Monthly Archives: February 2013

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Torture & Suffering of the Early Muslims in Makkah

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Torture & Suffering of the Early Muslims in Makkah

2-26-2013

Episode 37: The Torture & Suffering of the Early Muslims in Makkah

Seerah 37

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 covers how the Quraysh reacted to the new, growing Muslim community in Makkah. They decided to unleash terror and torture on the early converts, in an attempt to scare people away from the message of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). A key orchestrator of this tactic was Abu Jahl.

 

Abu Jahl

His real name was Amr ibn Hisham and he belonged to the Makhzum tribe. Also known as Abu al-Hakam, he was a leader in Quraysh. As he denied and refused the preaching of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), he became known as ‘Abu Jahl’- the father of ignorance.

 

Bilal ibn Rabah

Abu Jahl started to torture the slaves in the community. Bilal was an African slave owned by Ummayah ibn Khalaf, who was best friends with Abu Jahl. Abu Jahl asked permission to deal with Bilal and his acceptance of Islam, which was granted. Abu Jahl would whip Bilal all night until he would become exhausted. When the heat would reach its peak, he would lay Bilal down upon the scorching sand and put a rock onto of him to pin him down. Bilal would be tied to horses made to run. Bilal’s faith would not be shaken: he became known by the calls of ‘Ahad, Ahad!’- ‘One God, One God!’ Abu Bakr bought Bilal for an inflated price and set him free. Bilal was made the muezzin of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

 

Amr bin Fuhairah

Amr bin Fuhairah was as a slave who was tortured. Abu Bakr purchased his freedom and he continued to work for him as a shepherd. Amr was skilled as a tracker.

 

Zunairah

This female slave belonged to the Makhzum clan. She was handed over to Abu Jahl to be tortured. Deprived of sleep, food and water, she became blind as a result of the malnourishment. Abu Jahl taunted her that that the idols Al-Lat and Al-Uzza had taken her sight away. She responded that her Lord Allah had decided this and that he could return her eyesight. Miraculously the next day, her eyesight was restored. Abu Bakr also purchased her freedom.

 

An-Nahdiyah

This lady and her daughter were slaves and tortured by their mistress. She brought them flour to grind and make bread. Abu Bakr secured their freedom and advised them to return the flour to their mistress. However, the mother and daughter finished the job they were given before moving on.

 

Khabbab ibn al-Aratt

Khabbab was kidnapped as young boy and sold into slavery. He accepted Islam in the early days. The Quraysh experimented torture upon him. He gained freedom and joined the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He would be an inspirational figure: Umar ibn al-Khattab would sit with him and when he felt overwhelmed, Umar would ask to see Khabbab’s back and the scars of his torture. Umar said he had never seen anything like it in his life.

 

Ammar ibn Yasir

Ammar was the son of Yasir and Sumayyah. Ammar accepted Islam and he would sneak at night to sit and worship with the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). His parents were worried about the consequences of this, but after hearing about Islam, they both accepted. Abu Jahl found out and he inflicted torture upon the family. He tied the family up and would leave them there for days. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would walk by in tears saying, ‘Patience oh family of Yasir! Congratulations, you will be reunited in Paradise!’ Abu Bakr offered to purchase them but this was declined. Sumayyah shouted at Abu Jahl that no matter what he did, they would not renounce their Islam. Abu Jahl became infuriated and killed her with a spear in front of her husband and son. She became the first martyr in Islam. Yasir was beside himself and Abu Jahl kicked him to death.

Ammar watched both his parents being murdered. The Quraysh intensified the torture. Eventually, he conceded to their demands to say that he believed in Al-Lat and Al-Uzza and that he did not believe in Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Thus, they cut him loose and walked off. Ammar crawled to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) crying that he had agreed to say what they wanted to hear. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked what was in his heart and Ammar explained he had never believed in Allah and the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) more, but he overwhelmed. Allah revealed ayat to support Ammar in his situation, reassuring that iman is not invalidated under torture, so long as it remains in your heart. Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) told the sahabah to say whatever torturers wanted to hear, so that they could escape.

