The Prophet's Biography - nabi muhammad 18

The Prophet's Biography - nabi muhammad

18

Change of the Qiblah

The Prophet (r) as well as the Muslims had been facing Jerusalem while worshipping, that is, they regarded it as housing the Qiblah. This practice was followed for one year and four months after migrating to Madinah. It was the Prophet’s desire that the Ka'bah be made the Qiblah for prayers as did the other Arab converts to Islam, for they had been holding the sanctuary at Makkah in a reverential regard since time immemorial. To them the house of worship built by Ibrahim and Ismail (u) was the holiest of the holy ones, incomparable in sanctity to any other sanctum or shrine. They were put to a severe test by being asked to face Jerusalem instead of the Ka'bah and they withstood this trial by dutifully obeying the divine command. Such was their devotion to the Prophet (r) that they always replied, whether they found anything to their linking or not:

“We hear, and we obey,” [Qur'an 24:51]

 

and:

“We believe therein: The whole is from our Lord,” [Qur'an 3:7]

 

Thus, after the faith of the earliest Muslims had been brought to a test and they had defied it successfully, the Qiblah for the prayer was changed to the Ka'bah’.


“Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witness against mankind and that the messenger may be witness against you. And We appointed the Qiblah which you formerly observed only that We might know him who followeth the messenger, from him who turneth on his heels. In truth it was a hard (test) save for those whom Allah guided.” [Qur'an 2:143]

 

The Muslims changed their direction promptly in prayer, in compliance with divine command, towards the Ka'bah which was henceforth selected as the Qiblah for all the believers, living in any part of the World, for all times to come.


THE JEWS LASH OUT AGAINST THE MUSLIMS

It preyed upon the minds of the Jews that Islam had established itself in Madinah and was making rapid strides day after day. They were sane enough to realize that if the popularity of Islam continued unabated for an extended period of time, it would be difficult for them to stand up against their potential enemies. So they decided to put up a front against the Muslims and launched a campaign to slight, vilify and ridicule them.

The Muslims, were however, not permitted to return the tirades hurled against them. They were commanded to be patient and forbearing as evidenced by the Qur'anic verse that says:

“Withhold your hands, establish worship” (Qur’an 4:77).

 

Such was the code of behavior enjoined upon them so that they might learn to disdain the world and its pleasures, become self-denying, get prepared to make nobler sacrifices, experiencing in the end obedience to Allah’s commands.

 

Permission to Fight

The Muslims gradually amassed power and became strong enough to fight against their enemies. They were first told to resist aggression and then later on permitted to fight against the mischievous ones. But it was only a permission rather than an obligation to take-up arms against the enemies.

“Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed able to give them victory.” [Qur'an 22:39]


EXPEDITION OF ABWA AND ‘ABDULLAH B. JAHSH

In pursuance of the command given by Allah, the Prophet (r) started sending out small expeditions to discourage hostile tribes. These expeditions were not meant to launch out any attack against the enemy but simply to frighten people hostile to Islam by way of a show of force.

We shall mention here one of the earliest expeditions, led by ‘Abdullah b. Jahsh, for it embodied a revelation sent down by Allah which shows that Islam does not countenance the least excesses or highhandedness even from its own followers. Islam is always fair and impartial, without any regard to persons or parties, in bringing up its verdict on every affair.

The Prophet (r) sent ‘Abdullah b. Jahsh on an expedition with eight emigrants during the month of Rajab 2 A.H. He gave him a letter with the instruction that he was not to read it until he had journeyed for two days, and then act according to the directions contained therein by leaving his companions the decision to remain with him or turn back of their own choice.

So, Abdullah b. Jahsh read the letter after having traveled for two days. The instruction contained in it was, “When you have read this letter, proceed to the oasis of Nakhlah between Makkah and Ta’if. Install your tents there to find out the movements of the Quraysh and send the information to us.”

Having gone through the letter ‘Abdullah b. Jahsh said. “We hear, and we obey;” and then he said to his ompanions. “The Prophet (r) of Allah has ordered me to lie in waiting at the oasis on the road between Makkah and Ta’if and watch the movements of the Quraysh so as to deliver news for him, but he has also asked me not to compel anyone of you to follow me. If anyone wishes martyrdom, he may come with me, and whoever wishes against it may go back, for I have abide by the instructions of the Prophet (r).” Then he went ahead, and so did all of his comrades, with none of them falling out.

