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The Meccan Period

KaabaIf the Prophet's emigration to Medina opened new vistas for the message of Islam and its eventual expansion over the Arabian Peninsula, nonetheless the Mecca period despite the persecution and hardships, was instrumental in laying the firm foundations of Monotheism, which were to flower in Medina later on.

Briefly speaking, the major landmarks of the Islamic call in this period are explained underneath for our readers:

01. The First Revelation:

The coming of the Archangel Gabriel with the tidings of Prophet hood and the first revelation, as we have already explained.

02. Da'wat Dhul-Ashira:

The Invitation to his kinsmen the Bani Hashim to accept Islam. The event known as Da'wat Dhul-Ashira(And warn your nearest relations, Holy Qur'an 26:214) was a formal announcement of Muhammad's (s.a.w.) mission and a turning point in the history of the divine message and its spread. Undeterred it set the tone for making of the first group of dedicated Muslims, who despite severe persecution and hardships gathered around the Prophet to assimilate the teachings and principles of Islam.

03. Isra:

The night-journey Isra as described by the glorious verses of the Holy Qur'an.

"Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing." Holy Qur'an (17: 1)

Beit-ul-MaqdisWhat is meant by Isra is the bodily ascension of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) from the Sacred Mosque (Ka'ba) to the Remote Mosque in Jerusalem (Beit-ul-Maqdis or simply Al-Qods in today's Zionist occupied Jerusalem) and thence to the heavens to the very presence of Almighty Allah, and back to earth in a very short span of the same night. It is related that Gabriel descended one night with the heavenly mount Buraq whose speed as the name suggests is far greater than the speed of light, and took the Prophet to the highest and furthest point of the heavens where no creature has ever set foot, and thence the wonder-struck Muhammad (s.a.w.) proceeded alone to the very presence of the 'Magnificent Light', that only a curtain divided him from the Omnipotent Almighty. Then Allah spoke with his servant and showed him the signs of His Majesty. The event also known as Me'raj confirms that no creature ever, not even the past prophets or any heavenly being either, like the Arch-angel Gabriel, had been so near to the Almighty's proximity, as the Habibullah (beloved of Allah) was summoned by Allah that night.

04. The First Martyrs:

The idolaters maddened at Bani Hashim and other Meccans for accepting Islam, singled out some Muslims like Bilal the Abyssinian, Khabab bin Art and Yasir, his wife Sumaiyya and their son Ammar for severe torture. Despite the barbarities inflicted, the new Muslims refused to forego their faith in monotheism and eventually Yasir and his wife Sumaiyya were savagely martyred at the hands of the infidels.

05. The Emigration to Abyssinia:

When the Messenger of Allah felt the growing danger threatening the very lives of the infant Muslim community and its helplessness against the infidels, he instructed some of them to migrate to Abyssinia. The immigrants were led by the Prophet's cousin Ja'far bin Abu Talib, and upon arrival there, were allowed to settle and practice their faith by the Abyssinian ruler Negus.

06. Siege and Social Boycott:

Alarmed at the growing number of Muslims and fearing to do bodily harm to the Prophet, because of Abu Talib's towering personality, the Meccan Jahilliyyah devised a plan of social boycott of the whole Bani Hashim clan. Hence a total boycott was imposed on the Bani Hashim and the new Muslims to such an extent that all links or contacts whether commercial or social, including buying or selling of goods and even matrimonial alliances were severed. But the faithful Abu Talib was determined to protect his nephew the Prophet, and together with all his clan members as well as the other Muslims retired to the valley known as Shi'ah Abi Talib on the outskirts of Mecca, where knit together they could easily override the difficulties and also protect themselves from any incursions. Steadfastly, the Muslims borne the consequences of the siege, enduring pain, hunger and other difficulties for three long years, and ultimately frustrated the infidel's efforts, which forced Meccan Jahiliyyah to lift up the social boycott.

07. The Year of Great Grief:

Shortly after the Bani Hashim and other Muslims emerged from Shi'ah Abi Talib, a double calamity struck the Prophet. Umm al-Momineen (mother of believers) Khadija al-Kubra who had given her husband-unflinching support, sacrificing her great wealth and property for the cause of Islam, finally succumbed to the hardships and breathed her last. It was a great blow to the Prophet to lose his faithful beloved companion and the mother of his illustrious progeny. But another calamity was in store for Muhammad (s.a.w.), and three days later that another great benefactor and sincere guardian, uncle Abu Talib passed away from this mortal world.

These sad events occurred in the holy month of fasting Ramadhan, three years before the Prophet's historic migration to Medina. Accordingly the year is known in the annals of Islamic History as the 'Year of Grief.

08. The Retirement to Ta'if:

Aggrieved by the double loss of his loving wife and doting uncle, and faced with the prospect of renewed hostility from the Meccan idolaters, who were emboldened by Abu Talib's death, the Prophet set out for the oasis town of Ta'if. But in Ta'if the call to Islam fell on deaf ears. No one believed in Muhammad's (s.a.w.) invitation except an old Christian farmer called 'Adhasu' who embraced Islam. The Arabs of Ta'if ridiculed the Prophet, encouraging simpletons and ignorant children to pelt him with stones and obstruct his path, wherever he moved. The Messenger convinced that his divine mission would not make much progress with the stonehearted people of Ta'if, returned back to his birthplace Mecca.

