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Seerah....In the Shade of the Message and Prophethood

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    Seerah continued... A Rapid Review of Muhammad s Biography before Commissioning of the Prophethood: Prophet Muhammad was, in his youth, a combination of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 28, 2004
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      Seerah continued...

      A Rapid Review of Muhammad's Biography before Commissioning of the

      Prophet Muhammad was, in his youth, a combination of the best social
      attributes. He was an exemplary man of weighty mind and faultless
      insight. He was favoured with intelligence, originality of thought
      and accurate choice of the means leading to accurate goals. His long
      silence helped favourably in his habit of meditation and deep
      investigation into the truth. His vivid mind and pure nature were
      helpfully instrumental in assimilating and comprehending ways of life
      and people, individual and community-wise. He shunned superstitious
      practices but took an active part in constructive and useful
      dealings, otherwise, he would have recourse to his self-consecrated
      solitude. He kept himself aloof from drinking wine, eating meat
      slaughtered on stone altars, or attending idolatrous festivals. He
      held the idols in extreme aversion and most abhorrence. He could
      never tolerate someone swearing by Al-Lat and Al-`Uzza. Allâh's
      providence, no doubts, detached him from all abominable or evil
      practices. Even when he tried to obey his instinct to enjoy some life
      pleasures or follow some irrespectable traditions, Allâh's providence
      intervened to curb any lapse in this course. Ibn Al-Atheer reported
      Muhammad as saying: "I have never tried to do what my people do
      except for two times. Every time Allâh intervened and checked me from
      doing so and I never did that again. Once I told my fellow-shepherd
      to take care of my sheep when we were in the upper part of Makkah. I
      wanted to go down to Makkah and entertain myself as the young men
      did. I went down to the first house of Makkah where I heard music. I
      entered and asked: `What is this?' Someone answered: `It is a wedding
      party.' I sat down and listened but soon went into deep sleep. I was
      awakened by the heat of the sun. I went back to my fellow-shepherd
      and told him of what had happened to me. I have never tried it

      Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Jabir bin `Abdullah that he
      said: "While the people were rebuilding Al-Ka`bah, the Prophet
      Muhammad went with `Abbas to carry some stones. `Abbas said: `Put
      your loincloth round your neck to protect you from the stones.' (As
      he did that) the Prophet fell to the ground and his eyes turned
      skyward. Later on he woke up and shouted: `My loincloth... my
      loincloth.' He wrapped himself in his loincloth." In another
      report: "His loins were never seen afterwards."[]

      The authorities agree in ascribing to the youth of Muhammad modesty
      of deportment, virtuous behaviour and graceful manners. He proved
      himself to be the ideal of manhood, and to possess a spotless
      character. He was the most obliging to his compatriots, the most
      honest in his talk and the mildest in temper. He was the most gentle-
      hearted, chaste, hospitable and always impressed people by his piety-
      inspiring countenance. He was the most truthful and the best to keep
      covenant. His fellow-citizens, by common consent, gave him the title
      of Al-`Ameen (trustworthy). The Mother of believers, Khadijah - may
      Allah be pleased with her - , once said: He unites uterine relations,
      he helps the poor and the needy, he entertains the guests and endures
      hardships in the path of truthfulness.[]

      In the Shade of the Message and Prophethood

      In the Cave of Hira':

      When Prophet Muhammad was nearly forty, he had been wont to pass
      long hours in retirement meditating and speculating over all aspects
      of creation around him. This meditative temperament helped to widen
      the mental gap between him and his compatriots. He used to provide
      himself with Sawiq (barley porridge) and water and then directly head
      for the hills and ravines in the neighbourhood of Makkah. One of
      these in particular was his favourite resort — a cave named Hira', in
      the Mount An-Nour. It was only two miles from Makkah, a small cave 4
      yards long and 1.75 yard wide. He would always go there and invite
      wayfarers to share him his modest provision. He used to devote most
      of his time, and Ramadan in particular, to worship and meditation on
      the universe around him. His heart was restless about the moral evils
      and idolatry that were rampant among his people; he was as yet
      helpless because no definite course, or specific approach had been
      available for him to follow and rectify the ill practices around him.
      This solitude attended with this sort of contemplative approach must
      be understood in its Divine perspective. It was a preliminary stage
      to the period of grave responsibilities that he was to shoulder very

