Muhammad: Seal of the Prophets
A Brief Sketch
Overview of the Holy Prophet’s Life
v Holy Prophet Muhammad
v Birth è Year of the Elephant
v Arrival to Madinah
v Tribes of Madina
v Treaty of Hudaibiyah
v Theme of Death
Birth of the Prophet
n 571 C.E.
n The Prophet’s father passed away a few moths prior to his birth
n He was born to the tribe of the Quraish in Makkah, consisting of 12 clans, he belonging to the Bani Hashim clan; descendant of the Prophet Ishmael, son of Abraham.
n Born to a society which indulged itself in tribal warfare and feuds, but that which he would refuse to take part in.
n Orphaned at six years of age.
n At the age of twenty, Muhammad (pbuh) became an active member of Hilf-al-Fudul, a league formed to vindicate the rights of the weak and the oppressed against tyranny.
Character of the Holy Prophet
n Before Muhammad (pbuh) was summoned to the call of Prophethood he was known as Al-Amin or 'The Most Trustworthy' and 'The Most Faithful,' among his country men and women.
n His opponents were challenged to point out a single black spot on his character during the forty years that he had passed among them before he received the Divine call. We read in the Qur’an 10:16: "Say: If Allah had desired, I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have made it known to you. I have lived among you a lifetime before it. Do you not then understand?"
n Even Sir William Muir, a hostile Christian critic of Islam, who wrote a biography of the Prophet, and by no means any sympathizer to Islam, bears testimony to the purity of his character in his youth: "Our authorities all agree in ascribing to the youth of Muhammad a modesty of deportment and purity of manners rare among the Makkans."
n And again: "Endowed with a refined mind and delicate taste, reserved and meditative, he lived much within himself, and the pondering of his heart no doubt supplied occupation for leisure hours spent by others of a low stamp in rude sports and profligacy. The fair character and honorable bearings of the unobtrusive youth won the approbation of his fellow-citizens: and by common consent he received the title of al-Amin the Faithful"
Marriage to Khadija
n Muhammad (pbuh) was wedded to Khadija at the age of 25, she being 15 years his senior. Though a wealthy widow, the greater part of the property he received from her, he distributed among the poor. All of her slaves were emancipated at once by Muhammad (pbuh).
n Muhammad (pbuh) would often retire to the cave of Hira where he fervently prayed to God, shedding tears, for the regeneration of mankind. It would be at the age of 40, during the month of Ramadan, on Lailat-al-Qadr - the Night of Majesty - that he would be entrusted with Prophethood and receive the first revelations from God via the Angel Gabriel.
“Read in the name of thy Lord Who created —
Created man from a clot —
Read and thy Lord is most Bounteous,
Who taught by the pen –
Taught man that which he knew not"
n The first person in whom the Prophet Muhammad confided his experience in the Cave Hira when he received the first revelations of the Qur’an was with his wife Khadija.
n The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, returned with this (message) while his heart trembled and he came to Khadija, daughter of Khuwailid, and said, "Wrap me up, wrap me up," and she wrapped him up until the awe left him. Then he said to Khadija, while he related to her what had happened: "I fear for myself." (Bukhari 1:1)
n The fear the Prophet expressed was of not being able to achieve the great task of the reformation of humanity which was imposed upon him, and one which the Qur’an called a “weighty word” (73:1-5).
n It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteous is the one who believes in Allah, and the Last Day, and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and gives away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask and to set slaves free and keeps up prayer and pays the poor-rate; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in the time of conflict. These are they who are truthful; and these are they who keep their duty (Qur’an 2:177).
n "Have We not created for man two eyes, and a tongue and two lips, and have We not shown him the two great ways of evil and virtue? But he attempts not the high mountain road. And what should make thee know what the high mountain road is? It is the setting free of a slave, or the feeding in a day of hunger an orphan who is of kin or a poor man cleaving to the dust." (Qur'an 90:8-16)
n Slowly, but surely, many began to hear the Prophet's call, but not without severe opposition. Out of scorn and derision began to grow approval and admiration. Slaves, young men, and hapless women began to collect around the Prophet. In his Message and in his teaching there was hope for the degraded, the depressed and the young.
n The early Muslims had to face a most cruel campaign from those who sought to annihilate them. Women were butchered shamelessly. Men were slaughtered. The slaves who had declared their faith in the Prophet were tortured over burning sands and stones.
n The Quraish wanted the Prophet to put an end to his preaching as they saw him as a threat to their long standing social order, however Muhammad (pbuh) would not compromise his faith.
n Abu Talib said to his nephew: “Have pity on me and do not charge me with a responsibility too heavy for me. I am not a match for the united opposition of the whole of the Quraish”
n The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) replied: "O uncle! should they place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left in order to make me renounce this mission, it shall not be. I will never give up until it pleases Allah to make it a triumph or I perish in the attempt"
n Abu Talib shed tears and left sadly, but came back to the Prophet and assured him: “Under no circumstances will I desert you.”
n While the Muslims were being violently persecuted, the Quraish offered the Holy Prophet wealth, kingship, and women on the condition that he would abandon his mission:
n The Prophet’s companions that could not withstand the persecution were advised by the Prophet to find refuge in Abyssinia.
n “There is a land where no one is wronged – a land of justice. Stay there until it pleases Allah to open for you a way out of these difficulties.”
n The people of Abyssinia and the King were Christian by faith. The first to leave numbered 11 of the 50 Muslims, and soon as it was known by the Quraish that they had departed from Makkah, they had them pursued post-haste. But this was not it – the Quraish had also sent a delegation to the Negus – the Christian King with presents and told them they had set up an antagonistic religion to Christianity.