09. Meeting with a Yathrib Delegation:

Even though the arrogantly ignorant Quraishites and other tribes of Mecca and Ta'if had scoffed at the message, divine providence was already at work facilitating help and the spread of Islam from hitherto unknown quarters. In the eleventh year of the Prophetic mission, Muhammad (s.a.w.) started contacts with delegations. He came across a group of people from Yathrib led by As'ad bin Zurara of the Khazraj tribe and invited them to Islam. His words received an attentive response, and the group believing in the truthfulness of this great monotheist call became very happy. The leader asked the Prophet to send a Muslim with him to Yathrib to preach Islam, and hoped that the divine call would unite his tribe with the rival tribe of Aws, knitting them into a single Muslim people.

10. The First Allegiance of Aqaba:

MedinaOn returning to Yathrib the group started preaching Islam among the local people and made some progress. The next year a 12-member delegation of Yathrib Arabs came to Mecca and met the Messenger of Allah at a place called 'aqaba' and swore allegiance to him as Muslims. On returning to their city they started inviting people towards truth. Thus Islam began to take roots and spread in Yathrib, which was destined to be the Prophet's seat of power and would eventually become famous as Medina - the shortened form of Medinat-an-Nabi (city of Prophet).

11. The Second Allegiance of Aqaba:

During the next year of pilgrimage following the first allegiance, 10 men and 2 women from Yathrib called on the Prophet at the same place of Aqaba and swore allegiance to him, promising to defend and spread Islam. The historic meeting was attended by the Prophet's uncle Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib as a witness to the allegiance. The event was instrumental in spreading belief among a greater part of Yathrib citizens, who rallied to the cause of Islam as 'Ansar' (Helpers). Meccan Muslims to protect their beliefs now gradually started migrating towards Yathrib.

12. Conspiracy to Assassinate the Prophet:

HijratThe Meccan Jahiliyyah alarmed at the growing impact of Islam and their abject helplessness to contain its radiant rays conspired to assassinate the Prophet. Moreover, the death of Abu Talib that devoted guardian of infant Islam, had removed an obstacle from their path, embolding the haughty ignorant to plot Muhammad's (s.a.w.) murder.

The heads of the Quraish gathered in their "Dar Al-Nadwah" to consult about the Messenger (s.a.w.). They decided to collectively assassinate him. Each tribe would send one of its men to carry out the assassination at night, thus laying the blame of the proposed murder on no one tribe. But Meccan arrogance had reckoned the whole thing without taking into account the Omnipotent Creator Who is always watching over peoples words and deeds and is even aware of the thoughts they entertain.

The Almighty Allah sent Arch Angel Gabriel (a.s.), to inform Holy Prophet of the dirty plot. "And when those who disbelieve plot against you (O Muhammad) to wound you fatally, or to kill you, or to drive you forth; they plot, but Allah (also) plots, and Allah is the best of plotters". Holy Our'an (8:30)

As commanded, the Prophet asked his faithful cousin Ali (a.s.) to sleep in his bed that night and cover himself with the Prophet's (s.a.w.) garment, and himself set out for Yathrib taking along one of his companions, the aged Abu Bakr, whom for some reasons he considered it unwise to leave behind at Mecca. Imam Ali (a.s.) asked if by doing so the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) would be safe. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) confirmed that he would. Imam Ali (a.s.) without further comment agreed to act as a decoy. Then the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) left the house, and, passing through the besiegers, he recited: "And We have set a bar before them and a bar behind them, and (thus) have covered them so that they see not". Holy Qur'an (36:9)

That epoch-making night which marked a turning point in the message of Islam, Imam Ali (a.s.) lay on the Prophet's bed as calm and composed as ever, that even the scores of infidels besieging the house and peeping through the windows, not the least suspected the real identity of the sleeper.

It is related that each Meccan tribe or clan was represented in the gang of conspirators hovering around the abode of divine revelation in their vain bid to extinguish the eternal light, even Muhammad's (s.a.w.) own infidel uncle Abu Lahab was there claiming to represent the Bani Hashim.

At last before the break of dawn, the unholy gang, burst into the Prophet's house, full of confidence to accomplish their dirty deed. But their all-night vigil proved as worthless as their stone-made-gods, for to their utter surprise, the figure which calmly emerged from the covers and stood facing them was the Lion of Allah, Ali (a.s.), and not whom they were seeking. Frustrated in their ungodly efforts, the infidels asked Ali the Prophet's whereabouts, to which they received the crisp and to the point reply "Did you appoint me to watch him?" he replied. "Didn't you say you would expel him from your town? Now he has left you..." Thus Almighty Allah protected His Prophet from the evil of the idolaters, and escorted him safely away from their very midst, without the blind-hearted Arabs perceiving the least.

