AL-TANZIL
The
Revelation
 
[26:192]

Muhammad The Prophet of Islam


First Revelation

Renowned compilers of authentic traditions of Islam agree on the following account of the first revelations received by the Prophet.

Muhammad would seclude himself in the cave of Mount Hira and worship three days and nights. He would, whenever he wished, return to his family at Mecca and then go back again, taking with him the necessities of life. Thus he continued to return to Khadijah from time to time until one day the revelation came down to him and the Angel Gabriel (Jibreel) appeared to him and said:

"Read!"
But as Muhammad was illiterate, having never received any instruction in reading or writing, he said to the angel:

"I am not a reader."
 The angel took hold of him and squeezed him as much as he could bear, and then said again:

"Read!" The Prophet said: "I am not a reader." The Angel again seized the Prophet and squeezed him and said:

"Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), has created man from something that clings. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught (the writing) by the pen, has taught man that which he knew not. Surah 96: 1-5

Early Years of Prophethood

Muhammad Speaks with Khadijah and Waraqa Then the Prophet repeated the words with a trembling heart. He returned to Khadijah from Mount Hira and said: "Wrap me up! Wrap me up!" She wrapped him in a garment until his fear was dispelled. He told Khadijah what had occurred and that he was becoming either a soothsayer or one smitten with madness. She replied: "Allah forbid! He will surely not let such a thing happen, for you speak the truth, you are faithful in trust, you bear the afflictions of the people, you spend in good works what you gain in trade, you are hospitable and you assist your fellow men. Have you seen anything terrible?"

Muhammad replied: 'Yes," and told her what he had seen. Whereupon, Khadijah said: "Rejoice, 0 dear husband and be cheerful. He in Whose hands stands Khadijah's life bears witness to the truth of this fact, that you will be the prophet to this people." Then she arose and went to her cousin Waraqa Ibn Naufal, who was old and blind and who knew the Scriptures of the Jews and the Christians, and is stated to have translated them into Arabic.

When she told him of what she had heard, he cried out: "Holy! Holy! Verily, this is the Namus (The Holy Spirit) who came to Moses. He will be the prophet of his people. Tell him this and bid him be brave of heart."

When the two men met subsequently in the street, the blind old student of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures spoke of his faith and trust: "I swear by Him in Whose hand Waraqa's life is, Allah has chosen you to be the prophet of this people. They will call you a liar, they will persecute you, they will banish you, they will fight against you. Oh, that I could live to those days. I would fight for these." And he kissed him on his forehead.

Muhammad Begins Preaching The first vision was followed by a considerable period, during which Muhammad suffered much mental depression. The angel spoke to the grieved heart of hope and trust and of the bright future when he would see the people of the earth crowding into the one true faith. His destiny was unfolded to him when, wrapped in profound meditation, melancholy and sad, he felt himself called by a voice from heaven to arise and preach. 0 you (Muhammad) enveloped (in grments)! Arise and warn! And your Lord (Allah) magnify! Surah 74: 1-3

He arose and engaged himself in the work to which he was called. Khadijah was the first to accept his mission. She was to believe in the revelations, to abandon the idolatry of her people and to join him in purity of heart and in offering up prayers to Allah the Almighty.

Muhammad Speaks with Abu Talib At the beginning of his mission, Muhammad - hereinafter called the Prophet - opened his soul only to those who were attached to him and tried to free them from the gross practices of their forefathers. After Khadijah, his cousin Ali was the next companion. The Prophet used often to go into the desert around Mecca with his wife and young cousin that they might together offer their heart-felt thanks to the Lord of all nations for His manifold blessings. Once they were surprised by Abu Talib, the father of Ali.

He said to the Prophet: "0 son of my brother, what is this religion you are following?" "It is the religion of Allah of His Angels, of His Messengers and of our ancestor Abraham," answered the Prophet. "Allah has sent me to His servants, to direct them towards the truth, and you, 0 my uncle, are the most worthy of all. It is meet that I should thus call upon you and it is meet that you should accept the truth and help in spreading it."

Abu Talib replied: "Son of my brother, I cannot abjure the religion of my fathers; but by the Supreme Lord, while I am alive, none shall dare to injure you." Then turning towards Ali, the venerable chief asked what religion was his. Ali answered: "0 father, "I believe in Allah and His Prophet and go with him." Abu Talib replied: "Well my son, he will not call you to anything except what is good, therefore you are free to go with him."

