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The Council of Muslim Theologians of South Africa, Jamiatul Ulema (KZN), has shared the following short series on the Seerah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallem) on their blog:


Post #          Description

1                  Introduction and Table of Contents

2                  Part 1: The Age of Ignorance

3                  Part 2: Before Prophethood

4                  Part 3: After Prophethood

5                  Part 4: Hijrah

6                  Part 5: In Madinah

7                  Part 6: Battle of Badr

8                  Part 7: Battle of Uhud

9                  Part 8: Battle of Ahzaab

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Seerah Series

Part 1: The Age of Ignorance



After the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, Isa ibn Maryam, there was a long period without a Prophet. Light and knowledge disappeared. Christianity fell into disrepute and became a matter of sport for the corrupt and the hypocrites. From the very beginning, Christianity had been subjected to alterations by extremists and to interpretations by the ignorant. The simple teaching of the Messiah was buried beneath the transgressors’ evil behaviour.


The Jews had become a society obsessed with rites and rules lacking all life and spirit. Apart from that, Judaism a tribal religion, did not carry a message to the world nor a summons to other nations nor mercy to humanity at large.


The Magians were devoted to fire-worship. They built altars and shrines to fire. Outside the shrines they followed their own pursuits. Eventually, no difference whatever could be discerned between the Magians and those with no religion or morality.

Buddhism, a religion widespread in India and Central Asia, was transformed into outright paganism. Altars were built and images of the Buddha set up wherever it went.


Hinduism, the basic religion of India, is distinguished by its millions of idols and gods, and by the unjust separation that exists between its castes, discrimination between the castes being a harsh reality of daily life.


The Arabs also suffered from a paganism and idol-worship of the most abhorrent kind that had no parallel, even in pagan Hindu India. They were involved in shirk and adopted gods other than Allah. Every tribe, region or city had a particular idol. Indeed, every house had a private idol. Inside the Ka’bah, the house which Ibrahim (peace be upon him) had built for the worship of Allah alone, and in its courtyard, stood three hundred and sixty idols.



The morals of the Arabs were corrupted and they were obsessed with drinking and gambling. Their cruelty and so-called zeal reached the point where they buried baby girls alive. Raiding was widespread as well as highway robbery against trading caravans. The position of women in society was so low that they could be inherited like property or animals. Children were murdered because their parents feared the poverty that would come from raising them. The Arabs were fond of war and did not hesitate to shed blood. A minor incident could stir up a war lasting for many years in which thousands of people would lose their lives.



In short, at this time, mankind was on a suicidal course. Man had forgotten his Creator and was oblivious of himself, his future, and his destiny. He had lost the ability to distinguish between good and evil, and what is beautiful and what is ugly. Throughout vast regions no one was concerned with religion at all and no one worshipped his Lord without associating something with Him. Allah Almighty spoke the truth when He said: ‘Corruption has appeared in the land and sea through what the hands of People have earned, that He may let them taste some part of that which they have done, that perhaps they will return.’ (30:41)



Allah chose the Arabs to receive the call of Islam and to convey it to the furthest corners of the world. These people were simple-hearted with no complicated ideologies which would have been difficult to remove. While the Greeks, Persians and people of India were arrogant about their many sciences, their fine literature and their splendid civilisation, the Arabs followed only simple traditions related to their desert existence. It was not difficult to sweep these away and replace them with a fresh vision.


The Arabs were in a natural state. When it was difficult for them to grasp the truth, they fought it. However, when the covering was removed from their eyes, they welcomed the new beginning and, having embraced it, would risk their lives for it. They were honest and trustworthy, hardy, courageous and fine horsemen. They also possessed a will of iron.


In Makkah, a city in the Arabian peninsula, was the Ka’bah which had been built by Ibrahim and Isma’il (peace be upon them). In it, Allah alone was to be worshipped and it was to be a centre for calling people to tawhid for all time. Tawhid, meaning the Oneness of Allah, is in sharp contrast with the worship of idols.


The first house established for people was that at Bakkah, a blessed place and a guidance for the worlds. (3:97)





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Seerah Series

Part 2: Before Prophethood



After a long journey, Ibrahim approached Makkah, which lies in a valley between desolate mountains. As there was no water, crops could not grow and human life could not be sustained there. Accompanied by his wife Hajar and his son Isma’il, Ibrahim was fleeing from the cult of idol-worship which had spread throughout the world. He wanted to establish a centre in which Allah alone would be worshipped and to which people could be called. It would be a beacon of guidance and a sanctuary of peace, radiating true faith and righteousness.


Allah accepted Ibrahim’s intention and blessed the spot. After Ibrahim had left the inhospitable territory, water flowed from a spring to provide his small family with the means to survive. Hajar and Isma’il dwelt in this arid place far away from other people. Allah blessed the spring of Zamzam and, to this day, people continue to drink its water and to take it with them to all corners of the globe.


While Isma’il was growing up, Ibrahim visited his family. He wanted to sacrifice Isma’il, who was still only a child, in order to show that his love of Allah was greater than his love for his son, just as Allah had commanded him to in a dream. Isma’il also agreed to Allah’s command that he should be sacrificed. But Allah saved him and provided a ram from Paradise as a ransom to be sacrificed instead. Isma’ils survival meant that he would be able to help his father in calling people to Allah and to become the ancestor of the last Prophet of Allah, His exalted Messenger.


On a later visit to Makkah, Ibrahim and his son together constructed the Ka’bah, the House of Allah. They prayed to Allah to accept the House and to bless their action. They also beseeched Allah to allow them to live and die in Islam and for Islam to continue after their death. They asked Allah to send a Prophet from among their descendants to renew the call of his ancestor Ibrahim and to complete what he had begun.


‘When Ibrahim and Isma’il raised the foundations of the House, praying, “Our Lord, accept this from us. You are the Hearing, the Knowing. Our Lord, and make us surrender to You, and make of our descendants a nation that surrenders to You. Show us our rites and turn to us, You are the One who turns, the Compassionate. Our Lord, and send among them a Messenger from among them who will recite to them Your signs and teach them the Book and the Wisdom and purify them. You are the Mighty, the Wise. ” (2: 129-9)


Allah blessed their descendants and the family multiplied in that barren valley. Adnan, a descendant of Isma’il (peace be upon him) had many children. Among Adnan’s descendants Fihr ibn Malik, in particular, was a distinguished chief of the tribe. From Fihr’s descendants Qusayy ibn Kilab emerged. He ruled Makkah and held the keys to the Ka’bah. He inspired obedience, was the guardian of the waters of Zamzam and was responsible for feeding the pilgrims. He also presided at the assemblies where the nobles of Makkah gathered for consultation and he held the banner for war. He alone controlled the affairs of Makkah.


Among his sons Abd Manaf was the most illustrious, while his eldest son, Hashim became a great man of the people. He provided food and water for the pilgrims coming to Makkah. He was the father of Abdul-Muttalib, the Messenger of Allah’s grandfather, who was also in charge of feeding and giving water to the pilgrims. He was honoured and held in high esteem by his people and his popularity outstripped that of his ancestors. His people loved him.


The descendants of Fihr ibn Malik were called Quraysh. This name came to predominate over all others and the tribe adopted it. All the Arabs recognised the excellent lineage and nobility of the Quraysh. Their eloquence, civility, gallantry and high mindedness were unanimously accepted.



The Quraysh continued to hold to the religion of Ibrahim and Isma’il, glorifying the creed of tawhid and the worship of Allah alone, until Amr ibn Luhayy became their chief. He was the first to deviate from the religion of Isma’il and to set up idols which he encouraged people to worship. Once he had travelled from Makkah to Syria on business where he saw people worshipping idols. He was so impressed that he brought some idols back to Makkah and set them up, commanding the people there to venerate them.


Traditionally some people would take a few stones from the Haram, the sanctuary, with them when they travelled from Makkah as a token of respect for the holy spot. This led to the day when they began to worship any stones they liked. Later generations lost track of the reasons why stones were originally venerated and the Quraysh were happy to worship stone idols just like the people were doing in surrounding countries.



During this period a significant event took place which portended another happening of even greater importance. It meant that Allah desired a better future for the Arabs and that the Ka’bah would take on an importance never before attained by any place of worship anywhere in the world.


Abrahah al-Ashram, the viceroy of Negus, the King of Abyssinia, who ruled over the Yemen, built an imposing cathedral in San’a’ and named it ‘al-Qullays’. He intended to divert the Arab pilgrimage to San’a’. As a Christian, he was jealous that the Ka’bah should be the place where pilgrims gathered and he wanted this position for his church.


The Arabs were stunned by the news. They could not equate any other place with the love and respect they had for the Ka’bah. They could not contemplate exchanging it for any other house of worship. They were preoccupied with the news and discussed it endlessly. An Arab daredevil from the Kinanah tribe went so far as to enter the cathedral and defecate in it. Abrahah was furious when he heard about it and swore that he would not rest until he had destroyed the Ka’bah.


He set out for Makkah with a strong force that included elephants. The Arabs had heard some frightening stories about elephants. They were both distressed and alarmed. Although they wanted to obstruct the progress of Abrahah’s army, they realised that they lacked the power to fight him. They could only leave the matter to Allah and trust to the fact that

He was the Lord of the Ka’bah and would protect it. This trust is amply demonstrated by a conversation between Abrahah and the leader of the Quraysh, Abdul-Muttalib, the grandfather of the Prophet. Abrahah had seized two hundred camels of his, so Abdul-Muttalib sought permission to see him. Abrahah treated him with respect, descended from his throne and sat down beside him. When Abrahah asked what he wanted, Abdul-Muttalib replied, ‘I want you to return my two hundred camels.’


Abrahah was taken by surprise. He asked, ‘Do you wish to speak to me about your two hundred camels that I have taken but say nothing about the House on which your religion and that of your forefathers depends I have come to destroy it, yet you do not speak to me about it!’


Abdul-Muttalib replied, ‘I am the owner of the camels. The House also has an Owner. He will defend [it].' 'It will not be defended against me,‘ retorted Abrahah. ‘That remains to be seen,’ said Abdul-Muttalib.


As Abrahah’s force drew near, the Quraysh hid high up in the mountains and down in the ravines. They feared the army’s approach and waited to see how Allah would save the sacred sanctuary. Abdul-Muttalib stood with a group of Quraysh and took hold of the door of the Ka’bah, imploring Allah to help them against Abrahah and his army.


Abrahah drew up his soldiers to enter Makkah fully intending to destroy the House. His elephant, whose name was Mahmud, was prepared for the attack. However, the elephant knelt down on the road and refused to get up in spite of severe beatings. When they turned it to face Yemen it got up immediately and moved off.


Allah then sent flocks of birds from the sea; each bird carried stones in its claws. Whenever a stone struck one of Abrahah’s soldiers it killed him. The Abyssinians fled in terror, rushing back as the stones hit them. Abrahah was badly hurt. When his soldiers tried to take him with them, his limbs fell off one by one. They took him to San’a’ where he died a miserable death. The Qur’an relates:


‘Have you not seen What your Lord did with the people of the Elephant? Did He not make their plan come to nothing. He sent birds against them in flocks, stoning them with stones of baked clay. He made them like eaten stubble.’(l 05: 1-5)


When Allah repelled the Abyssinians from Makkah, the Arabs respect for the Quraysh increased. They said, ‘These are the people of Allah. Allah fought on their side and helped them to defeat their enemy.’


The Arabs attached great importance to this event and rightly so. They dated their calendar from it, saying, ‘This occurred in the Year of the Elephant,’ and ‘So-and-so was born in the Year of the Elephant’ or ‘This occurred so many years after the Year of the Elephant.’ The Year of the Elephant was 570 in the Christian calendar.



Abdul-Muttalib, chief of the Quraysh, had ten sons. Abdullah, the tenth, was the noblest and his father married him to Aminah, daughter of Wahb, leader of the Banu Zuhrah. At that time, her lineage and position made her the best woman in the Quraysh.


However before long Abdullah died, leaving a pregnant wife who was to become the mother of the Messenger of Allah. Aminah saw many signs and indications that her son would become an important figure in the future.



The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was born on Monday, 12 Rabi’ al-Awwal, in the Year of the Elephant (570 C.E.). It was the happiest day ever. His ancestry can be traced back to the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him).


His full name is Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn Abd Manaf ibn Qusayy ibn Kilab ibn Murrah ibn Ka’b ibn Lu’ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr ibn Malik ibn an-Nadr ibn Kinanah ibn Khuzaymah ibn Mudrikah ibn Ilyas ibn Mudar ibn Nizar ibn Ma’add ibn Adnan. The lineage of Adnan goes back to the Prophet Isma’il, the son of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon both of them).


The Prophet’s mother sent a message to his grandfather, Abdul-Muttalib, telling him that she had given birth to a boy. He came and looked at the baby lovingly. Then he picked him up and took him into the Ka’bah. He praised Allah and prayed for his grandson whom he named Muhammad. The Arabs were not familiar with this name and were surprised by it.



It was the custom in Makkah for suckling babies to be put in the care of a desert tribe where they grew up in the traditional healthy outdoor environment. Abdul-Muttalib looked for a wet-nurse for his fatherless grandson, whom he loved more than all his children. Halimah as-Sa’diyah who received this good fortune had left her home to find a suckling child. It was a year of severe drought and her people were suffering hardship. They needed some income, The baby (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had been offered to many nurses but they had refused him, because they were hoping for a good payment from the child’s father. ‘An orphan!’ they would exclaim, ‘What can his mother or grandfather do!’


