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 Sirat Rasoul Allah

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25 Tabuk

Before the apostle had left for Tabuk he had been approached by some men who said, 'We have built a mosque for the sick and the needy, for wet and for cold nights, and we are anxious that thou shouldst come and pray therein.' He had replied, 'I am on the verge of leaving, but when we return, we shall, if Allah willeth, pay you a visit and pray in the mosque.' When he alighted at Dhu‑Awan, an hour's ride from Medina , on his return, information was sent down to him from Allah about the mosque. He called two of his followers and said, 'Go to this mosque, whose people are unrighteous; destroy it; burn it.' So they departed in haste and took a blazing date‑branch to the mosque. Although there were people in it, they burned and destroyed it. This was the verse of the Koran revealed concern­ing this matter: 'And those who erected a mosque out of oppo­sition and unbelief and to cause a schism among the Believers ‑they will say "We desired nothing but good". Allah knows they lie. Enter no such mosque.'

The apostle of Allah was greatly displeased with those who had remained behind and evaded the expedition. He dismissed the false excuses of the Hypocrites, and dealt sternly with three staunch Believers who had remained behind through procrastina­tion, not ill will. He prohibited the people from speaking to these three, who included the poet Kab, who had told the truth and made no excuses for himself. 'The people avoided us and changed their behaviour, so that I seemed to have become a stranger even to myself, and the country seemed to me to differ from the one I had known. We remained fifty days in this con­dition. My companions remained secluded and sat in their houses, but I, being the youngest and most active, used to go out and attend prayers and walk about in the public bazaars. But nobody spoke to me. I went also to the apostle and saluted him while he was sitting in his assembly after prayers; I would ask myself whether he had moved his lips to return my greeting. Then I prayed near him and kept glancing at him, and saw that he watched me while I prayed, but looked away when I turned towards him.

'After this estrangement had lasted some time, I became impatient and climbed over the garden‑wall of my cousin, whom I loved more than any other man, and saluted him. But he took no notice of me. Then I said, "Do you not know that I love Allah and His apostle?" He remained silent, and only replied after I had thrice repeated this question. "Allah and His apostle know best!" he said. Now my eyes overflowed with tears and I went to the bazaar and walked about. A Nabati trader from Syria came to me and handed me a letter from the king of Ghassan. It was wrapped in a silken envelope, and said, "We hear your master has slighted you; come instead and be welcomed by us." Then I said to myself, "Here is a further ordeal, that an idolater should hanker for my company!" And I burned the letter.

'We remained thus for forty days, when a messenger came to me and said, "The apostle orders you to separate from your wife!" I asked, "Am I to divorce her?" but he said, "No! Only separate from her, and do not approach her!" So I told my wife to go to her family until Allah decided the matter according to His pleasure.

'In this condition we remained for ten days more, so that fifty days had elapsed from the time the apostle of Allah forbade the people to speak to us. On the morning of the fiftieth day I made my prayers at the top of the house as Allah decreed, and life was a burden to me. I had pitched a tent on the hill near Medina and I was there when I heard a man shouting, "Here are glad tidings!" Then I prostrated myself, because I knew that deliverance was at hand. When the apostle had dismissed the people after morning prayers he announced that Allah had pardoned us, so they ran to tell us. Some ran to my two com­panions; one man came to me on horseback, but another hastened up the mountain, and his voice reached me faster than the horse. When he arrived with the good news I took off my garments and gave them to him in gratitude. But by Allah! I had no others there that day and was compelled to borrow garments to cover myself!

