الأربعاء، 28 أكتوبر 2009

الاثنين، 26 أكتوبر 2009


How It All Began
Nearly four thousand years ago, in the Sumerian town of Ur
in the valley of the river Euphrates, lived a young man named
Abraham. The people of Ur had once worshipped Allah but as
time passed they forgot the true religion and started praying
to idols, statues made of wood or clay and sometimes even of
precious stones. Even as a small child Abraham could not
understand how his people, and especially his father, could
make these images with their own hands, call them gods, and
then worship them. He had always refused to join his people
when they paid respect to these statues. Instead he would
leave the town and sit alone, thinking about the heavens and
the world about him. He was sure his people were doing wrong
and so alone he searched for the right way. One clear night as
he sat staring at the sky he saw a beautiful shining star, so
beautiful that he cried out: ‘This must be Allah!' He looked at it
in awe for some time, until suddenly it began to fade and then
it disappeared. He turned away in disappointment saying: I
love not things that set. (Koran vi.77)
On another night Abraham was again looking at the sky and
he saw the rising moon, so big and bright that he felt he could
almost touch it. He thought to himself: This is my Lord. (Koran
vi.78) But it was not long before the moon set as well. Then he
said, Unless my Lord guide me, I surely shall become one of
the folk who are astray. (Koran vi.78) Abraham then saw the
beauty and splendor of the sunrise and decided that the sun
must be the biggest and most powerful thing in the universe.
But for the third time he was wrong, for the sun set at the end
of the day. It was then that he realized that Allah is the Most
Powerful, the Creator of the stars, the moon, the sun, the
earth and of all living things. Suddenly he felt himself totally at
peace, because he knew that he had found the Truth.
When he said unto his father and his folk: What do you
worship? They said: We worship idols, and are ever devoted to
them. He said: Do they hear you when you cry? Or do they
benefit or harm you? They said: Nay, but we found our fathers
acting in this manner.
He said: See now that which you worship, You and your
forefathers! Lo! they are (all) an enemy to me, except the
Lord of the Worlds. Who created me, and He guides me, And
Who feeds me and waters me. And when I sicken, then He
heals me. And Who causes me to die, then gives me lift
(again) And Who, I ardently hope, will forgive me my sin on
the Day of judgement. (Koran xxvi.70-82)
One day, while all the townspeople were out, Abraham
angrily smashed all the idols with his right hand except for one
which was very large. When the people returned they were
They remembered the things Abraham had said about the
idols. They had him brought forth before everyone and
demanded, 'Is it you who did this to our gods, 0 Abraham?'
Abraham replied, But this their chief did it. Ask them, if they
are able to speak.' The people exclaimed, 'You know they do
not speak.' 'Do you worship what you yourselves have carved
when Allah created you and what you make?' Abraham
continued, 'Do you worship instead of Allah that which cannot
profit you at all, nor harm you?' (Koran xxxvii.95-6)(Koran
Finally, Abraham warned them, Serve Allah, and keep your
duty unto Him; that is better for you if you did but know. You
serve instead of Allah only idols, and you only invent a lie. Lo!
those whom you serve instead of Allah own no provision for
you. So seek your provision from Allah, and serve Him, and
give thanks unto Him, (for) unto Him you will be brought
back.(Koran xxix. 16-17)
The people of Ur decided to give Abraham the worst
punishment they could find: he was to be burnt to death. On
the chosen day all the people gathered in the centre of the city
and even the King of Ur was there. Abraham was then placed
inside a special building filled with wood. The wood was lit.
Soon the fire became so strong that the people were pushed
back by the flames. But Allah said: “O fire, be coolness and
peace for Abraham”. (Koran xxi.69)
The people waited until the fire had completely died down,
and it was then that they saw Abraham still sitting there as
though nothing had happened! At that moment they were
utterly confused. They were not, however, moved by the
miracle that had just happened before their very eyes.
Still Abraham tried to persuade his own dear father, who was
named Azar, not to worship powerless, un-seeing, un-hearing
statues. Abraham explained that special knowledge had come
to him and implored his father, 'So follow me and I will lead
you on the right path. 0 my father! Don't serve the Devil.' But
Azar would not listen. He threatened his son with stoning if he
continued to reject the gods of Ur. He ordered Abraham to
leave the city with these words: 'Depart from me a long while.'
Abraham said, 'Peace be upon you! I shall ask my Lord's
forgiveness for you. Surely He was ever gracious to me.’
(Koran xix.43-7)
Imagine how terrible it must have been for him to leave his
home, his family and all that he knew, and set out across the
wilderness into the unknown. But at the same time, how could
he have remained among people who did not believe in Allah
and who worshipped statues? Abraham always had a sense
that Allah cared for him and he felt Allah near him as he
traveled. At last, after a long hard journey, he arrived at a
place by the Mediterranean Sea, not far from Egypt. There he
married a noble woman by the name of Sarah and settled in
the land of Palestine. Many years passed but Abraham and his
wife were not blessed with any children. In the hope that there
would be a child, and in keeping with tradition, Sarah
suggested that Abraham should marry Hagar, her Egyptian
handmaid. Soon after this took place, Hagar had a little boy
named Ishmael. Some time later Allah promised Abraham
another son, but this time the mother of the child would be his
first wife, Sarah. This second son would be called Isaac. Allah
also told Abraham that from his two sons-Ishmael and Isaactwo
nations and three religions would be founded and because
of this he must take Hagar and Ishmael away from Palestine to
a new land. These events were an important part of Allah's
plan, for the descendants of Ishmael would form a nation from
which would come a great Prophet, who would guide the
people in the way of Allah. This was to be Muhammad (pbuh),
the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). From the descendants of
Sarah's child, Isaac, would come Moses and Jesus.
So it was that Abraham, Hagar, and Ishmael left Palestine.
They traveled for many days until finally they reached the arid
valley of Bacca later to be called Mecca), which was on one of
the great caravan routes. There was no water in the valley and
although Hagar and Ishmael only had a small supply of water
left, Abraham left them there knowing Allah would take care of
them. Soon all the water was gone. The child began to grow
weak from thirst. There were two hills nearby, one called Safa
and the other Marwah. Hagar went up one hill and looked into
the distance to see if she could find any water, but found
none. So she went to the other hill and did the same. She did
this seven times. Then sadly she returned to her son, and to
her great surprise and joy she found a spring of water
bubbling out of the earth near him. This spring, near which the
mother and child settled, was later called Zamzam. The area
around it became a place of rest for the caravans travelling
across the desert and in time grew into the famous trading city
of Mecca.
From time to time Abraham traveled from Palestine to visit
his family and he saw Ishmael grow into a strong young man.
It was during one of these visits that Allah commanded them
to rebuild the Ka'bah-the very first place where people had
worshipped Allah. They were told exactly where and how to
build it. It was to be erected by the well of Zamzam and built
in the shape of a cube. In its eastern corner was to be placed a
black stone that had fallen to earth from heaven. An angel
brought the stone to them from the nearby hill of Abu Qubays.
Abraham and Ishmael worked hard to rebuild the Ka'bah and
as they did so they prayed to Allah to send a Prophet from
among their descendants. And when Abraham and Ishmael
were raising the foundations of the House, (Abraham prayed):
'Our Lord! Receive this from us; Thou, only Thou, art the Allhearing,
the All-knowing; Our Lord! And make us submissive
unto Thee and of our seed a nation submissive unto Thee, and
show us our ways of worship, and turn toward us. Lo! Thou,
only Thou, art the Relenting, the Merciful. Our Lord! And raise
up in their midst a messenger from among them who shall
recite unto them Thy revelations, and shall instruct them in
the Scripture and in wisdom and shall make them grow. Lo!
Thou, only Thou, art the Mighty, Wise. (Koran ii.127-9) When
the Ka'bah was completed, Allah commanded Abraham to call
mankind to pilgrimage to His Holy House. Abraham wondered
how anyone could hear his call. Allah said, 'You call and I will
bring them.' This was how the pilgrimage to the Ka'bah in
Mecca was established and when Muslims make the pilgrimage
today they continue to answer the age-old call of Abraham.
The Children Of Ishmael
Over the years Ishmael's children themselves had children.
His descendants increased and formed tribes which spread out
all over Arabia. One of these tribes was called Quraysh. Its
people never moved away from Mecca and always lived near
the Ka'bah. One of the duties of the leader of Quraysh was to
look after those who came on pilgrimage to the Ka'bah. The,
pilgrims would come from all over Arabia and it was a great
honor to provide them with food and water.
As time passed, however, the Arabs stopped worshipping
Allah directly and started bringing idols back with them from
the different countries they visited. These idols were placed at
the Ka'bah, which was no longer regarded as the Sanctuary of
Allah, as Abraham had intended it. It was, however, still
respected by the Arabs. Around this time the well of Zamzam
disappeared beneath the sand. Also at this time, Qusayy, one
of the leaders of Quraysh, became ruler over Mecca. He held
the keys of the temple and had the right to give water to the
pilgrims, to feed them, to take charge of meetings, and to
hand out war banners before battle. It was also in his house
that Quraysh settled their affairs. After Qusayy's death, his
son 'Abdu Manaf, who had become famous during his father's
lifetime, took over the leadership of Quraysh. After him came
his son Hashim. It is said that Hashim was the first to begin
the two great caravan journeys of Quraysh, one in the summer
to Syria and the north, and one in the winter to Yemen and the
south. As a result, Mecca grew rich and became a large and
important centre of trade.
One summer Hashim went north to buy goods to sell in
Yemen. On his way he stopped in Yathrib to trade in the
market and there he saw a beautiful woman. She was Salma',
the daughter of 'Amr ibn Zeid, who was from a much
respected family. Hashim proposed marriage to her and was
accepted because he was an honorable and distinguished man.
In time, Salma' gave birth to a beautiful son and as some
of his hair was white they called him Shaybah, which in Arabic
means grey-haired'.
Mother and son stayed in the cooler, healthier climate of
Yathrib, while Hashim returned to Mecca, but he would visit
them each time he took his caravan to the north. During one
of these journeys, however, Hashim became ill and died.
Shaybah, a handsome, intelligent boy, grew up in his uncle's
house in Yathrib. He was proud of being the son of Hashim ibn
'Abdi Manaf, the head of Quraysh, guardian of the Ka'bah and
protector of the pilgrims, even though he had not known his
father, who had died while Shaybah was very young.
At Hashim's death his brother al-Muttalib took over his
duties and responsibilities. He traveled to Yathrib to see his
nephew, Shaybah, and decided that as the boy would one day
inherit his father's place, the time had come for him to live in
Mecca. It was hard for Salma', Shaybah's mother, to let her
son go with his uncle but she finally realized that it was for
the best. Al-Muttalib returned to Mecca, entering the city at
noon on his camel with Shaybah behind him. When the people
of Mecca saw the boy they thought he was a slave and,
pointing at him, called out ‘Abd al-Muttalib', 'Abd' being the
Arabic for 'slave'.
Al-Muttalib told them that Shaybah was not a slave but his
nephew who had come to live with them. From that day on,
however, Shaybah was always affectionately called Abd al-
Muttalib. On the death of al-Muttalib, who died in Yemen
where he had gone to trade, 'Abd al-Muttalib took his place.
He became the most respected member of his family, loved
and admired by all. He was, however, unlike those Arabs who
had given up the teachings of Abraham.
The Promise At Zamzam
The well of Zamzam, which disappeared when the Arabs
placed idols at the Ka'bah, remained buried under the sand.
Thus, for many years the people of Quraysh had to fetch their
water from far away. One day 'Abd al-Muttalib was very tired
from doing this and fell asleep next to the Ka’bah. He had a
dream in which he was told to dig up Zamzam. When he woke
up he was puzzled because he did not know what Zamzam
was, the well having disappeared many years before he was
born. The next day he had the same dream, but this time he
was told where to find the well.
'Abd al-Muttalib had one son at that time, and together
they began to dig. The work was so difficult that ‘Abd al-
Muttalib made an oath to Allah that if one day he were to have
ten sons to help him and stand by him, in return he would
sacrifice one of them in Allah's honor. After working for three
days they finally found the well of Zamzam. Pilgrims have
been drinking from it ever since. The years passed by and 'Abd
al-Muttalib did have ten sons. They grew into fine, strong men
and the time came for him to keep his promise to Allah. He
told his sons about the promise and they agreed that he had
to sacrifice one of them To see which one it would be, they
decided to draw lots, which was the custom of Quraysh when
deciding important matters. 'Abd al-Muttalib told each son to
get an arrow and write his own name upon it and then to bring
it to him. This they did, after which he took them to the Ka'bah
where there was a man whose special task it was to cast
arrows and pick one from among them. This man solemnly
proceeded to do this. On the arrow he chose was written the
name of 'Abd Allah, the youngest and favorite son of 'Abd al-
Muttalib. Even so, the father took his son near the Ka'bah and
prepared to sacrifice him.
Many of the Quraysh leaders were present and they became
very angry because 'Abd Allah was very young and much loved
by everyone. They tried to think of a way to save his life.
Someone suggested that the advice of a wise old woman who
lived in Yathrib should be sought, and so 'Abd al-Muttalib took
his son and went to see if she could decide what to do. Some
of the Meccans went with them and when they got there the
woman asked, 'What is the price of a man's life?' They told
her, 'Ten camels', for at that time if one man killed another,
his family would have to give ten camels to the dead man's
family in order to keep the peace among them. So the woman
told them to go back to the Ka’bah and draw lots between 'Abd
Allah and ten camels. If the camels were chosen, they were to
be killed and the meat given to the poor. If 'Abd Allah was
picked then ten more camels were to be added and the lots
drawn again and again until they finally fell on the camels.
‘Abd al-Muttalib returned to the Ka’bah with his son and the
people of Mecca. There they started to draw lots between ‘Abd Allah
and the camels, starting with ten camels. ‘Abd al-Muttalib prayed to
Allah to spare his son and everyone waited in silence for the result.
The choice fell on ‘Abd Allah, so his father added ten more camels.
Again the choice fell on ‘Abd Allah, so they did the same thing again
and again, adding ten camels each time. Finally they reached one
hundred camels, and only then did the lot fall on the camels. ‘Abd
Allah was saved and everyone was very happy. 'Abd al-Muttalib
however, wanted to make sure that this was the true result so he
repeated the draw three times and each time it fell on the camels.
He then gave thanks to Allah that He had spared ‘Abd Allah's life.
The camels were sacrificed and there was enough food for the
entire city, even the animals and birds. 'Abd Allah grew up to be a
handsome young man and his father eventually chose Aminah, the
daughter of Wahb, as a wife for him. It was a good match for she
was the finest of Quraysh women and 'Abd Allah the best of the
men. He spent several months with his wife but then he had to
leave her and travel with one of the caravans to trade with Syria.
On his way back to Mecca from Syria 'Abd Allah became ill and had
to stop off in Yathrib to recover. The caravan, however, continued
on its way and arrived back in Mecca without him. On hearing of
'Abd Allah's illness, ‘Abd al-Muttalib sent another son, al-Hareth, to
bring 'Abd Allah back to Mecca, but he was too late.
When he arrived in Yathrib ‘Abd Allah was dead. Aminah was
heart-broken to lose her husband and the father of the child she
would soon give birth to. Only Allah knew that this orphan child
would one day be a great Prophet.
The Elephant Refuses To Move
Abrahah, who came from Abyssinia-a country in Africaconquered
Yemen and was made vice-regent there. Later, he
noticed that at a certain time of the year large numbers of
people would travel from all over Yemen and the rest of Arabia
to Mecca. He asked the reason for this and was told that they
were going on pilgrimage to the Ka'bah. Abrahah hated the
idea of Mecca being more important than his own country, so
he decided to build a church of colored marble, with doors of
gold and ornaments of silver, and ordered the people to visit it
instead of the Ka'bah. But no one obeyed him.
Abrahah became angry and decided to destroy the Ka1bah.
He prepared a large army led by an elephant and set off
towards Mecca. When the Meccans heard that he was coming
they became very frightened. Abrahah's army was huge and
they could not fight it. But how could they let him destroy the
Holy Ka'bah? They went to ask the advice of their leader, 'Abd
al-Muttalib. When Abrahah arrived outside Mecca, 'Abd al-
Muttalib went to meet him. Abrahah said, 'What do you want?'
Abrahah had taken Abd al-Muttalib's camels, which he had
found grazing as he entered Mecca, so ‘Abd al-Muttalib replied,
'I want my camels back.' Abrahah was very surprised and said,
'I have come to destroy your Holy Ka’bah, the holy place of
your fathers, and you ask me about some camels?' 'Abd al-
Muttalib replied calmly, ‘The camels belong to me; the Ka’bah
belongs to Allah and He will protect it.' Then he left Abrahah
and went back to Quraysh and ordered them to leave Mecca
and wait for their enemies in the mountains.
In the morning Abrahah prepared to enter the town. He put
armor on his elephant and drew up his troops for battle. He
intended to destroy the Ka'bah and then return to Yemen. At
that moment, however, the elephant knelt down and refused
to get up, no matter how much the soldiers tried to get it to
move by beating it.
But when they turned its face in the direction of Yemen it
immediately got up and started off. In fact, it did the same in
any other direction, but as soon as they pointed it towards
Mecca it knelt down again. Suddenly, flocks of birds appeared
from over the sea. Each bird carried three stones as small as
peas and they dropped them on Abrahah1s army. The soldiers
suddenly fell ill. Even Abrahah was hit by the stones and fled
in fear with the rest of his army back to Yemen, where he later
died. On seeing their enemy flee the Arabs came down from
the mountains to the Ka’bah and gave thanks to Allah.
After this, Quraysh gained great respect and became known as
'the people of Allah', and the year in which these events took place,
570A.D, was named the 'Year of the Elephant'. In that year Allah
had saved the Ka'bah and he would soon bring forth a Prophet from
among Quraysh. In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful:
“Hast thou not seen how thy Lord dealt with the owners of the
Elephant? Did He not bring their stratagem to naught, And send
against them swarms of flying creatures, Which pelted them with
stones of baked clay, And made them like green crops devoured (by
cattle)? (Koran cv.1-5)
The Prophet Is Born
One day, while travelling north, one of the Arab tribes from
Mecca met a hermit in the desert. Some of the men stopped to
speak with him. Hermits were known to be wise and the Arabs
often asked their advice. The hermit asked where they had
come from. When they replied that they were from Mecca, he
told them that Allah would soon send a prophet, who would
come from their people. They asked the name of this prophet
and the hermit answered that his name would be Muhammad
and that he would guide them to a new way of life.
Meanwhile in Mecca, Aminah, although saddened by the loss
of her husband, felt especially well and strong as she awaited
the birth of her baby. During this time she dreamt of many
things. On one occasion it was as if a great light were shining
out of her, and on another she heard a voice telling her that
she would have a boy and that his name would be Muhammad.
She never forgot that voice but she told no one about it.
On Monday, the twelfth day of Rabi al-Awwal in the Year of
the Elephant, Aminah gave birth to a son. Allah sends man
many signs when one of His chosen Prophets is born and on
that twelfth day of Rabi al-Awwal in the year 570 A.D, many
such signs were seen. Some were seen by Jewish scholars who
had read in their scriptures of a coming Prophet. One of these
learned men in Yathrib, for instance, saw a brilliant new star
he had never seen before as he studied the heavens that
night. He called the people around him and, pointing the star
out to them, told them a Prophet must have been born. That
same night another Jew was passing by the meeting place of
the leaders of Quraysh in Mecca. He asked them if a baby boy
had just been born and told them that if it were true, this
would be the Prophet of the Arab nation.
Aminah sent news of the birth to her father-in-law, 'Abd al-
Muttalib, who was sitting near the Ka'bah at the time. He was
very happy and began at once to think of a name for the boy.
