Life-of-Muhammad

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Life-of-Muhammad

LIFE OF MUHAMMAD saBYHADRAT MIRZA BASHIRUDDIN MAHMUD AHMAD2013ISLAM INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATINS LIMITED


Life of Muhammad saBY: HADRAT MIRZA BASHIRUDDIN MAHMUD AHMADKHALIFATUL MASIH IIFirst published in UK in 1990Second edition published in UK in 2005Third edition published in UK in 2009Fourth edition published in UK in Oct. 2012Fifth edition published in UK in New Format in Nov. 2012Sixth edition published in UK in Mar. 2013Re-printed in UK in Jan. 2014© ISLAM INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATIONS LTDPUBLISHED BY:Additional Wakalat-e-Tasnif (United Kingdom)IslamabadSheephatch Lane,Tilford, Surrey, GU10 2AQ, UKPrinted and bound in Great BritainNo part of this book may be reproduced in any form without priorpermission from the Publisher, except for the quotation of brief passages incriticism.British Library Cataloguing in Publication DataAhmad, Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud 1889–1965The Life of Muhammad1. Islam Muhammad (Prophet sa )I. Title297.63ISBN: 1- 85372- 045- 3Contacts for Further Information:www.alislam.org,www.muslims4peace.org.uk,www.muslimsforpeace.org


About the AuthorThe Promised son ra of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi as ;the manifest Sign of Allah, the Almighty; the Word of God whoseadvent was prophesied by the Holy Prophet Muhammad sa and thePromised Messiah as as well as the past Prophets; a Star in thespiritual firmament for the like of which the world has to wait forhundreds of years to appear; the man of God, crowned with aspiritual halo from which radiated such scintillating rays of light aswould instil spiritual life into his followers and captivate and enthralthose who were not fortunate to follow him; an orator of suchphenomenal quality that his speeches would make his audience stayput for hours on end, come rain or shine, deep into the late hours ofthe evenings while words flowed from his tongue like honeydripping into their ears to reach the depths of their soul to fill themwith knowledge and invigorate their faith; the ocean of Divine andsecular knowledge; the Voice Articulate of the age; without doubtthe greatest genius of the 20 th century; a man of phenomenalintelligence and memory; an epitome of the qualities of leadership;the one whose versatility cannot be comprehended—Hadrat MirzaBashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad ra (1889-1965), Muslih Mau‘ud (thePromised Reformer) was the eldest son and the second successor(Khalifah) of the Promised Messiah as . He took charge of theAhmadiyya Jama‘at at the young age of 24 when the Jama‘at wasstill in its infancy and nourished it to its maturity for more than 50years with his spiritual guidance, prayers, tears, toil and blood. Notonly did he fortify the foundations of the community laid down bythe Promised Messiah as , but expanded the structure of the Jama‘at byinitiating various schemes, organizations, and programs taking hisinspiration from the Promised Messiah as and under the Divineguidance. His foremost concern, to which he devoted all his life, wasto accomplish the mission of the Promised Messiah—the dauntingtask of spreading the message of true Islam in its pristine purity tothe ends of the world. To achieve this, he initiated Tahrik-e-Jadidthrough which spread, and continues to spread, the missionary workall over the globe. His acute intelligence, keen intellect, deep andextensive scholarship and above all his God-given knowledgeiii


ivLife of Muhammad saenabled him to produce a vast corpus of writings, speeches etc. Hisoeuvre is so vast that it will take many years to see the light ofpublication.When the promised Messiah as fervently prayed to God togrant him a Sign in support of Islam, Allah gave him the good tidingabout this son of his and said:"…He will be extremely intelligent…and will be filledwith secular and spiritual knowledge...Son, delight ofthe heart, high ranking, noble. A manifestation of theFirst and the Last, a manifestation of the True and theHigh; as if Allah has descended from heaven…Behold alight comes…We shall pour Our Spirit into him"[Revelation of 20 th February 1886] ** Translation from Urdu by Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan in his Englishtranslation of Tadhkirah—the book containing dreams, visions and verbalrevelations vouchsafed to the Promised Messiah as . (Revised edition, 2009.)[Publisher]


CONTENTSForeword ................................................................................... ixArabia At The Time Of The Prophet's sa Birth ........................... 1Holy Prophet's sa Marriage With Khadija ra ................................. 7The Prophet sa Receives His First Revelation ............................. 9First Converts .......................................................................... 11The Faithful Persecuted ........................................................... 12The Message Of Islam ............................................................. 18Emigration To Abyssinia ......................................................... 21‘Umar ra Accepts Islam ............................................................. 23Persecution Intensifies ............................................................. 25The Prophet sa Goes To Ta’if ................................................... 27Islam Spreads To Medina ........................................................ 30First Pledge Of ‘Aqaba ............................................................ 35The Hijra .................................................................................. 37Suraqa ra Pursues The Prophet .................................................. 39The Prophet sa Arrives At Medina ............................................ 41Abu Ayyub Ansari ra As Prophet's sa Host .............................. 42Life Unsafe At Medina ............................................................ 44Pact Between Various Tribes Of Medina ................................ 47Meccans Preparing To Attack Medina .................................... 50Battle Of Badr .......................................................................... 52A Great Prophecy Fulfilled ...................................................... 59Battle Of Uhud ........................................................................ 62Victory Converted Into Defeat ................................................ 64Rumour Of Prophet's sa Death Reaches Medina ....................... 70Encounter With Banu Mustaliq.............................................. 80Battle Of The Ditch ................................................................. 83Fight Against Heavy Odds ...................................................... 85Treachery Of Banu Quraiza .................................................... 88The Confederates Disperse ...................................................... 95Banu Quraiza Punished ........................................................... 97Sa‘D's ra Award In Harmony With The Bible......................... 100Did The Prophet sa Seek To Continue Warfare? ..................... 103Teachings Of Judaism And Christianity About War ............. 106The Qur’an On War And Peace ............................................. 108v


viLife of Muhammad saThe Prophet's sa Precepts About War ...................................... 116Sporadic Attacks By Disbelievers ......................................... 119The Prophet sa Leaves For Mecca With One Thousand FiveHundred Companions ............................................................ 121Treaty Of Hudaibiya .............................................................. 125Prophet's sa Letters To Various Kings ..................................... 128Letter To The King Of Iran ................................................... 133The Letter To The Negus ....................................................... 135Letter To The Ruler Of Egypt ............................................... 137Letter To Chief Of Bahrain ................................................... 139Fall Of Khaibar ...................................................................... 140The Prophet's sa Vision Fulfilled ............................................. 144Battle Of Mauta ..................................................................... 147The Prophet sa Marches On Mecca With Ten ThousandFollowers ............................................................................... 152Fall Of Mecca ........................................................................ 154The Prophet sa Enters Mecca................................................... 157Ka‘Ba Cleared Of Idols ......................................................... 163The Prophet sa Forgives His Enemies ..................................... 165‘Ikrima ra Becomes Muslim .................................................... 167Battle Of Hunain ................................................................... 169"The Prophet sa Of God Calls You" ........................................ 171A Sworn Enemy Becomes A Devoted Follower ................... 174The Prophet sa Distributes Booty ............................................ 175Machinations Of Abu ‘Amir ................................................. 177The Expedition Of Tabuk ..................................................... 178The Last Pilgrimage ............................................................... 182The Prophet sa Gives Hints Of His Death ............................... 186Last Days Of The Prophet sa ................................................... 189The Prophet sa Passes Away ................................................... 191The Prophet's sa Personality And Character ............................ 195The Prophet's sa Purity Of Mind And Cleanliness Of Body ... 196The Prophet's sa Simple Life ................................................... 198Relationship With God .......................................................... 204Disapproval Of Penance ........................................................ 212Attitude Towards His Wives ................................................. 214


Life of Muhammad saHigh Moral Qualities ............................................................. 215His Self-Control ..................................................................... 217Justice And Fair Dealing ....................................................... 219Regard For The Poor ............................................................. 221Safeguarding The Interests Of The Poor ............................... 225Treatment Of Slaves .............................................................. 226Treatment Of Women ............................................................ 227Attitude Towards The Dead................................................... 231Treatment Of Neighbours ...................................................... 232Treatment Of Relatives .......................................................... 233Keeping Good Company ....................................................... 236Safeguarding People's Faith ................................................... 236Overlooking Faults Of Others ............................................... 237Patience In Adversity ............................................................. 240Mutual Cooperation ............................................................... 241Truthfulness ........................................................................... 242Inquisitiveness ....................................................................... 244Frank And Straightforward Dealing ...................................... 244Pessimism .............................................................................. 245Cruelty To Animals ............................................................... 245Tolerance In Religious Matters ............................................. 246Bravery .................................................................................. 247Consideration Towards The Uncultured ................................ 247The Fulfilling Of Covenants .................................................. 248Deference Towards Servants Of Humanity ........................... 248Life Of The Prophet sa An Open Book ................................... 249Index Of Subject Matter ........................................................ 251Index Of Names ..................................................................... 259Index Of Places ...................................................................... 263vii


ForewordLife of Muhammad sa is part of Introduction to thestudy of the Holy Qur’an by Hadrat Mirza BashirduddinMahmud Ahmad ra . The Introduction was translated intoEnglish by Qadi Muhammad Aslam and was firstpublished in 1949 from London. Since then it hasappeared in several editions. Life of Muhammad sa hasalso appeared in several editions and is out of stocknow. We are publishing it again with an index which theoriginal English edition did not have. We have also resetit to make it more attractive. Needless to say that it ismuch in demand and we very much hope that thepresent edition will meet this demand. Some minorcorrections have also been made.The name of Muhammad sa , the Holy Prophet of Islam,has been followed by the symbol sa , which is anabbreviation for the salutation 'may peace and blessingsof Allah be upon him.' The names of other prophets andmessengers are followed by the symbol as, anabbreviation for 'on whom be peace.' The actualsalutations have not generally been set out in full, butthey should nevertheless, be understood as beingrepeated in full in each case. The symbol ra is used withthe name of the Disciples of the Holy Prophet sa andthose of the Promised Messiah as . It stands for RadiAllahu ‘anhu/‘anha/‘anhum (May Allah be pleased withhim/with her/with them).In transliterating Arabic words we have followed thefollowing system adopted by the Royal Asiatic Society.at the beginning of a word, pronounced as a, i, u preceded bya very slight aspiration, like h in the English word 'honour'.th, pronounced like th in the English word 'thing'.حh, a guttural aspirate, stronger than h. kh, pronounced like the Scotch ch in 'loch'.dh, pronounced like the English th in 'that'.صs, strongly articulated s. اثخذix


xLife of Muhammad sad, similar to the English th in 'this'.طt. t, strongly articulated palatal ظz. z, strongly articulated ‘, a strong guttural, the pronunciation of which must belearnt by the ear.gh, a sound approached very nearly in the r 'grasseye' inFrench, and in the German r. It requires the muscles of thethroat to be in the 'gargling' position whilst pronouncing it.q, a deep guttural k sound.’, a sort of catch in the voice.Short vowels are represented by:a for (like u in 'bud');i for (like i in 'bid');u for (like oo in 'wood');Long vowels by:a for or (like a in 'father');i for ي or (like ee in 'deep');u for و (like oo in 'root');Other:ai for ي (like i in 'site') ;au for و (resembling ou in 'sound').The consonants not included in the above list havethe same phonetic value as in the principal languages ofEurope.We have not transliterated Arabic, Persian and Urduwords which have become part of English language, e.g.,Islam, Mahdi, Qur’an, Hijra, Ramadan, Rahman,Hadith, Zakat, ulema, umma, sunna, kafir etc.For quotes straight commas (straight quotes) areused to differentiate them from the curved commas usedin the system of transliteration, ‘ for ‏,ع ’ for ‏.ء Commasas punctuation marks are used according to the normalusage.ضعغقءThe Publishers In Arabic words like شيخ (Shaikh) there is an element of diphthong whichis missing when the word is pronounced in Urdu.


{Life of Muhammad saARABIA AT THE TIME OF THE PROPHET'S saBIRTHThe Prophet sa was born in Mecca in August 570 A.D.He was given the name Muhammad sa which means, thePraised One. To understand his life and character wemust have some idea of the conditions which obtainedin Arabia at the time of his birth.When he was born almost the whole of Arabiabelieved in a polytheistic form of religion. The Arabstraced their descent to Abraham as . They knew thatAbraham as was a monotheistic Teacher. In spite of this,they entertained polytheistic beliefs and were given topolytheistic practices. In defence, they said that somehuman beings are outstanding in their contact withGod. Their intercession on behalf of others is acceptedby God. To reach Him is difficult for ordinary humanbeings. They must have others to intercede for them inorder to obtain God's pleasure and help. Thus they wereable to combine their reverence for Abraham as with theirown polytheistic beliefs. Abraham as , they said, was aholy man. He was able to reach God withoutintercession, whilst ordinary Meccans could not do so.The people of Mecca, therefore, had made idols of holyand righteous persons, and these they worshipped andto these they made offerings in order to please Godthrough them. This attitude was primitive, illogical andfull of defects. But the Meccans were not worried bythese. They had not had a monotheistic Teacher for along time, and polytheism, once it takes root, spreadsand knows no bounds. The number of gods begins toincrease. At the time of the Prophet's sa birth, it is said1


2Life of Muhammad sathat in the Ka‘ba alone, the Sacred Mosque of all Islamand the house of worship built by Abraham as and hisson Ishmael, there were 360 idols. It seems that forevery day of the lunar year the Meccans had an idol. Inother big centres there were other idols, so that we cansay that every part of Arabia was steeped in polytheisticbelief. The Arabs were devoted to the culture of speech.They were much interested in their spoken languageand were very keen on its advance. Their intellectualambitions, however, were scant. Of History, Geography,Mathematics, etc., they knew nothing. But as they werea desert people and had to find their way about in thedesert without the assistance of landmarks, they haddeveloped a keen interest in Astronomy. There was inthe whole of Arabia not a single school. It is said that inMecca only a few individuals could read and write.From the moral point of view the Arabs were acontradictory people. They suffered from some extrememoral defects but at the same time they possessed someadmirable qualities. They were given to excessivedrinking. To become drunk and to run wild under theeffect of drink was for them a virtue, not a vice. Theirconception of a gentleman was one who should entertainhis friends and neighbours to drinking bouts. Every richman would hold a drinking party at least five times aday. Gambling was their national sport. But they hadmade of it a fine art. They did not gamble in order tobecome rich. Winners were expected to entertain theirfriends. In times of war, funds were collected throughgambling. Even today we have the institution of prizebondsto raise money for war. The institution has beenresuscitated in our time by the people of Europe andAmerica. But they should remember that in this theyonly imitate the Arabs. When war came, Arabian tribeswould hold a gambling party. Whoever won had to bearthe greater part of the expenses of the war.Of the amenities of civilized life, the Arabs knewnothing. Their chief occupation was trade, and to thisend they sent their caravans to far-off places, such as


Life of Muhammad sa 3Abyssinia, Syria, Palestine and even India. The richamong them were great admirers of Indian swords. Theirclothing needs were supplied largely by Yemen andSyria. The trading centres were the towns. The rest ofArabia, excepting Yemen and some northern parts, wasBedouin. There were no permanent settlements, orplaces of habitation. The tribes had divided the countrybetween them so that members of a tribe wanderedabout freely in their part of the country. When the watersupply in any place was exhausted, they would move onto some other place and settle down. Their capitalconsisted of sheep, goats and camels. From the woolthey made cloth, and from the skins they made tents.What was left over they sold in the market. Gold andsilver were not unknown, but they were certainly veryrare possessions. The poor and the common folks madeornaments of cowries and sweet-smelling substances.Seeds of melons were cleaned, dried and strung togetherto make necklaces. Crime and immoralities of variouskinds were rampant. Theft was rare but dacoity wascommon. To attack and to dispossess one another wasregarded a birthright. But, at the same time, theyhonoured their word more than any other people.Should an individual go to a powerful leader or tribe andask for protection, that leader or tribe was honourboundto protect that individual. If this was not done,the tribe lost caste throughout Arabia. Poetscommanded great prestige. They were honoured asnational leaders. Leaders were expected to possess greatpowers of speech and even to be able to compose verse.Hospitality had developed into a national virtue. Aforlorn traveller on arrival at the headquarters of a tribewould be treated as an honoured guest. The bestanimals would be slaughtered for him and the utmostconsideration shown. They did not care who the visitorwas. It was enough that a visitor had arrived. The visitmeant an increase of status and prestige for the tribe. Itbecame the tribe's duty, therefore, to honour the visitor.By honouring him it honoured itself. Woman in this


4Life of Muhammad saArab society had no status and no rights. Among them itwas thought honourable to put baby girls to death. It isa mistake, however, to think that infanticide waspractised on a country-wide scale. Such a dangerousinstitution could not flourish throughout a country.That would have meant the extinction of the race. Thetruth is that in Arabia—or for that matter in India orany other country where infanticide has ever existed, ithas been confined only to certain families. The Arabfamilies who practised it either had an exaggeratednotion of their social status or they were constrained inother ways. Possibly they were unable to find suitableyoung men for their daughters to marry; knowing this,they put to death their baby girls. The evil of thisinstitution lies in its savageness and its cruelty, not inthe results which it has in terms of a nation'spopulation. Different methods were used for killing babygirls, among them burying alive and strangulation.Only the real mother was regarded as a mother inArab society. Step-mothers were not regarded asmothers and there was no ban on a son's marrying hisstep-mother on the death of his father. Polygamousmarriages were very common, and there was no limit tothe number of wives a man could take. More than onesister could also be taken to wife by the same person atone and the same time.The worst treatment was meted out by combatantsides to one another in war. Where hatred was strong,they did not hesitate to split the bodies of the wounded,take out parts and eat them in cannibal fashion. Theydid not hesitate to mutilate the bodies of their enemies.Cutting off the nose or ears, or plucking out an eye wasa common form of cruelty practised by them. Slaverywas widespread. Weak tribes were made slaves. Theslave had no accepted status. Every master did as heliked with his slaves. No action could be taken against amaster who maltreated his slave. A master could murderhis slave without having to answer for it. If one mastermurdered another's slave, even then the penalty was notdeath. All that was required of him was to compensatethe aggrieved master suitably. Women-slaves were used


Life of Muhammad sa 5to satisfy sexual desires. The children born of suchunions were also treated as slaves. Women-slaves whobecame mothers remained slaves. In terms of civilizationand social advance the Arabs were a very backwardpeople. Kindness and consideration to one another wereunknown. Woman had the worst status possible. Stillthe Arabs possessed some virtues. Individual bravery,for instance, sometimes reached a very high level.It was among such people that the Holy Prophet sa ofIslam was born. His father ‘Abdullah had died before hisbirth. Accordingly, he and his mother Amina had to belooked after by the grandfather, ‘Abdul Muttalib. Thechild Muhammad sa was suckled by a countrywomanwho lived in a place near Ta’if. It was a custom in Arabiain those days to hand over children to women in thecountry, whose duty was to bring up the children, totrain their speech and to give them a good start in bodilyhealth. When the Prophet sa was in his first year * , hismother died while travelling from Medina to Mecca andhad to be buried en route. The child was brought toMecca by a woman-servant and handed over to thegrandfather. When he was in his eighth year, hisgrandfather also died, after which Abu Talib, his uncle,became his guardian, this being the wish expressed in awill by the grandfather. The Prophet sa had two or threeopportunities to travel out of Arabia. One of theseoccurred when at the age of twelve he went in thecompany of Abu Talib to Syria. It seems that thisjourney took him only to the south-eastern towns of* A: In Biharul-Anwar Imam Baqir narrates on the authority of Waqidi thatAminah, the mother of the Holy Prophet sa , died when he was four monthsold, thus, he was an orphan when he was only four months old. (Biharul-Anwaril-Jami‘ati li-Durari Akhbaril-A’immatil-Athar, Babu Mansha’ihi waRada‘ihi wa ma zahara min I‘jazihi ‘inda dhalika ila Nubuwwatihi bySheikh Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, vol.15, p.194; published by Al-AmirahBeirut, First edition 2008.)B: However, according to Ibni Hisham, Hadrat Aminah, the mother of theHoly Prophet sa , died when he was six years old. (Siratun-Nabawiyyah byIbni Hisham, Babu Wafati Aminata wa Hali Rasulillahi ma‘a Jaddihi ‘AbdilMuttalib ba‘daha, p.134, published by Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah Beirut,Lebanon, First edition 2001.)


6Life of Muhammad saSyria, for in historical references to this journey there isno mention of places like Jerusalem. From now onwardsuntil he grew up to young manhood he remained inMecca. From very childhood he was given to reflectionand meditation. In the quarrels and rivalries of othershe took no part, except with a view to putting an end tothem. It is said that the tribes living in Mecca and theterritories around, tired of unending blood-feuds,resolved to found an association the purpose of whichwas to help victims of aggressive and unjust treatment.When the Holy Prophet sa heard of this, he gladly joined.Members of this association gave an undertaking in thefollowing terms:They will help those who were oppressed and will restorethem their rights, as long as the last drop of waterremained in the sea. And if they do not do so, they willcompensate the victims out of their own belongings (SiratIbni Hisham by Imam Suhaili).It seems that no other member of this associationwas ever called upon to discharge the undertakingsolemnly entered into by members of this association.But opportunity came to the Holy Prophet sa when hehad announced his Mission. His worst enemy was AbuJahl, a chief of Mecca. He preached social boycott andpublic humiliation of the Prophet sa . About that time aperson from outside came to Mecca. Money was due tohim from Abu Jahl, but Abu Jahl refused to pay. Hementioned this to people in Mecca. Some young men,out of sheer mischief, suggested that he shouldapproach the Prophet sa . They thought that the Prophet sawould refuse to do anything for fear of the generalopposition to him and particularly for fear of theopposition of Abu Jahl. If he refused to help this man,he would be said to have broken his pledge to theassociation. If, on the other hand, he did not refuse andchose to approach Abu Jahl for the restitution of thisloan, Abu Jahl was certain to turn him away withcontempt. This man went to the Prophet sa andcomplained to him about Abu Jahl. The Prophet sa ,hesitating not a minute, stood up, went with the man


Life of Muhammad sa 7and knocked at Abu Jahl's door. Abu Jahl came out andsaw that his creditor was standing with the Prophet sa .The Prophet sa mentioned the loan and suggested itspayment. Abu Jahl was taken aback and, making noexcuses, paid at once. When the other chiefs of Meccaheard of this they reproved Abu Jahl, telling him howweak and self-contradictory he had proved. He preachedthe social boycott of the Prophet sa , yet he himselfaccepted direction from the Prophet sa and paid a loan onhis suggestion. In self-defence, Abu Jahl pleaded thatany other person would have done the same. He toldthem that as he saw the Prophet sa standing at his door,he also saw two wild camels standing one on each side,ready to attack. We cannot say what this experiencewas. Was it a miraculous appearance designed to upsetAbu Jahl or was it the awe-inspiring presence of theProphet sa which produced this hallucination? A manhated and oppressed by a whole town had taken thecourage to go alone to the leader of that town anddemand the restitution of a loan. Maybe this veryunexpected sight frightened Abu Jahl and for a momentmade him forget what he had sworn to do against theProphet sa , and forced him to do as the Prophet sasuggested (Hisham).HOLY PROPHET'S sa MARRIAGE WITH KHADIJA raWhen the Prophet sa was about twenty-five years old,his reputation for integrity and fellow-feeling had spreadover the whole of the town. People would point admiringfingers at him and say, here was a man who could betrusted. This reputation reached the ears of a richwidow who approached the Prophet's sa uncle, Abu Talib,to let his nephew lead a trading caravan of hers to Syria.Abu Talib mentioned this to the Prophet sa and theProphet sa agreed. The expedition met with great successand brought unexpected profits. The rich widow,Khadija ra , was convinced that the success of the caravanwas due not only to the conditions of the market in


8Life of Muhammad saSyria, but also to the integrity and efficiency of itsleader. She interrogated her slave, Maisara, on thissubject, and Maisara supported her view and told herthat the honesty and sympathy with which this youngleader of the caravan had managed her affairs would notbe shown by many persons. Khadija ra was muchimpressed by this account. She was forty years of ageand had already been widowed twice. She sent a womanfriend of hers to the Prophet sa to find out whether hewould be persuaded to marry her. This woman went tothe Prophet sa and asked why he had not married. TheProphet sa replied he was not rich enough to do so. Thevisitor suggested whether he would agree, if a rich andrespectable woman were found whom he could marry.The Prophet sa asked who this woman could be, and thevisitor said she was Khadija ra . The Prophet sa apologized,saying that Khadija ra was too highly placed for him. Thevisitor undertook to deal with all difficulties. In thatcase, said the Prophet sa , there was nothing for him tosay but to agree. Khadija ra then sent a message to theProphet's sa uncle. Marriage between the Prophet sa andKhadija ra was settled and solemnized. A poor manorphaned in, childhood had his first peep intoprosperity. He became rich. But the use he made of hisriches is an object-lesson to all mankind. After themarriage Khadija ra felt that she was rich and he waspoor and that this inequality between them would notmake for happiness. So she proposed to make over herproperty and her slaves to the Prophet sa . The Prophet sa ,making sure that Khadija ra was in earnest, declared thatas soon as he had any of Khadija's ra slaves, he would setthem free. And he did so. Moreover, the greater part ofthe property which he received from Khadija ra hedistributed among the poor. Among the slaves whom hethus set free was one Zaid ra . He appeared to be moreintelligent and more alert than others. He belonged to arespectable family, had been kidnapped as a child andsold from place to place until he reached Mecca.


Life of Muhammad sa 9Young Zaid ra , newly freed, saw at once that it wasbetter to sacrifice freedom for the sake of slavery to theProphet sa . When the Prophet sa set the slaves free, Zaid rarefused to be freed and asked leave to continue to livewith the Prophet sa . He did so, and as time went on hisattachment to the Prophet sa grew. But in the meantimeZaid's ra father and his uncle were on his track and theyultimately heard that he was in Mecca. In Mecca theytraced him in the house of the Prophet sa . Coming to theProphet sa , they asked for the liberty of Zaid ra and offeredto pay as much ransom as the Prophet sa shoulddemand. The Prophet sa said that Zaid ra was free andcould go with them as he liked. He sent for Zaid ra andshowed him his father and uncle. After the parties hadmet and dried their tears, Zaid's ra father told him thathe had been freed by his kind Master and, as his motherwas much afflicted by the separation, he had betterreturn home. Zaid ra replied, "Father! who does not lovehis parents? My heart is full of love for you and mother.But I love this man Muhammad sa so much that I cannotthink of living elsewhere than with him. I have met youand I am glad. But separation from Muhammad sa Icannot endure." Zaid's ra father and his uncle did theirutmost to persuade Zaid ra to return home with them butZaid ra did not agree. Upon this the Holy Prophet sa said,"Zaid ra was a freedman already, but from today he willbe my son." Seeing this affection between Zaid ra and theProphet sa , Zaid's ra father and uncle went back and Zaid raremained with the Prophet sa (Hisham).THE PROPHET sa RECEIVES HIS FIRSTREVELATIONWhen the Prophet sa was over thirty years of age, loveof God and love of His worship began to possess himmore and more. Revolting against the mischiefs,misdeeds and the many vices of the people of Mecca, hechose a spot two or three miles away for his meditations.This was on top of a hill, a sort of cave shaped out ofstone. His wife Khadija ra would prepare food enough for


10Life of Muhammad saseveral days, and with this he would repair to the caveHira. In the cave he would worship God day and night.When he was forty years of age, he saw a vision. It wasin this very cave. He saw some one commanding him torecite.The Prophet sa said in reply he did not know what orhow to recite. The figure insisted and at last made theProphet sa recite the following verses:Recite thou in the name of thy Lord Who created, createdman from a clot of blood. Recite! And thy Lord is the MostBeneficent, Who taught man by the pen, taught man whathe knew not (96:2-6).These verses, the first ever revealed to the Prophet sa ,became part of the Qur’an as did other verses whichwere revealed later. They have tremendous meaning.They command the Prophet sa to stand up and be readyto proclaim the name of the One God, the One Creator—of the Prophet sa and of all others—Who has made manand sowed the seed of His own love and that of fellowmenin his nature. The Prophet sa was commanded toproclaim the Message of this God, and was promisedhelp, and protection by Him in the proclamation of thisMessage. The verses foretold a time when the worldwould be taught all manner of knowledge through theinstrumentality of the pen, and would be taught thingsnever heard of before. The verses constitute an epitomeof the Qur’an. Whatever the Prophet sa was to be taughtin later revelations is contained in embryo in theseverses. The foundation was laid in them of a great andheretofore unknown advance in the spiritual progress ofman. The meaning and explanation of these verses willbe found in their place in this Commentary. We refer tothem here because their revelation constitutes a greatoccasion in the life of the Prophet sa . When the Prophet sareceived this revelation, he was full of fear of theresponsibility which God had decided to place on hisshoulders. Any other person in his place would havebeen filled with pride—he would have felt that he hadbecome great. The Prophet sa was different. He could


Life of Muhammad sa 11achieve great things but could take no pride in hisachievement. After this great experience he reachedhome greatly agitated, his face drawn. On Khadija's raenquiry, he narrated the whole experience to her andsummed up his fears, saying, "Weak man that I am, howcan I carry the responsibility which God proposes to puton my shoulders." Khadija ra replied at once:God is witness, He has not sent you this Word that youshould fail and prove unworthy, that He should then giveyou up. How can God do such a thing, while you are kindand considerate to your relations, help the poor and theforlorn and bear their burdens? You are restoring thevirtues which had disappeared from our country. Youtreat guests with honour and help those who are indistress. Can you be subjected by God to any trial?(Bukhari).Having said this, Khadija ra took the Prophet sa to hercousin, Waraqa bin Naufal, a Christian. When he heardthe account Waraqa said:"The angel who descended on Moses as , I am sure, hasdescended on you" (Bukhari).FIRST CONVERTSWaraqa evidently referred to the prophecy inDeuteronomy 18:18. When the news reached Zaid ra , theProphet's sa freed slave, now about thirty years of age,and his cousin ‘Ali ra , about eleven, they both declaredtheir faith in him. Abu Bakr ra , friend of his childhood,was out of town. As he returned he began to hear of thisnew experience which the Prophet sa had had. He wastold that his friend had gone mad and had begun to saythat angels brought him messages from God. Abu Bakr ratrusted the Prophet sa completely. He did not doubt for aminute that the Prophet sa must be right—he had knownhim to be both sane and sincere. He knocked at theProphet's sa door and on admission into his companyasked him what had happened. The Prophet sa , fearing


12Life of Muhammad salest Abu Bakr ra should misunderstand, began a longexplanation. Abu Bakr ra stopped the Prophet sa fromdoing so, and insisted that all he wanted to know waswhether an angel had really descended upon him fromGod and had given him a Message. The Prophet sawanted to explain again, but Abu Bakr ra said he wantedto hear no explanation. He wanted only an answer to thequestion whether he had had a Message from God. TheProphet sa said, "Yes" and Abu Bakr ra at once declaredhis faith. Having declared his faith, he said, argumentwould have detracted from the value of his faith. He hadknown the Prophet sa long and intimately. He could notdoubt him, and he wanted no argument to be convincedof his truth. This small group of the Faithful then werethe first believers of Islam: a woman full of years, aneleven-year-old boy, a freed slave living amongstrangers, a young friend and the Prophet sa himself. Thiswas the party which made the silent resolve to spreadthe light of God all over the world. When the people andtheir leaders heard of this, they laughed and declaredthat these men had gone mad. There was nothing to fearand nothing to worry about. But as time went on, thetruth began to dawn and as the Prophet Isaiah as (28:13)said long ago, precept upon precept, precept uponprecept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, andthere a little; began to descend upon the Prophet sa .THE FAITHFUL PERSECUTEDGod began to talk to Muhammad sa in "anothertongue". The youth of the country began to wonder.Those in search of truth became excited. Out of scornand derision began to grow approval and admiration.Slaves, young men, and hapless women began to collectaround the Prophet sa . In his Message and in histeaching there was hope for the degraded, the depressedand the young. Women thought the time for therestoration of their rights was near. Slaves thought theday of their liberation had come and young men thoughtthe avenues of progress were going to be thrown open to


Life of Muhammad sa 13them. When derision began to change into approval andindifference into attachment, the chiefs of Mecca andthe officials began to take fright. They assembled andtook counsel. They decided that derision was no methodto deal with this menace. A more serious remedy had tobe applied. The new influence had to be put down byforce. It was decided that persecution and some form ofboycott must be instituted. Practical steps were soontaken, and Mecca was pitched against Islam in a seriousconflict. The Prophet sa and his small following were nolonger considered mad, but a growing influence which, ifallowed to grow unimpeded, would prove a danger to thefaith, prestige, customs and traditions of Mecca. Islamthreatened to pull down and rebuild the old structure ofMeccan society, to create a new heaven and a new earth,the coming of which must mean the disappearance ofthe old heaven of Arabia and its old heart. Meccanscould no longer laugh at Islam. It was a question now oflife and death for them. Islam was a challenge andMecca accepted the challenge, as enemies of Prophetshad always accepted the challenge of their Prophets.They decided not to meet argument by argument but todraw the sword and put down the dangerous teachingby force; not to match the good example of the Prophet saand his followers by their own, nor to reply to kindwords in kind, but to maltreat the innocent and toabuse those who spoke kindly. Once again in the worlda conflict started between belief and disbelief; the forcesof Satan declared war on the angels. The Faithful, still ahandful, had no power to resist the onslaughts andviolence of the disbelievers. A most cruel campaignbegan. Women were butchered shamelessly. Men wereslaughtered. The slaves who had declared their faith inthe Prophet sa were dragged over burning sands andstones. Their skins became hardened like those ofanimals. A long time after, when Islam had becomeestablished far and near, one of these early convertsnamed Khabbab bin Al-Arat ra had his body exposed. Hisfriends saw his skin hardened like an animal's andasked him why it was so. Khabbab ra laughed and said itwas nothing; only a memory of those early days when


14Life of Muhammad saslaves converted to Islam were dragged through thestreets of Mecca over hard and hot sands and stones(Musnad, Vol. 5, p. 110).The slaves who believed came from all communities.Bilal ra was a negro, Suhaib ra a Greek. They belonged todifferent faiths. Jabr ra and Suhaib ra were Christians,Bilal ra and ‘Ammar ra , idol-worshippers. Bilal ra was madeto lie on hot sand, loaded with stones, and boys weremade to dance on his chest, and his master, Umayyabin Khalf, tortured him thus and then asked him torenounce Allah and the Prophet sa and sing the praises ofthe Meccan gods, Lat and ‘Uzza. Bilal ra only said, Ahad,Ahad … (God is One).Exasperated, Umayya handed Bilal ra over to streetboys, asking them to put a cord round his neck anddrag him through the town over sharp stones. Bilal's rabody bled, but he went on muttering, Ahad, Ahad…Later, when Muslims settled in Medina and were able tolive and worship in comparative peace, the HolyProphet sa appointed Bilal ra a Mu’adhdhin, the officialwho calls the worshippers to prayers. Being an African,Bilal ra missed the (h), in the Arabic Ashhadu (I bearwitness). Medinite believers laughed at his defectivepronunciation, but the Prophet sa rebuked them and toldthem how dear Bilal ra was to God for the stout faith heshowed under Meccan tortures. Abu Bakr ra paid ransomfor Bilal ra and many other slaves and secured theirrelease. Among them was Suhaib ra , a prosperousmerchant, whom the Quraish continued to belaboureven after his release. When the Holy Prophet sa leftMecca to settle down in Medina, Suhaib ra wanted to gowith him. But the Meccans stopped him. He could nottake away from Mecca, they said, the wealth he hadearned in Mecca. Suhaib ra offered to surrender all hisproperty and earnings and asked whether they wouldthen let him go. The Meccans accepted the arrangement.Suhaib ra reached Medina empty-handed and saw theProphet sa , who heard him and congratulated him,saying, "This was the best bargain of your life."


Life of Muhammad sa 15Most of these slave-converts remained steadfast inouter as well as inner professions of faith. But somewere weak. Once the Holy Prophet sa found ‘Ammar ragroaning with pain and drying his tears. Approached bythe Prophet sa , ‘Ammar ra said he had been beaten andcompelled to recant. The Prophet sa asked him, "But didyou believe at heart?" ‘Ammar ra declared that he did,and the Prophet sa said that God would forgive hisweakness.‘Ammar's ra father, Yasir ra , and his mother, Samiyya ra ,also were tormented by disbelievers. On one suchoccasion the Prophet sa happened to pass by. Filled withemotion, he said, "Family of Yasir ra , bear up patiently,for God has prepared for you a Paradise." The propheticwords were soon fulfilled. Yasir ra succumbed to thetortures, and a little later Abu Jahl murdered his agedwife, Samiyya ra , with a spear.Zinbira ra , a woman slave, lost her eyes under thecruel treatment of disbelievers.Abu Fukaih ra , Safwan bin Umayya's slave, was laidon hot sand while over his chest were placed heavy andhot stones, under pain of which his tongue dropped out.Other slaves were mishandled in similar ways.These cruelties were beyond endurance. But earlybelievers bore them because their hearts were madestout by assurances received daily from God. The Qur’andescended on the Prophet sa , but the reassuring voice ofGod descended on all believers. Were not this so, theFaithful could not have withstood the cruelties to whichthey were subjected. Abandoned by fellow-men, friendsand relations, they had none but God with them, andthey cared not whether they had anyone else. Becauseof Him, the cruelties seemed nothing, abuse soundedlike prayers and stones seemed like velvet.The free citizens who believed were not less cruellytreated. Their elders and chiefs tormented them indifferent ways. ‘Uthman ra was a man of forty, andprosperous. Yet when the Quraish resolved upon generalpersecution of Muslims, his uncle, Hakam, tied him up


16Life of Muhammad saand beat him. Zubair bin al-‘Awwam ra , a brave younglad who later became a great Muslim general, waswrapped up in a mat by his uncle, smoked fromunderneath and tortured by suffocation. But he wouldnot recant. He had found Truth and would not give itup.Abu Dharr ra , of the tribe of Ghaffar, heard of theProphet sa and went to Mecca to investigate. The Meccansdissuaded him, saying that they knew Muhammad sa welland that his Movement was only a selfish design. AbuDharr ra was not impressed; so he went to the Prophet sa ,heard the Message of Islam straight from him and wasconverted. Abu Dharr ra asked if he could keep his faithsecret from his tribe. The Prophet sa said he could do sofor a few days. But as he passed through the streets ofMecca he heard a party of Meccan chiefs abuse the HolyProphet sa and make vile attacks. No longer could hekeep his faith secret, and he declared at once: "I bearwitness that there is no God but Allah, and that there isno one like Allah; and Muhammad sa is His Servant andProphet sa ." This cry raised in an assembly of disbelieversseemed to them an effrontery. They rose in wrath andbelaboured him until he fell down senseless. TheProphet's sa uncle ‘Abbas ra , not a convert yet, passed byand began to remonstrate on behalf of the victim. "Yourfood caravans pass through Abu Dharr's ra tribe," hesaid, "and angered at your treatment, his people canstarve you to death." The following day Abu Dharr rastayed at home. But the day after he went again to thesame assembly and found them abusing the HolyProphet sa as before. He went to the Ka‘ba and foundpeople doing the same. He could not restrain himself,stood up and made a loud declaration of his faith. Againhe was severely handled. The same thing happened athird time, and Abu Dharr ra went back to his tribe.The Holy Prophet sa himself was no exception to thecruel treatment meted out to the Faithful. On oneoccasion he was in prayer. A party of disbelievers put amantle round his neck and dragged him; his eyes


18Life of Muhammad sanew Message was gone. He began to feel that so far hehad been too casual about it. He made straight for theKa‘ba, where the chiefs of Mecca were wont to meet andconfer. He took his bow and struck Abu Jahl hard."Count me from today a follower of Muhammad sa ," hesaid. "You abused him this morning because he wouldsay nothing. If you are brave, come out and fight me."Abu Jahl was dumbfounded. His friends rose to helpbut, afraid of Hamza ra and his tribe, Abu Jahl stoppedthem, thinking an open fight would cost too dearly. Hewas really to blame, he said, about the morning incident(Hisham and Tabari).THE MESSAGE OF ISLAMOpposition continued to mount. At the same time theProphet sa and his followers were doing all they could tomake plain to the Meccans the Message of Islam. It wasa many-sided Message and of great ultimatesignificance, not only for Arabs but for the whole world.It was a Message from God. It said:The Creator of the world is One. None else is worthyof worship. The Prophets have ever believed Him to beOne, and taught their followers so. Meccans should giveup all images and idols. Did they not see that the idolscould not even remove the flies which dropped on theofferings laid at their feet? If they were attacked theycould not repel. If they had a question put to them, theycould not answer. If they were asked for help, they coulddo nothing. But the One God helped those who askedfor His help, answered those who addressed Him inprayer, subjugated His enemies, and raised those whoabased themselves before Him. When light came fromHim, it illumined His devotees. Why then did theMeccans neglect Him and turn to lifeless images andidols and waste their lives? Did they not see that theirwant of faith in the One True God had made themutterly superstitious and incompetent? They had no idea


Life of Muhammad sa 19of what was clean and what was unclean, of right andwrong. They did not honour their mothers. They treatedsavagely their sisters and daughters, and denied themtheir due. They did not treat their wives well. Theytormented widows, exploited orphans, the poor and theweak, and sought to build their prosperity on the ruinsof others. Of lying and cheating they were not ashamed,nor of burgling and loot. Gambling and drinking weretheir delight. For culture and national advance they didnot care. How long were they going to ignore the OneTrue God, and continue to lose and lose, and suffer andsuffer? Had they not better reform? Had they not bettergive up all forms of exploitation of one another, restorerights to whom they were due, spend their wealth onnational needs and on improving the lot of the poor andthe weak, treat orphans as a trust and regard theirprotection as a duty, support widows and establish andencourage good works in the whole community, cultivatenot merely justice and equity, but compassion andgrace? Life in this world should be productive of good."Leave good works behind", the Message further said,"that they may grow and bear fruit after you are gone.There is virtue in giving to others, not in receiving fromthem. Learn to surrender that you may be nearer toyour God. Practise self-denial for the sake of your fellowmen,that you may multiply your credit with God. True,the Muslims are weak, but do not go after theirweakness, Truth will triumph. This is the decree ofHeaven. Through the Prophet sa a new measure and anew criterion of good and evil, of right and wrong, will beset up in the world. Justice and mercy will reign. Noconstraint will be allowed in the matter of religion, andno interference. The cruelties to which women andslaves have been subjected will be obliterated. TheKingdom of God will be instituted in place of thekingdom of Satan."When this Message was preached to the people ofMecca and the well-meaning and reflective among thembegan to be impressed by it. The elders of Mecca took a


Life of Muhammad sa 21belief and regard for duty. Turning to the Prophet sa , hesaid:"My nephew, go your way. Do your duty. Let my peoplegive me up. I am with you" (Hisham).EMIGRATION TO ABYSSINIAWhen tyranny reached its extreme limit the Prophet saassembled his followers, and pointing to the west toldthem of a land across the sea where men were notmurdered because of a change of faith, where they couldworship God unmolested, and where there was a justking. Let them go there; maybe the change would bringthem relief. A party of Muslim men, women andchildren, acting on this suggestion, went to Abyssinia.The migration was on a small scale and very pathetic.The Arabs regarded themselves as keepers of the Ka‘ba,and so they were. To leave Mecca was for them a greatwrench, and no Arab could think of doing so unlessliving in Mecca had become absolutely impossible. Norwere the Meccans prepared to tolerate such amovement. They would not let their victims escape andhave the least chance to live elsewhere. The party,therefore, had to keep its preparations for the journey aclose secret and to depart without even saying good-byeto their friends and relations. Their departure, however,became known to some and did not fail to impress them.‘Umar ra , subsequently the Second Khalifah of Islam, wasstill a disbeliever, a bitter enemy and persecutor ofMuslims. By sheer chance, he met some members ofthis party. One of these was a woman, Ummi‘Abdullah ra . When ‘Umar ra saw household effects packedup and loaded on animals, he understood at once that itwas a party leaving Mecca to take refuge elsewhere. "Areyou going?" he asked. "Yes, God is our witness," repliedUmmi ‘Abdullah ra . "We go to another land, because youtreat us most cruelly here. We will not return now untilAllah pleases to make it easy for us." ‘Umar ra was


22Life of Muhammad saimpressed and said, "God be with you." There wasemotion in his voice. This silent scene had upset him.When the Meccans got to know of it, they sent a party inchase. This party went as far as the sea but found thatthe Muslims had already embarked. Not being able toovertake them, they decided to send a delegation toAbyssinia to excite the king against the refugees and topersuade him to hand them over again to Meccans. Oneof the delegates was ‘Amr bin al-‘As ra , who later joinedIslam and conquered Egypt. The delegation went toAbyssinia, met the king and intrigued with his court.But the king proved very firm and, in spite of thepressure which the Meccan delegation and his owncourtiers were able to put upon him, he refused to handover the Muslim refugees to their persecutors. Thedelegation returned disappointed, but in Mecca theysoon thought of another plan to force the return ofMuslims from Abyssinia. Among the caravans going toAbyssinia they set afloat the rumour that all Mecca hadaccepted Islam. When the rumour reached Abyssinia,many Muslim refugees joyfully returned to Mecca butfound on arrival that the rumour which had reachedthem was a fabrication. Some Muslims went back againto Abyssinia but some decided to stay. Among the latterwas ‘Uthman bin Maz‘un ra , son of a leading Meccanchief. ‘Uthman ra received protection from a friend of hisfather, Walid bin Mughira, and began to live in peace.But he saw that other Muslims continued to sufferbrutal persecution. It made him very unhappy. He wentto Walid and renounced his protection. He felt he shouldnot have such protection while other Muslims continuedto suffer. Walid announced this to the Meccans.One day, Labid, poet-laureate of Arabia, sat amongthe chiefs of Mecca, reciting his verse. He read a linewhich meant that all graces must ultimately come to anend. ‘Uthman ra boldly contradicted him and said, "Thegraces of Paradise will be everlasting." Labid, not used tosuch contradictions, lost his temper and said, "Quraish,your guests were not insulted like this before. Whence


Life of Muhammad sa 23has this fashion begun?" To appease Labid, a man fromamong the audience rose and said, "Go on and take nonotice of this fool". ‘Uthman ra XE "Persecution to theMuslims:‘Uthman bin Maz‘un ra insisted that he hadsaid nothing foolish. This exasperated the Quraishite,who sprang upon ‘Uthman ra and gave him a sharp blow,knocking out an eye. Walid was present at the scene. Hewas a close friend of ‘Uthman's ra father. He could notendure such treatment of his deceased friend's son. But‘Uthman ra was no longer under his formal protectionand Arab custom now forbade him to take sides. So hecould do nothing. Half in anger, half in anguish heturned to ‘Uthman ra , and said, "Son of my friend, youwould have saved your eye, had you not renounced myprotection. You have to thank yourself for it."‘Uthman ra replied,"I have longed for this. I lament not over the loss of oneeye, because the other waits for the same fate. Remember,while the Prophet sa suffers, we want no peace" (Halbiyya,Vol. 1, P. 348).‘UMAR ra ACCEPTS ISLAMAbout this time, another very important event tookplace. ‘Umar ra , who later became the Second Khalifah ofIslam, was still one of the fiercest and the most fearedenemies of Islam. He felt that no effective step had yetbeen taken against the new Movement and decided toput an end to the Prophet's sa life. He took his sword andset out. A friend was puzzled to see him going and askedwhere he was going and with what intent. "To killMuhammad sa ," said ‘Umar ra ."But would you be safe from his tribe after this? Anddo you really know how things are going? Do you knowthat your sister and her husband have joined Islam?"It came like a bolt from the blue and greatly upset‘Umar ra . He decided to go and have done with his sisterand her husband first. As he reached their house he


24Life of Muhammad saheard a recitation going on inside. The voice was that ofKhabbab ra who was teaching them the Holy Book.‘Umar ra entered the house swiftly. Khabbab ra , alarmedby the hurried steps, had already hid himself. ‘Umar's rasister, Fatima ra , put away the leaves of the Qur’an.Confronting her and her husband, ‘Umar ra said, "I hearyou have renounced your own faith," and, saying this,he raised his hand to strike her husband, who wasincidentally his own cousin. Fatima ra threw herselfbetween ‘Umar ra and her husband; so ‘Umar's ra handfell on Fatima’s ra face and struck her on the nose, fromwhich blood flowed freely. The blow made Fatima ra allthe braver. She said, "Yes, we are Muslims now andshall remain so; do what you may." ‘Umar ra was a braveman, though rough. His sister's face, dyed red by hisown hand, filled him with remorse. Soon he was achanged man. He asked to be shown those leaves of theQur’an they were reading from. Fatima ra refused lest heshould tear them up and throw them away. ‘Umar rapromised not to do so. But, said Fatima ra , he was notclean. ‘Umar ra offered to have a bath. Clean and cooled,he took the leaves of the Qur’an in his hand. Theycontained a portion of the Chapter Ta Ha. And he cameupon the verses:"Verily I am Allah; there is no God beside Me. Soserve Me, and observe prayer for My remembrance.Surely the Hour is coming, and I am going to manifestit, that every soul may be recompensed for itsendeavour" (20:15, 16).The firm assertion of God's existence, the clearpromise that Islam would soon establish genuineworship in place of the customary one current inMecca—these and a host of other associated ideas musthave moved ‘Umar ra . He could contain himself no longer.Faith welled up in his heart and he said, "Howwonderful, how inspiring!" Khabbab ra came out of hishiding, and said, "God is my witness, only yesterday Iheard the Prophet sa pray for the conversion of ‘Umar ra or‘Amr ibn Hisham. Your change is the result of that


Life of Muhammad sa 25prayer." ‘Umar's ra mind was made up. He asked wherethe Prophet sa was and made straight for him at DariArqam, his bare sword still in his hand. As he knockedat the door, the Prophet's sa Companions could see‘Umar ra through the crevices. They feared lest he shouldhave some evil design. But the Prophet sa said, "Let himcome in." ‘Umar ra entered, sword in hand. "What bringsyou?" inquired the Prophet sa . "Prophet sa of God," said‘Umar ra , "I am here to become a Muslim." Allahu Akbar,cried the Prophet sa . Allahu Akbar, cried the Companions.The hills around Mecca echoed the cries. News of theconversion spread like wild fire and henceforward‘Umar ra , the much-feared persecutor of Islam, himselfbegan to be persecuted along with other Muslims. But‘Umar ra had changed. He delighted now in suffering ashe had delighted before in inflicting suffering. He wentabout Mecca, a much harassed person.PERSECUTION INTENSIFIESPersecution became more and more serious andmore unbearable. Many Muslims had already left Mecca.Those who stayed behind had to suffer more than everbefore. But Muslims swerved not a bit from the paththey had chosen. Their hearts were as stout as ever,their faith as steadfast. Their devotion to the One Godwas on the increase and so was their hatred for thenational idols of Mecca. The conflict had become moreserious than ever. The Meccans convened another bigmeeting. At this they resolved on an all-out boycott ofthe Muslims: The Meccans were to have no normaldealings with Muslims. They were neither to buy fromthem, nor to sell them anything. The Prophet sa , hisfamily and a number of relations who, though notMuslims, still stood by him, were compelled to takeshelter in a lonely place, a possession of Abu Talib.Without money, without means and without reserves,the Prophet's sa family and relations suffered untold


26Life of Muhammad sahardships under this blockade. For three years therewas no slackening of it. Then at last, five decentmembers of the enemy revolted against these conditions.They went to the blockaded family, offered to annul theboycott, and asked the family to come out. Abu Talibcame out and reproved his people. The revolt of the fivebecame known all over Mecca, but good feeling asserteditself again, and Meccans decided they must cancel thesavage boycott. The boycott was over, but not itsconsequences. In a few days the Prophet's sa faithful wife,Khadija ra , met her death, and a month later his uncle,Abu Talib.The Holy Prophet sa had now lost the companionshipand support of Khadija ra , and he and the Muslims hadlost the good offices of Abu Talib. Their passing awaynaturally also resulted in the loss of some generalsympathy. Abu Lahab, another uncle of the Prophet sa ,seemed ready at first to side with the Prophet sa . Theshock of his brother's death and regard for his dyingwish were still fresh in his mind. But the Meccans soonsucceeded in antagonizing him. They made use of theusual appeals. The Prophet sa taught that disbelief in theOneness of God was an offence, punishable in theHereafter; his teaching contradicted everything they hadlearnt from their forefathers, and so on. Abu Lahabdecided to oppose the Prophet sa more than ever.Relations between Muslims and Meccans had becomestrained. A three-year boycott and blockade hadenlarged the gulf between them. Meeting and preachingseemed impossible. The Prophet sa did not mind the illtreatmentand the persecution; these were nothing solong as he had the chance to meet and address people.But now it seemed that he had no such chance inMecca. General antagonism apart, the Prophet sa nowfound it impossible to appear in any street or publicplace. If he did, they threw dust at him and sent himback to his house. Once he returned home, his headcovered with dust. A daughter wept as she removed thedust. The Prophet sa told her not to weep for God was


Life of Muhammad sa 27with him. Ill-treatment did not upset the Prophet sa . Heeven welcomed it as evidence of interest in his Message.One day, for instance, the Meccans by a general intriguesaid nothing to him nor did they ill-treat him in anyway. The Prophet sa retired home disappointed, until thereassuring voice of God made him go to his peopleagain.THE PROPHET sa GOES TO TA’IFIt seemed that in Mecca now nobody would listen tohim and this made him sad. He felt he was stagnating.So he decided to turn elsewhere for the preaching of hisMessage, and he chose Ta’if, a small town about sixtymiles to the south-east of Mecca and famed for its fruitand its agriculture. The Prophet's sa decision was inkeeping with the traditions of all Prophets as . Moses asturned now to the Pharaoh, now to Israel, and now toMidian. Jesus as , similarly, turned now to Galilee, now toplaces across the Jordan, and now to Jerusalem. So theHoly Prophet sa of Islam, finding that Meccans would illtreatbut not listen, turned to Ta’if. In polytheistic beliefsand practices Ta’if was not behind Mecca. The idols tobe found in the Ka‘ba were not the only, nor the onlyimportant, idols in Arabia. One important idol, al-Lat,was to be found in Ta’if; because of it Ta’if also was acentre of pilgrimage. The inhabitants of Ta’if wereconnected with those of Mecca by ties of blood; andmany green spots between Ta’if and Mecca were ownedby Meccans. On arrival at Ta’if, the Prophet sa had visitsfrom its chiefs but none seemed willing to accept theMessage. The rank and file obeyed their leaders anddismissed the teaching with contempt. This was notunusual. People immersed in worldly affairs alwaysregard such a Message as something of an interferenceand even an offence. Because the Message is withoutvisible support—such as numbers or arms—they alsofeel they can dismiss it with contempt. The Prophet sa


28Life of Muhammad sawas no exception. Reports of him had already reachedTa’if, and here he now was, without arms or following, alone individual with only one companion, Zaid ra . Thetowns folk thought him a nuisance which should beended, if only to please their chiefs. They set vagabondsof the town and street boys at him who pelted him withstones and drove him out of the town. Zaid ra waswounded and the Prophet sa began to bleed profusely.But the pursuit continued until this defenceless party oftwo was several miles out of Ta’if. The Prophet sa wassorely grieved and dejected when an angel descendedupon him and asked if he would like his persecutors tobe destroyed. "No," said the Prophet sa . "I hope that ofthese very tormentors would be born those who wouldworship the One True God." (Bukhari, Kitab Bad’ul-Khalq.)Exhausted and dejected, he stopped at a vineyardowned by two Meccans who happened to be present.They were among his persecutors at Mecca, but on thisoccasion they became sympathetic. Was it because aMeccan had been ill-treated by the people of Ta’if, or wasit because a spark of human kindness suddenly glowedin their hearts? They sent to the Prophet sa a tray full ofgrapes with a Christian slave, ‘Addas ra by name andbelonging to Nineveh. ‘Addas ra presented the tray to theProphet sa and his companion. While he looked wistfullyat them, he became more curious than ever when heheard the Prophet sa say, "In the name of Allah, theGracious, the Merciful." His Christian background wasenlivened and he felt he was in the presence of a HebrewProphet as . The Prophet sa asked him where he belongedand ‘Addas ra said Nineveh, upon which the Prophet sasaid, "Jonah as , son of Amittai, who belonged to Nineveh,was a holy man, a Prophet like me." The Prophet sa alsotold ‘Addas ra of his own Message. ‘Addas ra felt charmedand believed at once. He embraced the Prophet sa withtears in his eyes and started kissing his head, handsand feet. The meeting over, the Prophet sa turned again toAllah and said:


Life of Muhammad sa 29Allah, I submit my plaint to Thee. I am weak, and withoutmeans. My people look down upon me. Thou art Lord ofthe weak and the poor and Thou art my Lord. To whomwilt Thou abandon me—to strangers who push me aboutor to the enemy who oppresses me in my own town? IfThou art not angered at me, I care not for my enemy. Thymercy be with me. I seek refuge in the light of Thy face. Itis Thou Who canst drive away darkness from the worldand give peace to all, here and hereafter. Let not Thyanger and Thy wrath descend on me. Thou art neverangry except when Thou art pleased soon after. And thereis no power and no refuge except with Thee (Hisham andTabari).Having said this prayer, he set back for Mecca. Hestopped en route at Nakhla for a few days and set outagain. According to Meccan tradition he was no longer acitizen of Mecca. He had left it because he thought ithostile and could not return to it except with thepermission of the Meccans. Accordingly, he sent word toMut‘im bin ‘Adi—a Meccan chief, to ask if Meccanswould permit him to come back. Mut‘im, though asbitter an enemy as any other, possessed nobility ofheart. He collected his sons and relatives. Armingthemselves, they went to the Ka‘ba. Standing in thecourtyard he announced he was permitting theProphet sa to return. The Prophet sa then returned, andmade a circuit of the Ka‘ba. Mut‘im, his sons andrelatives, with swords unsheathed, then escorted theProphet sa to his house. It was not protection in thecustomary Arabian sense which had been extended tothe Prophet sa . The Prophet sa continued to suffer andMut‘im did not shield him. Mut‘im's act amounted to adeclaration of formal permission for the Prophet sa toreturn.The Prophet's sa journey to Ta‘if has extorted praiseeven from the enemies of Islam. Sir William Muir, in hisbiography of the Prophet sa , writes (speaking of thejourney to Ta’if):


30Life of Muhammad saThere is something lofty and heroic in this journey ofMuhammad sa to At-Ta’if; a solitary man, despised andrejected by his own people, going boldly forth in the nameof God, like Jonah to Nineveh, and summoning anidolatrous city to repent and support his mission. It sheds astrong light on the intensity of his belief in the divine originof his calling (Life of Muhammad sa by Sir W. Muir, 1923edition, pp. 112-113).Mecca returned to its old hostility. The Prophet's sahome town again became hell for him. But he continuedto tell people of his Message. The formula, "God is One",began to be heard here and there. With love and regard,and with a sense of fellow-feeling, the Prophet sapersisted in the exposition of his Message. People turnedaway but he addressed them again and again. He madehis proclamation, whether the people cared or not, andpersistence seemed to pay. The handful of Muslims whohad returned from Abyssinia and had decided to stay,preached secretly to their friends, neighbours andrelations. Some of these were persuaded to declarethemselves openly and to share the sufferings of otherMuslims. But many, though persuaded at heart, did nothave the courage to confess openly; they waited for thekingdom of God to come to the earth.In the meantime revelations received by the Prophet sabegan to hint at the near possibility of migration fromMecca. Some idea of the place they were to migrate towas also given to him. It was a town of wells and dategroves.He thought of Yamama. But soon the thoughtwas dismissed. He then waited in the assurance thatwhatever place they were destined to go to wouldcertainly become the cradle of Islam.ISLAM SPREADS TO MEDINAThe annual Hajj drew near, and from all parts ofArabia pilgrims began to arrive in Mecca. The Prophet sawent wherever he found a group of people, expounded to


Life of Muhammad sa 31them the idea of One God and told them to give upexcesses of all kinds and prepare for the Kingdom ofGod. Some listened and became interested. Somewished to listen but were sent away by the Meccans.Some who had already made up their minds, stopped toridicule. The Prophet sa was in the valley of Mina when hesaw a group of six or seven people. He found that theybelonged to the Khazraj tribe, one in alliance with theJews. He asked them if they would listen to what he hadto say. They had heard of him and were interested; sothey agreed. The Prophet sa spent some time telling themthat the Kingdom of God was at hand, that idols weregoing to disappear, that the idea of One God was due totriumph, and piety and purity were once again going torule. Would they not, in Medina, welcome the Message?The group became much impressed. They accepted theMessage and promised, on their return to Medina, toconfer with others and report next year whether Medinawould be willing to receive Muslim refugees from Mecca.They returned and conferred with their friends andrelations. There were, at the time, two Arab and threeJewish tribes at Medina. The Arab tribes were the Ausand the Khazraj and the Jewish tribes the BanuQuraiza, the Banu Nadir, and the Banu Qainuqa‘. TheAus and the Khazraj were at war. The Quraiza and theNadir were in alliance with the Aus and the Qainuqa‘with the Khazraj. Tired of unending warfare, they wereinclined to peace. At last they agreed to acknowledge theKhazraj Chief, ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, as King ofMedina. From the Jews, the Aus and the Khazraj hadheard of prophecies in the Bible. They had heard Jewishtales of the lost glory of Israel and of the advent of aProphet sa "like unto Moses as ." This advent was near athand, the Jews used to say. It was to mark the return topower of Israel and the destruction of their enemies.When the people of Medina heard of the Prophet sa , theybecame impressed and began to ask if this MeccanProphet sa was not the Prophet sa they had heard of fromthe Jews. Many young men readily believed. At the next


32Life of Muhammad saHajj twelve men from Medina came to Mecca to join theProphet sa . Ten of these belonged to the Khazraj and twoto the Aus tribe. They met the Prophet sa in the valley ofMina and, holding the Prophet's sa hand, solemnlydeclared their belief in the Oneness of God and theirresolve to abstain from all common evils, frominfanticide, and from making false accusations againstone another. They also resolved to obey the Prophet sa inall good things. When they returned to Medina, theystarted telling others of their New Faith. Zeal increased.Idols were taken out of their niches and thrown on thestreets. Those who used to bow before images began tohold their heads high. They resolved to bow to noneexcept the One God. The Jews wondered. Centuries offriendship, exposition and debate had failed to producethe change which this Meccan Teacher had produced ina few days. The people of Medina would go to the fewMuslims in their midst and make inquiries about Islam.But the few Muslims could not cope with the largenumbers of inquiries, nor did they know enough. Theydecided, therefore, to address a request to the Prophet sato send them some one to teach Islam. The Prophet saagreed to send Mus‘ab ra , one of the Muslims who hadbeen in Abyssinia. Mus‘ab ra was the first missionary ofIslam to go out of Mecca. At about this time, theProphet sa had a grand promise from God. He had avision in which he saw that he was in Jerusalem andProphets had joined behind him in congregationalworship. Jerusalem only meant Medina, which wasgoing to become the centre of the worship of the OneGod. Other Prophets congregating behind the Prophet saof Islam meant that men following different Prophetswould join Islam, and Islam would thus become auniversal religion.Conditions in Mecca had now become most critical.Persecution had assumed the worst possible form.Meccans laughed at this vision and described it aswishful thinking. They did not know that thefoundations of the New Jerusalem had been laid.