Muhammad's First Three Years After Ali, Muhammad's adopted son Zaid became a convert to the new faith. He was followed by Abu Bakr, a leading member of the Quraish tribe and an honest, wealthy merchant who enjoyed great consideration among his compatriots. He was but two years younger than the Prophet. His adoption of the new faith was of great moral effect. Soon after, five notables presented themselves before the Prophet and accepted Islam. Several converts also came from lower classes of the Arabs to adopt the new religion.

For three weary long years, the Prophet labored very quietly to deliver his people from the worship of idols. Polytheism was deeply rooted among the people. It offered attractions which the new faith in its purity did not possess. The Quraish had personal material interests in the old worship, and their prestige was dependent upon its maintenance. The Prophet had to contend with the idolatrous worship of its followers and to oppose the ruling oligarchy which governed its destinies.
Muhammad's First Address to the Public After three years of constant but quiet struggle, only thirty followers were secured. An important change now occurred in the relations of the Prophet with the citizens of Mecca. His compatriots had begun to doubt his sanity, thinking him crazy or possessed by an evil spirit. Hitherto he had preached quietly and unobtrusively. He now decided to appeal publicly to the Meccans, requesting them to abandon their idolatry.

For this he arranged a gathering on a neighboring hill and there spoke to them of their folly in the sight of Allah in worshipping pieces of stone which they called their gods. He invited them to abandon their old impious worship and adopt the faith of love, truth, and purity. He warned them of the fate that had overtaken past races who had not heeded the preaching of former prophets. But the gathering departed without listening to the warning given them by the Prophet.

Muhammad Attempts to Address Foreigners Having thus failed to induce his fellow citizens to listen to him, he turned his attention to the strangers arriving in the city on commerce or pilgrimage. But the Quraish made attempts to frustrate his efforts. They hastened themselves to meet the strangers first on the different routes, to warn them against holding any communication with the Prophet, whom they represented as a dangerous magician. When the pilgrims or traders returned to their homes, they carried with them the news of the advent of the bold preacher who was inviting the Arabs loudly - at the risk of his own life - to abandon the worship of their dear idols.

Some Persecutions Faced by the Believers Now the Prophet and his followers became subject to some persecution and indignity. The hostile Quraish prevented the Prophet from offering his prayers at the Sacred House of the Kaba; they pursued him wherever he went; they covered him and his disciples with dirt and filth when engaged in their devotions; they scattered thorns in the places which he frequented for devotion and meditation. Amidst all these trials the Prophet did not waver. He was full of confidence in his mission, even when on several occasions he was put in imminent danger of losing his life.

Description of Hamza

At this time Hamza, the youngest son of Abdul Muttalib, adopted Islam. Hamza was a man of distinguished bravery, an intrepid warrior, generous and true, whose heroism earned for him the title of the "Lion of Allah." He became a devoted adherent of Islam and eventually lost his life in the cause.

Muhammad's Message to the Meccans

The Prophet continued preaching to the Arabs in a most gentle and reasonable manner. He called the people, so accustomed to iniquity and wrong-doings, to abandon their abominations. In burning words which excited the hearts of his hearers, he warned them of the punishment which Allah had inflicted upon the ancient tribes of 'Ad and Thamud who had obstinately disobeyed the teachings of Allah's messengers to them. He adjured them by the wonderful sights of nature, by the noonday brightness, by the night when it spreads its veil, by the day when it appears in glory to listen to his warning before a similar destruction befell them. He spoke to them of the Day of Reckoning, when their deeds in this world will be weighed before the Eternal Judge, when the children who had been buried alive will be asked for what crime they were put to death.

A Warning to the Disbelievers - Qur'anic

Almighty Allah said: Nay they wonder that there has come to them a warner (Muhammad) from among themselves. So the disbelievers say: 'This is a strange thing! When we are dead and have become dust (shall we be resurrected?) That is a far return." We know that which the earth takes of them (theft dead bodies), and with Us is a Book preserved (i.e., the Book of Decrees).
Nay but they have denied the truth (this Quran) when it has come to them, so they are in a confused state (can not differentiate between right and wrong). Have they not looked at the heaven above them, how We have made it and adorned it, and there are no rifts in it? And the earth! We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and have produced therein every kind of lovely growth (plants).

