Spotlight on the Life of the Prohpet

Al-Azhar Magazine April 1973

His Birth

Muhammad the Prophet was born on the 12th of Rabi’Awwal (the 29th of august, 570 A.D). In accordance with the customs of the Arabs, the child was confided during infancy to a Bedouin woman of the tribe of Bani-Saad, and upon being returned by her to his mother Amina he was brought up with tenderest care.

His father, Abdullah, had died before he was born, in the course of a journey to Yathrib (Madina), in the 25th year of his age. He was bereft of his mother when only 6 years of age. The doubly orphaned child was thus brought up by his grandfather Abdul Muthalib. Towards the year 579 A.D he lost his grandfather also. On his deathbed Abdul Muthalib had confided to hi uncle Abu Talib the charge of his brother’s child, in the house of Abu Talib Muhammad passed his early life

Early Life

His early life was not free from the burden of labour, for had often to go into the desert to watch the flocks of his uncle. Abu Talib, like his father and grandfather, carried on considerable trade with Syria and Yemen. He transported t Damascus, to Baara, and other places in Syria the dates of Hijaz, and perfumes of Yemen, and in return brought back with Products of the Byzantine Empire.

Muhammad accompanied his uncle and guardian on one of his mercantile journeys to Syria. During this period it was opened before him the scene of religious Degradation, and social misery prevalent in the world. Silently and humbly, with many thoughts in his mind, the solitary orphan boy grew from childhood to youth.

It is recalled that with all his affection for people, he seemed far removed from them, in his ways of life and mode of thoughts. The lawlessness prevailed among the people of Arabia, the sudden outbursts of causeless and meaningless quarrels among the tribes, and the immorality of the people, naturally caused feelings of intense horror and disgust in his mind.

Marriage

In the 25th year of his age, he travelled one more into Syria as an agent of the noble lady of Quraish, Khadija. The nobility and the ability with which he discharged his duties impressed the lady Khadhija. Inspite of the disparity of age between Muhammad and Khadija, a marriage was arranged between them. The marriage proved a very happy one, thought she was 15 years older than he was.

This marriage gave him rank among the nobles of Mecca. Throughout the 26 years of their life together he remained devoted to her. There always existed the tenderest devotion on both sides. This marriage provided him with the rest and freedom from daily duties which he needed in order to prepare his mind for his great task, and beyond that it gave him a loving heart, that was the first to believe in his mission, and that was ever ready to console him in his despair.

Children

Khadija bore him seven children- 3sons and 4 daughters- but the sons all died in infancy. The daughters long survived. The next 15 years after his marriage was a silent record of spiritual communion, preparation and looking inward. Muhammad, rich by his alliance with Khadhija, and Abbas, the brother of AbuTalib, were the most opulent citizens of Mecca.

Wisdom

When the Prophet was 35 years old the people of Mecca wanted to rebuild the Ka’ba, because it had been damaged by the floods which covered the valley of Mecca at that time. The tribes of Mecca co-operated with each other to rebuild the Ka’ba, because it was an honour for them, and all the Arab tribes. All the Arab people respected those of Mecca and regarded them ass the people who looked after the House of God. When they started building they came to the place where they had to replace Al-Hajar Al –Aswad, the Black stone. From this moment the arguments started, who could have the honour of patting the stone in its place? Each tribe wanted to have this honour. They started arguing, and almost led to a fight. Some of them called for a fight, and blood bath threatened Mecca. The wise leaders of the tribes recognised this as an extremely dangerous situation and they wondered what they could do to prevent this tragedy

Nobility

One of the leaders suggested that they should accept the judgement of the first man to enter the place. This suggestion was readily accepted, because nobody wanted this threat to continue; they were afraid of the consequences, as they might well be killed. They all stood with their eyes facing towards the way which led to the Ka’ba. Then they saw the Prophet Muhammad coming towards them. At that time Muhammad had not claimed to a prophet but he was the most highly respected man in Mecca and renowned for his honesty and trustworthiness. For this reason they used to call him Al- Sadiq, Al- Amin- The trustworthy, the truthful- and when they saw him coming all of them cried with one voice “ Al-Sadiq, Al- Amin” in a tone of appreciation. And they all felt happy and at peace in their minds and they felt sure no harm would now befall any of them, and that whatever Muhammad’s decision it would be accepted by all.

When they explained the problem he requested them to bring a piece of cloth and he chose four men, one from each tribe. He then placed the stone on the cloth and asked each of the four men to take one corner. The four men then shared the carrying the stone until they came near to the wall, and the prophet then took the stone in his hands and put in its place in the wall. By making this decision he was able to prevent the ‘blood-bath’ and peace prevailed in Mecca. This too, was the first day the people realised the outstanding wisdom of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and he came to be regarded as the most revered person in Mecca.

First Revelation

It was his practice to retire with his family for a month of every year to a cave in the desert for meditation. His place was the cave on the Mount of Hira, and his chosen month was Ramadan. One night towards the end of his quite month that the first revelation came to him, when he was 40 years old. The Angel came to him and said: “O Muhammad! You are the messenger of God and I am the Angel Gabriel. Then he embraced him strongly and said: “Read”. The Prophet answered” ‘I cannot read”. Then the Angel embraced him again and said : “Read”. The Prophet answered:” I am unable to read”. The Angel embraced him strongly for the third time and said:”Read in the name of thy Lord who created. Created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is the Most Generous. He taught man by the pen. Taught man what he knew not” (96:1-5)

Khadija’s Faith

This was a shock for Muhammad(peace be upon him), and he was amazed. He turned his face away but wherever he turned the voice came to him and he saw the Angel. He could not understand how such a thing could have happened to him, and he left the cave and returned quickly to his home. But on the way the Angel appeared to him and the voice of the Angel filled his ears. He was afraid and when he reached his house his wife knew he was worried and he asked her to bring plenty of blankets as he was so cold. Perspiration flowed from his face. When he had become calm and his wife was beside him, he wondered what happened to him. His wife asked him to explain what had happened as she wanted to remove this worry from his mind.

When he told her, she told him not to worry, and she reminded him that Allah will never disgrace those who help the weak and give money to the poor and spend their lives helping others, as Muhammad had always done. Then he slept, the Prophet wife had an uncle called Waraqa Ibn Nawfal. He was an old man and he was one of those who rejected idolatry and was looking for an ideal religion. He had read the Old and the New tTestament and he followed Christianity. He therefore had a knowledge of Prophethood and revelation. From his knowledge he had come to know the religious men of the “people of the Book” and knew from them that they were expecting a Prophet to come.

Khadija took the Prophet to him and when the Prophet told him what happened, Waraqa said “By Allah, you are the Prophet for whom we have been waiting. I hope I shall live until your people drive you out.” The prophet asked him; “will they drive me out”. And Waraqa explained that no-one had ever told his people such things without being driven out. Waraqa promised that if he lived he would do everything he could to help Muhammad.

The first believers

Muhammad (peace be upon him) started to speak to his close friends and his own family. Khadija, his was the first woman to accept Islam, and Abu Bakr the first man. Ali Ibn Abi Talib, his cousin was the first boy to accept Islam and Zaid was the first servant to accept Islam. The number started to increase slowly through the personal contact of the Prophet and his close friend Abu Bakr, but when he received the verse “ warn your close relatives”, it was a sign to inform the people of Mecca of his cause.

The Prophet climbed a hill called Al-Safa and started call out: ‘ O people of Mecca! With a loud voice. They were sitting around Ka’ba. When they heard his voice they came and gathered round him. He said: “ What would you say if I informed you that there is an army coming to attack you from the mountains? They answered : “ We never knew you to tell lies”. Then he said: “ I am the manifest warner, and I am the Prophet of God to you, and therefore I call you to worship God alone and not worship Idols”

Public Call

It was the first time that the Prophet has made a public announcement of his call, but the people were astonished at the information he gave to them, because he had never told a lie, and yet what he asked them was extraordinary. One of his uncles, Abu Lahab, got annoyed and spoke to him harshly.

From that time onward, the Prophet started to call people to accept Islam, openly, at the same time the people of Quraish started to inflict more and more harm upon him; he continued his call and did not give any attention to the harm he suffered from people.

The Ascension of the Prophet

There is a chapter in the Holy Quran called Al-Isra. In the beginning of the chapter Allah says : “ Glory be to Allah who took His servant by night from the inviolable place of worship to the far distant place of worship, the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He is the Hearer, the Seer.”

This is about the journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, and other journey, from Jerusalem to Heaven. It is mentioned in detail and some verses of the Holy Quran in ‘Surat an Najm’ refer to this event.

But we have to know why this event took place at this particular time in the life of the Prophet, and what was the significance of it, and exactly what happened during that night. It is related that during the space of the year the Prophet lost his uncle, Abu Talib, who used to protect him from the aggression of the people of Mecca, and also his wife, Khadija, who was a good wife to him, and who used to smooth for him the various difficulties he had to face from the people outside the house. The loss of these two persons in one year of sorrow. After the death of Abu Talib the people of Quraish harassed the Prophet more and more, and when he went home he did not find anyone to make it easy for him as Khadija used to do.

Journey to Taif

It was a hard time for the Prophet, and it semmed there was no helper or protector in Mecca. Therefore he decided to go to the town of ‘Taif’, in which the tribe of Thaqif lived, to call them to Islam, hoping that he would find a helper from among them. He started the journey from Mecca to Taif with his servant Zaid, and the Prophet kept his journey secret, because he didn’t know if the people of Taif would accept his call or not. When he arrived in Taif he began meeting the heads of the Tribes, discussing with them the matter of belief, and inviting them to the religion of Islam. But unfortunately their response was not good, and he had to bear the hardship of receiving their refusal. He asked them to keep his discussion with them a secret in order to keep the people of Mecca from knowing about this failure in Taif.

But they would not agree to this, and their words to him were very impolite. One man swore by Allah that if the Prophet spoke the truth, then he was their superior and should not speak to them, because discussion between them would be unsuitable. But if, on other hand, the Prophet was a liar, then he was the interior of the tribesmen, and it was not suitable for the tribesmen to keep the company of such an inferior.

His Experience in Taif

When the Prophet ( peace be upon him) began to leave the town, the people ordered their slaves and naughty children to line the street on either side of his way and to stone him as he walked, until the blood flowed and covered his heels. His servant, Zaid, tried to protect him, but was unable. After the Prophet left the town he was in a most unhappy state, and sat down under the shade of some trees.

These trees were on the boundary of a vineyard which belonged to two men from Quraish, whose names were Otbah and Shaibah, sons of Rabia. These two saw what hap happened to the Prophet, and felt pity for him, and sent a slave of theirs to him with a bunch of grapes. When the Prophet started to eat he said “ Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim (in the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate)”. The slave was astonished to hear those words, and said, ‘ Sir this was a custom not used by the people of this region’. The Prophet asked him which country do you come from? The man answered, ‘ I come from Ninawa’. The Prophet said ‘ it is the town of the righteous man , Younos Ibn Matt’. ‘How do you know Younos? the man said. “He is my brother”, said the Prophet. He was a prophet, and I am a Prophet also.

The man knelt down and kissed the hands of the Prophet. His masters were most surprised to seem behaving in this way. When they questioned him about the conversation with the Prophet, and heard his answer, they warned him not be affected by the ways of Muhammad (peace be upon him ).

Then the Prophet raised his hand praying to God : “ O my lord! You are my God, and the God of those who are weak, to whom you leave me, to an enemy, giving him control of my affairs, to a foreigner. I ask You, by the light of Your face, by which the darkness becomes shining and by which the whole earth and the heavens stand in order to give me Your help, so long as I know You are not angry with me, I don’t care what people do against me”.

It was clear there was no help at all from anyone on earth for the Prophet. When he came near to Mecca the news of the failure of his journey had got there before him, and he couldn’t enter Mecca without first sending a message to a man called Al-Mutin ibn Adwi, asking him to be his protector, as was the custom of the Arab tribes at that time.

Abu Bakr the Siddiq

It was in this situation that the Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to heaven took place, to give spiritual aid to the Prophet, and to assure him that Allah was with him always, even if there was no one to help him from the creation; and at the same time. Through this journey he saw many signs to show him more aid: as the Holy Quran says: “To show him from among Our signs”.

This journey took place during part of one night and was over before the dawn broke. One the next day, when the Prophet informed the people of Mecca about his journey they become enraged and they accused the Prophet Muhammad, calling him a liar, and they tried to use the strangeness of this event as proof to persuade people to give up the religion. They even tried to influence Abu Bakr (may Allah bless him ) with this.

They asked, “Do you know what your friend has said’. ‘What did he say?’ said Abu Bakr. He claims that he went to Jerusalem during the night and returned before dawn’ they said; ‘A journey of one month each way! How can this be done in a few hours of the night?’ “If he said so, then he is telling the truth’. Abu Bakr replied.

The people of Mecca were astonished. ‘ Do you believe him, then ? they asked. “why not ?” Abu Bakr said. “I would believe more that that about him. I believe that the revelation came from heaven”.

