When news reached
that the apostle had left
, Abdul-Rahman told how the followers of the apostle ‘used to go morning
prayers, expecting his arrival. We went out to a stony plain to look for
him, and did not move until the sun drove us into the shade; but if we
could find no other shade we had to enter our houses, because it was the
hot season. The first man who caught sight of him on the day he at last
arrived was a Jew, who knew that we awaited the apostle of Allah;
and he at the top of his voice, “See! your good fortune has arrived’.
“ We went out to the apostle, who was sitting in
the shade of a date‑palm with Abu Bakr, a man of the same age as he.
As most of us had not seen the apostle of Allah before, the people
could not distinguish him from Abu Bakr until the sun fell on the apostle
and Abu Bakr rose to shelter him with his cloak. Then we knew which he
Then the apostle of Allah took up his abode at Quba,
two miles outside
, with Kulthum, a friendly chief, and Abu Bakr dwelt with Khubayb; and
they were assured that all
waited to welcome them.
The apostle of Allah remained at Quba on Monday,
Tuesday,and Wednesday, and on Thursday he laid the foundation of a mosque;
on Friday he left for
, and, during the short journey he prayed at the foot of the valley called
Ranuna. These were the first Friday prayers he held in
Many tribes and families welcomed him and invited him
to their houses, but he replied, ‘Allow my camel to go where because she
is guided by Allah.’
At last the camel stopped in a courtyard which was
part burial ground, part date‑grove, part camel enclosure, and knelt
down; then it rose and went on a short distance. But it looked backwards
and returned to the place where it had first intended to stop; there it
knelt down, murmured and placed its chest on the ground. So the apostle of
Allah alighted and took up his lodgings at the house of Abu Ayyub, near
the courtyard. He inquired to whom the courtyard belonged and was told to
two orphans, named Sahl and Suhayl; so he bought it to build a mosque
Abu Ayyub records that, ‘When the apostle of Allah
had taken up his abode in my house, he dwelt below and I above.
Then I said to him, “o prophet of Allah, who art dear to me as my
father and mother; I dislike and think it sinful that I should be above
thee and thou below me.” But he replied, “It is more pleasing to us
and to those who visit us, that we should be in the lower part of the
house.” Accordingly the apostle of Allah remained beneath and I above.
‘We used to prepare his supper and send it to him.
When he returned what he could not eat, both I and Umm Ayyub touched the
spot where his hand had been; then we ate what he had left hoping thus to
gain a blessing. We sent him one evening a supper into which had gone
onions or garlic, and the apostle of’ Allah returned it, and we found no
trace of his hand on it; therefore I went to him in terror and asked him
the reason. He replied, “I found in it the smell of this plant, and I am
a man who has close contact with others. But you may eat it.”
Accordingly we ate it, but never offered him that plant again.’
The apostle of Allah remained in
until the following year when his mosque and his dwellings were built. He
worked on them with his own hands to encourage his followers. Islam in
soon became so complete that only a handful of houses remained whose
tenants had not made profession of Islam.
The first public sermon delivered by the apostle was
as follows ‘Send good works ahead of you for the benefit of your souls
When one of you is snatched off by death your Lord will say unto you - for
there will be no interpreter or chamberlain between you and Him ‑
“Has not my apostle come and preached to thee? I have given thee
possessions, and bestowed benefits upon thee! What hast thou sent ahead
for thy soul’s reward?” Then you will look to the right and to the
left, but will see nothing .And you will look forward and see nothing
‘But he who can give even a little piece of date,
and does so, to shade his countenance from the fire of hell; and he who
has nothing to give, let him shield himself by means of the Good Word. For
good is rewarded from tenfold to seven hundred fold !
Peace be unto you, and the mercy and blessing of Allah!’