An insight and a reminder for every slave turning to Allah i.e., the one who believes in Allah and performs deeds of His obedience, and always begs His pardon). And We send down blessed water (rain) from the sky then we produce therewith gardens and grain (every kind of harvests that are reaped). And tall date palms, with ranged dusters; a provision for (Allah's) slaves. And We give life therewith to a dead land. Thus will be the resurrection (of the dead). Denied before them (i.e. these pagans of Makka who denied you, 0 Muhammad) the people of Noah, and the dewllers of Bass, and the Thamud, and Ad, and Pharaoh, and the brethren of Lot, and the dwellers of the Wood, and the people of Tubba; everyone of them denied (their) Messengers, so My Threat took effect.>
Almighty Allah also declared: All praises and thanks be to Allah Who (Alone) created the heavens and the earth, and originated the darkness and the light, yet those who disbelieve hold others as equal with their Lord. He it is Who has created you from clay, and then has decreed a stated term (for you to die). And there is with Him another determined term (for you to be resurrected), yet you doubt (in the Resurrection).

And He is Allah (to be worshipped Alone) in the heavens and on the earth, He knows what you conceal and what you reveal, and He knows what you earn (good or bad). And never an Ayah (sign) comes to them from the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord, but that they have been turning away from it.

Indeed, they rejected the truth (The Quran and Muhammad) when it came to them, but there will come to them the news of that (the torment) which they used to mock at. Have they not seen how many a generation before them We have destroyed whom We had established on the earth such as We have not established you? And We poured out on them rain from the sky in abundance, and made the rivers flow under them. Yet We destroyed them for their sins, and created after them other generations. Surah 6: 1-6

The Quraish Become Alarmed

As the number of believers increased and the cause of the Prophet was strengthened by the conversions of many powerful citizens, the Prophet's preaching alarmed the Quraish. Their power and prestige were at stake. They were the custodians of the idols which the Prophet had threatened to destroy; they were the ministers of the worship which he denounced; in fact their existence and living wholly depended upon the maintenance of the old institutions. The Prophet taught that in the sight of his Lord all humans were equal, the only distinction recognized among them being the weight of their piety.

Allah's Definition of an Honorable Person

Allah the Exalted said: 0 mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily the most honorable of you in the Sight of Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa i.e., one of the Muttaqun: i.e., pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden), and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained). Verily Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. " Surah 49: 13

The Quraish Torture the Weak

The Quraish would have none of this leveling of distinctions, as it reflected upon their long inherited privileges. Accordingly, they organized a system of persecution in order to suppress the movement before it became firmly established. They decided that each family should take upon itself the task of stamping out the new faith on the spot. Each household tortured its own members or adherents or slaves who were supposed to have connected themselves with the new religion. With the exception of the Prophet, who was protected by Abu Talib and his kinsmen, and Abu Bakr and a few others who were either distinguished by their rank or possessed some influence among the Quraish, all other converts were subjected to different sorts of torture. Some of them were thrown into prison, starved, and then flogged. The hill of Ramada and the place called Bata thus became scenes of cruel torture.

Utba and the Quraish Try to Bribe Muhammad

One day the Quraish tried to induce the Prophet to discontinue his teachings of the new religion which had sown discord among their people. Utba Ibn Rabi'a, was delegated to see the Prophet and speak to him. Utba said: "0 son of my brother, you are distinguished by your qualities; yet you have sown discord among our people and cast dissension in our families; you denounced our gods and goddesses and you charge our ancestors with impiety. Now we have come to make a proposition to you, and I ask you to think well before you reject it."
"I am listening to you, 0 father of Walid," said the Prophet.
"0 son of my brother, if by this affair you intend to acquire riches, honors, and dignity, we are willing to collect for you a fortune larger than is possessed by any one of us; we shall make you our chief and will do nothing without you. If you desire dominion, we shall make you our king; and if the demon which possesses you cannot be subdued, we will bring you doctors and give them riches until they cure you."
When 'Utba had finished his discourse, the Prophet said: "Now listen to me, 0 father of Walid."
"I listen," he replied.

