House of Arqam: The First Islamic Center - Our Prophet 3 - The Mission Begins

Now let us examine the stages of the da'wah [propagation] of the Prophet. He received revelation. For the first three years, the Prophet's message and preaching of Islam was not universal, meaning he did not go very high profile, publicly with his mission, inviting every tribe and every people. It was a period in which the Prophet's mission was semi-private. It was low profile. The Prophet did not go everywhere and announce this mission. He was pretty selective.

And in fact, it was not mandatory on people to become Muslim at that time. It was an optional stage. Where it was optional for you to become Muslim and join the Prophet. It still was not a firm instruction by God to obligate the people to become Muslims. So this is the first stage of the Prophet's da'wah that we see those first three years.

And the reason is very obvious. Allah wanted the religion of Islam to come in stages to prepare those early Muslims, to avoid clashes with Quraysh. Because if you go very public with this and you start universally attracting people, then obviously Quraysh would start persecuting the Muslims, killing the Muslims, killing the Prophet and that was too soon.

Allah wanted a core group of Muslim believers to carry the faith of Islam. Then the Prophet would go very public with it, which came later. And they tried to kill him, so he went to Medina. So Allah wanted this smooth transition. And for this reason, we see in those early three years, the Prophet salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi was kind of selective in his mission. And in fact, there were many people who had still not heard about the mission of Islam, it was not a public declaration yet. That came later on. Any fighting at that time would have uprooted the Muslims and Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala wanted to protect the Muslims.

Now, as the Muslims started joining 10, 15, 20, 30 people, they would pray to Allah invoking the one name of God. The pagans started noticing that. That these Muslims are praying. In fact, the Prophet salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi, according to some Hadiths, along with Imam 'Ali, they would go to the hills and mountains to pray sometimes so they do not attract too much attention from Quraysh. Some Muslims would do that as well.

But Quraysh started noticing that. You know what? These people, they are forming a cult and they are praying and they are doing these acts that disturbed them. Some clashes happened. Some pagans clashed with some of those Muslims who wanted to practice their Islamic rituals.

As a result, the Prophet sallal Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi chose the House of Arqam, which was very close to the Grand Mosque. It is on the hill of al-Safaa. So just, you know, several hundred yards from the Grand Mosque. He chose that house for a short period of time to serve as the center for Muslims, as the area in which they could freely worship Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala secretly and privately.

So we do not exactly know the period. It was a brief period, but there was a point in which the House of Arqam represented the headquarters for Muslims. The Prophet and his companions would pray together in the house of Arqam in order to avoid any clashes with the pagans. So they would go there privately, secretly worship Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala. So we do have sources that actually indicate the Prophet chose the House of Arqam in order to avoid any confrontation with the people of Quraysh. The Prophet sallal Allahu 'alayhi wa aalihi stayed a few days, some sources say a month, until the number of Muslims became 40.

Once the number of Muslims became 40. Now, the Prophet had many supporters compared to the very few that he had initially. Then they left the House of Arqam and they became more and more visible in Makkah. So after the Prophet left the House of Arqam, this represented a new dimension in the Prophet's life, a new stage in the life of Muslims. And it was a very difficult stage. It was a stage of persecution. It was a stage in which the Quraysh would slander the early Muslims, they would persecute them, they would drive them out. So very, very difficult days came for the Muslims after they left the House of Arqam.

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