'I went to pay my respects to the apostle and was met by many who congratulated me on the pardon, saying, "May the forgiveness of Allah bring you fortune!" At last I reached the mosque, where the apostle was sitting among the people. Talha rose, saluted me, and congratulated me; but no other Emigrant did so. (I never forgot this kindly act of Talha.) When I saluted the apostle his face was lit up with joy, and he said, "Rejoice at thy happiest day since thou wast begotten!" I asked, "Is the forgiveness from thee or from Allah?" and he replied, "It is from Allah!" Whenever the apostle gave good news his face would glow like the moon. I sat in front of him and said, "One sign of my penitence shall be that I shall divest myself of all my goods for the sake of Allah and His prophet!" but the apostle replied, "Keep some of thy property for thyself; it will be better for thee." I said, "Then I shall retain only the share I received in Khaybar. Allah has forgiven me because I invented no excuses; therefore another sign of my penitence will be that I shall never speak anything but the truth as long as I live." Since I uttered those words to the apostle I know of no man whom Allah can have found more truthful than myself. From that day to this I have uttered no untruth, and I pray that Allah will always find me so.'

The apostle returned from Tabuk in the month of Ramadan. In the same month he received a deputation from the Hawazin who had been besieged in the fortress of al‑Taif. After their discussion, they parted, and the apostle was followed by one of the deputa­tion, a leader named Urwa, who then made profession of Islam. He asked that he be permitted to return to his tribe, who remained idolaters, but the apostle replied, 'They will kill thee’ Urwa said, 'I am dearer to them than their firstborn sons', and indeed he was much beloved by them. So he went back to al‑Taif to invite his people to Islam, hoping they would not resist him, but when he made his appearance in the upper part of one of his houses and invited them to Islam, they shot arrows at him from every direction and one struck and killed him. Thus he became a martyr.

After this, the people at al‑Taif deliberated several months, and arrived at the conclusion that they were not strong enough to fight all the Arabs around them who had paid homage to Muhammad and made profession of Islam. Then they determined to send another deputation to the apostle of Allah and proposed that Abdu Yalil should go; but he refused, because he feared that when he returned he might be treated as Urwa had been. As he refused to go alone, they decided to send with him six men representing the several tribes.

When the emissaries came to the apostle he had a tent pitched for them near his mosque, and Khalid acted as intermediary until agreement was concluded. They would not eat of any food sent them by the apostle unless Khalid had tasted it first, until the time when they professed Islam and settled their treaty. One of the emissaries' stipulations was that the apostle should permit them to keep their goddess al‑Lat for three years; but he refused. Then they insisted upon one year, but he again refused. Then they pleaded for a single month, but he refused. They said that they merely wished to spare the feelings of the weaklings, the women and the children among them, and that they were nervous of frightening their people by destroying the goddess before Islam was fully established in al‑Taif. But the apostle still refused, and insisted on sending Abu Sufyan and al‑Mughira back with them to destroy her.

The Hawazin further asked to be excused from prayers and from destroying their idols with their own hands. The apostle replied, 'We shall excuse you from breaking your idols with your own hands. But as for prayers! What is there good in a religion which has no prayers!' They said, 'We shall comply even though it be a humiliation!'

When they had made their profession of Islam the apostle appointed over them Uthman b. Abul‑As, the youngest of them in years, but the most diligent in learning the religious doctrines of Islam. He said to Uthman, 'Be brief in prayers, and estimate the people according to the weakest of them; among them thou wilt find old ones, and young ones, weak ones and needy ones.'

The document which the apostle gave to the deputation per­mitted certain privileges to the inhabitants of al‑Taif. 'In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate. From Muham­mad the prophet, who is the apostle of Allah, to the Believers!

The forests of Wajj and the game therein shall not be injured, and any man found disobeying this shall be scourged and stripped of his garments. Any who transgress this command must be brought to the prophet, Muhammad, for this is a matter which concerns him who is the apostle of Allah.' 

The apostle spent the remainder of the month of Ramadan and the next two months in Medina , and then dispatched Abu Bakr in command of the pilgrimage in the ninth year of the Hijra. The idolaters also made their customary pilgrimage.

When Abu Bakr and the Muslims who accompanied him had departed the Declaration of immunity was sent down by Allah. It proclaimed that Allah and His apostle, after this pilgrimage, were absolved from observance of all treaties which they had previous­ly made with idolaters. 'Therefore if you [the idolaters] repent, this will be better for you; but if you turn your backs, know that you cannot weaken Allah! And warn those who disbelieve that there will be grievous punishment. An exception shall be made for those idolaters who have not infringed treaties, and who have given no one aid against My prophet. Their treaties shall be observed until their terms expire, because Allah loves those who are pious.