      Hiraa Cave

      Privacy and detachment from the impurities of life were two
      indispensable prerequisites for the Prophet's soul to come into close
      communion with the Unseen Power that lies behind all aspects of
      existence in this infinite universe. It was a rich period of privacy
      which lasted for three years and ushered in a new era, of
      indissoluble contact with that Power.[]

      Gabriel brings down the Revelation:

      When he was forty, the age of complete perfection at which Prophets
      were always ordered to disclose their Message, signs of his
      Prophethood started to appear and twinkle on the horizons of life;
      they were the true visions he used to experience for six months. The
      period of Prophethood was 23 years; so the period of these six months
      of true visions constituted an integral part of the forty-six parts
      of Prophethood. In Ramadan, in his third year of solitude in the cave
      of Hira', Allâh's Will desired His mercy to flow on earth and
      Muhammad was honoured with Prophethood, and the light of Revelation
      burst upon him with some verses of the Noble Qur'ân.[]

      As for the exact date, careful investigation into circumstantial
      evidence and relevant clues point directly to Monday, 21st. Ramadan
      at night, i.e. August, 10, 610 A.D. with Prophet Muhammad exactly 40
      years, 6 months and 12 days of age, i.e. 39 Gregorian years, 3 months
      and 22 days.[]

      `Aishah, the veracious, gave the following narration of that most
      significant event that brought the Divine light which would dispel
      the darkness of disbelief and ignorance. It led life down a new
      course and brought about the most serious amendment to the line of
      the history of mankind:

      Forerunners of the Revelation assumed the form of true visions that
      would strikingly come true all the time. After that, solitude became
      dear to him and he would go to the cave, Hira', to engage in
      Tahannuth (devotion) there for a certain number of nights before
      returning to his family, and then he would return for provisions for
      a similar stay. At length, unexpectedly, the Truth (the angel) came
      to him and said, "Recite." "I cannot recite," he (Muhammad ) said.
      The Prophet described: "Then he took me and squeezed me vehemently
      and then let me go and repeated the order `Recite.' `I cannot recite'
      said I, and once again he squeezed me and let me till I was
      exhausted. Then he said: `Recite.' I said `I cannot recite.' He
      squeezed me for a third time and then let me go and said:

      "Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists),
      has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).
      Read! and your Lord is the Most Generous.'" [96:1-3]
      The Prophet repeated these verses. He was trembling with fear. At
      this stage, he came back to his wife Khadijah, and said, "Cover
      me, ... cover me." They covered him until he restored security. He
      apprised Khadijah of the incident of the cave and added that he was
      horrified. His wife tried to soothe him and reassured him
      saying, "Allâh will never disgrace you. You unite uterine relations;
      you bear the burden of the weak; you help the poor and the needy, you
      entertain the guests and endure hardships in the path of

      She set out with the Prophet to her cousin Waraqa bin Nawfal bin
      Asad bin `Abd Al-`Uzza, who had embraced Christianity in the pre-
      Islamic period, and used to write the Bible in Hebrew. He was a blind
      old man. Khadijah said: "My cousin! Listen to your nephew!" Waraqa
      said: "O my nephew! What did you see?" The Messenger of Allâh told
      him what had happened to him. Waraqa replied: "This is `Namus' i.e.
      (the angel who is entrusted with Divine Secrets) that Allâh sent to
      Moses. I wish I were younger. I wish I could live up to the time when
      your people would turn you out." Muhammad asked: "Will they drive me
      out?" Waraqa answered in the affirmative and said: "Anyone who came
      with something similar to what you have brought was treated with
      hostility; and if I should be alive till that day, then I would
      support you strongly." A few days later Waraqa died and the
      revelation also subsided.[]

      At-Tabari and Ibn Hisham reported that the Messenger of Allâh left
      the cave of Hira' after being surprised by the Revelation, but later
      on, returned to the cave and continued his solitude. Afterwards, he
      came back to Makkah. At-Tabari reported on this incident, saying:

