In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Ever Merciful.

Love for All, Hatred for None.

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A BOOK OF RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE


 

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Title
Table of Content
Foreword
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6


 

SECTION 3

THE LIFE OF THE HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD
(PEACE AND BLESSINGS OF ALLAH BE UPON HIM)

KHATAMANNABIYYEEN
(SEAL OF THE PROPHETS)

THE SEMITIC RACE AND
THE BACKGROUND OF ISLAM

The Arabs belong to the Semitic race. Of all the various races in the world, the Semitic people have perhaps contributed the most to the civilization of Man. Arabia, the birth place of Islam, is considered to be the probable cradle of the Semitic race. In the course of time these Semitic people migrated into different parts of the Fertile Crescent and became known as the Babylonians, Assyrians, Chaldaeans, Amorites, Phoenicians, Canaanites, and the Hebrews of history.

It was the people of the Semitic race who gave the world its three greatest monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The term Semite is derived from Shem, the eldest son of Noah and the progenitor of the Semitic people.

According to historians, the first migration of the Semitic race occurred around 3500 B.C. and carried these people from their original homeland in Arabia (perhaps around Najd) to the regions of Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia.

One branch of the Semitic people went to Egypt which was then populated by the Hamitic people, a branch of the white race. The amalgamation of the Hamites and the Semitic migrants produced the Egyptians of history.

Another branch of the Semitic people went to the southeastern part of Mesopotamia which was then populated by the Sumerians. The admixture of these two peoples gave rise to the Babylonians of history.

Another branch of the Semitic people settled down in the Canaan region, and later, on the coastal strip of Sidon and Tyre, and gave rise to the Canaanites and Phoenicians of history.

Around 2500 B.C., another migration of the Semitic people, called the Amorites, started from the Canaan Phoenicia area and reached the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent, producing the Assyrians of history.

The early civilization in the Tigro Euphrates area consisted of city states. The first known king of Sumer was Etana (3000 B.C.), while Akkad was ruled by the Akkadian dynasty founded by Sargon 1.

Then, around 2100 B.C., Hammurabi of the Amorites united the entire Akkad Sumer region and renamed it as Babylon. Hammurabi was a great administrator and legislator. He established a proper code of conduct for the people which is known today as the "Code of Hammurabi". This code is perhaps the oldest code known to man and deals with the rights and duties of the various classes of people living in the Babylonian Empire.

After the death of Hammurabi, the Babylonian Empire started to decline till the 8th century B.C. when it was conquered by the Assyrians from the north.

The Assyrians were a group of Semitic people who had established themselves over the northern region of the Mesopotamian valley. Through warfare and aggression, the Assyrians conquered a vast territory, including Babylonia.

In 722 B.C., Sargon II, an Assyrian king, conquered Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Sargon II carried away as captives the most influential men of the Ten Tribes of the Hebrews. These captives are known in history as the Lost Ten Tribes.

Sennacherib (705 681 B.C.) and Ashurbanipal (668 626 B.C.) were the other two famous kings of the Assyrians. Ashurbanipal was the greatest king of Assyria and the entire western Asia acknowledged his authority. On his death, the Assyrian Empire started to decline and in 612 B.C. Ninevah, the capital of Assyria fell to the conquering Medes of Persia.

On the fail of Assyria, the Babylonian Empire rose to prominence again under the Chaldaeans dynasty (625 538 B.C.). Nabopolassar was the founder of this New Babylonian dynasty and his son, Nebuchadnezzar, was its greatest king. It was under him that Babylon recovered its ancient splendour and glory. In 586 B.C., he defeated the Hebrew king of Judah, destroyed the city of Jerusalem and exiled the Jews from the city. It was Nebuchadnezzar who built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon for the pleasure of his wife. In 539 B.C., the Chaldaeans Empire was overthrown by the Medes of Persia under their king Cyrus. Cyrus then allowed the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem and start the restoration of their sacred city.

The branch of the Semitic race known as the Hebrews lived in the Canaan region around 2100 B.C. When Joseph became governor of a province of Egypt, many Hebrews migrated to that land. The later kings of Egypt, however, mistreated the Israelites who spent the next three hundred years in bondage and servitude under their Egyptian masters. Finally, in 1445 B.C., the Israelites left Egypt in an Exodus under the direction of Moses and eventually returned to their original homeland in the Canaan area. The later history of the Hebrew people is described in some detail in this book under the title Judaism.

All the Semitic peoples share not only a common ethnic heritage but their languages also form a common speech group. To the Semitic languages belong the Akkadian (the language of ancient Babylon and Assyria), Canaanite (of which ancient Phoenician and Hebrew are variant forms), Aramaic (which survives today in the form of Syriac), and Arabic. A common feature of all these Semitic languages is a system of derivation from roots which normally consist of three consonants. The Arabic language today is considered to be the closest to what scholars believe was the primitive form of the Semitic speech.


ARABIA AT THE TIME OF
PROPHET MUHAMMAD'S BIRTH

The Holy Prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca to the year 570 A.D. The city of Mecca is located in the western part of the Arabian Peninsula which is a rectangular shaped block of land surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea. To the north lies another formidable barrier, the Syrian Desert. For this reason the inhabitants of Arabia used to refer to their land as al Jazirah, the Island.

Most of the Arabian Peninsula is a desert land of scorching sun with oases and settlements scattered here and there. There is not a single river in Arabia which flows perennially and reaches the sea. None of its streams are navigable. Longer than man can remember, Bedouin tribes have inhabited this region, constantly moving in search of food and pastures. Caravan routes cross the desert in all directions. In ancient times, caravans carried spices from Mecca to the city of Damascus in Syria.

The Meccans trace their ancestry back to Ishmael who, along with his father Abraham, rebuilt the Ka'ba some 4,000 years ago. The Arabs were largely an idolatrous people worshiping many gods. It is said that the Ka'ba contained some 360 idols, one for each day of the year. Even in pre Islamic days, Mecca enjoyed a certain importance among the Arabs who used to come there for their annual pilgrimage and for performing sacrifices to their gods.

Although Allah was the Supreme God of the Arabs, they also believed in a number of other deities. Following is a list of some of the principal deities of the Arabs before Islam:

Allah the Supreme God
Hubal the chief of the minor deities
al Uzza identified with the planet Venus
al Lat a female deity located at Ta'if
Manat a large sacrificial stone
Taghut an idol in the shape of a lion
Wadd a statue in the form of a man
Suwah an idol in the form of a woman
Ya'uq worshiped in the form of a horse
Nasr worshiped in the form of an eagle
Yaghuth an idol worshiped by the tribe of Murad
Isaf an idol that stood on Mount Safa
Naila _ an image on Mount Marwa
Duwar a favourite idol with the young women

Of the above Arab deities, the names of al Uzza, al Lat and Manat are mentioned in Surah al-Najm (53:20 21), and the names of Wadd, Suwah, Ya'uq, Nasr and Yaghuth are mentioned in Surah Nooh (71:24).

Aside from the idolatrous Arabs, there were Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Hanifs Living in Arabia. Zoroastrianism was the ancient religion of Iran and Hanifs were a small group of monotheistic people who traced their religion back to the Prophet Abraham. The Tradition of the Holy Prophet indicates that his natural religious inclination was towards the Hanifite beliefs before the advent of Islam.

While the Peninsula of Arabia was ruled by different tribes with their own recognized territories, the world outside was more organized. To the east existed the Sasanid Empire of Iran, to the north the Christian Byzantine Empire and to the west, across the Red Sea. The Kingdom of Abyssinia.

The Sasanid Empire came into being in the year 226 A.D. and the Sasanid dynasty ruled over Iran for four centuries. The last king of the dynasty was Chosroes Pervez who ascended the throne in 590 A.D. He was a contemporary of the Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius and of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The official religion of the Sasanid Empire was Zoroastrianism, a monotheistic faith founded by the Prophet Zoroaster around 1500 B.C.

The Byzantine Empire (also called the Eastern Roman Empire) consisted of Syria, Palestine, Egypt and part of southeastern Europe. The Empire was named after Byzantium, a Greek city on the Bosporus which is a narrow strait connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean. In 327 A.D. Byzantium was made the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire by Constantine the Great and the city was renamed Constantinople. Today the city of Constantinople is called Istanbul. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad, Heraclius was the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire. The armies of Chosroes and Heraclius were constantly at war throughout the lifetime of the Prophet.

The Abyssinian Kingdom was ruled by King Negus, or Najashi as the Arabs used to call him. At the time of the Holy Prophet, the Kingdom of Abyssinia was at its height and an ally of the Byzantine Empire. Like the Byzantine Empire, the religion of the Abyssinian Kingdom was Christianity.

It is said that around the year 570 A.D., the Christian Chief of Yemen, named Abraha, attempted to invade Mecca with the intention of destroying the Ka'ba. Abraha's army rode on elephants and in the Arab history the year 570 A.D. is known as the Year of the Elephant. Abraha did not succeed in his mission and his army was destroyed by an epidemic of disease and a terrible storm. The Quranic Surah al Feel refers to this event.

The Arab culture was a strange mixture of extreme moral defects and some admirable qualities. On the one hand drinking, gambling, personal vendettas and burying alive of baby girls were commonplace. On the other hand, the Arabs were well known for their hospitality, honour, bravery and love for Arabic poetry. It was among such people that the Holy Prophet of Islam was born.

PROPHET MUHAMMAD'S EARLY LIFE

Prophet Muhammad was born in 570 A.D. in the Hashemite branch of the tribe of Quraysh. His father's name was Abdullah and his mother's Aminah. His grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, was the chief of Mecca at the time of Abraha's invasion. Shortly after his marriage, Abdullah went to Yathrib (Medinah) in pursuit of trade. He died there a few months before the Prophet was born.

When the Prophet Muhammad was two years old, he was sent to a nurse named Haleema of the tribe of Banu Sa'd. Living in the desert he learned from this tribe the purest and most classical form of the Arabic language. In his later years the Holy Prophet used to tell his companions:

"I am the most Arab among you, for I am of the tribe of Quraysh and I have been brought up among the tribe of Banu Sa'd."

In the sixth year of his life, Prophet Muhammad was returned to the care of his mother who took him to Yathrib to meet other relatives. On the way back from Yathrib, his mother fell ill and died.

Prophet Muhammad's grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, was very fond of him and took him under his own care. But the guardianship of his grandfather lasted only two years and when the Prophet Muhammad was eight years old, his grandfather also passed away. On his deathbed, Abdul Muttalib entrusted his grandson to the care of one of his sons, Abu Talib.

Although Abu Talib took the Prophet Muhammad under his own care, he was not a rich man and had to support his own family as well. When the Prophet grew older, he started earning his own living by modest business transactions but mostly as a shepherd. In his early teens the Prophet accompanied his uncle Abu Talib on a journey to al Sham (Syria). In connection with this trip the biographers relate young

FAMILY TREE OF THE HOLY PROPHET
AND THE VARIOUS CALIPHATE DYNASTIES

The first two caliphs are not shown below. Abu Bakr belonged to the Banu Taym branch and Omar to the Banu Adi branch of the tribe of Quraysh. The third and fourth caliphs are shown by numbers. The first four caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty are shown by numbers in brackets.




Muhammad's encounter with a monk named Bahirah who recognized in him the signs of prophethood and advised Abu Talib to take good care of him.