n When the Muslims entered Abyssinia the King ordered them to submit to whatever defense they had against what was being leveled against them from the Quraish.
n Jaf’ar ibn Abi Talib addressed the King in these words: “O King! We were an ignorant people, given to idolatry. We used to eat corpses even of dead animal, and do all kinds of disgraceful things. We did not make good our obligations to our relations and ill treated our neighbors. The strong among us would thrive at the expense of the weak, till, at last, God sent a prophet for our reformation. His descent, his righteousness, his integrity and his piety are well-known to us. He called us to the worship of God, and exhorted us to give up idolatry and stone worship. He enjoined us to speak truth, to make good our trusts, to respect ties of kinship, and to do good to our neighbors. He taught us to shun everything foul and to avoid bloodshed. He forbade all manner of indecent things. – telling lies, misappropriating orphans’ belongings, and bring false accusation against the chastity of women. So we believed in him, and followed him and acted upon his teachings. Thereupon our people began to wrong us, to subject us to tortures, thinking that we might thus abjure our faith and revert to idolatry. When, however, there cruelties exceeded all bounds, we came out to seek asylum in your country, where we hope shall come to us no harm.”
n Afterwards, the Quraish once more tried in incite the just Christian King by saying that the Muslims did not honor and respect Jesus and Mary, peace be upon them, and on being asked of what he had to say about this, Jaf'ar sought permission to relate some verses from the Qur’an, from Surah Maryam. (19:16-36)
n When they heard the recitation, the bishops and the King wept! And they refused to give them over to the Quraish. The King took up a piece of wood and said: “Jesus the son of Mary exceedeth not what thou hast said by the length of this stick." And said the Muslims were free to say there in safety for as long as they wished.
Social Ban on Hashimites
n Next, the Quraish placed a social ban on the Hashimites. (the clan of the Prophet)
n Inter-marriage and commercial relations was forbidden.
n The Banu Hashim were secluded to a particular part of Makkah - in Shi'b or the prohibited quarter.
n This imprisonment lasted for three long years; years of the hardest suffering placed on the Muslims.
‘Year of Sorrow’
n Shortly after the social ban and boycott on the Bani Hashim, in that same very year Abu Talib, the one who was like the Prophet’s father, that had protected the orphaned boy from an age of eight to now passed away.
n The Prophet’s beloved and only wife, Khadija, of 26 years also passed away.
n The Prophet called this year, Am Al-Huzn or the ‘Year of sorrow.’
Journey to the city of Ta’if
n Even after the grieving deaths of his wife Khadija of 26 years, and uncle Abu Talib, and knowing the Makkans would not hear his Call, the Prophet even journeyed to Taif, 60 miles from Makkah, with his companion Zaid. Instead, they were turned out and pelted with stones.
First Pledge of Aqabah
n 6 members from the Khazraj, a clan of Madinah, 260 miles north of Makkah, accepted the Prophet Muhammad. These men were aware of the Jewish prophecies about the Promised Prophet, and they were won over by the intrinsic beauty of Islam. Soon the Prophet's name became a household word in Madinah. The following year a dozen swore their allegiance to the Prophet, the terms of which included:
n “We will not set up associates with Allah. We will not steal, nor commit fornication, nor kill our offspring, nor bring false accusations against others. We will not disobey the prophet in anything that is right.”
n This took place just outside of Makkah in Mina, at a placed called Aqabah, and thus came to be known as the first pledge of Aqabah in Islamic history.
Second Pledge of Aqabah
n The Prophet deputed Musab Ibn Umair to Madinah from Aqabah after the first pledge was made to instruct them in Islam and it would be through him that Islam would begin to spread in Madinah, 260 miles North of Makkah.
n The following year in the 13th year of the Call, with the annual pilgrimage 75 came over to Makkah from Madinah to embrace the Prophet and Islam - this which has been referred to as the second pledge of Aqabah.
Hijrah – flight from Makkah to Madinah
n "Remember how the disbelievers plotted against you (O Muhammad) to imprison you, or to kill you, or to banish you (from your home), they plot and plan, and Allah too plans, but the best of planners is Allah." (Qur’an 8:30)
n Within a short time, in the 13th year of the Call, about 150 Muslims left Makkah and there remained only the Prophet behind in Makkah with two of his companions.
n Abu Jahl, chief enemy of the Prophet proposed that a member from each clan fall upon the Prophet’s body and stab him, so that no one would be held accountable for the murder, and so the Banu Hashim would have to satisfied with blood money instead of taking revenge. Allah informed the Prophet of their plans, and that he should not remain in his bed that night.
n It was thus in the Hijrah that the climax of Prophet’s helplessness was reached, and so for 13 long years the Prophet had withstood opposition, but in the process breathed new life into 300 of his companions.
n This even won the admiration of this hostile Christian critic of Islam, Sir William Muir in these words: “In so short a period, Mecca had by this wonderful movement been rent into two factions which, unmindful of the old landmarks of tribe and family, had arrayed themselves in deadly opposition against the other. The believers bore persecutions with a patient and tolerant spirit. One hundred men and women, rather than abjure their precious faith, had abandoned home and sought refuge, till the storm should, be overpast, in Abyssinian exile. And now again a still larger number, with the Prophet himself, were emigrating from their fondly loved city with its Sacred Temple, to them the holiest spot on earth, and fleeing to Medina. There, the same marvelous charm had within two or three years been preparing for them a brotherhood ready to defend the Prophet and his followers with their blood. Jewish truth had long sounded in the ears of the men of Medina; but it was not until they heard the spirit-stirring strains of the Arabian Prophet that they too awoke from their slumber and sprang suddenly into a new and earnest life."
