Showing posts with label Medina. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Medina. Show all posts

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Surah An Nisa: 4th Chapter of Quran (Overview)

Sürah An-Nisa' " ٱلنِّسَاء‎ " - The Women, is the fourth chapter of the Qur'an part of the Juz' 4-5 with 176 āyāt (verses) and 24 Ruku / sections. The title of the surah is mainly attributed to  numerous references to women throughout the chapter, including verses 4:34 and 4:127-130.

This Sürah closely connected chronologically with Sürah 3 Al i Imran  and the subject matter deals with social problems which Muslim community had to face immediately after Uhud.

The main object of this Sürah is to teach the Muslims the ways that unite a people and make them firm and strong. Introductions for the stability of family, which is the nucleus of community have been given. Then they have been urged to prepare themselves for defense. Side by side with these, they have been taught the importance of the propagation of Islam. Above all, the importance of the highest moral character in the scheme of consolidation of the Community has been impressed.

Though this Sürah mainly deals with the moral and social reforms, yet due attention has been paid to propagation of Islam. On the one hand, the superiority of the Islamic morality and culture has been established over that of the Jews, Christians and mushriks; on the other hand, their wrong religious conceptions, their wrong morality and their evil acts have been criticized to prepare the ground for inviting them to the way of the Truth.

The main object of this Sürah is to teach the Muslims the ways that unite a people and make them firm and strong. Introductions for the stability of family, which is the nucleus of community have been given. Then they have been urged to prepare themselves for defense. Side by side with these, they have been taught the importance of the propagation of Islam. Above all, the importance of the highest moral character in the scheme of consolidation of the Community has been impressed.

In fact, this Sürah  comprises several discourses which were revealed on different occasions during the period ranging probably between the end of A.H. 3 and the end of A.H. 4 or the beginning of A.H. 5. Although it is difficult to determine the exact dates of their revelations, yet it is possible to assign to them a fairly correct period with the help of the Commandments and the events mentioned therein and the Traditions concerning them. A few instances are given below by way of illustration:
  • We know that the instructions about the division of inheritance of the martyrs and for the safeguard of the rights of the orphans were sent down after the Battle of Uhd in which 70 Muslims were killed. Then naturally the question of the division of the inheritance of the martyrs and the safeguard of the rights of their orphans arose in many families at Al-Madinah. From this we conclude that vv. 1 -28 were revealed on that occasion.
  • We learn from the Traditions that the Commandment about salat during war time was given on the occasion of Zat-ur-Riqa'a, an expedition which took place in A. H. 4. From this we conclude that the discourse containing v. 102 was revealed on that occasion.
  • The last warning (v. 47) to the Jews was given before the Banu Nadir were exiled from Al-Madinah in Rabi'-ulAwwal, A. H. 4. From this it may safely be concluded that the discourse containing v. 47 must have been revealed some time before that date.
  • The permission about tayammum (the performance of ablutions with pure dust, in case no water be available) was given during the Bani-al-Mustaliq expedition, which took place in A. H. 5.. Therefore the probable period of the revelation of the discourse containing v. 43 was A. H. 5.
In order to understand this surah, we must first understand the social and historical conditions prevalent at the time of its revelation. All the discourses in this Sürah deal with three main problems which confronted the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) at the time. 
  • First of all, he was engaged in bringing about an all round development of the Islamic Community that had been formed at the time of his migration to Al-Madinah. For this purpose he was introducing new moral, cultural, social, economic and political ways in place of the old ones of the pre-Islamic period. 
  • The second thing that occupied his attention and efforts was the bitter struggle that was going on with the mushrik Arabs, the Jewish clans and the hypocrites who were opposing tooth and nail his mission of reform. 
  • Above all he had to propagate Islam in the face of the bitter opposition of these powers of evil with a view to capturing more and more minds and hearts.
Accordingly, detailed instructions have been given for the consolidation and strengthening of the Islamic Community in continuation of those given in Sürah 2 Al-Baqarah. 
  • Principles for the smooth running of family life have been laid down and ways of settling family disputes have been taught. 
  • Rules have been prescribed for marriage and rights of wife and husband have been apportioned fairly and equitably. 
  • The status of women in the society has been determined, 
  • Declaration of the rights of orphans has been made laws.
  • Regulations have been laid down for the division of inheritance, and instructions have been given to reform economic affairs. 
  • The foundation of the penal code has been laid down.
  • Drinking has been prohibited, and instructions have been given for cleanliness and purity. 
  • The Muslims have been taught the kind of relations good men should have with their Allah and fellow men. Instructions have been given for the maintenance of discipline in the Muslim Community.
  • The moral and religious condition of the people of the Book has been reviewed to teach lessons to the Muslims and to forewarn them to refrain from following in their footsteps. 
  • The conduct of the hypocrites has been criticized and the distinctive features of hypocrisy and true faith have been clearly marked off to enable the Muslims to distinguish between the two.
In order to cope with the aftermath of the Battle of Uhd, Inspiring discourses were sent down to urge the Muslims to face the enemy bravely, for the defeat in the Battle had so emboldened the mushrik Arab clans and the neighboring Jews and the hypocrites at home that they were threatening the Muslims on all sides. At this critical juncture, Allah filled the Muslims with courage and gave them such instructions as were needed during that period of war clouds. In order to counteract the fearful rumors that were being spread by the hypocrites and the Muslims of weak faith, they were asked to make a thorough inquiry into them and to inform the responsible people about them. 

