Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) His Biography

Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) family tree

May peace and blessings be on all the Messengers of God. Prophet Muhammad is a direct descendant of Isma’il, the first son of Prophet Ibrahim(Abraham). Prophet Muhammad was born in Makkah as a fullfilment of the prayer of Abraham. With respect to the lineage of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], there are three versions: The first was authenticated by biographers and genealogists and states that Muhammad’s genealogy has been traced to ‘Adnan. The second is subject to controversies and doubt, and traces his lineage beyond ‘Adnan back to Abraham. The third version, with some parts definitely incorrect, traces his lineage beyond Abraham back to Adam [AWS].

After this rapid review, now ample details are believed to be necessary.

The first part: Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib (who was called Shaiba) bin Hashim, (named ‘Amr) bin ‘Abd Munaf (called Al-Mugheera) bin Qusai (also called Zaid) bin Kilab bin Murra bin Ka‘b bin Lo’i bin Ghalib bin Fahr (who was called Quraish and whose tribe was called after him) bin Malik bin An-Nadr (so called Qais) bin Kinana bin Khuzaiman bin Mudrikah (who was called ‘Amir) bin Elias bin Mudar bin Nizar bin Ma‘ad bin ‘Adnan. [Ibn Hisham 1/1,2; Talqeeh Fuhoom Ahl Al-Athar, p. 5-6; Rahmat-ul-lil’alameen 2/11-14,52]

The second part: ‘Adnan bin Add bin Humaisi‘ bin Salaman bin Aws bin Buz bin Qamwal bin Obai bin ‘Awwam bin Nashid bin Haza bin Bildas bin Yadlaf bin Tabikh bin Jahim bin Nahish bin Makhi bin Aid bin ‘Abqar bin ‘Ubaid bin Ad-Da‘a bin Hamdan bin Sanbir bin Yathrabi bin Yahzin bin Yalhan bin Ar‘awi bin Aid bin Deshan bin Aisar bin Afnad bin Aiham bin Muksar bin Nahith bin Zarih bin Sami bin Mazzi bin ‘Awda bin Aram bin Qaidar bin Ishmael son of Abraham [AWS]. [Rahmat-ul-lil’alameen 2/14-17]

The third part: beyond Abraham [AWS] , Ibn Tarih (Azar) bin Nahur bin Saru‘ bin Ra‘u bin Falikh bin Abir bin Shalikh bin Arfakhshad bin Sam bin Noah [AWS] , bin Lamik bin Mutwashlack bin Akhnukh [who was said to be Prophet Idris (Enoch) [AWS]] bin Yarid bin Mahla’il bin Qainan bin Anusha bin Shith bin Adam [AWS]. [Ibn Hisham 1/2-4; Rahmat-ul-lil’alameen 2/18; Khulasat As-Siyar p.6]

The Prophetic Family

The family of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] is called the Hashimite family after his grandfather Hashim bin ‘Abd Munaf. Let us now speak a little about Hashim and his descendants:

1.                Hashim: As we have previously mentioned, he was the one responsible for giving food and water to the pilgrims. This had been his charge when the sons of ‘Abd Munaf and those of ‘Abd Ad-Dar compromised on dividing the charges between them. Hashim was wealthy and honest. He was the first to offer the pilgrims sopped bread in broth. His first name was ‘Amr but he was called Hashim because he had been in the practice of crumbling bread (for the pilgrims). He was also the first man who started Quraish’s two journeys of summer and winter. It was reported that he went to Syria as a merchant. In Madinah, he married Salma — the daughter of ‘Amr from Bani ‘Adi bin An-Najjar. He spent some time with her in Madinah then he left for Syria again while she was pregnant. He died in Ghazza in Palestine in 497 A.D. Later, his wife gave birth to ‘Abdul-Muttalib and named him Shaiba for the white hair in his head,[Ibn Hisham 1/137; Rahmat-ul-lil’alameen 1/26,2/24] and brought him up in her father’s house in Madinah. None of his family in Makkah learned of his birth. Hashim had four sons; Asad, Abu Saifi, Nadla and ‘Abdul-Muttalib, and five daughters Ash-Shifa, Khalida, Da‘ifa, Ruqyah and Jannah.[Ibn Hisham 1/107]

2.                Abdul-Muttalib: We have already known that after the death of Hashim, the charge of pilgrims’ food and water went to his brother Al-Muttalib bin ‘Abd Munaf (who was honest, generous and trustworthy). When ‘Abdul-Muttalib reached the age of boyhood, his uncle Al-Muttalib heard of him and went to Madinah to fetch him. When he saw him, tears filled his eyes and rolled down his cheeks, he embraced him and took him on his camel. The boy, however abstained from going with him to Makkah until he took his mother’s consent. Al-Muttalib asked her to send the boy with him to Makkah, but she refused. He managed to convince her saying: “Your son is going to Makkah to restore his father’s authority, and to live in the vicinity of the Sacred House.” There in Makkah, people wondered at seeing Abdul-Muttalib, and they considered him the slave of Muttalib. Al-Muttalib said: “He is my nephew, the son of my brother Hashim.” The boy was brought up in Al-Muttalib’s house, but later on Al-Muttalib died in Bardman in Yemen so ‘Abdul-Muttalib took over and managed to maintain his people’s prestige and outdo his grandfathers in his honourable behaviour which gained him Makkah’s deep love and high esteem. [Ibn Hisham 1/137,138]

When Al-Muttalib died, Nawfal usurped ‘Abdul-Muttalib of his charges, so the latter asked for help from Quraish but they abstained from extending any sort of support to either of them. Consequently, he wrote to his uncles of Bani An-Najjar (his mother’s brothers) to come to his aid. His uncle, Abu Sa‘d bin ‘Adi (his mother’s brother) marched to Makkah at the head of eighty horsemen and camped in Abtah in Makkah. ‘Abdul-Muttalib received the men and invited them to go to his house but Abu Sa‘d said: “Not before I meet Nawfal.” He found Nawfal sitting with some old men of Quraish in the shade of Al-Ka‘bah. Abu Sa‘d drew his sword and said: “I swear by Allâh that if you don’t restore to my nephew what you have taken, I will kill you with this sword.” Nawfal was thus forced to give up what he had usurped, and the notables of Quraish were made to witness to his words. Abu Sa‘d then went to ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s house where he stayed for three nights, made ‘Umra and left back for Madinah. Later on, Nawfal entered into alliance with Bani ‘Abd Shams bin ‘Abd Munaf against Bani Hashim. When Khuza‘a, a tribe, saw Bani An-Najjar’s support to ‘Abdul-Muttalib they said: “He is our son as he is yours. We have more reasons to support him than you.” ‘Abd Munaf’s mother was one of them. They went into An-Nadwa House and entered into alliance with Bani Hashim against Bani ‘Abd Shams and Nawfal. It was an alliance that was later to constitute the main reason for the conquest of Makkah. ‘Abdul-Muttalib witnessed two important events in his lifetime, namely digging Zamzam well and the Elephant raid. [Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool, p.41,42; Ibn Hisham 1/142-147]

In brief, ‘Abdul-Muttalib received an order in his dream to dig Zamzam well in a particular place. He did that and found the things that Jurhum men had buried therein when they were forced to evacuate Makkah. He found the swords, armours and the two deer of gold. The gate of Al-Ka‘bah was stamped from the gold swords and the two deer and then the tradition of providing Zamzam water to pilgrims was established.

When the well of Zamzam gushed water forth, Quraish made a claim to partnership in the enterprise, but ‘Abdul-Muttalib refused their demands on grounds that Allâh had singled only him out for this honourable job. To settle the dispute, they agreed to consult Bani Sa‘d’s diviner. On their way, Allâh showed them His Signs that confirmed ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s prerogative as regards the sacred spring. Only then did ‘Abdul-Muttalib make a solemn vow to sacrifice one of his adult children to Al-Ka‘bah if he had ten.

The second event was that of Abraha As-Sabah Al-Habashi, the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) viceroy in Yemen. He had seen that the Arabs made their pilgrimage to Al-Ka‘bah so he built a large church in San‘a in order to attract the Arab pilgrims to it to the exclusion of Makkah. A man from Kinana tribe understood this move, therefore he entered the church stealthily at night and besmeared its front wall with excrement. When Abraha knew of that, he got very angry and led a great army – of sixty thousand warriors – to demolish Al-Ka‘bah. He chose the biggest elephant for himself. His army included nine or thirteen elephants. He continued marching until he reached a place called Al-Magmas. There, he mobilized his army, prepared his elephants and got ready to enter Makkah. When he reached Muhassar Valley, between Muzdalifah and Mina, the elephant knelt down and refused to go forward. Whenever they directed it northwards, southwards or eastwards, the elephant moved quickly but when directed westwards towards Al-Ka‘bah, it knelt down. Meanwhile, Allâh loosed upon them birds in flights, hurling against them stones of baked clay and made them like green blades devoured. These birds were very much like swallows and sparrows, each carrying three stones; one in its peak and two in its claws. The stones hit Abraha’s men and cut their limbs and killed them. A large number of Abraha’s soldiers were killed in this way and the others fled at random and died everywhere. Abraha himself had an infection that had his fingertips amputated. When he reached San‘a he was in a miserable state and died soon after.

The Quraishites on their part had fled for their lives to the hillocks and mountain tops. When the enemy had been thus routed, they returned home safely. [Ibn Hisham 1/43-56; Tafheemul-Qur’an 6/462-469]

The Event of the Elephant took place in the month of Al-Muharram, fifty or fifty five days before the birth of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] which corresponded to late February or early March 571 A.D. It was a gift from Allâh to His Prophet and his family. It could actually be regarded as a Divine auspicious precursor of the light to come and accompany the advent of the Prophet and his family. By contrast, Jerusalem had suffered under the yoke of the atrocities of Allâh’s enemies. Here we can recall Bukhtanassar in B.C. 587 and the Romans in 70 A.D. Al-Ka‘bah, by Divine Grace, never came under the hold of the Christians – the Muslims of that time – although Makkah was populated by polytheists.

News of the Elephant Event reached the most distant corners of the then civilized world. Abyssinia (Ethiopia) maintained strong ties with the Romans, while the Persians on the other hand, were on the vigil with respect to any strategic changes that were looming on the socio-political horizon, and soon came to occupy Yemen. Incidentally, the Roman and Persian Empires stood for the powerful civilized world at that time. The Elephant Raid Event riveted the world’s attention to the sacredness of Allâh’s House, and showed that this House had been chosen by Allâh for its holiness. It followed then if any of its people claimed Prophethood, it would be congruous with the outcome of the Elephant Event, and would provide a justifiable explanation for the ulterior Divine Wisdom that lay behind backing polytheists against Christians in a manner that transcended the cause-and-effect formula.

‘Abdul-Muttalib had ten sons, Al-Harith, Az-Zubair, Abu Talib, ‘Abdullah, Hamzah, Abu Lahab, Ghidaq, Maqwam, Safar and Al-‘Abbas. He also had six daughters, who were Umm Al-Hakim – the only white one, Barrah, ‘Atikah, Safiya, Arwa and Omaima. [Rahmat-ul-lil’alameen 2/56,66; Talqeeh Fuhoom Ahl Al-Athar, p8,9]

3.                 ‘Abdullah: The father of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]. His mother was Fatimah, daughter of ‘Amr bin ‘A’idh bin ‘Imran bin Makhzum bin Yaqdha bin Murra. ‘Abdullah was the smartest of ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s sons, the chastest and the most loved. He was also the son whom the divination arrows pointed at to be slaughtered as a sacrifice to Al-Ka‘bah. When ‘Abdul-Muttalib had ten sons and they reached maturity, he divulged to them his secret vow in which they silently and obediently acquiesced. Their names were written on divination arrows and given to the guardian of their most beloved goddess, Hubal. The arrows were shuffled and drawn. An arrow showed that it was ‘Abdullah to be sacrificed. ‘Abdul-Muttalib then took the boy to Al-Ka‘bah with a razor to slaughter the boy. Quraish, his uncles from Makhzum tribe and his brother Abu Talib, however, tried to dissuade him from consummating his purpose. He then sought their advice as regards his vow. They suggested that he summon a she-diviner to judge whereabout. She ordered that the divination arrows should be drawn with respect to ‘Abdullah as well as ten camels. She added that drawing the lots should be repeated with ten more camels every time the arrow showed ‘Abdullah. The operation was thus repeated until the number of the camels amounted to one hundred. At this point the arrow showed the camels, consequently they were all slaughtered (to the satisfaction of Hubal) instead of his son. The slaughtered camels were left for anyone to eat from, human or animal.

This incident produced a change in the amount of blood-money usually accepted in Arabia. It had been ten camels, but after this event it was increased to a hundred. Islam, later on, approved of this. Another thing closely relevant to the above issue goes to the effect that the Prophet [pbuh] once said:

“I am the offspring of the slaughtered two,” meaning Ishmael and ‘Abdullah. [Ibn Hisham 1/151-155; Rahmat-ul-lil’alameen 2/89,90]

‘Abdul-Muttalib chose Amina, daughter of Wahab bin ‘Abd Munaf bin Zahra bin Kilab, as a wife for his son, ‘Abdullah. She thus, in the light of this ancestral lineage, stood eminent in respect of nobility of position and descent. Her father was the chief of Bani Zahra to whom great honour was attributed. They were married in Makkah, and soon after ‘Abdullah was sent by his father to buy dates in Madinah where he died. In another version, ‘Abdullah went to Syria on a trade journey and died in Madinah on his way back. He was buried in the house of An-Nabigha Al-Ju‘di. He was twenty-five years old when he died. Most historians state that his death was two months before the birth of Muhammad [pbuh] . Some others said that his death was two months after the Prophet’s birth. When Amina was informed of her husband’s death, she celebrated his memory in a most heart-touching elegy. [Ibn Hisham 1/156-158; Fiqh As-Seerah p.45]

‘Abdullah left very little wealth —five camels, a small number of goats, a she-servant, called Barakah – Umm Aiman – who would later serve as the Prophet’s nursemaid. [Muslim 2/96; Talqeeh Fahoom Ahl-Athar p.4; Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p. 12]

Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum

By: Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

The Life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)(In Makkah)

The Prophet’s Birth

Muhammad, son of Abdullah, son of Abdul Muttalib, of the tribe of Quraysh, was born in Makkah fifty-three years before the Hijrah. His father died before he was born, and he was protected first by his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, and after his grandfather’s death, by his uncle Abu Talib.

As a young boy he traveled with his uncle in the merchants’ caravan to Syria, and some years afterwards made the same journey in the service of a wealthy widow named Khadijah. So faithfully did he transact the widow’s business, and so excellent was the report of his behavior, which she received from her old servant who had accompanied him, that she soon afterwards married her young agent; and the marriage proved a very happy one, though she was fifteen years older than he was. Throughout the twenty-six years of their life together he remained devoted to her; and after her death, when he took other wives he always mentioned her with the greatest love and reverence. This marriage gave him rank among the notables of Makkah, while his conduct earned for him the surname Al-Amin, the “trustworthy.”

The Hunafa

The Makkans claimed descent from Abraham through Isma`il and tradition stated that their temple, the Ka`bah, had been built by Abraham for the worship of the One God. It was still called the House of Allah, but the chief objects of worship here were a number of idols, which were called “daughters” of Allah and intercessors. The few who felt disgust at this idolatry, which had prevailed for centuries, longed for the religion of Abraham and tried to find out what had been its teaching. Such seekers of the truth were known as Hunafa (sing. Hanif), a word originally meaning “those who turn away” (from the existing idol-worship), but coming in the end to have the sense of “upright” or “by nature upright,” because such persons held the way of truth to be right conduct. These Hunafa did not form a community. They were the non-conformists of their day, each seeking truth by the light of his inner consciousness. Muhammad son of Abdullah became one of these.

The First Revelation

It was his practice to retire often to a cave in the desert for meditation. His place of retreat was Hira’, a cave in a mountain called the Mountain of Light not far from Makkah, and his chosen month was Ramadan, the month of heat. It was there one night toward the end of his quiet month that the first revelation came to him when he was forty years old.

He heard a voice say: “Read!” He said: “I cannot read.” The voice again said: “Read!” He said: “I cannot read.” A third time the voice, more terrible, commanded: “Read!” He said: “What can I read?” The voice said:

      “Read: In the name of thy Lord Who createth.
“Createth man from a clot.
“Read: And it is thy Lord the Most Bountiful
“Who teacheth by the pen,
“Teacheth man that which he knew not.”

The Vision of Cave Hira’

He went out of the cave on to the hillside and heard the same awe-inspiring voice say: “O Muhammad! Thou art Allah’s messenger, and I am Jibril (Gabriel).” Then he raised his eyes and saw the angel, in the likeness of a man, standing in the sky above the horizon. And again the dreadful voice said: “O Muhammad! Thou art Allah’s messenger, and I am Jibril (Gabriel).” Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) stood quite still, turning away his face from the brightness of the vision, but wherever he turned his face, there stood the angel confronting him. He remained thus a long while till at length the angel vanished, when he returned in great distress of mind to his wife Khadijah. She did her best to reassure him, saying that his conduct had been such that Allah would not let a harmful spirit come to him and that it was her hope that he was to become the Prophet of his people. On their return to Makkah she took him to her cousin Waraqa ibn Nawfal, a very old man, “who knew the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians,” who declared his belief that the heavenly messenger who came to Moses of old had come to Muhammad, and that he was chosen as the Prophet of his people.

