Seven hundred years before, Tubba’ Abu Karib, one of the kings of Yemen, had come to Medina, known then as Yathrib. Finding out from Jewish scholars of the future emergence of a Meccan Prophet who would then migrate to Medina, he had a house built in the town. He then entrusted a gold sealed letter with the grandest scholar in Medina at the time, requesting it be passed on, in case he did not live to see the day, from generation to another, and presented to the coming Prophet.
Days of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) in Medina
The migration of the Prophet (pbuh) to Medina marked a new era, turning a brand new page in history for Islam and the Muslims.
The Noble Prophet (pbuh) was not a refugee in Medina. Much rather, he was the chief architect of a future world, its guide, the leader of the emerging Islamic state and, in short, its life and soul. With his arrival to Medina, the movement of Islam and its communication to the world received an enormous impetus.
Until the completion of the Mosque of Medina, the Masjid’un-Nabi, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) remained as guest, for seven months, at the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. But the lodging at the house of Abu Ayyub, the flag bearer of the Prophet (pbuh), had in fact a history going back a few centuries.
Seven hundred years before, Tubba’ Abu Karib, one of the kings of Yemen, had come to Medina, known then as Yathrib. Finding out from Jewish scholars of the future emergence of a Meccan Prophet who would then migrate to Medina, he had a house built in the town. He then entrusted a gold sealed letter with the grandest scholar in Medina at the time, requesting it be passed on, in case he did not live to see the day, from generation to another, and presented to the coming Prophet.
And the Tubba’, as early as then, declared belief in the Prophet (pbuh) and became Muslim.
Passing on through the years from father to son, the house, which fell to the east of the Masjid, was finally handed down to Abu Ayyub Khalid ibn Zayd (r.a), reputed to be one of the descendants of the said scholar.
Those who had the Tubba’s letter in their safekeeping sent Abu Layla, a trustable man from the tribe of Sulaym, with the letter to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), upon hearing him approach Medina. Abu Layla tracked the Prophet (pbuh) on the Meccan road; though it was the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) who first called out.
“Are you Abu Layla?”
“Yes”, he replied.
“I believe you have the Tubba’s letter with you. Can I see it?”
Abu Layla had never before seen the Prophet (pbuh). He was stunned.
“And who might you be? You certainly do not look like a sorcerer…Yet how did you know I have the letter?” he asked, astounded.
“Rest at ease, for I am Muhammad. Please, give me the letter,” he said.
Taking out the letter, Abu Layla handed it over to the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). After Abu Bakr (r.a) read the letter aloud, the Messenger of Allah said, three times:
“Greetings to the Tubba, our virtuous brother!”
He then advised Abu Layla to return to Medina, who swiftly made his way back, delivering the good news of the Prophet’s (pbuh) approaching, for which he was offered a treat by each Medinan as a show of appreciation.
Abu Ayyub al-Ansari:
The Flagbearer of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh)
Blessed with the honor of having the greatest of all Prophets (pbuh) as guest for seven months in his warm double story home, Abu Ayyub (r.a) at first constantly pleaded the Prophet (pbuh) to stay on the top floor, only to have him respond each time:
“Rest assured, Abu Ayyub…The ground floor is better for us and more useful.” Hence, the ground floor was where the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) initially took up residence.
Serving their guest of honor, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), with exceptional love and respect, Abu Ayyub (r.a) and his family even would even brush up against the walls to sleep, uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping on the same vertical level with the Noble Prophet (pbuh).
Their jug broke once, spilling all the water on the floor. Worried that the water might drip on their sacred guest, Abu Ayyub at once grabbed their one and only cover, a velvet blanket, and anxiously began drying the floor. Come morning, he insisted the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to move upstairs. As much as the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) assured him that he was comfortable on the ground floor, Abu Ayyub (r.a) politely persisted:
“We cannot go upstairs, until you do!” It was only then that they swapped places.
Whilst they had the Noble Messenger (pbuh) as guest, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari and his family would offer him from the meals they prepared. When the leftover food was returned, Abu Ayyub would search for the parts of the food which the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had touched, specifically eating from those parts for tabarruk, in hope of attaining blessings therefrom. He had once sent the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) a dish containing onions and garlic, which was returned untouched. Unable to see the Prophet’s (pbuh) imprints on the food, Abu Ayyub (r.a) apprehensively went next to him and asked:
“Is that food impermissible, Messenger of Allah?”
“No, it is not”, replied the Prophet of Grace (pbuh). “But I was not fond of its smell, for I am a man who speaks with angels.”
“If you dislike it, then so do I”, said Abu Ayyub.
“But you should eat it”, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) advised, however.
Nevertheless, that was the last time they cooked that particular meal for the Prophet of Allah (pbuh).
How splendid a case in point this serves, in indicating the degree of sensitivity and thoughtfulness the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) had in abstaining from causing the least amount of discomfort to all beings, humans and angels alike.
Abu Ayyub’s (r.a) honor and respect towards the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) continued unalloyed even after his temporary stay. Just to be among those to reap the inherent blessings of the below words of the Prophet (pbuh) :
“Constantinople will certainly be unlocked…How wonderul a commander is its commander; and how wonderful soldiers those soldiers are”, (Ahmad, IV, 335; Hakim, IV, 468/8300), though well past eighty years of age, Abu Ayyub took part in two sieges of the coveted city, and as a vanguard of the ultimate conquest that was to take place many centuries down the track, gave his life for the cause. Moments before his passing away, as if to nominate his corpse as an object of ambition for Muslim soldiers to claim the city after him, he said, to those standing around:
“Bury me at the furthermost point you tread…”
Anas ibn Malik’s Service to the Blessed Prophet (pbuh)
Anas (r.a) recounts:
“As the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) arrived in Medina, my step father Abu Talha took me by the hand and brought me next to him.
‘Anas is a smart little kid, Messenger of Allah’, he said. ‘Let him serve you!’ And that is how I became a servant to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). All up, in war and peace, I served him for ten years. By Allah, neither did I ever hear him scold me for doing something I was not supposed to do nor for something I failed to carry out.” (Muslim, Fadail, 52)
According to another account, Anas’ entrance into the service of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) happened in the manner below:
When the Noble Messenger (pbuh) graced Medina, all the Ansari men and women presented him with welcoming gifts. Ummu Sulaym, on the other hand, was rather downcast and depressed over not having anything to present. She later took her son Anas by the hand and together, they went next to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). She asked:
“Would you see fit to let Anas serve you, Messenger of Allah?” The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) gave consent. (Samhudi, I, 271)
Anas (r.a) explains:
“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) once wanted to send me somewhere. Though I seemingly refused, saying ‘No way, will I go’, deep inside I had already agreed on going; after all, it was nobody other than the Prophet of Allah giving the order. So I set out. On the way, I saw some children playing on the street and I joined them awhile. Afterward, I felt someone come from behind me and gently hold the nape of my neck. When I turned around, I found the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), smiling.
‘Did you end up going where I told you to go, little Anas?’ he asked.
‘I am going right away, Messenger of Allah!’ I quickly responded.” (Muslim, Fadail, 54)
Anas (r.a) recalls another time:
“Once, after having seen to the service of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), I went next to the kids outside, thinking he would be taking an afternoon nap. As I got carried away watching the children play, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) turned up. He greeted the children. He then called me and sent me somewhere. So I set off. He sat and waited under a shade until I returned. By the time I had completed my duty, I was late returning next to my mother; and when I eventually did, she asked:
‘Why are you late?’
‘The Messenger of Allah sent me somewhere for something’, I said.
‘What was it?’ she inquired.
‘It is the Messenger of Allah’s secret’, I replied.
‘Then keep the Messenger of Allah’s secret’, she advised.”
Thabit, who reported this hadith of Anas – (r.a)-, later added:
“Anas told me that ‘If I were to reveal this secret to anyone, it would have been you!’” (Ahmad, III, 195)
As can be seen, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) treated children like his peers and trusted them with certain secrets. Nurturing a profound love and compassion for them throughout each phase of his life, the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh) had an affectionate appreciation of children, interacting with them at their own level, and virtually finding a way into their spirit. The blueprint of the ideal treatment of children is provided by, among many, the two ahadith below:
“If you have children, become a child with them…” (Daylami, III, 513)
“Treat your children nicely and perfect their rearing.” (Ibn Majah, Adab, 3)
The exemplary life of the Prophet of Grace (pbuh) also offers us guidance with respect to educating children. What superb education he must have given Anas that never in his life did he feel the need to get angry with the child, even once. What a way the fifty-five year old Prophet (pbuh) must have found to the heart of the ten-year old Anas that he could joke with him, like a pal, when he felt, and let him in on a secret when needed; and reared in the care of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), despite being the child he was, Anas (r.a) could behave like a mature person and take the Messenger of Allah’s secret to the grave. Elevating Anas (r.a) to such a level of maturity, no doubt, was the towering method of education implemented by the Blessed Prophet (pbuh).
The Pact of Brotherhood between the Muhajirun and the Ansar: Muakhat
From the moment he started the Call, irrespective of the race or tribe they belonged to, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) regarded all those who entered Islam as equal and instituted among them the brotherhood of Islam. He twice established a muakhat, a pact of brotherhood, the first before the Hegira and the other after. The pact in Mecca involved setting up a brotherhood between the Muslims of Quraysh and the freed slaves. Zayd ibn Harithah and Hamza, for instance, were declared ‘brothers’, just as Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hudayfah and Abu Ubaydah ibn Jarrah, and Bilal Habashi and Ubaydah ibn Harith (r.huma).
Attached to one another from the very first years of Islam, Muslims showed a second display of brotherhood following the Hegira.
The moment the Muhajirun stepped foot inside Medina, a heated battle emerged between the Ansar, who were contesting each other enthusiastically, to host their newly arrived brothers. The sweet dispute unsettled, they were eventually forced to draw lots to decide who would get to host who. Five months after the arrival to Medina, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) designated for each Muhajir a brother from the Ansar; the venue for the declaration of the pact being the house of Anas ibn Malik (r.a).
Just to cite a few pairings, Abu Bakr was made a brother with Kharijah ibn Zayd, Omar with Utban ibn Malik, Abu Ubaydah with Saad ibn Muadh, Othman with Aws ibn Thabit, Bilal Habashi with Abdullah ibn Abdurrahman, Salman with Abu’d-Darda, Salim with Muadh ibn Maiz, and Ammar with Hudayfah (r.huma). Taken into consideration in these pairings were the temperamental similarities of both persons.
Each immigrant family was boarded in the house of a Medinan. The Companions who were declared brothers were thus to work together and share what they earned. The Ansar donated their excess land to the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), who divided them amongst the Muhajirun. Still discontented, the Ansar went so far as to insist the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to:
“…divide our date fields among our immigrant brothers as well!”
“That cannot be”, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) said, upon which the Ansar then made the following proposal to the Muhajirun:
“Then you undertake the work of watering and taking care of the trees and we will split the harvest!” With the approval of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), both sides agreed to the deal. (Bukhari, Harth, 5)
This brotherhood was centered around the physical and spiritual assistance of Muslims who had left behind all they had in Mecca and migrated to Medina to start everything from scratch, by the Ansar of Medina welcoming them with open arms; motivated with the aim of making the Muhajirun forget the grief of having been driven out of their hometown only for their belief and of warming them to Medina, their new home, and fusing the Muslims together through a the founding of a mutual solidarity.
The pact, stemming purely from the love of iman and established far from pretension, had a far reaching content, extending to cover mutual rights, fairness and assistance, including inheritance. ‘Brothers’ were legal guardians and inheritors of one another. Although the pact of brotherhood remained in principle, the clause pertaining to inheritance was later amended by a Revelation subsequent to the Battle of Badr, which restricted inheritance solely to birth rights.
Ibn Abbas (r.a) explains, in relation to the matter:
“Due to the brotherhood founded by the Messenger of Allah, a Muhajir had a right of inheriting the legacy of an Ansari brother, over and above his blood relations. But the ayah:
وَلِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مَوَالِيَ مِمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالأَقْرَبُون
“And to every one We have appointed heirs of what parents and near relatives leave”, (an-Nisa, 33) overruled this practice. With the subsequent part of the ayah:
وَالَّذِينَ عَقَدَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ فَآتُوهُمْ نَصِيبَهُمْ
“…and as to those with whom your rights hands have ratified agreements, give them their portion”, the rights of brotherhood between the Muhajirun and the Ansar became limited to mutual aid, support and good will. Legal inheritance was thereby abolished. But a person could still voluntarily bequeath legacy, provided it did not exceed a third of his wealth.” (Bukhari, Tafsir, 4/7; Abu Dawud, Faraid, 16/2922)
The muakhat served to put an end to the ensuing battle between Aws and Khazraj, the local tribes of Medina, and establish a brotherhood that ran deeper than blood. They could hardly wait for morning to arrive, just to see each other. Upon seeing each other, they would enthusiastically ask how they had been, as if they had not seen each other in years. Rarely would three days past before they visited one another. It was a brotherhood that attracted Divine praise, applauded by the Holy Quran.
The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) was laying the foundations of a Muslim society and state in Medina. Required first was thus the establishment of a social unity and solidarity, and no better could that be provided than mutual love and assistance. For that reason, the pact of brotherhood instituted by the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) between the Muhajirun and the Ansar proved to be the most important factor in shaping a society unparalleled in the history of mankind.
The Noble Prophet (pbuh) founded the newly emerging Muslim society on no other basis than the brotherhood of Islam, not on a basis either tribal or racial, or a social categorization between free and slave, rich and poor, and the like. A Muslim society was constructed through blending people of immense social differences together.
Virtues of the Muhajirun and the Ansar
A muhajir, denoting a person who migrates from one place to another, is the name given specifically to Meccan Muslims, who were forced by the unbearable increase of torment and oppression to leave to Medina.
The Muhajirun had left Medina, relinquishing all what they had behind except for the meager amount they could carry. The idolaters had immediately pounced on and seized their possessions in Mecca. The financial loss of the Muslims was indeed huge. But neither did they have their sights set on wealth, nor were they after any worldly gain; they had tasted the sweet zest of faith too much for that. Thus they were more than ready to sacrifice all of what they had in the way of Allah, glory unto Him.