Divine Promise to the Place of Return
n The Prophet received consolation from Allah that shortly after the process began to make the flight to Madinah, that he would be brought back to the city from which he was now being expelled. (And he was brought back only in a short 7 years!). Who could have imagined that in such helpless circumstances during a time the Prophet was engaged in a life and death struggle against his blood thirsty enemies, would be returned in a short 7 years? It was indeed a revelation from the Most High when these very verses were revealed in Makkah:
n “He who has made the Qur’an binding on thee will surely bring thee back to the Place of Return…” (Qur’an 28:85)
n “And surely they proposed to unsettle thee from the land that they might expel thee from it, and then they will not tarry after thee but a little” (Qur’an 17:76)
Cave of Thaur
n The Prophet and his closest friend Abu Bakr took shelter in a caved called Thaur, about three or four miles from Mecca over a hill. When the Makkans learnt of the Prophet’s escape, they collected and sent a force in pursuit. Led by a tracker, they reached Thaur. Standing at the mouth of the cave in which the Prophet and Abu Bakr sat hiding, the tracker said that Muhammad was either in the cave or had ascended to heaven. Abu Bakr heard this and his heart sank. “The enemy has nearly got us,” he whispered. “Fear not, God is with us,” replied the Prophet. “I fear not for myself,” went on Abu Bakr, “but for you. For if I die, I am but an ordinary mortal; but if you die, it will mean death to faith and spirit.” (Zurqani). “Even so, fear not,” assured the Prophet, “We are not two in this cave. There is a third - God” (Bukhari).
n “If you help him not, Allah certainly helped him when those who disbelieved expelled him - he being the second of the two; when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion: ‘Grieve not, surely Allah is with us.’ So Allah sent down his tranquility on him and strengthened him with hosts which you saw not, and made lowest the word of those who disbelieved. And the word of Allah, that is the uppermost. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (Qur’an 9:40)
n Makkan tyranny was destined to end. Islam was to have the chance to grow. The pursuers were deceived. They ridiculed the tracker’s judgment. The pursuers saw the cobweb of a spider over the mouth of the cave and turned back.
Reward for the Capture of the Prophet
n After their failed assassination attempt of the Prophet, the Quraish put out a reward of 100 camels for the capture of the Prophet or Abu Bakr dead or alive The announcement was made among the tribes around Makkah, and a Bedouin chief by the name of Suraqah bin Malik took up the offer.
n Eventually, he sighted them on the road to Madinah, and chased after them on his horse, but his designs would be frustrated, since his horse's feet stumbled each time into the sand when he was about to shoot his arrows at them. It was then he realized the Prophet was meant to succeed.
n Suraqah’s own account of what happened is interesting. He says: After I fell from the horse, I consulted my luck in superstitious fashion common with Arabs by a throw of arrows. The arrows boded ill luck. But the temptation of the reward was great. I mounted again and resumed my pursuit and nearly overtook the party. The Prophet rode with dignity, and did not look back. Abu, Bakr, however looked back again and again (evidently out of fear for the safety of the Prophet). As I neared them, my horse reared again; and again they boded ill luck. My horse’s hoofs sank deep into the sand. Mounting again and resuming the pursuit seemed difficult. I then understood that the party was under divine protection. I called out to them and entreated them to stop. When near enough I told them of my evil intention and my change of heart. I told them I was giving up the pursuit and returning. The Prophet let me go, but made be promise not to reveal their whereabouts to anybody. I became convinced the Prophet was true one, destined to succeed. I requested the Prophet to write me a guarantee of peace to serve when he became supreme. The Prophet asked ‘Amir bin Fuhaira to write me a guarantee, and he did. As I got ready to return with it, the Prophet received a revelation about the future and said, “Suraqa, how wilt thou feel with the gold bangles of the Chosroes on thy wrists?” Amazed at the prophecy I asked, “Which Chosroes? Chosroes bin Hormizd, the Emperor of Persia?” The Prophet said, “Yes” (Usud al-Ghaba).
Arrival to Madinah
n The men, women, and children were all anxiously awaiting for the Prophet, and when he finally came in sight, they went out to receive him. The children of Madinah sang describing him as one who brought light and nobleness to their city.
O the white moon rose over us
From the valley of Wada’
And we owe it to show gratefulness
Where the call is to Allah
O you who were raised amongst us
Coming with a word to be obeyed
You have brought to this city nobleness
Welcome best caller to God’s way
n When the Makkans learned that the Prophet Muhammad had found refuge in Madinah, 260 miles away from them, the Quraish even then, threatened Abdullah ibn Ubayy with, the then chief of Madinah in these words: (remember, they even went after the Muslims that had found safety in Abyssinia)
Battle of Badr
n War was made upon the Muslims by the Quraish whom were bent upon attacking the Muslims within the walls of Madinah.
n The Quraish traveled three-fourths of the way to Madinah, before they would be confronted by the Muslims whom had set out of Madinah on the defensive to repel their attack.
n The Muslims mustered up 313 men and boys to repel the Quraish invasion of 1,000 veteran clad soldiers.
Circumstances to the Battle of Badr have been misunderstood
n Falsely asserted:
¨ Muslims prepared to raid Abu Sufyan’s unarmed caravan on it way back from Syria to Makkah and it was because of this that Abu Sufyan sent word to Makkah for an escort of 1,000 men.