The party moved on to the particular oasis where they camped. In a short while, a caravan of the Quraysh that included Amir B. Al-Hadrami passed by them. When the Qurayshites saw the party encamped near them they got frightened but after seeing ‘Ukkasha whose head was shaved, their suspicions vanished for they regarded the party as pilgrims. They said: “Nothing to fear from them, they are pilgrims.” That was the last day of Rajab. The Muslim party on the other hand deliberated among themselves and decided that if they left the Qurayshites alone that night, they would get into the sacred area and obstruct their entry there; but if they fight them, they would be devaluing the sacred month by instituting a bloody confrontation. At first they felt hesitant as well as dismayed but ultimately made up their mind to kill as many of the Quraysh as possible and plunder as much of their goods as they could. Waqid b. ‘Abdullah at-Tamimi shot the first arrow killing ‘Amr b. al-Hadrami while his companions captured two of the Qurayshites. ‘Abdullah b. Jahsh and his companions returned to Madina with their captives.

When ‘Abdullah b. Jahsh and his companions reported the incident to the Prophet (r), he said: “I did not ask you to fight in the sacred month, nor seize the caravans and take captives.” The Prophet (r) refused to accept the spoils brought to him by the transgressing group.

The campaigners were worried and fearfully apprehensive of being doomed. Besides, the other Muslims also harshly reproached them for what they had done. At the same time, Quraysh laid a charge, saying, “Lo! Muhammed has allowed war and bloodshed in the sacred months!”

It was on this occasion that Allah sent down the revelation to the Prophet (r).

 “They question thee (O Muhammed) with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: warfare therein is a great (transgression), but turn (men) from a way of Allah, and to expel the people thence, is greater (sin) with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing.” [Qur'an 2:217]

 

Ibn Qayyim writes about the meaning of this verse in Zad al-Ma’ad: “Allah has given a fair deal to His friends as well as foes, for He has not commended the sin of fighting in the sacred month that was committed by His pious and devout servants. Allah has held it to be a serious act of transgression. At the same time, He reminds the idolaters that they have been guilty of even greater sins through their acts of persecution in the sacred city of Makkah, and thus they still deserve more condemnation and punishment. Since, however, the believing servants of Allah had been guilty of indiscretion or that they had committed a mistake, Allah has lent them a hope. He had given them hope that they might be forgiven on account of their faith in the Unity of Allah, submission to Him, migration with the Prophet (r) and their sacrifices towards His way.” (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 341)

 

FASTING MADE OBLIGATORY

When the Muslims had taken prayer as a mark and symbol of their faith it had been indelibly ingrained in their hearts and souls. Then it was, in the second year of Hijrah, that Allah commanded them to also observe fasting, hence:


“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that ye may ward off (evil).” [Qur'an 2:183]


In another verse, the Qur’an says:

“The month of Ramadhan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you sights the crescent, let him fast the month.” [Qur'an 2:185]

 

DECISIVE BATTLE OF BADR

The circumstances that led to this battle began with the news received by the Prophet (r) that a great caravan with lots of money and merchandise, was being led by Abu Sufyan on its way back to Makkah from Syria. A state of belligerence already existed between the Muslims and the Quraysh, for the Quraysh was by this time doing all that was in their power to harm and abuse the Muslims, to impede their progress, and to topple their rising power. They were sparing none of their financial and physical resources to get on the job and their armed detachments very often penetrated deep into the limits of Madinah and its pastures to pound upon the Muslims.

As we may know that the Muhaajiroon have left all their houses and most of their wealth back in Makkah and as a result of that this was a good reason to capture this caravan. The Prophet (r) asked the Muslims to get ready to intercept the caravan. However, since it was a commercial caravan, the Prophet (r) did not make any elaborate arrangements for fighting, but merely positioned himself in order to catch the caravan flat-footed.

Informed of the Prophet’s (r) decision to stop him, Abu Sufyan sent a courier to Makkah with an urgent request for reinforcements. Thereupon, the Quraysh ably supported and accompanied by all the notable chiefs of Makkah hastily formed an armed force. Such support group enlisted every man available therein from the neighboring tribes - and this army went forth to assist the caravan. The Quraysh were so flared up that hardly a man was left behind in Makkah.

