The Prophet's Biography - nabi muhammad 11

The Prophet's Biography - nabi muhammad

11

Muslims Migrate to Abyssina

 

The Prophet (r) saw his followers standing up to their convictions in spite of persecutions, and his heart was laden with grief. And since he could do nothing to protect them, he advised his followers to migrate to the country of the Christian ruler, Negus of Abyssinia, who was reputed to be just and kindhearted. It was a friendly country, said the Prophet (r), where the Muslims could stay until such time as God relieved them of their distress.

Thereupon, ten Muslims left Makkah for Abyssinia. This was the first migration in Islam, where ‘Uthman Ibn Maz’un was elected as the leader of this first batch of emigrants. After them J’afar Ibn Abi Talib departed from Makkah, then a number of Muslims followed suit, one after another; some went alone while others took their families with them. A total of eighty-three persons are reported to have fled to Abyssinia. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. Pp. 320-21)

 

QURAYSH PURSUE THE MUSLIMS

The news that the Muslims were living in peace in Abyssinia reached Makkah making the Qurayshites all the more restless depressed and discouraged. So they decided to send ‘Abdullah Ibn Abu Rabia and ‘Amr Ibn Al ‘As Ibn Wail as their emissaries, laden with choicest presents of Makkah for Negus, his nobles and chiefs, to get the persons in exile back from Abyssinia. The agents of the Quraysh first bribed the courtiers of Negus with their presents to espouse their cause before the king, then they presented their gifts to him and said:

“Some foolish young men of our tribe have taken refuge in Your Majesty’s country. They have abandoned their own religion but neither accepted yours, and have invented a new faith which neither of us know. Our nobles, (who are their elders and guardians) have sent us to Your Majesty so we could get them back from you, for they are closer to them and that they know their faults.”

The bodyguards of Negus who heard this whispered to him in chorus, “They are correct, surrender the refugees to them”. But king Negus was enraged; he disliked forsaking those who had sought his shelter.” He said, “No, by God, I will not surrender them”. Thereafter, he summoned the Muslims to his court in the presence of his bishops, and asked the Muslims: “What is that religion for which you have forsaken your people and neither accepted my religion nor any other?”

 

J’AFAR'S PORTRAYAL OF ISLAM

J’afar Ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of the Prophet (r), then rose to explain what the King had asked. He said:

“O King, we were an unenlightened people plunged in ignorance. We worshipped idols, we ate dead animals, and we committed abominations: we broke natural ties, we mistreated our neighbors and our strong exploited the weak. We thus lived that way, until God raised among us an Prophet (r), of whose noble birth and lineage, truthfulness, honesty and purity we were aware. He invited us to acknowledge the Unity of God and to worship Him, and to renounce the stones and idols our forefathers and we ourselves used to venerate. He enjoined us to speak the truth, to redeem our pledges, to be kind and considerate to our kin and neighbors; he forbade us to refrain from every vice, bloodshed, shamelessness, lies and deceit and asked us neither to encroach upon the substance of orphans nor to vilify chaste women. He commanded us to pay divine homage to Allah alone and never associate ought with Him; he ordered us to pay the poor-due, to observe fast (thus enumerating other injunctions of Islam). We acknowledged his truthfulness and believed in him; we followed him in whatever he brought from God and we worshipped only One God without associating ought with Him; we treated as unlawful what he prohibited and accepted what he made lawful for us. From then on, we were estranged from our own people such that they persecuted us, tried to seduce us from our faith and forced us to take back our idols for our God and they compelled us to return to the abominations we used to commit earlier. So when they tortured and held us under their tyranny and stood between us and our religion, we fled to your country, having chosen you above others for our refuge. We have come here, O King, to your land seeking your protection and we do hope that we shall not be dealt with unjustly.”

Negus listened patiently to J’afar Ibn Abi Talib (t). Then he asked J’afar if he had something brought by his Prophet (r) from God.

J’afar replied in the affirmative. Negus asked him to recite the same. Thereupon J’afar recited the opening verses of Soorah Maryam. (19th Chapter, “Mary”) Negus wept until his beard was wet, as the bishops sobbed until their scrolls were moistened with their tears, too.