Life of Muhammad sa 33Nations of the East and the West were agog. Theywanted to hear the Last Great Message of God. In thosevery days the Kaiser and the Chosroes of Iran went towar with each other. Chosroes was victorious. Syria andPalestine were overrun by Iranian armies. Jerusalemwas destroyed. Egypt and Asia Minor were mastered. Atthe mouth of the Bosphorus, only ten miles fromConstantinople, Iranian Generals were able to pitchtheir tents. Meccans rejoiced over Iranian victories andsaid the judgement of God had been delivered—the idolworshippersof Iran had defeated a People of the Book.At that time, the Holy Prophet sa received the followingrevelation:The Romans have been defeated in the land nearby, andthey, after their defeat, will be victorious in a few years—Allah's is the command before and after that—and on thatday will the believers rejoice with the help of Allah. Hehelps whom He pleases; and He is the Mighty, theMerciful. Allah has made this promise. Allah breaks notHis promise, but most men know not (30: 3-7).The prophecy was fulfilled in a few years. TheRomans defeated the Iranians and recovered theterritories they had lost to them. The part of theprophecy which said, "On that day the believers shallrejoice with the help of God", was also fulfilled. Islambegan to advance. The Meccans believed they had putan end to it by persuading people not to listen toMuslims but to show active hostility instead. Right atthis time the Prophet sa received in his revelations newsof victories for Muslims, and destruction for Meccans.The Prophet sa announced the following verses:And they say, "Why does he not bring us a Sign from hisLord?" Has there not come to them the clear evidence inwhat is contained in the former books? And if We haddestroyed them with a punishment before it, they wouldhave surely said, "Our Lord, wherefore didst Thou notsend to us a Messenger that we might have followed Thycommandments before we were humbled and disgraced?"


34Life of Muhammad saSay, "Each one is waiting; wait ye, therefore, and you willknow who are the people of the right path and who followtrue guidance" (20: 134-136).The Meccans complained of lack of Signs. They weretold that the prophecies about Islam and the Prophet sarecorded in earlier books should be enough. HadMeccans been destroyed before the Message of Islamcould be explained to them, they would have complainedof lack of chance to consider the Signs. The Meccansmust, therefore, wait.Revelations promising victory for believers and defeatfor disbelievers were being received every day. When theMeccans looked at their own power and prosperity andat the powerlessness and poverty of Muslims, and thenheard of the promises of divine help and of Muslimvictories in the Prophet's sa daily revelations, theywondered and wondered. Were they mad or was theProphet sa mad? They were hoping that persecutionwould compel the Muslims to give up their faith andreturn to the Meccans, that the Prophet sa himself andhis closest followers would begin to have doubts abouthis claims. But instead of this they had to listen toconfident affirmations like the following:Nay, I swear by all that you see, and by all that you see notthat it is surely the message brought by an honouredMessenger sa . And it is not the word of a poet; little is it thatyou believe; nor is it the utterance of a soothsayer; little isit that you heed. It is a revelation from the Lord of theworlds. And if he had forged any sayings in Our name, Wewould surely have seized him by the right hand, and thensurely would We have severed his life-artery, and not oneof you could have held Us off from him. And surely it is anadmonition for the God-fearing. And, surely, We knowthat some of you reject Our Signs. And, surely, it is asource of anguish for the disbelievers. And, surely, it is thetrue certainty. So glorify the name of thy Lord, the Great(Qur’an 69:39-53).


Life of Muhammad sa 35Meccans were warned that all their fond hopes wouldbe smashed. The Prophet sa was neither a poet, nor asoothsayer nor a pretender. The Qur’an was a readingfor the pious. True, it had its deniers. But it also had itssecret admirers, those who were jealous of its teachingand its truths. The promises and prophecies containedin it would all be fulfilled. The Prophet sa was asked toignore all opposition and go on celebrating his MightyGod.The third Hajj arrived. Among the pilgrims fromMedina was a large party of Muslims. Owing to Meccanopposition these Muslims from Medina wished to see theProphet sa in private. The Prophet's sa own thoughts wereturning more and more to Medina, as a likely place formigration. He mentioned this to his closest relations butthey tried to dissuade him from all thoughts of thiskind. They pleaded that though Mecca was full ofopposition, it offered the support of several influentialrelations. The prospects at Medina were all uncertainand, should Medina prove as hostile as Mecca, wouldthe Prophet's sa Meccan relations be able to help? TheProphet sa , however, was convinced that migration toMedina had been decreed. So he rejected the advice ofhis relations and decided to migrate to Medina.FIRST PLEDGE OF ‘AQABAAfter midnight, the Prophet sa again met the Muslimsfrom Medina in the valley of ‘Aqaba. His uncle ‘Abbas rawas with him. The Muslims from Medina numberedseventy-three, out of whom sixty-two belonged to theKhazraj tribe and eleven to the Aus. The party includedtwo women, one being Ummi ‘Ammara ra , of the BanuNajjar. They had been taught Islam by Mus‘ab ra , andwere full of faith and determination. They all proved tobe pillars of Islam. Ummi ‘Ammara ra is an example. Sheinstilled in her children undying loyalty to Islam. One ofher sons, Habib ra , was taken prisoner by Musailima, the


36Life of Muhammad saPretender, in an encounter after the Prophet's sa death.Musailima tried to unsettle Habib's ra faith. "Do youbelieve Muhammad sa to be a Messenger of God?" heasked. "Yes," was the reply. "Do you believe me to be aMessenger of God?" asked Musailima. "No," repliedHabib ra . Upon this Musailima ordered one of his limbs tobe cut off. This done, he asked Habib ra again, "Do youbelieve Muhammad sa to be a Messenger of God?" "Yes,"replied Habib ra . "Do you believe me to be a Messenger ofGod?" "No." Musailima ordered another limb to be cut offHabib's ra body. Limb after limb was cut off in this wayand Habib's ra body was reduced to many pieces. He dieda cruel death, but left behind an unforgettable exampleof personal heroism and sacrifice for the sake ofreligious conviction (Halbiyya, Vol. 2, p. 17).Ummi ‘Ammara ra accompanied the Prophet sa inseveral wars.This party of Medina Muslims, in short, attained togreat distinction for their loyalty and faith. They came toMecca not for wealth, but for faith; and they had it inabundance.Moved by family ties and feeling legitimatelyresponsible for the safety of the Prophet sa , ‘Abbas ra thusaddressed the party:O Khazraj, this my relation is respected here by hispeople. They are not all Muslims, yet they protect him. Buthe has chosen now to leave us and go to you. O Khazraj, doyou know what will happen? All Arabia will be againstyou. If you realize the risks entailed by your invitation,then take him away; if you do not, then give up yourintention and let him stay here.The leader of this party Al-Bara’ ra replied assuredly:We have heard you. Our resolution is firm. Our lives areat the disposal of the Prophet sa of God. We are decided,and only await his decision (Halbiyya, Vol. 2, p. 18).The Prophet sa gave a further exposition of Islam andits teaching. Explaining this, he told the party that hewould go to Medina if they would hold Islam as dear as


Life of Muhammad sa 37they held their wives and children. He had not quitefinished when this party of seventy-three devotees cried,'Yes,' 'Yes,' in one voice. In their zeal they forgot thatthey could be overheard. ‘Abbas ra cautioned them tospeak low. But the party was full of faith. Death nowwas nothing in their eyes. When ‘Abbas ra cautioned theparty, one of them said aloud, "We are not afraid, OProphet of God sa . Permit us, and we can deal with theMeccans right now and avenge the wrongs they havedone you." But the Prophet sa said he had not yet beencommanded to fight.The party then took the oath of fealty and themeeting dispersed.The Meccans did get to know of this meeting. Theywent to the Medina encampment to complain againstthese visitors to their chiefs. ‘Abdullah bin Ubbayy binSalul—Chief of chiefs—knew nothing of what hadhappened. He assured the Meccans that it must besome false rumour which they had heard. The people ofMedina had accepted him as their leader and could notdo anything without his knowledge and permission. Hedid not know that the people of Medina had cast off therule of Satan and accepted the rule of God instead.THE HIJRAThe party returned to Medina and the Prophet sa andhis followers started preparations for migration. Familyafter family began to disappear. Muslims, certain thatthe Kingdom of God was near, were full of courage.Sometimes a whole lane would be emptied in the courseof a night. In the morning Meccans would see the doorslocked and realize that the residents had migrated toMedina. The growing influence of Islam amazed them.At last not a single Muslim remained in Mecca save afew slave converts, the Prophet sa himself, Abu Bakr raand ‘Ali ra . The Meccans realized that their prey wasabout to escape. The chiefs assembled again and


38Life of Muhammad sadecided they should now kill the Prophet sa . By a specialdivine design, it seems, the date they appointed forkilling the Prophet sa was appointed for his escape. Whenthe Meccan party was collecting in front of theProphet's sa house with intent to kill, the Prophet sa wasmoving out in the secrecy of the night. The Meccansmust have feared anticipation of their foul design by theProphet sa . They proceeded cautiously and when theProphet sa himself passed by, they took him for someoneelse, and withdrew to avoid being noticed. TheProphet's sa closest friend Abu Bakr ra had been informedof the Prophet's sa plan the day before. He duly joinedand then both left Mecca, and took shelter in a cavecalled Thaur, about three or four miles from Mecca overa hill. When the Meccans learnt of the Prophet's saescape, they collected and sent a force in pursuit. Led bya tracker, they reached Thaur. Standing at the mouth ofthe cave in which the Prophet sa and Abu Bakr ra sathiding, the tracker said that Muhammad sa was either inthe cave or had ascended to heaven. Abu Bakr ra heardthis and his heart sank. "The enemy has nearly got us,"he whispered. "Fear not, God is with us," replied theProphet sa . "I fear not for myself," went on Abu Bakr ra ,"but for you. For, if I die, I am but an ordinary mortal;but if you die, it will mean death to faith and spirit"(Zurqani). "Even so, fear not," assured the Prophet sa , "Weare not two in this cave. There is a third—God"(Bukhari).Meccan tyranny was destined to end. Islam was tohave the chance to grow. The pursuers were deceived.They ridiculed the tracker's judgement. It was too opena cave, they said, for anybody to take shelter in, for withsnakes and vipers it was none too safe. If they had butbent a little, they could have sighted the two. But theydid not, and dismissing the tracker, they returned toMecca.For two days the Prophet sa and Abu Bakr ra waited inthe cave. On the third night, according to the plan, twofleet camels were brought to the cave, one for the


Life of Muhammad sa 39Prophet sa and the guide; the other for Abu Bakr ra andhis servant, ‘Amir bin Fuhaira ra .SURAQA ra PURSUES THE PROPHETBefore setting out, the Prophet sa looked back atMecca. Emotions welled up in his heart. Mecca was hisbirthplace. He had lived there as child and man and hadreceived there the Divine Call. It was the place where hisforefathers had lived and flourished since the time ofIshmael. With these thoughts, he had a last long look atit and then said, "Mecca, thou art dearer to me than anyother place in the world, but thy people would not let melive here." Upon this Abu Bakr ra said, "The place hathturned out its Prophet sa . It only awaiteth itsdestruction." The Meccans, after the failure of theirpursuit, put a prize on the heads of the two fugitives.Whoever captured and restored to the Meccans theProphet sa or Abu Bakr ra dead or alive was to have areward of a hundred camels. The announcement wasmade among the tribes around Mecca. Tempted by thereward, Suraqa bin Malik ra , a Bedouin chief, started inpursuit of the party and ultimately sighted them on theroad to Medina. He saw two mounted camels and,feeling sure they were bearing the Prophet sa and AbuBakr ra , spurred on his horse. The horse reared and fellbefore it had gone very far and Suraqa ra fell with it.Suraqa's ra own account of what happened is interesting.He says:After I fell from the horse, I consulted my luck in thesuperstitious fashion common with Arabs by a throw ofthe arrows. The arrows boded ill-luck. But the temptationof the reward was great. I mounted again and resumed mypursuit and nearly overtook the party. The Prophet sa rodewith dignity, and did not look back. Abu Bakr ra , however,looked back again and again (evidently, out of fear for thesafety of the Prophet sa ). As I neared them, my horse rearedagain, and I fell off. I consulted the arrows again; and


40Life of Muhammad saagain they boded ill-luck. My horse's hoofs sank deep intothe sand. Mounting again and resuming the pursuitseemed difficult. I then understood that the party wasunder divine protection. I called out to them and entreatedthem to stop. When near enough I told them of my evilintention and of my change of heart. I told them I wasgiving up the pursuit and returning. The Prophet sa let mego, but made me promise not to reveal their whereaboutsto anybody. I became convinced that the Prophet sa was atrue one, destined to succeed. I requested the Prophet sa towrite me a guarantee of peace to serve me when he becamesupreme. The Prophet sa asked ‘Amir bin Fuhaira ra to writeme a guarantee, and he did. As I got ready to return withit, the Prophet sa received a revelation about the future andsaid, "Suraqa ra , how wilt thou feel with the gold bangles ofthe Chosroes on thy wrists?" Amazed at the prophecy Iasked, "Which Chosroes? Chosroes bin Hormizd, theEmperor of Iran?" The Prophet sa said, "Yes" (Usud al-Ghaba).Sixteen or seventeen years later the prophecy wasliterally fulfilled. Suraqa ra accepted Islam and went toMedina. The Prophet sa died, and after him, first AbuBakr ra , and then ‘Umar ra became the Khalifahs of Islam.The growing influence of Islam made the Iraniansjealous and led them to attack the Muslims but, insteadof subjugating the Muslims, they were themselvessubjugated by them. The capital of Iran fell to theMuslims who captured its treasures, including the goldbangles which the Chosroes wore at State functions.After his conversion, Suraqa ra used to describe hispursuit of the Prophet sa and his party and to tell of whatpassed between him and the Prophet sa . When the spoilsof the war with Iran were placed before ‘Umar ra , he sawthe gold bangles and remembered what the Prophet sahad told Suraqa ra . It was a grand prophecy made at atime of utter helplessness. ‘Umar ra decided to stage avisible fulfilment of the prophecy. He, therefore, sent forSuraqa ra and ordered him to put on the gold bangles.Suraqa ra protested that the wearing of gold by men had


Life of Muhammad sa 41been forbidden by Islam. ‘Umar ra said that this wastrue, but that the occasion was an exception. TheProphet sa had foreseen Chosroes' gold bangles on hiswrists; therefore he had to wear them now, even on painof punishment. Suraqa ra was objecting out of deferenceto the Prophet's sa teaching; otherwise he was as eager asanyone else to provide visible proof of the fulfilment ofthe great prophecy. He put on the bangles and Muslimssaw the prophecy fulfilled (Usud al-Ghaba). The fugitiveProphet sa had become a king. He himself was no longerin this world. But those who succeeded him couldwitness the fulfilment of his words and visions.THE PROPHET sa ARRIVES AT MEDINATo return to our narrative of the Hijra. After theProphet sa had dismissed Suraqa ra he continued hisjourney to Medina unmolested. When he reachedMedina, the Prophet sa found the people waitingimpatiently. A more auspicious day could not havedawned for them. For, the sun which had risen forMecca had come instead to shine on Medina.News that the Prophet sa had left Mecca had reachedthem, so they were expecting his arrival. Parties of themwent miles out of Medina to look for him. They went inthe morning and returned disappointed in the evening.When at last the Prophet sa did reach Medina, he decidedto stop for a while in Quba, a nearby village. A Jew hadseen the two camels and had decided that they werecarrying the Prophet sa and his Companions. He climbedan eminence and shouted, "Sons of Qaila, he for whomyou waited has come." Everyone in Medina who heardthis cry rushed to Quba, while the people of Quba,overjoyed at the arrival of the Prophet sa in their midstsang songs in his honour.The utter simplicity of the Prophet sa is illustrated byan incident which took place at this time at Quba. Mostpeople in Medina had not seen the Prophet sa before.


42Life of Muhammad saWhen they saw his party sitting under a tree, many ofthem took Abu Bakr ra for the Prophet sa . Abu Bakr ra ,though younger, had a greyer beard and was betterdressed than the Prophet sa . So they turned to him andsat in front of him, after showing him the obeisance dueto the Prophet sa . When Abu Bakr ra saw that he wasbeing mistaken for the Prophet sa , he rose, took hismantle and hung it against the sun and said, "Prophet saof God, you are in the sun. I make this shade for you"(Bukhari). With tact and courtesy he made plain tovisitors from Medina their error. The Prophet sa stoppedat Quba for ten days, after which the people of Medinatook him to their city. When he entered the town, hefound that all the people, men, women and children,had turned out to receive him. Among the songs theysang was:Moon of the fourteenth night has risen on us from behindal-Wida'. So long as we have in our midst one who calls usto God, it is incumbent upon us to tender our thanks toGod. To you who have been sent to us by God we presentour perfect obedience (Halbiyya).The Prophet sa did not enter Medina from the easternside. When the people of Medina described him as a"moon of the fourteenth night", they meant that theywere living in the dark before the Prophet sa came to shedhis light upon them. It was a Monday when theProphet sa entered Medina. It was a Monday when he leftthe cave Thaur and, strange as it may seem, it was aMonday on which he took Mecca about ten years later.ABU AYYUB ANSARI ra AS PROPHET'S sa HOSTWhile the Prophet sa was in Medina, everybody longedto have the honour of being his host. As his camelpassed through a lane, families would line up to receivehim. With one voice they would say, "Here we are withour homes, our property and our lives to receive you andto offer our protection to you. Come and live with us."


Life of Muhammad sa 43Many would show greater zeal, go forward and held thereins of the camel and insist on the Prophet's sadismounting in front of their doors and entering theirhouses. Politely the Prophet sa would refuse saying,"Leave my camel alone. She is under the command ofGod; she will stop where God wants her to stop."Ultimately it stopped on a site which belonged toorphans of the Banu Najjar tribe. The Prophet sadismounted and said, "It seems that this is where Godwants us to stop." He made enquiries. A trustee of theorphans came forward and offered the site for the use ofthe Prophet sa . The Prophet sa replied that he would notaccept the offer unless he were allowed to pay. A pricewas settled and the Prophet sa decided to build a mosqueand some houses on it. This settled, the Prophet sa askedwho lived nearest to the site. Abu Ayyub Ansari ra cameforward and said that his house was the nearest andthat his services were at the Prophet's sa disposal. TheProphet sa asked him to prepare a room in his house forhim. Abu Ayyub's ra house was double-storeyed. Heoffered to let the Prophet sa have the upper storey. Butthe Prophet sa preferred to have the lower storey for theconvenience of his visitors.The devotion which the people of Medina had for theProphet sa showed itself again. Abu Ayyub ra agreed to letthe Prophet sa have the lower storey, but refused to go tosleep on a floor under which lived the Prophet sa . He andhis wife thought it discourteous to do so. A pitcher ofwater was accidentally broken and water flowed on thefloor. Abu Ayyub ra , fearing lest some water should dripthrough to the room occupied by the Prophet sa , took hisquilt and with it dried up the water before any coulddrip through. In the morning he called on the Prophet saand narrated the events of the night before, uponhearing which the Prophet sa agreed to occupy the upperstorey. Abu Ayyub ra prepared meals and sent them up.The Prophet sa ate whatever he wanted and Abu Ayyub rawhatever remained. After a few days, others demanded ashare in entertaining the Prophet sa . Until the Prophet sa


44Life of Muhammad sasettled in his own house and made his ownarrangements he was entertained by the people ofMedina in turn. A widow had an only son named Anas ra ,aged about eight or nine. She brought the boy to theProphet sa and offered him for the Prophet's sa personalservice. This Anas ra became immortalized in the annalsof Islam. He became a very learned man, and also rich.He attained to over one hundred years of age and in thedays of the Khalifahs was held in great esteem byeverybody. Anas ra is reported to have said that althoughhe went into the service of the Prophet sa as a boy andremained with him until the Prophet sa died, never didthe Prophet sa speak unkindly to him, nor did he everadmonish him, nor did he ever set him a duty harderthan he could perform. During his stay in Medina, theProphet sa had only Anas ra with him. The testimony ofAnas ra , therefore, reveals the Prophet's sa character as itdeveloped in the days of his growing power andprosperity at Medina.Later, the Prophet sa sent his freedman Zaid ra toMecca to fetch his family and relations. The Meccanshad been stupefied by the sudden and well-planneddeparture of the Prophet sa and his followers. For sometime, therefore, they did nothing to vex him. When theProphet's sa family and the family of Abu Bakr ra leftMecca they raised no difficulty. The two families reachedMedina unmolested. In the meantime the Prophet sa laidthe foundations of a mosque on the site he had boughtfor the purpose. After this, he built houses for himselfand for his Companions. About seven months werespent on their completion.LIFE UNSAFE AT MEDINAWithin a few days of the Prophet's sa arrival inMedina, the pagan tribes there became interested inIslam and a majority of them joined. Many, notpersuaded at heart, also joined. In this way a party


Life of Muhammad sa 45joined the fold of Islam who were not Muslims at heart.Its members played a very sinister part in subsequenthistory. Some of them became sincere Muslims. Othersremained insincere and kept intriguing against Islamand Muslims. Some refused to join at all. But they couldnot stand the growing influence of the New Faith, sothey migrated from Medina to Mecca. Medina became aMuslim town. In it was established the worship of theOne God. There was not a second town in the worldthen which could make this claim. It was no small joy tothe Prophet sa and his friends that within a few days oftheir migration a whole town had agreed to give up theworship of idols and to establish instead the worship ofthe One Invisible God. But there was no peace yet forMuslims. In Medina itself a party of Arabs had onlyoutwardly joined Islam. Inwardly, they were the swornenemies of the Prophet sa . Then there were the Jews, whocontinuously intrigued against him. The Prophet sa wasaware of these dangers. He remained alert and urged hisfriends and followers to be on their guard. He oftenremained awake the whole night (Bari, Vol. 6, p. 6o).Tired by night-long vigilance he once expressed a desirefor help. Soon he heard the sound of armour. "What isthis?" he asked. "It is Sa‘d bin Waqqas ra , O Prophet sa ,who has come to do sentinel duty for you" (Bukhari andMuslim). The people of Medina were alive to their greatresponsibility. They had invited the Prophet sa to comeand live in their midst and it was now their duty toprotect him. The tribes took counsel and decided toguard the Prophet's sa house in turn.In the unsafety of his person and in the absence ofpeace for his followers, there was no difference betweenthe Prophet's sa life at Mecca and his life at Medina. Theonly difference was that at Medina Muslims were able toworship in public in the mosque which they had built inthe name of God. They were able to assemble for thispurpose five times in the day without let or hindrance.Two or three months passed. The people of Meccarecovered from their bewilderment and started making


46Life of Muhammad saplans for the vexation of Muslims. They soon found thatit did not fulfil their purpose merely to trouble Muslimsin and around Mecca. It was necessary to attack theProphet sa and his followers at Medina and turn them outof their new refuge. Accordingly they addressed a letterto ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy ibn Salul, a leader of Medina,who, before the Prophet's sa arrival, had been accepted asking of Medina by all parties. They said in this letterthat they had been shocked at the Prophet's sa arrival atMedina and that it was wrong on the part of the peopleof Medina to afford refuge to him. In the end they said:Now that you have admitted our enemy in your home, weswear by God and declare that we, the people of Mecca,will join in an attack on Medina unless you, the people ofMedina, agree to turn him out of Medina or give him ajoint fight. When we attack Medina, we will put to thesword all able-bodied men and enslave all women (AbuDawud, Kitab al-Kharaj).‘Abdullah bin Ubayy ibn Salul thought this letter aGod-send. He consulted other hypocrites in Medina andpersuaded them that if they allowed the Prophet sa to livein peace among them they would invite the hostility ofMecca. It behoved them, therefore, to make war uponthe Prophet sa , if only in order to appease the Meccans.The Prophet sa got to know of this. He went to ‘Abdullahbin Ubayy ibn Salul and tried to convince him that sucha step would prove suicidal. Many people in Medina hadbecome Muslims and were prepared to lay down theirlives for Islam. If ‘Abdullah declared war upon Muslims,the majority of the people of Medina would fight on theside of Muslims. Such a war would, therefore, cost himdear and spell his own destruction. ‘Abdullah,impressed by this advice, was dissuaded from his plans.At this time, the Prophet sa took another importantstep. He collected the Muslims and suggested that everytwo Muslims should become linked together as twobrothers. The idea was well received. Medinite tookMeccan as his brother. Under this new brotherhood, the


Life of Muhammad sa 47Muslims of Medina offered to share their property andtheir belongings with the Muslims of Mecca. OneMedinite Muslim offered to divorce one of his two wivesand to have her married to his Meccan brother. TheMeccan Muslims declined to accept the offers of theMuslims of Medina out of regard for the needs of thelatter. But the Muslims of Medina remained insistent,and the point had to be referred to the Prophet sa . TheMuslims of Medina urged that the Meccan Muslims weretheir brothers; so, they had to share their property withthem. The Meccan Muslims did not know how tomanage land. But they could share the produce of theland if not the land itself. The Meccan Muslims declinedwith thanks this incredibly generous offer, and preferredto stick to their own vocation of trade. Many MeccanMuslims became rich again. But Muslims of Medinaalways remembered their offer to share their propertywith Meccan Muslims. Many a time when a MediniteMuslim died, his sons divided the inheritance with theirMeccan brothers. For many years, the practicecontinued, until the Qur’an abolished it by its teachingabout the division of inheritance (Bukhari and Muslim).PACT BETWEEN VARIOUS TRIBES OF MEDINABesides uniting Meccan and Medinite Muslims in abrotherhood, the Holy Prophet sa instituted a covenantbetween all the inhabitants of Medina. By this covenant,Arabs and the Jews were united into a commoncitizenship with Muslims. The Prophet sa explained toboth Arabs and Jews that before the Muslims emergedas a group in Medina, there were only two groups intheir town, but with Muslims now, there were threegroups. It was but proper that they should enter into anagreement which should be binding upon them all, andwhich should assure to all of them a measure of peace.Eventually an agreement was arrived at. The agreementsaid:


48Life of Muhammad saBetween the Prophet sa of God and the Faithful on the onehand, and all those on the other, who voluntarily agree toenter. If any of the Meccan Muslims is killed, the MeccanMuslims will themselves be responsible. The responsibilityfor securing the release of their prisoners will also betheirs. The Muslim tribes of Medina similarly will beresponsible for their own lives and their prisoners.Whoever rebels or promotes enmity and disorder will beconsidered a common enemy. It will be the duty of all theothers to fight against him, even though he happens to be ason or a close relation. If a disbeliever is killed in battle bya believer, his Muslim relations will seek no revenge. Norwill they assist disbelievers against believers. The Jewswho join this covenant will be helped by Muslims. TheJews will not be put to any hardship. Their enemies willnot be helped against them. No disbeliever will givequarter to anybody from Mecca. He will not act as atrustee for any Meccan property. In a war betweenMuslims and disbelievers he will take no part. If a believeris maltreated without cause, Muslims will have the right tofight against those who maltreat. If a common enemyattack Medina, the Jews will side with the Muslims andshare the expenses of the battle. The Jewish tribes incovenant with the other tribes of Medina will have rightssimilar to those of Muslims. The Jews will keep to theirown faith, and Muslims to their own. The rights enjoyedby the Jews will also be enjoyed by their followers. Thecitizens of Medina will not have the right to declare warwithout the sanction of the Prophet sa . But this will not prejudicethe right of any individual to avenge an individualwrong. The Jews will bear the expenses of their ownorganization, and Muslims their own. But in case of war,they will act with unity. The city of Medina will beregarded as sacred and inviolate by those who sign thecovenant. Strangers who come under the protection of itscitizens will be treated as citizens. But the people ofMedina will not be allowed to admit a woman to itscitizenship without the permission of her relations. Alldisputes will be referred for decision to God and the


Life of Muhammad sa 49Prophet sa . Parties to this covenant will not have the right toenter into any agreement with the Meccans or their allies.This, because parties to this covenant agree in resistingtheir common enemies. The parties will remain united inpeace as in war. No party will enter into a separate peace.But no party will be obliged to take part in war. A party,however, which commits any excess will be liable to apenalty. Certainly God is the protector of the righteousand the Faithful and Muhammad sa is His Prophet sa(Hisham).This is the covenant in brief. It has been preparedfrom scraps to be found in historical records. Itemphasizes beyond any doubt that in settling disputesand disagreements between the parties at Medina, theguiding principles were to be honesty, truth and justice.Those committing excesses were to be held responsiblefor those excesses. The covenant makes it clear that theProphet sa of Islam was determined to treat with civilityand kindness the other citizens of Medina, and to regardthem and deal with them as brethren. If disputes andconflicts arose later, the responsibility rested with theJews.As we have already said, two or three months passedaway before Meccans could renew their planned hostilityagainst Islam. An occasion was provided by Sa‘d binMu‘adh ra , chief of the Aus tribe of Medina, who arrivedat Mecca for the circuit of the Ka‘ba. Abu Jahl saw himdo this and said, "After giving protection to this apostateMuhammad sa , do you expect you can come to Meccaand circuit the Ka‘ba in peace? Do you think you canprotect and save him? I swear by God, that had it notbeen for Abu Sufyan ra , you could not have returned safeto your family."Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh ra replied, "Take it from me, if youMeccans stop us from visiting and circuiting the Ka‘ba,you will have no peace on your road to Syria." At aboutthat time Walid bin Mughira, a Meccan chief, becameseriously ill. He apprehended that his end had come.The other chiefs of Mecca were sitting around. Walid


50Life of Muhammad sacould not control himself and began to cry. The Meccanchiefs wondered at this and asked him why he wascrying. "Do you think I am afraid of death? No, it is notdeath I fear. What I fear is lest the Faith of Muhammad sashould spread and even Mecca go under him." AbuSufyan ra assured Walid that as long as they lived theywould resist with their lives the spread of this Faith(Khamis, Vol. I).MECCANS PREPARING TO ATTACK MEDINAFrom this narration of events it is quite clear that thelull in Meccan hostility was only temporary. The leadersof Mecca were preparing for a renewed attack on Islam.Dying chiefs bound their survivors to oaths of hostilityagainst the Prophet sa , and roused them to war againsthim and his followers. The people of Medina were invitedto take up arms against the Muslims and were warnedthat, if they refused to do so, the Meccans and theirallied tribes would attack Medina, kill their men andenslave their women. If the Prophet sa had stood asideand done nothing for the defence of Medina, he wouldhave incurred a terrible responsibility. The Prophet sa ,therefore, instituted a system of reconnaissance. He sentparties of men to places round about Mecca to report onsigns of preparations for war. Now and then, there wereincidents—scuffles and fights—between these partiesand Meccans. European writers say these incidents wereinitiated by the Prophet sa and that, therefore, in thewars which ensued, he was the aggressor. But we havebefore us the thirteen years of Meccan tyranny, theirintrigues for antagonizing the people of Medina againstthe Muslims, and the threatened attack upon Medinaitself. Nobody who remembers all this can charge theProphet sa with the responsibility for initiating theseincidents. If he sent out parties of Muslims for purposeof reconnaissance, it was in self-defence. Thirteen yearsof tyranny were justification enough for the preparations


Life of Muhammad sa 51of Muslims for self-defence. If wars ensued betweenthem and their Meccan enemy, the responsibility did notlie with Muslims. The slender grounds on whichChristian nations today declare war against one anotherare well known. If half of what the Meccans did toMuslims is done today to a European people, they wouldfeel justified in going to war. When the people of onecountry organize on a large scale the killing of another,when one people compels another to leave their homes,does it not give the victims the right to make war? AfterMuslims had migrated to Medina, no further ground wasneeded for them to declare war on the Meccans. But theProphet sa declared no war. He showed tolerance andconfined his defensive activities to reconnaissance. TheMeccans, however, continued to irritate and harass theMuslims. They excited the people of Medina againstthem and interfered with their right of pilgrimage. Theychanged their normal caravan routes and started goingthrough tribal areas around Medina, to rouse the tribesagainst the Muslims. The peace of Medina was threatened;so it was the obvious duty of Muslims to acceptthe challenge of war which the Meccans had beenthrowing down for fourteen years. Nobody under thecircumstances could question the right of Muslims toaccept this challenge.While the Prophet sa was busy reconnoitring, he wasnot neglecting the normal and spiritual needs of hisfollowing in Medina. A great majority of the people ofMedina had become Muslims, by outward profession aswell as by inward faith. Some had joined by outwardprofession only. The Prophet sa , therefore, startedinstituting the Islamic form of government in his smallfollowing. In earlier days, Arabs had settled theirdisputes by the sword and by individual violence. TheProphet sa introduced juridical procedures. Judges wereappointed to settle claims which individuals or partiesbrought against one another. Unless a judge declared aclaim to be just and true, it was not admitted. In the olddays intellectual pursuits had been looked upon with


52Life of Muhammad sacontempt. The Prophet sa took steps to promote literacyand love of learning. Those who could read and writewere asked to teach others the same arts. Injustice andcruelty were ended. The rights of women wereestablished. The rich were to pay for the needs of thepoor and for improving the social amenities of Medina.Labourers were protected from exploitation. For weakand incompetent heirs, arrangements were made for theappointment of trustees. Loan transactions began to becommitted to writing. The importance of fulfilling allundertakings began to be impressed. The excessescommitted against slaves were abolished. Hygiene andpublic sanitation began to receive attention. A census ofthe population was undertaken. Lanes and highwayswere ordered to be widened, and steps were taken tokeep them clean. In short, laws were instituted for thepromotion of an ideal family and social life. The savageArabs for the first time in their history were introducedto the rules of politeness and civilized existence.BATTLE OF BADRWhile the Prophet sa planned for the practicalinstitution of laws which were to serve not only his owngeneration of Arabs but all mankind for all time to come,the people of Mecca made their plans for war. TheProphet sa planned for a law which was to bring to hisown people and all the others peace, honour andprogress; his Meccan enemy planned for the destructionof that law. The Meccan plans eventually resulted in theBattle of Badr. It was the eighteenth month after theHijra. A commercial caravan led by Abu Sufyan ra wasreturning from Syria. Under pretence of protecting thiscaravan, the Meccans raised a large army and decidedto take it to Medina. The Holy Prophet sa came to know ofthese preparations. He also had revelations from Godwhich said that the time to pay back the enemy in hisown coin had come. He went out of Medina with a


Life of Muhammad sa 53number of followers. Nobody at the time knew whetherthis party of Muslims would have to confront thecaravan which was coming from Syria or the armywhich was coming from Mecca. The party numberedabout three hundred. A commercial caravan in thosedays did not consist only of camels loaded withmerchandise. It also included armed men who guardedthe caravan and escorted it through its journey. Sincetension had arisen between Meccans and the Muslims ofMedina, the Meccan chiefs had begun to take specialcare about arming the escort. History records the fact oftwo other caravans which passed by this route a shortwhile before. In one of these, two hundred armed menwere provided as guard and escort, and in the otherthree hundred. It is wrong to suggest, as Christianwriters do, that the Prophet sa took three hundredfollowers and set out to attack an undefendedcommercial caravan. The suggestion is mischievous andunfounded. The caravan which was now coming fromSyria was a large one and, considering its size and thearmed escort provided for other caravans, it seemsreasonable to think that about four to five hundredarmed guards must have been provided to serve as itsescort. To say that the Muslim party of three hundredpoorly-armed men were led by the Prophet sa to attacksuch a well-armed caravan in the hope of looting it isunjust in the extreme. Only rank prejudice anddetermined ill-will against Islam can prompt such athought. If the Muslim party was out to confront onlythis caravan, their adventure could have been describedas an adventure of war, although war in self-defence, forthe Muslim party from Medina was small and ill-armedand the Meccan caravan was large and well-armed, andfor a long time they had been carrying on a campaign ofhostility against the Muslims of Medina.In point of fact the conditions under which this smallparty of Muslims set out of Medina were far more grave.As we have said, they did not know whether it was thecaravan from Syria or the army from Mecca which they


54Life of Muhammad sawould have to confront. The uncertainty under whichthe Muslims laboured is hinted at in the Qur’an. But theMuslims were prepared for both. The uncertainty underwhich the Muslims left Medina redounds to the credit oftheir faith and their tremendous sincerity. It was afterthey had gone some distance from Medina that theProphet sa made it known to them that they would haveto confront the large Meccan army rather than the smallSyrian caravan.Speculations had reached Muslims about the size ofthe Meccan army. The most moderate of thesespeculations placed the number at one thousand, all ofthem seasoned soldiers skilled in the art of war. Thenumber accompanying the Prophet sa was only threehundred and thirteen, and of these many were unskilledand inexperienced, and most were ill-armed. A greatmajority of them went on foot, or mounted on camels.There were only two horses in the whole party. Thisparty, which was as poorly equipped with the weaponsof war as it was raw in experience, had to confront aforce three times its number, consisting mostly ofexperienced fighters. It was quite obviously the mostdangerous thing ever undertaken in history. The HolyProphet sa was wise enough to ensure that nobody tookpart in it without due knowledge and without his willand heart in it. He told his party clearly that it was nolonger the caravan they had to confront but the armyfrom Mecca. He asked the party for their counsel. Oneafter another, his Meccan followers stood up andassured the Prophet sa of their loyalty and zeal, and oftheir determination to fight the Meccan enemy who hadcome to attack the Muslims of Medina in their homes.Every time the Prophet sa heard a Meccan Muslim, heasked for more counsel and more advice. The Muslimsof Medina had been silent. The aggressors were fromMecca, with blood relations to many of those Muslimswho had migrated with the Prophet sa to Medina and whowere now in this small party. The Muslims of Medinawere afraid lest their zeal to fight the Meccan enemy


Life of Muhammad sa 55should injure the feelings of their Meccan brethren. Butwhen the Prophet sa insisted on more and more counsel,one of the Medinite Muslims stood up and said,"Prophet sa of God, you are having all the counsel youwant, but you continue to ask for more. Perhaps yourefer to us, the Muslims of Medina. Is that true?""Yes," said the Prophet sa ."You ask for our counsel," he said, "because youthink that when you came to us, we agreed to fight onyour side only in case you and your fellow emigrantsfrom Mecca were attacked in Medina. But now we seemto have come out of Medina, and you feel that ouragreement does not cover the conditions under which wefind ourselves today. But O Prophet sa of God, when weentered into that agreement we did not know you as wellas we do now. We know now what high spiritual stationyou hold. We care not for what we agreed to. We nowstand by you, whatever you ask us to do. We will notbehave like the followers of Moses as who said, ‘Go youand your God and fight the enemy, we remain herebehind.' If we must fight, we will and we will fight to theright of you, to the left of you, in front of you and behindyou. True, the enemy wants to get at you. But we assureyou that he will not do so, without stepping over ourdead bodies. Prophet sa of God, you invite us to fight. Weare prepared to do more. Not far from here is the sea. Ifyou command us to jump into it, we will hesitate not."(Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazi, and Hisham).This was the spirit of devotion and sacrifice whichearly Muslims displayed, and the like of which is not tobe found in the history of the world. The example of thefollowers of Moses as has been cited above. As for thedisciples of Jesus, we know they abandoned Jesus at acritical time. One of them gave him away for a paltrysum. Another cursed him, and the remaining ten ranaway. The Muslims who joined the Prophet sa fromMedina had been in his companionship only for a yearand a half. But they had attained to such strength offaith that, had the Prophet sa but ordered, they would


56Life of Muhammad sahave plunged themselves heedlessly into the sea. TheProphet sa took counsel. But he had no doubt at all as tothe devotion of his following. He took counsel in order tosift the weaklings and send them away. But he foundthat the Meccan and the Medinite Muslims vied with oneanother in the expression of their devotion. Both weredetermined that they would not turn their backs to theenemy, even though the enemy was three times theirnumber and far better equipped, armed andexperienced. They would rather put their faith in thepromises of God, show their regard for Islam, and laydown their lives in its defence.Assured of this devotion by both Meccan andMedinite Muslims, the Prophet sa advanced. When hereached a place called Badr, he accepted the suggestionof one of his followers and ordered his men to settle nearthe brook of Badr. The Muslims took possession of thissource of water, but the land on which they took uptheir positions was all sand, and therefore unsuitable forthe manoeuvres of fighting men. The followers of theProphet sa showed natural anxiety over thisdisadvantage. The Prophet sa himself shared the anxietyof his followers and spent the whole night praying. Againand again he said:My God, over the entire face of the earth just now, thereare only these three hundred men who are devoted to Theeand determined to establish Thy worship. My God, if thesethree hundred men die today at the hands of their enemyin this battle, who will be left behind to glorify Thy name?(Tabari).God heard the supplication of His Prophet sa . Raincame over-night. The sandy part of the field which theMuslims occupied became wet and solid. The dry part ofthe field occupied by the enemy became muddy andslippery. Maybe the Meccan enemy chose this part of thefield and left the other for the Muslims because theirexperienced eye preferred dry ground to facilitate themovements of their soldiers and cavalry. But the tables


Life of Muhammad sa 57were turned upon them by a timely act of God. The rainwhich came overnight made the sandy part of the fieldwhich was in the possession of the Muslims hard andthe hard field where the Meccans had encampedslippery. During the night the Prophet sa had a clearintimation from God that important members of theenemy would meet with their death. He even hadindividual names revealed to him. The spots at whichthey were to drop dead were also revealed. They died asthey were named and dropped where it had beenforetold.In the battle itself this little party of Muslimsdisplayed wonderful daring and devotion. One incidentproves this. One of the few Generals which the Muslimforce included was ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf ra , one of thechiefs of Mecca and an experienced soldier in his ownway. When the battle began, he looked to his right andto his left to see what kind of support he had. He foundto his amazement, that he had only two lads fromMedina on his flanks. His heart sank and he said tohimself, "Every General needs support on his sides.More so I on this day. But I only have two raw boys.What can I do with them?" ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf rasays he had hardly finished saying this to himself whenone of the boys touched his side with his elbow. As hebent over to hear the boy, the latter said, "Uncle, wehave heard of one Abu Jahl, who used to harass andtorment the Prophet sa . Uncle, I want to fight him; tell mewhere he is." ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf ra had not yetreplied to this youthful inquiry, when his attention wassimilarly drawn by the boy on the other side, who askedhim the same question. ‘Abdur Rahman ra was not a littleamazed at the courage and determination of these twoboys. A seasoned soldier, he did not think that even hewould select the commander of the enemy for anindividual encounter. ‘Abdur Rahman ra raised his fingerto point at Abu Jahl—armed to the teeth and standingbehind the lines protected by two senior Generals, withdrawn swords. ‘Abdur Rahman ra had not dropped his


58Life of Muhammad safinger, when the two boys dashed into the enemy rankswith the speed of an eagle, making straight for theirchosen target. The attack was sudden. The soldiers andguards were stupefied. They attacked the boys. One ofthe boys lost an arm. But they remained unnerved andunbeaten. They attacked Abu Jahl, with such violencethat the great commander fell to the ground, mortallywounded. From the spirited determination of these twoboys, one can judge how deeply the followers of theProphet sa , both old and young, had been stirred by thecruel persecution to which they and the Prophet sa hadbeen subjected. We only read about them in history, butyet are deeply stirred. The people of Medina heard ofthese cruelties from eye-witnesses. The feelings theymust have had, can well be imagined. They heard ofMeccan cruelties on the one hand and of theforbearance of the Prophet sa on the other. No wondertheir determination mounted high to avenge the wrongsdone to the Prophet sa and to the Muslims of Mecca. Theylooked only for an opportunity to tell the Meccantormentors that if the Muslims did not retaliate, it wasnot because they were powerless; it was because theyhad not been permitted by God to do so. Howdetermined this small Muslim force was to die fightingcan be gauged from another incident. Battle had not yetbeen joined when Abu Jahl sent a Bedouin chief to theMuslim side to report on their numbers. This chiefreturned and reported that the Muslims were threehundred or more. Abu Jahl and his followers were glad.They thought the Muslims easy prey. "But," said theBedouin chief, "my advice to you is—Don't fight thesemen, because every one of them seems determined todie! I have seen not men but death mounted on camels"(Tabari and Hisham). The Bedouin chief was right—those who are prepared to die do not easily die.


Life of Muhammad sa 59A GREAT PROPHECY FULFILLEDThe time of the battle drew near. The Prophet sa cameout of the little hut in which he had been praying, andannounced:"The hosts will certainly be routed and will showtheir backs."These were the words revealed to the Prophet sa sometime before in Mecca. Evidently they related to thisbattle. When Meccan cruelty had reached its extremelimit, and Muslims were migrating to places where theycould have peace, the Prophet sa had the following versesrevealed to him by God:And surely to the people of Pharaoh also came Warners.They rejected all Our Signs. So We seized them as theseizing of One Who is Mighty and Omnipotent. Are yourdisbelievers better than those? Or have you an exemptionin the Scriptures? The hosts will certainly be routed andwill show their backs. Nay, the Hour is their appointedtime; and the Hour will be most calamitous and mostbitter. Surely the offenders will be in bewilderment andflaming fire. On the day when they will be dragged into theFire on their faces and it will be said to them, "Taste ye thetouch of burning" (54:42-49).These verses are part of Surah Al-Qamar and thisSurah, according to all reports, was revealed in Mecca.Muslim authorities place the date of its revelationsomewhere between the fifth and tenth year of theProphet's sa Call, that is, at least three years before theHijra (i.e. the year of the Prophet's sa migration fromMecca to Medina). More likely, it was revealed eightyears before. European authorities have the same view.According to Noldeke, the whole of this Chapter wasrevealed after the fifth year of the Prophet's sa Call.Wherry thinks this date a little too early. According tohim, the Chapter belongs to the sixth or seventh yearbefore the Hijra, or after the Prophet's sa Call. In short,both Muslim and non-Muslim authorities agree that thisChapter was revealed years before the Prophet sa and his


60Life of Muhammad safollowers migrated from Mecca to Medina. The propheticvalue of the Meccan verses is beyond dispute. There isin these verses a clear hint of what was in store for theMeccans in the battlefield of Badr. The fate they weregoing to meet is clearly foretold. When the Prophet sacame out of his hut, he reiterated the propheticdescription contained in the Meccan Chapter. He musthave been put in mind of the Meccan verses, during hisprayers in the hut. By reciting one of the verses hereminded his followers that the Hour promised in theMeccan revelation had come.And the Hour had really come. The Prophet Isaiah as(21:13-17) had foretold this very hour. The battle began,even though Muslims were not ready for it and non-Muslims had been advised against taking part in it.Three hundred and thirteen Muslims, most of theminexperienced and unused to warfare, and nearly all ofthem unequipped, stood before a number three times aslarge, and all of them seasoned soldiers. In a few hours,many noted chiefs of Mecca met their end. Just as theProphet Isaiah as had foretold, the glory of Kedar fadedaway. The Meccan army fled in miserable haste, leavingbehind their dead as well as some prisoners. Among theprisoners was the Prophet's sa uncle, ‘Abbas ra , whogenerally stood by the Prophet sa during the days atMecca. ‘Abbas ra had been compelled to join the Meccansand to fight the Prophet sa . Another prisoner was Abu’l‘As ra , a son-in-law of the Prophet sa . Among the dead wasAbu Jahl, Commander-in-chief of the Meccan army and,according to all accounts, arch-enemy of Islam.Victory came, but it brought mixed feelings to theProphet sa . He rejoiced over the fulfilment of divinepromises, repeated during the fourteen years which hadgone by, promises which had also been recorded insome of the earliest religious writings. But at the sametime he grieved over the plight of the Meccans. What apitiable end had they met! If this victory had come toanother in his place, he would have jumped with joy.But the sight of the prisoners before him, bound and


Life of Muhammad sa 61handcuffed, brought tears to the eyes of the Prophet saand his faithful friend Abu Bakr ra . ‘Umar ra , whosucceeded Abu Bakr ra as the Second Khalifah of Islam,saw this but could not understand. Why should theProphet sa and Abu Bakr ra weep over a victory? ‘Umar rawas bewildered. So he made bold to ask the Prophet sa ,"Prophet sa of God, tell me why you weep when God hasgiven you such a grand victory. If we must weep, I willweep with you, or put on a weeping face at least." TheProphet sa pointed to the miserable plight of the Meccanprisoners. This was what disobedience of God led to.The Prophet Isaiah as spoke again and again of thejustice of this Prophet sa , who had emerged victoriousfrom a deadly battle. Of this there was a granddemonstration on this occasion. Returning to Medinathe Prophet sa rested for the night on the way. Thedevoted followers who watched him could see that heturned from side to side and could not sleep. They soonguessed that it was because he heard the groans of hisuncle, ‘Abbas ra , who lay nearby, bound tight as aprisoner of war. They loosened the cord on‘Abbas ra .‘Abbas ra stopped groaning. The Prophet sa , nolonger disturbed by his groans, went to sleep. A littlelater he woke up and wondered why he no longer heard‘Abbas ra groan. He half thought ‘Abbas ra had gone into aswoon. But the Companions guarding ‘Abbas ra told himthey had loosened the cord on ‘Abbas ra to let him (theProphet sa ) sleep undisturbed. "No, no," said theProphet sa , "there must be no injustice. If ‘Abbas ra isrelated to me, other prisoners are related to others.Loosen the cords on all of them or tie the cord tight on‘Abbas ra also." The Companions heard this admonitionand decided to loosen the cords on all the prisoners, andthemselves bear the responsibility for their safe custody.Of the prisoners, those who were literate were promisedfreedom if they each undertook to make ten Meccanboys literate—this being their ransom for liberty. Thosewho had nobody to pay ransom for them, obtained theirliberty for the asking. Those who could afford to pay


62Life of Muhammad saransom, were set free after they had paid it. By settingthe prisoners free in this way, the Prophet sa put an endto the cruel practice of converting prisoners of war intoslaves.BATTLE OF UHUDWhen the Meccan army fled from Badr theyannounced that they would attack Medina again andavenge upon the Muslims for what the Meccans hadsuffered in the battle; and only a year later they didattack Medina again in full force. They felt so humiliatedand disgraced at their defeat that the Meccan chiefsforbade surviving relations to weep over those who haddied in the battle. They also laid down that profits fromcommercial caravans would be constituted into a warfund. With full preparations, therefore, an army of threethousand under the command of Abu Sufyan ra attackedMedina. The Prophet sa held a council and asked hisfollowers whether they would meet the enemy in Medinaor outside. He himself favoured the former alternative.He preferred to let the Muslims stay in Medina and letthe enemy come and attack them in their homes. This,he thought, would place the responsibility for aggressionand attack on the enemy. But at the council were manyMuslims who had not had the chance to take part in theBattle of Badr, and who now longed to fight for God.They insisted on having a straight and open fight and onhaving the chance to die fighting. The Prophet sa acceptedthe general advice (Tabaqat).While this was being debated, the Prophet sa related avision of his. He said, "I had a vision. I saw a cow, and Ialso saw my sword with its point broken. I saw the cowbeing butchered, and that I had put my hand inside acoat of armour. I also saw myself riding a ram." TheCompanions asked the Prophet sa how he interpreted thevision.