Then they were experiencing some difficulties in offering their salat during the expeditions to some places where no water was available for performing their ablutions, etc. In such cases they were allowed to cleanse themselves with pure earth and to shorten the salat or to offer the "Salat of Fear", when they were faced with danger. 

Instructions were also given for the solution of the puzzling problem of those Muslims who were scattered among the unbelieving Arab clans and were often involved in war. They were asked to migrate to Al-Madinah, the abode of Islam.

This Sürah also deals with the case of Bani Nadir who were showing a hostile and menacing attitude, in spite of the peace treaties they had made with the Muslims. They were openly siding with the enemies of Islam and hatching plots against the Holy Prophet and the Muslim Community even at Al-Madinah itself. They were taken to task for their inimical behavior and given a final warning to change their attitude, and were at last exiled from Al-Madinah on account of their misconduct.

The problem of the hypocrites, who had become very troublesome at that time, was involving the Believers in difficulties. Therefore they were divided into different categories to enable the Muslims to deal with them appropriately.

Clear instructions were also given regarding the attitude they should adopt towards the non-belligerent clans. The most important thing needed at that time was to prepare the Muslims for the bitter struggle with the opponents of Islam. For this purpose greatest importance was attached to their character building, for it was obvious that the small Muslim Community could only come out successful, nay, survive, if the Muslims possessed high moral character. They were, therefore, enjoined to adopt the highest moral qualities and were severely criticized whenever any moral weakness was detected in them.