News came to the Prophet (r) that a strong Makkan army was on its way to engage him in a battle. The Prophet (r) thereupon summoned his followers and solicited for their advice. He really wanted to ascertain the reaction of the Ansaars, for, their original oath of allegiance with him obliged them to defend him in Madinah and did not compel them to take part in a military expedition outside their territory. The Muhaajiroon responded first and assured him of their help and loyalty. The Prophet (r), however, repeated his appeal and the Muhaajiroon gave similar reply but the Prophet (r) threw the same question once again for the third time. Now the Ansaar realized that the question was meant for them. S’ad b. Mu’ad immediately got up to say in reply, “O Prophet of God (r), it appears that the question is directed to us and you want to have our answer. Perhaps you think, O Prophet of God (r), that the Ansaar have offered to help you on their own territory only. I want to tell you in behalf of the Ansaar that you may lead us wherever you like, align with whom you may desire or break relations with whom you may think fit; you may take whatever you desire from our property and give us as much as you want; for, whatever you would take from our property would be dearer to us than what you would leave for us. We will follow whatever you command us to do. By God, if you go ahead until you reach Bark Ghimdan, we will accompany you, and by God if you march into the sea, we will also do it with you.”

The battle took place on the 17th of Ramadhan, 2nd year of Hijrah. Badr is situated 160-km southwest of Madinah. The battle was between the Muslims as one side and Quraysh idolaters, where the Muslims army were consisting of 313 to 317 men with two horses and 70 camels, on the contrary Quraysh army were consisting of 1000 men with 100 horses, 6oo suits of armor, and many camels.

70 men were killed among the Quraishities army, and 70 were captured, where only 14 of the Muslims were killed.

The result of the battle was a great victory for the Muslims over their enemy.

OTHER EXPEDITIONS

The ironclad oath of Abu Sufyan, as mentioned earlier, bound him to refrain from even splashing water over his head until he had wreaked havoc on the Muslims. The chief of the Jewish tribe of Bani an-Nadir, who offered the information he desired about Madinah. Thereupon Abu Sufyan succeeded in getting away after killing two of the Ansaars.

The Prophet (r) got a warning of the evil raiders and went out in their pursuit. Abu Sufyan eluded the Prophet (r) but was obliged to throw away a good deal of his provisions consisting of food grains, especially parched corn or al-sawiq, and hence the expedition goes by such a name. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 144-45).

The Jews of Madinah who first broke their covenant with the Prophet (r) were Banu Qaynuqa. They contended with the Muslims and spoke scornfully of the Prophet (r). Ultimately, the Prophet (r) besieged them - the siege lasting for fifteen nights - until Banu Qaynuqa surrendered unconditionally. The attack had been instigated on the recommendation of ‘Abdullah b. Ubayy, the leader of the hypocrites. (Ibn Hisham Vol. II, pp. 47-49)

Banu Qaynuqa operated a market in Madinah and practiced crafts such as that of the goldsmith trade. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. p. 348)

They were forced to abandon the city although the number of people who could bear arms among them was seven hundred.


THE BATTLE OF UHUD

The reason for this battle was that Quraysh wanted to avenge their tribesmen who were killed in the battle of Badr.

It was in the middle of Shawwal, 3 A.H. near mount Uhud, which were few kilometers to the north of Madinah. The Muslim force was 700 men, two horses, and 100 suits of armor. 50 men of the Muslim army were archers. Quraysh force was 3000 men, 200 horses, and 700 suits of armor.

In the beginning the polytheists had suffered an obvious rout. The ignominious retreat of the enemy troops and their women accompanying them taking to their heels made the archers certain of their victory. Uttering shouts of glee, they deserted their posts to despoil the enemy camp. That was the main reason for the Muslim’s defeat, causing them to loose 70 men, where Quraysh lost 22 only.

 

MORE PRECIOUS THAN THEIR OWN LIVES

In the third year after Hijrah, the tribes of ‘Adal and Qara sent an embassador to the Prophet (r) asking for scholars who could be sent to teach them the rudiments of faith. The Prophet (r) sent six of his companions who included ‘Asim b. Thabith, Khubayb b. ‘Adiy and Zayd b. Dathinna. When this party reached Ar-Raji,a place between ‘Usfan and Makkah, the two tribes treacherously fell on them. The Muslims took out their swords to fight against them but the assailants swore by God that they would not kill them. Three of the six Muslims replied that they could not accept any undertaking given by the pagans; so they fought and were killed. The remaining three, Zayd, Khubayb and ‘Abdullah b. Tariq surrendered. The last companion temporarily escaped during the return trip, but was later killed by one of the polytheists, while the remaining two were sold to the Quraysh. Hujayr b. Abu Ihab bought Khubayb to vindicate his father Ihab and Zayd was purchased by Safawan b. Umayya to avenge the loss of Umayya b. Khalaf.

