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.
- The World Before Islam.. 3
- Lineage. 3
- Birth of Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ 3
- Childhood. 4
- Youth. 4
- Marriage. 4
- Revelation. 5
- Preaching. 5
- Opposition & Migration (year 6). 6
- The Boycott years (7-9). 7
- “A bounty is appreciated when its lost.” To appreciate the light of Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ understand the darkness before and what we would be in today without him.
- State of the Arabs.
- Byzantium and Persia, the superpowers of the day.
- Yemen, under Persia, land of maternal ancestry of Quraysh.
- Kaʿbah, its origins and origins of idolatry. Do Muslims worship the Kaʿbah?
- ʾIbrāhīm and ʾIsmāʿīl ʿalayhimas salām.
- ʾIbrāhīm and ʾIsmāʿīl ʿalayhimas salām.
- Jurhum of Yemen.
- Banū Khuzāʿah. Migrated to Makkah 5 centuries before Islā Quṣṣāy married woman of Khuzāʿah, hence generations later allied with Muslims, ultimately conquest of Makkah. Tafsīr of Sūrah Sajdah – destined matters are set in a thread of motion a thousand years before.
- Hāshim married woman of Yathrib, where his son, Shaybah = ʿAbdul Muṭṭalib grew up.
- Zamzam lost and found.
- Year of the Elephant. Delicacy of Arabic – ʿĀmul Fīl, NOT Sannatul Fīl.
- Abraha and the Elephants.
- Makkah, 570, Exact date not absolutely known.
- Most narrations of miracles at birth are not authentically proven, except for the light which Aminah saw that extended all the way to Syria.
- The four “mothers” of Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ . Abū Lahab frees Thuwaybiyah, as a result his punishment is alleviated in Hell. One moment of love is eternally rewarded, how then if a Muslim is steadfast in Sunnah?
- Name – almost unique amongst the Arabs.
- Never saw his father, ʿAbdullāh died during the pregnancy period.
- Quraysh sent their children to be raised in the desert – for health reasons and to learn pure Arabic.
- Banū Saʿd bin Bakr – a tribe which specialised in this kind of child rearing. Spoke the purest of Arabic and Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ later attributed his amazing eloquence to them. Experiencing drought.
- Ḥalīmah as-Saʿdīyah i.e. of Banū Sʿad, accompanied wet-nurses of her tribe to Makkah. All rejected Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ due to his perceived poverty. Ḥalīmah turned back and accepted custody as a last resort and immediately perceived blessings. Her old goat started producing milk again. Her riding animal became fast.
- Asked Āminah for an extension at age 2.
- At age 4 Jibrīl opened his chest and removed black spot from heart. Returned to Āminah.
- Age 6, Āminah dies at ʾAbwā. Umm ʾAyman takes him back to ʾAbdul Muṭṭalib.
- Age 8, ʿAbdul Muṭṭalib dies. Entrusted to Abū Ṭālib, the poorest of all the uncles.
- Teenage years spent as a shepherd.
- Allāh created circumstances e.g. fainting/ barriers against the customs of the time e.g. parties, working naked.
- Ḥilful Fuḍūl – oath to protect the oppressed. Al-Āṣ bin Wāʾil refused to pay the Zubaydī merchant from Yemen. Decent men gathered around ʾAbdullāh bin Jadʿān to halt such practice, including Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ . He was happy about this oath even after Islām, i.e. good can be done with non-Muslim cooperation.
- Learnt trade from Abū Ṭālib in Syria, but the incident of meeting the monk is denied by several scholars.
- Khadījah bint Khuwaylid, may Allāh be pleased with her, twice-widowed and had considerable wealth. Had children from her first husband. She is called aṭ-Ṭāhirah, the Pure Woman and her descendants are Banū Ṭāhirah
- Hired Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ to sell her merchandise in Syria.
- She was so impressed with his ability, honesty and character that she proposed to him, a poor man, having rejected the proposals of the elite of Makkah.
- Muḥammad صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ was 25 and she was 40. He was not worried about her age, he loved her character.
