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The Prophet Mohammad and the First Muslim State

Written by: by Mohammad Mahmoud Ghali :: (View All Articles by: Mohammad Mahmoud Ghali)

Contents

Part I: That Memorable Decade

Part II: The Meaning of  Revelation


Foreword

 

To approach the stories of kings and potentates, as well as the movements and vicissitudes of tribes, nations and masses from a proper historical perspective seems to be an unattainable objective. Something is needed more than human intelligence, the empirical method, and rigid scientific criteria; and the only possible source for undefiled knowledge is through religious revelation.

As Muslims, we believe that the most historical figure in the histories of Divine Revelation is the person of Muhammad, Prayer and Peace be upon him. To arrive to that belief is easy for anyone who reads the Qur'an with an open-minded, and unbiased effort at understanding its glorious message.

The history of Muhammad and `Al-Qur'an are one and inseparable; and nothing can bear witness more convincingly to Muhammad's truthfulness than `Al Qur'an; and that explains why quotations from `Al-Qur'an abound in the following pages. The original Arabic verses are presented, because translations can never be a substitute for a Divine revelation; and the evidence from translations of other Scriptures is not enough encouragement for those who want to publish `Al-Quran in other languages without the Arabic original.

The importance of the message of `Al-Qur'an to the modern world is of most relevance, since the political and social aspects of Islam in the First State in `Al-Madinah have been overshadowed by the interest in the usual chronological presentation of Mohammad's life from birth to death. This explains the logic behind the unconventional order of the chapters of this presentation. What the world now needs probably more than anything else, is the conception and establishment of a state that is religious, non-secular, non-imperialistic and non-totalitarian, that can face man's modern problems in the light of the One Creator and his Divine law of justice, consultation, integrity, mercy and love.

It is in the realization of the significance of the first Muslim State that lies the future hope for Muslims and the world. Failure to establish a Muslim State today will carry with it incalculable potentialities for universal tragedy.


Introduction

 

1. Revelation:

It was Ramadan.

It was one night at the end of Ramadan.

The Prophet was alone in the cave 1  in Mount Hira'.

In that solitude, 2  now so dear to him, he heard a voice, an angelic   voice.

It was the voice of Jibril.

The Angel said, "Recite 4 !" and the Prophet's answer was, "I am not a reciter." 5

Thus the Prophet later on told his wife and Companions: "Then the Angel took me and held me tightly in his embrace 6  until he had reached the limits of my endurance 7 . Then he released me and said: "(Recite!) I said, (I am not a reciter), and again he embraced me until he had reached the limits of my endurance."

The Angel held the Prophet tightly the third time, then released him, and said: 

 

"Recite; and your Lord is the Most Bountiful. He has created man from a clot  8 of blood. He Who has taught by the pen. Taught man what he knew not."

The Prophet recited these words after the Angel, and he said later on, "It was as if the words were written on my heart".

Revelation is the Divine source of our knowledge. It is really the source of know1edge for all creatures, because the word revelation in Arabic means what we call innate 9knowledge to "animate" 10  beings, like ants and bees, even to "inanimate"11 `objects like clouds and seas, and the earth and the heavens.

One form of revelation to mankind is granted to the faithful among men and women alike: Zakaria and Maryam. A higher form was granted Musa, when Allah spoke to him "from behind a veil 12 and a third form is when an angel is sent as a messenger to the human messenger. This is how the final form of revelation took place to the final Prophet and Messenger, the Prayers of Allah and His Peace be upon him.

Innate knowledge in mankind is always true, but is most of the time clouded and obstructed 13  by instinctive inclinations for worldly enjoyment. Knowledge from nature around us is incomplete so long as our senses cannot perceive the whole truth even in things nearest to us. That is why Divine revelation is the surest source of true knowledge.

The heavenly Messenger, Jibril, saw the Prophet quite often, and the last time he saw him for a long time was in the last Ramadan before the Prophet's death, when the Prophet recited the whole Qur'an in the presence of Jibril. That was the last angelic visit, and the last recitation of the complete Qur'an by the Prophet.

 

2. Al-Qur'an:

Al-Qur'an is not the first revelation from Allah, but it is the last. Like the other Books before it, Al-Qur'an is a Book of guidance, not only to Muslims, but to humanity as a whole. Al-Qur'an does not refute 14  all of the Books before it, because two of the Books before them, the To-rah and the Gospel have guidance and light. But Al-Qur'an replaces these two Books and all Books before them, because much of the light and guidance in these two Books has been obscured by human heresie's 15 and the darkness of historical dissension  16 and interpolation' 17

The way the Prophet explained and applied the teachings of Al-Qur'an is called the "Sunnah" and Al-Qur'an and Sunnah are the laws that guide Muslims in all spheres of life: personal and social, in all the affairs of the individual and the state, in war and peace. Thus Al-Qur'an and Sunnah summarize the whole life of the Prophet from birth to death.

 

3-The Eternal Message:

At the age of forty, Muhammad was entrusted with a message to the worlds: 

"And We have not sent you except as a mercy to the worlds". (Al-Anbiya" 107).

These worlds include mankind, and other creatures as invisible as the jinn and as barely understood by mankind as those creatures that swarm 18  the whole universe around us. Before he was forty, he had been known as an honest man, who could be entrusted with the honor of settling the dispute between the various tribes of Makkah about placing the "Black Stone" when they decided to rebuild Al-Ka'bah in the Sanctified Mosque. He was also known for his aversion 19  for the idols 20  that were hanging in Al-Ka'bah. He never prayed to any of them. These idols  went on hanging there until Makkah opened its gates to him in the 8th year of the establishment of the first Muslim State in Al-Madinah. That was the time when he destroyed these idols, saying: 

"And say: Truth has come and untruth has vanished; surely untruth has ever been bound to vanish". (Al-Isra'-81).

Thus the first thing he came to teach the world is monotheism: the Oneness of Allah. This monotheism was not the choice of one of the idols that were hanging in Al-Ka'bah, and exalting him above all the others and preaching his worship, as some orientalists 21 claim. Nor is it the unity of God, which may be interpreted in various ways as some like to interpret it as a trinitarian  22 creed 23  contrary to the very concept of Oneness. In Al-Qur'an, Allah (Exalted be His name) is both One and Absolute: One since He cannot be two or three or more; and He is also Absolute since He cannot be conceived to be part of anything else or to beget or be begotten. This is the idea behind one of the shortest Suras of Al-Qur'an. 

"Say: He is Allah, the One Allah, the Eternally Absolute. He did not beget and He was not begotten .And no one has ever been His compeer."

The immense significance of this surah cannot be over-emphasized; it is the corner-stone of the whole edifice  24 of Islam in its laws for the individual and the state in that Memorable Decade. That Memorable Decade was a vindication 25 of Revelation, a trail blazer  26 for the noblest in man, establishing the Imperial City under the inimitable leadership of the Prophet, manifesting the peak 27 of human achievement under the Divine Eye, setting the Moral Code for all ages to come, and holding illimitable dominion over 28 human destiny.  


The First Muslim State

 

"The individual for the state; the state for the individual, and all for Allah".

For 13 years the Prophet went on teaching the Oneness of Allah. His few followers in Makkah were persecuted, 1 and they suffered all kinds of oppression 2 at the hands of their people, who saw in the new religion a menace 3 to their way of life, and an end to their idol worship.

 Finally the Prophet was given permission by Allah to migrate to Al-Madinah, where he established the First Muslim State of our times.

 

I. The Two Mosques

1. Quba' Mosque:

When the Prophet was about to enter Al-Madinah, "The City", he asked the guide to lead him and his Companion, Abu Bakr, straight to Quba'. When they reached Quba', the Prophet lodged 4 with Kulthum, who had previously welcomed both Hamzah and Zayd in his house when they first arrived from Makkah.

The Prophet reached Quba' on Monday 12th of Rabi `Awwal (27 September 622 A.C.). He stayed there for three days, during which he laid the foundation of the first mosque built in this new Muslim State.

Up till now so many visitors to Al-Madinah make it a point to visit the First Mosque, where they pray once at least during their stay in "The City".

2. The Prophet's Mosque:

On the third day, the Prophet left Quba' for Al-Madinah. At noon on Friday, the Prophet and his Companions stopped to perform a congregational 5 prayer. It was the first Friday congregational prayer in Islam.

The worshippers on that day were not more than a hundred. After the prayer, the Prophet mounted 6 his she-camel Al-Qaswa, which proceeded slowly into Al-Madinah. On the way, many of the inhabitants invited the Prophet and his Companions to stop the Qaswa' and become their guests; but the Prophet told them, "Let her (Al-Qaswa') go her away, for she is under the Command of Allah". Finally the she-camel knelt at the entrance of an enclosure belonging to two orphans. The Prophet asked them if they would sell the enclosure. The two orphans offered to give it as a gift; but the Prophet gave them the price that was fixed by the guardian 7 of the two orphans. Then the Prophet gave orders that the enclosure be made a mosque.

Most of the building was made of bricks; the trunks of the palm-trees, recently felled, 8 served as pillars 9 to support the roof, which was framed of their branches and thatched 10 with their leaves. It had three doors: one to the south, where the Qiblah was afterwards established, another called the Door of Jibril, and the third the Gate of Mercy. A great part of the enclosure was left without a roof. All the Muslims took part in the construction, including the Prophet himself, and as they worked they chanted: "No life there is but the good life hereafter. Mercy, O Allah, on Emigrants and Helpers (to Victory).

3. The Call for Prayers: 

Some of the Companions suggested that the call for prayers could be with the sounds of bugles, 11 as among the Jews, or by lighting fire on high places, or by the striking of trumpets. While they were uncertain which of these means would be appropriate,12 Abdullah, son of Zayd, came to declare that he had seen in his sleep the vision of a man with a bell. "Would you sell me that bell?" asked Abdullah. The man answered, "What would you do with it?" Abdullah then answered, "We'll use it to call for prayers". "Could I suggest something better?" The man said. "What is it?" was Abdullah's eager reply. Then the man said: "You should say:

Allah is Greater: Allah is Greater,
I testify that there is no god but Allah:
I testify that there is no god but Allah:
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,
Come to prayers! Come to prayers'
Come to success! Come to success!
Allah is Greater! Allah is Greater.
There is no god but Allah.

Abdullah went to the Prophet and told him about his vision. To him the Prophet replied, "It is a true vision, so Allah wishes. Go with Bilal, tell him about it and let him say it in calling for prayers. Bilal's voice is more fit for the call."

`Umar, son of Khattab, was in his house when he heard Bilal's call for prayers; so he instantly went to the Prophet in the mosque and told him, "Oh! Prophet of Allah, By Him Who has sent you with the truth, I have seen the same vision . Then the Prophet said, "Praise be to Allah".

4. A Simple Mosque:

Everything in the Prophet's mosque was simple. At night it was lighted up by wood from the palm-tree. The Prophet stood on the ground and preached 13 leaning with his back against the trunk of one of the palters, which served as pillars. Later on, he had a pulpit 14 erected 15 to which he ascended 16 by three steps, so as to be elevated above the congregation.

The Prophet preached sometimes sitting, sometimes standing and leaning on a staff. His precepts 17 were all peaceful and benignant,18 inculcating 19 devotion to Allah, and humanity to man.

The first sermon delivered by the Prophet was an exhortation 20 to be devoted to Allah by putting forward righteous deeds, for death comes of a sudden, even upon a shepherd who would leave his folk shepherdless. Then when he faces His Creator on the Day of Judgment, he will be asked, "Haven't I sent My messenger who delivered My message to you? Haven't I given you money and property, then what good deeds have you put forward for this Day?" Then he will look right and left, and will see nothing but Hell; so guard yourselves against this Fire, even with a portion of a date (fruit). If he cannot find that, a good word would do, for the reward of a good word or deed is ten times to seven hundred times its equal.

 

II. Believers and Disbelievers

1. The First Treaty: 21

On the Prophet's arrival at `Al-Madinah, some of the Christians of the city embraced Islam; they became convinced that there was nothing in Islam against their belief in Christ as a Messenger and Prophet, and they realized that Islam venerated 22 Christ as one of the greatest prophets. Other Christians showed a favorable disposition towards Islam, considering it far better than the old idolatry. 23

The Jews of whom there were rich and powerful families in Al-Madinah and its neighborhood, were on the whole apprehensive 24 of the new religion. That is why the Prophet made a treaty with the Jews of Al-Madinah. It was a covenant 25 of mutual 26  obligation, in which the Jews were given equal status with Muslims. In times of peace, both Muslim and Jew were to redress 27 the wrong incurred 28 on Jew or Muslim. In case of war against the disbelievers, neither Jews nor Muslims should make a separate treaty with disbelievers. For peace is indivisible. "Peace to believers is one." All differences of opinion were to be referred to Allah and His Prophet.

The parties to this treaty were two: the Prophet and all Muslims; the other party was the Jews adherents 29 of the tribes 30 of Bani `Awf, Bani an-Najjar, Banil-Harith, Bani Sa'idah, Bani Jusham, Banil-Aws, and Bani Tha'labah.

"If Quraysh were to attack Al-Madinah, Jews and Muslims have to defend the city. Anybody must be accorded 31 safe exit and safe abode 32 in Al-Madinah, unless he has committed wrong".

2. Muslims and Jews:

The Treaty with the Jews was intended to bring peace to a city which had for long been torn by civil war between Aws and Khazraj. These Muslims had now concluded a covenant with the Jews to face the disbelievers in Makkah as one united front. But, inspite of the treaty, the Jews were not happy with the growing power of the Prophet and his followers. It was about this time that the longest surah of Al-Qur'an was revealed. It is the surah entitled "The Cow" = Al-Baqarah =( ) The first 20 verses (ayat) give a revealing description of the trichotomy 33 that existed in the 2 major cities of Arabia at that time, the number of ayat devoted34 to each group being highly indicative 35 of the dangers involved if the Muslims are not prepared to face emergencies of conspiracy 36 and betrayal. The first 5 verses describe the attitude of the believers; the following 2 verses briefly refer to the disbelievers, while the remaining 13 verses offer a vivid delineation 37 of hypocrisy and 38 the hypocrites. 39 The believers are addressed in the following verses:  

"Alif-Lam-Mim. This, above any suspicion 40 is the Book, a guidance to the pious, 41 who believe in the Unseen and keep up prayers and spend of what We have provided for them, and who believe in what has been sent to you and in what had been sent before you, and who are certain of the Hereafter. These are they who follow guidance from their Lord and these are they who are successful."

The disbelievers are depicted 42 as stubbornly hostile. 43 On their hearts is the seal of disbelief and a veil of ignorance 44 covers their sight and hearing. In the Here after they will suffer severe 45 torment. 46
 

3. The Hypocrites:

Most of the hypocrites were Jews. Of these the same surah devotes 13 ayat to describe them. They claim that they are believers, while in reality they are not. They try to deceive Allah and His Messenger, but they unwittingly 47 deceive themselves. They are sick of heart, and Allah has increased that sickness, and they shall suffer severe torment since they are liars. If they are told not to spread corruption 48 in the land, they answer that they are sincere reformers. 49 In fact they are the source of corruption but they do not feel it. If they are told to believe as the believers have done, their answer is "Shall we believe as these fools have done?" In fact, it is they who are the real fools without knowing it. If they meet the believers, they say "We are also believers", and when they are alone with their Satans, they say, "We are one with you. We are only mocking 50 the believers.". Allah mocks them and prolongs 51 their tyrannous 52 folly. 53 Those have bought error for guidance; so their bargain 54 is sure loss, and they cannot be rightly guided.
4. Muhammad and Ibrahim

(a) Ibrahim is the ancestor 55 of Muhammad, and Muhammad was an answer to Ibrahim's supplication 56 of old:

"Our Lord! And raise up in their midst a messenger from among them who will recite to them Your verses (revelations), and will teach them the Book and wisdom and cleanse them. Surely You are The Mighty, The Wise". (Al-Baqarah, 129).

This supplication was granted Ibrahim centuries later when Muhammad was born to proclaim to the pagan 57 Arabs and the whole world the message of Islam.

(b) Another supplication of Ibrahim was also granted, and the answer was again centuries later. The timing of the grants from Allah is not a matter of human reckoning, 58 for a day with Allah may equal a thousand years in our reckoning; it may sometimes mean more than 50 thousand years. This second supplication of Ibrahim was to infuse 59in mens' hearts the earnest desire to perform the pilgrimage to His Inviolable House.

"Surely I have settled a line of my offspring in an uncultivable valley near Your Inviolable House, Our Lord! that they may keep up prayers; so incline some hearts of men that they yearn toward them, and provide them with fruits that they may be thankful." (Ibrahim: 37).

(c) With the coming of the Prophet to Yathrib (the pre-Islamic name of Al-Madinah), most of the Jews began to be cautious, 60 and even hostile to the new Prophet and the new religion. Some of the Jewish chiefs used to tell the pagan Arabs in Yathrib that a Prophet was about to come, and had told them that with the coming of the new Prophet, the Jews would fight the Arabs and destroy them. The Jews had described the coming Prophet so clearly that the pilgrims 61 from Yathrib recognized him, when they saw him in Makkah. But the Jews had hoped that the Prophet would give them power and dominion as the "Chosen People". A story related by Saffiyyah, the daughter of Huyyay Ibn Akhtab - who later became a wife of the Prophet - tells clearly the enmity 62 of some of the Jewish chiefs towards the Prophet. "I was the favorite child of my father and uncle Abu Yasir," says Saffiyyah. "When I was present they took no notice of their other children. When the Prophet was staying at Quba', the two went to see him before daybreak and did not return until after night fall, weary, 63 worn out, 64 drooping 65 and feeble. 66 I went up to them in childish pleasure as I always did, and they were so sunk in gloom 67 that they took no notice of me. I heard my uncle say to my father, `Is he he? Do you recognize him, and can you be sure?' `Yes!' `And what do you feel about him?' By Allah I shall be his enemy as long as I live.'" [ The Life of Muhammad, trans. by A. Guillaume. O.U.P. 1968, p.241.]

But Islam came with the fundamental 68 principle of the Oneness of Allah, the Creator; a principle from which spring all the other concepts of the oneness of humanity, the importance of right conduct for the individual, and of justice and consultation for the state. So the Prophet as a descendant 69 of Ibrahim turned his face in prayer towards Jerusalem. He had also hoped that the Jews, likewise the children of Ibrahim, would accept him as the new Prophet. This went on for about 16 months. Then came the order to change Al-Qiblah from Jerusalem to Al-Ka'abah which was built by Ibrahim in Makkah. The Divine order for the change of Qiblah came in the month of Sha'ban (the 8th month of the lunar year).

"We see you turning off your face into the sky; and now We do indeed turn you to a qiblah that will please you. So turn your face towards the Inviolable Mosque; and wheresoever you (all) may be, turn your faces towards it". (Al-Baqarah "Cow"- 144).

So a niche 70 or mihrab was made in the south wall of the Madinah mosque. The mihrab has been facing towards Makkah ever since. Muslims have been turning their faces in prayer towards Makkah for nearly fifteen centuries. The same verse (Al-Baqarah - 144) speaks of the People of the Book (Christians and Jews), revealing that they know that Al-Qur'an is the Truth from their Lord. It was the Jews who were mainly addressed by these words, because the Christians were not an influential 71 community in Al-Madinah. The Jews were more formidable, 72 and before the change of Qiblah they had thought that they could win the Prophet over to their religion. So to them came the answer that the Qur'an has the Truth that they have distorted 73  sometimes and concealed 74 at others in their long history of disobedience and rebellion. 75


War and Peace

 

Jihad

I. What is Jihad?

With the first revelation, came a short period of distress in the  Prophet's life. Although he was comforted 1 by his wife Khadijah, and by her cousin Waraqa Ibn Nowfal, he barely realized at the time the huge responsibility he had been entrusted 2 with. For a humble orphan to guide the whole world, this seemed unthinkable at first. So "the very thought of being chosen out of all mankind, alone, with such a message, 3 appalled him at first. Recognition of the Divine nature of the Call he had received involved a change in his whole mental outlook sufficiently disturbing to a sensitive and honest mind, and also the forsaking of his quiet, honoured way of life" [ M. Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Qur'an, Mentor, p. xi.]

The change was not merely mental; it was also physical; for without that physical change, he would not stand the weight of Revelation upon him to the extent that perspiration 4 often dropped from his face even on the coldest of winter nights after the Angel had left him. Without that physical change, the ascent to Heaven would have been impossible.

It took thirteen years for this state of mind to change the humble orphan to the divinely 5 inspired 6 leader of the world. The peaceful call for Allah had to defend itself, after the establishment of the state in Al-Madinah.

In one of the late Madinah suras, the permission to defend the state was given:

 
"Those who have been fought are permitted (to fight), and Allah has determined to give them victory. Those who have been unjustly driven from their homes, only because they said: Our Lord is Allah For had it not been for Allah's repelling some men by means of others, monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is often mentioned, would indeed have been pulled down. Indeed Allah does give victory to those who seek victory for Him. Surely Allah is indeed Strong and Mighty". (Pilgrimage - 39-40).

Herein are given the rules for self-defence, which is legitimate 7 only for fighting against injustice and corruption. The Muslims had been gravely wronged in Makkah. They had been persecuted and forced out of their homes by the corrupt pagans. They left their homes for Al-Madinah; and here their old enemy was coming from Makkah to fight them. The Muslims then are promised victory since they have adopted Islam and have submitted to the fact that their Lord is Allah. They also want victory in the name of Allah. Verse 41 that follows sets the conditions for the justification of that victory: "putting up prayers, giving the zakat, and enjoining the moral and forbidding the immoral". Without this right for self-defence, the whole history of humanity would have changed. Monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques would have been destroyed, and corruption would have held dominion over all. The three revealed religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam would have disappeared from the surface of the earth.

This is the meaning and significance 8 of Jihad in Islam. From its basic meaning denoting a Muslim's duty to purify his own individual intentions and acts, the word "Jihad" should include, according to precepts set down here, defence against corruption and injustice anywhere on earth. It involves the preservation of the right of freedom of worship for all believers of revealed religions, tolerance 9 for Christians and Jews, and the inalienable 10  right of religious co-existence. It also portrays 11 so vividly the nature of war in the state of human existence on this earth. This repelling of one people by another is so striking a phenomenon of human history that global 12  peace 13 does not constitute a significant portion of the structure of the universal order for man.

 

II. Badr (The Glorious Victory)

1. The Few Muslims:

This was the first encounter between the Prophet and Qur'aysh. The Muslims were only three hundred and five men, including one who was so young that the Prophet told him to go home. But the young boy whose name was `Umayr wept, and the Prophet allowed him to stay and take part in the battle. That was one of the Prophet's cousins. His elder brother said later on that he had to fasten the straps 14  for `Umayr's sword belt, because `Umayr was too young to fasten them himself.

This small number of believers had only seventy camels which they rode by turns, three or four men to one camel, and three horses only.

2. Consultation: 15

1 -When news came that Quraysh had set out to fight and protect their caravan, the Prophet told the people of this, and asked their advice. Abu Bakr, and `Umar stood and spoke for the Emigrants 16 in favor of advancing to meet Quraysh and fight them.

Then Al Miqdad spoke also in favor of battle, "O, Messenger of Allah go wherever Allah tells you for we are with you. We will not say as the children of Isra'il said to Musa, You and your Lord go and fight and we will stay at home'; but you and your Lord go and fight and we will fight with you, on the right and on the left, before you and behind you".

