THE SUNNAH OF INTELLECTUAL COURAGE
Jalal Nafi' p.16
VOLUME 25 ISSUE 9 RAMADAN 1434 / JULY-AUG 2013
Sîrah at the Center why every Muslim should master the life story of the master Prophet œ Abd Al-Rahman Al-Mahmud
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Annotated Timeline of the Prophet’s Call The Sîrah at a Glance Raising a Prophet-Loving Generation Hammam Al-Harithi
Tafsîr Al-Qur~ubî Imâm Al-Qur~ubi (d. 671 h) THIS ÂYAH BEARS a divine command to the Prophet œ to propagate Islam openly, as opposed to the underground preaching he was initially compelled to pursue out of fear of the Arab idolaters (mushrikîn). Moreover, the âyah refutes the baseless claims of the Râfidah [lit. the Rejecters, a name ascribed to the heretical Shiite Muslims who believe in the divine right of ¢Alî to succeed Muhammad œ and who ‘reject’ the Companion Caliphs Abû Bakr and ¢Umar as unlawful rulers of the Muslim community]. They alleged that the Prophet œ suppressed—that is, did not convey to people in general—some religious knowledge [that is, some Divine Revelation] out of dissimulation (taqîyyatan). The âyah is conclusive evidence that the Prophet œ did not confide exclusive religious knowledge [Revelation] to anyone, the divine command to the Prophet œ being unequivocal: (O Messenger! Proclaim all that has been sent down to you from your Lord. For if you do not do [so], then you will not have conveyed His Message.) Some Quran commentators have said this âyah was revealed in the case of Zaynab bint Ja^sh Al-Asadîyyah (the wife of the Prophet œ). Others suggest various occasions for its revelation. The sound view, however, is the one voiced by Ibn ¢Abbâss who said that this passage is of general application (¢âm), and also serves as a divine warning to the Prophet œ and to bearers of knowledge from among his followers not to conceal anything of the Sharî¢ah. Imâm Muslim reported that ¢Âishah said: Whosoever tells you that Mu^ammad œ suppressed any portion of what Allah had revealed to him, has lied to you, for Allah addressed his Prophet saying: (O Messenger! Proclaim all that has been sent down to you from your lord. For if you do not, then you will not have conveyed His Message.) May Allah’s curse be on the Râfi\ah who falsely claim that the Prophet œ concealed a portion of the Revelation to which people were in need. In this ayah, as well, Allah pledges his full protection of the person of the Prophet œ against people’s harm and intrigue. There are many instances of Allah’s preservation of His Prophet œ. Here is one notable example. Al-Qâ\î ¢Iyâ\ includes the following well-known account in his Al-Shifâ¢.
The Prophet œ was once asleep in the shade of a tree when a desert Bedouin came upon him and, with sword in hand, said to him: “Who will defend you against me?” The Prophet œ without alarm answered: “Allah.” Thereupon the Bedouin was struck with panic and began trembling so violently that the sword dropped from his hand. The Prophet œ stood, seized the sword, and addressed the Bedouin, saying: “Now, who shall protect you from me?” “Be merciful to me,” said the shaken Bedouin. The Prophet œ then granted him amnesty and allowed him to go away unmolested.
There is a report to the effect that Abû >âlib the caring paternal uncle of the Prophet œ used to order a group of men from the clan of Banû Hâshim to guard the Prophet œ. This practice, according to the report, continued until the Prophet œ received the present âyah and said to Abû >âlib: “O uncle of mine! Allah has preserved me from the jinn and mankind. Therefore, I no longer need anyone to guard me.” I [Imâm Qur~ubî] said: Accepting this report, however, would mean that this âyah was revealed in the Makkan part of the call of the Prophet œ, when in truth this âyah was revealed some time during the Madinah period of his call. One proof that this is so is the hadîth reported by Muslim on the authority of ¢Âishah , who said:
One night, in the early days of his residence in Madinah, the Prophet œ said: “Would that a righteous man from among my Companions guard me tonight.” A while later we heard a clamor: “Who is this?” said the Prophet œ. “It is I, Sa¢d ibn Abî Waqqâs.,” came the answer. “What brings you here?” said the Prophet œ. “I feared for your safety. Thus I came here to guard you tonight,” said Sa¢d. After thanking Sa¢d and making du¢â’ (supplication) on his behalf, the Prophet œ fell asleep. Then later that night the Prophet œ received the revelation of this âyah, and he called out to Sa¢d from inside his room saying: “You may leave now. Allah has preserved me.”
None should entertain any doubt, then, that the Prophet œ may have suppressed some portions of the revealed message. Moreover, the fact that this âyah is part of the last sûrah ever to be sent down to the Prophet œ gives the lie to the baseless assertions of [heretical] deviants. They claim that the Prophet œ did not communicate all that Allah had sent down to him, in favor of imparting some religious [Revealed] knowledge to a specific circle of people, to the exclusion of the Ummah at large. These claimants are the Râfidah. This âyah, then, is an ultimate repudiation of their absurd assertion. They allege that the mu| haf collected by Caliph Abû Bakr and copied into a definitive copy by Caliph ¢Uthmân (the mu| haf which is in the hands of Muslims today) is partial, incomplete. They claim that the Prophet œ gave a considerable amount (equivalent to “a camel's load,” as they put it) of Quranic passages exclusively to ¢Alî ibn Abî >âlib . He, in turn, is said to have bequeathed it to his progeny, and it is now in the possession of the alleged Infallible Imâm (Al-Imâm Al-Ma¢sûm), whom some Shiites call Al-Mahdi Al-Munta ir (the Awaited Guide) or Al-Wa|i (the Steward of the Prophet œ).Some of the partisans to ¢Alî , in his own lifetime, entertained this deluded notion, that the Prophet œ singled out some people, namely, ¢Alî and his descendants, for exclusive reception of Quranic passages and other religious knowledge. When people inquired of ¢Alî as to the truth of this claim, he denied it categorically. Bukhâri narrates:
Sûrat Al-Mâ¢idah, 5:67
|______| |____| |______||______| |_______| |_______| |_____|
For your Lord if conj pron, n conj subord coord poss
you pron, obj of prep
what pron has been sent down v pass
proclaim v imper
|_________________| |_____| |______________|
Messenger n, subj of v
the art def
O voc part
____ ____ |____| |______| |________| | || | |____| _________ |_______| |________________| |_______||____| |____| | | |____________| |______________| |___________| |______| |______|
Indeed conj adv God conj coord
people n, obj of prep
you pron, obj of v from prep
God conj coord [will] preserve v
And conj coord
his pron, message poss n, obj of v
you pron, subj of v
will have conveyed v
then conj subord
do [so v
not neg you pron, subj of v
|____| |_______________| |__________|
people n, obj of v
[He] guides v
(O Messenger! Proclaim all that has been sent down to you from your Lord. For if you do not, then you will not have conveyed His Message. And Allah will preserve you from the people. Indeed, Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.) — Sûrat Al-Mâ'idah, 5:67.
Tafsîr Al-Ta^rîr Wa’l-Tanwîr
Shaykh Al->âhir ibn ¢Âshûr (d.1393 h) THE ARABIC IMPERATIVE balligh (verbal noun: tablîgh) is an imperative form from the trilateral root ba . la . gha, which denotes “reaching” the intended destiny. [The meaning of the term can be rendered in English in many ways: To convey, to communicate, to proclaim, and similar constructions.] As it occurs in this âyah, the term signifies Allah’s imposition on Prophet Mu^ammad œ of the obligation of ‘conveying’ the Revealed message (Al-Risâlah) to all those who need to be acquainted with it, i.e., ummat al-da¢wah, or all mankind and jinnkind.
Tablîgh (conveyance) materializes when the person to whom it is made has fully grasped the essence of the message conveyed, either before or at the time of his need for the message. The Prophet œ, as the sîrah shows, used to communicate the Revelations of the Quran right after receiving them. He would instruct Muslims to commit these Revelations to memory, write them down, recite them, and listen to their recitation. The Prophet œ would also send those of his Companions knowledgeable of the Quran to different locales to teach it to the people in them, as in the case of the Companion Mu|¢ab ib ¢Umayr whom the Prophet œ sent from Makkah to Madinah as a Quran teacher. Thus, as the âyah indicates, the Prophet œ is divinely commanded to communicate to people all that was revealed to him.
A man—Abû Ju^ayfah—once asked ¢Alî: “Do you [i.e., ¢Alî’s household] have religious knowledge [parts of Revelation to the Prophet œ] other than that which is included in the Quran or that which Muslims generally know?” ¢Alî said: “By the Splitter of grain and Creator of mankind, no! We have no religious knowledge other than what is included in the Quran, or the meanings we infer from its passages, or the knowledge recorded in this |ahîfah (scroll)!” Abû Ju^ayfah said: “And what kind of knowledge is recorded in this |ahîfah?” ¢Alî said: “An explication of the following legal injunctions: Al-¢aql (blood money), freeing war captives, and that a Muslim should not be put to death in retaliation for his killing an unbeliever.”
Now, the Prophet œ may elaborate some legal injunctions—that are not mentioned in the revealed Quran—to some people because those injunctions concern them specifically. ¢Alî, for instance, received the Prophet’s elaboration on the injunctions recorded in the aforementioned |ahîfah because he was at the time serving as chief justice in Yemen. This act on the part of the Prophet œ, however, in no way contradicts the divine command to him to communicate the Revealed Message to all people, for the Prophet œ was in this instance merely explaining what was revealed to him, not imparting a revealed matter for the first time. Moreover, there is no indication that the Prophet œ withheld this selfsame knowledge [contained in the |a^îfah] from others who needed it. Furthermore, the Prophet œ commanded Muslims to convey his teachings to others who were not present when he pronounced them, thus revealing his keenness to comply with Allah's command that His message be thoroughly conveyed. The Prophet œ may single out some people for reception of knowledge that was not part of revealed religious legislation (tashrî¢). Here are some instances of this: On the day he died, the Prophet œ confided in his daughter Fâ~imah that he was going to die that day and that she would be the first of his household to die after him. He disclosed—in private—to Abû Bakr Al-ßidîq that Allah had given him [the Prophet œ] leave to migrate to Madinah. The Prophet œ disclosed to the Companion Hudhayfah ibn Al-Yamân the names of the Madinan hypocrites. The Companion Abû Hurayrah g is reported to have said: “I received two types of knowledge from Allah’s Messenger: One type I publicize. As for the other, I fear I would have my throat slashed if I disclosed it.” That being said, I emphatically believe that the book which the Prophet œ initially intended to write for Muslims while on his deathbed—a plan he later abandoned—did not concern Sharî¢ah-related matters. Had that been the case, the Prophet œ would never have abandoned the idea of writing it, for the divine command to him is crystal clear: O Messenger! Proclaim all that has been sent down to you from your lord. For if you do not do [so], then you will not have conveyed His Message.
Published by Al-Jumuah Inc. VOLUME 25 ISSUE 9 RAMA`AN 1434 / JULY-AUG 2013
Muhammad œ Is the Light of Our Lives
Adab The Station of Remembrance (Dhikr) Part-5 Quran Tafsîr on the Basis of Reason (Part-9) Article SÎrah at the Center why every Muslim should master the life story of the master Prophet œ Da¢wah Monotheism in the Hands of 4th Century churchMen (9) Are Today's Christians Monotheists? Was Paul? Raising a prophet-loving generation Special Issue Prophet Muhammad œ : Lineage and Sîrah Genealogical Tree of Prophet Muhammad œ Progression of a Mercy Unto Humanity Annotated Timeline of the Prophet’s Call Fiqh Learning the Prophet’s Prayer (6) Witr, Jumu¢ah, Eid, Janâzah and Ramadân The Fasting Prophet œ
Amer Haleem 8 Ibn Al-Jawzi (tr. Omar Abd'l Haleem) 12 Ibn Taymiyyah 21 ¢Abd Al-Rahmân Al-Mahmûd
38 Linda Thayer 42 Hammâm Al-¤ârithî
46 48 52 68 ¢Abda al-Huzhriyyah 72 Munira al-Mawdi
Published by Al-Jumuah Inc. Publisher and Editor Amer Haleem firstname.lastname@example.org
Muhammad œ Is the Light of Our Lives
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US Office: Al-Jumuah P.O. Box 5387 Madison,WI 53705-5387 U.S.A. Tel: (608) 277-1855 Fax: (608) 277-0323 UK Office: 7 Bridges Place, Parsons Green London SW6 4HW, U.K. Tel: (0207) 471 8263 Fax: (0207) 471 8264 KSA Office: PO Box 26970, Riyadh 11496 Zeid Bin Al Khatab Rd. Crossing with Prince Abdul Muhsin Road, Al Muhsin Trading Building # 31, Al Malaz Area, Riyadh KSA Tel: (9661) 478 7100 Ext. 33 (9661) 478 1700 Fax.: (9661) 478 6400 Al-Jumuah (ISSN 10923772) is published monthly for $30.00 per year by Al-Jumuah Magazine, Inc. The publication date for this issue is July 9, 2013. Principal Office: 4718 Hammersley Rd., Madison WI 53711. Periodicals postage paid at Madison Wisconsin and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Al-Jumuah P.O. Box 5387 Madison WI, 53705-5387. Copyright © 2013 Al-Jumuah, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior permission is prohibited. Writer opinions are not necessarily that of Al-Jumuah Magazine. Al-Jumuah Magazine is not responsible for the accuracy of information provided by the advertisers. Readers are encouraged to verify such information directly with the advertisers. Al-Jumuah Magazine reserves the right to reject any advertisement. This magazine contains some of Allah’s names. Please do not throw in the trash. Either keep, circulate, shred or recycle.
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(Those who disbelieve and bar people from the path of God, He lays waste their works. But those who believe, and do righteous deeds, and believe in all that has been sent down upon Muhammad—for it is, indeed, the truth from their Lord—He absolves them of their misdeeds and sets aright their intellect [and perception]. That is because those who disbelieve have followed falsehood, while those who believe have followed the truth from their Lord. So it is that Allah puts forth for all people the [true] semblance [of their way].) Sûrat Muhammad, 47:1-3.
Well, there it is. These words not only answer the fretful alarm of people everywhere about how to save a dying, rebelling world from the escalating insanity of, well, Al-Insân, humankind. They give us also the universal metaphor for man’s much sought after path to peace. Inner peace. Peace on earth. Peace with creation. Peace in life and in death. But most of all, they tell us how to come to peace with the God we are certain to meet when He grows us back to bodily existence, down to our fingertips, and sows again in us our long-departed souls. For then the only questions will be Peace or Nevermore. But there is no “semblance” of peace about anything these days. The world is a bad mess with none messier than Muslims. It’s all killing, killing, killing. Kill off the plants. Kill
off the animals. Kill off the sky, soil, and water. Kill off the brother, the neighbor, the other, and the babies before they even get here. All is night. And the only one Allah has sent as a light to guide humanity to peace is Muhammad œ, son of ¢Abdullah. (O Prophet! Indeed, We have sent you as a witness [to all the world]; and as a bearer of glad tidings [of everlasting delight in Paradise to those who believe]; and as a forewarner [to humanity of God’s nearing Judgment]; and as a caller to God, by His permission; and as a luminous beacon [to all the nations]) Sûrat Al-A^zâb, 33: 45-46. There is no one else, to the end of the earth, to whom Allah has given the radiance to light man’s path from darkness back to daylight. ([God] is the One who sends
down upon His servant [Muhammad] clear verses [of guidance] to bring all of you out from [the veils of] darkness into the light. For, indeed, God is all-kind and mercy-giving to you) Sûrat Al-±adîd, 57:9. But we Muslims are neither kind nor merciful among ourselves or to humanity. We are the ones who are supposed to seize hold of the Prophet’s stirrup, the hem of his holy mantle, and follow him—each one taking by the hand his brother in a human chain that leads from darkness to light, from earth to Heaven, from the desert of this life of death to the Garden of the Ever-after of deathless life. We must reattach ourselves to the Prophet œ, as individuals and as a community. We do this by studying the Book he risked all, spent all, renounced all to bring us, whole and unspoiled. And we study him—this Quranman in motion—his every step, word, and demonstration—all with a mind to internalize his meaning and reenact his intent in every like circumstance and with all due love of emulation. Here in these pages is something special for Rama\an to remind you of this, your purpose and path in the world: To follow Muhammad œ back to Allah, to put the denouement back in the witness, the living testimony, in deed, that is your mission statement, O Muslim, for this world. And Muhammad is His Messenger. –– Amer Haleem
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u Adab tr. Uwaymir Anjum PART Five
The Fiftieth Station
The Station of Remembrance (Dhikr) Heedlessness and Remembrance Annihilation and Subsistence Ibn Al-Qayyim
The author of Manâzil Al-Sâ’irîn, Shaykh ¢Abdullâh Al-An|ârî Al-Harawî (d. 482/1089) said: “Remembrance (dhikr) is to be rid of heedlessness and forgetfulness.” The difference between heedlessness and forgetfulness is that heedlessness is willful neglect whereas forgetfulness is involuntary, which is why Allah, the All-Powerful, said: (Be not among the heedless) Sûrat Al-A¢râf, 7:205—and why He did not say: “Be not among the forgetful,” for forgetfulness does not fall within human responsibility and hence is not always blameworthy. Al-Harawî further said: “Remembrance has three levels. First is exoteric remembrance: by way of praise, supplication, and assertion.” By ‘exoteric’ he means remembrance by the tongue and heart, not by the tongue alone, for that has no worth in the eyes of the people of the path [of spiritual ascent]. Remembrance of the praise type means statements like subhân’Allâh (God is exalted), al-hamduli’Llâh (all praise is for God), and lâ ilâha illa’Llâh (there is no god but [the
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One] God), and Allâhu akbar (God is the greatest). Remembrances of the supplication type comprise statements like (Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves, and if you forgive us not, and show us not mercy, we shall surely be among the losers) Sûrat Al-A¢râf, 7:23 and “O Alive One! O [our] Sustainer! By thy mercy I ask thine help,” and the like. Remembrances of the assertion type include statements such as “God is with me,” “God watches over me,” “God is my witness,” and the like, statements that are used to strengthen our presence with Allah in order to attain the benefit of the heart, to cultivate proper etiquette toward Allah, to avoid heedlessness, and to protect against Satan and one’s baser self. bring The prayers of the Prophet together all three kinds of remembrance, including praise for Allah, supplication and plea, and explanation. As in a hadîth, the Prophet said: “The best supplication is to say: ‘Praise to God.’” Sufyân ibn ¢Uyaynah was asked: “Why did [the Prophet ] consider this a supplication?” He said: “Have you not
heard the couplet of Umayyah ibn Abi Al-ßalt to ¢Abdallâh ibn Jud¢ân, when hoping for his favor: Shall I mention my need, or your courtesy shall suffice me? Often sufficient is what a man earns when he praises you.
If this is the case of a creature, praising the one who suffices a man in fulfilling his need, what, then, of the Lord of All the Worlds? Prophetic prayers further include the best reminders for the benefit of the heart, prevention of heedlessness, and protection from evil thoughts and Satan. And Allah knows best.
Dhikr Lived Shaykh Al-Harawî said: “The second level is esoteric remembrance, which is to be rid of limits, to subsist with witnessing, and to keep vigil.” By ‘esoteric’ he means remembrance by heart alone, comprising the inspirations presented to the seeker. This is the first fruit of remembrance. By ‘ridding of limits’ he means ridding oneself of heedlessness, of forgetfulness, and of veils between the heart and the Exalted Lord. ‘Subsistence with the witnessing’ means adherence to the presence of the One being remembered and witnessing
Him by means of the heart until one almost sees Him. ‘Keeping vigil’ means adherence to the heart’s prayers to its Lord—anything from extolling, entreating, praising, and exalting to other kinds of secret pleadings. This is the case between every lover and his loved one, as has been said, When together in the presence of another, We remain silent, letting passion speak
True Dhikr Shaykh Al-Harawî said: “The third level is true remembrance, which comprises bearing witness to the Truth’s remembrance of you, ridding yourself of bearing witness to your remembrance [of Him], and awareness of the false state of one who subsists with remembrance of himself.” Remembrance at this level has been called ‘true remembrance’ (haqîqî) because it is attributed to the All-Powerful Lord [one of whose names is Al-±aqq, the Truth]. As for the remembrance on the part of the servant, it is not fully real in and of itself, for it is in fact Allah who remembers His servant. This station is that of bearing witness to the Lord’s remembrance of His servant—as He mentions him in a company that He chooses from among those deserving of His nearness. As for the All-Powerful, He Himself is the ‘Rememberer’ in that He makes the servant remember Him, thus enabling him to deserve the remembrance [of God]. This is also the meaning alluded to [by al-Harawî] in the chapter, Monotheism (Tawhîd) [the final station in this treatise], in the following words: “His testimony of Oneness [regarding Himself] is alone the testimony of His Oneness. Thus the praising of any [creature] who praises is astray.” That is, Allah is in reality the One who [alone can] proclaim His own Oneness. The real subject of the monotheism proclaimed by the servant is the One God Himself. Hence, the reference to the servant is non-real, metaphorical, for he does so neither by his own ability nor from within himself, but rather because he has been made to do so. A servant is, therefore, called monotheist (muwahhid) or rememberer (mudhakir) only because he is the means through which, and the site within which, is [performed] the act. al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9
This is no different from him being referred to as white or black, tall or short—in that he is not the creator of these traits by his own will, power, or capacity but in that he is the site of these traits. Beyond this, all that is attached to [the servant] is overwhelmed by nearness and annihilation of form. Evanescence in the very witness of the act of bearing witness, along with the power of inspiration, come together to create the unique experiential savoring —that is, realization—that none upholds Allah’s Oneness but Allah Himself. None remembers Allah but Allah Himself. None loves Allah but Allah Himself. This is the reality that the people of the path possess.
Annihilation and Subsistence in Dhikr The true knowers among the people of the path [of spiritual ascent], the possessors of insight, also give obedient worship to Allah its due right, and give knowledge its due right. Moreover, they realize that the servant is the servant in reality in every way, and that the Lord is Lord in reality in every way. Thus, they undertake to worship Allah and not themselves, and they do so for Allah and not for personal taste and pleasure. That is to say, they annihilate themselves in bearing witness to the meanings of the Divine Names and Attributes, leaving all else other than this. They annihilate themselves in what He loves and is pleased with—rather than with what He has willed—for all being [including what He does not love and has
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forbidden] is by His will. Yet what is owed to Him is what He loves and is pleased with. The deviants, in contrast, annihilate themselves in what is by Him [that is, all that is by His will] leaving aside what is owed to Him. Thus, they ally themselves with His enemies, neglect His religion, equate what He loves with what He dislikes, as well as equate the sites of His pleasure with those of His wrath. And from Allah alone is all help. Al-Harawî’s statement: “To rid yourself of bearing witness to your remembrance” means [that this is achieved] by way of annihilating [your consciousness of] witnessing your own remembrance of Allah in bearing witness to His remembrance of you. This saves the servant from seeing one’s self or from being lured by one’s deeds. It kills one and quickens one—kills one in regard to one’s self, and quickens one by his Lord. It cuts one off from one’s lower self and connects one to one’s Lord. This is the very essence of [such servants’] success against their selves. One such knower said: “The journey of the seekers ends in their triumph over their selves.” His statement—“awareness of the false state of one who subsists with remembrance of himself”—means that the one who subsists with his own remembrance is, in reality, bearing witness to his remembrance, which is a lie. For in reality, it is not his act. And one is not rid of this lie until one attains annihilation with respect to his own [act of] remembrance. It may be said: “Exalted be Allah! Where is the lie in this? Is it anything but bearing witness to the facts as they are for him to bear witness to himself as the rememberer?” Yet in the end, it is Allah who has made him rememberer, enabled him to do so, and remembered him before he remembered Allah. His witnessing of Himself as Rememberer accounts for both these aspects [of the truth]. Is this, then, anything but the reality as it is? In truth, it is a falsehood to bear witness to this as being by one’s own doing, by one’s own power and ability, rather than by Allah’s exclusive power. But the Shaykh [Al-Harawî] pays no mind to the blame of the blamers in the matter of [spiritual self-] annihilation. Nor, for him, is the censurer to be heeded. For what there can
be no doubt about is this: Subsistence in remembrance is more perfect than annihilation and it is, in fact, a vanishing in it. This is because of what inheres in subsistence as to exactitude (taf| îl), inner knowledge, bearing witness to realities as they are, upholding a distinction between the Lord Almighty and the servant and their respective acts, and [upholding the distinction between] the witness of worship and the One being worshipped. The state of annihilation has none of these merits. Annihilation is as its name, “annihilation.” Subsistence is as its name, “subsistence.” Annihilation is sought out for the sake of something external to it. Subsistence is sought out for its own sake. Annihilation is the attribute of the servant. Subsistence is the attribute of the Lord. Annihilation is nothingness. Subsistence is existence. Annihilation is negation. Subsistence is affirmation. The path of annihilation is filled with dangers—a path of forlorn deserts with
many a hazard. Treading the path of subsistence is safer, for it is a path on which there are signposts, guides, and rangers. The travelers on the path of annihilation complain that this path is long. Yet, they do not doubt its safety, and that it leads to the desired end. They claim that the path of annihilation is shorter; its traveler a bird, whereas the traveler on the path of subsistence is on foot. The elite among the seekers see annihilation as a station among the many stations of the path, one that is not necessarily attained by all seekers. Many, however, never see it or pass by it. They, rather, see that the greatest, the most established and well-protected path is that of subsistence, and they require of the travelers on the path of annihilation to move toward the path of subsistence, for otherwise they shall be in grave danger. And Allah alone is the One who helps, and the Exalted knows best.