They considered an imperative command even the slightest wish of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), constantly ready to be at his disposal, wholeheartedly putting their hands up with the words “may our parents be ransomed for you, Messenger of Allah”, which only echoed their feelings of devotion deep inside. One of the most striking examples of this state of mind is provided by Suhayb ibn Sinan, better known as Suhayb ar-Rumi (r.a), who revealed where he kept his wealth hidden in Mecca, just to get away from the idolaters trying to prevent him from embarking on the Hegira. Having already been on the receiving end of the worst kinds of torment inflicted by the idolaters, Suhayb (r.a) set out to migrate to Medina right after Ali (r.a), only to be thwarted by a group of Meccans who caught up with him on the way.
“You arrived in Mecca as a weak and poor man”, they exclaimed. “Yet now have you ended up with loads of wealth. And now you want to take all of what you have and leave? It’s not that easy!”
Suhayb immediately dismounted his horse, and taking out some arrows from his case, mounted a challenge:
“You very well know that I am one of the most talented bowmen among you. By Allah, if shooting all the arrows I have with me and then using my sword once I run out is what it takes, I will not shrink back…and so long as I have any of these in my hand, you will not be able to get within an inch of me. Only if you are able to seize hold of me once I am completely dispossessed of them, will you be able to do what you want with me. Now, if I tell you where my wealth is and leave you to do with it as you wish, will you clear my path and let me go?”
The idolaters accepted the offer. Thereupon Suhayb (r.a) made known to them where his wealth was kept and continued undisturbed on his journey. Around mid Rabiulawwal, he made it to Quba where he was reunited with the Noble Prophet (pbuh), accompanied at the time by Abu Bakr and Omar (r.huma). In front of them was a bunch of newly picked Umm Jirzan dates brought by Kulthum ibn Khidm. Afflicted with sore eyes and extreme hunger from the journey, Suhayb (r.a) began helping himself to the dates, seeing which Omar (r.a) jokingly remarked:
“Look at Suhayb, Messenger of Allah. Having sore eyes does not prevent him from picking out fresh dates!” The Light of Being (pbuh) joined in.
“So you are eating fresh dates even though you have sore eyes?”
“I saw the dates”, Suhayb replied, “with the part of my eyes that is not sore!”
The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) responded with a warm smile, and implying how Suhayb ransomed his wealth to the idolaters in return for his life, said:
“Suhayb is triumphant…Suhayb is triumphant. Rest assured Suhayb, your trade has turned out profitable!” (Ibn Sad, III, 226-230; Hakim, III, 450, 452)
While the Muslims of Mecca were exerting a great sacrifice under the hardest of conditions in trying to relocate to Medina, the Muslims of Medina were embracing them with the love of iman, as appropriate to the intensity of the struggle they were both in. Some Muhajirun, wishing not to be a burden on the Ansar who had not the least qualm in willing to share all they had with their immigrant brothers, appearing more than contended, were not accepting things that were being offered free of charge, while others were only accepting deals where they could work in the date fields of the Ansar thus earn their living with their own hands. Other immigrants had preferred to engage in what they knew best: trade. One of them was Abdurrahman ibn Awf (r.a). Although Saad ibn Rabi (r.a), his made brother, had offered him half his wealth, he refused:
“May Allah prosper your wealth and grant your family wellbeing. Suffice for you to show me where the market of Medina is”, he said. Beginning his business venture in this manner, he became wealthy in a very short time. (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 3)
The Muhajirun, the first recipients of Revelation, who winked at all the risks that came with believing in the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and as a consequence underwent the most unthinkable forms of torture to the point of ultimately being forced to leave their homes, are honored with the praise of the Allah, glory unto Him. Even though they did not have any worldly gain waiting for them, still, they had abandoned their all, simply for the opportunity to live in line with their religion. Thus not only were the Muhajirun showing an exemplary instance of selflessness, they were at the same time carrying out a religious obligation, for the Quran was condemning those remaining behind from embarking on the Hegira despite having the means.
Allah, glory unto Him, pledges to forgive the sins of the Muhajirun and award them with Paradise:
فَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ وَأُخْرِجُواْ مِن دِيَارِهِمْ وَأُوذُواْ فِي سَبِيلِي وَقَاتَلُواْ وَقُتِلُواْ لأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَلأُدْخِلَنَّهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ ثَوَابًا مِّن عِندِ اللّٰهِ وَاللّٰهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الثَّوَابِ
“Those who have left their homes, or have been driven out therefrom, or have suffered harm in My Cause, or have fought or have been slain,- verily, I will blot out from them their iniquities, and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing beneath! A reward from the presence of Allah and from His presence is the best of rewards.” (Al-i Imran, 195)
ثُمَّ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لِلَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ مِن بَعْدِ مَا فُتِنُواْ ثُمَّ جَاهَدُواْ
وَصَبَرُواْ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ مِن بَعْدِهَا لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“But verily to those who leave their homes after trials and persecutions, and who thereafter strive and fight for the faith and patiently persevere… Your Lord, after all this is oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (an-Nahl, 110)
In connection, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) states:
“The Muhajirun will enter Paradise seventy years before others and avail of themselves of its blessings…whereas people will be made to wait just to be called into account.” (Haythami, X, 15)
Destined for great rewards in the Hereafter, the Muhajirun at the same time have been graced with many Divine blessings in this life, consequent upon the sacrifices they have shown:
وَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ فِي اللّٰهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا ظُلِمُواْ لَنُبَوِّئَنَّهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَلَأَجْرُ الآخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ لَوْ كَانُواْ يَعْلَمُون
“To those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, after suffering oppression…We will assuredly give a goodly home in this world; but truly the reward of the Hereafter will be greater. If only they realized (this)!” (an-Nahl, 41)
Again, in consequence of the troubles they suffered, the Almighty reserved for them a greater portion of the spoils compared to others. The Quran, in relation, declares:
لِلْفُقَرَاء الْمُهَاجِرِينَ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ
يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنصُرُونَ اللّٰهَ
وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ
“Some part is due to the poor Muhajirun, those who were expelled from their homes and their property, while seeking Grace from Allah and His Good Pleasure, and aiding Allah and His Messenger. Such are indeed the sincere ones!” (al-Hashr, 8)
Over and above the homesickness that took hold of them upon their arrival, the Muhajirun for a long time were also unable to get used to Medina’s weather, struck down by fever and illnesses alike. Witnessing the deteriorating health of both her father Abu Bakr and Bilal Habashi (r.huma)-, aggravated all the more by their longing of Mecca, Aisha – (r.ha)- made the Light of Being (pbuh) aware of the predicament, upon which he then prayed:
“Allah…Endear Medina to us just how You endeared Mecca; even more! Grant prosperity to her harvest! Allah…Improve Medina’s weather and send her fever and malaria to Juhfah!” (Bukhari, Fadail’ul-Medina, 12; Muslim, Hajj, 480)
The gallant Muslims of Medina who welcomed the troubled Muhajirun arriving from Mecca, generously sharing with all their resources, and who moreover gave their affectionate support to the cause of the Noble Prophet (pbuh) are called Ansar, meaning the Helpers.
Ghaylan ibn Jarir (r.a) explains:
“I once asked Anas (r.a), ‘Was the title Ansar used to describe you before, or was it given to you by Allah?’ and he answered, ‘The name was given to us by Allah.’” (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 1)
The Ansar consisted of two rival Medinan tribes of the same kin, Aws and Khazraj. In the 11th year of Prophethood, a delegate of six persons from Khazraj came to Medina to ensure the aid of Quraysh against Aws with whom they had locked horns. There, they met the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and his invitation to Islam, as a result of which they became Muslim. On their return to Medina, in hope that it might put an end to the chronic hostilities between them and unite them like the brothers they once were, Khazraj also successfully invited Aws to Islam. Thus the weariness left on their hearts at the end of ensuing warfare waged over long years suddenly turned to unity and strength, thanks to the silm, that is to say the peace and tranquility of Islam. Joining forces once again, the two kindred tribes sent their representatives to Mecca in the 12th and 13th years of Prophethood, occasioning the First and Second Pledges of Aqabah.
In the second of these pledges, they made a vow to protect and aid the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and the Muslims of Mecca provided they migrated to Medina, playing thereby a major part in Hegira and hence the beginning of a new era in Islam.
When designated by the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) as a brother for each Muhajir, every Ansar made his brother partner to his home, work and property, and whatever he had, revealing an exemplary and incomparable instance of solidarity beyond anything one could dream to expect from his own birth brother. The sincerity of the Ansar is acclaimed by the Quran below:
وَالَّذِينَ تَبَوَّؤُوا الدَّارَ وَالْإِيمَانَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ يُحِبُّونَ مَنْ هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَا يَجِدُونَ فِي صُدُورِهِمْ حَاجَةً مِّمَّا أُوتُوا وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ
“But those who before them, had homes in Medina and had adopted the Faith, who show their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertain no desire in their hearts for things given to the latter, but give them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their own lot. And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls…” (al-Hashr, 9)
The following incident, reported to have occasioned the above Revelation, truly captures the depth of Ansari sacrifice:
A man reduced with extreme hunger had come to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asking for help.
“Who wants to take his brother as guest?” asked the Blessed Prophet (pbuh).
“I will, Messenger of Allah”, said Abu Talha, (r.a), from the Ansar, and took the poor man to his house. Upon arrival, he quickly went inside by himself, and said to his wife, “Let’s prepare something for the guest of the Prophet of Allah”, before asking, “Have we anything to eat?”
“No”, replied his wife, “apart from a few morsels enough too feed the kids.”
“Then distract the kids. If they come afterwards asking for food, put them to sleep. And once our guest comes inside, put out the light without making it obvious. We will then make it look like as if we’re joining him for the meal.”
So they sat for the meal. The guest ate, while they ended up sleeping on an empty stomach. Come morning, Abu Talha went next to the Noble Prophet (pbuh), who upon seeing him, said:
“Allah was pleased with what you did for your guest last night.” (Bukhari, Tafsir, 59/6; Muslim, Ashribah, 172-173)
When the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) arrived in Medina, the Muhajirun told him:
“Never, Messenger of Allah, have we seen a people more generous and charitable than this tribe to whom we have immigrated. Their rich give in loads and their poor provide help, running to our needs. They have entirely taken care of our financial worries and have made us partners to their properties. We fear they might sweep clean all of Allah’s rewards”.
“Do not worry”, assured the Prophet of Allah (pbuh). “So long as you pray to Allah on behalf of them and thank them in return for what they do, you too will obtain rewards.” (Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 44/2487)
Recalling the below incident is Jabir (r.a):
“Upon collecting the dates, the Ansar would divide them into two heaps, piling more on one side than the other. Then placing some date leaves over the smaller pile to make it look more sizable than the other, they would tell the Muhajirun to take whichever pile they preferred. And they, wishing for their Ansari brothers to take the greater pile, would choose the supposedly smaller pile, through which they would end up with most of the dates. The Ansar would have their wishes fulfilled by sparing for their own the smaller pile. This generous deed of the Ansar continued until the capture of Khaybar.” (Haythami, X, 40)
Another example of altruism shown by the Ansar towards their immigrant brothers runs as thus:
The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) had first summoned the Ansar to distribute among them, in lots, the land of Bahrain. But the Ansar renounced their rights:
“Please, Messenger of Allah”, they said “do not give us anything until you give twice as much to our brothers of the Muhajirun!”
“Since, Ansar, you prefer others over yourselves”, replied the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) “then be patient until you unite with me by the Pool of Kawthar…for after me there will come a time when others will be preferred over you!” (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar,)
The spirit of Ansar has received the personal praise of the Noble Messenger (pbuh):
“As far as I can see, you grow in number when called to battle or to help the needy, and come in crowds. Yet, when you are called to be given things worldly, you reduce in number and desist.” (Ali al-Muttaqi, XIV, 66)
In return for the selflessness with which they embraced the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) and the Muhajirun who had immigrated to their town, the Ansar are rewarded with Paradise, but more importantly, with the grace of Allah, glory unto Him.
Thus states the ayah:
وَالسَّابِقُونَ الأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُواْ عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
“The vanguards of Islam- the first of those who forsook their homes and of those who gave them aid, and also those who follow them in all good deeds,- well-pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: for them He has prepared gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever: that is the supreme felicity.” (at-Tawba, 100)
The Ansar did not hold back from putting their lives on the line in defending Islam and protecting the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). They were gallant in the Battle of Badr. In the Battle of Uhud, during the dire moments in which the Believers were assailed from behind and the tide of victory had turned against them, most of the Companions who formed a human shield around the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) were Ansari. They were attached to the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) with legendary love and loyalty, the intensity of which the emotional episode below recounted by Anas (r.a) vividly bears out:
“I was on a journey with Jarir ibn Abdullah. Despite being older than me, he was serving me; and when I told him to stop doing that, he said, ‘I saw the great service lent by the Ansar to the Messenger of Allah, and I promised myself that if I ever became close friends with an Ansari I would serve him.” (Bukhari. Jihad, 71; Muslim, Fadail’us-Sahaba, 181)
“Had there never been a Hegira”, once said the Noble Messenger (pbuh) “I too would have been an Ansari”, expressing their immense value in his sight. (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 2)
Some of the other words articulated by the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) in acclaim of the virtue of the Ansar include:
“Whoever believes in Allah and the Hereafter ought not to be spiteful towards the Ansar.” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 25/3906)
“Only Believers love them and only hypocrites hate them. Allah loves those who love the Ansar and is spiteful towards those who hate them.” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 25/3900)
“Humans increase yet the Ansar decrease; and so they will, like salt in a meal.” (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 11)
“I advise you to treat the Ansar nicely. They are my people, confidants and my faithful. They have appropriately fulfilled their obligation. The rewards for their services have not yet been fully given (impending, more than sufficiently, in the Hereafter). Therefore, be nice towards their good, forgive their wrongdoers.” (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 11)
The profound love the Noble Prophet (pbuh) nurtured for the Muhajirun and the Ansar extended to his entire Companions; such that each Companion sincerely believed that there was nobody dearer to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) than himself.
Ka’b ibn Ujra (r.a) narrates the evocativeincident below:
“We were sitting at the Mosque in Medina in the presence of the Messenger of Allah. Seated was a small group each from the Ansar the Muhajirun and the clan of Hashim. Amongst each other, we wondered which one of us the Messenger of Allah loved the most. We, the Ansar, remarked:
‘We believed in the Messenger of Allah, obeyed him and fought by his side against his enemies. So for those reasons, he loves us more!’
Our brothers of the Muhajirun responded:
‘We immigrated for the sake of Allah and His Messenger and turned our backs on our families and wealth in their way. Besides, we took part in all the battles you did. The Messenger of Allah therefore loves us more!’