Then Sa'd Ibn Mu'ath spoke for the Ansar, "O, Messenger of Allah! We have given you our word and agreement to hear and obey; so go where you decide, we are with you; by Allah, if you were to ask us to cross this sea and you plunged 17 into it, we would plunge into it with you too; not a man would stay behind. We do not dislike the idea of meeting your enemy tomorrow. We are experienced in war, trustworthy 18  in combat 19  It may be that Allah will let us show you something which will bring you joy, so take us along with Allah's blessing".

The Prophet was pleased with these words, and said, "Onward, for Allah has promised me one of the two parties (the caravan or victory), and by Allah, it is as though I now see the enemy's perdition" 20

2 - The Prophet and his Companions marched on until they reached the water of Badr where they halted. 21 But Hubab Ibn Al-Munthir said to the Prophet: "Is this a place which Allah has commanded you to occupy, so that we can neither advance nor withdraw from it, or is it a matter of opinion and military tactics 22?" When the Prophet said that it was a matter of opinion and tactics, Hubab said that they should go on to the water nearest to the enemy, and halt there, stop up the wells beyond it, and construct a cistern  23 so that they would have plenty of water; then they could fight their enemy who would have nothing to drink. The Prophet agreed that this was an excellent plan and it was immediately carried out.

3. And That was Ramadan:

It was Friday, Ramadan 17, in the second year of Hijrah (17 March 623), and the battle of Badr began when one of Quraysh vowed 24 that he would drink of the cistern now in the hands of the Muslims. As he approached the water, he was attacked and killed by one of the Companions.

Then `Utbah asked for single combat with three of the Muslim army. With `Utbah were his brother and his son. The Prophet called on Ubaydah, Hamzah, and `Ali to fight the three disbelievers. No sooner had the combat started than the three disbelievers were killed.

The battle raged 25 fiercely after that, and all the time the Prophet was praying to Allah for victory. Among his prayers was that earnest invocation for victory."O, Allah, if this band perish  26 today, you will be worshipped no more." When Abu Bakr heard this invocation, he said, "O, Prophet of Allah, be of comfort, for Allah will surely fulfil His promise to you." After a while the Prophet had a light sleep, then he awoke and said, "Be of good cheer Abu Bark. Victory from Allah is come to you. Here is Jibril holding the rein of a horse and leading it, and he is armed for war.

The command of the Prophet to his Companions was "Shuddu (Press them hard)", and the answer on their part was: "Ahadun? ahad (Allah is One! Allah is One)." On the side of the believers there were also the angels strengthening their hearts and making firm their feet. The angels had received the Divine message before: 

"When your Lord revealed to the angels: Surely I am with you, so make firm the believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the disbelievers; so strike their heads (above the necks), and strike their every finger (the tips of every finger)." (Al Anfal): 12).

Then, came also the Revelation: 

"So you did not kill them, but Allah killed them; and you did not throw, but Allah did throw." (Al Anfal: 17).

Many of the believers did actually see the angels taking part in the battle. One of them reported that as he was pursuing 27 one of the disbelievers, the disbeliever's head flew from his body, before the believer could reach him. Other believers saw angels riding horses whose hooves 28  never touched the ground. The leader of the angels was Jibril who wore a yellow turban, while the other angels wore white ones.

So the angels had the Divine Command to take part in the battle, for it was Ramadan, and it was the first victory for Islam in modern times.

When the battle ended, 50 of Quraysh were killed, and 50 others were taken captives.  29 Only 14 Muslims were killed that day.

Can the Dead Hear?

The bodies of the leaders of Quraysh who were killed in battle were put in a common grave 30 . As they were thrown in the grave , the Prophet stood and said, "O people of the grave! Have you found that what Allah promised you is true. For I have found that what my Lord promised me is true." His Companions asked, "Are you speaking to dead people?" The Prophet replied, "You are not more capable of hearing me than they; but they cannot answer me."

 

The Prophet and his Family

1. The Story of a Captive:

Among the captives at Badr was Al `Abbas, the Prophet's uncle. He was brought to Al-Madinah with other captives, who were made to ransom 31  themselves. `Abbas was brought before the Prophet, who ordered him to ransom himself and his two nephews, for he was a rich man. Al `Abbas replied "I was a Muslim but the people compelled me (to fight)." The Prophet's answer was, "Allah knows best about your Islam. If what you say is true, Allah will reward you for it. But to all outward appearance you have been against us, so pay us your ransom." Now the Prophet had taken twenty okes 32 of gold from him and he said, Messenger of Allah." So Al `Abbas agreed to pay his own ransom, the ransom of his two nephews, as well the ransom of one of his allies. But the Prophet's answer was, "That has nothing to do with your ransom. Allah took that from you and gave it to us." `Abbas said, "I have no money." "Then where is the money which you left with' Ummul-Fadl, daughter of Al-Harith when you left Makkah? You two were alone when you said to her, If I am killed so much is for Al-Fadl, `Abdullah and Qutham and`Ubaydullah." "By him who sent you with the truth", exclaimed Al `Abbas, "None but she and I knew of this. Now I know that you are the Messenger of Allah." So Al `Abbas agreed to pay his own ransom, the ransom of his two nephews, as well the ransom of one of his allies.

2. The Prophet and his Daughter:

Fatimah was the youngest of the Prophet's daughters. When she was about 20, both `Abu Bakr and `Umar showed a readiness 33 to marry her, but the Prophet pointed out that he was in no hurry for her marriage, and he preferred that she should marry his cousin, `Ali. When she married `Ali, she did not find in the new house the many hands that were ready to help her when she was in her father's house. So she complained one day to her husband, "I have ground (corn) until my hands are blistered. 34" Ali answered , "I have drawn water (for money) until I have pains in my chest. Allah has given your father some captives, so go and ask him to give us a servant." After some hesitation, she went to her father, who asked her why she had come. "I have come to give you greetings of peace", she answered, too shy to speak to him of her business. She went back to her husband, who asked her, "What did you do?", and her answer was, "I was too shy to ask him." So both husband and wife decided to go to her father, but the Prophet gently but decidedly did not give them the needed servant. "I will not give you", the Prophet said, "and let the people of the Bench (poor Muslims who lived nearest to the Prophet's house) be tormented with 35  hunger. I have not enough for their need; but I will spend on them what may come from the ransom of the captives."

3. The Chapter on The Spoils (Surat Al'Anfal):

This chapter was revealed after the Battle of Badr, when there was disagreement among some of the Companions about the spoils of war. The Divine Command about the distribution of the spoils was given to the Prophet, who distributed them equally among the Companions. But the chapter defines clearly some of the objectives and policies of war in Islam.

The chapter begins by stating that the spoils of war belong originally to Allah and His Messenger. Then there is mention of the fact that some of the believers were unwilling to meet the army of Quraysh, and wanted only to get some of the merchandise in Abu Sufyan's caravan. But the Will of Allah was effected to bring destruction upon the disbelievers. When the Prophet asked Allah for victory over the leaders of Quraysh, he was reinforced  36 by the angels, and the Muslims were assured material and moral support. Then the law of no flight from battle (1) is revealed. 

 
"O you who have believed! When you meet those who disbelieve on the march, do not turn your backs. He who turns his back except in ma noeuvring or intending to join another section, incurs the anger of Allah, and his abode is Hell, a miserable destiny." (15 and 16).

The believers are also instructed how to conduct war.

"O you who have believed, when you meet an (enemy) army, stand firm (2), and remember Allah (3) often, that you may succeed".

Then there is a reminder to the believers of the favor of Allah upon them when they were few and weak, and afraid that the enemy would snatch 37 them away, and He gave them refuge 38  in Al-Madinah, nourished 39 them with good things, and gave them a decisive victory over Quraysh.

The address to the disbelievers comes quite justly, 

 
"Say to those who disbelieve, if they cease
(fighting Muslims), they will be pardoned for what is passed". But if they insist, fighting is obligatory. 

"Fight them so that there is no more persecution; And religion, all of it, is to Allah". (39) The end is the establishment of pure monotheism, with no partners or associates to Allah.

Then Muslims are taught how to divide the spoils of war. A fifth of the spoils 40  goes to Allah and His Messenger, to the next of kin and orphans and the poor and wayfarer; and the rest is for the fighters in the cause of Allah.


Defeat and Final Triumph

 

I. The Jewish Tribes

Three Jewish tribes lived near Al-Madinah: Banu Qaynuqa', Banu Nadir, and Banu Qur'aythah. The nearest of these three tribes to Al-Madinah was the tribe of Qaynuqa', who lived in their fortresses 1 to the south of Al-Madinah. Each of these three tribes were forced to exile 2 from the vicinity 3 of Al-Madinah through their wilful 4 treachery 5 Qaynuqa' after the Battle of Badr, Nadir after the Battle of Uhud, and Qur'aythah during the Battle of the Trench.

1. Banu Qaynuqa:

When news of the victory of Badr came to Al-Madinah, even before the Prophet's return from Badr, the Jews showed their hatred and disappointment. One of their leaders said when he was told of the victory, "If Muhammad has killed these men (the chiefs of Quraysh), then is the inside of the earth better than its outside." This was a clear indication of the hostile attitude of the Jews as a whole.

But Banu Qaynuqa', who were the nearest Jewish tribe to Al-Madinah, were more openly hostile. When the Prophet went to them in their market-place, he had hopes that their hearts would soften to Islam, and would embrace it, as they knew from their Scriptures 6 that he was the Messenger of Allah. He also warned them of the fate of the chiefs of Quraysh, and advised them not to incur the anger of Allah by rejecting 7 his Prophethood. But their answer was manifestly 8 hostile.

"O Muhammad, you seem to think that we are your people. Do not deceive yourself because you encountered a people with no knowledge of war and got the better of them; for by Allah if we make war with you, you shall find that we are the men to be feared".

This Jewish tribe began to provoke 9 Muslim residents in their eighborhood, and actually prepared for battle, depending on the help of the hypocrites in Al Madinah. But the Prophet was quick to forestall their attack, and the Prophet and the Muslim army
encircled their fortresses on all sides, and the Muslims demanded the tribe's unconditional surrender. 10 finally, after the insolent 11`pleading 12 of Ibn `Ubayy, a leading hypocrite, the Prophet agreed to allow them to leave the city unharmed, but to surrender all their property.

 

II.The Battle of Uhud

The battle of Uhud represents to a Muslim the incessant 13 need for an impeachable 14 transcendence 15 above worldly gains; it also serves as a perennial 16  warning of the dangerous consequences of disobedience, in the absence of which there is inevitable defeat.

1. Al 'Abbas's letter:

A year after the anniversary of Badr, a letter came to the Prophet in Al-Madinah from his uncle Al `Abbas in Makkah, telling the Prophet that Quraysh was preparing for an attack on Al-Madinah with an army of three thousand. At the head of the army was Abu Sufyan, who took with him his wife Hind. Wahshiyy, a slave of one of the chiefs of Makkah was in the army of Quraysh, because he was promised by his master to be a free man, if he killed Hamzah, the Prophet's uncle. Hind also wanted Wahshiyy to kill Hamzah, who had killed her father, and whenever she saw Wahshiyy in the army on the way to Al Madinah, she used to say, "Come on, your father of blackness, satisfy your vengeance and 17 ours.'

Before going to meet the enemy, the Prophet had seen in a dream that he was wearing a strong coat of 18 mail. His sword was in his hand and he noticed a dent 19 in it; and he saw some cows of his, and they were sacrificed before his own eyes. The Prophet interpreted this dream to his Companions, saying, "The dent in my sword is a blow that will be struck against myself, and the sacrificed cows are some of my Companions who will be killed, and the strong coat of mail is Al -Madinah. If you think it well it would be better to stay in Al-Madinah and leave them where they have encamped; 20 for if they halt they will have halted in a bad position and if they try to enter the city, we can fight them therein.

 

2. Consultation:

(Abdullah Ibn Ubayy was the first to speak) Ibn Ubayy: "O Messenger of Allah, this is the right opinion."

Some younger Companions: "O Messenger of Allah, it would be better for us to go out of the city, and fight the enemy. Let them not think that we fear them or that we are too weak for them."

Ibn Ubayy: "O Messenger of Allah, stay in Al-Madinah, do not go out to them. We have never gone out to fight an enemy but we have met disaster, 21 and none has come in against us without being defeated, so leave them where they are. If they stay, they stay in evil predicament, and if they come in, the men will fight them and the women and children will throw stones on them from the wall, and if they retreat they will retreat dejected 22 and frustrated 23 in purpose."

The Prophet: (to the Companions): "Stay in Al-Madinah, and let the women and offspring stay in the fortresses".

One of the younger Companions: "O Messenger of Allah, at Badr you had only three hundred men, and Allah gave us the day. And now we are many and have been hoping for this occasion and praying Allah for it, and He has sent it to our very door."

Ibn Ubbay: "Those young boys were not at Badr. They want to do as the others have done."

Another younger Companion: Allah gave His messenger victory at Badr, and if He will, He will grant him victory today. Let us go out with you, O, Messenger of Allah, as you did go out with the Companions for Badr. Let us go out to meet our enemy." The Prophet: "Then prepare yourselves to go out to meet your enemy."

The younger Companions: Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greater, Allah is Greater)."

Ibn Ubayy: He (The Prophet) has disobeyed me, and obeyed the young ones.

Sa'd Ibn Mu'ath: You spoke too much to the Prophet about going out; and the Command usually comes down to him from Heaven. [The Prophet goes into his house]. Usayd Ibn Hudayr: Leave the matter to the Prophet.

The younger Companions: (feeling repentant). That's true. We did speak too much of going out. We should not have done that.

Sa'd: (to Usayd) Line up the men for the Prophet when he comes out. (Usayd asks the men to line up).

[The Prophet now comes out of his house, dressed for battle].

Sa'd: (to the Prophet). "We have spoken too much to you about going out
Al-Madinah; but now we feel sorry for that. The decision is now back to you.

The Prophet: "It is not for a Prophet, when he has put on his armor, to take if off until Allah has judged between him and his enemy. So look to what I commanded you, and do it, and go forward in the name of Allah. The victory is yours if you are steadfast." 24 (Half way between Al-Madinah and the mountain of Uhud. Ibn Ubbay had secretly conferred with his 300 followers about their withdrawing from the battle).

Ibn Ubayy: (to his followers) "He (the Prophet) has obeyed them and disobeyed me. We do not know why we should lose our lives here. O, men, let us return to Al-Madinah."

(They begin to withdraw).

`Abdullah `Ibn Haram: (calling at them). "I adjure 25 you by Allah not to abandon 26 your people and your Prophet when the enemy is at hand."Some of the hypocrites: "If we knew that you would fight, we would not abandon you; but we do not think that there will be a battle.

Ibn Haram: "Enemies of Allah! Allah will avail His Prophet beyond any need of you".

(The Prophet and the Muslim army pass by a battalion 27 several hundred in number).

The Prophet: (to his Companions). "Who are those?" A Companion: "They are Jews, allies of Ibn Ubayy, the hypocrite.

The Prophet: "Have they embraced Islam?"

The Companion: "No, they have not.

The Prophet: "We are not in need of them."

 

3. The Battle Rages:

The instructions of the Prophet before the battle began were very clear. To the army of 700 he said:"Let none of you fight until we give the word."

To the 50 archers, 28 this was his order: "Keep the (enemy) cavarly 29 away from us with your arrows and let them not come on us from the rear whether the battle goes on in our favor or against us, and keep your place so that we cannot be got at from your direction."

The battle went on with the Muslims having their weapons as bows, arrows and swords, and their battle cry "amit! amit!" - "Slay! Slay!"

The Prophet's sword was given to Abu Dujanah, who fought fiercely 30 with it.

Two other brave fighters were Hamzah, the Prophet's uncle, and Ali, his cousin.

Wahshi was a slave who had been promised by his master to be set free, if he killed Hamzah. So Wahshi waited for the right moment, at which he launched 31 a' javelin 32 at Hamzah, who soon collapsed and fell. When Hamzah was dead Wahshi came and recovered his javelin. Then he went off to camp, for he had no business with anyone but him.

In spite of Hamzah's death, the Muslims went on attacking the disbelievers, until Quraysh began to run away defeated, after its standard bearer 33 was killed.

Now the Muslim archers saw the enemy being defeated, and forty of the archers ran in the direction of the enemy camp for the spoils. Khalid at the head of the enemy cavalry found out that the rear of the Muslim army was open and began a counter-attack. The remaining ten archers who obeyed the order of the Prophet were all killed; and the enemy got so near the Prophet that more than five of the Companions around him were killed while defending him. Then a sharp stone from the enemy struck him in the mouth, gashing 34 his lower lip and breaking one of his teeth. Later on, an enemy horseman came at the Prophet and struck at him with the sword. The blade of the sword narrowly missed the crown of the Prophet's helmet, but it drove two of the helmet rings into his cheek, and the Prophet fell to the ground.

Then a voice was heard - probably that of the enemy horseman - that the Prophet was slain. When the word spread about the death of the Prophet, many Muslims lost heart, although some went on fighting. One of those valiant 35 fighters was killed, but when they came to look for his body, they found it with more than eighty wounds, and it was so disfigured that his sister recognized him by his fingers.

The Prophet was hurt, but soon he got up and led the Companions around him to a more defensible place to watch over the movement of the enemy. The wounds of the Prophet were still bleeding, as well as those of his close Companions, including Abu `Ubaydah, who had pulled out two of his own teeth when he drew out the two rings of the Prophet's helmet from his cheek.

The enemy had found that they had taken their revenge 36 for those killed at Badr, and believed that the Prophet was killed. So they began to withdraw; 37 and would soon be on their way back to Makkah.

The Companions had come to know that the Prophet was safe, and they went back and assembled 38 around him. Then came the time for noon prayer, and the Prophet led the prayer seated throughout, and everyone followed his example. Then they lay down to rest, and many of them slept.    

"Then He sent down upon you after anguish secure slumber enveloping a group from among you". (Al-'Imran- 154).

4. The Martyrs:

Among the seventy-two martyrs of Uhud was Hamzah, the Prophet's uncle. He had been slain 39 by Wahshi, the Abyssinian. By killing him he gained his freedom from his Makkan master, as well as all the spoils that Hind got after the battle. She even gave him her necklaces, pendants and anklets; and in her thirst for revenge she had mutilated  40 Hamza's body, and even chewed a piece of his liver.

When the Prophet saw the mutilated body of Hamzah, he felt grieved 41 and angry at the outraging sight, and said, `When next Allah grant me victory over Quraysh, I will mutilate seventy of their dead."

The Companions were also furious, 42 and some of them said, "By Allah, if Allah grants us victory over them in the future we will mutilate them as no `Arab has ever mutilated anyone. But soon after this, Allah sent down His revelation; 

'And if you punish, then punish as you have been punished; but if you endure patiently that is better for the patient. Endure you pantiently, and your endurance is only from Allah; and grieve not for them, and be not straitened at what they plot. Surely Allah is with those who are pious and those who do fair deeds. (An- Nahl; 126-128)

Of course the Prophet did not fulfil his threat but he expressly forbade mutilation at every battle.

Among the women who came to see the martyrs were Safiyyah, Hamzah's sister, and her sister Umaymah, who lost her son. Their cousin Hamnah came to see her dead: her husband, her brother and her uncle. `A'ishah was also there, and Fatimah, the Prophet's daughter was present; and in their sadness, they all wept over their dead, and it was a relief to the Prophet to weep with them.

Among the martyrs was a Jewish rabbi. 43 When the Prophet asked about how this rabbi came to battle, he was informed that he had joined the battle early to fight the idolaters, 44  and asked his people that the Prophet should be the only heir to his property. Then he went to battle and was killed. Later on, it is reported that a large portion of the alms 45 that were distributed in Al-Madinah came from the rich palm groves that the Prophet inherited from this Jewish martyr. The Prophet used to call this martyr "the best of the Jews".

The Prophet then ordered that all the dead be buried together, and he prayed the funeral 46  prayer over each one of them, seventy-two prayers in all.

 

5. Quraysh Pursued:

The Prophet and the Companions reached Al-Madinah late afternoon; but early next morning the Prophet called on the army of believers to be ready for setting out in pursuit 47 of Quraysh, who had not given up the idea of attacking Al-Madinah again. Although many Muslims were wounded, all of them answered the call of Bilal to go with the Prophet to Badr, to show the enemy that the battle of Uhud did not make the Muslims lose courage. The Muslim army spent a few days encamped not very far away from Al-Madinah, and then returned when they were sure that the Makkans had deserted any plan of coming back.

 

6. Revelations about Uhud:

About 60 verses were revealed to the Prophet concerning Uhud. The verses remind the believers of the causes of defeat, as the majority 48 of the archers left their places to take the spoils of the enemy. They were also reminded that at the battle of Badr there was no such disobedience and they were given victory from Allah, although their army was much smaller than at Uhud. Again the idea that victory is from Allah is stressed.
  

"And victory is only from Allah, the Mighty, the Wise" (Al-Imran 126).

Verses of relief and consolation follow, indicating to the believers that they should not feel grieved for their losses in Uhud, for similar losses had been inflicted on the disbelievers at Badr. Then follows the eternal law of victory and defeat.

"And these days (of victory) we alternate between mankind." (Al-'Imran-140).

Then the fighters for the cause of Islam are told that the price of Paradise is not a trifle:

 

"Or did you reckon that you would enter Paradise before Allah knows those of you who strive truly and before He knows those who endure patiently?" (Al-'Imran- 142).

Finally there is affirmation 49 of the role of the Prophet and Messenger. The death or killing of a Prophet or Messenger does not mean the end of the Divine message or the cessation 50 of jihad for Islam.
  

"And Muhammad is only a messenger, and messengers have already passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn upon your heels? Whoever turns upon his heels will thereby do no harm to Allah; and Allah will reward the thankful." (Al-'Imran-144).

 

7. Khubayb:

In the peaceful months after Uhud, the Prophet told six learned Muslims to go and teach some new converts, 51 in a tribe near Makkah. An enemy band of disbelievers attacked the six Muslims, killed four of them, and the remaining two were sold to Quraysh. When one of the two was about to die, he asked time to pray two rak'at "bowings". He was told by the enemy that his life could be spared if he reverted from Islam. The answer was, "I would not revert from Islam, if by so doing I could have all that is on earth." "Do you not wish that Muhammad were in your place", the disbelievers said, "and you were sitting in your home?" "I would not that Muhammad should be pricked 52 by a single thorn 53 that I might thereby be sitting in my home", answered Khubayb.

The devotion of the man to Islam and the Prophet made his persecutor exclaim in amazement; "I have never seen anybody love anybody or anything as the Companions of Muhammad love Muhammad!"


The City in Peril

The Trench 1

1. Banu n-Nadir:

One of the Prophet's Companions killed two men of an enemy tribe, after he had given them assurances of security. The Prophet told him that this was a sin to be expiated 2 for in blood-money. This enemy tribe was in alliance 3 with Banu -n-Nadir.

Banu -n-Nadir were a rich Jewish tribe and the Prophet wanted their help in paying the blood-money for the two non-Muslims belonging to the tribe in alliance with Banu-n-Nadir. The Jews agreed to the Prophet's demand but they plotted to kill him. So they asked one of them to go to the top of the house and drop a rock on him, since the Prophet was sitting with Abu Bakr, `Umar and some other Companions by the wall of one of the Jews' houses.

Their secret plot was revealed to the Prophet, and he hastily 4 returned to Al-Madinah, where he was joined again by the Companions, to whom he told the story of the Jews' treachery. He soon sent a messenger to the Jews telling them of their hidden plot, and informing them that their pact 5 with the Muslims had thus been broken. "I give you ten days to depart from my country," was the demand given to this Jewish tribe by the Prophet's messenger. Most of the members of the tribe accepted the Prophet's demand, but some of their chiefs thought that Ibn Ubayy, the chief hypocrite as well as some of the neighbouring non- Muslim tribes would come to their help.