HadeesThe event has another significance, for it brings into sharper focus the personality of Imam Ali (a.s.) and his selfless devotion to the cause of Islam and to his cousin's life. He dauntlessly agreed to sleep on the Prophet's bed risking his life and limbs, If the late Abu Talib's personality had been until recently, a deterring factor for the Meccan polytheists from harming the Prophet, now his son the brave Ali had ably filled up the vacuum, showing readiness to sacrifice his own life for Muhammad's (s.a.w.) sake. Almighty Allah rewarded Ali's selfless spirit of devotion by revealing the following verses of the Qur'an: "And among people is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah..." Holy Qur'an (2: 207)

Thus the Almighty brought the stratagem of the plotters to naught. By the time the Meccan infidels recovered from their shock, the Prophet was safely out of Mecca and on his way to Yathrib. Cautious, not to be overtaken by the conspirators lest they start the chase, the Prophet along with his companion Abu Bakr, took refuge in a cave of a mountain called Thawr, three miles south of Mecca. The Quraish hastily set out to trace the Prophet, and a party of unbelievers arrived at the very cave of Thawr. Strangely, just as the idolaters neared the place, Abu Bakr, perhaps sensing danger suddenly started crying. His unwarranted cries - had not Almighty Allah descended tranquility on him that very moment making him tight-lipped, would have been enough to lead the Quraish party to the Prophet's hide-out, periling the whole brave selfless episode. The polytheists arrived at the cave's mouth with an expert tracker and looked everywhere around, but by Allah's command a spider had spun a cobweb over its entrance and a bird had come and laid eggs, presenting the semblance of an undisturbed virgin spot, where no soul had ventured of late. The conspirators did not think that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) could be behind flimsy threads it had woven. Thus, they were misled.

Satisfied that no one was in the cave, the unbelievers turned back giving up all hope of finding the Prophet. Thus the Prophet safely proceeded to Medina. The Hijra (Migration) to Medina also marks the start of the Muslim Lunar Calendar and according to historians it took place on the 1st of Rabi-al-Awwal.

Then, under the protection of the dark night, Imam Ali (a.s.) and Hind bin Abu halah, hurried to the grotto to see the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.). The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) discussed with Imam Ali (a.s.) what he should do during his emigration to Madinah. He told Imam Ali (a.s.) to stay behind in Mecca to hand the deposits of the people hack to them, and then to join him in Madinah, bringing with him Fatimah al-Zahra (s.a.) and the rest of the women of his household.

Yathrib - A Brief Description:

It was an old oasis town with plenty of springs and wells and the brush surroundings abounded with date palms, vineyards and orchards of pomegranates and other fruits. Situated 450 kilometers north of Mecca it was inhabited by the idol worshipping Arab tribes of Aws and Khazraj. Certain Jewish tribes like Bani Quradha, and Bani Mugheer and Bani Qainqa'e also dwelt in Medina and had migrated to the town centuries before, to await the last Messenger of Allah, whom they found foretold in their Scriptures. Deep enmity and a constant state of internecine warfare had sapped the energies of the two idolatrous Arab tribes, who had divested each other's wealth and properties, in their blind hatred. In addition there was no love lost between the Arab and Jewish tribes. The Jews flaunting their sacred books used to mock the pagan Arabs, saying that soon a Prophet will emerge in Arabia and come to Yathrib and will put an end to their wicked ways.

But strangely enough when Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) did finally proclaim his Prophet hood and emigrate to Yathrib, it were the Arab tribes of Aws and Khazraj who renounce idolatry and accepted Islam, while the chauvinistic Jews, whose forefathers had come to Arabia, for this very occasion, rejected the Prophet. Their pretext was he was an Arab descended from Prophet Abraham's (a.s.) elder son Ishmael (a.s.), rather than Isaac (a.s.) and therefore unacceptable to the racist Jews.

On the other hand, on Prophet Muhammad's (s.a.w.) historic entrance into Yathrib, the Aws and Khazraj recalling the Jew's prophecy hastened towards him and accepted Islam, burying once and for all the bloody hatchet of tribal rivalry. Almighty Allah filled their hearts with unity, which Arabia had never known before, and gathered them under Islam's majestic banner. The Jews, treacherous as ever, turned away from Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) as they had rejected and betrayed Prophet Jesus (s.a.w.) 6 centuries ago.

Important Events in Medina

MedinaThe Prophet's entry into Medina ushers in a new phase for the divine message. Islam gaining fresh followers began to assert its strength and soon started to spread out over the four corners of the Arabian Peninsula.

In the previous chapters we have already noted that the Prophet was 53 years of age at the time of his auspicious migration. In Medina he spent the remaining 10 years of his life and it was here that other brilliant aspects of his immaculate personality became fully manifest. The divine call now entered a decisive stage and many important events took place in Medina, which eventually laid a firm foundation for the spread of Islam to the furthest reaches of the globe. Here we shall study some of the major landmarks in the life of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and Islam at Medina.

01. The Building of the First Mosque:

The entry into Medina was followed by the building of the mosque, the first-ever for the Muslims who had just emerged from years of oppression in Mecca. It was one of the most important landmarks for Muslims who now had a center of their own for open uninhibited gatherings, a school for learning the Qur'an and a headquarters for receiving necessary instructions from their leader. Gone were the days of secret underground meetings in Mecca, where the fear of persecution had always weighed heavily for the faithful. Yathrib, which from now onwards was Medinat-an-nabi (city of the Prophet) or Medinat-al-Munawwara (illuminated city), provided a free open atmosphere for the growth of the true faith.

