In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Ever Merciful.
Love for All, Hatred for None.
In this book, the author combines his knowledge of the subject with nineteen years of teaching experience to produce a collection of stories about famous Muslims, supplementing such stories with a brief introduction about Islam.
The stories make compelling reading matter for both young and old. They give an insight to the simple lives led by the early Muslims and show how such people sacrificed their lives, property, and honour for the sake of their faith and thus became popularly known as martyrs or heroes. The reader has been saved from trouble of sifting facts from myths in order to present the truth in its barest form: these are true stories.
All true stories have a moral and the collection in this book are no exception. We learn how companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, underwent various trials and how a firm belief in the powers of the Almighty helped them overcome the enemies.
Children will welcome this book and will want to read it again and again. They love stories as they present a logical sequence of events, providing an accurate description of various characters and inspire them to model themselves along the footsteps of a famous hero. All parents are urged to encourage this experience in order to mould the character of the present generation who have a tremendous lot to learn from the past and upon whom we have high hopes for the future.
Indeed this is a most useful book to have in any library.
B. A. Rafiq
The religion preached and practised by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), is known as Islam not Mohammadanism, as some of the Western writers have called it. This name 'Islam' was given to this religion by God Himself. We read in the Holy Quran, "This day, I have perfected for you, your religion, and completed My favour on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion." (5:3)
There is no other religion which can claim that its name was given by God. It is the followers of each religion, who selected its name. The verse of the Holy Quran quoted above also tells us that Islam is a perfect religion.
'Islam' is an Arabic word which means 'peace'. It also means complete submission, i.e. complete submission to the Will of God. Hence peace with God and peace with fellow-beings, and submission to God, is the essence of Islam.
Those who accept Islam as their faith are Muslims, which would mean peaceful and submissive people. A Muslim, therefore, in submission to the Will of God, has to devote his life in establishing peace on earth.
A Muslim believes in:
Islam is a great bounty of God. It is a blessing not only for Muslims but for the whole of mankind. It safeguards men against all social evils.
Drugs, liquor and all other intoxicants are totally forbidden in Islam. Gambling is not allowed. Eating of the flesh of swine is not permitted. All these are harmful to us and to society. The lending of money on interest is also forbidden as it tends to accumulate wealth within a narrow circle and is otherwise harmful in its effects.
Islamic doctrine has five aspects which are known as the five pillars of Islam. They are as follows:
Whenever darkness spreads in the world, when people drift away from the true path which leads to God, when they turn their backs on Divine guidance, a Prophet is sent by Al-mighty God to bring them close to Him again. This was the case with the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Before his advent, almost all the Arabs were idol worshippers. It is said that in the Ka'aba alone there were three hundred and sixty idols. The rest of the world was in no better shape. The prevalent faiths had entered upon a period of decay and their followers exhibited none of the virtues taught to them. In Arabia, drinking and gambling were common practices. Women in Arab society had no status and no rights. Putting to death of female children was practised among some families. It was among such people that the Holy Prophet of Islam was born.
He was born at Mecca in Arabia in 570 A.D. Mecca was a trading centre where caravans stopped on their way from Syria to Yemen and to the far east. It was also regarded as a holy place because of the Ka'aba, a building which stood in the centre of the city. The Ka'aba, according to the Holy Quran, is the first House of worship that was established on earth. People from all parts of Arabia used to come to Mecca to pay a visit to this House. There was also a holy well called 'Zamzam' close to the Ka'aba.
Hazrat Muhammad belonged to a noble family of Arabia called Qureish. His father's name was Abdullah and his mother's Amina. His father died a few months before he was born and he lost his mother when he was six. He was left in the care of his grandfather, Abdul Mutalib. Two years later his grandfather also died. Thereafter, he was brought up by his uncle Abu Talib.
Trade was the main occupation of the people of Arabia in those days. When Muhammad grew up, he was employed by Khadija, a rich widow of Mecca, as her trade agent. She was very impressed by his honesty and offered him her hand in marriage. Khadija at the time of marriage was forty years old, while he was only twenty-five.
From his childhood, Hazrat Muhammad was content, quiet and given to reflection and meditation. He took no part in quarrels and rivalries, rather he tried to put an end to them. He was pious, truthful and honest so much so that he was given the titles of 'The truthful one' and 'Trusted one', by the people. As he grew up, he was greatly concerned with the vices and ills of the society in which he lived.
