Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.)’s Perseverance
Compiled by: Ahmad Ahmadi Birjandi
In spite of all the persecutions inflicted on him, the Prophet (S) stood against them as firm as a mountain. He talked of God, the Islamic rules and ordinances, and the Qur’an whenever and wherever he saw a few people gathering together, trying to soften their hearts and incline them towards Islam by reciting Divine verses to them.
He would say: “Allah is the One God and the Master of this world and the Hereafter. He alone should be worshipped and feared. All powers belong to God. We will all be restored to life again and will be rewarded for our good deeds and punished for our evil acts. O people! Beware of sins, lies, calumny, and abusive language.”
The Quraysh were so impressed by the Qur’anic verses that they had to ask for Walid's assistance to make a judgment in this regard. Walid, who was their judge in problems of life and their helper in difficulties, after hearing the Qur’anic verses, told them: “I heard a word from Muhammad today that is not the same kind as man's or jinn's words. It has special sweetness and beauty. It resembles a tree whose branches are laden with fruits and the roots with blessing. It is an outstanding word which no other word is superior to it”. (Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, vol. 1, p. 287)
When the infidels learned about the sweetness and attractiveness of God's words and felt humiliated before it, they found it inevitable to stigmatize the Divine words as “Sorcery”, and in order to evade believing in Muhammad (S)'s Prophethood, they started to make excuses. For example, they demanded from the Prophet (S) to make God and the angels available! They wanted him to display a golden palace with a garden full of streams! And so on. Muhammad (S) replied: “I am but a messenger, and cannot perform miracles without permission from Allah.
Emigration to Abyssinia
In the fifth year of the Prophetic Mission, a group of Prophet (S)'s companions numbering 80 people who were formerly persecuted and harassed by the infidels left for Abyssinia with the agreement of the Prophet (S). Abyssinia was a safe and peaceful land, and Najashi, the king of that country, was a benevolent Christian. The Muslims wished to worship God there while leading their business. But even there they were persecuted by Meccans.
The latter asked Najashi to return the Muslims to Mecca, and in order to win his favor, they sent him some gifts. But the king of Abyssinia Said: “From among all lands, they have chosen mine. I must investigate to know what they say and what their complaint is about. “Then he ordered to summon the Muslims. Upon their arrival, he asked them to explain the reason for their emigration and to introduce their new religion. Ja'far b. Abi Talib, on behalf of the emigrants, stood up and said: “We were ignorant people, worshipping idols, feeding on carcass, doing hideous acts, and violating our neighbors' rights. The powerful would trample the weak, until God selected from among us a Prophet whom we knew as righteous and honest. He urged us to abandon worshipping the wooden and stone idols; to be righteous, honest, kin-loving, well-behaved, and pious; to avoid evil acts and stop devouring orphan's wealth; to give up adultery; to say prayers; to fast; and to give alms.
Thus, we believed in him and became his followers, accepting such a religion, we were much oppressed and ill-treated by our tribesmen to give up the faith, return to idolatry, and restart evil doings. When the injustice and the distress inflicted on us became unbearable, we took refuge in your country and chose you from among the kings. We hope, with your support, we are protected from oppression.”
“Recite some of the divine verses that your prophet read to you.” Najashi said. Ja'far read the beginning verses of Surat al-Maryam. Najashi and his retinue were deeply impressed and began to weep. Najashi, a Christian himself, said: “I swear by God, those words have originated from the same source as the words of Jesus (as).” Then, Najashi told the infidels of Mecca: “I will never surrender them to you.” The infidels were intensely outraged by being defeated, and returned to Mecca.
In order to constrain Muhammad (S) and other Muslims, the infidels of Quraysh signed an agreement to break relations with him and his followers; to have no marriage and trade bonds with them; and to join hands with enemies of Islam in all events. They hung the agreement parchment inside the Ka‘ba and swore to observe its content.
Abu Talib, Prophet (S)'s supporter, asked children of Hashim and Muttalib to keep away from idolaters and settle in a valley named Shi‘b of Abu Talib. The Muslims started there, under straw parasols, a new life and built watchtowers to prevent the enemy's surprise attacks. This depressed and adverse sanction took three years.
Only in holy months (Rajab, Dhu’l Qa‘da, Dhu’l Hajja) would the Prophet (S) and the Muslims leave the “Shi‘b” in order to propagate the religion and shop for a little provisions, but the infidels, especially Abu Lahab, would buy out the goods or ordered the prices to be raised so that the Muslims fail to purchase anything. Hunger and hardship reached their highest degree. The Muslims, however, didn't give up their resistance.
