Yearly Archives: 2012

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Divine Revelation and Inspiration: It’s Nature, Protection, Preservation, Types, and Interaction

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Divine Revelation and Inspiration: It’s Nature, Protection, Preservation, Types, and Interaction

12-12-2012

Episode 30: Divine Revelation and Inspiration: It’s Nature, Protection, Preservation, Types, and Interaction

Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

From this point on, revelation was consistent. This episode discusses revelation in more detail.

Revelation is a treasure that warrants protection from dangers, like the shayateen of the jinn. The jinn are similar to humans in that there are believers and disbelievers amongst them. The shayateen al-jinn would eavesdrop on the discourse of the angels e.g. about the commands of Allah and the rizq and qadr of people.  They would then pass this information on to soothsayers, fortune-tellers and magicians. The latter would then convince people of their abilities to predict the future. The Quran was protected, as fireballs were sent against shayateen trying to steal news from the heavens. When they reported this to Iblis, he said this could only be happening because of an important event, and they were told to travel searching for the answer. It is said the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) stopped to pray Fajr and when they heard the Quran being recited, they stopped, listened and surmised that this is what had come between them and the news of the heavens.  Another narration relates that Iblis himself came to Makkah and he saw the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) coming down from Hira and Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam), and he then realised what had happened.

How would revelation come to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and what effect did it have upon him? Accounts from throughout his life report that:

  • Never did the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) leave a sitting or anyone from his family ever leave the house, except he would receive revelation i.e. it was frequent.
  • The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would be gripped by the weight and pressure of receiving revelation e.g. he would break into a sweat, even on the coldest of days, with the sweat dripping off his face as if they were pearls falling; his face would become red; his body and face would heat up; Zaid ibn Thabit reports that the Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) leg was over his when he received revelation, and it felt as if his leg would be crushed and break.
  • Close to his face, you could hear the sounds of bees buzzing.
  • The experience did not take away the Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) consciousness e.g. he received revelation when he was eating and holding food and he did not spill anything.
  • He would pull back from the people around him and not talk or respond to people.
  • His eyes would remain open, but his hearing and heart would become devoted to what was coming down.
  • He would receive revelation whilst riding his animal- on one occasion, Surah al-Ma’idah came down in its entirety whilst he was riding a camel: it was so heavy it weighed down the camel, so the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) descended as a mercy to the animal.
  • The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was seen to be moving his lips rapidly as he would try to read it back to Jibreel(alayhi as-salaam) who was relating the Quran to him. Allah revealed:

75: 16

Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur’an.

75:17

Indeed, upon Us is its collection [in your heart] and [to make possible] its recitation.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Pause and Continuation of Revelation

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Pause and Continuation of Revelation

12-5-2012

Episode 29: Pause and Continuation of Revelation

Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

The next major stage was the pause in revelation. However, some accounts report that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) received a second revelation straight after the first. These are reported to be the first few verses of Surah Qalam (68): some say the first 2 verses, others the first 4-5 verses.

68:1
Nun. By the pen and what they inscribe,


68:2
You are not, [O Muhammad], by the favor of your Lord, a madman.

 

68:3
And indeed, for you is a reward uninterrupted.


68:4
And indeed, you are of a great moral character.

Some reports say there was a third revelation to provide the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) recourse to cope with what was happening: Surah 73 (Al-Muzzammil).

73:1
O you who wraps himself [in clothing],


73:2
Arise [to pray] the night, except for a little –


73:3
Half of it – or subtract from it a little


73:4
Or add to it, and recite the Qur’an with measured recitation.


73:5
Indeed, We will cast upon you a heavy word.


73:6
Indeed, the hours of the night are more effective for concurrence [of heart and tongue] and more suitable for words.


73:7
Indeed, for you by day is prolonged occupation.

 

This revelation was to emphasise to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) that he would only be as solid as his night prayer to ‘charge his batteries’. Surprisingly, Allah is not telling him to rest at night, but to stand and pray and use this time to converse and connect with Allah.

Then, there was a pause in the revelation. The duration is not explicitly mentioned from the hadith, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself, or the people around him. Some scholars have tried to conclude the duration of the pause, with estimates ranging from a few days and weeks, to as long as 3 years: Allah knows best.Why the pause? It was to give the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) time to acclimate to the unusual experience. Also, once he became comfortable with the situation, it was for him to develop longing and anticipation for further revelation.

