Monthly Archives: March 2013

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Prophet, Utba bin Rabi’ah & Surah Fussilat

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Prophet, Utba bin Rabi’ah & Surah Fussilat

3-27-2013

Episode 40: The Prophet, Utba bin Rabi’ah & Surah Fussilat

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).

Encounter with Utbah bin Rabi’ah

A famous conversation occurred between the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and a key opponent of his: Utbah bin Rabi’ah. The incident occurred at the end of the 3rd/beginning of the 4th year of Prophethood. Utbah was a Qurayshi leader, who was very wealthy, politically influential and well-travelled. He had stood in the courts of all the major Kings of that time e.g. Rome and Abyssinia. The Quraysh formed a council to decide who would be best able to recognise a poet, magician or insane person, as they felt the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had divided the community and belittled their way of life. They identified Utbah bin Rabi’ah as the man for the job.

Utbah asked the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) if he felt he was better than their forefathers. If yes, then they also worshipped the idols. If no, then he wanted to hear what the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had to say for himself. Utbah commented that they had never seen anyone cause more of a headache for their people than him. Utbah mentioned that the Quraysh were about to raise swords to deal with the situation, but he did not want it to get to that: he offered the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the best of wealth, women and status. Throughout Utbah’s tirade, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) remained silent. Asking if Utbah was done, he commenced:

 

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful

41:1 Ha, Meem.

41:2 [This is] a revelation from the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful –

41:3 A Book whose verses have been detailed, an Arabic Qur’an for a people who know,

41:4 As a giver of good tidings and a warner; but most of them turn away, so they do not hear.

41:5 And they say, “Our hearts are within coverings from that to which you invite us, and in our ears is deafness, and between us and you is a partition, so work; indeed, we are working.”

41:6 Say, O [Muhammad], “I am only a man like you to whom it has been revealed that your god is but one God; so take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness.” And woe to those who associate others with Allah –

41:7 Those who do not give zakah, and in the Hereafter they are disbelievers.

41:8 Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds – for them is a reward uninterrupted.

41:9 Say, “Do you indeed disbelieve in He who created the earth in two days and attribute to Him equals? That is the Lord of the worlds.”

41:10 And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface, and He blessed it and determined therein its [creatures’] sustenance in four days without distinction – for [the information] of those who ask.

41:11 Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, “Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion.” They said, “We have come willingly.”

41:12 And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.

41:13 But if they turn away, then say, “I have warned you of a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt [that struck] ‘Aad and Thamud.

 

Utbah started screaming, ‘Please stop, please stop! Is there not anything else you could say to me apart from this?’ The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied no, and that this was his message. Another narration reports that Utbah placed his hand on the mouth of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), asking him to stop. Utbah himself expressed fears that the punishment that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was speaking of would descend upon him there and then.

 

When returning to the Quraysh after this conversation, the people noted he looked different, terrified. Utbah confirmed that Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had never lied; despite travelling and meeting the greatest soothsayers, speakers and magicians, Utbah said what he heard from the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was nothing like these, and that it was not from this Earth. The Quraysh were disheartened with the outcome and turned away.

 

Abu Jahl came to help with damage control of the situation. He said to Utbah that the people fear that he had forsaken their religion and were offering a gift of money i.e. a bribe. Utbah was wealthier than everyone, so the bribe was of no use. Abu Jahl encouraged him to at least say something against the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), otherwise the people would reject him and his accomplishments would disappear. Utbah was not sure what to say, as he had seen the light in the words of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), commenting on their sweetness and soothing nature. Utbah asked to be left alone to consider his excuses. After realising the material things at stake, he forwarded the excuse to the Quraysh that the magic done by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) messes with your head: this was not simple magic. Utbah had to seclude himself as he overcame its effects, but he was strong enough to do so, unlike the Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) followers.

 

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was distraught, and Allah revealed as reassurance:

 

74: 11 Leave Me with the one I created alone

74:12 And to whom I granted extensive wealth

74:13 And children present [with him]

 

Things would now take a turn for the worse: torture and oppression would become the Quraysh policy against the Muslims.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: A Diverse Community – Abu Dharr Ghifari & Dhimad Accept Islam

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: A Diverse Community – Abu Dharr Ghifari & Dhimad Accept Islam

3-12-2013

Episode 39: A Diverse Community – Abu Dharr Ghifari & Dhimad Accept Islam

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).

 

Abu Dharr al-Ghifari

Abu Dharr was a successful, confident businessman, well respected in the community. When he heard about the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), he sent his brother to Makkah to find out everything about him. The brother reported on his return that he saw the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) telling people to have good character and that he was saying something that was not poetry. Abu Dharr was not satisfied with this information, so he himself set out for Makkah.

