THE TWELFTH AND THIRTEENTH YEARS OF PROPHETHOOD

The First Aqabah Pledge

The six Medinans who had embraced Islam during their trip to Mecca the previous year turned up again a year later, with another six by their side. Aqabah once again served as the meeting spot.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) invited the six newcomers to tawhid. Having already heard from their friends of the beauty and greatness of Islam and the nobility of the Prophet (pbuh), they too embraced the faith.

Unlike the first meeting, this time the visitors formally pledged allegiance to the Prophet (pbuh). Clasping the hand of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), the Medinans gave their first vows, for which reason this meeting has come to be known as the First Aqabah Pledge.

The Medinans pledged the following:

1. Not to ascribe any partner to Allah (SWT), under any condition.

2. Not to steal.

3. Not to even approach fornication.

4. Not to bury their daughters alive.

5. Not to slander.

6. To obey Allah and His Messenger. (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 43)

A vow to rid the entire Arabian peninsula of idolatry, oppression and the evil practices rampant at the time, the Medinans’ first pledge is thus a turning point in the history of Islam.

The Appointment of Musab ibn Umayr as Teacher and the Conquest of Medina through the Quran

The new Muslims of Medina wrote a letter to the Prophet (pbuh), asking him to send them a teacher to explain Islam to them, teach them the Quran and lead them in salat. So the Prophet (pbuh) sent Musab (r.a).[1]

To teach Medinans the Quran, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had also sent Abdullah Ibn Ummi Maktum (r.a), one of the first believers along with Musab ibn Umayr (r.a).[2]

Musab ibn Umayr (r.a) had embraced the guiding light at a very young age, holding firm to his belief despite the tyranny of his family who went so far as to deprive him of his inheritance. Though outwardly he may have been left poor and deserted, inwardly, he had a rich heart filled with the love and delight of iman. In spreading Islam, he was like a pillar of passion.[3]

Indeed, the coming of Musab (r.a) to Medina marked the beginning of the blooming of Islam in the town. Entrusted by the Prophet (pbuh) with the duty of communicating Islam, the young companion began working night and day to explain to people the word of the Almighty. His host and main helper was Asad ibn Zurara (r.a), one of the fortunate first to be guided through the efforts of Musab (r.a).

On one instance with Musab by his side, Asad went and sat by the well at the garden belonging to the Zafar clan. Saad ibn Muadh, a notable from the family of Abdul’Ashal, took the opportunity to voice his displeasure to Usayd ibn Hudayr:

“You are a man who knows what to do. You do not need anyone helping you. Go and tell those men, who have come to our neighborhood to corrupt the faith of the weak men among us, to leave and never come back! I would have done it myself only if Asad had not been my relative.”

Fired up, Usayd quickly went to the two men with a spear and vented his anger.

“What are you doing here? Have you brought this man next to you, Asad, to corrupt the faith of the weak among us? If you wish to live, leave now and don’t turn back!”

A prudent man, Musab (r.a) kept his nerve and asked:

“Will you not sit awhile and listen to what I have to say? You look like an intelligent man…If you like my words you will accept, and if not you won’t.”

“Quickly say what you have to say”, answered Usayd. Thrusting his spear into the ground, he sat down. Musab (r.a) explained Islam to him, reciting some Quran.

As soon as he heard the recital of the Quran, before he could even speak, Usayd’s face became lit with the light of Islam and his heart melted to the truth.

“What marvelous words…[4] What does one who wants to enter this religion do?” he asked.

On the instruction of Musab and Asad (r.a), Usayd washed himself and his clothes and then pronounced the shahadah. After performing two rakats of salat, he said:

“There is one man I have left behind. If he accepts your words everybody will follow in his wake. His name is Saad ibn Muadh. I will send him to you at once!”

Before long, Saad came hastily next to them. But he too, like Usayd, ended up embracing Islam after hearing Musab talk. Afterwards, he returned to his people:

“Sons of Abdul’Ashal! How have you known me until now?”

“As our leader and our wisest”, they replied.

“Then know that I will not speak to any men or women among you until you believe in Allah and His Messenger!”

By night, not a single person was left in the clan who had not become Muslim. (Ibn Hisham, II, 43-46; Ibn Saad, III, 604-605; Ibn Athir, Usd’ul-Ghabah, I, 112-113)

Musab (r.a) then went on to invite Amr ibn Jamuh, a notable from the clan of Salima, reading to him the first eight ayah of chapter Yusuf. Though he asked for time to think it over, Amr could not make up his mind. Thereupon with a few youngsters from his tribe helping him, Amr’s son Muadh, who had already become a Muslim, one night secretly grabbed his father’s idol and threw it in a nearby filth hole. Horrified next morning at seeing his idol thrown in a pile of dirt, Amr took it out of there, and after giving it a thorough cleaning with beautiful scents, put the idol back in its place.

After the same incident repeated itself over a few nights, Amr hung his sword on the idol’s neck for it to protect itself. But seeing the idol once again in a pile of dirt the morning after, he finally realized that the lifeless object he had been worshipping for so long could not even protect itself, let alone be of any benefit to another, making him open his eyes to the morning of Islam from the twilight of idolatry. He thanked the Almighty for saving him through the Noble Prophet (pbuh) from the darkness he had been in and took active part thereafter in inviting his people to Islam.[5]

The news of the delightful reception of Islam in Medina put the Muslims of Mecca and the Prophet (pbuh) in such high spirits that the year came to be known as the Year of Joy. Medina was now becoming ready to become the cradle of Islam.

Of this, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said:

“Lands are conquered with swords…but Medina was conquered with the Quran.” (Bazzar, Musnad, 1180; Rudani, 3774)

The Second Aqabah Pledge (The Thirteenth Year of Prophethood)

A year after the First Aqabah Pledge, during the months of pilgrimage, a group of Medinans came again to meet the Noble Prophet (pbuh), this time numbering seventy-five, including two women.

Their pledge of allegiance to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is known as the Second Aqabah Pledge.

Arriving at Mecca as the head of the group, Musab (r.a) went straight to the Prophet (pbuh) before his own home. He gave the good news of the Ansar’s swift acceptance of Islam, delighting the Noble Prophet (pbuh). But the fact that Musab went to the Prophet (pbuh) before seeing his own pagan mother made her quite upset.

“I will never go to anyone before the Messenger of Allah…I shall never put anyone else before him”, was how Musab defended himself.

With permission from the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), Musab (r.a) eventually went to his mother and repeated his invitation to Islam. (Ibn Saad, III, 119)

Such was the love nurtured by the Companions for the Gracious Prophet (pbuh).

Jabir (r.a) explains the following:

“In the days when the Messenger of Allah was searching for a tribe for protection for his fellow Muslims, only to have each and every one of them turn a cold shoulder, the Almighty sent us to him from Medina; and we believed in him and offered protection. Someone from among us would go to the Messenger of Allah, who would read him the Quran. Upon returning, the person’s whole family would follow the lead and become Muslim. In this way, there was no house in Medina in which Islam had not been explained. Then after a while, we got together and asked ourselves:

‘Until when are we going to let the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) suffer in the mountains of Mecca?’

That was when we decided to go to him, during the pilgrimage season, and pledge our allegiance.” (Ahmad, III, 322; Hakim, II, 681-682)

This fortunate group agreed to meet the Prophet (pbuh) at Aqabah on one of the days of tashriq. Beforehand, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) advised them not to “…awaken those asleep and wait for those who have not gotten ready on time!”

Passed the third of the night, the Medinans went to Aqabah as agreed and began waiting for the Noble Messenger (pbuh), who appeared a short while later with his uncle Abbas by his side. Even though Abbas had not yet accepted Islam, he had nonetheless assumed the protection of his nephew after the passing away of Abu Talib. And it was he who began negotiating with the Medinans regarding their invitation of the Prophet (pbuh) to Medina:

“Medinans! We have protected him from his enemies till now and will continue to do so. He is highly respected among us. And it is out of love and respect that you invite him to Medina where he will be safer; and that happens to be his wish, too. But take him only if you will be able to protect him from his enemies. First you must promise me that you shall never deceive or desert him. Your neighbors, the Jews are hostile to him and I am just not so sure that they will keep their word of peace. Go ahead with this only if you see in yourselves enough power to ward off the hostility of Arab tribes. Discuss it among yourselves thoroughly so that you will not become disunited later. If you have the least doubt of not being able to help Muhammad after he comes, or if it turns out you will hand him over to his enemies, then give the idea up from now! If anyone wishes to speak up from among you now, then let him speak. But let him not be too wordy, as Meccans spies could be on the lookout! And keep this a secret after you leave!”

To dispel the doubts of Abbas, Asad ibn Zurarah (r.a) stood and said the following:

“You, the Messenger of Allah, invited us to leave the religion of our fathers and follow yours. As burdensome and difficult a task as that was, we accepted. You invited us to severe our ties with all our pagan relatives and neighbors. As burdensome and difficult a task as that was, we again accepted. We are well aware that we have put our hands up to shelter one who is wanted dead not only by his tribe, but even by his closest kin. Rest assured, Messenger of Allah, that we shall protect you just like we protect ourselves, our children and women. If we turn back, then we are the most wretched of all creatures. This is our pledge of honor. It is to Allah we all turn for help!”

Following Asad (r.a), Abdullah ibn Rawaha (r.a) got up to say:

“Messenger of Allah! You can lay down for us any condition you want, on behalf of yourself and your Lord!”

“On behalf of my Lord, I ask you to worship Him without ascribing to Him any partners; and on behalf of myself, I ask you to protect us just as you protect yourselves and properties”, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) said.