13 years in Mecca

The prophet had spent 13 years in Mecca calling its people to Islam, using every means he had tohelp them accept his call. But for their part, they used every means to stop him from continuing his call, they hurt him and they persecuted hi followers. They even killed some of them. They wanted to kill him, too but they did not try as they were afraid of his family. But when they could find no other way to stop him they had a meeting in a house in Mecca to discuss a way to stop Muhammad from calling people to his religion.

During that discussion one of them suggested putting him in prison and leaving him to die, without food or water. The others did not agree with this, arguing that some of his followers would help him to escape, he might persuade the guards to let him go free, his influence on people was so profound. Another proposal was they should drive him out of their country and let him do what he liked elsewhere. But the members of the meeting rejected this idea, also , saying that his words influenced people so greatly that he would soon find other tribes to accept his call and would establish a strong army with thousands of soldiers and everyone would join him.

Then the third suggestion was made. They would choose one man from each tribe in Mecca and each of them would have a sharp sword. They would be ordered to go to Muhammad and all of them would share in his killing. His family would be given the ransom for his life and would not be able to fight every tribe represented by the assassinators. This suggestion was accepted. They quickly started to put this plan into action and chose the young men would take part in the plot and the arrangements were made for certain time and date. Before this, Muhammad had advised most of his companions to go to Medina. His friend Abu Bakr did not go, as Muhammad asked him to wait behind. Perhaps they could find another companion and leave together.

Hijra to Madinah

When the decision to kill the Prophet was made by the people of Mecca he was warned of it through a revelation from God. God ordered him to leave Mecca and go to Medina on the night they planned to kill him. The Prophet started to prepare for this journey and he went to Abu Bakr one day at noon and informed him what they were to do. He instructed him to arrangements for the journey and to find someone who had experience of the desert.

They day before the night of departure the Prophet called his cousin Ali Ibn Abi Talib amnd asked him to sleep in his house that night place of the Prophet. He also instructed him to return to his followers put all their trust in Muhammad, and for this reason anyone who had some thing very precious and wanted to keep it safe place would ask Muhammad to take care of it. The Prophet wanted to stand by his duty and return all these things and so had to choose a member of his family to do it.

That night the Prophet went to bed as usual and during the night these young men came and took their places, standing outside his front door, their hands placed on their swords. They were ready to kill the Prophet as soon as he came out; they knew of his regular habit of leaving his house late at night to go to the Ka’ba to pray until dawn.

Miracles of Hijra

It is related that when the Prophet wanted to leave the house God caused these men to feel so tired that they went to sleep while standing in their positions and Muhammad( peace be upon him ) came out without their knowledge reciting the verses : “ Ya Sin . By the wise Quran. You are truely among the Messengers, on a straight path; the sending down of the Al-Mighty, the All-Wise, that you might warn a people whose fathers were warned, so they are heedless. The word has been realised against most of them, yet they do now believe. Surely, We have put on their necks fetlers up to the chin, so their heads are raised and We have covered them so thy do not see”. (36: 1-9)

And after he had left they noticed the time has passed and thought he had not yet come out of his house, as usually did. They were worried and looked through the keyhole. They saw someone sleeping in the bed. They decided to wait until daybreak as they didn’t know what had happened. When the sun rose they saw the person asleep on the bed was not Muhammad and they were filled with rage and went around looking for him everywhere, realising that their plot had failed. Then they started to search outside Mecca, offering a reward of one hundred camels to anyone who could find the Prophet, alive or not.

The prophet went to his friend Abu Bakr, who was waiting for him. When he reached his house, Abu Bakr made arrangements with his family and his workmen, and he and Muhammad left together. They went to the cave outside Mecca on the way to Medina. This cave was called the Cave of Thaur. When they reached there, he told his friend that they would spend some time in this cave. They went in and stayed there for three days. Abu Bakr asked a shepherd there to graze his sheep around the cave during the day and to come and stay there at night to inform him of the news from the people of Mecca. This shepherd let his sheep move around the cave until they had removed the footprints of the Prophet and his companion and, during the night, he gave them milk and food and informed them of what the people of Mecca were saying about them.

During their stay in the cave, the people of Mecca came to the mouth of the cave, looking for them. Abu Bakr told the Prophet: “ O Prophet, if one of them looked at his feet, they would see us!”; But the Prophet answered :’Don’t worry Abu Bakr, no harm will come to those whom God with”. And there was spider’s web at the mouth of the cave that a bird came and put two of her eggs there. When the people saw the web and the eggs they did not look inside the cave as some one remarked: “this was here before Muhammad was born”.

When the people of Mecca left, Muhammad and his companion stayed for three more days and then went on their way. On their way to Madina something extra ordinary happened. One whose name was Surakah Ibn Malik, heard about the reward of one hundred camels and when someone told him that three men had been seen in the desert, he knew it must be the Prophet and his friends. Then he got up on his horse and followed them. When he approached them his horse’s forelegs sank into the sand and when he tried to lift the horse up couldn’t lift the horse up he couldn’t until the Prophet had gone ahead. The Suraka cried : “ O Muhammad, ask God to free my horse and I shall not follow you”.

But when his horse got up, the 100 camels made him forget his promise. He started again to follow them, but again when he approached the horse’s hooves began to sink in the sand. Surakah again called to Prophet , promising not to follow him, but again he did so, and the same thing happened the third time, Surakah fell from back of his horse. He swore before the Prophet that this time he really would not follow the Prophet.

The Prophet continued on his way to Medina. On their way they felt hungry and thirsty. They passed a tent in the desert, with a Bedouin woman there. They asked if she had something to drink. She apologised to them as she had nothing at all, apart from a very weak and old goat and this didn’t give milk. When the Prophet touched the udder, however, it gave plenty of milk and they drank as much as they wished, leaving a lot for the woman and her husband. After they had left the woman was astonished to find that continued to give plenty of milk. The woman and her husband always remembered this Blessed day when this Blessed man came to their tent whom she didn’t know.

The Prophet in Medina

News of the Prophet reached the people of Yathrib, and spread through the town, and he was expected there before his arrival. They all wanted to be the first to see him. This was a feast day among the people of Yahtrib, when they saw the Prophet was with them.

The Prophet entered the city of Yathrib, on Friday 16th Rab Awwal (2nd july 622 A.D) From that day the Prophet settled in Medina, and because of the importance of that it is regarded as the beginning of the Hijra Year.

(to be continued)

The Hijrah- The Emigration of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina

“The Hijrah”- The Emigration of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina’

Al-Azhar Magazine – April 1968

The migration of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) from Mecca to Medina was the turning point in the history of Islam. This important event happened at the age of fifty- three, after the thirteen years of his mission. The departure of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina commenced on the 4th of Rabi’ Awwal (corresponding with the 20th June 622 A.D) and he entered Medina (Yathrib) on Friday, 16th of Rabi’ Awwal (2nd of July 622 A.D.). The Hijrah year or the era of Hijrah was instituted seventeen years later by the second Caliph, Umar, when he officially proclaimed the year of the Hijjrah as the 1st year of the Muslim era. However, the months of the lunar year were retained and Muharram was kept as the first month of the Hijrah year. On the beginning of the Hijrah year, it is good to review the events leading up to this important happening which marked he greatest moment in the history of Islam.

For the first three years of his mission, the Prophet preached only to his family and his intimate friends. At the end of the third year he received the command of God to preach his mission publicly. It was then the ‘Quraish’ became actively hostile. At the season of the pilgrimage they posted men on all roads leading to Ka’aba, to warn the tribes against Muhammed (peace be upon him) who was preaching in their midst. They tried to bring the Prophet to compromise, offering to accept his religion if he would so modify it as to make room for other gods as intercessors with Allah, or to make him their king if he would give up attacking idolatry.

The bitterness of the idolaters was increased by the refusal of his Uncle Abu Talib to let them kill Muhammed as well as by the conversion of Umar, one of their stalwarts. The Quraish were now alarmed the Muhammed’s preaching took serious revolutionary movement and their power and prestige were at stake. They accordingly decided upon an organized system of persecution. The converts of the first four years were mostly humble folk unable to defend themselves against oppressions, so the Prophet advised all who could possibly contrive to do so to migrate to Abyssinia. In spite of cruel persecution and emigration, the little company of Muslims grew in number. While the disciples of Muhammed (peace be upon him) were seeking safety in other lands from the persecution of the enemies, he himself stood bravely at his post and amidst every insult and outrage pursued his mission.

Again they came to him with promises of honor and riches, to seduce him from his duty; always the reply was, full of life and full of faith: “I am neither desirous of riches nor ambitious of dignity nor of dominion. I am sent by God, Who has ordained me to announce glad tidings unto you. I give you the words of my Lord; I admonish you. If you accept the message I bring you, God will be favorable to you both in this world and the next; if you reject my admonitions, I shall be patient, and I leave God you and me”. The idolaters grew more and more embittered and they decided to ostracize the Prophet’s whole clan and protectors. With that purpose they, in the seventh year of the mission towards the end of 616 A.D., formed an alliance against the descendants of Hashim and Muthalib. They bound themselves by a document, which was deposited in the Ka’aba, to the effect that not to enter into any contract of marriage with the Hashimites or to buy and sell with them. Then, for three years the Prophet was shut up with all his kinsfolk in their stronghold which was situated in one of the mountain passes of which run down to Mecca. Only at the time of pilgrimage could he go out and preach or did any of his kinsfolk dare to go into the city. Towards the tenth year of the mission, 619 A.D. the ban was removed and the Prophet was again free to go about the city.

In the year 620 A.D., at the season of yearly pilgrimage, he came upon a little group of six men from Yathrib, a city more than 200 miles away from Mecca , who heard him gladly. In their return to Yathrib they told what they have seen and heard from the Prophet. At Yathrib there were Jewish tribes with learned rabbis, who had often spoken to the pagans of a Prophet soon to come among the Arabs with whom , when he came, the Jews would destroy the pagans as the tribes of A’ad and Thamu’d had been destroyed of old for their idolatry. Muhammed (peace be upon him) they recognized him as the Prophet whom the Jewish rabbis had described to them.

At the next season of pilgrimage a deputation came from Yathrib purposely to meet the Prophet. These deputies met the Prophet on the same spot which had witnessed the conversion of the former six. In that meeting they swore allegiance to the Prophet. This called, in the history of Islam, the first ‘pact of Al-Aqaba’, from the name of the hill on which the conference was held. They then returned to Yathrib with a Muslim teacher in their company and soon there was not a house in Yathrib wherein there was not mention of the messenger of Allah. In the following year, 622 A.D., at the time of pilgrimage, 73 Muslims from Yathrib came to Mecca to vow allegiance to the Prophet and invite him to their city. At Al-Aqaba, they swore to defend him as they would defend their own wives and children. Then the Prophet selected twelve men of position from among them as his delegates. Thus was concluded the second pact of Al-Aqaba. These delegates are called ‘Naqibs’. This event occurred in the month of Dhul Hijjah.

The news of this pact spread among the Quraish and they worried about the far-reaching danger resulting in the effect of the conclusion of the great pledge. It did not take long for the Quraish to realize the effect of the conclusion of the great pledge. It did not take long for the Quraish to realize the effects of the Prophet’s preaching and the beginning of victory for his mission. The Quraish started a furious persecution of the Prophet and his disciples. Fearing a general massacre, the Prophet advised his followers to leave Mecca and go to Medina silently. About a hundred families left Mecca, separately, and proceeded to Medina, where they were received with enthusiasm, in order not to warn the Quraish of the planned migration.

All his disciples had left for Yathrib, and the Prophet, his devoted cousin Ali, and his intimate friend Abu Bakr were the only notable Muslims left in Mecca. Throughout this period that Prophet remained bravely at his post; when the storm was its height and might. Nobody could say whether he would leave Mecca or not. Before, he had ordered his friends to migrate to Abyssinia while he remained and preached his mission at the city. Thus the Quraish doubted his intention to leave Mecca. Even Abu Bakr asked permission from the Prophet to emigrate, but he said to him “Do not hurry, for God may send with you a friend”. The Quraish were fully aware of the influence and the power of the Muslims had in Medina, especially in the way of trade with Syria. They were also aware of the danger if the emigration of Muhammed, and his appearance among the Muslims of Medina. The clouds were gathering fast. The matter had become one of life and death for the Quraish. An of the assembly of the Quraish met in the town hall, called “Dar-el-Nadwa” and some chiefs of other clans were also invited to attend. It was as a stormy meeting, for fear, of the escape of the Prophet, had entered their hearts. Imprisonment for life or expulsion from the city were debated in the meeting. Assassination of the Prophet was then proposed, but assassination by one man would have exposed him and his family to the vengeance blood. Thus Abu Jahl suggested that a number of courageous men, chosen from different families should strike simultaneously in Muhammed’s bosom with their swords, in order that the responsibility of the deed might rest upon all the tribes represented, so that the relations of Muhammed would not be strong enough to avenge his blood. This proposal was accepted and a number of youths were selected for the execution should be carried out.

