Herewith my notes for the Sīrah discussion I intend giving this year after Tarāwīḥ, Allāh willing. If we had all the time in the world we could not do justice to the greatest personality that ever walked the face of the earth. Yet in view of the lack of knowledge on the basics of his life by the general public I am using this platform for this purpose, on the premise that one can only truly love someone if one knows that person. As long as we are ignorant about the life and character of Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ our love for him cannot be as complete as it could be.
11. The Year of Sorrow
- Shortly after the boycott ended Abū Ṭālib died.
- Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ begged him to recite the Kalimah, but upon the taunting of Abū Jahl, “Are you going to leave the religion of Abdul Muṭṭalib?” he refused and insisted that he was dying on his father’s religion.
- Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ was greatly grieved when his beloved uncle died on disbelief, but ordered Alī رضي الله عنه to bury him. Furthermore, he no longer had the protection of the chief of Banū Hāshim and persecution became more direct and violent.
- Thereafter our mother, Khadījah رضي الله عنها , died. Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ never smiled for months thereafter.
- Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ had not married anyone else during her lifetime.
- She used to take food to the Cave of Ḥirāʾ. It was she who comforted Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ during his anxiety after the first revelation and was his pillar of strength. She was the first female believer. She spent all her wealth on him and his cause. He always remembered her and sent gifts to her friends, to the extent that ʿĀishah felt feminine discomfort in regards her status, despite never having met her.
- Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ sought the protection of aṭ-Ṭāʾif, the town associated with his the tribe of his childhood, Banū Saʿd.
- The chiefs rejected him and allowed the rabble to stone him till his feet bled.
- The angel in charge of the mountains around aṭ-Ṭāʾif offered to crush the town, but Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ refused, hoping their progeny would be believers.
- However, Adas, a Christian slave embraced Islām and a delegation of Jinn overhead his recitation and embraced Islām, as mentioned in Sūrah al-Jinn.
- A consolation for Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ for his great sorrow, and also indicates the status of Khadījah رضي الله عنها.
- Isrāʾ – night journey – authenticated by the Qurʾā
- From the Ḥaṭīm. Jibrīl now washed the heart of Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ for the second time.
- The exact date is not known, not even the year for certain. As Muslims we commemorate the lessons and commands, i.e. Ṣalāh, not the anniversary.
- Isrā, first half of the journey was earth city (Makkah) to earth city (Baytul Muqaddas). Second half was to heaven (Miʿrāj). This may be symbolic of rights of created and Creator.
- Performs Ṣalāh, leading all the previous Prophets. Muḥammad صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ is the Imām of Ambiyāʾ.
- Jibrīl asks him to choose between wine and milk.
- Ascension to the Heavens. Each gate-keeper angels asks, “Who is this? Was he called for?” Stories that heavens were specially decorated in preparation are false and have no basis in Ḥadīth.
- At each heaven specific prophets welcome him, from Ādam to Ibrāhīm.
- 50 Ṣalāh made compulsory, reduced by 5-10 at the insistence of Mūsā, until 5 for which we are rewarded 50.
- Various scenes of Paradise and Hell.
- When he related this to the Quraysh they mocked him and demanded evidence. He described the Masjid as Allāh showed him. The masjid was used as rubbish dump. This does not mean the building did not exist as some claim. Further when Umar conquered Baytul Muqaddas, he cleaned the Masjid, not built it.
- Abū Bakr earned his titles of ʾaṣ-Ṣidīq on this occasion when he immediately accepted the word of Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ without any doubt.
13. Oath of ʿAqabah
- Various tribes came to Makkah for business and pilgrimage.
- Having not convinced the Quraysh and Ṭāʾif, Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ turned to other tribes.
- He focussed on the prominent tribes for practical reasons, e.g. Kindah, Banū Shaybah, Banū Ḥanīfah. All rejected.
- At this early stage when Muslims were few in number and politically insignificant, Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ already promised the conquest of Persia to whoever accepted his message. Prophecy can only be accepted by those of faith when it seems impossible. There is nothing amazing about accepting what seems materially bound to happen.
- The Aws and Khazraj, two clans of Azd, had decimated each other in wars lasting years over petty issues and acutely needed a leader. They were politically unimportant, except for the location of their city, Yathrib, on the trade route to Syria.
- They understood more about Prophethood because the Jews lived in their city and declared that they awaited a Prophet. In fact two Levite clans built Yathrib at the site where they expected him to appear.
- Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ met 6 people of Khazraj at ʾAqabah from Yathrib, they were keen. They recognised this to be the promised Prophet and accepted.
- They returned home and spread Islā The next year 12 of both clans rendered the First Oath of ʿAqabah – oath of Islām
- Rasūlullāh r sent Musʿab bin ʿUmayr to teach Islā The people called him al-Muqriʾ, the Reader. When there was 40 Muslims Musʿab started the first Jumuʿah at the house of Asʿad bin Zurārah. People would always remember Asʿad at the time of Jumuʿah.
- The following year 71 men and 2 women pledged the Second Oath of ʾAqabah, but insisted that Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ would never leave them. This time oath of Islām combined with political allegiance.