Life of Muhammad sa 63"The butchering of the cow" said the Prophet sa ,"indicates that some of my Companions will be killed inbattle. The broken point of my sword indicates thatsome important one among my relations will meet hisdeath, or maybe, I myself will suffer pain or injury ofsome kind. Putting my hand in a coat of armour seemsto mean that if we stay in Medina it is better for us. Thefact that I have seen myself riding a ram means that wewill overpower the commander of the disbelievers, andthat he will die at our hands" (Bukhari, Hisham andTabaqat).It was made clear by this vision and its interpretationthat it was better for Muslims to stay in Medina. TheProphet sa , however, did not insist upon this, because theinterpretation of the vision was his own, not a part ofrevealed knowledge. He accepted the advice of themajority and decided to go out of Medina to meet theenemy. As he set out, the more zealous section of Hisfollowing realizing their mistake, approached theProphet sa and said, "Prophet sa of God, the way youadvised seems better. We ought to stay in Medina andmeet the enemy in our streets.""Not now," said the Prophet sa . "Now the Prophet sa ofGod has put on his armour. Come what may, now weshall go forward. If you prove steadfast and persevering,God will help you" (Bukhari and Tabaqat). So saying, hewent forward with a force of a thousand. At a smalldistance from Medina they camped for the night. It wasthe Prophet's sa custom to let his fighting force rest awhile before they met the enemy. At the time of themorning prayers, he made a round. He found that someJews also had joined the Muslims. They pretended theyhad treaties of alliance with the Medina tribes. As theProphet sa had had knowledge of Jewish intrigues, hesent off the Jews. As soon as he did so, ‘Abdullah binUbayy ibn Salul, chief of the hypocrites, withdrew withhis three hundred followers. He said the Muslim armywas now no match for the enemy. To take part in thebattle was now certain death. The Prophet sa had made a


64Life of Muhammad samistake in sending off his own allies. The result of thiseleventh-hour desertion was that only seven hundredMuslims were left under the Prophet's sa command. Theseven hundred stood against an army more than fourtimes their number, and many more times better inequipment. In the Meccan army were seven hundredfighters in armour; in the Muslim army only onehundred. The Meccans had a mounted force of twohundred horses, Muslims had only two horses. TheProphet sa reached Uhud. Over a narrow hilly pass there,he posted a guard of fifty, charged with the duty ofrepelling any attack on it by the enemy or any attemptto possess it. The Prophet sa told them clearly their duty.It was to stand where they had been posted, and not tomove from the spot until they were commanded to do so,no matter what happened to the Muslims. With theremaining six hundred and fifty men, the Prophet sa wentto do battle with an army about five times as large. But,with the help of God, in a short time the six hundredand fifty Muslims drove away three thousand skilledMeccan soldiers. The Muslims ran in pursuit. The hillypass on which fifty Muslims had been posted was in therear. The guard said to the commander, "The enemy isbeaten. It is time we took some part in the battle andwon our laurels in the next world." The commanderstopped them, reminding them of the clear orders of theProphet sa . But the men explained that the Prophet's saorder was to be taken in the spirit and not in the letter.There was no meaning in continuing to guard the passwhile the enemy was running for life.VICTORY CONVERTED INTO DEFEATArguing thus they left the pass and plunged into thebattle. The fleeing Meccan army included Khalid binWalid ra , who later became a great Muslim general. Hiskeen eye fell on the unguarded pass. There were only afew men guarding it now. Khalid ra shouted for another


Life of Muhammad sa 65Meccan general ‘Amr bin al-‘As ra , and asked him to havea look at the pass behind. ‘Amr ra did so, and thought itthe chance of his life. Both generals stopped their menand climbed on to the hill. They killed the few Muslimswho were still guarding the pass and from the eminencestarted an attack upon the Muslims. Hearing their warcries, the routed Meccan army collected itself again, andreturned to the field. The attack on the Muslims wassudden. In their pursuit of the Meccan army they haddispersed over the whole of the field. Muslim resistanceto this new attack could not be assembled. Onlyindividual Muslim soldiers were seen engaging theenemy. Many of these fell fighting. Others fell back. Afew made a ring round the Prophet sa . They could nothave been more than twenty in all. The Meccan armyattacked this ring fiercely. One by one, the Muslims inthe ring fell under the blows of Meccan swordsmen.From the hill, the archers sent volleys of arrows. At thattime, Talha ra , one of the Quraish and the Muhajirin(Meccan Muslims who had taken refuge in Medina), sawthat the enemy arrows were all directed to the face of theProphet sa . He stretched out his hand and held it upagainst the Prophet's sa face. Arrow after arrow struckTalha's ra hand, yet it did not drop, although with eachshot it was pierced through. Ultimately it was completelymutilated. Talha ra lost his hand and for the rest of lifewent about with a stump. In the time of the FourthKhalifah of Islam when internal dissensions had raisedtheir head, Talha ra was tauntingly described by anenemy as the handless Talha ra . A friend of Talha rareplied, "Handless, yea, but do you know where he losthis hand? At the Battle of Uhud, in which he raised hishand to shield the Prophet's sa face from the enemy'sarrows."Long after the Battle of Uhud friends of Talha ra askedhim, "Did not your hand smart under the arrow shotsand the pain make you cry?" Talha ra replied, "It mademe smart, and it almost made me cry, but I resistedboth because I knew that if my hand shook but slightly,


66Life of Muhammad sait would expose the Prophet's sa face to the volley ofenemy arrows." The few men who were left with theProphet sa could not have stood the army which theyfaced. A party of the enemy advanced forward andpushed them off. The Prophet sa then stood alone like awall, and soon a stone struck his forehead and made adeep gash in it. Another blow drove the rings of hishelmet into his cheeks. When the arrows were fallingthick and fast and the Prophet sa was wounded heprayed, "My God, forgive my people for they know notwhat they are doing" (Muslim). The Prophet sa fell on thedead, the dead who had lost their lives in his defence.Other Muslims came forward to defend the Prophet safrom more attacks. They also fell dead. The Prophet sa layunconscious among these dead bodies. When the enemysaw this, they took him for dead. They withdrew in thecertainty of victory, and proceeded to line up again.Among the Muslims who had been defending theProphet sa and who had been pushed by the avalanche ofenemy forces, was ‘Umar ra . The battlefield had nowcleared. ‘Umar ra who saw this, became certain that theProphet sa was dead. ‘Umar ra was a brave man. Heproved it again and again; best of all, in fightingsimultaneously the great Empires of Rome and Iran. Hewas never known to blench under difficulties. This‘Umar ra sat on a stone with drooping spirits, crying likea child. In the meantime another Muslim, Anas binNadr ra by name, came wandering along in the belief thatthe Muslims had won. He had seen them overpower theenemy but, having had nothing to eat since the nightbefore, had withdrawn from the battlefield, with somedates in his hand. As soon as he saw ‘Umar ra crying, hestood amazed and asked, ''‘Umar ra , what is the matterwith you that instead of rejoicing over a magnificentvictory won by the Muslims, you are crying?''‘Umar ra replied, "Anas ra , you do not know what hashappened. You only saw the first part of the battle. Youdo not know that the enemy captured the strategic pointon the hill and attacked us fiercely. The Muslims had


Life of Muhammad sa 67dispersed, believing they had won. There was noresistance to this attack by the enemy. Only theProphet sa with a handful of guards stood against theentire enemy and all of them fell down fighting.""If this is true," said Anas ra , "what use is sitting hereand crying? Where our beloved Master has gone, theremust we go too."Anas ra had the last date in his hand. This he wasabout to put in his mouth but, instead, he threw it awaysaying, "O date, except thee, is there anything whichstands between Anas ra and Paradise?"Saying this, he unsheathed his sword and flunghimself into the enemy forces, one against threethousand. He could not do much, but one believingspirit is superior to many. Fighting valiantly, Anas ra atlast fell wounded, but he continued to fight. Upon thisthe enemy horde sprang barbarously upon him. It issaid that when the battle was over, and the dead wereidentified, Anas's ra body could not be identified. It hadbeen cut into seventy pieces. At last a sister of Anas raidentifying it by a mutilated finger said, "This is mybrother's body" (Bukhari).Those Muslims who made a ring round the Prophet sabut were driven back, ran forward again as soon as theysaw the enemy withdrawing. They lifted the Prophet's sabody from among the dead. Abu ‘Ubaida bin al-Jarrah racaught between his teeth the rings which had sunk intothe Prophet's sa cheeks and pulled them out, losing twoteeth in the attempt.After a little while, the Prophet sa returned toconsciousness. The guards who surrounded him sentout messengers to tell Muslims to assemble again. Adisrupted force began to assemble. They escorted theProphet sa to the foot of the hill. Abu Sufyan ra , the enemycommander, seeing these Muslim remnants, cried aloud,"We have killed Muhammad sa ." The Prophet sa heard theboastful cry but forbade the Muslims to answer, lest theenemy should know the truth and attack again and theexhausted and badly-wounded Muslims should have


68Life of Muhammad saagain to fight this savage horde. Not receiving a replyfrom the Muslims, Abu Sufyan ra became certain theProphet sa was dead. He followed his first cry by a secondand said, "We have also killed Abu Bakr ra ." TheProphet sa forbade Abu Bakr ra to make any reply. AbuSufya ra n followed by a third, and said, "We have alsokilled ‘Umar ra ." The Prophet sa forbade ‘Umar ra also toreply. Upon this Abu Sufyan ra cried that they had killedall three. Now ‘Umar ra could not contain himself andcried, "We are all alive and, with God's grace, ready tofight you and break your heads." Abu Sufyan ra raisedthe national cry, "Glory to Hubal. Glory to Hubal. ForHubal has put an end to Islam." (Hubal was theMeccans' national idol.) The Prophet sa could not bearthis boast against the One and Only God, Allah, forWhom he and the Muslims were prepared to sacrificetheir all. He had refused to correct a declaration of hisown death. He had refused to correct a declaration ofthe death of Abu Bakr ra and of ‘Umar ra for strategicreasons. Only the remnants of his small force had beenleft. The enemy forces were large and buoyant. But nowthe enemy had insulted Allah. The Prophet sa could notstand such an insult. His spirit was fired. He lookedangrily at the Muslims who surrounded him and said,"Why stand silent and make no reply to this insult toAllah, the Only God?"The Muslims asked, "What shall we say, OProphet sa ?" "Say, 'Allah alone is Great and Mighty. Allahalone is Great and Mighty. He alone is High andHonoured. He alone is High and Honoured.' "The Muslims shouted accordingly. This cry stupefiedthe enemy. They stood chagrined at the thought that theProphet sa after all had not died. Before them stood ahandful of Muslims, wounded and exhausted. To finishthem was easy enough. But they dared not attack again.Content with the sort of victory they had won, theyreturned making a great show of rejoicing.In the Battle of Uhud, Muslim victory becameconverted into a defeat. Nevertheless, the battle affords


Life of Muhammad sa 69evidence of the truth of the Prophet sa . For in this battlewere fulfilled the prophecies the Prophet sa had madebefore going into battle. Muslims were victorious in thebeginning. The Prophet's sa beloved uncle, Hamza ra , diedfighting. The commander of the enemy was killed earlyin the action. The Prophet sa himself was wounded andmany Muslims were killed. All this happened as it hadbeen foretold in the Prophet's sa vision.Besides the fulfilment of the incidents toldbeforehand this battle afforded many proofs of thesincerity and devotion of Muslims. So exemplary wastheir behaviour that history fails to provide a parallel toit. Some incidents in proof of this we have alreadynarrated. One more seems worth narrating. It shows thecertainty of conviction and devotion displayed by theProphet's sa Companions. When the Prophet sa retired tothe foot of the hill with a handful of Muslims, he sentout some of his Companions to look after the woundedlying on the field. A Companion after long search founda wounded Muslim of Medina. He was near death. TheCompanion bent over him and said, "Peace on you." Thewounded Muslim raised a trembling hand, and holdingthe visitor's hand in his own, said, "I was waiting forsomeone to come.""You are in a critical state," said the visitor to thesoldier. "Have you anything to communicate to yourrelations?""Yes, yes," said the dying Muslim. "Say peace to myrelations and tell them that while I die here, I leavebehind a precious trust to be taken care of by them.That trust is the Prophet of God sa . I hope my relationswill guard his person with their lives and remember thismy only dying wish" (Mu’atta and Zurqani).Dying persons have much to say to their relations,but these early Muslims, even in their dying moments,thought not of their relations, sons, daughters or wives,nor of their property, but only of the Prophet sa . Theyfaced death in the certainty that the Prophet sa was thesaviour of the world. Their children if they survived,


70Life of Muhammad sawould achieve but little. If they died guarding theProphet's sa person, they would have served both Godand man. They believed that in sacrificing their familiesthey served mankind and they served their God. Ininviting death for them they secured life everlasting formankind at large.The Prophet sa collected the wounded and the dead.The wounded were given first-aid and the dead wereburied. The Prophet sa then learnt that the enemy hadtreated the Muslims most savagely, that they hadmutilated the bodies of the dead Muslims and cut off anose here and an ear there. One of the mutilated bodieswas that of Hamza ra , the Prophet's sa uncle. The Prophet sawas moved, and said, "The actions of disbelievers nowjustify the treatment which we so far thought was unjustified."As he said this, he was commanded by God tolet the disbelievers alone and to continue to show themcompassion.RUMOUR OF PROPHET'S sa DEATH REACHESMEDINAThe rumour of the Prophet's sa death and the news ofthe dispersal of the Muslim army reached Medina,before the remnants of the Muslim force could return tothe town. Women and children ran madly towardsUhud. Many of them learnt the truth from the returningsoldiers and went back. One woman of the tribe of BanuDinar went on until she reached Uhud. This woman hadlost her husband, father and brother in the battle.According to some narrators, she had also lost a son. Areturning soldier met her and told her that her fatherhad died. She said in reply, "I do not care for my father;tell me about the Prophet sa ." The soldier knew theProphet sa was alive, so he did not answer her query atonce, but went on to tell her of her brother and husbandwho had also died. At each report she remainedunmoved and asked again and again, "What has the


Life of Muhammad sa 71Prophet sa of God done?" It was a strange expression touse, but when we remember it was a woman who usedit, it no longer seems so strange. A woman's emotionsare strong. She often addresses a dead person as thoughhe were alive. If that person is nearly related, she tendsto make a complaint to him and ask why he isabandoning her and leaving her behind uncared for andunlooked after. It is common for women to mourn theloss of their dear ones in this way. The expression usedby this woman, therefore, is appropriate to a womangrieving over the Prophet's sa death. This woman held theProphet sa dear and refused to believe he was dead evenafter she had heard that he was. At the same time shedid not deny the news but continued to say in truewomanly grief, "What has the Prophet sa of God done?"By saying this she pretended the Prophet sa was alive,and complained that a loyal leader like him had chosento give them all the pain of separation.When the returning soldier found that this womandid not care about the death of her father, brother andhusband, he understood the depth of her love for theProphet sa and told her, "As for the Prophet sa , he is asyou wish, fully alive." The woman asked the soldier toshow her the Prophet sa . He pointed to one part of thefield. The woman rushed to that part and reaching theProphet sa , held his mantle in her hand, kissed it andsaid, "My father and mother be sacrificed to thee, OProphet of God sa , if thou livest, I care not who else dies"(Hisham).We can see, therefore, what fortitude and devotiondid Muslims—both men and women—display in thisbattle. Christian writers narrate proudly the story ofMary Magdalene and her companions and tell us of theirdevotion and bravery. It is said that in the small hoursof the morning they stole through the Jews and madefor the tomb of Jesus as . But what is this compared withthe devotion of this Muslim woman of the tribe of Dinar?One more example is recorded in history. After thedead had been buried and the Prophet sa was returning


72Life of Muhammad sato Medina, he saw women and children who had comeout of Medina to receive him. The cord of his dromedarywas held by Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh ra , a chief of Medina. Sa‘d rawas leading the dromedary pompously. He seemed toproclaim to the world that Muslims had after allsucceeded in leading the Prophet sa back to Medina haleand hearty. As he was advancing he saw his own agedmother advancing to meet the returning party ofMuslims. This aged woman was very weak-sighted.Sa‘d ra recognized her and, turning to the Prophet sa , said,"Here, O Prophet sa , is my mother.""Let her come forward," replied the Prophet sa .The woman came forward and with a vacant looktried to spot the Prophet's sa face. At last she was able tospot it and was glad. The Prophet sa seeing her said,"Woman, I grieve over the loss of thy son.""But," replied the devoted woman, "after I have seenyou alive, I have swallowed all my misfortunes." TheArabic expression she used was "I have roasted mymisfortune and swallowed it" (Halbiyya, Vol. 2, p. 210).What depth of emotion does this expression indicate.Normally, grief eats up a human being, and here was anaged woman who had lost her son, a staff for her oldage. But she said that, instead of letting her grief eat herup, she had eaten up her grief. The fact that her sonhad died for the Prophet sa would sustain her during therest of her days.The Prophet sa reached Medina. In this battle, manyMuslims were killed and many wounded. Still the battlecannot be said to have ended in defeat for Muslims. Theincidents which we have related above prove the reverse.They prove that Uhud was as great a victory for Muslimsas any other. Muslims who turn to the pages of theirearly history can derive sustenance and inspiration fromUhud.Back in Medina, the Prophet sa returned to hismission. He engaged himself again in training andteaching his followers. But as before, his work did not goon uninterruptedly. After Uhud, the Jews became more


Life of Muhammad sa 73daring, and the hypocrites began to raise their headsagain. They began to think that the extirpation of Islamwas within their means and their competence. Only,they had to make a concerted effort. Accordingly, theJews put to use new methods of vexation. They wouldpublish foul abuse in verse, and in this way they wouldinsult the Prophet sa and his family. Once the Prophet sawas called to decide a dispute and he had to go to aJewish fortress. The Jews planned to drop a stone slabon him and thus put an end to his life. The Prophet sahad a forewarning of this from God. It was his wont toreceive such timely warnings. The Prophet sa left his seatwithout saying anything. The Jews later admitted theirfoul intrigue. Muslim women were insulted in thestreets. In one such incident a Muslim lost his life. Onanother occasion the Jews stoned a Muslim girl and shedied in great pain. This behaviour of the Jews strainedtheir relations with Muslims and forced them to fightagainst the Jews. But Muslims only turned them out ofMedina. One of the two Jewish tribes migrated to Syria.Of the other, some went to Syria and some settled inKhaibar, a well-fortified Jewish stronghold, to the northof Medina.In the interval of peace between Uhud and the nextbattle, the world witnessed an outstanding example ofthe influence of Islam on its followers. We refer to theprohibition of drink. In describing the condition of Arabsociety before Islam, we pointed out that the Arabs wereconfirmed drunkards. To drink five times a day was infashion in every Arab home. To lose oneself under theeffect of drink was a common practice and of this theArabs were not in the least ashamed. Rather theythought it was a virtue. When a guest arrived, it was theduty of the house-wife to send drinks round. To weansuch a people from this deadly habit was no easymatter. But in the fourth year after the Hijra theProphet sa received the command that drinking had beenforbidden. With the promulgation of this command,drinking disappeared from Muslim society. It is recorded


74Life of Muhammad sathat when the revelation making drink unlawful wasreceived, the Prophet sa sent for a Companion andordered him to proclaim the new command in thestreets of Medina. In the house of an Ansari (a Muslim ofMedina) a drinking party was going on. Many personshad been invited and cups of wine were being served.One large pot had been drunk and a second one wasgoing to be broached. Many had lost their senses, andmany more were on the way to lose them. In thiscondition they heard some one proclaim that drinkinghad been forbidden by the Prophet sa under a commandof God. One of the party stood up and said, "It looks likea proclamation against drinking; let us find out if this isso." Another stood up, struck the earthen pot full ofwine with his staff, broke it to pieces and said, "Firstobey, then inquire. It is enough that we have heard ofsuch a proclamation. It is not meet that we should go ondrinking while we make inquiries. It is rather our dutyto let the wine flow in the street and then inquire aboutthe proclamation" (Bukhari and Muslim, Kitab al-Ashriba). This Muslim was right. For, if drinking hadbeen forbidden, they would have been guilty of anoffence, had they gone on drinking on the other hand, ifdrinking had not been forbidden, they would not losemuch if for once they should let the wine in their potsflow into the streets. Drinking disappeared from theentire Muslim society after this proclamation. No specialeffort or campaign was needed to bring about thisrevolutionary change. Muslims who heard thiscommand and witnessed the ready response with whichit was received lived up to seventy or eighty years. Nocase is known of any Muslim who, having heard of thisprohibition, showed the weakness of offending againstit. If there was any such case, it must have been of onewho did not have the chance to come under the directinfluence of the Prophet sa . Compare with this theprohibition movement of America and of the efforts topromote temperance which have been made for so manyyears in Europe. In the one case a simple proclamation


Life of Muhammad sa 75by the Prophet sa was enough to obliterate a social evilrooted deep in Arab society. In the other, prohibitionwas enacted by special laws. Police and the army,custom officials and excise inspectors, all exertedthemselves as a team and tried to put down the evil ofdrink but failed and had to confess their failure. Thedrunkards won and the drink evil could not be defeated.Ours is said to be an age of social progress. But whenwe compare our age with the age of early Islam, wewonder which of the two deserves this title—this age ofours or the age in which Islam brought about this greatsocial revolution?What happened at Uhud was not liable to be easilyforgotten. The Meccans thought Uhud was their firstvictory against Islam. They published the news all overArabia and used it to excite the Arab tribes againstIslam and to persuade them that Muslims were notinvincible. If they continued to prosper, it was notbecause of any strength of their own but because of theweakness of Arab orthodoxy. It was due to the weaknessof Arab idolaters. If the Arab idolaters made a concertedeffort, to overpower the Muslims was not a difficultbusiness. The result of this propaganda was thathostility against Muslims began to gather strength. Theother Arab tribes began to outstrip the Meccans inharassing the Muslims. Some began to attack themopenly. Some began to inflict losses upon themsurreptitiously. In the fourth year after the Hijra, twoArab tribes, the ‘Adl and the Qara, sent theirrepresentatives to the Holy Prophet sa to submit thatmany of their men were inclined towards Islam. Theyrequested the Prophet sa to send to them some Muslimswell-versed in the teaching of Islam, to live among themand teach them the New Religion. Actually this was anintrigue hatched by the Banu Lihyan, arch-enemy ofIslam. They sent these delegates to the Prophet sa underpromise of a rich reward. The Prophet sa received therequest unsuspectingly and sent ten Muslims to teachthe tribes the tenets and principles of Islam. When this


76Life of Muhammad saparty reached the territory of the Banu Lihyan, theirescorts had the news delivered to the tribesmen andinvited them to arrest the party or to put them to death.On this vicious suggestion, two hundred armed men ofthe Banu Lihyan set out in pursuit of the Muslim partyand overtook them at last at a spot called Raji‘. Anencounter took place between ten Muslims and twohundred of the enemy. The Muslims were full of faith.The enemy was without any. The ten Muslims climbedup an eminence and challenged the two hundred. Theenemy tried to overpower the Muslims by vile intrigue.They offered to spare them if only they would comedown. But the party chief replied that they had seenenough of the promises made by disbelievers. So saying,they turned to God and prayed. God was well aware oftheir plight. Was it not meet that He should inform theirProphet sa of this? When the disbelievers found the smallparty of Muslims adamant, they launched their attackupon them. The party fought without thought of defeat.Seven of the ten fell fighting. To the three who remainedthe disbelievers renewed their promise to spare theirlives, on condition that they should come down from theeminence. These three believed the disbelievers andsurrendered. As soon as they did so, the disbelieverstied them up. One of the three said, "This is the firstbreach of your plighted word. God only knows what youwill do next." Saying this, he refused to go with them.The disbelievers started belabouring the victim anddragging him down the way. But they were so overawedby the resistance and determination shown by this oneman that they murdered him on the spot. The other twothey took with them and sold them as slaves to theQuraish of Mecca. One of the two was Khubaib ra , theother Zaid ra . The purchaser of Khubaib ra wanted tomurder him so as to avenge his own father, who hadbeen killed at Badr. One day, Khubaib ra asked for arazor to complete his toilet. Khubaib ra was holding therazor when a child of the household approached him outof curiosity. Khubaib ra took the child and put him on his


Life of Muhammad sa 77knee. The child's mother saw this and became terrified.Her mind was full of guilty feelings, and here was a manwhom they were going to murder in a few days holding arazor so dangerously near their child. She wasconvinced that Khubaib ra was going to murder the child.Khubaib ra saw the consternation on the face of thewoman and said, "Do you imagine I am going to murderyour child. Do not think so for a moment. I cannot dosuch a foul thing. Muslims do not play false."The woman was impressed by the honest andstraightforward bearing and behaviour of Khubaib ra . Sheremembered this ever afterwards and used to say shehad never seen a prisoner like Khubaib ra . At last theMeccans led Khubaib ra to an open field to celebrate hismurder in public. When the appointed moment came,Khubaib ra asked for leave to say two rak‘ats of prayer.The Quraish agreed and Khubaib ra addressed in publicview his last prayers to God in this world. When he hadfinished praying, he said he wanted to continue, but didnot do so lest they should think he was afraid of dying.Then he quietly submitted his neck to the executioner.As he did so, he hummed the verses:While I die a Muslim, I care not whether my headless bodydrops to the right or to the left. And why should I? Mydeath is in the way of God; if He wills, He can bless everypart of my dismembered body (Bukhari).Khubaib ra had hardly finished murmuring theseverses when the executioner's sword fell on his neck andhis head fell to one side. Those who had assembled tocelebrate this public murder included one Sa‘id bin‘Amir ra who later became a Muslim. It is said thatwhenever the murder of Khubaib ra was related inSa‘id's ra presence, he would go into a fit (Hisham). Thesecond prisoner, Zaid ra , was also taken out to bemurdered. Among the spectators was Abu Sufyan ra ,chief of Mecca. Abu Sufyan ra turned to Zaid ra and asked,"Would you not rather have Muhammad sa in your place?


78Life of Muhammad saWould you not prefer to be safe at home whileMuhammad sa was in our hands?"Zaid ra replied proudly, "What, Abu Sufyan ra ? What doyou say? By God, I would rather die, than that theProphet sa should tread on a thorn in a street in Medina."Abu Sufyan ra could not help being impressed by suchdevotion. He looked at Zaid ra in amazement and declaredunhesitatingly, but in measured tones, "God is mywitness, I have not known any one love another as muchas the Companions of Muhammad sa love Muhammad sa "(Hisham, Vol. 2).About this time some people of Najd also approachedthe Prophet sa for Muslims to teach them Islam. TheProphet sa did not trust them. But Abu Bara’, chief of the‘Amir tribe, happened to be in Medina at the time. Heoffered to act as surety for the tribe and assured theProphet sa that they would commit no mischief. TheProphet sa selected seventy Muslims who knew theQur’an by heart. When this party reached Bi’r Ma‘unaone of them, Haram bin Malhan ra went to the chief ofthe ‘Amir tribe (a nephew of Bara’) to give him themessage of Islam. Apparently Haram ra was well receivedby the tribesmen. But while he was addressing the chief,a man stole up from behind and attacked Haram ra witha lance. Haram ra died on the spot. As the lance piercedthrough Haram's ra neck, he was heard saying, "God isgreat. The Lord of the Ka‘ba is my witness, I haveattained my goal" (Bukhari). Having murdered Haram rain this foul manner, the tribal leaders provoked the tribeinto an attack upon the rest of this party of Muslimteachers. "But," said the tribesmen, "Our chief, AbuBara’, offered to act as surety; we cannot attack thisparty." Then the tribal chiefs, with the assistance of thetwo tribes who had gone to the Prophet sa to ask forMuslim teachers and some other tribes, attacked theMuslim party. The simple appeal, "We have come topreach and to teach, not to fight," had no effect. Theystarted murdering the party. All but three of the seventywere murdered. One of the survivors was lame and had


Life of Muhammad sa 79climbed a hill before the encounter began. Two othershad gone to a wood to feed their camels. On returningfrom the wood they found sixty-six of their companionslying dead on the field. The two counselled together.Said one, "We should go and make a report of this to theHoly Prophet sa ."Said the other, "I cannot leave a spot where the chiefof our party, whom our Prophet sa appointed our leader,has been murdered." So saying, he sprang singlehandedupon the disbelievers and died fighting. Theother was taken prisoner but was later released infulfilment of a vow which the tribal chief had taken. Themurdered party included ‘Amir bin Fuhaira ra , afreedman of Abu Bakr ra . His murderer was one Jabbar rawho later became a Muslim. Jabbar ra attributed hisconversion to this mass massacre of Muslims."When I started murdering ‘Amir ra ," says Jabbar ra , "Iheard ‘Amir ra say, ‘By God I have met my goal' I askedsomeone why a Muslim said this sort of thing when hewas meeting his death. That person explained thatMuslims regarded death in the path of God as a blessingand a victory." Jabbar ra was so impressed by this reply,that he started making a systematic study of Islam, andultimately became a Muslim (Hisham and Usud al-Ghaba).The news of the two sad events, in which abouteighty Muslims lost their lives as the result of amischievous intrigue, reached Medina simultaneously.These were no ordinary men who were murdered. Theywere bearers of the Qur’an. They had committed nocrime and had harmed nobody. They were taking part inno battle. They had been decoyed into enemy hands by alie told in the name of God and religion. These factsproved conclusively that enmity to Islam was determinedand deep. On the other hand the zeal of Muslims forIslam was equally determined and deep.


80Life of Muhammad saENCOUNTER WITH BANU MUSTALIQAfter the Battle of Uhud, there was a severe famineat Mecca. Disregarding all enmity which the Meccansbore against him, and disregarding all machinationswhich they had been employing to spread disaffectionagainst him throughout the country, the Prophet saraised a fund to help the poor of Mecca in their direneed. The Meccans remained unimpressed even by thisexpression of goodwill. Their hostility went on unabated.In fact it became worse. Tribes which had so far beensympathetic towards Muslims also became hostile. Onesuch tribe was Banu Mustaliq. They had good relationswith Muslims. But now they had started preparing foran attack on Medina. When the Prophet sa heard of theirpreparations he sent men to find out the truth. The menreturned and confirmed the reports. The Prophet sadecided to go and meet this new attack. Accordingly, heraised a force and led it to the territory of BanuMustaliq. When the Muslim force met the enemy, theProphet sa tried to persuade the enemy to withdrawwithout fighting. They refused. Battle was joined and ina few hours the enemy was defeated.Because the Meccan disbelievers were bent uponmischief and friendly tribes were turning hostile, thehypocrites among Muslims had also ventured on thisoccasion to take part in the battle on the Muslim side.They probably thought they might have a chance to dosome mischief. The encounter with Banu Mustaliq wasover in a few hours. The hypocrites, therefore, did nothave any chance to do any mischief during the battle.The Holy Prophet sa , however, decided to stay in the townof Banu Mustaliq for a few days. During his stay aquarrel arose between a Meccan and a Medinite Muslimover drawing water from a well. The Meccan happenedto be an ex-slave. He struck the Medinite, who raised analarm, crying out for fellow-Medinites—known as theAnsar or Helpers. The Meccan also raised an alarm andcried out for fellow-Meccans—known as the Muhajirin or


Life of Muhammad sa 81Refugees. Excitement prevailed. Nobody inquired whathad happened. Young men on both sides drew theirswords. ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy ibn Salul thought it a Godsend.He decided to add fuel to the fire. "You have gonetoo far in your indulgence to the Refugees. Your goodtreatment of them has turned their heads, and now theyare trying to dominate you in every way." The speechmight have had the effect which ‘Abdullah desired. Thequarrel might have assumed serious proportions. But itdid not. ‘Abdullah was wrong in assessing the effect ofhis mischievous speech. Believing, however, that theAnsar were being persuaded, he went so far as to say:Let us return to Medina. Then will the most honouredamong its citizens turn out the most despised (Bukhari).By the most honoured citizen, he meant himself andby the most despised he meant the Prophet sa As soon ashe said this, believing Muslims were able to see throughthe mischief. It was not an innocent speech they hadlistened to, they said, but the speech of Satan who hadcome to lead them astray. A young man stood up andreported to the Prophet sa through his uncle. TheProphet sa sent for ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy ibn Salul and hisfriends and asked them what had happened. ‘Abdullahand his friends denied that they had taken any suchpart as had been attributed to them in this incident. TheProphet sa said nothing. But the truth began to spread.In the course of time ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy ibn Salul'sown son, ‘Abdullah ra , also heard about it. Young‘Abdullah ra at once saw the Prophet sa , and said, "OProphet sa , my father has insulted you. Death is hispunishment. If you decide so, I would rather have youcommand me to kill my father. If you commandsomeone else, and my father dies at his hands, I may beled to avenge my father by killing that man. Maybe Iincur the displeasure of God in this way.""But," said the Prophet sa , "I have no such intention. Iwill treat your father with compassion andconsideration." When young ‘Abdullah ra compared the


82Life of Muhammad sadisloyalty and discourtesy of his father with thecompassion and kindness of the Prophet sa , he made forMedina full of suppressed anger against his father. Hestopped his father on the way and said he would not lethim go any farther on the road to Medina until he hadwithdrawn the words he had used against the Prophet sa ."The lips which said, 'The Prophet sa is despised and youare honoured,' must now say, 'The Prophet sa is honouredand you are despised.' Until you say this I will not letyou go." 'Abdullah bin Ubayy ibn Salul was astonishedand frightened and said, "I agree, my son, thatMuhammad sa is honoured and that I am despised."Young ‘Abdullah ra then let his father go (Hisham, Vol. 2).We have mentioned before two Jewish tribes whohad to be banished out of Medina on account of theirmischievous machinations and murderous intrigues.Banu Nadir, one of the two, migrated partly to Syria,partly to a town called Khaibar in the north of Medina.Khaibar was a well-fortified Jewish centre in Arabia. TheJews, who had migrated there, began to excite the Arabsagainst Muslims. The Meccans were already swornenemies of Islam. No fresh provocation was needed toexcite the Meccans against Muslims. Similarly theGhatafan of Najd, because of their friendly relations withthe Meccans, were hostile to Muslims. The Jews settledin Khaibar already counted on the Quraish of Mecca andthe Ghatafan of Najd. Besides these, they planned toturn Banu Sulaim and Banu Asad against Islam. Theyalso persuaded Banu Sa‘d, a tribe in alliance with theJews, to join the Meccans in an alliance against Islam.After a long intrigue a confederacy of Arab tribes wasorganized to fight the Muslims. This included theMeccans, the tribes living in territories around Mecca,the tribes of Najd, and those living in territories to thenorth of Medina.


Life of Muhammad sa 83BATTLE OF THE DITCHA large army was raised in the fifth year of the Hijra.The strength of this army has been estimated byhistorians as between ten and twenty-four thousandmen. But a confederated army raised out of the differenttribes of Arabia could not be an army of ten thousand.Twenty-four thousand seems nearer the truth. It couldeasily have been eighteen or twenty thousand. The townof Medina which this horde wished to attack was amodest one, quite unable to resist a concerted attack byall Arabia. Its population at this time was little morethan three thousand males (including old men, youngmen and children). Against this population the enemyhad raised an army of twenty to twenty-four thousandable-bodied men, experienced in warfare; and (havingbeen assembled from different parts of the country) theywere an army with a well-selected personnel. Thepopulation of Medina, on the other hand, which couldbe called upon to resist this huge army included malesof all ages. One can judge the odds against which theMuslim population of Medina had to contend. It was amost unequal encounter. The enemy was twenty totwenty-four thousand strong, and Muslims hardly threethousand including, as we have said, all the males of thetown, the old and the young. When the Prophet sa heardof the huge enemy preparations, he held a council andasked for advice. Among those who were consulted wasSalman ra the Persian, being the first Muslim convertfrom Persia. The Prophet sa asked Salman ra what they didin Persia if they had to defend a town against a hugearmy. "If a town is unfortified, and the home force verysmall," said Salman ra , "the custom in our country is todig a ditch round the town and to defend from inside."The Prophet sa approved of the idea. Medina has hills onone side. These provided a natural protection on thatside. Another side with a concentration of lanes had acompact population. On this side the town could not beattacked unawares. The third side had houses and


84Life of Muhammad sapalm-groves and, at some distance, the fortresses of theJewish tribe, Banu Quraiza. The Banu Quraiza hadsigned a pact of peace with the Muslims. Therefore thisside was also considered safe from enemy attack. Thefourth side was an open plain and it was from this sidethat the enemy attack was most likely and most feared.The Prophet sa , therefore, decided to dig a ditch on thisopen side so as to prevent the enemy from attackingunawares. The task was shared among Muslims—tenmen were to dig ten yards of the ditch. Altogether a milelong ditch, of sufficient width and depth, had to be dug.When the digging was going on, they came upon arock which Muslim sappers found hard to tackle. Areport was sent to the Prophet sa who made for the spotat once. Taking a pickaxe he struck the rock hard.Sparks came out and the Prophet sa cried aloud "AllahuAkbar". He struck again. Again a light came out andagain the Prophet sa cried out, "Allahu Akbar". He strucka third time. Light came out again, the Prophet sa said,"Allahu Akbar" and the rock was in fragments. TheCompanions asked the Prophet sa about all this. Why didhe say, "Allahu Akbar" again and again?"I struck this rock three times with this pickaxe, and threetimes did I see scenes of the future glory of Islam revealedto me. In the first sparks I saw the Syrian palaces of theRoman Empire. I had the keys of those palaces given tome. The second time I saw the illumined palaces of Persiaat Mada’in, and had the keys of the Persian Empire givento me. The third time, I saw the gates of San‘a and I hadthe keys of the Kingdom of Yemen given to me. These arethe promises of God and I trust you will put reliance inthem. The enemy can do you no harm" (Zurqani, Vol. 2).With their limited man-power, the ditch which theMuslims were able to dig could not be a perfect one fromthe point of view of military strategy, but it at leastseemed to ensure against the sudden entry of the enemyinto the town. That it was not impassable, subsequent


Life of Muhammad sa 85events in the battle amply proved. No other side suitedthe enemy from which to attack the town.From the side of the ditch, therefore, the huge armyof Arabian tribesmen began to approach Medina. Assoon as the Prophet sa got to know of this, he came out todefend it with twelve hundred men, having posted othermen to defend other parts of the town.Historians estimate differently the number whichdefended the ditch. Some put it at three thousand,others at twelve to thirteen hundred, still others atseven hundred. These estimates are very difficult andapparently difficult to reconcile. But, after weighing theevidence, we have come to the conclusion that all thethree estimates of the Muslim numbers engaged indefending the ditch are correct. They relate to differentstages of the battle.FIGHT AGAINST HEAVY ODDSWe have already agreed that, after the withdrawal ofthe hypocrites at Uhud, the number of Muslims left inthe field was seven hundred. The Battle of the Ditchtook place only two years after the Battle of Uhud.During these two years, no large accessions to Islam arerecorded in history. An increase during this time in thenumber of combatant Muslims from seven hundred tothree thousand is not to be expected. At the same time,it does not stand to reason that between Uhud and theDitch there was no rise in the number of combatantMuslims. Islam continued to add to its numbers and weshould expect some increase between the Battle of Uhudand the Battle of the Ditch. From these twoconsiderations, it seems to follow that the estimatewhich puts the number of Muslim combatants in theBattle of the Ditch at one thousand two hundred iscorrect. The only question to be answered is, why someauthorities put the number at three thousand and someat seven hundred. Our answer to this question is that


86Life of Muhammad sathe two figures relate to two different stages of thebattle. The Battle of the Ditch was fought in threestages. We had the first stage before the enemy hadcome near to Medina, and Muslims were engaged indigging the ditch. During this time, we may well assumethat in removing the excavated earth to a distance,children and, to some extent even women must havecome in to assist. In the digging of the trench we may,therefore, assume that there were altogether threethousand souls employed on the Muslim side. Thenumber included children and some women. Thechildren were able to help in carrying the earth, andwomen who always vied with the men in helping allMuslim campaigns, must have been useful in doingmany ancillary jobs connected with the digging. There isevidence to support this assumption. When the diggingstarted, even children were asked to come. Practicallythe whole population took part in the digging. But assoon as the enemy arrived and the battle began, theProphet sa ordered boys under fifteen to withdraw fromthe scene of operations. Those above fifteen were allowedto take part if they were so minded (Halbiyya, Vol. 2).From this it appears that at the time of digging, Muslimnumbers were much larger than when the battle began.At the time of the battle the very young boys had allwithdrawn. Estimates which put the Muslim numbers inthe battle at three thousand relate only to the digging,and those which put the figure at one thousand twohundred relate to the actual battle in which only grownupmales took part. The only estimate we have notaccounted for is that which puts the figure at sevenhundred. Even this estimate, according to us, is correct.It has been proposed by as reliable an authority as IbnIshaq, who is supported in this estimate by no less aperson than Ibn Hazm. It is difficult to question thisestimate. Fortunately, when we turn to the other detailsof the battle, even this estimate turns out to be correct.There is evidence to show that when the Banu Quraiza,against their plighted word, joined the enemy, and


Life of Muhammad sa 87decided to attack Medina in the rear, the Holy Prophet sa ,having been apprised of their evil intention, decided topost guards in the part of the town exposed to the attackof Banu Quraiza. This part of Medina had originallybeen left undefended because the Banu Quraiza were inalliance with Muslims. And it was assumed that theywould not let the enemy attack the town from their side.It is known that when the defection of the Banu Quraizawas reported to the Prophet sa and it became evident thatMuslim women, considered safe in this part of the townbecause of the alliance, were no longer safe, theProphet sa decided to send two forces, of two and threehundred men, to guard two different parts of the nowexposed town. The Prophet sa ordered them to raiseoccasional cries of "Allahu Akbar", so that the mainMuslim forces should know that the Muslim womenwere safe. The estimate of Ibn Ishaq, therefore, whichputs the number of combatants in the Battle of theDitch at seven hundred, is also correct. If five hundredmen out of one thousand two hundred were sent toguard the rear of the town, only seven hundred couldremain. Thus all the three estimates of the number ofthe Muslim army in the Battle of the Ditch turn out tobe correct.To defend the ditch, therefore, the Holy Prophet sa hadonly seven hundred men. True, the ditch had been dug.But to face and to repel an army as large as the enemyhad, even with the help of the ditch seemed well-nighimpossible. But as usual Muslims trusted their God andrelied on His help. Their small force waited for theenemy host, while the women and children had beensent to two apparently safe parts of the town. When theenemy reached the ditch, they were amazed becausethis stratagem had never been used before in any Arabbattle. So they decided to camp on their side of the ditchand to deliberate over methods of attacking and enteringMedina. One side was protected by the ditch. A secondside had hills with their natural protection. A third sidehad stone houses and groves of trees. It was impossible


88Life of Muhammad safor the enemy to make any sudden attack on any part ofthe town. The enemy commanders took counsel togetherand decided that it was necessary to try to wean theBanu Quraiza, the Jewish tribe, still living in Medina,from their alliance with the Muslims and ask them tojoin the Arab confederates in this critical onslaughtagainst Medina. Only the Banu Quraiza could give thema way to the town. At last Abu Sufyan ra selected Huyaibin Akhtab, chief of the banished tribe of Banu Nadirand principal instigator of Arab tribes against Medina,and appointed him to negotiate with the Banu Quraizafor facilities to attack the town from the rear. Huyai binAkhtab went to the Jewish fortress to see the leader ofthe Banu Quraiza. At first they refused to see him. Butwhen he explained that this was a very opportunemoment to defeat the Muslims, he succeeded in winningover one of the Quraizites, Ka‘b. He explained that allArabia had turned out to attack and destroy theMuslims. The army which stood at the other side of theditch was not an army, but an ocean of able-bodied menwhom the Muslims could not possibly resist. Ultimatelyit was agreed that as soon as the army of disbelieverssucceeded in forcing the ditch the Banu Quraiza wouldattack that part of Medina to which the Holy Prophet sahad sent all the women and children for safety. Thisplan, it was believed, would smash the Muslimresistance, and prove a death-trap for their entirepopulation—men, women and children. If this plan hadmet with even partial success, it would have cost theMuslims dear and made things very difficult for them.They would have had no escape from this death-trap.TREACHERY OF BANU QURAIZAThe Banu Quraiza, as we have said, were in alliancewith the Muslims. Even if they had not joined the battleon the Muslim side, it was expected that they would atleast bar the way of the enemy on their side. The


Life of Muhammad sa 89Prophet sa , therefore, had left that part of the townentirely unguarded. The Banu Quraiza knew that theMuslims trusted their good faith. So when they decidedto join the Arabs, it was agreed that they would not jointhem openly lest the Muslims should become alert andtake steps to guard the part of the town on the side ofthe Banu Quraiza. It was a very dangerous plot.When it was agreed that Muslims were to be attackedfrom two sides, the Arab army started assailing theditch. A few days passed, however, and nothinghappened. Then they hit upon the idea of posting theirarchers on an eminence and ordering them to attackparties of Muslims defending the ditch. These stood onthe edge separated by short intervals. As soon as theMuslim defence showed any signs of breaking, thedisbelievers would try to cross the ditch with the help oftheir first-rate horsemen. They believed that when suchattacks were repeated, they would obtain possession of apoint on the Muslim side of the ditch at which theywould be able to land their forces for a full-fledgedattack on the town. Attack after attack was thereforemade. Muslim defenders had to fight ceaselessly. Oneday they were kept so engaged in repelling these attacksthat some of the daily prayers could not be said at theappointed time. The Prophet sa was grieved over this andsaid, "God punish the infidels, they have upset ourprayers." The incident shows the intensity of the enemyattack. But it also shows that the Prophet's sa first andlast concern was the worship of God. Medina had beenbeleaguered on all sides. Not only men, but also womenand children were faced with certain death. The whole ofthe town was in the grip of anxiety. But the Prophet sastill thought of holding the daily prayers at theirappointed hours. Muslims do not worship God only oncea week, as do Christians and Hindus. Muslims arerequired to worship five times a day. During a battle, tohold even one public prayer is difficult, not to speak ofholding five prayers a day in congregation. But theProphet sa convened the five daily prayers even during


90Life of Muhammad sabattle. If one of these prayers was upset by enemyattack, it pained him.To return to the battle, the enemy was attackingfrom the front, the Banu Quraiza were planning toattack from the rear but not in such a way as to makethe Muslim population alert. They wanted to enter thetown from behind and to kill the women and childrensheltered there. One day the Banu Quraiza sent a spy tofind out whether guards had been posted for theprotection of women and children and, if so, in whatstrength. There was a special enclosure for familieswhich the enemy regarded as their special target. Thespy came and began to hover round this enclosure andto look about suspiciously. While he was doing so,Safiyya ra , an aunt of the Prophet sa , spotted him. Onlyone male adult happened to be on guard duty at thetime and even he was ill. Safiyya ra reported to him whatshe had seen and suggested he should lay hand on thisspy before he was able to inform the enemy howunprotected the women and children were in that part ofthe town. The sick Muslim refused to do anything uponwhich Safiyya ra herself picked up a staff and began tofight this undesirable visitor. With the help of otherwomen she succeeded in over-powering and killing him.Later it was proved that this man was really an agent ofthe Banu Quraiza. Muslims became nervous and beganto apprehend other attacks from this side which theyhad so far thought quite safe. But the attack from thefront was so heavy that the whole of the Muslim forcewas needed to resist it. Nevertheless, the Prophet sadecided to spare a part of the force for the protection ofwomen and children. As we have said in our discussionof the Muslim numbers in this battle, out of twelvehundred men, the Prophet sa sent five hundred for theprotection of women in the town. For the defence of theditch, therefore, only seven hundred men were left tofight an army of between eighteen and twenty thousand.Many Muslims were unnerved at the odds which theyhad to face. They went to the Prophet sa and said how


Life of Muhammad sa 91critical the situation was, and how impossible it seemedto save the town. They requested the Prophet sa to pray.They also requested him to teach them a special prayerfor this occasion. The Prophet sa replied, "Have no fear.Only pray to God that He should protect you from yourweaknesses, strengthen your hearts, and relieve youranxiety." The Prophet sa prayed himself in the followingwords:God, Thou hast sent to me the Qur’an. Thou waitest not tocall anyone to account. These hordes which have come toattack us, give them defeat. God, I beseech thee again:Defeat them, make us dominate over them, and upset alltheir evil intentions (Bukhari).And again:God, Thou hearest those who cry to Thee in misery and inaffliction. Thou repliest to those who are stricken withanxiety. Relieve me of my pain, my anxiety, and my fear.Thou knowest what odds I and my Companions are upagainst (Zurqani).The hypocrites became more nervous than others inthe Muslim force. All regard for the honour of their sideand the safety of their town, their women and children,disappeared from their hearts. But they did not want tobe disgraced in the presence of their own side.Therefore, they began to desert the Muslims one by oneon slender excuses. The Qur’an refers to this in 33: 14And a section of them even asked leave of the Prophet sa ,saying, 'Our houses are exposed and defenceless.' And theywere not exposed. They only sought to flee away.The state of battle at the moment, and the conditionin which the Muslims stood at the time is described inthe Qur’an in the following verses:When they came upon you from above you and frombelow you, and when your eyes became distracted, and thehearts reached to the throats, and you thought diversethoughts about Allah. Then were the believers sorely tried,and they were shaken with a violent shaking. And when


92Life of Muhammad sathe hypocrites, and those in whose hearts was a diseasesaid, 'Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing butdelusion'. And when a party of them said, 'O people ofYathrib, you have possibly no stand against the enemy,therefore turn back' (33: 11-14).Here Muslims are reminded how they were attackedfrom the front by a confederacy of Arab tribes, and inthe rear by the Jews. They are reminded how miserablethey were at that time. Their eyes flinched and theirhearts were in their mouths. They even began toentertain doubts about God. The believers were then ontrial. They were all given a shaking. The hypocrites andthe spiritually diseased began to say, 'We have all beenfooled by false promises made to us by God and HisProphet sa !' A party of them even began to unnerve theMuslim force saying, 'There is no fighting now. There isnothing to do but to go back.'How true believers behaved on this occasion is alsodescribed in the Qur’an:And when the believers saw the confederates, they said,'This is what Allah and His Messenger sa promised us; andAllah and His Messenger ra spoke the truth.' And it onlyincreased them in faith and submission. Among thebelievers are men who have been true to the covenant theyhad made with Allah. There are some of them who havefulfilled their vow, and some who still wait, and they havenot changed their condition in the least (33: 23, 24).The true believers, that is to say, were unlike thehypocrites and the weak. When they saw the hugenumbers of the enemy, they were reminded of what Godand His Prophet sa had told them already. This concertedattack by the tribes of Arabia was proof only of the truthof God and the Prophet sa . The true believers remainedunshaken. Rather they increased in the spirit ofobedience and in the fervour of faith. The true believersstood by their compact with God. Some of them hadalready attained to the goal of their lives by meeting


Life of Muhammad sa 93their death. Some were only waiting to die in the path ofGod and reach their goal.The enemy attacked the ditch fiercely anduninterruptedly. Sometimes he succeeded in clearing it.One day, important generals of the enemy succeeded ingoing across. But they were attacked so bravely by theMuslims that they had to fall back. In this encounter,Naufal, a big leader of the disbelievers, lost his life. Sobig was this leader that the disbelievers thought theywould not be able to stand any insult to his dead body.They, therefore, sent word to the Prophet sa , that if hewould return the body of this chief, they would pay tenthousand dirhams. It was a high price for the return ofthe dead body. The offer was made out of a sense ofguilt. The disbelievers had mutilated the Muslim dead atUhud and were afraid that Muslims would do the same.But the teaching of Islam was different. Islam forbadeoutright the mutilation of the dead. When the Prophet sareceived the message and the offer, he said, "What usehave we for this body? We want nothing in return forthis. If it please you, take away the body" (Zurqani, Vol.2, p. 114).A passage in Muir's Life of Mohammad(London-1878, p.322) describes eloquently thefierceness of the attack on Muslims. We need notapologize for quoting it here:Next morning, Mahomed found the whole force of theAllies drawn out against him. It required the utmostactivity and an unceasing vigilance on his side to frustratethe manoeuvres of the enemy. Now they would threaten ageneral assault; then breaking up into divisions they wouldattack various posts in rapid and distracting succession;and at last, watching their opportunity, they would masstheir troops on the least protected point, and, under coverof a sustained and galling discharge of arrows, attempt toforce the trench. Over and again a gallant dash was madeat the city, and at the tent of Mahomed sa , by such leadersof renown as Khalid ra and ‘Amr ra ; and these were onlyrepelled by constant counter-marches and unremitting


94Life of Muhammad saarchery. This continued throughout the day; and, as thearmy of Mahomed sa was but just sufficient to guard thelong line, there could be no relief. Even at night Khalid ra ,with a strong party of horses, kept up the alarm, and stillthreatening the line of defence, rendered outposts atfrequent intervals necessary. But all the endeavours of theenemy were without effect. The trench was not crossed.The battle had gone on for two days. Still there hadbeen no hand-to-hand fighting, no great bloodshed.Twenty-four hours of fighting had resulted in only threedeaths on the enemy side and five on the Muslim side.Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh ra , a chief of the Aus tribe and a devoteeof the Prophet sa , was wounded. Repeated attacks on theditch, however, resulted in some damage, and this madefurther attack easier. Great scenes of valour and ofloyalty were witnessed. It was a cold night, perhaps thecoldest in Arabia. We have on the authority of ‘A’isha ra ,the Prophet's sa holy consort, that the Prophet sa rose fromhis sleep again and again to guard the damaged part ofthe ditch. He became exhausted. He returned to bed butthen, having warmed himself a little, went again toguard the ditch. One day he was so exhausted that heseemed quite unable to move. Then he said he wishedsome devoted Muslim would come and relieve him of thephysical labour of guarding the ditch in the cold of thenight. Soon he heard a voice. It was Sa‘d bin Waqqas ra .The Prophet sa asked him why he had come."To guard your person," said Sa‘d ra ."There is no need to guard my person," said theProphet sa "A part of the ditch is damaged. Go and guardit that Muslims may be safe." Sa‘d ra went, and theProphet sa was able to sleep. (There was somecoincidence. For when the Prophet sa arrived at Medinaand danger to his person was very great, even then itwas Sa‘d ra who offered himself for a guard.) On anotheroccasion during these difficult days, the Prophet sa heardthe sound of arms. "Who is it?" asked the Prophet sa . "‘Ibad bin Bishr ra ," was the reply.


