THE LIFE OF THE LAST MESSENGER
-MUHAMMAD PEACE BE UPON HIM-
There was deep ignorance, disorder, disquiet and aberration in Arabia when Muhammad -peace be upon him- was sent as a mercy for all worlds in 6th century. Wildness, malice and enmity had reached its peak.
Arab people had been divided into various groups and clans. In those days there were no divine laws to improve their states and conditions. Internal wars always existed because of blood feuds between tribes. They raided, slew men and took captive the children and the women. There were some savage families who buried their girls alive and they did not feel any grief about this. Widows of a dead man were farmed out like animals between his heirs.
Most of the people were illiterate. They were worshipping idols and statues. Mecca had become the center of idolatry. There were 360 idols in the Kaaba. Religions such as Christianity, Judaism and fire-worship had been spread out in Arabia.
Almighty Allah has described them with perversion in His holy verse:
“Remember Him that gave you guidance, although before you were of those gone astray.” (Baqara: 198)
Not only Arabs, but all humanity, was in a deep material and moral grief; all the world was screaming with oppression, ignorance, poverty and despotism.
In short, a savior was needed for the improvement of the world. That real guide must have been a Messenger charged by Almighty Allah. All hopes turned towards the last Prophet who was announced by Christianity and Judaism. His arrival was awaited with great impatience.
THE HOUSE OF ALLAH
Mecca was the center of Islamic invitation because Kaaba was the reason of the pilgrimage. During centuries it was visited since Abraham -peace be upon him- and was a fountain of guidance and light.
It is stated in the holy verse:
“And (remember) when Abraham said ‘O my Lord! Make this city one of peace and security and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols.” (Abraham: 35)
Almighty Allah has accepted the entreaty of Abraham -peace be upon him-, made that city, Mecca, secure and prevented it from chaos, pillage and cruelties.
He enjoins in His Holy verse:
“And by this inviolate city...” (Tin: 3)
At last, Allah, the Exalted, had granted the light source; the Muhammadean sun had risen and the awaited savior had been sent.
53 years before the Hijrah, on the 20th of April in 571, the twelfth day of Rabi al-Awwal, on a Monday night towards morning, Muhammad -peace be upon him- was born in Mecca.
His father Abdullah had died two years previously. His mother Aminah kept him with her for a while, then she gave him to a wetnurse. She took him back when Muhammad -peace be upon him- was four years old and they lived together for two years.
Aminah took her son and maid Umm-u Eymen with her and went to Madina to visit the family’s uncles and the grave of Abdullah. They stayed there a month. On their way back to Mecca, however, Aminah suddenly became ill and died, at Abwa. She was buried in that village.
Ummu Eymen returned to Mecca with the boy and delivered him to his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib.
Muhammad -peace be upon him- stayed two years with his grandfather. When Abdul-Muttalib died he went to live with his uncle Abu Talib.
Muhammad -peace be upon him- has been raised under the personal protection of Almighty Allah. Allah has protected him with splendid miracles, great causes and deep wisdom; He has declared in His Holy verse:
“Verily you are in Our sight.” (Tur: 48)
Muhammad -peace be upon him- spent his childhood under his uncle’s compassionate eye. Abu Talip brought his nephew up preventing him from the evils of the era of ignorance. Almighty Allah has created him of a nature disliking all kinds of evilness, instead gathering all goodness and virtue to him. It is because of this that he was called Al-Amin (the trust worthy).
He never drank intoxicants. He neither worshipped idols nor participated in ceremonies organized for idols. He did not eat meats of beasts sacrificed for idols and in the name of idols, either.
When the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- was twelve years old, the Quraysh prepared goods to sell in Damascus. Abu Talib decided to go with that caravan and took his nephew along.
The convoy stayed for the night at Busra, between Damascus and Jerusalem after an exhausting journey, near the cell of a Christian monk called Bahira.
Although the Quraysh caravan had passed many times along this same direction, Bahira never paid it any attention nor did he talk to them. However this time he saw a cloud over shadowing Muhammad -peace be upon him- in the caravan. He also perceived the branches of a tree below, which he sat, bending on him. As a result of this, he sent an invitation to the members of the caravan to come and eat with him. The Quraysh were surprised because they often passed by and Bahira had never invited them before. Because he was young, they left Muhammad -peace be upon him- with the convoy. But Bahira insisted that he should join them; and attentively watched him all through the meal. They talked for a while. What Bahira received as answers to his questions made him certain that this child was the awaited Prophet. He also looked at his back and saw the Prophethood seal.
Then he said to Abu Talib:
“This boy will be the last Messenger. Amongst Damascus Jews there are soothsayers recognizing his characteristics and signs. If they identify him, they will betray him. Do not bring him to Damascus.”
The advent of the last Messenger and his qualities had been declared in the Torah and the Gospel. Because of this the Jewish and Christian religious scholars knew the qualities; recognized him as they knew their sons and awaited his arrival. In particular, the Jews had learned those qualities very well; if they had seen someone fitting those characteristics, they would have recognized him very easily as the Prophet mentioned in their books.
MARRIAGE WITH KHADIJAH:
Khadijah, a respected and wealthy woman of Quraysh, was involved in trade. She managed her wealth and secured the services of men to do the actual trading of her goods.
When Abu Talip heard that she would send a caravan to Damascus, he recommended his nephew to take her goods and trade with them. When Khadijah heard about this, recognizing Muhammad’s reputation for honesty and truthfulness, she agreed with pleasure.
The trade was very successful and Muhammad -peace be upon him- made more profit for Khadijah than she had ever received before. Khadijah became grateful as a result of this profit. But she, in reality, admired the honesty and kindness of this great man. At last, her inner admiration changed into love. With the consent of their families, Muhammad -peace be upon him- and Khadijah were married.
During his pre-prophethood life, as well as in the most difficult early days of the prophethood, she was his closest supporter, helper and faithful life partner. She gave love, tenderness, strong faith and reason to Muhammad -peace be upon him. She shared his grief. She stood up to every distress and bore any discomfort.
Muhammad -peace be upon him- would often leave Mecca, and go to a cave in Mount Hira. He liked to be alone there, away from all the thoughts of the world. Almighty Allah was preparing him to fulfill great duty.
When Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- turned 40 years old, the beginning of the prophethood was with true dreams.
True dream means a sincere dream, which is away from Satan’s seduction.
At last, the day Muhammad -peace be upon him- would be the last Messenger arrived. He had retreated in the cave in Hira in the month of Ramadan, 640. In the middle of the night, when he was quietly contemplating, the Archangel Gabriel -peace be upon him- came to him and said “Read.” The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- replied “I can not read.” He was illiterate. At this, the angel took him in his arms and pressed him until it was almost too much to bear. He then released him and said again “Read.” “I Cannot” replied the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- at which the Archangel embraced him again. For the third time the Archangel commanded him to read, but still he said he could not and was again embraced. On releasing him this time, however, the Archangel Gabriel -peace be upon him- read these holy verses:
“Read! In the name of your Lord and Cherisher, Who created man out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood. Read! And your Lord is most Bountiful; He who taught (the use of) the pen, taught man that which he knew not.” (Alaq: 1-5)
The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- repeated these verses, just as the Archangel had said them. When the Archangel was sure Muhammad -peace be upon him- knew them by heart, he went away.
By the first revelation “Read”, Muhammad -peace be upon him- became a Prophet. At that time he was not charged with delivering Islam to the people. Then by the re-beginning of revelation with Sura Muddaththir’s verses Messengership began. He was entrusted with this new religion for the deliverance of humanity and the rules of past Scriptures became abrogated.
Allah, the Exalted, had not yet ordered open invitation to Islam.
Khadijah was the first to believe the Prophet -peace be upon him- and accept as true what he brought from Allah. Khadijah strengthened him, helped him spread his Message and stood up to the people who were against him.
The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- began to speak secretly of Allah’s message to those who were closest to him and whom he could trust.
Khadijah was the first woman and Ali, the son of his uncle Abu Talib, was the first young man to embrace Islam. Shortly after they were joined by Zayd ibn Harithah, a slave freed and adopted by the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him. The news of Muhammad -peace be upon him- being the Prophet reached an honest, wise and respected merchant of Mecca called Abu Bakr. He knew Muhammad -peace be upon him- well and believed he could never lie, so he went to find out for himself if the story was true. The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- told him that he had indeed been sent by Allah to teach everyone to worship the one true Allah. On hearing this from the Prophet’s own lips, Abu Bakr knew it to be the truth and became a believer. Later, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- was reported to have said that everyone he ever invited to accept Islam showed signs of disbelief and doubt, except Abu Bakr who when he was told of it, did not hold back or hesitate.
Because of his wisdom, honesty and kindness, people had always turned to Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- for advice. He was, therefore, a man of some influence and through him many people came to Islam.
THE SUMMARY OF THE FIRST
Although Islam was spread secretly, the Muslims were under the observation of polytheists. During the spread of Islam in Mecca, Islam began to be talked about amongst all people.
When polytheists heard about Islam, they did not consider it important. They supposed the Muslims were people abstaining from worshipping idols and were those belonging to Abraham’s -peace be upon him- religion.
Islam was only revealed to those who were able to accept it as the main targets were kept secret.
It was the fourth year of Prophethood.
Almighty Allah ordered His Generous Messenger to preach Islam openly and explain the truth of Islam:
“Therefore proclaim openly that which you are commanded and turn away from polytheists.” (Hijr: 94)
As a result of this, the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- started performing the commandment of his Lord. He recited the Holy Qur’an loudly in the Kaaba. He was inviting to Islam everybody from different social status, whether slave or free; even those visiting Mecca.
Few accepted this invitation and most men rejected it due to their ignorance, selfishness, and loyalty to their ancestor’s religion.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- tried to preach the new religion to not only his family and his tribe but also to other Meccan families, other tribes and all Arab people. During the ten years until the Migration, he was in Mecca. He kept on, without hesitation, spreading the Light summoning all men to salvation.
OPPOSITION AND TORTURE:
Although Meccan polytheists seemed to be quiet, they could not stomach the dying out of their ancestor’s religion, traditions and customs.
When the below verse was revealed they felt great rage:
“Certainly! You (disbelievers) and that which you are worshipping now besides Allah, are (but) fuel for Hell. (Surely) You will enter it.” (Anbiya: 98)
Thus began a ruthless struggle between Islam and disbelief.
The polytheists decided to take some precautions in order to prevent Islam from spreading.
First, they went to his uncle, Abu Talib, who had promised to protect Muhammad -peace be upon him. They told him to ask the Prophet -peace be upon him- to stop attacking their gods. After a time they saw that there was no change.
Polytheists were insulting to Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- by uttering that he was a poet, magician, soothsayer, mad and to try to remove the love of the believers towards their Prophet. They spread those lies not only in Mecca, but also in other countries where they went for trade.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- was openly and loudly reciting the verses of the Holy Qur’an to enlighten the men around him. The polytheists, who could not put up with hearing Allah’s words, used tactics to prevent the Holy Qur’an from being recited, heard, and understood.
Abu Cahil (Father of lgnorance) said: “Make noise in front of Muhammad when he reads Qur’an so that he get confused.”
They knew that the Holy Qur’an was and is an influential word and that the listeners would absolutely be affected by it. Because of this when the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- began to read the Holy Qur’an and preach Islam, they tried to scatter the listeners by crying, whistling, and making noise.
Almighty Allah speaks about their behaviors in the Holy Qur’an:
“The unbelievers say: ‘Listen not to this Qur’an, but talk at random in the midst of its (reading), that you may gain the upper hand.” (Fussilat: 26)
Each day in Mecca the number of Muslims was increasing, many unexpected men were honored with Islam. Whenever they saw a man becoming Muslim, they were tailing after him, annoying him wherever he went, and lying about him to people. They were stupefying new Muslims with nonsensical questions, wanting them to prove something and then they were permanently objecting. Their aim was to reconvert them to disbelief.
They were mocking at believers in order to belittle them. This disgusting wickedness was a great desire for them. On the other hand, the believers had nothing to do but to be patient. Although the Muslims wanted disbelievers to find the right way, guidance and saved from wrong way, the Meccan polytheists were always deriding the faith, goodness, and the worship of the believers.
When polytheists understood that they were unsuccessful, they concluded they should torture the Muslims and they began to act more and more severe and cruel against them.
Abu Cahl (The father of ignorance), when he heard a wealthy and noble man became Muslim, would scold him and threaten him with the harming of his wealth, goods and relatives. If the new Muslim was poor, he hit and tormented him.
The one who was most subjected to this torture was Muhammad -peace be upon him. At first, because he was under his uncle Abu Talip’s protection, they did nothing. But after a time, they started uttering about him “mad, soothsayer, poet, magician.” They did not abstain from insulting or harming him. Whenever he passed along polytheists or met them, every kind of affront and mockery was directed to him. His house was stoned, dirt was thrown at him, and his path was strewn with thorns and filth. He was ridiculed on every occasion. Sometimes the wicked people assembled in the streets and pointed at him slightingly as he passed.