The Sürah has generally been divided into following Topics and their Interconnection:
Part I
  • Just, fair and equitable laws and regulations for the smooth running of family life have been laid down for the husband and wife. Detailed instructions have been given for the division of inheritance and due regard has been paid to the rights of orphans. 1 - 35
  • In order to inculcate the right spirit for the observance of rules and regulations, the Muslims have been enjoined to show generosity to all around them and to be free from meanness, selfishness, stinginess of mind, because this is essential for the consolidation of the Communities and helpful for the propagation of Islam. 36 - 42
  • The ways of the purification of mind and body for the offering of Salat have been taught because it plays the most important part in every scheme of moral and social reform. 43
Part II:
  • After moral preparation, instructions for defense have been given. First of all, the Muslims have been warned to be on their guard against the cunning machinations and vile practices of the local Jews who were hostile to the New Movement. This caution was necessary for removing some possible misunderstanding that might have arisen on account of the pre-Islamic alliance between the people of Al-Madinah and the Jews. 44 - 57
Part III:
  • Then they have been enjoined to place their trusts and offices of trust in the custody of honest and qualified persons, and to do what is just and right, and to obey Allah and His Messenger and those among themselves entrusted with the conduct of their affairs and to turn to Allah and His Messenger for the settlement of their disputes. As such an attitude and behavior alone can ensure consolidation, they have been strongly warned that any deviation from this path will lead to their disintegration. 58 - 72
Part IV:
  • After this pre-requisite, they have been exhorted to make preparation for defense and to fight bravely for the cause of Islam, without showing any kind of cowardice or weakness. They have also been warned to be on their guard against hypocrites. A line of demarcation has been drawn to distinguish the intentional shirkers from the helpless devotees. 73 - 100
  • Here again instructions have been given for the offering of Salat during military campaigns and actual fighting. This is to impress the importance of Salat even at the time of fear and danger. 101 - 103
Part V:
  • Before proceeding on to the next topic, the Muslims have been exhorted to persevere in their fight without showing any kind of weakness. 104.
  • In order to make the Islamic Community firm and strong for defense, the Muslims have been enjoined to observe the highest standard of justice. The Muslims are required to deal out strict justice even in case of the enemy, with whom they might be involved in war. They should also settle disputes between husband and wife with justice. In order to ensure this, they should keep their beliefs and deeds absolutely free from every kind of impurity and should become the standard bearers of justice. 105 - 134
Part Vi:
  • Resuming the theme of defense, the Muslims have been warned to be on their guard against their enemies. They have been admonished to take necessary precautions against the machinations of the hypocrites and the unbelievers and the people of the Book. As belief in Allah, and Revelation and Life-after-death is the only safeguard against every kind of enemy, they should sincerely believe in and follow His Messenger, Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him). 135 - 175
  • Though verse 176 verse also deals with the family laws contained in verses 1 - 35, it has been added as a supplement at the end of this Surah because it was revealed long after An-Nisa was being recited as a complete Surah. 
You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah An-Nisa' with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Juzʼ / Part backwards for chapters in 30th Juzʼ / Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

Wednesday 9 January 2019

Surah Al Mumtaḥanah - Woman who Is to be Questioned: Summary of 60th Chapter of the Holy Quran

Sūrat al-Mumtaḥanah is the seventieth surah with 13 ayahs with two rukus, part of the 28th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an.

In verse 10 of this Surah it has been enjoined that the women who emigrated to Medina and claimed to be Muslims, should be questioned hence the title Al-Mumtahinah. The word is pronounced both as mumtahinah and as mumtahanah, the meaning according to the first pronunciation being "the Surah which examines", and according to the second, "the woman who is examined."

As for the place and time of revelation of this surah, the mention of these two aspects show that this Surah was revealed in Medina during the interval between the Truce of Hudaibiyah and the Conquest of Makkah. 
  • The first relates to Hadrat Hatib bin Abz Balta'a, who, a little before the conquest of Makkah, had sent a secret letter to the Quraish chiefs informing them of the Holy Prophet's intention to attack them. 
  • The second relates to the Muslim women, who had started emigrating from Makkah to Madinah, after the conclusion of the Truce of Hudaibiyah, and the problem arose whether they also were to be returned to the disbelievers, like the Muslim men, according to the conditions of the Truce. 
Besides, at the end of the surah it has also been mentioned as to what should the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) make the women to pledge when they come to take the oath of allegiance before him as believers. It is believed that this too was revealed some time before the conquest of Makkah, for after this conquest a large number of the Quraish women, like their men, entered Islam and had to be administered the oath of allegiance collectively.