Members of the Hashim clan then said:
‘We are the Prophet’s kin, who have taken part in all the battles you have. So the Messenger of Allah would certainly have a greater love for us!’
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) thereupon came next to us and inquired:
‘What was it that you were talking about amongst each other before?’
Each of us repeated what we said before, to which the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) commented:
‘You have all spoken the truth…who could claim otherwise?’ Then after a brief pause, he asked, ‘Would you like for me to settle the matter?’
‘Of course, we would’, replied we. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) then stated, ‘You, the Ansar…I am your brother!’
‘Allah-u Akbar!’ exclaimed the Ansar jubilantly. ‘By the Lord of the Kaabah, we have won him over!’
‘People of the Muhajirun’, then said the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). ‘I am from you!’
The Muhajirun, too, happily exclaimed, ‘Allah-u Akbar! ‘By the Lord of the Kaabah, we have won him over!’
‘As for you, the sons of Hashim’, then continued the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), ‘You are from me and have come to me!’ They likewise exclaimed:
‘Allah-u Akbar! By the Lord of the Kaabah, we have won him over!’ We all left satisfied. Each group was delighted with the compliments of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).” (Haythami, X, 14)
The borders of the small Muslim city-state founded in Medina, comprised approximately of four-hundred families, reached Iraq and Palestine, only in a matter of ten years. The Companions were at war with Byzantine and Persia at the time of the passing away of the Noble Messenger (pbuh), though their standards of living had little changed as compared to ten years before. They continued persisting in their lives of abstinence. Excess consumption, greed, luxury and pomp were things unknown to the Companions, who were filled with a constant awareness, that ‘awaiting the flesh, tomorrow, is but the grave.’ They therefore always fled the tendency of reserving the pleasures of the world to themselves and an indulgence in them. With the excitement and zest of iman, they instead used them as means for guiding humankind to its salvation. They molded their lives in the cast of seeking the pleasure of Allah, glory unto Him. Without a doubt, one of the most prominent reasons for the clear and rapid spread of Islam among the oppressed and the exploited, like a glaring flash of morning light, was the fact that the Companions showed a perfect Muslim character wherever they stepped foot. The elite students of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), the Companions were Believers par excellence, honest and just, carrying treasures of benevolence in their hearts enlightened by the Prophetic light, who looked upon fellow servants of the Almighty only with eyes of compassion.
Madinat’un-Nabi and the Contract of Medina
Falling to the north of Medina and enclosed by mountains on three sides and a plain in the south, Medina is beautiful town with luscious greenery provided by an abundance of date gardens, arable land and pleasant climate.
Residing in the town at the time of the Hegira were two Arab tribes, Aws and Khazraj, in addition to three Jewish tribes, in Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayza. The Arabs had come to Medina from Yemen following the great Sayl’ul-Arim flood, while the Jews were originally refugees from Jerusalem, having fled Roman oppression following their incursion into the city.
Over time, tension prevailed between the Arabs and Jews, as a result of which the Jews were defeated by the Arabs who gained the upper hand in Medina. But with the Jews sowing the seeds of enmity between the Arabs, soon Aws and Khazraj found themselves in recurring war with each other, the last of which was the Battle of Buath. Casualties on both fronts, however, in a war that sporadically spanned over a hundred-and-twenty years and came to an end only five years prior to the Hegira, had decimated both tribes. Especially at the time of the Hegira, the Jews had therefore a financially commanding position in the town.
The graceful arrival of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) in Medina therefore meant, with the blessings of the Almighty, the end of spite and enmity between the two kindred tribes.
Allah, glory unto Him, declares:
وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّٰهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّٰهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاء فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّٰهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
“And hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together and be not disunited, and remember the favor of Allah on you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts so by His favor you became brethren; and you were on the brink of a pit of fire, then He saved you from it, thus does Allah make clear to you His communications that you may follow the right way.” (Al Imran, 103)
Briefly after the Hegira, the Meccan idolaters wrote intimidating and provoking letters to both the idolaters and Jews of Medina, in hope of preventing the Muslims from settling and gaining power in the town. The threats in one of these letters directed at Abdullah bin Ubayy and the idolaters from Aws and Khazraj flanked by his side, is loud and clear:
“You have one of our men with you. Either you kill him or drive him out of your town, or else we will march on you with all the tribes of Arabia, put your men to our swords and take your wives for our amusement!”
Abdullah ibn Ubayy, backed by the Madinan idolaters then made a move to confront the Noble Messenger (pbuh). Informed of the situation from beforehand, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) acted first and went to them before they did.
“It seems the threats hurled by the Quraysh have gotten to you. Know that the harm they may inflict on you is no greater than the harm you may incur by fighting us! Or are you intent on fighting your own sons and brothers and killing them?”
They eventually dispersed. (Abu Dawud, Kharaj, 22-23/3004; Abdurrazzaq, V, 358-359)
The intimidations and provocations hailing from Mecca had proven futile. But then again, it was well within possibility that the frustrated Quraysh would strike Medina when least expected and massacre all the Muslims, Jews and idolaters indiscriminately. This common threat resulted in the crowding together of the non-Muslim community of Medina around the leadership of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh).
On a side note, since times old, Aws, Khazraj and the Jews were contesting each other to be the sole authority in the town. The Khazraj, for instance, were getting prepared to declare their leader Abdullah ibn Ubayy the ruler of Medina, despite the well known fact that Aws -or Khazraj for that matter- could never stomach a leader from a rival tribe. In that respect, the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) proved to be a uniting figure for all the dwellers of Medina.
Under these circumstances, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) assumed leadership of the town. Having already established brotherhood between Aws and Khazraj and thus the social order amongst Believers through the muakhat, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), without further ado, also inducted the local Jews as citizens of Medina with a written document, establishing certain principles that could virtually be regarded as the constitution of the City State of Medina. Some of the principles contained in the document known as the Contract of Medina, an official registration of the founding of the Islamic State, were as follows:
1. Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib (Medina), their dependants and those who struggle with them are an ummah distinct from other communities.
2. There is not to be any mischief and harm. Pious Believers will rally against one who transgresses, seeks to oppress and violate rights, who sins, cultivates enmity and incites malice between Believers. Even if he be one of their own, they will rise against him as one.
3. Murder is not to be committed. Given it has been committed, both the Muhajirun and each family of Medina shall pay their blood money mutually to each other, as determined by custom. Each side shall pay the ransom of their captives mutually, in line with the principles of justice evident amongst Muslims.
4. The Believers are not to leave those with large families or the indebted to deal with their troubles on their own and will pay their ransom or blood money, within the principles of justice apparent to both sides.
5. Security is to be reinforced within Medina and without. Both inhabitants and foreigners shall feel safe and sound. Excepted are those who oppress or commit a crime.
6. Jews shall enjoy a freedom of faith and freely remain in their religion, just as Muslims shall remain in theirs. Our subjects among the Jews shall receive aid free of injustice and joint opposition against them. If a war breaks out, then all sides are to assist each other. As long as they continue fighting alongside Muslims, Jews are to share the expenses of warfare.
7. Neither side is to take idolaters under their wings. Neither Quraysh nor their allies shall be provided refuge in any way whatsoever.
8. Warfare in Medina is prohibited. Inner Yathrib Valley is a safe haven for all who are obliged under these clauses. In case of a foreign incursion, each side is then to protect its own area. A peace accepted by one side is a peace accepted by all. Throughout the battle, Jews are to cover their own expenses and Muslims their own; though they are to aid one another and do what is right against the assailants and let goodness prevail in their mutual aid. No side shall do any harm to each other and must aid the oppressed under all circumstances.
9. If a disagreement should arise, then the case is to be presented to Allah and His Messenger, whose verdict is to be considered binding.
10. Allah’s pledge and assurance are on equal par and they cover even the most despised; for Muslims are distinct from others in being comrades and companions of each other.
11. No Jew is to embark on a military expedition without the consent of Muhammad (pbuh).
There is no doubt that Allah, the Almighty, will be pleased with those who are sensitive to abstain from infringing the clauses specified in this page, who embody the good and the right. These clauses will certainly not prevent the exacting of punishment to the oppressor or the guilty.
Allah, glory unto Him, will provide protection for those who thrive in goodness and desist evil. Muhammad (pbuh) is the Messenger of Allah.” (Ibn Hisham, II, 119-123; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, III, 263-264; Hamidullah, al-Wasaiq, p. 57-64)
It is evident that the clauses are of necessity in implementing Islamic rules in society. The Contract of Medina, a pact of citizenship, is the most decisive answer to the false allegations that Islam is a religion lacking legislative functions and a social drive, merely making do with regulating worship.
A multifaceted agreement carrying political, economical, social and religious import, the Contract of Medina places accent on Islam as the sole element providing unity amongst Muslims, who in turn must imperatively provide mutual aid for each other, uphold justice and impartiality in all their dealings and seek the arbitration of Allah and His Messenger, should a disagreement arise.
The Contract limits and regulates the purely tribal solidarity prevalent among Arabs with the principle of justice, commanding the punishment of the guilty even if they be of kin. By virtue of giving Jews the rights of property and religious belief, the Contract also bears witness to the incredible depth of justice upheld by the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). Had the Jews not violated the Contract of their own doing, it would have continued to hold sway for a while to come.
The Declaration of Medina as a Sanctuary
The Contract was followed by determining the borders of the Haram, or the sanctuary, of Medina, in the following words of the Noble Prophet (pbuh):
“Ibrahim (a.s) had declared Mecca a haram, and so do I declare between the two hilltops of Medina haram.” (Ahmad, IV, 141)
By erecting stones in the prescribed hilltops, the borders of the sanctuary of Medina were thus established. Medina, as determined between these borders, was thereafter the called al-Haram’ur-Rasul, the Sanctuary of the Prophet (pbuh). Each corner of the three farsah area between the hills of Ayr and Sawr was made into a grove. (Bukhari, Fadail’ul-Medina, 1; Muslim, Hajj, 471-472)
After proclaiming Medina a sanctuary, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) then added:
“Neither shall a tree be cut down, nor a sin committed within these borders. Whoever commits a deed contrary to the Book and Sunnah shall incur the curse of Allah, the angels and the entire humankind.” (Bukhari, Fadail’ul-Medina, 1)
Lifting his hands aloft, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) then prayed for the wellbeing of the town, owing to the grace of which Medina has since been a haven of peace, serenity and mercy for entire Believers and a town of happiness, effectively the pulse of the Muslim world.
The Companions considerately observed the distinct status of Medina throughout, as verified by the sensitivity of Abu Hurayra (r.a) below:
“If I saw a deer grazing by the pastures of Medina, there is no way I would disturb it, for I heard the Messenger of Allah declare the area between the stony places of Medina a sanctuary.” (Muslim, Hajj, 471)
Not only that, the Companions would not even tolerate their children behaving in a manner inappropriate to the essence of Medina, as vividly recounted by Abdullah ibn Ubada (r.a):
“I was once hunting birds near the Abu Ihab Well. My father saw me and immediately made me release the bird I had caught, saying, ‘the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has declared the area between the stony spots of Medina a sanctuary, just as Ibrahim (a.s) had declared Mecca.’” (Ibn Asir, Usdu’l-Ghaba, III, 159)
The Medina Market and the Regulation of Commercial Life
Upon arriving in Medina, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) pointed to a different market place than that of the Jews, and insisted Muslims do their business there. It is a well known fact, after all, that separate market places are vital for acquiring commercial independence.
The Noble Messenger (pbuh) took close interest in the market and commercial life of Medina, inspecting both the goods and merchants.
One day, he went next to a merchant by the market. Dipping his hands into the pile of wheat on the counter, he felt some moistness underneath, and inquired the reason.
“It was from the rain, Messenger of Allah”, explained the merchant.
“Could not have you put the moist part above where everybody could see?” counseled the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), adding “A cheater has nothing to do with me!”
Qays ibn Abi Garaza (r.a) tells:
“During the time of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), we were still called ‘brokers’, up until the time he came next to us in the market and gave us the better name of ‘merchants’ and advised, ‘Merchants, know that lies and oaths smear their marks on trades, so mix some charity into it!’” (Ahmad, IV, 6; Abu Dawud, Buyu’, 1/3326)
Despite the enormity of care a person may take, forgetfulness and ignorance are bound to creep up in dealings and cause injustice. Thus, as a precaution, one ought to take measure by giving lots of charity from what is earned, the precise thing the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) highlights in the above hadith.
Rifaa ibn Rafi (r.a) says:
“We were going to Musalla, one day, with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), who on the way happened to a see a group of people trading. ‘Merchants’, he called out, to which the group heeded by looking towards his way. ‘In the Hereafter traders (tajir) are most certainly resurrected as traitors (fajir)…Excepted are those who fear Allah, do what is good and give out charity.’” (Tirmidhi, Buyu, 4/1210)
Concerning the morals that ought to prevail in commerce, the Prophet of Grace (pbuh) elaborates the below account which took place long ago between two virtuous men from the people of Israel:
“A man, before you, once bought a land from someone, and later found a pot of gold in the land. Carrying the pot in his hand, he returned to the man from who he had purchased the property and said:
‘Take your gold, for I only bought the land from you, not the gold inside!’
‘Never; for I sold you the land including all that was inside!’ replied he.
Unable to settle the dispute, they designated another man to arbitrate. After hearing them out, the arbitrator asked:
‘Have you any children?’ It turned out one of the men had a son, while the other a daughter.
‘Then wed them to each other’, the arbitrator suggested, ‘and spend the gold on them and give the rest out to charity.’” (Bukhari, Anbiya, 54; Muslim, Aqdiyya, 21; Ibn Maja, Luqata, 4)
An able merchant who had set out on long commercial journeys in his youth, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) proclaimed certain principles in the field upon his arrival at Medina. Some of his words on trade include:
“Nine tenths of income is in trade.” (Suyuti, I, 113)
“The most permissible and best of what a person eats is that which he has earned with his own hands.” (Ibn Maja, Ticarat, 1)
To be sure, in addition to its physical influence, food also exercises a spiritual influence. Each morsel consumed, whether it has come from a permissible, impermissible or even a doubtful avenue, seizes control of our spirits. The nature of what we eat affects our sensitivities. Alluding to the importance of permissibly acquired money in all deeds of worship, the hadith below, taking hajj or pilgrimage as a case in point, states:
“Whosoever visits the House with money acquired through impermissible (haram) means has departed from obeying Allah. Such a person, after enshrouding himself in the ihram places his foot on the stirrup of his camel and shouts ‘labbayk Allahumma labbayk’, only to receive a rejoinder from the Heavens, ‘no labbayk to you, nor a sadayk, for your earnings, your provisions, even your camel is illicit; so return as a sinner without earning any rewards, and grief over the calamities you shall face.’