While the Prophet Muhammad was in his teens, the valley of Mecca saw a bloody fighting erupt among the various tribes. Many persons were killed in these tribal feuds which lasted many years. These wars were fought during the sacred months when fighting was prohibited among the Arabs. For this reason these wars are known in history as the Fijar or "Sacrilegious" Wars. After the fighting was finally over, some energetic youths from the various tribes made a pact among themselves to maintain peace and order in the area and help the poor and the oppressed people. Prophet Muhammad was a member of this agreement which was named Half al Fadhool, or the Alliance of Fadhals, in memory of an ancient society instituted with similar objectives by four persons named Fadhl, Fadhal, Mufadhal and Fudhayl.

MARRIAGE TO HAZRAT KHADIJAH

Even in his youth the Prophet Muhammad was well known for his honesty, sincerity and truthfulness. At the time there lived in Mecca a rich lady by the name of Khadijah who was twice widowed. On hearing of Muhammad's fame, she invited him to her house and requested him to take charge of her business. Muhammad traveled to Syria in charge of Khadijah's business and the expedition met with great success and brought unexpected profits. Khadijah made a proposal of marriage to Muhammad which was accepted. At the time of his marriage, Muhammad was twenty five years old while Khadijah was forty.

From his marriage to Khadijah, the Holy Prophet had seven children: three sons and four daughters. All the Prophet's sons died in infancy. The four daughters reached womanhood and got married but all died before the age of thirty. Only Fatimah outlived her father and that by six months. Following are the names of the Prophet's children from his first marriage:

Son: Qasim
Tahir
Tayyeb

daughters: Zaynab married to Abul A's
Ruqayyah married to Utbah, a son of Abu Lahab.
Marriage ended in divorce. She then
married Uthman, who became the third
Successor of the Holy Prophet.
Umme married to Utaybah, another son of
Kalthum Abu Lahab. This marriage ended in
divorce too. She also married Uthman,
after the death of Ruqayyah.
Fatimah married to Ali, son of Abu Talib.

After the birth of his first son, Prophet Muhammad took on the kunniyat of Abul Qasim, meaning the Father of Qasim, and was usually addressed by the people by this name.

A DISPUTE RESOLVED

Prophet Muhammad's desire for maintaining peace and averting conflict is quite evident from an incident that occurred when he was about thirty five years old. The Quraysh of Mecca decided to rebuild the Ka'ba after some cracks had appeared in its walls. All the families of the Quraysh assisted in this effort. As the walls rose from the ground and the time came to replace the sacred black stone in its place, a dispute broke out. Each of the four main families of the Quraysh wanted this honour exclusively for themselves and the construction of the Ka'ba came to a halt. After many days of suspended work, the Quraysh assembled again and decided that the first person to enter the Ka'ba's courtyard will be chosen to settle the dispute. Muhammad happened to be that person. Muhammad quickly grasped the situation and asked that the black stone be placed on a sheet of cloth. He then asked the four families of the Quraysh to hold each comer of the cloth and raise the stone to its place. Thus Muhammad, through his wisdom, averted the conflict and resolved the dispute in a manner acceptable to the Quraysh.


THE FIRST REVELATION

After his marriage to Khadijah, the Prophet Muhammad became very reflective. He used to retire to a cave on Mount Hira and spend his time in meditation and seclusion. He sometimes spent many nights in this cave and on one of these occasions had an extraordinary experience. One night, in the year 610 A.D., he was lying, wrapped in a mantle, when the Angel Gabriel visited him. Four times the Angel embraced him tightly and said: "Read." Each time the Prophet replied: "What shall I read?" Then the Angel replied:

Read, in the name of thy Lord who created,
Created man from a clot of blood. Recite,
for thy Lord is most Beneficent;
Who taught by the pen,
Taught man what he knew not.

Prophet Muhammad was forty years old at the time of this first revelation which marks the beginning of his prophethood. These five verses of the first revelation are part of Surah al Alaq, the 96th Chapter of the Holy Quran. The night of the first revelation occurred towards the end of the month of Ramadhan and was later named lailatul Qadr or the Night of Power.

When the vision in the cave vanished, the Prophet awoke full of fear. He realized that a big responsibility was being given to him which he was not sure he could carry out. He hurried back to his home and narrated the incident to his wife Khadijah, saying,

Weak man that I am, how can I carry the responsibility which God proposes to put on my shoulders?"

Khadijah replied at once:

"God is witness, He has not sent you this Word that you should fail and prove unworthy and that He should then give you up. How can God do such a thing, while you are kind and considerate to your relations, help the poor and the forlorn and bear their burdens? You are restoring the virtues that had disappeared from our country. You treat guests with honour and help those who are in distress. Can you be subjected by God to any trial?"

Having said this, Khadijah took the Prophet to her cousin, Waraqa bin Naufal, who was a Christian hermit. When Waraqa heard the account, he said:

"The angel who descended on Moses, I am sure, has descended on you. Your people will oppose you and will turn you out. I wish that I was alive at that time and could help you"

Although the first revelation marked the beginning of the prophetic career of Muhammad, it did not contain any special instructions for him. Such instructions started to come down in subsequent revelations. A second revelation followed soon and more clearly defined the Prophet's mission.

O thou covered in a mantle
Arise and deliver thy warning
And your Lord do extol
And your garments do purify
And all uncleanliness do thou shun
And give not just to gain more
And for thy Lord's cause, be patient

The above verses belong to Surah al Muddathir, the 74th Chapter of the Holy Quran.

Another night soon, after this, the Prophet was given further commands to intensify his worship. In this third revelation he was clearly told that a great responsibility was indeed being placed on his shoulder:

O thou wrapped in a mantle
Pray at night except for a small portion
Half of it or a little less or a little more
And recite the Quran a good recital
Verily, We will cast upon thee a mighty Word......
And remember the name of thy Lord and devote thyself to
Him very devoutly
The Lord of the East and the West
There is none worthy of worship except Him
So take Him for thy Guardian" (73:2 10)

PREACHING IN MECCA AND THE OPPOSITION

At first the Prophet reported his visions and revelations to a few close relatives and friends. A number of these believed in him and embraced the new religion. The very first person to accept Islam was, of course, his wife Khadijah. Then came Ali, his cousin, and Abu Bakr, his childhood friend. These were followed by Uthman, Abdur Rahman, Zayd, al Zubayr, and Talha. Zayd was Prophet Muhammad's freed slave and adopted son.

Then, as commanded, the Prophet took his preaching to his own clan. One day he climbed on top of Mount Sana, in Mecca, and called out:

"O people of Quraysh!

"O people of Quraysh!"

Hearing his call, the people of Quraysh gathered around him and asked what the matter was. The Prophet said:

"If I told you that there was an army behind this hill, would you believe me?"

They all replied:

"Indeed, for we trust you, and we have never known you to tell a lie."

The Prophet then said:

"Know then that I am a Warner and I warn you of a severe punishment. O Banu Abdul Muttalib! O Banu Abd Manaf! O Banu Zuhra! O Banu Taym! O Banu Makhzum! O Banu Asad! God has commanded me to warn my nearest kinsmen, that I can guarantee to you no good on the earth or in heaven unless you witness that there is none worthy of worship except God."

Hearing this, the Prophet's uncle, Abu Lahab, got up and said:

"Perish thou this very day! was it for this that thou assembled us here?"

Not discouraged at this cruel and harsh reception from his own kinsfolk, the Holy Prophet took his preaching to the people of Mecca at large. He spoke to them around the Ka'ba and he talked to them in the streets of Mecca. His message to the people in each case was very simple:

"God is One. There is none worthy of worship except Him. He has no associate. He is the sole Creator of the Universe. God is Unseen and All Powerful and to portray Him with figures and statues is not right. Muhammad is God's Messenger just like Abraham, Moses and Jesus..."

In short, the Holy Prophet asked the people to give up idol worship, return to the worship of One God and be kind and charitable to the poor.

The Meccans, however, rejected the Prophet's message and displayed considerable hostility to him and his followers. The Meccans did not like to be told that the religion of their forefathers was absurd. Mecca, moreover, enjoyed a certain status in Arabia due to the Ka'ba and the annual pilgrimage. The Meccans saw in Islam a real threat to their own social and political power and did their utmost to oppose this new religion.

The chief among these opponents were Omar bin Hisham (known among the Muslims as Abu Jahal, the father of ignorance), Abu Lahab the Prophet's uncle, Abu Sufyan, the leading man of the House of Umayyah, and Uqbah bin Mueet, also of the House of Umayyah.

While the nobility of Mecca turned a deaf ear to the Prophet's call, the poor and the oppressed were strongly attracted to his teaching. Slaves, young men and hapless women collected around the Prophet. These people saw that Islam recognized the rights of the poor; the slaves and the women and they saw a new hope for themselves in this religion.

The acceptance of the Prophet's teachings by the poor made the chiefs of Mecca all the more angry and vengeful. The Meccans were a class conscious society and the chiefs of Mecca could not even think that the poor could have the same rights as themselves. The Quraysh, therefore, started to ill-treat the Prophet and his followers. The brunt of their wrath fell upon the converted slaves and the poor people of the lower classes who had no patron or protector. These helpless people were abused, persecuted and tortured but rarely did anyone renounce his religion. Bilal, a negro slave, was made to lie on hot sand, and stones were put on his chest. Yasir, a poor man, was tortured till he died, and his wife, Sumayyah, was murdered by Abu Jahal. Many a slave were rescued from persecution by the rich and influential Abu Bakr who would buy them and set them free.

The Prophet himself was under the protection of his uncle .Abu Talib. This, however, did not stop his opponents to maltreat him when ever they got an opportunity. On one occasion the Holy Prophet was saying his Prayer at the Ka'ba when a person, on the instigation of Abu Jahal, brought the innards of a camel and dumped them on his back. The Prophet was in the state of prostration at the moment and could not lift himself up due to the heavy weight. One of his daughters eventually came to his help and pushed the burden aside. Similarly, in the streets of Mecca the Prophet was a perpetual target of fun and mockery. He, however, remained steadfast in his mission to convey the message of God to the people and to warn them of the Day of Judgment, when they will all be held accountable for their deeds.

EMIGRATION TO ABYSSINIA

When oppression in Mecca reached its extreme, the Prophet advised his followers to seek refuge in a foreign land. As a result, in the fifth year of the Prophet's mission, a small party of Muslims, consisting of eleven men and four women, set out for Abyssinia. The Kingdom of Abyssinia was ruled at the time by a Christian king named Negus (Najashi) who was well known for his justice.

When the Quraysh learned of this emigration, they sent a delegation to the King with the request to expel the Muslims from his Kingdom. They told the King that the Muslims had started a new religion in opposition to their ancestral faith as well as to Christianity. The King summoned the Muslims to his court and demanded an explanation. Ja'far bin Abu Talib spoke on behalf of the Muslims:

"O King, we were an ignorant people, given to idolatry. We did not make good our obligations to our relations, and ill treated our neighbours. The strong among us thrived at the expense of the weak. Then, at last, God raised a Prophet for our reformation. He called us to worship One God and exhorted us to give up idolatry. He enjoined us to speak the truth, to make good our trusts and to be good to our neighbours. He taught us to avoid bloodshed and forbade all indecent things. So we believed in him, followed him and acted upon his teachings. Thereupon our people turned against us and subjected us to tortures. When their cruelties exceeded all bounds, we came to your country seeking asylum"

After this Ja'far recited a passage from Surah Maryam which showed Negus the great respect and reverence Muslims had for the Prophet Jesus.