MasjidMeccan Immigrants mixed with the local populace, the 'Ansar' (Helpers), and cheerfully started giving shape to Islam's first-ever mosque, which would be known as Masjid-e-Qeba'a. The building was soon constructed of clay and tree trunks with palm leaves serving as a thatched roof. The Messenger of Allah himself took part in the construction and the following year he enlarged its precincts to cover an area of 2475 square meters.

All Muslims enthusiastically assembled there for the daily prayers, which were led by the Prophet himself. He used to deliver sermons there, teach the Qur'an and the laws of Islam to the faithful, discourse with his companions, prepare them for 'Jihad' (holy struggle) and would look into their problems and other relevant issues. Thus, the Mosque was actually the headquarters of the first-ever Islamic state established by the Messenger. It still stands majestically today, frequently enlarged and beautified throughout the last fourteen centuries, and draws millions of Muslims from all over the world.

02. Fraternization:

The second important step taken by the Prophet in Medina was the fraternizing of 'Muhajireen' (Meccan Immigrants) with the 'Ansar' (Medinite Helpers) in the bonds of Islamic brotherhood. He fraternized each Muhajir with an Ansar, joining them together as brothers in faith. And he himself clasped the hand of his beloved cousin Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) as the supreme symbol of brotherhood, fraternity and solidarity in the Islamic society.

Before proceeding further let us say a few words about the Muhajireen and the Ansar, who formed the pillars of the Islamic State. Allah, the Exalted describes them in the Qur'an as follows:

"And as for the first and foremost of the Muhajireen (emigrants) and the Ansar (helpers), and those who followed suit in good deeds; Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him; and He has prepared for them gardens watered by running streams, therein dwelling forever; that is a supreme triumph." Holy Qur'an (9:100)

The Muhajireen as the name suggests were the Muslim emigrants from Mecca who had followed the Prophet to Medina to safeguard their faith and to escape persecution from the infidels. They had embraced Islam in its early formative years and most of them had steadfastly endured severe pain and hardship in the way of liberty, truth and justice.

On the other hand, the Ansar were the indigenous inhabitants of Medina, who believed in the Message of Islam and rallied to the help of the Prophet. They welcomed him to their city, and fought alongside him against the pagans of Arabia. It was their faith and selfless devotion, which cemented Islamic unity and brought many a glorious victory for Islam.

At the time of the Hijra most of the Muhajireen were poor and possessed nothing, but the Ansar displaying the finest example of Islamic brotherhood, provided them with their needs such as houses, money and food. They lodged them in their own houses, shared their wealth with them and gave their daughters in marriage to the Meccan Muslims.

Such were the Muhajireen and the Ansar - brothers sharing food, clothing and residence, and defending and helping each other as ordered by the Almighty. From them we learn patience, self-sacrifice, fraternity, piety and devoted zeal to spread the call of Islam to less fortunate peoples around the world.

03. The Islamic State:

The other important event after the Hijra was the establishment of the Islamic State and Government by the Prophet, who by applying the gradual unfolding of divine commandments molded the hitherto ignorant Arabs into a real Islamic society. Expounding the eternal miracle of the Holy Qur'an and setting his own divinely inspired personality as a practical example, he firmly erected the pillars of justice and virtue. In short, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) presented to the dark world seething under tyranny and oppression, the most perfect ever constitution - spiritual, social and political - and a key to their salvation both in this mortal life and the hereafter.

04. Jihad:

The next stage was jihad or holy struggle, a thing not known in Mecca. It was the natural consequence to the setting up of a state. Unbelievers, ever-intent to stamp out the divine call but seeing Islam finely knit unto a secure city-state, resorted to arms, and the Muslims had to follow suit to defend their faith, and according to Allah's injunctions went out to do battle with the aggressors.

The first ever battle between Islam and blasphemy occurred in the second year of the Hijra at a place called Badr in which the newfound Islamic State, assembling a modest force of only 313 Muslims defeated a vastly outnumbering army of disbelievers. The victory led to many other battles and skirmishes with the Meccan infidels, who each time came out in larger numbers to avenge their previous setbacks, but by Allah's Grace suffered defeat after defeat at the hands of the faithful.

The victories brought strength and courage to the Muslims and helped facilitate the spread of Islam and monotheism to the farthest reaches of polytheist Arabia.

05. End of Jewish Plots and Treacheries:

Ever since the Prophet's entry into Medina, the treacherous Jews had vehemently opposed him and his Islamic call, evoking memories of their hostility to the previous Prophet, Jesus Christ (a.s), half a millennium ago. The crafty Jews entered into an alliance with the polytheist Quraish in a bid to stamp out Islam. They conspired to kill Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) despite the fact that he was lenient towards them and had treated them kindly, hoping to convince them of Islam's truth. But eventually as Jewish plots and aggressions increased, he had no choice other than to take up arms against them, in order to protect Islam and the Muslims. At the battle of Khaiber, which is famous for Imam Ali's (a.s.) heroic exploits, the Prophet defeated them ending Jewish intrigues and conspiracies in Arabia.