Life of Muhammad sa 95"Have you anyone else with you?" asked theProphet sa . "Yes," said ‘Ibad ra , "A party of Companions.We will guard your tent.""Leave my tent alone. The disbelievers are trying tocross the ditch. Go and fight them" (Halbiyya, Vol. 2).As we said before, the Jews tried to enter the townsurreptitiously. A Jewish spy lost his life in the effort.When they found that their intrigue had become known,they began to help the Arab confederates more openly. Aconcerted attack in the rear, however, was notattempted, because the field on this side was narrowand with the posting of the Muslim guards a large-scaleattack had become impossible. But a few days later, theJews and pagan confederates decided to make asimultaneous and sudden attack upon the Muslims.THE CONFEDERATES DISPERSEThis dangerous plan, however, was foiled by God in amiraculous manner. It happened in this way'. OneNu‘aim ra , who belonged to the tribe of Ghatafan, becameinclined towards Islam. He had come with the paganarmies but looked for an opportunity to help theMuslims. Alone, he could not do much. But when hesaw that Jews had made common cause with the Arabsand Muslims seemed faced with certain death anddestruction, Nu‘aim ra made up his mind to do what hecould to save the Muslims. He went to the BanuQuraiza, and talked to their chiefs. If the Arab armiesran away, what did they expect Muslims would do? TheJews being in compact with the Muslims, should theynot be ready for punishment due to those who provefalse to a compact? The interrogation frightened theJewish leaders. They asked him what they should do.Nu‘aim ra advised them to ask for seventy pagans ashostages. If the pagans were honest about a concertedattack they would not refuse the request. They shouldsay that these seventy would guard their strategic


96Life of Muhammad sapoints, while they themselves attacked the Muslimsfrom the rear. After his talks with the Jews he went tothe pagan leaders. He asked them what they would do ifthe Jews went back on their compact; if, to conciliatethe Muslims they asked for pagan hostages and thenhanded them over to the Muslims. Was it not importantfor them to test the honesty of the Jews and ask them toparticipate in the common attack at once? The paganchiefs were impressed by this advice. Acting upon it,they sent word to the Jews asking them whether theywould not attack the town from the rear now that they(the confederates) were ready for the planned attack.The Jews replied that the following day was theirsabbath and they could not fight on that day. Secondly,they said, they belonged to Medina, and the Arabconfederates were all outsiders. Should the Arabs fleefrom the battle, what were the Jews going to do? TheArabs should, therefore, give seventy men as hostages.The Jews would then be ready to carry out their part ofthe attack. Suspicion was already at work. The Arabsrefused to entertain the Jewish request. If the Jews werehonest in their compact with the Arabs, there was nomeaning in the sort of proposal which they had made.Suspicion being subversive of courage, the Arab armieslost their zeal, and when night came, went to sleepburdened with doubts and difficulties. Both officers andmen repaired to their tents in depressed mood. Then amiracle happened, help coming from heaven to theMuslims. A keen wind began to blow. Tent walls wereswept away. Cooking pots toppled over fires. Some fireswere extinguished. The pagans believed in keeping alivea fire throughout the night. A blazing camp-fire was agood omen, an extinguished one a bad omen. When afire in front of a tent became extinguished, theoccupants thinking it a bad augury, would withdrawfrom the battle for the day, and join again. The paganleaders were already stricken with doubts. When somecampers packed away, others thought that the Muslimshad made a night attack. The suggestion became


Life of Muhammad sa 97contagious. They all started packing and withdrawingfrom the field. It is said that Abu Sufyan ra was asleep inhis tent. News of the sudden withdrawal of the pagandivisions reached his ears. He got up agitated and, inexcitement, mounted a tethered camel. He spurred theanimal, but the animal would not move. His friendspointed to what he was doing, untied the animal, andAbu Sufyan ra with his friends was able to leave the field.Two-thirds of the night had passed. The battle-fieldhad cleared already. An army of between twenty andtwenty-five thousand soldiers and followers disappeared,leaving a complete wilderness behind. Just at that timethe Prophet sa had a revelation that the enemy had fledas the result of an act of God. To find out what hadhappened the Prophet sa wanted to send one of hisfollowers to scan the battlefield and make a report. Theweather was icy cold. Little wonder, the ill-clad Muslimswere freezing. Some heard the Prophet's sa voice when hecalled out in the night. They wanted to reply, but couldnot. The cold was forbidding. Only Hudhaifa ra was ableto say aloud, "Yes, Prophet sa of God, what do you wantus to do?"The Prophet sa called out again. Again nobody couldanswer because of the cold. Only Hudhaifa ra answeredagain. The Prophet sa asked Hudhaifa ra to go and surveythe battle-field, for God had informed him that theenemy had fled. Hudhaifa ra went near the ditch, andfrom there saw that the enemy had vacated the field.There were no soldiers and no men. Hudhaifa ra returnedto the Prophet sa , recited the Kalima and said the enemyhad fled. On the morrow Muslims also unpegged theirtents and started packing for the city. A severe triallasting for about twenty days had ended.BANU QURAIZA PUNISHEDMuslims were able to breathe again in peace. Butthey still had the Banu Quraiza to settle with. The Banu


98Life of Muhammad saQuraiza had dishonoured their pact with the Muslimsand this could not be passed over. The Prophet sacollected his exhausted force and told them that therewas no rest for them yet. Before the sun went down,they must fall upon the Banu Quraiza in theirfortifications. Then he sent ‘Ali ra to the Banu Quraiza toask them why they had gone back on their solemn word.The Banu Quraiza showed no regret and no inclinationto ask for forgiveness. Instead, they insulted ‘Ali ra andthe other Muslim delegates and started hurling vileabuse at the Prophet sa and the women of his family.They said they did not care for Muhammad sa and hadnever had any kind of pact with him. When ‘Ali rareturned to report the reply of the Jews, he found theProphet sa and the Companions advancing towards theJewish fortifications. The Jews had been abusing theProphet sa , his wives and daughters. Fearing lest thisshould pain the Prophet sa , ‘Ali ra suggested there was noneed for the Prophet sa to take part as the Muslimsthemselves could deal with the Jews. The Prophet saunderstood ‘Ali ra and said, "You want me not to heartheir abuse, ‘Ali ra ?""Exactly," said ‘Ali ra ."But why?" said the Prophet sa . "Moses as was of theirkith and kin. Yet they inflicted more suffering on himthan they have on me." The Prophet sa continued toadvance. The Jews put up their defences and startedfighting. Their women also joined them. Some Muslimswere sitting at the foot of a wall. A Jewish woman,seeing this, dropped a stone on them, killing one namedKhallad ra . The siege went on for some days. At the end ofthis period, the Jews felt they would not be able to holdout for long. Then their chiefs sent word to the Prophet sarequesting him to send Abu Lubaba ra , an Ansari chief ofthe Aus, a tribe friendly to the Jews. They wanted toconsult him about a possible settlement. The Prophet sasent Abu Lubaba ra to the Jews, who asked him if theyshould lay down their arms and accept the award of theProphet sa . Abu Lubaba ra said they should. But at the


Life of Muhammad sa 99same time he passed a finger over his neck, making thesign of death. The Prophet sa had said nothing on thissubject to anybody. But Abu Lubaba ra , fearing that thecrime of the Jews merited nothing but death,unwittingly made this sign, which proved fateful for theJews. The latter declined Abu Lubaba's ra advice andrefused to accept the Prophet's sa award. Had theyaccepted it, the utmost punishment they would havehad was expulsion from Medina. But as ill-luck wouldhave it, they refused to accept the Prophet's sa award.Instead of the Prophet's sa , they said, they would acceptthe award of Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh ra , chief of their allies, theAus. They would agree to any punishment proposed byhim. A dispute also arose among the Jews. Some ofthem began to say that their people had really gone backon their agreement with the Muslims. The behaviour ofthe Muslims, on the other hand, showed that they weretrue and honest and that their religion also was true.Those who thought in this way joined Islam. ‘Amr binMa‘di ra , one of the Jewish chiefs, reproved his peopleand said, "You have committed a breach of faith andgone back on your plighted word. The only course nowopen to you is either to join Islam or give jizya."They said, "We will neither join Islam nor give jizya,for dying is better than giving jizya." ‘Amr replied that inthat case he stood absolved, and saying this left the fort.He was sighted by Muhammad bin Maslama ra ,commander of a Muslim column, who asked him who hewas. On learning of his identity he told him to depart inpeace and himself prayed loudly:"God, give me ever the power to screen the mistakesof the decent."What he meant was that this Jew had shownremorse and regret over the conduct of his people. It wasthe moral duty of Muslims, therefore, to forgive men likehim. In letting him go he had done a good thing, and heprayed that God should give him the chance to do suchgood deeds again and again. When the Prophet sa got toknow of what Muhammad bin Maslama ra had done, he


100Life of Muhammad sadid not reprove him for letting go this Jewish leader.Rather, he approved of what had been done.The disposition to make peace and to accept theaward of the Prophet sa had been expressed only byindividual Jews. As a people, they remained adamantand refused to accept the award of the Prophet sa andasked, instead, for the award of Sa‘d ra bin Mu‘adh(Bukhari, Tabari and Khamis). The Prophet sa acceptedtheir demand and sent word to Sa‘d ra , who was lyingwounded, to come and give his award on the Jewishbreach of faith. As soon as the Prophet's sa decision wasannounced, the Ausites who had been allies of the BanuQuraiza for a long time ran to Sa‘d ra and began to presshim to give his award in favour of the Banu Quraiza.The Khazraj, they said, had always tried to save Jewsallied to them. It was up to Sa‘d ra to save the Jews alliedto his tribe. Sa‘d ra went mounted to the Banu Quraiza.Men of his tribe ran with him on both sides, pressinghim not to punish the Banu Quraiza. All that Sa‘d ra saidin reply was that the person who had to make an awardheld a trust. He had to discharge the trust withintegrity. "I will therefore give my award, takingeverything into consideration, and without fear orfavour," he said. When Sa‘d ra reached the Jewishfortress, he saw the Banu Quraiza lined up against thewall of the fort, waiting for him. On the other side wereMuslims. When Sa‘d ra got near them he asked, "Will youaccept my award?" They said, "Yes."SA‘D'S ra AWARD IN HARMONY WITH THE BIBLETurning to the Banu Quraiza he asked the samequestion,and they also agreed. Then shyly he pointed tothe side where the Prophet sa was sitting and asked if thepeople on that side also agreed to abide by his award.On hearing this, the Prophet sa replied, "Yes" (Tabari andHisham). Then Sa‘d ra gave his award in accordance withthe following commandment of the Bible. Says the Bible:


Life of Muhammad sa 101When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, thenproclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make theeanswer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, thatall the people that is found therein shall be tributaries untothee, and they shall serve thee. And if it will make no peacewith thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shaltbesiege it: And when the Lord thy God hath delivered itinto thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof withthe edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones,and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoilthereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat thespoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath giventhee. Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which the Lordthy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt savealive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroythem; namely, the Hittites, and the Amoiites, theCanaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and theJebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee:That they teach you not to do after all their abominations,which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sinagainst the Lord your God (Deut. 20: 10-18).According to the teaching of the Bible, if the Jewshad won and the Prophet sa had lost, all Muslims—men,women and children—would have been put to death. Weknow from history that this was the very intention of theJews. The least the Jews would have done was to put todeath the men, to enslave the women and children andmake away with the belongings of the Muslims, thisbeing the treatment laid down in Deuteronomy forenemy nations living in distant parts of the world. Sa‘d rawas friendly to the Banu Quraiza. His tribe was inalliance with theirs. When he saw that the Jews hadrefused to accept the award of the Prophet sa and refusedthus to have the lighter punishment prescribed for suchan offence in Islam, he decided to award to the Jews thepunishment which Moses as had laid down. Theresponsibility for this award does not rest with theProphet sa or the Muslims, but with Moses as and histeaching and with the Jews who had treated the


102Life of Muhammad saMuslims so cruelly. They were offered what would havebeen a compassionate award. But, instead of acceptingthis, they insisted on an award by Sa‘d ra . Sa‘d ra decidedto punish the Jews in accordance with the Law ofMoses as . Yet Christians to this day continue to defamethe Prophet sa of Islam and say that he was cruel to theJews. If the Prophet sa was cruel to the Jews, why was henot cruel to other people or on other occasions? Therewere many occasions on which the Prophet's sa enemiesthrew themselves at his mercy, and never did they askin vain for his forgiveness. On this occasion the enemyinsisted on a person other than the Prophet sa makingthe award. This nominee of the Jews, acting as umpirebetween them and the Muslims, asked the Prophet sa andthe Jews in public whether they would accept his award.It was after the parties had agreed, that he proceeded toannounce it. And what was his award? It was nothingbut the application of the Law of Moses as to the offenceof the Jews. Why then should they not have accepted it?Did they not count themselves among the followers ofMoses as ? If any cruelty was perpetrated, it was by theJews on the Jews. The Jews refused to accept theProphet's sa award and invited instead the application oftheir own religious law to their offence. If any crueltywas perpetrated it was by Moses as , who laid down thispenalty for a beleaguered enemy and laid this down inhis book under the command of God. Christian writersshould not pour out the vials of their wrath on theProphet sa of Islam. They should condemn Moses as whoprescribed this cruel penalty or the God of Moses as , Whocommanded him to do so.The Battle of the Ditch over, the Prophet sa declaredthat from that day onwards pagans would not attackMuslims; instead, Muslims would now attack pagans.The tide was going to turn. Muslims were going to takethe offensive against tribes and parties which had so farbeen gratuitously attacking and harassing them. Whatthe Prophet sa said was no empty threat. In the Battle ofthe Ditch the Arab confederates had not suffered any


Life of Muhammad sa 103considerable losses. They had lost only a few men. Inless than a year's time they could have come andattacked Medina again and with even betterpreparations. Instead of any army of twenty thousandthey could have raised for a new attack an army of forty,or even fifty, thousand. An army numbering a hundredor a hundred and fifty thousand was not beyond theircapacity. But now for twenty-one years, the enemies ofIslam had done their utmost to extirpate Islam andMuslims. Continued failure of their plans had shakentheir confidence. They had begun to fear that what theProphet sa taught was true, and that their national idolsand gods were false, that the Creator was the OneInvisible God taught by the Prophet sa . The fear that theProphet sa was right and they wrong had begun to creepupon them. There was no outward sign of this fear,however. Physically, the disbelievers went about as theyhad always done. They went to their idols and prayed tothem as national custom required. But their spirit wasbroken. Outwardly they lived the lives of pagans anddisbelievers; inwardly their hearts seemed to echo theMuslim slogan, 'There is no God but Allah.'After the Battle of the Ditch the Prophet sa , as we haveobserved already, declared that henceforwarddisbelievers would not attack Muslims but that, instead,Muslims would attack disbelievers. Muslim endurancehad reached its limit. The tide was going to turn(Bukhari, Kitabal Maghazi ).DID THE PROPHET sa SEEK TO CONTINUEWARFARE?In the battles which had so far been fought, Muslimshad either remained in Medina or gone some distanceout of it to fight the aggression of disbelievers. Muslimsdid not initiate these encounters, and showed nodisposition to continue them after they had started.Normally hostilities once begun, can be ended in only


104Life of Muhammad satwo ways—an agreed peace or the submission of oneside to the other. In the encounters between Muslimsand disbelievers so far there had been no hint of a peacenor had either side offered to submit. True, there hadbeen pauses in the fighting, but nobody could say thatwar between Muslims and disbelievers had ended.According to ordinary canons, Muslims could haveattacked the enemy tribes and compelled them tosurrender. But Muslims did not do this. When theenemy stopped fighting, Muslims stopped also. Theystopped because they believed there might be a talk ofpeace. But when it became evident that there was notalk of peace by the disbelievers, nor was there anydisposition on their part to surrender, the Prophet sathought that the time had come to end the war either bya peace or by the surrender of one side to the other. Warhad to be ended if there was to be peace. After the Battleof the Ditch, therefore, the Prophet sa seemed determinedto secure one of two things; peace or surrender. ThatMuslims should surrender to disbelievers was out ofquestion. The victory of Islam over its persecutors hadbeen promised by God. Declarations to this effect hadbeen made by the Prophet sa during his stay at Mecca.Could Muslims then have sued for peace? A movementfor peace can be initiated either by the stronger or bythe weaker side. When the weaker side sues for peace ithas to surrender, temporarily or permanently, a part ofits territory or part of its revenues; or it has to acceptother conditions imposed upon it by the enemy. Whenthe stronger side proposes peace it is understood that itdoes not aim at the total destruction of the weaker sidebut is willing to let it retain complete or partialindependence in return for certain conditions. In thebattles which had so far been fought between Muslimsand disbelievers the latter had suffered defeat afterdefeat. Yet their power had not been broken. They hadonly failed in their attempts to destroy Muslims. Failureto destroy another does not mean defeat. It only meansthat aggression has not yet succeeded; attacks which


Life of Muhammad sa 105have failed may be repeated. The Meccans, therefore,had not been beaten; only their aggression againstMuslims had failed. Militarily speaking, Muslims weredecidedly the weaker side. True, their defence was stillmaintained, but they constituted a miserable minorityand a minority which, though it had been able to resistthe aggression of the majority, had been unable to takethe offensive. Muslims, therefore, had not yet establishedtheir independence. If they had sued for peace, itwould have meant that their defence had broken, andthat they were now ready to accept the terms of thedisbelievers. An offer of peace by them would have beendisastrous for Islam. It would have meant selfannihilation.It would have brought new life to an enemydemoralized by repeated defeats. A growing sense ofdefeat would have given place to renewed hope andambition. Disbelievers would have thought that thoughMuslims had saved Medina they were still pessimisticabout their ultimate victory over disbelievers. Asuggestion of peace, therefore, could not have proceededfrom the Muslim side. It could have proceeded from theMeccan side, or from a third side, if a third side couldhave been found. No third side could, however, befound. In the conflict which had arisen Medina was setagainst all Arabia. It was the disbelievers, therefore, whocould have sued the Muslims for peace, and there wasno sign of this. Thus warfare between Muslims andArabs might have gone on for ever. The Muslims couldnot, and the Arabs would not, sue for peace. Civil strifein Arabia, therefore, seemed to have no end, at least notfor another hundred years.There was only one way open to Muslims if theywanted to put an end to this strife. They were notprepared to surrender their conscience to the Arabs, torenounce, that is to say, their right to profess, practiseand preach what they liked; and there was no movementfor peace from the side of disbelievers. Muslims hadbeen able to repel repeated aggression. It was for them,


106Life of Muhammad satherefore, to force the Arabs either to surrender or toaccept peace. The Prophet sa decided to do so.Was it war which the Prophet sa sought? No, it wasnot war but peace that he wanted to bring about. If hehad done nothing at this time, Arabia would haveremained in the grip of civil warfare. The step which hetook was the only way to peace. There have been somelong wars in history. Some have lasted for a hundred,some for thirty years or so. Long wars have alwaysresulted from lack of decisive action by either side.Decisive action, as we have said, can take only one oftwo forms—complete surrender or a negotiated peace.Could the Prophet sa have remained passive? Couldhe have withdrawn himself and his small force ofMuslims behind the walls of Medina and left everythingelse to take care of itself ? This was impossible. Thedisbelievers had started the aggression. Passivity wouldnot have meant the end of war but, rather, itscontinuation. It would have meant that the disbelieverscould attack Medina whenever they liked. They couldstop when they liked and attack when they liked. Apause in warfare did not mean the end of war. It meantonly a strategic move.TEACHINGS OF JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITYABOUT WARBut the question now arises—Can it ever be right tofight for a faith? Let us, therefore, turn to this question.The teaching of religion on the subject of war takesdifferent forms. The teaching of the Old Testament, wehave cited above. Moses as is commanded to enter theland of Canaan by force, to defeat its population and tosettle his own people in it (Deut. 20: 10-18). In spite ofthis teaching in the Book of Moses as , and in spite of itsreinforcement by practical example of the ProphetsJoshua as , David as and others, Jews and Christians


Life of Muhammad sa 107continue to hold their Prophets in reverence and toregard their books as the Books of God.At the end of the Mosaic tradition, we had Jesus aswho taught;But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoevershall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the otheralso (Matthew 5: 39).Christians have often cited this teaching of Jesus asand argued that Jesus as preached against war. But inthe New Testament, we have passages which purport toteach quite the opposite. One passage, for instance,says:Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I camenot to send peace, but a sword (Matthew 10: 34).And another passage says:Then said he unto them. But now, he that hath a purse, lethim take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath nosword, let him sell his garment, and buy one (Luke 22: 36).Of the three verses the last two contradict the first. IfJesus as came for war, why did he teach about turningthe other cheek? It seems we have either to admit acontradiction in the New Testament, or we have toexplain one of the contradictory teachings in a suitablemanner. We are not concerned here with the questionwhether turning the other cheek can ever be practicable.We are concerned only to point out that, throughouttheir long history, no Christian people have everhesitated to make war. When Christians first attained topower in Rome, they took part in wars both defensiveand aggressive. They are dominant powers in the worldtoday, and they continue to take part in wars bothdefensive and aggressive. Only now the side which winsis canonized by the rest of the Christian world. Theirvictory is said to be the victory of Christian civilization.Christian civilization has come to mean whatever tendsto be dominant and successful. When two Christianpowers go to war, each claims to be the protector of


108Life of Muhammad saChristian ideals. The power which wins is canonized asthe true Christian power. It is true, however, that fromthe time of Jesus as to our time, Christendom has beeninvolved—and indications are that it will continue toremain involved—in war. The practical verdict of theChristian peoples, therefore, is that war is the realteaching of the New Testament, and that turning theother cheek was either an opportunist teaching dictatedby the helplessness of early Christians, or it is meant toapply only to individuals, not to States and peoples.Secondly, even if we assume that Jesus as taughtpeace and not war, it does not follow that those who donot act upon this teaching are not holy and honoured.For Christendom has ever revered exponents of warsuch as Moses as , Joshua as and David as . Not only this,the Church itself has canonized national heroes whosuffered in wars. They were made saints by the Popes.THE QUR’AN ON WAR AND PEACEThe teaching of Islam is different from both theseteachings. It strikes a mean between the two. Islam doesnot teach aggression as did Moses as . Nor does it, likepresent-day (and presumably corrupt) Christianity,preach a contradiction. It does not ask us to turn theother cheek and at the same time to sell our clothes tobuy a sword. The teaching of Islam fits into the naturalinstincts of man, and promotes peace in the onlypossible way.Islam forbids aggression, but it urges us to fight iffailure to fight jeopardizes peace and promotes war. Iffailure to fight means the extirpation of free belief and ofthe search of truth, it is our duty to fight. This is theteaching on which peace can ultimately be built, andthis is the teaching on which the Prophet sa based hisown policies and his practice. The Prophet sa sufferedcontinuously and consistently at Mecca but did not fightthe aggression of which he was an innocent victim.


Life of Muhammad sa 109When he escaped to Medina, the enemy was out toextirpate Islam; it was, therefore, necessary to fight theenemy in defence of truth and freedom of belief.We quote below the passages in the Qur’an whichbear on the subject of war.(1) In 22: 40–42 we have:Permission to fight is given to those against whom war ismade, because they have been wronged—and Allah indeedhas power to help them—Those who have been driven outfrom their homes unjustly only because they said, "OurLord is Allah"—And if Allah did not repel some men bymeans of others, there would surely have been pulled downcloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques,wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated. AndAllah will surely help one who helps Him. Allah is indeedPowerful, Mighty.—Those who, if We establish them in theearth, will observe Prayer and pay the Zakat and enjoingood and forbid evil. And with Allah rests the final issue ofall affairs.The verse purports to say that permission to fight isgiven to the victims of aggression. God is well able tohelp the victims—those who have been driven out oftheir homes because of their beliefs. The permission iswise because, if God were not to repel the cruel with thehelp of the righteous, there would be no freedom of faithand worship in the world. God must help those who helpto establish freedom and worship. It follows that fightingis permitted when a people have suffered long fromwanton aggression—when the aggressor has had nocause for aggression and he seeks to interfere with thereligion of his victim. The duty of the victim, if and whenhe attains to power, is to establish religious freedom andto protect all religions and all religious places. His poweris to be used not for his own glorification, but for thecare of the poor, the progress of the country and thegeneral promotion of peace. This teaching is asunexceptionable as it is clear and precise. It proclaimsthe fact that early Muslims took to war because they


110Life of Muhammad sawere constrained to do so. Aggressive wars wereforbidden by Islam. Muslims are promised politicalpower, but are warned that this power must be used notfor self-aggrandizement, but for the amelioration of thepoor and the promotion of peace and progress.(2) In (2: 191–194) we have:And fight in the cause of Allah against those who fightagainst you, but do not transgress. Surely, Allah loves nottransgressors. And kill them wherever you meet them anddrive them out from where they have driven you out; forpersecution is worse than killing. And fight them not in,and near, the Sacred Mosque until they fight you, thenfight them: such is the requital for the disbelievers. But ifthey desist, then surely Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.And fight them until there is no persecution, and religion isprofessed for Allah. But if they desist, then remember thatno hostility is allowed except against the aggressors.Fighting is to be for the sake of God, not for our ownsake or out of anger or aggrandizement, and evenfighting is to be free from excesses, for excesses aredispleasing to God. Fighting is between parties ofcombatants. Assaults on individuals are forbidden.Aggression against a religion is to be met by activeresistance, for such aggression is worse than bloodshed.Muslims are not to fight near the Sacred Mosque, unlessan attack is first made by the enemy. Fighting near theSacred Mosque interferes with the public right ofpilgrimage. But if the enemy attacks, Muslims are free toreply, this being the just reward of aggression. But if theenemy desists, Muslims must desist also, and forgiveand forget the past. Fighting is to continue so long asreligious persecution lasts and religious freedom is notestablished. Religion is for God. The use of force orpressure in religion is wrong. If the Kafirs desist from itand make religion free, Muslims are to desist fromfighting the Kafirs. Arms are to be taken up againstthose who commit excesses. When excesses cease,fighting must cease also.


Life of Muhammad sa 111Categorically, we may say, the verses teach thefollowing rules:(i) War is to be resorted to only for the sake of Godand not for the sake of any selfish motives, not foraggrandizement or for the advancement of any otherinterests.(ii) We can go to war only against one who attacks usfirst.(iii) We can fight only those who fight against us. Wecannot fight against those who take no part in warfare.(iv) Even after the enemy has initiated the attack, itis our duty to keep warfare within limits. To extend thewar, either territorially or in respect of weapons used, iswrong.(v) We are to fight only a regular army charged by theenemy to fight on his side. We are not to fight others onthe enemy side.(vi) In warfare immunity is to be afforded to allreligious rites and observances. If the enemy spares theplaces where religious ceremonies are held, thenMuslims also must desist from fighting in such places.(vii) If the enemy uses a place of worship as a basefor attack, then Muslims may return the attack. Noblame will attach to them if they do so. No fighting isallowed even in the neighbourhood of religious places.To attack religious places and to destroy them or to doany kind of harm to them is absolutely forbidden. Areligious place used as a base of, operations may invite acounter-attack. The responsibility for any harm done tothe place will then rest with the enemy, not withMuslims.(viii) If the enemy realizes the danger and the mistakeof using a religious place as a base, and changes thebattle-front, then Muslims must conform to the change.The fact that the enemy started the attack from areligious place is not to be used as an excuse forattacking that place. Out of reverence Muslims mustchange their battle-front as soon as the enemy does so.


112Life of Muhammad sa(ix) Fighting is to continue only so long asinterference with religion and religious freedom lasts.When religion becomes free and interference with it is nolonger permitted and the enemy declares and begins toact accordingly, then there is to be no war, even if it isthe enemy who starts it.(3) In 8: 39–41 we have:Say to those who disbelieve, if they desist, that which ispast will be forgiven them; and if they return thereto, thenverily the example of the former people has already gonebefore them.And fight them until there is no persecution and religion iswholly for Allah. But if they desist, then surely Allah isWatchful of what they do. And if they turn their backs,then know that Allah is your Protector. What an excellentProtector and what an excellent Helper.That is to say, wars have been forced upon Muslims.But if the enemy desists, it is the duty of Muslims todesist also, and forgive the past. But if the enemy doesnot desist and attacks Muslims again and again, thenhe should remember the fate of the enemies of earlierProphets. Muslims are to fight, while religiouspersecution lasts, and so long as religion is not for Godand interference in religious matters is not abandoned.When the aggressor desists, Muslims are to desist also.They are not to continue the war because the enemybelieves in a false religion. The value of beliefs andactions is well known to God and He will reward them asHe pleases. Muslims have no right to meddle withanother people's religion even if that religion seems tothem to be false. If after an offer of peace the enemycontinues to make war, then Muslims may be sure ofvictory even though their numbers are small. For Godwill help them and who can help better than God?These verses were revealed in connection with theBattle of Badr. This battle was the first regular fightbetween Muslims and disbelievers. In it Muslims werethe victims of unprovoked aggression. The enemy had


Life of Muhammad sa 113chosen to disturb the peace of Medina and of theterritory around. In spite of this, victory went to theMuslims and important leaders of the enemy were killed.To retaliate against such unprovoked aggression seemsnatural, just and necessary. Yet Muslims are taught tostop fighting as soon as the enemy ceases it. All that theenemy is required to concede is freedom of belief andworship.(4) In 8: 62—63 we have:And if they incline towards peace, incline thou alsotowards it, and put thy trust in Allah. Surely, it is He Whois All-Hearing, All-Knowing. And if they intend to deceivethee, then surely Allah is sufficient for thee. He it is Whohas strengthened thee with His help and with the believers.That is to say, if in the course of a battle thedisbelievers at any time incline towards peace, Muslimsare to accept the offer at once and to make peace.Muslims are to do so even at the risk of being deceived.They are to put their trust in God. Cheating will notavail against Muslims, who rely on the help of God.Their victories are due not to themselves but to God. Inthe darkest and most difficult times, God has stood bythe Prophet sa and his followers. So will He stand bythem against cheats. An offer of peace is to be accepted.It is not to be rejected on the plea that it may only be aruse with which the enemy seeks to gain time for a freshattack.The stress on peace in the verses is not withoutsignificance. It anticipates the peace which the Prophet sasigned at Hudaibiya. The Prophet sa is warned that a timewill come when the enemy will sue for peace. The offer isnot to be turned down on the ground that the enemywas the aggressor and had committed excesses, or thathe cannot be trusted. The straight path inculcated byIslam requires a Muslim to accept an offer of peace.Both piety and policy make the acceptance desirable.(5) In 4: 95 we have:


114Life of Muhammad saO ye who believe! when you go forth in the cause of Allah,make proper investigation and say not to anyone whogreets you with the greeting of peace, "Thou art not abeliever." You seek the goods of this life, but with Allahare good things in plenty. Such were you before this, butAllah conferred His favour on you; so do make properinvestigation. Surely, Allah is well aware of what you do.That is to say, when Muslims go out for war, they areto make sure that the unreasonableness of war has beenexplained to the enemy and that he still wants war.Even so, if a proposal of peace is received from anindividual or a group, Muslims are not to turn it downon the plea that it is not honest. If Muslims turn downproposals of peace, they will not be fighting for God, butfor self-aggrandizement and worldly gain. Just asreligion comes from God, worldly gain and glory alsocome from Him. Killing is not to be the aim. One whomwe wish to kill today may be guided tomorrow. CouldMuslims have become Muslims if they had not beenspared? Muslims are to abstain from killing becauselives spared may turn out to be lives guided. God is wellaware of what men do and to what ends and with whatmotives they do it.The verse teaches that even after war has begun, it isthe duty of Muslims to satisfy themselves that theenemy is bent upon aggression. It often happens that noaggression is intended but that out of excitement andfear the enemy has started preparations for war. UnlessMuslims are satisfied that an aggressive attack has beenplanned by the enemy, they are not to go to war. If itturns out, or if the enemy claims, that his preparationsare for self-defence, Muslims are to accept the claim anddesist from war. They are not to argue that the enemypreparations point to nothing but aggression; maybe heintended aggression, but his intention has changed. Arenot intentions and motives continually changing? Didnot enemies of Islam become friends?(6) On the inviolability of treaties the Qur’an saysclearly:


Life of Muhammad sa 115Excepting those of the idolaters with whom you haveentered into a treaty and who have not subsequently failedyou in anything nor aided anyone against you. So fulfil tothese the treaty you have made with them till their term.Surely, Allah loves those who are righteous (9: 4).Pagans, who enter into a pact with Muslims, keepthe pact and do not help the enemy against Muslims,are to have reciprocal treatment from Muslims. Pietyrequires that Muslims should fulfil their part of a pact inthe letter as well as the spirit.(7) Of an enemy at war with Muslims who wishes tostudy the Message of Islam, the Qur’an orders:And if anyone of the idolaters ask protection of thee, granthim protection, so that he may hear the word of Allah:then convey him to his place of security. That is becausethey are a people who have no knowledge (9: 6).That is to say, if any of those at war with Muslimsseek refuge with Muslims in order to study Islam andponder over its Message, they are to have refuge withMuslims for such time as may be reasonably necessaryfor such a purpose.(8) Of prisoners of war, the Qur’an teaches:It does not behove a Prophet that he should have captivesuntil he engages in a regular fighting in the land. Youdesire the goods of the world, while Allah desires for youthe Hereafter. And Allah is Mighty, Wise (8: 68).That is to say, it does not become a Prophet to makeprisoners of his enemy save as a result of regular warinvolving much bloodshed. The system of makingprisoners of enemy tribes without war and bloodshedpractised until—and even after—the advent of Islam, ishere made unlawful. Prisoners can be taken only fromcombatants and after a battle.(9) Rules for the release of prisoners are also laiddown. Thus we have:Then afterwards either release them as a favour or bytaking ransom—until the war lays down its burdens (47:5).


116Life of Muhammad saThe best thing, according to Islam, is to let offprisoners without asking for ransom. As this is notalways possible, release by ransom is also provided for.(10) There is provision for prisoners of war who areunable themselves to pay, and who have none who canor will pay, for their release. Often, relations are able topay, but do not, because they prefer to let their relationsremain prisoners—possibly with the intention ofmisappropriating their property in their absence. Thisprovision is contained in the Qur’an:And such as desire a deed of manumission from amongthose whom your right hands possess, write it for them, ifyou know any good in them; and give them out of thewealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you (24: 34).That is, those who do not deserve to be releasedwithout ransom but who have no one to pay ransom forthem—if they still ask for their freedom—can obtain itby signing an undertaking that, if allowed to work andearn, they will pay their ransom. They are to be allowedto do so, however, only if their competence to work andearn is reasonably certain. If their competence is proved,they should even have financial help from Muslims intheir effort to work and earn. Individual Muslims whocan afford to do so should pay; or, public subscriptionshould be raised to put these unfortunates on their feet.The passages from the Qur’an which we have quotedabove contain the teaching of Islam on the subject ofwar and peace. They tell us in what circumstances,according to Islam, is it right to go to war and whatlimits have to be observed by Muslims when they makewar.THE PROPHET'S sa PRECEPTS ABOUT WARMuslim teaching, however, does not consist only ofprecepts laid down in the Qur’an. It also includes theprecepts and example of the Prophet sa . What he did orwhat he taught in concrete situations is also an


Life of Muhammad sa 117essential part of the Islamic teaching. We append heresome sayings of the Prophet sa on the subject of war andpeace.(i) Muslims are forbidden altogether to mutilate thedead (Muslim).(ii) Muslims are forbidden to resort to cheating(Muslim).(iii) Children are not to be killed, nor women(Muslim).(iv) Priests and religious functionaries and religiousleaders are not to be interfered with (Tahavi).(v) The old and decrepit and women and children arenot to be killed. The possibility of peace should alwaysbe kept in view (Abu Dawud).(vi) When Muslims enter enemy territory, they shouldnot strike terror into the general population. Theyshould permit no ill-treatment of common folk (Muslim).(vii) A Muslim army should not camp in a placewhere it causes inconvenience to the general public.When it marches it should take care not to block theroad nor cause discomfort to other wayfarers.(viii) No disfigurement of face is to be permitted(Bukhari and Muslim).(ix) The least possible losses should be inflicted uponthe enemy (Abu Dawud).(x) When prisoners of war are put under guard, thoseclosely related should be placed together (Abu Dawud).(xi) Prisoners should live in comfort. Muslims shouldcare more for the comfort of their prisoners than fortheir own (Tirmidhi).(xii) Emissaries and delegates from other countriesshould be held in great respect. Any mistakes ordiscourtesies they commit should be ignored (AbuDawud, Kitab al jihad).(xiii) If a Muslim commits the sin of ill-treating aprisoner of war, atonement is to be made by releasingthe prisoner without ransom.


118Life of Muhammad sa(xiv) When a Muslim takes charge of a prisoner ofwar, the latter is to be fed and clothed in the same wayas the Muslim himself (Bukhari).The Holy Prophet sa was so insistent on these rules fora fighting army that he declared that whoever did notobserve these rules, would fight not for God but for hisown mean self (Abu Dawud).Abu Bakr ra , the First Khalifah of Islam,supplemented these commands of the Prophet sa by someof his own. One of these commands appended here alsoconstitutes part of the Muslim teaching:(xv) Public buildings and fruit-bearing trees (and foodcrops) are not to be damaged (Mu’atta).From the sayings of the Prophet sa and the commandsof the First Khalifah of Islam it is evident that Islam hasinstituted steps which have the effect of preventing orstopping a war or reducing its evil. As we have saidbefore, the principles which Islam teaches are not piousprecepts only; they have their practical illustration inthe example of the Prophet sa and the early Khalifahs ofIslam. As all the world knows, the Prophet sa not onlytaught these principles; he practised them and insistedon their observance.Turning to our own time we must say that no otherteaching seems able to solve the problem of war andpeace. The teaching of Moses as is far from ourconceptions of justice and fair-play. Nor is it possible toact upon that teaching today. The teaching of Jesus as isimpracticable and has ever been so. Never in theirhistory have Christians tried to put this teaching intopractice. Only the teaching of Islam is practicable; onewhich has been both preached and practised by itsexponents, and the practice of which can create andmaintain peace in the world.In our time, Mr. Gandhi apparently taught that evenwhen war is forced on us we should not go to war. Weshould not fight. But this teaching has not been put intopractice at any time in the history of the world. It hasnever been put in the crucible and tested. It is


Life of Muhammad sa 119impossible, therefore, to say what value this teachingmay have in terms of war and peace. Mr. Gandhi livedlong enough to see the Indian Congress attain topolitical independence. Yet the Congress Governmenthas not disbanded either the army or the other armedforces of India. It is only making plans for theirIndianization. It also has plans for the reinstatement ofthose Indian officers who constituted themselves intothe Indian National Army (and who were dismissed bythe British authorities) during the Japanese attack onBurma and India in the last stages of the recent WorldWar. Mr. Gandhi has himself, on many occasions, raisedhis voice in extenuation of crimes of violence, and urgedthe release of those who committed such crimes. Thisshows at least that Mr. Gandhi's teaching cannot be putinto practice and that Mr. Gandhi knows it as well as allhis followers. No practical example at least has beenoffered to show the world how non-violence can beapplied when armed disputes arise between nation andnation and State and State, or how non-violence canprevent or stop a war. To preach a method of stoppingwars, but never to be able to afford a practicalillustration of that method indicates that the method isimpracticable. It would, therefore, seem that humanexperience and human wisdom point to only one methodof preventing or stopping war; and that method wastaught and practised by the Prophet sa of Islam.SPORADIC ATTACKS BY DISBELIEVERSThe Arab confederates returned from the Battle ofthe Ditch defeated and depressed, but far from realizingthat their power to harass the Muslims was over.Though defeated, they knew they were still a dominantmajority. They could easily maltreat individual Muslims,beat and even kill them. By assaults on individuals theyhoped to wipe away their feeling of defeat. Not long afterthe battle, therefore, they began to attack Muslims


120Life of Muhammad saaround Medina. Some men of the Fazara tribe mountedon camels attacked Muslims near Medina. They madeaway with the camels found in that part, took a womanas prisoner and escaped with the loot. The woman madegood her escape, but the party of Fazara succeeded intaking away a number of animals. A month later, aparty of the Ghatafan tribe attacked from the north inan attempt to dispossess Muslims of their herds ofcamels. The Prophet sa sent Muhammad bin Maslama rawith ten mounted Companions for a reconnaissance,and for the protection of the Muslim herds. But theenemy waylaid the Muslim party and murderouslyattacking them, left them all for dead. Muhammad binMaslama ra , however, was only lying unconscious.Recovering consciousness he pulled himself together,returned to Medina and made a report. A few days later,an envoy of the Prophet sa on his way to the Romancapital was attacked and robbed by men of the Jurhamtribe. A month later, the Banu Fazara attacked aMuslim caravan and made away with much loot. It ispossible that this attack was not prompted by religiousantagonism. The Banu Fazara were a tribe of maraudersgiven to looting and killing. The Jews of Khaibar, themain factor in the Battle of the Ditch, were alsodetermined to avenge the crushing defeat which theysuffered in that battle. They went about inciting tribalsettlements and officers of State on the Roman frontier.Arab leaders, therefore, unable to make astraightforward attack on Medina, were intriguing withthe Jews to make life impossible for Muslims. TheProphet sa , however, had yet to make up his mind for adecisive fight. Arab leaders might make an offer ofpeace, he thought, and civil strife might end.


Life of Muhammad sa 121THE PROPHET sa LEAVES FOR MECCA WITHONE THOUSANDFIVE HUNDRED COMPANIONSDuring this time the Prophet sa saw a vision which ismentioned thus in the Qur’an:You will certainly enter the Sacred Mosque, if God will, insecurity, some having their heads shaven, and othershaving their hair cut short; and you will not fear. But Heknew what you knew not. He has in fact ordained for you,besides that, a victory near at hand (48: z8).That is to say, God had decided to let Muslims enterthe precincts of the Ka‘ba in peace, with heads shavenand hair cut (these being the external signs of pilgrimsto the Ka‘ba), and without fear. But Muslims did notknow exactly how God was to let this happen. Moreover,before Muslims performed their pilgrimage in peace,they were to have another victory, a precursor of thevictory promised in the vision.In this vision God foretold the ultimate victory ofMuslims, their peaceful march into Mecca and theconquest of Mecca without the use of arms. But theProphet sa understood it to mean that Muslims had beencommanded by God immediately to attempt a circuit ofthe Ka‘ba. The Prophet sa 's error in interpreting the visionwas to become the occasion of the victory 'near at hand'promised in the vision. In error, therefore, the Prophet saplanned a march towards the Ka‘ba. He announced hisvision and his interpretation of it to Muslims and askedthem to prepare. "You will go," he said, "only to performa circuit of the Ka‘ba. There were, therefore, to be nodemonstrations against the enemy." Late in February628, fifteen hundred 1 pilgrims, headed by the Prophet sa ,1 In this pilgrimage planned a year after the Battle of the Ditch, only onethousand five hundred men accompanied the Prophet sa . The number ofMuslim combatants in the Battle of the Ditch could have been less but notmore than this number. Historians who put the number of the Muslimcombatants in the Battle of the Ditch at three thousand, therefore, are


122Life of Muhammad saset out on their journey to Mecca. A mounted guard oftwenty went some distance ahead to warn the Muslimsin case the enemy showed signs of attacking.The Meccans soon had reports of this caravan.Tradition had established the circuit of the Ka’ba as auniversal right. It could not very well be denied toMuslims. They had announced in unambiguous termsthat the purpose of their march was to perform thecircuit, nothing else. The Prophet sa had forbiddendemonstrations of every kind. There were to be nodisputes, no questionings or claims. In spite of this, theMeccans started preparing as for an armed conflict.They put up defences on all sides, called thesurrounding tribes to their aid and seemed determinedto fight. When the Prophet sa reached near Mecca, he wasinformed that the Quraish were ready to fight. They wereclad in tiger skins, had their wives and children withthem and had sworn solemnly not to let the Muslimspass. The tiger skins were a sign of a savage determinationto fight. Soon after, a column of Meccansmarching in the van of their army confronted theMuslims. Muslims could not now advance except bydrawing the sword. The Prophet sa , however, wasdetermined to do nothing of the kind.He employed a guide to show the Muslim caravan analternative route through the desert. Led by this guide,the Prophet sa and his Companions reached Hudaibiya, aspot very near Mecca.The Prophet's sa dromedary stopped and refused to goany farther."The animal seems tired, O Prophet sa of God. Betterchange your mount," said a Companion."No, no," said the Prophet sa . "the animal is not tired.It seems rather that God wants us to stop here and to gono further. I propose, therefore, to camp here and to askwrong. The number can quite reasonably be put at one thousand twohundred.


Life of Muhammad sa 123the Meccans if they would let us perform the Pilgrimage.I, for one, will accept any conditions they may choose toimpose" (Halbiyya, Vol. 2, p. 13).The Meccan army at this time was not in Mecca. Ithad gone out some distance to meet the Muslims on themain road to Medina. If the Prophet sa wanted, he couldhave led his fifteen hundred men into Mecca and takenthe town without resistance. But he was determined toattempt only the circuit of the Ka’ba, and that only if theMeccans permitted. He would have resisted and foughtthe Meccans only if the Meccans had chosen to strikefirst. Therefore, he abandoned the main road andcamped at Hudaibiya. Soon the news reached theMeccan commander, who ordered his men to withdrawand post themselves near Mecca. Then the Meccans senta chief, Budail by name, to parley with the Prophet sa .The Prophet sa explained to Budail that he and theMuslims wanted only to perform the circuit of the Ka‘ba;but if the Meccans wished to fight, the Muslims wereready. Then ‘Urwa, son-in-law of Abu Sufyan ra , theMeccan commander, came to the Prophet sa . He behavedmost discourteously. He called the Muslims tramps anddregs of society and said the Meccans would not letthem enter Mecca. More and more Meccans came tohave talks and the last thing they said was that at leastthat year they would not let Muslims perform even thecircuit of the Ka‘ba. The Meccans would be humiliated ifthey permitted the circuit this year. The following year,they might do so.Some tribes allied with the Meccans urged upon theMeccan leaders to let the Muslims perform the circuit.After all, it was only the right of circuit they wanted.Why should they be stopped even from this? But theMeccans remained adamant. Thereupon the triballeaders said, the Meccans did not want peace andthreatened to disassociate themselves from them. Out offear, the Meccans were persuaded to try to reach asettlement with the Muslims. As soon as the Prophet sagot to know of this, he sent ‘Uthman ra (later the Third


124Life of Muhammad saKhalifah of Islam) to the Meccans. ‘Uthman ra had manyrelatives in Mecca. They came out and surrounded him,and offered to let him perform the circuit, but declaredthat they would not let the Prophet sa do so until thefollowing year. "But," said ‘Uthman ra , "I will not performthe circuit unless it is in the company of my Master."‘Uthman's ra talks with the chiefs of Mecca becameprolonged. A rumour was mischievously spread that hehad been murdered. It reached the ears of the Prophet sa .Upon this the Prophet sa assembled the Companions andsaid, "The life of an envoy is held sacred among allnations. I have heard that the Meccans have murdered‘Uthman ra . If this is true, we have to enter Mecca,whatever the consequences." The Prophet sa 's earlierintention to enter Mecca peacefully had to be changed,under the changed circumstances. The Prophet sa wenton, "Those who promise solemnly that if they have to gofurther, they will not turn back save as victors, shouldcome forward and take the oath on my hand." TheProphet sa had hardly finished speaking, when all thefifteen hundred Companions stood up and jumped overone another to hold the Prophet's sa hand and take theoath. This oath possesses a special importance in thehistory of early Islam. It is called the "Pledge of theTree". When the oath was taken, the Prophet sa wassitting under a tree. Everyone of those who took the oathremained proud of it to the end of his days. Of thefifteen hundred present on the occasion, not one heldback. They all promised that if the Muslim envoy hadbeen murdered, they would not go back. Either theywould take Mecca before dusk, or they would all diefighting. The taking of the oath was not over when‘Uthman ra returned. He reported that the Meccans didnot agree to let the Muslims perform the circuit until thefollowing year. They had appointed their delegates tosign a settlement with the Muslims. Soon after, Suhail,a chief of Mecca, came to the Prophet sa . A settlementwas reached and recorded.


Life of Muhammad sa 125TREATY OF HUDAIBIYAIt ran as follows:In the name of Allah. These are the conditions ofpeace between Muhammad sa , son of ‘Abdullah, andSuhail ibn ‘Amr, the envoy of Mecca. There will be nofighting for ten years. Anyone who wishes to joinMuhammad sa and to enter into any agreement with him,is free to do so. Anyone who wishes to join the Quraishand to enter into an agreement with them is also free todo so. A young man, or one whose father is alive, if hegoes to Muhammad sa without permission from his fatheror guardian, will be returned to his father or guardian.But should anyone go to the Quraish, he will not bereturned. This year Muhammad sa will go back withoutentering Mecca. But next year he and his followers canenter Mecca, spend three days and perform the circuit.During these three days the Quraish will withdraw tothe surrounding hills. When Muhammad sa and hisfollowers enter into Mecca, they will be unarmed exceptfor the sheathed swords which wayfarers in Arabiaalways have with them (Bukhari).Two interesting things happened during the signingof this peace. After the terms had been settled theProphet sa started to dictate the agreement and said, "Inthe name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful."Suhail objected and said, "Allah we know and believein, but what is this ‘the Gracious and the Merciful?' Thisagreement is between two parties. Therefore thereligious beliefs of both parties will have to berespected."The Prophet sa agreed at once and said to his scribe,"Only write, 'In the name of Allah'." The Prophet sa thenproceeded to dictate the terms of the agreement. Theopening sentence was, 'These are the conditions of peacebetween the people of Mecca and Muhammad sa , theProphet sa of God'. Suhail objected again, and said, "If wethought you a Prophet sa of God, we would not havefought you." The Prophet sa accepted this objection also.


126Life of Muhammad saInstead of Muhammad sa , the Prophet sa of God, heproposed Muhammad sa son of ‘Abdullah. As theProphet sa was agreeing to everything the Meccansproposed, the Companions felt agitated over thehumiliation. Their blood began to boil, and ‘Umar ra , themost excited of them all, went to the Prophet sa andasked, "O Prophet sa of God, are we not in the right?""Yes," said the Prophet sa , "we are in the right." "Andwere we not told by God that we would perform thecircuit of the Ka‘ba?" asked ‘Umar ra ." Yes," said the Prophet sa ."Then why this agreement and why these humiliatingterms?""True," said the Prophet sa , "God did foretell that wewould perform the circuit in peace but He did not saywhen. I did judge as though it was going to be this year.But I could be wrong. Must it be this year?"‘Umar ra was silenced.Then other Companions raised their objections.Some of them asked why they had agreed to restore tohis father or guardian a young man who should turnMuslim, without obtaining the same condition for aMuslim who should turn over or happen to go to theMeccans. The Prophet sa explained there was no harm inthis. "Everybody who becomes a Muslim," he said, "doesso because he accepts the beliefs and practicesinculcated by Islam. He does not become a Muslim inorder to join a party and to adopt its customs. Such aman will propagate the Message of Islam wherever hegoes, and serve as an instrument for the spread ofIslam. But a man who gives up Islam is no use to us. Ifhe no longer believes at heart what we believe, he is nolonger one of us. It is better he should go elsewhere."This reply of the Prophet sa satisfied those who haddoubted the wisdom of the course adopted by theProphet sa . It should satisfy today all those who thinkthat in Islam the punishment of apostasy is death. Hadthis been so, the Prophet sa would have insisted on thereturn and punishment of those who gave up Islam.


Life of Muhammad sa 127When the agreement had been written down and thesignatures of the parties affixed, there soon arose anoccasion which tested the good faith of the parties. Ason of Suhail, the Meccan plenipotentiary, appearedbefore the Prophet sa , bound, wounded and exhausted.He fell at the Prophet's sa feet and said, "O Prophet sa ofGod, I am a Muslim at heart, and because of my faith Ihave to suffer these troubles at the hands of my father.My father was here with you. So I escaped and managedto come to you." The Prophet sa had not spoken whenSuhail intervened and said that the agreement had beensigned and he would have to go with him. AbuJandal ra —this being the young man's name—stoodbefore the Muslims, a brother of brothers, driven todesperation by the ill-treatment of his father. To have tosend him back was an obligation they could not endure.They unsheathed their swords and seemed determinedto die or save this brother. Abu Jandal ra himselfentreated the Prophet sa to let him remain. Would hesend him back to the tyrants from whose clutches hehad managed to escape? But the Prophet sa wasdetermined. He said to Abu Jandal ra , "Prophets do noteat their words. We have signed this agreement now. Itis for you to bear with patience and to put your trust inGod. He will certainly provide for your freedom and forthe freedom of other young persons like you." After thepeace had been signed, the Prophet sa returned toMedina. Soon after, another young convert from Mecca,Abu Basir ra by name, reached Medina. But in accordwith the terms of the agreement, he also was sent backby the Prophet sa . On the way back, he and his guardshad a fight in the course of which he killed one of theguards and thus managed to escape. The Meccans wentto the Prophet sa again and complained. "But," said theProphet sa , "we handed over your man to you. He hasnow escaped out of your hands. It is no longer our dutyto find him and hand him over to you again. A few dayslater, a woman escaped to Medina. Some of her relationswent after her and demanded her return. The Prophet sa


128Life of Muhammad saexplained that the agreement had laid down anexception about men, not about women; so he refused toreturn this woman.PROPHET'S sa LETTERS TO VARIOUS KINGSAfter settling down in Medina on return fromHudaibiya, the Prophet sa instituted another plan for thespread of his Message. When he mentioned this to theCompanions, some of them who were acquainted withthe customs and forms observed in the courts of kingstold the Prophet sa that kings did not entertain letterswhich did not bear the seals of the senders. Accordinglythe Prophet sa had a seal made on which were engravedthe words, Muhammad Rasulullah sa .Out of reverence, Allah was put at the top, beneath itRasul and lastly Muhammad sa .In Muharram 628, envoys went to different capitals,each with a letter from the Prophet sa , inviting the rulersto accept Islam. Envoys went to Heraclius, the RomanEmperor, the Kings of Iran, Egypt (the King of Egypt wasthen a vassal of the Kaiser) and Abyssinia. They went toother kings and rulers also. The letter addressed to theKaiser was taken by Dihya Kalbi ra who was instructed tocall first on the Governor of Busra. When Dihya ra sawthe Governor, the great Kaiser himself was in Syria on atour of the Empire. The Governor readily passed Dihya raon to the Kaiser. When Dihya ra entered the court, hewas told that whoever was received in audience by theKaiser must prostrate himself before him. Dihya rarefused to do this, saying that Muslims did not bowbefore any human being. Dihya ra , therefore, sat beforethe Kaiser without making the prescribed obeisances.The Kaiser had the letter read by an interpreter andasked if an Arab caravan was in the town. He said hedesired to interrogate an Arab about this ArabianProphet sa who had sent him an invitation to acceptIslam. It so happened that Abu Sufyan ra was in the town


Life of Muhammad sa 129with a commercial caravan. The court officials took himto the Kaiser. Abu Sufyan ra was ordered to stand in frontof the other Arabs, who were told to correct him if heshould tell a lie or make a wrong statement. ThenHeraclius proceeded to interrogate Abu Sufyan ra . Theconversation is thus recorded in history:H: Do you know this man who claims to be a Prophet sa andwho has sent me a letter? Can you say what sort of familyhe comes from?A-S: He comes of a noble family and is one of my relations.H: Have there been Arabs before him who have madeclaims similar to his?A-S: No.H: Did your people ever charge him with lying before heannounced his claim?A-S: No.H: Has there been a king or a ruler among hisforefathers?A—S: No.H: How do you judge his general ability and his capacityfor judgement?A—S: We have never found any fault in his ability and hiscapacity for judgement.H: What are his followers like? Are they big andpowerful persons or are they poor and humble?A—S: Mostly poor and humble and young.H: Do their numbers tend to increase or decrease?A—S: To increase.H: Do his followers ever go back to their old beliefs?A—S: No.H: Has he ever broken a pledge?A—S: Not so far. But we have recently entered into anew pact with him. Let us see what he does about it.H: Have you had any fight with him yet?


130Life of Muhammad saA—S: Yes.H: With what result?A—S: Like buckets on a wheel, victory and defeatalternate between us and him. In the Battle of Badr, forinstance, in which I was not present, he was able tooverpower our side. In the Battle of Uhud, in which Icommanded our side, we took his side to task. We toretheir stomachs, their ears and their noses,H: But what does he teach?A—S: That we should worship the One God and not set upequals with Him. He preaches against the idols ourforefathers worshipped. He wants us, instead, to worshipthe Only God, to speak the truth only and always to abjureall vicious and corrupt practices. He exhorts us to be goodto one another and to keep our covenants and dischargeour trusts.This interesting conversation came to an end andthen the Kaiser said:I first asked you about his family and you said he belongedto a noble family. In truth, Prophets always come of noblefamilies. I then asked you if anyone before him had made asimilar claim and you said, No. I asked you this questionbecause I thought that if in the recent past some one hadmade such a claim, then one could say that this Prophet sawas imitating that claim. I then asked you whether he hadever been charged with lying before his claim had beenannounced and you said, No. I inferred from this that aperson who does not lie about men will not lie about God. Inext asked you if there had been a king among hisforefathers and you said, No. From this I understood thathis claim could not be a subtle plan for the recovery of thekingdom. I then asked you whether the entrants into hisfold were mostly big, prosperous and powerful individualsor poor and weak. And you said in reply, that they weregenerally poor and weak, not proud and big, and so are theearly followers of a Prophet. I then asked you whether hisnumbers were increasing or decreasing and you said they


Life of Muhammad sa 131were increasing. At this I remembered that the followers ofa Prophet go on increasing until the Prophet attains hisgoal. I then asked you if his followers left him out ofdisgust or disappointment, and you said, No. At this Iremembered that the followers of Prophets are usuallysteadfast. They may fall away for other reasons, but notout of disgust for the faith. I then asked you if there hadbeen fights between you and him and, if so, with whatresults. And you said that you and his followers were likebuckets on a wheel and the Prophets are like that. In thebeginning their followers suffer reverses and meet withmisfortunes, but in the end they win. I then asked youabout what he teaches and you said he teaches the worshipof One God, truth-speaking, virtue and the importance ofkeeping covenants and discharging trusts. I asked you alsowhether he ever played false, and you said, No. And this isthe way of virtuous men. It seems to me, therefore, that hisclaim to being a Prophet sa is true. I was half expecting hisappearance in our time, but I did not know he was going tobe an Arab. If what you have told me is true, then I thinkhis influence and his dominion will certainly spread overthese lands (Bukhari).The speech unsettled the courtiers who began toblame the King for applauding a Teacher of anothercommunity. Protests were raised. The court officialsthen sent away Abu Sufyan ra and his friends. The text ofthe letter which the Prophet sa wrote to the Kaiser is to befound in historical records. It runs as follows:From Muhammad sa , the Servant of God and HisMessenger. To the Chief of Rome, Heraclius. Whoevertreads the path of divine guidance, on him be peace. Afterthis, O King, I invite you to Islam. Become a Muslim. Godwill protect you from all afflictions, and reward you twiceover. But if you deny and refuse to accept this Message,then the sin not only of your own denial, but of the denialof your subjects, will be on your head. "Say, 'O People ofthe Book! come to a word equal between us and you thatwe worship none but Allah, and that we associate no


132Life of Muhammad sapartner with Him, and that some of us take not others forlords beside Allah.' But if they turn away, then say, ‘Bearwitness that we have submitted to God' " (Zurqani ).The invitation to Islam was an invitation to believethat God is One and that Muhammad sa is HisMessenger. Where the letter says that if Heracliusbecomes a Muslim, he will be rewarded twice over, thereference is to the fact that Islam teaches belief in bothJesus as and Muhammad sa .It is said that when the letter was presented to theEmperor, some courtiers suggested it should be torn upand thrown away. The letter, they said, was an insult tothe Emperor. It did not describe the Emperor asEmperor but only as Sahibul Rum, i.e., the Chief ofRome. The Emperor, however, said that it was unwise totear up the letter without reading it. He also said thatthe address, 'Chief of Rome', was not wrong. After all,the Master of everything was God. An Emperor was onlya chief.When the Prophet sa was told how his letter had beenreceived by Heraclius, he seemed satisfied and pleasedand said that because of the reception which the RomanEmperor had given his letter, his Empire would besaved. The descendants of the Emperor would continuelong to rule over the Empire. That is in fact whathappened. In the wars which took place later, a largepart of the Roman Empire, in accordance with anotherprophecy of the Prophet sa of Islam, passed out of thepossession of Rome; yet for six hundred years after this,the dynasty of Heraclius remained established inConstantinople. The Prophet's sa letter remainedpreserved in the State archives for a long time.Ambassadors of the Muslim King, Mansur Qalawun,visited the court of Rome, and were shown the letterdeposited in a case. The then Roman Emperor showingthe letter said it had been received by a forefather of hisfrom their Prophet sa and had been carefully preserved.


