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PART ONE

PROPHET'S LIFE BEFORE HIS PROPHETHOOD


THE BLESSED BIRTH

Amidst that tumultuous environment of pre-Islamic Arabia, filled with all manifestations of misguidance, perversion and oppression, Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Abdul-Muttalib (s.a.w.) was born.
For some divine purpose, he did not see his father who had passed away while returning from Syria with a caravan. Muhammad (s.a.w.) was, at that time, only an embryo in the womb of his mother Aminah daughter of Wahab, may Allah be pleased with her.(1)

His blessed birth took place in the month of Rabi'ul-Awwal(2) one month or more after the annihiation of the army headed by the elephants which went out to attack the Holy Ka'ba(3). The story is recorded in one whole surah (chapter) in the Qur'an called al-Fil. Thuwaibah, the woman servant of Abu Lahab, suckled him for a few days with her baby Masrooh before the arrival of the wet-nurses from the deserts. It was a long- established habit for the people of Mecca to leave their babies in the care of the desert's wet-nurses so that they were brought up brave eloquent and in touch with the realities of desert life. As was expected, 10 wet-nurses from the tribe of Sa'd bin Bakr, arrived at Mecca and everyone of them found a baby to take care of except Halimah, daughter of Abu Dhu'aib Abdullah. Muhammad (s.a.w.) was offered to her, but due to his being an orphan, which meant little profit for her, she was reluctant to take him.

Being uncertain about what to do, she consulted her husband, who was with her. "I hate to return empty-handed", she told him, "But there is no baby left to me except this orphan." Her husband advised her to take him, for Allah may bless him. No sooner did she place the nipple of her breast into the baby's mouth, her milk began to flow abundantly. Before that her own baby was always half-hungry because of the scarcity of his mother's milk.

The blessedness of the Prophet began to spread all over the neighborhood. The verdure of the meadows greatly increased, as before the area was waterless and barren.
Two years later, Halimah had weaned the baby and brought him back to Mecca to visit his mother and relatives. She told them bow the baby was blessed, and how her life was changed after taking him. Then she returned, accompanied by the baby, to the neighborhood.
 

DIVINE FOSTERAGE OF THE PROPHET

The interesting point in the early years life of the Prophet (s.a.w) for whoever wants to study his life, is the fact that Allah adopted him, not only in maintaining his health, preparing him for the great role he was to have later.
The books written about the life of the Prophet (s.a.w.) are filled with events that corroborate the fact that he was under the direct care of Allah and this enabled him to shoulder the future responsibility of prophethood.

Imam Ali bin Abi-Talib (a.s.) refers to this point in one of his sermons in Nahj al-Balaghah:

"From the time of his birth, Allah had appointed the archangel among all the angels, to always be with him. And this archangel was leading him towards exemplary qualities and high moral values by night and day..."(4)

Referring to this fact, Imam Muhammad bin Ali al-Baqir was related to have said:

"Allah had appointed the archangel to be with Muhammad, since he was weaned, leading him to the way of graces, the best of morals, and leading him away from evil and vices."(5)

One major trace of the divine care for the Prophet (s.a.w.) was that he was, from early age, a monotheist. He used to unequivocally proclaim his hostility to the idols(6). He used to perform hajj without eating the meat which was slaughtered at the feet of the idols. He would to mention the name of Allah before having his food'(7) and praise Allah when he finished. Muhammad, He was widely known among Arabs to be upright and virtuous. He would keep his word, and for that he was known as "the truthful and the faithful".
 

UNDER THE GUARDIANSHIP OF HIS GRANDFATHER

The Prophet was five years old when Halimah al-Sa'diyyah brought him back to his family in Mecca. Abdul-Muttalib, his grandfather, showered him with care and fatherly love. He ate with him, spoke with him kindly, sat on his bed, and provided him with special attention and warmth.
It was not out of sentiment that Abdul-Muttalib cared so much for Muhammad (s.a.w) as the son of his deceased son Abdullah, but because he felt deeply that he would be a prominently great man in the future. It was for this reason that he would ask his son Abu-Talib, and Umm-Ayman to look after him and provide him with whatever he needed.

At the age of six, his mother Aminah, took him with her, accompanied by Umm-Ayman, to visit his uncles from the tribe of Uday bin al-Najjar in Madinah. After one month they decided to return to Mecca. But, en route to Mecca, his mother, Aminah, passed away. She was laid to rest at al-Abwa', a village halfway between Mecca and Madinah. Umm-Ayman resumed the journey alone, and in Mecca she was devoted to him as his mother was, while his grandfather looked after him as if he were his son. But, it was not long before Abdul-Muttalib died. The Prophet was, at the time, eight years old.
 

UNDER THE CARE OF ABU TALIB

Abu Talib,(8) his uncle, took him and treated him very kindly. He even gave him precedence over his sons. Muhammad (s.a.w.) would sleep in the bed of his uncle, sit next to him, eat with him, and go out with him.
 

ADULTHOOD

As soon as he came of age, Muhammad (s.a.w.) began to work to earn his living. First, he became a shepherd. Jabir bin Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, related that he was with the Prophet (s.a.w.) with other Muslims, picking al- Kabath (a kind of fruit). The Prophet (s.a.w.) said:

"Pluck the black ones. They are sweetest. I used to gather it while pasturing my sheep".

"You were pasturing the sheep, O Messenger of Allah?", we asked him.

"Yes", he replied, "every prophet was at sometime a shepherd".(9)

Allah, the Most High, was able to spare His Prophet (s.a.w.) the tiresome task of working. He willed to set the Prophet (s.a.w.) as an example for the people so that nobody would rely on anybody else for earning his living.
Islam stressed the importance of work. The Prophet (s.a.w.) is reported to have said:

"Cursed be who throws his burdens on other people".(10)

"Worship is of seventy kinds, the best of which is earning one's living righteously".

"An excellent help to guard against evil is wealth."(11)
 

MARRIAGE

At the age of twenty-five he went to Syria on a mercantile mission on behalf of Khadij ah the daughter of Khuwailid, may Allah be pleased with her. Khadijah was the best among the women of Quraish. She was the richest, the noblest and the most beautiful among them. She was called "the chaste", and the mistress of Quraish. She would hire men to work in trade for her in return for a fixed percentage of the profit.
When the Prophet (s.a.w.) became to be widely known for his faithfulness and the smoothness of his manners, she offered him money to go to Syria and promised him a good share in the profits, more than any share given to any man before him.
He set out for Syria, leading a big caravan. Maisarah, her slave, went with him. They sold articles and bought merchandise and returned with profuse sums of money. Fascinated by the Prophet, Maisarah began to tell Khadijah of his attributes. She was attracted to him, for his high-mindedness, righteousness, faithfulness and kindness and decided that he would be her husband. She preferred him to the rich dignitaries of the Quraish who promised her immeasurably great riches. For that purpose, she sent Nafisah the daughter of Munabbih to talk to him about it.

"What makes you refrain from getting married?", Nafisah asked him. "I have no money", he replied.

"If you were given that, and were asked to marry a beautiful, rich, honest and noble woman, would you accept the offer? "

"What is the name of the woman?" "Khadijah!". "How could I manage it?"

"Leave everything to me", she promised him.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) then sent his uncle Abu Talib(12), to ask Khadijah's hand to marriage. As her father was dead by then, Abu Talib broached the subject to her uncle. Both parties agreed, and so the marriage took place. The Prophet (s.a.w.) was twenty-five years old, at the time. As for Khadijah, historians have disagreed about ,her age. But they agreed that they got married(13) after the Prophet's (s.a.w.) return from Syria.
The newlyweds moved to the house of Khadijah, and achieved the most perfect union, perfumed with love, loyalty and mercy. Amid hardships and troubles, she helped him, encouraged him and alleviated his worries.

Apart from her love for him, she was a chaste women with deep insight, she managed their affairs patiently and skillfully.
She was, furthermore, the first ever to believe in his message.(14) For the sake of his call, she spent all her riches. He loved her as she loved him. He did not marry any other women until after she died.
Whenever he remembered her, he praised her and mentioned her good deeds to his wives, so much so that 'A'ishah' said: "I never felt envious of any of the Prophet's wives, except of Khadijah, whom I did not see."
She, further, added: "Whenever the Messenger of Allah slaughtered a sheep, he ordered his attendants to distribute the meat among the friends of Khadijah. One day I made him angry by saying mockingly 'Khadijah!', he said to me: 'I was given her love by Allah'" (15)

A'ishah also reported: "The Messenger of Allah would hardly leave the house without mentioning Khadijah in good words. One day he mentioning her and so I felt deeply envious and blurted out; she was nothing but an old woman. Allah has replaced her with better than her.'

"No by Allah," he said indignantly; "Allah did not replace her with those who better than her, she had faith in me when the people rejected my call. She believed me when the people charged me with falsehood. She consoled me with her wealth when the people deprived me theirs, and Allah gave me, by her sons and daughters."(16)

Diligence and toil were characteristics of his life from an early age. His marriage with Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, gave his life some rest and comfort. The kindness and true love Khadijah showered on the Prophet (s.a.w.) compensated him for the fatherly love and motherly kindness which he was deprived of, during childhood.
During that phase of his blessed life, the first signs of prophethood began to surface. It was for this reason that he was preparing himself by restoring to the cave of Hira during certain days. He would remain there, worshipping and mediating for a whole month every year. He would remain there far away from the pre-Islamic perversions and the corrupt city atmosphere. Muhammad was on the threshold of bearing the divine message.

He went on with his meditations and worship till he became 40 years old. Then, the holy revelation shone on his soul and heart delivering the first statement of the seal of divine messages:

"Read in the name of your Lord Who created..."

Holy Qur'an (96:1)

It is worth mentioning here that the divine books announced the good news of the advent of the message of Allah (s.a.w.). The Jewish Christian scholars were aware of this fact, but they were swept with the fanaticism of jealousy and prejudice when the truth arrived, but no one could have any doubts about this new reality.

The Qur'an mentions what they would tell the tribes of al-Aws and al-Khazraj in this respect:

"And when there came to them a Book, confirming what was with them, and aforetimes they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved, but when there came to them (Prophet) that which they did not recognize, they disbelieved in him; so Allah's curse is on the unbelievers."

Holy Qur'an (2:89)

And so good news of the coming of the Prophet (s.a.w.) became widespread. The main topic of popular discussion was this. The Christian monks and Jewish rabbis were already reading in their divine books of the coming of a new Prophet who would fill the world with light, guidance and bless.
 

SOCIAL STATUS

Prior to his rise to prophethood, during the previous 1520 years, his social status was high. He was known to be well-mannered, high-minded, truthful and trustworthy.
The power was clearly mainfested during the rebuilding of the Holy Ka'ba. After it caught fire, the Ka'ba was flooded with sweeping torrents. Great damage was done and the tribe of Quraish made their minds to rebuild it, al-Walid bin al-Mughirah, accompanied by a number of the Quraishis, went to Jidda and bought the timber of a ship that had wrecked on its shore. The wood was bought to make the roof of the Ka'ba. A carpenter, Baqum by name and a slave of Sa'id bin al-Aws, was charged with rebuilding the Ka'ba.
All the clans of the Quraish took part in the process. But, finally, when the time came to put the black stone in its place a difference arose among them over who should win the honour of putting it in its place. Every clan of the Quraish eagerly wanted to do that.

The difference grew to a .quarrel and had not Abu Umayyah bin al- Mughirah, the eldest among them, suggested the first one to enter the Ka'ba from the door of Bani Shaibah arbitute on the matter the situation would have gotten out of hands.
They imptiently awaited the man. Before long Muhammad (s.a.w.) came into the Ka'ba. Upon seeing him, they unanimously agreed, " This is the trustworthy. We accept him as the arbitrator. This is Muhammad." When they told him of the problem he ordered them to bring him a piece of cloth. He spread it on their ground, then placed the Black stone on it. "Let every group hold the cloth then carry it up," lie told them. He, then, carried it, with his blessed, and restored the stone to its place.
 

PACT OF AL-FUDUL

Shortly after the tragical war of al-Fujjar a pact was signed between the warring Arab tribes.(17) The agreement did achieve a victory for the wronged parties. All the sides agreed on the principle of warding off wrongs, and cooperating to back what was right and defend the oppressed The Prophet (s.a.w.) praised the pact in these words:

"If I were given red camels, I would not have been more pleased than to be a participant in their pact at the house of ibn Jada'an.(18) The tribes of Hushim, Zahrah and Taym agreed forever to be on the side of the oppressed. If I were invited now, I would respond affirmatively. It was the pact of al-Fudul."(19)
 
 

RISE TO PROPHETHOOD

Never was the Prophet (s.a.w) surprised when Jibril (the angel Gabriel) revealed to him the first divine statement. His life went through many stages so that he would be prepared to bear the divine message. From the early part of his life, His Lord nurtured him kindly and closely as he was the future Prophet. To this fact, Imam Ali (a.s.) referred him his sermon named al-Qasi'a. as well as Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) in a statement reported from him.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) began to spend more time in the cave of Hira' for worship and meditation. Those devotions in the cave of Hira', located at the top of Mt. Hira' northeast of Makka, was a manifestation of preparing him for the heavy task awaiting him. The longest period he would remain in the cave was a whole month, and that would be the month of Ramadhan.
During other months, he would spend whole nights there. He began to hear the voice, and see the light, and have dreams that were to come to pass exactly as he saw them in the world of dreams.(20)
 

THE PROPHET AND MESSENGER

At the age of forty, Jibril (a.s.) descended to reveal to him the seal of messages beginning with the first divine verses:

"Read in the name of your Lord Who created. He created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is Most Honourable, Who taught (to write) with the pen, Taught man what he knew not..."

Holy Qur'an (96:1-5)

It was so great, so majestic and so glorious an experience to receive the revelation, that he felt a little tired, and so he lay down on his bed to have some rest. During these critical moments Jibril appeared to him for the second time:

"O you who are clothed! Arise and warn, And your Lord garments do purify, And uncleanness do shun,..."

Holy Qur'an (73:1-5)

Thus, Allah ordered His Prophet to carry His message to all people.

KINDS OF REVELATION

It is interesting to note how the message was revealed to the Prophet (s.a.w.).
Allah mentions the manifestations of the holy revelation in the following verses:

"And it is not for any mortal that Allah should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger and revealing by His permission what He pleases; Surely He is High, Wise. And thus did We reveal to you an inspired book by Our command. You did not know what the Book was, nor (what) the faith (was), but We made it a light, guiding thereby whom We please of Our servants; and most surely you show the way to the right path.

Holy Qur'an (42:51-52)9

In this respect, we understand from the Qur'anic texts and the holy sunna that Allah revealed to the Prophet (s.a.w.) His message in many ways.
One way was that Allah, the Most Exalted and High, would reveal to him, directly and without any other means, the truth. It is said that this kind of revelation was the most majestic and so moving that his mule would sink to the ground(21), and that his forehead would break into sweast even if it is . was bitterly cold.(22)

Another way was that Allah would send a messenger to His Prophet. He would appear in his angelic shape, or in the shap of a human being.
Another method was the true vision, for the Prophets never saw false dreams. Whatever they saw in their dreams they saw in reality, because of the immense spiritual powers they had, through which they perceived the truth during sleep and wakefulness. That was in addition to the divine inspiration and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
 
 

PROPHET BEGINS CALL TO ISLAM

The Prophet, first of all, chose Ali (a.s.) to come to Islam(23). Ali was, at the time, a pure boy, unsullied by the practices of the pre-Islamic era. He was under the care of the Prophet (s.a.w.) who showed him with love and affection. Ali (a.s.) responded enthusiastically and his soul method in the new faith. The Prophet called his wife to Islam and she accepted it. This done, the first nucleus of the faithful community on earth took shape.

He proceeded with his call to Islam and his companions grew in number. They were 40 men, the majority of whom were young. These people were from different walks of society. Among them were the poor, the rich, the socially powerful and the downtrodden. First of all they would learn the Qur'an and the principles of the new faith. In the defiles, far away from the eyes of Quraish, they used to offer their prayers. The new convert, with the assistance of one of the old converts appointed by the Prophet (s.a.w.). would continue studying and comprehending the teachings of Islam.

THE HOUSE OF AL-ARQAM

As they grew in number, the Muslims feared lest their affair might be disclosed. As a precautionary measure, they made the house of al-Arqam al-Makhzumi a school and a meeting-place where they used gather to know more about Islam. There, they sat together learning the Qur'an, offering their prayers, contemplating the ayas and signs of Allah, examining the creation, gathering patience and fortitude and sublimating their wills to Allah and His Messenger.