Halimah also left him at first but her heart had warmed to him. Allah inspired her with love for this baby so she returned to fetch him and took him home with her. Up until this time she had been an unlucky person but now she found countless blessings. Her animals’ udders and her own breasts overflowed with milk and her aged camel and lame donkey were rejuvenated. Everyone said, ‘Halimah you have taken a blessed child.’ Her friends envied her.


She continued to enjoy prosperity from Allah until the baby had spent two years with the Banu Sa’d and was weaned. He was growing up differently from the other children. Halimah took him to his mother and asked if she could keep him for a longer- period and Aminah agreed.


While the infant, who was to become the Messenger of Allah, was with the Banu Sa’d two angels came and split open his chest. They removed a black clot from his heart and threw it away. Then they cleansed his heart and replaced it.

He tended sheep with his foster brothers and was reared in an uncomplicated, natural environment. He lived the healthy life of the desert and spoke the pure Arabic for which the Banu Sa’d ibn Bakr were famous. He was sociable and popular. His foster brothers loved him and he loved them.


Eventually he returned to Makkah to live with his mother and grandfather. He thrived under Allah’s care and grew up to be healthy and strong.



When the Messenger of Allah was six years old, his mother, Aminah, died. She had taken him to Yathrib to visit her relatives and on the journey back her death occurred at al-Abwa between Makkah and Madinah. Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) must have felt very lonely at this time but he went to stay with his grandfather who was extremely kind to him. He would sit Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) on his favourite seat in the shade of the Ka’bah and affectionately caress him.


When the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was eight, Abdul-Muttalib also died.



The Messenger of Allah then went to live with his uncle, Abu Talib, the full brother of his father, Abdullah. Abdul-Muttalib had told Abu Talib to take good care of the boy so he was always protective towards him. He treated him with more kindness than he showed to his own sons, Ali, Ja’far and Aqil.



As he grew up, the Messenger of Allah was protected by Allah Almighty. He distanced himself from the obscenities and bad habits of the Jahiliyyah. He outshone everyone in manliness, character, modesty, truthfulness, and trustworthiness. He earned respect and the name ‘trustworthy’. He respected family ties and shared the burdens of others. He honoured his guests and demonstrated piety and fear of God. He always provided his own food and was content with simple meals.


When he was about fourteen years old, the Fijar War broke out between the tribes of Quraysh and Qays. The Messenger of Allah was at some of the battles, passing arrows for his uncles to fire. He learned about war and about horsemanship and chivalry during these tribal encounters.



When the Messenger of Allah was twenty-five, he married Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, a Qurayshi woman of excellent character who was then forty years of age. She had a fine intellect, noble character and great wealth. She had been widowed when her husband, Abu Halah, died.


Khadijah(ra) was a businesswoman who hired men to trade goods for her and gave them a share of her profits. The Quraysh were a merchant people. She tested the truthfulness of the Messenger of Allah, his noble character and his sincerity when he took some of her goods to Syria to trade. When she was told about his outstanding competence on this journey she expressed her desire to marry him although she had refused the offer of many noblemen of the Quraysh. The Messenger of Allah also wished to marry her. His uncle Hamzah conveyed the khutbah, the marriage proposal, to Khadijah’s family and they all readily agreed to it. When the marriage took place Abu Talib delivered the khutbah at the ceremony.


Khadijah was the first woman that the Messenger of Allah married and she bore him all his children except Ibrahim.



When the Messenger of Allah was thirty-five, the Quraysh decided to rebuild the Ka’bah. Apart from needing a new roof, they found that the stone walls, that were higher than a man’s head, had no clay to bind the stones together. They had no alternative but to demolish the building and erect it again.


When the rebuilding had reached the point where the traditional Black Stone had to be put in place, they began to argue. Each clan wanted to have the honour of carrying out this prestigious task. They began to argue fiercely among themselves. During these pagan days far more trivial issues than this could spark off a war.


They prepared to fight. The Banu Abdu’d-Dar brought a large bowl filled with blood. They and the Banu Adi put their hands in the blood and took a vow to fight to the death.


It was a sign of death and evil. The Quraysh remained in that sorry state for several days, before agreeing that the first person to enter the door of the mosque should make the decision about placing the Black Stone. The first to enter was the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). When they saw him, they said, ‘This is the trustworthy one. We are pleased. This is Muhammad.’


The Messenger of Allah called for a piece of cloth He took the stone and placed it in the centre of the cloth. Then he said that each clan should take a corner of the cloth and lift it together. They did this, bringing it to its position. He put the Black Stone in place with his own hands, and then the building continued.


This was how the Messenger of Allah prevented a war from breaking out among the Quraysh by a supreme demonstration of wisdom.



The Messenger of Allah was present at the Hilf al-Fudul. This was the most renowned alliance ever heard of in Arabia. It was formed because a man from Zabid had arrived in Makkah with some merchandise and al-As ibn Wa’il, one of the Quraysh nobles, bought goods from him and then withheld payment. The Zabidi asked the Quraysh nobles for help against al-As ibn Wa’il, but they refused to intervene because of his position. The Zabidi then appealed to the people of Makkah as a whole for support.


All the fair-minded young men were full of enthusiasm to put the matter right. They met in the house of Abdullah ibn Jud’an who prepared food for them. They made a covenant by Allah that they would unite with the wronged man against the one who had wronged him until the matter was settled. The Arabs called that pact Hilf al-Fudul, ‘The Alliance of Excellence’. They said, ‘These people have entered into a state of excellence.’ Then they went to al-As ibn Wa’il and took from him what he owed to the Zabidi and handed it over.


The Messenger of Allah was proud of this alliance. He held it in such high esteem that, after receiving the message of Islam, he said, ‘In the house of Abdullah ibn Jud’an I was present at an alliance which was such that if I was invited to take part in it now in Islam, I would still do so.’ The Quraysh pledged to restore to everyone what was their due and not to allow any aggressor to get the better of those he had wronged.


In Allah’s wisdom, His Messenger was allowed to grow up unlettered. He could neither read nor write. Thus, he could never be accused by his enemies of altering other ideologies. The Qur’an indicates this when it says, ‘Before this you did not recite any Book nor write it with your right hand for then those who follow falsehood would have doubted.’ (29: 48)


The Qur’an called him ‘unlettered’ and said, ‘those who follow the Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, whom they find written down with them in the Torah and Evangel.’ (7:157)





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Seerah Series

Part 3: After Prophethood



The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was forty when the first glimpses of light and of his future happiness appeared. The time of his mission approached. It had always been the Divine practice that whenever the darkness had become too intense and the wickedness widespread, a Messenger appeared.


The Messenger of Allah’s distaste for what he saw reached a peak. It was as if he was being guided towards a certain spiritual destination. He loved going into retreat. He was always content when he could be on his own. He used to walk away from Makkah until he was well out of sight of the houses. He got to know all the paths, the flat areas and the valleys outside Makkah. From every rock or tree he passed he heard, ‘Peace be upon you, Messenger of Allah.’ But when he looked around, to his right, to his left and behind him, he could see nothing but trees and rocks.


The first intimations of the future came in the form of dreams, so vivid that they were as clear as the break of day.



The Messenger of Allah usually went to the Cave of Hira. He would remain there for several nights in a row, having taken along with him enough food to last for that time. He used to worship and pray in the manner of his ancestor, Ibrahim, the Hanifiyyah, and followed the pure human need to turn to Allah.



The Messenger of Allah was alone in the Cave of Hira on the day destined for the start of his prophetic mission. He was forty-one years old and it was the seventeenth day of Ramadan, the sixth of August 610 C.E. Suddenly an angel appeared and said to him,


‘I cannot read,’ he replied.

Later, the Messenger of Allah, when recounting what had happened, said, ‘He seized me and squeezed me as hard as I could bear and then let me go and said,

“Read !”
‘I said, “I cannot read.”
‘Then he squeezed me as hard as I could bear a second time and let me go. Again he said, “Read.”
‘I cannot read.’

‘Then he squeezed me a third time and let me go and said:
“Read in the name of your Lord’ Who created, created man of a blood-clot. Read, and your Lord is the Most Generous, Who taught by the Pen, taught man what
he did not know.“
‘(96: 1-5)


This was the first day of his prophethood and these were the first verses of the Qur’an to be revealed.



Naturally, the Messenger of Allah was alarmed by the experience. He had not known what was happening and he had not heard of anything like this ever happening before. It had been a long time since there had been a Prophet. In any case, the Arabs had only a remote connection with prophethood. He was very frightened and returned to his house trembling.


‘Wrap me up! Wrap me up!’ he said. ‘I fear for myself! ‘


When Khadijah asked why, he told her what had happened. She was an intelligent lady and had heard of prophethood, prophets and angels. She used to visit her cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, who had become a Christian. He had read many books and had learned much from the People of the Torah and the Evangel.


Khadijah knew the character of the Messenger of Allah better than anyone because she was his wife and close to his thoughts. She was well aware of his noble character and enviable qualities. She realised that he had always been given success and support by Allah, he was a man chosen from among His creation, whose life and conduct He was pleased with.


No one with a character like his need ever be in fear of Satan or of being affected by the jinn. That would be incompatible with what Khadijah knew of the wisdom and compassion of Allah and His way of dealing with His creation. She declared with trust and belief, strongly and forcefully,


‘No! Allah would never disgrace you! You maintain close ties with your relations, you bear others’ burdens and give people what they need. You are hospitable to your guests and help those with a just claim to get what is due to them.’



Khadijah thought it would be a good idea to consult her cousin, the scholar Waraqah ibn Nawfal, and she took the Messenger of Allah to see him. When Waraqah heard what he had seen, he said, ‘By the One who holds my soul in His hand, you are the Prophet of this people. The same Great Spirit has come to you which came to Musa. Your people will reject you, abuse you and drive you out and fight you.’


The Messenger of Allah was astonished at what Waraqah said, especially about the Quraysh driving him out because he knew his position among them. They had always addressed him as the ‘truthful’ one and the ‘trustworthy’ one.

In amazement he asked, ‘Will the people drive me out?’


‘Yes,’ Waraqah said, ‘No man has ever brought anything like what you have brought without his people opposing him and fighting him. If I am alive on that day, and have already lived a long time, I will give you strong support.’


After this first revelation there was a long gap before the revelations began again. Then the Qur’an started to come down at regular intervals over the following twenty-three years.



Khadijah hated the behaviour of the people of Makkah, as anyone of sound mind would have detested the atrocities committed by them. She was the first to believe in Allah and His Messenger. She was always at her husband’s side helping him through difficult times. She used to lighten his burden and offer him comfort while assuring him of her confidence in his Message.



After Khadijah, Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) accepted Islam. He was ten years old at the time and living in the house of the Messenger of Allah. When Abu Talib went through a period of hardship during a famine, the Messenger of Allah had taken his son Ali into his own home and brought him up.


Zayd ibn Harithah, the freed slave of the Messenger of Allah, whom he had adopted, also became a Muslim. The Islam of these people reflected the beliefs of those who knew the Messenger of Allah best. They had witnessed his truthfulness, sincerity and good behaviour. The people who live in a house always know best what is in it.



Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah also accepted Islam. He had a high position among the Quraysh because of his intellect, strength and sense of justice. He made his Islam known. He was a simple likeable man who knew the full history of the Quraysh. He was a merchant known for his good character and fair dealing. He began to call others to Allah and those of his friends whom he trusted would come and sit with him to discuss the new ideas.



Through Abu Bakr’s work, some of the powerful Quraysh noblemen became Muslims. Uthman ibn Affan, Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas and Talhah ibn Ubaydullah were among those he brought to the Messenger of Allah.


They were followed by other influential men of the Quraysh, including Abu Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah, al-Arqam ibn Abi’l-Arqam, Uthman ibn Maz’un, Ubaydah ibn al-Harith ibn al-Muttalib, Sa’id ibn Zayd, Khabbab ibn al-Aratt, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, Ammar ibn Yasir, and Suhayb (may Allah be pleased with them all).


Men and women flowed into Islam until everyone in Makkah was talking about the new faith.



The Messenger of Allah kept his mission secret for three years. Then Allah commanded him to display His religion openly, saying, ‘Loudly proclaim what you are commanded and turn away from the idol-worshippers.’(l5: 94) He also said, ‘Warn your clan, your nearest kin, and lower your wing to those of the believers who follow you’ (26: 214-15) and ‘Say: I am the clear warner.’(15: 89)


The Prophet(saw) climbed up on to the mountain of Safa and called out as loudly as he could,‘Ya Sabahah!’


This was a well-known cry used to assemble the community in an emergency. When there was any danger of an enemy attacking a city or a tribe, the call, ‘Ya Sabahah’ would ring out. The Quraysh were always quick to respond. They gathered round the Messenger of Allah, who said,‘O Banu Abdul-Muttalib! O Banu Fihr! O Banu Ka’b! If I told you that there were horses on the other side of this mountain about to attack you, would you believe me!’


The Arabs were practical and realistic. They saw in front of them a man noted for his truthfulness, trustworthiness and sincerity standing on a mountain. He was able to see both what was in front of him and behind him, while they could only see what was in front of them. Their intelligence and sense of justice allowed them to confirm this statement.


‘Yes,’ they replied.

Then the Messenger of Allah said, ‘I warn you of a terrible punishment.’