Tafsîr on the Basis of Reason Ibn Taymiyyah
TAFSÎR OF THE Quran [that is, explication and commentary on it] based merely on reason is forbidden (harâm). Ibn ¢Abbâs narrated that the Prophet œ said: Whoever talks about the Quran without proper knowledge makes room for himself in Hell. (A^mad)1 In another narration included in Tirmidhî the Prophet œ said: Whoever talks about the Quran merely on the basis of his reason is a sinner even if what he said is right. (Tirmidhî) Al-Tirmidhî thinks that this hadîth is gharîb (a hadîth conveyed by only one narrator). Other scholars of hadîth are not sure about the veracity of Suhayl ibn Abî ±izâm, who is one of its transmitters. However, a number of scholars from the Companions and others are reported to have condemned, in a parallel vein, the effort to explain the Quran without knowledge. If [Quran commentators] Mujâhid, Qatâdah, and other scholars like them have
1 This hadîth was rated daCîf (weak) by Al-Albâni [see Al-Albâni’s review of Mishkât Al-Ma|âbîh, No. 235]
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explained the Quran, we expect that they would not have said anything about the Quran or commented on its verses without proper knowledge, that is, simply on the vague basis of their reason. This is supported by various reports about them indicating that they never said anything without knowledge, that is, speaking from nothing more than their rational thought processes. Hence, if one talks about the Quran on the basis of reason alone, he talks about what he does not know, and violates the rules he is obliged to follow. Consequently, even if what he said is right, still, he sins because he has not followed the command. He is like one who judges people without knowledge of the evidence: Such a one shall go to Hell even though his judgment is correct. His crime is, to be sure, smaller than the crime of one whose judgment is also wrong. Allah, however, knows best. This is also the reason that Allah has called the slanderers “liars”: (If they do not come with witnesses, they are liars in the sight of Allah.) Sûrat Al-Nûr, 24:13. The slanderer is a liar, even though he assails one who has committed adultery, for, he speaks about someone whom he is not entitled to speak, and does something about which he does not have the required knowledge. Allah knows best.
This is also why a number of righteous predecessors have refrained from talking about the Quran when they do not have proper knowledge. Shu¢bah [the great early muhaddith, hadîth expert] has reported from Sulaymân, from ¢Abdullah ibn Murrah, from Abû Ma¢mar, that the Caliph Abû Bakr said: “What earth will hold me and what heaven will protect me if I say something concerning the Book of Allah which I do not know.” It is also reported from Anas that ¢Umar ibn Al-Kha~~âb once recited the words of Allah: (Wa fâkihatan wa abbâ—And fruits and pastures) Sûrat ¢Abasa, 80:31, on the pulpit, remarking that he knew the term fâkihah but knew not what the term ‘abba’ meant? Then after a short pause ¢Umar said: “This is an unnecessary question, O ¢Umar! What is the harm if I don’t know it!?” What we understand from these reports is that these great Companions wanted to know exactly what ‘abba’ was. For everyone knows that ‘abba’ is a variety of herb that grows on the earth, because Allah said: (And we produced thereon corn and grapes, and nutritious plants, and olives
and dates, and enclosed gardens with lofty trees and fruits (fâkihatan) and herbs (abba).) Sûrat CAbasa, 80:27-3. Ibn Jarîr [Al->abarî, the great Quran commentator) quoted Abû Mulaykah as saying: “Ibn ¢Abbâs was asked about a verse, but he did not say anything. But if you were asked about it, you certainly would have said something.” The isnâd of this report is sound (|ahîh). Abû Mulaykah also narrated that a person asked Ibn ¢Abbâs about the verse: (The day of which is as long as five thousand years) Sûrat Al-Ma¢ârij, 70:4, and insisted upon knowing his view. Ibn ¢Abbâs responded: “There are two days which Allah mentioned in his Book, and He knows them better.” This means that Ibn ¢Abbâs declined to say anything regarding the Quran that he did not know. Ibn Jarîr also narrated that >alq ibn ±abîb went to Jundub ibn ¢Abdullah and asked about a certain verse of the Quran. He said: “Depart from me if, indeed, you are Muslim.” According to another version, Jundub replied: “Never come to me again.” Mâlik reported through Ya^ya ibn Sa¢îd
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that Sa¢îd ibn Al-Musayyab would speak about only those verses which he knew. Shu¢bah reported form ¢Âmr ibn Murrah that someone asked Sa¢îd ibn Al-Musayyab about a certain verse of the Quran. He said: “Ask me not of the Quran. Ask the one who thinks that nothing of the Quran is hidden from him (he was referring to ¢Ikrimah).” Ibn Shawdhab reported that Yazîd ibn Abî Yazîd said: “When we asked Sa¢îd ibn Al-Musayyab about the lawful (halâl) and unlawful (harâm), he was happy to reply. To be sure, he was the most learned person about these areas [of fiqh]. But when we asked him about the tafsîr of a verse, he would keep silent, as if he did not hear.” Ibn Jarîr reported that ¢Ubayd’Allah ibn ¢Umar said: “I have seen many learned men of Madinah such as Sâlim ibn¢Abdullah, Al-Ghâsim ibn Muhammad, Sa¢îd ibn Al-Musayyab, and Nâfi¢, who were ever so diffident about doing tafsîr.” Hishâm ibn ¢Urwah said that he never heard his father (the Tâbi¢î ¢Urwah ibn Al-Zubayr ibn Al¢Awwâm (the Companion ) interpreting the Quran. Muhammad ibn Sîrîn said: “I asked ¢Ubayd’Allah Al-Salmâni about a verse of the Quran. He replied: ‘Those who knew the circumstances in which the Quranic verses were revealed have passed away. So fear Allah, and mind your way.” Muslim ibn Yâsir said: “Before you report from Allah, pause for a while and look at the context.” Ibrâhîm Al-Nakh¢î said: “Our colleagues (in the ±anafi madhhab) used to avoid tafsîr,
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and shivered at [the prospect of] it.” Al-Sha¢bî said: “By Allah! I have inquired about every verse of the Quran. But you know, it means to report from Allah.” Masrûq said: “Beware of tafsîr! It is in fact, reporting from Allah.” These and other authentic narrations from the leaders of the righteous fathers [of the Ummah] show that they abstained from the tafsîr of those verses about which they did not have knowledge. However, those who did tafsîr when they knew the verses, Arabic language, as well as the religious and legal implications of these verses, had nothing to worry about. That is why their comments on the Quran have come down to us. Nor does this conflict with the attitude we have described above. For they pronounced on things they knew, and abstained from discussing matters they did not know. This should be the attitude of each and every Muslim. One must not speak about what one does not know. But on the other hand, one must speak on what one does know when one is asked about it. For that, too, is a duty, as Allah has said: (You must clearly explain it (i.e., the Quran) to the people and never hide it.) Sûrat Âl ¢Imrân, 3:187. Furthermore, the Prophet œ said in a hadîth reported through various channels: Whosoever hides what he knows when he is asked about it, shall have a bridle of fire on his mouth on the Day of Judgment. (A^mad; Tirmidhî; Abû Dâwûd; Ibn Mâjah) Ibn Jarîr reported that Ibn ¢Abbâs said: “Tafsîr is of four kinds: (1) A tafsîr the Arabs can know from the language. (2) A tafsîr which none can be excused for not knowing. (3) A tafsîr which only the scholars know. And (4) A tafsîr which Allah alone knows.” — this is the last episode of the series. Aljumuah plans to publish this series in a booklet. This text is based on Abdul ±aq An|ari’s translation of Ibn Taymiyyah’s Muqaddimah Fî Usûl Al-Tafsîr (An Introduction to the Principles of Tafseer), published by Al-Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution, 1993.
The Third Strand of Valor the sunnah of intellectual courage Jalâl Nâfi¢
THE SÎRAH ABOUNDS in manifestations of the physical courage of the Prophet œ. Amply, he demonstrated his prowess in the face of fear, pain, risk, and uncertainty. So vast was his share of this exceptionally precious human trait that his Companions —known for their singular bravery—freely admitted, as they themselves put it, to taking cover behind the Prophet œ when the fighting raged hot. Yet even more than physical courage, the Prophet œ possessed immense moral courage. That is, he had the will to do the right thing despite aggressive and widespread popular opposition, and undaunted by repeated discouragements. But I want to talk here about a different compliment of courage, the elusive third strand of valor: Intellectual courage. Intellectual courage is so rare because it blends multiple rare virtues: Integrity and authenticity; the will to struggle for understanding and to risk mistake; dauntlessness in the realization that proclaiming one’s new learning will necessarily challenge common beliefs, break with the traditions of family, and defy cultural group-think and societal convention; advocacy of the truth at the expense of your own affliction and the distress of others; owning up to one’s mistakes; and similar such sufferings. Yet in the modeling of this special brand of bravery, the example Muslims have in the Prophet Muhammad œ is matchless. For instance, we have it on the authority of Abû Râfi¢ ibn Khadîj, who said:
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The Prophet œ arrived in Madinah at a time when the Madinans were busy pollinating their date-palms. “What are you doing?” the Prophet œ asked. “We have always done this,” said the Madinans. “It may be better if you don’t,” said the Prophet œ. The Companions, therefore, heeded the Prophet’s counsel and desisted from pollinating their datepalms. The palm trees later yielded a poor harvest, however. When the Companions brought this to the attention of the Prophet œ, he said: “I am but a mortal (human being). Thus, when I instruct you in something related to your religion, take it. But when I speak [to you] from mere personal opinion and experience, then treat my word as such.” In a different version of this hadîth, the Prophet œ is reported to have added: “You are more conversant [than I am] with your worldly affairs” (reported and rated hasan by Ibn ±ibbân). This hadîth establishes that Prophet Mu^ammad œ was no more than a mortal man, that he was subject to the conditions that normally affect human beings, including forgetfulness and errors of judgment, and that his personal, non-legislative opinions could be right or wrong. What ought not be lost on Muslims, however, particularly in these disenchanted times, is that the Prophet œ is not subject to these human imperfections when it comes to religious legislation. Imam Nawawî, the great
hadîth compiler and specialist, commenting on this hadîth, said: The scholars hold that this hadîth applies to the statements of the Prophet œ relevant to mundane affairs but has nothing to do with his legislative mandate. Muslims are, therefore, duty-bound to act on the religio-legal statements which the Prophet œ made on the basis of his personal ijtihâd (legal ruling) and all that he presented to them as religious instruction. The statement of the Prophet œ regarding [the] pollination of palm trees belongs in the former category, not in the latter.
The point is that here the Prophet œ evinces his intellectual courage. He made no attempt at excuse for his wrong opinion about not intervening in the natural process of datepalm pollination. Rather, he admitted his errant judgment and affirmed his mortal humanness. Moreover, he counseled us on the implications of his human, non-prophetic judgment—not just in this instance, but in all such purely worldly affairs. The Prophet’s example was certainly not lost on his Companions . They learned to emulate the Prophet œ in precisely this kind of demonstration of intellectual courage—and in religious as well as mundane affairs. Masrûq narrates: ¢Umar ibn Al-Kha~~âb once ascended the minbar (pulpit) of the Prophet œ and said: “O people! How is it that you have come to give lavish bridal gifts (mahr) when the Prophet œ and his Companions never exceeded 400 dirhams in a bridal gift. And if giving extravagant dowries had been a sign of deep devotion to Allah (taqwa), never would you have bested them [that is, the Prophet œ and his Companions ] in this! So let none of you give a dowry in excess of 400 dirhams.” When ¢Umar descended the minbar, a woman from the tribe of Quraysh stood up and addressed ¢Umar, saying: “O Commander of the Faithful! You have prohibited people from exceeding 400 dirhams in dowry payments when Allah Himself has
said in the Quran: (Moreover, if you intend a substitution of one wife in place of another wife and you have given the first of them as much as a heap of gold in dowry, then you shall not take back anything at all from it.) Sûrat Al-Nisâ’, 4:20. At this, ¢Umar said: “Forgive me, Allah! Everyone is better versed in fiqh (Law) than ¢Umar!” He then ascended the minbar and said: “O people! I have just asked you not to give more than 400 dirhams for dowries. Disregard this, and give in dowry whatever amount you please.” On the authority of Muhammad ibn Ka¢b Al-Qar·î, it was said: A man asked ¢Alî ibn Abî >âlib about a legal issue (mas’alah). When ¢Alî gave his ruling on it, the man rejected it and voiced his opinion as to the correct ruling. Thereupon ¢Alî said: “You are right. I was wrong. (And above everyone who has knowledge is the [One who is] All-Knowing!) Sûrat Yûsuf, 12:76.”
Allâhu Akbar! See how magnificent are the examples of intellectual courage and fairness that the Prophet œ and his Companions have given us—even when at times this fairness came at the apparent price of their own personal loss! But the truth is, intellectual courage actually increases, not decreases, one’s worth in the eyes of others. Teachers and educators, more than anyone else, are liable to tests and temptations in this area. Imagine yourself caught up in the following situation: You are teaching a group of students. One of your students objects to a point about which you are wrong. Would you hasten to thank the student for correcting you, or would you prevaricate and twist things in order to prove you were in the right? The answer, I leave to you. Yet the notable imâm, Ibn ¢Abd Al-Barr answered thus: “Fairness is an etiquette and blessing among the proprieties and blessings of knowledge. One who is unfair [in giving or receiving knowledge] is bereft of understanding!” al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9
he heroic Makkan da¢wah, or call, of the Prophet
Muhammad œ. The valor of the Prophet’s Madinan struggle against all the odds of the earth, for the sake of the One and only God. Most especially, the magnificence of the Prophet’s palpable personal ascension in Heavenly regality and temporal power as he grows in his office of prophethood. All this is the province of the greatest life story of all time, the arche-typal account of man as believer. Pathfinder to Paradise for the nations. Paradigm and perennial prophet for all humankind in the end age. Such is the narrative report of the life of Muhammad œ, last of the messengers, first among humankind. This is sîrah. And there is no better time for its review, its deepening study, its imân-electrifying effects than the month in which it all began. Rama\ân.
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Sîrah at the Center
why every Muslim should master the life story of the master Prophet œ with an annotated bibliography of Arabic sîrah-related works and a closing exhortation ¢Abd Al-Rahmân Al-Mahmûd
here there is sîrah, there is imân—and how true the inverse! To study the sîrah is a testimony to the Muslim’s love of the Prophet Muhammad œ. In this light, I want to examine sîrah in the framework of three components: Its importance, its sources, and a methodology for its study.
i. why the sîrah of the prophet œ is important
Prophet Muhammad œ uniquely concerns us as Muslims for an obvious reason. Its subject is the biography of the best of Allah’s prophets, the Seal of His messengers to His creation.
the sîrah of
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Somewhat more subtly, we know that no new messenger will appear after Prophet Muhammad œ. We firmly believe what we were told by Prophet Muhammad œ about the return of Jesus ∑ to the world in end times, it is true. But the Prophet œ taught us that Jesus ∑ will come—not as a new prophet bearing a subsequent dispensation—but as a follower, a member of the Muslim Ummah; that is, as an adherent and caller to the Sharî¢ah of Muhammad œ. How crucial a point! It means that the Prophet’s life, the Revelation he brought, and his enactment of Divine Revelation will form the basis of Jesus’ actions, the content of his worship and liturgical utterance, and the Law governing his judgments. In other words, whoever would follow in the footsteps of the messengers of God— meaning upon the way of Allah—must know and follow the life, religion, and actions as perfected and brought to culmination by Muhammad œ—and the emotional and social context within which these resonate in the world is the sîrah. That is not to say that the sîrah is itself a
canonical source of religion or Law, but it is absolutely the critical origin of emotional intelligence and prophetic realization for living Islam, which is what makes it an immense spring of inspirational understanding, a standard of religious implementation, and a proof of prophetic and divine truth.
Lexical and Technical Connotations of ‘Sîrah’
In Arabic, the term ‘sîrah’ derives from the trilateral Arabic root sâ ✦ yâ ✦ râ, which means to ‘travel’ or to ‘journey.’ The term ‘sîrah’ denotes several meanings in language: (1) State, or hâlah, and (2) situation, or wad¢. Allah states: Sanu¢îduhâ sîratuhâ’l-ûlâ. We shall return it to its former state (sîratuha’l-ûlâ) (Sûrat >â Hâ, 20:21). Sîrah also means (3) a ‘manner,’ ‘style,’ or ‘way’ (tarîqah) of doing something. This usage of ‘sîrah’ is the most common among the Arabs. ¢Abd ibn Khayr narrated: “I heard ¢Ali (ibn Abî >âlib) say: ‘After Allah had caused the Prophet œ to die, Abû Bakr was elected a Caliph, and he emulated his (the Prophet’s)
practice and followed his sîrah....” (A^mad). It is from this linguistic meaning of the term ‘sîrah’ that the topical designation ‘Al-Sîrah Al-Nabawîyyah’ is derived. Imâm Al-Zabîdi said: “The technical term ‘Al-Sîrah Al-Nabawîyyah’ is derived from sîrah in the sense of ‘manner’ or ‘way.’ Later, the term ‘maghâzi’ was subsumed under the term ‘Al- Sîrah Al-Nabawîyyah’” (Tâj Al-¢Arûs, 3:388). In light of the foregoing linguistic analysis, ‘sîrah' means noting and recording the states, practices, and situational conditions of a person or a group such that we eventually have a clear and detailed representation of the entirety of the affairs of the life of that person or group. In the terminological usage of the scholars, the term ‘sîrah’ means noting and mentioning the states, manners, characteristics, and events related to the life of the Prophet œ, from his birth to his death, including his signs and miraculous works, before or after his death.
Sîrah and Maghâzi
The term ‘maghâzi,’ (s. ghazwah) is derived from the Arabic root: gha ✦ za ✦ wa which denotes raiding or invading. Later, Muslims used the term in special reference to the military expeditions and wars in which the Prophet œ himself was involved in his defense and establishment of Islam. Extended usage of maghâzî then became synonymous with the term ‘sîrah.’
How the Companions and Successors Viewed the Sîrah The Companions attached enormous value to the noble sîrah of the Prophet œ. Unparalleled was the esteem in which the Companions held Prophet Muhammad œ. Boundless was their love and reverence for his person. Unwavering was their commitment to his cause. The Companions loved the Prophet œ so much that when he passed away, they experienced an immediate and jolting sense of mental disorientation and emotional dislocation. Commenting on their desolation,
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one of the Companions said: “No sooner had we finished burying the Prophet œ than we underwent a great change of heart. We felt even that our hearts were no longer the same hearts we had when the Prophet œ was present.” The Tâbi¢în (the Successors) and the generation after them (Tâbi¢ Al-Tâbi¢în Successors of the Successors) were also strongly attached to the memory of the Prophet œ. The way they honored the sîrah of the Prophet œ was such that Imâm Al-Zuhri—a leading Tâbi¢î (Successor) and one of those who undertook the task of recording and documenting the expeditions of the Prophet œ—described the study of maghâzî as “the science of the here and the Hereafter.” Ismâ¢îl ibn Muhammad ibn Sa¢d said: “My father used to teach us the maghâzi of the Prophet œ. He would enumerate them and say to us: ‘Sons! These are the feats of your forefathers. So keep their memory alive.’” On the authority of ¢Alî ibn Al-±usayn, it was said: “We were made to study the maghâzi of the Prophet œ just as we were made to study the sûrahs of the Quran.” May Allah bless the souls of these generations. They were eager to inculcate the Prophet’s sîrah in their children’s minds and hearts, thus filling them with love of the al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9
Prophet œ and commitment to his mission. They knew that one steeped in the love of Allah’s Messenger œ makes the call to Islam the center of his life. I cannot stress enough our duty, the obligation of us Muslims of this time and age, to persistently seek to impress the life story of the beloved Prophet œ upon the hearts and minds of our children. The consequences of neglecting this responsibility are dire. Deviant educational and informational institutions will step into the vacuum and contaminate our children’s minds and hearts with the sîrahs of the irreligious and the depraved. In his introduction to his book Zâd Al-Ma¢âd, Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim talked insightfully about the importance of sîrah, and the status of the Prophet œ. It is as interesting as it is lengthy. Here’s an excerpt: All this [the foregoing of Ibn Al-Qayyim’s introduction to the sîrah] is to impress
upon you the obligation that Muslims have to know Prophet Muhammad œ intimately, as well as the message to which he called; namely, belief in all he reported on the authority of Allah, and the obligation to heed his [the Prophet’s] commands; for success in the life of this world, and in the one to come, lies in following Allah’s messengers. Absent the guidance these messengers provided, there is no telling, in any detailed or sure manner, what constitutes evil and what constitutes good. And make no mistake, Allah’s good pleasure is attainable only through the avenue that these messengers delineated. They are the ones who have pointed out for us the things beloved unto God—be they beliefs, deeds, utterances, or manners. Hence, as to the beliefs, deeds, utterances, and manners of Allah’s messengers—it is these that constitute the standard by which the beliefs, deeds, utterances, and manners of the servants of Allah [human beings] are to be judged. Adherence to the teachings of these messengers, therefore, is what sets apart the rightly guided from the wrongheaded. In short, a man’s need for Allah’s messengers is greater than his body’s need for life, or his sight’s for light. This need is a vital necessity dwarfing all other necessities of his life. The condition of a man bereft of the guidance of Allah’s messengers is far bleaker, much direr than that of a fish out of water! Clearly, the this-worldly and otherworldly success of the Muslim hinges upon the guidance of Prophet Muhammad œ. It is, henceforth, incumbent upon him—if truly he is interested in his own happiness and salvation—to have knowledge of the guidance of the Prophet œ, his sîrah, and his example, for this makes of him a worthy member of the faith-community of Prophet Muhammad œ. The sîrah of Prophet Muhammad œ is, therefore, of singular importance to us and to all humanity. Among all life accounts, it is the one with which we genuinely need a profound familiarity, if truly we desire to be of those who are sincerely devoted to God, those
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who shall have no fear upon them when they Meet God for Judgment, nor shall they ever grieve (Sûrat Al-Baqarah, 2:62). It is unfortunate that so increasing a number of Muslim specialists in Islamic history today have inordinately narrowed their focus on some or other material aspect of our history—architecture, arts, cuisine, and the like. I am not denigrating Muslim achievement in the arts and architecture. Nevertheless, these champions of Islamic history spill copious energies and ink celebrating and touting these features as the utmost symbols of our great Islamic Civilization and cast little or no light on the sîrah of the Prophet œ and the meanings, the greatness, the struggle for God’s cause, and the vital lessons, sîrah encompasses. Indeed, the sîrah of the Prophet œ teems with teachings and lessons that Muslims now desperately need to know and to internalize if they are to comply with the divine imperative to follow the Prophet’s example. The believer who desires to live by right guidance necessarily must emulate the model of the Prophet œ. Indeed, any Muslim who wishes to strive in the way of Allah as the Prophet œ strove, who preaches or teaches Islam, or who wants to become a Muslim parent worthy of the name has no recourse but to adhere to the prophetic example and guidance in each of these roles and endeavors. The Prophet’s sîrah is furthermore outstanding in that it embraces all aspects of life. When we look into the history of humankind, we may come across a person who excelled in fighting, another who outshone the rest in learning, a third who distinguished himself in leadership. Yet never shall you find a person, other than the Prophet œ, who surpassed in all spheres of life’s endeavors; and who became the paradigm man, the model, in every single facet of his personal and public life.
