Sunday 1 July 2018

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) : Open Proclamation of Islam

For three years Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) spread the word of Allah surreptitiously and quietly. The newly converted Muslims also kept low as most of them were hesitant to reveal their new identity as they could have attracted a strong reaction from the non believers of Makkah. 

The population of Muslims increased slowly and by 613, three years since 610 when the first verses of Qur'an were revealed onto Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) Allah commanded the prophet to openly spread the word of Allah. That was the day of great joy for the Muslims as they following the prophet came out of their houses loudly speaking the first kalima, "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is messenger of Allah."

Naturally this infuriated the non believers as except for a modest community which believed in oneness of God, all believed in countless gods and worshiped their idols placed in and around the Ka'ba, once built by Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham, peace be upon him) with the aid of his son Prophet Ismail (Ishmael, peace be upon him) to be the home of Allah. 

The emergence of a new religion started ringing bells of alarm in he rank and file of big merchants of Makkah as any unrest in Makkah was a direct threat to their trade and relations with other non Muslims tribes near and far.

But the real strong reaction came from the non believers or infidels as they are mostly called when the prophet proclaimed that worshiping of the idols was an unforgivable sin and that polytheism they had been practicing was against the spirit of Islam and oneness of Allah.

Initially, the rich and famous of Makkah politely requested Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) not to denounce the religion and faith of his forefathers and even his own tribe Bani Hashim, which was entrusted with the upkeep and maintenance of Ka'aba and looking after the trade caravans coming to Makkah. But Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) flatly refused and continued with his Godly mission. They then try to bribe him with wealth, a place in the elite of Makkah and even asked him to pick up any woman he wanted from the women of Makkah. But these wordily gifts were nothing against the benefits Allah had promised for the Muslims both during this world and hereafter.

The non believers then approached Abu Talib, the ailing and very old uncle of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and requested him to persuade his nephew from propagating his new religion. When Abu Talib called his nephew and conveyed him the message of the non believers, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: Even if they place sun on my one hand the moon on the other, I would not fall back from what he was commanded to do by Allah.

With this open negation of their request, the non believers joined hands and become extremely hostile to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers. And everyday there would be open scenes of torture of Muslims to scare away other potential followers of Islam. The earliest martyrs of Islam were a very old couple who were slaves of a rich merchant of Makkah, Abu Jahal. The wife Sumayyah bint Khayyat was stretched on burning sand of Makkah with her hands and legs stretched out bound. When she still refused to denounce Islam, Abu Jahal killed her with his spear. Her husband too was tortured and killed, both right in front of their son.

Bilal was a African slave, whose master Umayyah ibn Khalaf when came to know of Bilal's acceptance of Islam, he too was laid down on the burning sands with only a short cloth covering his lower half and a heavy stone placed on his chest. Despite the pain and burning, Bilal continued to call "Ahad (meaning Allah is one)." The ritual continued for many days till his master left him for being no use to him.

Following increased hostility of the people of Makkah, the prophet allowed a group of Muslims to Ethiopian Kingdom of Aksum, which was then ruled by a just and kind Christian king Najashi. The non believers sent a contingent to Najashi to persuade hm to return the Muslims but when Najashi asked them to tell him what Muslims thought of Jesus, they narrated the entire episode of how Jesus was born as a miracle of Allah and how he was chosen to be a prophet. Listening to these divine verses, the King found truth in the Quranic verses and allowed them to live peacefully in his country.

Hoping no turning back of Muslims to their original faith, the notables of  Makhzum and Banu Abd-Shams tribes boycotted the Banu Hashim tribe, to which the prophet belonged to and were denied of all food and water for almost three years. This was the worst time for the Muslims of Makkah and the cries of women and children due to hunger and thirst could be heard in Makkah but the non believers were unmoved. It was only after three years that the boycott ended and the Muslims were allowed back in Makkah.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was to suffer yet a fatal blow of events in 619 when one after the other his uncle Abu Talib, who even though had not accepted Islam continued to support and protect his nephew against the powerful elite of Makkah, and prophets wife Khadija passed away.  The year is thus known as the "Year of Sorrow" in Muslim history.

After Abu Talib, his brother Abu Lahab took over the reins of Banu Hashim. Lahab was a staunch infidel and deadly against his nephew. With him at the head of the tribe, Lahab served all links with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This left him in extreme danger and made him vulnerable to the treacherous attitude of the infidels. He thus tried to seek refuge and protection from other tribes and even traveled to Taif, a hilly and pleasant place of Arabia. But there too the non believers treated him unjustly and stoned him and he was wounded to an extent that Angel Jibraeel (Gabriel) came to him and asked his permission to destroy the town and people of Taif. But the prophet exercised extreme restraint and came back to Makkah. 

Since the life in Makkah had become very difficult at the hands of the non believers, the prophet finally decided to migrate to Yathrib (now called Madina), his ancestral town. And in 620, All Muslims of Makkah left for Yathrib in groups though still being chased by the infidels but all made it safely to Yathrib. This left the prophet and a few companions back in Makkah till they also migrated to Yathrib.

During the last days of stay in Makkah, two miracles happened that still mystifies the world: The splitting of the moon and The Miraculous Journey of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to Jerusalem (Israa) and Heavens (Mairaj). Read details about these two and many other important events by clicking on MORE (the last heading on the blue bar) and click on Major Events in History on the drop down menu.

A detailed account of prophet's migration will be posted in our next post.

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