An ordinary name would not do. Six days came and went and
still he had not decided. But on the seventh day, as he lay
asleep near the Ka’bah, 'Abd al-Muttalib dreamt that he should
give the baby the unusual name of Muhammad, just as
Aminah herself had dreamt. And the child was called
Muhammad (pbuh), which means 'the Praised One'. When 'Abd
al-Muttalib told the leaders of Quraysh what he had named his
grandson, many of them asked, 'Why did you not choose the
sort of name that is used by our people?' At once he replied, 'I
want him to be praised by Allah in the heavens and praised by
men on earth.
A Time With Halimah
Like many other women in Mecca, Aminah decided to send
her son away from the city for his early years to the desert
where it was more healthy. Women from the desert used to
come to Mecca to collect the new babies and they would then
keep them until they developed into strong children, for which
they were well paid by the parents.
Among the women who traveled to Mecca to fetch a new
baby at the time Aminah's son was born, was a Bedouin
woman called Halimah. With her was her husband and baby
son. They had always been very poor but this year things were
harder than ever because there had been famine. The donkey
that earned Halimah on the journey was so weak from hunger
that he often stumbled. Halimah's own baby son cried all the
time because his mother could not feed him properly. Even
their she-camel did not give them one drop of milk. Halimah
did not know what to do. She thought to herself, 'How can I
possibly feed another baby when I haven't got enough milk
even for my own son?'
At last they reached Mecca. All the other women of the
tribe to which Halimah belonged, the Bani Sa'd, found a child
to take back with them, but not Halimah. The only baby left
was Muhammad (pbuh). Usually the father paid the wet-nurse
but Mohammed’s father was dead. So no one wanted to take
him, even though he was from one of the noblest families of
Quraysh. Halimah did not want to take him either, but she did
not want to be the only woman to go back to her tribe without
a baby to bring up. She asked her husband whether she
should take Muhammad (pbuh) or not. He advised her to do
so, adding, 'Perhaps Allah will bless us because of him.' They
started on the return journey and as soon as Halimah began to
feed Muhammad (pbuh) her milk suddenly increased and she
had enough for him as well as her baby son. When they were
back home, everything began to change.
The land became green, and the date trees, one of their
main sources of food, gave lots of fruit. Even the sheep and
their old she-camel began to give plenty of milk.
Halimah and her husband knew that this good fortune had
come because they had the new baby, Muhammad (pbuh),
whom they had come to love as if he were their own son.
When Muhammad (pbuh) was two years old, Halimah took
him back to his mother. She pleaded with Aminah, however, to
let her keep him for a little longer, and to her great joy the
mother agreed. During his time with Halimah's family in the
desert, Muhammad (pbuh) played with her children and
together they would take the sheep out to graze. At other
times, however, Halimah would often find him sitting alone. It
is said that on one occasion, two angels came to Muhammad
(pbuh) and washed his heart with snow. In this way Allah
made his heart pure for He intended Muhammad (pbuh) to be
greater than any man ever born and to become the Seal of the
In the Name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Did We not expand thy breast for thee And eased thee of
thy burden Which weighed down thy back; And exalted thy
fame? So truly with hardship comes ease, Truly with hardship
comes ease. So when thou art relieved, still toil And strive to
please thy Lord. (Koran xciv.1-8)
When Halimah finally took Muhammad (pbuh) back to
Aminah, he was a healthy, strong boy. Later he would look
back with joy on the time he had spent with Halimah, and he
always thought of himself as one of the Bani Sa'd.
The Orphan's Childhood
Muhammad (pbuh) returned to live with his mother in Mecca
when he was about three years old. Three years later Aminah
decided to take her son to visit his uncles in Yathrib. She told
her maid, Barakah, to prepare everything they would need for
the long journey, and then they joined one of the caravans
going there. They stayed in Yathrib a month and Muhammad
(pbuh) enjoyed the visit with his cousins. The climate there
was very pleasant and he learned to swim and to fly a kite. On
their way back to Mecca, however, Aminah became ill and
died. She was buried in the village at al-Abwa not far from
Yathrib. Muhammad (pbuh) returned sadly to Mecca with his
mother's maid He was now six years old and had lost both his
father and mother. He was then adopted by his grandfather,
‘Abd al-Muttalib, who loved him dearly and kept him by his
side at all times. It was the custom of 'Abd al-Muttalib to sit on
a blanket near the Ka’bah. There he was always surrounded by
people who had come to speak to him. No one was allowed to
sit on the blanket with him, however, except his grandson
Muhammad (pbuh), which shows how close they were to each
other. Many times 'Abd al-Muttalib was heard to say: 'This boy
will be very important one day.'
Two years later 'Abd al-Muttalib became ill and Muhammad
(pbuh) stayed by him constantly. 'Abd al-Muttalib told his son,
Abu Talib, to adopt Muhammad (pbuh) after his death, which
he did. Abu Talib had many children of his own, but
Muhammad (pbuh) immediately became part of his family and
the favorite child. The time came for Quraysh to prepare a
caravan to go to Syria. Abu Talib was going with them and he
took Muhammad (pbuh) along. It was Mohammed’s first
journey to the north. After days of travel, the caravan arrived
at a place near Syria where the Romans used to come to trade
with the Arabs. Near this marketplace lived a monk called
Bahira’. His cell had been used by generations of monks before
him and contained ancient manuscripts.
Bahira' saw the caravan in the distance and was amazed to
see that over it was a large white cloud. It was the only cloud
in a clear blue sky and it appeared to be shading one of the
travelers. The monk was even more surprised to see that the
cloud seemed to follow the caravan but disappeared when the
person it was shading sat down under a tree. Bahira’ knew
from the scriptures that a prophet was expected to come after
Jesus and it had been his wish to see this prophet before he
died. Realizing that what he had just seen was a miracle, he
began to think that his wish might, after all, come true.
The monk sent an invitation to the Meccans to come and
eat with him. The Arabs were surprised because they often
passed by and Bahira’ had never invited them before. When
the group was all together for the meal, the monk said, 'Is this
everyone?’ 'No', someone said, 'a boy was left watching the
camels.' Bahira’ insisted that the boy should join them. The
boy was Muhammad (pbuh). When he arrived Bahira’ said
nothing, but watched him all through the meal. He noticed
many things about his appearance which fitted the description
in the old manuscripts. Later on he took him aside and asked
Muhammad (pbuh) many questions. He soon found out how he
felt about the idols in the Ka'bah. When Bahira tried to make
him swear by them, as the Arabs used to do, Muhammad
(pbuh) said, 'There is nothing in this world that I hate more'.
They talked together about Allah and about Mohammed’s life
and family. What was said made Bahira certain that this was
indeed the Prophet who would follow Jesus.
Then the monk went to Abu Talib and asked him how he
was related to Muhammad (pbuh). Abu Talib told him that
Muhammad (pbuh) was his son. Bahira replied that this could
not be so because the boy was destined to grow up an orphan,
and he ordered Abu Talib to watch over Muhammad (pbuh)
with great care. There are many stories told about
Mohammed’s youth. Some tell of how he used to take the
family's sheep to graze and was always kind to them. While
they grazed he would sit thinking about the mysteries of
nature. Unlike those around him1 he never worshipped the
idols and never swore by them.
He also wondered why people were always struggling for
power and money, and this saddened him and made him feel
lonely, but he kept his feelings to himself. He was a quiet,
thoughtful boy, and rarely played with other boys of his age.
On one occasion, however, Muhammad (pbuh) went with some
of the boys to a wedding in Mecca. When he reached the
house he heard the sounds of music and dancing but just as
he was about to enter he suddenly felt tired and, sitting down,
fell asleep. He didn't wake up until late the next morning and
thus missed the celebrations. In this way Allah prevented him
from doing anything foolish for He was keeping Muhammad
(pbuh) for something much more important
The Prophet's Marriage
By the time Muhammad (pbuh) was twenty-five he was
famous for his honesty. He was respected by everyone, even
the elders of Mecca. The purity of his nature increased with the
years. It seemed he had an inner knowledge that other people
did not have. He believed in one God-Creator of the world-and
he worshipped Him with all his heart and with all his soul.
Muhammad (pbuh) was the finest of his people, the most kind,
truthful and reliable person in Mecca. He was known among
Quraysh as 'the trustworthy' (al-Amin) because of the good
qualities Allah had given him. He spent many quiet hours in a
cave in Mount Hira, not far from Mecca, thinking about Allah.
Among Quraysh was a respected and wealthy woman named
Khadijah. She was involved in trade and on hearing of
Mohammed’s reputation, sent for him and asked him to take
her goods and trade with them in Syria. Muhammad (pbuh)
agreed and left for Syria with one of Khadijah's caravans. With
him went her slave, Maysarah, and they spent a great deal of
time talking together. Maysarah soon came to admire
Muhammad (pbuh). He thought he was quite different from all
the other men of Quraysh.
Two unusual events took place during this journey which
puzzled Maysarah very much. The first happened when they
stopped to rest near the lonely home of a monk. Muhammad
(pbuh) sat under a tree while Maysarah was busy with some
work. The monk came up to Maysarah and asked, 'Who is the
man resting under the tree?' 'One of Quraysh, the people who
guard the Ka’bah', said Maysarah. 'No one but a Prophet is
sitting beneath this tree', replied the monk. The second event
occurred on the journey back to Mecca. It happened at noon,
when the sun is at its hottest. Maysarah was riding behind
Muhammad (pbuh) and as the sun grew hotter he saw two
angels appear above Muhammad (pbuh) and shield him from
the sun's harmful rays. The trading was very successful and
Muhammad (pbuh) made more profit for Khadijah than she
had ever received before.
When they arrived back in Mecca Maysarah told Khadijah
everything about the trip and what he had noticed about
Mohammed’s character and behavior.
Khadijah was a widow in her forties and as well as being
rich and highly respected she was also very beautiful.
Many men wanted to marry her but none of them suited
her. When she met Muhammad (pbuh), however, she thought
he was very special. She sent a friend to ask Muhammad
(pbuh) why he was not married. Muhammad (pbuh) said that
it was because he had no money, to which the friend replied:
'Supposing a rich, beautiful and noble lady agreed to marry
you?' Muhammad (pbuh) wanted to know who that could be.
The friend told him it was Khadijah. Muhammad (pbuh) was
very happy, because he greatly respected Khadijah. He went
with his uncles, Abu Talib and Hamzah, to Khadijah's uncle,
and asked his permission to marry her. The uncle gave his
permission and soon after, Muhammad (pbuh) and Khadijah
were married.
Their marriage was a joyful one and Muhammad (pbuh)
and Khadijah were well suited. Their life together, however,
was not without some sadness. They were blessed with six
children, two sons and four daughters. Sadly their first born, a
son called Qasim, died shortly before his second birthday, and
their last child, also a son, only lived for a short time. Happily,
their four daughters-Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and
Fatimah-all survived.
For a few years Muhammad (pbuh) lived a calm and quiet
life as a merchant in Mecca. His wisdom benefited many
people. One such time was when Quraysh decided to rebuild
the Ka’bah. It was a difficult decision for them because they
had to knock it down before rebuilding it and the people were
afraid that Allah might be angry with them for knocking down
His sanctuary. At last one of the wise old men of Quraysh
decided to begin, then everybody followed him. They worked
until they reached down to the first foundation that Abraham
had built. As soon as they began to remove the stones of this
foundation, however, the whole of Mecca began to shake.
They were so afraid that they decided to leave these stones
where they were and build on top of them. Each tribe brought
stones and they built the Ka'bah up until they reached the
place where the black stone was to be set. They then began to
argue about who should have the honor of carrying the black
stone and lifting it to its place in one of the corners of the
They almost came to blows but fortunately one of the men
offered a solution. He suggested that they should be guided by
the first person to enter the place of worship. They all agreed
and as Muhammad (pbuh) was the first to enter everyone was
pleased, because they all trusted him. They told him the cause
of the argument and he asked them to bring a large cloak.
They did as he asked, and after spreading the cloak on the
ground he placed the black stone in the centre of it. Then he
asked a man from each tribe to hold one edge of the cloak and
together to raise it to the height where the stone should be
see. When this was done, he took the stone off the cloak and
put it into place himself. This story shows how all Quraysh
respected and trusted Muhammad (pbuh) and how, by his
wisdom and good sense, he was able to keep the peace.
The Coming of The Archangel Gabriel
Muhammad (pbuh) believed that there was only one Allah,
Creator of the sun, the moon, the earth, the sky, and of all
living things, and that all people should worship only Him.
Muhammad (pbuh) would often leave the crowded city and go
to the cave in Mount Hira'. He liked to be alone there, away
from all thoughts of the world and daily life, eating and
drinking little. In his fortieth year, Muhammad (pbuh) left
Mecca to spend Ramadan, the traditional month of retreat, in
the cave. In the second half of Ramadan, Allah began to reveal
His message for mankind through Muhammad (pbuh). This
first Revelation occurred as follows. The Archangel Gabriel
came to Muhammad (pbuh) in the cave and commanded him
to 'Read'. Muhammad (pbuh) replied 'I cannot read.' At this
the Archangel took Muhammad (pbuh) in his arms and pressed
him to him until it was almost too much to bear. He then
released him and said again 'Read.' 'I cannot', replied
Muhammad (pbuh), at which the Archangel embraced him
again. For the third time the Archangel commanded
Muhammad (pbuh) to read, but still he said he could not and
was again embraced. On releasing him this time, however, the
Archangel Gabriel said:
“Read: In the Name of thy Lord who createth, Createth
man from a clot. Read: And thy Lord is the Most Generous
Who teacheth by the pen, Teacheth man that which he knew
not. (Koran xcvi.1-5) Muhammad (pbuh) repeated these
verses, just as the Archangel had said them. When the
Archangel was sure Muhammad (pbuh) knew them by heart,
he we away. Now that he was alone Muhammad (pbuh) could
not understand what had happened to him. He was terribly
afraid and rushed out of the cave. Perhaps the cave was
haunted? Perhaps the devil had taken a hold of his mind? But
he was stopped by a voice from heaven which said; '0
Muhammad (pbuh) you are the Messenger of Allah, and I am
Gabriel.' He looked up at the sky and wherever he turned he
saw the Archangel Gabriel.
In a state of confusion he returned home to Khadijah. When
his wife saw him she became very worried as he began to
shiver, as though in a fever. He asked her to wrap him in
blankets, which she did. After a while he recovered sufficiently
to tell her what had happened at Hira'. Khadijah believed all
that he told her and with great respect said: 'Be happy, 0 son
of my uncle and be confident. Truly I swear by Allah who has
my soul in His hands, that you will be our people's Prophet.'
Muhammad (pbuh), the Messenger of Allah, was eased by her
faith in him, but after all that had happened he was exhausted
and felt fast asleep.
Khadijah left the Prophet (pbuh) sleeping and went to see
her cousin, Waraqah Ibn Nawfal, to ask him what he thought
about all that had happened. Waraqah was a very wise man
who had read many books and had become a Christian after
studying the Bible. He told Khadijah that Muhammad (pbuh)
had been chosen by Allah to be His Messenger. Just as the
Archangel Gabriel had come to Moses before and had ordered
him to guide his people, so, too, would Muhammad (pbuh) be
the Prophet of his people. But Waraqah warned that all the
people would not listen to the Prophet and some would
mistreat his followers. He must, however, be patient because
he had a great message for all the world. From that day on,
the Archangel Gabriel came often to the Prophet (pbuh) and
the verses he taught him, the message from Allah to man,
were later written down, and are known to us as the Holy
The First Muslims
After that momentous day in the month of Ramadan,
Revelation came again and again to the Prophet (pbuh). He
understood now what he had to do and prepared himself for
what was to come. Only a strong and brave man, helped by
Allah, can be a true prophet because people often refuse to
listen to Allah's message. Khadijah was the first to believe the
Prophet (pbuh) and accept as true what he brought from Allah.
Through her, Allah made things easier for the Prophet (pbuh).
Khadijah strengthened him, helped him spread his message,
and stood up to the people who were against him.
Then Revelation ceased for a time. The Prophet (pbuh) was
upset and unhappy, thinking that Allah had left him, or that he
might have angered Allah in some way so that Allah no longer
thought him worthy of His message. However, the Archangel
Gabriel came back to him and brought this surah, or chapter,
of the Koran:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“By the morning hours, And by the night when it is stillest,
Thy Lord hath neither forsaken thee nor doth He hate thee,
And verily the Last will be better for thee than the First. And
verily thy Lord will give unto thee so that thou wilt be content.
Did He not find thee an orphan and protect thee? Did He not
find thee wandering and guide thee? Did He not find thee
destitute and enrich thee? Therefore the orphan oppress not,
Therefore the beggar drive not away, And as for thy Lord's
blessing, declare it”. (Koran: xciii.1-11)
The Prophet (pbuh) began to speak secretly of Allah's
message to those Who were close to him and whom he could
trust. At that time Mecca was going through hard times. There
was very little food to be had. Abu Talib, the Prophet's uncle,
who had taken care of him after his grandfather's death, was
finding it very difficult to feed his large family.
The Prophet (pbuh) said that he and another uncle, al-
'Abbas, who was a rich man, would each bring up one of Abu
Talib's children in order to help him. The Prophet (pbuh) took
‘Ali and his uncle took Ja’far.
One day, when the Prophet (pbuh) was outside the city, the
Archangel Gabriel appeared to him. The Archangel kicked the
side of a hill and a spring of water began to flow out. He then
began to wash himself in the running water to show the
Prophet (pbuh) the ritual ablution to be made before prayer.
Then the Archangel showed him all the positions of Muslim
prayer-the various movements and things to be said with each
movement. The Prophet (pbuh) returned home and taught all
these things first to Khadijah and then to his followers. Since
then Muslims have continued to purify themselves before
prayer by performing the ritual ablution and have followed the
same movements and prayers first performed by the Prophet
(pbuh). To begin with, though, only the Prophet (pbuh) and
his wife knew of these things. Then one day ‘Ali entered the
room and found the Prophet (pbuh) and Khadijah praying. He
was puzzled and asked what they were doing. The Prophet
(pbuh) explained to him that they were praising Allah and
giving thanks to Him. That night 'Ali stayed up thinking about
all that the Prophet (pbuh) had said; he had great admiration
and respect for his cousin. Finally he came to a decision and
the next day he went to the Prophet (pbuh) and told him that
he wanted to follow him. Thus Khadijah was the first woman to
embrace Islam, the teachings which the Prophet (pbuh)
brought from Allah, and ‘Ali was the first young man. Shortly
after they were joined by Zayd ibn Harithah, a slave, freed and
adopted by the Prophet (pbuh).
The Prophet (pbuh) began to leave Mecca with 'An in order
to pray. One day Abu Talib happened to pass by and when he
saw them he stopped and asked them what they were doing.
The Prophet (pbuh) told him that they were praying and
following the same religion as Abraham. He explained that,
like Abraham, he had been ordered to guide the people to
Allah's truth. Abu Talib looked at his son, 'Ali, and said:
'Muhammad (pbuh) would never make you do anything that
was wrong. Go with him.
But I cannot leave the religion I now follow and which was
followed by my father.' Then he turned to the Prophet (pbuh),
saying, 'Even so, I promise you, Muhammad (pbuh), that no one
will hurt you as long as I am alive.' And with that Abu Talib went on
his way. At about this time the news of Muhammad (pbuh) being
the Prophet reached an honest, wise, and respected merchant of
Mecca called Abu Bakr. He knew Muhammad (pbuh) well and
believed he could never lie, so he went to find out for himself if the
story were true. The Prophet (pbuh) told him that he had indeed
been sent by Allah to teach everyone to worship the one true Allah.
