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Sirat Rasoul Allah

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11- The Trinity 

Muhammad and his followers (and consequently his biographers) found the doctrine of the Trinity far from clear and often referred to Mary, mother of Jesus, as the third of the Trinity.

The apostle said to them, 'Resign yourself to the will of Allah' [he presumably meant 'Profess Islam', but the three leaders took the injunction at its face value], and they replied, 'We did so before thee”.  'You lie! said Muhammad. 'You say that Allah has a son, you worship the cross, and you eat the flesh of pigs; these prohibit you from submission.'

Then Allah revealed the Sura known as The Family of Imran which begins by refuting the Christian Trinity, and proclaiming om­nipotence and one‑ness of Allah. There is no god but He, the Living, the Eternal who cannot die; but Jesus died and was crucified. Allah has sent down the Koran, the criterion of truth and falsehood in matters of difference over Jesus and others. Those who disbelieve the directions of Allah will suffer grievous punishment; for Allah is mighty and avenging. Nothing is hidden from Allah on earth or in heaven and He knows what the Christians intend with their claims that Jesus is Lord and God. But Allah formed Jesus in the womb – this the Christians do not deny ‑ as He formed other human beings; how, then, can Jesus be god?

It is Allah who has sent down the scripture with clear and categorical verses at the core. But other verses are obscure and convoluted and can be explained in several ways; and these are

Sent by Allah to test men. Those in whose hearts there is per­versity expound their own interpretation of them as if it were categorical truth, or clothe their own inventions in the obscurity of the verses. But truthful men balance the clear verses with the obscure and thus the parts of the scripture clarify each other; the argument is plain, the justification becomes evident, falsehood is removed, and unbelief is defeated.

Although Allah gave Jesus powers of various kinds (on the basis of which the Christians believe him to be God), it was in order to ma      ke him a sign to mankind, to furnish them with proofs of his prophetic mission. But Allah held back many manifesta­tions of His dominion and power, such as the succession of day by night and night by day, and bringing forth the living from the the dead and the dead from the living. Over none of these matters did He give power to Jesus, but all of these would have been at his disposal had he been God; instead, he fled from kings, from country to country.

Then Allah explained to them the origins of Jesus. Allah selected Adam and Noah, and the family of Abraham and the family of Imran above all other men, in successive generations. ­The wife of Imran dedicated the child in her womb to Allah and when she was delivered of it she said, 'O Lord, I have brought forth a daughter. I have called her Mary, and I commend her and her issue to Thy protection.' Allah accepted her graciously, and made her grow to a goodly woman. Then the angels said to her: 'Allah has chosen thee and has purified thee. He has chosen thee above all other women. Bend down to the Lord and worship!' She said: 'Lord! How can I have a child when no man has touched me.' He said: 'Allah createth what He pleaseth, Then He said: 'We shall teach him the scripture, and wisdom and the Torah' ‑ which had been with them from the time of Moses ‑'and the gospel. And he will be an apostle to the children of Israel , saying, "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. Allah is my Lord and your Lord, and I shall heal those who are blind from birth, and lepers. And I shall revive the dead with the permission of Allah, and will tell you of what you eat, and what you store up in your houses. Herein will be a sign for you that I am an apostle from Allah, if ye are believers in the Torah."'

Allah took Jesus to Himself when they had determined to kill him. 'They devised a stratagem, and Allah devised a stratagem but Allah is the best deviser of stratagems.' Allah lifted him up and purified him; 'the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam, whom He created of dust, saying 'Be” And he was. I created Adam of dust, without the intervention of man or woman, and he became ‑ like Jesus ‑ flesh, blood, hair, and skin. So the creation of Jesus without a man is no more wonderful than that of Adam.'

After hearing this, the Christians said to Muhammad, 'Allow us to consider the matter and let us then return to tell you what we mean to do.' Then they discussed in private and Abdul Masih said: 'You know that Muhammad is an inspired prophet; and no nation ever cursed a prophet without its chiefs dying, and the number of its children diminishing. If you do this, you will perish; but if you do not curse him and yet wish to stay in your own religion, then take leave of the man and return to your own country. ' Accordingly, they went to the apostle and said to him, “We have decided to leave you in your religion, and to remain in our own; but send one of your companions with us and let him judge among us concerning all differences of property that may arise; for we are impressed with you.' The apostle of Allah agreed to their request.

Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr and now Muhammad's youth­ful wife told how 'When the apostle arrived in Medina, whose climate was unlike Mecca, fever was more prevalent than in any other place on earth, and the companions suffered and fell sick with it. Allah, however, guarded His prophet.' Abu Bakr and his  two freedmen caught the fever, and Aisha 'went there and paid them a visit; at that time veils had not yet been commanded to us. They were stricken with violent fever, and when I asked my father "How art thou?" he replied, "A man may rise with his family in the morning, but death may be nearer to him than his sandal‑strings." I decided my father knew not what he said, and went to his two freedmen; but they, too, spoke in riddles. So I told the apostle of Allah what I had heard them say, and he explained that they were delirious because of their high temperature and fever. The apostle prayed to Allah: “Make Medina as dear to us as Thou hast made Mecca , or more dear. Bless everything therein, and carry this epidemic away to another place.",

While this fever raged the apostle's followers were so weak that to pray sitting down. He visited them while they were praying thus and told them, 'The prayer of a seated man has only half the value of a prayer performed standing!' So the Muslims forced themselves, in spite of their weak and shaky condition, to pray standing, that they might gain merit.

A year after his arrival in Medina , and thirteen years after his ‘call’, the apostle of Allah prepared himself for war in obedience to the command of Allah that he should attack the idolaters. He was then fifty‑three years old. 

Religious hostility and a measure of personal resentment against the Quraysh idolaters were deeply implanted in the mind of the apostle. He had sworn vengeance against them and, now that his followers were settled in Medina , he felt the time had come to make good his threats.

Not far from Medina was the main caravan route which the Quraysh used in their trade with the north. Frankincense, silk, precious metals and leather passed regularly back and forth between Mecca , Syria , Abyssinia, and the Yemen . The prizes were too rich not to add an irresistible weight to basically religious and political impulses. And attack on the caravans of the Quraysh meant an attack on what was simultaneously their weakest and most valued link. 

This was the first occasion on which the white banner of Muhammad was seen. Muhammad sent out from Medina sixty or eighty of the Emigrants, led by Ubayda; none of the Helpers accompanied them. They rode as far as the water in the Hijaz and there found a great trading caravan of Quraysh from Mecca . There was no battle, but Sad shot an arrow which was the first arrow shot in Islam. Then the parties separated. Two men fled from the Unbelievers to join the Muslims; these were al‑Miqdad and Utba.

At the same time, the apostle sent his uncle, Hamza, with thirty riders to the sea‑coast at al‑Is; there they met a party of three hundred men from Mecca , led by Abu Jahl, but a man named Majdi ‑who was on good terms with both sides ‑mediated between them and they separated without coming to blows. Hamza also bore a white banner which had been tied on by Muhammad, and some say that this was the first time the banner was seen; but his expedition and that of Ubayda occurred at the same time and this has caused the confusion.

The apostle himself next went forth in search of the Quraysh and reached Buwat, in the direction of Radwa. But he returned to Medina without encountering his enemies and remained in Medina for some weeks before he again went forth. He passed through the valley of the Banu Dinar, then through Fayfau‑l-­Khabar, then halted under a tree in the valley of Ibn Azhar . Food had been prepared for him nearby; there he prayed, and there his mosque is. He and his companions ate, and the very spot on which his cooking‑vessel stood is still known. He continued his journey until he reached al‑Ushayra in the valley of Yanbu and remained there for a month, forming alliances with neigh­bouring tribes along the sea‑coast, before returning to Medina . He encountered no enemies, the caravan from Mecca com­manded by Abu Sufyan ‑ having passed before he reached al‑Ushayra.

When he returned from the expedition to al‑Ushayra, the apostle remained at Medina for only ten nights before he had to sally out against one Kurz, who had plundered the herds of Medina . He marched as far as the valley of Safawan in the region of Badr, but was unable to overtake Kurz, and returned to Medina , where he remained for a further two months. This was the first expedition to Badr.  

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