The people were silent, except Abu Lahab who said, ‘May you perish for this! Did you only summon us here for this!’



When the Messenger of Allah openly proclaimed the call to Islam and called out the truth as he had been commanded to do by Allah, his people did not distance themselves from him nor reject him. However, when he criticised their gods, they regarded him as a menace and united in opposition against him.


His uncle, Abu Talib, concerned about the Messenger of Allah protected him and stood up for him. The Prophet continued in his mission, loudly proclaiming the truth. Nothing deterred him and Abu Talib continued to Care for him and defend him.


Eventually, a group of men of the Quraysh went to Abu Talib threatening, Abu Talib! Your nephew has cursed our gods and criticised our religion and ridiculed our Customs and called our fathers misguided. Either leave him to us or there will be a split between us and you. You have the same religion and creed as we do.’


Abu Talib spoke reassuringly to them, and they left satisfied However, the Quraysh constantly discussed the Messenger of Allah and goaded each other on. They went to Abu Talib a second time, saying, Abu Talib! You have age, honour and position among us. We had hoped that you would stop your nephew, but you have not done so. By Allah, we cannot endure any longer this cursing of our fathers and ridiculing of our customs and criticism of our idols. Let us have him or we will put him and you in such a position that one or other of us will be destroyed.


The division and enmity of his people was a terrible burden for Abu Talib but he did not want to surrender the Messenger of Allah to them. He said, ‘Nephew, your people have come to me with threats. Spare me and yourself and do not burden me with more than I can bear.’


The Messenger of Allah saw that Abu Talib was very upset by what had happened and was finding it hard to carry on helping him. He said, ‘Uncle, by Allah, if they were to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand on condition that I abandon this business, I would still not leave it until Allah makes it victorious or I die doing it.’


The Messenger of Allah wept, then rose and turned away. Abu Talib called out to him, ‘Turn round, nephew!’


The Messenger of Allah returned. Abu Talib told him, ‘Nephew go and say whatever you like. By Allah, I will never surrender you to anyone.’



The Messenger of Allah continued to call people to Allah and the Quraysh despaired of both him and Abu Talib. Their anger descended on those of their fellow tribesmen who had become Muslims and were defenceless.


Every clan targeted those who had become Muslims. They began to imprison them and torture them with beatings, hunger and thirst, even leaving them exposed on the sun-baked ground of Makkah when the heat was most intense.


Bilal, an Abyssinian, who had become a Muslim, was taken out on to the plain of Makkah by his master Umayyah ibn Khalaf and left flat on his back in the midday heat. His master ordered that a huge stone be placed on his chest and declared, ‘By Allah, this stone will not be removed until you die or reject Muhammad and worship al-Lat and al-Uzza.’

While he was suffering, Bilal would only say, ‘God is One! God is One!’


Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) passed by when he was lying there. He gave Umayyah a black slave who was stronger and sturdier in exchange for Bilal and he set Bilal free.


The Banu Makhzum took out Ammar ibn Yasir and his mother and father, who were all Muslims, into the midday heat. They tortured them by leaving them exposed to the midday sun of Makkah. The Messenger of Allah passed by them and said reassuringly, ‘Fortitude, family of Yasir! You have the promise of Paradise.’


They endured their persecution until Ammar’s mother was killed because she refused to reject Islam.


Mus’ab ibn Umayr was a handsome young man of Makkah whose mother was very wealthy and dressed him well. He heard that the Messenger of Allah was preaching in the house of Arqam ibn Abi’l-Arqam. After hearing about Islam, he became a Muslim. He concealed his religious beliefs because he feared the reaction of his mother and his family and he kept secret his visits to the Messenger of Allah.


However, Uthman ibn Talhah saw him praying and reported it to Mus’ab’s family. He was seized and imprisoned. He was denied freedom until he was able to leave for Abyssinia in the first hijrah. When he returned with the other Muslim refugees, he was a changed man. His mother refrained from censuring him, once she saw his piety and destitution.


Some of the Muslims were under the protection of the Quraysh noblemen who were idol-worshippers. Uthman ibn Maz’un was protected by al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah until he felt ashamed of what he was accepting. He dismissed al-Walid’s offer of patronage, saying that he wanted the protection of none but Allah.


A heated conversation between him and one of the idol-worshippers ended up with Uthman getting a black eye. Al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah, who was nearby, saw what had happened. He exclaimed, ‘By Allah, nephew, your eye would not have suffered like that if you had been well-protected.


‘No, by Allah,’ Uthman said, ‘my good eye needs to suffer the same as happened to its fellow for the sake of Allah. I am under a protection which is stronger and more powerful than any you could give me, O Abu Abd Shams!‘



The Quraysh were unable to divert these young Muslims from their religion and the Messenger of Allah remained defiant. The Quraysh became so irritated by their helplessness that the more foolish among them started to attack the Messenger of Allah. They even accused him of sorcery, divining and madness. They left no stone unturned in their efforts to harm him.


One day when the Quraysh nobles had met in the Hijr, the Messenger of Allah appeared and passed by them doing tawaf of the Ka’bah. They called out disparagingly to him three times. He stopped and spoke to them, ‘Company of Quraysh, are you listening? By the One who has my soul in His hand, I have brought you slaughter.


Shocked by these words, the people fell silent. Realising that they had been rude, they began to speak to him more pleasantly.


The next day the Messenger of Allah appeared again but quickly they surrounded him and attacked him all together. One of them took hold of his cloak. Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) stood up weeping and cried, ‘Would you kill a man just for saying: My Lord is Allah?’


When Abu Bakr returned later that day however, they attacked him and tore out some of his hair and dragged him along by his beard.


On another occasion when the Messenger of Allah went out everyone he met, both free men and slaves, ignored him or tried to hurt him. He returned home and wrapped himself up warmly because he was so distressed by what had happened to him. Allah revealed to him, ‘O you enshrouded, rise up and warn!’ (74: 1)



One day Abu Bakr boldly invited the idol-worshippers to turn towards Allah and His Messenger. Furious, they fell upon him, beating him and trampling on him. Utbah ibn Rabi’ah beat him on the face with a pair of sandals until his face was so swollen that his cheeks could not be distinguished from his nose.


The Banu Taym carried the unconscious Abu Bakr home. They were certain that he was going to die. In the late afternoon he woke up and asked, ‘How is the Messenger of Allah?’


His relations rebuked him as he had shown concern for the man on whose account he had been beaten up. They left him alone with his mother Umm Khayr who had not as yet become a Muslim. Then Umm Jamil, who had become a Muslim, approached him and he asked her about the Messenger of Allah. She reported, ‘He is well and safe.’ ‘By Allah,’ he said, ‘I will not taste food or drink until I see the Messenger of Allah!’


When it was dark and everything had calmed down, Umm Jamil and Umm Khayr took him to the Messenger of Allah who showed great tenderness towards him. He made supplication for Abu Bakr’s mother and called her to Allah. She became a Muslim too.



The Quraysh were confused about the Messenger of Allah. They did not know how to cope with the problem of visitors from afar listening to him in Makkah. They asked the advice of al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah, an old man of some experience. It was at the time of the pilgrimage. Al-Walid said, ‘Men of the Quraysh! It is the time of the festival and the delegations of the Arabs will be coming to you. They have already heard about this companion of yours. Therefore agree on one opinion about him and do not disagree so that you contradict and refute each other.’


They had a long discussion with much give and take but Al-Walid was not pleased with their conclusion and criticised it. They came back to him to ask, ‘What then do you say, Abu Abd Shams?’


‘The nearest thing to the truth is your saying that he it a magician who has brought a kind of magic that separates; man from his father, a man from his brother, a man from his wife, and a man from his tribe.’


The gathering then broke up and the Quraysh began to sit by the paths used by the people coming to the festival They warned everyone who passed to keep clear of the Messenger of Allah and gave their reasons.



The Quraysh treated the Messenger of Allah harshly ignoring the fact that he was a relative and deserved their respect.


One day while the Prophet was prostrating in the mosque surrounded by some of the Quraysh, ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt threw the innards of a slaughtered animal on the Prophet’s back but he did not even lift his head. His daughter Fatimah came and removed them, cursing those who had committed the evil deed and the Prophet cursed them as well.


Another time, while the Prophet was praying in the Hijr of the Ka’bah, ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt tried to throttle him with his own clothes. Abu Bakr grabbed ‘Uqbah’ shoulder and pulled him from the Prophet, saying, ‘Would you kill a man just for saying, “My Lord is Allah”?’



One day Abu Jahl passed by the Messenger of Allah at Safa hurling insults and cursing him, but when the Messenger of Allah ignored him, he left him alone.


Soon afterwards Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib arrived on the scene, returning from the hunt, carrying his bow. He was the strongest of the Quraysh and the most courageous. A slavewoman of Abdullah ibn Jud’an told him what had happened to the Messenger of Allah. Hamzah was filled with rage. He entered the mosque and saw Abu Jahl sitting with his friends. He went towards him until he was standing over him, raised his bow and hit him with it, giving him a nasty head wound. Then he said, ‘Do you insult him when I follow his religion? I say what he says.’


Abu Jahl was silent and Hamzah became a Muslim. That was a great blow to the Quraysh because Hamzah was widely respected and his courage was legendary:



When the Quraysh saw that the Companions of the Messenger of Allah were increasing in number, Utbah ibn Rabi’ah suggested that he go to the Messenger of Allah and try to patch up their differences. If the Quraysh made some concessions, he might agree to leave off his mission. Utbah was given permission to negotiate on their behalf. He went to the Messenger of Allah and sat down beside him. ‘Nephew,’ he said, ‘you know your standing among us, but you have brought a matter of grave concern to your people. You have divided their community, made fun of their customs, criticised their gods and their religion and declared some of their ancestors to be unbelievers. Now, listen to me. I will make some proposals for you to examine and perhaps you will accept some of them.’


The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Speak, Abul-Walid. I am listening.’


‘Nephew, ‘Utbah continued, ‘if you want money by this business, we will collect some of our property and make you the wealthiest among us. If you want honour, we will make you our chief so that every decision is yours. If you want a kingdom, we will make you our king. If you are possessed by a ghost of a jinn that you cannot drive away from yourself, we will find skilful doctors to help you. We will spend our wealth on it till you are cured.’


When Utbah had finished, the Messenger of Allah asked, ‘Have you finished, Abul-Walid’
‘Then listen to me.’

‘I will,’ said Utbah.

Then the Messenger of Allah recited some verses from Surah Fussilat. Utbah listened intently, putting his hands behind his back and leaning on them. When the Messenger of Allah reached the place mentioning prostration, he prostrated and then said, ‘You have heard what you have heard, Abul-Walid. It is now up to you.’


Utbah returned to his companions who commented, ‘Abul-Walid has come back with a different expression on his face to the one he went with.’


When he sat down beside them, they asked him what had happened.


‘By Allah!’ he said, ‘I have heard words the like of which I have never heard before. By Allah, it is neither poetry nor magic nor soothe-saying. O men of Quraysh! Obey me! Leave this man alone with what he has. Be considerate towards him and don’t interfere.’


‘By Allah,’ they said, ‘He has bewitched you with his tongue, Abul-Walid!’


‘This is my opinion about him,’ he replied. ‘You do as you see fit.’



When the Messenger of Allah saw the persecution to which his Companions were subjected and from which he could not protect them, he suggested to them, ‘If you were to go to Abyssinia, you would find a king there who does not wrong anyone. It is a friendly land and you could stay there until Allah grants us relief.’


A group of Muslims left for Abyssinia and it was the first hijrah in Islam. Ten men, over whom Uthman ibn Maz’un was in charge (may Allah be pleased with him), went first. Then Ja’far ibn Abi Talib departed and other Muslims followed them.

Some took their families and some went alone. In all eighty-three made the hijrah to Abyssinia.



‘The Quraysh were even more annoyed when they saw that the Muslims were safe and secure in Abyssinia. They sent Abdullah ibn Abi Rabi’ah and Amr ibn al-As ibn Wa’il there bearing gifts collected for the Negus and his generals. The choicest goods of Makkah were used to try to influence the Abyssinians in their favour. The delegation won over the generals who were pleased with their gifts and they were able to speak to the king. They told him, ‘Some of our foolish fellows have taken refuge in your majesty’s dominions. They have abandoned the religion of their people, but have not entered your religion. They have brought an invented religion which neither we nor you know. The nobles of our people – their fathers, uncles and clans – have sent us to ask you to return them to us. They are closest to them and know them best.’


The generals added, ‘They are speaking the truth, O King. Hand them over to them.’


However, the Negus became angry and refused to accept what they said. He would not surrender anyone who had taken refuge with him in his realm. He swore by Allah and summoned the Muslims. He also summoned his bishops. He said to the Muslims, ‘What is it that you have abandoned the religion of your people for, yet not entered into my religion nor any other religion?’



Ja’far ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of the Messenger of Allah, rose to explain:


O King! we were a people of ignorance who worshipped idols, ate dead animals, committed abominations, broke off ties of kinship, treated our neighbours badly, and the strong among us abused the weak. We were like that until Allah sent a

Messenger to us. We knew his noble birth, his honesty, trustworthiness and decency. He called us to proclaim the oneness of Allah and to worship Him and to renounce the stones and idols which we and our fathers were worshipping.