The Prophet was well aware of the murderous intention of the Quraish but this did not prevent him from staying in Mecca until he received orders God to migrate. Receiving this Master’s order to emigrate to Yathrib, he went to Abu Bakr and asked him to be his companion on the journey. The venerable Abu Bakr most decidedly agreed and both were ready to leave, but were sure that the Quraish would prevent them. On the appointed date, as the night advanced , the assassins posted themselves around the Prophet’s dwelling. They watched all night long, waiting to murder him, when he should leave his house in the early dawn. They were peeping now and then through a hole in the hole in the door to make sure that he still lay on his bed.

In order, to keep the attention of the assassins fixed upon his bed, the Prophet asked Ali to put on the Prophet’s own green garment and lie on the bed. He also told Ali to remain in Mecca for a few days so as to return the belongings of those who had entrusted them to him for safe keeping. Then the Prophet departed from his house at the when the assassins were unaware of his intention. It is reported that a peep slumber over took the conspirators that moment and the Prophet walked among them. He went straight to the house of Abu Bakr and they walked together unobserved from the city of their birth, to a cavern in “Mount Thawr”, which was a few miles to the south of Mecca. They lay hidden for three days in the cavern, and all this time the Prophet and Abu Bakr were sustained by food brought to them at night by the daughter of Abu Bakr, Asma. She always walked to cavern in front of the sheep which obliterated her foot-prints, in order to cover all traces of her movement.

The news that Muhammed (peace be upon him) had escaped and the would be assassins had returned unsuccessful, aroused the fury of the Quraish and their whole energy. Their horsemen scoured the country searching everywhere for the two fugitives. A very handsome reward of a hundred camels was set upon the capture of Muhammed Once or twice the danger approached so near the cavern, as some of the search party including a few of the selected youth, reached ‘Mount Thawr’ and saw a cavern. One of them said ‘that they may be in that cavern’, and some of them saw a very old cobweb hanging over its entrance, and also a pigeon had laid eggs just in the entrance. Seeing this, one of them said ‘by the look of that web it was there a long time before birth of Muhammed.’ Hearing the voice of the search party so close, Abu Bakr approached the Prophet and touched him muttering: “If one of them had only looked down at his feet he would have seen us.” The Prophet looked at him and said in deep faith: “Abu Bakr, what do you think of two, when God is their third? Grieve not, God is with us.” The Holy Quran referred to this story of the cavern in the following verses:

It means : “If you do not help him, yet God has helped him already, when the unbelievers drove him forth the second of two, when the two were in Cave, when he said to his companion, ‘sorrow not, surely God is with us’. Then God sent down on him His ‘Sekina’, (calmness) and confirmed him with legions you did not see and He made the word of the unbelievers the lowest; and God’s word is the upper most; God is Almighty and All-wise. Go forth, light and heavy! Struggle in God’s way with your possessions and your selves; that is better for you, did you know.”

(9:40-41)

After three days the Quraish slackened their efforts. On the evening of the third day the Prophet and Abu Bakr left the cavern on two camels, procured with great difficulty, by unfrequented paths, to Medina. But even here the ways were full of danger. The heavy price set upon Muhammed’s head had brought out many horsemen in Mecca, and they were diligent in search of him. Once a powerful horseman actually caught sight of the fugitives and pursued them. When the wild and fierce warrior approached them Abu Bakr cried: “We are lost”; but the Prophet said: “be not afraid, God will protect us”. Upon nearing Muhammed and Abu Bakr the horse of the idolater reared and fell. Struck with sudden awe he entreated the forgiveness of the Prophet and asked for an attestation of his pardon. This was given to him on a piece of bone by Abu Bakr. They continued their journey, without further molestation and the disturbance but under the severe June sun.

After three days’ journeying, the Prophet and Abu Bakr, reached the territories of Yathrib. They rested for four days at a village called ‘Quba’, few miles south of Yathrib. He found there many Muslims and there Ali also joined them, journeyed from Mecca on foot, hiding in the day and travelling only at night. In this period of days the Prophet built the first Mosque in the world. The Banu Amr bin Auf, to whom the village belonged, requested the Prophet to prolong his stay amongst them. But the duty of the Prophet lay before him, and he proceeded towards Yathrib, attended by a numerous body of his disciples. Thus the Prophet entered the city on Friday, 16th of Rabi’ Awwal (2nd of July 622 A.D.). With his advent to Medina a new era dawned in the history of Islam.

The Mission of the Prophet

The Mission of the Prophet

Al-Azhar Magazine – June 1968

In historical order the Holy Quran is the latest and the final of all revealed books and as such it interprets not the growing and incomplete man but the mature and complete man. The Holy Quran was revealed in an historical age and its purity has been well preserved. The Arabic word ‘Deen’ is defined in the Holy Quran as the ‘Fitrat’ or nature in which God has created man. In this context the Holy Quran Says:

فَأَقِمۡ وَجۡهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفً۬ا‌ۚ فِطۡرَتَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّتِى فَطَرَ ٱلنَّاسَ عَلَيۡہَا‌ۚ لَا تَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ

It means: “So set thy purpose for religion (Deen) as a man by nature upright – the nature (fitrat) of Allah in which He has created man. There is no altering (the law of) Allah’s creation. That is the right religion, but most men know not.” (30:30)

‘Deen’, therefore denotes the composite law of nature which holds and moulds the destiny of the universe. The universe is a composite whole and not a sum-total of isolate fragments. Every item of creation, every genus and species bears a relation with the rest of the universe. Each depends upon the other and none is wholly independent. Nevertheless, each item of creation is dominantly governed by a particular set of laws and each of these is a science. The Holy Quran revealed when man and his nature were made complete, that is when humanity attained maturity as it is clear from the following verse:

ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ وَأَتۡمَمۡتُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ نِعۡمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡإِسۡلَـٰمَ دِينً۬ا‌ۚ

It means: “This day have I protected your religion (Deen) for you and completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”. (5:3)

Henceforth man would require no further prophets or Books for his guidance but would guide himself admirably well in the right path with the Holy Quran and with the aid of his highly developed intuition and intellect.

The Holy Quran contains the principles of the religion of Islam. It is a concrete and complete system dealing with all walks of human life. It interprets the true nature of man and establishes peace and harmony between him and his nature; and regulates his course of life according to the nature framed of God. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was the recipient of the Holy Quran and in him are found the percepts of Islam in their concrete and applied form. In his life and work, therefore, we get Islam in flesh and blood. His percepts and examples are most reliable guides to the theoretical as well as practical knowledge of Islam. The Holy Quran was revealed and revelation and prophet hood were made final when humanity reached albescence- when human intellect with the help of the Quran was in a position to interpret life correctly and to mould its destiny thereby.

The chief object of the perfect religion should be the elevation of humanity towards that perfection which is the ultimate purpose of the creation of man. The perfect religion, therefore ought to place, on a systematic basis, the fundamental principles of morality, regulating social obligations and human duties, which brings man nearer and nearer to the aim of his existence in the earth. It is the distinctive characteristic of Islam; that it is not merely a system of positive moral rules, based on a true conception of human progress but it is also the establishment of certain principles, the enforcement of certain temper of mind which the conscience is to apply to ever-varying exigencies of time and place. The wonderful adaptability of Islamic rules to all ages , places, nations and circumstances; their entire agreement with the light of reason and the absence of all the mysterious ideas, prove that Islam represents the latest developments of the religious faculties of human being. It combines within itself the prominent features in all ethnic and general religious compatible with the reason and moral intuition of man. Thus Islam signifies a religion of right-thinking, right speaking and right-doing, founded on Divine love, Universal charity and the human brotherhood.

The mission of Prophet Muhammed(peace be upon him) was indeed a miraculous revolution that brought about an unprecedented change among the warring tribes of Arabia, at one time engaged in blood feuds. The Prophet infused the true light to see the face of truth from the mirror of conscience and to understand the merit of mutual respect and love of service to fellow-men, as the highest form of submission to the sovereignty of the Supreme. Te life of the Prophet presents a picture of perfection for our guidance. He exemplified in himself every aspect of human behavior to be a perfect model of man. The Prophet exhorted the people to cultivate the spirit of selfless service and sacrifice, through which alone salvation is assured, and to rise to the pinnacle of greatness in the standard of human achievement and to reach the summit of satisfaction.

Islam with its seeds of human brotherhood, equality and justice, tasking root in the soil of Arabia, blew the wind of change far and wide and swept the world to adopt the percept of unit, fraternity and equality, as the soundest and safest structure of solidarity in human relationship. Islam tries to attain the object of perfection by grasping the principle that man will be judged by his work alone. The following verses of the Quran expressed the power and sovereignty of God, and his universality of His religion:

لِّلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۗ وَإِن تُبۡدُواْ مَا فِىٓ أَنفُسِڪُمۡ أَوۡ تُخۡفُوهُ يُحَاسِبۡكُم بِهِ ٱللَّهُ‌ۖ فَيَغۡفِرُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن

يَشَآءُ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ (٢٨٤) ءَامَنَ ٱلرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡهِ مِن رَّبِّهِۦ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ‌ۚ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَتِهِۦ

وَكُتُبِهِۦ وَرُسُلِهِۦ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيۡنَ أَحَدٍ۬ مِّن رُّسُلِهِۦ‌ۚ وَقَالُواْ سَمِعۡنَا وَأَطَعۡنَا‌ۖ غُفۡرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡمَصِيرُ (٢٨٥) لَا يُكَلِّفُ ٱللَّهُ

نَفۡسًا إِلَّا وُسۡعَهَا‌ۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتۡ وَعَلَيۡہَا مَا ٱكۡتَسَبَتۡ‌ۗ رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذۡنَآ إِن نَّسِينَآ أَوۡ أَخۡطَأۡنَا‌ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحۡمِلۡ عَلَيۡنَآ إِصۡرً۬ا كَمَا

حَمَلۡتَهُ ۥ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِنَا‌ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلۡنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِۦ‌ۖ وَٱعۡفُ عَنَّا وَٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَٱرۡحَمۡنَآ‌ۚ أَنتَ مَوۡلَٮٰنَا فَٱنصُرۡنَا عَلَى

(ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلۡڪَـٰفِرِينَ (٢٨٦

It means: “Unto Allah (belongeth) whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever in the earth; and whether ye make known what is in your minds or hide it, Allah will bring you account for it. He will forgive whom He will and He will punish whom He will. Allah is able to do things. The messenger believeth in that which had been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) the believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers- We make no distinction between any of His messengers-and they say: We hear, and we obey, (Grant us) Thy forgiveness our Lord. Unto thee is the journeying. Allah taketh not a soul beyond its scope. For it (is only) that which it hath earned and against it (only) that which it hath deserved”.

(2:284-286)

The mission of Prophet Muhammed was first achieved in the midst of a nation sunk in a degrading and sanguinary superstition, and steeped in barbarism to which the Quran refers as follows:

هُوَ ٱلَّذِى بَعَثَ فِى ٱلۡأُمِّيِّـۧنَ رَسُولاً۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡہِمۡ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَيُزَكِّيہِمۡ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَإِن كَانُواْ مِن قَبۡلُ لَفِى ضَلَـٰلٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬

It means: “He it is who hath sent among the unlettered one a messenger of their own, to recite unto them His revelations and to make them grow, and to teach them the Scripture and Wisdom, though hereto fore they were indeed in error manifest”, (62:2)

He inspired them with the belief in one sole God of truth and love. He united them by the ties of brotherhood. Before that, Arabian peninsula was wrapped in absolute moral darkness. Spiritual life was utterly unknown. Neither Judaism nor Christianity had made any lasting impression on the Arab mind. The people were sunk in the cruelty and vice. The idea of future existence, and of retribution of good and evil, were, as motives of human actions, practically unknown. Only a few years before Muhammad’s mission witnessed a moral desert, where all laws, human and divine, were contemned and infringed without remorse, and was now transformed into a garden. Idolatry, with its nameless abominations, was utterly destroyed. Islam furnishes the only solitary example of a great religion which though preached among a nation and reigning for the most part among a people not yet emerged from dawn of an early civilization, has succeeded in effectually restraining it votaries from idolatry. This phenomenon has been justly acknowledged as the Pre-eminent glory of Islam and the most remarkable evidence of the genius of its Prophet. In the fulfillment of Muhammad’s mission in his life time; lies his distinctive superiority over the Prophets and reformers o different times of history.

Significance of the Hijrah

Significance of the Hijrah

Al-Azhar Magazine – March 1970

At this moment of time the Muslim world celebrate the beginning of the Hijrah year. It marked the migration of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) from Mecca to Medina. This important event happened after the thirteen years of his mission. The departure of the Prophet was the turning point in the history of Islam. With his advent to Medina a new era dawned in the history of humanity, and he started there to establish the nucleus of the first Muslim Society.

The departure of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina commented on the 4th of Rabi Awwal (corresponding with the 20th of June 622 A.D.) and he entered Medina (Yathrib) on Friday, 16th of Rabi Awwal (2nd of July 622 A.D.). the ‘Hijrah’ year or the era of ‘Hijrah’ was instituted seventeen years later by the second Caliph Umar when he officially proclaimed the year of the Hijrah as the first year if the Muslim era. However, the months of the lunar year were retained and Muharram was kept as the first month of the ‘Hijrah’ year. By this proclamation, Umar, gave expression to the feeling of all Muslims.