The cave Hira’ in the Mountain of Light (Jabal Al-Nur)

His Distress To understand the reason of the Prophet’s diffidence and his extreme distress of mind after the vision of Hira’, it must be remembered that the Hunafa, of whom he had been one, sought true religion in the natural world and regarded with distrust the intercourse with spirits of which men “avid of the Unseen” sorcerers and soothsayers and even poets, boasted in those days. Moreover, he was a man of humble and devout intelligence, a lover of quiet and solitude and the very thought of being chosen out of all mankind to face mankind, alone, with such a message, appalled him at the first.

Recognition of the Divine nature of the call he had received involved a change in his whole mental outlook sufficiently disturbing to a sensitive and honest mind, and also the forsaking of his quiet, honored way of life. The early biographers tell how his wife Khadijah “tested the spirit” which came to him and proved it to be good, and how, with the continuance of the revelations and the conviction that they brought, he at length accepted the tremendous task imposed on him, becoming filled with enthusiasm of obedience which justifies his proudest title of “the Slave of Allah.”

First Converts

For the first three years, or rather less, of his mission, the Prophet preached to his family and his intimate friends, while the people of Makkah as a whole regarded him as one who had become a little mad. The first of all his converts was his wife Khadijah, the second his first cousin Ali, whom he had adopted, the third his servant Zayd, a former slave. His old friend Abu Bakr also was among those early converts.

Beginning of Persecution

At the end of the third year the Prophet received the command to “arise and warn,” whereupon he began to preach in public, pointing out the wretched folly of idolatry in face of the tremendous laws of day and night, of life and death, of growth and decay, which manifest the power of Allah and attest His sovereignty. It was then, when he began to speak against their gods, that Quraysh became actively hostile, persecuting his poorer disciples, mocking and insulting him. The one consideration which prevented them from killing him was fear of the blood-vengeance of the clan to which his family belonged. Strong in his inspiration, the Prophet went on warning, pleading, threatening, while Quraysh did all they could to ridicule his teaching, and deject his followers.

The Flight to Abyssinia

A 16th century map of Abyssinia – modern day Ethiopia

The converts of the first four years were mostly humble folk unable to defend themselves against oppression. So cruel was the persecution they endured that the Prophet advised all who could possibly contrive to do so to immigrate to a Christian country, Abyssinia . And still in spite of persecution and emigration the little company of Muslims grew in number. Quraysh were seriously alarmed. The idol worship at the Ka`bah, the holy place to which all Arabia made pilgrimage, ranked for them, as guardians of the Ka`bah, as first among their vested interests. At the season of the pilgrimage they posted men on all the roads to warn the tribes against the “madman” who was preaching in their midst. They tried to bring the Prophet to a compromise offering to accept his religion if he would so modify it as to make room for their gods as intercessors with Allah, offering to make him their king if he would give up attacking idolatry; and, when their efforts at negotiation failed, they went to his uncle Abu Talib offering to give him the best of their young men in place of Muhammad, to give him all that he desired, if only he would let them kill Muhammad and have done with him. Abu Talib refused.

Conversion of Omar

The exasperation of the idolaters was increased by the conversion of Omar, one of their stalwarts. They grew more and more embittered, till things came to such a pass that they decided to ostracize the Prophet’s whole clan, idolaters who protected him as well as Muslims who believed in him. Their chief men caused a document to be drawn up to the effect that none of them or those belonging to them would hold any intercourse with that clan or sell to them or buy from them. This they all signed, and it was deposited in the Ka`bah. Then for three years, the Prophet was shut up with all his kinsfolk in their stronghold which was situated in one of the gorges which run down to Makkah. Only at the time of pilgrimage could he go out and preach, or did any of his kinsfolk dare to go into the city.

Destruction of the Document

At length some kinder hearts among Quraysh grew weary of the boycott of old friends and neighbors. They managed to have the document which had been placed in the Ka`bah brought out for reconsideration; when it was found that all the writing had been destroyed by white ants, except the words Bismik Allahumma (“In thy name, O Allah”). When the elders saw that marvel the ban was removed, and the Prophet was again free to go about the city. But meanwhile the opposition to his preaching had grown rigid. He had little success among the Makkans, and an attempt which he made to preach in the city of Ta’if was a failure. His mission was a failure, judged by worldly standards, when, at the season of the yearly pilgrimage he came upon a little group of men who heard him gladly.

The Men from Yathrib

They came from Yathrib, a city more than two hundred miles away, which has since become world-famous as al-Madinah, “the City” par excellence. At Yathrib there were Jewish tribes with learned rabbis, who had often spoken to the pagans of a Prophet soon to come among the Arabs, with whom, when he came, the Jews would destroy the pagans as the tribes of ‘Aad and Thamud had been destroyed of old for their idolatry. When the men from Yathrib saw Muhammad they recognized him as the Prophet whom the Jewish rabbis had described to them. On their return to Yathrib they told what they had seen and heard, with the result that the next season of pilgrimage a deputation came from Yathrib purposely to meet the Prophet.

First Pact of al-‘Aqabah

These swore allegiance to him in the first pact of al-‘Aqabah. They then returned to Yathrib with a Muslim teacher in their, company and soon “there was not a house in Yathrib wherein there was not mention of the messenger of Allah.”

Second pact of al-‘Aqabah

In the following year, at the time of pilgrimage, seventy-three Muslims from Yathrib came to Makkah to vow allegiance to the Prophet and invite him to their city. At al-‘Aqabah, by night, they swore to defend him as they would defend their own wives and children. It was then that the Hijrah, the flight to Yathrib, was decided.

Plot to Murder the Prophet

Soon the Muslims who were in a position to do so, began to sell their property and to leave Makkah unobtrusively. Quraysh had wind of what was going on. They hated Muhammad in their midst, but dreaded what he might become if he escaped from them. It would be better, they considered, to destroy him now. The death of Abu Talib had removed his chief protector; but still they had to reckon with the vengeance of his clan upon the clan of the murderer. They cast lot and chose a slayer out of every clan. All these were to attack the Prophet simultaneously and strike together, as one man. Thus his murder would be blamed on all Quraysh. It was at this time (Ibn Khaldun asserts, and it is the only satisfactory explanation of what happened afterwards) that the Prophet received the first revelation ordering him to make war upon his persecutors “until persecution is no more and religion is for Allah only.”

The Hijrah ( June 20th, 622 C.E.)

The last of the able Muslims to remain in Makkah were Abu Bakr, Ali and the Prophet himself. Abu Bakr, a man of wealth, had bought two riding camels and retained a guide in readiness for the flight. The Prophet only waited for God’s command. It came at last. It was the night appointed for his murder. The slayers were before his house. He gave his cloak to Ali, bidding him lie down on the bed so that anyone looking in might think Muhammad lay there. The slayers were to strike him as he came out of the house, whether in the night or early morning. He knew they would not injure Ali. Then he left the house and, it is said, blindness fell upon the would-be murderers so that he put dust on their heads as he passed by-without their knowing it.

He went to Abu Bakr’s house and called to him, and they two went together to a cavern in the desert hill and hid there till the hue and cry was past, Abu Bakr’s son and daughter and his herdsman bringing them food and tidings after nightfall. Once a search party came quite near them in their hiding-place, and Abu Bakr was afraid; but the Prophet said: “Fear not! Allah is with us.” Then, when the coast was clear, Abu Bakr had the riding-camels and the guide brought to the cave one night, and they set out on the long ride to Yathrib.

After traveling for many days of unfrequented paths, the fugitives reached a suburb of Yathrib, whither, for weeks past, the people of the city had been going every morning, watching for the Prophet till the heat drove them to shelter. The travelers arrived in the heat of the day, after the watchers had retired. It was a Jew who called out to the Muslims in derisive tones that he whom they expected had at last arrived.

Such was the Hijrah, the Flight from Makkah to Yathrib, which counts as the beginning of the Muslim era. The thirteen years of humiliation, of persecution, of seeming failure, of prophecy still unfulfilled, were over.

By: Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall

Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar

Beyond a shadow of doubt, the biography of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) manifestedly represents an exhaustive embodiment of the sublime Divine Message that he communicated in order to deliver the human race from the swamp of darkness and polytheism to the paradise of light and monotheism. An image, authentic as well as comprehensive, of this Message is therefore only attainable through careful study and profound analysis of both backgrounds and issues of such a biography. In view of this, a whole chapter is here introduced about the nature and development of Arab tribes prior to Islam as well as the circumstantial environment that enwrapped the Prophet’s mission.

 


Location of the Arabs

Linguistically, the word “Arab” means deserts and waste barren land well-nigh waterless and treeless. Ever since the dawn of history, the Arabian Peninsula and its people have been called as such.

The Arabian Peninsula is enclosed in the west by the Red Sea and Sinai, in the east by the Arabian Gulf, in the south by the Arabian Sea, which is an extension of the Indian Ocean, and in the north by old Syria and part of Iraq. The area is estimated between a million and a million and a quarter square miles.

Thanks to its geographical position, the peninsula has always maintained great importance.. Considering its internal setting, it is mostly deserts and sandy places, which has rendered it inaccessible to foreigners and invaders, and allowed its people complete liberty and independence through the ages, despite the presence of two neighbouring great empires.

Its external setting, on the other hand, caused it to be the centre of the old world and provided it with sea and land links with most nations at the time. Thanks to this strategic position the Arabian Peninsula had become the centre for trade, culture, religion and art.

 


Arab Tribes

Arab kinfolks have been divided according to lineage into three groups:
Perishing Arabs: The ancient Arabs, of whose history little is known, and of whom were ‘Ad, Thamûd, Tasam, Jadis, Emlaq, and others.
Pure Arabs: Who originated from the progeny of Ya‘rub bin Yashjub bin Qahtan. They were also called Qahtanian Arabs.
Arabized Arabs: Who originated from the progeny of Ishmael. They were also called ‘Adnanian Arabs.

The pure Arabs – the people of Qahtan – originally lived in Yemen and comprised many tribes, two of which were very famous:

1.      Himyar: The most famous of whose septs were Zaid Al-Jamhur, Quda‘a and Sakasic.

2.      Kahlan: The most famous of whose septs were Hamdan, Anmar, Tai’, Mudhhij, Kinda, Lakhm, Judham, Azd, Aws, Khazraj and the descendants of Jafna — the kings of old Syria.

Kahlan septs emigrated from Yemen to dwell in the different parts of the Arabian Peninsula prior to the Great Flood (Sail Al-‘Arim of Ma’rib Dam), due to the failure of trade under the Roman pressure and domain on both sea and land trade routes following Roman occupation of Egypt and Syria.

Naturally enough, the competition between Kahlan and Himyar led to the evacuation of the first and the settlement of the second in Yemen.

THE EMIGRATING SEPTS OF KAHLAN CAN BE INTO FOUR GROUPS:

1.      Azd: Who, under the leadership of ‘Imran bin ‘Amr Muzaiqbâ’, wandered in Yemen, sent pioneers and finally headed northwards. Details of their emigration can be summed up as follows:

2.      Tha‘labah bin ‘Amr left his tribe Al-Azd for Hijaz and dwelt between Tha‘labiyah and Dhi Qar. When he gained strength, he headed for Madinah where he stayed. Of his seed are Aws and Khazraj, sons of Haritha bin Tha‘labah.

Haritha bin ‘Amr, known as Khuza‘a, wandered with his folks in Hijaz until they came to Mar Az-Zahran. Later, they conquered the Haram, and settled in Makkah after having driven away its people, the tribe of Jurhum.

‘Imran bin ‘Amr and his folks went to ‘Oman where they established the tribe of Azd whose children inhabited Tihama and were known as Azd-of-Shanu’a.

Jafna bin ‘Amr and his family, headed for Syria where he settled and initiated the kingdom of Ghassan who was so named after a spring of water, in Hijaz, where they stopped on their way to Syria.

2.      Lakhm and Judham: Of whom was Nasr bin Rabi‘a, father of Manadhira, Kings of Heerah.

3.      Banu Tai’: Who also emigrated northwards to settle by the so- called Aja and Salma Mountains which were consequently named as Tai’ Mountains.

4.      Kinda: Who dwelt in Bahrain but were expelled to Hadramout and Najd where they instituted a powerful government but not for long , for the whole tribe soon faded away.

  • Another tribe of Himyar, known as Quda‘a, also left Yemen and dwelt in Samawa semi-desert on the borders of Iraq.

The Arabized Arabs go back in ancestry to their great grandfather Abraham (Peace be upon him) from a town called “Ar” near Kufa on the west bank of the Euphrates in Iraq. Excavations brought to light great details of the town, Abraham’s family, and the prevalent religions and social circumstances.

It is known that Abrahaml (Peace be upon him) eft Ar for Harran and then for Palestine, which he made headquarters for his Message. He wandered all over the area. When he went to Egypt, the Pharaoh tried to do evil to his wife Sarah, but Allâh saved her and the Pharaoh’s wicked scheme recoiled on him. He thus came to realize her strong attachment to Allâh, and, in acknowledgment of her grace, the Pharaoh rendered his daughter Hagar at Sarah’s service, but Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham as a wife.

Abraham returned to Palestine where Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. Sarah became so jealous of Hagar that she forced Abraham to send Hagar and her baby away to a plantless valley on a small hill in Hijaz, by the Sacred House, exposed to the wearing of floods coming right and left. He chose for them a place under a lofty tree above Zamzam near the upper side of the Mosque in Makkah where neither people nor water was available, and went back to Palestine leaving with his wife and baby a leather case with some dates and a pot of water. Not before long, they ran out of both food and water, but thanks to Allâh’s favour water gushed forth to sustain them for sometime. The whole story of Zamzam spring is already known to everybody.

Another Yemeni tribe – Jurhum the Second – came and lived in Makkah upon Hagar’s permission, after being said to have lived in the valleys around Makkah. It is mentioned in the Sahih Al-Bukhari that this tribe came to Makkah before Ishmael was a young man while they had passed through that valley long before this event.

Abraham used to go to Makkah every now and then to see his wife and son. The number of these journeys is still unknown, but authentic historical resources spoke of four ones.

Allâh, the Sublime, stated in the Noble Qur’ân that He had Abraham see, in his dream, that he slaughtered his son Ishmael, and therefore Abraham stood up to fulfill His Order:

  • “Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allâh), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering); and We called out to him: “O Abraham! You have fulfilled the dream (vision)!” Verily! Thus do we reward the Muhsinûn (good-doers, who perform good deeds totally for Allâh’s sake only, without any show off or to gain praise or fame, etc. and do them in accordance to Allâh’s Orders). Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial — and We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e. a ram)” [37:103-107]

It is mentioned in the Genesis that Ishmael was thirteen years older than his brother Ishaq. The sequence of the story of the sacrifice of Ishmael shows that it really happened before Ishaq’s birth, and that Allâh’s Promise to give Abraham another son, Ishaq, came after narration of the whole story.

This story spoke of one journey – at least – before Ishmael became a young man. Al-Bukhari, on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas, reported the other three journeys; a summary of which goes as follows:

When Ishmael became a young man, he learned Arabic at the hand of the tribe of Jurhum, who loved him with great admiration and gave him one of their women as a wife, soon after his mother died. Having wanted to see his wife and son again, Abraham came to Makkah, Ishmael’s marriage, but he didn’t find him at home. He asked Ishmael’s wife about her husband and how they were doing. She complained of poverty, so he asked her to tell Ishmael to change his doorstep. Ishmael understood the message, divorced his wife and got married to the daughter of Mudad bin ‘Amr, chief of the tribe of Jurhum.

Once more, Abraham came to see his son, but again didn’t find him at home. He asked his new wife the same previous question, to which she thanked Allâh. Abraham asked her to tell Ishmael to keep his doorstep (i.e. to keep her as wife) and went back to Palestine.

A third time, Abraham came to Makkah to find Ishmael sharpening an arrow under a lofty tree near Zamzam. The meeting, after a very long journey of separation, was very touching for a father so affectionate and a so dutiful and righteous son. This time, father and son built Al-Ka‘bah and raised its pillars, and Abraham, in compliance with Allâh’s Commandment, called unto people to make pilgrimage to it.

By the grace of Allâh, Ishmael had twelve sons from the daughter of Mudad, whose names were Nabet, Qidar, Edbael, Mebsham, Mishma’, Duma, Micha, Hudud, Yetma, Yetour, Nafis and Qidman, and who ultimately formed twelve tribes inhabiting Makkah and trading between Yemen, geographical Syria and Egypt. Later on, these tribes spread all over, and even outside, the peninsula. All their tidings went into oblivion except for the descendants of Nabet and Qidar.

The Nabeteans – sons of Nabet – established a flourishing civilization in the north of Hijaz, they instituted a powerful government which spread out its domain over all neighbouring tribes, and made Petra their capital. Nobody dared challenge their authority until the Romans came and managed to eliminate their kingdom. After extensive research and painstaking investigation, Mr. Sulaiman An-Nadwi came to the conclusion that the Ghassanide kings, along with the Aws and Khazraj were not likely to be Qahtanians but rather Nabeteans.

Descendants of Qidar, the son of Ishmael, lived long in Makkah increasing in number, of them issued ‘Adnan and son Ma‘ad, to whom ‘Adnanian Arabs traced back their ancestry. ‘Adnan is the twenty-first grandfather in the series of the Prophetic ancestry. It was said that whenever Prophet Muhammad ??? ???? ???? ???? spoke of his ancestry he would stop at ‘Adnan and say: “Genealogists tell lies” and did not go farther than him. A group of scholars, however, favoured the probability of going beyond ‘Adnan attaching no significance to the aforementioned Prophetic Hadith. They went on to say that there were exactly forty fathers between ‘Adnan and Abraham (Peace be upon them).

Nizar, Ma‘ad’s only son , had four sons who branched out into four great tribes; Eyad, Anmar, Rabi‘a and Mudar. These last two sub-branched into several septs. Rabi‘a fathered Asad, ‘Anazah, ‘Abdul Qais, and Wa’il’s two sons (Bakr and Taghlib), Hanifa and many others.