Negus was greatly impressed by the morals and ideals of the Muslims and allowed them to stay in his land as long as they wished. The Quraysh delegation had to return to Mecca unsuccessfully.

These early emigrants to Abyssinia did not stay in that country for long. On hearing the rumour that relations between the Muslims and the Quraysh had improved, the emigrants returned to Mecca within a few months only to find the persecution worse than ever before.

AL MIRAJ (THE ASCENT)

In the fifth year of his call, the Holy Prophet experienced a spiritual event known as al Miraj or the Ascent. In this vision he saw the Angel Gabriel take him to the heavens. There he met a number of earlier prophets in the seven levels of the heaven and eventually found himself in the presence of God. It was in this vision that the five Daily Prayers were enjoined upon his followers. The Tradition of the Holy Prophet gives detailed accounts of how the number of Daily Prayers was reduced from fifty to five.


THE SECOND EMIGRATION TO ABYSSINIA

In the meantime, the Quraysh redoubled their persecution of Muslims. The Prophet again advised his followers to take refuge in Abyssinia. The emigrants this time numbered 101, including 18 women. This second group of emigrants stayed in Abyssinia until the Prophet's emigration to Yathrib.

At the rapid success of Islam, the Quraysh became frightened. They went to Abu Talib and offered to give all sorts of riches to the Prophet Muhammad on the condition that he give up his mission. Abu Talib called the Prophet and told him about the wishes of the Quraysh. On hearing this, the Holy Prophet replied:

"O my uncle, if they were to place the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left, I will not give up preaching the truth of One God. I must go on doing so until I die."

In the sixth year of the Prophet's call, Hamzah and Omar bin Khattab accepted Islam. Both men were brave and highly influential in the Meccan society and their conversion brought great moral and physical support to the Muslim community.

BOYCOTT OF THE HASHIMITES

Seeing the influence of the Prophet spreading everywhere, the Quraysh took punitive measures against the Hashemite branch of the tribe. In the 7th year of the mission, the Quraysh proclaimed a total boycott of the Hashemite who were forced to retire into the secluded quarter of the city. During this period the Hashemite were cut off from supplies of corn and other foodstuff. Also, no one would trade with them or talk to them during this period. Not all the Hashemite were Muslims but the entire clan endured this difficult situation for the sake of their Muslim kinsfolk. This state of affairs lasted for nearly three years.

Finally, five decent members of the enemy revolted against this terrible situation and the boycott was lifted. After the lifting of the boycott, there was a temporary relaxation of hostilities against the Muslims. Exaggerated reports of this temporary improvement in the situation reached Abyssinia, whereupon many of the Muslim emigrants returned to Mecca including the Prophet's daughter, Ruqayyah, and her husband, Uthman.

In the year 619 AD, not long after the lifting of the boycott, the Prophet suffered two great personal losses. The Prophet was fifty years old when both his wife and his uncle, Abu Talib, passed away one after the other. Khadijah had been married to the Prophet for twenty five years and gave him moral support through the most critical period of his life. Abu Talib, though he never accepted Islam, continued to give his protection and affection to the Prophet against the great opposition of the Quraysh. The Prophet Muhammad was highly grieved at the loss of both these persons and the year of their deaths is known in Islamic history as the "the Year of the Sorrow".

THE HOLY PROPHET VISITS TA'IF

When life became very difficult in Mecca and people would not listen to him, the Prophet decided to go to Ta'if and preach to the people there. Zayd, his freed slave and adopted son, accompanied the Prophet on this journey. Ta'if was a small town about sixty miles south east of Mecca and, like it, was inhabited by idol worshipers. The Holy Prophet stayed in Ta'if for a few days and preached to its chiefs without any success. The chiefs of Ta'if set vagabonds and street boys at the Prophet who pelted him with stones and drove him out of the city. Both Zayd and the Prophet were wounded. The Prophet was grieved and dejected at this treatment when an angel appeared and asked him if he wished his persecutors to be destroyed. The Prophet replied, "No. I hope one day their children will accept Islam and worship the One God"

On his way back from Ta'if, the Prophet rested in a vineyard which belonged to two Meccans. They were his persecutors at Mecca but on this occasion they were sympathetic and sent him a tray-full of grapes carried by a Christian slave, named Addas. The Prophet asked the slave where he was from, and Addas replied, "Ninevah." Upon this the Holy Prophet said, "Ninevah, the home of Jonah son of Mathew, who was a prophet like me." The Prophet also told Addas about his own mission and teachings. Addas felt as if he was in the presence of an Israelite Prophet and immediately embraced Islam.

FIRST PLEDGE OF AQABAH

During the season of a pilgrimage, the Prophet met a group of six men from Yathrib. He explained to them his mission and asked for their help in spreading his message in their home town. On their return to Yathrib, these people spread the news that a prophet had risen among the Meccans.

During the next pilgrimage season, in the year 621 A.D., a group of twelve faithful followers came from Yathrib. The Prophet met these people at a place called Aqabah, where they all took an oath at the Prophet's hands, never to worship anything except God. This is known as the First Pledge of Aqabah.


AL ASRA (THE NIGHT JOURNEY)

In the year 621 A.D., the eleventh year of the Prophet's call, he experienced another spiritual event. The Prophet at the time was staying with his cousin, Hind, the daughter of his uncle Abu Talib. She was also known as Umm Hani.

In a spiritual vision during the night, the Holy Prophet was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to the Prophet Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem which was known to the Muslims as the Distant Mosque.

This vision, although purely spiritual, was so vivid and realistic in its nature that the Holy Prophet could easily describe the city of Jerusalem and the Distant Mosque to the amazement of the disbelievers.

SECOND PLEDGE OF AQABAH

In the following year, 622 A.D., some seventy three people came from Yathrib, at the time of the pilgrimage to Mecca. These people secretly met the Prophet in the valley of Aqabah and offered an oath of allegiance to him. These new converts to Islam pledged to help and protect him if the need ever arose. They also extended him an invitation to come to Yathrib.

HIJRAT (MIGRATION) TO MEDINAH

After the second pledge of Aqabah, the Muslims in Mecca started to migrate to Yathrib in small groups. There they enjoyed greater freedom to practice their religion. Soon, hardly any of the Prophet's Companions was left in Mecca except Abu Bakr and Ali. When Abu Bakr asked for the Prophet's permission to emigrate, he said, "Go not away, for God may give you a companion." Abu Bakr understood that he must wait for the Prophet and started making necessary preparations.

When the Quraysh realized that they could not stop the flow of conversion, they became furious and decided to murder the Holy Prophet himself. The leaders of the Quraysh gathered together and devised a plan under which each clan was to nominate a person. All the persons thus selected were to fall upon the Holy Prophet at a given moment and strike him a mortal blow. In this way all the clans would share equally in the killing of the Prophet which would make it difficult for the Hashemite to avenge his death. When the Prophet learned of the evil intentions of the enemy he, in the company of Abu Bakr, quietly slipped out of Mecca in the secrecy of the right. They both took shelter in a nearby cave called Thaur.

For two days and two nights, the Prophet and Abu Bakr hid in the cave. On the third night, according to plan, two swift camels were brought to the cave and the party, including the Prophet, Abu Bakr and his servant rode towards Yathrib led by a guide. Yathrib is located about two hundred miles north of Mecca but the party chose a more westerly route, close to the coastline of the Red Sea.

When the Meccans discovered that the Prophet and Abu Bakr had escaped, they searched for them all around Mecca. Failing to find them, they offered a reward of a hundred camels for the capture of the two, dead or alive. Tempted by the reward, a Bedouin chief, Suraqa bin Malik, went in pursuit of the party.

When Suraqa bin Malik sighted the party, he, according to the superstitious Arab custom of the time, consulted his arrows which bade ill luck. The temptation of the reward, however, made him continue the pursuit. At this time his horse stumbled and he fell down. This was another sign for him. When eventually he caught up with the party, he told them of his evil intentions and the sudden change of heart. The Prophet let him go but made him promise not to reveal the party's whereabouts to anyone. Suraqa later narrated this incident, saying, that he was then convinced that the Prophet was a true one and that he would definitely succeed in his mission. Suraqa requested the Prophet to write him a guaranty of peace when the Prophet became supreme. To this the Prophet agreed.

At that moment the Holy Prophet received a revelation and said to Suraqa,

"Suraqa, how will you feel with the gold bangles of the Chosroes on your wrists?"

Amazed at the prophecy, Suraqa asked,

"Which Chosroes? Chosroes, the Emperor of Iran?"

The Prophet replied, "Yes"

Sixteen or seventeen years later this prophecy was literally fulfilled. During the reign of the second Caliph, Omar, the Muslims conquered the Kingdom of Chosroes. When the spoils of the war were placed in front of Omar, he noticed the gold bangles which Chosroes used to wear on state occasions. Remembering the Prophet's words to Suraqa, he decided to make a visible fulfillment of the prophecy. He called for Suraqa and bade him wear the bangles. To this Suraqa protested since the wearing of gold by men was not permitted by the Prophet. Hazrat Omar said that the occasion was an exception and that Suraqa will have to wear the bangles. To this Suraqa finally complied. The Holy Prophet was no longer in this world but the Muslims who were present saw the prophecy of the Messenger of God fulfilled in front of their own eyes.

Coming back to the migration, the Holy Prophet continued his journey towards Yathrib, where the people were eagerly awaiting his arrival. When he reached near Yathrib, he decided to stop for a while in Quba, a nearby village. He stayed in Quba for a few days and also laid the foundation of the first mosque ever built by the Muslims. Then he went on to Yathrib, where the people of the city had turned out in large numbers to welcome him.

This emigration of the Holy Prophet from Mecca to Yathrib is called the Hijrah and took place in June 622 A.D., some twelve years after the beginning of his mission. The Muslim calendar, the Hijrah, dates from this event. With this migration the Meccan period of humiliation, persecution and restrictions finally came to an end and the years of success and religious freedom began.

LIFE AT MEDINAH

With the arrival of the Prophet, Yathrib changed its name to Medinah tun Nabi, the City of the Prophet. In the course of time it was shortened to al Medinah, the City.

On arriving at Medinah, the Prophet took up residence at the house of Abu Ayub Ansari. Soon he sent his freed slave, Zayd, to Mecca to fetch his family and relatives. The Prophet also bought a vacant piece of land nearby and laid the foundation of a mosque. After this he built houses for himself and his companions.

The faithful followers of the Holy Prophet, who had left their homes and other worldly possessions in Mecca and had come to Medinah for the sake of Islam, were known as Mohajereen or Emigrants. Their love for the Prophet was unbounded and they were also very dear to the Prophet. They numbered about seventy men at the time of the Prophet's arrival in Medinah.

The new converts at Medinah, who had helped the Prophet at a most difficult time, were called by him Ansar or Helpers. They numbered about one hundred. The Prophet formally established ties of mutual brotherhood between individuals of the two groups and asked each man among the Ansar to "adopt" a brother from among the Mohajereen. This action not only welded the social ties between the two groups but also helped economically the refugees who had left all their possessions back in Mecca.

