People did not understand what he was talking about. One man from our caravan said to Buhayrah, “You surely must have something in mind!

We used to pass by you before, and you never offered us anything (to eat) at all!’ Buhayrah said, “By Allah I do have something in mind and something else, too, and I see what you do not see, and I know what you know not. Under this tree there is a child had you only come to know about him what I know, you would have carried him on your necks till you reach his land. By Allah! I have not been generous to you except for his own sake! I have seen how light came in front of him extending from the heavens to the earth. By Allah! I have seen men carrying fans of emeralds and sapphire fanning him and others scattering all kinds of fruit over him. Then I saw this cloud that never parts with him. Even my cell ran to him just as a beast of runs. Then I saw how this tree had very few branches then suddenly its branches became many, then it shook up and produced three different types of fruit: two typical of summer fruit and one typical of winter fruit.

Then I saw how these lakes had lost all their water since the Israelites became corrupted and since the disciples came to drink of them, so we found in the book of Simon of Safa that he had cursed them, so their water dried up. Then he (Simon) added saying that whenever those lakes become full of water, you should know that it is for the sake of a Prophet who will appear in the land of Tihama and who will migrate to Medina. His name among his people is al-Ameen and in the heavens Ahmad, and he is from the progeny of Ishmael son of Abraham. By Allah! He is the one!’

Then Buhayrah added saying, “O child! I would like to ask you about three merits by the Lat and the ‘Uzza!…’ Hearing the names of the Lat and the ‘Uzza, the Messenger of Allah became angry and said, “Do not ask me anything in their name, for by Allah, I hate nothing more than them. They are idols my people have carved.’ Buhayra exultingly said, “This is one (Sign)!’ Then he said, “By Allah, would you tell me…’ Muhammad said, “Ask me whatever you wish, for you have asked me in the Name of my Lord and yours Who has no peer at all.’ Buhayrah asked him about his sleep and his awakening, and Muhammad answered his questions. Then Buhayrah asked him about other matters, and Muhammad answered him, too.

Now Buhayrah knelt down and kissed Muhammad's feet as he said, “O son! How sweet your smell is! O one whose followers will be more numerous than those who follow any other prophet! O one whose light is the source of the light of the whole world! O one through whose name the mosques shall be populated! It is as though I see you leading the troops, those on foot and those on horseback, and Arabs and non-Arabs shall follow you willingly or unwillingly. It is as though I can see you smashing the Lat and the ‘Uzza, and I see the Ka’ba controlled by none other than you; you shall put its keys wherever you please. How many a hero from Quraish and from the other Arab tribes shall you subdue? With you are the keys of the Garden and of the Fire, and the destruction of the idols shall take place at your hands. The Hour shall not come to pass except after all kings embrace your creed even against their will!’

He kept kissing his hands once and his feet another as he said, “If I live to see your advent, I shall strike with the sword just as an arm strikes another! You are the master of all the offspring of Adam, the master of the messengers, the Imam of the pious, the seal of the prophets! By Allah! The earth smiled on the day you were born, and it shall remain so till the Day of Judgment, happy on your account! By Allah! The synagogues and the idols wept and so did the devils, so they shall remain weeping till the Day of Judgment! You are the fulfillment of Abraham's plea to his Lord, the glad tidings of Jesus, the holy, the purified from the impurities of jahiliyya!’ Then he turned to Abu Talib and said, “What kinship do you have with this child, for I see that you never part with him?’ Abu Talib said, “He is my son.’ Buhayrah said, “He is not thy son, for the son of this child cannot be living, nor can his mother.’ Abu Talib said, “He is the son of my brother, and his father died when his mother was pregnant, then his mother died when he was six years old.’

Buhayrah said, “You have said the truth; such is he, but I think you ought to take him back to his land on this account, for there is no Jew nor a Christian nor anyone having a divine Book without having come to know about the birth of this child. If they see him and come to know about him just what I have come to know, they shall desire to harm him, and those who desire so most of all are the Jews.’ Abu Talib asked him, “Why so?’ Buhayrah said, “It is so because the son of your brother shall be both a Messenger and a Prophet, and the Great Spirit (Gabriel) shall visit him just as he used to visit Moses and Jesus.’

Abu Talib said to him, “No, God willing, Allah shall never neglect him.’ Then we left for Syria. When we came close to Syria, by Allah, I saw all the mansions of Syria as if they were shaking and a great streak of the sun was emanating from them. When we were in the middle of Syria, we could not traverse the Syrian market because of the stampede of people who were looking at the Messenger of Allah. And the news spread to all parts of Syria, so much so that not a single rabbi or priest remained without coming to meet him.

There are other eye witnesses who reported the same. They were some of the merchants who had participated in Abu Talib's trade caravan. Let us review some of these accounts:
Ya’li, the famous Arab genealogist, narrates the following:

Khalid ibn Aseed ibn Abul-’as and Taleeq ibn Abu Sufyan ibn Umayyah went out in the same trade caravan wherein the Messenger of Allah participated. They were with him, and they narrated saying that they observed him as he walked or rode or did anything to the animals or to the birds. They narrate saying: When he was in our midst as we reached Bostra's market, we came across a group of Christian priests. As soon as the priests saw us, the colour of their faces changed into yellow, as if saffron had painted their faces, looking as though they were struck by lightning.

They said to us, “You have to come to meet our most senior; he is nearby at the grand church.’ We asked them, “Why should we? What do you have to do with us?’ They said, “You will not be harmed in the least, and we may shower you with our generosity.’ They thought that one of us was Muhammad. We went with them and entered the huge building of the church. Their most senior priest sat in the middle, and his students were all around him. He had opened a book in his hands and kept looking once at us and once at the book.

Then he said to his students (who had brought us to him), “You have not done anything at all. You did not bring me the person I seek although he is here (in town).’ Then he asked us who we were, and we told him that we belonged to Quraish. “Which (clan) of Quraish do you belong to?’ he asked. “To ‘Abd Shams,’ we answered. “Is there someone else besides you?,’ he asked again. We said, “Yes, a child from Banu Hashim whom we call the orphan of ‘Abdul-Muttalib.’ By Allah, the moment he heard that, he gasped in a way that we thought he was going to faint. Then he leaped as he said, “Woe unto us! The Christians, by Christ, have surely perished!’ Then he stood up and used one of his crosses as a cane to lean on, and he was very deeply indulged in his thoughts. As many as eighty patriarchs and a number of students were around him. He asked us, “Is it easy for you to let me see him?’

We answered him in the affirmative then he accompanied us and saw Muhammad standing at Bostra's market. By Allah, it was as if we never saw his face before, for it was shining like the moon, and he had bought a good deal of merchandise and earned a good deal of profit and also bought a good deal. We were about to tell the high priest that was him, but he was faster than us. “This is he! I have recognized him, by Christ!,’ said he. He came close to Muhammad, kissed his head then said, “You are the holy one!’ Then he kept asking him about his marks of Prophethood, and the Prophet kept answering him. We heard the high priest saying this to him: “If I ever live till your time (of Prophethood) comes, I shall do justice to the sword.’ Then he said to us, “Do you know what is with him? Iife and death are with him. Whoever clings to him shall live for a long time, and whoever departs from him dies a death after which there shall be no life at all. He is the one with whom the greatest victory is,’ then he kissed his face and returned.7

The major Christian sects during Muhammad's lifetime were: the Copts, the Syrian (Chaldean) Nestorian (to whom Buhayrah belonged), and the Armenian Christians from the main churches of Antioch (Antakiya), Rome, and Egyptian Alexandria.

Abu Talib, acting on Buhayrah's advice, sold all his merchandise for cheaper prices then and there, returning at once to Mecca.
Sacrilegious War (Harbul-Fijar) (585 A.D.) and League of The Virtuous (Hilful-Fudul) (595 A.D.)

Muhammad Marries Khadija (595 A.D.)

Now, Muhammad was old enough to go with the trade caravans. But Abu Talib's financial position had become very weak because of the expenses of rifada and siqaya, and it was no longer possible for him to equip Muhammad with merchandise on his own. He, therefore, advised him to act as agent for a noble lady, Khadija bint Khuwaylid, who was the wealthiest person in Quraish.

Her genealogy joins with that of the Prophet at Qusayy. She was Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid ibn Asad ibn ‘Abdul-’Uzza ibn Qusayy. She, hence, was a distant cousin of Muhammad.
The reputation which Muhammad enjoyed for his honesty and integrity led Khadija to willingly entrust her mercantile goods to him for sale in Syria. She sent him word through his friend Khazimah ibn Hakim, a relative of hers, offering him twice the commission she used to pay her agents to trade on her behalf. Muhammad, with the consent of his uncle Abu Talib, accepted her offer.

Most references consulted for this book make a casual mention of Khadija. This probably reflects a male chauvinistic attitude which does a great deal of injustice to this great lady, the mother of the faithful whose wealth contributed so much to the dissemination of Islam. It is not out of place at all that we should learn a little bit more about this great lady.

If you wish to research the life of this great lady, the best references are: al-Sayyuti's Tarikh al Khulafa, Abul-Faraj al-Isfahani's Aghani, Ibn Hisha­m's Seera, Muhammad ibn Ishaq's Seerat Rasool-Allah, and Tarikh al-rusul wal muluk by Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (839-923 A.D.). Of all these books, only al-Tabari's Tarikh is being translated (by more than one translator and in several volumes) into English. One publisher of Tabari's English Tarikh is the press of the State University of New York (SUNY).

“Islam did not rise except through Ali's sword and Khadija's wealth,’ a saying goes. Khadija al-Kubra daughter of Khuwaylid ibn (son of) Asad ibn ‘Abdul-’Uzza ibn Qusayy belonged to the clan of Banu Hashim of the tribe of Banu Asad. According to some historians, Quraish's real name was Fahr, and he was son of Malik son of Madar son of Kananah son of Khuzaimah son of Mudrikah son of Ilyas son of Mazar son of Nazar son of Ma’ad son of Adnan son of Isma’eel (Ishamel) son of Ibrahim (Abraham) son of Sam son of Noah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon the prophets from among his ancestors. According to a number of sources, Khadija was born in 565 A.D. and died in 620 A.D. at the age of 55, but some historians say that she died ten years later.

Khadija's mother, who, according to some sources, died around 575 A.D., was Fatima daughter of Za'ida ibn al-Asam of Banu ‘Amir ibn Ghalib, also a distant relative of Prophet Muhammad. Khadija's father, who died around 585 A.D., belonged to the ‘Abd al-’Uzza clan of the tribe of Quraish and, like many other Quraishis, was a merchant, a successful businessman whose vast wealth and business talents were inherited by Khadija and whom the latter succeeded in faring with the family's vast wealth. It is said that when Quraish's trade caravans gathered to embark upon their lengthy and arduous journey either to Syria during the summer or to Yemen during the winter, Khadija's caravan equalled the caravans of all other traders of Quraish put together.

Although the society in which Khadija was born was terribly male chauvinistic, Khadija earned two titles: Ameerat-Quraish, Princess of Quraish, and al-Tahira, the Pure One, due to her impeccable personality and virtuous character, not to mention her honourable descent. She used to feed and clothe the poor, assist her relatives financially, and even provide for the marriage of those of her kin who could not otherwise have had means to marry.

By 585 A.D., Khadija was left an orphan. Despite that, and after having married twice__and twice lost her husband to the ravaging wars with which Arabia was afflicted__, she had no mind to marry a third time though she was sought for marriage by many honourable and highly respected men of the Arabian peninsula throughout which she was quite famous due to her business dealings. She simply hated the thought of being widowed for a third time. Her first husband was Abu (father of) Halah Hind ibn Zarah who belonged to Banu ‘Adiyy, and the second was Ateeq ibn ‘aith. Both men belonged to Banu Makhzoom.

By her first husband, she gave birth to a son who was named after his father Hind and who came to be one of the greatest sahabis of the Prophet. He participated in both battles of Badr and Uhud, and he is also famous for describing the Prophet's physique; he was martyred during the Battle of the Camel in which he fought on the side of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib, although some historians say that he died in Basra. All biography accounts describe Hind as an outspoken orator, a man of righteousness and generosity, and one who took extreme caution while quoting the Messenger of Allah. Besides him, Khadija gave birth by Abu Halah to two other sons: al-Tahir, and, of course, Halah, who is not very well known to historians despite the fact that his father is nicknamed after him.

Who were Khadija's children by her second husband? This is another controversy that revolves round the other daughters or step-daughters of the Prophet besides Fatima. These daughters, chronologically arranged, are: Zainab, Ruqayya, and Umm Kulthoom. Some historians say that these were Khadija's daughters by her second husband, whereas others insist they were her daughters by Muhammad. The first view is held by Sayyid Safdar Husayn in his book The Early History of Islam wherein he bases his conclusion on the contents of al-Sayyuti's famous work Tarikh al-khulafa wal muluk (history of the caliphs and the kings). Here is a brief account of Khadija's daughters:

Zainab, their oldest, was born before the prophetic mission and was married to Abul-’As ibn al-Rabee’. She had accepted Islam before her husband did and participated in the migration from Mecca to Medina. She died early in 8 A.H./629 A.D. and was buried in Jannatul Baqee’ where her grave can still be seen defying the passage of time. Ruqayya and Umm Kulthoom married two of Abu Lahab's sons. Abu Lahab, one of the Prophet's uncles, stubbornly and openly rejected his nephew's preaching; therefore, he was condemned in the Mecci Chapter 111 of the Holy Qur'an, a chapter named after him.

Having come to know about such a condemnation, he became furious and said to his sons, “There shall be no kinship between you and me unless you part with these daughters of Muhammad,’ whereupon they divorced them instantly. Ruqayya married the third caliph ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan and migrated with him to Ethiopia in 615 A.D., five years after the inception of the prophetic mission, accompanied by no more than nine others. That was the first of two such migrations. After coming back home, she died in Medina in 2 A.H./623 A.D. and was buried at Jannatul Baqee’. ‘Uthman, thereafter, married her sister, Umm Kulthoom, in Rabi’ al-Awwal of the next (third) Hijri year. Umm Kulthoom lived with her husband for about six years before dying in 9 A.H./630 A.D., leaving no children.

One particular quality in Khadija was quite interesting, probably more so than any of her other qualities mentioned above: she, unlike her people, never believed in nor worshipped idols. There was a very small number of Christians and Jews in Mecca, and a fairly large number of Jews in Medina. What brought those Jews to Mecca and Medina? Some of them had migrated from Nejran, Yemen, after being massacred by a fanatical Christian governor ruling on behalf of the Ethiopian Negus. The date of the massacre is 523 A.D., and its details are outside the scope of this book. Others had come from Greater Syria (including Jerusalem, Palestine) either escaping the persecution of the Romans or driven by curiosity and the desire to meet a new prophet of God whose advent was predicted in their books.

The Holy Qur'an tells us that Jewish scriptures make a reference to Prophet Muhammad, and here are proofs testifying to this fact not from the Holy Qur'an but from the Jews themselves:

‘Abdullah ibn Salam, a Jewish rabbi who later on accepted Islam when the Prophet was in Medina, was asked once by ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab,’ Do you have any reference to Muhammad in your books?’ “Yes, by Allah,’ said ‘Abdullah, “We can identify him by the description whereby Allah described him if we see him among you just as one of us identifies his son once he sees him in the company of other children.’8

According to the reference titled Dala'il al-Nubuwwah, Hassan ibn Thabit, the renown poet, is quoted by a chain of narrators saying, “By Allah! I was a young child of 7 or 8, yet I could very well understand whatever I heard. One day I heard a Jew on the summit of a hill shouting as loudly as he could for other Jews to go to him. ‘Woe unto you,' said they, ‘what is the matter with you?!' He said, ‘The star that signals the birth of Ahmad the prophet did, indeed, appear last night!'‘9

Imam al-Hasan, the oldest son of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib, is quoted in a lengthy statement saying,

A group of Jews came to the Messenger of Allah. The most knowledgeable person among them asked him about certain things, and he, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, answered them for him. He, therefore, accepted Islam then took out a white sheet of riqq (papyrus) wherein he recorded the statements of the Prophet and said to him, “O Messenger of Allah! I swear by the One Who sent you a Prophet in truth that I have not copied this except from tablets which Allah, the most Exalted and the most Sublime, had dictated to Moses son of Amram (‘Imran). I have also read in the Torah so many of your merits that I even doubted them.

For forty years, I have been wiping out any reference to you in the Torah, yet whenever I wiped it out, I saw it fixed again therein. I have read in the Torah that nobody can answer these questions (which I have just asked you) except you, and during the time wherein you answer them, Gabriel would be on your right, Michael on your left, and your wasi in front of you.’ The Messenger of Allah said, “You have surely said the truth. Here is Gabriel on my right and Michael on my left and my wasi Ali ibn Abu Talib in front of me.’ The Jew believed and proved that his conviction was sound.10

Waraqah ibn Nawfal, one of Khadija's cousins, had embraced Christianity and was a pious priest who believed in the Unity of the Almighty, just as early Christians did, that is, before the concept of the Trinity crept into the Christian faith, widening the theological differences among the believers in Christ. He reportedly had translated the Bible from Hebrew into Arabic. His likes could be counted on the fingers of one hand during those days in the entire populous metropolis of Mecca, or Becca, or Ummul-Qura (the mother town), a major commercial center at the crossroads of trade caravans linking Arabia with India, Persia, China, and Byzantium, a city that had its own Red Sea port at Shu’ayba.

Most importantly, Mecca houses the Ka’ba, the cubic “House of God’ which has always been sought for pilgrimage and which used to be circled by naked polytheist “pilgrims’ who kept their idols, numbering 360 small and big, male and female, inside it and on its roof-top. Among those idols was one for Abraham and another for Ishmael, each carrying divine arrows in his hands. Hubal, a huge idol in the shape of a man, was given as a gift by the Moabites of Syria to the tribesmen of Khuza’ah, and it was Mecca's chief idol.

Two other idols of significance were those of the Lat, a grey granite image which was the deity of Thaqif in nearby Taif, and the ‘Uzza, also a block of granite about twenty feet high. These were regarded as the wives of the Almighty… Each tribe had its own idol, and the wealthy bought and kept a number of idols at home. The institute of pilgrimage was already there; it simply was not being observed properly, and so was the belief in Allah Whom the Arabs regarded as their Supreme deity. Besides Paganism, other “religions’ in Arabia included star worship and fetishism.

The Jews of Medina had migrated from Palestine and Yemen and settled there waiting for the coming of a new Prophet from the seed of Abraham in whom they said they intended to believe and to be the foremost in following, something which unfortunately did not materialize; on the contrary, they joined ranks with the Pagans to fight the spread of Islam as the reader will come to know later in this book. Only a handful of them embraced Islam, including one man who was a neighbour of Muhammad; he lived in the same alley in Mecca where Khadija's house stood; his wife, also Jewish, used to collect dry thorny bushes from the desert just to throw them in the Prophet's way.

Since Khadija did not travel with her trade caravans, she had always had to rely on someone else to act as her agent to trade on her behalf and to receive an agreed upon commission in return. In 595 A.D., Khadija needed an agent to trade in her merchandise going to Syria, and it was then that a number of agents whom she knew before and trusted, as well as some of her own relatives, particularly Abu Talib, suggested to her to employ her distant cousin Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah who, by then, had earned the honoring titles of al-Sadiq, the truthful, and al-Amin, the trustworthy. Muhammad did not have any practical business experience, but he had twice accompanied his uncle Abu Talib on his trade trips and keenly observed how he traded, bartered, bought and sold and conducted business; after all, the people of Quraish were famous for their involvement in trade more than in any other profession.

It was not uncommon to hire an agent who did not have a prior experience; so, Khadija decided to give Muhammad a chance. He was only 25 years old. Khadija sent Muhammad word through Khazimah ibn Hakim, one of her relatives, offering him twice as much commission as she usually offered her agents to trade on her behalf. She also gave him one of her servants, Maysarah, who was young, brilliant, and talented, to assist him and be his bookkeeper. She also trusted Maysarah's account regarding her new employee's conduct, an account which was most glaring, indeed one which encouraged her to abandon her insistence never to marry again.

Before embarking upon his first trip as a businessman representing Khadija, Muhammad met with his uncles for last minute briefings and consultations, then he set out on the desert road passing through Wadi al-Qura, Midian, and Diyar Thamud, places with which he was familiar because of having been there at the age of twelve in the company of his uncle Abu Talib. He continued the lengthy journey till he reached Busra (or Bostra) on the highway to Damascus after about a month.

It was there that he had met Buhayrah the monk when he was a child. Buhayrah had died and was succeeded in the monastery by Nestor. Busra, the city, was then the capital of Hawran, one of the southeastern portions of the province of Damascus situated north of the Balqa'. To scholars of classic literature, Hawran is known by its Greek name Auranitis, and it is described in detail by Yaqut al-Hamawi, Abul-Faraj al-Isfahani, and others. Arab trade caravans used to go there quite often and even beyond it to Damascus and Gaza, and few made it all the way to the Mediterranean shores to unload their precious cargoes of Chinese paper and silk textiles bound for Europe.

What items did Muhammad carry with him to Busra, and what items did he buy from there? Meccans were not known to be skilled craftsmen, nor did they excel in any profession besides trade, but young Muhammad might have carried with him a cargo of hides, raisins, perfumes, dried dates, light weight woven items, probably silver bars, and most likely some herbs. He bought what he was instructed by his employer to buy: these items may have included manufactured goods, clothes, a few luxury items to sell to wealthy Meccans, and maybe some household goods.

Gold and silver currency accepted in Mecca included Roman, Persian, and Indian coins, for Arabs during those times, including those who were much more sophisticated than the ones among whom Muhammad grew up such as the Arabs of the southern part of Arabia (Yemen, Hadramout, etc.), did not have a currency of their own; so, barter was more common than cash. The first Arab Islamic currency, by the way, was struck in Damascus by the Umayyad ruler ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (697-698 A.D.) in 78 A.H./697 A.D., 36 years after the establishment of the Umayyad dynasty (661-750).

The time Muhammad stayed in Busra was no more than a couple of months during which he met many Christians and Jews and noticed the theological differences among the major Christian sects that led to the disassociation of the Copts, the Syrian (Chaldean) Nestorian, and the Armenian Christians from the main churches of Antioch (Antakiya), Rome, and Egyptian Alexandria. Such dissensions and differences of theological viewpoints provided Muhammad with plenty of food for thought; he contemplated upon them a great deal.

There is another testimonial to the cloud that shaded young Muhammad; it comes from the holy and pure offspring of Muhammad. Imam al-Hasan al-’Askari11 has narrated saying that he once asked his father (Imam) Ali ibn Muhammad, peace be upon them, about the miracles performed by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, in Medina and Mecca. Here is what Imam al-’Askari said to his son:

son! As for the cloud (that used to shade the Prophet), when the Messenger of Allah travelled to Syria to trade on behalf of Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid, and the distance from Mecca to Jerusalem was one month on foot, they used to suffer from the extreme heat of the sun in those open plains. The wind would blow at them and would pour on them sands and dust. During those times, Allah Almighty used to send a cloud to His Messenger in order to shade him. It would stop whenever he stopped and resume whenever he did. If he advanced, it would advance, and if he lagged behind, it would do the same. If he went to the right, it, too, would go to the right, and if he went to the left, it would go there, too. It used to protect him from the heat of the sun from above.

The wind that used to stir the sands and the dust would do so in the faces of the Quraishites and their camels, but when it came close to Muhammad, it would become calm and quiet, and it would carry neither sands nor dust. Instead, an easy and cool breeze would blow on him, so much so that Quraish used to say, “Muhammad's company is better than a tent!’

They used to seek refuge with him and try to earn his friendship. Comfort was theirs whenever they were near him even when the cloud was actually intended only for him. When strangers intermingled with their (the Quraishites') caravans, the cloud would distance itself from them. They would then inquire, “Whom is this cloud serving?! Whoever it serves is surely honored and revered.’

The cloud would then address those in the caravan saying, “Look at the cloud, and you will see that it is written on it: ‘There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; I support him through Ali, the master of wasis, and distinguished him through his Progeny who are loyal to him, and to Ali, and to their friends, who are the enemies of his opponents.’ All this would be readable and comprehensible to those who knew and were skilled in reading and writing as well as to those who did not.1215

While in Syria, a monk named Nestor observed some signs of Prophethood about Muhammad, so he asked Maysarah, “Is there a glow, a slight redness, around his eyes that never parts with him?’ Nestor asked Maysarah. When the latter answered in the affirmative, Nestor said, “He most surely is the very last Prophet; congratulations to whoever believes in him.’ And Nestor very much desired to see Muhammad. The rest of the story is narrated by ‘Abbas, Muhammad's uncle, who quotes ‘Abdul-Muttalib quoting Abu Talib saying,

We once took Muhammad on a (business) trip to Syria. When we were in the marketplace, a high priest named Nestor came and sat in front of him, looking at him without saying anything. He kept doing so for three consecutive days. He then could no longer do so without going to him and coming behind him, as if he was requesting him for something. I said to him, “O monk! Do you want anything from him?’ “Yes,’ Nestor said, “I do want something from him. What is his name?’ “Muhammad son of ‘Abdullah,’ said I. By Allah, his face changed colour, then he said, “Could you please ask him to agree to uncover his back so that I may look at it?’

Muhammad drew his garment from his back, and when Nestor saw the mark of Prophethood on it, he kept kissing him and crying. Then he said, “O man! Hurry and take this child back to the place where he was born, for if you only know how many his enemies in our land are, you will not even think much of the reason because of which you came here.’ Nestor kept looking after him every day, carrying food for him. When we departed from Syria, Nestor brought Muhammad a shirt and said to him, “Could you please wear this shirt so that you may remember me thereby?’

But Muhammad did not accept it, and I noticed how he did not like the idea, so I took the shirt myself so that his feelings would not be hurt and said to him, “I shall wear it.’ Then I hurried and took Muhammad back to Mecca. By Allah, not a single woman or man, young or old, stayed without eagerly welcoming him back with the exception of Abu Jahl, may Allah curse him, for he then had drunk so much wine that he was completely drunk.’13

If you are not convinced yet, here is another testimonial to that incident:
Bakr ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ashja’i quotes his forefathers saying that in the same year when the Messenger of Allah went to Syria, ‘Abd Manat ibn Kinanah, Nawfal ibn Mu’awiyah ibn ‘Orwah ibn Sakhr ibn Nu’man ibn ‘Adiyy also went out as businessmen. When Abu al-Muwayhib, the monk, met them, he asked them, “Who are you?’ “Merchants from Quraish, people of the sanctuary.’ “From which (clan of) Quraish are you?’ He asked them again. They answered his question, whereupon he asked them, “Is there anyone else from Quraish in your company?’ They said, “Yes, a young man from Banu Hashim named Muhammad.’

Abu al-Muwayhib then said, “He, by Allah, is the one I am seeking!’ They said to him, “By Allah, there is none among the Quraishites more obscure than him, and they refer to him only as the orphan of Quraish. He is hired by one of our women named Khadija; so, what do you want with him?’ He kept moving his head as he said, “He is the one! He is the one!’ Then he requested them to take him to meet Muhammad. “We left him (trading) at Bostra's market.’ Just as they were talking thus, the Messenger of Allah came. The monk immediately said, “This is the one!’

He spent an hour in a dialogue talking to him, then he kissed his forehead and took out something from his pocket which we could not tell what it was. He kept asking Muhammad to take it from him as a gift, and Muhammad kept refusing. Once he left him, he said to us, “Do you accept my advice? This, by Allah, is the last Prophet! By Allah, he will soon invite people to testify that: La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadun Rasool-Allah; so, when he does so, you should follow him.’ Then he asked us, “Does his uncle Abu Talib have a son named Ali?’ We answered him by saying, “No.’ “He must have either been born, or he will be born this year14.

He will be the first to believe in him. We know him, and we have a description of him as the wasi just as we have Muhammad described as the Prophet. He shall be the master and the scholars of the Arabs among whom he will be like Thul-Qarnain. He will be the most prominent among all creation on the Day of Judgment next only to the prophets. Angels call him “the victorious hero;’ wherever he goes, victory shall go with him. By Allah, he is more known in the heavens than the shining sun.’15

One of Muhammad's observations when he was in that Syrian city was the historical fact that a feud was brewing between the Persian and Roman empires, each vying for hegemony over Arabia's fertile crescent. Indeed, such an observation was quite accurate, for after only a few years, a war broke out between the then mightiest nations on earth that ended with the Romans losing it, as the Holy Qur'an tells us in Chapter 30 (The Romans), which was revealed in 7 A.H./615-16 A.D., only a few months after the fall of Jerusalem to the Persians, just to win in a successive one.

Only four years prior to that date, the Persians had scored a sweeping victory over the Christians, spreading their control over Aleppo, Antioch, and even Damascus. Muhammad was concerned about either of these two empires extending its control over the land inhabited by Muhammad's fiercely independent Pagan people. The loss of Jerusalem, birthplace of Christ Jesus son of Mary, was a heavy blow to the prestige of Christianity. Most Persians were then following Zoroastrianism, a creed introduced in the 6th century before Christ by Zoroaster (628-551 B.C.), also known as Zarathustra, whose adherents are described as worshippers of the “pyre,’ the holy fire. “Persia,’ hence, meant “the land of the worshippers of the pyre, the sacred fire.’

Modern day Iran used to be known as “Aryana,’ land of the Aryan nations and tribes. Not only Iranians, but also Kurds, and even Germans, prided in being Aryans, (Caucasian) Nordics or speakers of an Indo-European dialect. Some Persians had converted to Christianity as we know from Salman al-Farisi who was one such adherent till he fell in captivity, sold in Mecca and freed to be one of the most renown and cherished sahabis and narrators of hadith in Islamic history, so much so that the Prophet of Islam said, “Salman is one of us, we Ahl al-Bayt (People of the Household of Prophethood).’

The war referred to above was between the then Byzantine (Eastern Roman) emperor Heraclius (575 - 641 A.D.) and the Persian king Khusrau (Khosrow) Parwiz (Parviz) or Chosroes II (d. 628 A.D.). It was one of many wars in which those mighty nations were embroiled and which continued for many centuries. Yet the hands of Divine Providence were already busy paving the path for Islam: the collision between both empires paved the way for the ultimate destruction of the ancient Persian empire and in Islam setting root in that important part of the world.

Moreover, Muhammad's (and, naturally, Khadija's) offspring came to marry ladies who were born and raised at Persian as well as Roman palaces. Imam Husain ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib, Muhammad's grandson and our Third Holy Imam, married the daughter of the last Persian emperor Jazdagird (Yazdegerd) III son of Shahryar and grandson of this same Khusrau II. Jazdagerd ruled Persia from 632-651 A.D. and lost the Battle of Qadisiyyah to the Muslim forces in 636 A.D., thus ending the rule of the Sassanians. Having been defeated, he fled for Media in northwestern Iran, homeland of Persian Mede tribesmen, and from there to Merv, an ancient Central Asian city near modern day Mary in Turkmenistan (until very recently one of the republics of the Soviet Union), where he was killed by a miller.

Three-story House of Lady Khadija (a.s.) (left side of the photo) which used to be home of the Prophet (s.a.w) and where Fatima al-Zahra (a.s) was born. It appears to be a 3-story Yemenite style building. It was located in the goldsmiths' market in Mecca. The Saudi government demolished it in 1413 A.H./1992 A.D.

The profits Khadija reaped from that trip were twice as much as she had anticipated. Maysarah was more fascinated by Muhammad than by anything related to the trip. Muhammad, on the other hand, brought back his impressions about what he had seen and heard, impressions which he related to his employer. You see, those trade caravans were the only links contemporary Arabs had with their outside world: they brought them the news of what was going on beyond their drought-ridden and Õfamine-stricken desert and sand dunes.

Like Bahiyrah (or Buhayrah), the monk who had met and spoken to Muhammad when Muhammad was a lad, Waraqah ibn Nawfal adhered to the Nestorian Christian sect. He heard the accounts about the personality and conduct of young Muhammad from both his cousin Khadija and her servant Maysarah, an account which caused him to meditate for a good while and think about what he had heard. Raising his head, he said to Khadija, “Such manners are fit only for the messengers of God. Who knows? Maybe this young man is destined to be one of them.’ This statement was confirmed a few years later, and Waraqah was the very first man who recognized Muhammad as the Messenger of Allah immediately after Muhammad received the first revelation at Hira cave.

The trip's measure of success encouraged Khadija to employ Muhammad again on the winter trip to southern Arabia, i.e. Yemen, the land that introduced the coffee beans to the rest of the world, the land where the renown Ma’rib irrigation dam was engineered, the land of Saba’ and the renown Balqees, the Arabian Queen of Sheba (Saba’) of Himyar, who married prophet Solomon (Sulayman the wise, peace be upon him), in 975 B.C. (after the completion of the construction of the famous Solomon's Temple16), the land of natives skilled in gold, silver and other metal handicrafts, not to mention their ingenuity in the textile industry and domestic furniture…, and it may even be the land that gave Arabic its first written script which, as some believe, was modelled after written Amheric, then the official language in Ethiopia and its colonies. Yemen, at that time, was being ruled by an Ethiopian regent. This time Khadija offered Muhammad three times the usual commission. Unfortunately, historians do not tell us much about this second trip except that it was equally profitable to both employer and employee. Some historians do not mention this trip at all.

Khadija was by then convinced that she had finally found a man who was worthy of her, so much so that she initiated the marriage proposal herself. Muhammad sat to detail all the business transactions in which he became involved on her behalf, but the wealthy and beautiful lady of Quraish was thinking more about her distant cousin than about those transactions. She simply fell in love with Muhammad just as the daughter of the Arabian prophet Shu’ayb had fallen in love with then fugitive prophet Moses. Muhammad was of medium stature, inclined to slimness, with a large head, broad shoulders and the rest of his body perfectly proportioned.

His hair and beard were thick and black, not altogether straight but slightly curled. His hair reached midway between the lobes of his ears and shoulders, and his beard was of a length to match. He had a noble breadth of forehead and the ovals of his large eyes were wide, with exceptionally long lashes and extensive brows, slightly arched but not joined. His eyes were said to have been black, but other accounts say that they were brown, or light brown. His nose was aquiline and his mouth was finely shaped. Although he let his beard grow, he never allowed the hair of his moustache to protrude over his upper lip. His skin was white but tanned by the sun. And there was a light on his face, a glow, the same light that had shone from his father, but it was more, much more powerful, and it was especially apparent on his broad forehead and in his eyes which were remarkably luminous.

By the time he was gone, Khadija sought the advice of a friend of hers named Nufaysa daughter of Umayyah. The latter offered to approach him on her behalf and, if possible, arrange a marriage between them. Nufaysa came to Muhammad and asked him why he had not married yet. “I have no means to marry,’ he answered. “But if you were given the means,’ she said, “and if you were bidden to an alliance where there is beauty and wealth and nobility and abundance, would you not then consent?’ “Who is she?!’ he excitedly inquired. “Khadija,’ said Nufaysa. “And how could such a marriage be mine?!’ he asked. “Leave that to me!’ was her answer. “For my part,’ he said, “I am willing.’

Nufaysa returned with these glad tidings to Khadija who then sent word to Muhammad asking him to come to her. When he came, she said to him: son of my uncle! I love you for your kinship with me, and for that you are ever in the center, not being a partisan among the people for this or for that. And I love you for your trustworthiness, and for the beauty of your character and the truth of your speech.

Then she offered herself in marriage to him, and they agreed that he should speak to his uncles and she would speak to her uncle ‘Amr son of Asad, since her father had died. It was Hamzah, despite being relatively young, whom the Hashemites delegated to represent them on this marriage occasion, since he was most closely related to them through the clan of Asad; his sister Safiyya had just married Khadija's brother ‘Awwam.

It was Abu Talib, Muhammad's uncle, who delivered the marriage sermon saying,
All praise is due to Allah Who has made us the progeny of Ibrahim (Abraham), the seed of Isma’eel (Ishmael), the descendants of Ma’ad, the substance of Mudar, and Who made us the custodians of His House and the servants of its sacred precincts, making for us a House sought for pilgrimage and a shrine of security, and He also gave us authority over the people.

This nephew of mine Muhammad cannot be compared with any other man: if you compare his wealth with that of others, you will not find him a man of wealth, for wealth is a vanishing shadow and a fickle thing. Muhammad is a man whose lineage you all know, and he has sought Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid for marriage, offering her such-and-such of the dower of my own wealth.

Nawfal then stood up and said, All praise is due to Allah Who has made us just as you have mentioned and preferred us over those whom you have indicated, for we, indeed, are the masters of Arabs and their leaders, and you all are worthy of this (bond of marriage). The tribe (Quraish) does not deny any of your merits, nor does anyone else dispute your lofty status and prestige. And we, furthermore, wish to be joined to your rope; so, bear witness to my words, O people of Quraish! I have given Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid in marriage to Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah for the dower of four hundred dinars.

Then Nawfal paused, whereupon Abu Talib said to him, “I wished her uncle had joined you (in making a statement).’ Hearing that, Khadija's uncle stood up and said, “Bear witness, O men of Quraish, that I have given Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid in marriage to Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah.’

All this took place in the same year: 595 A.D. These details and more are recorded in Ibn Hisham's Seera. After his marriage, Muhammad moved from his uncle's house to live with his wife. That house stood at the smiths' market, an alley branching out of metropolitan Mecca's long main bazaar, behind the masa, the place where the pilgrims perform the seven circles during the hajj or umra. In that house Fatima was born and the revelation descended upon the Messenger of Allah many times. This house, as well as the one in which the Prophet of Islam was born (which stood approximately 50 meters northwards), were both demolished by the ignorant and fanatical Wahhabi rulers of Saudi Arabia in 1413 A.H./1993 A.D. and turned into public bathrooms… The grave sites of many family members and companions of the Prophet had already been demolished by the same Wahhabis in 1343 A.H./1924 A.D. against the wish and despite the denunciation of the adherents of all other Muslim sects and schools of thought world-wide.

The marriage was a very happy one, and it produced a lady who was one of the four perfect women in all the history of mankind: Fatima daughter of Muhammad. Before her, Qasim and ‘Abdullah were born, but they both died at infancy.

By the time Khadija got married, she was quite a wealthy lady, so wealthy that she felt no need to keep trading and increasing her wealth; instead, she decided to retire and enjoy a comfortable life with her husband who, on his part, preferred an ascetic life to that of money making.

The Messenger of Allah had no desire to accumulate wealth; that was not the purpose for which he, peace and blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny, was created. He was created to be the savior of mankind from the darkness of ignorance, idol worship, polytheism, misery, poverty, injustice, oppression, and immorality. He very much loved to meditate, though his meditation deepened his grief at seeing his society sunk so low in immorality, lawlessness, and the absence of any sort of protection for those who were weak and oppressed. Khadija's period of happiness lasted no more than 15 years after which her husband started his mission to invite people to the Oneness of God, to equality between men and women, and to an end to the evils of the day.

Ali is Born (600 A.D.)

Fatima bint Asad, Abu Talib's wife, raised Muhammad for a number of years. She was pregnant when Muhammad's second son, ‘Abdullah, died. Having seen how Muhammad had lost both his sons Qasim and ‘Abdullah, she felt very sorry for Muhammad. She told him that upon birth, her child, whether male or female, would be his. Fatima bint Asad felt how her unborn baby compelled her to stand up in order to express her respect for Muhammad whenever he came to visit them and never allowed her to turn her face from his as long as he was there.

Ordinarily, it should have been the other way around because Fatima was Muhammad's aunt and senior in age; he, not she, would have been the one to stand up for her… Her offer proved to be a divine decree because when she delivered, the newborn was none other than Ali who was destined to be Muhammad's right hand.

Ali was born in 600 A.D. inside the precincts of the Ka’ba, the holiest of holy places, where no other human being besides him was ever born. Muhammad was then thirty years old. Ali first opened his eyes on the sacred face of Muhammad who lovingly took him in his arms and gave him his first bath. That was a prediction that this same baby would give Muhammad his very last bath, his funeral bath, one's favour reciprocated by the other.

For several days after his birth, Ali accepted no milk but the moisture of Muhammad's tongue which he sucked and whereby he was nourished. Ali felt comfortable in Muhammad's lap and slept often by his side in the same bed, enjoying the warmth of his cousin's body and inhaling the sacred fragrance of his breath. When he grew up, Ali followed Muhammad like his shadow and on many occasions offered his life as a sacrifice for his own.

Reconstruction of The Ka'ba (605 A.D.)

Five years later, that is, in about 605 A.D., when the Prophet was 35 years old, a flood swept Mecca and the building structure of the Ka’ba was badly damaged. Quraish decided to rebuild it. Due to the fact that the Ka’ba did not have a roof, some thieves had clambered over the walls and stolen some of its precious relics which were, however, recovered. It was decided to raise the walls to a greater height (in order to make them inaccessible to thieves) and to cover the Ka’ba with a roof. A Greek ship had been wrecked on the shores of the Red Sea near Shu’ayba, ancient harbor of Mecca. Al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah purchased the timber of the wrecked ship and commissioned its captain, Baqum, who was also a skilled architect, to assist in the reconstruction of the Ka’ba.

When the walls reached a certain height, a dispute arose between various clans as to whom should the honour of placing the Black Stone (al-Hajar al-Aswad) in its place go. This dispute threatened to assume serious proportions. At last, Abu Umayyah, who belonged to Banu Makhzum, and who was brother of the above-mentioned al-Walid, father of the renown military commander Khalid ibn al-Walid, being the oldest, suggested that anyone who happened to enter the sacred precincts of the Ka’ba through the gate of Banu Shaybah should be chosen to arbitrate in the dispute or he himself would place the Black Stone.

As luck would have it, that first person was none but Muhammad. Quraish were pleased with the turn of the events because the Prophet was well-recognized as the Truthful and Trust-worthy.
Muhammad took two steps in order to solve the dispute:

First, he divided the numerous clans comprising Quraish into four bodies. These were: 1) Banu ‘Abd Munaf, including the descendants of Hashim, ‘Abd Shams, and Banu Zuhra; 2) Banu Asad and ‘Abd al-Dar; 3) Banu Makhzum and Banu Taym; and 4) Banu Sahm, ‘Adi and ‘Amr ibn Lu'ay.

Second, he put his own mantle on the ground and put the Black Stone on it, telling the disputing clans to send one representative each to hold the corners of the mantle and to raise it. When the mantle was raised to the required level, he took hold of the Stone and put it in its place. This was a judgement which settled the dispute to the satisfaction of all parties concerned.

At this time, he had occasion to enter into several business partnerships and always acted with great integrity in his dealings with his business partners. ‘Abdullah, son of Abu Hamzah, narrates that he had entered into a transaction with Muhammad. Its details had yet to be finalized when he had suddenly to leave promising that he would return soon. After three days, when he went again to the spot, he found Muhammad waiting for him. Muhammad did not remonstrate with him. He just said that he had been there for all those three days waiting for him. Saib and Qays, who also had business transactions with him, testify to his exemplary dealings. People were very impressed by his uprightness and integrity, by the purity of his life, his unflinching fidelity, and his strict sense of duty.

Arabia's Jahiliyya

It was an age of ignorance (Ayyamul-Jahiliyyah) in which, generally speaking, moral rectitude and the spiritual code had long been forgotten. The tenets of the Divine religion had been replaced by superstitious rites and dogmas.

Only a few Quraishites (the forefathers of the Prophet) and a handful of others remained followers of the religion of Ibrahim, but they were an exception and were not able to exert any influence on others who were deeply submerged in pagan rites and beliefs.

There were those who did not believe in God at all and thought that life was just a natural phenomenon. It is about these people that the Qur'an says:

And they say: There is nothing but our life of this world; we live and die and nothing but time annihilates us.(Qur'an, 45:24)

Some believed in God but not in the Day of Resurrection and reward and punishment. It is against their belief that the Qur'an says:

Say: He will give life to them Who brought them into existence at first.(Qur'an, 36:79)

While a few believed in God as well as in the reward and punishment in the life hereafter, they did not believe in Prophethood. It is about them that the Qur'an has said:

And they say: What sort of prophet is he that eats and goes about in the market?(Qur'an, 25:7)

But, by and large, the Arabs were idolaters. They did not, however, recognize idols as God but only as intermediaries to God. As the Qur'an has pointed out, they said:

We do not worship them save so that they may bring us nearer to Allah.(Qur'an, 39:3)

Some tribes worshipped the sun, others the moon. But the great majority, while indulging in idolatry, believed that there was a Supreme Being, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, Whom they called “Allah.’ The Qur'an says:

And if you ask them: Who has created the heavens and the earth and made the sun and the moon subservient?, they will cry out Allah'. Then whither are they going?! (Qur'an, 29:61)

And when they sail in boats, they sincerely solicit the aid of Allah, but when He brings them safely to the land, behold! They ascribe others (to Him).(Qur'an, 29:65)

Christianity and Judaism, in the hands of their then followers in Arabia, had lost their appeal. As Sir William Muir writes, “Christianity had now and then feebly rippled the surface of Arabia and the sterner influences of Judaism had been occasionally visible in a deeper and more troubled current, but the tide of indigenous idolatry and superstition, setting out from every quarter with an unbroken and unebbing surge towards the Ka’ba, gave ample evidence that the faith and worship of the Ka’ba held the Arab mind in thraldom, vigorous and undisputed. After five centuries of Christian evangelization, it could only claim a sprinkling of disciples among the tribes, and as a converting agent was no longer operative.’

  • 1. Minaeans are Arabs of Ma`in who ruled parts of southern Arabia, which now includes both Yemen and South Arabia, from 1200 - 650 B.C. Recent excavations have revealed inscriptions of their language that date back to about the 8th century before Christ. They are also said to be Yemen's first settlers.
  • 2. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 15, p. 145.
  • 3. al-Majlisi's full name is Muhammed Baqir ibn Muhammed Taqi al-Majlisi. He was born in 1037 A.H./1628 A.D. and died in Isfahan, Iran, in 1111 A.H./1699 A.D. He is the greatest writer in the 11th Hijri century, author of 25 titles in Arabic and 53 in Persian, his mother tongue. Many of these titles are in several volumes each. For example, one edition of Bihar al-Anwar, one of the references of this book, runs in 111 volumes. His proficiency and prolific pen are truly baffling, unsurpassed.
  • 4. Pahlavi was the Persian language of the Zoroastrian literature from the 3rd to the 10th centuries. It is derived from the Aramaic alphabet. Aramaic, by the way, was the mother tongue of Jesus Christ (a.s). Aramaic is still poken in a Syrian town till this day.
  • 5. Nestorians are Christians of Asia Minor and Syria who refused to accept the condemnations of Nestorius and his teachings by the councils of Ephesus (an ancient Ionian Greek city in today's Turkey, site of the ancient temple of Artemis, or Diana) of 431 A.D. and Chalcedon (modern day Kadikoy, ancient maritime town of Bithynia opposite Istanbul, Turkey) of 451 A.D. Most of present day's Nestorians live in Iraq, Syria and Iran. Nestorius, founder of this sect, had been anathematized at Ephesus (in 431 A.D.) for denouncing the use of the title Theotokos (“God-bearer”) for Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, insisting that this compromised the reality of Christ as a human being. Those who refused to accept Nestorius' condemnation formed a center of resistance at the renowned theological school of Edessa (chief city of Greek Macedonia on a steep valley of the Loudhias Potamos River). When the school was closed by imperial order in 489 A.D., a small yet vigorous Nestorian remnant migrated to Persia. Nestorius was born in late 4th century A.D. and died in modern day Maras, Turkey, in 451 A.D. He was once banished to the Libyan Desert where he was confined from 436 - 437 A.D.
  • 6. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 15, p. 201.
  • 7. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 15, pp. 201-202. This text also exists on p. 111 of Kamal al-Deen wa Itmam al-Ni`ma.
  • 8. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 15, p. 180.
  • 9. Ibid., pp. 180-181. Also see Faraj al-Mahmoom, p. 29.
  • 10. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 15, p. 181. This text also exists in Vol. 2, p. 9 of Al-Khisal.
  • 11. One of the offspring of Prophet Muhammed, “Abu Muhammed”, Imam Hasan al-`Askari, was the son of Imam Ali al-Naqi and father of the Awaited Imam, the Mehdi, peace and blessings of the Almighty be upon all of them. He was born in Medina on Rabi`` II 10, 232 A.H./December 4, 846 A.D. and was martyred in Samarra, Iraq, on Rabi`` I 8, 260 A.H./January 1, 874 A.D. poisoned by the `Abbaside ruler al-Mu`tamid. If the reader wishes to learn more about him and about the other Infallible Fourteen, I strongly recommend the book titled Biographies of Leaders of Islam by his eminence Sayyid Ali Naqi Naqwi which I edited. It is available from Imam Hussain Foundation, P.O. Box 25-114, Beirut, Lebanon.
  • 12. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 17, pp. 307-311. The pages following these ones narrate numerous other miracles of the Prophet.
  • 13. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 15, pp. 193-198.
  • 14. Actually, Ali was born in 600 A.D., five years later.
  • 15. Ibid., pp. 202-204.
  • 16. This temple was built by Solomon (Prophet Sulayman) to express his gratitude for what the Almighty had granted him. Solomon had in advance obtained his Lord's permission to erect it. A glimpse of its grandeur is described in the Holy Qur'an in 27:44: “It was said to her (to Balqees, the Queen of Sheba): Enter the palace; but when she saw it, she deemed it to be a great expanse of water,” that is, its marble floors shone like glass, reflecting her image as water does. This temple was later ordered by Solomon to be demolished in its entirety, and the claim of the Jews that the al-Aqsa mosque is built on its very foundations is false. The Jews plot to demolish the al-Aqsa mosque in order to rebuild Solomon's Temple. The Jews intend to do so at the right time, when they realize that the Muslims of the world, because of the weakness and hypocrisy of most of their rulers, are too weak to stand between them and the achievement of their most vile goals, and when the “Christian” West will be ready, more so than now, to help them achieve their objectives. The West has been supporting the Jews against the Muslims, and there will never be any reversal to this trend… We are Allah's, and to Him shall we return…

The Call to Islam

Muhammad Receives Revelation (610 A.D.)

Muhammad was forty years old when the first verses of the Holy Qur'an were revealed to him. They were the first verses of Surat al-Alaq (chapter 96), and they were revealed during the month of Ramadan 13 years before the Hijra, at the cave of Hira, his favourite place for isolation and meditation, a place which is now visited by many pilgrims. Muhammad went back home heavy-hearted, profoundly perplexed, deeply impressed by the sight of arch-angel Gabriel and by the depth of meaning implied in these beautiful words:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Proclaim (or read)! In the Name of your Lord and Cherisher Who created (everything). (He) created man of a (mere) clot of congealed blood. Proclaim! And your Lord is the Most Bountiful Who taught (the use of) the pen, Who taught man that which he knew not… (Qur'an, 96:1-5)

He felt feverish, so he asked to be wrapped and, once he felt better, he narrated what he had seen and heard to his faithful and supportive wife. “By Allah,’ Khadija said, “Allah shall never subject you to any indignity…, for you always maintain your ties with those of your kin, and you are always generous in giving; you are diligent, and you seek what others regard as unattainable; you cool the eyes of your guest, and you lend your support to those who seek justice and redress.

Stay firm, O cousin, for by Allah I know that He will not deal with you except most beautifully, and I testify that you are the awaited Prophet in this nation, and your time, if Allah wills, has come.’ After a short while, Khadija told her husband about the prediction of the Syrian monk Buhayrah regarding Muhammad's Prophethood, and about her dialogue with both her servant Maysarah, who had informed her of what Buhayrah had said, and with her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal. She then accompanied her husband to Waraqah's house to narrate the whole incident. “Let me hear it in your own words,’

Nawfal said to Muhammad, adding, “O noble master!’ Having heard the Prophet's words, Nawfal took his time to select his words very carefully; he said, “By Allah, this is the prediction which had been conveyed to Moses and with which the Children of Israel are familiar! [Moses] had said: ‘O how I wish I could be present when Muhammad is delegated with Prophethood to support his mission and to assist him!'‘

It was only natural for Khadija to receive her share of the harassment meted to him by none other than those who, not long ago, used to call him al-Sadiq, al-Amin. Khadija did not hesitate at all to embrace Islam.

Yahya ibn ‘Afeef is quoted saying that he once came, during the period of jahiliyya (before the advent of Islam), to Mecca to be hosted by al-’Abbas ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib, one of the Prophet's uncles mentioned above. “When the sun started rising,’ says he, “I saw a man who came out of a place not far from us, faced the Ka’ba and started performing his prayers. He hardly started before being joined by a young boy who stood on his right side, then by a woman who stood behind them. When he bowed down, the young boy and the woman bowed, and when he stood up straight, they, too, did likewise.

When he prostrated, they, too, prostrated.’ Then he expressed his amazement at that, saying to al-’Abbas: “This is quite strange, O ‘Abbas!’ “Is it, really?’ retorted al-’Abbas. “Do you know who he is?’ al-’Abbas asked his guest who answered in the negative. “He is Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah, my nephew. Do you know who the young boy is?’ asked he again. “No, indeed,’ answered the guest. “He is Ali son of Abu Talib. Do you know who the woman is?’ The answer came again in the negative, to which al-’Abbas said, “She is Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid, my nephew's wife.’

This incident is included in the books of both Imam Ahmad and al-Tirmithi, each detailing it in his own Sahih. And she bore patiently in the face of persecution to which her revered husband and his small band of believers were exposed at the hands of the polytheists and aristocrats of Quraish, sacrificing her vast wealth to promote Islam, seeking Allah's Pleasure.

Among Khadija's merits was her being one of the four most perfect of all women of mankind, the other three being: Fatima daughter of Muhammad, Maryam bint ‘Omran (Mary daughter of Amram), mother of Christ and niece of prophet Zakariyya, and ‘Asiya daughter of Muzahim, wife of Pharaoh. Prophet Zakariyya, as the reader knows, was the father of Yahya (John the Baptist), the latter being only a few months older than Prophet Jesus.

The Prophet of Islam used to talk about Khadija quite often after her demise, so much so that his youngest wife, ‘Ayisha daughter of Abu Bakr, felt extremely jealous and said to him once, ‘… But she was only an old woman with red eyes, and Allah has compensated you with a better and younger wife (meaning herself).’

This caused him to be very annoyed, and he said, “No, indeed; He has not compensated me with anyone better than her. She believed in me when all others disbelieved; she held me truthful when others called me a liar; she sheltered me when others abandoned me; she comforted me when others shunned me; and Allah granted me children by her while depriving me of children by other women.’ Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Abu Hatim, al-Dulabi, al-Tabari, and many others, all quote ‘Ayisha saying: “One day, the Messenger of Allah mentioned Khadija affectionately, so I was carried away by jealousy and said about her what I should not have said.

It was then that his face changed colour in a way I never saw it change except when he was receiving revelation, so I realized what I had done and felt overwhelmed by regret to the extent that I could not help uttering these words: “O Lord! If You remove the anger of Your Messenger right now, I pledge not to ever speak ill of her as long as I live.' Having seen that, he forgave me and narrated to me some of her merits.’

Both Muslim and Bukhari indicate in their respective Sahih books that among Khadija's merits was the fact that the Lord of Dignity ordered Jibraeel (Gabriel), peace be upon him, to convey His regards to her. Gabriel said to Muhammad: “O Muhammad! Khadija is bringing you a bowl of food; when she comes to you, tell her that her Lord greets her, and convey my greeting, too, to her.’ When he did so, she said: “Allah is the Peace, and He is the source of all peace, and upon Gabriel be peace.’