On the beginning of the ‘Hijrah’ year, it is good to review the events leading up to this important happening that Muslims date their history from it. So much can be learned from this important event. The attitude of the Prophet at that crucial period of his mission, and his great wisdom and his actions, are a light and a guide for us in times of persecutions and difficulties. For the first three years of his mission, the Prophet preached only to his family and his intimate friends. At the end of the third year he received the command of God to preach his mission in public. It was then the Quraish became actively hostile.

The Qureish were now alarmed that Muhammed’s preaching took a serious revolutionary movement and their power prestige were at stake. They accordingly decided upon an organized system of persecution. The converts of the first four years were mostly humble folk unable to defend themselves against oppression so the Prophet advised all who could possibly contrive to so to emigrate to Abyssinia. In spite of cruel persecution and emigration, the little company of Muslims grew in number. While the disciples of Muhammed were seeking safety in other lands from the persecution of their enemies, he himself stood bravely at his post and amidst every insult and outrage pursued his mission.

They tried to bring the Prophet to a compromise, offering to accept his religion if he would so modify it as to make room for their gods as intercessors with Allah, or to make him their king if he would give up attacking idolatry.

They came to the Prophet with promises of honor and riches, to seduce him from his duty; always the reply was full of life and full of faith: “I am neither desirous of riches nor ambitious of dignity nor of dominion; I am sent by God Who has ordained me to announce glad tidings unto you. I give you the words of my Lord; I admonish you. If you accept the message I bring you, God will be favorable to you both in this world and the next; if you reject my admonitions I shall be patient, and I leave God to judge between you and me”. The idolaters grew more and more embittered and they decided to ostracize the Prophet’s whole clan and protectors. With that purpose the, in the seventh year of the mission, towards the end of 616 A.D., formed an alliance against the descendants of Hashim and Muthalib. They bound themselves by a document, which was deposited in the Ka’ba to the effect that not to enter into any contract of marriage with the Hashimites or to buy and sell with them. Then, for three years the Prophet was shut up with all his kinsfolk in their stronghold which was situated in one of the mountains passes which run down to Mecca.

Towards the tenth year of the mission, 619 A.D. the ban was removed and the Prophet was again free to go about the city. In the year 620 A.D. at the season of the yearly pilgrimage, he came upon a little group of six men from Yathrib, a city more than 200 miles away from Mecca, who heard him gladly. On their return to Yathrib they told what they have seen and heard from the Prophet. At Yathrib there were Jewish tribes with learned rabbis, who had often spoken to the pagans of a Prophet soon to come among the Arabs with whom, when he came, the Jews would destroy the pagans as the tribes of ‘Aas’ and ‘Thamud’ had been destroyed of old for their idolatry.

When the man form Yathrib saw Muhammed (peace be upon him) they recognized him as the Prophet whom the Jewish rabbis had described to them. At the next season of pilgrimage a deputations came from Yathrib purposely to meet the Prophet. These deputies met the Prophet on the same spot which had witnessed the conversion of the former six. In that meeting they swore allegiance to the Prophet. This called in the history of Islam the first ‘pact of Al-Aqaba’, from the name of the hill on which the conference was held.

In the following year, 622 A.D. at the time of pilgrimage, seventy-three Muslims from Yathrib came to Mecca to vow allegiance to the Prophet and invite him to their city. At Al-Aqaba, they swore to defend him as they would defend their own wives and children. Then the Prophet selected twelve men of position form among them as his delegates. Thus was concluded the second pact of Al-Aqaba. These delegates are called Naqib’s. This event occurred in the month of DhulHijja. The news of this pact spread among the Quraish and they worried about the far reaching danger resulting in the effect of the conclusion of the great pledge. It did not take longfor the Quraish to realize the effects of the Prophet’s preaching and beginning of victory for his mission.

When the Quraish started a furious persecution of the Prophet and his disciples fearing a general massacre, the Prophet advised his followers to leave Medina silently. About a hundre families left Mecca, separately and proceeded to Medina where they were received with enthusiasm, in order not to warn the Quraish of the planned emigration. The Prophet, his devoted cousin Ali, and his intimate friend Abu Bakr were the only notable Muslims left in Mecca. Throughout this period the Prophet remained at his post; when the storm was at it height and might. Nobody could say whether he would leave Mecca or not. Before, he had ordered his friends to migrate to Abyssinia while he remained and preached his mission at the city. Thus the Quraish doubted his intention to leave Mecca. Even Abu Bakr asked permission from the Prophet to emigrate, but he aid to hi, ‘Do not hurry, or God may send with you a friend”.

The Quraish were fully aware of the influence and power the Muslims had in Medina, especially in the way of trade with Syria. They were also aware of the danger of the emigration of Muhammed, and his appearance among the Muslims of Medina.

The clouds were gathering fast. The matter had become one of life and death for the Quraish. An assembly of the Quraish met in town-hall, called ‘Dar-al-Nadwa’ and some chiefs of other clans were invited to attend. It was as a stormy meeting for fear, of the escape of the Prophet, had entered their hearts, imprisonment for life or expulsion from the city were debated in the meeting. Assassination was then proposed, but assassination by one man would have exposed him and his family to the vengeance of blood. Thus Abu Jahl suggested that a number of courageous men chosen from different families should strike simultaneously in Muhammed’sbossom with their swords, in order that the responsibility of the deed might rest upon all the tribes represented, so that enough to avenge his blood. This proposal was accepted and a number of youths were selected for the execution should be carried out. The Prophet was well aware of the murderous intention of the Quraish, but this did not prevent him from staying on Mecca until he received orders from God to migrate.

Receiving his Master’s order to emigrate to Yathrib, he went to Abu Bakr and asked him to be his companion on the journey. The venerable Abu Bakr most decidedly agreed and both were ready to leave, but were sure that the Quraish would prevent them. On the appointed date as the night advance, assassins posted themselves around the Prophet’s dwelling. They watched all night long, waiting to murder him when he should leave his house inthe early dawn. They were peeping now and then through a hole in the door to make sure that he still lay in his bed. In order, to keep the attention of the assassins fixed upon his bed, the Prophet asked Ali to put on the Prophet’s own green garment and lie on the bed.

He also told Ali to remain to Mecca for a few days so as to return the belongings of persons who had entrusted them to him for safe keeping. Then the Prophet departed from his house at a moment when the assassins were unaware of his intention. It is reported that a deep slumber over took the conspirators that moment and the Prophet walked among them. He went straight to the house of Abu Bakr and they walked together unobserved from the city of their birth, to a cavern in ‘Mount Thawr’, which is a few miles to the south of Mecca. They lay hide for three days in the cavern and all this time the Prophet and Abu Bakr were sustained by food brought to them at night by the daughter of Abu Bakr, Asma.

The news that Muhammed (peace be upon him) had escaped and the-would-be assassins had returned unsuccessful, aroused the fury of the Quraish and their whole energy. Their horsemen scoured the country searching everywhere for the two fugitives. A very handsome reward of a hundred camels was set upon the capture of Muhammed. Once or twice the danger appeared so near the cavern, as some of the search party including a few, of the selected youth, reached ‘Mount Thawr’ and saw the cavern. One of them said that ‘they may be in that cavern’, and some of them climbed to it and then saw a very old cobweb hanging over its entrance and also a pigeon had laid eggs just in the entrance. Seeing this, one of them said ‘by the look of that web it was there a long time before the birth of Muhammed’. Hearing the voice of the search party so close Abu Bakr approached the prophet and touched him muttering: “If one of them had only looked down at his feet, he would have seen us.” The Prophet looked at him and said in deep faith: “Abu Bakr, what you think of two, God is their third? Grieve not, God is with us”.

On the evening of the third day the Prophet and Abu Bakr left the cavern on two camels, procured with great difficulty, by unfrequented path, to Medina. But even here the ways were full of danger. The heavy price set upon Muhammed’s head had brought many horsemen from Mecca, and they were diligent in search of him. Once powerful horseman actually caught sight of the fugitives and pursued them. When the wild and fierce warrior approached them Abu Bakr cried: “We are lost”; but the Prophet said: “Be not afraid, God will protect us”. Upon nearing Muhammed and Abu Bakr, the horse of the idolater reared and fell. Struck with sudden awe he entreated the forgiveness of the Prophet and asked for an attestation of his pardo. This was given to him on a piece of bone by Abu Bakr. They continued their journey, without further molestation and disturbance, but under a severe June sun.

After three days journeying the Prophet and Abu Bakr reached the territories of Yathrib. They rested for four days at a village called Quba few miles south of Yathrib. He found there many Muslims, and there Ali also joined them, journeyed from Mecca on foot, hiding in the day time and travelling only at the night. In this period of days the Prophet built the first Mosque in the World. The BanuAmr bin Auf, to whom the village belonged, requested the Prophet to prolong hi stay amongst them. But the duty of the Prophet lay before him, and proceeded towards Yathrib, attended by a numerous body of his disciples. Thus the Prophet entered the city on Friday, 16th of Rabi Awwal (2nd July 622 A.D.).

Holy Quran referred to the event of Hijrah and the story of the cavern in the following verses:

It means: “If you do not help him, yet God has helped him already, when the unbelievers drove him forth the second of two, when two were in cave, when he said to his companion, ‘sorrow not; surely God is with us’. Then God sent down on him His ‘Sekina’ (calmness) and confirmed him with legions you did not see and He made the word of the unbelievers the lowest; and God’s word is the upper most; God is Almighty, All-Wise. Go forth, light and heavy! Struggle in God’s way with your possessions and yourselves; that is better for you, did you know”. (9:40-41)

A large number of Medinites waited outside the city to welcome the Prophet. With his advent to Medina a new era dawned upon city. The city of Yathrib is said to have been established by an Amalekite Chief, whose name it bore until the advent of Prophet. HenceforthYathrib changed its ancient name and was styled ‘Al-Medina Al-Munawwara’ (the illuminated city) or Madinat-el-Nabawi (the city Prophet). It is shortly called Al-Madins (the city). A mosque was soon built, in the erection of which the Prophet assisted with his own hands. The building was simple in form and structure, suited to the unostentatious religion he taught. The wall were of brick and earth and roof palm leaves. The Prophet preached and prayed standing on the bare ground or leaning against a palm tree and the devoted hearts around him beat in unison with his soul stirring words.

The two tribes of ‘Aas’ and ‘Khazraj’ forgetting their mortal feuds in the brotherhood of the faith, reallied wound the standard of Islam. He old divisions were affected and the noble designation of ‘Ansar’ (helpers) became the common title of all who had helped Islam in its hour of trial. The faithful group, who had forsaken their beloved birth place, received the name ‘Muhajireen’ (emigrant). In order to unite the ‘Ansar’ and Muhajireen in closer bonds the Prophet established a brotherhood between them, which linked them together in sorrow and happiness.

Al-Mi’raj – The Ascent of the Prophet

AL-MI’RAJ – THE ASCENT OF THE PROPHET

Al-Azhar Magazine – August 1972

The story of the ascent of the Prophet was a great miracle of his prophethood as well as good news foretelling a victory of his followers over their enemies. It is recalled that this historical event took place when the Prophet and his followers were facing cruel persecutions and threats from their opponents. The opposition to his preaching had grown rigid, the Prophet had little success among the people of Makkah.

What important event happened at this Night? This was the night of 27th Rajab in the 11th year of the prophet’s mission. In the ‘Night of Ascent’ the prophet was carried from the sacred Mosque of Makkah to the sacred Mosque of Jerusalem. The Holy Quran says:

سُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَسۡرَىٰ بِعَبۡدِهِۦ لَيۡلاً۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ إِلَى ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡأَقۡصَا ٱلَّذِى بَـٰرَكۡنَا حَوۡلَهُ ۥ لِنُرِيَهُ ۥ مِنۡ ءَايَـٰتِنَآ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ

ٱلۡبَصِيرُ

(Glorified be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far Distant place of worship the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer. ) (17:1)

The beginning of the verse by the word “Subhan” is indicating that the Cherisher of the universe is exalted over disability. Moreover, the Quran and the other Scriptures narrate the miraculous story of Prophet Solomon (peacebe upon him) with birds, Jinn and the throne of the Queen of Sheba etc. the Quran mentioned in the story of Solomon with the Queen of Sheba:

وَقَالَ فِرۡعَوۡنُ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلۡمَلَأُ مَا عَلِمۡتُ لَڪُم مِّنۡ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيۡرِى فَأَوۡقِدۡ لِى يَـٰهَـٰمَـٰنُ عَلَى ٱلطِّينِ فَٱجۡعَل لِّى صَرۡحً۬ا لَّعَلِّىٓ أَطَّلِعُ

إِلَىٰٓ إِلَـٰهِ مُوسَىٰ وَإِنِّى لَأَظُنُّهُ ۥ مِنَ ٱلۡكَـٰذِبِينَ (٣٨) وَٱسۡتَكۡبَرَ هُوَ وَجُنُودُهُ ۥ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ بِغَيۡرِ ٱلۡحَقِّ وَظَنُّوٓاْ أَنَّهُمۡ إِلَيۡنَا لَا

يُرۡجَعُونَ (٣٩) فَأَخَذۡنَـٰهُ وَجُنُودَهُ ۥ فَنَبَذۡنَـٰهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡيَمِّ‌ۖ فَٱنظُرۡ كَيۡفَ ڪَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ (٤٠)

(And Pharaoh said: O chiefs! I know not that ye have a god other than me, so kindle for me (a fire), O Haman, to bake the mud; and set up for me a lofty tower in order that I may survey the God of Moses; and lo! I deem him of the liars. (38) And he and his hosts were haughty in the land without right, and deemed that they would never be brought back to Us. (39) Therefor We seized him and his hosts, and abandoned them unto the sea. Behold the nature of the consequence for evil-doers! (40)) ( 27 : 38-40)

This story should remove such doubt about the Ascent of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). If a stalwart of the Jinn was able to bring the throne of the Queen of Sheba unto Solomon from Yemenbefore he could rise from his place, and one, with whom was knowledge of the scripture, has done such work before Solomon’s gaze returned unto him, then how it will be difficult to believe that the Lord of the Worlds carried His Choicest servant and His messenger by night from Makkah to Jerusalem?