      After mentioning the coming of the Revelation, the Messenger of
      Allâh said: "I have never abhorred anyone more than a poet or a mad
      man. I can not stand looking at either of them. I will never tell
      anyone of Quraish of my Revelation. I will climb a mountain and throw
      myself down and die. That will relieve me. I went to do that but
      halfway up the mountain, I heard a voice from the sky saying `O
      Muhammad! You are the Messenger of Allâh and I am Gabriel.' I looked
      upwards and saw Gabriel in the form of a man putting his legs on the
      horizon. He said: `O Muhammad You are the Messenger of Allâh and I
      am Gabriel.' I stopped and looked at him. His sight distracted my
      attention from what I had intended to do. I stood in my place
      transfixed. I tried to shift my eyes away from him. He was in every
      direction I looked at. I stopped in my place without any movement
      until Khadijah sent someone to look for me. He went down to Makkah
      and came back while I was standing in the same place. Gabriel then
      left, and I went back home. I found Khadijah at home, so I sat very
      close to her. She asked: `Father of Al-Qasim! Where have you been? I
      sent someone to look for you. He went to Makkah and returned to me.'
      I told her of what I had seen. She replied: `It is a propitious sign,
      O my husband. Pull yourself together, I swear by Allâh that you are a
      Messenger for this nation.' Then she stood up and went to Waraqa and
      informed him. Waraqa said: `I swear by Allâh that he has received the
      same Namus, i.e. angel that was sent to Moses. He is the Prophet of
      this nation. Tell him to be patient.' She came back to him and told
      him of Waraqa's words. When the Messenger of Allâh finished his
      solitary stay and went down to Makkah, he went to Waraqa, who told
      him: `You are the Prophet of this nation. I swear by Allâh that you
      have received the same angel that was sent to Moses.'"[]

      Interruption of Revelation:

      Ibn Sa`d reported on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that the Revelation
      paused for a few days.[] After careful study, this seems to be the
      most possible. To say that it lasted for three and a half years, as
      some scholars allege, is not correct, but here there is no room to go
      into more details.

      Meanwhile, the Prophet , was caught in a sort of depression coupled
      with astonishment and perplexity. Al-Bukhari reported:

      The Divine inspiration paused for a while and the Prophet became so
      sad, as we have heard, that he intended several times to throw
      himself from the tops of high mountains, and every time he went up
      the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would
      appear before him and say: "O Muhammad! You are indeed Allâh's
      Messenger in truth," whereupon his heart would become quiet and he
      would calm down and return home. Whenever the period of the coming of
      the Revelation used to become long, he would do as before, but
      Gabriel would appear again before him and say to him what he had said

      Once more, Gabriel brings Allâh's Revelation:

      Ibn Hajar said: `That (the pause of Allâh's revelation for a few
      days) was to relieve the Messenger of Allâh of the fear he
      experienced and to make him long for the Revelation. When the shades
      of puzzle receded, the flags of truth were raised, the Messenger of
      Allâh knew for sure that he had become the Messenger of the Great
      Lord. He was also certain that what had come to him was no more than
      the ambassador of inspiration. His waiting and longing for the coming
      of the revelation constituted a good reason for his steadfastness and
      self-possession on the arrival of Allâh's inspiration, Al-Bukhari
      reported on the authority of Jabir bin `Abdullah that he had heard
      the Messenger of Allâh speak about the period of pause as follows:

      "While I was walking, I heard a voice from the sky. I looked up, and
      surely enough, it was the same angel who had visited me in the cave
      of Hira'. He was sitting on a chair between the earth and the sky. I
      was very afraid of him and knelt on the ground. I went home
      saying: `Cover me …, Cover me …'. Allâh revealed to me the verses:

      `O you (Muhammad ) enveloped (in garments)! Arise and warn! And your
      Lord (Allâh) magnify! And your garments purify! And keep away from Ar-
      Rujz (the idols)!'" [74:1-5]
      After that the revelation started coming strongly, frequently and

      Some details pertinent to the successive stages of Revelation:

      Before we go into the details of the period of communicating the
      Message and Prophethood, we would like to get acquainted with the
      stages of the Revelation which constituted the main source of the
      Message and the subject-matter of the Call. Ibn Al-Qayyim, mentioning
      the stages of the Revelation, said:

      The First: The period of true vision. It was the starting point of
      the Revelation to the Messenger of Allâh
      The Second: What the angel invisibly cast in the Prophet's mind and
      heart. The Messenger of Allâh said: "The Noble Spirit revealed to
      me `No soul will perish until it exhausts its due course, so fear
      Allâh and gently request Him. Never get so impatient to the verge of
      disobedience of Allâh. What Allâh has can never be acquired but
      through obedience to Him.'"