Let us now read explanation of the Surah segmented into portions as per the subject matter:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

Before understanding the first verse of the surah, it will be appropriate to understand the reference to the context. This verse is about the incident related to one Hatib bin Abi Balta'a. Hatib who was among the early emigrants and participated in the battle of Badr. Hatib had children and wealth in Makkah. The incident happened at a time when the the Quraish broke the treaty of Hudaibiyah, and Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had decided to conquer Makkah, and ordered the Muslims to mobilize their forces. While doing so, the Prophet  (ﷺ) prayed to Allah: "O Allah! Keep our news concealed from them."
  • Hearing of the Prophet (ﷺ)'s intentions, Hatib became apprehensive of the safety of his family back in Makkah and feared that if the Muslims attacked Makkah, his family may be harmed since he was not from the dominating tribe of Quraish. Thus Hatib wrote a letter and sent it to the people of Makkah, through a woman from the tribe of Quraysh, informing them of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)'s intent to attack them. He wanted them to be indebted to him, so that they would grant safety to his family. 
  • When the woman had just left Madinah, Allah informed the Prophet (ﷺ) of it, for Allah had accepted the Prophet's invocation to Him to conceal the news of the attack. Prophet (ﷺ) immediately dispatched Ali and few others after her with the instructions to seize the letter by any means they liked. When these companions reached the place indicated by the Prophet (ﷺ), they found the woman and demanded of the letter. She denied having any letter, so they searched her but could find no letter. At last, they told her to deliver the letter, otherwise they would strip her and search her. When she saw that there was no way of escape, she took out the letter from her hair-plait and delivered it to them.
  • When the letter was brought it to the Prophet (ﷺ) and read, it surely contained the warning to the Quraish that the Prophet (ﷺ) was making preparations to attack them. The Prophet (ﷺ) asked Hatib to explain his position, to which Hatib replied: Do not make haste in this matter of mine. I have not done this because I have become a disbeliever or an apostate, and have started preferring disbelief to Islam. But the truth is that my near and dear ones are still in Makkah. I do not belong to the tribe of the Quraish, but had settled there under the guardianship of some of them. The families of the Emigrants, which are still in Makkah, will be defended and protected by their tribes and clans, but I have no tribe which could give protection to my family. Therefore, I sent this letter in order to keep the Quraish under obligation so that they did not harm my children. 
  • Hearing what Hatib had to say, the Prophet (ﷺ) said to the people: Hatib has told you the truth. That is, the real motive of his action was this and not any treachery against Islam or any intention to support disbelief. Umar rose and said: Permit me, O Messenger of Allah, that I should cut off this hypocrite’s head. He has been treacherous to Allah and His Messenger and the Muslims. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: This man has participated in the Battle of Badr. You may not know, O Umar, Allah may have looked favorably at the people of Badr and said: Do as you please, I have forgiven you. (The words in the last sentence are different in different traditions. In some these are to the effect). 
It is not known whether Hatib was pardoned or otherwise, but there is no hint either to show that he was awarded some punishment. Now in this backdrop, read the he first part consists of verses 1-9, and the concluding verse 13 also relates to it. In this strong exception has been taken to the act of Hatib bin Abi Balta'a:
1) O Ye who believe, if you have left (your homes and) have come forth to struggle in My Way and to seek My good pleasure, do not make friends with My enemies and your enemies. You befriend them whereas they have spurned the Truth that has come to you; and (such is their enmity that) they expel the Messenger and yourselves for no other reason than that you believe in Allah, your Lord. You send to them messages of friendship in secrecy, although I know well whatever you do, be it secretly or publicly. And whosoever of you does so has indeed strayed far away from the Straight Path.