 

Abu Dharr did not know who he was looking for, but also did not want to attract attention and ask of his whereabouts. At night, he lay down in the corner of the Haram. Ali ibn Talib came along and noted Abu Dharr, wondering why this man was sleeping out. Ali offered Aby Dharr a place to stay, which Abu Dharr accepted. The next day, Abu Dharr failed to meet the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and again lay in a corner of the Haram. Ali again offered him a place to stay, which Abu Dharr accepted. The third day, after again failing to locate the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), Abu Dharr was offered a place to stay for the night. This time, Ali enquires why Abu Dharr came to Makkah. Abu Dharr takes an oath from Ali that he will help him and he discloses his wish to meet the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

 

Ali leads Abu Dharr to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Once Abu Dharr listened to what he said, he accepted Islam straight away. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked him to return to his people and share the message of Islam. However, Abu Dharr wanted to proclaim his faith to the people of Makkah. Thus, he goes to Haram and screams out the Shahada. The people of Makkah proceeded to beat him up, until the uncle of the Prophet, Abbas, torn through the crowds, physically lay on top of Abu Dharr and covered him to offer protection. Abbas reasoned with the people, asking them to think of the consequences of their actions: Abu Dharr came from the tribe of Ghifar and killing him would affect their business, as the trade route for Sham passed through the tribal area of Ghifar. Thus, they left him. The next day, Abu Dharr woke up and goes to the Haram again to declare the Shahada. Again he is beaten up, until Abbas comes to cover and protect him.  Abbas takes him to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), asking him to talk some sense into Abu Dharr, and he calms down.

 

Dhimad

Dhimad came to Makkah from Yemen. He was well known for being a soothsayer. Dhimad came for business and whilst in Makkah, heard people talking ill about the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Thus, he approached the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), introduced himself and offers his assistance. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied:

 

‘Without a doubt, the ultimate praise was and always will be for Allah alone. We praise Him and we seek His assistance in everything we do. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide and whoever he misguides, there is none that can guide him. I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah and he is absolutely unique and he has no partners.’

 

Dhimad was awestruck and asked the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to repeat himself. After saying the words for a second time, Dhimad requests for the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to repeat the words a third time. Dhimad found the words mind-blowing: he commented that he had heard the words of soothsayers, magicians, sorcerers and poets, but he had never heard anything like this in his life. He asked for the Prophet’s hand so he could give him the oath of Islam. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) held his hand and he took Shahada, as well as agreeing to preach the message to his people.

 

Years later, in the Madinan days, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) sent a group of Sahaba to preach the message towards the tribe of Dhimad. The leader asked the group if anyone had taken something from these people: someone admitted to taking a water jug used for the purposes of purification. The leader said to return it, especially because they were the people of Dhimad.

 
Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Prophet stands up to Abu Jahl

Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Prophet stands up to Abu Jahl

3-5-2013

Episode 38: The Prophet stands up to Abu Jahl

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 recounts the interactions between the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and Abu Jahl.

 

Abu Jahl and his cronies would often taunt the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Once, when the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was making Tawaaf, they were making crude comments to him. Finally, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) walked over to the group and said, ‘ By Allah, Allah has sent me to you with sacrifice.’ They became concerned by this open statement and its meaning, as they knew he never lost his cool and that he always spoke the truth. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) continued and everyone was silent after that.

 

Once whilst the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was praying at the Ka’ba, the friends of Abu Jahl egged him on to the point where he got a scarf and choked the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Abu Bakr saw this and tackled Abu Jahl away. He asked, ‘Do you want to kill this man simply because he worships Allah over all the idols you worship?’

 

A man from the tribe of Iraash came to Makkah to do business. He ran into Abu Jahl and entered into a business venture with him. He took his goods and Abu Jahl agreed to pay him later. However, when the Iraashi came to collect his money, Abu Jahl feigned having no knowledge of their agreement. The man called out to the people asking for help, but the onlookers mocked him. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was also present. Even before he noticed this man, some of the others mocking this man went over to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), knowing him and Abu Jahl did not get along: they told him to join forces with the Iraashi, as they both had a common enemy. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) empathised with the plight of this man and offered his help: he took the man, went to the house of Abu Jahl and knocked his door. Abu Jahl asked, ‘Who is there?’ The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Muhammad, come outside!’ When he heard the name of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), Abu Jahl responded with disdain, ‘What do you want?’ When he came out, Abu Jahl went very pale, as if he saw a ghost. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said to give the Iraashi what he deserved. Abu Jahl quickly agreed and handed over the money. The Iraashi went back to the Haram and expressed his appreciation for Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The people became confused and asked Abu Jahl what happened. Abu Jahl reported that when he opened the door to Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), standing behind him was the largest, wild, jinn-possessed male camel. Abu Jahl was petrified that the camel would kill him if he declined payment.

 
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