He loved solitude and used to retire for meditation to a hollow in Mount Hira, a few miles out of Mecca. At the age of forty he received revelation from God that he had been appointed a Prophet whose duty it was to reform mankind. He was meditating in that hollow when he heard a voice commanding him to recite. He was much perturbed. He replied that he did not know how to recite. The voice insisted and so Muhammad began to recite as he was directed. This was a new experience for him. He was full of anxiety because of the responsibility which God was about to place on him. He went home immediately and related the incident to his wife.
She said to him, "You are kind and considerate to your relations. You help the poor and bear their burden. You try to restore the virtues that have disappeared. You honour the guests and help those who are in difficulty. Surely God will never let you fail." She suggested that they should go to her cousin Waraqa bin Nauful, a Christian hermit and consult him.
Waraqa heard the account that Hazrat Muhammad gave him and said, "I am sure the angel that descended on Moses has descended on you. I wish I would be alive to give you my support when your people will turn you out."
"Will they turn me out?" asked the Prophet in surprise. The Christian hermit said, "Never has that come to any, which has come to you, but his people have turned against him."
When the Holy Prophet started his Divine mission, he was opposed by all except a few. The majority of the people rejected him and laughed at him. Every effort was made to stop the message of Islam. He and his followers were persecuted, so much so that they had to leave Mecca and migrate to a town called Yathrab, two hundred miles north of Mecca. The people of Yathrab accepted Islam in large numbers and so it became the first Muslim city and was thereafter known as Medina-tul-Nabi (Medina for short), meaning the city of the Prophet.
When Meccans saw that Islam was prospering in Medina, they decided to destroy it by force. They attacked the city several times, but were defeated each time. These hostilities extended over several years. At last a truce was agreed upon and a treaty was signed by the Muslims and the Meccans at a placed called Hudaibya. Within two years the Meccans broke the treaty. The Holy Prophet was therefore forced to march upon Mecca. With ten thousand of his followers he went to Mecca. The helpless Meccans surrendered and he entered the city victorious.
During the life-time of the Holy Prophet, Islam had spread throughout Arabia. He died at Medina at the age of 63, and was buried there.
Islam lays great stress upon Divine worship. Indeed it is regarded as the purpose of man's creation. The object of worship is to strengthen man's relationship with God. In the Holy Quran God says:
"Call on Me, I will respond to you." (40:61)
In Islamic form of worship, an intermediary is not needed. A man prays to God and seeks to establish communion with Him. He prays with a firm belief that no sincere prayer is in vain. In Islam, it is a great sin to worship any other besides God. Allah alone has the power to answer prayers, so we should ask each and every thing from Him.
Islamic worship may be divided into two categories:
Islam prescribes five daily Prayer Services, called 'Salat' at appointed times. They are as follows:
Fajr Prayer ........................................ At Dawn
Zuhr Prayer ........................................ At Noon
Asr Prayer ................................ In the Afternoon
Maghrib Prayer ................................ After Sunset
Isha Prayer ................................. In the Evening
The Islamic Prayer is quite different from those prescribed in other religions. It has both an individual and a collective part. All Prayer services are led by an Imam. There is no Priesthood in Islam. Any person who has some religious knowledge can lead the Prayer service. Generally, he is chosen for his piety and learning. If there are only two Muslims, one of them leads the Prayer. A man can lead the Prayer in his house with members of his family following him, but if a person is alone and can find no one with whom he can join in Prayer, he can perform it by himself.
On Fridays there is a special service called 'Salat-ul-Juma', which is performed in place of the Zuhr Prayer. In this service the Imam delivers a sermon before the Prayer. Although a Muslim may say his Prayers anywhere, in homes, in the open, or even on board a ship or train, he should say them as a member of the congregation in a mosque.
Before each Prayer, Azan (Call to Prayer) is called. The one who calls out the Azan is called a 'Muezzin'. He stands on a raised platform or on a minaret, with his face towards the Ka'aba and makes the announcement, the translation of which is as follows:
'Allah is the Greatest; Allah is the Greatest
Allah is the Greatest; Allah is the Greatest
I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship save Allah
I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship save Allah
I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah
I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah
Come to Prayer; Come to Prayer
Come to Success; Come to Success
Allah is the Greatest; Allah is the Greatest
There is none worthy of worship save Allah.'
Hearing this call a Muslim leaves his work and comes to the mosque. He performs ablution i.e. washes his face, hands and feet in the prescribed manner.
In the mosque there are no seats nor are there any places reserved for anybody, except that the Imam stands in front of the congregation with his face turned towards the Ka'aba. Behind him people stand in rows facing the same direction. All are equal in the house of Allah regardless of rank, office, colour or race. These gatherings are not mixed. Women stand separately from men. Everyone has to follow the Imam as he goes through various postures. The different postures are standing, bowing, prostration and sitting.