The Prophet recited to him the first thirteen verses of Surah Fussilat, which may be interpreted as follows: In the Name of Allah the Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful. Ha Mim. These letters are one of the miracles of the Quran, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings. A revelation from Allah the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. A Book whereof the Verses are explained in detail; - a Qur'an in Arabic for people who know. Giving glad tidings of Paradise to the one who believes in the Oneness of Allah (i.e., Islamic Monotheism) and fears Allah much (abstains from all kinds of sins and evil deeds) and loves Allah much (performing all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained), and warning (of punishment in the Hell Fire to the one who disbelieves in the Oneness of Allah), but most of them turn away so they listen not.

And they say: "Our hearts are under coverings (screened) from that to which you invite us, and in our ears is deafness, and between us and you is a screen, so work you (on your way); verily we are working (on our way).

Say (0 Muhammad): "I am only a human being like you. It is inspired in me that your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God - Allah), therefore take the Straight Path to Him (with true Faith - Islamic Monotheism) and obedience to Him, and seek forgiveness of Him. And woe to Al-Mushrikeen: polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah etc., those who worship others along with Allah or set up rivals or partners to Allah etc.. Those who give not the Zakat and they are disbelievers in the Hereafter. Truly those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger Muhammad - Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, for them will be an endless reward that will never stop (i.e., Paradise).

Say (0 Muhammad): "Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days and you set up rivals (in worship) with Him? That is the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists).

He placed therein (i.e., the earth) firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it, and measured therein its sustenance (for its dwellers) in four Days equal (i.e., all these four 'days' were equal in the length of time), for all those who ask (about its creation). Then He Istawa (rose over) towards the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: "Come both of you willingly or unwillingly." They both said: "We come, willingly." Then He completed and finished from their creation (as) seven heavens in two Days and He made in each heaven its affair. And We adorned the nearest (lowest) heaven with lamps (stars) to be an adornment as well as to guard (from the devils by using them as missiles against the devils). Such is the Decree of Him the All-Mighty the All-Knowing.

But if they turn away then say (0 Muhammad): "I have warned you of a Saiqa (a destructive awful cry torment, hit, a thunder-bolt) like the Saiqa which overtook 'Ad and Thamud (people)." Surah 41: 1-13

When the Prophet had finished his recitation, he said to Utba: 'This is my reply to your proposition; now take what course you find best."

The First Hijrah

Persecution by the Quraish grew fiercer every day and the sufferings of the Prophet's disciples became unbearable. He had heard of the righteousness, tolerance, and hospitality of the neighboring Christian king of Abyssinia. He recommended such of his companions who were without protection to seek refuge in the kingdom of that pious king, Al Najashi (Negus). Some fifteen of the unprotected adherents of Islam promptly availed themselves of the advice and sailed to Abyssinia. Here they met with a very kind reception from the Negus. This is called the first hijrah (migration) in the history of Islam and occurred in the fifth year of the Prophet Muhammad's mission, A.D. 615. These emigrants were soon followed by many of their fellow sufferers, until the number reached eighty-three men and eighteen women.

The Quraish Fail to Get the Emigrants Back

The hostile Quraish, furious at the escape of their victims, sent deputies to the king of Abyssinia to request him to deliver up the refugees, that they might be put to death for adjuring their old religion and embracing a new one. The king summoned the poor fugitives and inquired of them what was the religion which they had adopted in preference to their old faith. Jafar, son of Abu Talib and brother of Ali, acted as spokesman for the exiles.

He spoke thus: "0 king, we were plunged in the depth of ignorance and barbarism, we adored idols, we lived in unchastity, we ate dead bodies, and we spoke abominations, we disregarded every feeling of humanity and sense of duty towards our neighbors, and we knew no law but that of the strong, when Allah raised among us a man, of whose birth, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we were aware. He called us to profess the Unity of Allah and taught us to associate nothing with Him; he forbade us the worship of idols and enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful, and to regard the rights of neighbors; he forbade us to speak evil of the worship of Allah and not to return to the worship of idols of wood and stone and to abstain from evil, to offer prayers, to give alms, to observe the fast. We have believed in him, we have accepted his teachings and his injunctions to worship Allah alone and to associate nothing with Him. Hence our people have persecuted us, trying to make us forego the worship of Allah and return to the worship of idols of wood and stone and other abominations. They have tortured us and injured us until, finding no safety among them, we have come to your kingdom trusting you will give us protection against their persecution."

After hearing the above speech, the hospitable king ordered the deputies to return to their people in safety and not to interfere with their fugitives. Thus the emigrants passed the period of exile in peace and comfort.