 

DISCOMFITURE OF THE QURAYSHITE EMISSARIES

“Truly, this and what Jesus brought are traditions from the same Heavenly light”, said Negus. Then turning to the envoys of the Quraysh he continued, “You may go. By God, I shall never give them up to you.”

Now, the shrewd poet ‘Amr Ibn al-‘As hurled his last shot and what a deadly tirade at that for he said, “O King, they assert a dreadful thing about Jesus which is even unwholesome to repeat before thee.”

Negus demanded from J’afar , “What do you say about Jesus?”

J’afar Ibn Abi Talib replied, “We say about which our Prophet (r) has taught us. He was a creature of God and His Prophet (r), as well as His Spirit and His Word, which was cast unto the blessed Virgin Maryam.”

Negus took a straw from the ground and said, “By God, Jesus, son of Mary, does not exceed what you have said by the length of this straw.”

Negus treated the Muslims with honor and pledged his protection to them. Both crestfallen envoys of the Quraysh had to leave Abyssinia in great shame while the Muslims lived there in peace and security. (Ibn Hisham, pp. 334-38)

 

Umar Embraces Islam

 

Islam was then further strengthened by the conversion of ‘Umar to the truth as brought about by the Prophet of God (r).

‘Umar was one of the nobles of the Quraysh, broad-shouldered, tall and brave. He was feared and respected by all. How the Prophet (r) wished that he should accept Islam, as he often prayed to God for showing him the right path.

Fatima bint al-Khattab, the sister of ‘Umar, accepted Islam and shortly thereafter, her husband Sa’id Ibn Zayd followed suit. But both kept it a closely guarded secret since they feared the violent inclination of ‘Umar’s nature. They knew that ‘Umar was a zealous adherent of his forefathers’ religion and carried a bitter aversion to the new faith in his bosom. Khabbab Ibn Aratt secretly taught the Qur’an to Fatima bint al-Khattab after her conversion.

‘Umar planned to murder the Prophet (r). One day he sallied forth, with a sword hanging from his neck to find out the house near as-Safa where the Prophet (r) and his companions were reported to have assembled. Nu’aym Ibn ‘Abdullah, who belonged to ‘Umar’s tribe of Bani ‘Adiy and who had already acknowledged faith in the Prophet (r), happened to see ‘Umar along the way armed and fiercely agitated. He asked, “Umar, where are you going?”

“I seek for Muhammed,” was ‘Umar’s reply, “And I will slay him; he has forsaken our religion, shattered the unity of the Quraysh; ridiculed them and vilified their gods. Today I will settle the matter once and for all.”

“Anger has blinded you,” retorted Nu’aym, “Would it not be better to set your own family in order?”

‘Umar was taken aback. He asked, “And who are they in my family?”

Nu’aym replied, “Your brother-in-law and cousin Sa-id Ibn Zayd and your sister Fatima. They have given faith to Muhammed and accepted his religion. Better deal with them first.”

‘Umar immediately hurried on to the house of his sister. Khabbab was at that time reading the Soorah Ta Ha (20th Chapter of the Qur’an) to the couple from a manuscript he had with him. When they caught the footsteps of ‘Umar, Khabbab hid himself inside a small room whereas Fatima instantly concealed the manuscript beneath her thigh. But as ‘Umar had already heard Khabbab reciting the scripture, he demanded on entering the house, “What was this nonsense murmur that I heard?’

“Nothing”, both answered, but “What have you heard?”

“Yes, I accidentally discovered,” continued ‘Umar angrily. “I know that both of you have joined the sect of Muhammed.” With these words, ‘Umar threw himself upon his brother-in-law. Fatima rushed in to save her husband, but ‘Umar struck her hard and wounded her.

All this happened abruptly, but now, both husband and wife boldly and openly asserted: “Yes, we are Muslims; we believed in Allah and His Prophet (r); do whatever you will.”

‘Umar saw the blood flowing from the wound he had inflicted on his sister; his anger gave in to shame coupled with admiration for his sister's courage. Cooled down, he asked for the manuscript that he had heard Khabbab reading. He said “Show me the manuscript. I want to know what Muhammed has brought.” In reality, ‘Umar knew the art of reading and writing.