The Importance of Studying the Sîrah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs I conclude my observations on the importance of the sîrah of the Prophet œ with a reminder of the subsequent significance of
studying the sîrah of his Rightly Guided Caliphs alongside the Sîrah of the Prophet œ, Abû Bakr, ¢Umar, ¢Uthmân, and ¢Alî . Two things underscore the worth of learning and taking inspiration from the sîrah of Al-Khulafâ’ Al-Râshidûn (the Rightly Guided Caliphs): 1. The Prophet œ commanded us to follow the example of these Caliphs. He said: “Follow the example of the two persons after me” (Al-±âkim and Tirmidhî). In another hadîth, he is reported to have said: “Adhere to my Sunnah. Heed too the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs” (Abû Dâwûd and Tirmidhî). 2. The Khilâfah Al-Râshidah (the Rightly Guided Caliphate), established after the death of the Prophet œ, represents the first practical attempt to implement the tenets of Islam in the absence of the Prophet œ. This is highly significant, for growing are the ranks of those who say: We should not (or cannot) compare ourselves to the Prophet œ, for he was unlike us ordinary Muslims, and he was divinely aided. To this objection, we respond, yes, the sîrah of the Khulafâ’ Al-Râshidûn must be a source of guidance for us Muslims. For although a prophet, Muhammad œ was a human being employing worldly means. As for the Khilâfah Al-Râshidah, it is the proximate practical instantiation of the intents of the Prophet œ. For this reason, we must see to it that we study the history and the sîrah of the Khulafâ’ Al-Râshidûn. al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9
Allah will have ten hasanât (spiritual rewards) credited to his account with Allah.”
ii. sources of the sîrah
the sources of Sîrah are both multiple and abundant from the first hijrî century through contemporary times. They vary in value, perspective, and presentation. Works on the Prophet œ by non-Muslims are not sîrah and often contaminated by a history of blatant religious or civilizational enmity (See Karen Armstrong’s Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, and also Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time) which do some documenting of this). In the modern era, some writings on the Prophet œ and sîrah by Muslims (especially those emerging out of and seeking a place in the Western university) are clearly Orientalistinfluenced. A few offer apologetic answer to secular-material critique that makes for distortion. More often (and increasingly) these works come from commentators operating within the stream of Western academia who succumb to formidable pressures of “inclusion” and what amounts to censorious “approval” (not to mention celebrity), and this is true in hadîth studies as well. (Prof. Mustafa Al-Azami has done invaluable critical work on extensive errancy in the sources of Orientalist studies of the Prophet œ and in hadîth.)
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Yet the foremost source of sîrah (which non-Muslims tend to dismiss or simply not account for) is the Holy Quran, and it is here that we shall begin our annotations of the sîrah’s sources.
The Noble Quran
The Quran is the Book of Allah. It is His Revelation, to which no falsehood can attach. Its successive, gradual revelations span and punctuate the entire 23-year mission of the Prophet œ. It is the divine address of the issues and cases of the Prophet œ and the nascent Muslim community as they unfold in his life and in response to his call. The Quran is the conceptual blueprint of the practices of the Prophet œ, from the moment he proclaimed his divine mission until his death. In its very nature, then, as the prophetic account of the Divine, the Quran stands above all other sources of sîrah. We can analyze the Quran’s difference as a sîrah source into five aspects of inimitable documentation of the Prophet’s life story: 1. It is the Speech of Allah. As such, its recitation and study is an act of wor- ship. The Prophet œ said: “Whoso reads a single letter of the Speech of
2. The Quran presents more particulars as to the events of the sîrah than do the sîrah narratives of people. To fully appreciate this, study the account in Sûrat Al-Tawbah (9) of what happened in the Battle of Tabûk, for instance, or the divine comment in Sûrat Âl ¢Imrân (3) on the incidents of the Battle of U^ud. Examine how Sûrat Al-A^zâb (33) elaborates on the events of the Battle of Al-Khandaq, or its narrative of the marriage of Zaynab bint Ja^sh to the Prophet œ, and Zaynab’s previous marriage to the Prophet’s formerly adopted son Zayd ibn ±ârithah. In all these examples, the details of sîrah events exceed whatever else one can find concerning them in the books of sîrah. 3. The Quran links cases and events instructively to belief in the sense of ¢aqîdah, or creed; to faith, imân; to Divine Decree (qadar) and Predestina- tion (qadâ'). In other words, the compli ers of sîrah generally content them selves with the mere listing of the events of the sîrah. The Quran, how ever, recounts these same events in the context of divine comment that ap prises and gives the measure of these incidents in the eyes of Allah and according to the scales He has set for the trial of life and the test of human deeds on earth. The Quran thus fixes them to imân, to Allah’s Excellent Names and Attributes, and to the inevitability of His decree. 4. As recounted by people, the events of the sîrah appear tied to specific times, places, or occasions. The Quran, however, analyzes and comments on specific stories in a way that turns them into edifying, universal lessons for humanity. This holism of the Quran’s divine Revelation is meant to transcend the temporal and spatial boundaries of
a sîrah event—in its time and for all time, and so it does. Thus it continues to instruct and educate, even blossom, throughout the ages.
5. In its mention of the events of the sîrah, the Quran highlights the sîrah’s definitive characteristics. The Quran underlines, for instance, the universal- ity of the Prophet’s mission; that his sole task is communication (al-balâgh) of Allah’s messages to his servants; that the Prophet œ is neither angel nor superhuman, but rather a mortal human being; and that Muhammad œ is the Seal of Allah’s prophets, after whom no prophet will ever be raised from humankind. We should also be aware that the process of studying the sîrah through the Quran calls for a number of things. One, for example, ought to consult Quran-related disciplines, such as books of tafsîr (Quran explication). Works of occasions of revelation of the âyât of the Quran (kutub asbâb al-nuzûl) are also very helpful in gaining the full benefit from the Quran’s sîrah narrative. Now, some writers (Muhammad ¢Izzat, for example, in his two-volume Sîrat Al-Rasûl) have attempted to produce sîrah works that draw solely on the Quran. We have shown that there can be no doubt about the Quran’s indispensible utility, but it ought not be the only source we rely on when we study the sîrah, for there is a wealth of sîrah details that cannot be fully comprehended and appreciated without recourse to the books of hadith and sîrah. al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9
±adîth and the Sîrah
There are invaluably interesting details about the events of the sîrah in the documented and authenticated compilations of the prophetic ahâdîth. We should attach due importance and attention to these collections in our study of the sîrah. There are also those collections whose authors intended them to comprise |ahih ahâdîth only, such as ßahih Al-Bukhâri and ßahih Muslim, which contain many sîrah reports. These |ahih collections one may look into with confidence and peace of mind, for the reports they include are proven to have originated with the Prophet œ. Imâms Bukhâri and Muslim, in fact, devote chapters of their ßahihs to the sîrah, as well as to merits and virtues of the Companions , the maghâzî, the manners and etiquette of the Prophet œ, and his strive against unbelievers—each of these being important sîrah-related categories. Again, in these chapters, one comes across details unavailable in other sources of sîrah. There are also other compilations of ahâdîth, such as the Four Books of Sunan (Abû Dâwûd, Tirmidhî, Ibn Mâjah, Al-Nasâ’î),
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Musnad Ahmad, and the compilations known as ma¢âjim (like the major, intermediate, and minor ma¢âjim of Al->abarânî, Musnad Abu Ya¢la Al-Maw|ilî, and so on). The sum of sîrah material these sources contain provides substance for a complete book of sîrah. Access to sîrah material in these reservoirs of ahâdîth, however, is not trouble-free. To facilitate straightforward and quick reference to sîrah material in most of these collections, expert scholarly efforts are required to edit and furnish these books with indices (some of which is underway). Yet there are a great number of sound ahâdîth—such as those in the Bukhâri and Muslim ßahihs—that explicate and expound on some of the problematic events of the sîrah. The following example illustrates my point. The military expedition led by the Prophet œ against the tribe of Banî AlMu|~aliq (known as the Mirâsî¢ Expedition) occurred when the Prophet œ had formed the Muslim community in Madinah. Ibn Hishâm mentions in his Sîrat Ibn Hishâm that the Prophet œ first called that tribe to Islam, but when they rejected his offer, he engaged them in battle. Bukhâri, however, includes in his ßahih a report to the effect that the Prophet œ launched a surprise attack on the Banî Al-Mu|~aliq (without first calling them to Islam). Scholars wondered: Mustn’t inviting people to Islam precede waging war on them? Now, how can we reconcile the two seemingly contradictory reports of Bukhâri and Ibn Hishâm on this matter? There is a general agreement that, in terms of reliability, Bukhâri surpasses Ibn Hishâm. It follows, then, that one has to give more weight to Bukhâri’s narration. But a question arises here: Does this mean that the Prophet œ acted contrary to his directive in another hadîth included in ßahih Muslim that before engaging a people in battle, Muslims should offer them three choices—to adopt Islam, to pay the jizyah (poll tax for non-Muslims), or to fight [Islam]. Judging by Imâm Muslim’s narration, the enemy should first be invited to Islam. Now, did the Prophet œ, as Imam Bukhâri’s narration conveys, attack the Banî AlMu|~aliq without first calling them to Islam?
The answer to this question is no. This is so despite the preponderant view of the scholars that the Prophet œ did wage a surprise war against Banî Al-Mu|~aliq. Banî Al-Mu|~aliq had, in fact, been called to Islam prior to the Prophet’s raid against them, as the prophetic directive in Muslim indicates, which resolves the confusion surrounding this issue. As the above instance shows, one can employ analysis to find solutions to seeming contradictions among different sîrah ahâdîth.
Books on the Virtues and Noble Character of Prophet Muhammad œ (Kutub Al-Shamâ’il Al-Muhammadiyyah) The virtue books on the Prophet œ are natural sîrah sources. Here is a brief listing of the more important ones. ✦ Al-Shamâ’il Al-Muhammadiyyah (The Virtues Characterizing the Prophet Muhammad œ) by Imâm Tirmidhî (d. 279 h): A sîrah-related work by the author of the well- known hadîth collection Al-Jâmi¢ Al-ßahîh. The contemporary muhaddith (hadîth expert) Shaykh Nâsir Al-Dîn Al-Albânî abridged Tirmidhî’s Al-Shamâ’il, evaluating the ahâdîth it includes. ✦ Akhlâq Al-Nabî Wa Âdâbahu (The Character and Manners of the Prophet œ), by Abu’l-Shaykh Al- A|bahânî (d.369 h). This work, to my knowledge, has not yet been thor- oughly edited. ✦ Al-Shifâ’ bi Ta¢rîf ±uqûq Al-Mu|tafâ (The Healing, Being an Exposition of the Rights of the Chosen One œ) by Al-Qâ\î ¢Iyyâ\ (d. 544 h). This is a widely popular work of this literary genre. Imâm Al-ßuyû~î, may Allah have mercy on him, sourced the ahâdîth of Al-Shifâ’ in his Manâhil Al-ßafâ’ fî Takhrîj Ahâdîth Al-Shifâ’
(The Pure Water Springs in Sourcing the A^âdîth of The Healing). Ac- knowledging Al-Qâ\î’s excellent presentation in many aspects of his book, I caution the reader about the author’s advancement, at times, of irregular views. He speaks, for example, about pilgrimage to the gravesite of the Prophet œ as a permissible practice, a position at variance with the ¢aqîdah of our righteous forebears. He also attempts to correlate Allah’s Names with that of the Prophet œ, which is contrived. For example, he writes: “Of Allah’s Names are ‘the First’ and ‘the Last,’ while of the names of the Prophet œ is one that indicates he shall be ‘the first to rise from the grave.’” There is an element of exaggeration in such discourse, for the Prophet œ, in the final analysis, was a mortal and commanded us to refrain from extreme adulation of him. Such views, and Allah knows best, seem to have endeared Al-Qâ\î to the Sûfîs, who hold Al-Shifâ’ in high regard.
✦ Al-Shamâ’il (Virtues of the Prophet œ) by Imâm Ibn Kathîr, Ismâ¢îl ibn ¢Umar (d. 774 h). This is an exceptionally al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9
excellent book in this genre, extracted from the author’s well known Al- Bidâyah wa’l-Nihâyah (The Beginning and the End).
Books About the Proofs of the Prophethood of Muhammad œ (Kutub Dalâ’il AlNubûwah)
This literary type features the recorded accounts of the miraculous and wondrous deeds of the Prophet œ that confirm his prophethood. Since these events authenticate so essential a truth, the scholars take great care to detail these proofs. As such, the books of Dalâ’il comprise an excellent exposition of many sîrah events. ✦ Dalâ’il Al-Nubûwwah (The Signs of Prophethood) by Ja¢far ibn Muhammad Al-Firyâbî, (d. 301 h) is a small but excellent book that is deservedly prominent in this category. ✦ Dalâ’il Al-Nubûwwah (The Signs of Prophethood) by Abû Nu¢aym, A^mad ibn ¢Abdullâh Al-A|bahâni (d. 430 h)
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✦ Dalâ’il Al-Nubûwwah (The Signs of Prophethood) by A^mad ibn Al- ±usayn Al-Bayhaqî (d. 458 h). Al- Bayhaqî Dalâ’il is a huge multi-vol- ume work that includes some weak (da¢îf) narrations. One ought to find secondary sources of hadîth experts that rate these ahâdîth. ✦ Kha|â’is Al-Kubra (The Major Exclu- sives (Rights of the Prophet œ)) by ¢Abd-Al-Ra^mân ibn Kâmil Al-ßuyû~î, (d. 910 h). Its second printing is furnished with comments by Shaykh Muhammad Khalîl Harrâs).
Books of the Life story of the Prophet œ (Kutub Al-Sîrah) the sîrahs of ibn is±âq and ibn hishâm The second-hijrî-century sîrah of Ibn Is^âq and its recension a generation later by Ibn Hishâm constitute the foremost representatives of this literary genre. ✦ Sîrat Ibn Ishâq (The Life Story of the
Prophet as Told by Ibn Ishâq) by Muhammad Ibn Is^âq (d.150/151h). This is the sîrah work upon which its more famous successor (see next) relied.
✦ Sîrat Ibn Hishâm (the Sîrah of Ibn Hishâm), by ¢Abd Al-Mâlik Ibn Hishâm (d. 218 h). This is the most famous sîrah book of all time. Ibn Hishâm edited and refined Sîrat Ibn Ishâq and gave the latter its name by which it is known. He abridged and omitted material in some places. A number of scholars have written commentaries on Sîrat Ibn Hishâm, including Mu|¢ab ibn Muhammad Al-Khashânî (d. 604 h), ¢Abd Al- Ra^mân ibn ¢Abdullah Al-Suhaylî (d. 581 h), whose book Al-Rawd Al-Anuf (7 vols.) has been edited by Shaykh ¢Abd Al-Ra^mân Al-Wakîl. Sîrat Ibn Hishâm mixes authentic with inauthentic material. It contains some weak narrations, particularly with regard to events related to the pre-Islamic times of Ignorance of Heavenly Revelation, or Jâhiliyyah. These discrepancies show up, for example, in the narration of incidents related to the birth and life of Prophet Muhammad œ before the commence- ment of Revelation. One ought to contrast these contents of Sîrat Ibn Hishâm against the sîrah reports of other works. Ibn Ishâq, however, was a trusted authority on the maghâzi, which inclines scholars to accept his maghazi narrations, unless they are explicitly contradicted by other authentic ahâdîth. ✦ Sîrat Abû Ishâq Al-Fazârî (d. 186 h). Abû Is^aq is a hadîth narrator rated trustworthy by hadîth specialists. His work on sîrah is admirable in that he did not confine his study to the sîrah of the Prophet œ, per se, discussing in detail some legal injunctions (ahkâm) related to fighting, spoils, and other themes.
✦ Al-Maghâzi (The Battles of the Prophet œ) by Muhammad ibn ¢Umar Al-Wâqidî (d. 207 h). The muhaddithîn have categorized Al-Wâqidî as a weak hadîth narrator. In spite of this, Oriental ists have attached inordinate importance to his sîrah work, advancing it over the more authentic Sîrat Ibn Ishâq. ✦ Al-Tabaqât Al-Kubrâ (The Major Classes) by Muhammad Ibn Sa¢d (also known by the epithet “Scribe of Al-Wâqidî”, or Kâtib Al-Wâqidî) (d. 230 h). Ibn Sa¢d is a reliable hadîth narrator, according to hadîth special- ists. In his introduction, Ibn Sa¢d recounts events of the sîrah and gives isnâd (chains of authorities) for his reports that extend back to the Prophet œ. This makes Ibn Sa¢d’s work an invaluable sîrah reference. ✦ Al-Durar fî Ikhtisâr Al-Maghâzi wa’l-Siyar (Pearls from the Brief Accounts of the Prophet's Battles and the Accounts of His Life) by Yûsuf ibn ¢Abdullah Ibn ¢Abd Al-Barr Al- Qur~ubî (d. 463 h). This sîrah work draws mainly on Sîrat Ibn Ishâq, though he adds narrations from ßahî h Al-Bukhâri and Sunan Abû Dâwûd.
Other Works on Sîrah
Two other works, though not sîrah, strictly speaking, are of benefit to any study of the life story of the Prophet œ. ✦ Sharh Al-Mawâhib Al-Ladunniyyah (Exposition of Gifts from God’s Presence) by A^mad ibn Muhammad Al-Qas~alânî (d. 923 h). Al-Qas~alânî provides a wide range of reports that relate to the military activities, virtues, conditions, attributes, and other aspects of the Prophet’s sîrah. The author’s discussion and evaluation of the quality of the ahâdîth he cites includes critique of the hadîth narra- tors involved in the transmission of these ahâdîth.
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✦ Subul Al-Huda wa’l-Rashâd (The Paths of Guidance and Right Direction) by Mu^ammad ibn Yûsuf Al-Dimashqî (d. 942 h). This is a massive and comprehensive book (six volumes), though it contains some weak narra- tions and knotty expression of proper beliefs.
Books on the Life and Works of the ßa^âbah Works on the lives of the Companions l are legion and invariably give detailed accounts of the sîrah of the Prophet œ. Mention of several noteworthy ones follow. ✦ Ma¢rifat Al-ßahâbah (Knowing the Companions) by Abû Nu¢aym Al-A|bahânî (same as Al-A|fahânî) (d. 430h). ✦ Usd Al-Ghâbah (Lions of the Savannah) by ¢Izz Al-Dîn ibn Al-Athîr (d. 630h) ✦ Al-I|âbah fî Tamyyîz Al-ßahâbah (The Sound Sorting of the Companions) by Ibn ±ajar Al-¢Asqalânî (d. 852h). This is the most comprehensive biographi- cal dictionary of the Companions and, having being authored by the greatest muhaddith of all time (he is the author of Fath Al-Bârî, the great commentary on ßahîh Al-Bukhâri), it is invaluable as a source of sîrah.
Two kinds of histories relate to sîrah studies: The Histories of Makkah and Madinah, or the Two Noble Sanctuaries (Al-±aramayn Al-Sharîfayn) and general histories that cover the advent of the Prophet œ and the call of Islam. The first category, though it contains important chronicles, comprises vast material that needs their readers’ discernment. Four works are notable: ✦ Akhbâr Makkah (Tidings of Makkah) by Mu^ammad Ibn Is^âq Al-Fâkihî, (d. 280h) ✦ Târîkh Makkah (A History of Makkah) by Mu^ammad ibn ¢Abdullah Al- Azraqî (d.250h).
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✦ Al-¢Aqd Al-Thamîn fî Târîkh Al-Balad Al-Amîn (The Precious Necklace: A Treatise on the History of the Secure City [Makkah]) by Muhammad ibn A^mad Al-Fâsî Al-Makkî (d. 832h). ✦ Khula|ât Al-Wafâ’ bî Akhbâr Dâr Al-Mu|tafâ (A Faithful Summary of the Tidings of the Abode of the Chosen Prophet) by Al-Samhûdî (d. 922h). As to general histories, I recommend three important works for purposes of sîrah studies. ✦ Târîkh Al->abarî (History of Al->abari, properly, Târîkh Al-Rusul wa’l-Mulûk (History of the Prophets and Kings) by Mu^ammad ibn Jarîr Al >abarî (d. 310h). Al->abarî’s work contains a wealth of details about the sîrah of the Prophet œ. It presents the chains of authorities (asânîd, sing. isnâd) for its reports, which, again, is invaluable. These asânîd and reports, however, must be vetted against other narra- tions. ✦ Ansâb Al-Ashrâf (Lineage of the Prophet’s Descendants) by Al-Balâd- hûrî (d. 297h). The author’s introduc- tory note to this work gives a compre- hensive account of the sîrah of the Prophet œ. ✦ Al-Bidâyah wa’l-Nihâyah (The Beginning and the End) by Ibn Kathir (d. 774h). Imâm Ibn Kathîr presents in this work a lengthy account of the life of the Prophet œ, its reports including their chains of authority. The sîrah section of Al-Bidâyah was printed separately under the title: Al-Sîrah Al-Nabawaiyyah li Ibn Khathîr (The Prophetic Sîrah by Ibn Kathîr) and is considered among the best works on sîrah. Two factors contribute to the scholars’ high opinion of Al-Bidâyah as an excellent sîrah source: (1) Ibn Kathîr is versed in the science of hadîth; and (2) Ibn Kathîr’s method is to contrast reports
quoted in Sîrat Ibn Ishâq against the sîrah narrations in ßahîh Al-Bukhâri, ßahîh Muslim, and ßahîh Al-Tirmidhî.
✦ Târîkh Al-Islâm Wa Wafayât Al- Mashâhîr wa’l-A¢lâm (The History of Islam and Biographies and Obituaries of Eminent Men) by Muhammad ibn Qaymâz Al-Dhahabî (d. 748h). This is an important source of the sîrah of the Prophet œ. Al-Dhahabî devoted a volume of his Târîkh to the sîrah and another to the maghâzî of the Prophet œ. An acknowledged master of hadîth, Al-Dhahabî gives compara- tive account of his work on sîrah against other similar works. He also adjudged, as authentic or otherwise, much of the narrations occurring in his sîrah.
Books to be Shunned
There are categories of sîrah narratives that are not to be considered, including the poetic anthologies, such as Al-Aghâni (The Songs) by Abû’l-Faraj Al-A|fahânî and Al-¢Aqd Al-Farîd (The Unique Necklace) by Ibn ¢Abd Rabbih, and the like. Though these works include reports about the sîrah and others about incidents from the
times of the Companions, their accounts are not fully trustworthy, rife as they are with false ascriptions to the Companions. A Muslim who wishes to properly educate himself about the sîrah of the Prophet œ and that of his Companions should exclude these works.
Contemporary Works on the Sîrah of the Prophet œ
Modern studies in sîrah are two types (1) Works by authors influenced by Orientalists and Christian missionaries, who, incidentally, have written prolifically on the sîrah, their works translated into many languages. These writings are, for the most part, extraordinarily biased and littered with sinister calumnies and abuses against the Prophet œ and his Companions l. They are to be guarded against. Sadly, some Muslims have adopted in their writings about the sîrah, the methodology of these ominous bashers of Islam and the Prophet œ, producing wretched sîrah works, such as Taha ¤usain’s ¢Ala Hâmish Al-Sîrah (On the Margins of the Sîrah), which is chock full of baseless fictions. Muhammad ±usain Haykal’s ¤ayyât Muhammad (The Life of Muhammad) and his Fî Manzil Al-Wahy (Where Revelation Alights) echoes Orientalist and Christian missionary methodologies, to which it is in some sense directed. His choice of the title for his first book, for instance, The Life of Muhammad, attests to this alien influence. He seeks to make the Prophet œ “more acceptable” to the modern supposedly rationalist reader by, for example, excluding from the sîrah all the accounts of the miracles of Prophet Muhammad œ other than the Quran. Haykal justifies this attitude by claiming al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9
that (a) these miracles run counter to reason, and (b) that he wishes to treat Prophet Muhammad œ as a human being whose life, like other humans, is governed by natural principles, such as the law of cause and effect, and so forth. This approach renders Haykal’s sîrah works bereft of important aspects of the life of Muhammad œ, who is, after all, the Prophet, and whose claim to prophethood, like his fellow prophets and messengers before him, is, in the nature of the case, supported by God-given signs and miracles. There are excellent and serious works that treat of the sîrah, as well, and which offer scholarly criticism of the available sîrah works. A number of competent sîrah researchers at Umm Al-Qura University and the Islamic University of Madinah have written excellent hadîth-based treatises devoted to this. They take up, for example, the events of Bay¢at Al-¢Aqabah (The Pledge of Al-¢Aqabah), the ¤ijrah of the Prophet œ, Ghazwat Badr (the Battle of Badr), Ghazwat Banî Al-Mu|taliq (the Battle of Banû Al-Mu|~aliq), ßulh Al±udaybiyah (The Peace Accord at ±udaybiyyah), Ghazwat Tabûk (the Battle of Tabûk), and other interesting and instructive studies. These studies have been carried out under the supervision of leading authorities on the science of sîrah, including Akram `iyâ’ Al-¢Umarî, who himself is credited with a number of excellent works on sîrah, such as his Al-Mujtama¢ Al-Madani fî ¢Ahd Al-Rasûl (Civil Society in the Era of Prophethood)—published by the Islamic University of Madinah. This is a two-part work treating the characteristics of, and the sociopolitical arrangements adopted in, the prophetic period, as well as the Prophet’s interactions with Arabia’s idolaters, or mushrikîn. Al¢Umarî’s Madinan Society at the Time of the Prophet: Its Characteristics and Organization and, a second volume, subtitled The Jihad Against the Mushrikin (the Arab Polytheists) have long been available in English, as well.