Once, while he was performing regular prayer at the Kaaba and during prostration, Abu Cahl put camel tripe on his back. Disbelievers burst out laughing. Another time, while he was worshipping beside Kaaba, one of the disbelievers attacked trying to choke him by winding his cloth around his neck but Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- saved him.
Bilal-i Habeshi -may Allah be pleased with him- was the slave of Umayya bin Halef, a wild enemy of Islam.
Amongst his twelve slaves, he loved Bilal very much; but when he heard Bilal became Muslim, he beat him venting his anger and fury. Sometimes a rope was put around his neck and street boys were made to drag him through the streets and even across the hillocks of Mecca. At times he was subjected to prolonged deprivation of food and drink. Each day, he was bringing Bilal -may Allah be pleased with him- to Batha stream stripping him in the parching heat of the sun, laying him on his back, he put a big rock on Bilal’s chest and covered him with hot sand. Then forced him to abandon Islam and worship the idols Lat and Uzza. However Bilal said nothing but “Ahad... Ahad...” that is “Allah is the One... Allah is the One...” and stood up with his faith to those who tormented him.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- was very sad of the cruelties and tortures imposed on him.
One of the important goodness of Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- was to buy and free slaves in order to save them from their tormentors. Bilal -may Allah be pleased with him- was one of those bought by Abu Bakr.
Mus’ab bin Umeyr -may Allah be pleased with him- was one of the first Muslims. Because his mother was very rich, his lifestyle was luxurious. By the invitation of Allah’s Messenger to Islam -peace be upon him- he became Muslim. But he was detained in a room by his own mother when she heard he had become Muslim. She starved him for days and then shut him out of her house. His slender body became wrinkled after that event.
Yasir -may Allah be pleased with him- was from Yemen. Due to this he had no protector in Mecca. Disbelievers tied his legs to two different camels, they pushed them to opposite directions and he was broken into pieces. He was the first martyr for the sake of Islam. His wife Sumeyye -may Allah be pleased with her- also was killed by Abu Cahl because of her stinging words against polytheists. She was the first martyr among the Muslim women. They preferred death instead of uttering an unbelief word.
Another victim of the high-handedness of the Quraysh was Ammar, the son of Yasir. Both had no influential tribe to back them since they were not the original inhabitants of Mecca. Ammar too was made to lie on the burning sand and was beaten so severely that on occasions, he became senseless. Sometimes he was tossed upon embers. Ammar -may Allah be pleased with him- along with his other companions, had retained to the end of his life the scars of wounds inflicted during this period.
Habbab bin Eret -may Allah be pleased with him- was amongst the first Muslims. Disbelievers were applying all kinds of torture to him. They pulled his hair as to break his neck. They laid him down on a glowing bed of coals. Then a man got on his chest. This torment lasted until the coals went out.
The list of those who were subjected to torture in the path of Allah is long and grievous. In reality, almost all of the first Muslims were tormented. Disbelievers tormented not only those poor and without relatives but also those who were wealthy.
While those torments were being executed, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- was reciting heart strengthening holy verses being revealed to him:
“Alif Lâm Mim. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe’ and will not be tested.” (Ankabut: 1-2)
Test is the only measure to differentiate the righteous from the liar. It exposes the truthfullness of the righteous and the lies of the liars.
“And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known those who are true and will certainly make known those who are liars.” (Ankabut: 3)
Almighty Allah has instructed us to be patient with the cruelty and to be steadfast on faith.
OF ALLAH’S MESSENGER
-PEACE BE UPON HIM-
The leaders of Quraysh became angry again when they saw that the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- was going ahead with his teaching in spite of the tortures and oppression. A group of them went to his uncle, Abu Talib, who had promised to protect him. They told him to ask the Prophet to stop attacking their gods and their way of life, and in return they would let him do as he wished with his religion.
After a time they saw that there was no change, so they went back to Abu Talib and this time they told him that if he did not stop his nephew, they would fight against them both. Abu Talib was very upset by this quarrel among his people, but he could not break his word to his nephew. He sent someone to the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- and told him what had happened, saying: ‘Spare me and spare yourself; do not put a greater burden on me than I can bear.’
Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him- thought that his uncle might abandon him and that he would no longer have his support, but nevertheless he answered, ‘O my uncle, by Allah, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left in return for my giving up this cause, I would not give it up until Allah makes Truth victorious, or I die in His service.’
Then he wept.
Abu Talip was deeply moved by this answer. He told the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- that he would support him for as long as he lived and encouraged him to go on spreading Allah’s message.
When the disbelievers failed to influence the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- by means of his uncle, they directly talked to Muhammad -peace be upon him. His other uncle, Utba bin Rabia, talked to him:
“O my nephew! We love you all along, recognize as a wise man and you did not do any badness to us. Your family was a noble one. But you have become a calamity for our clan, you have divided us. You have spoken ill of our religion and gods. You have said our ancestors have died in a perverted state. Tell me clearly what is the reason of all these? If your aim is to be wealthy, we can make you the wealthiest man of Mecca. If you want to be the leader of Mecca, we will select you as the chief of our tribe. If you want woman, we can marry you with the most noble and beautiful women of Quraysh. If you are attacked by jinns, we can cure you. But give up this cause.”
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- began to recite Surah Fussilat of the Holy Qur’an as a response:
“Now, if they turn away, say: ‘I have given you warning of a thunderbolt of punishment like the thunderbolt which fell of old upon the tribes of Aad and Thamoud.” (Fussilat: 13)
MIGRATION TO ABYSSINIA
Almighty Allah encourages Muslims to migrate to wherever they can worship securely.
He proclaims in His holy verse:
“O My bondsmen who believe! My earth is spacious. Therefore serve Me only.” (Ankabut: 56)
To escape these indignities and the intolerable persecution Muhammad -peace be upon him- permitted those of his followers who lacked effective tribal support, to seek asylum abroad. “Yonder” said Allah’s Prophet, pointing to the West, “lies the country of Abyssinia, there rules a king in whose realm no one is wronged. It is a land of righteousness. Depart to that and remain at that place until Allah provides conditions favorable for return.”
In the seventh month of the fifth year of prophethood, eleven men and five women left for Abyssinia, which was governed by a Christian king called Najashi.
This small party of refugees demonstrated to the world that the faith which they had adopted was much more important to them than hearth and home and ties of blood, that they could not forsake it at any cost, and that it had given them a nobility of spirit for more precious than material possessions. They were received warmly by the Najashi and his people and lived there in peace and comfort.
The pagans of Quraysh sent an envoy to demand the extradition of the Muslims.
The two envoys of the Quraysh had brought with them valuable gifts for the king and his courtiers, and had been able to win some of the chiefs over to their side. The king, however, resolved to hear the viewpoint of both the parties, and held an audience for that purpose. The pagan envoys claimed that the Muslim refugees should be expelled from Abyssinia and made over to them, on the ground that their leader had abandoned the religion of his forefathers, and was preaching a religion different from theirs and from that of the king.
The king summoned the Muslims to the court and asked them to explain the teachings of their religion. At this, Ja’far b. Abi Tâlib -may Allah be pleased with him- stood up and addressed the king in the following words:
“O king! We were plunged in the depth of ignorance and barbarism; we adored idols, we lived in unchastely; we ate dead bodies, and we spoke abominations; we disregarded every feeling of humanity; and the duties of hospitality and neighborhood; we knew no law but that of the strong, when Allah raised among us a man, of whose birth, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we were aware; and he called us to the Unity of Allah, and taught us not to associate anything with Him. He forbade us the worship of idols; and enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful and to regard the rights of neighbors; he forbade us to speak evil of women, or to eat the substance of orphans; he ordered us to fly from the vices, and to abstain from evil; to offer prayers, to render alms, to observe fast. We have believed in him, we have accepted his teachings and his injunctions to worship Allah, and not to associate anything with Him. For this reason our people have risen against us, have persecuted us in order to make us forego the worship of idols of wood and stone and other abominations. They have tortured us and injured us, until finding no safety among them, we have come to your country, and hope you will protect us from oppression.”
The king was very much impressed by these words and asked the Muslims to recite some of the Divine revelation. Ja’far -may Allah be pleased with him- recited the opening verses of the chapter entitled ‘Mary’ wherein is told the story of the birth of both John and Jesus -peace be upon him-, down to the account of Mary having been fed with food miraculously. Thereupon the king and the bishops of his realm were moved to tears and the Najashi exclaimed: “It seems as if these words and those, which were revealed to Jesus are the rays of the light which have radiated from the same source.” Turning to the crest-fallen envoys of the Quraysh he said, “I am afraid I can not give you back these refugees. They are free to live and worship in my realm as they please.”
On the morrow, the two envoys again went to the king and said that Muhammad -peace be upon him- and his followers blasphemed Jesus -peace be upon him. Again the Muslims were summoned and asked what they thought of Jesus -peace be upon him. Ja’far -may Allah be pleased with him- again stood up and replied: “We speak about Jesus as we have been taught by our Prophet, that is, he is the servant of Allah, His apostle, a spirit created by Him and His word breathed into virgin Mary.” The king at once remarked, “Even so do we believe. Blessed be you, and blessed your Master.” Then turning to the frowning envoys he said: “You may fret and fume as you like but Jesus is nothing more than what Ja’far has said about him.” He then assured the Muslims of full protection. He returned to the Quraysh envoys the gifts they had brought with them and sent them away.
It is, however, significant in this connection that the persons who had immigrated to Abyssinia were all free men and the caravan included none of the helpless slaves who were put to unspeakable tortures by the Meccans. It is recorded on the authority of Urwah b. Zubayr -may Allah be pleased with him- that Ja’far -may Allah be pleased with him- said to the Najashi:
“It is through you, sire, that I want to put some of the questions to these envoys who have come all the way to incite you against us.”
Najashi allowed Ja’far -may Allah be pleased with him- to do so and the following questions were asked of them by Ja’far: “Are we slaves who have fled away from their masters? If it is so, we should be forced to return.”
The Najashi ordered Amr b. al-As, one of the Quraysh envoys to reply. He said: They are not slaves. They are all free men.”
Ja’far -may Allah be pleased with him: “Have we committed murder?”
Amr: “There is not a drop of blood that they have shed.”
Ja’far -may Allah be pleased with him: “Do we owe anything to the people of Mecca?”
Amr: “No, not even a single penny.”
The Muslims lived in Abyssinia unmolested for a number of years till they returned to Madina.
Although pagan terrorism had not ceased for six years, Islam had continued to spread. The Muslims took much courage from Hamzah and Omar’s conversion to Islam. Every possible attempt was made to check the onward march of Islam. For a period of three years Muhammad -peace be upon him- and the whole of Banu Hashim were confined within a pass at some distance from Mecca. None of the other clans was to have any business dealings with them and there was to be no inter-marriage. The supply of food was almost stopped and the people in confinement faced great hardships. The condition of children was especially miserable. There was no regular supply of food and the people were, at times, forced to eat leaves of trees.
Neither Muhammad -peace be upon him- nor his companions, in spite of their unspeakable sufferings, had shown any signs of giving in. In order to save Muslims from those hardships both Muhammad -peace be upon him- and Khadija -may Allah be well pleased with her- spent all of their wealth. This brought to an end the siege.
CHRISTIANS WHO PREFER ISLAM
As a result of the efforts of emigrant Muslims in Abyssinia, twenty Christians came Mecca in order to meet Muhammad -peace be upon him- and investigate what was delivered to them about Islam. They talked with Muhammad -peace be upon him- at the Kaaba, asked questions and satisfied by the answers.
Then, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- invited them to Islam, and recited some holy verses of the Holy Qur’an. They listened to it with pious reverence and wept. They grasped that he was the awaited Messenger whose characteristics were mentioned in their book, the Gospel. They accepted his invitation and became Muslims.
The following holy verses were revealed about them:
“Those to whom We gave the Scripture (the Torah and the Gospel) before it, they believe in it (the Qur’an).” (Qasas: 52)
“And when it is recited to them, they say; ‘We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from those who submit themselves to Allah in Islam as Muslims.” (Qasas: 53)
Although they were the cause of the revelation, these holy verses include all men from People of the Book (the Jews and the Christians) who accept Islam.
THE YEAR OF SORROW
Not long after the end of boycott, and within a short span of time, Muhammad -peace be upon him- lost his uncle Abu Talib and his faithful wife and helpmate Khadijah -may Allah be pleased with her. Because of this, that year was called “the Year of Sorrow.”
MISSION TO TAIF
The stone-heartedness of the Meccans forced Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- to turn his attention to Taif, where he hoped the people might respond to him. He went there with Zayd, his freed slave. There he spoke in all the places where people gathered, but no one listened to him. Not only did they take no notice of what he said, but also they laughed at him and ordered their slaves to insult him and pelt him with stones. Blood flowed down upon his legs and Zayd, endeavoring to shield him, was wounded in the head.