 

During this time, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) became worried, in case he had displeased Allah. It is said he went up a mountain and if Allah was upset with him, he would throw himself off the mountain. However, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not want to kill himself. Some explanations for this action include:

1)      There is always the possibility that this was a figure of speech e.g. like ‘screaming from the rooftop’.

2)      If taken literally, emotional expressions are very specific to time and culture. If you look at ancient societies, they were comfortable with powerful emotional expressions e.g. if there was a tragedy, a man would come to a public area, rip his shirt, pulling his hair and screaming. In today’s times, we would think of this behaviour as a sign of a psychological disorder. Also, there are some studies of science within the Islamic worldview that can never be reconciled with modern frames of scientific reference, as they are coming from a completely secular perspective.

3)      The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was willing to do anything to please his Lord.

In this situation, Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) would appear and say ‘You most definitely are the Messenger of Allah and this is the truth’. His words would calm the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and he would descend again.

Finally, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was walking through the marketplace in Makkah and he heard a sound from above. There, he saw Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) for the second time in his true form. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said it was even more overwhelming than the first time, with the angel sitting on a throne. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was shaken to the core and he felt like he could not walk. Thus, he sat down where he was. Managing to return home, he said, ‘Wrap me up in a blanket’. His wife did so, and he was sent the revelation of Surah 74: Al-Muddaththir.From this point on, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was a man with a mission.
74:1
O you who covers himself [with a garment],

 

74:2
Arise and warn

 

74:3
And your Lord glorify

 

74:4
And your clothing purify

 

74:5
And uncleanliness avoid

There are some accounts that the first revelation after the pause was Surah Duhaa (93). However, authentic narrations do not say this. Bukhari and Muslim report that this event occurred when the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) became ill and was in bed for 2-3 nights, and the revelation ceased. A lady came and mocked him, sarcastically saying that it looked like Allah had abandoned him. In response, Allah sent down Surah Duhaa:

93:1
By the morning brightness


93:2
And [by] the night when it covers with darkness,


93:3
Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muhammad], nor has He detested [you].

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Right Man For The Job: Aftermath of Revelation, Khadijah & Waraqah bin Nawfal

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Right Man For The Job: Aftermath of Revelation, Khadijah & Waraqah bin Nawfal

10-10-2012

Episode 28: Read. The Right Man For The Job: Aftermath of Revelation, Khadijah & Waraqah bin Nawfal

 

Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

 

Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was meant for this job as a Prophet: this was no random act. Everything in his life had been leading up to the start of revelation. Iman Ahmad ibn Hanbal reports that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was asked when he was made a Prophet: he said this happened when Adam (alayhi as-salaam) was in the state between dust/clay and before the soul was breathed into him i.e. when Allah created humans.

 

We sometimes talk about the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in ‘superhero’ terms. However, he experienced pain, difficulty and adversity- he had the true human experience. Imagine the event of the first revelation: this experience must have been earth-shattering, one that could damage someone’s psyche. Allah created a system so the Prophets would be gradually acclimated to the experience. They would have a warm-up period in the form of true dreams. These would make the Prophets trust their heart. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had true dreams for 6 months prior to revelation.

 

Revelation started on a Monday. When asked about fasting on Mondays, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that was the day he was born and that was the day he received the first revelation. As for the month, the vast majority agree that it started in Ramadan. As for the specific day, opinions vary: the 14th, 17th, 21st or 27th night- Allah knows best! Ibn Ishaaq leans towards the opinion it was the 21st night, in the 40th year of the Prophet’s life.


The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was startled by the appearance of Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam). Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) told him to ‘Read!’ The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) objected and said, ‘I do not read.’ Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) squeezed the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), taking him from ‘0-60’ in an instant. The messengers did not have the luxury of time. Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) squeezed until the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) gave up. Then Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) left the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), giving him time to catch his breath. Again, Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) told him to ‘Read!’ Again, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) objected and said, ‘I do not read.’ Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) squeezed for a second time until the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) gave up, releasing him and giving him time to catch his breath. A third time, Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) told him to ‘Read!’ Again, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) objected and said, ‘I do not read.’ Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) squeezed for the third time and released when the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) gave up.

Then Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) recited the first revelation:

96:1     Recite in the name of your Lord who created –

96:2     Created man from a clinging substance.

96:3     Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous –

96:4     Who taught by the pen –

96:5     Taught man that which he knew not.