The Prophet did not lose time in calling Muslim fighters to attack Banu-n-Nadir, who were taken by surprise. After ten days of siege, 6 the Prophet gave orders to cut down some of the palm-trees to destroy their insistence 7 on resistance 8.  Finally, their leader Huyayy told the Prophet that they would leave the land; and the Prophet agreed to allow them to take with them all that their camels could carry except their arms and armour. The doors of their houses were loaded on to their camels, together with all their riches and jewels. Many of them went to settle in Khaybar, and others continued their journey to Syria. The Qur'an thus speaks about Banu-n-Nadir: 

"He (Allah) is the Who has turned out those who disbelieve of the people of the Scripture from their homes to the first exile." (Al-Hasr - 2).

The marvellous precision 9  of the verse here distinguishes 10 the people of the Scripture as a whole, and those among them who are disbelievers. Again it is manifestly clear that Allah turned them out, and no effort on the part of the Muslims would have availed 11 them without His help.

Then the Commandment is given that the land of Banu-n-Nadir and all that they had left behind them was the possession of the Prophet to be given to the poor and needy. 

"What Allah has granted His Messenger from city dwellers is for Allah and for the Messenger, and for the kindred, the orphans, the digent, and the wayfarer, so that they (the spoils) should not be exchanged only by the rich among you". (Al-Hashr- 7).

Again, the spoils are stipulated 12 here to be divided in a way that would make for more economic equality and levelling 13 down of capital hoarding 14 and class animosity. 15

 

2. Salman the Persian:

Again the Jews of An-Nadir wanted to take their revenge on the Prophet. Some of them settled north with the other Jewish tribe in Khaybar. So the leaders of the Jews of An-Nadir as well as of haybar went to Quraysh and urged them to attack Al-Madinah again to destroy the city and eradicate 16 Islam.

Quraysh was happy to have the Jews around Al- Madinah as allies, together with other non-Muslim tribes in Najd as part of their expedition against Al -Madinah, which took place in Shawwal in the fifth year of Hijrah.

The Prophet realized that Quraysh and the other Arab tribes were determined "to hurl at them with one bow". So he consulted with the Companions who kept silent for a while. Then finally Salman addressed the Prophet saying, "O, Messenger of Allah, in Persia when we feared the attack of cavalry, we would surround ourselves with a trench. So let us dig a trench about us now." The Prophet and the Companions agreed to the suggestion, and they started digging it around Al-Madinah.

The Prophet made each section of the community responsible for a part of the trench, and the Prophet himself worked with them. Girt 17 with a red cloak, 18  his breast sprinkled  19 with dust and his long hair reaching his shoulders, he worked sometimes with the Emigrants, and sometimes with Ansar (Helpers), chanting with them the same words that were chanted during the building of the First Mosque.

"O Allah, no life there is but the good Hereafter. Forgive the Helpers and the Emigrants."

Salman was busy digging with the Helpers and Emigrants, who all admired him. Some of the Emigrants would say, "Salman is ours", because he was also an emigrant from his home country, Persia. Then the Helpers would respond saying "He is one of us, and we have more right to him." But the Prophet took Salman to himself, saying, "Salman is one of us, the people of the House."

On two occasions the Prophet was called upon by the Companions for help. A rock gave the diggers of the trench much trouble. So the Prophet dropped into the trench, took the pickaxe 20 and gave the rock such a blow that lightning flashed back over the city. This happened a second and a third time. Then Salman asked the Prophet for an interpretation of the lightning. The Prophet answered, "Did you see them, Salman?" By the light of the first the Prophet saw the castles of the Yaman; by the light of the second he saw Syria and the West, and by the light of the third he saw the white palace of Kisra at Al-Mada'in.

 

3. Conduct of War:

a - Quraysh and Banu  Quraythah:

The Muslims were only three thousand, who encamped outside of the town, with the trench separating them from the enemy. Quraysh came with more than ten thousand, and they were joined by the Najdi tribe of Ghatafan. They all encircled the city from all directions, except from the south-east where the fortresses of Banu Quraythah blocked the way.

The leader of Quraysh was Abu Sufyan, with Khalid again on the cavalry; but there was no hope of crossing the trench. So they thought of seeking the help of Banu Quraythah, with whom the Prophet had concluded a treaty of mutual defence.

Then Huyayy Ibn Akhtab of Banu-n-Nadir went to Ka'b Ibn Asad, the chief of Banu Quraythah and urged him to renounce the agreement with the Prophet, and join forces with Abu Sufyan and his Confederates, 21  since all these enemy forces were determined on the total destruction of Al-Madinah. After some hesitation, Ka'b Ibn Asad agreed to renounce 22 his pact with the Prophet; and now there was real danger with all these forces completely surrounding Al-Madinah.

The Prophet sent two leaders of the Helpers to make sure whether Banu Quraythah had actually broken their pact with him. He told them that if the treachery is true, they would inform him in a subtle 23  way; but if Banu Quraythah are still loyal to their agreement, they would speak out before the people. The instructions were clearly intended to preserve the  morale 24  of the Muslim army, who began to show traces 25  of the effect of the siege.

Then the Prophet thought of negotiating 26  with Ghatafan,the Najdi tribe stationed with Quraysh round Al-Madinah. He intended to send to the leaders of Ghatafan offering them a third of the dates of Al- Madinah on condition that they would go back with their followers and leave Quraysh alone surrounding Al-Madinah.

 

b - Consultation:

Before the treaty with Ghatafan was written down, the Prophet sent to the two leaders of the Helpers and asked them their advice. They said, "Is it a thing you want us to do, or something Allah has ordered you to do which we must carry out? Or is it something you are doing for us?" The Prophet said, "It is something I am doing for your sake. By Allah I would not do it were it not that I have seen the Arabs have shot at you from one bow, and gathered against you from every side and I want to break their offensive  27against you." Sa'd lbn Mu'ath readily answered, "We and these people were polytheists 28  and idolaters, not worshipping Allah nor knowing Him, and they never hoped to eat a single date (of ours) except as guests or by purchase. Now, after `Allah has honoured and guided us to Islam and made us mighty by you, are we to give them our property? We certainly will not. We will give them nothing but the sword until Allah decides between us." Then the Prophet said, "You shall have it so." So the Prophet agreed to Sa'd's opinion and no contacts with Ghatafan took place.

 

c - Days of Trial:

The days passed, and the Muslims were beginning to feel the results of the siege, with the enemy on all sides, and the enemy cavalry intent on crossing the trench at its narrowest point. Four horsemen did succeed in crossing that narrow part of the trench; among them was `Amr Ibn Wudd, who was a valiant warrior. Now `Amr challenged anyone  29 to fight him, and `Ali accepted the challenge 30. The Prophet tried to stop `All from fighting `Amr, but `Ali was intent on fighting him.

The encounter between the two heroes has been reported to have gone on like this:

Bali: "Don't be in a hurry. No weakling has come to answer your challenge."

`Amr: "Who are you.

Bali: "I am 'Ail"

`Amr: "Let it be one of your uncles who is older than you, my nephew, for I don't want to shed 31 your blood."

Bali: "But I do want to shed your blood."

`Amr: (getting angry and drawing his sword. He was still mounted). Bali: "How can I fight you when you are on a horse? Dismount and be on a level with me." `Amr: (dismounts  32 and advances towards Bali and aiming a blow into Bali's shield). Bali: (giving `Amr a blow on the vein at the base of the neck). `Amr: (falls to the ground, fatally 33 wounded). Bali, and the Muslims who saw the fight cried: "Allah Akbar" Bali: (going back towards the Prophet smiling with joy, he was asked by `Umar). `Umar: "Didn't you strip him of his armor? It is among the best that could be found among the Arabs." Bali: "When I had struck him down, he turned his private parts towards me and I felt ashamed to despoil 34 him. He had also said that he did not want to shed my blood because my father was a friend of his."

 

4 - Nu'aym:

The Prophet felt that the days were passing without much fighting. Among the Muslims only Sad Bin Mu'ath was fatally wounded. But the Muslims began to feel the weight of hunger and weariness 35 in spite of their steadfast endurance. They also knew that the enemy was feeling also the shortage  36 of pasture 37 and provisions. At that time came Nu'aym of the tribe of Ash'. He was not a confirmed polytheist and he began to have sympathy and admiration for the men of the new religion who have shown glorious 38  resistance to an army more than three times their strength.

He had already inwardly 39 become a Muslim, when he came to ask to see the Prophet after the proposed alliance with Ghatafan was abandoned.

When he was taken to the Prophet, the Prophet asked him why he had come. Nu'aym answered, "I have come to declare my belief in Allah and testify that you have brought us the truth. So bid me to do what you will, O, Messenger of Allah, for you have only to command me, and I will fulfil your orders. My people and others know nothing about my Islam".

"To the utmost 40 of your power", said the Prophet, "Set them at odds with each other." Nu'aym asked permission to lie and the Prophet said, "Say what you wish to draw them off from us, for war is deception." So Nu'aym went off to Banu Quraythah with whom he had always been friendly, and said, "Quraysh and Ghatafan are not like you: the land is your land; your property, your wives and your children are in it; you cannot leave it and go somewhere else." He went on to remind them that if Quraysh failed to de story Al-Madinah, then Banu Quraythah would be left alone to face the Prophet. "So do not fight along with these people (Quraysh)", Nu'aym went on, "Until you take hostages 41 from their chiefs who will remain in your hands as security that they will fight Muhammad with you until you make an end of him." Banu raythah found that this was an excellent advice and promised not to tell u'aym's people or Quraysh that he had given them that advice Then Nu'aym went to Quraysh and told Abu Sufyan that the Jews had regretted their action in opposing the Prophet and had sent to tell him so, saying would you like us to get hold of some chiefs of the two tribes Quraysh and Ghatafan and hand them over to you so that you can cut their heads off? Then we can join you in exterminating 42 the rest of them." He also told them that the Prophet had sent word back to accept their offer; and Nu'aym concluded, "So if the Jews send to you to demand hostages, don't send them a single man."

Finally, Nu'aym went to his tribe Ghatafan and told them the same story that he had told Quraysh.

Then Quraysh began to be suspicious 43 of Bani Quraythah. But Quraysh sent word to Bani Quraythah that it was time to make a final attack on Al-Madinah; and Banu Quraythah asked for hostages from Quraysh. That proved that Nu'aym's words were true, and that the Jews had betrayed them; and Quraysh refused to give some of their chiefs as hostages to Bani Quraythah.

 

5 - Divine help:

Nearly two weeks had passed and the armies of Quraysh and Chatafan were suffering from lack of provisions and the death of their horses and camels. For three days the Prophet used to offer this supplication, "O, Allah, Revealer of the Book, Swift Caller to account, turn the Confederates to flight and cause them to quake."

Then came the cold wind from the east with torrents 44 of rain which forced every man to take shelter.45 The forces of nature were all against the invading armies; and throughout their camps not one tent was left standing nor any fire left burning, and the men were shivering with cold. After nearly a month, the enemy army led by Abu Sufyan broke camp and moved off. But the Prophet and the Muslims waited until dawn. After dawn prayer, the light of the day revealed the total emptiness of the plain after the departure 46 of the enemy. The Muslims were given permission by the Prophet to go back to their homes. The Prophet and the few Companions escorting  47 him were the last Muslims to leave the field of battle.

 

6 - Divine Revelation:

The thirty third Surah of Al-Qur'an (verses 9-25) describes the situation during the battle of the Trench. The strain on the believers is described in this way: 

"O you who have believed remember Allah's favour upon you when (enemy) hosts came upon you; so we sent upon them wind and (angel) hosts you did not see. And Allah was Discerner of what you did." (Al-Ahzab-9).

"When they came from above you and from under you, and when eyesight swerved, and when hearts rose up into larynxes, and you were thinking (strange) thoughts about Allah" (Al- Ahzab- 10).

"Then the believers were tried, and they were quaked a severe quaking". (Al-Ahzab-11).

Then the verses speak of those who wavered 48 and wanted to withdraw from the battle on the pretext 49 that their houses were exposed to enemy attack, while the Prophet is described as the ideal for every Muslim in times of war and peace. 

"There has been a fair example for you in the Messenger of Allah; for those who hope for (reward) from Allah, and on the Hereafter, and those who remember Allah much." (Al-Ahzab-21).

The steadfast among the believers were given a special mention in the following verse: 

"And when the believers saw the Confederates (parties) they said, `This is what Allah and His Messenger have promised us. And Allah and His Messenger have spoken (truth) faithfully. And it only increased them (the believers) in belief and submission". (Al-Ahzab-22).

The failure of the disbelievers' plan is further mentioned: 

"And Allah has sent back the disbelievers with their fury and they did not attain any good; and Allah was a sufficient (Protector) to the believers from fighting. And Allah has been Strong Mighty". (Al-Ahzab-25).

 

7 - Banu Quraythah:

When the Prophet went to Al-Madinah, he and his Companions performed the noon prayer, after which Jibril (Gabriel) was sent to him and asked him if he had abandoned fighting; and the Prophet answered, "Yes." Then Jibril said, Allah commands you to go to Bani Quraythah. I am about to go to shake their stronghold. 50 The Prophet then ordered that none should perform the afternoon prayer until they had reached Bani Quraythah. The banner was given to Ali and the Prophet set out afterwards with the majority of his army until they reached a well on the way to Bani Qurauthah where they performed the afternoon prayer. They waited there until the remaining part of the army joined them. Some did not even arrive except after the last evening prayer, not having prayed the afternoon prayer because the Prophet had told them not to do so until he got to Bani Quraythah. They had been much occupied with warlike preparations and they refused to pray until they came to Bani Quraythah in accordance 51 with his instructions; and they prayed the afternoon prayer there after the last evening prayer. Allah did not blame 52 them for that in His Book, nor did the Prophet reproach 53 them.

Banu Quraythah were besieged for twenty five days. Then they sent to the Prophet to ask him to let them consult 54 Aba Lubabah, a Companion from the Muslim tribe of Aws. Aba Lubabah advised them to surrender, 55  but, because he was softened  56 by the sight of their wailing  57 women and children, he indicated to them, by pointing at his throat, that surrender would mean death. Soon Aba Lubabah realized that he had betrayed his trust by pointing to his throat. "My two feet had not moved from where they were", he said, "Before I was aware that I had betrayed the Messenger of Allah". His face changed color and he recited the verse: 

"Surely we are for Allah, and surely to Him are we returning." (Al-Baqarah-156).

He went back to Al-Madinah, and into the Mosque, where he bound himself to one of the pillars, saying, "I will not stir from this place until Allah accept my repentance for what I did."   When the Prophet heard what had happened to Abu Lubabah, he said, "If he had come to me I would have prayed Allah to forgive him; but seeing that he had behaved as he did, it is not for me to free him until Allah shall accept his repentance": 58

Abu Lubabah remained at the pillar for more than ten days, after which came forgiveness from Allah to him. He was so overjoyed 59 that he insisted on being freed 60  by the Prophet himself. When the Prophet passed by him as he was going out to prayer, he set him free.

At last Banu Quraythah opened the gates of their fortresses and submitted 61 to the Prophet's judgment. The men, seven hundred or so, were led out with their hands bound behind their backs, and the women and children were assembled, and the Prophet put them in the charge of Abdullah Ibn Salam, the former chief rabbi of the Bani Qaynuqa'. The arms and armour were also collected; and the jars of wine were opened and their contents poured away. The Muslim tribe of Aws asked the Prophet to show leniency  62  to Bani Quraythah who had been their former allies. The Prophet agreed to have Sa'd Ibn Mu' ath, the leader of the `Aws tribe to give judgment on the Jews.

But Sa'd was a man of justice; like `Umar he had been against sparing  63 the prisoners at Badr, and their opinion had been confirmed by the Revelation. Many men of Quraysh who had been ransomed at Badr had come out against the Muslims in Al-Madinah at Uhud and again at the Trench. So past experience was not an argument for leniency. It was Sa'd who had come to Bani Quraythah to remind them of their pact with the Prophet, but they insisted on breaking it when they saw that the defeat of the Muslims was certain.   So Sa'd, after he had got his acceptance from his tribe as well as from the Prophet, said, "Then I judge that the men shall be killed, the property divided, and the women and children made captive." The Prophet said to him, "You have judged with the judgement of Allah from above the seven heavens."

Al-Qur'an aptly mentions the fate  64 of Bani Quraythah in these words: The land which the Muslims had not trodden 65 may be interpreted to mean all land gained by Muslims ever since.    

"And He (Allah) brought down those of the Scripture people who backed them from their stronghold, and he cast terror into their hearts; some you killed and some you captured." (Al-Ahzab-26).

"And He caused you to inherit their land and their dwellings, and their property, and a land you have not trodden (Khaybar), and Allah has determined all things". (Al-Ahzab-27).

The land which the Muslims had not trodden 65 may be interpreted to mean all land gained by Muslims ever since.

 

8 - lbn Ubayy:

Ibn Ubayy was the head of his tribe, who together with the other residents of Al-Madinah welcomed the Prophet when he first came to the city. Out of courtesy  66 at first, Ibn Ubbay used to stand before the Prophet gave his Friday sermon and to urge 67  the people of Al-Madinah to follow the Prophet, and fight his  enemies with him. But after the decisive 68  battles of the Prophet, he began to show his disaffection 69  and sedition; 70  and for this he has been called the head of the hypocrites.

Six months after the surrender of Bani Quraythah, the Prophet led a small company of Muslims to punish Bani Lihyan for having killed Khubayb and his party and then another company to punish' `Uyaynah Ibn Hisn at a place called Thi Qarad. Uyaynah Ibn Hisn had raided the out-skirts of Al-Madinah and killed a Muslim and taken away his wife and camel.

A third company of Muslims were led by the Prophet to fight Banil-Mustaliq who were preparing to attack Al-Madinah. Many men of that tribe were killed and many others were taken captives. Among the women captives was Juwayriyah, daughter of their leader, Al-Harith. She later became a wife of the Prophet. After her marriage with the Prophet, a hundred families of her people were released from captivity.

While the army was camping, a quarrel took place between two men who wanted to draw water from one of the wells near the camp. One of them called on the Ansar (the Helpers) to save him, and the other called on the Emigrants. When more people were about to take part in the fight, the closer Companions intervened 71 on both sides and no blood was shed. When Ibn Ubayy heard of that incident, and learnt that an Emigrant was the one who dealt the first blow at the Helper (Ansari), he said, "Have they (the Emigrants) gone so far as this? They seek to take precedence 72 over us. They outnumber us in our own country, and nothing so fits us and these rags of Quraysh

(the Emigrants) but the ancient saying, `Feed fat your dog and it will feed on you? By Allah when we return to Al-Madinah the mightier will drive out the humbler." 73

The Prophet was angry when he heard of this, and `Umar suggested that Ibn Ubayy should be killed, but the Prophet's answer was firm. "What if men should say, O`Umar, that Muhammad kills his companions?" When Ibn Ubayy was asked if he had really said what had been reported, he came straight to the Prophet and swore that he had said no such thing.

The Prophet dismissed the matter for the time being, and he gave orders for the army to move off shortly after midday. They kept on marching for the remaining part of the day, and the whole night. They slept until dawn, and then set out again, all the while stopping only to perform prayers. During the march Usayd Ibn Hudayr said to the Prophet, "O Messenger of Allah, you are travelling at a disagreeable time, a thing you have redone before." The Prophet said, "Have you not heard of what your friend said? He asserted 74 that if he returns to Al-Madinah the mightier will drive out the humbler." Usayd answered, "But you will drive him out if you decide to; he is the humble and you are the mighty.' Then Usayd added, "O Messenger of Allah, treat him kindly, for Allah brought you to us when his people were stringing 75 beads 76 to make him a crown, and he thinks that you have deprived him of a Kingdom."

When `Abdullah Ibn Ubayy heard what his father had said, he came to the Prophet saying, "I have heard that you want to kill Ibn Ubayy for what you have heard about him. If you must do it, then order me to do it, and I will bring you his head. The Khazraj tribe know that they have no man more dutiful to his father than I, and I am afraid that if you order someone else to kill him, my honor will not permit me to see his killer walking among men and I shall kill him (the killer), thus killing a believer for a disbeliever, and so I should go to Hell. But the Prophet said, "Nay, but let us deal kindly with him and make much of his companionship while he is with us."

The camp was now not far from Al-Madinah and there was no water for ablution .77 On this occasion, the verse permitting dry ablution was revealed. 

"So if you do not find water look for pure earth, wiping therewith your faces and your hands." (An Nisa'-43).


Peace with Makkah

Before the Conquest 1 of Makkah

1. The Hudaybiyah:

The Prophet stayed in Al-Madinah for two months, and in the third month he asked his Companions to prepare for the Lesser Pilgrimage (`Umrah). The Prophet was bareheaded and put on the pilgrim's dress, made of two pieces of unstitched 2 cloth, one wrapped round the waist covering the lower part of the body, and the other draped round the shoulders. Consecrating himself for the pilgrimage with two rak'ahs, he now uttered 3 the pilgrim's first invocation: 4 "Here I am at Your service, O, Allah." Then the Prophet and his Companions set out for Makkah driving seventy camels to be sacrificed in the sacred precinct, 5  where their meat would then be distributed among the poor of Makkah.

When Quraysh heard of the departure of the pilgrims from Al-Madinah, they decided that they should not allow them to enter Makkah; and they began to be ready for war. When the Prophet heard of their determination, he said, "Alas, Quraysh! War has devoured 6 them! What harm 7 would they have suffered if they had left me and the rest of the Arabs to go our own ways? If they should kill me that is what they desire, and if Allah should give me victory over them they would enter Islam in flocks. 8 If they do not do that (i.e. enter Islam) they will fight while they have the trength, so what are Quraysh thinking of? By Allah, I will not cease to fight for the mission 9 with which Allah has entrusted me until He makes it victorious 10 or I perish."

Then Quraysh sent an envoy 11 to the Prophet to try to persuade 12 him not to enter Makkah. He sat to the Prophet and tried to be too friendly with him, even at times taking him by the beard when he addressed him. This so much infuriated 13 one of the Emigrants that he threatened 14 to cut off his hand. The envoy's message was not successful; but he went back to Quraysh very much impressed by the love and reverence that Muslims had for the Prophet. So he said to Quraysh, "O people, I have been sent as envoy to kings - to Caesar and Chosroes and the Negus - and I have not seen a king whose men so honor him as the Companions of Muhammad honor Muhammad. If he commands anything, they almost out-strip 15  his word in fulfilling it; when he performs his ablution (wudu), they nearly fight for the water thereof; 16  when he speaks, their voices are hushed 17 in his presence; nor will they look him full in the face, but lower their eyes in reverence for him. He has offered you a reasonable concession; 18  therefore accept it from him."Finally the Prophet decided to send an envoy to Makkah. The Prophet at first wanted `Umar to be his envoy; but `Umar suggested `Uthman as a better envoy. The Prophet accepted `Umar's suggestion and `Uthman was sent to Quraysh. Having heard what `Uthman had to say, the leaders of Quraysh said, "If you want to go round the House, go round it." He said he could not do so until the Prophet did, and Quraysh kept him a prisoner with them. Then the Prophet and the Muslims were informed that `Uthman had been killed.

When the Prophet heard that `Uthman had been killed, he said that they would not return to Al-Madinah until they fought the enemy. Before they could fight, he called the Companions to give their pledge 19  (bay'ah). This pledge has been called the Pledge of Satisfaction (Bay'atar Ridwan); and all the believers offered their pledge of allegiance. 20 Then the Prophet heard that the news about the death of `Uthman was false.