“And what awaits us if we do?” the Medinans asked.

“Paradise”, the Prophet (pbuh) answered.

“What a profitable trade! Who in their right minds could afford to pass up on that?” (Ibn Kathir,Tafsir, II, 406)

Abdullah ibn Rawaha (r.a) was to reap the profits of this pact years later at the Battle of Mutah, in which he enthusiastically took part despite being informed by the Prophet (pbuh) beforehand that he would be martyred; and presenting his life to the Almighty and his legacy to the treasury of Medina, he ended up taking flight to Paradise, to his Lord. The other companions also added more and more blessings to their spiritual earnings by persevering constantly in the way of the Almighty.

The following ayah of the Quran was revealed in relation to the pledge of the Medinans.

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اَنْفُسَهُمْ وَاَمْوَالَهُمْ بِاَنَّ لَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللّٰهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِى التَّوْرَيةِ وَاْلاِنْجِيلِ وَالْقُرْاَنِ وَمَنْ اَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللّٰهِ فَاسْتَبْشِرُوا بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِى بَايَعْتُمْ بِهِ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

“Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the Garden; they fight in Allah’s way, so they slay and are slain; a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge which you have made; and that is the mighty achievement.” (at-Tawbah, 111)

Thereafter, a few more were given opportunity to speak. Afterward, the Prophet (pbuh) began his address of the Medinans, quoting the Quran to further elaborate Islam, then making explicit the terms of their pledge. In addition to the terms already agreed upon, the following terms were also added:

1. The leader of the Muslims should not be opposed, whoever he may be.

2. No blame that may come from the way of nonbelievers should be feared in persevering in the cause of Allah (SWT).

3. To obey the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) through thick and thin and to prefer him to themselves; not to disobey him in any way.

The Noble Messenger (pbuh) then asked for twelve naqibs[6], or delegates, to represent their clans. The Medinans nominated twelve people, nine from Khazraj and three from Aws.

“You are bondsmen for your clans, just as the Apostles were bondsmen for Isa, the son of Maryam. And I am a bondsman for the Muslims of Mecca”, the Light of Being (pbuh) said to them.

The representatives agreed.

Abbas, the Prophet’s (pbuh) uncle, then one by one made each Medinan clasp the hand of the Prophet (pbuh) and swear an oath of allegiance.

It was in this pledge that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was invited to Medina, which sparked the Hegira. Medina, known as Yathrib at the time, had now become ready to open her arms to Islam.

As the pledge took place at night, the Meccans had no way of knowing about it. But just as the pledge was being concluded, Iblis, overlooking Aqabah, screamed in a shrill voice:

“People of Mina! Quraysh! Do you realize that Muhammad and those who have turned their backs on the religion of old have gathered and agreed on waging war against you?”

The Prophet (pbuh) was quick to reassure them:

“Don’t fear! That is the voice of Iblis, the enemy of Allah. He can do nothing!” He then advised the Muslims to return to their camps, upon which Abbas ibn Ubadah (r.a) assured:

“I promise by the One who has sent you with the Truth, we could put all of Mina to the sword if you want!”

“We have not been commanded to do that. Now, you should return to your places”, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) responded.

The Muslims returned to their camps, sleeping until daybreak. Early in the morning, some Meccan idolaters arrived at the camp that included the Muslims, asking the nonbelievers among them whether any agreement with the Noble Prophet (pbuh) had taken place. Without the least clue as to what had happened, they assured the Meccans that nothing of the sort had taken place. Unconvinced, the idolaters further investigated the Aqabah Pledge. Soon their worst fears were confirmed as they found out about the Pledge, immediately after which they sent horsemen in all directions to track down the departing Medinans, blocking all routes to Medina. They were able to pin down Saad ibn Ubadah (r.a).

“Have you entered Muhammad’s religion?” they inquired.

When Saad (r.a) answered that he had, they tied both his hands tightly around his neck. Beating him and pulling him by the fringes of his long hair, they brought him to Mecca, where they began to torture him even more brutally. He was set free by Jubayr ibn Mutim,[7] whom Saad (r.a) had helped before, and Harith ibn Harb, who rushed to the scene upon hearing of the incident. Just when the Medinan Muslims had gathered to plan his rescue, Saad (r.a) was able to turn up next to them. (Ibn Hisham, II, 47-57; Ibn Saad, I, 221-223; III, 602-603; Ahmed, III, 322, 461, 462; Haythami, VI, 42-44)

Ibn Abbas (r.a) has said:

“Just as the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), Abu Bakr and Omar (r.a) are among the Muhajir, the Emigrants, for leaving the idolaters of Mecca, there are also emigrants from among the Ansar, the Helpers of Medina; those, who on the night of Aqabah, fled to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) from the then pagan town of Yathrib.” (Nasai, Bayat, 13)

The Pledges of Aqabah do not simply signify a pledge made by twelve or seventy-five people, but the pledge of the entire Muslim host with the Almighty.

The world is a bazaar in which the Hereafter is bought. It remains for us to participate in the above pledge made with the Noble Prophet (pbuh) and, like the Companions, rejoice over such a profitable trade.

Just as Musab (r.a) provided a foundation for Islam in Medina, so should we establish the very same foundation in our hearts and those of others, even going door to door in extending that foundation through exemplary behavior. Once the heart is filled with the love of Allah and His Messenger, sacrificing the pleasures of the world, like Musab (r.a), becomes easy.

An Overview of the Meccan Period

The five points below sum up the attitude of idolaters towards Muslims throughout the thirteen year Meccan Period.

1. Mockery.

2. Insult.

3. Torture.

4. Isolation or severing of all kinds of social and commercial relations.

5. Violent intimidation and even murder, forcing Muslims to immigrate.

Allah (SWT), describes the Muslim situation in the Quran as follows:

اِنَّ الَّذِينَ اَجْرَمُوا كَانُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ اَمَنُوا يَضْحَكُونَ. وَاِذَا مَرُّوا بِهِمْ يَتَغَامَزُونَ. وَاِذَا انْقَلَبُوا اِلَى اَهْلِهِمُ انْقَلَبُوا فَكِهِينَ. وَاِذاَ رَاَوْهُمْ قَالُوا اِنَّ هَؤُلاَءِ لَضَالُّونَ.

“Surely the sinners used to laugh at those who believe. And when they passed by them, they winked at one another. And when they returned to their own followers they returned exulting. And when they saw them, they said: Most surely they have gone astray! (al-Muttaffifin, 29-32)

In response, the method abided to by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), constantly reinforced with Revelation advising him the most suitable manner to adopt, could be summed up as:

1. Cultivating spirituality in the hearts of believers.

2. Being patient in the face of hardships.

3. Counseling with the most beautiful advice.

4. Continuing to persevere without the least compromise.

5. Trusting in and submitting to the Almighty.

As a consequence of this method, despite unfavorable conditions, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) was able to succeed in his cause and overcome all difficulties. A fruit of this long and enduring phase was the blessing of Medina, a strategic town, whose locals had embraced the truth in masses. Previously expelled from Ta’if where he had gone with such great expectations, the Prophet (pbuh) had never even gone to Medina; yet with Divine reinforcement, Islam had spread like wildfire in the town, and only a short while later it became ready to welcome the Muslims, first and foremost the Noble Messenger (pbuh).

Inspired by the triumph in his cause, a prominent historian has made the following observations regarding the genius of the Prophet (pbuh):

“If the three great measures of genius are the greatness of the cause, the limitation of means and the magnitude of the result, then who could dare to compare the greatest figures of modern history with Muhammad?” (Lamartine, Histoire de la Turquie)

The Almighty gave permission to Muslims to migrate only after a thirteen-year phase of blood and tears, as a consequence of which the faiths of Muslims attained contentedness and their hearts prospered with spirituality. Simpler put, the believers paid the dues for their belief.

The period also saw the laying of the foundations of the Islamic state and civilization in Medina that was to set an example for all of mankind, and the raising of persons of strong character who, enthused by the ecstasy of belief, would not shrink back in testing times. These persons virtually became guiding stars for the entire ummah.

The Characteristics of the Meccan Revelations

The first verses of the Quran, as known, were about aspects of aqidah, or creed, and involved inviting to tawhid and to belief in the resurrection, promising paradise to the believers and threatening disbelievers and rebels with hellfire. Only after convincing the believers and strengthening their faith through various proofs were verses on social matters revealed. Trapped in superstitious beliefs and habits as they were, it was not easy for people to quit their ways of old. Failing to apply a gradual procedure to try and rid people of their bad ways could have therefore backfired and deterred them away.

Aisha (r.ha) says:

“The first surah revealed was one of the mufassals.[8] It spoke of Paradise and Hell. Rulings on the permissible and impermissible were revealed after people had become fully warmed to Islam. If they had been told at the very beginning to quit drinking, they would have reacted:

‘We can never quit drinking!’

Had they been told to stop fornicating, they would have said:

‘We can never stop fornicating!’

When I was still a child playing in Mecca, ayah on faith and the Hereafter like:

بَلِ السَّاعَةُ مَوْعِدُهُمْ وَالسَّاعَةُ اَدْهَى وَاَمَرُّ

“Nay, the hour is their promised time, and the hour shall be more grievous and bitter”, (al-Qamar, 46) came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). al-Baqara and an-Nisa (chapters that include rulings on social matters) were revealed when I was with him in Medina.” (Bukhari, Fadail’ul-Quran, 6)

Marked by an elegant and succinct style, the Meccan Chapters assume a certain and uncompromising stance against idolatry. Being eloquent men with a taste for poetry, for any word to affect the Meccans it had to be consummately eloquent and with a perfect measure.