The Quraish Fail to Get the Emigrants Back

The hostile Quraish, furious at the escape of their victims, sent deputies to the king of Abyssinia to request him to deliver up the refugees, that they might be put to death for adjuring their old religion and embracing a new one. The king summoned the poor fugitives and inquired of them what was the religion which they had adopted in preference to their old faith. Jafar, son of Abu Talib and brother of Ali, acted as spokesman for the exiles.

He spoke thus: "0 king, we were plunged in the depth of ignorance and barbarism, we adored idols, we lived in unchastity, we ate dead bodies, and we spoke abominations, we disregarded every feeling of humanity and sense of duty towards our neighbors, and we knew no law but that of the strong, when Allah raised among us a man, of whose birth, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we were aware. He called us to profess the Unity of Allah and taught us to associate nothing with Him; he forbade us the worship of idols and enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful, and to regard the rights of neighbors; he forbade us to speak evil of the worship of Allah and not to return to the worship of idols of wood and stone and to abstain from evil, to offer prayers, to give alms, to observe the fast. We have believed in him, we have accepted his teachings and his injunctions to worship Allah alone and to associate nothing with Him. Hence our people have persecuted us, trying to make us forego the worship of Allah and return to the worship of idols of wood and stone and other abominations. They have tortured us and injured us until, finding no safety among them, we have come to your kingdom trusting you will give us protection against their persecution."

After hearing the above speech, the hospitable king ordered the deputies to return to their people in safety and not to interfere with their fugitives. Thus the emigrants passed the period of exile in peace and comfort.

Muhammad Continues Preaching to the Quraish

While the followers of the Prophet sought safety in foreign lands against the persecution of their people, he continued his warnings to the Quraish more strenuously than ever. Again they came to him with offers of riches and honor, which he firmly and utterly refused. But they mocked at him and urged him for miracles to prove his mission. He used to answer: "Allah has not sent me to work wonders; He has sent me to preach to you."

Thus disclaiming all power of wonder-working, the Prophet ever rested the truth of his divine mission upon his wise teachings. He addressed himself to the inner consciousness of man, to his common sense and to his own better judgment. Say (0 Muhammad): 'lam only a human being like you. It is inspired in me that your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God - Allah), therefore take the Straight Path to Him (with true Faith - Islamic Monotheism) and obedience to Him, and seek forgiveness of Him. And woe to Al-Mushrikeen: polytheists, pagans, idolaters, and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah etc., those who worship others along with Allah or set up rivals or partners to Allah etc.. Surah 41: 6

Muhammad is Asked for a Sign

Despite all the exhortations of the Prophet, the Quraish persisted in asking him for a sign. They insisted that unless some sign be sent down to him from his Lord, they would not believe. The disbelievers used to ask: "Why has Muhammad not been sent with miracles like previous prophets?" The Prophet replied: "Because miracles had proved inadequate to convince. Noah was sent with signs, and with what effect? Where was the lost tribe of Thamud? They had refused to receive the preaching of the Prophet Salih, unless he showed them a sign and caused the rock to bring forth a living camel. He did what they asked. In scorn they cut the camel's feet and then, daring the prophet to fulfill his threats of judgment, were found dead in their beds the next morning, stricken by the angel of the Lord."

There are some seventeen places in the Qur'an, in which the Prophet Muhammad is challenged to work a sign, and he answers them all to the same or similar effect: Allah has the power of working miracles, and had not been believed; there were greater miracles in nature than any which could be wrought outside of it; and the Quran itself was a great, everlasting miracle. The Qur'an, the Prophet used to assert to the disbelievers, is a book of blessings which is a warning for the whole world; it is a complete guidance and explains everything necessary; it is a reminder of what is imprinted on human nature and is free from every discrepancy and from error and falsehood. It is a book of true guidance and a light to all.

Bedouins Embrace Islam

When the Prophet spoke reproachfully of the sacred gods of the Quraish, the latter redoubled their persecution. But the Prophet, nevertheless, continued his preaching undaunted by the hostility of his enemies or by their bitter persecution of him. And despite all opposition and increased persecution, the new faith gained ground. The national fair at Okadh near Mecca attracted many desert Bedouins and trading citizens of distant towns. These people listened to the teachings of the Prophet, to his admonitions, and to his denunciations of their sacred idols and of their superstitions. They carried back all that they had heard to their distant homes, and thus the advent of the Prophet was made known to almost all parts of the peninsula.