CONSTITUTION OF MEDINAH

On his arrival at Medinah, the Prophet devoted himself to the organization of the city. The Jews of Medinah were divided into three branches: Banu Qainuka, Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayzah. Prominent among the Arab tribes were Aus and Khazraj. There was strong rivalry among these various religious and political factions and mutual hostility often erupted in the form of fighting.

With the Muslims, the Jews and the idolatrous Arabs, the city of Medinah was divided into three religious groups. The Prophet realized it quickly that a peaceful state could only exist if it was based on goodwill and support of all sections of the society. The Prophet, therefore, formulated a charter for the people of Medinah which is also known as the Constitution of Medinah. According to this charter blood feud was abolished and all rights were given equally to all people. Some of the important points of this charter were:

1. All parties signing this charter will form a common nationality.

2. All parties to this agreement will remain united in peace or in war.

3. If any of the parties was attacked by an enemy, others would defend it with their combined forces.

4. None of the parties will give shelter to the Quraysh of Mecca or make any secret treaty with them.

5. The various parties to this agreement will be free to profess their own religion.

6. Bloodshed, murder and violence will be forbidden.

7. The city of Medinah will be regarded as sacred and any strangers who came under the protection of its citizens will be treated as citizens of Medinah.

8. Alt disputes will be referred to the Holy Prophet for decision.


ADHAN OR THE CALL TO PRAYER

In the early days of the Prophet's stay at Medinah, whenever the time of Prayer came, the Muslims assembled in the Prophet's Mosque without being called. Since there were no clocks or watches in those days, the Muslims could not come to Prayer at any fixed time. A strong need, therefore, arose to have the Muslims called to the Prayer. Various means to achieve this objective were considered by the Holy Prophet. The Jews used to call their people with a horn while the Christians used the bell. Even the lighting of fire, following the style of the Zoroastrians was considered.

After consultations with his Companions, the Holy Prophet finally decided in favour of an oral Call and asked Bilal, a freed Abyssinian slave, to give the first Adhan. Bilal used to ascend to the roof of the house adjacent to the Prophet's Mosque and deliver the Call to Prayer from there.


THE INCIDENT AT NAKHLAH

One and a half years after Hijrah, the Holy Prophet sent nine persons towards the valley of Nakhlah in order to observe the movements of a Quraysh caravan. Abdullah bin Hajash was appointed the leader of this scouting team. It was the sacred month of Rajab when fighting was not permitted among the Arabs.

When the reconnoitering group reached Nakhlah and spotted the caravan, they conferred among themselves as to their course of action. Some of the Muslims did not like breaking the sanctity of the sacred month while others were opposed to letting the Quraysh escape unchecked. Finally, a consensus was reached to fight with the enemy.

During the fighting that ensued, Waqid bin Abdullah of the Muslims shot an arrow that killed Amrao bin Hazrami of the Quraysh. The Muslims took two prisoners and some booty and returned to Medinah.

When the Holy Prophet learned of this incident, he was highly grieved and refused to accept part of the booty presented to him. The two Meccan prisoners were eventually returned to the Quraysh in exchange for the two Muslims captured during the fighting.

THE BATTLE OF BADR

After losing the opportunity to kill the Holy Prophet, the Meccans now were really angry at the spread of Islam in Medinah. The Meccans started to interfere with the Muslims' right to pilgrimage and also instigated the people of Medinah against the Holy Prophet. They changed their normal caravan routes and started going through tribal areas around Medinah to rouse the tribes against the Muslims.

In the year 624 A.D., two years after the Hijrah, Abu Sufyan was bringing a commercial caravan back from Syria. The Muslim scouts were keeping an eye on the caravan just in case it posed any threat to Medinah. After Abu Sufyan saw the Muslim scouts he became frightened and sent a messenger to Mecca to bring an adequate force to safe guard the caravan.

When the chiefs of Mecca learned that their goods laden caravan was in possible danger, they quickly gathered a well armed and well equipped army of more than a thousand warriors. The army set out from Mecca under the leadership of Abu Jahal to confront the Muslims. When the Holy Prophet learned of the Meccans' intentions, he gathered some 310 Muslims from among the Mohajereen and Ansar and set forth from Medinah. The Muslims camped for the night at a place called Badr, a few miles south west of Medinah. Early on the morning of March 13, 624 A.D., the Holy Prophet arranged his small army into ranks and files and delivered a brief address on Jehad, fighting in the cause of God.

Then, according to the Arab custom, three leaders of the Quraysh named Shaiba, Utba and Walid bin Utba challenged three Muslims to a single combat. Their challenge was accepted by Ali, Hamzah and Obadiah. Ali and Hamzah overpowered their opponents but Obaidah and Walid exchanged several blows and both fell down, severely wounded.

After these single combats, a fierce battle broke out in which both sides fought bravely. While the Quraysh were fighting for their false pride and glory, the Muslims were fighting in the cause of Islam and for their very existence. Two young Ansars attacked Abu Jahal and mortally wounded him. Very soon the Quraysh were routed and took to their heels. They were chased by the Muslims and some of them were made prisoners.

The Muslims lost fourteen men in the battle of Badr while the Quraysh lost seventy. The very first person to be slain among the Muslims in a pitched battle was Mahja bin Saleh, a freed slave. He was given the title of "Chief of the Martyrs" by the Holy Prophet. A number of the Quraysh were taken prisoners by the Muslims. The Prophet ordered his followers to treat these prisoners of war with kindness. The Holy Prophet decided to liberate the prisoners on payment of ransom. Those who could not pay the ransom but were literate, were allowed to earn their freedom by teaching ten Muslim children how to read and write. Those who were poor and illiterate were released on the promise that they will not fight the Muslims in the future.

The battle of Badr was the first confrontation between the Muslims and the Meccans. The Muslims not only came out victorious, but some of the worst enemies of Islam such as Abu Jahal were also eliminated in the battle. This battle, therefore, marked a turning point in the history of Islam and considerably boosted the morale of the Muslims who, until then, had only known persecution and harassment.

The Muslims' victory at Badr could not be tolerated by the vendetta seeking Quraysh of Mecca and the hostile Jews of Medinah. Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan and daughter of Utba, who had lost her father, her brother and her uncle in the battle, swore that she would not rest until another army was sent against Medinah. The Jews of Medinah were envious of the spreading influence of Islam and started openly opposing the Muslims and the Holy Prophet, though they had a treaty with them. Then there were the hypocrites who had outwardly accepted Islam but in their hearts sought ways and means to hurt the Muslims and spread discontent and disunity among their ranks. The leader of the hypocrites was a man by the name of Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul. He was the chief of the Khazraj tribe and, before the arrival of the Prophet in Medinah, was generally accepted as the chief of the city. He, therefore, greatly resented the Prophet's authority and, as later developments will show, tried his best in turning the people against the Prophet.

EXPULSION OF BANU QAINUKA FROM MEDINAH


After the Battle of Badr, the Jews started giving open expression to their feelings of hatred and jealousy against the Muslims. The relations between the Muslims and the three Jewish tribes began to deteriorate. An isolated case of a street fight between a few Muslims and Jews of Banu Qainuka eventually led to an open confrontation between the two groups. The Muslims marched towards the strongholds of Banu Qainuka in Medinah and besieged them for a fortnight. After this period, the Banu Qainuka surrendered on the condition that they, their families and their animals be spared. The Prophet accepted these terms and the Banu Qainuka were expelled from Medinah.

BATTLE OF OHUD

The Quraysh of Mecca were smarting under their crushing defeat at Badr and could not tolerate the spread of Islam in Medinah. Moreover, the Meccans wanted to avenge the loss of some of their leaders, like Abu Jahal and Utba, who were killed in the battle of Badr at the hands of the Muslims.

The Quraysh, therefore, started to make preparations for another attack on Medinah. In the third year of the Hijrah, exactly one year after the battle of Badr, the Meccan army proceeded towards Medinah under the leadership of Abu Sufyan. The army consisted of some 3,000 soldiers and 200 horses.

In the month of March, year 625 A.D., the Prophet left Medinah with one thousand men and started marching towards Uhud to meet the enemy. Soon after leaving the city. Abdullah bin Ubayy deserted the Muslim army, taking his three hundred men with him. There were now only seven hundred Muslims left to face an enemy of three thousand strong.

Both armies camped near Mount Uhud, located a few miles north of Medinah. Next morning, the Prophet arranged the Muslim army in such a way that Mount Ohad was at their back. To further safeguard against a surprise attack from a small opening in the mountain, the Prophet appointed a batch of fifty archers to take up positions on a hill guarding this passage. These archers were instructed not to leave their positions until further orders.

During the first phase of the battle, a part of the Meccan army under the command of Ikrimah, son of Abu Jahal, advanced towards the Muslims from the front. The Muslims fought very bravely and overpowered the enemy which ran from the battle field. Thinking that the enemy was beaten, the Muslims started picking up the spoils of battle. The fifty archers, realizing that they may lose this opportunity, left their positions and also joined the plunder.

The ready eye of Khalid bin Walid, who had not yet accepted Islam and was fighting from the Meccan side, saw the chance and attacked the Muslims from their rear. The Muslims at that time were disorganized and panicked, falling easy target to the Meccans' swords. The Holy Prophet tried to call his people together but a stone hurled at him broke his two teeth and he fell to the ground momentarily stunned. At that instant a rumour spread among the Muslims that the Prophet was killed. This further heightened the disarray of the Muslims who then ran from the battle field and took to the protection of the mountain.

Seventy Muslims lost their lives in this battle compared with a loss of only twenty three by the enemy. The Prophet's uncle, Hamzah, was also killed during this battle by a spear thrown by Wahshi, an Abyssinian slave of Hind. Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, cut the belly of Hamzah's corpse and chewed his liver to satisfy her revenge for her father and brother who were killed in the battle of Badr at the hands of Hamzah.

After a major victory at Badr, the Muslims now suffered a big setback at Uhud. The reasons for their defeat were the military tactics of Khalid bin Walid, the lack of discipline among the Muslim ranks, negligence of the Prophet's orders by the archers, the love of plunder on the part of the Muslim army and the reduction of the Muslim forces by the desertion of Abdullah bin Ubayy.

EXPULSION OF BANU NADIR FROM MEDINAH


After the battle of Uhud, the two Jewish tribes remaining in Medinah, Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayzah, had a dispute regarding a mutual agreement. The matter went before the Holy Prophet who decided in favour of Banu Qurayzah. Banu Nadir resented this decision and, upon the instigation of Abdullah bin Ubayy, decided to kill the Holy Prophet.

The Prophet escaped from this attempt upon his life and ordered them to leave Medinah. Banu Nadir initially defied this order but gave in after a fortnight of siege. They were allowed to take their goods and chattel and were expelled from Medinah. Some of these people went to Syria while others settled in a place called Khyber where they continued their anti Islamic activities.

THE MURDER OF MUSLIM MISSIONARIES

In the same year as the Battle of Uhud, 625 A.D., seven men of the Banu Qara tribe came to Medinah and asked the Holy Prophet to send some missionaries to their area to teach them the Holy Quran and Islam. The Holy Prophet had already started sending missionaries to the various tribes and this time sent six of his own Companions for this purpose.

When these six missionaries reached the place called ar Raji belonging to the tribe of Banu Hudhayl, they were set upon by two hundred men. Four of the missionaries were killed in the fight and two, Zayd bin Dathinah and Khubayb, were taken prisoners and sold to the Meccans who intended to kill them to avenge the deaths of their own relatives in the Battle of Badr.

