“HISTORICAL EVENTS OF MAKKAH”
Author by Imtiaz Ahmad M. Sc., M. Phil. (London)
PROPHET MOHAMMAD (SAS)
(FROM CHILDHOOD TO PROPHET HOOD)
According to most of the scholars, Mohammad (SAS) was born in Makkah on Monday morning, the 9th of Rabia Al-Awal (20th or 22nd April 571.A.D). His birth took place fifty or fifty-five days after the event of destruction of the army of elephant which advanced towards the House of Allah (SWT) in Makkah. His grandfather gave him name Mohammad (SAS). He belonged to a respectable tribe called Quraish. His family was, however, very poor. His father, Abdullah, passed away before his birth.
In accordance with Arab tradition, a group of rural wet nurses visited Makkah in search of children to suckle. Most of them acquired children of rich families. No body cared to take Mohammad (SAS) since he was an orphan and he belonged to a very poor family. Finally, Haleema agreed to take him hoping that her family may develop a good relationship with Quraish tribe. On her way back home, many extraordinary things took place.
1. The lean and weak donkey carrying Haleema and baby Mohammad (SAS) gained strength and speed. It left other travelers in the group far behind.
2. Haleema’s breast was without any trace of milk and her own child was crying for milk since last night. As soon as she took baby Mohammad (SAS) in her lap she found enough milk in her breast to feed both Mohammad (SAS) and her own child. After this both went to sleep peacefully.
3. Haleema’s she-camel was also without any milk for several days. After acquiring this orphan child, Haleema’s husband found lot of milk in their she-camel. Haleema and her husband drank this milk to their fills and had very peaceful sleep.
4. Their barren land gave rise to plenty of green grass and their animals had lot to eat. Baby Mohammad (SAS) was full of blessing for them. They took baby Mohammad (SAS) back to his mother after two years. They requested Amina, the mother of Mohammad (SAS), to let them keep the baby in the rural area for another 2-3 years. Amina granted their request.
5. As mentioned in Muslim and narrated by Anas (RA), one day Mohammad (SAS) was playing with other children. Gibreel (AS) came, opened the chest of Mohammad (SAS) and took his heart out. He removed a blood clot from the heart and said, “This was the part of Satan in you.” Gibreel (AS) washed the heart with Zam-Zam water and then placed it back in Mohammad’s (SAS) chest. The playmates informed Haleema that Mohammad (SAS) is murdered. She rushed to this place and found the child was doing fine except that he was somewhat pale. After this Haleema got worried about the welfare of the child. Hence she returned the child to his mother.
A HELPLESS ORPHAN
Mohammad (SAS) stayed with his mother until he was six years old. Amina had nothing to feed herself and her baby boy. She went back to her family in Madina for the bare necessities of life. Amina fell ill in Madina. After a short while, she passed away and was buried in a village called Abwa. Baby Mohammad (SAS) became an orphan from both sides. Child was sad, aloof and declined to play with other children. He lost appetite and became weaker and weaker every day. The relatives sent the child to his grand father, Abdul Muttalib (عبد المطلّب). The grand father died at age of one hundred and ten. The child was once again left helpless at age of ten. Now his uncle Abu Talib (أبو طالب) took him to his house.
Abu Talib was a good person and leader of Quraish. He was very poor and even could not support his large family. Mohammad (SAS) was forced to seek a labor job at an age of ten to feed himself. He started looking after others’ cattle in an extremely hot desert of Makkah. He ate from the wild plants in the desert and drank milk of goat or sheep which he looked after. He used to spend all day in the desert bare footed with very minimal clothing. He used to come to his uncle’s home at night to hide his head there.
In the desert, he pondered over the manifestations of nature. Difficulties of life, loneliness and sense of responsibility made him more mature than his age. His uncle was a trader and was impressed by the intelligence and maturity of his nephew. Mohammad (SAS) was twelve years old when Abu Talib took his nephew with him to a trade trip to Syria.
ADVICE OF A MONK
The trade caravan reached a city called Basra in Greater Syria. A renowned monk, Bohira (بحيره), approached Abu Talib and said, “I recognize that this young man will be appointed as mercy for all the universes. It is clearly written in our books.” Bohira advised Abu Talib to save the young man from Jews and, for this reason, it is better to send him back to Makkah. Abu Talib followed the advice of this monk.