 

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had received the first revelation. His heart was shaking and he was filled with lots of emotions. Some narrations say that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) never had such a strong dislike for those misguiding poets, fortune tellers and soothsayers as at that time, for they preyed on the weak and those with insecurities. He was still trying to deal with what happened, and felt he did not want to be associated with the former groups of people. Thus, he started climbing up a mountain, thinking that rather than take advantage of people, he would rather kill himself. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) felt the weight of responsibility and questioned if he could live up to the mission served. As he was climbing, he heard someone saying from above, ‘Oh Muhammad, you are the Messenger of Allah and I am Jibreel.’ The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) looked up and it was the first of the two occasions when he saw Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) in his true form.

 

He saw that Jibreel’s (alayhi as-salaam) feet were on the ground (some say slightly above) and his head was all the way up in the clouds. He had 600 wings: when he opened 2 wings, it covered the entire horizon from east to west. It was so overwhelming, that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) almost wanted to see the sky. Jibreel’s (alayhi as-salaam) words were to provide reassurance to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) refers to Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) as one of his best friends: he reported he had 2 friends in the sky- Jibreel and Mikaeel- and 2 on the earth- Abu Bakr (radi-Allahu anhu) and Umar (radi-Allahu anhu).

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) returned to his wife shaken up. He sat down and said, ‘Cover me up! Cover me up!’ Khadija (radi-Allahu anha) wrapped him up and sat down next to him: she did not press him for details, but gave time for him collect himself and report what had happened. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) reported that he feared for his life. Khadija (radi-Allahu anha) consoled and strengthened him though her words, saying: ‘Absolutely not! Under no circumstance should you fear for your life. I swear by Allah, Allah will not disgrace you as you maintain relations with your family, you honour your guest, you carry the weight of people, you take care of those less fortunate, and you always look for any good cause.’ The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was calmed by these words.

 

After that, Khadija (radi-Allahu anha) initially went to see Waraqah bin Nawfal herself. Some narrations report they went together. Waraqah was her cousin who was one of a handful of people at the time practicing Tawhid i.e. worship of one God. He had travelled to Sham, learnt and adopted Christianity, and spent his life translating the Injeel and Torah into Arabic. Khadija (radi-Allahu anha) told him what happened. At this time, he was a very old man who had gone blind. Waraqah sat up in excitement, as he realised that this was the truth. Waraqah requested to speak to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) directly.

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) reported what had happened to Waraqah. Waraqah became very excited and overwhelmed: he said that this was the same ‘Namus’ (carrier of message/truth i.e. Jibreel) that used to come to Musa (alayhi as-salaam). He wished he could live to witness this all come to fruition, and he hoped that he would be alive when the Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) people would kick him out. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was surprised to hear that the people would kick him out, as he was such a beloved figure in the community. Waraqah confirmed that whenever anyone came with the message the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) came with, they were always opposed and made an enemy. Waraqah vowed that if he was still around at that time, he would help with everything he had. However, Waraqah did not live for very long after that meeting. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that he saw Waraqah in a dream wearing silk garments in paradise because he believed in him.

Regarding revelation (Wahi), the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that when he returned from the cave of Hira, he felt that revelation was written onto his heart. Revelation was received in a variety of manners:

1)      Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) would come in his actual form and communicate the message

2)      Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) would come in the form of a human, as this was easier for the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He would often take the form of the Sahabi Dihyah from the tribe of al-Kalbi: this person would visit the Prophet infrequently, and he was a very handsome man.

3)      In the form of a dream

4)      Words would be inspired in his heart

5)      The hardest form was when it would be like the long, continuous ringing of a bell, which would be piercing his mind. This was heavy and difficult for the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), so much so that the camel he was riding would sit down. Ayesha (radi-Allahu anha) reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had his head on her lap and it felt like her leg would be crushed. He would be exhausted by this experience, so much so that he would sweat profusely, even though it may be the coldest day or night. The sweat would be visibly steaming from his forehead.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Read. The First Revelation

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Read. The First Revelation

9-26-2012

Episode 27: Read. The First Revelation

Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

This session further discusses the start of the final revelation. The first thing that began from divine revelation was that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) started having true dreams i.e. he would see something in a dream, and that exact thing would then happen in real life. The scholars explain that true dreams taught the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to learn to trust his heart, so that he would not have doubts.

 

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) spent increasing time alone, away from society in contemplation in the mountains. This practice is known as ‘Tahannuth’, which comes from the root ‘to break a promise’. It means to pull away and leave something. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was drawing away from the corruption, idolatry and chaos of society: to clean something, you have to remove it from that environment. His heart was now ready to receive revelation.

