THE BEGINNING OF HIS CALL
‘All ibn Ibrăhim [al-Qummi], who is one of our most respected traditionists, related that when the Prophet was thirty-seven years of age, a person used to come to him in his dreams, addressing him and saying: “0 Apostle of Allah!”, but he used to ignore this. After a long time had passed, and as he was among the hills grazing the sheep of his uncle Abü
Talib, he saw and heard a person addressing him: “0 Messen-ger of Allah!” He asked: “Who are you?” “I am Gabriel”, the person answered; “Allah has sent me to you so that He may take you for a messenger.” The Messenger of Allah told Khadijah of what happened. Khadijah had already been informed of the accounts of the Jews and Bahiră’, and what Muhammad’s mother Aminah had also recounted. Thus, she answered: “0 Mu1~iammad, I do hope that it is true!” The Prophet used to hide all this, until one day Gabriel came to him with heavenly water and said: “0 Mu!lammad, rise and perform your ablutions for prayers!” Gabriel taught him the ablutiOns - washing the face and the two hands from the elbows down, rubbing the head and the two feet to the two heels. He also taught him prostration (sujüd) and kneel-ing (rukü’). When the Prophet attained his fortieth year, Gabriel commanded him to perform the prayers and taught him their rites, except their prescribed times. The Messenger of Allah used to pray two rak ‘ahs every time he prayed.
‘All ibn Abi Tălib was very much attached to the Prophet, accompanying him wherever he went. One day he saw him praying. He asked: “0 Abu ‘l-Qasim, what is this that you are doing?” The Prophet answered: “It is the prayer which Allah commanded me to perform.” He then called ‘All to Islam; he accepted, and used to pray with him. Khadljah also entered into Islam. Thus at that time only the Messenger of Allah, ‘All and Khadijah used to pray.
After a few days, Abü Talib came in to see the Messenger of Allah, accompanied by Ja’far (the Prophet’s cousin). He saw the Prophet and ‘All standing beside him in prayer. Abü Tălib said to Ja’far, “Stand by the side of your cousin. As he stood at the other side of the Prophet, the Messenger of Allah stepped forward and stood in front of the two men (as prayer leader). Seeing them, AbU Talib recited the fol-lowing verses:
In truth, All and Ja’far are my trust, In times of hardship and sorrow.
By Allah, I shall never abandon the Prophet,
Nor would any of my Sons of high birth abandon him -Do not abandon, but rather support your cousin,
The son of my brother from my mother as well as my father.
al-Qummi related further that the Prophet used to trade for Khadijah before he married her. When he was working for her, she sent him with a caravan beto the people of Quraysh to Syria. He was accompanied by a servant of hers called Maysarah. They encamped one day beneath a hermitage belonging to one of the monks living in the area. The monk came down from his cell and looked intently at the Messenger of Allah. He then asked:
“Who is this man?” The people answered: “He is the son of ‘Abdu ‘l-Muttalib.” The monk retorted: “His father could not be alive.” Then looking at his eyes and between his shoulders, he exclaimed: “This is the Prophet of the people! This is the Prophet sent with the sword!”
When Maysarah returned, he told Khadijah what hap-pened and what had convinced her to offer herself to the Prophet in marriage. Khadijah gained a thousand dinars from that caravan.
One day the Prophet went into a market of the Arabs where he saw Zayd [ibn al-Hărithah]. Zayd was a smart youth; the Prophet thus bought him for Khadijah. When, however, the Prophet married her, she gave him Zayd as a gift. When the Messenger of Allah received the call to prophethood, and ‘All accepted Islam, Zayd also became a Muslim after him. Thus ‘All, Ja’far, Zayd and Khadijah used to pray behind the Messenger of Allah.
ash-Shaykh Abü Bakr Ahmad ibn aI-Hasan al-Bayhaqi reported in his book Dală’ilu ‘n-Nubuwwah on the authority of ‘All, who said: “We were with the Messenger of Allah in Mecca when he went out into its suburbs. He did not pass by a tree or mountain but that it met him with the greeting:
‘Peace be upon you 0 Apostle of Allah.’ “s’ It is reported that ‘All said: “I remember when I used to go with the Prophet into the valley, how he did not pass by a stone or tree but that it exclaimed, ‘Peace be upon you 0 Apostle of Allah’, while I stood and listened.”
