We have mentioned that logic and reason were - and still are- the best proof of the truth of Muhammad
when he said, "I am Allah's Messenger." It does not appeal to good logic or to sound reason that a man who lived such a good life lies about Allah. Early believers who hastened to believe in his message, and whom we are honored to know something about through the pages of this book, had such a relation with him after their guidance from Allah, which is the best evidence of logic and reason.
We see Muhammad
before his message, and we see him after his message. We see him in his cradle, and we see him shrouded by death. But, have we seen any contradiction or inconsistency in all his life? Never!
Let us now approach the first years of his message. Those were years one rarely finds an equal to in the annals of history for the constancy, truth, and eminence. Those were the years which revealed, more than any others, all the facets of the teacher and guide of all humanity. Those were years that opened the living book of his life and heroism and, more than any other years, represented the cradle of his miracles.
Throughout those years, the Messenger of Allah
was alone. He left all he possessed of comfort, security, and settled life. He approached the people with what they were not familiar, or rather with what they detested. He approached them and directed his words to their reasons, and it is a difficult task for a person who directs his speech to the minds of people instead of their feelings. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (PBUH) did not only do that, since the consequence of addressing the mind might be bearable if you are standing within the circle of common conventions and common aspirations. But when you call them towards a distant future which you perceive but they do not, which you live in and they are not aware of, it is a difficult task. Indeed, when you address their minds and rise to destroy the essence of their lives from the base, though you do that in a sincere, honest way and not urged by a certain purpose or glory, it is a risk which cannot be taken except by the leaders of the righteous people and messengers.
was the hero and great master of that situation. The form of worship at that time was worshiping idols, whose rites were observed as a religion. The Messenger
did not turn to any manoeuvres or intrigues. The unpaved road and the heavy burden would have been good excuses if he had used his brilliant mind to prepare them for the word "monotheism" instead of surprising them with it. He was able and it was his right to prepare to isolate the community from its idol-gods which had been handed down from generation to generation for centuries. He could have started by going around the issue to avoid as much as possible a direct confrontation he knew would bestir all the envy of his people and draw upon them all their weapons against him.
Yet, he did not. This illustrates that he was a Messenger
He heard a divine voice within him telling him to rise, and he did, and telling him to deliver the message, and he did so without the force of weapons and without fleeing! He confronted them from the first instant with the essence of the message and the core of the case: "O people, I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, to worship Him and not to set partners with Him. These idols are intellectual falsehood. They are of no harm or benefit to you".
From the very beginning he faced them with such clear and plain words, and from the very beginning he faced the severe struggle which he had to undergo his departure from life!
Or were the early believers in need of a prompting power to support the Prophet
What awakened conscience would not be stirred by such a rare and unique scene! It was the scene of a man known to the people to have full intellectual power and immaculate behavior, standing alone, facing his people with a call which could bring mountains down. Words were issuing forth from his heart and lips, obedient and superb, as if in them lay all the power, will, and design of the future, as if it were fate announcing its proclamation! But perhaps this was the prompting of a good spirit, after which Muhammad (PBUH) would worship his Lord as he liked, leaving the deities of his people in their place and leaving his community's religion alone.
If such a thought occurred to some minds at that time, Muhammed
soon dissipated it. He made it quite clear to the people that he was a Messenger and had to convey the message, that he could not be silent nor turn into himself after being guided by the truth and enlightenment. All the powers of the world and nature could not have silenced him or stopped him because it was Allah Who made him speak and move and Who guided his footsteps.
The Quraish's reaction came as swift as flames stirred by a violent wind. Troubles began to be wreaked upon a soul unaccustomed to anything but absolute grace. The Messenger
then began to teach his first lessons with utmost mastery and amazing loyalty. The image of this scene is paramount in all places and at all times, as well as in history. Those with an awakened conscience in Makkah were pleased, filled with admiration, and came closer. They beheld a lofty and majestic man. They did not know whether his neck had become longer until it was able to touch the sky or the sky had come down to crown his head. They beheld loyalty, steadfastness and eminence.