Khadija died of an attack of fever on the tenth or eleventh day of the month of Ramadan, ten years after the start of the Prophetic mission (in the year 620 A.D.), 24 years after her marriage with Muhammad, and she was buried at Hajun in the outskirts of Mecca. The Messenger of Allah dug her grave and buried her… Funeral prayers (salat al janaza) had not yet been mandated in Islam. It is reported that by the time she died, her entire wealth had already been spent to promote Islam; she left neither a single gold dinar nor a single silver dirham, nor anything more or less…

soul that are at rest! Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with Him), well-pleasing (Him), so enter among My servants, and enter into My garden.(Qur'an, 89:27-30)

The Dawn of Prophethood

It was a man from among themselves who was to lift the Arabs from their slough of ignorance and depravity into the light of faith: devotion to one God.

Because of its geographical position and connection by land and sea routes with the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe, Arabia had been powerfully influenced by the superstitious beliefs and evil ways prevailing in many parts of these continents. But once it forsook disbelief and unbecoming practices, it could, as a result of the same geographical position, easily become the center of enlightenment, radiating guidance and knowledge to the entire world.

When Muhammad was 38 years old, he spent most of his time in meditation and solitude. The cave of Hira, which overlooks the Ka’ba from a distance of about three miles north of Mecca, was his favourite place. It is there that he used to retire with food and water and spend days and weeks in remembrance of Allah. Nobody was allowed to go there except Khadija and Ali. He used to spend the whole month of Ramadan therein.

The period of waiting had come to a close. His forty years of life had varied experiences, and from the world's point of view, he had developed a maturity of mind and judgement, although in reality he was the embodiment of perfection from the very beginning. He has said: “I was a prophet when Adam was between water and clay.’ His heart was overflowing with profound compassion for mankind and a pressing urge to eradicate wrong beliefs, social evils, cruelty and injustice.

It was during the month of Ramadan of the year of the elephant (610 A.D.), 13 years before the Hijra, that revelation descended on Muhammad for the first time. This event will always be immortalized in the history of the human species. It changed the history of mankind for all time to come. Nobody has ever influenced the events on our planet more than Muhammad. Nobody ever will.

The flow of the Divine message which continued for the next twenty-three years had begun with that date, and the Prophet had arisen to proclaim the Unity of God and the unity of mankind, of the human family, to demolish the edifice of superstition, ignorance, and disbelief, to set up a noble concept of life, and to lead mankind to the light of faith and celestial bliss. Revelation was received in different ways: sometimes the Almighty inspired him to do something or say something, sometimes through visions, sometimes Gabriel came to him in human form and sometimes in his angelic appearance…

Inception of The Mission (610 A.D.)

The task was stupendous. The Prophet, therefore, started his mission cautiously, confining it initially to his own close relatives and friends. He was met with immediate success. His wife Khadija testified to his truth as soon as she heard the news of the revelation from God. Then his cousin Ali, and his liberated slave and adopted son Zayd ibn Harithah, readily accepted the new faith, Islam, “submission to the Will of God.’ The fourth was Abu Bakr, and his conversion's story is excerpted here from Al-Seera al-Halabiyya, Usd al-Ghaba, and Tarikh al-Chamois:

Abu Bakr ibn Abu Quhafah was thirty-eight years old when he made a trip to Yemen where he met an old and learned sage of the Azd tribe who predicted that a prophet was to appear in the near future in Mecca. Upon his return from the trip, he paid a visit to his friend Muhammad who invited him to accept his religion, Islam, declaring himself the Prophet. Abu Bakr asked Muhammad to prove his Prophethood, and Muhammad at once related to Abu Bakr the prediction which Abu Bakr had heard when he was in Yemen. Muhammad was not there to witness the incident which involved only Abu Bakr and the sage of the Azd tribe. He was at Mecca during the entire period while Abu Bakr was in Yemen. Abu Bakr accepted Islam.

Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani in his book Al-Isabah, and ‘Abdul Malik ibn Hisham in his book As-Sifah have written that Ali was the first male to accept Islam and pray (offer salat), and that he accepted whatever was revealed to the Messenger by the Lord. At that time, Ali was only ten years old and Muhammad forty. After Ali, Zayd ibn Harithah accepted the Islamic creed and prayed and then Abu Bakr embraced Islam as stated above. The companions of the Prophet, Muhammad ibn Ka’b al-Qarzi, Salman the Persian, Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad al-Kind, Khabbab ibn ‘Arrat, Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri and Zayd ibn al-Arqam testify that Ali was the first to proclaim Islam. These celebrated companions have given Ali preference over others.

Justice Ameer Ali writes the following in his Spirit of Islam:
It is a noble feature in the history of the Prophet of Arabia, and one which strongly attests the sincerity of his character, the purity of his teachings and the intensity of his faith in God, that his nearest relations, his wife, beloved cousin and intimate friends, were most thoroughly imbued with the truth of his mission and convinced of his inspiration. Those who knew him best, closest relations and dearest friends, people who lived with him and noted all his movements, were his sincere and most devoted followers.’

John Davenport writes the following:
It is strongly corroborative of Muhammad's sincerity that the earliest converts to Islam were his bosom friends and the people of his household, who, all intimately acquainted with his private life, could not fail to have detected those discrepancies which more or less invariably exist between the pretensions of the hypocritical deceiver and his actions at home.

Slowly the message spread. During the first three years, he gained only thirty followers. In spite of the caution and care exercised, Quraish were well posted with what was going on. At first they did not make much note and only jeered at the Prophet and the plight of his followers. They doubted his sanity and thought he was possessed. But the time had come for proclaiming the will of God in public.

Inviting The Near Ones (613 A.D.)

After three years, the call from Allah came thus: “And warn thy near relations’ (Qur'an, 26:214). This ayat (verse) ended the period of secret preaching and heralded the open proclamation of Islam.

“Abu Muhammad’ Husain al-Baghawi, in his Tafsir MaAlim al-Tensile, Shaikh ‘Ala'uddin Ali ibn Muhammad al-Baghdadi, known as Khazin al-Baghdadi, in his Lubabut-Ta'wil, best known as Tafsir Khazin, Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Husain al-Bayhaqi (in his Dalailun-Nubuwwah), Jalaluddin al-Sayyuti (in his Jamul Jawami), ‘Ala'uddin Ali Muttaqi (in Kanzul-Ommal), Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (in Tarikh al-Rusul wal Muluk), Abu Sa’dat Mubarak ibn Athir al-Jazari (in Tarikhul-Kamil) and Isma’il Abul-Fida' (in his history work Kitabul-Mukhtasar fi Akhbaril-Bashar) have quoted Ali as saying:

“When the verse Wa anthir ashiratakal-aqrabin was revealed, the noble Messenger called me and ordered me, ‘O Ali! The Creator of the world has commanded me to warn my people about their doom, but in view of the condition of the people and knowing that when I give them the words of Allah, they will misbehave, I felt depressed and weakened and, therefore, I kept quiet until Gabriel came again and informed me that there should be no more delay. Therefore, O Ali, take a measure of food grain, a leg of a goat and a big bowl of milk and arrange for a feast, then call the sons of ‘Abdul-Muttalib unto me, so that I may deliver to them the words of Allah.' I did what the Prophet had told me and the sons of ‘Abdul-Muttalib, who numbered about forty, assembled together. Among them were the uncles of the Prophet: Abu Talib, Hamzah, ‘Abbas and Abu Lahab.

When the food was brought, the Prophet lifted a piece of meat and tore it into small pieces which he scattered on the tray and said, ‘Start eating in the Name of Allah.' All people present there had the food to their fill although the milk and the food were just sufficient for one man. Then he intended to speak to them, but Abu Lahab interferred and said, “Verily, your comrade has bewitched you!'‘ Having heard this, all of them dispersed and the Messenger did not get a chance to speak to them.

“On the next day, the Messenger of the Lord again said to me: ‘O Ali! Make arrangements again for a feast as you had done yesterday, and invite the sons of ‘Abdul-Muttalib.' I arranged for the feast and gathered the guests as I was asked to do by the Prophet. Once they had finished eating, the Messenger addressed them thus: ‘O sons of ‘Abdul- Muttalib, I have brought you the best blessings of this world and of the next, and I am appointed by the Lord to call you unto Him. Therefore, who amongst you will help me in this cause so that he may be my brother, vizier, and successor?'

Nobody responded. But I, although the youngest of the congregation, said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I am here to be your helper in this task.' The Prophet then patted my neck very kindly and said, ‘O my people! This Ali is my brother, my vizier and my successor amongst you. Listen to him and obey him.' Having heard it from the Prophet, they all burst laughing and said to Abu Talib, ‘Hearken! You are ordered to obey and follow your own son!'‘

This event has also been recorded by Thomas Carlyle in Heroes and Hero Worship, by Gibbon in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Davenport in Apology for Muhammad and The Koran and by Washington Irving in Muhammad And His Successors, with all its details.

Persecution Begins

Then one after another came the Divine commands:

Disclose what has been ordained to thee. (Qur'an, 15:94)

thou wrapped (in thy mantle)! Arise and warn, and thy Lord do magnify. And thy raiment do purify. And uncleanness do shun. And show not favour seeking gain! And for the sake of thy Lord be patient. (Qur'an, 74:1-7)

The method to be employed was:

Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and dispute with them in the best way. (Qur'an, 16:125)

The Prophet proclaimed the Oneness of God in the Ka’ba. Quraish were aghast. Their reaction was sharp and violent. They mobbed the Prophet. Al-Harith son of Abu Halah tried to protect him but was slashed to death. It was the first martyrdom in the cause of Islam. Till then, Quraish had held the Prophet and his followers in contemptuous disdain, but now they were genuinely alarmed. The new movement amounted to a denunciation of their forefathers. It meant the termination of their authority and privilege as the guardians of the Ka’ba.

Quraish retaliated violently. A life and death struggle for Islam ensued. The Prophet was not allowed to worship in the Ka’ba, thorns were strewn in his way, dirt and filth were thrown at him while he was engaged in prayers, and street urchins were incited to follow him, shouting and clapping their hands in derision. When he prayed, they made loud cries, hooted or sang wild songs in order to drown his voice.

To their great disappointment, they could not prevent him or discourage him. Such is the mark of great men. Such are men of God; nobody and nothing stands in their way. He and his followers were subjected to all types of calumnies and humiliation. His followers were taunted and insulted. Oppression and relentless persecution were let loose. In an effort to force the believers to renounce the new faith and to go back to the older cults, they were subjected to extremes of physical torture. They were mercilessly beaten, made to lie on burning sand while heavy blocks of stones were placed on their chests. Nooses were put around their necks and their bodies were dragged.

One of the faithful, named Yasir1, succumbed to toture and, when his wife Sumayya, an African, protested, her legs were tied to two camels, and the animals were driven to opposite directions, tearing her body in halves. The believers, under the inspiration of their great Teacher, were, however, fired with holy zeal. They braved all persecution and danger and bore up against all agonies and torture.

Two Hijras To Abyssinia (615 A.D.)

In around 615 A.D., when endurance was reaching its limits and persecution became unbearable, the Prophet advised a group of his followers to migrate to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) where a benign Christian king reigned. This was the first hijra (migration) in Islam and fifteen people, eleven men and four women, including ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan and his wife Ruqayya, took part in it:

And those who become fugitives for Allah's sake being oppressed, verily We shall give them good abode in the world and surely the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if they only knew. (Qur'an, 16:41)

What was all this tyranny and persecution for? They were just for believing in one God and for leading a chaste and pious life! Further migration of some people led to intensified persecution of those left behind. The Prophet advised a second Hijra to Abyssinia. Thirty men and eighteen women left Mecca individually or in small groups fleeing to Abyssinia. Ja’far ibn Abu Talib, the elder brother of Ali, followed them with fifty more; thus, one hundred and sixteen refugees reached Abyssinia safely. Quraish sent a deputation headed by ‘Amr ibn al-’As and ‘Ammara ibn Rabi’ah to the Negus (Nijashi), king, of Abyssinia, to demand the deportation of the emigrants back to Mecca to be punished by death. Having won the favour of the clergy, the deputations tried to prejudice the king against the fugitives. Asked to explain the position of the Muslims, Ja’far delivered a speech which is a brilliant summary of the fundamentals of Islam and all that it stands for:

king! We were plunged into the depth of ignorance and barbarism; we adored idols; we lived in unchastity; we ate dead animals, and we spoke abomination. We disregarded every feeling of humanity, and the duties of hospitality and neighbourhood. We knew no law but that of the strong. At that time, God raised from among us a man of whose birth, truthfulness, honesty and purity we were aware, and he called us to the Unity of God and taught us not to associate anything with Him.

He forbade us from worshipping idols and enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful, and to regard the rights of neighbours. He forbade us from speaking ill of women and from eating the subsistence of orphans. He ordered us to flee from vices, to abstain from evil, to offer prayers, to render alms, and to observe the fast. We have believed in him; we have accepted his teachings and injunctions to worship God, and not to associate anything with Him. For this reason, our people have risen against us and persecuted us in order to make us forego the worship of God and return to the worship of idols of wood and stone and other abominations. They have tortured us and injured us. Having found no safety among them, we have come to thy country and hope thou wilt protect us from their oppression.

The king refused to oblige the deputations, and the latter had to return disappointed. Muslim traditions indicate that the king later on secretly converted to Islam.

Some European critics, with the objective of assigning some ulterior motives for the migration, go to the length of saying that persecution was only slight and at worst confined to slaves and the poorer people who could find no clans to protect them. There is a mass of historical data recorded in original sources about the names and numbers of persons put to physical torture, the names of their tormentors and the manner of their physical torture and persecution. Although these critics admit that even Abu Bakr had to undergo the indignity of being bound to a clansman and to solicit the protection of a nomadic chief, they would still suggest that the persecution was limited to persons who had no clans to support them. Such people received, no doubt, the worst treatment, but when people of a clan were oppressing their fellow clansmen for accepting Islam, clan protection could not help the victims.

What protection could be expected from the clan when a father chained his son, a brother tortured his sister, or a husband injured his wife? Furthermore, the slaves and the poor people constituted the bulk of the disciples at that stage. A Western historian surmises that the migration was caused either by a rift in the Muslim ranks, as some Muslims might not have liked the attitude of the Prophet towards the Meccan opposition, or was undertaken with the goal of making Abyssinia a base of attacking Meccan trade or to solicit military help to enable the Prophet to seize control of Mecca.

If such fantastic conjectures can be made when the Muslims were yet a handful and survival was the only consideration before them, when all along they stood solidly behind the Prophet, when no Meccan caravan was ever attacked from Abyssinia, when that country never provided any military help to the Muslims, and when the Prophet did not seize control of Mecca even when it lay at his feet, what fairness in exposition and presentation can be expected from such historians?

Prophet ar Al-Arqam's House

Following the migration of such a number of his loyal followers, the Prophet realized how precarious his position in Mecca had become. Having felt insulted at the mere fact that their deputation to the Negus had failed in its mission, Quraish now is even more than ever bent on avenging their wounded pride. They intensified their persistence in opposing his preachings. The Prophet, therefore, after years of his struggle to disseminate the Islamic faith, sought refuge at the house of al-Arqam al-Makhzumi, a highly respected Meccan dignitary. The house was near the sanctuary of the Ka’ba.

One day, Muhammad was sitting outside the house as Abu Jahl happened to pass by. Abu Jahl blasted his nephew with a barrage of abusive language. Muhammad felt it very sorely but could not utter a single word. A slave gird of ‘Abdullah ibn Ju’dan, who lived nearby, was very much moved by such uncalled for insults. A short while later, she narrated the incident to Hamzah, Muhammad's other uncle, who was passing by her house on his way home from a sporting excursion. Hamzah was famous among the Arabs for his great valour and chivalry, and he felt deeply resentful of Abu Jahl's behaviour; so, he proceeded straight to Abu Jahl's house.

Remonstrating with him, Hamzah hit him with his bow, striking a blow on his head. Abu Jahl's men stood up to avenge Abu Jahl who stopped them. Trying to pacify Hamzah, Abu Jahl told him that he had abused Muhammad only because he vilified their gods. Hamzah, thereupon, boldly declared that he, too, despised the stony gods and challenged Abu Jahl to do anything at all about it. Hamzah loudly recited the Islamic declaration of faith: “There is no god but the One and only God, and Muhammad is the prophet and messenger of God,’ thus publicly announcing his acceptance of the Islamic creed. Ever since then, Hamzah proved to be a staunch follower of Islam till the last moment of his life. When he was martyred at Uhud, which will be discussed later, he was given the title of sayyid al-shuhada, “Master of the Martyrs,’ a title which remained his till the martyrdom of Muhammad's younger grandson Husain…

Hamzah's conversion was surely a great victory for the Prophet in particular and for the small band of Muslim believers in general especially at that very juncture when they so badly needed a valiant supporter to defend them and to rally their cause. Following the conversion of Hamzah, the Prophet, accompanied by some of his followers, ventured twice to offer his prayers at the Ka’ba publicly. There was also no need any longer (at least for the time being) to conduct secret meetings at the house of al-Arqam.

Attempts to Kill Muhammad (615 A.D.)

Now we have reached the sixth year after the Declaration of Prophethood (615/616 A.D.). In spite of the persecution and exodus of some people, the Prophet was laboring quietly but incessantly to wean his people from the worship of idols.

Once, on the suggestion of Abu Bakr, the Prophet came into Al-Masjid al-Haram and Abu Bakr started a lecture. Quraish violently stopped him and the Prophet had to once more take refuge in the house of al-Arqam near the hill of Safa. (Now, that house has been included into the extension of al-Masjid al-Haram where the Ka’ba, the Muslims' qibla, is housed).’Omar ibn al-Khattab accepted Islam in those days. How did ’Omar accept Islam?

Abu Jahl set a reward for one hundred camels or one thousand ounces of gold for anyone who brought him the head of his nephew Muhammad. Abu Jahl was the maternal uncle of ’Omar ibn al-Khattab who aspired to win this coveted prize. He was 33 years old. Armed by his sword, he went to the house of al-Arqam where Muhammad and the Muslims used to meet. On his way, he met Sa’d ibn Abul-Waqqas to whom he confided that he intended to kill Muhammad, not knowing that Sa’d had already accepted Islam!

Sa’d first warned ’Omar against committing such a crime, reminding him that he would do better taking care of his sister and her husband who had both embraced Islam. ’Omar now decided to go after his sister and brother-in-law instead of pursuing his attempt to kill Muhammad. Having reached his sister's house, he over-heard a recitation of the Holy Qur'an by Khabbab ibn ‘Arrat who was then teaching the Holy Qur'an to Amina, ‘’Omar's sister, and to Sa’eed ibn Zayd, her husband. ‘’Omar abruptly entered the house and proceeded directly to Sa’eed with whom he wrestled, throwing him down on his back and sitting on his chest with the intention to kill him. It was then that Amina interceded and was slapped so hard that she bled, yet she, in a fit of anger, cried out, “O son of al-Khattab! Do what you sought to do, for verily I (too) have changed my faith!’ She admitted that both she and her husband were adherents to the Islamic faith.

Feeling ashamed of having driven his sister to such impudence, ‘’Omar stood aside and asked her to recite to him what she was learning. She rectied the first 14 verses of Surat Taha (Chapter 20) with such solemnity that the very core of ‘’Omar's heart was moved. Here are those verses:

In the Name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful
Ta Seen Meem. These are the verses of the Book that makes (things) clear. We recite to you from the account of Moses and Pharaoh with the truth for people who believe. Surely Pharaoh exalted himself in the land and made its people into parties, weakening one party from among them; he slaughtered their sons and let their women live; surely he was one of the mischief-makers. And We desired to bestow a favour upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams, and to make them the heirs, and to grant them power in the land, and to make Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts see from them what they feared. And We inspired to the mother of Moses saying: Nurse him, then when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear, nor should you grieve; surely We will bring him back to you and make him one of the Messengers. And Pharaoh's family took him up so that he might be an enemy and a (source of) grief for them; surely Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts were wrongdoers. And Pharaoh's wife said: A refreshment of the eye to me and to you! Do not slay him; maybe he will be useful to us, or we may take him for a son, and they did not perceive. And the heart of the mother of Moses was free (from anxiety); she would have almost disclosed it had We not strengthened her heart so that she might be of the believers.(Quran, 20:1-10)

‘’Omar was quite amazed at the excellence and beauty of the language which had such a supernatural effect on him, one which he could no longer resist. Finally, he asked both of them to take him and introduce him to Muhammad. Khabbab ibn ‘Arrat, the teacher who had hidden upon seeing ’Omar approaching, now came out. The whole group went to al-Arqam's house.

‘Omar met Hamzah at the door. ’Omar was brough into the presence of the Prophet. ‘’Omar was so over-awed that he could not help shuddering as he stood before the Prophet. The kind and gentle Prophet caught ‘’Omar by the hand and said to him, “Will you not cease, O ‘’Omar, till God sends upon you a calamity and a chastisement such as the one He sent upon al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah?!’ He invited ‘’Omar to accept Islam, which he did. ‘’Omar's conversion to Islam took place only three days after Hamzah had embraced the Islamic creed; six years had passed since the inception of the Prophet's historic mission.

Al-Walid Ibn Al-Mughirah

What calamity was the Prophet referring to above and what chastisement?
Al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah, father of the famous Khalid ibn al-Walid, was a man of experience and cunning, a senior among Arab seniors of his time, a man of great wealth according to the testimony of the Holy Qur'an as we read in Surat al-Muddaththir (Chapter 74 of the Holy Qur'an). All the clans of Quraish used to collectively share the expense of the covering sheet of the Ka’ba one year, and in the next year, al-Walid would pay the entire expense all by himself. In Mecca alone, he had ten sons and ten slaves, and each one of his slaves used to trade in a merchandise valued at one thousand dinars, each dinar weiging one qintar, talent, of gold (equivalent to four thousand dinars).

He used to always ridicule Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet used quite often to recite the Holy Qur'an (and sometimes he would ask others to recite it in his presence). The Quraishis assembled at the house of al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah and said to him, “O ‘Abd al-Shams! What is this that Muhammad is saying? Is it poetry, sorcery, or oratory?!’ “Let me hear it myself,’ said he, going close to where Muhammad was as he recited the Qur'an. “O Muhammad!’ said al-Walid, “Recite to me some of your poetry.’ The Prophet said, “It is not poetry; it is the speech of Allah with which He blessed His angels and prophets.’ “Recite some of it for me,’ said al-Walid. The Messenger of Allah recited these verses of Surat Ha-Meem al-Sajda (Chapter 41 of the Holy Qur'an):

In the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Ha Meem. (This is) a revelation from the most Beneficent, the most Merciful, God: a Book of which the verses are made plain, an Arabic Qur'an for a people who know: a herald of glad tidings and a warner, but most of them turn aside, so they hear not. And they say: Our hearts are under coverings from that to which you call us, and there is a heaviness in our ears, and a veil hangs between us and you, so do (whatever you please), we, too, are doing (whatever pleases us). Say: I am only a mortal like you; it is revealed to me that your God is one God; therefore, follow the right way to Him and ask His forgiveness, and woe unto the polytheists, those who do not give zakat, and they do not believe in the hereafter. (As for) those who believe and do good deeds, they shall surely have a reward never to be curtailed. Say: What?! Do you indeed disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two periods, and do you set up equals with Him?! That is the Lord of the Worlds. And He made in it mountains above its surface, and He blessed therein and made therein its foods, in four perioods, alike for the seekers. Then He directed Himself (His attention) to the heavens and it is a vapor, so He said to it and to the earth: Come both willingly or unwillingly. They both said: We come willingly. So He ordained them seven heavens in two periods, and revealed in every heavens its affairs, and We adorned the lower heavens with brilliant stars and (made it) to guard; that is the decree of the Mighty, the Knowing. But if they turn aside, then say: I have warned you of a scourge like the scourge of (the people of) Ad and (the people of) Thamud. (Qur'an, 41:1-13)

When the Prophet finished reciting the last verse quoted above, al-Walid shuddered and his hair stood up. He went home without giving Quraish an answer.
Quraish, therefore, went to Abu Jahl and said, “O Abu al-Hakam! ‘Abd al-Shams is inclined towards Muhammad's creed; have you seen how he did not come to us with a follow-up?’ Abu Jahl went to him and said, “O uncle! You have caused our heads to stoop down in humiliation and have exposed us and made our enemies happy on our account by you inclining towards Muhammad's creed.’ Al-Walid said, “I have not inclined to his creed, but I heard something he said which is quite weighty, a speech because of which the skins shudder.’ “Is it an address that he delivered?’ asked Abu Jahl.

Al-Walid said, “No, it is not, for an address is a continuous speech, and this is prose some parts of which are not similar to others.’ “Is it poetry?’ asked Abu Jahl. “No,’ al-Walid answered, “for I have heard all types of the Arabs' poetry; it is not poetry.’ “Then what is it?’ asked Abu Jahl. “Let me think about it,’ answered al-Walid. On the next day, he was asked again, “O ‘Abd al-Shams! What do you say about our query?’ He said, “Tell people that it is sorcery, for this will affect people's hearts better.’ It is then that the Almighty revealed the following verses to express His Wrath at what al-Walid had attributed to Him and to His Prophet:

Leave Me and him whom I created alone and gave 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 opposes Our Signs. I will make a distressing punishment overtake him. Surely he reflected and guessed, but may he be cursed how he guessed! Again, may he be cursed how he guessed! Then he looked, then he frowned and scowled, then he turned back and was big with pride, then he said: This is naught but sorcery narrated (from others); this is naught but the word of a mortal. I will cast him into hell. And what will make you realize what hell is? It leaves naught, nor does it spare aught. It scorches the mortal. Over it are nineteen (keepers).(Qur'an, 74:11-30)

Muhammad Frustrates Quraish

Yet because of the prestige of Abu Talib, Quraish did not dare to kill the Prophet. But they were making him suffer as much affliction as possible. No less was the heartache caused to him by the sufferings of the helpless Muslims. He himself said: “No prophet was ever made to suffer such afflictions as I was.’

All along, Islam was gaining adherents not only from Quraish but also from the neighbouring tribes. The oligarchy of Mecca was now desperately trying to stem the movement.
The forbearance of the Prophet was making Quraish wonder as to why a man should put himself in such a precarious situation. Their outlook was materialistic, their ideals were: wealth, beauty and power. They, naturally, ascribed the same motives to the Prophet.

‘Otbah ibn Rabi’ah, father-in-law of Abu Sufyan, was sent to him to convey the message of Quraish: “Muhammad! If you want power and prestige, we will make you the overlord of Mecca. Or do you want marriage in a big family? You may have the hand of the fairest maiden in the land. Do you want hoards of silver and gold? We can provide you with all these and even more. But you should forsake your nefarious preaching which implies that our forefathers, who were worshipping these deities of ours, were fools.’

Quraish were almost certain that Muhammad would respond favourably to this offer. But the Prophet recited Sura 41 in reply which, inter alia, contained the following warning:

“But if they turn away, then say: I have warned you of a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt of the people of Ad and of the Thamud’ (Qur'an, 41:13).

‘Otbah was overwhelmed with this ringing warning. He did not accept Islam (till death overtook him) but advised Quraish to leave Muhammad alone and to see how he would fare with other tribes. Quraish said that he, too, was bewitched by Muhammad.

Then a deputation was sent to Abu Talib. They demanded that Abu Talib should either persuade his nephew to desist from his mission or hand him over to suffer the extreme penalty or be prepared to fight the whole tribe. Finding the odds too heavy against him, Abu Talib said to the Prophet: “O son! Do not put such a burden on my shoulders which I am unable to bear.’ The Prophet's reply to his uncle gives an indication of his indomitable will, profound trust in God, and confidence in his Mission. Said he:

O uncle! If they placed the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left to persuade me to renounce my work, verily I would not desist therefrom till God makes manifest His cause or I perish in the attempt.

Having said this, he was overwhelmed with grief. Abu Talib was moved by this reply and said: “By Allah, Quraish can never reach thee in spite of their great number till I am buried in the earth. Therefore, pronounce what order thou hast; nobody can do any harm to thee; be happy with this (promise) and keep thy eyes cool (i.e. be consoled).’

In their final attempt, they took a young man, ‘Ammarah ibn al-Walid, to Abu Talib, offering to exchange him with Muhammad. They said to him: “This young man is a well-known poet of the tribe; he is also very handsome and wise. You better exchange Muhammad with him. You may adopt him as your son: he will be a good helper to you. And give us your Muhammad; we will kill him. Thus, you will not suffer any loss because you will have ‘Ammarah in place of Muhammad, and by eliminating Muhammad, all this strife and friction in the tribe will come to an end.’

Abu Talib was extremely furious on hearing this outrageous proposal. His voice was raised in wrath as he said: “What a worst bargain you have proposed! Why, you want me to give you my son, so that you may kill him, and are giving me your son so that I should feed him and look after him?! Go away! This bargain is nothing if not foolishness.’

Clans of Hashim and Muttalib Sanctioned (616 A.D.)

Frustrated, the idolaters decided to ostracize the whole clans of Hashim and Muttalib and thus destroy them completely. Urged by Abu Sufyan, the heads of the different opposing families decided to form a league in order to sever all ties with Muhammad, his followers, and Banu Hashim altogether. An agreement, therefore, was signed seven years after the inception of the Prophet's mission (in about 616 A.D.) to implement a boycott2. It was written by Mansur ibn ‘Ikrimah, signed by forty of Quraish's chieftains then sealed. In order to give it an air of solemnity, it was hung on the Ka’ba. One of he Meccan dignitaries, namely Mut’im ibn ‘Adiyy ibn Nawfal ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib ibn ‘Abd Munaf, refused to sign it, saying that it was unjust.

The Prophet was now 47 years old. The agreement said that they would neither take the daughters of these two clans nor will they give them their daughters in marriage; they would neither sell anything to them nor buy anything from them. Not only that, they would not have any contact with them nor even allow any food or drink to reach them.

“This boycott would continue till these clans agree to hand over Muhammad to Quraish,’ it stated.

Abu Talib had no alternative but to take these two clans (who had always stood together) into the valley called Shi’b Abu Talib. All members of Banu Hashim, with the exception of Abu Lahab and his family, were now lodged there. It was a place in Mount Hajun which belonged to Abu Talib. There were 40 adults in the clans. For three long years, they were beleaguered. It had begun in Muharram, 7th year of Bi’that (Declaration of Prophethood) and continued up to the beginning of the 10th year.

They were made to undergo the most acute hardships and privations, so much so that at times they had nothing but tree leaves to sustain them. Only twice a year did they dare to come out: in the months of Rajab and Thul-Hijjah, when every type of violence was taboo according to the Arabian custom. If any relative sent them any food, and the news leaked out, that relative was publicly insulted and put to shame. Quraishites used to express their pleasure on hearing the cries of the hungry children.

During the entire time, however, Muhammad did not stop his mission. He used to go out during the pilgrimage season to meet with Arab tribesmen and to say to them, “Let me recite for you from the Book of your Lord, and your reward shall be Paradise.’ But Abu Lahab was always behind him. “Do not agree to listen to him,’ Abu Lahab would then tell those tribesmen, “He is nephew, and he is a lying sorcerer3.’

Abul-’as ibn al-Rabee’, husband of Zainab daughter of Khadija and Muhammad's step-daughter, used to bring his camels laden with wheat and dates to the entrance of the Shi’b at night, telling them to proceed. They would enter the Shi’b, and Banu Hashim would unload them4.

Some Miracles of The Prophet (618 A.D.)

Books have already been written detailing the miracles performed by Prophet Muhammad. One of the best references detailing the Prophet's miracles is no doubt Bihar al-Anwar by allama al-Majlisi. As many as two hundred and four pages, that is, from page 225 to page 421, Vol. 15, narrate numerous incidents involving the Prophet performing miracles. Surely there is no room here to quote all or even some of them, yet reference to the Prophet's miracles has been made throughout this book: The early childhood of the Prophet and his trips to Syria, the Prophet at the cave of Mount Thawr, the story of Umm Ma’bad, the incidents of the physicians who tried to “cure’ the Prophet of his alleged “madness,’ and, most importantly, the miracle of the Holy Qur'an, his very greatest miracle, which concludes this Chapter and this book as a whole. Here is one more for the kind reader:

Among the earliest converts to Islam were some princes or heads of tribes. The latter's conversion spurred that of their tribesmen. Here is the summary of the story of one of those princes who accepted Islam which can be reviewed on pp. 57-60 of Washington Irving's book Life of Muhammad:

Habib ibn Malik, surnamed “the wise’ on account of his vast knowledge and erudition, was one such convert. He was deeply versed in magic and the sciences and acquainted with all religions to their very foundations, having read all that had been written about them and acquired practical information about them. He had belonged to them all by turn: First he was a Jew, then Christian, then a Magi5. When he died, he had reached the age of 140 years. He came to Mecca in 618 A.D. as head of a powerful host of twenty thousand men, bringing with him his young daughter Satiha for whom he was praying at the Ka’ba.

She had been struck dumb, deaf, blind and paralyzed in her limbs. Abu Sufyan and Abu Jahl thought that the presence of this very powerful, wise and, most importantly, idolatrous prince, being the head of such a formidable host, was a favourable opportunity to effect the ruin of Muhammad and his creed. They accordingly informed Habib the wise of the “heresies’ of the “pretender prophet’ and prevailed upon him to summon him into his presence at his camp in the Valley of Flints and challenge him to defend his doctrines. They hoped that his insistence upon error would draw upon him either banishment or death.

The men of Quraish arrayed themselves in splendid formations on horseback and on foot, having put on their best, led by Abu Sufyan and Abu Jahl. Habib the wise was seated in pomp and splendor under a tent of crimson on a throne of ebony inlaid with ivory and sandal-wood and covered with plates of gold.

When summoned to attend this formidable tribunal, Muhammad was at home with his wife Khadija (and the date was two years before her death which took place in 620 A.D.). Khadija was alarmed, and so were her daughters, who were visiting her. They hung about Muhammad's neck weeping and lamenting, thinking that he was going to a certain death. But he gently calmed their fears and bade them place their trust in Allah, their Protector and his.

Unlike Abu Sufyan and Abu Jahl, he approached the scene of trial in simple guise clad in a white garment with a black turban and a mantle which had belonged to his grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib and which had been woven in ‘Aden, southern Arabia. His hair floated on his shoulders, the mysterious light of prophecy beamed from his countenance. Although he had not anointed his beard, nor did he use any perfume at the moment6 except a little musk and camphor for his moustache, yet wherever he passed, a bland of sweet smell diffused itself all around him, being the fragrant emanation from his own holy person.

A silent awe fell upon the vast assembly as the Prophet approached. Not a murmur, not even a whisper could be heard; even the very brute animals were charmed to silence. The neighing of the steed, the bellowing of the camel, and the braying of the ass were all mute.

The venerable Habib received him graciously. His first question was direct and to the point: “They say that you pretend to be a prophet sent by God. Is it so?’ “Even so,’ replied Muhammad. “Allah has sent me to proclaim the veritable faith,’ he continued. “Good!,’ rejoiced the sage, “but every prophet has produced a proof of his mission by signs and miracles. Noah had his rainbow, Solomon his mysterious ring, Abraham the fire of the furnace that became cool at his command7, Isaac the ram which was sacrificed in his stead, Moses his wonder-working rod, and Jesus brought the dead to life and appeased the tempests with a word. If, then, you are really a prophet, show us a miracle in proof.’

Muhammad's followers trembled for him when they heard this request, while Abu Jahl clapped his hands and extolled the sagacity of Habib the wise. But the Prophet rebuked Abu Jahl with scorn. “Peace! Dog of your race!’ exclaimed Muhammad, “Disgrace of your kindred and of your tribe!’ He then calmly proceeded to carry out Habib's wish.

The first miracle demanded of Muhammad was to reveal what Habib had inside his tent, and why he had brought it to Mecca. Muhammad bent towards the earth and traced figures upon the sand. Then he raised his head and replied, “O Habib! You have brought here your daughter Satiha, deaf and dumb, lame and blind, in the hope of obtaining relief of Heaven. Go to your tent; speak to her, and hear her reply, and come to know that God is All-Powerful.’

The aged prince hastened to his tent. His daughter met him with light step and extended arms, pefect in all her faculties! Her eyes were beaming with joy, her face clothed with smiles, and she was more beautiful than the moon in an unclouded night!

The second miracle demanded by Habib was that the Prophet should cover the noontide heavens with supernatural darkness and cause the moon to appear upon the top of the Ka’ba. The Prophet prayed. Instantly, complete darkness covered the daylight and the glorious orb of the moon shone above the sanctuary. The Prophet made a sign with his finger and the orb was divided into two halves so that Mount Abu Qubays stood between them. After a while, he again made a sign and both halves were reunited.

More details can be reviewed in the famous work titled Al-Mawahib al-Laduniyya which includes names of eyewitnesses. As a matter of fact, the Prophet caused the moon to be rent asunder into two halves in response to his command on two different occasions. The list of eyewitnesses who saw such miracles includes: Ibn Mas’ud al-Aswad, Anas ibn Malik, Ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab, Huthyafah al-Yemani, Jubayr ibn Mut’im, Ali ibn Abu Talib, and Abu Huthayfah al-Arhabi.

The prince, four hundred and seventy of his followers, and a number of Meccans, all embraced the Islamic creed there and then to the outrage of both Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan and the infidels who rallied behind them. This incident took place five years before the Hijra, that is, in 618 A.D., two years before the death of Abu Talib, Muhammad's uncle and protector.
Imam Ali son of Muhammad has said,

Al-Harith ibn Kildah al-Thaqafi was the most skilled physician of the Thaqif tribe. He came once to the Messenger of Allah and said, “O Muhammad! I have come to heal you from your madness, for I have treatted many madmen and healed them all.’ The Messenger of Allah said to him, “You yourself are doing what madmen do, yet you attribute madness to me!’ Al-Harith asked him, “What madness have I done?’ “Your own attributing madness to me,’ the Prophet answered, “without first examining me or putting me to the test, and without looking into my truth or falsehood.’ Al-Harith said, “Have I not come to know about your madness from the claim you have put forth to prophethood of which you are not capable?’

The Messenger of Allah said, “And your own claim that I am incapable of it is another act typical of madmen! This is so because you did not ask me why I put forth such a claim, nor did you demand any proof so that you would conclude that in the lack of proof, I am incapable of it.’ Al-Harith said, “You have said the truth; I should test you by a miracle I require you to produce; so, if you are truly a Prophet, call that tree (and it was a huge one very deeply rooted) to come forth. If it comes to you, I will conclude that you are, indeed, the Messenger of Allah, and I shall testify to you to the same. Otherwise, you are the same mad person about whom I have been informed.’ The Messenger of Allah raised his hands to that tree and beckoned to it to come forward. The tree was uprooted at once, and it came to him boring a huge hole in the ground like a river canal till it came near the Messenger of Allah and spoke in an articulate voice saying, “Here I am, O Messenger of Allah! What do you order me to do?’

The Messenger of Allah said to it, “I order you to testify to my Prophethood after testifying to the Unity of Allah and then to testify to this Ali as the Imam, and that he is the one upon whom I depend, my supporter and helper, my pride and dignity, and that had it not been for him, Allah, the most Exalted and the most Sublime, would not have created anything at all.’ The tree spoke out thus: “I testify that there is no god except Allah, the One Who has no partner at all, and I further testify that you, Muhammad, are His Servant and Messenger; He sent you in truth as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner and a caller to Allah by His permission and a lantern of light. And I testify that Ali, your cousin, is your Brother in creed and the one who is the most informed of Allah's creation of the creed and the one whose portion of promoting Islam is the very greatest, that he is your supporter and helper, the one who subdues your foes and helps your friends, the gate of your knowledge in your nation.

And I further testify that your friends, those who befriend him and who are antagonistic towards his enemies, are the stuff of Paradise, and that his enemies who befriend his foes and who are antagonistic towards his friends, are the stuff of the Fire.’ The Messenger of Allah at that juncture looked at al-Harith ibn Kildah and said, “O Harith! Is anyone who produces such a miracle regarded as a madman?!’ Al-Harith ibn Kildah said, “No, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah! But I do testify that you are the Messenger of Allah and the master of all creation.’ His conviction proved to be firm8.

Here is another testimony by Imam al-Hasan al-’Askari:

As for the mountains, the rocks, and the stones saluting him, when the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, abandoned trading in Syria, spending all his earnings by way of charity, all what Allah Almighty bestowed upon him of wealth from those trade trips, he used to go daily to the Hira cave. He would ascend it and look from its height at the Signs of the Mercy of Allah and the norms of the wonders of His Mercy and the beauty of His wisdom. He would look at the heavens and the countries of the earth and of the seas, at the deserts and the valleys.

So he would derive wisdom from those norms and would remember his Lord through those Signs and worship Allah as He should be worshipped. When he became fully forty years old, Allah looked at his heart and found it the best of hearts, the most honourable, the most submissive to Him the most obedient. So He opened the gates of the heavens, and Muhammad kept looking at them. He permitted the angels to desced as Muhammad looked on. And He ordered Mercy to descend upon him from the leg of the ‘Arsh to Muhammad's head, overwhelming it. He looked at Gabriel, the trusted spirit, the one circled by light, the peacock of angels, who descended to him, and he held him and shook him saying, “O Muhammad! Read (or Recite)!’ He said, “What should I read?!’

He said, “O Muhammad! Read (or Recite) in the Name of your Lord Who created…’ Then he inspired him whatever His Lord, the Sublime, the most Exalted One, wanted to inspire him. Then he (Gabriel) ascended. Fever overtook him and he was greatly upset that Quraish would call him a liar and would attribute madness to him, and that the demons possessed him although he was, from the very beginning, the most wise of Allah's creation, the most honoured of His beings, and the most hated thing to him were: Satan and the deeds and statements of mad people.

Allah, the most Exalted and the most Sublime, therefore, wanted to please him and to encourage him, so He permitted the mountains, the rocks, and the rain to speak to him. Whenever he reached any of them, it would say to him, “Assalamo ‘Alaikom, O Muhammad! Assalamo ‘Alaikom, O friend of Allah! Assalamo ‘Alaikom, O Messenger of Allah! Good news to you! Allah, the most Exalted and the most Great, favoured you, beautified you, showered you with His honours, and preferred you over all His creation, the first and the last! Let not Quraish's accusation of your being mad and deviated from their creed grieve you, for virtuous is the one who is favoured by the Lord of the Worlds, and honourable is the one who is honoured by the Creator of all creation!

Do not be grieved when Quraish and the arrogant ones from among the Arabs belie you, for your Lord will bestow upon you the ultimate of all favours, and He will raise you to the most lofty of stations, and He will bring bliss and happiness to your friends and will appoint Ali ibn Abu Talib as your wasi who will disseminate your knowledge among the servants and throughout the lands, through your key and the gate of your knowledge Ali ibn Abu Talib! He will cool your eyes through your daughter Fatima, and out of her and of Ali He will bring into the world al-Hasan and al-Husain, the masters of the youths of Paradise!

He will disseminate your creed throughout the land and will best honour those who love you and who love your brother, and He will place in your hand the standard of praise, so you will place it in the hand of your brother Ali, so much so that each and every prophet, testifier to the truth, and martyr will be in a status lower than his. He shall be their leader, all of them, into the Gardens of bliss!’ The Prophet used to wonder, “Lord! Who is this Ali ibn Abu Talib whom you have promised me? (Ali was then a child) Is he the same as my cousin?’ When Ali moved a little, he asked again, “Is he this one?!’ Whenever he thus inquired, the Scales of greatness would descend upon him, so Muhammad and Ali would be weighed in one of them and all his nation in the other, and their scale would weigh heavier. The Messeger of Allah then knew exactly who he was and what his attribute was. And Muhammad was addressed within thus: “O Muhammad! This Ali ibn Abu Talib is the one whom I chose to support this religion (Islam), and he weighs heavier than all members of your nation with the exception only of your own self.’

This is how Allah expanded the Prophet's breast in order to carry out the Message, thus making the burnden of struggling with the nation lighter, facilitating for him to combat the arrogant ones and the tyrants of Quraish.9

Boycott Ends (619 A.D.)

For three long years, from 616 to 619 A.D., Muhammad, his small band of followers, and Banu Hashim, tasted the bitterness of the boycott enforced by Quraish. During all those years of sufferings, Abu Talib had only one concern: how to keep the Prophet out of harm's way. Historians unanimously say that it was the habit of Abu Talib to awaken the Prophet after all people had gone to sleep and to take him to another place and order one of his own sons or brothers to sleep in the Prophet's bed instead. This was done so that if an enemy had seen where Muhammad was sleeping, and if an attack was made on him at night, his own son or brother would be killed while the Prophet would be saved. History is unable to produce another example of such devotion and loyalty. And imagine that this continued not for one or two days or weeks, but for three long years.

One day the Prophet said to Abu Talib: “I have been informed by Allah that the agreement of Quraish has been eaten up by insects, and no writing has been left therein except the Name of Allah.’
Abu Talib never had any doubt about anything Muhammad said.

Thus he came out of his place at once and went to Al-Masjid al-Haram where Quraish had gathered. As luck would have it, the subject of discussion was the same boycott. Hisham, son of ‘Amr, Zubayr, and a few others who were related to Khadija and the clans of Hashim and Muttalib and whose houses were near the Shi’b of Abu Talib used to hear the cries of the children day and night. So did Mut’im ibn ‘Adiy, Zam’ah ibn Aswad, Abul Bakhtari, and a number of other Quraishites. These had decided to persuade Quraish to abrogate the infamous agreement. The arguments became very heated and reached a climax when they saw Abu Talib approaching.

Abu Jahl and others who opposed the idea of abrogating the boycott said: “Abu Talib is coming! It seems that now he is tired and wants to hand over Muhammad to us. Thus, the boycott would end to the satisfaction of us all. Let us keep silent and hear what he wants to say.’ But Abu Talib had not gone there to surrender but to challenge them. He stood before the gathering and said: “My son says that the agreement which you had written has been eaten up by insects, and that nothing remains therein except the Name of Allah. Now look at that paper. If the news given by my son is correct, then you must end your injustice and high-handedness; and if the news is wrong, then we will admit that you were right and we were wrong.’

The agreement was taken out and opened, and lo! There was nothing left of it except the Name of Allah in one place!
Now Abu Talib's voice thundered on as he condemned them for their tyranny. Those who wanted that boycott ended said that now there was no agreement at all to adhere to. Abu Jahl and others tried to outwit them but failed, so the boycott ended with a total moral victory for Islam over the infidels.

Abu Talib and Khadija Die (620 A.D.)

The sufferings and privations of those three years took their toll. Within nine months, Abu Talib (533 - 620 A.D.) died at the age of 87 in the middle of Shawwal or Thul-Qi’dah, ten years after the bithat and shortly after him Khadija (465 - 620 A.D.) also left this world. Muhammad wept bitterly at Khadija's and Abu Talib's graves and put on black clothes as is the custom of the Arabs. He was so grieved that he called that year “‘amul-Huzn’ (The Year of Sorrow).

With the disappearance of their protecting influence, the Meccans had a free-hand and redoubled their persecution. These two deaths, at a time when the Prophet was in dire need of both, left a very deep impression on him. How valuable their support was may be judged from the fact that Allah has counted them as two of His highest Graces and Favours upon the Prophet. He says in Surat 93:

Did He not find thee an orphan and give thee shelter, and He found thee lost (in thy tribe) and guided (them towards thee), and found thee in need and made thee free from want? (Qur'an, 93:6-8)

All the commentators of the Qur'an say that the first ayat means: “Did He not find you an orphan and give you shelter with Abu Talib?’, and the last ayat means: “He found you poor and made you rich through Khadija.’ If we think about the early history of Islam, without the prestigious influence of Abu Talib, we cannot see how the life of the Prophet could have been saved. And if we were to take out the wealth of Khadija, we cannot think how the poor Muslims could have been sustained, and how the two hijras to Abyssinia could have been financed.

It is not the place here to fully explain the share of Abu Talib in the foundation of Islam. The best tribute, therefore, would be to quote some of his poetry lines which overflow with love for, and devotion to, Muhammad. Abu Talib has said these poetic lines:

And you have called me and I know that you are truthful, and, in fact, you were truthful and trustworthy from the beginning. And I certainly know that the religion of Muhammad is the best of all the religions of the world… Did you not know that we have found Muhammad the Messenger of Allah the same as was Musa (Moses)? It is so written in the scriptures.
Compare this poetry with this ayat of the Qur'an:

Verily, We have sent you a Messenger to be a witness over you as We had sent a Messenger to Pharaoh. (Qur'an, 73:15)

Somewhere else Abu Talib says these poetic lines:

And the Lord of the world has strengthened him with His help, so he proclaimed the religion which is true, not false. Do not they know that our son is not doubted by us and that we do not care about the false sayings (of his foes)?

Abu al-Fida', in Kitabul-Mukhtasar fi Akhbaril-Bashar, states that some of the poetic verses composed by Abu Talib prove the fact that he had accepted the Prophethood of the Prophet from the core of his heart. A translation of a few poetic verses of his is given here:

You have called me (to Islam) and I believe that you are truthful, straightforward and trustworthy. And there is no doubt in my belief that the religion of Muhammad is the best of all the religions of the world. By God! As long as I am alive, not a single person from among Quraish can harm you.

Abu Talib asked his son Ali once, “What is this religion which you are following?’ Ali said: “I believe in Allah and in His Messenger, and I pray with him.’ Abu Talib said: “Surely Muhammad will not call us but to a good thing. Never leave Muhammad; follow him faithfully.’
Once he saw the Prophet praying, with Khadija and Ali behind him. Ja’far was with Abu Talib. Abu Talib told Ja’far to go ahead and to join them in their prayer service.

When Hamzah accepted Islam in the sixth year of bithat (inception of the Prophetic mission), Abu Talib was over-joyed and said these poetic lines:
Be patient, O Abu Ya’li (Hamzah), on account of the religion of Ahmad. And proclaim the religion with courage, may Allah help you. I was glad when you said that you were a mu'min (believer). So help the Messenger of Allah in the cause of Allah. And announce to Quraish your decision, and tell them that Ahmad was never a sorcerer.

If any reader wishes to examine these poetry lines, one of the references is al-Majlisi's Bihar al-Anwar.

It was Abu Talib's policy to keep Quraish guessing and in suspense about his true belief: Had he announced that he had accepted the religion of Muhammad, his position as a respected leader of the tribe would have been undermined, and then he could not extend his protection to the Prophet. Thus, while always declaring his firm belief that Muhammad could not tell anything but the truth, exhorting his children and brothers to follow Muhammad's religion, he assiduously refrained from declaring in so many words that he himself was a Muslim. Thus, he maintained his position with the hierarchy of Quraish, protecting the Prophet through his influence.

Even on his death-bed, while there was still a chance that he might recover, he very diplomatically announced his faith in such a way that Quraish could not understand what he meant. When they asked him on which religion he was dying, he replied: “On the religion of my forefathers.’ As explained before, ‘Abdul-Muttalib and all his ancestors were followers of the Divine religion; hence, one cannot but admire Abu Talib's prudence and wisdom in that difficult situation.

During the last moments of his life, the Prophet advised him to recite the kalima loudly (as is the custom of the Muslims). ‘Abbas, who had not accepted Islam yet, saw Abu Talib's lips moving. He put his ears near Abu Talib then said to the Prophet: “O nephew! Abu Talib is saying what you wanted him to say!’

‘Allamah ibn Abil-Hadid, the Mu’tazilite scholar, has said the following poetic lines:
If it were not for Abu Talib and his son (Ali), the religion of Islam could not take any shape, nor could it find its feet. Thus, Abu Talib in Mecca gave shelter and protected (him), and Ali in Medina rubbed shoulders with death.

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq said: “The ancestors of the Prophet will be in Paradise and ‘Abdul-Muttalib will enter Paradise having upon him the light of the Prophets and the dignity of kings, and Abu Talib will be in the same group.’

There are some ignorant writers the extent of whose knowledge is very limited (“Little knowledge is a dangerous thing10‘) and who cast doubt about Abu Talib's faith, citing a mass of fabricated ahadith. Abu Talib certainly did not do anything for them to warrant such vicious and uncalled for publicity; so, in my view, their real target is not Abu Talib but his son Ali who exposed their hypocrisy to the world. Such writers are the remnant of the followers of Abu Sufyan, Mu’awiyah, and Yazid, bitter enemies of Ahl al-Bayt, the Prophet's pure and holy family. Unfortunately, there are many of them living among us even today, and most likely they will always remain so…

As for Khadija, she was so much respected that the Meccans called her tahira (the pure one). All the children of the Prophet were born by Khadija except Ibrahim who was the son of Muhammad and Maria (Mary) the Copt11. Khadija was the first person to testify to the truth of the Prophet. She spent all her wealth in the cause of Islam. And she was a source of comfort and consolation to the Prophet.

The Prophet said: “Four women are the supreme-most among the women of Paradise: Maryam mother of ‘Isa (May mother of Jesus), Asiya wife of Pharaoh, Khadija bint Khuwaylid, and Fatima bint Muhammad.’

‘Ayisha said: “I never envied any woman as much as I envied Khadija. The Prophet always remembered her. Whenever any sheep or goat was slaughtered, the choicest parts were sent to Khadija's relatives and friends. I used to say, ‘It appears that Khadija was the only woman in the world.' Hearing this, the Prophet was very much annoyed and said: “Khadija had many virtues which others do not have.’

She also said: “Once the Prophet remembered her and I said, ‘How long will you go on remembering a woman so old that she had no teeth in her mouth? Allah has given you a woman better than her (meaning herself).' The Prophet was so crossed that the hair of his head was raised. He said: 'By Allah, I do not have better than Khadija. She believed in me when others were steeped into infidelity. She testified to my truth when others rejected my claim. She helped me with her wealth when others deprived me. And Allah gave me children by her.’ ‘Ayisha says that from then on she decided not to say any unkind word about Khadija, as we are told in Vol. 3 of al-Bukhari's Sahih.

Khadija was buried at Hajun. Her grave was demolished by the Wahhabi rulers of Saudi Arabia in 1925 like those of ‘Abdul-Muttalib, Abu Talib and others.

Muhammad Visits Taif (620 A.D.)

After the death of Abu Talib and Khadija, finding that the Meccans had turned a deaf ear to his preaching, the Prophet decided to go to Taif accompanied by Zayd ibn Harithah, perhaps its people would be more responsive. But a big disappointment was in store for him. Located about seventy miles east of Mecca, Taif was a stronghold of idolatry where the stony statue of al-Lat goddess, whom the pagans regarded as God's wife, covered with gems and jewels, was believed to be inspired with life. Muhammad spent a month in Taif only to be scoffed and ridiculed. When he persisted in his preaching, the people of Taif drove him out of their city pelting him with stones, causing him to be bruised and wounded. In this desperate situation, he prayed to God thus as his wounds kept bleeding:

Allah! I make my complaint to You regarding the feebleness of my strength, the insignificance of my devices, and my humiliation in the sight of people. O Most Merciful One! You are the Lord of the oppressed, You are my Lord. To whom would You entrust my affairs? To a stranger who would scowl at me? Or to an enemy who would control me?

If you are not displeased with me, then I do not care (about any hardship), but an ease bestowed by You will be more accommodating to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your countenance (by which all darkness is dispersed and all affairs of this world and of the hereafter are kept straight) from pouncing Your anger or the coming of Your wrath. I seek your pardon in order that you may be pleased with me. There is no power nor strength except in You.
Grief-stricken, the Prophet returned to Mecca.

Jinns Accept Islam (620 A.D.)

Jinns are surely hidden from human eyes, but not from the eyes of prophets and friends of God, and certainly not from the eyes of the master of the prophets of God, Muhammad. We have written about the jinns earlier in this book; so, the reader may refer to that part.

