(THE SEALED NECTAR)
Memoirs of the Noble Prophet
Author: Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri
Jamia Salafia - India- .
Translated by: Issam Diab .
A New Society being built
We have already mentioned that the Messenger of Allâh arrived in Madinah on Friday, 12th Rabi Al-Awwal 1 A.H., i.e. September 27th. 622 A.D. and took the downstairs of Abi Ayyubs house as a temporary residence.
The first task to which the Prophet attended on his arrival in Madinah was the construction of a Mosque, in the very site where his camel knelt down. The land, which belonged to two orphans, was purchased. The Prophet himself contributed to building the Mosque by carrying adobe bricks and stones while reciting verses:
The Prophet's Mosque - nowadays-
The ground was cleared, of weeds and shrubs, palm trees and rubbish, the graves of the polytheists dug up and then levelled and the trees planted around. The Qiblah (the direction in which the Muslims turn their faces in prayer) was constructed to face Jerusalem; two beams were also erected to hold the ceiling up. It was square in form, each side measuring approximately 100 yards, facing towards the north and having three gates on each of the remaining sides. Nearby, rooms reserved for the Prophets household were built of stones and adobe bricks with ceilings of palm leaves. To the north of the Mosque a place was reserved for the Muslims who had neither family nor home. The Adhân (summoning the Muslims to the Mosque by the Call for prayer) was initiated at this early stage of post-migration era. The Mosque was not merely a locus to perform prayers, but rather an Islamic league where the Muslims were instructed in Islam and its doctrines. It served as an assembly place where the conflicting pre-Islamic trends used to come to terms; it was the headquarter wherein all the affairs of the Muslims were administered, and consultative and executive councils held.
The Prophet's "Minbar "- which was built later -
The Mosque being thus constructed, the Prophet next turned his attention to cementing the ties of mutual brotherhood amongst the Muslims of Madinah, Al-Ansar (the Helpers) and Al-Muhajirun (the Emigrants). It was indeed unique in the history of the world. A gathering of 90 men, half of whom Emigrants and the others Helpers assembled in the house of Anas bin Malik where the Prophet gave the spirit of brotherhood his official blessing. When either of the two persons who had been paired as brothers, passed away, his property was inherited by his brother-in-faith. This practice continued till the following verse was revealed at the time of the battle of Badr, and the regular rule of inheritance was allowed to take its usual course:
"Brotherhood-in-faith" to quote Muhammad Al-Ghazali again, "was holding subordinate every distinction of race and kindred and supporting the Islamic precept: none is superior to the other except on the basis of piety and God-fearing."
The Prophet attached to that brotherhood a valid contract; it was not just meaningless words but rather a valid practice relating to blood and wealth rather than a passing whim taking the form of accidental greeting.
The atmosphere of brotherhood and fellow-feeling created a spirit of selflessness infused deeply in the hearts of his followers, and produced very healthy results. For example, Sad bin Ar-Rabi, a Helper, said to his fellow brother Abdur Rahman bin Awf, "I am the richest man amongst the Helpers. I am glad to share my property half and half with you. I have two wives, I am ready to divorce one and after the expiry of her Iddah, (the prescribed period for a woman divorcee to stay within her house unmarried) you may marry her." But Abdur Rahman bin Awf was not prepared to accept anything: neither property nor home. So he blessed his brother and said: "Kindly direct me to the market so that I may make my fortune with my own hands." And he did prosper and got married very shortly by his own labour.
The Helpers were extremely generous to their brethren-in-faith. Abu Hurairah reported that they once approached the Prophet with the request that their orchards of palm trees should be distributed equally between the Muslims of Madinah and their brethren from Makkah. But the Prophet was reluctant to put this heavy burden upon them. It was, however, decided that the Emigrants would work in the orchards alongwith the Helpers and the yield would be divided equally amongst them.
Such examples point directly to the spirit of sacrifice, altruism and cordiality on the part of the Helpers, and also to the feeling of appreciation, gratitude and self-respect that the Emigrants held dear to their hearts. They took only what helped them eke a reasonable living. In short, this policy of mutual brotherhood was so wise and timely that many obstinate problems were resolved wonderfully and reasonably.
A Charter of Islamic Alliance:
Just as the Prophet had established a code of brotherhood amongst the believers, so too he was keen on establishing friendly relations between the Muslims and non-Muslim tribes of Arabia. He established a sort of treaty aiming at ruling out all pre-Islamic rancour and inter-tribal feuds. He was so meticulous not to leave any area in the charter that would allow pre-Islamic traditions to sneak in or violate the new environment he wanted to establish. Herein, we look over some of its provisions.
It was solely by his wisdom and dexterity, that the Prophet erected the pillars of the new society. This phenomenon no doubt left its mark on the virtuous Muslims. He used to bring them up in the light of the Islamic education, he sanctified their selves, enjoined them to observe righteousness and praiseworthy manners and was keen on infusing into them the ethics of amity, glory, honour, worship and first and foremost obedience to Allâh and His Messenger.