¨ Muslims wished to attack the caravan only, but the Prophet and his other companions wished to throw themselves on to the escort. (of 1,000 men)
n Facts, however, show:
¨ That if the Prophet had ever desired to attack the caravan, then he would have already done so long before Abu Sufyan could obtain help from Makkah.
n Note: Badr, where the encounter took place, is a three days journey from Madinah. The Muslims had to march only for three days, while the Makkan army marched three-fourths of the way to Madinah – 10 days – proving it was the Muslims that set out on the defensive to repel an invading force.
n “Even as the Lord caused thee to go forth from thy house with truth, though a party of the believers were surely averse. (980)* Disputing with thee about the truth after it had become clear – as if they were being driven to death while they saw (it). And when Allah promised you one of the two parties that it should be yours, and you loved that the one not armed should be yours, (981)* and Allah desired to establish the Truth by His words, and to cut off the root of the disbelievers.” (Qur’an Surah Al-Anfal -Voluntary Gifts- verse 4-7)
n The Muslims are described as being driven to a state of death, knowing there were going to face a powerful force of a much greater strength than their own. So the Muslims were naturally obliged to fight in such circumstances, but purely in self defense, against their powerful oppressors bent on annihilating them.
Battle of Badr: Divine Help
n The land on which the Muslims took up their positions was all sand, and therefore unsuitable for the maneuvers of fighting men, while the Quraish were on dry land. Again and again the Prophet Muhammad pbuh: O Allah! Over the entire face of the earth just now, there are only these three hundred men who are devoted to Thee and determined to establish Thy worship. O Allah! If these three hundred men die today at the hands of their enemy in this battle, who will be left behind to glorify Thy name? (Tabari).
Battle of Badr: Prophecy
n When the time of the battle drew near, the Prophet Muhammad retired into a small hut, set up for him, and he addressed Allah with tearful eyes: "O Allah! shouldst Thou suffer this small band of believers to perish this day, no one will be left on earth to worship Thee and carry Thy message to the world."
n “Or say they: we are a host allied together to help each other? Soon shall the hosts be routed, and they will show their backs. Nay, the hour is their promised time, and the hour is most grievous and bitter.” (54:44-46)
Prophecy of the Romans
n Another prophecy was also fulfilled. This verse was revealed in Makkah in 615 AD, in which it stated the Romans would find victory within 9 years after their defeat. I, Allah, am the Best Knower. The Romans are vanquished. In the lowest part of the land (adnal-ardh), and they, after their defeat, will gain victory. Within nine years. Allah’s is the command before and after. And on that day the believers will rejoice. In Allah’s help. He helps whom he pleases, and He is the Mighty, the Merciful --- (It is) Allah’s promise! Allah will not fail in His promise, but most people know not. (Qur’an Romans 30:1-6)
Battle of Badr: Prisoners
n 70 prisoners were taken. The poor who could not pay ransom were set free. Many among the Badr prisoners were released when, at request of the Prophet, they taught reading and writing to the children and companions.
n Prisoners were not reduced to slavery
n Regarding their treatment Sir William Muir writes: “In pursuance of Muhammad’s commands the citizens of Medina and such of the refugees as possessed houses received the prisoners and treated them with much consideration. 'Blessings be on the men of Medina', said one of these prisoners in later days, 'they made us ride while they themselves walked; they gave us wheaten bread to eat when there was little of it, contenting themselves with dates'.”
n One prisoner recalled: "The helpers [Muslims originating from Madina] who kept me in their house during my captivity would, when meal times came, give me a meal but have dates themselves [because they were so poor]. I would be embarrassed and return the food to them, but they would not touch it and would give it back to me. And this was because the Holy Prophet had directed that the prisoners should be treated well" (Tabari, quoted by Shibli in his Sirat an-Nabi).
Battle of Uhud
n The following year to avenge the defeat at Badr, an army of 3,000 strong was raised against the Muslims who numbered 700. The encounter took place at Uhud, 3 miles to the north of Madinah.
n Seeing the Muslims were exposed from the rear over a narrow hilly pass, as a precautionary measure, a guard of fifty archers were posted there and told not to move from the spot until they were commanded to do so, no matter what happened to the Muslims. With the remaining 650 men, the Prophet went to do battle with up against an army about five times as large, and yet in a short time the 3,000 were driven away, until the Prophet's orders were disobeyed.
n The archers that had been posted assumed victory and left their posts. Khalid ibn Waleed and his soldiers saw this, and attacked the Muslims from the rear, causing confusion and heavy loss within the ranks of the Muslims.
n Talha, a companion of the Prophet saw that the enemy arrows were all directed to the face of the Prophet, so he stretched out his hand and held it up against the Prophet's face. Arrow after arrow struck Talha's hand, yet it did not drop, although with each shot it was pierced through. Ultimately it was completely mutilated. In the time of the Fourth Khalifa (successor) of Islam when internal dissensions had raised their head, Talha was tauntingly described by an enemy as the handless Talha.
n It is related that afterwards the Prophet did not speak even a harsh word to those who were guilty of disobeying his orders. Such was the boundless mercy of the Prophet Muhammad.
n The Prophet received the command intoxicants were completely forbidden in around the 5th year of the Hijrah. “O you who believe, intoxicants (khamr) and games of chance and (sacrificing to) stones set up and (dividing by) arrows are only an uncleanness, the devil’s work; so shun it that you may succeed” (Qur'an 5:90).
