Monthly Archives: January 2013

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Prophet Presents Islam & Appeals to Banu Hashim

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Prophet Presents Islam & Appeals to Banu Hashim

1-29-2013

Episode 34: The Prophet Presents Islam & Appeals to Banu Hashim

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 second phase of Prophethood was initiated- it was time to take the message public. This did not occur all at once, but occurred as a phased approach.

26:214 And warn, [O Muhammad], your closest kindred.

26:215 And lower your wing to those who follow you of the believers.

Allah had instructed the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to warn his closest tribes people, and hinted of the possible negative response of his endeavours, by encouraging the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to show mercy to the believers who would soon encounter difficulties.

The Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) told Ali of his concerns that his family would not like the message, so he hesitated. However, Jibreel came and said ‘Oh Muhammad, if you do not do what your Lord has commanded, your Lord will punish you’. Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was being held accountable for delivering the message.

 

First Public Invitation

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) called Ali and asked him to prepare a goat, some accompanying food and a big bowl of milk. He was asked to gather the family of Abdul Muttalib. About 40 people came, including the uncles of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): Abu Talib, Hamza, Abbas and Abu Lahab. One of the miracles of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) occurred at this meeting: the spread was not sufficient for the gathering, but everyone ate and drank to their fill.

Just as Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was about to speak, Abu Lahab interjected, commenting on how Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had done magic in relation to the food and got up and left. The rest of the gathering followed suit and exited.

The next day, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) told Ali to make similar arrangements, as he did not have the opportunity to address the people. Everyone gathered and again, they all ate and drank miraculously from the small amount of food presented. Abu Lahab once again cut in as soon as the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was about to speak.

The third day, preparations were made again. Everyone ate, and then the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) beat Abu Lahab to the post. He said, ‘ Oh Banu Abdul Muttalib, I swear to God, I do not know any man from the Arabs who has brought to his people something that is more beneficial than what I bring to you- I have come to you with something to benefit you in this world and the hereafter. Allah has commanded me to call you to it, so who amongst you will help and aid me and be my brother in this cause?’

Silence… no-one responded. Ali, who at the time was 12 years old and the person of least social standing at the gathering said, ‘I will, oh Messenger of Allah’. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) expressed pleasure at Ali’s allegiance, praising him in front of everyone and commenting on how he would be a leader after him. Abu Lahab struck, taunting Abu Talib that his nephew was saying that Abu Talib should follow his own son. Abu Lahab left and the gathering dispersed.

The Call on Mount Safa
Now, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) gathered the Quraysh. He ascended Mount Safa and addressed each family individually, saying, ‘Listen, my brothers! What if I said there is a cavalry on the other side of this mountain that is about to come and attack you, would you believe me?’

They responded, ‘Yes, oh Muhammad, we have not found you to ever be a liar’. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) responded, ‘I am here to warn you about a severe punishment coming your way’. He informed them all that he could not control anyone’s fate, but he would help in whatever way to the best of his ability, even if that meant giving away all his money. Abu Lahab spoke out: ‘May you be doomed all throughout the days! Did you not call us here except for this rubbish?’ He walked away and the crowd dispersed.

What a painful and heavy moment for the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), left standing alone on Mount Safa! Imagine the courage this action must have taken, as the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was knowingly putting his social standing, reputation, everything he had developed over his lifetime, on the line for the sake of Allah. He showed true resilience in the face of repeated rejection.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: A Community in the Making – Some of the early Companions (ra)

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: A Community in the Making – Some of the early Companions (ra)

1-23-2013

Episode 33: A Community in the Making – Some of the early Companions (ra)

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).

A hadith by Imam Ahmad reports that the first seven people to make their Islam known were the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), Abu Bakr, Ammar ibn Yasir, his mother Sumayyah, Suhayb, Bilal and Miqdad. As far as the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was concerned, he was defended by means of his uncle, Abu Talib. Abu Bakr was protected by his people, Banu Taym. As for the rest, they were at the mercy of the disbelievers and their harsh treatment e.g. they would grab them, dress them in armour of iron and leave them to scorch in the hot desert sun. All were eventually able to have some reprieve from the torture, except Bilal. He would be handed over to the children of Makkah, who would tie him up and drag him around the streets of Makkah, as he proclaimed the oneness of Allah.

Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) took the message to some prominent, remarkable people: he was the direct means of delivering Islam to the following people in the first few days of himself becoming Muslim:

  • ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan
  • al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam
  • Talhah ibn Ubaidullah
  • Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas
  • Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf

He gathered them together, took them to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), who presented Islam to them and they all believed.

Abu Bakr had many qualities, including being:

  • a leader of his people
  • a businessman
  • of good character: he was never known to engage in social evils e.g. he was never intoxicated
  • an expert in genealogy i.e. of family trees. Later on, when the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) engaged in more dawah, Abu Bakr would accompany him; he would start off a conversation by identifying family ties and then would introduce the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), who could deliver his message.

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that someone who guides towards something that is good, it is as if he has done it himself i.e. he gets the reward for it as well. Also, whoever starts a good practice in Islam gets the reward of it and the reward of whoever will follow that good practice i.e. it is a form of Sadaqah Jariyah.