But if a person sets on hajj with money earned permissibly and placing his foot on the stirrup of his camel exclaims ‘labbayk Allahumma labbayk’, he is met with a reply from the Heavens, ‘labbayk and sadayk…I respond to you, for your camel is licit (halal), as are your clothes and provision. So return with having earned loads of rewards, away from the smear of sin; and be joyful, for what is awaiting that will grant you happiness and bliss!’” (Haythami, III, 209-210)
Being an important and often violated matter, the door to the impermissible in earnings has been shut with the Divine proclamations specified in al-Baqara, immediately after shirk, that is ascribing partners to Allah, glory unto Him. Such that even al-Anam, al-Araf, Yunus and an-Nahl, suwar revealed in the Meccan period which therefore do not comprise a great deal of legal judgments, provide clarification regarding what is permissible and impermissible, immediately after ayat communicating the nature of a sound belief in the Almighty.
Emphasizing the need of courage and honesty in trade, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) says:
“A brave merchant who puts his goods up for sale is provided for, while a black-marketer is cursed.” (Ibn Majah, Ticarat, 6)
“A coward merchant is deprived, while a brave merchant is provided for.” (Daylami, II, 79)
Some further commercial principles instated by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), are explained in the below two ahadith:
“A buyer and a seller are free to change their minds, so long as they do not leave each other’s presence. If they contract an honest deal, where they make known everything as it is, their trade is made prosperous. But given they hide some things and lie, prosperity flees their trade.” (Bukhari, Buyu, 19; Muslim, Buyu)
“Oaths attract attention to goods, though they divest it of prosperity.” (Bukhari, Buyu, 26; Muslim, Musaqat, 13)
The Noble Prophet (pbuh) banned such practices as intercepting the goods before they arrived at the market place, completely concluding the deal before the goods reached their owner, selling goods prior to having possession of them, bidding for goods despite an already concluded deal and inciting opposition between customers.
The Prophet of Mercy (pbuh), stressing the need of adopting an easygoing attitude in trade, states:
“May Allah abundantly grant His Mercy to a person generous and lenient in buying, selling and in accepting an outstanding debt.” (Bukhari, Buyu, 16)
“Allah dealt with a person, who lived before you, with mercy, for no other reason than that the person would show leniency in buying, selling and when soliciting the money owed to him.” (Tirmidhi, Buyu’, 75/1320)
Being lured by greed and the dazzle of the world and supposing there is more to be earned by disobeying the guidelines set by the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) only incurs the danger of poverty in the Afterlife. Honest merchants striving to gain the pleasure of the Almighty and provisions for the Hereafter, on the other hand, are subject to the wonderful news of the Prophet (pbuh):
“A Muslim merchant, honest and trustworthy, will be among the martyrs in the Hereafter.” (Ibn Maja, Ticarat, 1)
The Masjid’un-Nabi and the Building of the House of the Prophet (pbuh)
There was no mosque in Medina at first and the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) used to offer salat wherever he saw fit. It was not long after he had a second mosque built after Quba, the Masjid’un-Nabi that stands today.
Upon arriving in Medina, Qawsa, the camel of the Noble Messenger (pbuh), crouched on a patch of land adjacent to quarters of the Najjar Clan left vacant for drying dates, which belonged to two orphans of the clan, Sahl and Suhayl. Descending from his camel, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) then declared:
“Allah willing, this will be our spot!” Inquiring the owners of the land, he was informed by Muadh ibn Afra (r.a) of their owners. Sending for Sahl and Suhayl afterward, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) bid the orphans to put up a price for the land, so he could purchase it off them.
“No way, Messenger of Allah”, responded the youths. “We can only do as much as grant the land to you as present and expect out rewards from none other than Allah!”
But the Blessed Messenger (pbuh) did not accept their generous offer and purchased the land after paying its price. (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 45, Salat 48; Muslim, Masajid, 9)
The land had some graves belonging to idolaters, small mounds here and there and date trees. The graves were dug up and the bones were relocated elsewhere, the mounds were leveled up and the trees were cut. The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) then ordered some mud bricks be cast for the construction.
During the construction, the Noble Messenger (pbuh) took to the work of carrying the bricks with his Companions, saying, at the same time:
“This burden is not the burden of Khaybar, but the best and cleanest deed that can be offered to Allah.” (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 45)
Through these words, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) was indicating that the work they were carrying out had no worldly ends, inherent with much greater benefit than goods like dates and raisins people imported from Khaybar for commercial purposes.
A Companion carrying soil came upon the Noble Prophet (pbuh), who himself had a mud brick in his hand, and urged him to let him carry the brick instead, only to be met with the answer:
“Better you go and grab another brick, for you do not stand in greater need for Allah than I!” (Samhudi, I, 333)
Spiritual responsibility and the incentive to encourage fellow Muslims to work had the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) personally laboring in the construction, which inspired the Companions to remark, “…relaxing while the Prophet labors will only lead us astray”. (Ibn Hisham, II, 114)
Present during the construction was a man from Hadramawt, skillful in mixing and casting mud bricks, who received the personal praises of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) :
“May Allah have mercy on one who executes his art with perfection. Continue doing your work, for I see you are good at it!” (Samhudi, I, 333; Diyarbakri, I, 344)
Allah, glory unto Him, too, wills Believers to execute all their deeds with perfection, commanding in the ayah وَأَحْسِنُوَاْ, “…do your works perfectly”, which is immediately followed by “…for Allah loves those who carry out (their works) with perfection.” (al-Baqara, 195)
While carrying mud bricks shoulder to shoulder with his Companions during the construction of the Masjid, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) also repeated the following words, originally articulated by another Companion:
“Allah…The true reward is that of the Hereafter. Have mercy on the Ansar and Muhajirun!” (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 45)
While everybody else was carrying the bricks one by one, Ammar ibn Yasir (r.a) was carrying them two at a time, one for himself and the other on behalf of the Noble Prophet (pbuh). Upon seeing his diligent effort, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), brushing the dust off him, asked:
“Why are you not carrying the bricks one at a time like your friends Ammar?”
“I am doing it in anticipation of the reward from Allah”, he replied. The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) thereupon patted him back on the back and said, “Others have one reward, Ammar, whereas you have two!” (Ahmad, III, 91; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, III, 256)
The report below attests to the fact that both men and women labored enthusiastically in the building of the Masjid:
“When his wife passed away, Abdullah ibn Awfa (r.a) urged people to ‘Carry her coffin…with enthusiasm, too. For indeed, she and her slaves used to carry the stones of the Masjid of the Prophet, built upon the foundations of piety, at night. And we men were carrying them in twos come day.” (Haythami, II, 10)
A quadrangle, the Masjid’un-Nabi originally had a length and width of approximately a hundred zira, and a height of five to seven zira, the first three at the base of which was stone and the ascending remainder of mud bricks. Mud was additionally used in the mortar of the building. As columns, logs of date trees were rowed together on the qibla side of the Masjid, and leaves and branches of the same trees were used for its roof and pillars. It had a mihrab faced towards the Masjid’ul-Aqsa at Jerusalem and three doors. Once the qibla was relocated towards Kaabah, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) had the first door closed, in place of which he had another one opened on the Damascus side wall.
Two additional rooms were built adjacent to the Masjid for the lodging of the Noble Prophet (pbuh) and his family; the number of which progressively increased.
Hasan Basri, who during his childhood breathed the air of the house of the Noble Messenger (pbuh) due to her mother serving as helper to the honorable Umm Salama, recounts how a person could then easily touch the roof of these rooms, from which one could guess they were not so high. The doors of the rooms consisted of felts made of black fleece.
Said ibn Musayyab, one of the great imams of the Tabiun generation, expresses his grief over the demolishing of these rooms during the reign of the Umayyad dynasty and their incorporation to the Masjid:
“By Allah, how I would have wished these rooms to be left as they were, so that today’s generation and those to come and visit could see exactly how much the Messenger of Allah was content with in life and thereby turn away from hoarding up and boasting over wealth!” (Ibn Sad, I, 499-500)
As the Mosque was covered with date branches and leaves, when it rained, its surface of soil would give way to mud. Once during Ramadan, while the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) was in itiqaf, the splattering rain had inundated the Masjid and traces of mud could be seen on the Prophet’s (pbuh) face as he lead the fajr salat.
On another occasion, it had again rained, dampening the surface. A man then carried some sand inside his clothes and laid it on the surface to dry it out. Impressed, after completing the salat, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) expressed his satisfaction by remarking:
“How wonderful a measure!” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 15/458)
Once, on the way back from Damascus, Tamim’ud-Dari (r.a) brought with him a considerable amount of lamps, with oil and strings to go with them. It was Friday when he made his way inside the Masjid. He asked his servant Abu’l-Barrad to put some oil and water inside the lamps, hang them up inside the Masjid and light them up after sunset. Seeing the Masjid glowing with lamps upon entering, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) inquired whose idea this was.
“It was Tamim’s, Messenger of Allah”, was the response. Visibly happy, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) then said to Tamim:
“You have lit up Islam and adorned her Masjid, so may Allah light you up in Here and the Hereafter!” (Samhudi, II, 596-597; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, II, 18)
In the words of the Blessed Messenger (pbuh), the Masjid’un-Nabawi is one of the three mosques worthy of journeying to with the purposes of visiting and worshipping. (Bukhari, Fadl’us-Salat, 1; Muslim, Hajj, 505-510) He in fact says in a hadith:
“The area between my house and my minbar (pulpit) is a garden from among the gardens of Paradise. My minbar stands above my Pool (of Kawthar).” (Bukhari, Fadl’us-Salat, 5; Fadail’ul-Medina 11; Muslim, Hajj, 502)
On the words of the Prophet (pbuh), a salat offered at his Mosque reaps a reward a thousand times greater than that offered anywhere else, apart from Kaabah, the Sacred House. (Bukhari, Fadl’us-Salat, 1; Muslim, Hajj, 505-510)
According to the report of Anas (r.a), the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) used to address the congregation inside the Masjid resting against a date trunk. The need for a minbar was glaring, so it was put up, on which the Noble Prophet (pbuh) was to give his khutbah thereafter. But the moment the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) ascended the minbar for the first time, as if to give vent to the agony of being abandoned, a groan resembling that of a camel was heard from the trunk. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) then immediately came down from the minbar and patted the trunk awhile. Only after that did the trunk stop groaning and find peace. (Bukhari, Juma, 26; Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 6/3627)
“It cried because of falling distant to the dhikr of Allah that was previously carried out close to it”, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) said. (Bukhari, Manaqib, 25; Ahmad, III, 300)
Reports vary as to where the trunk was placed after the incident. One account states it was buried in a ditch dug up underneath the minbar, while according to another, it was placed on the ceiling. Wherever it may have been placed, one thing is known. During the rebuilding of the Masjid in the time of Caliph Othman (r.a), the trunk was taken by Ubayy ibn Kaab (r.a), who kept it in his house until it was entirely consumed by bugs.
In his Mathnawi, the great Mawlana Rumi makes the illustrious date trunk talk in a spiritual language:
“The Prophet (pbuh) descended from the minbar and patting the date trunk with his blessed hands, asked, with the profoundest of insights:
‘What is that you want, date trunk? Why do you weep? What is wrong?” The date trunk then began speaking in its own language, and shedding warm tears, said:
‘Your longing, Messenger of Allah, has burnt me to crisp…it has filled me with an incommunicable grief and yearning. The fortunate and happy pole against which you used to rest at sermon time was I. But now you have left me and ascended a minbar. The minbar is now your rest. But Messenger of Allah! Please acknowledge my pain, for which being on Earth could ever stand your separation?’
In response to the deep plea of love pronounced by the date trunk, the Prophet (pbuh) said, soothingly:
‘Since you wail from the pain of separation, date trunk, wish from me whatever you please! Should I request Allah to turn you into a lusciously green and vibrant tree, providing fruits for entire mankind, East and West? Or should I ask Him to make you into a cypress sapling of Paradise where you shall remain forever young and ripe, like the most beautiful of bodies?’
Receiving these gratifying compliments, the trunk then made the following request of the Prophet (pbuh), manifesting its scorching love deep inside:
“I want neither, Messenger of Allah. My only wish is to annihilate in your existence…therefore I plea you to bury and dispose of me and save me from my mortal body. For no matter how luscious and beautiful a tree may be, it takes its nutrition from the sun and water. But my life has received its nourishment from your own light. It has tasted the zest of providing a rest for you, warming in your warmth and scorching in your love. I may no longer be separated from this sweet pleasure. I want that which is eternal. Bury and dispose of me in such a way that I will be able to revive with your one and only light and become eternal.’
That date trunk was buried so it could be resurrected on the Day of Judgment like a human being.”
Immediately after gracing Medina, one of the first initiatives the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) took towards instituting a tight knit Islamic community was the building of the Masjid. Casting off differences of wealth and status and gathering at the house of Allah, glory unto Him, five times a day, no doubt plays an enormous role in establishing brotherhood among Believers. It is for no other reason that Muslim towns have generally been founded around mosques, which have acted as hubs for the neighborhoods around it, in a way accommodating an outward expansion of settlement.
Together with being a precinct of worship, the Masjid, during the Age of Bliss, was a school, an assembly for deciding matters at hand, a center for discussing administrative and military issues, a hospital and a place of leisure. The Masjid also provided boarding for unmarried or homeless Companions who frequented the lessons, talks and dhikr assemblies held there, effectively making it, at the same time, a guesthouse.
Encouraging Communal Salat
Social training comprises one of the most vital fundamentals of Islam. The opening phase of the social training a Muslim receives is through offering communal salat, in jamaah, the sturdiest pillar of deed that keeps Muslim society at its feet. Wherever it may be, communal salat serves to actualize the social spirit of Islam. Wanting to institute unity and solidarity among its members, Islam has thus desired the offering of salat, a trademark characteristic of a Muslim, in jamaah, and has considered attending mosques a testimony of being a Believer. The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) states:
“When you see a person make a habit of attending mosques then bear witness to his iman inside, for Allah declares:
إِنَّمَا يَعْمُرُ مَسَاجِدَ اللّٰهِ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّٰهِ
‘The mosques of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day…’ (at-Tawba, 18)” (Ibn Majah, Masajid, 19)
The importance of maintaining mosques physically is equaled by maintaining them spiritually through attending communal salat, which is a crucial duty of servanthood. The words below, narrated through Abu Hurayra (r.a), declare:
“Truly strange on Earth are four things: The Quran in the memory of a tyrant, a mosque inside which salat is not offered despite being in a Muslim land, a Quran unread despite hanging on a wall inside a house and a righteous living amid the corrupted.” (Daylami, III, 108/4301)
Allah, glory unto Him, places so enormous an importance on offering salat in jamaah that He commands it even in battle and teaches the exact manner of doing it in the Quran.