Reducing to naught the idolaters’ mastery of literature, to further confuse them, the Almighty even made use of the disjointed alphabetical letters (huruf’al-muqatta’a), beginning the texts in a manner previously unheard of. Except for al-Baqara and Al’ Imran, all the chapters that begin with the huruf’al-muqata’a belong to the Meccan period.

For such reasons, the first verses revealed were so affective that they pierced straight into hearts, captivating their listeners with their flowing and beautiful eloquence.

Another characteristic of the Meccan Revelations is their manner of addressing, which apart from a few exceptions, is in the form of “O Humankind!”

To persuade the idolaters into accepting an array of issues that ran counter to their opinions and practices, the Meccan Revelations also include vows made in the name of various things they had sanctified like the sun, the moon, stars, day and night and so forth; also for the reason that these created objects by which the oaths were made, display the power of the Almighty as perceived throughout the universe.

Furthermore revealed among the Meccan Revelations are a majority of the Quranic historical accounts, or qasas.Taking lessons from history is one of the most emphasized points of these verses. A great portion of the chapters which dwell on the accounts of previous prophets and peoples, especially those of Adam (pbuh) and Iblis, are Meccan. One exception is al-Baqara, revealed in Medina.

The narrating of the experiences of past peoples, offering lessons to be taken, played a crucial role in communicating the truth to the idolaters and in their gradual correction. In the foreground of these narrations is always the notion of tawhid.

The Meccan verses also map the course an inviter to Islam should follow. They underline that one ought to invite to the truth seeking only the pleasure of the Almighty, not those of the world, and expect its rewards, again, only from Allah (SWT). One instance of this is in Chapter as-Shuara. Enjoining upon their people piety and virtue as messengers of the Almighty, the Prophets Hud, Salih, Lut and Shuayb (a.s) add:

وَمَا اَسْئَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ اَجْرٍ اِنْ اَجْرِىَ اِلاَّ عَلَى رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of the Worlds.” (ash-Shuara, 109, 127, 145, 164, 180)

The second half of the Quran was mostly revealed in Mecca. As the Meccans were generally conceited people, the word كَلاَّ, (kalla) the definitive ‘nay’, can be easily noticed throughout these surah, rejecting and threatening the idolaters over their attitude. Hence, all the chapters in which the word كَلاَّ is to be found are Meccan and they all happen to be in the second half of the Quran.

Similarly, chapters that contain verses of sajdah, or prostration, were also revealed in Mecca. Thereby people accustomed to prostrating to other things were encouraged to give the Almighty His due, and reflect over such verses.

These first verses revealed in Mecca declare all the old superstitious habits as falsities based on ignorance, replacing them with universal principles of morality.

The Meccan verses laid the foundation of a firm society with respect to belief, thought and morals. Containing moral principles, the verses aim toward ridding Muslims of false beliefs and customs and replacing them with an unshakable belief in the Truth, patience, will and perseverance.

As the Meccan revelations contain no verdicts on legal issues, except for salat, they also do not contain any rulings concerning deeds of worship. There are no legal verses, for instance, in the Meccan chapters of Yunus, ar-Rad, Furqan, Yasin and al-Hadid. What can be found generally are principles of faith, the attributes of Allah (SWT), thought-provoking accounts of previous prophets and scenes of the Hereafter.

The Prophet’s Last Resort: Migration
Permission for the Hegira in the Thirteenth Year of Prophethood and Migration to Medina

After finding out about Muslim plans to migrate to where they would find protection following the Second Aqabah Pledge, the idolaters took their abuse to new heights. With this unbearable torment making life almost impossible for Muslims in Mecca, the believers asked permission of the Prophet (pbuh) to migrate.

By the will of the Almighty, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) pointed towards the road to Medina and said:

“I have been shown that your destination shall be a place of date gardens wedged amid rocky terrain”. (Bukhari, Kafalah, 4)

Advising them to embrace the Ansar, their brothers in Medina, the Prophet (pbuh) then added:

“The Glorious Allah has blessed you with brothers and a land where you shall find peace!”

Without making it obvious to the idolaters, the Muslims thereupon got their preparations under way, and aiding one another, began migrating in secret.[9]

Even though the Believers were generously welcomed in Abyssinia, the first destination of Muslim migration, the region did not meet the requirements for being a center for a universal religion. But Medina, both politically and commercially, was a town favorable to being an Islamic center. Thus, it was there the Hegira would take place.

Indeed Medina became a shelter for the Believers. The worst fears of the Meccan idolaters were hence confirmed; Islam had set forth from Mecca to Medina, where it had gained an enormous reputation. The idolaters simply could not come to terms with how terrible a loss the forcible departure of the Prophet (pbuh) from his hometown was for them. It was truly a great loss. But they could not even feel it, let alone see the consequences.

And the Almighty revealed to His Prophet (pbuh):

… وَاِذًا لاَ يَلْبَثُونَ خِلاَفَكَ اِلاَّ قَلِيلاً

“…they will not stay therein after you, except for a little while.” (al-Isra, 76)

Deceived by their seeming power and ego, the idolaters had fooled themselves into believing that mocking, threatening and torturing the Believers would deter them from the Truth, and enable to keep themselves in authority in Mecca. Little were they aware of what was lying in wait for them: an absolute and miserable defeat without return. After all, the Muslims were not leaving Mecca out of fear, but from the awareness of the need to found Islam upon the strongest foundations.

The Hegira should never be taken as a helpless and pitiable flight. For the Muhajir, the Emigrants, Medina was a haven, a headquarters in which they settled to render sovereign the religion of the Almighty, by joining forces with other Muslim brothers and sisters.

The late Necip Fazıl gives voice to this in the poem below:

Hegira…the support that is sought from afar,
For a man of mission, the home is a fetter,
The hope… from outside to envelop the core,
The will to conquer the center from abroad…
Hegira…The support that is sought from afar!

The Emigrants were leaving behind all they had of wealth and relatives, secretly or openly setting forth on the road to Medina.

Ali (r.a) gives the following account:

“I know of nobody who openly migrated to Medina. Omar ibn Khattab was an exception. Prior to leaving, he armed himself with his sword, hung his bow on his shoulder and with his spear and arrows in his hands went to the Kaabah. All the Meccan notables were there. Omar (r.a) circumambulated the Kaabah seven times and then went next to them, and as if to give a glimpse of the victories to come, declared:

‘Here you have it! I am leaving for Medina. Whoever wants to leave behind a weeping mother, a widow and orphans can follow me and face me off behind the valley!’

Nobody dared take up the challenge.” (Ibn Athir, Usd’ul-Ghabah, IV, 152-153)

The Medinans were welcoming their brothers with open arms and helping them from the bottom of their hearts. The Muslims of Mecca were thus dubbed Muhajir, meaning emigrants, and the Medinan Muslims Ansar, or helpers.

The Almighty states:

وَالسَّابِقُونَ اْلاَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَاْلاَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُمْ بِاِحْسَانٍ رَضِىَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَاَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِى تَحْتَهَا اْلاَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا اَبَدًا ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

“And the first to lead the way, of the Muhajir and the Ansar, and those who followed them in goodness – Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him, and He has made ready for them Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide for ever. That is the supreme triumph.” (at-Tawba, 100)

Scholars have derived the following conclusions from the permission given to Muslims to migrate:

Hegira was compulsory in the time of the time of the Noble Prophet (pbuh). Generally perceived, there is a compulsoriness of Hegira that will remain till the Day of Judgment. But the particular Hegira that ended with the conquest of Mecca, however, is peculiar to the time of the Prophet (pbuh).

It is impermissible for a Muslim to remain in a place where he cannot fulfill duties like the adhaan, salat in congregation and fasting. The ayah below is proof:

اِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَفَّيهُمُ الْمَلَئِكَةُ ظَالِمِى اَنْفُسِهِمْ قَالُوا فِيمَ كُنْتُمْ قَالُوا كُنَّا مُسْتَضْعَفِينَ فِى اْلاَرْضِ قَالُوا اَلَمْ تَكُنْ اَرْضُ اللّٰهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُوا فِيهَا فَاُولَئِكَ مَأْوَيهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَسَاءَ تْ مَصِيرًا اِلاَّ الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ لاَ يَسْتَطِيعُونَ حِيلَةً وَلاَ يَهْتَدُونَ سَبِيلاً

“Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? They shall say: We were weak on Earth. They shall say: Was not Allah’s earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein? So it is these whose abode is hell, an evil resort. Except the weak from among the men and the children who neither have in their power the means, nor can they find a way to escape.” (an-Nisa, 97-98)

The above ayah describes those who did not migrate and continued to remain in a society of unbelievers, as being unjust to their souls. For preferring their comfort, habits, families, wealth and vested interests over their Religion, their excuse of being among the ‘weak on Earth’ is not accepted in the Divine tribunal. The excuse is valid only for the elderly, invalids, and women and children who genuinely could not find the means to join the Hegira.

Another matter the Hegira teaches us is that no matter how distant Muslim lands may be from one another, it is obligatory to help those afflicted with oppression. So far as the ijma, or consensual opinion of Muslim scholars are concerned, Muslims who, despite having the power to do so, fail to help other Muslims oppressed in any given part of the world, partake in a major sin.

The Light of Being (pbuh) placed great importance on the Hegira and urged all Muslims to take part until the Conquest of Mecca. This was mainly because until then, all lands besides Medina were foreign, making it practically impossible for a believer to learn and practice his beliefs.