When Zayd was going to be beheaded, Abu Sufyan asked him:

"Tell me, O Zayd, would you not prefer that Muhammad was here in your place to receive this punishment while you were safe at home with your people?"

Zayd replied:

"I certainly prefer that Muhammad be where he is, safe from all harm. It is more preferable to me than my being with my own people."

Abu Sufyan was amazed at this answer and this display of love and loyalty by the Companions of the Holy Prophet for him. Zayd was beheaded.

When the other Muslim prisoner, Khubayb, was taken out to be executed in front of the people of Mecca, he asked for permission to say a Nafl Prayer, which he made very short. After completing his Prayer he told his executioner:

"I wanted to prolong my Prayer but was afraid that you might think that I was not ready to die."

Soon after the incident of ar Raji, a man named Abu Bata came to Medinah and asked for enlightenment in the religion of Islam. After being instructed in the new faith, Abu Bara requested the Holy Prophet to send some Huffaz, the Memorizers of the Holy Quran, to the people of Najd to preach them Islam. The Holy Prophet was afraid for the lives of his Companions and turned down the request. But when Abu Bata gave personal guarantees for their protection, the Holy Prophet acceded to his request and sent with him seventy Muslim missionaries.

When these seventy missionaries reached a place called Bir Mauna, the cousin of Abu Bara instigated the local tribesmen against the Muslims. These tribesmen surrounded the Muslim missionaries and after a fight killed all of them with the exception of one man who managed to return to Medinah.

BATTLE OF THE DITCH

Although the Muslims were defeated at Uhud, their efforts to spread Islam continued with intense zeal, and their numbers kept on growing. With the growth of Islam the city of Medinah started to enjoy a status which rivaled that of Mecca. The Quraysh saw, in the growth of Islam, a real threat to their own religious and social position among the Arabs. At the same time the Jews expelled from Medinah were instigating the Quraysh against the Muslims.

Finally, in the year 627 A.D., some five years after the Hijrah, the Quraysh once again rounded up an army and marched upon Medinah under the leadership of Abu Sufyan. This time their forces numbered ten thousand men and six hundred horses. A number of Arab tribes joined league with the Meccans in this battle. For this reason this battle is also known as the Battle of the Confederates.

When the Prophet learned of this threat he gathered some three thousand men to face the enemy. On the advice of Salman al Farsi, the Prophet decided to remain in the city and dug a long trench around that part of Medinah which gave an open access to the enemy. One side of Medinah had a natural protection of hills and another side was protected by stone houses and groves of trees.

When the Quraysh saw this defense, they were perplexed. They besieged the city and tried to storm it. But the Muslims easily repulsed the attack each time. Finally, the Quraysh decided that the only way to enter the city was by making a secret alliance with the Jewish tribe of Banu Quraysh. Since Banu Qurayzah already had a peace treaty with the Prophet, they refused this offer of the Meccans. On their persistence, however, they agreed to attack the Muslims from the rear while the Meccans engaged the Muslim army at the ditch. This secret plot of the Jews was discovered by the Muslims who then placed some five hundred soldiers on the Banu Qurayzah side of Medinah to guard against a surprise attack from that quarter.

Meantime, the Meccans were running short of their food supplies, the weather was turning adverse and a strong, cold wind had started to blow. Under the circumstances Abu Sufyan raised the siege and decided to return to Mecca.

Although the Battle of the Ditch was a major confrontation between the Quraysh and the Muslims, very little actual fighting took place. The Muslims lost five men while the enemy lost three.

BANU QURAYZAH PUNISHED

After the departure of the Meccan army, the Muslims turned their attention to Banu Quraysh who had betrayed them during the battle of the Ditch. The Muslims laid siege to the Jews' fortress. When Banu Quraysh could not hold out any longer, they sent a message to the Holy Prophet that they would surrender but would like their fate to be decided by one of their allies. Sa'd bin Muadh, the chief of the tribe of Aus, was appointed the arbiter. Sa'd passed the judgment on the Banu Quraysh according to the law of the Torah. According to the Jewish law the punishment for treason was death. In passing the death sentence on Bann Quraysh, Sa'd reminded the Jews of the fact that had the Jews succeeded in carrying out their plan, they would have put all the Muslims to death.

As a result of Sa'd bin Muadh's judgment, all the male members of the Banu Quraysh tribe who were of fighting age were executed and their women, children and elders expelled, who went to Syria.

Many historians have commented that the Banu Quraysh made a tactical mistake in asking one of their own allies to decide their fate. The Mosaic Law was very strict in such matters and any person honestly passing a judgment under this law could not be too lenient. The historians believe that if the Banu Quraysh had entrusted their fate to the Prophet Muhammad himself, he would have definitely forgiven their excesses and, at the most, expelled them from Medinah.


CHARTER FOR THE CHRISTIANS

In the sixth year of the Hijrah, the Prophet granted to all Christians a charter. According to this charter:

o the Christians were not to be unfairly taxed

o no bishop was to be expelled from his monastery

o no pilgrim was to be detained from the performance of pilgrimage

o no Christian churches were to be pulled down for the building of mosques

o Christian women married to Muslims were free to enjoy their own religion

o in the case of repair of churches, the Muslims were to help the Christians


BAI'AT E RIDHWAN AND THE TREATY OF HUDAYBIYA


By the year 628 A.D: some six long years had passed since the Muslims emigrated from Mecca. They were getting nostalgic and wanted to visit their homes. Also, many of the Muslims had not performed the pilgrimage since they left Mecca. Then one night the Holy Prophet dreamed that he was entering the Ka'ba and its key was in his hand. He told of this dream to his Companions and invited them to perform the "Umrah" or the Informal Pilgrimage. In February 628 A.D., the Holy Prophet left for Mecca in the company of 1,500 Muslims. It was the month of Dhul Qadah, one of the four sacred months when war was unlawful throughout Arabia (the three other sacred months were: Rajab, Dhul Hijjah and Muharram).

When the Quraysh learned of the approach of the Muslims, they started making preparations for a confrontation and told the Muslims that they will not be allowed to enter Mecca and perform the pilgrimage.

The Muslims camped outside Mecca, in a place called Hudaybiya. The Holy Prophet dispatched Uthman as messenger to the Quraysh to inform them of the Muslims' intentions of only performing the pilgrimage. At that time a rumour spread out that Uthman had been murdered by the Quraysh and caused a great deal of commotion among the Muslims. Realizing the sensitivity of the occasion and the potential for an armed conflict with the Quraysh, the Holy Prophet sat down under a tree and asked his followers to offer an oath of allegiance to him. They all submitted to it one by one declaring their resolve to fight to the bitter end for the cause of Islam. This oath of the Muslims at the hands of the Prophet is known as "Bay'ate Ridhwan", or the Pledge of Acceptance.

The Quraysh became alarmed at this display of solidarity by the Muslims and decided to come to terms with them. Suhayl bin Amr and two other representatives of the Quraysh came to confer with the Holy Prophet. When an agreement was finally reached, the Holy Prophet asked Ali to write down the terms as he began to dictate them.

The Prophet started his dictation with the invocation Bismillah ar Rahman ar Raheem in the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful. At this Suhayl bin Amr objected saying that they did not know what Rahman was and, instead, proposed to write Bismika Allahumma, In Thy Name, O God. Some of the Prophet's Companions objected to this but the Prophet said to write it down.

The Holy Prophet then continued to dictate: "These are the terms of the truce between Muhammad, the Messenger of God and Suhayl the son of Amr". Suhayl protested again saying, "If we knew that you were the Messenger of God we would not be stopping you from performing the pilgrimage neither would we have fought with you; so write Muhammad the son of Abdullah." Ali by this time had already written the words Messenger of God. The Prophet asked him to strike them out and write in their place "the son of Abdullah".

This treaty between the Muslims and the Meccans is known as the Treaty of Hudaybia and according to its terms:

1. There was to be no fighting for a period of ten years.

2. Any one who wished to join the Prophet's side was free to do so and any one who wished to join the Meccans, was free to do so.

3. If a young man from among the Quraysh joined the Prophet, he would be returned to his parents or guardians. If a young man from among the Muslims joined the Quraysh, he would not be returned.

4. That year, the Muslims will go back without performing the pilgrimage.

5. Next year, the Prophet and his followers could enter Mecca for a period of three days and perform the pilgrimage. During this period the Quraysh would withdraw from the city.

6. When the Muslims entered Mecca next year, they would be unarmed.

On the surface the Treaty of Hudaybia appeared humiliating for the Muslims and Omar could not contain his feelings. He went to the Holy Prophet and Said:

"Are you not God's Prophet?" to which the Prophet replied "Yes".

"Are we not in the right and our enemies in the wrong?" asked Omar. To this the Prophet replied "Yes".

"Then why do we yield in such low fashion?" Omar asked again.

The Prophet replied: "I am God's Messenger and I will not disobey Him. He will give me the victory".

"But didn't you tell us", Omar persisted, "that we should go to the Ka'ba and perform the pilgrimage?"

"Yes" replied the Prophet, "but did I tell you it would have to be this year?"

The Treaty of Hudaybia gave the Muslims much needed peace and calm in which to concentrate their efforts on the spread of Islam. Great warriors like Khalid bin Walid and Arm bin A's, embraced Islam after the treaty of Hudaybiya. The success of Islam after the treaty can be recognized from the fact that at the time of the treaty there were only 1,500 men with the Holy Prophet, but two years later, at the time of the conquest of Mecca, they were ten thousand.

THE HOLY PROPHET SENDS LETTERS TO VARIOUS KINGS

On returning to Medinah after the treaty of Hudaybiya, the Holy Prophet sent envoys to various kings and rulers. Each envoy carried a letter from the Prophet, inviting the ruler to accept Islam. These envoys were sent to:

o Heraclius, the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire

o Chosroes Pervez, the Emperor of Iran

o Negus (Najashi), the King of Abyssinia

o Muqauqis, the ruler of Egypt

o Mundhir Taimi, the chief of Bahrain

o Al Harith bin Abi Shimr, the Ghassanid Prince of Damascus

o Hawdah bin Ali, the chief of Yamamah

o King of Oman

The Prophet also wrote such letters to the chiefs of many other tribes around Arabia such as:

o Chief of Banu Nahd, a tribe of Yemen

o Chief of Hamadaan, another tribe of Yemen

o Chief of Banu Alim

o Chief of Hadrami tribe

The Letter to Heraclius

The letter addressed to Heraclius was delivered to him while the Emperor was visiting Syria. The envoy carrying the letter was called to the King's court and the letter was read to the King by an interpreter. The King wanted to know if an Arab caravan was visiting Syria so that he could question an Arab about this Arabian Prophet. It so happened that Abu Sufyan, an enemy of the Prophet, was in town and was taken to the King's court. The conversation that took place between the King and Abu Sufyan has been recorded in the books of Hadith, as follows:

King: What sort of family does this Prophet come from?
A.S.: He comes of a noble family and is one of my relations.
King: Have any Arabs before him made similar claims?
A.S.: No.
King: Did your people ever find him telling a lie before this?
A.S.: No.
King: Has there been a king or ruler among his forefathers?
A.S.: No.
King: Who are his followers? Rich or the poor people?
A.S.: Mostly poor, humble and young people.
King: Are their numbers increasing or decreasing?
A.S.: Increasing.
King: Do his followers ever go back to their old beliefs?
A.S.: No.
King: Has he ever broken a pledge?
A.S.: No.
King: What does he teach?
A.S.: He teaches that we should worship One God and not set up equals to Him. He preaches against the worshiping of idols. He wants us to speak the truth and give up all evil and corrupt practices. He tells us to be good to one another, keep our promises and discharge our trusts.
King: It seems to me that his claim to prophethood is true. I was half expecting his appearance in our time but I did not know that he was going to be an Arab. If what you have told me is true, then I think his influence and his rule will definitely spread over these lands.