The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- left the city wearied and exhausted and took refuge in one of the numerous orchards and rested against the wall of a vineyard. There he turned to his Lord and betook himself to prayer:
“O Allah, to You I complain of my weakness, helplessness and lowliness before men. O Most Merciful, You are the Lord of the weak, and You are my Lord. To whom would You leave my fate? To a stranger who insults me or to an enemy to whom You have given power over me? If You are not angry with me, I care not what happens to me. Your favor alone is my objective. I take refuge in the Light of Your countenance by which the darkness is illumined and on which this world and the other depend. May it never be that I should incur Your wrath, or that You should be wrathful to me. It is for You to be satisfied until You are well pleased. There is no power and no might save through You.”
Before the Migration to Madina, on the last days of the Meccan phase of Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him-, he was invited to “Isrâ”, a night journey, to meet with the divine presence.
This event is recorded in the Holy Qur’an as follows:
“Glory be to Him Who carried His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose surroundings We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs, for He the Hearer, the Seer.” (Isra: 1)
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- described the event in the following words:
“I was one night sleeping at Mecca in the house of Umm Hani, daughter of Abu Talib and a sister of ‘Ali, when Gabriel came to me. He rent the roof of the house and brought to Hatim near the Kaaba. He opened my chest on the side of the heart, washed it with the water of Zamzam in a golden basin, filled it with wisdom and mercy and put it back in its place. Then he brought a horse (Burraq) to me, which resembled lightning in swiftness and luster, was of clear white color, medium in size, smaller than a mule and taller than an ass, quick in movement that it put its feet on the farthest limit of the sight. He made me ride it and carried me to Jerusalem. He tethered the Burraq to the ring of that temple to which all the prophets in Jerusalem used to tether their beasts, and led two Rak’ahs of prayer with them. After that Gabriel took me to the heavens on the same horse. When we reached the first heaven, the guarding angel said: “Blessed be your arrival” and opened the door of the heaven. The angels congratulated me and opened the gate. I visited Jesus and John -peace be upon them- and saluted them. They returned my salutation and said: “Good brother, blessed be your arrival!” Then they expressed their faith in my prophethood. Then I reached the third heaven and met Joseph -may peace of Allah be upon him- and salute him. He welcomed me and returned my salutation and expressed his faith in my prophethood. Then I was carried to the fifth heaven. There I met prophet Ha’run -may peace of Allah be upon him. I saluted him and he returned my salutation and expressed his faith in my prophethood. Then I reached the sixth heaven. I met Moses there. I saluted him and he returned my salutation. Thence I reached the seventh heaven and met Abraham and saluted him. He returned my salutation. Thence I was carried to the Sidarat al-Muhtaha. Then I was shown the Bait al-Ma’mur which is a Kaaba encompassed daily by seventy thousand angels, so that the angels who once encompassed it would not have their turn again till the resurrection. I saw paradise and hell. Then Gabriel stopped there and I was presented to the Divine Presence and experienced the thrill of witnessing the Divine Glory and Manifestation. Fifty daily prayers were ordained for my followers. On my return, I spoke to Moses that my followers had been enjoined to pray fifty times in a day. Moses said: “Your followers cannot perform so many prayers: I have already tried the children of Israel. Go back to Allah and ask for a remission in number,” I went back to the Presence of Allah and stated that my followers could not bear (the burden of) so many prayers. Almighty Allah, glory be to Him, made a reduction of ten prayers. When I reported this to Moses, he urged me again to request for a further reduction. I again begged my Lord to reduce the number still further. I went again and again in the presence of Allah at the suggestion of Moses for reduction in the number of prayers till these were reduced to five only. Moses again asked me to implore for further reduction, but I said: “I feel ashamed now of repeatedly asking Allah the Holy and High, for the reduction. I accept five daily prayers. Allah commanded that these five prayers shall be rewarded as fifty prayers.”
During Miraj, Muhammad -peace be upon him- approached His Lord so close that all curtains were lifted and he was received to the divine presence. He was honored with the conversation and perfection of Almighty Allah Who is free from time and place.
Allah is such that He is above and free from all shapes. It is His Beloved (Muhammad -peace be upon him-) who saw Him with eyes on the Miraj night. Because He has created His Beloved from His own light, that light (Muhammad -peace be upon him-) was able to perceive the Light.
It is stated in the Holy verses:
“And was at a distance of two bows length or (even) nearer.” (Najm: 9)
“And He revealed unto His slave that which He revealed.” (Najm: 10)
“The (Prophet’s) heart lied not (in seeing) what he saw.” (Najm: 11)
“When that covered the lote-tree which did cover it.” (Najm: 16)
“The eye (of Muhammad) turned not aside nor yet was overbold.” (Najm: 17)
“Verily he saw one of his Lord’s greatest signs.” (Najm: 18)
By this way, he received directly the order and prohibitions of the Creator. In the morning, he informed, believer or unbeliever, everybody of this miracle.
This unique experience of the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- led to different reactions. The unbelievers found it a suitable opportunity to jeer at the Muslims and their creed. They pestered Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- with questions as to the description of the Mosque (Mascid-i Aksâ) at Jerusalem, where he had never gone before and, to the astonishment of many, Allah’s Prophet’s replies furnished accurate information about that city.
But for the true Muslims there was nothing unusual about it.
It is recorded in the Hadith that the unbelievers came to Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- and inquired whether he believed in the truth of the story of his friend Muhammad -peace be upon him-, that he went to Jerusalem and then came back within a part of the night. Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- inquired if the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- had actually said that. “Yes” they answered. Upon this he said: “Yes, I do verify it.” The unbelievers then said: “Do you testify that Muhammad went to Jerusalem and then returned within the short span of a night?” He replied: “Yes, I am prepared to testify to events even more wonder-provoking than this one, i.e., the heavenly messages come to Allah’s Messenger day and night. This event (his ascension) is not more astounding than that.”
PLEDGES OF AQABAH
It was during this period that Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- had the opportunity of inviting the tribes of Madina to Islam.
It is narrated that he once met a group of six or seven men whom he recognized as visitors from Madina. “Of what tribe are you?” asked the Prophet of Allah. “Of the tribe of Khazraj,” they replied. “Then, why not sit down for a little and I will speak to you.” The offer was readily accepted for the fame of Muhammad -peace be upon him- had spread to Madina and the strangers were curious to know more of the man who had produced a stir in the whole area. The Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- presented to them the faith and explained its implications and the responsibilities that fell upon the men who accepted it.
Both the Jews and the polytheists of Madina were eagerly waiting for the advent of a new prophet. The Jews, however, excelled others both in wealth and knowledge. So, whenever there was any fight amongst them, the Jews always threatened their opponents by telling them that a prophet was about to rise for the time that for a new dispensation had arrived. Him they would follow and then smite their enemies as the children of Ad and Iram had been smitten.
So when Muhammad -peace be upon him- addressed a group of pilgrims from Madina they testified to him and said:
Know, surely, that this is the prophet with whom the Jews are ever threatening us: wherefore let us make haste and be the first to join him.
The handful of Medinese converts remained steady to the cause and they preached the new faith with full zeal and devotion with the result that they succeeded in winning adherents for Islam from amongst their fellow-citizens. So the following year, on the occasion of the pilgrimage there came a group of twelve faithful disciples ready to acknowledge Muhammad -peace be upon him- as their prophet. They avowed their faith in Muhammad -peace be upon him- as a Prophet and swore:
“We will not worship any but One Allah; we will not steal; neither will we commit adultery, nor kill our children, we will obey the Prophet of Allah in all that is good.”
This oath is known as the First Pledge of Aqabah.
The next year during the pilgrimage season, the converts of Madina met Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him- once more at the same place where they had met a year ago. This time, however, unlike the previous year, their number was eighty-eight as against twelve previously they pledged their faith to him. They all stretched out their hands and took the pledge which was as follows:
“We all will obey you, O Prophet of Allah in all sets of circumstances in plenty as well as in scarcity, in joy as well as in sorrow.”
The Migration of Allah’s Messenger to Madina -peace be upon him- had been decided during this meeting. Both pledges of Aqabah are the proclamation of being Muslim, binding to Allah’s religion, obeying and surrendering His commands.
MIGRATION TO MADINA
After the pledge of Aqabah Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- began encouraging his followers to migrate to Madina.
Some Muslims responded: “We have neither place to stay nor property. How can we migrate there? Who will provide our sustenance?
Almighty Allah enjoined as follows in His holy verse revealed as a result of this event:
“And how many an animal there is that bears not its own provision! Allah provides for it and for you. He is the Hearer, the Knower.” (Ankabut: 60)
Within two months nearly all the followers of Muhammad -peace be upon him- except Abu Bakr, Ali, and Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- himself and those helpless noble souls who had been detained in confinement or were unable to escape from slavery, had migrated to their new abode. They were welcomed with cordial and even eager hospitality by their brethren at Madina, who vied with one another for the honor of receiving them into their homes, and supplying their domestic wants. Because of this the Muslims of Madina are called “Ansar” (Helpers, assistants) and on the other hand Meccan Muslims who emigrated to Madina are called “Muhacir” (Emigrant).
The Quraysh convened a meeting to take some effective measures with a view to stopping this tidal wave. Imprisonment for life, expulsion from the city, each was debated in turn. Assassination was then proposed, but assassination by one man would have exposed him and his family to the vengeance of blood. Abu Jahl suggested that a band of young men, one from each tribe, should strike Muhammad -peace be upon him- simultaneously with their swords so that the blood-wit was spread over them all and therefore could not be exacted.
This proposal was accepted and a number of young men were selected for the sanguinary deed. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- was informed by the angel Gabriel -peace be upon him- of all that had been conspired against him and the holy verse was revealed:
“Remember how the unbelievers plotted against you, to keep you in bonds, or slay you, or get you out (of Mecca). They plot and plan, and Allah too plans, but the best of planners is Allah.” (Anfal: 30)
Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him- came to the house of Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- and informed him that Allah had commanded him to leave for Madina. The faithful admirer of Muhammad -peace be upon him- shed tears of joy. The hour for emigration had at last arrived and he was to be the companion of the Prophet’s journey. Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- offered him one of the camels which he had already bought for the occasion. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- accepted this offer on condition that he would pay its price.
On the other hand, the Meccans unbelievers were on the alert. As night advanced, they posted assassins around Allah Prophet’s house. Thus they kept vigil all night long, waiting to kill him the moment he left his house. The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- had with him people’s trusts, which he entrusted to his cousin Ali to return them safely to their respective owners and assured him full surety under Allah’s protection and told him that no harm would come to him. Ali -may Allah be pleased with him- lay in Muhammad’s -peace be upon him- bed covered with his green mantle. The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- came out of the room and cast a handful of dust at the assassins and reciting the first nine verses of Sura Yâ-sin of the Holy Qur’an, passed unperceived through them.
It was declared in the holy verse as follows:
“And We have put a barrier before them, and a barrier behind them, and We have covered them up, so that they can not see.” (Yâ-sin: 9)
The assassins remained on the watch until the day dawned; when they rushed in and to their utter surprise, found that the person lying in the Prophet’s bed was Ali -may Allah be pleased with him- rather than Muhammad -peace be upon him.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- proceeded direct to the house of Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- who immediately accompanied him and both set out southward. They clambered up the lofty peak of Mountain Thawr, and decided to take refuge in a cave. Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- first entered the cave, closed all the holes with pieces torn off from his clothes, cleaned it and then asked the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- to step in.
The Quraysh unbelievers, on the other hand, were quite baffled and exasperated. Horsemen scoured the country. Once they even reached the mouth of the cave where the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- was hiding along with Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him. Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- whispered to the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- “What, if they were to look through the crevice and detect us? We are two and unarmed and at the bottom of the cave.”
The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- consoled and comforted his friend by replying:
“O Abu Bakr! What do you think of those two with whom the Third is Allah. Grieve not! Allah is with us.”
And the disbelievers returned.
Almighty Allah states about this event as follows in His holy verses:
“If you help him not, for Allah did indeed help him when the disbelievers drove him out, the second of two, when they were in the cave, and he said to his companion ‘Be not sad, surely Allah is with us.’ Then Allah sent down His sakinah (calmness, peace) upon him, and strengthened him with forces which you saw not, and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowermost, while it was the Word of Allah that became the uppermost, and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (Tawba: 40)
For three days they lived in the cave. Then they continued their journey.
As soon as rumors of the Prophet of Allah’s -peace be upon him- arrival began to spread, crowds came flocking out of Madina. They would come every morning and wait eagerly for his appearance until forced by the unbearable heat of the midday sun to return. One day they had gone as usual and after a long trying watch had retired to the city when a Jew, catching a glimpse of travelers being clothed in white winding their way to Madina, shouted from the top of a hillock: “O ye people of Arabia! He has come! He has come! He, whom you have been eagerly waiting for, has come.”
The joyful news soon spread throughout the city and people marched forward to greet their noble guest.
The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- first entered Quba village before going to Madina. During his period of stay at Quba, was laid the foundation of a mosque which has been glorified in the Holy Qur’an.
Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him- worked side by side with his other companions for the construction of the mosque. He even carried stones on his back and helped in setting them in proper place.
On the morning of Friday the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- rode towards Madina. He halted at a place in the valley of Banű Sâlim and there performed the first Friday prayer.
After leading the Friday prayer Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him- resumed his journey towards Madina. The tribes and families of Madina came streaming forth, and vied with one other in inviting the noble visitor to their homes. Everyone was anxious to receive him and said: “Alight here, O Messenger of Allah! Abide by us.” Muhammad -peace be upon him- answered everyone courteously and kindly: “This camel is commanded by Allah, wherever it stops, that will be my abode.”
The camel stopped before the house owned by Abu Ayyűb -may Allah be pleased with him. He stepped forward with unbounded joy for the Divine blessing appropriated to him, welcomed the holy guest and solicited them to enter his house. The Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- stayed in this house for seven months until the building of the mosque and his own apartments were completed.
When Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- was sent as a mercy to the universe, during Meccan period, the enemies of the Muslims were only the disbelievers. After the migration to Madina, both the Jews of Madina and the hypocrites amongst the Muslims participated in enmity to the Muslims.
Half of the population of Madina were Jewish. During the Madina period, the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- was subjected to the attacks of mostly Jews rather than idolaters.
At the time of migration, there were three Jewish tribes, Kaynuka, Nadir and Kurezya in Madina. Each tribe constituted an independent group. They were in a economically dominating position in Madina and were dwelling in castles around it.
The Evs and Hazrec tribes of Arabia sometimes agreed and sometimes disagreed with the Jews. Whenever they disagreed, the Jews responded: “A Messenger is just about to be sent. We will be followers of him and eradicate all of you.” Further, they were entreating as follows: “O Allah! Help us. In respect of the last Messenger, whose characteristics exist in the Torah.
When the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- invited the people of Madina to Islam, they said: “By Allah! He must be the last Messenger that the Jews have informed us of his advent and have frightened us with. Beware, we have to be the first to be his followers.” Because they knew the Jews were eagerly awaiting him.
In reality, the Jews were recognizing his characteristics as they knew their own sons. However, whenever there came to them a Messenger with what they themselves desired not, a group of them called liars, and others among them killed him. It was clear they would be jealous of Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him. They behaved in an antagonistic way even though they were acquainted with him. Due to their envy and jealousy, they became the strongest enemies of Islam and Muhammad -peace be upon him.
Almighty Allah declares in His Holy verse about this subject as follows:
“And when there came to them (the Jews), a Book (this Qur’an) from Allah confirming what is with them (the Torah), although aforetime they had invoked Allah (for coming of Muhammad peace be upon him) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved, then when there came to them that which they had recognized, they disbelieved in it. So let the Curse of Allah be on the disbelievers.” (Baqara: 89)
Actually, the Jews knew the prophet of Allah’s -peace be upon him- advent and they knew him as they knew their own sons. But because of their nature, whenever a prophet brought them something that they did not desire, they became arrogant to him. They denied some of their prophets and they did not refrain from killing them. Of course, they would not put up with the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him. They behaved in a hostile manner towards him. Because of their jealousy and envy, they began to show their animosity and they began to bear a grudge against the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him.
In the revealed holy verse related to this issue, Almighty Allah orders:
“And when there comes unto them a Scripture from Allah, confirming that in their possession -though before that they were asking for a signal triumph over those who disbelieved- and when there comes unto them that which they know (to be the Truth) they disbelieve therein. The curse of Allah is on disbelievers.” (Baqara: 89)
Because of this, they were cursed and became the most furious enemies of the prophet whom they were expecting enthusiastically and curiously.
Moreover, some Muslims like Muaz bin Cebel -may Allah be pleased with him- said Jews:
“O Jews! Fear Allah and accept Islam. When we were pagans you were the ones, who were telling us that a prophet would be sent and you were presenting his attributes to us.”
The Jews used to say morning and evening; “He’s coming, he is about to come” and used to talk about his coming all the time. But when he really came, they objected and said, “He is not the one we told you about.” This was because they had certainly believed that the coming prophet would end the superiority of the Arabs and he would give the power and success to themselves.
They said “He is not the one we’re expecting, it is not the time for him, yet.” However they used to say, “it is the time for the coming of the Prophet.”
Safiye -may Allah be pleased with her- who was the daughter of the one of the notables of the Jews and niece of another, stated:
“When the Prophet -peace be upon him- migrated to Madina, my father and my uncle went to see him and they talked to him for a long time. When they came back home, my uncle asked my father if the prophet is the same prophet mentioned us in our scriptures. My father replied: “Yes, I swear that he is the same prophet.” Then my uncle asked, “What should we do? What is your intention?” My father said in return “I will oppose him my entire life.”
While the truth was obvious they had an unbelievable envy. There could not be a worse envy than that, because such an envy and obstinacy is directly an objection to Almighty Allah.
The Jews sold their souls for an evil price by denying the honored Prophet, instead of accepting and supporting him:
“Evil is that for which they sell their souls: that they should disbelieve in that which Allah has revealed, grudging that Allah should reveal of His bounty unto whom He will of His bondmen. They have incurred anger upon anger. For disbelievers is a shameful doom.” (Baqara: 90)
Since their envy and arrogance were the reasons for not believing; in response they became despicable and worthless.
Almighty Allah condemns the Jews and states in His verse:
“And when it is said unto them: Believe in that which Allah has revealed, they say: We believe in that which was revealed unto us. And they disbelieve in that which comes after it.” (Baqara: 91)
They do not accept the scriptures such as the Bible and the Qur’an:
“Though it is the truth (Qur’an) confirming that which they possess (Torah).” (Baqara: 91)
In spite of that, they deny the Truth. Even, their claim on their faith in the Torah is not true. Because, the one who knows and recognizes Allah, accepts his Scriptures as well. He is supposed to have faith in the revealed Scriptures to Allah’s prophets. Muhammad -peace be upon him- is the last prophet and the Torah tells of his coming. The Scripture revealed to him, the holy Qur’an, confirms what is in the Torah. Despite this fact, they denied him.
On the other hand, this was not the first evil and wrong action of them:
“Say (unto them, O Muhammad):
Why then slew you the Prophets of Allah aforetime, if you are (indeed) believers?” (Baqara: 91)
If you were sincere in your faith, why did you kill your prophets? Did not the Torah, which you believed in, forbid that?
Even though the Jews did know of the coming of the expected Prophet, they did not stop asking all the time confusing questions as well as making intentional objections in order to reduce the Prophet’s value for the Muslims.
They were trying all to put the Muslims off their religion.
They were giving wrong meanings to the holy verses, they were pretending to stumble over the words in verses to give different meanings; they were converting to Islam one day and switching back the other day, intentionally. Their whole purpose was to humiliate Islam, to confuse believers and to fill their hearts with mischief and suspicion.
The animosity for Islam went too far that, although the Jews were from the People of the Book; they preferred paganism to Islam and they said that the pagans were on a straighter path than the Muslims.
The qualities of Jews are stated in different verses of the Holy Qur’an:
“And you will find them greediest of mankind for life and (greedier) than the idolaters.” (Baqara: 96)
“Each one of them would like to be allowed to live a thousand years.” (Baqara: 96)
“But they will never long for death, because of that which their own hands have sent before them.” (Baqara: 95)
“And among them there is who, if you trust him with a piece of gold, will not return it to you unless you keep standing over him.” (Al’ Imran: 75)
“Or have they even a share in the Sovereignty. Then in that case, they would not give mankind even the speck on a date-stone.” (Nisa: 53)
“Their effort is for corruption in the land.” (Maidaa: 64)
“You will not cease to discover treachery from all save a few of them.” (Maidaa: 13)
“Those of them with whom you made a treaty, and then at every opportunity they break their treaty, and they keep not duty (to Allah).” (Anfal: 56)
“They say: We have no duty to the Gentiles.” (Al’ Imran: 75)
“You see many of them making friends with those who disbelieve.” (Maidaa: 80)
“Neither those who disbelieve among the people of the Scripture nor the pagans love that there should be sent down unto you any good thing from your Lord.” (Baqara: 105)
“They say: The fire (of punishment) will not touch us save for a certain number of days.” (Baqara: 80 - Al’ Imran: 24)
“They say: It (evildoing) will be forgiven us.” (Araf: 169)
“The Jews and Christians say: We are sons of Allah and His loved ones.” (Maidaa: 18)
“Fain would they put out the light of Allah with their mouths.” (Taubah: 32)
“You will find the most vehement of mankind in hostility to those who believe (to be) the Jews.” (Maidaa: 82)
“They would spare no pains to ruin you.” (Al’ Imran: 118)
“They love to hamper you.” (Al’ Imran: 118)
“Hatred is revealed by (the utterance of) their mouths.” (Al’ Imran: 118)
“But that which their breasts hide is greater.” (Al’ Imran: 118)
“And the Jews will not be pleased with you nor will the Christians, till you follow their creed.” (Baqara: 120)
“(They say): And believe not save in one who follows your religion.” (Al’ Imran: 73)
“They have incurred anger from their Lord.” (Al’ Imran: 112)
“Wretchedness were stamped upon them.” (Baqara: 61 - Al’ Imran: 112)
“Ignominy shall be their portion wheresoever they are found.” (Al’ Imran: 112)
“And because of their breaking their covenant, We have cursed them and made hard their hearts.” (Maidaa: 13)
The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him-, during the first days of emigration to Madina, turned his attention to cementing the ties of brotherhood amongst the Muslims. Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him- established a fraternity amongst the emigrants of Mecca who were called “Muhajirun” and the Muslims of Madina called “the Ansar.”
This brotherhood was indeed unique in the history of the world. The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- by way of this brotherhood instituted a moral link between the two sides. The Ansar supported the Muhajirun financially and the Muhajirun, who succeeded passing various torture tests, passed on their experiences of perseverance for Allah’s religion to their Ansar brothers.
The following is a unique example:
Sa’d b. Sabî, a Muslim from the Ansar said to his brother Abdurrahman b. Awf from the Muhajirun “I am the richest man amongst the Ansar. I am glad to share my property half-and-half with you. I have two wives, I am ready to divorce one and you may marry her.” The answer of Abdurrahman b. Awf is as valuable as the offer. “May Allah bless your wealth and wife. Kindly direct me to the market so that I may make my fortune with my own hands.”
Once, the Ansar approached the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- with the request that their orchards should be distributed equally between themselves and the Muhajirun. However Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- was reluctant to put this heavy burden upon them. It was, then, decided that the Muhajiruns would work in the orchards along with the Ansar and the yield would be divided equally amongst them.
SECOND YEAR OF HIJRAH
PERMISSION TO THE JIHAD:
During the beginning years of Islam in Mecca, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- did not fight the enemies of Islam even as a defense. Instead he was tasked to invite them to the acceptance of Allah’s Oneness, and to bear with patience whatever they did because the first and essential phase of jihad is invitation. In those years, he fulfilled an utmost patient struggle.
Even the Muslims, who were subjected to different tortures said: “O Allah’s Messenger! Such severe tortures. Permit us to fight those enemies of Islam.” Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- however, consoled them saying: “Fighting is not permitted yet.”
In one of the holy verses, it is commanded:
“Therefore patiently persevere, as did (all) apostles of inflexible purpose.” (Ahqaf: 35)
After the emigration to Madina, the critical condition of the Muhajirun was almost removed and the state of the Muslims began to recover. Because of the conversion of the Aws and Hazraj clans to Islam and their integration with the Muhajirun, Islam gained power. Almighty Allah has supported Islam with His Help and the Ansar. He connected their hearts by erasing the enmity and the grudge amongst them. All of them became one heart and the volunteer soldiers of Islam. They dedicated themselves to that light (Muhammad -peace be upon him-). They loved Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- more than their fathers, children and wives.
The time of fight did come against the disbelievers who rejected Almighty Allah’s orders, who denied Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him-, who tortured believers only due to their word: “Our Lord is Allah”, and who forced the Muslims to give up their religion. In the second year of Hijra, on the twelfth day of the month Safer, the permission of fight had been given.
Almighty Allah has ordered in His holy verse:
“Permission to fight is given to those who are fighting them because they have been wronged, and surely Allah is able to give them victory.” (Hajj: 39)
Because they were powerless, this divine declaration was good news; that is the Muslims would attain Allah’s help in battle. On the other hand, the Quraysh were very powerful, and other pagan Arabs were also supporting them. The revelation of this holy verse provided a source of consolation to the Muslims.
In another holy verse, the permission to fight has been corroborated:
“Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you! Transgress not the limits, truly Allah likes not the transgressors.” (Baqara: 190)
As deduced from these holy verses, the permission of fighting has limits. Jihad had been permitted for self-defense, removal of injustice and torture only when they were subjected to transgression and persecution. It is not an order of attack but an order of defense against an attacking enemy.
As a matter of fact, jihad (struggle in the cause of Allah) has been ordained as an obligation by the revelation of this holy verse:
“Warfare is ordained for you, though you dislike it.” (Baqara: 216)
Warfare is difficult for men, because fighting causes dying, killing and losing of property.