Idolater Plans of Assassination

Seeing Mecca becoming more and more deserted by the day, the idolaters felt the urgency of the situation at hand. They hurriedly gathered at the House of Nadwa, the hotbed of mischief. Present there was also an old man, claiming to be from Najd. He was none other than Iblis himself in the guise of a human being.

They lengthily discussed what they were to do. Many suggestions, from imprisoning the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to sending him into exile outside of Mecca were put forth, with all of which the old man of Najd disagreed. They finally arrived at a callous decision: To murder the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)!

It was Abu Jahl, the Pharaoh of his time, who mapped out the plan:

“First, we arm one young man from each clan. Then we get them to attack and kill him all at once. This way his blood money will be distributed among all clans. And surely the Abd Manaf clan will not dare to wage war on all clans in Mecca, so they will have to settle for the blood money. That, we can pay with no trouble!”

The old man of Najd was the first to rejoice:

“No single man has spoken with a clearer mind than him…I can’t think of anything better!” (Ibn Hisham, II, 93-95)

The idolaters busy with their sinister plans, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) was virtually left alone in Mecca. A Prophet with such delicate care for his people, he preferred to remain and watch the backs of the leaving Muhajir. Besides, this had also been the Divine Will. When Abu Bakr, who was to be the one and only companion of the Prophet (pbuh) in this sacred journey, asked permission to migrate, the Prophet said:

“Be patient. Who knows? Perhaps Allah shall grant you a good traveling companion!” (Ibn Hisham, II, 92)

Sensing the awaiting blessings, and as a mark of joy, Abu Bakr (r.a) bought two camels for 800 dirhams and nurtured them for four months in preparation for the journey. (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 45)

By the time the idolaters made the move to implement their plan, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) had received the Divine command to migrate:

وَقُلْ رَبِّ اَدْخِلْنِى مُدْخَلَ صِدْقٍ وَاَخْرِجْنِى مُخْرَجَ صِدْقٍ وَاجْعَلْ لِى مِنْ لَدُنْكَ سُلْطَانًا نَصِيرًا

“And say: My Lord! Make me to enter a goodly entering, and cause me to go forth a goodly going forth, and grant me assistance from Your power.” (al-Isra, 80)

Besides the above Revelation, Jibril (pbuh) had hinted to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) of the idolaters’ assassination plot, saying, “You shall not sleep in your bed tonight!” (Ibn Hisham, II, 95)

Thereupon in the heat of high noon, with everyone at rest in their homes, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) went next to Abu Bakr (r.a), informing him of the command to migrate.

“Together?” asked Abu Bakr (r.a).

“Yes, together!” the Prophet (pbuh) answered.

The tears of joy welling up Abu Bakr’s eyes were alluding to splendid the inner beauty of his heart.[1]

Afterward, the Noble Messenger (pbuh) also gave the news to Ali (r.a), who was to be left behind to give back to their owners the goods entrusted in the safekeeping of the Prophet (pbuh). Knowing his trustworthiness and righteousness, there was almost not a single man in Mecca, who in one way or another had not placed their valuables in the custody the Prophet (pbuh).

Then as a precaution against the plots of Meccans, he said to Ali (r.a), “Lay in my bed tonight…and cover yourself in my mantle. Don’t be afraid! No harm shall come to you!” (Ibn Hisham, II, 95, 98)

That the Prophet advised Ali (r.a) to use his mantle as a blanket also provides an example for tabarruk, that is seeking blessings from the belongings of the Noble Prophet (pbuh).

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) later also sent a mantle to Uways al-Qarani with the message:

“Wear the mantle and pray for the ummah.” (Fariduddin Attar, Tadhkirat’ul-Awliya’a, p. 21)[2]

Another thing worthy of attention here is the complete submission of Ali (r.a) to the Prophet (pbuh). It was not for the Companions to show the slightest hesitancy in fulfilling the Prophetic commands and neglecting to heed the Prophet’s (pbuh) words and actions. They never felt the need to ask why. They always showed the utmost care not to neglect even a single sunnah, and in implementing each, they illustrated the fear of falling into deviancy if they were to abandon it. Their abidance by the Quran and Sunnah was like that of a shadow to its origin.[3]

Ali -may Allah ennoble his countenance- recounts:

“On the verge of his setting off to the Hegira, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and I went to the Kaabah.

‘Sit down’, he told me.

I sat. Intending to climb onto the roof of the Kaabah, he stepped on my shoulders. But suddenly I lost all my strength. Seeing me lose my strength, he quickly came down off my shoulders. This time he sat down.

‘Step on my shoulders’, he said.

I did what he told me. Then he rose and hoisted me up. I was overcome with such power that I felt I could rise to the ends of the sky if I wanted. I climbed on the roof. Placed there was an idol made of bronze and copper.

‘Throw it down, Ali’, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said. So I did.

The instant it hit the ground, it shattered like a glass bowl. I quickly came down from the roof. We promptly left the scene in order not to be seen.” (Ahmed, I, 84; Hakim, III, 6/4265)

Come the night of Hegira, the idolaters had already surrounded the house of the Noble Prophet (pbuh) even before he could take a step outside. But with a boundless trust in and submission to the Almighty, the Prophet (pbuh) showed not a single trace of anxiety or fear. Taking a handful of soil from the ground, he threw it towards the awaiting idolaters and moved smoothly through their ranks reciting the following verses from Chapter Ya-Sin:

اِنَّا جَعَلْنَا فِى اَعْنَاقِهِمْ اَغْلاَلاً فَهِىَ اِلَى اْلاَذْقَانِ فَهُمْ مُقْمَحُونَ.
وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْ بَيْنِ اَيْدِيهِمْ سَدًّا وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ سَدًّا
فَاَغْشَيْنَاهُمْ فَهُمْ لاَ يُبْصِرُونَ.

“We have put chains round their necks right up to their chins, so that their heads are forced up (and they cannot see). And We have put a barrier in front of them and a barrier behind them, and further, We have covered them up; so that they cannot see.” (Ya-Sin, 8-9)

Blinded by nothing other than the blindness of their hearts, they of course could not see. Passing through them, in front of their eyes, was the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). Since light is not perceivable by blind eyes and hearts, their sights in the end counted for nothing.

It was only after some time, when they were asked by someone passing by:

“Who on earth are you waiting for?”

“Muhammad!”

“You fools! Muhammad has long left, apparently flinging dirt on your faces in the process!”

When the idolaters reached for their heads, they found they were indeed stained with soil. Enraged, they quickly stormed inside the house, seeing someone lying in the Prophet’s bed.

“There is Muhammad! He is under cover, fast asleep!” they shouted.

They walked hurriedly to the bed, only to shake their heads in disbelief when the man lying in the bed lifted his head and threw a glance at them. It was Ali (r.a) lying in front of them, not the Prophet (pbuh).

“The man was telling us the truth after all”, they admitted, crestfallen. They angrily turned to Ali (r.a):

“Where is your cousin?” they shouted.

“I have little idea. What…do you think I watch him wherever he goes? Besides, it was you telling him to leave Mecca all along…So my guess is, he must have left!”

Thereupon, the idolaters began rebuking and insulting Ali (r.a). They even took him to the Kaabah where he was held in custody for some time, eventually released afterwards. (Ibn Hisham, II, 96; Ahmed, I, 348; Yakubi, II, 39)

While the miserable men, whose hearts were locked and eyes blind to the truth, were prowling around the house of the Prophet (pbuh), little were they aware that the Prophet (pbuh) had long made it to the house of Abu Bakr (r.a). Though the idolaters had plotted, the Almighty had made an even greater plot of which they had no idea. Allah (SWT), describes this as follows:

وَاِذْ يَمْكُرُ بِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِيُثْبِتُوكَ اَوْ يَقْتُلُوكَ اَوْ يُخْرِجُوكَ وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللّٰهُ وَاللّٰهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

“And when those who disbelieved devised plans against you that they might confine you or slay you or drive you away; and they devised plans and Allah too had arranged a plan; and Allah is the best of planners.” (al-Anfal, 30)

The Long Road

Arriving at Abu Bakr’s (r.a) house after leaving his, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) remitted the money for the camel prepared for him for the journey, despite Abu Bakr’s reluctance. Having slipped through the idolaters only moments before, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) this time acted cautiously as instructed by the Divine will and to set an example for his ummah. Together they left from the back of Abu Bakr’s house, where the camels were to remain for a few more days.

Again, as a subtle precaution, they headed toward the direction opposite to Medina.

Abu Bakr (r.a) was walking behind the Prophet (pbuh) one moment and in front of him the next. Upon being asked by the Noble Messenger (pbuh) for the reason he walked thus, he replied:

“I fear for your wellbeing, Messenger of Allah”.

They eventually made it to the Cave of Thawr.

“It is best if you wait until I clear out the cave, Messenger of Allah”, Abu Bakr recommended after which he entered the cave, cleaning it up and blocking all holes in case pests might enter. Only then did he advise the Prophet (pbuh) to make his way in. (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, III, 222-223)

Headed by Abu Jahl, the idolaters meanwhile rushed to Abu Bakr’s house, and unable to find the two there, they began interrogating his daughter Asma. For saying she knew nothing of her father’s whereabouts, the poor girl bore the brunt of the idolaters’ frustration and anger, receiving a fierce slap across the face.