Constitution of Madinah
n The Muslims had a treaty with the three Jewish clans of Madinah, i.e. the Banu Nadir, the Banu Qunaiqa, and the Banu Qurayza. The Qur’an speaks of this in the following: “And when We made a covenant with you: You shall not shed your blood, nor turn your people out of your cities; then you promised and you bear witness” (Qur’an 2:84).
n I quote a few clauses of this treaty:
Exile of Jewish clans
n By the 5th year of the Hijrah, two Jewish clans, i.e. the Banu Nadir and Banu Qunaiqa had been exiled from Madinah by the Prophet, on account of their open treachery by repeatedly breaking their treaty with the Muslims, and siding with the Quraish in defensive wars to slaughter the Muslims and conspiring to take the life of the Prophet Muhammad.
n Thus, the Prophet dealt quite leniently with them, only that they should migrate elsewhere, though they were deserving of much greater punishment.
Battle of Khandaq (Ditch)
n Some of the members of the Jewish clans were now settled in Khaibar but in the mean time had been successful in rounding up the Bedouin tribes around Makkah together with the desire to annihilate the Muslims once and for all. So the Quraish, Jews and Bedouins all came to put an end to Islam, such that they raised up an overwhelming army ten times the size of the Muslims.
n The city of Madinah had a natural barrier on its sides - Madinah has hills on one side with rugged rocks which kept them safe. And the other side with stone walls of houses and at a bit further the Jewish fortresses of the Banu Qurayza who had signed a pact of peace with the Muslims, so they could only be attacked from one side, the side with an open plain from where they would be attacked. Because of this overwhelming force, the Prophet, at the suggestion of his companion, Salman Farsi, built a ditch round Madinah, hence the name of the Battle – The Battle of Khandaq (Ditch).
Treachery of Banu Qurayza
n When the allies saw the ditch, they were surprised at that strategy of the Muslims, and they were then determined to break the alliance between the Bani Qurayza and the Muslims and have them join the Arab confederates. And Abu Sufyan selected a chief of the tribe of the expelled tribe Bani Nadir to negotiate with the Bani Qurayza. At first the leader of the Bani Qurayza refused to see him because he knew the Prophet Muhammad to always be true to his word, but explained this was their great opportunity to defeat the Muslims because of the enormous odds against the Muslims in winning this battle. And they agreed that when the Arab tribes would attack the ditch, they would make a concerted effort to attack the Muslims from the rear.
n The Muslims during this time suffered from hunger for days that some would tie stones on their stomach to lessen their pain. The females and children who had been removed to well fortified places in case of an attack on them, had two hundred and three hundred men guard and protect them in two different parts. The Prophet ordered them to raise occasional cries of Allahu Akbar so that everyone else should know that the Muslim women and children were safe.
n Jewish spies would be sent to see how well the children and women were being protected, and Muslims became aware of this and became nervous. The attack on the front became so heavy, and many of the Muslims showed their great anxiety to the Prophet. They would request him to pray. The Prophet sent Sa'd Ibn Mu'adh and Sa'd Ibn Ubadah to the Banu Qurayzah to remind them of their treaty with the Muslims, but the Jews replied knowing they had a peace treaty with the Muslims: "We do not know who is Muhammad, and what is the treaty?" The allies were very happy with Banu Qurayzah's treacherous behavior with the Muslims, and when the Jews saw the Muslims busy in fight, they had tried to attack the Muslims, which included the women and children.
n The Qur’an depicts for us the state of the battle and the condition terrible consternation some of the weak hearted Muslims knowing such huge odds were against them, as they had never had to face before. “There were the believers tried and they were shaken with a severe shaking.” (Qur’an 33:10-11) “And when the hypocrites said those in whose hearts was a disease began to say: Allah and His Messenger did not promise us (victory) but only to deceive.” (Qur’an 33:12).
Battle of the Ditch: Divine Help
n Miraculously something happened that accomplished for the Muslims that they couldn’t accomplish with the strength of their own arms. A strong storm came, a hurricane, which caused the Allies to flee. The Qur’an speaks of this incident: “O you who believe, call to mind the favour of Allah to you when there came against you hosts, so We sent against them a strong wind and hosts that you saw not. And Allah is ever seer of what you do.” (Qur’an 33:9)
Banu Qurayza Besieged
n “And He drove down those of the People of the Book (Jews) who backed them (i.e. the Quraish), from their fortresses” (33:26).
Banu Qurayza: Application of Mosaic Law
n “According to the teaching of the Bible, if the Jews had won and the Prophet had lost, all Muslims – men, women and children – would have been put to death. We know from history that this was the very intention of the Jews. The last the Jews would have done was to put to death the men, to enslave the women and children and make away with the belongings of the Muslims, this being the treatment laid down in Deuteronomy for enemy nations living in distant parts of the world. Sa’d was friendly to the Banu Qurazya. His tribe was in alliance with theirs. When he saw that the Jews had refused to accept the award of the Prophet [which would have only been exile as with the two previous Jewish tribes – Banu Nadir, and Banu Qunaiqa] and refused thus to have the lighter punishment prescribed for such an offense in Islam, he decided to award to the Jews the punishment which Moses had laid down. The responsibility for the award does not rest with the Prophet or the Muslims, but with Moses and his teaching and with the Jews who had treated the Muslims so cruelly. They were offered what would have been a compassionate award. But, instead of accepting this, they insisted on an award by Sa’d. Sa’d decided to punish the Jews in accordance with the Law of Moses (Deut 20:12-14).