On hearing this from the Prophet's own lips Abu Bakr knew it to be
the truth and became a believer instantly. Later the Prophet (pbuh)
was reported to have said that everyone he ever invited to accept
Islam showed signs of disbelief and doubt, except Abu Bakr; when
he was told of it he did not hold back or hesitate. Because of his
wisdom, honesty, and kindness people had always turned to Abu
Bakr for advice. He was, therefore, a man of some influence and
through him many people came to Islam. Among these was Sa'd ibn
Abi Waqqas as, the uncle of Aminah, the Prophet's mother. The
night before Abu Bakr came to visit him and tell him about Islam,
Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas dreamt that he was walking in darkness. As he
walked he saw the moon and when he looked at it he saw 'Ali, Abu
Bakr, and Zayd, the Prophet's freed slave, beckoning to him to
come and join them. When Abu Bakr told him about the Prophet's
religion, he understood the meaning of his dream and went at once
to the Prophet (pbuh) and declared himself a Muslim. He
understood that to be a Muslim means to submit oneself to Allah's
Will and to serve only Him. Another person brought to Islam by Abu
Bakr was Bilal. One night Abu Bakr went to the house of Umayyah
ibn Khalaf, one of the most important men of Quraysh. Umayyah
was out and Abu Bakr found only Umayyah's slave, Bilal, at home.
Abu Bakr talked to the slave about Islam and before he left, Bilal,
too, had become a Muslim. The number of people following the
Prophet (pbuh) began to grow. Sometimes they would all go out of
the city to the mountains around Mecca to hear him recite the
Koran and to be taught by him. This was all done very secretly and
only a very few people knew about Islam in those early days.
The Troubles Begin
Three years passed and one day the Archangel Gabriel came
to the Prophet (pbuh) and ordered him to start preaching
openly to everyone. So the Prophet (pbuh) told the people of
Mecca that he had something very important to tell them. He
stood on a hillside in Mecca, called Safa, and they gathered
around to hear what he had to say. He started by asking them
if they would believe him were he to say that an army was
about to attack them. They answered that indeed they would,
because he never lied. He then told them that he was the
Messenger of Allah, sent to show them the right way, and to
warn them of terrible punishments if they did not follow him in
worshipping only Allah and none other. Abu Lahab, one of the
Prophet's uncles who was among the listeners, suddenly stood
up and said, 'May you perish! Did you call us here just to tell
us this?' At this, Allah sent to the Prophet (pbuh) the following
In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
“The Power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish. His
wealth and gains will not save him. He shall roast at a flaming
fire, And his wife, the carrier of firewood Will have upon her
neck a rope of palm-fibre”. (Koran cxi.1-5)
Then the crowd dispersed and the Prophet (pbuh) was left
alone. A few days later the Prophet (pbuh) tried again. A feast
was prepared in his house for all of his uncles. After the meal
he spoke to them and said, 'O sons of 'Abd al-Muttalib! I know
of no Arab who has come to his people with a better message
than mine. I have brought you the best news for this life and
the next. Allah has ordered me to call you to Him. So which of
you will help me?' All the men kept silent. Then 'Ali, his cousin,
jumped up and said: 'O Prophet of Allah! I will help you.' Then
the men all got up and left, laughing as they went because
only one young boy had agreed to help the Prophet (pbuh).
His message ignored by most of the people and his uncles,
the Prophet (pbuh) continued to meet his friends secretly in a
house near the hill of Safa. There they prayed together and he
taught them about the religion of Islam. But even though they
kept to themselves, they were sometimes abused by those
who would not believe. From one such incident, however, an
unexpected conversion to Islam took place. One day, when the
Prophet (pbuh) was returning home, speaking with his
followers, he met Abu Jahl, a leader of Quraysh, who hated the
Prophet (pbuh) and his teachings. Abu Jahl started to insult
him and to speak spitefully of Islam, but the Prophet (pbuh)
made no reply and went on his way.
Later, Hamzah, one of the Prophet's uncles, who was a
strong and brave warrior of whom people were quite afraid,
heard how his nephew had been insulted. Filled with rage, he
ran straight to the Ka'bah where Abu Jahl was sitting among
the people and struck him a violent blow in the face with his
bow. Hamzah then shouted, 'Will you insult him when I follow
his religion, and I say what he says? Hit me back if you can!'
Some people got up to help Abu Jahl but he stopped them
saying, 'Leave Hamzah alone, for by Allah, I have insulted his
nephew badly. 'From that moment on Hamzah followed the
teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) and with his conversion to
Islam Quraysh realized that the Prophet (pbuh) had a strong
supporter and so for a while they stopped persecuting him.
Soon, however, the leaders of Quraysh became angry again,
when they saw that the Prophet (pbuh) was going ahead with
his teaching. A group of them went to his uncle, Abu Talib,
who had promised to protect him. They told him to ask the
Prophet (pbuh) to stop attacking their gods and their way of
life, and in return they would let him do as he wished with his
After a time they saw that there was no change, so they
went back to Abu Talib and this time they told him that if he
did not stop his nephew, they would fight them both. Abu Talib
was very upset by this quarrel among his people, but he could
not break his word to his nephew. He sent for the Prophet
(pbuh) and told him what had happened, saying, 'Spare me
and spare yourself; do not put a greater burden on me than I
can bear.' The Prophet (pbuh) thought that his uncle might
abandon him and that he would no longer have his support,
but nevertheless he answered, '0 my uncle, by Allah, if they
put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left in return
for my giving up this cause, I would not give it up until Allah
makes Truth victorious, or I die in His service. Abu Talib was
deeply moved by this answer. He told the Prophet (pbuh) that
he would support him for as long as he lived and encouraged
him to go on spreading Allah's message. From that time on,
however hard the leaders of Quraysh tried to convince Abu
Talib to stop protecting his nephew, he always refused to listen
to them. In order to get rid of the Prophet (pbuh) and his
followers, his enemies started persecuting those Muslims who
were poor or weak, or had no powerful friends. One such
person was Bilal, the slave of Umayyah ibn Khalaf. His master
would take him out into the desert, tie him up, and leave him
in the sun with a large stone on his chest. Fortunately Abu
Bakr was passing by one day and saw Umayyah torturing Bilal,
so he bought him from his master for a large sum of money
and then set him free. But not all persecuted Muslims were as
fortunate as Bilal. Many suffered, but all of them endured it
patiently, knowing that they were doing the right thing and
that their reward in the life to come would be greater' than
any happiness they could find on earth.
The King Who Believed
As the number of the Prophet's followers increased so the
enemies of the Muslims grew more and more angry. At last
some of the Muslims decided to go to another country in order
to live in peace. It was only five years since the Archangel
Gabriel had first come to the Prophet (pbuh) and two years
since the Prophet (pbuh) had spoken out in public. The
Muslims asked the Prophet (pbuh) to allow them to leave
Mecca. He agreed, saying 'It would be better for you to go to
Abyssinia. The king there is a just man and it is a friendly
country. Stay there until Allah makes it possible for you to
return. The Muslims prepared for the journey. They decided to
wait until night so that they could leave without being seen.
The first sixteen left Mecca and, after reaching the shore of die
Red Sea, crossed over to Abyssinia. Another eighty-three men
and nineteen women followed, all hoping to be welcomed by
the king and people of that country. This was the first hijrah,
or migration, in Islam.
The Meccans were furious when they discovered that these
Muslims had secretly left the city for among them were the
sons and daughters of many of the leading families of Mecca.
The anger of the Meccans was even greater when they found
out that the Muslims had been warmly welcomed in Abyssinia.
The leaders of Quraysh decided to send two men to the
Abyssinian king in hopes of persuading him to send the
Muslims back. These were 'Amr ibn al-'As, a very clever
speaker, and ‘Abd Allah ibn abi Rabi’ah. Before they met this
king, they gave each of his advisers a gift, saying: 'Some
foolish men from our people have come to hide in your
country. Our leaders have sent us to your ruler to persuade
him to send them back, so when we speak to the king about
them, do advise him to give them up to us.' The advisers
agreed to do what the Meccans wished.
Amr ibn al-'As and 'Abd Allah ibn abi Rabi'ah then went to
the king and presented him also with a gift, saying: 'Your
Highness, these people have abandoned the religion we have
always followed in Mecca, but they have not even become
Christians like you.' The royal advisers, who were also present,
told the king that the Meccans had spoken the truth and that
he should send the Muslims back to their own people. At this,
the king became angry and said, 'No, by God, I will not give
them up. Those who have come to ask for my protection,
settled in my country, and chosen me rather than others, shall
not be betrayed. I will summon them and ask them about
what these two men have said. If the Muslims are as the
Meccans say, I will give them up and send them back to their
own people, but if the Meccans have lied I will protect the
Muslims.' 'Amr was very upset by this for the last thing he
wanted was for the king to hear what the Muslims had to say.
The king then sent for the Muslims. When they entered, they
did not kneel before him as was the custom of the Abyssinians.
'Why do you not kneel before our king?' they were asked by
one of the advisors. 'We kneel only to Allah', they replied. So
the king asked them to tell him about their religion.
Ja'far ibn abi Talib, Ali's brother and a cousin of the Prophet
(pbuh), was chosen to speak for the Muslims. He replied, '0
King, at first we were among the ignorant. We and our
ancestors had turned from the faith of Abraham, who, with
Ishmael, rebuilt the Ka’bah and worshipped only Allah. We
used idols in our worship of Allah; we ate meat that had not
been killed in the right way; we did not respect the rights of
our neighbors; the strong took advantage of the weak. We did
terrible things of which I dare not speak. This was our life until
Allah sent a Messenger from among us, one of our relatives,
whom we have always known to be honest, innocent, and
faithful. He asked us to worship only Allah, and to give up the
bad customs of our forefathers. He asked us to be truthful and
trustworthy, to respect and help our neighbors, to honor our
families, and to put a stop to our bad deeds and endless
fighting. He asked us to look after orphans. He ordered us not
to slander or speak evil of women or men.
He ordered us to worship Allah alone and not to worship
anyone or anything else alongside Him. He ordered us to pray,
to give alms, and to fast. We believe he is right and therefore
we follow him and do as he has commanded us.
The Meccans began to attack us and come between us and
our religion. So we had to leave our homes and we have come
to you, hoping to find justice.'
The king, who was a Christian, was moved by these words.
‘Amr had to think quickly of a way to win the argument.
Cunningly he said to the king, 'These people do not believe in
Jesus in the same way as you'. The king then wanted to know
what the Prophet (pbuh) had said about Jesus. Ja'far replied
by reciting a Surah from the Koran which tells the story of
Jesus and his mother Mary. These are a few of the lines he
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had
Withdrawn from her people to an eastern place, And had
chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our spirit
and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man. She said:
Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if Thou
fearest God. He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that
I may bestow on thee a faultless son. She said: How can I
have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I
been unchaste? He said: 'Even so thy Lord saith: It is easy for
Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him revelation for
mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. And
she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a far place.
Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They
said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an monstrous thing. Oh
sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy
mother a harlot. Then Mary pointed to the child (Jesus); But
they said, 'How can we speak to one who is still in the cradle,
a young child?' He said, 'Lo, I am Allah's servant; He has given
me the Book, and made me a Prophet.
He has made me Blessed, wheresoever I may be; and He
has enjoined me to pray, and to give alms, so long as I live,
and likewise to cherish my mother; he has not made me
arrogant, unblest Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and
the day I die, and the day I am raised up alive!” (Koran
xix:16-33) . When the king heard this, his eyes filled with
tears. Turning to his advisers, he said, 'These words have
surely come from God; there is very little to separate the
Muslims from the Christians. What both Jesus and Muhammad,
the Messengers of Allah, have brought comes from the same
So the Muslims were given the king's permission to live
peacefully in his country. 'Amr was given back the gift he had
presented to the king and the two Meccans returned home,
bitterly disappointed.
The Cruelty of Quraysh
The leaders of Quraysh became increasingly worried about
the way the people of Mecca were being divided by the
Prophet's teachings. Finally, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, one of the
nobles of Mecca, decided that the only way to silence the
Prophet (pbuh) was to kill him. Having made up his mind, he
set out at once to look for him. On his way he met a man who
saw at once what ‘Umar was going to do and said: 'Why don't
you look a little closer to home before going to kill
Muhammad? Don't you know your own sister Fatimah is a
Muslim?' 'Umar was shocked. He could not believe this was
true. He went at once to his sister's house. When he arrived
outside the house he heard Fatimah and her husband Sa’id
reading aloud surah Ta Ha, a chapter from the Koran. Hearing
her brother's voice at the door, Fatimah quickly hid the scroll
with the surah written on it among the folds of her dress.
‘Umar stormed into the room and demanded, 'What is this
nonsense I heard?' Fatimah denied everything. ‘Umar then lost
his temper and attacked Fatimah's husband shouting, 'They
tell me that you have joined Muhammad in his religion!'
Fatimah tried to defend her husband and ‘Umar hit her too.
Then she admitted, ‘Yes, we are Muslims and we believe in
Allah and His Messenger and you can do what you like!'
Seeing her faith and courage, ‘Umar suddenly felt sorry for
what he had done and said to his sister, 'Let me see what I
heard you reading just now so that I may understand just
what it is that your Prophet has brought. Fatimah gave the
scroll to him after he had washed to make himself clean and
pure before touching it, and had promised to give it back to
her afterwards.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Ta Ha We have not revealed unto thee (Muhammad) this
Koran For thee to be distressed, but only as a reminder Unto
him who fears a Revelation from Him who created the earth
and the high heavens; the Beneficent One Who is established
on the Throne; To Him belongs Whatsoever is in the heavens
and the earth And all that is between them, and All that is
underneath the soil.
If Thou speakest aloud Be thou loud in thy speech, yet
Surely He knows the secret (thought) And that yet more
hidden. Allah There is no god but He To Him belong the Most
Beautiful Names”. (Koran xx: 1-8) . As he read, 'Umar
suddenly knew that these were the most beautiful words he
had ever heard and that this religion must be the true one.
With his sword still in hand, he went straight to the Prophet's
house and knocked loudly at the door. One of the Prophet's
closest followers looked out. There stood 'Umar who was
known for his courage and strength. When he saw 'Umar so
excited and with his sword in hand, he was afraid for the
Prophet's life. But the Prophet (pbuh) asked him to allow
'Umar to come in and to leave them alone together. The
Prophet (pbuh) asked 'Umar why he had come, to which he
replied: 'I have come to swear that there is no god but Allah
and that you, Muhammad, are the Messenger of Allah.' As he
spoke these words, his hand still held the sword with which he
had intended to kill the Prophet (pbuh). This same sword'
would now be used to defend the Prophet (pbuh) and the faith
of Islam. At that time, whenever Muslims wanted to perform
the ritual encircling of the Ka'bah, known as tawaf they had to
do it secretly and in fear. 'Umar, however, was very
courageous. As soon as he had declared his faith, he went
directly to the Ka'bah and in broad daylight made the circling
of the Sacred House before the astonished people of Mecca.
No one dared to say anything. But now the leaders of Quraysh
became even more alarmed and began to see Islam as a
threat to the whole life of the city of Mecca. They grew more
and more furious as the numbers of Muslims increased until
finally they, too, decided as 'Umar once had, that the Prophet
(pbuh) would have to be killed.
On hearing of these plans, Abu Talib, the Prophet's uncle,
immediately sent a message to all the sons of 'Abd al-Muttalib,
asking them to protect their nephew, and this they agreed to
do. When Quraysh realized that they could not kill the Prophet
(pbuh) because of this protection, they decided instead to
avoid him and his followers completely. A declaration to this
effect was hung at the Ka’bah. It stated that no one in the city
was allowed to have anything to do with the Prophet (pbuh)
and his people, or even to sell them any food or drink
At first the Muslims found some support among the Bani
Hashim, the branch of Quraysh to which the Prophet (pbuh)
belonged. Some of these people were not Muslims but showed
loyalty to their kinsmen by suffering along with them. However, life
grew more and more difficult and food was scarce. The hatred of
the rest of Quraysh for the followers of the Prophet (pbuh) grew so
great that when his companions tried to buy supplies from a
caravan passing near to Mecca, Abu Lahab, one of the Muslims'
worst enemies, offered ten times the price of the goods to the
merchant. By doing this he managed to stop the Muslims, from
buying what they desperately needed. During the years of this
terrible treatment, a wonderful thing happened. Instead Of Islam
becoming weaker, it grew stronger. Allah sent more and more
Revelations. It was as though the Muslims were being strengthened
and cleansed by the hardships they suffered and were being tested
in their faith. Each year at the time of the pilgrimage to Mecca,
people tame from all over Arabia. These pilgrims saw the terrible
cruelty and injustice of Quraysh towards the Muslims, and many of
them were sorry for the Prophet's followers. Quraysh began to feel
ashamed of their harsh treatment, especially as many of the
Muslims were their cousins and close relatives. Finally, at the end of
three years, they were convinced that the time had come to put an
end to the persecution of the Muslims, and they decided to take
down the notice hanging at the Ka’bah. To their astonishment, the
sheet of paper had been completely eaten up by worms, all except
the words, 'In Your Name, O Allah', which had been written at the
top of the paper.
The Year of Sorrow
The Prophet (pbuh) and his followers went back to a normal
way of life but the years of hardship had made Khadijah very
weak. She became ill and soon afterwards she died. Thus, the
Prophet (pbuh) lost his beloved wife and friend, the first
person to accept Islam and support him. She had been a
refuge from all his troubles and, through her goodheartedness,
the best company in his suffering. He had loved
her very much. This happened in 619 A.D., the year which
became known as the 'Year of Sorrow'. Soon after this, the
Prophet Muhammad's uncle and protector, Abu Talib, also
died. Abu Talib had been one of the most respected men in
Mecca-one of the elders of Quraysh. Even though he had never
been a follower of Islam, he had protected the Prophet (pbuh)
against his enemies. Not only was this a sad occasion for the
Prophet (pbuh) but also a dangerous one. According to Arab
custom anyone who is under the protection of another is safe
so long as his protector lives. Now, with the death of his uncle,
the Prophet's protection was gone.
The Prophet's enemies rejoiced to see him so sad, without a
wife to console and comfort him, and without his uncle to
protect him. They began to treat him worse than ever before.
Even small children insulted him. One young man actually
threw some filth on the Prophet's head, but the Prophet (pbuh)
went home without making anything of it. When one of his
daughters rushed, weeping, to wash it away, he comforted her
saying, 'Do not weep my little girl, for Allah will protect your
father.' Abu Talib had been the Prophet's last tie with Quraysh
and the Prophet (pbuh) now felt that Islam could make no
further progress in Mecca because the hearts of Quraysh were
closed against him. He decided, therefore, to travel to Ta'if
where he hoped to find support. He walked all the way to the
town, which was seventy kilometers away. There he spoke in
all the places where people gathered, but no one listened to
him. He met the leaders of the three most important tribes but
they would not listen either. Not only did they take no notice
of what he said, but they laughed at him and ordered their
slaves to insult him and pelt him with stones.
Sadly, the Prophet (pbuh) left the city and found a quiet place
near a wall on the edge of town where he could be alone. There he
prayed to Allah in these words: “ O Allah, to Thee I complain of my
weakness, helplessness and lowliness before men. 0 Most Merciful,
Thou art the Lord of the weak, and Thou art my Lord. To whom
wouldst Thou leave my fate? To a stranger who insults me or to an
enemy to whom Thou hast given power over me? If Thou art not
angry with me, I care not what happens to me. Thy favor alone is
my objective. I take refuge in the Light of Thy countenance by
which the darkness is illumined and on which this world and the
other depend, lest Thy anger descend upon me or Thy wrath light
upon me. It is for Thee to be satisfied until Thou art well pleased.
