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The Beginning of the Call of Islam

Source: I'lamu 'l Wara bi Alami 'l-Huda
by Abu Ali al Fadl ibn al Hasan ibn al Fadl at Tabarsi (c. 468/1076 - 548/1154)

This chapter will present a brief account of the life of the Messenger of Allah (Allah's blessings and peace be upon him and the people of his household) from the time of his call until his migration to Medina. It will indicate the time when he was commanded to fight, and will present some of the signs and miracles which were wrought at his hands during that period. It consists of eight sections.

The Beginning of His Call
'Ali ibn Ibrahim [al-Qummi, who is one of our most respected traditionists, related that when the Prophet was thirty-seven years of age, a person used to come to him in his dreams, addressing him and saying: "O Apostle of Allah ! ", but he used to ignore this. After a long time had passed, and as he was among the hills grazing the sheep of his uncle Abu Talib, he saw and heard a person addressing him: "O Messenger of Allah ! " He asked: "Who are you?" "I am Gabriel", the person answered; "Allah has sent me to you so that He may take you for a messenger." The Messenger of Allah told Khadijah of what happened. Khadijah had already been informed of the accounts of the Jews and Bahira', and what Muhammad's mother Aminah had also recounted. Thus, she answered: "O Muhammad, I do hope that it is true!" The Prophet used to hide all this, until one day Gabriel came to him with heavenly water and said: "O Muhammad, rise and perform your ablutions for prayers! " Gabriel taught him the ablutions - washing the face and the two hands from the elbows down, rubbing the head and the two feet to the two heels. He also taught him prostration (sujud) and kneeling (ruku'). When the Prophet attained his fortieth year, Gabriel commanded him to perform the prayers and taught him their rites, except their prescribed times. The Messenger of Allah used to pray two rak`ahs every time he prayed.
'Ali ibn Abi Talib was very much attached to the Prophet, accompanying him wherever he went. One day he saw him praying. He asked: "O Abu 'l-Qasim, what is this that you are doing?" The Prophet answered: "It is the prayer which Allah commanded me to perform." He then called 'Ali to Islam; he accepted, and used to pray with him. Khadijah also entered into Islam. Thus at that time only the Messenger of Allah, 'Ali and Khadijah used to pray.
After a few days, Abu Talib came in to see the Messenger of Allah, accompanied by Ja'far (the Prophet's cousin). He saw the Prophet and `Ali standing beside him in prayer. Abu Talib said to Ja'far, "Stand by the side of your cousin." As he stood at the other side of the Prophet, the Messenger of Allah stepped forward and stood in front of the two men (as prayer leader). Seeing them, Abu Talib recited the following verses:
In truth, Ali and Ja`far are my trust,
In times of hardship and sorrow.
By Allah, I shall never abandon the Prophet,
Nor would any of my sons of high birth abandon him -
Do not abandon, but rather support your cousin,
The son of my brother from my mother as well as my father.
Al-Qummi related further that the Prophet used to trade for Khadijah before he married her. When he was working for her, she sent him with a caravan belonging to the people of Quraysh to Syria. He was accompanied by a servant of hers called Maysarah. They encamped one day beneath a hermitage belonging to one of the monks living in the area. The monk came down from his cell and looked intently at the Messenger of Allah. He then asked: "Who is this man?" The people answered: "He is the son of `Abdu'l-Muttalib." The monk retorted: "His father could not be alive." Then looking at his eyes and between his shoulders, he exclaimed: "This is the Prophet of the people! This is the Prophet sent with the sword!" When Maysarah returned, he told Khadijah what happened and what had convinced her to offer herself to the Prophet in marriage. Khadijah gained a thousand dinars from that caravan.
One day the Prophet went into a market of the Arabs where he saw Zayd [ibn al-Harithah]. Zayd was a smart youth; the Prophet thus bought him for Khadijah. When, however, the Prophet married her, she gave him Zayd as a gift. When the Messenger of Allah received the call to Prophethood, and 'Ali accepted Islam, Zayd also became a Muslim after him. Thus `Ali, Ja'far, Zayd and Khadijah used to pray behind the Messenger of Allah.
Ash-Shaykh Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Bayhaqi reported in his book Dala'ilu'n-Nubuwwah on the authority of `Ali, who said: "We were with the Messenger of Allah in Mecca when he went out into its suburbs. He did not pass by a tree or mountain but that it met him with the greeting `Peace be upon you O Apostle of Allah.' " [31] It is reported that 'Ali said: "I remember when I used to go with the Prophet into the valley, how he did not pass by a stone or tree but that it exclaimed, `Peace be upon you O Apostle of Allah', while I stood and listened."
A man called `Afif [al-Kindi] related that, "I was a merchant; I came to Mina one day during the hajj (pilgrimage) season. al-`Abbas ibn `Abdi'l-Muttalib was also a merchant. I therefore came to trade with him.. As we were thus occupied, a man came out of a tent to pray: He faced the Ka'bah, and soon a woman came out and likewise stood in prayer. A youth also came out to pray with them. I exclaimed, `O `Abbas, what is this religion? We do not know what this religion is.' He answered, `This is Muhammad ibn `Abdillah, who claims that Allah called him to be a messenger, and that the treasures of Kisra (Khusraw, the Sasanid Persian Emperor) and Qaysar (Caesar, the Byzantine Emperor) will be opened for him. This is his wife Khadijah, daughter of Khuwaylid, who has believed in him. The youth is his cousin 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, who also believed in him.' " `Afif then concluded: "Would that I had believed in him on that day so that I would have been the second man to follow him." Ibn Ishaq reported that when the Prophet came out of the tent he looked at the sky, and when he saw the sun had inclined, he rose up to pray. Ibn Ishaq also mentioned Khadijah's standing in prayer behind him.
It is related on the authority of Mujahid ibn Jabr ( a well-known Qur'an interpreter and traditionist), who said: "Among the favors which Allah bestowed upon 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and the great good He willed for him, was this: The people of Quraysh suffered a great shortage of food. Abu Talib had many children. Thus the Messenger of Allah said one day to his uncle `Abbas, who was one of the wealthiest men among the sons of Hashim, `O `Abbas, your brother Abu Talib is a man with many children, and you can see for yourself how people are suffering as a result of this crisis. Come let us go and relieve him and his children.' They thus went to him and discussed the matter. He answered: `Leave `Aqil (a brother of 'Ali) .and take whomever you wish.' The Messenger of Allah took . 'Ali into his home, and `Ali remained with the Messenger of Allah until Allah called him to be a prophet. `Ali then followed him, believed in him and assented to him."
'Ali ibn Ibrahim [al-Qummi] related that three years after this, Allah revealed to the Apostle of Allah: Declare openly what you have been commanded and be not concerned with the Associators [Quran S : 94] . The Messenger of Allah therefore went out, stood up at al-Hijr [that space which encompasses the Ka'bah on the north] and proclaimed: "O people of Quraysh and you Arab people, I call you all to the worship of Allah alone, and call you to reject all partners with Him, and all idols. I call you all to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah. Heed my call that you may through it have dominion over all the Arabs. Through it also would non-Arabs submit to your authority. Through it you would be kings in Paradise." But they mocked and laughed at him, exclaiming: "Muhammad son of `Abdullah has gone mad!" They caused him much hurt with their tongues.
Abu Talib asked: "O son of my brother, what is this?" He answered: "Uncle, this is Allah's religion which He chose for His angels and prophets. It is the religion of Abraham and the prophets after him. Allah has sent me also as a messenger to humankind." Abu Talib said: "O son of my brother, surely your people will not accept this from you! Desist, therefore, from proclaiming it to them." "I shall not do so", the Prophet answered, "because Allah has commanded me to call (people to Islam)." Thus, Abu Talib left him alone. The Messenger of Allah intensified his effort in calling the people and warning them at all times.