CALLING THE RELATIVES

Three years passed before Allah ordered His Prophet (s.a.w.) to take advantage of the prevailing tribal atmosphere and call his relatives to Islam.

"And warn your nearest relations, And be kind to him who follows you of the believers, But if they disobey you, then say: Surely I am clear of what you do.."

Holy Qur'an (26:214-216)

The Prophet (s.a.w.) invited his relatives, numbering 40, to a feast. Before the Prophet could broach the subject to them, his uncle Abdul-Uzzah bin Abdul-Muttalib, also Abu-Lahab warned the Prophet (s.a.w.) from going on with the task of spreading the new faith. The invitation was a failure and the guests hastened to leave, and so the chance slipped out of the Prophet's hands.
Once again, after the passage of many days, the Prophet (s.a.w.) invited his relatives to a feast. His guests being satisfied, he addressed them:

"O sons of Abdul-Muttalib, Allah has sent me, as His Messenger, to all people and particularly to you. He ordered me: 'And warn your nearest relations'. I invite you to accept two short sentences. They are easy on the tongue, but in the balance of action they are heavy and difficult. By them you will be the masters of the Arabs and non-Arabs. Nations will yield to you. Enter paradise and be saved from hell. They are the testimony of: There is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah. Whoever answers me and helps me in this affair and in carrying it on will be my brother, trustee helper, inheritor and the successor after me."

Murmuring rose from among the people. Abu-Lahab condemned and warned the Prophet (s.a.w.) from carrying out his mission. Abu Talib expressed his full support to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and said to him:

"Proceed with your task you are charged with. By Allah, I will protect you and prevent others from harming you."(24)

Ali, the youngest of all, come to his feet and said in a resonant voice:

"O Messenger of Allah, I will help you in this affair."

But the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered him to sit down.
The Prophet (s.a.w.) repeated, once again, his proposal, and no one except Ali responded. The third time when Ali answered the Prophet (s.a.w.), he said to him:

"Sit down. You are my brother, trustee, helper, inheritor, and the successor after me."(25)

The people stood up and, upon leaving they said to Abu Talib mockingly:

"Today, be happy at entering your nephew's religion. He made your son a commander over you!"(26)

PUBLIC CALL TO ISLAM

The Prophet (s.a.w.) called all of the Qurayash to Islam, in obedience to Allah' s order:

"Therefore declare openly what you are bidden and turn aside from the polytheists..."

Holy Qur'an(15:94)

He ascended the mountain of al-Safa and called out "It is daybreak! it is daybreak!" That was the custom of the Arabs when there was something critical to discuss together. The Quraysh gathered around him asking in wonder, "What is it?" "If I were to tell you, the Prophet (s.a.w.) asked them, that horsemen were descending from the mountains to attack you, in the morning or in the evening, would you not believe me?"

"We do," they replied.

"Then," he said to them, "I should warn you of the terrible punishment that lies in wait for you. O son of Abdul-Muttalib, O son of Abd-Manaf, O son of Zahrah...Deliver yourselves from the fire of hell. I can do nothing for you if you disobey to attack his home and people, so he hasten towards warning them."

"Shame on you!," Abu-Lahab interrupted him, "Was it for this you invited us?"

And so Allah, the Most Blessed and High, revealed to His Prophet the following chapter (surah):

"Perdition overtake both hands of the Abu Lahab, and he will perish. His health and what he earns will no avail him. He shall soon burn in fire that flames, And his wife, the bearer of fuel, Upon her neck a halter of strongly twisted rope."

Holy Qur'an (111:1-5)

This attempt was not in vain, for a number of the Quraishis entered Islam under the banner of "There is no god but Allah." Furthermore, the news of the faith forced itself into every house. This statement made by the Prophet (s.a.w.) was, indeed, to usher in a new era of bitter struggle between the new faith and the wounded pride of the pre-Islamic Arabs.

BEGINNING OF BITTER STRUGGLE

The reaction of the pre-Islamic Arabs towards the call of the Prophet (s.a.w.) took many forms:

ATTACKING THE PROPHET (S.A.W.) IN PERSON

At the beginning of the Prophet's divine mission, the Quraish looked at him as a monk or a sage, whose influence would soon wane, and the people, accordingly, would return to the religion of their fathers and ancestors. But, contrarily, the new faith swept through the community, scoring victories on the social level. The Qur'anic verses condemned the idols and idolatry, calling for the worship of the only God and- warning the infidels of a terribly severe punishment in the hereafter. At that point the Quraish felt the dangerous reverberations of this call, and so they publicly proclaimed their hostility towards it. Their animosity, was, however, peaceful at first. It was expressed in degrading the Prophet and slandering him. They challenged him to perform miracles. Could he change the hills of al-Safa and al-Marwa into gold? Could he make a spring to flow in the earth more limped than the well of Zamzam? Could he move the mountains from their places or return the dead to life?

Seeing that this method was fruitless and could not dissuade him from carrying on his divine call, they resorted to wildly slanderous propaganda and spreading of rumours. They accused him of being a liar, then a poet, and another time, a sorcerer. They left no stone unturned to distort his image, seizing every chance to do so. Even in Yathrib (Medinah) and Abyssinia (Ethiopia), their lies were intense spread.
One day, they gathered at the house of al-Walid bin al-Mughirah, one of the widely known and shrewd men of among the Arabs and one who used to bitterly mock the Prophet (s.a.w.) and Islam.

"O Abu Abd-Shams.?," they asked him. "What is Muhammad saying? Is it poetry, soothsaying or sermonizing?"

"Let me," he suggested, "hear his talks".

He came near the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), who was near the Black Stone reciting verses from the Qur'an.

He asked the Prophet (s.a.w.), "O Muhammad, recite some of your poetry to me!" "It is not poetry," the Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, "It is the discourse of Allah, which He has conveyed to his angels, prophets and messengers."

"Recite something of it to me," persisted al-Walid.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) recited the chapter (surah) of "Ha' Mim al-Sajdah". When he read

"But if they turn aside, then say. I have warned you of a Scourge like the scourge of Ad and Thamood."

Al-Walid shivered, and a shudder seized hold of him. He ran away and did not return to his companions who were waiting for him.

The Quraishis reported that Abu-Jahl, saying: "O Abu al-Hakam! Abu-Shams inclined to the religion of Muhammad. Did you not see that he did not return to us?" Abu-Jahl hastened to meet al-Walid and said to him: "O uncle! You have lowered our heads and disgraced us, You made our enemy rejoice at our affliction by inclining to the religion of Muhammad."

"I did not incline to his religion," al-Walid explained, "but I have heard hard words that made my skin creep."

"Was it a sermon?" Abu-Jahl inquired.

"No," al-Walid." A sermon is composed of uninterrupted sentences. This is prose, parts of which are unlike the others".

"Did you see him shudder at it?" asked Abu-Jahl.

"No," "al-Walid replied. "I heard Arabic poetry of all rhythms: The basit, madid, ramal and rajz. It is not poetry" '"Then," "Abu-Jahl wanted to know, "what is it?"

"Let me think," said al-Walid.

The next day, the Quraishis asked al-Walid, "O Abu Abd-Shams! What should we call it?'" Say, "he advised them," it is sorcery, for it attracts the hearts of the people."

About that, Allah, the Exalted, revealed to His Messenger (s.a.w.) the following verses:

"Leave Me and him whom I created alone, And gave him vast riches, And sons dwelling in his presence, And I adjusted affairs for him adjustably; And yet he desires that I should add more! By no means! surely he offers opposition to Our signs. I will make a distressing punishment overtake him. Surely he reflected and guessed, But may he be cursed how he plotted; Again, may he be cursed how he plotted; Then he looked, Then he frowned and scowled, Then turned back and was big with pride, Then he said: This is naught but enchantment, narrated (from others); This is naught but the word of mortal. I will cast him into hell. And what will make you realize what hell is? It leaves naught nor does it spare aught."

Holy Qur'an (73:21-28)

Apart from this widespread slanderous propaganda, they moved to make bargains with him in a bid to lure him away from his message. With this in mind, they sent, one day, Utba bin Rabi'a, one of their prominent leaders, to the Prophet (s.a.w.) to strike a deal with him. He said to him:

"...O my nephew! if you desire money and wealth, by preaching what you are preaching, we will collect enough for you from our own. We will make you the wealthiest of all of us. If it is chieftainship that you desire we are ready to make you our paramount chief, so that we will never decide on matter without you. If you desire rulership, we will make you our ruler. And if this condition that you call revelation is a jinn that you cannot escape from his grip, we are ready to call the most distinguished physicians of out time to examine you, and spend generously, till you are completely cured. For, sometimes, the jinn seizes hold of victim totally till the latter is exorcised."

"Is that all, O Abu al-Walid?," the Prophet asked.

"Yes" , he replied.

"Then, listen to me," the Prophet said to him.

"I will," agreed Utba.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) recited the chapter (surah) of Fussilat:

"Ha Mim! A revelation from the Beneficent, the Merciful God. A Book of which the verses are made plain, an Arabic Qur'an for a people who know: A herald of good news and a warner, but most of them turn aside so they hear not. And they say: Our hearts are made under coverings from that to which you call us, and there is a heaviness in our ears, and a veil hangs between us and you, so work, we too are working. Say: I am only a mortal like you; it is revealed to me that your God is one God, therefore follow the right way to Him and ask His forgiveness; and woe to the polytheists. (To) those who do not give poor-rates and they are unbelievers in the hereafter. (As for) those who believe and do good, they shall surely have a reward never to be cut off...",

Holy Qur'an (41:1-8)

Till he recited the verse where prostration is obligatory on whoever recites or hears it, and the Prophet (s.a.w.) prostrated himself while Utba was still listening to him. Then he said to Utba, "O Abu al-Walid! You have heard what I have just recited. You can now decide."

Utba got to his feet. He was bewildered so much so that his companions said, "We swear by Allah that Abu al-Walid has returned in a different mood." He had hardly took his place among them when he said to them, "By Allah, I have heard something I have never heard before. By Allah, it is neither poetry, sorcery nor soothsaying.
"O son of the Quraish! Listen me and leave it me. Leave the man to himself. Boycott him. By Allah, he will be widely known. Should Arabs kill him then you are spared the task of checking him. And if he reigns over them, his rulership is yours and his power is yours. You will be the happiest people with him."

"Abu al-Walid," they protested, "he has by Allah, cast a spell on you with his tongue!"
"That is what I think of him." He told them. "You are free to do what you think suitable..."(27)

Once again, they sent another delegation to the Prophet. They brought forward the same previous proposal, and he said to them:

"...I have not brought to you what I have brought for the sake of your wealth. Nor was it to seek honour or rulership over you. Allah has sent me to you a Messenger and revealed a book to me. He ordered me to give you the good news of Paradise and to warn you of the fire of hell. I have conveyed to you the message of my lord and advised you. If you accept what I have brought you, then, it is your lot in this life and the hereafter. Should you refuse it, then I resign myself to Allah's will, till Allah judges between me and you..."(28)

Then the Quraishis attempted to make the Prophet (s.a.w.) turn aside from his message by contacting his family. They went to his uncle Abu-Talib and complained to him about Muhammad (s.a.w.). They told him that his nephew had cursed the idols, spoken evil of their gods and, created tensions among them. So he had either to stop preaching his message or face the whole of the Quraish, if Abu-Talib was to leave him unprotected. Abu-Talib could mitigate their worries and put the question aside.

Once again they called on Abu-Talib. They repeated their previous proposals. But they added something new. They asked Abu-Talib to hand Muhammad (s.a.w.) over to them in return for Umara bin al-Walid bin al-Mughirah, whom they would give to him. They said to him: "We offer you the well-known young ma-n of the Quraish who is matchless in his beauty, lineage, freighting ability and in reciting poetry."

"By Allah," Abu-Talib told them, "You are very unfair. You give me your son to take care of, whereas I give you mine so that you kill him! Do you not know that the she-camel that loses its baby will not yearn for another one?…"(29)

For the third time they returned to talk with Abu-Talib. But, this time, they were enraged beyond endurance. They said to Abu-Talib:

"By Allah, we can no longer be patient while Muhammad insults our fathers, speaks evil of our gods and finds wrong with our gods. You should either stop his activities or be ready, both of you to fight us, till one of the parties perishes."(30)

Abu-Talib was very distressed at that. He took the Prophet (s.a.w.) aside and told him all that the Quraish had said. He made it clear to him that he could not, due to a lack of means, resist and fight them. Nor could he withdraw his protection from him. The Prophet (s.a.w.) fell into deep thought, then said:

"O My dear uncle. By Allah, even if they were to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand so that I abandon this mission, I will never do that till Allah makes it prevail or I perish in carrying it out..."

Saddened at what he had heard, the Prophet (s.a.w.) left his uncle. But Abu Talib called him and said to him bravely: "Go, my nephew. Say what you want to. By Allah, I will never abandon you." Then he recited these lines of verses:

"By Allah , never can they treat you as they wish,
Not until I am laid to rest in my grave.
Proceed with your mission unblamed,
Of that I give you the good news. Be assured of that.
You have invited me. Surely, I know you are advising me,
You are still the trustworthy even if you carry out this mission.
I know, for sure, that the religion of Muhammad,
Is the best one revealed to mankind."(31)

The clan of Bani Hashim sided with the Messenger (s.a.w.) and unanimously decided to protect him.(32) But Abu-Lahab was a prey to the grudge burning inside him, as he saw the Messenger of Allah enjoying so much support from his clan.
With the peaceful negotiations failing, the Quraish resorted to physical persecution of the Prophet (s.a.w). That took many forms:

"They hurled stones at his house.
They threw the carcass of a newly slaughtered ewe at him.
They threw filth in front of his house.
They scattered thorns in his way.
They poured dust on his head.
They placed the wombs of a slaughtered lamb on his head, while he was prostrating himself in prayer.

Aqaba bin Abi-Mu'it, accompanied by some men from the Quraish, pressed the Prophet's neck so hard that he was at the point of death" (33)
They urged the children to stone him, and similar annoying things to him. Without complaining, he used to receive all that bad treatments patiently and imperturbably, he expressed that fact in the following words:

"Never before me was a Prophet harmed as was I."
 

PROSECUTION OF THE EARLY CONVERTS

If the idolaters negotiated with the Prophet (s.a.w.), and complained about him to his uncle, trying to settle a bargain with him before oppressing him, they did not show much patience in respect to the first-converts to Islam. From the very beginning they were subjected to terror, persecution, harassment and pressures to make them leave their houses.
No sooner had the followers of the Prophet (s.a.w.) become known, then they were severely and cruelly punished. Bilal al-Habashi, may Allah have mercy on him, was tortured at the hands of Ummaiyah bin Khalafal-Jumahi.He would take him, at noon, to the desert and fling him to the ground face downwards or on his back. Then he would threaten him: "No, by Allah. You will remain as you are till perish, or renounce Muhammad, and worship al-Lat and al-Uzzah". Bilal would only cry out in pain: "Only one God, only one God..."

The Banu-Makhzum tortured a side along with his son Ammar and Summayyah, his wife. They would take them to the Abta, a wide area covered with pebbles, and torture them there when the place became unbearably hot. After being subjected to this kind of savage treatment, Yasir was martyred. Abu-Jahl stabbed Summayyah with a lance he was carrying, and so she attained martyrdom.

Ammar, though severely tortured, was steadfast and firm in his faith.
It is related that the Messenger of Allah, one day, passed before the family of Yasir while they were being tortured, and he gave them the good news of Paradise:

"Be patient, o family of Yasir, for your meeting will be in Paradise..."

Khabbab bin al-Arat would be stripped of his clothes and flung him on the ground, on the burning sand. They would, often heat stones for him and place them on his bare body. They even twisted his neck, but he never turned away from his faith.

Other than these young converts, there were many who suffered much at the hands of their tormentors.
Torture and persecution were not confined to the weak among the faithful, but even those who enjoyed prominent social and economic status, who had influence and wealth, could not escape the harassment of the Quraish, Ibn Abbas described the severity and cruelty of the torture in these words:

"...By Allah, they would beat the faithful and keep them hungry and thirsty, so much so that one could not sit because of the cruelty of the punishment he suffered."(34)

To allay the faithfuls’ sufferings, the Messenger of Allah, exhorted them to have patience and fortitude. He encouraged them to be steadfast till Allah gave them victory over the idolaters.
Al-Khabbah related: "One day, I went to the Prophet (s.a.w.), who was wrapped in his cloak and was seated in the shade of Ka'ba. We being were unendurably assailed.