Abu Hurayra (r.a) explains:
“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had once taken a break in his journey somewhere between Dajnan and Usfan. The idolaters conspired to:
‘…prepare and attack the Believers right at asr salat time, for it is a salat dearer to them than their children and parents!’ It was then that Jibril –upon him peace- came to the Messenger of Allah with the 102nd ayah of surah Nisa which explains the manner in which salat is to be offered during battle.” (Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 4/21)
No matter how unfavorable the conditions may be, a Muslim therefore must adjourn salat and suspend its offering in jamaah.
Some hadith of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) strongly encouraging communal salat are:
“Salat offered in jamaah is twenty-seven times more rewarding than that offered alone.” (Bukhari, Adhan, 30)
“Whoever attends the mosque day and night, for his every journey to and fro, Allah will prepare him a treat in Paradise.” (Bukhari, Adhan, 37)
“Each time one takes a thorough wudu and sets out for salat, Allah will give a reward every time he raises his right foot to take a step, and erase a misdeed every time he steps his left foot down, whether the mosque be near or distant. If he makes it to the mosque and offers the salat in jamaah, his sins will be forgiven…and this is valid even if he arrives at the mosque only to see some part of the salat already completed, given he joins them and completes the remainder on his own immediately after. The same goes even if he finds the salat entirely completed and therefore is made to offer the salat on his own.” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 50/563)
“A Believer who waits in a mosque for a salat to begin is considered to be in salat.” (Ibn Majah, Masajid, 14)
Abu Hurayra (r.a) narrates:
“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) once asked, ‘Should I inform you of the deeds through which Allah erases sins and increases ranks?’
‘Please do, Messenger of Allah’, replied we.
‘Taking wudu despite all the trouble, increasing the steps to arrive at mosques and anticipating the next salat right after the other…Such are true ribat.” (Muslim, Taharat, 41)
Yazid ibn Amir (r.a) recounts another occasion:
“I once arrived next to the Messenger of Allah while he was offering salat. I sat and did not join the jamaah. When the Messenger of Allah turned towards us after completing the salat, he noticed me sitting on the side:
‘Have you not become Muslim, Yazid?’ he asked.
‘Of course I have, Messenger of Allah’ I responded.
‘Then what is it that keeps you away from offering your salat in jamaah?’ he then inquired.
‘Supposing you must have already offered the salat’, I said, ‘I offered it at home.’ Thereupon the Messenger of Allah advised:
‘If you come to the mosque and find people offering salat, join them. It will count as a bonus if you have already offered it; and what you have already offered will count as the obligatory (fard).’” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 56/577)
Uncompromising in making any allowances for communal salat, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) wanted Muslims to regulate their situations and routines in accordance with the five daily adhans. Exemplary of this attitude is the case of Abdullah ibn Ummi Maqtum (r.a), who came to the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh) and asked:
“I am a blind man, Messenger of Allah, as you know, and my house is far from the Masjid. I do have a guide but he fails to help me. Can I have permission to offer my salats at home?”
“Do you hear the adhan?” then inquired the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) to which Ibn Maqtum replied positively.
“I cannot”, then said the Noble Messenger, “think of any excuses for you to remain behind from the jamaah.” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 46/552)
Concerning the attendance of distant mosques, the Blessed Messenger (pbuh) has additionally stated:
“To reap the greatest rewards from salat are those who come from afar by walking…and he who waits to offer the salat behind the imam in jamaah receives a far greater reward than he who quickly offers it at home and returns to sleep.” (Bukhari, Adhan, 31)
“The further the distance of one’s house is from the mosque, the greater are his rewards on his way thereto.” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 48/556)
The Noble Prophet (pbuh) has issued various warnings to those who fail to attend communal salat. Explaining the following is Ubayy ibn Kaab (r.a):
“On one occasion the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) led us in fajr salat, before turning around and asking whether a certain person was present. It turned out he was not. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) then asked whether another person was present. It turned out that he, too, was also absent. Thereupon the Prophet (pbuh) said:
‘Such are the two salats that are the most burdensome for hypocrites. Had you known of the enormity of their rewards, you would have attended the jamaah, even if you had to crawl your way here. The first row is like that of the angels. Had you known of the virtue of lining up there, you would have competed with each other for a spot. A salat one offers with another is more propitious and has greater rewards than that he offers on his own. A salat one offers with two persons is likewise more propitious and superior to that offered with only one person. The more the amount of people there are, the more Allah is delighted.’” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 47/554)
The Prophet (pbuh) has said, in another hadith:
“The salat of a mosque’s neighbor is perfected only if he offers it at the mosque.” (Ibn Abi Shayba, I, 303)
When asked about who was intended by the expression ‘a mosque’s neighbor’, Ali (r.a) explained:
“Everyone, who hears the call of adhan.” (Bayhaki, as-Sunanu’l-Kubra, III, 57)
The below words of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) in turn contain ominous threats for those who abandon communal salat:
“If in a village or in a meadow there are three people who do not offer their salat in jamaah, shaytan will besiege and defeat them. Therefore continue attending jamaah, for a sheep that abandons the flock is carried away by the wolf.” (Abu Dawud, Salat, 46/547)
“Either people stop abandoning jamaah, or Allah will seal their hearts and render them among the heedless.” (Ibn Majah, Masajid, 17)
The First Adhan
Only the words ‘to salat, to salat’ were called out in the beginning to inform Believers of the time of worship. The blessing of adhan was to come awhile after.
In the meantime, the Noble Messenger (pbuh) was consulting his Companions about the ideal way of calling Believers to salat. “Let’s put up a flag at the time of salat”, some said, “…and Believers could notify each other as soon they see it.” But the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) did not fancy the idea; neither was he keen on the proposal of blowing a horn, which he dismissed for being “an instrument of the Jews.” Again, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), was not fond of the idea of ringing bells, which was also brought up in the discussion, as it was “a typical Christian practice.” Abdullah ibn Zayd (r.a), a Companion present throughout the discussion and able to empathize with the feelings of the Noble Messenger (pbuh), made his way back home. There, as he lay in a state between slumbering and wakefulness, he had a vision of the adhan. He immediately returned next to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), telling him how he had been “taught the adhan as he was lying down.”
After finding out that Omar (r.a) had also seen the same dream, the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh) commanded Bilal (r.a) to repeat aloud the words Abdullah ibn Zayd (r.a) had heard. The echoes of adhan were thus heard for the very first time. (Abu Dawud, Salat, 27/498)
Adhan thus became a Sunnah, strong enough to be on level par with compulsoriness (wajib), for it is attested to by an affirmative dream, the practice of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) and Divine Revelation, which cites:
وَإِذَا نَادَيْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلاَة
“And when you call to prayer…” (al-Maida, 58)
Although it was Abdullah ibn Zayd (r.a) who proved to be the medium in sanctioning the adhan, it must be borne in mind that it was always the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) who was subject to Divine Revelation and heavenly inspiration. Only after his approval was the adhan established as the means of calling Believers to mosques. Once Bilal Habashi (r.a) called the first adhan, the Divine invitation reached every corner of Medina and the Believers paced exuberantly towards the Masjid underneath skies shaking with the echoes of the adhan.
Despite the proposal of numerous means of inviting Believers to the mosque, the Light of Being (pbuh) disapproved of all of them apart from the adhan, which he instated with great enthusiasm. The adhan is undoubtedly a precise summary of Islam’s conception of Allah, glory unto Him and the Prophet (pbuh), as well as its notion of worshipping and life in general, to all of which it then helps bond the Believer. It could be said that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) hence decided on the best option possible in inviting people to salat.
Confirmed by both the Quran and Sunnah, the adhan has continued for over the past 1400 odd years to give Muslims an invitation from the heavens. It is a universal and international call for salat, for which reason it cannot be recited in any other form than its original. Virtually the heavenly chant of the skies, it summons those who hear it to compliance.
The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) has said:
“When you hear the adhan, repeat it with the muaddhin, word for word. Then send me a greeting, for the mercy Allah shows for it is ten times the amount of one’s greeting. Then pray that I get to receive the wasila, a rank in Paradise that will be granted to just one servant of Allah. I anticipate that I shall be that one. I will consider myself obliged to intercede on behalf of each person who asks from Allah the wasila on my behalf.” (Muslim, Salat; Abu Dawud, Salat, 26/523)
In another hadith, the Blessed Messenger (pbuh) explicitly assures Paradise for those who repeat the words of the muaddhin upon hearing the adhan. And regarding the prayer to be made after, he has said:
“I will most definitely intercede on behalf of a person who repeats the following after hearing the adhan: O the Lord of this perfect invitation and the offered salat! Grant Muhammad (pbuh) wasila and fadila and resurrect him upon the rank of Mahmud which you have promised!” (Bukhari, Adhan, 8; Abu Dawud, Salat, 37/529)
The virtues of adhan have been the subject of many ahadith, some of which are below:
“Two prayers are never or very seldom refused: The first is the prayer made following the adhan, and the second is the prayer made during battle, just when both sides launch into each other.” (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 39/2540)
“Had people known of the rewards awaiting those who call out the adhan and those standing in the first row during salat, and they had no other way to decide than to draw lots, they certainly would have.” (Bukhari, Adhan, 9, 32; Muslim, Salat, 129)
“Whenever the adhan is called for salat, Shaytan flees, noisily breaking wind, and escapes to a place where he cannot hear the adhan. Once the adhan comes to an end, he returns; and runs off once again when the qamah starts. He then returns once more, creeping into passage that runs to the heart of a person, whispering ‘think this, remember that’; things which were previously no way near one’s thoughts, to the extent that one taken in by these whispers can no longer remember which stage of the salat he is in.” (Bukhari, Adhan, 4; Muslim, Salat, 19)
The Suffa: The School of Knowledge and Wisdom
One part of the Masjid was reserved for a Suffa, an arbour covered with date leaves lodging Muslims who were underprivileged or who had no families, known the people of the Suffa. Their numbers would vary depending on the death, the marriage or the departure of its members for reasons like relocation or going to battle; though at one stage it has been reported to have reached seventy. There are some sources which make mention of over a hundred Companions reportedly of the Suffa. Personally covering their living expenses was the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), who would also encourage well-to-do Companions to lend out their assistance.
Abu Hurayra (r.a), himself a member of the Suffa, recounts:
“The folk of the Suffa were guests of Islam. Neither did they have a family to take refuge in, nor anyone of close kin. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to forward every donation that came his way to them, never sparing any for himself. If what came was a present, he would then only take a portion for himself, and again forward the rest to the Suffa, sharing with them even the presents given to him.” (Bukhari, Riqaq, 17)
Abu Hurayra (r.a) again describes:
“I myself saw seventy people of the Suffa. None of them had clothes to cover their entire bodies. They either had an izar to cover themselves from waist down, or a rida from waist up; so they would tie their clothes around their necks. Some of these used to reach half way between their thighs, while some to the soles on their feet, though still, to prevent their privates from being exposed, they used to hold their clothes in place.” (Bukhari, Salat, 58)
The following words are from Fadala ibn Ubayd (r.a):
“While the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would lead the salat, some would pass out behind him would from excruciating hunger. These were none other than the people of the Suffa. Arabs of the desert who saw them used to think they were insane. After completing the salat, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would go next to those who had passed out from hunger, and console them with the words, ‘If you knew the rewards prepared for you next to Allah, you would desire even greater poverty and neediness.’” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 39/2368)
Abdurrahman ibn Abi Bakr (r.a) narrates the following incident:
“The people of the Suffa were extremely poor. I remember the Prophet (pbuh) one day say, ‘Whoever has food for two, take a person from the Suffa as the third, and whoever has food for four, take a fifth, even a sixth from the Suffa.’
Abu Bakr, my father, brought three from among them to our house. And the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) took ten of them. I assure you by Allah that the food increased with every bite we took. The guests eventually ate to their hearts content, yet the food was standing there even more than it was before. My father stared awhile at the food and then asked his wife what was going on, who could do so little as to remark, ‘I swear by the light of my eye that the food is three times more than it was before.’” (Bukhari, Mawaqit, 41; Manaqib, 25; Adab, 87-88; Muslim, Ashriba, 176-177)
This scene is an actual instance of the abundance that comes with being sincere and generous.
The members of the Suffa would work whenever the opportunity presented itself, and give themselves to worship and acquiring knowledge at all times else. Indeed, those with enough strength and vigor would do whatever they could, from carrying buckets of water or wood on their backs from the surrounding hilltops, purchasing food for their friends with the money they earned. Cautious about preserving their dignity, they would refrain from all behavior that could cast a shadow on their character. They hence abstained from from asking things of others.
The people of the Suffa were the closest to the source of the Religion, the most to breathe the atmosphere of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). They were therefore educated quicker than others. Headed by the Noble Prophet (pbuh), their teachers also comprised of prominent Companions such as Ubayy ibn Kaab, Abdullah ibn Masud, Muadh ibn Jabal and Ubada ibn Samit (r.huma).
The Companions of the Suffa were subjected to an advanced and an accelerated training, as testified by the fact that all of the mukthirun, Companions with the most number of hadith narrations, hailed from the Suffa. The most renowned of them Abu Hurayra (r.a) is known to have commented:
“People are amazed that ‘Abu Hurayra narrates a lot of ahadith’. But while our brothers of the Muhajirun were occupied with trading in the bazaar and those of the Ansar were busy with ploughing their lands, Abu Hurayra was by the side of the Messenger of Allah, in return for nothing worldly, witnessing many things they were not able to witness and learning what they could not.” (Bukhari, Ilm, 42)
Delegates temporarily visiting Medina for the purpose of learning Islam were simultaneously meeting with the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh) and learning from the Companions of the Suffa what they knew not. Whenever the need of sending a teacher to tribes that had just recently entered Islam arose, they were almost always selected from among the ranks of the Suffa.
