Chapter 10: From Marriage upto Prophethood
The most sensitive period of the life of a person begins when he (or she) comes of age. It is so because at this time the sexual instincts attain perfection, the sensual self inspires passions in one's head every moment, the storm of lust darkens the atmosphere of human intellect, the foundation of the rule of material instincts becomes more firm and as a result of all this the lamp of wisdom becomes dim. During day and night and time and again a grand palace of desires assumes a concrete form before the eyes of the grown up person.
In case, at such time, someone also possesses wealth, life for him becomes something very dangerous. When animal instincts and good health and material opportunities and enormous wealth of a man are united the result is that they make the program of his life full of lustful activities and he is saturated with concupiscible desires without any care for future.
This period is called the frontier of prosperity and adversity, and one rarely succeeds in determining the other route for oneself and in selecting, with the hope of acquiring good habits and pure mentality, a path which may keep one safe from all dangers.
In such circumstances it is a very difficult task to take care of oneself and in case the person concerned has not been brought up and educated properly in family environments one should only wait for the collapse of the structure of life.
There is no doubt about the fact that the Prophet was brave, strong and healthy, because he had been brought up in taintless environments, and all members of the family in which he was born possessed elements of heroism and bravery. The huge wealth of Khadijah was also at his disposal and all means of comfortable life were available to him.
However, it should be seen as to how he utilized these material resources. Did he choose a life of pleasure and did he resort to the satisfaction of his passions like other young men? Or that notwithstanding all these means and resources, he selected another program which fully revealed the background of his sensitive life?
History bears testimony to the fact that he led his life like wise and experienced men. He always avoided profligacy and recklessness and signs of prudence and reflection were ever apparent in his countenance. To remain away from the corruption of the society he spent a good deal of his time in caves situated at the feet of the mountains and studied the signs of Divine power and reflected upon the creation of the Universe.
An incident which took place in the bazaar of Makkah wounded the human sentiments of the Prophet. He saw a person gambling. Unfortunately the man lost his camel as well as his residential house in the game. And not only this but he also staked and lost ten years of his life. The Prophet was so much moved by this incident that he did not stay in Makkah that day.
He, therefore, went away to the nearby hills and returned home after a part of the night had passed. He was moved to observe such sad spectacles and reflected on and wondered at the lack of wisdom and intelligence of those misguided people.
Before Khadijah married the Prophet Muhammad, her house was the center of the hopes of the needy people. And even after her marriage with the Prophet she did not allow even the slightest change to take place in the condition of her house or in the munificence and generosity of her spouse.
During the periods of famine and drought the Prophet's foster-mother Halimah came at times to see her son. The Prophet then used to spread his cloak under her feet, recollected her kind sentiments and the simple life which he had spent with her and listened to what she said. At the time of her departure he helped her with as much as he could afford.1
Birth of a child further cements the bond of matrimony and makes life bright and brilliant. The Prophet's wife bore him six children. Two of them were sons - the elder one being Qasim and the younger one Abdullah. They are also called Tayyib and Tahir. She also gave birth to four daughters.
Ibne Hisham writes: 'Their eldest daughter was Ruqayyah and the other three were Zaynab, Umme Kulsum and Fatimah'. The male children died before Muhammad was appointed to the prophetic mission, but the daughters continued to live.'2
Self-control of the Holy Prophet in the face of calamitous happenings was proverbial. However at the time of the death of his children the sentiments of his heart sometimes appeared from his eyes in the shape of tears which trickled down to his cheeks and this matter became more evident at the time of the death or Ibrahim, whose mother was Mariyah.
At that time, while his heart was grief-stricken, the Prophet was busy praising Allah with his tongue. So much so that an Arab, owing to his ignorance and lack of knowledge about the fundamentals of Islam, objected to the weeping of the Prophet. The Prophet, however, said: "Weeping of this kind is a blessing". 3
Dr Haikal writes: "There is no denying the fact that at the time of the death of each of her children Khadijah approached the idols and asked as to why the gods were not pleased to bless her". 4
The above statement is not supported even by the most insignificant historical evidence and is nothing more than a mere guess. Its purpose is to give the impression that as, during her time, all were idolaters, Khadijah too was, certainly, like them.