2) If they were to get the better of you, they would behave to you as enemies, and stretch forth their hands and their tongues against you for evil: and they desire that ye should reject the Truth.
3) Of no profit to you will be your relatives and your children on the Day of Judgment: He will judge between you: for Allah sees well all that ye do.
4) There is for you an excellent example (to follow) in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people: "We are clear of you and of whatever ye worship besides Allah. we have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred for ever,- unless ye believe in Allah and Him alone": But not when Abraham said to his father: "I will pray for forgiveness for thee, though I have no power (to get) aught on thy behalf from Allah." (They prayed): "Our Lord! in Thee do we trust, and to Thee do we turn in repentance: to Thee is (our) Final Goal.
5) "Our Lord! Make us not a (test and) trial for the Unbelievers, but forgive us, our Lord! for Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise."
6) There was indeed in them an excellent example for you to follow,- for those whose hope is in Allah and in the Last Day. But if any turn away, truly Allah is Free of all Wants, Worthy of all Praise.
7) It may be that Allah will grant love (and friendship) between you and those whom ye (now) hold as enemies. For Allah has power (over all things); And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
8) Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.
9) Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.
In verses 10-11, a social problem has been settled, which was agitating the minds at that time. There were many Muslim women in Makkah, whose husbands were pagans, but they were emigrating and reaching Madinah somehow. Likewise, there were many Muslim men in Madinah, whose wives were pagans and had been left behind in Makkah. The question arose whether the marriage bond between them continued to be valid or not. Allah settled this problem for ever, saying that the pagan husband is not lawful for the Muslim women, nor the pagan wife lawful for the Muslim husband
10) O ye who believe! When there come to you believing women refugees, examine (and test) them: Allah knows best as to their Faith: if ye ascertain that they are Believers, then send them not back to the Unbelievers. They are not lawful (wives) for the Unbelievers, nor are the (Unbelievers) lawful (husbands) for them. But pay the Unbelievers what they have spent (on their dower), and there will be no blame on you if ye marry them on payment of their dower to them. But hold not to the guardianship of unbelieving women: ask for what ye have spent on their dowers, and let the (Unbelievers) ask for what they have spent (on the dowers of women who come over to you). Such is the command of Allah. He judges (with justice) between you. And Allah is Full of Knowledge and Wisdom.11) And if any of your wives deserts you to the Unbelievers, and ye have an accession (by the coming over of a woman from the other side), then pay to those whose wives have deserted the equivalent of what they had spent (on their dower). And fear Allah, in Whom ye believe.
In the verse 12, the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) has been instructed to ask the women who accept Islam to pledge that they would refrain from the major evils that were prevalent among the womenfolk of the pre-Islamic Arab society, and to promise that they would henceforth follow the ways of goodness which the Messenger of Allah may enjoin:
12) O Prophet! When believing women come to thee to take the oath of fealty to thee, that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatever with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (or fornication), that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and that they will not disobey thee in any just matter,- then do thou receive their fealty, and pray to Allah for the forgiveness (of their sins): for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
The verse 13 below is continuation of the subject matter that was being deliberated in the first nine verses of the surah:
13) O ye who believe! Turn not (for friendship) to people on whom is the Wrath of Allah, of the Hereafter they are already in despair, just as the Unbelievers are in despair about those (buried) in graves.
You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Mumtaḥanah with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, those wanting detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to sites the references of which are given above.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