But we have to know why this event took place at this particular time in the life of the prophet, and what was the significance of it, and exactly what happened during the space of one year the prophet lost his uncle, Abu Talib, who used to protect him from the aggression of the people of Makkah, and also his wife Khadija, who was a good wife to him, and who used to smooth him for the various difficulties he has to face from the people outside his house.

The loss of these two persons in one year caused a lot of sorrow for the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he called this year the ‘year of sorrow’. After the death of Abu Talib the people of Quraish harassed the Prophet more and more, and when he went home he did not find any one to make it easy for him as Khadija used to do. It was ahard time for the Prophet and it seemed there was no helper or protector in Makkah. Therefore he decided to go the town of “taif’ in which the tribe of “Thaqif” lived, to call them to Islam, hoping that he would find a helper from among them. He started the journey from Makkah to Taif with the servant, Zaid, and the Prophet kept his journey secret, because he did not know the people of Taif would accept his call or not. When he arrived at Taif he began by meeting the head of this tribe, discussing with them the matter of belief, and inviting them to the religion of Islam. But unfortunately their response was not so good, and he had to bear the hardship of receiving their refusal, he asked them to keep his discussion with them as a secret in order to keep the people of Mecca from knowing about this failure in Taif.

They would not agree to this, and their words to him were very rude. One man swore by Allah that if the Prophet Spoke the truth, then he was their superior and should not speak to them, because discussion between them would be unsuitable. But if on the other hand, the prophet was a liar, then he was the inferior of the tribesmen, and it was not suitable for the tribesmen to keep the company of such an inferior.

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) began to leave the town, the people ordered their slaves and naughty children to line the streets on either side of his way and to stone him as he walked, until the Prophet’s blood flowed and covered his heels. His servant Zaid, tried to protect him, but was unable. After the Prophet left the town he was in a most unhappy state, and sat dawn under the shade of some trees.

After this journey, it was clear there was no help at all from anyone on earth for the Prophet. When he came near to Makkah the news of the failure of his journey had got there before him, and he couldn’t enter Mecca without first sending a massage for a man called Al-Mutim Ibn Aswi, asking him to be his protector, as was the custom of the Arab tribes at that time. It was in this situation that the journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to Haven took place, to give spiritual aid to the Prophet, and to assure him that Allah was with him always, even if there was no one to help him from the creation; and at the same time, through this journey he saw many signs to show him the power of God, to give him more aid: as the Holy Quran says: “ to show him from among Our signs”

Some people are making doubts and suspicions about the nature of the Ascent, whether the Prophet was carried by night to Jerusalem when he was caught up through the heavens, by bodily and spiritually or it was a spiritual Ascent? In fact there could not be such a doubt about the ability and the command of the Lord of the universe. The Holy Quran says:

نَّمَآ أَمۡرُهُ ۥۤ إِذَآ أَرَادَ شَيۡـًٔا أَن يَقُولَ لَهُ ۥ كُن فَيَكُونُ (٨٢) فَسُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱلَّذِى بِيَدِهِۦ مَلَكُوتُ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ وَإِلَيۡهِ تُرۡجَعُونَ (٨٣)

(But His command, when He intendeth a thing, is only that he saith unto it: Be! and it is. (82) Therefor glory be to Him in Whose hand is the dominion over all things! Unto Him ye will be brought back. (83)) (36 : 82-83)

This journey took the place during part of one night, and was over before the dawn broke. On the next day, when the Prophet informed the people of Makkah about this journey they became enraged and the accused the Prophet calling him a liar, and they tried to use the strangeness of this event as proof to persuade people to give up the religion. They even tried to influence Abu Bakr with this: “Do you know what your friend has said? They asked.

“What did he say”? Said Abu Bakr.

“He claims that the he went to Jerusalem during the night and returned before Dawn, they said; A journey of one month each way! How can this be done in a few hours of the night?” Abu Bakr replied “if he said so, then he is telling the truth” the people of Makkah were astonished. “Do you believe him then”? They asked “why not” Abu Bakr answered. “I would believe more than that about him. I believe that the revelation came from heaven.”

On this journey, when the Prophet was taken up to the heaven he received the compulsory prayer, which Muslims performs five times a day.

The Quran describes both the sacred Mosque of Jerusalem and the Holy Mosque of Makah as ‘blessed one’. The Holy Mosque of Makkah is mentioned in the Quran as the first house built for mankind for worship.

At this moment of time, the Muslims all over the world celebrating the ‘Night of the Ascent’ of the Prophet, it is necessary that the celebration should remind them their connection with the Palestine and their obligation to this country.

The prophet classed the Mosques of Makkah, Jerusalem and Madina as of equal value to Muslims. Jerusalem is the second most holy city in Islam. It is considered next in importance to Makkah. Traditions stated that the Prophet ascended to heaven on his horse, ‘Al-Buraq’ from the Rock. His foot print may be seen still. There is a round hole in the middle of the Rock, when the Prophet’s body, it is said to be pierced its way upward and nearby is shown the saddle of Al-Buraq in the shape of several marble fragments.

Palestine is one the Holiest spots on the earth and dear to the hearts of all Muslims. The passing years only retained original place of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) in the faith of Islam, and increased the respect and reverence in which it is held by all Muslims.

Today Jerusalem appeals to the Muslims all over the world to perform their obligatory duty towards this holy city. It is now occupied and ruled by an enemy determined to irrevocable change its physical appearance and drive out its sons ruthlessly. These objectives are being pursued in many ways with the utmost speed. Now Jerusalem struggles to survive. Only the immediate concreted the world over will save Jerusalem from the demographic and spiritual obliteration by the hands of the Zionist Israelites.

The Surah Al-Isra of the Quran begins with the verses relates to the story of the prophet’s journey by night from Makkah to Jerusalem, when he was ascended to the heavens. This was followed by verses, relate to the story of Israelites:

وَءَاتَيۡنَا مُوسَى ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُ هُدً۬ى لِّبَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ أَلَّا تَتَّخِذُواْ مِن دُونِى وَڪِيلاً۬ (٢) ذُرِّيَّةَ مَنۡ حَمَلۡنَا مَعَ نُوحٍ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ

كَانَ عَبۡدً۬ا شَكُورً۬ا (٣) وَقَضَيۡنَآ إِلَىٰ بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ فِى ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ لَتُفۡسِدُنَّ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مَرَّتَيۡنِ وَلَتَعۡلُنَّ عُلُوًّ۬ا ڪَبِيرً۬ا (٤)

فَإِذَا جَآءَ وَعۡدُ أُولَٮٰهُمَا بَعَثۡنَا عَلَيۡڪُمۡ عِبَادً۬ا لَّنَآ أُوْلِى بَأۡسٍ۬ شَدِيدٍ۬ فَجَاسُواْ خِلَـٰلَ ٱلدِّيَارِ‌ۚ وَكَانَ وَعۡدً۬ا مَّفۡعُولاً۬ (٥) ثُمَّ رَدَدۡنَا

لَكُمُ ٱلۡڪَرَّةَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ وَأَمۡدَدۡنَـٰكُم بِأَمۡوَٲلٍ۬ وَبَنِينَ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ أَڪۡثَرَ نَفِيرًا (٦) إِنۡ أَحۡسَنتُمۡ أَحۡسَنتُمۡ لِأَنفُسِكُمۡ‌ۖ وَإِنۡ أَسَأۡتُمۡ فَلَهَا‌ۚ فَإِذَا

جَآءَ وَعۡدُ ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ لِيَسُـۥۤـُٔواْ وُجُوهَڪُمۡ وَلِيَدۡخُلُواْ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدَ ڪَمَا دَخَلُوهُ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ۬ وَلِيُتَبِّرُواْ مَا عَلَوۡاْ تَتۡبِيرًا (٧)

(We gave unto Moses the Scripture, and We appointed it a guidance for the children of Israel, saying: Choose no guardian beside Me. (2) (They were) the seed of those whom We carried (in the ship) along with Noah. Lo! he was a grateful slave. (3) And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Scripture: Ye verily will work corruption in the earth twice, and ye will become great tyrants. (4) So when the time for the first of the two came, We roused against you slaves of Ours of great might who ravaged (your) country, and it was a threat performed. (5) Then we gave you once again your turn against them, and We aided you with wealth and children and made you more in soldiery. (6)(Saying): If ye do good, ye do good for your own souls, and if ye do evil, it is for them (in like manner). So, when the time for the second (of the judgments) came (We roused against you others of Our slaves) to ravage you, and to enter the Temple even as they entered it the first time, and to lay waste all that they conquered with an utter wasting. (7))

(17 : 2-7)

After a year of the event of the Ascent, the prophet and his followers migrated to madina. It should be remembered that the Hijrah does not mean flight or migration. It was a clear division of the Prophet’s mission, and greeting to the new future of the true faith. The Muslims were promised by God to enter Makkah in peace and safety.

This entry was materialised soon and the Prophet entered his native city as conqueror without bloodshed and he proclaimed a general amnesty. Thus, the miraculous Ascent of the prophet and his migration were so arranged by Allah, the Almighty, for very good reasons.

The Importance of the Hijrah

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE “HIJRAH”

Al-Azhar Magazine – February 1973

The migration of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina was a very important event in the history of Islam. This happened in 622 A.D. Because of the importance of that journey it is regarded as the beginning of the Islamic calendar. The Prophet had spent thirteen years in Mecca calling its people to Islam, using every means he had to help them accept his call. But for their part, they used every means to stop him from continuing his call.

When they could find no other way to stop him they had a meeting in a conference hall in Mecca called ‘ Dar al nadwa’ to discuss the effective way to stop him from calling people to his mission. The people of Mecca decided in that meeting to kill the Prophet, and they quickly started to put this decision into action. When the decision to kill the Prophet was made by the people of Mecca he warned of it through a revelation from God.

God ordered him to leave Mecca and go to Medina on the night they planned to kill him. The Prophet started to prepare for this journey and he went to Abu Bakr one day at noon and informed him what they were to do. He instructed him to make arrangements for the journey and to find someone who had experience of the desert. The day before the night of the departure the Prophet called his cousin, Ali IbnAbiTalib and asked him to get ready to sleep in his house that night in place of the Prophet.

That night the Prophet went to his bed as usual and during the night the young men came and took their places standing outside his front door, their hands placed on their swords. They were ready to kill him as soon as the Prophet came out.

It is related that when the Prophet wanted to leave the house God caused these young men to feel so tired that they went to sleep while standing in their positions and Muhammed came out without their knowledge, reciting these verses of the Quran:

سٓ (١) وَٱلۡقُرۡءَانِ ٱلۡحَكِيمِ (٢) إِنَّكَ لَمِنَ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ (٣) عَلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ۬ (٤) تَنزِيلَ ٱلۡعَزِيزِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ (٥) لِتُنذِرَ

قَوۡمً۬ا مَّآ أُنذِرَ ءَابَآؤُهُمۡ فَهُمۡ غَـٰفِلُونَ (٦) لَقَدۡ حَقَّ ٱلۡقَوۡلُ عَلَىٰٓ أَكۡثَرِهِمۡ فَهُمۡ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ (٧) إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَا فِىٓ أَعۡنَـٰقِهِمۡ

أَغۡلَـٰلاً۬ فَهِىَ إِلَى ٱلۡأَذۡقَانِ فَهُم مُّقۡمَحُونَ (٨) وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنۢ بَيۡنِ أَيۡدِيہِمۡ سَدًّ۬ا وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ سَدًّ۬ا فَأَغۡشَيۡنَـٰهُمۡ فَهُمۡ لَا

يُبۡصِرُونَ (٩)

(Ya Sin. By the wise Quran, Lo! Thou art of those sent on a straight path, A revelation of the Mighty, the Merciful, that thou mayst warn a folk whose fathers were not warned, so they are heedless. Already hath the word proved true of most of them, for they believe not.Lo! We have put on their necks carcans reaching unto the chins, so that they are made stiff-necked. And We have set a bar before them and a bar behind them, and (thus) have covered them so that they see not.”) (36:1-9)

After the Prophet had left they noticed the time had passed and thought he had not yet come out of his house as he usually did. They were worried and looked through the keyhole. They saw someone sleeping in the bed. They decided to wait until day break as they didn’t know what happened when the sun rose they saw that the person asleep in the bed was not Muhammad ( peace be upon him) and they were filled with rage and went around looking for him everywhere, realising that their plot had failed. Then they started to search outside Mecca, offering reward of one hundred camels to anyone who could find the Prophet, alive or not.