'When four months have elapsed, the instruction to Mu­hammad continued, 'kill the idolaters wherever you find them; make them prisoners, surround them, and besiege them wherever they may be. But if they repent and pray according to the com­mand of Allah and pay the tax, then set them free, because Allah is forgiving and merciful.'

When the Declaration of immunity was revealed to the apostle, he sent for Ali and said to him, 'Go with this account of the first part of the Declaration of immunity, and proclaim it among the people on the day of sacrifice when the pilgrims assemble in Mina. Say "No infidel can enter paradise, and after this year no idolater will be allowed to make the pilgrimage, or walk around the Kaba naked; he who has a treaty with the apostle of Allah may depend on it, until its appointed span!" '

Ali mounted the apostle's she‑camel and pursued Abu Bakr and went with him to Mecca . When the day of sacrifice arrived Ali rose and made his proclamation to the people as he had been commanded. Then he gave four months' grace from the day of this proclamation, so that every tribe might return home in security.

Allah said, 'Fear no idolaters; rather fear Allah. Attack them! Allah desires to punish them by your hand, to put them to shame and give you the victory over them.

.'The Quraysh have said, "We are the people of the sacred city, providers for the pilgrims, and builders of the Kaba; and there is none more excellent than we." But only he shall visit the mosque of Allah who believes in Allah and in the day of judge­ment. . . . Do you imagine that giving drink to pilgrims and visiting the holy mosque is the same as believing in Allah, and fighting for the word of Allah? . . . The idolaters are impure; let them not approach the holy mosque after this year.'

Then Allah promised to recompense the Believers for the trade they would lose through pursuing this course, and assigned to them tax and tributes levied from the Jews and Christians. He spoke of the wickedness and superstition of those who lived according to the Old and New Testaments, saying, 'Priests and monks devour the property of men, in vanity, and obstruct the way of'Allah. For those who lay up gold and silver, and spend it not in furthering the word of Allah, there will be grievous chas­tisement.' Then he said, 'The number of months is twelve in the book of Allah since the day He created the heavens and the earth, and four of these months are sacred [war is forbidden in them]. This is the true religion. Do not therefore act unrighteously in them as the idolaters have done. . . .'

Then he spoke of the distribution of property. 'Alms are due to the poor, and the needy; to those whose hearts are to be won over; for the redemption of slaves, and the freeing of debtors; to further the word of Allah, and to give to travellers. This is an ordinance from Allah, and Allah knows all and is wise. ''

'0, prophet! Wage war against the Unbelievers and against the Hypocrites who utter belief but have none, and be severe unto them, for their abode shall be in hell. The apostle and those who

truly believe went to the holy war [the Tabuk expedition] with their wealth and their lives; they will enjoy good fortune and be happy. . . .' The first of the Emigrants and the first of the Helpers have special favour in the sight of Allah and their reward in paradise will be great.

When the apostle of Allah had conquered Mecca and completed the campaign of Tabuk, and when al‑Taif had surrendered and made profession of Islam, deputations of Arabs arrived from all directions. This, the ninth year after the Hijra, was called the Year of Deputations. The Arabs had delayed professing Islam until they saw how the affair between the apostle and the Quraysh would end, because the Quraysh were the leaders of men, the people of the Kaba and of the sacred territory, and they were acknowledged as the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham. Not one chief of the Arabs denied this. But when Mecca was conquered and the Quraysh submitted to Islam, the Arabs knew that they themselves were not strong enough to wage war or to show enmity to the apostle of Allah. So they entered into the religion of Allah in droves, arriving from all directions.

When a deputation from the Banu Tamim arrived they entered the mosque and shouted to the apostle to come out from his private apartments. This shouting displeased the apostle, but he went out to them, and they said, 'We come to contend with you for glory! Allow our poet and orator to speak’ Then Utarid, their orator, rose and declaimed the virtue and greatness of the Banu Tamim: 'Who is like us among men? Are we not chiefs of the human race and most excellent of all?' and more to similar effect.