I said to him, "Won't you pray for us?"

He said:

"Those who were before you did not turn aside from their faith even though their bodies were combed with iron, so that their flesh and tendons would be separated from the bones. They would never turn aside from their faith even though saws were placed on the middle of their heads which were cut into two. Allah will certainly make His faith prevail so that a rider will travel from San'a to Hadramout and will fear nobody but Allah the Mighty and High, and the wolves lest they eat his sheep. But, certainly, you have no patience."(35)
 

IMMIGRATION TO ABYSSINIA

When things in Mecca were brought to a head, the Prophet (s.a.w.) allowed some of his followers to immigrate to Abyssinia, where they could find a refuge and safe haven.
The number of the first batch of immigrants was 11 men and four women. They stole out of Mecca secretly. When they reached the coast of the sea, they found ships owned by merchants. They chartered them and sailed to Abyssinia.

The Quraish got word that some of the Muslims had set out for the sea. They sent a group of men to pursue them, but they found that the Muslims had already sailed to Abyssinia.
The new converts arrived in Abyssinia. For three months they remained there, but soon they returned to Mecca after they heard that the whole of the Quraish had entered Islam. But, to their disappointment, that was only a rumour. The Quraish did not cease torturing and persecuting them.
Once again, the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered them to immigrate t o Abyssinia. They were 80 men and 18 women. At the head of them were Ja'far bin Abi-Talib and Asma' his wife. The negus, the ruler of Abyssinia, received them with hospitality. They felt comfortable and secure there after the long period of harassment in Mecca.
The Quraish felt the danger of the migration of the Muslims. The consequences might be grave for the idolaters. As a measure to preempt the Muslims' future plans, the Quraish sent Amru bin al-Aas and 'Imara bin al-Walid, loaded with precious gifts to the Negus and his courtiers. This was a bid to persuade him to withdraw his protection from the converts and return them to Mecca.
When the two envoys arrived at the Negus's court they said to him,

"These are among our ignorant people who have parted with the faith of their people and did not enter your faith.. They brought forth a newly created faith, neither we know it nor you. The honourable chiefs of their people have sent us to return them".

A true Christian at heart, and a just and noble man, the Negus thought it was unjust to listen to one party only. He sent for the immigrants to examine the matter closely.
When the immigrants were admitted into the court, Ja'far bin Abi-Talib talked on behalf of them:

"O King! For centuries we were living in blind ignorance. We worshipped idols, ate carrion, did the most vicious of deeds, broke off relations with our relatives, troubled our neighbours and the strong among us ruled over the weak...until one day, Allah sent us a Prophet from among us, whose lineage, truthfulness, trustworthiness and chastity we know. He called us to acknowledge the unity of Allah and not to set any god parallel to Him and to renounce what we used to worship of stones and idols. He enjoined us to pray, pay the poor-rate and fast. He exhorted us to be truthful, return the things trusts entrusted to us by other people, keep our relations warm with our relatives, be kind with our neighbours, refrain from doing what is forbidden by Allah, and from shedding blood. He forbade us to do evil and, speak falsehoods, to swallow the property of the orphans and kept us from charging chaste women of committing adultery. We believed in him and in his message. Our people, as a result, turned against us to force us to the worship of idols and the doing of evils. When they harassed us and wronged us, we set out for your country. We chose you, from among the others, hoping that we will not be wronged under your rule."

"Do you remember", said the Negus, "any of the sayings your Prophet brought? Will you recite some of them?"

"Yes", replied Ja'far and he recited the chapter of Maryam (Mary), when he read out the part of the chapter dealing with Jesus (a.s.) the Prophet of Allah, the Negus and his courtiers were greatly moved and tears coursed down their cheeks.

'This", said the Negus, "and what Jesus had brought emerge from one niche".

Seeing that the matter had slipped out of their hands, the envoys of the Quraish resorted to another scheme, trying to divide the Negus and the Muslims.
The next day Ibn al-Aas returned to the court of the Negus and told him that the Muslims had said something about Jesus slanderous and degrading.

The Negus sent for the Muslims and asked for an explanation.
Ja'far in reply said, "We say about him what our Prophet says about him. He is the slave of Allah and His Messenger and Spirit, and the word He implanted in Maryam, the Virgin and the Chaste."

The Negus picked up a stick and drew a line on the ground. He looked up at Ja'far and said, "Between our faith and yours, there is a difference no thicker than this line".(36)
The Negus, then, dismissed the envoys of the Quraish and handed them back their gifts.

The plan of the Quraish was thus brought to naught. The immigrants remained in Abyssinia. They were secure and kindly treated as a result of the high-mindedness and the morality they showed to the Abyssinians.
 

HARD TIMES FOR MUSLIMS - THE SIEGE

As the chiefs of the Quraish had failed in their attempt to get back the immigrants, they malevolently poured their ill-will on the Muslims in Mecca. They arrived at a decision which was that thc Quraish would boycott the clan of Bani Hashim if Abu-Talib did not withdraw his protection from the Prophet.
At any cost, Abu-Talib would protect the Prophet (s.a.w.). He turned down the demands of the Quraish. Consequently, the chiefs of the Quraish drew up an agreement and hung it on the wall inside the Ka'ba. The clauses of the agreement announced a total boycott against the Bani Hashim regarding selling and buying social relations and marriage. It was signed by 40 of the Quraish chiefs. All of Bani Hashim, except Abu Lahab due to his great animosity to the message and Messenger of Allah, were besieged in the defile of Abu-Talib.

Abu-Talib fortified their surroundings. It was guarded by day and night. Bani Hashim could not, after that, leave the defile, except on some occasions, like that of Umrah ( the lesser pilgrimage) during the month of Rajab and the hajj (pilgrimage) during the month of Dhul-Hijjah due to the strained relations between them and the Quraish.

The Quraish cut off all provisions of food to their area. But secretly some sympathizers carried food to them, though it hardly satisfied them.

They were in great trouble and stress because of that, After the passage of three years of the boycott, Allah made a worm eat the agreement leaving only the words, "In the name of Allah".

Allah revealed that to His Messenger, and he, in turn, informed his uncle Abu-Talib about it. Abu-Talib sought out the chiefs of the Quraish. He said to them,

"...my nephew told me that Allah has sent a worm to your agreement and eaten it except the name of Allah, If he has said the truth you should change your ill intentions against him, but if he has lied, I will hand him over to you.. " (37)

"It is a fair deal," they said.

When they went up to the agreement which was hung inside the Ka'ba, they found it as the Prophet had said.

Now division arose between the chiefs of the Quraish, but then they agreed on tearing the remains of the agreement into small bits. That meant the end of the boycott. Due to the failure of the Quraishi boycott of the faithful, new converts were won to Islam inside Mecca.

GLIMPSES OF HOPE

During the season of hajj every year the Prophet was busy offering the new faith to the tribes. In the eleventh year after his rise to prophethood he met a group of the tribe of al-Khazraj. He asked them to allow him to have a talk with them. They accepted that and he talked to them about Islam. He called them to believe in Allah, and recited verses from the Qur'an. Upon hearing that they murmured one to another:

"...By Allah, he is the Prophet the Jews have promised. See to it that no one should follow him before you.." (42)

They responded positively and entered Islam. After returning back to Yathrib, they began to propagate Islam till a great number of their people embraced it.
In the following year, twelve people from Madina came to a place called al-Aqaba, and there, they pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and swore that they would not "set up a partner with Allah, or commit adultery, or kill their children, that they should never cast calumnies against others nor should they disobey him (the Prophet) when he orders them to do good. Should they be true to their word their reward would be Paradise, but if they, however, went back on their word, Allah will be the Arbitrator. It is upto Him to punish them or to forgive them.."

So the converts of Madinah could become acquainted with Islam's teachings, the Prophet (s.a.w.) sent Mus'ab bin Umayr with them. Mus'ab was still young. Helped by those who embraced Islam among the people of Madinah he toured Madinah calling the people to Allah and the Divine message. Two of the prominent figures of the city, Sa'd bin Ma'adh and Usaid bin Hudair converted to Islam. By their entering Islam, the doors were wide open for the people of Madinah to open their hearts to Islam.
 

ALLEGIANCE OF AL-AQABAH

Mus'ab stayed in Madinah one year, during which he called the Madinites to Islam, instructed them in its teachings and recited to them the Qur'an. During the next season of hajj, thirteen years after the Prophet's rise to prophethood, Mus'ab came at the head of a delegation consisting of 70 men and two women.
They promised the Prophet (s.a.w.) to meet him secretly at al-Aqabah. The first third of the night passed and the pilgrims retired to their beds. These men and women made their way to the meeting-place. The Prophet (s.a.w.) came there escorted by his uncle al-Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib, al-Abbas was the first to speak:

"..Muhammad's place among us is well-known to you. We protect him from our people. He enjoys a high status among his people and he is secure in his city. But he has insisted on joining you. Now, if you think that you will fulfil your promise to him and defend him against his opponents then you should do your best. But if you think of handing him over to his enemies and failing him, then from this point leave him enjoying the power and protection of his people."(43)

"We have heard what you said," they said in unison. O Messenger of Allah, speak out, and state what obligations you and Your Lord want from us."

The Prophet (s.a.w.) then recited verses from the Qur'an and invited them to Islam and said,

"Pledge your allegiance to me. Listen to me and obey me during the periods of activity and lethargy, Spend of your money during ease and difficulty, enjoin the good and forbid the evil, convey the words of Allah fearing no blame from anyone, help me and give me, should I resort to you, the same protection you give to yourselves and your own wives and offspring. Your reward will certainly be Paradise..."(44)

They agreed to these conditions and pledged their allegiance to him one after the other.
Compared to the first allegiance of al-Aqabah, this one, the second allegiance of al-Aqabah, bad tremendous effects on the souls of the faithful. On the horizon they saw the harbingers of an imminent victory. After a prolonged period of oppression, suppression and terror, ever in the span of thirteen years in Mecca, now the doors of hope were flung wide open before them.

The Quraish, on hearing the news of the allegiance of al-Aqabah, were startled, and filled with fear. Hurriedly they held a meeting at which a decision was arrived at: Track down the Madinites who met the Prophet (s.a.w.) at al-Aqabah. After much effort, they arrested al-Mundhir bin Amru but he broke away from them. Sa'd bin Ubada was also captured. They tied his hands to his neck and dragged him by his hair. Heavily beating him, they brought him to Mecca. But, luckily, Mut'im bin Uday and al-Harith bin Harb bin Umayyah saved him, due to business relation they had with him.

THE GREAT IMMIGRATION

The new faith found new grounds to stand firmly an. Now the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered his adherents to flee Mecca, for the purpose of preserving their faith, and to set out in the direction of Madinah.
Secretly, the groups of the migrants began to arrive in the city of faith. In the heart of the night, they moved towards Madinah, leaving behind them their property and houses for the sake of Allah(45)
Fearing the consequences of the immigration, the Quraish tried to prevent same of the faithful from going to Madinah. In that, they achieved same success.

Then came the day when Allah allowed His Prophet (s.a.w) to immigrate to the blessed land. That was a consequence of a meeting held by the chiefs of the Quraish at the hall of council to settle the matter of the Prophet (s.a.w.) once and far all. There, conflicting views were expressed. One said: Draw up new agreements against him. Another proposed killing him. A third one advised them to turn him out of Mecca.
A third proposal was brought forward which won the consensus of the participants in the meeting. The proposal was that a young men should be picked from every clan of the Quraish, including Bani Hashim. They would be charged with the task of killing the Prophet (s.a.w.) with their swords. They would strike their blow together. As no specific man could be identified as the murderer of the Prophet (s.a.w.), his blood would he shed, and so Bani Hashim would not seek vengeance.
Allah, the Mast High, revealed to His Messenger their plot:

"And when those who disbelieved devised plans against you that they might confine you or slay you or drive you away; and they devised plans and Allah too had arranged a plan; and Allah is the best of planners".

Holy Qur'an (8:30)

The Quraish wanted to execute the plan at nightfall, but Abu-Lahab proposed the break of dawn as mast suitable. They posted guards around the house of the Prophet (s.a.w.) so that he would not slip out of their hands.
Ordering Ali (a.s.) to sleep in his bed and wrap him in his cloak, the Prophet (s.a.w.) made his way among them reciting the holy verse:

"And We have made before them a barrier and a barrier behind them, then We have covered them over so that they do not see."

Holy Qur'an (36:9)

In a certain place, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) met Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafa(46), and, then, both of them went into hiding in a cave on Mt. Thawr.
In the early morning, the young men raided the house and swept into the Prophet's bedroom. Ali (a.s.) sprang to his feet and asked them angrily, "What do you want?"

"Where is Muhammad?" , they inquired.

"Have you placed me as a watchman on him?" Ali retorted.

"Haven't you threatened to expel him from your city? He has left of his own will." (47)

They angrily turned to Abu-Lahab and beat him, saying, "You have been deceiving us all the night!" They set out for the surrounding mountains in search of the Prophet (s.a.w.). Abu Karz, renowned for his skill in tracking footprints through the desert led them, following the tracks of the Prophet (s.a.w.), to the cave. "He could never have gone farther. He must either have ascended to heaven or sunk into the earth!',(48)

They examined the entrance to the cave. A spider had spun its web on the whole mouth of the cave. "Muhammad could not have hidden here", they thought and they departed.
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) remained in the cave three nights. When he was sure that the Quraish had given up their pursuit, he set out for Madinah, accompanied by a guide whom he had hired from Mecca.
After a few days they arrived at a place called Quba, outside Madinah. There, he was received by Kulthum bin al- Hadm, an old man from the clan of Amru bin Awf.(49)

During his stay there, the Prophet (s.a.w.), built the mosque of Quba. He waited for Ali bin Abi-Talib, to whom he had written earlier asking him to hand back the articles that were entrusted to him to their owners and then join him.
Acting upon the Prophet's orders, Ali (a.s.) bought camels on which he carried Fatimah his mother, Fatimah the daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w.), Fatimah daughter of al-Zubair bin Abdul-Muttalib, and Fatimah the daughter of Hamzah. Before leaving, he ordered the weak among the faithful to immigrate to Madinah by night.(50)

When Ali's caravan reached Quba, the Prophet (s.a.w.) embraced Ali (a.s.) and broke into tears in sympathy with him. Ali was worn-out at the end of the tiresome journey.
Only two days after Ali's arrival at Quba the Prophet (s.a.w.) mounted his camel on his way to Madinah. "O Messenger of Allah", the clan of Amru bin Awf, gathering around him, said, "Stay with us. We are diligent and filled with fortitude. We will take up arms and protect you.".

"Leave her", he pointed to his she-camel, "go her own way. She will decide."(51) The helpers (Ansar) hurried towards him making a circle round the camel. The Prophet (s.a.w.) insisted on making way for his camel. At noon, of that day, a Friday, the Prophet (s.a.w.) arrived at the residences of the clan of Salim. They urged him to dismount there. The camel stopped and sank to the ground. He dismounted and went into their mosque, which they had built before the Prophet's arrival, and lead them in prayer. He delivered a sermon, the first one after his immigration. Then, once again, proceeded, flanked by the crowds of the faithful.

In expression of their overwhelming happiness, the women and children went up the roofs and cried loudly and repeatedly "Allahu-Akbar". The Prophet had arrived in Madinah and the people hospitably and joyfully received him.
The Prophet could hardly pass a house without their people coming out and entreating him to stay with them, "O Messenger of Allah, come to power, mightiness and wealth." In response, the Prophet (s.a.w.) thankfully smiled at them pointing to his she-camel: "Leave her go her own way. She will decide." The camel moved on, but, then, at a certain place she sank. It was at the door of the house of Abu-Ayyub, Khalid bin Zaid al-Ansari that she stopped and that was the spot where the Prophet's mosque was then built.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) dismounted, and the wife of Abu Ayyub hurried to the saddle and took it from the back of the camel into her house. The Prophet (s.a.w.) was, by now, the guest of Abu-Ayyub, may Allah be pleased with him-. He remained there till the mosque was raised and a circle of houses was built around it.
 
 

THE MUHAJIRIN'S AFFLICTIONS

As the Quraish stepped up their cruelties and torture against the fledgling community, the Muslims began to immigrate in groups or as individuals to Yathrib, where people were receptive to the message of Islam. Thus these people became known as Muhajirin (Immigrants). When the Muslim men and women began to emigrate from Mecca, their once bustling houses became deserted and dreary places, of which the lovers lament and the poets sing. The year as the divine message took a crucial turn, the Quraish increased their harassment, to seize the possessions and houses of the Muslims and detaining their women and children as captives. Some of the prominent houses including those of Banu Madh'un, Banu Jahash, Banu Bakr were closed down by the infidels.