The Foremost Works and Sources of Sîrah Of all the works of sîrah, I strongly recommend the following, some of which I have previously cited:
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✦ Târîkh Al-Islam by Al-Dhahabî ✦ Al-Sîrah Al-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Kathîr. ✦ Zâd Al-Ma¢âd, Provisions for the Return by Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (d. 751h) This fiqh (legal) work is so splendid a book. Composed in the course of the author’s travel to ±ajj, it comprises distinctive and vast details of the life and teachings of the Prophet œ. The book also features subtle and percep- tive juristic opinions, the product of the author’s intense reflection on the events of the sîrah. In my view, next to the sound ahâdîth collections and books of Tafsîr, Zâd Al-Ma¢âd should be part of every Muslim’s library. ✦ Fath Al-Bârî by Ibn ¤ajar Al-¢Asqalâni. This is an important source of sîrah. Ibn ¤ajar explicated and vetted the Sîrah-related ahâdîth contained in ßahîh Al-Bukhâri with a comparative study of its different narrations. Fath Al-Bârî is an indispensible reference for anyone who wishes to gain a pro- found insight into the sîrah of the Prophet œ.
world, to be followed unto God and His Judgment in the Hereafter. That is to say, sîrah coheres around the belief that Allah will accept no way of life other than Islam after its revelation and promulgation; and life as the Prophet œ lived it is the embodiment of this Revelation for all time. Implicit in this equation is that sound understanding of Islam is attainable only when a study of the sîrah of the Prophet œ is included. In our analyses and presentation of the lessons of this sîrah, however, we need to rid ourselves of the defensive attitudes that have crept into the Muslim psyche over time. There is no room for rationalizing the sîrah to the point of explaining it away, such that we omit its very example for humankind—a life lived wholly for the sake of God. In the course of our genuflecting, we are turning our religion and the sîrah into an apology for the rampant anti-sacredness and material covetousness of human whim that is destroying us and all that is around us.
Nor have we authority to belie the sîrah, or cherry-pick its events, veiling its realities. Rather, we should study and understand the actions of the Prophet œ with the conviction that they occurred as first-order religious obligations revealed by Allah to His Prophet œ, and that, as such, they have context and meaning. We should steer clear from the despondent and defensive excuses that some Muslims have been compelled to embrace in the face of fierce attacks waged by Orientalists and Christian missionaries against Islam. Let Muslims study the sîrah of the Prophet œ in light of the Scriptural Texts that show that Muhammad œ was a Prophet-Messenger whom Allah has entrusted with the task of communicating His religion to humankind: O Messenger! Proclaim all that has been sent down to you from your Lord. For if you do not, then you will not have conveyed His message (Sûrat AlMâ’idah, 5:67).
iii. a mental approach to the sîrah studying the sîrah of the Prophet œ, in my experience, requires of the believer that he or she have a mental point of departure. One ought to have firm belief that Islam supersedes the ways of life that came before it and that it is the culmination and completion of the Religion of God chosen for man until the end of time. Thus is Islam’s claim. If man shall live as he chooses, yet Allah has made no dispensation to accept any other way of life for man. This is an extremely important matter. It means that the sîrah of the Prophet œ is unlike the sîrah of any other person, for the utterances, worship, and life transactions of the Prophet œ are Islam revealed into the al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9
Kha|âi| Al-Nabî œ
Legal Injunctions Exclusive to the Prophet œ the Prophet œ, like the rest of his Ummah, the Muslim Community, is addressed by almost all the legal prescriptions of the Islamic Sharî¢ah. There are, however, some ahkâm (rulings) that apply exclusively to him. The rest of his Ummah are not obligated to comply with these. A Muslim should familiarize him- or herself with these kha| â’is (exclusive injunctions) in order to avoid “emulating” the Prophet in them. We begin with a hadîth: When the Prophet œ forbade the practice of wi|âl [forgoing breaking one’s fast at sunset to fast through the night and next day], the Companions [expressing their desire to emulate him in this] said [to him]: “But we saw you do it, O Messenger of Allah!” The Prophet œ said: “I am not as you are. I abide in the company of my Lord, who feeds me and quenches my thirst.” Commenting on the fiqhî implications of this hadîth, Imâm Ibn ±ajar said: This hadîth proves that there are legal injunctions that apply to the Prophet exclusively, and that the Quranic passage—(Yet, very truly, in the Messenger of Allah there is an excellent model for you—for whoever has hope in Allah and for salvation on the Last Day and, therefore, remembers Allah much) (Sûrat Al-A^zâb, 33:21)—is makh|û| (exclusive to the Prophet —i.e., not generally applicable (¢âm)) (Fath Al-Bârî, 4:242). Scholarly opinion is unanimous in the ruling that no practice can be established as applying to the Prophet exclusively (khâ|) except on the basis of authentic, revealed Textual-
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proofs. That is, exclusive legal injunctions cannot be determined by ijtihâd (independent legal reasoning), qiyâs (analogical reasoning), surmise, and the like. Works by Muslim scholars devoted to, or inclusive of Kha|â’i| Al-Nabî (Legal Injunctions Exclusive to the Prophet ) abound. Notable among them are the following: Ibn Kathîr’s Al-Fu|ûl fî Sîrat Al-Rasûl, Ibn Al-Mulaqqîn’s Kha| â’i| Afdal Al-Makhlûqîn, Al-Suyûti’s Al-Kha|â’i| Al-Kubra, Ibn Al-Jawzi’s Al-Wafâ’ bi Ahwâl Al-Mu|tafâ and Al-Bayhaqi’s Dalâil Al-Nubuwwah. Here, I list 10 categories of Kha| â’i| for the Prophet , followed by another seven of his exclusive virtues: The Prophet œ was prohibited from: 1. Partaking in |adaqah, charity. 2. Holding a marital bond with a woman who expressed dislike of her marriage to him. 3. Removing a coat of mail (armor) after donning it until after engaging the enemy in battle (this ban applied to all the prophets). 4. Composing poetry. The Prophet œ was permitted to: 5. Fast through the night, without breaking his fast at sunset. 6. Marry a woman in the absence of her guardian and without a need for witnesses. 7. Marry more than four wives 8. Engage in fighting in Makkah (this was for a specified period, and no other is allowed to fight or kill in the Sacred City of Makkah). The Prophet œ was obligated to: 9. Offer ßalât Al-Duha (Late Morning Supererogatory Prayer) as well as
ßalât Al-Layl (Voluntary Night Prayer). 10. Offer animal sacrifice on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha. (Scholars dispute the kha|â’i| of the latter two categories, as to whether these constituted obligations upon the Prophet . There are conflicting evidentiary proofs for this. See Ibn Kathîr’s Al-Fu|ûl fî Sîrat Al-Rasûl (pp. 307-322) and Ibn Al-Mulaqqîn’s Kha|â’i| Afdal Al-Makhlûqîn (pp. 102-158). We shall conclude with some of the main virtues that apply to the Prophet alone, to the exclusion of all others: 1. He is infallible (ma¢sûm). 2. Insulting or slighting him is an act of disbelief. 3. Attributing a falsehood to him is
[an evil] that has no parallel with doing the same to any other. 4. His offering of a voluntary |alâh while sitting held the same reward (ajr) as offering it stand- ing. 5. None could inherit from him after his death. Whatever possessions he left behind were treated as |adaqah, charity. 6. His wives are considered “Moth- ers of the Believers.” Hence, none was allowed to marry them after the death of the Prophet , and they are to be accorded the same respect and adoration accorded to one’s biological mother. 7. Seeing the Prophet in a dream is like seeing him in real life, for Satan is divinely precluded from assuming the physical form of the Prophet .
century Palestinian, Bânî Isrâ’îl/Jewish setting.
Seeing Paul for What He Is Monotheistic Religion an Interfaith Issue
Monotheism in the Hands of 4th Century Churchmen
Are Today’s Christians Monotheists? Was Paul? Linda Thayer In Parts 2-9 of this series, we have dug into the history of how the Church has become inextricably entangled with degrading their understanding of the One God, how they fell into shirk through being forced to explain the supposed ‘divinity’ of Jesus—if they were to be in harmony with the teachings of Paul, the Church’s recognized chief interpreter of Jesus . Now the question before us is what we have to offer Christians, in our personal contacts or in interfaith group settings.
Interfaith Interactions Are Christians not monotheists at all? Of course, only Allah knows the heart and mind of the individual ‘Christian.’ But we can conclude that those Christian authorities who have imbibed the Pauline interpretation of ‘Jesus Christ’ as the ‘begotten’ ‘Son’ of a ‘Trinitarian’ ‘Father’ God—following the Church’s Greek misconceptualization of those terms—have readjusted a simple and straightforward understanding of the One absolute God so as to make Christians believe that the One God shares His divine essence with a ‘Son’ (identified with His ‘Word’). In this scenario, that divine essence is further shared with a ‘Holy Spirit,’ (previously identified with an agent of Wisdom). A metaphorical unity of purpose on the part of Prophet Jesus ∑ with God, and of Jesus ∑
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with his disciples (See the Gospel according to John 17:21-23 in the New Testament of the Bible), is not a difficulty for straightforward monotheism. However, a literal or theological oneness of Jesus with the essence—or with the being—of God is a grave violation of monotheism. Allah, in the Quran, has unremittingly condemned such assertions—and has offered a correction: (And, behold, there are indeed some among them who distort the Bible with their tongues, so as to make you think that [what they say] is from the Bible, the while it is not from the Bible; and who say, ‘This is from God,’ the while it is not from God: and thus do they tell a lie about God, being well aware [that it is a lie].) Sûrat Âl-¢Imrân, 3:78.
(…There is no deity whatever save the One God….Will they not, then, turn towards God in repentance, and ask His forgiveness? For God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.”) Sûrat Al-Mâ’idah, 5:74. (Now when Jesus came [to his people] with all evidence of the truth, he said: ‘I have now come unto you with wisdom, and to make clear unto you some of that on which you are at variance: hence, be conscious of God, and pay heed unto me. Verily, God is my Sustainer as well as your Sustainer; so worship [none but] Him: this [alone] is a straight way!’) Sûrat AlZukhruf, 43:63-64. As Muslims, we assume the best about anyone we meet; but encouraging a correct attitude to monotheism can be as easy as quoting to Christians the words of Jesus ∑ himself from their own scripture, the New Testament (NT) regarding Jesus’ understanding of monotheism. (See the Gospel according to Mark 12:28-29, 32; the Gospel according to Matthew 4:10; Mark 10:17-18.) How could one believe that the basic truth of God’s absolute supremacy would be reversed by a Johnny-come-lately like Paul, who claimed to interpret Jesus ∑ but had never even met him? Christians must also be encouraged, and this will be a totally new idea to them: to scrutinize the writings of Paul in the light of Jesus’ own plainly understood words, without later theological embellishment and in terms of Jesus’ very own context, within his own 1st
Paul’s subversive entrance onto the scene of the Jesus movement is chronicled, likewise, within the documents which the Church has gathered to form the New Testament. It is not difficult to recognize—again, within the New Testament itself—the specific message of Jesus ∑, as he himself taught it rather than as misinterpreted by others. The message of Jesus ∑ is called repeatedly by Jesus the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom of God’, and it differs from the doctrine of Paul. Paul pushed aside the teaching of the Banî Isrâ’îl Prophet Jesus ∑, to substitute his own pagan Greek-friendly message, which Paul referred to as the ‘Gospel of Jesus Christ’. Paul avoided contact with the leadership of Jesus’ mentored Disciples (See Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, chapters 1-2) to assert his own leadership of the ‘Christian’ splinter group, beginning at Antioch in Syria (See Acts of the Apostles 11:26-27). Through astute market analysis and sales strategy, he became highly successful in nurturing his gospel (i.e., ‘good news’), his competitive, popularized version of a mystery cult message, so as for it to attain dominance in the Roman sphere of influence. Thus, any modern-day persons committed to following Jesus ∑—if they are going to hold to the plain and simple teaching of Jesus ∑—must be open to recognizing Paul as an outsider who intruded himself into the Jesus movement. Yes! A spoiler when measured against Jesus’ own sayings! Any such investigations are actually helped by the fact that the historical church has included Paul’s writings in their scripture, alongside the four, core, ¤adith-like ‘books’ called ‘Gospels.’ As an appendage to the accepted Gospel record of Jesus ∑, Paul had been promoted— securely so by the 4th century—to the status of definitive interpreting theologian par excellence! In fact, we are all but completely lacking in accounts of the Twelve Disciples of Jesus ∑ after his dramatic departure from them, and thus Paul has conveniently filled that void. While monotheism may not be the only issue addressed in interfaith gatherings, it is al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9
the one on which all others depend for their orthodoxy. Without a clear understanding of tawhîd, Christians will continue to argue in a hermetically-sealed echo chamber, without any chance of a quantum leap out of their hopeless quandary. The Quran has many references to violations of simple monotheism. No doubt, our first duty in interfaith conversations about Islam is to be straight about the meaning of monotheism—since this is number one in our creedal statement and determines the true orthodoxy of any belief about mankind’s Creator: Lâ ilâha illa’Llâh, wahdahu, lâ sharika lah. There exists no deity other than the One God—Him alone—and without Partner. This job is much easier for us—in our deliberations with Christians—if we understand some basics of the convoluted writings of Paul and how the Church’s acceptance of them brought about their essential abandonment of the teaching of Jesus ∑ himself. The 4th century Arian controversy is an ideal window for us to peer into the journey of Christians in their development of ‘Christology’ (See Al-Jumu¢ah 24.08 for Part 1 of this series), which still pervades their belief system and defines them as ‘Christians’— rather than as followers of Jesus ∑! Selfdesignated Christians should be encouraged to follow Jesus 100 percent, in 100 percent rejection of Paul’s theologization of ‘Jesus Christ.’ In contradiction to all the hullaballoo made by a certain segment of Christians who claim that the ‘vindictive’ ‘Moslem god’ [May Allah forgive them!] is not the same as their loving Christian God, Rubenstein1 has well chronicled—through Jewish eyes—a crucial part of Church history, helping to depict the ways in which it is [Pauline] Christians who have departed from the monotheistic “Jehovah” of the Hebrew Bible. If Christians see “their” God as the loving God that sent Jesus ∑, well—so do we. But what can they say about the God of the vindictive ‘Christian’ Paul—after reading Paul’s own words, recorded in black and white and available now for almost 20
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centuries in the New Testament: Letter of Paul to the Galatians, chapter 1! We reject Paul’s behavior and his Christological innovations, upon which the Church built her theological ‘orthodoxy.’ So, in a way, this Christian accusation that we don’t share the same [concept of] ‘God’ is actually correct—though not in the way that they had imagined! It is actually Muslims—together with the true followers of Abraham ∑ and Moses ∑ and the original followers of Jesus ∑—who share with each other the same monotheistic concept of God! Of course, this insight must be offered to Christians within the proper conversational context, not ‘out of the blue.’ It is the ‘Christian’ Paul—followed by the ‘orthodox’ Christian church—who have corrupted world-wide ‘Christian’ monotheism for the would-be followers of Prophet Jesus ∑. I am not aware of any modern Christians who talk about this phenomenon of Paul having ‘hi-jacked’ the Jesus movement, but I suspect that many would be comfortable with this point of view—once they have openmindedly examined Paul in comparison to Jesus ∑. In Part 1 (Al-Jumuah 24:8), we saw how Paul contradicted Jesus in deifying him and thus brought about a movement of non-Jewish ‘Christians’ who worshipped God in, by and through Jesus Christ—exclusively! In Parts 2-8 we highlighted a major paradox, the ‘Christian’ understanding of the relationship of Jesus to God, with which the Church has been forced—for centuries—to continue to grapple, as an on-going paradox and mystery, asking individual Christians to accept logical impossibilities and contradictions to their own everyday experience of the world. In Part 10, we shall begin to look at how the concept of ‘religion’ has enabled Christian hegemony on the world stage, commandeering the standard by which any system of belief in an Ultimate Power is compelled to measure up. ________________________________________ Rubenstein, Richard E., When Jesus Became God, The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome, 1999. Harcourt/Harvest: New York
Belief in the Prophet œ a brief definition
Muhammad Al-Tamîmî BELIEF IN THE Prophet denotes two things: (1) Believing in him and (2) Obeying him and adhering to the Sharî¢ah he preached (Iqtidâ¢ Al-ßirât Al-Mustaqîm Mukhâlafat A|hâb AlJahîm, p. 92). Two of these (believing in him and following his Sharî¢ah) constitute the fundamentals upon which belief (imân) in the Prophet rests. FIRST: BELIEF IN THE PROPHET œ This comprises two great issues:
1. Affirming the prophethood of
Muhammad six parts:
.This affirmation comprises
a. Believing in the universality of his mission, meaning that Allah sent him to both humankind and jinn. b. Believing that he is the Seal of Allah’s prophets and that his mission is the final divine mission to all humankind. c. Believing that his mission has abro- gated all prior divine Sharî¢ah, or dispensations. d. Believing that the Prophet has fully communicated the divine mission with which Allah entrusted him, to such an extent that when he died, the path to Jannah, the Garden of Para- dise, and the path to the Jahannum, Hellfire, were clearly defined for all time. e. Belief in the infallibility (¢i|mah) of the Prophet . f. Believing in, and recognizing, all the rights he has upon us, such as our loving and revering him.
2. Belief in the truth of what the Prophet
has brought us from Allah and that it is incumbent upon those of humankind who have received knowledge of his message to adhere to what he preached.
Allah has obligated humankind to take as
truthful and reliable all that the Prophet has reported on the authority of Allah . This includes the information he conveyed about past and future occurrences, as well as his prescriptions and legal categorizations (halâl (lawful), harâm (forbidden), mubâh (permitted) and so forth, whether concerning human beliefs or transactions. A believer is obliged to believe that all these matters have originated with Allah, the Most High: (Nor does he [Muhammad] speak out of whim. This [Quran] is none other than a [divine] Revelation being revealed [to him]) Sûrat Al-Najm, 53:3-4. In his Sharh Al-¢Aqîdah Al->ahâwîyyah, Imâm Ibn Abi Al-¢Izz remarked: “It is a personal legal obligation on each and every human being to believe in that which the Prophet has preached, in general. However, knowing what the Prophet brought us from his Lord in detail is a communal obligation (fard kifâyah)” (Sharh Al-¢Aqîdah Al->ahâwîyyah, p. 66). SECOND: OBEYING THE PROPHET’S COMMANDS AND HOLDING FAST TO HIS SHARÎ¢AH Belief in the Prophet also entails a firm resolve on the part of the believer to adhere to, and put into practice, whenever possible, the precepts of his Sharî¢ah. In other words, it is a duty on believers in Prophet Mu^ammad to carry out his prescriptions and to steer clear of his proscriptions: (Thus whatever the Messenger brings you, then you shall take it. And whatever He has forbidden you, you shall desist from it.) Sûrat Al-¤ashr, 59:7. All human beings, then, are duty-bound to adhere to the divine Sharî¢ah that the Prophet brought us, to hold to his normative practice (Sunnah), and to sustain a firm and unshakeable belief that obeying Prophet Mu^ammad is in truth obeying Allah, and that disobeying Prophet Muhammad is in reality disobeying Allah—for Muhammad is the channel through which Allah’s message flows to His creation. al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9
u DA¢WAH Provisions for Dâ¢îs
Raising a Prophet-Loving Generation Hammâm Al-¤ ârithî
Among the many graces bestowed by Allah upon Muslims is His making them the last and best faith-community (millah) ever to be raised. The Prophet œ said: “We are the last [faith-community in this present life] and the first on the Day of Judgment” (Bukhâri). Allah also made our Prophet œ the Seal and foremost of His prophets , even as He made loving him itself a way of approach to His Divine Self and a tenet of all true religion. I offer here a five-fold strategy, if you will, for nurturing—in oneself and in others—the love of the Prophet œ. 1. awaken to the reality, and live by the golden truth, that following the Way of the Prophet œ is the only dependable avenue to Jannah, the Garden of Paradise in Eternity. For no act of worship shall pass the Judgment of Allah unless it conforms to the guidance of the Prophet œ. This is true in the Prophet’s office as a legislator of Divine Revelation, and in his function as the chosen elucidator of Allah’s words. Allah said: (Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, and Allah will love you and forgive you your sins) Sûrat Âl¢Imrân, 3:31.
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Following the way of the Prophet œ, his Sunnah, signifies adherence to his guidance, manners, and his authentically transmitted teachings. 2. Realize the inestimable worth of the Prophet œ and, thereby, stand with Allah. For Allah Himself commends all the aspects of the person and character of the Prophet œ: HIS INTELLECT: (Your companion [Mu^ammad] has not strayed. Nor has he been deluded.) Sûrat Al-Najm, 53:2 HIS TRUTHFULNESS: (Nor does he speak out of whim.) Sûrat Al-Najm, 53:3.
The Tâbi¢î Al-Muqdâd Ibn Al-Aswad was one day sitting with a group of his associates. A man passed them by, whereupon Al-Aswad remarked: “Oh, What a fortunate pair of eyes are those which beheld the Messenger of Allah ! By Allah! We wish we could have seen what you saw and could have witnessed what you witnessed!”
HIS SIGHT: (The [Prophet’s] sight did not waver nor exceed [any limit].) Sûrat Al-Najm, 53:17. HIS HEART: (Never did the heart [of Mu^ammad] belie what he saw.) Sûrat Al-Najm, 53:11. HIS BOSOM: (Have We not [O Prophet] opened your bosom for you?) Sûrat Al-Sharh, 94:1. HIS EMINENCE: (And [have We not] raised for you your renown?) Al-Shar^, 94:4. HIS PERFECTION: (And [have We not] lifted from you your burden.) Sûrat Al-Shar^, 94:2. HIS FORBEARANCE: (Truly [O believers] a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves— one upon whom it weighs heavily that you should suffer, who is solicitous about you, whose [very nature] toward the believers is kindness and mercy.) Sûrat Al-Tawbah, 9:128. HIS KNOWLEDGE: ([None other than the Angel Gabriel] of potent power has taught this [Quran] to him) Sûrat Al-Najm, 53:5.
HIS HUMAN QUALITY:
(For, indeed, you are, most surely, a man of outstanding character) Sûrat Al-Qalam, 68:4.
(Indeed, Allah and His angels pro- nounce blessings upon the Prophet) Sûrat Al-A^zâb, 33:56. HIS VENERABLENESS: (O you who believe! Solicit Allah’s blessings upon [the Prophet] and salute him with a worthy salutation of peace!) Sûrat Al-A^zâb, 33:56.
These last two qualities, at the command of Allah, combine for the Prophet œ the praise of the inhabitants of both Heaven and earth. Explaining the auspicious place among the prophets that Allah accorded him in completing true religion, the Prophet said: My case in relation to that of Allah’s prophets preceding me is like that of a man who has constructed a house, building it to perfection, save for a single brick missing from one of its corners, such that the people go round the house, marveling at its magnificence, and asking the builder: “Would that you would add this missing brick!” I am that missing brick. I am the Seal of the prophets. (Bukhâri and Muslim) 3. remember the prophet’s solicitude for his Ummah, for man is predisposed to love those who love him and do him good. It is narrated that “the Prophet œ once wept following his recitation of the words of Allah [which Abraham
The Tâbi¢î Ishâq Al-Tujaybî said: “Each time the Companions recalled the Prophet œ they grew tearful and disconcerted.”
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Mus¢ab ibn ¢Abdullah said: “Whenever the name of the Prophet œ was mentioned, Imam Mâlik’s face would pale and he would hang his head, so much so that his students would grow concerned for him.”
∑ invoked against idols]: My Lord! Indeed, they have led many of the people astray. So whoever follows me [in Your worship] then he is truly of me. And whoever disobeys me—in deed, You are all-forgiving, mercy- giving (Sûrat Ibrâhîm, 14:36). He wept also after reciting the words of Allah recounting the state- ment that Jesus ∑ will say on Judg- ment Day about those who claim to follow him: If You punish them, indeed, they are Your servants. And if You forgive them, indeed, it is You who are the Overpowering, the All-Wise (Al-Mâ’idah, 5:118). Thus Allah in quired—through the Arch-Angel Gabriel—as to what caused the Prophet œ to cry. “My Ummah! My Ummah, O Gabriel!” the Prophet said, whereupon Allah commanded Gabriel saying: “Go down to Muhammad and tell him that I shall surely please you with regard to your Ummah” (Muslim). It is also narrated that the Prophet œ said: “Allah has allowed each of his prophets a one-time granted supplica- tion. Yet I have reserved mine to use as an intercession on behalf of my Ummah in the Hereafter” (Muslim). In another hadîth, it is reported that “a man once came up to the Prophet œ and confessed to having kissed and
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caressed a woman (to whom he was not legally allowed), at which point Allah revealed the Quranic verse: (Thus duly establish the Prayer at both ends of the day, and at the near hours of the night. Indeed, good deeds remove misdeeds. This is a reminder for those who would be mindful [and reflect on this admoni- tion]) Sûrat Hûd, 11:114. “Is this allowance for me exclusively?” the man asked. “This is an allowance for my entire Ummah,” answered the Prophet” (Bukhâri).