Mudar tribes branched out into two great divisions: Qais ‘Ailan bin Mudar and septs of Elias bin Mudar. Of Qais ‘Ailan were the Banu Saleem, Banu Hawazin, and Banu Ghatafan of whom descended ‘Abs, Zubyan, Ashja‘ and Ghani bin A‘sur. Of Elias bin Mudar were Tamim bin Murra, Hudhail bin Mudrika, Banu Asad bin Khuzaimah and septs of Kinana bin Khuzaimah, of whom came Quraish, the descendants of Fahr bin Malik bin An-Nadr bin Kinana.

Quraish branched out into various tribes, the most famous of whom were Jumah, Sahm, ‘Adi, Makhzum, Tayim, Zahra and the three septs of Qusai bin Kilab: ‘Abdud-Dar bin Qusai, Asad bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza bin Qusai and ‘Abd Manaf bin Qusai.

‘Abd Manaf branched out into four tribes: ‘Abd Shams, Nawfal, Muttalib and Hashim. It is, however, from the family of Hashim that Allâh selected Prophet Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib bin Hashim (Peace be upon him).

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

  • “Allâh selected Ishmael from the sons of Abraham, Kinana from the sons of Ishmael, Quraish from the sons of Kinana, Hashim from the sons of Quraish and He selected me from the sons of Hashim.”

Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib quoted the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) as saying:

  • “Allâh created mankind and chose me from the best whereof, He chose the tribes and selected me from the best whereof; and He chose families and selected me from the best whereof. I am the very best in person and family.”

Having increased in number, children of ‘Adnan, in pursuit of pastures and water, spread out over various parts of Arabia.
The tribe of ‘Abdul Qais, together with some septs of Bakr bin Wa’il and Tamim, emigrated to Bahrain where they dwelt.

Banu Hanifa bin Sa‘b bin Ali bin Bakr went to settle in Hijr, the capital of Yamama. All the tribes of Bakr bin Wa’il lived in an area of land which included Yamama, Bahrain, Saif Kazima, the sea shore, the outer borders of Iraq, Ablah and Hait.

Most of the tribe of Taghlib lived in the Euphrates area while some of them lived with Bakr.
Banu Tamim lived in Basra semi-desert.
Banu Saleem lived in the vicinity of Madinah on the land stretching from Wadi Al-Qura to Khaibar onwards to the eastern mountains to Harrah.
Thaqif dwelt in Ta’if and Hawazin east of Makkah near Autas on the road from Makkah to Basra.
Banu Asad lived on the land east of Taimâ’ and west of Kufa, while family of Tai’ lived between Banu Asad and Taimâ’. They were five-day-walk far from Kufa.

Zubyan inhabited the plot of and between Taimâ’ and Hawran.

Some septs of Kinana lived in Tihama, while septs of Quraish dwelt in Makkah and its suburbs. Quraish remained completely disunited until Qusai bin Kilab managed to rally their ranks on honourable terms attaching major prominence to their status and importance.

Rulership and Princeship among the Arabs

When talking about the Arabs before Islam,we deem it necessary to draw a mini-picture of the history of rulership, princeship, sectarianism and the religious dominations of the Arabs, so as to facilitate the understanding of emergent circumstances when Islam appeared.

When the sun of Islam rose, rulers of Arabia were of two kinds: crowned kings, who were in fact not independent; and heads of tribes and clans, who enjoyed the same authorities and privileges possessed by crowned kings and were mostly independent, though some of whom could have shown some kind of submission to a crowned king. The crowned kings were only those of Yemen, Heerah and Ghassan. All other rulers of Arabia were non-crowned.

 


Rulership In Yemen

The folks of Sheba were one of the oldest nations of the pure Arabs, who lived in Yemen. Excavations at “Or” brought to light their existence twenty five centuries B.C. Their civilization flourished, and their domain spread eleven centuries B.C.

It is possible to divide their ages according to the following estimation:

1.      The centuries before 650 B.C., during which their kings were called “Makrib Sheba”. Their capital was “Sarwah”, also known as “Khriba”, whose ruins lie in a spot, a day’s walk from the western side of “Ma’rib”. During this period, they started building the “Dam of Ma’rib” which had great importance in the history of Yemen. Sheba was also said to have had so great a domain that they had colonies inside and outside Arabia.

2.      From 650 B.C. until 115 B.C. During this era, they gave up the name “Makrib” and assumed the designation of “Kings of Sheba”. They also made Ma’rib their capital instead of Sarwah. The ruins of Ma’rib lie at a distance of sixty miles east of San‘a.

3.      From 115 B.C. until 300 A.D. During this period, the tribe of Himyar conquered the kingdom of Sheba and took Redan for capital instead of Ma’rib. Later on, Redan was called “Zifar”. Its ruins still lie on Mudawwar Mountain near the town of “Yarim”. During this period, they began to decline and fall. Their trade failed to a very great extent, firstly, because of the Nabetean domain over the north of Hijaz; secondly, because of the Roman superiority over the naval trade routes after the Roman conquest of Egypt, Syria and the north of Hijaz; and thirdly, because of the inter-tribal warfare. Thanks to the three above-mentioned factors, families of Qahtan were disunited and scatteredout.

4.      From 300 A.D. until Islam dawned on Yemen. This period witnessed a lot of disorder and turmoil. The great many and civil wars rendered the people of Yemen liable to foreign subjection and hence loss of independence. During this era, the Romans conquered ‘Adn and even helped the Abyssinians (Ethiopians) to occupy Yemen for the first time in 340 A.D., making use of the constant intra-tribal conflict of Hamdan and Himyar. The Abyssinian (Ethiopian) occupation of Yemen lasted until 378 A.D., whereafter Yemen regained its independence. Later on, cracks began to show in Ma’rib Dam which led to the Great Flood (450 or 451 A.D.) mentioned in the Noble Qur’ân. This was a great event which caused the fall of the entire Yemeni civilization and the dispersal of the nations living therein.

In 523, Dhu Nawas, a Jew, despatched a great campaign against the Christians of Najran in order to force them to convert into Judaism. Having refused to do so, they were thrown alive into a big ditch where a great fire had been set. The Qur’ân referred to this event:

  • “Cursed were the people of the ditch.” [85:4]

This aroused great wrath among the Christians, and especially the Roman emperors, who not only instigated the Abyssinians (Ethiopians) against Arabs but also assembled a large fleet which helped the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) army, of seventy thousand warriors, to effect a second conquest of Yemen in 525 A.D., under the leadership of Eriat, who was granted rulership over Yemen, a position he held until he was assassinated by one of his army leaders, Abraha, who, after reconciliation with the king of Abyssinia, took rulership over Yemen and, later on, deployed his soldiers to demolish Al-Ka‘bah, and , hence, he and his soldiers came to be known as the “Men of the Elephant”.

After the “Elephant” incident, the people of Yemen, under the leadership of Ma‘dikarib bin Saif Dhu Yazin Al-Himyari, and through Persian assistance, revolted against the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) invaders, restored independence and appointed Ma‘dikarib as their king. However, Ma‘dikarib was assassinated by an Abyssinian (Ethiopian) he used to have him around for service and protection. The family of Dhu Yazin was thus deprived of royalty forever. Kisra, the Persian king, appointed a Persian ruler over San‘a and thus made Yemen a Persian colony. Persian rulers maintained rulership of Yemen until Badhan, the last of them, embraced Islam in 638 A.D., thus terminating the Persian domain over Yemen.

 


Rulership in Heerah

Ever since Korosh the Great (557-529 B.C.) united the Persians, they ruled Iraq and its neighbourhood. Nobody could shake off their authority until Alexander the Great vanquished their king Dara I and thus subdued the Persians in 326 B.C. Persian lands were thenceforth divided and ruled by kings known as “the Kings of Sects”, an era which lasted until 230 A.D. Meanwhile, the Qahtanians occupied some Iraqi territories, and were later followed by some ‘Adnanians who managed to share some parts of Mesopotamia with them.

The Persians, under the leadership of Ardashir, who had established the Sasanian state in 226 A.D, regained enough unity and power to subdue the Arabs living in the vicinity of their kingdom, and force Quda‘a to leave for Syria , leaving the people of Heerah and Anbar under the Persian domain.

During the time of Ardashir, Juzaima Alwaddah exercised rulership over Heerah, Rabi‘a and Mudar, and Mesopotamia. Ardashir had reckoned that it was impossible for him to rule the Arabs directly and prevent them from attacking his borders unless he appointed as king one of them who enjoyed support and power of his tribe. He had also seen that he could make use of them against the Byzantine kings who always used to harass him. At the same time, the Arabs of Iraq could face the Arabs of Syria who were in the hold of Byzantine kings. However, he deemed it fit to keep a Persian battalion under command of the king of Heerah to be used against those Arabs who might rebel against him.

After the death of Juzaima around 268 A.D., ‘Amr bin ‘Adi bin Nasr Al-Lakhmi was appointed as king by the Persian King Sabour bin Ardashir. ‘Amr was the first of the Lakhmi kings who ruled Heerah until the Persians appointed Qabaz bin Fairuz in whose reign appeared someone called Mazdak, who called for dissoluteness in social life. Qabaz, and many of his subjects, embraced Mazdak’s religion and even called upon the king of Heerah, Al-Munzir bin Ma’ As-Sama’, to follow after. When the latter, because of his pride and self-respect, rejected their orders, Qabaz discharged him and nominated Harith bin ‘Amr bin Hajar Al-Kindi, who had accepted the Mazdaki doctrine.

No sooner did Kisra Anu Shairwan succeed Qabaz than he, due to hatred of Mazdak’s philosophy, killed Mazdak and many of his followers, restored Munzir to the throne of Heerah and gave orders to summon under arrest Harith who sought refuge with Al-Kalb tribe where he spent the rest of his life.

Sons of Al-Munzir bin Ma’ As-Sama’ maintained kingship a long time until An-Nu‘man bin Al-Munzir took over. Because of a calumny borne by Zaid bin ‘Adi Al-‘Abbadi, the Persian king got angry with An-Nu‘man and summoned him to his palace. An-Nu‘man went secretly to Hani bin Mas‘ud, chief of Shaiban tribe, and left his wealth and family under the latter’s protection, and then presented himself before the Persian king, who immediately threw him into prison where he perished. Kisra, then, appointed Eyas bin Qubaisa At-Ta’i as king of Heerah. Eyas was ordered to tell Hani bin Mas‘ud to deliver An-Nu‘man’s charge up to Kisra. No sooner than had the Persian king received the fanatically motivated rejection on the part of the Arab chief, he declared war against the tribe of Shaiban and mobilized his troops and warriors under the leadership of King Eyas to a place called Dhee Qar which witnessed a most furious battle wherein the Persians were severely routed by the Arabs for the first time in history. That was very soon after the birth of Prophet Muhammad ??? ???? ???? ???? eight months after Eyas bin Qubaisah’s rise to power over Heerah.

After Eyas, a Persian ruler was appointed over Heerah, but in 632 A.D. the authority there returned to the family of Lukhm when Al-Munzir Al-Ma‘rur took over. Hardly had the latter’s reign lasted for eight months when Khalid bin Al-Waleed fell upon him with Muslim soldiers.

 


Rulership in Geographical Syria

In the process of the tribal emigrations, some septs of Quda‘a reached the borders of Syria where they settled down. They belonged to the family of Sulaih bin Halwan, of whose offspring were the sons of Duj‘am bin Sulaih known as Ad-Duja‘ima. Such septs of Quda‘a were used by the Byzantines in the defence of the Byzantine borders against both Arab Bedouin raiders and the Persians, and enjoyed autonomy for a considerable phase of time which is said to have lasted for the whole second century A.D. One of their most famous kings was Zyiad bin Al-Habula. Their authority however came to an end upon defeat by the Ghassanides who were consequently granted the proxy rulership over the Arabs of Syria and had Dumat Al-Jandal as their headquarters, which lasted until the battle of Yarmuk in the year 13 A.H. Their last king Jabala bin Al-Aihum embraced Islam during the reign of the Chief of Believers, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him).

 


Rulership in Hijaz

Ishmael (Peace be upon him) administered authority over Makkah as well as custodianship of the Holy Sanctuary throughout his lifetime. Upon his death, at the age of 137, two of his sons, Nabet and Qidar, succeeded him. Later on, their maternal grandfather, Mudad bin ‘Amr Al-Jurhumi took over, thus transferring rulership over Makkah to the tribe of Jurhum, preserving a venerable position, though very little authority for Ishmael’s sons due to their father’s exploits in building the Holy Sanctuary, a position they held until the decline of the tribe of Jurhum shortly before the rise of Bukhtanassar.

The political role of the ‘Adnanides had begun to gain firmer grounds in Makkah, which could be clearly attested by the fact that upon Bukhtanassar’s first invasion of the Arabs in ‘Dhati ‘Irq’, the leader of the Arabs was not from Jurhum.

Upon Bukhtanassar’s second invasion in 587 B.C., however, the ‘Adnanides were frightened out to Yemen, while Burmia An-Nabi fled to Syria with Ma‘ad, but when Bukhtanassar’s pressure lessened, Ma‘ad returned to Makkah to find none of the tribe of Jurhum except Jursham bin Jalhamah, whose daughter, Mu‘ana, was given to Ma‘ad as wife who, later, had a son by him named Nizar.

On account of difficult living conditions and destitution prevalent in Makkah, the tribe of Jurhum began to ill-treat visitors of the Holy Sanctuary and extort its funds, which aroused resentment and hatred of the ‘Adnanides (sons of Bakr bin ‘Abd Munaf bin Kinana) who, with the help of the tribe of Khuza‘a that had come to settle in a neighbouring area called Marr Az-Zahran, invaded Jurhum and frightened them out of Makkah leaving rulership to Quda‘a in the middle of the second century A.D.

Upon leaving Makkah, Jurhum filled up the well of Zamzam, levelled its place and buried a great many things in it. ‘Amr bin Al-Harith bin Mudad Al-Jurhumi was reported by Ibn Ishaq, the well-known historian, to have buried the two gold deer together with the Black Stone as well as a lot of jewelry and swords in Zamzam, prior to their sorrowful escape to Yemen.

Ishmael’s epoch is estimated to have lasted for twenty centuries B.C., which means that Jurhum stayed in Makkah for twenty-one centuries and held rulership there for about twenty centuries.

Upon defeat of Jurhum, the tribe of Khuza‘a monopolized rulership over Makkah. Mudar tribes, however, enjoyed three privileges:

  The First: Leading pilgrims from ‘Arafat to Muzdalifah and then from Mina to the ‘Aqabah Stoning Pillar. This was the authority of the family of Al-Ghawth bin Murra, one of the septs of Elias bin Mudar, who were called ‘Sofa’. This privilege meant that the pilgrims were not allowed to throw stones at Al-‘Aqabah until one of the ‘Sofa’ men did that. When they had finished stoning and wanted to leave the valley of Mina, ‘Sofa’ men stood on the two sides of Al-‘Aqabah and nobody would pass that position until the men of ‘Sofa’ passed and cleared the way for the pilgrims. When Sofa perished, the family of Sa‘d bin Zaid Manat from Tamim tribe took over.

The Second: Al-Ifadah (leaving for Mina after Muzdalifah) on sacrifice morning, and this was the responsibility of the family of Adwan.

The Third: Deferment of the sacred months, and this was the responsibility of the family of Tamim bin ‘Adi from Bani Kinana.

Khuza‘a’s reign in Makkah lasted for three hundred years, during which, the ‘Adnanides spread all over Najd and the sides of Bahrain and Iraq, while small septs of Quraish remained on the sides of Makkah; they were Haloul, Harum and some families of Kinana. They enjoyed no privileges in Makkah or in the Sacred House until the appearance of Qusai bin Kilab, whose father is said to have died when he was still a baby, and whose mother was subsequently married to Rabi‘a bin Haram, from the tribe of Bani ‘Udhra. Rabi‘a took his wife and her baby to his homeland on the borders of Syria. When Qusai became a young man, he returned to Makkah, which was ruled by Halil bin Habsha from Khuza‘a, who gave Qusai his daughter, Hobba, as wife. After Halil’s death, a war between Khuza‘a and Quraish broke out and resulted in Qusai’s taking hold of Makkah and the Sacred House.

 


The Reasons of this War Have Been Illustrated in Three Versions

  The First: Having noticed the spread of his offspring, increase of his property and exalt of his honour after Halil’s death, Qusai found himself more entitled to shoulder responsibility of rulership over Makkah and custodianship of the Sacred House than the tribes of Khuza‘a and Bani Bakr. He also advocated that Quraish were the chiefs of Ishmael’s descendants. Therefore he consulted some men from Quraish and Kinana concerning his desire to evacuate Khuza‘a and Bani Bakr from Makkah. They took a liking to his opinion and supported him.

The Second: Khuza‘a claimed that Halil requested Qusai to hold custodianship of Al-Ka‘bah and rulership over Makkah after his death.

The Third: Halil gave the right of Al-Ka‘bah service to his daughter Hobba and appointed Abu Ghabshan Al-Khuza‘i to function as her agent whereof. Upon Halil’s death, Qusai bought this right for a leather bag of wine, which aroused dissatisfaction among the men of Khuza‘a and they tried to keep the custodianship of the Sacred House away from Qusai. The latter, however, with the help of Quraish and Kinana, managed to take over and even to expel Khuza‘a completely from Makkah.