THE BATTLE OF BADR:
The Quraysh had wanted to slay Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- when he was in Mecca. When they failed, they decided to attack Madina.
Because Madina was on the trade route to Syria, any hindrance of this trade meant an end for the Quraysh. They prepared an army in order to destroy the Muslims. To afford the expenses of the war, the Quraysh sent a trade caravan to Syria passing along Madina. Its direction was under the leadership of Abu Sufyan. Almost all of the Quraysh had a share of the caravan.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- received the news that the caravan had reached Syria and was returning to Mecca: He summoned the Muhajirs and the Ansar and held a consultation. He explained to his companions that the wealth of the caravan would be used against the Muslims and that its guards were few. The Muslims had been subjected to unspeakable tortures at the hands of the disbelievers and driven away from their homes for no other reason than that they worshipped Allah. They emigrated to Madina only for the sake of their religion. This was an opportunity the Muslims could not pass up.
They began the preparations. In the second year of Hijra, the eighth day of the month Ramadan, the Muslims left Madina.
Abu Sufyan, on learning the intention of the Muslims, led his caravan off the main route. By this maneuver, he was able to slip past the ambush of the Muslims. He had also sent a messenger to Mecca with the news that they should take necessary precautions to protect the caravan and prepare for a battle.
As a result of the news reaching Mecca, the Quraysh soon prepared an army headed by Abu Jahl. All of the men of the Quraysh were included in the army. They spent their wealth to detain men from Allah’s way.
They arrogantly and proudly arrived at Badr with pompous, full of rage, vengeful feelings and dreams of victory.
When Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- went towards Badr with his modest army, he received the information that a powerful Meccan army had reached Badr.
Ashab-ý kiram (The Noble Companions), who left their homes in order to capture the caravan were unprepared for a complete war. Suddenly they were faced with a hard fight. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- knew the severity of the situation and that the Muslims were in an important test. It is very difficult to fight against a perfect army with soldiers aimed to take control of a caravan defended by fifty men. However, the most shameful deed, for the Muslims, would be to return to Madina.
As a result of consultation, it was decided to face the Quraysh army.
So it was at Badr that the two armies came face to face.
The common procedure, followed in the battles of those days, was that first champions from both sides stepped out of their ranks, insulted the enemy, recited the achievements of their leaders, and finally defied someone to single combat. The next was the general mix-up where the armies fought each other.
This approved procedure was followed in the battle of Badr.
Protected by armor and shields, with scimitars in their hands, Utbah bin Rabi’a stepped forth between his brother Shaybah and his son al-Walid bin Utba from the lines of the Quraysh and hurled maledictions at the Muslims who faced them.
Three youngmen of the Ansar, Awf and Mu’awiyah, the sons of Harith and Abd Allah bin Rawahah, came out against them. But the Meccans yelled that they had nothing to do with them. They wanted the heads of their cousins, “the renegades of Mecca” -if their owners dared to risk them. Upon this the Holy Prophet -peace be upon him- asked Ubaydah bin Harith, his uncle Hamzah, and his cousin Ali -may Allah be pleased with them- to go forward for the combat. The three duels were rapid. Hamzah killed Shaybah, while Ali killed Walid. Ubaydah was seriously wounded but, before he fell, Hamzah and Ali were able to come to his rescue. Hamzah fell upon Utbah and with a sweep of his sword, cut off his head. In a few moments three of the most notable Meccan warriors had been put to death. The Muslim warriors took their wounded companion Ubaydah to the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him. His leg had been cut off and the marrow was oozing out from it. In this state of pain he said to the Prophet: “Am I not a martyr, O Messenger of Allah?” “Indeed you are,” was the Prophet’s reply.
During the battle, at the instance of Gabriel, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- took a handful of gravel, cast it at the disbelievers and said: “Confusion, seize their faces!”. This scattered sand penetrated into the eyes of the polytheists; they were all stunned. Then they disunited and the Muslims began defeating them.
It is stated in the holy verses revealed as a result of this event:
“You slew them not, but Allah slew them.” (Anfal: 17)
“And you did not throw when you threw, but Allah threw.” (Anfal: 17)
It was He who made the handful of sand hit its target, destroy the enemy and make the Muslims victorious.
In the following verse and in another holy verse, it is stated:
“That He might test the believers by a fair trial from Him. Truly Allah is Hearer, Knower.” (Anfal: 17)
“That is the case. Allah destroys the plan of disbelievers.” (Anfal: 18)
He bestows kindness and favor on the Muslims, He makes weak the plan of the disbelievers.
The Battle of Badr is called “The source of miracles” because many miracles occurred during the battle.
One of these miracles was the help and assistance of Almighty Allah to the Muslims with the armies of angels.
The event is mentioned in the holy Qur’an as follows:
“(Remember) When you sought help of your Lord and He answered you saying I will help you with a thousand of the angels each behind the other (following one another) in succession.” (Anfal: 9)
The angels did appear on this day and they fought on the side of the Muslims.
The war ended with a glorious victory for Islam. The Muslims had 14 martyrs. On the other hand, seventy of the polytheists were killed and a like number taken prisoners.
The holy verse had clearly manifested.
“If Allah helps you, none can overcome you. If He withdraw His help from you, who is there who can help you after Him? In Allah let believers put their trusts.” (Al’ Imran: 160)
The victory of the Badr was the beginning of a chain of conquests. This triumph caused Islam to be heard, spread and respected all over the Arabian Peninsula.
THE WAR WITH THE PEOPLE
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- had come to a citizenship agreement with the Jews of Madina. But they were always trying to sow mischief and trouble amongst the Muslims.
The Jews, who could not stomach the victory of the Muslims in Badr manifested their enmity and malice toward the Muslims. They saw the battle at Badr as the signal of their end.
Although they were the People of the Book, they were claiming “Polytheists are better than the Muslims.” In order to mock the Muslims, one day they were accepting Islam, another day they were rejecting it. They wrote poems against Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- and the Muslims.
The people of Kaynuka were the first clan, which wanted to fight with the Muslims by breaching their agreement. They engaged in commerce and especially in jewelry. Not only were they the most powerful men of the Jews but also the bravest. Their members were about seven hundred people.
One day, while a Muslim woman from the Ansar was in the jewellery shop of a Jew in the Kaynuka bazaar, the Jews tried to force her to show her face but she refused. Then by way of ridiculing her dress and cover, they fastened the end of her skirt to her back without her notice. When she suddenly got up, her body was seen. The Jews around her began laughing as they had pleasure from this. A Muslim man, hearing the woman’s cry, hurried to help her and killed the Jewish shop owner who caused the women to face these events. Other Jews in the bazaar martyred the Muslim man. Thus blood was shed between the Muslims and the Jews. Since it was the Jews who caused the event, they had breached the agreement.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- met and conversed with the Jews:
“O Jewish community! Abstain from facing a torment that Quraysh has faced once and save yourselves by being Muslim. You know very well that I am the Prophet assigned by Allah. This truth and Allah’s promise to you is in your book.”
But the Jews responded with mockery:
“O Muhammad! You should not be misled by your triumph over the people who do not know how to fight. By Allah, we are war men. If you fight with us, then you will see what kind of men we are!”
By these words, they declared that they were ready to fight.
The consequence of the Kaynuka Jews was determined and Allah, the Exalted, revealed the following verse:
“If you fear treachery from any people throw back (their covenant) to them (so as to be) on equal terms (that there will be no more covenant between you and them). Certainly Allah loves not the treacherous.” (Anfal: 58)
Essentially, breaking the agreement was a direct declaration of war. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- decided and moved to assault the Jews. The people of Kaynuka were hidden in their castle. The siege lasted fifteen days. Almighty Allah sowed fear in their hearts so they neither shot even an arrow nor moved out of the castle to fight. Since the support of other Jewish tribes and hypocrites did not come, they abandoned their castle and surrendered to the Muslims.
THE BATTLE OF UHUD
The defeat of Badr was a deep blow for the Quraysh. They had lost their leaders and their honor. They were shocked. In truth, they were in a great panic as the Muslims were strengthening day by day. However, the Quraysh were losing their economic strength.
The Quraysh, immediately after the defeat, got prepared for a revenge war. They decided that the profits of the escaped caravan headed by Abu Sufyan should be devoted to provide equipment to the army.
This time the Meccans decided to take their women along with them, for they might give morale to the soldiers in the army. The army consisted of three thousand soldiers. The Quraysh completed their preparation and moved towards Madina.
The Muslims, on the other hand, armed themselves against an unexpected attack. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- called the Muhajirun and the Ansar in order to talk about the recent situation. When there was no divine revelation, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- always acted with consultation. The subject of the consultation was which was better and right: to stay within the city walls and take defensive measures or to face the enemy in an open battlefield out of Madina.
The first opinion laid down was to defend Madina. However the majority preferred to meet the enemy outside Madina.
Buildings surrounded Madina and closed with passages, so they could easily send away the enemy. However this opinion lost its validity on account of the enthusiasm of the young believers and it was decided to face the enemy in an open battlefield.
Meanwhile, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- again explained his idea on staying in Madina and making a defensive war, but others insisted on moving out. As a result of the majority’s persistence, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- agreed to go out of Madina.
After the Friday congregational prayer, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- urged his companions: “If you remain steadfast, you will be helped by the Power of the Almighty.”
Then the Muslims were prepared and armed for the battle. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- also made his preparation. He put on his armor and took his sword.
Meanwhile, Sa’d bin Muaz -may Allah be pleased with him- came and said to the Muslims: “Even though Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- did not want to move out of Madina, you consistently insisted on fighting in a battlefield. Whereas order comes to him from the heavens. Let the decision be to him.”
The Muslims, who wanted to fight face to face, understood their mistake in rejecting the opinion of Allah’s Messenger. They repented their rash remarks and said that Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- should do as he deemed fit and they would follow him willingly.
Upon this Allah’s Mesenger remarked:
“It does not become a prophet that once he had put on armor, he should take it off, until Allah has decided between him and the enemy.”
The Muslim army consisted of only one thousand soldiers. Abdullah b. Ubayy, the leader of the hypocrites and a confederate of the Jews deserted the Muslim army at a critical juncture, thus reducing the Muslim army to 700, which was to face on army four times its number.
While the Muslims moved towards Uhud, the polytheists were also completing their preparations. The Muslim army, which came to Uhud, selected the best area to fight. They leaned against the Mt. Uhud. Madina was on their right and there was a valley on their left. That valley was between Mt. Uhud and the Ayneyn Mountains. If the enemy attacked from that valley, the left side of the Muslim army could be endangered. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- installed fifty picked archers, to whom he gave positive orders to hold on to their position whatever the course of the main engagement:
“Do not abandon your position without my order whether the enemy wins or looses. Even if you see we are defeated, absolutely do not leave your places to help us. If the cavalrymen of the enemy attack, shower your arrows over them. Because an injured horse can not be ridden.”
The war began with a single combat as in Badr. So long as the single combat went on the Quraysh received shocks one after another by the fall of their warriors. The rapid destruction of their standard-bearers particularly spread dismay and consternation in their ranks.
The fighting intensified. All of the companions of Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- displayed wonderful feats of gallantry. The idolaters now staggered and retreated. A roar of victory rose from the side of the Muslims.
Almighty Allah had helped the Muslims and fulfilled His promise. The idolaters began to be scattered and to run away leaving everything behind.
By means of the precautions and plans implemented by Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him-, the Muslims had won the fighting in the first phase.
Almighty Allah declared in the holy verse revealed about this subject:
“Allah verily made good His promise unto you when you routed them by His leave.” (Al’ Imran: 152)
The enemy had been defeated, but the war had not yet ended. The Muslim soldiers, instead of pursuing the enemy till the last point, began to capture booty. They could not take advantage of the opportunity.
But the real disaster was the archers who had been commanded by Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- to guard the opening of the key position. They deserted their posts and joined the main body of the soldiers to capture booty.
Almighty Allah explains the state of the archers in His holy verse as follows:
“Your courage failed you, and you disagreed about the order and you disobeyed, after He had shown you of the victory for which you long.” (Al’ Imran: 152)
The shrewd Khalid b. al-Walid, the cavalry commander of the Quraysh saw the opportunity, rushed to the opening and attacked the Muslims from the rear. They encircled the Muslims from behind. Defeated idolater soldiers also turned back around and attacked again. The Muslims were squeezed between Khalid b. al-Walid’s cavalrymen and Abu Sufyan’s soldiers. This changed the condition totally. Because the Muslims were capturing booty, they were caught unaware. There was such disorder that the Muslims were killing their Muslim brothers without notice.
Hamzah and Mus’ab -may Allah be pleased with them- were slain as martyrs. Wahshi, a hired slave, who had been watching the movements of Hamzah -may Allah be pleased with him- from behind a stone, took him unaware and struck him with a javelin with such a force that he lay lifeless on the ground. It was in this state of confusion that a polytheist martyred Mus’ab b. Umeyr -may Allah be pleased with him- and shouted “I killed Muhammad” supposing he slew Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him. The idolaters hearing this news cried with joy. This news spread consternation among the Muslims. But this vicious report was soon falsified. The joy of the Muslims was unbounded at finding that the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- was still alive. They were soon called together beside Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him.