The Letter to Chosroes Pervez

The letter sent to Chosroes, the Emperor of Iran, got a different kind of reception. The Emperor ordered an interpreter to read the letter to him. On listening to the contents, the Emperor flew into a rage and tore the letter into pieces. When the Prophet's envoy reported this incident back to him, the Holy Prophet said:

"What Chosroes has done to our letter, God will do to his Empire"

Chosroes even issued orders for the arrest of the Prophet. The Emperor was soon murdered by his own son who cancelled the orders for the Prophet's arrest. The Kingdom of Iran fell in a few years in front of the Muslim forces sent out during the reign of Omar, the second Khalifah of the Holy Prophet.

The Letter to Negus

The letter sent to Negus, King of Abyssinia, received an honourable reception. The King showed great respect for the letter and ordered an ivory box for it, saying:

"While this letter is safe, my Kingdom is safe"

The Letter to Muqauqis

When the Prophet's letter was received by Muqauqis, the Christian ruler of Egypt, he questioned the envoy regarding the Holy Prophet. Muqauqis did not accept Islam but, very diplomatically, he wrote a letter to the Holy Prophet in reply sending with it presents of gold, two Egyptian girls, garments of Egyptian linen and a mule.

The Letter to Mundhir

The envoy carrying the letter to Mundhir, Chief of Bahrain, was the most successful of all envoys sent out by the Holy Prophet. When Mundhir received the Prophet's letter, he and many of his friends and followers accepted Islam. The Chief also wrote to the Holy Prophet for further instructions for his people.

THE CONQUEST OF KHYBER

Five months after returning from Hudaybiya, the Prophet learned of the rebellion of the Jews of Khyber. Since the expulsion of the Jews from Medinah, many had settled down in Khyber and continued their nefarious activities against the Muslims. They instigated and aroused against Islam the Christian tribes settled on the southern frontier of the Roman Empire, the Arab tribes around Medinah and even Chosroes of Iran.

In August 628 A.D., the Prophet marched towards Khyber with 1,600 of his followers. At Khyber, a number of small forts fell one after the other and, after a heavy contest, their main fortress, al Qamus, was also captured. The Jews being helpless, asked for the Prophet's pardon. He not only forgave them but also returned their land and properties with complete freedom to practice their faith. A fixed land tax, however, was imposed upon them.

Some 18 Muslims were killed in this Battle while the Jews lost 93 men.

THE THREE DAY PILGRIMAGE

Next year, in 629 A.D., Prophet Muhammad visited Mecca according to the terms of the treaty of Hudaybiya. Many Muslims accompanied him this time to perform the pilgrimage. When the Quraysh learned of the Prophet's approach, they, too, left the city according to the agreement. The Holy Prophet and his followers performed the Umrah or the Lesser Pilgrimage and after three days, returned to Medinah.

BATTLE OF MUTAH

On return from his three day pilgrimage, the Prophet learned that the Christian tribes on the Syrian border were becoming hostile. The Prophet, therefore, sent a letter with an envoy to the Ghassanid Prince at Damascus, complaining about these hostilities. The Ghassanid Prince ruled that area in the name of Rome. While on his way the envoy was intercepted and murdered at Mutah by a Christian chieftain named Shurahbil.

To put an end to these continuing hostilities, the Prophet raised a force of 3,000 men and dispatched it towards Syria under the command of Zayd bin Harith, the freed slave and adopted son of the Holy Prophet. The Byzantine army, it is estimated, was close to one hundred thousand strong.

The Muslim army marched away in September 629 A.D. and covered over six hundred miles to reach Mutah. It was the largest and most arduous expedition ever undertaken by the Muslims and the first one against the Christians. When the Muslims saw the size of the Christian army, they wanted to send word back to Medinah for reinforcement. However, the distance to Medinah was too great and the Muslim leaders decided to fight with whatever soldiers they had.

As the battle started, Zayd, the commander of the Muslim forces, was killed and the flag and command passed on to Jafar bin Abu Talib. Soon after, Jafar also fell and the command passed to Abdullah bin Rawah, as the Holy Prophet had instructed. Soon, Abdullah bin Rawah also fell. At this point Khalid bin Walid picked up the flag of the Muslim army and continued fighting till evening came.

Next, day, Khalid bin Walid took his exhausted army and the battle continued for a while. The Muslims, however, were grossly outnumbered and continuing the fighting any longer would have been suicidal. Khalid bin Walid, therefore, gathered the leftover of his army, executed a retreat and returned to Medinah. The Muslims at Medinah chided the returning army and scolded them for not fighting till their death. The Prophet, however, defended the army's action and praised Khalid bin Walid for his bravery giving him the title of Saif Allah the sword of God.

Because of the timely retreat of the Muslim army, not very many people were killed in this battle.

THE CONQUEST OF MECCA

In the treaty of Hudaybiya it was agreed that any tribe wanting to join the Muslims or the Quraysh was free to do so. As a result, the Khuza tribe joined the Muslims while the Banu Bakr entered into an alliance with the Meccans.

Some two years after the treaty, the Banu Bakr tribe, with the help of the Quraysh, raided the Khuza tribe by night and killed a number of their men. The Khuza tribe sent a deputation of about forty men to the Holy Prophet, demanding help and justice. The Prophet sent a peace mission to the Quraysh proposing that:

(a) the Quraysh pay proper compensation to the Khuza tribe, or

(b) the Quraysh cut off all relations with the Banu Bakr, or

(c) the Quraysh declare the treaty of Hudaybiya as null and void.

The Quraysh neither wanted to pay compensation nor break away their relationship with the aggressor tribe of Banu Bakr. They, therefore, accepted the third alternative. With the agreement now dissolved between the Muslims and the Meccans, the Prophet realized that there was no other way to render justice except by fighting the Quraysh. In January 630 A.D., the Prophet advanced towards Mecca with an army of ten thousand men. This was the largest force Medinah had ever seen. On reaching Mecca, the Muslim army camped outside the city.

Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Quraysh, came out during the night with two companions to see the Muslim camp. He was astounded at the size of the Muslim army and could hardly contain his amazement. The Muslim ranks which numbered about three hundred at the battle of Badr a few years ago had now swollen to nearly ten thousand.

While Abu Sufyan and his companions were scouting around, they were captured by the Muslim guards and brought in front of the Holy Prophet. The Prophet not only pardoned his lifelong enemy but also allowed him to spend the night in the Muslim camp. Abu Sufyan was amazed at the discipline of the Muslims and their love for the Holy Prophet. Abu Sufyan made a remark at the time that:

"I have seen great courts. I have seen the courts of Chosroes and that of Kaiser, but I have never seen any people so devoted to their leader as the Muslims are to their Prophet."

By sunrise, Abu Sufyan and his companions had accepted Islam. They, however, were concerned about the fate of Mecca and asked the Holy Prophet as to what would the Muslims do to the Meccans. The Prophet replied:

"These people have been very cruel. They have gone back on the peace they signed at Hudaybiya and attacked the Khuza tribe. They have made war in a place which had been made sacred by God"

Abu Sufyan and his companions asked the Holy Prophet for forgiveness and enquired if the Meccans could have peace if they did not draw their swords. The Prophet replied:

"Everyone who stays indoors will have peace. Whoever takes shelter in the house of Abu Sufyan will have peace. Whoever enters the Sacred Mosque will have peace. Those who lay their arms will have peace."

In the morning, Abu Sufyan returned to Mecca with this message while the Muslim army started marching into the city. The Holy Prophet gave strict orders to his generals not to permit any fighting unless the enemy fought first.

The Prophet went straight to the Ka 'ba and performed the circuit seven times. Then he ordered that the Ka 'ba be cleared of all idols and paintings. The idols were broken and the walls of the Ka 'ba cleansed of all pictures. After this, the Holy Prophet went inside the Ka 'ba and said his Prayer there.

The Holy Prophet then addressed the Meccans and told them that they will not be called to account. Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahal, was in the process of escaping to Abyssinia when he learned of this general amnesty. He could not believe his ears and had to ask the Holy Prophet himself, who replied, "Yes, I have forgiven you". Utbah and Mu'attib, the two surviving sons of Abu Lahab, were afraid to appear before the Prophet. Utbah had divorced Ruqayyah, the Prophet's daughter, under pressure from his father. The Holy Prophet took Abu
Lahab's sons by their hands and walked to the wall of the Ka 'ba where he prayed for a long time. On returning he said, "I asked my Lord to give me these two sons of my uncle, and He has given them to me".

Both these sons embraced Islam. All historians agree that in the history of conquests there has never been a more triumphant entry than this one. Hardly any blood was shed and all the enemies were pardoned. The Muslims had been tortured in this city and were eventually driven out of it. The residents of this city had not let the Muslims live in peace even in Medinah and had waged many battles against them. But on this day, when the enemy lay helpless, defeated and at the mercy of the Muslims, a general forgiveness was declared and no revenge was taken. Such examples of greatness are truly rare in the history of conquests.

BATTLE OF HUNAYN

Immediately after the conquest of Mecca, the Muslims had to fight the Hawazin and Thaqif tribes which dwelt in the area east of Mecca. These two tribes invited a number of other tribes in the area to join them in battle against the Muslims.

This battle between the Muslims and the Hawazin and allied tribes was fought in the valley of Hunayn. When the Muslim army entered the valley, the enemy archers rained arrows from the surrounding cliffs where they lay hidden. The beasts of the Muslim army took fright and ran in spite of the riders. There was a time when the Prophet was left with only a handful of companions. When his companions tried to stop him from going ahead, he scorned the proposal and said:

"I am a Prophet, it is no lie; Yet I am the son of Abdul Muttalib."

At this moment the thunderous voice of Abbas, the Prophet's uncle, rang out in the valley telling the Muslims that their Prophet had stood his ground and was calling for help. The Muslims then gathered together and drove the enemy from the battle field.

DISTRIBUTION OF THE BOOTY AND
THE ANSAR'S UNHAPPINESS

The victory at Hunayn gave the Muslims their largest spoils of war. These spoils consisted of camels, goats and silver and were divided into five equal portions. Four of these portions were distributed among the Muslim army and one portion was reserved for the Muslim Treasury to be used as the Holy Prophet saw fit.

From this fifth portion, the Holy Prophet gave generously to some of the newly converted leaders of the Quraysh such as Abu Sufyan, Muawiah, Harith bin Harith, Harith bin Hisham, Suhayl bin Amr and some others, all of whom had been staunch opponents of Islam before the conquest of Mecca.