Whatever the truth might have been, the whole affair resulted in the deprivation of Sofa of their privileges, previously mentioned, evacuation of Khuza‘a and Bakr from Makkah and transfer of rulership over Makkah and custodianship of the Holy Sanctuary to Qusai, after fierce wars between Qusai and Khuza‘a inflicting heavy casualties on both sides, reconciliation and then arbitration of Ya‘mur bin ‘Awf, from the tribe of Bakr, whose judgement entailed eligibility of Qusai’s rulership over Makkah and custodianship of the Sacred House, Qusai’s irresponsibility for Khuza‘a’s blood shed, and imposition of blood money on Khuza‘a. Qusai’s reign over Makkah and the Sacred House began in 440 A.D. and allowed him, and Quraish afterwards, absolute rulership over Makkah and undisputed custodianship of the Sacred House to which Arabs from all over Arabia came to pay homage.

Qusai brought his kinspeople to Makkah and allocated it to them, allowing Quraish some dwellings there. An-Nus’a, the families of Safwan, Adwan, Murra bin ‘Awf preserved the same rights they used to enjoy before his arrival.

A significant achievement credited to Qusai was the establishment of An-Nadwa House (an assembly house) on the northern side of Al-Ka‘bah Mosque, to serve as a meeting place for Quraish. This very house had benefited Quraish a lot because it secured unity of opinions amongst them and cordial solution to their problem.

QUSAI HOWEVER ENJOYED THE FOLLONG PRIVILEGED OF LEADERSHIP AND HONOUR:

1.      Presiding over An-Nadwa House meetings where consultations relating to serious issues were conducted, and marriage contracts were announced.

2.      The Standard: He monopolized in his hand issues relevant to war launching.

3.      Doorkeeping of Al-Ka‘bah: He was the only one eligible to open its gate, and was responsible for its service and protection.

4.      Providing water for the Pilgrims: This means that he used to fill basins sweetened by dates and raisins for the pilgrims to drink.

5.      Feeding Pilgrims: This means making food for pilgrims who could not afford it. Qusai even imposed on Quraish annual land tax, paid at the season of pilgrimage, for food.

It is noteworthy however that Qusai singled out ‘Abd Manaf, a son of his, for honour and prestige though he was not his elder son (‘Abd Ad-Dar was), and entrusted him with such responsibilities as chairing of An-Nadwa House, the standard, the doorkeeping of Al-Ka‘bah, providing water and food for pilgrims. Due to the fact that Qusai’s deeds were regarded as unquestionable and his orders inviolable, his death gave no rise to conflicts among his sons, but it later did among his grand children, for no sooner than ‘Abd Munaf had died, his sons began to have rows with their cousins —sons of ‘Abd Ad-Dar, which would have given rise to dissension and fighting among the whole tribe of Quraish, had it not been for a peace treaty whereby posts were reallocated so as to preserve feeding and providing water for pilgrims for the sons of ‘Abd Munaf; while An-Nadwa House, the flag and the doorkeeping of Al-Ka‘bah were maintained for the sons of ‘Abd Ad-Dar. The sons of ‘Abd Munaf, however, cast the lot for their charge, and consequently left the charge of food and water giving to Hashim bin ‘Abd Munaf, upon whose death, the charge was taken over by a brother of his called Al-Muttalib bin ‘Abd Manaf and afterwards by ‘Abd Al-Muttalib bin Hashim, the Prophet’s grandfather, whose sons assumed this position until the rise of Islam, during which ‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib was in charge.

Many other posts were distriamong people of Quraish for establishing the pillars of a new democratic petite state with government offices and councils similar to those of today. Enlisted as follows are some of these posts.

1.      Casting the lots for the idols was allocated to Bani Jumah.

2.      Noting of offers and sacrifices, settlement of disputes and relevant issues were to lie in the hands of Bani Sahm.

3.      Consultation was to go to Bani Asad.

4.      Organization of blood-money and fines was with Bani Tayim.

5.      Bearing the national banner was with Bani Omaiyah.

6.      The military institute, footmen and cavalry would be Bani Makhzum’s responsibility.

7.      Bani ‘Adi would function as foreign mediators.

 


Rulership in Pan-Arabia

We have previously mentioned the Qahtanide and ‘Adnanide emigrations, and division of Arabia between these two tribes. Those tribes dwelling near Heerah were subordinate to the Arabian king of Heerah, while those dwelling in the Syrian semi-desert were under domain of the Arabian Ghassanide king, a sort of dependency that was in reality formal rather than actual. However, those living in the hinder deserts enjoyed full autonomy.

These tribes in fact had heads chosen by the whole tribe which was a demi-government based on tribal solidarity and collective interests in defence of land and property.

Heads of tribes enjoyed dictatorial privileges similar to those of kings, and were rendered full obedience and subordination in both war and peace. Rivalry among cousins for rulership, however, often drove them to outdo one another in entertaining guests, affecting generosity, wisdom and chivalry for the sole purpose of outranking their rivals, and gaining fame among people especially poets who were the official spokesmen at the time.

Heads of tribes and masters had special claims to spoils of war such as the quarter of the spoils, whatever he chose for himself, or found on his way back or even the remaining indivisible spoils.

 


The Political Situation

The three Arab regions adjacent to foreigners suffered great weakness and inferiority. The people there were either masters or slaves, rulers or subordinates. Masters, especially the foreigners, had claim to every advantage; slaves had nothing but responsibilities to shoulder. In other words, arbitrary autocratic rulership brought about encroachment on the rights of subordinates, ignorance, oppression, iniquity, injustice and hardship, and turning them into people groping in darkness and ignorance, viz., fertile land which rendered its fruits to the rulers and men of power to extravagantly dissipate on their pleasures and enjoyments, whims and desires, tyranny and aggression. The tribes living near these regions were fluctuating between Syria and Iraq, whereas those living inside Arabia were disunited and governed by tribal conflicts and racial and religious disputes.

They had neither a king to sustain their independence nor a supporter to seek advice from, or depend upon, in hardships.

The rulers of Hijaz, however, were greatly esteemed and respected by the Arabs, and were considered as rulers and servants of the religious centre. Rulership of Hijaz was, in fact, a mixture of secular and official precedence as well as religious leadership. They ruled among the Arabs in the name of religious leadership and always monopolized the custodianship of the Holy Sanctuary and its neighbourhood. They looked after the interests of Al-Ka‘bah visitors and were in charge of putting Abraham’s code into effect. They even had such offices and departments like those of the parliaments of today. However, they were too weak to carry the heavy burden, as this evidently came to light during the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) invasion.

Religions of the Arabs

Most of the Arabs had complied with the call of Ishmael (Peace be upon him) , and professed the religion of his father Abraham (Peace be upon him) They had worshipped Allâh, professed His Oneness and followed His religion a long time until they forgot part of what they had been reminded of. However, they still maintained such fundamental beliefs such as monotheism as well as various other aspects of Abraham’s religion, until the time when a chief of Khuza‘a, namely ‘Amr bin Luhai, who was renowned for righteousness, charity, reverence and care for religion, and was granted unreserved love and obedience by his tribesmen, came back from a trip to Syria where he saw people worship idols, a phenomenon he approved of and believed it to be righteous since Syria was the locus of Messengers and Scriptures, he brought with him an idol (Hubal) which he placed in the middle of Al-Ka‘bah and summoned people to worship it. Readily enough, paganism spread all over Makkah and, thence, to Hijaz, people of Makkah being custodians of not only the Sacred House but the whole Haram as well. A great many idols, bearing different names, were introduced into the area.

An idol called ‘Manat’, for instance, was worshipped in a place known as Al-Mushallal near Qadid on the Red Sea. Another, ‘Al-Lat’ in Ta’if, a third, ‘Al-‘Uzza’ in the valley of Nakhlah, and so on and so forth. Polytheism prevailed and the number of idols increased everywhere in Hijaz. It was even mentioned that ‘Amr bin Luhai, with the help of a jinn companion who told him that the idols of Noah’s folk – Wadd, Suwa‘, Yaguth, Ya‘uk and Nasr – were buried in Jeddah, dug them out and took them to Tihama. Upon pilgrimage time, the idols were distributed among the tribes to take back home. Every tribe, and house, had their own idols, and the Sacred House was also overcrowded with them. On the Prophet’s conquest of Makkah, 360 idols were found around Al-Ka‘bah. He broke them down and had them removed and burned up.

Polytheism and worship of idols became the most prominent feature of the religion of pre-Islam Arabs despite alleged profession of Abraham’s religion.

Traditions and ceremonies of the worship of their idols had been mostly created by ‘Amr bin Luhai, and were deemed as good innovations rather than deviations from Abraham’s religion. Some features of their worship of idols were:

  • Self-devotion to the idols, seeking refuge with them, acclamation of their names, calling for their help in hardship, and supplication to them for fulfillment of wishes, hopefully that the idols (i.e., heathen gods) would mediate with Allâh for the fulfillment of people’s wishes.
  • Performing pilgrimage to the idols, circumrotation round them, self-abasement and even prostrating themselves before them.
  • Seeking favour of idols through various kinds of sacrifices and immolations, which is mentioned in the Qur’ânic verses:
  • “And that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An-Nusub (stone-altars)” [5:3]

Allâh also says:

  “Eat not (O believers) of that (meat) on which Allâh’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of the slaughtering of the animal).” [6:121]

  • Consecration of certain portions of food, drink, cattle, and crops to idols. Surprisingly enough, portions were also consecrated to Allâh Himself, but people often found reasons to transfer parts of Allâh’s portion to idols, but never did the opposite. To this effect, the Qur’ânic verses go:

  “And they assign to Allâh a share of the tilth and cattle which He has created, and they say: ‘This is for Allâh according to their pretending, and this is for our (Allâh’s so-called) partners.’ But the share of their (Allâh’s so-called) ‘partners’, reaches not Allâh, while the share of Allâh reaches their (Allâh’s so-called) ‘partners’. Evil is the way they judge.” [6:136]

  • Currying favours with these idols through votive offerings of crops and cattle, to which effect, the Qur’ân goes:

  “And according to their pretending, they say that such and such cattle and crops are forbidden, and none should eat of them except those whom we allow. And (they say) there are cattle forbidden to be used for burden or any other work, and cattle on which (at slaughtering) the Name of Allâh is not pronounced; lying against Him (Allâh).” [6:138]

  • Dedication of certain animals (such as Bahira, Sa’iba, Wasila and Hami) to idols, which meant sparing such animals from useful work for the sake of these heathen gods. Bahira, as reported by the well-known historian, Ibn Ish, was daughter of Sa’iba which was a female camel that gave birth to ten successive female animals, but no male ones, was set free and forbidden to yoke, burden or being sheared off its wool, or milked (but for guests to drink from); and so was done to all her female offspring which were given the name ‘Bahira’, after having their ears slit. The Wasila was a female sheep which had ten successive female daughters in five pregnancies. Any new births from this Wasila were assigned only for male people. The Hami was a male camel which produced ten progressive females, and was thus similarly forbidden. In mention of this, the Qur’ânic verses go:

  “Allâh has not instituted things like Bahira ( a she-camel whose milk was spared for the idols and nobody was allowed to milk it) or a Sa’iba (a she camel let loose for free pasture for their false gods, e.g. idols, etc., and nothing was allowed to be carried on it), or a Wasila (a she-camel set free for idols because it has given birth to a she-camel at its first delivery and then again gives birth to a she-camel at its second delivery) or a Hâm (a stallion-camel freed from work for their idols, after it had finished a number of copulations assigned for it, all these animals were liberated in honour of idols as practised by pagan Arabs in the pre-Islamic period). But those who disbelieve, invent lies against Allâh, and most of them have no understanding.” [5:103]

Allâh also says:

  “And they say: What is in the bellies of such and such cattle (milk or foetus) is for our males alone, and forbidden to our females (girls and women), but if it is born dead, then all have shares therein.” [6:139]

It has been authentically reported that such superstitions were first invented by ‘Amr bin Luhai.

The Arabs believed that such idols, or heathen gods, would bring them nearer to Allâh, lead them to Him, and mediate with Him for their sake, to which effect, the Qur’ân goes:

  “We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allâh.” [39:3], and

“And they worship besides Allâh things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allâh.” [10:18]

Another divinatory tradition among the Arabs was casting of Azlam (i.e. featherless arrows which were of three kinds: one showing ‘yes’, another ‘no’ and a third was blank) which they used to do in case of serious matters like travel, marriage and the like. If the lot showed ‘yes’, they would do, if ‘no’, they would delay for the next year. Other kinds of Azlam were cast for water, blood-money or showed ‘from you’, ‘not from you’, or ‘Mulsaq’ (consociated). In cases of doubt in filiation they would resort to the idol of Hubal, with a hundred-camel gift, for the arrow caster. Only the arrows would then decide the sort of relationship.If the arrow showed (from you), then it was decided that the child belonged to the tribe; if it showed (from others), he would then be regarded as an ally, but if (consociated) appeared, the person would retain his position but with no lineage or alliance contract.

This was very much like gambling and arrow-shafting whereby they used to divide the meat of the camels they slaughtered according to this tradition.

Moreover, they used to have a deep conviction in the tidings of soothsayers, diviners and astrologers. A soothsayer used to traffic in the business of foretelling future events and claim knowledge of private secrets and having jinn subordinates who would communicate the news to him. Some soothsayers claimed that they could uncover the unknown by means of a granted power, while other diviners boasted they could divulge the secrets through a cause-and-effect-inductive process that would lead to detecting a stolen commodity, location of a theft, a stray animal, and the like. The astrologer belonged to a third category who used to observe the stars and calculate their movements and orbits whereby he would foretell the future. Lending credence to this news constituted a clue to their conviction that attached special significance to the movements of particular stars with regard to rainfall.

The belief in signs as betokening future events, was, of course common among the Arabians. Some days and months and particular animals were regarded as ominous. They also believed that the soul of a murdered person would fly in the wilderness and would never rest at rest until revenge was taken. Superstition was rampant. Should a deer or bird, when released, turn right then what they embarked on would be regarded auspicious, otherwise they would get pessimistic and withhold from pursuing it.

People of pre-Islamic period, whilst believing in superstition, they still retained some of the Abrahamic traditions such as devotion to the Holy Sanctuary, circumambulation, observance of pilgrimage, the vigil on ‘Arafah and offering sacrifices, all of these were observed fully despite some innovations that adulterated these holy rituals. Quraish, for example, out of arrogance, feeling of superiority to other tribes and pride in their custodianship of the Sacred House, would refrain from going to ‘Arafah with the crowd, instead they would stop short at Muzdalifah. The Noble Qur’ân rebuked and told them:

  “Then depart from the place whence all the people depart.” [2:199]

Another heresy, deeply established in their social tradition, dictated that they would not eat dried yoghurt or cooked fat, nor would they enter a tent made of camel hair or seek shade unless in a house of adobe bricks, so long as they were committed to the intention of pilgrimage. They also, out of a deeply-rooted misconception, denied pilgrims, other than Makkans, access to the food they had brought when they wanted to make pilgrimage or lesser pilgrimage.

They ordered pilgrims coming from outside Makkah to circumambulate Al-Ka‘bah in Quraish uniform clothes, but if they could not afford them, men were to do so in a state of nudity, and women with only some piece of cloth to hide their groins. Allâh says in this concern:

  “O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying [and going round (the Tawaf of) the Ka‘bah”. [7:31]

If men or women were generous enough to go round Al-Ka‘bah in their clothes, they had to discard them after circumambulation for good.

When the Makkans were in a pilgrimage consecration state, they would not enter their houses through the doors but through holes they used to dig in the back walls. They used to regard such behaviour as deeds of piety and god-fearing. This practice was prohibited by the Qur’ân:

  “It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back but Al-Birr (is the quality of the one) who fears Allâh. So enter houses through their proper doors, and fear Allâh that you may be successful.” [2:189]

Such was the religious life in Arabia, polytheism, idolatry, and superstition.

Judaism, Christianity, Magianism and Sabianism, however, could find their ways easily into Arabia.

The migration of the Jews from Palestine to Arabia passed through two phases: first, as a result of the pressure to which they were exposed, the destruction of the their temple, and taking most of them as captives to Babylon, at the hand of the King Bukhtanassar. In the year B.C. 587 some Jews left Palestine for Hijaz and settled in the northern areas whereof. The second phase started with the Roman occupation of Palestine under the leadership of Roman Buts in 70 A.D. This resulted in a tidal wave of Jewish migration into Hijaz, and Yathrib, Khaibar and Taima’, in particular. Here, they made proselytes of several tribes, built forts and castles, and lived in villages. Judaism managed to play an important role in the pre-Islam political life. When Islam dawned on that land, there had already been several famous Jewish tribes — Khabeer, Al-Mustaliq, An-Nadeer, Quraizah and Qainuqa‘. In some versions, the Jewish tribes counted as many as twenty.

Judaism was introduced into Yemen by someone called As‘ad Abi Karb. He had gone to fight in Yathrib and there he embraced Judaism and then went back taking with him two rabbis from Bani Quraizah to instruct thpeople of Yemen in this new religion. Judaism found a fertile soil there to propagate and gain adherents. After his death, his son Yusuf Dhu Nawas rose to power, attacked the Christian community in Najran and ordered them to embrace Judaism. When they refused, he ordered that a pit of fire be dug and all the Christians indiscriminately be dropped to burn therein. Estimates say that between 20-40 thousand Christians were killed in that human massacre. The Qur’ân related part of that story in Al-Buruj (zodiacal signs) Chapter.

Christianity had first made its appearance in Arabia following the entry of the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) and Roman colonists into that country. The Abyssinian (Ethiopian) colonization forces in league with Christian missions entered Yemen as a retaliatory reaction for the iniquities of Dhu Nawas, and started vehemently to propagate their faith ardently. They even built a church and called it Yemeni Al-Ka‘bah with the aim of directing the Arab pilgrimage caravans towards Yemen, and then made an attempt to demolish the Sacred House in Makkah. Allâh, the Almighty, however did punish them and made an example of them – here and hereafter.