n Yet Christians to this day continue to defame the Prophet of Islam and say that he was cruel to the Jews. If the Prophet was cruel to the Jews, why was he not cruel to other people or on other occasions? There was man occasions on which the Prophet’s enemies threw themselves at his mercy, and never did they ask in vain for his forgiveness. On this occasion the enemy insisted on a person other than the Prophet making the award. This nominee of the Jews, acting as umpire between them and the Muslims, asked the Prophet and the Jews in public whether they would accept his award. It was after the parties agreed that he proceeded to announce it. And what was his award? It was nothing but the application of the Law of Moses to the offense of the Jews. Why then should they not have accepted it? Did they not count themselves among the followers of Moses? If any cruelty was perpetrated, it was by the Jews on the Jews. The Jews refused to accept the Prophet’s award and invited instead the harsher application of their own religious law to their offense. If cruelty was perpetrated, it was by Moses, who laid down this penalty for a beleaguered enemy and laid this down in his book under the command of God. Christian writers should not pour out the vials of their wrath on the Prophet of Islam. They should condemn Moses who prescribed this cruel penalty or the God of Moses, Who commanded him to do so.” [Bashir Ahmad, Life of Muhammad cxl]
New Light on Banu Qurayza
n http://www.haqq.com.au/~salam/misc/qurayza.html challenges assertion that 600, 800, or 900 men of the Banu Qurayza were put to death.
n Has its source in Jewish Traditions
n Ibn Ishaq, [a biographer of the Prophet] has given estimates 145 years year after this event of between 400 and 900. Imam Malik called him "a liar" and "an impostor” and one "who transmits his stories from the Jews".
n Ibn Hajar explained that Malik [a contemporary of Ibn Ishaq] condemned Ibn Ishaq because he made a point of seeking out descendants of the Jews of Medina in order to obtain from them accounts of the Prophet's campaigns as handed down by their forefathers.
n Ibn Hajar then rejected the stories in question in the strongest terms: "such odd tales as the story of Qurayza and al-Nadir".
n It says only the guilty leaders could have been executed because the Qur’an nowhere implies that such a large number was put to death: “… and He cast awe into their hearts; some of you killed and you took captive some.” (Qur’an 33:26)
n Reasons for rejecting the story:
n (i) As already stated above, the reference to the story in the Qur'an is extremely brief, and there is no indication whatever of the killing of a large number. In a battle context the reference is to those who were actually fighting. The Qur'an is the only authority which the historian would accept without hesitation or doubt. It is a contemporary text, and, for the most cogent reasons, what we have is the authentic version.
n (ii) The rule in Islam is to punish only those who were responsible for the sedition.
n (iii) To kill such a large number is diametrically opposed to the Islamic sense of justice and to the basic principles laid down in the Qur'an - particularly the verse. "No soul shall bear another's burden." It is obvious in the story that the leaders were numbered and were well known. They were named.
n (iv) It is also against the Qur'anic rule regarding prisoners of war, which is: either they are to be granted their freedom or else they are to be allowed to be ransomed. "Then when you have overcome (them), make prisoners and afterwards set them free as a favour or for ransom" (47:4).
n (v) It is unlikely that the Banu Qurayza should be slaughtered when the other Jewish groups who surrendered before Banu Qurayza and after them were treated leniently and allowed to go. Indeed Abu 'Ubayd b. Sallam relates in his Kitab al-amwal that when Khaybar fell to the Muslims there were among the residents a particular family or clan who had distinguished themselves by excessive unseemly abuse of the Prophet. Yet in that hour the Prophet addressed them in words which are no more than a rebuke: "Sons of Abu al-Huqayq (he said to them) I have known the extent of your hostility to God and to His apostle, yet that does not prevent me from treating you as I treated your brethren." That was after the surrender of Banu Qurayza.
n (vi) If indeed so many hundreds of people had actually been put to death in the market-place, and trenches were dug for the operation, it is very strange that there should be no trace whatever of all that - no sign or word to point to the place, and no reference to a visible mark.
n (vii) Had this slaughter actually happened, jurists would have adopted it as a precedent. In fact exactly the opposite has been the case. The attitude of jurists, and their rulings, have been more according to the Qur'anic rule in the verse, "No soul shall bear another's burden."
n There are many more points, one of which shows evidence that these events are mixed up with Jewish stories, since the accounts given about this alleged event, are very similar to some of the circulating Jewish stories of the past.
Treaty of Hudaibiyah
n After about a year since the Battle of the Ditch, the Prophet had a vision in which he saw himself, with his companions performing the Umrah (minor pilgrimage) at the Ka’bah. And convinced of the truth of this vision, he set out with 1500 companions. And note, the pilgrimage to the Ka’bah was a privilege never denied to anyone, not even the worst enemies. So the Muslims had every right, and forbidden to carry arms, so they would understand that Muslims had peaceful intentions. A sheathed sword was the only arm allowed which was always the natural dress of that time.
n On approaching near Makkah, the Muslims found the Quraish ready to give resistance. Budail explained the situation to the Prophet and he was sent to the Quraish to tell them that the Muslims had come to perform the pilgrimage, and not to fight. The Muslims eventually halted outside of Makkah at a place called Hudaibiyah, and eventually a peace treaty was concluded.
n The terms of the treaty which were agreed to are as follows:
“A Clear Victory”
n On the Prophet’s return to Madinah, the Prophet had received good news from Allah: “Surely We have granted thee a clear victory…That Allah may cover for thee thy (alleged) shortcomings in the past and those to come, and complete His favour to thee and guide thee on a right path. (Qur’an 48:1-2)
n It was a real victory for the Muslims because it opened up the way for the propagation of Islam against their oppressors.
n Thousands embraced Islam with these next two years, including those whom had been hostile to Islam, showing the truth to the fulfillment of this mighty prophecy.