On his way back home, Muhammad halted one night at a grove at Nakhla, where he recited some verses of the Holy Qur'an after having finished his prayers, as was his habit. A party of seven or nine jinns happened to pass by as they were en route to Yemen. They were deeply impressed by the melodious tone of the Prophet, the excellence of the language of the recitaiton, and the depth of the meaning in those verses. Appearing before the Prophet, they accepted his doctrines, and when they reached their destination, they disseminated them among their folks who also embraced Islam. Let us shed more light on this incident by referring to the books of exegesis (tafsir) of the Holy Qur'an where we read the following in Tafsir al-Qummi:

The Messenger of Allah was reciting the Qur'an in the depth of the night when a group of jinns happened to be passing by. When they heard the recitation by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, they listened to it attentively. Having seen that he finished his recitation, they came to the Messenger of Allah, accepted Islam, believing in him. The Messenger of Allah taught them Islam's legislative code (the Sharia), whereupon the entire Chapter (titled “al-Jinn,’ the jinns) was revealed. They used to always return to the Messenger of Allah from time to time; therefore, the Messenger of Allah ordered the Commander of the Faithful (Ali) to teach them and to explain everything to them12.

Da'wah Beyond Mecca

After his return from Taif, Muhammad reached the cave of Hira where he stopped, sending Zayd to negotiate with a number of sympathetic Meccans for protection. He could not venture to enter the city where he knew fully well that his pagan opponents would not welcome his return. After prolonged negotiations, Zayd successfully secured the help of Mut’im ibn ‘Adiy, one of those who had sided with Abu Talib in demanding an end to the sanctions against the Hashemites. He personally went to Muhammad, offered him security and escorted him to his house in Mecca. Now the Prophet could appear in public only during the months of Rajab and Thul-Hijjah to preach the doctrines of Islam to the pilgrims and to the stubborn Mec­cans.

Yet despite all these disappointments and persecutions, Islam was spreading in other tribes too, although very slowly and not on a grand scale. Its simplicity and rationality were such that it only needed to reach the ears of the people to stir their souls. For thirteen years, Quraish did their very best to stifle the new religion, but their opposition itself provided the necessary publicity. Tribes from all corners of Arabia flocked to Medina during the time of the annual pilgrimage.

Lest they should be influenced by Muhammad's message, Quraish, particularly Abu Lahab and Abu Jahl, used to post themselves outside the city to warn the pilgrims that: “An infidel has been born in our city who dishonours our idols; he even speaks ill of Lat and ‘Uzza; do not listen to him.’ People naturally became curious and wanted to know more about this man. A disciple of the Prophet, recalling his earlier days, stated: “When I was young, I used to hear from the people going to Mecca that a person claiming Prophethood had been born there.’

When the news spread, most people laughed and jeered at Muhammad, yet there were a few seekers of the truth who listened to his message and were influenced by it. Hafiz Ibn Hajar, in his book Al-Isabah, mentions the names of several companions who had come from Yemen and other distant places and, after secretly accepting Islam, had gone back to work among their tribes. The clan of Abu Musa al-Ash’ari of Yemen accepted Islam in this manner.

Tufail ibn ‘Amr, of the tribe of Daws, was a famous poet who could by his poetic fervor sway the feelings and attitudes of the Arabs. He had come into contact with the Prophet and was so enthralled by the marvelous diction of the Qur'an recited to him that he accepted Islam instantly. He was able to win some converts in his tribe, but in general the tribe did not listen to him. He came back to the Prophet and requested him to curse the Daws, but the Prophet prayed thus: “O God! Guide the Daws and send them to me (as Muslims)!’ It was not long before the entire tribe had accepted Islam.

Dhamad ibn Tha’labah was a chief of the Azd tribe and a childhood friend of the Prophet. He came to Mecca and was told that Muhammad had gone mad. He approached the Prophet and said that he could cure him. The Prophet replied, “All praise be to God; I praise Him and seek His forgiveness. If God were to guide anyone, he cannot go astray, and if He leaves anyone to stray, none can guide him. I declare that there is no god but Allah. He is one and has no partner, and further (I declare) that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.’

It is almost impossible to reproduce the vibrating force and captivating charm of the Arabic text which so much impressed Dhamad that he accepted Islam immediately and through him his entire tribe submitted to it. Another physician, namely al-Harith ibn Kildah al-Thaqafi, the most skilled physician of the Thaqif tribe, attempted to likewise “cure’ the Prophet of his alleged madness. The reader will come across what went on between him and the Prophet later in this book Insha-Allah.

Abu Tharr of the tribe of Ghifar was one of those who were disgusted with idol-worship. When he heard about the Prophet, he went to Mecca and incidentally met Ali with whom he stayed for three days. Ali introduced him to the Prophet and Abu Tharr accepted Islam. The Prophet advised him to go back home, but in his zeal he publicly announced in the Ka’ba: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet.’

He was given a sound thrashing by Quraish and was rescued by ‘Abbas who reminded Quraish that their trade caravans passed through routes under the control of Abu Tharr's tribe. Returning to his tribe, he invited it to accept Islam. About half of his tribesmen accepted Islam and the rest followed suit after the Prophet's migration to Medina. Since the Ghifars were on very friendly terms with the tribe of Aslam, the latter were influenced by the former and also accepted Islam.

Quite a number of persons had incidentally heard the Qur'an being recited and were captivated by it. Jubayr ibn Mut’im had come to Medina to pay ransom for the prisoners of the Battle of Badr. He happened to hear the Prophet reciting the following verses:

Or were they created out of naught? Or are they the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the Earth? Nay, but they have no certainty. (Qur'an, 52:35-36)

Jubayr later stated that when he heard these verses, he felt that his heart was about to soar.

‘Ayisha Engaged to Muhammad (621 A.D.)

Abu Bakr could sense the impact of the great loss the Prophet suffered at the death of his first loving and supportive wife Khadija. He noticed how his friend Muhammad looked forlon and depressed, and he was awaiting an opportunity to cheer him up and to cement his friendship with him. Abu Bakr, therefore, offered to marry his daughter ‘Ayisha, who was born in 613 A.D., to Muhammad, an offer which Muhammad first politely declined. But Abu Bakr was not to give up easily.

He kept persuading him till he consented on the condition that the wedding should be postponed for the time being. ‘Ayisha was thus formally engaged to Muhammad in 621 A.D. and the wedding took place two to three years later in 2 A.H./623 A.D. Having seen how his friend Abu Bakr succeeded in marrying his daughter to Muhammad, ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab now expressed his desire that the Prophet should marry his daughter Hafsa, a desire which was fulfilled a few years later: in 624 A.D. to be exact, as it will be discussed later.

The news that a Prophet had arisen was spreading. A deputation of about twenty Christians from Nazareth came to meet him and embraced Islam. In the same year, that is, 621 A.D., when the Prophet was preaching at Aqaba, a place between Mina and ‘Arafat, six men belonging to the tribe of al-Khazraj and residing in Yathrib happened to come to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage. They listened to him attentively. Hearing the fundamental principles of his faith and discerning his own sentiments, they were captivated by the truth of his words and immediately embraced Islam. Upon their return to Yathrib, they disseminated the doctrines of Islam among their people and announced their conversion to the Islamic creed, praising Muhammad greatly for his truth, character, affectionate nature, high moral conduct and attractive personality.

First Pledge of ‘Aqaba (622 A.D.)

Similarly, in the next year (622 A.D.), at the time of the annual pilgrimage, twelve Yathribites, who were drawn by curiosity at the reports given by those six Yathribite converts, came along with five of the same six Yathribites and undertook a pledge known as the First Pledge of ‘Aqaba (mountain-pass), so named because it was done in an out of the way mountain-pass outside Mecca. The pledge was: “We will not associate anything with God; we will neither steal nor commit adultery nor fornication; we will not kill our children; we will abstain from calumny and slander; we will obey the Prophet in everything, and we will be faithful to him in weal and sorrow.’

Mus’ab ibn ‘Omayr, a grandson of Hashim, and ‘Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum, who were two of the Prophet's disciples, were sent along with them to teach them the Qur'an and the fundamentals of Islam. These men were required to inform the Prophet of their success in their efforts at the same place in the following pilgrimage season. It is worth mentioning here that before accepting Islam, Mus’ab ibn ‘Omayr used to enjoy a life of luxury with his family, being the favourite of his parents. But when he accepted Islam, his parents and the rest of his family severed all ties with him, rendering him in all reality without a family. This is a typical case of most of the early converts to Islam. They were disowned by their families and tribes and deprived of the most basic needs from the latter who treated them as though they were now enemies.

On the same day after having accepted Islam at the hands of Mus’ab ibn ‘Omayr, Sa’d ibn Ma’ath, a Meccan dignitary, went to the quarters inhabited by the offspring of ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf and shouted as loudly as he could: “O Banu ‘Amr! O Banu ‘Awf! Let no man or woman or a virgin or a married woman or an old man or a young one stay without coming out! This day is not the day of a veil or a curtain! Come out!’ When they all came out of their houses to see what he had to say, he asked their crowd the following question: “What is my status among you?!’

They said, “You are our master and the one whose word is obeyed among us; we shall never disobey you; so, order us whatever you please.’ Sa’d ibn Ma’ath then said, “I shall never speak one word to your men or women or children unless you testify that: There is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Praise be to Allah Who has bestowed upon us such a blessing. It is a blessing about which the Jews used to talk to us.’ Not a single person in the crowd hesitated to pronounce this sacred testimony, becoming Muslims, each and every one of them. Holding and turning Mus’ab ibn ‘Omayr to face him, he said to him, “Manifest your affair, and invite people to Islam publicly.’13

The period between the First and the Second Pledges was one of anxious waiting. The Meccans were sternly adamant, the people of Taif had rejected Muhammad, and the mission was making a slow progress. Yet hope had been engendered by its diffusion to the distant city of Yathrib and the conviction was very much there that the truth would ultimately prevail.

Describing this period, Muir says:
“Mahomet, thus holding his people at bay, waiting, in the still expectation of victory, to outward appearance defenseless, and with his little band, as it were, in the lion's mouth, yet trusting in his Almighty's power whose messenger he believed himself to be, resolute and unmoved, presents a spectacle of sublimity paralleled only in the sacred records by such scenes as that of the prophet of Israel, when he complained to his Master, ‘I, even I only, am left.’

Mi'raj: Ascension of The Prophet (622 A.D.)

The date is the 27th of Rajab, twelve years after the inception of the Prophetic mission. It was then that God Almighty, in His infinite Mercy and Benevolence, bestowed upon the Prophet the unique distinction of being lifted to the furthest limit of heaven and of being shown the gorgeous splendor of the heavens and the universe:

Glory to (Him) Who took His servant for a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque (Ka’ba) to the Furthest Mosque (Jerusalem) whose precincts We have blessed, in order that We might show him some of Our signs, for He is the Hearer and the Seer.’(Qur'an, 17:1)

There has been a good deal of controversy over the question whether the ascension (miraj) was only a vision or an actual bodily journey. The majority of the traditionists agree that it was a real physical journey, much like the bodily ascension of Jesus to heaven and the descent of Adam to earth.

The fact is that this controversy was created by Banu Umayyah whose interest in Islam was based not on faith but on politics and who did not like the idea of any miracle of the Prophet gaining ground in the Muslims' minds. Their department of forgery obliged them in this respect also. Both Abu Bakr and his daughter ‘Ayisha did not believe in the Prophet's bodily ascent to heavens, and the Umayyads' department of fabrication coined ahadith casting doubt about such a physical ascension. The cadre of this department of fabrication forgot that ‘Ayisha was not married to the Prophet when the ascension took place; she was still living with her family; the Prophet did not marry her except two years later.

Two “traditions’ from that department are repeatedly cited by the Christians, the Ahmadis, and a group of Sunnis; these are:

‘Ayisha is supposed to have said that during the whole night of the Ascension, the body of the Prophet was on the bed.
Mu’awiyah said that the miraj was a “true dream.’

Now the fact is that the miraj (whatever its interpretation) took place in Mecca before the Hijra.
‘Ayisha did not enter the house of the Prophet till one year after the hijra. How could she say that she did not miss the body of the Prophet at that time?!
There is only one possible explanation: This “tradition’ was forged by someone who did not know the chronology of Islamic history. Otherwise, he could not have attributed this “tradition’ to ‘Ayisha.

Mu’awiyah was such an enemy of the Prophet that 8 years after the hijra, Mecca was conquered without bloodshed and Abu Sufyan, his father, seeing no alternative, pretended to have accepted Islam. Mu’awiyah fled to Bahrain and wrote a very nasty letter to his father condemning him for his acceptance of Islam. It was not till the 9th year of Hijra that Mu’awiyah brought himself to profess Islam, yet his deeds belied his words. And the miraj took place several years before then. How could he know what the facts of the Miraj were?! He does not mention his source of information, and the inference is that there was no such source.

If you want to witness how politics controlled the version of Islam professed by the Umayyads, read one more ‘tradition' invented in their laboratory:
The king on the throne of Damascus is ‘Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan. Iraq and Hijaz are in the hands of ‘Abdullah ibn Zubayr. ‘Abdul-Malik does not like the idea of the pilgrims of his domain being obliged to go to Mecca (which is in the enemy's hands); so, he wants to enhance the prestige of Baitul Maqdis (Jerusalem), which lies within his domain and plans to establish “hajj’ to Baitul Maqdis. As part of that plan, all previous declarations that the Miraj was a dream are forgotten, and a tradition is forged that the final destination of the journey of the miraj was Baitul Maqdis.

Soon thereafter, ‘Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr is defeated and Hijaz comes under Syrian control; otherwise, we would surely have seen two centers of hajj in the Muslim world!

The footprint of the Prophet is still visible on the stone of a rock at Jerusalem where the Prophet ascended to heaven. A mosque was built by caliph ‘’Omar to preserve the memory of the footprint on the stone which still stands at the same place.

Second Pledge of ‘Aqaba (622/623 A.D.)

On their return to Yathrib, the converts to the faith spread the doctrines of Islam and a large number of Yathribites became adherents to the faith. In the following year, seventy-three men and two women from among the converts of Yathrib's Aws and Khazraj tribes, including the twelve who took the first pledge, accompanied Mus’ab ibn ‘Omayr to the Prophet together with a Jewish caravan of three to five hundred men headed by Ibn Ubay in order to accept Islam and to invite the Prophet to their city. They all swore allegiance to him. This pledge is known as the Second Pledge of ‘Aqaba. The Prophet took with him his uncle ‘Abbas, now the head of the family and formally his protector, although not a Muslim yet. ‘Abbas exhorted the Yathribites to protect the Prophet.

In the Spring of the same year, 13 years after the inception of the Prophetic mission, an exodus of the believers to Yathrib had already started. This immigration went on quietly. Within two months, about one hundred and fifty Meccan Muslims succeeded in reaching Yathrib. Finally, the open departure of ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab in the company of twenty other converts alarmed Quraish a great deal. Fearing none in Mecca, ‘’Omar departed in broad daylight. Both Ali and Abu Bakr, however, remained with the Prophet in Mecca to keep him company.

Another Attempt to Assassinate The Prophet

When the Meccans realized how Islam had struck roots in Yathrib and was fast spreading there, their animosity knew no bounds. Their chiefs, such as Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab, Abu Sufyan, and ‘Otbah, gathered at Dar al-Nadwa and, after rejecting suggestions to imprison or banish Muhammad, they planned to assassinate him.

And remember when the unbelievers plotted against you to imprison you, or to kill you, or to drive you out, they plotted and planned and Allah, too, planned.(Qur'an, 8:30)

In order to escape the vendetta of Banu Hashim, it was decided that every clan should provide one man, and that they should collectively assault the Prophet as soon as he came out of his house. But God had apprised His Prophet of this plan well in advance through arch-angel Gabriel who revealed to him these verses:

And when those who disbelieved devised plans against you that they might confine you or slay you or drive you out (of their city), and they devised plans and Allah, too, had arranged a plan, and Allah is the best of planners.(Qur'an, 8:30)

Gabriel conveyed the Almighty's order to Muhammad to leave Mecca and to go to Yathrib where the Almighty, as the verse above implies, had already had a plan for him; surely Allah is the best of planners. Muhammad informed Ali of this divine command, ordering him to sleep in his (Prophet's) bed. When Ali heard that his life was to be the ransom for the Prophet's, he prostrated before Allah to thank Him for this unique honour. It was the first sajda of “shukr’ (prostration of gratitude) in Islam. The Prophet covered Ali with his own green sheet. Thus, Ali slept soundly on the Prophet's bed as the Prophet walked out of the house under the infidels' very noses.

The moment Muhammad stood at his house door, he heard the infidels saying, “Muhammad claims that if you swear the oath of allegiance to him, you will rule the Arabs and the non-Arabs. Then, after your death, you will be resurrected to reside in gardens like the earthly gardens. And if you do not swear it, you will be slaughtered, then, after your death, you will be resurrected where there will be a fire for you to burn you!’ The Prophet responded by saying, “Yes, I say so,’ but they did not hear him, being busy chatting with each other. Then he took hold of a handful of dust as he recited the first eight verses of Surat Ya-Sin. He threw the dust over their heads. None of the enemies saw him going out. The verses he recited are:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Ya-Sin. I swear by the Qur'an (which is) full of wisdom, (that) most surely you are one of the prophets, on a right course. (This is) a revelation of the Mighty, the most Merciful. So that you may warn people whose fathers were not warned, so they are heedles. Certainly the word has proved true of most of them, so they do not believe. Surely We have placed chains on their necks, and these reach up to their chins, so they have their heads raised aloft.(Qur'an, 36:1-8)

Muhammad had also ordered Ali to return the things which people had entrusted to him for safe keeping (since burglaries were quite common) to their respective owners.

The polytheists of Quraishite clans all the time thought that it was the Prophet who was sleeping and were anxiously waiting to kill him.

According to Usudul Ghabah of Ibn Athir al-Jazri, Ihya' ul Oloom (of al-Ghazali) and Tarikhul Khamis of qadi Husain al-Diyarbakri, when Ali slept in Muhammad's bed, God said to arch-angels Gabriel and Michael, “I establish brotherhood between you two and increase the life of one of you over that of the other. Having done so, I ask which of you is prepared to sacrifice his life for his brother?’ Both Gabriel and Michael heard this address from the Lord but each held his life dearer than the other's and was not prepared to help his brother by sacrificing his own life.

God then addressed them again, “Can you not be like Ali ibn Abu Talib? See, I created brotherhood between Muhammad and Ali, and now Ali is sleeping in Muhammad's bed determined to sacrifice his own life for his brother. Now you both go to earth and guard Ali from the mischief of the enemies.’ Then the two nearest-to-God angels came down and took their positions near the head and the feet of Ali. Gabriel said: “Hail to thee! Hail to thee! Who can be like thee, O son of Abu Talib, so that the Lord is proud of thee and exalts thy virtue before the angels?!’ And so it happened. When the Prophet was on his way to Yathrib, God revealed to him the following verse in praise of Ali:

And amongst men there is one who sells his life seeking the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is most benevolent to His slaves.(Qur'an, 2:207)

The Prophet went to the mountain of Thawr in the dead of night accompanied by Abu Bakr and hid in a cave near its summit. This place is about 5 miles from Mecca.

There are two versions as to how Abu Bakr came to accompany the Prophet. One narrative says that the Prophet himself went to the house of Abu Bakr and told him to accompany him.

The other narrative says that when the Prophet went away, Abu Bakr came there and asked Ali as to where the Prophet was. Ali told him that he had already left for Yathrib. Abu Bakr went out looking for the Prophet. The night was dark; therefore, when he came nearer, the Prophet thought that an infidel was pursuing him. He started going faster and faster, till his shoe-lace was broken and his toes were badly wounded. Then Abu Bakr called him. Recognizing his voice, the Prophet stopped. Abu Bakr caught up with him and asked permission to accompany him. Thus, they went together till they reached Thawr.

At dawn, the infidels, including Meccan dignitaries such as Abu Jahl, al-Hakam ibn Abul-’as, ‘Oqbah ibn Mu’eet, al-Nadir ibn al-Harith, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, Ibn al-Ghaytalah, Zam’ah ibn al-Aswad, Tu’mah ibn ‘Adiy, Abu Lahab, Ubayy ibn Khalaf, and both Nabeeh and Munbih sons of al-Hajjaj, broke into the Prophet's house.

They were flabbergasted upon finding Ali in the bed instead of the Prophet. “Where is Muhammad?’ they asked Ali who told them that he did not know. It is said that they beat and confined Ali for about an hour then released him. At once they started looking for Muhammad, tracking him right up to the mouth of the cave. The searching party was headed by one Suraqah ibn Malik who was motivated by greed rather than by zeal for paganism and its man-made gods.

Still, they never thought of looking into the cave. Why?
As soon as the fugitives entered the cave, a spider wove cobweb at the entrance and a pair of pigeons built their nest at the mouth of the very cave in the darkness of the night and laid eggs at once. It was that cobweb and the nest with the eggs that made the blood-thirsty enemies believe that Muhammad could not be in that cave; otherwise, the cobweb would have been destroyed and the nest and the eggs broken! It was at this moment that they got so near to the cave that Abu Bakr started weeping, being afraid of the possible discovery. But the Prophet consoled him saying,

“Grieve not; surely Allah is with us’ (Qur'an, 9:40).

Having seen how the pigeons and the spider helped save his life, the Messenger of God supplicated to the Almighty for them, praying that He reward them on his behalf. As a token of his appreciation, Muhammad prohibited Muslims ever since from killing spiders or pigeons.

Both men14 left Mecca on the first night of Rabi’ul-Awwal, reaching the cave of Thawr before dawn and remaining therein up to the 4th of Rabi’ul-Awwal. On the 5th, they started their journey to Yathrib. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Orayqit al-Daylami was hired to show them the way. Abu Bakr offered one of his she-camels to the Prophet for the journey. The Prophet accepted it on the condition that Abu Bakr accepted its price. Thus, Abu Bakr sold one she-camel (which had cost him 200 dirhams) to the Prophet for 900 dirhams.

Seeing how they missed the opportunity to kill Muhammad, Abu Jahl announced a prize of one hundred camels for anyone who brought Muhammad to them alive or dead. He hired a crier to cry out throughout the city saying, “O Meccans! Whoever brings Muhammad or leads us to his hiding place will receive one hundred camels! And whoever brings us the son of Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr) or leads us to his hiding place will receive one hundred camels!’

Lured by the promise of such a generous reward, “Abu Sahl’ Buraydah ibn al-Hasib al-Aslami rode in command of seventy of his tribesmen seeking to capture Muhammad. Having left the cave a short while ago, Muhammad found himself face-to-face with Buraydah! “Who are you?’ asked Muhammad. “I am Buraydah,’ the man answered without asking about the identity of the inquirer. Muhammad turned to Abu Bakr and said, “Our affair is made easy (barada15) and is amended!’ Then the Prophet asked Buraydah, “Who do you belong to?’ Buraydah said, “From Aslam (Banu Aslam, the offspring of Aslam16).’

The Messenger of Allah then said, “We sure are now safe (salimna)!’ “From whom?’ asked Buraydah. “From Banu Sahm! Your arrow (sahm) is now out17!’ “And who are you?!’ asked Buraydah. “I am Muhammad son of ‘Abdullah, the Messenger of Allah,’ answered the Prophet. “I testify,’ responded Buraydah, “that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.’ All those who were in Buraydah's company embraced Islam there and then, having been impressed and captivated by the Messenger of Allah.

In the morning, Buraydah advised the Prophet thus: “Do not enter Yathrib without carrying a standard.’ Buraydah took off his own turban, tied it to a post and carried it in front of the Prophet. Since they were still in the outskirts of Mecca, Buraydah asked the Prophet, “O Prophet of Allah! Would you like to be my guest?’ Muhammad said, “My she-camel receives her own orders [as to where the Prophet should spend the night].’ Buraydah said, “Praise be to Allah! The Banu Sahm have submitted to the will of Allah willingly, not unwillingly!’18

During the first day of the trip to Yathrib, the Prophet halted for a short while at a place called Qadid where he and his companions met a virtuous lady named Umm Ma’bad of the tribe of Khuza’ah. Her tribe is actually an ally of Quraish. The men asked her as she sat in the shade of her tent to sell them some dates and meat, but she did not have any. The Messenger of Allah saw a she-camel tied next to the tent. “What is this she-camel, O Umm Ma’bid?’ asked the Prophet. She told him that was a worn-out she-camel that could not produce any milk. “Do you permit me to milk her?’ was the Prophet's next question.

The old woman told Muhammad that he was welcome to milk the she-camel only if he could find any milk in her udders at all. Muhammad supplicated to his Lord then passed his holy hands on the she-camel's udders. He asked for the largest container with which the woman could provide him. He milked the she-camel till the container was completely full. First he let the old woman drink of that milk, then he let Abu Bakr and his slave drink, then the road guide. He was the last to drink of it… Such humbleness is typical only of the prophets of God. Before leaving, he milked the she-camel again and left the container full with the old woman.

When Abu Ma’bad, the old woman's husband, came back from the pasture with his animals suddenly fattened, another miracle, he listened to his wife describing the person of the Prophet, whereupon he was very excited and wished he had been at home to pay him homage. He then spontaneously composed verses of poetry describing both miracles: the milking of the she-camel that had no milk at all before Muhammad touched her udders, and that of his own herd suddenly becoming healthy and fat. These poetic verses can be reviewed on pp. 42-43 of Vol. 19 of al-Majlisi's work Bihar al-Anwar. As a matter of fact, when the great poet Hassan ibn Thabit came to know about these miracles and about the poetry composed by Abu Ma’bad, he was inspired to compose poetry of his own on the same theme, using the same rhyme and meter employed by Abu Ma’bad. His poetic lines are cited on the same page…

When the Prophet got up to resume his journey, he performed the ablution in preparation for his afternoon prayers, throwing some water over a plant near the tent. The plant was found the next day to have miracuously grown into a tree laden with fruits. Its leaves were larger than they had ever been. People who tasted its fruit found it very delicious and aromatic. The tree was henceforth considered blessed, and soon the sick from various parts of Arabia went there to be cured by its fruit and leaves. It soon acquired fame all over the Arabian Peninsula. People from distant places thronged around it. Exactly ten years later (in 11 A.H./632 A.D.), it suddenly shed all its fruit.

The incident coincided with the day when the Messenger of Allah died. About thirty years later (42 A.H./662 A.D.), on the day of Imam Ali's martyrdom in Kufa, Iraq, the fruits of the tree again fell down all at once. It never produced any fruit ever since, yet people kept going there in order to be cured by its leaves. Finally, on the day of the martyrdom of Imam Husain, grandson of the Prophet, in Kerbala, Iraq, a red fluid was found flowing profusely from its trunk and the tree dried up. Reference to this tree and to its miraculous benefits is recorded in al-Hakim's book titled Al-amali and also on p. 41, Vol. 18, of al-Majlisi's work Bihar al-Anwar.

As a matter of fact, a voluminous book can be written about the miracles performed by the Prophet of Islam, and there are books already written about this subject. If the reader wishes that I write one such book, then I request him/her to supplicate to Allah to enable me to do so; his/her supplication will Insha-Allah be answered. If you thus supplicate, I plead to the Almighty to grant you a handsome share of the rewards of writing it, one that will last as long as you live and beyond that till the Day of Judgment; He is the most Generous of the generous ones; nobody can ever surpass Him in His generosity; He surely can do anything at all; He hears the supplication, and He responds…

On the second day of the trip to Yathrib undertaken by Muhammad, Abu Bakr and the two other men, and just when they thought that they were out of danger, they saw in the distance behind them a man in hot pursuit of them. It was Suraqah ibn Malik who was tempted by the one hundred camels' prize; he had not yet given up the search. At the sight, Abu Bakr again began to tremble for fear of being captured. “We are lost!’ he cried out.

Muhammad comforted him again by repeating what he had said to him when they were inside the cave: “Do not be afraid; Allah is with us.’ Saying so, the Prophet prayed God for protection. As the pursuer advanced, his charger reared and sank motionless in the sands. Both the rider and his mount were now helpless. Bewildered and astounded, Suraqah became convinced of the interference of Divine Providence on behalf of Muhammad, so he entreated the forgiveness of the Messenger of God, promising never to betray him again. The Prophet prayed for him, and his charger got up. He rode back home to Mecca, and Muhammad was once again free to pursue his course along the sea coast.

Journeying by unfrequented routes, the men safely reached Quba (2 miles south of Yathrib) one
week later, on the 12th of Rabi’ul-Awwal, 1 A.H. (September 27, 622 A.D.). The Prophet's camel sat down on its own at the place called Al-Taqwa where the Prophet alighted and was hosted by Sa’d ibn Khath’amah. Abu Bakr proceeded to Yathrib and became the guest of Zayd ibn Kharj who lived at Sonh, a suburb of Yathrib.

There, the Prophet, now 53 years old, halted at Quba for four days waiting for his right hand Ali to join him before proceeding to Yathrib. He did not want to triumphantly enter the city without Ali, his main supporter and confidant. There, he laid the foundations of the first mosque in Islam, the mosque of Quba which has been mentioned in the Qur'an as “the Mosque founded on piety (taqwa),’ hence it is also referred to as “Masjid al-Taqwa.’ After four days, Ali joined the Prophet and his party at Quba after having journeyed, all by himself and on foot, travelling at night and hiding during daytime, the entire distance of about 250 miles. His feet were sorely lacerated and bleeding. Upon his arrival, the Prophet expressed his thrill to see him, received him with open arms and, finding him tired, exhausted and his feet bleeding, he shed tears out of his affection for him. Muhammad subsequently applied the moisture of his mouth to Ali's wounds and prayed for him. That was sufficeint to bring him an instant relief by the power of God.

Then the Proph­et and his band of faithf­uls proceeded to Yathr­ib shortly before noon, entering it on Friday the 16th of Rabi’ul-Awwal corresponding to October 1, 622 A.D. with a group of followers who had come from Yath­rib to welcome the Pro­phet. This was the Hijra from which dates the Islamic (hijri) calendar.

Whoever obeys the Prophet surely obeys Allah.’ (Qur'a­n, 4:80)

Why the Persecution?

Let us stop here for a minute to analyze the reasons behind the persecution to which Prophet Muhammad and his followers were exposed.
The Prophet of Islam and his devoted band of followers had patiently endured untold hardships, tyranny and oppression for thirteen years and ultimately had to abandon their hearths and homes, sacrificing whatever worldly possessions they had. They did not pursue any worldly gains, nor had they aspired for any position of worldly eminence or share in any authority.

The Prophet had unequivocally told the Meccans, “I desire neither riches nor eminence nor dominion. I am sent by God Who has ordered me to announce glad tidings to you. I convey to you the words of my Lord. I admonish you. If you accept the message I bring you, God will be favourable to you both in this world and in the next. If you reject my admonition, I shall be patient and leave God to judge between you and me.’

The early Muslims were harassed and persecuted simply because they believed in One and the Only God, the Lord of the universe, and worshipped Him without ascribing to Him any partner or colleague. They had not exercised any compulsion, for the Qur'an had said:

There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the rebels (false deities) and believes in Allah, he indeed has laid hold of the strongest handle which shall not break off. (Qur'an, 2:256)

The Qur'an only appealed to the inner consciousness of man, to his reason and intellect. Nevertheless, the new religion was in sharp contrast with the cults practiced by Quraish which ages of observance and belief had sanctified for them. The Prophet preached the equality of man and stressed that in righteousness alone lay the superiority of one over the other. Quraish saw in this leveling of distinctions the end of their authority and privileges as the guardians of the Ka’ba, of their political and social hegemony, and of their vested interests at large.

The new religion placed restraints upon the promiscuous and unbridled license wherein the society indulged. It heralded the end of licentious ways, of sensual pleasures and drunken orgies to which Quraish were, by and large, espoused. It imposed spiritual discipline in the form of prayers, fasting and charity and frowned upon avarice, greed, slander, falsehood, indecency and other vices with which the society was permeated. In short, it meant the giving up of old ways and the taking to a new life of austere piety and chastity. The opposition of the Meccans was, therefore, sharp and violent.

They relentlessly persecuted the followers of the new faith and made life so difficult for them that ultimately the Prophet and his followers had to abandon their hearths and homes for more congenial surroundings. The Prophet did not even invoke the wrath of God on them. When once he was requested by Khabbab son of ‘Arrat19 to curse Quraish, the Prophet pulled him up saying, “People have gone by who were sawn and torn to pieces in the cause of God, but they did not desist from their duties. God will accomplish His plan till a rider will go from Sinai to Hadramaut fearing none except God.’ What a true prophecy!

  • 1. Yasir's son, `Ammar, is very well known in the history of Islam. His full name is “Abul-Yaqzan” `Ammar ibn Yasir al-`Ansi, one of the foremost to accept Islam at the house of al-Arqam ibn Abu al-Arqam al-Makhzumi, “the house of Islam” where those who wished to embrace Islam would then go. `Ammar was martyred during the Battle of Siffeen at the age of 94 after having participated in both migrations to Ethiopia. He also participated with great courage in the Battle of Badr and was one of those who took part in “Bay`at al-Ridwan” to be discussed later in this book.
  • 2. This boycott reminds me of the suffering of my people in Iraq at the hands of “Muslims” and non-Muslims who joined ranks in their satanic effort to starve and kill our people.
  • 3. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 19, p. 2. According to this reference, the boycott continued not for three but for four years.
  • 4. Ibid., p. 3.
  • 5. A Magi is a Zoroastrian priest, a possessor of magic powers.
  • 6. Prophet Muhammed was legendary for his passion for perfume! He would prefer to buy perform when he went to the marketplace rather than food, opting to fast instead. Once he said, “I have enjoyed of your life only three (pleasures): prayers, perfume, and women!”
  • 7. Actually, it did not become cool at his (Abraham's) command; rather, the Almighty ordered it, as the Holy Qur'an tells us, “We [Allah] said: O fire! Be a comfort and peace to Abraham” (Qur'an, 21:69). Habib did not know any better!
  • 8. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 17, pp. 316-317.
  • 9. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 17, pp. 307-311. The pages following these ones narrate numerous other miracles of the Prophet.
  • 10. Alexander Pope, Essay on Man.
  • 11. Mary the Copt was one of two Christian bondmaids, the other being her sister Sirin, presented to Muhammed, who freed her then married her, by the Roman governor of Egypt who had received a letter from Muhammed inviting him to accept Islam. The Prophet gifted Sirin to Hassan ibn Thabit, the famous poet and companion of the Prophet.
  • 12. Abul-Hasan Ali ibn Ibrahim al-Qummi, Tafsir al-Qummi, Vol. 2, pp. 274-275 (Beirut, Lebanon: Al-A`lami Foundation for Publications, 1412 A.H./1991 A.D.). The original text is, of course, written in Arabic.
  • 13. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 19, p. 11.
  • 14. According to al-Majlisi, they were not two but four men: The Prophet, Abu Bakr, the latter's slave `Amir ibn Faheerah, and their road guide `Abdullah ibn al-`Urayqat.
  • 15. The name “Buraydah” spurred the Prophet to be optimistic. Literally, it means “easy” or “cool.” It is a noun derived from the verb barada (past), yabradu (present); barid, easy, cool or cold, is the adjective. The reader can easily sense the Prophet's confidence in his Maker's protection as well as his courage and sense of humor even in the most critical of situations.
  • 16. 2The word “aslama” means “became Muslim.”
  • 17. 3This is a figure of speech in Arabic meaning: “You have now won.”
  • 18. These details and many more can be reviewed on p. 40, Vol. 19, of al-Majlisi's voluminous book Bihar al-Anwar.
  • 19. The reader remembers Khabbab from the incident detailing the conversion of `Omer ibn al-Khattab. His nickname is Abu `Abdullah, and he was one of those who were persecuted by Quraish for accepting Islam. He participated in the Battle of Badr then went to reside in Kufa where he died in 37 A.H. (some say in 39 A.H.). The Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abu Talib praised him at the time of his death saying, “May Allah have mercy upon Khabbab; he willingly accepted Islam, obediently migrated, lived as a mujahid, and supported Islam with his might. Surely Allah rewards the doers of good.”

The Prophet in Madina (622 A.D.)


Living in contact with the Jews, the Aws and the Khazraj tribes were not foreign to the idea of the unity of God. They had heard from the Jews that a Prophet was to come. Some of their people had come into contact with the Prophet at Mecca and had been deeply impressed by Him. The deputation (of three to five hundred referred to above) which they had sent to Mecca had returned entirely satisfied. The disciples who had preceded the Prophet were spreading the message of Islam throughout Yathrib. Unlike the Meccans, the Yathribites had no vested interest standing in the way of their accepting the new religion. Islam had already taken roots in Yathrib thus before the Prophet arrived there on the invitation of the people of Aws and Khazraj. No wonder they gave the Prophet a tumultuous welcome at Yathrib.

The name of the city was then changed to “Medinat al-Nabi’, the City of the Prophet. Islam effaced the age-long enmity between the tribes of Aws and Khazraj and they were given the honourific designation of “Ansars’ (helpers or supporters). The immigrants, forty-five in number, were called “Muhajirun.’

The next task was to build a mosque in Medina like the one built in Quba. The place where Muhammad's she-camel had stopped was an open courtyard with some palm trees growing over it, and it belonged to two orphan brothers named Sahl and Suhayl. When they came to know that the Prophet wanted to build a mosque on their property, they were elated and offered the property as a present to the Prophet. But the Prophet kindly declined their offer, paying them instead two mithqals1 in gold, the price settled for the plot. The plot was cleared of the trees, and a mosque 54 yards in width and 60 yards in length was built over it with clay bricks and mud. It was roofed with palm-wood rafters covered with palm branches, leaves and clay. Actually, it was not sufficiently solid to keep rain out.

The trunks of palm trees were used as pillars to support the roof. The construction of this mosque, “Masjid al-Nabi,’ (mosque of the Prophet), was distributed among the converts. The Prophet, too, had his share of the work, but he was seldom allowed to work as ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, one of the earliest converts to Islam and a faithful companion of the Prophet, used to accomplish the Prophet's share of work in addition to his own. ‘Ammar was the very first person to begin digging the mosque's foundation. Soon, a simple, unostentatious mosque was completed. Close to one side of the mosque, rooms were constructed for the Prophet and his family.

On the other side, rooms were provided for the poor adherents who had no house of their own. The latter numbered about seventy at the time and later gradually increased to four hundred. The rooms of the poor faithfuls who had no house of their own to live in were called “Suffa,’ and it was in one of them that a famous muhaddith, narrator of traditions, named Abu Hurayra used to live. He will Insha-Allah be discussed later in this book. On the completion of these rooms, the Prophet, who meanwhile was living with Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, whose full name is Khalid ibn Zayd ibn Kulayb, moved permanently into one of them. Abu Ayyub al-Ansari was head of the Banu al-Najjar clan to whom Selma, mother of ‘Abdul-Muttalib, Muhammad's grand-father, belonged, hence Abu Ayyub was actually a distant relative of the Messenger of Allah, a maternal cousin.

The doors of the houses of some of the companions opened into the mosque. The Prophet ordered the doors of all of them except that of Ali closed. The companions raised some objections against this order. The Prophet, thereupon, stood up and addressed them. Having praised Allah, he said, “In accordance with the decree of Allah, I ordered you to close the doors and Ali to keep his open. Your wrangling is undesirable. Neither did I open nor close any door of my own accord. I only acted as I was ordered by Allah.’

The Muhajirun needed some meaningful relief. To ensure their economic security and also to establish brotherly ties between them and the Ansar, the Prophet joined each Muhajir with an Ansar in a tie of “Brotherhood’ that became even more precious and enduring than the bond of blood relationship. The Ansar volunteered to share half and half with other contractual brothers everything they earned or possessed. It is to this unification of interests that the Qur'an refers in the following verses:

Surely those (Muhajirun) who believed and migrated and strived hard in the way of Allah with their property and souls, and those (Ansar) who sheltered and helped them, these are indeed friends (and protectors) of one another.(Qur'an, 8:72)

The Muhajirun were anxious not to remain a burden on their brothers. Soon, many of them settled down to trade and do business. In the course of time, they were rehabilitated, and within a few years, they were no longer in need of any financial support. It was then that the following verse was revealed:

And the possessors of relationships are nearer to each other.(Qur'an, 8:75)

In Medina, Islam had at first to face serious challenges. Danger threatened it from all sides, and it had to fight against great odds for mere survival. Some of the battles forced on it were inspired by political motives, others were the result of direct opposition to the new faith and the desperate efforts which its enemies exerted to quell it before it firmly established itself. Other difficulties were added by the predatory and warlike habits of the nomadic tribes roaming around the city and the insecurity and lawlessness prevailing in the country at large. It may be a good idea, therefore, to analyze and understand the political conditions of Arabia of the time.

Pre-Islamic Arabia

The Arabs belonged to one ethnic race, but history does not record that they were ever united as one nation. They were divided into tribes and clans, each having its own chief or chieftain. They, no doubt, spoke the same language, but each tribe followed a different dialect. Indeed, even religion was not a binding force. Almost every house had its own god; tribes had their own supreme deities. In the south were the small principalities of Himyar, Awza and Aqyal. In the middle and northern Arabia lived the tribes of Bakr, Taghlib, Shaiban, Azd, Quza’ah, Kandaf, Lakhm, Juzam, Banu Hanifa, Tay, Asad, Hawazin, Ghatfan, and Aws. Khazraj, Thaqif, Quraish and others were frequently engaged in intensive warfare.

The Aws and the Khazraj belonged to Banu Qayla. Shortly before Muhammad's arrival, the Battle of Bu’ath, which broke out during the seventh year of the Prophet's mission, between these two clans, had shattered the power of the Khazraj who were now considering making Ibn Ubay, namely ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay Salool, king of Medina. They hoped, by doing so, that they would be guided by him in consolidating their power, especially since they were more n’Omarous than the other clan. But the appearance of the Prophet and the conversion of the majority of the Aws to Islam turned the tide in favour of the Prophet. He proved himself to be the right man who came to the right place at the right time to put an end to the senseless bloodshed.

Bakr and Taghlib, too, had been fighting each other for forty years. Blood engagements had ruined many a tribe of Hadaramaut. And the Battle of Fijar between Banu Qais and Quraish had not yet ended. If any member of a tribe was killed, the tribe considered itself duty bound to seek revenge not merely upon the murderer but also on the tribe to which he belonged. Since there was no effective machinery to settle such disputes, this invariably touched off furious wars which lasted for generations.

Tribal might, dash and alacrity, were the only guarantee of a precarious security. The desert and the hills were home to fierce nomadic tribes that lived largely on plunder and depredation, but trade was also a major source of livelihood. Only a few months of the year were regarded as sacred. It was only then that bloodshed was stopped in order to facilitate the performance of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca or to trade at ‘Okaz. But even this convention was at times relaxed to suit the convenience of individual tribes. Only the precincts of the Ka’ba were considered sacred and were free from bloodshed. It is to this state of affairs that the Qur'an has drawn attention:

Do they not see that we have made a sacred territory secure for them, while men are carried off by force all around them?(Qur'an, 29:67)

The conditions in the country were so insecure that till 5 A.H./626 A.D., the powerful tribe of ‘Abdul-Qais of Bahrain could not think of going to Hijaz outside the sacred months. Even the caravans going to or returning from Syria were sometimes plundered in open daylight.

Muslims' pasture lands were at times raided. Although conditions had considerably improved by then, the route to Mecca from Medina was not altogether safe till the fall of Mecca in 630 A.D.

While the country was so strife-ridden internally, dangers from outside were no less. The Roman and Persian empires had extended their domain to the fertile provinces of Yemen, Oman and Bahrain, extending their sovereignty to their land. The Romans had occupied Syria. Ghassan and some other Arab tribes, who had embraced Christianity, had been set up as the latter's feudatories. The Romans had expelled the Jews from Syria and Palestine in the second Century B.C. These Jews had migrated to Medina and its suburbs and built strong fortresses at Medina, Khaibar, Taima, Fadak and other places.

Prospering themselves, the Jews were extremely jealous of prosperity in other races and strongly resented rivalry in trade business. They believed themselves to be God's “chosen people’ and their conduct was characterized by pride and arrogance intensified by the feeling of being secure inside their formidable fortresses. Only a few of them embraced Islam. They included ‘Abdullah ibn Salam, one of their rabbis. The majority did not believe in Muhammad, the prophet prophecized in their Scriptures, because they expected the Promised One to be one of the Israelites, one who would rise in Syria, not in Arabia, with Hebrew as his langauge.

It was during such times that the Prophet started his great mission. For preparing the ground and the proper climate, the first step that he took was to unite the Ansar and the Muhajirun.

Establishing Brotherhood (623 A.D.)

In the next year, the 13th after the inception of the historic Prophetic mission, the Prophet established brotherhood between each couple of his followers, one from the Ansar and one from the Muhajirun. Thus, Abu Bakr and ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab were joined as brothers; so were Hamzah and Zayd ibn al-Harithah, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan and ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, al-Zubayr ibn al-’Awwam and Ibn Mas’ud, ‘Obaydah ibn al-Harith and Bilal ibn Rabah the Ethiopian, Talhah and Sa’id ibn Zayd, Mus’ab ibn ‘Omayr and Sa’d ibn Abu al-Waqqas, Abu ‘Obaydah and Salim…., etc. The Prophet established brotherhood between himself and Ali ibn Abu Talib, telling him, as we are told by al-Sayyuti, “You are my brother in the life of this world and in that of the hereafter.’

Prayers and Fast Mandated (623 A.D.)

Bilal ibn Rabah was an Ethiopian intellectual who had embraced Nestorian Christianity then came to Arabia looking for the new prophet, fell in captivity then sold in Mecca as a slave of the Umayyads, bought by ‘Uthman and freed to be one of the early converts to Islam and the very first mu'aththin, caller to prayers. He started calling the athan publicly this very year (623 A.D.). The following verses of Surat al-Baqara (Chapter of the Cow) were revealed ordering the faithful to direct their faces towards Mecca as their qibla:

Indeed, We see the turning of our face to the heavens; so, We shall surely turn you to a qibla which you shall like; turn then your face towards the Sacred Mosque, and wherever you are, turn your faces towards it, and those who have been given the Book most surely know that it is the truth from their Lord, and Allah is not at all heedless of what they do. And even if you bring those who have been given the Book every Sign, they shall not follow your qibla, nor can you be a follower of their qibla, nor are they the followers of each other's qibla, and if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, then you shall most surely be among the unjust.(Qur'an, 2:144-145)

Before then, they used to direct their faces towards Jerusalem, something because of which the Jews of Medina taunted them; idols still littered the Ka’ba in Mecca. And the fast of the month of Ramadan was also mandated in the same year in response to verses 179 - 181 of the same Chapter referred to above.

Ali Marries Fatima (624 A.D.)

On the 15th of Rajab of the next year (2 A.H.), corresponding to January 15, 624 A.D., Fatima, daughter of the Prophet, was married to Ali. All that Ali could offer by way of mahr (dower) was his coat of mail, and all that the Prophet could give to his daughter as a wedding gift were: an ordinary cot, a mattress stuffed with palm leaves, a water bag, two grinding stones, and two earthen pitchers. Yet some writers insinuate that the Prophet and his party were ambushing and plundering trade caravans!

If these writers, who profess to be unbiased, are to be believed, what had happened to the booty and the riches?! What is most dangerous about such “historians’ is that they dutifully cite a mass of historical data and in the same breath utter some falsehoods so that those lies may also pass on as historically true.

Pact With The Jews (624 A.D.)

Having thus welded the Ansar and the Muhajirun into one Brotherhood, the Prophet now set himself to the task of establishing a stable society, a commonwealth based on equality of rights and on the concept of universal humanity. Granting equality of status and rights as well as full freedom of religion and of conscience to the Jews, he invited them to enter into a pact with the Muslims. He drew up a charter which has been reproduced by the historian Ibn Hashim thus:
In the Name of the Most Merciful and Compassionate God.

Granted by Muhammad, the Prophet, to the Believers, whether of Quraish or of Yathrib, and all individuals of whatever origin who have made common cause with them: All these shall constitute one community.

Then, after regulating the payment of the diyya (blood money) by the various clans and fixing some wise rules regarding the private duties of Muslims among themselves, the document proceeds thus:

The state of peace and war shall be common to all Muslims; none among them shall have the right of concluding peace with, or declaring war against, the enemies of his co-religionists. The Jews who enter into this covenant shall be protected from all insults and vexations; they shall have an equal right with our own people to our assistance and good offices. The Jews of the various branches of ‘Awf, Najjar, al-Harith, Jashm, Tha’labah, Aws, and all others domiciled in Yathrib shall form with the Muslims one composite nation. They shall practice their religion as freely as the Muslims.

The clients and allies of the Jews shall enjoy the same security and freedom. The guilty shall be pursued and punished. The Jews shall join the Muslims in defending Yathrib against all enemies. The interior of Yathrib shall be a sacred place for all those who accept this Charter. The clients and allies of the Muslims and of the Jews shall be as respected as the principals. All Muslims shall hold in abhorrence anyone found guilty of a crime, injustice, or disorder. None shall uphold the culpable, even if he may be his nearest in kinship.

Then, after some other provisions regarding the internal management of the State, this extraordinary document concluded thus:
All future disputes between those who accept this Charter shall be finally referred, after God, to the Prophet.

The Jews of Medina accepted this Pact. After some time, the neighbouring Jewish tribes of Banu Nadir and Banu Quraizah signed it, too. But, as later events proved, it was only expediency that had dictated this course of action to the Jews. There was no change of heart on their part and they secretly nursed the same hostile feelings against the Aws and the Khazraj as before and viewed the growing confederation of the Muslims with grave concern and animosity.

In the course of time, they started taunting and abusing the Muslims, frequently quarrelling with them and resorting to treachery and sedition. They were assisted by some people of the Aws and the Khazraj who had become lukewarm converts: the Munafiqun (hypocrites). These were headed by ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay who had his own designs to become the king of Medina and, together with the Jews, they became a constant source of danger to the newborn religion and to its adherents.

The Jews, who had thriving business deals with Quraish of Mecca, conspired with them to eradicate the infant religion before it assumed formidable proportions. As the head of the religion, and a general in a time of almost continuous warfare, Muhammad was the guardian of the lives and liberty of the people. The very existence of the nascent religion was in serious peril. Islam preaches the brotherhood of mankind; it insists upon toleration of all religions and creeds; it enjoins kindness and compassion, but it does not permit its followers to submit to the forces of disintegration.

Being in league with the Jews and the munafiqun, the Meccans started harassing the Muslims. Under the leadership of Karz ibn Jabir al-Fahri, they started raiding up to the very outskirts of Medina, destroying fruit-bearing trees and carrying away flocks. News began pouring into Medina that the Meccans were allying with other tribes to launch a massive attack against the Muslims. Muhammad sent out small ambassadorial missions to these tribes to contract alliances and treaties. One of those missions entered into a treaty with Banu Zamra. The terms of the treaty were as follows:

This is the document of Muhammad, Messenger of God, for Banu Zamra. Their lives and property are safe. If they are attacked by anyone, they will be assisted except when they themselves fight against the religion (Islam). In return, they will come to the help of the Prophet when called upon by him.

A similar pact was made with Banu Madlaj at Thul-’Ashira. Quraish had sent a threatening letter to ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay who was the chief of his tribe prior to the arrival of the Prophet: “You have given shelter to our man (Muhammad). You should either kill him or turn him out of Medina or else we swear that we will attack you and, killing all the males, we will capture and enjoy your women.’

The attack was considered so imminent, and the small band of Muslims was in such peril, that the Prophet used to remain awake throughout the night. Al-Darmi and al-Hakim have recorded that “When the Prophet and his companions came to Medina and the Ansar sheltered them, the Arabs decided to attack them. The Prophet's companions used to sleep holding to their weapons.’

Military Reconnaissance

Quraishites were extremely furious about Muhammad slipping away from their hands, having made all preparations to kill him. The news that Islam was rapidly gaining hold in Medina did nothing to pacify their rage and animosity. Several times news reached Medina that they were planning to attack the Muslims. As a result, the Prophet had to send out reconnoitering parties now and then to find out the designs and movements of Quraish and to watch the routes and highways to prevent any sudden attack.

Once, thirty Muslims (under the command of Hamzah, the Prophet's uncle) met a party of 300 riders (under the command of Abu Jahl) at Saiful-Bahr. The Meccans were eager to massacre the small group of thirty, but Majdi ibn ‘Amr al-Juhni (who had a covenant with both groups) prevailed upon both sides and convinced them to go back to their respective places. Thus, a battle was averted.

Some time later, a patrolling party of 60 to 80 Muslims, under the command of ‘Obaydah ibn al-Harith (a cousin of the Prophet) reached Rabigh and found 200 riders of Quraish under the command of ‘Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl. Quraishites started the battle with their bows and arrows. Then, someone thought that the Muslims could not come with such a small force to face a group of warriors so superior in number unless they had a great army hidden somewhere. This idea spread, and they fled away.

A small party of twelve persons under the command of ‘Abdullah ibn Jahsh (also a cousin of the Prophet2) was dispatched to Nakhlah, an area between Taif and Mecca, with sealed orders to be opened after two days' journey__a precaution against espionage which was rife. The letter, as quoted by al-Tabari on page 1275 of his Tarikh, stated: “Stay at Nakhlah; gather information about the designs of Quraish and communicate.’

It was only coincidentally that the party met some Meccan traders and that one of them, ‘Amr ibn al-Hadrami, a highly distinguished man of nobility, was killed at the hands of ‘Abdullah. One man escaped, and two others were brought to the Prophet as prisoners. The date of the incident was mistaken by the party as the last day of Jumada II, but the Meccans claimed that it was the first of the holy month of Rajab during which no aggression was permitted. The action was thus interpreted as a deliberate encroachment on the sanctity of the holy month. ‘Abdullah had apparently acted beyond his instructions, and this incident aggravated the situation. Except for this isolated incident, in none of the n’Omarous expeditions listed by Arab historians as saraya was there any skirmish or a question of looting and plundering. They were sent out either to make alliances with neighbouring tribes, or they were reconnaissance patrols; news was reaching Medina that the Meccans might strike any day.

Badr: First Battle In Islam (624 A.D.)

Quraish had begun grand-scale preparations to attack Medina. The trade caravan which had gone to Syria that year headed by Abu Sufyan was extraordinarily equipped. Every Quraishite put all his savings in that caravan, and it was decided that the profit accrued that year would be given to the traders to spend on arms, horses, and other items of war to battle the Muslims of Medina.

This news did cause a great deal of anxiety in Medina. As Abu Sufyan was returning from Syria, he feared that the Muslims might intercept his trade caravan. He sent a messenger well in advance to inform the leaders of Quraish of his fears. Upon receiving the message, a well-equipped army of one thousand Meccans marched towards Medina under the command of Abu Jahl.

They had reached Badr (200 miles from Mecca and 80 miles from Medina) when news came that the trade caravan was passing just three miles on the seaside from the Quraishites' camp, and that it had not encountered any attack from the Muslims yet. But since the Meccans were so eager to battle Muhammad and his followers, they decided to proceed towards Medina anyway. After all, was not the objective of sending such a trade caravan this very battle?! So, why should they go back to Mecca when they had one thousand well-equipped warriors among them who were sufficient to teach the Muslims a lesson?! They camped at the stream of Badr.

Now let us see what was happening in Medina. When news came that the trade caravan was coming from Syria (on the north side) and that the Meccan army was marching towards Medina (from the south), the Muslims thought that they would be crushed between these two enemy groups.

Now, there were two options before the Muslims in Medina: to either save themselves from being overwhelmed by the Meccans with all their resources from the rich Syrian trade, or choose another alternative (one which had the least danger for the time being and which also promised a rich booty): fall upon the Quraishi caravan returning from Syria richly laden and led by Abu Sufyan with only 40 not so well-armed men. From a worldly point of view, this latter course was the safest and the most lucrative, and many Muslims preferred it. The other alternative, which was actually adopted on the recommendation of the Prophet as guided by God, was to leave the booty alone and to march out boldly against the well-armed and well-equipped Quraishite army of 1,000 men coming from Mecca.