4. Be mindful of the prophet’s intercession on behalf of his Ummah on the Day of Judgment. The Prophet œ will make two kinds of intercession that Day: A major one (shafâ’ah kubrâ), wherein the Prophet œ will entreat Allah to relieve the jinn and humans, believers and unbelievers alike, from the torments of the Mawqif (the long, torturous standing of humans and jinn on the Day of Judgment awaiting Al-±isâb, the Reckoning). And he shall make, as well, a minor interces- sion (shafâ’ah sughrâ), an intercession exclusively for the sinful members of the Muslim Ummah, as indicated by the Prophet’s statement: “My inter cession [in the Hereafter] will be for those of my Ummah who have committed mortal sins (al-kabâ’ir)” (Tirmidhi).
Thâbit Al-Banânî (a Tâbi¢î) once said to the Companion Anas ibn Mâlik : “Come! Allow me to kiss these two eyes of yours wherewith you saw the Prophet œ.”
the prerogative of only one of Allah’s servants, who, I am hoping, shall be me. For whoso ever asks for Al-Wasîlah for me is eligible for my shafâ’ah (interces- sion)” (Muslim). c. Offering as much supererogatory |alâh-prayers as possible. A man once came to the Prophet œ and said: “O Messenger of Allah! Intercede with your Lord to exempt me from entering the Fire [of Hell]!” The Prophet œ said: “Surely. But aid my intercession by stowing away [to your ac- count] much sujûd (meaning, performing much voluntary | alâh)” (rated ‘fair’ by Al-Albâni in Irwâ’ Al-Ghalîl, 2, 208).
Imam Mâlik said about the Tâbi¢î Ayûb Al-Sikhtiyânî: “I observed Ayyûb during two Pilgrimage seasons and saw that whenever the name of the Prophet œ was mentioned he would weep so much that I would pity him.”
One becomes eligible for the Prophet’s intercession on the Day of Judgment by persisting in doing a number of various prescribed acts. These include the following three deeds: a. Professing the kalimah of tawhîd, the word of God’s Onenes, with all sincerity. Abû Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet œ said: “My intercession will benefit each and everyone who sincerely says lâ ilâha illa’Llâh (there is no deity but Allah)” (Bukhâri). b. Repeating the words of the adhân (the call to prayer) after the muezzin, the caller to prayer each time one hears it. Then (when the adhân is over) one is to recite the authentically transmit- ted adhân-concluding supplica- tion, or du¢â. Jâbir narrated that the Prophet œ said: “Every time you hear the adhân, repeat its words after the muezzin. Then when the adhân is over, call down Allah’s blessings upon me, for whoso calls Allah’s blessings down upon me once, Allah will shower His blessings upon him ten times. Then after that, ask Allah to grant me Al-Wasîlah, that unique place in Paradise which is
Learn well the Sîrah, or the narrative account of the life of the Prophet œ. Study its guidance and discern its merits, for they are of the Prophet œ. (This issue of Al-Jumu¢ah features a lengthy treatment of the importance of the Prophet’s Sîrah and the sources from which the Sîrah is to be taken).
These ideas for inculcating and augmenting a deep love for the Prophet œ in your own heart and in the hearts of others suggest a basic strategy for achieving this crucial end—crucial to the vitality of your faith and your outcome in the Hereafter. So give these suggestions due heed and begin savoring the delight of loving the Prophet œ in the same way that our righteous predecessors experienced within themselves a living reverence for him. (If you would glimpse the heights to which the love for the Prophet œ soared in the hearts of the early generations, I commend you to ponder their words and observations unfolded across these pages.) Oh Allah! Sow the seeds of love for your Prophet œ in our hearts. Let their roots strike deep and their plants grow lush in full flower. O Allah! Make us staunch adherents to the way of Your Prophet œ. O Allah! Incorporate us in the blessed company of Your Prophet œ on the Day of Judgment. Âmîn. al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9
Genealogical Tree of Prophet Muhammad œ ¢Abdullâh
570 ce 545 ce
241 ce Ghâlib
Kilâb ibn Murrah
¢Abd Al-Mu~~alib paternal grandfather
Wahb ibn ¢Abd Manâf maternal grandfather
Abû >âlib paternal uncle
Thuwaybah first nurse
Khadîjah first wife
¢Alî ibn Zainab grandson
Qu|ai ibn Kilâb paternal great-great-great-grandfather
¤ubbah bint ¤ulail paternal great-great-great-grandmother
¢Abd Manâf ibn Qu|ai paternal great-great-grandfather
¢Âtikah bint Murrah paternal great-great-grandmother
Hashim ibn ¢Abd Manâf (progenitor of Banu Hashim) paternal greatgrandfather
Salmâ bint ¢Amr paternal great-grandmother
Umâmah bint Zainab granddaughter
¤amzah paternal half-uncle
¤ârith paternal uncle
Al-Zubayr paternal uncle
¢Abbâss paternal half-uncle family tree
¢Alî paternal cousin family tree, descendants
Hâlah bint Wahb paternal step-grandmother
Âminah mother ¤alîmah second nurse
Fâ~imah bint Sa¢d
¢Abd Manâf ibn Zuhrah maternal great-grandfather Fâ~imah bint ¢Amr paternal grandmother
Zuhrah ibn Kilâb (progenitor of Banu Zuhrah) maternal great-great-grandfather
Abû Lahab paternal half-uncle
6 other sons and 6 daughters
¢Abdullâh ibn ¢Abbâss paternal cousin
¢Uthmân son-in-law family tree
Umm Kulthûm daughter
Zayd adopted son Usâmah ibn Zayd adoptive grandson
¢Abdullâh ibn ¢Uthmân grandson
ßafiyyah tenth/eleventh wife* Mu^sin ibn ¢Alî grandson
¤asan ibn ¢Alî grandson
Abû Bakr father-in-law family tree ¢Âishah second/third wife* family tree
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¤usayn ibn ¢Alî grandson family tree
Sawdah second/third wife* Zaynab bint Ja^sh fifth wife
Ray^ânah (marriage disputed)
Zaynab bint Ali granddaughter
Umm Kulthûm bint ¢Alî granddaughter
¢Umar father-in-law family tree ¤af|ah fourth wife
Maymûnah eleventh/twelfth wife* Umm Salamah sixth wife
Zaynab bint Khuzaymah seventh wife
Juwayrîyah eighth wife
Mâriah Al-Qib~iyyah thirteenth wife
Umm ¤abîbah ninth wife
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Progression of a Mercy Unto Humanity Historical Timeline of the Sîrah The weak Muslims
The first Revelation in The Prophet’s
grandfather, ¢Abd Al-Mu~~alib, dies. The Prophet œ is given to his paternal uncle Abû >âlib.
are persecuted by the Quraysh.
the Cave of ±irâ’. The revelation of the first five verses of Sûrat Al-¢Alaq (Rama\ân).
Abu >âlib and Khadîjah die (The year of
The establishment of brotherhood
sorrow). Prophet Muhammad œ is married to Sawdah bint Zam¢ah (Rama\ân). The Prophet œ takes a journey to >â’if with Zayd ibn ±ârithah and returns to Makkah, under the protection of Mut¢im ibn ¢Adî (Shawwâl). A group of people from the Khazraj tribe in Madinah meet with the Prophet œ and become Muslim during the season of pilgrimage at ¢Aqabah (Dhu’l-±ijjah).
between the Emigrants and the Helpers (An|âr) (Mu’âkhât-Brotherhood) (Rajab). The regulation of the constitutional agreement of Madinah and the establishment of the boundaries of Muslim Madinah (Rama\ân). Permission to fight against unbelievers is granted. The night campaign (Sariyya) led by ¤amzah, the Al-Is campaign (Sayf Al-Ba^r) (Rama\ân). Completion of the construction of the Al-Masjid Al-Nabawî (Shawwâl). The night campaign led by Sa¢d ibn Abî Waqqâs, the ±arrâr campaign (Dhu’l-Qi¢dah). The establishment of the market place in Madinah. The formation of the ßuffah (porch or veranda) of Al-Masjid Al-Nabawî.
brings Prophet Muhammad œ to his mother in Makkah.
The Second Emigration to Abyssinia. ¤amzah converts to Islam. ¢Umar converts to Islam. The Prophet œ and the
first Muslims emerge from the House of Arqam. The Hâshim and Mu~~alib tribes meet near where Abû >âlib lives to protect Prophet Muhammad œ. The unbelievers start social and economic boycotts against the Muslims.
Second Pledge at
¢Aqabah (Dhu’l- ±ijjah).
Al-Masjid Al-±aram in Makkah (Rajab).
569 ce 574 ce
The introduction of the mandatory Rama\ân fast (Sha¢bân). Start of the >arâwî^ (nightly) prayer during the month of Rama\ân (1 Rama\ân). The Battle of Badr. (17 Rama\ân). The revelation of Sûrat Al-Anfâl. The death of the Prophet’s daughter Ruqayyah (Rama\ân).
Payment of alms (Zakat Al-Fitr) at the end of Rama\ân becomes mandatory (Rama\ân). The first Eid Al-Fi~r (celebration after Rama\ân), and the first congregational Eid prayer (1
Shawwâl). The marriage of the Prophet œ to ¢Âishah (Shawwâl). The Banû Qaynuqâ¢ campaign (Shawwâl). The marriage of ¢Alî and Fâ~imah. (Dhu’l-Qi¢dah or Dhu’l-±ijjah). The Sawîq campaign (5 Dhu’l-±ijjah). The first Eid Al-A\^a (Festival of Sacrifice) (10 Dhu’l-±ijjah). The appropriation of the cemetery of Al-Baqî¢ Cemetery after the death of ¢Uthmân ibn Maz¢ûn of the Muhâjirûn (one of the Emigrants during the Hijrah) (Dhu’l-±ijjah). Zakât (charitable alms) is prescribed.
Muhammad œ is made responsible for the trade caravan belonging to the widow Khadîjah. He leads her caravan to the city of Bu|ra. The Prophet œ marries Khadîjah.
campaign (Rajab). The change of the direction of prayer (qiblah) from Al-Masjid Al-Aqsâ in Jerusalem to
1h/622 ce 1h/623 ce 2h/623 ce 2h/624 ce 3h/624 ce
Muhammad œ is born (12 Rabî¢ Al-Awwal 53h/17 June 569, a Monday, or 9 Rabî¢ Al-Awwal 51h/20 April 571, a Monday) The Prophet œ is given to the wet-nurse ±alîmah.
The First Emigration to Abyssinia. The Prophet
journeys to Syria with his uncle Abû >âlib. The episode of Ba^îrah, the monk, occurs.
Abwâ', the Prophet œ is brought to Makkah by his nurse Umm Ayman and given to the Prophet’s grandfather, ¢Abd Al-Mu~~alib.
The marriage of
After the declaration
The boycott is lifted.
at Mt. ßafâ, the Prophet œ invites people to Islam, starting with his closest relatives.
After the death of the Prophet’s mother, Âminah, in
marriage to ±af|ah (Sha¢bân). The birth of ¤asan (Sha¢bân or 15 Rama\ân). The Prophet’s marriage to Zaynab bint Khuzaymah (Rama\ân). The Battle of U^ud (7 or 11 Shawwâl). The ±amrâ’ Al-Asad campaign (Started from Madinah, 8 or 12 Shawwâl).
The night raid led by the commander ¢Abdullâh ibn Ja^sh, the Ba~n Nakhlah
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The Prophet œ arbitrates in a
dispute among the Quraysh tribe about who will place the Black Stone in the Ka¢bah during repairs.
The Prophet œ fasts
The Mi¢râj (Ascen-
sion) and the prescription of the five daily prayers (27 Rajab). First Pledge of ¢Aqabah. Prophet Muhammad œ sends Mus¢ab ibn Umayr to Madinah to teach Islam (Dhu’l-±ijjah).
After the Second Pledge of ¢Aqabah, Muslims commence migration to Madinah
(Mu^arram). The meeting of unbelievers at Dâr Al-Nadwah. Decision to assassinate the Prophet œ
(26 ßafar). The migration of Prophet Muhammad œ with Abû Bakr. They hide in the cave of Thawr
(26 ßafar). Departure from the cave of Thawr for Madinah (1 Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). Arrival at Qubâ’ (8 Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The Masjid at Qubâ’ is established (Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The Prophet œ leaves Qubâ’ and performs the first Friday prayer in the valley of
Ranûnâ’, arriving in Madinah on the same day and settling in the house of Abû Ayyûb Al-An|ârî (12 Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The start of the construction of the Al-Masjid Al-Nabawî (Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). First Adhân for prayer is called.
for ¢Ashûrah. Recommended to all Muslims (10 Muharram). The Al-Abwâ’ campaign (Waddân) (ßafar). The Buwât campaign (Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The first Badr campaign (Safawân) (Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The ¢Ushayrah campaign (Dhu’l-¢Ushayrah) (Jumâda Al-Awwal).
¢Uthmân and Umm Kulthûm, the daughter of the Prophet œ (Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The death of Ka¢b ibn Al-Ashraf (14 Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The Dhî Amr campaign (Gha~afân) (Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The Bu^rân campaign (Banû Sulaym) (Jumâda Al-Awwal).
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The Banû Mu|~aliq
Campaign (Muraysî¢) (Sha¢bân-Rama\ân). The Episode of ¢Ifq (slander). The marriage of the Prophet œ to Juwayriyah bint Al-±ârith. A census is taken in Madinah (Shawwâl). The Battle of Khandaq (Ahzâb) (Dhu’l- Qi¢dah). The marriage of the Prophet œ to Zaynab bint Ja^sh. The revelation prohibiting biological falsification of paternity by way of adoption (Sûrat Al-A^zâb 33:4-5) (Dhu’l-Qi¢dah). The Banû Quray·ah campaign (end of Dhu’l-Qi¢dah).
The conversion of the Banû
¢Abs into Islam in Madinah. The birth of ±usayn (5
Madinan Period Cont.
Sha¢bân). The marriage of the Prophet œ with Umm Salama (Shawwâl). The campaign of Badru’l- Maw¢id (Dhu’l-Qi¢dah). The death of Fâ~imah bint Asad, mother of ¢Alî.
Beginning of the campaign for the Opening of Makkah (13 Rama\ân). The Opening of Makkah (20 Rama\ân).
Abd Al-Ra^mân ibn ¢Awf is sent to Dumat Al-Jandal
(Sha¢bân 6). The night raid by Zayd ibn ±ârithah. The Madyan campaign (Sha¢bân 6). The night raid by ¢Alî, the Fadak campaign (Sha¢bân 6). The night raid by Zayd ibn ±ârithah, the second Wâdî Qura campaign (Rama\ân). The night raid by ¢Abdullâh ibn Rawâ^ah on Khaybar for reconnaissance (Rama\ân). The drought in Madinah and the Prophet’s prayer for rain. The eclipse of the sun and the Prophet’s |alât al-khu|ûf (eclipse prayer) (end of Shawwâl). ¢Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) is performed (Dhu’l-Qi¢dah). The visit of the Prophet œ to the grave of his mother. Bay¢at Al-Ri\wân after the detention of ¢Uthmân, sent as an envoy to the Quraysh (Dhu’l-Qi¢dah). The Treaty of ¤udaybiyah (Dhu’l-±ijjah). The revelation of Sûrat Al-Fat^. The conversion of committees from the Banû Huzaa, Banû Aslam and Banû Hushaynî to Islam in Madinah.
The death of ¢Abdullâh ibn
The Banû Makhzûm tribe converts to Islam. Hishâm ibn Al-¢Â| is sent to Yalamlam, Khâlid ibn Sa¢îd to ¢Uraynah, and Khâlid
The night raid by Ghâlib ibn
¢Abdullâh. The Mayfâ campaign (Rama\ân). ¢Umrah is preformed. ¢Umrah Al-Qa\â (Dhu’l-Qi¢dah). The marriage of Prophet Muhammad œ to Umm ±abîbah (Ramlah) bint Abû Sufyân. The marriage of Prophet Muhammad œ to Maymûnah bint Al-±ârith (Dhu’l-Qi¢dah).
ibn Al-Walîd to Nakhlah to demolish the idol of ¢Uzzah. Sa¢d ibn Zayd Al-Ashhalî is sent to demolish the idol of Manât at Mushallal. ¢Amr ibn Al-Â| is sent to demolish the idol of Suwâ¢ of the Banû Hu·ayl at Ruhat. >ufayl ibn ¢Amr Al-Dawsî is sent to demolish the idol of Dhu’l-Kaffayn of ¢Amr ibn ¤umâmah (Rama\ân). The ±unayn campaign (11 Shawwâl). The night raid by Khâlid ibn Al-Walîd on Banû Ja·îmah to invite them to Islam (Shawwâl). The >â’if campaign (Shawwâl). Distribution of the spoils from the battle of ±unayn (Dhu’l-Qi¢dah). Prophet Muhammad œ meets with Shaymâ’, the daughter of his wet nurse, for the first time since leaving the family. Prophet Muhammad œ performs ¢Umrah (19 Dhu’l-Qi¢dah). The night raid by Muhâjir ibn Abû ¢Umayyah, the ßan¢â’campaign (28 Dhu’l-Qi¢dah). The night raid by Ziyâd ibn Labîd. The ¤adramût campaign. ¢Amr ibn Al-¢Âs is sent to the rulers of Oman, and the brothers Jayfar and ¢Abbâd ibn Al-Julandî as envoys (Dhu’l-Qi¢dah). Al-¢Alâ’ ibn Al-±a\ramî is sent with Abû Hurayrah to the ruler of Bahrayn Mundhir ibn Sâwâ Al-Tamîmî as an envoy. Birth of Ibrâhîm, son of Prophet Muhammad œ (Dhu’l-±ijjah). Committees from the Banû Tha¢laba, Banû Sudah, Banû Bahîlah, Banû Thumâlah, Banû Jarm, A^âbîsh, Banû Ak and Banû ±u·ayl convert to Islam in Madinah.
¢Ubayy ibn Salûl, the leader of the hypocrites (Dhu’l- Qi¢dah). The first ±ajj (major Pilgrimage) led by Abû Bakr (Dhu’l-Qi¢dah-Dhu’l-±ijjah). ¢Alî is sent to Makkah to inform the unbelievers about the rules of Sûrat Al-Tawbah (Dhu’l-±ijjah). A committee arrives from the Najrân Christians in Madinah and an agreement is reached with Prophet Muhammad œ (Dhu’l-±ijjah).
The Rajî¢ episode (the
The campaign of
The Banû Li^yân
Envoys and diplomatic letters expounding Islam sent to foreign
Zakât (alms) officials are sent to some of the cities and tribes (Mu^arram).
night campaign by Marthad ibn Abî Marthad) (ßafar). The Bi’r Ma¢ûnah episode (ßafar). The Banû Al-Na\îr campaign (Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). First order of prohibition of wine (Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The death of Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, the Prophet’s wife (Rabî¢ Al-Thânî).
campaign (Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The first night raid by Muhammad ibn Maslamah. The first Dhu’l-Qa||ah campaign (Rabî¢ Al-Thânî). The second night raid by Abû ¢Ubaydah ibn Al-Jarrâ^. The second Dhu’l-Qa||ah campaign (end of Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The night raid by Zayd ibn ±ârithah. The >arîf campaign (Jumâda Al-Thânî). The night raid by Zayd ibn ±ârithah. The first Wâdî Al-Qura campaign (Rajab).
countries and rulers, particularly the emperors of Byzantium and Persia (Mu^arram). Conversion Abyssinia ruler, A|^amah ibn Abjar to Islam. Egyptian ruler sends Mâriah to the Prophet œ with several gifts. Abu’l-¢As converts to Islam and is remarried to Zaynab, the Prophet’s daughter (Mu^arram). The Khaybar campaign (Mu^arram-ßafar). Attempt by Zaynab bint ±ârithah to poison Prophet Muhammad œ. The marriage of the Prophet œ to ßaffîyyah bint ±uyayy. The death of the Prophet’s wet nurse, Thuwaybah. The governor of Yemen, Bâthân, converts to Islam (Jumâda Al-Awwal). The night raid of Wâdî Al-Qura (Jumâda Al-Thânî). Agreement with the Jews of Tihâmah. The night raid by ¢Umar. The Turabah campaign (Sha¢bân). The night raid by Abû Bakr. The Najd campaign (Sha¢bân). The night raid by Bashir ibn Sa¢d. The Fadak campaign (Sha¢bân).
¢Abbâd ibn Bishr is sent to the Banû Sulaym and Banû Muzaynah, Râfi¢‘ ibn Makîth Al-Juhanî to the Banû Juhaynah,
Thâturriqâ¢ and the introduction of the ßalât Al-Khawf (prayer of fear) (10 Mu^arram). The campaign of Dumat Al-Jundal (25 Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The observation of a lunar eclipse in Madinah. The |alât al-khu|ûf (eclipse prayer) is led by the Prophet œ (Jumâda Al-Thânî). Some 400 people arrive from Mudhaynah and convert to Islam in Madinah (Rajab).
A committee from the Banû Naha The conversions of Khâlid ibn Al-Walîd, ¢Amr ibn Al-¢Â|, and ¢Uthmân ibn >al^ah to Islam (1 ßafar). Zaynab, the Prophet’s daughter, dies (ßafar). The battle of Mu’tah (Jumâda Al-Awwal). The night raid by ¢Amr ibn Al-¢Âs, the Dhât Al-Salâsil Campaign (Jumâda Al-Thânî). The night raid by Abû ¢Ubaydah ibn Jarrâ^. The Sayf Al-Ba^r campaign (Rajab). The conversion of the Banû Sulaym and Banû Ghifâr tribes to Islam and their contribution to the conquest of Makkah
under the command of Khâlid ibn Al-Walîd. Attempts by Abû Sufyân to maintain truce after the Quraysh violate the ¤udaybiyah Treaty.
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converts to Islam in Madinah (15 Mu^arram). Usamah’s army ordered to gather (ßafar). The Prophet œ falls ill (27 ßafar). Al-Aswad ¢Al-Ansi, who falsely claimed to be a prophet, dies (8 Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). Prophet Muhammad œ dies (13 Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The burial of Prophet Muhammad œ (14 Rabî¢ Al-Awwal).
Al-`a^^âk ibn Sufyân Al-Kilâbî to the Banû Kilâb, Busr ibn Sufyân Al-Ka¢bî to the Banû Ka¢b, Ibnu’l-Lutabiyyah Al-Azdi to the Banû Dhubyân, Mâlik ibn Nuwayrah to the Banû ¤an·alah ibn Mâlik, and ¢Amr ibn Al¢Â| to Fa·ârah and Al-Walîd ibn ¢Uqbah are sent to the Banû Al-Mu|~aliq to collect zakât. The night raid by ¢Uyaynah ibn ±i|n, the Banû Tamîm campaign and the conversion of the Banû Tamîm tribe to Islam in Madinah (Mu^arram/May). Banû Asad committee converts to Islam in Madinah. The organization of the first naval campaign under the command of ¢Alqamah ibn Mujazzir (Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The Fuls idol of the >ayy tribe is destroyed by ¢Alî. The night raid by ¢Ukkâshah ibn Mu^|in against the Banû Bali and the Banû ¢U·rah, the Jinâb campaign. Prophet Muhammad œ leads the funeral pray of Abyssinia ruler A|^amah (Rajab). The Îlâ’ wa Takhyîr episode (repudiation and choice) for the Prophet‘s wives. The Tabûk campaign (Rajab). The campaign led by Al-Khâlid ibn Walîd against ¢Abd Al-Mâlik, the leader of the Dumat Al-Jandal, agreement struck between the Prophet œ and Ukaidar. Committees representing the people of Jarba, ¢Azruh, Maknah, Aylah (¢Aqabah) and Tabûk arrive to strike a peace agreement with the Prophet œ. Di^yah ibn Khalîfah is sent from Tabûk to the Byzantine emperor Heraclius for the second time to invite him to Islam. Umm Kulthûm, the Prophet’s daughter, dies. Committees from the Banû ¢Ukayl, Banû Kalb, Banû Kilâb, Banû Tujib, Banû Gha~afân, Banû ±an·alah ibn Mâlik, Banû Qu\â¢ah, Bali and Banû Bahrah convert to Islam in Madinah. The Christian Banû Taghlib arrives in Madinah to make a peace treaty. Ka¢b ibn Zuhayr converts to Islam. The Prophet œ gives him his cloak. Envoys sent by the Banû Sa¢d ibn Bakr tribes to Madinah and convert to Islam. Banû Judhâm committee converts to Islam at Madinah. Destruction of Masjid Al-™irâr. The ±imyar kings are invited to Islam and they accept Islam. A committee from the Banû Hamdân, Banû Fazârâh, Banû Murrah and the Thaqîf tribe convert to Islam in >â’if. Abû Sufyân and Mughîrah ibn Shu¢bah are sent to demolish the idol of Lât.