Plundering the Houses and Wealth

The house of Banu Jahash was emptied of all its habitants including Abdullah bin Jahash, his family and his brothers by Abu Sufyan who seized it by force. The silent house was a testimony to the afflictions of the oppressed people on earth, and was also a proof of the firm and steadfast ideology of a Muslim.
The owners of these houses complained to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) who answered them by saying:

"O servant of Allah, have you not been satisfied that Allah will give you a house better than this in paradise..."(52)

The history relates to us other miseries and tortures suffered by the Muhajirin in the way of Allah. History also tells us about the sufferings of a woman who with her husband migrated, first to Abysssinia and then to Madianah.
That women in question is Umm Salama, the wife of Abdul-Assad bin Hilal. Abu Salama who was the first among the companions of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and the first from Banu Makhzum to immigrate to Madinah. When Abu Salama decided to emigrate, he took his wife, Umm Salama(53) and their son Salama along with him and seated them on a camel. But when her tribesmen saw her riding the camel, they knew that she wanted to emigrate with her husband too. They stopped Abu Salama from taking his family with him to Madinah and separated her from him by force. However, when the men of Banu Abd al-Assad tribe saw that Umm Salama was being taken by force along with her son, they became angry and told them: Indeed this boy is our son and we will not let you separate him from us. Both sides began to quarrl among themselves concerning the son, each tribe began to pull the child towards himself to the extent that they dislocated one of his hands. Then one of the uncles of his mother took him away by force. As for Umm Salama, her tribe imprisoned her because she was planning to immigrate with her husband. Likewise, many other families were scattered because of the oppression and injustice of the Quraish.

Umm Salama (may Allah be gracious with her), who later in life after she became a widow married the Messenger of Allah, says:

"My husband set out for Madinah and thus they caused separation between me, my husband and my son."

She continues:

"I used to go out every morning and sit near a savanna till the evening just weeping and it took more than one year till a man from my uncle (one of the Banu Mughirah) passed and saw me and took pity upon me and said to Banu Mughirah: 'Will you not let this woman to go out. You have caused separation between her, her husband and her son.' She said that they told her: 'you can follow your husband if you wish'. Banu Abd-Assad returned my son and I took a camel and travelled alone in searching of my husband till I reached a place called Tan'im (11 kilometers away from Mecca) where I met a man called Uthman bin Abi Talhah, a brother of Banu Abdul-Dar who said to me: 'Where are you going, O daughter of Abi Ummayyah?'

"I replied that I want to go to my husband in Madinah. Thus, the man helped me till we reached a Village called Amru bin Awaf in Quba and found my husband. The man left the place. She adds saying that she has never seen a man more kind than Uthman bin Talhah".(54)

Thus in Madinah, the Message entered a new phase. In the second book, God willing, we will shed light on the movement of Islam step by step.

Praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.
 
 

PART TWO

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

"Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, (but) compassionate among themselves; you will see them bowing down and prostrating themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and pleasure..."

Holy Qur'an (48:29)
 

IN THE STATE OF MADINAH

The Islamic Message entered a new phase in its blessed movement after the migration to Madinah. It was a phase of implementing Islamic principles and reshaping the community in its entirety, including its prerequisites and institutions. Erecting the holy mosque of the Prophet was the first step taken towards the achievement of these aims. The Holy Prophet bought land for its construction from the owners, Sahl and Suhail the sons of Amru. Around the mosque, rows of houses were later built in all directions.(55)
The building of the mosque and the surrounding houses were very simple and cost little money and effort. The mosque had a spacious Yard. Its walls were made of bricks and clay. Half the roof was covered with palm-fronds while the other half was left open. Part of the building became a refuge for the faithful who had no homes.

Except for evening prayer, the mosque was never lit. Hay would be set a flame to provide necessary lighting.
In no way were the rooms of the Prophet (s.a.w.) distinguished from other houses with regard to the style of building and the source of lighting. He lived temporarily, as we have referred before, at the house of Abu-Ayyub Ansari and it was until after the mosque and the surrounding houses were built did he move to the quarters specified for him.(56)

The lesson drawn from the fact that the first achievement of the Prophet (s.a.w.) at Madinah was the setting up of the mosque is fundamental to basic Islamic life, in that the first practical step is to establish a relationship with Allah, the Most High and Exalted. Any other kind of structure can then be set on this firm foundation and is derived from it.
In addition to the mosque, the Prophet (s.a.w.) did not need to build an administration center. The mosque was to serve that purpose. As well as a place of worship it was furthermore a meeting-place where Muslims consulted among themselves, the place where differences were resolved, where military plans were laid, military commanders appointed, where Muslims learnt reading and writing...and any other activity related to the state and the community.

The fact that the Prophet (s.a.w.) made the mosque the place from which he presided, settled people's problems and managed the Islamic state's affairs, is regarded the most convincing and practical proof that rulership and the management of social, economic, political...affairs of the Muslim nation is intricate with the submissiveness to Allah, the Exalted.

In Islam, state affairs are managed by adhering to divine orders and instructions which were revealed to the Messenger of Allah.
That is why the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) was himself a ruler, judge, guide and a military commander.
Accordingly then Islamic society is composed of factors derived from the basis of obedience and total submission to Allah, the Blessed, the Mast High.

In view of this, the different facets of life are never disconnected the Islamic life. For life, in all its dimensions and aspects, emerges from the same source, moves along the same path and ends at the same point.
 
 

KEY FORCES IN THE MADINAH COMMUNITY

At Madinah, the Prophet (s.a.w.), settled in a society whose control was shared by the tribes, material interests and conflicting ideas. The chief forces at Madinah were the following:

1. Muslims

They were Ansar (supporters) and Muhajirin (migrants). The Prophet (s.a.w.) called the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj, the inhabitants of Madinah (the Ansar), as they supported and defended the new faith.

The Aws and Khazraj were two tribes named after the two sons of Harithah bin Tha'labah 'Anqa'. Their mother was Qilah, the daughter of Kahil. They lived in Yemen.
Shortly after the destructive flood of al-Aram, which destroyed the great dam of Ma'rib, the Aws and Khazraj left Yemen and settled at Yathrib. All the people of Saba' scattered in the surrounding lands.
Their descendants became farmers because the soil was fertile but economically, their condition was bad. As a result, they fell prey to greedy Jews.

With the passage of years and generations, differences arose between the descendants of the Aws and their cousins, the descendants of the Khazraj, due to mostly personal causes. The burning desire to avenge themselves over one another widened the gap between them. Many wars were waged between the two. The key ones included: The Day of Spring, the Day of al-Baqi' , the First Fujjar, the Second Fujjar and the Day of Bu'ath. The latter, was the last waged and was followed shortly by the migration of the Prophet (s.a.w.) to Madinah. Their displeasure, hate and boredom to warfare were so much that they unanimously agreed, in the wake of the war of Bu'ath, to crown Abdullah bin Abi-Salul, as their king.(57) But, no sooner was Abdullah crowned than the Prophet (s.a.w.) arrived in Madinah.

The immigrants were the pioneers of faith who had fled Mecca to preserve Islam after the unspeakable torture they were subjected to there. They settled at Madinah after their inhabitants opened their hearts to the Divine Message and guidance. For the sake of their faith, they parted with their land, wealth, houses, and even their relatives.
Meeting the new fresh challenge in the historical movement of Islam, constructive plans, both short-term and long-term, were laid on the basis of the new religion.

The migration, however , did not pass unobserved. It cast its shadow and left its imprint on the life of the followers.
Taking into consideration the new social structure, Islam created necessary communal ties never known before to man of the pre-Islamic era. It lays stress on the concept of brotherhood for the cause of Allah. It took a strategic, historical line:

"O people! surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty);..."

Holy Qur'an (49: 13)

The Messenger of Allah, in clarifying this Qur'anic concept said:

"Allah has, certainly freed you from pre-Islamic era's fanaticism and the pride over the status of their forefathers. You are either a pious faithful or a miserable dissolute. You are the sons of Adam and from dust Adam was created".(58).

Through this vivid concept, Islam swept away all the remnants of the pre-Islamic era, of which were the pride over one' s lineage and similar defects. In its place, Islam made piety and the fear of Allah a standard to evaluate man in Islamic life.
The concept of brotherhood was provided and exemplary expressed in the prophetic order to the Ansar to choose brothers for themselves from among the Muhajirin and implement the ensuing duties of brotherhood in all domains of life. The process of fraternity being fulfilled, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) proclaimed Ali bin Abi-Talib his brother.(59) He said to him; "You are my brother in this life and the hereafter"(60)

So vividly was the principle of fraternity endorsed that it has stood unique and unprecedented throughout history. It is suffice to say every one of the Muhajirin was made entitled to inherit that of his brother from the Ansar, after his death, while the deceased's relatives had no such entitlement.(61) It was not until after the battle of Badr that this situation was abrogated by this holy verse.

"...and the possessors of relationships are nearer to each other in the ordinance of Allah;..."

Holy Qur'an (8:75)

The Ansar took the principle of brotherhood to heart so enthusiastically that they vied with one another to make a Muhajir their brother, and in certain cases they resorted to casting lots to decide the winner. Many of the Ansar gave up half of their property in favour of their brother among the Muhajirin.
It comes as no surprise that history has recorded some cases, in which a man from the Ansar asked his brother from the Muhajirin to choose any one of his two wives, so that he divorced her to become free to marry to the brother from the Muhajirin. This is after the end of the legal obligatory period of probation observed by women after divorce (al-Uddah).(62)

The process of fraternity helped to settle the pressing economic problems faced by the Muhajirin, due to their migration to Madinah in a simple and natural way.
It should be noted here that the Muhajirin did not choose to take advantage of their brothers' flooding sentiment towards them but worked to secure the gratification of their needs.(63) Most of them in fact, fortunately worked in profitable domains like trade and the like.

All of the followers of the Prophet (s.a.w.) were busily worked except a small group of the faithful. This group were neither from the Muhajirin nor from the Ansar. They were called Al-A'rab (Dwellers of the desert). They were neither able to find work nor had the money to satisfy their Deeds. A part of the mosque was made, by the Prophet, as a refuge for them. By activating the principle of general responsibility,' the Muslims shared helping them.
Thus the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) based the Muslim community on firm and sound grounds.

2. The Jews

They were four groups of Jews: The tribe of Qainuqa' inside the city (Madinah), the tribe of al-Nadir, the Jews of

Khaibar and the tribe of Quraidah, living outside the city.
In reality, the Jews constituted a special community which was a far cry from the inhabitants with regard to their religion, objectives and sentiments. Residents of Madinah though they were, yet socially, psychologically and practically they were far removed.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) signed truces with them so that he could build the state, spread the faith and make it firm inside for his followers. Their share in the constitution, which he made for the state, was considerable. The following are some provisions from it:

1. Muslims from the tribe of the Quraish and the city of Yathrib, with those who joined their ranks and fought along side them, are one undivided community.

2. All Muslims, the weakest among them included, are under the protection of Allah. Unlike other people, the faithful, both men and women, are guardians for each other.

3. The Jews of the tribe of Bani-Awf are a community of the faithful. Jews can follow their own religion as Muslims do. Only those who wrong others inflict harm and punishment upon themselves and their households.

4. Jews spend from their own money and Muslims spend from theirs. They should link hands together in fighting anyone who might oppose this agreement.

5. Should any disagreement or discord arise among the parties signatory to this agreement, they have to consult with Allah, the Mighty and Powerful, and Muhammad (s.a.w.) His Messenger.

6. Whoever leaves the city of Madinah or stays in it should be secure. But those who transgress the limits would certainly be punished.

These are but a few of the provisions of the constitution drawn up by the Prophet (s.a.w.) for Muslims and Jews to live together harmoniously. For more information, the reader can refer to the Life of the Prophet (s.a.w.) by Ibn Husham.(64)
The majority of the Jews signed this agreement, that included the tribes of Bani Awf, Bani al-Najjar, Bani al-Harith, Bani Sa'idah, Bani Jash'am, Bani Tha'labah and the Jews of al-Aws. The tribes of Bani Quraidah, Bani al-Nadir, and Bani Qainuqa' opposed the agreement only to sign similar agreements drawn up by the Prophet (s.a.w.) later on and accept their provisions.

3. The Hypocrites

These were a group of the Madinites who embraced Islam reluctantly, holding a grudge against the Muslims. They had no other choice except proclaiming their acceptance of Islam when it became undoubtedly clear that Islam was victorious. They buried their ill-intentions deeply waiting for any suitable opportunity to act against Islam.
The reasons behind the animosity of the hypocrites against Islam were various. Some of them were cut off from their materialistic interests. Some found in Islam a very potentially dangerous enemy to their paganism. Some came under the influence of the doubts raised by the Jews about the new faith. Others were narrow-minded. They regarded the immigrants as foreigners who were strangers in Madinah.

All these groups pretended to be Muslims. They took part in the congregational prayers, and fasted during the holy month of Ramadan. But, internally, they were the prime foes of Islam and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).
They busily fabricated and aired harmful stories to revile Islam and the Prophet (s.a.w.). At one point, for instance, they accused A'i'shah, a wife of the Prophet, with adultery. But no matter how actively they worked to abuse the Muslims, all of their hatched plots failed. The Holy Qur'an always exposed their true intentions and disclosed their devilish schemes and plans. Another reason for their failure was the progressive growth of Islam that left the hypocrites helplessly cornered and unable to stem its spread and power.

The hypocrites could hardly do anything harmful to the Muslims during the life of the Prophet (s.a.w.). They remained paralyzed and ineffective. But, from time to time, they would raise troubles for the Muslims.

4. Polytheists

They were the least in number of Madinites, and their harmful role in the new-built community was very effectively narrowed by the trend towards Islam.
They tightly held to their paganism and their ways of life, but they were powerless against the Islamic wave, too tremendous to be faced.
 
 

PROPHET'S MILITARY POLICY

From the outset of the blessed da'wah to Islam, the methods adopted by the Prophet (s.a.w.) to effect a complete change in the new community were renewed and moderated every at times.
At one point the Prophet (s.a.w.) kept in security his da'wah to Islam and was working heavily to instruct new converts in the principles of Islam at a certain place.
At another time he called only his relatives to Islam: "And warn your nearest kin". Then he called on all of the tribe of the Quraish, at the house of Allah, to accept Islam. To gain new ground for Islam, he, later ordered his followers to migrate to Abyssiniah.

Outside the city of Mecca, he held many meetings with Arab tribes. At al-Ta'if he stayed for one month propagating the new faith and rallying support for it.
Eventually he met with the pilgrims coming from Yathrib. His efforts yielded fruits when the people of Yathrib embraced Islam and pledged their support to the new faith. It was in Yathrib that the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the early converts found the practical base for the spread of Islam.
Great sources of power fell into the hands of Muslims, as the result of the migration and who became more ready to face up to aggression and fight their enemies.

The first and foremost fruit of the migration was the establishment of the Islamic state headed by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).
With its emergence, Muslims adopted a military policy and the chance offered itself, as provided a good way of communicating Islam to the thirsty, dried-up souls seeking the truth.
The key objective underpinning the Islamic military policy was first to grant people a chance to be acquainted with the Divine Message. The manner was to call them quietly and convincingly.
But many obstacles were placed between mankind and the Divine Message and adoption of the military policy by the Muslims sought to demolish these impediments to leave man free to choose for himself. It was a strategy, not only realized by the leadership, but even by the smallest member of the Muslim community.

Ami'r bin Rub'i, a Muslim soldier who took part in the war of liberation against the Persians, addressed Rustum, the commander of the Persian army, in these words,(65) "...Allah has certainly raised us and made us come to free people from worshipping of the servants of Allah to worshipping Allah; from the narrowest view of life to the most comprehensive; from the injustice of other religions to the justice of Islam. He has sent us, carrying His Message to His servants, calling them to it. Should anyone respond positively to our call we accept that from him, turn away and leave him ruling his own land without our intervention. Should anyone refuse this, we fight him incessantly till Allah judges between us."

The military policy never took one form but practically it took two distinct shapes:

1. Jihad of liberation and the calling to the path of Allah. The reason behind its legitimacy is that Islam is Allah's Message to His servants on earth. And naturally the road to Islam is full of obstacles, which are states, forces and rulers. Islam should be preached after overcoming these obstacles. If these barriers block the way of Islam, they should be removed by force.