- She bore all his children except for ʾIbrāhīm son of Māriyah
- At age 35 Kaʿbah was destroyed by flood. The various clans argued who would replace the Black Stone. Agreed that whoever entered Masjid first could decide.
- Honour of even pagans. No Ḥarām funds allowed at the insistence of the worst pagan, Abū Jahl. So Kaʾbah was shortened to its present dimensions when Ḥalāl funds were depleted.
- When Muḥammad صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ approached his 40th year he began to feel an intense spiritual agitation and desire to worship in seclusion.
- Rocks greeted him and years later he remembered a particular rock. How then if we greet him with love?
- For 6 months before Ramaḍān he experienced true dreams.
- Monday during that Ramaḍān, first revelation, Cave of Ḥirāʾ in Mount Nūr.
- Darkness, Jibrīl’s form was not seen. Squeezed Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ thrice so hard he thought he was going to die.
- Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ was anxious and it was our Mother, Khadījah raḍiyallāhu ʿanhā who comforted him at this critical juncture. She mentions his good character, not his ritual worship, e.g. assist the less fortunate, hospitable to guests, etc
- No further revelation for a while, people mocked, that his “demon” had abandoned him. In other words ,he was the first person to be tested.
- Khadījah raḍiyallāhu ʿanhā, took him to her cousin, the Christian monk, Waraqah bin Nawfal, who testified to his truth and that he would be persecuted. He died shortly thereafter and is known to enter Paradise.
- Quiet preaching at the outset for three years. Most early coverts were poor, e.g. Bilāl, but also rich, e.g. ʿUthmān, may Allah be pleased with him.
- Invited his close relations to meals and preached to them, only ʾAlī, who was a child, accepted.
- First public preaching at Abū Qubays. Abū Lahab threw sand and cursed, “May you be destroyed for the rest of your day.” Sūrah Lahab revealed in response.
- Continuous preaching at all public venues – Kaʿbah, markets etc.
- Quraysh attempt to stop Muḥammad صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ through Abū Ṭālib, offering him wealth, kingship and women. Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ responds, “O my uncle, were they to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, and ask me to abandon this course, I would not turn from it until Allāh makes it victorious or I perish therein.”
- Quraysh attempted various means to stop Islām. Shouting so that the Qurʾān could not be heard. Propaganda, telling people that Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ was insane and should not be heard. Seeking advice from the Jews on how to combat him academically, (Sūrah Yūsuf and Sūrah Kahf).
- Al-Bazzār narrates: ʾAlī رضي الله عنه continued, “Indeed I saw the Quraysh grabbing Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ . One held him while another violently shook him. They were saying, ‘You are the one who made the gods one!’ By Allāh! None of us dared go near except Abū Bakr. He struck at one of them, pulled back another and shook another, whilst saying, ‘Woe unto you! Do you kill a man for saying my Lord is Allāh?’”
- Torture – Bilāl رضي الله عنه dragged through the streets. Beaten.
- Khabbāb رضي الله عنه branded with heated iron.
- Ṭalḥah رضي الله عنه seen dragged through the streets of Makkah as a young man. A woman was the most severe in abusing him. A foreigner asked who she was, it was his own mother.
- Sumayyah رضي الله عنها the first martyr. Abū Jahl speared her through her private part.
- Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ gave permission to the persecuted Muslims to migrate to Abysinnia, Ḥabshah, Ethiopia. 15 Muslims migrated the first time,e.g. ʿUthmān.
- Negus, an-Najāshī, title of the Emperor, not name.
- Christian ruler known for his justice.
- They returned after 3 months, heard false rumour that the Quraysh accepted Islā
- Some accepted protection of Quraysh leaders.
- 2nd migration was more than 70. This time the Quraysh sent a delegation under Amr bin al-ʿĀṣ to retrieve the “rebels and trouble makers”
- Jaʿfar bin Abī Ṭālib defended the Muslim position. He had refused the Quraysh example of bowing before the Emperor.