The Muslims gather for Divine worship in the simplest possible manner. No music, choir, or congregational singing is permitted in the Prayers. Conversation of any kind is also prohibited. There are no images, pictures or paintings in a mosque. All these are prohibited because they distract attention from Prayer.
In addition to the prescribed Services, Muslims offer prayers and devote themselves silently to the remembrance of God during the course of the day even when their hands may be otherwise occupied, or when walking or riding.
Fasting is another form of worship. A Fast means abstention from food and drink from dawn to sunset for the pleasure of God. The Islamic Fast is different from the Fasts prescribed in other religions. For example, Hindus and Christians are permitted to eat certain kinds of food during the period of their Fasts, while a Muslim does not eat or drink anything from dawn to sunset. So it goes on for thirty days, throughout Ramadan, the month in which the Quran was first revealed to the Holy Prophet.
Another form of worship is known as Zakat. It is a compulsory levy imposed on certain types of possessions and wealth. Muslims who possess for one complete year, cash or goods, beyond a minimum, pay Zakat according to a specified rate, which on the average, works out at 2.5% of the capital value of the form of wealth on which it is assessed. The proceeds of Zakat are distributed among the poorer sections of the community.
Haj, or the Pilgrimage to Mecca is another form of Islamic worship. It is obligatory upon all Muslims who can afford the journey to perform Haj at least once in their life-time. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims from all parts of the world gather at Mecca to perform this worship every year, during the prescribed days.
There are two Muslim festivals. One is called 'Eid-ul-Fitr', a festival at the end of the month of Fasting. A congregational service is held at convenient places where large numbers gather for the Service, and the Imam delivers a sermon.
The second festival is called 'Eid-ul-Adha', the festival of sacrifice. It is celebrated in memory of the readiness of Hazrat Ibrahim to sacrifice his only son Hazrat Ismail, as he conceived God had commanded him. An extra Service is held in the forenoon in which a sermon is delivered. On this day those Muslims who can afford to slaughter an animal, do so after the Prayer, as a sacrifice.
The word 'Quran' literally means that which is recited, announced or proclaimed. It is the collection of the verbal revelation bestowed upon the Prophet during a period of about 22 years and is the very word of God. The first revelation comprising only a few verses, was revealed to the Holy Prophet on the mount of Hira. Thereafter, it continued until his death. Whenever any portion of the Quran was revealed to him, he committed it to memory. Many of his followers did the same as they heard it. Some of them even wrote the verses on anything available like pieces of leather, bark of trees or stones. In order to safeguard it, the Prophet had also appointed several persons who recorded in writing as soon as a revelation was received.
The Holy Quran is the book most often recited and quoted throughout the world. It is obligatory for every Muslim to participate in five Prayer Services during the day. The greater part of these prayers is composed of portions of the Holy Quran. Thus a Muslim recites a portion of the Holy Book every day. In addition most of them start their day with a recitation from it.
During the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr, the first Khalifa, it was decided to collect the whole Quran in one volume. Zaid bin Thabit, a prominent Companion of the Holy Prophet was appointed for this purpose. He took great care to compile it in the form of a book, the sequence of which had been laid down by the Holy Prophet himself.
During the time of the third Khalifa, Hazrat Osman, the work was completed and an official version of the Holy Quran was issued. Seven copies were made, which were then sent to different parts of the Muslim world. These seven became the standard texts from which other copies were made.
All Muslims learn to read the Holy Quran in Arabic, even if that may not be their own language. Almost every Muslim knows some chapters of the Book by heart and in each generation there are hundreds of thousands of people who can recite the whole Book from beginning to end from memory.
The Holy Quran has been translated into all the major languages of the world and the work continues to be carried on. The Quran has 114 chapters, called 'Suras'. Each chapter, except the ninth begins with the invocation 'In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful'.
The Holy Quran is the only book in the world which claims that every word contained in it is from God, and that He has taken upon Himself the responsibility of preserving the purity of the text in all ages. This has been demonstrated throughout the history. The text of the Quran has continued without any alteration or modification.
A Muslim has to believe not only in the Quran but also in all the Books sent by God to previous Prophets from time to time. Unfortunately, none of the previous Books retained its original text intact.
In the Holy Quran, mention has been made of Adam, Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon, Jesus and several other Biblical Prophets (Peace be upon them all). They are honoured as true Messengers of God. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is described as a model of righteousness. According to the Holy Quran, Jesus was a Prophet of God, and not a Divine being as believed by Christians.