Those among the People of the Book who heard the news accepted Islam. When, however, the people of Quraysh saw people entering Islam, they were alarmed. They thus went to Abu Talib and demanded: "Restrain your nephew from us, for he has declared our mind to be foolish, and has insulted our gods! He has corrupted our youths, and has dissolved our unity!" Abu Talib then called him and said: "O my brother's son, the people have come to me asking that you desist from insulting their gods." The Prophet answered: "O uncle, I cannot disobey the command of my Lord." Thus he used to call them and warn them of the impending divine punishment. The people of Quraysh gathered in assembly and enquired: "To what does Muhammad call us?" He answered: "I call you to bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and to reject all associates with Him." They protested: "Shall we then abandon three hundred and sixty gods and worship only one God?" Thus Allah mentions in the Qur'an their saying: They marvel that a warner from among them came to them, and the rejecters of faith said, "He is a magician, a liar. Does he wish to render all gods one? This, indeed is a strange thing". . ., and so on to His saying, No! But they have not yet tasted the torment [Qur'an 38: 4 - 8] .
The people then came together to Abu Talib and said: "O Abu Talib, if poverty is the cause of your nephew's action, then we will gather so much wealth for him that he would be the wealthiest man of Quraysh." Abu Talib called him and informed him of their offer. The Messenger of Allah, however, said: "Uncle, I have no need of wealth! Heed my call, so that you may be kings in this world and in the world to come! Then will both Arabs and non-Arabs submit to your authority." They dispersed, but soon returned to Abu Talib and said: "O Abu Talib, you are one of our foremost notables! You see that your nephew has declared us to be of foolish mind. He has cursed our gods and dissolve our unity! Let us give you `Umarah ibn al-Walid, the most handsome and bright youth of Quraysh, the freshest youth and the noblest of lineage to be your son - on condition that you turn over Muhammad to us that we may kill him." He answered: "You have not dealt justly with me! Would you give me your son that I may bring him up, and yet take my son to kill him?" Finally, despairing of convincing him, they desisted.
Al-Hafiz (al-Bayhaqi) related in his book Dala'ilu'n-Nubuwwah on the authority of Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Talhah, that Talhah ibn `Ubaydillah said: "I was present one day at the market of Busra, where I heard a monk who lived in a cell say: `Enquire of the people of this fair if there is anyone among them of the people of the Sanctuary (that is, Mecca).' I replied: `Yes, I am.' He asked: `Has Ahmad come forth yet?' `Who is Ahmad?' I asked. He replied: `The son of `Abdullah ibn `Abdi 'l-Muttalib. This is the month in which he should come forth. He is the last of the prophets. The place of his appearance is the Sanctuary, and that of his migration is a place of date-palms and black stones (that is, Medina). Beware lest anyone accept him before you do.' "
Talhah continued: "I kept what he said in my heart, and .hastened to Mecca. I enquired if anything unusual had happened, and was told that, 'Muhammad ibn `Abdillah al-Amin has declared himself a prophet. Ibn Abi Quhafah (that is, Abu Bakr) has followed him.' I thus went to Abu Bakr and said: `Have you really become a follower of this man?' `Yes', he answered. `You too go to him and follow him, for he invites men to the truth.' "
Talhah then told Abu Bakr what the monk had said. Abu. Bakr took Talhah to the Apostle of Allah, whereupon Talhah became a Muslim. He told the Messenger of Allah what the monk had said, which gladdened the Apostle of Allah. [32]
When both Abu Bakr and Talhah had accepted Islam, a man called Nawfal ibn Khuwaylid ibn al-`Adawiyyah took them and tied them together with one rope. The people of Taym (the tribe to which Abu Bakr belonged) did not protect them. Nawfal ibn Khuwaylid was known as the harshest man of the Quraysh.

The Quraysh Admit the Miraculous Qualities of the Qur'an
The Messenger of Allah never ceased to insult the gods of the Associators, nor did he cease reciting the Qur'an to them. But they used to say: "This is only the poetry of Muhammad." Some of them also said: "It is rather oratory discourse."
There was an old man called al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah who was a judge among the Arabs, whom they brought difficult cases. They likewise used to recite their poems to him in order that he might judge among them. Whatever he judged to be good, that was chosen by all. He had many sons, who never left Mecca. He also possessed ten slaves, every one of whom had one thousand dinars to use as capital in trade. At that time he alone owned a qintar, [the skin of a bull filled with gold]. al-Walid was one of those who mocked the Messenger of Allah and he was the uncle of Abu Jahl ibn Hisham.
The people went to al-Walid and asked: "O Abu `Abd ash-Shams, what is this which Muhammad is uttering? Is it magic, soothsaying, or oratory?" He replied: "Let me hear his words." He thus came to the Messenger of Allah while he was sitting in the Ka'bah and said: "O Muhammad, recite for me some of your poetry! " He answered: "It is not poetry, but rather the word of Allah, with which He sent His prophets and apostles." al-Walid insisted: "Recite some of it to me." The Messenger of Allah then recited: "In the name of Allah, the All-merciful, the Compassionate. " When al-Walid heard the name ar-Rahman (the All-merciful), he mockingly said: "Do you call us to follow a man of Yamamah who is called ar-Rahman?" The Prophet answered: "No, rather I call men to Allah, Who is the All-merciful, the Compassionate." He then recited the beginning of "Ha mim: as-Sajdah ", (Surah 41) until he reached verse (13)
But if they turn back, say: "I have warned you of a great catastrophe like the catastrophe of Ad and Thamud. " When al-Walid heard this, he trembled and every hair on his head and in his beard stood on end. He then rose and went to his home, and did not return to the people of Quraysh. The people said to Abu Jahl, "O Abu 'l-Hakam, (that is, al-Walid) has abandoned his religion for the religion of Muhammad! Do you not see that he has not returned to us? He must have, therefore, accepted his claim and gone to his home." The people of Quraysh became exceedingly saddened by this. Abu Jahl went to al-Walid the next day and said: "O uncle, you have brought low our heads and disgraced us!" He answered: "How have I done that, O son of my brother?" "Have you turned to the religion of Muhammad?" he asked. "No", answered al-Walid, "I did not do so. Rather, I stand by the religion of my people and my forefathers. I have, however, heard great words which cause skins to shudder." Abu Jahl asked: "Is it poetry?" "No, it is not poetry", answered his uncle. Abu Jahl asked further: "Is it oratory discourse?" al-Walid answered: "No, for oratory discourse is of connected rhymed prose; yet this is free prose whose different parts do not resemble one another. It is possessed of great beauty." Abu Jahl insisted: "So it is oratory." "No", answered his uncle. Abu Jahl asked: "What is it then?" al-Walid said: "Let me think about it for a while."
The next day, the people asked al-Walid: "O Abu `Abd ash-Shams, what do you say?" He answered: "Say it is magic, for it has truly attracted the hearts of the people." Thus, Allah sent down concerning him in the Qur'an - Leave me to deal with him whom I have alone created, and whom I have granted great wealth and sons, constantly present with him . . . and so on to Allah's saying: Over it (that is, Hell) stand nineteen (angels) [Qur.74:11-30].
In a tradition related by Hammad ibn Zayd on the authority of `Ikrimah (a slave and pupil of Ibn `Abb5s and a well-known traditionist), he reported that al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah came to the Messenger of Allah and asked him to recite some verses of the Qur'an. He recited: "Allah surely commands justice and doing good, and giving (of one's wealth) to near relatives. He likewise forbids lewdness, indecency and insolence. He thus admonishes you, that perhaps you may remember" [Qur'an. 16:90] . al-Walid said: "Recite the verse once more!" He did, and al-Walid exclaimed: "By Allah, it indeed is possessed of great sweetness and adorned with great beauty. Its top is indeed fruitful, and its bottom is like a palm-tree laden with fruits! Nor can any mortal utter such speech."