 

2. The Treaty with Makkah:

When Quraysh sent their envoy for peace, they gave him instructions to make peace with the Prophet on condition that the Muslims would go back to Al-Madinah this year, so that none of the Arabs could say that the Prophet made a forcible 21 entry into Makkah. Quraysh's envoy was called Suhayl Ibn `Amr. After some discussion, both the Prophet and Suhayl agreed to the terms of the treaty; and the Prophet called on `Ali to write down the terms, beginning with "In the name of Allah, Ar-Rahman, the Ever Merciful." Suhayl: (objecting). "I do not recognize this; but write In your name, O, Allah (Bismikallahumma)." Some Companions: "By Allah, we will write nothing but Bismllahi r-Rahmani r-Rahim."

The Prophet: (dictating to `Ali "Write Bismik Allahuma", and goes on dictating)

"These are the terms of the truce 22  between Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah and Suhayl the son of Amr;

Suhayl: (again objecting). "If we knew you to be the Messenger of Allah, we would not have fought you, but write Muhammad the son of `Abdillah."

The Prophet: (to `Ali) "Write Muhammad, the son of `Abdillah." They have agreed to lay aside war for ten years, in which times men shall be safe and refrain 23 from hostilities  24 on condition that whoever comes to Muhammad of Quraysh without the leave of his guardian, Muhammad shall return him to them, but whoever comes to Quraysh of those who are with Muhammad, they shall not be returned. There shall be no subterfuge 25  and no treachery. And whoever wishes to enter into the bond 26  and pact of Muhammad may do so; and whoever wishes to enter into the bond and pact of Quraysh may do so."

Some men from the tribe of Khuza'ah: "We are one with Muhammad in his bond and his pact."

Some men from the tribe of Bakr: "We are one with Quraysh in their bond and their pact. You, Mu hammad shall depart from us this present year, and shall not enter Makkah against our will, and next year we will make way for you and you can enter it with your Companions, and stay there three nights. You may carry a rider's weapons, the swords in their sheaths 27. You can bring in nothing more." (Abu Jandal, Suhyal's son, enters in fetters 28 . He had accepted Islam, and had been imprisoned by his father).

Suhayl (to the Prophet): "Our agreement was concluded before this man came to you." The Prophet: "That is true." Suhayl: "Return him then to us."

Abu Jandal (shouting): "O Muslims, am I to be returned to the idolaters, for them to persecute me on account of my religion?"

Suhayl's Companions: "O Muhammad, we give Abu Jandal our protection on your behalf."

The Prophet: "Be patient Abu Jandal. Allah will surely give you and those with you relief and a way out. We have agreed on the terms of a truce with these people, and have given them our solemn 29 pledge, even as they have done to us, and we will not now break our word."

`Umar: (to the Prophet with a sense of disappointment): "Are you not the Messenger of Allah?"

The Prophet: "Yea."

`Umar: "Are we not in the right and our enemies in the wrong?"

The Prophet: "Yea."

`Umar: "Then why should we agree to what is demeaning 30  to our religion?"

The Prophet: "I am the servant of Allah and am His Messenger. I will not go against His Commandment, and He will not make me the loser."

`Umar: "But did you not tell us that we should go to the House and make our rounds about it?"

The Prophet: "Even so; but did I tell you that we should go to it this year?"

`Umar: "No. You did not."

The Prophet: "Surely you shall go to the House, and shall make rounds about it."

(`Umar goes to Abu Bakr to whom he vents his disappointment).

Abu Bakr (to `Umar): "Stick to what he (the Prophet) says, for I testify 31 `that he is the Messenger of Allah."

`Umar: "And so do I."

Finally when the Prophet called `Umar to put his name to the treaty, he signed it in silence. Later on`Umar used to say, "I have not ceased giving alms and fasting and praying and freeing slaves because of what I did that day out of fear of what I had said."  

 

3. Sacrifice and Victory:

  Then the Prophet ordered the Companions to rise and sacrifice their animals, and shave their heads. Many Companions were hesitant 32  because they had understood that the sacrifices had to be offered in Makkah, and then they could shave also there. The Prophet wondered at their hesitation, and when he consulted his wife Umm Salamah about it, she suggested that if the Prophet sacrificed and shaved, the Companions would do the same. When the Companions saw the Prophet perform his sacrifice and heard him say: Bismillah, Allahu Akbar (In the name of Allah, Allah is Greater) they all raced to make their sacrifices and shave. Some of them shaved, but others only cut their hair. When the Prophet saw them, he said, "Allah have mercy on the shavers of their heads!" Those who had cut their hair asked also for Allah's mercy  33 saying, "And on the cutters of their hair, O,Messenger of Allah." But the Prophet repeated his invocation for the shavers of their heads twice, before he added, "and on the cutters of their hair!" On the way back from Makkah a Revelation was sent down declaring the visit and the pact of allegiance an evident victory: 

"Surely We have given you an evident victory (opening)." (Al-Fath- 1).

And the pact of allegiance is referred to in the following verse: 

"Allah has been satisfied with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you under the tree; He knew what was in their hearts, and sent down serenity upon them, and has requited them with near victory." (Opening of Makkah). (Al-Fath,18).

After the Revelation, the Prophet asked for Umar and comforted  34 him assuringly 35, saying, "There has descended upon me a surah which is dearer to me than anything else beneath the sun." In fact in the following two years the community of Islam was more than doubled; and now was the time to deal with the conspiracies of Banu -n-Nadir and their allies in Khaybar.

 

4. The Jews of Khaybar:

These had always been hostile to the Prophet and the new Muslim City. They thought that the Prophet would not fight them, as they were proud of the strength of their army of ten thousand.

The Prophet had stayed in Al-Madinah after the Hudaybiyah only less than two months, before he set out for Khaybar with an army of only four thousand. It took the Muslim army about three days to reach Khaybar, and the army took up a position that would bar 36  the tribe of Ghatafan from helping Khaybar in their fight against the Prophet.

It was evening when the Muslim army came within sight of Khaybar; and the Prophet decided to wait until the morning. If he heard a call to prayer he held back; if he did not hear it he attacked. So when morning came, he heard no call to prayer, and began the attack against the fortresses of Khaybar. At sunrise, as the land workers came out with their spades and baskets, they saw the Muslim army. They were put to flight crying, "Muhammad and his host." Then the Prophet said, "Allahu Akbar: Kliaribat Khaybar." (Allah is Greater! Khaybar is ruined)."

It took about a week to force the first fortress to surrender. That stronghold was called `Alna'im. For a whole day every attack on that fortress was repulsed, 37  and the next day the Prophet gave the standard called "The Eagle", to `Ali, and he prayed for `Ali and his Companions that Allah should give them victory. `Ali and his company succeeded in subduing 38  the resistance of the people inside the fortress after a fierce battle. But the strongest Jewish fortress was called Azzubayr, to which most of the fighting Jews escaped to join the garrison  39 inside this last stronghold. After a three day siege the Muslims succeeded in cutting off the source of water for the fortress, and this led to the surrender of those inside it.

Before the Muslim army left Khaybar, a Jewish widow prepared a roast lamb for the Prophet, having first inquired what joint he preferred. When she learnt that it was the shoulder she put a lot of poison in it and then poisoned the whole lamb. Then she brought it in, and placed it before him. He took hold of the shoulder and chewed a piece of it, but could not swallow it. He told those of his Companions who were eating of the lamb to stop eating, for it was poisoned. He called for the woman and she confessed; and when he asked her what had induced her to do this, she an swered, "You know what you have done to my people. I said to myself, `If he is a King, I shall ease 40  myself of him, and if he is a Prophet, he will be informed of the poison." But the Prophet pardoned the woman although one of the Companions died because he had swallowed a piece of the poisoned lamb.

One night on the way back to Al-Madinah, the Prophet asked his Companions, "Who will watch over us till the dawn, so that we may sleep?" Bilal volunteered to do so; thus all lay down and slept. Bilal was awake until it was near dawn, but suddenly his eyes were heavy and he slept. The first thing to wake the others was the warmth of the sun. The Prophet was the first to wake up and he asked Bilal what he had done to them. Then he ordered Bilal to call to prayer, and the Prophet led them in prayer. Having finished he went to them and said, "If you forget your prayers, pray them when you remember them, for Allah has said: 

"And perform prayers for My remembrance." (Taha-14).

 

5. The Lesser Pilgrimage: (The fulfilled `Umrah)

After his return from Khaybar, the Prophet stayed in Al-Madinah for two months. In the third month (the month of Thul Qa'dah), he and the Muslims who had been barred a year before from entering Makkah started on their journey to perform the `Umrah which is sometimes called "the fulfilled `Umrah."  

When Quraysh heard that the Muslims were nearing Makkah, they withdrew from around the house, and their chiefs were gathered together on Mount Abu Qubays, from where they could watch the Muslims entering the House. When the Prophet entered

the Mosque, he threw the end of his cloak over his left shoulder leaving his right upper arm free. Then he said to his Companions, "Allah have mercy on a man who shows them today that he is strong." That was because Quraysh thought that the Muslims in Al-Madinah were "in destitution 41, want, and privation."42

The Prophet touched the stone, and went out trotting as did his Companions. When the House hid him from Quraysh and he had touched the southern corner he walked to touch the black stone. Then he trotted similarly three circuits 43 and walked the remaining four.

The Prophet and the Muslims spent three days in Makkah. At the end of the three days Suhayl Ibn `Amr came heading a delegation 44  from Quraysh asking the Prophet to leave Makkah. The Prophet agreed to leave the city and by nightfall the pilgrims were on the way back to Al-Madinah.

 

6. Victory or martyrdom: (The Expedition to Mu'tah)

The Prophet sent his expedition 45  to Mu'tah in Jumadal-Ula in the eighth year and put Zayd Ibn Harithah in command. If Zayd were killed, then Ja'far

Ibn Abi Talib would take comman, and if the latter were killed, then Abdullah Ibn Rawahah would replace him. The Muslim army for that expedition was only three thousand.

When the army reached Ma'an they heard that the Greeks and other Arab tribes had gathered an army of about 200,000. The leaders of the Muslim army thought of writing to the Prophet for reinforcement 46  At this point Ibn Rawahah encouraged the men saying "We are not fighting the enemy with numbers, or strength or multitude, 47 but we are fighting them with this religion with which Allah has honored us. We have before us the certainty of one two good things, either victory or martyrdom."48

When fighting began, Zayd fought holding the Prophet's standard until he was killed. Then Ja'far took the standard and fought with it until he was also killed. Ibn Rawahah was also killed. Then Khalid took command, and the men rallied 49 to him, and the enemy advance was checked, allowing an orderly retreat for the Muslim army. It was a victory for the enemy, but the Muslims lost only eight men including their three leaders. It was to Khalid's credit that he made that safe withdrawal. 50  When the Prophet told his Companions of the battle and of the death of the three leaders before the army had ever returned to Al-Madinah, he said, "Then one of the swords of Allah took the standard, and Allah opened up the way for them" - that is, for the Muslims to reach safety; and that was the reason why Khalid came to be called, "The Sword of Allah."

As the Prophet spoke these words, tears were flowing down his cheeks. Then the Prophet visited the houses of the martyrs to condole 51 with them and his eyes were filled with tears and he wept. When Zayd's daughter ran to the Prophet in tears, he "wept unrestrainedly, 52 and as he clasped 53 the child to him his body shook with sobs 54 . Sa'd Ibn `Ubadah happened to pass by at that moment, and searching in himself for words of comfort, he murmured, "O Messenger of Allah, what is this?" "This," said the Prophet, "Is one who loves yearning for his beloved." [`Ibn Sa'd, Ill/I, 32 in Martin Lings. p.288.]

When Khalid and his army returned from Mu'tah to Al-Madinah, the Prophet rode out to meet them. Many Muslims who were waiting to meet this small army enter Al-Madinah threw dust in their faces. "Runaways",' they shouted, "Did you flee from fighting in the way of Allah?" But the the Prophet answered them, "They are not runaways, but returners to the fight, if Allah wills."

With the expedition to Mu'tah the influence of Islam has reached the borders of the Roman Empire. The Arab tribes to the north of Al-Madinah are now convinced that the Prophet is a redoubtable 55 enemy and "a powerful, reliable  56 and generous ally." In the words of Martin Lings, "There was always a factor, slow-working yet powerful and profound, which had nothing whatsoever to do with politics, and which was also largely independent of the deliberate efforts made by the believers to spread the message of Islam. This was the remarkable serenity  57 which characterized those who practised the new religion. Al-Qur'an, the Book of Allah's Oneness, was also the Book of Mercy and the Book of Paradise. The recitation of its verses, combined with the teaching of the Messenger, imbued 58 the believers with the certainty that they had within easy reach, that is through the fulfilment  59of certain conditions well within their capacity, the eternal satisfaction of every possible desire. The resulting happiness was a criterion 60  of faith." The end is eternal bliss now and in the Hereafter; the culmination 61 on this earth is nothing but victory or martyrdom.  

 

7. The Prophet's son:

Ibrahim was born at the beginning of year 8 H., and he was dead before the end of the year. When the Prophet was told of the birth of his only son through Maria the Copt, he felt joyful with the news and he named him Ibrahim after the Prophet Ibrahim. But `A'ishah felt unhappy. Her mother Zaynub (Umm Ruman) tried to comfort her.

Umm Ruman: Don't be grieved my young one! 

`A'ishah: I would have liked to be mother to this young child.

The Prophet (looking at her for a while): Are you jealous, `A'ishah?

`A'ishah (musing): No.

The Prophet: Surely, you are jealous, by Allah.

`A'isha: How can one like me not feel jealous about one like you!

The Prophet (smiling): Has your devil already come to you?

`A'isha (calming down): Do I have a devil with me? 

The Prophet: Yes!

`A'ishah: Does everyone have a devil?

The Prophet: Yes!

`A'ishah: And is there a devil with you, Messenger of Allah?

The Prophet: Yes! But my Lord has helped me against it. (Ibrahim lived only for a few months. When `A'ishah heard of the news of his death, she as well as other wives of the Prophet, as well as the Prophet himself, attended Ibrahim's burial. 62 Usamah and Al Fadl Ibn `Abbas carried Ibrahim's body, which was to be buried in the public cemetery  63 called Al-Baqi'). 

Al-Fadl: Shall we bury him in Al-Baqi'?

The Prophet: Yes.

Al-Fadi (interring the body): To eternal Paradise, Ibrahim!

The Prophet: I see an opening in the grave.

The Undertaker: It does no harm or good, Messenger of Allah.

The Prophet: Surely it does no harm or good but it cools (delights) the eyes of those alive. If a servant (of Allah) does anything, then Allah would like that he should consummate it (make it perfect).

(Then the undertaker fills in the opening).

Usamah: Look! The sun has eclipsed 64 for Ibrahim's death.

The Women: Really! The sun has eclipsed for Ibrahim's death.

The Prophet (addressing the people): The sun and the moon are signs of Allah. They are not eclipsed for the death of anybody nor for his life.

The prophet (to the undertaker): Have you finished?

The Undertaker: Yes.

The Prophet: Would anybody get a waterskin?

Usamah (getting a waterskin): Here it is, Messenger of Allah.

The Prophet: Sprinkle it on Ibrahim's tomb. 65

(Tears fall down from the Prophet's eyes).

Usamah: Are you weeping, Messenger of Allah?

The Prophet: Ibrahim was my son, and he died a suckling.66

Al-Fadl: O Messenger of Allah. You weep and you are the Messenger of Allah?

The Prophet: I am simply a human being; the eye is tearful and the heart is apprehensive, but we say nothing - Allah willing - except what satisfies the Lord. By Allah, were it not for the limited term, the fulfilled promise, and appointed time, and our late comers who will be joining our early (forefathers), we would have felt more sorrow for him than we do now. Surely we are indeed grieved for you Ibrahim! 


The Glorious Conquest

The Glorious Conquest:

Never before has there been in the history of mankind, nor will there ever be a decade 1 so memorable, so glorious, so Divinely inspired, and so vividly 2  immortalized 3 by mortals 4.

 

1. A Surprise Attack:

After Mu'tah, the Prophet stayed in Al-Madinah for three months, Jumadal Akhirah, Rajab and Sha'ban. During the month of Sha'ban he began to prepare for the attack on Makkah, since he had learnt that Quraysh had broken their pact with him by helping the tribe of Bakr, the allies of Quraysh, in their light against Khuza'ah, the allies of the Prophet.

One of the Khuza'ah tribe came to ask for the Prophet's help and the Prophet promised help, saying "May I not be helped if I do not help the sons of Ka'b (a clan of the Khuza'ah tribe)."

When Abu Sufyan learnt of Khuza'ah's envoy to the Prophet, he went to Al-Madinah to see the Prophet. He asked him for an extension of the pact between him and Quraysh, but the Prophet gave no ear to Abu Sufyan's entreaties. Then Abu Sufyan went to his daughter, Umm Habibah, the Prophet's wife, to ask her to talk to the Prophet about the extension of the pact. As he was about to sit on the Prophet's rug, she folded it up so that he could not sit on it. "Little daughter," Abu Sufyan said, "I hardly know if you think that rug is too good for me or that I am too good for the rug." "It is the Prophet's rug," she said, "And you are an idolater, a man unpurified." "By Allah," Sufyan answered, "Since you left me some evil has befallen you."

The first person to be told of the intended surprise attack against Quraysh was Abu Bakr, who was asked to be ready and to keep the plan to himself. But an Emigrant called Hatib did somehow know about the secret, and had sent a letter to Quraysh warning them of the Prophet's intention to attack them. He had given his letter to a woman who had hidden it in her hair. The Prophet learnt of this, and he sent `Ali and Zubayr after her and they forced her to give them the letter. They both went back and gave the letter to the Prophet who called Hatib and asked him what induced him to do that. He answered that he still believed in Allah and His Messenger, but did what he did for the sake of his son and family who were still in Makkah. Here `Umar was about to cut off Hatib's head as a hypocrite. But the Prophet said, "How do you know, `Umar, perhaps `Allah has looked favorably upon the people of Badr and said, "Do what you will, for I have forgiven you." Thus the Revelation came about Hatib:

"O you who have believed, do not take My enemy and your enemy as patrons so as to show them affection and they have shown disbelief in the Truth that has come to you and driven the Messenger and yourselves out of Makkah." (Al-Mumtahanah- 1).

 

2. Truth Has Come:

The army of ten thousand set out for Makkah on the tenth of Ramadan, with the Prophet and the Muslims fasting until they reached Al-Kudayd, where he broke his fast. But some Muslims broke their fast and the Prophet allowed others to keep their fast.

The arrival of the army at the vicinity of Makkah was kept a secret, until they reached Marr-'Aththhran. Before entering the city, the Prophet had divided the army at Thi Tuwa, with Al-Zubayr ommanding the left wing. Khalid was in command of the right wing and was to advance through the lower part, and the Prophet and his troops would enter Makkah through its upperside. When Qaswa' came to a halt, 5 the Prophet bowed his head until his beard almost touched the saddle, in gratitude to Allah. There was no fighting on that day, except when a small group of Quraysh attacked Khalid and his troops. Then a kirmish 6 took place, and two Muslims were killed, while Quraysh lost about thirty men.

When the Prophet entered his tent near the Mosque he prayed eight rak'at in thanksgiving. Then he entered the Mosque and performed the Lesser Pilgrimage by making the seven rounds of the House. Then the Prophet went towards the idols which surrounded Al-Ka'bah, pointing at them with his staff, repeating the verse:

  "And say: Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Surely falsehood is ever a vanisher." (Al-Isra'-81).

As he pointed at the 360 idols, one by one, each idol fell one after the other. Then he went to pray at the Station of Ibrahim; then to the well of Zam Zam where his uncle `Abbas gave him to drink. Then the Prophet entered the House, and ordered it to be locked behind him. With the Prophet inside the House were Usamah, Bilal, and `Uthman, who was the guardian of the House. The Prophet ordered that the paintings inside Al-Ka'bah should be effaced. 7 Then, the door was unlocked, and the Prophet addressed the gathering in these words: "Praise be to Allah, Who has fulfilled His promise and helped His servant and routed 8 the confederates, He alone." Then he asked the gathering: "What do you think I am about to do with you?" They nswered, "We say well, and we think well: an honorable brother, and the son of an honorable brother." To this the Prophet answered, "Go your way, for you are the freed ones."

Having commanded that all the idols should be burnt, the Prophet also ordered that everyone who had idols in his house must destroy them. In hundreds, the people came to pledge their obedience to the Prophet, who sat receiving every group at As-Safa, with `Umar below him imposing 9 conditions on the people who came to pay homage 10  to the Prophet, promising to hear and obey Allah and His Messenger to the best of their ability. Abu Bakr was at his father's house to bring his father, an old man, and his daughter to the Prophet to embrace Islam.

Among the women was Hind, the wife of Abi Sufyan. She was veiled, because she feard that the Prophet would punish her for what she had done to Hamzah at the Battle of Uhud. She said, "O Messenger of Allah, praise be to Him who has granted victory to the religion which I choose for myself." Then she unveiled her face and showed herself as "Hind, the daughter of `Utbah." To this the Prophet said, "Welcome."

 

3. Abu Sufyan: (The Noblest of Quraysh)

1 -At Uhud:

Abu Sufyan did not take part in the Battle of Badr; but he felt overjoyed with the victory of Quraysh at the Battle of Uhud, although at one point he was about to be killed by Hanthalah that day.

At the beginning of the Battle, Abu Sufyan sent a message to the Ansar in Al-Madinah telling them to leave him to deal with his cousin (the Prophet), for he had no need to fight the people of `Al-Madinah; but they gave a threatening answer.

After the battle, it was Abu Sufyan also who went to the top of the mountain and shouted out declaring Quraysh's victory, "Victory in war goes by turns. Today in exchange for that day (at Badr). Show your superiority, 11  Hubal (their idol at Makkah)." The Prophet told `Umar to get up and answer Abu Sufyan and say, "Allah is Most High and Most Glorious. We are not equal. Our dead are in Paradise; your dead in Hell." Then Abu Sufyan called out to `Umar, "There are some mutilated bodies among your dead. By Allah it gives me no satisfaction, and no anger. I neither prohibited 12nor ordered mutilation."

In fact Abu Sufyan was about to have his share in mutilating the body of Hamzah. He struck the side of the mouth of Hamzah with the point of his spear, 13 saying, "Taste that, you rebel! 14" When a leader of one of his allies saw this, he said to his men, "Can this be the noblest of Quraysh who is doing what you see with the body of his dead cousin?" "Confound you," said Abu Sufyan, "Keep the matter quiet. A slip it was, no more."

2-At the Trench:

As the siege of Al-Madinah proved fruitless, Abu Sufyan thought of returning to Makkah. In fact he cried out, "Men of Quraysh! Our horses and camels are dying; the Banu Quraythah have failed us; and now we have suffered from the wind. Therefore be gone from this place, for I am going." As he was about to mount his camel, `Ikrimah (another leader of Quraysh) said to him, "You are the head of the people and their leader. Will you go away so hastily, and leave the men behind?" At this Abu Sufyan dismounted and waited until most of his men were already on the homemarch.

Abu Sufyan: "O, Muhammad, you have come with an assortment 15  of men - some known and some unknown - against your kindred."16

The Prophet: "It is you who are the aggressors. 17  You broke the pact of Hudaybiya, and helped with the attack on Banu Ka'b, thus sinfully violating  18 the sacred precinct of Allah and His Sanctuary."

Abu Sufyan: "Alas! Have you but turned your anger and your strategy 19  against the Hawazin, for they are further from you in kinship, and fiercer in enmity against you."