Talhah ibn Ubaidullah

Talhah ibn Ubaidullah reports he went to the souk of Busra. There, a worshipper in his temple was enquiring from the people if anyone from the Haram was present. Thus, Talhah presented himself. The worshipper asked if Ahmed had appeared. Talhah enquired who this was: he said he was son of Abdullah, the son of Abdul Muttalib, and that this was the month he was supposed to become apparent to the people as the finality of the Prophets. The worshipper also commented how he would appear at the Haram and later migrate to a place described as the landscape of Madina at that time. The worshipper tells Talhah that he must find this Prophet and attach to him. Talhah quickly departed home and the residents of Makkah confirmed that in his absence, Muhammad al-Amin ‘pretends’ to be a Prophet and that Abu Bakr has followed him. Talhah went to Abu Bakr, who confirmed he followed the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Abu Bakr advised Talhah to go and meet him and to follow him as he called to the truth. Abu Bakr took him to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and he accepted Islam.

Other Early Converts

The next day, Uthman bin Maz’un, Abu Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah (dubbed by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as the most trustworthy man of this Ummah), Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf and Abu Salamah bin Abdul Asad (whose wife was Umm Salamah, who would later marry the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) after the passing of her husband), Arqam ibn Abi Arqam (the founder of Darul Arqam, the first safe place of worshipping in Makkah for the Muslims) all came to Islam.

Going Public with the Message

Narrations mention that at this point in time, there were almost 40 believers. Abu Bakr told the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) that they should go public. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not issue a command, but expressed concern that the group was few in number. Abu Bakr acknowledged this, but felt they should still go public. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) agreed: the believers went to the masjid and spread out. Each person went and sat next to some people from his tribe/family as a natural way of having a stronger showing.

Abu Bakr stood up and addressed the people. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was sitting near the Banu Hashim. This was the first time someone spoke calling to the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Abu Bakr and the other Muslims were mobbed: Utbah ibn Rabi’ah, a spiteful enemy to Islam, took his hard-soled shoe, sat on the chest of Abu Bakr, and started to beat his face: Abu Bakr was hardly recognisable after this assault. Banu Taym eventually came to his rescue and rushed him to his mother’s home. The tribe took an oath at the Ka’ba that if Abu Bakr died, they would publicly murder Utbah ibn Rabi’ah as retribution.

Abu Bakr did not wake up for a day. On regaining consciousness, he immediately asked about the well-being of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). All the leaders of his family became angry that he was still concerned about the Prophet after what had happened and they left. His mother approached him with food and water and again he enquired about the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). His mother swore to God that she did not know what had happened to him. Abu Bakr then advised his mother to go to Umm Jameel, the sister of Umar ibn al-Khattab, as she would have further information. His mother went to Umm Jameel and asked her to come to see Abu Bakr as she was not forthcoming with information for fear of her own safety. Umm Jameel screamed when she saw Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr enquired about the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): Umm Jameel commented on how his mother was listening, but Abu Bakr reassured her. Umm Jameel reported the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was fine and present at the house of Arqam ibn Abi Arqam.

 

Abu Bakr swore he would not eat or drink until he saw the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself. They waited until evening and Umm Jameel and his mother carried Abu Bakr leaning on them for support to the house of Arqam. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) went and hugged Abu Bakr and kissed him on the forehead, with tears in his eyes. Abu Bakr said ‘ Oh Messenger, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you. I do not care what happens to my face as long as I know you are ok.’ He then mentioned that his mother was a good person and he asked the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to call her to Allah and make dua to Allah that he put Islam in her heart. He hoped that Allah would save her from the fire by means of the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Abu Bakr’s mother accepted Islam.

Abdullah ibn Masud
Abdullah bin Masud was great companion. The sahabah said they used to think he was from the family of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). When the ayah about seeking permission before entering the home of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) came down, Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) gave the instruction to Abdullah ibn Masud to just enter the house as an exception. He was given the good news of Paradise and was told by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) that one leg of Abdullah ibn Masud’s will be weighed on the Day of Judgement and it will be heavier than the seven heavens and seven earths. All the knowledge of the sahabah used to end at Abdullah ibn Masud or Ali ibn Abu Talib i.e. they knew the most of the religion. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) gave him a ‘blank cheque’, in that he said that anything you hear from Abdullah ibn Masud, know it has come from me.

As a young boy, he accepted Islam after direct contact with the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He was hired to watch over some camels who used to graze outside Makkah. One day, Abu Bakr and the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) came and asked if he had any milk to share. Abdullah replied that the camels did not belong to him. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked if there were any camels that were still young and not part of the herd: Abdullah confirmed there were. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) found a young she-camel who had not been bred yet, touched the camel and the udders filled with milk. Abu Bakr found a rock like a bowl, cleaned it out and he sat down and milked the camel. Once milked, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) placed his hand on the camel and said, ‘Recede’. The udders then disappeared. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) called Abdullah ibn Masud and all three drank the milk. Thus Abdullah ibn Masud accepted Islam.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Next 3 Converts: Ali bin Abi Talib, Zayd bin Harithah & Abu Bakr (ra)

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Next 3 Converts: Ali bin Abi Talib, Zayd bin Harithah & Abu Bakr (ra)

1-3-2013

Episode 32: The Next 3 Converts: Ali bin Abi Talib, Zayd bin Harithah & Abu Bakr (ra)

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).