A Christian missionary called Fimion, and known for his ascetic behaviour and working miracles, had likewise infiltrated into Najran. There he called people to Christianity, and by virtue of his honesty and truthful devotion, he managed to persuade them to respond positively to his invitation and embrace Christianity.

The principal tribes that embraced Christianity were Ghassan, Taghlib, Tai’ and some Himyarite kings as well as other tribes living on the borders of the Roman Empire.

Magianism was also popular among the Arabs living in the neighbourhood of Persia, Iraq, Bahrain, Al-Ahsâ’ and some areas on the Arabian Gulf coast. Some Yemenis are also reported to have professed Magianism during the Persian occupation.

As for Sabianism, excavations in Iraq revealed that it had been popular amongst Kaldanian folks, the Syrians and Yemenis. With the advent of Judaism and Christianity, however, Sabianism began to give way to the new religions, although it retained some followers mixed or adjacent to the Magians in Iraq and the Arabian Gulf.

 


The Religious Situation

Such was the religious life of the Arabians before the advent of Islam. The role that the religions prevalent played was so marginal, in fact it was next to nothing. The polytheists, who faked Abrahamism, were so far detached from its precepts, and totally oblivious of its immanent good manners. They plunged into disobedience and ungodliness, and developed certain peculiar religious superstitions that managed to leave a serious impact on the religious and socio-political life in the whole of Arabia.

Judaism turned into abominable hypocrisy in league with hegemony. Rabbis turned into lords to the exclusion of the Lord. They got involved in the practice of dictatorial subjection of people and calling their subordinates to account for the least word or idea. Their sole target turned into acquisition of wealth and power even if it were at the risk of losing their religion, or the emergence of atheism and disbelief.

Christianity likewise opened its doors wide to polytheism, and got too difficult to comprehend as a heavenly religion. As a religious practice, it developed a sort of peculiar medley of man and God. It exercised no bearing whatsoever on the souls of the Arabs who professed it simply because it was alien to their style of life and did not have the least relationship with their practical life.

People of other religions were similar to the polytheists with respect to their inclinations, dogmas, customs and traditions

After the research we have made into the religious and political life of Arabia, it is appropriate to speak briefly about the social, economic and ethical conditions prevalent therein.

 


Social Life of the Arabs

The Arabian Society presented a social medley, with different and heterogeneous social strata. The status of the woman among the nobility recorded an advanced degree of esteem. The woman enjoyed a considerable portion of free will, and her decision would most often be enforced. She was so highly cherished that blood would be easily shed in defence of her honour. In fact, she was the most decisive key to bloody fight or friendly peace. These privileges notwithstanding, the family system in Arabia was wholly patriarchal. The marriage contract rested completely in the hands of the woman’s legal guardian whose words with regard to her marital status could never be questioned.

On the other hand, there were other social strata where prostitution and indecency were rampant and in full operation. Abu Da’ûd, on the authority of  ‘Aishah(May Allah be pleased with her) reported four kinds of marriage in pre-Islamic Arabia: The first was similar to present-day marriage procedures, in which case a man gives his daughter in marriage to another man after a dowry has been agreed on. In the second, the husband would send his wife – after the menstruation period – to cohabit with another man in order to conceive. After conception her husband would, if he desired, have a sexual intercourse with her. A third kind was that a group of less than ten men would have sexual intercourse with a woman. If she conceived and gave birth to a child, she would send for these men, and nobody could abstain. They would come together to her house. She would say: ‘You know what you have done. I have given birth to a child and it is your child’ (pointing to one of them). The man meant would have to accept. The fourth kind was that a lot of men would have sexual intercourse with a certain woman (a whore). She would not prevent anybody. Such women used to put a certain flag at their gates to invite in anyone who liked. If this whore got pregnant and gave birth to a child, she would collect those men, and a seeress would tell whose child it was. The appointed father would take the child and declare him/her his own. When Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) declared Islam in Arabia, he cancelled all these forms of sexual contacts except that of present Islamic marriage

Women always accompanied men in their wars. The winners would freely have sexual intercourse with such women, but disgrace would follow the children conceived in this way all their lives.

Pre-Islam Arabs had no limited number of wives. They could marry two sisters at the same time, or even the wives of their fathers if divorced or widowed. Divorce was to a very great extent in the power of the husband.

The obscenity of adultery prevailed almost among all social classes except few men and women whose self-dignity prevented them from committing such an act. Free women were in much better conditions than the female slaves who constituted the greatest calamity. It seemed that the greatest majority of pre-Islam Arabs did not feel ashamed of committing this obscenity. Abu Da’ûd reported: A man stood up in front of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said: “O Prophet of Allâh! that boy is my son. I had sexual intercourse with his mother in the pre-Islamic period.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

  “No claim in Islam for pre-Islamic affairs. The child is to be attributed to the one on whose bed it was born, and stoning is the lot of a fornicator.”

With respect to the pre-Islam Arab’s relation with his offspring, we see that life in Arabia was paradoxical and presented a gloomy picture of contrasts. Whilst some Arabs held children dear to their hearts and cherished them greatly, others buried their female children alive because an illusory fear of poverty and shame weighed heavily on them. The practice of infanticide cannot, however, be seen as irrevocably rampant because of their dire need for male children to guard themselves against their enemies.

Another aspect of the Arabs’ life which deserves mention is the bedouin’s deep-seated emotional attachment to his clan. Family, or perhaps tribal-pride, was one of the strongest passions with him. The doctrine of unity of blood as the principle that bound the Arabs into a social unity was formed andsupported by tribal-pride. Their undisputed motto was: “???? ???? ????? ?? ?????? — Support your brother whether he is an oppressor or oppressed” in its literal meaning; they disregarded the Islamic amendment which states that supporting an oppressor brother implies deterring him from transgression.

Avarice for leadership, and keen sense of emulation often resulted in bitter tribal warfare despite descendency from one common ancestor. In this regard, the continued bloody conflicts of Aws and Khazraj, ‘Abs and Dhubyan, Bakr and Taghlib, etc. are striking examples.

Inter-tribal relationships were fragile and weak due to continual inter-tribal wars of attrition. Deep devotion to religious superstitions and some customs held in veneration, however, used to curb their impetuous tendency to quench their thirst for blood. In other cases, there were the motives of, and respect for, alliance, loyalty and dependency which could successfully bring about a spirit of rapport, and abort groundless bases of dispute. A time-honoured custom of suspending hostilities during the prohibited months (Muharram, Rajab, Dhul-Qa‘dah, and Dhul-Hijjah) functioned favourably and provided an opportunity for them to earn their living and coexist in peace.

We may sum up the social situation in Arabia by saying that the Arabs of the pre-Islamic period were groping about in the dark and ignorance, entangled in a mesh of superstitions paralyzing their mind and driving them to lead an animal-like life. The woman was a marketable commodity and regarded as a piece of inanimate property. Inter-tribal relationships were fragile. Avarice for wealth and involvement in futile wars were the main objectives that governed their chiefs’ self-centred policies.

 


The Economic Situation

The economic situation ran in line with the social atmosphere. The Arabian ways of living would illustrate this phenomenon quite clearly. Trade was the most common means of providing their needs of life. The trade journeys could not be fulfilled unless security of caravan routes and inter-tribal peaceful co-existence were provided – two imperative exigencies unfortunately lacking in Arabia except during the prohibited months within which the Arabs held their assemblies of ‘Ukaz, Dhil-Majaz, Mijannah and others.

Industry was alien to the Arabian psychology. Most of available industries of knitting and tannage in Arabia were done by people coming from Yemen, Heerah and the borders of Syria. Inside Arabia there was some sort of farming and stock-breeding. Almost all the Arabian women worked in yarn spinning but even this practice was continually threatened by wars. On the whole, poverty, hunger and insufficient clothing were the prevailing features in Arabia, economically.

ETHICS:

We cannot deny that the pre-Islam Arabs had such a large bulk of evils. Admittedly, vices and evils, utterly rejected by reason, were rampant amongst the pre-Islam Arabs, but this could never screen off the surprise-provoking existence of highly praiseworthy virtues, of which we could adduce the following:

1.      Hospitality: They used to emulate one another at hospitality and take utmost pride in it. Almost half of their poetry heritage was dedicated to the merits and nobility attached to entertaining one’s guest. They were generous and hospitable on the point of fault. They would sacrifice their private sustenance to a cold or hungry guest. They would not hesitate to incur heavy blood-money and relevant burdens just to stop blood-shed, and consequently merit praise and eulogy.

2.      In the context of hospitality, there springs up their common habits of drinking wine which was regarded as a channel branching out of generosity and showing hospitality. Wine drinking was a genuine source of pride for the Arabs of the pre-Islamic period. The great poets of that era never forgot to include their suspending odes the most ornate lines pregnant with boasting and praise of drinking orgies. Even the word ‘grapes’ in Arabic is identical to generosity in both pronunciation and spelling. Gambling was also another practice of theirs closely associated with generosity since the proceeds would always go to charity. Even the Noble Qur’ân does not play down the benefits that derive from wine drinking and gambling, but also says,

“And the sin of them is greater than their benefit.” [2:219]

3.      Keeping a covenant: For the Arab, to make a promise was to run into debt. He would never grudge the death of his children or destruction of his household just to uphold the deep-rooted tradition of covenant-keeping. The literature of that period is rich in stories highlighting this merit.

4.      Sense of honour and repudiation of injustice: This attribute stemmed mainly from excess courage, keen sense of self-esteem and impetuosity. The Arab was always in revolt against the least allusion to humiliation or slackness. He would never hesitate to sacrifice himself to maintain his ever alert sense of self-respect.

5.      Firm will and determination: An Arab would never desist an avenue conducive to an object of pride or a standing of honour, even if it were at the expense of his life.

6.      Forbearance, perseverance and mildness: The Arab regarded these traits with great admiration, no wonder, his impetuosity and courage-based life was sadly wanting in them.

7.      Pure and simple bedouin life, still untarnished with accessories of deceptive urban appearances, was a driving reason to his nature of truthfulness and honesty, and detachment from intrigue and treachery.

Such priceless ethics coupled with a favourable geographical position of Arabia were in fact the factors that lay behind selecting the Arabs to undertake the burden of communicating the Message (of Islam) and leading mankind down a new course of life.

In this regard, these ethics per se, though detrimental in some areas, and in need of rectification in certain aspects, were greatly invaluable to the ultimate welfare of the human community and Islam has did it completely.

The most priceless ethics, next to covenant-keeping, were no doubt their sense of self-esteem and strong determination, two human traits indispensable in combatting evil and eliminating moral corruption on the one hand, and establishing a good and justice-orientated society, on the other.

Actually, the life of the Arabs in the pre-Islamic period was rich in other countless virtues we do not need to enumerate for the time being.

Lineage and Family of Muhammad (Peace be upon him)

With respect to the lineage of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), there are three versions: The first was authenticated by biographers and genealogists and states that Muhammad’s genealogy has been traced to ‘Adnan. The second is subject to controversies and doubt, and traces his lineage beyond ‘Adnan back to Abraham. The third version, with some parts definitely incorrect, traces his lineage beyond Abraham back to Adam (Peace be upon him)

After this rapid review, now ample details are believed to be necessary.

The first part: Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib (who was called Shaiba) bin Hashim, (named ‘Amr) bin ‘Abd Munaf (called Al-Mugheera) bin Qusai (also called Zaid) bin Kilab bin Murra bin Ka‘b bin Lo’i bin Ghalib bin Fahr (who was called Quraish and whose tribe was called after him) bin Malik bin An-Nadr (so called Qais) bin Kinana bin Khuzaiman bin Mudrikah (who was called ‘Amir) bin Elias bin Mudar bin Nizar bin Ma‘ad bin ‘Adnan.

The second part: ‘Adnan bin Add bin Humaisi‘ bin Salaman bin Aws bin Buz bin Qamwal bin Obai bin ‘Awwam bin Nashid bin Haza bin Bildas bin Yadlaf bin Tabikh bin Jahim bin Nahish bin Makhi bin Aid bin ‘Abqar bin ‘Ubaid bin Ad-Da‘a bin Hamdan bin Sanbir bin Yathrabi bin Yahzin bin Yalhan bin Ar‘awi bin Aid bin Deshan bin Aisar bin Afnad bin Aiham bin Muksar bin Nahith bin Zarih bin Sami bin Mazzi bin ‘Awda bin Aram bin Qaidar bin Ishmael son of Abraham (Peace be upon them).

The third part: beyond Abraham (Peace be upon him) , Ibn Tarih (Azar) bin Nahur bin Saru‘ bin Ra‘u bin Falikh bin Abir bin Shalikh bin Arfakhshad bin Sam bin Noah (Peace be upon him) , bin Lamik bin Mutwashlack bin Akhnukh [who was said to be Prophet Idris (Enoch) (Peace be upon him)     bin Yarid bin Mahla’il bin Qabin Anusha bin Shith bin Adam (Peace be upon him)

 


The Prophetic Family

The family of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is called the Hashimite family after his grandfather Hashim bin ‘Abd Munaf. Let us now speak a little about Hashim and his descendants:

1.      Hashim: As we have previously mentioned, he was the one responsible for giving food and water to the pilgrims. This had been his charge when the sons of ‘Abd Munaf and those of ‘Abd Ad-Dar compromised on dividing the charges between them. Hashim was wealthy and honest. He was the first to offer the pilgrims sopped bread in broth. His first name was ‘Amr but he was called Hashim because he had been in the practice of crumbling bread (for the pilgrims). He was also the first man who started Quraish’s two journeys of summer and winter. It was reported that he went to Syria as a merchant. In Madinah, he married Salma — the daughter of ‘Amr from Bani ‘Adi bin An-Najjar. He spent some time with her in Madinah then he left for Syria again while she was pregnant. He died in Ghazza in Palestine in 497 A.D. Later, his wife gave birth to ‘Abdul-Muttalib and named him Shaiba for the white hair in his head , and brought him up in her father’s house in Madinah. None of his family in Makkah learned of his birth. Hashim had four sons; Asad, Abu Saifi, Nadla and ‘Abdul-Muttalib, and five daughters Ash-Shifa, Khalida, Da‘ifa, Ruqyah and Jannah.

2.      ‘Abdul-Muttalib: We have already known that after the death of Hashim, the charge of pilgrims’ food and water went to his brother Al-Muttalib bin ‘Abd Munaf (who was honest, generous and trustworthy). When ‘Abdul-Muttalib reached the age of boyhood, his uncle Al-Muttalib heard of him and went to Madinah to fetch him. When he saw him, tears filled his eyes and rolled down his cheeks, he embraced him and took him on his camel. The boy, however abstained from going with him to Makkah until he took his mother’s consent. Al-Muttalib asked her to send the boy with him to Makkah, but she refused. He managed to convince her saying: “Your son is going to Makkah to restore his father’s authority, and to live in the vicinity of the Sacred House.” There in Makkah, people wondered at seeing Abdul-Muttalib, and they considered him the slave of Muttalib. Al-Muttalib said: “He is my nephew, the son of my brother Hashim.” The boy was brought up in Al-Muttalib’s house, but later on Al-Muttalib died in Bardman in Yemen so ‘Abdul-Muttalib took over and managed to maintain his people’s prestige and outdo his grandfathers in his honourable behaviour which gained him Makkah’s deep love and high esteem.

3.      When Al-Muttalib died, Nawfal usurped ‘Abdul-Muttalib of his charges, so the latter asked for help from Quraish but they abstained from extending any sort of support to either of them. Consequently, he wrote to his uncles of Bani An-Najjar (his mother’s brothers) to come to his aid. His uncle, Abu Sa‘d bin ‘Adi (his mother’s brother) marched to Makkah at the head of eighty horsemen and camped in Abtah in Makkah. ‘Abdul-Muttalib received the men and invited them to go to his house but Abu Sa‘d said: “Not before I meet Nawfal.” He found Nawfal sitting with some old men of Quraish in the shade of Al-Ka‘bah. Abu Sa‘d drew his sword and said: “I swear by Allâh that if you don’t restore to my nephew what you have taken, I will kill you with this sword.” Nawfal was thus forced to give up what he had usurped, and the notables of Quraish were made to witness to his words. Abu Sa‘d then went to ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s house where he stayed for three nights, made ‘Umra and left back for Madinah. Later on, Nawfal entered into alliance with Bani ‘Abd Shams bin ‘Abd Munaf against Bani Hashim. When Khuza‘a, a tribe, saw Bani An-Najjar’s support to ‘Abdul-Muttalib they said: “He is our son as he is yours. We have more reasons to support him than you.” ‘Abd Munaf’s mother was one of them. They went into An-Nadwa House and entered into alliance with Bani Hashim against Bani ‘Abd Shams and Nawfal. It was an alliance that was later to constitute the main reason for the conquest of Makkah. ‘Abdul-Muttalib witnessed two important events in his lifetime, namely digging Zamzam well and the Elephant raid.

In brief, ‘Abdul-Muttalib received an order in his dream to dig Zamzam well in a particular place. He did that and found the things that Jurhum men had buried therein when they were forced to evacuate Makkah. He found the swords, armours and the two deer of gold. The gate of Al-Ka‘bah was stamped from the gold swords and the two deer and then the tradition of providing Zamzam water to pilgrims was established.

When the well of Zamzam gushed water forth, Quraish made a claim to partnership in the enterprise, but ‘Abdul-Muttalib refused their demands on grounds that Allâh had singled only him out for this honourable job. To settle the dispute, they agreed to consult Bani Sa‘d’s diviner. On their way, Allâh showed them His Signs that confirmed ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s prerogative as regards the sacred spring. Only then did ‘Abdul-Muttalib make a solemn vow to sacrifice one of his adult children to Al-Ka‘bah if he had ten.