The Prophet: "I hope that my Lord will grant me all of that by victory over Makkah, by the triumph therein of Islam, and by the route of Hawazin and He will enrich me with their goods as plunder 20 and their families as captives." (The next morning Abu Sufyan was taken again to the Prophet).

The Prophet: "Is it not time that you should testify that there is no god but Allah?"

Abu sufyan: "You are dearer to me than father and mother. How great is your clemency 21, honour, and mercy. By Allah, I thought that had there been another god with Allah he would have continued to help me."

The Prophet: "Woe 22 to you, Abu- Sufyan, is it not time that you testify that I am Allah's Messenger?"

Abu sufyan: "As to that, inside me there is still a scruple." 23 (The Prophet tells his uncle, Al-'Abbas, to take Abu Sufyan again to his tent for the night. At dawn the next day, Al-'Abbas took Abu- Sufyan to the Mosque during prayer time. There he heard the call for prayer, and saw the Muslims crowding around the Prophet).

Abu Sufyan: "What are they (the Muslims) about?"

Al-'Abbas: "The Prayer."

Abu Sufyan: "And how often do they pray each day and night?"

Al-'Abbas: "The prayers are five times a day."

Abu Sufyan: "By Allah, it is too much!" (Abu Sufyan sees the Companions crowding to have some drops from the Prophet's ablution).

Abu Sufyan: "O Abul Fadl (Al-'Abbas), I have never seen such sovereignty 24  as this!"

Al-'Abbas: "out upon you! Believe!"

Abu Sufyan: "Take me to him."

(After prayer, Al-Abbas took Abu Sufyan to the Prophet).

Abu Sufyan: "I now testify that you are the Prophet and Messenger of Allah."

Al-'Abbas (aside to the Prophet): "O Messenger of Allah, you well know the love of Abu Sufyan for honour and glory. Grant 25  him therefore some favour."

The Prophet (to `Al-'Abbas): "I will."

The Prophet (going to Abu Sufyan): "Go to Quraysh and say to them, "Whosoever enters the house of Abu Sufyan shall be safe, and whosoever locks upon himself his door shall be safe, and whosoever enters the Mosque shall be safe."

(Abu- Sufyan goes with Al-'Abbas to see the Prophet's army entering Makkah. When he saw the squadrons  26 of the Prophet passing, with only their eyes visible because of their armour, he was greatly impressed).

Abu Sufyan: "Allah is Greater. `Abbas, who are these?"

Al-'Abbas: "These are the Prophet amidst the Emigrants and the Ansar."

Abu sufyan: "None could stand them. By Allah, Abal-Fadl, the kingdom of your brother's son has become great."

Al-'Abbas: "It is prophethood, not kinship."

(Sa'd Ibn `Ubadah carrying the standard of the Prophet's squadron, passed by Abu Sufyan).

Sa'd (as he passed): "O Abu Sufyan, this is the day of slaughter! 27 The day when the inviolable shall be violated! The day of Allah's abasement 28 of Quraysh".

Abu Sufyan (at the top of his voice): "Messenger of Allah, have you commanded the slaying of your people. I adjure you by Allah on behalf of your people, for you are of all men the greatest of filial 29  pity, the most merciful, the most clement." 30

The Prophet: "This is the day of mercy, the day on which Allah has exalted 31 Quraysh."

(Abu Sufyan goes quickly to Makkah, stands outside his house, and shouts to those gathered round it).

Abu Sufyan: "O Quraysh, this is Muhammad who has come to you with a force you cannot resist. He who enters Abu Sufyan's house is safe."

Hind (Abu Sufyan's wife seizing 32  him by his moustaches): "Slay this greasy 33 good-for-nothing bladder  34 of a man. You miserable protector of a people!"

Abu Sufyan: "Woe to you! Let not this woman deceive  35 you against your better judgement, for there has come to you that which you cannot resist. But whosoever enters the house of AbuSufyan shall be safe."

The Gathering: "God slay you! What good will your house be for all our numbers?"

Abu Sufyan: "And whosoever locks upon himself his door shall be safe, and whosoever enters the Mosque shall be safe."  36 (The crowds disperse).


Revelation and Empire

I. The Battle of Hunayn

1. Defeat and Victory:

After a stay in Makkah for two weeks, the Prophet marched with his army against the tribe of Hawazin. On the way, the army came on a great green tree called Thatu `Anwat, to which some pagan Arabs used to go every year, and hang their weapons on it. They sacrificed beside it and devoted themselves to staying beside it the whole day. Some of the new converts to Islam said to the Prophet as they passed by the tree, "Make us a tree to hang things on such as they have." But the Prophet was angry and replied, "Allahu Akbar! By Him Who holds myself in His hand, you have said what the people of Musa (Moses) said to him." 

"so they came upon some people devoted to some of their idols and they said, O (musa) make a god for us as they have gods.' He (Musa) said `Surely you are an ignorant 1  people." (`Al`A'raf- 138).

When the Muslim army approached the valley of Hunayn, they descended down the valley in the morning twilight. 2 The enemy had reached it before the Muslims and had hidden themselves in its by-paths 3 and narrow places in which they entrenched 4  fully equipped and fully prepared. Their attack on the Muslim army was so sudden that many men, largely new converts, fled. 5 The Prophet withdrew to the right and made a firm stand with some of the Emigrants and the Ansar. The Prophet called on the fleeing people to return, saying, "Where are you going men? Come to me. I am the Prophet of Allah. I am Muhammad the son of `Abdullah."  

Al-'Abbas was with the Prophet, holding the bridle 6of the Prophet's mule 7  and was asked by the Prophet to shout for the fleeing men; and he cried, in a powerful voice, "O, Companions of the Tree! O Companions of the Acacia!" and they answered, "Here we are!" This was a turning-point in the battle; and the enemy began to flee for life with the Muslims in pursuit. The leader of Hawazin fought bravely, but was forced to escape with his men; and the women and children who had been behind the lines were taken captives. These were later returned to Hawazin.

Then the Muslim army marched to Ta'if, where the tribe of Thaqif lived, and they besieged it for about three weeks. It was a fortified 8 city and the inhabitants refused to surrender. When the Prophet asked for Abu Bakr's opinion, it was given in these words, "I do not think you will gain from them this day what you desire." Thus the Prophet gave orders to raise the siege and to withdraw away from the city. Some Muslims asked the Prophet to curse 9  the inhabitants; but he raised his hands in prayer and said, "O Allah, guide Thaqif and bring them to us."

About the initial defeat and the eventual 10  victory, Al-Qur'an came down speaking of the favors of Allah on the believers: 

"Allah has granted you victory on many fields and on the day of Hunayn, when you exulted  11 in your numbers they availed you nothing, and the earth, for all its breadth' 12 was straitened for you, and you turned back in flight." (At-Tawbah-25). 

"Then Allah sent down His serenity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and sent down hosts that you did not see, and tormented those who disbelieved; such is the recompense of the disbelievers." (At-Tawbah-26). 

"Then Allah grants repentance afterwards upon whom He decides, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (At-Tawbah-27).

 

2. The Spoils:

When the Prophet had returned the captives of Hawazin, he rode away, with some new Muslim converts following him. Some of them were so keen on having a share of the spoils that they forced the Prophet back against a tree, and a part of his mantle 13  was torn, and he addressed them aloud, "Give me my mantle back, men, for by Allah if I had as many sheep as the trees of Tihamah I would distribute them among you; you have not found me miserly 14 or cowardly 15  or false."

Then the Prophet gave gifts to those new converts, notably  16 to some heads of Quraysh and of the Bedoum tribes, to win them and through them their followers. Among these chiefs were Abu Sufyan and Suhayl Ibn `Amr; and the Ansar got nothing. So some of the Ansar took the matter to heart, and one of them said, "By Allah, the Prophet has met his own people." Sa'd Ibn `Ubadah went to the Prophet and told him what had happened. The Prophet asked him, "Where do you stand in the matter, Sa'd?" Sa'd said, "I stand with my people." "Then Sa'd was told to gather the Ansar in one of the enclosures that had been used to shelter the captives; and some of the Emigrants also attended that meeting, with Sa'd's permission. When the Prophet went to them, he praised and thanked Allah and addressed them thus: "O men of Ansar, what is this I hear of you? Do you think ill of me in your hearts? Did I not come to you while you were erring, 17  and Allah guided you; poor and Allah enriched you; enemies and Allah reconciled 18 your hearts?" They answered, "Yes indeed, Allah and His Messenger are most bountiful 19  and most gracious." The Prophet continued, "Will you not answer me, O Ansar?" "How should we answer?" They said, "Bounty and grace belong to Allah and His Messenger." "If you wished," the Prophet answered for them,'' you might say to me, and say truthfully, and be believed: `You came to us discredited 20 and we believed you; deserted and we helped you; a fugitive and we took you in; poor and we comforted you.' O Ansar, are you disturbed in mind because of the good things of this life by which I reconcile men's hearts that they may become Muslims, when you yourselves I have entrusted to your Islam? Are you not satisfied that men should take away flocks and herds 21 and that you take with you the Messenger of Allah to your homes? By Him in whose Hand is the self of Muhammad, but for the migration I should be one of the Ansar myself. If all men went one way and the Ansar another I should indeed take the way of the Ansar. May Allah have mercy on the Ansar, on their children, and on their children's children!"

At this the people wept until the tears ran down their beards as they said, "We are satisfied with the Messenger of Allah as our patron  22 and our lot."

Then the Prophet led the Muslims in performing the `Umrah (the Lesser Pilgrimage), in Thilqa'dah; and he returned to Al-Madinah, leaving Mu'ath Ibn Jabal in Makkah to instruct 23  the people in religion.

 

2. The March to Tabuk:

After staying in Al-Madinah for about eight months, the Prophet ordered the Muslims to prepare for the battle against the Byzantines in Syria. This time the plans for the battle were not kept secret as usual, but orders were sent to all the allied tribes to send arms and armies. Then the army of 30,000 moved towards the north until it reached Tabuk. The season was hot and there was drought  24  that year. Many of the Companions gave freely to prepare for the expedition; among these was `Uthman who provided for the equipment of ten thousand men.

The army stayed in Tabuk for about twenty days, but there was no fighting. Then the Prophet concluded treaties of peace with some of the rulers in the area, and returned to Al-Madinah.

This expedition, in which there was no fighting, saw some incidents of varying types, demonstrating the influence brief exercises on believers.

(a) A Late-Comer:

One of those was a Companion, named Abu Khaythamah. He had been poor, but now he was strong and wealthy; and he did not prepare himself in time to go with the Prophet and the Muslim army.

One day he went to the hut 25 of one of his two wives, and thought of what comfort he was enjoying, and also thought of the Prophet and the Muslim army on the way to Tabuk. So he said to himself, "The Prophet is out in the sun and the wind and the heat and Abu Khaythamah is in a cool shade, food prepared for him, resting in his property with a fair woman. This is not just. By Allah I will not stay into any of my two huts, but join the Prophet." So he ordered his wives to prepare food for him, went to his camel and saddled it, and was on his way to the Prophet. He joined the Prophet and the Muslim army in Tabuk. When Abu Khaythamah approached the army, the Prophet 26 said, as it were in prayer, "Be Abu Kahythamah!" Then when he rode up and greeted the Prophet, he said, "Alas for you Abu Khaythamah;" but when told what happened, the Prophet asked for the blessings of Allah upon him.

(b) A Solitary Believer:

On the way to Tabuk, one of the Prophet's Companions called Aba Tharr had dropped behind, because his camel had delayed him. As it walked slowly, he loaded his belongings on its back, and went off walking beside it in the track of the Prophet and his army. At one of the halting-places, 27  the Prophet and the army stopped. Then a man told the Prophet that he could see a man walking alone at a distance. The Prophet said that he hoped it was Abu Tharr; and when the people carefully looked, they said it was really Abu Tharr. The Prophet said, "May Allah have mercy on Abu Tharr. He walks alone and he will die alone and be resurrected  28 alone."

Abu Tharr died at the time of `Uthman after being exiled to a lonely place near Al-Madinah. Before his death, he instructed his wife and his servant to wash him after his death, shroud him and leave him in the desert. They did what he had told them, and a caravan was passing by, and they saw his bier 29  on the top of the road, with his servant beside it. The servant told the caravan that it was Abu Tharr's body, and they helped his servant in Abi Tharr's burial service in the desert.

(c) The Three Forgiven:

Among those who stayed behind when the Muslim army went to Tabuk were three men, whom the Prophet asked his Companions not to speak to after he and the army had returned from Tabuk. One of these three was Ka'b Ibn Malik. He speaks about his absence from that expedition in this way, "The Prophet went on that expedition in violent heat and faced a long journey and a powerful enemy. He told Muslims what they had to do so that they would make adequate 30  provision, and told them the direction he intended to take. The Prophet and Muslims made their preparations, and I would go to get ready with them and come back not having done what was necessary, saying to myself, `I can do that when I want to, until the men had acted with energy and in the morning they and the Prophet had gone on the march. Day after day passed and still I thought of going and overtaking them; but I did not.

When I heard that the Prophet was on his way back from Tabuk, I was deeply sorry; and I knew I could escape the Prophet's anger only by telling the truth. In the morning the Prophet entered Al-Madinah and went into the mosque. After performing two rak'as, he sat down to await the men. Those who had stayed behind came and began to make excuses with oaths - there were about eighty of them - and the Prophet accepted their public declarations and oaths and asked Divine forgiveness for them, referring their secret thoughts to Allah. Last of all I came and saluted  31 him and he smiled as one who is angry. When I sat before him he asked me what had kept me back, and if I had not bought my mount. I said, `O Messenger of Allah, were I sitting with anyone else in the world I should count on escaping his anger by an excuse, for I am astute 32  in argument.' Indeed I have no excuse. I was never stronger and richer than when I stayed behind." The Prophet said, "So far as that goes you have told the truth, but get up until Allah decides about you." The Prophet forbade anyone to speak to us three out of those who had stayed behind; and we endured this for fifty nights. One morning I walked in the market when a Syrian merchant came to me with a letter from the King of Ghassan, which he had written on a piece of silk. It read as follows: "We hear that your master has treated you badly. You should not be left for humiliation and misery, so come to us and we will provide for you." When I read it I thought that this too was part of the ordeal 33 My situation was such that a polytheist hoped to win me over; so I took the letter to the oven and burnt it.

Then the Prophet sent a messenger to me and told me that the Prophet had ordered that I should separate myself from my wife. I asked whether this meant that I was to divorce her; but he said `No.' I was to separate myself and not to approach her. I told my wife to rejoin her family until such time as Allah should give a decision in the matter."

In the morning of the fiftieth night the Prophet announced Allah's forgiveness of Ka'b and his two friends at a time when "The earth, spacious as it is, closed in on us and I was straitened 34  in deep distress." When Ka'b went to the Prophet, the Prophet said to him, "Rejoice in the best day that has come upon you since your mother bore you." Ka'b answered, "Is this from you, O Messenger of Allah or from Allah?" "No, it is from Allah," the Prophet answered. Then Ka'b told the Prophet that he would give away part of his property as an act of penitence.

This incident is told in Al-Qur'an in this verse: 

"And (Allah has accepted the repentance) of the three who were left behind when the earth, spacious as it is, was straitened for them, and when they were themselves straitened, and they thought that there was no refuge from Allah except in Him; then He guided them to repentance so that they might repent. Surely Allah is the Most-Relenting, the Ever-Merciful." (At-Tawbah-118).

1. The Death of lbn `Ubbay:

About two months after the return from Tabuk, Ibn `Ubbay, one of the chief hypocrites, died and the Prophet led the funeral prayer for him, and prayed beside his grave when he had been buried. Not long afterwards this verse was revealed: 

"And never pray the funeral prayer over one of them who dies, nor stand beside his grave, for surely they have disbelieved in Allah and His messenger, and they died while they were ungodly." (At-Tawbah-84).

2. Muslims and Christians:

After Tabuk many deputations came to the Prophet to declare their acceptance of Islam. One of these deputations was from the Christians of Najran, who came to make a pact with the Prophet. They were sixty in number and were received by the Prophet in the Mosque. When the time for their prayer came he allowed them to pray there, which they did, facing the east. During the stay of the Najran delegation in Al Madinah, these verses were revealed:   

 

"The similitude of `Isa (Jesus) with Allah is like the similitude of Adam. He created him of dust and then said to him, "Be," and he is." (Al-`Imran-59).

"This is the truth from your Lord, so do not be of the wranglers." (Al-'Imran-60).

"So whosoever argues with you after the knowledge that has come to you, say: Come, and let us call our children and your children, our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves. Then we will imprecate, putting the curse of Allah on the liars." (Al-'Imran-61). 

"Say: O People of the Book (Scripture): Come to an even word between us and yourselves: that we do not worship anything but Allah, and we do not associate anything with Him, nor do we take some of us lords besides Allah. Thus if they turn their backs (against this) then say. Bear witness that we are Muslims." (Al-'Imran-64).

The first two verses (60 and 61) declare in an unequivocal  35 manner the Muslim stand on `Isa (Jesus) as one of the creatures of Allah; his creation is no more miraculous  36 than that of Adam, the difference being in the fact that Adam had no father or mother, whereas `Isa- had a mother. The Prophet is here advised not to wrangle 37about this question; and even if Muslims argue with the People of the Book, it should be with fairness 

"And do not dispute with the People of the Book but in a fair way, except those of them who have been unjust to you." (Al-'Ankabut-46) .i.e. you are not bound to dispute fairly with those who have inflicted injustice on you.

The next part of the verse has shown that those who refused to imprecate 38  should not claim  39 to be on the side of truthful belief, because they have been led to error through a series of historical errors. The last part of the verse reiterates 40  the basic belief in Islam as well as in all Revealed religions since the time of Adam and Nuh (Noah): monotheism clear, unequivocal, and undefiled: the Oneness of Allah.


The Farewell Pilgrimage

Abu Bakr's Pilgrimage:

In the ninth year of Hijrah, the Prophet sent Abu Bakr in command of the pilgrimage. After Abu Bakr had set out from Al-Madinah, Revelation came down from Allah declaring definite prohibition of polytheists to make the pilgrimage to the House. So the Prophet entrusted `Ali with the job of proclaiming this to all people in Mina, where all pilgrims stay during their religious rites. 1 `Ali went forth on the Prophet's camel and overtook Abu Bakr on the way. When Abu Bakr saw him, he asked whether `Ali had come to give orders or to convey  2 them. `Ali said: "To convey them."

When the Day of Sacrifice came (10th of Thul Hijjah) `Ali rose and proclaimed the first verses of surat Bara'ah (Absolution) or At-Tawbah (Repenting), which declare that no disbeliever shall enter Paradise, and no polytheists shall make pilgrimage after that year, and no naked 3 person shall circumambulate (go round) the House. At the end of the pilgrimage both Abu- Bakr and `Ali went back to the Prophet in Al-Madinah.

Two of the names of the surah which was proclaimed during this pilgrimage are Bara'ah (Absolution 4 or Acquittal)  5 and At-Tawbah (Repentance), and these are two main themes 6 in the whole surah. The first is a disavowal 7 of any pact with the polytheists who have not kept their pact with the Prophet, and the freedom of the Prophet from any obligation towards them. The second is the lesson drawn from those who chose to stay behind during the expedition to Tabuk, and whose repentance was accepted by Allah. In fact, this surah should be recited, and if possible memorized, by all Muslims who take upon themselves the commitment 8 of understanding the Qur'an in the light of the history of the first Muslim state and its honourable Prophet.

 

The Farewell 9  Pilgrimage:

1. The Sermon:

The Prophet started to Makkah for his last Pilgrimage in the company of 30,000 Muslims on the 25th of Thilqa'dah. It took them ten days to reach Makkah. When he entered Makkah and saw the House, he raised his right hand and prayed: "O Allah, increase this House in honour, magnificence, 10 bounty, 11  reverence 12  and piety 13." He entered the Mosque and made the seven rounds of Al-Ka'bah, after which he prayed at the station of Ibrahim. Then, going out to As Safa, he went seven times between it and Al-Marwah, and those who were with him did the same.

On the eighth day of the month of Thu Hijjah, he rode to the valley of Mina and spent the night there. After daybreak he rode on to `Arafah, about thirteen miles from Makkah; and it is at the base of the Mount of Mercy that the Prophet stayed there the whole day. Then the Prophet addressed the pilgrims, saying: "All praise and laudation 14 are to Allah,... O men, listen to my words. I do not know whether I shall ever meet you in this place after this year. Surely your blood and your property are inviolable until you meet your Lord, even as this day and this month are inviolable. You will meet your Lord, and He will ask you of your deeds. 15  O people, have I faithfully delivered to you my message?

[A loud murmur of assent by the people is heard "Allahumma na'am (O Allah, Yes!)" Then the Prophet raised his forefinger and said, "O Allah, Bear Witness!"].

He who has a pledge () let him return it to him who entrusted him with it. Surely all usury 16 is abolished, 17  and you only have a right to your capitals, without your inflicting justice on others, nor others inflicting injustice on you. Allah has decreed, 18 No usury.' And surely the usury of Al `Abbas , son of `Abdil.

Muttalib is abolished, all of it. Surely all bloodshed in the pagan period is abolished; and surely the first blood is the blood of `Amir son of Rabi'ah (the Prophet's nephew)....

O people, Satan has despaired 19 of ever being worshipped in your land, but if he can be obeyed in anything short of worship, he will be satisfied with matters you may despise 20 and think of little account; so beware 21 of him in your religion. ... Postponement 22 of an inviolable month is only an excess 23 of disbelief whereby those who disbelieve are led into error; they make it lawful (to fight in it) one year and make it unlawful another year to make up the number of months made unlawful by Allah, and make unlawful what Allah has made lawful. Surely time has completed its cycle and is now as it was on the day that Allah created the heavens and the earth. The number of months with Allah is twelve; four of them are inviolable, three consecutive and Rajab, which is between Jumada and Sha'ban. "O people have I faithfully delivered to you my message?' The answer came from the listeners, "Allahumma, na'am" "O Allah, Yes!" Then the Prophet raised his finger and said, "O Allah, bear witness!" 24

"Surely you have rights over your wives and they have rights over you. You have the right that they should not defile 25 your beds, and that they should not commit 26 evident obscenity. 27 If they do, Allah allows you to admonish 28 them, and to forsake 29them in separate rooms, and to beat them but not with severity. 30 If they refrain from these things, they have the right to provision and clothing with kindness. You are enjoined to treat women well, for surely they are helpless without you, unable to provide for themselves. Surely you have taken them as a trust from Allah, and their private parts have been made lawful to you by the word of Allah. O, people, be mindful 31 of what I say for I have faithfully delivered my message to you. I have indeed left with you that which, if you hold fast to them, shall preserve you from all error, an evident Command, the Book of Allah, and the sunnah of His Prophet. O people, hear my speech and understand it. You indeed know that every Muslim is a Muslim's brother, and that Muslims are brothers. Thus it is not lawful for anybody to take from his brother except what he gives him willingly; so do not do injustice to yourselves. O Allah, have I faithfully delivered the message?"

Then these words were revealed:

"... Today the disbelievers have despaired of (prevailing) against your religion, so do not be apprehensive of them, and be apprehensive of Me. Today I have completed for you your religion and have perfected My favour on you and it has been My pleasure (to choose) Islam for you as a religion..." (Al-Ma'idah-3).