Life of Muhammad sa 133LETTER TO THE KING OF IRANThe letter to the King of Iran was sent through‘Abdullah bin Hudhafa ra . The text of this letter was asfollows:In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.. Thisletter is from Muhammad sa , the Messenger of God, toChosroes, the Chief of Iran. Whoever submits to a perfectguidance, and believes in Allah, and bears witness thatAllah is One, and has no equal or partner, and thatMuhammad sa is His Servant and Messenger, on him bepeace. O King, under the command of God, I invite you toIslam. For I have been sent by God as His Messenger sa toall mankind, so that I may warn all living men andcomplete my Message for all unbelievers. Accept Islam andprotect yourself from all afflictions. If you reject thisinvitation, then the sin of the denial of all your people willrest on your head (Zurqani and Khamis).‘Abdullah bin Hudhafa ra says that when he reachedthe court of Chosroes he applied for admission to theroyal presence. He handed over the letter to the Emperorand the Emperor ordered an interpreter to read it andexplain its contents. On listening to the contents, theChosroes was enraged. He took back the letter and toreit to pieces. ‘Abdullah bin Hudhafa ra reported theincident to the Prophet sa . On hearing the report, theProphet sa said:What the Chosroes has done to our letter even thatwill God do to his Empire (i.e., rend it to pieces).The fit of temper which the Chosroes showed on thisoccasion was the result of the pernicious propagandacarried on against Islam by Jews who had migrated fromRoman territory to Iran. These Jewish refugees took aleading part in anti-Roman intrigues sponsored in Iran,and had, therefore, become favourites at the Iraniancourt. The Chosroes was full of rage against theProphet sa . The reports about the Prophet sa which theJews had taken to Iran, it seemed to him, wereconfirmed by this letter. He thought the Prophet sa was


134Life of Muhammad saan aggressive adventurer with designs on Iran. Soonafter, the Chosroes wrote to the Governor of Yemen,saying that one of the Quraish in Arabia had announcedhimself a Prophet sa . His claims were becoming excessive.The Governor was asked to send two men charged withthe duty of arresting this Quraishite and bringing him tothe court of Iran. Badhan, the Governor of Yemen underthe Chosroes, sent an army chief with a mountedcompanion to the Prophet sa . He also gave them a letteraddressed to the Prophet sa , in which he said that onreceipt of the letter the Prophet sa should at onceaccompany the two messengers to the court of Iran. Thetwo planned to go first to Mecca. When somewhere nearTa’if, they were told that the Prophet sa lived in Medina.So they went to Medina. On arrival this army chief toldthe Prophet sa that Badhan, the Governor of Yemen, hadbeen ordered by the Chosroes to arrange for theProphet's sa arrest and despatch to Iran. If the Prophet sarefused to obey, he and his people were to be destroyedand their country made desolate. Out of compassion forthe Prophet sa , this delegate from Yemen insisted that theProphet sa should obey and agree to be led to Iran.Having listened to this, the Prophet sa suggested that thedelegates should see him again the following day.Overnight the Prophet sa prayed to God Who informedhim that the insolence of the Chosroes had cost him hislife. "We have set his own son against him, and this sonwill murder his father on Monday the l0th Jumad al-’Ulaof this year." According to some reports, the revelationsaid, "The son has murdered the father this very night."It is possible that that very night was the l0th Jumad al-’Ula In the morning, the Prophet sa sent for the Yemendelegates and told them of what had been revealed tohim overnight. Then he prepared a letter for Badhansaying that the Chosroes was due to be murdered on acertain day of a certain month. When the Governor ofYemen received the letter he said, "If this man be a trueProphet sa , it will be even as he says. If he be not true,then God help him and his country." Soon after, a boat


Life of Muhammad sa 135from Iran anchored at the port of Yemen. It brought aletter from the Emperor of Iran to the Governor ofYemen. The letter bore a new seal, from which theGovernor concluded that the prophecy of the ArabianProphet sa had proved true. A new seal meant a new king.He opened the letter. It said:From Chosroes Siroes to Badhan, the Governor of Yemen.I have murdered my father because his rule had becomecorrupt and unjust. He murdered the nobles and treatedhis subjects with cruelty. As soon as you receive this letter,collect all officers and ask them to affirm their loyalty tome. As for my father's orders for the arrest of an ArabianProphet sa , you should regard those orders as cancelled(Tabari, Vol. 3, pp. 1572–1574 and Hisham p. 46).Badhan was so impressed by these events that heand many of his friends at once declared their faith inIslam and informed the Prophet sa accordingly.THE LETTER TO THE NEGUSThe letter to the Negus, King of Abyssinia, wascarried by ‘Amr bin Umayya Damri ra . It ran as follows:In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful,Muhammad sa , the Messenger of God, writes to the Negus,King of Abyssinia. O King, peace of God be upon you. Ipraise before you the One and Only God. None else isworthy of worship. He is the King of kings, the source ofall excellences, free from all defects, He provides peace toall His servants and protects His creatures. I bear witnessthat Jesus, son of Mary as was a Messenger of God, whocame in fulfilment of promises made to Mary by God.Mary had consecrated her life to God. I invite you to joinwith me in attaching ourselves to the One and Only Godand in obeying Him. I invite you also to follow me andbelieve in the God Who hath sent me. I am His Messenger.I invite you and your armies to join the Faith of theAlmighty God. I discharge my duty hereby. I havedelivered to you the Message of God, and made clear to


136Life of Muhammad sayou the meaning of this Message. I have done so in allsincerity and I trust you will value the sincerity which hasprompted this message. He who obeys the guidance of Godbecomes heir to the blessings of God (Zurqani).When this letter reached the Negus, he showed verygreat regard and respect for it. He held it up to his eyes,descended from the throne and ordered an ivory box forit. Then he deposited it in the box and said, "While thisletter is safe, my kingdom is safe." What he said provedtrue. For one thousand years Muslim armies were outon their career of conquest. They went in all directions,and passed by Abyssinia on all sides, but they did nottouch this small kingdom of the Negus—; and this, outof regard for two memorable acts of the Negus theprotection he afforded the refugees of early Islam andthe reverence he showed to the Prophet's sa letter. TheEmpire of Rome became dismembered. The Chosroeslost his dominions. The kingdoms of China and Indiadisappeared but this small kingdom of the Negusremained inviolate, because its ruler received andprotected the first Muslim refugees and showed respectand reverence for the Prophet's sa letter.Muslims returned the magnanimity of the Negus inthis way. Compare with this the treatment which aChristian people, in this age of civilization meted out tothis Christian kingdom of the Negus. They bombardedfrom the air the open cities of Abyssinia and destroyedthem. The royal family had to take refuge elsewhere andto stay away from their country for several years. Thesame people have been treated in two different ways bytwo different peoples. Muslims held Abyssinia sacredand inviolate because of the magnanimity of one of itsrulers. A Christian nation attacked and plundered it inthe name of civilization. It shows how wholesome andlasting in their effects are the Prophet's sa teaching andexample. Muslim gratitude to a Christian kingdom madethe kingdom sacred to Muslims. Christian greedattacked the same kingdom, not caring it was Christian.


Life of Muhammad sa 137LETTER TO THE RULER OF EGYPTThe letter to Muqauqis was carried by Hatib ibn AbiBalta‘a ra . The text of this letter was exactly the same asthat to the Roman Emperor. The letter to the RomanEmperor said that the sin of the denial of the Romansubjects would be on his head. The letter to theMuqauqis said that the sin of the denial of the Coptswould be on the head of the ruler. It ran as follows:In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. Thisletter is from Muhammad sa , the Messenger of Allah, toMuqauqis, the Chief of the Copts. Peace be upon him whofollows the path of rectitude. I invite you to accept theMessage of Islam. Believe and you will be saved and yourreward will be twofold. If you disbelieved, the sin of thedenial of the Copts will also be on your head. Say, "OPeople of the Book! come to a word equal between us andyou that we worship none but Allah, and that we associateno partner with Him, and that some of us take not othersfor lords beside Allah. But if they turn away, then say,‘Bear witness that we have submitted to God.'" (Halbiyya,Vol. 3, p. 275).When Hatib ra reached Egypt, he did not find theMuqauqisin the capital. Ilatib followed him toAlexandria, where he was holding court near the sea.Hatib ra went by boat. The court was strongly guarded.Therefore Hatib ra showed the letter from a distance andbegan to speak aloud. The Muqauqis ordered Hatib ra tobe brought to him. The Muqauqis read the letter andsaid, "If this man be a true Prophet sa , why does he notpray for the destruction of his enemies?" Hatib ra replied,"You believe in Jesus as . He was ill-treated by his people,yet he did not pray for their destruction." The King paida tribute to Hatib ra and said he was a wise envoy of awise man. He had answered well the questions put tohim. Upon this Hatib ra spoke again. "Before you," hesaid, "there was a king who was proud, arrogant andcruel. He was the Pharaoh who persecuted Moses as . Atlast he was overtaken by divine punishment. Show no


138Life of Muhammad sapride therefore. Believe in this Prophet sa of God. By GodMoses as did not foretell about Jesus as as clearly as didJesus as foretell about Muhammad sa . We invite you toMuhammad the Prophet sa , just as you Christians invitethe Jews to Jesus as . Every Prophet has his followers.The followers must obey their Prophet. Now that aProphet sa has appeared in your time it is your duty tobelieve in him and follow him. And remember ourreligion does not ask you to deny or disobey Jesus as .Our religion requires everyone to believe in Jesus as ."Hearing this, Muqauqis revealed that he had heard ofthe teaching of this Prophet sa and he felt that he did notteach anything evil nor forbid anything good. He hadalso made inquiries and found that he was no sorcereror soothsayer. He had heard of some of his prophecieswhich had come true. Then he sent for an ivory box andplaced the letter of the Prophet sa in it, sealed it andhanded it over to a servant girl for safe deposit. He alsowrote a letter in reply to the Prophet sa . The text of thisletter is recorded in history. It runs as follows:In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. FromMuqauqis, King of the Copts, to Muhammad sa , son of‘Abdullah. Peace be on you. After this, I say that I haveread your letter and pondered over its contents and overthe beliefs to which you invite me. I am aware that theHebrew Prophets have foretold the advent of a Prophet sain our time. But I thought he was going to appear in Syria.I have received your envoy, and made a present of onethousand dinars and five khil‘ats to him and I send twoEgyptian girls as a present to you. My people, the Copts,hold these girls in great esteem. One of them is Mary ra andthe other Sirin ra . I also send you twenty garments made ofEgyptian linen of high quality. I also send you a mule forriding. In the end I pray again that you may have peacefrom God (Zurqani and Tabari).From this letter it is clear that, though Muqauqistreated the letter with respect he did not accept Islam.


Life of Muhammad sa 139LETTER TO CHIEF OF BAHRAINThe Prophet sa also sent a letter to Mundhir Taimi,Chief of Bahrain. This letter was carried by ‘Ala’ ibnHadrami ra . The text of this letter has been lost. When itreached this Chief, he believed, and wrote back to theProphet sa saying that he and many of his friends andfollowers had decided to join Islam. Some, however, haddecided to stay outside. He also said that there weresome Jews and Magians living under him. What was heto do about them?The Prophet sa wrote again to this Chief thus:I am glad at your acceptance of Islam. Your duty is to obeythe delegates and messengers whom I should send to you.Whoever obeys them, obeys me. The messenger who tookmy letter to you praised you to me, and assured me of thesincerity of your belief. I have prayed to God for yourpeople. Try, therefore, to teach them the ways andpractices of Islam. Protect their property. Do not letanyone have more than four wives. The sins of the past areforgiven. As long as you are good and virtuous you willcontinue to rule over your people. As for Jews andMagians, they have only to pay a tax. Do not, therefore,make any other demands on them. As for the generalpopulation, those who do not have land enough to maintainthem should have four dirhams each, and some clothto wear (Zurqani and Khamis).The Prophet sa also wrote to the King of ‘Uman, theChief of Yamama, the King of Ghassan, the Chief of BaniNahd, a tribe of Yemen, the Chief of Hamdan, anothertribe of Yemen, the Chief of Bani ‘Alim and the Chief ofthe Hadrami tribe. Most of them became Muslims.These letters show how perfect was the Prophet's safaith in God. They also show that from the verybeginning the Prophet sa believed that he had been sentby God not to any one people or territory, but to all thepeoples of the world. It is true that these letters werereceived by their addressees in different ways. Some ofthem accepted Islam at once. Others treated the letters


140Life of Muhammad sawith consideration, but did not accept Islam. Still otherstreated them with ordinary courtesy. Still others showedcontempt and pride. But it is true also—and history iswitness to the fact—that the recipients of these letters ortheir peoples met with a fate in accordance with theirtreatment of these letters.FALL OF KHAIBARAs we have said above, the Jews and otheropponents of Islam were now busy inflaming the tribesagainst the Muslims. They were now convinced thatArabia was unable to withstand the rising influence ofIslam and that Arab tribes were unable to attackMedina. The Jews, therefore, began to intrigue with theChristian tribes settled on the southern frontier of theRoman Empire. At the same time they started writingagainst the Prophet sa to their co-religionists in Iraq. Bymalicious propaganda carried on throughcorrespondence they sought to excite the Chosroes ofIran against Islam. As a result of Jewish machinationsthe Chosroes turned against Islam, and even sent ordersto the Governor of Yemen to arrest the Prophet sa . It wasby special divine intervention and divine grace that theProphet sa remained safe, and the foul plan of theEmperor of Iran was brought to nought. It should beobvious that, but for the divine help which attended theProphet sa throughout his career, the tender movement ofearly Islam would have been nipped in the bud underthe hostility and opposition of the Emperors of Romeand Iran. When the Chosroes ordered the arrest of theProphet sa , it so happened that before the orders could becarried out the Emperor was deposed and put to deathby his own son and his orders for the arrest of theProphet sa cancelled by the new ruler. The officials ofYemen were impressed by this miracle; so the provinceof Yemen readily became part of the Muslim Empire. Theintrigues which the Jews kept on hatching against


Life of Muhammad sa 141Muslims and their town of Medina made it necessarythat they should be driven farther away from Medina. Ifthey had been allowed to continue to live nearby theirintrigues were almost certain to give rise to more andmore bloodshed and violence. On returning fromHudaibiya the Prophet sa waited for five months and thendecided to banish them from Khaibar. Khaibar was onlya little distance from Medina and from here the Jewsfound it very easy to carry on their intrigues. With thisintent, the Prophet sa (some time in August 628 A.D.)marched to Khaibar. He had one thousand six hundredmen with him. Khaibar, as we have said, was a wellfortifiedtown. It was surrounded on all sides by rockson which were perched little fortresses. To conquer sucha place with so small a force was no easy task. Thesmall posts lying on the outskirts of Khaibar fell after alittle fighting. But when the Jews collected themselvesinto the central fort of the town, all attacks on it and allforms of strategy employed against it seemed to fail. Oneday the Prophet sa had a revelation that Khaibar wouldfall at the hands of ‘Ali ra . The following morning theProphet sa announced this to his followers and said,"Today, I will hand over the black flag of Islam to himwho is dear to God, His Prophet sa and all the Muslims.God has ordained that our victory at Khaibar shouldtake place at his hands." The following day he sent for‘Ali ra and handed to him the flag. ‘Ali ra did not wait. Hetook his men and attacked the central fort. In spite ofthe fact that the Jews had collected in force inside thisfort, ‘Ali ra and his division were able to conquer it beforedark. A peace was signed. The conditions were that allJews, their wives and their children would quit Khaibarand settle in some place far away from Medina. Theirproperty and their belongings would pass into the handsof Muslims. Anyone who tried to conceal any of hisproperty or stores, or made a wrong statement, wouldnot be protected by the peace. He would have to pay thepenalty laid down for breach of faith.


142Life of Muhammad saThree interesting incidents took place in this siege ofKhaibar. One of them constitutes a Sign of God and twoafford insight into the high moral character of theProphet sa .A widow of Kinana, a chief of Khaibar, was marriedto the Prophet sa . The Prophet sa saw that her face boresome marks, the impression of a hand. "What is this onyour face, Safiyya ra ?" asked the Prophet sa ."It was like this," replied Safiyya ra . "I saw the moonfall in my lap in a dream. I related the dream to myhusband. No sooner had I related the dream than myhusband gave a heavy slap on my face and said, 'Youdesire to marry the King of Arabia'" (Hisham). The moonwas the national emblem of Arabia. The moon in the lapdenoted some intimate connection with the King ofArabia. A split moon or a dropping moon meantdissensions in the Arab State or its destruction.The dream of Safiyya ra is a sign of the truth of theHoly Prophet sa . It is also a sign of the fact that Godreveals the future to His servants through dreams.Believers have more of this grace than unbelievers.Safiyya ra was a Jewess when she saw this dream. It sohappened that her husband was killed in the siege ofKhaibar. This siege was a punishment for the Jewishbreach of faith. Safiyya ra was made a prisoner and, inthe distribution of prisoners, was given to a Companion.It was then found that she was the widow of a chief. Itwas, therefore, felt that it would be more in accord withher rank if she were to live with the Prophet sa . TheProphet sa , however, chose to give her the status of a wifeand she agreed. In this way was her dream fulfilled.There were two other incidents. One relates to ashepherd who looked after the sheep of a Jewish chief.This shepherd became a Muslim. After his conversion hesaid to the Prophet sa , "I cannot go back to my peoplenow, O Prophet of God sa . What shall I do with the sheepand goats of my old master?""Set the faces of the animals towards Khaibar andgive them a push. God will lead them back to their


Life of Muhammad sa 143master" said the Prophet sa . The shepherd did as he wastold, and the herd reached the Jewish fort. The guardsat the fort received them (Hisham, Vol 2, p.191). Theincident shows how seriously the Prophet sa regarded thequestion of individual rights and how important in hisview it was for a trustee to discharge his trust. In warthe property and belongings of the losers are rightfullyappropriated by the victors. Ours is an age of civilizationand culture, but can we show anything equal to this?Has it ever happened that a retreating enemy left behindstores which the victors sent back to their owners? Inthe present case the goats belonged to one of thecombatants of the enemy side. The return of the goatsmeant making over to the enemy food which would lastthem for several months. With it the enemy could resistthe siege for a long time. Yet the Prophet sa had the goatsreturned, and this in order to impress upon a newconvert the importance of discharging a trust.The third incident relates to a Jewish woman whotried to poison the Prophet sa . She asked the Companionswhat part of an animal the Prophet sa relished for a dish.She was told that he preferred the shoulder of lamb orgoat. The woman slaughtered a goat and made cutletson hot stones. Then she mixed with them a deadlypoison, especially in pieces cut from the shoulder,believing the Prophet sa would prefer them.The Prophet sa was returning to his tent, having saidthe evening prayers in congregation. He saw this womanwaiting for him near his tent and asked, "Is thereanything I can do for you, woman?""Yes, Abu’l Qasim sa , you can accept a present fromme." The Prophet sa asked a Companion to take whateverthe woman had brought. When the Prophet sa sat downto his meal this present of roasted meat was also laidbefore him. The Prophet sa took a morsel. A CompanionBishr ibn al-Bara’ ibn al-Ma‘rur ra also took a morsel.The other Companions present at the meal stretchedtheir hands to eat the meat. But the Prophet sa stoppedthem saying, he thought the meat was poisoned. Upon


144Life of Muhammad sathis Bishr ra said that he also thought the same. Hewanted to throw away the meat but was afraid it mightdisturb the Prophet sa . "Seeing you take a morsel," hesaid, "I also took one, but I soon began to wish you hadnot taken yours at all." Soon afterwards Bishr ra becameill and, according to some reports, died there and then.According to other reports he died after remaining ill forsome time. The Prophet sa then sent for the woman andasked her if she had poisoned the meat. The womanasked the Prophet sa how he ever got to know about it.The Prophet sa was holding a piece in his hand, andsaid,"My hand told me this," meaning he was able tojudge from its taste. The woman admitted what she haddone. "What made you do this? " asked the Prophet sa ."My people were at war with you and my relationswere killed in this battle, I decided to poison you,believing that if you were an impostor you would die andwe should be safe, but if you were a Prophet sa , Godwould save you."Hearing this explanation the Prophet sa forgave thewoman, although she had earned, the penalty of death(Muslim). The Prophet sa was ever ready to forgive, andpunished only when punishment was necessary, when itwas feared the guilty one would continue to commitmischief.THE PROPHET'S sa VISION FULFILLEDIn the seventh year after the Hijra, in February 629to be exact, the Prophet sa was due to go to Mecca for thecircuit of the Ka‘ba. This had been agreed to by theMeccan leaders. When the time came for the Prophet sa todepart, he collected two thousand followers and set outin the direction of Mecca. When he reachedMarrazzuhran, a halting place near Mecca, he orderedhis followers to shed their armours. These were collectedin one place. In strict conformity with the terms of theagreement signed at Hudaibiya, the Prophet sa and his


Life of Muhammad sa 145followers entered the Sacred Enclosure, wearing onlysheathed swords; Returning to Mecca after seven years'externment, it was no ordinary thing for two thousandpersons to enter Mecca. They remembered the torturesto which they had been subjected during their days atMecca. At the same time, they saw how gracious Godhad been to them in letting them come back and make acircuit of the Ka‘ba in peace. Their anger was only equalto their joy. The people of Mecca had come out of theirhouses and perched themselves on the hill-tops to seethe Muslims. The Muslims were full of zeal andenthusiasm and pride. They wanted to tell the Meccansthat the promises which God had made to them had allcome true. ‘Abdullah bin Rawaha ra started singing songsof war, but the Prophet sa stopped him saying, "No warsongs. Only say, There is none to be worshipped exceptthe One God. It is God Who helped the Prophet sa andraised the believers from degradation to dignity and Whodrove off the enemy" (Halbiyya, Vol. 3, p. 73).After circuiting the Ka‘ba and running between thehills of Safa and Marwa, the Prophet sa and hisCompanions stopped in Mecca for three days. ‘Abbas rahad a widowed sister-in-law, Maimuna ra , and heproposed that the Prophet sa should marry her. TheProphet sa agreed. On the fourth day the Meccansdemanded the withdrawal of the Muslims. The Prophet saordered the withdrawal and asked his followers to startback for Medina. So religiously did he carry out theagreement and so careful was he to respect Meccansentiments that he left his newly-wed wife behind inMecca. He arranged that she should join him with thepart of the caravan carrying the personal effects of thepilgrims. The Prophet sa mounted his camel and wassoon out of the limits of the sacred precincts. For thenight the Prophet sa camped at a place called Sarif, andthere in his tent Maimuna ra joined him.We might have omitted this insignificant detail froma short account of the Life of the Prophet sa , but theincident has one important interest, and it is this. The


146Life of Muhammad saProphet sa has been attacked by European writersbecause he had several wives. They think a plurality ofwives is evidence of personal laxity and love of pleasure.This impression of the Prophet's sa marriages, however, isbelied by the devotion and self-consuming love whichthe Prophet's sa wives had for him. Their devotion andlove proved that the Prophet's sa married life was pure,unselfish and spiritual. It was so singular in this respectthat no man can be said to have treated his one wife sowell as the Prophet sa treated his many. If the Prophet's samarried life had been motivated by pleasure, it wouldmost certainly have resulted in making his wivesindifferent and even antagonistic to him. But the factsare quite otherwise. All the Prophet's sa wives weredevoted to him, and their devotion was due to hisunselfish and high-minded example. To his unselfishexample they reacted by unsparing devotion. This isproved by many incidents recorded in history. Onerelates to Maimuna ra herself. She met the Prophet sa forthe first time in a tent in the desert. If their maritalrelations had been coarse, if the Prophet sa had preferredsome wives to others because of their physical charms,Maimuna ra would not have cherished her first meetingwith the Prophet sa as a great memory. If her marriagewith the Prophet sa had been associated with unpleasantor indifferent memories, she would have forgotteneverything about it. Maimuna ra lived long after theProphet's sa death. She died full of years but could notforget what her marriage with the Prophet sa had meantfor her. On the eve of her death at eighty, when thedelights of the flesh are forgotten, when things only oflasting value and virtue move the heart, she asked to beburied at one day's journey from Mecca, at the very spotwhere the Prophet sa had camped on his return toMedina, and where after his marriage she had first methim. The world knows of many stories of love both realand imaginary, but not of many which are more movingthan this.


Life of Muhammad sa 147Soon after this historic circuit of the Ka‘ba, tworenowned generals of the enemy joined Islam. Theyproved renowned generals of Islam. One was Khalid binWalid ra whose genius and courage shook the RomanEmpire to its foundations and under whose generalshipcountry after country was added by Muslims to theirEmpire. The other was ‘Amr bin al-‘As ra , the conquerorof Egypt.BATTLE OF MAUTAOn return from the Ka‘ba, the Prophet sa began toreceive reports that Christian tribes on the Syrianborder, instigated by Jews and pagans, were preparingfor an attack upon Medina. He, therefore, despatched aparty of fifteen to find out the truth. They saw an armymassing on the Syrian border. Instead of returning atonce with the report they tarried. Their zeal forexpounding Islam got the better of them, but the effectof their well-meaning zeal proved to be the very oppositeof what they had wished and expected.Reviewing events now, we can see that those who,under enemy provocation, were planning to attack theProphet's sa homeland could be expected to behave in noother way. Instead of listening to the exposition, theytook out their bows and started raining arrows on thisparty of fifteen. The party, however, remained unmoved.They received arrows in reply to arguments, but they didnot turn back. They stood firm, fifteen againstthousands, and fell fighting.The Prophet sa planned an expedition to punish theSyrians for this wanton cruelty, but in the meantime hehad reports that the forces which had beenconcentrating on the border had dispersed. He,therefore, postponed his plans.The Prophet sa , however, wrote a letter to the Emperorof Rome (or to the Chief of the Ghassan tribe who ruledBusra in the name of Rome). In this letter, we may


148Life of Muhammad sapresume, the Prophet sa complained of the preparationswhich had been visible on the Syrian border and of thefoul and entirely unjust murder of the fifteen Muslimswhom he had sent to report on the border situation.This letter was carried by al-Harth ra , a Companion of theProphet sa . He stopped en route at Mauta where he metShurahbil, a Ghassan chief acting as a Roman official."Are you a messenger of Muhammad sa ?" asked thischief. On being told "Yes," he arrested him, tied him upand belaboured him to death. It may quite reasonably beassumed that this Ghassan chief was a leader of thearmy which had engaged and put to death the fifteenMuslims who had tried only to preach. The fact that hesaid to al-Harth ra , "Perhaps you are carrying a messagefrom Muhammad sa " shows he was afraid lest theProphet's sa complaint that tribesmen under the Kaiserhad attacked the Muslims should reach the Kaiser. Hewas afraid lest he should have to account for what hadhappened. There was safety, he thought, in murderingthe Prophet's sa envoy. The expectation was not realized.The Prophet sa got to know of the murder. To avenge thisand the earlier murders, he raised a force of threethousand and despatched it to Syria under thecommand of Zaid bin Haritha ra , freed slave of theProphet sa , whom we mentioned in our account of his lifein Mecca. The Prophet sa nominated Ja‘far ibn Abi Talibas the successor of Zaid ra , should Zaid ra die, and‘Abdullah bin Rawaha ra , should Ja‘far die. Should‘Abdullah bin Rawaha ra also die, Muslims were tochoose their own commander. A Jew who heard thisexclaimed, "O Abu’l Qasim sa , if thou art a true Prophet sa ,these three officers whom thou hast named are sure to die;for God fulfils the words of a Prophet sa ." Turning to Zaid ra ,he said,"Take it from me, if Muhammad sa is true you willnot return alive." Zaid ra , a true believer that he was, said inreply, "I may return alive or not, but Muhammad sa is a trueProphet of God" (Halbiyya, Vol. 3, p. 75).The following morning the Muslim army set out onits long march. The Prophet sa and the Companions went


Life of Muhammad sa 149some distance with it. A large and important expeditionsuch as this had never before gone without the Prophet sacommanding in person. As the Prophet sa walked along tobid the expedition farewell, he counselled andinstructed. When they reached the spot where thepeople of Medina generally bade farewell to friends andrelations going to Syria, the Prophet sa stopped and said:I urge you to fear God and to deal justly with Muslimswho go with you. Go to war in the name of Allah and fightthe enemy in Syria, who is your enemy, as well as Allah's.When you are in Syria, you will meet those who rememberGod much in their houses of worship. You should have nodispute with them, and give no trouble to them. In theenemy country do not kill any women or children, nor theblind or the old; do not cut down any tree, nor pull downany building (Halbiyya, Vol. 3).Having said this, the Prophet sa returned and theMuslim army marched forward. It was the first Muslimarmy sent to fight the Christians. When Muslimsreached the Syrian border, they heard that the Kaiserhimself had taken the field with one hundred thousandof his own soldiers and another hundred thousandrecruited from the Christian tribes of Arabia. Confrontedby such large enemy numbers, the Muslims half wantedto stop on the way and send word to the Prophet sa atMedina. For he might be able to reinforce their numbersor wish to send fresh instructions. When the armyleaders took counsel, ‘Abdullah bin Rawaha ra stood up,full of fire, and said, "My people, you set out from yourhomes to die as martyrs in the way of God, and nowwhen martyrdom is in sight you seem to flinch. We havenot fought so far because we were better equipped thanthe enemy in men or material. Our mainstay was ourfaith. If the enemy is so many times superior to us innumbers or equipment, what does it matter? Onereward out of two we must have. We either win, or die asmartyrs in the way of God." The army heard ibnRawaha ra and was much impressed. He was right, they


150Life of Muhammad sasaid, with one voice. The army marched on. As theymarched, they saw the Roman army advancing towardsthem. So at Mauta the Muslims took up their positionsand the battle began. Soon Zaid ra , the Muslimcommander, was killed and the Prophet's cousin Ja‘faribn Abi Talib ra received the standard and the commandof the army. When he saw that enemy pressure wasincreasing and Muslims, because of utter physicalinferiority, were not holding their own he dismountedfrom his horse and cut its legs. The action meant that atleast he was not going to flee; he would prefer death toflight.To cut the legs of one's mount was an Arab customto prevent stampede and panic. Ja‘far ra lost his righthand, but held the standard in his left. He lost his lefthand also and then held the standard between the twostumps pressed to his chest. True to his promise, he felldown fighting. Then ‘Abdullah bin Rawaha ra , as theProphet sa had ordered, grasped the standard and tookover the command. He also fell fighting. The order of theProphet sa now was for Muslims to take counsel togetherand elect a commander. But there was no time to holdan election. The Muslims might well have yielded to thevastly superior numbers of the enemy. But Khalid binWalid ra , accepting the suggestion of a friend, took thestandard and went on fighting until evening came. Thefollowing day Khalid ra took the field again with hiscrippled and tired force but employed a stratagem. Hechanged the positions of his men—those in frontchanged with those in the rear and those on the rightflank changed with those on the left. They also raisedsome slogans. The enemy thought Muslims had receivedreinforcements overnight and withdrew in fear. Khalid rasaved his remnants and returned. The Prophet sa hadbeen informed of these events through a revelation. Hecollected the Muslims in the mosque. As he rose toaddress them his eyes were wet with tears. He said:I wish to tell you about the army which left here forthe Syrian border. It stood against the enemy and


Life of Muhammad sa 151fought. First Zaid ra , then Ja‘far ra and then ‘Abdullah binRawaha ra held the standard. All three fell, one after theother, fighting bravely. Pray for them all. After them thestandard was held by Khalid bin Walid ra . He appointedhimself. He is a sword among the swords of God. So hesaved the Muslim army and returned (Zad al-Ma‘ad, Vol.1, and Zurqani ).The Prophet's sa description of Khalid ra becamepopular. Khalid ra came to be known as ‘the sword ofGod'.Being one of the later converts, Khalid ra was oftentaunted by other Muslims. Once he and ‘Abdur Rahmanbin ‘Auf ra quarrelled over something. ‘Abdur Rahmanbin ‘Auf ra reported against Khalid ra to the Prophet sa . TheProphet sa chid Khalid ra and said, "Khalid ra , you annoyone who has been serving Islam from the time of Badr. Isay to you that even if you give away gold of the weightof Uhud in the service of Islam, you will not become asdeserving of divine reward as "‘Abdur Rahman ra"But they taunt me," said Khalid ra , "and I have toreply."Upon this the Prophet sa turned to others and said,"You must not taunt Khalid ra . He is a sword among theswords of God which remains drawn againstdisbelievers."The Prophet's sa description came to literal fulfilmenta few years later.On Khalid's ra return with the Muslim army, someMuslims of Medina described the returning soldiers asdefeatist and lacking in spirit. The general criticism wasthat they should all have died fighting. The Prophet sachid the critics. Khalid ra and his soldiers were notdefeatist or lacking in spirit, he said. They were soldierswho returned again and again to attack. The wordsmeant more than appeared on the surface. They foretoldbattles which Muslims were to fight with Syria.


152Life of Muhammad saTHE PROPHET sa MARCHES ON MECCA WITHTEN THOUSANDFOLLOWERSIn the eighth year of the Hijra in the month ofRamadan (December, 629 A.D.) the Prophet sa set out onthat last expedition which definitely established Islam inArabia.At Hudaibiya it was agreed between Muslims anddisbelievers that Arab tribes should be allowed to jointhe disbelievers as well as the Prophet sa . It was alsoagreed that for ten years the parties would not go to waragainst each other unless one party should violate thepact by attacking the other. Under this agreement, theBanu Bakr joined the Meccans, while the Khuza‘aentered into an alliance with Muslims. The Arabdisbelievers had scant regard for treaties, especially fortreaties with Muslims. It so happened that the BanuBakr and the Khuza‘a had some outstanding differences.The Banu Bakr consulted the Meccans about settlingtheir old scores with the Khuza‘a. They argued that theHudaibiya treaty had been signed. The Khuza’a feltsecure because of their pact with the Prophet sa . Now,therefore, was the time for them to attack the Khuza’a.The Meccans agreed. They and the Banu Bakr,accordingly, joined in a night attack on the Khuza’a andput to death many of their men. The Khuza’a sent fortyof their men mounted on fleet camels to Medina toreport this breach of agreement to the Prophet sa . Theysaid it was up to Muslims now to march on Mecca toavenge this attack. The delegation met the Prophet sa andthe Prophet sa told them unambiguously that he regardedtheir misfortunes as his own. He pointed to a risingcloud in the sky and said, "Like the rain drops whichyou see yonder, Muslim soldiers will drop down to youraid." The Meccans were perturbed over the news of theKhuza‘a delegation to Medina. They sent Abu Sufyan raposthaste to Medina to restrain Muslims from theattack. Abu Sufyan ra reached Medina and began to urge


Life of Muhammad sa 153that as he was not present at Hudaibiya, a new peacewill have to be signed by Muslims. The Prophet sathought it unwise to answer this plea. Abu Sufyan rabecame excited, went to the mosque and announced:"O People, I renew, on behalf of the Meccans, ourassurance of peace to you" (Zurqani).The people of Medina did not understand thisspeech. So, they only laughed. The Prophet sa said to AbuSufyan ra , "Your statement is one sided and we cannotagree to it." In the meantime, the Prophet sa had sentword to all the tribes. Assured that they were ready andon the march, he asked the Muslims of Medina to armthemselves and prepare. On the 1 st January, the Muslimarmy set out on its march. At different points on theirway, they were joined by other Muslim tribes. Only a fewdays' journey had been covered, when the army enteredthe wilderness of Faran, Its number—exactly as theProphet as Solomon had foretold long before—had nowswelled to ten thousand. As this army marched towardsMecca, the silence all around seemed more and moreominous to the Meccans. They persuaded Abu Sufyan rato move out again and find out what the Muslim designwas. He was less than one day's journey out of Meccawhen he saw at night the entire wilderness lit up withcamp-fires. The Prophet sa had ordered a fire in front ofevery camp. The effect of these roaring fires in thesilence and darkness of the night was awful. "Whatcould this be?" Abu Sufyan ra asked his companions,"Has an army dropped from the heavens? I know of noArab army so large." They named some tribes and atevery name Abu Sufyan ra said, "No Arab tribe or peoplecould have an army as large." Abu Sufyan ra and hisfriends were still speculating when a voice from the darkshouted, "Abu Hanzala ra "! (Hanzala was a son of AbuSufyan ra .)"‘Abbas, are you here?" said Abu Sufyan ra ."Yes, the Prophet's sa army is near. Act quickly orhumility and defeat await you," replied ‘Abbas ra .


154Life of Muhammad sa‘Abbas ra and Abu Sufyan ra were old friends. ‘Abbas rainsisted that Abu Sufyan ra should accompany him onthe same mule and go to the Prophet sa . He gripped AbuSufyan's ra hand, pulled him up and made him mount.Spurring the mule, they soon reached the Prophet's sacamp. ‘Abbas ra was afraid lest ‘Umar ra , who wasguarding the Prophet's sa tent, should fall upon AbuSufyan ra and kill him. But the Prophet sa had takenprecautions, announcing that if anybody should meetAbu Sufyan ra he should make no attempt to kill him.The meeting impressed Abu Sufyan ra deeply. He wasstruck by the rise which had taken place in the fortunesof Islam. Here was the Prophet sa whom Meccans hadbanished from Mecca with but one friend in hiscompany. Hardly seven years had passed since then,and now he was knocking at the gates of Mecca with tenthousand devotees. The tables had been completelyturned. The fugitive Prophet sa who, seven years before,had escaped from Mecca for fear of life, had nowreturned to Mecca, and Mecca was unable to resist him.FALL OF MECCAAbu Sufyan ra must have been thinking furiously.Had not an incredibly great change taken place in sevenyears? And now as leader of the Meccans, what was hegoing to do? Was he going to resist, or was he going tosubmit? Troubled by such thoughts, he appearedstupefied to outside observers. The Prophet sa saw thisagitated Meccan leader. He told ‘Abbas ra to take himaway and entertain him for the night, promising to seehim in the morning. Abu Sufyan ra spent the night with‘Abbas. In the morning they called on the Prophet sa . Itwas time for the early morning prayers. The bustle andactivity which Abu Sufyan ra saw at this early hour wasquite unusual in his experience. He had not known—noMeccan had known—such early risers as Muslims hadbecome under the discipline of Islam. He saw all the


Life of Muhammad sa 155Muslim campers turned out for their morning prayers.Some went to and fro in quest of water for ablutions,others to supervise the lining up of worshippers for theservice. Abu Sufyan ra could not understand this activityearly in the morning. He was frightened. Was a new planafoot to overawe him?"What can they all be doing?" he asked in sheerconsternation."Nothing to be afraid of," replied ‘Abbas ra . "They areonly preparing for the morning prayers."Abu Sufyan ra then saw thousands of Muslims linedup behind the Prophet sa , making the prescribedmovements and devotions at the bidding of theProphet sa —half prostrations, full prostrations, standingup again, and so on. ‘Abbas ra was on guard duty, so hewas free to engage Abu Sufyan ra in conversation."What could they be doing now?" asked AbuSufyan ra . "Everything the Prophet sa does, is done by therest.""What are you thinking about? It is only the Muslimprayer, Abu Sufyan ra . Muslims would do anything at thebidding of the Prophet sa —give up food and drink forinstance.""True," said Abu Sufyan ra , "I have seen great courts. Ihave seen the court of the Chosroes and the court of theKaiser, but I have never seen any people as devoted totheir leader as Muslims are to their Prophet sa " (Halbiyya,Vol. 2, p. 90).Filled with fear and guilt, Abu Sufyan ra went on toask ‘Abbas ra if he would not request the Prophet sa toforgive his own people —meaning the Meccans.The morning prayers over, ‘Abbas ra led Abu Sufyan rato the Prophet sa .Said the Prophet sa to Abu Sufyan ra . "Has it not yetdawned upon you that there is no one worthy of worshipexcept Allah?""My father and my mother be a sacrifice to you. Youhave ever been kind, gentle and considerate to your kithand kin. I am certain now that if there were anyone else


156Life of Muhammad saworthy of worship, we might have had some help againstyou from him.""Has it not also dawned upon you that I am aMessenger of Allah sa ?""My father and my mother be a sacrifice to you, onthis I still have some doubts."While Abu Sufyan ra hesitated to acknowledge theProphet sa as Messenger of God, two of his companionswho had marched out of Mecca with him to doreconnoitring duty for the Meccans, became Muslims.One of them was Hakim bin Hizam ra . A little later, AbuSufyan ra also joined, but his inner conversion seems tohave been deferred until after the conquest of Mecca.Hakim bin Hizam ra asked the Prophet sa if the Muslimswould destroy their own kith and kin."These people," said the Prophet sa , "have been verycruel. They have committed excesses and provedthemselves of bad faith. They have gone back on thepeace they signed at Hudaibiya and attacked theKhuza‘a savagely. They have made war in a place whichhad been made inviolate by God.""It is quite true, O Prophet sa of God, our people havedone exactly as you say, but instead of marching uponMecca you should have attacked the Hawazin,"suggested Hakim ra ."The Hawazin also have been cruel and savage. Ihope God will enable me to realize all the three ends: theconquest of Mecca, the ascendancy of Islam and thedefeat of the Hawazin."Abu Sufyan ra , who had been listening, now asked theProphet sa : "If the Meccans draw not the sword, will theyhave peace?""Yes," replied the Prophet sa , "everyone who staysindoors will have peace.""But O Prophet sa ," intervened ‘Abbas ra , "Abu Sufyan rais much concerned about himself. He wishes to know ifhis rank and position among the Meccans will berespected."


Life of Muhammad sa 157"Very good," said the Prophet sa : "Whoever takeshelter in the house of Abu Sufyan ra will have peace.Whoever enters the Sacred Mosque will-have peace.Those who lay down their arms will have peace. Thosewho close their doors and stay in will have peace. Thosewho stay in the house of Hakim bin Hizam ra will havepeace."Saying this, he called Abu Ruwaiha ra and handedover to him the standard of Islam. Abu Ruwaiha ra hadentered into a pact of brotherhood with Bilal ra , the negroslave. Handing over the standard, the Prophet sa said,"Whoever stands under this standard will have peace."At the same time, he ordered Bilal ra to march in front ofAbu Ruwaiha ra and announce to all concerned thatthere was peace under the standard held by AbuRuwaiha ra .THE PROPHET sa ENTERS MECCAThe arrangement was full of wisdom. When Muslimswere persecuted in Mecca, Bilal ra , one of their targets,was dragged about the streets by ropes tied to his legs.Mecca gave no peace to Bilal ra , but only physical pain,humiliation and disgrace. How revengeful Bilal ra musthave felt on this day of his deliverance. To let himavenge the savage cruelties suffered by him in Meccawas necessary, but it had to be within the limits laiddown by Islam. Accordingly, the Prophet sa did not letBilal ra draw the sword and smite the necks of his formerpersecutors. That would have been un-Islamic. Instead,the Prophet sa handed to Bilal's ra brother the standard ofIslam, and charged Bilal ra with the duty of offering peaceto all his former persecutors under the standard borneby his brother. There was beauty and appeal in thisrevenge. We have to picture Bilal ra marching in front ofhis brother and inviting his enemies to peace. Hispassion for revenge could not have lasted. It must have


158Life of Muhammad sadissolved as he advanced inviting Meccans to peaceunder a standard held aloft by his brother.While the Muslims marched towards Mecca, theProphet sa had ordered ‘Abbas ra to take Abu Sufyan ra andhis friends to a spot from where they could easily viewthe Muslim army, its behaviour and bearing. ‘Abbas radid so and from a vantage-point Abu Sufyan ra and hisfriends watched the Arab tribes go past on whose powerthe Meccans had banked all these years for their plotsagainst Islam. They marched that day not as soldiers ofdisbelief but as soldiers of belief. They raised now theslogans of Islam, not the slogans of their pagan days.They marched in formation, not to put an end to theProphet's sa life, but to lay down their lives to save his;not to shed his blood, but their own for his sake. Theirambition that day was not to resist the Prophet's saMessage and save the superficial solidarity of their ownpeople. It was to carry to all parts of the world the veryMessage they had so far resisted. It was to establish theunity and solidarity of man. Column after columnmarched past until the Ashja‘ tribe came in AbuSufyan's ra view. Their devotion to Islam and their selfsacrificingzeal could be seen in their faces, and heard intheir songs and slogans."Who can they be?" asked Abu Sufyan ra ."They are the Ashja‘ tribe."Abu Sufyan ra looked astonished and said, "In allArabia, no one bore greater enmity to Muhammad sa .""We owe it to the grace of God. He changed thehearts of the enemy of Islam as soon as He deemed fit,"said ‘Abbas ra .Last of all came the Prophet sa , surrounded by thecolumns of Ansar and Muhajirin. They must have beenabout two thousand strong, dressed in suits of armour.The valiant ‘Umar ra directed their marching. The sightproved the most impressive of all. The devotion of theseMuslims, their determination and their zeal seemedoverflowing. When Abu Sufyan's ra eyes fell on them, hewas completely overpowered.


Life of Muhammad sa 159"Who can they be?" he asked."They are the Ansar ra and the Muhajirin surroundingthe Prophet sa ," replied ‘Abbas ra ."No power on earth could resist this army," said AbuSufyan ra , and then, addressing ‘Abbas more specifically,"‘Abbas ra , your nephew has become the most powerfulking in the world.""You are still far from the truth, Abu Sufyan ra . He isno king; he is a Prophet sa , a Messenger of God," replied‘Abbas ra ."Yes, yes, let it be as you say, a Prophet sa , not aking," added Abu Sufyan ra .As the Muslim army marched past Abu Sufyan ra , thecommander of the Ansar, Sa‘d bin ‘Ubada ra happened toeye Abu Sufyan ra and could not resist saying that Godthat day had made it lawful for them to enter Mecca byforce and that the Quraish would be humiliated.As the Prophet sa was passing, Abu Sufyan ra raisedhis voice and addressing the Prophet sa said, "Have youallowed the massacre of your own kith and kin? I heardthe commander of the Ansar, Sa‘d ra and his companionssay so. They said it was a day of slaughter. Thesacredness of Mecca will not avert bloodshed and theQuraish will be humiliated. Prophet sa of God, you arethe best, the most forgiving, the most considerate ofmen. Will you not forgive and forget whatever was doneby your own people?"Abu Sufyan's ra appeal went home. Those veryMuslims who used to be insulted and beaten in thestreets of Mecca, who had been dispossessed and drivenout of their homes, began to entertain feelings of mercyfor their old persecutors. "Prophet sa of God," they said,"the accounts which the Ansar have heard of theexcesses and cruelties committed by Meccans againstus, may lead them to seek revenge. We know not whatthey may do."The Prophet sa understood this. Turning to AbuSufyan ra , he said, "What Sa‘d ra has said is quite wrong.


160Life of Muhammad saIt is not the day of slaughter. It is the day of forgiveness.The Quraish and the Ka‘ba will be honoured by God."Then he sent for Sa‘d ra , and ordered him to handover the Ansar flag to his son, Qais ra (Hisham, Vol. 2).The command of the Ansar thus passed from Sa‘d ra toQais ra . It was a wise step. It placated the Meccans andsaved the Ansar disappointment. Qais ra , a pious youngman, was fully trusted by the Prophet sa .An incident of his last days illustrates the piety of hischaracter. Lying on his death-bed, Qais ra received hisfriends. Some came and some did not. He could notunderstand this and asked why some of his friends hadnot come to see him. "Your charity is abundant,"explained one.You have been helping the needy by your loans.There are many in the town who are in debt to you.Some may have hesitated to come lest you should askthem for the return of the loans.""Then I have been the cause of keeping my friendsaway. Please announce that no one now owes anythingto Qais ra ." After this announcement Qais ra had so manyvisitors during his last days that the steps to his housegave way.When the Muslim army had marched past, ‘Abbas ratold Abu Sufyan ra to hasten for Mecca and announce tothe Meccans that the Prophet sa had come and explain tothem how they could all have peace. Abu Sufyan rareached Mecca with this message of peace for his town,but his wife, Hind, notorious for her hostility towardsMuslims, met him. A confirmed disbeliever, she was yeta brave woman. She caught Abu Sufyan ra by the beardand called on Meccans to come and kill her cowardlyhusband. Instead of moving his townsmen to sacrificetheir lives for the defence and honour of their town, hewas inviting them to peace.But Abu Sufyan ra could see that Hind was behavingfoolishly "That time is gone," said he. "You had better gohome and sit behind closed doors. I have seen theMuslim army. Not all Arabia could withstand it now."


Life of Muhammad sa 161He then explained the conditions under which theProphet sa had promised peace to the Meccans. Onhearing these conditions the people of Mecca ran forprotection to the places which had been named in theProphet's sa proclamation. From this proclamation elevenmen and four women had been excepted. The offenceswhich they had committed were very grave. Their guiltwas not that they had not believed nor that they hadtaken part in wars against Islam; it was that they hadcommitted inhumanities which could not be passedover. Actually, however, only four persons were put todeath.The Prophet sa had ordered Khalid bin Walid ra not topermit any fighting unless they were fought against andunless the Meccans first started fighting. The part of thetown which Khalid ra entered had not heard theconditions of peace. The Meccans posted in that partchallenged Khalid ra and invited him to fight. Anencounter ensued in which twelve or thirteen men werekilled (Hisham, Vol. 2, p. 217). Khalid ra was a man offiery temper. Somebody, warned by this incident, ran tothe Prophet sa to request him to stop Khalid ra fromfighting. If Khalid ra did not stop, said this man, allMecca would be massacred.The Prophet sa sent for Khalid ra at once and said, "DidI not stop you from fighting?""Yes, you did, O Prophet sa of God, but these peopleattacked us first and began to shoot arrows at us. For atime I did nothing and told them we did not want tofight. But they did not listen, and did not stop. So Ireplied to them, and dispersed them."This was the only untoward incident which tookplace on this occasion. The conquest of Mecca was thusbrought about practically without bloodshed.The Prophet sa entered Mecca. They asked him wherehe would stop."Has ‘Aqil left any house for me to live in?" asked theProphet sa . ‘Aqil was the Prophet's sa cousin, a son of hisuncle. During the years of the Prophet's sa refuge at


162Life of Muhammad saMedina, his relations had sold all his property. Therewas no house left which the Prophet sa could call hisown. Accordingly the Prophet sa said, "I will stop at HanifBani Kinana." This was an open space. The Quraish andthe Kinana once assembled there and swore that unlessthe Banu Hashim and the Banu ‘Abdul Muttalib handedover the Prophet sa to them to deal with him as theyliked, they would have no dealings with the two tribes.They would neither sell anything to them nor buyanything from them. It was after this solemn declarationthat the Prophet sa , his uncle Abu Talib, his family andfollowers, had to take refuge in the valley of Abu Taliband suffer a severe blockade and boycott lasting forthree years.The place which the Prophet sa chose for his stay was,therefore, full of significance. The Meccans had onceassembled there and taken the oath that unless theProphet sa was made over to them, they would not be atpeace with his tribe. Now the Prophet sa had come to thesame spot. It was as though he had come to tell theMeccans: "You wanted me here, so here I am. But not inthe way you wanted. You wanted me as your victim, onecompletely at your mercy. But I am here in power. Notonly my own people, but the whole of Arabia is now withme. You wanted my people to hand me over to you.Instead of that, they have handed you over to me." Thisday of victory was a Monday. The day on which theProphet sa and Abu Bakr ra left the cave of Thaur for theirjourney to Medina was also a Monday. On that day,standing on the hill of Thaur, the Prophet sa turned toMecca and said, 'Mecca! you are dearer to me than anyother place but your people would not let me live here.'When the Prophet sa entered Mecca, mounted on hiscamel, Abu Bakr ra walked with him holding a stirrup. Ashe walked along, Abu Bakr ra recited verses from theSurah, Al-Fath in which the conquest of Mecca hadbeen foretold years before.


Life of Muhammad sa 163KA‘BA CLEARED OF IDOLSThe Prophet sa made straight for the Ka‘ba andperformed the circuit of the holy precincts seven times,mounted on his camel. Staff in hand, he went round thehouse which had been built by the Patriarch Abraham asand his son Ishmael as for the worship of the One andOnly God, but which by their misguided children hadbeen allowed to degenerate into a sanctuary for idols.The Prophet sa smote one by one the three hundred andsixty idols in the house. As an idol fell, the Prophet sawould recite the verse, "Truth has come and falsehoodhas vanished away. Falsehood does indeed vanish awayfast." This verse was revealed before the Prophet sa leftMecca for Medina and is part of the Chapter, BaniIsra’il. In this Chapter was foretold the flight of theProphet sa and the conquest of Mecca. The Chapter is aMeccan Chapter, a fact admitted even by Europeanwriters. The verses which contain the prophecy of theProphet's sa flight from Mecca, and the subsequentconquest of Mecca are as follows:And say 'O my Lord, make my entry a good entry, andmake my going out a good outgoing. And grant me fromThyself a power that may help me.' And, 'Truth has comeand falsehood has vanished away. Falsehood does indeedvanish away fast!' (17: 81-82).The conquest of Mecca is foretold here in the form ofa prayer taught to the Prophet sa . The Prophet sa is taughtto pray for entering Mecca and for departing from itunder good auspices; and for the help of God inassuring an ultimate victory of truth over falsehood. Theprophecy had literally come true. The recitation of theseverses by Abu Bakr ra was appropriate. It braced up theMuslims, and reminded the Meccans of the futility oftheir fight against God and of the truth of the promisesmade by God to the Prophet sa .With the conquest of Mecca, the Ka‘ba was restoredto the functions for which it had been consecrated manythousands of years before by the Patriarch Abraham as .