The second event was that of Abraha As-Sabah Al-Habashi, the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) viceroy in Yemen. He had seen that the Arabs made their pilgrimage to Al-Ka‘bah so he built a large church in San‘a in order to attract the Arab pilgrims to it to the exclusion of Makkah. A man from Kinana tribe understood this move, therefore he entered the church stealthily at night and besmeared its front wall with excrement. When Abraha knew of that, he got very angry and led a great army – of sixty thousand warriors – to demolish Al-Ka‘bah. He chose the biggest elephant for himself. His army included nine or thirteen elephants. He continued marching until he reached a place called Al-Magmas. There, he mobilized his army, prepared his elephants and got ready to enter Makkah. When he reached Muhassar Valley, between Muzdalifah and Mina, the elephant knelt down and refused to go forward. Whenever they directed it northwards, southwards or eastwards, the elephant moved quickly but when directed westwards towards Al-Ka‘bah, it knelt down. Meanwhile, Allâh loosed upon them birds in flights, hurling against them stones of baked clay and made them like green blades devoured. These birds were very much like swallows and sparrows, each carrying three stones; one in its peak and two in its claws. The stones hit Abraha’s men and cut their limbs and killed them. A large number of Abraha’s soldiers were killed in this way and the others fled at random and died everywhere. Abraha himself had an infection that had his fingertips amputated. When he reached San‘a he was in a miserable state and died soon after.

The Quraishites on their part had fled for their lives to the hillocks and mountain tops. When the enemy had been thus routed, they returned home safely.

The Event of the Elephant took place in the month of Al-Muharram, fifty or fifty five days before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) which corresponded to late February or early March 571 A.D. It was a gift from Allâh to His Prophet and his family. It could actually be regarded as a Divine auspicious precursor of the light to come and accompany the advent of the Prophet and his family. By contrast, Jerusalem had suffered under the yoke of the atrocities of Allâh’s enemies. Here we can recall Bukhtanassar in B.C. 587 and the Romans in 70 A.D. Al-Ka‘bah, by Divine Grace, never came under the hold of the Christians – the Muslims of that time – although Makkah was populated by polytheists.

News of the Elephant Event reached the most distant corners of the then civilized world. Abyssinia (Ethiopia) maintained strong ties with the Romans, while the Persians on the other hand, were on the vigil with respect to any strategic changes that were looming on the socio-political horizon, and soon came to occupy Yemen. Incidentally, the Roman and Persian Empires stood for the powerful civilized world at that time. The Elephant Raid Event riveted the world’s attention to the sacredness of Allâh’s House, and showed that this House had been chosen by Allâh for its ho. It followed then if any of its people claimed Prophethood, it would be congruous with the outcome of the Elephant Event, and would provide a justifiable explanation for the ulterior Divine Wisdom that lay behind backing polytheists against Christians in a manner that transcended the cause-and-effect formula.

‘Abdul-Muttalib had ten sons, Al-Harith, Az-Zubair, Abu Talib, ‘Abdullah, Hamzah, Abu Lahab, Ghidaq, Maqwam, Safar and Al-‘Abbas. He also had six daughters, who were Umm Al-Hakim – the only white one, Barrah, ‘Atikah, Safiya, Arwa and Omaima.

4.      ‘Abdullah: The father of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). His mother was Fatimah, daughter of ‘Amr bin ‘A’idh bin ‘Imran bin Makhzum bin Yaqdha bin Murra. ‘Abdullah was the smartest of ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s sons, the chastest and the most loved. He was also the son whom the divination arrows pointed at to be slaughtered as a sacrifice to Al-Ka‘bah. When ‘Abdul-Muttalib had ten sons and they reached maturity, he divulged to them his secret vow in which they silently and obediently acquiesced. Their names were written on divination arrows and given to the guardian of their most beloved goddess, Hubal. The arrows were shuffled and drawn. An arrow showed that it was ‘Abdullah to be sacrificed. ‘Abdul-Muttalib then took the boy to Al-Ka‘bah with a razor to slaughter the boy. Quraish, his uncles from Makhzum tribe and his brother Abu Talib, however, tried to dissuade him from consummating his purpose. He then sought their advice as regards his vow. They suggested that he summon a she-diviner to judge whereabout. She ordered that the divination arrows should be drawn with respect to ‘Abdullah as well as ten camels. She added that drawing the lots should be repeated with ten more camels every time the arrow showed ‘Abdullah. The operation was thus repeated until the number of the camels amounted to one hundred. At this point the arrow showed the camels, consequently they were all slaughtered (to the satisfaction of Hubal) instead of his son. The slaughtered camels were left for anyone to eat from, human or animal.

  This incident produced a change in the amount of blood-money usually accepted in Arabia. It had been ten camels, but after this event it was increased to a hundred. Islam, later on, approved of this. Another thing closely relevant to the above issue goes to the effect that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) once said:

“I am the offspring of the slaughtered two,” meaning Ishmael and ‘Abdullah.

‘Abdul-Muttalib chose Amina, daughter of Wahab bin ‘Abd Munaf bin Zahra bin Kilab, as a wife for his son, ‘Abdullah. She thus, in the light of this ancestral lineage, stood eminent in respect of nobility of position and descent. Her father was the chief of Bani Zahra to whom great honour was attributed. They were married in Makkah, and soon after ‘Abdullah was sent by his father to buy dates in Madinah where he died. In another version, ‘Abdullah went to Syria on a trade journey and died in Madinah on his way back. He was buried in the house of An-Nabigha Al-Ju‘di. He was twenty-five years old when he died. Most historians state that his death was two months before the birth of Muhammad ??? ???? ???? ???? . Some others said that his death was two months after the Prophet’s birth. When Amina was informed of her husband’s death, she celebrated his memory in a most heart-touching elegy.

‘Abdullah left very little wealth —five camels, a small number of goats, a she-servant, called Barakah – Umm Aiman – who would later serve as the Prophet’s nursemaid.

Muhammad’s Birth and Forty years prior Prophethood

His Birth

Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the Master of Prophets, was born in Bani Hashim lane in Makkah on Monday morning, the ninth of Rabi‘ Al-Awwal, the same year of the Elephant Event, and forty years of the reign of Kisra (Khosru Nushirwan), i.e. the twentieth or twenty-second of April, 571 A.D., according to the scholar Muhammad Sulaimân Al-Mansourpuri, and the astrologer Mahmûd Pasha.

Ibn Sa‘d reported that Muhammad’s mother said: “When he was born, there was a light that issued out of my pudendum and lit the palaces of Syria.” Ahmad reported on the authority of ‘Arbadh bin Sariya something similar to this.

It was but controversially reported that significant precursors accompanied his birth: fourteen galleries of Kisra’s palace cracked and rolled down, the Magians’ sacred fire died down and some churches on Lake Sawa sank down and collapsed.

His mother immediately sent someone to inform his grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib of the happy event. Happily he came to her, carried him to Al-Ka‘bah, prayed to Allâh and thanked Him. ‘Abdul-Muttalib called the baby Muhammad, a name not then common among the Arabs. He circumcised him on his seventh day as was the custom of the Arabs.

The first woman who suckled him after his mother was Thuyebah, the concubine of Abu Lahab, with her son, Masrouh. She had suckled Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib before and later Abu Salamah bin ‘Abd Al-Asad Al-Makhzumi.

 


Babyhood

It was the general custom of the Arabs living in towns to send their children away to bedouin wet nurses so that they might grow up in the free and healthy surroundings of the desert whereby they would develop a robust frame and acquire the pure speech and manners of the bedouins, who were noted both for chastity of their language and for being free from those vices which usually develop in sedentary societies.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was later entrusted to Haleemah bint Abi Dhuaib from Bani Sa‘d bin Bakr. Her husband was Al-Harith bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza called Abi Kabshah, from the same tribe.

Muhammad(Peace be upon him) had several foster brothers and sisters, ‘Abdullah bin Al-Harith, Aneesah bint Al-Harith, Hudhafah or Judhamah bint Al-Harith (known as Ash-Shayma’), and she used to nurse the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib, the Prophet’s cousin. Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib, the Prophet’s uncle, was suckled by the same two wet nurses, Thuyeba and Haleemah As-Sa‘diyah, who suckled the Prophet (Peace be upon him).

Traditions delightfully relate how Haleemah and the whole of her household were favoured by successive strokes of good fortune while the baby Muhammad (Peace be upon him) lived under her care. Ibn Ishaq states that Haleemah narrated that she along with her husband and a suckling babe, set out from her village in the company of some women of her clan in quest of children to suckle. She said:

It was a year of drought and famine and we had nothing to eat. I rode on a brown she-ass. We also had with us an old she-camel. By Allâh we could not get even a drop of milk. We could not have a wink of sleep during the night for the child kept crying on account of hunger. There was not enough milk in my breast and even the she-camel had nothing to feed him. We used to constantly pray for rain and immediate relief. At length we reached Makkah looking for children to suckle. Not even a single woman amongst us accepted the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) offered to her. As soon as they were told that he was an orphan, they refused him. We had fixed our eyes on the reward that we would get from the child’s father. An orphan! What are his grandfather and mother likely to do? So we spurned him because of that. Every woman who came with me got a suckling and when we were about to depart, I said to my husband: “By Allâh, I do not like to go back along with the other women without any baby. I should go to that orphan and I must take him.” He said, “There is no harm in doing so and perhaps Allâh might bless us through him.” So I went and took him because there was simply no other alternative left for me but to take him. When I lifted him in my arms and returned to my place I put him on my breast and to my great surprise, I found enough milk in it. He drank to his heart’s content, and so did his foster brother and then both of them went to sleep although my baby had not been able to sleep the previous night. My husband then went to the she-camel to milk it and, to his astonishment, he found plenty of milk in it. He milked it and we drank to our fill, and enjoyed a sound sleep during the night. The next morning, my husband said: “By Allâh Haleemah, you must understand that you have been able to get a blessed child.” And I replied: “By the grace of Allâh, I hope so.”

The tradition is explicit on the point that Haleemah’s return journey and her subsequent life, as long as the Prophet (Peace be upon him)stayed with her, was encircled with a halo of good fortune. The donkey that she rode when she came to Makkah was lean and almost foundered; it recovered speed much to the amazement of Haleemah’s fellow travellers. By the time they reached the encampments in the country of the clan of Sa‘d, they found the scales of fortune turned in their favour. The barren land sprouted forth luxuriant grass and beasts came back to them satisfied and full of milk. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) stayed with Haleemah for two years until he was weaned as Haleemah said:

We then took him back to his mother requesting her earnestly to have him stay with us and benefit by the good fortune and blessings he had brought us. We persisted in our request which we substantiated by our anxiety over the child catching a certain infection peculiar to Makkah. At last, we were granted our wish and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) stayed with us until he was four or five years of age.

When, as related by Anas in Sahih Muslim, Gabriel came down and ripped his chest open and took out the heart. He then extracted a blood-clot out of it and said: “That was the part of Satan in thee.” And then he washed it with the water of Zamzam in a gold basin. After that the heart was joined together and restored to its place. The boys and playmates came running to his mother, i.e. his nurse, and said: “Verily, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has been murdered.” They all rushed towards him and found him all right only his face was white.

 


Back to His Compassionate Mother

After this event, Haleemah was worried about the boy and returned him to his mother with whom he stayed until he was six.

In respect of the memory of her late husband, Amina decided to visit his grave in Yathrib (Madinah). She set out to cover a journey of 500 kilometers with her orphan boy, woman servant Umm Ayman and her father-in-law ‘Abdul-Muttalib. She spent a month there and then took her way back to Makkah. On the way, she had a severe illness and died in Abwa on the road between Makkah and Madinah.

 


Back to His Compassionate Grandfather

‘Abdul-Muttalib brought the boy to Makkah. He had warm passions towards the boy, his orphan grandson, whose recent disaster (his mother’s death) added more to the pains of the past. ‘Abdul-Muttalib was more passionate with his grandson than with his own children. He never left the boy a prey to loneliness, but always preferred him to his own kids. Ibn Hisham reported: A mattress was put in the shade of Al-Ka‘bah for ‘Abdul-Muttalib. His children used to sit around that mattress in honour to their father, but Muhammad (Peace be upon him) used to sit on it. His uncles would take him back, but if ‘Abdul-Muttalib was present, he would say: “Leave my grandson. I swear by Allâh that this boy will hold a significant position.” He used to seat the boy on his mattress, pat his back and was always pleased with what the boy did.

When Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was eight years, two months and ten days old, his grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib passed away in Makkah. The charge of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was now passed on to his uncle Abu Talib, who was the brother of the Prophet’s father.

Abu Talib tookthe charge of his nephew in the best way. He put him with his children and preferred him to them. He singled the boy out with great respect and high esteem. Abu Talib remained for forty years cherishing his nephew and extending all possible protection and support to him. His relations with the others were determined in the light of the treatment they showed to the Prophet (Peace be upon him).

Ibn ‘Asakir reported on the authority of Jalhamah bin ‘Arfuta who said: “I came to Makkah when it was a rainless year, so Quraish said ‘O Abu Talib, the valley has become leafless and the children hungry, let us go and pray for rain-fall.’ Abu Talib went to Al-Ka‘bah with a young boy who was as beautiful as the sun, and a black cloud was over his head. Abu Talib and the boy stood by the wall of Al-Ka‘bah and prayed for rain. Immediately clouds from all directions gathered and rain fell heavily and caused the flow of springs and growth of plants in the town and the country.

 


Bahira the Monk

When the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) was twelve years old, he went with his uncle Abu Talib on a business journey to Syria. When they reached Busra (which was a part of Syria, in the vicinity of Howran under the Roman domain) they met a monk called Bahira (his real name was Georges), who showed great kindness, and entertained them lavishly. He had never been in the habit of receiving or entertaining them before. He readily enough recognized the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and said while taking his hand: “This is the master of all humans. Allâh will send him with a Message which will be a mercy to all beings.” Abu Talib asked: “How do you know that?” He replied: “When you appeared from the direction of ‘Aqabah, all stones and trees prostrated themselves, which they never do except for a Prophet. I can recognize him also by the seal of Prophethood which is below his shoulder, like an apple. We have got to learn this from our books.” He also asked Abu Talib to send the boy back to Makkah and not to take him to Syria for fear of the Jews. Abu Talib obeyed and sent him back to Makkah with some of his men servants.

 


The Sacriligious Wars

Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was hardly fifteen when the ‘sacrilegious’ wars — which continued with varying fortunes and considerable loss of human life for a number of years — broke out between Quraish and Banu Kinana on the one side and Qais ‘Ailan tribe on the other. It was thus called because the inviolables were made violable, the prohibited months being included. Harb bin Omaiyah, on account of his outstanding position and honourable descent, used to be the leader of Quraish and their allies. In one of those battles, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) attended on his uncles but did not raise arms against their opponents. His efforts were confined to picking up the arrows of the enemy as they fell, and handing them over to his uncles.

 


Al-Fudoul Confederacy

At the conclusion of these wars, when peace was restored, people felt the need for forming confederacy at Makkah for suppressing violence and injustice, and vindicating the rights of the weak and the destitute. Representatives of Banu Hashim, Banu Al-Muttalib, Asad bin ‘Abd Al-‘Uzza, Zahrah bin Kilab and Taim bin Murra were called to meet in the habitation of an honourable elderly man called ‘Abdullah bin Jada‘an At-Taimy to enter into a confederacy that would provide for the above-mentioned items. The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) shortly after he had been honoured with the ministry of Prophethood, witnessed this league and commented on it, with very positive words: “I witnessed a confederacy in the house of ‘Abdullah bin Jada‘an. It was more appealing to me than herds of cattle. Even now in the period of Islam I would respond positively to attending such a meeting if I were invited.”

In fact, the spirit of this confederacy and the course of deliberations therein marked a complete departure from the pre-Islamic tribal-pride. The story that led to its convention says that a man from Zubaid clan came as a merchant to Makkah where he sold some commodities to Al-‘As bin Wail As-Sahmy. The latter by hook or by crook tried to evade paying for the goods. The salesman sought help from the different clans in Quraish but they paid no heed to his earnest pleas. He then resorted to a mountain top and began, at the top of his voice, to recite verses of complaint giving account of the injustices he sustained. Az-Zubair bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib heard of him and made inquiries into the matter. Consequently, the parties to the aforesaid confederacy convened their meeting and managed to force Az-Zubaidy’s money out of Al-‘As bin Wa’il.

 


Muhammads Early Job

Muhammad (Peace be upon him), had no particular job at his early youth, but it was reported that he worked as a shepherd for Bani Sa‘d and in Makkah. At the age of 25, he went to Syria as a merchant for Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her)  Ibn Ishaq reported that Khadijah, daughter of Khwailid was a business-woman of great honour and fortune. She used to employ men to do her business for a certain percentage of the profits. Quraish people were mostly tradespeople, so when Khadijah was informed of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), his truthful words, great honesty and kind manners, she sent for him. She offered him money to go to Syria and do her business, and she would give him a higher rate than the others. She would also send her hireling, Maisarah, with him. He agreed and went with her servant to Syria for trade.

 


Marriage to Khadijah

When he returned to Makkah, Khadijah noticed, in her money, more profits and blessings than she used to. Her hireling also told her of Muhammad’s good manners, honesty, deep thought, sincerity and faith. She realized that she homed at her target. Many prominent men had asked for her hand in marriage but she always spurned their advances. She disclosed her wish to her friend Nafisa, daughter of Maniya, who immediately went to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and broke the good news to him. He agreed and requested his uncles to go to Khadijah’s uncle and talk on this issue. Subsequently, they were married. The marriage contract was witnessed by Bani Hashim and the heads of Mudar. This took place after the Prophet’s return from Syria. He gave her twenty camels as dowry. She was, then, forty years old and was considered as the best woman of her folk in lineage, fortune and wisdom. She was the first woman whom the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) married. He did not get married to any other until she had died.