 

2. The Rituals:

After the sermon, the Prophet and the pilgrims stayed on `Arafat praying and supplicating the whole day. After sunset the Prophet mounted his camel and rode down from the hill and across the valley in the direction of Makkah. When the pace of the pilgrims quickened he told them, "Gently! Gently! In all quietness! And let the strongest among you have a care for the weak!" Whenever he found an opening among the pilgrims he outpaced 32 them gently, until they reached Muzdalifah. There the Prophet and the pilgrims prayed Maghrib (Sunset prayer) and `Isha (Night prayers) in combination; and the whole multitude slept the night there, after collecting some pebbles for the stoning of Satan the next day. The Prophet allowed some women to leave Muzdalifah before dawn and go to Mina to perform the rite of stoning at relative ease.

After dawn prayer the Prophet spent the early hours of the morning supplicating until near sunrise, and then he led the pilgrims to Al-'Aqabah where he and the pilgrims performed the stoning of the First Pillar after sunrise. The Prophet had brought with him a hundred camels, of which he slaughtered 63, and `Ali slaughtered the rest at Mina after they had thrown the pebbles. He and the pilgrims went to visit Al -Ka'bah to perform the seven circumambulations of Ifadah and returned to spend that night and the next two nights in Mina.

 

3. False Prophets:

Banu Hanifah were a tribe who lived in Yamamah, on the eastern boundary 33 of Najd. One of them, called Musaylamah, claimed that he too was a prophet; and sent this letter to the Prophet, "From Musaylamah the messenger of Allah to Muhammad the Messenger of Allah; peace be upon you. It has been given me to share with you the authority. Indeed half the earth is ours, and half belongs to Quraysh, but Quraysh are a people who are unjust." In answer the Prophet dictated a letter from him to Musaylamah: "From Muhammad the Messenger of Allah to Musaylamah the liar.

  "Surely the earth is Allah's; He makes whom He will of His servants inherit it; and the final issue is in favour of the pious." (Al-A'raf-l28).

This Revelation came as an answer to Musaylamah's letter, and they are the same words said before by Musa (Moses) to his people, after enjoining them to ask Allah's aid, and be steadfastly enduring. Musaylamah did not accept Islam, and the Prophet was occupied with the more urgent need to send Usamah, son of Zayd, in command of three thousand Muslims against the Arab tribes of Syria who fought the Muslim army at Mu'tah and killed Zayd, Ja'far and Ibn Rawahah.

Of the other false prophets, Tulayhah was defeated by Khalid, and embraced Islam. Aswad, the Yemenite, was killed by his own people. But Musaylamah lived until after the Prophet's death, and was killed after a fierce battle with Muslims during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr.

 

4. Cessation of Revelation:

After the preparation of Usamah's Syrian expedition, the Prophet's mission was fulfilled, and he began to feel that the end of his life on earth was near. So he went with one of his Companions to pray forgiveness for the people of the cemetery at the Baqi'. When they reached the cemetery, the Prophet said, "Peace be upon you, O people of the graves. Rejoice in your State, how much better off you are than men now living. Dissensions come like waves of darkest night, the one following hard upon the other, each worse than the last." Then the Prophet turned to his Companion and said, "I have been offered the keys of the treasuries 34 of this world and immortality therein followed by Paradise, and I have been given the choice between that and meeting with my Lord and Paradise." "O dearer than my father and my mother" said his Companion, "Take the keys of the treasuries of this world and immortality therein followed by Paradise." But the Prophet answered saying, "I have already chosen the meeting with my Lord and Paradise." Then the Prophet prayed for forgiveness for the people of the Baqi'.

Then the Prophet began to suffer seriously from illness. Once in his illness he went to the Mosque and, affer leading the prayer, he asked for forgiveness and blessings for the people of Uhud. Then he said "There is a servant among the servants of Allah to whom Allah has offered the choice between this world and that which is with Him, and the servant has chosen that which is with Allah." Abu Bakr perceived 35 that he meant himself, and he wept saying, "No, we and our children will be your ransom." The Prophet saw that Abu Bakr understood, and telling him not to weep, he said, "O people, the most faithful of men to me in his companionship and in that which his hand bestows 36 is Abu Bakr; and if I were to take from all mankind an inseparable 37 friend he would be Abu Bakr; but companionship and brotherhood of faith is ours until Allah unites us in His presence.

Then the Prophet looked at the many entrances into the Mosque, and said: "Behold these doors that open up inside the Mosque. Let them be walled up, 38 except only the door of Abu Bakr." Before leaving the pulpit he said, "I go before you, and I am your witness. Your appointment with me is at the Pool (a celestial River), which surely I behold from here where now I stand. I fear not for you that you will set up gods besides Allah; but I fear for you this world, lest 39 you seek to rival one another in worldly gains."

The Prophet continued to lead the prayers in the Mosque as usual; but his illness increased and he began to pray sitting and he told the Companions to pray sitting also. When he felt that he could not lead the prayers sitting, he said to his wives, "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in prayer." But `A'ishah said, "O Messenger of Allah, Abu Bakr is a very sensitive man with a weak voice and much given to weeping when he reads Al-Qur'an." "Tell him to lead the prayers," repeated the Prophet, and `A'ishah repeated her objection, 40suggesting that `Umar should take his place. "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the prayers," the Prophet reiterated. You are even as the women that were with Yusuf (Joseph). Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in prayer. Allah and the believers will not have it otherwise."

 

5. The Prophet's Death:

On the day the Prophet died, he was very weak, but when he heard the call for dawn prayer, he decided to go to the Mosque. The prayer had already begun when he entered, and the Muslims were almost drawn away from prayer for the joy of seeing the Prophet, but he motioned them to continue. For a moment he stood to watch them and his face shone with gladness at their demeanor 41 in prayer. Abu Bakr had been conscious of the stir  42behind him, and he realized that the Prophet himself must have come out of his house. So, without turning his head, Abu Bakr stepped back, but the Prophet placed his hand on Abu Bakr's shoulder and pushed him gently forwards again in front of the congregation, saying, "You lead the prayer," while he himself sat on the right of Abu Bakr, and prayed seated.

The Prophet went back into the house helped by two Companions and he lay on his bed. Then `A'ishah's brother `Abd ar-Rahman, entered the room with a green siwak (a tooth stick) in his hand; and she saw the Prophet looking at it and she knew that he wanted it. So she took it from her brother and chewed it to soften it. Then she gave it to the Prophet, who rubbed his teeth with it vigorously 43  despite his weakness.

Soon he began to lose consciousness; but after an hour, his eyes opened and became fixed; and `A'ishah heard him murmur, "Nay, the most Exalted Companion in Paradise!" These were the last words she heard him speak before his death. That was on Monday 12, Rabi' 1 in the eleventh year of Hijrah (8 June 632 A.C.)

 

6. The Prophet's Burial.

When the Prophet was dead, `Umar stood up and said, "Some hypocrites think that the Messenger of Allah has died; but the Messenger of Allah is not dead; but he has gone to his Lord as Musa (Moses), son of `Imran had gone to his Lord, and he had been absent from his people for forty nights, and he (Musa) returned to them after it was said he had died. By Allah, the Prophet will return as Musa had returned, and he will surely cut off the hands and feet of men who allege 44  that the Prophet is dead." When Abu Bakr heard what was happening he came to the door of the Mosque as `Umar was speaking. He went into `A'ishah's house where the Prophet was lying and uncovered his face and kissed him, saying, "You are dearer than my father and mother. You have tasted the death which Allah had decreed; a second death will never take you." Then Abu Bakr went out while `Umar was still talking to the people, and Abu Bakr said, "Gently `Umar, be quiet." But `Umar went on talking, and Abu Bakr began talking, and the people came to him and left `Umar. Praising Allah, Abu Bakr said, "O men, if anyone worships Muhammad, surely Muhammad, is dead; if anyone worships Allah; surely Allah is alive and will never die." Then he recited the verse:

"And Muhammad is only a messenger, and messengers have passed away before him. Will you then, if he dies or is killed, turn upon your heels? And who soever turns upon his heels will thereby do not harm to Allah; and Allah will reward the thankful." (Al-Imran- 144).

Then `Umar said, "By Allah when I heard Abu Bakr recite that verse, it was as if I had never heard it before, and I was so astounded 45 that I fell to the ground. My legs would no longer carry me, and I knew that the messenger of Allah had died."

Then `Ali and `Abbas washed the body of the Prophet with his garment upon him. As `Ali passed his hands over the garment, he said, "Dearer than my father and my mother, how excellent you are alive and dead!" When the Companions disagreed where to bury him, Abu Bakr said he remembered the Prophet having said, "No Prophet dies but is buried where he dies." So the grave was dug in the floor of `A'ishah's room near the bed where the Prophet was lying.

Then the people came in groups and prayed the funeral prayer over him: first the men, then the women, and then the children. No man acted as Imam (leader) in the prayer over the Prophet, and the burial took place in the middle of the night on Wednesday. Amid all the grief and sorrow, the words of Umm Ayman express most adequately the reasons for such deep feelings. "Not for him do I weep," she said, "Do I not know that he has gone to that which is better for him than this world? But I weep for the Revelation from Heaven which has been cut off from us."

  The Search for Truth:

1. Ibrahim's Descendants:

When Ibrahim (Abraham), the father of Ishaq (Isaac) and Isma'il (Ishmael), left Sarah in Syria and came with Hajar to Arabia, he, together with his son Isma'il, built the inviolable Mosque in Makkah. The House was dedicated to Allah, and erected for the worship of the One God, Allah. But gradually polytheism began to creep in after the death of Ibrahim and Isma'il. The first idol to be brought inside the House was called Hubal; other idols were gradually brought into the House, and by the time the Prophet was born the number of idols inside the House was about 360.

Giving water and food to the pilgrims was an honour for which different Arab tribes rivaled; 46  finally this honour was conceded  47 to Al-Muttalib, and then to his nephew, `Abdul Muttalib. One night, as he was sleeping near Al-Ka'bah, he heard a voice telling him to dig Zainzam to provide water for the pilgrims. `Abdul Muttalib had only one son, Al-Harith, and both of them began digging Zamzam. At first they were stopped by the crowd which gathered round them; but the father was determined to go on digging. He told his son to stop digging and to stand by him and see that no one interfered with his digging. As `Abdul Muttalib alone went on digging, he did not find water at first, but, instead, a treasure which had been buried there a long time before. This treasure was divided among the different clans; 48 and finally Zamzam had been restored and `Abdul Muttalib became in charge of providing water for the pilgrims. But the effort to stop him from digging at first made him eager to have more sons. So he made a vow 49 that if Allah would bless him with ten sons who would grow to manhood, he would sacrifice one of them to Him at Al-Ka'bah.

The vow had to be fulfilled, because `Abdul Muttalib did eventually have ten sons. The one to be sacrificed was no other than his youngest, `Abdullah, because the lots were cast and it was `Abdullah's arrow that came out. But the people told `Abdul Muttalib not to sacrifice his son; and it was suggested that he should cast lots for ten camels and for his son; if the lot fell against his son, he should add more camels, until his son escaped death. Every time the lots fell against `Abdullah, until finally `Abdullah was saved and a hundred camels were sacrificed.

After the sacrifice of the hundred camels, `Abdul Muttalib decided to find a wife for `Abdullah; and his choice fell on Aminah, daughter of Wahb.

 

2. The Early Years:

The Prophet was born on a Monday, Rabi'ul-Awwal in the Year of the Elephant. His father had gone to Syria and Palestine for trade, and on his way he was taken ill and died in Yathrib (Al- Madinah). So the Prophet was born an orphan. After birth he was taken by his grandfather to the Mosque, where the grandfather prayed and praised Allah for His gift.

After his birth, his mother entrusted him to Halimah of Bani Sa'd in the desert not far from Makkah until he was weaned 50 at the age of two. Then the foster-mother took the child with her to his mother in Makkah, and asked the mother to allow her to take him for more stay in the desert; and he stayed with his foster-mother for some more months.

When he was six years old, his mother took him on a visit to his relatives in Yathrib (Al-Madinah). On the return journey, his mother fell ill and died at Al-'Abwa', not far away from Yathrib, and his old servant Barakah took him back to Makkah where his grandfather took charge of him. His grandfather took great care of him, and even seated him on his couch near Al-Ka'bah, for he always said, "By Allah, a great future is my son's (grandson's)."

After `Abdul Muttalib's death, the Prophet was entrusted to his uncle Abu Tahb. While in his uncle's house, he used to pasture sheep and goats in the hills above Makkah, and once he was taken by his uncle with a merchant caravan to Syria. In the following years, the Prophet attended one of the wars in which Quraysh took part, and in which there was not much fighting. This was called the (Impious war) "Harb ul Fujjar," because it was started in one of the sacred months. He also was present at the Pact of "The Fudul," where many tribes, besides Quraysh, gathered to promise to stand against any act of oppression or injustice in Makkah. Present at the meeting was another young man, younger than the Prophet by about two years, and that was `Abu Bakr. In after years, the Prophet said about that Pact, "I was present in the house of `Abdullah Ibn Jud'an at so excellent a pact that I would not exchange my part in it for a herd of red camels; and if now, in Islam, I were invited to take part in it, I would gladly respond."

 

3. Prophetic Portents:51

a) The Year of the Elephant:

The birth of the Prophet was in the same year that Abrahah, ruler of Yaman, came with the intent 52 to destroy Al-Ka'bah, and to force the Arabs into performing the pilgrimage to the cathedral he had built in his country. He led a big army with an elephant in the vanguard 53 from Yaman until he reached the outskirts of Makkah. Abrahah sent a message to `Abdul Muttalib saying that he did not want war with the Makkans, and he only wanted to destroy the Ka'bah; and so if the Makkans do not try to stop him from destroying it, there will be no fighting. The message was delivered to `Abdul Muttalib, the leader of his people at that time; and `Abdul Muttalib went to see Abrahah. He was welcomed by the Yamanite ruler, but Abrahah was surprised when he heard the Makkan head say that he wanted the King to return two hundred camels of his which the enemy had taken. The Yamanite answered, "Do you wish to talk to me about two hundred camels of yours which I have taken and say nothing about your temple and the temple of your forefathers which I have come to destroy?" `Abdul Muttalib replied, "I am the owner of the camels and the temple has an Owner Who will defend it".

Then Abrahah proceeded to enter Makkah, with the elephant in front. But suddenly the elephant knelt and refused to go forward. The troops beat the elephant to make it get up but it would not; they beat its head with iron bars, but it would not get up. whenever they made it face the north or Yaman it would immediately get up and start off. Suddenly birds came from the sea; each carried three stones, and everyone who was hit by anyone of these stones died. So the army began to withdraw in flight towards Yaman, and Abrahah died on the way back. As a sign of the favour of Allah on the Makkans, this surah `chapter' was revealed at an early period of the Prophet's mission.

"Have you not seen what your Lord did with the companions of the Elephant?" (1) "Did He not make their plot to err?" (2) "And He sent upon them birds in flocks," (3) "Throwing at them stones of baked clay," (4) "So He made them like green blades eaten up (by cattle)" (5)

b) The Prophet's Foster-Mother:

Halimah was the Prophet's foster-mother. It was a year of famine when she and her husband took the Prophet after his birth to live with them in the desert near Makkah. She had hesitated to take him at first, for he was an orphan and she did not think that his mother or his grandfather would be able to meet all the expectations of a foster-mother. However, Halimah finally said, "By Allah, I do not like the idea of returning without a suckling; I will go and take that orphan." Her husband replied, "Do as you please; perhaps Allah will bless us on his account." So she took him, and when she began suckling him, he drank his fill 54 and slept; and his foster-brother also drank his fill and slept, while on the previnight her son could not sleep of hunger. When they started on their way from Makkah, she carried him with her on the back of her ass, which outstripped the whole group, whereas before this same ass was always lagging 55 behind the others.

When they reached home, the child's presence with them was a source of abundance 56and happiness, while famine was prevalent 57 in the whole area. Then one day the Prophet's foster-brother came running to his mother, telling her that he saw two men clothed in white seize his Qurayshi brother, throw him down, and open up his chest . The father and mother ran towards their foster-son and found him standing there with a pale face. When they asked him what had happened, he told them that the two men dressed in white had come, thrown him down, opened up his chest and searched therein for what he knew not. Yet there was not a trace of a scar 58on his breast.

The foster-mother and her husband decided to take the orphan back to his mother and grandfather. When she told this story to his mother, Aminah, she said that her son had a great future before him, and that when she was pregnant with him a light went out from her which illumined 59 the castles of Bostra in Syria.

c) The Monk's Story:

Once, when Abu Talib was going in a merchant caravan to Syria, he decided to take his nephew with him. When the caravan reached Bostra in Syria, a monk 60 called Bahira saw the young man. He was surprised to find traces of his description in the Christian books. He drew near to the young man and began to ask him several questions.

Bahira: Young man, by Allah and Al-'Uzza would you answer my questions?

The Prophet: Do not ask me by Allah and Al-'Uzza, for by Allah nothing is more hateful to me than these two.

Bahira: "Then by Allah, tell me what I ask."

The Prophet: "Ask me what you like."

Bahira "Do you like solitude?"

The Prophet: "Yes!"

Bahira: "Do you like contemplating 61 the sky and the stars?"

The Prophet: "Yes!"

Bahira: " Do you care for playing with your mates?"

The Prophet:" No!"

Bahira: Do you see in your sleep visions that come true when you wake up?"

The Prophet: "Yes!"

Bahira (to Abu Talib): "O Abu Talib! O Abu Talib!"

Abu Talib (looking surprised): "What is the matter, Bahira?"

Bahira (pointing to the Prophet): "Tell me, what is this boy to you?"

Abu Talib: "He is my son."

Bahira: "He is not your son. The father of this boy cannot be alive."

Abu Talib: "He is my brother's son."

Bahira: "What has become of his father?"

Abu Talib: "He died when his mother was pregnant."

Bahira (to himself): "You are right! (Aloud) Go back with your brother's son to his country and guard him carefully against the Jews, for, by Allah, if they see him and know about him what I know, they will contrive 62 evil against him. Great things are in store for your brother's son."

Abu Talib (amazed): "Great things in store for him! for this my brother's son?"

Bahira: "Yes, surely his face is the face of a Prophet, and his eye is the eye of a Prophet!"

Abu Talib: "A Prophet! What is a Prophet?"

Bahira: "A Prophet receives revelation from Heaven and proclaims it to the people of the earth." [Adapted from Tawfiq Al-Hakini's "Muhammad".]

 

4. Before Prophethood:

a) Muhammad's Marriage:

At the age of twenty-five, the Prophet was married to Khadijah, a rich merchant woman, who had sent him before with her goods for trade in Syria. Because she had found him truthful and honest, she suggested to her uncle that she would be happy if Muhammad would accept her as a wife, although she was now about forty. Her uncle agreed, and the marriage soon took place. On the marriage day, Khadijah gave the Prophet a gift, a slave named Zayd. The Prophet lived with Khadijah in her house, and the result of the happy marriage was the birth of six children: two sons and four daughters.

b) Rebuilding Al-Ka'bah:

Quraysh tried to rebuild Al-Ka'bah ten years after Muhammad's marriage. They were afraid to demol ish it, but they were encouraged when one of them began to demolish, and no harm befell 63 him. They went on demolishing until they reached the foundations of Ibrahim. Then they built upon these foundations until it was time to put the Black Stone back in its place. Then there arose 64 violent disagreement about who will lift the Black Stone in its place, each tribe determined to have the honour of placing it in the building. Soon each tribe was preparing to fight for that privilege 65.

Then one of the older men of Quraysh suggested that the first man to enter the Mosque would be the arbiter 66  between the clans; and they all agreed. The first man to come in was Muhammad. When they saw him, they said, "This is the trustworthy one. This is Muhammad. We accept his judgment." When they explained the matter to him, he said, "Give me a cloak." When they brought it, he took the Black Stone and put it inside the cloak and said that each tribe should take hold of an end of the cloak and they should lift it together. When they had raised the Stone to the right height, he took it and placed it in the corner with his own hands. Then the building was completed above it.  


Revelations 
[These are the same words spoken by the Believer in defence of Musa (Moses).]

In the cave came the first revelation to the Prophet. In the stillness of solitude he was entrusted with the message that came to culminate 1 all previous revelations and to shake the world to the significance of servitude 2 to Allah.

The impact of Divine revelation on the human body was of such magnitude that the Prophet was terrified and he ran back home, where he told his wife to cover him. When he regained his calmness, he told Khadijah what he had seen and heard. She comforted him and told him that he is the Prophet of this nation. Then she rose and went to her cousin Waraqah, who was a Christian, and told him what had happened to her husband. The old man said, "Surely, by Him in whose Hand is Waraqah's self, if you have spoken to me the truth, O Khadijah, there has come to him the greatest Namus (meaning Jibril) who had come to Musa (Moses) before, and he is the Prophet of his people." Later on, when the Prophet saw Waraqah in the Mosque, he told the Prophet, "You will be called a liar, and you will be persecuted. I hope I will be alive when your people will force you out of your city."

To this the Prophet asked in surprise, "Will they force me out?" and Waraqah answered, "No man has ever come with similar revelations but was persecuted." The second revelation to the Prophet began with the mention of "The Pen," and comforted the Prophet by reassuring him that he is not a mad man, and that he is of magnificent character. This was followed by two surahs urging him to rise up, purify 3 himself and his clothes, to worship Allah, and be steadfastly patient in His worship. These are Al-Muddaththir", and "Al-Muzzammil," where he is enjoined to perform night prayers, and to recite the Qur'an in preparation for the heavy burden 4 of calling people back to their Creator.

The fifth surah to be revealed was "the Opening." 

"In the name of Allah, the Infinite Mercy, the Most merciful" (1)

"Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds" (2)

"The Infinite Mercy, the Most Merciful" (3)

"Owner of the Day of Judgement" (4)

"You (alone) we worship and You (alone) we ask for aid" (5)

"Guide us to the straight path" (6)

"The path of those whom You have favoured, not (the path) of those who earn Your anger nor of those who are erring." (7)

With these revelations came the institution of purification 5 and prayer, taught by Jibril to the Prophet. Among the first converts were Khadijah, `Ali Abu Bakr and `Uthman, who took upon themselves to learn the new Qur'anic revelations and used them in their prayers led by the Prophet.


The Victorious Orphan

A. Decade of Persecution

1. The nearest of kin:

Three years passed after the first Revelation, and the Prophet was again addressed in these Divine words: 

"And warn your nearest clan." (Al-Shu'ara'-214)  

"And lower your wing (deal gently with) to those who follow you from among the believers." (Al Shu'ara'-215)

The Prophet began by proclaiming his message to his nearest of kin, the sons of `Abdul Muttalib, saying, "O sons of `Abdul Muttalib, I know of no Arab who has come to his people with a nobler message than mine. I have brought the best of this world and the next. Allah has ordered me to call you to Him. So which of you will help me in the matter?" The first one to accept the call was Ali.

2. Quraysh:

a) Persecution:

When the Prophet began to proclaim the message to Quraysh, and to ask them to renounce their gods, some of their leaders went to Abu Talib. They complained to him that the Prophet insulted their religion, and that Abu Talib should stop his nephew from preaching the new religion. After hearing these words, Abu Talib sent for his nephew and told him what the leaders of Quraysh had said, "Spare me and yourself," Abu Talib said, "Do not put on me a burden greater than I can bear." At this, the Prophet thought that his uncle would fail him; but the Prophet's answer came out with an unflinching 1 resolution, 2 "O my uncle, by Allah, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on condition that I abandon this Command, until Allah has made it victorious, or I perish therein, I would not abandon it."