The Prophet, as usual, consulted with his companions in this regard. Abu Bakr said, “The Prophet knows better, but it has come to my knowledge that Quarish are fast approaching. They are only two stages from us.’ ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab added, “O Messenger of Allah! The prestige of Quraish is involved in this affair. They have never bent their haughty necks to servitude. Since becoming infidels, they have never turned believers. They are sure to set themselves stubbornly against you. You should, therefore, have adequate equipment of war to meet them.’ ‘’Omar's statements did not please the Prophet at all, and signs of indignation were visible on his face.

Al-Miqdad ibn ‘Amr3 then addressed the Prophet thus: “We should not repeat what the Children of Israel had said to Moses, that is, ‘Go, you and your Lord, to fight while we sit here waiting.' Rather, by God Who sent you to guide us, we should say: ‘Go you and your Lord to fight and we shall fight your foe on your right and on your left, in front of you and behind you, till the Lord grants you victory.’ Hearing this speech of Miqdad, the Prophet smiled and blessed him.

Now the Prophet turned to the Ansar to see what they had to say. They formed the majority of his fighting force. He was apprehensive lest they should say that they had pledged to assist him only in repulsing any attack against their city, Medina. But Sa’d ibn Mu’ath4 stood up on behalf of the Ansar and said to him that they had received him as the Prophet of God and had sworn allegiance to him, promising to obey him. They, therefore, were all ready to follow him, to do whatever pleased him, though it were to throw themselves into the sea. The Prophet appreciated this statement and made it known to everyone that he had decided to face the Meccan forces, assuring them of victory.
This situation is described in the following ayats of the Qur'an:

Just as your Lord caused you (O Muhammad!) to go forth from your house with the truth, though a party of the believers were averse thereto; they disputed with you about the truth after it had become clear, (and they went forth) as if they were being driven to death while they looked (at it). And when Allah promised you one of the two parties that it shall be yours, and you loved that the one not armed should be yours, and Allah desired to manifest the truth of what was true by His words and to cut off the root of the unbelievers, so that He may manifest the truth of what was true and show the falsehood of what was false, even though the guilty ones disliked it.(Qur'an, 8:5-8)

These verses clearly show that the Meccan army was already on its way long before the Muslims came out of Medina to defend themselves. Also, they clearly show that although some Muslims desired to avoid the Meccan army and to attack the trade caravan, that idea was not accepted, and that the decided aim and objective of their march was to fight the Meccan army which was already on its way.

This clearly belies the vicious and mischievous propaganda of Western writers who claim that the Prophet had intended to attack the trade caravan of Quraish and that Quraish had come out only to protect it. The verses of the Qur'an provide an authentic contemporary record of the events of Badr. If there is any writing by anyone which goes against this Divine account, it must be thrown out of the window.

You may wonder why the enemies of Islam labour so much to present this battle of Badr as one in which the Quraishites (poor souls!) were aiming at only protecting their trade caravan. The reason is this: It was the first battle between the pagan Quraishites and the Muslims, and if the responsibility of this first battle is laid on the heads of the Muslims, then all subsequent battles could be portrayed as being the continuation of this battle and, thus, the Prophet could be presented as a warrior prophet who by his plundering designs compelled the “peace-loving’ Meccans to fight!

‘Anyhow, let us go back to our narrative. The Meccan army was in control of the stream of Badr, and the ground of their campsite was of firm clay. Contrarily, the Muslims were far from the stream and thus experienced difficulty in finding water. To make matters worse, many Muslims had nocturnal discharge while asleep and became “unclean’ (najis). And the ground under them was sandy which was likely to prevent fast running during the battle.

God helped them by sending rain which provided them with water enough for their needs and made the sandy ground firm for them, while the firm clay of the Meccans' side became muddy and slippery, making their stand and maneuvers difficult.
Referring to this, Allah says in the Qur'an:

(Remember) when He caused drowsiness to fall on you as a security from Him and sent down upon you water from the cloud so that He might thereby purify you and take away from you the uncleanness of Satan, so that He might fortify your hearts and keep (your) footsteps thereby firm.(Qur'an, 8:11)

In this background, look at the insinuation of some Western “scholars’ who have written that the Prophet had taken control of the stream of Badr and by refusing water to the Meccans, reduced them to defeat!

Anyhow, the facts of the actual battle are, in short, as follows:

With an ill-equipped body of three hundred and thirteen persons, 61 from the Aws and 170 from the Khazraj, having among them only two horses and seventy camels (which they rode by turn), the Prophet proceeded to Badr, about eighty miles from Medina, to meet the Meccan army. Young Ali was the standard-bearer. The forces met on Friday, the 17th of the month of Ramadan, 2 A.H. (March 16, 624 A.D.). According to the customs of the Arabs, three Quraishite warriors challenged their opponents to individual duels. They were ‘Otbah, Abu Sufyan's father-in-law and father of Hind who tried to chew Hamzah's liver, as the reader will come to know later, al-Walid, ‘Otbah's son, and Shaybah, brother of ‘Otbah, all Umayyads.

They enjoyed a great deal of influence in their tribe. Three Ansar stepped forward accepting their challenge, but the Quraishites refused to accept them as their equals and instead invited the “Meccan renegades,’ as they called them, to come out to meet them on the battlefield. Ali and ‘Obaydah, both cosuins of the Prophet, as well as Hamzah the valiant, his uncle, all Hashemites, responded to the challenge, and the fight between these six men broke out. It was a fierce and prolonged contest. Ali and Hamzah succeeded in the end in overpowering their opponents, al-Walid and Shaybah respectively, whom they slew. Then they went to aid ‘Obaydah who was severely wounded and nearly overpowered by ‘Otbah. They killed ‘Otbah and captured ‘Obaydah who died of his wounds four days later.

After these individual duels, a pitched battle ensued. The stakes were high. Both forces fought valiantly but the Muslims were animated by holy zeal. In the thick of the battle, the Prophet was watching the progress of the battle intensely; he prayed to God, earnestly beseeching Him thus:

“O Lord, forget not Thy promise of assistance! O Lord! If this small band were to perish, there will be none to worship Thee.’ Coming out of his canopy, he cast a handful of gravel into the air towards the enemy saying, “Confusion seize their faces!’ He called out to his men saying, “Courage, my children! Close your ranks! Discharge your arrows, and the day is yours!’ According to Abu al-Fida', both armies heard his voice. The pagans imagined that they saw angelic warriors; the Quraishi line wavered, and a number of their most brave and distinguished men fell.

Allah describes this battle in the following verses:

(Remember) when you sought aid from your Lord, so He answered you: I will assist you with a thousand angels following one another. And Allah only gave it as a good news and so that your hearts might thereby be at ease, and victory is only from Allah; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.(Qur'an, 8:9-10)

The Muslims got the upper hand. Their leader, the Prophet, sat under a canopy thatched with palm branches which was erected and closely guarded by Sa’d ibn Mu’ath. Abu Bakr did not join the ranks of the fighters but sat by the Prophet's side. The Meccan pagans took to flight in a shameful manner. In their haste, they threw their armour away, abandoning their transport animals with all their camping gear and equipment. They suffered a miserable defeat.

They were driven back, leaving seventy dead, including a number of their notable chiefs and the most brave of their men. The Muslims dug up a deep pit wherein they threw the corpses of the slain Meccan pagans, including those of ‘Otbah, Shaybah, al-Walid (Khalid's father; read above his story and how Allah condemned him), Umayyah, and Abu Jahl. The Prophet addressed them thus: “O ‘Otbah! O Shaybah! O Walid! O Umayyah! O Abu Jahl! Alas! Have you found what your gods promised you to be the truth?! What my Lord promised me I have found to be true! Woe unto you! You rejected me, your Prophet! You cast me forth while others gave me refuge; you fought me while others came to my help!’ “O Prophet!’ said ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab, who was standing by his side, “Do you really speak to the dead?!’ “Yes,’ the Prophet replied, “for they realize what I spoke to them better than you.’ All this is recorded in Madarij al-Nubuwwah and Rawdat al-Ahbab.

Half of these seventy were killed by Ali ibn Abu Talib alone. It was his first war. Seventy others were taken prisoners. The Muslim force had lost only fourteen men, six from the Muhajirun and eight from the Ansar.

The prisoners were treated with exceptional kindness with the exception of a couple who were most notorious; these were ‘Oqbah ibn Abu Mu’eet and al-Nathr ibn al-Harith, who had to be beheaded. Even the hostile critic Muir says: “In pursuance of Mahomet's commands, the citizens of Medina and such of the refugees as possessed houses received the prisoners and treated them with much consideration.

‘Blessings be on the men of Medina', said one of these prisoners in later days, ‘they made us ride while they themselves walked; they gave us wheaten bread to eat when there was little of it, contenting themselves with dates.'‘ The more affluent prisoners paid ransom and were set free. The others were asked to teach ten persons each to read and write and this teaching was to count as their ransom. After all, in these times of progress and enlightenment, with all the charters and agreements on the treatment of prisoners of war, history does not record another instance even remotely as generous and as humane as the Muslims' treatment of the prisoners taken in their very first encounter about fourteen hundred years ago.

Among the captives were ‘Abbas, an uncle of the Prophet, Nawfal ibn al-Harith, and Aqil ibn Abu Talib, both cousins of the Prophet, and Abul-’As ibn al-Rabee’, husband of Zainab daughter of Khadija and Muhammad's step-daughter. ‘Abbas was stoutly built; he was a man of tall stature. He was captured by Abul Yasar, a man relatively thin, lean, and short! When asked how a man so small could overpower him, ‘Abbas said that his captor looked to him at the time like a giant.

Indeed, there was a Sign (of Divine interference) for you in the two hosts (that) met together in the (Badr) encounter: one party fighting in the way of Allah and the other unbelieving, whom they saw twice as many (or as big) as themselves with the sight of the eye, and Allah strengthens with His aid whomsoever He pleases; most surely there is a lesson in this for those who have sight.(Qur'an, 4:13)

‘Abbas saw the size of Abul Yasar appearing to him twice as big as he actually was, and he was not big at all… ‘Abbas was asked to pay ransom for himself and for his nephews Nawfal and Aqil. He replied that if he paid up the ransom, he would be reduced to begging alms of Quraish for the rest of his life. But to his great astonishment, the Prophet revealed to him the secret of the gold which he had entrusted to his wife at midnight before departing with the Meccan army! Then he recited the following verse of Surat al-Anfal:

O Prophet! Say to the captives in your hands: If Allah knows of anything good in your hearts, He will give you beter than what has been taken away from you and will forgive you, and Allah is most Forgiving, most Merciful.(Qur'an, 8:70)

‘Abbas was now convinced beyond the shadow of doubt that his nephew was neither a pretender nor an ordinary man; how else did he know about what went on between him and his wife in the depth of the night? He admitted that nobody could know of that incident except God, so he readily embraced Islam, and so did his nephews. A few years later, when he found himself a man of considerable wealth, he reflected on the verse cited above and admitted that the prophecy was fulfilled.

In order to secure the release of Abul ‘as, his wife Zainab sent some of her jewelry, including a necklace given to her by her mother Khadija, wife of the Prophet, as a wedding gift. The Prophet identified the necklace as soon as he saw it. Sadly reflecting upon Khadija, he returned it to Abul ‘as, asking him to give it back to Zainab. He released him without any ransom on one condition: that he bring Zainab to him. Zayd ibn Harithah escorted Abul ‘as back to Mecca, and after a few days, both men came back together with Zainab, the Prophet's step-daughter. Zainab, now a Muslim, refused to go back to her pagan husband unless he accepted Islam. He embraced Islam six years later in 630 A.D. after the conquest of Mecca by the Muslims and after appearing before the Prophet as a prisoner of war for the second time.

Quraish's defeat at Badr was the death blow to Abu Lahab, the only Hashemite who was a bitter opponent of the Prophet, and he died of grief one week after the battle at the loss of his friends and relatives, especially al-Walid, Shaybah and ‘Otbah.

Battle and Aftermath

The battle of Badr was remarkable in more ways than one. It demonstrated the great devotion of the disciples to their cause and their complete faith in the Prophet and his mission. Stood before them in the Meccan ranks were many of their close relatives, sons, fathers, or uncles. Thus, the Prophet's uncle ‘Abbas, Ali's brother ‘Aqil, Abu Bakr's son, Huthaifah's father and ‘’Omar's maternal uncle, to name a few, figured in the Meccan army. Yet the disciples never faltered. Personal feelings and sentiments were subordinated to the supreme cause. Such was the material from which Islam arose. The battle also proved that mere numerical superiority and matching valour are of no avail if the cause is not righteous. God helps those who make sacrifices in His cause.

The battle of Badr had far-reaching consequences. Till then, the Muslims were a harassed band avoiding any major conflict. This victory gave them confidence in their physical power. They could now meet force with force5. They were soon recognized as a power to be reckoned with and smaller tribes were cautioned against joining forces against them. This victory dealt a severe blow to the prestige of Quraish. A number of their chiefs, such as Abu Jahl, ‘Otbah, Shaibah, Zam’ah, ‘As ibn Hisham, and Umayyah ibn Khalaf had been killed and, consequently, Abu Sufyan became their undisputed chieftain.

‘Abdullah ibn Ubay and his oscillating followers professed Islam, though in name only, and as munafiqun (hypocrites), they were always a source of danger. The Jews of Medina and its vicinity were alarmed at the new power that had emerged. Their enmity towards the Muslims, however, did not abate, and a Jewish tribe, Banu Qinaqa’, had to be punished not long after Badr as will be discussed later. The ignominy of the defeat made the Meccans more bitter and furious and the cry of “Revenge!’ was on all lips.

Ghazwat Al-Sawaiq (624 A.D.)

Abu Sufyan had sworn vengeance. He took a vow that he would not touch his wives nor comb his hair till he had avenged that defeat. In order to fulfill this vow and to show that all was not lost for the Meccans, he set out towards Medina in the month of Thul-Hijjah, 2 A.H. (June 624 A.D.), leading two hundred horsemen. Salam ibn Mashkam, chief of the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir, treated them to a feast and divulged to them the weak points of Medina's fortifications. On the next day, Abu Sufyan raided a Medina pasture, killing an Ansar named Sa’d ibn ‘Amr and burning a number of houses. When this news reached the Prophet, he hotly pursued the raiders who fled, abandoning their rations. This gave the raid its name, “the battle of meal bags, sawaiq.’ Abu Sufyan was now planning for a much larger campaign.

Ghazwat Al-Ghaftan (625 A.D.)]

In 3 A.H./625 A.D., the tribes of Banu Tha’labah and Banu Mihrab sent a force of five hundred and forty horsemen under the command of Da’thur ibn Muharib to raid Medina. They gave up the idea when the Prophet marched with his companions out of Medina to meet them. Da’thur, however, got an opportunity to launch a surprise attack on the Prophet who was resting alone under a tree. “O Muhammad,’ cried he with a drawn sword in his hand, “who is there now to save thee?!’ “Allah’, replied the Prophet.

This dauntless composure and complete faith in God awed the wild bedouin whose sword now fell from his hand… Seizing it, the Prophet asked him in turn, “Who is there now to save thee, O Da’thur?’ “Alas, none,’ replied the bedouin, and I testify that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. By Allah! I shall never raise any army against you.’ “Then learn from me to be merciful,’ said the Prophet as he returned the sword to him. Da’thur was so impressed that he asked the Prophet for forgiveness.

Uhud Battle (624 A.D.)

Ghazwat al-Sawaiq was only a prelude to the big battle that was to follow. The chagrin and fury of Abu Sufyan and his Quraishite supporters at their defeat at Badr knew no bounds. Their whole energy was aroused and they commenced preparations for another attack on the Muslims. Abu Sufyan rallied behind him the coastal tribes of Banu Kinanah and Banu Tihamah. Their united forces numbered three thousand well equipped soldiers, seven hundred of whom were armed with coats of mail and two hundred were mounted on horseback, besides one thousand camels, all under the command of Abu Sufyan.

The army's right wing was under the command of Khalid ibn al-Walid and the left under that of ‘Ikrimah son of the ill-famed Abu Jahl. Women played their role to provide the men with moral support. They were led by Abu Sufyan's wife Hind who brought with her fifteen Meccan matrons. They took their place in the rear of the army, beating their drums and chanting poetry to animate the troops, magnifying the greatness of Hubal, the most popular deity in Mecca.

On their way to Medina, having reached Abwa', Hind wanted to dig out the grave containing the remains of Amina bint Wahab, Muhammad's mother, who lay there buried for more than fifty years, but Divine Providence interferred, so she could not carry out her wicked scheme. Finally, the army reached Thul Hulaifa, a village about five Arabian miles to the north-east of Medina, in the green corn fields of Mount Uhud, on Wednesday, Shawwal 4, 3 A.H. (March 23, 625 A.D.).

Muhammad was in Quba when he was informed by his uncle ‘Abbas, who was still living in Mecca, of Quraish's expedition, so he hurried back to Medina. He consulted his followers whether to wait for the enemy's attack on the city and to defend it from within, or to meet the enemy outside the city. He was inclined to the former plan because he did not want the city's residents to be exposed to the perils of wars. Many of his close companions were of the same view, but the majority urged him to meet the enemy outside the city, and this view was finally adopted.

But when the Prophet was ready to march out, they changed their mind again and spoke about it to the Prophet, but he nevertheless marched out with only a thousand men headed by Ali. This number included the forces raised by ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay who brought with him three hundred of his followers, the munafiqun, hypocrites, including a small number of his Jewish allies, but the Prophet refused to enlist the service of the Jews unless they accepted Islam, which they, of course, did not.

Thus, he and all his 300 men were turned back, reducing the number of Muhammad's army to seven hundred. Only a hundred of them had coats of mail, and between them they had only two horses. Their zeal was, however, so great that when some boys, who were considered too young to participate in the battle, were asked to go back, they departed very reluctantly and two of them, Rafi’ ibn Khadij and Samrah, managed to remain with the army anyway.

The Prophet reached Uhud in the morning of Saturday, Shawwal 7, 3 A.H. (March 26, 625 A.D.) and took up his position below the mountain. The army was arrayed in fighting formations and fifty archers were posted, under the command of ‘Abdullah ibn Jubayr, at a pass between the hills surrounding Mount Uhud to guard the army from any rear attack. They had strict orders from the Prophet never to leave their post, whatever the outcome of the battle might be, till they received further instructions.

The standard was in the hands of Mus’ab ibn ‘Omayr. Zubayr was in command of the mailed section and Hamzah in command of the rest. On the side of the Meccans, Talhah held the standard and the various regiments were under the charge of Khalid ibn al-Walid (who commanded the cavalry), ‘Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl, Safwan ibn Umayyah and his brother ‘Abdullah. According to some references consulted for this book, the Meccan pagans enlisted in their army a number of their black slaves to fight with them.

Talhah, the pagans' standard-bearer, challenged the Muslims to individual combat. The challenge was accepted by Ali ibn Abu Talib who soon cut off one of his legs with a single blow then killed him with another. It took only a few seconds. Talhah's dead body lay on the ground. The standard was taken by his brother ‘Uthman who was slashed to death by Hamzah. The third standard-bearer was killed by Ali. This continued till nine (or some historians say ten) standard-bearers were killed one after the other. These historians include Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Hisham, and al-Tabari. Abu ‘Amir, a veteran Meccan hero, stepped forward with his fifty archers and showered the Muslims with arrows. The Muslims responded with as thick and as prompt shower of arrows of their own. Thus did the battle begin with the Quraishites advancing in the form of a crescent. Ali, Hamzah and Abu Dajjanah demonstrated heroic valour.

Wahshi, an Abyssinian slave, had been commissioned by Hind, wife of Abu Sufyan, to kill either Muhammad, Ali, or Hamzah (in order to avenge the death of her father, ‘Otbah ibn Rabi’ah, her brother, al-Walid, as well as that of Hanzalah son of Abu Sufyan at Badr at their hands). He was lurking behind a rock when he singled Hamzah out and, seeing him engaged in a duel with Saba ibn ‘Abd al-’Uzza, a Meccan hero, threw a spear at him which pierced his ‘Abdomen, killing him instantly. At that juncture, Ali assigned the command of the various regiments of the army to Abu Dajjanah, Mus’ab ibn ‘Omayr, and Sahl ibn Hunayf. They collectively launched an attack against the Meccan army, breaking its center. The Meccans now wavered, and Ali and his heroes gained the enemy's camp. The Meccans were seen turning to their heels, leaving their camp to the Muslims who proceeded to overrun it.

The Meccans were now losing heart till one of their women, ‘Omra daughter of ‘Alqamah, took up the standard herself. The Meccans again rallied behind her but they were crushed by the Muslims. The Meccans, having paid a heavy toll, fell back in disarray and the Muslims started gathering the booty.

Their eagerness for spoil, however, turned the tide of victory which was almost already at hand. Thinking that the battle was over, most of the archers who were guarding the passage in the hill left their posts lured by the spoils even against the orders of their leader ‘Abdullah ibn Jubayr. Khalid ibn al-Walid was fleeing when he saw such an opportunity and, gathering a group of men, he killed the few remaining defenders of the pass.

Then he launched a furious attack from the rear. The Muslims were taken so much by surprise that they did not know what to do. In the general melee, their ranks became disorganized. The retreating Meccan forces rallied again and launched a fresh onslaught from the front. The Muslims' standard-bearer, Musa’ab ibn ‘Omayr was killed. He bore a great facial resemblance to the Prophet. Up went Ibn Suraqah's cry that Muhammad had been killed.

This threw the Muslims into further confusion and utter dismay with some saying that had Muhammad been a true prophet, he would not have been killed, as is recorded in Tarikh al-Khamis. Others were talking of going to Abu Sufyan and apologyzing to him, trying to win his amnesty. Even many of their famous personalities lost heart. ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab threw his sword away saying that there was no use fighting since the Prophet was no more. He fled towards the mountain and, in his own words, he was jumping from one boulder to another like hill goats.

Anas ibn Nazar, uncle of the renown sahabi Anas ibn Malik, saw how ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab and Talhah ibn ‘Obaydullah were sitting leisurely along with others, so he asked them what they were doing. “We have nothing to do,’ they replied, “since Muhammad has been slain.’ “But my friends!,’ said Anas, “Even if Muhammad were killed, certainly Muhammad's Lord lives and never dies; therefore, do not value your lives only because the Prophet is dead. Rather, you should fight for the cause for which he fought.’ Then he cried out, “O God! I am excused before You and acquitted in Your sight of what they say!’ Drawing his sword, he fought valiantly. It was in reference to this incident of how some people deserted the Prophet and how others fought beside him to the last that the following verses of the Holy Qur'an were revealed there and then:

And Muhammad is no more than a Prophet; prophets have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heel will by no means harm Allah in the least, and Allah will reward the grateful. And a soul will not die except with the permission of Allah; the term is (already) fixed, and whoever desires the reward of this world, I shall give him of it, and whoever desires the reward of the hereafter, I shall give him of it, and I will reward the grateful. And how many a prophet has fought (and) with whom were (present) many worshippers of the Lord? So they did not become weak-hearted on account of what befell them in Allah's way, nor did they weaken, nor did they abase themselves, and Allah loves those who are patient. (Qur'an, 3:144-146)

Abu ‘Obaydah, Abu Bakr, and ‘Uthman fled away, too. The latter returned to Medina three days later.

Many valiant soldiers, renouncing all discretion, entered the thick of the Meccan ranks determined to fight to the end. This went on till Ka’b ibn Malik (or some say Anas ibn Nazar) saw the Prophet and shouted at the top of his voice that the Prophet was still alive. The spirit of the Muslims revived, but the Prophet now became the chief target of the Meccan forces. ‘Abdullah ibn Qam advanced towards the Prophet and struck a sword on his head with such force that two links of his helmet penetrated the Prophet's face.

‘Otbah ibn Abu Waqqas threw a stone at the Prophet, further injuring his face and dislodging his two upper teeth. The Prophet now had fallen in a pit where Ali ibn Abu Talib found him and protected him against the continuous furious onslaughts of the Meccans. When the Prophet saw this sacrificing spirit of Ali, he asked him as to why he, too, did not flee like the others. Ali replied: “Should I become a kafir after having accepted Islam?’ Anas ibn Nazar continued fighting till he was martyred. And when Ali's sword broke down, the Prophet gave him his own sword, Thul-Fiqar. It was then that a voice was heard from above saying, “There is no sword except Thul-Fiqar. There is no brave man except Ali.’

At the same time, arch-angel Gabriel told the Prophet that it was the height of loyalty and bravery which Ali was demonstrating to the Prophet. The Prophet said: “Why not? Ali is from me and I am from Ali.’ Gabriel said: “And I am from you both.’

Later, some Muslims like Sa’d, Zubayr, Talhah, Abu Dajjanah and Ziyad, gathered around the Prophet. Faithful companions, including the brave lady Umm ‘Ammarah, prevented others from getting too close to the Prophet. With their bodies did they shield him against the rain of arrows. Standing in such a great peril, the Prophet cried to God: “O God! Forgive my people, for they know not!’ There was no rancor, no bitterness, no ill-will in his heart against his mortal enemies even in such a precarious situation. An overwhelming compassion for the people and a burning desire to lead them to the right path actuated all his deeds and sayings. Then some other Muslims arrived where the Prophet was being defended at fearful odds by the small band of his companions. After some furious fighting, they managed to retreat to the security of the heights of Uhud.

Meanwhile, the word had reached Medina that the Prophet was killed. The Prophet's daughter, Fatima al-Zahra, surrounded by a group of Muslim women, hurried to Uhud. To her great relief, Fatima found her father alive but his forehead and face were covered with his blood. Ali brought water in his shield and Fatima cleansed and dressed the wounds.

The Meccan forces had turned the tables but they were too exhausted to drive their advantage home either by attacking Medina or by driving the Muslims from the heights of the mountain. They satiated their desire for vengeance by committing ghastly brutalities upon the slain and the injured, cutting off their ears and noses and mutilating their bodies. The brave Hamzah was amongst the slain. His heart was torn out by Hind, wife of Abu Sufyan, who also cut off his ears and nose and took out his heart and liver. She tried to chew the liver but Allah made it so hard that she could not do so… She had to throw it out. The horrible scene was so revolting that the Prophet forbade forever the practice of mutilation.

With victory almost within their grasp, the Muslims had suffered a heavy blow. They were shaken in body and in spirit. But the Prophet preached to them fortitude and endurance.

In this battle, seventy Muslims were martyred and an equal number wounded. Ali received sixteen serious sword wounds. On the list of martyrs were: Mus’ab ibn ‘Omayr, Sa’d ibn al-Rabi’, ‘Ammarah ibn Ziyad, and Hanzala son of Abu ‘Amir, the first archer to defend Muslim lines. The Meccans lost 30 (or 22) warriors twelve of whom at the hands of Ali.

For those who laid their lives in the way of Allah, the following glad tiding had been revealed:

And reckon not those who are killed in Allah's way as dead; nay, they are alive (and) are sustained by their Lord. (Qur'an, 3:169)

Having finished his engagements at Uhud in five or six days, the Prophet returned to Medina where he heard the wailing of the women of Banu ‘Abd al-Ash-hal for their dead. He expressed his regret that Hamzah the valiant had none to mourn him in the city. Sa’d ibn Mu’ath felt the same, so he went at once to his women and brought them to the Prophet's house so that they would mourn the death of Hamzah, and the Prophet blessed them for it. Their example was followed by all the women of the Ansar. This is recorded by al-Tabari and Ibn Athir.

Battle's Aftermath

While retreating to Mecca, Abu Sufyan had bribed a traveller going towards Medina to inform the Prophet that the Meccans were again assembling a great force to attack Medina. Hearing the news, Ali said: “Allah is sufficient for us and most excellent Protector is He.’

The Prophet went out at once, taking with him only those seventy warriors who were wounded in Uhud, to pursue the Meccan forces. He stayed for three days at a place called Hamra'ul-Asad but did not find any trace of the Meccans, so he returned. The Qur'an mentions this episode in the following ayat:

Those who responded to the call of Allah and the Messenger even after the wound had afflicted them, those among them who do good and guard (themselves against evil) shall have a great reward. Those to whom the people said: Surely men have gathered against you; therefore, fear them, but this only increased their faith, and they said: Allah is sufficient for us and most excellent Protector is He. So they returned with favour from Allah and (His) grace; no evil touched them, and they followed the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.(Qur'an, 3:172-174)

The defeat at Uhud did, indeed, create serious problems for the Muslims. It emboldened the nomadic tribes on the one hand to make forays upon Medina and, on the other hand, encouraged the Jews of Medina to foment further trouble. Yet it was not disastrous for the Muslims. While a defeat at Badr, when the Muslims were yet a handful, would have wiped them out and rang the death knell of the Prophetic mission, a defeat here and there after Islam had gained strength only put the Muslims in the testing crucible so that they might emerge more determined and cured of any complacency and vanity to which they might have otherwise fallen prey.

The Meccans were determined to annihilate the Muslims. This objective they could not achieve. Their infantry had suffered such losses that they could not even drive home the advantage they gained in the last stages of the battle. They had thought they were the masters of all western Arabia, but they could do nothing more than hold their own against the Muslims. It is not surprising, therefore, that they marched back to Mecca frustrated and discouraged.

The Meccans realized that on their own they could not crush the Islamic movement. They now started instigating other tribes to make common cause with them. Most of the tribes were already inimical to Islam. They practiced idolatry while Islam forbade it and enjoined worship of one God. Raiding and plundering were the general means of their livelihood while Islam dictated an orderly society, forbidding oppression, exploitation, and foul play. It enjoined its followers to seek honest means of livelihood. The influence of Quraish extended far and wide and all the tribes came into contact with them at the time of the annual pilgrimage. The Jews were also constantly instigating the tribes against the Muslims.

The victory of the Muslims over Quraish at Badr had overawed nomadic tribes but their defeat at Uhud emboldened them to show their hands and a number of skirmishes followed.

Muhammad Marries Hafsa

As mentioned earlier, ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab was trying for some time to get the Prophet to marry his daughter Hafsa (607 - 667 A.D.). It was in the month of Sha’ban of the same year, 3 A.H., corresponding to January 625 A.D., that such marriage finally took place. She was widow of Jaish ibn Huthaifah al-Sahmi6 who had died in Medina shortly after the Battle of Badr wherein he had participated. ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab had first offered her to Abu Bakr to marry her, then to ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, but she was rejected by both. ‘’Omar mentioned such rejection to the Prophet once by way of a complaint, so he, in order to oblige him, accepted her as his wife. She was, however, divorced by the Prophet on account of her temper at a later time then, on the entreaties of her father, the Prophet took her back. She died in the month of Sha’ban, 45 A.H. (November 665 A.D.) at the age of 60.

Hasan Son of Ali is Born (625 A.D.)

In the month of Ramadan of the same year (February 625 A.D.), Hasan was born to Ali and Fatima, Muhammad's only daughter. In the next year (4 A.H./626 A.D.), his borther Husain (junior Hasan) was born. Both were named after Shabar and Shubayr, sons of aron, brother of Prophet Moses.

Sariat Abu Salmah (626 A.D.)

Talhah and Khalid instigated their tribe, Banu Asad, to attack Medina on the first of Muharram of 4 A.H./June 16, 625 A.D. The Prophet dispatched a force of one hundred and fifty men to intercept them. The invaders dispersed on seeing this force and there was no engagement.

Sariyat ibn Anis (626 A.D.)

Sufyan ibn Khalid of the Banu Lahyan made preparions to attack Medina in the same month (4 A.H.). The Prophet sent ‘Abdullah ibn Anis with a force to meet him. ‘Abdullah was killed. Hostile critics say that the Prophet got the chiefs of some tribes killed to overawe them. They quote Arab historians like al-Waqidi, Ibn Hisham and Ibn al-Athir in recounting the names of the persons killed, but they very conveniently omit the details and circumstances given by the same authorities regarding the raids they were committing or the preparations they were making to assault Medina. The Prophet could not ignore the danger that surrounded the Muslims; he would not allow them to be exterminated.

Treachery at Bi'r Ma'unah (625 A.D.)

The tribes were not only repeatedly raiding Medina but also employing treacherous methods to deplete the Muslim's ranks and resources. In Safar of 4 A.H./July of 625 A.D., Abu Bara' ‘Amir ibn Malik ibn Ja’far, chief of Banu ‘Amir ibn Sa’sa’ah, came to Medina and offered a present to the Mesenger of Allah who declined to accept it. “I do not accept a present from a polyetheist,’ Muhammad said to him, “therefore, accept Islam so that I may accept your present.’

Then the prophet recited for him some Qur'anic verses, but the man neither accepted Islam nor went away. Instead, he said, “O Muhammad! What you are inviting to is beautiful and good; so, if you send some of your men to the people of Nejd to invite them to accept it, I hope that they will.’ “I fear for them what the people of Nejd may do to them,’ said the Prophet. ‘Amir ibn Malik said, “I guarantee their safety; so, send them away so that they may invite people as you invite them.’

The Prophet sent al-Munthir ibn ‘Amr of Banu Sa’idah with seventy of the best Muslims including al-Harith ibn al-Sammah, Haram ibn Milhan, ‘Orwah ibn Asma ibn al-Salt al-Salami, Nafi’ ibn Budayl ibn Warqa' al-Khuza’i, ‘Amir ibn Fuhayrah, slave of Abu Bakr, in the month of Safar, four months after the Battle of Uhud. With the exception of one person, namely Ka’b ibn Zayd, the entire party was put to death when it reached Bi'r Ma’unah. They were killed by the tribesmen of Banu ‘Asiyyah, Banu Ra’la, and Banu Thakwan. Having been injured, Ka’b ibn Zayd lay down pretending to be dead. He survived to take part in the Battle of Khandaq wherein he received the honour of martyrdom7.

The Foul Play at Raji'

Likewise, the tribes of Adh’al and al-Deesh sent a deputation to the Prophet headed by one Murthid ibn Abu Murthid al-Ghanawi to inform him that they had accepted Islam and needed some instructors. He sent ten disciples with them. On reaching Raji’, the deputation was attacked by men of Banu Lahyan, a branch of the Huthayl tribe. Seven of the disciples were killed and the rest were captured. The Muslims defended themselves, killing seven of their attackers, by they were soon overwhelmed by a much larger number of foes.

The captives were sold in Mecca and those who purchased them put them to death. One of the captives was Zayd ibn al-Dathnah. A crowd, including Abu Sufyan, assembled to see him being slaughtered. Abu Sufyan inquired of him if he would not have considered himself lucky had Muhammad been there to be slaughtered in his place. The devoted attachment of Zayd to the Prophet can be gauged from the reply he gave. He said: “By God, I do not value my life even this much that in its place a thorn may pierce the sole of the Prophet's foot.’ He was thereupon slashed to death. Abu Sufyan could not help saying, “By Allah! Never have I found people loving their fellow more than the people who follow Muhammad.’ 8

Jews' Attitude

For a long time, the Jews were masters of Medina. The tribes of Aws and Khazraj (the Ansar) had settled there later. Gradually, these tribes gathered strength and equaled the Jews in power and prestige. The internecine war of the Bu’ath, however, weakened them, and the Jews again assumed ascendancy. The Jews were a prosperous people and money lending at exorbitant rates of interest was one of their main occupations. With the deterioration in the economic situation of the tribes of Aws and Khazraj, many of them became heavily in debt to the Jews.

The position of authority and eminence, which their material superiority and strength gave to the Jews, received a big setback when Islam started spreading in Medina. The expansion of Islam was, therefore, viewed by them with great indignation and apprehension. This has always been their attitude and will always remain so.

Certainly you will find the most violent of all people in enmity for theose who believe (Muslims) to be the Jews and those who are polytheists, and you will certainly find the nearest in friendship to those who believe to be those who say: We are Christians. This is so because there are priests and monks among them and because they are not arrogant. (Qur'an, 5:82)

In this verse, the Muslims are told by the Almighty that their most bitter enemies are the Jews, and that their best friends may be from among the Christians who, unlike the Jews, are not characterized by arrogance. Despite this verse, we see many leaders of Muslim countries vying with each other to lick the Jews' shoes when they are supposed to be guarding themselves against their mischief.

Expediency had actuated the Jews to enter into a pact with the Muslims, but soon they began plotting against Islam. They would distort the words and verses of the Qur'an and mock and jeer at the Muslims. But the Prophet was bidden to bear it patiently:

…. And you shall certainly hear from those who have been given the Book before you and from those who are polytheists much annoying talk, and if you are patient and guard (yourself against evil), surely this is one of the matters of great resolve.(Qur'an, 3:186)

The Prophet tried his best to maintain friendly ties with the Jews. He even prayed for one of them (who had lended him some money) once that the Almighty would safeguard his beauty. Till his heath at the age of 80, that Jew's hair never turned gray. Read this incident on p. 15, Vol. 18, of Bihar al-Anwar. It is also recorded in the classic reference titled Al-Kharaij. The Qur'an stressed the fundamental unity between both religions, Islam and Judaism, and asked the Jews to come to terms with the Muslims:

Say: O people of the Book! Come to a word common between us and you: That we shall not worship any but Allah and (that) we shall associate nothing with Him, and (that) some of us shall not take others for lords besides Allah, but if they turn back, then say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.(Qur'an, 3:64)

Neither kindness nor fair dealing on the part of the Prophet could, however, conciliate the Jews. They tried to revive the rift between the tribes of Aws and Khazraj. Some Jews would accept Islam one day and renounce it the next in order to show that there was nothing significant in Islam.

And a party of the people of the Book says: Profess faith in that which has been revealed to those who believe in the first part of the day and disbelieve therein at the end of it, perhaps they will go back on their religion.(Qur'an, 3:72)

They conspired with the munafiqun and sent emissaries to the enemies of Islam. Apprehension and envy at the growing power of the Muslims following their victory at Badr rankled in their hearts, and they redoubled their efforts to exterminate the new religion. Quraish were further instigating them to do so, sending a threatening epistle to them: “You possess arms and fortresses. You should fight our enemy (Muhammad); otherwise, we will attack you and nothing will prevent us from grabbing the arms of your women.’

Ka’b ibn Ashraf, Jewish chieftain of Banu Nadir, was a poet of considerable fame and fortune. Like so many others, he was bitterly hostile to Islam. With his fiery poems, he began to incite the people to rise up against the Muslims. After the battle of Badr, he composed a number of eulogies mourning the Meccan chiefs slain in the battle. He used to recite them at every gathering. He contacted Abu Sufyan with a view to making a combined effort to wipe out the Muslims. He openly recited a number of poems derogatory to the Prophet.

As poetry had a high place in the life of the Arabs and could deepen influence and sway feelings, Ka’b ibn Ashraf had become not only a nuisance but a serious menace. We have it on the authority of al-Ya’qubi and hafiz Ibn Hajar that Ka’b plotted to kill the Prophet. When this plot became known to the Prophet, he consulted his companions and it was decided that Ka’b should be silenced forever. Muhammad ibn Maslamahh undertook to carry out the job and, on getting an opportunity, he killed Ka’b ibn Ashraf on Safar 14, 3 A.H./August 9, 624 A.D.

Banu Qinaqa’, the most powerful Jewish tribe, were the first to resile from the alliance with the Muslims. Says Ibn Sa’d, “The Jews attempted sedition during the battle of Badr and were envious of the Muslims, retracting from their pact with them.’

An incident in 2 A.H./623 A.D. led to a flare-up. A veiled Muslim lady had gone to the shop of a Jew. She was pestered and her clothes thrown up. A Muslim standing nearby was unable to tolerate this indecent behaviour, so he killed the Jew. The Jews, thereupon, killed the Muslim. The Prophet remonstrated with them but they defiantly replied that they were not (as weak as) Quraish (who were defeated in Badr) and would show him what battle was. Within the security of their fortress, they started making preparations for war. The fortress was besieged by the Muslims for fifteen days and the Jews had to sue for peace, promising that they would accept the Prophet's decision.

The Prophet decided to kick them out of Medina for good, giving them ten days to depart to Greater Syria on the pain of death, allowing them to take all their movable possessions except their arms. First they paid no heed to his order and were resolved to resist. They were besieged within the walls of their fortresses for fifteen days following which they surrendered and were expelled in the Summer of 4 A.H./625 A.D. Most of them proceeded to Khaybar where they had possessed landed property; some of them marched to Syria and Palestine.

Their immoveable property was confiscated. Buildings were distributed among the Muhajirs who still had no houses of their own in Medina since the date of their migration from Mecca. Some Ansar who also had no dwellings of their own were provided with the dwellings. Some of them did not like the idea of leaving their houses to be occupied by the Muslims, so, they demolished them. The Qur'an refers to the various aspects of this expulsion in Surat al-Hashr:

He (Allah) it is Who caused those (Jews) who disbelieved (in Muhammad) from among the People of the Book (Torah) to get out of their homes in the first banishment; you did not think that they would get out, while they were certain that their fortresses would defend them against Allah, but Allah came to them from where they did not expect and cast terror into their hearts; they demolished their houses with their own hands and the hands of the believers; therefore, take a lesson, O you who have eyes! And had it not been that Allah had decreed for them the exile, He would certainly have punished them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have the chastisement of the Fire. This is so because they opposed Allah and His Prophet (Muhammad), and whoever opposes Allah, then surely Allah is severe in retributing (evil).(Qur'an, 59:2-4)

Some European critics see only the immediate cause, that is, the indecent behaviour with the Muslim lady and, ascribing it to boyish prank, they try to minimize it. In their view, therefore, the punishment was too harsh, but they fail to take notice of the constant efforts of the Jews to undermine the Islamic movement. It was not one incident but a series of events that had brought on the final clash.

Expulsion of Banu Nadir (625 A.D.)

Medina's Jews plotted to kill the Prophet, encouraged by the Meccans and by ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay. The Prophet was once with some of his companions when he paid the Jews a visit, seeking their help in arranging the payment of blood-money of two persons from the tribe of Banu ‘Amir. The Jews asked the Prophet to come inside their fortress, but the Prophet did not like the idea. Instead, he sat outside the fortress's wall. They sent one man to climb the wall from inside the fortress and kill the Prophet by throwing a big boulder on his head.

The Prophet, through divine revelation, came to know of this treacherous scheme in the nick of time and immediately left the place.

Then he sent Banu Nadir an ultimatum with Muhammad ibn Maslamah: Since they had broken their treaty, they should leave Medina within ten days. They wanted to migrate when ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay encouraged them not to leave Medina, promising them help with 2,000 warriors. The Jews then refused to leave Medina. The following ayat refers to this promise of help:

Have you not seen those who have become hypocrites? They say to those of their brethren who disbelieve from among the people of the Book: If you are driven forth, we shall certainly go forth with you, and we will never obey anyone concerning you; and if you are fought, we will certainly help you, and Allah bears witness that they are most surely liars. Certainly, if these are driven forth, they will not go forth with them, and if they are fought, they will not help them, and even if they help them, they will certainly turn (their) backs, then they shall not be helped.(Qur'an, 59:11-12)

Their fortress was besieged, and ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay did nothing to help them as predicted in the Qur'anic verses cited above. After 15 days, they agreed to leave Medina. They were allowed to take away all their movables which they could take except weapons of war.

They passed through Medina's market singing and beating drums to show that they were not disheartened by that banishment and that they would soon avenge this defeat. Some of them went to Syria while others settled with the Jews of Khaybar.

Since there was no war, according to the command of Allah (see Sura 59, verses 6 to 10), all the wealth left by them became the personal property of the Prophet who, having consulted with the Ansar, distributed all movable property to poor Muhajirun and three poor companions from the Ansar: Sahl ibn Hani, Abu Dajjanah and Zayd. He gave the immovable property to Ali ibn Abu Talib who made it waqf (trust) for the descendants of Fatima.
The 59th Chapter of the Qur'an (The Banishment) describes various aspects of Banu Nadir's expulsion as quoted above.

Battle of Khandaq (627 A.D.)

Upon settling down at Khaibar, Banu Nadir decided to seek revenge against the Muslims. They contacted the Meccans, and 20 leaders from the Jews and 50 from Quraish made a covenant in the Ka’ba that as long as they lived, they would fight Muhammad. Then the Jews and Quraish contacted their allies and sent emissaries to a number of tribes. Banu Ghatfan, Banu Asad, Banu Aslam, Banu Ashja’, Banu Kinanah and Banu Fizarah readily responded. The Meccans, four thousand strong, including thre hundred cavaliers and fifteen hundred camels, were joined by six thousand allies from among the Jews and the bedouin tribes. The three armies set out, ten thousand strong, under the command of Abu Sufyan in the beginning of the month of Shawwal, 5 A.H. (the end of February 627 A.D.) to attack Medina.

When news of these preparations reached Medina, the Prophet consulted his companions, as he always did during such situations. There was hardly sufficient time to make preparations for the war. He decided this time to remain within the city and fight back. The stone houses of the city were built adjacent to one another so as to make a high and continuous strong wall for a long distance except in the north-west where a wide open space could afford the enemy an easy entry. At this place, with the suggestion of Salman al-Farisi, who was familiar with the mode of defending cities in other countries such as his (Persia), a trench, fifteen feet in width and fifteen feet in depth, was dug. Muslims were divided into parties of 10 each, and each party was allotted 10 yards to dig.

The Prophet himself participated in this task, carrying the excavated earth away. The khandaq (moat) was completed in nick of time: just 3 days before the host of the enemies reached Medina. The houses outside the city were evacuated, and the women and children were accommodated for safety on the tops of the double-storied houses at the entrenchment. Muslims could muster only three thousand men to face this huge army, and they immediately took cover behind the ditch. The Propeht camped in the center of the entrenchment in a tent of red leather on a space shaped like a crescent. The camp had the rising ground of Sila’ on its rear and the trench in the front.

Huyaiy ibn Akhtab, head of Banu Nadir, met secretly with Ka’b ibn Asad, head of Banu Quraizah, a Jewish tribe which was still in Medina. Huyaiy was the most antagonistic Jew towards the Prophet. Banu Quraizah, on his instigation, tore down the treaty which they had concluded with the Muslims. The Jews decided that they would assist the pagan Quraishites after ten days' preparations and would attack the rear of Muhammad's army from the north-western side of the city which was located on the south-east side of their fortress and which was easily accessible to them.

Rumours reached the Prophet about the Jews' schemes, so he sent two chiefs, one from the Aws and one from the Khazraj: These were Sa’d ibn Mu’ath and Sa’d ibn ‘Abadah respectively to ascertain the truth. Both men proceeded to meet the Jews. Having made searching inquiries and some scouting of their own, they returned to report to the Prophet that the temper of the Jews was even worse than it had been feared. This news alarmed the Prophet. It was then necessary to take precautions against any surprise attack or treachery from the side of those Jews.

The north-western part of the city, which was located on the side of the Jewish stronghold, was the weakest of all defences. In order to prtoect the families of his followers throughout the city, the Prophet, as a meager measure of safeguard, had no choice except to send a considerable number of his men from his already small army of three thousand to afford them such a protection. His men's supplies were hardly adequate due to the length of the entrenchment that formed his defense line. Still, he had no choice except to detach two parties, one of three hundred men under the command of Zayd ibn Harithah, his freed slave and adopted son, and another of two hundred men under the command of a chieftain from Medina. Their job was to patrol the streets and the alleys of the city night and day.

This treachery and danger from inside Medina, when Muslims were surrounded by the combined armies of pagans and Jews of all of Arabia on the outside, had a telling effect on the Muslims. The enemy was astonished to see the moat because it was a novel military tactic for the Arabs. They camped on the outside for 27 (or 24) days. Their number increased day by day, and many Muslims were extremely terrified, as the Qur'an portrays for us. Surat al-Ahzab describes various aspects of this siege. For example, read the following verses:

When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes turned dull, and the hearts rose up to the throats, you began to think diverse thoughts about Allah. There, the believers were tried, and they wee shaken a tremendous shaking.(Qur'an, 33:10-11)

At that time, many hypocrites, and even some Muslims, asked permission to leave the ranks of the Muslims and to go home:

And when a party of them said: O people of Yathrib! There is no place for you to stand, and a party of them asked permission of the Prophet saying: Verily our houses are exposed, and they were not exposed; they only described to flee away.(Qur'an, 33:13)

The bulk of the army, however, steadfastly withstood the hardship of inclement weather and rapidly depleting provisions. The coalition's army hurled arrows and stones at the Muslims.
Finally, a few of Quraish's more valiant warriors, ‘Amr ibn ‘Abdwadd, Nawfal ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Mughirah, Dhirar ibn Khattab, Hubairah ibn Abu Wahab, ‘Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl and Mirdas al-Fahri, succeeded in crossing the moat.

‘Amr called for battle; nobody responded; he was considered equal to one thousand warriors. History accounts state that all the Muslims were as though birds were sitting on their heads: they were too afraid to raise their heads.

Three times did the Prophet exhort the Muslims to battle ‘Amr. Three times it was only Ali who stood up. In the third time, the Prophet allowed Ali to go. When Ali was going to the battlefield, the Prophet said: “The whole faith is going to fight the whole infidelity; the embodiment of the former bounds is to crush the entirety of the latter.’ The Prophet put his own turban on Ali's head, his own coat of mail over Ali's body, and he armed Ali with his own sword, Thul-Fiqar, then he sent him to meet his opponent. Then the Prophet raised his hands to supplicate thus: “O Allah! ‘Obaydah, my cousin, was taken away from me in the Battle of Badr, Hamzah, my uncle, in Uhud. Be Merciful, O Lord, not to leave me alone and undefended. Spare Ali to defend me. You are the best of defenders.’
Ali invited ‘Amr to accept Islam or to return to Mecca, or to come down from his horse since Ali had no horse and was on foot.

“Nephew,’ said ‘Amr to Ali, being a friend of Ali's father Abu Talib, “By God I do not like to kill you.’ Ali replied, “By God, I am here to kill you!’ ‘Amr, now enraged at this reply, alighted from his horse. Having hamstrung his horse, a token of his resolve never to run away from the battlefield but either to conquer or to perish, he advanced towards Ali. They were immediately engaged in a duel, turning the ground underneath them into a cloud of dust, so much so that for a good while, only the strokes of their swords could be heard while they themseles could not be seen. ‘Amr succeeded once in inflicting a serious cut on Ali's head. At last, Ali's voice was heard shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!

That was his cry of victory. It always is Muslims' cry of victory. Seeing how the most brave among them has been killed by Ali, the other pagans who crossed the moat now took to their heels with the exception of Nawfal whose horse failed to leap; it fell into the moat. As the Muslims showered him with a hail of stones, he cried out thus: “I rather die by the sword than by the stones!’ Hearing this, Ali leaped into the moat and fulfilled his last wish, dispatching him to hell!

Ali, contrary to the Arab custom then, did not, however, strip either men from their armour or clothes. When ‘Amr's sister came to her brother's corpse, she was struck with admiration at the noble behaviour of her slain brother's adversary and, finding out who he was, she felt proud of her brother having met his fate at the hands of the person who was known as the unique champion of spotless character. She said, as recorded in Tarikh al-Khamis, “Had his conqueror been someone else other than the one who killed him, I would have mourned ‘Amr for the rest of my life. But his opponent was the unique spotless champion.’

Ali, the “Lion of God,’ thus distinguished himself as on previous occasions: in the battles of Badr and of Uhud. About this battle, the Prophet said:

Verily, one attack of Ali in the Battle of Khandaq is better than the worship of all human beings and jinns up to the Day of Resurrection.

No further activity was atempted by the enemy that day, but great preparations were undertaken during the night. Khalid ibn al-Walid, with a party of cavaliers, attempted during the night to clear the ditch for crossing the next day. The next morning, the Muslims found the entire enemy force arrayed in fighting formations along their line of entrenchment. The enemies tried to overrun the Muslim side of the trench but were repelled at every point. The ditch served its purpose; it could not be crossed. During the entire military campaign, by the way, only five Muslims were martyred. The Muslims' vigilance paralyzed the enemies despite their numeric superiority. Numeric superiority is not always a prerequisite for victory. The Almighty grants victory to whosoever He pleases.

But the Muslims were running out of provisions. The Prophet had to tie a stone on his stomach in order to minimize the pangs of hunger. Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: “Our hearts had reached our throats in fear and in desperation.’ On the other hand, the besieging army was getting restive, too; it could not put up any further with the rain and cold; its horses were perishing daily and provisions nearing depletion. The Prophet went to the place where the Mosque of Victory (Masjidul-Fath) now stands and prayed to Allah. Said the Prophet, “O Lord! Revealer of the Sacred Book, the One Who is swift in taking account, turn the confederate host away! Turn them to flight, O Lord, and make the earth underndeath them quake!’

A fierce storm raged, uprooting the tents of the enemies; their pots and belongings went flying in all directions; it blew dust in their faces, extinguished their fires, and their horses were running around as though they were possessed. An unbearable terror was cast in their hearts. In the fourth night, after having finished his prayers, Muhammad asked Abu Bakr if he would go to the enemy's camp to discern and report their activities. He replied saying, “I ask pardon of Allah and of His Messenger.’ The Prophet promised Paradise to be the reward of anyone who would venture out for that purpose, then asked ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab if he would do it.

‘Omar's answer was similar to that of Abu Bakr. The Prophet's request is actually an order, a divine one, since it is coming from one who does not say anything or do anything without the Will of the Almighty. These facts are recorded in Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthur, Al-Sira al-Muhammadiyya, Al-Sira al-Halabiyya, Tarikh al-Khamis, and Rawdat al-Ahbab for all to review. The third person the Prophet asked was Huthayfah al-Yemani who readily responded to the request and proceeded to the enemy camp in the darkness of the night where he saw the devestation wrought by the storm. He saw Abu Sufyan looking very depressed. When he came back to his camp and reported in detail to the Prophet what he had seen, the Prophet was delighted to find out that his plea to Allah was answered.

Either feeling the pain of the severity of the weather or struck with terror at that storm which was interpreted as a manifestation of the Divine Wrath, Abu Sufyan decided to lift the siege and to march back at once. Summoning the chiefs of his allies, he announced his decision to them, issuing orders to dismantle the camp. He and all the Meccans with him, as well as the pagan tribes that allied themselves under his command, fled away. The first to flee was Abu Sufyan himself who was so upset that he tried to ride his camel without first untying its rope. Khalid ibn al-Walid guarded the rear of the armies with two hundred cavaliers against a pursuit. The Ghatfan tribesmen and the bedouin allies returned to their deserts; not a single person remained on the battlefield in the morning. It was with great joy that in the morning the Muslims discovered the sudden disappearance of the enemy, finding themselves unexpectedly relieved. The siege lasted for twenty-four long days ending in March of 627 A.D.

This episode is referred to in the Qur'an in this ayat:

O ye who believe! Remember the bounty of Allah unto you when came upon you the hosts, so We sent against them a strong wind and hosts that ye saw not, and Allah sees all what you do. (Qur'an, 33:9)

And also in ayat 25 which says:

And God turned back the unbelievers in their rage; they did not achieve any advantage, and Allah sufficed for the believers in fighting, and Allah is Strong, Mighty.(Qur'an, 33:25)

‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud was interpreting this thus: “And God sufficed the believers (through Ali ibn Abu Talib) in their fight,’ as we read in Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthur.
As a direct result of this defeat of the infidels' combined forces in the Battle of Khandaq (moat, or the Battle of Ahzab, coalitions), Quraish's influence waned, and those tribes who were till then hesitating to accept Islam out of fear of Quraish began to send deputations to the Prophet. The first deputation came from the tribe of Mazinah, and it consisted of four hundred persons. They not only accepted Islam but were ready to settle down in Medina. The Prophet, however, advised them to return to their homes.

Likewise, a deputation of a hundred persons came from the Ashja’ and embraced Islam. The tribe of Juhainah lived near them, so they were influenced by their conversion. One thousand of the latter's men came to Medina to join the fraternity.

Banu Quraizah Defeated (627 A.D.)