It is narrated on the authority of Maiqdad that the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- showed no sign of anxiety or weakness in this trying hour. “I swear by Allah” said he, “Who sent the Prophet with the Truth, that his feet neither staggered nor wavered at this critical juncture.” He stood firmly at his place. His companions came to him in-groups to see him and then left him for a few moments in order to encounter the enemy. The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- himself did not move an inch from his place.
Abd Allah b. Masud -may Allah be pleased with him- describes vividly the Prophet’s conduct at this hour of distress when the enemies were out to put an end to his life and as a consequence of that he was severely hit. He says:
“I can still clearly recall to my mind the occasion when the Prophet was narrating the accounts of the earlier prophets who had received injuries at the hands of their peoples. The Holy Prophet was wiping the blood from his face and saying: ‘My Lord! Guide my people to the right, for they know not.’”
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- withdrew from the battlefield towards Mount Uhud together with the group around him. They were opening a passage throughout the idolaters. The Muslims, at last, retreated to Uhud.
The war had ended. But the pagans could not profit from their victory. A terror was cast into the hearts of the unbelievers. They gave up fighting and returned Mecca.
After the war, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- went around the martyrs on the battlefield. His heart was full of sadness. The pagans had become savage. Intoxicated by joy at the prospect of victory they had lost all sense of decency and respect. Terrible acts of brutality were perpetrated not only upon living beings, but even on the helpless slain. The dead bodies of so many martyrs were mutilated.
The Muslim army returned to Madina.
There are much divine wisdom on the defeat of the Muslims in the battle of Uhud.
Firstly, disobedience to Almighty Allah and Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- does not produce a good result. It was shown to the Muslims how such an act could change a victory into a defeat.
With the glorious success of the Muslims at Badr there had entered many hypocrites in the fold of Islam who were not sincerely attached to Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- but professed faith in his leadership since he was the symbol of the rising power in Arabia and their alliance with him was likely to secure them some material benefits. By the battle of Uhud, men have clearly been divided into believers, unbelievers and hypocrites. The Muslims understood that they had enemies among themselves. The sufferings of the Muslims at Uhud drew a clear line of demarcation between the true followers of Muhammad -peace be upon him- and the hypocrites who paid only lip homage to him but were in fact not with him, being shorn of faith.
Almighty Allah loves His martyred servants. Martyrdom is the greatest achievement. The death, which is courted for a just and right cause according to the command of Allah is not a matter for grief or sorrow but an enviable privilege and honor, since it leads a believer into the paradise. It should, therefore, not be considered a loss at all.
THE BATTLE OF THE TRENCH
The battle of the Trench was the most critical war for the Muslims. This was a siege of Madina organized by the Nadir Jews.
The Jews of Nadir had been banished from Madina and had gone to live at Khaybar. They sent emissaries all over Arabia and invited the various tribes to join them in the concerted attack upon Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- and his followers so that they might get rid of them altogether. The Quraysh responded enthusiastically to their invitation and said: “O Jews! You are the first people of the Scripture and know the nature of our dispute with Muhammad. Is our religion the best or that of his?” They replied that their religion was far better than that preached by Muhammad -peace be upon him- and thus they had a better claim to be in the right. The Quraysh were highly delighted at these words and joined hands with the Jews in order to fight the common foe. There was hardly any tribe of the disbelieving Arabs, which was not approached to join the federation. The army of the disbelievers, consisting of ten thousand soldiers, moved towards Madina. Their goal was to demolish Madina and destroy the unity of Islam. The enemy of the Muslims was very powerful.
As soon as Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- heard of the preparations of the Quraysh, he informed his companions of the design and consulted with them. Salman, the Persian -may Allah be pleased with him- suggested entrenching Madina:
“O Messenger of Allah! In Persia we had a practice. When a city was attacked from outside, its people used to entrench the city and defend their country. Let us do the same thing.” This method was totally unknown to the Arabs. Salman, the Persian’s -may Allah be pleased with him- recommendation was approved and soon the task of digging began. All of the Muslims, the Muhajirs, the Ansar, the young and the old, participated in the entrenching.
The task of digging the ditch was undertaken at once and Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- himself participated in it like an ordinary laborer side by side with his companions.
The Muslims dug this ditch under very trying conditions. The season was winter and they were working exposed to the blasts of cold wind. That year there was a severe famine in Madina. There were no provisions in the city. They had to work with empty stomachs. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- also shared with his followers the pangs of hunger.
Whenever anybody offered him something to eat, he would share that with his companions. It is narrated on the authority of Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah that when the Prophet of Allah was busy in digging a ditch “I found him in the grip of extreme hunger. I came to my wife,” says Jabir, “and asked her to slaughter the little ewe that we had and to roast it for the Prophet. When the night came and the Prophet was about to leave the trench, for we used to work at it all day and go home in the evening I told him that we had prepared bread and mutton for him and I should like him to come with me along with a few of his men to my place.” But the Messenger of Allah would not eat alone while his followers were undergoing the pangs of hunger. He, therefore, invited all of them to partake of the feast. He also conveyed a message to the wife of Jabir not to take off the earthen pot from the fire till he arrived. “My wife,” says Jabir, “was exasperated at this situation since we had arranged a feast only for a few persons and the Prophet of Allah had arrived in the company of his followers. He blessed the food and invoked the name of Allah over it and it so happened that the food proved to be more than sufficient for a number of people exceeding one thousand.”
While digging the trench, there appeared a very hard rock, which could not be broken by the Muslims. Seeing the helplessness of his companions, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- took up a pick-axe in his hand and got down in the trench. He struck hard at the stone, which gave way emitting a spark. Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him- raised with a loud voice the cry of “Allah-u Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest) and remarked: “I have been given the keys of Syria, with my own eyes I see the red palaces of that land.” He struck another blow, the stone was split and another spark was emitted. He again raised “Allah-u Akbar” and observed: “I have been given the keys of Persia. By Allah I see the white palaces of Qýsra.” The third attempt broke the stone into pieces and Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- announced that he would be given the keys of Yemen. “By Allah! I have been shown at this place the gates of San’a.”
The trench was ready in two weeks. It was so wide and deep that a horse could not jump from one side to the other; its length was approximately 5.5 km.
It was proof of the loyalty and sincerity of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- to complete the digging in such a short period of time.
Meanwhile, the army of the polytheits, one of the largest forces ever assembled in the history of Arabia knocked at the gates of Madina with the determination to crush Islam. But they were shocked when they encountered the trench.
They had thought that they would destroy Madina and be victorious in a day like it was in Uhud. However, they deduced that to win the war was not so easy when they perceived it was impossible to pass the trench.
The Muslims patrolled along the trench. When the enemy encircled completely Madina, the Muslims never feared and hesitated.
Almighty Allah declared in His holy verse for this event as follows:
“And when the believers saw Al-Ahzab (the confederates), they said: ‘This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us! Allah and His Messenger had spoken the truth.
It only added to their faith and to their submissiveness.” (Al-Ahzab: 22)
That is, the power of the enemy’s army, the intensity of hardships, did but confirms them in their faith and resignation. Because they absolutely believed His promise that Almighty Allah would help them and make superior Islam over all other religions.
The weakest point of the Muslims was the place where the Jews were situated. If Kurayza Jews unite with the Quraysh, the trench would be of little use.
The people of Kurayza were a big Jewish clan. They were settled around Madina. They had an agreement with the Muslims. According to the contract, when an outside danger took place, they would defend the city together with the Muslims. Moreover they would not attempt a military operation without informing the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him.
It was at this critical juncture that the Kurayza Jews, who had been the ally of the Muslims, deserted to the hostile camp of the unbelievers. They united with them in order to hit the Muslims from behind. A huge number of hypocrites also seceded from the Muslims.
The Muslims remained between the polytheist army and the Jews. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- took necessary precautions for both the defense of the trench against the polytheists and the protection of Madina against the Jews.
The Muslims were trying to defend Madina against the polytheist army composed of ten thousands soldiers. They had also to defend Madina against a probable attack of the Jews. Meanwhile the hypocrites seceded from the front line.
The siege of Madina lasted one month. Several times Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- and the fighters of Islam went without food. They tied stones to their bellies because of hunger.
Those were the hard days for those who were inside the trench. However, by the loyalty within their faith they bore all the difficulties. They, hungry and weary, guarded the trench day and night.
As each day rolled by, the morale of those outside the trench degenerated. Dissension and discontent appeared in the ranks of the enemy. The siege became increasingly tiresome. The Arabs were not used to long lasting wars. Their aim had been to hit and demolish Madina and return back. But in front of the rough defense, the pagans and their allies found Madina impregnable.
The very cold weather discouraged them and they were also running short of provisions.
They also preferred to return Mecca to meet the pilgrims and make trade and gain money. Besides, the month, Zilkada, was approaching. During this month, fighting was forbidden. This was another reason for them to return back.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him-, on those days, entreated as follows:
“O My Allah! The Revealer of the Book. The Quick Taker of the accounts! Disperse the clans! O My Allah! Defeat them, shake them.”
In that night, “Saba” wind, which is mentioned in the holy verses and the noble hadith began to blow. This was a freezing wind blowing in cold winter nights.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- mentioned this wind in his noble hadith:
“I have been made victorious by as-Saba (an easterly wind) and the Ad nation was destroyed by westerly wind.”
The divine help and blessings sent down for the Muslims by means of the wind and the angels are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an as follows:
“O you who believe! Remember Allah’s favor to you, when there came against you hosts, and We sent against them a wind and forces that you saw not. Allah is Ever Seer of what you do.” (Al-Ahzab: 9)
This wild wind flapped their tents ominously. Their fires were extinguished, the sand beat hard on their faces and they were panic-stricken by the portents against them. The storm was growing furious. They had already wellnigh fallen out amongst themselves and were about to retreat, and it was pouring heavily.
Almighty Allah sent down the angels. The angels, without fighting against them, shook the polytheists and inserted fear into their hearts by pronouncing “Allah-u Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest).
The polytheists did not know what to do, they were disordered and divided. They concluded their army and state was despondent and they returned to Mecca.
In the holy verses, it is stated:
“And Allah drove back those who disbelieved in their rage, they gained no advantage. Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting. And Allah is Ever All-Strong, All-Mighty.” (Ahzab: 25)
The siege, which lasted a month, ended by the help of Almighty Allah.
The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him-, after praising Allah, talked to his followers:
“From now onwards we will go to attack them and they will not come to attack us.”
And really this was the case. The Quraysh did not try a like hard experience.
THE WAR AGAINST
THE PEOPLE OF KURAIZA
When the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- first arrived in Madina, an agreement was reached between the Muslims and the Jews, which gave the Jews the freedom to practice their religion and which also set out their rights and their duties. Among these duties was that in the case of war with Quraysh, the Jews would fight on the side of the Muslims.
Despite this agreement, however, some of the Jewish tribes, who resented the Prophet’s presence in Madina, soon began to cause trouble amongst the Muslims. The first treacherous act that they did, was to open secret communications with the Quraysh casting aside their agreements with the Muslims. Moreover, they strained every nerve to produce general dissatisfaction and bitterness against the Messenger of Allah, his teachings and his faithful companions. A campaign of slander was organized against Islam and its followers. The sacred words of the Holy Qur’an were deliberately mispronounced in order to pervert their meanings. Satirical poems were enthusiastically sung at public places in which the religion of Allah was abjectly ridiculed. Inflammatory poems were recited with a view to keeping the animosity of the hostile tribes alive.
The people of Kuraiza were of the Madinean Jews like Kaynuka and Nadir.
At the most critical moment of the Trench war, the clan of Kuraiza cooperated with the Quraysh and joined the war beside them. So they betrayed their country.
However, according to the recent agreement, the clan of Quraiza had to cooperate with the Muslims and defend the common country, Madina, against the enemy. The possibility of acting of the Kuraiza together with enemy was very harmful for the Muslims. Their dwelling place also was very close to Madina. If the Quraysh attacked Madina from that side, they could massacre all the Muslims.
By breaching the agreement, they left the Muslims alone in the most dangerous and critical time.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- turned back from the trench in midday, and performed his noon prayer in Madina.
According to a received divine order, he made a proclamation:
“Allah’s Prophet wants you to perform afternoon prayer in the country of the Children of Kuraiza.” The Muslims hearing the command took their weapons and came together.
The Islamic army, consisting of three thousands soldiers, besieged the people of Kuraiza.
Because the Trench war ended in favor of the Muslims, it was a necessity to deal with the people of Kuraiza and to extract revenge for the betrayal during the Trench war.
The Jews decided to defend their castle. The siege lasted twenty-five days. The Jews regretted greatly their breaching of the agreement. As days passed the long and violent siege began to be intolerable for the Jews. Almighty Allah also sent fright into their hearts.