A man called ‘Afif [al-Kindi] related that, “I was a mer-chant; I came to Mină one day during the hajj (pilgrimage) season. al-’Abbas ibn ‘Abdi ‘l-Mu~alib was also a mechant. I therefore came to trade with him. As we were thus occupied, a man came out of a tent to pray. He faced the Ka’bali, and soon a woman came out and likewise stood in prayer. A youth also came out to pray with them. I exclaimed, ‘0 ‘Abbăs, what is this religion? We do not know what this religion is.’ He answered, ‘This is Muliammad ibn ‘Abdillăh, who claims that Allah called him to be a messenger, and that the treasures of Kisră (Khusraw, the Săsănid Persian Emperor) and Qaysar (Caesar, the Byzantine Emperor) will be opened for him. This is his wife Khadijah, daughter of Khuwaylid, who has believed in him. The youth is his cousin ‘All ibn Abi Talib, who also believed in him.’ “ ‘Afif then concluded: “Would that I had believed in him on that day so that I would have been the second man to follow him.” Ibn Ishaq reported that when the Prophet came out of the tent he looked at the sky, and when he saw the sun had inclined, he rose up to pray. Ibn Ishaq also mentioned Khadijah’s standing in prayer behind him.
It is related on the authority of Mujăhid ibn Jabr (a well-known Qur’an interpreter and traditionist), who said:
“Among the favors which Allah bestowed upon ‘All ibfl Abi Tălib and the great good He willed for him, was this:
The people of Quraysh suffered a great shortage of food. Abü Tălib had many children. Thus the Messenger of Allah said one day to his uncle ‘Abbăs, who was one of the wealth-iest men among the sons of Hăshim, ‘0 ‘Abbăs, your brother AbU Talib is a man with many children, and you can see for yourself how people are suffering as a result of this crisis. Come let us go and relieve him and his children.’ They thus went to him and discussed the matter. He answered: ‘Leave
‘Aqfl (a brother of ‘All) •and take whomever you wish.’ The Messenger of Allah took . ‘All into his home, and ‘All remained with the Messenger of Allah until Allah called him to be a prophet. ‘All then followed him, believed in him and assented to him.”
‘All ibn Ibrähim [al-Qumnii] related that three years after this, Allah revealed to the Apostle of Allah: Declare openly what you have been commanded and be not con-cerned with the Associators [Qur. 15 : 941. The Messenger of Allah therefore went out, stood up at al-Hijr [that space which encompasses the Ka’bah on the north] and pro-claimed: “0 people of Quraysh and you Arab people, I call you all to the worship of Allah alone, and call you to reject all partners with Him, and all idols. I call you all to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah. Heed my call that you may through it have dominion over all the Arabs. Through it also would non-Arabs submit to your authority. Through it you would be kings in Paradise.” But they mocked and laughed at him, exclaiming: “Muhammad son of ‘Abdulläh has gone mad!” They caused him much hurt with their tongues.
Abü Tălib asked: “0 son of my brother, what is this?” He answered: “Uncle, this is Allah’s religion which He chose for His angels and prophets. It is the religion of Abraham and the prophets after him. Allah has sent me also as a messenger to humankind.” Abü Tălib said: “0 son of my brother, surely your people will not accept this from you! Desist, therefore, from proclaiming it to them.” “I shall not do so”, the Prophet answered, “because Allah has commanded me to call (people to Islam).” Thus, Abü Tălib left him alone. The Messenger of Allah intensified his effort in calling the people and warning them at all times.