The Quraish Address Abu Talib

As to the sacred idols, so much honored and esteemed by the pagan Arabs, the Prophet openly recited: They are but names which you have named - you and your fathers - for which Allah has sent down no authority. Surah 53: 23

The Meccans were more than ever furious at the Prophet's increasing preaching against their religion. They asked his uncle, Abu Talib, to stop him, but he could not do anything. At length, as the Prophet persisted in his ardent denunciations against their ungodliness and impiety, they turned him out from the Kaba where he used to sit to preach, and subsequently went in a body to Abu Talib. They urged the venerable chief to prevent his nephew from abusing their gods any longer or uttering any ill words against their ancestors. They warned Abu Talib that if he would not do that, he would be excluded from the communion of his people and driven to side with Muhammad; the matter would then be settled by fight until one of the two parties was exterminated.

Abu Talib Asks the Tribes to Protect Muhammad

Abu Talib neither wished to separate himself from his people, nor forsake his nephew for the idolaters to revenge themselves upon. He spoke to the Prophet very softly and begged him to abandon his affair. To this suggestion the Prophet firmly replied: "0 my uncle, if they placed the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand to cause me to renounce my task, verily I would not desist therefrom until Allah made manifest His cause or I perished in the attempt." The Prophet, overcome by the thought that his uncle and protector was willing to desert him, turned to depart. But Abu Talib called him loudly to come back, and he came. "Say whatever you please; for by the Lord I shall not desert you ever."

The Quraish again attempted in vain to cause Abu Talib to abandon his nephew. The venerable chief declared his intention to protect his nephew against any menace or violence. He appealed to the sense of honor of the two families of the Bani Hashim and the Bani Muttalib, both families being kinsmen of the Prophet, to protect their member from falling victim to the hatred of rival parties. All the members of the two families nobly responded to the appeal of Abu Talib except Abu Lahab, one of the Prophet's uncles, who took part with the persecutors.

Umar Embraces Islam

During this period, 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattab adopted Islam. In him the new faith gained a valuable adherent and an important factor in the future development and propagation of Islam.
Hitherto he had been a violent opposer of the Prophet and a bitter enemy of Islam. His conversion is said to have been worked by the miraculous effect on his mind of a surah of the Qur'an which his sister was reading in her house, where he had gone with the intention of killing her for adopting Islam. Thus the party of the Prophet had been strengthened by the conversion of his uncle Hamza, a man of great valor and merit; and of Abu Bakr and Umar, both men of great energy and reputation. The Muslims now ventured to perform their devotions in public.

The Quraish Split into Two Parties

Alarmed at the bold part which the Prophet and his followers were now able to assume, and roused by the return of the deputies from Abyssinia and the announcement of their unsuccessful mission, the Quraish determined to check by a decisive blow any further progress of Islam. Towards this end, in the seventh year of the mission, they made a solemn covenant against the descendants of Hashim and Muttalib, engaging themselves to contract no marriage with any of them and to have no communication with them. Upon this, the Quraish became divided into two factions, and the two families of Hashim and Muttalib all repaired to Abu Talib as their chief. Abu Lahab, the Prophet's uncle, however, out of his inveterate hatred of his nephew and his doctrine, went over to the opposite party, whose chief was Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb, of the family of Umayya. The persecuted party, Muslims as well as idolaters, betook themselves to a defile on the eastern skirts of Mecca. They lived in this defensive position for three years. The provisions which they had carried with them were soon exhausted. Probably they would have entirely perished but for the sympathy and occasional help received from less bigoted compatriots.

The Death of Khadijah and Abu Talib

Towards the beginning of the tenth year of the mission, a reconciliation was concluded between the Quraish and the two families of Hashim and Abdul Muttalib through the intermediation of Hisham, Ibn 'Umar, and Zobeir, Ibn Abu Umayya. Thus, the alliance against the two families was abolished, and they were able to return to Mecca.

During the period the Prophet and his kinspeople passed in their defensive position, Islam made no progress outside; but in the sacred months, when violence was considered sacrilege, the Prophet used to come out of his temporary prison to preach Islam to the pilgrims. In the following year, both Abu Talib and Khadijah died. Thus the Prophet lost in Abu Talib the kind guardian of his youth who had hitherto protected him against his enemies, and in Khadijah his most encouraging companion. She was ever his angel of hope and consolation.