One day the Prophet was informed through Revelation that the agreement parchment had been eaten up by termites and just the term “Bismik Allahumma” (In your name, O Allah
was left intact. Abu Talib declared this event to the gathering of infidels. Verifying the incident and finding out the Prophet (S)'s truthfulness, they lifted the sanction.
Muslims gave a sigh of relief … but alas! In a few months Khadija, the Prophet (S)'s faithful wife and Abu Talib, his supporter passed away, and it was a great loss to the Prophet (S). Once again the infidels began their persecutions.
Spread of Islam in Yathrib (Madinah)
At the time of Hajj pilgrimage a group consisting of six people from Medina met the Prophet (S) and learned about the pure doctrines of Islam. People of Medina, on account of wars and conflicts between the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj and the pressure inflicted upon them by the Jews, were supposedly awaiting this holy doctrine to impart to them its redemptive message. These six Muslims returned to Medina and talked a lot in favor of Islam and the Prophet (S) and prepared people to welcome Islam.
On a similar occasion the next year, twelve people got acquainted with the Prophet (S) himself and the holy doctrines of Islam. The Prophet (S) dispatched one of his companions with them to instruct the Qur’an and the Islamic ordinances. Similarly, the year after, those twelve people swore allegiance to the Prophet (S) at a place called ‘Aqaba and pledged to support Muhammad (S) just like their own kinsmen.
Following this allegiance, 73 other men and women swore allegiance to the Prophet (S) and promised to protect him against the enemies of Islam even at the cost of their own lives. Thereupon, the way was paved for the emigration to Yathrib, which later on was named Medina.
Mi‘raj (Ascension) – Journey to Ta’if
Before emigration to Medina which took place in Rabi‘ al-Awwal, 13 Years after the advent of Bi‘tha, two events came about in the Prophet (S)'s life, which will be pointed out briefly as follows: The Mi‘raj of the Prophet (S) took place in the 10th year of Bi‘tha, which was a Journey commanded by Almighty God in the company of the Revelation Angel (Gabriel) resting on a swift flying mount named Buraq.
The Prophet (S) started this splendid Journey from the house of Umm Hani, ‘Ali (as)'s sister headed towards Jerusalem and visited Bethlehem, which is the birth place of the Prophet Jesus (as), as well as the residence of Prophets (as).
Then he began his heavenly journey, visiting celestial creatures and Paradise and Hell, as a result of which he became aware of the mysteries of existence and the vastness of the created universe and signs of Almighty God's infinite Power.
He finally reached Sidrat al-Muntaha (Cedar-Tree in Paradise) and found it totally covered with grandeur, magnificence, and majesty. Then, he returned to Mecca through the same way, and dismounted Buraq at Umm Hani’s house before daybreak. Shi‘as believe this journey has been made physically rather than only spiritually as believed by some other sects. In the Holy Qur’an, this magnificent journey is referred to as follows: ﴾Immaculate is He who carried His servant on a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose surroundings We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs. Indeed He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing.﴿ (Al-Qur’an, 17: 1).
It was in the same year and at the same night of the Mi‘raj that God enjoined the Prophet that his umma say prayers and worship the Lord of the two worlds five times a day; for saying prayers is the spiritual ascension for the faithful.
The other event is the Holy Prophet (S)'s Journey to Ta’if. In the eleventh year of his Prophetic Mission, due to the suffocating milieu of Mecca and persecution inflicted by idolaters and the hostility of the Meccans, he decided to move to another place. So, by himself, he set out for Ta’if to contact with Thaqif heads of tribes and introduce Islam to them. But those hard-hearted people didn't listen to the Holy Prophet (S) and even started to harass his Holiness.
The Holy Messenger (S) stayed in Nakhla, somewhere between Ta’if and Mecca, and since he was fearful of the idolaters’ vengeance and hostility, he considered finding someone to ask for quarter – according to the custom of that time – to secure his return to Mecca.
Thus, he sent someone to Mecca to ask for quarter from Mut‘im b. ‘Aday. Mut‘im took responsibility of protecting Prophet (S)’s life, and treated him with favor. Later on, the Holy Prophet frequently remembered Mut‘im’s favor and kindness to him.