Saturday 6 October 2018

Landmark Holy Place of Islam: Masjid Qiblatain (Masjid of Two Prayer Directions)

New religions take time to mature and cement their basic foundations. When Allah chose Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a pious, respectful and trusted man from one of the leading tribes of Makkah to be His last prophet through whom the last of the divine religions, Islam, was to be sent to the mankind, the pagans of Makkah were the most intolerable and hostile audience the Prophet of Allah had to face. Therefore, the Divine messages trickled down slowly and it took some 23 years to complete the religion as Islam solidified its position unto the disbelievers and nonbelievers.
Masjid Al Aqsa, Jerusalem
Initially, when the five prayers were made obligatory for the Muslims, the prayer direction  or the Qibla (in Arabic) was chosen to be the Masjid Al Aqsa in the holy lands located on a hill in the Old City of Jerusalem that for thousands of years has been venerated as a holy site, in Judaism and Christianity and from thence by Islam too. Right from the early days of Islam, Muslim's Qibla remained the direction of Masjid Al Aqsa for over 13 years, that is from 610 CE until 623 CE. However, seventeen months after the migration of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Makkah to Medina the Qiblah became oriented towards the Ka'aba, Masjid Al Haraam, in Makkah.

When the Muslims came to Medina and started praying in the direction of Masjid Al Aqsa, equally revered by the Jews and which also the direction of their prayers, the Jews initially rejoiced the fact that the Prophet of Islam had to take their sacred city as a Qibla. And it was also thought by the Muslims that by having a common Qibla, the two religions would foster religious harmony and cordial relations in future. But as the spread of Islam started to gain momentum, the Jews of Medina felt threatened of losing their religious identity and as a retaliation started to mock the Muslims for not having a Qibla of their own. "Muhammad claims that his is an independent religion and his law supersedes all previous laws, but he does not yet have an independent 'qiblah' and offers his prayers facing the 'qiblah' of the Jews".

This started hurting the Prophet of Allah and he would invariably go out at night and look towards the Heavens for a Divine command regarding the Qibla for Muslims.

The silent prayers of the Prophet of Allah were finally answered and on that fateful day of 2 Hijrah when the Prophet of Allah was leading the noon prayers, came the Divine commandment:
We have certainly seen the turning of your face, [O Muhammad], toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a qibla with which you will be pleased. So turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer]. Indeed, those who have been given the Scripture well know that it is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do. [Surah Al Baqara 2:144]
The Prophet of Allah had almost finished the two rakah or the cycles, when the Divine message arrived to change the direction of Qibla towards Ka'aba, Masjid Al Haraam, in Makkah. Thus the messenger of Allah changed the direction which was almost opposite to the direction of Masjid Al Aqsa and offered the remaining two cycles of the prayers. 
Masjid Al Haraam, Ka'aba - Makkah
Due to this change of Qibla, the masjid became to known as the Masjid Qiblatain, the Masjid with two Qiblas or the prayer directions.

The direction change made Muslims joyous, but it was a day of mourning for the Jews. The Muslims had now become completely independent of them and a prophecy in their old books had been fulfilled that the last of the great prophets would change the orientation of the religion of Allah from Jerusalem to the Ancient House of Abrahim (upon him be peace). Their elders went as a body to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said that if he would change his orientation back to Jerusalem, then they would follow him. [2]

Allah (ﷻ) revealed in the Quran in Surah al-Baqarah: 
“And even if thou broughtest unto those who have received the Scriptures all kinds of portents, they would not follow thy Qibla, nor canst thou be a follower of their Qibla; nor are some of them followers of the Qibla of others. And if thou shouldst follow their desires after the knowledge which has come unto thee, then surely wert thou of the evil doers.” [2:145]
While most of the Muslims accepted the Divine commandant wholeheartedly as Ka'aba was well known to them, some of Medina had some dual feelings as they failed to understand the wisdom behind the change in the Qibla direction. In fact it was a test for the true believer, because the true believer, unlike others, accepts the commands of Allah without any doubt:
“And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you. And We did not make the qiblah which you used to face except that We might make evident who would follow the Messenger from who would turn back on his heels. And indeed, it is difficult except for those whom Allah has guided. And never would Allah have caused you to lose your faith. Indeed Allah is, to the people, Kind and Merciful.” [Al-Baqarah 2:143]
And yet again:
“Whatever Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things?” [Al-Baqarah 2:106]
Thus from then on, Masjid Al Haraam, Ka'aba in Makkah became the direction for all the Muslims living anywhere in the world. Today more than a billion Muslims living all over the world face Ka'aba - an act that induces unity and focus of one's faith.

A few words about the Qibla al-Qudsiyya: It is the name given to a small sect of the Jews of Medina who converted to Islam in 622/623. When the Qibla was changed, these Jews protested and finally declined the change. They remained Muslims, but did not accept any of the verses in the Qur'an written after the date of the split. Little is known of the existence of these Islamic Jews afterwards. [3]

You may now watch a video of Masjid Qiblatain as shared on YouTube:
Next time you are in the holy lands and visit Medina, do not forget to visit this very important landmark of Islamic history. Masjid Qiblatain lies three miles away from Masjid an-Nabwi in Medina.

Photo (Masjid Qiblatain) | Photos (Masjid Al Aqsa / Masjid Al Haraam, Ka'aba | 
References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

Saturday 21 July 2018

Holy Places of Islam: Al-Masjid an-Nabawi - The Prophet (ﷺ) 's Masjid

Those proceeding to Makkah, Saudi Arabia for Hajj, the annual pilgrimage, or Umra, their definite destination in Saudi Arabia is holy city of Medina Al Munawara, for this is the city which felt the footsteps of Prophet of Islam Muhammad (peace be upon him) and this is the city where the Prophet is buried in a specially enclosed chamber inside the Masjid Al Nabawi.