News of the Prophet reached the people of Yathrib, and spread through the town, and he was expected there before his arrival. They wanted to be the first to see the Prophet, and each day they waited for him, and when he didn’t appear, they returned home at mid-day. One day, they had returned home at midday, thinking the Prophet would not arrive, when a Jew who had climbed a date tree saw the Prophet and his companions coming. He called to the people of Yathrib, telling them:”Your man has arrived”: This was a feast day among the people of Yathrib, when they saw the Prophet was with them.

From that day the Prophet settled in Medina and because of the importance of that day it is regarded as the beginning of the history of Islam. Immediately after Hijrah, the Prophet started the reorganization of the community. The first Muslim state was founded and governed by the Prophet. The city of Medina is said to have been established by an Amalekite chief, whose name it bore until the advent of Prophet. The Jews fled from Babylonian, Greek and Roman prosecutors or avengers entered Arabia and established in the northern part of Hijaz. The most important of the Jewish colonies were Banu-Nadirat Khaibar, the Banu-Kuraiza at Fidak, and the Banu-Kainuka near Medina itself. They had domineered over the neighbouring Arab tribes, and lived in fortified cantons, until the establishment of two Kahtanite Arab tribes, Aus and Khazraj, at Medina (Yethrib).

These two Arab tribes were quarrelling among themselves and the Jews were exploiting this situation for their own end. This was the condition of Medina, which is situated about 11 days journey (by foot) to the north of Mecca, when the Prophet reached the city. In order to develop a disciplined, model and living community the Prophet Muhammad established a harmonious equilibrium between the spiritual and the temporal. He taught a new system of law which dispensed imperial justice in which even the head of the state was as much a subject to it as any commoner, and in which religious tolerance was so great that non-Muslim inhabitants of Muslim countries equally enjoyed complete juridical, judicial, cultural and religious freedom. He paid more thought to the poor than to anybody else.

The Prophet Muhammad set a noble example and fully practised all that he taught to others. From the moment his advent into Medina the Prophet established a brotherhood between the ‘Ansar and Muhajireen’, and united them in closer bonds. The two tribes of Aus and Khazraj forgot their mortal feuds in the brotherhood of faith. They rallied round the standard of Islam and formed the nucleus of the Muslim community. The old divisions were effaced, and the members of the community, as a whole, linked together in sorrow and happiness.

For the better reorganization of the community as well as the development of the state, the Prophet invited the representatives of the inhabitants of the region : the Muslims and the non-Muslims, and suggested the establishment of a city-state in Medina. He endowed the city, with their ascent, with a written constitution, in which he defined the duties and rights both of the citizens and rights both of the citizens as the head of the state. The Prophet Muhammad was unanimously hailed as the head of the proposed city-state. It is recalled that this is the first written constitution of its kind in the world. The administration of justice became henceforward the concern of the central organization of the community of the citizens, and abolished the customary private justice. The document laid down principles of defence, foreign policy, social justice, and recognised definitely liberty of religion particularly for the Jews to when the constitutional act afforded equality with Muslims in all that concerned life in this world. The document recognised that the Prophet Muhammad would have the final word in all differences.

From the time Hijrah the Prophet stands in the full blaze of day upon whom the light of History has ever shown. The details of his life are carefully noted and handed down to succeeding generations. His purity and nobleness of character, his intense and earnest belief in God’s Mercy brought round him many a devoted heart. When the moment of the severest trial comes, like the faithful mariner, he remains steadfast at his post until all his followers are safe. The nobility of his character, his strong friendship, his courage, his earnestness and enthusiasm for the truth he came to preach had revealed the hero and master whom it was alike impossible to disobey and impossible not to love As the men of Medina came to know Muhammad (peace be upon him) they devoted themselves to him body and soul, and the enthusiasm caught fire and spread among the tribes of Arabia, till all the peninsula came to the feet of the Prophet of the God. Now we can see the preacher who mended with his own hands his clothes, and often went without bread, was mightier than the mightiest sovereigns of the earth. We can see him now the ruler of human hearts , supreme commander, chief lawyer, and yet without any self exaltation. He walks so humbly and so purely, that the people turn round and point: there goes ‘Al-Ameen’ – the true, the upright, the faithful- friend, and God’s peace and blessing be upon him.

The Truce of Hudeybiya and the Conquest of Mecca

The Truce of Hudeybiya and the Conquest of Mecca

Al-Azhar Magazine – December 1973

The conquest of Mecca in the 8th year after the Prophet’s migration to Medina decided the fate of whom of the Arabia, and opened its doors to Islam. The Truce of Hudeybiya, concluded between the Prophet and the people of Mecca in the 6th year of Hijrah, paved the way to this historic conquest. In this crucial period through which the Arab and Muslim nations are passing, let us have a glance on these two great historical events.

In the 6th year of Hijrah, the Prophet informed his companions that he was going to Mecca to Perform ‘Umrah’, and they accompanied him, bearing with them their sacrifice. They went with no intention of making war, but when the prophet and his followers approached Mecca they were refused entry, and the Meccan people stopped them performing their Umrah. Then the prophet sent one of his companions Osman ibn Affan to explain to the people of Mecca that they hadn’t come to make war, but to pay their respects to House of God. But when the messenger of the Prophet went to speak to the people they kept him there for three days, and it was feared that they had killed him. The prophet became angry and made a covenant with his followers. If this rumour was true, they must fight the people of Mecca because of this terrible deed. The followers of the Prophet promised not to return home until they knew what had happened to the Prophet , and this day is known in Islamic history as the Day of “ Ba’at al- Ridwan”.

It is mentioned in the Holy Quran that on this day they pleased God in the sincerity and their readiness to make sacrifices in order to seek the truth. Then the people of Mecca sent a delegation to the Prophet, returning at the same time his messenger. This delegation was sent to make an agreement with the people of Mecca and the Prophet. They agreed that the Prophet must not enter Mecca that year, but they would be permitted the following year. And the war must stop between both sides for ten years. Anyone who came to the people of Mecca from the side of the Prophet would not be allowed to return, and a further condition was that anyone wishing to form an alliance with the Prophet, could do so, and anyone of Muhammad’s followers could form an alliance with Mecca.

When the followers heard these conditions they were not at all happy. They had no wish to go back to Medina without performing their Umrah, to the House of God in Mecca and they were surprised that the Prophet should be expected to return anyone coming from Mecca back to them and yet not to have one of their people returned who had gone to the side of Mecca. They argued until Omar Ibn Al-Khathab became very angry and went to the Prophet, saying:

“Aren’t we right and they in wrong?” The Prophet answered:”Yes”. Then Omar said:“But why should we accept this humiliation?” The Prophet’s answer was:“I am the slave of God and His messenger. He will never let me lose the way”. Omar could not continue talking to the Prophet after this. He went to Abu Bakr and expressed his sorrow for this. Abu Bakr explained to Omar that even if they didn’t understand the benefits that this agreement would bring them then certainly the Prophet did know and they must follow him and put their trust in him.

The prophet saw the distress of his followers ad he himself was saddened by it. He spoke to his wife, Omm Salmah about it, but she advised him to hi sacrifice and start to slaughter the animals and that when they saw him doing this they would do the same. And this is what happened. Then they returned to Medina. Several events took place which made it clear the Prophet’s acceptance of the Agreement had been of great benefit to the Muslim side, because it was first time that the people of Mecca had accepted the existence of the Muslim community in Arabia, and other tribes could have an alliance with them if they wished, which had never been possible before.

The other point which Muslim people could not understand was why they should return anyone who came from Mecca, and not expect the Meccan people to return one from their side who had gone over to Mecca. The Prophet explained this point as follows: “if anyone leaves us and goes to Mecca we don’t want him back, because he is not with us. There will be no benefit in keeping anyone with us against his desire. But those who come from Mecca, when we return them they will find a way of securing freedom”. And this was so. Three people came from Mecca to the side of the Prophet. When the people from Mecca discovered this they sent a delegation to demand their return. The Prophet gave them the three people, and this caused a sad situation among the Muslim people. What happened when these three were being returned to Mecca? One of them, who was strong and brave killed one of the Meccans who had come to take them back, and the other two ran away. Then he and his friends stayed somewhere between Mecca and Syria. When anyone came by from Mecca they stopped him and took away his property and made it very difficult for the Meccan people to carry on their trade. At last the Meccans went to the Prophet, asking him not to return anyone who came from their side.

The Holy Quran, therefore, called this agreement a great victory, because of the results which came from it, and the verses of the Holy Quran were revealed on this occasion:

لَّقَدۡ رَضِىَ ٱللَّهُ عَنِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ إِذۡ يُبَايِعُونَكَ تَحۡتَ ٱلشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِى قُلُوبِہِمۡ فَأَنزَلَ ٱلسَّكِينَةَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ وَأَثَـٰبَهُمۡ فَتۡحً۬ا قَرِيبً۬ا

وَمَغَانِمَ كَثِيرَةً۬ يَأۡخُذُونَہَا‌ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمً۬ا . وَعَدَكُمُ ٱللَّهُ مَغَانِمَ ڪَثِيرَةً۬ تَأۡخُذُونَہَا فَعَجَّلَ لَكُمۡ هَـٰذِهِۦ وَكَفَّ أَيۡدِىَ ٱلنَّاسِ

عَنكُمۡ وَلِتَكُونَ ءَايَةً۬ لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَيَهۡدِيَكُمۡ صِرَٲطً۬ا مُّسۡتَقِيمً۬ا. وَأُخۡرَىٰ لَمۡ تَقۡدِرُواْ عَلَيۡہَا قَدۡ أَحَاطَ ٱللَّهُ بِہَا‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ ڪُلِّ

شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرً۬

“Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance unto thee beneath the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down peace of reassurance on them, and hath rewarded them with a near victory; And much booty that they will capture. Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. Allah promiseth you much booty that ye will capture, and hath given you this in advance, and hath withheld men’s hands from you, that it may be a token for the believers, and that He may guide you on a right path. And other (gain), which ye have not been able to achieve, Allah will compass it, Allah is Able to do all things.”

(48 : 18-21)

In the next year the Prophet came to Mecca with his companions to perform their umrah to the House of God. Some time earlier a battle had taken place between two tribes, one of them allied to the Prophet and the other allied to people of Mecca. According to the agreement, the Meccan people had no right to help the allies but they did not keep away from the battle. They helped their allies and killed the allies of the Prophet. The allies of the Prophet explained to him what had happened and it was clear that the people of Mecca had broken their promise. Therefore the Prophet ordered his companions to be ready and they went to Mecca.

They reached Mecca on 24thRamadan, in the eight year after Hijrah. When the Prophet approached Mecca the news of his coming had reached the people before him, and they were in a difficult position. But the Prophet made an announcement:

“Whoever comes to the Mosque is saved, and whoever stays at home and doesn’t fight is also saved; whoever comes to the house of AbuSufyan is also saved”. A large number of people did these things, but some of them insisted on fighting the Prophet and his companions. The battle did not last long and the Prophet and his companions entered Mecca.

When the Prophet came to the House of God he prostrated himself and thanked God for what He had done for him, and he went around the House of God for ‘Tawwaf’ as a greeting to the House and asked for the key of it, and went inside. He found the House full of idols. He broke all of them saying “ I bear witness that there is no deity than God”. He then prayed inside the House, and he ordered Bilal to stand on the roof and to call ‘Adhan’ for the first time in the history of Mecca. This was a sign that Mecca was in the hands of the Prophet, and the Meccan people were worried. They didn’t know what the Prophet was going to do with them, because they remembered what they had done against him over the last twenty years. They remembered how they had harmed him and insulted him, how they had tried to kill him and launched war against him, killed many of his followers and tried to destroy his town. All these things they remembered, and did not expect their lives to be spared. The prophet, however, had not come to kill them, but to guide them to the right path and they sat in rows around the House of God, waiting to discover their fate. Would they live or die? Then the prophet came out of the House of God, stood at the doorway and directed his face towards them, saying:

“Praise be to God who keeps His Promise and gives victory to His servants and helps His army and defeats their enemies”

Then he said: “O people of Mecca! What do you expect me to do with you?”