The Light of Being and his “Companion of the Cave” (Yar-i Ghar)[1] were to remain in the cave for a while, where they could find breathing space from the idolaters who were busy searching for them on the roads to Medina. Besides, they were under the protection and assistance of the Almighty, who was intervening, so to speak, just when all options were exhausted. Following their traces, some idolaters were in fact able to come to within the threshold of the cave. But other than a pigeon’s nest at the entrance of the cave they found nothing but cobwebs, as if no man had set its eyes on the cave before, let alone entered it. With the command of the Almighty, moreover, a tree had grown in the entrance, blocking the Prophet’s (pbuh) face from prying eyes.[2]

Without suspecting the slightest possibility of finding the Noblest Being (pbuh) there, the idolaters turned back.

The common aid and protector of these two dignified wayfarers was no other than Allah (SWT). Thus, the miserable men who had turned up at the cave could see nothing but a pigeon’s nest and cobwebs. As elegantly said by poet Arif Nihat Asya:

The spider was neither in the sky,
Nor in water, nor on land,
It was only in the eyes
Blinded to the Truth so grand.

As all this was taking place, Abu Bakr (r.a) was becoming increasingly restless in the cave. He was in fear, not for himself but for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).

If the idolaters were to do so little as to peek inside, they could have easily seen the two. Instead they were walking around the cave, inspecting it and remarking, “Had there been anyone inside, the pigeon’s eggs and the spider web would have long been destroyed!”

Some who suggested taking a look inside the cave were prevented by the furious Umayyah ibn Khalaf:

“Are you out of your minds? What are you going to do inside? How can you even suggest walking inside a cave knit with layers of cobweb? Believe me…this web was weaved well before even the birth of Muhammad!”

While Abu Jahl remarked:

“I swear Muhammad is nearby…I can just feel him! But he has blinded our eyes again with magic!”[3]

Overcome with anxiety, Abu Bakr (r.a) meanwhile was whispering to the Noble Messenger (pbuh):

“If they kill me, I am just one person after all. But if something happens to you, then the whole ummah will be destroyed!”

The Noble Prophet (pbuh) was offering salat on his feet and Abu Bakr (r.a) was keeping an eye out, all the while voicing his uneasiness:

“Your tribe is looking for you everywhere. By Allah, it is not for myself that I fear but I am worried they will do something to you!”

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) calmly responded:

“Do not fear, Abu Bakr! Surely Allah is with us!” (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah, III, 223-224; Diyarbakri, I, 328-329)

This phase is retold in the Quran:

اِلاَّ تَنْصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللّٰهُُ اِذْ اَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ثَانِىَ اثْنَيْنِ اِذْ هُمَا فِى الْغَارِ اِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لاَ تَحْزَنْ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَنَا فَاَنْزَلَ اللّٰهُُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلَى وَكَلِمَةُ اللّٰهِ هِىَ الْعُلْيَا وَاللّٰهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

“If you will not aid him, Allah certainly aided him when those who disbelieved expelled him, he being the second of the two, when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion: ‘Fear not, surely Allah is with us.’ So Allah sent down His serenity upon him and strengthened him with hosts which you did not see, and made lowest the word of those who disbelieved; and the word of Allah, that is the highest; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (at-Tawbah, 40)

Abu Bakr (r.a) later said:

“In the cave I could see the idolaters’ feet. ‘If they had only kneeled they would have seen us’, I whispered to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), who said, ‘Why do you fear for two companions, the third of whom is Allah?’ (Bukhari, Fadail’ul-Ashab 2, Manaqib 45; Muslim, Fadailu’s-Sahabah, 1)

The Cave of Thawr where the Prophet (pbuh) had been guided following the thirteen-year struggle in Mecca, was a different sort of training place than Hira.[4] There, the gist was to observe the flow of Divine mysteries and might, to read the Wisdom right from the book of man and universe; and to become immersed in Divine secrets, thereby to develop the heart.

The stay in Thawr lasted for three days and three nights. The Prophet (pbuh) was not alone. He was accompanied by Abu Bakr (r.a), the noblest of men after prophets. Honored with being by the Prophet’s (pbuh) side for three days and nights, he thus became ‘the Second of the Two’.

By counseling his friend:

لاَ تَحْزَنْ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَنَا

“Fear not! Allah is with us”, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) was at the same time revealing the secret of being-with-Allah (ma’iyyah). This was the beginning of the teaching of silent dhikr, or remembrance, the opening of hearts to the Almighty on the way of becoming content.

Thus the Cave of Thawr served as the starting place of the training of the heart towards reaching the Almighty from the horizon of endless mysteries, the first stop of this Divine journey.

The Noble Prophet’s (pbuh) exposure of the secrets from the realm of the heart to his ummah thus first began in this cave with Abu Bakr (r.a), the first ring of the Golden Chain set to survive until the Day of Judgment.

Faith receives its power from the love of the Prophet (pbuh). The main impetus in this sublime journey is the love felt for the Noble Messenger (pbuh) and the only way of reaching the Almighty is through feeling such affection. In any case, to love is not only to love the person, but also to love whoever and whatever the person loves. Keeping love ever alive is possible through the spiritual bond (rabitah).[5] A raw and shallow understanding can never conceive Divine Love.

Understanding the spiritual bond of Abu Bakr (r.a) with the Noble Prophet (pbuh) should leave an impression on each mind, the depth of which depends on their capacities. Abu Bakr (r.a) would receive a different kind of sublime satisfaction each time he talked with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); being the person most privy to prophetic secrets, he would always long for the Prophet (pbuh) even when he was by his side witnessing unique manifestations.

Indeed, when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) remarked appreciatively:

“I have never benefited from the wealth of anyone like I have from the wealth of Abu Bakr”, Abu Bakr (r.a) responded, in tears:

“Are not my wealth and I for you anyway?” (Ibn Majah, Muqaddimah, 11); an expression of total devotion to the Prophet (pbuh) and annihilation in him. (In tasawwuf, this spiritual position is defined as Fana fi’r-Rasul).

One point during their stay at Thawr, the Prophet (pbuh), placing his head on Abu Bakr’s lap, had drifted off to a light nap. At that stage Abu Bakr (r.a) noticed a small hole close by in the cave. To prevent the likely appearance of a pest from the hole that could harm the Prophet (pbuh), Abu Bakr (r.a), blocked it with his foot, quickly but also delicately not to wake him up.

Soon, as part of the Divine test, it turned out that Abu Bakr (r.a) had every reason to worry, when a snake made its presence felt in the hole, fiercely biting Abu Bakr’s (r.a) foot, dribbling its venom. Abu Bakr (r.a) was left in such agony that even though he did not move in order not to awaken the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), he nonetheless could not contain his tears; such that one dropped right on the blessed face of the Prophet (pbuh). Waking up, the Noble Messenger (pbuh) inquired:

“What’s wrong Abu Bakr? What happened?”

Even though Abu Bakr (r.a) said there was nothing wrong, he ended up telling his experience upon the Prophet’s (pbuh) insistence. (Bayhaqi, Dalail, II, 477; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah, III, 223)

Without further ado, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) applied his saliva with his finger to the bite wound. With the blessing of Allah, the wound of Abu Bakr (r.a) was quickly healed, without a single trace of pain left.

Though from a disputable source, there is an account according to which the Noble Prophet (pbuh) asked the snake, in spiritual language, the reason for the bite, to which the snake responded:

“Messenger of Allah…I have been waiting for years in that small hole longing to see you. Just when I finally had the opportunity to realize my wish, I saw my path had been blocked. Unable to withhold the severe desire to see you, to unblock my path, I had no other option than to bite.”

This inspired poet Fuzuli to elaborate the following, in celebration of the Noble Prophet (pbuh) being a source of spiritual and physical healing, from which those who befriend him can receive a share:

Drunk by His friend, and the fount of life a snake’s venom shall be,
But venom is what becomes of water drunk by His enemy.

When during his caliphate Omar (r.a) overheard some people implying his superiority to Abu Bakr (r.a), he interrupted and said:

“By Allah, Abu Bakr is better than Omar’s entire family. More so, even one day of Abu Bakr’s life is more blessed than Omar’s entire family: the day when Abu Bakr was by the side of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) when he left his home for the cave.” (Hakim, III, 7/4268)

Throughout their stay in the Cave of Thawr, Abu Bakr’s daughter Asma would bring them food, while his son Abdullah would spend each night at the cave with them, returning to Mecca toward the break of dawn, leading the idolaters to think he had spent the night in the town. An exceptionally witty and capable man, Abdullah would mix with the idolaters during the day and listen unassumingly to their plots against the Prophet (pbuh), leaking the information to the cave at night.

Amir ibn Fuhayrah, the freed slave of Abu Bakr, would likewise graze Abu Bakr’s sheep alongside the other sheep with the shepherds of Mecca. Setting out with them early in the morning, he would purposely lag back from the other shepherds on their return at nightfall, going to the cave with the sheep, for the Noble Prophet (pbuh) and his honorable friend to obtain their milk. On his return to Mecca in the early hours of the morning, Amir would wipe out the footprints of Abdullah with the hooves of his flock, making them unnoticeable.[6]

Having been in search of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) for three days now, the idolaters had lost all hope. Receiving the news of Meccan despair from Abdullah, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) and Abu Bakr (r.a), on the fourth day, mounted their camels brought by the guide and set off from the cave. This meant that the time had come for the Prophet (pbuh) to bid farewell to his hometown where he had spent his entire life till that day, which thus cast grief over him. He very much loved the blessed town of Mecca. A short time before, overlooking the town from the hill of Hazwarah, he had remarked:

“By Allah, Mecca, you are for me the most beloved of all places. Had I not been driven out, I would never have turned my back on you!” (Ahmed, IV, Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 68/3925)

Again, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) said:

“What a lovely town you are Mecca and how much do I love you! I would never have sought haven in any other, if it were not for my tribe expelling me!” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 68/3926)

Comfort came through Divine Revelation, dispersing the Prophet’s sorrow:

اِنَّ الَّذِى فَرَضَ عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْاَنَ لَرَادُّكَ اِلَى مَعَادٍ

“Most surely He Who has made the Quran binding on you shall bring you home again. (al-Qasas, 85)

Explicitly promising the return, also as the first sign of the Conquest of Mecca, this ayah also served to rid the Prophet’s (pbuh) heart from sorrow and make way for joy.