06. The Treaty of Hudaibiyah:
Another important landmark in the Prophet's life and progress of the Islamic call was the treaty of Hudaibiyah.

One night Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) had a dream in which he saw that he and his companions were entering the precincts of the Holy Ka'aba in Mecca to perform the 'Tawaf '(circumambulation), but the infidel Arabs were trying to obstruct their entrance. Following the dream, he decided to go to Mecca with some 1,500 Muslims to perform the pilgrimage. It was in the sixth year of the Hijra, and when the party arrived at a place called Hudaibiyah, the infidels confronted them and blocked all routes to Mecca. After some deliberations the infidels and the Prophet concluded a treaty, stipulating that the Muslim party would for the moment go back to Medina, but would return the next year for performing the pilgrimage. There were some other terms too.

As per the treaty the Messenger and his companions turned back to Medina, but the next year the Prophet along with a group of Muslims entered Mecca - 7 years after his historical migration - to perform the Umrah ritual (the lesser pilgrimage). Thus, his dream came true, and it was another undeniable proof of his prophet hood.

07. The Conquest of Mecca:

Next followed the great event in the history of Islam, which was the conquest of Mecca, the then bastion of ignorance and disbelief. With it, idolatry was purged from the greater part of Arabia once and for all, and Allah's Sacred House the Ka'ba was cleansed of the filth of man-made objects. The event took place during the month of Ramadhan, in the year 8 A.H. and Mecca was liberated without a fight. Almighty Allah instilled the hearts of the idolaters with such fear that when Abu Sufyan, the leader of the infidels, and his men, saw the Muslim forces they were struck with awe and meekly surrendered. Thus the Messenger and his companions entered Mecca triumphantly, smashed the idols, performed the Tawaf, and returned to Medina.

The conquest of Mecca and the purging of idols from Holy Ka'aba proved a great victory for Islam. Following the event, which is famous for Muhammad's (s.a.w.) magnanimity towards his archenemies the Meccan pagans, who all accepted Islam, people started embracing the true faith in multitudes.

08. Monarchs, Heads of State and Tribal Chiefs Invited to Islam:

Allah bestowed victory upon His Prophet in his many battles, and the Muslims were now strong. Since the light of Islam had expelled ignorance from the greater part of the Arabian Peninsula, the Messenger of Allah now felt it his duty to enlighten neighboring peoples about the truth of Islam. Accordingly he sent envoys to the Emperors of Persia, Byzantine and Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and to other heads of state and tribes inviting them towards guidance and reform. Some accepted, some gave polite 'diplomatic replies', while some others such as Chosroes of Persia were arrogant enough to betray their ignorance, by haughtily tearing the letters from the 'Mercy to the worlds'.

09. Event of Mubahala:

ChristianAmong the messages which the Prophet (s.a.w.) sent to kings and heads of state inviting them to Islam, was the one addressed to the Christians of Najran in Yemen. On receiving the letter the Christians refused to accept Islam but however decided to come to Medina to challenge the Prophet and to defend their deviated belief in the divinity and purification of Prophet Jesus (a.s.).

In Medina, the Prophet presented them with proofs and facts about Islam's eternal truth, citing references from the previously revealed Scriptures, but the Christians irrational obstinacy prevented them from seeing the manifest truth. In the end the two parties decided to meet at an open place and invoke divine curse and punishment upon the lying side. Allah thereby ordered His Prophet to take along with him his immediate family to the meeting ground for the Mubahala (means to invoke Allah's curse upon the lying side when two parties are contesting for truth).

"And whoso disputes with you concerning this after the knowledge that has come to you, say: Come now, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then let us earnestly pray for Allah's curse upon the ones who lie." Holy Qur'an (3:61)

PanjatanThe Christian elders came to the venue with their whole flock, and the Prophet as ordered by Allah came with his immediate family-members, namely: daughter Fatimah, son in-law Ali and their two children, Hasan and Hussain. Never had the Christians seen such enlightened visages before. The moment the Chief-Priest beheld Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his noble family, he was filled with awe. He realized that without doubt truth was with this blessed group of five and most surely Allah will respond to Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his family's invocation if they choose to curse and destroy the Christians of Najran. Thus the Christians backed away from the challenge of Mubahala, and wisely came to terms with the Prophet, pledging to pay an annual tribute to the Muslims.

10. The Farewell Pilgrimage:

GhadeerIn the tenth year of the Hijra, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) performed the Hajj (pilgrimage), with all his wives and a fairly large number of his companions.

He reached Mecca on the 4th of Dhil Hijja and was soon joined by Ali (a.s.), who hastened back from his successful missionary deputation to Yemen. During the Hajj ceremonies, the Prophet addressed a great multitude from the Mount of Arafat, in words, which are eternal to this day in the hearts of believers. After praising the Almighty, he expounded the laws and tenets of Islam and abolished all existing practices of the days of Jahiliyyah, charging the gathering to inform those not present and also to convey to posterity his eternal message.