And they answered: “Something good. You are a noble brother and the son of a noble brother.”

And the Prophet said: “NO harm shall befall you this day. Allah will forgive you, He is Merciful Beneficent. Go, you are free”.

What did the Prophet do? This was the act of who wanted to guide people to the right path, not, to destroy them. He came as a messenger of God and his call was to allow peace to prevail in the world. And this was what made peace: he pardoned those who had harmed him. And they did not forget his grace upon them. The historians therefore call this day ‘The day of Mercy’. He even renounced the claim for the Muslim property confiscated by the pagans. This produced a great psychological change of hearts instantaneously. When a Meccan chief advanced with a fulsome heart towards the Prophet, after hearing this general amnesty, in order to declare his acceptance of Islam, the Prophet told him: “And in my turn, I appoint you the governor of Mecca! Without a single soldier in the conquered city, the Prophet returned to Madinah. The Islamization of Mecca which was accomplished in a few hours was complete. Immediately after the occupation of Mecca, the city of Taif mobilised to fight against the Prophet. With some difficulty the enemy was dispersed in the valley of Hunain, but the Muslims preferred to raise the siege of nearby Taif and use pacific means to break the resistance of this region.

Less than a year later, a delegation from Taif came to Madinah offering submission. But it requested exemption from prayer, taxes and military service, and the continuance of the liberty to adultery and fornication and alcoholic drinks. It demanded even the conservation of the temple of the idol Al-Lat at Taif. But Islam was not a materialist immoral movement; and soon the delegation itself felt ashamed of its demands regarding prayer, adultery and wine. The Prophet consented to concede exemption from payment of taxes and rendering of military service; and added: you need not demolish the temple with your own hands: we shall send agents from here to do the job, and if there should be any consequences, which you are afraid of on account of your superstitions, it will be they who would suffer.

This act of Prophet shows what concessions could be given to new converts. The conversion of the Taiffites was so whole hearted in a short while, they themselves renounced the contracted exemptions, and we find the Prophet dominating a tax collector in their locality as in other Islamic regions. In all these “wars”, extending over a period of ten years, the Non Muslims lost on the battlefield only about two hundred and fifty persons killed, and the Muslim losses were even less. With these few incisions, the whole continent of Arabia, with its million and more of square miles, was cured of the abscess of anarchy and immortality. During these ten years of disintegrated struggle, all people of the Arabian Peninsula and the southern regions of Iraq and Palestine had voluntarily embraced Islam.

Hijra – The Migration of the Vanguard of Islam

Hijra – The Migration of the Vanguard of Islam

Al-Azhar Magazine – February 1975

Islam requires a constant, unceasing struggle against evil. For such struggle it may be necessary to forsake home and unite and organise and join brethren in an effort to overthrow the fortress of evil. The duty of the Muslim is not only to enjoin good but to prohibit evil. According to the teachings of the Holy Quran the Muslims must shun evil company where they cannot put it down, but organise a position from which they can put it down.

The Vanguard of Islam – those in the first rank – are those who dare and suffer for the Cause, and never give up. The first historical examples are the ‘Muhajireen’(Those who forsook their homes in ‘Makka’ and migrated to ‘Madina’). The Prophet Muhammad (peacebe upon him) was the last to leave the post of danger. The Islamic calendar dates from the Hijra of the Prophet, which accomplished in the thirteenth year of his mission (622 AD).

In fact the Hijra was neither a flight nor an act of weakness. Referring to this wider meaning of Hijra the Holy Quran says:

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ تَوَفَّٮٰهُمُ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةُ ظَالِمِىٓ أَنفُسِہِمۡ قَالُواْ فِيمَ كُنتُمۡ‌ۖ قَالُواْ كُنَّا مُسۡتَضۡعَفِينَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ قَالُوٓاْ أَلَمۡ تَكُنۡ أَرۡضُ

ٱللَّهِ وَٲسِعَةً۬ فَتُہَاجِرُواْ فِيہَا‌ۚ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ مَأۡوَٮٰهُمۡ جَهَنَّمُ‌ۖ وَسَآءَتۡ مَصِيرًا (٩٧) إِلَّا ٱلۡمُسۡتَضۡعَفِينَ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ وَٱلنِّسَآءِ

وَٱلۡوِلۡدَٲنِ لَا يَسۡتَطِيعُونَ حِيلَةً۬ وَلَا يَہۡتَدُونَ سَبِيلاً۬ (٩٨) فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ عَسَى ٱللَّهُ أَن يَعۡفُوَ عَنۡہُمۡ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَفُوًّا غَفُورً۬ا

(٩٩) ۞ وَمَن يُہَاجِرۡ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ يَجِدۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مُرَٲغَمً۬ا كَثِيرً۬ا وَسَعَةً۬‌ۚ وَمَن يَخۡرُجۡ مِنۢ بَيۡتِهِۦ مُهَاجِرًا إِلَى ٱللَّهِ

وَرَسُولِهِۦ ثُمَّ يُدۡرِكۡهُ ٱلۡمَوۡتُ فَقَدۡ وَقَعَ أَجۡرُهُ ۥ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ غَفُورً۬ا رَّحِيمً۬ا (١٠٠)

It means:“Lo! As for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves, (the angels) will ask: In what way were ye engaged? They will say: We were opposed in the land. (The angels) will say : Was not Allah’s earth spacious that ye could have migrated therein? As for such, their habitation will be hell, and evil journey’s end; except the feeble among men, and the women, and the children, who are unable to devise a plan, are not shown a way. As for such, it may be that Allah will pardon them. Allah is Clement, Forgiving. Whose migrateth for the cause of Allah will find refuge and abundance in earth, and whose forsaketh his home, a fugitive unto Allah and His messenger, and death overtaketh him, his reward is then incumbent on Allah. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful” (4:97-100)

It is obvious that the duty of Muslims was to leave such places, even if it involved forsaking their homes, and join and strengthen the Muslim community among whom they could live in peace, and with whom they could help in fighting the evils around them. The above verses clearly indicate that they must organise a position includes not only local position, but moral and material position, and God’s earth is spacious enough for this purpose.

Another significance of the Hijra was that it leads to the formation of the nucleus of the new community at ‘Medina’. The Holy Quran says:

وَٱلسَّـٰبِقُونَ ٱلۡأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُهَـٰجِرِينَ وَٱلۡأَنصَارِ وَٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحۡسَـٰنٍ۬ رَّضِىَ ٱللَّهُ عَنۡہُمۡ وَرَضُواْ عَنۡهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمۡ جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ تَجۡرِى

تَحۡتَهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيہَآ أَبَدً۬ا‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ ٱلۡفَوۡزُ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ

It means: “And the first to lead the way, of the Muhajireen and the Ansar, and those who followed them in goodness – Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him, He hath made ready for them Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the supreme triumph.” (9: 100)

This verse mentioned all who took part in the foundation of the Pivot of the first Muslim community- the Muhajireen (those who migrated to Medina), the Ansar (the helpers, the citizens of Medina who invited them, welcomed them, and gave them aid) and then those who followed them in good deeds.

Under the magnetic personality of the Prophet the ‘Muhajireen’ and the ‘Ansar’ became like blood brothers, and they were so treated in matters of inhabitance during the period when they were cut off from their kith and kin. The Hijra was a voluntary exile. If a community suffers voluntary exile on account of persecution and oppression, and some its weaker brethren stay behind, holding fast to faith but not prepared for the higher sacrifice, the exiles have still a duty to help their weaker brethren. The exiles, being at open war against those who oppressed them, would be free to fight against such oppressors.

After his entry to the Medina the first step the Prophet took, was to build a mosque for the worship, and to educate the people. Also some houses for the accommodation of the emigrants were soon erected. When the Prophet and his Companions settled at ‘Yathrib’, this city became known as ‘Madina Munawwara’- the illuminated city – or in short, Medina – the city. It was then ruled by two Arab tribes namely ‘Aws’ and ‘Khazraj’. These two tribes were constantly quarrelling among themselves. After the Hijra, the tribes, forgetting entirely their old feuds, were united together in the Bond of Islamic fraternity. Their old divisions were soon effaced, and the ‘Ansar’ became the common title of all the Medinites. The Prophet, in order to unite both the Muhajireen and the Ansar in closer bonds, established between them a ‘brotherhood’ which linked them together as children of the same parents, and admitted them into the universal brotherhood of Islam.

The Hijra was a part of the Movement in itself. At all stages of the migrations – the early migration to Abyssinia, then to Medina, before the Prophet himself left his home in Makka, and went to Medina, and the migration of those who followed him – the approval or the advice of the Prophet was always obtained, either specifically or generally. The Hijra is entitled to the highest honour, in this world and hereafter, when it fulfils the two conditions: (1) it must be in the Cause of God, and (2) after such an oppression as forces the sufferer to choose between God and man, and good and evil.

The following verses refer to the necessary conditions of a meritorious and honourable Hijra:

وَٱلَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ فِى ٱللَّهِ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا ظُلِمُواْ لَنُبَوِّئَنَّهُمۡ فِى ٱلدُّنۡيَا حَسَنَةً۬‌ۖ وَلَأَجۡرُ ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ أَكۡبَرُ‌ۚ لَوۡ كَانُواْ يَعۡلَمُونَ

It means : “ And those who became fugitives for the cause of Allah after they had been oppressed, We verily shall give them goodly lodging in the world, and surely the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if they but knew.” (16:41)

The Life of the Prophet is the Exemplary Pattern of Conduct

The Life of the Prophet is the Exemplary Pattern of Conduct

Al-Azhar Magazine – April 1975

When we write or speak about the person or character of the Prophet Muhammad ( peace be upon him) we should keep in mind the following three facts :

Firstly, the Holy Quran declared, in clear verses, that the life of the Prophet is a beautiful pattern of conduct to the believers in all walks of human life.

Secondly, all trustworthy comentators and historians agree in that whatever he had said he could do, his disciples would straightaway have seen him do.

Thirdly, all of his sayings, practices, traits and characters have been authentically recorded and brought to light.

The Holy Quran says:

لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ۬ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلۡيَوۡمَ ٱلۡأَخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرً۬ا

(Verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembereth Allah much.) (33: 21)

So a true Muslim should follow, as much as possible, the pattern of the Prophet in all walks of life. The following glimpse will give illustration of the glorious pattern of his life, in personal, domestic and external affairs:

Simplicity: It is only right that, before bringing the simplicity that pervaded his life, I would like to quote the following comments on the Prophet by the famous English historian Mr Bosworth Smith ( in his book Muhammad and Muhammadanism)

“Head of the state as well as of the church, he was Caesar and peope in one; but he was pope without the pope’s pretentions, Caesar without the legions of Caesar. Without a standing army, without a fixed revenue, if every man had the right to say by a right divine, it was Muhammad, for he had all the powers without its instruments and without its supports…….. ‘I have seen’, said the ambassador sent to the triumphant Quraish at the despised exile at Medina, the Persian Chosroes and the Greek Heraclius sitting upon their thrones; but never did I see a man ruling his equals as does Muhammad”.

On this peak of the Powers, what was the extent of his simplicity in life ? His ordinary dress was of plain white cotton stuff. He never reclined at meals. He ate with his fingers. He lived in a low and homely cottage, built of unbaked bricks. He aides his wives in the household duties, mended his clothes, tied up the goats and even cobbled his sandals, but no approach was suffered to familiarity of action or speech. The Prophet must be addressed in subdues accents and in a reverential style. His word was absolute. Delegations and deputations were received with the utmost courtesy and consideration. Id he gave an alms, he would place it with his own hand in that of the petitioner. He was to all ease of access, yet he maintained the state and dignity of real power.

Moderation and Gentleness: The extreme gentle measure of the Prophet endeared him to all, and it is reckoned as one the Mercies of God. One of his titles is “A mercy to all creatures”. The Holy Quran says:

وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحۡمَةً۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(We sent thee not save as a mercy for the peoples.) (21 : 107)

At no time was this gentleness, this mercy, this ling suffering with human weakness, more valuable that after a disaster like that at ‘Uhud’. This quality, as always, bounds and binds the soul of countless people to him. Referring to the gentleness and the magnanimity which he had shown even in the critical circumstances like that of the ‘Uhud’ the Quran says:

بِمَا رَحۡمَةٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمۡ‌ۖ وَلَوۡ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ ٱلۡقَلۡبِ لَٱنفَضُّواْ مِنۡ حَوۡلِكَ‌ۖ فَٱعۡفُ عَنۡہُمۡ وَٱسۡتَغۡفِرۡ لَهُمۡ وَشَاوِرۡهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَمۡرِ‌ۖ فَإِذَا

عَزَمۡتَ فَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُتَوَكِّلِينَ

(It was by the mercy of Allah that thou wast lenient with them (O Muhammad), for if thou hadst been stern and fierce of heart they would have dispersed from round about thee. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs. And when thou art resolved, then put thy trust in Allah. Lo! Allah loveth those who put their trust (in Him). ) (3 : 159)

In the excise of the authority of State he was just and temperate. The long and obstinate struggle against the mission, maintained by the inhabitants of Mecca, might have induced its conqueror to mark his indignation, but he granted a general pardon; and nobly casting into oblivion the memory of the past, with all its mockery, its affronts and persecution, treated even the foremost of his opponents with gracious and even friendly consideration.