According to the terms of the treaty which Banu Quraizah had contracted with the Muslims, they were bound to assist the Muslims against outside aggression. But, not to speak of assisting the Muslims or even remaining neutral, they had sided with the Meccans and joined the besieging foe. What was worse, they had tried to attack the fortress where Muslim women and children had been lodged for safety. Living in such a close proximity to Medina, they had become a serious menace.

Having put aside his armour after his return from the site of the Battle of Khandaq, the Prophet, on the same day when the battle had come to a close, was washing his hands and face at the house of his beloved daughter Fatima whom he used to visit before proceeding to his own house and whenever he returned from an expedition or an expedition. It was then and there that arch-angel Gabriel brought him the divine command to proceed immediately against the Jews of Quraizah. He instantly sent Ali with his standard, then he followed in person with his army and laid the siege of their fortress, a siege which the enemy had not expected, thinking that the Muslims were already worn out following one of their most exhausting battles.

First, Quraizah Jews resisted, but the siege of twenty-five days sufficed to bring them to their knees and prepare them to pay for their treachery. They ultimately opened the gates of their fortresses on the condition that their fate should be decided by Sa’d ibn Mu’ath, chief of the Aws, a long time friend and ally of the Jews. Sa’d had been wounded during the battle of the moat and was still under treatment when he was brought to decide the fate of Banu Qurayzah.

He came riding a mule and looking quite weak. He could not walk, so he was supported by some of his friends. He was surrounded by men of his tribe who were all urging him to be lenient towards Jewish prisoners, reminding him of their services to the Aws when the war of Bu’ath was raging. Basing his judgement upon the verses of the Old Testament itself, Sa’d ruled that the fighting men, six hundred in number according to some accounts, should be killed, the women and children be taken captive, and their possessions be confiscated and divided among the besieging troops. The sentence was carried out.

Ibn ‘Abbas narrates the following with reference to the Prophet's conquest over Banu Qurayzah:
When the Messenger of Allah called Ka’b ibn Asad so that he would be beheaded, he said to him, “O Ka’b! Did you avail yourself of the advice of Ibn Hawash who came from Syria? He (Ibn Hawash) said, “I have left wine and all intoxicants and came to misery and dates for the same of a Prophet to be delegated. His advent will be in Mecca, and this (Medina) is the place to which he will migrate. He is the one who smiles quite often, and who quite often kills.

A bit of bread and a few dates suffice him. He rides the donkey without a saddle. In his eyes there is redness. He puts the sword on his shoulder and does not care who faces him. His domain will reach so far that nobody can go beyond it.'‘ Ka’b said, “Yes, all of this is true, O Muhammad! Had the Jews not taunted me of being too coward to fight you, I would have believed in you and followed you, but I am a follower of Judaism; a Jew do I live, and a Jew shall I die.’ The Messenger of Allah then said, “Bring him forward and strike his neck,’ and so it was9.

It was in reference to this conquest that the following ayats were revealed:

And He drove down those of the people of the Book who backed them from their fortresses, and He cast awe into their hearts: some you killed and some you took captive. And He made you inherit their land and their dwellings and their possessions, and (to) a land which ye have not yet trodden, and God has power over all things.(Qur'an, 33:26-27)

Some critics had described this punishment as harsh. But what other punishment could be meted out to them? They had violated the pact and, instead of helping the Muslims, they joined the forces of their enemies and had actually besieged the Muslims. There were no prisons where prisoners of war could be detained nor any concentration camps where they could be put to forced labor, and the capture of women and children, though allaying to the notions of the present age, was probably the only method known in those days to provide sustenance to them when the earning members of their families had lost their lives. At any rate, this was the cust’Omary aftermath of a war.

One of the greatest losses suffered by the Muslims in the Battle of Khandaq (Moat) is the death of Sa’d ibn Mu’ath one month after the end of the battle under the weight of his wounds. That was in 5 A.H./626 A.D. Ubayy has narrated saying that Sa’d ibn ‘Abdullah quotes Ibrahim ibn Hashim quoting al-Husain ibn Yazid al-Nawfali quoting Ziyad al-Sukuni quoting Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq who in turn quotes his father Imam Muhammad al-Baqir saying that the Prophet performed the funeral prayers for Sa’d ibn Mu’ath then said,

Ninety thousand angels, including Gabriel, have attended the funeral of Sa’d ibn Mu’ath today to bless him and pray for him. I asked Gabriel, “What did he do to deserve your prayers, all of you, today?!’ Gabriel said, “He used to recite Surat al-Ikhlas (Ch. 112 of the Holy Quran) standing, sitting, riding, walking, going or coming.’10
May Allah have mercy on Sa’d ibn Mu’ath.

Jews of Banu Mostaliq (627 A.D.)

The Jews of Banu Mostaliq were neighbours of Banu Qurayzah. Although they saw what had happened to the latter, they did not learn a lesson from it and started making preparations to invade the part of Medina where the Muslims were residing. Having come to know of their designs, Prophet Muhammad sent them Buraydah ibn al-Hasib in order to verify the reports that had reached him. Upon his return, Buraydah confirmed the truth of what the Prophet had heard. A pre-emptive war was imminent. With Ali as the standard bearer, the Prophet led his troops on Sha’ban 2, 5 A.H./December 30, 626 A.D. to battle the Banu Mostaliq Jews.

The fighting broke out, and ten Jews were killed, including the leader of Banu Mostaliq, namely al-Harith ibn Abu Zarar. Having seen their leader being killed, the Jews took to flight but not before the Muslims captured two hundred of them along with one thousand camels and five hundred sheep. Juwayriyya, daughter of the slain Jewish chief, was among the captives. Before the fight began, her father had already pleaded to the Prophet not to sell her in the slave market as was usually done in those days. Captives who could not buy their ransom or get someone to pay it on their behalf used to be auctioned at the slave market. Juwayriyya embraced Islam and was married to the Prophet who safeguarded her dignity and treated her like a queen. In order to please her even more, Muhammad set all her relatives free.

Treaty of Hudaybiya (627 A.D.)

On the first day of the month of Thul-Qi’dah, of the same year, 5 A.H./March 27, 627 A.D., a month in which no fighting was to take place according to the ancient Arabian custom, the Prophet saw in a dream that he and his followers were mcircling the Ka’ba and performing all the rituals of the pilgrimage. The next morning, he communicated his dream to his followers who were very glad to have such good news. Particularly happy were the Muhajirun who had not forgotten about their families and relatives whom they had left behind in Mecca and whom they very much longed to see. Almost six years had passed since they had seen the Ka’ba and their families, relatives and friends.

The Prophet decided to perform the Omrah (the lesser pilgrimage) to the Ka’ba which had been till then denied to the Muslims due to the hostility of the Meccans. About fourteen hundred Muhajirun and Ansar expressed their readiness to go with him. Lest there should be any misgivings in any quarter about his intentions, he directed the Muslims not to carry any arms other than travellers' sheathed swords, and he himself put on the robes of ihram and took his wife Umm Salamah with him. He also took seventy camels to sacrifice. On the way, they halted at Thul Holayfa. Then the Muslims reached Hudaybiya, ten miles from Mecca, where the Prophet's she-camel Qaswa stopped on her own, knelt down and refused to go any further. Some people said that she was exhasuted, but the Prophet interpreted it as a Divine sign that he should not proceed any further. He, therefore, camped at Hudaybiya.

There was no water available in the place where they had camped. There were some wells there, but they were all filled up with sands. Taking an arrow from his quiver, the Prophet planted it in one of those wells. Immediately water came out to the great relief of everybody.

An envoy was sent to the Meccans to obtain their permission to visit the Ka’ba but it was rejected. Instead, the Meccans collected a force of 200 cavaliers under the command of Khalid ibn al-Walid and ‘Ikrimah son of the infamous Abu Jahl to prevent the Muslims from entering Mecca. Soon the Prophet and his companions were face to face with this force. The Quraishites sent Budayl ibn Warqa' al-Kuza’i with a number of men from his tribe Khuza’ah to tell the Prophet that he was not allowed to visit the Ka’ba. “I have left behind me,’ said Budayl, “Ka’b ibn Lu'ayy and ‘Amir ibn Lu’ayy, accompanied by a powerful host, and they shall fight you and prohibit you from reaching the sanctuary.’

The Prophet said, “We did not come here to fight anyone; rather, we came to perform the umra. War has exhausted and harmed Quraish. If they wish, we can agree on a period of truce so that they may leave me and the people alone. If they wish to embrace what other people have embraced, they may do so; otherwise, I swear by the One Who holds my life in His grip, I shall fight them in defence of my mission till I perish or Allah carries out His command.’ Budayl said, “I shall convey to them what you have just said.’

Quraish deputed ‘Orwah ibn Mas’ud al-Thaqafi to have a talk with the Prophet, but nothing came out of it. The Prophet then sent Karrash ibn Umayyah to Quraish to assure them that they had no hostile intentions at all, only to perform the Omra. He rode his own camel Tha’lab, but he was mistreated and his camel maimed, and it was only with difficulty that he was able to escape with his life. He could have been killed had no Ethiopians interferred and assisted his escape.

At that juncture, the Prophet thought that the best person to speak to the haughty Quraishites would be ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab, so he asked him to be his emissary to those who used to be his bosom friends, but ‘’Omar asked to be excused saying that he was not on good terms with Quraish and suggested that his friend ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan would be a more suitable envoy. ‘Uthman, who belonged to the same clan to which Abu Sufyan belonged, was sent to persuade Quraish to allow the Muslims to visit the Ka’ba. He told the riders that Muhammad had come only to visit the sacred sanctuary and that after slaying the sacrificial camels, he and his followers would all return.

But the Quraishites replied that they had sworn not to allow Muhammad to enter the city that year and that if he, ‘Uthman, wished to visit the Ka’ba himself, he could do so. ‘Uthman declined their offer saying that he could not do so without the Prophet first performing the rites of the lesser pilgrimage. He then returned to the camp. Since it took so long for ‘Uthman to return, rumour was in the Muslim camp that he had been murdered by the Meccans, and the Prophet was quite upset.

The vanguard of Quraish, only eight in number, but some accounts say forty, attacked the Muslims from the direction of the Tan’eem mountain with the intention to massacre them as they were performing the early morning prayers, but the attackers were captured. The Prophet demonstrated great clemency and generosity, setting them all free. The Muslims took a pledge on the hands of the Prophet, known as “Bay’at al-Ridwan’, to stand by him to the last. Referring to this pledge, the Qur'an says:

Indeed God was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to thee under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory.(Qur'an, 48:18)

Those who study the Islamic history impartially will conclude that there were many who swore the pledge of “Bay’at al-Ridwan’ and who forgot it or claimed to have forgotten it as soon as the Prophet died… Surely these will be called to account before the Almighty on the Day of Judgment and to answer to the deviation they caused in the march of Islam, reverting to the jahiliyya, the pre-Islamic era, following their own inclinations and seeking their own vested interests rather than implementing the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah… ‘Abdullah ibn Mughaffal, an eye witness to Bay’at al-Ridwan, said that the Prophet took a pledge from them not to flee from the battle again, since some of them had done just that before, leaving him an easy target to the mischief of his foes and the foes of his Lord.

It came to be known later that the news of ‘Uthman's murder was not true. After considerable difficulty, a treaty was ultimately signed with Suhayl ibn ‘Amr, Quraish's envoy, on the following terms reproduced in almost all the Arab Chronicles:

(1) Muslims should return to Medina that year without performing the pilgrimage.
(2) They could return the next year but their stay should not exceed three days.
(3) The Muslims should not bring any arms with them except sheathed swords.
(4) There would be no war between Quraish and the Muslims for ten years.
(5) Muslims residing in Mecca would not be allowed to migrate to Medina, but if any Muslim wanted to settle in Mecca, he should not be prevented from doing so.
(6) Any idolater or Meccan Muslim migrating to Medina without the permission of his clan will be sent back to Mecca, but a Muslim of Medina going back to Mecca without permission will not be allowed to return.
(7) Any tribe in Arabia will be free to join any of the parties to the pact, and the allies also will be bound by this treaty.

Although these terms were apparently disadvantageous to the Muslims, the Prophet accepted them.
Ali wrote the peace treaty himself, and it was witnessed by a number of the most prominent companions of the Prophet (sahaba) despite the fact that they had their own reservations in its regard, considering it a most unfavourable and humiliating one.

Some Muslims were unhappy about this treaty. ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab talked very rudely to the Prophet. “Are you not a true Prophet of Allah?,’ ‘’Omar asked the Prophet. “I am, no doubt,’ answered the Prophet. “Are we not right and the adversaries are wrong?’ he asked the Prophet again. Muhammad answered him in the affirmative, whereupon he went on to ask one more time, “Why should we, then, obliterate our faith and bear the brunt of humiliation?’ The Prophet answered, “I am only a messenger of Allah, and I can do nothing against His will; He will help me.’

‘’Omar, however, was not satisfied with the Prophet's answers. Ibn Hisham, the renown historian, goes on to record the dialogue between ‘’Omar and his friend Abu Bakr wherein the former exclaimed: “Is not Muhammad the Messenger of Allah? Are we not Muslims? Are they not infidels? Why should our divine religion be thus humiliated?’ Al-Waqidi, who also researched this topic, cites ‘’Omar adding, “Had these terms been fixed by anyone other than Muhammad himself, even by a commander whom I appoint, I would have scorned to listen to them.’ Afterwards, he used to say: “Never did I have doubt (about the truth of Islam) since my acceptance of Islam except on that day (of Hudaybiya).’ A copy of the agreement was given to Suhail, whereas the original remained with the Prophet.

No sooner had the terms been agreed upon than a critical occasion arose. Abu Jundal son of Suhail had been imprisoned by his father for having accepted Islam and was being severely mistreated. He managed to escape and, with his fetters on, reached Hudaybiya just before the treaty was signed. His father, Suhail ibn ‘Amr, the emissary of the Meccans, demanded his return according to the terms of the treaty. The Muslims said that the treaty had by then not signed yet. Suhail said that if his son was not returned to him, there would be no treaty at all. Abu Jundal pleaded with the Muslims in the name of mercy not to throw him back to the tyranny of the Meccans and showed them the injuries they had inflicted on him.

The Muslims were moved to plead his cause and ‘’Omar made an impassioned appeal, but the Prophet silenced them by declaring that he could not break a treaty. He consoled Abu Jundal by saying that God would create some way for his deliverance. ‘’Omar Leaped to comfort the young man thus: “These infidels' blood is no better than the dogs' blood,’ encouraging him to kill his father so that the whole peace treaty would amount to nothing… Abu Jundal, however, did not consent to undo what the Messenger of Allah had just done; the peace treaty has to be respected.

Having concluded the Hudaybiya peace treaty, the Prophet wanted to perform as many of the rituals relevant to the lesser pilgrimage as possible. He ordered his sahaba to slaughter their sacrificial animals and to shave their heads, but he was sorely grieved to see that nobody paid heed to his command. It grieved him so much that he mentioned it to his wife Umm Salamah. But when he sacrificed his animals and shaved his head, removing the robes of ihram, they, too, did likewise, though reluctantly.

After three days' stay at Hudaybiya, the Muslims returned to Medina. On the way back, Surah 48 titled “Victory’ was revealed describing the treaty as an open victory for the Muslims. Later events confirmed that it was really a great victory for them. The first six of its 29 verses are:

In the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful
Surely We have bestowed upon you a clear victory so that Allah may forgive your past faults and those to follow and complete His favour upon you and keep you on a right course. And so that Allah may help you with a mighty victory. He it is Who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers so that they may have more faith added to their faith, and Allah's are the hosts of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is Knowing, Wise, so that He may cause the believing men and the believing women to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein (forever) and to wipe out their sins, and that is a grand achievement with Allah. And so that He may punish the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women, and the polytheistic men and the polytheistic women, those who entertain evil thoughts about Allah. On them is the evil turned, and Allah condemns them and has cursed them and prepared hell for them, and evil is its resort. (Qur'an, 48:1-6)

There were, unfortunately, a number of hypocritical men with the Prophet at Hudaybiya, those opportunists who pretended to be more zealous about Islam than they really were, and their future actions proved so.

Till then, idolaters and Muslims had not been mixing with each other. By virtue of this treaty, they started doing so freely. Muslims, now more than ever before, openly declared their faith and invited others to embrace it. The enemies of Islam were silenced; they could not freely persecute the Muslims. On account of their family ties and trade connections, the Meccans started visiting Medina, and many of them stayed there for months. Peace became a reality, and both parties started enjoying its fruits. Non-Muslims were getting acquainted with the teachings of Islam and were deeply impressed by the righteous conduct and moral integrity of the Muslims.

The Muslims of Medina who were visiting Mecca left behind them similar impressions. The result was that the Meccans were themselves attracted to Islam and many of them embraced the new religion. It is recorded that during two years after this treaty, more people accepted Islam than all those who did so during the nineteen years since the inception of the mission put together. A clear proof is found in the fact that while only 1,400 Muslims had accompanied the Prophet for the lesser pilgrimage when the treaty of Hudaybiya was concluded, two years later, that is, when Mecca fell in the hands of the Muslims, he was accompanied by at least 10,000 Muslims.

Immediately after the signing of the treaty, Banu Khuza’ah, who for a long time were inclined to the new faith, openly embraced it, entering further into an alliance with the Prophet in 629 A.D. This, in fact, was the first practical benefit of the treaty.

Inviting Rulers of Neighboring States To Islam (628 A.D.)

The peace afforded by the Hudaybiya treaty gave an opportunity to the Prophet to propagate Islam throughout Arabia and enable Islam to embark upon its attempt to embrace all humanity. He sent ambassadors with his letters to Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor, Khosrow Parviz II, the Kisra of Persia11, the kings of Egypt and Abyssinia, and to the chiefs of Yemen and Syria. These letters have been preserved and reproduced by Arab chroniclers.

The Byzantine emperor Heraclius (575 - 641 A.D.) woke up one day looking very distressed. His patriarchs immediately knew what was wrong with him. They said to him, “Yes! Last night, you saw in a vision that the King of the circumcized people has now attained power and authority. But we do not know any nation that circumcizes its sons other than the Jews, and they are already under your authority. Perhaps you should kill them all and set your mind to ease.’ As they were thus involved in their discussion, the emperor's governor over Bostra brought to the court an Arab.

“This man, O King,’ said the Governor, “is an Arab who is telling a very serious tale.’ Through an interpreter, Heraclius ordered the man to narrate the tale of what has happened in Arabia. The Arab said, “A man from among us has put forth a claim to Prophethood. Some people have followed him and some have not, and wars have been raging between both parties. Thus did I leave them behind.’ Heraclius ordered the man to be stripped. Once they stripped him, they found him circumcized. “This, by God, is what I saw in my vision,’ said Heraclius who ordered them to give him his clothes back. Then he called into his presence the chief of his police force and said to him, “Look everywhere throughout Syria and find me one of the people (Quraishites) of this man (meaning Muhammad).’12

Abu Sufyan narrates saying that he had come out in a trade caravan when they were intercepted by the chief of police of Heraclius who asked his group, “Are you from the people of Muhammad?’ The answer came in the affirmative. Abu Sufyan and his men were taken to the court of Heraclius who had already received a letter from the Prophet inviting him to accept Islam.

That letter to Heraclius was carried by Duhayyah ibn Khalifah al-Kalbi, a famous Meccan businessman who had already accepted Islam, and it read as follows:

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
From Muhammad, the slave and Messenger of Allah, to Heraclius, the emperor of Rome. Peace be on him who follows the guidance. After this, I invite you to accept Islam. Accept Islam and you will prosper and Allah will give you double rewards. But if you refuse, the sin of your people also will fall on your shoulders. O People of the Book! Come to a word common between us and you: that we shall not worship anything save Allah, and that we shall not associate anything with Him, nor shall some of us take others for lords besides Allah. But if they turn back, then say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.

Duhayyah has said, “As soon as I delivered the Prophet's letter to (emperor) Heraclius, he ordered the patriarch of his empire to be brought to him. When the patriarch came, Heraclius showed him the Prophet's letter. Having read it, the patriarch said, ‘This is the Prophet whose advent we have been expecting! Jesus son of Mary conveyed to us the glad tidings about him.'

Then the patriarch added saying, ‘As far as I am concerned, I believe in him, and I follow him.' Heraclius said, ‘As far as I am concerned, if I do the same, I shall lose my kingdom.' After a while, Heraclius said, ‘Find me some of his own people who are here so that I may ask them about him.' Abu Sufyan and a group of businessmen from Quraish happened to be in Greater Syria at the time. Those businessmen were brought to Heraclius who said to them, ‘Let the one closest in kinship to him come forward to talk to me.' Abu Sufyan came forward.’

Let us stop here for a minute to introduce the kind reader to this great man, Duhayyah ibn Khalifah al-Kalbi.

Duhayyah was a successful businessman. Before accepting Islam, he came one day, as usual, to Medina's bazaar (near the Prophet's mosque) and beat his drum to announce his arrival and the presence of his merchandise for prospective buyers as was the custom in those days. Soon a large number of people surrounded him. He asked them where they had been and was told that they were at the mosque praying with Muhammad, the Messenger of God. “Do you mean to tell me that you came here to buy something, leaving your Prophet behind?!’

When their answer came in the affirmative, Duhayyah rebuked them thus:, “Fie upon you, folks! Do you have any sense of shame at all for doing that?! Get away from me! I am not selling you a thing.’ He immediately packed his wares and left the bazar. The Almighty appreciated what Duhayyah had done out of respect for His Prophet notwithstanding the fact that Duhyyah had not yet believed in Muhammad and in his message. Duhayyah later accepted Islam. As a token of appreciation from the Almighty to him, the arach-angel of revelation, Gabriel, used to go to Prophet Muhammad looking like Duhayyah who was one of the most handsome businessmen in Mecca and Medina. Here is a proof testifying to Gabriel impersonating Duhayyah:

Ibn ‘Abbas narrates in a consecutively narrated tradition transmitted by a chain of reliable narrators saying that the Messenger of Allah used to love to see Ali as the first person to visit him every day in the late morning. The Prophet was in his house's courtyard one morning, resting his head on the lap of Duhayyah ibn Khalifah al-Kalbi, napping, when Ali arrived. He addressed Duhayyah thus, ‘Assalamo Alaik! How is the Messenger of Allah doing?’ Duhayyah said, “Very well, O Brother of the Messenger of Allah!’

Ali said, “May Allah reward you on our behalf, we Ahl al-Bayt, with good rewards.’ Duhayyah responded to this by saying, “I love you, and I would like to express a compliment to you as a gift from me to you. Here it is: You are the Commander of the Faithful (Ameerul-Mo'mineen), leader of the victorious hosts, and the master of all the descendants of Adam on the Day of Judgment with the exception of the prophets and the messengers. The standard of praise shall be in your hand on the Day of Judgment.

You shall be escorted, you and your supporters (Shi’as), in the company of Muhammad and his party to the Gardens. Successful is he who accepts you as his wali; a disappointed loser is he who abandons you. Due to Muhammad's love for you did they love you, hating whatever Muhammad hated. Those who hate you shall never receive any intercession from Muhammad. Those who love you are the choicest of Allah's people.’ Then Duhayyah tried to adjust the Prophet's head in his lap when the Prophet woke up and inquired about that whispering. Ali told the Prophet that he was talking with Duhayyah, whereupon the Prophet said, “That was not Duhayyah! That was Gabriel! Gabriel called you by the name whereby Allah, the most Ealted One, calls you, and it is He Who cast love for you in the hearts of the mu'mins, casting fear of you in the hearts of the kafirs,’ As we read on pp. 267-268 of Vol. 18 of al-Majlisi's Bihar al-Anwar.

Now let us return to what went on between Heraclius and Abu Sufyan.
The conversation that took place between Heraclius and Abu Sufyan is preserved in the books of traditions thus:

Heraclius: Is the family of the person claiming prophethood a noble one?
Abu Sufyan: It is a noble family.
Heraclius: Has anyone else in this family claimed prophethood?
Abu Sufyan: No.
Heraclius: Has there been any king in this family?
Abu Sufyan: No.
Heraclius: Are the people who have accepted this religion weak or influential?
Abu Sufyan: They are weak people.
Heraclius: Are his followers increasing in number or decreasing?
Abu Sufyan: Their number is on the increase.
Heraclius: Have you ever known him to tell lies?
Abu Sufyan: No.
Heraclius: Does he ever commit a breach of any pact?
Abu Sufyan: He has not done it so far, but we would like to see if he keeps up a new peace treaty that we have recently negotiated with him.
Heraclius: Have you ever fought him?
Abu Sufyan: Yes.
Heraclius: What was the result?
Abu Sufyan: Sometimes we won and sometimes he.
Heraclius: What does he teach?
Abu Sufyan: He bids people to worship one God and not to associate any partners with Him, to offer prayers, to be truthful and chaste, and to bestow alms.

Heraclius then summed up the conversation thus:
You say that this man belongs to a noble family. Prophets always come from noble families. You say that no one else in the family ever before claimed prophethood. Had it been so, I would have thought that he was influenced by family traditions. You say that none of his predecessors was a king. Had it been so, I would have thought that he was aspiring to attain kingship. You admit that he never tells lies.

A person who does not tell a lie to a man cannot tell a lie about God. You say that poor people are the adherents of his creed. The first followers of prophets always come from this class. You say that his religion is expanding. This is characteristic of a true religion. You say that he does not deceive. Prophets do not deceive anyone. You say that he bids you to offer prayers and to observe purity and chastity. If all this is true, his realm will come right up to my domain. I had thought that a prophet might be coming, but I did not think that he would be born in Arabia. If I could go there, I would have paid homage to him.

Abu Sufyan used to say that he had to give true answers to the emperor, as he was afraid of being contradicted by one or more caravan companion if he gave any false reply.

Heraclius wanted to know more about Muhammad's religion. He, therefore, sent a man from the tribe of Ghassan with these instructions: “Report to me three observations: 1) see on what he sits; 2) see who sits on his right side; and 3) if possible, try to find out what his seal says.’ The man came to the Prophet and found him sitting on the ground treating his feet with warm water. Ali was sitting on his right side. “Who is this man?,’ he asked. “Ali, the Prophet's cousin,’ he was told.

He wrote down his observations, forgetting the third instruction. The Messenger, seeing how the man was trying to remember what he had forgotten, instantly said to him, “Come and take a look at what your fellow (Heraclius) had instructed you to try to see,’ showing him his seal. The man returned to Heraclius and reported to him all what he had seen. “This is the one foretold by Jesus son of Mary! He rides the camel; so, you should follow him and believe in him.’ Then he said to his messenger, “Go and invite my brother (to Islam), for he is my partner in the kingdom.’ The messenger went back to report to Heraclius that his brother was not receptive to the idea at all, fearing the loss of his kingdom, as we are told by al-Majlisi on p. 378, Vol. 20, of Bihar al-Anwar.

The letter Muhammad sent to Khosrow II Parviz son of Hormizd IV, the Sasanian Kisra of Persia, was carried by ‘Abdullah ibn Huthafah. It stated the following as recorded by the historian al-Ya’qubi:

In the Name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful
From Muhammad the Messenger of Allah to Khosrow son of Hormizd. Accept Islam, so you will be safe (from Allah's wrath); otherwise, be forewarned of a war from Allah and His Messenger, and peace be with whoever follows the right guidance.

Khosrow Parviz was enraged at the very idea of an “ordinary’ person addressing him, the great Kisra that he was, on terms of equality, and even starting with his own name before that of his; so, he tore the letter to pieces13. In his rage, he said, “Who is this person who invites me to accept his religion and starts his letter with his name before mine?!’ As a token of his ridicule, Khosrow Parviz sent the Prophet some of his country's soil. When the Prophet was informed that Khosrow had torn his letter to pieces, he said, “May Allah tear his domain to pieces just as he tore my letter. For sure, his domain shall be torn apart. He sent me soil… For sure, you will come to possess his land.’ And so it was.

Khosrow Parviz, further directed his governor over Yemen Firoz al-Daylami, nicknamed “Abu Mahran,’ who used to be one of the ministers of Sayf ibn Thee Yazun,14 to arrest the person claiming to be a prophet and to send him to his court. The governor's messengers arrived at Medina and asked the prophet to comply with Kisra's orders on pain of his country's destruction, giving him one night to do so. The Prophet replied, “My God informed me that your lord was killed last night; God sent upon him his son Sheroe15 after seven hours of the night had passed; so, wait till this news reaches you, ‘ as we read in al-Majlisi's Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 20, p. 382.

As the reader knows, all the above took place in 628 A.D. In order to verify the accuracy of the date of death of Khosrow Parviz, I consulted the Micropedia of the Encylopedia Britannica III, and I found this exact date: 628 A.D. recorded as the date of death of this Persian Kisra. The reader can see the same for himself on p. 793 of Vol. 5 of the said Encylopedia. Surely Allah and His Messenger always say the truth! Allahu Akbar!

It also gives me pleasure to assure the discreet reader that I went to extremes verifying the dates (Hijri and Gregorian) contained in this book, spending a great deal of time comparing one reference with another, consulting both Arabic and English references so that each and every date is accurate. Only Allah knows the extent and the pain of my frustration whenever I came across so many discrepencies relevant to historical data in print. Having verified all these dates in classic books, I further consulted a computer program for final verification.

The reader can now rely on these dates as much I, the author, can, and surely Allah knows best. All Praise is due to Allah, and only to Allah, Who has enabled me to write this book and other books that I have also written, translated, or edited; I humbly thank Him for it and pray that He accept my endeavour as a mere token of appreciation of all what He has done for me although the favour of writing it is most surely His, not mine. We all are tools in the hands of the Almighty and nothing more. The will of Allah be done.

It is interesting to state here that Prophet Muhammad used a seal for the very first time in this same year after being told that the monarchs ruling the domains beyond Arabia would not honour any letter unless it was sealed.

The Prophet's letter to al-Harith ibn Abu Shimr al-Ghassani, chief of the Ghassan tribe ruling western Syria, was carried by Shuja’ ibn Wahab, who was put to death by al-Harith. The Ghassan tribe was an Arab tribe that inhabited the Western side of the Syrian Desert during the Prophet's time.

This eventually became the cause of a conflict with the Christians (then the dominant power over Syria) which resulted in the Battle of Mu'tah in 629 A.D. and the Expedition of Tabuk in 630 A.D.
The Prophet sent an epistle to al-Munthir ibn Sawa, the then King of Bahrain appointed by the Persian emperor, was delivered by al-’Ala ibn al-Hadrami. It read as follows:

In the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to al-Munthir son of Sawa: Peace on him. Praise be to Allah besides Whom there is no other god. And I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. And now I remind you of Allah, the Mighty and the Glorious. Whoever receives admonition receives it for his own good, and whoever obeys my envoys and follows their instructions obeys me. Whoever is sincere to them is sincere to me.

My envoys have spoken well of you. I have accepted your intercession on behalf of the people of Bahrain. Leave to the Muslims all they owned before accepting Islam. While I hereby grant indemnity to the wrongdoers, you should also forgive them. You shall not be deposed so long as you conduct yourself well. And whosoever continues following his (religion of) Judaism shall be liable to pay the jizya (protection tax).

The letter sent earlier to Negus, the king of Abyssinia, which was carried by ‘Amr ibn Umayyah al-Damri, stated the following:
In the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Negus, the king of Abyssinia: Peace on him who follows the path of Guidance. Praise to Allah besides Whom there is no other god, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Preserver of Peace, the Keeper of the Faithful, the Guardian. I bear witness that Jesus son of Mary is indeed a spirit of God and His word which He conveyed unto the chaste Virgin Mary. He created Jesus through His word just as he created Adam with His hands. And now I call you to Allah Who is One and has no partner, and to friendship in His obedience. Follow me and believe in what has been revealed to me, for I am the Messenger of Allah. I invite you and your people to Allah, the Mighty, the Glorious. I have conveyed the message, and it is up to you to accept it. Once again, peace on whoever follows the path of guidance.

Another epistle sent to Muqawqis, the then Roman Viceroy over Egypt, was carried by Hatib ibn Balta’ah and it said:

In the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful. From Muhammad, the servant and Messenger of Allah, to Muqawqis, Chief of the Copts: Peace on him who follows the path of guidance. I invite you to accept the message of Islam. Accept it and you shall prosper. But if you turn away, the sins (of misleading by your example) of the Copts shall fall upon you. O people of the Book! Come to a word common between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah and that we shall ascribe no partners to Him and that none of us shall regard anyone as lord besides God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.

According to a number of books of history, the Prophet also sent Saleet ibn ‘Amr al-’Amiri with two of his letters to both kings ruling Yemen then: Thumal ibn Athal and Hawthah ibn Ali who belonged to the tribe of Banu Haneef. I very much wished to research the text of those letters and the response to them, but I could not do so due to the deadline which I had to meet before sending this book's manuscript to the press. I seek forgiveness of Allah, of His Prophet, and of the kind reader. Deadlines are one of the inconveniences writers have to tolerate.

The Battle of Khaybar (628 A.D.)

Banishing the Jewish tribes of Banu Nadir and Qinaqa’ from Medina intensified the Jews' animosity towards the Muslims. These tribes were instigating other tribes, Jewish and pagan, to join them in a conclusive assault upon the Muslims. Two years ago, they instigated a number of powerful bedouin tribes, with whom they entered into alliances, as well as the Quraishites of Mecca, to raid and besiege Medina, but their attempts failed. Their chief, Ibn Abul-Haqiq, who enjoyed security at the fort of Qamus, instigated the tribe of Banu Fizarah and other bedouins to raid Medina. In fact, the Battle of Ahzab, or of Khandaq (moat), was the first attempt in which the Jews had actually participated in besieging the Muslims. Ibn Abul-Haqiq in particular had played an active role in that siege.

These Jewish tribes had settled down in Khaybar at a distance of about 80 miles (or 96 Arabian miles or 8 stages) north-east of Medina. “Khai-Bar’ means: “fortified place’. The valley of Khaybar was studded with fortresses strongly situated on rocky hills numbering ten. The more fortified ones were seven: Naim, Qamus (on a hill of the same name), Katiba, Shiqu, Natat, Watih and Sulalim, of which Qamus (where Ibn Abul-Haqiq resided) was the most fortified. It was the one that proved to be a formidable challenge to the Muslims.

Past reverses they suffered did not deter them. Usir ibn Razam, another prominent Jew of Khaybar, rallied behind him all the Jewish tribes then solicited the aid of Ghatfan for a final showdown. To demonstrate their strength, Ghatfan sent a posse headed by none other than ‘Oyaynah, chief of the tribe of Banu Fizarah, that captured twenty camels belonging to the Prophet after killing their herdsman and capturing his wife.

This incident took place in Rabi’ I of that year 7 A.H./July 628 A.D.. In the next month (Rabi II), the Banu Ghatfan tribe, an ally of the Jews, with the instigation of the latter, made a similar attempt, sending Muhammad ibn Maslamah with ten men. All those ten men were killed by the Muslims, and the leader of the scheme was seriously wounded. He was mistaken as having been killed, so his body was put together with the corpses of the other ten men. Finding an opportunity, however, he fled. In the same year, OIb died and was succeeded by ‘Osayr ibn Zarim who renewed his attempts to hatch plots against the Muslims with the tribe of Banu Ghatfan. News reached the Prophet of their schemes.

The news of the preparation of the Jews was reaching the Prophet in Medina frequently. At last, the Prophet decided to crush them once and for all before they could destroy the Muslims. It was the “near victory’ foretold in the Sura of “Victory’ revealed just after the truce of Hudaybiya:

Indeed, God was well-pleased with the Believers when they swore allegiance to thee under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory.(Qur'an, 48:18)

By mid-Muharram, 7 A.H./May 28, 628 A.D., the Prophet marched on Khaybar with 1,400 (or 1600 according to some accounts) strong. In order to surprise the enemy, the Prophet's troops marched during the night and halted during the day. A road guide had to be hired to show the army the way. The Jews had made a maze of roads surrounding their fortresses.
In about seven days, six of the Jewish fortresses were overrun by the Muslims. Then Qamus was besieged. As the Muslims were busy for one month attacking less fortified fortresses, the Jews were equally busy laying waste the country surrounding them with the intention to starve the Muslims. They destroyed even their own date trees growing around their fortresses. They successfully repulsed every attempt of the Muslims to advance.

Abul-Fida' says the following in his Tarikh, book of history:

In those days, the Prophet sometimes used to suffer from partial headaches. As a matter of chance, on the day he reached Khaybar, he suffered from the same. Abu Bakr, therefore, took the standard and went out to fight but returned unsuccessful. Then ‘’Omar took the standard and fought hard, more than his predecessor, but returned equally unsuccessful. When the Prophet came to know of these reversals, he said, “By Allah, tomorrow I will give the standard to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger and whom Allah and His Messenger love, one who is constant in onslaught and does not flee, one who will stand firm and will not return till victory is achieved.’ Having heard this, both the Immigrants and the Helpers aspired for the flag.

When the day dawned, having said the morning prayers, the Prophet came and stood among his companions. Then he called for the standard. At that moment, every companion was engrossed in the hope and desire of getting the flag, while the Prophet called for Ali who was suffering from sore eyes. The Prophet took some of his own saliva on his finger and applied it to Ali's eyes. The eyes were at once cured and the Prophet handed over the standard to him.

Madarijun-Nubuwwah proceeds to state the following: “Then Ali started with the flag in his hand and, reaching under the fort of Qamus, planted the standard on a rock. A rabbi who was watching from the fort asked, ‘O standard-bearer! Who are you?' Ali replied, ‘I am Ali son of Abu Talib.' The rabbi called unto his people, ‘By the Torah, you will be defeated! This man will not go back without winning the battle.'‘ Shaikh ‘Abdul-Haqq, the Dehlavi muhaddith (traditionist), author of Madarijun-Nubuwwah, states the following: “Perhaps that Jew was well informed of Ali's valour and had seen his praises in the Torah.’

He further states the following in his afore-mentioned book:

Al-Harith, brother of Marhab (the most courageous Jewish warrior), first sallied forth from the fort with a huge spear whose point weighed about 3 mounds16. In his immediate attack, he killed a number of Muslim veterans. Then Ali proceeded towards him and killed him in one stroke. When Marhab was informed of his brother's plight, he rushed out of the fort accompanied by some of the bravest soldiers from the Khaybar garrison to avenge his brother's death. It is said that Marhab was the strongest, tallest, and the fiercest among the warriors of Khaybar and that none equalled him in his might. That day, he was armed twice over, wearing double armour with two swords dangling by his sides. He was also wearing two turbans with a helmet over and above.

He marched ahead in the battlefield singing about his own valour. Nobody among the Muslims dared to fight him in the battlefield. Ali, therefore, darted out, reciting about his own valiance in response to Marhab's. Taking the initiative, Marhab attacked Ali with his sword. But Ali avoided the blow and rendered with Thul-Fiqar such a forceful blow on Marhab's head that it cut through the latter's helmet, the double turban, the head, till it reached the man's throat. According to some narratives, Marhab was cut up to his thigh, in others that it tore him into two parts upon the saddle. Marhab took his way to the hereafter in two pieces. Then the Muslims under the command of Ali began fighting the Jews. Ali himself killed seven generals of the Jewish forces each one of whom was considered to be most valiant.

After these had been killed, the remnants of the Jewish troops ran helter-skelter towards their fort. Ali followed them in hot pursuit. In this rush, one Jew delivered a blow to Ali's hand wherein he carried his shield. The shield fell down. Another Jew picked it up and made good with his booty. This infuriated Ali and who was now strengthened with such a spiritual force and divine strength that he jumped across the moat and came straight to the door of the iron gate. He dislodged it from its hinges, held it up as a shield and resumed fighting.

According to Ibn Hisham's Sirat, and according to Al-Tarikh al-Kamil and Abul-Fida's Tarikh, Abu Rafi’ is cited saying, “When the Prophet gave the flag to Ali and bade him fight the forces of Khaybar, we, too, accompanied him. When Ali was a short distance from the fort, fighting all along, a Jew struck a blow on his hand with such a force that the shield Ali was holding fell down. Ali at once pulled out a part of the gate of Khaybar, held it up as a shield and fought till Allah granted him a clear victory. Once the fighting was over, he threw it away. It was so heavy that eight men from among us could hardly turn it over from one side to the other.’

An agreement was reached with the Jews of Khaybar. Their lands and movable property were left in their hands. They were allowed to practice their religion freely. In return for the protection they would receive, they were required to pay the Muslims half the produce of their lands. The Prophet maintained the right to turn them out of their lands whenever he so decided. The battle of Khaybar is important as it put an end to the Jewish resistance and, for the first time, a non-Muslim people were made “Protected Persons’ of the Muslim commonwealth.

On the same day, Ja’far ibn Abu Talib returned from Ethiopia. The Prophet said: “I do not know on which blessing of Allah I should thank Him more: on the victory of Khaybar or on the return of Ja’far?!’

Safiyya The Jewess

Safiyya daughter of Huyay ibn al-Akhtab, the Jewish arch-enemy of the Prophet of Islam, was the wife of Kinanah ibn al-Rabee’ ibn Abul-Haqiq, a Jewish chief. She embraced Islam during those days. She had seen in a vision the moon falling from the heavens into her lap.

Her husband, having listened to her narrate her vision, violently slapped her, hurting her eye. He taunted her of having desired the domain of Hijaz under Muhammad's control. When she fell in captivity, she managed to reach the Prophet. She was wearing the mark of a bruise on her eyelid caused by Kinanah striking her only on account of narrating that dream to her. Muhammad welcomed her into the folds of his nation and offered to marry her. She welcomed his offer and the marriage was soon solemnized.

Jewess Tries to Poison Muhammad

While the Prophet was still in Khayber, a Jewess presented him with a dressed and grilled lamb just when he was about to be served his dinner. Expressing his gratitude for the present, the Prophet took the shoulder, his favourite part, to eat, giving the man sitting next to him, namely Bishr ibn Ma’rur, a Khazrajite Ansar who had courageously participated in the battles at Badr and Uhud, another piece and passing pieces to other sahaba who were present there and then as was always his habit. As soon as the Prophet tasted the lamb, he realized that it did not taste right.

Rather than swallowing it, he spat it out. Meanwhile, Bishr had already swallowed some of the meat. He collapsed and died instantly. Conducting an intensive inquiry, the companions of the Prophet came to know that lamb had been prepared by a Jewish captive who was summoned and interrogated. She defended herself by saying that was her revenge for the loss of her father, brother, husband and other relatives, for the devestation wrought by the Muslims on her people and “country.’ She added saying that if Muhammad were a true Prophet, he would discover the mischief before any harm afflicted him; but if he were a pretender, he would fall a victim to her scheme and the Jews would be saved from his tyranny.

There are two different stories as to what happened to that Jewess. One says that she was put to death there and then. Another tells quite a different story. Following is the narration of the same incident by a grandson of the Prophet, namely Imam Ali ibn Muhammad, peace and blessings of the Almighty be upon him and all the Progeny of Prophet Muhammad:

When the Messenger of Allah returned from Khaybar to Medina, after having won a great victory (over the Jews), a Jewess who had pretended to have accepted Islam took a lamb's shoulder and cooked it. Putting it before the Prophet, she said, “O Messenger of Allah! May both my parents be sacrificed for your sake! I was very much concerned about you when you came out to meet the hosts at Khayber, for I know that they are very tough people. I know that the shoulder is your favourite, and grilling is your favourite method of cooking, so I made a vow (nathr) that if Allah saved you from them, I would slaughter a lamb for you and feed you from its grilled shoulder.

Now Allah has saved you from them and granted you victory over them, I have brought you my nathr.’ In the company of the Prophet there were men such as al-Bara' ibn Ma’rur and Ali ibn Abu Talib. The Messenger of Allah said, “Bring me some bread.’ Once the bread was brought, al-Bara' stretched his hand and took a morsel of the meat and put it in his mouth. Ali ibn Abu Talib, peace be upon him, said to him, “O Bara'! You should not do anything ahead of the Prophet.’ Al-Bara' was a bedouin. He said to Ali, “O Ali! It seems as if you are calling the Messenger of Allah miser!’

Ali said, “I never make such an implication about the Messenger of Allah; on the contrary, I respect and revere him. Neither I, nor you, nor any of Allah's creation should say something or do something or eat or drink before the Messenger of Allah does so.’ “I never imply that the Messenger of Allah is miser, either.’ Ali said, “This is not why I said what I said. But this woman who used to be Jewish has come here and we do not know her very well. If you eat of it according to the order of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, he will be the one to guarantee your safety. But if you eat it without an order from the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, you will be on your own.’

Ali continues to narrate this story saying that meanwhile, al-Bara' was chewing his morsel. It is then that the shoulder spoke out and said, “O Messenger of Allah! Do not eat of me, for I am poisoned!’ Al-Bara' fell a victim to the swoon of death. He was not lifted from the ground except to be buried. The Messenger of Allah said, “Bring me that woman.’ She was brought to him. “What made you do what you did?,’ the Prophet asked her.

She said, “You have caused me a great disaster, indeed. You have killed my father, my uncle, my husband, my brother, and my son, so I did what I did saying to myself, ‘If he were a king, I would seek revenge against him, but if he were a prophet, as he claims, having promised to conquer Mecca and to bring victory, Allah will protect him from it (from the poison), and it will not harm him.’ The Messenger of Allah said, “O woman, you have said the truth.’ Then he added, “Do not be fooled by the death of al-Bara', for Allah caused him to fall into a trial and tribulation on account of his doing something before the Messenger of Allah. Had he eaten of it with the permission of the Messenger of Allah, it would not have harmed him nor poisoned him.’

Then the Prophet ordered a number of his companions to be brought to him including Salman, Miqdad, Abu Tharr, ‘Ammar, Suhayb, Bilal, and other sahaba totalling ten in number in addition to Ali. Once they were all present, the Prophet told them to sit down around the food like a circle. Then the Prophet put his hand on the poisoned shoulder, blew of his breath over it, then said, “In the Name of Allah al-Shafi, the Healer; in the Name of Allah al-Muafi, the One Who grants good health; nothing at all can harm when His Name is invoked, nor any ailment, not in the earth, nor in the heavens, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.’ Then he added, “Eat in the Name of Allah.’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, ate of it, and they, too, ate of it to their fill. Then they drank water. The Prophet ordered the Jewess to be imprisoned.

On the next day, he ordered her brought to him. “Did you not see with your own eyes how these men ate of that poisoned food? Did you not see how Allah protected His Messenger and His Messenger's sahaba?’ The woman said, “Yes, I have, O Messenger of Allah! Before now, I had entertained serious doubts about you being a Prophet, but now I am certain that you are, indeed, the Messenger of Allah; therefore, I testify that: There is no god except Allah, the One and Only God Who has no partner, and that you are His servant and Messenger.’ Her actions testified to the soundness of her conviction.17

The name of that Jewess is given in al-Majlisi's Bihar al-Anwar as Zainab daughter of al-Harith ibn Salam ibn Mashkam, niece of the same Marhab referred to above.

Then it was time to bury al-Bara' ibn Ma’rur. The Prophet inquired about Ali and was told that he had gone for an errand for one of the Muslims. The Prophet, hearing that, sat down. The sahaba asked him as to why he sat down instead of proceeding with the funeral rituals. He said, “Allah, the most Exalted and the most Great, ordered me to postpone the performance of the prayers for al-Bara' till Ali returns so that he would forgive him for what he had said in the presence of the Prophet, so that He may consider his death by this poison an atonement for his sins.’ Some of those who were present during the entire incident said to the Prophet, “O Messenger of Allah! He was only jesting! He was simply teasing Ali! He was not serious at all; so, how can Allah take him so seriously?’

The Prophet said, “Had he been serious, Allah would have wiped out all his good deeds even if he had spent what is between the earth and the ‘Arsh by way of charity in gold and silver, but he was, indeed, jesting, so he is excused. But the Messenger of Allah does not desire any of you to think that Ali was angry with him. He, therefore, will renew in your presence his sentiments towards him, and so that he may seek Allah's forgivenes for him. Allah will then bring him (Bara') closer to Him and grant him a loftier status in His Paradise.’

Shortly thereafter Ali returned and stood before the coffin to say: “O Bara'! May Allah have mercy on you. You used to fast and to stand for the prayers, and you have died in the way of Allah.’ The Messenger of Allah then said, “Had any deceased person not needed the Messenger of Allah to perform his funeral prayers, your fellow here (meaning Bara') would have found such a supplication from Ali sufficient.’ Then he stood up, performed the funeral prayers for Bara' ibn Ma’rur and had him buried. He went thereafter to attend the Fatiha majlis for him.’18

By the way, “Zainab’ was a common name before the advent of Islam. One of the most famous women who carried this name was the last pagan Arab queen of Tadmur, Palmyra, kingdom of Nabatean Arabs, till Roman emperor Aurelianus (Aurelian), who ruled Rome from 270 to 275 A.D., destroyed her kingdom in 273 A.D. She is known as Queen Zaynab or Zenobia, a bedouin corruption of “Zainab.’


The Prophet then sent an expedition with Ali ibn Abu Talib to a Jewish tribe living in Fadak. Without any battle, they agreed to the same terms as the people of Khaybar had.

The income from Khaybar was for all Muslims in general, whereas the income from Fadak was exclusively for the Prophet because it was taken without any use of force. Jalaluddin al-Sayyuti states in Ad-Durr al-Manthur on the authority of Bazar, Abu Yacli and Ibn Abu Hatim who have learned the tradition from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri that when the verse: Wa ati thal-Qurba Haqqahu (“And give thy kinsfolk their dues’) (Qur'an, Chap. 17, V. 26) was revealed, the Prophet gave the property of Fadak as a gift to Fatima. Also, Ibn ‘Abbas has narrated that when the verse “And give thy kinsfolk their dues’ was revealed, the Prophet assigned the Fadak property to Fatima.’

Abu Hurayra and the Falsification of Hadith

In the same year (7 A.H./629 A.D.), a young and very poor man from the Daws tribe of southern Arabia (Yemen), met the Prophet immediately after the battle of Khaybar and embraced Islam. He is well known in history as “Abu Hurayra,’ the fellow of the kitten, after a kitten to which he was very much attached. His name shone neither during the lifetime of the Prophet nor of the four “righteous caliphs’ but during the un-Islamic reign of terror of the Umayyads which lasted from 661 to 750 A.D. It was then that the Islamic world witnessed an astronomical number of “traditions’ which were attributed, through this same Abu Hurayra, to the Prophet of Islam. Since these traditions, known collectively as hadith, constitute one of the two sources of the Islamic legislative system, the Sharia, it is very important to shed a light on the life and character of this man even if some readers may consider this chapter as a digresion from the main topic.

It is of utmost importance to expose the facts relevant to Abu Hurayra so that Muslims may be cautious whenever they come across a tradition narrated by him or attributed to him which, all in all, reached the astronomical figure of 5,374 “traditions,’ although he spent no more than three years in the company of the Prophet, a fact supported by the renown compiler al-Bukhari, whenever such company did not involve any danger to his life, and despite the fact that Abu Hurayra did not know how to read and write… The reader can easily conclude that this figure is unrealistic when he comes to know that Abu Bakr, friend of the Prophet and one of the earliest converts to Islam, narrated no more than 142 traditions.

‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab, the story of whose conversion to Islam is narrated earlier in this book, narrated no more than 537 traditions. ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan narrated no more than 146 traditions. And Ali, the man who was raised by the Prophet and who was always with him, following him like his shadow, and whose memory and integrity nobody at all can question, narrated no more than 586 traditions. All these men, especially Ali and Abu Bakr, spent many years of their lives in the company of the Prophet and did not hide when their lives were in jeopardy, as is the case with Abu Hurayrah, yet they did not narrate except a tiny fraction of the number of “traditions,’ many of which cannot be accepted by logic and commonsense, narrated by or attributed to Abu Hurayra.

This is why it is so important to discuss this man and expose the factories of falsification of hadith established by his benefactors, the Umayyads, descendants and supporters of Abu Sufyan, then his son Mu’awiyah, then his son Yazid, all of whom were outrightly hypocrites and had absolutely nothing to do with Islam.

Abu Hurayra's name is said to be ‘Omayr ibn ‘Amir ibn ‘Abd Thish-Shari ibn Tareef, of the Yemenite tribe of Daws ibn ‘Adnan19. His mother's name is Umaima daughter of Safeeh ibn al-Harith ibn Shabi ibn Abu Sa’b, also of the Daws tribe. His date of birth is unknown, but he is said to have died in 57, 58, or 59 A.H., and that he had lived to be 78. This would put the date of his birth at 677, 678 or 679 A.D.

When he came to the Prophet, he was young and healthy and, hence, capable of enlisting in the Prophet's army. But he preferred to be lodged together with the Muslim destitutes at the Suffa referred to above. Most of the time which Abu Hurayra spent with the Prophet was during the lunches or dinners the Prophet hosted for those destitutes.

Abu Hurayra himself admitted more than once that he remained close to the Prophet so that he could get a meal to eat. Another person who used to shower the destitutes of the Suffa with his generosity was Ja’far ibn Abu Talib (588 - 629 A.D.), the Prophet's cousin and a brother of Ali ibn Abu Talib. He was, for this reason, called “Abul Masakeen,’ father of the destitutes. This is why, Abu Hurayra used to regard Ja’far as the most generous person next only to the Prophet. When the Prophet mandated military service for all able men in the Mu'ta expedition, Ja’far ibn Abu Talib did not hesitate from responding to the Prophet's call, but Abu Hurayra, who considered Ja’far as his patron, preferred not to participate, thus violating the order of the Prophet. History records the names of those who did likewise.

In 21 A.H./642 A.D., during the caliphate of ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab, Abu Hurayra was appointed as governor of Bahrain. After two years, he was deposed because of a scandal. The details of that scandal are recorded in the books of Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih, the Mu’tazilite writer, and in Ibn al-Atheer's famous classic book Al-Iqd al-Fareed. A summary of that incident runs as follows:

When Abu Hurayra was brought to him, ‘’Omar said to him: “I have come to know that when I made you governor of Bahrain, you did not even have shoes to wear, but I am now told that you have purchased horses for one thousand and six hundred dinars.’ Abu Hurayra said, “I had horses which have multiplied, and I received some as gifts.’ ‘’Omar then said, “I would give you only your salary. This (amount) is a lot more than that (more than your salary for both years).

Pay the balance back (to baytul-mal, the Muslim state treasury)!’ Abu Hurayra said, “This money is not yours.’ ‘’Omar said, “By Allah! I would bruise your back!’ Saying this, ‘’Omar whipped Abu Hurayra till he bled. Then he thundered: “Now bring the money back!’ Abu Hurayra replied: “I am to account for it before Allah.’ ‘’Omar said, “This could be so only if you had taken it rightfully and had paid it back obediently. I shall throw you back to your mother as though you were dung so that she would use you to graze donkeys.’

According to the sequence employed by Ibn Sa’d in his Tabaqat, Abu Hurayra ranks in the ninth or tenth class. He came to the Messenger of Allah near the end of the seventh Hijri year. Hence, historians say that he accompanied the Prophet no more than three years20 according to the best estimates, while other historians say it was no more than two years if we take into consideration the fact that the Prophet sent him to accompany Ibn al-Hadrami to Bahrain, then the Messenger of Allah died while he was still in Bahrain.21

Abu Hurayra was not known for his jihad or valour, nor was he among those who were regarded as brilliant thinkers, nor among the jurists who knew the Qur'an by heart, nor did he even know how to read and write… He came to the Messenger of Allah in order to satisfy his hunger as he himself said, and as the Prophet came to understand from him, so he lodged him among the people of the Suffa to whom the Prophet used to send some food.

Yet he became famous for the abundance of ahadith which he used to narrate about the Messenger of Allah. This fact attracted the attention of verifiers of hadith especially since he had not remained in the company of the Prophet for any length of time and to the fact that he narrated traditions regarding battles which he had never attended.