Those among the People of the Book who heard the news accepted Islam. When, however, the people of Quraysh saw people entering Islam, they were alarmed. They thus went to AbU Tălib and demanded: “Restrain your nephew from us, for he has declared our mind to be foolish, and has insulted our gods! He has corrupted our youths, and has dissolved our unity!” Abü Talib then called him and said: “0 my brother’s son, the people have come to me asking that you desist from insulting their gods.” The Prophet answered: “0 uncle, I cannot disobey the command of my Lord.” Thus he used to call them and warn them of the impending divine punish-ment. The people of Quraysh gathered in assembly and enquired: “To what does Mul:iammad call us?” He answered:
“I call you to bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and to reject all associates with Him.” They protested: “Shall we then abandon three hundred and sixty gods and worship only one God?” Thus Allah mentions in the Qur’an their saying: They marvel that a warner from among them came to them, and the rejecters of faith said, “He is a magician, a liar. Does he wish to render all gods one? This, indeed is a strange thing”. . ., and so on to His saying, No! But they have not yet tasted the torment [Qur. 38:4 - 81.
The people then came together to Abü Tălib and said:
“0 AbU Talib, if poverty is the cause of your nephew’s action, then we will gather so much wealth for him that he would be the wealthiest man of Quraysh.” Abü Talib called him and informed him of their offer. The Messenger of Allah, however, said: “Uncle, I have no need of wealth! Heed my call, so that you may be kings in this world and in the world to come! Then will both Arabs and non-Arabs submit to your authority.” They dispersed, but soon returned to AbU Talib and said: “0 Abü Talib, you are one of our foremost notables! You see that your nephew has declared us to be of foolish mind. He has cursed our gods and dissolve our unity! Let us give you ‘Umarah ibn al-WaIld, the most hand-some and bright youth of Quraysh, the freshest youth and
the noblest of lineage to be your son - on condition that you turn over Muhammad to us that we may kill him.” He answered: “You have not dealt justly with me! Would you give me your son that I may bring him up, and yet take my son to kill him?” Finally, despairing of convincing him, they desisted.
al-I-Iăfiz (al-Bayhaqi) related in his book Dală’ilu ‘n-Nubuwwah on the authority of Ibrăhim ibn Mu!iammad ibn Talhah, that Talhah ibn ‘Ubaydillăh said: “I was present one day at the market of Bu~ră, where I heard a monk who lived in a cell say: ‘Enquire of the people of this fair if there is anyone among them of the people of the Sanctuary (that is, Mecca).’ I replied: ‘Yes, I am.’ He asked: ‘Has Atimad come fyet?’ ‘Who is Ahmad?’ I asked. He replied:
‘The son of ‘Abdullăh ibn ‘Abdi ‘l-Muttalib. This is the month in which he should come forth. He is the last of the prophets. The place of his appearance is the Sanctuary, and that of his migration is a place of date-palms and black stones (that is, Medina). Beware lest anyone accept him before you do.’
Tall.lah continued: “I kept what he said in my heart, and hastened to Mecca. I enquired if anything unusual had happened, and was told that, ‘Mu~iammad ibn ‘Abdilläh al-Amin has dedlared himself a prophet. Ibn Abi Quiiafah (that is, Abü Bakr) has followed him.’ I thus went to AbU Bakr and said: ‘Have you really become a follower of this man?’ ‘Yes’, he answered. ‘You too go to him and follow him, for he invites men to the truth.’”
Talhah then told Abü Bakr what the monk had said. AbU Bakr took Tall~ah to the Apostle of Allah, whereupon
Talhah became a Muslim. He told the Messenger of Allah what the monk had said, which gladdened the Apostle of
When both Abü Bakr and Ta1i~ah had accepted Islam,
RECOGNITION OF QUR’AN BY QURAYSH
a man called Nawfal ibn Khuwaylid ibn al-’Adawiyyah took them and tied them together with one rope. The people of Taym (the tribe to which Abü Bakr belonged) did not protect them. Nawfal ibn Khuwaylid was known as the harshest man of the Quraysh.
THE QURAYSH ADMIT THE MIRACULOUS
QUALITIES OF THE QUR’AN
The Messenger of Allah never ceased to insult the gods of the Associators, nor did he cease reciting the Qur’ăn to them. But they used to say: “This is only the poetry of Muhammad.” Some of them also said: “It is rather oratory discourse.