He commanded us to speak the truth, to be faithful, to maintain ties of kinship, to be good to neighbours and to refrain from crimes and bloodshed. He has forbidden us abominations, lies, taking property from orphans and slandering chaste women. He has commanded us to worship Allah alone and not to associate anything with Him and to pray, give zakat and fast.


He enumerated the other commands of Islam. Then he continued:


So we have affirmed him and believed in him and have followed him in whatever he brought from Allah. We worship Allah alone and do not associate anything with Him. We consider unlawful what he has told us is unlawful and lawful what he has told us is lawful. For this reason alone our people have attacked us, tortured us and forced us from our religion. They intend to make us revert to the worship of idols instead of praising Allah Almighty. They want us to consider lawful the evil actions which we used to consider lawful.


When they tortured us and hemmed us in, and came between us and our religion, we left for your kingdom, choosing you because we needed your protection. We hoped that we would be treated fairly while we were with you, O King!


The Negus listened to all of this patiently. Then he Asked, ‘Do you have with you anything your companion brought from Allah’

‘Yes,’ said Ja’far
‘Then recite it to me.’

Ja’far recited the beginning of Surah Maryam. The Negus wept until his beard was wet and the bishops wept until their books were damp with their tears.



Then the Negus said, ‘This and what Isa brought have come from the same source.’


He turned to the deputation of Quraysh, saying, ‘Go! By Allah, I will never hand them over to you.‘


The next morning Amr ibn al-As went to the Negus with a shrewd plan. ‘O King, they say terrible things about Isa son of Maryam!’


The King turned to the Muslims and said, ‘What do you say about Isa ibn Maryam?’


‘We say about him what our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) brought,’ Ja’far ibn Abi Talib replied. ‘That he was the servant of Allah, His Messenger, His Spirit and His word which He cast to the blessed Virgin Maryam.


The Negus took a stick from the ground and said, ‘By Allah, Isa ibn Maryam did not add to what you have said by so much as the length of this stick!’


He treated the Muslims with honour and gave them security. The two Qurayshi messengers had to leave in disgrace.



Allah then supported the Muslims by the acceptance of Islam by Umar ibn al-Khattab al-’Adawi al-Qurashi. He was an imposing man, broad-shouldered, tall and brave. The Messenger of Allah wanted him to become a Muslim and prayed for him to be guided that way.


His sister, Fatimah bint al-Khattab had become a Muslim together with her husband, Sa’id ibn Zayd. They were concealing their Islam from Umar because of his violent nature. They knew he was against Islam and the Muslims. Khabbab ibn al-Aratt used to come to Fatimah to read the Qur’an to her.


One day Umar went out angrily swinging his sword to find the Messenger of Allah who was with his Companions. He had heard that they were in a house at Safa. On his way he met Nu’aym ibn Abdullah, who belonged to Umar’s people the Banu Adi, and who was already a Muslim.


‘Where are you going, Umar?’ he asked.


‘I am going to find Muhammad,’ he replied, ‘He has divided the Quraysh, mocked their traditions, criticised their religion and abused their gods. I am going to kill him.’


‘You deceive yourself, Umar,’ Nu’aym retorted. ‘Shouldn’t you go back to your own family and put their affairs in order first!’


‘What do you mean, my family!’


‘By Allah, your brother-in-law and cousin Sa’id ibn Zayd and your sister Fatimah bint al-Khattab have become Muslims and are following Muhammad in his religion. You had better deal with them first.’


Umar returned to his sister and brother-in-law. Khabbab ibn al-Aratt was with them, holding a page from Surah Ta Ha which he was reading to them. When they heard Umar’s footsteps, Khabbab hid in a small room in the house while Fatimah took the page and concealed it beneath her clothing. While he was approaching the house, Umar had heard Khabbab reciting, so he demanded, ‘What is this gibberish!’


‘Nothing,’ they answered. ‘What did you hear!’


‘By Allah! He shouted angrily, ‘I have heard that you are following Muhammad in his religion!’


Umar then started to attack his brother-in-law Sa’id ibn Zayd. His sister Fatimah rose to hold him back from her husband but he hit her and wounded her.


When he did that, his sister and brother-in-law told him, ‘Yes, we have become Muslims and we believe in Allah and His Messenger, so do what you think best.’


When Umar saw blood on his sister, he regretted what he had done. He even admired her courage. ‘Show me that page I heard Khabbab reading,’ he said. ‘Let me see what Muhammad has brought.’


Umar was one among a few Quraysh who could read and write, but when she heard what he wanted, his sister answered, ‘We are afraid to give it to you.’


‘Do not be afraid, he said and he promised not to destroy it.


When she heard that, she longed for Umar to become a Muslim. She said to him, ‘Brother, you are unclean from your idol worship and only the purified may touch it.’


Umar got up and washed and then she gave him the page bearing the passage from Surah Ta Ha. After reading only a few lines, he exclaimed, ‘How noble and sublime are these words!’


When Khabbab heard that, he came out from hiding to say, Umar! By Allah, I hope that Allah has singled you out by the prayer of His Prophet. I heard him say last night, “O Allah, strengthen Islam with Abul-Hakam ibn Hisham (Abu Jahl) or Umar ibn al-Khattab!” Come to God! Come to God, O Umar!’


At that Umar said, ‘Khabbab, guide me to Muhammad so that I can go to him and become a Muslim.’


‘He is in a house at Safa,’ Khabbab said, ‘with some of his Companions.’


Umar put on his sword and went to find the Messenger of Allah. He knocked on the door. When they heard his voice, one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah got up and looked through a crack in the door. He saw Umar wearing his sword. In alarm, he returned to report,‘Messenger of Allah, it is Umar ibn al-Khattab with his sword on!’


Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib said, ‘Let him in. If his intentions are peaceful, we will treat him well. If not, we will kill him with his own sword.‘


The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Let him in,’ and rose to meet Umar as he reached the middle of the room. He seized his cloak and dragged him along violently, saying, ‘What has brought you here, Ibn al-Khattab! By Allah, I do not think that you will stop until Allah sends down a calamity upon you.’


‘Messenger of Allah,’ Umar replied, ‘I have come to you to tell you that I believe in Allah and His Messenger and what has come from Allah.’


The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Allahu Akbar’ so loudly that the Companions in the house knew that Umar had become a Muslim.


The Muslims’ confidence increased when Umar became a Muslim as it had when Hamzah before him had become a Muslim.


News that Umar was a Muslim quickly spread among the Quraysh. They were very annoyed. They took up their swords against him but Umar fought back. The Quraysh valued their lives too much to pick quarrels with him so they decided to leave him alone.



Islam began to spread among the tribes. The Quraysh were so concerned that they decided to write a document containing a ban on the Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib. They declared that they would not marry the women of these clans or give any in marriage to them, or sell them any goods or buy anything from them. The Quraysh displayed the parchment announcing the ban inside the Ka’bah in order to give it authority.



When the Quraysh did that, the Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib gathered round Abu Talib and joined him in his quarters in a narrow valley of Makkah. It was the seventh year of prophethood. However, Abu Lahab ibn Abdul-Muttalib left the Banu Hashim and aligned himself with the Quraysh.


For many months the Banu Hashim lived in misery. The boycott was so rigorously applied and food was so scarce that they had to eat the leaves of trees. Their hungry children’s cries could be heard all over the valley. The Quraysh told the merchants not to sell any goods to them. Prices were increased to prevent them from buying even essentials.


They remained in that state for three years. Apart from some kind Qurayshi people who secretly sent food to them they were totally abandoned. The Messenger of Allah was in the same predicament but he continued to call his People to Allah night and day, secretly and openly and the Banu Hashim remained patient.



A group of fair-minded Quraysh, led by Hisham ibn Amr ibn Rabi’ah, hated this unfair boycott. Hisham was highly respected among his people. He contacted some men of the Quraysh whom he knew to be kind-hearted and considerate. He told them it was shameful to allow such tyranny to continue. He asked them to abandon the unjust contract. When he had persuaded five men to agree, they met together to work towards this end. When the Quraysh were assembled the next day, Zuhayr ibn Abi Umayyah, whose mother was ‘Atikah bint Abdul-Muttalib, faced the people and demanded, ‘People of Makkah! Do we eat and clothe ourselves while the Banu Hashim are perishing, unable to buy or sell! By Allah, I will not sit down until this unjust document is torn up!’


Abu Jahl entered the discussion to disagree but no one supported him. Al-Mut’im ibn Adi went to the Ka’bah to tear the document down. He found that insects had eaten it all except for the words, ‘In Your name, O Allah.’ The Prophet had already told Abu Talib that Allah had given white ants power over the document. Now it was declared invalid.



Soon after the end of the boycott, in the tenth year of prophethood, Abu Talib and Khadijah died. They had been good companions noted for their loyally, support, and devotion. Abu Talib, however, never became a Muslim. At this time, troubles fell on the Messenger of Allah one after another.



At-Tufayl ibn Amr ad-Dawsi came to Makkah. He was a noble man, a poet, and intelligent. The Quraysh warned him against the Messenger of Allah. As a result, he was afraid to go near him to listen to him.


‘By Allah,’ At-Tufayl said, ‘they kept at me until I decided not to listen to him at all nor to speak with him, to the extent that I stuffed my ears with cotton. I went to the mosque and the Messenger of Allah was standing there praying at the Ka’bah. I stood near him and Allah had decided that I should hear some of his words. I heard some good words and said to myself, “By Allah, I am an intelligent man, a poet. The difference between good and evil is not concealed from me. Why should I not listen to what this man says! If what he brings is good, I will accept it. If it is evil, I will leave it.”


At-Tufayl met the Messenger of Allah in his house and told him what had happened. The Messenger of Allah offered him Islam and recited the Qur’an to him. At-Tufayl became a Muslim and returned to his people to call them to Islam. He refused to live with his family until they all became Muslims. Eventually the whole tribe of Daws turned to Islam.



After Abu Talib’s death, the Messenger of Allah suffered more than ever before. The Quraysh had been restrained during the lifetime of Abu Talib but now they stepped up their victimisation campaign. One even accosted him and showered dust on his head.


When the insults from the Quraysh became unbearable and they refused to have anything to do with Islam, the Messenger of Allah went to Ta’if to ask help of the Thaqif people and to call them to Islam. He hoped they would be sympathetic to his call.


On arriving in Ta’if, he went to the leaders and nobles of Thaqif, talked with them and called them to Allah. They, however, were rude to him and ridiculed him. They incited the town’s riff-raff to shout insults at him and stone him. He retired, distressed, to the shade of a palm-tree where he sat down. Nowhere had he encountered worse treatment than that which he received at the hands of the idol-worshippers in Ta’if.


The townspeople formed a line on either side of his path. When he passed they stoned him until he was bleeding. His feet were streaming with blood. He was so dejected that he complained to Allah of his helplessness and pitiable state. He sought refuge with Allah, pleading:


O Allah, I complain to you of my weakness, lack of resources and humiliation before men. You are the Most Merciful, You are the Lord of the oppressed and You are my Lord. To whom will You entrust me? To someone far away who will frown on me or to an enemy to whom You have given power over me? If You are not angry with me, I do not care, but Your favour is better for me. I seek refuge with the light of Your face which illuminates the darkness, and by which the affairs of this world and the Next are put in order, from having Your anger descend on me or Your wrath fall upon me. I repent to You, seeking Your forgiveness and Your favour until You are well-pleased. There is no power nor strength except by Allah.


Allah sent the angel of the mountains to ask if he wanted him to bring together the two mountains between which Ta’if lay. The Messenger of Allah replied, ‘No, for I hope that Allah will bring forth from them those who will worship Allah alone and not associate anything with Him.’


When Utbah ibn Rabi’ah and Shaybah ibn Rabi’ah saw his distress, they were moved with compassion. They called a Christian slave of theirs named Addas and told him to take a bunch of grapes to him. As Addas carried out his orders he noticed the kindness or the Messenger or Allah. He was so impressed that he became a Muslim.


The Messenger of Allah returned from Ta’if to Makkah where his people were even more opposed to him than they had been previously.



At this time the Messenger of Allah travelled by night from the Masjid al-Haram to the Masjid al-Aqsa. From there he was transported into the proximity to Allah that He wished him to experience. He travelled through the heavens, witnessed the signs of Allah and met the earlier Prophets .


‘His eye swerved not nor swept aside He saw one of the greatest signs of his Lord.’ (53: 1 7-18)


He received generous hospitality from Allah and solace and compensation for the distress he had endured in Ta’if.

Next morning, he told the Quraysh what had happened to him. They rejected it, thinking him mad, calling him a liar and mocking him. Abu Bakr Said, ‘By Allah, if he said it, he has spoken the truth. What makes you wonder at it! By Allah, he tells me that news comes to him from heaven to the earth in any hour of the night or day and I believe him, and that is more unlikely than what you are astounded by.’


During the Ascent, Allah made fifty prayers each day obligatory for his Ummah. The Messenger continued to ask Allah to reduce the number of prayers until He reduced them to five prayers each day. Allah decreed that all who perform their prayers with sincerity and in expectation of a reward will receive the reward of fifty prayers.



The Messenger of Allah contacted members of various Arab tribes when they came to Makkah during their festivals. He explained the beliefs of Islam to them and asked them to protect him from his enemies, saying,


‘O people! I am your Messenger of Allah. He commands you to worship Him and not associate anything with Him and to abandon the worship of those you consider equal with Him. He commands you to believe in Him and confirm Him and to protect me so that I may make clear what Allah has sent to me.’