 

One day, the angel Gabriel came to him and said, ‘Read!’ He said, ‘I am not a reader’ i.e. he did not have the ability to read. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said the angel grabbed him and smothered him: he held on, until the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) felt he lost all his energy. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) tried to resist, but he finally gave up, unable to fight further. The angel released him, and again, he said, ‘Read!’ The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) repeated again, ‘I do not read’. The angel grabbed and smothered him again. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) finally desisted in fighting back, and the angel left him. The angel said for the third time, ‘Read!’ He again repeated, ‘I do not read’. The angel squeezed again, until the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) lost all energy, then he let go.

 

The angel then recited:

96:1     Recite in the name of your Lord who created –

96:2     Created man from a clinging substance.

96:3     Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous –

96:4     Who taught by the pen –

96:5     Taught man that which he knew not.

 

This story shows that there is a physical as well as a spiritual preparation. If we look into our deen today, we see that the spiritual preparation includes some physical activity e.g. making wudu, praying salah, and fasting: there is a link between the two. You have to apply yourself physically to achieve something.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Cave of Hira

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Cave of Hira

9-19-2012

Episode 26: The Cave of Hira

Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

 

This session discusses the background to the momentous occasion of the beginning of revelation. It was a pivotal moment in human history: people had long been entrenched in darkness, as there had been 600 years since revelation had come to man.

 

In the months prior to revelation, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was nearing 40 years old. He had been reflecting on the immoral nature of society, and took time out to reflect on these issues. To do this, he would often go alone to the mountains, and frequent the cave of Hira on Mount Noor. The cave has enough room for 2 people to stand at most, and narrows at the end. There are openings at both ends, which provided good ventilation. Looking through one opening, the Ka’ba was visible in the distance. Here, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) found quiet, peace and serenity to contemplate life in isolation: this practice is known as at-Tahannuth. The first time he spent a prolonged period at Hira was during Ramadan: he would take food supplies with him so he could spend days there. There is speculation about the specifics of what the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would do i.e. what was his form of praying, what was he actually reflecting on? Allah inspired that desire for the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to go into isolation and reflect, to prepare his heart for revelation.

Similarly today, we should observe etiquettes when we make preparations to face Allah in worship, such as during salah and reciting the Quran e.g. by paying full attention to worship, purifying oneself with wudu, and facing the Kiblah.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Salman al-Farsi, Amr bin Murrah al-Juhani & Prophecies About the Coming of Revelation

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Salman al-Farsi, Amr bin Murrah al-Juhani & Prophecies About the Coming of Revelation

9-12-2012

Episode 25: Salman al-Farsi, Amr bin Murrah al-Juhani & Prophecies About the Coming of Revelation

Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

 

This episode continues with the story of Salman al-Farsi. Salman remained in slavery after accepting Islam- he had to miss the battles of Badr and Uhud. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) advised him to buy his freedom. Salman’s owner asked him to plant and grow 300 date palms, as well as for 40g of gold. Salman tried to negotiate him down to silver, but he insisted on gold. The owner knew the risks of his demands were high: transplanting trees had a high likelihood of failing. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) announced to the Sahaba to help their brother Salman. They started helping him by bringing date palms, ranging from 1-20 each in number. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said to get the land ready and not to plant the trees, but to call him when they had dug the holes. He came and planted each of the 300 date palm individually with his own blessed hands. Miraculously, not even one tree died, and all 300 flourished. However, the gold was still required. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had just recently been given a gift. Someone had found a gold mine and they chipped out a rock with gold and gifted it to him. He handed this over to Salman, who felt conscious of the debt he owed to the community. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) waived the debt, saying Allah would provide recompense. When Salman handed the block over to his owner, it was found to have exactly 40g gold. Thus, Salman obtained his freedom.

 

The first battle he participated in was the Battle of the Trench: he was the one to offer the novel strategy for the battle of digging the trench. During this endeavour, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) split the workers into groups of 10 based on family and tribe, so that the teams were familiar with each other and to aid cohesion. Salman did not have any alliances, but each of the Muhajiroun and Ansar argued that Salman belonged to their respective groups. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) settled the matter by saying that Salman belonged with him and his family.