2. Defensive Jihad. This is ordained for the purpose of preserving the Islamic Message, the Islamic state and the Muslims. Islam should be defended from the plots and schemes of its enemies, the opportunists and those threatened its existence.

Although the strategic and main target of the Muslim military operations, was the removal of barriers from the path of the Islamic da'wah, it can be seen, clearly, the afore-mentioned forms of jihad coloured all Islamic military operations and wars.
The battles of Badr, Khaibar, Hunain and the liberation of Mecca fall into the first category while the battles of Khandaq, Mu'tah, Tabuk and others are of the second form.
Now let us examine a few examples of the two forms of jihad.
 

THE GREAT BATTLE OF BADR

Since the beginning of the blessed Islamic da'wah until the eighth year after Hijra, Mecca stood firmly in the face of Islam. The well-to-do and influential leaders of the city worked hard to keep the status quo, to serve their interests, syphoning off more wealth and wielding more power.
That is why these pre-Islamic leaders did their utmost to stem the emergence of the da'wah, stifle its voice, and extinguish its radian light. They tortured the Muslims beyond endurance, inflicted unspeakable atrocities on them and created a reign of terror, in Mecca, to prevent the great process of converting people to Islam which was initiated by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.)
The most glorious of the victories of Islam was the accomplishment of liberating Mecca, as it didn't change its position towards Islam and its leaders did not change their attitudes.
For such consideration, the Message of Allah the Exalted, saw the pre-Islamic rulers of Mecca as the sworn enemy to be destroyed in order to put an end to their arrogance and conceit.
Strong and mighty in opposing to the Divine Message though Mecca was, it had nothing other than trade and trade routes. The leaders of Mecca reviled the Message and appointed themselves the defenders of the pre-Islamic entity in defense of their vested material wealth ever-swelled by commercial caravans.

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) focused on pounding the Quraishi positions directly through laying an economic siege on Mecca by ambushing the Quraish's commercial caravans and threatening its strategic trade routes. Accordingly, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), started sending armed units to damage the Quraish's interests in the first year of Hijra. This was carried out both inside the city itself and on the trade routes used by the Quraishi-commercial caravans.
During the year, the Prophet (s.a.w.) sent a military expedition led by his uncle Hamzah, another led by Ubaidah bin al-Harith, a third by led by himself and a fourth led by Abdullah bin Jahsh....and others.
Though these attempts were not conclusive in themselves and no direct skirmishes ever took place, except once, they struck fear in the Quraishis by the threat they represented economically.

One could easily imagine the scope of the Quraish's fears and annoyance at the Muslims when recalling the fact that the commercial caravans were the life-blood of Mecca. Furthermore moving military units strengthened the Muslims' confidence in themselves and their ability to face the enemy.
In the second year of Hijra, during the month of Ramadan, the Muslims learnt that a caravan of the Quraish was en route to Mecca, led by Abu-Sufyan. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) lost no time in dispatching a small army of 300 Muslims with little equipment. They had only 70 camels making every two, three or four people to take turns to ride on each.
News of the Prophet's expedition leaked out and Abu-Sufyan directed the caravan to another route to keep it out of danger. Furthermore, he also asked for help and the Quraish responded by sending an army three times greater than the total number of the faithful.

The matter, for the Muslims, turned to be a face-to-face confrontation with the Quraish. They had either to confront the Quraish or retreat back. It was no longer the question of being able to ambush the commercial caravan.
With the sudden change in the situation, the Prophet (s.a.w.) consulted his companions, putting responsibility directly with them, when explaining the challenge.

Al-Muqdad bin Amru declared:

"By Allah, if you ordered us to walk on the embers of tamarisk(66) or the thorns of al- haras(67) we would walk with you. By Allah we will not say to you what the Israelites had said to Musa (Moses), 'Go you and your Lord, then fight you both, surely we will here sit down' but, 'Go and carry out your Lord's order, surely we are fighting with you."

The representative of the Ansar, Sa'd bin Ma'ath also expressed his views by saying:

"...just order us to do whatever you want, take from our money whatever amount you need and leave whatever amount you wish. By Allah, if you ordered us to cross this sea we would go with you. May Allah show you what delights your eyes. Advance under the blessing of Allah."(68)

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said at length:

"Advance under the blessing of Allah, for Allah promised to grant me one of two things. Allah never breaks His promise. By Allah, it is as if I look at the death of Abu-Jahl, Utbah, Shaiba, so-and-so and so-and-so."

Then he ordered them to advance to the well of Badr. There, the two armies faced each other. The Prophet (s.a.w.) and Muslims invoked Allah for help. Allah aided them with angels from heaven:

"When you sought aid from your Lord, so He answered you: I will assist you with a thousand of the angels following one another."

Holy Qur'an {(8:9)

Allah granted victory to His Messenger and the faithful. The Quraish were severely defeated. Their noses were rubbed in the dust and they were dishonored.
The battlefield witnessed the head-rolling of the polytheists and deviants. Only the traces of their shame and disgrace were the legacy on the pages of history and across the life of their followers.
 

THE BATTLE OF UHUD

The battle of Uhud took place only one year after Badr, in the third year of Hijra, in the month of Shawwal.
After the Battle of Badr, the Quraish felt humiliated and disdained among the Arabs. They recognized the fast growing power of Islam among the people, and therefore began gathering their men and leaders in order to take revenge by attacking and destroying the Muslims in Madinah. The polytheists were blinded by the wealth of Abu Sufyan who after his escape from the Muslims on the day of Badr, had vowed to spend this wealth on nothing except for fighting Muhammad. Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib the Prophet's uncle who was still in Mecca having learnt about the real intention of the Quraish, wrote a letter to the Prophet informing him about the Polytheists' plans for attacking Madinah. On receiving the letter, the Prophet informed his companions of its contents. And it happened that the Prophet of Allah had a dream, which he explained as follows: one of his companions will be killed; one of his household will be wounded and the 'diri' al-Haseen' is Madinah.

Then the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) began to consult his companions and in the end they all agreed to fight the polytheists outside Madinah without letting the city to be a field for fighting; therefore the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) wore his war dress and went with his companions but later on, his companions regretted and asked him to return for Madinah and fight the enemy from there as he (s.a.w.) suggested at first but the Prophet of Allah refused that.
With one thousand fighters the Prophet marched to Uhud outside Madinah to meet the attacking force of three thousands polytheists led by the arch-enemy of Islam, Abu Sufyan. He gave the banner of the Muhajirin to his valiant cousin and son in-law Imam Ali (a.s.) and the banner of the Ansar to Sa'id bin Ubadah.
However, the actual number of fighting men of the Prophet were only seven hundred, because when the Muslims began to leave Madinah, the three hundred hypocrites and plotters, who existed in the army of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) under the leadership of Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salalul withdrew themselves from the army.(69)

The Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) arranged the Muslims in battle-ranks, positioning fifty archers of the Ansar over the hill pass in order to deter the enemy from ambushing the Muslims from behind. He put one of them as their leader and advised them not to leave their position at any cost. Soon the fighting started and after a pitched battle the Muslims put the polytheists to flight. Some of the companions of the Prophet began to plunder the well stocked camp of the infidels and when the men at the mountain-pass saw their greed gave away and they said: "Those men will take (all) the spoils if we stay (here)." They asked their leader: "We want to take part in the plunder like the others." He replied: "The Prophet of Allah has ordered us not to leave this position."
"He ordered you to do that without knowing that the matter would come to what we now see, " they bluntly told him and went off towards the booty leaving him behind. He remained in his position till he was martyred.

The polytheists led by Khalid bin Walid, seeing the hill-pass undefended, attacked the Muslims from behind catching by surprise the majority of companions of the Prophet who were occupied the grab for the spoils. The Prophet was left only with a small troop of his devout companions such as Imam Ali (a.s.), his uncle Hamzah and Mus'ab bin Umair, who nevertheless they continued to bravely fighting the polytheists. The Prophet of Allah was overcome by faintness as a result of a wound which he received, while his uncle Hamzah bin Abdul-Muttalib was martyred by a man called 'Wahishi' (savage) the slave of Abu Sufyan.
Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan who was encouraging the polytheists to attack the Muslims, with her lusty songs, ordered Hamzah's stomach to be split open, and chewed his liver like a blood-thirsty bitch. She even cut off his nose and ears and wore them around her neck in savage exultation.

Despite the Prophet's call to stay firm in the battlefield most of his companions fled the scene, leaving him alone with Imam Ali (a.s.) and a few other, like Abu Dajjassa.
Indeed the main reason for the Muslim's set back in this battle is their disobedience of the orders of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) because had they obeyed him and fought the polytheists in Madinah as suggested before, and if the men at the mountain-pass had not disobeyed his orders, they would surely have become victorious.

After this set back, on the second day, the Muslims were ordered the Muslims to go out and fight the Quraish in spite of their sufferings from the wounds lest the polytheists again attack them. Therefore, the Muslims responded and the Prophet of Allah gave Imam Ali (a.s.) the banner of the Muhajirin. They reached a place called 'Hamra' al-Asad' wishing to fight the polytheist and also prove to the people that they are still strong and able to attack the enemy, but seeing that Abu Sufyan and his army had returned to Mecca, the Prophet of Allah and his companions also returned to Madinah.
 

THE BATTLE OF KHANDAQ

If the Battle of Badr was an example of the offensive military policy of the Prophet (s.a.w.), the battle of Khandaq, was a defensive strategy waged in defense of the Divine Message and the nascent camp of Islam.
It happened that in the fifth year of Hijra, a number of Jewish leaders in Mecca campaigned among the polytheists to wage a war against the Muslims. Abu-Sufyan discovered their plan.
However the Quraish hesitated before responding to the call for war against the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.). Some of the Quraishi leaders asked themselves," Isn't Muhammad right in his call that he is risking his life for the sake of defending it?"

They thought of asking the Jews about the matter, for they knew that the Jews were the followers of the first Divine Book. They posed this question to a delegation of the Jews. They asked them, "O Jews! You are the followers of the first Book and the past knowledge. You know the faith brought by Muhammad (s.a.w.) and the faith we believe in is our faith better than his or is it that he is right?"

"It is your faith", the Jews replied, "that is better than his. You are more entitled to the truth than him"(70)

By responding so, the Jews committed an unpardonable crime in favouring the false religion of paganism at the expense of the right religion of monotheism. They wanted to win over the Quraishis to their side to wage a war against the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.). Therefore, Allah, the Exalted, revealed this verse to His Messenger (s.a.w.):

"Have you not seen those to whom a portion of the Book has been given? They believe in idols and false deities and say of those who disbelieve: These are better guided in the path than those who believe".

Holy Qur'an (4:51)

The Jews went on with their efforts to instigate the tribes against the Prophet (s.a.w.). They succeeded in winning over to their cause the tribes of Bani Fazarah, Ashja', Murrah, Salim, Bani As'ad and Bani Asad among others.
Under the standard of Abu-Sufyan bin Harb al-Amawi, 10,000 militants, gathered to advance and engage the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).
The forces of injustice set out for Madinah. Learning of this military offensive, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) decided to remain inside the city and defend it.
From both the eastern and western sides, the houses of Madinah were closely built like an impregnable fortress. The eastern southern blank of the city was inhabited by the Jews of Bani Quraidah, who had earlier signed an agreement of good neighbourliness with the Prophet (s.a.w.). So, only the northern part of the city was open to the enemy.

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) consulted his companions over the matter. Salman, the Persian, may Allah be pleased with him, came up with a proposal. He said:"

In Persia, we were used to dig a ditch around us when we were besieged."

He suggested a similar tactic be used in the open part of the city. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) appreciated the idea and the Muslims spent six days to complete the digging of the ditch.
The houses facing the enemy were satisfactorily fortified and the women and children were kept in them.
The Messenger (s.a.w.) mobilized his forces. His army, which was 3,000 - strong, advanced forward and encamped behind the ditch.
The Quraish and their allies approached the city. They were amazed to see the ditch, which was never used before as a military means of defense. So they encamped near the ditch.
Only a few days passed, however, when the invading army became bored because of the ditch, with the coldness and the blistering wind.

The Quraish wanted now to give up the whole plan and return to Mecca. When the Jews learnt of the Quraish's intention, their leader Huyah bin Akhtab assured them that he would coax the Jews of Bani Quraidah to revoke their treaty with the Messenger (s.a.w.) and enter the war on their side. This being accomplished, he said to them, that the front line of the Muslim army would be thrown into confusion, the whole camp would be shaken from within and their supply route would be cut off.
Huyah bin Akhtab contacted the Barn. Quraidah, but Ka'b bin Asad shut the gate of the fort in his face and refused to receive him. Ibn Akhtab did not give up. He persisted in seeing him and kept reminding him of their . mutual relationship. He told him that it was time they avenged themselves over the Muslims and that the great forces gathered there could easily crush the Muslims. He talked with him at length about the impending victory and other similar alluring words and promises.

The Bani Quraidah, being assured of the coming victory, unilaterally revoked the treaty and tore it into pieces.
No sooner did the Messenger (s.a.w.) hear of their turn-about then he sent a delegation to them to check the matter. But being carried away with excitement they were rudely impolite. For, when the delegation called on them to abide by the treaty they asked the Muslims to allow the Jews of Bani al-Nadir, whom the Messenger (s.a.w.) earlier had turned out of the city, to return to their neighbourhood. Brazenly they had attacked the Messenger (s.a.w.) and Islam. When the delegation washed their hands of them; they returned to Madinah to inform the Prophet (s.a.w.) of the whole truth.

The Muslims were extremely alarmed by these developments. Their eyes turned dull and their hearts rose in their throats, as the Qur'an (33:10-13) described them. So blunt and rash were the Bani Quraidah that they attacked some Muslim families and frightened them. Moreover, they mobilized their forces to launch war on the. side of their new alliance.
The attack was spearheaded, by Amru bin Abd-Wid al-Amiri, one of the Quraish's leaders and a handful of his soldiers crossing the ditch. They threatened the Muslims inside their city. Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.), accompanied by a number of Muslims, hurried to the place where Amru and his soldiers crossed the ditch, to prevent any further attempts.(71)

Amru bin Abd-Wid arrogantly, went on galloping in front of the Muslims, issuing, threat and menacing them. He spoke proudly about his claimed bravery, calling out:

"Anyone ready to fight?"

Imam Ali (a.s.) stood up and said to the Prophet (s.a.w.):

"I can fight him, O Prophet of Allah".

"Sit down", the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered him, "he is Amru".

Ibn Abd-Wid repeated his call. He scolded the Muslims and mocked them saying:

"Where is your paradise you claim where anyone among you goes to inhabit if you are killed? Won't you nominate someone from among you to fight me?"

"I can fight him, O Messenger of Allah", Ali, said for the second time, rising to his feet.

"Sit down", the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered him again, "he is Amru".

Imam Ali (a.s.) did not care whether he was Amru or someone else. So, he said to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.):

"Even if he is Amru!"

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) finally conceded and gave his permission to Ali (a.s.) and handed over his sword Dhul-Fiqar to him. He made him put on his (the Prophet's) coat of mail and wear his turban. Then, the Prophet (s.a.w.) raised his hands in prayer:

"O Lord! This is my brother and cousin. Do not leave me alone. You are the best of inheritors".(72)

Imam Ali (a.s.) went to the battlefield and said Ibn Abd-Wid:

"O Amru! You have made covenant with Allah that whenever a man from the Quraish offers you two choices respecting a combat you accept one of them".

"Yes" , said Ibn Abd-Wid.

"Then," Imam Ali (a.s.) replied, "I call you to Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.) and Islam".

"I do not need that", he said.

"Then", the Imam said, "I call you to fight".

"I hate to shed your blood," Amru replied "your father was a friend of mine".

"But", the Imam retorted, "by Allah I like to kill you".

Amru got very angry and attacked Ali (a.s.). The Imam repulsed his assault with his usual aplomb. He killed him and shouts of "Allahu-akbar" and "Praise be to Allah" rose from the ranks of the Muslims.(73)

When Ali (a.s.) returned triumphantly, the Messenger received him by saying:

"The combat of Ali bin Abi-Talib with Amru bin Abd-Wid is better than the deeds of my ummah till Doomsday." (74)

After Amru bin Abd-Wid's death, the enemies tightened their circle around Madinah. The fighting went on in full swing from midday till midnight.
In the meantime, Na'im bin Mas'ud al-Asha'i(75) arrived and embraced Islam, without the knowledge of his tribe. As such, the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered him to make use of his status as a man from the tribe of Ghatafan which was respected by all parties. He lost no time and went to the Bani Quraidah, with whom he had close (elation’s. He reminded them of his closeness with them and said:

"The Quraish and the Ghatafan are no ready to remain for along period. They will undoubtedly depart. Should you remain in Madinah, Muhammad will most certainly punish you. So that the Quraish and the Ghatafan will not leave you alone when fighting breaks out, you should take hostages from the Quraish and keep them."