A DISTINGUISHED YOUTH
In Makkah, there was no police or any court system. Each tribe resolved their problems on their own. When a weak tribe was done wrong by a member of a powerful tribe, the weak tribe had no say. For example, a rich man forcefully took away a young daughter of a poor visitor of Makkah. The father of the girl had no way to recover his daughter. Young man Mohammad (SAS) did not like this cruel system. He gathered a few other young men and formed a voluntary organization to fight against the crime. They provided support to weak and poor tribes. The organization was very successful in achieving its goals. It was not an ordinary step. It totally revolutionized the court system in Makkah and the credit went to young man Mohammad (SAS).
Mohammad’s ( SAS ) honesty, good manners, hard work and intelligence won every body’s heart. Most of Quraish were merchants. Khadija (RAU) was a rich widow. She invited Mohammad (SAS) to take her merchandise to Syria. Another monk told Mohammad (SAS) that he is going to wipe out the idol worship and propagate a true religion. Mohammad (SAS) returned to Makkah with huge profits. Khadija (RAU) sent a similar trade mission second time and again made enviable profits. Her servant, Maisarah, (ميسره) accompanied Mohammad (SAS) in these two trade trips. He describes many qualities of Mohammad (SAS) to Khadija (RAU). Mohammad (SAS) was also very attractive young man. At that time, Khadija (RAU) was forty years old widow while Mohammad (SAS) was only twenty-five. She was highly impressed by Mohammad (SAS) and wished to marry him. She sent a message to him through Maisarah who returned without any conclusions. She sent Nafisa (نفيسه),a close friend, to him who motivated Mohammad (SAS) to marry Khadija (RAU). Finally, Mohammad consented and they got married. After marriage, he took two important steps.
Mohammad (SAS) wished to help his poor uncle Abu Talib. He took over the bringing up of his son Ali bin Abi Talib (RA). Secondly, Khadija (RAU) gave him a slave who was a Christian from Syria. His name was Zaid bin Haris (RA). Mohammad (SAS) made this slave a free man. Zaid bin Haris (RA) was so much enchanted by the personality of Mohammad (SAS) that he refused to go to his parents and chose to spend rest of his life in the company of Mohammad (SAS).
CHILDREN FROM KHADIJA (RAU)
Mohammad’s (SAS) first son was Qasim who passed away in his childhood. Similarly his two other sons also passed away in their childhood. They had four daughters, Raqiyya (RAU), Zainab (RAU), Um Kulsoom (RAU) and Fatima (RAU).
THE MOST TRUSTWORTHY PERSON
When Mohammad (SAS) was thirty five years old. two mishaps took place in Makkah. Firstly, Kabah caught fire. Secondly, the flood of rainwater swept away part of the Kabah. Reconstruction of Kabah was done by Quraish. A serious dispute erupted among ten tribes of Quraish. Each tribe wished to have the honor of placing the Black Stone in the wall of Kabah. A bloody war was about to break out among them to settle this matter. Finally they unanimously agreed to let Mohammad (SAS) resolve this problem since he was considered the most honest and fair minded person in Makkah. Mohammad (SAS) displayed a great deal of intelligence and far sightedness and solved this problem on the spot. He asked for a sheet of cloth. He spread the sheet on the ground. He placed the Black Stone on this sheet and then asked the head of each tribe to lift this sheet. When the Black Stone was close to the wall of Kabah, Mohammad (SAS) placed the Black Stone in the wall by his hands. All the tribes were fully satisfied by this solution.
Mohammad (SAS) used to the meditate in a cave called Hira. When he was forty years old, an unusual thing happened during his stay in this cave. Angel Gibreel (AS) came there and asked Mohammad (SAS) to recite (in Arabic) Iqra. Mohammad (SAS) said, “I cannot recite. ” The Angel squeezed him hard and again said, ” Recite. ” Mohammad (SAS) said, “I can not recite.” The angel squeezed him again and said to him third time, “Recite.” Mohammad (SAS) was able to recite after angel first five verses of Surah Al-Alaq. Al-Alaq #1-5
Read ! In the Name of your Lord Who has created. He has created man from a clot. Read ! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (the writing) by pen. He has taught man which he knew not.
TWO IMPORTANT LESSONS
The first word of the revelation Iqra’ (or read) brings out the importance of Islamic education and propagation of Islam. Some scholars consider seeking Islamic education is obligatory for every Muslim.