Letters to Kings
n After the signing of the Truce, the Prophet sent envoys to the sovereigns of neighboring kingdoms with letters inviting them to Islam.
n He sent envoys to the Caesar in Rome, the Chosroes in Persia, the King of Egypt, the Negus of Abyysinia, and certain Arab chiefs as well inviting them to Islam.
n Some of the companions of the Prophet who were accustomed to the forms of the kings told the Prophet that they would never look at letters that didn’t have a seal of its senders. So the Prophet made a seal with these words engraved - Muhammad Rasul Allah. But out of reverence Allah was put on top and beneath it Rasul and lastly Muhammad
n Chosroes of Persia
n Soon, the Governor of Yaman received a letter from Persia with a new seal, from which it could be concluded that the prophecy of the Prophet had come true. The letter read: “From Chosroes Siroes to Badhan, the Governor of Yaman, I have murdered my father because his rule had become corrupt and unjust. He murdered the nobles and treated his subjects with cruelty. As soon as you receive this letter, collect all officers and ask them to affirm their loyalty to me. As for my father’s orders to arrest the Arabian Prophet, you should regard those orders as cancelled (Tabari, Vol. 3, pp. 1572-1574 and Hisham p. 46).
n Abullah ibn Hudhafah sent the letter to the Chosroes of Persia, however he was outraged that the Prophet’s name was put above his own name in the letter, and tore it to pieces.
n The Chosroes sent orders to Governor to send men for the arrest of the Prophet. Two men arrived in Madinah for the Prophet’s arrest, but the Prophet informed that their Chosroes was himself was no more - dead, and no longer the King of Persia. They went back and found out that very night the Prophet had informed them of this news, the Chosroes had been assassinated by his own son. The Prophet had also sent a letter to the governor of Yaman saying that the King would be killed. When the governor received his letter, he said “If this man be a true Prophet, it will be even as he says. If he be not true, then God help him and his country.”
Truce of Hudaibiya Violated
n Just two years after the signing of the truce, it was violated.
n A tribe, the Banu Bakr, that had entered into alliance with the Quraish, and with the help of the Quraish chiefs one night fell upon some members of a tribe in alliance with the Muslims, the Khuza’ah, and had them killed. The Khuza’ah had sought shelter within the precincts of the Haram, where bloodshed was strictly forbidden according to Arab tradition, but even there, they had not been spared since the Banu Bakr thought this was the perfect time to settle their outstanding differences.
n A deputation of 40 men of the Khuz’ah came to Madinah to ask the Prophet Muhammad to rise up in their defense, as was required by the terms of the alliance. The Prophet Muhammad went to the Quraish, telling that they could accept three conditions.
¨ 1. Pay the blood money for those killed among the Khuza’ah
¨ 2. Break their alliance with the Banu Bakr
¨ 3. Declare the truce of Hudaibiyah as null and void.
n The Quraish accepted the last one, declaring it to be null and void. It was later that Abu Sufyan realized that this was not in their best interest, and came to the Prophet Muhammad for a renewal of the truce. The Prophet saw through the trick, since Abu Sufyan turned a deaf ear to all of the Muslims conditions, so the Prophet refused, it, and Abu Sufyan returned to Makkah with his designs frustrated.
Shifting of Tides
n Within the two years before the violation of the Truce thousands upon thousands came to Islam voluntarily. What was the reason? Because they saw the Prophet Muhammad for whom he really was. Before the Truce his enemies, as they do today, had been trying to create a dark sinister picture of him, but when the saw the Prophet for whom he really was, and the amazing transformation he brought about in such a short time span - their hearts were conquered. It was such that only two years later, the Muslims would number not 1500, but 10,000.
n It was for a full thirteen years the Prophet Muhammad and his followers were subjected the severest persecution and tortures, and almost for over another decade that they made war upon the Muslims, but now the tides had shifted as the Muslims prepared to enter Makkah.
Preparations for Makkah
n “He who has made the Qur’an binding on thee will surely bring thee back to the Place of Return…” (Qur’an 28:85)
n “And surely they proposed to unsettle thee from the land that they might expel thee from it, and then they will not tarry after thee but a little” (Qur’an 17:76)
n In the tenth of Ramadan, 8 AH, 10,000 “holy ones” marched on to Makkah. 2,000 years before this came to pass, Moses made a clear prophecy: “He came with ten thousands of holy ones” (Deut 33:2)
n The 10,000 encamped at Marr al-Zahran, a day’s journey from Makkah, and every one was commanded to light up a campfire, to show the Quraish their numerical strength, and make it clear to them that they would not be able to resist them. Hardly 7 years had passed since the Prophet was expelled from Makkah, and how he was knocking in their doors with 10,000 men. The tables had been completely turned. 7 years before, the Prophet escaped for fear of his life, and now Makkah would be unable to resist him.