The Bani Quraidah approved of his suggestion.
Na'im, then, went to the Quraish and said to them:

"The Bani Quraidah regret breaking their treaty with Muhammad. They are doing what they can to satisfy him. They will take a number of men from the Quraish as hostages whom they win put to death. Never hand your men over to them".

Finally, he went to the Ghatafan and said the same thing he had said to the Quraish.
Next day, Abu Sufyan contacted Bani Quraidah asking them to begin attacking(76) the Muslims. As it was Saturday (the Jewish holy day), the Bani Quraidah excused themselves and declined the offer.

Abu Sufyan persisted in demanding that they spearhead the attack but they did not change their position referring to the question of hostages. At that point, he felt sure that what Na'im bin Mas'ud had said was the truth. When he presented the matter to the Ghatafan he saw that they were hesitant also.
At night, a blistering, bitter wind blew. It overturned pots, plucked out tents and extinguished their fires.
As terror struck at the hearts of the infidel they took to their heels in the direction of Madinah.
The next morning, when the Muslims looked around them, there was no trace of the enemy. Their confidence and trust in Allah grew.
This was one example of the defensive military policy of the Islamic state, adopted by the Messenger Muhammad (s.a.w.)
 

HUDAYBIYYAH PEACE TREATY

The battle against the allies at Khandiq, was virtually the last of the Quraish's attempts to confront Islam and the great Messenger (s.a.w.). Afterwards they began to fear the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).
The Jews of Bani Quraidah were actually got rid of after the siege that lasted 15 days. In its wake, the Messenger began, to think of suitable ways of consolidating the power of the state, strengthening the pillars of the Islamic community, weakening enemies and spreading the call of Islam to larger areas.

It was during this time, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) heard of a fresh attempt being prepared secretly by the Quraish and the Jews of Khaibar to invade Madinah. Thus, he made up his mind to make a truce with the Quraish in order to wean them away from the Jews. He also moved to convey Islam among the Arabs other than the Quraish.
To carry this out, he thought the season of hajj (pilgrimage) was the appropriate time, for the Arabs greatly respected holy months, including that of hajj.
When the hajj season arrived, the Messenger (s.a.w.), accompanied by 15000 of his followers, set out for Mecca. From a place called Dhul-Halifah, he and his followers raised their voices in a special recitation for pilgrims, "Here I am, my Lord, here I am. Praise and grace and the worlds are Yours. No partner is set with You...".

Any passer-by would have understood that the Prophet came along only to perform hajj and not to fight. Swords were kept in their scabbards and prior to his departure for Mecca, he had made it clear to the other Arabs, other than the Quraish, that he would go to perform hajj and called on them to follow suit.
It was evident that he wanted the Arabs to know of his peaceful intention, otherwise, there was no point in going out in broad daylight and calling other Arabs to join him in the march to Mecca, particularly when they were among his enemies. It was a bid, made by the Messenger, to convince public opinion, if the Quraish blocked his way to visit the Holy House of Allah. This is why he informed the Arabs of his march towards Mecca.
Fearing it was a scheme made by the Messenger (s.a.w.) merely to enter Mecca, the Quraish mobilized a great army, led by Khalid bin al-Walid, to stop his way. The army covered along distance going towards Mecca to confront the Muslims, but even such extraordinary preparations to challenge them, did not discourage the Messenger. He decided to keep to his peaceful plan. He, consequently, turned off the main road and took a coarse one that led to the southern part of Mecca at a place called Hudaibiyyah.

When Khalid bin al-Walid heard of the Messenger's diversion, he rapidly retreated to Mecca with fear and uncertainty hanging over the army.(77) He entered Mecca with the purpose of keeping the Muslims out. The two armies faced each other, with the Quraish avoiding to engage the Muslims in a new battle, but refusing to allow them to enter the city any cost.
After only a few days passed, the Quraish sent a delegation to hold talks with the Messenger (s.a.w.) to know specifically his real intention. The delegation became convinced, shortly after the talks started, that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and the Muslims came only to perform hajj.
But when the delegation returned and informed the Quraish of their impression, they were accused of being cowards and sympathizers with the Muslims.
Another delegation then was sent. This time it was headed by the leader of the Abyssinians. The Quraish plan was to pit him against the Messenger (s.a.w.) if the talks failed so that he would side with them.

No sooner had the Messenger (s.a.w.) heard of the advent of the Abyssinian leader, then he proceeded with the ritual offerings where animals are brought in the valley to be slaughtered during the hajj. When the leader of the Abyssinians saw garlands hanging from the animal necks - it was an Arab tradition to put garlands around the necks of the offerings - and that the Muslims were arrayed in hajj robes, dutifully remembering the Lord, he went back without meeting the Messenger out of awe and respect.
On his return, he addressed the Quraish in the following words, "By Allah, we will never ally ourselves with you in preventing people from visiting the House of Allah who have come to glorify it, and pay due respects"(78) He then advised them to permit the Messenger (s.a.w.) and his followers to perform their hajj. If not, he warned them that he would fight them.
For the same purpose, the Quraish then sent Urwah bin Mas'ud al-Thaqafi, whom the Messenger (s.a.w.) told he had not come to wage a war against them but to visit the House of Allah. Urwah noticed how the Muslims dearly loved the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and how eagerly they obeyed him.

When he returned, he explained what he saw:

"O people! I waited on the kings and visited Qaisar (Caesar), Kusra (Chosroes) and al-Najashi. By Allah I have never seen people extol their King as greatly as the followers of Muhammad do. If he orders them they hurry to obey him. If he does his ablutions, they virtually fight one another to get some of the water he used. If they talk, they only talk with low voices in his presence. They do not look him sharply in the eye out of respect and awe. He has offered you a reasonable proposal, so accept it..."(79)

The Messenger (s.a.w.) then sent, an envoy whose name was Kharrash al-Khiza'i. But, the Quraish hamstrung his camel and wanted to kill him if the Abyssinian leader had not interfered and saved him.
Seeing their unmanly reaction to his envoy, the Messenger (s.a.w.) sent Uthman bin Affan, who entered Mecca under the protection of his cousin Ibban bin Sa'id bin al-As. He assured the Quraish that the Messenger (s.a.w.) had come only to perform the hajj. But the Quraish showed unlimited hastiness, for they imprisoned Uthman for three days during which time it was rumored he was put to death. The Messenger (s.a.w.) the decided to call upon his followers to make a covenant with him to fight the Quraish. They responded positively, vied with each other to swear their allegiance, put on their military outfits and prepared themselves for war. This was called the pledge of al-Ridwan (mercy) (80), the participants of which were praised by Allah in the Holy Book of the Qur'an:

"Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquility on them and rewarded them with a near victory."

Holy Qur'an (48:18)

The Quraish feared grave consequences when they heard of the pledge between the Messenger (s.a.w.) and his followers. The bravery of the Muslims was not a secret to them, and the Quraish were acquainted with the steadfastness during the wars they had fought with them.
Seeking a peaceful solution to the matter, the Quraish sent a delegation headed by Suhail bin Amru. A long dialogue ensued between the Messenger (s.a.w.) and Suhail at the 2nd of which an agreement was arrived at to make a peaceful treaty between the Muslims and the infidels in Mecca.
The Messenger (s.a.w.) ordered Ali(a.s.) to write down the text of the agreement between the two sides. He dictated to him the following:

"Write in the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful," said the Messenger (s.a.w.).

Suhail, the representative of Quraish, protested at that, and said: "stop! I do not know the Compassionate, the Merciful!

Write, in Your Name, our Lord."

"Write in Your Name, our Lord", the Messenger (s.a.w.) told Ali (a.s.). Then he said, "Write this is what Muhammad the Messenger of Allah had agreed upon with Suhail bin Amru".

"Stop" said Suhail. "Had I witnessed that you are the Messenger of Allah I would not have fought you. So, write only your name and your fathers".

"Write", the Messenger (s.a.w.) said, "This is on which Muhammad bin Abdullah made peace with..." and dictated the articles of the agreement, which stated that:(81)

1. The agreement is essentially a truce between the two parties for a period of 10 years.

2. Whoever embraces Islam and joins the Messenger (s.a.w.) without the consent of the Quraish is returned to the Quraish by the Messenger (s.a.w.). But whoever renounces Islam, among the followers of Muhammad (s.a.w.), and rejoins the Quraish, can remain there without any molestation.

3. Any Arab tribe that tends to ally with Muhammad (s.a.w.) can freely do so and they are similarly free to ally with the Quraish.

4. Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his followers have to return to the place from where they came. But, next year, during the season of hajj, they can visit the Holy House of Allah on condition that they stay only three days in Mecca with sheathed swords.

On behalf of the Muslims, the Messenger (s.a.w.) signed the agreement while Suhail bin Amru signed it on behalf of the Quraish. Shortly afterwards, the tribe of Khuza'ah allied themselves with the Messenger (s.a.w.) and the tribe of Bani Bakr allied themselves with the Quraish.
Many Muslims protested at the conclusion of the agreement. Among the protestors was Umar bin al-Khattab, for what, he thought, the toleration and resilience on the part of the Messenger (s.a.w.). Not grasping the hidden meaning of the agreement was the cause of the protests. The protestors found fault with the agreement till the revelation of the Qura'nic Surah of al-Fath (the victory) which after its signing disclosed the philosophy of the agreement. It was a sweeping victory for the Muslims and their Message.
So great was the positive effects of the agreement on the historical movement of Islam that it opened closed doors for the Muslims to convey their da'wah to non-Quraishi Arabs, building and solidifying their state and strengthening their nascent community against the pressures being exerted by the Quraish on the Muslims, including their wars.

The Divine da'wah, began to win over the public support of the Arabs after the signing of the agreement. The faithful took the liberty of contacting the Arabs in their own house to convey Islam to them. Another advantageous outcome of the agreement was that the Muslims, now turned their attention to the Jews with whom they were engaged for 15 days after the return of the Messenger (s.a.w.) from Hudaibiyyah.
These are some of the fruits of Hudaibiyyah Pact which was a significant turning point in the movement of the da'wah.
 

THE BATTLE OF KHAIBAR

As we noted before, the Jews in Madinah were cooperating with the hypocrites and the polytheists against the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), his companions and his Islamic da'wah (call). Indeed the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) had to fight them three times in the places called Banu Nadhir, Banu Quraidah and Banu Quwainiqa' in order to frustrates their conspiracies.
The Jews had also incited the polytheists to attack Madinah and fight the Muslims in the battle of Khandaq or Ahzab in the fifth year of hijra.
Therefore on 7 A.H., in the month of Rajab, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), in order to rid Islam and Muslims of their evil plots and spying, decided to attack their six fortress cities in which they had assembled more than 20,000 fighters.

The Muslims forces took the outlying forts with ease, before laying siege to Fort Qamus, the impregnable Jewish stronghold, which was manned by their renowned champions.
Incidentally, Imam Ali, because of having sore eyes was left behind in Madinah.
During the siege, daily, a companion of the Prophet used to lead the attacks on the fort without achieving anything.
One day, the Prophet summoned Abu Bakr and gave him the standard of Islam with instructions to attack the fort. The latter and men under him suffered defeat and fled back to the Muslim camp, with Abu Bakr vigorously denouncing the people under him while they were just as vigorously blaming him for the failure. The next day, Umar ibn Khatab was given the standard, but he too, soon fled the battle scene accusing his followers of cowardice while they in turn were calling him coward. Then the Prophet (s.a.w.) uttered those famous words:

"Tomorrow, I will entrust this standard to a man who is an intrepid attacker and who never flees. Who loves Allah and His Messenger and (in turn) is loved by Allah and the Messenger. Allah, the Glorious will deliver Khaibar at his hand."(82)

All the companions wished to be the man that the Prophet described and spent the night hoping to have that honour.
The next day, to their surprise the Prophet asked:

"Where is Ali bin Abi Talib?" He was told that he had sore eyes.

"Show him to me and you will show a man who loves Allah and His Messenger and whom Allah and His Messenger love. He takes things up in the right way and he will not flee." replied the Prophet.

Then Imam Ali came from Madinah, and the Prophet applied his saliva into the eyes of his beloved cousin and cured him with Allah's permission.

"Take this standard and go forth with it till Allah grants victory to the Muslims through you."(83)

Bukhari, the Hadith compiler, also narrates the events, by saying:

"The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said at Khaibar: 'The next day I shall give the standard to a man through whom Allah will bring victory.' The companions spent the night asking each other: Who is this man whom the Holy Prophet meant? They came in the morning to the Messenger and every one of them was hoping that he would be the man of the standard. 'Where is Ali bin Abi Talib?' the Prophet asked. 'He is suffering from inflammation of the eyes,' they said. The Prophet sent for him. When Ali was brought to the Prophet he treated Ali's eyes with his blessed saliva and prayed for him. Ali's eyes cured instantly as if they had not been sore. On receiving the standard from the Prophet, Ali asked: 'O Messenger of Allah, shall I fight them until they become Muslims like us?' The Messenger said: 'Go on, until you reach their fortress. Invite them to Islam and inform them of their duty towards Allah and Islam. By Allah, if He guides one single soul through you to the right way, it would be better for you than to own a huge treasure.'"(84)

Then the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali set out with the standard until he reached the fortress. There, Marhab the leading Jewish warrior was rather surprised at the courage of the young Muslim standard-bearer, who unlike his predecessors of the past few days, was not showing any sing of nervousness, and seemed intent to challenge the Jewish champions to combat. Marhab, dad in heavy armour, at last charged out from the fort on his steed to test his skills with the new-comer. The dialogue which ensued between the two combatants will seem out of context here.
In short, after telling the Jewish warrior that his mother had named him 'Haider' (lion), Imam Ali exchanged blows with Marhab, and soon dispatched his wretched soul to hell, with one stroke of his famous sword 'Dhulfiqar', which cut man and his horse in two.

The Jewish force, seeing their champion fell rushed back to the fort and bolted its strong doors in face of the Muslim army. However, Imam Ali marched forth right up to the forth, and with a jerk of his strong hand tore down the gate from its binges, and fleeing it across the trench to be used as a bridge for the rejuvenated Muslim army. Thus, by the Grace of Allah, Khaibar was conquered by the Muslims, ending once and for all, Jewish power and intrigues in Arabia.
 

NEW HORIZONS

Shortly after its birth in Mecca, the Islamic Message began to take on its human and international identity.
It is a Message that provides for man all the opportunities for growth and prosperity. It balances all aspects of man such a delicate way that none receives attention at the expense of another one. Success cannot be achieved without the recognition, on the part of Islam, of man as an entity possessing various powers and demands. Maybe the most expressive Qur'anic text concerning the human quality of Islam is the following verse:

"Then set up your face upright for religion in the right state- the nature made by Allah in which He has made them men; there is not altering of Allah's creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know-."

Holy Qur'an (30:30)

Islam, the faith of human nature, does not try to divert nor does it ignore this nature. On the contrary, it acknowledges its existence, and its demands.
Apart from Islam's declaration of its human identity, it has a pronounced international dimension as well. The verses, which were revealed at Mecca point out this quality clearly and strongly.

"And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds."

Holy Qur'an (21:107)

"And We have not sent you but to all the people as a bearer of good news and as a warner..."

Holy Qur'an (34:28)

The address 'O people' occurs often in the Meccan verses.
From the outset, the march of Islam, embodied its world quality. The vanguard in the calling to Islam was an entity that transcended geographical, national, and tribal barriers.
Among the callers to Islam were both the wealthy and the destitute, the whites and the blacks, the Arab and the non Arabs. There were Hamzah bin Abdul-Muttalib, Ammar, Bilal, the Abyssinian, Suhaib, the Roman, Mus'ab bin Umair, and so on.