Fatima, however, replied, “I fear what you might do with it.”

“Umar promised, with solemn assurance, not to destroy it. Fatima, too, thought that he might change his views after reading the scripture. She said to him politely but firmly, “My brother, you are unclean because of your polytheism, and only the pure can touch it.” ‘Umar rose and took a bath. His sister then gave him the pages on which Soorah Ta Ha was written. He had read only a few lines when he exclaimed in amazement,

“How noble and sublime is this speech!”

Thereupon Khabbab came out of his concealment and said, “O ‘Umar, by God, I hope that Allah would bless you with His Prophet's (r) call; for I heard him just last night imploring earnestly; "O Allah, strengthen Islam by Abul Hakam (Abu Jahl) or ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab. Now, ‘Umar have some fear of God.”

‘Umar asked Khabbab to lead him to the Prophet (r) so that he might accept Islam. On being told by Khabbab that the Prophet (r) was in a house at as-Safa with his companions, ‘Umar immediately took his sword and headed for him. When ‘Umar knocked at the door indicated by Khabbab, one of the companions got up through a chink in the door to be sure of the person. Seeing ‘Umar with his sword on, he hurried back, appalled, to report, “Prophet of Allah! ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab is here armed with his sword.”

Hamza intervened to say, “Let him in. If he comes with a peaceful intent, then it is alright, but if not, therewith we will kill him with his own sword.” The Prophet (r) ordered the companion to open the door for ‘Umar to enter and thus join them.

As ‘Umar entered through the door, the Prophet (r) went forth to meet him in the room. He seized his cloak and pulling it rather firmly, said to him, “What for have you come, O son of Khattab? By God, I see that some calamity is to befall you before you have the final summons.”

But ‘Umar replied submissively, “O Messenger of Allah! I have come to attest my faith in Allah and His Prophet and what he has brought from God.”

The Prophet (r) raised the cry of Allah-O-Akbar so loudly that all the companions present in the house came to know that ‘Umar had just accepted Islam (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 342-46).

‘Umar’s conversion was a turning point in the fortunes of Islam as it made Muslims feel all the more confident and strengthened. Hamza had already accepted Islam beforehand, and now with ‘Umar’s conversion, the Muslims knew that it was likely to send the Quraysh in jitters. They were particularly embittered on learning of ‘Umar’s conversion. The Muslims were thus right in their reckoning for none of those who had embraced Islam in the past made such a stir nor created such a tense excitement and impact as did that of ‘Umar’s.

‘Umar proclaimed his faith publicly. As soon as the Quraysh came know about, they drew the sword against him but found the same person prepared to take the course. Ultimately, with his inherent might, the people who valued their lives did not dare put up a clash with ‘Umar but decided rather to keep their hands off him. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, p. 349)

 

 

Boycott of Bani Hashim

 

The spread of Islam among the tribes further aggravated the resentment of the Quraysh. They came together and decided to draw up a decree ostracizing Bani Hashim and Bani ‘Abdul Muttalib. It was decided that nobody should marry the women of these two clans nor give their women to them in marriage; neither should they buy from nor sell to them. Having solemnly agreed to these points, the agreement was put into writing and the parchment was hung in the Ka'bah in order to give it a religious sanction thereby making it mandatory for all.

 

THE VALLEY OF SH’EB ABI TALIB

Bani Hashim and Bani Abdul Muttalib joined Abu Talib after the boycott was enforced and withdrew to a narrow glen or wadi known as Sh’eb Abi Talib. It was the seventh year of the Prophet's (r) mission. Abu Lahab Ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib, however, decided to join with the Quraysh, leaving his kith and kin covered by the ban.

Weeks and months had passed, and the people of Hashim lived in misery and hunger. The ban was so rigorously enforced that the Prophet's (r) clan was reduced to eating acacia leaves and the cries of hungry children reverberated all over the valley. The caravans passed peacefully through the streets of Makkah but the Quraysh told the merchants not to buy from or sell anything to the two forsaken clans. This resulted to the prices being pegged so high that it was extremely impossible for the beleaguered people to purchase even their basic necessities.