The famous tradition called 'Thaqalain' was part of this sermon and we reproduce it below from 'Sahih Tirmidhi' for the benefit of our readers.

"I have been summoned (by Allah) and the moment is near for me to answer (to die). I leave among you the 'Thaqalain' (two precious things): the Book of Allah and my progeny; Allah's Book is like a rope extending from heaven to earth, and my progeny are the Ahlul-Bait. The Merciful informed me that the two will not part with each other until they meet me at the pool (of Kawther in Paradise). I warn you against deserting them."

11. Ghadir Khum:

After performing the Hajj, he bade farewell to his native Mecca and set out for Medina. When the great procession reached the place from where the routes of the different caravans coming from various points of Arabia normally parted, suddenly the signs of divine revelation appeared and he stopped at a place called al-Juhfa near the spring (ghadir) of Khum. The Archangel Gabriel came with the following verse in order to impress the urgency of the divine command:

"O Messenger! deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people." Holy Qur'an (5:67)

At once the Prophet ordered the whole party to be assembled, even summoning back those who had already left, for he had an important message to be delivered.

A pulpit made of camel saddles was hastily set-up. Ascending it, he delivered a sermon asking the people to be witness that he had faithfully performed the task of Prophet hood entrusted to him by the Almighty.

The multitude cried in one: "We bear witness O Messenger of Allah."

He asked, who in their opinion was more worthy of obedience than their souls, to which they replied that Allah and His Prophet know better.

Then he said: "O people! Allah is my Maula (Master) and I am the Maula (master) of believers."

"Verily O Prophet of Allah", came the unanimous reply.

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) then bent down and lifting up Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) in his hands, showed him to the vast crowd and proclaimed those famous words, which guaranteed the continuation of divine leadership:

Ghadeer "For whomsoever I am Maula (master), this Ali is his Maula (master)..."

Thrice he proclaimed these words before descending the pulpit, relieved by having performed the great task which would save the Ummah from going astray.

The great multitude of Muslims surged towards Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.), felicitating him on his divine appointment. According to such famous scholars as Zamakhshari and Nasai, the first one to congratulate and swear allegiance (bai'ah) to Imam Ali (a.s.) was Umar bin Khattab, who later became the second Caliph.

Gabriel descended again with another revelation, showing that the Almighty was pleased with His Prophet for having excellently performed the great final mission to mankind.

"... Today have I perfected unto you your religion and completed upon you My blessings and approved for you Islam as your religion..."Holy Qur'an (5: 3)

This most important task ensured the continuity of divine guidance. Since the Prophets were divinely appointed, so should be the successors or trustees of the Prophets, especially so in the case of Islam, which is the final message to the human race.

All scholars and historians have testified that the event of Ghadir Khum did take place, and moreover books of Hadith are witness that on many and occasion, the Prophet had emphasized his cousin's pre-eminence, over all other Muslims.

12. The Prophet's Death:

Two months after his return to Medina, the Messenger of Allah fell ill, Medina wore a look of gloom, because for a fortnight, the Prophet of Islam was confined in bed. The dawning of 28th of the lunar month of Safar proved to be fateful, for on that day the 'Mercy to the worlds' although weak with fever made his way to the mosque to lead the prayers, which also proved to be for the last time. Following a brief speech he returned to the house and after giving necessary instructions to his divinely ordained successor Imam Ali (a.s.), he breathed no more. The sad day marked the end of final Prophet hood.

Allah, through His last and greatest Messenger has revealed the perfect and the most comprehensive set of laws for the entire human race, a constitution, which is capable of catering to the needs of all generations till doomsday. Now the need for further revelations will no more arise, for the Almighty in His eternal Wisdom has embodied each and everything in the Holy Qur'an and taken upon Himself the responsibility of guarding it from interpolation. Moreover the Prophet practically showed the implementation of divine laws. The Qur'an together with the Prophet's Sunna (traditions) is to remains a guiding light for all mankind, and to ensure their correct meaning and application, Allah granted the leadership of the Ummah to the Prophet's infallible household, the Ahlul-Bait, who are the torch bearers of guidance for all Muslims.

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was laid to rest in his mosque, and an aggrieved Imam Ali (a.s.) performed the last rites of his noble cousin and father-in-law. His daughter Fatima and her two sons survived him.

Today the grave of the Prophet is the site of pilgrimage and veneration for Muslims from all over the globe.

Glimpses of the Prophet's Conduct

MedinaProphet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the finest example of a perfect man in every sense of the term. He was a paragon of virtue and is the best exemplar for the human race. The Almighty distinguished him from all and sundry by instilling embling in his sublime personality such fine qualities as modesty, truthfulness, kindness, patience, loyalty, honesty, courage, bravery, generosity, magnanimity, wisdom and the like. By studying his lofty character and the amazingly simple life he led with his household, companions, wives and others. We are apt to learn valuable lessons from his conduct and accordingly mould our own life-style.

Our society could never be an Islamic one unless we sincerely tread the footsteps of Allah's final Messenger to mankind, heed his sayings, observe his glorious actions and attitudes, and most important of all follow them, as the faithful among his companions did.