After the blessed migration, Islam expressed its international quality in many ways, during the first chance that offered itself. Following the freezing of the struggle between the Muslims and the polytheists of the Quraish in accordance with the Pact of Hudaibiyyah, contacts were initiated with the Arabs outside the Quraish and the leaders of the neighbouring states.
If on hand, the Messenger (s.a.w.) sent men bearing the Message to the neighbourhoods of Arabs and Arab tribes, calling them to the new faith, on the other, did not forget dispatching messengers to the kings and leaders of the world at that time extolling them to enter Islam.
And so he sent letters to Caesar, the Roman emperor, Chosroes, the Persian emperor, al-Muqawqis, the Egyptian ruler, al-Najashi, the Abyssinian king, al-Harith al-Ghassani, king of Damascus, al-Harith al-Himyari, king of San'a of Yemen, the kings of Oman, Bahrain, al-Yamama and other leaders.
The responses from the various rulers were as follows:

Caesar, the Roman emperor, put the matter to Roman leaders for consideration, but they flatly and decisively refused the offer. Caesar agreed with them.
Chosroes, the Persian emperor, tore the letter of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) into pieces. He wrote to his governor in Yemen, named Bathan, to dispatch a group of men to capture the Messenger (s.a.w.) and then send him to him. Bathan did not hesitate to carry out the order. He sent two men from among his courtiers. When they meet the Messenger (s.a.w.) he detested their unmanliness.

"Who ordered you to do so?", he inquired of them.

"Our Lord," they said, referring to Chosroes.

"Tell your companion," the Messenger (s.a.w.) said in reference to Bathan, "that my Lord has killed your lord this night".

They returned and told Bathan about their mission and what the Messenger (s.a.w.) had said to them. No sooner had they arrived than word came that Chosroes had died. At that, Bathan and his Persian followers in Yeman submitted to Islam.(85)
Al-Najashi, the king of Abyssiniah, on the other hand, accepted Islam and put the letter of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) in front of him, descended from his throne and sat on the ground in honour of the Holy Messenger (s.a.w.). Then he wrote a letter to him announcing his conversion to Islam and his faith in the Message of Allah.

As for the chief of the Copts, he valued the letter of the Prophet highly and kept it. He treated the envoy of the Prophet (s.a.w.) most generously and sent a soft-worded letter to the Apostle (s.a.w.) along with two slave girls, one of whom, Mariyah whom was taken as his wife, a garment and a mule. The Prophet (s.a.w.)accepted his present.

Al-Harith al-Ghassani flung the letter of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in great fury. He decided to use force against the Messenger (s.a.w.) and approached Caesar about joining hands in fighting him but Caesar rebuffed him.
The King of Yamamah wrote to the Prophet (s.a.w.) suggesting that he would enter Islam only if the Prophet (s.a.w.) appointed him as king. The Prophet (s.a.w.) cursed him.
The King of Bahrain embraced Islam as soon as he received his letter from the Prophet (s.a.w.). Similarly, al-Harith al-Himyari, the king of San'a', also became a Muslim.
And so, the leaders and kings at the time adopted different positions towards the Prophet's call on them to accept Islam. Some of them were roughshod in their response whilst others were receptive and polite.(86)

By writing to the leaders of his time, the Prophet (s.a.w.) had adopted a very practical way in spreading the Islamic call.
The Prophet (s.a.w.), as a matter of course, based his attitudes towards these leaders in proportion to their responses. He also laid his future military plans in this context.
 
 

THE COMMING OF ALLAH'S HELP AND VICTORY

As Relations between Muhammad the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) and the Quraish eased, the tribe of Bani Bar made an alliance with the Quraish whereas the tribe of Khuza'ah allied themselves with the Muslims. The Quraish, after a time of economic deterioration due to the wars that flared up between them and the Muslims, moved to restore its financial strength through trade.
In contrast, the Muslims, under the leadership of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w .) made use of the peace in calling others to Islam and carrying the Message as far as possible. They worked hard to solidify the home front, make the basis of the Islamic state in the Arabian Peninsula firm and see off the last dangerous entity of the Jews by way of the exploit of Khaibar. They contacted the non-Muslim kings and rulers and, as we have just mentioned, called on them to enter Islam.
It was not long, however, fighting broke out between the tribes of Khuza'ah and Bani Bakr reviled the Prophet (s.a.w.) in the presence of a man from the tribe of Khuza'ah. The latter gave him a good beating(87) and that stirred the buried feelings of animosity between the two sides.

The Bani Bakr, with the unreserved military support of the Quraish, attacked Khuza'ah. There were numerous casualties.
The Khuza'ah were shocked and alarmed by its losses and sought the help of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.). They sent Amru bin Salim, one of their leading figures, to him. He told the Prophet all about the treachery of the Quraish and its flagrant aggression on the Khuza'ah. Amru went into the mosque, where the Prophet (s.a.w.) was inside, and recited these lines of verse:

"O Lord, I am pleading with Muhammad, by the old alliance between our father and his.

"You had been a son and we a father. Then we embraced Islam and never renounced our faith.

"Help us and may Allah give you guidance with all your might, call the servants of Allah, they will answer you in great numbers...

"Among them is the Messenger of Allah, who committed himself to the faith. If subjected to humiliation, his face darkens with fury. He will come at the head of a division, like a sea, throwing up froth. The Quraish did not keep their word. They have broken the firm covenant with you. They ambushed us in the desert, claiming that I won't dare ask help from anyone.

"They are surely humiliated and less in number. "They let us sleep peacefully on the road at the foot of the mountain and massacred us while we were bending and prostrating in prayer."(88)

"O Amru bin Salim', the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, 'certainly, we shall help you'. Then he went into his house saying aloud, "May Allah never give me victory over my enemies if I refrain from helping Khuza'ah."

The Quraish heard of the intentions of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and became disconcerted and restless. As a bid to emphasize their commitment to the covenant with the Muslims and ward off the wrath of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) they sent Abu Sufyan to see the Prophet (s.a.w.) and have a dialogue with him.

By the time Abu Sufyan arrived at Madinah, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) had full details of the latest steps of the Quraish. He knew how deeply they were worried, so when Abu Sufyan offered to renew the truce the Prophet (s.a.w.) turned a deaf ear to him and refused to listen to his false promises.
Abu Sufyan, upset as he was, thought of asking for the help of the companions of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) to change his position. He called on Abu Bakr, and explained the matter to him, but he refused to help him. He went from there to the house of Umar bin al-Khattab, who likewise, disappointed him.
Abu Sufyan went to the room of his daughter, Um Habibah, the wife of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).There he found that when he wanted to sit down his daughter rolled back the mattress. "This is the mattress of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.)," she said to him. "you certainly can't, be seated on it while you are an unclean polytheist."

From there he went to the daughter of the Holy Prophet, Fatimah al-Zahra' (a.s.) who also rebuffed him. When he put forth his problem to Ali (a.s.), Ali (a.s.) said to him:

"The Messenger of Allah has set his mind to do something. We can't talk to him about it." Hopelessly and helplessly, he returned to Mecca.

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) proceeded to prepare himself for war and ordered the people to get ready. He implored Allah, saying:

"O Lord, blind the spies of the Quraish to the news of our arrangements, till we overcome them in their land."(89)

Under the leadership of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.), the Muslim army marched towards Mecca. It was 10,000- strong. When the army reached the outskirts of the city, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) ordered each and every single Muslim to build a fire, so the darkness of the spacious desert turned into bright daylight.
Meanwhile, Abu Sufyan and a small group of his companions were on their way out of Mecca. They were in pursuit of news of the Muslims as they had heard nothing about them for some time due to the blackout on information imposed by the Prophet (s.a.w.). He wanted to reach Mecca without their people's knowledge.

Abu Sufyan and his companions were startled at the sight of the burning fire. They paused looking astonished at the dazzling sight. They tried to guess what the cause of the matter was but they knew nothing for certain.
At the same time, al-Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib was heading towards Mecca searching for a someone from the Quraish to tell him about the approach of the Muslim army in order to make the Quraish seek peace before they were engaged in a war that would certainly lead to their total defeat.
Al-Abbas halted and listened to voices coming to him in the darkness. He recognized that of Abu Sufyan and called out:

"Abu-Handhalah!"

"Abul-Fadhl? ," Abu Sufyan asked.

"Well," al-Abbas said.

"May my father and mother be your ransom. What are you up to?"

"This is the Messenger of Allah. He has come at the head of an insuperable force. They are ten thousand Muslims".

"What do you order me to do?"

"Ride behind me on this she-camel. I will ask security for you from the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.).

Abu Sufyan followed al-Abbas on his she-camel and went to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.). He asked safety for him from Prophet (s.a.w.). The Prophet (s.a.w.) said:

"Off you go. He is safe, but bring him to me tomorrow in the morning"(90)

The following morning, al-Abbas took Abu-Sufyan with him to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).

"Abu Sufyan", the Messenger scolded him "woe to you! Isn't it time for you to know that there is no god but Allah?"

"May my father and mother be your ransom," Abu Sufyan muttered. "How generous, how kind, how merciful, how forbearing you are. By Allah, I thought that if there is another god beside Him, he would have certainly helped us at the battle of Badr".

"Abu Sufyan," the Prophet (s.a.w.) replied reprovingly.

"Woe on you! Isn't it time for you to know that I am the Messenger of Allah?"

"May my father and mother be your ransom. Spare me this one. I have misgivings about it," he told the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.).

Al-Abbas turned to him and said, "Woe to you! pronounce the witness of right before your neck is cut off."

This was how Abu Sufyan pronounced the two testimonies. It was under threat of death that he professed Islam but his heart was still brimming with grudge and evil.
The Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) finally said to al-Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him): "Go away now, Abbas, and keep him at the place where the valley narrows, so that the soldiers of Allah should pass by him"(91).

Battalion after battalion, the soldiers of Allah paraded past him, hopeful of the victory of Allah, secure in putting their trust in Allah, shouting their praise to Allah, and reciting in unison 'Allah is Great' and 'There is no god but Allah.' When Abu Sufyan caught sight of the battalion in which included the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), the Muhajirin and the Ansar, he asked al-Abbas about it.

"This is the green battalion of the Prophet of Allah", al Abbas told him., "This is the Prophet of Allah and these are the Muhajirin (migrants) and the Ansar (Helper)".

"Abul-Fadhl", Abu Sufyan responded, "The power of your brother's son has become very great".
But al-Abbas scolded him saying: "It is the Prophethood".

"Well, then," Abu Sufyan said.

Hakim bin Hizan and Budail bin Warqa' came in the presence of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) and recited the two testimonies. They pledged their allegiance to him.

The Prophet of Allah then issued a statement, granting safety to the Quraish. It read in part:

"Whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyan (which was uptown) is safe. Whoever enters the house of Hakim bin Huzam (which was downtown) is safe. Whoever closes the door of his house and does not use force is safe..."(92)

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) sent Abu Sufyan and Hakim to tell the Quraish of the general amnesty.
Then he went to the centre of Mecca as the Muslim army meanwhile surrounded the city from all sides in case the polytheists should try to create any riots.
On this historical day, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) was anxious lest one single drop of blood be shedded. That is why he relieved Sa'id bin Ubadah from the command of one of the military divisions when he threatened the Quraish and said something unseemly. He is quoted to have said:

"Today there will be a horrible bloody war. Today women will be taken prisoners."(93)

The Holy Prophet took the standard from him and gave it to Ali bin Abi Talib, who entered Mecca without provoking any one.(94)
When the Messenger (s.a.w.) entered the city, he stopped in front of the gateway of the Ka'ba and said:

"...there is no god except Allah Who has no equal. He made His promise come true, gave victory to His servant and defeated the parties with no help from whosoever. Let alone, every memorable feat or blood or money claimed are under these feet of mine except the guardianship of the Ka'ba and the watering of the pilgrims."

Then he proceeded to say:

"O assembly of Quraish, Allah certainly has made you for get the arrogance of pre-Islamic era and its glorification of forefathers. People are from Adam and Adam is created from dust."

"O people! surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other surely the most honourable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware."

Holy Qur'an (49:13)

Then he asked them: 'O assembly of Quraish! What do you say? What do you think I will do for you?'

"Good", they replied. "You are a kind brother and a kind son of a brother."

"I should say what my brother Yusuf had said:

"He said: ('There shall be) no reproof against you this day Allah may forgive you, and He is the most Merciful of the merciful."

Holy Qur'an (12:92)

"Off you go. You are free."(95)

By these words the Messenger (s.a.w.) won over their hearts, and opened their souls to Islam.
Then he started smashing the idols. He obliterated two pictures on the inside walls of the Ka'ba with the hems of his garment. He ordered the people to destroy what idols they had and recited the following verse:

"And say: The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing)."

Holy Qur'an (17:81)

Imam Ali (a.s.) worked shoulder to shoulder with the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) in destroying the idols. The last one that remained was that of the tribe of Khuza'ah. It was on the top of the Ka'ba. The Messenger (s.a.w.) ordered Ali (a.s.) to break it up and he himself carried Ali(a.s.) on his shoulder, who reached for the idol and threw it to the ground and so it broke into pieces.(96)
On that day, after noon prayers, the Quraish - all of the Quraish - men and women pledged their allegiance to the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) and promised to obey him.
And so the most challenging fortress of the polytheists, the strongest obstacle in the way of Islam, fell. It was a glorious victory for the Muslims as Mecca joined the rest other cities of Islam.
The Messenger (s.a.w.), after staying 15 days at Mecca, appointed Hubairah bin Shibl al-Thaqafi as its ruler and gave Ma'ath bin Jabal the assignment of teaching its people the Holy Qur'an and fiqh. Then he left and headed for al-Ta'if, to subjugate the last pocket of resistance of the polytheists.
 

VICTORIES THAT FOLLOWED

Allah bestowed victory on his servants who liberated Mecca. The tribe of Hawazin heard of the glorious, sweeping triumph of the Muslims and made its chief mobilize a tremendous army to face them.
As soon as he heard of the Hawazin's readiness to fight him, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) moved against them at the head of a 12,000 - strong army. But the Hawazin were alert and ready to engage the Muslims. They took their positions at the summit of the Hunain mountains and in the narrowest point of the valley.
The Muslims, upon advancing into the erea, were taken aback by a rain of arrows. Panic struck at them and their ranks were in disarray. They took to their heels leaving the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) with Ali bin Abi-Talib, al-Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib, a group from the tribe of Bani-Hashim, Usamah bin Zaid and Ayman bin Ubaid.(97)

The Messenger of Allah called out to the Muslims: "O people! Come unto me. I am the Messenger of Allah. I am Muhammad bin Abdullah...".(98) But no one answered him.
Before long, the Messenger (s.a.w.) ordered his uncle, al-Abbas, a man with a sonorous voice, to call the Muslims to him and remind them of the pledge they gave to the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.). AI-Abbas called, at the top of his voice, to them:

"O assembly of the Muhajirin (migrants) and the Ansar (Helpers)! O the companions of the Surah of al-Baqarah! O those who pledged their allegiance under the tree! where are you escaping? This is the Messenger of Allah..."(99)

It did not take long for the Muslims to return to the battlefield after they had heard the call of al-Abbas. Some of them come back, and rushed to the scene of the battle brandishing their weapons and shouting: "Here we are at your service. Here we are at your service."(100) Soon the fighting tilted in the Muslims' favour. They took to the offensive and they fought bravely and cast their fate in the heartfelt hope of Allah's victory. Their foe ran for their lives, not even to look back.

The defeated polytheists hurried to al-Ta'if, which was inhabited by the tribe of Thaqif. The town was perfectly fortified as the Muslims laid siege to it. The defenders of al-Ta'if rained the Muslims with arrows, causing many casualties and were forced to retreat some distance to tighten their siege.
The month of Dhul-Qi'dah came and the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) left the outskirts of al-Ta'if and headed for Mecca to perform Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage). The tribes of Hawazin and Thaqif, however, began to realize that it was time to surrender and sent their leader, Malik bin Awfal-Nadari, to meet the Messenger (s.a.w.) on his way to Mecca. The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) had promised to forgive him on a previous occasion, if he would profess Islam. The Prophet (s.a.w.) again kept his word. He forgave him and gave him back his property after he embraced Islam.
Other members of the tribe of Hawazin also began to submit to Islam. Then they sent a delegation of 14 men to the Prophet (s.a.w.) announcing their conversion. He restored their property and set their prisoners free.
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) went on with his journey to Mecca. Performing Umrah. He returned to the holy city of Madinah.(101)He had appointed Attab bin Usaid as its ruler and then came back, with the Muhajirin (migrants) and the Ansar (Helpers), to the Madinah. There they progressed in the task of building the Islamic society and the Islamic state and bringing about change they wanted in the light of the all embracing principles of Islam.
 