There was an old man called al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah who was a judge among the Arabs, whom they brought difficult cases. They likewise used to recite their poems to him in order that he might judge among them. What-ever he judged to be good, that was chosen by all. He had many sons, who never left Mecca. He also possessed ten slaves, every one of whom had one thousand dinars to use as capital in trade. At that time he alone owned a qintăr, [the skin of a bull filled with gold]. al-Walid was one of those who mocked the Messenger of Allah and he was the uncle of Abü Jahl ibn Hishăm.
The people went to al-Walid and asked: “0 AbU ‘Abd ash-Shams, what is this which Muhammad is uttering? Is it magie, soothsaying, or oratory?” He replied: “Let me hear his words.” He thus came to the Messenger of Allah while he was sitting in the Ka’bah and said: “0 Mutiammad, re-cite for me some of your poetry!” He answered: “It is not poetry, but rather the word of Allah, with which He sent His prophets and apostles.” al-Walid insisted: “Recite some of it to me.” The Messenger of Allah then recited: “In the
name of Alldh, the All-merciful, the Compassionate. “When al-Walid heard the name ar-Rahmăn (the All-merciful), he mockingly said: “Do you call us to follow a man of Yamă-mali who is called ar-Ralimah?” The Prophet answered:
“No, rather I call men to Allah, Who is the All-merciful, the Compassionate.” He then recited the beginning of “Jjă mim: as-Sajdah “, (sürah 41) until he reached verse (13):
But if they turn back, say: “I have warned you of a great catastrophe like the catastrophe of Ad and Thamüd. “When al-Walid heard this, he trembled and every hair on his head and in his beard stood on end. He then rose and went to his home, and did not return to the people of Quraysh. The people said to Abfl Jahl, “0 Abu ‘l-Ijakam, (that is, al-Walid) has abandoned his religion for the religion of Muhammad! Do you not see that he has not returned to us? He must have, therefore, accepted his claim and gone to his home.” The people of Quraysh became exceedingly saddened by this. Abu Jahl went to al-Walid the next day and said:
“0 uncle, you have brought low our heads and disgraced us!” He answered: “How have I done that, 0 son of my brother?” “Have you turned to the religion of Mutiammad?” he asked. “No”, answered al-Walid, “I did not do so. Rather, I stand by the religion of my people and my forefathers. I have, however, heard great words which cause skins to shudder.” Abü Jahl asked: “Is it poetry?” “No, it is not poetry “, answered his uncle. AbU Jahl asked further: “Is it oratory discourse?” al-Walid answered: “No, for oratory discourse is of connected rhymed prose; yet this is free prose whose different parts do not resemble one another. It is possessed of great beauty.” AbU Jahl insisted: “So it is ora-tory.” “No”, answered his uncle. AbU Jahl asked: “What is it then?” al-Walid said: “Let me think about it for a while.”
The next day, the people asked al-Walid: “0 AbU ‘Abd ash-Shams, what do you say?” He answered: “Say it is magic, for it has truly attracted the hearts of the people.” Thus, Allah sent down concerning him in the Qur’ăn - Leave me to deal with him whom I have alone created, and whom I have granted great wealth and sons, constantly present with him . . . and so on to Allah’s saying: Over it (that is, Hell) stand nineteen (angels) [Qur.74:ll -301.
In a tradition related by Ijammăd ibn Zayd on the authority of ‘Ikrimah (a slave and pupil of Ibn ‘Abbăs and a well -known traditionist), he reported that al-Walid ibn al-Mughitah came to the Messenger of Allah and asked him to recite some verses of the Qur’än. He recited: “A llăh surely commands justice and doing good, and giving (of one’s wealth) to near relatives. He likewise forbids lewdness, indecency and insolence. He thus admonishes you, that perhaps you may remember” (Qur. 16:901. al-Walid said:
“Recite the verse once more!” He did, and al-Walid ex-claimed: “By Allah, it indeed is possessed of great sweetness and adorned with great beauty. Its top is indeed fruitful, and its bottom is like a palm-tree laden with fruits! Nor can any mortal utter such speech.”