However, the best scene they beheld was on the day when the noblemen of the Quraish went to Abu Taalib saying, "Verily, we cannot tolerate a person who insults our fathers, mocks our dreams, and finds fault with our deities. You either stop him or we fight both of you until one of the parties is destroyed." Abu Taalib sent a message to his nephew saying, "My nephew, your people have approached me and talked about your affairs. You have to think of me and yourself and not burden me with what I cannot endure."
What then was the attitude of the Messenger of Allah
The only man who had stood with him seemed to be abandoning him, or rather seemed unable to confront the Quraish who sharpened all their teeth. The Messenger
did not hesitate in his reply, and his determination did not waver. No! He did not even search for the words to show his tenacity. It was already there, efficiently rising to deliver one of his most significant lessons to the whole of humanity and to dictate its highest principles.
Thus he spoke: "O uncle, by Allah, if they put the sun on my right and the moon on my left in order to abandon this matter until it is manifested by Allah or I perish by it, I would never abandon it!" Peace be upon you, O Prophet of Islam, you who were colossal among men, and your words were colossal.
Abu Taalib thereupon restored his courage and the courage of his forefathers at once, clasped the right hand of his nephew with his two hands, and said, "Say what you like, for, by Allah, I will never force you to do anything at all."
then did not depend on his uncle for protection and security, though his uncle was capable of that, but he was the one bestowing security, protection and steadfastness on people around him.
Any honest person who beholds a scene like that cannot but hasten to love, be loyal to, and believe in that Messenger
* * *
His persistence regarding truth, his perseverence with the message, and his patience during great troubles were all for the sake of Allah and not for personal benefit. All these were bound to attract brilliant minds and to awaken the conscientious people to follow the light beckoning to them and hasten to the honest and true Messenger
who came to purify our souls and guide us. People beheld him while harm was reaching him from every comer. The condolence he had sought in his uncle Abu Taalib and his wife Khadiijah was denied him because they both died within days of each other. Whoever desires to imagine the extent of persecution and war launched by the Quraish against the unarmed Messenger, suffice it to know that Abu Lahab himself, who was his most bitter rival and enemy, was so conscience-stricken one day by what he beheld that he announced he would protect the Messenger, help him, and stand against any aggression against him. But the Messenger refused his protection and remained lofty, raising his head and remaining loyal to his message. Nobody could avert harm from him because nobody dared to do so! Even the eminent Abu Bakr could do nothing but weep.
One day, the Messenger
went to the Ka'bah and, while he was circumambulating it, the nobles of the Quraish who were waiting for him suddenly ran and surrounded him, saying, "Is it you that say such-and-such a thing about our deities?" And he calmly answered them, "Yes, I say that." They held him by the end of his clothes while Abu Bakr pleaded for his release, saying with tears pouring, "Are you going to kill a man for saying, Allah is my Lord?"
* * *
Whoever saw the Messenger
on the day of At-Taa'if was sure to see some example of his truth and loyalty worthy of him. He turned his face towards the tribe of Thaqiif, calling them to Allah, the One and the Vanquisher.
Was not what he was encountering from his clan and his folk enough? Did it not warn him of an increasing harm when it comes from people he had no blood relations with? Absolutely not, because these harmful consequences were not considered by him. Almighty Allah had commanded him to deliver the message, and that was enough. He remembered the day when the intransigence of his community increased and he went home covering himself in bed in sorrow. He heard the voice of heaven reaching his heart, and immediately he heard the voice of revelation casting the same matter as on the day of the cave: "O you encovered --- Arise and warn" (74:1-2).
Then he had to deliver the message and warn. Therefore, he was a Messenger who did not care about harm and did not search for comfort. Let him go then to Al-Taa'if to convey the word of Allah to its people.
There, however, the nobles of the community surrounded him and were more cunning than their mates in Makkah. They set children and hooligans against him, and they abandoned the most sacred of the customs of the Arabs, which is hospitality to guests and protection of the one who asks for help.
They set their hooligans and their young boys after the Messenger (PBUH), throwing stones at him. This was the one for whom the Quraish offered to collect money to make him the richest among them and to be their leader and king! Yet, he refused saying, " l am but the slave of Allah and His Messenger."