When the apostle of Allah addressed the people for
the second time he said, ‘Let us take refuge with Allah from the of our
own souls, and from the evil of our own deeds. He whom Allah guides, none
can lead astray; and whom He leads astray, none can guide. There is no god
but Allah and He has no companion. Verily, the finest words are the
scripture of Allah; blessed is the man whose heart Allah has adorned with
it, whom He has caused to profess Islam after unbelief, and who has
preferred it to all the other beliefs of men; indeed, it is the most
eloquent of all. Love what Allah loves. Love Allah with all your hearts,
and be not weary of the word of Allah or the mention thereof; but let not
your hearts be hardened against it because it is the most exquisite and
high of all Allah has created.
Therefore adore Allah, and associate nothing
idolatrous with Him! Fear him with the fear that is His due. Carry out
towards Allah all that you say you will, and love one another in the
spirit of Allah, because He becomes wrathful when His covenant is broken.
The peace of Allah be with you, and His mercy !’
By no means all the inhabitants of
and the surrounding districts were converts to Islam. Some idolaters
remained, who rallied round Abdullah b. Ubayy, a man of great authority in
before the advent of the apostle and who remained a continuing thorn in
the flesh of his success. It soon became apparent, too, that some of the
Helpers were not altogether convinced of the political wisdom of
supporting the apostle: these came to be regarded as paying
lip‑service to Islam, but hiding treachery in their hearts, and they
were known and reviled as ‘the Hypocrites’. Finally there were three
Jewish tribes settled just outside the city. Since much of the apostle’s
authority claimed to be derived from the Jewish scriptures, he attempted
to win the Jews over to his cause, as allies if not as Believers.
the apostle of Allah drew up a document concerning the Emigrants and the
Helpers, and the making of a treaty with the Jews which would ensure to
both sides the maintenance of their religion and possessions, and laid
down certain conditions of the alliance.
‘In the name of Allah the merciful, the
compassionate! This concerns the Believers fled from
and those of
, as well as those who follow them; join with them, and fight with them,
for they are a community excluding all other men. ‘The Emigrants from
shall pay blood‑ransom among themselves and redeem their prisoners
with the righteousness and justice suitable among Believers. The Helper
shall do the same. Believers shall not abandon him who is destitute among
them, but shall aid him with gifts, drawn either from the ransom of
prisoners or the blood‑ransom paid for persons slain.
‘Believers shall guard against him who rebels, or
seeks to spread enmity or wickedness among them; let every man’s hand be
against him, even should he be the son of a Believer. No Believer shall
kill another for the sake of an infidel nor aid an infidel against a
Believer. Verily, the protection of Allah is indivisible and extends to
the meanest Believer of all; and each must befriend other Believers above
‘Jews who follow us shall be given aid and
equality; they shall not be oppressed, nor shall aid be given to others
‘The safety of Believers is indivisible; no one
shall be saved at the expense of another, when battles are being fought in
the name of Allah, save with equity and justice. In every religious
casmpaign, Believers must aid one another in avenging blood spilled in the
way of Allah.
‘No idolater is permitted to take under his
protection any property, nor any person, belonging to a Quraysh
Unbeliever, or to aid a Quraysh against a Believer. He who kills a
Believer will himself be killed ‑ unless his victim’s kinsmen
accept blood‑ransom and it is the duty of all Believers to exact
the penalty. He who aids or shelters a malefactor will earn the curse and
wrath of Allah on the day of resurrection, nor will there be any escape
therefrom. If you are at variance on any matter, refer it or to Allah or
‘The Jews will share the cost with the Believers as
long as they fight a common foe; the Jews are one community with the
Believers (but they have their own religion as the Believers have
theirs). As with the Jews, so with their adherents, except for him who
commits a crime.
‘None shall depart to war except by the permission
of Muhammad, but none shall be hindered from avenging an injury. He who
does ill only brings ill upon himself and upon his family, unless he be
oppressed; then Allah will justify his deed. There shall be mutual aid
between Believers and Jews, in face of any who war against those who
subscribe to this document, and mutual consultations and advice. No man
shall injure his ally, and aid shall be granted to the oppressed. The
Jews, when fighting alongside the Believers, will bear their own expenses.
shall be sacred territory to those who agree to this covenant.
If there should be any differences of opinion
concerning this covenant and its meaning, they must be placed before Allah
and Muhammad the apostle of Allah.