 

The Elite

The elite were even persecuted. Uthman ibn Affan was tied up, but managed to escape. Sa’d ibn Abi-Waqqas as emotionally blackmailed by his mother. Abu Bakr was nearly beaten to death.

Mus’ab ibn Umair was a celebrity of that time: young, handsome and wealthy. After accepting Islam, his mother tied him up and tortured him. She eventually stripped him of his clothing and threw him on the street. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) came and covered him. He was one of the first ambassadors of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to Madina as a teacher. He converted half the city of Madina to Islam, as he managed give effective dawah to Sa’d ibn Muadh, who was a leader of his tribe.

 

Abu Talib’s Concerns

Abu Talib gathered the elders of the family to secure protection of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He reached out to their tribal emotions, saying that an attack on the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would be an attack on the dignity of the tribe and their forefathers. They all agreed, except Abu Lahab who stormed out of the meeting.

 

As they could not harm the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the Quraysh tried to bargain with Abu Talib: they offered an exchange of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) for a brilliant young man called Imarah bin Waleed, who Abu Talib could train as a future leader. Abu Talib was distraught by this suggestion, finding it extremely insulting.

 

The Help of Allah

Some sahabah came and asked the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) when the help of Allah would come. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commented that the people are hasty: there were people before who would be put in a ditch and chopped in half, or they would be strapped down and skinned alive with an iron comb. He motivated them to have patience: the help of Allah would come.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Prophet Recruits Talented Young People

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Prophet Recruits Talented Young People

2-19-2013

Episode 36: The Prophet Recruits Talented Young People

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 talks about the early Muslim community. Of note, many of the young converts were from the younger generation.

 

Al-Zubayr ibn Al-Awwam

He was the paternal cousin of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)through his aunt Saffiya. His son was Abdullah ibn Zubair.

 

Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf

His mother was present at the time of the birth of the Prophet(sallallahu alayhi wasallam), as she was a good friend of his mother Amina bint Wahb.

He was a leader of his people, having the metaphorical ‘Midas touch’ as a successful businessman. There is a famous story of him migrating to Madina with nothing, where he was paired with an Ansari brother: he was offered a share in the Ansari’s money and business, but Abd al-Rahman respectfully declined and asked for the marketplace. He started buying and selling and returned with much profit.

Also, known for his piety, Abd al-Rahman was from the ten guaranteed Paradise in a single gathering by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that he would lag behind because he would be busy giving accountability for the wealth he possessed. On hearing this, he cried and gave away everything in sadaqah.

When Umar ibn al-Khattab passed away, he appointed a council of 6 sahabah to oversee the appointment of the next Khalifah. He instructed that in a draw, the tie-breaker was to ask Abd al- Rahman ibn Awf.

 

Sa’d ibn Abi-Waqqas

He was from the first dozen to accept Islam and very close to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Sa’d was also a cousin of the mother of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Sa’d was very close to his own mother, but she was devastated by his accepting Islam. She vowed to not eat or drink until he renounced the religion. This continued for 4 days, with Sa’d standing by her encouraging to have something to eat or drink, but reluctant to leave the religion. Obedience to parents supersedes Sunnah acts, but he was not allowed to renounce the religion for her sake. His mother finally desisted and took food and drink.

 

At the time f Hajjatul-Wida, Sa’d also went, but became sick, on the verge of death. He asked the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as he had one daughter, could he give away 2/3 of his wealth as sadaqah? The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said no. Half? No. One-third? The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said yes to this, but advised it would be better to leave family members well-off and self-sufficient.

 

In the Battle of Uhud, when the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was under attack, Sa’d stood in front of him and launched arrows to protect him. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commented, ‘Keep shooting, ya Sa’d, may my mother and father be sacrificed for you.’ The latter part of the statement would usually be said to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) by the companions.

 

Talhah ibn Ubaidullah

A cousin of Abu Bakr, he was an early convert to Islam. He was promised Paradise by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He was married to the sister of Zaynab bint Jahsh, called Halah bint Jahsh. In the Battle of Uhud, he showed bravery by defending the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) remarked that whoever wanted to see a living Shaheed should look at Talhah.