Al-Masjid an-Nabawī has the honour of being constructed by Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) himself along with his companions soon after his migration from Makkah to Medina in 622. Al-Masjid an-Nabawī is the third masjid built in the history of Islam. Today, it is the second-holiest site in Islam, and most visited after al-Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. It is also one of the largest masjids in the world. As per experts' calculations, the area covered by the present day masjid is roughly 100 times bigger than its original size when it was built initially. Although the masjid was built with no roof, but today its architecture is one of the most absorbing and awe inspiring in the world.

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi was built adjacent to the place of abode of the Prophet (ﷺ),  The land on which the masjid was built belonged to two orphan brothers, Sahl and Suhail and contained a few date trees, graves of polytheists, a resting spot for herds of cattle. The Prophet purchased the land and some polytheists graves dug up and leveled which then formed the courtyard of the Prophet (ﷺ) 's masjid.

Initially the masjid was constructed keeping its direction towards Masjid Al-Aqsa (Bait Al Muqqadas, Jerusalem), but later it was re-orientated to the south When the revelation came down to change the Qibla to Makkah in 624 CE. 

The masjid took seven months to complete and measured 30.5 m × 35.62 m (100.1 ft × 116.9 ft) upon completion. The roof at a a height of 3.60 m (11.8 ft) was supported by palm trunks was made of beaten clay and palm leaves. The three doors of the mosque were Bab-al-Rahmah to the south, Bab-al-Jibril to the west and Babal-Nisa to the east.

The most notable feature of the masjid is its Green Dome in the south-east corner of the masjid. The dome is exactly atop the house of Ayesha, wife of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), which later converted into the tomb of the Prophet (ﷺ). Initially a wooden cupola was erected at the place of the present day dome, which was later built as green dome in 1818 by the Ottoman sultan Mahmud II. It was painted green in 1837. 

The original minbar (place from where the Imam of the masjid addresses the audience) used by the Prophet's (ﷺ) was a "wood block of date tree". In 629, a three staired ladder was added to it. The first two caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar, did not use the third step "due to respect for the Prophet." The third caliph Uthman placed a fabric dome over it and the rest of the stairs were covered with ebony. The minbar had many changes but the present marble minbar was made in the late fifteenth century.

There is something peculiar as for mihrabs of Prophet's (ﷺ) masjid is concerned. While all other masjid only have one mihrab, but the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) masjid has three. The current mihrab is the one used nowadays for the imam to lead prayers. The next mihrab is set back and is called the Suleymaniye or Ahnaf mihrab. It was made on the orders of the Sultan Suleyman the magnificent for the Hanafi Imam to lead prayers whilst the Maliki Imam lead prayers from the Prophetic mihrab. The Prophetic mihrab completely covers the area that the Prophet (ﷺ) used to lead prayers from except where he placed his feet. 

The Rawḍah (Arabic of "Garden") is an area between the minbar and burial chamber of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). It is regarded as one of the Riyāḍ al-Jannah (Gardens of Paradise). A green carpet distinguishes the area from the rest of the mosque, which is covered in a red carpet. There is a tradition that supplications and prayers uttered here are never rejected, thus every devout vising the masjid attempts to pray here, though access into the area is generally not possible and one really has to wait to find a space for him.

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), one of the most narrator of Hadihs attributed to the Prophet (ﷺ) has been quoted in Sahih Bukhari (the books on collection of Hadihs of the Prophet) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:“One prayer offered in my masjid is superior to one thousand prayers offered in other masjids except Masjid al-Haram (Makkah al-Mukarramah).”