Afif the Businessman

 

Afif was a businessman who attended during the Hajj to do trade with Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), who was also a businessman. While they were sitting, they saw a man came out of a tent, face the Ka’ba and start praying. Then a woman came out and stood behind him and prayed. Then a boy came and stood to his right and started praying.

One narration states that Afif questioned Abbas about this religion, as it did not seem familiar. Abbas reported that this was Muhammad ibn Abdullah, who believes that Allah had sent him as a Messenger and that that the treasures of the emperors of Rome and Persia would be opened for him and his followers. This was his wife Khadijah, who believes in him and follows him, and this boy was his cousin Ali ibn Abu Talib, who also believes in him. Afif later said he wished he believed that day, as he would have been the second adult to believe.

The second narration describes the prayer. The man went into ru’ku and the boy and woman went into ru’ku with him. After that he stood up and the child and woman stood up with him. Then the man fell into sujood and both of them went into sujood. Afif commented that this was really remarkable. Abbas asked if Afif knew who these people were, commenting that this was Muhammad ibn Abdullah, his nephew; the boy was Ali ibn Abu Talib and the woman was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, the wife of the man. ‘He says your Lord, the Lord of the sky, has commanded him to do what you see them doing’. Abbas commented that, ‘I swear by Allah, I do not know anyone other than these three who follows this religion today’.

It is interesting to see that at such an early stage, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) emphasised the importance of praying together as a family and that the prayer was one of the first things he taught new followers.

Zayd ibn Harithah

 

The next person to accept Islam was Zayd ibn Harithah. As a young boy, he went off playing and a passing caravan snatched him, brought him Makkah and sold him as a slave. One of the cousins of Khadijah (radi Allahu anha) brought him and gifted Zayd to her at the time of her marriage to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Khadijah (radi Allahu anha) gave him to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

 

Zayd’s father, a tribe leader, was desperately trying to find him. His poetry about this incident became so famous that it the news reached Makkah. People told the father his son was in Makkah. When Zayd’s father and uncle arrived, they discovered he was in the care of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). They approached him with great praises and requested he returned their son. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said he would let Zayd decide his future. Zayd recognised his family when he was called, but expressed his wishes to remain with the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Zayd reported he has seen something with the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) that he would not find anywhere else i.e. he was referring to revelation.

 

His father was distraught: the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was so concerned about the father’s emotional plight, that he embraced Zayd, declared his freedom from slavery and adopted him as his son. He was known as Zayd bin Muhammad from that day on, and his father left content. Later in Islam, to claim someone as your biological son would be disallowed: Zayd changed his name back to Zayd ibn Harithah. He was very sad that his name would not be affiliated with the Prophet. However, he became known as Zayd maula Muhammad, a term used if you had a close family-like relation with someone. Specifically, it would be used if someone freed a slave.

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (radi Allahu anhu)

 

The first of the free men to accept Islam was Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu). His Islam was very beneficial to the religion, as he was a leader of his people who was much respected and he was a prominent person amongst Quraysh. He was wealthy and motivated to share the message of Islam, freely spending his money and resources in the obedience of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and Allah.

Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) met the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and asked if what the Quraysh were saying about him leaving the idols, rejecting the religion of their forefathers and making comments about how foolish they were for worshipping the idols, were true. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) confirmed this. Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) also asked the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) why he left the gatherings of their people. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘I am the Messenger of God and his Prophet. He has sent me to spread and deliver his message and I call you to Allah with the Truth, for I swear by Allah that is the Truth. I call you, O Abu Bakr, to Allah alone, that there are no partners for him, and do not worship any other than him, and relations will be established on the obedience to Allah’. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then recited Quran. Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) did not hesitate or reject and he accepted Islam.

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) says he never called anyone to Islam, except that person hesitated and thought, except for Abu Bakr: he did not back away nor did he doubt in it. Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) once had a dispute with Umar (radi Allahu anhu) and it was brought before the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Prophet said, ‘I was sent to you all and you all said, ‘You lie!’ Abu Bakr said, ‘He speaks the truth.’ He supported me with his life and money. So now will you treat him badly?’ No-one misbehaved again with Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu).

Hassan ibn Thabit says about Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu): If you want to remember sacrifice and recall belief and bravery, then remember my brother Abu Bakr; he was the best of people; the most trustworthy, just and fair after the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam); the first one to carry what the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) bought and line up behind him; the second of the two in the cave; the one praised by both the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and Allah; the one who stood beside the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) throughout the Prophethood; the first to attest to him being a Messenger; he lived a praiseworthy life; he followed he command of Allah and his companion the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) until he departed this world.

 
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