Persecution began against the Prophet and the people who accepted his religion. The Prophet's person was the object of insult; he was called a poet, a sorcerer 3 a diviner, 4 and a mad man. One day the leaders of Quraysh were in the House when the Prophet entered and kissed the Black Stone, and began to perform the seven rounds of Tough (circumambulation). They kept insulting him, and this was repeated the following day. This time the heads of Quraysh had decided on a course of action. They jumped on him as one man and encircled him, saying, "Are you the one who insulted our gods and our religion?" The Prophet answered, "Yes, I am the one who said that." Then one of them seized him by the top of his dress, and was about to strike him. Here Abu Bark came to the rescue saying. 

"Would you kill a man for saying Allah is my Lord." [These are the same words spoken by the believer in defence of musa (moses)]

At this they left the Prophet and turned upon Abu Bark and dragged 5 him along by the beard and head.

b) The New Muslims: (Hamzah and Umar)

One of the new Muslims was Hamzah, the young uncle of the Prophet, and a man of tall stature, 6 and of high standing among Quraysh. On one occasion the Prophet was sitting outside the Mosque near Al Safe, when Abu Jahl passed by him. As Abu Jahl was one of the most hostile leaders of Quraysh to the Prophet and the new religion, he accosted 7 the Prophet and insulted him. The Prophet kept silent. But soon Hamzah, the Prophet's uncle arrived, with his bow hanging from his shoulder, returning from hunting. When he was told of what Abu Jahl had done, he went straight to Abu Jahl; and, standing over him, he raised his bow and brought it down with all his force on his back.

"Will you insult him," Hamzah said, "Now that I am of his religion, and say what he says? Hit me back if you can!" Some of the clan of Abu Jahl rose to his help, but he said, "Let Abu `Umarah (Hamzah) alone, for, by Allah, I insulted his nephew most violently." With Hamzah becoming a Muslim, Quraysh became less insulting to the Prophet, but nevertheless, more hostile to the religion and poorer Muslims than before.

Another man of high standing in Quraysh was Umar. He was unrelenting 8 in his enmity to the Prophet and Muslims. He was the nephew of Abu Jahl, and years after Hamzah had become a Muslim, Umar saw that Makkah had become a divided city. The rift 9 that had been brought about by the new religion had to be remedied, 10 and this could be done by getting rid of one man, the Prophet himself. So Umar went out of his house one day determined to kill the Prophet. On his way he met Nu'aym, one of his tribe, who had entered Islam.

Nu'aym: "Where are you going, Umar?"

Umar: "I have been trying to enjoy good company; but I have been unlucky."

Nu'aym: "The days of enjoyment are past."

Umar: "This is what Muhammad says. He has caused dissension among our people."

Nu'aym: "Blessed are his words, and his actions."

Umar: "Are you then one of his followers?"

Nu'aym: "Yes!"

Umar (striking Nu'aym on the face): "Woe to you! (Pointing to his sword) By Allah, I am going to kill him with this sword!"

Nu'aym: "You are getting too naughty, Umar!. Do you think that the Prophet's clan would leave you treading on the earth after you kill Muhammad? Why do you not go back home and set your people aright?" 11

Umar: "What people of my house?"

Nu'aym: "Your brother-in-law Sa'id and your sister Fatimah." (Umar hurries back home).

(In Fatimah's house: she is seated with her husband Sa'id, and Khabbab is reciting some verses of Al-Qur'an).

 
Khabbab: (reading from a page the Chapter entitled: Thai): 

  "Thaa" (1) 

"We have not sent down the Qur'an upon you that you should feel distress." (2)

 

"Except as a Reminder to him who is apprehensive." (3) 

 
"A sending down from Him Who created the earth and the high heavens." (4)

Sa'id (looking at the door): Wait Khabbab! I think I've heard Umar's voice outside.

Khabbab: (standing up in terror) I fear he might have heard my recitation.

Fatimah: Give me the page, and hide elsewhere now. (She takes the page, and Khabbab leaves the room).

Umar (entering): "What was that gibberish 12 that I heard?"

Said: "Nothing!"

Mar: "Hear it I did! And I am told that you both have become followers of Mohammed." (He grapples 13 with his brother-in-law).

Faith (going to the defence of her husband): "Stop it!"

Umar: "And you too, have followed Muhammad!" (He strikes his sister and wounds her).

Fatimah and Sa'id (taking courage); "Yes, indeed! We have become Muslims, and we believe in Allah and His Messenger. So do whatever you like!"

Umar (seeing blood on his sister's head, and feeling sorry for her): "Have you then become Muslims?"

Fatimah: "Yes, we have!"

Umar: "Give me that page that I may see what Muhammad has brought."

Fatimah: We fear to trust you with it."

Umar: "Fear not! Surely I will give it back to you."

Fatimah: "You are not pure in your idolatry, and only the pure may touch it. Go and wash yourself."

Umar (goes home and then comes back purified): "Give me the page, then."

Fatimah: "Now that you are pure, you can take it." (Umar takes the page and starts reading).

Umar (finishes reading): "How beautiful and how noble are these words!"

Khabbab: (coming out of his hiding-place): "Umar! I have hope that Allah has chosen you through the prayer of His Prophet, for I heard him pray yesterday, `O Allah, strengthen Islam with Abul Hakam the son of Hisham or with Umar the son of Khattab!"

Umar (to Khabbab): "Where will Muhammad now be, that I may go to him and enter Islam."

No sooner had Umar said this than he went to the Prophet and accepted Islam.

These two new converts have come to be landmarks in the history of Islam through their devotion to the new faith. Hamzah came to be a constant companion and a devout 14 follower of the Prophet until he was killed during the Battle of Uhud, and the Prophet called him the noblest of martyrs.

Umar came to be second to none, excepting Abu Bakr, in the establishing of the first Muslim city in the modern era. As the second Caliph and ruler of that Imperial 15 city, he came to be another Caliph and also a noble martyr.

c) Persecution Unabated:

It is true that with the Islam of Umar, Islam was gaining more new converts, and Muslims began to pray in public; but Quraysh was still determined to uproot 16 the new religion. Many of the followers of the Prophet were attacked, imprisoned and beaten, and were allowed no food or drink.

  1. Bilal, who was afterwards freed by Abu Bakr, was born a slave. He was converted to Islam, and became a faithful Muslim. His master used to take him in the intense heat of the desert, and throw him on his back, placing a big rock on his chest. Then he would say to him, "You will stay here till you die or disbelieve in Muhammad, and worship Al-Lat and Al-'Uzza." Bilal had no answer but to say, "One! One! (Allah is One)." One day Abu Bakr passed by Bilal while he was being tortured this way; and he asked Bilal's master to free him. But the idolatrous master replied, "You are the one who corrupted him, so save him from the plight 17 he is in." Abu Bakr was ready to save him, and he paid the money and freed Bilal.
     

  2. `Ammar was another victim of this ruthless 18 persecution. His master used to take `Ammar, his father and mother out in the scorching 19 heat of Makkah in summer and torture them. Whenever the Prophet passed by them while they were being tortured, he would say, "Patience, O family of Yasir! Your meeting-place will be Paradise." `Ammar's mother died a victim of torture, refusing to abandon Islam.

d) Persuasion and Boycott:

Persuasion did not avail Quraysh in trying to stop the new religion from spreading in Makkah. When Quraysh sent `Utbah, one of their leaders to the Prophet, he began in a conciliatory 20 manner proposing that Quraysh would be ready to offer wealth to the Prophet on condition that he should cease attacking their idols. If the Prophet did not want wealth, they would offer him kingship; and if he suffered from a certain illness, they would provide a physician and spend their wealth until the Prophet's cure is complete. When `Utbah finished, the Prophet asked him to listen to his recitation from Al-Qur'an, starting with the opening verses of the Chapter "Fussilat (41)" until he came to verses (`ayahts) 37 and 38.  

"And of His signs are the night and the day and the sun and the moon. Do not prostrate to the sun nor to the moon, and prostrate (in worship) to Allah Who has created them; if Him indeed yoil worship." (37) 

"So if they wax proud, then those who are in the presence of your Lord hymn to Him night and day; and they do not feel weary." (38)

At the end of the verse, the Prophet prostrated placing his forehead on the ground. Then he said to `Utbah "You have heard what you have heard, Abu-l-Walid (`Utbah's title); it is now for you to decide."

When `Utbah went back to the leaders of Quraysh, he advised them not to obstruct the way of the Prophet, because what he heard from the Prophet was neither poetry, nor sorcery, nor anything of purely human origin. Their answer was, "He has bewitched you with his tongue." to which he answered, "You have my opinion, and you do what you think best." With the increase in the number of new converts, Quraysh thought of sending to the Jewish rabbis in Yathrib (Al-Madinah) requesting them to tell Quraysh how to deal with the Prophet. The rabbis said, "Ask him about three things; if he gives you the right answer then he is a true Prophet." The questions were about some young men who disappeared in ancient days, about the mighty traveller who reached the confines of both East and West, and about what the Spirit is.

When the leaders of Quraysh posed these questions to the Prophet, he told them that he would give the answers the next day, but did not say, "If Allah decides." But the Prophet waited for fifteen days, after which the Chapter of the Cave was revealed, reproaching the Prophet for not saying, "If Allah decides," and giving answers to the questions they had posed. To the last question came the Divine answer:  

"And they ask you about the Spirit, say, the Spirit is from the Command of my Lord, and you have been granted only a little knowledge." (Allsra'-85).

Finally the leaders of Quraysh found that Muslim youths like Umar and Hamzah were getting bold 21 enough to come in large bodies and pray in front of Al-Ka'bah. Without getting into open conflict with the Muslims, the leaders of Quraysh agreed upon a boycott 22 to the whole clan of Banu Hashim. They wrote a document 23 forbidding intermarriage between Banu Hashim and other clans of Quraysh, and stopping every kind of buying and selling with Banu Hashim until they outlawed the Prophet. The document was placed inside Al-Ka'bah.

This boycott continued for two years before five of the leaders of Quraysh began to feel unhappy about the injustice of the boycott, and decided to go to Al- Ka'bah and tear the document and end the boycott. One of the five leaders had a quarrel with Abu Jahlabout the document, after which he went into Al-Ka'bah to get the document. When this leader came out of Al-Ka'bah, he opened the document, and there the document had been eaten by the worms, all of it except for a small piece of it on which was written:

"In Your name, O Allah." And thus the ban on Muslims was lifted at last.

e) Before the Ascension: 24

To escape persecution many Muslims began to migrate to Abyssinia, where they were allowed to practice their religion freely. Among the first immigrants were Ja'far, the Prophet's cousin, and `Uthman, the Prophet's Companion and son-in-law. There were about eighty Muslims who stayed there until they heard that the number of Muslims in Makkah was increasing and persecution had stopped. But when they came back they were again subject to mockery and torture.

Even the Prophet himself was the subject of insult and mockery. One day, one of the leaders of Quraysh came to the Prophet in the House at Makkah, and told the people who had been listening to the Prophet reciting Al-Qur'an, "Muhammad cannot tell a better story than I, and his talk is only of old fables 25 which he has copied from others. I can tell better stories about the great kings of Persia." So Allah revealed concerning him these verses:  

 
"Woe to every sinful liar." (Aljathiyah - 7)

"Who hears the verses of Allah recited to him, and then insists on waxing proud as if he has not heard them; so give him the (hateful) tidings of a painful torment." (8)

Again when a deputation of Christians from Najran came to Makkah, met the Prophet and embraced Islam, Abu Jahl and other polytheists of Quraysh accosted them and said to them, "What a wretched band you are! Your people at home sent you to bring them information about this man, and as soon as you sat with him you renounced your religion and believed what he said." Their answer to Abu Jahl and his companions was, "Peace be upon you. We will not engage in foolish controversy 26 with you. We have not been remiss 27 in seeking what is best."

Not long after the lifting of the ban, 28 Abu Talib fell ill. The leaders of Quraysh found it a hopeful opportunity to come to terms with the Prophet before Abu Talib's death. They spoke to Abu Talib and asked him to ask the Prophet to leave them and their religion in peace. Then Abu Talib called the Prophet and told him of Quraysh's request. They were still in Abu Talib's house when the Prophet came and said to them: "Give me one word - a word by which you shall rule over the Arabs, and the Persians shall be your subjects." To this Abu Jahl answered, "Yes, by your father, for that we will give you one word, and ten words more." "You must say," said the Prophet, "There is no god but Allah, and you must renounce what you worship apart from Him." At this the leaders of Quraysh despaired of ever coming to terms with the Prophet.

Then Abu Tahb died, and this left the Prophet without the protection that he had enjoyed during his life-time. These were days of sadness for the Prophet, especially since his wife had died months earlier.

After Abu Talib's death, insolent actions against the Prophet did not cease. Once filth was thrown into the Prophet's cooking pot; and on another occasion a sheep's dirt with blood was thrown over him. As he was coming from the House, a man took a handful of dirt and threw it in his face and over his head. When he returned home, one of his daughters washed him clean of it, while weeping. "Weep not, little daughter," said the Prophet, "Allah will protect your father." With the growing hostility Quraysh, after the death of the Prophet's wife and uncle, he decided on going to Al-Ta'if to seek help from the tribe of Thaqif. He went to three of Thaqif's leaders offering them belief in Islam and requesting their help against his enemies in Makkah, but all of them rejected his offer and were more insolent than he had expected. Then the Prophet said to them, "Seeing that you acted as you have, keep the matter secret," for he did not like that the people of Makkah should hear about it, lest they should be still further emboldened 29 against him. But they stirred up their slaves and children to insult him, so that he was compelled to take refuge in an orchard30 and sat in the shade of a vine 31 Then he uttered this plaintive supplication; 

This supplication in such a moving immortal style never attained by any other human mortal can never be adequately translated; but a near rendering would be like this:

"O Allah, to You I complain of my weakness, of my helplessness and of my lowliness before men. O Most Merciful of the merciful, You are Lord of the ill-treated. And You are my Lord. Into whose hands will You entrust me? Into the hands of some far off stranger who will scowl at me? Or to an enemy whom You have empowered against me? If You are not angry with me I care not; Your clemency is more wide for me. I take refuge in the Light of your Countenance whereby all darkness is illuminated and the things of this world and the next are rightly ordered, lest You may descend Your anger upon me, or lest Your wrath may beset me! It is for me to return to You until You are well satisfied! There is no means or power save in You."

Then the Prophet left At-Ta'if for Makkah until he reached the valley of Nakhlah, nearly half way between the two cities; and he stood there to pray. While he was praying in the middle of the night, a company of jinn passed by and they listened to his recitation of Al-Qur'an in prayer. After prayers, the jinn went back to their tribe to carry the message of Islam to them, after they have become Muslims themselves. There now came the Revelation to the Prophet:  
"Say it has been revealed to me that a group of jinn listened
(to me), and then said: `Surely we have heard a wonderful Qur'an." (Al-Jinn-1).

"It guides to righteousness, so we have believed in it, and we shall never associate anybody with our Lord." (2)

3. Answers to the Supplication:

a) The Heavenly Journey:

While the Prophet was sleeping in the House, Jibril came to him and awakened him, and led him on a night journey mounted on the Buraq to Jerusalem. There the Prophet led a company of Prophets: Ibrahim, Musa, `Isa and others in prayer. Then Jibril ascended with the Prophet to heaven, where he saw the other Prophets. Finally he reached the Lote Tree, which marks the end of knowledge for all creatures. There Jibril communicated to him the Revelation in the Chapter of the Star (An-Najm):   

 
"When there enshrouded the Lote Tree that which enshrouds." (An-Najm- 16).

"The eye did not waver, nor was it extravagant." (An-Najm- 17).

"Indeed he has seen, of all the signs of the Lord, the greatest." (An-Najm- 18).

All this radiance 32 splendor 33 and serenity seemed to have been an answer to the Prophet's plaintive 34 supplication in Ta`if in the midst of his deep distress. It was an illuminating answer, coupled with the blessings of five prayers a day enjoined upon the Prophet and the believers on that most eminent occasion.

In the morning the Prophet told Quraysh what he had seen. Most of them said, "How unbelievable! The caravan takes a month to go to Syria and a month to return, and can Muhammad do the return journey in one night?" When this question was posed to Abu Bakr, he said, "If he says so, then it is true. And what is so surprising in that? He tells me that tidings 35 come to him from Heaven to earth in an hour of the day or night, and I know him to be speaking the truth." That was the occasion on which Abu Bakr was given the name "As-siddiq": the Faithful - by the Prophet.

b) Pledges at Al-'Aqabah:

Meanwhile the Prophet offered himself to the tribes, calling them to the worship of Allah alone, and telling them that he was His messenger. On one occasion he met six men from Yathrib (Al-Madinah) at Al- `Aqabah, to the north of Makkah on the way to Mina. He learnt that they were of Al-Khazraj tribe and allies of the Jews in Yathrib. He called them to Islam, and they accepted it, for they realized that he was the Prophet whose time had come as the Jews had told them. So they promised the Prophet to follow the precepts of Islam and told him, "We have left our people, for there is no tribe so divided by hatred and enmity as they. Perhaps Allah will unite them through you. So let us go to them and invite them to this new religion; and if Allah unites them, in it, then no man will be mightier than you." These six people went back to their people, and many of their people embraced Islam.

In the following year, twelve people from the same city, Yathrib, came and met the Prophet at Al -`Aqabah, where they gave him their pledge, called, "The First Pledge" or "The Pledge of the Women." It was so called, because the order to fight the enemies of Islam had not been revealed to the Prophet yet. Among these twelve, were As'ad, son of Zurarah and `Awf, son of Al-Harith. They gave their pledge to the Prophet that they would not associate anything with Allah, not steal, not commit fornication,36 not kill their offspring, not utter slanders, and not disobey him in what was right. If they fulfilled this, Paradise would be theirs; if they committed any of these sins it was for Allah to punish or forgive them as He pleased.

When these twelve left for Yathrib, the Prophet sent with them Mus'ab, son of `Umayr to recite Al- Qur'an for them and to teach them Islam. Among the first people to embrace Islam, thanks to the efforts of Mus'ab, were Sa'd, son of Mu'ath and Usayd, son of Hudayr. With these two leaders becoming Muslims, Islam spread far and wide in the city.

The third meeting at Al-'Aqabah saw "The Second Pledge" by the people of Yathrib to the Prophet. They were seventy three men and two women. When the Prophet came to meet them, he was accompanied by his uncle Al-'Abbas, although he had not yet embraced Islam at that time. Al-'Abbas was the first to speak, and said, "You know the esteem in which we hold Muhammad. We have protected him from our own people who think as we do about him. He lives in honour and safety among his people, but he will turn to you and join you. So if you think that you can be faithful to what you have promised him and protect him from his opponents, then assume the burden you have undertaken. But if you think that you will betray and abandon him after he has gone out with you, then leave him now. For he is safe where he is." They replied, "You speak, O Prophet, and choose for yourself and for your Lord what you wish."

Then the Prophet spoke and recited from Al-Qur'an, and called the people to Allah and Islam; and then said, "I invite your pledge on condition that you protect me as you protect your women and children." One of their leaders called Al-Bara' stood up and said, "By Him Who sent you with the truth we will protect you as we protect our women." Then another man stood up and said, "O Prophet, we have ties with other men (he meant the Jews) and we are willing to sever them. Perhaps when we have done that and Allah will have given you victory, will you return to your people and leave us?" The Prophet smiled and said, "No, I am yours and you are mine. Whom you war against, him I war against. Whom you make peace with, him I make peace with." Then the Prophet said, "Bring out to me twelve leaders that they take charge of their people's affairs." They brought out to him nine from the tribe of Al-Khazraj and three from Al-'Aws: among these were As'ad, son of Zurarah (a Khazraji) and `Usayd, son of Hudayr (an Ausi).

Soon after the Second `Aqabah, the Prophet was permitted to fight the enemies of Allah and Islam. Thus the Revelation came: 

"Permission has been given to those who fight because they have been unjustly treated; and suerly Allah is indeed determined to give them victory." (Al-Hajj-39).

4.The Prophet's Migration:

Many Muslims began to leave and migrate to Yathrib after the Second Pledge at Al-'Aqabah. Among those immigrants to the new city were `Umar and his family, `Uthman and his wife, the Prophet's daughter Ruqayyah. Abu Bakr had asked the Prophet's permission to emigrate, but the Prophet had said, "Do not be in a hurry, for it may be that Allah will give you a companion." So Abu Bakr understood that he must wait to emigrate with the Prophet .

Now the time had come for Quraysh to act and stop the Prophet from migrating to the new city, which has become a stronghold for the new religion. Now that Abu Talib was dead, the way was clear for them to get rid of the Prophet by planning to kill him. The decision to get rid of the Prophet was taken at a meeting of their leaders, including Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan.

(A gathering of the leaders of Quraysh)

Abu Sufyan (to Abu Jahl): "You start, Abu Jahl." Abu Jahl: This man has been doing all that you have seen. So many have followed him, including Umar and Hamzah. So many have accepted his new religion; and he's getting to be a real threat. So you have to decide what course of action against him lies before us."

Umayyah, son of Khalaf: "Imprison him, and wait for his end, as has happened to poets like him."

Abu Sufyan (thinking for a while): "We banish 37 him away from our city. So long as he is away, we are free to practise our traditional way of life."

Abu Jahl (after a while): "I have come to an opinion which none of you have mentioned."

Abu Sufyan: "And what is that Abul-Hakam (Abu Jahl)?"

Abu Jahl: "I see that we choose from every clan a noble, strong and reliable young man, and we provide everyone of them with a sharp sword; then each of them will strike a blow at him. Thus when he is killed, the responsibility for his blood will fall upon all the clans of Quraysh. Then his family would accept the blood-money which we would be ready to offer."

Abu Sufyan and the others: "This sounds the best way out. Agreed!" (Having come to that decision the conspirators dispersed).

Then Jibril came to the Prophet warning him not to sleep that night on the bed on which he used to sleep. After night-fall, the young men chosen to kill the Prophet gathered in front of his house. When the Prophet saw this, he told `Ali to sleep on the Prophet's bed, and wrap himself in the Prophet's green cloak, for no harm would befall him.

The conspirators' young men stayed outside the Prophet's house, and did not choose to break into the house. They waited for the Prophet to come out, so that they would all attack him as one man. When the Prophet went out of the house, he sprinkled dust on their heads, and recited verses from the Chapter "Ya Sin," up to the words: 

"And We enshrouded them, so that they did not see." (Ya Sin-9).

Thus the Prophet passed unnoticed through their midst, and went on his way to Abu Bakr's house. He told him that Allah had given him permission to migrate, and that Abu Bakr would be his Companion. Two camels were already saddled for them, and they made for a cave in the Mount of Thawr, to the south of Makkah, on the way to the Yaman; for they knew that Quraysh, expecting them to go northwards, would try to find them on the way to Yathrib (Al- Madinah). `Ali was left behind in Makkah to return goods which had been deposited with the Prophet by the people who trusted him with their property.

The Prophet and Abu Bakr stayed in the cave for three days. When Quraysh missed the Prophet they offered a hundred camels to anyone who would bring him back. During these three days, `Abdullah, son of Abu Bakr, used to bring them food at night, together with the news about Quraysh. On his way back to Makkah in the morning, `Abdullah would tell his servant to take the sheep over the same route to hide the tracks of Abdullah's camel.

On the third day the Prophet and his Companion heard the faint 38 sound of men's voices; then the voices grew louder, and the speakers were getting nearer the cave's entrance. Abu Bakr became apprehensive lest the pursuers should at last find them. But the Prophet comforted him saying, "What do you think of two men when Allah is their Third?" 

 
"When they both were in the Cave and when he said to his Companion `Do not grieve; for surely Allah is with us." (At-Tawbah-40).

Then the voices outside ceased, for they realized that there was no need to enter a seemingly empty cave.