Muhammad Preaches in Ta'if

Prophet, weighed down by the loss of his amiable protector and his beloved wife, without hope of turning the Quraish from idolatry, with a saddened heart, yet full of trust, resolved to exercise his ministry in some other field. He chose Ta'if, a town about sixty miles east of Mecca, where he went accompanied by his faithful servant Zaid. The tribe of Thakif, who were the inhabitants of Ta'if, received Muhammad very coldly. However, he stayed there for one month. Though the more considerate and better sort of men treated him with a little respect, the slaves and common people refused to listen to his teachings; they were outrageously indignant at his invitation to abandon the gods they worshipped with such freedom of morals and lightness of heart. At length they rose against him, and bringing him to the wall of the city, obliged him to depart and return to Mecca.

Some Jews Embrace Islam

The repulse greatly discouraged his followers; however, the Prophet boldly continued to preach to the public assemblies at the pilgrimage and gained several new converts, among whom were six of the city of Yathrib (later called Medina) and of the Jewish tribe of Khazraj. When these Yathribites returned home, they spread the news among their people that a prophet had arisen among the Arabs who was to call them to Allah and put an end to their iniquities.

The Miraj (Ascension)

The Miraj - Brief Description In the twelfth year of his mission, the Prophet made his night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, and thence to heaven. His journey, known in history as Miraj (Ascension), was a real bodily one and not only a vision. It was at this time that Allah ordered the Muslims to pray the five daily prayers.

Almighty Allah has said: Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) above all that (evil) they associate with Him, Who took His slave Muhammad for a journey by night from AlMasjid-al-Haram (at Makka) to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad) of 0ur Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer." Surah 17: 1

The Miraj - Full Description Abbas Ibn Malik reported that Malik Ibn Sasaa said that Allah's Messenger described to them his Night Journey saying: "While I was lying in Al-Hatim or Al-Hijr, suddenly someone came to me and cut my body open from here to here." I asked Al-Jarud, who was by my side, "What does he mean?" He said: "It means from his throat to his pubic area," or said, "From the top of the chest." The Prophet further said, "He then took out my heart. Then a gold tray of Belief was brought to me and my heart was washed and was filled (with Belief) and then returned to its original place. Then a white animal which was smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me." (On this Al-Jarud asked: "Was it the Buraq, 0 Abu Hamza?" I (i.e. Anas) replied in the affirmative. The Prophet said: 'The animal's step (was so wide that it) reached the farthest point within the reach of the animal's sight. I was carried on it, and Gabriel set out with me till we reached the nearest heaven.

"When he asked for the gate to be opened, it was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel answered, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has Muhammad been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened, and when I went over the first heaven, I saw Adam there. Gabriel said (to me): 'This is your father, Adam; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said:'You are welcomed, 0 pious son and pious Prophet.'

Then Gabriel ascended with me till we reached the second heaven. Gabriel asked for the gate to be opened. It was asked: 'Who is it?' Gabriel answered: 'Gabriel.' It was asked: 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked: 'Has he been called?' Gabriel answered in the affirmative. Then it was said: 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened. "When I went over the second heaven, there I saw John (Yahya) and Jesus (Isa), who were cousins of each other. Gabriel said (to me): 'These are John and Jesus; pay them your greetings.' So I greeted them and both of them returned my greetings to me and said, 'You are welcomed, 0 pious brother and pious Prophet.'

Then Gabriel ascended with me to the third heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked: 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied: 'Gabriel.' It was asked: 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked: 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said: 'He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened, and when I went over the third heaven there I saw Joseph (Yusuf). Gabriel said (to me): 'This is Joseph; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said: 'You are welcomed, 0 pious brother and pious Prophet.'

Then Gabriel ascended with me to the fourth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked: 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel' It was asked: 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied: 'Muhammad.' It was asked: 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said: 'He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is!' "The gate was opened, and when I went over the fourth heaven, there I saw Enoch (Idris). Gabriel said (to me): This is Enoch; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said: 'You are welcomed, 0 pious brother and pious Prophet.'

Then Gabriel ascended with me to the fifth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked: 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied: 'Gabriel.' It was asked: 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied: 'Muhammad.' It was asked: 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said: "He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is! So when I went over the fifth heaven, there I saw Aaron (Harun), Gabriel said (to me): 'This is Aaron; pay him your greetings.' I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said: 'You are welcomed, 0 pious brother and pious Prophet.'