He sat down, and the apostle called on his own orator, Thabit, to reply to the harangue. Thabit rose and extolled the 'most noble descent, most high dignity, and most favoured reputation of the Muslims'.

Then the poet of the Banu Tamim rose in his turn to enter the contest of words, and when he had done the apostle sent for Hassan. Hassan waxed long and eloquent, and when he fell silent at last, one of the Banu Tamim exclaimed, 'This poet is more poetical than ours, and this orator more eloquent than ours; and their voices are clearer than ours.' So they made profession of Islam, and the apostle gave them valuable gifts.

After many such tribes had come to Islam and others had given submission to the apostle, he sent out a number of his followers to instruct people in Islam and collect the public taxes. He placed Muadh over these collectors. When he sent Muadh out he gave him instructions and the following injunction, 'Be gentle and not harsh; announce the good tidings; give no offence. When thou arrivest among people who are of the scripture [Christians and Jews], they will ask thee, "What is the key to paradise?" Say, "The testimony that there is no God but Allah alone, and he has no associate." ' Accord­ingly, Muadh departed, and when he reached Yemen he acted as the apostle had ordered him.

Certain tribes still remained who had not accepted Islam, so the apostle sent Khalid to the Banu al‑Harith in Najran, with orders to give them three days to embrace Islam, and thereafter to subdue them if they refused. Khalid sent out mounted parties in every direction to invite the people to Islam, shouting, 'Make profession of Islam and you will be saved!' The people responded to the call and entered the religion, and Khalid remained among them to teach them the doctrines of Islam, the Koran, and the ordinances of the apostle of Allah. After a time, Khalid brought a deputation of the Banu al‑Harith to meet the apostle at Medina .

When they arrived the apostle at first asked, 'Who are these people? They look like men from India ’ Then they stood before him and saluted him, and said, 'We testify that thou art apostle of Allah, and that there is no God but Allah!' Then they returned to their people and the apostle appointed Qays to be their leader, and sent Amr to instruct them in Islam and teach them the doc­trine and collect alms from them. Amr was given detailed orders concerning what the al‑Harith should be taught.

'He [Amr] is to prohibit any man from praying in a small garment unless it be such that both its extremities may be wrapped round the shoulders; nor may anyone perform his prayers in such a garment as will expose his private parts. He must also prohibit men from plaiting their hair and allowing it to hang down their backs. He must prohibit the people, in case of a quarrel, from calling out their tribes to help them ‑ they should invoke the aid of Allah alone; and those who fail to call upon Allah, but call instead upon their tribes, must be visited by the sword until they call upon Allah. He is to command the people to perform religious ablution before their prayers, by washing their faces, and their hands as far as the elbows and their feet as far as the ankles; they must likewise wipe their heads as Allah has ordained. He commands that the prayers be held at their due seasons, with bowing and prostration, when the morning dawns and at noon when the sun begins to decline; the afternoon prayers are to be held when the sun declines, and the evening when the night sets in, but they are not to be delayed until the stars begin to appear; and the night devotions are to be held during the first part of the night. The presence of the people at Friday prayers, when the call goes forth, is incumbent upon them as is the ablution beforehand.'

The apostle gave many other instructions. And he commanded Amr to take one‑fifth of any booty for Allah, as well as the legal alms from the land. These consisted of 'one‑tenth from land irrigated by springs and rains; one‑twentieth from land irrigated with buckets. For every ten camels, two sheep; for every twenty camels, four sheep; for every forty horned cattle, one cow; for every thirty, one male or female calf entering its third year; for every forty sheep, a young one old enough to graze alone. This is an ordinance from Allah ordained to Believers as the required alms; but he who is more generous will win merit. Any Jew or Christian who persists in his religion is not to be turned away from it, but must pay one golden dinar or its equivalent in cloth. He who pays this will be protected by Allah, and His prophet; he who refuses is an enemy of Allah and His prophet, as well as of all Believers. The grace of Allah be upon Muhammad; and salutation to him with the mercy and blessings of Allah.'