Some verifiers of hadith gathered all what was narrated by the “righteous caliphs’ as well as by the ten men given the glad tidings of going to Paradise in addition to what the mothers of the faithful and the purified Ahl al-Bayt, and they did not total one tenth of what Abu Hurayra had narrated all alone. This came despite the fact that among the latter was Ali ibn Abu Talib who remained in the company of the Prophet for thirty years.

Then fingers were pointed to Abu Hurayra charging him with telling lies and with fabricating and forging hadith. Some went as far as labelling him as the first narrator in the history of Islam thus charged. Yet he is called by some “Islam's narrator’ and is surrounded with a great deal of respect. They totally rely on him, even go as far as saying ‘Radiya Allhu anhu,’ Allah be pleased with him, whenever they mention his name.

Some of them may even regard him as being more knowledgeable than Ali due to one particular tradition which he narrates about himself and in which he says, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I hear a great deal of your hadith which I have been forgetting!' He said, ‘Stretch your mantle,' had created the heavens, the earth, and all creation in seven days. When ‘’Omar heard about it, he called him in and asked him to repeat that hadith. Having heard him repeating it, ‘’Omar struck him and said to him, “How so when Allah Himself says it was done in six days, while you yourself now say it was done in seven?!’ Abu Hurayra said, “Maybe I heard it from Ka’b al-Ahbar…’ ‘’Omar said, “Since you cannot distinguish between the Prophet's ahadith and what Ka’b al-Ahbar says, you must not narrate anything at all.’ 22

It is also narrated that Ali ibn Abu Talib has said, “Among all the living, the person who has told the most lies about the Messenger of Allah is Abu Hurayra al-Dawsi.’23 Mother of the faithful ‘Ayisha, too, testified to his being a liar several times in reference to many ahadith which he used to attribute to the Messenger of Allah. For example, she resented something which he had once said so she asked him, “When did you hear the Messenger of Allah say so?’ He said to her, “The mirror, the kohl, and the dyestuff have all diverted you from the hadith of the Messenger of Allah,’ but when she insisted that he was lying and scandalized him, Marwan ibn al-Hakam interfered and took upon himself to verify the authenticity of the hadith in question.

It was then that Abu Hurayra admitted, “I did not hear it from the Messenger of Allah; rather, I heard it from al-Fadl ibn al-’Abbas.’24 It is because of this particular narration that Ibn Qutaybah charged him with lying saying, “Abu Hurayra claimed that al-Fadl ibn al-’Abbas, who had by then died, testified to the authenticity of that tradition which he attributed to him in order to mislead people into thinking that he had heard it from him.’25

In his book Ta'weel al-Ahadith, Ibn Qutaybah says, “Abu Hurayra used to say: ‘The Messenger of Allah said such-and-such, but I heard it from someone else.’ In his book Alam al-Nubala, al-Thahbi says that Yazid ibn Ibrahim once cited Shu’bah ibn al-Hajjaj saying that Abu Hurayra used to commit forgery.

In his book Al-Bidaya wal Nihaya, Ibn Katheer states that Yazid ibn Haroun heard Shu’bah ibn al-Hajjaj accusing him of the same, that is, that he forges hadith, and that he used to narrate what he used to hear from Ka’b al-Ahbar as well as from the Messenger of Allah without distinguishing one from the other.

Ja’far al-Iskafi has said, “Abu Hurayra is doubted by our mentors; his narrations are not acceptable.’26

During his lifetime, Abu Hurayra was famous among the sahaba for lying, forging and narrating too many fabricated ahadith to the extent that some of the sahaba used to deride him and ask him to fabricate ahadith agreeable with their own taste. For example, a man belonging to Quraish put on once a new jubbah (a long outer garment) and started showing off. He passed by Abu Hurayra and [sarcastically] said to him, “O Abu Hurayra! You narrate quite a few traditions about the Messenger of Allah; so, did you hear him say anything about my jubbah?!’

Abu Hurayra said, “I have heard the father of al-Qasim saying, ‘A man before your time was showing off his outfit when Allah caused the earth to cave in over him; so he has been rattling in it and will continue to do so till the Hour.' By Allah! I do not know whether he was one of your people or not.’27

How can people help doubting Abu Hurayra's traditions since they are so self-contradictory? He narrates one “hadith’ then he narrates its antithesis, and if he is opposed or his previously narrated traditions are used against him, he becomes angry or starts babbling in the Ethiopian language.28
How could they help accusing him of telling lies and of forgery after he himself had admitted that he got traditions out of his own pouch then attributed them to the Prophet?

Al-Bukhari, in his Sahih, states the following:
Abu Hurayra said once, “The Prophet said, ‘The best charity is willingly given; the higher hand is better than the lower one, and start with your own dependents. A woman says: ‘Either feed me or divorce me.' A slave says, ‘Feed me and use me.' A son says, ‘Feed me for the woman who will forsake me.'‘ He was asked, “O Abu Hurayra! Did you really hear the Messenger of Allah say so?’ He said, “No, this one is from Abu Hurayra's pouch.’29

Notice how he starts this “tradition’ by saying, “The Prophet said,’ then when they refuse to believe what he tells them, he admits by saying, ‘… this one is from Abu Hurayra's pouch’! So congratulations to Abu Hurayra for possessing this pouch which is full of lies and myths, and for which Mu’awiyah and Banu Umayyah provided a great deal of publicity, and because of which he acquired position, authority, wealth, and mansions. Mu’awiyah made him the governor of Medina and built him the Aqeeq mansion then married him off to a woman of honourable descent for whom he used to work as a servant…

Since Abu Hurayra was the close vizier of Mu’awiyah, it is not due to his own merits, honour, or knowledge; rather, it is because Abu Hurayra used to provide him with whatever traditions he needed to circulate. If some sahaba used to hesitate in cursing “Abu Turab,’ finding doing that embarrassing, Abu Hurayra cursed Ali in his own house and as his Shi’as heard:
Ibn Abul-Hadeed says,

When Abu Hurayra came to Iraq in the company of Mu’awiyah in the Year of the Jama’a, he came to Kufa's mosque. Having seen the huge number of those who welcomed him, he knelt down then beat his bald head and said, “O people of Iraq! Do you claim that I tell lies about the Messenger of Allah and thus burn myself in the fire?! By Allah! I heard the Messenger of Allah saying, ‘Each prophet has a sanctuary, and my sanctuary is in Medina from Eer to [the mountain of] Thawr; so, anyone who makes it unclean will be cursed by Allah, the angels, and all people, and I bear witness that Ali had done so.’ When Mu’awiyah came to hear this statement, he gave him a present, showered him with his generosity, and made him the governor of Medina.30

Suffices us to point out to the fact that he was created governor of Medina by none other than Mu’awiyah. There is no doubt that verifiers and researchers who are free from prejudice will doubt anyone who befriended the enemy of Allah and His Messenger and who was antagonistic towards the friends of Allah and of His Messenger…

There is no doubt that Abu Hurayra did not reach that lofty position of authority, namely the governor of Medina, the then capital of the Islamic domains, except by virtue of the services which he had rendered to Mu’awiyah and other authoritative Umayyads. Praise to the One Who changes the conditions! Abu Hurayra had come to Medina with nothing to cover his private parts other than a tiny striped piece of cloth, begging passers-by to feed him. Then he suddenly became ruler of the sacred precincts of Medina, residing in the Aqeeq mansion, enjoying wealth, servants and slaves, and nobody could say a word without his permission. All of this was from the blessings of his pouch!

Do not forget, nor should you be amazed, that nowadays we see the same plays being repeatedly enacted, and history certainly repeats itself. How many ignorant indigent persons sought nearness to a ruler and joined his party till they became feared masters who do and undo, issuing orders as they please, having a direct access to wealth without being accounted for it, riding in automobiles without being watched, eating foods not sold on the market…?

One such person may not even know how to speak his own language, nor does he know a meaning for life except satisfying his stomach and sexual appetite. The whole matter is simply his having a pouch like the one Abu Hurayra used to have with some exception, of course, yet the aim is one and the same: pleasing the ruler and publicizing for him in order to strengthen his authority, firm his throne, and finish his foes.

Abu Hurayra loved the Umayyads and they loved him since the days of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, their leader. His view with regard to ‘Uthman was contrary to that of all the sahaba who belonged to the Muhajirun and the Ansar; he regarded all the sahaba who participated in or encouraged the killing of ‘Uthman as apostates.

Undoubtedly, Abu Hurayra used to accuse Ali ibn Abu Talib of killing ‘Uthman. We can derive this conclusion from the statement he made at Kufa's mosque and his saying that Ali made Medina unclean and that he, therefore, was cursed by the Prophet, the angels, and everyone else. For this reason, Ibn Sa’d indicates in his Tabaqat that when Abu Hurayra died in 59 A.H./679 A.D., ‘Uthman's descendants carried his coffin and brought it to the Baqee’ to bury it as an expression of their appreciation of his having had high regards for ‘Uthman.31

Surely Allah has his own wisdom in faring with His creation. ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, the master of Quraish and their greatest, was killed although he was the Muslims' caliph bearing the title of “Thul-Noorayn’, the man with two celestial lights, and of whom, according to their claim, the angels feel shy. His corpse did not receive the ceremonial burial bath nor was it shrouded; moreover, it was not buried for full three days after which it was buried at Medina's then Jewish cemetery.

Full details about this burial are available on p. 160, Vol. 3 of the 2005 A.D./1426 A.H. edition of al-Tabari's Tarikh. Yet Abu Hurayra died after having enjoyed pomp and power. He was an indigent man whose lineage and tribal origins were not known to anybody. He had no kinship to Quraish. Despite all of this, the caliph's sons, who were in charge of running the affairs during Mu’awiyah's reign, took to bearing his corpse and to burying it at the Baqee’ where the Messenger of Allah was buried…! But let us go back to Abu Hurayra to examine his attitude towards the Prophet's Sunnah.

In his Sahih, al-Bukhari quotes Abu Hurayra as saying, “I learned the fill of two receptacles [of ahadith] from the Messenger of Allah: I have disseminated only one of them; as for the other, if I disseminate it, this throat will be slit.’32

Here is Abu Hurayra revealing what erstwhile is hidden, admitting that the only traditions he quoted were the ones that pleased the ruling authorities. Building upon this premise, Abu Hurayra used to have two pouches, or two receptacles, as he called them. He used to disseminate the contents of one of them, the one which we have discussed here that contains whatever the rulers desired. As for the other, which Abu Hurayra kept to himself and whose ahadith he did not narrate for fear his throat would be slit, it is the one containing the authentic traditions of the Prophet. Had Abu Hurayra been a reliable authority, he would have never hidden true ahadith while disseminating illusions and lies only to support the oppressor, knowing that Allah curses whoever hides the clear evidence.

Al-Bukhari quotes him saying once, “People say that Abu Hurayra narrates too many ahadith. Had it not been for two [particular] verses in the Book of Allah, I would not have narrated a single hadith: ‘Those who conceal what We have revealed of clear proofs and the guidance, after Our having clarified [everything] for people in the Book, these it is whom Allah shall curse, and those who curse shall curse them, too' (Qur'an, 2:159). Our brethren from the Muhajirun used to be busy consigning transactions at the market-place, while our brethren from the Ansar used to be busy doing business with their own money, while Abu Hurayra kept in the shadow of the Prophet in order to satisfy his hunger, attending what they did not attend, learning what they did not learn.’33

How can Abu Hurayra say that had it not been for a couple of verses in the Book of Allah, he would not have narrated a single hadith, then he says, “I learned two receptacles [of ahadith] from the Messenger of Allah: I have disseminated one of them; as for the other, if I disseminate it, this throat will be slit’?! Is this not his admission of having concealed the truth despite both verses in the Book of Allah?!

Had the Prophet not said to his companions, “Go back to your people and teach them’?34 Had he not also said, “One who conveys is more aware than one who hears’? Al-Bukhari states that the Prophet urged the deputation of ‘Abd Qays to learn belief and scholarship ‘… then convey what you learn to those whom you have left behind.’35 Can we help wondering: Why should the throat of a sahabi be slit if he quotes the Prophet?! There must be a secret here which the caliphs do not wish others to know. Here, we would like to briefly say that “the people of the remembrance’ was [a phrase in] a Qur'anic verse revealed to refer to Ali's successorship of the Prophet.

Abu Hurayra is not to blame; he knew his own worth and testified against his own soul that Allah cursed him, and so did those who curse, for having hidden the Prophet's hadith. But the blame is on those who call Abu Hurayra the narrator of the Sunnah while he himself testifies that he hid it then testifies that he fabricated it and told lies in its regard, then he further goes on to testify that it became confused for him, so he could not tell which one was the statement of the Prophet and which one was made by others. All of these ahadith and correct admissions are recorded in al-Bukhari's Sahih and in other authentic books of hadith.

How can anyone feel comfortable about a man whose justice was doubted by the Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abu Talib who charged him with lying, saying that among the living, nobody told more lies about the Prophet than Abu Hurayra?! ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab, too, charged him of the same; he beat him and threatened to expel him. ‘Ayisha doubted his integrity and many times called him a liar, and many other sahaba cast doubts about his accuracy and rejected his contradictory ahadith, so he would once admit his error and would sometimes prattle in Ethiopian36. A large number of Muslim scholars refuted his traditions and charged him with lying, fabricating, and throwing himself at Mu’awiyah's dinner tables, at his coffers of gold and silver.

Is it right, then, for Abu Hurayra to become “Islam's narrator’ from whom the religion's injunctions are learned?

Judaica and Jewish doctrines have filled the books of hadith. Ka’b al-Ahbar, a Jew, may have succeeded in getting such doctrines and beliefs included into the books of hadith, hence we find traditions likening or personifying Allah, as well as the theory of incarnation, in addition to many abominable statements about the prophets and messengers of Allah: all of these are cited through Abu Hurayra.

After Khaybar, Wadi Al-Qura and Taima (629 A.D.)

Following the conquest of Khaybar, the Prophet proceeded to besiege the Jews residing in Wadi al-Qura. These Jews resisted for only two days during which eleven of their men were killed. After their capitulation, the Jews of Taima surrendered, too. Thus, the Prophet extended his control to all the Jews who resided north of Medina and who remained for years a constant threat to Islam and to the Muslims.

On his return to Medina, the Prophet, in the month of Jumadi II, 7 A.H./October 628 A.D., married Umm Habiba daughter of his arch-enemy Abu Sufyan. She had been for some time an adherent to the Islamic faith and had participated in the migration to Ethiopia. While she was there, the Prophet wrote Ethiopia's Negus a letter requesting him to contract his marriage with Umm Habiba for the dower of four hundred dinars, which he did. She was then more than thirty years old. The reader will come across her again in this book, Insha-Allah.

The Prophet Visits Mecca (629 A.D.)

Having returned to Medina from Khayber and the other Jewish strongholds victoriously, the Prophet spent four or five months in Medina. According to the terms of the treaty with the Meccans, the Muslims could now visit Mecca. In the month of Thul-Qi’da, towards the end of the seventh year of Hijra (March 629 A.D.), the Prophet, accompanied by about two thousand Muslims, proceeded to Mecca to make the lesser pilgrimage (the umra). Quraish left their houses and watched the Muslims from their tents pitched on the heights of the surrounding hills.

The Prophet ordered Bilal ibn Rabah, the Ethiopian caller to prayers, to ascend the holy place to call the believers to midday prayers. That was the very first time such call was ever made, and that was the very first time the Muslims congregated publicly in such a large number around the Ka’ba to perform the prayers led by the Messenger of Allah. Surely that was history making, a milestone.

The Prophet and his companions remained in Mecca for three days. After these three days' sojourn, the Muslims retired strictly in accordance with the terms of the treaty. During those days, Maimuna daughter of al-Harith al-Hilali (578 - 671 A.D.), a widow 51 years old, was married to the Prophet according to the suggestion of ‘Abbas, the Prophet's uncle. She was living with her sister Umm al-Fadl, wife of ‘Abbas. Another sister of hers, Asma daughter of ‘Omays, was married to Ja’far ibn Abu Talib, Ali's brother. A third sister named Selma had already been married to Hamzah, another uncle of the Prophet, as the reader recalls. Three sisters were married into the same family!

On the fourth day, the Prophet left Mecca and halted at Sarif, about eight miles from Mecca, for the evening. It was there that the wedding actually took place.

Khalid ibn Al-Walid and ‘Omar ibn Al-’As Accept Islam (629 A.D.)

Another sister of Maimuna, now wife of the Prophet, was married to al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah, father of Khalid ibn al-Walid and the wealthy Meccan who was condemned in the Holy Qur'an in Surat al-Muddathir (Chapter 74), as narrated above. His son, Khalid, was a cousin of this same Mimuna, and he accepted Islam in 8 A.H (629 A.D.), and so did ‘’Omar ibn al-’As. The latter was a poet who used to employ his poetry in attacking the Prophet of Islam and ridiculing his creed, instigating the pagans to fight him. Both of these men played important roles in Islamic history following their convesion.

In the same year, the Prophet, and for the first time, had a three-step pulpit to sit on in order to preach to the faithful. He was growing old (now 61), yet he never asked anyone to make a pulpit for him, but when a Muslim carpenter suggested to him to do so, he welcomed the idea.

Battle of Mu'ta (629 A.D.)

It has already been mentioned that the envoy sent by Muhammad to the Ghassanid governor of Bostra (Busra) on behalf of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius inviting him to Islam had been killed en route at the hands of Shurahbil, a feudatory of Heraclius. Shurhabil was the chief of the Moabites. These Moabites are the ones who were then residing in and ruling Moab, which is known in Arabic as “Mu'ta,’ located in a hilly region east of the Dead Sea. They are Arab tribesmen who had carved Hubal, the chief idol of Mecca, and given to the Khuza’ah tribesmen as a gift. It became Mecca's chief idol. They were also famous for making excellent swords known as the Mashrafis.
In order to exact reparations, the Prophet, on his return to Medina from Sarif after marrying Maimuna, sent a force of 3,000 men with an order to march to the place where the envoy, Harithah ibn ‘Omayr al-Azdi, had been killed.

The Prophet gave to the slain envoy's son Zayd ibn Harithah, his freed slave and once adopted son, the command of the army, saying to the troops, “If Zayd is killed, then Ja’far ibn Abu Talib will be the commander, and if he, too, is killed, then ‘Abdullah ibn Rawahah will command the army. And if he is killed, then the Muslims should select someone as their commander.’
Hearing it, a Jew said: “If he is a true Prophet, none of these three will remain alive.’
Before dispatching this expedition, he instructed them as follows:

(1) Many servants of God will be busy worshipping Him in their places of worship (churches). Do not touch them.
(2) Do not lift your hand against any woman (to strike her).
(3) Do not kill any child or minor.
(4) Do not kill any old person.
(5) Do not destroy any green tree.

These instructions imparted in an age when hardly any scruples were exercised during bloody engagements indicate the depth of the Prophet's compassion and the efforts he was exerting to effect reforms in all walks of life.

The Muslim force marched under the command of Zayd ibn Harithah to Mu'ta in Syria. In order to meet it, the Syrians had raised a huge army. Although far outnumbered, the Muslim force gave a heroic account of its valour, but the disparity in number was too great. When its commander, Zayd, was slain, the command was taken over by Ja’far ibn Abu Talib, a cousin of the Prophet. He, too, was killed and ‘Abdullah ibn Rawahah al-Ansari took the command. When, as prophesied by the Prophet, he, too, was martyred, the command went to Khalid ibn al-Walid who was able to bring about a successful retreat.

It is said that Khalid was then given the title of “the lion of Allah.’ As the retreating army came close to Medina, its people came out to meet them reproachfully, crying out, “You runaways! You fled away from the enemy while fighting for Allah!’ Umm Salamah, wife of the Prophet, once asked the wife of Salamah ibn Hashim ibn al-Mughirah, one of those runaways, as to why her husband never came out to offer his prayers in the company of the Prophet. She replied that the people used to taunt him as a runaway from Mu'ta; so, he abstained from going out of his house.

The Prophet was much grieved by the death of Zayd and Ja’far. About Ja’far, whose hands were both severed before he fell down at the age of only 41, the Prophet said that Allah had given him two wings of emerald in place of his arms whereby he flies in the Garden with the angels. That is why Ja’far is known as at-Tayyar (the flyer). When the news came of his martyrdom, the Prophet went to Ja’far's house and, calling his children by their names, he embraced them as he burst into tears. Asma, Ja’far's wife, realized what had happened, so she loudly cried, whereupon her neighbours' women came to express their grief at the sad news. The Prophet then went home and asked his family to send food to the family of his cousin Ja’far because, he said, no food would be cooked there since they were grieving for the loss of Ja’far. Then the Prophet proceeded to the house of Zaid ibn Harithah and took Zaid's little girl into his arms and wept profusely. A bystander could not understand why the Prophet wept so much. “It is the fond yearning in the heart of a friend for his friend,’ said the Prophet to him.

The Peace Treaty Violated (629 A.D.)

In the same year (8 A.H./629 A.D.), Banu Bakr, who had signed the Hudaybiya treaty, killed a man from the Khuza’ah tribe one night. The Khuza’ites sent a deputation of forty men to the Propeht asking him to punish the treacherous murderes, but he resented any infirnge�ment on the treaty, promising that he would take up their cause personally.

When Quraish knew of this deputation, they were very alarmed and sent Abu Sufyan to Medina to reconcile the Muslims. Upon reaching Medina, Abu Sufyan went straight to the house of his daughter Umm Habiba, wife of the Prophet. He was about to sit down when Umm Habiba pulled the rug from underneath him saying, “This is a bed of the Messenger of Allah and is too sacred to be polluted by an impure idolator.’ Abu Sufyan felt the humiliation and left the place cursing her. Appearing before the Prophet, he wanted to explain that he and Quraish wished to renew the peace pact, but the Prophet would not waste his time listening to him.

He, therefore, sought the mediation of Ali and Abu Bakr, but both men declined to interfere. Then he sought the favour of Fatima daughter of the Prophet, begging her to let her oldest son be his protector. Fatima replied that Hasan was too young to take anyone under his protection, being only six years old, adding that no protection can avail anyone against the will of the Prophet which is also the will of the Almighty.

Seeing how all doors were closed in his face, Abu Sufyan went one more time to Ali and asked him what he suggested he should do. Ali suggested that Abu Sufyan should do nothing more than proclaiming on behalf of Quraish the friendly ties which they wished to maintain and the continuation of his own protection as the head of Quraish. Standing in the courtyrad of the Prophet's mosque in Medina, Abu Sufyan announced what Ali had suggested, but he also noticed that nobody paid him any attention at all. He was ignored by everybody. When he reported what had happened to him in Medina to Quraish, the latter told him that all what he had done was simply to make a fool of himself. “I know that,’ said Abu Sufyan, “but what else could I have done?’

Preparations To Invade Mecca (630 A.D.)

Abu Sufyan's failure to safeguard the Hudaybiya treaty confirmed the apprehensions of the Khuza’ites who blamed it all on Quraish. You see, the Quraishites were allied of Banu Bakr, the culprits in this incident. Had they been sincere in their peaceful intentions, they should have taken up the issue with Banu Bakr themselves first and foremost, but they did not.

Since the infringement on the peace treaty has been confirmed, the Prophet decided to take over Mecca by surprise. He immediately summoned all his allies from all quarters to meet him in Medina, his headquarters. He did not give them any hint regarding the meeting's agenda. One day, Abu Bakr happened to enter the house of his daughter ‘Ayisha, wife of the Prophet, and he was somehow surprised to see her busy preparing the Prophet's war outfits and battle gear. He asked her about the reason, but she only said that a military expedition was soon to take place. She did not say where the army would be marching or even in any direction at all. All the roads leading to Mecca were blockaded in order to prevent any intelligence from reaching the Meccans.

Just while all the arrangements were being made for the campaign, the Prophet ordered his followers in Medina to be ready and to take utmost secrecy so that no hint of any kind should leak out to Mecca. In spite of all these precautions, the secret preparations almost succeeded in reaching the Meccans. Hatib ibn Balta’ah, one of the Muhajirun and a trusted companion of the Prophet, wrote his family in Mecca saying, “From Hatib ibn Balta’ah to the Meccans. Health! The Messenger of Allah is preparing to attack you while you are unaware of it. To arms!’ The carrier of the letter was a woman named Sara.

The Prophet was informed of it by revelation, so he immediately dispatched Ali and al-Zubayr with other men on horseback to intercept the woman. The Muslims found her and carefully searched her, finding no letter with her. They almost gave up when Ali decided to make a last ditch effort, knowing that the Messenger of Allah could not have been mistaken.

Drawing his sword, Ali brandished it before her eyes as he demanded that she should either produce the letter or be killed. The woman trembled as she drew out a letter from the long tresses of her hair where she had hidden it. When the letter was brought to the Prophet, he ordered its writer to be brought to him. Hatib was brought before the Prophet to whom he pleaded for clemency, saying that he was a true believer, that he was concerned about his unprotected family in Mecca, and that he wrote the letter in order to save his family. The Prophet contemplated on Hatib's previous services of the creed, accepted his plea and pardoned him. The first nine verses of Surat al-Mumtahana (Chapter 60 of the Holy Qur'an) were revealed in reference to this incident; they were:

In the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful
O you who believe! Do not take My enemy and yours as friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth, driving out the Messenger and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord? If you go forth struggling hard in My path and seeking My pleasure, would you manifest love for them? And I know what you conceal and what you manifest, and whoever of you does this, he indeed has gone astray from the straight path. If they find you, they will be your enemies, and they will assault you with their hands and tongues in an evil manner, and they ardently desire that you will disbelieve. Your relationship would not benefit you, nor your children, on the Day of Resurrection; He will decide between you, and Allah sees what you do. lndeed, there is for you a good example in Abraham and those with him when they said to their people:

Surely we are clear of you and of what you worship besides Allah; we declare ourselves clear of you, and enmity and hatred have appeared between us and you forever until you believe in Allah alone, but not in what Ibrahim said to his father: I would certainly ask forgiveness for you, and I do not control for you aught from Allah. Lord! On Thee do we rely, and to Thee do we turn, and to Thee is the eventual resort. Lord! Do not make us a trial for those who disbelieve, and forgive us, Lord! Surely You are the Mighty, the Wise. Certainly there is for you in them a good example for him who fears Allah and the Last Day, and whoever turns back, surely Allah is the Self-sufficient, the Praised One. It may be that Allah will bring about friendship between you and those whom you hold to be your enemies from among them, and Allah is Powerful, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Allah does not forbid you regarding those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice. Allah only forbids you regarding those who fought you on account of (your) religion and drove you out of your homes and supported (others) in your expulsion that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust.(Qur'an, 60:1-9)

Conquest of Mecca (630 A.D.)

One of the conditions of the Treaty of Hudaybiya was that Quraish would not fight against any ally of the Muslims, nor should the Muslims fight against any ally of Quraish. In simple language, the clause of 10-years' cease-fire included the allies as well as the principals.

During the month of Ramadan of 8 A.H./December 629/January 630 A.D., following the incident of Banu Khuza’ah being attacked by Banu Bakr and their allies, the Quraishites, as explained above, the Prophet sent an emissary to Quraish to persuade them to accept any of the following terms:

(1) Reparations should be paid for those killed of Banu Khuzaah, or
(2) Quraish should break their alliance with Banu Bakr, or
(3) The Hudaybiya treaty should be abrogated.

Quraish accepted the last alternative. The time had come to free the citadel of Islam from idolatry and to end the reign of oppression in Mecca. The Prophet marched with ten thousand men on the 10th of the month of Ramadan, 8 A.H., corresponding to January 4, 630 A.D. and camped a short distance from Mecca. The Meccans sent a few scouts, including Abu Sufyan, Hakim ibn Hizam, a nephew of Khadija, and a chief from Khuza’ah named Budayl ibn Warqa' (who is mentioned earlier in this book), to assess the strength of the Muslim army. Abu Sufyan was seen by ‘Abbas, uncle of the Prophet, who took him to the Prophet.

In honour of the recommendation made by his uncle, the Prophet offered protection to Abu Sufyan. Then the Prophet said, “Isn't it time for you to know the creed: La Ilaha illa-Allah?!’ Abu Sufyan replied, “Why not?’ Then the Prophet further asked him, “And is it not the time for you to confirm that I am the Messenger of Allah?!’ Abu Sufyan said, “I have still some doubt about it.’ At this response, ‘Abbas rebuked Abu Sufyan thus: “Fie upon you, fellow! Confirm his prophethood or you will be killed!’ So Abu Sufyan recited both declarations of the creeds of confirmation, and with him Hakim ibn Hizam and Budayl ibn Warqa' also accepted the Islamic creed. Later conduct of Abu Sufyan proved that he had accepted Islam only by tongue, never by heart. The same can be said about his son Mu’awiyah and grandson Yazid. They were both Muslims only by name, and there are many Muslims like them.

Abu al-Fida' writes the following in his Tarikh: “Then the Prophet asked ‘Abbas to take Abu Sufyan on a tour around the valley of Mazeeq and to show him the army of Islam. ‘Abbas said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Abu Sufyan is a boaster! Perhaps you should give him a distinctive order of some sort so that he may have a chance to boast about it among Quraish.' The Prophet said, ‘Well, then, whoever seeks refuge in Abu Sufyan's house shall be given protection. And also he who seeks refuge in the Sacred Mosque and in the house of Hakim ibn Hizam or shuts the door of his house shall be given protection'.

‘Abbas further says, ‘Then I took Abu Sufyan for a review of the Islamic army. At Abu Sufyan's request, I pointed out to the eminent people from every clan who were present in the Islamic regiments. In the meantime, the Prophet passed by his army which was clad in green uniforms. Abu Sufyan cried out, ‘O ‘Abbas! Verily your nephew has acquired quite a kingdom!' ‘Abbas said to him, ‘Woe unto thee! This is no kingship! It is prophethood!'‘

Asides from a slight resistance offered by ‘Ikrimah and Safwan, Muhammad entered Mecca almost unopposed. It took place on a Friday, the 20th of the month of Ramadan, 8 A.H., corresponding to January 14, 630 A.D.

The city which had scoffed and jeered at Muhammad's prophetic mission, ruthlessly persecuted him and his disciples and ultimately driven his disciples away, had created all types of obstacles in the way of the propagation of the faith and had waged war after war on the Muslims, this same city now lay at his feet. At this moment of triumph, he could have done anything he wished with the city and its citizens, but he had not come to the world to cause misery or bloodshed but as a benefactor of mankind, to proclaim the message of God and to guide erring humanity to the righteous course: to the worship of the One and Only God.

‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud says: “Entering Al-Masjid al-Haram, the Prophet started breaking and demolishing the idols. There were three hundred and sixty idols fixed in the walls and on the roof of the Ka’ba with lead or tin. Any idol near which the Prophet went and towards which he pointed his cane as he said: ‘Right has come and falsehood has vanished; verily falsehood is destined to vanish' (Qur'an, 17:81) fell headlong on the ground without anyone touching it. Lastly, there remained Hubal, an idol of Banu Khuza’ah on the rooftop of the Ka’ba. It was a huge one made of polished brass. The Prophet ordered Ali to climb on his shoulders, which Ali did, throwing that last idol down which shattered into pieces on impact.’

Then he ordered Bilal, the Ethiopian, to climb on the rooftop of the Ka’ba to call the athan. The wordings of the athan, coupled with the fact that it was called by a freed black slave, caused much heartache among the Quraishites. After clearing the Ka’ba, the first House of God, the sanctuary rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael, of all the symbols of idolatry, he assembled Quraish and delivered the following sermon to them:

There is no god but Allah. He has no partners. He has fulfilled His promise and helped His slave and defeated all coalitions (allied) against him. All authority, revenge and blood reparations are under my feet. The guardianship of the Ka’ba and the arrangements for the supply of water to pilgrims are exempt. O! You Quraish! The arrogance of the heathen days and all pride of ancestry God has wiped out. All mankind descended from Adam, and Adam was made of clay.

He then recited the following verse of the Qur'an:

O people! Surely We have created you of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes so that you may get to know one another. Surely the most honourable of you with Allah is the one among you who is most pious; surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.(Qur'an, 49:13)

Having dwelt upon the equality and brotherhood of mankind and preached the Unity and the Omnipotence of God, he inquired from Quraish: “Descendants of Quraish! How do you think I should act towards you?’ “With kindness and pity, gracious brother and nephew,’ beseeched they. The Prophet magnanimously declared: “I shall speak to you as Joseph (Yousuf) spoke unto his brothers:

‘There is no reproach against you today; God will forgive you. He is the most Merciful and the most Compassionate (Qur'an, 12:31).'‘

Then he added: “Go; you are free!’
Mecca lay conquered but not a single house was plundered, nor any woman insulted. Cruelties, insults and oppression perpetrated during a long period of twenty-one years were now forgiven. The Muhajirun were asked even to forego their houses and properties which on their migration to Medina had been occupied by the Meccans. The Prophet did the same, living in a tent for few days before going back to Mecca. His house in Mecca was seized by a squatter. Through all the annals of history, there has never been a conquest like this.

The result of this magnanimity and compassion was that those very die-hards who had relentlessly opposed the Prophet and refused to listen to the Divine message converged around him in their multitudes and accepted Islam. The glad tidings given by God about the peace of Hudaybiyah came true and His injunction had been obeyed:

In the Name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful
When there comes assistance from Allah and victory, and when you see men entering the religion of Allah in groups, then celebrate the praise of your Lord, and implore His forgiveness; surely He is oft-returning (to mercy).(Qur'an, 110:1-3)

Once the Meccans submitted to the faith, disciples were sent out to all neighbouring tribes to invite them, with peace and good will, to embrace Islam. Many tribes responded positively to the call. However, there was one tragic incident which must be mentioned. Khalid ibn al-Walid (who had accepted Islam a few months before the fall of Mecca) was sent to Banu Khuzaimah who had already accepted Islam. When they learned of Khalid's arrival, they came out cautiously armed. Khalid asked them who they were and in reply he was informed: “They are Muslims following the teaching of Muhammad; they pray in the recognized form of prayer, have built a mosque, recite the athan and the iqamah and gather together on Fridays for prayers.’

Khalid then asked them why they had come out to meet him armed. They said that they were on hostile terms with a fellow Arab clan and mistook Khalid's men for their enemies. But Khalid did not accept their explanation and asked them to surrender their arms. They at once surrendered. Khalid then ordered his companions to tie their hands behind their shoulders, then he placed them in the custody of his comrades. Early next morning, he ordered that the custodian of each of the prisoners should himself kill that prisoner. Thus, these innocent Muslims were all killed.

Another version of this incident says that when Banu Khuzaimah submitted their arms at Khalid's orders, he himself unsheathed his sword and killed one hundred men of that clan. Someone from Banu Khuzaimah informed the Prophet about this tyranny. The Prophet was angered and in dismay thrice repeated, “O Lord! I deplore Khalid's action!’ In order to repair the damage thus caused by Khalid, the Prophet, who was very grieved at what had happened at the hands of Khalid, sent Ali on a mission to do damage control by distributing a sum of money which he gave him to compensate the families of those wrongfully killed. Ali paid each and every person who was affected by that massacre more than what he had demanded, as the Prophet had instructed him, thus pleasing everyone. When all the blood money was paid, and there was still some money left, he distributed the remnant to the poor there and then.

But the memory of that massacre lingered in people's minds. Arab tribes who had not yet accepted Islam, such as those of Banu Hawazin, Banu Thaqif, Banu Sa’d and many others had been for some time contemplating to oppose the growing power of Islam. This massacre now fueled their desire to take the offensive rather than wait to be attacked and massacred. Under the leadership of Malik bin ‘Awf, Banu Thaqif and Banu Hawazin, together with other tribes, assembled four thousand fighting men at the Awtas valley between Mecca and Taif. These men would check any movement of the Muslim forces that wanted to march in their direction. They even brought with them their familes and herds. Duraid, an elderly wise man, protested against that measure, but youthful Malik did not heed his words, thinking that in the presence of their families, these men would never turn their backs to their enemy but would risk their own life fighting like men till victory.

The news of this newly assembled army in the Awtas valley caused the Prophet to cut his stay in Mecca short and return to Medina on Shawwal 6, 8 A.H./January 30, 630 A.D. with his ten thousand followers in addition to two thousand more from Mecca who accepted Islam during those few days. When the sight of 12,000 troops led by Ali paraded before the Prophet before leaving Medina, Abu Bakr was very impressed and said, “We shall not this day be harmed on account of our numbers!’

Battle of Hunain (630 A.D.)

On the 6th of Shawwal, 8 A.H./January 30, 630 A.D., a pitched battle was fought at Hunain, about ten miles from Mecca, between the Muslims and the men of Hawazin and Thaqif who had already taken up vantage positions. They almost took the Muslims by surprise, attacking them in the early hours of the morning, fighting in a spirit of desperation. The Muslims first lost ground and their defeat seemed imminent. The Prophet was riding his white mule Duldul (which had been given to him as a gift by the Coptic ruler of Egypt) as he was watching the progress of the battle from the rear of the army.

At that time, a cousin of the Prophet named Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith was holding the bridle of the Prophet's mule. The vanguard of the army was made up of the men of Banu Sulaim who were led by Khalid ibn al-Walid. They were leisurely advancing up the steep and narrow pass when suddenly Banu Hawazin attacked them, concentrating their ambush against Khalid's column. Khalid could not withstand the attack and his column staggered under the weight of the onslaught, breaking and falling back. One column after another reacted likewise. All turned to flight. Panic seized the entire army.

Those who proved to be firm in the battle of Hunain and who did not flee away included: ‘Abbas, his oldest son Fazl, Ali ibn Abu Talib, Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith, his brother Rabi’ah, ‘Aqil ibn Abu Talib, ‘Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr, Zubayr ibn al-’Awwam, and Usamah ibn Zayd. Al-Halabi remarks in Al-Sira al-Halabiyya that only four persons remained with the Prophet, three of whom were Hashimites, i.e., Ali ibn Abu Talib, ‘Abbas and Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith, and one non-Hashimite, i.e., ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud. Abu al-Fida' makes another point.

He says, “When the Muslims fled, the secret malice which the people of Mecca entertained against the Muslims was exposed. Abu Sufyan ibn Harb gleefully cried out, ‘They will not stop until they reach the sea shore! Muhammad's magic spell is now broken!'‘ Shaybah ibn ‘Uthman ibn Abu Talhah, whose father was killed at Uhud, vowed to slay Muhammad. Chaos and confusion among the ranks of the Muslims' army were increasing.

As the Prophet was witnessing his fighting men fleeing, he called out to them, “Where are you running off to?!’ But nobody was paying him any attention. The Prophet then told his uncle ‘Abbas to call the Muslims back. ‘Abbas wondered as to how his voice would reach those fleeing. The Prophet said that Allah would cause his voice to reach them, no matter how far they might have gone. ‘Abbas called them in these words as the Prophet had instructed him: “O Ansar! O people of the tree of Samrah! This is a reference to the tree under which the Bay’at al-Ridwan had taken place at Hudaibiyah two years earlier.

O people of Surat al-Baqarah!’
After the call of ‘Abbas, at last the deserters returned and ultimately the Hawazin and Thaqif were routed. About a hundred Muslims, all from the Ansar, succeeded in regaining the narrow pass and checking the advance of the enemy's army. The standard bearer of the Banu Hawazin tribe, namely ‘Uthman (or Abu Jarwal), a man of extra-ordinary height, stoutly built, came forward and challenged the Muslims to single combat. Ali stepped forward and engaged him in a duel. In the meantime, the Muslim army gradually rallied around the Prophet, protecting him from the infidels. Ali succeeded in slaying his opponent and both parties closed in on each other; a fist fight broke out, and the conflict, by any standard, was horrifying. The Prophet cast a handful of gravel into the air towards the enemy saying, “May confusion seize their faces!’ The reader may remember that the Messenger of Allah had done the same during the Battle of Badr. After a short while, the enemies wavered then fled away as the Muslims were in hot pursuit of them. It is to this battle that these verses of the Holy Qur'an refer:

Certainly Allah helped you in many battlefields and on the Day of Hunanin, when your great numbers made you vain, but they availed you nothing and the earth became strait to you notwithstanding its spaciousness, then you turned back retreating. Then Allah sent down His tranquilty upon His Messenger and upon the believers and sent down hosts (of angels) which you did not see and chastised those who disbelieved, and that is the reward of the unbelievers. Then will Allah after this turn (mercifully) to whomsoever He pleases, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.(Qur'an, 9:25-27)

The men of Thaqif took refuge in the city of Taif but the families of the Hawazin, with all their flocks and herds, fell into the hands of the Muslims. Taif was besieged. Expecting this siege, the tribesmen of Hawazin and their allies had already undertaken defensive measures. The siege was prolonged for over twenty days without producing any result. On account of a dream he saw, the Propeht concluded that the military operations would not be successful and decided to lift the siege, but his army, upon receiving orders to withdraw, began to murmur in frustration.

The idea of retreating did not appeal to them. The Prophet, coming to know about their attitude, permitted them to make a general assault the next day. The assault was undertaken but was repulsed, and the Muslim army suffered losses. ‘Abdullah, son of later caliph Abu Bakr, received a wound that day which eventually led to his martyrdom a few years later. May Allah reward ‘Abdullah ibn Abu Bakr with the best of His rewards for his services to the cause of Islam. Has there been enough room in this already too big a book, the feats and merits of this great sahabi would have filled many pages. May Allah forgive our shortcomings, Allahomma Ameen. Abu Sufyan, the Meccan chief, lost one of his eyes to an arrow. At last, the Muslim army marched back to Je’rana where the booty was kept pending distribution.

The men of Hawazin approached the Prophet and beseeched him to restore their families to them. The Prophet answered them that he could not compel his army to forego all the fruits of victory and that if they wanted their families back, they would have to forego their worldly goods. To this, the Hawazin consented. On the next day, acting on the advice of the Prophet, they approached the Prophet and repeated their request. The Prophet replied, “My own share of the captives, and that of the children of ‘Abdul-Muttalib, I give back to you at once.’ The army followed suit, and six thousand captives were set free. The Hawazin were so overwhelmed by this generosity that many of them accepted Islam there and then.

The spoils of the war, which consisted of 24,000 camels, 40,000 goats, and a considerable quantity of silver, were distributed among the army. In making the distribution, the newly converted Muslims as well as many non-Muslims of Mecca (known in history as “Al-mu’allafatul qulubuhum’ (those who were helped in order to win their hearts) were given disproportionately larger shares. Some Ansar considered this as an act of partiality, and their discontent was reported to the Prophet. It was also reported that the Ansar feared that now that Mecca was conquered, the Prophet would return to it and migrate from Medina. The Prophet delivered a lecture to them wherein he said to them:

“O Ansar! I have learned about your discourse. When I came to you, you were wandering in the dark, and the Lord gave you the right direction. You were suffering, and He made you happy. You were enemies of one another, and He filled your hearts with brotherly love and concord. Was it not so? Tell me.’

“Indeed, it is even as you say,’ was the reply: “to the Lord and to His Prophet belong the benevolence and the grace.’

“Nay, by the Lord,’ continued the Prophet, “but you might have answered, and answered truly, for I would have testified to its truth myself: ‘You came to us rejected as an impostor, and we believed in you; you came as a helpless fugitive and we assisted you; you were poor and outcast, and we gave you asylum, comfortless and we solaced you.' O Ansar! Why do you disturb your hearts because of the things of this life? Are you not satisfied that others should return with the flocks and the camels, while you go back to your homes with me in your midst? By Him Who holds my life in His hands, I shall never abandon you. If all mankind went one way and the Ansar went another, surely I would join the Ansar. The Lord be favourable to them, and bless them, and their children, and their children's children!’

At these words, say the chroniclers, they all wept till tears ran down their beards. They all cried with one voice, “Yes, O Prophet of Allah! We are well satisfied with our share’ (meaning the presence of the Prophet in Medina). They, thereupon, felt happy and contented and went back home. Muhammad soon thereafter returned to Medina.

Islam Spreads

The fall of Mecca was the signal for an unprecedented rush to accept Islam. ‘Amr ibn Salamah, a companion of the Pophet, has stated, “The Arabs were waiting for Quraish to accept Islam. They used to say: ‘Muhammad must be left to his people. If he emerges victorious over them, he is undoubtedly a true prophet.’ When Mecca was conquered, all the tribes hastened to accept Islam.

Zakat collectors were sent into the territories under the Muslims' control. These officials not only demonstrated great fairness in collecting the zakat and jizya, but also preached effectively to the people, for most of them were pious and God-fearing people. After the fall of Mecca, teachers were sent in all directions to bring people to God's way, and they met with so much success that hordes upon hordes flocked to the Prophet. It is about such mass conversions that the Qur'an has stated:

When there comes assistance from Allah and victory, and you see men entering the religion of Allah in groups…..(Qur'an, 110:1-2)

After an order was issued prohibiting the polytheists from entering the Sacred Mosque of the Ka’ba, the entire Hijaz was Muslim.

By the 10th of Hijra/632 A.D., Islam's influence had reached Yemen, Bahrain, Yamama, Iraq, and Syria. The Chief of the Daws, a tribe in Yemen, had accepted Islam even before the migration. In 8 A.H./630 A.D., Khalid ibn al-Walid was sent to Yemen to preach Islam but did not have much success. Then Ali went there and read the epistle of the Prophet; the entire tribe of Hamdan accepted Islam. In 10 A.H./632 A.D., Wabr was deputed to contact the leaders of the Persians residing in Yemen.

Firoz al-Daylami, Markabood and Wahb ibn Munabbih accepted Islam through him. Ma’ath ibn Jabal and Abu Musa al-Ash’ari were also sent to Yemen with the following instructions: “Be polite, not harsh; give glad tidings to the people and condemn them not. Work together. When you meet people who already follow some (other) religion, preach to them about the Oneness of God and (my) Messengership; if they accept, tell them that God has enjoined prayers five times day and night. If they agree to do so, tell them that zakat is also obligatory upon those who can afford it in order to help the poor. If they give zakat, do not pick out only items of a better quality. Beware of the curse and the supplication of victims, for they reach straight to God.’

Their efforts met with considerable success. Meanwhile, Khalid was inviting people to the faith in Najran and the tribe of ‘Abdul-Madan came forward to accept it.

In 8 A.H./630 A.D., Munqir ibn Haban of the tribe of ‘Abdul-Qais of Bahrain visited Medina and accepted Islam. Through his efforts and those of his father, their tribe entered the Islamic fold and sent a deputation of fourteen persons to the Prophet. In the same year, ‘Ala al-Hadrami was sent to Bahrain to preach to the people. He succeeded in converting its governor, Munthir ibn Sawa, and the public followed suit.

Similarly, Abu Zayd al-Ansari and ‘Amr ibn al-’as were sent to ‘Oman in the same year (8 A.H./630 A.D.) with letters from the Prophet to its chieftains ‘Obayd and Jaifar as stated above. When the chieftains accepted Islam, the whole tribe of Azd responded favourably to the invitation.

By 9 A.H./631 A.D., Islam was gaining a number of adherents in Syria. Its governor, Farwah, became a Muslim. When the Roman emperor learned about it, Farwah was guillotined. He died with a couplet on his lips saying: “Convey my message to the Muslim leaders that I sacrifice my body and honour in the way of God.’ In the same year, intoxicants were prohibited. Islam was preparing the believers for this prohibition for the past 5 years: It was in 4 A.H./625 - 626 A.D. that the verse “They ask you, (O Muhammad!), about wine and games of cahnce. Say: In both there is great sin and benefit to men, but their sin is greater than their benefit’ (Qur'an, 2:219) was revealed.

As Islam started spreading to the farthest corners of Arabia, a large number of deputations from different tribes began pouring into Medina. Ibn Ishaq has given details of fifteen of them. Ibn Sa’d describes seventy deputations, and the same number is mentioned by al-Dimyati, al-Mughaltai and Zainuddin al-Iraqi. Hafiz Ibn Qaiyyim al-Jawzi and al-Qastalani have critically verified the accounts of these deputations and have themselves given details of thirty-four others.
It was thus, and thus alone, that Islam gradually spread. During a short period of time, it blazed in radiant splendor over the continents.

Tabuk Expedition (630 A.D.)

In Rajab of the 9th Hijri year, corresponding to November of 630 A.D., Ali was appointed by the Prophet as Governor of Medina. The Nabateans37 who came from Syria to the markets of Medina spread the rumour that the indecisive battle at Mu'ta had stirred a considerable chagrin to the Roman emperor Heraclius. Elated by his victories over the Persians and apprehensive of the growing power of the Muslims, he directed his feudatories to collect a huge force to invade Arabia.

The tribes of Lakhm, Hutham, ‘Amila and Ghassan gathered to help the Roman army. When news of this preparation reached Medina through a trade caravan, it caused a great deal of anxiety among the Muslims. How alarmed they were can be judged from one incident: A neighbour of ‘’Omar knocked at his door in the night. When ‘’Omar came out and inquired what the matter was, the visitor said a calamity had befallen. ‘’Omar asked whether the Ghassanids had come. The visitor was perturbed over another matter but the attack of the Ghassanids was considered so imminent that ‘’Omar's first thought went to it. In order to meet this danger, the Prophet hastily collected a force of 30,000 volunteers with 10,000 horses among them. It also included a number of the munafiqun, hypocrites, led by their man ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy.

In spite of the severe famine that had overtaken Najd and Hijaz and the intense heat of the weather, the Prophet's followers rallied behind him. Those who were in a position to do so generously donated large sums of money to meet the expenses of the expedition and to buy weapons and armour to those who could not afford to buy them. This was the first occasion when an appeal for public donations was made, and many Muslims responded generously.

An old and very poor woman brought a small quantity of dates as her contribution. Some hypocrites ridiculed her, but the Prophet said that her contribution was more precious in the sight of Allah than that of many people who had contributed only to show off.

The Prophet left Ali as his deputy in and governor of Medina as stated above. Ali exclaimed with dismay, “Are you leaving me behind, O Messenger of Allah?’ The Prophet said, “Ali! Are you not satisfied that you have the same position in relation to me as aron had with Moses, except that there is no prophet after me?’ The Prophet thereby meant that as Moses had left aron behind to look after his people when he went to receive the Commandments, he was likewise leaving Ali behind as his deputy to look after the affairs of the Muslims during his absence.

The Prophet marched at the head of this force to Tabuk, a place situated midway between Medina and Damascus. There, they came to know, to their relief, that the news of the Ghassanids' attack was incorrect. ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy and his men camped separately in the rear of the army, and when they had a chance, they left for Medina where this man claimed that the Prophet had placed him in charge of Medina. Ali did not believe it, so he had to ask the Prophet about it. The Prophet's answer came loud and clear: “These men are liars. They are the party of hypocrites who would not hesitate to foster sedition in Medina. I left you there to keep an eye on them and to protect our families (from their mischief).’ This is recorded by al-Tabari, Abul al-Fida' and Ibn Athir.

Having stayed for twenty-four days at Tabuk, the Muslim army returned to Medina.

The Prophet had marched to Tabuk in order to forestall the Ghassanids and the Byzantines, but a certain Western historian has surmised that the aim of this expedition was expansion, viz. to capture the trade routes leading to the more prosperous cities of Syria. Had this been so, there was no sense in returning to Medina without even attempting to fulfill that objective after having taken all the trouble and the expenditure to raise an expedition of that size during the most inconvenient time of the year. But these detractors have their own mission to fulfill.

On his trip back to Medina, and when he was about an hour from reaching his destination, the Prophet received a delegation from some men of Quba who had built a mosque and who wished he would bless it by praying there. Those same men had made a similar request to the Prophet who asked them to postpone it till he had dealt with the immediate danger in Syria. But instead of going to their mosque to pray, the Prophet ordered it to be demolished. Here is why:

It was the Banu ‘Amr who had the lion's share in the construction of the Quba Mosque, the first ever built in the Islamic history. There was a Christian living in their town known as Abu ‘Amir belonging to Banu Ghunm ibn ‘Awf who was well versed in the Scriptures and who knew that a Prophet was about to rise. Instead of recognizing Muhammad as the promised Prophet, he denied him and even became jealous of his increasing influence and power in Medina and jealous of those who had established the Quba Mosque. He, therefore, fled to Mecca after the Prohet's victory at Badr where he joined Meccan pagans against the Prophet and participated in the Battle of Uhud on their side.

When the Meccans retreated, he fled towards north-western Arabia which was under the Roman ontrol. Some men from Quba, his likes, who were said to number no more than fifteen, contacted him and invited him to return to his home town. Once Abu ‘Amir was back there, he suggested that they should build a mosque that would rival the Quba mosque, the first built in Islam, so that they would meet and hatch plots against Muhammad and his followers. Among those who invited him, some hypocrites who professed to follow Islam, included Tha’labah ibn Hatib, Mu’attib ibn Qushayr, and Nabtal ibn al-Harith. They were the ones who built the new mosque. This is why they invited the Prophet to bless their mosque: they wanted him to legitimize what they were trying to do.

Abu ‘Amir once said to his followers, “Get ready. Build a mosque. I will be going to meet the Kaiser and bring an army from him so that we would kick Muhammad out of Medina38.’

Muhammad received their deputation for the second time led by ‘Asim ibn Awf al-’Ajlani and Malik ibn al-Dukhsham of Banu ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf. As soon as he received them, the Prophet also received the following verses with reference to their mosque built for ulterior motives:

And there are those who have built a mosque for a mischievous purpose, and for (propagating) infidelity and to cause division among the faithful, and to ambush whoever fought in the cause of Allah and His Messenger. Yet they swear that they intend nothing but good, but Allah bears witness that they are surely liars.(Qur'an, 9:107)

This is why the Prophet ordered their “Zirar Mosque’ to be demolished to the ground. Its roof and columns were built with palm leaves and trunks, so it was first burnt then demolished.

Year of Deputations (630 A.D.)

During the ninth year of the Hijra, a large number of deputations from far-flung pagan Muslim tribes came to the Prophet to accept Islam. Among them were Banu Thaqif and Banu Hawazin of Taif who were urged by Malik ibn Awf that it was time now to enter the Islamic fold. These were the same people who had once driven the Prophet out of their city and whose siege after the battle of Hunain had been lifted by the Muslims. They had been impressed by the record of those who were accepting the Islamic creed, by the exemplary conduct of Malik and the other Muslims of his tribe, and the news of Muhammad being a true prophet was fast spreading among them.

In order to preach the doctrines of Islam, teachers were sent to different provinces. They were directed by the Prophet to “deal gently with the people, and not to be harsh. Give them glad tidings and do not condemn them. And you will meet with many People of the Book who will question you: ‘What is the key to heaven?' Tell them that it is to testify to the Unity of God, and to do good deeds.’

The tribe of Tay was, however, was creating some problems for the Muslims. Ali was marched with a small force to discipline them. The chief of the tribe, ‘Adi son of Hatim, fled but his sister and some of his principal clansmen fell into Ali's hands. Having had regard for the great benevolence and generosity of her father, Hatim, the Prophet set the daughter free, along with all the captives, giving them many gifts. They were so touched by this generous treatment that the entire tribe, including its chief ‘Adi, accepted Islam.

Pagans Forbidden From Entering Ka'ba Vicinity (630 A.D.)

Towards the end of the year, an order was issued prohibiting non-believers from entering the Ka’ba or performing idolatrous rites and degrading ceremonies of their cults within its sacred precincts.

It is recorded that first Abu Bakr was sent with Chapter Al-Bara’ah to proclaim it before the Pagans. But Gabriel said to the Prophet, “Except for the person who is from your own family, nobody can ably preach it.’ So he called Ali and charged him with the duty of preaching the relevant ayats of Al-Bara'ah. Abu Bakr, therefore, returned to the Prophet and asked him, “O Messenger of Allah! Did you receive any decree from Allah against me?’ The Prophet replied by saying, “No, but the Lord ordered that either I or someone from my own house should preach it.’

‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy, head of the hypocrites, died in the month of Thul-Qi’da of the same year.
In the next month, Thul-Hijjah, the time of the pilgrimage, the following proclamation was read out by Ali: “No idolater shall after this year perform the pilgrimage; no one shall circle (the Ka’ba) naked. Whoever has a treaty with the Prophet, it shall continue to be binding till its termination. As for all others, four months are allowed to everyone to return to his territory. Thereafter, there will be no obligation on the Prophet except towards those with whom treaties have been concluded.’

Mubahala (630 A.D.)

There is no room here to trace how Christianity was disseminated in Nejran; suffices to say that the Ethiopian invasion of southern Arabia introduced Christianity there for the first time. The incident of Abraha and his elephant demonstrates the fact that they were quite fanatical in their religious fervor.
In 630 A.D., Prophet Muhammad sent a letter to Nejran's bishop the contents of which are narrated by the grandson of its recipient, namely Salamah ibn Abd Yashu’, as follows:

In the Name of Allah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to the Bishop of Nejran and to the people of Nejran: If you accept Islam, I shall praise on your behalf the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I invite you to worship Allah rather than to worship the servants of Allah, and I invite you to accept the authority of Allah rather than the authority of His servants. But if you refuse, you will have to pay the jizya. And if you refuse to pay the jizya, then I warn you of war. Wassalam.39

Having read this letter, the bishop was terrified. He called a man of Nejran named Shurhabil ibn Wada’ah to his presence, passed the Prophet's letter to him to read, then asked him what he had to suggest. Shurhabil said, “Do you know of the promise which Allah had made to Abraham with regard to the offspring of Ishmael, that they will have a prophet rising from among them, so could this man be he? I cannot pass a judgment about Prophethood, but if you ask me about anything relevant to life's matters, I can make suggestions to you.’ The bishop then solicited the suggestion of one man from Nejran after another, and the answer was the same. Finally, they decided collectively to send Shurhabil ibn Wada’ah, Abdullah ibn Shrhabil, and Jabbar ibn Fayz to meet the Prophet and to report to them their impressions of him. These are the same men known as the ‘Aqib, Sayyid, and al-Ahtam, namely Abul-Harith, respectively.

They were considered to be leaders in all affairs, and the were joined by eleven more, making their total number fourteen. When the deputations reached Medina, they dressed themselves in silk garments, put on gold rings then went to the mosque. All of them greeted the Prophet traditionally, but the Prophet did not respond, turning his face away from them.

They left the mosque and approached ‘Uthman and ‘Abdul-Rahman ibn ‘Awf complaining thus: “Your Prophet wrote us inviting us here, but when we came to him and greeted him, he neither reciprocated our greeting nor said a word to us. Now what do you advise us to do? Should we go back or wait here?’ ‘Uthman and ‘Abdul-Rahman ibn ‘Awf sought Ali's advice. Ali said, “These people should first remove the silk clothes and gold rings. Then they should go and see the Prophet.’

When they did as they were advised, the Prophet responded to their greetings and said, “By the Lord Who has appointed me as His own Messenger, when they first came to me, they were accompanied by Satan.’ Thereafter, the Prophet preached to them and invited them to accept Islam. They asked him: “What is your opinion about Jesus?’ The Prophet said, “You may rest today in this city and, after being refreshed, you will receive the reply to all your questions from me.’

On the next day, the Prophet recited to them these Qur'anic verses:

Surely the likeness of ‘Isa (Jesus) is with Allah as the likeness of Adam: He created him from dust then said to him, ‘Be', and he was. The truth is from your Lord, so you should not be of those who doubt (it).(Qur'an, 3:59-60)

They did not accept the words of the Lord and insisted on their own belief. Then the following verse was revealed:

But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of the knowledge, say: Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, and your women and our women, and ourselves and yourselves, then let us pray earnestly and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars.(Qur'an, 3:61)

They sought a day's respite and privately solicited ‘Aqab's advice. He said, “By God! You know that Muhammad is the Messenger of the Lord and that he has given a clear and appreciable verdict. Do not enter into a maledictory trial with him or else you should be destroyed. If you wish to remain adhering to your religion, accept to pay the jizya and make a pact.’ On the next day, therefore, they came out on one side and on the other the Prophet came out of his house carrying Husain in his arms as Hasan was walking by his side holding his finger. Behind him was Fatima and behind her Ali. Praised be to Allah! What a time it was! What an atmosphere! How good a witness and how glorious the witnessed!

In short, the Prophet confronted the Christian delegates and said to Hasan, Husain, Fatima and Ali: “When I curse them, you say ‘Amen' together.’ When the Christians saw the five holy Purified ones, they were awe-stricken. Abul-Harith, who was their wisest, said, “My people! At this moment, we are looking at such personalities that if they pray to God, they can move mountains. Abstain from this maledictory conflict (Mubahilah) or else you should be destroyed and no Christian will remain on the face of the earth.’

They pleaded to the Prophet thus: “O Abul-Qasim! We shall not have a malediction with you.’ The Prophet invited them to accept Islam. They declined again and said that they were prepared for a treaty that they would present every year two thousand pieces of garments costing 40 dirhams each. According to another tradition, it is said that they also agreed to give 30 horses, 30 camels, 30 coats of mail and 30 spears every year. Thus, a settlement was made.

When the Christians of Najran declined from resorting to a maledictory conflict against the Prophet, he said, “By the Lord Who has appointed me His Messenger in truth, had they chosen the malediction, there would have been a shower of fire upon them in this very field.’ Jabir says, “The verse (Chap. 3, verse 61) was revealed in reference to this contest. In this verse, the word “selves’ refers to the Prophet and Ali; the word “sons’ refers to Hasan and Husain, and the word “women’ refers to Fatima.’

In Tabari's Tarikh, it is stated that during the 10th year of Hijra, the Prophet sent Ali to Yemen. Prior to that, he had sent Khalid ibn al-Walid in order to call the people of Yemen to Islam, but nobody accepted Islam. Then the Prophet sent Ali and authorized him that he might, if he so desired, dismiss Khalid or anyone else from his party. So, Ali went to Yemen and read the Prophet's statement to the people there. As a result, in one day, all members of the clan of Hamadan were converted to Islam. Ali informed the Prophet of this success whereupon the Prophet said, “Peace be upon the Hamdani�tes!’ Thereafter, all Yemenites entered into the folds of Islam. Ali again informed the Prophet of the progress which he had made. The Prophet was so elated, he offered a sajda (prostration) to thank Allah.

During this year, the Prophet deputed Ali to go to receive the jizya from the Najranites. Ali obeyed the orders and joined the Prophet only during the Farewell Pilgrimage. It was on the 25th of Thul-Qi’dah/February 25, 632 A.D. that the Prophet left Medina for hajj.

The Farewell Pilgrimage (631 A.D.)

In this year (10 A.H./632 A.D.), the Prophet performed his last pilgrimage. During his journey back, he stopped at Ghadir Khum.

Al-Nasa'i in Kitabul Khasa'is narrates a tradition from Zayd ibn al-Arqam on the authority of Abu al-Tufail which runs thus: “Returning from the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet camped at Ghadir Khum. He ordered a pulpit to be made for him. Once the pulpit had been constructed, he graced it and said, “I have been called back by the Lord, and I have submitted to His orders. Now I leave among you two valuable things, one of them is the Qur'an and the other is my progeny. These shall not separate from each other till they meet me together at the Pool of Kawthar in Heaven; therefore, be careful and guard yourselves in your dealings with the Qur'an and with my progeny after me.’

Then the Prophet added, “Hearken! Allah is my Master, and I am the master of the believers.’ Then he raised Ali's hand and said, “Ali is the Master of whoever accepts me as his master. O Lord! Befriend whoever befriends Ali and alienate Yourself from whoever alienates Ali!’ Abu al-Tufail says, “When I heard this tradition, I inquired from Zayd ibn al-Arqam: ‘Did you hear the Prophet saying these words?' Zayd ibn al-Arqam said, ‘Not only did I but all those who surrounded the pulpit (did so). They had seen with their own eyes that the Prophet was speaking those words, and they heard them with their own ears.’

According to another tradition quoted by al-Nasa'i, the Prophet stood up and, having praised the Lord and en’Omarated His bounties, he asked the gathering, “My people! Do you not know that I have more authority over you than you yourselves have?’ All of them replied, “Yes, we bear witness to the fact that you have more authority over us than we have ourselves.’ Then the Prophet held Ali by the hand and said, “Ali is the Master of anyone whose master I am.’ This incident took place on the 18th of Thul-Hijjah, 10 A.H./March 19, 632 A.D.

Skeptics who have any doubt about this momentous event in the Islamic history are advised to review the Al-Ghadir 11-volume encyclopedia compiled by Hasan al-Amin which is dedicated in its entirety to documenting all the details of this incident. It contains the names of a large number of eye witnesses from among the sahaba who had witnessed the event and what happened to those who did not honour their pledge, which they swore in the presence of the Prophet, to accept Ali as the successor to the Prophet. It also contains thousands of poetry lines composed on the occasion, including a poem composed there and then by the Prophet's poet Hassan ibn Thabit. Needless to say, the text of this encyclopedia is in Arabic. Only Shi’a Muslims now celebrate Eid al-Ghadir every year in memory of that incident… They have been doing so since 12 A.H./633 A.H.

Prophet's Illness, Usamah's Expedition (632 A.D.)

In the Tarikh book of Abu al-Fida', it is stated that “After his return from the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet resided in Medina till the close of the 10th year of Hijra. In Muharram of 11 A.H./April 632 A.D., the Prophet fell ill. Then he called all his wives at the residence of Maimuna, Mother of the Faithful, where he was staying at that time, requesting them to permit him to remain at the residence of any one particular wife from among them. All of them allowed him to stay during the period of his illness at ‘Ayisha's.’

Ibn al-Wardi writes in his history work that during his illness, the Prophet commissioned an army to be led by Usamah son of the late Zayd ibn Harithah to march to Mu'ta in order to avenge the death of his father. The Prophet insisted upon its immediate departure.

On the next day, in spite of his serious condition, the Prophet personally prepared a flag and handed it over to Usamah saying, “Go in the Name of Allah and fight the infidels in His Name.’ Usamah went out and handed over the standard to Buraidah ibn al-Khusaib whom he appointed as the army's standard-bearer. Having left Medina, he stopped at a village named Jarf which is close to Medina and the army gathered there. The Prophet had also ordered that barring Ali, all other principal Immigrants and Helpers, including Abu Bakr, ‘’Omar, ‘Uthman, Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas, Abu ‘Obaydah ibn al-Jarrah and others, should accompany Usamah. Some companions felt insulted at the Prophet's appointing a son of a freed slave to lead the senior Immigrants and Helpers, so they started grumbling and criticizing. When the news reached the Prophet, he felt dismayed. Despite his pain of fever and headache, he angrily came out of his residence, mounted the pulpit and declared:

O people! What is this you are saying on Usamah's appointment as the commander of the army? You talked in a similar manner when Usamah's father was commissioned to lead the army in the battle of Mu'ta. By Allah, Usamah deserves to be a commander and his father also deserved the leadership of the army.

Al-Shahristani, in his book Kitabul Milal wan Nihal, and Nawwab Siddiq Hasan Khan in his book Hujajul Karamah, state that the Prophet ordered his companions thus: “Make haste in joining Usamah's legion. May Allah curse whoever lags behind Usamah's army.’

In Madarijun-Nubuwwah, the following is stated: “Then, in accordance with the orders of the Prophet, Usamah went to the camp and ordered the army to march. When he was about to mount his steed, his mother informed him that the Prophet was in the agony of death. Receiving this news, Usamah and other companions went back. Abu Bakr and ‘’Omar were still in Medina; they did not join the army…’

Death and Burial (632 A.D)

In Muslim's Sahih, there is a famous tradition narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas in which the latter says,
Three days before the Prophet's death, ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab and other companions were present by his side. The Prophet said, “Now let me write something for you whereby you shall not go astray after me.’ ‘’Omar said, “The Prophet is overcome by illness; you have the Qur'an, the Book of Allah, which is sufficient for us.’ ‘’Omar's statement caused a furor among those present. Some were saying that the Prophet's command should be obeyed so that he might write whatever he desired to write for their guidance. Others sided with ‘’Omar. When the tension and uproar intensified, the Prophet said, “Get away from me!’ Therefore, Ibn ‘Abbas used to say, “It was a calamity, an absolutely great calamity, that the conflict of opinion and noise made by the people came in the way of the Prophet's writing a will and, because of it, the Prophet could not leave behind what he wanted to put on paper.’

Sa’eed ibn Jubayr's narrative is thus recorded in Bukhari's Sahih:
Ibn ‘Abbas said, “What a miserable day it was that Thursday!,’ and he wept so bitterly that the pebbles lying there became wet with his tears. Then he continued, “On a Thursday, the Prophet's sickness intensified. He said, ‘Get me the things to write with so that I may write something by which you may never be misguided after me.' People differed and quarreled over the matter, although quarreling in the presence of the Prophet was unseemly. People said that the Prophet was talking in delirium. The Prophet cried out, ‘Go away from me! I am more sound than you are.'‘

It is stated in Rawdatul-ahbab that the Prophet said to Fatima, “Bring your sons to me.’ Fatima brought Hasan and Husain to the Prophet. Both of them greeted the Prophet, sat by his side and wept at witnessing the agony of the Prophet in such a manner that the people who saw them weeping could not hold their tears. Hasan rested his face upon the Prophet's face and Husain rested his head upon the Prophet's chest. The Prophet opened his eyes and kissed his grandsons lovingly, enjoining the people to love and respect them.’ In another tradition, it is stated that the companions who were present there, having seen Hasan and Husain weep, wept so loudly that the Prophet himself could not hold his tears at their grief. Then he said, “Call my beloved brother Ali to me.’

Ali came in and sat near the head of the Prophet. When the Prophet raised his head, Ali moved to the side and, holding the Prophet's head, he rested it on his own lap. The Prophet then said, “O Ali! I have taken a certain amount from so-and-so Jew for the expenditure on Usamah's army. See that you repay it. And, O Ali! You will be the first person to reach me at the heavenly reservoir of al-Kawthar. You will also be given a lot of trouble after my death. You should bear it patiently, and when you see that the people prefer the lust of this world, you should prefer the hereafter.’

The following is quoted in Khasa'is of Nasa'i from Umm Salamah: “By Allah, the closest person [to the Prophet] at the time of the Prophet's death was Ali. Early on the morning of the day when he was going to die, the Prophet called Ali who had been sent out on an errand. He asked for Ali three times before his return. Ali, however, came before sunrise. So, thinking that the Prophet needed some privacy with Ali, we came out. I was the last to be out; therefore, I sat closer to the door than the other women. I saw that Ali lowered his head towards the Prophet and the Prophet kept whispering into his ears (for sometime). Ali, therefore, is the only person who was near the Prophet till the last.’

Al-Hakim, moreover, remarks in his Mustadrak that the Prophet kept confiding in Ali till the time of his death. Then he breathed his last.’

Ibn al-Wardi points out that the persons who were responsible for giving the Prophet his funeral bath were: Ali, ‘Abbas, Fadl, Qutham, Usamah and Shaqran. ‘Abbas, Fadl and Qutham turned the body. Usamah and Shaqran poured water, and Ali washed the body.

Tarikh al-Khamis adds the following: “‘Abbas, Fadl and Qutham turned the body from one side to the other as Usamah and Shaqran poured water over it. All of them were blind-folded.’

Ibn Sa’d narrates the following in his Tabaqat: “Ali narrated that the Prophet had so enjoined that if anyone except himself (Ali) had given him the funeral bath, he would have gone blind.’

‘Abdul-Barr, in his book Al-Istiab, quotes ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas as saying, “Ali had four exceptional honours to his credit which none of us had: 1) Of all the Arabs and non-Arabs, he was the first to have the distinction of saying prayers with the Prophet. 2) In all the battles in which he participated, he alone held the Prophet's banner in his hand. 3) When people fled from the battle-fields (at Uhud), leaving the Prophet alone, Ali ibn Abu Talib stood firmly by the Prophet's side. 4) Ali is the only person who gave the Prophet his funeral bath and lowered him in his grave.’

Both Abu al-Fida’ and Ibn al-Wardi indicate that the Prophet died on Monday and was buried the next day, i.e. Tuesday. And in one tradition, it is said that he was buried in the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. This appears to be more factual. But according to some others, he was not buried for three days after his death.

In Tarikh-al-Khamis, however, it is mentioned that Muhammad ibn Ishaq stated the following: “The Prophet died on Monday and was buried on the night of Wednesday.’

Estimating his age, Abu al-Fida’ writes: “Although there is a difference of opinion about the Prophet's age, yet calculated from famous traditions, he appears to have lived for 63 years.’

The Prophet departed from this world on the 28th of Safar, 11 A.H./May 28, 632 A.D.

Thus ended the life of the Final Prophet sent “As a witness and a bringer of glad tidings, a warner and a summoner to Allah by His permission, and a lamp that gives light’ (Qur'an, 33:45-46), the one who was sent “As a mercy and blessing to mankind’ (Qur'an, 21:10).

He left the temporal world, but the message he brought to mankind is eternal.

Now has come to you light from Allah and a clear book whereby Allah guides him who seeks His pleasure to the paths of peace. He brings them out of the darkness into the light by His decree and guides them to a straight path..(Qur'an, 5:16)

A Book which We have revealed to you (O Muhammad!) so that you may thereby bring forth mankind from darkness to the light, by the permission of their Lord, to the path of Him, the One Exalted in power, the One worthy of all praise.(Qur'an, 14:2)

O people! There has come to you an admonition from your Lord which is a healing for what is in the breasts, and a guidance and mercy for the believers.(Qur'an, 10:57)

Accept what the Messenger gives you and stay away from whatever he forbids you.(Qur'an, 59:7)

Surely Allah says the truth.

  • 1. It is an Arab measure of weight equaling, according to Richardson, a dram (one-eighth of an ounce) and three-seventh of a dram.
  • 2. Remember that Prophet Muhammed's uncles numbered eleven; so, he had quite a few cousins.
  • 3. Al-Miqdad ibn `Amr is very well known in history as al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad al-Kindi (of Banu Kindah). His date of birth is unknown, but he died in 33 A.H./653 A.D. He was one of the earliest converts to Islam who received a great deal of persecution and torture at the hands of pagan Meccans. He is so famous that writers use only his first name when they write about him. He participated in the battles of Badr, Uhud, al-Khandaq (moat), and in all expeditions. He is one of those who boycotted the “election” of Abu Bakr as the successor to the Prophet, knowing, having been there, that Ali had already been appointed by the Prophet for the job.
  • 4. He is one of the greatest figures in early Islamic history, one of the pillars upon which Islam was erected although he was in the company of the Propher for a short period of time (only 5 years). An entire volume can be written about his merits. His full name is Abu `Amr Sa`d ibn Mu`ath ibn Imri'ul-Qays (the famous poet) ibn Zayd ibn `Abdul-Ashhal ibn Jasham ibn al-Harith ibn al-Khazraj ibn al-Thubayt. The full name of his last ancestor (al-Thubayt) is: `Amr ibn Malik ibn al-Aws al-Ansari al-Awsi al-Ashhal. His mother's name was Kabsha daughter of Rafi`.. She was one of the companions of the Prophet. The date of his birth is unknown, but he died in 5 A.H./626 A.D. He is one of the dignitaries of Medina who participated in the Battle of Badr, and he is famous for his love for the Prophet's Progeny (Ahl al-Bayt), so much so that even Imam Hasan al-`Askari praises him. He accepted Islam at the hands of the great sahabi Mus`ab ibn `Omayr after the first Pledge of Aqaba, that is, in 622 A.D. The Prophet loved him so much that he cursed his murderer, Haban ibn al-`Arqa (al-Arqa being the name of his mother; his father's name is unknown), who shot him with an arrow during the Battle of the Khandaq. He died one month after being shot under the weight of his wound. He is the one who arbitrated the Muslims' conflict with Banu Qurayzah, the Jews of Medina. The Prophet once said about him after his death, Each mourner lies save one that mourns Sa`d ibn Mu`ath. This is recorded in Al-Isiti`ab where we are told that the Prophet ordered a tent erected for Sa`d inside the Medina mosque after his receiving the injury from the arrow so that he would visit him every day. Surely Sa`d deserves more space in this book, but we pray the Almighty to forgive us for our shortcomings and to reward Sa`d on our behalf with the best of His rewards, Allahomma Ameen.
  • 5. The Muslims of today, with rare exceptions, are helpless and spineless because they abandoned their creed and became the friends, servants, stooges and allies of the Western enemies of Islam. This is why they cannot face force with force. This is why when our Muslim sisters in Bosnia were raped and their children and men massacred, the reaction of the Muslim world was almost totally muted; Muslims are toothless; they are Muslims only in name. It is only when Muslims are able to meet force with force that they will earn the respect of the world community. There is no room for weaklings except in the cemetery. Might is still right; it has always been so, and it will always remain so…
  • 6. According to a number of references, including the history books by al-Maqrizi, al-Ya`qubi and Ibn Hisham, the Prophet sent `Amr ibn al-`as al-Sahmi as his ambassador carrying his letters to invite two brothers then ruling Oman: Jayfer and `Iyath sons of al-Jalandi al-Azdi to accept Islam.
  • 7. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 20, p. 148.
  • 8. Ibid., Vol. 20, p. 152.
  • 9. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 15, p. 206.
  • 10. Shaikh Abu Ja`fer Muhammed ibn Ali ibn al-Husain ibn Babawayh al-Qummi al-Saduq, Al-amali (or Al-Majalis), pp. 323-324.
  • 11. He was the late Sassanian king of Persia under whom the empire achieved its greatest expansion. He ascended the throne in 590 A.D. following the assassination of his father Hormizd IV and remained the emperor till his death in 628 A.D. His wife was an Armenian Christian named Shirin. He received Prophet Muhammed's letter shortly before his death.
  • 12. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 20, p. 384.
  • 13. Sayf ibn Thee Yazun (or Thee Yazin) (d. 574 A.D.) was one of Himyar's kings who kicked the Ethiopians out of Yemen assisted by the just Sasanian Persian emperor Kisra Anushirwan, better known as Khosrow I (d. 579 A.D.). Sayf is praised in a poem by Umayyah ibn Abu al-Salt.
  • 14. Sayf ibn Thee Yazun (or Thee Yazin) (d. 574 A.D.) was one of Himyar's kings who kicked the Ethiopians out of Yemen assisted by the just Sasanian Persian emperor Kisra Anushirwan, better known as Khosrow I (d. 579 A.D.). Sayf is praised in a poem by Umayyah ibn Abu al-Salt.
  • 15. Sheroe is also known in Persian history as Qobad II. He was Khosrow's eldest son. He assassinated his father in Khurasan.
  • 16. A mound is a measure of weight varying from a few pounds to 84 pounds according to the custom of the area.
  • 17. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 17, pp. 318-319.
  • 18. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 17, pp. 319-320.
  • 19. According to Al-Munjid fil lugha wal a`lam, however, Abu Hurayra's name is recorded as `Abd al-Rahman ibn Sakhr al-Azdi, and that he died in 59 A.H./678 A.D. The same reference indicates that this man spent a long time in the company of the Prophet, which is not true at all; he accompanied the Prophet from time to time for only 3 years. The Publisher of this Munjid, namely Dar al-Mashriq of Beirut, Lebanon, is sponsored by the Catholic Press of Beirut. Undoubtedly, the information about Abu Hurayra in this Arabic-Arabic dictionary must have been furnished by some Sunnis who try their best to elevate the status of Abu Hurayra even at the risk of sacrificing historical facts and data.
  • 20. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 4, p. 175, where the author quotes Abu Hurayra talking about himself in a chapter dealing with the characteristics of Prophethood.
  • 21. This paragraph and the ones that follow are excerpted from my translation of Dr. Muhammed al-Tijani al-Samawi's book Shi`as are the Ahl al-Sunnah (New York: Vantage Press, 1996), pp. 207-215.
  • 22. Refer to the book titled Abu Hurayra by the Egyptian author Mahmoud Abu Rayyah.
  • 23. Ibn Abul-Hadeed, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 4, p. 28.
  • 24. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 2, p. 232, in a chapter dealing with a fasting person who wakes up finding himself in the state of janaba. Malik, Mawta', Vol. 1, p. 272.
  • 25. This is stated in al-Thahbi's book Siyar A`lam al-Nubala.
  • 26. Ibn Abul-Hadeed, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 4, p. 68.
  • 27. Ibn Katheer, Al-Bidaya wal Nihaya, Vol. 8, p. 108..
  • 28. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 7, p. 31.
  • 29. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 6, p. 190, in a chapter dealing with spending on the wife and children.
  • 30. Ibn Abul-Hadeed, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 4, p. 67.
  • 31. Ibn Sa`d, Tabaqat, Vol. 2, p. 63.
  • 32. al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 38, in a chapter dealing with learning.
  • 33. Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 37.
  • 34. al-Bukhari, Sahih, Vol. 1, p. 30.
  • 35. Ibid.
  • 36. Abu Hurayra was bi-lingual. He spoke Arabic (his mother tongue) and Amharic. Historically speaking, during Abu Hurayra's time, Amheric was the language of aristocrats due to the fact that the Ethiopians had for many years colonized Yemen till they were kicked out of it at the hands of Sayf ibn Thi Yazun (or Yazin), Himyar's king who died in 574 A.D.
  • 37. Nabatea was an Arabian kingdom in present day Jordan. It flourished from the 4th century B.C. till the Roman occupation in 106 A.D. Its capital was Petra.
  • 38. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 21, p. 253.
  • 39. al-Tabatabai, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Qur'an, Vol. 3, pp. 269-270.

Marriages of the Prophet

When the Prophet passed away, he left nine wives behind. This has become a main target of spiteful Christian and Jewish writers. They say that plurality of marriages (polygamy) in itself points to avidity and to yielding to lust and desire, and the Prophet was not content with four wives which had been allowed to his ummah but exceeded even that limit and married nine instead.

It is necessary to point out that this is not such a simple matter to be dismissed by one saying that he was inordinately fond of women, so much so that he married nine wives. The fact is that he had married each one of his wives for some particular reason due to particular circumstances.

His first marriage was with Khadija. He lived with her alone for twenty-five years. It was the prime time of his youth and constitutes two-thirds of his marriage life. We have written about her on the preceding pages.

Then he married Sawdah daughter of Zam’ah whose husband had passed away during the second migration to Abyssinia. Sawdah was a believing lady who had migrated on account of her faith. Her father and brother were among the most bitter enemies of Islam. If she were left to return to them, they would have tortured her, as they were doing with other believing men and women, oppressing and killing them, forcing them to renounce their faith.

At the same time, he married ‘Ayisha bint Abu Bakr, who was then a six-year1 old child. She came to the Prophet's house some time after the migration to Medina.

He married Zainab bint Khuzaymah whose husband ‘Abdullah ibn Jahsh was killed during the Battle of Uhud. She was a very virtuous woman even during the time of jahiliyya. She used to be called “ummul-masakin,’ mother of the destitutes, due to her generosity to the indigent and the poor. Seeing that by losing her husband she had none to provide for her, the Prophet married her in order to safeguard her dignity.

When he migrated to Medina, the Prophet began spreading the word of Allah. Thereafter, he married women who were all either widows or divorcees, old or middle-aged. He married Safiyya daughter of Huyayy ibn al-Akhtab, as indicated above, who was killed during the Battle of Khaybar. Her brother was also killed in the same battle. She was a lady of high status and prestige, and when the Prophet saw that she was about to be sold as a slave, he proposed to her, as a way to save her from the degradation of slavery, and she accepted his marriage proposal. Her story is almost similar to that of Juwayriyya, whose real name was Barra daughter of al-Harith, head of Banu al-Mostaliq, narrated below.

This continued for about eight years, that is, till 8 A.H./629 A.D. It was only then that he was prohibited by the Almighty from marrying any woman besides those whom he had already married. Obviously, these marriages cannot be explained by his love for women because both his early life and the later period contradict such an assumption.

Just look at a man with a passion for women who is infatuated with a casual desire, enamored by female companionship, with a sensual lust for them. You will find him attracted to their adornment, spending his time in pursuit of beauty, infatuated with youth, tender age, and fresh complexion. But these qualities are conspicuously absent in the Prophet's marriage life. He married widows after having married one virgin and a number of old-aged ladies after having married young ladies. Then he offered his wives a choice to give them a good provision and allow them to depart gracefully, that is, divorce them if they desired this world and its adornment. Alternatively, they should renounce the world and abstain from adornments and embellishments if they desired Allah and His Prophet and the everlasting abode. Look at this verse of the Qur'an:

O Prophet! Say to your wives: If you desire this world's life and its adornment, then come, I will give you a provision and allow you to depart a graceful departure. And if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the latter abode, then surely Allah has prepared for the doers of good from among you a mighty reward.(Qur'an, 33:28-29)

Is this the attitude of a man infatuated with lust and desire?! The fact is that we will have to look for reasons other than lust and avidity for his plurality of wives:

(a) He had married many of them in order to give them protection and safeguard their dignity. It was hoped that the Muslims would follow his example and provide protection to aged women, widows and their orphaned children.
Sawdah bint Zam’ah's marriage comes into this category.

‘Abdullah ibn Jahsh (a cousin of the Prophet), husband of Zainab daughter of Khuzaymah, was martyred during the battle of Uhud (as stated above). This was the second time she became a widow with many orphans. She was one of the most generous ladies even in the era of ignorance, so much so that she was called ummul-masakin, “Mother of the destitute.’ Now she was facing hard times. The Prophet, by marrying her, preserved her prestige and dignity. She passed away during the Prophet's life-time. Year of marriage: 3 A.H./625 A.D.

The Prophet married Umm Salamah, Hind, who was wife of ‘Abdullah Abu Salamah (father of Salamah), son of the Prophet's aunt as well as his foster brother. She and her husband were among the first to migrate to Ethiopia, an ascetic and virtuous lady, a very pious one. She had renounced worldly pleasures and was highly distinguished for her wisdom. Her husband died, leaving her an old widow with many orphans for whom she could not provide; so, the Prophet married her in order to maintain her prestige and look after her orphans who were, of course, his own relatives. Year of marriage: 4 A.H./626 A.D.

Hafsah daughter of ‘’Omar ibn al-Khattab was married to him after her husband Khunays ibn Huthayfah was martyred during the battle of Badr. Year of marriage: 4 A.H./626 A.D.

(b) To emancipate slaves: His marriage with Juwayriyya, whose name was Barra daughter of al-Harith (chief of Jewish Banu al-Mostaliq) was performed in 5 A.H./626 - 627 A.D. after the battle of Banu al-Mostaliq. The Muslims had arrested two hundred of their families. Juwayriyya was a Jewish widow, a lady of prestige, and the Prophet married her after emancipating2 her. The Muslims said: These are now the relatives of the Messenger of Allah by marriage; they should not be held captive. So they freed all of them. Impressed by this nobility, the whole tribe of Banu al-Mostaliq entered into the folds of Islam. It was a very large tribe, and this generosity of the Muslims as well as the conversion of that tribe had a great impact throughout Arabia.

(c) To forge friendly relations: Some marriages were contracted in the hope of establishing friendly ties with some tribes in order to blunt their enmity towards Islam.
Umm Habibah, namely Ramla daughter of Abu Sufyan, was married to ‘Obaydullah ibn Jahsh and had migrated to Abyssinia in the second migration. While there, ‘Obaydullah converted to Christianity, but she remained steadfastly on Islam and separated from him. Her father, Abu Sufyan, was in those days raising one army after another in order to annihilate the Muslims. The Prophet married her and afforded protection to her although the hope of any change in Abu Sufyan's attitude did not materialize.

Safiyyah was the daughter of Huyaiy ibn Akhtab, (Jewish) chief of Banu an-Nadir. Her husband was killed in the battle of Khaybar, and her father sided with Banu Qurayzah. She was among the captives of Khaybar. The Prophet chose her for himself and married her after emancipating her in 7 A.H./628 A.D. This marriage protected her from humiliation and established a friendly link with the Jews.

(d) To establish and implement important laws: The case of Zainab bint Jahsh is the only example. She was a cousin of the Prophet (daughter of his paternal aunt, and sister of ‘Abdullah ibn Jahsh, the first husband of Zainab bint Khuzaymah). She was a widow. Islam annulled class differences. It declared that a family's tribe, wealth, or social status are not the criteria of distinction. Every Muslim is equal. While announcing it, the Prophet, in the same gathering, gave his three relative ladies in marriage to persons of “low’ birth or status.

It was done in order to practically demonstrate that up to that moment, this concept of equality was only theoretical. Among them, Zainab bint Jahsh was given in marriage to Zayd ibn Harithah, an Arab slave whom the Prophet had freed and adopted as a son. People called him Zayd ibn Muhammad. This marriage soon turned sour. Zainab could not overlook that she was a granddaughter of ‘Abdul-Muttalib, and that Zayd was an ex-slave. No matter how much the Prophet advised them, she did not change her behaviour, so finally Zayd divorced her.

In the midst of the continuing social reforms, the Qur'an had declared that adoption was not recognized in Islam, that the sons should be affiliated to their biological fathers. Allah says:

Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his breast, nor has He made your wives whom you declare (to be your mothers) as your (real) mothers, nor has He made those whom you call (as your sons) your (real) sons. These are (mere) words of your mouths, and Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the (right) way. Call them after their fathers; this is more just with Allah, but if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brethren in faith and your friends. (Qur'an, 33:4-5)

After this admonition, people started calling him “Zayd ibn Harithah’. But there was a need to put this new system in effect in such a way that would leave no room for doubt or ambiguity. Allah, therefore, ordered the Prophet to marry Zainab bint Jahsh, the divorcee of Zayd ibn Harithah. The Qur'an explains:

…. But when Zayd had concluded his concern with her (i.e. divorced her) We joined her in wedlock as your wife so that there should be no difficulty for the believers concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they have concluded their concerns with them, and the command of Allah shall be carried out.(Qur'an, 33:37)

In this manner, both marriages of Zainab daughter of Jahsh served to enforce two very important social ethics. Some non-Muslim writers have claimed that the Prophet had fallen in love with Zainab's beauty and that this is why Zayd divorced her. Such writers are blind to the fact that Zainab at that time was in her fifties. Why did not Muhammad fall in love with her when she was still a maiden and he himself was young?! Consider this question especially in view of the fact that Zainab was a close relative of the Prophet, and that there was no system of hijab at that time, and, in any case, relatives usually know about each other's beauty or ugliness.

One of his wives was Maymuna, whose real name was Barra bint al-Harith al-Hilaliyyah. When her second husband died in 7 A.H./628 A.D., she came to the Prophet and “gifted’ herself to him if he would accept her. She only desired the honour of being called the wife of the Prophet. The Prophet waited for the divine guidance in her regard. Permission was granted to him from his Lord as we read in verse 33:50 of the Holy Qur'an which, inter alia, says:

O Prophet! Certainly we have made lawful to you… a believing woman if she gifts herself to the Prophet; if the Prophet desires to marry her, (it is) especially for thee (O Prophet!) rather than for the rest of the believers.

Thus do we see that each of these marriages had some solid reasons behind it; passion and lust were not among them.

Surely the Prophet married more than four wives, whereas all other Muslims are not permitted to do so, simply because he was not an ordinary person; he was above being ordinary. His share of responsibility was certainly greater than anyone else's, so his priviliges and prerogatives were likewise greater than anyone else's. Try to learn about a type of fast which was solely observed by prophet Muhammad rather than by anyone else; it is called sawm al-wisal, so that you know that what applies to him does not apply to any other believer. How many wives did Prophet Solomon marry?!

This question is directed to the same prejudiced writers who assault the Prophet of Islam without knowing their share of torment in the hereafter for so doing. May the Almighty condemn them in this life and in the life to come for their blasphemy, and may He strengthen the Muslim umma so that it can face its enemies and raise the banner of Islam high in this century and in every century, Allahomma ameen. Most of those who attack Islam and besmear its holy name, in fact, are those who call themselves Jews as well as those who are brainwashed by their Zionist propaganda. Most of these reside in the West, especially here in the U.S.

Women The Prophet Engaged Bud Did Not Marry

Amra al-Kilabiyya daughter of Zaid ibn Dawwas ibn Kilab. It came to the knowledge of the Blessed One that she had a leucoma. He, therefore, did not cohabit with her but divorced her.

Qubaila al-Kindiyya

Saba as-Salamiyya daughter of a-al ibn Habib ibn Harithah ibn Hilal ibn Hazim ibn Sammal. She died before the Messenger of Allah could cohabit with her.

Shiraf al-Kilabiyya daughter of Duayyah al-Kilabi, in whose image Gabriel sometimes used to come to the Messenger of Allah . She perished before the Prophet could marry her.

Al-Ghaliya al-Kilabiyya daughter of Ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf ibn ‘Ubaid ibn Abu Bakr ibn Kilab. It is said that after staying with the Messenger of Allah for a short period of time, he divorced her.

Al-Jauna al-Kindiyya; she is not Asma' the daughter of an-Nu’man. It was Abu Asad As-Sa’idi who brought her to the Prophet . ‘A’isha and afa took it upon themselves to comb and dress her. One of them made her believe that the Messenger of Allah loves it when a woman says to him, “I seek refuge with Allah against you!’ So when he came to sleep with her, she said to him, “I seek refuge with Allah against you!’ He, thereupon, covered his face with his sleeve and said, “I seek refuge as He enjoined me to.’ And surely Allah knows best.

Layla al-Awsiyya daughter of Khaum al-Awsi. She came to him while he was unaware, touching his shoulder. He inquired, “Who is this whom the lion may devour?’ She replied, “I am Layla, the daughter of al-Khaum ibn Mu’im. I came to offer myself to you.’ “I accept you,’ he said. Coming home, the women in her family said to her: “The Messenger of Allah has many wives and you are a jealous woman. We do not feel secure against your annoying him, so he will call for evil to befall upon you.’ He did, in fact, dismiss her, and while she was about to enter the groves of Medina, she was devoured by a lion.

Safiyya al-Anbariyya

Sunaa al-Qushairiyya. She was the wife of ‘Abdullah ibn Jud’an at-Taimi. When he divorced her, she was married by Hisham ibn al-Mughirah al-Makhzumi. Her father was called Salamah ibn Salamah ibn Hisham, and he was a good man. When the Messenger of Allah asked for her hand, Salamah replied, “It is up to her.’ She then said, “Are you leaving the decision regarding the Messenger of Allah to me?! Well, I accept.’ However, when the Messenger of Allah came to know that she was old, he did not pursue the matter, but Allah knows best.

Qur'an: The Greatest Miracle

Linguistically, a “miracle’ is the inability, incapability, or inimitability. One who is capable of affecting something which nobody else can affect is the doer of a miracle. None other than Allah Almighty is capable of doing so. He, and only He, is the One Who decrees, Who manifests His might over others, including, of course, the natural phenomena and the cosmos at large. A miracle, hence, is something which others deem as extra-ordinary and it challenges them to duplicate it, to imitate it. A miracle is something that challenges what is already established, proving what is out of the ordinary, violating the rules of normalcy.

Consider the miracles of the isra (the night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem) and miraj (ascension to the heavens). It is one of the most glorious of all miracles, one which only Muhammad enoyed, becoming the only human being ever to be raised so high. Even arch-angel Gabriel, upon reaching the farthest lote-tree, could not advance when Muhammad asked him to. “If I advance, I will be burnt [ahtariq]; if you advance, you will be able to penetrate [takhtariq, pierce through] where nobody else has ever gone.’

The light of the Almighty, Praised be His Name and Glorified, in that spot was so intense that even the greatest of His angels, namely Gabriel, could not withstand it. How could the Messenger of Allah travel, all alone and during part of the evening, the lengthy distance from Mecca to Jerusalem without any means of transportation? How could he, moreover, traverse the domain of the heavens and physically go through all these barriers and distances, leaving the earth without a plane, a spaceship, or a rocket?

Rather, how can this Messenger describe in minute detail all what he saw in the seven heavens in one single night, his observations, and the places he reached? Is there any human being who can refute his description or contest his statements, or falsify what he brought? Actually, even spaceshipS launched nowadays to relatively limited distances, compared to the distance the Messenger of Allah had reached when he went through the seven heavenly strata, are liable to develop technical malfunctions which sometimes force them to postpone their launch.

The Holy Qur'an remains the eternal miracle of our prophet Muhammad, one whereby he challenged the jinns and mankind to produce a book like it, or a chapter, or even ten fabricated “verses.’ This happened when just about everyone was a genius in mastering the language. Yet none was able to face this challenge; so, the Arabs resorted to fighting the prophet once, and once to offering him position and wealth.

The Holy Qur'an is a miracle in the full sense of the word:

And they say: Why are no Signs (miracles) sent down upon him from His Lord? Say: The Signs are only With Allah, and I am only a plain warner. Is it not enough for them that We have revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Most surely there is mercy in this and a reminder for people who believe.(Qur'an, 29:50-51)

The Holy Qur'an was the evident miracle which sufficed all mankind as proof testifying to the truth of the message brought by Muhammad. Every syllable in it is a miracle by itself:

“Say: If men and jinns should join (forces) together in order to bring the like of this Qur'an, they will never be able to bring the like thereof, even if some of them were to aid the others. And certainly We have explained for men in this Qur'an every kind of similitude, but most men do not consent to aught but denying’ (Qur'an, 17:88-89).

No human being can ever be acquainted with all the knowledge embedded in the Holy Qur'an, for it is the speech of the Almighty, the Praised and the Glorified One, Who has said,

“Say: If the sea were ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would surely be consumed before the words of my Lord are exhausted even if We were to bring the like of it and add thereto’ (Qur'an, 18:109).

There are miracles in the Holy Qur'an which are continuous, perpetual, eternal, ever present, impressing one generation after another: each generation will by itself discover the miracles of this Book and may come to know that the miracles of the Holy Qur'an never end, nor will its wonders.

All the miracles which violated the laws of nature and whereby Allah strengthened His messengers and prophets had taken place within the sphere of the earth, and they are now no more. But the Almighty revealed to this messenger, Muhammad, the most enduring of all miracles, one that will always shine through each and ever age and time, thus granting him the very uppermost kingdom of the heavens. Other heavenly books have been distorted, altered, tampered with, yet nobody can ever attribute the same to the Holy Qur'an. This by itself is indeed a miracle.

Allah Almighty has said in the Holy Qur'an,

“We will soon show them Our Signs in the universe and in their own selves till it becomes quite clear to them that it is the truth’ (Qur'an, 41:53).

Its challenge, and the fact that it tears down the veil separating us from the future, is another difficult front which the enemies of Allah have to face. Its knowledge of the future may be divided into two time periods: 1) the present and the near future, which is not distant from the time when the Holy Qur'an was revealed, and 2) the distant future.
Let us deal with these stages in a little more detail.

1) The Present and the Near Future

The Holy Qur'an states,

Aleef, Lam, Meem. The Romans have been vanquished, in a near land, and they, after being vanquished, shall be the vanquishers, within a few years. To Allah belongs the command before and after, and on that Day the believers shall rejoice, with the help of Allah; He helps whomsoever He pleases, and He is the Mighty, the Merciful.(Qur'an, 30:1-5)

Could prophet Muhammad predict the result of a war that would be waged between two giant nations of that period of time, namely the Romans and the Persians, after a few years, and can the leader predict the fate of a war and guarantee the victory of one army over another? Let us suppose that the Romans had lost the war after a few years, and that the Persians were the victors; what would the fate of the Holy Qur'an then be?

In that case, the Holy Qur'an would have committed a grievous error if the Romans had been defeated; so, how can the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, put all the creed of Islam and the fate of the truthfulness of the Holy Qur'an in jeopardy just like that, making statements like these and asserting that the Romans will defeat the Persians? But he is not the one who is doing that; it is the Almighty Who is saying so. The reader has already come across the reference to this incident in chapter dealing with Khadija.

2) A Challenge During the Time of the Prophet

The nature of this type of challenge is that it confronted the unbelievers, including Abu Lahab, may Allah condemn him, who disbelieved and ferociously fought the Islamic call. The Almighty, because of that, revealed the following verses about Abu Lahab:

Perdition overtakes both hands of Abu Lahab, and he will perish. His wealth and what he earns will not avail him. He shall soon burn in a fire that flames, and his wife (too), the bearer of (fire) fuel, upon her neck (there shall be) a halter of a strongly twisted rope.(Qur'an, 111:1-5)

When these verses were revealed, Abu Lahab was still alive, and he never retreated from his disbelief; so, what stopped him from retreating and claiming to embrace the faith? What could the consequences of a mistake like that have been? But these verses are not statements made by Prophet Muhammad; rather, they express the speech of Muhammad's Lord which suffers no alteration.

The Qur'an's facts can never be changed simply because it challenges all times till the Day of Judgment.

There is another fiery challenge which puts an end to any confusion, forcing the unbelievers to recognize the fact that there is no doubt in this speech, the speech of Allah, the One and Only God, and that it is capable of facing the unknown regarding the past, the present, and the future. This additional challenge is embedded in the verses saying,

You will most certainly ride in a stratum (of sphere) over a stratum.(Qur'an, 84:19)

This statement was made more than one thousand and four hundred and fifty years ago when there were no planes, rockets, space ships, nor attempts to probe the earth's outer sphere, and when means of transportation were confined to riding the backs of animals. Allah, Glory and Praise are His, has included in His miracle called the Holy Qur'an many cosmic mysteries in order to give the Holy Qur'an the chance for a continuous output till the time of the Hour, and so that each generation may derive such an output from the Holy Qur'an.

This is a cosmic verse, and “till it becomes clear to them that it is the truth’ means till they realize that the Holy Qur'an is the truth revealed by Him. Thus can we indicate that cosmic wonders will come in harmony with the verses of the Holy Qur'an. The statement: “We will soon show them Our Signs [or miracles, ayat]’ conveys the meaning that Allah Almighty will reveal to us the wonders and mysteries of the universe, and these can be demonstrated to both believers and non-believers alike “till it becomes clear to them that it is the truth.’ This “truth’ has shattered the veils of the future, testifying to the truth of the Holy Qur'an and to its being the speech of the Lord of the Worlds. Thus were the verses of Surat al Inshiqaq come to state:

“By the moon when it grows full, you will most certainly ride one stratum (of sphere) after stratum. But what is the matter with them that they do not believe, and when the Qur'an is recited to them, they do not prostrate? Nay! Those who disbelieve belie he truth. And Allah knows best what they hide; so announce to them a painful punishment, except those who believe and do good deeds; for them there is a reward that shall never be cut off’ (Qur'an, 84:18-25).

The Almighty and the Praised One promised the humans that they would “ride one stratum (of sphere) after stratum,’ that is, that they would be able to traverse the universe and move from one spheric orbit to another. This is quoted from the tafsir (exegesis) of Ibn Abbas in his book Al Miqyas li Ibn Abbas… Clearly it refers to space exploration; so, where did Prophet Muhammad obtain this knowledge from?! Airplanes have now become a reality, and they are traversing the air layers, moving humans from one layer to another, while space crafts are now moving them from one sphere, orbit stratum or pathway, to another.

Let us bring a Qur'anic challenge, a miracle in the breach of the veils separating us from the future. This challenge speaks to those who profess knowledge. In it, the Holy Qur'an proves to them that they do not know anything except what Allah has enabled them to know, that none has taught them other than Allah Almighty, the One Who knows the unknown, and that the Holy Qur'an is His speech which falsehood cannot approach at all. In Surat al Dukhkhan we read,

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Ha, Meem. I swear by the Book that makes (the truth) manifest. Surely we revealed it on a blessed night; surely We are ever warning; therein every wise affair is made distinct. A command from Us; surely We are the senders (of apostles), a mercy from your Lord; He is the Hearing, the Knowing, the Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, if you believe. There is no god but He; He gives life and causes death, your Lord and the Lord of your fathers of yore. Nay! They are in doubt; they sport. Keep waiting, therefore, for the day when the heavens brings an evident smoke that shall overtake men; this is a painful punishment. Lord! Remove from us the punishment; surely we are believers. How shall they be reminded, and there came to them an Messenger making (the truth) clear, yet they turned their backs on him and said: One taught (by others), a madman? Surely We will remove the punishment a little (but) you will surely return (to evil). On the day when We seize (them) with a most violent seizing, surely We will then inflict retribution. (Qur'an, 44:1-16)

Allah Almighty is saying here that the Holy Qur'an is the speech of the Creator, Allah, Glory to Him and all Praise, which He revealed to His Messenger Muhammad in a blessed night in order to warn all people, and so that He may determine in it every decree of what will come to pass. To the skeptics who doubted the truth in the Message revealed to Muhammad does the Lord of Dignity and Honor, the Praised One, say, through His servant and Messenger our master Muhammad,

“Keep waiting, therefore, for the day when the heavens brings an evident smoke that shall overtake men’ (Qur'an, 44:10-11).

The Prophet, in a tradition dealing with the signs denoting the approach of the Day of Judgment, is quoted saying, “The first of such signs is the smoke [referred to in these verses].’ He was asked what smoke it would be. He said, “It will cover the east of the earth and the west; it will remain for forty days and nights. It will affect the believer just as a cold [catarrh] affects him. As to the unbeliever, he will feel as though he is intoxicated; it [smoke] will come out of his nostrils, ears and rear ends.’
Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq is quoted saying, “There will be smoke that will overwhelm both ends of the earth, causing the death of two thirds of the world population.’ This smoke is now said to be caused by the explosion of nuclear and hydrogen bombs and poison gases. The word “evident’ in this verse means it can be easily seen and identified. It will cover all people and fill the earth. It will be, as the verse describes it, “a painful punishment.’ How it will punish people is explained above by the hadith of the Prophet, that is, it will come out of the nostrils, ears and rear ends of the unbelievers, and they [two thirds of the world population] will all perish.

Just as it defied the past and the future, the Holy Qur'an defied the present as well, putting the creation in a state of puzzlement, giving them the choice either to submit and recognize the Power of Allah Almighty and the admission that His speech which He revealed to His servant and Messenger Muhammad is the truth from Allah, or to remain in their stubbornness and disbelief and renunciation of the truth and thus continue straying; the truth is veiled from their visions and hearts.

Is there another example which we can bring about the Holy Qur'an defying the present? Yes, there is. There are many examples for these challenges in the Holy Qur'an, challenges of our present time; this one is a challenge regarding the creation of humans. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur'an,

“So let man consider what he is created of. He is created of water pouring forth, coming from between the back and the ribs. Most surely He is able to return him (to life) (Qur'an, 86:5-8),’

and He also said,

“We certainly created man of an extract of clay, then We made him a small seed in a firm resting-place, then We made the seed a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made in the lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We caused it to grow into another creation; so, blessed be Allah, the best of creators (Qur'an, 23:12-15).’

Is there any description of our creation more eloquent than this one? Is there any among the creation of Allah who can alter this sequence in our creation? Is there anyone who can change the way humans are born, and is there any human who can escape these stages? If anyone is capable of doing so, then we will say that the above is the speech of humans. But if all human beings are unable to come into this world in any way other than the one stated in these verses, then it is the speech of the Almighty, the Creator of creation, the Lord of the Worlds. So Praise be to Allah and Exalted is He above what they describe.

Let us now quote these verses:

“Every soul shall taste of death’ (Qur'an, 3:185),

“Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, though you may be in lofty towers’ (Qur'an, 4:78).

This by itself is a challenge Allah Almighty includes in the Holy Qur'an, He Who decreed death to His creation, for who among the humans can run away from death? Are these verses the speech of humans? Does this challenge end at any period of time?
Now it is time to delve into the heart of the major topic in order to prove that the Holy Qur'an is the miracle of miracles. The above is only an introduction.

The majority of Muslim scholars are of the view that the Holy Qur'an, in its entirety, in the rules and regulations it contains, and in its order and organization, wisdom, eloquence and clarity, and because of the legislation it contains, the news of the unseen, and due to other considerations, is, indeed, a miracle the like of which mankind is unable to produce. There are many proofs in and aspects of the miraculous nature of the Holy Qur'an embedded in the Book itself. One such miraculous aspect is its logic and eloquence; it tells about the unseen, its legislative miracle, its scientific miracles in their various forms such as the medical, cosmic, geographical, physical, numerical, informative and many other aspects.

Among the miraculous aspects of the Holy Qur'an is the fact that no other book, religious or secular, has ever received as much attention as the Holy Qur'an. Since its revelation, Muslims learned its verses and chapters by heart, taking time and effort to explain them and record what the Messenger of Allah has commented in their regard and what other scholars of exegesis have. As time passed by, a new class of scholars of exegesis was created, and books were written by commentators.

There are now books dealing with verses with a fixed meaning, and with verses whose meaning is similar, and other studies dealing with the causes of revelation, and other classifications dividing the Qur'anic chapters into either Mecci or Medeni, and studies dealing with the arts of its recitation, and books in the methods of its reading, and others in its miraculous aspect. Books have been authored dealing with the grammar of the language of the Holy Qur'an, others with its imagery, and yet others computing its verses and dividing its chapters and hizbs, the half and the quarter of the latter, in addition to books classifying which verses abrogate others and which verses are abrogated.

There are linguistic studies confined to the study of the Holy Qur'an, to its eloquence, organization, clarity of argument and the meanings of words and diction, the tribal accents in its recitation, and the virtues of its chapters and the rewards of reciting it, and the etiquette of such recitation. The attention paid to the Holy Qur'an reached the degree that its words and letters were computed and the ratio between these words and letters, verses, and chapters, was determined. In Medina, there is a manuscript the date of whose writing dates in the first Hijri century. It quotes a group of scholars explaining how they were computing the letters of the Holy Qur'an using barley grains and recording their statistics in a small dissertation placed among old containers preserved till the present time.

The dissertation contains the total number of the verses and letters, and the total number of characters in the Holy Qur'an, in addition to other statistics.

All this proves the care past generations have paid the text of the Holy Qur'an, and this is what al-Qurtubi has said, quoting Salam Abu Muhammad al-Hamani saying, “Scholars and those who knew the Holy Qur'an by heart assembled, and I was among them, so we computed, and we were of the consensus that the Holy Qur'an contains three hundred and forty thousand, seven hundred and forty letters (340,740).

Where do we reach if we divide this figure by half? We found out that half the text of the Holy Qur'an will be marked at the word fal yatalattaf in chapter of the Cave, al-Kahaf, Chapter 18. Then we wondered where we would reach if we were to divide the text to three equal parts. We found out that the beginning of the first third ends at the end of one hundred verses of Chapter Bara'a (or Tawbah, Chapter 9), the second third of it is marked at the end of one hundred and one verses of the Poets Chapter, al Shuara', Chapter 26, and the last third comprises the rest of the Holy Qur'an. Then we divided it to seven parts according to the total number of its characters, and we found out the following:

1) The first is marked by the dal in “So of them is he who believes in him and of them is he who turns away…[sadd]’ (Qur'an, 4:55);

2) The second is marked by the ta in ‘… their deeds are null [habitat]’ (Qur'an, 7:147);

3) The third is marked by the aleef in “its food [ukuluha] and shades are perpetual’ (Qur'an, 13:35);

4) The fourth is marked by the aleef in “And for every nation We appointed acts of devotion [mansakan]’ (Qur'an, 22:34);

5) The fifth is marked by the ha in “And it does not behove a believing man nor a believing woman… [mu’minah]’ (Qur'an, 33:36);

6) The sixth is marked by the waw in ‘… those who entertain evil thoughts about Allah’ (Qur'an, 48:6);

7) The seventh is the remainant of the Holy Qur'an.

The first of its quarter is the conclusion of Chapter al An’am, the second is in chapter al-Kahaf, the third is at the conclusion of Chapter al-Zumar, and the last is the remnant of the Holy Qur'an.