 

Two stories are recounted about how some people are directly guided to Islam by extraordinary events by Allah’s decree. The first is the story of Amr bin Murrah al-Juhani. In the times of Jahiliyyah, he went to Makkah in the season of Hajj. Whilst sleeping, he awoke and saw a light shooting from the Ka’ba. Startled, he then heard a voice saying that the darkness was about to disappear, light was about to illuminate the earth, and that the final seal of the Prophets was about to be sent. A few nights later, he saw a similar light again, and heard a voice saying that Islam had become apparent and the idols had been broken. He told his people of this occurrence, but no one believed him. He came across a monk, and told him what had happened. The monk said that a man named Ahmed would be sent as a Prophet. Years later, when Amr came to Makkah, he heard people talking about someone who claimed to be a Prophet. He met the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and Amr accepted his call. Amr wanted to preach the message to his own people. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) advised him to be soft and gentle, and not to be harsh and arrogant. All of his people accepted Islam, except one. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) met all of them individually.

 

The second story is about Umar ibn Khattab (radiallahu anhu). Whilst he was Khalifah, a man walked into the Masjid. Umar (radiallahu anhu) called him and asked if he was Muslim: the man confirmed he was. He then asked if he used to be fortune teller. The man got offended, saying that since accepting Islam, no one had mentioned this. Umar (radiallahu anhu) reassured him that his intention was not to offend, but he wanted to see if the man remembered seeing a miraculous event, which he confirmed that he did. In the days of Jahiliyyah, Umar (radiallahu anhu) woke with a hangover near the place where the idols were kept. He observed a group of people who brought a goat to sacrifice to the idols. The goat was dead, but a voice came from it, saying that a new word had come, and the goat declared the Shahada.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Approach of Revelation

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Approach of Revelation

9-04-2012

Episode 24: The Approach of Revelation

Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

We are at this point, a few years away from the start of revelation. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is the continuation and the completion of the guidance of Allah. It was six centuries since the last message by Isa (peace be upon him) had come to earth, which was one of the largest gaps between two Prophets. Some people of the scripture were aware of the coming of the last Prophet. So, why was it so shocking when he finally came? Why did not more people believe his message? The answer is that these people were rare, even written off as being ‘on the fringe’, and not well publically accepted.

 

The Quran mentions the previous scriptures foretold of his coming:

Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful. (7:157)

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers – so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward. (48:29)

 

The Quran mentions how Isa (peace be upon him), foretold of his coming:

And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.” (61:6)

 

The Quran mentions the covenant taken by the prophets to accept any prophet that comes after him:

And [recall, O People of the Scripture], when Allah took the covenant of the prophets, [saying], “Whatever I give you of the Scripture and wisdom and then there comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you, you [must] believe in him and support him.” [ Allah ] said, “Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My commitment?” They said, “We have acknowledged it.” He said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.” (3:81)

 

Prophet Ibrahim made a dua, of which the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is the manifestation:

Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. Indeed, You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (2:129)

 

There is a narration about a Jewish scholar from As-Sham who migrated to Yathrib. The other Jewish tribes knew he was reclusive. When it would not rain, they would ask him to pray for rain, and his prayers would be consistently answered. When he was nearing death, he asked, ‘Does not it make you curious why I would leave As-Sham and come and live in the middle of the desert?’ He said he came because the Prophet of the last time was coming and Yathrib would be the place he would migrate to. He hoped to live to see the day he would come and he would follow the Prophet. The scholar advised the people to follow the Prophet if they lived to see his coming.

 

The Quran says:

And when there came to them a Book from Allah confirming that which was with them – although before they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved – but [then] when there came to them that which they recognized, they disbelieved in it; so the curse of Allah will be upon the disbelievers. (2:89)

 

The story of the acceptance of Islam by Salman al-Farsi is discussed here. Even though he accepted Islam later in the chronology of events, it is relevant to mention here as it recounts the dynamic that there were a few people aware of the coming of the last Prophet.

Salman was from the people Persia. His father was the leader of the town. Salman was the most beloved thing to his father, to the point where his father was very overprotective of him, keeping him in the house. He used to worship the fire to spend his time and it was Salman’s responsibility to keep the fire burning. One day, his father was supposed to pick up a payment, and he entrusted the responsibility to collect the payment to Salman. His father emphasised not to get distracted from the job. Salman passed by a Christian monastery, where they were praying. He entered in and was amazed by the sight before him: he felt their religion was better than the religion of fire worship. He asked where they learnt the religion, and they said from As-Sham. Arriving late back home in the evening, Salman’s father was extremely worried. Salman recounted what he saw and said of how impressed he was with the religion. His father frightened him with regards to those people and dismissed his opinion, chaining him to the home. Salman sent a message to the people at the monastery, asking for information about anyone going to As-Sham. When informed about a group of business people going there, he picked the lock and ran away from home.