At that point, they wanted to negotiate. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- accepted the negotiation. They wanted permission to go out of the castle and leave that country with their goods their camels could carry, like the people of Nadir. Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him- rejected this. Then, they suggested to leave their goods behind and to go out with their women and children. But again Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- refused their proposal by saying: “You must obey my degree, absolutement.”
When the siege took a long time, they concluded that there was no other way except surrendering. They wanted an arbiter to surrender according to his judgment. The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- accepted the request. As a result of this, they chose Sa’d bin Muaz -may Allah be pleased with him- who was the leader of Evs clan. Because the Kuraiza was under the protection of Evs clan. Sa’d -may Allah be pleased with him- asked the Jews for the judgment. “Do you want the decrees of Qur’an or you prefer the application of your own laws.” When the Jews wanted Hebrew laws, Sa’d -may Allah be pleased with him- judged. According to it, all the men being able to fight would be executed, women and children would be considered captives. Because the Kuraiza were of the religion of Moses -peace be upon him-, the judgment was suitable to the Torah.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- said:
“You have really judged about them according to the degree of Almighty Allah.”
The Jews, too, admitted that this judgment was according to the Torah.
THE BATTLE OF BANU NADIR
The Jewish tribes, called the people of Nadir and the people of Kuraiza were just two hours away from Madina. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- had signed various covenants with both tribes. The lives and properties of the Jews were secured; in return it was decided that they would provide financial aid.
In spite of this, since the battle of Uhud the Jews had changed their attitudes negatively.
According to the covenant, the people of Nadir were supposed to pay a part of blood money of two people who had been killed by accident by Amr bin Umeyye -may Allah be pleased with him. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- with ten of his companions went to the neighborhood of the Children of Nadir and requested their portion of blood money. At the same time, he wanted to know if they were loyal to the covenant. At first the Jews agreed with this request, but then they took advantage of Allah’s Messenger’s -peace be upon him- visit and they planned to assassinate him.
Sellam bin Mishkam warned the Jews: “Quit this idea. If you attempt to assassinate him, he will be informed of the case. And you will be the ones who broke the covenant, you will ruin yourselves.” But nobody took notice of his words.
They were planning to make him sit down under a shady spot in one of their houses and kill him by rolling down a rock. The Archangel Gabriel -peace be upon him- came and informed Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- about their plan. Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him- stood up where he was sitting and immediately quit the neighborhood with his companions. The Jews were caught red-handed.
Then, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- went back to Madina, he sent Muhammad bin Mesleme -may Allah be pleased with him- telling them to abandon the city within ten days. Otherwise war would be declared against them.
Their exile was already written in the Torah. Almighty Allah ruled to punish them in this way because of their guilt.
The Children of Nadir began preparations for leaving right away, preparing food for the journey. But the head of the hypocrites Abdullah bin Ubeyy sent news to the Jews promising his support and telling them not to abandon the city and to disobey the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him. They trusted his promise and secluded themselves in their castle. They sent a message to Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- which said “We are not going to quit our homes and we challenge you.”
In the holy verses revealed regarding to this matter, Allah, the Exalted, commands:
“Have you not observed the hypocrites who say to their friends among the people of the Scripture who disbelieve “If you are expelled, we indeed will go out with you, and we shall never obey any one against you, and if you are attacked, we shall indeed help you.” (Al- Hashr: 11)
Hypocrites were supposedly supporting their brothers in disbelieving and ungratefulness who were non-believers. They told the Jews that they would risk any disobedience and rebellion to prevent their expulsion. If they could not prevent their expulsion the disbelievers were saying that they would quit their homes and wealth and they would leave with the Jews. They also said that they would not listen to anyone who would try to prevent the abandonment. The disbelievers swore and promised the Jews that they would support them against their enemies in the battle.
As a result of this Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- left Madina to the homeland of the Childen of Nadir. The Muslims prayed their afternoon prayer in the orchards and vineyards of the Children of Nadir. Then, the homeland of the Children of Nadir was surrounded. Since the Jews stored food that was enough for one year, they put their trust on the strength of their castle.
The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- said to the Jews: “Quit Madina and go away” as a last offer. They responded “Death is easier for us than your offer.”
There was no way other than the battle, anymore. The siege continued approximately 15 to 20 days.
Since the Jews would not risk to quit and fight outside the castle, it was as surety that the siege would be hard.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- made a plan by the permission of Allah. He commanded his followers to demolish the closest Jews’ houses and castles and to burn the date palms. His aim was to put fear into the Jews’ hearts and make them feel horrified. Thus, he wanted to force them to leave the castle and fight.
When the Muslim fighters began to demolish the houses and fell the date palms, the Children of Nadir yelled “O Muhammad! You forbid us from plotting mischief. Now for what purpose is cutting and burning the date palms.”
Mostly, only the date palms that are not eatable were felled and burned. Jewish women could not put up with the felling of the first quality date palms called “Acve” and they were tearing their collars crying out.
Those yells made some of the Muslims hesitate for a while.
In the holy verse revealed as a result of this, Allah the Exalted has explained that the cutting and burning of the palm trees was by the permission of Almighty Allah:
“What you cut down of the palm-trees or you left them standing on their stems, it was by Leave of Allah and in order that He might disgrace rebellious, disobedient to Allah.” (Al- Hashr: 5)
Such a maneuver is one of the types of oppression that is applied in battles. The Children of Nadir did not want to be exiled from that land. So, cutting down some of their palm trees was a helper element of battle that helped to break the Jews’ ties to their homeland.
If it is necessary to destroy something to win war, destruction is permissible.
Also, this holy verse indicates that only the date palms that prevented the operation were cut down and burned during the siege.
Since the Children of Nadir did not have the support that they expected from the Children of Kuraiza and the hypocrites, they were scared and obliged to surrender.
Because they asked, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- showed them mercy. He allowed them to take all of their goods other than the weapons, as much as they were able to load on their camels.
Before leaving, the Children of Nadir demolished their houses those, which the Muslims had not demolished. In order to prevent the residence of the Muslims, they knocked down the pillars of their houses, they collapsed the ceilings, and put their houses in a condition such that no one could live in them any longer.
The Jewish women put on their most valuable clothes, gold and silver jewelry in order to show the Muslims that they were not sad. They abandoned the city with a big show by playing tambourine and whistles. After their various mischief, they found the punishment very light.
THE TREATY OF HUDAYBIAH
It was the sixth year since the Hijrah. The Muslims greatly missed their homeland. They had not seen their relatives in Mecca for six years. They were deprived of visiting the Holy Kaaba towards which they turned during regular prayers.
During the first days in Madina they were in need. Then, they were obliged to defend themselves against the polytheists and the Jews who declared war against them. On those days too, they had not forgotten Mecca. The Ansar, too, wanted this visit.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- also had the wish to visit the Kaaba and to see his native land where he was born.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- saw in a dream that he had entered the sacred precinct of the Kaaba in security with his followers and was performing the ceremonies of pilgrimage. Their heads were being shaved and the hair cut off. As soon as the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- informed some of his companions of the contents of his dream, their hearts leaped with joy since they found in it the realization of their deep longing to take part in pilgrimage and its hallowed rites after an exile of a full six years.
The dream of Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- is explained in the Holy Qur’an as follows:
“Allah has fulfilled the vision for His messenger in very truth.” (Fath: 27)
As a result of this, he instructed his companions to get prepared for Umra. So Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- set forth at the head of his followers including both the Muhajirs and the Ansar. His aim was to visit the Kaaba.
As they approached the sacred territory, all donned the ihram, the pilgrim’s garb. They carried no weapons save sheathed swords and had no intention of fighting. But the Meccans were resolved to stop them. A large army was gathered and the road to Mecca was completely blocked. On hearing this news Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him- turned aside to Hudaybiyah on the border of the Meccan territory and encamped there. When they had taken rest, Budayl b. Warqa came to him with some men of the Khuzaah tribe and asked him why he had come forth: “I have no other design” Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- said “but to perform the pilgrimage of the holy Sanctuary.” Various emissaries to negotiate with the Muslims succeeded Budayl. But negotiations had no result. An armed Quraysh detachment came out to take the Muslims by surprise, but was itself taken captive. The Muslims, in order to show they had no desire to fight, set them free. Then Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- sent Othman -may Allah be pleased with him- to the Meccans. Although Othman -may Allah be pleased with him- had powerful relatives in Mecca, he was kept under surveillance.
The Muslims anxiously waited for the arrival of Othman -may Allah be pleased with him. His arrival was considerably delayed and a foul play was suspected on the part of the Quraysh. The possibility that Othman -may Allah be pleased with him- was killed by the Meccans greatly perturbed the Muslims. They took a solemn pledge at the hand of Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- that they would sacrifice their lives to avenge the death of their companion and would stand firmly by their Prophet, Muhammad -peace be upon him- under all conditions.
Allah, the Exalted, to increase the honor of His noble Prophet, commands in His holy verse as follows:
“My Messenger! Those who give pledge to you, they are giving pledge to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands.” (Fath: 10)
Because swearing allegiance had been performed by shaking the hand of the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him-, in the holy verse, it is stated that the hand of Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- is in the place of Allah’s hand.
This is a degree that none of man can attain.
This pledge goes by the name of Bay’at al-Ridwan. It was a resolution of sacrifice in the cause of Truth and an ardent expression of the strong feelings of devotion and love for the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him.
After this pledge Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- said to his companions:
“You are the most blessed men in the world, today.”
It is stated in the holy verses on this issue as follows:
“Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance unto you beneath the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down peace of reassurance on them and has rewarded them with a near victory; and much booty that they will capture. Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.” (Fath: 18-19)
When the Quraysh saw the firm determination of the Muslims to shed the last drop of blood for the defense of their faith and their absolute loyalty to the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him-, they came to their senses and realized that the Muslims could not be cowed down by these tactics. The Quraysh were frightened and they soon delivered Othman -may Allah be pleased with him. They sent a delegation to Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- to conclude a treaty of peace.
The terms on which the two parties agreed:
1) War should be suspended for ten years so that the people might live in peace.
2) That year the Muslims would not perform pilgrimage.
3) Next year they would be permitted to do so provided they did not stay in Mecca for more than three days.
4) The Muslims should bear no arms except sheathed swords during their next visit.
5) Whosoever wished to join Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- or enter into treaty with him, should have the liberty to do so; and likewise whosoever wished to join the Quraysh or enter into treaty with them, should be allowed to do so.
6) If any one went over to Madina without the permission of his guardian, he should be sent back to the Quraysh, but should any of the Muslims return to Quraysh he shall not be sent back.
The terms of the contract seemed distasteful for the Muslims. However the consequences of the treaty were not harmful as it was thought. On the contrary, it had been very useful for the Muslims. The number of those who became Muslim since the treaty of Hudaybiah till the conquest of Mecca was almost two times more than those who chose Islam since the birth of Islam till Hudaybiyah.
When peace was concluded, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- slaughtered his animals which he had brought with him and shaved his head, and turned his steps back to Madina. Midway between Mecca and Madina Allah, the Exalted, revealed the chapter of the Holy Qur’an entitled Al-Fath (Victory). Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- was extremely happy, for Almighty Allah had told him distinctly in this chapter that the treaty of Hudaybiyah was not a humiliation for the Muslims, but a clear victory and promised him a succession for victories in future.
By the Hudaybiyah peace, a conquest and victory door had opened. Like Hayber and the conquest of Mecca, a series of victories succeeded Hudaybiyah.
While in a state of war, the people were afraid of meeting with one another. When the truce came and the fears of war were dispelled, there prevailed a sense of peace among the people. They came nearer and entered into discussion with one another. No man spoke of Islam to another but that the latter espoused it, so that they came within the fold of Islam.
By the Hudaybiyah treaty, the Islamic State was recognized by the polytheists who had aimed to destroy it in Uhud and the Trench war.
THE CONQUEST OF KHAYBAR
Khaybar was located to the north of Madina. It was the center of Jewish religion.
One of the most important enemies of the Muslims was the Jews. The power of the Christians was not as much as that of the Jews. Although the polytheists and the Jews differed in religion, they were coming together against the Muslims because of their political interests.
By the contract of Hudaybiyah, the Muslims became completely safe from the polytheists. Only the Jews and Nacid clans were left as enemies.
The Jews, which were thrown out of Madina before the Khaybar war, took shelter in Khaybar City. Khaybar had become the den of mischief to revolt all the Arabs against the Muslims. It was the Khaybar Jews who incited the allies of the Quraysh in the Trench war. It was also them who made the Quraiza break the citizenship agreement and unite with the enemy in the very critical moment of the Trench War. The enmity of the Jews against Islam was increasing.
The population of Khaybar included several branches of the Bani Nadir, and the Quraiza, who had taken refuge there. The Jews of Khaybar had shown an active and implacable hatred towards Muhammad -peace be upon him- and his followers.
The people of Gatafan were the neighbors and allies of the Khaybar Jews. In order to prevent a possible united attack of the Jews and the people of Gatafan, the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- set out to fight against the Khaybar Jews.