The 400 km stretch between Mecca and Medina then took eight days to complete at a camel’s pace. In spite of the long road, the scorching weather and the burning sand, the journeymen continued their walk non-stop for the first day.

Being a trader who had made numerous journeys to Damascus, Abu Bakr was a recognizable face for many. So at times during the journey they would come across people he knew, asking Abu Bakr of ‘the identity of the man in front of him’. Acting prudently and to stay safe, Abu Bakr would reply:

“He is my guide…He is showing me the way!” Of course, at heart, he would mean “he is guiding me to the best of ways.” (Ibn Saad, I, 233-235; Ahmed, III, 211)

Led by the tracker Abdullah ibn Urayqit[1], the Prophet (pbuh), Abu Bakr (r.a) and Amir ibn Fuhayrah stopped by a tent near Qudayd owned by Ummu Mabed, who used to take care of the needs of passing travellers. So the blessed travellers bound for Medina asked her for some milk.

In the tent there was a weak sheep, which did not even have enough power to join the flock to graze, much less milk in its udders. It was therefore left behind in one corner of the tent. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked permission from Ummu Mabed to milk it, she said:

“Do as you wish—but good luck finding a drop of milk in her!”

After praying to Allah (SWT), to bless the sheep with prosperity, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) began milking it with his own hands, ending up drawing out plenty of milk from it.

From what Ummu Mabed later told, that sheep survived until a drought that struck during the caliphate of Omar (r.a), at which time they milked it day and night, even when livestock could not find any grass to graze.

After the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) left Abu Mabed’s tent, her husband turned up. Astonished at the sight of the amount of milk inside, he exclaimed:

“Where did these come from, Ummu Mabed? The sheep are all away on land, all infertile, and there is nothing to milk! What happened?”

“Today a holy man came to the tent”, Ummu Mabed said, going on to explain the event and the Prophet’s (pbuh) beautiful traits.

“Go on, tell me more about him!” Abu Mabed requested, upon which his wife began elaborating further:

“A handsome man, with a luminous face…He has exceptionally good morals. There was nothing wrong with him that I could see. His eyes are black and sparkling, lashes thick but slender and there is a politeness to his voice. Somewhat tall, he has black hair and a slightly long beard.

“There is serenity and majesty in his quietness, and a flowing beauty and kindness in his speech. His words are like perfectly aligned pearls, spilling from his mouth with measure. He speaks clearly, separating precisely right from the wrong. Neither did he speak very little as if to show inability, nor a lot that would make one wearisome.

“From a distance, he looks the most imposing and awe-inspiring of all men, but up close, he is the most amicable and charming. Of medium height, he is neither outrageously tall, nor short. He is like a sapling that has surpassed in beauty the other saplings it has grown among. Next to him he had friends who would peacefully listen to each word he uttered and rush to fulfil his each command. He is dearly respected. From what I saw, blaming or telling off others is something he never does.”

Upon hearing this vivid description, Abu Mabed remarked:

“That man is the Prophet from Quraysh. How I wish I had met him and become his friend! But still I am going to try when the first opportunity presents itself.”

During those days, an unknown voice in Mecca was heard delivering emotional eulogies in praise of the guests of Ummu Mabed’s tent. Stirred by this unknown voice, Hassan ibn Thabit improvised a poem declaring that the people who let go of their Prophet are now doomed, and that the Prophet is spreading guidance in the heart of Medina, reading aloud the words of Allah (SWT). (Ibn Saad, I, 230-231; VIII, 289; Hakim, III, 10-11)

Abu Mabed’s entire family ended up accepting Islam and the honour of becoming Companions of the Prophet.

Incapable of finding the blessed travellers in spite of their efforts, the idolaters as a last resort offered a ludicrous award for their capture. One of the many adventurers dazzled by this promise of reward was the hunter Suraqa ibn Malik.

At the end of a long search, Suraqa was able to track down the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). With the hope of seizing him, Suraqa immediately had his horse gallop towards them. Suddenly, however, the hooves of his horse sank into the sand, causing Suraqa to fall off.

Despite great effort, Suraqa could not free himself from the sand in which he was bogged and resume his pursuit of the Prophet (pbuh). Only after a while of struggling did he come to his senses and began feeling remorse. Thereupon, he sought the mercy of the Noble Prophet (pbuh). The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prayed for him, shortly after which Suraqa’s horse rose from the sand. Suraqa instantly had a turn of heart for the better and became a genuine friend of the Noble Prophet (pbuh). With the intention of keeping their location secret, Suraqa returned, diverting others from heading towards them by suggesting various other directions. (Muslim, Zuhd, 75)

Echoing in Suraqa’s ears for a while to come were the following words the Prophet (pbuh) told him:

“How will you feel Suraqa, the day you shall wear Khosrau’s gold bracelets and crown, and don his belt?”

Indeed, when the bracelets, belt and crown of the defunct Khosrau were brought to Medina following the conquest of Persia, Caliph Omar (r.a) called Suraqa and, making him wear the adornments, told him to lift his hands and say:

“Allahu Akbar! Praise be to Him who has taken these away from Khosrau ibn Hurmuz, who paraded himself as the god of men, and placed it in the hands of Suraqa ibn Malik, of the sons of Mudlij!” (Ibn Athir, Usd’ul-Ghabah, II, 332; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, II, 19)

Encountering Buraydah ibn Husayb and his tribe on the way near Ghamim, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) invited them to Islam. They all accepted wholeheartedly. That night, the Light of Being (pbuh) taught Buraydah (r.a) the opening part of Chapter Maryam.[2]

Undoing the white turban (imamah) on his head, Buraydah then said to the Prophet (pbuh):

“Allow me to be your flag bearer!”

Buraydah thereafter bore the flag for them, until they reached the village of Quba.

Afterwards on the way, they met a commercial caravan returning from Damascus, among which was Zubayr ibn Awwam who enshrouded the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and Abu Bakr in two white cloaks.[3]

Each step was now drawing the Hegira company closer to Medina. Regardless of the idolaters rallying each and every person they could to murder the Noble Prophet (pbuh), he was nonetheless proceeding steadily, continuing to extend his invitation to Islam on the way.

Saad ad-Dalil (r.a),[4] one of the Companions, recounts the following:

“During the Hegira, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and Abu Bakr (r.a) came to our place. A daughter of Abu Bakr (r.a) was with us at the time, being breastfed by a wet nurse. They wanted to reach Medina through the shortest way possible. We told them that they were on the Ghair Way amid the Raqubah Passage, famous for two bandits known as Mukhanan, and that he only needed to say the word for us to take care of them.

‘Take us to them’, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said.

So we set out. When we walked up to the end of the Raqubah slope, we saw the bandits, one of whom we heard say to the other:

‘That man looks like he is from Yemen.’[5]

Calling the two next to him, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) explained and openly invited them to Islam. They accepted there and then. When the Prophet (pbuh) asked their names, they replied, ‘We are called Mukhanan (i.e. the despised two)’.

‘Quite the reverse, you are Mukraman (i.e. the honoured two)’, the Prophet (pbuh) said. He then told the two to go to Medina before them with the good news of their upcoming arrival.” (Ahmed, IV, 74)

The Long Awaited Guest

Excitement was at its height for the Medinans who had long received the news of the Prophet’s (pbuh) impending arrival. They had gathered at the outskirts of the town in anticipation of the arrival of their blessed guest, in hope of welcoming the brilliant envoy and garner their share of blessing.

At long last, on Monday the 12th of Rabiulawwal,[6] the joyous shouts “They are coming!” were finally beginning to reverberate throughout Medina.

Enlivened by the good news, the streets of Medina were now resounding with the sounds of takbir. The Muslims took their arms. Mounted or on foot, they rushed to welcome their blessed guest.

With the arrival, under Divine protection and assistance, of the long awaited travellers at the nearby village of Quba, the whole town bubbled over, sent into blissful celebration.

The fervent tune of Talaa’l-bedru alayna[7] rising to the skies from the surrounding hills were setting hearts ablaze with joy. To register all events to take place thereafter until the Final Hour, history was meanwhile setting the Hegira calendar in motion.

As a majority of Muslims had never before seen the Light of Being (pbuh) in their lives, they did not recognize him, and for a while took Abu Bakr Siddiq (r.a) to be the Prophet. The Noble Prophet (pbuh) was in the meantime keeping quiet. He was directly exposed to the scorching heat of the sun, which was when Abu Bakr (r.a) made a move to shade him with his mantle. Only then did the Muslims realize the identity of the Prophet (pbuh).[8]

From that day on, Medina was to become the center and mirror of Islam’s development and progress. The dark face of disbelief was fading out more and more. Instilled with the sublime meanings of the Hegira, the Masjids of Medina and Quba have been left as living memories and legacies of this blessed journey until the Final Hour.

Laying all their belongings at the feet of the Muhajirun, the Ansar proclaimed:

“Here is my wealth…Half is yours!” The immeasurable sacrifice and devotion that is Muslim brotherhood was thus initiated there and then. Medina cemented her unshakeable place and reputation in Islamic history. All deeds of Islam, social and personal, and struggles became manifest in a unique way in Medina, setting an example for the rest of the ummah.

