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November 18, 2007, 6:41 am
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After that momentous day in the month of Ramadan, Revelation came
again and again to the Prophet (pbuh). He understood now what he had
to do and prepared himself for what was to come. Only a strong and
brave man, helped by Allah, can be a true prophet because people often
refuse to listen to Allah's message. Khadijah was the first to believe
the Prophet (pbuh) and accept as true what he brought from Allah.
Through her, Allah made things easier for the Prophet (pbuh). Khadijah
strengthened him, helped him spread his message, and stood up to the
people who were against him.
Then Revelation ceased for a time. The Prophet (pbuh) was upset and
unhappy, thinking that Allah had left him, or that he might have
angered Allah in some way so that Allah no longer thought him worthy
of His message. However, the Archangel Gabriel came back to him and
brought this surah, or chapter, of the Koran:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
"By the morning hours,
And by the night when it is stillest, Thy Lord hath neither forsaken
thee nor doth He hate thee, And verily the Last will be better for
thee than the First. And verily thy Lord will give unto thee so that
thou wilt be content. Did He not find thee an orphan and protect thee?
Did He not find thee wandering and guide thee? Did He not find thee
destitute and enrich thee? Therefore the orphan oppress not, Therefore
the beggar drive not away, And as for thy Lord's blessing, declare
it". (Koran: xciii.1-11)
The Prophet (pbuh) began to speak secretly of Allah's message to those
Who were close to him and whom he could trust. At that time Mecca was
going through hard times. There was very little food to be had. Abu
Talib, the Prophet's uncle, who had taken care of him after his
grandfather's death, was finding it very difficult to feed his large
The Prophet (pbuh) said that he and another uncle, al-'Abbas, who was
a rich man,
would each bring up one of Abu Talib's children in order to help him.
The Prophet (pbuh) took 'Ali and his uncle took Ja'far.
One day, when the Prophet (pbuh) was outside the city, the Archangel
Gabriel appeared to him. The Archangel kicked the side of a hill and a
spring of water began to flow out. He then began to wash himself in
the running water to show the Prophet (pbuh) the ritual ablution to be
made before prayer. Then the Archangel showed him all the positions of
Muslim prayer-the various movements and things to be said with each
movement. The Prophet (pbuh) returned home and taught all these things
first to Khadijah and then to his followers. Since then Muslims have
continued to purify themselves before prayer by performing the ritual
ablution and have followed the same movements and prayers first
performed by the Prophet (pbuh). To begin with, though, only the
Prophet (pbuh) and his wife knew of these things. Then one day 'Ali
entered the room and found the Prophet (pbuh) and Khadijah praying.
He was puzzled and asked what they were doing. The Prophet (pbuh)
explained to him that they were praising Allah and giving thanks to
Him. That night 'Ali stayed up thinking about all that the Prophet
(pbuh) had said; he had great admiration and respect for his cousin.
Finally he came to a decision and the next day he went to the Prophet
(pbuh) and told him that he wanted to follow him. Thus Khadijah was
the first woman to embrace Islam, the teachings which the Prophet
(pbuh) brought from Allah, and 'Ali was the first young man. Shortly
after they were joined by Zayd ibn Harithah, a slave, freed and
adopted by the Prophet (pbuh).
The Prophet (pbuh) began to leave Mecca with Ali in order to pray. One
day Abu Talib happened to pass by and when he saw them he stopped and
asked them what they were doing. The Prophet (pbuh) told him that they
were praying and following the same religion as Abraham. He explained
that, like Abraham, he had been ordered to guide the people to Allah's
truth. Abu Talib looked at his son,
'Ali, and said: 'Muhammad (pbuh) would never make you do anything that
was wrong. Go with him.
But I cannot leave the religion I now follow and which was followed by
my father.' Then he turned to the Prophet (pbuh), saying, 'Even so, I
promise you, Muhammad (pbuh), that no one will hurt you as long as I
am alive.' And with that Abu Talib went on his way. At about this time
the news of Muhammad (pbuh) being the Prophet reached an honest, wise,
and respected merchant of Mecca called Abu Bakr. He knew Muhammad
(pbuh) well and believed he could never lie, so he went to find out
for himself if the story were true. The Prophet (pbuh) told him that
he had indeed been sent by Allah to teach everyone to worship the one
true Allah. On hearing this from the Prophet's own lips Abu Bakr knew
it to be the truth and became a believer instantly. Later the Prophet
(pbuh) was reported to have said that everyone he ever invited to
accept Islam showed signs of disbelief and doubt, except Abu Bakr;
when he was told of it he did not hold back or hesitate.
Because of his wisdom, honesty, and kindness people had always turned
to Abu Bakr for advice. He was, therefore, a man of some influence and
through him many people came to Islam. Among these was Sa'd ibn Abi
Waqqas as, the uncle of Aminah, the Prophet's mother. The night before
Abu Bakr came to visit him and tell him about Islam, Sa'd Ibn Abi
Waqqas dreamt that he was walking in darkness. As he walked he saw the
moon and when he looked at it he saw 'Ali, Abu Bakr, and Zayd, the
Prophet's freed slave, beckoning to him to come and join them. When
Abu Bakr told him about the Prophet's religion, he understood the
meaning of his dream and went at once to the Prophet (pbuh) and
declared himself a Muslim. He understood that to be a Muslim means to
submit oneself to Allah's Will and to serve only Him. Another person
brought to Islam by Abu Bakr was Bilal. One night Abu Bakr went to the
house of Umayyah ibn Khalaf, one of the most important men of Quraysh.
Umayyah was out and Abu Bakr found only Umayyah's slave,
Bilal, at home. Abu Bakr talked to the slave about Islam and before he
left, Bilal, too, had become a Muslim. The number of people following
the Prophet (pbuh) began to grow. Sometimes they would all go out of
the city to the mountains around Mecca to hear him recite the Koran
and to be taught by him. This was all done very secretly and only a
very few people knew about Islam in those early days.
The Troubles Begin
Three years passed and one day the Archangel Gabriel came to the
Prophet (pbuh) and ordered him to start preaching openly to everyone.
So the Prophet (pbuh) told the people of Mecca that he had something
very important to tell them. He stood on a hillside in Mecca, called
Safa, and they gathered around to hear what he had to say. He started
by asking them if they would believe him were he to say that an army
was about to attack them. They answered that indeed they would,
because he never lied. He then told them that he was the Messenger of
Allah, sent to show them the right way
and to warn them of terrible punishments if they did not follow him in
worshipping only Allah and none other. Abu Lahab, one of the Prophet's
uncles who was among the listeners, suddenly stood up and said, 'May
you perish! Did you call us here just to tell us this?' At this, Allah
sent to the Prophet (pbuh) the following Surah:
In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful
"The Power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish. His wealth
and gains will not save him. He shall roast at a flaming fire, And his
wife, the carrier of firewood Will have upon her neck a rope of palm-
fibre". (Koran cxi.1-5)
Then the crowd dispersed and the Prophet (pbuh) was left alone. A few
days later the Prophet (pbuh) tried again. A feast was prepared in his
house for all of his uncles. After the meal he spoke to them and said,
'O sons of 'Abd al-Muttalib! I know of no Arab who has come to his
people with a better message than mine. I have brought you the best
news for this life and the next.
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