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Sirat Rasoul Allah

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8- Medina

When news reached Medina that the apostle had left Mecca , 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 was.’

Then the apostle of Allah took up his abode at Quba, two miles outside Medina , with Kulthum, a friendly chief, and Abu Bakr dwelt with Khubayb; and they were assured that all Medina 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 Medina , and, during the short journey he prayed at the foot of the valley called Ranuna. These were the first Friday prayers he held in Medina .

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 thereon.

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 Medina 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 Medina 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 hell!

‘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 Medina and the surrounding districts were converts to Islam. Some idolaters remained, who rallied round Abdullah b. Ubayy, a man of great authority in Medina 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.

In Medina 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 Mecca and those of Medina , 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 Mecca shall pay blood‑ransom among themselves and redeem their prisoners with the righteousness and justice suitable among Believers. The Helper tribes of Medina 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 all men.

‘Jews who follow us shall be given aid and equality; they shall not be oppressed, nor shall aid be given to others against them.

‘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 to Muhammad.

‘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. Medina 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 may attack Medina . 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 Medina , 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 Medina , 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!”

A  woman 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 Medina 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 Syria , 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 Arabia , 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 Medina , 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 Mecca to Medina , and Salman heard of 'a man who has this day arrived from Mecca , 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 Medina 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 sign.'

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.


    In 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 anecdotes. 

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 closest to 

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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