It is related that those who mocked the Messenger of Allah were five: al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah, al-’As ibn Wă’il as-Sahmi, al-Aswad ibn al-Mu~talib, who was also known as AbU Zama’ah, al-Aswad ibn ‘Abd YaghUth of the tribe of Zuhrah and al-Hărith ibn at-Tulătilah al-Khuză’i. It is said that al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah passed one day by the Messenger of Allah, while the angel Gabriel was with him. Gabriel addressed the Prophet, saying: “Here comes al-Walid ibn ai~Mughirah, who is one of the mockers.” “Yes”, he answered. Then al-Walid passed by a man of the tribe of
Khuză’ah, sharpening his arrows at the door of the mosque He accidentally stepped on some of them, a silver went into the bottom of his foot, and blood gushed out. Gabriel pointed to that spot, and blood continued to flow until it stained the bed of his daughter. Frightened the girl cried out: “0 maid, the mouth of the waterskin has come untied!” “This is not the water of the waterskin”, said al-Walid, “it is the blood of your father. Call together for me my sons and the sons of my brother, for I am about to die.” When they all gathered, he made his will, and im-mediately breathed his last.
al-Aswad ibn aI-Muttalib passed one day by the Mess-enger of Allah. Gabriel Pointed to his eyes and he became blind, and Soon after died. al-Aswad ibn ‘Abd Yagh~t~ also passed by the Prophet one day; Gabriel pointed to his stomach and he drank so much water that his belly swelled until it burst. al-’As ibn W~’i? passed also by the Prophet, and Gabriel Pointed to his foot. Soon a splinter went into the bottom of his foot and came out of the top. His foot swelled up, and soon he died. at-Tulatllah passed by the Prophet, and Gabriel spat in his face. The man then went out into the Tihămah mountains (in the Vicinity of Mecca) where he was hit by a burning sand storm. Lie was burnt and turned black. When he returned home. his family would not let him in, saying, “You are not of this family.” He went away and was afflicted with great thirst. He thus drank until his Stomach burst, and he died All this happened in fulfillment of Allah’s saying:
We have surely protected you against the mockers [Qur 15:95].
TO ABYSSINIA - NEGUS
When the people of Qintensified their harsh treatment of the Messenger of Allah and his Companions, he ordered some of his Companions to migrate to Abyssinia. He delegated Ja’far son of Abü Tälib to take charge of them, and he set out with seventy men until they took to sea. When the people of Quraysh knew of their departure, they sent ‘Amr ibn al-’As as-Sahmi and ‘Umărah ibn al-Walid to an-Najăshi (Negus) of Abyssinia, requesting him to return the men to the people of Quraysh. They were also instructed to tell the King that these men had gone against the wishes and traditions of their people.
‘Umărah was a handsome and wealthy man. ‘Amr ibn al-‘As set out with his wife. When they boarded the ship, they became intoxicated with wine. ‘Umärah then said to ‘Amr ibn al-’As: “Tell your wife to kiss me!” The latter answered:
“Glorified be Allah! Is this possible?” ‘Umărah waited until ‘Amr got drunk, then he pushed him overboard. ‘Amr was on the edge of the ship; thus he held on to the edge, and people rushed to his rescue. When ‘Amr saw what ‘Umărah had done to him, he said to his wife, “Kiss him! “, which she did.