How Allah Protected Muhammad against the Mockers
It is related that those who mocked the Messenger of Allah were five: al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah, al-`As ibn Wail as-Sahmi, al-Aswad ibn al-Muttalib, who was also known as Abu Zama'ah, al-Aswad ibn `Abd Yaghuth of the tribe of Zuhrah and al-Harith ibn at-Tulatilah al-Khuza`i. It is said that al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah passed one day by the Messenger of Allah, while the angel Gabriel was with him. Gabriel addressed the Prophet, saying: "Here comes al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah, who is one of the mockers." "Yes", he answered. Then al-Walid passed by a man of the tribe of Khuza'ah, sharpening his arrows at the door of the mosque. He accidentally stepped on some of them, a silver went into the bottom of his foot, and blood gushed out. Gabriel pointed to that spot, and blood continued to flow until it stained the bed of his daughter. Frightened, the girl cried out: "O maid, the mouth of the water skin has come untied! " "This is not the water of the water skin", said al-Walid, "it is the blood of your father. Call together for me my sons and the sons of my brother, for I am about to die." When they all gathered, he made his will, and immediately breathed his last.
Al-Aswad ibn al-Muttalib passed one day by the Messenger of Allah. Gabriel pointed to his eyes and he became blind, and soon after died. al-Aswad ibn `Abd Yaghuth also passed by the Prophet one day; Gabriel pointed to his stomach, and he drank so much water that his belly swelled until it burst. al-`As ibn Wail passed also by the Prophet, and Gabriel pointed to his foot. Soon a splinter went into the bottom of his foot and came out of the top. His foot swelled up, and soon he died. at-Tulatilah passed by the Prophet, and Gabriel spat in his face. The man then went out into the Tihamah mountains (in the vicinity of Mecca), where he was hit by a burning sand storm. He was burnt and turned black. When he returned home. his family would not let him in, saying, "You are not of this family." He went away and was afflicted with great thirst. He thus drank until his stomach burst, and he died. All this happened in fulfilment of Allah's saying: We have surely protected you against the mockers [Qur'an. 15:95].

The Migration to Abyssinia and An-Naiashi's Assent to Muhammad's Prophethood
When the people of Quraysh intensified their harsh treatment of the Messenger of Allah and his Companions, he ordered some of his Companions to migrate to Abyssinia. He delegated Ja'far son of Abu Talib to take charge of them, and he set out with seventy men until they took to sea. When the people of Quraysh knew of their departure, they sent `Amr ibn al-`As as-Sahmi and `Umarah ibn al-Walid to an-Najashi (Negus) .of Abyssinia, requesting him to return the men to the people of Quraysh. They were also instructed to tell the King that these men had gone against the wishes and traditions of their people.
`Umarah was a handsome and wealthy man. `Amr ibn al`As set out with his wife. When they boarded the ship, they became intoxicated with wine. `Umarah then said to `Amr ibn al-`As : "Tell your wife to kiss me!" The latter answered: "Glorified be Allah! Is this possible?" `Umarah waited until `Amr got drunk, then he pushed him overboard. `Amr was on the edge of the ship; thus he held on to the edge, and people rushed to his rescue. When `Amr saw what `Umarah had done to him, he said to his wife, "Kiss him! ", which she did.
When they reached Abyssinia, they went straight to an-Najashi bearing presents for him. `Amr addressed him saying: "O King, these people have gone against our religion and sought refuge with you. Return them, therefore, to us! " The King sent for Ja'far and said to him: "These men are requesting that I return you all to them." He answered: "O King, ask them, are we their slaves?" "No", answered `Amr, "rather they are free and noble men." "Ask them," Ja'far continued, "do we then owe them debts which they have come to claim from us?" `Amr answered: "They owe us no debts which we have come to claim." Ja'far continued:
"Have they come then to avenge any blood of theirs that we had wrongfully shed?" `Amr answered: "They have shed no blood for which we come to exact vengeance or blood money." Ja'far asked: "What then do you want from us?" `Amr said: "They have opposed us in our religion and the religion of our forefathers and insulted our gods. They have corrupted our youths and spread dissension among us. Return them to us, therefore, that our unity might be restored." Ja'far then addressed the King saying: "O King, we have opposed them in order to follow a prophet whom Allah has raised among us. He commands us to repudiate equals to Allah, and that we abandon chance games by means of arrows. He enjoins prayers and almsgiving upon us. He has prohibited wrongdoing, oppression and the unlawful shedding of blood. He has prohibited adultery, usury, and eating the flesh of dead animals which have not been properly slaughtered, as well as eating blood. He has enjoined decency and good works upon us, and that we show kindness to near relatives. He forbids grave immorality, indecency and insolence."
The King said: "It is with such (teachings) that Allah also sent Jesus son of Mary! " Then addressing Ja`far, he continued: "Do you know by heart any of the revelations which Allah sent down to your prophet?" "Yes", he answered. "Recite then! " the King demanded. Ja'far recited the Surah of Maryam (Surah 19). When he reached the words - Shake down towards you the branch of the palm-tree, and it shall drop down before you ripened dates ready to be picked. Eat and drink, therefore, and be of good cheer [Qur'an. 19 : 25 - 26 ] - an-Najashi wept and exclaimed: "By Allah this is the truth!" `Amr protested: "O King, this man has abandoned our religion; give him to us that we may take him back to our country! " an-Najashi lifted his hand and slapped him saying: "If you utter any evil against him, I will kill you!" `Amr finally said: "O King, if this is what you say, then we shall not interfere with him."
A young maid stood by an-Najashi keeping flies away from him. She kept her eyes on `Umarah ibn al-Walid, as he was a handsome young man. When they went to their lodgings, `Amr said to him: "Why do you not send a message to the King's maid?" `Umarah sent a message to her, and she answered him. `Amr said: "Tell her to bring you with her some of the King's perfumes. She did so, and `Amr ibn al`As took the perfume. He had kept in his heart what `Umarah had done to him when he attempted to throw him overboard. Thus, he took the perfume and went to an-Najashi, and said to him: "O King, it is fitting that we take cognition of the King's honour and magnanimity toward us, and that we do not betray him in his own realm. Yet, my companion who is with me has sent messages to your maid and tempted her. She even brought him some of your perfumes." He then showed the King the perfume. an-Najashi was exceedingly angry and was about to kill `Umarah. But he changed his mind and said: "It is not right that I kill him, for they entered our realm under a pledge of protection." He thus called his magicians and said to them: "Do something to him that would be worse than death! " They took him and injected mercury into his generative organ. He lost his mind, so that he lived with the wild beasts and shunned human company. [33]
The people of Quraysh sent men to bring `Umarah back home. The men lay in wait for him until he came with wild beasts to drink at a spring. Thus they caught him, but he continued to struggle and scream in their hands until he expired. `Amr, however, returned to the people of Quraysh and recounted to them his story.
As for Ja'far, he remained in Abyssinia enjoying the best of hospitality and honour. He remained there until he heard that the Messenger of Allah had established a truce with the people of Quraysh and that peace had prevailed between them and the Muslims. He then returned with a large company of people. He arrived to find that the Messenger of Allah had conquered Khaybar (a Jewish settlement near Medina).
A son was born to Ja'far by Asma', daughter of `Umays. an-Najashi also had a son, whom he called Muhammad. Asma' gave an-Najashi's son of her own milk to drink (thus making him a nursing brother of her own son). Abu Talib recited these verses urging an-Najashi to support the Prophet and his followers:
Know, O King of the Ethiopians, that Muhammad is a prophet like Moses and Jesus son of Mary.
He came with guidance such as they brought, for each of them was by Allah's command well -protected.
Concerning him, you recite verses in your own scriptures; a true account it is, not a fantastic tale.
Do not, therefore, set up equals with Allah; rather become Muslims, for the way of truth is not obscured in darkness.