In Quba, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) was a guest at the house of Ibn Khidm, from the Amr ibn Awf clan. There, the Prophet (pbuh) would occasionally leave and go to the house of Saad ibn Haythamah, where he would sit and talk with other Muslims. As Saad (r.a) was yet unmarried, the bachelors of the Migrants used to stay at his house, for which reason it came to be called Manzil’ul-Uzzab, the Place of Bachelors. (Ibn Hisham, II, 110; Ibn Saad, I, 233)

During his temporary stay at Quba, the Prophet (pbuh) would attend funerals, invitations and visit the ill.

Abu Said al-Khudri (r.a) recalls the following from those days, which shows the sensitivity of the Companions.

“During the first days of the arrival of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in Medina, we used to always notify him, whenever there would be someone on his deathbed. He would then come and wait by the person, praying for his forgiveness. Only after the person breathed his last would he return, sometimes waiting even until the burial.

Weary of causing him inconvenience, we said to each other:

‘Let’s not tell the Messenger of Allah anything until the ill person passes away. That way the Prophet will neither become tired nor will he lose any time.’

So we began telling the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) about the deceased only after the person breathed his last. He would then come and perform the salat of the deceased and pray for his forgiveness, waiting at times until the burial.

We continued doing this for some time. Then thinking even that was causing inconvenience for the Prophet (pbuh), we decided to take the funeral to his doorstep, supposing it would be easier for him to perform the salat over the deceased like that. So that’s what we did from then on.”

Muhammad ibn Omar, the narrator of the above account, adds:

“Such is the reason why that place is now called Musalla, meaning the place where the salat (of the deceased) is performed. The funerals were always taken there and the practice continued even after the passing away of the Prophet (pbuh).” (Ibn Saad, I, 257, Hakim, I, 519/1349)

The Noble Prophet (pbuh) had not yet departed from Quba when Ali -may Allah ennoble his countenance-, having returned to their owners the goods entrusted in the safekeeping of the Prophet (pbuh), caught up with them.

There are many reports that bear witness to the immensity of the love the Companions nurtured for the Noble Prophet (pbuh) and his loving memory. Bara ibn Azib (r.a)[9] tells of his father’s insatiable desire to listen to something about the Prophet (pbuh) at every given opportunity:

“Abu Bakr (r.a) had bought a saddle from my father for thirteen dirhams and told him:

‘Ask Bara to deliver it to our house if he can’.

‘Not until you describe to me how the Messenger of Allah migrated from Mecca to Medina’, my father replied.

Thereupon Abu Bakr (r.a) lengthily described their Hegira to Medina.” (Bukhari, Ashabu’n-Nabi, 2; Ahmad, I, 2)

The Masjid of Quba: A Masjid Founded upon Piety 

At Quba, the first stop on the road to Medina, the Prophet (pbuh) remained for fourteen days as guest at the quarters of the Ibn Awf clan. It was then that the illustrious Masjid of Quba was built, with the Noble Prophet (pbuh) personally taking active part in the construction.

Quba is the first mosque of Islam and holds even greater importance for the fact of having been built during the Hegira. It is described in the Quran as:

لَمَسْجِدٌ اُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقْوَى مِنْ اَوَّلِ يَوْمٍ

“…a masjid founded on piety from the very first day.”[10] (at-Tawbah, 108)

Abu Hurayrah (r.a) states that the part of the ayah that says:

فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ اَنْ يَتَطَهَّرُوا وَاللّٰهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ

“…in it are men who love that they should be purified; and Allah loves those who purify themselves”, (at-Tawbah, 108) refers to the locals of Quba. (Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 9/3099; Abu Dawud, Taharah, 23/44; Ibn Majah, Taharah, 357)

When the first group of Migrants reached Quba, they prepared the area formerly used by the Ibn Awf clan to dry their dates, for salat. Leading the first Migrants in their salat was Salim, the freed slave of Abu Huzayfah, a beautiful reciter of the Quran with more knowledge of it than anyone else there.[11]

Extending the area where the Migrants performed salat, the Noble Messenger (pbuh) had the Masjid of Quba built. The square-shaped Masjid had originally a length of 32 meters on each side. The Prophet (pbuh) asked the locals to bring stones, the first of which he placed in the Qiblah with his own hands, thereafter instructing Abu Bakr and Omar (r.a) to place the stones in the same order.

By far, it was Ammar ibn Yasir (r.a) who showed the most effort in the construction of the Mosque, for which he was called then on as ‘the first mosque builder’ in Islam.[12]

The poems Abdullah ibn Rawaha (r.a) recited while working would help Muslims unwind amid their tiredness.[13]

Saad al-Qurazi took up the responsibilities as muadhdhin of the Mosque.

Like the Masjid’un-Nabawi and the other nine mosques in Medina, Quba provided a base for ongoing teaching activities, which the Prophet (pbuh) supervised each time he attended the mosque.[14]

On Saturdays, the Blessed Messenger (pbuh) would go to Quba, either on a mount or on foot, and offer two rakats of salat at the Mosque[15], something he also advised fellow Muslims to do:

“Whoever makes a thorough wudu, goes to the Masjid of Quba and performs two rakats of salat, shall receive the rewards of an umrah (voluntary pilgrimage).” (Ibn Majah, Iqamah, 197; Nasai, Masajid, 9)

Omar (r.a) also had the habit of visiting the Mosque on Mondays and Thursdays during his caliphate, saying he would not think twice in steering his camel to the mosque even it were a great distance away.[16]

The Masjid of Quba underwent extensions during the caliphates of Othman (r.a) and Omar ibn Abdulaziz, not to mention numerous renovations thereafter. Repaired also during the reign of Sultan Mahmud II in the year 1829 (H. 1245), the single minaret and flat-roofed mosque was torn down by the Saudi Arabian government and reconstructed with a dome and four minarets.

The First Friday Salat on the Valley of Ranunah

After a fourteen-day stint at Quba, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and his following made their move towards Medina. It was Friday. By noon, with the time approaching zuhr salat, they had reached the Valley of Ranunah, where the Noble Prophet (pbuh) dismounted his camel. There, for the first time, he led the salat of Jumuah, or Friday, the most prominent sign of Islam’s sovereignty. He gave the following khutbahs, or sermons.

The First Sermon

“People!

“Repent before death! Perform good deeds while the opportunity is at hand! By offering plenty of charity, secretly or openly, and by constantly remembering Allah, mend your relations with Allah! Do this and you shall be blessed, assisted and be made to regain all that you have lost.

“Know that on this month of this year, in this place, Allah has made obligatory the Friday Salat. May his ends never meet, who takes the Salat lightly or abandons it in rejection, while there is an imam, just or unjust, to lead him, while I am still alive or after me! And may Allah never guide him to success! Such a person has no other salat (in hope of acceptance)—except those who repent, for Allah will accept their repentance.” (Ibn Majah, Iqamah, 78)

“People!

“Prepare for your Hereafter while you have your health! Death will surely come to pass and leave your flocks without a shepherd. Then without a translator or a medium, Allah will ask:

‘Has not my Prophet come to you and informed you of My commands? For all the wealth you had and My favors upon you, what have you brought today for yourself?’

“Faced with this question each person will look left and right to no avail; then they will look to the front and see Hellfire.

“So wake up! Guard yourselves from the flames, even if it be with half a date! If you cannot even find half a date, then with kind words; for a single goodness is multiplied by ten to seven hundred times.

“May Allah’s blessings and mercy be upon you!” (Ibn Hisham, I, 118-119, Bayhaqi, Dalail, II, 524)

The Second Sermo

“Praise be to Allah. Only from Him do I seek help. His protection we seek from the evils of our own souls and the wickedness of our deeds. Whoever Allah guides nobody shall misguide and nobody can guide whoever He causes to deviate.

“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah. He is one, without partner. The most beautiful words are in His Book. Whosoever’s heart Allah has adorned with the Quran and guided him to Islam after darkness, has been salvaged, if he chooses the Quran above all words.

“The book of Allah is truly the most beautiful and eloquent of words.

“Love what Allah loves! Do not ever be weary of Allah’s word and His remembrance! Do not let your hearts strain from the word of Allah, for His words pick and choose from the best. They explain the best deeds, and give mention to the Prophets, the most eminent of servants, and convey the most beautiful and striking accounts.[17] It makes explicit the permissible and the non-permissible.

“Worship only Allah and do not ascribe any partners to Him! Fear Him the way He ought to be feared! Have your tongues support your good deeds! Love each other with the word of Allah! Know that Allah is angered with those who fall back on their words.

“May Allah’s peace be upon you!” (Bayhaqi, Dalail, II, 524-525)

Including aspects of Islam like belief, worship, moral and social principles, these sermons can effectively be taken as a broad summary of the Religion.

That the Friday Salat was made obligatory even before the completion of Hegira underlines the importance and urgency for Muslims to assemble themselves in a community.

The Nervous Wait in Medina

Before leaving Quba for Medina, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) summoned the Najjar Clan, among whom were his maternal uncles, for support. Armed, they quickly heeded the call, and greeting the Prophet (pbuh), they assuredly told him:

“Mount your camels for the journey. Your protection is assured.”[18]

With the Friday Salat completed, accompanied by Abu Bakr (r.a), the notables of Najjar and other Muslims, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) mounted his camel Qaswa to make his long awaited entrance into Medina.

The departure of the Prophet (pbuh) and the pain of no longer being able to have him as guest slowly sinking in, the Qubans said in a heartfelt plea:

“Messenger of Allah! Are you leaving because you are tired of us or is it just that you’re leaving for a better place?”