The apostle of Allah sent his Amirs [representatives] and officials to collect the poor‑tax of all the districts subject to Islam. A man named Musaylima, who claimed he, too, was an apostle of Allah, wrote to the apostle the following letter. 'From Musay­lima, the apostle of Allah, to Muhammad the apostle of Allah! Greetings! I am thy partner in authority. One half of the earth will belong to us and the other half to the Quraysh, but the Quraysh people are sinners.' With this letter he sent two mes­sengers, and the apostle of Allah, having read the letter, asked them, 'What do you say to this?' They replied, 'We say what he says.' The apostle exclaimed, 'If it were not that messengers are guaranteed their safety, I would strike off your heads.' Then he wrote these lines, 'In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate! From Muhammad the apostle of Allah to Musaylima the liar! Salutations to him who follows the true guidance! The earth belongs to Allah, and He bestoweth it upon those of His servants whom He will. The pious will meet with a happy destiny.' 

In the next year, the tenth of the Hijra [AD 630], the apostle made preparations for the pilgrimage, and ordered his people to do the same. He took with him sacrificial animals, and ordered that all the people (except those who had brought sacrificial animals) should, after visiting the holy places, divest themselves of their pilgrim habit. Then he entered Mecca , and all the people who had brought no sacrificial animals divested themselves of their pilgrim habit.

The apostle of Allah had sent Ali to Najran, and Ali returned to Mecca to rejoin the apostle during the pilgrimage. He gave him a report on the journey to Najran and the apostle then said, 'Go and walk round the Kaba; then divest thyself of the state of pilgrim as thy friends have done.' But Ali said, 'When I assumed the state of a pilgrim, I said, "I dedicate myself to Thee, Allah, as Thy apostle Muhammad has done." ' Ali had no sacrificial animals, so the apostle of Allah gave him part of his own. And the apostle of Allah slaughtered the sacrifices in both their names.

During this pilgrimage the apostle of Allah clarified sacred usages and ceremonies to the people He preached a sermon, in which he explained many things. After giving praise to Allah, he said, 'Listen to my words, because I do not know whether I shall meet you again here after this occasion. Your blood and your property shall be sacred to you until you meet your Lord. You will meet your Lord and He will examine you about your deeds. Whoever has charge of another person's wealth, let him return it to the man who has deposited it. Usury is forbidden, but capital belongs to you. Do no wrong, and none shall wrong you. Time has come full circle since the day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The number of months with Allah amounts to twelve months, four of which are sacred.

'You have rights over your wives, and they have rights over you. Your rights over them are that they shall allow no one of whom you disapprove to enter your bed, nor must they commit open fornication; if they commit it, Allah permits you to exclude them from your beds, and to beat them (with moderation). Treat your wives well, because they cannot fend for themselves; you have taken them on trust from Allah, and they are yours by the grace of Allah.

'Ponder my words. I have left with you knowledge which, if you follow it, will preserve you for ever from going astray; the words of Allah and the injunctions of His apostle. Know that every Muslim is brother to every Muslim. No man may take anything from his brother save what is freely given.'

Thus the apostle terminated his pilgrimage. This was the pilgrimage of instruction and valediction, because after it the apostle of Allah went no more on pilgrimage. It was 'The Farewell Pilgrimage'.  

When the apostle returned to Medina he dispatched envoys from among his companions to various rulers, and sent letters in which he invited them to accept Islam. He said to his companions, 'Do not resist me as his disciples resisted Jesus.' His companions asked, 'How did the disciples resist?' He said, 'He sent them as I send you; but those whom he sent to a place near by were pleased, and obeyed, whereas those whom he sent to a distance, went unwillingly and considered it a hardship. Jesus complained to Allah; and everyone who had considered it a hardship was the next morning able to speak the language of the nation to whom he had been sent.'

The apostle of Allah sent envoys to the Caesar of Rome, the king of Persia, the Negus of Abyssinia, the Byzantine emperor, the kings of Alexandria, of Uman, and of Bahrein and to many others.  

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