There is no power and no might save through Thee.” The wall near
which the Prophet (pbuh) was sitting belonged to a garden owned
by two brothers. When they heard his prayer, they were very sorry
for him and sent one of their slaves to him with a dish filled with
grapes. Before he began to eat, the Prophet (pbuh) said 'Bismillah'-
'In the Name of Allah.' The servant, whose name was ‘Addas, was
very surprised at these words, which he had never heard before. 'By
Allah', said ‘Addas, 'this is not the way the people of this country
speak.' 'Then from what country do you come, 'Addas, and what is
your religion?' asked the Prophet (pbuh). 'I am a Christian from the
Assyrian town of Nineveh', he replied. 'From the town of that good
man Jonah, son of Matta', added the Prophet 'How do you know
about him?' asked ‘Addas. 'He is my brother-he was a Prophet and I
am a Prophet', answered the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). ‘Addas
bent down and kissed the Prophet's head, his hands and his feet,
because now he saw that he was truly a Prophet. The Prophet
(pbuh) then walked back to Mecca. He was now able to put up with
everything patiently for he knew that Allah would never leave him.
His journey to Ta'if had not been in vain for ‘Addas, the Christian,
had become a Muslim, and this was to he the beginning of great
The Night Journey And The Ascent To Heaven
One night as the Prophet (pbuh) lay sleeping in the same
spot where 'Abd al-Muttalib used to sleep, next to the Ka’bah,
he was woken by the Archangel Gabriel. Later the Prophet
(pbuh) described what happened: 'I sat up and he took hold of
my arm. I stood beside him and he brought me to the door of
the mosque where there was a white animal for me to ride.'
The Prophet (pbuh) told of how he mounted the animal
and, with the Archangel Gabriel at his side, was transported
from Mecca to the mosque called al-Aqsa, in far away
Jerusalem. There the Prophet (pbuh) found Abraham, Moses,
and Jesus among a group of Prophets. The Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh) acted as their leader, or imam, in prayer.
Then he was brought two jugs, one containing wine and the
other milk. He chose the milk and refused the wine. At this,
the Archangel Gabriel said, 'You have been rightly guided to
the fitrah, the true nature of man, and so will your people be,
Muhammad. Wine is forbidden to you. The Prophet (pbuh) also
related how they passed through Heaven's gates and saw
countless angels. Among them was Malik, the Keeper of Hell,
who never smiles. Malik stepped forward and showed the
Prophet (pbuh) a view of Hell and the terrible plight of those
who suffer in that place. Then the Prophet (pbuh) was taken
up by the angels, through the seven Heavens, one by one
Along the way he again saw Jesus, Moses, and Abraham, and
the Prophet (pbuh) said that he had never seen a man more
like himself than Abraham. He also saw John, called Yahya in
Arabic, Joseph or Yusef, Enoch, that is Idris, and Aaron. At last
he reached the Lote Tree of the Uttermost, the sidrat almuntaha
where no Prophet had been before. Here the Prophet
(pbuh) received Revelation of what Muslims believe.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“The Messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed
unto him from his Lord and (so do) the believers. Each one
believes in Allah and His Angels and His Books and His
Messengers-We make no distinction between any of His
messengers-and they say: We hear, and we obey.
Grant us Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the
homecoming”. (Koran ii.285) , Then he was taken into the
Light of the Divine Presence of Allah, and was instructed that
Muslims should pray fifty times a day. The Prophet (pbuh)
recalled: “ On my way back I passed by Moses and what a
good friend to you he was! He asked me how many prayers
had I been ordained to perform. When I told him fifty, he said,
'Prayer is a serious matter and your people are weak, so go
back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce the number for you
and your community.' I did so and He took away ten. Again I
passed by Moses and he said the same again; and so it went
on until only five prayers for the whole day and night were
left. Moses again gave me the same advice. I replied that I
had been back to my Lord and asked him to reduce the
number until I was ashamed, and I would not do it again. He
of you who performs the five prayers faithfully, will have the
reward of fifty prayers.
On the morning following these events and the Prophet's
return to Mecca, he told Quraysh what had happened. Most of
them said, 'By God! This is ridiculous! A caravan takes a
month to go to Syria and a month to return! Can you do that
long journey in a single night?' Even many Muslims were
amazed by this and wanted the Prophet (pbuh) to explain.
Some ran with the news to Abu Bakr who said, 'By Allah, if
Muhammad (pbuh) himself has said so, then it is true.
Remember, the Prophet tells us that the word of Allah comes
to him directly from heaven to earth at any hour by day or
night, and we believe him.
Isn't that a greater miracle than what you are now
doubting?' Then Abu Bakr went to the mosque and listened to
the Prophet's detailed description of Jerusalem. He
commented, 'You tell the truth, 0 Prophet of Allah!' From then
on, Abu Bakr was honored with the title 'al-Siddiq’, which
means 'he who gives his word to support the truth'. Others
also began to believe the Prophet's story when he went on to
describe two caravans he had seen on his way back to Mecca.
He told the doubters where he had seen the caravans, what
they were carrying and when they would arrive in Mecca. All
that the Prophet (pbuh) had said was born out when the
caravans arrived at the time he said they would, carrying all
that he had described.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Glory be to Him, who carried His servant by night from the
Holy Mosque to the Far distant place of worship, the
Neighborhood which We have blessed, that We might show
him some of Our signs, He, only He is the All-hearing, the Allseeing”.
(Koran xvii:1)
By the Star when it setteth, Your comrade is not astray,
neither deceived, Nor does he speak of his (own) desire. This
is naught but a revelation revealed, Taught him by one mighty
in power, very strong; he stood poised, being on the
uppermost horizon, Then drew near and came down, two
bows'-length away, or nearer, Then revealed to His servant
that which He revealed. His heart lies not of what he saw;
What, will you then dispute with him what he sees? Indeed, he
saw him yet another time By the Lote- Tree of the utmost
Boundary Near which is the Garden of Abode When there
covered the Lote- Tree that which covered; his eye turne not
aside, nor yet was overbold. Verily, he saw one of the greatest
signs of his Lord.(Koran liii:1-18)
The Treaty of ‘Aqabah
In Yathrib there were two main tribes, the Aws and the
Khazraj. Both were very powerful, they were always at war
with one another, and both worshipped idols. Also in Yathrib
were many Jews who, unlike the Arab at that time, knew that
there was only One God, and worshipped Him. They had told
the Arabs many times that a Prophet would be coming to
them. The time came for the pilgrimage to the Ka’bah, and
several people from Yathrib were going, among them six men
from the tribe of Khazraj. They had heard about the Prophet
Mohammed’s preaching and thought that must be the Prophet
the Jews had told them about. So they decided to go speak to
him during their stay in Mecca. They met the Prophet (pbuh)
at a spot known as ‘Aqabah, near Mecca, and invited them to
sit with him. He explained to them what Islam meant recited
to them from the Koran. When they heard the Koran recited
touched their hearts so deeply that they became Muslims and
on leaving Mecca they promised to return the following year.
When they reached Yathrib carrying Islam in their hearts, they
told their relatives and friends what they had heard from the
Prophet (pbuh) and many more people became Muslims.
A year passed and the pilgrimage season came around again.
Twelve important men from Yathrib went to Mecca to meet the
Prophet (pbuh) and promised faithfully to serve him and Islam. In
return, the Prophet (pbuh) sent one of his friends, Mus’ab ibn
'Umayr, with them to teach the Koran and instruct them in their
new religion. Another year passed and still more Muslims came from
Yathrib to Mecca for the pilgrimage. On this occasion a secret
meeting with the Prophet (pbuh) was arranged to be held at night.
Seventy-three men and one woman from Yathrib came, and the
Prophet (pbuh) arrived with his uncle, al-‘Abbas. During this
meeting the men from Yathrib offered to protect and defend the
Prophet (pbuh) and his followers if they would come to live in
Yathrib. This promise of protection came to be known as the Treaty
of ‘Aqabah.
The treaty was most fortunate for even though Islam was
growing in Yathrib, the Muslims in Mecca were still suffering. The
Prophet (pbuh) therefore told his friends and followers to go to
Yathrib where they would be safe, and most of them took this
opportunity to leave. Despite all this suffering the Prophet (pbuh)
was not allowed to fight his enemies, for Allah had told him to
forgive those who insulted him or would not listen to his message.
But the Quraysh had closed their minds so utterly to the word of
Allah, and grew so hard-hearted towards the Prophet (pbuh)and his
followers, that Allah gave permission to the Prophet (pbuh) to fight
those who tried to harm him or his companions.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Permission is given unto those who fight because they
have been wronged; And Allah is surely able to give them
victory; Those who have been driven from their homes
unjustly only because they said: Our Lord is Allah”.(Koran
Quraysh began to fear the Prophet (pbuh) for they realised
that he was now strong enough to fight them and had been
given leave to do so by Allah. They also knew that he now had
the people of Yathrib to help and protect him.
Seeing that the Muslims were leaving the city, they decided
to kill the Prophet (pbuh), before he, too, left Mecca to join his
followers in Yathrib. In this way they hoped to put an end to
Islam once and for all.
The Breaking of All Connections with One's Home, for the
Sake of Allah Alone. After his companions had left for Yathrib,
the Prophet (pbuh) stayed in Mecca, waiting for permission
from Allah to leave the city. Abu Bakr and Ali stayed with him.
There were also some Muslims whom Quraysh had not allowed
to leave. Abu Bakr kept asking the Prophet (pbuh) to allow
him to go to Yathrib, but the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) kept
saying, 'Do not be in a hurry; it might be that Allah will give
you a travelling companion.' The leaders of Quraysh
assembled in the house of their ancestor, Qusayy, as was
customary when they had an important decision to make.
They had to find a way of getting rid of the Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh), before he was able to join his friends in
Yathrib. As they were busy arguing, the Devil appeared at the
door in the form of a noble and handsome old man. When they
saw this elderly gentleman standing there, they asked him
who he was. He said he was a Shaikh from the mountains who
had heard what they meant to do and thought he might be
able to help or advise them. They thought he looked like a
wise man, so they invited him in.
Each leader then started to put forward ideas about what
should be done, but none of them could agree about which
was best, until AbuJahl told them his plan. This was that each
clan should provide a strong, young warrior, each of whom
would be given a sword. All the young warriors would then
wait outside the Prophet's house and together attack him as
he came out. In this way they would be rid of him but as the
blame for killing him would fall on all the clans, the Prophet's
family would not be able to seek revenge.
When he heard this, the Devil in the disguise of the old man,
said, 'That man is right; in my opinion it is the only thing to do!' The
leaders of Quraysh then left to carry out their plan to murder the
Prophet (pbuh).
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“And when the unbelievers plot against thee, to confine
thee, or kill thee, or to drive thee out, they were plotting, But
Allah was (also) plotting; and Allah is the best of plotters”.
(Koran iii.30)
Before the night fell, on which Muhammad (pbuh) was to be
killed, the Archangel Gabriel came to him and said, 'Do not
sleep tonight in your own bed.' The Prophet (pbuh) understood
what was going to happen, so he told ‘Ali to lie in his bed and
wrap himself in the blanket that the Prophet (pbuh) normally
used, promising that no harm would befall him.With the
coming of darkness the young men of Quraysh had gathered
outside the Prophet's house, waiting for him to come out. After
he had made sure that 'Ali was safe, the Prophet (pbuh) left
the house. At that very moment Allah took away the sight of
the warriors so that they could not see the Prophet (pbuh),
who took a handful of dust, sprinkled it on their heads and
recited these verses:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Ya Sin By the Wise Koran, Thou art truly among those sent
On the straight path; A Revelation of the All-mighty, the Allwise,
That thou may warn a people whose fathers were never
warned, so they are heedless. The Word has already proved
true of most of them, yet they do not believe. Lo! We have put
on their necks collars of iron up to the chin, so that they are
made stiff-necked. and We have put before them a barrier;
and We have covered them so they do not see”. (Koran
The young men waited the whole night and were furious
when, in the morning, they saw ‘Ali instead of the Prophet
(pbuh) coming out of the house. I They realised that their plan
had failed completely. In the meantime, the Prophet (pbuh)
went to Abu Bakr's house and told him, 'Allah has told me that
now is the time for us to leave Mecca.' 'Together?' asked Abu
Bakr. 'Together', the Prophet (pbuh) replied. Abu Bakr wept
for joy, because now he knew that the travelling companion he
had been promised was the Prophet (pbuh) himself.
Then he said,'O Messenger of Allah, these are the two
camels which I have kept ready for this.' And so, the two of
them left for a cave in Thawr, a mountain to the south of
Mecca where they intended to hide.
When they were out of the city the Prophet (pbuh) looked
back and said, 'Of all Allah's earth, you are the dearest place
to Allah and to me and if my people had not driven me out I
would never have left you.'
When Quraysh found out that the Prophet (pbuh) and his
companion had gone, they set out after them, searching in every
direction. Three days later they finally reached the cave where the
Prophet (pbuh) and Abu Bakr were hiding, but a strange and
wonderful thing had happened. A spider had woven its web right
across the entrance to the cave and a dove was nesting with her
mate nearby. As the Meccans stood in front of the cave, with only
the spider's web separating them from the fugitives, Abu Bakr
began to fear for their safety. He whispered to the Prophet (pbuh),
they are very close. If one of them turns we will be seen.' But he
was comforted by the Prophet's reply: “What do you think of two
who have with them Allah as their third? 'Grieve not, for verily Allah
is with us”. (Koran ix.40) . After a few moments the search parry
decided that no one could have entered the cave recently, or the
spider's web would not have been complete and the dove would not
have nested there, and so they left without searching inside. Three
days later the Prophet (pbuh) and Abu Bakr thought it safe to leave
the cave. Abu Bakr's son, 'Amir, had arranged for three camels and
a guide to help them continue their journey to Yathrib. 'Amir would
ride behind his father. The leaders of Quraysh, meanwhile, returned
to Mecca and offered a reward of one hundred camels to whoever
captured the Prophet (pbuh). Among those who went in search of
him was a famous warrior. He was, in fact, the only one to catch up
with him, but whenever he came close, his horse would suddenly
sink up to its knees in the sand. When this had happened three
times, he understood that the Prophet (pbuh) was protected by a
power stronger than anything he had known, and so he went back
to Mecca. On arriving there he warned everyone against continuing
the search, relating what had happened to him.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“If you do not help him, still Allah has helped him already,
When the unbelievers drove him forth, (he second of two,
When the two were in the Cave, when he said to his
companion, "Grieve not; surely Allah is with us." Then Allah
caused His peace and Reassurance to descend upon him, And
helped him with hosts you cannot see, And He made the word
of the unbelievers the lowest; While Allah's word is the
uppermost; Allah is All-mighty, All-wise”. (Koran ix.40)
The Prophet's journey from Mecca is called the hijrah, or
migration. It was really the first step towards the spread of
Islam throughout the entire world, and Muslims begin their
calendar from the year of the hijrah
Arrival In Yathrib
When the people of Yathrib heard that the Prophet
had left Mecca and was on his way to their city, they anxiously
awaited his arrival. Each morning they would go to the edge of
the city to see if he were coming. Finally, on Monday,
September 27, in the year 622 A.D., someone saw him in the
distance and shouted to everyone, 'Here is Muhammad!
(pbuh) the Messenger of Allah has arrived!' All the Muslims
went out to greet him, shouting, “Allahu Akbar”! Allah is Great!
Muhammad the Messenger of Allah has arrived!' The women
and children sang songs to show how glad they were to see
him. The Prophet (pbuh) entered the city with his friend Abu
Bakr. Most of The people there had not seen him before and as
they gathered around they did not know which of the two was
the Prophet (pbuh), until Abu Bakr got up to shield him with
his cloak from the burning sun. Yathrib would now be Called
al-Medina, which means, The City.
The Messenger of God (pbuh) stayed in Quba', which is a
place at the entrance of Medina, for three days. On the first
Friday after his arrival the Prophet led the congregation in
prayer. After this many of the wealthiest men invited him to
come and live with them and share their riches. But he refused
and, pointing to his she-camel, Qaswa', said, 'Let her go her
way', because he knew that his camel was under Allah's
command and would guide him to the spot where he should
stay. They let the camel go until she finally knelt down beside
a house belonging to the Bani an-Najjar, the tribe to whom the
Prophet's mother was related. This house was used as a
drying-place for dates and belonged to two young orphan boys
named Sahl and Suhayl. They offered to give it to the Prophet
(pbuh) but he insisted on paying them for it, and so their
guardian, As’ad the son of Zurarah, who was present, made
the necessary arrangements.
The Prophet (pbuh) ordered that a mosque and a place for
him to live be built on the site. All the Muslims worked
together to finish it quickly-even the Prophet (pbuh) joined in.
It was here that the Muslims would pray and meet to make
important decisions and plans. The building was quite plain
and simple. The floor was beaten earth and the roof of palm
leaves was held up by tree trunks. Two Stones marked the
direction of prayer. At first worshippers faced Jerusalem, but
Soon after the direction of prayer was changed towards the
Ka’bah in Mecca.
After the building of the mosque, the Prophet (pbuh)
wanted to strengthen the relationship between the people
called the Muhajirah or Emigrants, who had left Mecca with
him, and the people of Medina, who were known as the Ansar,
or Helpers. Each man from Medinah took as his brother a man
from Mecca, sharing everything with him and treating him as
a member of his own family. This was the beginning of the
Islamic brotherhood. In the early days of Islam, the times for
prayer were not announced and So the Muslims would come to
the mosque and wait for the prayer so as not to miss it. The
Prophet (pbuh) wondered how to tell the people that it was
time for prayers. He discussed it with his friends, and at first
two ideas were put forward; that of blowing a horn as the Jews
did, and that of using a wooden clapper like the Christians.
Then a man called ‘Abd Allah ibn Zayd came to the Prophet
(pbuh) and told him he had had a dream in which he had seen
a man dressed all in green, holding a wooden clapper. He had
said to the man, 'Would you sell me your clapper in order to
call the people to prayer?' The man had replied, 'A better way
to call the people to prayer is to Say: "Allahu Akbar, Allah is
Most Great!" four times, followed by "I bear witness that there
is no divinity but Allah, I bear witness that Muhammad is the
Messenger of Allah, Come to prayer, come to prayer, Come to
salvation, come to salvation. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar! There
is no divinity but Allah!"'
When the Prophet (pbuh) heard this, he said it was a true
vision from Allah. He sent for Bilal, who had a beautiful, strong
voice, and ordered him to call the people to prayer in just this
way. Bilal did so and soon after 'Umar came out of his house
and told the Prophet (pbuh) that he had seen exactly the same
vision himself.
The Prophet (pbuh) replied, 'Allah be praised for that.' The
adhan, or call to prayer, which came to 'Abd Allah ibn Zayd in his
dream and was performed by Bilal on the instruction of the Prophet
(pbuh), is the one we still hear today being called from the minarets
of mosques all over the world.
The Battle Of Badr
The Muslims who had gone to Medinah, had left all their
belongings behind in Mecca and these had been taken by their
enemies. Thus, when the Muslims heard that Abu Sufyan, one
of the leaders of Quraysh, was on his way back to Mecca from
Syria with a large caravan of goods, they decided that the time
had come for them to retrieve some of their losses. The
Prophet (pbuh) gave the Muslims permission for this attack
and everyone began to get ready for the raid, for it had been
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Permission to fight is given unto those who fight because
they have been wronged; and Allah is surely able to give them
victory” (Koran xxii.39)
“The Revelation had mentioned that a thing most serious
with Allah was to turn (men) from the way of Allah, and to
disbelieve in Him and in the Holy Mosque, and to drive his
people from there…for persecution is worse than
killing”.(Koran ii.217)
The retrieval of their goods, however, was not their only
reason for wanting to attack the caravan. The Muslims did not
think they should simply remain safely in Medinah; they
wanted to spread the message of Islam. They thus felt that if
Quraysh wanted freedom to trade in safety, then the Muslims
must also have freedom to believe in Allah, to follow His
Messenger (pbuh), and spread His Word. It was, therefore,
thought that the best, and only way to get Quraysh to
understand this was to attack what was most important to
them-a caravan.