The Khaybar Jews were excited by the advent of Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him. They soon sent two men to their ally, the people of Gatafan, to get their support.
The Khaybar Jews had approximately ten thousand soldiers. They were proud of their strong castle and their numbers. To forestall their hostilities, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- marched with a force of 1400 men against Khaybar.
During the march, he halted in a valley between the men of Khaybar and Ghatafan so as to prevent the latter from reinforcing the Jews.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- prayed as follows:
“O Lord! We seek goodness from You for this habitation and goodness for the people who live in it and goodness for all that which is found in it. We take refuge in You from the evil of this habitation and the evil of the people who reside in it and from all sorts of evil found in it.”
The Jews rejected Allah’s Messenger’s -peace be upon him- proposal of peace.
The Khaybar Jews discussed the situation between each other and decided to stay in their castle and defend it.
The Muslim army besieged the castle. The Jews initiated the war by shooting arrows. Khaybar had seven very strong castles. The Muslims captured the castles one by one. The strongest castle, called Kamus, resisted to the siege for twenty days.
The commander of this castle was Merhab who was known as a fighter equivalent to a thousand soldiers. The war was the hardest one of that times. The Jews were not only well-equipped but also well-provisioned.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- stated as follows:
“Tomorrow, I will give the flag to such a man that he loves Allah and His Messenger and Allah and His Messenger love him, too.”
After the morning prayer, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- wanted the flag. Then he asked Ali -may Allah be pleased with him. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- put the armor on Ali -may Allah be pleased with him-, tied the sword to his waist, gave him the white flag and ordered:
“Fight until your are victorious by Allah’s help, never turn back!”
First, Ali -may Allah be pleased with him- invited the Jews to Islam. When they refused, Ali -may Allah be pleased with him- again proposed peace. When this invitation also was repudiated, the war began again.
Meanwhile Merhab was outside the castle and was challenging the Muslims. Ali -may Allah be pleased with him- fought heroically. When he killed Merhab, the castle was captured and the Jews surrendered with deep hopelessness. The Muslims took control of Khaybar lands. The mischief of the Jews ended.
Ali -may Allah be pleased with him- was the conqueror of Khaybar. That day, he had plucked the door of the castle, and used it as shield.
Rich booty fell into the hands of the Muslims. Khaybar was wellknown for its rich soil and fine orchards. They, therefore, approached Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- with the request that they should be allowed to cultivate their lands and they would give half of the produce to the Muslims.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- accepted their request.
THE CONQUEST OF MECCA
The conquest of Mecca was the last stage of the struggle that had continued for twenty years between Islam and disbelief.
The greatest monument of the unity of belief, which is the root of Islam was the Kaaba. However the inside and outside of the Kaaba was full of idols. The essential aim of Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- was to purify the Kaaba from idols and to eliminate idolatry in the center of the unity of belief. However the main reason of the conquest of Mecca was the violation of the Hudaybiya treaty in two years which was in reality a ten year treaty.
According to the terms of the treaty of Hudaybiyah, the Arab tribes were given the option to join either of the parties with which they desired to enter into treaty alliance. As a consequence Banu Bakr joined the Quraysh, and Khuza’ah joined the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him. Banu Bakr, without caring a bit for the conditions of the treaty, attacked Banu Khuza’ah. The Quraysh helped them with men and arms. Pressed by their enemies the tribesmen of Khuza’ah sought the sanctuary of Ka’bah, but here, too, their lives were not respected, and, contrary to all accepted traditions, Nawfal, the chief of Banu Bakr, chasing them in the sanctified area-where no blood should be shed-massacred them.
When the aggrieved party sought justice from their Muslim allies, the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- demanded an immediate redress for not only violating the treaty but also slaying his men in the sanctified area. Three demands were made, the acceptance of any one of them was stressed:
a) to pay blood money for the victims of Khuza’ah,
b) to terminate their alliance with Banu Bakr; or
c) to consider the truce to have been nullified.
In the fit of their pride they arrogantly said: “We will neither pay blood money nor terminate our alliance with Banu Bakr, but are prepared to declare the truce as null and void.”
Later on Abu Sufyan tried to gloss over the imprudence of his people and came to Madina for a renewal of the truce. He went to the house of his daughter Umm Habibah (wife of the Holy Prophet). But as he went to sit on the Prophet’s carpet she folded it up. “My daughter,” said he, “I hardly knew if you think that the carpet is too good for me or that I am too good for the carpet.” She replied, “It is the Prophet’s carpet and you are an unclean polytheist.”
Being disgusted at the curt reply of his daughter, Abu Sufyan stepped out of her room and went to the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him-, but he was well aware of his tricks and did not hold him any assurance. He then approached Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him-, but he declined to interfere. He contacted Umar -may Allah be pleased with him- also to intercede but he made a paint-blank refusal. At last he saw ‘Ali b. Abi Talib -may Allah be pleased with him- in this connection, but he also regretted his inability to do anything for him.
Abu Sufyan turned his steps back to Mecca in a state of bitter disappointment and submitted the report of his meeting with his daughter, the behaviour of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with all of them) and the meaningful silence of the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him. The Meccans were dismayed, but did not expect imminent danger.
At first, the Quraysh liked the abolition of the treaty, but then they noticed the grave results of abolishing the treaty. They understood their mistake and their hearts were full of fear.
After Abu Sufyan returned Mecca, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- decided to fight.
For twenty-one long years, the Quraysh had been perpetrating atrocities on the Muslims. They tortured them, inflicted injuries upon them, dragged them in the mire and on the burning sand of blazing Mecca, in fact, made their very existence impossible. Hard pressed by these shameless acts, the Muslims left their native place in order to seek shelter at Madina. But the revengeful Meccans allowed them no rest even in that city. They attacked them even in their new abode.
Now it was time to punish them. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- set off from Madina with an army that consisted of ten thousands soldiers. The Muslims moved to purify Allah’s House from idols and to eradicate polytheism. It was the time of conquering.
The coming of Muslim army shocked the Meccans. They immediately assembled around Abu Sufyan. To realize what was happening, Abu Sufyan went out of Mecca, but he was caught by the Muslims and was conducted to Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him.
Abu Sufyan was the leader of the enemies of Islam and a polytheist who did many bad things to the Muslims. He was also the man who made the Arabs rebel against Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- and planned criminal attempts to kill him. Certainly, the punishment of all these was his execution, but Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- forgave Abu Sufyan. As a result of this, Abu Sufyan became Muslim.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- declared:
“Whoever enters Abu Sufyan’s house, he will be safe. Whoever stays in his home and does not resist our army he will be safe. Whoever enters the Holy place around the Kaaba, is safe.
Let Abu Sufyan announce this.”
This declaration was meant to make Abu Sufyan stay at home and to prohibit the Quraysh from going out, because Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- did not want bloodshed.
As a result of the announcement, most of the Quraysh stayed at home. They did not resist the Muslim army.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- warned his followers: “Do not attack anybody unless you have been attacked! Never be the ones who firstly fight.” However he separated some of the Meccans. He ordered: “Even these men sheltered under the cover of the Kaaba they will not be saved from the execution.”
The Muslims entered Mecca without shedding blood.
There were more than three hundred idols in and around the Kaaba. Hubel, the biggest one was at the top of the Kaaba. Others had been placed inside and outside of the Kaaba. It was the time to purify the Kaaba from idols. This is Allah’s eternal decree: Unity destroys polytheism and nothing can prevent idols from being annihilated. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- knocked idols down with his stick.
Meanwhile, he was reciting this verse of the holy Qur’an:
“And say; Truth has come and falsehood has vanished away. Because falsehood is ever bound to vanish.” (Isra: 81)
One by one the stone-idols were dismantled, images and effigies were deleted.
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- stood up on the threshold of the Kaaba. He looked at the Meccans in front of him. Their lives were dependent on the order that would be uttered by him. During twenty years, they had not abstained from doing every kind of evil such as torture, slaying and swearing.
He asked them:
“O you people of Quraysh! What do you think of the treatment that I am about to accord to you?”
“O noble brother and son of a noble brother! We expect nothing but goodness from you.”
Upon this, the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- said:
“I speak to you in the same words as Joseph spoke unto his brothers: ‘This day, there is no reproof against you; go your way, for you are freed ones!’”
By the concurrence of Mecca, Islam spread very quickly in the Arabian Peninsula. People accepted Islam in-groups. Now, there was no power in Arabia to resist Islam. Within two years, except some Jews and Christians, Islam dominated all of Arabia. This splendid success was the result of Allah’s help.
It is stated in the holy verse as follows:
“My Messenger! When comes the Help of Allah and the conquest day, and you see the people enter Allah’s religion in crowds; so glorify the praises of your Lord, and ask for His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who always accepts the repentance.” (Nasr: 1-3)
THE LAST DAYS
OF ALLAH’S MESSENGER
-PEACE BE UPON HIM-
The Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- was now in the sixty-third year of his life which coincided with the close of the tenth year of the Hijrah. His mission was completed. To a people steeped in ignorance, the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- gave light and inspired them with belief in Allah, the sole Creator, Master and Sustainer of the universe. To a disunited mass, engaged in perpetual warfare, he gave unity of thought and action and locked them in ties of brotherhood and love.
The month of pilgrimage was at hand, the Kaaba had been completely purified. He set on what is called the Farewell Pilgrimage, because it was the last pilgrimage performed by him.
During the pilgrimage, the holy verse regarding the completion of religion was revealed to him:
“This day have I perfected your religion for you, and completed my favor upon you, and chosen for you as religion Islam.” (Maidaa: 3)
The Muslims were happy on receiving this information, but Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- was sad as he perceived in it a clear indication of the departure of Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- to his eternal abode.
He became indisposed during the middle of Safar. The fewer became violent and the pain considerably increased. But he bore all these sufferings with remarkable calmness and serenity. He led the prayers in the mosque as long as his health supported him but he could not continue that as his health was failing.
Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- was commanded by Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- to lead the prayer during his illness.
Five days before his death, he felt relieved and went forth to the mosque to offer his noonday prayer. At the conclusion of the prayer, he addressed his followers around him:
“There is a servant whose Lord has given him option between this life and that which is nigh unto the Lord, and the servant has chosen the latter.”
Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- seems to have been the only one in the mosque who recognized what Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- really meant and tears filled his eyes that soon the Prophet of Allah -peace be upon him- would be no more among them.
Then Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- said:
“There is none more bountiful to us for his unwavering loyalty and devotion and for his sacrifice of wealth than Abu Bakr. If I were to choose a bosom friend it would be he: but Islam has made a closer brotherhood among us all.”
“The fact is that your companion is the friend of Allah.”
Then he ordered: “Let every door that leads into the mosque be closed, except the door of Abu Bakr.”
“O People! It has reached me that you are afraid of the approaching death of your Prophet. Has any previous Prophet lived forever among those to whom he was sent? So think not that I would ever live among you?
Behold! I am about to go to my Lord. You too will go sooner or later.”
“If I have done any injury to the skin of anybody, here is my skin; he can take his recompense. If I owe ought to anyone here is my property; he may take it. Know that among you the most faithful to me is the one who has such a claim against me and then he either takes it from me or absolves me so that I meet my Lord after I have been absolved.”
Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- had a great love for his only daughter Fatimah -may Allah be pleased with her.
She visited her father very frequently and received his blessings and love. On one such occasion he whispered to her something and she began to weep. Then he again whispered to her something and she laughed.
Fatimah -may Allah be pleased with her- was questioned after Allah’s Messenger’s -peace be upon him- death about this weeping and laughing: She replied: “The first time, he disclosed to me that he would not recover from his illness and I wept. The second time he revealed that I would be the first of the family to join him and that made me laugh.”
The last night, he was overheard praying constantly to his Lord for His blessings. The morning brought him some relief. Fever and pain had somewhat abated, and there was some recovery of strength. He moved the curtain of his apartment and saw the Muslims offering their prayers in the Mosque with Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- as their leader.
Having paused for a moment at the door of his apartment, Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- walked slowly to the place where Abu Bakr stood. People made way for him, opening their ranks as he advanced. Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- heard the rustle stepped backward to vacate the leader’s place; but Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- asked him by motion of his hand to keep on leading the prayer.
This was the last occasion on which he appeared in public. The Muslims were happy that the Messenger of Allah -peace be upon him- had recovered and there was no danger to his life. The Muslims therefore dispersed well pleased and happy at this news.
Allah’s Prophet -peace be upon him-, however, seemed quite exhausted and returned to the apartment. As the day advanced his strength failed rapidly. His fever was very high. But Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- remained calm and forbearing.
He constantly called his Master to help him:
“O Lord! I beseech You assist me in the agony of death.”
His strength now rapidly sank and he was heard saying:
“My Allah! Grant me pardon; and join me to the companionship on high; the most exalted companionship on high.” These words were his last uttering.
Then his limbs relaxed. His head fell back in Aisha’s -may Allah be pleased with her- lap. Allah’s Messenger -peace be upon him- after having rendered his obligations towards his earthly companions, now met his Lord.
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