The traditionist Abu `Abdillah (al-Bayhaqi) transmitted on the authority of Muhammad ibn Ishaq that the Messenger of Allah sent `Amr ibn Umayyah ad-Damri to an-Najashi regarding Ja'far ibn Abi Talib and his Companions. He sent a letter with him which read thus:
"In the name of Allah, the All-merciful, the Compassionate - From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah to the Negus, the King of Abyssinia - I convey to you the praises of Allah the King, the Holy, the Accepter of Faith, the Guardian [Qur.59:23]. I furthermore bear witness that Jesus son of Mary is the Spirit of Allah and His Word, which He sent down to Mary [Qur'an. 4 : 171) , the pure and chaste virgin who then conceived Jesus, whom Allah created of His Spirit which he breathed into him -just as he created Adam with His Hand and breathed of His Spirit into him. I thus call you to the worship of the One and only Allah alone Who has no associate, and that you obey Him, follow me and believe in me and the message which was vouchsafed me. For I indeed am the Messenger of Allah. I have, moreover, sent to you my cousin Ja'far with a company of the Muslims. When they come to you, show hospitality to them and do not be arrogant. I call you and your hosts to Allah! I have conveyed my message to you and given good counsel. Peace be with those who follow true guidance."
An-Najashi wrote in answer to the Messenger of Allah:
"In the name of Allah, the All-merciful, the Compassionate - to Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah - from the Negus al-Ashamah ibn Abhar: peace be upon you O Prophet of Allah and Allah's mercy and blessings - there is no god but He Who guided me to Islam. I have received your letter, O Messenger of Allah, concerning the importance you give in the case of Jesus. By the Lord of the heaven and earth, Jesus does not exceed what you have mentioned concerning him. We acknowledge what you have written to us, and have thus shown hospitality to your cousin and Companions. I bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah truly and that you tell the truth. I have, therefore, given allegiance (bay `ah) to you and your cousin. I have accepted Islam to Allah, the Lord of all beings at his hands. I have sent to you, O Messenger of Allah, Arijan ibn Ashamah ibn Abhar, I have-indeed no authority except over myself alone. If, therefore, you wish that I come to you, I would come, O Messenger of Allah. For I bear witness that what you say is the truth."
An-Najashi then sent presents to the Prophet. He sent him also Mariyah the Copt, the mother of the Prophet's son Ibrahim. He sent him much clothing and aromatics, and a mare. He also sent him thirty learned men to hear his words and observe his conduct. When they arrived in Medina, the Messenger of Allah called them to. Islam, and they accepted Islam and returned to the Negus. Jabir ibn `Abdillah al-Ansari reported that, "When an-Najashi died, the Messenger of Allah prayed over Ashamah, the Negus."

The Prophet Is Persecuted By the Associators And Hamzah Accepts Islam
The people of Quraysh redoubled their efforts in troubling the Messenger of Allah. The harshest of men toward him was his uncle Abu Lahab. One day the Prophet was sitting in the precincts of the Ka'bah, when the people sent for a birth sack of a sheep and threw it at him.[ According to al-Jazari, the well-known lexicographer and traditionist, this happened while the Prophet was praying. (ed. )]
The Messenger of Allah was greatly saddened by this, and went to Abu Talib to complain, saying: "O uncle, how is my status among you?" Abu Talib asked: "What is the matter O son of my brother?" He replied: "The people of Quraysh threw a birth sack at me." Abu Talib then said to Hamzah: "Take up the sword!" The people of Quraysh were assembled in the Mosque. Both Hamzah and Abu Talib went in with their swords. Abu Talib ordered Hamzah, saying: "Rub the birth sack over their moustaches, and if anyone resists, cut off his head!" But no one moved while he rubbed the birth sack over their moustaches.. He then turned to the Messenger of Allah, and said: "O son of my brother, this is your status among us!"
In the book Dala'ilu'n-Nubuwwah (of al-Bayhaqi) [34], it is reported on the authority of Abu Dawud who reported from Shu'bah who reported from Abu Ishaq (as-Sabi`i), who heard `Amr ibn Maymun relate on the authority of `Abdullah (ibn Mas'ud), who said: "While the Messenger of Allah was prostrating in prayer one day, with some men of Quraysh sitting all around him, and the birth sack of a she-camel lying around, some dared others men saying: `Who would take this birth sack and throw it at his back?' A man called `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu'ayt took up the birth sack and threw it at the Prophet's back. Fatimah (the Prophet's daughter) came and took the camel's birth sack off the Prophet's back, and cursed those who did that to him." `Abdullah continued: "I never saw the Messenger of Allah invoke Allah against them except on that day. He said: "O Allah, I leave to you the people of Quraysh! O Allah to you do I leave Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, `Utbah ibn Rabi `ah, Shaybah ibn Rabi `ah, `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu'ayt, Umayyah ibn Khalaf or Ubayy ibn Khalaf (Shu'bah was confused). The Prophet enumerated seven men in all." `Abdullah went on: "I saw them all slain in the Battle of Badr and thrown into a well. Umayyah ibn Khalaf, however, was a very fat man. His body disintegrated as it was dragged along before reaching the well.' " [35]
It is related on the authority of Khabbab (a well-known Companion), who said: "I came one day to the Messenger of Allah, while he lay in the shade of the Ka` bah using his mantle as a pillow. We had endured much suffering at the hands of the people of Quraysh. Thus I asked: `O Messenger of Allah, would you not invoke Allah on our behalf?' He sat up, red in the safe, and said: `Those who were before you -often were their flesh and nerves scraped with sharp iron combs. Yet they did not turn away from their faith. A man would be sawed in half from his head down, yet he would not be turned away from his faith. But Allah shall indeed bring this affair to fruition, so that a horseman would travel all the way between San'a and Hadramawt fearing no one but Allah, or the wolf that may attack his sheep.' " [36]
It is also related on the authority of Jabir (son of the famous Companion, `Abdullah al-Ansari) that the Messenger of Allah passed one day by `Ammar ibn Yasir and his family while they were being tortured for Allah's sake. He said: "Be of good cheer, O family of `Ammar, for you shall soon enter Paradise! " It is reported on the authority of Mujahid [ ibn Jabr] (a well-known traditionist of the second generation) that the first martyr in Islam was Sumayyah, the mother of `Ammar, whom Abu Jahl stabbed in the heart.
'Ali ibn Ibrahim al-Qummi reported that Abu Jahl met the Messenger of Allah one day and spoke harsh words to him. All the men of the Hashimite clan angrily assembled. Hamzah had just returned from hunting, when he saw the crowd and enquired about the commotion. A woman called down to him from one of the roof-tops saying: "O Abu Ya'la, `Amr ibn Hisham (i.e., Abu Jahl) confronted Muhammad and insulted him." Hamzah enraged, went to Abu Jahl hit him with his bow on the head and picked him up and beat him hard against the ground. People crowded around them, and it was feared that great conflict might ensue. People then asked Hamzah: "O Abu Ya'la, have you then turned to the religion of your nephew?" "Yes", he answered: "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah." He said this only as a result of anger and feeling of support for his nephew. When, however, he returned to his home, he regretted his decision. Thus he went to the Messenger of Allah and asked: "O son of my brother, is what you say the truth?" The Messenger of Allah recited to him a Surah of the Qur'an, and Hamzah saw the truth and stood firm in the faith of Islam. The Messenger of Allah was exceedingly happy. Abu Talib also was glad to learn of Hamzah's Islam, and recited the following verses:
Be steadfast, O Abu Ya`la in the faith of Ahmad;
Show forth your faith; may you be strengthened in
your resolve!
Follow the footsteps of him who came with true' faith
from his Lord; Do not, O Hamzah, be a rejecter of faith!
It made me glad when you said that you are a man of faith; Be then a true supporter of the Messenger of Allah in Allah's cause.