 

Arriving at As-Sham, Salman asked for the most righteous man in the religion of Christianity. The priest agreed that Salman could stay with him. However, he discovered the priest was not a good person: he would collect charity and hoard it for himself. Salman informed the people about the priest’s misconduct and they hung the priest. In contrast, the replacement priest was the most remarkable man. Salman stayed with him until the priest was on his deathbed: he was directed to another priest, who again was of good character. When this 3rd priest was about to die, he was again directed to a 4th person. On the deathbed of the final priest, Salman was informed there was nobody left to go to. Instead, he was advised to go and wait in a land in the direction of Hijaz, a place where they farm and have date trees, and where he would find mostly idol worshippers: the coming of the last Prophet was imminent in this land. Some of his signs would be: he will accept gifts but not take any charity for himself, and between his shoulder blades is the seal of Prophethood.

 

Salman asked some businessmen to take him towards that land. However, they betrayed him and sold him as a slave. He eventually ended up as a slave with the Jews of Banu Quraydah of Madina. Salman remained content, as he realised he was where he needed to be. One day, whilst Salman was working in the trees, someone came to his owner and remarked how they might be in trouble: all the idol worshippers were gathering at Quba, as a man had come there claiming to be a Prophet. On hearing this, Salman nearly fell out of the tree. He descended, asking eagerly for more details, but his owner dismissed him and sent him back to work.

 

Salman slowly gathered money and eventually went to Quba to see the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He brought fruit and presented it to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as charity: the Prophet did not eat from it. Salman again gathered money and a few weeks later, he went again and presented food as a gift: this time the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ate from it. Finally, Salman came again after a few days, wanting to see the mark of Prophethood. Salman went and sat behind the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), who was wearing an upper and lower garment. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) noticed him and remarked that he knew what Salman was trying to see, thus he dropped the upper cloth and revealed the mark of Prophethood. Salman jubilantly ran up to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and hugged him from behind, kissing the mark of Prophethood. Salman’s long, arduous and difficult search had come to an end and he accepted Islam.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Placing of the Black Stone and History of the Kabah

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Placing of the Black Stone and History of the Kabah

8-28-2012

Episode 23: Placing of the Black Stone and History of the Kabah

Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). 

In the renovations, the height of the Ka’ba was made taller, to move the door higher and prevent people from entering easily. There were also originally two doors, but one was removed. There were not enough resources to complete the Ka’ba, thus the Hateem area was left open. The Hateem is considered part of the Ka’ba: praying in there is as if you have prayed inside it. Interestingly, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said at the Conquest of Makkah that if the people were not new converts, he would have done a complete reconstruction of the Ka’ba, with an eastern and western door and including the Hateem area. However, he did not do this as he was sensitive to the culture and traditions of the people. Thus, we should respect sensitivities, as long as they do not compromise the religion itself.

 

Another fight broke out regarding who would position the Black Stone in its place. Abu Umaiyah bin Mughirah was one of the oldest men amongst the Quraysh, respected for his age and wisdom. He suggested praying to the Rabb of the House that the next man to enter will be the one to place it or the intermediary to make the decision to settle the matter. The person to enter was none other than the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Everyone was relieved to see him, commenting that ‘Al-Amin’, the ‘Trustworthy’, had come.

 

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked for a large sheet to be brought to him; some say he removed his own shawl. He put it on the ground, placed the Black stone onto it, and called for all the leaders of the tribes to hold the sheet and lift the stone together to the Ka’ba. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) placed it himself into the final position. This event put him in the spotlight and highlighted the trust, honour and dignity he held amongst his people prior to the imminent revelation.

 

This episode elaborates on the history of the Ka’ba, discussing who first established it and how long it has existed. Allah says in the Quran:

Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah – blessed and a guidance for the worlds. (3:96)

In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds. (3:97)

 

In Bukhari, it is mentioned that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the first mosque to be established was the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, and then Masjid al-Aqsa. There were 40 years between each being established.

 

The origins of the coverings of the Ka’ba by Hajjaj bin Yusuf are discussed, as well as the first expansion of the mosque by Umar ibn Khattab. We learn it is acceptable to beautify and expand mosques.

 
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