Abu Sufyan, in the meantime, heard about the Muslims'
plan and Quickly sent a message to Quraysh in Mecca, telling
them that the caravan was in danger and asking for help. As a
result nearly all Quraysh came out to help him defend the
caravan. There were a thousand men and two hundred horses.
The women also went along to cheer the men on with their
singing. Unaware of this, the Prophet (pbuh) set out with his
followers. It was the month of Ramadan and the Muslims were
There were only three hundred and five of them, most of
them Ansar, men from Medinah. With them they had three
horses and seventy camels, on which they rode in turns.
They arrived in the area of Badr, some distance from
Medinah where they made camp and waited for news of the
caravan. Then they heard that Quraysh had set out from
Mecca with a strong army. The situation had suddenly
changed. They were no longer going to make a raid on a
caravan-they were going to have to fight Quraysh. The
Prophet (pbuh) gathered his men around him to find out what
they wanted to do. First Abu Bakr, and then ‘Umar, spoke for
the Muslims who had come from Mecca. They said they would
obey the Prophet (pbuh). But the Prophet (pbuh) wanted to
hear the opinion of the Ansar, because he did not want to
force them into doing something they did not want to do. Sa’d
Ibn Mu’adh, one of the leaders of the Ansar, got up and said,
we believe in you and we swear before all men that what you
have brought is the truth.
We have given you our word and agreement to hear and
obey. So go where you wish, we are with you even if you
should lead us into the sea!
The Prophet (pbuh) was greatly encouraged by these words
and so it was agreed to fight. Abu Sufyan learned where the
Muslims were camped. He changed the course of the caravan
and quickly took it out of their reach. He then sent word to
Quraysh telling them that the caravan was safe and that they
should return to Mecca. But the leaders of Quraysh were proud
and stubborn men. They refused to return as they had made
up their minds to show everyone how powerful they were by
destroying the Muslims.Now there was a wadi, or valley, at
Badr, with wells on the side nearest Medina, and it was here
that the Muslims took up position facing the valley with the
wells behind them.
Quraysh meanwhile placed themselves on the other side of
the valley. The Muslims then dug a reservoir, filled it with
water from one of the wells, and made a barrier around it.
Then they stopped up the wells. In this way the Muslims had
enough drinking water for themselves, while the Meccans
would have to cross the valley and fight the Muslims in order
to get water. The night before the battle, while the Muslims
slept peacefully, a heavy rain fell.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“When He made the slumber fall upon you as a reassurance
from Him and sent down water from the sky upon you, in
order that He might purify you, and remove from you the fear
of Satan, and strengthen your hearts and make firm (your)
fret thereby”. (Koran viii.11) On the morning of Friday, the
17th of Ramadan, 2 A.H., (March 17th, AD), the two armies
advanced and drew closer to one another. The rain been
heavier on the side of Quraysh, making the ground soft and
difficult. On the side of the Muslims, however, the rain had
backed the sand down hard, making it easy for them to march.
The Prophet (pbuh) preferred the men to fight in ranks. As
they prepared to march he noticed someone had stepped out
in front of the others.
The Prophet (pbuh)prodded him in the side with an arrow,
saying, 'Stand in line!' The man, Sawad, exclaimed, 'You have
hurt me, O Messenger of Allah! Allah has sent you to be just
and good.' Prophet (pbuh) lifted his shirt and said, 'Then do
the same to me. The man approached and kissed him on the
spot instead, saying, '0 Messenger of Allah, you see what is
before us and I may not survive the battle. If this is my last
time with you, I want the last thing I do in life to be
this.'Shortly after he went into battle, Sawad died a martyr.
Having examined the ranks, the Prophet (pbuh) then went to a
shelter made of palm branches from which he could command
the battle. Abu Bakr stayed with him, while Sa’d ibn Mu'adh,
with several of the Ansar, stood outside guarding the hut.
When the Prophet (pbuh) saw the enormous Quraysh army
descending the hill into the valley, with all their banners and
drums, he began to pray for the help which Allah had promised
him. These were some of his words. '0 Allah, here come
Quraysh full of vanity and pride, who oppose Thee and call Thy
Messenger a liar. O Allah, if this little band (the Muslims)
perishes today, there will be none left in the land to worship
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“When ye sought help of your Lord and He answered you
(saying): I will help you with a thousand of the angels, rank on
rank. Allah appointed it only as good tidings, and that your
hearts might thereby be at ease. Victory cometh only by the
help of Allah. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise”. (Koran viii. 9-10)
At first the battle began in single combat when one of
Quraysh swore that he would drink from the Muslims' reservoir
and then destroy it, or die in the attempt. Hamzah, the
Prophet's uncle, came forward to face him and killed him.
Three of the most important men of Quraysh then stepped
forward and gave out a challenge for single combat. The
Prophet (pbuh) sent out 'Ali, Hamzah, and ‘Ubaydah ibn al-
Harith, to face them. It was not long before Hamzah and ‘Ali
had killed their opponents.
As for 'Ubaydah, he had wounded his enemy but was
wounded himself, and so his two companions killed the
wounded Meccan and carried 'Ubaydah back to the safety of
the Muslim ranks. After this, the two armies attacked each
other and fighting broke out all around. The sky was filled with
arrows. The Muslim army held its ground against the great
army of Quraysh and even though the Muslims were much
fewer in number, they gained a great victory, destroying the
Meccan army and killing most of its leaders. Among the
leading Meccans who died were Abu Jahl and Umayyah ibn
Khalaf, who was killed by his former slave, Bilal. Seeing that
their leaders were nearly all dead, the remainder of Quraysh
retreated. The Prophet (pbuh) sent word to Medinahto tell
them of the victory. He then gathered up the spoils of war and
divided them equally among the Muslims. Some of the
Meccans had been taken prisoner and the Prophet (pbuh) gave
orders that they should be treated well until their relatives
from among Quraysh came to fetch them.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Ye (Muslims) did not slay them, but Allah slew them and
thou (Muhammad) threwest not when thou didst throw, but
Allah threw, so that He might test the believers by a fair test
from Him. Lo! Allah is All-hearing, All-Knowing”. (Koran viii.17)
Uhud-Defeat Comes From Disobedience
When the survivors of the defeated Quraysh at Badr to
Mecca gathered to speak with Abu Sufyan. They said,
'Muhammad has best men, so help us to fight him so that we
may avenge those we have lost.' In order to do this it was
agreed that everyone who had had a share in the caravan
should put his profits towards the cost of a new army, which
would be three times as big as the one at Badr. Among those
who joined the new army was an Abyssinian slave called
Wahshi; who was known for his accuracy with the spear. His
master, Jubayr ibn al-Mut’im, said to him, 'Go with the army
and if you kill Hamzah, the uncle of Muhammad, in revenge for
my uncle's death, I will set you free when Hind, Abu Sufyan's
wife, heard about this she sent a Wahshi to say that she would
clothe him in gold and silk if he would carry out his master's
wish, for she, too, wanted Hamzah dead because he had both
her father and brother.
While the Meccans made their plans, the Prophet's uncle,
‘Abbas, one the few Muslims still living in Mecca, sent a letter
of warning to the Prophet (pbuh) in Medina. He told him that
Quraysh were setting out with a huge arm for Uhud, a place
just outside Medina. On receiving this timely warning the
Prophet (pbuh) gathered his companions around him to
discuss what they should do. He thought it would be better to
wait for the enemy inside city rather than go out to meet
them, because it would be easier to defend Medinahfrom
inside the city walls. But the young Muslims were go out and
face Quraysh. They said, '0 Prophet of Allah, lead us out
against our enemies, or else they will think we are too
cowardly and too weak to fight them.' One of the rulers of
Medina, ‘Abd Allah ibn Ubayy, however, agreed with the
Prophet (pbuh) and advised him to remain in the city, saying,
'Whenever we have gone out to fight an enemy we have met
with disaster, but none has ever come in against us without
being defeated.'
But when the Prophet (pbuh) saw that the majority were in
favor of going out to meet Quraysh, he decided to do so, and
after the Friday prayer he put on his armor.
The Muslims then set out with one thousand men in the
direction of Mount Uhud which overlooks Medina. The enemy
was camped on the plain below the mountain where they were
laying waste the crops of the Muslims.'Abd Allah ibn Ubayy
was angry that the Prophet (pbuh) had not followed his advice
and after going part of the way, turned back for Medina, taking
one third of the entire army with him. This left the Prophet
(pbuh) with only seven hundred men to meet the enormous
Meccan army, which numbered three thousand.
The remainder of the Mus1ims went on until they reached
the mountain of Uhud. There the Prophet (pbuh) ordered them
to stand in ranks in front of the mountain, so that they would
be protected from behind. He then positioned fifty archers on
top of the mountain, giving them the following order: 'Keep
the Meccan cavalry away from us with your arrows and don't
let them come against us from the rear, whether the battle
goes in our favor or against us. Whatever happens keep to
your places so that we cannot be attacked from your direction,
even if you see us being slain or booty being taken.' When the
Muslims were in position, the Prophet (pbuh) held up his sword
and said, 'Who will use this sword with its right?' This was a
great honor and many men rose to claim it, but the Prophet
(pbuh) decided to give it to Abu Dujanah, a fearless warrior.
Then the battle commenced. The Muslims were well organized
and had the advantage, because although Quraysh had more
than four times as many men, they were tired from their
journey and thus not ready to fight. As a result, the Muslims
were able to make a surprise attack, led by Abu Dujanah, who
was wearing a brilliant red turban. As the fighting increased
the Quraysh women, led by Hind, began to beat their drums to
urge their men on. They called out poems to encourage their
men to be brave. 'If you advance, we hug you, spread soft
rugs beneath you; if you retreat, we leave you. Leave and no
more love you.'
Abu Dujanah said: 'I saw someone urging the enemy on,
shouting wildly, and I made for him, but when I lifted my
sword against him he screamed and I saw that it was a
woman; I respected the Apostle's sword too much to use it on
a woman.' That woman was Hind. As usual, Hamzah, the
Prophet's uncle, fought with great courage, but while leading
the Muslims in a fierce attack, which nearly defeated the
Meccans, he was suddenly and cruelly struck down by the
slave Wahshi. Later, Wahshi told how it happened: 'I was
watching Hamzah while he was killing men with his sword. I...
aimed my spear until I was sure it would the mark and hurled
it at him. He came on towards me but collapsed and fell. I left
him there until he died, then I came and took back my spear.
Then I went back to the camp because I did not want to kill
anyone but him. My only aim in killing him was to gain my
The Quraysh warriors were soon scattered and forced to
retreat. It looked as though they had been defeated! Seeing
this, forty of the fifty Muslims archers on top of the mountain
ran down from their position to collect booty, for the Quraysh
army had left many of their belongings behind. The archers
rushed to take what they could, forgetting the Prophet's
orders. Khalid Ibn al-Walid, Commander of the Quraysh
cavalry, saw what' happening and quickly turned his men
around and ordered them to attack the Muslims from behind.
The Muslims were taken completely by surprise. The Quraysh
then began attacking from both sides at once. Many Muslims
were killed and instead of winning they began to lose the
To add to the confusion, it was rumored that the Prophet
(pbuh) had killed. When the Muslims heard this they were at a
loss to know what to do. Then a man named Anas called out,
'Brothers! If Muhammad (pbuh) has been killed what will your
lives be worth without him? Don't think about living or dying.
Fight for Allah. Get up and die the way Muhammad (pbuh)
died!’ and on hearing these words the Muslims took courage.
There had been several cavalry attacks on the position held
by the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions and the Prophet's
cheek had been badly gashed. As the Meccans closed in again
he called out, 'Who will sell his life for us?' At this, five Ansar
got up and fought until they were killed, one by one.
Their places were soon taken, however, by a number of
Muslims who drove off the attackers. Amongst the defending
Muslims was Abu Dujanah who put his arms around the
Prophet (pbuh) and made himself into a human shield.
Throughout the remainder of the battle he held on to the
Prophet (pbuh), but as the fighting drew to a close he
suddenly let go. Abu Dujanah was dead, killed by the many
arrows in his back that had been aimed at the Prophet (pbuh).
With the defeat of the Muslims, Quraysh were at last avenged.
As they left the field of battle Abu Sufyan called out to his
men, 'You have done well; victory in war goes by turns-today
in exchange for Badr!' When he heard this, the Prophet
(pbuh) told ‘Umar to answer him, saying, 'Allah is Most High
and Most Glorious. We are not equal. Our dead are in Paradise
and your dead are in Hell!' The Muslim soldiers then followed
the departing Quraysh part of the way to make sure they were
not going to attack Medinah.
After the enemy had left, the Prophet (pbuh) made his way
around the Battle-field to see the extent of the Muslim losses.
Many of the most faithful Muslims had been killed. Among the
dead, the Prophet (pbuh) found the body of his closest friend
and uncle, Hamzah, who had been killed by the slave, Wahshi.
At the sight of this, the Prophet (pbuh) said, 'There will never
be a moment as sad for me as this.' Hamzah's sister, Safiyya,
came to pray and ask forgiveness for her brother, saying 'We
belong to Allah and to Allah we are returning.' After the
Prophet (pbuh) had prayed over the many dead, he said, 'I tell
you that no one has been wounded in Allah's cause but Allah
will remember him and on the Day of Resurrection will raise
him from the dead. Look for the one who has learned most of
the Koran and put him in front of his companions in the grave.'
They were buried where they had fallen as martyrs.
Of them Allah says:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Do not think that those, who were killed for Allah's sake
are dead. Nay, they are alive. With their Lord they have
provision. Jubilant (are they) because of that which Allah hath
bestowed upon them of His bounty, rejoicing for the sake of
those that have not yet joined them because they have
nothing to fear or grieve over”.(Koran iii.169-170)
It is said that the Prophet (pbuh) swore that no Muslim who
had died for his beliefs would want to come back to life for a
single hour, even if he could own the whole world, unless he
could return and fight for Allah and be killed a second time.
The Muslims realised that their defeat had been caused by
their disobedience to the Prophet (pbuh). The Koran tells us
that the Muslims had been tested by Allah at Uhud and had
failed but that Allah forgave them their weakness.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Some of you there are that desire this world, and some of
you there are that desire the next world. Then He turned you
from them, that He might try you; and He has forgiven you;
and Allah is bounteous to the believers”. (Koran iii.145)
People living nowadays should learn from the lessons
learned by the early Muslims at Uhud. Disobedience to the
Prophet (pbuh) and love for the things of this world caused
their defeat. The same can happen to us as well. Even if we
have no battle like Uhud to fight, we can still die for Allah's
sake by fighting what is bad in ourselves. When the Prophet
(pbuh) came back from a battle he said to his men, 'We have
returned from the lesser war to the greater war.' He meant by
this that the struggle that goes on within every human being
to become a better person is the more difficult battle.
The Battle Of The Trench
When the Prophet (Pbuh) first arrived in Medinah, the
who were living there had welcomed him. The Prophet (Pbuh)
had returned their greeting, as he wished to be on good terms
with them. An agreement was also reached between the
Muslims and the Jews, which gave the Jews the freedom to
practice their religion and which also set out their rights and
their duties. Among these duties was that in the case of war
with Quraysh, the Jews would fight on the side of the Muslims.
Despite this agreement, however, some of the Jewish
tribes, who resented the Prophet's presence in Medinah, soon
began to cause trouble amongst the Muslims. They tried to set
the Muslim Emigrants from Mecca and the Ansar against each
other. The troublemakers were given many warnings but they
continued to be a nuisance. In the end, the Muslims had no
choice but to drive them from Medinah. A new agreement was
offered those Jews who remained but the trouble did not end
there. One of the Jewish tribes, the Bani Nadir plotted to
murder the Prophet (Pbuh) but their plan was discovered and
they, too, were exiled from the city. Knowing that they could
not defeat the Muslims themselves, some of the leaders of the
exiled Jews secretly went to Mecca to enlist the help of
Quraysh. Knowing what the Meccans would like to hear, they
pretended to believe in the same things. They said that they
thought that the old Arab tradition was better than the
teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) and that they
believed that the Quraysh religion of worshipping many idols
was better than the Prophet's with only one God. Then the
Jews told them that if all the Arab tribes attacked Medinah, the
Jews inside the city would help to defeat the Prophet (Pbuh)
and Islam once and for all.
The leaders of Quraysh were pleased to hear all this and
seizing on what seemed to them a very good opportunity,
agreed to the plan and began to gather together a formidable
army. In the meantime in Medinah, only one Jewish tribe, the
Bani Quraydhah, refused to betray the Muslims.
Eventually the Muslims learned of the preparations being
made for war in Mecca and of the plotting of the Jews within
Medinahitself. The betrayal of the Muslims by the Jews did not
surprise the Prophet (Pbuh), who said of them: 'The hearts of
the Jews have become closed to the truth. They have
forgotten what Muses taught them long ago that there is only
one God.'
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“The likeness of those who are entrusted with the Law of
Moses, yet apply it not, is as the likeness of the ass carrying
books. Evil is the likeness of the people who deny the
revelations of Allah. And Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk”.
(Koran lxii.5)
The Muslims wondered how they could defend Medinah.
They heard that Abu Sufyan was coming to attack them with
an enormous army which included many other Arab tribes, as
well as Quraysh. What were they to do with only a single week
to prepare? The Prophet (Pbuh) and his men knew that it
would be impossible for them to fight off all these tribes! The
only thing they could do was to stay inside the city and try to
defend it as best they could. Now among the people of
Medinah was a Persian named Salman, who had to live in the
city some time before the Prophet's arrival there. As a convert
to Christianity he had traveled to Medinah after Christian
sages had told him that a Prophet would be born in Arabia. On
arriving in he was, however, sold into slavery by the
merchants with whom he had traveled. Later he became a
Muslim, gained his freedom and became a member of the
Prophet's household.
When the people gathered to discuss a plan of action
against the approaching enemy, Salman was present and it
was he who suggested that they should dig a trench around
the city. The Prophet (Pbuh) thought this a good idea, so the
Muslims set to work, although it was in the middle of winter.
They worked day and night, digging the trench as quickly as
possible. The Prophet (Pbuh) himself carried rocks and when
the men were tired he gave them the will to carry on.
Someone later recalled how beautiful he looked, dressed in a
red cloak with dust upon his breast and his dark hair nearly
reaching his shoulders. There was little food at this time and
the men were often hungry as they worked.
On one occasion, however, a little girl gave some dates to
the Prophet (Pbuh), which he spread out on a cloth. The men
were then called to eat and the dates kept increasing in
number until everyone had been fed. Even after everyone had
eaten their fill, the dates continued to increase so that there
were more than the cloth could hold. Similarly, there is the
story of the lamb, that has come down to us from one who
was there: 'We worked with the Apostle at the trench. I had a
half-grown lamb and I thought it would be a good thing to
cook it for Allah's Messenger. I told my wife to grind barley
and make some bread for us. I killed the lamb and we roasted
it for the Prophet (Pbuh). When night fell and he was about to
leave the trench, I told him we had prepared bread and meat
and invited him to our home. I wanted him to come on his
own, but when I said this he sent someone to call all the men
to come along. Everyone arrived and the food was served. He
blessed it and invoked the Name of Allah over it. Then he ate
and so did all of the others. As soon as one lot were satisfied,
another group came until all the diggers had eaten enough,
but still there was food to spare.