Call openly the people of Quraysh to that which you
yourself have been given; Proclaim to them that Ahmad is indeed not a magician!

The Prophet's Night Journey to Jerusalem and His Hiding In A Ravine Belonging To Abu Talib
The Messenger of Allah was transported by Allah from Mecca to Jerusalem, (see Qur'an. 17 :1) . Gabriel carried him thither on al-Buraq (a celestial horse), and showed him the prayer chambers of the prophets before him. After the Prophet had led them all in prayer, Gabriel brought him back to Mecca. On his way back, the Prophet passed by a caravan belonging to the people of Quraysh. They had with them water in a vessel, from which he drank, and poured out the rest. They also lost one of their camels and went out in search of it.
Next morning Muhammad recounted to the people of Quraysh: "Allah transported me by night to Jerusalem where He showed me the signs and stations of the prophets. I have also passed by a caravan in such and such a place, where they lost one of their camels. I drank from a vessel of water which they had, and poured out the rest of the water." Abu Jahl said: "You have now an opportune moment; ask him, therefore, how many columns and lamps are in Jerusalem! " They thus said to him: "O Muhammad, here is someone who has been to Jerusalem! " Describe for us its columns, lamps, and prayer chambers! " Gabriel came and suspended an image of Jerusalem before the Prophet's eyes, and he told them whatever they wished to know about the holy city. When he had informed them, they said: "Let us wait until the caravan returns and we question the people about what you have told us:" "The sign of the truth of what I have said is that the caravan will appear at sunrise led by a red camel carrying two white sacks", the Prophet said.
Next morning, they went out looking towards the hill outside the city and saying: "The sun shall soon rise." As they were thus wondering, the caravan appeared, led by a red camel, just as the disk of the sun was becoming visible. They asked the men with the caravan about the things which the Messenger of Allah had told them. The men answered: "It is true, it was as he said. We lost a camel in such and such a place; we left water by night, but when we woke up next morning, the water was all poured out." Yet, all this only increased the people of Quraysh in their stubbornness.
They then all gathered in their assembly hall and prepared a written pledge neither to share food with the sons of Hashim, nor to speak to them. Nor would they transact any trade with them, or intermarry with them. They would not even socialize with them in any way, until they turned Muhammad over to them that they might kill him. They agreed to be as one hand against Muhammad, either to assassinate him, or kill him openly.
When Abu Talib learned of all this, he gathered the sons of Hashim, forty men in all, and went into a secret ravine. Abu Talib swore to them by the Ka'bah, the haram, the rukn and the station (maqam of Abraham) that if even a thorn was to prick Muhammad, "I will steadfastly fight against you all, 0 sons of Hashim." Abu Talib fortified the ravine and set up guards over it night and day. At night he kept guard himself with his sword, while the Messenger of Allah slept. Then he had him get up and sleep in another spot, guarded by his own sons and the sons of his brother. They watched over the Prophet during the day as well.
In the end, they endured much hardship. Thus it was that no one of the Arabs entering Mecca dared buy from or sell anything to the family of Hashim, for fear that his wealth would be seized. To that end, Abu Jahl, al-`As ibn Wail as-Sahmi, an-Nadr ibn al-Harith ibn Kaladah and `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu'ayt used to go out to the roads leading to Mecca, and anyone they saw carrying goods, they forbade to trade with the sons of Hashim. Otherwise they threatened to seize his wealth. Khadijah, however, had much wealth, which she spent in caring for the Messenger of Allah while he was in the ravine. Mut'im ibn `Adiyy ibn Nawfal ibn `Abdi'lMuttalib refused to sign the pledge, saying: "This is wrongdoing." The document was, nonetheless, sealed with forty seals, representing all the notables of Quraysh. They then hung it in the Ka'bah. Abu Lahab also concurred with them in this action.
During the special seasons (when fighting was banned), the Messenger of Allah would go around the Arab tribes and plead with them: "If you would protect me, I would recite to you the Book of my Lord, and your reward with Allah shall be Paradise." Abu Lahab would follow close behind him and say: "Do not accept his offer! He is my brother's son. He is a magician and a liar." Thus it went on, and the sons of Hashim remained in the ravine for four years, having no security except during special seasons, nor could they buy or sell anything except during these seasons. There were two seasons held in Mecca every year: that of the `umrah (lesser pilgrimage) during Rajab, and the pilgrimage season in Dhi'l-Hijjah (the 7th and 12th months respectively). Hence, only when either of these two special seasons come did the sons of Hashim leave their ravine to buy and sell. Then no one of them dared venture out till the next season. They therefore suffered much hardship and hunger.
The people of Quraysh sent a message to Abu Talib, saying: "Turn Muhammad over to us that we may kill him; then we would make you king over us." In response, Abu Talib recited a long poem, in which he says:
When I saw that these people had no love,
having cut off all ties and means of friendship;
(I said): Do you not know that we do not regard our son as a liar,
Nor does he utter vain words.
Pure is he, that for the sake of his face prayers for rain are answered;
Generous towards orphans is he, and a protection for widows.
The errant of the clan of Hashim crowd around him;
For with him they find bounty and generous gifts.
You lie, by Allah's house! We shall never abandon Muhammad;
Rather we shall wield the sword and strive to protect him.
We shall never betray him, until we fall slain before him;
For his sake we shall neglect our sons and wives.
By my life! I have been charged with great affection for Ahmad!
I loved him with the love of a faithful lover.
I have sacrificed willingly my soul for him and protected him;
I have defended him with all that is precious,
Even the bones of my breast!
He remains an object of beauty in this world for its inhabitants;
A harsh match to anyone showing enmity toward him is he, and the ornament of every assembly.
He is clement, wise, unwavering and not foolish;
Friend of the Lord of Truth, never indulging in vain disputation.
Thus the Lord of human servants has strengthened him with His victory;
He caused a religion to prevail whose truth knows no falsehood.
When they heard this poem, they despaired of convincing Abu Talib.
Abu 'l-`As ibn Rabi', who was the Messenger of Allah's son-in-law, used to bring by night camels laden with wheat and dates to the entrance of the ravine and call out loudly to them, so that they would rush in, and the sons of Hashim would have provisions. The Messenger of Allah used to say: "Abu 'l-`As has established a tie of marriage with us and has honoured well this marriage relation. He brought laden camels to us when we were besieged and delivered them to our ravine by night."
When the Messenger of Allah had spent four years in the ravine, Allah sent against the hostile document of the Quraysh an earthworm which licked clean all words of unkindness to next of kin, and all wrongdoing and oppression. It only spared the name of Allah.
Gabriel came down to the Messenger of Allah and told him about it. The Messenger of Allah then told Abu Talib, who went to the men of Quraysh as they assembled in the mosque. When they saw him they said: "Abu Talib has finally given in; he has now come to turn his nephew in." He drew near and greeted them with the salutation of peace. They all rose up and received him with deference. They then said: "O Abu Talib, we know that you wish our friendship and return to our society! You will turn your nephew over to us." He answered: "No, by Allah, it is not for this that I have come to you. Rather my nephew tells me - and he utters no lies - that Allah has told him that He sent an earthworm against your hostile document, which ate every word of unkindness to next of kin, of wrongdoing and oppression. It only spared the name of Allah. Bring your document, and if what he says is true, then fear Allah and abandon your wrongdoing, oppression and unkindness toward blood relations. If, on the other hand, what he says is false, I will turn him over to you. If you wish, you may kill him, or if you wish you may spare his life." They brought the document down from the Ka'bah, still bearing forty seals. When it was brought before them, every man saw his seal. When, however, they .opened it, they found no letters except the phrase: `in your name, O Allah.' Abu Talib then pleaded with them saying: "O people, fear Allah and desist from what you are doing! " But the people dispersed, and no one spoke a word. Abu Talib then returned to the ravine and recited his poem rhyming with the letter `b' and which begins as follows:
Who shall endure standing on guard till night's end,
Or the retreat which your divided people have decreed.