Virtue wise, the Companions of the Suffa are ranked only behind Khulafa’ur-Rashidin, or the Pious Caliphs, Asharat’ul-Mubashshara, the ten Companions promised with Paradise while still alive, and the Ashab’ul-Badr, the Companions who took arms at the Battle of Badr. The Almighty declares:
لِلْفُقَرَاء الَّذِينَ أُحصِرُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّٰهِ لاَ يَسْتَطِيعُونَ ضَرْبًا فِي الأَرْضِ يَحْسَبُهُمُ الْجَاهِلُ أَغْنِيَاء مِنَ التَّعَفُّفِ تَعْرِفُهُم بِسِيمَاهُمْ لاَ يَسْأَلُونَ النَّاسَ إِلْحَافًا وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللّٰهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ
“Alms are for the poor who are confined in the way of Allah – they cannot go about in the land; the ignorant man thinks them to be rich on account of their abstaining from begging; you can recognise them by the mark in their faces; they do not beg from men importunately; and whatever good thing you spend, surely Allah knows it.” (al-Baqara, 273)
Habbab (r.a) describes:
“Aqra ibn Habis and Uyayna ibn Hisn, idolaters notorious for their conceit, once came next to the Messenger of Allah, finding him seated among poor and lonesome Muslims like Bilal, Suhayb, Ammar and myself. Looking down on us, they said to the Messenger of Allah, contemptuously, ‘We want you to reserve a separate place for us, so that the other Arabs are made aware of our superiority over them. You very well know that many delegates from tribes all around Arabia come and visit us. We would feel embarrassed if they saw us in the same environment as these slaves. So send them away when we come…but you can, if you want, sit with them when we are not around!’
‘Very well’, said the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).
‘We cannot take that as an answer’, they retorted. ‘Put that pledge for us in written form.’ So the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sent for Ali (r.a) and a leaf to record the agreement. In the meantime, we were still sitting in a corner. It was then that Jibril (a.s) arrived with the Revelation:
وَلاَ تَطْرُدِ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ مَا عَلَيْكَ مِنْ حِسَابِهِم مِّن شَيْءٍ مَا مِنْ حِسَابِكَ عَلَيْهِم
مِّن شَيْءٍ فَتَطْرُدَهُمْ فَتَكُونَ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَوَ
“And do not drive away those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, they desire only His favor; neither are you answerable for any reckoning of theirs, nor are they answerable for any reckoning of yours, so that you should drive them away and thus be of the unjust.” (al-Anam, 52)
وَكَذَلِكَ فَتَنَّا بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لِّيَقُولواْ أَهَـؤُلاء مَنَّ اللّٰهُ
عَلَيْهِم مِّن بَيْنِنَا أَلَيْسَ اللّٰهُ بِأَعْلَمَ بِالشَّاكِرِينَ
“And thus do We try some of them by others so that they say: Are these they upon whom Allah has conferred benefit from among us? Does not Allah best know the grateful?” (al-Anam, 53)
وَإِذَا جَاءكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلاَمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ
كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ
“And when those who believe in Our communications come to you, say: Peace be on you, your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself…” (al-Anam, 54)
The Prophet of Allah (pbuh) thereupon immediately put the leaf he had to record the agreement aside and called us next to him. When we went to him, we found him saying, ‘Peace be on you; your Lord has ordained mercy on Himself…’
We were sitting so close to him that our knees were resting against his. After the Revelation, we continued sitting with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) like old and he would leave whenever he wished. But after the Revelation:
وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا
“And withhold yourself with those who call on their Lord, morning and evening, desiring His goodwill, and let not your eyes pass from them, desiring the beauties of this world’s life…” (al-Kahf, 28), he abandoned doing that, too. After that time we began to act considerately as well. After sitting with the Messenger of Allah for a considerable amount of time, we would show discretion by acting first and leaving, so that he could feel at ease as he parted ways with us.” (Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 7; Tabari, Tafsir, VII, 262-263)
Once the above Revelation came, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), immediately, got up and went searching for those poor Believers, soon finding them at the back part of the Masjid, worshipping. Setting his eyes on them, he then said, “Praise be to Allah who has commanded me to withhold myself with these people from my ummah! Now, my life and death shall be your side!” (Wahidi, p. 306)
Recounting the following is Abu Said (r.a):
“I was seated with a group of poor men from among the Muhajirun. Some of them, without adequate clothing to even cover their bodies, were ducking under the shadows of others for cover. Someone was reciting us some Quran. Suddenly, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) appeared and waited awhile, standing. Upon his arrival, the person reciting the Quran stopped his recital. Then the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) greeted us and asked:
‘What are you doing?’
‘He is our teacher,’ we said. ‘He reads us the Quran and we lend ear to the Book of Allah.’
‘Thanks be to Allah who has created, among my ummah, those I have been command to bear patient with,’ then said the Prophet of Allah (pbuh).
Then with supreme modesty, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sat amongst us. Signaling with his finger, he said:
‘Form a circle like this…’
We thereupon formed a circle around the Messenger (pbuh), facing him. That was when he gave us the following good news:
‘Glad tidings to you, the poor folk of Muhajirun…I give you the good news of a full light in the Hereafter. You will enter Paradise half a day before the rich…a half a day that equals the sum of five hundred years on Earth!’” (Abu Dawud, Ilm, 13/3666)
The Blessed Prophet’s (pbuh) Marriage to the Honorable Aisha
The marriage between the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) and the honorable Aisha (r.ha) was actually contracted in Mecca prior to the Hegira, actualized, however, afterward in Medina.
Aisha (r.ha) recounts the event as follows:
“When the Messenger of Allah immigrated to Medina, he left her daughters and me behind in Mecca. Later on, he sent Zayd ibn Haritha and Abu Rafi to Mecca, giving them two camels and 500 dirhams to cover their expenses of travel. Likewise, my father Abu Bakr sent Abdullah ibn Urayqit with them, with two or three additional camels, with the message telling my brother Abdullah to arrange for my mother Umm Ruman, my sister Asma and me to be sent on camelback to Medina. Abu Rafi sorted the camels for Fatima, Umm Kulthum and Sawda bint Zama, while Zayd saw to arranging mounts for Umm Ayman and her son Usama. So we all set out. When we reached Bayz near Mina, our camel ran away, with my mother and I astride inside its hawdaj. My mother was terrified; ‘pity on my daughter’, I was hearing her say. But a short time later, Allah had our camel calmed, and we rejoined the rest.
We eventually made it to Medina safe and sound. Even though I had already been wed with the Messenger of Allah in Mecca, I continued to stay with my family. At that stage, the Masjid and the surrounding chambers had been built and the Messenger of Allah moved into his own room, as did his family. After awhile, my father asked the Messenger of Allah what was keeping him from actualizing the marriage.
“The mahr”, he replied.
Subsequently, my father lent a helping hand by sending him twelve-and-a-half uqiyya, with which in the month of Shawwal the Messenger of Allah actualized our marriage. Neither a camel nor a sheep was slaughtered for the wedding; only Saad ibn Ubadah (r.a) sent food inside a large container.
The Situation in Medina
The Medinan Era, when Islam and Muslims reigned sovereign, was a lively and vigorous period, replete with propitious activity, in which the universal principles of Islam gained an unshaKaable foothold; and the blood shed throughout a number of battles only served to reinforce that further.
At first, the situation in Medina was not entirely uncomplicated, despite the town having welcomed the incoming immigrants with an open heart. There were some ensuing dangers, aggravated primarily by the hypocrites and Jews, who owing to their dissident attitudes towards the rise of Islam, relentlessly sought to sow the seeds of enmity.
The hallmark of the hypocrites was their persistence with their idolater beliefs of old, despite appearing to have accepted Islam on the surface. Allah, glory unto Him, who would ultimately see his Light through, in the meantime, launched a menacing threat against them:
وَمِمَّنْ حَوْلَكُم مِّنَ الأَعْرَابِ مُنَافِقُونَ وَمِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ مَرَدُواْ عَلَى النِّفَاقِ لاَ تَعْلَمُهُمْ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُهُمْ سَنُعَذِّبُهُم مَّرَّتَيْنِ
ثُمَّ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَى عَذَابٍ عَظِيمٍ
“And from among those who are round about you of the dwellers of the desert there are hypocrites, and from among the people of Medina (also); they are stubborn in hypocrisy; you do not know them; We know them; We will chastise them twice then shall they be turned back to a grievous chastisement.” (at-Tawba, 101)
So skilful were the hypocrites in their deceit that not even could the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) sense their ways, gaining insight only through a related Divine Revelation, and that, when it came. The hypocrites were exceptionally wary of engaging in behavior that could incure the least disapproval and were hence acting as covertly as one could.
The Meccan idolaters, who had forced the Muslims to immigrate, were meanwhile keeping busy with fanning the flames of malice sparked by the hypocrites of Medina. Corresponding with the hypocrites on a regular basis, terrified by the thought that Islam might flourish, the Meccans were inciting their comrades-in-arms to raise their swords against the Muslims and wipe them of the face of Medina. These provocations were echoing a threatening tone; should the Medinans shy away from dealing with Muslims, then the Meccan idolaters were assuring them that they would come, backed by the entire tribes of the peninsula, and do the job themselves, but with one difference of detail that they would put to the sword indiscriminately the entire population of Medina, Muslim and others alike. To show they were equal to the task, the idolaters even sent a mob to Medina, which looted their stock grazing in the outskirts of the town.
The situation had become delicate and danger was visible on the horizon. The Believers began to guard the streets at night, taking every preventative measure against a possible raid. On the end of sleepless nights was even the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). Small forces were being sent outside of Medina to keep an eye out over the town and not to get blind sighted in case of an attack.
On the other hand were the Jewish tribes, the archenemies of Believers, constantly on the prowl for the right moment to strike. Owing to their religious heritage, they had gotten themselves in the fiercest tug of war with the Muslims and were causing much headache. The first surah to be revealed in Medina, al-Baqara, had thus put great emphasis in inviting the Jews to Islam. Following a general invitation handed to out to entire humankind, the Chapter makes elaborate mention of the ‘Children of Israel’ between its 40th and 162nd ayah, heightening its reference, in particular, in the 123rd, which in effect makes nearly more than half the surah reserved to them. The Divine expressions alternate from addressing the Jews directly to providing a description of them in the third person; and by virtue of refuting their claims and reminding them of the blessings they had been bestowed with, they seek to rekindle the light of iman in the hearts of Jews.
The Jewish poet Kaab ibn Ashraf had made a habit of satirizing the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), spurring Meccans against him, under the influence of which the poets of Quraysh would follow suit. Hassan ibn Thabit (r.a), the greatest poet of the Ansar, thereupon asked the Noble Prophet’s (pbuh) permission to retaliate. His permission was granted.
Poetry, then, had the force of what the media has today. The Noble Messenger (pbuh) had placed a pulpit inside the Masjid especially for Hassan ibn Thabit, who would voice his poetic satires in defense of the malignant words leveled at the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).
“As long as he defends the Messenger of Allah”, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) would say, “the Holy Spirit shall be with Hassan.” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 87/5015)
At the face of Jewish and idolater persistence in meting out torment to both the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) and the Believers, the Almighty was urging His Beloved with patience and forgiveness. A day before the Battle of Badr, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), astride a donkey with Usama ibn Zayd behind him, went to pay the ill Saad bin Ubada a visit. On the way, he came upon a group, sitting around, which also included Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul, who still had not professed his ‘outward’ acceptance of Islam; he was openly proclaiming his non-belief. Also seated alongside him were some Believers, including Abdullah ibn Rawaha, as well as Jews and idolaters. The donkey, on which the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh) was astride with Ibn Zayd, whirled up some dust as it passed, reaching the seated group. Covering his nose with the tip of his shirt, Abdullah ibn Ubayy retorted:
“Don’t raise dust on us!”
Dismounting his ride, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) then greeted the crowd and reciting some Quran invited them to believe in Allah, glory unto Him.
“Why are you telling us these things?” Abdullah bin Ubayy retorted once again. “If the things you say are true, then leave us alone…go home and tell them to those who come to listen to you!”
“Much the contrary”, intervened Abdullah ibn Rawaha. “Visit our assemblies, Messenger of Allah, for we take much delight from hearing your words!”
This was followed by a heated, all-in dispute between the Muslims, idolaters and even Jews. They were on the brink of going at each others throats but the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) managed to calm everybody down. Once things settled back to normal, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) mounted his ride and continued on his way, eventually arriving next to Saad ibn Ubada, telling him of the ordeal.
“Forgive them, Messenger of Allah; overlook their rudeness”, Saad ibn Ubada consoled. “I assure you by the One who has sent you with the Book that right before you arrived as the Messenger of Allah, these people were getting ready to declare Ibn Ubayy leader and crown him as they crown kings. But when Allah sent you to us with the True Religion, his dreams of becoming a king were shattered and that left him in distress…it was like he could not even breathe anymore. His grudge is probably from that.”
The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) thus forgave Abdullah ibn Ubayy over his antics. The below ayah was revealed in relation:
لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِي أَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُواْ أَذًى كَثِيراً
وَإِن تَصْبِرُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ فَإِنَّ ذَلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الأُمُور
“Assuredly ye will be tried in your property and in your persons, and ye will hear much wrong from those who were given the Scripture before you, and from the idolaters. But if ye persevere and ward off (evil), then that is of the steadfast heart of things.” (Al Imran, 186) Prior to the revealing of the ayah that have permission to take up arms, both the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) and the Companions would forgive, as they had been commanded, the offensive and malignant behavior that came from the way of idolaters and Jews.
Permission for Battle: “Fight those who fight you!”
The Noble Messenger (pbuh) had not been given permission at first to take up arms against the idolaters, responsible only with inviting them to believe in the unity of Allah, glory unto Him, and in turn endure and turn a blind eye to the possible retaliations of their ignorant, in the form of torture and malignant behavior. Heartened, the idolaters of Quraysh were not letting the least opportunity go to exact torment on the followers of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), in hope of turning them back to their pagan beliefs of old. And through persistently meting out the most ruthless forms of torture, they did succeed with some, while others were forced to leave their hometown for Abyssinia and then Medina, just for the sake of preserving their faith.
Events were taking such sharp turns for the worst that it had become almost impossible to maintain peace through the policy of ‘endurance and patience’, observed by the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) until then. Even the adoption of self-defense could not even stem the tides of agony, forcing the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) to seek refuge in the Almighty, and anticipate a relieving Revelation.