However, Shi'ah belief is opposed to this statement and naturally the factual position, too, should be as believed by Shi'ah. The reason for this is that the Prophet undoubtedly hated idol-worship from his very youth and the position became quite clear during his journey to Syria. For, when he developed some differences with a merchant with regard to accounts and the opposite part swore by Lat and 'Uzza the Prophet said, "These are the very things which are most despicable in my eyes!"
In the circumstances how can it be said that a woman like Khadijah, whose regard and love for her husband was unquestionable, should run to the idols (who were the most despicable things in the eyes of her husband) at the time of the death of her children.
Moreover, the cause of her inclination towards Muhammad and of her entering into matrimonial alliance with him was that she admired his habits and spirituality, as she had heard that he was the last of the Prophets. In these conditions how can it be possible that she should go and complain to the idols in the matter?
We have already narrated for the readers some of her conversations with Waraqah bin Nawfal (the Arab fortune-teller) as well as with other scholarly persons of that time.
The Prophet of Islam called Zayd bin Harith as his son by the side of the Black Stone. Zayd was the person whom the Arab bandits had captured from the frontiers of Syria and had sold him in the market-place of Makkah to Hakim, a relative of Khadijah. It is not, however, clear as to how it so happened that later he was purchased by Khadijah.
The author of 'Hayat-i Muhammad' says "The Prophet had felt the death of his sons very much and, in order to console himself, had asked Khadijah to purchase Zayd. Later the Prophet freed him and adopted him as his own son".
Majority of the writers, however, say that at the time of Khadijah's marriage with the Prophet, Hakim bin Hizam presented him (Zayd) to his aunt (Khadijah). As he (Zayd) was a virtuous and intelligent young man in all respects the Prophet developed a liking for him and Khadijah too made a gift of him to the Prophet.
At last, however, Zayd's father located his whereabouts after continuous inquiries. At that time the Prophet permitted Zayd to go away with his father. However, in view of the love and kindness of the Prophet for him, Zayd preferred to stay on with him. It was on this account that the Prophet freed him, adopted him as his son; and married him to Zaynab, daughter of Jahash. 5
With the appointment of the Prophet to the prophetic mission deep differences appeared among the Quraysh, though the foundation of these differences had been laid a long time ago and, even before the appointment of the Prophet to prophethood, a number of wise men had expressed their dislike and aversion for the religion of the Arabs. There was always a talk in every nook and cranny about the expected Arabian Prophet, who was to revive the practice of worship of One Allah.
The Jews used to say: "As the foundation of our religion as well as that of the Arabian Prophet is the same, we shall follow him and, with the help of his strength, shall break the idols and destroy the edifice of idol-worship.
Ibne Hisham says in his Seerah6 "The Jews used to threaten the idolatrous Arabs saying that the time of the appearance of the Arabian Prophet was approaching fast and he would destroy the edifice of idol-worship.
These words presented before the eyes of the Arabs the scene of the overthrow of the era of idol-worship. So much so that, on account of the previous preachings of the Jews, some tribes responded to the call of the Holy Prophet and embraced Islam. However, for reasons, which will be explained later, the Jews continued to persist in their infidelity. The following verse of the Holy Qur'an points to the same position:
Now that a book (the Qur'an confirming their own Taurat) has come to them from Allah, they deny it, although they know it to be the truth and have long prayed for help against the disbelievers (through the new religion and the new Book). May Allah's curse be upon the infidels!" (Surah aI-Baqarah, verse 89).
At the time of the celebration of one of the festivals of Quraysh there occurred a strange incident, which in the eyes of the deep-sighted people, tolIed the bell of danger of overthrow of the rule of idol-worshippers.
Once, when the idolaters had gathered round an idol and were rubbing their foreheads on earth before it, four of their distinguished persons, who were famous for their learning and wisdom, disapproved of their action and held discussions on the subject in a secluded place. One of the points discussed by them was that their nation had deviated from the path of Ibrahim; and the stones, round which the people were going, could neither hear, nor see nor do any good or evil. 7
These four persons consisted of
(1) Waraqah bin Nawfal, who, after deep study, came within the circle of the Christians and gained extensive knowledge of the Bible,
(2) Abdullah bin Johash, who became a Muslim after the advent of Islam and migrated to Ethiopia along with other Muslims,
(3) Uthman bin Huwayris, who went to the Roman court and embraced Christianity, and
(4) Zayd bin 'Amr bin Nafil, who, after extensive study, chose the religion of Ibrahim for himself.