The Holy Quran condemns the notion of Trinity or the association of anything or any one else, with God as His partner. It teaches that there is only one God, whose substantive name is Allah, and that the worst sin is to associate any other being with Him.
The Holy Quran stresses the equality of mankind. It is the first book which teaches that mankind is one community. It recognises the divisions between people into tribes and sub-tribes, but explains that these divisions are meant for better social communication. The only badge of honour is a person's righteousness. It lays down that no nation, tribe or race is superior to others.
The Holy Quran teaches that worship does not merely mean that a man should concentrate upon and offer homage to God but also consists in serving fellow human beings.
It seeks to bring about the equitable adjustment in the distribution of wealth through Zakat, alms and charity.
It determines the duties and rights of the State and its members. It discusses in detail the code of conduct in times of war and peace, the international relations and treaties.
It teaches man to lead a simple life, to be honest, kind and truthful in dealings. It prohibits anything that has a tendency to incite people to folly and irresponsible behaviour. Hence it puts a ban on all intoxicants and gambling, etc.
The Holy Quran refutes vehemently the theory of hereditary sin put forward by Christianity. It says that every child is sinless when he is born.
The Holy Quran contains several prophecies relating to later times, some of which have already been fulfilled. For example, it prophecied about the time when quicker means of conveyance would be used. It also mentioned about the extension of the earth, a prophecy which is fulfilled in a way when man set his foot on the moon. It claims that all heavenly bodies revolve round in different orbits. Even the sun is moving towards a definite goal.
Another prophecy contained in the Holy Quran is about Pharaoh. It was revealed that when Pharaoh was drowned, his body was saved and was preserved so that it should serve as a sign for future generations. This incident is mentioned only in the Holy Quran. The Bible and other authentic records of that time are silent on this.
The prophecy was confirmed in 1909 when the body of this particular Pharaoh was discovered and identified which established the fact that after he was drowned his dead body was recovered, embalmed and preserved.
The Holy Quran provides a solution for every problem of the world. It is a Book of guidance for the people of all ages.
The life of no other Teacher or Prophet is so well recorded as the life of the Prophet of Islam. No sooner he was dead, than his followers began to collect the sayings or statements made by or about the Prophet. A detailed account of his life has thus been handed down to us, so that we have a complete picture of every aspect of his life. Such was the love and devotion that the Messenger of Allah inspired in the minds and hearts of his followers that they eagerly watched his every movement and gesture, and hung upon every word and phrase he uttered. The faithful transmission of all that the beloved Prophet had said and the detailed description of all that he did and the manner of his doing it, became a most praise-worthy practice, and soon there developed a whole science of Tradition. From these Traditions, a modest attempt is made here to draw a pen picture of the Prophet, as he appeared to those among whom he moved as an intimate, affectionate companion, councellor, comrade and friend. Let us see what sort of man he really was?
We know what he looked like. He was a man of medium height, well built. His hair was black, inclined towards curliness. His complexion was fair and bright. He had a broad forehead. His beard was full. He walked briskly bending forward slightly and stepping out.
He spoke clearly and deliberately, so that those present could follow him easily and remember what he said. He used to repeat three times to ensure that his meaning was fully grasped. The nicest thing about him was his smile.
He treated all very kindly. He was particularly good with children. He shared in people's little joys and griefs. He was truthful, gentle and courteous. He was extremely simple in matters of food and drink. He never drank wine but liked a cup of milk. He liked honey with his barley bread. He usually dined off a handful of dates.
His clothes were simple and had many patches on it. He despised the pomp of royalty. When he had become the ruler of Medina, his life was much the same. He used to mend his shoes and clothes himself. The only luxury he allowed himself was the perfume, which he loved much. He loved cleanliness and inculcated this in his followers.
One thing more may be noted about him, his kindness to animals. In this he was exceptional. On one occasion he saw a donkey which had been branded on the face. He inquired the reason for this and was told that it was done for the purpose of identifying well-bred animals. He was very displeased and forbade the branding of animals on the face, as it was a very sensitive part of the body. He said that in future, animals should be branded on their legs, if at all it had to be done.
On another occasion he saw somebody who had caught the young ones of a dove. He told him to set them free and not to torture the mother.
Another thing of great importance which the Holy Prophet taught to the people was to work with their own hands. He set his own example. He helped his wives in their household duties. He milked his own goats. He carried stones when the mosque at Medina was built. No work was too low for him.
He looked upon this world as a place in which one lived as a wayfarer. He said, 'My case is like that of a traveller who stops at noon under the shade of a tree to rest for a while, before going further on his journey.' He did not desire worldly riches and comforts.