When the Messenger of Allah finished speaking, Abu Lahab usually got up to say, ‘O people! This man calls on you to abandon al-Lat and al-Uzza and your allies among the jinn for this innovation and misguidance he has brought! Do not obey him and do not listen to him!’



While the Messenger of Allah was at Aqabah during the festival he met a group of the Khazraj of Yathrib and called them to Allah, the Mighty and Exalted. He offered them Islam and recited the Qur’an to them.


They were neighbours of the Jews in Madinah and had heard mention of a Prophet who was about to come. They said to each other, ‘People! By Allah, you know that he must be the Prophet whom the Jews have promised you. Don’t let them get to him before us.’


They accepted his teachings and became Muslims, saying, ‘We have left our people and no people are more rent by enmity and evil as they are! Perhaps Allah will join us together by means of you. We will go to them and call them to this religion which we have accepted from you. If Allah gathers them to you, then no man will be mightier than you.’


They went back to their land having confirmed their faith. When they came to Madinah, they mentioned the Messenger of Allah to their brothers and called them to Islam. News soon spread among them until there was no house of the Ansar in which the Messenger of Allah was not discussed.



The following year, twelve Ansar attended the festival in Makkah. They met the Messenger of Allah and gave him their pledge, the First Pledge of Aqabah, that they would believe in one God, abstain from theft, fornication and killing children, and obey him in what was right and proper.


When they left, the Messenger of Allah sent Mus’ab ibn Umayr with them. He commanded him to read the Qur’an to them, to preach Islam and to instruct them in the religion. He also led them in prayers. He was called ‘The Reader’ in Madinah where he stayed with As’ad ibn Zurarah.



Islam began among the people of the Aws and the Khazraj in Madinah. Sa’d ibn Mu’adh and Usayd ibn Hudayr became Muslims. They were the leaders of their people, the Banu Abdul-Ashhal of Aws. They were convinced of the truth because of the wisdom and kindness of those who had become Muslims before them, particularly by the excellent presentation of Islam by Mus’ab ibn Umayr. All the people of the Banu Abdul-Ashhal became Muslims, and not a household of the Ansar remained in which some men and women had not accepted the faith.



Mus’ab ibn Umayr returned to Makkah the following year and a number of the Muslim Ansar accompanied those of their people making hajj who were still idol-worshippers. The Muslims arranged to meet the Messenger of Allah at Aqabah. When they had finished the hajj, they met in the valley near Aqabah late at night. There were seventy-three men and two women. The Messenger of Allah came with his uncle, al-Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib who was still an idol-worshipper at that time.


The Messenger of Allah talked to them, recited the Qur’an and prayed to Allah and encouraged people to become Muslims. Then he said, ’ask for your allegiance on the basis that you protect me as you would protect your wives and children.’


They pledged their allegiance to him. They asked him to promise that he would not leave them and return to his people. The Messenger of Allah gave his promise, ‘I am from you and you are from me. I will fight those you fight and will be at peace with those with whom you are at peace.’


He chose twelve leaders from among them: nine from the Khazraj and three from the Aws.







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Seerah Series

Part 4: Hijrah




Once the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had taken this pledge, the Muslims had more security and some from Makkah took refuge with the Ansar. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah ordered his Companions and those Muslims who were with him in Makkah to leave for Madinah, and to join their brothers among the Ansar. He said, ‘Allah has given you brothers and an abode where you will be safe.’ They soon began to leave Makkah.


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, however, remained in Makkah waiting for Allah’s permission to emigrate to Madinah.


The emigration of the Muslims from Makkah was not easy. The Quraysh put many obstacles in their way and subjected the emigrants to considerable stress. However, the emigrants were determined to go. They did not want to remain in Makkah. Some, including Abu Salamah, were forced to leave their wives and children behind and to travel alone. Some had to relinquish all they had earned in their lifetime. Suhayb was among those who lost all their wealth.


Umar ibn al-Khattab, Talhah, Hamzah, Zayd ibn Harithah, Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf, Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Abu Hudhayfah, Uthman ibn Affan and others emigrated (may Allah be pleased with them) and the emigration continued apace. None were left in Makkah with the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah except for those who were imprisoned or awaiting trial, apart from Ali ibn Abi Talib and Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah.



When the Quraysh saw that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had Companions and helpers in Madinah over whom they had no power, they were alarmed about his departure. They knew that if that happened, they would have no means to stop him. So they assembled in the Dar an-Nadwah, the house of Qusayy ibn Kilab which the Quraysh used when decision-making, The Quraysh nobles consulted one another on what to do about the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.


They finally agreed that each tribe would provide a young warrior and together they would attack the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, each man striking a blow. That way responsibility for his death would be divided among the tribes and the Banu Abd Manaf would not be able to fight them all.


Allah informed His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of this plot, so he could tell Ali ibn Abi Talib to sleep in his bed wrapped up in his cloak, adding, ‘Nothing unpleasant will happen to you.


When the murderous gang gathered at the door intending to attack, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah came out and took up a handful of dust. Allah then instantly removed their sight and the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah scattered the dust over their heads while reciting verses from Surah Ya Sin, ‘We have covered them so that they do not see,’ (36: 9) Someone came to them and said, ‘What are you waiting here for’


‘Muhammad,’ they replied.


‘May Allah disappoint you!’ he said. ‘By Allah, he came out earlier and went about his business.’

When they looked and saw someone sleeping on the bed they did not doubt that it was the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. But in the morning when Ali got up from the bed, they were so embarrassed that they slunk away quietly.



The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah went to Abu Bakr to tell him, ‘Allah has given me permission to emigrate.’


Abu Bakr exclaimed, ‘In company, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah?


‘In company,’ replied the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, and Abu Bakr wept for joy.


Abu Bakr brought two camels which he had in readiness for the journey and hired Abdullah ibn Urayqit to act as their guide. Over the years, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had developed such a reputation for honesty that the unbelieving Quraysh would deposit their valuables with him, certain that they would be safe. This day he charged Ali with the responsibility for returning all the property to its rightful owners.



The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and Abu Bakr left Makkah secretly. Abu Bakr asked his son, Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr, to find out what people were saying about them in Makkah and he asked ‘Air ibn Fuhayrah, his freed slave, to graze his milking sheep in the daytime but to bring them to the each night. Asma’ bint Abi Bakr would bring them food. They went to the Cave of Thawr. Abu Bakr went in first to clean it up and to make sure that it was safe so that nothing could harm the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. Once he was satisfied he called him in.


When they were inside Allah sent a spider to spin a web from a bush across the entrance to the cave. It concealed the fact that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and Abu Bakr had only just gone in. Allah also commanded two wild doves to fly down between the spider and the tree. They made a nest there and laid eggs. ‘To Allah belong the armies of the heavens and the earth.’ (48: 4)


The idol-worshippers followed the tracks of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s party, but when they reached the mountain they became confused. They climbed up the hillside passing close to the cave. However, when they saw the spider’s web they said, ‘If anyone had entered here, there would not be a spider’s web across the opening. Then, they rode on. Abu Bakr saw the idol-worshippers coming. In alarm he said, ‘Messenger of Allah, if one of them steps forward, he will see us.’


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah replied, ‘Why worry about two when Allah is the third!‘


Allah says in the Qur’an, /… the second of the two; when the two were in the Cave, when he said to his companion, “Grieve not. Allah is with us.” ‘(9: 40)



When the Quraysh realised that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had escaped, they offered a hundred camels to anyone who handed him over, dead or alive. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah remained in the cave for three days and then left with ‘Air ibn Fuhayrah who guided him along the coastal route.


Suraqah ibn Malik ibn Ju’sham was eager to get the reward offered for the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. He was tracking his footsteps when his horse stumbled and he was thrown off. He refused to give up so he mounted again and rode on. His horse stumbled a second time and he fell again. Determined to capture his quarry, he rode on once more. Just as he caught sight of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, his horse stumbled a third time. Its feet sank into the sand and Suraqah fell. Then he watched as dust rose from the ground like a sandstorm in front of him.


When Suraqah saw that happen, he knew that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was under the protection of Allah. He realised that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah would certainly have the upper hand over his enemies. He called out, ‘I am Suraqah ibn Ju’sham. Wait for me so that I can speak to you. By Allah, I will not harm you.’


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said to Abu Bakr, ‘Ask him what he wants from us.’

‘Write a document for me which will be a warrant of security.’


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah asked ‘Air ibn Fuhayrah to write it and Suraqah kept the piece of leather (or bone) on which it was written for many years. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, looking ahead to the day when the Persian empire would crumble, said to Suraqah, ‘How will you feel when you are wearing the bracelets of Chosroes?’


And indeed that event took place. When Persia was conquered, the bracelets, belt and crown of Chosroes were brought to Umar. He summoned

Suraqah ibn Malik and put the royal insignia on him.


Although Suraqah offered the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah provisions for his journey to Madinah, they were not accepted. He only asked, ‘Conceal our presence.’



During their journey the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s party passed the tent of Umm Ma’bad al-Khuza’iyyah who had a goat which was giving no milk during the drought. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah stroked its udder, invoked the name of Allah and prayed for a blessing. Milk flowed. He gave Umm Ma’bad and his Companions milk to drink until they were satisfied. Then he drank last of all. The ewe was milked a second time and her milk filled a vessel. When Abu Ma’bad returned home, his wife told him what had happened, exclaiming, ‘BY Allah, it could only have been a blessed man who passed by us.’



When she described the angelic stranger, he said, ‘By Allah, I think it is the man whom the Quraysh are seeking.’








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Seerah Series

Part 5: In Madinah



The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and his party continued their journey to Quba’ which is on the outskirts of Madinah. It was Monday the 12 of Rabi’ al-Awwal and this date marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.


When the Ansar heard that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had left Makkah they waited for him even more eagerly than people who are fasting wait for the new moon of the ‘Id. Every day after the Morning Prayer they went to the outskirts of Madinah to look for him. They stayed there until the heat of the summer sun forced them to seek shade. They would go back into their houses feeling very disappointed.


On the day that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah arrived, the people had just gone back into their houses. The Jews had taken note of what was going on and the first person to see him was indeed a Jew. He shouted as loudly as he could to announce to the Ansar that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had arrived.

Everyone went out to greet him. He and Abu Bakr, who was about the same age, were sheltering under a palm-tree.

Only a few of them had seen the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah before so most of the people in the crowd were unable to distinguish between him and Abu Bakr. Realising their confusion, Abu Bakr stood up to shade him with his cloak from the sun, thus making it clear who was the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.


The Muslims were overjoyed at the arrival of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. It was the best thing that had ever happened to them. The women and children chanted, ‘This is the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who has come! This is the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who has come!’ In their delight, the girls of the Ansar recited:


The full moon shines down upon us from Thaniyat al-Wada’.

We must all give our thanksgiving all the while praising Allah

You whom Allah sends among us,
what you bring, we will obey

You’ve ennobled Madinah.

Welcome now! Guide us to His way!


Anas ibn Malik al-Ans a boy at that time, said, ‘I saw the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah the day he entered Madinah. I have not seen a better or more radiant day than when he came to us in Madinah.’


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah spent four days at Quba’ where he established a mosque. On

Friday morning, he set off again. At noon he stopped among the Banu Salim ibn Awf where he prayed the Jumu’ah. This was the first Jumu’ah in Madinah.



In Madinah the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was greeted by people, all asking him to stay with them.

They grabbed the halter of his camel but he said, ‘Let it go its own way. It is under orders.’ That happened several times.

Eventually the camel stopped at the home of Banu Malik ibn an-Najjar. By herself she kneeled at a place which today marks the door of the Prophet’s mosque. At that time It was used for drying dates and belonged to two orphan boys of the Banu’n-Najjar who were the Prophet’s maternal uncles.


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah got off his camel. Abu Ayyub Khalid ibn Zayd quickly carried his luggage into his house and the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah stayed with him. Abu Ayyub showed him generous hospitality and great respect. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah insisted on staying on the lower floor of the house although Abu Ayyub disliked occupying the top floor above him, thinking it an insult. The Prophet, however reassured him, Saying, Abu Ayyub, it is more convenient for me and those who call on me that I stay on the lower floor.’



The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called for the two orphans who owned the date store and asked them to name a price for it, so that a masjid could be built. They said, ‘We give It to you, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.’ He refused to accept it as a gift, however, and insisted on paying them.


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah helped In the building of the mosque, carrying bricks alongside the other Muslims As he worked he recited, ‘O Allah, the true reward is the reward of the Next World, so show mercy to the Ansar and Muhajirun!’


The Muslims were happy, reciting poetry and praising Allah. Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah stayed in the house of Abu Ayyub for seven months until his mosque and the rooms for his family were ready.


The Muhajirun joined the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah until none were left in Makkah except those in person or awaiting trial. Every house of the Ansar became Muslim.



The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah established brotherhood between the Muhajirun and the Ansar, and they were put under an obligation to assist one another. The Ansar were so eager to form a brotherhood that they had to draw lots to allocate their shares. The Ansar gave the Muhajirun authority over their homes, their furniture, their land and their animals and preferred them over themselves in every way.


An Ansari would say to a Muhajir, ‘Have whichever half of my property you want to take,’ and the Muhajir would say, ‘May Allah bless you in your family and property! Show me the market.’ From the Ansar there was great benevolence as they demonstrated their generosity to their Muslim brothers while the Muhajirun retained their self-respect.