‘Neither the Quraysh nor those who aid them are to
be protected. Mutual aid will be given by Believers and Jews against who
. If the Jews are called on by the Believers to make peace, they must
comply; and if the Believers are called on by the Jews to make peace, they
must agree, except in the case of a holy war. Every man shall be allotted
his reward by his own tribe.
‘Allah requires that this document shall be
ratified and put into effect; but it will not protect the unrighteous or
the sinner. Allah protects the just and the pious, and Muhammad is the
apostle of Allah’.
Soon after the arrival in
, the apostle of Allah established 'brotherhood in Allah' between his
companions of the Emigrants and the Helpers, saying, 'Become brothers in
Allah! Two by two!’ Then he himself took the hand of Ali and said 'This
is my brother!' Thus the apostle of Allah ‑ prince of apostles,
leader of the pious, ambassador of the Lord of both worlds, he who.has
no peer in dignity, nor any equal among the servants of Allah ‑
became the brother of Ali. Then the uncle of Muhammad -
Hamza ‑ the lion of Allah, and of His apostle ‑ became
the brother of Zayd, the freedman of the apostle of Allah; and Jafar
‑ the two‑winged, who was to soar in paradise ‑ became
the brother of Muadh; and Abu Bakr became the brother of Kharija. So it
was with many others.
While the mosque was being built one of the first
Medinan converts, Asad, died of a throat complaint, and the apostle foretold
that his enemies would say he was powerless, that 'If I were truly a
prophet, his companion would not have died.'
The tribe, whose leader Asad had been, asked Muhammad
to appoint a new chieftain, but he replied: 'I know your needs and I shall
be your chieftain.' In fact, the apostle was unwilling exalt any man of
them above the others. For centuries after, it was a boast of this tribe
that the apostle of Allah had been their chieftain.
When the apostle of Allah had settled himself in
, h.ad assembled his fellow refugees around him, and arranged the affairs
of the Helpers, Islam became properly established. Prayers were regularly
held; the poor tax and the fasts were prescribed; laws were formulated,
and what could and what could not properly be done was defined.
When he first arrived in Medina, the people had
assembled around him at the appointed times for prayer, without waiting
for any summons, but now the apostle considered whether he ought to call
the people to prayer by the sound of a trumpet, as is customary among the
Jews; however, he disliked the idea.
Then he ordered a wooden gong to be made, and one was
fashioned for his use; but
while this was being done, a man named Abdullah had a vision. He went to
the apostle of Allah and said, a wanderer came to me last night, a man who
wore two green garments, and carried a gong in his hand. I said,
"Wilt thou sell
This gong?” and he asked me my purpose with it. I
said, "We shall call to Prayers with it", but he replied, "
Shall I tell thee something better than that? Cry: Allah Akbar [Allah is
greatest] !, Allah Akbar! Allah
Akbar! Allah Akbar! I testify that there is no god but Allah! I
testify that Muhammad is the apostle of Allah! Come to prayer, come to
prayer! Come to blessedness, come to blessedness! Allah Akbar! Allah
Akbarl There is no god but Allah!" '
When he heard this Muhammad said, 'This is a true
vision, if it pleaseth Allah. Arise therefore with Bilal, give him the
words and let him shout them, because he has a better voice than thine.'
When Bilal acted as muezzin [the caller to prayer] and shouted these
words, Umar heard him and went to the apostle of Allah, trailing his cloak
after him, and said, 'I swear by Him who sent thee, that I have had the
same vision as Abdullah.' The apostle said, 'Praise be to Allah!”
whose house was the largest near the mosque later told how thereafter
Bilal daily proclaimed the morning prayers. He used to come in the
morning, and sit in my house waiting for the morning star. On beholding
it, he would stretch himself and say, "0 Allah! I praise Thee and
invoke Thy aid that the Quraysh may accept Thy religion." Then he
would begin his prayer.
Among the converts and inquirers who came to
seeking the truth of Islam were many whose stories were strange. One such
was Salman the Persian.