He listened to everybody with patience. If a person treated him with impertinence he never attempted retaliation. He was ever ready to forgive people their faults and trespasses. His generosity towards his enemies has no parallel in the history of the world. When Mecca fell to Muslims and the Holy Prophet entered the city victorious, all those who had treated him and his followers most cruelly received his free pardon even without asking for it. Thirteen years of persecution were forgiven and forgotten in one single moment.
He always treated his neighbours with extreme kindness and consideration. He used to say that the angel Gabriel has emphasized consideration towards one's neighbour so often that he sometimes began to think that a neighbour would perhaps be included among the prescribed heirs.
He devoted most of his time in the worship of God. Sometimes he stood so long in Prayer that his feet would be swollen.
In fact in the words of Hazrat Aaisha, the wife of the Holy Prophet, his character was the Quran.
The Ka'aba is the first House of worship that was ever built in the world. We cannot say who built it, but we are told by God in the Holy Quran that it was rebuilt by Hazrat Ibrahim and his son Hazrat Ismail. The Ka'aba has been the centre of life in Mecca from the time it was rebuilt. People from far and near went for the pilgrimage to the House of Allah. In the days of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, all the important decisions about the affairs of the city were made in the Ka'aba. Whenever any dispute arose, the heads of the various families living in Mecca would gather there to discuss it between themselves.
Sometimes after the birth of the Holy Prophet of Islam, the Ka'aba was in a very bad state and the people of Mecca had decided to rebuild it. A dispute arose about the placing of the famous Black Stone in its place. The Black Stone has always been held in reverence because it was the Prophet Ibrahim who placed it in the Ka'aba. It is a corner stone in the south eastern angle of the wall and is placed at about four feet from the ground.
Several leading families of the Qureish tribe claimed the honour of placing the stone in position. The controversy became heated, tempers rose and threats were uttered. Some of the leaders sensed the delicate situation and feared that recourse might be had to violence if no agreement was reached. So one of them suggested that the matter should be settled by the one who would be the first to arrive at the Ka'aba. Muhammad chanced to enter the enclosure of the Ka'aba at that moment, so the dispute was referred to him.
Hazrat Muhammad listened very calmly to the claims of each party. He spread out his cloak on the ground and placed the Black Stone on it. He then invited the leaders of all the tribes to lift the cloak and carry it to the spot where it had to be put in position. When the stone was thus carried to the place, he lifted it and placed in the wall. This satisfied everybody, as each leader had been given the honour of lifting the sacred stone. Thus a dispute which had threatened bloodshed was resolved peacefully, through the sagacity of the Holy Prophet of Islam.
Long ago, people used to buy and sell men and women. Even children were bought and sold in the open market. They were called slaves and they used to work for their masters throughout their lives. Islam was the first religion to denounce slavery. The Holy prophet of Islam and his Companions always tried to buy slaves and free them. Here is a story of one such slave whose name was Zaid.
Zaid belonged to a noble family and was an intelligent young man. He was captured while in his teens in a tribal raid, and was sold from one person to another, until finally he was purchased by Khadija, a rich lady of Mecca. When Hazrat Muhammad married Khadija, she offered all her belongings including her slaves to him. He set all the slaves free, but Zaid begged him to let him continue to live with him. So Zaid remained with Muhammad and with time his attachment with him grew.
It so happened that the father and an uncle of Zaid traced him to Mecca. They came to Muhammad and asked that he should be allowed to go with them. They offered to pay as much ransom as might be demanded. Hazrat Muhammad told them that Zaid was free and that he could go wherever he liked. He sent for Zaid and showed him his father and uncle. Zaid was much pleased to see them after such a long time. He was told that his mother had remained grief-stricken all through the period of separation and was waiting eagerly for his return. They then asked him to accompany them home but Zaid refused to go. He said, "Father, who does not love his parents? My heart is full of love for you and my mother. But I love this man Muhammad so much that I cannot endure separation from him."
Both Zaid's father and his uncle tried to persuade him to return home but failed. He remained firm in his decision not to leave his gracious master, though he sent loving messages to his mother. When Hazrat Muhammad saw his devotion, he took him to the Ka'aba, and in the presence of his father and uncle declared that Zaid would henceforth be his son.