The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah bound together the Muhajirun and the Ansar when he made a covenant with the Jews. They were confirmed in their freedom to practise religion and in their title to their wealth.

Conditions were made for them and accepted from them.



When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was secure in Madinah and Islam had been strengthened, the people would join him at prayer without a call. He disliked the way the Jews and Christians used horns and bells to announce their calls to prayer. Then Allah honoured the Muslims with the adhan. One of them saw the method in a dream. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah confirmed it and prescribed it for the Muslims. He chose

Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi to call the adhan. He was the mu’adhdhin of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of

Allah and thus became the Imam of all the mu’adhdhins until the end of time.



Islam spread throughout Madinah and some of the rabbis and Jewish scholars also became Muslims. They included a learned rabbi named Abdullah ibn Salam whose acceptance of Islam annoyed other Jews. At that time the Jews were feeling anxious. They envied Islam, but at the same time they were frightened of it. Hence a group of hypocrites emerged. Their leader was Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul, whose power was not questioned before the arrival of Islam, but now his people were flocking to the new faith. He and others like him who were greedy for power became open enemies of Islam while others became secret hypocrites.



The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and the Muslims prayed towards Jerusalem for sixteen months after he came to Madinah but he wanted to turn to the Ka’bah. Muslims, as Arabs, had grown up with both love and esteem for the Ka’bah. They did not consider any other house equal to it nor any qiblah equal to the qiblah of Ibrahim and Isma’il. They all would have preferred to turn towards the Ka’bah. They found that the qiblah towards Jerusalem was an irritation, but they declared, ‘We hear and obey’ and ‘We believe it. All is from our Lord.‘ They always obeyed the

Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and submitted to the commands of Allah whether or not that was what they wanted.


First Allah tested their hearts for taqwa and their submission to the command of Allah. Then He turned His

Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and the Muslims towards the Ka’bah.

Qur’an says:


‘Thus We appointed you a midmost nation that you might be witnesses to the people and that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) might he! a witness to you; and We did not appoint the direction you were facing, except that We might know who followed the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) from him who turned on his heels it was a difficult thing except for those whom Allah has guided.’ (2: 143)


The Muslims turned to the Ka’bah out of obedience to Allah and His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and it became the qiblah of the Muslims for all time to come. Wherever they are in the world, Muslims turn their faces towards it when they pray.



When Islam was firmly established in Madinah, and the Quraysh knew that it was flourishing and spreading, they became hostile towards the Muslims. Allah commanded the Muslims to be steadfast and patient, saying, ‘Restrain your hands and establish the prayer.’ (4: 77)


When the Muslims were strong and secure, they were given permission to fight but were not obliged to do so. Allah said, ‘Leave is given against those whom war is made (to fight) because they were wronged. Allah is able to help them.’ (22: 39)



The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah began to send delegations to visit other tribes and districts. Most of the time there was no war, only skirmishes. Even this much activity worried the idol-worshippers but their anxiety encouraged the Muslims to emerge triumphant.


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah went on the raid of Abwa, the first he himself undertook. It was followed by other raids and expeditions.



In the second year of the hijrah, fasting was made obligatory. Allah revealed, ‘O you who believe, the fast is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you – perhaps you will be God-fearing.’ (2: 183)


He says, ‘The month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was sent down to be a guidance to the people and as clear signs of the Guidance and the Discrimination. Let those of you who are present at the month last it.’ (2: 185)






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Part 6: Battle of Badr



The Great Expedition of Badr took place in Ramadan, 2 A.H. Allah called this battle ‘The Day of Distinguishing.’ Allah says, ‘if you believe in Allah and what We sent down on Our servant on the Day of Distinguishing, the day the two hosts met.’ (8: 41)


The Messenger of Allah had heard that Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, who was extremely hostile to Islam, was coming from Syria with a large trading caravan belonging to the Quraysh. They were carrying a vast quantity of wealth and merchandise.

War had been declared between the Muslims and the idol-worshippers and the Quraysh had been spending their wealth on fighting Islam. Their cavalry would occasionally reach the borders of Madinah and the grazing areas used by the Muslims’ animals.


When the Messenger of Allah heard about this caravan, he sent Muslims to attack it. He did not attach much importance to the confrontation and did not issue a compulsory order to wage war.


When Abu Sufyan heard that the Messenger of Allah was coming towards him he sent to Makkah for help from the Quraysh to protect him from the Muslims. When this plea reached the people of Makkah, they decided that it must be serious. They prepared themselves quickly and departed. All of their nobles, apart from Abu Lahab, went to help and he appointed a man to take his place.



When the Messenger of Allah heard that the Quraysh had set out from Makkah to stop the Muslims, he consulted his Companions. He was concerned about the Ansar because their original homage included the condition that they only defend him in their home territory. Since he resolved to leave Madinah, he wanted to know where they stood The Muhajirun assured him of their support, but he consulted them a second time, and then a third time. The Ansar fully understood the reason why he was concerned about them. Sa’d ibn Mu’adh replied,


‘It seems that you are alluding to us. Perhaps you fear that the Ansar do not think that they have to help you outside their own territory. I speak for the Ansar and answer for them. Go where you wish, join whom you wish and cut off whom you wish. Take what you wish from our property and give us what you wish. What you take from us is dearer than what you leave. Whatever you command, we will follow it. By Allah, if you were to travel until you reached Bark Ghamdan, we would go with you. By Allah, if you were to cross this sea, we would plunge into it with you.’


Al-Miqdad said, ‘We do not say to you what the people of Musa said to Musa: “Go forth you and your Lord and do battle. We will be waiting here. “(5: 24) We will do battle on your right and on your left and in front of you and behind you.’ When the Messenger of Allah heard this, his face shone with happiness ‘Be Steadiest!’ he said to his Companions.



When the Muslims went to Badr, a boy called Umayr ibn Abi Waqqas came out. He was sixteen and afraid that the Prophet would not accept him because he was too young to fight. He tried to avoid being seen but his elder brother, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, asked him what he was up to.


‘I was afraid that the Messenger of Allah would send me back when I wanted to go out. It might be that Allah will grant me martyrdom,’ he answered.


That was indeed the case. The Messenger of Allah did want to send him back because he was so young. Umayr wept. His tears weakened the heart of the Messenger of Allah who allowed him to go after all. And Umayr was killed as a martyr during the expedition.



The Messenger of Allah set off for Badr swiftly with three hundred and thirteen men but only two horses and seventy camels. Two or three men rode on a camel in turns without any distinction being made between a soldier and a general.

The Messenger of Allah, Abu Bakr, Umar and the great Companions were among them.


The Prophet gave the banner to Mus’ab ibn Umayr, the flag of the Muhajirun to Ali ibn Abi Talib and the flag of the Ansar to Sa’d ibn Mu’adh.


When Abu Sufyan heard that the Muslims had set out to intercept him, he turned his caravan towards the coast. When he saw that they were safe, he sent word to the Quraysh telling them to return as there was now nothing for them to do.

The Quraysh wanted to turn back, but Abu Jahl insisted on attacking. The Quraysh army numbered more than a thousand, including all the warriors, leaders and horsemen. Of the fighters the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Makkah has sent you its treasures, dear and beloved ones.’


The Messenger or Allah and his Companions reached the water of Badr first. They arrived at midnight and built cisterns which they filled with water. The Messenger of Allah allowed unbelievers to drink of this water, too.


Allah sent down heavy rain that night. It prevented the idol-worshippers from advancing. It was a mercy for the Muslims, however, as it made the ground smooth and the sand firm. This blessing strengthened their hearts. Allah describes the scene:


‘He sent down water on you from heaven, to purify you thereby and to put away from you the defilement of Satan, and to strengthen your hearts and to confirm your feet.’ (8: 11)



A shelter was built for the Messenger of Allah on a small hill overlooking the battlefield. He went down to the battlefield and began to point with his hand, saying, ‘So-and-so will die here. So-and-so will die here. So-and-so will die here if Allah wills.’ None of those people went any further than where he had pointed.


When the idol-worshippers appeared and the two groups confronted one another, the Messenger of Allah said, ‘O Allah, this is the Quraysh who have come with their vanity and their pride. They have come to fight You and deny Your Messenger.’


It was the night of Friday, 17 Ramadan. In the morning, the Quraysh advanced in their squadrons and the two groups took up positions ready for battle.



The Messenger of Allah organised the ranks and returned to his shelter. He and Abu Bakr went inside. The Messenger of Allah prayed. He asked for the help of Allah Whose judgement cannot be turned aside and Whose decree cannot be averted. There is no help but from Allah. He said, ‘O Allah, if You let this group of men die, no one after them will worship You on the earth.’


He called out to his Lord, ‘O Allah, give me the help which You promised me.’


He raised his hands to the sky until the cloak fell from his shoulders. Abu Bakr consoled and comforted him.



Then the Messenger of Allah went out to encourage the Muslims to fight. Utbah ibn Rabi’ah and his brother Shaybah and his son al-Walid stepped forward from the Quraysh. When they came forward between the opposing forces, they asked for other people to come forward as was the custom. When three youths of the Ansar went out to them they asked, ‘Who are you?’


‘We are from the Ansar.’


‘We demand our equals. Send some of our own tribe out to us.’


The Prophet said, ‘Go forward, Ubaydah ibn al-Harith [ibn al-Muttalib ibn Abd Manaf], Hamzah and Ali.’


‘Yes, these are our equals in nobility,‘ they said.


Ubaydah, the oldest man chosen, went out against Utbah, Hamzah against Shaybah and ‘Ail against al-Walid ibn Utbah.

Hamzah and Ali quickly killed their opponents. Ubaydah and Utbah exchanged blows and each of them floored the other.

Hamzah and Ali turned their swords against Utbah and finished him off and carried back Ubaydah, who was wounded.

He died a martyr.



The people crowded together and drew near to one another. The idol-worshippers approached. The Messenger of Allah cried out, ‘Arise for a Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth!’


Umayr ibn al-Humam al-Ansari got up, asking, ‘Messenger of Allah ! A Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth?’

‘Yes,’ he said.

‘Wonderful, wonderful, Messenger of Allah!’
‘What moved you to say “Wonderful, wonderful”?’

‘Nothing, by Allah, Messenger of Allah,’ he said, except the hope that I will be among its people.

‘You are one of its people,’ he was told.


Umayr took some dates from his quiver and began to eat. ‘If I live to eat these dates it will be a long life,’ he suddenly said.


So he threw away the dates and ran to the battlefield. He fought the enemy until he was killed. He was the first martyr that day.


The people were steadfast, constantly remembering Allah. The Messenger of Allah fought fiercely. He fought closely with the enemy and none was braver that day. The angels brought down mercy and victory and drove back the idol-worshippers.



The young men competed with each other as they raced for martyrdom and happiness. It was a race between friends, comrades and brothers.


Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf said, ‘I was in the ranks on the day of Badr. I turned and there were two young boys one on my right and the other on my left. I was not too happy about their position. One of them said to me, in a quiet voice that His companion could not hear, “Uncle, show me Abu Jahl.” I said, “Nephew, what will you do to him?” He replied, “I have made a covenant with Allah that if I see him, I will kill him or die before him.” The other boy then said the same thing to me, also keeping it from his companion.’ He added,’ I was so happy to be’ between two men like them. I pointed Abu Jahl out to them and they attacked him like two falcons until they struck him down.’


When Abu Jahl was killed, the Messenger of Allah said, ‘This Abu Jahl was the Pharaoh of this community.’



When the victory of the Muslims and the defeat of the idol-worshippers became clear, the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Allah is greater! Praise belongs to Allah Who was true to His promise, helped His slave and defeated the parties alone.’


Allah certainly spoke the truth when He said: ‘Allah surely helped you at Badr when you were utterly abject. So fear Allah and perhaps you will be thankful.’ (3: 123)


The Messenger of Allah ordered the Quraysh dead to be thrown into a well. Then he stood over it and said, ‘O people of the well! Have you found what Allah promised you to be true? I have certainly found that what my Lord promised me is true.’


Seventy leaders of the unbelievers were killed and another seventy captured on the Day of Badr. Six Muslims of the Quraysh and eight of the Ansar were martyred.


The Messenger of Allah divided the captives among his Companions and told them to treat them well.


He then returned to Madinah confirmed in victory. All his enemies both in the city and in surrounding areas feared him. Many more people of Madinah were encouraged to become Muslims.


In Makkah the idol-worshippers mourned for their slain. Terror entered the hearts of all the Muslims’ enemies.



The Messenger of Allah pardoned the captives and accepted ransom from them. He was gracious to those who had nothing and set them free. The Quraysh sent money to ransom the captives and he set them free too.


Among the captives were those who had nothing with which to ransom themselves. The Messenger of Allah allowed them to earn their freedom by teaching the children of the Ansar to write. Each prisoner taught ten Muslims. Zayd ibn Thabit was one of those who learned in this way from the captives of Badr.


The Banu Qaynuqa’ were the first Jews to break the agreement they had made with the Messenger of Allah by insulting him and harming the Muslims. The Messenger of Allah then laid siege to them for fifteen days until they surrendered unconditionally. Their ally, Abdullah ibn Ubayy, the head of the hypocrites, interceded for them and the Messenger of Allah raised the siege at his request. Seven hundred Jewish artisans and merchants were bearing arms on that occasion.