In short, Allah the most Glorious enjoins upon us to take the Prophet's behavior as an example, because he guides us to virtue and righteousness:

"Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much." Holy Qur'an (33: 21)

Now, we shall study some aspects of his admirable character:

Contemplation and Wisdom:

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) always used to contemplate the Greatness and Majesty of Allah, the Glorious and the welfare of the human race. He closely followed the affairs of his people and the spreading of the light of Islam. He talked only when necessary and when he did, his speech was devoid of any rhetoric and unnecessary words. It was precise, to the point and full of great meanings.

Punctuality and Daily Schedule:

He was punctual, active and energetic, and led an orderly life in the strict sense of the word. His day was divided into four periods:

1. A time for worship.
2. A time for his household (Ahlul-Bait) and wives, during which he behaved like any ordinary family man giving the finest example of social behavior.
3. A time for rest and contemplation.
4. A time for public affairs such as receiving Muslims, looking into their needs and requirements, answering their questions, teaching them the tenets of Islam and expounding to them the glorious verses of the Holy Qur'an.
Following are some of his wise sayings on the importance of time:
Blessed be my people for their early rising up.
Too much sleep does away with both religion and the world.

O People, you have certain (special) characteristics, so get to (emphasize) them and you have an end, so get to (be prepared for) it... a servant of Allah should take (make provisions) for himself from his self: from his world (life) for his hereafter, during his youth before his old age, and in life before death. By the One in whose hand is Muhammad's soul after death there will be no blaming, and after this world there is nothing except Paradise or Hell.

Modesty and Simplicity:

He was the finest embodiment of modesty, and deeply abhorred arrogance and haughtiness. Almost all of his companions in the early days were poor and oppressed people, as he was the champion of the downtrodden and the defender of the deprived masses.

His house was simple and modest, built of clay bricks, palm leaves and trunks. His food was simple like that of the poor, consisting mostly of barley bread. There were occasions when he might skip that meager meal too. He socialized with his companions as one of them: talking, listening, smiling and displaying a sense of humor. Sometimes he might join in their laughter to cheer their sprits up. He would visit them when they fell sick or accept an invitation for a meal irrespective of whether the person concerned was poor, a slave or any other. In case a companion of his died, he used to participate in the funeral procession, walking alongside the bier.

Owing to his great modesty, he normally preferred riding a mule while moving around, using a saddle made of date-palm fiber. Sometimes he also rode his she-camel. If he was riding and somebody wished to accompany him on foot, he would ask him either to mount behind, and if the man declined out of respect, he would ask him to go ahead and await him at the fixed place, because he did not like the sight of people following him on foot, while he himself was mounted.

So modest was he that he hated to see people raising to their feet when he entered an assembly. And on entering he used to sit at the nearest vacant spot, so that his companions might not think that he was sporting an air of superiority over them. His magnetic personality drew love and respect from all. He used to sit on the ground, even while eating, and slept on the ground with a simple mat serving as his bed. He greeted even small boys, as well as women. If some man shook hands with him, he would not unclasp his hand till the other did it first.

Once, a Christian chieftain named Adi bin Hatam al-Ta'i, came for an audience with the Prophet of Islam, who happened to be sitting on a cushion. On seeing the visitor he took the cushion from underneath and offered it to his Christian guest, himself preferring to sit on the ground. This admirable display of modesty by the great Prophet so deeply affected Adi bin Hatam al-Ta'i, that the Christian chief immediately embraced Islam.

This is how Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) taught us best of morals and excellent manners. By living a simple and ordinary life and treating everybody alike with courtesy and respect, he was able to spread the light of Islam. His immaculate personality and lofty character, coupled with his honesty and wisdom, attracted multitudes of people towards truth and justice.

Kindness and Generosity:

The Messenger's social ties with his companions portrays the most wonderful picture of Islamic brotherhood ever heard of. The following narratives give us a glimpse of his firm ties, with the society in which he lived:

Anas bin Malik, who used to frequent the Prophet's assembly, says that whenever the Prophet missed any one of his companions for a period of three days, he used to inquire about that person, would pray for him and if he happened to be ill, would pay him a visit.

Another companion Jarir bin Abdullah, says that once the Prophet entered a house, and soon it was full of people. When Jarir went in, he found no vacant spot and therefore sat outside. The Prophet observing Jarir took a piece of his clothing, rolled it up and threw it, indicating him to spread it underneath him. Jarir says he caught hold of the clothing, put it on his face and kissed it.

The above actions of the Prophet provide us the finest example of a leader unaffected by power and position whereas when we look at the lives of despots and other petty potentates, we see them sporting arrogant airs, trying to humiliate people, and always keeping a distance from the oppressed and the downtrodden.

It will not be out of context here to cite another example from the Prophet's life. Once a man came to the Messenger of Allah but on entering his presence, started trembling with fear. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) seeing the visitor terribly shaken and nervous, smiled and comforted him with utmost tenderness, saying: "Relax man take it easy, I am no king but the son of a Quraishite woman who used to eat dried meat."