Ultimately, as the idolaters were at an all-time low in their adamancy of denying all the blessings bestowed on them by the Almighty and of rejecting of the Noble Messenger (pbuh) ; and at a time, when they were a cause of anxiety for Muslims even after their immigration, the ayat giving Muslims permission to fight back were revealed, stressing the need of self-defense which had by now become a matter of immediate urgency:
أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَن يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللّٰهُ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللّٰهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللّٰهِ كَثِيراً وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللّٰهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ
“Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them. Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is Allah. And had there not been Allah’s repelling some people by others, certainly there would have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques in which Allah’s name is much remembered; and surely Allah will help him who helps His cause; most surely Allah is Strong, Mighty.” (al-Hajj, 39-40)
وَقَاتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّٰهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ
وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ إِنَّ اللّٰهَ لاَ يُحِبِّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
“And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.” (al-Baqara, 190)
And as for the legitimate reasons and purposes for fighting, the Almighty proclaims:
وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ
الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلّٰهِ فَإِنِ انتَهَوْاْ فَإِنَّ اللّٰهَ
“And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah…” (al-Anfal, 39)
The permission to fight is a result of the hostile attitude adopted against Islam and Muslims. Jihad has thus been decreed obligatory in order to safeguard and defend, against assaults, the daruuraat’ul-khamsa, or five imperatives, values which are vital for the survival of the existence of society. These are the protection of property, human life and progeny, reason and religion. The Divine Command carries the purpose of punishing those liable for the crime of swaying others away from the Truth and getting rid of all hindrances that stand in the way of its communication.
That Muhammad Mustafa, the pinnacle of all prophets (pbuh), sent as a mercy to entire humankind, had to engage in great and demanding battles despite nurturing an unfathomable compassion enough to take entire humankind under its shade, was necessitated by the need of establishing social peace and stability and consolidating the struggle for tawhid. The hadith, “I am a prophet of mercy and warfare”, (Ahmad, IV, 396) should therefore be understood along these lines.
Accompanying the ayah that gave permission to fight back were others encouraging the Prophet (pbuh) and the Believers to act in accordance with the Divine sanction:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ حَسْبُكَ اللّٰهُ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ حَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَى الْقِتَالِ
“O Prophet! Allah is sufficient for you and for such of the believers who follow you. O Prophet! Urge the believers to war.” (al-Anfal, 64-65)
أَلاَ تُقَاتِلُونَ قَوْمًا نَّكَثُواْ أَيْمَانَهُمْ وَهَمُّواْ بِإِخْرَاجِ الرَّسُولِ وَهُم بَدَؤُوكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ أَتَخْشَوْنَهُمْ فَاللّٰهُ أَحَقُّ أَن تَخْشَوْهُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤُمِنِينَ قَاتِلُوهُمْ يُعَذِّبْهُمُ اللّٰهُ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ وَيُخْزِهِمْ وَيَنصُرْكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَيَشْفِ صُدُورَ قَوْمٍ مُّؤْمِنِينَ وَيُذْهِبْ غَيْظَ قُلُوبِهِمْ
“What! Will you not fight those who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they attacked you first; do you fear them? But Allah is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers. Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace, and assist you against them and heal the hearts of a believing people. And remove the rage of their hearts; and Allah turns (mercifully) to whom He pleases, and Allah is Knowing, Wise.” (at-Tawba, 13-15)
In addition, there came Revelations warning against falling behind from jihad:
كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ
شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئًا
وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللّٰهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
“Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows; you know not.” (al-Baqara, 216)
مَا كَانَ لِأَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهُم مِّنَ الأَعْرَابِ أَن يَتَخَلَّفُواْ عَن رَّسُولِ اللّٰهِ وَلاَ يَرْغَبُواْ بِأَنفُسِهِمْ عَن نَّفْسِهِ
“It is not for the townsfolk of Al-Madinah and for those around them of the wandering Arabs so stay behind the messenger of Allah and prefer their lives to his life.” (at-Tawba, 120)
قُلْ إِن كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُواْ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ اللّٰهُ بِأَمْرِهِ وَاللّٰهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ
“Say: If your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your tribe, and the wealth you have acquired, and merchandise for which you fear that there will no sale, and dwellings you desire are dearer to you than Allah and His messenger and striving in His way: then wait till Allah brings His command to pass. Allah guides not the wrongdoing folk.” (at-Tawba, 24)
Compliant with these Divine commands, following the lead of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), the Believers began a serious preparation to combat the idolaters.
Jihad in the way of Allah
Jihad, taken in the general sense, is for a person to engage in a struggle to refine and cleanse his ego, to fulfill the commands of the Almighty with utmost sincerity, to refrain from the impermissible, to enjoin his fellow Muslims with the good and hope for their best, to explain the principles of Islam to nonbelievers and provide a medium for their guidance and to utilize all means, be it one’s life, wealth or speech, in protecting the religion and all that which is sacred and also in eliminating all barriers that prevent the communication of Truth, through a struggle of all kinds, certainly including, though not only, warfare.
The term jihad therefore extends to and comprises all individual and social struggles and actions that are aimed towards purifying each ‘self’, and instituting an Islamic way of life, only for the sake of Allah, glory unto Him, and in the way of glorifying His religion. One would be far from exaggerating in saying that the twenty-three year period of prophethood was an exclusive commitment to this purpose.
The Almighty has rendered one’s life and wealth means for tribulation, cautioning on many an occasion to use them instead as means for struggling in His Way, as elaborated in the ayah below:
لَـكِنِ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مَعَهُ جَاهَدُواْ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمُ الْخَيْرَاتُ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
“But the messenger and those who believe with him strive with their wealth and their lives. Such are they for whom are the good things. Such are they who are the successful.” (at-Tawba, 88)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا هَلْ أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَى تِجَارَةٍ تُنجِيكُم مِّنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّٰهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّٰهِ بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“O you who believe! Shall I show you a commerce that will save you from a painful doom? You should believe in Allah and His messenger, and should strive for the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives. That is better for you, if you did but know.” (as-Saff, 10-11)
The Companions one day asked the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) to tell them of the most favorable person.
“A Believer”, he said, “who uses his life and wealth for jihad in the way of Allah.” (Bukhari, Jihad, Muslim, Imarat, 122)
Taking up jihad in the way of Allah, as commanded by both the Quran and Sunnah, does not only imply warfare; for taking up arms is the last resort, allowable only at times when there arises an immediate urgency to end oppression and instate justice. The ultimate jihad is that which aims at conquering hearts, which can be undertaken through various means, first and foremost through conveying the truth verbally or in writing.
Muslims had not yet acquired a serious power for warfare during the Meccan period, in spite of the revelation of numerous ayat on jihad. To comply with the Divine command at the face of the terror of the people of ignorance, Muslims were then simply embodying the character of a true Believer, in the name of advancing Islam and all notions signified by it, including truth and justice. Their approach is dubbed by the Quran as the ‘great strive/jihad’.
فَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا
“So obey not the disbelievers, but strive against them herewith with a great strive.” (al-Furqan, 52)
The expression جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا,, ‘a great strive’, in the above ayah, alludes to communicating the word of the Almighty with both speech and behavior and mobilizing all possible means to glorify the Truth, for the sake of uniting humankind with the guiding peace and happiness. Undertaking jihad by virtue of tabligh, or passing on the word of Truth, is doubtless more important and effective than taking up arms. Indeed, during the first few years, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), himself, undertook his jihad simply with the Quran.
Motivated with the purpose of guiding humankind, the Quran encourages on numerous instances to undertake “jihad in the way of Allah”, only a section of which, however, pertains to qital, actual warfare, an option eligible only when the situation deems it necessary.
A majority of the battles in which the Noble Prophet (pbuh) participated were defensive battles, as was the case in Badr, Uhud and Handak. Campaigns such as Muta and Tabuk were precautionary offensives taken to subdue probable attacks. The capturing of Mecca, on the other hand, took place only due to the Meccan violation of the treaty only recently made, actuated with the intention of restoring the breached rights of Muslims. Thus in effect, a profound notion of compassion and justice underpinned all the battles the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh) waged and a sure mercy did they give rise to. In Islam, warfare is certainly not aimed towards taking lives, seizing spoils, laying destruction on Earth, obtaining personal gains or giving vent to feelings of revenge; much the contrary, it carries the purpose of eliminating oppression, ensuring freedom of belief, leading mankind to guidance and purging all kinds of injustice.
An overview of the all the battles the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was engaged in, shows in no uncertain terms the fact that a legitimate war cannot waged unless with the purpose of self-defense and ila’yi kalimatullah, that is upholding the word of the Almighty. Wars waged simply for the purpose of annexing territories are a disgrace to humanity. So far as Islam is concerned, a war must be grounded in the sublime purposes of spreading justice, providing means for guidance and obliterating oppression. In the words of the Quran:
مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الأَرْضِ
فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا
“…whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” (al-Maida, 32)
All strivings undertaken by Muslims, be it with their lives or wealth, motivated strictly by Islamic concerns within the guidelines aforementioned, are therefore bound to purchase a Divine blessing as great as Paradise in return. But, sincerity is vital here, no less than it is in other matters. Abdullah ibn Amr once asked the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) to enlighten him as regards jihad and warfare.
“If, Abdullah,” said the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), “you struggle only in hope of reaping the consent of Allah, then Allah shall resurrect you in the Hereafter as you are. But if you struggle out of pomp, to show off, you shall be resurrected as you are.” (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 24/2519)
Again, a Bedouin once asked the Noble Prophet (pbuh) to comment on, “a person who fights for personal glory and praise, to get hold of spoils or just to show off.” Then another person interjected, insisting that the Prophet of Mercy (pbuh) tell him just what it is “to fight in the way of Allah, as many a person fights to quell his anger or out of heroism.”
“Whoever fights to glorify Allah’s religion above any other”, replied the Blessed Prophet, “his jihad is in the way of Allah.” (Bukhari, Ilm, 45; Muslim, Imara, 149-150)
“If a man”, then another person began to ask, “wishes to fight in the way of Allah and at the same time attain something of the world…what would you say to that?”
“No reward shall await him”, said the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).
The answer proved excruciating for the Companions, simply due to the sheer difficulty of living up to that level of sincerity. So they urged the Companion, who had asked the last question to “Ask your question once more…it could be that you misunderstood the answer”. They were only in hope of receiving a relieving response. Yet, it was of no avail, as even after three attempts, the response of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) remained unchanged. (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 24/2516)
The Noble Messenger (pbuh) is known to have articulated many ahadith with regard to the virtue of jihad, some of which are:
“Standing guard, for a day and night, on the border is better than a month whose days are filled with fasting and nights with worship. If one passes away while standing guard, then the reward of what he is doing shall continue to flow until the Last Day; and abounding in blessings as a martyr, he will be safe in his grave from the angels of interrogation.” (Muslim, Imara, 163)
“Standing guard on the border in the way of Allah just for a day is better than the whole world and what is within. Where your whip is destined to in Paradise is better than the world and what is within. An evening or an early morning stroll in the way of Allah is better than the world and what is within.” (Bukhari, Jihad, 6, 73; Riqaq, 2; Muslim, Imara, 113-114)
“Regarding a person who sets out to jihad in His way, Allah the Almighty says, ‘he has set out for no other way than Mine, with faith and affirmation of My prophets in his heart’, and becomes his guarantor….a guarantor for a place in Paradise if he ends up a martyr, or for rewards and spoils if he survives. By Allah, in whose Hand of Might Muhammad’s life resides, a wound opened up in the way of Allah will turn up in the Hereafter, in the same way it had been cleft, in the color of blood but smelling like musk.” (Muslim, Imara, 103; Nasai, Iman, 24)
“Nobody who is made to enter Paradise will wish to return to Earth, for Paradise has whatever the world may have and more. Except for the martyr, who because of the treats he is blessed with, will wish to return to Earth ten times over, and hope for martyrdom each time.” (Bukhari, Jihad, 21; Muslim, Imara, 108-109)
The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) articulates the core objective for the struggles and battles he participated in, in the following:
“I have been commanded to struggle against people until they affirm that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His prophet, offer salat and give alms. Once they embrace these, they will have saved their lives and property from me, except for the punishments decreed by Islam.” (Bukhari, Iman, 17)
In view of that, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would never strike at night and wait until dawn, in case he might hear the calling of adhan coming from the town. Before sending them out, he would emphatically command the units not to “…strike a place if you see a mosque or hear the adhan there.” (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 91/2635; Ahmad, III, 448-449)
Providing the below account is Muslim ibn Harith (r.a):
“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had once sent a unit, of which I was also part, to a certain place. When we arrived at where we were supposed to strike, I sped up my horse, and got ahead of my friends. Soon I was met with some crying women and children.
‘Would you like to salvage your lives?’ I asked them. ‘Yes’, they ardently responded.
‘Then say La ilaha ill’Allah Muhammadun Rasulullah and save yourselves’, I then told them. And they did. But then a few of my friends began to criticize me, on grounds that I had prevented them from seizing the awaiting spoils. Once we returned to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), they informed him of what had happened. The Prophet (pbuh) called me next to him, and convincingly, said:
“Allah has most definitely rewarded you in abundance for each of them.” (Abu Dawud, Adab, 100-101/5080)
Burayda (r.a) explains:
“Before sending a troop out to jihad, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would always advise the commander to conduct himself with piety towards Allah, and with virtue towards his fellow Muslims and treat them with care, then say:
‘Fight in the way of Allah, in His name and battle with those who do not acknowledge Him. Do not be treacherous with spoils. Do not resort to brutality. Do not sever noses or ears. Do not slay the children. Once you encounter your enemies of nonbelief, invite them to accept one of three things: Invite them to Islam and let go of them if they accept. If they do not, then invite them to pay the tax of jizya, and again let go of them if they accept. If they reject that too, then trust in Allah and fight with them.’” (Muslim, Jihad, 3; Tirmidhi, Siyar, 48/1617; Ahmad, V, 353, 358)
Some Minor Campaigns
The Blessed Prophet (pbuh) now wished to cut off the much used and vital Meccan trade route to Syria, and thereby throw the idolaters, still preoccupied with assaulting Muslims in Medina, denying them entrance into their hometowns and inciting the sentiments of hypocrites against them, into an unprecedented commercial and economical strife, and thus prevent them from gaining even further strength against Muslims. With this intention in mind, seven months after the Hegira, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) sent thirty men from the Muhajirun, under the leadership of Hamza (r.a), to Sif’ul-Bahr. (Rajab 8/November-December, 623)
Returning from Damascus, the trade caravan bound for Mecca had now made it to Sif’ul-Bahr, under the protection of three-hundred cavalrymen, including Abu Jahl. Just when two sides were getting in line in preparation for a seemingly inevitable clash, Majdi ibn Amr, an ally of both sides, intervened and dissuaded both sides from fighting. Upon hearing it, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) was pleased with Majdi’s intervention and praised his negotiating skills; in appreciation of which he sent Majdi’s delegates, who later arrived, away with many presents.