“I have only been commanded to go to Medina”, the Prophet (pbuh) replied, consoling them and assuring them of his contentment with their company. (Dyiarbakri, I, 339)

All the Medinan Muslims, without exception, wanted to lodge the Prophet (pbuh) as guest. As that burning desire in each and every Muslim to take the noble guest home was threatening to turn into a dispute, the Blessed Prophet (pbuh), referring to his camel Qaswa, had to intervene:

“Better you stay out of the camel’s way; she has her instructions.” (Ibn Hisham, II, 112-113)

This was the only way to avoid heartbreak in determining where the Noble Messenger (pbuh) would end up lodging.

After a couple of temporary pauses, the gifted camel indeed ended up crouching on the vacant land in front of the home of Khalid ibn Zayd, better known as Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (r.a). The lucky companion was in an inexpressible bliss.

“Please, Messenger of Allah! Honor the house of your humble host!” said Abu Ayyub (r.a), immediately inviting the Prophet (pbuh) in.

Walking towards Abu Ayyub’s (r.a) house, the Noble Prophet (pbuh) was met with the little girls of the Najjar clan, singing merrily with drums in their hands:

نَحْنُ جَوَارٍ مِنْ بَنِى النَّجَّارِ
يَا حَبَّذَا مُحَّمَّدٌ مِنْ جاَرِ

The bliss of being the daughters of the sons of Najjar,
Compare little to being neighbors with the Messenger!

The Beloved Messenger (pbuh) then asked them:

“Tell me—do you love me?”

“Yes, we love you very much”, they replied.

Delighted to see their joy, the Prophet (pbuh) replied:

“Only Allah knows how much I love you all! By Allah, I love you all, too. By Allah, I love you all, too!” (Ibn Majah, Nikah, 21; Diyarbakri, I, 341)

Bara ibn Azib (r.a) mentions the following:

“Never have I seen the Medinans happier than the day of the Prophet’s (pbuh) arrival. All Medinans, young and old, male and female, had flocked to the streets, climbed on their rooftops, shouting ecstatically, ‘The Messenger of Allah has arrived! O Muhammad! O the Prophet of Allah!’” (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-ansar, 45; Muslim, Zuhd, 75)

Anas ibn Malik (r.a) recalls similar memories:

“I do not remember a day more joyful, more beautiful and with greater light than the day the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) honored Medina. It was as if the whole town was bathed in light.” (Ahmed, III, 122; Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 1/3618)

As a sign of their appreciation for the Prophet’s (pbuh) coming to Medina, the Medinan Muslims sacrificed a camel.[19]

The love the Believers nurture for the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) is expressed beautifully in the couplet below:

Aman is the same as your honorable name,
For a lover, O Prophet, your remembrance is aman

Both the expression aman, which is a plea of help, and the name Muhammad have the same abjad value of 92, poetically hinted at above in expressing that a lover’s cry of aman is essentially a desire for none other than the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). A spectacular poetic insight indeed!

The Hegira marked the end of the Meccan era, signaling a brand new phase in Medina.

[1].      Abdullah ibn Urayqit, though then a nonbeliever, was a man thought highly of. Although it is disputed whether or not he later became a Muslim, preferable are the reports that he in fact did.

[2].      Ibn Saad, IV, 242.

[3].      Bukhari, Manâqıbu’l-Ansâr, 45.

[4].      For showing the shortest route to Medina and guiding the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) through the Raqubah Passage, the great Companion was given the appellation ad-Dalil, the Guide.

[5].      Intended by the remark is the fact that the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) was from Mecca. Mecca was regarded as part of Tihama, a region classified as within the borders of Yemen. the Kaabah, for that very reason, has also been called al-Kaaba’tul-Yemeniyya. (Ibn Athir, an-Nihaya, V, 300)

[6].      The date coincides with September, 622 on the Gregorian Calendar.

[7].      The full moon has ascended upon us.

[8].      Bukhari, Manaqibu’l-Ansâr, 45.

[9].      Bara ibn Azib (r.a), also known as Abu Ammara, was among the Ansar. He became Muslim before the Hegira and took active part in all the battles after Uhud. He breathed his last in Kufa, in the 73rd year of Hegira, having narrated more than 300 hadiths.

[10].     Omar (r.a) was to later adduce the Quranic expression ‘the very first day’ as proof, when making the Hegira the starting date of the calendar.

[11].     Ibn Saad, III, 87; IV, 311.

[12].     Ibn Hisham, II, 114.

[13].     Kâmil Mîras, Tecrid Tercemesi, X, 106.

[14].     Hamîdullâh, İslâm Peygamberi, II, 771.

[15].     Bukhari, Fadlu’s-Salat 3, 4; Muslim, Hajj, 516.

[16].     Ibn Saad, I, 245.

[17].     Qissa, accounts of previous prophets and peoples comprise more than a third of the Quran. For the inherent wisdom in this, refer to Osman Nûri TOPBAŞ, Nebîler Silsilesi, v. 1, p. 11-28, Istanbul 2004.

[18].     Bukhari, Manaqıbu’l-Ansâr, 46.

[19].     Ahmed, III, 301.

[1].      Yar-i Ghar, meaning the Companion of the Cave, is an expression used to describe the companionship of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh) and Abu Bakr (r.a) in the Cave of Thawr. In time, it has also been used to signify genuine friendships.

[2].      Ibn Saad, I, 229; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, III, 223-224.

[3].      Ibn Saad, I, 228; Halabî, II, 209.

[4].      Thawr provided a precinct of education distinct from that of Hira. In Hira the seeds of iman were cultivated, whereas at Thawr the seeds of ihsan and tasawwuf were planted after the seeds of iman had already flourished. This shows that a heart must first live sharia, by virtue of which it acquires an aptitude for tasawwuf.

[5].      For a more detailed elaboration of rabitah, see Osman Nûri TOPBAŞ, Îmandan İhsâna TASAVVUF, p. 249-257, Istanbul 2002.

[6].      Ibn Hisham, II, 99; Bukhari, Manaqıbu’l-Ansâr, 45; Haythami, VI, 53.

[1].      Ibn Saad, I, 220.

[2].      Bukhari, Manaqıbu’l-Ansâr, 46.

[3].      Ali (r.a) explains:

“We were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) at the Masjid. Musab then arrived, wearing nothing but a mantle patched all over with pieces of wool. Seeing him reminded the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) of Musab’s prosperous days in Mecca; and witnessing his current condition reduced the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to tears. He then said:

‘What will become of you when you will wear one beautiful garment in the morning, another in the afternoon, when you will be served with one full plate after another, when you will adorn your houses with drapes just like the Kaabah is draped!’

‘Most certainly, Messenger of Allah, our condition then will be much better than it is now’ they said. ‘For then we will not have to worry about our livelihood and be able to commit ourselves entirely to worship’.

‘Quite the reverse…You are in a much better position now than you will be then’, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated.” (Tirmidhi, Qiyamat, 35/2476)

[4].      Usayd (r.a) never ceased to recite the Divine Words, the beauty of which he recognized the very first moment, with the same love and enthusiasm throughout his life. He himself explains:

“I was reading Chapter Baqarah one night. My horse was next to me, tied. But at one stage the horse began to rear up. I stopped reading and the horse calmed down. I continued to read, but again, the horse began to rear up excitedly as I read. Fearing he might be trampled under the horse’s hooves, I was forced to bring my little son Yahya closer to me. But then I looked up to the sky and saw spots that looked like lamps, which after a while, rose further up into the sky and disappeared from sight. In the morning, I told the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) of the experience.

‘Read Usayd, read,’ he said to me before asking, ‘Do you know, Usayd, what those things were that you saw?’

‘No’, I replied.

‘They were angels who had come to listen to your recital of the Quran. Had you continued reading, they would have listened to you until daybreak. They would not have remained secret to other people either, who would have been able to see them freely.’” (Bukhari, Fadail’ul-Quran, 15)

Aisha (r.ha) recounts:

“Usayd ibn Hudayr (r.a) was one of the most virtuous Companions. I remember, he used to continually say:

‘Had I been able to continuously sustain the state of mind that overtook me in either one of these three moments, I surely would have been Paradise bound: while reading the Quran or listening to someone read it, while listening to the talks of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and while seeing a funeral. Yes indeed…whenever I see a funeral, I feel like it is me experiencing the things the deceased is going through, taken to where the deceased is being taken.” (Hakim, III, 326/5260)

[5].      Ibn Hisham, II, 61-63; Dhahabî, Siyar, I, 182.

[6].      A naqib is a representative of a tribe or a clan.

[7].      Jubayr ibn Mutim (r.a) was a relative of the Blessed Prophet (pbuh). For a long time he resisted Islam; he was even in the group that decided on the assassination of the Noble Messenger (pbuh). He sided with the idolaters in the Battle of Badr. At Uhud, he allowed for Wahshi, then his slave, to play a central role in the martyring of Hamza (r.a). Immediately after the Peace of Hudaybiyah, however, he entered Islam, becoming a sincere Muslim thereafter. A perceptive man of a mild temperament, Jubayr narrated 60 hadiths till his passing away in Medina in 678. (H. 58)

[8].      The suwar’ulmufassal comprise the final section of the Holy Quran, beginning, in accordance with the preferred view, with Chapter Qaf, which is the 50th chapter, and ending with the very final chapter, an-Nas. The chapters have been named mufassal for the fact they are frequently divided with a Basmala due to their brevity.

[9].      See Ibn Hisham, II, 76; Ibn Saad, I, 226.