 

Abu Ubaydah Amir ibn al-Jarrah

He was known as the most trustworthy person of this Ummah and was put in charge of the Bait al-mal. He accepted Islam the day after Abu Bakr. A businessman, he was ostracised by his family for accepting Islam. Abu Ubaydah joined the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in Medina, where he was paired with Muadh ibn Jabal, a scholar amongst the ranks of the companions.

Sa’id bin Zayd

Sa’id bin Zayd was Makkan in origin. He was the son of Zayd bin Amr bin Nufayl, who was one of a handful of people pre-Islam who practiced monotheism.

 

Sa’id was married to the sister of Umar ibn al-Khattab. When Umar was going to assassinate the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and stopped by his sister’s house on learning of her acceptance of Islam, this is the brother-in-law who he attacked. Sa’id was one of the first people to write divine revelation.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Two Uncles with Different Responses – Abu Talib and Abu Lahab

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Two Uncles with Different Responses – Abu Talib and Abu Lahab

2-5-2013

Episode 35: Two Uncles with Different Responses – Abu Talib and Abu Lahab

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 contrasts two uncles of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): Abu Lahab and Abu Talib.

 

Abu Lahab

His real name was Abdul Uzza. His complexion was light, but his cheeks were red. He was an intense individual and his face would become red: ‘Lahab’ is a red, burning coal. Abu Lahab was very wealthy, powerful and influential. He was more of a business leader as opposed to a civic leader, as he was not active in the service of his community.

 

He was married to Umm Jameel, who was the sister of Abu Sufyan. They were a ‘power couple’ at that time. Both individuals made it their life’s mission to oppose Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his message in the most vile and insulting manner.

 

Abu Lahab openly demonised the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in public. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would speak to people at local fairs and at Hajj about Islam, approaching people from all walks of life: free and slave, weak and powerful, rich and poor. Abu Lahab would tail him and cry out to any listeners that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had abandoned the religion of his forefathers, and made derogatory accusations of him being crazy, a magician, and a liar. He also carried pebbles, which he would distract the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) with as he spoke to people by throwing them at his head.

 

Abu Lahab even forced his two sons who were engaged to the two daughters of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to cancel the engagement in a humiliating manner. One son simply announced the separation to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), but the other ripped his shirt and spat on him. Later, the daughters went on to marry Uthman ibn Affan during their lifetimes.

 

Umm Jameel would throw rubbish on the Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) doorstep, as well as publicly throw dirt over his clothing to make him less presentable as he spread his message. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) simply continued his business, ignoring their indecent behaviour.

 

Allah revealed Surah Al-Masad:

111:1 May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he.

111:2 His wealth will not avail him or that which he gained.

111:3 He will [enter to] burn in a Fire of [blazing] flame

111:4 And his wife [as well] – the carrier of firewood.

111:5 Around her neck is a rope of [twisted] fiber.

 

Abu Talib

Contrary to the vile behaviour of Abu Lahab, Abu Talib was very attached to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He loved dearly Abdullah, the father of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and was entrusted by his own father, Abdul-Muttalib, to care for the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) when he passed away.

 

Abu Talib showered Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) with love and affection, defending him against the Quraysh. He even approved of his son, Ali’s, conversion to Islam. The Quraysh approached Abu Talib to complain of the difficulty and nuisance being created by Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his message, asking him to stop. Abu Talib called for Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and asked him to stop. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied that he was no more capable of stopping preaching the message than he was any more capable of going to the sun and bringing back a burning flame. Abu Talib replied that he never knew of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to lie, and asked the Quraysh to leave.

 

In another narration, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is reported to have said, ‘Oh my dear Uncle, if the sun was put in my right hand and the moon in my left hand, I would not stop preaching the true message of God until the message had become apparent on the earth or I had died trying.’ The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) teared up and cried, turning to walk away. He possibly thought that Abu Talib had given up his support, or even felt upset that he had bothered his Uncle despite everything Abu Talib had done for him. Abu Talib encouraged the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to continue, reassuring him that he would never leave his side.

 
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