- His speech is lauded by scholars as the one of the best concise and comprehensive invitations to Islām
- فقال له جعفر: أيها الملك كنا قوما على الشرك نعبد الاوثان ونأكل الميتة ونسئ الجوار، يستحل المحارم بعضنا من بعض في سفك الدماء وغيرها، لا نحل شيئا ولا نحرمه.
فبعث الله إلينا نبيا من أنفسنا نعرف وفاءه وصدقه وأمانته فدعانا إلى أن نعبد الله وحده لا شريك له ونصل الارحام ونحمي الجوار ونصلي لله عزوجل، ونصوم له، ولا نعبد غيره.،
- “O King! We were a people upon polytheism. We worshipped idols and ate carrion. We forgot our neighbours and regarded the unlawful as lawful, in that we shed each other’s blood amongst other things. We had no real concept of the permitted and the prohibited. Allāh then sent a Prophet unto us. We knew his loyalty, honesty and trustworthiness. He called us to worship God alone, without any partners; to maintain relations; to protect neighbours; that we pray unto God, fast for His sake, worshipping none but Him.” [Ibn Hishām]
- The Emperor granted the Muslims protection and evicted the Quraysh delegation with their gifts. It is probable that he died upon Islā Rasūlullāh صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ performed the funeral of a Negus although the body was in another continent. It is probable that this was a second Negus and both were Muslims.
- ʿUmar bin ʾal-Khaṭṭāb, arch-enemy of Islām becomes great defender of Islām, Dārul ʾArqam. First public cry of Takbīr which is how Muslims express joy. Not hand-clapping and other pagan customs.
- Abū Jahl led the Quraysh to impose a boycott on Banū Hāshim which would last three years.
- They were not allowed food, drink, trade, marriage with other clans, and went into exile in the Glen of Abū Ṭālib.
- Non-Muslim Hāshimīs maintained solidarity and accepted exile as well, excluding Abū Lahab.
- Banū Muṭṭalib voluntarily joined Banū Hāshim. Some laws of Sharīʿah remain specific to Banū Hāshim and Banū Muṭṭalib.
- Extreme hunger, eating leaves.
- Muṭʿim bin ʿAdī and others used to smuggle in some food.
- Eventually Zuhayr, son of Ātikah bint ʿAbdil Muṭṭalib led some Quraysh to tear up the boycott decree. Allāh had already sent termites to eat the document, excluding, “Bismikallāhumma”
و صلى الله على راكب البراق كامل الأخلاق
On Thursday my rather bright student asked, “You say that Allah created Adam, but science says that we are evolved from apes.” Before getting to the summary of my reply, note the following indications of how the poor boy has already been affected:
- “You say…” – as if this is my own queer view, not absolute fact.
- “Adam” not “Aadam عليه السلام”
Me: Science does not say that. Some people say that, but its not science. I just saw a documentary a few weeks back about how scientists who do not believe in evolution lose their jobs, get fired and are oppressed because they do not believe in evolution, or even just because they want to discuss the possibility that evolution is not true. They are not even allowed to bring their evidence. There are many scientists in the world who are not Muslim, but they do not believe in evolution. As scientists they believe that there is a Creator. Now tell me, what does the word “theory” mean?
Student: Something which might be?
Me: Exactly! It’s not an absolute fact. You will say, “My theory is…. I theorise…” In other words, “I think so.” Its not something that is definitely proven. Even those who believe in it will call it the “theory of evolution.”Evolutionists have never given any absolute evidence for any stage of evolution. Whereas the opposite is true. Evolution can be disproved at any stage. They claim that at every stage the animal changes to something better. They say from a single celled animal fish came which became amphibians which started walking because they wanted to come onto the land. They became apes and then humans.
Student: Isn’t it that there are bush babies somewhere in there?
Me: Maybe, whatever that is. Let’s just look at the fish story. You go a lot to Durban isn’t it?
Me: Does your daddy fish?
Me: Okay, ask him to take you fishing. Now if you take a fish and throw it on the beach, have you ever see it grow legs because it needs to walk on land?
Student (laughing): No.
Me: Okay. Shame. Let’s give the evolutionists another chance. What will happen if you take 20 fish and throw them on the beach?