Cruelty, severness and harsh treatment were nowhere shown in the conduct of the Prophet. Not less marked was the forbearance shown to his severe enemies who for so many years persistently opposed hi mission and resisted his authority, nor the clemency, with which he received the submissive advances of tribes that before had been the most hostile, even in the hour of victory.

Honesty and Friendship: Besides the gentleness of his nature, the Prophet was known from his earliest life for his trustworthiness. Hence the title of ‘Al-Amin’. He was a faithful friend. If he turned in conversation towards a friend, he turned to but with his full face and whole body. In shaking hands he was not the first to withdraw his own, nor was he the first to break off in converse with a stranger, nor to turn away his ear. He loved all of his companions with the close affection of brotherhood, and they were ever reciprocated by a warm and self-sacrificing love.

In Domestic Life: The conduct of the Prophet in the domestic life was exemplary. As a husband his affection and devotion was entire. As a father he was loving and tender. In his youth, he lived a virtuous life, and at the age of 25 he married a forty year old widow. During her lifetime – for 25 years- the prophet was a faithful husband to her alone, that he passed all the years of youth and men-hood until she died three years before the Hijra.

After her death the Prophet married Sauda and Aysha, the latter of whom was his only virgin wife, and she was the daughter of his intimate and illustrious friend and helper, Abu Bakr. A remarkable feature was the consideration with which the Prophet treated even the most insignificant of his followers. Modesty, kindness, patience, self-denial and generosity pervaded his conduct and riveted the affection of all around him.

The Prophet disliked saying ‘no’. If unable to answer a petitioner in the affirmative, he preferred silence. If anything displeases him, it was, rather from his face than by his words that could discover. He never smote anyone but in the service of God, not even a woman or a servant. He was not known ever to refuse an invitation to the house even of the meanest, not to decline an offered present, however small.

His Habits In Disposition: He took in hand no work without bringing it to a close. If he had the choice between two matters, he would choose the easier, so that no sin accrued therefrom. He never took revenge excepting where the honour of God was concerned. He would say “I sit at meals as a servant does, and I eat like a servant for I really am a servant’. He hated nothing more than lying. Whenever he knew that any of his followers had erred in a matter, he would hold himself aloof from them to advise him. In his private and public dealings he was just. He treated friends and strangers, the rich and the poor, the powered and the weak, with acquity. He received the common people with affability and listened to their complaints. His temper was always under great control, so that even in the self-indulgent affairs of domestic life, he was kind and tolerant. His servant Anas said: “I served him from the time I was eight years old, and he never scolded me for anything though things were spoiled by me”.

His Cleanliness and Devotion: The Prophet was scrupulous as to personal cleanliness, and observed frequent ablutions. When seated by a friend he did not haughtily advance his knees towards him. He possessed the rare faculty of making each individual in a company think that he was the favoured guest. If he met anyone rejoicing at success, he would seize him eagerly and cordially by the hand. With the bereaved and afflicted, he sympathised tenderly.

Thorough and pious in all his actions, the Prophet used to stand for such a length of time at prayer that his legs would swell. When demonstrated with, and asked with exclamation, O Messenger! God had forgiven you all the faults of the past and future ones, as the Holy Quran stated:

إِنَّا فَتَحۡنَا لَكَ فَتۡحً۬ا مُّبِينً۬ا (١) لِّيَغۡفِرَ لَكَ ٱللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنۢبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ وَيُتِمَّ نِعۡمَتَهُ ۥ عَلَيۡكَ وَيَہۡدِيَكَ صِرَٲطً۬ا مُّسۡتَقِيمً۬ا (٢)

(Lo! We have given thee (O Muhammad) a signal victory, That Allah may forgive thee of thy sin that which is past and that which is to come, and may perfect His favour unto thee, and may guide thee on a right path,) (48: 1-2)

The Prophet’s reply was:“Shall I not behave as a thankful servant should?” He never entered a company but he sat down and rose up with motion of God. In the time of his greatest power he maintained the same simplicity of manners and appearance as in the days of his adversity.

At his death, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not leave a Dinar or Dirham nor anything but his grap mule and his arms. ‘Trust in God’ was his comfort and support in times of trial and despondency.

The Miraculous Journey of the Prophet from Mecca to Jerusalem

The Miraculous Journey of the Prophet from Mecca to Jerusalem

Al-Azhar Magazine – August 1975

The sacred Mosque of Mecca was the first house of worship in history, built for mankind on the earth, as the Holy Quran says:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيۡتٍ۬ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِى بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكً۬ا وَهُدً۬ى لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(Lo! the first Sanctuary appointed for mankind was that at Mecca, a blessed place, a guidance to the peoples;) (3 : 96)

This mosque was rebuilt by Abraham and his son Ismael.

About Al-Aqsa the Quran says “ … Al- Aqsa Mosque, the precincts of which We have blessed….”. Al- Aqsa Mosque was built by Jacob, renewed by David, and completed by Solomen. It is reported that Abu Dharr one asked the Prophet: “ What is first mosque built on earth? The Prophet answered ; “ The sacred Mosque ( of Mecca)”. Which came next ?“ Al-Aqsa Mosque ( of Jerusalem)”. How long was there between them? “ Forty Years”. According to Imam Zarkashi, Solomen only renewed Al-Aqsa Moosque. It was Jacob, Issac’s son, who established it after Abraham and Ismael had rebuilt the Ka’aba at Mecca.

The Night of 27th of Rajab, in the 11th year of the Prophet’s mission was a notable turning point in the history of Islamic Call. In that night the Prophet was carried from the “ Sacred Mosque” of Mecca to the “ Sacred Mosque” of Jerusalem, and hence he ascended to heaven. This event, known in the history of Islam as “ Al- Isra-wal-Mirag’ ( the night Jounrey and the Ascent), was a great miracle of the Prophet as well as good news for telling a victory of Muslims over their enemies. It also closely connected the Al-Aqsa Mosque of Jerusalem with the sacred mosque of Mecca. The Holy Quran refers to this event:

سُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَسۡرَىٰ بِعَبۡدِهِۦ لَيۡلاً۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ إِلَى ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡأَقۡصَا ٱلَّذِى بَـٰرَكۡنَا حَوۡلَهُ ۥ لِنُرِيَهُ ۥ مِنۡ ءَايَـٰتِنَآ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ

ٱلۡبَصِيرُ

(Glorified be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far Distant place of worship the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer.) (17:1)

This Quranic verse refers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque as being closely connected with two very important occasions in Islamic history: the Night Journey of the Prophet from Mecca to Jerusalem, and his Ascent to heaven. In the Night Journey Al Aqsa mosque was the termination and in the ascensions it was the beginning. The two journeys closely related to God’s mission to people, to the rise of the bright light of religious guidance and to the struggle of Apostles for worshipping One God the Creator of the Universe.

We have seen in the above Quranic verse that God has blessed precincts of Al-Aqsa Mosque. This blessing is manifested by religious and material appearances; being the place of worship of Prophets and their Qiblah, and being abundant in fertile soils, in Rivers and orchards. On his journey to Al-Aqsa Mosque, as it quoted in the tradition, the Prophet went past the Mount Sinai where God spoke with Prophet Moses and offered a prayer. He also went past the Bethlehem the birth place of Christ and offered a prayer there. Reaching Jerusalem he found Abraham, Moses and Christ among a crowd of Prophets and led them in pray. Then he ascended to heaven where he witnessed some of the great signs of his Lord.

It was, therefore necessary that the celebration of the Night of Ascent should remind the Muslims all over the world the significance of this event in the history of Islamic Call, and their connections with Mecca and Jerusalem, and their obligations to these holy places. For the first three years of his mission, the Prophet preached only to his family and to his intimate friends. At the end of the third year he received the Command of God to preach his mission in public.

The Quraish and the enemies of the Prophet were now alarmed that his preaching took serious revolutionary movement and their power and prestige were at stake. They accordingly decided upon an organised system of persecution. Inspite of cruel persecution and threats, the little company of Muslims grew in number. It was then the enemies became actively hostile. At the season of the pilgrimage they posted men on all roads leading to Ka’ba to warn the tribes against the Prophet who was preaching in their midst. In order to prevent the Prophet from his duty they tried to bring him to compromise, offering to accept his religion if he would so modify it as to make room for their gods as intercessors with Allah. They also offered to make him their king if he would give up attacking idolatry. His reply was, always, full of life and full of faith, saying : “I am neither desirous of riches nor ambitious nor of domination; I am sent by God who has ordained me to announce glad tidings onto you. I give 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 the next. If you reject my admonitions I shall be patient and I leave God to judge between you and me”.

The bitterness of Idolatry was increased by the firmness of the Prophet and the refusal of his uncle Abu Talib to stop his protection to Muhammad ( Peace be upon him ). As well as by the conversion of Umar, one of their stalwarts. The Quraish were now decided to ostrasize the Prophet’s whole clan and protectors. With that purpose they, in the seventh year of the mission, towards the end of 616 A.D, formed an alliance against the descendants of Hashim and Muttalib. They bound themselves by a document which was deposited in the Ka’ba, to affect that not to enter into any contract of marriage with the Hashimytes or to buy and sell with them. Then, for three years the Prophet was shut up with all his kinfolk in their stronghold in one of the mountain passes which run down to Mecca.

The tenth year of his mission is called in the history of Islam as the ‘Year of Mourning’ ( Aam al-huzn) for loss of his venerable protector Abu Talib, and his cherished wife Khadijah. Thus the Prophet lost in Abu Talib the guardian of his youth who had hitherto protected him against enemies as he lost in Khadijah his most encouraging companion.

With saddened heart, yet full of trust, he determined to turn to some other field to preach his mission. Accompanied by his faithful servant. Zaid, he went to ‘Thayef’. He spoke to the people about his mission. They rejected his words and they drove him from the city; and the rabble and the slaves followed, hooting and pelting him with stones. Wounded and bleeding footsore and weary he sat under the shade of some palm trees.

Such was the crucial condition of that period of the Prophet’s mission when the most remarkable event of the ‘Night Journey and Ascension’ took place. This miraculous journey was so arranged by Allah the Almighty for very good reasons; it was intended to steady the Prophet in response to his prayer and supplications, as well as to foretell the beginning of a bright future.

Having returned to Mecca from these two journeys, the Prophet went to Quraish in the morning and told them the story. Some of them believed, and some disbelieved. When people went to Abu Bakr and told him the news, he said to them: “By God, if he says so, then its true”. He then headed for the Prophet and said: “ O Prophet of Allah, have you told these people that you visited Jerusalem over night ?”. The Prophet replied:“ Yes. Then Abu Bakr, who had visited it before asked the Prophet to describe it to him. Whenever the Prophet described anything to him, Abu Bakr said: “ That is true, I testify that you are the messenger of Allah”. On that blessed journey, the prayer which is the main pillar of the religion was ordained.

We find the above mentioned quotations of the Quranic verses and the Traditions of the Prophet that Jerusalem is one of the jolliest spots on the earth and dear to hearts of all Muslims. This holy city and its shrines remained under the care of the Muslims till Palestine was occupied by the British during the first world war in 1915.

As regards the significance of the prayer in Al-Aqsa Mosque, AnasIbn Malik related that the Prophet said: A Man’s performance of prayer in his own house counts as one prayer, his prayer in the Mosque counts as twenty five prayers. If he performs it in a congregational mosque, it counts as five hundred prayers. If he perfomrs it in Al-Aqsa Mosque it counts as five thousand prayers and if he does it in My mosque ( at madina) it counts as fifty thousand prayers but if he perfoms it in Sacre Mosque ( at Mecca) it counts as a hundred thousand prayers. The Prophet is quoted by Mymoonah, in reply to her question, if it is ordained for Muslims to travel to Al-Aqsa Mosque ; as saying; “ Go to it and pray there in, otherwise send oil with which to light its lamp”.

Muslimsare deeply attached to this great spiritual and religious monument of Jerusalem for those glorious meanings, and are accustomed to give it due regards and care throughout the ages. The reverence paid to it by muslims is not intended for worldly an imperialistic aim. Their purpose is the propogation of the principles connected with this sacred spot as well as the principles of justice, right, freedom, and the establishment of peace and Concord under the aegis of the noble principles of the religion of God. Since the Islamic conquest, the Muslims have been, and are still keen to liberate and defend this Holy city against all aggressors. The Holy Prophet is quoted by Abu Huraira as saying: “Pilgrims journeys are to be made only to three mosques: my Mosque, the Sacred Mosque and Al-Aqsa mosque”.

The Al-Aqsa mosque was the first Qibla of Muslims and remained so for 16 months after which the Prophet received the revelation from God to turn their faces in prayer towards the Ka’ba. Thus we see that Jerusalem is closely connected with the history, the precepts, the most important events and the sacred things of Islam.