Before accepting Islam, Hazrat Umar was one of the worst enemies of the Muslims. He was a great soldier. When he saw that in spite of the strong opposition, Islam was spreading day by day, he decided to kill the Prophet in order to finish the new Faith for ever. With this vicious motive, he took a sword in hand and set out in search of the Holy Prophet. A friend met him on the way and asked him where he was going. "To kill Muhammad" replied Umar. "But don't you know that your sister Fatima and her husband have already become Muslims", said the man. Umar was greatly shocked to learn this. He decided to deal with them first before going to the Prophet.
As he reached his sister's house, he heard a recitation being made inside the house. A Muslim teacher, Khabab by name was teaching them the Holy Book. As soon as they saw Umar approaching, Hazrat Khabab hid himself. Hazrat Fatima hid the leaves on which those verses were written.
Umar faced his sister and brother-in-law and said, "I learnt that you have joined the new religion which Muhammad has brought." They tried to explain to him, to calm him down, but Umar was in no mood to listen to any explanation. He raised his sword to hit his brother-in-law, but Fatima who was standing nearby stepped in quickly to save her husband, and was injured slightly in doing so. Blood began to flow freely from her face. She looked straight into Umar's eyes and said bravely, "Yes, we are Muslims now and shall remain so. Do what you may."
Seeing the blood on his sister's face and hearing this bold reply, Umar calmed down quickly. Soon he was a changed man. He requested that the leaves of the Holy Quran, which were being read, be shown to him. Hazrat Fatima refused lest he should tear them up and throw them away. Umar promised that he would not do so. She told him to wash himself, and when he did so, he was given those leaves. Calm and cool, he began to read those verses of the Holy Quran, and in no time Truth dawned on him. He decided to become a Muslim. In the meantime Hazrat Khabab had come out of his hiding. He said "God is my witness, only yesterday, I heard the Prophet pray for the conversion of Umar or Amr bin Hisham. Your change is the result of that prayer."
Umar asked them where the Prophet was and made straight for the place, still carrying his sword in his hand. When he reached the house, where the Holy Prophet was sitting with some of his Companions, he knocked at the door. The Companions peeped through the keyhole and saw him standing with sword in hand. They hesitated to open the door. The Holy Prophet told them to open the door. Umar came in. The Prophet asked him "Umar, what brings you here?" "I have come to accept Islam", said Hazrat Umar.
The Holy Prophet and the Companions were much pleased to hear this
and all of them said with one voice 'Allah-o-Akbar', Allah is the
Greatest. Soon the news spread in the whole of Mecca. It was a severe
blow to the enemies of Islam, as Hazrat Umar was a very brave and
influential man in Mecca.
Muslims up to that time used to say their Prayers secretly behind closed doors. Now as Hazrat Umar was one of them, they decided to say their Prayers openly. Hazrat Umar has done so much for Islam, that after the death of Hazrat Abu Bakr, the first Khalifa, he was chosen as Khalifa by Muslims.
The religion of Islam made a strong appeal to the weak and the oppressed. The slaves who suffered great hardships, began to hope that the message of Islam might bring an end to slavery. Women, who were treated worse than animals began to feel that the time might come when they would be given the rights due to them in society. So a large number of the early converts came from such groups.
As the number of Muslims grew larger, the Meccans started persecuting them, thinking that it would stop the further spread of Islam. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself was no exception. His house was stoned. On many occasions, rubbish was thrown on him, as he passed by. In spite of all this opposition, the message of Islam continued to spread. Seeing this the non-believers were greatly worried. They sent a deputation to the Prophet's uncle and guardian, Abu Talib.
They said to him "You are one of our chiefs, and for your sake we have so far spared your nephew. We demand that he should refrain from saying anything against our idols. If he agrees to this, there is no dispute between us and him. If you cannot persuade him to do this, then one of two things must happen. Either you will have to give up your nephew, or all your people will give you up."
Abu Talib was much upset. He sent for the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and told him what had happened. The Prophet listened to him carefully. Tears came to his eyes. He did not like that his uncle should suffer because of him. He said, "I ask you not to give up your people. ask you nor to stand by me. God is my witness, that even if they were to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, would not desist from preaching the truth with which God has sent me."
Hearing this bold reply from his nephew, Abu Talib said, "Son of my brother, go your way. Do your duty as you see it. Let my people give me up. I'll stand by you."
There was so much opposition against the Holy Prophet in Mecca that it seemed impossible for him to preach to the Meccans. Whenever he was out in the street, abuses were hurled at him, he was ridiculed, and sometimes rubbish was thrown at him. The Prophet did not mind this sort of ill-treatment as long as he had the chance to preach, but there came a time when he could preach no longer in Mecca. So he decided to go to some other town for conveying the Divine message.