For the same purpose, eight months after the Hegira in the first days of the month of Shawwal, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) deployed under the leadership of Ubayda ibn Harith (r.a) sixty to eighty Muhajir, to Rabigh.
Lead by Abu Sufyan, Quraysh were around two-hundred in number. Apart from a light skirmish and the shooting of few arrows, both sides neither lined up nor drew their swords to fight. Shooting the first arrow that day was Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (r.a), who is therefore celebrated as the first arrow shooter of Islam. Fearing Muslims would be relieved with the arrival of back up forces, the idolaters retreated and both sides parted ways.
Although having become Muslim a while before, two Companions, Miqdad ibn Amr and Utbah ibn Ghazwan, who until then could not find the means to join the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) in Medina, had joined the idolaters as a means to defect to the Muslim side and realize their wish. Immediately upon seeing the Muslim cavalrymen, they got away from the idolaters and sought refuge in Muslim ranks.
Nine months following the Hegira, in the month of Dhil’qadah, the Noble Messenger sent a squad of eight men, (twenty according to other sources), commanded by Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (r.a), to Harrar. (Dhil’qadah 1/ May, 623)
Saad (r.a) himself recounts:
“The Messenger of Allah ordered me to, ‘…go until you reach Harrar, as the caravan of Quraysh will pass through there.’ So taking cover at day and moving at night, we reached Harrar in the morning, after five days. But the caravan had apparently passed a day before. Had not the Messenger of Allah ordered me not to go beyond Harrar, I perhaps could have caught up with them.”
The Companions returned to Medina, without coming to blows with the idolaters.
Around the start of the eleventh month of Hegira, in Safar, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) personally led the Campaign of Abwa (Waddan) (Safar 2/August, 623). This was the first campaign in which the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) took part. Saad ibn Ubadah (r.a), of the Ansar, was left in charge in Medina.
The Campaign saw no heated clash with the idolaters, though a peace agreement was reached with the Clan of Damra, from the Kinanah tribe, compliant with which both sides were not to attack each other, and they, in addition, were not to engage in any aggression against Muslims and refrain from lending aid to their enemies. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had the pact confirmed in writing, ending the fifteen day Abwa Campaign. This is only one of the many instances in testimony of the Blessed Prophet’s (pbuh) undying penchant for peace and his compassion towards other human beings.
. Ibn Asakir, III, 334-335; Samhûdî, I, 188-189.
. Ahmad, V, 340.
. Ibn Asakir, III, 335; Aynî, IV, 176.
. Muslim, Ashriba, 171; Ibn Hisham, II, 116.
. Muslim, Ashriba, 170-171; Ibn Hisham, II, 116.
. See, Ibn Saad, III, 484-485.
. Ibn Seyyidinnâs, I, 321; Ibn Habîb, p.70; Ibn Abdilbar, ad-Durar,p. 90.
. Bukhari, Janaiz, 3; Manaqıbu’l-Ansar, 46.
. Bukhari, Edeb, 67.
. Ibn Hisham, II, 124-125.
. Ibn Saad, III, 233, 234.
. Bukhari, Adab, 67.
. Ibn Abdilbar, II, 567.
. Hakim, III, 435/5657.
. Bukhari, Kafala, 2; Adab, 67.
. See, al-Anfal, 72-75; Bukhari, Faraid, 16.
. See, al-Hashr, 9.
. See, an-Nisa, 97.
. Juhfah, then, was an area inhabited by Jews and idolaters, persistent in helping the enemies of Islam in their transgressions against Muslims and sowing the seeds of hostility. By praying in such manner, the Blessed Prophet r wished for them to be too preoccupied with the plague to even think about aiding the idolaters of Mecca and causing mischief. (Aynî, X, 251)
. Jarir ibn Abdillah t was the leader of the Bajila tribe of Yemen. Accompanied by 150 men, he came to Medina and became Muslim in the month of Ramadan, in the 10th year of Hegira, three months before the passing away of the Noble Messenger r. He loved the Messenger of Allah rvery much. The affection was mutual, as the Blessed Prophet r would smile at Jarir every time he saw him.
. This is the area that falls between mount Ayr near Dhulhulayfa and Sawr, the small hilltop to the north of Uhud. This Sawr Hill should not be confused with Mount Sawr near Mecca.
. Musalla is a name given to a large area reserved for the purpose of accommodating Friday, eid or funeral salats, in congregation, in a given community. Musallas were originally set up in the outskirts of towns to host major communal salats, such as that of Friday or eid, in place of other mosques. It would thereby enable at least a weekly gathering of the entire residents of a town.
. al-Anâm, 136-152; al-Arâf, 32-33, 169; Yûnus, 59-60; an-Nahl, 95, 115-116. See, Draz, an-Nabau’l-Azîm, p. 193.
. See, Bukhari, Buyû, 70-72; Muslim, Buyû, 29.
. Muslim, Masajid, 9.
. Ibn Saad, I, 239.
. The Prophet’s r attitude is exemplary of the ideal conduct those in administrative positions should exert: to be the forerunner, at all times, in carrying out all responsibilities and avoiding the arrogance of taking a responsibility lightly, however small it may seem. Deriving utmost benefit from the quintessential example of the Blessed Prophet r, during the construction of the magnificent Sultan Ahmad Mosque, Sultan Ahmad I had worked like a laborer with a shovel and pickax in hand. After his death, her daughter Gevher Nesibe Hatun had a dream in which she saw him in a magnificent place in Paradise, and she curiously asked, ‘With what deed did you attain to such a high rank, father?’ ‘I carried stones on my back during the construction of the mosque’, he replied, ‘and that is the reason I have been given this high rank’.
To think that when Sultan Ahmad I was carrying stones on his back, a beautiful display of Islamic morals, the Ottoman State was at her peak, ruling the vastest territories on record. Kings were bowing to her majesty and were ordained only by the hands of her grand viziers.
. A zira is 75 cm’s.
. Ibn Saad, I, 239.
. Diyarbakri, I, 344.
. Bukhari, Salat, 62.
. Diyarbakri, I, 346.
. Ibn Saad, I, 240.
. Ibn Saad, VII, 161; Suhayli, I, 248.
. Ibn Saad, I, 499.
. Bukhari, Itiqaf, 1.
. Ibn Saad, I, 251-252.
. Ribat carries meanings like bonding the ego to obedience, standing guard near the borders or struggling in the way of Allah, glory unto Him. A cause for great rewards, ribat has been emphatically praised in both the Quran and Sunnah.
. Abdullah ibn Zayd ibn Asim al-Ansari t earned the Blessed Prophet’s r praises for closely defending him during the Battle of Uhud. Abdullah was not alone in his heroism during the battle; his entire family showed immense courage throughout, for which the Noble Messenger r prayed they be neighbors with him in Paradise. Time and again, the Blessed Prophet r would visit the house of Abdullah ibn Zayd, where he performed many a salat. Ibn Zayd al-Ansari t was among the Companions imbued with the greatest affection for the Prophet of Allah r. Shaken upon receiving the news of the Prophet’s rpassing away, Abdullah made a heartfelt plea, praying the Almighty to ‘…take away my sight so I do not get to see anyone after Muhammad r!’ His plea was accepted there and then, and Abdullah t lived the rest of his years a blind man. (Qurtubi, V, 271) He was later martyred at Harra with his two sons.
. Muslim, Salat, 12.
. Suffa is a term used to refer to the part of old homes which was raised, like couches, for seating. Sofa, as used in Turkish, is a derivative of the term.
. Ibn Saad, I, 255.
. Bukhari, Maghazi 28, Jihad 9; Ibn Saad, III, 514.
. The words of the Blessed Prophet r are an allusion to the 28th ayah of al-Kahf. There the Almighty commands the Prophet r to remain patient alongside the underprivileged few, who were the first to enter Islam, in the face of the possible hardships they may encounter and be sensitive in his treatment of them.
. Zaynab c had to remain in Mecca for a little while longer, due to her husband Abu’l-As ibn Rabi’ declining to give permission.
. A hawdaj is a small, screened saddle used for sheltering females on camelback.
. An uqiyya is formerly used currency of silver coins. Also utilized as a unit of weight, an uqiyya approximately corresponds to 128 grams.
. Ibn Saad, VIII, 58, 62-63.
. Saad ibn Ubadah t became a Muslim in the Second Aqabah Pledge. He was among the twelve representatives elected there. Matching his wealth with an amazing generosity, he used to send meals to the Blessed Prophet r everyday during his seven month stay at the house of Khalid ibn Zayd. Not a day would pass without Ibn Ubadah holding a feast in his castle like house, where all were welcome. He fed the Suffa everyday. He carried the flag of Khazraj throughout many battles. During the Battle of Dhu Qarad, he donated ten camel loads of dates to the army, in satisfaction of which the Blessed Prophet r prayed, ‘Allah, have mercy on Saad and his family!’ He fed the entire Muslim army during the campaign of Banu Qurayza. Both his life and wealth were virtually mediums for struggling in the way of Allah until the day he passed away. As his house was situated in outer Medina and therefore was distant to the Masjid, Saad had a small mosque built there. Following the election of Abu Bakr t as Caliph, Saad ibn Ubadah t relocated to Hawran, near Damascus, where he subsequently passed away in 635. He was buried in the small town of Ghuta.
. Ahmad, VI, 211.
. See, Draz, an-Nabau’l-Azîm, p. 178.
. Bukhari, Manâqıb, 16; Muslim, Fadailu’s-Sahaba, 156-157.
. Bukhari, Tafsîr, 3/15.
. Nasai, Hajj, 4.
. Ahmad, III, 456.
. For related Quranic ayat see, an-Nisa, 95; al-Anfal, 72; at-Tawba, 20, 41, 44, 81, 88; and for ahadith, Bukhari, Mazalim, 33; Muslim, Iman, 226; Abu Dawud, Sunnah, 28-29.
. The Blessed Prophet r, sent as a mercy to the worlds, followed such a policy of compassion throughout his entire 120 military campaigns -29 major battles (ghazwa) and 91 minor (sariyya)- that despite taking entire Arabia under his command, he never allowed the Muslim army to shed a drop of blood more than required. According to authentic reports, the number of Muslims martyred in the 120 military campaigns waged throughout 11 years, out of various reasons, is 340, in contrast to around 800 enemy casualties. This makes the number of casualties in the entire 120 battles less than 1200. Just to take the 29 campaigns personally led by the Blessed Prophet r; no swords were drawn in 16 of those, with the relevant purpose nonetheless realized. The remaining 13 saw an actual clash, leading to 140 martyrs and 335 enemy casualties.
Adopting a prudent and farsighted diplomatic approach, the Noble Messenger rwas able to win the allegiance of many regions without needing to engage in battle. Many other places succumbed to him by virtue of accepting the word of guidance from beforehand. Considering this far more superior to fighting, the Blessed Prophet r refrained from resorting to the sword unless absolutely necessary. On other occasions, a prudent diplomacy matched with handy intelligence allowed him to dissuade the enemy from entering battle, ensuring thereby the amount of blood shed to remain at a minimum level. For a given campaign to culminate in favorable result, the Blessed Prophet r would prefer to elect a commander who was either from that area by birth, or better still, a native of the rival tribe. The Prophet r was always emphatic to command his the army to keep their words, keep aloof from excess and killing people for no good reason, not to touch slaves, children, women, the elderly and monks or hermits living in retreat in monasteries, not to lay waste to trees and buildings. (See, Elşad Mahmudov, Sebep ve Sonuçları İtibâriyle Hazret-i Peygamber’in Savaşları, 2005, Marmara University, Institute for Social Sciences, an unpublished doctoral thesis.)
. Bukhari, Adhan, 6; Muslim, Salat, 9.
. To curb Meccan enmity, the Blessed Prophet r initiated at first an economical and political embargo, for which purpose he began establishing diplomatical relations with neighboring tribes and organized military campaigns in pursuit of the trade caravans of Quraysh, which constituted virtually the heart of Meccan commerce and economy. Muhammad Hamidullah asserts, in relation, “The raids conducted against the caravans belonging to Quraysh should not be considered as plunder; for neither were Quraysh innocent, nor were the raiders a gang founded just for the purpose of pillaging just any caravan. A full fledged state of war, rather, had emerged between two city-states. A state of war hands over to each warring side the right to do damage to one another’s life, property and other interests. The law of war had thus come into effect between both people. Such military expeditions are therefore certainly not simple interventions and plundering of caravans.”
Another aspect that needs to be considered here is the fact that in all the military expeditions, Muslims had only and strictly attacked Meccan caravans. Despite being non-Believers, other tribes of the peninsula remained safe from these raids. (See, Hamidullah, İslâm Peygamberi, I, 219; Hz. Peygamberin Savaşları, p.56)
. Bukhari, Maghazî, 2; Abu Dawud, Kharaj, 22-23/3004.
. Sif’ul-Bahr, in the region of Iys, where the clan of Juhayna used to reside, was given the name owing to its location by the shore. (bahr means sea)
. Waqidi, I, 9-10; Ibn Saad, II, 6.
. A valley passed by pilgrims on the way to Mecca, Rabigh is a valley located between Anwa and Juhfa, about a distance of 3 miles from the latter.
. Ibn Hisham, II, 224-225; Waqidi, I, 10; Ibn Saad, II, 7.
. Harrar is the name of a spring in Hijaz, near Juhfah. On the way from Juhfah to Mecca, it falls to the left of Mahajja near Ghadir’ul-Hum.
. Ibn Hisham, II, 238; Waqidi, I, 10; Ibn Saad, II, 7.
. Abwa, a village between Furu and Juhfah, is around 23 miles away from Medina. The grave of the Prophet’s r mother, the honorable Aminah, is found there. Waddan, situated between Mecca and Medina, is 8 miles away from Abwa, and is part of the land near Juhfah which used to belong to the tribes Damra, Ghifar and Kinanah.
. Ibn Hisham, II, 223-224; Waqidi, I, 12; Ibn Saad, II, 8.