2. The Period of Prophethood

June 22, 2013 in The Final Divine Religion ISLAM

At last, when the Messenger of Allah turned forty, Allah Almighty granted him prophethood with His command “Proclaim! (or: Read!) in the name of your Lord and Cherisher.”[1]

In the first days after declaring his invitation, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) addressed the people of the Kuraish tribe from a high rock on the hillock of Safa:

 “O the community of Kuraish! If I tell you that in the outskirts of that mountain or in that valley there are enemy cavalries who are poised to attack you and seize your property, would you believe me?” he asked. Without hesitation, they said:

“Yes we would believe you because up until now we have always found you telling the truth. We never heard you lie!” Upon this, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) declared that he was a warner-prophet sent by Allah. With great emotion he told people that whoever believed in his words and lived a good life following Allah’s commands would be rewarded with the most lavish gifts in the hereafter, and that the disbelievers would face a severe torment. He conveyed to them that it was necessary to prepare for that endless life while in this world. But he immediately found that it was very difficult to turn people away from their wrong beliefs.[2]

The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) left no stone unturned in inviting his people to the truth after that day regardless of their torment and oppression. He used to visit from door to door, visit the groups of pilgrims and markets, and he used to call people to the right path at every chance. He never used to be bored or fed up with these, he used to tell them the same truths time and again, even to people who were hostile to him in the most ferocious way. By telling people that “No reward do I ask of you for this (Qur’an), nor am I a pretender.”[3] he was informing people that he was only spreading the religion for the sake of Allah.

The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) was unlettered: like many people of his time he could not read or write.[4] Thus, it was impossible for him to have learnt the things he told from another person or read a book and then report them. For an illiterate person to all of a sudden start giving very important pieces of information at the highest level of eloquence and fluency would be possible only by revelation. Even his enemies at the time knew and acknowledged this.

The pagans used to appreciate our master the Prophet’s morals, and believed sincerely that he was not lying. But they were not willing to leave the worldly benefits that they had unjustly obtained or their carnal desires. One day, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) stopped by Abu Jahl and his friends, who were the Prophet’s fierce enemies. They said:

“O Muhammad! By Allah we are not denying you, you are with us an extremely truthful person. However, we are denying the verses that you brought.”[5]

The pagans tried everything to have HE Prophet give up his mission. They asked his beloved uncle to interfere. They came to our master with attractive proposals like crowning him king, collecting money and making him the richest among them, having him marry the most beautiful women, and they said “we are ready to do whatever you ask for.” The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) gave this response in clear and lucid fashion:

“I do not want anything from you. Neither goods, nor materials, nor kingdom, nor chiefdom! The only thing that I want is this: Stop worshipping the idols and worship Allah who is one!” (Ibn-i Kathir, Al Bidaya, III, 99-100).

When the pagans realized they could not get any compromise from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him), they focused on hostile action. They increased the oppression and torture against Muslims as the days passed. Some of the Muslims migrated to Ethiopia that was under a just administration at the time.

The pagans broke off all human relations with the Muslims and their protectors, the Banu Hashim (the tribe of the Prophet), including marriage and civil transactions. They enshrined their action in a written pact which they hung up on the wall of Kaaba. This boycott and embargo continued with increasing severity for three years. The Muslims suffered greatly from hunger and other troubles. The Messenger of Allah, along with Zaid bin Haris, went to the city of Taif, 160 kilometers away from Mecca. He stayed there for 10 days, addressing the leaders of the tribe of Thaqif, some of whom were related to his mother. But they also mocked him, then they started reviling him. At last, they stood their slaves and young boys in rows at the sides of the roads that the Messenger of Allah used and had them hurl stones and insults at him. Even in the face of this heinous act, the Prophet of mercy, although bloodied to the point his sandals stuck to his feet, did not curse them but prayed to God:

“O Allah! I am submitting to you that my strength has gone, that I am helpless, that I am being considered low and worthless in the eyes of people. O the Most Merciful! If you are not angry at me I would not care about the worries and troubles that I have! O God! May you open their eyes to the truth, they do not know. O God! I ask for your forgiveness here until you are pleased.” (Ibn-i Hisham, II, 29-30; Haythami, VI, 35).

The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) tells his return from Taif as follows:

“I was on my way back and walking in deep sorrow. I arrived at the place called Karnul Sealib I could not pull myself together. When I raised my head there I saw that a cloud was shadowing me. When I looked more carefully I noticed Gabriel (upon him peace). Gabriel said to me:

‘God Almighty heard what your people have said to you and how they refused to give protection to you. He sent the Angel of Mountains for you to do whatever you want to them.’ Then, the Angel of Mountains greeted me, and said:

‘O Muhammad!.. Allah Almighty sent me to you to do your bidding. What do you want me to do? If you wish I can collapse these two mountains on their head.’ Then, I said:

‘No, I pray to Almighty God that He lets offspring rise from their bloodlines who would worship only Him and associate no partners with Allah.’ “ (Bukhari, Bed-ul Halk, 7; Muslim, Jehad, 111)

In those days, a group of people that came from Medina became Muslims. They started to preach Islam in Medina. They asked from our master the Prophet to send a knowledgeable person. In a short period of time, there was no house Islam had not entered. At last, they invited the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) to Medina and promised that they would protect him.



[1].     Al-Alaq (The Blood Clot), 96: 1-2.

 

[2].     See Bukhari, Tefsîr, 26/2; Ahmad bin Hanbal, I, 159, 111.

 

[3].     Sâd, 38: 86.

 

[4].     Al-Ankabût (The Spider), 29: 48.

 

[5].     Vâhidî, Esbâbü Nüzûl, p. 219; Tirmizî, Tefsîr, 6/3064.