164Life of Muhammad saThe Ka‘ba was again devoted to the worship of the Oneand Only God. The idols were broken. One of these wasHubal. When the Prophet sa smote it with his staff, and itfell down in fragments, Zubair ra looked at Abu Sufyan raand with a half-suppressed smile reminded him ofUhud. "Do you remember the day when Muslimswounded and exhausted stood by and you woundedthem further by shouting, 'Glory to Hubal, Glory toHubal'? Was it Hubal who gave you victory on that day?If it was Hubal, you can see the end it has come totoday."Abu Sufyan ra was impressed, and admitted it wasquite true that if there had been a God other than theGod of Muhammad sa , they might have been spared thedisgrace and defeat they had met with that day.The Prophet sa then ordered the wiping out of thepictures which had been drawn on the walls of theKa‘ba. Having ordered this the Prophet sa said two rak‘atsof prayer as thanks-giving to God. He then withdrew tothe open court and said another two rak‘ats of prayer.The duty of wiping out the pictures had been entrustedto ‘Umar ra . He had all the pictures obliterated exceptthat of Abraham as . When the Prophet sa returned toinspect and found this picture intact, he asked ‘Umar rawhy he had spared this one. Did he not remember thetestimony of the Qur’an that Abraham as was neither Jewnor Christian, but a single-minded and obedientMuslim? (3: 68).It was an insult to the memory of Abraham as , a greatexponent of the Oneness of God to have his picture onthe walls of the Ka‘ba. It was as though Abraham as couldbe worshipped equally with God.It was a memorable day, a day full of the Signs ofGod.Promises made by God to the Prophet sa , at a timewhen their fulfilment seemed impossible, had beenfulfilled at last. The Prophet sa was the centre of devotionand faith. In and through his person, God hadmanifested Himself, and shown His face, as it were,


Life of Muhammad sa 165again. The Prophet sa sent for water of the Zamzam. Hedrank some of it and with the rest performed ablutions.So devoted were Muslims to the Prophet's sa person, thatthey would not let a drop of this water fall on theground. They received the water in the hollows of theirhands to wet their bodies with it; in such reverence didthey hold it. The pagans who witnessed these scenes ofdevotion said again and again that they had never seenan earthly king to whom his people were so devoted(Halbiyya, Vol. 3, p. 99).THE PROPHET sa FORGIVES HIS ENEMIESAll rites and duties over, the Prophet sa addressed theMeccans and said: "You have seen how true thepromises of God have proved. Now tell me whatpunishment you should have for the cruelties andenormities you committed against those whose onlyfault was that they invited you to the worship of the Oneand Only God."To this the Meccans replied, "We expect you to treatus as Joseph as treated his erring brothers."By significant coincidence, the Meccans used in theirplea for forgiveness the very words which God had usedin the Surah Yusuf, revealed ten years before theconquest of Mecca. In this the Prophet sa was told that hewould treat his Meccan persecutors as Joseph as hadtreated his brothers. By asking for the treatment whichJoseph as had meted out to his brothers, the Meccansadmitted that the Prophet sa of Islam was the like ofJoseph as and as Joseph as was granted victory over hisbrothers the Prophet sa had been granted victory over theMeccans. Hearing the Meccans' plea, the Prophet sadeclared at once: "By God, you will have no punishmenttoday and no reproof" (Hisham).While the Prophet sa was engaged in expressing hisgratitude to God and in carrying out other devotions atthe Ka‘ba, and while he was addressing the Meccans


166Life of Muhammad saannouncing his decision to forgive and forget, misgivingsarose in the minds of the Ansar, the Medinite Muslims.Some of them were upset over the scenes of homecomingand of reconciliation which they witnessed onthe return of Meccan Muslims to Mecca. Was theProphet sa parting company with them, his friends inadversity who provided the first home to Islam? Was theProphet sa going to settle down at Mecca, the town fromwhich he had to flee for his life? Such fears did not seemtoo remote now that Mecca had been conquered and hisown tribe had joined Islam. The Prophet sa might want tosettle down in it. God informed the Prophet sa of thesemisgivings of the Ansar. He raised his head, looked atthe Ansar and said "You seem to think Muhammad sa isperturbed by the love of his town, and by the ties whichbind him to his tribe." "It is true," said the Ansar., "wedid think of this.""Do you know," said the Prophet sa , "Who I am? I am aServant of God and His Messenger. How can I give youup? You stood by me, and sacrificed your lives when theFaith of God had no earthly help. How can I give you upand settle elsewhere? No, Ansar., this is impossible. Ileft Mecca for the sake of God and I cannot return to it. Iwill live and die with you."The Ansar were moved by this singular expression oflove and loyalty. They regretted their distrust of God andHis Prophet sa , wept and asked to be forgiven. Theyexplained that they would not have any peace if theProphet sa left their town and went elsewhere. TheProphet sa replied that their fear was understandable andthat, after their explanation, God and His Prophet sa weresatisfied about their innocence and acknowledge theirsincerity and loyalty.How must the Meccans have felt at this time? Truethey did not shed the tears of devotion but their heartsmust have been full of regret and remorse. For, had theynot cast away with their own hands the gem which hadbeen found in their own town? They had all the more


Life of Muhammad sa 167reason to regret this because the Prophet sa , having comeback to Mecca, had decided to leave it again for Medina.‘IKRIMA ra BECOMES MUSLIMOf those who had been excepted from the generalamnesty, some were forgiven on the recommendation ofthe Companions. Among those who were thus forgivenwas ‘Ikrima ra , a son of Abu Jahl. ‘Ikrima's ra wife was aMuslim at heart. She requested the Prophet sa to forgivehim. The Prophet sa forgave. At the time ‘Ikrima ra wastrying to escape to Abyssinia. His wife pursued him andfound that he was about to embark. She reproved him."Are you running away from a man as gentle and soft asthe Prophet sa ?" she said.‘Ikrima ra was astonished and asked whether shereally thought the Prophet sa would forgive him.‘Ikrima's ra wife assured him that even he would beforgiven by the Prophet sa . In fact she had had word fromhim already. ‘Ikrima ra gave up his plan of escaping toAbyssinia and returned to see the Prophet sa . "Iunderstand from my wife that you have forgiven evenone like me," he said."Your wife is right. I have really forgiven you," saidthe Prophet sa .‘Ikrima ra decided that a person capable of forgivinghis deadliest enemies could not be false. He, therefore,declared his faith in Islam. "I bear witness that God isOne and has no equal and I bear witness that you areHis Servant and His Messenger sa ." So saying, ‘Ikrima rabent his head in shame. The Prophet sa consoled him. "‘Ikrima ra ," said he, "I have not only forgiven you, but asproof of my regard for you, I have decided to invite youto ask me for anything I can give."‘Ikrima ra replied, "There is nothing more or better Ican ask you for than that you should pray for me to Godand ask for His forgiveness and whatever excesses andenormities I have committed against you."


168Life of Muhammad saHearing this entreaty, the Prophet sa prayed to God atonce and said: "My God, forgive the enmity which‘Ikrima ra has born against me. Forgive him the abusewhich has issued from his lips."The Prophet sa then stood up and put his mantle over‘Ikrima ra and said, "Whoever comes to me, believing inGod, is one with me. My house is as much his as mine."The conversion of ‘Ikrima ra fulfilled a prophecy whichthe Holy Prophet sa had made many years before. TheProphet sa , addressing his Companions, once had said: "Ihave had a vision in which I saw that I was in Paradise.I saw there a bunch of grapes. When I asked for whomthe bunch was meant, someone replied saying, 'For AbuJahl'." Referring to this vision on this occasion of theconversion of ‘Ikrima ra , the Prophet sa said he did notunderstand the vision at first. How could Abu Jahl, anenemy of believers, enter Paradise and how could hehave a bunch of grapes provided for him. "But now,"said the Prophet sa , "I understand my vision; the bunchof grapes was meant for ‘Ikrima ra . Only, instead of theson I was shown the father, a substitution common invisions and dreams" (Halbiyya, Vol. 3, p. 104).Of the persons who had been ordered to be executedas exceptions to the general amnesty was one who hadbeen responsible for the cruel murder of Zainab ra , adaughter of the Prophet sa . This man was Habbar ra . Hehad cut the girths of Zainab's ra camel, on which Zainab rafell to the ground and, being with child, sufferedabortion. A little later she died. This was one of theinhumanities which he had committed and for which hedeserved the penalty of death. This man now came tothe Prophet sa and said, "Prophet sa of God, I ran awayfrom you and went to Iran, but the thought came to methat God had rid us of our pagan beliefs and saved usfrom spiritual death. Instead of going to others andseeking shelter with them why not go to the Prophet sahimself, acknowledge my faults and my sins and ask forhis forgiveness?"


Life of Muhammad sa 169The Prophet sa was moved and said, "Habbar ra , if Godhas planted in your heart the love of Islam, how can Irefuse to forgive you? I forgive everything you have donebefore this."One cannot describe in detail the enormities thesemen had committed against Islam and Muslims. Yethow easily the Prophet sa forgave them! This spirit offorgiveness converted the most stone-heartedadversaries into devotees of the Prophet sa .BATTLE OF HUNAINThe Prophet's sa entry into Mecca was sudden. Tribesin the vicinity of Mecca, especially those in the south,remained unaware of the event until sometime later. Onhearing of it, they began to assemble their forces and toprepare for a fight with the Muslims. There were twoArab tribes, the Hawazin and the Thaqif, unusuallyproud of their valiant traditions. They took counseltogether and after some deliberation elected Malik ibn‘Auf as their leader. They then invited the tribes roundabout to join them. Among the tribes invited was theBanu Sa‘d. The Prophet's sa wet-nurse, Halima, belongedto this tribe and the Prophet sa as a child had livedamong them. Men of this tribe collected in force and setout towards Mecca taking with them their families andtheir effects. Asked why they had done so, they replied itwas in order that the soldiers might be reminded that, ifthey turned back and fled, their wives and childrenwould be taken prisoners and their effects looted—sostrong was their determination to fight and destroy theMuslims. This force descended in the valley of Rautasmost suitable base for a battle, with its natural shelters,abundance of fodder and water, and facilities for cavalrymovements. When the Prophet sa got to know of this, hesent ‘Abdullah bin Abi Hadwad ra to report on thesituation. ‘Abdullah reported that there were militaryconcentrations in the place and there was determination


170Life of Muhammad sato kill and be killed. The tribe was renowned for its skillin archery, and the base they had selected afforded avery great advantage to them. The Prophet sa approachedSafwan ra , a prosperous chief of Mecca for the loan ofsuits of armour and weapons. Safwan ra replied, "Youseem to put pressure on me and think I will be overawedby your growing power and make over to you whateveryou ask?"The Prophet sa replied, "We wish to seize nothing. Weonly want a loan of these things, and are ready to give asuitable surety."Safwan ra was satisfied and agreed to lend thematerial. Altogether he supplied one hundred suits ofarmour and a suitable number of weapons. TheProphet sa borrowed three thousand lances from hiscousin, Naufal bin Harith ra and about thirty thousanddirhams from ‘Abdullah bin Rabi‘a (Mu’atta’, Musnadand Halbiyya). When the Muslim army set out towardsthe Hawazin, the Meccans expressed a wish to join theMuslim side. They were not Muslims, but they hadagreed to live under a Muslim regime. Accordingly, twothousand Meccans joined the Muslims. On the way, theycame to the noted Arab shrine, Dhat Anwat. Here wasan old jujube tree, sacred to the Arabs. When Arabsbought arms they first went to Dhat Anwat and hungthem in the shrine to receive its blessings for their arms.When the Muslim army passed by this shrine some ofthe soldiers said, "Prophet sa of God, there should be aDhat Anwat for us also."The Prophet sa disapproved and said, "You talk likethe followers of Moses as . When Moses as was going toCanaan, his followers saw on the way peopleworshipping idols, and said to Moses as , 'O Moses as , makefor us a god just as they have gods'" (Qur’an 7: 139).


Life of Muhammad sa 171"THE PROPHET sa OF GOD CALLS YOU"The Prophet sa urged Muslims to always rememberthat Allah was Great and to pray to Him to save themfrom the superstitions of earlier peoples. Before theMuslim army reached Hunain, the Hawazin and theirallies had already prepared a number of ambuscadesfrom which to attack the Muslims, like the fox-holes andcamouflaged artillery positions of modern warfare. Theyhad built walls around them. Behind the walls weresoldiers lying in wait for the Muslims. A narrow gorgewas left for Muslims to pass through. Much the largerpart of the army was posted to these ambuscades, whilea small number was made to line up in front of theircamels. Muslims thought enemy numbers to be no morethan they could see. So they went forward and attacked.When they had advanced far and the hiding enemy wassatisfied that they could be attacked very easily, thesoldiers lined up in front of the camels and attacked thecentre of the Muslim army while the hiding archersrained their arrows on the flanks. The Meccans, whohad joined for a chance to display their valour, could notstand this double attack by the enemy. They ran back toMecca. Muslims were accustomed to difficult situations,but when two thousand soldiers mounted on horses andcamels pierced their way through the Muslim army, theanimals of the Muslims also took fright. There was panicin the army. Pressure came from three sides, resultingin a general rout. In this, only the Prophet sa , with twelveCompanions, stood unmoved. Not that all theCompanions had fled from the field. About a hundred ofthem still remained, but they were at some distancefrom the Prophet sa . Only twelve remained to surroundthe Prophet sa . One Companion reports that he and hisfriends did all they could to steer their animals towardsthe battlefield. But the animals had been put to fright bythe stampede of the Meccan animals. No effort seemedto avail. They pulled at the reins but the animals refusedto turn. Sometimes they would pull the heads of the


172Life of Muhammad saanimals so as almost to make them touch their tails.But when they spurred the animals towards thebattlefield, they would not go. Instead, they moved backall the more. "Our hearts beat in fear—fear for the safetyof the Prophet sa ," says this Companion, "but there wasnothing we could do." This was how the Companionswere placed. The Prophet sa himself stood with a handfulof men, exposed on three sides to volleys of arrows.There was only one narrow pass behind them throughwhich only a few men could pass at a time. At thatmoment Abu Bakr ra dismounted and holding the reins ofthe Prophet's sa mule said, "Prophet sa of God, let uswithdraw for a while and let the Muslim army collectitself.""Release the reins of my mule, Abu Bakr ra ," said theProphet sa . Saying, this, he spurred the animal forwardinto the gorge on both sides of which were enemyambuscades from where the archers were shooting. Asthe Prophet sa spurred his mount, he said, "I am aProphet sa . I am no pretender. I am a son of ‘AbdulMuttalib" (Bukhari ). These words spoken at a time ofextreme danger to his person are full of significance.They stressed the fact that the Prophet sa was really aProphet sa , a true Messenger of God. By stressing this, hemeant that he was not afraid of death or of the failure ofhis cause. But if, in spite of being overwhelmed byarchers he remained safe, Muslims should not attributeany divine qualities to him. For he was but a humanbeing, a son of ‘Abdul Muttalib. How careful was theProphet sa ever to impress upon his followers thedifference between faith and superstition. After utteringthese memorable words, the Prophet sa called for‘Abbas ra . ‘Abbas ra had a powerful voice. The Prophet sasaid to him, " ‘Abbas ra , raise your voice and remind theMuslims of the oath they took under the tree atHudaibiya, and of what they were taught at the time ofthe revelation of the Surah Baqara. Tell them, theProphet sa of God calls them." ‘Abbas ra raised hispowerful voice. The message of the Prophet sa fell like


Life of Muhammad sa 173thunder, not on deaf ears but on ears agog. It had anelectric effect. The very Companions who had foundthemselves powerless to urge their mounts towards thebattlefield, began to feel they were no longer in thisworld but in the next, facing God on the JudgementDay. The voice of ‘Abbas ra did not sound like his ownvoice but the voice of the angel beckoning them torender an account of their deeds. There was nothingthen to stop them from turning to the battlefield again.Many of them dismounted and with only sword andshield rushed to the battlefield, leaving their animals togo where they liked. Others dismounted, cut off theheads of their animals and rushed back on foot to theProphet sa . It is said that the Ansar on that day rantowards the Prophet sa with the speed with which amother-camel or a mother-cow runs to her young onhearing its cries. Before long the Prophet sa wassurrounded by a large number of Companions, mostlyAnsar. The enemy again suffered a defeat.The presence of Abu Sufyan ra on the side of theProphet sa on this day was a mighty divine Sign, a Sign ofthe power of God on the one hand and of the purifyingexample of the Prophet sa on the other. Only a few daysbefore, Abu Sufyan ra was a bloodthirsty enemy of theProphet sa , commander of a bloodthirsty armydetermined to destroy the Muslims. But here, on thisday the same Abu Sufyan ra stood by the side of theProphet sa , a friend, follower and Companion. When theenemy camels stampeded, Abu Sufyan ra , a wise andseasoned general, saw that his own horse was likely torun wild. Quickly he dismounted and, holding thestirrup of the Prophet's sa mule, started going on foot.Sword in hand, he walked by the side of the Prophet sadetermined not to let anyone come near the Prophet's saperson without first attacking and killing him. TheProphet sa watched this change in Abu Sufyan ra withdelight and astonishment.He reflected on this fresh evidence of the power ofGod. Only ten or fifteen days before, this man was


174Life of Muhammad saraising an army to put an end to the Movement of Islam.But a change had come. An erstwhile enemycommander now stood by the Prophet's sa side, as anordinary foot-soldier, holding the stirrup of his Master'smule, and determined to die for his sake. ‘Abbas ra sawthe astonishment in the Prophet's sa look and said,"Prophet sa of God, this is Abu Sufyan ra , son of youruncle, and so your brother. Aren't you pleased withhim?""I am," said the Prophet sa , "and I pray, God mayforgive him all the wrongs he has done." Then turning toAbu Sufyan ra himself, he said, "Brother!" Abu Sufyan racould not restrain the affection welling up in his heart.He bent and kissed the Prophet's sa foot in the stirrup hewas holding (Halbiyya).After the battle of Hunain, the Prophet sa returned thewar material he had received on loan. While returning ithe compensated the lenders many times over. Thosewho had made the loan were touched by the care andconsideration which the Prophet sa had shown inreturning the material and in compensating the lenders.They felt the Prophet sa was no ordinary man, but onewhose moral example stood high above others. Nowonder, Safwan ra joined Islam at once.A SWORN ENEMY BECOMES A DEVOTEDFOLLOWERThe battle of Hunain ever reminds historians ofanother interesting incident which took place while itwas in progress. Shaiba ra , a resident of Mecca and in theservice of the Ka‘ba, took part in the encounter on theside of the enemy. He says that he had only one aimbefore him in this battle—that when the two armies met,he would find an opportunity to kill the Prophet sa . Hewas determined that even if the whole world joined theProphet sa (let alone the whole of Arabia), he would standout and continue to oppose Islam. When fighting


Life of Muhammad sa 175became brisk, Shaiba ra drew his sword and startedadvancing towards the Prophet sa . As he came very near,he became unnerved. His determination began to shake."When I got very near the Prophet sa ," says Shaiba ra , "Iseemed to see a flame threatening to consume me. Ithen heard the voice of the Prophet sa saying, 'Shaiba ra ,come near me.' When I got near, the Prophet sa moved hishand over my chest in great affection. As he did so, hesaid, 'God, relieve Shaiba ra of all satanic thought'." Withthis little touch of affection Shaiba ra changed. Hishostility and enmity evaporated, and from that momentShaiba ra held the Prophet sa dearer than anything else inthe world. As Shaiba ra changed, the Prophet sa invitedhim to come forward and fight. "At that moment," saysShaiba ra , "I had but one thought, and that was to die forthe sake of the Prophet sa . Even if my father had comemy way, I would have hesitated not a moment to thrustmy sword in his chest" (Halbiyya).The Prophet sa then marched towards Ta’if, the townwhich had stoned him and driven him out. TheProphet sa besieged the town, but accepting thesuggestion of some friends abandoned the siege. Later,the people of Ta’if joined Islam voluntarily.THE PROPHET sa DISTRIBUTES BOOTYAfter the conquest of Mecca and the victory ofHunain, the Prophet sa was faced with the task ofdistributing the money and property paid as ransom orabandoned in the battlefield by the enemy. If customhad been followed, this money and property should havebeen distributed among the Muslim soldiers who tookpart in these encounters. But on this occasion, insteadof distributing it among the Muslims, the Prophet sadistributed it among the Meccans and the people wholived round about Mecca. These people had yet to showan inclination towards the Faith. Many were professeddeniers. Those who had declared their faith were yet


176Life of Muhammad sanew to it. They had no idea how self-denying a peoplecould become after they had accepted Islam. But,instead of benefiting by the example of self-denial andself-sacrifice which they saw, instead of reciprocatingthe good treatment they received from the Muslims, theybecame more avaricious and greedier than ever. Theirdemands began to mount. They mobbed the Prophet sa ,and pushed him to a spot under a tree with his mantlehaving been torn from his shoulders. At last theProphet sa said to the crowd, "I have nothing else to give.If I had, I would have made it over to you. I am no miser,nor am I mean" (Bukhari, Chap on Faradul Khums).Then going near his dromedary and pulling out ahair, he said to the crowd, "Out of this money andproperty I want nothing at all, not even as much as ahair. Only, I must have a fifth, and that for the State.That is the share which Arab custom has ever admittedas just and right. That fifth will not be spent on me. Itwill be spent on you and your needs. Remember thatone who misappropriates or misuses public money willbe humiliated in the sight of God on the JudgementDay."It has been said by malicious critics that theProphet sa longed to become a king and to have akingdom. But imagine him confronted by a mean crowd,while he is already a king. If he had longed to become aking and to have a kingdom, would he have treated abeggarly mob as he treated this Meccan mob? Would hehave agreed to be mobbed at all in the way he was?Would he have argued and explained? It is onlyProphets as and Messengers as of God who can set such anexample. All the booty, the money, and the valuablematerial that there was to distribute had beendistributed among the deserving and the poor. Still therewere those who remained unsatisfied, who mobbed theProphet sa , protested against the distribution chargingthe Prophet sa with injustice.


Life of Muhammad sa 177One Dhu’l Khuwaisira came near the Prophet sa andsaid, "Muhammad sa , I am a witness to what you aredoing." "And what am I doing? " asked the Prophet sa ."You are committing an injustice," said he."Woe to you," said the Prophet sa . "If I can be unjust,then there is no one on the face of the earth who can bejust" (Muslim, Kitabul Zakat).True believers were full of rage. When this man leftthe assembly some of them said, "This man deservesdeath. Will you let us kill him?""No," said the Prophet sa . "If he observes our laws andcommits no visible offence, how can we kill him?""But," said the believers, "when a person says anddoes one thing but believes and desires quite another,would he not deserve to be treated accordingly?""I cannot deal with people according to what theyhave in their hearts. God has not charged me with this. Ican deal with them according to what they say and do."The Prophet sa went on to tell the believers that oneday this man and others of his kin would stage arebellion in Islam. The Prophet's sa words came true. Inthe time of ‘Ali ra , the Fourth Khalifah of Islam, this manand his friends led the rebellion against him andbecame the leaders of a universally condemned divisionof Islam, the Khawarij.After dealing with the Hawazin, the Prophet sareturned to Medina. It was another great day for itspeople. One great day was when the Prophet sa arrived atMedina, a refugee from the ill-treatment of the Meccans.On this great day, the Prophet sa reentered Medina, full ofjoy and aware of his determination and promise to makeMedina his home.MACHINATIONS OF ABU ‘AMIRWe must now turn to the activities of one Abu ‘AmirMadani. He belonged to the Khazraj tribe. Through longassociation with Jews and Christians he had acquired


178Life of Muhammad sathe habit of silent meditation and of repeating thenames of God. Because of this habit, he was generallyknown as Abu ‘Amir, the Hermit. He was, however, nota Christian by faith. When the Prophet sa went to Medinaafter the Hijra, Abu ‘Amir escaped from Medina toMecca. When at last Mecca also submitted to thegrowing influence of Islam, he began to hatch a newintrigue against Islam. He changed his name and hishabitual mode of dress and settled down in Quba, avillage near Medina. As he had been away for a longtime and had altered his appearance and his dress, thepeople of Medina did not recognize him. Only thosehypocrites recognized him with whom he had relationsin secret. He took the hypocrites of Medina into hisconfidence and with their concurrence planned to go toSyria and excite and provoke the Christian rulers andChristian Arabs into attacking Medina. While he wasengaged in his sinister mission in the north, he hadplanned for the spread of disaffection in Medina. Hiscolleagues, the hypocrites, were to spread rumours thatMedina was going to be attacked by Syrian forces. As aresult of this dual plot ‘Abu ‘Amir hoped that Muslimsand Syrian Christians would go to war. If his plot didnot succeed, he hoped that Muslims would themselvesbe provoked into attacking Syria. Even thus a war mightstart between Muslims and Syrians and Abu ‘Amirwould have something to rejoice over. Completing hisplans, he went to Syria. While he was away thehypocrites at Medina—according to plan—began tospread rumours that caravans had been sighted whichwere coming to attack Medina. When no caravanappeared, they issued some kind of explanation.THE EXPEDITION OF TABUKThese rumours became so persistent, that theProphet sa thought it worth while to lead in person aMuslim army against Syria. These were difficult times.


Life of Muhammad sa 179Arabia was in the grip of a famine. The harvest in theprevious year had been poor and both grain and fruitwere in short supply. The time for the new harvest hadnot yet come. It was the end of September or thebeginning of October when the Prophet sa set out on thismission. The hypocrites knew that the rumours weretheir own inventions. They knew also that their designwas to provoke Muslims into an attack on the Syrians ifthe Syrians did not attack Muslims. In either case, aconflict with the great Roman Empire was to result inthe destruction of Muslims. The lesson of Mauta wasbefore them. At Mauta Muslims had to face such a hugearmy that it was with great difficulty that they were ableto effect a retreat. The hypocrites were hoping to stage asecond Mauta in which the Prophet sa himself might losehis life. While the hypocrites were busy spreadingrumours about the Syrian attack on Muslims, they alsomade every effort to strike fear in the minds of Muslims.The Syrians could raise very large armies whichMuslims could not hope to stand against. They urgedMuslims not to take part in the conflict with Syria. Theirplan was, on the one hand, to provoke Muslims intoattacking Syria and, on the other, to discourage themfrom going in large numbers. They wanted Muslims togo to war against Syria and meet with certain defeat.But as soon as the Prophet sa announced his intention ofleading this new expedition, enthusiasm ran high amongMuslims. They went forward with offers of sacrifice forthe sake of their faith. Muslims were ill-equipped for awar on such a scale. Their treasury was empty. Only themore prosperous Muslims had means to pay for the war.Individual Muslims vied with one another in the spirit ofsacrifice for the sake of their faith. It is said that whenthe expedition was under way and the Prophet saappealed for funds, ‘Uthman ra gave away the greaterpart of his wealth. His contribution is said to haveamounted to about one thousand gold dinars,equivalent to about twenty-five thousand rupees. OtherMuslims also made contributions according to their


180Life of Muhammad sacapacity. The poor Muslims were also provided withriding animals, swords and lances. Enthusiasmprevailed. There was at Medina at the time a party ofMuslims who had migrated from Yemen. They were verypoor. Some of them went to the Prophet sa and offeredtheir services for this expedition. They said, "O Prophet saof God, take us with you. We want nothing beyond themeans of going." The Qur’an makes a reference to theseMuslims and their offers in the following words:Nor against those to whom, when they came to thee thatthou shouldst mount them, thou didst say, 'I cannot findwhereon I can mount you'; they turned back, their eyesoverflowing with tears, out of grief that they could not findwhat they might spend (9: 92).That is to say, they are not to blame who did not takepart in the war because they were without means andwho applied to the Prophet sa to provide them with themeans of transport to the battlefield. The Prophet sa wasunable to provide the transport, so they leftdisappointed feeling they were poor, and were unable tocontribute to the war between Muslims and Syrians.Abu Musa ra was the leader of this group. When askedwhat they had asked for, he said, "We did not ask forcamels or horses. We only said we did not have shoesand could not cover the long journey bare-footed. If weonly had shoes, we would have gone on foot and takenpart in the war alongside of our Muslim brethren." Asthis army was going to Syria and Muslims had not yetforgotten what they had suffered at Mauta, everyMuslim was full of anxiety with regard to the personalsafety of the Prophet sa . The women of Medina playedtheir part. They were busy inducing their husbands andsons to join the war. One Companion who had gone outof Medina returned when the Prophet sa had already setout with the army. This Companion entered his houseand was expecting his wife to greet him with theaffection and emotion of a woman who meets herhusband after a long time. He found his wife sitting in


Life of Muhammad sa 181the courtyard and went forward to embrace and kissher. But the wife raised her hands and pushed himback. The astonished husband looked at his wife andsaid, "Is this the treatment for one who comes homeafter a long time?""Are you not ashamed?" said the wife. "The Prophet saof God should go on dangerous expeditions, and youshould be making love to your wife? Your first duty is togo to the battle-field. We shall see about the rest." It issaid the Companion went out of the house at once,tightened the girths of his mount and galloped after theProphet sa . At a distance of about three days' journey heovertook the Muslim army. The disbelievers and thehypocrites had probably thought that the Prophet saacting upon rumours, invented and spread by them,would spring upon the Syrian armies without a thought.They forgot that the Prophet sa was concerned to set anexample to generations of followers for all time to come.When the Prophet sa neared Syria, he stopped and senthis men in different directions to report on the state ofaffairs. The men returned and reported there were noSyrian concentrations anywhere. The Prophet sa decidedto return, but stayed for a few days during which hesigned agreements with some of the tribes on theborder. There was no war and no fighting. The journeytook the Prophet sa about two months and a half. Whenthe hypocrites at Medina found that their scheme forinciting war between Muslims and Syrians had failedand that the Prophet sa was returning safe and sound,they began to fear that their intrigue had been exposed.They were afraid of the punishment which was now theirdue. But they did not halt their sinister plans. Theyequipped a party and posted it on the two sides of anarrow pass some distance from Medina. The pass wasso narrow that only a single file could go through it.When the Prophet sa and the Muslim army approachedthe spot, he had a warning by revelation that the enemywas in ambush on both sides of the narrow pass. TheProphet sa ordered his Companions to reconnoitre. When


182Life of Muhammad sathey reached the spot they saw men in hiding with theobvious intent to attack. These men, however, fled assoon as they saw this reconnoitring party. The Prophet sadecided not to pursue them.When the Prophet sa reached Medina, the hypocriteswho had kept out of this battle began to make lameexcuses. But the Prophet sa accepted them. At the sametime he felt that the time had come when their hypocrisyshould be exposed. He had a command from God thatthe mosque at Quba, which the hypocrites had built inorder to be able to hold their meetings in secret, shouldbe demolished. The hypocrites were compelled to saytheir prayers with other Muslims. No other penalty wasproposed.Returning from Tabuk, the Prophet sa found that thepeople of Ta’if also had submitted. After this the othertribes of Arabia applied for admission to Islam. In ashort time the whole of Arabia was under the flag ofIslam.THE LAST PILGRIMAGEIn the ninth year of the Hijra the Prophet sa went on apilgrimage to Mecca. On the day of the Pilgrimage, hereceived the revelation containing the famed verse of theQur’an which says:This day have I perfected your religion for you andcompleted My favour upon you and have chosen for youIslam as religion (5:4).This verse said in effect that the Message which theHoly Prophet sa had brought from God and which byword and deed he had been expounding all these years,had been completed. Every part of this Message was ablessing. The Message now completed embodied thehighest blessings which man could receive from God.The Message is epitomized in the name 'al-Islam', whichmeans submission. Submission was to be the religion ofMuslims, the religion of mankind. The Holy Prophet sa


Life of Muhammad sa 183recited this verse in the valley of Muzdalifa, where thepilgrims had assembled. Returning from Muzdalifa, theProphet sa stopped at Mina. It was the eleventh day of themonth of Dhu’l-Hijja. The Prophet sa stood before a largegathering of Muslims and delivered an address, famed inhistory as the fare-well address of the Prophet sa . In thecourse of this address he said:O men, lend me an attentive ear. For I know not whether Iwill stand before you again in this valley and address youas I address you now. Your lives and your possessions havebeen made immune by God to attacks by one another untilthe Day of Judgement. God has appointed for every one ashare in the inheritance. No 'will' shall now be admittedwhich is prejudicial to the interests of a rightful heir. Achild born in any house will be regarded as the child of thefather in that house. Whoever contests the parentage ofthis child will be liable to punishment under the Law ofIslam. Anyone who attributes his birth to some one else'sfather, or falsely claims someone to be his master, God, Hisangels and the whole of mankind will curse him.O men, you have some rights against your wives, but yourwives also have some rights against you. Your right againstthem is that they should live chaste lives, and not adoptways which may bring disgrace to the husband in the sightof his people. If your wives do not live up to this, then youhave the right to punish them. You can punish them afterdue inquiry has been made by a competent authority, andyour right to punish has been established. Even so,punishment in such a case must not be very severe. But ifyour wives do no such thing, and their behaviour is notsuch as would bring disgrace to their husbands, then yourduty is to provide for them food and garments and shelter,according to your own standard of living. Remember youmust always treat your wives well. God has charged youwith the duty of looking after them. Woman is weak andcannot protect her own rights. When you married, Godappointed you the trustees of those rights. You broughtyour wives to your homes under the Law of God. You


184Life of Muhammad samust not, therefore, insult the trust which God has placedin your hands.O men, you still have in your possession some prisoners ofwar. I advise you, therefore, to feed them and to clothethem in the same way and style as you feed and clotheyourselves. If they do anything wrong which you areunable to forgive, then pass them on to someone else. Theyare part of God's creation. To give them pain or troublecan never be right.O men, what I say to you, you must hear and remember.All Muslims are as brethren to one another. All of you areequal. All men, whatever nation or tribe they may belongto, and whatever station in life they may hold, are equal.While he was saying this the Prophet sa raised hishands and joined the fingers of the one hand with thefingers of the other and then said:Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so arehuman beings equal to one another. No one has any right,any superiority to claim over another. You are as brothers.Proceeding the Prophet sa said:Do you know what month this is? What territory we arein? What day of the year it is today?The Muslims said in reply, they knew it was thesacred month, the sacred land and the day of the Hajj.Then the Prophet sa said:Even as this month is sacred, this land inviolate, and thisday holy, so has God made the lives, property and honourof every man sacred. To take any man's life or hisproperty, or attack his honour, is as unjust and wrong asto violate the sacredness of this day, this month, and thisterritory. What I command you today is not meant onlyfor today. It is meant for all time. You are expected toremember it and to act upon it until you leave this worldand go to the next to meet your Maker.In conclusion, he said:


Life of Muhammad sa 185What I have said to you, you should communicate to theends of the earth. Maybe those who have not heard memay benefit by it more than those who have heard (SihahSitta, Tabari, Hisham and Khamis).The Prophet's sa address is an epitome of the entireteaching and spirit of Islam. It shows how deep was theProphet's sa concern for the welfare of man and the peaceof the world; also how deep was his regard for the rightsof women and other weak creatures. The Prophet sa knewhis end was near. He had had hints from God about hisdeath. Among the cares and anxieties to which he gaveexpression were his care and anxiety about thetreatment women received at the hands of men. He tookcare that he should not pass away from this world to thenext without assuring to women the status which wastheirs by right. Since the birth of man, woman had beenregarded as the slave and handmaid of man. This wasthe Prophet's sa one care. His other care was for prisonersof war. They were wrongly looked on and treated asslaves and were subjected to cruelties and excesses ofall kinds. The Prophet sa felt he should not leave thisworld without assuring to prisoners of war the rightswhich were theirs in the sight of God. Inequalitybetween man and man also oppressed the Prophet sa .Occasionally differences were stressed to a degree whichcould not be endured. Some men were raised to theskies and others were degraded to the depths. Theconditions which made for this inequality wereconditions which made for antagonism and war betweennation and nation and country and country. TheProphet sa thought of these difficulties, also. Unless thespirit of inequality was killed and conditions whichinduced one people to usurp the rights of another and toattack their lives and their possessions—unless theseconditions which become rampant at times of moraldecay were removed, the peace and progress of theworld could not be assared. He taught that human lifeand human possessions had the same sacredness whichbelonged to sacred days, sacred months and sacred


186Life of Muhammad saplaces. No man ever showed such concern and suchcare for the welfare of women, the rights of the weak,and for peace between nations as did the Prophet sa ofIslam. No man ever did as much as the Prophet sa topromote equality among man-kind. No man pined asmuch as he for the good of man. No wonder, Islam hasalways upheld the right of women to hold and to inheritproperty. European nations did not conceive of this rightuntil about one thousand three hundred years after theadvent of Islam. Every person who enters Islam becomesthe equal of everyone else, no matter how low the societyfrom which he comes. Freedom and equality arecharacteristic contributions of Islam to the culture of theworld. The conceptions which other religions hold offreedom and equality are far behind those which Islamhas preached and practised. In a Muslim mosque, aking, a religious leader and a common man have thesame status; there is no difference between them. In theplaces of worship of other religions and other nationsthese differences exist to this day, although thosereligions and nations claim to have done more thanIslam for freedom and equality.THE PROPHET sa GIVES HINTS OF HIS DEATHOn the way back, the Prophet sa again informed hisCompanions of his approaching death. He said, "O menI am but one like you. I may receive the Call any dayand I may have to go. My Kind and Vigilant Master hasinformed me that a Prophet sa lives up to half the years ofthe Prophet sa before him. 1 I think I shall soon receive theCall and I shall depart. O my Companions, I shall haveto answer God, and you will have to answer also. Whatwill you then say? "1 This was not meant as a general law. It referred only to the HolyProphet sa . A tradition puts down the age of Jesus at one hundred and twentyor so. As he had already attained to sixty-two or sixty-three, he thought hisdeath must be near.—Ed.


Life of Muhammad sa 187Upon this the Companions said, "We will say thatyou delivered well the Message of Islam and devoted allyour life to the service of the Faith. You had the mostperfect passion for the good of man: We will say: Allah,give him the best of rewards."Then the Prophet sa asked, "Do you bear witness thatGod is One, that Muhammad sa is His Servant andProphet sa , that Heaven and Hell are true, that death iscertain, that there is life after death, that the JudgementDay must come, and that all the dead will one day beraised from their graves, restored to life andassembled?""Yes," said the Companions. "We bear witness to allthese truths."Turning to God, the Prophet sa said, "Be Thou also awitness to this—that I have explained Islam to them."After this Pilgrimage, the Prophet sa was very busyteaching and training his followers, trying to raise theirmoral standard and to reform and refine their conduct.His own death became his frequent theme and heprepared the Muslims for it.One day, rising for an address to the Faithful, hesaid, "Today I have had the revelation:When the help of Allah comes, and victory, and thou seestmen entering into the religion of Allah in troops, extol thouthe glory of thy Lord, with His praise, and seek forgivenessof Him. Verily He is Oft-Returning with compassion "(110: 2-4).That is to say, the time was coming when, with thehelp of God, multitudes were to join the Faith of Islam.It was then to be the duty of the Prophet sa —and of hisfollowers—to praise God and pray to Him to remove allobstacles in the way of the establishment of the Faith.The Prophet sa made use of a parable on thisoccasion: God said to a man, 'If it please you, you mayreturn to Me, or you may work a little longer atreforming the world.' The man said that he preferred toreturn to his Lord.


188Life of Muhammad saAbu Bakr ra was among the audience. He had beenlistening to this last address of the Prophet sa , withfervour and anxiety the fervour of a great believer andthe anxiety of a friend and follower who could see in thisaddress the portents of the Prophet's sa death. Onhearing the parable Abu Bakr ra could contain himself nolonger. He broke down. The other Companions, who hadtaken a surface view of what they had been listening to,were amazed when Abu Bakr ra burst into tears. Whatcould be the matter with Abu Bakr ra ? they asked. TheProphet sa was relating the coming victories of Islam, yethe was weeping. ‘Umar ra , particularly, felt annoyed atAbu Bakr ra . The Prophet sa was giving glad news, yet thisold man was crying. But only the Prophet sa understoodwhat was happening. Only Abu Bakr ra , he thought hadunderstood him. Only he had perceived that the verseswhich promised victories also portended the Prophet's saapproaching death.The Prophet sa went on to say, "Abu Bakr ra is verydear to me. If it were permissible to love anyone morethan others, I would so have loved Abu Bakr ra . But thatdegree of love is only for God. O my people, all the doorswhich open to the mosque should be closed from todayexcept the door of Abu Bakr ra ."There was no doubt that this last instruction implieda prophecy that after the Prophet sa Abu Bakr ra would bethe First Khalifah. To lead the Faithful in prayers hewould have to come to the mosque five times a day and,for this, he would have to keep open the door of hishouse into the mosque. Years afterwards, when ‘Umar rawas Khalifah, he asked some of those present themeaning of the verse, "When the help of God and victorycome." Evidently he remembered the circumstances inwhich the Prophet sa taught Muslims this and the verseswhich follow. He must have remembered also that thenonly Abu Bakr ra understood the meaning of these verses.‘Umar ra was trying to test Muslims for their knowledgeof these verses. They had failed to understand them atthe time of their revelation: did they know the meaning


Life of Muhammad sa 189now? Ibni ‘Abbas ra , who must have been ten or elevenyears of age at the time of their revelation and who wasnow seventeen or eighteen, volunteered to answer. Hesaid, "Leader of the Faithful, these verses contained aprophecy about the death of the Holy Prophet sa . When aProphet's sa work is done, he wishes no longer to live inthe world. The verses spoke of the imminent victory ofIslam. This victory had a sad side and that was theimpending departure of the Prophet sa from this world."‘Umar ra complimented Ibn ‘Abbas ra and said that whenthe verses were revealed only Abu Bakr ra understoodtheir meaning.LAST DAYS OF THE PROPHET saAt last the day drew near which every human beingmust face. The Prophet's sa work was done. All that Godhad to reveal to him for the benefit of man had beenrevealed. The spirit of Muhammad sa had infused new lifeinto his people. A new nation had arisen, a new outlookon life and new institutions; in short, a new heaven anda new earth. The foundations of a new order had beenlaid. The land had been ploughed and watered and theseed scattered for a new harvest. And now the harvestitself had begun to show. It was not, however, for him toreap it. It was for him only to plough, to sow and towater. He came as a labourer, remained a labourer andwas now due to depart as a labourer. He found hisreward not in the things of this world but in thepleasure and the approval of his God, his Maker andMaster. When the time came for reaping the harvest, hepreferred to go to Him, leaving others to reap.The Holy Prophet sa fell ill. For some days hecontinued to visit the mosque and lead the prayers.Then he became too weak to do this. The Companions rawere so used to his daily company that they couldhardly believe he would die. But he had been tellingthem of his death again and again. One day, touching


190Life of Muhammad saupon this very theme, he said, "If a man make amistake, it is better he should make amends for it inthis very world so that he should have no regrets in thenext. Therefore I say, if I have done any wrong to any ofyou, it may be only unwittingly, let him come forwardand ask me to make amends. If even unknowingly I haveinjured any one of you, let him come forward and takehis revenge. I do not wish to be put to shame when Iface my God in the next world. The Companions ra weremoved. Tears sprang to their eyes. What pains had henot taken and what sufferings had he not endured fortheir sake? He put up with hunger and thirst in orderthat others might have enough to eat and to drink. Hemended his own clothes and cobbled his own shoes inorder that others might dress well. And yet here he was,eager to right even fancied wrongs he might have doneto others; so much did he respect the rights of others.All the Companions received the Prophet's sa offer insolemn silence. But one came forward and said, "OProphet sa of God, I once received an injury from you. Wewere lining up for battle when you passed by our lineand while passing you dug your elbow in my side. It wasall done unwittingly, but you said we could avenge evenunintentional wrongs. I want to avenge this wrong." TheCompanions, who had received the Prophet's sa offer insolemn silence, were full of wrath. They became enragedat the insolence and stupidity of this man who hadfailed completely to understand the spirit of theProphet's sa offer and the solemnity of the occasion. Butthe Companion seemed adamant—determined to takethe Prophet sa at his word.The Prophet sa said, "You are welcome to take yourrevenge."He turned his back to him and said, "Come and hitme as I hit you.""But," explained this Companion, "when you hit memy side was bare, because I was wearing no shirt at thetime."


Life of Muhammad sa 191"Raise my shirt," said the Prophet sa , "and let him hitmy side with his elbow." They did so but, instead ofhitting the bare side of the Prophet sa , this Companionbent forward with bedewed eyes and kissed theProphet's sa bare body."What is this?" asked the Prophet sa ."Didn't you say that your days with us werenumbered? How many more occasions can we then haveof touching you, in the flesh and expressing our love andaffection for you? True, you did hit me with your elbow,but who could think of avenging it. I had this idea hereand now. You offered to let us take revenge. I said tomyself—let me kiss you under cover of revenge."The Companions full of wrath until then began towish the thought had occurred to them.THE PROPHET sa PASSES AWAYBut the Prophet sa was ill and the ailment seemed toadvance. Death seemed to draw nearer and nearer, anddepression and gloom descended over the hearts of theCompanions. The sun shone over Medina as brightly asever, but to the Companions it seemed paler and paler.The day dawned as before but it seemed to bringdarkness, not light. At last came the time when the soulof the Prophet sa was to depart from its physical frameand meet its Maker. His breathing became more andmore difficult. The Prophet sa , who was spending his lastdays in ‘A’isha ra 's chamber, said to her, "Raise my heada little and bring it near to your side. I cannot breathewell." ‘A’isha ra did so. She sat up and held his head. Thedeath-pangs were visible. Greatly agitated, the Prophet salooked now to this side and now to that. Again andagain he said, "Woe to the Jews and the Christians.They encouraged the worship of the graves of theirProphets." This, we might say, was his dying messagefor his followers. While he lay on his death-bed, heseemed to say to his followers, "You will learn to hold me


192Life of Muhammad saabove all other Prophets as , and more successful thanany of them. But take care, do not turn my grave into anobject of worship. Let my grave remain only a grave.Others may worship the graves of their Prophets as andturn them into centres of pilgrimage, places where theymay repair and perform austerities, make their offerings,and do their thanksgiving. Others may do this, but notyou. You must remember your one and only objective—that is, the worship of the One and Only God."After he had thus warned Muslims about their dutyto guard the hard-won idea of One God and thedistinction between God and Man, his eyelids began todroop. His eyes began to close. All he then said was, "Tomy Friend the Highest of the High—to my Friend theHighest of the High," meaning evidently that he washeading towards God. As he said this he gave up theghost.The news reached the mosque. There manyCompanions ra had assembled, having given up theirprivate tasks. They were expecting to hear better newsbut instead heard of the Prophet's sa death. It came like abolt from the blue. Abu Bakr ra was out. ‘Umar ra was inthe mosque, but he was utterly stupefied with grief. Itangered him if he heard anyone say the Prophet sa wasdead. He even drew his sword and threatened to killthose who should say the Prophet sa had died. There wasmuch the Prophet sa had yet to do, so the Prophet sa couldnot die. True, his soul had departed from his body, butit had gone only to meet its Maker. Just as Moses as hadgone for a time to meet his Maker only to return, theProphet sa must return to do what had been left undone.There were the hypocrites, for instance, with whom theyhad yet to deal. ‘Umar ra walked about sword in handalmost as a mad man. As he walked he said: "Whosoeversays the Prophet sa has died will himself die at ‘Umar ra 'shands." The Companions felt braced and they halfbelievedwhat ‘Umar ra said. The Prophet sa could not die.There must have been a mistake. In the meantime someCompanions went in search of Abu Bakr ra , found him


Life of Muhammad sa 193and told him what had happened. Abu Bakr ra madestraight for the mosque at Medina and speaking not aword to anyone, entered ‘A’isha's ra room and asked her,"Has the Prophet sa died?""Yes," replied ‘A’isha ra . Then he went straight towhere the Prophet's sa body was lying, uncovered theface, bent down and kissed the forehead. Tears ladenwith love and grief fell from his eyes and he said, "God isour witness. Death will not come upon you twice over."It was a sentence full of meaning. It was Abu Bakr ra 'sreply to what ‘Umar ra had been saying out of his madgrief. The Prophet sa had died once. That was his physicaldeath—the death everyone must die. But he was not tohave a second death. There was to be no spiritualdeath—no death to the beliefs which he had establishedin his followers and for the establishment of which hehad taken such pains. One of those beliefs—one of themore important beliefs—he had taught was that evenProphets as were human and even they must die.Muslims were not going to forget this so soon after theProphet sa 's own death. Having said this great sentenceover the dead body of the Prophet sa , Abu Bakr ra cameout and, piercing through the lines of the Faithful,advanced silently to the pulpit. As he stood, ‘Umar rastood by him, his sword drawn as before, determinedthat if Abu Bakr ra said the Prophet sa had died AbuBakr ra must lose his head. As Abu Bakr ra started tospeak, ‘Umar ra pulled at his shirt, wanting to stop himfrom speaking but Abu Bakr ra snatched back his shirtand refused to stop.He then recited the verse of the Qur’an:And Muhammad sa is only a Messenger. Verily, allMessengers have passed away before him. If then he die orbe slain, will you turn back on your heels? (3: 145).That is to say, Muhammad sa was a man with aMessage from God. There had been other men withMessages from God, and all of them had died. IfMuhammad sa should die, would they turn back upon


194Life of Muhammad saeverything which they had been taught and which theyhad learnt? This verse was revealed at the time of Uhud.Rumour had then gone round that the Prophet sa hadbeen killed by the enemy. Many Muslims lost heart andwithdrew from the battle. The verse came from heaven tobrace them. It had the same effect on this occasion.Having recited the verse, Abu Bakr ra added to it a wordof his own. He said, "Those amongst you who worshipGod, let them know that God is still alive, and will everremain alive. But those amongst you who worshippedMuhammad sa , let them know it from me thatMuhammad sa is dead." The Companions recovered theirbalance on hearing this timely speech. ‘Umar ra himselfwas changed when he heard Abu Bakr ra recite the versequoted above. He began to return to his senses, and torecover his lost judgement. By the time Abu Bakr ra hadfinished the recitation of the verse ‘Umar's ra spiritual eyewas fully opened. He understood that the Prophet sa hadreally died. But no sooner had he realized it, than hislegs began to tremble and give way. He fell downexhausted. The man who wanted to terrorize Abu Bakr rawith his bare sword had been converted by Abu Bakr's raspeech. The Companions felt the verse had beenrevealed for the first time on that day, so strong and sonew was its appeal. In a paroxysm of grief, they forgotthat the verse was in the Qur’an.Many expressed the grief which overtook Muslims onthe death of the Prophet sa , but the pithy and profoundexpression which Hassan ra , the poet of early Islam, gaveto it in his couplet remains to this day the best and themost enduring. He said: ‘Thou wast the pupil of my eye.Now that thou hast died my eye hath become blind. Icare not who dies now. For I feared only thy death.'This couplet voiced the feeling of every Muslim. Formonths in the streets of Medina men, women andchildren went about reciting this couplet of Hassan binThabit ra .


Life of Muhammad sa 195THE PROPHET'S sa PERSONALITY ANDCHARACTERHAVING briefly described the outstanding events inthe life of the Holy Prophet sa we would now attempt ashort sketch of his character. In this connection we haveavailable the collective testimony of his own peoplewhich they bore to his character before he claimed to bea Prophet sa . At that stage he was known among hispeople as "The Trusty" and "The True" (Hisham). Thereare living at all times large numbers of people againstwhom no charge of dishonesty is preferred. There arealso large numbers who are never exposed to a severetrial or temptation and in the ordinary affairs andconcerns of life they behave with honesty and integrity,yet they are not regarded as worthy of any specialdistinction on that account. Special distinctions areconferred only when the life of a person illustrates in aconspicuous degree some high moral quality. Everysoldier that goes into battle puts his life in jeopardy butnot every such British soldier has been regarded asworthy of the award of the Victoria Cross, nor everysuch German soldier of the Iron Cross. There arehundreds of thousands of people in France who occupythemselves with intellectual pursuits but not every oneof them is decorated with the Legion of Honour. Themere fact, therefore, that a man is trustworthy and truedoes not indicate that he possesses eminence in theserespects, but when a whole people combines to conferupon an individual the titles of "The Trusty" and "TheTrue", that is evidence of the possession of exceptionalqualities. Had it been the practice of the people of Meccato confer such a distinction upon some individual ineach generation, even then the recipient would havebeen looked upon as occupying a high position. But thehistory of Mecca and of Arabia furnishes no indicationthat it was customary for the Arabs to confer these orsimilar titles upon eminent individuals in eachgeneration. On the contrary, through centuries of Arab


196Life of Muhammad sahistory we find that it was only in the case of the HolyProphet sa of Islam that his people conferred the titles of"The Trusty" and "The True". This is proof of the factthat the Holy Prophet sa possessed these qualities in soeminent a degree that within the knowledge and thememory of his people no other individual could beregarded as his equal in these respects. The Arabs werewell known for their keenness of mind and what theychose to regard as rare must in truth have been rareand unique.When the Holy Prophet sa was summoned by, God toassume the burden and responsibilities of prophethood,his wife, Khadija ra , testified to his high moral qualities—an incident which has been related in the biographicalportion of this General Introduction. We shall nowproceed to illustrate some of his high moral qualities sothat the reader may be able to appreciate even thoseaspects of his character which are not generally wellknown.THE PROPHET'S sa PURITY OF MIND ANDCLEANLINESS OF BODYIt is related of the Holy Prophet sa that his speech wasalways pure and that he was (unlike most of hiscontemporaries) not given to the use of oaths (Tirmidhi).This was something exceptional for an Arab. We do notimply that the Arabs at the time of the Holy Prophet sahabitually indulged in foul language, but there is nodoubt that they were in the habit of punctuating theirspeech with a generous measure of oaths, a habit thatpersists among them even to this day. The HolyProphet sa , however, held the name of God in suchreverence that he never uttered it without fulljustification.He was very particular, even punctilious, with regardto physical cleanliness. He used to brush his teethseveral times a day and was so keen on the practice that


Life of Muhammad sa 197he used to say that were he not afraid that theordinance might prove onerous, he would make itobligatory upon every Muslim to brush his teeth beforeevery one of the five daily prayers. He always washed hishands before and after each meal and, after eatinganything that had been cooked, he always rinsed hismouth and considered it desirable that every personwho had eaten anything cooked should rinse his mouthbefore joining in any of the prayers (Bukhari).In the polity of Islam a mosque is the only place ofgathering prescribed for the Muslims. The HolyProphet sa , therefore, laid particular stress upon thecleanliness of mosques, especially on occasions whenpeople were expected to collect in them. He had directedthat on such occasions incense should be burnt in themosques to purify the air (Abu Dawud). He also gavedirections that nobody should go to a mosque on theoccasion of a congregation or gathering after eatinganything that was likely to exhale an offensive odour(Bukhari).He insisted upon streets being kept clean and clearof twigs, stones, and all articles or matter which waslikely either to obstruct or to prove offensive. Wheneverhe himself found any such matter or article lying in astreet he would remove it, and he used to say that aperson who helps to keep streets and roads clean andclear, earns spiritual merit in the sight of God. He is alsoreported to have enjoined that public thoroughfaresshould not be so used as to cause obstruction norshould any unclean or undesirable matter or article bethrown on to a public street, nor should a street bedefiled in any other way, as all such acts are displeasingto God. He was very keen that all supply of waterconserved for human use should be kept clean andpure. For instance, he prohibited anything being throwninto standing water which might befoul it and anyreservoir of water being used in a manner which wouldrender it impure (Bukhari and Muslim, Kitab al-BirrWassila).


198Life of Muhammad saTHE PROPHET'S sa SIMPLE LIFEThe Prophet sa was extremely simple in the matter offood and drink. He never expressed displeasure with illpreparedor ill-cooked food. If he could eat such food hewould do so to save the person who had prepared itfrom disappointment. If, however, a dish was uneatable,he merely refrained from partaking of it and neverexpressed his disapproval of it. When he sat down to ameal he paid attention to the food placed before him andused to say that he did not like an attitude ofindifference towards food as if the person eating wasabove paying attention to mere matters of food anddrink. When any eatable was presented to him healways shared it with those present. On one occasionsomebody presented him with some dates. He lookedround and after making an estimate of the number ofpeople present divided the dates equally among them,each of them receiving seven. Abu Huraira ra relates thatthe Holy Prophet sa never ate his fill even of barley bread(Bukhari).On one occasion while he was passing along a roadhe noticed some people gathered round a roast kid readyto enjoy the feast. When they saw the Holy Prophet sathey invited him to join them, but he declined. This wasnot due to his not having a liking for roast meat but tothe fact that he did not approve of people indulging in afeast in the open where they could be observed by poorpeople who had themselves not enough to eat. It isrelated of him that on other occasions he did partake ofroast meat. ‘A’isha ra has related that the Holy Prophet sadid not, till the day of his death, on any occasion, eat hisfill on three consecutive days. He was very particularthat a person should not go to a meal in anotherperson's house uninvited. On one occasion somebodyinvited him to a meal and requested that he might bringfour other persons with him. When he arrived at thehouse of his host he found that a sixth person had alsojoined his party. The host came to the door to receive


Life of Muhammad sa 199him and his party and the Holy Prophet sa drew hisattention to the fact that there were now six of them andthat it was for the host to decide whether he wouldpermit the sixth person to join them in the meal orwhether the latter should depart. The host, of course,readily invited the sixth person also (Bukhari, Kitab al-At‘ima).Whenever the Holy Prophet sa sat down to a meal healways began to eat by invoking the name and blessingsof Allah, and as soon as he concluded he renderedthanks in these words: "All praise is due to Allah, Whohas given us to eat: Praise, abundant and sincere andever-increasing: Praise, which does not leave animpression upon one's mind that one has renderedenough praise but which creates in one's mind thefeeling that enough has not been said and the praisewhich ought never to be terminated and which makesone think that every divine act is worthy of praise andshould be praised. Oh Allah! do Thou fill our hearts withthese sentiments." Sometimes he used these words: "Allpraise is due to God Who has satisfied our hunger andthirst. May our hearts ever yearn after His praise andnever be ungrateful to Him." He always admonished hisCompanions to stop before they had eaten their fill andused to say that one man's food should always sufficefor two. Whenever any special food was prepared in hishouse he used to suggest that a portion of it should besent as a present to his neighbours; and presents offood and other articles used constantly to be sent fromhis house to his neighbours' houses (Muslim andBukhari, Kitab al-Adab).He always tried to ascertain from the faces of thosewho were in his company whether any of them was inneed of sustenance. Abu Huraira ra relates the followingincident: On one occasion he had been without food forover three days. He stood at the entrance to the mosqueand observed Abu Bakr ra passing near. He asked AbuBakr ra the meaning of a verse of the Qur’an whichenjoins the feeding of the poor. Abu Bakr ra explained its


200Life of Muhammad sameaning and passed on. Abu Huraira ra when relatingthis incident used to say with indignation that he toounderstood the Qur’an as well as Abu Bakr ra did. Hisobject in asking the latter to explain the meaning of theverse had been that Abu Bakr ra might guess that he washungry and might arrange to get food for him. Shortlyafter, ‘Umar ra passed by and Abu Huraira ra asked himalso to explain the meaning of the verse. ‘Umar ra alsoexplained its meaning and passed on. Abu Huraira ra ,like all Companions of the Holy Prophet sa , was loath tomake a direct request and when he perceived that hisindirect attempts to draw attention to his condition hadfailed, he began to feel very faint. Thereupon he heardhis name being called in a very soft and tender voice.Looking to the side from which the voice came he sawthat the Holy Prophet sa was looking out from the windowof his house and was smiling. He inquired of AbuHuraira ra : "Are you hungry?" to which Abu Huraira rareplied: "Verily, O Messenger of Allah sa ! I am hungry."The Holy Prophet sa said: "There is no food in ourhouse either, but somebody has just sent us a cup ofmilk. Go to the mosque and see whether there are anyother persons there who may be hungry like you." AbuHuraira ra goes on to relate: "I thought to myself, I amhungry enough to consume the whole of the milk in thecup, yet the Prophet sa has asked me to invite any otherpersons that may be in a similar situation, which meansthat I shall get very little of the milk. But I had to carryout the Prophet's sa orders, so I went into the mosqueand found six persons sitting there whom I brought withme to the Prophet's sa door. He gave the cup of milk intothe hands of one of them and asked him to drink. Whenhe had finished and put away the cup from his mouththe Prophet sa insisted upon his drinking a second timeand a third time till he had had his fill. In the same wayhe insisted upon every one of the six drinking his fill ofthe milk. Each time he asked anyone to drink I wasafraid that little would be left for me. After all the sixhad drunk of the milk the Prophet sa gave the cup to me


Life of Muhammad sa 201and I saw that there was still plenty of milk in it. In mycase also he insisted that I should drink my fill andmade me drink a second and a third time and at the endhe drank what was left in the cup himself and renderedthanks to God and shut the door" (Bukhari, KitabulRiqaq). The Holy Prophet's sa object in offering the milk toAbu Huraira ra last of all may have been to indicate tohim that he should have continued to endure the pangsof hunger, trusting in God, and should not have drawnattention to his condition even indirectly.He always ate and drank with his right hand andalways stopped three times to take breath in the middleof a drink. One reason for this may be that if a personwho is thirsty drinks water at one stretch he is apt todrink too much and thus upset his digestion. In thematter of eating the rule that he followed was that hepartook of all things that are pure and permissible butnot in a manner which would savour of indulgence orwould deprive other people of their due share. As hasbeen stated, his normal food was always very simple butif anybody presented him with something speciallyprepared he did not decline it. He did not, however,hanker after good food, though he had a particularliking for honey and for dates. As regards dates, he usedto say that there was a special relationship between aMuslim and the date tree whose leaves and bark andfruit, both ripe and unripe, and even the stones ofwhose fruit could all be put to some use or the otherand no part of which was without its proper use. Thesame was the case with a true Muslim. No act of his waswithout its beneficence and all that he did promoted thewelfare of mankind (Bukhari and Muslim).The Holy Prophet sa preferred simplicity in dress. Hisown dress normally consisted of a shirt and an izar 1 or ashirt and a pair of trousers. He always wore his izar orhis trousers so that the garment covered his body up to1 A piece of cloth wrapped round the waist and hanging to the ankles—Ed.