In the document there was indeed a lesson;
Anyone knowing about it would surely marvel.
Allah had Himself erased from it their rejection of faith and insolence,
As well as their hostility toward him who proclaimed the truth openly.
Thus what they said came to nought,
For anyone inventing falsehood only tells lies.
Yet the son of Abdullah has been truthful among us,
in spite of our people's wrath.
Do not think that we shall betray Muhammad; For neither our honour nor fidelity would permit it!
A strong Hashimite hand shall protect him;
He whose deeds among men are the best of deeds.
Then some of the sons of `Abd Manaf and the sons of Qusayy, as well as other men of Quraysh who were born to women of the sons of Hashim - among whom was Mut'im ibn `Adiyy ibn `Amir ibn Lu'ayy, an old man of great wealth and many children, and Abu 'l-Bakhtari ibn Hisham and Zuhayr ibn (Abi) Umayyah al-Makhzumi and other of their notables - said: "We dissociate ourselves from this document." Abu Jahl likewise said: "This is a matter which was decided in the dark." Thus the Prophet and those who were with him were able to leave the ravine.
Two months later, Abu Talib died. Khadijah also died soon after. These were two grave occurrences which the Messenger of Allah had to endure, and he was greatly saddened. He went in to see Abu Talib while he was breathing his last. He said: "O uncle, you cared for a child until he grew up. You supported him when he was a grown man, and cared for him as an orphan. May Allah, therefore, reward you on my behalf with the best reward. Give me a word (that is, the shahadah) that I may intercede with it on your behalf with my Lord." Abu Talib replied: "O son of my brother, were I not to fear the reproach of people after me, I would have gladdened your heart." Saying this he died.
Muhammad ibn Ishaq reported that Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid, and Abu Talib died in the same year. [37] Thus afflictions followed one another for the Messenger of Allah after the death of Khadijah and Abu Talib - for she was a true helper (wazir) to him in Islam, and he found comfort in her. Abu `Abdillah ibn Mandah reported in the Kitabu'l-Ma`rifah that Khadijah died three days after Abu Talib. [38] al-Waqidi claimed that they all left the ravine three years before the Migration. In that year Khadijah and Abu Talib died within the space of thirty-five nights.

The Prophet Offers Himself To Neighboring Arab Tribes. The Allegiance of the Ansar to Him, And the Event of Al-`Aqabah
It is reported in the book entitled Dala'ilu'n-Nubuwwah [39] on the authority of az-Zuhri (a well-known traditionist), that the Messenger of Allah used to offer himself as a prophet to the Arab tribes every year during the pilgrimage season. He used to speak to the chief of every tribe, requesting only that they give him shelter and protection. He said: "I shall not ask anyone of you to do anything he does not wish to do. For anyone of you who accepts what I have come to call you to, it is well. But I shall not compel anyone who would refuse. I only ask that you protect me from those who wish to kill me, so that I might convey the messages of my Lord - and Allah decrees what He wills for me and those who will follow him." Yet no one of them accepted him. Everyone he spoke to of these tribes would say: "The people of this man know best his claims. Do you think that a man can reform us when he has corrupted his own people, and who have therefore, abandoned him? "
When Abu Talib died, trials increased greatly as never before for the Messenger of Allah. He thus turned to the tribe of Thaqif in the city of at-Ta'if in the hope that they might give him shelter. He sought three men, who were the notables of Thaqif in those days. They were brothers: `Abd Yalayl ibn `Amr, Habib ibn `Amr and Mas'ud ibn `Amr. He offered himself to them and told them of the trials that had afflicted him at the hands of his people. One of them exclaimed: "I swear that I would even steal the curtains of the Ka'bah, if Allah had truly sent you with anything! " The other said: "Could not Allah send someone other than you?" The third exclaimed: "By Allah, I shall never speak to you henceforth. By Allah, if you are truly the Messenger of Allah, you would be of too great honour for me even to speak to you. If, on the other hand, you lie concerning Allah, you would be too evil for me to speak to you." They mocked him and revealed to their people their conversation with him.
The men then placed people in two lines in his way. When the Messenger of Allah passed between the two lines, he did not lift his feet or put them down but that they pelted them with stones. They repeated this until his feet bled. He escaped from them with his feet gushing blood, and ran to one of their gardens and took shelter under a tree, sad and suffering much pain.
`Utbah ibn Rabi `ah and Shaybah ibn Rabi `ah were in the garden. He therefore did not wish to remain with them, as he knew their great hostility to Allah and His Messenger. When they saw him, they sent to him a servant of theirs called `Addas who was of the people of Naynawa (Nineveh), with grapes. When `Addas came to him, the Messenger of Allah asked: "From which land are you?" He answered: "I am of the people of Nineveh." He said to him: "So you are from the city of the righteous man Yunus (Jonah) son of Mitts (Matthew)." `Addas asked him: "How do you know who Yunus was? " The Messenger of Allah, who never looked down at anyone so much as not to convey to him the message of his Lord, answered: "I am the Messenger of Allah. Allah, exalted be He, informed me of the account of Yunus ibn Mitts." When he had told him what Allah had revealed to him concerning Yunus ibn Mitts, `Addas fell prostrate before Allah and began to kiss the Prophet's feet while they continued to gush blood. When `Utbah and Shaybah saw what their servant was doing, they kept silent. But when he returned to them they asked: "Why did you prostrate yourself before Muhammad and kiss his feet, while we never saw you do so to any of us?" He answered: "He is a righteous man who told me things which I recognized concerning a messenger whom Allah had sent to us, whose name was Yunus ibn Mitts." They laughed and said "Let him not tempt you away from your Christianity, for he is a deceitful man." The Messenger of Allah then returned to Mecca.
`Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Hashim (al-Qummi) reports that when the Messenger. of Allah returned from the city of at-Ta'if and approached Mecca with the intention of performing the `umrah (lesser pilgrimage), he did not wish to enter Mecca where he had no protector. He saw a man of the Quraysh who had secretly embraced Islam and said to him: "Go to al-Akhnas ibn Shurayq and tell him that Muhammad asks you to protect him until he performs the circumambulations ( tawaf , around the Ka'bah) and the running (sa`i) between the two hills of as-Safa and al-Marwa, for he has come to perform the `umrah." The man went to al-Akhnas and conveyed to him what the Messenger of Allah had said. al-Akhnas answered: "I am not of the Quraysh, but only an ally, and an ally cannot offer protection. I fear that they would violate my protection, and that would be an insult." The man returned to the Messenger of Allah and told him. The Messenger of Allah was hiding in the ravine of Harra' with Zayd ibn al-Harithah. He said to the man: "Go to Suhayl ibn `Amr and ask him to protect me only until I circumambulate the House (that is, the Ka'bah) and perform the sa`i (running between as-Safa and al-Marwa)." The man went and told Suhayl, but he answered: "No, I will not." The Messenger of Allah sent the man to Mut'im ibn `Adiyy (ibn `Amir) to make the same request. When the man went to him he asked: "Where is Muhammad?" The man, however, did not wish to tell him where the Prophet was. He rather answered: "He is nearby." Mut'im said: "Go to him and say that I shall give you protection. Come, therefore, and circumambulate and run as you wish."
The Messenger of Allah entered the city. Mut'im said to his sons, his sister, and to his brother, who was called Tu'aymah ibn `Adiyy: "Take up your arms, for I have offered Muhammad protection! Stay around the Ka'bah until he performs the circumambulation and running." There were ten men in all who took up arms. Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, then came in to the mosque. Abu Jahl saw him and said: "O people of Quraysh, here is Muhammad alone. His supporter has died; do with him, therefore, as you please." Tu'aymah ibn `Adiyy said to him: "O uncle, do not speak, for Abu Wahb (that is, Mut'im) has offered Muhammad protection." Abu Jahl went to Mut`im and asked: "Are you a protector, or one who has abandoned his religion for another?" He answered: "I am only a protector." Abu Jahl said: "In that case your protection will not be violated."