Khadijah bore all his children, except Ibrahim: Al-Qasim, Zainab, Ruqaiyah, Umm Kulthum, Fatimah and ‘Abdullah who was called Taiyib and Tahir. All his sons died in their childhood and all the daughters except Fatimah died during his lifetime. Fatimah died six months after his death. All his daughters witnessed Islam, embraced it, and emigrated to Madinah.

 


Rebuilding Al-Kabah and the Arbitration Issue

When the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) was thirty five, Quraish started rebuilding Al-Ka‘bah. That was because it was a low building of white stones no more than 6.30 metres high, from the days of Ishmael. It was also roofless and that gave the thieves easy access to its treasures inside. It was also exposed to the wearing factors of nature — because it was built a long time ago — that weakened and cracked its walls. Five years before Prophethood, there was a great flood in Makkah that swept towards Al-Ka‘bah and almost demolished it. Quraish was obliged to rebuild it to safeguard its holiness and position. The chiefs of Quraish decided to use only licit money in rebuilding Al-Ka‘bah, so all money that derived from harlotry, usury or unjust practices was excluded. They were, at first, too awed to knock down the wall, but Al-Waleed bin Al-Mugheerah Al-Mukhzumi started the work. Seeing that no harm had happened to him, the others participated in demolishing the walls until they reached the basis laid by Abraham. When they started rebuilding its walls, they divided the work among the tribes. Each tribe was responsible for rebuilding a part of it. The tribes collected stones and startwork. The man who laid the stones was a Roman mason called Baqum. The work went on in harmony till the time came to put the sacred Black Stone in its proper place. Then strife broke out among the chiefs, and lasted for four or five days, each contesting for the honour of placing the stone in its position. Daggers were on the point of being drawn and great bloodshed seemed imminent. Luckily, the oldest among the chiefs Abu Omaiyah bin Mugheerah Al-Makhzumi made a proposal which was accepted by all. He said: “Let him, who enters the Sanctuary first of all, decide on the point.” It was then Allâh’s Will that the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) should be the first to enter the Mosque. On seeing him, all the people on the scene, cried with one voice: “Al-Ameen (the trustworthy) has come. We are content to abide by his decision.” Calm and self-possessed, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) received the commission and at once resolved upon an expedient which was to conciliate them all. He asked for a mantle which he spread on the ground and placed the stone in its centre. He then asked the representatives of the different clans among them, to lift the stone all together. When it had reached the proper place, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) laid it in the proper position with his own hands. This is how a very tense situation was eased and a grave danger averted by the wisdom of the Prophet (Peace be upon him).

Quraish ran short of the licit money, they collected, so they eliminated six yards area on the northern side of Al-Ka‘bah which is called Al-Hijr or Al-Hateem. They raised its door two metres from the level ground to let in only the people whom they desired. When the structure was fifteen yards high they erected the roof which rested on six columns.

When the building of Al-Ka‘bah had finished, it assumed a square form fifteen metres high. The side with the Black Stone and the one opposite were ten metres long each. The Black Stone was 1.50 metre from the circumambulation level ground. The two other sides were twelve metres long each. The door was two metres high from the level ground. A building structure of 0.25 metre high and 0.30 metre wide on the average surrounded Al-Ka‘bah. It was called Ash-Shadherwan, originally an integral part of the Sacred Sanctuary, but Quraish left it out.

 


A Rapid Review of Muhammads Biography Before Commissioning of the Prophethood

Prophet Muhammad  (Peace be upon him) was, in his youth, a combination of the best social attributes. He was an exemplary man of weighty mind and faultless insight. He was favoured with intelligence, originality of thought and accurate choice of the means leading to accurate goals. His long silence helped favourably in his habit of meditation and deep investigation into the truth. His vivid mind and pure nature were helpfully instrumental in assimilating and comprehending ways of life and people, individual and community-wise. He shunned superstitious practices but took an active part in constructive and useful dealings, otherwise, he would have recourse to his self-consecrated solitude. He kept himself aloof from drinking wine, eating meat slaughtered on stone altars, or attending idolatrous festivals. He held the idols in extreme aversion and most abhorrence. He could never tolerate someone swearing by Al-Lat and Al-‘Uzza. Allâh’s providence, no doubts, detached him from all abominable or evil practices. Even when he tried to obey his instinct to enjoy some life pleasures or follow some irrespectable traditions, Allâh’s providence intervened to curb any lapse in this course. Ibn Al-Atheer reported Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as saying: “I have never tried to do what my people do except for two times. Every time Allâh intervened and checked me from doing so and I never did that again. Once I told my fellow-shepherd to take care of my sheep when we were in the upper part of Makkah. I wanted to go down to Makkah and entertain myself as the young men did. I went down to the first house of Makkah where I heard music. I entered and asked: ‘What is this?’ Someone answered: ‘It is a wedding party.’ I sat down and listened but soon went into deep sleep. I was awakened by the heat of the sun. I went back to my fellow-shepherd and told him of what had happened to me. I have never tried it again.”

Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Jabir bin ‘Abdullah that he said: “While the people were rebuilding Al-Ka‘bah, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) went with ‘Abbas to carry some stones. ‘Abbas said: ‘Put your loincloth round your neck to protect you from the stones.’ (As he did that) the Prophet (Peace be upon him) fell to the ground and his eyes turned skyward. Later on he woke up and shouted: ‘My loincloth… my loincloth.’ He wrapped himself in his loincloth.” In another report: “His loins were never seen afterwards.”

The authorities agree in ascribing to the youth of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) modesty of deportment, virtuous behaviour and graceful manners. He proved himself to be the ideal of manhood, and to possess a spotless character. He was the most obliging to his compatriots, the most honest in his talk and the mildest in temper. He was the most gentle-hearted, chaste, hospitable and always impressed people by his piety-inspiring countenance. He was the most truthful and the best to keep covenant. His fellow-citizens, by common consent, gave him the title of Al-‘Ameen (trustworthy). The Mother of believers, Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) once said: He unites uterine relations, he helps the poor and the needy, he entertains the guests and endures hardships in the path of truthfulness.

The Life of Prophet Muhammad In Al-Madinah

The Jews and Hypocrites

In the first year of his reign at Yathrib the Prophet made a solemn treaty with the Jewish tribes, which secured to them equal rights of citizenship and full religious liberty in return for their support of the new state.

But their idea of a Prophet was one who would give them dominion, not one who made the Jews who followed him brothers of every Arab who might happen to believe as they did. When they found that they could not use the Prophet for their own ends, they tried to shake his faith in his Mission and to seduce his followers, behavior in which they were encouraged secretly by some professing Muslims who considered they had reason to resent the Prophet’s coming, since it robbed them of their local influence. In the Madinah’s surahs there is frequent mention of these Jews and Hypocrites.

The Qiblah

Till then the Qiblah (the place toward which the Muslims turn their face in prayer) had been Jerusalem . The Jews imagined that the choice implied a leaning toward Judaism and that the Prophet stood in need of their instruction. He received command to change the Qiblah from Jerusalem to the Ka‘bah at Makkah. The whole first part of juz’ 2, part of Surah II, relates to this Jewish controversy.

The first Qiblah was the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

The First Expeditions

The Prophet’s first concern as ruler was to establish public worship and lay down the constitution of the State: but he did not forget that Quraysh had sworn to make an end of his religion, nor that he had received command to fight against them till they ceased from persecution. After he had been twelve months in Yathrib several small expeditions went out, led either by the Prophet himself or some other of the fugitives from Makkah for the purpose of reconnoitering and of dissuading other tribes from siding with Quraysh. These are generally represented as warlike but, considering their weakness and the fact that they did not result in fighting; they can hardly have been that, though it is certain that they went out ready to resist attack. It is noteworthy that in those expeditions only fugitives from Makkah were employed, never natives of Yathrib; the reason being (if we accept Ibn Khaldun’s theory, and there is no other explanation) that the command to wage war had been revealed to the Prophet at Makkah after the Yathrib men had sworn their oath of allegiance at al-‘Aqabah, and in their absence. Their oath foresaw fighting in mere defense not fighting in the field. Blood was shed and booty taken in only one of those early expeditions, and then it was against the Prophet’s orders.

One purpose of those expeditions may have been to accustom the Makkah Muslims to going out in war like trim. For thirteen years they had been strict pacifists, and it is clear, from several passages of the Qur’an, that many of them, including, it may be, the Prophet himself, hated the idea of fighting even in self-defense and had to be inured to it.

The Campaign of Badr

In the second year of the Hijrah the Makkahn merchants’ caravan was returning from Syria as usual by a road which passed not far from Yathrib. As its leader Abu Sufyan approached the territory of Yathrib he heard of the Prophet’s design to capture the caravan. At once he sent a camel-rider on to Makkah, who arrived in a worn-out state and shouted frantically from the valley to Quraysh to hasten to the rescue unless they wished to lose both wealth and honor. A force a thousand strong was soon on its way to Yathrib: less, it would seem, with the hope of saving the caravan than with the idea of punishing the raiders, since the Prophet might have taken the caravan before the relief force started from Makkah.

The site of the campaign of Badr. The enclosed square is the opening of the well.

Did the Prophet ever intend to raid the caravan? In Ibn Hisham, in the account of the Tabuk expedition, it is stated that the Prophet on that one occasion did not hide his real objective. The caravan was the pretext in the campaign of Badr; the real objective was the Makkan army.

He had received command to fight his persecutors, and promise of victory, he was prepared to venture against any odds, as was well seen at Badr. But the Muslims, ill-equipped for war, would have despaired if they had known from the first that they were to face a well-armed force three times their number.

The army of Quraysh had advanced more than half-way to Yathrib before the Prophet set out. All three parties – the army of Quraysh, the Muslim army and the caravan – were heading for the water of Badr. Abu Sufyan, the leader of the caravan, heard from one of his scouts that the Muslims were near the water, and turned back to the coast-plain. And the Muslims met the army of Quraysh by the water of Badr.

Before the battle the Prophet was prepared still further to increase the odds against him. He gave leave to all the Ansar (natives of Yathrib) to return to their homes unreproached, since their oath did not include the duty of fighting in the field; but the Ansar were only hurt by the suggestion that they could possibly desert him at a time of danger. The battle went at first against the Muslims, but ended in a signal victory for them.

The victory of Badr gave the Prophet new prestige among the Arab tribes; but thenceforth there was the feud of blood between Quraysh and the Islamic State in addition to the old religious hatred. Those passages of the Qur’an which refer to the battle of Badr give warning of much greater struggles yet to come.

In fact in the following year, an army of three thousand came from Makkah to destroy Yathrib. The Prophet’s first idea was merely to defend the city, a plan of which Abdullah ibn Ubeyy, the leader of “the Hypocrites” (or lukewarm Muslims), strongly approved. But the men who had fought at Badr and believed that God would help them against any odds thought it a shame that they should linger behind walls.

The Battle on Mt. Uhud

The Prophet, approving of their faith and zeal, gave way to them, and set out with an army of one thousand men toward Mt. Uhud , where the enemy were encamped. Abdullah ibn Ubeyy was much offended by the change of plan. He thought it unlikely that the Prophet really meant to give battle in conditions so adverse to the Muslims, and was unwilling to take part in a mere demonstration designed to flatter the fanatical extremists. So he withdrew with his men, a fourth or the army.

Despite the heavy odds, the battle on Mt. Uhud would have been an even greater victory than that at Badr for the Muslims but for the disobedience of a band of fifty archers whom the Prophet set to guard a pass against the enemy cavalry. Seeing their comrades victorious, these men left their post, fearing to lose their share of the spoils. The cavalry of Quraysh rode through the gap and fell on the exultant Muslims.

The Prophet himself was wounded and the cry arose that he was slain, till someone recognized him and shouted that he was still living. a shout to which the Muslims rallied. Gathering round the Prophet, they retreated, leaving many dead on the hillside.

The peak of Mt. Uhud

On the following day the Prophet again sallied forth with what remained of the army, that Quraysh might hear that he was in the field and so might perhaps be deterred from attacking the city. The stratagem succeeded, thanks to the behavior of a friendly Bedouin, who met the Muslims and conversed with them and afterwards met the army of Quraysh. Questioned by Abu Sufyan, he said that Muhammad was in the field, stronger than ever, and thirsting for revenge for yesterday’s affair. On that information, Abu Sufyan decided to return to Makkah.

Massacre of Muslims

The reverse which they had suffered on Mt. Uhud lowered the prestige of the Muslims with the Arab tribes and also with the Jews of Yathrib. Tribes which had inclined toward the Muslims now inclined toward Quraysh. The Prophet’s followers were attacked and murdered when they went abroad in little companies. Khubayb, one of his envoys, was captured by a desert tribe and sold to Quraysh, who tortured him to death in Makkah publicly.

Expulsion of Bani Nadhir

And the Jews, despite their treaty, now hardly concealed their hostility. They even went so far in flattery of Quraysh as to declare the religion of the pagan Arabs superior to Islam. The Prophet was obliged to take punitive action against some of them. The tribe of Bani Nadhir were besieged in their strong towers, subdued and forced to emigrate. The Hypocrites had sympathized with the Jews and secretly egged them on.

The War of the Trench

In the fifth year of the Hijrah the idolaters made a great effort to destroy Islam in the War of the Clans or War of the Trench, as it is variously called; when Quraysh with all their clans and the great desert tribe of Ghatafan with all their clans, an army of ten thousand men rode against Al-Madinah (Yathrib). The Prophet (by the advice of Salman the Persian, it is said) caused a deep trench to be dug before the city, and himself led the work of digging it.

The army of the clans was stopped by the trench, a novelty in Arab warfare. It seemed impassable for cavalry, which formed their strength. They camped in sight of it and daily showered their arrows on its defenders. While the Muslims were awaiting the assault, news came that Bani Qurayzah, a Jewish tribe of Yathrib which had till then been loyal, had gone over to the enemy. The case seemed desperate. But the delay caused by the trench had damped the ardor of the clans, and one who was secretly a Muslim managed to sow distrust between Quraysh and their Jewish allies, so that both hesitated to act. Then came a bitter wind from the sea, which blew for three days and nights so terribly that not a tent could be kept standing, not a fire lighted, not a pot boiled. The tribesmen were in utter misery. At length, one night the leader of Quraysh decided that the torment could be borne no longer and gave the order to retire. When Ghatafan awoke next morning they found Quraysh had gone and they too took up their baggage and retreated.

Punishment of Bani Qurayzah

On the day of the return from the trench the Prophet ordered war on the treacherous Bani Qurayzah, who, conscious of their guilt, had already taken to their towers of refuge. After a siege of nearly a month they had to surrender unconditionally. They only begged that they might be judged by a member of the Arab tribe of which they were adherents. The Prophet granted their request. But the judge, upon whose favor they had counted, condemned their fighting men to death, their women and children to slavery.

Early in the sixth year of the Hijrah the Prophet led a campaign against the Bani al-Mustaliq, a tribe who were preparing to attack the Muslims.

Al-Hudaybiyah

In the same year the Prophet had a vision in which he found himself entering the holy place at Makkah unopposed, therefore he determined to attempt the pilgrimage. Besides a number of Muslims from Yathrib (which we shall henceforth call Al-Madinah) he called upon the friendly Arabs, whose numbers had increased since the miraculous (as it was considered) discomfiture of the clans to accompany him, but most of them did not respond. Attired as pilgrims, and taking with them the customary offerings, a company of fourteen hundred men journeyed to Makkah. As they drew near the holy valley they were met by a friend from the city, who warned the Prophet that Quraysh had put on their leopards-skins (the badge of valor) and had sworn to prevent his entering the sanctuary; their cavalry was on the road before him. On that, the Prophet ordered a detour through mountain gorges and the Muslims were tired out when they came down at last into the valley of Makkah and encamped at a spot called Al-Hudaybiyah; from thence he tried to open negotiations with Quraysh, to explain that he came only as a pilgrim.

The first messenger he sent towards the city was maltreated and his camel hamstrung. He returned without delivering his message. Quraysh on their side sent an envoy which was threatening in tone, and very arrogant. Another of their envoys was too familiar and had to be reminded: sternly of the respect due to the Prophet. It was he who, on his return to the city, said: “I have seen Caesar and Chosroes in their pomp, but never have I seen a man honored as Muhammad is honored by his comrades.”

The Prophet sought some messenger who would impose respect. Othman was finally chosen because of his kinship with the powerful Umayyad family. While the Muslims were awaiting his return the news came that he had been murdered. It was then that the Prophet, sitting under a tree in Al-Hudaybiyah, took an oath from all his comrades that they would stand or fall together. After a while, however, it became known that Othman had not been murdered. A troop which came out from the city to molest the Muslims in their camp was captured before they could do any hurt and brought before the Prophet, who forgave them on their promise to renounce hostility.

Truce of Al-Hudaybiyah

Then proper envoys came from Quraysh. After some negotiation, the truce of Al-Hudaybiyah was signed. For ten years there were to be no hostilities between the parties. The Prophet was to return to Al-Madinah without visiting the Ka‘bah, but in the following year he might perform the pilgrimage with his comrades, Quraysh promising to evacuate Makkah for three days to allow of his doing so. Deserters from Quraysh to the Muslims during the period of the truce were to be returned; not so deserters from the Muslims to Quraysh. Any tribe or clan who wished to share in, the treaty as allies of the Prophet might do so, and any tribe or clan who wished to share in the treaty as allies of Quraysh might do so.