Salman the Persian was the son of a rich man who
loved him so intensely that he imprisoned him in the house. But one day
Salman went out to visit his father's property and passed near a Christian
church where the people were at their prayers, he could not understand
what they were doing, because his father had kept him incarcerated, and he
entered the church to see. When
he saw them, their devotions so pleased and impressed him that he remained
till sunset. After this, his father placed fetters on his legs, and again
imprisoned him, but he threw away the fetters and went to
, where he had been told the root of Christianity was.
There he served in succession five good and wise
upholders of the faith. When the fifth felt death was near, Salman
asked, 'To whom do you recommend me to go; what should I d o
now?” The wise one replied: 'My son, I know not whether anyone exists
today who is of the same religion as we, and to whom I might order thee to
go; but the time of a prophet of the religion of Abraham is near at hand.
This prophet will arise in the Arab country, and will flee to a region
situated within two stony ranges which contain date‑trees. He is
endowed with marks which cannot be concealed, consumes gifts but not alms,
and bears the seal of prophecy between his shoulders. If thou art able to
go to that country, do so.' He then died and was buried.
Then Salman said to some passing merchants:'Take ine
tit I country of
, and I will give you all my cows and sheep. But they took his goods and
sold him as a slave. After a time he was resold and taken to
, and when he reached there he recognized it from the description of his
dead master as the place where the prophet would appear.
Soon the apostle fled from
, and Salman heard of 'a man who has this day arrived from
, and is believed to be a prophet'. Salman gathered some dates, and when
the evening set in, took them to the apostle of Allah, and said: 'It has
reached me that you are a pious man, and have companions with you who are
strangers and needy. These dates intended for alms, but I consider you to
be worthier of them than others.' Then he offered them to him, whereon the
apostle of Allah said to his companions: 'Eat!” But he himself
restrained his hand and abstained from eating. Then Salman said to
himself: 'This is one sign.'
He went away and again collected some dates and when
the apostle of Allah appeared again in
he paid him a visit, brought the dates, and said: 'I have seen that you do
not eat what is given as alms; but this is a gift wherewith I intend to
honour you.' Now the apostle of Allah ate, beckoned to his companions, and
they ate with him; and Salman said to himself: “This is the second
On another occasion he went to the apostle of Allah
and walked in a circle around him to ascertain whether he could see on his
back the seal mentioned to him by his master. When the apostle of Allah
noticed this he knew that Salman desired to verify something which had
been described to him. Accordingly he threw off his cloak and Salman
beheld the seal and recognized it. Then Salman bent over to kiss it, and
to weep. The apostle said, 'Turn round!' Salman obeyed, sat down in front
and told him his story, and the apostle of Allah was pleased that the
companions had heard it.
But Salman remained a slave for another two years,
until the apostle of Allah said, 'Purchase thy liberty, o Salman!' Salman
accordingly made a bargain with his owner for three hundred date-trees to
be planted in furrows, and forty ounces of gold. The apostle said to his
companions: 'Aid your brother!’ And some gave thirty, some twenty, some
fifteen, and some ten trees to aid Salman; every man according to his
ability, so that Salman collected three hundred plants. Then the apostle
said: 'Go, Salman, and dig the furrows, so that I may plant with my own
hands’. Accordingly Salman dug and his friends helped him. When Salman
had terminated the work he went and informed the apostle of Allah. Then
the apostle of Allah went forth with him; they brought him the plants, and
he planted them with his own hands, until the work was completed, and not
a single plant died, so that Salman had paid all the date saplings and
only the money remained. But a nugget of gold as large as a hen's egg
having been brought to the apostle of Allah he asked, 'What has the
Persian done who was redeeming himself?' Accordingly Salman was sent for,
and the apostle said: 'Take this and pay it for what thou owest, Salman!'