On March 24, 627 A.D, Abu Sufyan arrived with more than
ten thousand men. The Muslims numbered only three
thousand. Quraysh and their allies surrounded Medinah but
between the two armies was the long, wide trench.
The Prophet (pbuh) and his men stayed behind this trench
for nearly a month defending the city against their more
powerful enemy. Many times warriors tried to cross the trench
and enter the city, but each time they were pushed back by
the Muslims. The Muslims were afraid that if any did manage
to cross over, the Jews inside Medinah would join forces with
them and the Muslims would be beaten. The Jewish tribe of
Bani Quraydhah, who had stood by the, agreement with the
Muslims, were pressed by a Jewish emissary from the enemy
without, to break their promise. Eventually they agreed to do
so and when the news of this reached the Prophet (pbuh) and
his companions they were greatly troubled. Sa'd ibn Mu'adh,
the leader of the tribe of Aws, was sent by the Prophet (pbuh)
with two other men to find out if this were true. When they
arrived in the part of Medinah where the Jews lived, they
found were even worse than they had previously thought.
Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, whose tribe was closely allied with the
Bani Quraydhah, tried to persuade their leader not to break
the treaty with the Muslims, but he refused to listen. This
meant that the Muslims could not relax their guard for one
moment, for they were now threatened not only by the enemy
beyond the trench, but by the Bani Qurayzah, within the walls
of the city.
Things became more difficult for the Muslims day by day. It
was extremely cold and food began to run out. To make
matters worse, the Bani Qurayzah began openly and actively
to join forces with the other Jews and cut off all supplies to the
Muslims, including food. The enemies of Islam then planned
how to capture Medinah.
The situation looked desperate and the Prophet (pbuh)
prayed to Allah to Allah to help the Muslims defeat their
enemies. That very night a sandstorm blew up which buried
the tents of Quraysh. The storm continued for three days and
three nights making it impossible for the enemy to light a fire
to cook a meal or warm themselves by.
On one of these dark nights the Prophet (pbuh) asked one
of his men, Hudhayfah Ibn al-Yaman, to go on a dangerous
mission. The Prophet (pbuh) told him to make his way across
the trench to the enemy camp where he should find out what
they were doing. With much difficulty Hudhayfah crossed the
trench and made his way to a circle of Quraysh warriors
talking in the darkness. He sat near them, but as there was no
fire, no one noticed him. He then heard Abu Sufyan's voice:
'Let us go home!' he said. 'We have had enough. The horses
and camels are dying, the tents keep blowing away, most of
the equipment has been lost, and we can not cook our food.
There is no reason to stay!'
Shortly after hearing this Hudhayfah made his way quickly
and quietly back across the trench and the next morning the
Muslims rejoiced to find that what he had overheard had come
true-Quraysh and their allies had gone away! The siege of
Medinah had ended in a great victory for Islam. But this was
not to be the end of the difficulties, for the Archangel Gabriel
the Prophet (pbuh) and told him that he should punish the
Bani Qurayzah for betraying him and the Muslims.
On hearing this, the Prophet (pbuh) ordered the Muslims to
march against the Bani Qurayzah as they hid in their fortress.
The Muslims besieged them for twenty-five days until they
finally gave in. On surrendering, they asked the Prophet
(pbuh) to let someone judge their case, and he agreed. He
also allowed them to choose who would give the ruling. The
man chosen to judge the Bani Qurayzah was Sa'd ibn Mu'adh,
leader of the Aws, a tribe which had always protected the
Qurayzah in the past. Sa'd ibn Mu'adh who had himself been
wounded in the battle, decided that the Jews should be tried
by their own Holy Law, according to which anyone who broke a
treaty would be put to death. As a result all the men of the
Bani Qurayzah were executed and the women and children
made captive. If the Jews had succeeded in their pact, Islam
would have been destroyed. Instead from that day on,
Medinah became a city where only Muslims lived.
Very soon after peace had been restored to Medinah, Sa'd
ibn Mu'adh died of his wounds. It was said that the Archangel
Gabriel came in the middle of that night and said to the
Prophet (pbuh) '0 Muhammad, who is this dead man? When he
arrived, the doors of heaven opened and the Throne of Allah
shook.' The Prophet (pbuh) got up as soon as he heard this,
but found that Sa'd was already dead. Although he had been a
heavy man, the men who carried his body to the grave found
it quite light. They were told that the angels were helping
them. When he was buried, the Prophet (pbuh) said three
times 'Subhan Allah!' (Glory be to Allah!), and 'Allahu Akbar!'
(Allah is Most Great!). When asked why he did this, he replied,
'The grave was tight for this good man, until Allah eased it for
him.' This is one of the rewards that Allah gives to martyrs and
good Muslims.
The Treaty Of Hudaybiyah
Ouraysh had tried to destroy Islam but had failed. The
number of Muslims grew and their armies increased from three
hundred at the battle of Badr, seven hundred at the battle of
"Uhud, to three thousand at the battle of the Trench. After the
annual fast of Ramadan, the Prophet (pbuh) had a dream,
which indicated that the Muslims should go to Mecca for the
pilgrimage. One thousand and four hundred Muslims got ready
to go with him on the Lesser Pilgrimage called 'the `Umra'.
They dressed in white and went unarmed to show Quraysh
that they had come to make the pilgrimage and not to fight.
When Quraysh heard that the Prophet (pbuh) was on his way,
they sent troops with Khalid Ibn al-Walid to stop the Muslims
from entering the city. To avoid meeting this small army the
Prophet (pbuh) changed his route and led the men through
rugged mountain passes. When they reached easier ground he
told them, 'Say, we ask Allah's forgiveness and we repent
towards Him 'At Hudaybiyah, south of Mecca, the Prophet's
camel knelt down and refused to go any further. The Muslims
thought she was either stubborn or tired, but the Prophet
(pbuh) said: 'The same power that once stopped the elephant
from entering Mecca is now stopping us!' He then ordered
them to make camp, which they did, although they all hoped
they would travel on to the sacred Ka'bah the following day.
On setting up camp, the believers were dismayed to find
that the springs were almost dry. When he heard this the
Messenger of Allah (pbuh) instructed a man called Najiyah to
take the bowl of water in which he had performed his
ablutions, pour it into the hollows where the small amount of
spring water lay, and stir it with his arrows. Najiyah did as he
was told and the fresh water gushed up so suddenly that he
was hardly able to get out of the way in time.
Messengers were sent to Quraysh to tell them that the
Muslims had come only for the pilgrimage, to worship Allah at
the Holy Ka'bah, and that they wanted to enter the city
peacefully. But Quraysh took no notice. Finally, the Prophet's
son-in-law, 'Uthman Ibn Affan, a wise and respected man, was
chosen to go, and the Muslims settled down to wait and see
what news he would bring back. After they had waited a long
time, the Muslims became very worried. At last they decided
that he must have been killed. A state similar to that of
Revelation then came upon the Prophet (pbuh). He gathered
the Muslims around him under an acacia tree and asked them
to swear their allegiance to him, which they did. This pact,
which is mentioned in the Koran, became known as the Treaty
of Radwan (which means Paradise). Shortly after, `Uthman
Ibn Affan returned and the Muslims were relieved to see that
no harm had come to him. Some Meccan warriors tried to
attack the Muslim camp but were captured and brought before
the Prophet (pbuh), who forgave them when they promise to
stop attacking the Muslims. Soon after this, official
messengers came from Quraysh and talks began for a peaceful
settlement. A man called Suhayl ibn 'Amr was sent by the
Meccans to work out a treaty. When the Prophet (pbuh) asked
'Ali to write 'In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most
Merciful', on the top of the page, Suhayl objected, saying
'Write only: bismik Allahumma (in Thy name, 0 Allah). I don't
know him as al-Rahman (the Most Gracious), al-Rahim (the
most Merciful).' The Prophet (pbuh) agreed and dictated: 'This
is a treaty between Muhammad the Messenger of Allah and
Suhayl ibn 'Amr.''Stop!' cried Suhayl, 'I don't believe that you
are Rasulallah (the Messenger of Allah). If I thought you were
Allah's Messenger, I wouldn't be fighting against you, would I?'
Calmly, the Prophet (pbuh) agreed that he should be referred
to in the treaty as Muhammad', son of 'Abd Allah. The Muslims
were very upset at this, and 'Umar furiously cried out, 'Are you
not Allah's Messenger, and are we not Muslims? How can we
accept such treatment when we are right and they are wrong?
This will make people laugh at our religion!' But the Prophet
(pbuh) knew what was best and the Treaty of Hudaybiyah was
In this treaty the two sides agreed to stop fighting for a
period often years. It was also agreed that the Muslims should
go back to Medinah immediately but that they could return the
following year for the pilgrimage. This pilgrimage would last
three days. In addition, the treaty allowed Muslims wishing to
leave Islam and return to Mecca to do so.
It also permitted Meccans to leave and become Muslims
provided they had the permission of their guardians. The
Muslims agreed to send any Meccan who did not have their
guardian's permission back to Mecca.
Suhayl's son had come with his father with the idea of
joining the Prophet (pbuh) but when the treaty was signed he
was, of course, forced to return to Mecca. He cried bitterly.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, '0 Abu Jandal, be patient and control
yourself. Allah will provide relief and find a way out for you
and others like you.'
The majority of the Muslims were very disappointed when
they heard the terms of the agreement and thought that it
should not have been accepted. They did not realize that this
was in fact a great victory for the Prophet (pbuh), which Allah
would later confirm in a Revelation. The agreement made sure
that the following year they would enter Mecca peacefully, and
in time would result in Muslims becoming stronger and more
respected throughout Arabia. At the time the treaty was
signed the Muslims could not have foreseen that the number
of people who would travel to Medinah to become Muslims in
following year would be greater than in all the years before.
Before the Muslims departed, they followed the Prophet's
example of making sacrifice and either shaving or cutting their
hair. Even though they were unable to visit the sacred
mosque, their pilgrimage was accepted by Allah because it had
been their true intention.
On the return journey to Medinah, the 'Victory' chapter of
the Koran was revealed to the Prophet (pbuh). It begins:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Surely We have given thee (0 Muhammad) a clear victory,
That Allah may forgive thee of thy sin That which is past and
that which is to come, And may complete His blessings upon
thee, And may guide thee on the right path, And that Allah
may help thee with mighty help”. (Koran xlviii.1-3)
Now most of those who left Mecca to join the Prophet
(pbuh) without the consent of their guardians and were turned
back by him as agreed, Did not in fact return to Mecca, but
lived instead in groups along the seashore. Then they were
joined by others who had left Mecca but these groups began to
endanger Quraysh caravans which were passing by and
disrupted their trade because of this, Quraysh told the Prophet
(pbuh) that if he wanted to take these new Muslims, they
would not ask for them to be returned. The young men,
therefore, joined the Prophet (pbuh) and the people in Mecca
and Medinah grew more at ease with one another. The young
men from the seashore were shortly followed by those Muslims
who were still living in Abyssinia, and soon the numbers of
believers in Medinah had doubled.
About this time, Khalid Ibn al-Walid, the great warrior who
had defeated the Muslims at Uhud, set out from Mecca for
Medinah. Along the way he met 'Amr Ibn al-'As, the clever
speaker who had pursued the Muslims when they fled to
Abyssinia. 'Amr, who had attempted to find asylum in
Abyssinia, had just returned from that country, the Negus
having urged him to enter Islam. He asked Khalid, 'Where are
you going?' Khalid replied, 'The way has become clear. The
man is certainly a Prophet, and by Allah, I am going to become
a Muslim. How much longer should I delay?' 'Amr Ibn al-As
answered, 'I am travelling for the same reason. So they both
traveled on to Medinah to join the Prophet(pbuh). The two
men were, however, worried about meeting the Prophet
(pbuh) because of having fought against the Muslims in the
Therefore, 'Amr came before Allah's Messenger he said, 'O
Prophet, will my past faults be forgiven and no mention made
of what has gone before?' The Prophet (pbuh) replied, 'Amr,
Islam wipes away everything that happened before, as does
the hijrah.'
A year after the signing of the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, the
Prophet (pbuh) was able to lead two thousand pilgrims on the
'Umra. Quraysh vacated Mecca and watched the rites from the
hills above the city. The agreed period of three days was
observed, after which the Muslims returned to Medinah.
The Invitation
The peace which the Treaty of Hudaybiyah guaranteed for ten
years meant people could travel from all over Arabia to visit
the Prophet (pbuh) and a great many came to declare their
Islam. Also, during this period the Prophet (pbuh) decided that
the time had come for his message to be taken to other
countries, so he sent trusted companions with letters, telling of
his message, to the leaders of the most powerful nations of
the day. It is recorded that he said, Allah has sent me as a
mercy to all men, so take the message from me that Allah has
mercy on you.’ It is also recorded that some time before, when
the Prophet (pbuh) was digging before the Battle of the
Trench, three flashes of lightning had blared forth from a rock
he had been striving to remove. These flashes had shown him
the fortresses of the civilizations to the South, East, and West
which were soon to come into Islam.
Now at the time the Prophet (pbuh) sent out his message.
Abu Sufyan and some other members of Quraysh were trading
in Syria, a province of the Eastern Roman Empire (later to be
called Byzantium). Also, at about this time the Emperor
Heraclius, ruler of this Empire, had a dream, and sadly told
visitors to his court in Syria: ‘I saw our Empire fall and victory
go to a people who do not follow our religion.' At first he
thought this must refer to the Jews and he even had it in mind
to kill all the Jews living under his rule fit then an envoy from
the governor of Basra arrived with a message for the Emperor:
0 Emperor Heraclius. there are some Arabs in the city who are
speaking of wonderful happenings in their country', and he
then told of what he had heard about the Prophet (pbuh).
On hearing this Heraclius commanded his soldiers: Go and
find me someone who can tell me more about this.' The
soldiers, however, did not find those who had been talking
about the Prophet (pbuh), but instead found Abu Sufyan and
some of his companions and brought them before the
Heraclius asked, 'Is there anyone among you who is a close
relative of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)?' Abu Sufyan
replied, ‘I am.’ So the Emperor addressed all the questions to
him, thinking he would know the Prophet (pbuh) best. He said,
'Tell me what is the Prophet's position in your tribe" Abu
Sufyan said, 'he is a member of our most respected family. Did
anyone before him say the kinds of things he says?' the
Emperor went on. ‘No.’ was the reply.' And was he ever
accused of lying or cheating?' ‘Never.’ And then the Emperor
asked: ‘And what about his ideas and opinions, and his powers
of reasoning?’ ‘No one has ever had cause to doubt him or find
fault with his reasoning’, replied Abu Sufyan. ‘Who follows him,
the proud or the humble?’ ‘The humble.’ ‘Do his followers
increase or decrease?’ ‘They increase’, said Abu Sufyan, ‘none
of his followers leave him.’ The Emperor then turned to other
matters and asked: ‘If he makes a treaty, does he keep it?’
‘Yes’, Abu Sufyan replied. ‘Did you ever fight against him?’
inquired the Emperor. To which Abu Sufyan answered: ‘Yes.
Sometimes we won, sometimes he won, but he never broke
his word in any agreement.’ The emperor then asked: ‘What
does he say people must do?’ ‘To worship one God’, said Abu
Sufyan. ‘He forbids people to worship as their fathers
worshipped, and says they must pray to Allah alone, give
elms, keep their word, and fulfil their duties and
responsibilities.’ Abu Sufyan had spoken the truth even though
he was an enemy of the prophet (pbuh), and did not become a
Muslim until the very end of his life. But he was afraid to lie
before the members of his caravan who were also there with
him. The meeting ended with these words from the Emperor:
‘I see from this that he is indeed a prophet. You said that his
followers don not leave him which proves they have true faith,
for faith does not enter the heart and then go away. I knew he
was coming and if what you say is true, he will surely conquer
me. If I were with him now, I would wash his feet. You may
leave now.’
It was not long after this that the messenger, Dihyah,
arrived at the Syrian court bearing the Prophet Mohammed’s
letter which said, ‘If you accept Islam you will be safe and
Allah will give you a double reward. If you do not, you will
have to live with results of your decision.’ Heraclius grabbed
the letter. He was so upset he could hardly control himself. He
said to Dihyah, ‘I know your master is a true prophet of Allah.
Our books tell of his coming.
If I were not afraid that the Romans would kill me, I would
join Islam. You must visit Bishop Daghatir and tell him every
thing. His word is more respected among the people than
mine.’ So Dihyah related the message to the Bishop and when
he heard it, Daghatir said, ‘Yes, your master whom we call
Ahmed is mentioned in our scriptures.’ He then changed from
his black ropes into white ones and went and spoke to the
people gathered in the church. ’O Romans, a letter has come
to us from Ahmed, in which he calls us to Allah. I bear witness
that there is no Divinity but Allah and that Ahmed is his slave
and messenger.’ (Ahmed is another name for the Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh).) But on hearing this the crowd grew angry
and attacked Daghatir, beating him until he was dead.
Heraclius was afraid that the same thing would happen to
him, so he spoke to his generals from a balcony saying, ‘O
Romans! A man has written to me calling me to his religion I
believe he is truly the prophet we have been told to expect.
Let us follow him so that we can be happy in this world and
the next.’ The Romans cried out in anger when they heard
this, so Heraclius quickly said, ‘I was only pretending; I
wanted to see how strong your faith was. I am pleased to see
that you are true to your religion.’ Heraclius then suggested
that they attack or give land to the Muslims in order to
maintain peace, but the Romans refused. Realizing that he
could do no more, and knowing that one day Islam would
conquer Syria, Heraclius left the province and returned to
Constantinople, the capital of Eastern Roman Empire.
As he rode away he turned around to look back and said,
‘Goodbye for the last time, O land of Syria!’ Meanwhile,
another of the Prophet’s messengers arrived at the palace of
Chosroes, the Shah (or king) of Persia, where he was told by
the royal guard: ‘When you see the Shah, you must bow and
not lift your head until he speaks to you.’ To this the Prophet’s
messenger replied, `I will never do that. I bow only to Allah.’
‘Then the Shah will not accept the letter you bring’, they said.
And when the time came for the messenger to see him, the
Shah was indeed very surprised to see the man holding his
head high and refusing to kneel respectfully before him like
everyone else. Nonetheless, the Shah still read out the letter:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful
“From Muhammad, Messenger of Allah to Chosroes, Shah of
Persia. Peace be upon those who follow the truth, who believe
in Allah and His Prophet and who testify that there is no
divinity but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger. I ask
you in the Name of Allah, because I am His Messenger, to
warn your people that if they do not accept His Message, they
must live with the consequences. Become Muslim and you will
be safe. If you refuse to tell them you will be to blame for the
ignorance of your subjects”.
The Shah was furious when he read this and tore the letter
into little pieces. When the messenger returned to Arabia and
told the Prophet (pbuh) what Chosroes had done, the Prophet
(pbuh) said, 'May Allah also tear his kingdom into little pieces.'
And several years later it happened just as the Prophet (pbuh)
had said it would. As with Syria and Persia, a messenger was
also sent to the Negus (or King) of Abyssinia, with the
following letter:
“Peace. Praise be to Allah, the King, the All-Holy, the
Peacemaker, the Keeper of Faith, the Watcher. “He is Allah,
there is no divinity but He, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One,
the All-peaceable, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the
Majestic, the Compeller, the All-sublime. Glorified be Allah
from all that they associate with Him”.(Koran lix.23)
And I testify that Jesus, son of Mary, is the spirit of Allah
and His Word which He cast to Mary the Virgin, the good, the
pure, so that she conceived Jesus. Allah created him from His
Spirit and His Breath as He created Adam by His Hand and His
Breath. I call you to Allah, the Unique, without partner, to His
obedience, and to follow me and to believe in that which came
to me, for I am the Messenger of Allah. Peace be upon all
those who follow true guidance.