How wonderfully he comforts a frightened Arab nomad, who accustomed to the days of Jahiliyyah was scared to death on entering the Prophet's presence. This is one of the many instances, which prove that he is the Mercy for the human race and not one of those power-drunk despots who kill and terrorize Allah's creatures.

Such supreme examples of kindness and generosity helped build a strong and coherent society and spread love and affection among the believers. Therefore it is obligatory for Muslims to learn a lesson from these admirable manners and tread the brilliant path blazed by Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). All Muslims should endeavor to acquire these lofty morals, especially those invested with power and authority, so that peace, love and harmony may prevail all around. If it is a real Islamic society, it will naturally be just and free, where everyone can defend their right and even advise those in authority if they happen to err.

Courage and Valor:

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was second to none in Allah's creation, beginning from Adam till eternity. He was an excellent exemplar of the noblest manners and merits including courage and bravery. His valor was a byword among his contemporaries, for he stood up gallantly against the heaviest odds, endured pain and injuries a victoriously fought, overcame and showed mercy to the stonehearted infidels of ignorant Arabia. Magnanimity is the finest form of valor and the Prophet excelled in this particular field, forgiving enemies and freeing multitudes from injustice, oppression, servitude and ignorance.

Following are some of the glimpses of his many gallant deeds:

He endured pain and sufferings for thirteen long years in Mecca, inviting people to Islam, without once being over-awed by the sheer force and numbers of arrogant Jahiliyyah. And all these single handedly without any group or supporters except his few weak but devoted followers.

After migrating to Medina he organized an army to defend against the idolaters and he himself led the faithful in many a battle against overwhelming odds, always coming out victorious. The Battles of Badr, Khandaq, Uhud, Khaibar, Hunayn and the conquest of Mecca were some of the epoch-making events.

His faithful and equally brave cousin Imam Ali (a.s.), who was the standard bearer in several decisive battles and who while defending Islam and the Prophet, sent many obstinate bullies of ignorant Arabia to the eternal fire, describes the Messenger's bravery as follows:

"You have beheld me on the day of Badr, all of us took refuge with the Prophet (s.a.w.), and he was the nearest one to the enemy ranks. He was on that day, the bravest of us all."

MedinaAnas bin Malik, a companion, describes the Prophet as the bravest and the most generous of all men. Anas citing an example says that one night Muslims heard loud noises coming from outside the town. Thinking it to be enemy forces they rushed out to the place from where the noises were coming but to their surprise found the Prophet of Islam at the spot well ahead of them. The incident indicates Prophet Muhammad's (s.a.w.) valor and courage; how he sallied forth in the dark night alone to trace the source of those strange sounds, without once being scared of the enemy or whatever that lurked around.

A Perfect Family Man:

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the supreme example of a family man. He was a loving husband, an affectionate father and a doting grandfather. As long as the faithful Khadija was alive, he never took another wife. Even later on in life, when he had married several women, he used to cherish the loving memory of the faithful Khadija.

His marriages were not for pleasure, but were a humanitarian means to further the cause of Islam, as is evident from the women he married. In the case of Sawda, Umm Salama and Zainab bint Khuzaima, it was to take care of poor and helpless widows well in their middle ages, while the marriage to Juwairiyah was to grant her freedom from captivity. Still others such as those to Umm Habiba, Safiya, Ayesha, Hafsa and Maimoona were meant for uniting some prominent Arab tribes, who were often at loggerheads with each other, and also to safeguard the internal political status of the newfound Islamic State. And the marriage to Zainab bint Jahsh was for the sake of enacting a new law, because she was the divorcee of his adopted son Zaid bin Hareth. As the Holy Qur'an testifies, the Prophet married her in order to put an end to the then prevalent belief that adopted sons were like real sons and that wives or widows of adopted sons were like daughter-in-laws. In short, the philosophy behind his marriages was entirely revolutionary and ushered in positive changes in ignorant Arabia.

He was an affectionate father and his only surviving child, daughter Fatima (a.s.), was dearer to him than life. His famous Hadith: "Fatima is apart of me, and whoever annoys her (in fact) annoys me," stands as a firm testimony to this fact. History is a witness that he used to stand up to greet his daughter. Many prominent and wealthy Arabs had approached him for Fatima's hand, but he politely refused them, and according to divine commandment married her to his faithful cousin. Ali (a.s.).

Hence Fatima and Ali were the parents of his two grandsons Hasan and Husain; through whom the continuity of the Prophet's noble progeny has been ensured. Hasan and Husain were the apple of his eyes and he affectionately doted on them. They used to play with him and accompany him to the mosque. Once when the two grandsons were seated on his shoulders, a companion remarked: "What and excellent mount", to which the Prophet retorted "What excellent riders too".

Thus, Prophet Muhammad's (s.a.w.) behaviour with his illustrious Ahlul-Bait (household) is a lesson for us. It was not blind love of a doting father or grandfather as some may misinterpret but was something divinely ordained as is clear from several verses of the Holy Qur'an. Therefore, it is obligatory for all Muslims to love and respect his chosen family, and adhere to their radiant path, which is the only way to save the Ummah from pitfalls. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

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Islamic Occasions or Muslim Calendar is Designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017