When the Messenger of Allah had finished his circumambulation and running, he came to Mut'im and said: "O Abu Wahb, you have protected and done well! Release me now from your protection." Mut'im replied: "What would prevent you from remaining in my protection?" He answered: "I detest remaining in the protection of an Associator for more than one day." Mut'im then exclaimed: "O people of Quraysh, Muhammad has released himself from my protection! "
'Ali ibn Ibrahim (al-Qummi) reported that As'ad ibn Zurarah and Dhakwan ibn `Abd Qays, both of whom were of the Khazraj tribe of Medina, came to Mecca during one of the pilgrimage seasons. At that time a state of war, which had already lasted for a long time, existed between the Aws and Khazraj (both of which were Medinan tribes). The people did not lay down their arms by day or night. In the last engagement between them on the day of Bu'ath [40], the Aws tribe had prevailed over the Khazraj. As'ad ibn Zurarah and Dhakwan came to Mecca for the `umrah of the sacred month of Rajab seeking an alliance against the Aws tribe. As'ad ibn Zurarah was a friend of `Utbah ibn Rabi `ah. He thus came to him as a guest and said: "A long period of war has prevailed between us and our people. We have come, therefore, seeking alliance against them." `Utbah answered: "Your dwellings are far from ours, and we have an important preoccupation which prevents us from undertaking any other." As'ad asked: "What is your preoccupation, when you live securely in your sacred city? " "A man has appeared among us who claims that he is the Messenger of Allah", answered `Utbah. He continued: "This man has declared our minds foolish, and insulted our gods. He has also corrupted our youths and dissolved our unity." "Who is he?" As'ad asked. `Utbah replied: "He is the son of `Abdullah son of `Abdu 'l-Muttalib. He is of a family that is of high honour and status among us." As'ad and Dhakwan as well as all the people of the Aws and Khazraj tribes used to hear from the Jews of an-Nadir, Qurayzah and Qaynuqa' - who lived among them - that: "The time has come when a prophet shall appear in Mecca, whose migration shall be to Medina. With him we shall slay you all, O people of the Arabs! "
When As'ad heard all this from `Utbah, the things which he had heard from the Jews came back into his mind. He thus asked: "Where is he?" `Utbah answered: "He is sitting in the Ka'bah. They do not come out of their ravine except during the pilgrimage season. As for you, do not listen to him or speak to him, for he is a sorcerer who would bewitch you with his words." All this took place at the time when the men of Hashim were besieged in the ravine. As'ad said: "What shall I do when I have come for the `umrah and it is necessary for me to circumambulate the House? " He answered: "Plug your ears up with cotton."
As'ad then went into the sanctuary, having stuffed his ears with cotton. He circumambulated the House while the Messenger of Allah was sitting in the sanctuary with some of the men of Hashim. He looked at the Prophet and passed him by. As he passed by, however, performing the second circumambulation, he said to himself: "Truly, there is no one more foolish than I ! Should all this occur in Mecca, and I know not what it is so that I might go back to my people and tell them? " He thus took the cotton out of his ears, threw it away and addressed the Messenger of Allah, saying: "Have a happy morning!" This was the greeting of the Arabs before Islam. The Messenger of Allah turned to him and said: "Allah has given us another greeting instead which is better than this one; it is the greeting of the people of Paradise: `as-Salamu `alaykum' [peace be upon you] ." As'ad said: "You must have come recently to this! What do you call men to, O Muhammad?" He replied: "To the witness (shahadah) that there is no god but Allah, and that I am the Messenger of Allah! I enjoin upon you that: `You associate nothing with Him, and that you act kindly towards your parents. Do not kill your children for fear of poverty, for We shall provide both for you and them. Do not come near vile transgressions, be they disclosed or hidden, and do not kill a soul, which Allah has made unlawful except with justice. With all this you have been charged that perhaps you may understand. Do not come near the wealth of an orphan except in the fairest manner, until he reaches the age of discretion. Give full and just measure and weight. Yet We do not charge a soul except in accordance with its capacity. When you speak, speak justly, even if it be against one who is nearest of kin. Fulfil Allah's covenant. You are enjoined to all this, that perhaps you may recollect.' " [41]
When As'ad heard this, he exclaimed: "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, having no associate, and that you are the Messenger of Allah! O Messenger of Allah, may my father and my mother be a ransom for you! I am of the city of Yathrib (Medina), of the Khazraj tribe. All relations between us and our brothers of the Aws tribe are cut off. If Allah were to re-establish them by means of you, I would find no one more honoured than you. Another man of my people is accompanying me. I trust that he too will enter into this matter, and that Allah will set our affairs right through you. By Allah, 0 Messenger of Allah, we often heard reports of you from the Jews. They used to announce to us your coming forth and inform us of your characteristics. I trust that our abode shall be the abode of your migration, and that with us shall be your dwelling. The Jews have informed us of this. Praise be to Allah Who led me to you! By Allah, I came only to seek some alliance against our opponents. Yet Allah has given us something better than the purpose for which I came."
Dhakwan then came, and As'ad told him: "This is the Messenger of Allah whom the Jews announced and of whose characteristics they informed us. Come, therefore, and declare your Islam." Dhakwan thus accepted Islam and said: "O Messenger of Allah, send with us a man who would teach us the Qur'an and call the people to your message." The Messenger of Allah sent Mus'ab ibn `Umayr, a youth who had lived in luxury with his parents, who preferred him over all their other children, and who had never left Mecca. But when Mus'ab became a Muslim, his parents disowned him, and he remained with the Messenger of Allah in the ravine until the signs of exhaustion were visible on his changed face. The Messenger of Allah ordered him to go with As'ad, as he had learned much of the Qur'an. Dhakwan then left for Medina with As'ad accompanied by Mus'ab ibn `Umayr.
When As'ad and Dhakwan came to their people, they told them about the Messenger of Allah and his message. From every family one or two men accepted Islam. Mus'ab lived with As'ad ibn Zurarah, and every day he would go around the assemblies of the men of Khazraj calling them to Islam, but only the youths would accept his call. There was a man called `Abdullah ibn Ubayy who was a notable of the Khazraj tribe. They all agreed to appoint him as king over them because of his honourable status and generosity. They had made a crown for him which they then presented to him, seeking by this mediation in their long hostilities, for he had not fought on the side of his people of the Khazraj in the war of Bu'ath, nor had he supported them against the Aws tribe. He had said, rather, "You commit wrongdoing towards the Aws tribe, and I will not support wrongdoing." Thus both the Aws and Khazraj accepted him.
When As'ad returned, `Abdullah ibn Ubayy did not like what he and Dhakwan brought back with them. He was, for this reason, indifferent. As'ad then said to Mus'ab: "My maternal uncle Sa'd ibn Mu'adh is one of the chiefs of the Aws tribe. He is a wise and honourable man, and is well respected among the people of `Amr ibn `Awf. If he were to enter into Islam, our cause would triumph. Let us, therefore, go to their dwellings." Thus, Mus'ab went with As'ad to the quarter of Sa'd ibn Mu'adh and sat at one of their wells. A number of their youths gathered around him (Mus'ab), while he recited the Qur'an to them. When Sa'd ibn Mu'adh learnt of this, he said to Usayd ibn Hudayr, who was also one of their notables: "I have heard that Abu Umamah, As'ad ibn Zurarah has returned with a man of Quraysh to corrupt our youths. Go, therefore, to him and order him to desist." Usayd ibn Hudayr went to them, and As'ad, looking at him, said to Mus'ab: "This is an honourable man, and if he joins our cause, I have hope that it will be strengthened. Exert yourself with him in the cause of Allah."