He went to Taaif, a town some sixty miles away. Zaid accompanied him on this journey. The Holy Prophet met the chiefs of the town and invited them to Islam, but they ignored his message. Neither the chiefs nor their people would listen to him. He tried to address some people at one place, but found hatred in their hearts for him, so much so, that they set vagabonds and street boys at him, who pelted him with stones and drove him out of the town. Zaid was hit by stones and was injured. The Holy Prophet was also hit and began to bleed from the injuries to his legs. They hurried away from the town but still people came after them. The chase went on until both were several miles out of Taaif.
The Holy Prophet was very sad and disappointed at the treatment he had received from the people of Taaif. They sat down at one place to take some rest. Suddenly an angel appeared and asked him, "Would you like that all those who treated you badly be destroyed?"
The Holy Prophet replied, "No, I hope that their children at least would accept Islam and worship the One, True God."
This place where he was resting, was a vineyard belonging to two Meccans. When the owners of the vineyard noticed his injuries, they felt pity for him and sent a Christian slave Addas by name, with a tray of ripe grapes to him. Addas was so moved by the sight of the Holy Prophet and was impressed with his talk that he became a Muslim. He began to kiss his head, hands and feet and asked for his blessings. The Prophet stayed for a while and then started his journey back to Mecca.
When the opponents of the Holy Prophet saw that Islam was making progress and that there was a steady increase in the number of Muslims, they were greatly provoked. They had employed all means of persecution to stop progress, as they considered Islam as a definite threat to their way of life and to their beliefs and doctrines. None was secure against persecution, not even the Prophet himself. But the worst affected were the slaves who accepted Islam. Their masters inflicted unbearable torments upon them in vain attempts to force them to renounce Islam. They were taken out during the scorching heat of the mid-day sun and were made to lie down on their bare backs on the burning sands and rocks, whilst stones were heaped on them. Boys were incited to make them victims of their cruel sport. They would tie ropes to the ankles or the neck of a slave and drag him through the streets paved with rough stones, leaving him with bruises and cuts.
As the Muslims had a strong faith, they bore all those sufferings with patience and remained steadfast. But there came a time when life was made impossible for them in Mecca. So they decided to migrate to Yathrab where Islam had spread already and Muslims were living peacefully.
Family after family left the city and made their way to Yathrab secretly. Sometimes a whole street would be emptied in the course of one night. In the morning the Meccans would see the doors locked and would realize that the residents had fled. At last the Holy Prophet and a few of his companions were left at Mecca, They were also ready to leave, waiting for God's word.
The Meccans saw this all. They did not want the Muslims to prosper in Yathrab. So all the chiefs of Mecca gathered for consultation. They decided to kill the Prophet without any further delay. In order to spread the responsibility widely, they decided to appoint one man from each tribe to do the job. They fixed a particular night for this purpose.
At this point the Prophet received God's command to leave Mecca, and it so happened that the night fixed for his departure was the one that his opponents had chosen for their evil design. Hazrat Abu Bakr, having learned from the Prophet of the decision to leave Mecca, begged for permission to accompany him. The Prophet gave his assent.
The following evening the Prophet left his home as soon as it was dark, while those who intended to kill him, were gathering round the house, and passed unnoticed. Abu Bakr also joined him and the two made their way out of the city. They went up one of the surrounding hills and took shelter in a cave called 'Thaur'. This cave had a very narrow entrance, so that a person has to lie flat and crawl into it. It was not a safe place to spend much time in as there was considerable danger from reptiles of all kinds.
In the morning when the people of Mecca learned that the Prophet had left, they sent a party in search of him. They announced that anyone who would bring him back dead or alive would receive a reward of one hundred camels. Following the footprints, they arrived at the mouth of the cave in which the Holy Prophet and Hazrat Abu Bakr had taken shelter. The tracker announced that the marks of the footsteps of the fugitives did not go any further. Therefore, they had either sunk into the earth or had risen to the sky. The whole party ridiculed him at his remarks. They did not bother to look inside the cave, as they knew that the cave was not a safe place of refuge. Who would take the risk of serious bodily harm and possibly death, from the poisonous snakes and vipers that abounded inside and around the cave?
Hazrat Abu Bakr got very much worried when he saw them standing there, at the mouth of the cave. He could hear their voices. He could even see them moving about, through a narrow opening of the cave. He whispered to the Holy Prophet his fear that they might be discovered. The Holy Prophet replied calmly, "Grieve not, we are not two only; there is a third with us, even God"
Abu Bakr was reassured. The Meccans thought that they had missed the track and returned frustrated.