A review of the past fourteen centuries or more during which Islam was fought with various norms of wars in which different nations on earth participated, using every possible weapon with the exception of accepting the challenge, proves that all those opponents proved their inability to face the challenge of the Holy Qur'an. The only perfect definition of the Holy Qur'an can be found only in the Holy Qur'an itself, and nobody can attain such knowledge except those who are endowed with knowledge and whose breasts Allah Almighty has expanded for such a task, enabling them to comprehend and absorb such knowledge.

The Holy Qur'an is a miracle in everything it contains. Each of its meanings is a miracle by itself. The venues of its meanings, that is, its expressions, are miracles, too. Its meaning when combined with the expression will provide the meaning of its diction.

The diction of the Holy Qur'an, in the way it is arranged, is a miracle among other miracles that make it the greatest miracle of all. Its words give us clear and shining details about its being a miracle. The number of times Qur'anic words are repeated throughout the Holy Qur'an is a miracle, too. The number of times these words are repeated harmonizes with the number of times other words, which either agree with or oppose, contrast or contradict them, are repeated. The number of times its words are repeated carries a miracle by itself. Also, the characters of the Holy Qur'an, when repeated a certain number of times, contains a dazzling miracle, making its miracle not only by its sacred verses and the miraculous meanings they contain, the principles and bases of equity they carry, and the knowledge of the unknown, but the very number of times by itself. The number of times a particular character is repeated is also miraculous.

The phenomenon of numerical inimitability of the Holy Qur'an is not something newly discovered; rather, it carries a historical extension. Researchers studying the knowledge of the Holy Qur'an had already been keen to it. They observed the fact that when certain characters or words are repeated a certain number of times, they will then carry a particular message. They also tried to discover the secret of the relationship between those numbers and the meanings of words, for the posterity had already noticed the single characters at the beginning of some chapters and came to know that their repetition carried certain meanings.

Among the aspects of the miracle of numeric inimitability of the words of the Holy Qur'an is that it contains 51,900 words, and most words start with the hamza, totalling 8,310, that is, 16% of its total, almost one sixth of the Holy Qur'an. Next to it are those that start with the “qaf,’ numbering 4,086, that is, 8.3% of the total. Following that are words that start with the “kaf,’ totalling 3,878, that is, 7.5% of the total, followed by those that start with “‘ayn,’ numbering 3,788, that is, 7.3%. After that come those that start with the “ra,’ numbering 3,293, that is 6.3% of the total, followed by those that start with the “noon,’ totalling 2,936, that is, 5.7% of the total. Other characters follow in that order and they all end with the “tha.’ If we were to count all the words that start with the first of the latter characters, we would find their total to be 26,021. This means that more than half the words in the Holy Qur'an start with one such character.

This represents a humble amount of information to help the reader to realize the knowledge which Allah Almighty has embedded within the Holy Qur'an, the knowledge which neither scholar nor faqeeh, no matter who he may be, and no matter in what period of time he lived or lives, can be familiar in all the wonders and miracles of the Holy Qur'an. The Qur'an's miracles shall never cease to manifest themselves till the Day of Judgment. This is not according to the decision of a human but is due to the Might of the Almighty Who has pledged saying,

“We will show them Our Signs in the universe and in their own selves [and continue to do so] till it becomes quite clear to them that it is the truth’ (Qur'an, 41:53).

This is the command of Allah Almighty, and nobody can argue about His command; so, let us try to familiarize ourselves with a portion of the miracles contained in the Holy Qur'an as much as Allah wishes to make us acquainted.

The word “Iblis,’ the one whom Allah has condemned, is repeated in the text of the Holy Qur'an eleven times; reference to seeking refuge with Allah against him is also repeated eleven times.

The word museeba, catastrophe, calamity, or tragedy, and its derivatives are all repeated 75 times, while the word shukr, thanks-giving [that is, thanking the Almighty], is repeated also 75 times. The word dunya, the life in this world, is repeated 115 times, while the word akhira, the life hereafter, is repeated also 115 times. The word israf, extravagance, and its derivatives are all repeated 23 times, so are the words sur'a, haste, and its derivatives. The word malaika, angels, is repeated 88 times, so is the word shayateen, devils, and its derivatives. The word sultan, ruler, and its derivatives are repeated 37 times, so is the word nifaq, hypocrisy. The word harr, heat, is repeated four times, so is the word bard, coolness or chill.

The word harb, war, and its derivatives are all repeated six times, so is the word asra, captives, and its derivatives. The word hayat and its derivatives are repeated 145 times, so is the word mawt, death, and its derivatives.

The verb qalo, they said, referring to people, is repeated 332 times, whereas the order qul, say, coming from the Almighty, is repeated a likewise number of times. The word sayyi'at, wrong deeds, is repeated 180 times, so is the word salihat, good deeds. The word rahbah, awe or fear, and its derivatives are all repeated eight times, so is he word raghbah, desire or will. The word naf, profit or gain, is repeated 50 times, so is the word fasad, corruption. The word nas, people, is repeated 368 times, so is the word rusul, messengers. The word asbat, chiefs, is repeated 5 times, so is the word hawariyyoon, disciples.

The word jahr, declaration, and its derivatives are all repeated sixteen times, so is the word alaniyah, openly, and its derivatives. The word jaza', reward, and its derivatives are all repeated 117 times; the number of times the word maghfira, forgiveness, and its derivatives is twice that many, 234. The word zalalah, misguidance, and its derivatives are all repeated 191 times; the number of times the word ayat, Signs or miracles, is 382, twice that many.

The miracles and wonders of the Holy Qur'an are yet to be exhausted, if at all. They, in fact, shall never be exhausted till the Day of Judgment. The year, for example, is comprised of 365 days; therefore, the word yawm, day, is repeated exactly 365 times, while the word shahr, month, is repeated twelve times, and the word saa, hour, is repeated twenty-four times, signifying the total number of hours in the day.

The word sab (seven) is connected to the word samawat (heavens) either before or after it, and is repeated in the Holy Qur'an seven times: the days of the week are seven, and so is the number of the heavens.

The verb sajada, as used for humans, in various tense forms, has occurred 34 times throughout the Holy Qur'an. This number equals the number of prostrations (sajdas) in the five daily prayers the total number of whose rekat is 17, and there are two rekat per each prostration, hence the total number is 34 prostrations. References to them are as follows:

1. “And We said to the angels: prostrate (make sajda) to Adam….’ (Qur'an, 2:34).

The number of this verse, as you see, is 34; it is the first verse of the Holy Qur'an which makes a reference to prostrating, and its number is the same number of the total daily prostrations.

2. “Then We said to the angels: prostrate to Adam….’ (Qur'an, 7:11).

3. “When We said to the angels: prostrate….’ (Qur'an, 17:61).

4. “When We said to the angels: prostrate to Adam….’ (Qur'an, 18:50).

5. “When We said to the angels: prostrate to Adam….’ (Qur'an, 20:116).

6. “O you who believe! Bow down (make rek'a) and prostrate (make sajda) and adore your Lord.’ (Qur'an, 22:77).

7. “And when it is said to them: prostrate to the Most Merciful, they said: And what is the Most Merciful?’ (Qur'an, 25:60).
8. “Do not prostrate to the sun nor to the moon’ (Qur'an, 41:37).

9. “So prostrate to Allah and adore (Him)’ (Qur'an, 53:62).

10. “O Maryam! Keep obedience to your Lord and prostrate (to Him) and bow down with those who bow’ (Qur'an, 3:43).

11. “So the angels, all of them, prostrated…’ (Qur'an, 15:30).

12. ‘… the angels, all of them, prostrated…’ (Qur'an, 38:73).

13. “When We said to the angels: prostrate to Adam, they prostrated, except Iblis; he refused (to prostrate)’ (Qur'an, 2:34).

14. “So when they prostrate, let them take their position behind you’ (Qur'an, 4:102).

15. “Then We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam, and they prostrated except Iblis’ (Qur'an, 17:61).

16. “And when We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam, they prostrated, except Iblis’ (Qur'an, 17:61).

17. “And when We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam, they prostrated except Iblis; he was one of the jinns’ (Qur'an, 18:50).

18. “And when We said to the angels: Prostrate to Adam, they prostrated except Iblis; he refused’ (Qur'an, 20:116).

19. “He said: I am not to prostrate to a mortal whom You have created of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape’ (Qur'an, 15:33).

20. ‘… except Iblis; he said: Shall I prostrate to one whom You created out of mud?’ (Qur'an, 17:61).

21. “He said: What prohibited you from prostrating as I ordered you?’ (Qur'an, 7:12).

22. “He said: O Iblis! What prohibits you from prostrating to what I have created with My hand?’ (Qur'an, 38:75).

23. “Do not prostrate to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created both of them…’ (Qur'an, 41:37).

24. “They said: And what is the Most Merciful? Are we to prostrate as you order us?’ (Qur'an, 25:60).

25. “To Allah do all those in the heavens and the earth prostrate willingly or unwillingly’ (Qur'an, 13:15).

26. “To Allah do all those in the heavens and on earth prostrate’ (Qur'an, 16:49).

27. “Have you not seen that to Allah do all those in the heavens and the earth prostrate?’ (Qur'an, 22:18).

28. ‘… that they do not prostrate to Allah Who brings forth what is hidden in the heavens and the earth…’ (Qur'an, 27:25).

29. “They recite the Signs of Allah during the night, and they prostrate (to Him)’ (Qur'an, 3:113).

30. “Those who are with your Lord are not too proud to worship Him, and they glorify Him, and they prostrate to Him’ (Qur'an, 7:206).

31. “I found her and her people prostrating to the sun rather than to Allah’ (Qur'an, 27:24).

32. “And when the Qur'an is recited to them, they do not prostrate’ (Qur'an, 84:21).

33. “And during part of the night adore Him and prostrate to Him a long (part of the) night’ (Qur'an, 76:26).

34. “Nay! Do not obey him, and prostrate, and seek nearness (to Allah)’ (Qur'an, 96:19).

Only one single time does the verb “prostrate’ apply to a non-human; it occurs in this verse: “And the stars and the trees do prostrate too’ (Qur'an, 55:6).

Other than that lone verse, all verses wherein the verb “prostrate’ occurs, the total number of which is 34, are applied to man.
The noun salawat (plural of salat) is repeated throughout the Holy Qur'an five times only, equalling the total number of daily prayers performed at: morning, noon, after-noon, sunset, and evening. These five references are as follows:

1. “Upon those are salawat from your Lord and (His) Mercy’ (Qur'an, 2:157).

2. “Uphold the salawat and (particularly) the middle salat’ (Qur'an, 2:238).

3. “And he regards what he spends by way of charity as means to achieve nearness to Allah and the salawat of the Prophet’ (Qur'an, 9:99).

4. “Had not Allah repelled some people through others, there would certainly have been the destruction of synagogues and churches and salawat [at mosques] in which the name of Allah is remembered a great deal’ (Qur'an, 22:40).

5. “And those who safeguard their salawat….’ (Qur'an, 23:9).

The singular salat (prayers) and its derivatives combined with qiyam (standing up) and its derivatives are repeated 51 times. This figure equals the total number of rekat (bowing down) in the obligatory daily prayers, seventeen all in all, plus the recommended (nafl) prayers, 34 all in all, as indicated above. The total number of nafl morning prayers is two, of the noon prayers is eight, of the after-noon prayers is eight, of the sunset prayers is four, and of the evening prayers is one. The nafl of the evening totals eleven rekat. The total comes to 34 rekat for the nafl; add to them the 17 for the obligatory daily prayers, and you will come to the figure 51. These occurrences are in the following verses:

1. “And do not pray for any of them when he dies, nor should you stand by his grave’ (Qur'an, 9:84).

2. “So the angels called upon him while he was standing for his prayers at the sanctuary’ (Qur'an, 3:39).

3. ‘… who believe in the unseen and who stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 2:3).

4. “And stand for the prayers, pay zakat and bow down with those who bow’ (Qur'an, 2:43).

5. “And say to the people a beautiful word, and stand for the prayers, and pay zakat’ (Qur'an, 2:83).

6. “And stand for the prayers, and pay zakat’ (Qur'an, 2:110).

7. ‘… and the beggars and for the (emancipation of) the slaves, and stand for the prayers and pay zakat…’ (Qur'an, 2:177).

8. “And they stand for the prayers and they pay zakat, they shall have their reward with their Lord’ (Qur'an, 2:277).

9. “Have you not seen those to whom it was said: Withhold your hands and stand for the prayers and pay zakat…?’ (Qur'an, 4:77).

10. “And when you are with them and you stand for the prayers, let a group from among them stand with you too…’ (Qur'an, 4:102).

11. “And when you have finished the prayers, mention Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on your sides’ (Qur'an, 3:103).

12. “And once you feel secure (from danger), stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 4:103).

13. “And when they stand for the prayers, they stand sluggishly…’ (Qur'an, 4:142).

14. “They believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you, and they stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 4:162).

15. “O you who believe! Once you have stood for the prayers, wash your faces…’ (Qur'an, 5:6).

16. “And if you stand for the prayers, pay zakat, and believe in My messengers…’ (Qur'an, 5:12).

17. ‘… who stand for the prayers and pay zakat even as they prostrate…’ (Qur'an, 5:55).

18. ‘… and stand for the prayers and fear Him; to Him, indeed, will you all be gathered’ (Qur'an, 6:72).

19. ‘(As for) those who hold fast by the Book and stand for the prayers, surely We do not waste the reward of the doers of righteousness’ (Qur'an, 7:170).

20. ‘… who stand for the prayers, and who spend of what We provide them with…’ (Qur'an, 8:3).

21. “So if they repent and stand for the prayers and pay zakat, do then release them’ (Qur'an, 9:5).

22. “If they repent and stand for the prayers and pay zakat, they surely become your brethren in faith’ (Qur'an, 9:11).

23. ‘… and whoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day and stands for the prayers and pays zakat…’ (Qur'an, 9:18).

24. “And they stand for the prayers and pay zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger…’ (Qur'an, 9:18).

25. “And make your homes places of worship, and stand for the prayers, and give glad tidings to the believers’ (Qur'an, 10:87).

26. “And stand for the prayers in both parts of the day and in the first hours of the night…’ (Qur'an, 11:114).

27. “And those who persevered, seeking the pleasure of their Lord, and they stood for the prayers…’ (Qur'an, 13:22).

28. “Tell My servants who have believed that they should stand for the prayers…’ (Qur'an, 14:31).

29. ‘… Lord, so that they may stand for the prayers; therefore, make the hearts of some people yearn towards them…’ (Qur'an, 14:37).

30. “Lord! Make me (able to) stand for the prayers and my offspring too’ (Qur'an, 14:40).

31. “Stand for the prayers from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night’ (Qur'an, 17:78).

32. “Surely I am Allah; there is no god but I; therefore, worship Me and stand for the prayers for My remembrance’ (Qur'an, 20:14).

33. “And We revealed to them the doing of good deeds and the standing for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 21:73).

34. “And those who, when afflicted, persevere, and who stand for the prayers…’ (Qur'an, 22:35).

35. “And those who, when We establish them in the land, stand for the prayers and pay zakat….’ (Qur'an, 22:41).

36. ‘… and stand for the prayers, and pay zakat, and hold fast to Allah; surely He is your Guardian’ (Qur'an, 22:78).

37. ‘… men whom neither trade nor sale distract from mentioning Allah and the standing for the prayers….’ (Qur'an, 24:37).

38. “And stand for the prayers, and pay zakat, and obey the Messenger…’ (Qur'an, 24:56).

39. ‘… those who stand for the prayers and pay zakat…’ (Qur'an, 27:3).

40. “Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book, and stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 29:45).

41. “Turning to Him, and be careful regarding (your duty to) Him, and stand for the prayers and do not be of the polytheists’ (Qur'an, 30:31).

42. ‘… who stand for the prayers and pay zakat…’ (Qur'an, 31:4).

43. “O son! Stand for the prayers and enjoin the doing of good, and forbid the doing of evil….’ (Qur'an, 31:17).

44. ‘… and they stood for the prayers and paid zakat and obeyed Allah and His Messenger….’ (Qur'an, 33:33).

45. “You only warn those who fear their Lord in the unknown and who stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 35:18).

46. “Those who recite the Book of Allah and who stand for the prayers…’ (Qur'an, 35:29).

47. ‘… and those who answered the call of their Lord and stood for the prayers…’ (Qur'an, 42:38).

48. “So when you do not do it while Allah has turned to you (mercifully), then stand for the prayers and pay zakat…’ (Qur'an, 58:13).

49. “And stand for the prayers and pay zakat and lend Allah a beautiful loan’ (Qur'an, 73:2).

50. ‘… being sincere to Him in obedience, upright, and they stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 98:5).

51. ‘… and take Abraham's standing place as a place for your prayers’ (Qur'an, 2:125).

All of this, by the Grace of Allah, proves the superiority of the juristic school of thought which upholds this number of nafl prayers, the 34 rekat every day and night.

Each imperative predicate aqim (stand for) applied to the singular, and aqeemu applied to the plural, has occurred in conjunction with the prayers (salat, hence aqim al salat for the singular, or aqeemu al salat for the plural) has occurred 17 times throughout the entire text of the Holy Qur'an. This equals the total number of the rekat (times of bowing down) of the daily prayers, that is, 17 rekat.

What underlines this fact is that the noun fard (obligation) and its derivatives has also occurred 17 times, equal to the total number of the rekat of the daily prayers. The Qur'anic verses in which reference to the prayers is made in conjunction with the imperative predicate aqim or aqeemu are:

1. “And stand for the prayers and pay zakat and bow down with those who bow down’ (Qur'an, 2:43).

2. “And say to people a beautiful saying, and stand for the prayers and pay zakat’ (Qur'an, 2:83).

3. ‘… and stand for the prayers and pay zakat’ (Qur'an, 2:110).

4. “Have you not seen those to whom it was said: Withhold your hands and stand for the prayers and pay zakat…?’ (Qur'an, 4:77).

5. ‘… so once you feel secure (from danger), stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 4:103).

6. “And that you should stand for the prayers and fear Him, and He it is to Whom you shall be gathered’ (Qur'an, 6:72).

7. ‘… and make your homes places of worship and stand for the prayers and give glad tidings to those who believe’ (Qur'an, 10:87).

8. “And stand for the prayers in both parts of the day and in the first hours of the night…’ (Qur'an, 11:114).

9. “Stand for the prayers from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night’ (Qur'an, 17:78).

10. “Surely I am Allah; there is no god but I; therefore, worship Me and stand for the prayers for My remembrance’ (Qur'an, 20:14).

11. ‘… and stand for the prayers, and pay zakat, and hold fast to Allah; surely He is your Guardian’ (Qur'an, 22:78).

12. “And stand for the prayers, and pay zakat, and obey the Messenger…’ (Qur'an, 24:56).

13. “Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book, and stand for the prayers’ (Qur'an, 29:45).

14. “Turning to Him, and be careful regarding (your duty to) Him, and stand for the prayers and do not be of the polytheists’ (Qur'an, 30:31).

15. “O son! Stand for the prayers and enjoin the doing of good, and forbid the doing of evil…’ (Qur'an, 31:17).

16. “So when you do not do it and Allah has turned to you (mercifully), then stand for the prayers and pay zakat…’ (Qur'an, 58:13).

17. “And stand for the prayers and pay zakat and loan Allah a beautiful loan’ (Qur'an, 73:2).

The word fard (obligation or obligatory) and its derivatives has occurred conveying the meaning of “a must’ 17 times throughout the Holy Qur'an, equalling the number of the rekat of the obligatory daily prayers. These are as follows:

1. ‘… so whoever determines the performance of the pilgrimage therein, there shall be neither intercourse nor fornication’ (Qur'an, 2:197).

2. “Most surely He Who has made the Qur'an binding on you will bring you back to the destination’ (Qur'an, 28:85).

3. “There is no harm in the Prophet doing what Allah has ordained for him’ (Qur'an, 33:38).

4. “Allah has indeed sanctioned for you the expiation of your oaths, and Allah is your Protector’ (Qur'an, 66:2).

5. “And if you divorce them before touching them and you have (already) appointed for them a portion …’ (Qur'an, 2:237).

6. ‘… then (pay them) half of what you have appointed, unless they relinquish it…’ (Qur'an, 2:237).

7. “We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess…’ (Qur'an, 33:50).

8. ‘(This is) a chapter which We have revealed and made obligatory…’ (Qur'an, 24:1).

9. There is no blame on you if you divorce women when you have not touched them nor appointed for them a portion…’ (Qur'an, 2:236).

10. ‘… if you have not touched them nor appointed for them a portion…’ (Qur'an, 2:236).

11. “And if you divorce them before touching them and you have appointed for them a portion…’ (Qur'an, 2:237).

12. ‘… Your parents and your children, you do not know which of them is nearer to you in benefit…’ (Qur'an, 4:11).

13. “Then as to those whom you marry for enjoyment (in mut'a), give them their dowries as appointed…’ (Qur'an, 4:24).

14. ‘… and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree upon after what is already appointed…’ (Qur'an, 4:24).

15. ‘… and in the way of Allah and the wayfarer, an ordinance from Allah, and Allah is Knowing, Wise’ (Qur'an, 9:60).

16. ‘… whether there is little or plenty thereof…’ (Qur'an, 4:7).

17. ‘… Most certainly I will take of Your servants an appointed portion’ (Qur'an, 4:118).

The word qasr (to shorten) and its derivatives have occurred 11 times. This number equals the number of rekat of the daily prayers when one is embarked on a journey, the total number of which is 11. In Lisan al Arab, it is written that, “The qasr and qisr in something is the opposite of its being long. When something qasrs, it is qaseer, short, the opposite of long. One who makes qasr to the prayers is one who shortens them. Qaseer is the antithesis of taweel, long (or tall).

The verb taqasara means demonstrated shortness. When someone makes something qaseer, he shortens it. Short hair is the opposite of long hair. One who qasrs his hair, he cuts it short. In the Divine Revelation, we read,

‘… (some) having their heads shaved and (others) having their hair cut (muqassireen)' (Qur'an, 48:27),

the noun thereof is qisar. One who cuts his hair is one who eliminates a part thereof without shaving it off completely. The qasr of a building is a well known part thereof, and it is called so because prohibitives in it are made qasr, confined. Its plural is qusoor. In the Divine Revelation, we read,

‘… and He will give you therein palaces (qusoor) (Qur'an, 25:10).'

The maqsoora is a spacious fortified house. ‘Surely it sends up sparks like qasrs' (Qur'an, 77:32);

that is, as long as a qasr, and the qasr in this verse means the tallest of date-palms or trees or buildings. One who qasrs his prayers is one who makes them short during his journey. Allah Almighty has said,

‘And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten (taqsuru) the prayers' (Qur'an, 4:101),

that is, by praying two rekat for each of the noon, afternoon, and evening prayers. A woman who shortens her gaze is one who does not look at anyone except her husband.’
Among the matters related to daily prayers is ablution. It includes the ghusul and the rubbing with wet hands. The word ghusul with water, i.e. bathing, and its derivatives exist in the Holy Qur'an thrice. The ghusul which Allah Almighty has commanded us to repeat thrice includes: 1) washing the face, 2) washing the right hand, and 3) washing the left hand. To this do these verses refer:

1. ‘… wash your faces and hands as far as the elbows…’ (Qur'an, 5:6).

2. ‘… when you are under an obligation, perform a bath till you have washed…’ (Qur'an, 4:43).

3. “Urge with your foot; here is a cool washing-place and a drink’ (Qur'an, 38:42).

The word mash, to wipe or rub, occurs in three verses. This number equals the compulsory number of times of wiping during the performance of the ablution; these are: 1) wiping the head, 2) wiping the right foot, and 3) wiping the left foot. The said verses are as follows:

1. ‘… betake yourselves to pure earth, then wipe your faces and hands…’ (Qur'an, 4:43).

2. ‘… and wipe your heads and feet to the ankles…’ (Qur'an, 5:6).

3. ‘… betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and hands therewith…’ (Qur'an, 5:6).

The word mashan (a derivative of mash) has occurred in this verse: ‘… so he began to slash their legs and necks’ (Qur'an, 38:33).

The connotation of this word, however, is explained on page 4197, Vol. 6, of Lisan al Arab which states: “One who makes mashan is one who slashes or strikes, and it is also said that it is one who cuts. The verse that says, ‘… so he began to slash their legs and necks (Qur'an, 38:33)' explains all such connotations.’
Muslims agree that the number of ulul-azm among the messengers of Allah are five. They are: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, peace be upon them, and of course our Prophet and beloved one Muhammad, peace and blessings of the Almighty be upon him and his holy progeny. The term ulul-azm has occurred throughout the Holy Qur'an five times, that is, as many times as the total number of the ulul-azm among the messengers of Allah. These verses are:

1. ‘… and if you persevere and guard yourselves (against evil), surely it is an indication of your firmness of determination’ (Qur'an, 3:186).

2. ‘… and bear patiently regarding that which befalls you; surely these acts require courage (and determination)’ (Qur'an, 31:17).

3. “And whoever is patient and forgiving, these most surely are acts of courage (and determination)’ (Qur'an, 42:43).

4. “Bear up, therefore, patiently as did the apostles endowed with constancy, and do not seek to hasten for them (Qur'an, their doom)’ (Qur'an, 46:35).

5. “And certainly We gave Adam a commandment before, but he forgot, and We did not find in him any determination’ (Qur'an, 20:115).

References to tawaf and its derivatives, which is commended in the life of this world, have all occurred seven times throughout the text of the Holy Qur'an. This number equals the number of times of making tawaf around the sacred precincts [of the Ka’ba] and the number of the rounds of sa'i, the running between the safa and marwa, as these verses demonstrate:

1. “And We enjoined Abraham and Ishmael saying: Purify My House for those who visit it and those who abide in it for devotion and who bow down and prostrate’ (Qur'an, 2:125).

2. “We assigned to Abraham the place of the House saying: Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who make the circuit and stand to prayers and bow and prostrate’ (Qur'an, 22:26).

3. “Then there encompassed it…’ (Qur'an, 68:19).

4. ‘… a visitation from your Lord while they were asleep…’ (Qur'an, 68:19).

5. ‘… so whoever makes a pilgrimage to the House or pays a visit (to it), there is no blame on him if he goes round them both’ (Qur'an, 2:158).

6. “What has turned them from their qibla which they had?’ (Qur'an, 2:142).

7. ‘… some of you must go round about (waiting) upon others’ (Qur'an, 24:58).

The word qibla has occurred seven times throughout the text of the Holy Qur'an. This figure is equivalent to the number of the times of tawaf round the sacred qibla, that is, the holy precincts of the Ka’ba, as the following verses demonstrate:

1. “We did not make that which you would have to be the qibla but in order that We might distinguish one who follows the Messenger…’ (Qur'an, 2:143).

2. “Indeed We see the turning of your face to heavens, so We shall surely turn you to a qibla which you will…’ (Qur'an, 2:144).

3. ‘… nor are they followers of each other's qibla’ (Qur'an, 2:145).

4. ‘… and make your homes places of worship and keep up prayer’ (Qur'an, 10:87).

5. “And even if you were to bring those who have been given the Book every sign, they would not follow your qibla’ (Qur'an, 2:145).

6. “What has turned them from their qibla which they had?’ (Qur'an, 2:142).

7. ‘… they would not follow your qibla, nor can you follow their qibla’ (Qur'an, 2:145).

The predicate araja [root word of the noun miraj] and its derivatives conveying the meaning of “ascending to heavens’ are repeated seven times, the number equivalent to the seven heavens. Bear in mind that the Holy Qur'an applies this word to describe the passage in the space away from the earth's gravitation. Modern science has discovered that such movement is accomplished by a curving path [munarajat or munatafat], whereas the Holy Qur'an applies the word yasad or yassaccad, or the like, to describe flying within the earth's sphere. These verses are as follows:

1. “To Him ascend the angels and the spirit…’ (Qur'an, 70:4).

2. ‘… then shall it ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is a thousand years of what you count’ (Qur'an, 32:5).

3. “He knows that which goes down into the earth and that which comes out of it, and that which comes down from the heavens, and that which goes up thereto, and He is the Merciful, the Forgiving’ (Qur'an, 34:2).

4. “He knows that which goes deep down into the earth and that which comes out of it, and that which comes down from the heavens, and that which goes up into it, and He is with you wherever you are’ (Qur'an, 57:4).

5. “And even if We open to them a gateway to heavens so that they (would be able to) ascend into it all the while…’ (Qur'an, 15:14).

6. ‘… We would certainly have then assigned to those who disbelieve in the Beneficent God (to make) the roofs of their houses of silver and the stairs whereby they ascend’ (Qur'an, 43:33).

7. “One (inquirer) inquired about the chastisement which must befall the unbelievers; there is none to avert it, from Allah, the Lord of the ways of ascent’ (Qur'an, 70:1-3).

This much should suffice the discreet reader who is advised that this is only a drop in the bucket of the miracles contained in the Holy Qur'an, a humble specimen. Those who look for the truth will find it though it may be after a while. Knowledge is never served on a golden platter. Seekers of knowledge exert a great deal of their time and effort in order to reach it. May the Almighty enable us to seek it, find it, and abide by it, Allahomma Ameen.

  • 1. This is some people's viewpoint which is contested by many others who say that she was much older than that. In sunny Arabia, maturity age may be as early as 8.
  • 2. Captives were always regarded in those days as slaves. They were either ransomed or sold in the slave market.


It is sincerely hoped that the discreet reader has learned and benefitted from this book, and that it has brought him closer to His Maker, the One Who created him for one and only reason: to worship Him, and only Him. To be sure, whoever bases his belief in the Almighty on solid foundations will be the winner in this life and in the life to come, and the most solid of all foundations is one built on knowledge and conviction, not on ignorance, nor on taking things for granted.

One authentic adath says, “For everything there is a zakat, and the zakat of knowledge is its dissemination.’ The reader who reads this book ought not keep what he/she has learned to himself/herself but share it with others, believers or non-believers. It will then enhance the conviction of the believers and plant the seed of iman in the hearts of the unbelievers. Who knows? Maybe one day that seed will grow. It is the Almighty Who permits its growth, and He does so at the right time, the time which He chooses. Pass this book on to a relative or a friend.

Translate it into another language. Let on-line computer services benefit from it. Make photocopies of some of its contents and distribute them to others. Write a dissertation or a thesis utilizing its text material. Extract excerpts from it for inclusion in your newsletter or magazine, book or booklet. Or write one like it or better. All these options are yours; so, do not sit idle. Move to action, and let the Almighty use you as His tool for disseminating useful knowledge. Insha-Allah you will be rewarded by the Almighty in the life of this world and in the Hereafter, Allahomma Ameen.

Do you, dear reader, think that you have a choice whether to disseminate the knowledge included in this book with others or not? If you think that you do, read the following statement made by one of the great grandsons of the Messenger of Allah, namely Imam Mousa ibn Ja’far, who quotes his forefathers citing the Messenger of Allah saying,

One who reneges from his oath of allegiance, or who promotes what misleads people, or who hides some knowledge with him, or who confines some wealth with him unjustly, or who knowingly aids an oppressor in committing oppression while being fully aware of his oppression, is outside the folds of Islam.

This tradition is recorded on p. 67, Vol. 2, of al-Majlisi's Biar al-Anwar. It clearly demonstrates that one who hides knowledge is on the same level with one who deliberately assists oppressors and tyrants. We, therefore, should spare no means to share what we know with others, with those who listen and who follow the best of what they listen to. Earn rewards by bringing the servants of Allah closer to their Creator Who made and sustained them, Who will try them and place them either in His Paradise or in His hell. If acts of worship are based on shallow conviction, they are as good as nothing. Strengthen your brethren's conviction through this book. They will surely appreciate it and, above all, Allah, too, will.

If the reader appreciates the time and effort exerted in writing this book, I, the author, kindly request him/her to recite Surat al-Fatia for the soul of my father, the late qari al-Hajj u’ma ‘Abbas al-Jibouri who died in 1991 of diabetes, and for the soul of my mother who died in 2003, and for the souls of all believing men and women, the living and the dead. If you do so, rest assured that your rewards will be the Most Generous of all those who reward, with Allah Almighty Who appreciates even the smallest of good deeds. Why do I request the kind reader to recite Surat al-Fatiha for my father? Well, this is the least a son can do for his deceased father who worked very hard to raise him as a good Muslim. My father was a qari of the Holy Qur'an who refused to read any other book besides the Qur'an as long as he lived, a man who never intentionally hurt anyone all his life. Not only will my parents receive blessings when you recite Surat al-Fatiha for their souls, but you, too, dear reader, will get your rewards as well. How will you be rewarded? Well, read on! Here is a glimpse of what you will Insha-Allah receive:

On p. 88, Vol. 1, of Mujma al-Bayan fa Tafsar al-Qur'an, al-Tibrisi cites a tradition through a chain of narrator wherein the Prophet of Islam is quoted saying, “Whoever recites Srat al-Fatia will be rewarded as though he had read two thirds of the Holy Qur'an and will be (in addition to that) given rewards as though he gave charity to each and every believing man and woman.’ Just imagine how generous the Almighty is! Ubayy ibn Ka’b is cited in the same reference saying, “I once recited Surat al-Fatiha in the presence of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, who said to me, ‘I swear by the One Who controls my life, Allah never revealed any chapter in the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalms, or (even) in the Qur'an like it.

It is the mother of the Book, and it is the seven oft-repeated verses. It is divided between Allah and His servant, and His servant will get whatever he asks Him for.'‘ The Messenger of Allah said once to Jabir ibn Abdullah al-ansari, one of his greatest ahaba, may Allah be pleased with all his good ahaba, “O Jabir! Shall I teach you the merits of a Sura which Allah revealed in His Book?’ Jabir said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah! May both my parents be sacrificed for your sake! Please do!’

The Messenger of Allah taught him Sirat al-Hamd, the “Mother of the Book,’ then said to him, “Shall I tell you something about it?’ “Yes, O Messenger of Allah,’ Jabir responded, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for your sake!’ The Messenger of Allah said, “It cures everything except death.’ Imam Ja’far al-adiq is quoted on the same page as saying, “Anyone who is not cured by the Book's Fatiha cannot be cured by anything else.’ The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali ibn Abu alib has said,

The Messenger of Allah has said, “Allah, the Exalted One, the Sublime, said to me: ‘(O Muhammad!) We have bestowed upon you seven oft-repeated verses and the Great Qur'an (verse 87 of Surat al-Hijr); so, express your appreciation for it by reciting the Book's Fatiha,' thus comparing it to the entire Qur'an.’ Surat al-Fatiha is the most precious of the treasures of the Arsh.

Allah specifically chose Muhammad to be honoured by it without having done so to any of His prophets with the exception of prophet Sulayman (Solomon) who was granted (only this verse) of it: Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Raheem (verse 30 of Chapter 27, Surat al-Naml); don't you see how He narrates about Balqees1 saying, “O Chiefs (of Yemen's tribes)! Surely an honourable letter has been delivered to me; it is from Solomon, and it is: In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful…’ (27:29-30)?

So whoever recites it sincerely believing that he/she is following in the footsteps of Muhammad and his progeny, abiding by its injunctions, believing in its apparent as well as hidden meanings, Allah will give him for each of its letters a good deed better than all this world and everything in it of wealth and good things. And whoever listens to someone reciting it will receive a third of the rewards the reciter receives; so, let each one of you accumulate of such available goodness, for it surely is a great gain. Do not let it pass you by, for then you will have a great sigh in your heart about it.’2

Rewards of reciting Surat al-Fatiha are also recorded on p. 132 of Thawab al-Amal wa Iqab al-Amal cited above. “Abu Abdullah’ Imam Ja’far al-adiq has said, “Whoever recites Surat al-Baqara and Surat al-Fatia, they will both shade him like two clouds on the Day of Judgment. And if the reader wishes to read more about the merits of the Basmala (Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Raheem), he is referred to pp. 70-71 of my book Fast of the Month of Ramaan: Philosophy and Ahkam published by Ansariyan (P.O. Box 37185/187, Qum, Islamic Republic of Iran). As for the merits of Surat al-Fatiha, I would like to quote for you here what is published on pp. 71-73 of the same book:

Al-ibrisi, in his exegesis Mujmaul-Bayan fa Tafsar al-Qur'an, provides nine names for the first chapter of the Holy Qur'an, namely Surat al-Fatiha:

1) al-Fatiha, the one that opens, for it is like a gate: when opened, it leads one to the Book of Allah;

2) al-Hamd, the praise, for its verses are clearly praising the Almighty;

3) Ummul-Kitab, the mother of the Book, for its status is superior to all other chapters of the Holy Qur'an, or like the war standard: it is always in the forefront;

4) al-Sab, the seven verses, for it is comprised of seven verses and the only one whose verses are seven. There is no room here to further elaborate on the merits of the number 7 especially since most readers of this book are already aware of such merits;

5) al-Mathana, the oft-repeated Chapter, for no other Chapter of the Holy Qur'an is repeated as often as this one;

6) al-Kafiya, the chapter that suffices and that has no substitute; you simply cannot replace its recitation with that of any other chapter of the Holy Qur'an in the first two rekats of the prayers, whereas it can substitute others;

7) al-Asas, the basis or foundation or bed-rock, a connotation of its being the foundation upon which the Holy Qur'an stands just as the Basmala (“Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Raheem’) is the foundation of the Fatiha;

8) al-Shifa', the healing, due to the fact that the Messenger of Allah has said that the Fatiha heals from all ailments except death, and

9) al-alat, the prayers, or the basic requirement of the daily prayers, one without the recitation of which no prayer can be accepted. The Prophet has quoted the Almighty saying, “The prayers have been divided between Me and My servant: one half for Me, and one for him;’ so when one recites it and says, “Alamdu lillahi Rabbil-’alameen,’ the Almighty says, “My servant has praised Me.’

And when he says, “Arramanir-Raam,’ the Almighty says, “My servant has praised Me.’ And when he says, “Maliki Yawmid-Dan,’ Allah says, “My servant has exalted Me.’ And when he says, “Iyyaka Na’budu wa iyyaka nasta’an,’ Allah will say, “This is a covenant between Me and My servant, and My servant shall be granted the fulfillment of his pleas.’ Then if he finishes reciting the Fatia to the end, Allah will again confirm His promise by saying, “This is for [the benefit of] My servant, and My servant will be granted the answer to his wishes.’

The Messenger of Allah is quoted by Abu Ali al-Fal ibn al-Hassan ibn al-Fal al-ibrisi, may Allah have mercy on his soul, saying that one who recites al-Fatiha will be regarded by the Almighty as though he recited two-thirds of the Holy Qur'an and as though he gave by way of charity to each and every believing man and woman. “By the One in Whose hand my soul is,’ the Prophet continues, “Allah Almighty did not reveal in the Torah, the Gospel, or the Psalms any chapter like it; it is the Mother of the Book and al-Sab’ al-Mathani (the oft-repeated seven verses), and it is divided between Allah and His servant, and His servant shall get whatever he asks; it is the best Sura in the Book of the most Exalted One, and it is a healing from every ailment except poison, which is death.’ He is also quoted by al-Kaf’ami as saying, “He (Allah) bestowed it upon me as His blessing, making it equivalent to the Holy Qur'an, saying,

‘And We have granted you al-Sab’ al-Mathani and the Great Qur'an (Surat al-Hijr, verse 87).'

It is the most precious among the treasures of the ‘Arsh.’ Indeed, Allah, the most Sublime, has chosen Muhammad alone to be honoured by it without doing so to any other Prophet or Messenger of His with the exception of Solomon (Solomon) who was granted the Basmala. One who recites it, being fully convinced of his following in the footsteps of Muhammad and his Progeny, adhering to its injunctions, believing in its outward and inward meanings, will be granted by Allah for each of its letters a blessing better than what all there is in the world of wealth and good things, and whoever listens to someone reciting it will receive one third of the rewards due to its reciter.

You, reader, is the best judge of this book, and I hereby solicit your comments and suggestions with regard to this book as well as to my two other books: my autobiography titled Memoirs of a Shia Missionary in America: Two Decades of Dawah, and Fast of the Month of Ramaan: Philosophy and Ahkam. Many readers of my Memoirs wrote me saying that they thought that their text ought to be turned into a documentary film! Perhaps after I die, someone will make a documentary of my life! Fat chance! Anyway, as for my book on the fast, I have been overwhelmed by the flood of letters from readers all over the world expressing appreciation of the effort invested in writing this book which is quite different from any other dealing with the same subject-matter. It is hoped that their response to this book will not be any less.

There is no doubt that you, dear reader, know that it is very costly to print books, and philanthropists in the Muslim world are rare species. Once you find one, you will find out that he is willing to spend money on anything except a book! This is very sad, very tragic, very shameful. Islam spread through a Book, the Holy Qur'an. That was all the early generations of Muslims needed besides the presence of the Messenger of Allah is very costly to print books, and philanthropists in the Muslim world are rare species. Once you find one, you will find out that he is willing to spend money on anything except a book!

This is very sad, very tragic, very shameful. Islam spread through a Book, the Holy Qur'an. That was all the early generations of Muslims needed besides the presence of the Messenger of Allah. But times have changed; we do not have the presence of the Messenger of Allah in our midst to ask him whenever we need to know, and his Sunnah has suffered acutely of alteration, addition, deletion, custom-designing and tailoring to fit the needs of the powerful politicians of the times, so much so that it is now very hard to find the pristine truth among all the numerous different views and interpretations.

This is why the reader has to spend more effort to get to know the truth; nobody is going to hand it to you on a golden platter. You have to work hard to acquire it. “Easy come, easy go.’ Yet readers who would like to earn a place in Paradise through their dissemination of Islamic knowledge, such as the knowledge included in this book, are very much needed and are advised in earnest to send their contributions to the Publisher of this book in order to help him print more copies of it and make them available to those who cannot afford to purchase them. Some readers erroneously surmise that book publishers are wealthy people who make a lot of money selling books, but, alas, this applies only to non-Muslim publishers.

After all, Allah will judge our actions according to our intentions, and if you help promote a book seeking the Pleasure of Allah, rest assured that you will be richly rewarded both in the life of this world and in the hereafter. It remains to see how strong you are against the temptations of Satan who will try his best, and his worst, to dissuade you from doing so. He very well knows that nothing in the world stands between him and corrupting the minds of Muslims more than accurate knowledge about Allah and the men of Allah. May Allah Ta’ala include us among the latter, Allahomma Ameen.

May Allah Ta’ala accept our humble effort; may He forgive our sins and shortcomings; may He take our hands and guide us to what He loves and prefers, Allahomma Ameen, Wassalamo Alaikom wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

  • 1. Balqees Queen of Saba' (Sheba) belonged to the Arab tribe of imyar which for centuries has been residing in Yemen. Her people used to worship the sun and the moon and other stars, and some of the ruins of the temples she had built for them can still be seen in Saba'. Sulayman, on the other hand, was headquartered in Jerusalem (Ur-O-Shalom, the city of peace, as it is called in Hebrew; the Arabs used to refer to it as Eilya). The place where Balqees met Sulayman, that is to say, his palace, had been built in the 10th century B.C. Reference to the grandeur of this palace exists in the Holy Qur�an in 27:44: Its glass-covered floor was so smooth, Balqees thought she was in front of a lake. Damascus, a very ancient city not far from Jerusalem, had by then established a reputation for its glass industry. Damascus in 940 B.C. (around the same period of time when Sulayman was ruling in Jerusalem) was the city capital of the Aramaeans, the nations that spoke Aramaic, mother-tongue of Prophet Jesus Christ. This is why Syria used to be called the land of Aram, the land of the Aramaeans. Aram was one of the sons of Abraham, Prophet Ibrahim. Aramaic is still spoken in a town in Syria even today.
  • 2. al-abari, Tarikh, Vol. 1, p. 88.

Useful Glossary

• ‘Adil: fair, just

• ‘Adl: the concept of the justice of God

Aadath: singular of adath, a statement (usually attributed either to the Prophet [pbuh] or to one of the members of his Progeny or companions)

Ahilla: plural of hilal, crescent

• ‘Alim: scholar, theologian, a highly knowledgeable person

Amal: highly recommended acts of adoration

• ‘Arsh: literally: throne, symbol of the Almighty's Authority

Asar: plural of saar, the time immediately preceding daybreak

'Athan: the call for prayers; mu'aththin is one who performs 'athan.

Ayat: verse (from a sacred scripture); plura: ayat

Barzakh: the place and time wherein the souls of the dead live till the Day of Judgment; see the Holy Qur'an, 23:100.

Basmala: the uttering of: “Bismillahir-Ramanir-Raam (In the Name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful)

Beed: plural of abyad, white

Dahr: time, age, eternity

Dinar: an Islamic (now Arab) gold currency varying in weight

Dirham: an Islamic silver currency weighing approx. 3.12 grams

Diyya: blood money, monetary compensation for manslaughter or intentional murder

Dua': supplication, invocation

Iid: an Islamic feast, a joyous celebration, a merry occasion

Fa'izeen: (or Fa'izoon) winners

Fajr: daybreak

Faqah: jurist, one who is knowledgeable in Islamic jurisprudence

Farasikh: plural of farsakh, parasang (a loan Persian word), a measure of length (distance). According to Lisan al-Arab, it may be three to six miles. “It is called so,’ the author of Lisan al-Arab goes on, “because one who walks one farsakh will have to sit to rest,’ suggesting that the original meaning of the word is: to halt, to come to a stand still, to rest.

Fatawa: plural of fatwa, a religious edict or decision

Fiqh: the science of Islamic jurisprudence

Firdaws: Paradise

Fira: the amount (in cash or kind) paid to the needy at the end of the month of Ramadan; see text for more details

Ghazwa: a military campaign, an invasion

Ghusul: ceremonial bath

adith: (singular:) tradition, a statement made by Prophet Muhammad; plural: ahadith

Hadi: sacrificial animals offered at Mecca's holy precincts

Hafi: one who has learned the entire text of the Holy Qur'an by heart; plural: huffaz

Hajj: Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca during the prescribed period

Halal: Islamically permissible, admissible, allowed

Haram: Islamically prohibitive, inadmissible, forbidden

Hijab: veil, curtain

Hilal: crescent, singular of ahilla

hizb: literally, it means: party (plural: azab); another meaning: the 60th part of the Holy Qur'an

ujja: proof, argument, authority

Huri: heavenly wife with large lovely eyes married to the male residents of Paradise

Ihram: pilgrimage garb, white unwoven cotten shroud worn by pilgrims

Ijtihad: the degree one reaches in order to be qualified as a mujtahid, one who is capable of deriving religious decisions on his own

• ‘Illiyeen: the highest pinnacle of Paradise; see Holy Qur'an, 83:18.

Imam: leader of an ummah, a group of people (small or big); he may be the one who leads others in congregational prayers, or a supreme relgious authority, or one of the Twelve Infallible Imams (as)

Iman: faith, conviction

Iqama: the prouncement of certain statements in preparation for the performing of the prayers, usually following the athan

• ‘Isha': nighttime, evening

Isnad: the method whereby one adath is traced and in the end attributed to a muhaddith, traditionist, one who transmitted it the first time

Itikaf: the act of remaining most of the time at a mosque for prayers and supplications

Ifar: the time or the meal to break the fast

Iqama: the statements recited immediately before starting the ritual prayer

Isra': night journey; usually a reference to the Prophet's night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem

Jahiliyya: pre-Islamic period of ignorance

Jamia: inclusive, universal, university; it also means: handcuffs

Janaba: uncleanness caused by seminal discharge

Jannat: heaven, Paradise, garden, singular of jannat

Jihad: a struggle, an effort exerted, or a war waged in defense of Islam

Jizya: protection tax paid to Muslims by non-Muslims residing in areas under Islamic control whereby the Muslims protect their lives and property and extempt them from the military service

Kaffara: atonement from sin

Kafir: infidel, apostate, atheist, one who does not believe in the existence of the Creator; noun: kufr

Kalima: synonymous to ‘shahada,’ it is a Muslim's declaration of faith (that is, to testify that there is no god except Allah, and that Muammad is the Messenger of Allah), and it is always pronounced in Arabic

Kantar: in Arabic: qintar, avarying weight of 100 rals (rotls); a ral in Syria is roughly 3.202 kg., whereas in England it is 449.28 grams, and in Lebanon it is 2.566 kg.

Khandaq: moat

Khums: one-fifth of one's savings (usually paid by Sha’a Muslims) set aside from annual income

Kunya: the use of “Abu ‘ (father of) or “Umm ‘ (mother of) often as a prefix for one's name

Kursi: literally: chair, symbol of the Almighty's Seat of Judgment and Authority; see Holy Qur'an, 2:255

Khuba: lecture, sermon; a speech delivered on a specific occasion

Kufr: apostacy, infidelity, disbelief

Labbayk: an exclamation conveying the meaning of “At your service!’ or “Here I am!’

Maad: the Return: a reference to the returning of the souls to their new bodies after the period of barzakh (see above), and their ultimate returning to their Maker for judgment; generally, it is used to refer to death and the life hereafter.

Mahr: dowry paid by the groom to the bride (or vice versa as is the case in some cultures)

Majalis: meetings or gatherings held to commemmorate certain religious occasion, mostly applied to those held during the month of Muarram or to recite the Faiha for a deceased person; singular of majlis, a place where people sit

Marji taqlid: the highest theological authority-referee followed

Masoom: infallible, divinely protected against sinning

Mashar: a place where certain rites are to be conducted, a sacred area or place or precinct

Mawla: depending on its usage, it may mean either “master’ or “slave,’ or it may mean one who is most fit for a specific position of honor and prestige. Derived from the adjective awla (one who is best qualified), it means: the person who is best suited to be the religious and temporal leader of all Muslims.

Miraj: the Prophet's ascension from Jerusalem to the heavens

Mithqal: a weight equivalent to 24 karats or 4.68 grams

Mufassir: a theologian who is well-versed in the exegesis of the Holy Qur'an

Muaddith: traditionist, one who quotes statements of Prophet Muhammad

Mujahid: one who practices jihad (se jihad above)

Mujtahid: one who acquires the degree of ijtihad and thus becomes capable of deriving religious decisions on his own

Mu'min: believer, one who has iman, conviction, true belief

Munafiqeen: hypocrites

Musnad: a compilation of traditions (aadath) which are consecutively and chronologically traced to their transmitters

Mutawatir: consecutively reported, traced by a perfect chronological chain of ascertained narrators of hadith

Mu'aththin: caller to prayers (usually at a mosque)

Mu'min: (Muslim) believer, a man of conviction

Nafl: optional, non-compulsory, supererogatory, highly recommended act of worship; plural: nawafil

Najasa: uncleanness, impurity; adjective: najis

Nathr: One's pledge to do something very good to show appreciation for the Almighty's favorable response to his supplication and the attainment of his worldly wish

Noor: divine or celestial light

Nubuwwah: prophethood, the belief in prophets and their messages

Qanieen: those who are constantly supplicating

Qaa: compensatory, making up for a missed rite

Qibla: direction towards the Ka’ba, Mecca

Qiyam: standing

Qudsi: divine, related to the Almighty

Qunoo: supplication during prayers

Rekat: prostration (during prayer or a ritual)

Rukoo’: kneeling

Sabeel: path, way, avenue

Sadaqa: (singular:) charity offered voluntarily; its plural is: sadaqat

Sadeed: pus collected from bleeding wounds to be served to the sinners in hell when they ask for water to quench their thirst

Sahaba: companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad; its plural is: sahabi

Saha fa: tablet, scroll, parchment, a written document

Sihah: literally: authentic, correct, accurate; it is generally used to refer to the collection, group of collections, or book, of verified and authenticated aadath of Prophet Muhammad

Sajda: prostration

alat: Islamic prayers, optional or mandatory; plural: salawat

Salatul-Id: late morning prayers comprised of two rekat (prostarations) performed in the day that follows ‘Id al-Fitr (the feat of fast-breaking) signaling the end of the fast of the month of Ramadan

Sara ya: (plural) military campagins personally ordered by Prophet Muhammad; singular: sariya

Shahada: martyrdom; it also means: testimony

Shahr: month

Shaikh: also syakh, an honoring title with many meanings; literally, it means an old man; in Islamic theology and philosophy, however, it is used to denote a mentor, professor, or scholar of a high calibre

Sharaa: Islam's legislative system

Shirk: polytheism, the belief in the existence of partners with God

Shubha: (singular) doubt, suspicion; its plural is: shubuhat

Shu'ra: the principle of mutual consultation, Islam's form of democracy

Siddeeq: one who testifies to the truthfulness of a prophet

Sirat: path, highway; same as Sabeel

Siyam: Islam's norm of fast

Suoor: time or meal taken before daybreak in preparation to fast during the day

Sulan: ruler who rules in the name of Islam, a Muslim monarch

Sunan: plural of sunnah: a highly commended act of worship or way whereby a Muslim seeks nearness to Allah

Sura: (also Surah) a chapter of the Holy Qur'an

Tabieen: plural of tabi, one who accompanied for a good period of time, learned from and afollowed a aabi, a companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad; its plural is: tabieen

Tafsir: (singular:) exegesis or explanation of Qur'anic verses; its plural is: tafasir

Tahajjud: night devotions; a mutahajjid is one who keeps religious vigilance, spending the night in prayer

ahara: purification, the act of removing najasa, uncleanness or impurity

Takbeer: the act of glorifying Allah by declaring in an audible voice: “Allaho Akbar!’ Allah is Great!

Taqiyya: one's way of exerting precaution in order to save his creed or life when either is in jeopardy, Sha’as' way of trying to survive in the presence of sure perils

Taqleed: the concept of following a mujtahid or an authority recognized as the alam, the most knowledgeable in Islamics

Tarwiyah: The Day of Tarwiyah is the 8th of Thul-ijjah when the pilgrims fill their water bags and prepare to go to Mina.

Tashahhud: the testimony regarding Allah being the Lord and Muammad being His Servant and Messenger; it is the uttering of ‘Ashhadu an la ilaha illa-Allah, wa anna Muhammad abdoho wa rasooloh

Tashreeq: the cutting and sun-drying of sacrificed meat

awaf: circling around a certain sacred site

Tawatur: consecutive reporting, the tracing of one particular hadith to its respective chronological chain of narrators

Tawhad: the concept of the absolute Unity of God, the belief that God is One and indivisible, One__and Only One__God

Tawwabeen: the penitent ones, those who repented their reluctance to go to the rescue of Imam usain when he was confronted with Yazid's armies and who enlisted under the military command of al-Mukhtar and pursued those who massacred Imam Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib and killed them

Thakireen: those who often mention the Name of the Almighty and Glorify Him

Thayyib: a deflowered woman, a widow or divorcee

Thireed: pieces of bread cut and dipped in stew

• ‘Ulema': plural of ‘alim, scholar-theologian

Umma: nation, group of people

• ‘Umra: pilgrimage to Mecca during any time other than the prescribed (first ten) days of the month of Thul-ijjah

Uool: the basics of jurisprudence

Wajib: compulsory, obligatory, binding

Wali: person to whom wilayat is obligatory; a wali, however, is a governor appointed by a Muslim ruler of a higher authority (such as a caliph, a ultan, etc.)

Waqf: a trust, property dedicated to serve any specific good cause, an endowment

Wai: successor to a prophet

Wilayat: a binding supreme authority that combines both temporal and religious powers

Wial: fasting the last day of every lunar calendar month

Wuu: ablution

Zakat: Literally, it means “purification;’ it is a compulsory 2.5% tax on one of three categories of wealth: 1) metal coins (gold, silver, etc.), 2) grain crops (barley, wheat, grain, rice, etc.), and 3) animals raised for food consumption. Zakat is somehow a complicated issue, and for details, readers are advised to consult books dealing with fiqh. Among its types are: zakat al-mal (taxable wealth accumulated during one full year), and zakat al-fitr (a tax to be paid by the head of a household at the end of the fast of the month of Ramaan).

ihar: the making of a similitude between the back of one's wife with that of his mother; i.e. saying that his wife's back looks similar to his mother's back

Surely Allah knows the truth.