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Seerah Series

Part 7: Battle of Uhud


When their heroes were defeated on the Day of Badr and the remnants of the army returned to Makkah, it was a terrible blow for the Quraysh. Men who had lost their fathers, sons and brothers approached Abu Sufyan and others who had valuable merchandise in that caravan. They wanted the profits to be used for lighting the Muslims again. The merchants agreed to their request. The Quraysh decided to conduct a new war. Poets spurred the people on with their militant verses and provoked fanatical zeal in readiness for battle.

A well-equipped Quraysh army set out from Makkah in the middle of Shawwal 3 A.H. The leaders accompanied by their wives advanced until they set up camp at the gates of Madinah. The Quraysh had mustered three thousand soldiers.


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah thought that the Muslims should stay in the city and fight only if the enemy came into Madinah. Abdullah ibn Ubayy agreed with him but some of the Muslim men who had missed lighting at Badr said, ‘Messenger of Allah, lead us out to face our enemies so that they will not think us cowards and weaklings.’

They kept urging on the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah until he went into his house and put on his armour. Then those who had suggested going out of the city regretted their insistence and said, ‘We have persuaded you, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, for which we had no right. If you wish, stay and may Allah bless you .’


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah then said, ‘It is not fitting that a Prophet who has put on his armour should put it aside until he has fought.’


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah went out with a thousand of his Companions. When he was at ash-Shawt between Madinah and Uhud, Abdullah ibn Ubayy withdrew with a third of the men, saying, ‘He has obeyed them and rebelled against me.’


When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, now with seven hundred men, reached the gorge of Uhud, a mountain about three kilometres from Madinah, he took up his position saying, ‘None of you should start fighting until we give the order.’


He prepared for battle. He put Abdullah ibn Jubayr in charge of the fifty archers, instructing them, ‘Keep the cavalry away from us with arrows so that they do not come up from our rear whether the battle is going for us or against us.’


He commanded them to hold their position and not to leave it, even if they saw birds snatching the army away. He put on two coats of armour and gave the banner to Mus’ab ibn Umayr (may Allah be pleased with him).


On the day Of Uhud the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sent back a group of boys because they were too young. They included Samurah ibn Jundub and Rafi’ ibn Khadij who were only fifteen years old. The father of Rafi’ interceded, saying to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah that his son Rafi’ was a good shot, so the Prophet allowed the boy to go.


Samurah ibn Jundud who was the same age as Rafi’ was presented to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who sent him back because he was too young. Samurah said, ‘You gave permission to Rafi’ but you sent me back. If I were to wrestle with him, I would throw him.

They wrestled and Samurah threw Rafi’ so he was given permission as well. Consequently he was able to fight in the Battle of Uhud.


The two sides faced each other and closed in. Hind bint Utbah stood among the women beating on drums behind the men to urge them on. A fierce battle was soon in progress. Abu Dujanah fought with the sword of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. He fought until he was deep in the enemy’s ranks and killed all those in his path.


Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib fought fiercely, killing many Qurayshi heroes. No one could stand against him until Wahshi, the slave of Jubayr ibn Mut’im, waited for him in ambush. He was expert at throwing the javelin and seldom missed his mark. Jubayr had promised him that he would set him free if he killed Hamzah. He had killed his uncle Tu’aymah in the Battle of Badr. Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan who was thirsting for revenge, also encouraged him to kill Hamzah. Wahshi attacked Hamzah with his spear, striking him so hard that it pierced the lower part of his body. Hamzah fell, a martyr.

Mus’ab ibn Umayr fought in front of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah until he was killed.


Allah Almighty sent down His help for the Muslims. He confirmed His promise until the idol-worshippers were cut off from their camp and were clearly defeated. The women turned in flight.


When the Muslim archers saw that the idol-worshippers had been routed and had turned in flight to the point that they caught up with their women, they themselves left their post. They headed for the camp, certain of victory, crying, ‘People! Booty! Booty!’


Their commander reminded them of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s order not to leave their post, but they did not listen. They assumed that the idol-worshippers would not come back and so they left the Muslim army unprotected. Then, the cavalry of idol-worshippers suddenly attacked from the rear. A shout went up, ‘Muhammad has been killed!’ Though the Muslims turned back straightaway, the idol-worshippers seized the opportunity to counter-attack.


It was a day on which all the Muslims were sorely tested. The enemy fought their way close to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who was hit with a rock. He fell on his side, one of his front teeth was smashed, his face was scratched and his lip cut. The blood ran down his face and he wiped it away, saying, ‘How can a people prosper who have stained their Prophet’s face with blood while he summoned them to their Lord!’


In the confusion, many of the Muslims did not know where the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was. Ali ibn Abi Talib took his hand and Talhah ibn Ubaydullah helped him to his feet. Malik ibn Sinan, very upset, licked away the blood from his face.


The Muslims, though not put to flight, were out-manoeuvred and forced to resume the fight.

The Muslims suffered greatly from this reversal. The archers’ behaviour led to the martyrdom of many strong and dedicated Companions.

The archers’ failure to hold to the instructions of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and his orders not to leave their specified position is referred to in the Qur’an:

Allah was true in His promise towards you when you blasted them by His leave; until you lost heart and quarrelled about the matter and were rebellious, after He had shown you that you longed for. Some of you there are that desire this world, and some of you there are desire the Next World. Then He turned you from them, that He might try you, and He has pardoned you and Allah is bounteous to the believers.‘(3: 152)


During the battle, two links from the metal chainstrap of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s helmet had been forced into his cheek. Abu Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah removed one link from his face and a front tooth fell out; he pulled out another link and a second tooth fell out. Thus he lost both of his front teeth. Abu Dujanah had positioned himself as a shield for the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. Countless arrows stuck in his back while he was leaning over him. Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas shot arrows in defence of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah who was handing him the arrows, saying,‘Shoot, may my father and mother be your ransom.


When the eye of Qatadah ibn an-Nu’man was injured it fell out of its socket on to his cheek. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah put it back in and it was subsequently his best and sharpest eye. The frenzied idol-worshippers had surged towards the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, trying to achieve something Allah had not willed. Ten Companions who were protecting him were killed. Talhah ibn Ubaydullah shielded the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah from arrows with his bare hand. His fingers bled profusely and his hand became paralysed. When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah wanted to climb a rock he was unable to do so because of his wounds and weakness. Talhah squatted down so that he could use him as a step. The time for the noon-prayer came and he led them in the prayer sitting down because of his wounds.


When the Muslims had been dispersed, Anas ibn an-Nadr, the uncle of Anas ibn Malik, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s servant, continued to fight on. Sa’d ibn Mu’adh asked him, ‘Where are you going, Abu Umar!’

‘Towards the scent of the Garden of Paradise, Sa’d, he replied. ‘I smell it near Uhud!’

He came upon some men of the Muhajirun and Ansar who were sitting down looking gloomy, and asked them, ‘Why are you sitting here!’

‘The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah has been killed,’ they said.

‘Then what use is life after him Get up and die as the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah died.

Then he went forward and fought the enemy until he was killed.

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘We found seventy wounds on him that day. Only his sister could recognise him, and she recognised him by his fingertips.

Ziyad ibn as-Sakan fought alongside five of the Ansar in front of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah; they were killed one by one. Ziyad fought until he was badly wounded. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, ‘Bring him to me.’ He used his foot as a support for Ziyad’s head. Ziyad died with his cheek on the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s foot.

Amr ibn al-Jamuh was very lame and had four young sons who used to go on expeditions with the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. When they went to Uhud, he wanted to accompany the Prophet. His sons said to him, ‘Allah has given you a dispensation. You stay and we will fight in your place for Allah has removed the obligation of jihad from you.

Amr came to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and said,

‘These sons of mine prevent me from doing jihad with you. By Allah, I hope that I will be martyred and then I will walk in the Garden of Paradise with this lameness of mine.

The Prophet replied, ‘Allah has removed the duty of jihad from you.
He asked his sons, What harm is there in letting him go!’ Amr went with the army and was indeed blessed with martyrdom at Uhud.

Zayd ibn Thabit (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘On the day of Uhud, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sent me to look for Sa’d ibn ar-Rabi’. “if you see him,” he said, “Greet him from me and tell him, ‘The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah says to you, “How do you feel?” ‘

‘I began to go among the slain and I came to him when he was breathing his last. He had seventy wounds spear wounds, sword-wounds and arrow wounds. I said, “Sa’d! The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sends you his greeting and says to you, ‘How do you feel?‘ ” He said, “And peace be upon the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. Say to him, ‘Messenger of Allah, I can smell the scent of the Garden.’ Tell my people the Ansar, ‘You have no excuse with Allah if anything happens to your Prophet while you still breathe.’ ” He died straight after saying that.’

Abdullah ibn Jahsh said on that day, ‘O Allah, I swear to you that if I meet the enemy tomorrow and they kill me and then split my stomach open and cut off my nose and my ears and You ask me what all that was for, I will say, “For you, my Lord.” ‘


When the Muslims realised that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was still alive, they rushed up to one another and advanced towards the gorge. Ubayy ibn Khalaf caught up with him, saying, ‘O Muhammad ! I will not be spared if you are spared!’ The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, however, said to his Companions, ‘Leave him alone.’ When he came closer, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah took a spear from one of his Companions, faced Ubayy and struck him in the neck causing him to sway and fall from his horse.


Ali ibn Abi Talib filled his shield with water and Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet, washed the blood from his face. When Fatimah saw that the water only increased the blood flow, she burnt a piece of matting and dressed the wound with the ashes until the bleeding stopped .

A’ishah bint Abi Bakr and Umm Sulaym carried water in leather bags on their backs. They poured it into the mouths of the wounded. Repeatedly they went back for more water which Umm Sulayt drew for them.

Hind bint Utbah and the Quraysh women with her began to mutilate the bodies of the slain Muslims and cut off their ears and noses. She cut out Hamzah’s liver and chewed it, but could not swallow it and spat it out.


When Abu Sufyan wanted to leave, he went to the top of the mountain and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘The luck of war alternates. One wins today, the other tomorrow. Show your superiority, Hubal !’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, ‘Get up, Umar and tell him, “Allah is the most High and Majestic. We are not the same. Our dead are in the Garden of Paradise and your dead are in the Fire!” ‘

Abu Sufyan retorted, ‘We have Uzza and you do not have Uzza!’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, ‘Tell him, “Allah is our Protector and you have no protector!” ‘

Before Abu Sufyan left, he cried out, ‘Your rendezvous is Badr next year.’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah asked a Companion to say, ‘Yes, it is an appointment between us.’

The Muslims searched for their dead and buried them. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah grieved for Hamzah who was his uncle as well as his foster brother and who had always supported him.


Safiyyah bint Abdul-Muttalib came to look at Hamzah. She was his full sister. However, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah told her son, az-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam to send her back. ‘She must not see what has happened to her brother.’


Az-Zubayr said to her, ‘Mother, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah orders you to go back.’


She asked, ‘Why I have heard that my brother has been mutilated and that it was for the sake of Allah. I assume he will be rewarded. I shall be patient if Allah is willing.

She then went to see her brother and prayed for him, saying, ‘To Allah we belong and to Him we return,’ and begged forgiveness for him. Then the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah commanded that he be buried at Uhud.


Mus’ab ibn Umayr, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s standard-bearer, was one of the wealthiest young men of the Quraysh before becoming a Muslim. Only a small piece of cloth could be found for his shroud. When his head was covered, his feet showed and when his feet were covered, his head was exposed. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah advised, ‘Cover his head and put idhkhir, herbs, on his feet.


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah put two of the dead of Uhud in a single shroud and asked, ‘Which of them knew the most Qur’an?’


The one who was pointed out was put into the grave first. ‘I will be a witness for them on the Day of Resurrection,’ said the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.


He ordered that they be buried still covered with blood, in the condition that they had fallen. They were not prayed for, neither were they washed.


As they returned to Madinah, the Muslims passed by a woman of the Banu Dinar. She had lost her husband, brother and father in the battle. When she learnt of their deaths she only said,‘What has happened to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah?’


The Muslims Said, ‘He is well, Umm so-and-so!’ She praised Allah and requested them, ‘Point him out to me so that I can see him.


When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was pointed out to her she said to him, ‘Now that you are safe every misfortune is gone.


The idol-worshippers criticised one another and their leaders, saying, ‘You did not do anything. You have merely scratched the surface. You left without wiping them out.


The Muslims were still exhausted and many were wounded. The day after Uhud, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s crier announced that they should pursue the enemy. No one should leave except those who had fought the day before. All the Muslims went out with the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. None stayed behind. They reached Hamra’ al-Asad about eight miles from Madinah where they camped for three days – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – and then returned to Madinah when there were no signs of the enemy returning.


Seventy Muslims were martyred in the Battle of Uhud, most of them Ansar (may Allah be pleased with them). Twenty-two idol-worshippers were killed.


In 3 A.H., some of the ‘Adal and al-Qarah asked for Muslims to teach them the faith. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sent six of his Companions including ‘Asim ibn Thabit, Khubayb ibn Adi and Zayd ibn al-Dathinah. However the tribesmen double-crossed them and killed four.


When he was captured, Zayd was taken for execution and a group of Quraysh which included Abu Sufyan ibn Harb gathered round. Abu Sufyan called out, ‘I ask you by Allah, Zayd, don’t you wish that Muhammad was with us now in your place so that we might cut off his head, and that you were with your family?’