The Holy Prophet was not yet more than thirty five years of age when he had to witness a grave dispute among the Quraysh, which was solved with his capable hand. The following incident shows the extent to which he was respected and admitted to be honest and truthful by Quraysh:
A terrible flood flowed down from the high mountains towards the House of Allah, and consequent upon it none of the houses of Makkah, not even the Holy Ka'bah remained safe from the damage caused by it. Many cracks appeared in the walls of the Ka'bah. Quraysh decided to reconstruct the Ka'bah, but were afraid of demolishing it.
Walid bin Mughayrah was the first person who took a pick in his hand and pulled down two pillars of the sanctuary. He was then feeling very much frightened and nervous. The people of Makkah were awaiting something to befall, but when they saw that Walid had not been subjected to the wrath of the idols they became confident that his actions had the approval of the idols.
As a result of this all of them joined in demolishing the building. By chance on that very day, a boat which was coming from Egypt and belonged to a Roman merchant capsized near Makkah (Jeddah) following a violent storm. Quraysh came to know about this incident. They therefore, sent some persons to Jeddah to purchase the planks of the boat for the construction of the Ka'bah. As regards masonry work they entrusted the same to a Copt mason, who resided in Makkah.
The walls of the Ka'bah became as high as the stature of a man. And now arrived the time for the installation of the Black Stone at its appropriate place. At this stage differences arose among the chiefs of the tribes and the tribes of Bani Abduddar and Bani Adi concluded an agreement that they would not allow anyone else to enjoy this honour. In order to strengthen the agreement they filled a container with blood and put their hands into it.
Owing to this development the construction work remained suspended for five days. The matters had reached a very critical stage. Different groups of Quraysh had gathered in the Masjidul Haram and a bloody encounter seemed imminent. At last, however, a respectable old gentleman from amongst Quraysh named Abu Umayyah bin Mughayrah Makhzumi made the chiefs of Quraysh assemble and said to them "Accept as arbitrator the person who first enters through the Gate of Safa (according to some history books Babus Salam)". All agreed to this.
Suddenly the Holy Prophet entered the Masjid from that gate. All said in unison; "It is Muhammad, the honest one. We agree to his acting as the arbitrator!" In order to settle the dispute the Holy Prophet asked them to bring a piece of cloth.
He placed the Black Stone on the cloth with his own hands then suggested that every one of the four chiefs of Makkah should hold one corner of the cloth. When the Black Stone was brought near the pillar the Holy Prophet placed it at its proper place with his own auspicious hands. In this way he brought to an end the dispute of Quraysh which was at the verge of occasioning bloody accidents. 8
- 1. Seerah-i Halabi, vol. I, page 123.
- 2. Manaqib Ibn Shehr Ashob, vol. I, page 140; Qurbul Asnad, pp. 6 and 7; al-Khisa'il, vol. II, page 37; Biharul Anwar, vol. XXII, pp. 151 - 152. Some historians say that the Prophet's male children were more than two. (Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II, page 35 and Biharul Anwar, vol. XXII, page 166).
- 3. Amali, Shaykh, page 247.
- 4. Hayat-i Muhammad, page 186.
- 5. al-lsaba, vol. I, page 545; Usudul Ghabah, vol. II, page 224.
- 6. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. I, page 231.
- 7. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. I, pp. 222 - 223.
- 8. Habirah bin Wahab Makhzumi has versified this incident in a panegyric written by him. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. I, 213, Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II, Furu'-i Kafi, vol. I, page 225, and Bihar, vol. XV, pp. 39 - 41. It is worth noting that at the time of the reconstruction of the Ka'bah it was notified to all concerned as under: "In the reconstruction of the Ka'bah spend only lawfully acquired property. Money which you have earned by improper means or by usury or oppression should not be spent for this purpose". Undoubtedly this thinking was the very sediment of the teachings of the Prophets which had still survived among Quraysh.