When they reached Abyssinia, they went straight to an-Najăshi bearing presents for him. ‘Amr addressed him saying:
“0 King, these people have gone against our religion and sought refuge with you. Return them, therefore, to us!” The King sent for Ja’far and said to him: “These men are requesting that I return you all to them.” He answered:
“0 King, ask them, are we their slaves?” “No”, answered ‘Anir, “rather they are free and noble men.” “Ask them,” Ja’far continued, “do we then owe them debts which they have come to claim from us?” ‘Amr answered: “They owe us no debts which we have come to claim.” Ja’far continued:
“Have they come then to avenge any blood of theirs that we had wrongfully shed?” ‘Amr answered: “They have shed no blood for which we come to exact vengeance or blood money.” Ja’far asked: “What then do you want from us?” ‘Amr said: “They have opposed us in our religion and the religion of our forefathers and insulted our gods. They have corrupted our youths and spread dissension among us. Return them to us, therefore, that our unity might be restored.” Ja’far then addressed the King saying: “0 King, we have opposed them in order to follow a prophet whom Allah has raised among us. He commands us to repudiate equals to Allah, and that we abandon chance games by means of arrows. He enjoins prayers and almsgiving upon us. He has prohibited wrongdoing, oppression and the unlawful shedding of blood. He has prohibited adultery, usury, and eating the flesh of dead animals which have not been properly slaughtered, as well as eating blood. He has enjoined decency and good works upon us, and that we show kindness to near relatives. He forbids grave immorality, indecency and insolence.” The King said: “It is with such (teachings) that Allah also sent Jesus son of Mary!” Then addressing Ja’far, he continued: “Do you know by heart any of the revel-ations which Allah sent down to your prophet?” “Yes”, he answered. “Recite then!” the King demanded. Ja’ far recited the sürah of Maryam (sürah 19). When he reached the words
- Shake down towards you the branch of the palm-tree, and it shall drop down before you ripened dates ready to be picked. Eat and drink, therefore, and be of good cheer [Qur. 19 : 25 - 261 - an-Najăshi wept and exclaimed: “By Allah this is the truth!” ‘Amr protested: “0 King, this man has abandoned our religion; give him to us that we may take him back to our country!” an-Najăshi lifted his hand and slapped him saying: “If you utter any evil against him, I will kill you!” ‘Amr finally said: “0 King, if this is what you say, then we shall not interfere with him.”
A young maid stood by an-Najăshi7 keeping flies away from him. She kept her eyes on ‘Umărah ibn al-Walid, as he was a handsome young man. When they went to their lodg-ings, ‘Amr said to him: “Why do you not send a message to the King’s maid?” ‘Umărah sent a message to her, and she answered him. ‘Amr said: “Tell her to bring you with her some of the King’s perfumes. She did so, and ‘Amr ibn al-‘A~ took the perfume. He had kept in his heart what ‘Umărah had done to him when he attempted to throw him overboard. Thus, he took the perfume and went to an-Najăshi, and said to him: “0 King, it is fitting that we take cognition of the King’s honor and magnanimity toward us, and that we do not betray him in his own realm. Yet, my compan-ion who is with me has sent messages to your maid and tempted her. She even brought him some of your performes.” He then showed the King the perfume. an-Najăshi was exceedingly angry and was about to kill ‘Umărah. But he changed his mind and said: “It is not right that I kill him, for they entered our realm under a pledge of protection.” He thus called his magicians and said to them: “Do some -thing to him that would be worse than death!” They took him and injected mercury into his generative organ. He lost his mind, so that he lived with the wild beasts and shunned human company.33
The people of Quraysh sent men to bring ‘Umarah back home. The men lay in wait for him until he came with wild beasts to drink at a spring. Thus they caught him, but he continued to struggle and scream in their hands until he expired. ‘Amr, however, returned to the people of Quraysh and recounted to them his story.
As for Ja’far, he remained in Abyssinia enjoying the best of hospitality and honor. He remained there until he heard that the Messenger of Allah had established a truce with the
people of Quraysh and that peace had prevailed between them and the Muslims. He then returned with a large com-pany of people. He arrived to find that the Messenger of Allah had conquered Khaybar (a Jewish settlement near Medina).
A son was born to Ja’far by Asmă’, daughter of ‘Umays. an-Najăshi also had a son,whom he called Mul:iammad. Asmă’ gave an-Najăshi’s son of her own milk to drink (thus making him a nursing brother of her own son). AbU Tălib recited these verses urging an-Najăshi to support the Prophet and his followers:
Know, 0 King of the Ethiopians, that Muhammad is a prophet like Moses and Jesus son of Mary.
He came with guidance such as they brought,
for each of them was by Allah ‘s command well protected.
Concerning him, you recite verses in your own scriptures; a true account it is, not a fantastic tale.