“Place of Return” – Makkah
n Bilal, an African who had been freed from the bondage of slavery, was ordered by the Prophet to march in front of the Muslims as they advanced towards to Makkah, and announce the standard of peace to all.
n Abu Sufyan went back to the Makkans and his wife, caught him the beard, and called on the Makkans to kill her cowardly husband. Abu Sufyan said: “That time is gone. You had better go home and sit behind closed doors. I have seen the Muslim army. Not all Arabia could withstand it now.”
n Abu Sufyan announced the conditions of peace promised by the Prophet Muhammad, and the people ran to their homes for protection. When the Prophet entered Makkah, mounted on his camel, Abu Bakr walked with him holding a stirrup, and recited the verses from Surah Fath, in which the conquest of Makkah had been foretold years ago.
n The Prophet made for the Ka’bah and cleared the idols, and as they were cleared the Prophet recited: "Say, the Truth has come, and falsehood vanished. Surely falsehood is ever bound to vanish." (Quran 17:81)
General Amnesty Granted
n The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) declared: “This is not the day of slaughter, but the day of forgiveness”
n The Prophet thereby displayed the greatest act of mercy and forgiveness that was ever to be witnessed in all of history.
General Acceptance of Islam
n Now that the other tribes had seen, the Prophet's remarkable triumph in the face of all opposition, the truth dawned upon them. And people began to embrace Islam in large numbers. This was the reason Islam spread over all of Arabia in the years 9 AH and 10 AH. Tribe after tribe after tribe, would embrace Islam. These tribes were not all unaware of what had been going on between the Muslims and the Quraish. They had been watching this long struggle. They knew about how the Muslims had been tormented in Makkah, and how they even then waged war on them for several years, and they were also aware of the prophecies of the ultimate triumph of Islam.
n And we are talking about such tribes that were in constant feud with one another for many years. Yet they would virtually all unite under the banner of Islam - Laillah illalah Muhamamdar Rasullah - there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Note that the revealed word of God - the Qur'an - transformed into action by the Prophet Muhammad, took the Arabs sunk deep in barbarism and lowest depths of degradation, and raised them to the highest level of moral conduct and eminence.
n An English writer says: "A more disunited people it would be hard to find till suddenly the miracle took place. A man arose who, by his personality and by his claim to direct Divine guidance, actually brought about the impossible - namely the union of all those warring factions" (The Ins and Outs of Mesopotamia, p.99).
n Only in two years, after the violation of the Truce of Hudaibiyah and conquest of Makkah, 124,000 Muslims would hear the Prophet's famous farewell pilgrimage, and it was here when it was revealed to the Prophet that his mission on earth had been fulfilled.
n Standing in Mina, the Prophet addressed the Muslims: “O People! Lend an attentive ear to my words; for I know not whether I shall ever hereafter have the opportunity to meet you here.
n Do you know what day it is today? This is the Yaum al-Nahr or the sacred Day of Sacrifice. Do you know which month is this? This is the sacred month. Do you know what place is this? This is the sacred town. So I apprise you that your lives, your properties and your honor must be as sacred to one another as this sacred day in this sacred month in this sacred town. Let those present take this message to those absent. You are about to meet your Lord Who will call you to account for your deeds.
n “Then O my people! You have certain rights over your wives and so your wives over you… They are the trust of God in your hands. So you must treat them in all kindness… And as regards your slaves, see that you give them to eat of what you yourselves east, and clothe them with what you clothe yourselves.
Theme of Death
n One day touching upon the theme of death, the Prophet said:
n “If a man make a mistake, it is better he should make amends for it in this very world so that he should have no regrets in the next. Therefore I say, if I have done any wrong to any of you, it may be only unwittingly, let him come forward and ask me to make amends. If even unknowingly I have injured any one of you, let him come forward and take his revenge. I do not wish to be put to shame when I face my God in the next world.”
n The Companions were moved. Tears sprang from their eyes. What pains had he not taken and what sufferings had he not endured for their sake? He put up with hunger and thirst in order that others might have enough to eat and drink. He mended his own clothes and cobbled his own shoes in order that others might dress well. And yet here he was, eager to right even fancied wrongs he might have done to others; so much did he respect the rights of others.
n All the companions received the Prophet’s offer in solemn silence. But one came forward and said, “O Prophet of God, I once received an injury from you. We were lining up for battle when you passed by our line and while passing you dug your elbow in my side. It was all done unwittingly, but you said we could even avenge unintentional wrongs. I want to avenge this wrong.”
n The Companions who had been quiet, now became outraged. They couldn’t believe this, that he had completely failed to see and understand the spirit of the Prophet’s offer, as well as the solemnity of the occasion. But he was adamant, determined to take the Prophet by his word.
n The Prophet said: “Come and hit me as I hit you.”
n And the companion explained: “But, when you hit me my side was bare, because I was wearing no shirt at the time.”
n The Prophet said “Raise my shirt, and let him hit my side with his elbow.”
n They did so, but instead of hitting the bare side of the Prophet, this companion bent forward with his bedewed eyes and kissed the Prophet’s bare body.
n He said: “Didn’t you say that your days with us our numbered? How many more occasions can we then have of touching you in the flesh and expressing our love and affection for you? True you did hit me with your elbow, but who could think of avenging it. I had this idea here and now. You offered to let us take revenge. I said to myself – let me kiss you under the cover or revenge.”
n The other companions now began to wish that they had thought the same.
Death of the Holy Prophet
n Soon his end was coming. And the Prophet’s eyes began to close. The Prophet’s last words of his prayer was: “Lord! Blessed companionship on High” meaning he was heading towards Allah. And he passed away.
n Hassan, a poet of early Islam, expressed his love for the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in a couplet in these words:
n “Thou wast the pupil of my eye. Now that thou hast died my eye hath become blind. I care not who dies now. For I feared only thy death.”
n This expressed the feeling of the Muslims, and for months in the streets of Madinah, men, women and children, went about reciting this couplet of Hassan ibn Thabit.