The death of Ibrâhîm, son of
Prophet Muhammad œ (29 Shawwâl). Departure from Madinah for the final major Pilgrimage (26 Dhu’l-Qi¢dah). The Farewell Sermon (9 Dhu’l-±ijjah). The final circumambulation of the Ka¢bah (14 Dhu’l-±ijjah). A committee from the Banû Mu^ârib converts to Islam in Madinah (Dhu’l-±ijjah). The death of the Yemen governor Bâthân; eleven governors are appointed to Yemen. The revelation of Sûrat Al-Na|r (Dhu’l-±ijjah). Ray^ânah bint Zayd ibn ¢Amr, the Prophet’s wife, dies.
The night raid by Khâlid ibn
Al-Walîd, the Najrân campaign and the conversion of a committee from Banû ±ârithah to Islam in Madinah (Rabî¢ Al-Awwal). The night raid by ¢Alî, the Yemen campaign and the conversion of the Banû Madh^ij to Islam (Rama\ân). Jarîr ibn ¢Abdullâh is sent to demolish the idol and temple of Dhu’l-Khala|ah. Prophet Muhammad œ submits the Holy Quran to the Angel Gabriel twice. The Prophet œ retires for the last ten days of Rama\ân. Committees from the Banû Azd, Abnah, Banû >ayy, Banû ¢Âmir ibn ßa¢|ah, Banû Kindah, Banû Tujib, Banû Rihâwiyyin, Banû Ghifâr, Banû Mahrah, Banû ±anîfah, Banû ¢Ans, Banû Murâd, Banû ¢Abd Al-Qays, Banû Hilâl, Banû Ruha and Banû Zubaydah convert to Islam in Madinah. Musaylimah the Liar’s correspon- dence with the Prophet œ.
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Annotated Timeline of the Prophet’s Call The Sîrah at a Glance 400 to 568ce The Quraysh Settle in Makkah in the late 400s, the ancestors of the Prophet œ, led by Qusayy, fifth paternal grandfather to the Prophet œ (see genealogy chart, p. 60-61) settle the hollow of Makkah, in the valley of the ancient mountains of the high desert plateau of western Arabia. Other relatives settle its outskirts. Later, they expel the tribe of Khuzâ¢ah and assume the guardianship of the Ka¢bah. Compromise is reached between the sons of ¢Abd Al-Dâr ibn Qusayy and their paternal cousins, the sons of ¢Abd Manâf ibn Qusayy, for shared guardianship of the Ka¢bah, averting bloodshed. Hâshim ibn ¢Abd Manâf, then his brother Al-Mu~~alib, then his nephew ¢Abd Al-Mu~~alib ibn Hâshim (Shaybah) in succession rise to guardianship of the Ka¢bah and a kind of leadership in Makkah over the Quraysh. ¢Abd Al-Mu~~alib has 10 sons, the youngest and most favored of them ¢Abdullah, for whom 100 camels are sacrificed in expiation of his father’s oath to sacrifice a son.
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569ce Year of the Elephant unrivaled reverence for the
Ka¢bah grew throughout Arabia as the First House of God established on earth, then raised up by the prophet-ancestors of the Quraysh, Abraham and Ismâ¢îl , drawing all the Arabs to it annually for pilgrimage. The Ghassânid tribe built a shrine to compete with the Ka¢bah at Al-Hîrah. Abraha, governor for Abyssinia in Yemen, built a palatial temple in an¢â’ to divert the pilgrimage from Makkah. Its desecration in protest by an Arab from the Kinânah tribe (with kinship to Quraysh) gave Abraha a pretext to marshal 60,000 soldiers to raze the Ka¢bah to the ground. ¢Abd Al-Mu~~alib counseled the Quraysh to withdraw into the mountains, famously stating that the Ka¢bah had a Lord who would protect it. At the Mu^assar valley, between Muzdalifah and Mina, Abraha’s elephant knelt and refused to go on. Suddenly, a darkness in the seaward skies appeared, mounting swiftly toward the army. Then chilling shrieks struck their ears from above, growing ever louder as phalanx upon phalanx of birds swept in like mountainous waves high overhead, filling the sky’s
expanse. Wave upon wave, the birds pelted the scattering army with marked stones of hardened clay, killing every single one of them, leaving their punctured bodies like worm-eaten husks (Sûrat Al-Fîl, 105:5). It was the sacred month of Mu^arram.
570ce Birth of Muhammad œ some fifty to fifty-five days after Allah destroyed the Companions of the Elephant, in the same lunar year, Muhammad œ is born in Makkah, first and only son of ¢Abdullâh ibn ¢Abd AlMu~~alib and Âminah bint Wahb, daughter of the chief of the Qurashite clan of Banû Zahra. She is of eminent lineage. ¢Abdullâh falls ill and dies on his return from a trade journey, near Yathrib, shortly after his marriage to Âminah in Makkah, before his son’s birth. The orphaned boy (for the Arabs reckon children whose father dies orphans) is in the care of his mother. The town Arabs of station sent their children to be wet-nursed by the Bedouins, to engender in their offspring robust health, purity of language, and freedom-steeped souls. Âminah’s hardship left no
Bedouin family willing to take her son, save a woman, ¤alîmah, from an impoverished Arab tribe, who could attain no other nursling.
575ce Muhammad œ Loses His Mother, Âminah when muhammad œ is five or six, having been returned to his mother, Âminah, she takes him to his maternal relatives in Yathrib and visit his father’s grave. On the return journey, Âminah falls ill and dies. She is buried in Al-Abwâ’, between Makkah and Madinah. Muhammad œ is placed in the care of his paternal grandfather, ¢Abd Al-Mu~~alib, the esteemed elder of Quraysh, vested with the highest honor and authority of watering the pilgrims and providing concessions. He frequently presides over Makkah’s Council of Elders (Dâr Al-Nadwah). ¢Abd Al-Mu~~alib accords his grandson unrivaled love and honor, even over his own children.
577ce ¢Abd Al-Mu~~alib, Grandfather of Muhammad œ, Dies nearly three years later, at age 8, again the orphaned Muhammad œ is struck with the death of his beloved guardian. His paternal uncle Abû >âlib, though not ¢Abd Al-Mu~~alib’s eldest, cher-
ishes the boy and steps in to assume his care. He continues the dedication and esteem of his father, and for 40 years until Abû >âlib’s own death, he sustains his protection over his nephew Muhammad œ even to his own worldly losses and risk, when the Quraysh meet the prophetic call of the 40-year-old Muhammad œ with implacable hostility.
578-584ce Boyhood of Muhammad œ as a young boy into his manhood, Muhammad œ— like the prophets before him—works as a shepherd. He pastures the flocks of the Banû Sa¢d on the Makkan mountainsides. At about age 12, he travels with his uncle Abû >âlib on a trade caravan to Syria. At Busra, Bahîra the Christian monk, watching the approaching caravan from his hermitage sees foreshadowed prophethood in the approaching company. He invites the sojourners to a meal, and there verifies the “seal” of prophethood between the shoulder blades of the boy. He tells this to Abû >âlib on the authority of his scrolls of religion: “Here is the master of all human beings. Through him Allah will send a message as a mercy to all beings.” He then instructs him to dispatch the boy back to Makkah to protect him from those of the People of the Book whom the scriptures foretell will oppose the coming prophet. Abû >âlib heeds Bahîra’s counsel.
584-593ce Muhammad œ in His Teens into Manhood the quraysh come to recognize the uncommonly high character of Muhammad œ and nickname him Al-Amîn, the Trustworthy. Muhammad œ attends a meeting wherein is formed ±ilf Al-Fudûl, the League of the Virtuous, dedicated to upholding justice and fair transactions. After his call of prophethood, he said of this: “I have witnessed an alliance in the house of ¢Abdullah ibn Jad¢ân more appealing to me than [if I had been given the wealth of] whole herds of cattle. Even now (after the coming of Islam) I would assent to attend such a meeting, were I called to it.”
594ce Makkan Businesswoman Khadîjah Employs Muhammad œ khadîjah bint khuwaylid , called “Princess of the Quraysh” and “The Pure One,” for her noble birth and wealth, and for her virtuous character, inherits her father’s immense fortune around 585 ce, her mother having passed a decade before. Uncommon for a Makkan woman, she manages her own interests, Makkan trade caravans reportedly half for its merchants and the like of this for Khadîjah . She is generous to family, solicitous of the poor, intelligent in business, and neither believes in or
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worships idols. She is acknowledged for financially aiding her relations toward marriage. She is twice-widowed early in both marriages, bearing two sons, then a daughter. Thereafter, she rejects all marriage proposals, though highly sought after, her remarkable beauty preserving as she approaches 40. She hires Muhammad œ to manage her trade Caravan to Syria, though he has only accompanied his uncle in two trips, owing to good business relations with his uncle Abû >âlib and upon recommendation for his high character. She sends with him her servant Maysarah. His transactions on her behalf are as highly profitable as they are admirably just. His impression upon Maysarah for his honor and honesty is profound, and Khadîjah recognizes in Muhammad œ, as much as 15 years her younger, a peerless man. She resolves to offer herself in marriage to him, aided by her friend Nafîsah. Her direct proposal to him, recounting her reasons for seeking out marriage with him, is among the most dignified and moving in all of history. Muhammad œ accepts and his uncles accompany him to ¢Amr ibn Asad, Khadîjah’s uncle, where ¤amzah proposes on his nephew’s behalf, offering the substantial sum of 20 camels in dowry, witnessed by the elders of Banû Hâshim and Mu\ar. The wedding feast is inclusive and impressive, part of its company being a woman who traveled long to
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attend, Halîmah, the fostermother of Muhammad œ. As the poor woman prepares to depart, Khadîjah enriches her with a gift of 40 sheep.
595-604ce Muhammad œ and Khadîjah in Family Life muhammad œ continues to manage Khadîjah’s business affairs, and their years are satisfying and thriving, Khadîjah bearing him six children, two sons who die in infancy, and four daughters: Fâ~imah, Zaynab, Umm Kulthûm, and Ruqayyah, three of whom would marry two of the Prophet’s Khulafâ’ (Caliphs), the first two ¢Uthmân, successively, the last ¢Alî . ¢Alî, the son of Abû >âlib, and thus the Prophet’s cousin, lived in the household of Muhammad œ and Khadîjah, taken in by them to relieve Abû >âlib of financial hardship. Another boy, waylaid with his mother on a journey and sold into slavery, also came to reside in his household, Zayd ibn ±ârithah . Muhammad œ so loved him, a love returned, that the boy refused to go back to his own father, and Muhammad œ adopted him as his son.
605ce The Black Stone Dispute the quraysh repair the Ka¢bah, but dispute who should have the honor of placing its
Blackstone from the heavens. They nearly come to war but agree to accept the arbitration of the next man to enter the Sanctuary. Muhammad œ walks in, for which the Quraysh express joy, for he is The Trustworthy, the Truthful, and widely admired for his wisdom and fairness. He brings a mantle, places the Blackstone in it, gives each of the heads of Quraysh a hold of the cloth’s corners, and places the Blackstone. Quraysh are delighted and appeased.
610ce year 1/revelation Muhammad œ Receives First Revelation muhammad œ abjures makkah’s idol-worship and the depravities of life that coexist with it. As he matures, longing for solitude grows in him. In the months leading up to his fortieth year, dreams that came true like the clear light of dawn come increasingly to him. His desire for seclusion grows stronger. A niche named ¤irâ’ atop the ancient mount the Quraysh called the Mountain of Light (Jabal Al-Nûr) on the outskirts of Makkah becomes his favored retreat. He takes light provisions, repairs there for some nights, returns to Khadijah, replenishes himself and repairs again to ¤irâ’. Increasingly, he withdraws to it for lengthier periods. There he fasts and
meditates. On a last occasion deep into the lunar month of Rama\ân, a visitant suddenly appears in the night, an angel (Jibrîl, or Gabriel) commanding three times him, “Read!” between each, whelming him in his mighty grasp to the limits of Muhammad’s endurance. Then the angel recites to him verses that comprise the first Revelation and ayahs of the Quran (Sûrat Al-¢Alaq, 96:1-5). Shaken and fearful of what has become of him, Muhammad œ returns home to Khadîjah with trembling heart, saying, Wrap me up! Wrap me up!” which they do, his overawed state abates. He tells her of his encounter with the being and expresses fear of what shall become of him. Khadîjah encourages him of its glad tidings, swearing by Allah, and then enumerates for him five superlative character qualities upon which he habitually acts for kin, the weak, the poor, the guest, and the distressed. Khadijah then takes Muhammad œ to her uncle Waraqah ibn Nawfal, an elderly blind man and sage, who had rejected idolatry and become a Christian and student of the Hebrew Scriptures. He informs Muhammad œ that his visitant is Gabriel, Angel of Revelation, come unto Moses ∑, and that this marks the commencement of his prophethood, for which the Quraysh shall drive him out, and of his own intention to support him might-
ily. Muhammad œ is shocked by Waraqah’s foretelling of his people’s hostility. Waraqah dies days later. Revelation breaks off for a time, until Muhammad œ is again awestruck by the appearance of Gabriel, enthroned between heaven and earth, whereupon he again seeks the mantling of his household. Then the first âyahs of Sûrat Al-Muddaththir are revealed to him. He is confirmed in and embraces his call to prophethood.
611ce 2/revelation Muhammad œ Privately Calls upon the Near and Dear muhammad œ first calls his household and closest friend to the “new” faith. Each one embracing Islam without hesitation, Khadijah, ¢Alî, Zayd, and Abû Bakr accepting his prophethood at his very first invitation. Abû calls many of the Bakr illustrious Companions to Islam, including ¢Uthmân ibn ¢Affân, Al-Zubayr ibn ¢Awwâm, ¢Abd Al-Ra^mân ibn ¢Awf, Sa¢d ibn Abî Waqqâs, and >al^â ibn ¢Ubayd’Allâh . These grew to include Bilâl ibn Rabâ^, Abû ¢Ubaydah ibn Al-Jarrâ^, Al-Arqam ibn Abî Al-Arqam, Fâ~imah bint AlKha~~âb (¢Umar’s sister), Khabbâb ibn Al-Aratt, and ¢Abdullah ibn Mas¢ûd . year
612ce 3/revelation Muhammad œ Instructs His Followers in Quran and Conduct
muhammad œ meets and
the converts in secret. Revelations increase in frequency. Its forms vary; sometimes it comes like the ringing of a bell, which is hard on the Prophet œ. After its departure, Revelation is inscribed into his memory. Sometimes it comes with Gabriel ∑ in the form of a man speaking to him, after which he retains the Revelation. The Muslims memorize all the Revelations, which speak of Allah, His Oneness, submission to Him, and the Hereafter, and instruct and exhort the Prophet œ and the early Muslims about their situation. This builds in their psychology the Ever-Presence and nearness of Allah to them. Gabriel ∑ teaches the Prophet œ the reciprocal salutations of the community of Paradise, “Peace be upon you, al-salâmu ¢alaykum. “And upon you be peace,” wa ¢alaykum al-salâm, and the Prophet œ instructs Muslims to make this the greeting between them. teaches
613ce year 4/revelation Muhammad œ Takes his Message Public Revelation instructs the Prophet œ to publically declare his message of one God and no idolatry. The
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Prophet œ makes his declaration dramatically from slopes of Mount ßafâ. He begins to reach out to his successive circles of relations. The Quraysh fear for their station among the Arabs as guardians of the Ka¢bah, their economics, and Islam’s demand for social equality. Quraysh denounce the Prophet œ and Islam, and devise a public campaign of mockery, labeling the Prophet œ as possessed and insane, and calling the Quran poetry. The call persists and they seek to offer the Prophet œ a compromise of mutual acceptance of all gods. The Prophet œ makes it known that such choice is not with him.
614ce year 5/revelation Persecution the prophet œ does not yield his call to One God, and the Quraysh resolve to torture the weak among their clans and clients who embrace Islam, and to threaten and intimidate the Prophet œ. His paternal uncle Abû Lahab assumes a Quraysh committee leadership to head this effort, which comes to an economic boycott of all supporters, including the Prophet’s main supporter (though not a Muslim) his guardian Abû >âlib. The Prophet œ instructs new converts to keep their faith concealed to escape persecu-
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tion, but when a group of young Muslims are attacked, Sa¢d ibn Abî Waqqâ| strikes an idolater with a jawbone of a camel lying nearby, bloodying his attacker. It is the first blood shed in Islam. The Prophet œ commands his followers to adhere to non-violence.
615ce year 6/revelation Migration to Abyssinia the prophet œ preaches openly and ardently, but other Muslims are not to bring persecution upon themselves. The Muslims take to secret meeting for education in Islam in the House of AlArqam at the base of the ßafâ mountain near the Ka¢bah. In Rajab, when persecution has reached unbearable proportions, and the survival of Islam is at stake, the Prophet œ commends a group of 12 men and four women, including ¢Uthmân and his wife Ruqayyah, the Prophet’s daughter to migrate to Christian Abyssinia, with a king Al-Najâshî, “under whom people are not oppressed.” They returned upon a rumor that Quraysh had converted. Persecution intensified and 83 men and 18 women migrate to Abyssinia. Quraysh send ¢Amr ibn Al-¢Â| to retrieve them, but Ja¢far ibn Abî >âlib appeals to Al-Najâshî in his court with his celebrated speech on Islam’s monotheism, the Prophet œ, and Jesus ∑.
Al-Najâshî, a believer, is moved. The Muslims are saved.
616ce year 7/revelation ¤amzah and ¢Umar Embrace Islam, Boycott the conversion of ¤amzah, expressed openly in anger at Abû Jahl’s public reviling of his nephew near Mount ßafâ (and by some reports throwing a rock at him), led ¤amzah to strike Abû Jahl’s head with the great force of his bow. His conversion was deeply sincere, however. Three days later, ¢Umar ibn Al-Kha~~âb, an inveterate opponent of Islam resolves to kill the Prophet œ to end the strife in Quraysh. His sword gird, he is sent back to his sister and brother-in-law with the news that they had converted to Islam. He hears the recitation of Sûrat >â Hâ, strikes his sister, bloodies her, but then feels remorse and, after ablutions, is given the sûrah to read. He goes to the Prophet œ in the House of Arqam and embraces Islam. The importance of these two conversions—by two of the most robust and feared men of Quraysh—for Islam’s public presentation in Makkah cannot be overstated. The Muslims emerge, then and there, from hiding and come in two columns behind each new convert to the Ka¢bah, at the bidding of ¢Umar, averse to such concealment of truth. The
countenances of the Quraysh fall, and the Prophet œ entitles ¢Umar, Al-Fârûq, he who distinguishes between truth and falsehood. The Quraysh meet to redouble their persecution of Islam and all associated with it, Muslim or not. They agree not to marry from or to Banû Hâshim and Banû AlMu~~alib, or sell to or buy from them. These clans retreat to the valley of Abû >âlib, save for Abû Lahab, the Prophet’s uncle, who sides (not leastwise for business interests) with Quraysh.
617-18ce year 8-9/revelation The Boycott Takes Hold quraysh’s boycott drives the Muslims and their protectors to destitution and near starvation. The latter resort to eating leaves and dried out animal skins they can find. The Prophet œ does not yield and calls all who come to Makkah to Islam.
619ce year 10 revelation The Boycott Revoked after three years, five of the Quraysh, at least one of whom had sent food out of compassion to the boycotted secretly, meet to revoke the boycott, all related to the boycotted by blood relations. They plan to take a stand at the Ka¢bah against the boycott. When they do,
chastising the Quraysh for indulging while their kinsmen starve, Abû Jahl lobbies against them, but one goes into the Ka¢bah to retrieve the boycott document written at its outset. He returns with it in hand, no more than a strip of it remaining, cutting Abû Jahl to the quick. All see that nothing remains but its opening line, the rest eaten by worms. The line? “In Thy Name, O Allah.” It is taken as a sign. The boycott ends.
620ce year 11/revelation Year of Sadness and Prelude to a Pledge the boycott still strikes the Muslims after its end. In six months, the Prophet’s protector among the tribal Quraysh, his guardian Abû >âlib lies on his deathbed. The Quraysh approach Abû >âlib for compromise with the Prophet œ, who must accept their gods. The Prophet œ seeks to gain Abû >âlib’s acceptance of Islam. He passes, protecting the Prophet œ to the last breath and giving him an inheritance, but with no discernible words of embracing of Islam. Shortly after, Khadijah —devoted supporter, adviser, wife, companion, and earliest believer in the Prophet œ— dies. The Prophet œ, griefstricken and, in some way, alone—perseveres. In Rama\ ân, he marries Sawdah bint Zam¢ah . In Shawwâl, he goes to Makkah’s sister city,
>â’if, in search of support and a believing community to be among. After seeking the support of three leading brothers, sons of ¢Umayr, of the Banû Thaqîf, they drive him away in humiliation, rousing the children and rabble against him, who pelt him with stones, from which he is bloodied, whereupon they deride him. Dejected, he escapes into a vineyard owned by two brothers who are Christian, ¢Utbah and Shaybah, sons of Rabî¢ah. He returns to Makkah. The pilgrimage brings representatives from the Arab tribes throughout the peninsula to Makkah. It falls in the summer and the Prophet œ uses it to call one and all to Islam, as he had since went public with his da¢wah. He is hopeful for a people to accept Islam, make it strong, and give the religion free ground to flourish in. At ¢Aqabah, on the road from Makkah to Madinah, he comes upon six men from the tribe of Khazraj of Yathrib. He tells them of Islam, and they realize this is the promised prophet of whose advent the Jews around Yathrib used to speak, and by which they would threaten to destroy them. Eager not to be surpassed, they embrace Islam, explain their tribal strife with the Aws, their home brethrenrivals, and express hope for unification under him, stating that none, if unified, would give more honor or support to the Prophet œ. They return to spread their message in Yathrib.
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621ce year 12/revelation A Night Pledge at ¢Aqabah and a Night Journey Five of the six Khazrajites return to ¢Aqabah, with five of their kinsmen and two from Aws. The 12 take an oath at the hand of the Prophet œ to associate nothing with Allah as a partner, to commit neither theft nor fornication, nor to kill their children, and to obey him in all that is right. The Prophet œ sent Mu|¢ab ibn ¢Umayr with them to teach them the Quran, explain Islam to them, and educate them in its practice. He finds in the Yathribites open-hearted willingness and Islam spreads. Thereafter, perhaps in Rajab, the Prophet œ is awakened at night as he slept near the Ka¢bah by Gabriel ∑, who helps him mount on a winged Mule-like animal that carries him to Jerusalem to lead the prophets in prayer at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and then the Prophet œ ascends to Heaven. He meets prophets in its various levels, sees many things symbolic and of the future, and arrives at the Heavenly boundary of the Uttermost Lote. There Allah speaks to him directly, commanding him to the Five Daily Prayers (|alawât, s. |alâh). He is then carried back to the Ka¢bah. He announces his journey in the day of his return, and it erupts into a polarizing controversy. The Quraysh mock it. Some leave Islam. The Muslim ranks are thereby purified and solidified with sincere faith.
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622ce/1h year 13/revelation The Second Pledge of ¢Aqabah and Migration to Yathrib This year’s pilgrimage brings 73 men and two women from Yathrib’s Aws and Khazraj. They meet the Prophet œ, accompanied by his uncle ¢Abbâs, not yet Muslim, again at ¢Aqabah secretly in the night. ¢Abbâs forewarns the Yathribites to leave the Prophet œ among the Banû Hâshim, who had protected him from Quraysh, if they are not up to sacrificing all. The Prophet œ, at the request of the Yathribites, expresses the terms of his covenant to move among them with their protection against all, even as they protect their own women and children. In the course of a Yathribite’s rise to the occasion, another asks the Prophet œ his intention to depart them back to his people, after they renounced their own prior covenants, should his religion succeed. The Prophet œ smiles and replies in the most memorable and explicit terms. “No, indeed! Rather, your blood is my blood, and your destruction my destruction. You are of me and I of you. I fight whom you fight and make peace with whom you make peace.” Inspired, the Yathribites rise to covenant, but ¢Abbas again intercedes to question their cognizance of what their covenant shall mean—war against many regardless of who they are and from where they hail, loss of property, leaders, and
loved ones, and then commends Muhammad œ to them as yet the best gain of this world and the next. The Yathribites affirm, and ask the Prophet œ of their reward in so doing if they fulfill. He answers with one word: “Jannah, Paradise.” Then hands stretch forth and the covenant clinches. The Prophet œ instructs them to elect twelve from themselves responsible to him for their own. Nine from Khazraj and three from Aws come forth. Says the Prophet œ: “You are the guarantors of your people, even as were the Disciples guarantors of theirs before Jesus œ, son of Mary. I am the guarantor of my people.” The migration of the Muslims of Makkah to Yathrib ensues by stealth. The Quraysh prevent some, but cannot come to unified action in this. They determine to kill Muhammad œ by representatives from every clan, this strategy to avoid internal vengeance and war. Gabriel ∑ informs the Prophet œ of the plot and bids him depart. ¢Alî takes up the Prophet’s mantle in his bed to trick the plotters, waiting in the night just beyond the home. The Prophet œ, miraculously passes through the plotters without their notice, departs with Abû Bakr, who has prepared their mounts and provision, along with a hired guide who is not Muslim. They depart in an opposite direction, seek refuge for three days in the Cave of Thawr, are protected by Allah from their pursuers, and arrive after
seven more days in Qubâ’, where they replenished for several days. There they found a masjid, and then enter Yathrib, henceforth, Madinah, “The City” of the Prophet œ, and the Prophet’s camel is let free to settle itself wherever Allah may guide it, upon which ground the Mosque of the Prophet œ shall be built. The Makkan migrants become the Muhajirûn the Émigrés. The Yathribites become the An|âr, or Helpers, each one from the An|âr is paired as a host with one of the Muhâjirûn as a brother, until the latter can settle themselves independently. The Muslim community is born.