The decree of proscription lasted for three years and for the same number of years Bani Hashim and Bani ‘Abdul Muttalib lived in exile and endured the hardships of a blockade. But not all Quraysh people were utterly humiliated and deprived. Those of them who were good-natured and kindhearted occasionally supplied food secretly to those who are in exile. However, the Prophet (r) never ceased preaching the message he had brought to his own people and even towards others, whenever he got the opportunity. Bani Hashim on their part endured every trouble with exemplary patience and fortitude.

 

ANNULMENT OF THE DECREE

The pitiable condition of the exiles gave rise to a feeling of resentment against the ban confronting the gracious and genial sons of the desert. Hisham Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Rabi’a took the initiative to end the boycott. He was amiable and kindhearted, as well as highly esteemed by the Quraysh. He approached some other considerate and well-disposed persons and put them to shame for allowing tyranny to linger on. At last, Hisham, supported by four other persons agreed to stand together till the decree of boycott was cancelled. Then, when the Quraysh had assembled in the sanctuary, Zuhayr whose mother ‘Atika was daughter of ‘Abdul Muttalib, cried out to the people, “O ye people of Makkah, shall we eat and drink while Bani Hashim should die of hunger, unable even to buy or sell? By God I will not take rest until this cruel and unjust decree is torn into pieces.”

Abu Jahl tried to intervene but found everybody against him. Mut’im Ibn ‘Adiy then went up to tear the document into pieces but discovered that with the exception of the words “In Your Name, O Allah” the rest of the document had already been eaten up by white ants. The Prophet (r) had already told his uncle, Abu Talib, that God has given the white ants power over the document.

The blighted document was, however, taken out and thrown away and thus ended the boycott and everything that was written on it. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 350-51)

 

Lessons to be Learned from this Period of History:
Muhammed was neither seeking Prophethood nor was he dreaming about it. Allah used to inspire his heart to seek seclusion in order to worship and purify his soul, and to prepare his spirit to carry out the duties of the message. If Allah's Messenger was seeking for it, he would not have been frightened when it came to him. When Muhammed came from the mountain in order to ask Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) about the incident, which took place in the cave, he was not assured that he was a Messenger until he saw Gabriel and heard him say, "O Muhammed, you are Allah's Messenger and I am Gabriel." Waraqah ibn Naufal and Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) assured him that what he saw in the cave was the same revelation as that which came to Moses.

Allah's Messenger surprised the Arabs with something unfamiliar, thus they objected to it vehemently. Their primary concern was to put an end to the Prophet (r) and his companions. This is a historical refutation to those who claim that Muhammed was a preacher of nationalism and that he represented the hopes and aspirations of the Arabs at that time. This is a ridiculous claim because the historical events belie this notion, as we have witnessed. Those who made such remarks were simply biased in their nationalistic views and this led them to claim that Islam was a matter that originated from the Arabs and their thought. This is a clear denial of the prophecy of the Messenger and an insult to the message of Islam.

The phrase, which the Prophet (r) uttered to his uncle and his rejection of the offer of the Quraysh, is evidence that the Prophet (r) was truthful in his proclamation of Allah's message and his desire to guide the people to the straight path. In the same way, the caller must be persistent and determined with their call no matter how gravely the wrongdoers oppose them. They must turn away from their temptations of honor and positions because the adversities disputing the path of truth should bring comfort to their consciences and hearts. Furthermore, Allah's pleasure and His Paradise should be more valuable to them than the entire honor, positions, and wealth combined in this world.

The order of the Messenger (r) to his companions (May Allah be pleased with them) concerning the first and second emigrations to Christian Abyssinia is an indication that the ties among religious people, even if their religions are different, are stronger and more reliable than their attachment those bereft of religious sensibilities. The revealed religions, in their authentic and agreed upon sources and principles, adhere to the greater social objectives in the same way that they are in agreement concerning belief in Allah, His Messengers and the Last Day. This makes the relation between them stronger than any bond based on family ties, blood or country with those who have no God-consiousness.



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Section : The Biography of the Prophet muhammad
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Date : 4/5/2010
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