There is a legend of an empty space or grave next to where the Prophet (ﷺ), Abu Bakr and Umar (may Allāh be pleased with them) are buried. This was confirmed, however, when the individuals who went in to change the coverings in the hujrah* in the 1970s noted the presence of an empty space. Some believe that this empty grave is meant for Prophet Eesa (Jesus, peace be upon him) when he returns to the earth and eventually dies his biological death. However this is just  a speculation as there is no mention of this empty grave or what this space is meant for earlier in the history of Islam.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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Tuesday 3 July 2018

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): Migration to Medina (Hijrah) and Miracle of Allah

A major milestone in the history of Islam is the decision by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him - ) to migrate from Makkah to Media, then called Yathrib. The decision was not easy or entirely by the prophet himself, but it was rather forced upon him due to the ever increasing treacheries of the non believers of Makkah since the open proclamation of Islam by the prophet. The poor newly converted Muslims were the main target of the non believers who where and when found were subjected to extreme torture and their house ransacked.

In the meantime, there was a parallel development taking place in the city of Yathrib in the form of power politics. The state of unrest was mainly due to a long ongoing dispute between the local Arabs and the Jews, which had resulted into many bloody clashes costing precious lives. Thus a delegation from Yathrib elders visited Prophet Muhammad ()  in Makkah and requested him to be their arbitrator to bring peace to the community.

Prophet Muhammad ()  thus decided to migrate to Yathrib to find him a breathing space away from the hostile non believers of Makkah and thus asked his followers to slowly and gradually to head for Yathrib.

The non believers came to know of plan of migration of Prophet Muhammad () and decided to assassinate him before he too left. They thus planned the raid on the night before move of Prophet Muhammad (). Sensing the danger, Prophet Muhammad () had already left his cousin Ali ibn Talib and surreptitiously left Makkah along with his trusted friend and companion Abu Bakr. The presence of Ali in the house of the prophet frustrated the non believers and they sent out armed horsemen to follow Prophet Muhammad ()  and his companion on the route to Yathrib.

By dawn Prophet Muhammad () and Abu Bakr had reached a cave called Thawr and decided to take shelter in there to avoid detection. They stayed there for three days. One day one of the armed teams reached the mouth of the cave and both Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)  and his companions could hear their voices outside. This rather scared Abu Bakr, but at that time Prophet Muhammad ()  assured him of Allah's protection and said: “How can you be apprehensive about two with whom is a third, especially when the third one is Allah (ﷻ)?” And true to assurance of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the team after some time retracted and went back.

Unknown to both, Allah (ﷻ) had sent a spider that built its web on the mouth of the cave and a pair of doves came and made a nest near the cave mouth and laid eggs. The armed team when saw these two signs thought no one could have entered the cave from the intact web and disturbing the doves. The miracle of Allah thus saved the two.

The episode of Thawr is mentioned in Qur'an as under:
If ye help not (your leader), (it is no matter): for Allah did indeed help him, when the Unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion; they two were in the cave, and he said to his companion, “Have no fear, for Allah is with us”: then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which ye saw not, and humbled to the depths the word of the Unbelievers. But the word of Allah is exalted to the heights: for Allah is Exalted in might, Wise.“ [Surah Al Taubah 9:40]
Once reassured of their safety, the prophet and his companion left of Yathrib on the fourth day. Back in Yathrib, the Muslims who had earlier migrated from Makkah along with locals eagerly waited for the prophet. They would queue up at the mouth of Makkah - Yathrib route awaiting for their revered guests. 

Upon their arrival, they were greeted by the locals and everyone wanted the Prophet Muhammad () to stay with them. The Prophet Muhammad ()  who was riding his white camel "Qiswa" said that whereever her camel stops, he would stay with that household. The camel kept wandering in the streets followed by the crowd wanting to know who the blessed host of Prophet Muhammad () would be. Finally the camel sat in front of the house one Abu Ayub Ansaari. Prophet Muhammad () stayed with his host till his abode was ready and shifted there.The house of Abu Ayub Ansaari is part of Masjid e Quba. 

The life at Yathrib and the later part of life of Prophet Muhammad () will be covered in the next post.

Photo |References - 1 | 2 |

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