Then Gabriel ascended with me to the sixth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked: 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel.' It was asked: 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied: 'Muhammad.' It was asked: 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. It was said: 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!' "When I went (over the sixth heaven), there I saw Moses (Musa). Gabriel said (to me): 'This is Moses; pay him your greeting. So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said: 'You are welcomed, 0 pious brother and pious Prophet.' When I left him (i.e. Moses) he wept. Someone asked him: 'What makes you weep?' Moses said: 'I weep because after me there has been sent (as Prophet) a young man whose followers will enter Paradise in greater numbers than my followers.'

Then Gabriel ascended with me to the seventh heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked: 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied: 'Gabriel.' It was asked: 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied: 'Muhammad.' It was asked: 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said: 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!' "So when I went (over the seventh heaven), there I saw Abraham (Ibrahim). Gabriel said (to me): This is your father; pay your greetings to him.' So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said: 'You are welcomed, 0 pious son and pious Prophet.'

Then I was made to ascend to Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (i.e. the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary). Behold! Its fruits were like the jars of Hajr (i.e. a place near Medina) and its leaves were as big as the ears of elephants. Gabriel said: 'This is the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary.' Behold! There ran four rivers; two were hidden and two were visible, I asked: 'What are these two kinds of rivers, 0 Gabriel?' He replied: 'As for the hidden rivers, they are two rivers in Paradise and the visible rivers are the Nile and the Euphrates.'

'Then Al-Bait-ul-Mamur (i.e. the Sacred House) was shown to me and a container full of wine and another full of milk and a third full of honey were brought to me. I took the milk. Gabriel remarked: 'This is the Islamic religion which you and your followers are following.'
Then the prayers were enjoined on me: they were fifty prayers a day. When I returned, I passed by Moses, who asked (me): 'What have you been ordered to do?' I replied: 'I have been ordered to offer fifty prayers a day.' Moses said: 'Your followers cannot bear fifty prayers a day, and by Allah I have tested people before you, and I have tried my level best with Bani Israel (in vain). Go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your followers' burden.' So I went back, and Allah reduced ten prayers for me. Then again I came to Moses, but he repeated the same as he had said before. Then again I went back to Allah, and He reduced ten more prayers. When I came back to Moses he said the same. I went back to Allah, and He ordered me to observe ten prayers a day. When I came back to Moses, he repeated the same advice, so I went back to Allah and was ordered to observe five prayers a day.

"When I came back to Moses, he said: 'What have you been ordered?' I replied: 'I have been ordered to observe five prayers a day.' He said: 'Your followers cannot bear five prayers a day, and no doubt, I have got an experience of the people before you, and I have tried my level best with Bani Israel, so go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your followers' burden.' I said: 'I have requested so much of my Lord that I feel ashamed, but I am satisfied now and surrender to Allah's Order.' When I left, I heard a voice saying: 'I have passed My order and have lessened the burden of My worshippers."'

Jews of Yathrib (Medina) Embrace Islam

In this year, twelve men of Yathrib, of whom ten were of the Jewish tribe of Khazraj and the other two of Aws, came to Mecca and took an oath of fidelity to the Prophet at AlAqaba, a hill on the north of that city. This oath was called the Womens' Oath, not that any women were present at this time, but because a man was not thereby obliged to take up arms in defense of the Prophet or his religion, it being the same oath that was afterwards exacted of the women. This oath was as follows: "We will not associate anything with Allah; we will not steal nor commit adultery or fornication, nor kill our children (as the pagan Arabs used to do when they apprehended that they would not be able to maintain them), nor forge calumnies; we will obey the Prophet in everything that is reasonable, and we will be faithful to him in well and sorrow." When they had solemnly engaged to do all this, the Prophet sent one of his disciples, Musab Ibn Umair, home with them to teach them the fundamental doctrines and ceremonies of the religion. Mus'ab, having arrived at Yathrib by the assistance of those who had been formerly converted, gained several new converts, particulary Usaid Ibn Khudair, a chief man of the city, and Sad Ibn Mu'adh, prince of the tribe of Aws. Islam spread so fast that there was scarcely a house that did not have some Muslims in it.

Edited from:
http://www.alim.org/library/biography/stories/SOP
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