There was dismay among the Muslims at these terms. They asked one another: “Where is the victory that we were promised?” It was during the return journey from Al-Hudaybiyah that the Surah entitled “Victory” was revealed. This truce proved, in fact, to be the greatest victory that the Muslims had till then achieved. War had been a barrier between them and the idolaters, but now both parties met and talked together, and the new religion spread more rapidly. In the two years which elapsed between the signing of the truce and the fall of Makkah the number of converts was greater than the total number of all previous converts. The Prophet traveled to Al-Hudaybiyah with 1400 men. Two years later, when the Makkans broke the truce, he marched against them with an army of 10,000.

The Campaign of Khaybar

In the seventh year or the Hijrah the Prophet led a campaign against Khaybar, the stronghold of the Jewish tribes in North Arabia , which had become a hornets’ nest of his enemies. The forts of Khaybar were reduced one by one, and the Jews of Khaybar became thenceforth tenants of the Muslims until the expulsion of the Jews from Arabia in the ‘Caliphate of Omar.’ On the day when the last fort surrendered Ja`far son of Abu Talib, the Prophet’s first cousin, arrived with all who remained of the Muslims who had fled to Abyssinia to escape from persecution in the early days.

One of the forts of Khaybar, which is over 100 kms outside Madina

They had been absent from Arabia fifteen years. It was at Khaybar that a Jewess prepared for the Prophet poisoned meat, of which he only tasted a morsel without swallowing it, and then warned his comrades that it was poisoned. One Muslim, who had already swallowed a mouthful, died immediately, and the Prophet himself, from the mere taste of it, derived the illness which eventually caused his death. The woman who had cooked the meat was brought before him. When she said that she had done it on account of the humiliation of her people, he forgave her.

Pilgrimage to Makkah

In the same year the Prophet’s vision was fulfilled: he visited the holy place at Makkah unopposed. In accordance with the terms of the truce the idolaters evacuated the city, and from the surrounding heights watched the procedure of the Muslims. At the end of the stipulated three days the chiefs of Quraysh sent to remind the Prophet that the time was up. He then withdrew, and the idolaters reoccupied the city.

Mu’tah Expedition

In the eighth year of the Hijrah, hearing that the Byzantine emperor was gathering a force in Syria for the destruction of Islam, the Prophet sent three thousand men to Syria under the command of his freedman Zayd. The campaign was unsuccessful except that it impressed the Syrians with a notion of the reckless valor of the Muslims. The three thousand did not hesitate to join battle with a hundred thousand. When all the three leaders appointed by the Prophet had been killed, the survivors obeyed Khalid ibn al-Walid, who, by his strategy and courage, managed to preserve a remnant and return with them to Al-Madinah.

Truce Broken by Quraysh

In the same year Quraysh broke the truce by attacking a tribe that was in alliance with the Prophet and massacring them even in the sanctuary at Makkah. Afterwards they were afraid because of what they had done. They sent Abu Sufyan to Al-Madinah to ask for the existing treaty to be renewed and, its term prolonged. They hoped that he would arrive before the tidings of the massacre. But a messenger from the injured tribe had been before him, and his embassy was fruitless.

Conquest of Makkah

Then the Prophet summoned all the Muslims capable of bearing arms and marched to Makkah. Quraysh were overawed. Their cavalry put up a show of defence before the town, but were routed without bloodshed; and the Prophet entered his native city as conqueror. The inhabitants expected vengeance for their past misdeeds. The Prophet proclaimed a general amnesty. Only a few known criminals were proscribed, and most of those were in the end forgiven. In their relief and surprise, the whole population of Makkah hastened to swear allegiance. The Prophet caused all the idols which were in the sanctuary to be destroyed, saying: “Truth hath come; darkness hath vanished away;” and the Muslim call to prayer was heard in Makkah.

Battle of Hunayn

In the same year there was an angry gathering of pagan tribes eager to regain the Ka‘bah. The Prophet led twelve thousand men against them. At Hunayn, in a deep ravine, his troops were ambushed by the enemy and almost put to flight. It was with difficulty that they were rallied to the Prophet and his bodyguard of faithful comrades who alone stood firm. But the victory, when it came, was complete and the booty enormous, for many of the hostile tribes had brought out with them everything that they possessed.

Conquest of Ta’if

The tribe of Thaqif was among the enemy at Hunayn. After that victory their city of Ta’if was besieged by the Muslims, and finally reduced. Then the Prophet appointed a governor of Makkah, and himself returned to Al-Madinah to the boundless joy of the Ansar, who had feared lest, now that he had regained his native city, he might forsake them and make Makkah the capital.

The Tabuk Expedition

In the ninth year of the Hijrah, hearing that an army was again being mustered in Syria , the Prophet called on all the Muslims to support him in a great campaign. The far distance, the hot season, the fact that it was harvest time and the prestige of the enemy caused many to excuse themselves and many more to stay behind without excuse. Those defaulters are denounced in the Qur’an. But the campaign ended peacefully. The army advanced to Tabuk, on the confines of Syria , and there learnt that the enemy had not yet gathered.

Declaration of Immunity

Although Makkah had been conquered and its people were now Muslims, the official order of the pilgrimage had not been changed; the pagan Arabs performing it in their manner, and the Muslims in their manner. It was only after the pilgrims’ caravan had left Al-Madinah in the ninth year of the Hijrah, when Islam was dominant in North Arabia, that the Declaration of Immunity, as it is called, was revealed. The Prophet sent a copy of it by messenger to Abu Bakr, leader of the pilgrimage, with the instruction that Ali was to read it to the multitudes at Makkah. Its purport was that after that year Muslims only were to make the pilgrimage, exception being made for such of the idolaters as had a treaty with the Muslims and had never broken their treaty nor supported anyone against them. Such were to enjoy the privileges of their treaty for the term thereof, but when their treaty expired they would be as other idolaters. That proclamation marks the end of idol-worship in Arabia.

The Year of Deputations

The ninth year of the Hijrah is called the Year of Deputations, because from all parts of Arabia deputations came to Al-Madinah to swear allegiance to the Prophet and to hear the Qur’an. The Prophet had become, in fact, the emperor of Arabia , but his way of life remained as simple as before.

The number of the campaigns which he led in person during the last ten years of his life is twenty-seven in nine of which there was hard fighting. The number of the expeditions which he planned and sent out under other leaders is thirty-eight. He personally controlled every detail of organization, judged every case and was accessible to every suppliant. In those ten years he destroyed idolatry in Arabia; raised women from the status of a cattle to legal equity with men; effectually stopped the drunkenness and immorality which had till then disgraced the Arabs; made men in love with faith, sincerity and honest dealing; transformed tribes who had been for centuries Content with ignorance into a people with the greatest thirst for knowledge; and for the first time in history made universal human brotherhood a fact and principle of common law. And his support and guide in all that work was the Qur’an.

By: Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall

Al-Isra’ and Al-Mi‘raj

The last days of the Makkan phase of the Prophet’s life are noted for alternate fortunes ranging between two extremes: gradual success and continual persecution. However, glimpses of propitious lights were looming on the distant horizon, to ultimately materialize in the event of the Prophet’s Night Journey to Jerusalem and then Ascension through the spheres of the heavens.

As for its exact date, it is still controversial and no common consent has been reached. However, the majority of jurists is in favour of a date between 16-12 months prior to migration to Madinah. The following is a epitome of the details of that miraculous event narrated on the authority of Ibn Al-Qayyim.[Za’d Al-Ma’ad 2/49; Tareekh-e-Islam 1/124; Rahmat-al-lil’alameen 1/76]

The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] was carried in body from the Sacred Mosque in Makkah to the Distant Mosque in Jerusalem on a horse called Al-Buraq in the company of Gabriel, the archangel. There he alighted, tethered the horse to a ring in the gate of the Mosque and led the Prophets in prayer. After that Gabriel took him to the heavens on the same horse. When they reached the first heaven Gabriel asked the guardian angel to open the door of heaven. It was opened and he saw Adam, the progenitor of mankind. The Prophet [pbuh] saluted him and the other welcomed him and expressed his faith in Muhammad’s Prophethood. He saw the souls of martyrs on his right and those of the wretched on his left.

Gabriel then ascended with the Prophet to the second heaven, asked for opening the gate and there he saw and saluted John, son of Zachariya (Yahya bin Zakariya) and Jesus, son of Mary. They returned the salutation, welcomed him and expressed their faith in his Prophethood. Then they reached the third heaven where they saw Joseph (Yusuf) and saluted him. The latter welcomed the Prophet and expressed faith in his Prophethood. The Prophet, in the company of Gabriel, then reached the fourth heaven where he met the Prophet Enoch (Idris) and saluted him. Prophet Enoch returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Then he was carried to the fifth heaven where he met the Prophet Aaron (Harun) and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. In the sixth heaven he met Moses (Musa) and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Muhammad [pbuh] on leaving, saw that Moses began to weep. He asked about the reason. Moses answered that he was weeping because he witnessed a man sent after him as a Messenger (Muhammad) who was able to lead more of his people to the Paradise than he himself did. Then Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] reached the seventh heaven and met Abraham (Ibrahim)[AWS] and saluted him. The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood. Then he was carried to Sidrat-al-Muntaha (the remotest lote tree) and was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma‘mûr [(the much frequented house) which is like the Ka‘bah (Sacred House) encompassed daily by seventy thousand angels, so that the angels who once encompassed it would not have their turn again till the Resurrection]. He was then presented to the Divine Presence and experienced the thrill of witnessing the Divine Glory and Manifestation at the closest possible propinquity. There the Lord revealed unto His servant that which He revealed, and ordained fifty daily prayers for him. On his return, he spoke to Moses that his followers had been enjoined to pray fifty times a day. Moses addressing the Prophet [pbuh] said: “Your followers cannot perform so many prayers. Go back to your Lord and ask for a remission in number.” The Prophet [pbuh] turned to Gabriel as if holding counsel with him. Gabriel nodded, “Yes, if you desire,” and ascended with him to the Presence of Allâh. The All-Mighty Allâh, Glory is to Him, made a reduction of ten prayers. He then descended and reported that to Moses, who again urged him to request for a further reduction. Muhammad [pbuh] once more begged his Lord to reduce the number still further. He went again and again in the Presence of Allâh at the suggestion of Moses for reduction in the number of prayers till these were reduced to five only. Moses again asked him to implore for more reduction, but he said: “I feel ashamed now of repeatedly asking my Lord for reduction. I accept and resign to His Will.” When Muhammad [pbuh] went farther, a Caller was heard saying: “I have imposed My Ordinance and alleviated the burden of My servants.”

There is however some difference as regards the issue whether the Prophet saw Allâh with his physical eye or not. Some interpreters say that seeing Allâh with his naked eyes was not confirmed. Ibn ‘Abbas, on the other hand, says that the word Ru’ya as used in the Noble Qur’ân signifies the observation with the help of the eye.

In Sûrah An–Najm (Chapter —The Star) we read:

 

“Then he approached and came closer.” [Al-Qur’an 53:8]

 

Here (he) refers to archangel Gabriel, and this context is completely different from that in the Prophetic tradition of Isra’ and Mi‘raj, where ‘the approach’ relates to that of the Lord, Glory is to Him.

Some significant suggestive incidents featured the ‘Night Journey’ of the Prophet, of which we could mention:

    1. The Prophet’s breast was cleft by Gabriel, his heart extracted and washed with the water of Zamzam —a sacred spring in Makkah.
    2. In the same context, there were brought to him two gold vessels. There was milk in one, while the other was full of wine. He was asked to choose either of them, so he selected the vessel containing milk and drank it. He (the angel) said: “You have been guided on Al-Fitrah or you have attained Al-Fitrah. Had you selected wine, your nation would have been misled.” [It is a symbolic way of saying that good and evil in the form of milk and wine were brought before the Prophet and he instinctively made a choice for the good. It is very difficult to render the Arabic term ‘Fitrah’ into English. It denotes the original constitution or disposition, with which a child comes into this world, as contrasted with qualities or inclinations acquired during life; besides it refers to the spiritual inclination inherent in man in his unspoilt state].
    3. The Prophet [pbuh] told that he saw two manifest rivers, — the Nile and the Euphrates — and two hidden ones. It appears that the two manifest rivers, the Nile and the Euphrates, symbolically describe the area in whose fertile valleys, Muhammad’s Message will settle, and the people whereof will always remain the adherent bearers of Islam that will be passed on from generation to another. They can by no means suggest that they well up from the Garden.
    4. He had the opportunity to see Malik, the guardian of Hell, with a cheerless frowning face. Therein, he saw the Hell dwellers, of whom were those who unjustly eat up the property of the orphans. They have flews similar to those of camels, swallowing red-hot stones and then issuing out of their backs. There were also the people who take usury with bellies too big to be able to move around; they are trodden by the people of Pharaoh when these are admitted into Hell. In the same abode, he saw the adulterers offered tasty fatty meat and rotten smelly one but they make option for the latter. The licentious women were also there hanging from their breasts.
    5. The ‘Night Journey’ raised a good deal of stir among the people and the sceptical audience plied Muhammad with all sorts of questions. He told them that he saw the camels of Makkan merchants to and fro. He also guided them to some of their animals that went astray. He informed them that he had drunk some of their water while they were fast asleep and left the container covered.

The disbelievers, however, found it a suitable opportunity to jeer at the Muslims and their creed. They pestered the Prophet [pbuh] with questions as to the description of the Mosque at Jerusalem, where he had never gone before and, to the astonishment of many, the Prophet’s replies furnished the most accurate information about that city. He supplied them with all the news about their caravans and the routes of their camels. However, all this increased in them nothing but flight from the Truth, and they accepted nothing but disbelief.

For the true Muslims, however there was nothing unusual about the Night Journey. The All-Mighty Allâh, Who is Powerful enough to have created the heavens and the earth by an act of His Will, is surely Powerful enough to take His Messenger beyond the heavens and show him those signs of His at firsthand which are inaccessible to man otherwise. The disbelievers on their part went to see Abu Bakr on account of this event, and he readily said: “Yes, I do verify it.” It was on this occasion that he earned the title of As-Siddiq (the verifier of the truth). [Ibn Hisham 1/399]

The most eloquent and most concise justification of this ‘Journey’ is expressed in Allâh’s Words:

 

“… in order that We might show him (Muhammad) of Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, signs, etc.)” [Al-Qur’an 17:1].

 

The Divine rules as regards the Prophets goes as follows:

 

“Thus did We show Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth that he be one of those who have Faith with certainty.” [Al-Qur’an 6:75]

 

To Moses, his Lord said:

 

“That We may show you (some) of Our Greater Signs.” [Al-Qur’an 20:23]

 

In order that:

 

“He be of those who have Faith with certainty.”

 

The Prophets, after seeing Allâh’s Signs, will establish their Faith on solid certainty too immune to be parted with. They are in fact eligible for this Divine privilege because they are the ones who will bear burdens too heavy for other ordinary people to carry, and in the process of their mission, they will regard all worldly ordeals and agonies too small to care about.

There are simple facts that emanate from this blessed Journey, and flow along into the flowery garden of the Prophetic biography; peace and blessings of Allâh be upon its author, Muhammad. The story of ‘the Night Journey’ as we see in the Noble Qur’ân is epitomised in the first verse of the Sûrah Isra’(Chapter 17 — The Journey by Night) then there is a quick shift to uncover the shameful deeds and crimes of the Jews, followed by an admonition saying that the Qur’ân guides to that which is most just and right. This arrangement is not in fact a mere coincidence. Jerusalem was the first scene of the Night Journey, and here lies the message directed to the Jews and which explicitly suggested that they would be discharged of the office of leadership of mankind due to the crimes they had perpetrated and which no longer justified their occupation of that office. The message suggested explicitly that the office of leadership would be reinstituted by the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] to hold in his hand both headquarters of the Abrahamic Faith, the Holy Sanctuary in Makkah and the Farthest Mosque in Jerusalem. It was high time for the spiritual authority to be transferred from a nation whose history got pregnant with treachery, covenant-breaching and aggression to another nation blessed with piety, and dutifulness to Allâh, with a Messenger who enjoys the privilege of the Qur’ânic Revelation, which leads to that which is best and right.

There, however, remains a crucial question waiting to be answered: How could this foreseen transition of authority be effected while the champion himself (Muhammad) was left deserted and forsaken stumbling in the hillocks of Makkah? This question per se uncovered the secrets of another issue which referred to a phase of the Islamic Call and the appearance of another role it was about to take up, different in its course and noble in its approaches. The forerunners of that new task took the shape of Qur’ânic verses smacking of direct and unequivocal warning accompanied by a severe ultimatum directed to the polytheists and their agents:

 

“And when We decide to destroy a town (population), We (first) send a definite order (to obey Allâh and be righteous) to those among them [ or We (first) increase in number those of its population] who are given the good things of this life. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against it (them). Then We destroy it with complete destruction. And how many generations (past nations) have We destroyed after Noah! And Sufficient is your Lord as an All-Knower and All-Beholder of the sins of His slaves.” [Al-Qur’an 17:16, 17]

 

Together with these verses, there were others revealed to show the Muslims the rules and items of the civilization upon which they could erect their Muslim community, and foreshadowing their ownership of a piece of land, exercising full freedom over it and establishing a coherent society around whose axis the whole humanity would rotate. Those verses in reality implied better prospects for the Prophet [pbuh] comprising a secure shelter to settle in, and headquarters safe enough to empower and embolden him to communicate his Message to all the world at large; that was in fact the inner secret of that blessed journey. For this very wisdom and the like we deem it appropriate to suggest that ‘the Night Journey’ took place either before the First Pledge of ‘Aqabah or between the two; after all, Allâh knows best.

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