      The Third: The angel used to visit the Messenger of Allâh in the
      form of a human being and would speak to him directly. This would
      enable him to fully understand what the angel said. The angel was
      sometimes seen in this form by the Prophet's Companions.

      The Fourth: The angel came to him like the toll of a bell and this
      was the most difficult form because the angel used to seize him
      tightly and sweat would stream from his forehead even on the coldest
      day. If the Prophet was on his camel, the camel would not withstand
      the weight, so it would immediately kneel down on the ground. Once
      the Messenger of Allâh had such a revelation when he was sitting and
      his thigh was on Zaid's, Zaid felt the pressure had almost injured
      his thigh.

      The Fifth: The Prophet saw the angel in his actual form. The angel
      would reveal to him what Allâh had ordered him to reveal. This, as
      mentioned in (Qur'ân), in Sûrah An-Najm (Chapter 53 - The Star),
      happened twice.

      The Sixth: What Allâh Himself revealed to him in heaven i.e. when he
      ascended to heaven and received Allâh's behest of Salât (prayer).

      The Seventh: Allâh's Words to His Messenger at first hand without
      the mediation of an angel. It was a privilege granted to Moses -
      Peace be upon him - and clearly attested in the Qur'ân, as it is
      attested to our Prophet in the Sûrah Al-Isrâ' (Chapter 17 - The
      Journey by Night) of the Noble Qur'ân.

      Some religious scholars added a controversial eighth stage in which
      they state that Allâh spoke to the Prophet directly without a
      curtain in between. This issue remains however unconfirmed.

      Proclaiming Allâh, the All-High; and the Immediate Constituents

      The first Revelation sent to the Prophet implied several
      injunctions, simple in form but highly effective and of serious far-
      reaching ramifications. The angel communicated to him a manifest
      Message saying:

      "O you (Muhammad ) enveloped (in garments)! Arise and warn! And your
      Lord (Allâh) magnify! And your garments purify! And keep away from Ar-
      Rujz (the idols). And give not a thing in order to have more (or
      consider not your deeds of Allâh's obedience as a favour to Allâh).
      And be patient for the sake of your Lord (i.e. perform your duty to
      Allâh)!" [74:1-7]
      For convenience and ease of understanding, we are going to segment
      the Message into its immediate constituents:

      The ultimate objective of warning is to make sure that no one
      breaching the pleasures of Allâh in the whole universe is ignorant of
      the serious consequences that his behaviour entails, and to create a
      sort of unprecedented shock within his mind and heart.
      `Magnifying the Lord' dictates explicitly that the only pride allowed
      to nourish on the earth is exclusively Allâh's to the exclusion of
      all the others'.
      `Cleansing the garments and shunning all aspects of abomination'
      point directly to the indispensable need to render both the exterior
      and interior exceptionally chaste and pure, in addition to the
      prerequisite of sanctifying the soul and establishing it highly
      immune against the different sorts of impurities and the various
      kinds of pollutants. Only through this avenue can the soul of the
      Prophet reach an ideal status and become eligible to enjoy the shady
      mercy of Allâh and His protection, security, guidance and ever-
      shining light; and will consequently set the highest example to the
      human community, attract the sound hearts and inspire awe and
      reverence in the stray ones in such a manner that all the world, in
      agreement or disagreement, will head for it and take it as the rock-
      bed in all facets of their welfare.
      The Prophet must not regard his strife in the way of Allâh as a deed
      of grace that entitles him to a great reward. On the contrary, he has
      to exert himself to the utmost, dedicate his whole efforts and be
      ready to offer all sacrifices in a spirit of self-forgetfulness
      enveloped by an ever-present awareness of Allâh, without the least
      sense of pride in his deeds or sacrifices.
      The last verse of the Qur'ân revealed to the Prophet alludes to the
      hostile attitude of the obdurate disbelievers, who will jeer at him
      and his followers. They are expected to disparage him and step up
      their malice to the point of scheming against his life and lives of
      all the believers around him. In this case he has got to be patient
      and is supposed to persevere and display the highest degree of
      stamina for the sole purpose of attaining the pleasure of Allâh.
      These were the basic preliminaries that the Prophet had to observe,
      very simple injunctions in appearance, greatly fascinating in their
      calm rhythm, but highly effective in practice. They constituted the
      trigger that aroused a far-ranging tempest in all the corners of the