623ce/1h year 13/revelation Brotherhood of Believers, Covenant of Madinah, Permission The Makkan migrants become the Muhajirûn, the Émigrés. The Yathribites become the An|âr, or Helpers. Each one from the An|âr is paired as a host with one of the Muhâjirûn as a brother, until the latter can settle himself independently. The Muslim community is born. A covenant between all the tribes in and around Madinah is struck, with the Prophet œ, its head, and the borders of Madinah set. Allah grants the Muslims, until now divinely restrained to passive resistance, permission to fight the unbelievers. The Mosque of
the Prophet œ is completed and the marketplace of Madinah established. In the Mosque of the Prophet œ, a veranda (Al-ßuffah) is set for the poor, the alone, who come to Madinah to embrace Islam.
624ce/2h year 14/revelation The Battle of Badr the quraysh had thoroughly
dispossessed the Muslim Makkans. Allah now gives them the right to recompense from the Quraysh. A laden caravan of the Quraysh is nearing Yathrib. The Muslims determine to seize it. The Quraysh merchant leader Abû Sufyân hears of it, sends for protection from Quraysh. An army comes forth to protect its interests and determines to crush the Muslims. The Muslims receive intelligence that the Quraysh army lies beyond the wells of Badr and the caravan comes. Both the Muhâjirûn and the An|âr commit willingly to follow the Prophet œ to whatever end, a commitment for which the Prophet œ is joyously grateful. They go out, the caravan altering its course passes them by. They array against the Quraysh at Badr, blocking its wells from Quraysh. Though outnumbered three to one, Allah supports them with his angels and the Muslims are victorious. The Muslims rout the Quraysh, kill about 50, and capture others. The rest flee in disarray. The Qurayshite
leader Abû Jahl is slain, unrepentant. Bilâl , former slave, kills his ex-master for his merciless torture of him in the blazing sun, on the scorching sand, with a huge boulder upon his chest. Shockwaves ripple through tribal Arabia. Allah and His Messenger œ have won. The Muslims return victorious to complete Rama\ân, but Ruqayyah, daughter of the Prophet dies. Allah mandates Zakât Al-Fi~r on every Muslim. The Prophet œ marries ¢Âishah, and marries his daughter Fâ~imah to ¢Alî. The cemetery of Jannat Al-Baqî¢ (The Lasting Garden) is set. Zakât becomes the obligatory Third Pillar of Islam.
625ce/3h year 15/revelation The Battle of U^ud
in two successive months,
the Prophet œ marries ±af|ah and Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, and ±asan is born to ¢Alî and Fâ~imah. Meanwhile, the Quraysh must either make way for the Prophet œ or avenge their loss to sustain power in Arabia. They choose power and plot to crush the Muslims in Madinah. ¢Abbâs, the Prophet’s uncle, sends him word near the end of Rama\ ân of the coming of Quraysh for war with 200 horses and 3,000 camels. The Muslims determine to meet the Quraysh outside Madinah. They choose Mount U^ûd as their position. They reach a
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midway point in late afternoon and make camp, with instructions to move out at dawn. The hypocrites among them, led by ¢Abdullah ibn ¢Ubay, meet in the night and turn back to Madinah when camp breaks, on a pretext with no word, 300 men all told. He hopes to let Quraysh defeat the Muslims. Only 700 Muslims remain to fight 3,000. At U^ud, the Prophet œ arrays his Companions, placing 50 archers on a crucial knoll, commanding them not to leave it under any circumstances, come victory or defeat. ¤amzah is targeted by special javelin thrower and slave, Wa^shî, hired at the price of his freedom and more by Hind, wife of Abû Sufyân to avenge his killing of her relatives at Badr. He hits his mark and ¤amzah falls. The Muslims sweep away the Quraysh, capture their banners, and the Quraysh begin to flee in disarray. The archers see the spoils for the taking, and 40 leave, though ¢Abdullah ibn Jubayr exhorts them to obey the command of the Prophet œ to stay put. Khâlid ibn Al-Walîd sees the opening and sweeps in with his cavalry, killing the remaining archers and begins a surprise attack from the exposed Muslim flank. The Makkans regroup and press the attack from the fore. The Muslims are in disarray. The Prophet œ is wounded in the face and falls to the ground. Rumor spreads that the Prophet œ is dead, and the Muslims scatter into the
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mountain’s many passes disheartened and in disorganized. The Quraysh fight the Muslims to a stalemate, learning that the Prophet œ yet lives, and depart with a promise to return for another engagement the following year. The Prophet œ sends an inspirational contingent of weary, wounded Muslims in pursuit to ±amrâ’ Al-Asad, heartening the believers and warning the Arabs.
625ce/4h year 16/revelation Treacheries and Sobriety the prophet œ dispatches contingents after U^ud to forestall surprise attacks on Madinah underway from certain Bedouins and others that he learns of. They route their adversaries and quell the Bedouin and the Arab tribes’ misconception of easy plunder at Madinah. Khubayb is taken captive and killed by Quraysh. The Banû ¢Âmir request teachers from the Prophet œ, who sends 40, all but two of whom are killed in an ambush at the Well of Ma¢ûnah from a rival within the tribe. The Banû Al-Nadîr plot to kill the Prophet œ, and they are ordered into exile. They refuse, are besieged, and then sue for safe passage to Tabûk, which they are granted. Allah reveals the first limitation on alcohol. Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, wife of the Prophet œ, dies.
626ce/4h year 16/revelation Birth and Marriage
the second grandson of the Prophet œ, ±usayn, from Fâ~imah and ¢Âlî, is born. The Prophet œ marries Umm Salamah.
626ce/5h year 17/revelation Treasonous Alliances some of banû Al-nadîr go to Khaybar and plot to aid Quraysh in a planned onslaught on Madinah. They secretly visit the Quraysh and swear mutual allegiance to destroy the Muslims, after pledging allegiance to the Prophet œ to uphold the Madinah community against all enemies. A lunar eclipse occurs and the Prophet œ leads the first ßalât Al-Khu|ûf (Eclipse Prayer).
627ce/5h 17/revelation Calumny and the Battle of the Trench (Al-Khandaq) the prophet œ departs to quell the Banû Mu|~aliq, who were gathering forces to attack Madinah. The Prophet œ marries Juwayriyah bint ±ârith of the Banû Mu|~aliq and releases all captives. The Muslim’s return to Madinah is marred by tension between some of the Muhâjirûn and An|âr, which chief hypocrite, ¢Abdullah ibn ¢Ubayy ibn Salûl, seeks to year
exploit. The Prophet œ marches the army without break until camping for nightfall, exhausting all energies, thereby ending the dispute. Upon the return, ¢Âishah, accompanying the Prophet œ, loses her necklace, searches for it, and is inadvertently left behind, but found by a Muslim, appointed to police the campsite for lost items. The hypocrites spread false rumors of infidelity, known as the Ifk incident. She is vindicated by Revelation. Meanwhile, the Quraysh gather a 10,000-man army from the tribes of Arabia in accordance with their plan to annihilate the Muslims totally. Shortly before the army’s arrival to Madinah, the Prophet œ, who is alerted to their approach, takes the counsel of the great Companion Salman, the Persian regarding a Persian defense stratagem of digging a wide and deep trench around Madinah. The Trench is an all-community effort, the Prophet œ working alongside the Companions with pick-axe, shovel, and as a carrier. Amazingly, it is completed around the vulnerable approaches to the city in just six days. About 3,000 men are arrayed on the believers’ side. A high escarpment from the dug-out earth further shields the Muslims. They man the Trench day and night without cessation. The Quraysh and their confederates arrive and are thwarted by the Trench. They lay siege to Madinah, receiving open help from the Banû Quray·ah against their
covenant with the Prophet œ to protect Madinah from all aggression, who now brazenly renounce their covenant in certainty that the Quraysh forces are irresistible. The hypocrites begin to agitate against the Prophet œ from within to break the will of the Muslims, spreading accusation that the Prophet œ has brought destruction upon them all. The beleaguered Muslims, at the brink of annihilation, are shaken; yet resolve and faith grow in their hearts. The siege wears on, seemingly interminably, for a month. Cracks begin to emerge among the exhausted confederated Arab army. Steeds and mounts begin to die. Allah then sends a bone-chilling, rain and windstorm that blinds the besiegers in its darkness and dust and devastates the Confederates’ camp. Abû Sufyân, the head of the Quraysh, breaks camp, and the Confederates disappear into the desert. The Banû Quray·ah are punished, their lands and wealth distributed. The Quran repudiates the falsification of biological paternity by way of adoption, and Allah marries the Prophet œ to his formerly adopted son Zayd’s former wife, Zaynab bint Ja^sh .
628ce/6h year 18/revelation The Peace of ¤udaybiyah victory for the muslims
against the massive Confed-
erate army resounds throughout Arabia. The resolve of Muhammad œ is steel. Madinah is for real. Islam is established in the Peninsula. Near the end of Rama\ân, the Prophet œ dreams that he enters the Sacred Sanctuary of Makkah, unarmed, at peace, with head shaved. The Muslims embark as Pilgrims to Makkah, donning ihrâm at Dhu’l-±ulayfah, the Prophet œ uttering the talbiyah: “Ever at Your service, O Allah, ever at Your service. Ever at Your service, there is no partner for You, ever at Your service. Indeed, all praise, and all blessing are for You, and all the kingdom. There is no partner for You.” The Quraysh dispatch a cavalry of 200 with Khâlid ibn Al-Walîd at their head. The Prophet œ, informed of this, reroutes the pilgrims to ¤udaybiyah. The Quraysh cavalry returns to Makkah, having been by-passed. The Quraysh negotiate, at length, with the Prophet œ. He sends ¢Uthmân ibn ¢Affân to Makkah as an envoy. They detain ¢Uthmân, the Prophet œ and Muslims fear the Quraysh have killed him. The Prophet œ and Muslims, though with only light arms as pilgrims, take the Bay¢ah Al-Ri\wân, the Pledge of Good Pleasure. They will fight the Quraysh as they are. ¢Uthmân is discovered safe. Negotiations protract and conclude. The Prophet œ agrees the Muslims will return next year for pilgrimage, not enter Makkah this year. The Muslims feel disheartened by
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the terms of the treaty, which seem all in favor of Quraysh. The Prophet œ shaves his head, as a sign of completing the Pilgrimage, as by intention. The Muslims rush to follow. Allah reveals Sûrat Al-Fat^ (48) and the Muslims are overjoyed, realizing that Allah has guided the Prophet œ by his wisdom to one of the greatest victories of all time. Madinah to the south is now secure. Freedom to speak of Islam and to listen to its speech sets in and Islam begins its spread throughout Arabia with unprecedented success.
628ce/7h year 19/revelation Invitations, Gifts from Afar, Marriage, and Khaybar with peace and mobility
established in Arabia to the south, the Prophet œ sends envoys and letters of invitation to Islam to the rulers of the region. The Abyssinian and Yemeni rulers convert to Islam. The Egyptian ruler returns gifts to the Prophet œ in the company of a young woman named Mâriah , whom the Prophet œ marries. The Prophet œ knows he cannot leave the treason of the tribes of Khaybar, to the north of Madinah, for their aid to the Confederated idolaters during the siege of Khandaq, unanswered, after their betrayal of their covenant to protect Madinah against all
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aggressors and live in peace. He is also aware of their now secret attempts to instigate the Arab tribes of the north to attack Madinah. Sûrat Al-Fat^ had promised a near victory with abundant spoils, in addition to the victory of ¤udaybiyah, and the Muslims understand this to be Khaybar, though with its seven strong fortresses, the Arabs of the Peninsula have long regarded the richly opulent, well-defended oasis as impenetrable. The Muslims—with Allah barring the participation of the Bedouin Arab tribes that had come to Islam for gain but had refused to help in the Battle of Khandaq—are few in number. In a surprise move, the Muslims march on Khaybar, reaching it in three days. For a month, they lay it siege, fortress after fortress, until all seven capitulate and sue for peace. They are granted right of asylum to stay in their lands, now the province of Islam and the Prophet œ, and military protection for half their date yields. The north is now secure. The Prophet œ marries ßafiyyah bint ±uyayy of Khaybar. The Muslim migrants to Abyssinia return after 13 years, awaiting the Prophet œ upon his return to Madinah from Khaybar. The Prophet œ embraces his cousin Ja¢far , kisses his head, and declares himself unable to discern which has brought him more delight, the coming of Khaybar or the coming of Ja¢far .
629ce/7h year 19/revelation ¢Umrah and Two Marriages the muslims perform the
make-up ¢Umrah, so termed because although the intention of the ¢Umrah of ¤udaybiyah are accepted as ¢Umrah completed, this subsequent ¢Umrah compensates for it. It is performed in Dhu’l Qi¢dah, the same month it was to be made in the previous year. Indeed, all the ¢Umrahs the Prophet œ made (4) were in this month, with the exception of his ¢Umrah with ±ajj. The people of Makkah throng to see the Prophet œ, as he enters with the Muhajirîn and An|âr around him, after a seven-year absence. The leaders of Quraysh head for the hills, in anger and envy, some opponents having spread rumors that the Muslims carried with them the Yathrib Fever, and thus were emaciated and frail. The Prophet œ places his ihrâm beneath his right arm, baring his shoulder. The Muslims follow, with his words: “May Allah show mercy to him who shows them his full strength” (Muslim). Shortly thereafter, the Prophet œ marries Umm ±abîbah (Ramlah) , the daughter of the Quraysh leader and Muhammad’s opponent, Abû Sufyân, in Madinah and Maymûnah bint ±ârith .
629ce/8h year 20/revelation Conversion of Khâlid and a Broken Truce the prophet œ singles out Khâlid ibn Al-Walîd for conversion by way of his brother Al-Walîd, who was already Muslim. “A man like Khâlid cannot keep himself from Islam for long.” Al-Walîd writes his brother, exhorting him to Islam, knowing Khâlid has no great affinity for idols. He confides in his close childhood friend, ¢Ikrimah, the son of Abû Jahl, of his intent to become Muslim. Though ¢Ikrimah is opposed, when Abû Sufyân threatens Khâlid for this, ¢Ikrimah intervenes: “Steady, O Abû Sufyân. Your anger may well lead me also to join Muhammad. Khâlid is free to follow what religion he so chooses.” Khâlid sets out for Madinah and meets ¢Amr ibn Al-¢Â| and ¢Uthmân ibn >al^a upon the way, with the same purpose. Al-Walîd receives Khâlid, who goes to the Prophet œ and enters Islam, the first of the three. In the meantime, some of the Quraysh aid the attack staged by the Bedouin tribe of Bakr, Quraysh confederates, against the Khuzâ¢ah tribe, part of the Muslim alliance. The Khuzâ¢ah call upon the Prophet œ, and Abû Sufyân hastens to Madinah to mend the broken Treaty of ¤udaybiyah. The Prophet œ makes no new agreement.
630ce/8h year 20/revelation Makkah Restored the prophet œ announces a campaign after the departure of Abû Sufyân, not disclosing its target. The Muslim army swells to unprecedented size. Al-¢Abbâs, the uncle of the Prophet œ, Abû Sufyân, and Budayl, Chief of Khuzâ¢ah go to the Muslim encampment. The Prophet œ bids them to Islam. Abû Sufyân’s acceptance comes after a night of hesitation. The Prophet œ divides his army into four regiments, commanding them to shed no blood, save if hostilities are initiated and fighting is crucially necessary. The regiments enter Makkah unopposed, Khâlid ibn Al-Walîd dispatching minor resistance. With head lowered in humility and gratitude to Allah, the Prophet œ rides Al-Qa|wâ’, his shecamel, to the Ka¢bah and topples its every idol, reciting the words of the Quran: (Truth comes and falsehood vanishes. Indeed, falsehood is ever vanishing) Sûrat Al-Isrâ’, 17:81. He goes round the Ka¢bah, then, on Al-Qa|wâ’, alights, calls ¢Uthmân ibn >al^a to open the doors of the Ka¢bah. He enters and finds drawings depicting Abraham ∑ and Ishmael ∑ holding divination arrows and destroys them. At the door of the Ka¢bah, in the most magnanimous act in history, he proclaims a general amnesty for all the Quraysh and Makkans, save a handful with heinous crimes. The Prophet œ withdraws to Mount ßafâ,
flanked on the right and the left by Abû Bakr and ¢Umar, and there accepts the pledge of fealty from the Quraysh, one by one. The Prophet œ dispatches contingents of Companions to destroy the idols of the surrounding localities. It is Rama\ân. Makkah is won. In Shawwâl, the Muslims engage a fierce fight at ±unayn, at first surprised by its intensity in the comfort of their great numbers, but then victorious behind the Prophet œ, the sons of Abû Lahab, movingly fast at his side. In the same month, the Muslims head to Makkah’s sister city, the great stronghold of >â’if, from where the Prophet œ had been evicted and bloodied in the Year of Sorrow. It is a year of culminations. At year’s end, the Prophet’s son Ibrahim is born to Mâriah.
630ce/9h year 21/revelation Tabûk and the Hypocrites the prophet’s wives seek to have the Prophet œ leave his lifestyle of abject simplicity. He divorces, offering to depart marriage with him with a large settlement or to remain his wives satisfied with the Hereafter. They choose Allah, His Messenger œ, and the Hereafter. Rumors of a massive invasion by the Byzantines spread from the north. The Prophet œ orders the gathering of every available fighter to the northern region
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of Tabûk, near Syria. It is summer of unprecedented heat, even for the desert, and a failed harvest. The Muslims have scant provision upon which to march, fighters sharing a single date, not to eat, but from which to sip water through for sustenance along the away. The test proves arduous. Madinah’s hypocrites find excuses for not joining the campaign. At the spring of Tabûk, the Prophet œ encamps his army. The Byzantines are not to be found. The Prophet œ invites the north Arab tribes to Islam. The Prophet œ sends Khâlid ibn Al-Walîd with a contingent to forestall the people of Dumah, preparing to attack the Muslims on the Byzantine armies return to Tabûk. Khâlid captures its king and wins a large cache of armaments and supplies. The king accepts Islam when the Muslims return to Madinah and the Prophet œ restores him as king. The hypocrites present the Prophet œ with their reasons for not joining him. The Prophet œ lets them go free. Three sincere Muslims present no excuse, save they were lulled by ease and failed to prepare to depart with the Muslims until it was too late. The Prophet œ orders their boycott. For 50 days they live in anguish, until Allah reveals their exoneration and they are accepted back with joy, Ka¢b ibn Mâlik most famous of them. The Prophet œ orders the dismantling of the mosque
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of Al-Ḍirâr, set up by the hypocrites from which to launch an ambush on the Muslims, and Abû Sufyân is sent to destroy the idol Lât.
631ce/9h year 2i/revelation A Passing to Judgment and The First ±ajj shortly after the masjid of Al-`irâr comes down, chief hypocrite of Madinah ¢Abdullah ibn ¢Ubayy ibn Salûl passes away. Abû Bakr leads the first ±ajj and ¢Alî explains the terms of the rules for unbelievers revealed in Sûrat Al-Tawbah (9) in Makkah.
631ce/10h year 22/revelation A Rama\ân Twice-Blessed and a False Prophet each year of revelaton the Prophet œ recites the Quran one time—all he has received of it—to the Angel Gabriel ∑ in its revealed order. This Rama\ân, Gabriel ∑ commands the Prophet œ to recite it to him twice through. Later, the Arab, Musaylamah, sends a letter to the Prophet œ, acknowledging the Prophet’s prophethood while declaring his own with him. He becomes known as Musaylamah, the Liar, for his false declaration.
632ce/10h year 22/revelation Farewells and Completions in shawwâl, ibrâhîm, the son of the Prophet œ dies, with great sadness. The next month, the Prophet œ announces his intention to perform ±ajj. He sets out, and all who can in Arabia seek to accompany him. His pilgrimage is of utmost significance, for it sets the rules of ±ajj for all time. He leads the new Ummah through its renewed rituals, purified of all idolatrous association, restoring the original rites of Abraham ∑, Ishmael ∑, and Hâjar. He goes to ¢Arafah on the ninth day, and there gives an extraordinarily important sermon to all present, which he asks be conveyed to all absent, making du¢â’ that the latter understand his words better than the former. This becomes his Farewell Sermon to all humankind. He clarifies religion for humanity and grounds it with pillars of justice that uphold the rights of the vulnerable in society, and declares the perennial efficacy of the Quran and his own established Way as unfailing revelation by which any and all can be guided until the end of time. He then takes the testimony of all present, asking, Have I conveyed the message? All affirm. He looks to the heavens and calls out to his Lord, declaring his obedience in conveying His Message in full, with his Lord as witness. The revelation of Sûrat Al-Mâ’idah (5), verse 3, comes, Allah declaring
Al-Islam, “The Peace”—established by His perfection of it and His divine grace upon the believers with it—His sanctioned Religion that He has chosen for all who would believe. The Prophet œ leads the pilgrims down from ¢Arafah through the completion of their rites and sacrifice, goes round the Ka¢bah a last time, his mission forever enshrined. Later, Sûrat Al-Na|r is revealed to the Prophet œ. The Prophet’s wife, Ray^ânah bint Zayd ibn ¢Amr , dies.
632ce/11h 23/revelation Muhammad œ Chooses Allah in safar, the prophet œ orders an army to gather under the leadership of Usâmah ibn Zayd. Shortly after, the Prophet œ experiences severe headaches and weakness and falls ill. He leads the prayers in his mosque. After one Morning Prayer, he addresses his followers about a choice Allah has given a servant for this world or the Hereafter, the servant having chosen the latter. Abû Bakr perceives its meaning and weeps, consoled by the Prophet œ. Soon, the Prophet œ is unable to stand from his sickness, for which he seeks permission to stay with ¢Aishah and departs from his rotation in the bowers of his wives. She
cares for the Prophet œ assiduously, his head in her lap. After a time, the Prophet’s high fever subsides and he joins the congregation, being led by Abû Bakr, for |alâh. There is joy and commotion, which Abû Bakr knows to mean the Prophet œ has entered. He recedes for the leadership of the Prophet œ, but the Prophet œ gently presses him with his hand to continue and sits to his right. His fever returns shortly, and he repairs to ¢Aishah again. He loses consciousness, regains it for a moment and says: With the supreme communion in Paradise, with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favor from the Prophets, and the truthful,
and the martyrs, and the good, and how good a company are they. O Allah, with the Highest Friend.” The Prophet œ had been given the choice of life or death by Allah, and he chose Allah. His head grew heavy upon ¢Aishah’s chest. His wives wept. The Ummah wept, still weeps. The world goes without him œ. Yet his presence and Sunnah live on, along with the divine Word of the Quran precisely as he reported it from Allah to all humankind—two parts of a single, protected Revelation, and with it, the preserved purity of belief in the true and only God, and all hope. For Allah lives and never dies.