Salman asked: “What will this amount to in my debt?' and he replied:
'Take it, because Allah will aid thee with it to pay thy debt.' Therefore
Salman took the lump and weighed it, and it weighed forty ounces. With
this Salman paid his debt, and became free.
spite of his covenant with the Jewish tribes, relations became
progressively more strained. From the 7ewish point of view,
Muhammad daily moved farther away from Judaism as he became ever more
positive in what he required of his followers: while, to the
apostle, the Jews appeared overcritical of his claims, and the possibility
of an alliance between the Jews and the Hypocrites was
a continuing source of disquiet. In Ibn Ishaq's biography of
the apostle the rift in a never very firm alliance is illustrated with innumerable
Some Jewish rabbis came one day to the apostle of
Allah and said, 'Answer us four questions satisfactorily, and we shall
believe in you.' The apostle replied, 'On the covenant of Allah? Then ask
what you will.' They asked,'Tell us how an infant can resemble its mother,
when the seed comes from the man?’ The apostle of Allah said, 'Do you
not know that the seed of a man is white and thick, whereas that of a
woman is yellow and thin and that which prevails over the other imparts
the resemblance They exclaimed, 'That is the truth', and continued: 'Then
tell us about thy sleep.' He said, 'My eyes sleep, but my heart is awake.'
Then they asked: 'Tell us what Israel denied himself and he replied, 'Do
you not know that the food and drink he most relished was the flesh and
milk of the camel; and when he fell prey to a disease and Allah delivered
him, in gratitude he forswore the food and drink he liked most, the flesh
and milk of camels.' They said, 'That is the truth.' Then they asked, '.
Tell us about the Spirit?' He replied, 'It is Gabriel, who comes to me.'
Then the rabbis said: 'Agreed. But Gabriel is an enemy to us, and comes
with violence and bloodshed. If this were not so we would follow thee!'
On another occasion the apostle of Allah wrote to the
Jews of Khaybar in this manner. 'In the name of Allah the merciful, the
compassionate! This is from Muhammad, apostle of Allah, friend and brother
of Moses, who confirms the revelation which Moses brought!
Verily, Allah says to you, men of the scripture – and you will
find it in your scripture ‑ "Muhammad is the apostle of Allah!
Those with him are violent against Unbelievers but merciful to one
another. You can see them kneeling or prostrated, suing for the bounty and
approbation of Allah; their foreheads are marked
by traces of that prostration. Allah promises to those who believe
and do good works, forgiveness and a great reward." By Allah, and by
that revelation which He has hitherto sent down to you, by Him who fed
with manna and quails the tribes that went before you, and by Him who
dried up the sea for your ancestors that he might deliver them from
Pharaoh ‑ I adjure you to tell me if you find in that revelation
which Allah sent down to
You, that you should believe in Muhammad. If you
cannot find that in your scripture, no displeasure will fall on you.
Guidance will be distinguishable from error, and I invite you to Allah and
to His prophet.'
When the Christians of Najran came to the apostle of
Allah, Jewish rabbis came also and they disputed before the apostle. One
Jew said to the Christians, 'You are nothing!' and denied Jesus and the
gospel; then a Christian said to the Jews, 'You are nothing and denied
that Moses was a prophet, and denied the Torah. Then Allah revealed the
following verse. 'The Jews say the Christians are nothing, and the
Christians say the Jews are nothing yet they both base their arguments on
scripture. They are ignorant, and Allah will judge between them on the day
of the resurrection.'
Then the Jewish rabbis disputed with the Christians
of Najran saying, 'Abraham was no other than a Jew.' And the Christians
from Najran said, 'Abraham was no other than a Christian’. Then Allah
revealed the verse, 'Why do you quarrel about Abraham, when the Torah and
the gospel were not sent down until after his time. You have disputed
about things you know , why then do you dispute about things you know not?
Allah knoweth, but you know not. Abraham was neither a Jew nor a
Christian. He was an orthodox Muslim, and he was no idolator. Those
Abraham are those who follow him and this prophet,
and those who believe. Allah is the protector of the faithful.'
Then a Christian asked Muhammad, 'Do you want to
worship you as we worship Jesus, son of Mary?' The apostle replied, 'Allah
forbid that I should worship anyone besides Him, or command any other
besides Him to be worshipped. Allah has not sent me to do that."
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