When Usayd came near them, he said: "O Abu Umamah, your uncle says that you should not come to our assembly, nor should you corrupt our youths. Beware of the men of the Aws, for your own safety! " Mus'ab said: "Would you not sit down that we may put before you a cause, which you may join if you so wish; otherwise, we shall remove from you anything you may dislike." He sat down, and Mus'ab recited to him a Surah of the Qur'an. Usayd asked: "What do you do when you join this cause? " Mus`ab answered, "We purify ourselves, wear two clean garments, proclaim the profession of faith (shahadah) and pray two rak'ahs. Usayd threw himself with his clothes into the well; he came out, he wrung his garments and said: "Put it before me!" Mus'ab thus taught him the profession of faith that, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." Usayd repeated the shahadah and offered two rak'ahs of prayers. He then said to As'ad: "O Abu Umamah, I shall now send your uncle to you; I shall use every persuasion to make him come to you." Usayd then went back to Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, and when the latter looked at him, he said: "I swear that Usayd has returned to us with a different face from that with which he left us."
Sa'd ibn Mu'adh then went to them, and Mus'ab recited to him: Ha mim, a revelation from the All-merciful, the Compassionate [Qur'an 41:1- 2] . "By Allah," the two men exclaimed, "we saw Islam in his face even before he uttered a word! " He sent for two clean garments from his home; he proclaimed the two shahadahs and offered two rak'ahs of prayer. He then rose, took Mus'ab by the hand and took him to his home. He said to him: "Declare your cause and do not fear anyone!" Then Sa'd went and stood before the people of `Amr ibn `Awf and exclaimed: "O people of `Amr ibn `Awf, let there be Do man, woman, virgin or married woman, neither old man, nor youth but that they should come forth; this is not a day of hiding or seclusion! " When they had all gathered, he said: "What is my status with you?" With one voice they said: "You are our master who is obeyed among us, nor shall we-oppose you in anything! Command us then to do whatever you wish." He said: "It shall be unlawful for me to speak to your men, women or children until you bear witness that, `There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.' Praise be to Allah Who has honoured us with that (faith). He (Muhammad) is the one of whom the Jews informed us." There was not a house of the people of `Amr ibn `Awf but that a man or woman of its inhabitants then accepted Islam. He then said to Mus'ab ibn `Umayr: "Declare your cause and call the people openly to it." Thus, Islam spread widely in Medina. All the notables of the two tribes (that is, the Aws and Khazraj) entered into Islam, because of what they remembered of the reports of the Jews.
The Messenger of Allah was then informed of the coming of the Aws and Khazraj into Islam, for Mus'ab had written to him concerning this matter. But anyone of the Quraysh who had accepted Islam was beaten and tortured by his people. For this reason the Messenger of Allah ordered all such people to migrate to Medina. They used to escape secretly one man at a time and when they arrived in Medina, the people of the Aws and Khazraj opened their homes to them and received them with hospitality and kindness.
It is reported that when the people of the Aws and Khazraj came to Mecca (for the pilgrimage), the Messenger of Allah came to them and pleaded: "Would you protect me so that I may recite to you the Book of your Lord, and that your reward with Allah be Paradise? " "Yes, O Messenger of Allah", they answered. "You shall have whatever you wish for yourself and your Lord." He then said to them: "Your appointment with me shall be at the `Aqabah (a place outside Mecca) on the middle night of the nights of tashriq (that is, the three days following the Day of Sacrifice, which concludes the pilgrimage rites)." After they had performed the pilgrimage rites, they returned to Mina (one of the stations of the pilgrimage), many of them having accepted Islam, but the majority still adherents of their old religion. Among them on that journey was `Abdullah ibn Ubayy. The Messenger of Allah said to them on the second day of the days of tashriq, "Gather all of you in the house of `Abdu 'l-Muttalib, which is in the `Aqabah. Let each one come alone stealthily so that you wake up no one who is asleep."
The Messenger of Allah was staying in the house of `Abdu 'l-Muttalib along with Hamzah, `Ali and al-`Abbas. Forty men of the people of the Aws and Khazraj gathered together with him at the house of `Abdu 'l-Muttalib. When they had all settled down, the Messenger of Allah repeated his former plea: "Would you protect me so that I may recite to you the Book of your Lord, and that your reward with Allah be Paradise?" As'ad ibn Zurarah, al-Bard' ibn Ma'rur and `Abdullah ibn Hizam all answered: "Yes, O Messenger of Allah, lay upon us whatever conditions you wish for yourself and your Lord." The Messenger of Allah went on: "You shall protect me as you would protect yourselves, and protect my family as you would your families and children." They enquired: "What shall be our benefit from all this?" He answered: "You shall have Paradise. You shall also rule over the Arabs and non-Arabs in this world, and you shall be kings." "We accept", they all concurred.
Then al-`Abbas ibn Nadlah of the Aws tribe arose and spoke to the people thus: "O people of the Aws and Khazraj, do you know full well where are you going? You are indeed headed for warfare with peoples both red and white (an expression indicating great scope and variety), as well as with the kings of this world! If you think that you will abandon him whenever calamity befalls you, then do not imperil him. For even though the people of the Messenger of Allah have opposed him, still he lives here in security and honour." `Abdullah ibn Hizam, As'ad ibn Zurarah and Abu 'l-Haytham ibn at-Tayyihan said: "Why should you be dismayed by such words, O Messenger of Allah? Rather, we shall ransom your blood with our blood and your soul with our souls. Lay down, therefore, whatever conditions you wish both for yourself and for your Lord! "
The Messenger of Allah demanded: "Appoint for me twelve chiefs from among you who would guarantee all this for me, just as Moses took from among the Children of Israel twelve chiefs. [42] They said: "Rather, choose them yourself if you so wish." Gabriel pointed them out to him. Thus the Prophet, chose nine -of the Khazraj pointing to each man: As'ad ibn Zurarah, al-Bard' ibn Ma'rur, `Abdullah ibn Hizam, Abu Jabir ibn `Abdillah, Rafi` ibn Malik, Sa'd ibn `Ubadah, al-Mundhir ibn `Amr, `Abdullah ibn Rawdhah, Sa'd ibn ar-Rabi` and `Ubadah ibn as-Samit. Of the Aws tribe, he chose: Abu'lHaytham ibn at-Tayyihan - who was a man from Yemen and an ally of the people of `Amr ibn `Awf - Usayd ibn Hudayr and Sad ibn Khaythamah.
When they had all come together to pledge allegiance to the Messenger of Allah, Satan cried out among the people of Quraysh saying: "O people of Quraysh and all you Arabs, behold Muhammad and the apostates with him at `Aqabah pledging their allegiance to him that they may wage war against you! " His voice was so loud that it was heard by all the pilgrims who were in Mina. The people of Quraysh were greatly stirred up so that they rushed to arms. The Messenger of Allah heard the clamour, and ordered the Helpers (al-Ansar) : "Disperse!" But they all said: "O Messenger of Allah, if you were to command us to rush at them with our swords, we would do so." The Messenger of Allah replied: "I was not commanded to do this. Allah has not permitted me to wage war against them." They persisted, saying: "O Messenger of Allah, would you then come out with us? " "I must wait for Allah's Command", he answered.
All the people of Quraysh to the last one came forth, heavily armed. Hamzah went out with his sword, accompanied by 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, and stood at the `Aqabah. When they saw Hamzah, they asked: "To what purpose have you all gathered together?" He answered: "No, we have not gathered together; nor is there anyone here. By Allah, no one shall go through this `Aqabah, but that I shall smite him with my sword! " They thus turned back and went to `Abdullah ibn Ubayy and said: "It has reached us that your people have pledged allegiance to Muhammad that they will wage war with him against us! " But `Abdullah swore to them that his people had done nothing of the sort, that he had no knowledge of it and that they had not informed him of any such intention. The people of Quraysh believed him; the Ansar went their way, and the Messenger of Allah returned to Mecca.

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