The King of Abyssinia was a very wise man, and was
thought by the world to be a good Christian. He had, of
course, already heard of the Prophet (pbuh) and his religion
from the Muslims who had sought refuge in his country years
before. He was deeply moved by the letter and when he came
down from his throne it was not just to show his respect but
also to declare that he was already a Muslim. He answered the
Prophet's letter with one of his own. “To Muhammad the
Prophet of Allah from the Negus al-Asham, King of Abyssinia.
Assalamu aleikum 0 Prophet of Allah wa rahmatullah wa
There is none like Him who has guided me to Islam. I
received your letter, O Messenger of Allah. Some of your
followers, as well as your cousin Ja'far, still live here. I believe
you arc truly the Messenger of God and reaffirm the pledge of
allegiance I made to you some time ago before your cousin
Ja’far, at whose hand I joined Islam and surrendered to the
Lord of the Worlds.
A fourth messenger had, in the meantime, traveled by boat
to Alexandria to meet the Muqawqis, the ruler of Egypt, who
was a Coptic Christian. In his letter, the Prophet (pbuh) invited
the Muqawqis to accept Islam, because Christian who believed
in the message of Jesus should also believe in him, for he had
come with the same message from Allah. It read:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most
“From Muhammad, son of 'Abd Allah to the great Copt.
Peace he upon whoever follows the Truth. I beseech you to
accept Islam. Become a Muslim. Allah will reward you twice.
If you refuse, you will carry the blame for not allowing your
people to share in this blessing”. The Muqawqis showed
respect for what the letter said. He treated the messenger
well, and sent many presents with him for the Prophet (pbuh),
but he did not become a Muslim. Although only Abyssinia
responded to the Prophet's call to Islam, all was not lost, for a
few years later Persia, Syria and Egypt all became Muslim
Entry Into Mecca
Despite the improved relations between Mecca and Medinah
after the signing of the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, the ten-year
peace was to be broken by Quraysh who, with their allies, the
Bani Bakr, attacked the Khuza’ah tribe. Now Khuza’ah were
allies of the Muslims and when the Prophet (pbuh)heard of the
attack he immediately ordered his men to prepare for war.
When they were ready he told them that their destination was
Mecca and, as he did not want any fighting within the walls of
the city, he told them they must move quickly and take the
enemy by surprise. In this way the Meccans would not have
time to prepare for war and, being surrounded would have to
surrender. The Muslims would then be able to take the city
without injury or loss of life to anyone.
When the Muslim army, which numbered ten thousand, set
out for Mecca it was the month of Ramadan in the eighth year
of the Hijrah. Many of the men kept the fast, even though they
were not obliged to because they were travelling. Everyone
was jubilant because they were going to Mecca, especially as
some of them had not seen their homes in the city for eight
long years. In the meantime, the Prophet's uncle, al-'Abbas,
had decided that the time had come for him and his wife to
leave Mecca and join the Prophet (pbuh) in Medinah. They did
not, however, have to go far as after a distance of only
twenty-five kilometers they came across the Muslim camp.
When the Prophet (pbuh) saw them he said, 'Uncle, your
emigration is the last emigration. My prophecy is the last
prophecy.' Al-'Abbas then joined the army and his wife went
on to the safety of Medinah.
Night fell and the Muslims made fires to light their camp.
The Meccans, looking out of the city, were amazed to see the
many fires, and Abu Sufyan went all over Mecca trying to find
out whose camp it was. Suddenly he saw al-‘Abbas riding
towards him from the direction of the fires. He was returning
as a messenger of peace from the Prophet (pbuh) and said to
Abu Sufyan, 'The Muslims have come with a large army.
They do not wish to fight, only to enter the city. It would be
better to surrender and not fight. Come under my protection
and meet the Prophet (pbuh).' Abu Sufyan agreed, and got up
behind al-Abbas, who was riding the Prophet’s white mule. It
was still night as they entered the Muslim camp. Each time
they passed a fire, someone would call out, 'Who goes there?'
None of them recognized the stranger as the leader of their
enemy but all knew al-‘Abbas and so let them through. As they
passed by 'Umar, however, he immediately recognized Abu
Sufyan and yelled out, 'Abu Sufyan! The enemy of Allah!' He
ran after them intending to kill his enemy but al-‘Abbas made
the mule go faster. They reached the Prophet's tent just before
‘Umar who rushed in after them quite out of breath. 'Umar
begged the Prophet (pbuh), '0 Messenger of Allah, let me end
the life of Abu Sufyan, this enemy of Islam, who has led the
Quraysh armies in their attacks on us!' Al-‘Abbas interrupted,
saying, 'I have sworn to protect him during his time here
whereupon the Prophet (pbuh) told his uncle to take Abu
Sufyan to his tent for the night.
In the morning Abu Sufyan was taken to the Prophet
(pbuh) who said, 'Abu Sufyan! Have you not yet realized that
there is no divinity but Allah?' To this Abu Sufyan replied, 'If
there had been another he surely would Have helped me by
now.’ ‘Shame on you, Abu Sufyan', responded the Prophet
(pbuh), 'it is time you realize that I am truly Allah's
Messenger.' After a moment or two, Abu Sufyan, who
remembered how ‘Umar had not been allowed to kill him,
replied: 'I can see you are a generous and forgiving man but I
still cannot be sure of that.' At this, al-‘Abbas, who had been
standing nearby turned to him and said: ‘Believe as I do now.'
Abu Sufyan stood quietly for a moment, then in a calm, clear
voice swore in front of everyone, there is no divinity but Allah,
and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.'
The Prophet (pbuh) then told Abu Sufyan to go back to
Mecca and tell the people that the Muslims would enter the
city the next morning. Before he left, however, al-'Abbas
suggested to the Prophet (pbuh) that as Abu Sufyan was a
proud man, it would be good to give him an honorable
position. The Prophet (pbuh) took this advice, saying to Abu
Sufyan, 'Tell the people that when we enter, anyone seeking
refuge in your house will be safe.' This was a great honor for
Abu Sufyan.
In addition, the Prophet (pbuh) told him to assure the
Meccans that those who remained in their own homes or at the
Ka’bah would also be protected.
Abu Sufyan returned quickly to the city. He made straight
for the hill Hagar had climbed in her search for water and from
which the Prophet (pbuh) later spoke, and called upon
Quraysh to come to him. Abu Sufyan then spoke to the people,
'0 people of Mecca, the fires we saw all around us were the
camp fires of Muhammad and his men. He has come with a
strong army and there are too many for us to fight. It is best,
therefore, to surrender. Anyone who stays in my house, or in
his own home, or at the Ka'bah will be safe.'
Early next day, the Muslims entered Mecca from all sides.
They had been ordered to cause no harm unless anyone tried
to stop them entering. When the Prophet (pbuh) arrived, he
got off his camel, bowed down on the ground and thanked
Allah for this victory. When the unbelievers saw this, they
knew that the Prophet (pbuh) had come in peace. People
began leaving their homes and running towards the Ka’bah.
When they arrived there, they found the Prophet (pbuh)
performing the ritual encircling of the Ka'bah, the tawaf on his
camel, surrounded by the Muslims. When he had finished, he
said, 'There no divinity except Allah and He has no partner.
Men and women of Quraysh be not proud for all are equal; we
are all the sons of Adam, and Adam was made of dust.' Then
he recited this verse to them:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female,
and have made you nations and tribes so you may know each
another. Surely the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the
best in conduct. Lo! Allah is All-knowing, All-aware”. (Koran
After this he said to them: 'O Quraysh, what do you think I
am going to do to you?' The people thought carefully before
answering because they knew that according to the laws of
war they could all be taken prisoner. They also knew,
however, that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was generous,
so they replied, ‘You will treat us as a kind nephew and a
generous brother would.'
To this he replied with the words used by the Prophet
Joseph when his brothers came to Egypt: 'God forgives you
and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.' Later the Prophet
(pbuh) went to the hill of Safa and there the crowd followed
him and surged forward, taking his hand one by one, to
declare themselves Muslim. He then turned to the Ka'bah and,
pointing his staff at the three hundred and sixty-five idols
which were placed there, recited from the Koran:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“… Truth has come and falsehood has vanished away. Lo!
Falsehood is ever bound to vanish”. (Koran xvii.81)
At this, each idol fell over onto its face. Together with his
followers the Prophet (pbuh) then proceeded to purify the
Ka'bah, after which he ordered Bilal to climb on top of it and
perform the call to prayer. Since then the call to prayer has
been heard five times a day in Mecca.
The Ka'bah, the House of Allah, has served the purpose for
which it was built by Abraham thousands of years ago, as a
sanctuary for the worship of Allah, our Creator, and Mecca
continues to be the spiritual centre of Islam.
On the day Mecca was conquered, the Prophet (pbuh)
addressed the people saying: 'Allah made Mecca holy the day
He created heaven and earth and it is the Holy of Holies until
the Resurrection Day. It is not lawful for anyone who believes
in Allah and the Last Day to shed blood therein, nor to cut
down trees therein. It was not lawful for anyone before me
and it will not be lawful for anyone after me.
Indeed it is not lawful for me except at this time, only Allah's
anger against his people makes it permissible. Mecca has now
regained its former holiness. Let those here now go forth and
tell others.'
The Lesson Of Pride At The Valley Of Hunayn
Islam flourished in Mecca and the Muslims became
stronger and stronger. But south of Mecca lived a tribe of
warriors called Hawazin, who had not become Muslim. They
made an agreement with another tribe from Ta'if, called Thaqif
to fight the Muslims and destroy them before they could
spread their religion throughout Arabia. The Thaqif, who were
known for their courage, soon won the support of other tribes
living around the Ta'if area, especially when such tribes were
told: ‘Look what has happened! If Quraysh, the largest tribe of
all, have fallen to Muhammad, it is only a matter of time
before the same will happen to the rest of us. We should strike
now before the Muslims are established in Mecca and have the
support of Quraysh.' The Chief of one of these tribes, a
fearless warrior called Malik Ibn ‘Awf, was chosen as the
leader. He put forward a plan: 'You should all go out to battle
accompanied by your families, your tents, your sheep and
goats, for with all your belongings at stake, none of you will
dare give up the fight.'
Everyone agreed with Malik except an old, blind man called
Dorayd. He had been a great warrior in his day and because of
his experience and valuable advice still accompanied the men
into battle. 'I don't like Malik's plan', he insisted. 'If a man is
so cowardly as to leave a battle, then he will leave his family
as well. The women and children will be a great worry to us
and if we are defeated all our wealth will fall into enemy
hands.' But Malik ignored this advice and stuck to his original
plan. When the Prophet (pbuh) heard what the enemy tribes
were planning, he found himself forced to fight and ordered his
army towards Ta’if. He had twelve thousand men and the
enemy only four thousand. The Muslims were proud of their
strength and as they looked around at their number, said to
themselves, 'We will never be defeated!' On hearing this the
Prophet (pbuh) knew that the Muslims had become too proud
and because of this would not succeed.
He warned them, 'Look to Allah and not to your own
The time for battle came. The Muslim army advanced along
the Hunayn path, a narrow way in the rugged mountains,
towards the valley where the Hawazin and the other tribes
were waiting. It was very early morning and not yet light. The
Muslims were unaware that, under cover of darkness, the
Hawazin warriors had already climbed up the mountain and
were waiting for them. As soon as all the Muslims were
trapped in the narrow passage-way below, the Hawazin
ambushed them. First they threw rocks down upon them and
then attacked with arrows and swords.
In surprise and fear, the Muslims started to retreat. The
Prophet (pbuh) was bitterly disappointed to see them fleeing in
terror but he stayed firmly in his place with Abu Bakr, 'Ali, his
uncle al-‘Abbas, and a few companions at his side. Al-'Abbas
then called to the Muslims to return and not to abandon the
Prophet (pbuh). Ashamed at what they had done, and seeing
the Prophet (pbuh) facing the enemy almost alone, the
Muslims quickly returned to fight. Then Allah sent His angelsthe
hosts ye cannot see-to their aid. A fierce battle followed.
The Muslim warriors advanced, attacking furiously, driving the
Hawazin back from the path into the valley, where the fighting
went on long and hard. At the end of the day the Muslims won
but not before having learned a hard lesson about the danger
of pride.
Just as the old man had predicted, the defeated enemy
fled, leaving their families and possessions to be captured.
Later all the leaders of the tribes except one came to ask for
them back and to declare their acceptance of Islam. The
Prophet (pbuh) forgave them and returned their families to
them, but not their belongings. The one exception was the
leader of Hawazin. He fled to Ta'if, where he sought protection
in the castle, but the Muslims pursued him and surrounded the
city, which they besieged for about three weeks.
They tried to break into the castle but after losing many
men in the attempt the Prophet (pbuh) ordered a withdrawal.
The story did not end there, however, for shortly afterwards
Hawazin and most of the other tribes came to Mecca and
declared themselves Muslim, including Malik Ibn Awf, who had
led them in battle and whom the Prophet (pbuh) now made
their leader.
After the battle of the Hunayn Valley, the Prophet (pbuh)
distributed what goods had been taken between the people of
Quraysh and the other Bedouin tribes. The Ansar from
Medinah, who had been his only support during the long hard
years before the conquest of Mecca, received nothing. They
felt angry about this and went to the Prophet (pbuh) to
complain. He said to them, what is this I hear of you? Do you
think badly of me? Did I not come to you when you did not
know the truth and Allah guided you; when you were poor and
Allah made you rich; when you were enemies and Allah
softened your hearts? Are you covetous for the things of this
world that I must use to gain people's trust so that I can then
lead them to Islam? Surely for you Islam is enough? Are you
not satisfied that while some men take away flocks and herds
you take Allah's Messenger back with you to Medinah?' On
hearing this, all the men felt very contrite and began to weep
then with great humility and reverence their spokesman said:
'We are indeed well pleased to have Allah's Messenger as our
gift in this life.’ Perhaps we could ask ourselves the same
question. Are we not blessed to have the Prophet Muhammad
(pbuh) and the Book, guiding us in what really matters for
ever and ever? Is this not so much more important than
thinking about the momentary pleasures of the day?
Shortly after this the Ansar left for Medinah accompanied
by the Prophet (pbuh). He could have stayed among his own
people and lived out his days in Mecca, but he returned as he
had promised, to live among the people of Medinah, which was
a great blessing for them.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Allah gave you victory on many fields and on the day of
Hunayn, when you exulted in your great numbers it was of no
help to you, and the earth, vast as it is, was straitened for
you; then you turned back in flight; Then Allah sent His peace
of reassurance down upon is Messenger and upon the
believers, and sent down hosts you could not see, and
punished those who did not believe. Such is the reward of
disbelievers. Then afterwards Allah will relent toward whom He
will; for Allah is Forgiving, Merciful”. (Koran ix.25-27)
Tabuk-The Test Of Faith
News of the growing power of the Muslims, as more and
more of Arabia followed the Prophet (pbuh), eventually
reached Heraclius, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire. The
Romans saw the uniting of the Arabs in Islam as a possible
threat to their Empire and the Emperor's advisors and
generals, therefore, decided that the best thing to do would be
to attack the Muslims from the north and east at the same
time and destroy Islam once and for all.
Two years had passed since Heraclius had told them of the
Prophet's letter asking them to submit to Islam, but just as
then, they were in no mood now to listen to such ideas. When
the Prophet (pbuh) heard of the Romans' plans, he decided
that it would be better to meet the Roman army in Tabuk,
some 500 kilometers form Medinah on the route to Syria, than
to await an attack on Medinah. One reason for this decision
was that the Prophet (pbuh) felt that if the Muslims were
defeated at Medinah, the city as well as the army would be
taken, which would mean the end of Islam. This was a very
hard decision for him to make because not only was Tabuk a
very long way away, but it was also harvest time and a
particularly hot year. Added to this was the fact that the
enemy had an enormous army. Now at this time there were
some people living in Medinah who were not true believers.
They were called 'hypocrites' because they pretended to
believe but hid what was truly in their hearts. When the
Prophet (pbuh) everyone to war, these hypocrites tried to
create fear and doubt among the Muslims, saying 'How can we
hope to defeat the Romans whose great empire stretches over
vast areas of the world? And even if we could, we will not get
the chance because the long journey and the heat will defeat
us first. In any case, our crops and fruits are ready to be
harvested; how can we leave them? We will be ruined if we
All that the hypocrites said severely tested the Muslims.
Who would continue to fight for his religion against such odds?
Who would have the courage to give his wealth to help equip
an army? This test of faith would indeed show who the true
Muslims were. On this question, Allah revealed the following
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“O you who believe! What aileth you that when it is said
unto you: Go forth in the way of Allah, you are bowed down to
the ground with heaviness. Do you take pleasure in the life of
the world rather than in the Hereafter? The comfort of the life
of the world is but little in the Hereafter”. (Koran lx.38)
To form and equip an army the Prophet (pbuh) needed a
great deal of money and despite all that the hypocrites had
said, many Muslims, especially the Prophet’s close friends,
were willing to help. 'Uthman Ibn ‘Affan, for instance,
generously provided horses and arms for ten thousand soldiers
and Abu Bakr gave all that he had in the world. ‘Umar, too,
gave a great deal, and in this way the Prophet (pbuh) was able
to equip an army of forty thousand soldiers.
Finally everything was ready but just as they were about to
leave, seven more men came to the Prophet (pbuh) to ask if
they could go with him. Unfortunately, he had to refuse
because there were no animals for them to ride. The seven
men were so upset that they wept as they left. With nothing
more to be done, the army moved off, but just then several
spare camels were found. On learning of this, the Prophet
(pbuh) sent for the seven men, who were overjoyed to find
that they could join him in his fight.
By now the Romans had heard that the Muslims were
coming out to meet them. They felt even more sure of victory
when they heard this because they believed that it would be
quite impossible for an army to cross a waterless desert in the
scorching summer sun. Even if by some miracle the Muslims
succeeded, they would be so exhausted that it would be easy
to defeat them.
As it happed the heat was so intense and the journey so
difficult that several Muslims did turn back. The Prophet
(pbuh) and most of the others, however, continued until they
finally ran out of water. The expedition now seemed hopeless
as the men grew thirstier and thirstier. The Prophet (pbuh)
prayed to Allah for help and, as he finished his prayer, the first
drops of rain came splashing down. The rain continued to fall
until all the Muslims had drunk their fill. That night they slept
soundly for the first time in days, refreshed by the water and
confident that Bilal would wake them as usual for the dawn
prayer. But Bilal slept so deeply that he did not wake up. It
was the first time that the Muslims had missed a prayer and
they were very upset. The Prophet (pbuh), however, was not
angry with Bilal and told the Muslims that they need not be
upset because they had not intentionally missed the prayer.
The Prophet (pbuh) and his army continued their trek
across the desert and finally arrived at the oasis of Tabuk.
When they got there, however, they were surprised to find
that the Roman army had retreated in fear on hearing of the
miraculous crossing of the desert by the Muslims. The Prophet
(pbuh) waited at the oasis for a while but when it became
apparent that the Romans were not going to fight, he gave the
order to return home. The enemy was not pursued because
the Prophet (pbuh) only fought when attacked. The long march
to Tabuk had been yet another test of faith for the Muslims.
Even so, there were still some among those who made that
heroic journey who were hypocrites, pretending to be sincere
while being enemies of Islam in their hearts. No one could
have suspected that anyone who had made that journey
across the desert with the Prophet (pbuh) would be an enemy
of his.