      The verses comprise the constituents of the new call and propagation
      of the new faith. A warning logically implies that there are
      malpractices with painful consequences to be sustained by the
      perpetrators, and since the present life is not necessarily the only
      room to bring people to account for their misdeeds or some of them,
      then the warning would necessarily imply calling people to account on
      another day, i.e. the Day of Resurrection, and this per se suggests
      the existence of a life other than this one we are living. All the
      verses of the Noble Qur'ân call people to testify explicitly to the
      Oneness of Allâh, to delegate all their affairs to Allâh, the All-
      High, and to subordinate the desires of the self and the desires of
      Allâh's servants to the attainment of His Pleasures.

      The constituents of the call to Islam could, briefly speaking, go as

      Testimony to the Oneness of Allâh.
      Belief in the Hereafter.
      Sanctifying one's soul and elevating it high above evils and
      abominations that conduce to terrible consequences, besides this,
      there is the dire need for virtues and perfect manners coupled with
      habituating oneself to righteous deeds.
      Committing one's all affairs to Allâh, the All-High.
      All the foregoing should run as a natural corollary to unwavering
      belief in Muhammad's Message, and abidance by his noble leadership
      and righteous guidance.
      The verses have been prefaced, in the voice of the Most High, by a
      heavenly call mandating the Prophet to undertake this daunting
      responsibility (calling people unto Allâh). The verses meant to
      extract him forcibly out of his sleep, divest him of his mantle and
      detach him from the warmth and quiet of life, and then drive him down
      a new course attended with countless hardships, and requiring a great
      deal of strife in the way of Allâh:

      "O you (Muhammad ) enveloped (in garments)! Arise and warn." [74:1-2]
      Suggesting that to live to oneself is quite easy, but it has been
      decided that you have to shoulder this heavy burden; consequently
      sleep, comfort, or warm bed are items decreed to be alien in your
      lexicon of life. O Muhammad, arise quickly for the strife and toil
      awaiting you; no time is there for sleep and such amenities; grave
      responsibilities have been Divinely determined to fall to your lot,
      and drive you into the turmoil of life to develop a new sort of
      precarious affinity with the conscience of people and the reality of

      The Prophet managed quite successfully to rise to his feet and
      measure up to the new task, he went ahead in a spirit of complete
      selflessness, relentlessly striving and never abating in carrying the
      burden of the great Trust, the burden of enlightening mankind, and
      the heavy weight of the new faith and strife for over twenty years,
      nothing distracting his attention from the awesome commission. May
      Allâh reward him, for us and all humanity, the best ending. The
      following research at hand gives an account in miniature of his long
      strive and uninterrupted struggle he made after receiving the
      ministry of Messengership.[]

      Phases and Stages of the Call

      The Muhammadan Call could be divided into two phases distinctively

      The Makkan phase: nearly thirteen years.
      The Madinese phase: fully ten years.
      Each of the two phases included distinctive features easily
      discernible through accurate scrutiny into the circumstances that
      characterized each of them.

      The Makkan phase can be divided into three stages:

      The stage of the secret Call: three years.
      The stage of the proclamation of the Call in Makkah: from the
      beginning of the fourth year of Prophethood to almost the end of the
      tenth year.
      The stage of the call to Islam and propagating it beyond Makkah: it
      lasted from the end of tenth year of the Prophethood until
      Muhammad's emigration to Madinah

      From AR-RaheeQ Al-Makhtum

      Memoirs of the Noble Prophet
      Author: Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri
      Jamia Salafia - India- .
      Translated by: Issam Diab .
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