202Life of Muhammad saa point above his ankles. He did not approve of the kneeor any portion of the body above the knee being exposedwithout extreme necessity. He did not approve of theuse, whether as part of dress or in the way of curtains,etc., of cloth which had figures embroidered or paintedon it, especially if the figures were large and might beinterpreted as representing gods or goddesses or otherobjects of worship. On one occasion he found a curtainhanging in his house bearing large figures and hedirected it to be removed. He, however, saw no harm inthe use of cloth bearing small figures which could not beso interpreted. He never wore silk himself and did notconsider it permissible for Muslim men to wear it. Forthe purpose of authenticating the letters that he wroteto certain sovereigns inviting them to accept Islam hecaused to be prepared a signet-ring, but directed that itshould be made of silver and not of gold, for he said thatthe wearing of gold had been prohibited to Muslim men(Bukhari and Muslim). Muslim women are permitted towear silk and gold but in their case also the HolyProphet's sa direction was that excess should be avoided.On one occasion he called for subscriptions for the reliefof the poor and a lady took off one of her bracelets andplaced it before him as her contribution. Addressing her,he said: "Does not your other hand deserve to be savedfrom the Fire?" The lady thereupon removed her braceletfrom the other hand also and offered it for the purposethat he had in view. None of his wives possessedornaments of any considerable value and other Muslimwomen also very seldom possessed any ornaments. Inaccordance with the teachings of the Qur’an hedeprecated the hoarding of money or bullion, as he heldthat this was harmful to the interests of the poorersections of the community and resulted in upsetting theeconomy of a community and was thus a sin.‘Umar ra suggested to the Holy Prophet sa on oneoccasion that as he had to receive Embassies from greatmonarchs, he should have a rich cloak prepared forhimself which he could wear on such ceremonial


Life of Muhammad sa 203occasions. The Prophet sa did not approve of thesuggestion and said: "It would not be pleasing to God forme to adopt ways like this. I shall meet everybody in theclothes that I normally wear." On one occasion silkgarments were presented to him and of these he sentone to ‘Umar ra . Upon this ‘Umar ra said, "How can I wearit when you have yourself disapproved of wearing silkgarments." The Holy Prophet sa observed: "Every presentis not meant for personal use." His meaning was thatsince the garment was of silk ‘Umar ra should havepresented it to his wife or to his daughter or should haveput it to some other use (Bukhari, Kitabul Libas).The Prophet's sa bed was also very simple. He neverused a bedstead or a couch but always slept on theground, the bedding consisting of a piece of leather or ofa piece of camelhair cloth. ‘A’isha ra relates: "Our beddingwas so small that when the Holy Prophet sa used to getup at night for prayers I used to lie on one side of thebedding and stretched out my legs while he was in thestanding posture and folded them back when he had toprostrate himself (Muslim, Tirmidhi and Bukhari).He adopted the same simplicity with regard to hisresidential arrangements. His house consisted normallyof one room and a small courtyard. A rope used to bestrung half way across the room so that when he hadvisitors a piece of cloth could be hung from the rope toconvert a part of the room into an audience chamberseparated from the portion occupied by his wife. His lifewas so simple that ‘A’isha ra related that during thelifetime of the Prophet sa they often had to sustainthemselves on dates and water and that on the day ofhis death there was no food in the house except a fewdates (Bukhari).


204Life of Muhammad saRELATIONSHIP WITH GODEvery aspect of the Holy Prophet's sa life appears tohave been governed and coloured by his love for anddevotion to God.In spite of the very heavy responsibilities that hadbeen laid upon his shoulders the greater portion of histime during the day as well as during the night wasspent in the worship and praise of God. He would leavehis bed at midnight and devote himself to the worship ofGod till it was time to go to the mosque for the morningprayers. He sometimes stood so long in prayer duringthe latter part of the night that his feet would getswollen, and those who saw him in that condition werealways much affected. On one occasion ‘A’isha ra said tohim: "God has honoured you with His love andnearness. Why then do you subject yourself to so muchdiscomfort and inconvenience?" He replied: "If God hasby His Grace and Mercy conferred His love and nearnessupon me, is it not my duty in return to be alwaysrendering thanks to Him? Gratitude should increase inproportion to the favours received" (Bukhari, KitabulKusuf ).He never entered upon any undertaking withoutdivine command or permission. It has already beenrelated in the biographical portion that, in spite of thevery severe persecution to which he was subjected bythe people of Mecca, he did not leave the town till hereceived the divine command to do so. Whenpersecution became very severe and he gave permissionto his Companions to migrate to Abyssinia, some ofthem expressed a desire that he should accompanythem. He declined to do so on the ground that he hadnot received divine permission to that effect. Thus,during a period of hardships and persecution whenpeople usually like to keep their friends and relationsclose to themselves, he directed his Companions to seekrefuge in Abyssinia and himself stayed behind in Mecca,for God had not yet directed him to leave it.


Life of Muhammad sa 205Whenever he heard the word of God being recited, hewas overcome by emotion and tears would start from hiseyes, especially if he was listening to verses whichemphasized his own responsibilities. ‘Abdullah binMas‘ud ra relates that he was on one occasion asked bythe Holy Prophet sa to recite some verses of the Qur’an tohim. He said: "O Messenger of Allah sa ! The Qur’an hasbeen revealed to you (i.e., you know it best of all). Howthen shall I recite it to you?" But the Holy Prophet sasaid: "I love to hear it recited by other people also."Thereupon ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud ra began to recitefrom Surah Al-Nisa’. When he recited the verse: "Andhow will it fare with them when We shall bring a witnessfrom every people, and shall bring thee as a witnessagainst them" (4: 42), the Holy Prophet sa exclaimed:‘Enough! Enough!" ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud ra looked upand saw that tears were streaming from the HolyProphet's sa eyes (Bukhari, Kitab Fada’ilul Qur’an).He was so particular about joining thecongregational prayers that, even during severe illnesswhen it is permissible not only to say one's prayers inone's room but even to say them lying in bed, he wouldgo to the mosque to lead the prayers himself. On oneoccasion when he was unable to proceed to the mosquehe directed that Abu Bakr ra should lead the prayers.Presently however, he felt some improvement in hiscondition and asked to be supported into the mosque.He rested his weight on the shoulders of two men butwas in so feeble a condition that, according to ‘A’isha ra ,his feet trailed along the ground (Bukhari ).It is a common practice to give expression to one'spleasure or to draw attention to any particular matter bythe clapping of hands and the Arabs used to follow thesame practice. The Holy Prophet sa , however, so loved theremembrance of God that for these purposes also hesubstituted the praise and remembrance of God in placeof the clapping of hands. On one occasion while he wasoccupied with some important matter, the time of thenext service drew near and he directed that Abu Bakr ra


206Life of Muhammad sashould lead the prayers. Shortly thereafter he was ableto conclude the business upon which he was engagedand proceeded at once to the mosque. Abu Bakr ra wasleading the prayers but when the congregation perceivedthat the Holy Prophet sa had arrived, they began to claptheir hands for the purpose both of giving expression totheir joy at his arrival and also to draw Abu Bakr ra 'sattention to the fact that the Prophet sa himself hadarrived. Thereupon Abu Bakr ra stepped back and maderoom for the Holy Prophet sa to lead the prayers. Whenthe prayers were over, the Prophet sa addressed AbuBakr ra and said: "Why did you step back after I haddirected you to lead the prayers?" Abu Bakr ra replied: "OMessenger of Allah sa ! How would it befit the son of AbuQuhafa ra to lead the prayers in the presence of theMessenger of Allah sa ?" Then addressing the congregationthe Prophet sa said: "Why did you clap your hands? It isnot seemly that while you are engaged in theremembrance of God you should clap your hands. If itshould so happen that during the course of prayersattention has to be drawn to some matter, instead ofclapping your hands you should utter the name of Godaloud. This would draw attention to whatever may haveto be taken note of " (Bukhari).The Prophet sa did not approve of prayers or worshipbeing carried on as a penance or imposition. On oneoccasion he came home and observed a rope danglingbetween two pillars. He inquired what its purpose was,and was informed that his wife Zainab ra was in the habitof supporting herself by means of the rope when shebecame tired in the course of her prayers. He directedthe rope to be removed and said that prayers should becontinued only so long as one felt easy and cheerful andthat if a person became tired he should sit down.Prayers were not an imposition, and if carried on afterthe body became fatigued they failed of their purpose(Bukhari, Kitabul Kusuf ).He abhorred every action and practice whichsavoured even remotely of idolatry. When his end was


Life of Muhammad sa 207approaching and he was in the grip of the death agonyhe turned from side to side exclaiming: "May the curseof God descend upon those Jews and Christians whohave converted the graves of their Prophets into placesof worship" (Bukhari ). He had in mind those Jews andChristians who prostrated themselves at the graves oftheir Prophets and saints and addressed their prayers tothem, and he meant that if Muslims fell into similarpractices they would not be deserving of his prayers butwould, on the contrary, cut themselves asunder fromhim.His extreme sense of jealousy for the honour of Godhas already been referred to in the biographical portion.The people of Mecca sought to place all sorts oftemptations in his way to persuade him to give up hisopposition to idol-worship (Tabari). His uncle Abu Talibalso tried to dissuade him and expressed his fear that ifhe persisted in his denunciation of idol-worship, AbuTalib would have to choose between ceasing to give himhis protection and the bitter opposition of his people.The only reply that the Prophet sa made to his uncle onthat occasion was: "If these people were to place the sunon my right hand and the moon on my left, I would notdesist from proclaiming and preaching the Unity of God"(Zurqani ). Again, during the Battle of Uhud when aremnant of wounded Muslims were grouped round himat the foot of a hill and their enemies were giving vent totheir feeling of jubilation at having broken the Muslimranks in shouts of victory and their leader Abu Sufyan racalled out: "May Hubal (one of the idols worshipped bythe Meccans) be exalted! May Hubal be exalted!" theHoly Prophet sa , in spite of realizing that his own safetyand that of the small band of Muslims who weregathered round him lay in keeping silent could restrainhimself no longer and directed his Companions to shoutin reply, "To Allah alone belongs victory and glory! ToAllah alone belongs victory and glory!" (Bukhari ).It was a common misconception among the followersof different religions before the advent of Islam that


208Life of Muhammad saheavenly and terrestrial manifestations took place tomark occasions of joy and sorrow for Prophets, saintsand other great men and that even the movements ofthe heavenly bodies could be controlled by them. Forinstance, it is related of some of them that they causedthe sun to become stationary in its course or stoppedthe progress of the moon or caused running water tobecome still. Islam taught that such notions werebaseless and that references to phenomena of this kindin religious Scriptures were only by way of metaphorwhich, instead of being interpreted in accordance withits correct significance, had given rise to superstitions.Nevertheless, some among Muslims were prone toattribute these phenomena to events in the lives of thegreat Prophets as . In the closing years of the HolyProphet's sa life his son Ibrahim died at the age of twoand a half years. An eclipse of the sun occurred on thesame day. Some Muslims in Medina gave currency tothe idea that the sun had been darkened on theoccasion of the death of the Prophet's sa son as a mark ofdivine condolence. When this was mentioned to the HolyProphet sa he expressed great displeasure and severelycondemned the notion. He explained that the sun andthe moon and other heavenly bodies were all governedby divine laws and that their movements and thephenomena connected with them had no relation to thelife or death of any person (Bukhari).Arabia is a very dry country and rain is alwayswelcome and is eagerly waited for. The Arabs used toimagine that the coming of rain was controlled by themovements of stars. Whenever anybody gave expressionto that idea, the Holy Prophet sa used to be very upsetand admonished his people not to attribute favoursbestowed upon them by Providence to other sources. Heexplained that rain and other natural phenomena wereall governed by divine laws and that they were notcontrolled by the pleasure or displeasure of any god orgoddess or of any other power (Muslim, Kitabul Iman).


Life of Muhammad sa 209He had perfect trust in God which no combination ofadverse circumstances could shake. On one occasion anenemy of his, finding him asleep and unguarded, stoodover his head with drawn sword and threatened todespatch him at once. Before doing so he asked: "Whocan rescue you from this predicament?" The HolyProphet sa calmly replied: "Allah." He uttered this wordwith such perfect assurance that even the heart of hisdisbelieving enemy was forced to acknowledge theloftiness of his faith and trust in God. The sword fellfrom his hand, and he, who a moment before was bentupon his destruction, stood before him like a convictedcriminal awaiting sentence (Muslim, Kitabul Fada’il andBukhari, Kitabul Jihad).At the other end of the scale was his sense of perfecthumility vis-a-vis the Divine. Abu Huraira ra relates: "Oneday I heard the Holy Prophet sa say that no man wouldattain salvation through his own good deeds. ThereuponI said: ‘O Messenger of Allah sa ! 'Surely you will enterParadise through your own good actions,' to which hereplied: ‘No, I too cannot enter Paradise through my ownactions save only that God's Grace and Mercy shouldenvelop me' " (Bukhari, Kitabur Riqaq).He always exhorted people to choose and follow theright path and to be diligent in their search for meanswhereby they could attain nearness to God. He taughtthat no man should desire death for himself, for if he isgood he will, by living longer, be able to achieve greatergood; and if he is evil, he may, if given time, be able torepent of his evil ways and start on a good way. His lovefor, and devotion to, God found expression in manyways. For instance, whenever after a dry season the firstrain-drops began to descend, he would put out histongue to catch a rain-drop and would exclaim: "Here isthe latest favour from my Lord." He was constantlyoccupied in praying for God's forgiveness andbeneficence, more particularly when he was sittingamong people so that those who were in his company orwere connected with him and Muslims generally should


210Life of Muhammad sasave themselves from divine wrath and should becomedeserving of divine forgiveness. The consciousness thathe was always in the presence of God never desertedhim. When he used to lie down to sleep, he would say:"O Allah! let me die (go to sleep) with Thy name on mylips and with Thy name on my lips let me rise." When hewoke up, he would say: "All praise is due to God whohas brought me to life after death (sleep) and one day weshall all be gathered unto Him" (Bukhari).He constantly yearned for nearness to God and oneof his oft-repeated prayers was "O Allah! Do Thou fill myheart with Thy light and fill my eyes with Thy light andfill my ears with Thy light and put Thy light on my rightand put Thy light on my left and put Thy light above meand put Thy light below me and put Thy light in front ofme and put Thy light behind me and do Thou, O Allah,convert the whole of me into light" (Bukhari).Ibn ‘Abbas ra relates: "Shortly before the HolyProphet's sa death, Musailima (the false prophet) came toMedina and proclaimed that if Muhammad sa wouldappoint him his successor he would be prepared toaccept him. Musailima was accompanied by a very largeretinue and the tribe with which he was connected wasthe largest among the tribes of Arabia. When the HolyProphet sa was informed of his advent he went to meethim, accompanied by Thabit bin Qais bin Shams ra . Hehad in his hand a dried palm twig. When he arrived atMusailima's camp he went and stood in front of him. Inthe meantime some more of his Companions had comeup and ranged themselves round him. AddressingMusailima he said, "It has been conveyed to me that youhave said that if I were to appoint you my successor youwould be ready to follow me, but I am not willing tobestow even this dried palm twig upon you contrary toGod's commands. Your end will be as God hasappointed. If you turn your back on me God will bringyou to naught. I perceive very clearly that God will dealout to you what He has revealed to me." He then added:"I will now retire. If you have anything further to say,


Life of Muhammad sa 211you may talk to Thabit bin Qais bin Shams ra , who willact as my representative." He then returned. AbuHuraira ra was also with him. Somebody inquired of theProphet sa what he meant by saying that God would dealout to Musailima what had been revealed to him. TheHoly Prophet sa replied: "I saw in a dream two braceletsround my wrists which I disliked. While still in mydream I was directed by God to blow upon the bracelets.When I blew upon them, both of them disappeared. Iinterpreted this to mean that two false claimants (toprophethood) would appear after me" (Bukhari, KitabulMaghazi). This incident occurred towards the end of theHoly Prophet's sa life. The last and the largest of the Arabtribes who had not yet accepted him was prepared tomake its submission and the only condition put forwardby it was that the Holy Prophet sa should appoint its chiefas his successor. Had the Prophet sa been actuated evenremotely by any personal motives, nothing stood in theway of his securing the unity of the whole of Arabia bypromising his succession to the chief of the largest tribeof Arabia. The Holy Prophet sa had no son of his own andno dynastic ambition could have stood in the way ofsuch an arrangement, but he never regarded even thesmallest thing as belonging to him and as being at hisabsolute disposal. He could, therefore, not deal with theleadership of Muslims as if it were in his gift. Heregarded it as a sacred divine trust and believed thatGod would bestow it upon whomsoever He thought fit.He therefore rejected Musailima's offer with contempt,and told him that, let alone the leadership of Muslims,he was not prepared to bestow upon him even a drypalm twig.Whenever he referred to or discoursed about God, itappeared to onlookers as if his whole being was in thegrip of a passion of love for and devotion to God.He always insisted upon simplicity in divine worship.The mosque, that he built in Medina and in which healways led prayers, had only a mud floor which wasinnocent of all covering or matting and the roof, which


212Life of Muhammad sawas made of dried palm branches and leaves, leakedwhenever it rained. On such occasions the HolyProphet sa and members of the congregation would bedrenched with rain and mud but he would continuewith the prayers till the end and on no occasion did hegive any indication that he would postpone the serviceor remove to more weather-tight shelter (Bukhari,Kitabus Saum).He was also watchful regarding his Companions.‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar ra was a man of extreme piety andpurity of life. Concerning him the Holy Prophet sa oncesaid: " ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar ra would be an even betterman if he were to be more regular with regard to hisTahajjud prayers." 1 When this was communicated to‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar ra he never thereafter missed theseprayers. It is recorded that the Holy Prophet sa ,happening to be in the house of his daughter Fatima ra ,inquired of her and his son-in-law, ‘Ali ra , whether theywere regular with regard to their Tahajjud prayers. ‘Ali rareplied: "O Messenger of Allah sa ! We try to get up forTahajjud prayers but on occasion when God so wills thatwe are unable to wake up in time we miss them." Hewent back and, on the way, repeated several times averse of the Qur’an which means that a man is oftenreluctant to admit his fault and tries to cover it up withexcuses (Bukhari, Kitabul Kusuf ). The Prophet sa meantthat ‘Ali ra should not have attributed his default to Godby saying that when God willed that they should notwake up they were unable to wake up in time, butshould have admitted his own weakness in the matter.DISAPPROVAL OF PENANCEThe Holy Prophet sa , however, strongly disapproved offormality in the matter of worship and condemned theimposition of any penance upon oneself as a form of1 This is a voluntary prayer which is said in the latter part of the night and isnot one of the daily prayers.—Ed.


Life of Muhammad sa 213worship. He taught that true worship consists in thebeneficent use of the faculties with which God hasendowed man. God having bestowed eyes upon man tosee with, it would not be worship but impertinence tokeep them shut or to have them removed. It is not theproper use of the faculty of sight which can be regardedas sinful, it is the improper use of the faculty that wouldbe a sin. It would be ingratitude on the part of a man tohave himself deprived of the faculty of hearing, though itwould be sinful of him to use that faculty for thepurpose of listening to slander and backbiting.Abstention from food (except on occasions when it isprescribed or is otherwise desirable) may amount tosuicide and thus constitute an unforgivable sin, thoughit would also be sinful on the part of a man to devotehimself entirely to food and drink or to indulge in theeating or drinking of prohibited or undesirable articles.This is a golden principle which was taught andemphasized by the Holy Prophet sa of Islam and whichhad not been inculcated by any previous Prophet.The correct use of natural faculties constitutes highmoral qualities; the frustration or stultification of thosequalities is folly. It is their improper use that is evil orsinful. Their proper use is true virtue. This is theessence of the moral teachings inculcated by the HolyProphet sa of Islam. And this, in brief, was also a pictureof his own life and actions. ‘A’isha ra relates: "Wheneverthe Holy Prophet sa had a choice of two courses of actionhe always chose the easier of the two, provided it wasfree from all suspicion of error or sin. Where a course ofaction was open to such suspicion, the Holy Prophet sa ofall men gave it the widest berth" (Muslim, KitabulFada’il ). This is indeed the highest and the mostadmirable course open to man. Many men voluntarilycourt pain and privations, not for the purpose ofwinning God's pleasure, for God's pleasure is not to bewon by inflicting purposeless pain and privations upononeself, but with the object of deceiving mankind. Suchpeople possess little inherent virtue and wish to cover


214Life of Muhammad saup their faults and to acquire merit in the eyes of othersby assuming false virtues. The object of the HolyProphet sa of Islam, however, was to attain to real virtueand to win the pleasure of God. He was, therefore,completely free from pretence and make-believe. Thatthe world should regard him as bad or should appraisehim as good was a matter of complete indifference tohim. All that mattered to him was how he found himselfand how God would judge him. If in addition to thetestimony of his conscience and the approval of God healso won the true testimony of mankind he was grateful,but if men looked upon him with jaundiced eyes he wassorry for them and attached no value to their opinion.ATTITUDE TOWARDS HIS WIVESHe was extremely kind and fair towards his wives. Ifon occasion any one of them failed to comport herselfwith due deference towards him he merely smiled andpassed the matter over. He said to ‘A’isha ra one day: "‘A’isha ra , whenever you are upset with me I always get toknow it." ‘A’isha ra enquired: "How is that?" He said: "Ihave noticed that when you are pleased with me and inthe course of conversation you have to refer to God, yourefer to Him as the Lord of Muhammad sa . But if you arenot pleased with me, you refer to Him as the Lord ofIbrahim as ." At this ‘A’isha ra laughed and said he wasright (Bukhari, Kitabun Nikdh). Khadija ra was his firstwife and had made great sacrifices in his cause. She wasmuch older than the Prophet sa After her death hemarried younger women but never permitted thememory of Khadija ra to become dim. Whenever any ofKhadija ra 's friends visited him he would stand up toreceive her (Muslim). If he chanced to see any article thathad belonged to or had been connected with Khadija ra ,he was always overcome by emotion. Among theprisoners taken by the Muslims in the Battle of Badrwas a son-in-law of the Prophet sa . He possessed nothing


Life of Muhammad sa 215which he could offer as ransom. His wife Zainab ra (theProphet's sa daughter) sent to Medina a necklace whichhad belonged to her mother (Khadija ra ) and offered it asransom for her husband. When the Prophet sa saw thenecklace he recognized it and was much affected. Hesaid to his Companions: "I have no authority to give anydirection in this matter, but I know that this necklace ischerished by Zainab ra as a last memento of her deceasedmother and, provided it commends itself to you, I wouldsuggest that she should not be deprived of it and it maybe returned to her." They intimated that nothing wouldgive them greater pleasure and readily adopted hissuggestion (Halbiyya, Vol. 2). He often praised Khadija rato his other wives and stressed her virtues and thesacrifices that she had made in the cause of Islam. Onone such occasion ‘A’isha ra was piqued and said: "OMessenger of Allah, why go on talking of the old lady?God has bestowed better, younger and more attractivewives upon you." The Holy Prophet sa was overcome byemotion at hearing this and protested: "O no, ‘A’isha ra !You have no idea how good Khadija ra was to me"(Bukhari ).HIGH MORAL QUALITIESHe was always very patient in adversity. He wasnever discouraged by adverse circumstances nor did hepermit any personal desire to get a hold over him. It hasbeen related already that his father had died before hisbirth and his mother died while he was still a little child.Up to the age of eight, he was in the guardianship of hisgrandfather and after the latter's death he was takencare of by his uncle, Abu Talib. Both on account ofnatural affection and also because he had been speciallyadmonished in that behalf by his father, Abu Talibalways watched over his nephew with care andindulgence but his wife was not affected by theseconsiderations to the same degree. It often happened


216Life of Muhammad sathat she would distribute something among her ownchildren, leaving out their little cousin. If Abu Talibchanced to come into the house on such an occasion hewould find his little nephew sitting apart, a perfectpicture of dignity and without a trace of sulkiness orgrievance on his face. The uncle, yielding to the claimsof affection and recognizing his responsibility, would runto the nephew, clasp him to his bosom and cry out: "Dopay attention to this child of mine also! Do pay attentionto this child of mine also!" Such incidents were notuncommon and those who were witnesses to them wereunanimous in their testimony that the youngMuhammad sa never gave any indication that he was inany way affected by them or that he was in any sensejealous of his cousins. Later in life when he was in aposition to do so, he took upon himself the care andupbringing of two of his uncle's sons, ‘Ali ra and Ja‘far ra ,and discharged this responsibility in the most excellentmanner.The Holy Prophet sa , throughout his life, had toencounter a succession of bitter experiences. He wasborn an orphan, his mother died while he was still asmall child and he lost his grandfather at the age ofeight years. After marriage he had to bear the loss ofseveral children, one after the other, and then hisbeloved and devoted wife Khadija ra died. Some of thewives he married after Khadija's ra death, died during hislifetime and towards the close of his life he had to bearthe loss of his son Ibrahim. He bore all these losses andcalamities cheerfully, and none of them affected in theleast degree either his high resolve or the urbanity of hisdisposition. His private sorrows never found vent inpublic and he always met everybody with a benigncountenance and treated all alike with uniform benevolence.On one occasion he observed a woman who hadlost a child occupied in loud mourning over her child'sgrave. He admonished her to be patient and to acceptGod's will as supreme. The woman did not know thatshe was being addressed by the Holy Prophet sa and


Life of Muhammad sa 217replied: "If you had ever suffered the loss of a child as Ihave, you would have realized how difficult it is to bepatient under such an affliction." The Prophet saobserved: "I have suffered the loss not of one but ofseven children," and passed on. Except when he referredto his own losses or misfortunes in this indirect manner,he never cared to dwell upon them nor did he permitthem in any manner to interfere with his unceasingservice to mankind and his cheerful sharing of theirburdens.HIS SELF-CONTROLHe always held himself under complete control. Evenwhen he became a Sovereign he always listened toeverybody with patience, and if a person treated himwith impertinence he bore with him and neverattempted any retaliation. In the East, one way ofshowing respect for a person whom one is addressing isnot to address him by his personal name. The Muslimsused to address the Holy Prophet sa as: "O Messenger ofAllah sa ", and non-Muslims used to address him as "Abu’lQasim sa " (i.e., Qasim's father: Qasim being the name ofone of his sons). On one occasion a Jew came to him inMedina and started a discussion with him. In the courseof the discussion he repeatedly addressed him as "OMuhammad sa , O Muhammad sa ". The Prophet sa paid noattention to his form of address and went on patientlyexpounding the matter under discussion to him. HisCompanions ra , however, were getting irritated at the discourteousform of address adopted by his interlocutortill one of them, not being able to restrain himself anylonger, admonished the Jew not to address the Prophet saby his personal name but to address him as Abu’lQasim sa . The Jew said that he would address him onlyby the name which his parents had given him. TheProphet sa smiled and said to his Companions: "He isright. I was named Muhammad sa at the time of my birth


218Life of Muhammad saand there is no reason to be upset at his addressing meby that name."Sometimes people stopped him in the way andengaged him in conversation, explaining their needs andpreferring their requests to him. He always stoodpatiently and let them go on and proceeded only afterthey had done. On occasion people when shaking handswith him kept hold of his hand for some time and,though he found this inconvenient and it occasioned aloss of precious time also, he was never the first towithdraw his hand. People went freely to him and laidtheir troubles and difficulties before him and asked himfor help. If he was able to help he never declined to doso. Sometimes he was pestered with requests and theywere unreasonably pressed but he went on complyingwith them as far as he was able. On occasion, aftercomplying with a request, he would admonish theperson concerned to have greater trust in God and toavoid asking others for relief. On one occasion a devoutMuslim asked him several times for money and eachtime he complied with his request but in the end said:"It is best for a man to put his trust in God and to avoidmaking requests." The person concerned was a sincereman. Out of regard for the feelings of the Prophet sa , hedid not offer to return what he had already received buthe declared that in future he would never make arequest to anybody under any circumstances. Yearslater, he was taking part in a battle, mounted on acharger, and in the thick of it when the din andconfusion and the clash of arms were at their highestand he was surrounded by his enemies, his whip fellfrom his hand. A Muslim soldier who was on foot,perceiving his predicament, bent down to pick up thewhip for him but the mounted man begged him to desistand jumped from his horse and picked up the whiphimself, explaining to the soldier that he had long sincepromised the Holy Prophet sa that he would never makeany request to anybody and that if he had permitted thesoldier to pick up the whip for him it would have


Life of Muhammad sa 219amounted to his having made an indirect request andwould thus have rendered him guilty of breaking hispromise to the Holy Prophet sa .JUSTICE AND FAIR DEALINGThe Arabs were greatly given to favouritism andapplied different standards to different persons. Evenamong the so-called civilized nations of today oneobserves a reluctance to bring prominent persons orpersons occupying high positions or offices to accountfor their doings, though the law is enforced rigorouslyagainst the common citizen. The Holy Prophet sa was,however, unique in enforcing uniform standards ofjustice and fair dealing. On one occasion a case camebefore him in which a young woman belonging to ahighly respectable family was found to have committedtheft. This caused great consternation as, if the normalpenalty were imposed upon the young woman, a leadingfamily would be humiliated and disgraced. Many wereanxious to intercede with the Prophet sa on behalf of theoffender but were afraid to do so. Eventually Usama rawas prevailed upon to undertake the mission. Usama rawent to the Holy Prophet sa but the moment the latterperceived the trend of his submission he was muchupset and said: "You had better desist. Nations havecome to a bad end for showing favours to highly placedpersons while pressing hard on the common people.Islam does not permit this and I will certainly not do it.Verily, if my own daughter, Fatima ra , were to commit anoffence I would not hesitate to impose the appropriatepenalty" (Bukhari, Kitabul Hudud).It has already been related that when the Prophet'suncle ‘Abbas ra became a prisoner in the Battle of Badr,he was, like other prisoners, tied up with a rope toprevent his escape. The rope was so tightly secured thathe groaned with pain during the night. The Prophet saheard his groans and was unable to sleep. The


220Life of Muhammad saCompanions of the Prophet sa , perceiving this, loosenedthe rope that bound ‘Abbas ra . When the Prophet sa got tolearn of this, he directed that all prisoners should betreated alike, saying that there was no reason forshowing favour to his own relative. He insisted thateither they must loosen the bonds of all the prisoners ormust tighten the bonds of ‘Abbas ra like those of theothers. As the Companions of the Prophet sa did not wishhim to be subjected to uneasiness on account of hisuncle they undertook to guard the prisoners carefullyand loosened the bonds of all of them (Zurqani, Vol. 3, p.279).Even during the exigencies of war he was mostparticular in observing all accepted rules andconventions. On one occasion he despatched a party ofhis Companions on a scouting expedition. Theyencountered some men of the enemy on the last day ofthe Sacred Month, Rajab. Thinking that it would bedangerous to let them escape and carry to Mecca thetidings of the scouting party being so near, theyattacked them and in the course of the skirmish one ofthem was killed. After the scouting party had returnedto Medina the Meccans began to protest that the Muslimscouts had killed one of their men in the Sacred Month.The Meccans had often been guilty of violating thesanctity of the Sacred Months vis-a-vis the Muslimswhenever it suited them, and it would have been asuitable reply to their protest to say that as the Meccanshad themselves set at naught the convention relating tothe Sacred Months, so they were not entitled to insistupon their observance by Muslims. But the Prophet sadid not make this reply. He severely reprimanded themembers of the party, refused to accept the booty andaccording to some reports even paid the blood-money forthe person killed, till the revelation of 2: 218 cleared thewhole position (Tabari and Halbiyya).People are generally careful not to hurt the feelings oftheir friends and relations but the Holy Prophet sa wasvery particular in this respect even regarding people who


Life of Muhammad sa 221were opposed to him. On one occasion a Jew came tohim and complained that Abu Bakr ra had hurt hisfeelings by saying that God had exalted Muhammad saabove Moses as . The Prophet sa summoned Abu Bakr ra andasked him what had transpired. Abu Bakr ra explainedthat the Jew had started by saying that he swore byMoses as whom God, he said, had exalted above thewhole of mankind, and that he (Abu Bakr ra ) hadthereupon retorted by swearing by Muhammad sa , whomGod had exalted above Moses as . The Prophet sa said: "Youshould not have said this as the feelings of other peopleshould be respected. Nobody should exalt me aboveMoses as " (Bukhari, Kitabut Tauhid). This did not meanthat the Holy Prophet sa did not in fact occupy a higherposition than Moses as but that an affirmation like thisaddressed to a Jew was likely to hurt his feelings andshould have been avoided.REGARD FOR THE POORThe Holy Prophet sa was ever concerned to amelioratethe condition of the poorer sections of the communityand to raise their status in society. On one occasionwhile he was sitting with his Companions ra , a rich manhappened to pass by.The Prophet sa inquired of one of hisCompanions ra what he thought of him. He replied "He isa well-to-do and well-connected man. If he were to askfor the hand of a girl in marriage the request would befavourably considered and if he were to intercede onbehalf of anybody the intercession would be accepted."Shortly after, another man passed by who appeared tobe poor and of no substance. The Prophet sa inquired ofthe same Companion ra what he thought of him. Hereplied: "O Messenger of Allah sa ! He is a poor man. If hewere to request the hand of a girl in marriage therequest would not be favourably received and if he wereto intercede on behalf of any person the intercessionwould be rejected and if he were to seek to engage


222Life of Muhammad saanybody in conversation no attention would be paid tohim." On hearing this the Prophet sa observed: "Theworth of this poor man is much greater than the value ofa quantity of gold sufficient to fill the whole universe"(Bukhari, Kitabur Riqaq).A poor Muslim woman used to clean out the HolyProphet's sa mosque in Medina. The Prophet sa did not seeher in the mosque for some days and made inquiriesconcerning her He was told that she had died. He said:"Why was I not informed when she died? I would havewished to join her funeral prayers," and added,"perchance you did not consider her worthy ofconsideration as she was poor. This was not right.Direct me to her grave." He then proceeded to her graveand prayed for her (Bukhari, Kitabus Salat). He used tosay that there were people with tangled hair whosebodies were covered with dust and who were notwelcomed by those who were well-to-do but who were sohighly valued by God that if, trusting in God'sbeneficence, they swore in His name that a certainmatter would take a certain turn He would supportthem." (Muslim, Kitabul Birr Was Sila). On one occasionsome Companions of the Holy Prophet sa who were freedslaves were sitting together when Abu Sufyan ra (who wasa chieftain among the Quraish and had fought theMuslims up to the surrender of Mecca and had acceptedIslam only on that occasion) happened to pass by. TheseCompanions ra , addressing him, recalled the victory thatGod had bestowed upon Islam. Abu Bakr ra also heardthis and did not approve of a chieftain of the Quraishbeing reminded of their humiliation and he reprimandedthe group of Companions ra . He then went to the HolyProphet sa and related the incident to him. The Prophet sasaid: "O Abu Bakr ra ! I fear you may have hurt thefeelings of these servants of God. If that should be so,God would be offended with you." Abu Bakr ra at oncereturned to those people and inquired: "Brothers ofmine! Did you feel hurt over what I said?" To which they


Life of Muhammad sa 223replied: "We felt no offence at what you said. May Godforgive you!" (Muslim, Kitabul Fada’l ).While, however, the Prophet sa insisted that poorpeople should be respected and their feelings should notbe injured and strove to fulfil their needs, he also soughtto instil the sentiment of self-respect into them andtaught them not to beg for favours. He used to say thatit behoved a poor man not to seek to be content with adate or two or with a mouthful or two of food but torestrain himself from making a request, howeverseverely he might be tried (Bukhari, Kitabul Kusuf ). Onthe other hand he used to say that no entertainmentwould be blessed unless some poor people were alsoinvited to it. ‘A’isha ra relates that a poor woman came tovisit her on one occasion accompanied by her two littledaughters. ‘A’isha ra had nothing with her at the timeexcept one date which she gave to the woman. Thewoman divided it between her little daughters and thenthey all departed. When the Prophet sa came home‘A’isha ra related this to him and he said: "If a poor manhas daughters and he treats them with consideration,God will save him from the torments of Hell," and added:"God will bestow Paradise upon this woman on accountof the consideration she showed towards her daughters"(Muslim). On one occasion he was told that one of hisCompanions, Sa‘d ra , who was a well-to-do person, wasboasting of his enterprise to others. When the Prophet saheard this, he said: "Let no man imagine that his wealthor standing or power is the result merely of his ownefforts or enterprise. That is not so. Your power andyour position and your wealth are all earned throughthe poor." One of his prayers was: "O God! Keep mehumble while I am alive and keep me humble when I dieand let my resurrection on the Day of Judgement bewith the humble" (Tirmidhi, Abwabul Zuhad).On one occasion during the hot weather when hewas passing through a street, he observed a very poorMuslim carrying heavy loads from one place to another.He was very plain of features which were rendered still


224Life of Muhammad samore unattractive by a heavy coating of perspiration anddust. He bore a melancholy look. The Holy Prophet saapproached him stealthily from the back and, aschildren sometimes do in fun, he put forward his handsand covered the labourer's eyes with them, expectinghim to guess who he was. The man put back his ownhands and feeling over the body of the Prophet sa realizedthat it was the Holy Prophet sa himself. He probablyguessed also that nobody else would show such intimateaffection for a man in his condition. Being pleased andencouraged, he pressed against the Holy Prophet's sabody and clasped him to himself from the back rubbinghis dust and sweat-covered body against the clothes ofthe Prophet sa , desiring perhaps to ascertain how far theProphet sa would be willing to indulge him. The Prophet sawent on smiling and did not ask him to desist. When theman had been put in a thoroughly happy mood theProphet sa said to him: "I possess a slave; do you thinkanybody will be willing to buy him?" The man realizedthat probably there was nobody in the whole world, savethe Holy Prophet sa himself who would be ready to seeany worth in him, and with a melancholy sigh hereplied: "O Messenger of Allah sa ! there is nobody in thisworld who would be prepared to purchase me." TheProphet sa said: "No! No! You must not say that. You areof great worth in the eyes of God" (Sharhussunna).Not only was he himself watchful of the welfare of thepoor but he constantly exhorted others to be the same.Abu Musa Ash‘ari ra relates that if a needy personapproached the Holy Prophet sa and made a request, hewould say to those around him, "You should alsosupport his request so that you may acquire merit bybecoming sharers in promoting a good deed" (Bukhariand Muslim), his object being to create on the one side inthe minds of his Companions a feeling of eagerness tohelp the poor and on the other in the minds of the needya realization of the affection and sympathy felt for themby their better-off brethren.


Life of Muhammad sa 225SAFEGUARDING THE INTERESTS OF THE POORWhen Islam began to be generally accepted over thegreater part of Arabia, the Holy Prophet sa often receivedlarge quantities of goods and money which heimmediately distributed amongst those who were inneed. On one occasion his daughter Fatima ra came tohim and, showing him her hands which had becomecalloused by the labour involved in crushing grain withstones, requested that a slave might be allotted to her tolighten her labour. The Prophet sa replied: "I shall tell yousomething which will prove to be of far greater worththan a slave. When you go to bed at night you shouldutter the praise of God thirty-three times, and affirm Hisperfection an equal number of times and affirm Hisgreatness thirty-four times. This will help you a greatdeal more than could the possession of a slave"(Bukhari).While distributing money on one occasion a coin fellfrom his hands and rolled out of sight. Having finishedwith the distribution he went to the mosque and led theprayers. It was his practice to remain sitting for a shortwhile after the conclusion of the prayers, occupied in theremembrance of God and thereafter to let peopleapproach him and put questions to him or profferrequests. On this occasion, as soon as the prayers wereconcluded, he got up and proceeded quickly to hishouse. He looked for the missing coin and, havingrecovered it, came back and bestowed it upon a needyperson, explaining that the coin had fallen from hishands during the distribution of money and the matterhad gone out of his mind but he suddenly recollected itwhile-leading the prayers and he was made uneasy bythe thought that if he were to die before he could recoverthe coin and give it away to some person in need, hewould be held responsible for it before God; that was thereason why he had left the mosque in such a hurry torecover the coin (Bukhari, Kitabul Kusuf ).


226Life of Muhammad saIn his anxiety to fully safe-guard the interests of thepoor and the needy he went so far as to lay down thatno charity should ever be bestowed upon hisdescendants, fearing lest Muslims out of their love forand devotion towards himself should in course of timemake his descendants the principal objects of theircharity and thus deprive the poor and needy of their dueshare. On one occasion somebody brought to him aquantity of dates and offered them as charity. Hisgrandson Imam Hasan ra , who was then only two and ahalf years of age, happened to be sitting with theProphet sa . He picked up one of the dates and put it intohis mouth. The Prophet sa immediately put his finger intothe child's mouth and forced the date out of it saying:"We have no right in this. This belongs to the pooramong God's creatures" (Bukhari, Kitabul Kusuf ).TREATMENT OF SLAVESHe constantly exhorted those who owned slaves totreat them kindly and well. He had laid down that if theowner of a slave beat his slave or abused him, the onlyreparation that he could make was to set the slave free(Muslim, Kitabul Iman). He devised means for, andencouraged, the freeing of slaves on every pretext. Hesaid: "If a person owning a slave sets him free, God willin recompense save every part of his body correspondingto every part of the slave's body from the torment ofHell." Again, he laid down that a slave should be askedto perform only such tasks as he could easilyaccomplish and that when he was set to do a task, hismaster should help him in performing it so that theslave should experience no feeling of humiliation ordegradation (Muslim). If a master went on a journeyaccompanied by a slave, it was his duty to share hismount with the slave either by both riding together oreach riding in turn. Abu Huraira ra , who used to spendthe whole of his time after becoming a Muslim in the


Life of Muhammad sa 227company of the Prophet sa and who had repeatedly heardthe Prophet's sa injunctions regarding the treatment ofslaves, has said: "I call God to witness in Whose handsis my life that were it not for the opportunities that I getof joining in holy war and of performing the Pilgrimageand were it not that I have opportunities of serving myold mother, I would have desired to die a slave, for theHoly Prophet sa constantly insisted upon slaves beingwell and kindly treated" (Muslim). Ma‘rur bin Suwaid rarelates: "I saw Abu Dharr Ghaffari ra (a Companion ra ofthe Holy Prophet sa ) wearing clothes exactly similar tothose worn by his slave. I inquired of him the reason ofthis and he said: 'During the lifetime of the HolyProphet sa I once taunted a man with his mother havingbeen a slave. Upon this the Holy Prophet sa rebuked meand said: "You still seem to entertain pre-Islamicnotions. What are slaves? They are your brethren andthe source of your power. God in His wisdom conferstemporary authority upon you over them. He who hassuch authority over his brother should feed him with thekind of food he himself eats; clothe him with the kind ofclothes he himself wears and should not set him a taskbeyond his strength and should himself help him inwhatever he is asked to do".' "On another occasion theProphet sa said: "When your servant cooks food for youand sets it out before you, you should ask him to sitdown with you to eat or at least to partake of a portionof it in your company, for he has established a right in itby working on it' (Muslim).TREATMENT OF WOMENThe Holy Prophet sa was very keen on improving thecondition of women in society and on securing for thema position of dignity and fair and equitable treatment.Islam was the first religion which conferred upon womenthe right of inheritance. The Qur’an makes daughtersalong with sons heirs to the property left by their


228Life of Muhammad saparents. In the same way a mother is made an heir toher son's or daughter's property and a wife is made anheir to her husband's property. When a brother becomesan heir of his deceased brother's property a sister is alsoan heir to that property. No religion before Islam had soclearly and firmly established a woman's right ofinheritance and her right to possess property. In Islam awoman is the absolute owner of her own property andher husband cannot obtain any control over it by virtuemerely of their relationship. A woman is at full liberty todeal with her property as she chooses.The Holy Prophet sa was so careful with regard to thekind treatment of women that those around him whohad not previously been accustomed to looking uponwomen in the light of helpmates and partners found itdifficult to accommodate themselves to the standardsthat the Prophet sa was anxious to see set up andmaintained. ‘Umar ra relates: "My wife occasionallysought to intervene in my affairs with her counsel and Iwould rebuke her, saying that the Arabs had neverpermitted their women to intervene in their affairs. Shewould retort: ‘That is all past. The Holy Prophet sa letshis wives counsel him in his affairs and he does not stopthem. Why don't you follow his example?' My reply usedto be: As for ‘A’isha ra the Prophet sa is particularly fond ofher but as regards your daughter (Hafsa ra ), if she doesthis she will one day have to suffer the consequences ofher impertinence.' It so happened that thereafter on oneoccasion the Holy Prophet sa , being upset oversomething, decided to spend a period of time apart fromhis wives. When I learnt of this I said to my wife, What Ihad feared had come to pass. Then I went to the houseof my daughter Hafsa ra and found her crying. I inquiredof her what the matter was and whether the Prophet sahad divorced her. She said: 'I don't know about divorce,but the Prophet sa has decided to remain away from usfor some time.' I said to her: 'Did I not often tell you notto take the same liberties with him as ‘A’isha ra does, forthe Holy Prophet sa is particularly fond of ‘A’isha ra , but


Life of Muhammad sa 229you seem to have brought upon yourself what I hadfeared.' I then went to the Holy Prophet sa and found himlying down on a rough matting. He was at that timewearing no shirt and his body bore the marks of thepattern of the matting. I sat down near him and said: ‘OMessenger of Allah! the Kaiser and the Chosroes do notdeserve any of God's favours and yet they pass theirlives in great comfort and you who are His Messengerpass your days in such discomfort.' The Prophet sareplied: 'That is not so. The Messengers of Allah are notexpected to spend their time in comfort. That kind of lifebefits only secular monarchs.' I then related to theProphet sa all that had passed between me and my wifeand daughter. Hearing me, the Prophet sa laughed andsaid: ‘It is not true that I have divorced my wives. I havemerely thought it advisable to spend a little time awayfrom them' " (Bukhari, Kitabun Nikah).He was so careful concerning the sentiments ofwomen that on one occasion when he was leading theprayers he heard the cry of a child and concluded theservice quickly, explaining thereafter that as he hadheard the cry of the child he imagined that the child'smother would be distressed at its cry and he hadtherefore concluded the service quickly so that themother could go to the child and look after it.When during any of his journeys women were alsoamong the party he always gave directions that thecaravan should move slowly and by easy stages. On onesuch occasion when the men were eager to pushforward, he said: "Take care of glass! Take care of glass!"meaning thereby that women were of the party and thatif camels and horses were put to the gallop they wouldsuffer from the joltings of the animals (Bukhari, KitabulAdab). During a battle confusion arose among the ranksof the mounted soldiers and the animals became unmanageable.The Holy Prophet sa fell from his horse andsome of the women also fell from their mounts. One ofhis Companions ra , who was riding a camel immediatelybehind the Prophet sa jumped down and ran towards him


230Life of Muhammad sacrying: "May I be your sacrifice, O Messenger of Allah sa ."The Prophet's sa foot was still in the stirrup. He releasedit hastily and said to his Companion: "Don't botherabout me, go and help the women." Just before hisdeath one of the injunctions he addressed to Muslimsand laid stress upon was that they should always treatwomen with kindness and consideration. It was an oftrepeatedsaying of his that if a man had daughters andhe arranged to have them educated and took pains withtheir upbringing, God would save him from the tormentof Hell (Tirmidhi).It was a common practice with the Arabs to inflictphysical chastisement upon women for every little fault.The Holy Prophet sa taught that women were equally withmen the creatures of God and were not the slaves ofmen and should not be beaten. When women got toknow of this they went to the other extreme and beganto oppose men in everything, with the result that inmany homes domestic peace was continually disturbed.‘Umar ra complained of this to the Holy Prophet sa andsaid that unless women could on occasion be chastisedthey would become unruly and there would be noholding them in check. As detailed Islamic teachingswith regard to the treatment of women had not yet beenrevealed, the Prophet sa said that if a woman was guiltyof serious transgression she might be chastised. This inits turn led the men in many cases to revert to the oldArab practice. It was now the turn of the women tocomplain and they laid their grievances before theProphet's sa wives. Thereupon, the Prophet sa admonishedmen and told them that those who treated women withunkindness could never win the favour of God.Thereafter the rights of women were established, and forthe first time women began to be treated as freeindividuals in their own right (Abu Dawud, KitabunNikah).Mu‘awiya al-Qushairi ra relates: "I inquired of theHoly Prophet sa what claim my wife had upon me," andhe replied: "Feed her with that which God bestows upon


Life of Muhammad sa 231you in the way of food, and clothe her with that whichGod bestows upon you in the way of clothes and do notchastise her nor abuse her nor put her out of yourhouse." He was so careful of the feelings and sentimentsof women that he always exhorted those who had to goupon a journey to finish their errands quickly andreturn home as soon as possible so that their wives andchildren should not suffer separation longer than wasnecessary. Whenever he returned from a journey healways came home during the day-time. If he foundnight approaching towards the end of his journey, hewould camp outside Medina for the night and enter itnext morning. He also told his Companions that whenthey returned from a journey they should not comehome suddenly without notice of their return (Bukhariand Muslim). In giving this direction he had in mind thefact that the relations between the sexes are largelygoverned by sentiment. In the absence of the husband awife may often neglect the care of her body and of herdress and if the husband were to return homeunexpectedly the finer sentiments of the wife or thehusband might be upset. By giving the direction thatwhen a man returns from a journey he should contriveto arrive home during the day-time and after intimationto the members of his family of his return, he ensuredthat the members of his family would be ready to receivethe returning member in a befitting manner.ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE DEADHe enjoined that every person should make a willconcerning the regulation of his affairs after his death sothat those connected with him should suffer theminimum of inconvenience after his demise.He laid down that no man should speak ill of aperson who was dead but that whatever of good he hadpossessed should be emphasized, for no benefit couldresult to anybody from mentioning the weaknesses orvices of the deceased but by emphasizing his virtues


232Life of Muhammad sapeople would be inclined to pray for him (Bukhari). Heinsisted upon a deceased person's debts being paidbefore he was buried. He very often satisfied theliabilities of a deceased person himself, but if he was notable to do this, he exhorted the heirs and relatives of thedeceased or other persons to discharge his liabilities andwould not say the funeral prayers over a deceasedperson till his liabilities had been discharged.TREATMENT OF NEIGHBOURSHe always treated his neighbours with extremekindness and consideration. He used to say that theangel Gabriel had emphasized consideration towardsone's neighbours so often that he sometimes began tothink that a neighbour would perhaps be includedamong the prescribed heirs. Abu Dharr ra relates that theHoly Prophet sa said to him: "Abu Dharr ra , while broth isbeing cooked for your family, add a little more water to itso that your neighbour might also share in it." This doesnot mean that the neighbour should not be invited toshare in other things but, as the Arabs were mostly amigratory people and their favourite dish was broth, theHoly Prophet sa referred to this dish as a typical one andtaught that one should not think so much of the taste ofthe food as of the obligation to share it with one'sneighbour.Abu Huraira ra relates: "On one occasion the HolyProphet sa exclaimed: ‘I call God to witness that he is nota believer! I call God to witness that he is not a believer!I call God to witness that he is not a believer!' TheCompanions inquired: ‘Who is not a believer, OMessenger of Allah sa ?' and he replied: ‘He whoseneighbour is not secure against injury and ill-treatmentat his hands.' On one occasion when he was addressingwomen, he said: ‘If anybody finds only the foot of a goatto cook, that person should share it with his or herneighbour.' He asked people not to object to their neigh-


Life of Muhammad sa 233bours driving pegs into their walls or putting them toany other use which occasioned no injury." AbuHuraira ra relates: "The Prophet sa said: ‘He who believesin God and in the Day of Judgement should occasion noinconvenience to his neighbour: he who believes in Godand in the Day of Judgement should occasion noinconvenience to his guest, and he who believes in Godand in the Day of Judgement should utter only words ofvirtue or should keep quiet' " (Muslim).TREATMENT OF RELATIVESMost people suffer from the failing that when theymarry and set up house for themselves, they begin toneglect their parents. The Holy Prophet sa , therefore, laidgreat stress upon the meritoriousness of serving one'sparents and treating them with kindness andconsideration. Abu Huraira ra relates: "A man came tothe Holy Prophet sa and asked to be told who was mostdeserving of kind treatment at his hands. The Prophet sareplied: ‘Your mother'. The man asked 'And next to her?'The Prophet sa repeated, 'Again thy mother'. The manasked a third time, 'And after my mother?' and theProphet sa again replied, Still thy mother', and when theman asked him a fourth time, he said: 'After her thyfather and after him thy nearest relatives and after themthy more remote relatives.' "The Prophet's sa own parentsand grand parents had died while he was still a child.The parents of some of his wives were, however, aliveand he always treated them with great considerationand deference. On the occasion of the surrender ofMecca when the Holy Prophet sa entered the town as avictorious general, Abu Bakr ra brought his father to meethim. He said to Abu Bakr ra : "Why did you trouble yourfather to come to me? I would gladly have gone to himmyself" (Halbiyya, Vol. 3, p. 99). One of his sayings was:"Unlucky is the man whose parents live to old age andhe fails to earn Paradise even then", meaning that the


234Life of Muhammad saservice of one's parents particularly when they reach oldage attracts the grace and favour of God and, therefore,a person to whom is afforded the opportunity of servinghis aged parents and who avails himself of theopportunity to the full is bound to become confirmed inrighteous ways and a recipient of the grace of God.A man once complained to the Holy Prophet sa thatthe more benevolence he exercised towards his relationsthe more hostile they became towards him; and that themore he treated them with kindness the more theypersecuted him; and the more he demonstrated affectiontowards them the more they frowned upon him. TheProphet sa said: "If what you say is true you are veryfortunate, for you will ever be the recipient of God'ssuccour" (Muslim, Kitabul Birr Was Sila). On oneoccasion when the Holy Prophet sa was exhorting peopleto give alms and charity one of his Companions, AbuTalha Ansari ra , came to him and offered to dedicate anorchard for charitable purposes. The Prophet sa was verypleased and exclaimed, "What an excellent charity! Whatan excellent charity! What an excellent charity!" andadded: "Having dedicated this orchard to the service ofthe poor, I want you now to divide it among your poorrelatives" (Bukhari, Kitabut Tafsir). A man came to himon one occasion and said: "O Messenger of Allah sa ! I amprepared to make a covenant of Hijrat and I amprepared to make a covenant to take part in the holywar, for I am anxious to win the pleasure of God." TheHoly Prophet sa inquired whether either of his parentswas alive and the man told him that both were alive. Hethen asked: "Are you indeed anxious to win the pleasureof God?" and on the man replying in the affirmative theProphet sa said: "Then go back to your parents and servethem and serve them well." He pointed out that one'snon-Muslim relations were equally entitled to be treatedkindly and with consideration along with one's Muslimrelations. One of Abu Bakr's ra wives, who was a non-Muslim, visited her daughter Asma’ ra and the latterinquired of the Holy Prophet sa whether she might serve