The Holy Prophet and Hazrat Abu Bakr spent two nights and two days in the cave. Then they left and after a few days' journey reached Yathrab, where the Muslims gave them a warm welcome.
The Holy Prophet was naturally very sad when he was forced to leave Mecca, the city where he had been born and brought up, the only home he had known. It was the place where his forefathers had lived and died, and where he had received the Divine Call. With these thoughts in mind, he had a last look at the city and said, "Mecca, you are dearer to me than any other place on earth, but your people would not let me live here."
For two days and two nights, the Holy Prophet and Hazrat Abu Bakr remained hidden in the cave. Then they proceeded in the direction of Yathrab. Suraqa bin Malik, who had heard of the reward announced by the Qureish, was on the look-out for them. One day he spotted two mounted camels heading north. He guessed that those were the persons he was looking for. So he spurred his horse in their direction. He did not go very far when the legs of his horse sank in the sand and he fell down. He got up, took out his arrows and consulted his luck in the old Arab fashion. The arrow showed ill-luck. But the temptation of the reward was so great that he mounted his horse again and set out after the two. As he came closer, the legs of his horse sank again in the sand and he fell down. Again he consulted his arrows, and they gave the same message of ill-luck. Suraqa changed his mind. He realized that the party was under Divine protection. So he called out to them and told them of his evil intention and of his change of heart. As he was returning, the Prophet said to him, "Suraqa, how will you feel with the gold bangles of the king of Iran on your wrists?"
Suraqa was amazed to hear this prophecy. Later he accepted Islam and lived in Medina.
It so happened that during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umar, Iran and its treasures fell to Muslims, including the gold bangles which the king used to wear on State functions. Hazrat Umar sent for Suraqa and asked him to wear those gold bangles.
"How can I wear them?" said Suraqa, "for the wearing of gold is forbidden in Islam for men."
Hazrat Umar said, "I know, but you will wear them in order to fulfil the prophecy of the Holy Prophet."
So Suraqa put on those gold bangles and thus the prophecy made by the Holy Prophet years earlier was fulfilled to the letter.
When the Holy Prophet was forced to leave Mecca, he decided to settle in Yathrab, later known as Medina-tun-Nabi or Medina. Islam had already spread to this city, and there was a fairly large Muslim community when he arrived there. More and more people joined the fold of Islam. Soon Medina became the first Muslim city.
When the Meccans learned that the Prophet had been warmly received by
the people of Medina, and that Islam was making progress among the
tribes there, they resolved to attack Medina. They raised an army of
one thousand armed fighters, most of them were well experienced in
warfare, and started marching towards Medina about a year after the
Holy Prophet reached there. When the news reached the Holy Prophet,
he took counsel with his people, and gathered 313 men to fight the
enemy. Most of these men had no experience of fighting. Some of them
were only boys in their teens. The Muslims were ill-equipped and
ill-armed. There were only two horses and a few camels among the
As this was the first battle between Muslims and the non-believers,
every Muslim fighter, young or old, was eager to show bravery in
battle. All of them were determined to die in defence of their faith.
Such was the motley crowd, led by the Holy Prophet, which came out of
the city to meet the enemy. The two forces met at a place called
One of the few experienced fighters in the Muslim force was Abdul Rahman bin Auf. He was happy because the day he was longing for had come. He could now show his skill and valour on the battlefield.
When the Holy Prophet arranged the Muslim fighters for the battle,
Abdul Rahman looked towards his sides and was greatly disappointed to
see two young boys on either side of him. He felt that he was exposed
from both sides and would have to take good care of himself. As he
was thinking thus, one of the boys nudged him and said, "Uncle, where
is Abu Jahl, who used to persecute the Holy Prophet and harass the
Abdul Rahman had not yet shown him Abu Jahl, when the boy on the other side whispered the same question in his ear. Abdul Rahman raised his finger in order to point out Abu Jahl, who was on horseback, well armed and right in the heart of the Meccan army.
No sooner did Abdul Rahman point out Abu Jahl than the two boys
dashed forward into the ranks of the enemy, with the speed of an
eagle. The attack was so sudden that everybody was shaken. The
soldiers and the guards round Abu Jahl were taken by surprise. They
attacked the boys in order to prevent them from going further towards
their leader. One of the boys received a blow on his shoulder. His
arm was cut and hung loose by his side, yet he continued to fight
with one hand. The other boy was also injured, but they did not
retreat. They went on and on until they reached Abu Jahl. They
pounced upon him with such force that the experienced Commander fell
to the ground, and was fatally wounded.
Thus the two young Muslim boys did what surprised even the best among the Muslim fighters.