When `Abdullah came back to the Prophet in the cave, he brought with him a guide who was an expert in out-of-way paths in the desert to Yathrib (Al- Madinah).

One man in Makkah heard the story of the migration of the Prophet, and the reward offered by Quraysh; so he decided to go after the Prophet to get the precious reward. That was Suraqah, son of Malik. Thus he rode in pursuit of the Prophet. Although his horse stumbled and threw him, he did not stop until the Prophet and the little band were not far away from him. Then his horse stumbled again, and its forelegs 39 went into the ground, and the rider fell again. Then as it got its legs out of the ground smoke arose as a sand storm. Then he realized that the Prophet was protected from him and had the upper hand. The pursuer then assured the Prophet and his companions that he intended no harm to them. Then the Prophet told Abu Bakr to ask the pursuer what he wanted. The man said he wanted a written promise of a reward. So Abu Bakr wrote him on a bone the written promise of the two bracelets of the Emperor of Persia. Thus the Prophet, a fugitive from Makkah, promised Suraqah the bracelets of the Emperor. The promise was fulfilled when `Umar became Caliph, and the Muslim empire had swept away the two decadent Empires of Rome and Persia.

Finally the Prophet entered Yathrib and it has since been given the name "The City," The City of the Prophet, the First Muslim State in modern times. And that Imperial City ruled the world, for centuries to come.


Glossary: War and Peace

Jihad

1

comforted adj. given help and hope. 

2

entrust v. give someone the charge of something with complete trust.

3

appal v. fill with horror.

4

perspiration n. salty moisture given off in perspiring: sweat.

5

divinely adj. in a holy way: sacredly.

6

inspired adj. given power from God.

7

legitimate adj. sanctioned by law or custom: lawful.

8

denote v. be the sign or symbol of: be the name of.

9

tolerance n. quality of tolerating opinions, beliefs of others

10

inalienable adj. which cannot be taken away.

11

portray v. make a representation of something.

12

global adj. concerning the whole earth.

13

peace n. a condition in which there is no war.

14

strap n. a strong narrow band of material, such as leather used as a fastening.

15

consultation n. meeting for exchanging opinions.

16

emigrant n. a person who leaves his country in order to live in another.

17

plunge v. throw oneself into water.

18

trustworthy adj. worthy to trust: dependable.

19

combat n. armed fighting: battle.

20

perdition n. complete and irreparable loss: ruin.

21

halt v. stop marching.

22

tactics n.

 

the science of arranging and maneuvering. military forces in action.

23

cistern n. a container for storing water.

24

vow v. declare or swear solemnly.

25

rage v. to be forceful and violent.

26

perish v. to be destroyed, ruined or wiped out.

27

pursue v. go after in order to catch up with.

28

hoof n. horny part of the foot of a horse.

29

captive n. person taken prisoner.

30

grave n. hole dug in the ground for a corpse.

31

ransom v. get someone free by paying the money demanded.

32

oke n. a unit of weight equal to about 2 3/4 lbs.

33

readiness n. willingness.

34

blistered adj. swelled.

35

torment v. cause great physical pain.

36

reinforce v. strengthen or make stronger.

37

snatch v. grasp or seize suddenly.

38

refuge n. shelter or protection from danger.

39

nourish v. make well and stronger.

40

spoils n.

 

goods, territory, etc. taken by force in war.

Glossary: The First Muslim State

1

persecuted adj. treated cruelly.
2 oppression n. cruel or unjust act.
3 menace n. a threat, or the act of threatening.
4 lodge v. stay in a place for temporary residence.
5 congregational adj. of or like a congregation (group).
6 mount v. get on to (a horse. camel etc.).
7 guardian n. a person who guards, protects or takes care of another person.
8 fell v. cut down.
9 pillar n. column.
10 thatched adj. covered with straw.
11 bugle n. a brass-wind instrument like a trumpet but smaller, and usually without keys or valves.
12 appropriate adj. right for the purpose: suitable.
13 preach v speak in public on religious matters.
14 pulpit n a raised platform.
15 erected adj. set in an upright position.
16 ascend v. go up: rise.
17 precept n. a commandment or direction meant as a rule of action or conduct.
18 benignant adj. kind: gracious.
19 inculcating adj. fixing ideas in the minds of others.
20 exhortation n. strong urge or advice.
21 treaty n. a formal agreement between two or more nations, relating to peace.
22 venerate v. to look upon with feelings of deep respect.
23 idolatry n. worship of idols.
24 apprehensive adj. anxious or fearful about the future.
25 covenant n. a binding and solemn agreement between two parties. 
26 mutual adj. equally shared by each one.
27 redress v. set right: rectify or remedy.
28  incurred adj. received as a result of an unpleasing action.
29 adherent n. supporter.
30 tribe n.   racial group living as a community under one chief. 
31 accorded adj. given, allowed.
32 abode n. a place where one lives or stays.
33 trichotomy n. division into three parts.
34 devoted adj. given completely to.
35 indicative adj. showing: suggesting.
36 conspiracy n.   a secret plan for an unlawful or harmful purpose.
37 delineation n. description.
38 hypocrisy n. falsely making oneself appear to be virtuous or good.
39 hypocrite n. a person who says one thing and does another.
40 suspicion n. feeling that something is wrong.
41 pious n. having or showing religious devotion.
42 depicted adj. pictured in words: described.
43 hostile adj. having or showing ill will: unfriendly.
44 ignorance n. unawareness.
45 severe adj. very harmful or painful: serious.
46 torment n. very great pain or suffering.
47 unwittingly adj. unconsciously: unintentionally.
48 corruption n. evil or wicked behaviour.
49 reformer n.   a person who seeks to bring about improvement.
50 mock n. make fun of: ridicule.
51 prolong n. make longer.
52 tyrannous adj. oppressive: unjust.
53 folly n. foolishness.
54 bargain n.  a mutual between two parties.
55 ancestor n.  person from whom one is descended.
56 supplication n. humble prayer.
57 pagan adj. believing in many gods.
58 reckoning n.   a measuring of possibilities for the future: calculated guess.
59 infuse v. fill (with a quality, feeling. etc.): inspire.
60 cautious adj. full of caution: careful to avoid danger.
61 pilgrim n. a person who travels to a holy place as an act of religious love and respect. 
62 enmity n.   the state or feeling of being an enemy or enemies. 
63 weary adj. very tired.
64 worn out adj. exhausted; tired out.
65 drooping adj. loosing vitality or strength.
66 feeble adj.  weak.
67 gloom n. depression.
68 fundamental adj. basic, essential.  
69 descendant n. one descended from an ancestor.
70 niche n. a hollow place in a wall.
71 influential adj. having influence.
72 formidable adj. requiring great effort to deal with or overcome.
73 distort v. give a false account of: twist out of the truth
74 conceal v. hide: keep secret.
75 rebellion n.   rebelling especially against a government.

Glossary: Defeat and Final Triumph

1

fortress n. a large, strongly made building for defense: stronghold.
2 exile v. force somebody to leave his own country.
3 vicinity n. nearness: neighbourhood. 
4 wilful adj.  done on purpose. 
5 treachery n.  an act of perfidy or treason. 
6 scriptures n.  the sacred books of a religion. 
7 rejecting n.  refusing to accept. 
8 manifestly adv. in a clear manner. 
9 provoke v.  make angry. 
10 surrender n.  the act of yielding or giving up. 
11 insolent adj.  insulting, offensive.
12 pleading n. declaration. 
13 incessant adj. continual: often repeated. 
14 impeachable adj. undoubted. 
15 transcendence n. the state of being beyond ordinary limits.
16 perennial adj. lasting or continuing for a long time. 
17 vengeance n. the act of punishing a person for the harm.
18 mail n.   body armour made of small metal rings.
19 dent n.   place pushed in without breaking the surface.
20 encamp v.  settle in a camp: lodge in tents.
21 disaster n. great or sudden misfortune: terrible accident.
22 dejected adj.  in low spirits: depressed. 
23 frustrated adj. baffled, defeated. 
24 steadfast adj. firm: loyal. 
25 adjure v. ask earnestly or solemnly. 
26 abandon v. go away from, not intending to return to.
27 battalion n. army unit made up of several companies.
28 archer n. person who shoots with a bow and arrows.
29 cavalry n. soldiers who fight on horseback. 
30 fiercely adv. violently. 
31 launch v. send; set. 
32 javelin n.  light spear for throwing. 
33 bearer n.  a person who carries. 
34 gash v.  make a long, deep cut in. 
35 valiant adj. brave. 
36  revenge n. the act of revenging: vengeance. 
37 withdraw v. move back; retreat. 
38 assemble v. gather together. 
39 slay v.   kill with violence, murder. (slain past p). 
40 mutilate v. cut off a part of the body. 
41 grieved adj. extremely sad. 
42 furious adj. violent; full of anger. 
43 rabbi n.  teacher of the Jewish law. 
44 idolater n. person who worships idols. 
45 alms n.   money, clothes, food, etc. given to the poor.
46 funeral n.  the ceremony of burying a dead person. 
47 pursuit n. the act of chasing someone in order to catch him. 
48 majority n. greater number; more than half. 
49 affirmation n. confirming that something is true. 
50 cessation n. stopping.
51 convert n. person who changes into a different religion.
52 prick v. pierce with a sharp point. 
53 thorn n.   sharp-pointed growth on the stem of a plant.

Glossary: The City in Peril

The Trench

1 trench n.  ditch dug in the ground.
2 expiate v.  make up for a wrong-doing. 
3 alliance n.  close agreement between two groups. 
4 hastily adv.  quickly.
5 pact n.  agreement. 
6 siege n.   act of surrounding a town in order to capture it.
7 insistence n.  the act of insisting. 
8 resistance n.  opposing. 
9 precision n.  exactness. 
10 distinguish v. see in what way two or more things differ.
11 avail v.  serve. 
12 stipulate v.  make something part of an agreement.
13 level (down) v. to lower down
14 hoarding n. accumulation. 
15 animosity n.  hostility; ill-will. 
16 eradicate v.  destroy completely. 
17 gird v.  wrap oneself in (girt: past p). 
18 cloak n.  long outer garment without sleeves. 
19 sprinkled adj. full of scattered grains. 
20 pickaxe n.   heavy tool with two sharp points used for breaking up rocks etc... 
21 confederate n.   person joined with others for some special purpose. 
22 renounce v. give up entirely. 
23 subtle adj. clever and cunning. 
24 morale n. attitude towards difficulties. 
25 trace n. mark made by something which has passed or existed. 
26 negotiate v. talk with another group to settle a disagreement. 
27 offensive n. continued attack. 
28 polytheist n. person who believes in or worships many gods.
29 challenge v. to call for a fight, to defy. 
30 challenge n. invitation or call to competition. 
31 shed v. cause to flow out. 
32 dismount v. get down. 
33 fatally adv. in a deadly manner. 
34 despoil v. rob; plunder. 
35 weariness n. tiredness. 
36 shortage n. deficiency; condition of not having enough.
37 pasture n.  grass for feeding cattle. 
38 glorious adj. splendid; magnificent. 
39 inwardly adv. in mind or spirit. 
40 utmost adj. most extreme; greatest. 
41 hostage n.   person taken by the enemy to ensure that the other side will fulfil the enemy's demands.
42 exterminate v. completely destroy or kill a large number. 
43 suspicious adj. feeling suspicion; not trusting. 
44 torrent n.  a swift, violent stream of water.
45 shelter n.  protection from weather or from danger. 
46 departure n. the act of leaving (a place). 
47 escort v.  go with somebody as a guard. 
48 waver v.  to be unsteady; be in doubt between two opinions. 
49 pretext n. a false excuse. 
50 stronghold n. a place that is strongly defended; fortress. 
51 accordance n. agreement. 
52 blame v.   say that somebody or something was the cause  of some trouble. 
53 reproach v. blame angrily or sadly. 
54 consult v.  ask the advice of. 
55 surrender v. give up. 
56 soften v.  to make soft.
57 wail v. make a long cry of grief. 
58 repentance n. feeling of sorrow, for wrongdoing. 
59 overjoy v. give great joy to; delight. 
60 free v.  to let go; make free.
61 submit v.   yield. 
62 leniency n. quality of being merciful. 
63 spare v. keep from harming. 
64 fate n.   the end or result. 
65 tread v.  step; put one's foot down (trodden: past p). 
66 courtesy n. politeness. 
67 urge v.  ask or advise seriously.
68 decisive adj. giving a clear result. 
69 disaffection n. disloyalty. 
70 sedition n. rebellious action. 
71 intervene v.  join in a quarrel between two people so as to stop it or to help the loser. 
72 precedence n. greater importance. 
73 humbler adj. less important. 
74 assert v.  declare firmly.
75 string v.  thread or bead on a string.
76 bead n   a small ornamental ball of wood or glass with. 
77 ablution n.   a hole through it, washing of the hands or the body as an act of religion. 

Glossary: Peace with Makkah

Before the Conquest of Makkah

1 conquest n. taking land by force. 
2 unstitched adj. not sewed. 
3 utter v.  say. 
4 invocation n. prayer or appeal that invokes. 
5 precinct n.  space enclosed by outer walls or boundaries for praying. 
6 devour v. destroy with devastating force. 
7 harm n. damage: injury. 
8 flock n. large number of people. 
9 mission n.   that work which a person feels called upon to do. 
10 victorious adj. having gained the victory: triumphant. 
11 envoy n.  person carrying a special message. 
12 persuade v.  convince. 
13 infuriate v.  make furious. 
14 threaten v.  make a threat against. 
15 outstrip v.  go faster than. 
16 thereof adv.  of that. 
17 hush v.  make silent.
18 concession n. admitting defeat. 
19 pledge n.  assurance of support. 
20 allegiance n. support and loyalty due to a ruler. 
21 forcible adj. done by physical force. 
22 truce n. agreement for the stopping of fighting. 
23 refrain v. hold oneself back. 
24 hostility n. acts of war. 
25 subterfuge n. trick: excuse. 
26 bond n. engagement. 
27 sheath n.  cover for the blade of a weapon. 
28 fetter n. chain for the ankles of a prisoner. 
29 solemn adj. serious. 
30 demean v. to lower in status. 
31 testify v. say in a court of law after giving a solemm promise to tell the truth. 
32 hesitant adj. showing uncertainly. 
33 mercy n. pity forgiveness. 
34 comfort v.  cheer.
35 assuringly adv. in a convincing way. 
36 bar v. prevent. 
37 repulse v.  drive back. 
38 subdue v. conquer: bring under control. 
39 garrison n.  a force of soldiers situated in a fort. 
40 ease v. to free someone from pain. 
41 destitution n. complete poverty. 
42 privation n.  lack of the necessaries of life. 
43 circuit n. a closed curve. 
44 delegation n. a group of representatives. 
45 expedition n.  a journey made for some specific purpose.
46 reinforcement n. soldiers or ships to strengthen the force of others
47 multitude n. a great number: a crowd. 
48 martyrdom n. the death or sufferings of a martyr. 
49 rally v. gather, in support of something. 
50 withdrawal n. retreat. 
51 condole v. express sympathy. 
52 unrestrainedly adv. without control. 
53 clasp v. hold tightly. 
54 sob n. uncontrolled breath while weeping. 
55 redoubtable adj. that is to be feared. 
56 reliable adj. trustworthy. 
57 serenity n. the state of being calm and peaceful. 
58 imbue v. inspire.
59 fulfilment n. satisfaction. 
60 criterion n.  rule, principle. 
61 culmination n. the highest point; the acme. 
62 burial n. funeral. 
63 cemetery n. a place where the dead are buried. 
64 eclipse v. (of the sun) to disappear completely or in part.
65 tomb n. a place dug in the ground, for a dead body. 
66 suckling n.   a young human still taking milk from the mother.

Glossary: The Glorious Conquest

1

decade n a period of ten years.
2 vividly adv. full of life.
3 immortalize v. give endless life.
4 mortals n.   human beings. 
5 halt n. a stop. 
6 skirmish n. a short fight between small forces
7 efface v. rub or wipe out.
8 route v. to direct or transport by a specified route. 
9 impose v. force somebody to accept something. 
10 homage n. expression of respect. 
11 superiority n. state of being better than the average.
12 prohibit v. to forbid. 
13 spear n. a weapon, with a metal point on a pole. 
14 rebel n. somebody who fights against his own government.
15 assortment n group or collection.
16 kindred n. relatives or family. 
17 aggressor n. person making an attack.
18 violate v. act towards a sacred place without proper respect.
19 strategy n. the art of planning operations in war.
20 plunder n. goods seized unlawfully in time of war.
21 clemency n. mercy. 
22 woe n. sorrow: distress.
23 scruple n.  doubt. 
24 sovereignty n. complete freedom and power.
25 grant v. allow, give. 
26 squadron n. a group or soldiers.
27 slaughter n. killing of many people at once.
28 abasement n. humiliation. 
29 filial adj. of a son or daughter. 
30 clement adj. showing mercy. 
31 exalt v. praise highly.
32 seize v. take hold of, suddenly and violently.
33 greasy adj. smeared or soiled with grease.
34 bladder v. a bag-like organ that collects waste liquid in the body.
35 deceive v. cause somebody to believe what is untrue.
36 disperse v. scatter. 

Glossary: Revelation and Empire

1

ignorant adj. knowing little or nothing.
2 twilight n. faint half-light before sunrise.
3 bypath n. less important or less direct path.
4 entrench v. surround or protect with a trench. 
5 flee v. run or hurry away. 
6 bridle n. the leather bands that fit over a horse's head.
7 mule n. an animal produced from a male donkey and a female horse. 
8 fortified adj. strengthened against attacks.
9 curse v. use rude and violent language against somebody. 
10 eventual adj. coming at last as a result. 
11 exult v.  rejoice greatly. 
12 breadth n.   distance or measure from side to side. 
13 mantle n.  loose sleeveless cloak.
14 miserly adj.  shouving love of money. 
15 cowardly adj. lacking courage. 
16 notably adv.  especially. 
17 err v.  go astray morally; sin. 
18 reconcile v.   render no longer opposed; bring to acquiescence.
19 bountiful adj. generous. 
20 discredited adj. not believed in. 
21 herd n. number or company of animals. 
22 patron n.   person who gives encouragement, moral or financial support. 
23 instruct v.  teach; advise. 
24 drought n.  continuous lack of rain. 
25 hut n   a small and roughly built house or shelter.
26 saddle v.  put a saddle on. 
27 halting-places n. stopping places. 
28 resurrect v.  bring back into life.
29 bier n.  movable wooden stand for a coffin.
30 adequate adj. satisfactory; sufficient. 
31 salute v.  greet.
32 astute adj.  clever. 
33 ordeal n.  severe test of character or endurance. 
34 straitened adj. lacking money. 
35 unequivocal adj. clear; plain. 
36 miraculous adj. marvellous; involving a supernatural power. 
37 wrangle v.  take part in a noisy or angry argument.
38 imprecate v.  call down or invoke.
39 claim v.  declare incorrectly. 
40 reiterate v.  say several times. 

Glossary: The Farewell Pilgrimage

1 rite n. act or ceremony.
2 convey v. carry.
3 naked adj. without clothes on.
4 absolution n.  freeing from the consequences of sin
5 acquittal n.  judgement that a person is not guilty.
6 theme n.  topic subject of a piece of writing. 
7 disavowal n.  refusing to admit. 
8 commitment n.  promise.
9 farewell adj. parting. 
10 magnificence n. the quality or state of being splendid.
11 bounty n.  generosity in giving.
12 reverence n. the feeling or attitude of deep respect.
13 piety n. reverence for God, or regard for religious obligations.
14 laudation n. praising. 
15 deed n. that which is done, an act. 
16 usury n. lending money, especially at a rate of interest.
17 abolish v. put an end to. 
18 decree v. state officially. 
19 despair v. lose all hope. 
20 despise v. consider worthless. 
21 beware v. to be wary, careful. 
22 postponement n. putting off to a later time. 
23 excess n. something great in amount. 
24 witness n. evidence of. 
25 defile v. make unclean or impure. 
26 commit v. do something wrong or foolish. 
27 obscenity n. indecency. 
28 admonish v.  give a mild warning or a gentle reproof to.
29 forsake v. desert. 
30 severity n. strict treatment.
31 mindful adj. giving thought and attention to.
32 outpace v. outstrip or outdo in walking.
33 boundary n. border.
34 treasury n. a place where money is kept.
35 perceive v. discover something through the senses or through the mind.
36 bestow v. give; confer.
37 inseparable adj. incapable of being separated.
38 wall up v. to shut up within walls.
39 lest conj. for fear that.
40 objection n. something said in disagreement.
41 demeanor n. behaviour; bearing.
42 stir n.  state or occasion of general excitement.
43 vigorously adv. strongly.
44 allege v. say; declare.
45 astounded adj. greatly astonished.
46 rival v. try to be the same as or better than.
47 concede v. give something to one's opponent after disagreeing.
48 clan n. large group of families which are related to each other.
49 vow n. religiously binding promise, to perform some act. 
50 wean v. to accustom (a child) to food other than his mother's milk.
51 portent n. an indication or omen of something about to happen. 
52 intent n. purpose.
53 vanguard n. troops that march at the head of an army.
54 fill n. full supply: as much as is wanted.
55 lagging adj. moving more slowly than others.
56 abundance n. quantity that is more than enough.
57 prevalent adj. common: seen or done everywhere.
58 scar n. mark remaining on the surface of skin.
59 illumine v. make bright.
60 monk n. member of a community of men living together under religious vows.
61 contemplating n. looking at.
62 contrive v. to plot evil. etc..
63 befall v. happen or occur.
64 arise v. happen.
65 privilege n. right or advantage available only to one person.
66 arbiter n. a person chosen to settle a disagreement between two parties. 

Glossary: The Victorious Orphan

1 unflinching adj. fearless, firm.
2 resolution n. determination.
3 sorcerer n. a person who practices magic.
4 diviner n. one who discovers the unknown.
5 drag v. pull heavily along.
6 stature n. the height of a body.
7 accost v. go up to and speak to.
8 unrelenting adj. not becoming less in intensity.
9 rift n. crack; break.
10 remedy   put right, or restore to the proper condition.
11 aright adj. rightly; correctly.
12 gibberish n. meaningless sound.
13 grapple with v. to seize and struggle with.
14 devout adj. pious; religious.
15 imperial adj. of a commanding quality.
16 uproot v. get rid of.
17 plight n. bad or sorrowful condition.
18 ruthless adj. merciless; cruel.
19 scorching adj. burning.
20 conciliatory adj. tending to calm down.
21 bold adj. without fear.
22 boycott n.   preventing dealings with as a means of punishment.
23 document n.   anything in writing which gives information or proof.
24 aseension n. the bodily passing from earth to heaven.
25 fable n. story (especially, about animals). intended to teach a lesson about behaviour.
26 controversy n. argument about some matter or opinion.
27 remiss adj. careless.
28 ban n. order that something must not be done.
29 embolden v. make brave or make confident.
30 orchard n. a field where fruit-trees are grown.
31 vine n.   type of climbing-plant on which grapes grow.
32 radiance n. brightness or light.
33 splendour n. magnificence; glory.
34 plaintive adj. expressing sorrow or melancholy.
35 tidings n. news, information.
36 fornication n. unlawful sexual acts between two people not married to each other.
37 banish v. send or put away.
38 faint adj. weak.
39 forelegs n. the front legs of a quadruped.

References

  • The life of Muhammad (A translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasulullah, Ed. A. Guillaume, Oxford University Press, 1968.
  • The Life of Muhammad by Muhammad Hamidullah, Hyderabad, 1974.
  • Muhammad by Martin Lings, Allen & Unwin, London, 1984.

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