Realizing this, several hypocrites plotted to kill the Prophet
(pbuh) by pushing him off the top of a high, rocky passage
that ran between the mountains of ‘Aqabah. Before the army
reached this rocky passage, however, Allah warned the
Prophet (pbuh) about this wicked plan. The Prophet (pbuh),
therefore, ordered the entire army to travel through the valley
while he and his two guards went by way of the cliff. As the
plotters approached, he shouted to them so that they could
see that he knew of their plan, whereupon they quickly ran
back to the army and tried to hide among the rest of the
Later, the Prophet (pbuh) gathered his followers around him
and told them what had happened. He picked out the men who
had plotted against him and even told them the exact words
they had spoken to each other. Some of the Prophet's
companions said that these men should be killed, but the
Prophet (pbuh) forgave them. As soon as he arrived back in
Medinah, the Prophet (pbuh) went to the mosque and prayed.
Many of the hypocrites and the lukewarm who had not gone
with him to Tabuk came to give their reasons for not having
done so. Three men of spiritual value who had not joined the
army were subjected by the Prophet (pbuh) to the discipline of
waiting for Allah's forgiveness. For fifty days no one spoke to
them. Finally, Allah revealed a verse to the Prophet (pbuh)
which declared that these three men were forgiven:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Allah hath turned in mercy to the Prophet, and to the Muhajirin
and the Ansar who followed him in the hour of hardship. After the
hearts of a party of them had almost swerved aside, then He turned
unto them in mercy. Lo! He is full of Pity, Merciful. And to the three
also (did He turn in mercy) who were left behind, when the earth,
vast as it is, was straitened for them, and their own souls were
straitened for them till they understood that there is no refuge from
Allah save toward Him. Then He turned unto them in mercy that
they (too) might turn (repentant unto Him). Lo! Allah! He is the
Relenting, the Merciful. O you who believe! Be careful of your duty
to Allah, and be with tile truthful”. (Koran ix.117-119)
The Farewell Pilgrimage
The Prophet (pbuh) had become the most powerful leader in
the whole of Arabia. After the idols in the Ka'bah had been
smashed and Quraysh had become Muslim, most of the other
tribes of Arabia came to declare their Islam. The year in which
they came was later to be called the Year of Deputations. As
each tribe joined Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) sent
his men to teach them about their new religion. Many people
also came to Medinah to question the Prophet (pbuh) himself.
One tribe sent a man called Dimam, who was large and strong.
On arriving in Medinah, he went straight to the mosque, where
the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was sitting with some of his
companions, and stood over the Prophet (pbuh). In a loud,
rough voice he asked, 'Which of you is the son of 'Abd al-
Muttalib?' When the Prophet (pbuh) answered him Dimam
went on, 'I am going to ask you a hard question, so do not
misunderstand me. I ask you to swear by Allah, your Allah, the
Allah of those before you and the Allah of those who will come
after you, has He sent you to us as a messenger?' 'Yes, He
has', replied the Prophet (pbuh). 'Has Allah instructed you to
order us to serve Him; to pray these five prayers; to pay alms;
to fast; to make the pilgrimage and to follow the other laws of
Islam)?' continued Dimam. When the Prophet (pbuh)
answered that Allah had indeed instructed him in this way,
Dimam became a Muslim and, as he left, added, 'Then I will do
the things we are told to do and avoid the things we are
forbidden-no more and no less.` As Dimam mounted his camel
to leave, the Prophet(pbuh) told the people around him, 'If this
man is sincere, he will go to Paradise.' When Dimam reached
his people they all thought he had gone mad but by nightfall,
after he had finished speaking, there was not among them
that had not accepted Islam.
When the time came for the yearly pilgrimage, it was
proclaimed that the prophet (pbuh) would be going to Mecca.
The Muslims flocked to Medinah from all over Arabia to join
him on his journey to the Ka’bah. As the tribes arrived they
camped around the city until they finally numbered more than
thirty thousand.
The Prophet (pbuh) went out with his family and friends to
pilgrimage, but before setting off, he led all the Muslims in
prayer. After the prayers, the Prophet (pbuh) got on his camel
and headed towards Mecca followed by the pilgrims, all of
whom, for the first time in centuries, worshipped Allah, the
One God. The Prophet (pbuh) and his companions were deeply
moved by the sight of the huge number of Muslims
accompanying them to Mecca, carrying no arms, and fearing
no one. They could not help but remember their original flight
from Mecca when they had been so few in number and were
forced to leave in order to avoid the anger of Quraysh.
Throughout the journey the Muslims repeated a prayer taught
to them by the Prophet (pbuh) which he in turn had received
from the Archangel Gabriel. This prayer, the talbiyah, has been
part of the Hajj ritual ever since. It is in answer to the call
Abraham was commanded to make when he and Ishmael
finished building the Ka’bah.
Labaik Allahumma labaik, labaik la sharika laka labaik in alhamd
wa al-ni'amatu laka wal-mulk, la sharika laka. Here I
am, O Allah, at Thy service. Here I am, Thou art without
partner, here I am. All Praise and blessings are thine, and
Dominion! Thou art without partner!
After ten days the pilgrims marched at sunset through the
same pass by which they had entered on the Day of Conquest
of Mecca. When they reached the Ka’bah, the Prophet (pbuh)
stood before it in prayer, then he and all the Muslims walked
around it seven times saying their prayer aloud. Next, just as
Abraham had done, they went towards the Mount of Mercy at
'Arafah, which the Prophet (pbuh) ascended on a camel. From
the mountain he led the people in prayer and then spoke to
them as they stood assembled on the vast plain below.
What the Prophet (pbuh) said is known as the ‘Farewell
Sermon’, because it was the last speech the Prophet (pbuh)
made before he died. He said, 'surely you will meet your Lord
and He will question you about your works.' He asked the
Muslims to take their guidance from the Koran and from his
own example. This, he said, was the best way to live. He
ordered them to cease living in the way they had before Islam.
Revenge, one of the oldest traditions in Arabia, was ended
forever; usury was prohibited; property was to be respected.
Things which previously were forbidden during the four sacred
months of the year were now forbidden at all times. He then
commanded, 'Know that every Muslim is a Muslim's brother',
which was a completely new idea to the tribes who had so
often quarreled in the past. He also said, 'Allah has given
everyone his due-exactly what each one deserves. After each
point the Prophet (pbuh) asked, 'Have I explained it well? Is it
perfectly clear?' Everyone answered, 'Yes.' For these were the
people who would have to pass on the Prophet's message and
instructions to those who were unable to be present that day
and to future generations. The Prophet (pbuh) said, 'I have left
you two things. If you hold on to them you will be saved. They
are Allah's Book and the words of your Prophet.' He then
asked, 'Have I not conveyed the message?' The multitude
shouted out, 'By Allah, yes!' The Prophet (pbuh) ended, '0
Allah! Bear witness to that.'
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“… This day those who disbelieve are in despair of (ever
harming) your religion; so do not fear them, but fear Me! This
day I have perfected your religion, for you, and I have
completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as a
religion AL-ISLAM”. (Koran v.3) Many Muslims started to shed
tears, knowing that if the Prophet (pbuh) had completed his
message, his life must be near its end.
After spending the rest of the day of ‘Arafah in prayer and
contemplation, the Muslims began to complete the pilgrimage by
returning to Mecca with the talbiyah prayer still on their lips. The
first night of the return journey was spent at Muzdalifah. Here they
gathered pebbles, which they carried with them the next day to
Mina. There they stood before a huge rock and stoned it in
remembrance of Abraham's meeting with the Devil in that very
place. When Abraham received the order from Allah to sacrifice his
son Ishmael as a test of his faith, the Devil had tried to convince
him not to do it. He came to Abraham at Mina, as he was on his
way to carry out Allah's command, but Abraham took some stones
and hurled them at the Devil to drive him away since the casting of
stones at Mina on the Prophet's 'Farewell Pilgrimage', this has
become another ritual which Muslims perform on the annual
pilgrimage to remind them that they, too, must continue to drive
the Devil away when he tries to prevent them from being obedient
to Allah. After throwing the stones, the pilgrims sacrificed sheep and
camels and gave the meat to the poor. In this way the great faith of
Abraham was remembered, for when he had been ready to sacrifice
Ishmael, Allah had sent a sheep in his place. The Muslims then
completed the pilgrimage by again circling the Ka’bah seven times.
They then cut their hair and nails and changed out of their white
clothes to show they had returned to their daily lives. Before
returning to Medinah, the Muslims spent three nights in the valley
at Medinah where the final preparations were made for the journey
As for the Prophet (pbuh), he made one final visit before
leaving Mecca. This was to the grave of his devoted wife,
Khadijah, who had been the first person to believe in Allah's
Revelation through him. The Prophet (pbuh) knew that this
would be the last time he would see the grave, or Mecca,
because during the pilgrimage he had received the chapter of
the Koran called 'Help', form which he knew that his death was
not far away.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“When Allah's help and triumph comes And thou seest,
mankind entering the religion of Allah in troops, Then hymn
the praises of thy Lord, and seek forgiveness of Him. Lo! He is
ever ready to show mercy”. (Koran cx.1-3)
The Prophet’s Death
One Night, shortly after his return to Medinah, the
Prophet(pbuh) woke up at midnight and asked his servant’ Abd
Allah to saddle his mule. They then left the house and went to
the Baqi al-Gharqad, the burial ground of the Muslims. There
the Prophet (pbuh) stood in the front of the graves and, as
though he could see the Muslims buried in them, spoke to
them and prayed over them. Later, ’Abd Allah reported, ’The
Prophet (pbuh) told me that he was ordered to pray for the
dead and that I was to go with him.’
After the Prophet (pbuh) had prayed he turned to ‘Abd Allah
and said, ‘I can choose between all the riches of this world, a
long life and then Paradise, or meeting my Lord and entering
Paradise now.’ ‘Abd Allah begged him to choose a long, rich
life, followed by Paradise, but the Prophet (pbuh) told him that
he had already chosen to meet his Lord now rather than
remain in the world. The following morning the Prophet (pbuh)
awoke with a terrible headache, but despite this he had led the
prayers at the mosque. From what he said afterwards to the
people assembled there, they understood that his death was
near. The Prophet (pbuh) praised his best friend, Abu Bakr,
who had begun to weep, and told everyone that he knew they
would all meet again at a pool in Paradise. He added, however
that although he was sure they would always worship Allah
alone, he feared that the pleasures of the world would attract
them, and they would begin to compete with one another for
material possessions, forgetting spiritual things. Soon after the
Prophet (pbuh) requested that he be moved to the room of
A’isha, one of his wives. As the days passed his fever grew
worse, until one day he was so ill that he could not even get to
the mosque, which was next to where A’isha lived. The
Prophet (pbuh) told A’isha to tell the Muslims to let Abu Bakr,
her father, lead the prayer, which made them very sad for this
was the first time anyone had taken the Prophet's place.
Later, on the 12th day of Rabi al-Awal, in the 11th year of
Islam (June 8
632 A.D.), the Prophet (pbuh) heard the voices
of the people in prayer. With great effort he got up and looked
from his door at all the Muslims who were assembled in rows
behind Abu bakr; he smiled with great satisfaction. Abu Bakr
saw him and stepped back to give the Prophet (pbuh) his
place. The Muslims were happy, thinking he was going to pray
with them as before, but the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who
looked radiantly beautiful that day signaled to them to
continue on their own. He prayed in a sitting position at the
right of Abu Bakr, after which he went back inside and lay his
head on 'A'ishah's lap. He was in such pain that his daughter
Fatimah cried out in pity. Then the Prophet (pbuh) said, 'There
is no pain for your father after this day; truly, death has
appeared to me. We must all suffer it till the Day of
Judgement.' As he lay there, A'ishah remembered that he had
once said, Allah never takes a Prophet to Himself without
giving him the choice.' Then she heard the Prophet (pbuh)
speak. His last words were, 'Nay, rather the Exalted
Communion of Paradise.'
A’ishah then said to herself, 'So, by Allah, he is not
choosing us!' When the people in the mosque heard that the
Prophet (pbuh) was dead, they were filled with grief. ‘Umar
could not, and would not, believe it, and exclaimed that it was
not true. Abu Bakr then went out and spoke gently to the
people, saying 'All praise belongs to Allah! 0 people, whoever
worshipped Muhammad, Muhammad is dead. But for him who
worships Allah, Allah is living and never dies.'
He then recited this verse from the Koran which had been
revealed after the battle of Uhud:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“Muhammad is but a messenger, messengers (the like of
whom) have passed away before him. Will it be that, when he
dies or is slain, you will turn back on your heels? He who turns
back does no hurt to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful.
No soul can ever die except by Allah's permission and at a
term appointed.
Who so desires the reward of the world, We bestow on him
thereof; and whosoever desires the reward of the Hereafter,
We bestow on him thereof We shall reward the thankful”.
(Koran iii.144-145)
After this the people pledged their loyalty to Abu Bakr,
whom the Prophet (pbuh) had chosen to lead the prayer. Abu
Bakr accepted and concluded what he had to say with these
words: 'Obey me so long as I obey Allah and His Messenger.
But if I disobey Allah and His Messenger, you owe me no
obedience. Arise for your prayer, Allah have mercy upon you!'
The people rose and asked him; 'Where will the Prophet
(pbuh) be buried?' Abu Bakr remembered that the Prophet
(pbuh) had said, 'No Prophet dies who is not buried on the
spot where he died.' And so the Prophet (pbuh) was buried in
a grave dug in the floor of A'ishah's room, in the house next to
the mosque. The spot became known as the Haram al-Nabawi
and Muslims from all over the world go there to pray and to
give their blessings and greetings of peace the Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh). And Lo! thine verily will be a reward
unfailing. And Lo! thou art of a tremendous nature. (Koran
lxvii. 3-4)
Abd Allah Abd al-Mulib's youngest son. Father of the
Abd Allah Ibn One of the rulers of Yathrib before the
Ubayy Hijrah. He became a Muslim but secretly
plotted with the Meccans against the
Abd Al- Son of Hashim. He took the place of his
Muttalib father as the head of Quraysh. He dug the
well of Zamzam.
Abd Allah Ibn : Was sent with Amr Ibn al-'Ass to
Abu Rabiah Abyssinia.
Abdu Manaf Son of Qusayy; took over as leader of the
Quraysh after his father's death.
Abrahah King of Yemen who came to Mecca with a
big army to destroy the Kabbah.
Abraham The founding father of the three
(Ibrahtm) monotheistic (worshipping one God only)
religions-Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The descendants of his son Ish maci
(fsma'ii) formed the tribe of Quraysh,
which is the tribe of the Prophet
Abo Bakr A rich and much respected merchant of
Mecca. The first man to believe in the Prophet
and embrace Islam. He was the Prophet's
closest friend and companion.
Abu Dujanah One of the great Ansar warriors. lt was he
who died Shielding the Prophet with his
ownbody during the battle of Uhud
Abujahl One of the important men of Quraysh.
Violently opposed to
Islam, he did many things to harm the
Prophet. He was killed at Badr. ABU
LAHAB: One of the Prophet Mohammed’s
uncles, who was a great enemy of Islam.
He is referred to in the Koran in Surah cxi.
Abu Sufyan One of the leaders of Quraysh who led the
unbelievers in their fight against the
Prophet. He finally became a Muslim. His
wife was Hind.
Abo Talib The Prophet's uncle, father of 'Ali, one of the
respected men of Quraysh He took care of the
Prophet after his grandfather died and
continued to protect him until his own death.
'Addas A Christian servant of one of the big tribes
of Ta'if and the only person from this town
to believe in the Prophet ~ at the time of
his first visit there.
Adhan Call to prayer.
'Aisah The Prophet's wife and daughter of Abu
Al-'Abbas One of the uncles of the Prophet ~.
Converted to Islam and joined the Muslims
just as they were about to enter Mecca.
Ali Son of Abu Tilib. First cousin of the
Prophet. 'Ali later married Fatimah, the
youngest daughter of the Prophet.
Allahu Akar Phrase meaning 'God Allah is Great'.
Alms Money, clothes or food given to the poor.
Aminah Aminah bint Wahb. The motherof the Prophet.
'Amro Ibun An important and clever man from
Al'ass Quraysh; was sent to Abyssinia to bring
back the first Muslim emigrants.
became one of the great Warriors of Islam.
Ansar The inhabitants of Medinah who became
Muslims and asked the Prophet to come
and live with them.
Apostle Person sent to teach men about God.
Wa Aleikum Phrase used by the Muslims in greeting,
Assalamu meaning: 'May the Peace, Mercy and Grace
Rahmatullah of Allah be upon you.
Bah1ira A monk who lived in the desert on the
Quraysh caravan route to Syria.
Bani Hashim The branch of Quraysh to
which the Prophet belonged.
Bani Qurayzah A Jewish tribe who were living in Yathrib
at the time the Prophet arrived there. Several
times they betrayed their Covenant with
the Prophet, forcing him to fight them.
Bedouin Nomadic Arabs of the desert,
usually shepherds.
Bilal The Slave of Umayyah ibn Khalaf. He
became a Muslim against the will of his
master and was persecuted cruelly but
never lost his faith. Later he became the
first mu'adhdhin (the person who calls the
Bismillah The phrase meaning 'In the Name of Allah
the Merciful, The Compassionate'.
Booty Things captured from an enemy in war.
Buraq Animal ridden by the Prophet Muliammad ~
on his ascent to heaven (the Isra' and Mi'raj).
Caravan A group of travellers, usually merchants
with their goods.
Clan Large family or tribe.
Congregation Gathering of people for prayer.
Convert To change from one state into another,
usually said of religion.
Copt An Egyptian Christian.
Descendants People originating from a certain person
grandchildren, etc.).
Destined Fated, already decided by God.
Famine Scarcity of food.
Fast To go without food and water, e.g. the
month of Ramadan.
Fitrah The pure original nature God gave to man.
Gabriel (Jibril) The Archangel who conveyed the
Revelation of the Quran to the Prophet from
Graze To feed on grass, as sheep do.
Guardian One who is responsible for someone (e.g. a
child)? A place, or thing.
Hadith An account of what the Prophet ~ said or
did, or his silent approval of something said
or done in his presence
Hagar Abraham's second wife and mother of his
(Haajar) first son Ishmael.
Halimah A Bedouin woman from Bani Sa'd, who
cared for the Prophet during his early
Hamzah The Prophet's uncle; one of the bravest
and strongest of the Muslims. Fought at
Badr and was killed in Uhud.
Has Him Son of Abdu Manif. Organized the caravan
journeys of Quraysh to Syria and Yemen.
As a result Mecca grew rich and became a
large and important centre of trade.
Heraclius Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Hermit A holy man who lives far away from
Hiurah The flight from Mecca to Medinah;
Hind Abu Sufyin's wife.
Imam A man who leads the Muslims in prayer.
Ishmael The first son of Abraham from his wife
(Isma'il) Hagar. Settled in Mecca where he helped
his father rebuild the Kabah. From his
descendants came Quraysh.
Islam Religion revealed to the Prophet
Ja'far Ibn Abu A cousin of the Prophet and brother of
Tallb he was the spokesman of the Muslims who
emigrated to Abyssinia.
Khadijah The Prophet Mohammed’s first and only
wife until her death. She was the first to
believe in the Prophet and to accept as true
the Message he brought from Allah.
Khalid Ibn Al- A great warrior, very skilled at warfare. He
Walid planned the defeat of the Muslims at Uhud,
but later converted to Islam and fought
even more strongly for his new faith.
Martyr One who dies in the cause of God.
Maysarah Khadijah's slave. Accompanied the Prophet
on his journey with Khadijah's caravans.
Minaret Tower from which the call to prayer is
Mosque Building in which Muslims pray.
Muslim One who submits to God, usually referring
to the followers of the Prophet Muhammad.
Oasis A small area in the desert where water and
trees are to be found.
Paradise Place to which the souls of good people go
after death
Pilgrimage Journey to a holy place, e.g. Hajj