Zayd replied, ‘By Allah, I don’t wish Muhammad to be hurt even by a thorn when I should be safe with my family.’
Abu Sufyan said,I have never seen a man so loved as Muhammad’s Companions love Muhammad.’
Then Zayd was killed.
When Khubayb was about to be executed he asked,
‘Could you let me pray two rak’ats?’
‘Go ahead,’ his captors replied.
He performed serenely two rak’ats and then turned and said to the people, ‘By Allah, if it were not that you would think that I prolonged it out of fear of death, I would have prayed more.’
He then recited these two verses of poetry:
I do not care if I am killed as a Muslim,
Whatever death I suffer is for the sake of Allah. It is all for Allah and if He wishes
He will bless the limbs which are torn apart.


‘Air ibn Malik asked the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah to send a group of his Companions to teach his tribe about Islam. Seventy of the best Muslims were sent. When they reached Bi’r Ma’unah they dismounted, but the tribes of the Banu Sulaym of ‘Usayyah, Ri’l and Dhakwan ambushed them by surrounding them with their camels. When they saw what was happening, the Muslims drew their swords and fought bravely, but they were all killed except Ka’b ibn Zayd. He survived until the battle of the Ditch where he, too, was martyred.


When Haram ibn Milhan was killed by Jabbar ibn Sulma, his killer became a Muslim when he heard what Haram had uttered as he was dying. Jabbar explained, ‘Part of the reason I became a Muslim was that on that day when I stabbed one of their men between the shoulders with a spear and saw its point come out of his chest, I heard him say, “I have won, by the Lord of the Ka’bah!” I said to myself, “What has he won! Haven’t I killed the man?” I enquired from others and they told me that he meant martyrdom. “He has won, by Allah!” I replied that was the reason I became a Muslim.’


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah approached the Banu’n-Nadir, a large tribe of Jews, to ask for their help in paying the blood-money of two men of the Banu ‘Air who had been killed. An alliance had been made between the Banu’n-Nadir and the Banu ‘Air. Although they promised to co-operate with him, they were really plotting to assassinate him. While the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was sitting by the wall of one of their houses, they discussed what to do next. ‘You will never have such a good opportunity as this again. Who will go up to the top of this house and throw a rock down onto him and rid us of him!’

With the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was a group of his Companions including Abu Bakr, Umar and Ali.

Allah informed His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) about the treacherous plan. He went straight back to Madinah and ordered the Muslims to prepare for war against the Banu’n-Nadir. Then he led them to the enemy fortress. It was in the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal in 4 A.H.

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah laid siege to the Jews for six nights, casting terror into their hearts. They then asked the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah if he would banish them from the city and spare their lives on condition that they take with them all their belongings on their camels, except their weapons. The offer was accepted and they left Madinah after destroying their houses, taking whatever their camels could carry.

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah divided what property was left among the first Muhajirun.


In 4 A.H. the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah decided to make a raid into Najd, advancing with his Companions until he reached Nakhl. They had only one camel between six of them so their feet became raw from walking. They tore their clothes into strips to bandage their feet and toes. This expedition was called Ghazwah Dhat ar-Riqa, the expedition of Rags.


Though the two sides approached each other, no fighting ensued as they were too wary of each other. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah led the Prayer of Fear on this occasion.

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Seerah Series

Part 8: Battle of Ahzaab

The Battle of the Ditch took place in Shawwal 5 A.H. It was a decisive battle but it presented to the Muslims grave trials that they had not previously experienced. Allah says in the Qur’an:

When they came against you from above you and from below you, and when your eyes swerved and your hearts reached your throats, and you thought thoughts about Allah; there it was that the believers were tried, and shaken most mightily. (33: 11)

The Jews instigated these hostilities. People from the Banu’n-Nadir and the Banu Wa’il went to the Quraysh in Makkah, calling on them to fight the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. The Quraysh who had already experienced war with the Prophet were reluctant to get involved again. However, the Jewish delegation painted such a rosy picture of the outcome that they agreed to co-operate.

‘We will support you,’ the Jews promised, ‘until you obliterate him.’

That delighted the Quraysh. They were eager to carry out the Jews’ ideas. They gathered their forces and prepared for battle. The Jewish delegation then went to the Ghatafan tribes and invited them to join the Quraysh. After the Ghatafan agreed to join in, they went to other tribes, presenting them with the same plan backed by the Quraysh.

Thus an alliance was formed between the Quraysh, the Jews, and the Ghatafan against the Muslims.

Certain conditions were drawn up. The Quraysh had to gather four thousand fighters and the Ghatafan six thousand, making ten thousand in all. This vast army was to be commanded by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb. The Jews agreed to give one year’s harvest of Khaybar to the Ghatafan to compensate them for their military expenses.


The Muslims decided to fortify themselves in Madinah and defend the city. Their army numbered less than three thousand so Salman al-Farsi suggested that a ditch should be dug around the city for protection.

‘In Persia,’ Salman said, ‘when we feared invaders, we would dig a ditch around us to keep them at bay.‘ The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah agreed to his suggestion and a ditch was dug on the exposed side from where they feared the enemy would attack. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah planned the work and assigned forty cubits of digging to each group of ten Muslims. The length of the ditch was about five thousand cubits and its depth varied between seven and ten cubits. Its width was at least nine cubits.


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah helped to dig the ditch and encouraged the Muslims working alongside him. Although it was bitterly cold and food was in short supply, the work proceeded smoothly.

Abu Talhah said, ‘We complained to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah of hunger and we showed him the stones that we had tied round our bellies to ease the pain. Then the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah showed us that he had two stones on his belly.’

In spite of all this they were happy, praising Allah and chanting poems. No one complained or expressed any regrets.

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah went out to the ditch when the Muhajirun and Ansar were digging in the bitterly cold morning air. They had no slaves to do it for them. Seeing their state of fatigue and hunger, he said:
O Allah! True life is the life of the Next World. So forgive the Ansar and the Muhajirun.
In response they said:
We are those who have given homage to Muhammad.
To fight in jihad as long as we have life.

The Muslims came upon a large rock which their picks could not shift. When they complained to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah about it, he took up a pick, saying, ‘In the name of Allah.’ His first blow broke off a third of the rock and sent sparks flying.

‘Allah is greater!’ he said, ‘I have been given the keys of Syria. By Allah, I see its red castles, if Allah wills.

He struck at the rock a second time and another third broke off.

‘Allah is greater. I have been given the keys of Persia and, by Allah, I see the white castles of al-Mada’in.

With his third blow, he invoked the name of Allah and the rest of the rock shattered.

Allah is greater!’ he exclaimed, ‘Allah is greater! I have been given the keys of the Yemen. By Allah, I see the gates of San’a’ from here.

A number of miracles were witnessed by the Companions at this time. Once when the ground was too hard to dig in part of the ditch, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah called for some water, spat into it and prayed a supplication willed by Allah. When he poured the water over the hard ground, it became soft like sand. On other occasions, a great blessing would appear when a small amount of food could satisfy a large number of Muslims or even be sufficient for an entire army of three thousand workers.

“When they came to you from above you and from beneath you”

The Muslims had scarcely finished work on the ditch when the Quraysh and the Ghatafan arrived and pitched camp outside Madinah with ten thousand warriors. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah assembled his three thousand Muslims, keeping the ditch between them and the enemy.
A treaty existed between the Muslims and the Madinan Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayzah. Huyayy ibn Akhtab, the chief of Banu’n-Nadir encouraged the Jews to break the treaty. When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah heard of this, he realised that it was a serious setback and everyone feared the consequences. Some of the hypocrites displayed their hypocrisy openly. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah even considered making a treaty with the Ghatafan, giving them one-third of Madinah’s dates in order to make things easier for the Ansar who always bore the greatest hardships during wars.

He rejected that option after Sa’d ibn Mu’adh and Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah advised him to remain firm, upright and resolute before the enemy and to refuse any compromise.

Messenger of Allah,’ they said, ‘We and these people all used to associate other things with Allah and worship idols; none of us worshipped nor recognised Allah. They would not eat a single date except through hospitality or purchase. Now that Allah has honoured us with Islam and guided us to it and made us mighty by you and Himself, shall we still give them our property? By Allah, we have no need to and, by Allah, we will not give them anything but the sword until Allah decides between us and them.


The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and the Muslims remained besieged by their enemies but no fighting took place. However, some of the mounted Quraysh galloped their horses up to the edge of the ditch. When they saw the ditch, they Said, ‘By Allah, this is a device which the Arabs have never used!’

Then, having found the narrowest part, they beat their horses until they jumped over the ditch into the territory of Madinah. Among them was the famous horseman Amr ibn Abd Wudd who was said to be the equal of a thousand horsemen. He stopped and asked, ‘Who will face me?’

Ali ibn Abi Talib sprang forward and said, ‘Amr!

You swore by Allah that if a man of the Quraysh offered you two alternatives, you would accept one of them!’
‘Yes, I did.’
‘I call you to Allah and to His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and to Islam,’ Ali said.
‘I have no need of that.’
‘Then I call on you to encounter me.’
‘Nephew,’ said Amr to Ali, ‘By Allah, I do not want to kill you.’
‘But, by Allah,’ Ali replied, ‘I want to kill you.’
Amr was so furious that he leapt from his horse, hamstrung it, and slapped its face. Then he advanced on Ali who fought back. They circled one another, thrusting and parrying. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) eventually beheaded Amr with a sweeping blow of his sword. The other horsemen rapidly retreated back across the ditch.


Before the veil was prescribed, A’ishah, Umm al-Mu’minin, said that she was with the Muslim women in the fortress of Banu Harithah when, ‘Sa’d ibn Mu’adh passed by wearing armour so short that his forearm was exposed. He was chanting some verses and his mother called, “Catch up, my son. By Allah, you are late.” ‘
A’ishah continued, ‘I said to her, “Umm Sa’d, I wish Sa’d’s armour were longer than that.”

What A’ishah feared took place. Sa’d ibn Mu’adh was hit by an arrow which severed a vein causing excessive bleeding. He died a martyr in the subsequent battle with the Banu Qurayzah.


Their enemies laid siege to the Muslims for about a month. They invaded all the surrounding areas creating great hardship. The hypocrites showed their true colours; some even asked the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah if they could go into Madinah because they had left their houses unlocked. In reality, they only wanted to flee from the battlefront.

While the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah and his Companions kept a close watch on the enemy besieging them, Nu’aym ibn Mas’ud from the Ghatafan came up to him to say,

‘Messenger of Allah, I have become a Muslim but my people do not know that. Tell me what you want me to do and I will do whatever you wish.’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah replied, ‘You are the only Muslim there, so stay among our enemies and try to help us in whatever way you can. War is a clever device.’

Nu’aym ibn Mas’ud then went to the Banu Qurayzah and aroused doubts in their minds about their position. He mentioned their alliance with the Quraysh and Ghatafan who were distant tribes, and their antagonism towards the Muhajirun and Ansar who were their close neighbours. He suggested they should not fight alongside the Quraysh and Ghatafan until they had taken some leaders as hostages for security. They answered, ‘You have given us good advice.’

When he went to talk to the Quraysh, he told them that the Jews were regretting what they had done and would be asking for some of their leaders to be held hostage as security that the treaty would not be broken. He also said that when they handed them over to the Prophet and his Companions, they would strike off their heads. Then he told the Ghatafan the same story as he had told the Quraysh. The seeds of distrust that he planted in their minds put the two groups on their guard and made them angry with the Jews. A split developed between the allies as a result, and each of them feared the others.

When Abu Sufyan and the leaders of the Ghatafan were ready to fight a decisive battle with the Muslims, the Jews put it off, demanding hostages from both sides first. The Quraysh and Ghatafan were convinced that Nu’aym ibn Mas’ud had told them the truth so they refused to grant the Jews’ request. The Jews were also convinced that he had told them the truth. Thus their distrust of each other broke their unity and they split up.

Allah supported His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) by causing a hurricane to blow during the cold wintry nights. It blew down the enemy’s tents and overturned their cooking-pots. The men were disheartened. Abu Sufyan got up and said,

‘Company of Quraysh! By Allah, we are not in a permanent camp. The horses and camels are dying. The Banu Qurayzah have broken their promise to us and we have heard things about them which we dislike. We have suffered from the harshness of the wind as you can see and we are left without a cooking pot, or a fire. Not even a tent is standing up. Leave now, for I am going.’

Abu Sufyan went to his camel which was hobbled and mounted it. He beat it but did not unhobble it until it was standing.

When the Ghatafan heard that the Quraysh had departed, they also left. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was standing in prayer when his spy, Hudhayfah ibn al-’Yaman, informed him of what had taken place. In the morning the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah left the ditch and returned to Madinah. All the Muslims followed him, laying down their weapons. Allah Almighty spoke the truth:

O you who believe, remember Allah’s blessing on you when hosts came against you, and We loosed against them a wind, and hosts you did not see. Allah sees what you do. (33: 9) and, Allah sent back those that were unbelievers in their rage and they attained no good. Allah spared the believers of fighting. Surely Allah is Strong, Mighty. (33: 25)

The hardships of war were over and the Quraysh never again returned to fight the Muslims.

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, ‘The Quraysh will never raid you after this year. Rather you will raid them.
Seven Muslims were martyred on the Day of the Ditch while four idol-worshippers were killed by the Muslims.

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