When Zayd was taken out for execution, a number of the Quraysh including Abu Sufyan gathered to witness the barbaric spectacle. Abu Sufyan asked Zayd, “Verily, for God’s sake, O Zayd, don’t you wish that Muhammed had now been in your place and you with your family?” “By God,” replied Zayd, “I don’t wish Muhammed to be hurt even by a thorn while I should be in sweet repose with my family.” Thereupon Abu Sufyan remarked: “I have never seen any man so much adored as Muhammed is held by his companions.” Zayd was killed after that. (Ibn Hisham Vol. II, pp. 169-76, Al-Bukhaari, Kitab Ul-Maghazi).

Then they brought Khubayb to crucify him. He asked his executioners to allow him to offer two rak’ats of prayer. Having performed the prayers in complete tranquility, Khubayb said to them, “Were it not that you would think I only extended my prayer out of fear of death, I would have prolonged my prayer.” Then he recited these verses:

“I fear not which side I fall apart; It’s all for God who will bless the limbs that had taken part.”

Khubayb was striken dead with the song of love on his lips. (Ibn Hisham Vol. II, pp. 174, Ibn Kathir, Vol. III, p. 123-25).


BI’R MA’UNA

Another act of treachery took place shortly thereafter. A tribal chief, ‘Amir b. Malik, was interested to have the doctrines of Islam explained to his people. The Prophet (r) sent 70 persons, some of whom were his eminent companions, but when they reached the place called Bi’r Ma’una, the tribesmen of Banu Sulayman, Usayya, Ri’l and Dhakwan ambushed the delegation. The Muslims fought bravely and all but one was killed. K’ab b. Zayd returned to tell the story. He died in the Battle of the Trenches. (Al-Bukhaari, Muslim and Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 186).


DYING DECLARATION OF A MARTYR

One of the Muslims who was killed treacherously on this occasion was Haram b. Milhan. The words uttered by him at the time of his death brought about the conversion of his killer Jabbar b. Salma to Islam. Jabbar used to relate later on that what led him to accept Islam was that he attacked a man with his spear and when the man saw the tip of his spear coming out if his chest, he heard him crying, “By the Lord of Ka'bah, I have succeeded!” Jabbar further says that he wondered what sort of success it was. Had he not killed the man? Jabbar enquired from others who told him that the man had meant martyrdom and thus he was convinced that his victim had truly been successful. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 187)

 

EXPULSION OF BANU AN-NADIR

The Prophet (r) approached Banu an-Nadir to demand a contribution to be paid as blood money to Bani ‘Amir since two men had been killed inadvertently by the lone survivor of Bi’r Man’ua. Banu An-Nadir, being one of the two influential tribes of the Jews that settled in Madinah was in alliance with Bani ‘Amir and was thus liable to pay such. They feigned willingness to accept the demand with pleasure, but busied themselves plotting against the Prophet (r). While the Prophet (r) was asked to make himself comfortable by the side of a wall in one of their houses, they counseled one another, saying; “Never would we get such a golden chance. If one of us drops a rock on him from the top of the house, we shall all get rid of him.” Abu Bakr, ‘Ali and ‘Umar and a few more companions were with the Prophet (r) on this occasion.

God informed the Prophet (r) of the treacherous plan of the Jews. He went back to Madinah and ordered to make preparations for war against the Banu an-Nadir. Thus, the Prophet (r) came upon them in Rabi’ul-Awwal, 4 A.H. the siege of Banu an-Nadir lasted for six nights whilst God cast terror in the hearts of the Jews. They requested the Prophet (r) that if he agreed to spare their lives, they would abandon the city with their belongings except their war implements. The offer was accepted and Banu an-Nadir departed from Madina after destroying their houses and loading all that they could on their camels. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, pp. 190-91)

The chapter of the Qur'an entitled al-Hashr (Exile) in the Qur’an calls attention to the banishment of Banuan-Nadir.

“He it is Who hath cause those of the People of the Scripture who disbelieved to go forth from their homes unto the first exile. Ye deemed not that they would go forth, while they deemed that their strongholds would protect them from Allah. But Allah reached them from a place whereof they reckoned not and cast terror in their hearts so that they ruined their house with their own hands and the hands of the believers. So learn a lesson. O ye who have eyes!”  [Qur'an 59:2]

 

Many of these exiles settled in Khaybar, the Jewish centre in the north of Hijaz, whereas others went away to the far-off Syria. And the Muslims got rid of that sneaky dark corner of deception in their midst without having to meet the Jews in an open fight. The lands and groves left by the Jews were divided up among the first Makkahn emigrants.



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Date : 4/5/2010
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