The Ansar felt left out and grieved at this act of generosity towards the new converts and some of them gave voice to their feelings. When the Holy Prophet learned of their resentment, he asked for them to be assembled. When they had all gathered in front of him, the Prophet addressed them:

"O Ansar! It has been reported to me that you do not approve of my distribution of the booty. Is it not true that when I came to you, you were languishing in misguidance and error, and God guided you to the truth through me? And is it not true that I found you in a state of poverty, and God made you affluent? And is it not true that I found you enemy one of another, and God reconciled your hearts?

After listening to each sentence of the admonition, the Ansar would say, "Indeed! God and His Prophet have been very generous." The Holy Prophet then continued:

"Why don't you say this O Ansar, 'It was you, Muhammad, who were under our obligation. Did you not come to us vanquished and defeated, and we came to your rescue? Did you not come to us exiled and rejected, and we gave you shelter? Did you not come to us in want and need, and we came to your help?

"Had you replied to me in these words, you would have said nothing but the truth and I would have agreed with you. O Ansar, are you angry because I gave away some goods to those whom I sought to win to Islam? Because I considered that their faith could be confirmed by material goods, whereas I considered yours to be based on solid conviction?

"Does this not satisfy you, O Ansar, that when other people return home loaded with goods and camels, you will return home with the Prophet of God? By Him Who controls Muhammad's soul, there is no people to whom I love to belong more than the Ansar."

The Holy Prophet said these words in great love and affection for the men of Ansar who had pledged their unswerving loyalty and allegiance to him, and had helped him at the most critical stage in his mission.

When the Ansar heard these words of great affection and sincerity from the Prophet's mouth, they burst into tears and they all shouted with one voice, "We want only Muhammad, the Prophet of God."

CAMPAIGN OF TABUK

In the summer of year 630 A.D., rumours spread out in Medinah that the Byzantine army was gathering in the southern part of Syria, ready to attack Medinah. Later events showed that these rumours were cleverly spread by the hypocrites in Medinah who wanted to provoke the Muslims against the Roman Empire.

The previous encounter with the Byzantine forces at Mutah was still fresh in the minds of the Muslims who showed some reluctance in joining this campaign. The Prophet finally prepared an army of thirty thousand men and marched towards Syria. After reaching Tabuk, the Prophet stayed there a few days and not finding any signs of the enemy, returned to Medinah. The journey took the Muslim army about two and a half months and was the last campaign undertaken by the Holy Prophet in his life.

After his return from. Tabuk, a large number of deputations from various tribes and states came to Medinah to offer their allegiance to the Prophet. They came from Oman, Hadramawt, Harridan, Kindah, Bahrain, Yamamah and many other provinces of Arabia. In fact so remarkable was the movement of these deputations towards Medinah that the ninth year of the Hijrah is known as the "Year of Deputations"

THE FAREWELL PILGRIMAGE AND
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT

In the year 632 A.D., the Holy Prophet felt that his mission was nearing completion, and understanding that the end of his life was near; he decided to make a farewell pilgrimage to Mecca. After completing the various ceremonies of the Hajj, the Prophet addressed the people gathered there from the top of the Mount of Mercy, in the Plain of Arafat:

"O people, listen to my words; for I do not know if I shall be among you after this year. Remember that you have to appear before your Lord Who will demand from you an account of all your actions.

"O people, you have rights over your wives and your wives have rights over you. Remember, you must always treat your wives with kindness. Woman is weak and cannot protect her own rights. When you married, God appointed you the trustees of those rights. You brought your wives to your homes under the Law of God. You must not, therefore, insult the trust which God has placed in your hands.

"O people feed your slaves as you feed yourselves and clothe your slaves as you clothe yourselves. If they commit a fault which you are unable to forgive, then pass them on to someone else. They are part of God's creation and are not to be harshly treated.

"O people, listen to my words, and remember that all Muslims are brothers one of another. As you are one brotherhood, you will not take your brother's belongings which he does not give you of his own goodwill. And guard yourself against committing injustice.

"O people, take note that I trample under foot all un-Islamic customs and traditions. All blood feuds are wiped out. As God has made you one brotherhood, so be not divided. An Arab has no superiority over a non Arab, nor a non Arab over an Arab; nor is a white one to be preferred to a dark one, nor a dark one to a white one. This day, retaliation for all murders committed in the days of ignorance is cancelled and all sums of interest are remitted.

"O people, worship your Lord, observe Prayer, observe the Fast during Ramadhan, pay the Zakat cheerfully, perform the Pilgrimage, and obey those in authority among you; God will admit you to His paradise"

And he concluded:

"What I have said to you, you shall tell the others who are not present"

With these words the Prophet finished his address when a revelation came to him:

"This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed upon you my favour and have chosen for you Islam as Religion (5:4)

This is believed to be the last revelation received by the Holy Prophet and with it the process of Quranic revelations, spanning a period of twenty two years, came to a close.

THE PROPHET'S ILLNESS

Two months after returning from the farewell pilgrimage, the Holy Prophet fell ill. One day, after having led the Prayer, he addressed the people present in the mosque. He said, "There is a slave among the slaves of God to whom God has offered the choice between this world and that which is with Him. And the slave has chosen that which is with God." When Abu Bakr heard these words, he began to weep; for he understood that the Holy Prophet was speaking of himself and that the choice he referred to was his imminent death. The Holy Prophet continued, "O people, the most beneficent of men unto me in companionship and generosity has been Abu Bakr; and if I were to select from all mankind an inseparable friend, he would be Abu Bakr. But real companionship and brotherhood is ours when God unites us all in His presence".

When the Prophet became so ill that he could not even come to the mosque, he asked that Abu Bakr lead the daily Prayers. Hazrat A'isha knew that her father was very sensitive and prone to weeping and would be greatly distressed taking the Prophet's place. She, therefore, suggested Omar's name instead. But the Holy Prophet insisted that it be Abu Bakr.

One day the Prophet was feeling a little better so he asked to be taken to the mosque. Ibne Abbas and Ali supported him from each side and, with his feet dragging on the ground, took him to the mosque. Abu Bakr had already started leading the Prayer. As Ibne Abbas and Ali took the Prophet to the front row, the people tried to give Abu Bakr a hint by clapping their hands. Abu Bakr, however, was too engrossed in the Prayer and did not take any notice. Finally he became aware of the Prophet's presence behind him and wanted to move back. The Prophet, however, indicated to him to continue leading the Prayer and asked lab Abbas and Ali to put him down next to Abu Bakr. The Prayer then continued in such a manner that Abu Bakr was following the Holy Prophet seated next to him while the people behind were following Abu Bakr. After the Prayer was over the Prophet asked Abu Bakr why he didn't continue leading the Prayer after he was asked to do so. Abu Bakr replied, "How dare the son of Abu Qahafa lead the Prayer in the presence of the Messenger of God."

As the Prophet's illness advanced, he requested his wives to allow him to spend his last days with A'isha, to which they all agreed. One day Fatimah, his daughter, came to see him. A'isha saw the Holy Prophet whisper something in Hazrat Fatimah's ear, upon which Fatimah began to cry. Then he whispered something else in her ear, which made her smile through her tears. When A'isha queried Fatimah on what the Holy Prophet was whispering to her, she answered that it was a secret not to be divulged. Much later, she told A'isha that the Holy Prophet had informed her that he was going to die in that illness and this had made her cry. Then the Holy Prophet told her that she, Fatimah, would be the first from the Prophet's house to join him, and this had cheered her up.

The Prophet's Mosque in Medinah was adjacent to his residence. One day the Prophet stood by the window and looked outside at the Muslims getting ready to say their Fajr Prayers behind Abu Bakr. The people looked at the Holy Prophet's face and waited for him to join them. He smiled at them and indicated with his hand for Abu Bakr to go ahead with the Prayer. That was the last time the Muslims saw their Prophet's face; that day at noon, the Holy Prophet passed away. On June 8, 632 A.D., the Holy Prophet was buried and thus ended the glorious career of the Prophet of Islam, the greatest man of Arabia, indeed of the whole world.

When Omar was told of the Prophet's death, he did not believe it. He always thought that the Holy Prophet was going to outlive all of them. He, therefore, proceeded to the mosque and started telling the people that the Prophet was merely absent in spirit and will return soon.

When Abu Bakr heard the sad news, he went straight to his daughter A'isha's house and drew back the cloak which covered the Prophet's face. He looked at the face of his departed friend and then bent down and kissed it. "Dearer than my father and mother," he said, "thou hast tasted the death which God decreed for thee. Thou art too precious with the Lord for another death to befall thee."

After this, Abu Bakr went out where Omar was still addressing the people. He asked Omar to be quiet but Omar paid no attention. Finally Abu Bakr started to speak to the people himself:

"O people, whosoever worships Muhammad, let him then know that Muhammad is dead. But whosoever worships God, let him know that the Lord is living and does not die"

Abu Bakr then recited the following Quranic verses which were revealed after the Battle of Uhud:

"And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, Messengers have passed away before. If then he dies or is slain, will you non back on your heels?" (3:145)

Hazrat Abu Bakr's words put a hush on the crowd. Omar himself was astounded. When realization finally sank in that the Holy Prophet was really dead, his legs could not carry him and Omar fell to the ground.

The Holy Prophet's body was bathed and laid out in the chamber of A'isha where he had died. Next morning, the inhabitants of Medinah came and visited it, praying over his remains. Abu Bakr and Omar entered the chamber and prayed as follows:

"Peace be upon thee, O Prophet of God, and mercy from the Lord and His blessing. We bear witness that the Prophet of God has delivered the Message revealed to him; has fought in the way of God until God gave his religion victory; has fulfilled his words, has drawn us to himself, and been kind and tenderhearted towards the believers; has sought no recompense for delivering the Faith to us, neither has he sold it for a price at any time."

In the evening, the final rites were performed and the body was buried in a grave dug in A'isha's chamber, at the same place where the Prophet had breathed his last. Later on, when Abu Bakr died, he was buried in the same chamber and, in due time, Omar as well. Thus was fulfilled a dream of A'isha that three moons fell, one after another, into her chamber.

WIVES OF THE HOLY PROPHET

1. HAZRAT KHADIJAH (Marriage: 595 A.D.)

A fairly well to do lady of Mecca, Khadijah was twice widowed, and fifteen years his senior, when she married the Prophet Muhammad. Her former husbands were named Abu Halah and Ateek.

Her marriage with the Holy Prophet lasted twenty five years fifteen years before and ten years after the beginning of his prophetic mission. As long as the Holy Prophet was married to Khadijah, he did not take any other wife.

Khadijah died about two years before the Hijrah when the Holy Prophet was fifty years old. She was buried in Mecca. Khadijah was the Prophet's only wife who bore him children that lived past infancy.

The Prophet's love and regard for Khadijah was so great that even after her death the manner in which he remembered her often made even the likes of A'isha very jealous. On one occasion Khadijah's younger sister, Halah came to visit the Holy Prophet. When he heard her voice he became startled and remarked:

"It must be Halah; her voice is so much like Khadijah's."

At this A'isha could no longer control herself and remarked:

"How come, you always think of the old woman who is dead, while God has given you better wives?"

The Holy Prophet replied:

"It is not so. When people rejected me she stood by me; when people disbelieved, she believed and accepted Islam; when I had no support, she helped me."

2. HAZRAT SAUDAH (Marriage: 620 A.D.)

Saudah held the distinction of being the first lady the Holy Prophet married after the death of Khadijah. At the time of her marriage to the Holy Prophet Saudah was a widow of nearly fifty years of age. The name of her former husband was Sakran who was an early convert to Islam. Both of them had migrated to Abyssinia but had returned to Mecca about the time Khadijah died. Very soon afterwards Sakran died, leaving Saudah a widow.