EXPEDITION OF TABOOK AND THE MARCH TOWARDS THE ROMANS

At this time, the Messenger (s.a.w.) was informed that the Romans were mobilizing troops to invade the northern parts of the Arabian peninsula which formed the northern territory of the Islamic state.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) decided to take the field himself and gave his orders to mobilize Muslims in Madinah and the neighbouring areas. No Muslim failed to join the army, except, of course, veteran hypocrites and those who professed Islam out of their fear of the Muslims' might, after the liberation of Mecca. They started making up their excuses so that they would not fight the Romans.
The most repeated two reasons they brought forth to justify remaining behind were the sweltering heat and the great distance between Madinah and the Roman territories. The Qur'an condemned and attacked them in the following verse:

"...and do not go forth in the heat. Say: The fire of hell is much severer in heat. Would that they understand (it)."

Holy Qur'an (9:81)

The hypocrites, however, did not stop at this but went on urging the people to stay out of the army and made one of their houses as their meeting-place. The Messenger (s.a.w.) heard about their treachery and set fire to the house during one of their meetings. They took to their heels and it proved to be a good lesson for them.
The Muslim army marched forward under the command of the Prophet (s.a.w.). It was 30,000 - strong. It was called "the army of hardships" due to the excessive heat, the great distance between the starting-point and the destination and the scarcity of provisions. But it was a necessary way of putting men through trials to toughen and harden them, and examine the depth of their faith.
Imam Ali (a.s.) was picked by the Messenger (s.a.w.) to remain in Madinah as his deputy during his absence. He told him to administer the affairs of the town. Imam Ali (a.s.) wanted eagerly to take part in the expedition but the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered him to stay behind. He said to him:

"Are you not satisfied with being my brother and holding in respect to me the rank of Haroon to Musa? But there is no prophet after me."(102)

The army of the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) marched until it reached Tabook, a place located on the borders between the Arabian Peninsula and the Roman Empire. Yet many days before the arrival of the Muslim army, the Romans had fled into their own territories because of their overpowering fear of the Muslims.
Seeing this, the Messenger (s.a.w.) decided not to go far into Roman territories and returned to his blessed town. At this point the surah of al-Tawbah was revealed. It exposed the true colours of the hypocrites and their accomplices, uncovered their vile plans and scolded those who did not join the Muslim army out of fear and dolence.
The Messenger (s.a.w.) chose to burn down the mosque of Dhirar which was built by the hypocrites. They had made it a base for hypocrisy and the hostile group which worked to enfeeble the Islamic state.
 
 

RENOUNCING THE POLYTHEISTS

The polytheists, who stuck to worshipping idols, persisted in their belief and in carrying on with their rituals. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) made up his mind to prevent them from performing their rituals around the sacred House of Allah. They had the lewd habit of circumambulating the House stark naked. There was no need by now to allow such obscene practices after the glorious victory of Islam, the destruction of the idols and the acceptance of Islam into Mecca.
In the 9th year of Hijra, during the occasion of hajj, the surah of al-Tawbah was revealed, which eliminated the remaining traces of polytheism and put an end to their presence in Mecca. The Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) ordered Abu Bakr to communicate the chapter to the remaining polytheists, who would come to perform hajj according to their unpleasant traditional way.

Abu Bakr was half-way to his destination when the Faithful archangel Jibril (a.s.) ascended to order the Messenger (s.a.w.) to send Imam Ali bin Abi-Talib (a.s.) on the assignment instead. Immediately, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) sent a letter to Abu Bakr asking him to hand the first letter, containing al-Tawbah chapter, to Imam Ali (a.s.). Abu Bakr complied with the order of the Prophet (s.a.w.) but sadly returned to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and asked: "Was something revealed concerning me?"

"No", the Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, "but I was my self ordered to communicate this message, or a man from my household".(103)

Imam Ali(a.s.) headed for Mecca. At Mina, he stopped and recited the holy chapter, then he called at the top of his voice:

"No one is allowed to enter the Ka'ba other than faithful souls nor a naked one is allowed to circumambulate the House. Anyone with whom the Prophet of Allah has made a covenant of amnesty, his covenant is valid right to the end of the stated time. But as for who is without such a covenant make with him a covenant of 4 months time".(l04)

By this announcement the last page of polytheism at Mecca was turned over. The Ka'ba returned to Allah. Inside it, none apart from Allah was served, nor any rites other than Islam's were performed.
 

EVENT OF MUBAHALAH

After Allah grated a great victory to His Prophet over the Quraish at Mecca that fell without a flight, and then He helped him in the battle of Hunain over the infidels of al-Ta'if, people began to enter the religion of Allah in multitudes with Arab chieftains coming to the Prophet and proclaiming their conversion to Islam.
The Messenger of Allah sent messages to kings and heads of states including the two superpowers of the age, Persia and Byzantine, inviting them to the truth of Islam. Among those invited to the Almighty's final Messenger to mankind, were the Christians of Najran in Yemen, who not only refused to accept Islam but decided to come to Madinah and challenge the Prophet regarding their deviated belief in the Trinity, the crucifixion of Prophet Jesus (a.s.), and their claim that he was the son of Allah.

In Madinah, the Prophet presented them with proofs and facts about Islam and cited references from the previously revealed. Scriptures including the Torah and the Evangel. In the end the two parties decided to meet at an open place and invoke divine curse and punishment upon the lying side.
In response, Allah the Almighty revealed the following verses accepting their challenge for Mubahalah, which means to invoke Allah's curse upon the lying side when two parties are contesting for truth:

"And those that dispute with you concerning this after the knowledge that has come to you, say 'Come now, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then let us earnestly pray for Allah's curse upon the liars’".

Holy Qur'an (3:60)

The Christian elders came to the venue with their whole flock, and the Prophet as ordered by Allah came with his immediate family-members, namely: daughter Fatimah, son-in law Ali and their two children, Hasan and Hussein. Never had the Christians seen such enlightenment visages before. The moment the Chief-Priest beheld Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his noble family, he was filled with awe. He realized that without doubt truth was with this blessed group of five, and most surely Allah will respond to Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his family' s invocation if they choose to curse and destroy the Christians of Najran.
Thus the Christians backed away from the challenge of Mubalahah, and Wisely came to terms with the Prophet, pledging to pay an annual tribute to the Muslims.
 
 

THE VALEDICTORY HAJJ

Hajj came again in the 10th year of Hijra. The Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) called the people to perform the pilgrimage and informed them of his resolve to go himself to Mecca. The people hurried from all direction, far and near to perform hajj. Their number was 100,000 Muslims or more.
The Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.), accompanied by his wives and his daughter Fatimah (a.s.), marched at the head of these multitude towards Mecca. Imam Ali (a.s.) was not with him because he had been sent on a mission to Yemen.(105)
The multitude were repeatedly reciting the eternal, holy call:

"Here I am at Your service, O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Your service, there is no partner with You, here I am. Surely, praise, favours and the universe are Yours. There is no partner with You, here I am at Your service".

At a place near Mecca, Imam Ali (a.s.) joined the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) to perform the rituals of hajj with him.
The Muslims, along with their great leader, entered Mecca and performed the ceremonies in accordance with the lines laid down by the Messenger (s.a.w.).
At Arafah, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) stood on his mount and delivered his well-known sermon. After praising and thanking Allah, he said:(l06)

"... O servants of Allah, I exhort you to fear Allah and urge you to obey Him, and beseech Allah's help to favour me with what is good...

"O people! Listen to what I will explain to you, for I do not know if I would meet you again after this year on such an occasion as this...

"O people! Your bood and honour are respectable for one another, like this day and this month, till the day on which you meet Allah, and every transgression in this behalf is unlawful. Have I delivered this message? O Lord, bear witness.

"Whoever has a trust he should give it back to who have entrusted him with it. And the usury of pre-Islamic era is invalid, and the first usury I begin invalidating is that of al Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib. Blood-money of pre-Islamic era is invalid. And the first blood-money I begin invalidating is that of Amir bin Rabi'ah bin al-Harith bin Abdul-Muttalib. The memorable responsibilities of the pre-Islamic era are invalid except the guardianship of the La'ba and giving drinking water to the pilgrims. The killer who murders someone else intentionally should be put to death. And he who kills another one half-intentionally, as if by using a stick or a stone, he is obliged to give a hundred camels as blood-money, and who gives more it is, then, judged as an act of pre-Islamic era.

"O people! Satan has surely lost hope of his being worshipped in your land. How-ever, if you follow him in small matters he will be happy and pleased. So do not follow Satan.

"O people! 'postponing (of the sacred month) is only an addition in unbelief, wherewith those who disbelieve are led astray, violating it one year and keeping it sacred another, that they may agree in the number (of months) that Allah has made sacred...' Qur'an (9:37).

"Time has certainly returned to its shape when it was on the day Allah created the heavens and the earth. 'Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months in Allah's ordinance since the day when he created the heavens and the earth, of these four being sacred,...' Qur'an (9:36).
"In the eyes of Allah the number of months is twelve and out of these He has declared four months to be sacred. They are the months of Dhul-Qi'dah, Dhul-Hujjah and Muharram, which are consecutive, and then the month of Rajab which comes between Jumadah and Sha'ban. Have I delivered the message? O Lord! Bear witness.

"O people! Your women have rights on you, and you have rights on them. As for your rights on them they should never sleep with anyone else in your bed, never let anyone in the houses without your permission, never commit an indecency. Should they do that Allah has allowed you to admonish them, not to sleep with them and beat them in a way that does not harm them. If they come to their senses and obey you, you should shoulder the responsibility of providing for them and clothing them in a reasonable way.

"You legalize sexual relations with them according to the divine covenant and make them your lawful wives in accordance with the Book of Allah. Fear Allah, then, in regard with women and advice others to treat them kindly.

"O people! 'Surely the believers are but brethren,...' Qur'an (49:10), and no one from the faithful is allowed to take his brother's money except after his brother agreed to that with a good grace. Have I delivered the message? O Lord Bear wit ness.

"So do not retrogress to infidelity, some of you killing the others, for I left behind among you what would never leave you go astray if you cling to: The Book of Allah and my progeny, my family. Have I delivered the message? O Lord, bear wit ness.

"O people! Your ord is certainly One, and your father is one. All of you are the sons of Adam and Adam was created from dust. 'No Arab is superior to non-Arab except on the basis of piety. Have I delivered the message?'

"Yes", the multitude said in unison.

Then he went on: "Then the present should tell the absent."

"O people! Allah has allotted to every heir his share of the inheritance... He who claims some one else as his father, and who obeys a man other than his master, shall be cursed by Allah, the angels and all the people. And Allah shall not accept his good deeds and fair judgements.

"And peace and the mercy of Allah be upon you"
 
 

THE BLESSED PLEDGE OF AL-GHADIR

Having finished his hajj to Mecca, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) returned to Madinah and the great multitude of Muslims went back with him. At Ghadir Khum (brook of Khum) somewhere on his way to Madinah, he received the order of Allah to appoint Imam Ali bin Abi-Talib (a.s.) as his successor and the commander of the faithful after him.
Allah, the Most High, for some purpose only He knew, willed that this place should be where the Divine order would be communicated to the people.

The sun was slowly climbing in the sky and soon noon was approaching. It was a hot, sweltering day. It was so warm that when the Messenger (s.a.w.) stopped the Muslims to tell them Heaven's order, they began wrapping their feet with garments to ward off the heat of the gravel. It was the extra importance of the order, which by no means could be postponed, that made the Messenger (s.a.w.) halt, at that place and to deliver the new message.
He stopped them at crossroads from which they would go in different directions. Many of them would not see or hear the Messenger (s.a.w.) thereafter.
It was the last hour for many of the Muslims to see the Messenger (s.a.w.) and hear him telling them that Ali (a.s.), and only Imam Ali, would be their social and religious leader. It was the hour of good-bye and such an hour would be etched in one' s memory and so would be its implications. It had a distinguished flavour with deeply rushing sentiments. Had the Messenger (s.a.w.) delivered the news of the appointment of Imam Ali (a.s.), say 10 years earlier, the importance may have forgotten or it could have been subdued. But at the behest of Allah, he made it the last thing he communicated to his people so that it would live in the conscience of the ummah and remain alive in their memory.
He stood upon many mounts gathered for the purpose, so that all could have him in view. He praised and thanked Allah and said:

"O people! I am about to be called to Allah and depart to Him. I am responsible and so are you. What do you say?'

'We bear witness that you have delivered the Divine Message, fought for it and were faithful in guiding the people. May Allah reward you with His rewards,' they replied.

'Don't you,' he said,' bear witness that there is no god but Allah, Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, His paradise is right, His hell is right, death is right, resurrection day is right, the Hour would undoubtedly be coming, and Allah would raise people from the dead."

'We bear witness to these,' they said,

'O Lord! Bear witness,' he said.

Then he went on saying,:

'O people! Allah is my Master and I am the master of the faithful and I have a greater claim on them than they have on themselves. Whoever I have been his master Ali is also his master. O Allah! Befriend every friend of his and be the enemy of every enemy of his. O people! I will depart from you and you will certainly meet me at the Fountain: A Fountain that is wider than the distance between me and San'a' and has two goblets of silver as large as the space in which the stars are swimming. I will be asking you, when you return to me at the Fountain, about two weighty things: The weightier one is the Book of Allah, the Mighty and Glorified, which has two bonds, one is in the hand of Allah, the Most High, and the other in your hands. So hold tight to it, don't go astray and don't change your faith. The other mighty thing is my progeny, my household. The Knower of subtleties, the Aware has told me that they will join me at the Fountain as soon as their life on earth expires".(107)

Then he came down and offered a two-ruka'h prayer. His caller to prayer summoned the faithful and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) led his companions in prayer. Then he sat in his tent and ordered Imam Ali (a.s.) to go to his own tent.
He ordered the Muslims to give him their pledge as the successor of the Prophet (s.a.w.).
It was an unavoidable and necessary step on the part of the Prophet (s.a.w.) to enhance the prospects of the Islamic call.
 

THE ARMY OF USAMAH

The Messenger (s.a.w.) returned to Madinah to continue the march of construction and change. He was building the state and society and change man to be pious, chaste and benevolent in accordance with the Divine Law. The utmost priority for the Prophet (s.a.w.), after his return from Mecca, was to fight the Romans once more and he mobilized a tremendous army for this purpose.
In the army there were the dignitaries and the celebrated men from the Muhajirin (migrants) and the Ansar (Helpers) including Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and others.
Usamah bin Zaid bin Harithah, the young companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.) was appointed the leader of the army. But before the departure of the army the Prophet (s.a.w.) fell gravely ill.

PROPHET'S ANXIETY OVER THE FUTURE OF DA'WAH

One night, the Messenger (s.a.w.) called Imam Ali (a.s.) and a number of his companions, to go with him to the cemetery of al-Baqi'. "I have been told to ask forgiveness for the dead of al-Baqi’", he told them.

He entered the cemetery and paused in the middle of it and addressed the dead saying:

"Peace be upon you, O the inhabitants of the graves. Be rejoiceful at your other life away from what has come upon the people, when sedition came, like fragments of the dark night, one after another."

He asked Allah to forgive the dead of al-Baqi' , for a lengthy time, then he announced to the attendants his impending departure to Allah. Gradually, the Prophet's health became poorer. During those critical hours he stressed the need of sending the army of Usamah and that no Muslim was allowed to linger behind. But the prominent companions excused themselves and said that owing to the failing health of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) they could not desert him.

THE LAST WILL

In his last hours, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.) said to his companions who gathered in his house:

"Bring me an inkwell and a shoulder-blade so that I will write for you a letter with which you will never go astray..."

Then owing to the heaviness of his sickness, he fainted. One of those who were sitting by his bed noticed that and said: "The man speaks deliriously".
"Shall we bring you an inkwell and a shoulder-blade?," they asked him shortly after he came around. The Prophet (s.a.w.) turned down their offer saying: "After what you have said? But I would like you to behave kindly to my family..."

When he felt he would presently depart he confided to Imam Ali (a.s.) all his personal affairs and those related to the ummah, as his last will. Then he calmly and serenely closed his eyes and died, with his head was in the lap of Imam Ali (a.s.).(l08)

Imam Ali (a.s.) and his family made all the arrangement for his ritual bathing. Then they prayed on him.
Imam Ali (a.s.) ordered the Muslims to go in and pray on their great Messenger (s.a.w.) and pay tribute over him.
Prayers having been offered, the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) and the family of the Prophet (s.a.w.), in the presence of a number of his companions, laid the Prophet (s.a.w.) to rest in the very room he had passed away.

Thus, humankind lost the greatest among the guides, and the most glorious mentor ever to walk on the earth.

May Allah send His blessings to him on the day be was born, on the day he became the means of guiding people and on the day he departed yearning to meet his Lord.

And all praise is due to Allah.