In many verses of Quran, Allah (SWT) instructs us to learn the facts first or acquire knowledge and then practice it with understanding.
Hence, knowledge of Islamic principles must be acquired before its practice. The practice of Islam with ignorance is not acceptable. Islam is the only religion which brought out the importance of education and understanding at the very dawn of this religion. Secondly, a Muslim must start everything with the name of Allah (SWT). This diverts his attention and promotes the appreciation of Allah (SWT). For example, when a Muslim starts his meals with the name of Allah (SWT), he realizes that the various ingredients of his meal are created, nourished, preserved, and provided by the benevolence of Allah (SWT). Actually, this action on the part of a believer distinguishes him from a disbeliever and indicates the purity and strength of his faith.
Allah (SWT) taught these two important lessons to the Prophet (SAS) and his followers on the very first day of revelation to Muhammad (SAS).
AN EXTRAORDINARY WIFE
After the first revelation in cave Hira, Muhammad (SAS) came home with this unusual experience and he was extremely worried about his welfare. His wife, Khadija (RAU), consoled him and assured him that Allah (SWT) would not do any harm to him since he had a very noble character. She added, “You have good relations with your blood relatives. You help the weak and the poor and you are very hospitable. You uphold the truth.” Hence Khadija (RAU) was not only a sincere, intelligent and an ideal wife but she was the first Muslim to accept whole heartedly what was revealed to Mohammad ( SAS ).
For further consolation, she took him to her cousin, Waraqa bin Naufal, who practiced true Christianity. After listening to Muhammad (SAS), he said, “It was the same angel which brought Allah’s (SWT) message to Moses. I wish that I be alive when people will turn you out from your land.” Muhammad (SAS) asked, “Will they really turn me out?” Waraqa said, “People are always hostile to those who bring message like yours .” A few days later Waraqa died.
Khadija (RAU) put all her wealth and other resources at the command of Prophet Muhammad (SAS) to establish Islam. She stood by him through thick and thin. For example, the idolaters of Makkah did a social and economic boycott with tribes of Bani Hashim and Bani Al-Mutlib. It lasted for three years. Hardships were unbearable. The followers of the Prophet (SAS) had to eat leaves of trees and skin of animals to survive. Children cried continuously with pangs of hunger. Kahdija (RAU) was a rich woman and had lived very comfortable life. She spent all these three years with her husband suffering like other people.
Her two daughters were divorced by idolaters to add salt to her sufferings. Now her daughter, Ruqiyya, married Usman bin Affan (RA). Both were tortured even more and hence they migrated to Habsha.
Allah (SWT) loved Khadija’s faith, steadfastness and sincerity. As mentioned in Bukhari and narrated by Abu Hurrairah (RA), one day Gabriel (AS) was sitting with Prophet Muhammad (SAS). Gabriel (AS) said to Prophet Muhammad (SAS), ” Khadija (RAU) is coming to you with some food in a container. When she reaches you, convey her Allah’s (SWT) and my salam. Please give her a glad tiding of a house for her in Paradise which is decorated by precious stones. It is so peaceful that there is no noise of any kind. She will not experience any hardship or tiredness in her house in Paradise.” How great and honorable lady she was. If Muslim ladies show similar sincerity and patience to their husbands, Allah (SWT) will reward them in similar way.
ANOTHER ALARMING REVELATION
As second revelation, the first seven verses of Al- Muddaththir were revealed. Each verse is small but is very eloquent and carries very deep meaning. Al-Muddathther #1-7
1. O you Muhammad (SAS), who is resting comfortably, rise to struggle or do Jehad to establish the word of Allah.
2. Rise and warn people about consequences of disobedience of Allah (SWT). Hence the idea of Day of Judgment is built in it.
3. Establish the Greatness of your Lord on this earth. Any opposition to this mission should be a crushed.
4. Maintain internal, external and spiritual cleanliness which will automatically attract others to you.
5. Keep away from the idols.
6. Do not expect big reward for your every sacrifice. Rather continue your struggle with sprit of more sacrifices.
7. Face all the opposition to your mission with patience to please Allah (SWT).
These verses spelled out short and long-term goals and objectives for this new movement. It was not just a religious movement but it was also a social and economic movement as well. Hence Prophet Muhammad (SAS) was to bring about religious, social and economic revolutions simultaneously.