At the time of Khadijah's death, two younger daughters of the Holy Prophet Umm al Kalthum and Fatimah were still young and unmarried. At the suggestion of the wife of one of his Companions, the Holy Prophet married Saudah to be relieved of domestic worry.

The marriage took place in Mecca, a few months after Khadijah's death. When the Holy Prophet migrated to Medinah, Saudah also joined him there. She died in 22 A.H. during the Khilafat of Omar.

3. HAZRAT A'ISHA (Marriage: 622 A.D.)

A'isha was the daughter of Abu Bakr and his wife Zaynab (Umm Roman). At the time of the Prophet's marriage to Saudah, the name of A'isha was also brought to his attention. But A'isha was then engaged to Jubayr bin Mutim. Later on Jubayr who had not embraced Islam broke the engagement due to Abu Bakr's close companionship with the Holy Prophet.

After her engagement with Jubayr was dissolved, the Holy Prophet married A'isha with Abu Bakr performing the "nikah" ceremony. The marriage, however, was not consummated till after the Prophet's migration to Medinah.

A'isha spent nine years with the Holy Prophet and died in 57 A.H., at the age of sixty six years. She was buried in the graveyard in Medinah, known as Janna-tul-Baqih.

A'isha was very dear to the Holy Prophet not only because of her youthfulness but also because of her intelligence, quick wittedness and piety. More than one quarter of all the Ahadith quoted by the great compilers of the Prophet's Traditions are narrated by Hazrat A'isha.

4. HAZRAT HAFSAH (Marriage: 624 A.D.)

Hafsah was the daughter of Omar bin Khattab. The Holy Prophet married her in the third year of the Hijrah, soon after her former husband, Khumays, died of wounds sustained in the Battle of Badr.

Hafsah was a very learned lady, and the standard text of the Holy Quran, in the sequence laid down by the Holy Prophet, was kept in her custody.

Hazrat Hafsah died in 45 A.H., at the age of sixty and was buried in the Janna-tul-Baqih.

5. HAZRAT ZAYNAB BINT KHUZAYMAH (Marriage: 625 A.D.)

Zaynab was first married to Tufayl bin Harith who had divorced her. She then married Abdullah bin Hajash who became a martyr in the Battle of Uhud. In consideration of her bereavement, several Muslims offered to marry her but she declined them all. However, when the Holy Prophet proposed to her she accepted the honour. The marriage took place soon after the Battle of Uhud, in 3 A.H. She was thirty years old at the time.

Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, however, did not live long and died within two or three months after her marriage. Besides Khadijah, Zaynab bint Khuzaymah was the only other wife of the Holy Prophet who died within his lifetime. The funeral prayer was performed by the Holy Prophet himself, and Zaynab was buried in the Janna tul-Baqih.

5. HAZRAT UMM SALMAH (Marriage: 626 A.D.)

Her real name was Hind and she was the daughter of Suhayl and Atikah. She was fast married to Abdullah bin Abdul Asad who had taken the "kunniyat" of Abu Salmah.

Both Umm Salmah and her husband had embraced Islam in the early years of the Prophet's mission and were also among the first emigrants to Abyssinia. Later on they returned to Mecca and after the Holy Prophet's migration to Medinah, followed him there.

Abu Salmah suffered some bad wounds in the Battle of Uhud and eventually succumbed to blood poisoning some eight months later. Umm Salmah was a mature lady with four children when she became a widow.

When the Holy Prophet proposed to her, she initially made some excuses regarding her advanced age and having many children but later on accepted the honour. They were married around 4 5 A.H.

Umm Salmah died in 63 A.H., at the age of eighty four, and was the last of the Prophet's surviving wives. She was buried in the Janna-tul-Baqih, alongside the Holy Prophet's other wives.

7. HAZRAT JOWA'RIAH (Marriage: 626A.D.)

Formerly known as Barrah, Juwayriah was the daughter of Harith, the Chief of the Banu Musta'liq tribe. She was married to Musafi who lost his life fighting against the Muslims in the Expedition of Banu Musta'liq, in the fifth year of the Hijrah.

With the defeat of the Banu Musta'liq, a large amount of booty and prisoners of war came into the hands of the Muslims. Juwayriah fell to the lot of a warrior who demanded as ransom quantity of gold beyond her means to pay. She then came to the Holy Prophet beseeching him for help. He offered to marry her to which she, as well as her master, agreed. She was about twenty years old at the time.

When the Muslim warriors learned of this marriage, they freed all captives of the Banu Musta'liq clan since they had all now become relatives of the Holy Prophet by virtue of his marriage to Juwayriah.

Juwayriah died in 50 A.H., at the age of sixty five. She was also buried in the Janna-tul-Baqih in Medinah.


8. HAZRAT ZAYNAB BINT JAHSH (Marriage: 626 A.D.)

Zaynab was the daughter of Umaymah, a sister of the Prophet's father Abdullah and thereby a cousin of the Holy Prophet. She belonged to the noble clan of Hashim and was proud of this fact.

When the Prophet launched his drive for Islamic brotherhood and tried to remove all signs of racial and ethnic superiority, he arranged the marriage of his cousin Zaynab to his freed slave, Zayd.

Zaynab, however, could never get adjusted to the idea of marrying a freed slave and her marriage with Zayd eventually led to a divorce due to mutual incompatibility.

Since the Holy Prophet had been responsible for arranging her marriage and had guaranteed her upkeep, he decided to marry her himself. Zaynab was about thirty eight years old at the time and the marriage took place in the fifth year of the Hijrah.

Zaynab was the most generous of the Holy Prophet's wives and used to give away most of her annual stipend to the poor. Before his death the Holy Prophet once remarked to his wives:

"The first to join me among you is the one with the longest hand."

The Prophet's wives took the hint literally and started comparing the lengths of their hands. It was after the death of Zaynab that the other wives realized that the Holy Prophet's words actually alluded to the person's generosity. Zaynab died in 20 A.H., at the age of fifty-three.

9. HAZRAT UMME HABIBAH (Marriage: 628 A.D.)

Her real name was Ramlah and she was the daughter of Abu Sufyan, a staunch enemy of the Holy Prophet. She had married Ubaydullah bin Jahsh and both had embraced Islam in the early days of the Prophet's mission. To avoid the persecution of the Muslims in Mecca, both Umm Habibah and her husband went to Abyssinia with the Second Emigration of the Muslims to that country.

On reaching Abyssinia, her husband converted to Christianity while Umm Habibah remained steadfast in her faith. After his conversion, Ubaydullah separated from his wife and later on died.

In the seventh year of the Hijrah, the Holy Prophet sent his envoy from Medinah to Negus, King of Abyssinia, asking for Umm Habibah's hand in marriage. Negus conveyed the Prophet's proposal to Umm Habibah to which she readily consented. Negus himself presided over the marriage ceremony and afterwards sent Umm Habibah to Medinah under proper escort. At the time of her marriage to the Holy Prophet, Umm Habibah was about thirty sin years of age.

Umm Habibah died in 44 A.H. at the age of seventy three and was buried in the Janna tul-Baqih in Medinah.

10. HAZRAT SAFIYAH (Marriage: 628 A.D.)

Her real name was Zaynab and she was the daughter of Haiy bin Akhtab, a chieftain of the Banu Nadir tribe of the Jews. The Banu Nadir had been expelled from Medinah after the Battle of Uhud and had settled down at Khyber.

Safiyah's first marriage to Sallam bin Mishkan ended in divorce. She then married Kinanah, a Jewish warrior at Khyber. During the Battle of Khyber her husband and father were both killed and Safiyah, along with other women, was captured. In deference to her status among her own people, the Holy Prophet released her and invited her to embrace Islam. The Holy Prophet then asked for her hand in marriage, to which she readily agreed. She was about eighteen years old at the time.

Being of Jewish origin and an outsider, Safiyah often received a discriminatory treatment from the Holy Prophet's other wives. Once A'isha called her a "shrimp" on account of her short stature. The Holy Prophet overheard the remark and said to A'isha:

"A'isha, you have said a word which, if dropped in the sea, would pollute the whole water."

On another occasion A'isha and Zaynab teased Safiyah regarding their ethnic superiority by saying that they were not only the Prophet's wives but were also related to him. When Safiyah complained about this to the Holy Prophet, he said:

"Safiyah, why didn't you reply saying that your father was Aaron, your uncle Moses and your husband is Muhammad; so how can they be superior to you?"

Safiyah died in 50 A.H., at the age of sixty one and was buried in the Janna tul-Baqih.

11. HAZRAT MAIMOONAH (Marriage: 629 A.D.)

Maimoonah was the daughter of Harith of the Hawazin tribe and a sister in law of the Prophet's uncle, Abbas. She first married Masood bin Amr who divorced her. She then married Abu Rahm who died soon after.

On the suggestion of Abbas, the Holy Prophet married Maimoonah, after the three day pilgrimage in the seventh year of the Hijrah. The Holy Prophet wanted to have the marriage ceremony in Mecca and invite the Quraysh, but the Meccans did not allow him to stay in the city more than the three days agreed upon in the Treaty of Hudaybiya. The marriage ceremony, therefore, took place at Sarif, north of Mecca, and was performed by Abbas. Maimoonah was about thirty years old at the time.

Maimoonah died in 50 A.H., at the age of seventy three and was buried at Sarif, according to her will. Besides Khadijah, Maimoonah is the only wife of the Holy Prophet who was not buried in the Janna tul Baqih in Medinah.

12. HAZRAT MARIAH QIBTIAH (Marriage: 629 A.D.)

After the Treaty of Hudaybiya, the Holy Prophet sent his envoys to various kings and rulers inviting them to embrace Islam. One of the recipients of these envoys was Muqauqis, the Ruler of Egypt. Muqauqis did not embrace Islam but, very diplomatically, sent some presents to the Holy Prophet including two Coptic maidens named Mariah and Sirin.

Both these girls embraced Islam. Mariah was taken into marriage by the Holy Prophet while Sirin, her sister, was married to a Companion of the Prophet. The marriage of Mariah took place in the seventh or eighth year of the Hijrah.

Mariah held the distinction of being the only wife, other than Khadijah, to bear the Holy Prophet a child, a son by the name of Ibrahim. This son, however, died in the tenth year of the Hijrah when he was only eighteen months old.

Mariah herself did not live long and died five years later. She was buried in the Janna-tul-Baqih graveyard.



A NOTE ON THE BATTLES FOUGHT DURING THE LIFE OF THE HOLY PROPHET

Much criticism is raised against Islam today, attributing its rapid spread to the use of sword and physical compulsion. This however, is not borne out by historical facts.

For the first fourteen years of his twenty two year prophetic career, the Holy Prophet passively bore all sorts of persecutions and aggressions afflicted upon him. And when finally the permission to fight was granted by God (22:39) the Holy Prophet fought only in self defense or to check the enemy's war preparations or to establish peace in the area.

It should be noted that during the eight year period from the Battle of Badr to the Campaign of Tabuk, the total number of battle casualties in the whole of Arabia was only about 1250. Of these about 250 were Muslims and about 1000 non Muslims. These are extremely small numbers even by the standards of those days, and put the degree of warfare carried out by the Muslims in its proper perspective.


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