Do not, therefore, set up equals with Allah, rather becorne Muslims,
for the way of truth is not obscured in darkness.
The traditionist AbU ‘Abdillăh (al-Bayhaqi) transmitted on the authority of Muhammad ibn Is~iaq that the Messenger of Allah sent ‘Amr ibn Umayyah ad-Damn to an-Najăshi regarding Ja’far ibn Abi Tălib and his Companions. He sent a letter with him which read thus:
“In the name of Allah, the All-merciful, the Compassion-ate From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah to the Negus, the King of Abyssinia - I convey to you the praises of Allah the King, the Holy, the Accepter of Faith, the Guardian [Qur. 59 :231. I furthermore bear witness that Jesus son of Mary is the Spirit of Allah and His Word, which He sent down to Mary tQur. 4: 1711, the pu.re and chaste virgin who then conceived Jesus, whom Allah created of His Spirit which he breathed into him - just as he created Adam with His Hand and breathed of His Spirit into him. I thus call you to the worship of the One and only Allah alone Who has no associate, and that you obey Him, follow me and believe in me and the message which was vouchsafed me. For I indeed am the Messenger of Allah. I have, moreover, sent to you my cousin Ja’far with a company of the Muslims. When they come to you, show hospitality to them and do not be arrogant. I call you and your hosts to Allah! I have conveyed my message to you and given good counsel. Peace be with those who follow true guidance.”
an-Naiăshi wrote in answer to the Messenger of Allah:
“In the name of Allah, the All-merciful, the Compassion-ate - to MuI:iammad, the Messenger of Allah - from the Negus al-A~l.iamah ibn Abliar: peace be upon you 0 Prophet of Allah and Allah’s mercy and blessings - there is no god but He Who guided me to Islam. I have received your letter, O of Allah, concerning the importance you give in the case of Jesus. By the Lord of the heaven and earth, Jesus does not exceed what you have mentioned concerning him. We acknowledge what you have written to us, and have thus shown hospitality to your cousin and Companions. I bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah truly and that you tell the truth. I have, therefore, given allegiance (bay ‘ah) to you and your cousin. I have accepted islam to Allah, the Lord of all beings at his hands. I have sent to you, 0 Messenger of Allah, Arijăn ibn Ashamah ibn AbtiaI, I have ,indeed no authority except over myself alone. If, therefore, you wish that I come to you, I would come, 0 Messenger of Allah. For I bear witness that what you say is the truth.”
an-Najăshi then sent presents to the Prophet. He sent him. also Maniyah the Copt, the mother of the Prophet’s 50fl Ibrăhim. He sent him much clothing and aromaticS, and a mare. He alsO sent him thirty learned men to hear his words and observe his conduct. ‘When they arrived in Medina, the Messenger of Allah called them to. Islam, and they accepted Islam and returned to the Negus. Jăbir ibn ‘Abdillăh al-Ansări reported that, “When an-Najashi died, the Messenger of Allah prayed over Ashamah, the Negus.”
The people of Quraysh redoubled their efforts in trou-bling the Messenger of All&h. The harshest of men toward him was his uncle AbU Lahab. One day the Prophet was sit-ting in the precincts of the Ka’bah, when the people sent for a birth sack of a sheep and threw it at him. * The Messenger of Allah was greatly saddened by this, and went to Abü Tălib to complain, saying: “0 uncle, how is my status among you?” AbU Talib asked: “What is the matter 0 son of my brother?” He replied: “The people of Quraysh threw a birth sack at me.” AbU Tălib then said to Hamzah: “Take up the sword!” The people of Quraysh were assembled in the Mosque. Both Hamzah and AbU Talib went in with their swords. Abü Tălib ordered Ijamzah, saying: “Rub the birth sack over their moustaches, and if anyone resists, cut off his head!” But no one moved while he rubbed the birth sack over their moustaches. He then turned to the Messenger of Allah, and said: “0 son of my brother, this is your status among us!”