Life of Muhammad sa 235her and make presents to her, to which the HolyProphet sa replied: "Certainly, for she is thy mother"(Bukhari, Kitabul Adab).He treated not only his near relatives but evenremote ones and anybody connected with them withgreat consideration. Whenever he sacrificed an animalhe would send a portion of the meat to the friends ofKhadija ra (his deceased wife) and told his wives never tooverlook them on such occasions. Many years afterKhadija's ra death when he was sitting with some of hisCompanions, Khadija's ra sister, Halah ra , came to see himand asked permission to enter. Her voice sounded in theProphet's sa ears very much like that of Khadija ra andwhen he heard it he said: "Oh Lord! This is Halah ra ,Khadija's ra sister." Indeed, true affection alwaysmanifests itself thus that one becomes fond of andconsiderate towards all those who may be connectedwith a person whom one loves or holds in high esteem.Anas bin Malik ra relates that during the course of ajourney he found himself in the company of Jarir bin‘Abdullah ra and observed that the latter busied himselfin looking after him as a servant looks after his master.As Jarir bin ‘Abdullah ra was older than Anas ra , the latterwas embarrassed and protested that Jarir ra should notput himself out on his account. Jarir ra replied: "I used toobserve how devotedly the Ansar served the HolyProphet sa and, being impressed with their devotion toand love for the Holy Prophet sa , I had resolved in mymind that if I ever happened to be in the company of anAnsari, I would serve him like a servant. I am, therefore,only carrying out my resolve and you should not seek todissuade me" (Muslim). This incident affirms that whereone person truly loves another, his affection extendsalso to those who sincerely serve the object of hisattachment. In the same way those who truly honourtheir parents are always deferential and consideratetowards those who may be connected with their parentsthrough bonds of affection or relationship. On oneoccasion the Holy Prophet sa stressed it as the highest


236Life of Muhammad savirtue for a man to honour the friends of his father.Among the persons addressed was ‘Abdullah bin‘Umar ra . Many years after, while proceeding onPilgrimage, he met a Bedouin and he made over to himhis own mount and also presented him with his turban.One of his companions observed that he had been overgenerousas a Bedouin would be pleased with very little.‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar ra said: "This man's father was afriend of my father's and I have heard the Holy Prophet sasay that it is one of the highest virtues for a man tohonour his father's friends."KEEPING GOOD COMPANYHe always preferred to keep company with thevirtuous and if he observed any weakness in any of hisCompanions ra he admonished him gently and in private.Abu Musa Ash‘ari ra relates: "The Holy Prophet saillustrated the benefit to be derived from good friendsand virtuous companions and the injury to beapprehended from evil friends and vicious companionsby saying: ‘A man who keeps company with virtuouspeople is like a person who carries about musk withhim. If he partakes of it he derives benefit from it, if hesells it he makes a profit out of it and if he merely keepsit he enjoys its perfume. A man who keeps companywith evil persons is like one who blows into a charcoalfurnace; all that he can expect is that a spark may alightupon his clothes and set them on fire or that the gasemitted by the charcoal may upset his brain'." He usedto say that a man's character takes on the colour of thecompany he keeps and that therefore one should becareful to spend one's time in the company of the good(Bukhari and Muslim).SAFEGUARDING PEOPLE'S FAITHThe Holy Prophet sa was very careful to safe-guardagainst possible misunderstandings. On one occasion


Life of Muhammad sa 237his wife Safiyya ra came to see him in the mosque. Whenthe time came for her to return home it had becomedark and the Prophet sa decided to escort her to herhouse. On the way he passed by two men and, wishingto avoid any speculation on their part as to hiscompanion, he stopped them and lifting the veil from theface of his wife said: "See, this is Safiyya ra my wife." Theyprotested saying: "O Messenger of Allah sa ! why did youimagine that we should fall into any misconceptionregarding you?" The Prophet sa replied "Satan (i.e., evilthoughts) often courses through a man's blood. I wasafraid lest your faith be affected" (Bukhari, AbwabulI ‘tikaf ).OVERLOOKING FAULTS OF OTHERSHe never gave publicity to the faults andshortcomings of others and admonished people not toproclaim their own faults. He used to say: "If a personcovers up the faults of another, God will cover up hisfaults on the Day of Judgement." And, "Every one of myfollowers can escape the consequences of his errors (i.e.,by true repentance and reform) except those who go onproclaiming their wrongdoing" and illustrated this bysaying: ,"A man commits a sin at night and God coversit up; in the morning he meets his friends and boastsbefore them:. 'I did this last night, I did that last night,'and thus he himself lays bare that which God hadcovered up" (Bukhari and Muslim).Some people foolishly imagine that a confession ofsin helps towards repentance; the truth is that it onlyfosters immodesty. Sin is an evil and he who slips into itand becomes a prey to shame and remorse has a chanceof climbing back into the path of purity andrighteousness through repentance. His case is like thatof a person who has been seduced by evil but is pursuedby righteousness and as soon as a chance offers, the evilis vanquished and the sinner is claimed back by


238Life of Muhammad sarighteouness. Those, however, who proclaim their sinsand take pride in them lose all sense of good and eviland become incapable of repentance.On one occasion a man came to the Holy Prophet saand said: "I have been guilty of adultery" (this whenestablished by proper evidence being a punishableoffence under Islamic Law). Hearing the man'sconfession, the Holy Prophet sa turned away from himand became occupied with something else. He meant toindicate that the proper remedy in such a case wasrepentance and not public confession. But the man didnot realize this and imagining that the Prophet sa had notheard him, went and stood in front of him and,addressing him, repeated his confession. The HolyProphet sa again turned away from him but the managain went and stood in front of him and repeated hisconfession. When he had done this four times theProphet sa said "I had wished that this man should nothave proclaimed his sin till God should have indicatedHis will with regard to him but, as he has repeated hisconfession four times, I am compelled to take action"(Tirmidhi). 'He then added: "This man has himselfconfessed and has not been charged by the womanconcerning whom he makes the confession. The womanshould be questioned and, if she denies her guilt, sheshould not be molested and only this man should bepunished in accordance with his confession but, if sheconfesses she should also be punished." It was thepractice of the Holy Prophet sa to follow the Law of theTorah in matters regarding which the Qur’an was silent,and as the Torah prescribes that an adulterer should bestoned to death he pronounced the sentence upon thisman accordingly. When the sentence was being carriedout the man tried to run away but the people pursuedhim and carried out the sentence. When the Prophet sacame to know of this he disapproved of it. He said thatthe man had been sentenced in accordance with his ownconfession. His attempt to run away was in effect aretraction of his confession and thereafter he should not


Life of Muhammad sa 239have been subjected to a penalty which had beenimposed upon him solely on account of his confession.The Prophet sa laid down that the Law was concernedonly with overt acts. During the course of a war, a partyof Muslims came upon a non-Muslim who used to lie inwait in lonely places and whenever he found a solitaryMuslim he would attack and kill him. On this occasionUsama bin Zaid ra pursued him and, having overtakenand caught him, drew his sword to kill him. When theman found that no way of escape was left open to himhe repeated the first portion of the Muslim confession offaith, viz., "There is no being worthy of worship saveAllah," thereby indicating that he had accepted Islam.Usama ra paid no heed to this and killed him. When this,among the other incidents of the campaign, was relatedto the Holy Prophet sa he sent for Usama ra andquestioned him. On his confirming the account of theincident the Prophet sa said: "How will it be with you onthe Day of Judgement when his confession of faith willbear witness in his favour?" Usama ra replied, "OMessenger of Allah sa ! that man was a murderer ofMuslims and his declaring himself to be a Muslim wasmerely a ruse to escape just retribution." But theProphet sa went on repeating: "Usama ra , how will it bewith you when the man's confession of faith will bearwitness against you on the Day of Judgement?" meaningthat God would hold Usama ra to account for the man'sdeath, for though he had been guilty of the murder ofMuslims, his reciting the confession was an indicationthat he had repented of his misdeeds. Usama ra protestedthat the man's reciting of confession of faith was due tohis fear of death and was not an indication ofrepentance. Thereupon the Holy Prophet sa said:"Did you peep into his heart to see whether he was tellingthe truth or not?" and went on repeating: "How will youanswer on the Day of Judgement when his confession offaith will be cited in evidence against you?" Usama ra says:"On hearing the Prophet sa repeat this so often I wishedthat I had become a convert to Islam only that moment


240Life of Muhammad saand had not been guilty of what was charged against me"(Muslim, Kitabul Iman).The Holy Prophet sa was ever ready to forgive peopletheir faults and trespasses. One of the personsconcerned in the affair of the slander against his wife,‘A’isha ra , was dependent for his living upon the charityof Abu Bakr ra (‘A’isha ra 's father). When the falsehood ofthe allegation against ‘A’isha ra was clearly established,Abu Bakr ra stopped his support of this man. Even this isevidence of Abu Bakr's ra commendable moderation andrestraint. An average person would have proceeded toextreme lengths against a dependent who had beenguilty of defaming his daughter. When the Prophet sacame to know of what Abu Bakr ra had done, he spoke tohim and pointed out that though the man had been atfault, it did not behove a person like Abu Bakr ra todeprive him of his means of sustenance on account ofhis wrongdoing. Thereupon Abu Bakr ra resumed hispatronage of the man (Bukhari, Kitabut Tafsir).PATIENCE IN ADVERSITYThe Holy Prophet sa used to say: "For a Muslim, life isall full of good and nobody but a true believer findshimself in that position; for, if he meets with success heis grateful to God and becomes the recipient of greaterfavours from Him. On the other hand, if he suffers painor tribulation he endures it with patience and thusagain makes himself deserving of God's favours." Whenhis end drew near and he gave vent to a groan in theextremity of his condition, his daughter Fatima raexclaimed that she could not bear to see him in thatstate. Thereupon he said: "Have patience! Your fatherwill suffer no pain after this day," meaning that all histroubles were confined to this world and from themoment that he was released from this life and enteredthe presence of his Maker he would be subject to nofurther pain. During the prevalence of an epidemic he


Life of Muhammad sa 241would not approve of people moving out of an afflictedtown into another, for this serves to enlarge the area ofthe pestilence. He used to say that in times of epidemicif a person stayed on in his own town and refrained fromcarrying infection into unaffected areas and died of theepidemic, he would be regarded as a martyr (Bukhari,Kitabut Tibb).MUTUAL COOPERATIONHe used to teach that one of the best Islamiccharacteristics was that a man should not interfere inmatters with which he was not concerned and thatpeople should not go about criticizing others andinterfering in matters that were not their concern. Thisis a principle which if generally adopted and enforcedwould go a long way towards securing peace andorderliness in the world. A large part of our troubles isdue to the tendency of the majority of people to indulgein undue interference and to hold back their cooperationwhen it may be needed in providing relief forthose in distress.The Holy Prophet sa laid great stress upon mutualcooperation. He had made it a rule that if any personwas called upon to pay a sum of money by way ofpenalty and was unable to put up the whole amount, hisneighbours or his fellow-citizens or his fellow-tribesmenshould make up the amount by raising a subscription.People sometimes came and took up their residencenear the Prophet sa , devoting their time to the service ofIslam in various ways. He always counselled theirrelatives to assume the responsibility of providing fortheir modest requirements. It is reported by Anas ra thatduring the time of the Holy Prophet sa two brothersaccepted Islam and one of them stayed on with the HolyProphet sa while the other continued with his normaloccupation. The latter, later on, complained to the HolyProphet sa that his brother was spending his time in


242Life of Muhammad saidleness. The Holy Prophet sa said: "God provides for youalso on account of your brother and it behoves youtherefore to make provision for him and leave him free toserve the Faith" (Tirmidhi).During the course of a journey, when the Prophet's saparty arrived at their camping place, his Companionsimmediately occupied themselves with their respectivetasks in setting up camp for the night. The HolyProphet sa said: "You have allotted no task to me. I shallgo and collect fuel for cooking." His Companionsprotested and said: "O Messenger of Allah sa ! why shouldyou occupy yourself in that way when all of us are hereto do whatever may be necessary?" He said: "No, No. It ismy duty to do my share of whatever may have to bedone," and he collected fire-wood from the jungle forcooking the food (Zurqani, Vol. 4, p. 306).TRUTHFULNESSAs has been related the Holy Prophet sa was himselfso rigid in his standards of truthfulness that he wasknown among his people as "The Trusty" and "TheTrue". He was equally anxious that Muslims shouldadopt the same standards of truth as were observed byhimself. He regarded truth as the basis of all virtue,goodness and right conduct. He taught that a truthfulperson is one who is so confirmed in truth that he iscounted truthful by God.On one occasion a prisoner was brought to the HolyProphet sa who had been guilty of the murder of manyMuslims. ‘Umar ra , who was also present, believed thatthe man richly deserved the imposition of the deathpenalty and he looked repeatedly at the Prophet saexpecting that the Prophet sa would at any momentindicate that the man should be put to death. After theHoly Prophet sa had dismissed the man ‘Umar rasubmitted that he should have been put to death as thatwas the only appropriate penalty. The Prophet sa replied:"If that is so, why did you not kill him?" ‘Umar ra replied:


Life of Muhammad sa 243"O Messenger of Allah sa ! if you had but given me anindication even by a flicker of your eyelids, I would havedone so." To this the Prophet sa rejoined: "A Prophet sadoes not act equivocally. How could I have employed myeye to indicate the imposition of a death penalty uponthe man while my tongue was employed in talkingamicably to him?" (Hisham, Vol. 2, p. 217).A man once came to the Holy Prophet sa and said: "OMessenger sa of Allah! I suffer from three evils: falsehood,indulgence in strong drinks and fornication. I have triedmy utmost to get rid of them but have not succeeded.Will you tell me what to do? " The Prophet sa replied: "Ifyou make a firm promise to me to give up one of them Iguarantee that you will be rid of the other two." The manpromised and asked the Prophet sa to tell him which ofthe three he should give up. The Prophet sa said: "Give upfalsehood." Some time later the man came back and toldthe Holy Prophet sa that, having followed his advice, hewas now free from all three vices. The Prophet sa askedhim for the details of his struggle and the man said:"One day I wanted to indulge in liquor and was about todo so when I bethought myself of my promise to you andrealized that if any of my friends asked me whether Ihad taken liquor, I would have to admit it as I could nolonger utter a falsehood. This would mean that I wouldacquire an evil reputation among my friends and theywould in future avoid me. Thinking thus, I persuadedmyself to postpone drinking to some later occasion andwas able to withstand the temptation at the time. In thesame way when I found myself inclined towards fornicationI argued with myself that indulgence in the vicewould expose me to the loss of the esteem of my friendsas I would either have to tell a falsehood if questioned bythem, thus breaking my promise to you, or I would haveto admit my sin. In this way I continued to strugglebetween my resolve to fulfil my promise to you and mydesire to indulge in liquor and in adultery. When sometime had passed I began to lose the inclination to


244Life of Muhammad saindulge in these vices and the resolve to keep away fromfalsehood has now saved me from the other two also."INQUISITIVENESSThe Holy Prophet sa always exhorted people againstinquisitiveness and to think well of each other. AbuHuraira ra relates: "The Prophet sa said: ‘Save yourselvesfrom thinking ill of others for this is the greatestfalsehood, and do not be inquisitive or apply epithets toeach other out of contempt nor be envious of each otherand do not entertain ill feelings towards each other; leteach of you regard himself as the servant of God andtreat others as his brothers as God has commanded,'and also ‘Remember that every Muslim is a brother toevery other Muslim. No Muslim should trespass againstanother or desert another in times of distress or lookdown upon another on account of his lack of substanceor learning or any other thing. Purity springs from theheart and it is enough to defile a man's heart that heshould look down upon his brother. Every Muslim mustregard another Muslim's life, honour and property assacred and inviolate. God does not regard your bodiesnor your countenances nor your external actions butlooks into your hearts" (Muslim, Kitabul Birr Was Sila).FRANK AND STRAIGHTFORWARD DEALINGHe was anxious to safeguard Muslims againstindulgence in any form of unfairness in theirtransactions. Passing through the market-place on oneoccasion, he observed a heap of corn which was beingput to auction. He thrust his arm into the heap andfound that though the outer layer of the corn was drythe corn inside was wet. He inquired from the owner thecause of this. The man explained that a sudden showerof rain had made part of the corn wet. The Prophet sasaid that in that case he should have allowed the wet


Life of Muhammad sa 245layer of corn to remain on the outside so thatprospective purchasers could have appraised its realcondition. He observed: "He who deals unfairly withothers can never become a useful member of society"(Muslim). He insisted upon trade and commerce beingentirely free from every suspicion of sharp practice. Heexhorted purchasers always to inspect the goods andarticles they proposed to purchase, and forbade anyperson to open negotiations for a transaction whilenegotiations about it were in progress with any otherperson. He also forbade the hoarding of commoditiesagainst a rise in the market and insisted that themarket should be regularly supplied.PESSIMISMHe was an enemy of pessimism. He used to say thatwhoever was guilty of spreading pessimism among thepeople was responsible for the downfall of the people, forpessimistic ideas have a tendency to discourage peopleand arrest progress (Muslim, Part II, Vol. 2). He warnedhis people against pride and boastfulness on the onehand and against pessimism on the other. He exhortedthem to tread the middle path between these extremes.Muslims must work diligently in the trust that Godwould bless their efforts with the best results. Eachshould strive to go forward and should seek to promotethe welfare and progress of the community, buteveryone should be free from any feeling of pride or anytendency towards boastfulness.CRUELTY TO ANIMALSHe warned people against cruelty to animals andenjoined kind treatment to them. He used to relate theinstance of a Jewish woman who was punished by Godfor having starved her cat to death. He also used torelate the story of a woman who found a dog suffering


246Life of Muhammad safrom thirst near a deep well. She took off her shoe andlowered it into the well and thus drew up some water.She gave the water to the thirsty dog to drink. This gooddeed earned her God's forgiveness for all her previoussins.‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud ra relates: "While we were in thecourse of a journey along with the Holy Prophet sa we sawtwo young doves in a nest and we caught them. Theywere still very small. When their mother returned to thenest, not finding her little ones in it, she began to flywildly round and round. When the Holy Prophet saarrived at the spot he observed the dove and said, ‘If anyone of you has caught its young ones he must releasethem at once to comfort it' " (Abu Dawud). ‘Abdullah binMas‘ud ra also relates that on one occasion they observedan ant-hill and, placing some straw on top of it, they setfire to it; whereupon they were rebuked by the HolyProphet sa . On one occasion the Prophet sa observed adonkey being branded on the face. He inquired thereason for this and was told that the Romans hadrecourse to this practice for the purpose of identifyinghigh-bred animals. The Prophet sa said that as the facewas a very sensitive part of the body, an animal shouldnot be branded on the face and that if it had to be donethe branding should be done on its haunches (AbuDawud and Tirmidhi). Since then Muslims always brandanimals on their haunches and, following this Muslimpractice, Europeans also do the same.TOLERANCE IN RELIGIOUS MATTERSThe Holy Prophet sa not only emphasized thedesirability of tolerance in religious matters but set avery high standard in this respect. A deputation from aChristian tribe of Najran visited him in Medina toexchange views on religious matters. It included severalChurch dignitaries. The conversation was held in themosque and extended over several hours. At one stage


Life of Muhammad sa 247the leader of the deputation asked permission to departfrom the mosque and to hold their religious service atsome convenient spot. The Holy Prophet sa said thatthere was no need for them to go out of the mosque,which was itself a place consecrated to the worship ofGod, and they could hold their service in it (Zurqani).BRAVERYSeveral instances of his courage and bravery havebeen set out in the biographical portion. It suffices torelate one here. At one time Medina was full of rumoursthat the Romans were preparing a large army for itsinvasion. During that time Muslims were always on thequi vive at night. One night sounds of an uproar camefrom the desert. Muslims hurried out of their homes andsome of them collected in the mosque and waited for theHoly Prophet sa to appear and to give them directions tomeet the contingency. Presently they saw the HolyProphet sa on a horse coming back from the direction ofthe sounds. They then discovered that at the very firstsound of alarm the Prophet sa had mounted a horse andgone in the direction from which the sounds had cometo find out whether there was any reason for alarm andhad not waited for people to collect together so that hecould proceed in company. When he came back heassured his Companions that there was no cause foralarm and that they could return to their homes and goto sleep (Bukhari, chap. on Shuja‘at f il Harb).CONSIDERATION TOWARDS THE UNCULTUREDHe was particularly considerate towards those whofrom lack of cultural training did not know how tobehave. On one occasion a dweller of the desert who hadonly recently accepted Islam and who was sitting in thecompany of the Holy Prophet sa in the mosque got up andwalking away a few paces sat down in a corner of the


248Life of Muhammad samosque to pass water. Some of the Companions of theProphet sa got up to stop him from doing so. TheProphet sa restrained them, pointing out that anyinterference with the man was bound to causeinconvenience to him and might possibly cause himinjury. He told his Companions to let the man alone andto clean the spot later.THE FULFILLING OF COVENANTSThe Holy Prophet sa was very particular with regard tothe fulfilling of covenants. On one occasion an envoycame to him on a special mission and, after he hadremained in his company for some days, he wasconvinced of the truth of Islam and suggested that hemight declare his adherence to it. The Prophet sa told himthat this would not be proper as he was there in arepresentative capacity and it was incumbent upon himto return to the headquarters of his Government withoutacquiring a fresh allegiance. If, after he had returnedhome, he still felt convinced of the truth of Islam hecould return as a free individual and declare hisacceptance of it (Abu Dawud, chap. on Wafa bil ‘Ahd).DEFERENCE TOWARDS SERVANTS OFHUMANITYHe paid special deference to those who devoted theirtime and substance to the service of mankind. The Arabtribe, the Banu Ta’i started hostilities against theProphet sa and in the ensuing battle their forces weredefeated and some were taken prisoner. One of thesewas the daughter of Hatim Ta’i, whose generosity hadbecome a proverb amongst the Arabs. When Hatim'sdaughter informed the Holy Prophet sa of her parentagehe treated her with great consideration and as the resultof her intercession he remitted all the penalties imposedupon her people on account of their aggression(Halbiyya, Vol. 3, p. 227).


Life of Muhammad sa 249The character of the Holy Prophet sa is so many-sidedthat it is not possible to deal adequately with it withinthe space of a few pages.LIFE OF THE PROPHET sa AN OPEN BOOKThe life of the Holy Founder of Islam sa is like an openbook, to any part of which one may turn and meet withinteresting details. The life of no other Teacher orProphet is as well-recorded and as accessible to study asis the life of the Holy Prophet sa . True, this abundance ofrecorded fact has given malicious critics theiropportunity. But it is also true that when the criticismshave been examined and disposed of, the faith anddevotion which result cannot be inspired by any otherlife. Obscure lives escape criticism, but they fail toproduce conviction and confidence in their devotees.Some disappointments and difficulties are bound toremain. But a life as rich in recorded detail as theProphet's sa inspires reflection and, then, conviction.When criticism and false constructions have beenliquidated, such a life is bound to endear itself to uscompletely and for ever.It should be evident, however, that the story of a lifeso open and so rich cannot even briefly be told. Only aglimpse of it can be attempted. But even a glimpse isworth while. A religious book, as we say, can have littleappeal unless a study of it can be supplemented by aknowledge of its Teacher. The point has been missed bymany religions. The Hindu religion, for instance,upholds the Vedas, but of the Rishis who received theVedas from God it is able to tell us nothing. The need tosupplement a message by an account of the messengerdoes not seem to have impressed itself upon Hinduexponents. Jewish and Christian scholars, on the otherhand, do not hesitate to denounce their own Prophets.They forget that revelation which has failed to reclaim itsrecipient cannot be of much use to others. If therecipient is intractable the question arises, why did Godchoose him? Must He have done so? Neither supposition


250Life of Muhammad saseems reasonable. To think that revelation fails toreclaim some recipients is as unreasonable as to thinkthat God has no alternative except to chooseincompetent recipients for some of His revelations. Yetideas of this kind have found their way into differentreligions, possibly because of the distance which nowdivides them from their Founders or because humanintellect, until the advent of Islam, was incapable ofperceiving the error of these ideas. How important andvaluable it is to keep together a book and its Teacherwas realized very early in Islam. One of the Prophet's saholy consorts was the young ‘A’isha ra . She was thirteento fourteen years of age when she was married to theProphet sa . For about eight years she lived in wedlockwith him. When the Prophet sa died she was abouttwenty-two years of age. She was young and illiterate:Yet she knew that a teaching cannot be divorced from itsteacher. Asked to describe the Prophet's sa character, sheanswered at once that his character was the Qur’an(Abu Dawud). What he did was what the Qur’an taught;what the Qur’an taught was nothing else than what hedid. It redounds to the glory of the Prophet sa that anilliterate young woman was able to grasp a truth whichescaped Hindu, Jewish and Christian scholars.‘A’isha ra expressed a great and an important truth ina crisp little sentence: it is impossible for a true andhonest teacher to teach one thing but practise another,or to practise one thing but teach another. The Prophet sawas a true and honest Teacher. This is what ‘A’isha raevidently wanted to say. He practised what he preachedand preached what he practised. To know him is toknow the Qur’an and to know the Qur’an is to knowhim.o


Life of Muhammad sa 251Index of Subject Matter(This index covers, under various heads, the account of the life of theHoly Prophet sa given in Life of Muhammad sa ).‘Abdullah bin Ubayy ibnSaluluttered degradingwords for the HolyProphet sa .................... 81‘Ali rafirst among childrenwho became Muslim ... 11Khaibar fell at thehands of, ................. 141‘Ikrima rabecame Muslim on theoccasion of Fall ofMecca ...................... 167‘Umar ra accepted Islam‘Umar ra beats his sisterFatima ra ..................... 24prayer of the HolyProphet sa regarding‘Umar's conversionanswered ................... 24Abraham asa monotheist ................... 1Abu ‘Amirmachinations of, .......... 177Abu Ayyub Ansari rahosted the HolyProphet sa at Medina ... 43Abu Bakr raemigrated with the HolyProphet sa to Medina.... 38first among freedmenwho became Muslim ... 12The Holy Prophet's lovefor, .......................... 188the Holy Prophet saaccompanied by,waited in the caveThaur for two days ..... 38Abu Sufyan raaccepted Islam ............. 156talk of, with Heraclius .. 128Abu Talibdeath of, ........................ 26Aminathe Holy Prophet sa wassuckled by, .................. 5Anas radevoted his life for theHoly Prophet sa ............ 44Anas ra bin Nadrlaid his life ..................... 67Arabiaa country of Bedouin........ 3a polytheistic territory ...... 2Arabsadmirable qualities of, ...... 2chief occupation wastrade of, ....................... 2crimes of, ......................... 3good at Astronomy ........... 2hospitality of, ................... 3infanticide of, wasconfined only tocertain families ............ 4knew nothing ofHistory, Geographyand Mathematics ......... 2knew nothing of theamenities of civilizedlife ............................... 2


252moral defects of, .............. 2slaves of, ......................... 4Badr, the Battlea great prophecy whichwas revealed inMecca fulfilled ............ 59Abu Jahl attacked bytwo raw boys .............. 57just conduct of the HolyProphet sa to all theprisoners ................... 61Meccans were betterequiped andoutnumberedMuslims ..................... 54Muslims of Medinaassured to stand bythe Holy Prophet sa ...... 55prophecy of Isaiah asfulfilled ...................... 60rain turned sandyground of Muslimsinto hard while hardground of Meccansinto slippery ............... 57wrong to accuse thatMuhammad sa withthree hundredfollowers set out toattack anundefendedcommercial carvan ..... 53Banu Lihyanintrigued againstMuslims ..................... 75Banu Mustaliqencounter with, ............. 80Bi’r Ma‘unaseventy teachers ofQur’an murdered ....... 78Life of Muhammad saCharacter of the HolyProphet saadvice to Muslim armyfor the battle ofMauta ...................... 149all the enemies forgivenon the occasion ofFall of Mecca ............ 165always exorted againstinquisitiveness ......... 244always kept goodcompany .................. 236attitude towards hiswives ....................... 214attitude towards thedead ........................ 231attitude was defensivein scuffles and fights .. 50consideration towardsthe uncultured ......... 247courage and bravery .... 247declared that Zaid ra washis son ......................... 9deferance towardsservants of humanity 248denial to even sun andmoon for propogatingthe message of Islam .. 20did not neglect thenormal and spiritualneeds of his followingin Medina .................. 51enemy of passimism ..... 245enjoined kind treatmentto animals ................ 245exhibited valour andbravery at Hunain .... 172frank andstraightforwarddealing ..................... 244given to overlook faultsof others .................. 237


Life of Muhammad sa 253grieved over having notto offer prayers ontheir appointed timeon the occasion ofbattle of Ditch ............ 89had no apprehensionswhile emigrating toMedina ...................... 39he preceived from thefaces who were inneed of sustenance .. 199helped a countryman toget loan back fromAbu Jahl ...................... 6high moral qualities ..... 215just conduct to all theprisoners ................... 61justice and fair dealing . 219laid stress on mutualcooperation .............. 241life of the HolyProphet sa was anopen book ................ 249love with God ............... 204paid for the land of themosque of Medina ...... 43patience in adversity .... 240prophecy fulfilledregarding Chosroe .... 134prophecy regardingDhu’l Khuwaisiracame true ................ 177prophecy regardingSuraqa ra fulfilled ........ 40purity of mind .............. 196regard for the poor ....... 221safe-guarded theinterests of the poor . 225self control .................. 217simplicity in bed .......... 203simplicity in dress ........ 201simplicity in food ......... 198sought peace not war ... 106the Trusty, the True ..... 195though vulnerable toattack, he could notstand 'glory to Hubal' . 68tolerance in religiousmatters .................... 246treatment of neighbours232treatment of relatives ... 233treatment of slaves ....... 226treatment of women ..... 227truthfulness ................. 242united Meccan andMedinite Muslims inbrotherhood ............... 46united various tribes ofMedina through apact ........................... 47very careful to safeguardingpeople'sfaith ......................... 236very particular withreagard to thefulfilling of covenants 248very particular withregard to physicalcleanliness ............... 196would set free Khadija'sslave ............................ 8Zaid ra preferred slaveryto the Holy Prophet sato freedom .................... 9Chosroesthe Holy Prophet’s letterto, ............................ 133Ditch, the battlea rock fragmented bythe Holy Prophet sa onthe occasion of, .......... 84an infidel spy slain byMuslim women ........... 90Banu Quraiza punishedafter, .......................... 97


254God caused wind to foilthe confederatesintrigue againstMuslims ..................... 96infidels outnumberedMuslims ..................... 87sporadic attacks bydisbelievers after, ..... 119the confederatesdispersed ................... 95the Holy Prophet saapproved of the ideaof digging a ditch........ 83the Holy Prophet sagrieved over havingnot to offer prayerson their appointedtime at, ...................... 89three varied figuers ofMuslims combatantsat, ............................. 86Emigration to AbyssiniaMeccans in chase of theemigrants .................. 22Fall of MeccaAbu Sufyan acceptedIslam ....................... 156all the enemies of Islamforgiven.................... 165all the pictures on thewalls of Ka‘ba wipedout .......................... 164Ikrima ra becameMuslim .................... 167Ka‘ba cleared of idols ... 163only twelve or thirteenmen were killed ........ 161the Holy Prophet saentered Mecca .......... 158the Holy Prophet sastayed at Hanif BaniKinana in Mecca ...... 162Life of Muhammad saFirst Converts‘Ali ra was first amongchildren who becameMuslim ...................... 11Abu Bakr ra was firstwho became Muslimamong freedmen ........ 12Khadija ra was firstamong women whobecame Muslim .......... 11Zaid ra first amongslaves who becameMuslim ...................... 11Habib ratortured to death at thehands of Musailima .... 36Hamza raaccepted Islam ............... 18HeracliusAbu Sufyan's talk with, 129the Holy Prophet’s letterto, ............................ 128Hunain, the battle ..... 169Prophet of God sa callshis companions ra ...... 172Shaiba ra becameMuslim .................... 174the Holy Prophet sa wasleft with twelvecompanions ra only .... 171Isaiah as , the Prophetprophecy of, fulfilled ...... 60Islam spreads to Medinafirst converts fromMedina ...................... 31first missionary of Islamwent to Medina .......... 32second party fromMedina converted toIslam ......................... 32the Holy Prophet sainvited by theMedinites ................... 35


Life of Muhammad sa 255JewsBanu Quraiza punishedafter the battle ofDitch ......................... 97continously intriguedagainst the HolyProphet sa .................... 45mischiefs of, of Medinaafter the battle ofUhud ......................... 72preferred Sa‘d binMu‘adh ra as judgethan the HolyProphet sa .................... 99Sa‘d's award for BanuQuraiza in harmonywith the Bible .......... 100treachery of BanuQuraiza...................... 88Ka‘ba360 idols in, .................... 2all the pictures on thewalls of, wiped out ... 164cleared of idols ............. 163the Holy Prophet sa leftfor Mecca for thecircuit of, ................. 144Khadija radeath of, ........................ 26first among women whobecame Muslim .......... 11the Holy Prophet sa leadtrading caravan of, toSyria ............................ 7the Holy Prophet sanarrated his firstrevelation to, .............. 11took Muhammad sa toWaraqa bin Naufal ..... 11Khaibar, fall ofat the hands of ‘Ali ra .... 141Safiyya's dream cametrue ......................... 142Khubaib rashowed high standardsof morality ................. 76Life of the Holy Prophet saa rock fragmented bythe Holy Prophet sa onthe occasion of thebattle of Ditch ............ 84Abu Talib became hisguardian ...................... 5address on the occasionof last pilgrimage ...... 183approved of the idea ofdigging a ditch forthe battle of Ditch ...... 83became guest of AbuAyyub Ansari ra onarrival at Medina ........ 43birth of the HolyProphet sa ...................... 1death of the HolyProphet sa .................. 191declared that Zaid ra washis son ......................... 9did not seek to continuewarfare after thebattle of Ditch .......... 104distributed booty on theoccasion of battle ofHunain amongMeccans and wholived round aboutMecca ...................... 175entered Mecca on theoccasion of fall ofMecca ...................... 158first pledge of ‘Aqaba ..... 35gave hints of his death . 186got wounded in theBattle of Uhud ........... 67grandfather died whenhe was eight ................. 5


256his meal poisoned by aJewish lady .............. 143in protection of Mut‘imbin ‘Adi afterreturning from Ta’if .... 29in Ta’if ........................... 28joined an association tohelp victims of unjusttreatment ..................... 6Khadija ra took the HolyProphet sa to Waraqabin Naufal .................. 11last days of his life ....... 189lead Khadija's tradingcaravan to Syria ........... 7left for Mecca for thecircuit of Ka‘ba ......... 144letter to Heraclius ........ 128letter to Mundhir Taimi 139letter to Muqauqis ....... 137letter to the Negus ....... 135marched on Mecca withten thousandfollowers .................. 153married Khadija ra whenshe was forty................ 8married Maimuna ra ...... 145married Safiyya ra ......... 142mother died when hewas six ........................ 5narrated his firstrevelation toKhadija ra .................... 11received first revelationin cave Hira when hewas forty .................... 10received revelationsregarding emigration .. 30rejected Musailima'sproposal of hissuccessorship .......... 210set out for war withSyrians accompaniedLife of Muhammad saby ill-equippedMuslims ................... 179stayed at Hanif BaniKinana on theoccasion of Fall ofMecca ...................... 162stopped at Quba for tendays before enteringMedina ...................... 42suckled by Amina ............ 5the Holy Prophet sa andAbu Bakr ra emigratedtogether ..................... 38the Holy Prophet sainvited by theMedinites ................... 35the last pilgrimage ....... 182the Prophet sa left forMecca with onethousand fivehundred companions 121took Pledge of the Tree . 124treaty of Hudaibiya ...... 125went to Syria when hewas twelve ................... 5would repair to the caveHira when he wasover thirty .................. 10Maimuna ramarried to the HolyPophet sa ................... 145Mauta, the battleagainst Syrians ............ 147Meccansmade idols of holypersons ........................ 1prepared to attackMedina ...................... 50road to ‘Abdullah binUbayy ibn Salul toturn the HolyProphet sa out ofMedina ...................... 46


Life of Muhammad sa 257Mundhir TaimiThe Holy Prophet’sletter to, ................... 139Muqauqisthe Holy Prophet’s letterto, ............................ 137Mus‘ab rafirst missionary of Islamto go out of Mecca ...... 32Musailimacame to Medina ........... 210proposal of,successorship wasrejected by the HolyProphet sa .................. 210Negusthe Holy Prophet’s letterto, ............................ 135Penancedisapproval of, in Islamas a form of worship . 212Persecution to the Muslims‘Ammar ra persecuted ...... 15‘Uthman ra persecuted ..... 15Abu Dharr ra persecuted.. 16Abu Fukaih rapersecuted ................. 15Bilal ra persecuted ........... 14Khabbab bin Al-Arat rapersecuted ................. 13Maccans drew swordsagainst Muslims ......... 13Suhaib ra persecuted ....... 14The Holy Prophet sahimself tortured ......... 16Yasir ra and Samiyya rapersecuted ................. 15Zinbira ra persecuted ....... 15Zubair bin al-‘Awwam rapersecuted ................. 16Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh raaward of, for BanuQuraiza in harmonywith the Bible ........... 100Jews preferred, asjudge than the HolyProphet sa .................... 99Safiyya radream of, regarding fallof Khaibar came true 142married with the HolyProphet sa .................. 142Social boycottMuslim suffered socialboycott for threeyears.......................... 25Suraqa bin Malik rapursued the HolyProphet sa for theprize money ............... 39Ta’ifpeople of, acceptedIslam ....................... 182people of, no less thanMeccans in idolatory .. 27the Holy Prophet sa inprotection of Mut‘imbin ‘Adi afterreturning from, .......... 29the Holy Prophet saprosecuted in, ............ 28Tabuk expeditionthe Holy Prophet sa setout for war withSyrians accompaniedby ill-equippedMuslims ................... 179Talha rasacrificed his hand forthe sake of the HolyProphet sa on theoccasion of the battleof Uhud ..................... 65


258The HijraSuraqa pursued theHoly Prophet sa for theprize money ............... 39the Holy Prophet sa andAbu Bakr ra set offtogether ..................... 38the Holy Prophet sa andAbu Bakr ra waited inthe cave Thaur fortwo days .................... 38The Message of Islama universal one .............. 18Oneness of God ............. 18Uhud, the battleAnas bin Nadr laid hislife ............................. 67Meccans far outnumbered and betterequiped thanMuslims ..................... 64party of fifty Muslimsmisunderstood theHoly Prophet sa ............ 64people at Medina caredmore for theProphet's life thantheir butcheredrelations .............. 70, 72prophecy of the HolyProphet sa regardingincidents during, ........ 63rumour of the Prophet'sdeath reachedMedina ...................... 70Life of Muhammad saTalha ra sacrificed hishand for the sake ofthe Holy Prophet sa ...... 65the Holy Prophet sa gotwounded on theoccasion of, ................ 67though vulnerable toattack, the HolyProphet sa could notstand 'glory to Hubal' . 68victory converted intodefeat ........................ 65WarChristian have foughtboth defensive andaggressive wars ........ 107Christian teachings of, . 107Gandhi’s view of,impracticable ........... 118Islam gives precedenceto peace over, ........... 113Islamic teachings of, .... 108Jewish teachings of, ..... 106Qur’an on prisoners of, 115rules of, in the Qur’an .. 111the Holy Prophet’sprecepts about, ........ 116Winemade unlawful ............... 73Zaid rafirst among slaves whobecame Muslim .......... 11preferred slavery to theHoly Prophet sa tofreedom ....................... 9was declared as the sonof the Holy Prophet sa .... 9


Life of Muhammad sa 259‘A’isha ra 94, 191, 193, 198, 203, 204,205, 213, 214, 223, 228, 240, 250‘Abbas ra 16, 35, 36, 37, 60, 61, 145,153, 154, 155, 156, 158, 159,160, 172, 174, 189, 210, 219‘Abdul Muttalib .................. 5, 172‘Abdullah .... 5, 37, 46, 64, 81, 125,126, 138, 148‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar ra ...... 212, 236‘Abdullah bin Abi Hadwad ra .... 169‘Abdullah bin Hudhafa ra .......... 133‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud ra .... 205, 246‘Abdullah bin Rabi‘a ................ 170‘Abdullah bin Rawaha ra .. 145, 148,149, 150, 151‘Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul .. 31‘Abdullah ra ............. 22, 81, 82, 235‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf ra . 57, 151‘Abdur Rahman ra ............... 58, 151‘Addas ra ....................................... 28‘Adl ............................................ 75‘Ala’ ibn Hadrami ra ................. 139‘Ali ra 11, 38, 98, 141, 177, 212, 216‘Amir bin Fuhaira ra ......... 39, 40, 79‘Amir tribe .................................. 78‘Amir ra ......................................... 79‘Ammar ra ............................... 14, 15‘Amr bin al-‘As ra .......... 22, 65, 147‘Amr bin Ma‘di ra ......................... 99‘Amr bin Umayya Damri ra ........ 135‘Amr ibn Hisham ........................ 25‘Aqil .......................................... 161‘As ra .......................................... 228‘Ibad bin Bishr ra .......................... 95‘Ibad ra ......................................... 95‘Ikrima ra ............................ 167, 168‘Umar ra ... 21, 23, 24, 40, 61, 66, 67,68, 126, 154, 158, 164, 188, 192,193, 194, 200, 202, 228, 230, 242‘Urwa ........................................ 123Index of Names‘Uthman bin Maz‘un ra ............... 22‘Uthman ra ........ 15, 22, 23, 123, 179‘Uzza ......................................... 14Abraham as ..................... 1, 163, 164Abu ‘Amir ................................ 178Abu ‘Amir Madani .................. 177Abu ‘Ubaida banal Jarrah ra ....... 67Abu Bakr ra .. 11, 14, 17, 38, 39, 40,42, 44, 61, 68, 79, 118, 162, 163,172, 188, 192, 193, 194, 199,205, 221, 222, 233, 240Abu Bara’ .................................. 78Abu Basir ra ............................... 127Abu Dharr Ghaffari ra ............... 227Abu Dharr ra ........................ 16, 232Abu Fukaih ra ............................... 15Abu Hanzala ra ........................... 153Abu Huraira ra .. 198, 199, 200, 209,211, 226, 232, 233, 244Abu Jahl 6, 15, 17, 49, 57, 60, 167,168Abu Jandal ra .............................. 127Abu Lahab .................................. 26Abu Lubaba ra ............................. 98Abu Musa Ash‘ari ra ......... 224, 236Abu Musa ra .............................. 180Abu Quhafa ra ........................... 206Abu Ruwaiha ra ......................... 157Abu Sufyan ra 50, 53, 62, 68, 78, 88,97, 123, 129, 131, 152, 153, 154,155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160,164, 173, 174, 207, 222Abu Talha Ansari ra ................. 234Abu Talib5, 7, 20, 21, 26, 162, 207,215Abu’l ‘As ra .................................. 60Abu’l Qasim sa ........... 143, 148, 217Al-Bara’ ra .................................... 36al-Harth ra ................................... 148Allah . ix, 14, 16, 22, 24, 28, 29, 33,68, 92, 103, 109, 110, 112, 113,114, 115, 116, 125, 128, 131,


260133, 135, 137, 138, 149, 155,171, 187, 199, 207, 209, 210,215, 229, 239, 243Amina ........................................... 5Amittai ........................................ 28Amoiites.................................... 101Anas bin Malik ra ....................... 235Anas bin Nadr ra .......................... 66Anas ra .................... 44, 67, 235, 241Ansar . 81, 158, 159, 160, 166, 173,235Arabs2, 5, 18, 20, 21, 39, 45, 47, 52,73, 82, 89, 95, 105, 106, 129,170, 178, 195, 196, 205, 208,219, 228, 230, 232, 248Ashja‘ tribe ............................... 158Asma’ ra ..................................... 234Astronomy .................................... 2August ................................... 1, 141Aus ...................... 31, 35, 49, 94, 98Badhan ............................. 134, 135Bani ‘Alim ................................ 139Bani Nahd ................................. 139Banu ‘Abdul Muttalib ............. 162Banu Asad .................................. 82Banu Bakr ................................ 152Banu Dinar ................................ 70Banu Fazara ............................. 120Banu Hashim ........................... 162Banu Lihyan .............................. 76Banu Mustaliq ........................... 80Banu Nadir .................... 31, 82, 88Banu Najjar .......................... 35, 43Banu Qainuqa‘ ........................... 31Banu Quraiza31, 84, 87, 88, 89, 90,95, 98, 100, 101Banu Sa‘d ........................... 82, 169Banu Sulaim ............................... 82Banu Ta’i ................................. 248Bara’ ........................................... 78Bedouin ..................... 3, 39, 58, 236Bible ................................... 31, 101Bilal ra .................................. 14, 157Life of Muhammad saBishr ibn al-Bara’ ibn al-Ma‘rur ra............................................. 143Bishr ra ........................................ 144Budail ........................................ 123Canaanites ................................. 101Chapter, Bani Isra’il ................. 163Chosroes33, 40, 133, 136, 140, 155,229Chosroes bin Hormizd ................ 40Chosroes Siroes ......................... 135Christians14, 90, 102, 107, 118, 138,149, 177, 191, 207Copts ................................. 137, 138David as .............................. 107, 108December .................................. 152Deuteronomy ...................... 11, 101Dhat Anwat ............................. 170Dhu’l Khuwaisira ..................... 177Dhu’l-Hijja ............................... 183Dihya Kalbi ra ............................ 128Dihya ra ...................................... 128Ditch ... 85, 102, 103, 104, 119, 121Emperor of Iran ................. 135, 140European writers ......... 50, 146, 163Europeans ................................. 246Fatima ra ...... 24, 212, 219, 225, 240Fazara ....................................... 120Fazara tribe ............................... 120February ............................ 121, 144Gabriel ...................................... 232Gandhi ..................................... 119Geography ..................................... 2German soldier .......................... 195Ghaffar ....................................... 16Ghassan ............................ 139, 147Ghatafan ....................... 82, 95, 120Habbar ra ............................ 168, 169Habib ra ........................................ 36Hadrami tribe ........................... 139Hafsa ra ...................................... 228Hajj ..................................... 31, 184Hakam ........................................ 16Hakim bin Hizam ra ........... 156, 157Hakim ra ..................................... 156


Life of Muhammad sa 261Halah ra ....................................... 235Halima ...................................... 169Hamdan .................................... 139Hamza ra ........................... 17, 69, 70Hanif Bani Kinana ................... 162Hanzala ..................................... 153Haram bin Malhan ra .................. 78Haram ra ...................................... 78Hassan bin Thabit ra .................. 194Hatib ibn Abi Balta‘a ra ........... 137Hatib ra ...................................... 137Hatim Ta’i ............................... 248Hawazin .. 156, 169, 170, 171, 177Hebrew................................ 28, 138Hereafter ............................. 26, 115Hind .......................................... 160Hindus ................................. 90, 249History .................................... 2, 53Hittites ...................................... 101Hivites ....................................... 101Hubal .......................... 68, 164, 207Hudhaifa ra ................................... 97Huyai bin Akhtab ....................... 88Ibn Hazm .................................... 86Ibn Ishaq .................................... 86ibn Rawaha ra ............................ 149Ibrahim ............................. 208, 216Indian Congress ........................ 119Indian National Army ............... 119Iran .. 33, 40, 66, 128, 133, 140, 168Iranians ................................. 33, 40Iron Cross ................................. 195Isaiah as ............................ 12, 60, 61Ishmael.................................... 2, 39Ishmael as ................................... 163Ja‘far ......................................... 148Ja‘far ibn Abi Talib ra ................ 150Ja‘far ra ....................... 150, 151, 216Jabbar ra ....................................... 79Jabr ra ........................................... 14Japanese .................................... 119Jarir bin ‘Abdullah ra ................. 235Jebusites .................................... 101Jesus as ... 27, 72, 107, 108, 118, 132,137Jews.. 31, 47, 48, 49, 63, 72, 73, 82,92, 95, 98, 100, 101, 107, 120,133, 138, 139, 140, 147, 177,191, 207Jonah as , ........................................ 28Josephas .................................... 165Joshua as ............................. 107, 108Judgement Day 173, 176, 187, 223,233, 237Jumad al-’Ula ......................... 134Jurham tribe .............................. 120Kaiser . 33, 128, 130, 131, 148, 149,155, 229Khabbab bin Al-Arat ra ................ 13Khadija ra 7, 9, 26, 196, 214, 216, 235Khalid bin Walid ra ..... 65, 147, 150,151, 161Khalid ra ......... 65, 94, 150, 151, 161Khallad ra ...................................... 98Khawarij ................................... 177Khazraj tribe ................ 31, 35, 177Khubaib ra ..................................... 77Khuza‘a ............................ 152, 156Kinana ...................................... 142Labid ........................................... 22Lat ........................................ 14, 27Legion of Honour ...................... 195Ma‘rur bin Suwaid ra ................. 227Magians ..................................... 139Maimuna ra ........................ 145, 146Maisara ......................................... 7Malik ibn ‘Auf .......................... 169Mansur Qalawun .................... 132Mary .................................... 72, 135Mary ra ........................................ 138Mathematics .................................. 2Meccans1, 13, 14, 16, 18, 21, 25, 26,27, 28, 29, 31, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38,39, 44, 46, 49, 50, 53, 57, 60, 61, 62,64, 68, 75, 77, 80, 81, 82, 105,122, 123, 126, 127, 145, 152,153, 154, 155, 156, 158, 159,


262160, 161, 162, 163, 165, 166,170, 171, 175, 177, 207, 220Monday ....................... 42, 134, 162Moses as . 11, 27, 31, 55, 56, 98, 102,107, 108, 118, 137, 170, 192,221Mu‘awiya al-Qushairi ra ............ 230Muhajirin .............. 65, 81, 158, 159Muhammad bin Maslama ra 99, 100,120Muharram ................................. 128Mundhir Taimi ......................... 139Muqauqis .......................... 137, 138Mus‘ab ra ............................... 32, 35Musailima ........................... 36, 210Mut‘im bin ‘Adi ........................ 29Naufal ................................... 11, 93Naufal bin Harith ra .................... 170Negus ................................ 135, 136New Testament ......................... 107Nu‘aim ra ...................................... 95Old Testament ........................... 107Perizzites ................................... 101Persian Empire ............................ 84Pharaoh ......................... 27, 59, 137Qaila............................................ 41Qais ra ......................................... 160Qara ............................................ 75Qasim ....................................... 217Quraish. 14, 16, 23, 65, 77, 82, 122,125, 134, 159, 160, 162, 222Rajab ......................................... 220Ramadan ............................... x, 152Rishis ........................................ 249Roman Emperor ........ 128, 132, 137Roman Empire ... 84, 132, 140, 147,179Romans ....................... 33, 246, 247Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadara ............ 159, 160Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh ra ..... 49, 50, 72, 94Sa‘d bin Waqqas ra ................ 45, 94Sa‘d ra ..... 72, 94, 100, 101, 159, 223Sa‘id bin ‘Amir ra ......................... 78Safiyya ra ...................... 90, 142, 237Life of Muhammad saSafwan bin Umayya ................... 15Safwan ra ........................... 170, 174Salman ra ...................................... 83Salman ra the Persian ................... 83Samiyya ra .................................... 15Satan ................. 13, 19, 37, 81, 237September ................................. 179Shaiba ra ..................................... 174Shurahbil ................................... 148Sirin ra ......................................... 138Suhaib ra ....................................... 14Suhail ........................ 124, 125, 127Suhail ibn ‘Amr ........................ 125Surah Al-Nisa’ ......................... 205Surah Al-Qamar .......................... 59Surah Baqara ............................ 172Surah Yusuf ............................. 165Suraqa bin Malik ra ...................... 39Suraqa ra ........................... 39, 40, 41Ta Ha, Chapter .......................... 24Tahajjud .................................... 212Talha ra ................................... 65, 66Thabit bin Qais bin Shams ra ..... 210Thaqif ........................................ 169Torah ......................................... 238Umayya bin Khalf ....................... 14Umm-e-‘Abdullah ra ..................... 21Umm-e-‘Ammara ra ............... 35, 36Usama bin Zaid ra ...................... 239Usama ra ..................................... 219valley of Abu Talib .................. 162Vedas ........................................ 249Victoria Cross ........................... 195Walid bin Mughira ................ 22, 50William Muir, Sir ........................ 30Yasir ra ......................................... 15Yathrib ........................................ 92Zaid bin Haritha ra ..................... 148Zaid ra 8, 28, 44, 77, 78, 148, 150, 151Zainab ra ..................... 168, 206, 215Zamzam .................................... 165Zinbira ra ...................................... 15Zubair bin al-‘Awwam ra ............. 16Zubair ra ...................................... 164


‘Aqaba ........................................ 35‘Uman....................................... 139Abu Ayyub Ansari ra ................. 43Abyssinia .. 3, 21, 30, 32, 128, 135,136, 167, 204Alexandria ................................ 137America .................................. 2, 75Arabia1, 3, 5, 13, 22, 27, 31, 36, 75,82, 83, 88, 92, 94, 105, 106, 125,134, 140, 142, 149, 152, 158,160, 162, 174, 179, 182, 195,208, 210, 225Asia Minor .................................. 33Badr ... 53, 56, 60, 62, 77, 113, 130,151, 214, 219BAHRAIN ................................ 139Bi’r Ma‘una ................................ 78Bosphorus ................................... 33Burma ....................................... 119Busra ................................ 128, 147Canaan .............................. 107, 170China ......................................... 136Constantinople .................... 33, 132Dar-e-Arqam ............................... 25Egypt ............ 22, 33, 128, 137, 147Europe ................................. x, 2, 75Faran ........................................ 153France ....................................... 195Galilee ......................................... 27Greek .......................................... 14Heaven ................................ 19, 187Hira .............................................. 9Hudaibiya 113, 122, 123, 128, 141,144, 152, 156, 172India .............................. 3, 119, 136Israel .................................... 27, 31Jerusalem .................. 5, 27, 32, 33Jordan.......................................... 27Index of Places263Ka‘ba. 2, 16, 17, 21, 27, 29, 49, 50,78, 121, 123, 126, 144, 145, 147,160, 163, 164, 165, 174Khaibar ......... 73, 82, 120, 141, 142London ................................... ix, 93Mada’in ....................................... 84Marrazzahran ........................... 144Mauta .......... 70, 148, 150, 179, 180Mecca . 1, 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 14, 16, 18,20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29,30, 31, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 41,42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 52,54, 55, 57, 59, 60, 77, 78, 80, 82,104, 109, 121, 122, 123, 124,125, 127, 134, 144, 145, 146,148, 152, 153, 154, 156, 157,158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163,165, 166, 167, 169, 171, 174,175, 178, 182, 195, 204, 207,220, 222, 233Medina5, 14, 31, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40,41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49,50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61,62, 63, 65, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 78,79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 85, 86, 88, 89,94, 96, 99, 103, 104, 106, 109,113, 120, 123, 127, 128, 134,140, 145, 146, 147, 149, 151,152, 153, 162, 163, 167, 177,178, 180, 181, 182, 191, 193,194, 208, 210, 211, 215, 217,220, 222, 231, 246, 247Midian ......................................... 27Mina .................................. 31, 183Muzdalifa .................................. 183Najd....................................... 78, 82Najran ....................................... 246Nakhla ......................................... 29Nineveh ................................. 28, 30Palestine ................................. 3, 33


264Life of Muhammad saParadise .. 15, 23, 67, 168, 209, 223,233Persia .................................... 83, 84Quba ................... 41, 42, 178, 182Raji‘ ............................................ 76Rautas ...................................... 169Rome .. 66, 107, 131, 132, 136, 140,147Sacred Mosque...... 2, 110, 121, 157Safa ................................... 17, 145Sarif .......................................... 145Syria 3, 5, 7, 33, 50, 53, 54, 73, 82,128, 138, 148, 149, 151, 178,180, 181Ta’if .... 5, 27, 28, 30, 134, 175, 182Thaur ............................ 38, 42, 162Uhud 64, 65, 66, 69, 70, 73, 75, 80,85, 93, 130, 151, 164, 194, 207Yamama ............................. 30, 139Yemen .... 3, 84, 134, 135, 139, 140,180

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