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u in witness “The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Mu^ammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only.” — Thomas Carlyle in Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History, p. 184 “The greatest success of Mohammad’s life was effected by sheer moral force....It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion that deserves our wonder, the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Mecca and Medina is preserved after the revolutions of twelve centuries by the Indian, the African and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran....The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. ‘I believe in One God and Mahomet the Apostle of God’ is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honors of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue, and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion.” — Edward Gibbon and Simon Oakley in History of the Saracen Empire, London, 1870 “My choice of Mu^ammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the secular and religious level....It is
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probable that the relative influence of Mu^ammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity....It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Mu^ammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.” — Michael Hart in The 100, A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons In History, New York, 1978 “In all things Mu^ammad was profoundly practical. When his beloved son Ibrahim died, an eclipse occurred and rumors of God’s personal condolence quickly arose. Whereupon Mu^ammad is said to have announced, ‘An eclipse is a phenomenon of nature. It is foolish to attribute such things to the death or birth of a human being.’” “At Mu^ammad’s own death an attempt was made to deify him, but the man who was to become his administrative successor killed the hysteria with one of the noblest speeches in religious history: ‘If there are any among you who worshiped Mu^ammad, he is dead. But if it is God you Worshiped, He lives for ever.’” — James Michener in Islam: The Misunderstood Religion, Reader’s Digest, May 1955, pp. 68-70 “Head of the State as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Pope’s pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a police force, without a fixed revenue. If ever a man ruled by a right divine,
it was Mu^ammad, for he had all the powers without their supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life….In Mohammadanism every thing is different here. Instead of the shadowy and the mysterious, we have history….We know of the external history of Mu^ammad....while for his internal history after his mission had been proclaimed, we have a book absolutely unique in its origin, in its preservation....on the Substantial authority of which no one has ever been able to cast a serious doubt.” — Reverend Bosworth Smith in Muhammad and Muhammadanism, London, 1874 “His [Mu^ammad’s] readiness to undergo persecution for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as a leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement—all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Mu^ammad an impostor raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Mu^ammad.... Thus, not merely must we credit Mu^ammad with essential honesty and integrity of purpose, if we are to understand him at all; if we are to correct the errors we have inherited from the past, we must not forget the conclusive proof is a much stricter requirement than a show of plausibility, and in a matter such as this only to be attained with difficulty.” — W. Montgomery Watt in Muhammad at Mecca, Oxford, 1953
“He was sober and abstemious in his diet and a rigorous observer of fasts. He indulged in no magnificence of apparel, the ostentation of a petty mind; neither was his simplicity in dress affected but a result of real disregard for distinction from so trivial a source. “In his private dealings he was just. He treated friends and strangers, the rich and poor, the powerful and weak, with equity, and was beloved by the common people for the affability with which he received them, and listened to their complaints. “His military triumphs awakened no pride nor vainglory, as they would have done had they been effected for selfish purposes. In the time of his greatest power, he maintained the same simplicity of manners and appearance as in the days of his adversity. So far from affecting a regal state, he was displeased if, on entering a room, any unusual testimonials of respect were shown to him. If he aimed at a universal dominion, it was the dominion of faith; as to the temporal rule which grew up in his hands, as he used it without ostentation, so he took no step to perpetuate it in his family.” — Washington Irving in Mahomet and His Successors, 1850 “The good sense of Mu^ammad despised the pomp of royalty. The Apostle of God submitted to the menial offices of the family; he kindled the fire; swept the floor; milked the ewes; and mended with his own hands his shoes and garments. Disdaining the penance and merit of a hermit, he observed without effort of vanity the abstemious diet of an Arab.” — Gibbon in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1823
Part six LEARNING THE PROPHET’S PRAYER œ Recitation (cont.)
Witr, Jumu¢ah, Eid, Janâzah and Rama\ân
(Extol the limitless glory of thy Sustainer’s name: [the glory of] the All-Highest, who creates [everything], and thereupon forms it in accordance with what it is meant to be, and who determines the nature [of all that exists], and thereupon guides it [towards its fulfillment], and who brings forth herbage, and thereupon causes it to decay into rust-brown stubble! We shall teach thee, and thou wilt not forget [aught of what thou art taught], save what Allah may will [thee to forget]—for, verily, He [alone] knows all that is open to [man’s] perception as well as all that is hidden [from it]; - and [thus] shall We make easy for thee the path towards [ultimate] ease. Remind, then, [others of the truth, regardless of] whether this reminding [would seem to] be of use [or not]; in mind will keep it he who stands in awe [of Allah], but aloof from it will remain that most hapless wretch—he who [in the life to come] shall have to endure the great fire wherein he will neither die nor remain alive. To happiness [in the life to come] will indeed attain he who attains to purity [in this world], and remembers his Sustainer’s name, and prays [unto Him]. But nay, [O men,] you prefer the life of this world, although the life to come is better and more enduring. Verily, [all] this has indeed been [said] in the earlier revelation— revelations of Abraham and Moses.) — Sûrat Al-A¢lâ, 87:1-19
¢Abda al-Huzhriyyah In Part 3, we took up the five daily Prayers (ßalawât) in regard to particular Quranic Sûrahs that the Prophet œ often recited in each of the time-specified ßalâhs. In Part 4, we discussed one of the additional, habitual |alâh’s of the Prophet’s œ beyond the five-daily ßalâh: The Night Prayer, or Tahajjud. In this |alâh, the Prophet œ was free to stand for hours at a time, enraptured in reciting lengthy revealed Texts from the ayahs of the Quran. In Part 5, we delved into some nebulous points associated with Witr Prayer, as modeled for us by the Prophet œ. In the process, we returned to the Night Vigil (Tahajjud), taking up points of confusion with the nighttime Standing of Ramadân (Tarâwîh). In this segment, we return to Al-Albani’s compilation of a^adîth and—parallel to Part 3—we see their contents regarding which Sûrahs were typically associated with Witr, Jumu¢ah, Eid and Janâzah Prayers.
Recitation in Witr—and Afterward Al-Albani1 reports (p. 38) concerning this three-rak¢ah Prayer (Witr)—made up of Rak¢ah # 1, Rak¢ah # 2, and Rak¢ah # 3 before the single full-closing—that the Prophet œ used to recite in this three-rak¢ah series as follows (Nasâ’î, Hâkim):
Rak¢ah # 1: Sûrat Al-A¢lâ, 87:1-19 Extol the limitless glory of thy Sustain- er’s name... Rak¢ah # 2: Sûrat Al-Kâfirûn, 109:1-6 Say: O you who deny the truth!... Rak¢ah # 3: Sûrat Al-Ikhlâ|, 112:1-4 Say: He is the One God... Al-Albani records that (according to Tirmidhî, Abu’l-¢Abbâs Al-A|amm, ±âkim, and Dhahabî) the Prophet œ would sometimes complete the third
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rak¢ah of Witr Prayer by adding [to Sûrat Al-Ikhlâ|, 112:1-4] the further two short sûrahs of seeking refuge in Allah:
Rak¢ah # 3: Sûrat Al-Ikhlâ|, 112:1-4 Say: He is the One God... Sûrat Al-Falaq, 113:1-5 Say: “I seek refuge with the Sustainer of the rising dawn… Sûrat Al-Nâs, 114:1-6 Say: “I seek refuge with the Sustainer of men… Note that the ahadîth literature records what may be in some cases a one-time unique choice of sûrah, or, in other cases a favored pattern of the Prophet œ; we cannot necessar-
(Say: “O you who deny the truth! I do not worship that which you worship. And neither do you worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which you have [ever] worshipped, and neither will you [ever] worship that which I worship. Unto you, your moral law, and unto me, mine!) — Sûrat Al-Kâfirûn, 109:1-6
ily distinguish between these cases. At least one time the Prophet’s choice for the third Rak¢ah of the Witr Prayer was quite long, a hundred ayât from Sûrat Al-Nisâ’, 4:1-176 (Nasâ’î and A^mad).
Al-Albani further comments (p. 39): As for the two rak¢ahs after Witr (Muslim), the Prophet œ used to recite When the earth is shaken... (Sûrat Al-Zalzalah, 99:1-8) and Say, O you who disbelieve… (Sûrat Al-Kâfirûn, 109:1-6) in them. (A^mad, Ibn Na|r, >a^âwî, Ibn Khuzaymah, and Ibn ±ibbân)
Recitation in ßalât Al-Jumu¢ah, the Friday Congregational Prayer ßalât Al-Jumu¢ah is mandated for the males of the Community at the high point of the sun Zuhr) on Yawm Al-Jumu¢ah (Friday). Although the Zuhr/Noon Prayer consists of four rk¢ât, on all the other days of the week, it is fulfilled on Friday with two rak¢ahs for those attending the Community gathering. Those two rak¢ahs are preceded by an educational or exhortatory address called a khutbah (‘sermon’) divided into two parts by the imâm sitting
(Say: “He is the One God: Allah the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All That Exists. He begets not, and neither is He begotten; and there is nothing that could be compared with Him.”) — Sûrat Al-Ikhlâs, 112:1-4
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(Say: “I seek refuge with the Sustainer of the rising dawn, from the evil of aught that He has created, and from the evil of the black darkness whenever it descends, and from the evil of all human beings bent on occult endeavors, and from the evil of the envious when he envies.) — Sûrat Al-Falaq, 113:1-5
Rak¢ah # 2: Sûrat Al-Ghâshiyah, 88:1-26 Has the story reached you of the Overwhelming...? Rak¢ah # 1: Sûrat Qâf, 50:1-45 Qâf. By the Glorious Quran… Rak¢ah # 2: Sûrat Al-Qamar 54:1-55 The Hour has drawn near…
Recitation in Janâzah ßalâh, the Funeral Prayer
Muslims are encouraged to support their Community members by attending the two-rak¢ah Funeral Prayer. Quotes al-Albani: down and rising again. Those two parts of the khutbah stand in for the two displaced rak¢ahs of the standard Zuhr Prayer. Whereas the daily Zuhr ßalâh recitation is a ‘quiet’ one, the Friday Zuhr Prayer is fully voiced by the imâm. Commonly, the Prophet œ would recite for Jumu¢ah ßalâh (Muslim, Abû Dâwûd):
Rak¢ah # 1: Sûrat Al-Jumu¢ah, 62:1-11 All that is in the heavens… Rak¢ah # 2: Sûrat Al-Munâfiqûn, 63:1-11 When the hypocrites come to you… or: Sûrat Al-Ghâshiyah, 88:1-26 Has the story reached you of the Overwhelming...? Rak¢ah # 1: Sûrat Al-A¢lâ, 87:1-19 Glorify the Name of your Lord Most High… Rak¢ah # 2: Sûrat Al-Ghâshiyah, 88:1-26 Has the story reached you of the Overwhelming...?
Recitation in Eid ßalâh
Marking the end of Rama\ân fasting, as well as the end of the Pilgrimage (Al-±ajj) ritual is a Community-wide gathering featuring a two-Rak¢ah Eid Prayer—opened with a series of takbîrât, and followed by festivities. As in the Friday Prayer, there is a khutbah, but in the case of Eid ßalâh, the sermon follows the rak¢ahs of ritual Prayer. The Prophet œ commonly recited the following Sûrahs in Eid Prayers (Muslim, Abû Dâwûd): Rak¢ah # 1: Sûrat Al-A¢lâ, 87:1-19 Glorify the Name of your Lord Most High…
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(Say: “I seek refuge with the Sustainer of men, the Sovereign of men, the God of men, from the evil of the whispering, elusive tempter who whispers in the hearts of men – from all [temptation to evil by] invisible forces as well as men.”) — Sûrat Al-Nâs, 114:1-6
(When the earth quakes with her [last] mighty quaking, and [when] the earth yields up her burdens, and man cries out, “What has happened to her?” – On that Day will she recount all her tidings, as thy Sustainer will have inspired her to do. On that Day will all men come forward, cut off from one another, to be shown their [past] deeds. And so, he who shall have done an atom’s weight of good, shall behold it; and he who shall have done an atom’s weight of evil, shall behold it.) — Sûrat Al-Zalzalah, 99:1-8
The sunnah is to recite Al-Fâti^ah (Imâm Shâfi¢î, A^mad, Is^âq) [and another sûrah, according to some Shâfi¢is] in it” (Bukhâri, Abû Dâwûd, Nasâ’i, Ibn Jârûd). Also, “he would be silent for awhile, after the first takbîr” (Nasâ’î, >a^âwi).
Recitation in Tarâwî^ ßalâh, the Rama\ân Night Prayers
As noted in Part 5 of this series, Learning the Prophet’s Prayer œ (Al-Jumu¢ah, 25.8, Sha¢bân 1434, pp. 44-49), the day-to-day Night Vigil (Tahajjud Prayer)–voluntary but strongly recommended—can vary from two pairs of rak¢ât to three or four pairs (that is, four or six or eight rak¢ât ) before adding on the odd rak¢âh of Witr (attached to a pair of rak¢ât to form a single trio of rak¢ât). This final |alâh of
(Say: “O you who deny the truth! I do not worship that which you worship. And neither do you worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which you have [ever] worshipped, and neither will you [ever] worship that which I worship. Unto you, your moral law, and unto me, mine!) — Sûrat Al-Kâfirûn, 109:1-6
the evening is then closed only once after the third of the three rak¢ât. Tahajjud, thus varies from seven to 13 rak¢ât, as the lone worshipper so chooses. Tahajjud Prayer, is done by an individual seeking to attain—or to keep up—close bonds with his Lord. Tarâwîh Prayer, like Tahajjud, is done after ¢Ishâ’ Prayer; but Tarâwîh can be offered only during the nights of Rama\ân and preferably with the Community. Rama\ân Tarâwîh consists, in all, of five two-pair sets of rak¢ât—that is, four rak¢ât at a time (each pair “full-closed”)—with a long pause before the next set of four. Accordingly, Tarâwîh adds up to 20 rak¢ât total (See the discussion in Part 5). It is incumbent upon a local Muslim community to have at least one ±âfi·, one who can recite the entire Quran by heart. In fact, all individuals are encouraged to attain, as much as possible, to reciting the entire Quran. Backup huffâz (s. hâfiz) are welcome. The more, the better for the Community. Beautiful recitation of the Quran is a feature of Rama\ân not to be missed, especially during Rama\ân evenings, when the traditional 30 subdivisions of the Quran come into play: There are something like 18 to 20 standardized pages of the Arabic Text to be divided among the 20 rak¢ât of an evening’s recital. Thus the choice of recitation passages, ideally, follows the plan of completing the entire Revelation over the course of the 29 or 30 days of the lunar month in a sequential fashion. Coming, inshâAllâh, in Installment 7: The general manner of the Prophet œ in his Recitation. To date in this series, we have not moved beyond the standing position of ß alâh, the position in which Recitation of the Quran is performed. 1 Page numbers refer to Shaykh Mu^ammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaani, The Prophet’s PRAYER described from the beginning to the end as though you see it. Tr. Usama ibn Suhaib Hasan, 1993/1413, Al-Haneef Publications, P.O. Box 24, Ipswich, Suffolk IP3 8ED, U.K.
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The Fasting Prophet œ Munira al-Mawdi The ninth month on the Islamic calendar—twenty-nine or thirty days of community fasting (Sawm), from crescent to crescent, Ramadân—is, among other things, a celebration of Al-Ra^mân’s renewal of guidance to mankind.
One of the great focuses of Rama\ân is a renewal, or intensification, of our companionship with the Quran, whose revelation to Prophet Mu^ammad œ was initiated in the lunar month of Rama\ân, 610 ce. (It was the month of Rama\ân in which the Quran was [first] bestowed from on high as a guidance unto man and a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as the standard by which to discern the true from the false. Hence, whoever of you lives to see this month shall fast throughout it….[He desires] that you complete the number [of days required], and that you extol God for His having guided you aright, and that you render your thanks [unto Him].) Sûrat Al-Baqarah, 2:185. Halfway up the Red Sea coast of the Arabian Peninsula, inland, in a cave on Mount Hirâ’, there,
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Al-Amîn, “The Trustworthy One,” meditated, seeking Allah’s favor and guidance. The divine first verses (Sûrat Al-¢Alaq, 96:1-5) exploded into his psyche and shook him to the very core of his being—charging him with a mission to receive a Text and to proclaim it, as it came to him, for the benefit of mankind.
Man’s use of written language (cf. “the Pen” of Sûrat Al-¢Alaq, 96:4) had been taught him by his Creator (Sûrat Al-¢Alaq, 96:1-2, 4). (See also Sûrat Al-Baqarah, 2:31-33 concerning Allah’s initiation of man into the use of language.) Such language had enabled the human community first to receive in a stable form their Creator’s
guidance; but this did not keep them from transgressing the known boundaries set by their bountiful Lord (Sûrat Al-¢Alaq, 96:3). This was due to man’s tendency to assume an attitude of self-sufficiency (Sûrat Al-¢Alaq, 96:7) and as a result of his turning away from [previous prophetic] guidance (Sûrat Al-¢Alaq, 96:11). Indeed, from the get-go, Mu^ammad œ would have to contend with outright peer pressure (Sûrat Al-¢Alaq, 96:17) against his resort to prayer (Sûrat Al-¢Alaq, 96:9-10) and against his attention to a righteous orientation in life (Sûrat Al-¢Alaq, 96:12). In the face of rejection from his people, what was Allah’s instruction to the Prophet œ in dealing with such a denier of His benevolence? (Nay, pay thou no heed to him, but prostrate thyself [before God] and draw close [unto Him]!) Sûrat Al-¢Alaq, 96:19. Yet, it was the resulting Book, “sent down” to Prophet Mu^ammad œ—(This divine writ—let there be no doubt about it—is [meant to be] a guidance for all the God-conscious.) Sûrat Al-Baqarah, 2:2—which would make the people of Mu^ammad œ the “best community” of mankind—incorporating them in the Prophet’s mission for the benefit of mankind. (You are indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] mankind; you enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and you believe in God.) Sûrat Âl ¢Imrân, 3:110.
Our Rama\ân is our time for yearly “bargain days,” drawing close to Allah, in prostration, in reading (in recitation, as able) of
the Quran, in praise and supplication. What enables this special access of closeness to Allah? Our fasting, our withholding of the normal daytime satisfaction of food and drink, the onset of emptiness in our digestive systems, the light-headedness— and later, as the month unfolds (if we persevere), the increased sensitivity to one’s body, to one’s own self and beingness, to the shared presence of our Muslim partners, to our cooperative mission together with them, to mankind, to one’s fellow creatures—animate and other—to one’s Creator, to what He reveals to us, to what He requires of us. This sensitivity is a special gift of the sustained, renewed fasting set off by the rhythm of Rama\ân and its rearrangement of our eating schedule. We make the most of this opportunity for spiritual progress if we can manage to eat modestly between sundown and dawn, and if we can allow our digestive systems to go into “lite-mode”—so as to effect a “Spring-cleaning” of our biological place of residence, a wholebody “face-lift”—and ultimately, if we persevere, to a spiritual deep-cleaning.
Our Prophet’s Fasting
We are encouraged to take our pattern and inspiration from the model of our beloved Prophet Mu^ammad œ, both as to his attitudes and as to his practices. He of course fasted daily throughout Rama\ân without “days off.” By all accounts, his diet was much sparser than what we have available today. He could not look forward to an iftâr (fast-breaking) banquet. Yet throughout the year he fasted recurrently on semifixed days and for special occasions; and he regularly spent long
nights in Prayer with his Lord, reciting the verses of Guidance that had been entrusted to him for mankind’s benefit. The direct connection is clear for us, too, between fasting and closeness to Allah , mediating both an awareness of His Presence and facilitating a reception of His Guidance offered to “him who wills to be guided.” In the arena of fasting, we know that we are not expected to keep pace with Mu^ammad œ, with his frequency, with his intensity of worship. But let us view the Prophet’s general practice of fasting throughout the year. I draw below from Shamâ’il Tirmidhî,1 his chapter of ahâdîth on the Prophet’s fasting. ±adîth #283: Ibn ¢Abbâs relates: “Rasûl’Allâh œ fasted the major portion of [a given lunar] month at times, till we thought that he did not intend ending the fasts. In some months, he did not fast. [So] we began to think he would not fast now. Besides Rama\ân, he did not fast for a full month. Thus it was not the habit of Rasûl’Allâh to fast for the consecutive days of a full month, other than during Rama\ân. It has been mentioned variously that it was his practice to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of the lunar month (Al-Ayyâm Al-Bîd)— unless travel or another obstacle made fasting difficult. When his normal habits had been broken, he œ liked to go back to them and “complete them by observing a continuous fast” (p. 308). ±adîth #285: ¢Âishah says: “I did not observe Rasûl’
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Allâh œ fast for more days in any month (excluding Rama\ân) other than Sha¢bân. He fasted for the major part of the month, and nearly fasted for the full month.” Sha¢bân, of course, is the lunar month preceding Rama\ân. Comments Kandhelwi concerning the above hadîth: The reason for fasting the major portion of Sha¢bân is mentioned by Sayyidina Rasûl’Allâh œ himself that, ‘In this month, there is also that day wherein the deeds of the year are presented before Allah. I love that my deeds should be presented while I am fasting.’ Besides this, many other reasons are narrated in the ahâdith. It is possible that at a certain time, it is for a
particular reason and at another time it is for some other reason. The combining of many reasons at one time has also been mentioned by Sayyiditina ¢Âishah , that the practice of Sayyidina Rasûl’Allah œ was to fast for three days in every month. At times, due to unforeseen circumstances, these were not observed. The total qadâ’ [making up for delay] (of missed fasts) were combined and kept in Sha¢bân by Sayyidina Rasûl’Allah œ. In another narration it is mentioned that it was the practice of Sayyidina Rasûl’Allah œ to fast on every Monday and Thursday. In this manner during the course of the year, due to circumstances, the fasts of two or three months could not be observed. It could be possible for these to add up to a full month…. It is stated in the hadîth that Sayyidina Rasûl’Allah œ was once asked the reason for fasting so many days of Sha¢bân. He replied: ‘The names of all those who are going to die during the course of the year are written down in this month. I desire that my death be written in a state when I am fasting.’ (pp. 309-310)
Did the Prophet œ fast on Fridays? There is evidence and ¢ulamâ’ (scholarly) opinion on both sides: Some indications are that Friday fasts were practiced by the Prophet œ, others that it was prohibited to pick out Friday as the sole day of fasting. ±adîth #289: ¢Âishah reports: “Sayyidina
Rasûl’Allah œ fasted three days of every month. In some months he fasted on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays; and in some months he fasted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.” Commentary: So that in this manner all the days of the week are covered. The days of Friday were intentionally omitted—as stated in some ahâdîth that this day has been proclaimed as an Eid. Other important matters were fulfilled on this day. Or, Friday has not been mentioned in this narration and may have been mentioned in other narrations. (p. 312) ±adîth #291: Mu¢âdh says: “I inquired from ¢Âishah , Did Sayyidina Rasûl’Allah œ fast for three days of every month?” She replied: “Yes.” I then asked: “On which days of the month did he fast.” She replied: “He did not fast on specific days, but whenever suitable.” Commentary: At times it was the practice of Sayyidina Rasûl’Allâh œ not to give importance to fixing certain days. At times, he fixed certain days. For example, fasting on the first three days of the month, or sometimes on the last three days of the month, or in some months on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and in another month on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Therefore, different ahâdîth have been narrated on this subject, and Sayyiditina ¢Âishah refused to specify a certain day. (p. 312-313)
We will do well to remember that fasting is counted by Allah as something “between Me and My servant.” The fasting “marathon” of Rama\ân is done by the Muslim community in concert. It is a time of mutual support— even reaching out to the larger human community, of experiencing the challenges of living in hunger, of helping to alleviate the hunger of others. Yet, | awm (fasting) was an ongoing practice of the Prophet œ, throughout the year. One can think of the longterm and short-term merits of fasting, both positive: (a) How it is to be accounted to one’s credit (thawâb) on the Day of Reckoning, as well as (b) the immediate benefit of conforming to the practice of Rasûl’Allâh œ, namely, that of best pleasing Allah Himself ±adîth #295: Abû ßâli^ reports: “I inquired from ¢Âishah and Umm Salamah , as to which act was the most beloved by Sayyidina Rasûl Allâh œ.” Both gave the reply: “That deed which was practiced continuously, even if it was a little.” Commentary: The object of all these ahâdîth are that | awm (fasting) and likewise all other nafl (voluntary) deeds, “even if it be a little,”—[of] whatever could be done—should be practiced continuously and with care. One should not forsake these with the thought that it cannot be practiced constantly, because the nawâfil (pl. of nafl) are the only acts that compensate for the shortcomings of the farâ’id (pl. of fard, compulsory acts). Therefore, one should endeavour to observe
and practice as much as one possibly can. (p. 316)
Rama\ân, A Package Deal
We differ from the Prophet œ in our zeal for closeness to Allah and in our commitment to worship. Fasting is one of the ‘pillars’ of Islam—which should indicate to us its established efficacy as a practice to gain the pleasure of Allah and to draw us closer to Him. But even for the least committed of us—or for those of us who simply find more Prayer and more fasting difficult— there are special “package deals” throughout Islam to tug us close to Allah in the long run. As we proceed through Rama\ ân, and as we plan for afterwards, let us consider adding more fasting to our toolkit in this life. Let us consider the following Package Deal, at the very least: Whoever fasts [all the days of] Rama\ân, then follows it up with six [more days] in [the month of] Shawwâl, it is as if he had fasted [his] whole life span. (Muslim)
Shawwâl is the lunar month following Rama\ân—when we already are in the rhythm of experiencing the benefits of consecutive days of fasting. The added six days need not be consecutive; let us not miss this to His Deal offered by Allah servant!
1 Shamâ’il Tirmidhi, with commentary, Shaykhul Hadith Maulana Mu^ammad Zakariyya Kandhelwi, tr. Mu^ammad bin ‘Abdurrahman Ebrahim, 1994, New Era Publishers, Ghaziabad (U.P.) India., pp. 305317.
al-jumuah vol 25 issue 9