The following is a cluster of the virtues he used to inculcate in the minds of his followers:
Abdullah bin Salâm said: When the Prophet arrived in Madinah, I went to see him and I immediately recognized through his features that he would never be a liar. The first things he (the Prophet ) said was:
And he said:
He used as well to exhort the believers to spend in charity reminding them of relevant virtues for which the hearts yearn.
The Prophet used as well to promote that habit of abstention from asking the others for help unless one is totally helpless. He used to talk to his companions a lot about the merits, virtues and Divine reward implied in observing the prescribed worships and rituals. He would always bring forth corroborated proofs in order to link them physically and spiritually to the Revelation sent to him, hence he would apprise them of their duties and responsibilities in terms of the consequences of the Call of Islam, and at the same time emphasize the exigencies of comprehension and contemplation.
That was his practice of maximizing their morale and imbuing them with the noble values and ideals so that they could become models of virtue to be copied by subsequent generations.
Abdullah bin Masud - may Allah be pleased with him - once said: If you are willing to follow a good example, then you can have a recourse in the tradition of the deceased, because the living are likely to fall an easy victim to oppression (so they might waver in faith). Follow the steps of Muhammads Companions. They were the best in this nation, the most pious, the most learned and the least pretentious. Allâh chose them to accompany the Prophet and establish His religion. Therefore, it is imperative to get to know their grace, follow their righteous way and adhere as much as you can to their manners and assimilate their biography. They were always on the orthodox path. There is then the great Messenger of Allâh whose moral visible attributes, aspects of perfection, talents, virtues, noble manners and praiseworthy deeds, entitle him to occupy the innermost cells of our hearts, and become the dearest target that the self yearns for. Hardly did he utter a word when his Companions would race to assimilate it and work in its light.
Those were the attributes and qualities on whose basis the Prophet wanted to build a new society, the most wonderful and the most honourable society ever known in history. On these grounds, he strove to resolve the longstanding problems, and later gave mankind the chance to breathe a sigh of relief after a long wearying journey in dark and gloomy avenues. Such lofty morale lay at the very basis of creating a new society with integrated components immune to all fluctuations of time, and powerful enough to change the whole course of humanity.
A Cooperation and
Soon after emigrating to Madinah and making sure that the pillars of the new Islamic community were well established on strong bases of administrative, political and ideological unity, the Prophet commenced to establish regular and clearly-defined relations with non-Muslims. All of these efforts were exerted solely to provide peace, security, and prosperity to all mankind at large, and to bring about a spirit of rapport and harmony within his region, in particular.
Geographically, the closest people to Madinah were the Jews. Whilst harbouring evil intentions, and nursing bitter grudge, they showed not the least resistance nor the slightest animosity. The Prophet decided to ratify a treaty with them with clauses that provided full freedom in faith and wealth. He had no intention whatsoever of following severe policies involving banishment, seizure of wealth and land or hostility.
The treaty came within the context of another one of a larger framework relating to inter-Muslim relationships.
The most important provisions of the treaty are the following:
Madinah and its suburbs, after the ratification of this treaty, turned into a coalition state, with Madinah proper as capital and Muhammad as president; authorities lay mainly in the hand of the Muslims, and consequently it was a real capital of Islam. To expand the zone of peace and security the Prophet started to enter into similar treaties with other tribes living around his state.
The Prophet on the Battlefield
The Quraishites, mortified at the escape of the Prophet along with his devoted companions, and jealous of his growing power in Madinah, kept a stringent watch over the Muslims left behind and persecuted them in every possible way. They also initiated clandestine contacts with Abdullah bin Uabi bin Salul, chief of Madinese polytheists, and president designate of the tribes Aws and Khazraj before the Prophets emigration. They sent him a strongly-worded ultimatum ordering him to fight or expel the Prophet, otherwise they would launch a widespread military campaign that would exterminate his people and proscribe his women.
His pride wounded and kingship no longer his, Abdullah bin Uabi bin Salul, a priori responded positively to his Quraishite co-polytheists. He mobilized his supporters to counteract the Muslims. The Prophet on hearing about this unholy alliance, summoned Abdullah and admonished him to be more sensible and thoughtful and cautioned his men against being snared in malicious tricks. The men, on grounds of cowardice, or reason, gave up the idea. Their chief, however, seemingly complied, but at heart, he remained a wicked unpredictable accomplice with Quraish and the envious Jews. Skirmishes and provocations started to pave the way for a major confrontation between the Muslims and polytheists. Sad bin Muadh, an outstanding Helper, announced his intention to observe Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) and headed for Makkah. There Omaiya bin Khalaf provided tutelage for him to observe the ritual circumambulation. Abu Jahl, an archenemy of Islam saw him in the Sacred Sanctuary and threatened he would have killed him if he had not been in the company of Omaiya. Sad, fearlessly and defiantly, challenged him to committing any folly at the risk of cutting their caravans off.