In the book Dald’du ‘n-Nubuwwah (of al-Bayhaqi) s”, ~t is reported on the authority of AbU Dăwfzd who reported [torn Shu’bah who reported from AbU Isl.iaq (as-Sabi’i), who ieard ‘Amr ibn Maymun relate on the authority of ‘Abdullăh
* According to aI- Jazari, the well-known lexicographer and tradi-joi~i~ this happened while the Prophet was praying. (ed.) (ibn Mas’üd), who said: “While the Messenger of Allah was prostrating in prayer one day, with some men of Quraysh sit-ting all around him, and the birth sack of a she-camel lying around, some dared others men saying: ‘Who would take this birth sack and throw it at his back?’ A man called ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt took up the birth sack and threw it at the Prophet’s back. Fă~imah (the Prophet’s daughter) came and took the camel’s birth sack off the Prophet’s back, and cursed those who did that to him.” ‘Abdullăh co~finued: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah invoke Allah against them except on that day. He said: “0 Allah, I leave to you the people of Quraysh! 0 Allah to you do I leave Abü Jahl ibn Hishăm, ‘Utbah ibn Rabi’ah, Shaybah ibn Rabi’ah, ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt, Umayyah ibn Khalaf or Ubayy ibn Khalaf (Shu’bah was confused). The Prophet enumerated seven men in all.” ‘Abdulläh went on: “I saw them all slain in the Battle of Badr and thrown into a well. Umayyah ibn Khalaf, however, was a very fat man. His body disintegrated as it was dragged along before reaching the well.’ “35
It is related on the authority of Khabbăb (a well-known Companion), who said: “I came one day to the Messenger of Allah, while he lay in the shade of the Ka’bah usixig his mantle as a pillow. We had endured much suffering at the hands of the people of Quraysh. Thus I asked: ‘0 Messenger of Allah, would you not invoke Allah on our behalf?’ He sat up, red in the safe, and said: ‘Those who were before you -often were their flesh and nerves scraped with sharp iron combs. Yet they did not turn away from their faith. A man would be sawed in half from his head down, yet he would not be turned away from his faith. But Allah shall indeed bring this affair to fruition, so that a horseman would travel all the way between San’a and Hadramawt fearing no one but Allah, or the wolf that may attack his sheep.’ “36
It is also related on the authority of Jăbir (son of the famous Companion, ‘Abdullăh al-An~ări) that the Messenger of Allah passed one day by ‘Ammăr ibn Yasir and his family while they were being tortured for Allah’s sake. He said: “Be of good cheer, 0 family of ‘Ammăr, for you shall soon enter Paradise!” It is reported on the authority of Mujăhid [ibn Jabr] (a well-known traditionist of the second generation) that the first martyr in Islam was Sumayyah, the mother of ‘Ammăr, whom Abü Jahl stabbed in the heart.
‘Au ibn Ibrăhim al-Qummi reported that Abü Jahl met the Messenger of Allah one day and spoke harsh words to him. All the men of the Hăshimite clan angrily assembled. Ilamzah had just returned from hunting, when he saw the crowd and enquired about the commotion. A woman called down to him from one of the roof-tops saying: “0 AbU Ya’lă, ‘Amr ibn Hishăm (i.e., AbU Jahl) confronted Mutiam-mad and insulted him.” Hamzah enraged, went to Abü Jahl hit him with his bow on the head and picked him up and beat him hard against the gound. People crowded around them, and it was feared that great conflict might ensue. People then asked Ilamzah: “0 Abü Ya’lă, have you then turned to the religion of your nephew?” “Yes”, he answered: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Mul.~iammad is the Apostle of Allah.” He said this only as a result of anger and feeling of support for his nephew. When, however, he returned to his home, he regretted his decision. Thus he went to the Messenger of Allah and asked: “0 son of my brother, is what you say the truth?” The Messenger of Allah recited to him a sarah of the Qur’an, and Ijamzah saw the truth and stood firm in the faith of Islam. The Messenger of Allah was exceedingly happy. Abü Tălib also was glad to learn of Hamzah’s isldm, and recited the following verses:
Be steadfast, 0 Abü Ya ‘ld in the faith of Alimad;
Show forth your faith; may you be strengthened in