Provocative actions continued and Quraish sent the Muslims a note threatening to put them to death in their own homeland. Those were not mere words, for the Prophet received information from reliable sources attesting to real intrigues and plots being hatched by the enemies of Islam. Precautionary measures were taken and a state of alertness was called for, including the positioning of security guards around the house of the Prophet and strategic junctures. Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - reported that Allâhs Messenger lay down on bed during one night on his arrival in Madinah and said: Were there a pious person from amongst my Companions who should keep a watch for me during the night? She (Aishah - may Allah be pleased with her - ) said: We were in this state when we heard the clanging noise of arms. He (the Prophet ) said: Who is it? He said: This is Sad bin Abi Waqqas. Allâhs Messenger said to him: What brings you here? Thereupon he said: I harboured fear (lest any harm should come to) Allâhs Messenger , so I came to serve as your sentinel. Allâhs Messenger invoked blessings upon him and then he slept.
This state of close vigilance continued ceaselessly until the Words of Allâh were revealed saying:
Here, the Prophet peeped from the dome of his house asking his people to go away, and making it clear that Allâh would take the charge of protecting him.
The Prophets life was not the only target of the wicked schemes, but rather the lives and the whole entity of the Muslims. When the Madinese provided the Prophet and his Companions with safe refuge, the desert bedouins began to look at them all in the same perspective, and outlawed all the Muslims.
At this precarious juncture with Quraish, intent on pursuing their aggressive and devilish plans, Allâh, the All-High, gave the Muslims the permission to take arms against the disbelievers:
This verse was revealed in a larger context of Divine instructions to eradicate all aspects of falsehood, and hold in honour the symbols and rites of Allâh:
Doubtlessly, the permission to fight was revealed in Madinah after emigration, not in Makkah, still the exact date where of is in doubt.
The permission to fight was already there, but in the light of the status quo, it was wise for the Muslims to bring the commercial routes leading to Makkah under their control. To realize this strategic objective, the Prophet had to choose either of two options:
Pre-Badr Missions and Invasions.
With a view to implementing these plans, the Muslims commenced real military activities, which at first took the form of reconnaissance patrols delegated to explore the geopolitical features of the roads surrounding Madinah and others leading to Makkah, and building alliances with the tribes nearby. The Prophet wanted to impress upon the polytheists and Jews of Madinah as well as the bedouins in its vicinity, that the Muslims had smashed their old fears, and had been too strong to be attacked with impunity. He also wanted to display the power of his followers in order to deter Quraish from committing any military folly against him which might jeopardize their economic life and means of living, and to stop them from persecuting the helpless Muslims detained in Makkah, consequently he would avail himself of this opportunity and resume his job of propagating the Divine Call freely.
The following is a resume of these missions and errands:
This was the first invasion under the leadership of the Messenger of Allâh. It took fifteen days, with a white flag carried by Hamzah bin Abdul Muttalib.
The Words of Allâh were quite clear and said that the tumult created by the polytheists was groundless. The sacred inviolable sanctities had been repeatedly violated in the long process of fighting Islam and persecuting its adherents. The wealth of the Muslims as well as their homes had already been violated and their Prophet had been the target of repeated attempts on his life. In short, that sort of propaganda could deservedly be described as impudence and prostitution. This has been a resume of pre-Badr platoons and invasions. None of them witnessed any sort of looting property or killing people except when the polytheists had committed such crimes under the leadership of Karz bin Jabir Al-Fahri. It was, in fact, the polytheists who had initiated such acts. No wonder, for such ill-behaviour is immanent in their natural disposition.
Shortly afterwards, the two captives were released and blood money was given to the killed mans father.
After this event, Quraish began to realize the real danger that Madinah could present with. They came to know that Madinah had always been on the alert, watching closely their commercial caravans. It was then common knowledge to them that the Muslims in their new abode could span and extend their military activities over an area of 300 miles. and bring it under full control. However, the new situation borne in mind, the Makkans could not be deterred and were too obstinate to come to terms with the new rising power of Islam. They were determined to bring their fall by their own hands and with this recklessness they precipitated the great battle of Badr.
The Muslims, on the other hand, and at the behest of their Lord, were ordered to go to war in Shaban 2 A.H:
Before long, Allâh again sent the Muslims a different sort of verses whereby teaching them ways of fighting, urging them to go to war and demonstrating relevant rules:
Shortly afterwards, Allâh began to dispraise the hypocrites, the weak at heart and cowardly elements:
The prevalent exigencies required as a top priority exhorting the Muslims to fight. Any leader with a deep insight would order his soldiers to get ready for any sort of emergency, let alone the All-Knowing Exalted Lord, Who is at all times omniscient of the minutest details of affairs. The event of that skirmish with the polytheists dealt a heavy blow to the pride of Quraish and created a sort of horrible restlessness amongst them.
The aforementioned Qurânic verses, enjoining the Muslims to strive in the cause of Allâh, betrayed the proximity of blood clashes that would be crowned by a decisive victory for the Muslims, and final expulsion of polytheists out of the Sacred City, Makkah. They referred to rules pertinent to the treatment of captives and slaughtering the pagan soldiers till the war ended and laid down its burdens. All of these could act as clues to a final triumph that would envelop the strife of the Muslims towards their noble objectives.
Another event of great significance
featured the same month Shaban
The Muslims, therefore, at the behest of Allâh and on account of those Divine clues, augmented their activities and their tendency towards striving in the cause of Allâh and encountering His enemies in a decisive battle were greatly intensified.