Now we behold him in At-Taa'if where he retired to an orchard to be protected by its walls from the pursuit of the hooligans. His right hand was stretched towards heaven praying to Allah while his left hand was protecting his face from the stones thrown at him. He was calling to his Creator and Lord, saying, "If You are not angry with me, I do not care for other things, but granting me Your mercy is too generous of You.!'
Indeed, he was a Messenger who knew how to address his Lord with courtesy! When he declared that he did not care about harm for the sake of Allah, he also declared that he was in dire need for mercy granted by Allah. In a situation like this, he did not feel proud about his endurance and courage, nor did he boast. Boasting in such a situation might suggest bestowing favor on Allah, and this fact could not be hidden from Muhammad. Therefore, the best way to express his courage and endurance in such a situation was his pleading and his invocation.
So he went on asking Allah's pardon and invoking Him, "O Allah, to You I complain of the weakness of my strength, my inability to find a way, and my humiliation by the people. O the Most Compassionate, You are the Lord of the weak, and You are my Lord. To whom do You entrust me? To a distant relation who ignores me or to an enemy who has power over me? If You are not angry with me, I do not care about other things, but granting me Your mercy is too generous of You. I seek refuge in the light of Your face that brightens the darkness and amends the affairs of this world and the next. Do not be angry or dissatisfied with me. I beg Your favor until You are satisfied with me. There is no strength or power except through You." What loyalty the Prophet
had to his call! He was an unarmed person faced with plots everywhere he went. He had nothing in life to strengthen him, yet he carried all that persistence, all that steadfastness and loyalty!
People beheld him returning from Al-Taa'if to Makkah without any sense of despair or defeat, but more hopeful, optimistic, and dedicated. Moreover, he presented himself to the tribes, reaching them in their own localities and districts. One day he went to Bani Kindah, another day to Bani Haniifah, then to Bani `Aamir, and thus from one tribe to another. He said to them all, "I am the Messenger of Allah to you. He commands you to worship Allah and not to take partners with Him, and to abandon what you worship of idols." At the houses of the close-by tribes, Abu Lahab used to follow him, saying to the people, "Do not believe him, for he is calling you to what is false."
People beheld the Messenger of Allah in such a critical situation seeking believers and assistants, but he was met with ingratitude and enmity. They saw him refusing any bargains and refusing to have a worldly price for faith.
In those scorching days, he presented himself to Bani `Aamir lbn sa`sa`ah and sat with them speaking about Allah and reciting some of His words. They inquired, "Do you believe that if we supported you in your affair and then Allah raised you above those who opposed you, we would take the matter after you?" He
answered saying, "This matter is in the hands of Allah. He puts it wherever He wishes." There and then they dispersed, saying, "We need not your affair." The Messenger
left them, looking for believers who do not buy a little worth with their faith.
* * *
People beheld him, but few believed in him. Despite their number, he found in them comfort and company. But the Quraish decided that each tribe should be in charge of giving lessons to the believers among them. So, suddenly, persecution descended like a mad storm and hit all the Muslims. The polytheists did not know a crime but committed it against the Muslims. However, here an unexpected surprise took place. Muhammad (PBUH) gave orders to all the Muslims to emigrate to Abyssinia and decided to remain alone to face the aggression!
Why did he not emigrate to convey the word of Allah in another place, for Allah is the Lord of All the Worlds and not the Lord of the Quraish alone? Or why did he not let them stay with him, since in their staying there was confirmed benefit? Surely their stay in Makkah, in spite of their small number, would have induced others to embrace Islam, the religion of Allah.
Furthermore, there were among them a good number of the noblest families of the Quraish, the strongest and the most powerful. From the tribe of Bani Umaiyah there were `Uthmaan lbn `Affaan, `Amr lbn Sa'iid lbn al-'Aas and Khaalid lbn Sa'iid Ibn Al-'Aas From Bani Asad there were Az-Zubair lbn Al-' Awaam, Al-Aswad lbn Nawfal, Yaziid lbn Zam'ah ,and `Amr lbn Umaiyah. From the tribe of Bani Zahrah there were `Abd Ar-Rahman lbn `Awf, `Aamir lbn Abi Waqqaas Maalik Ibn Ahyab, and Al-Muttalib Ibn Azhar. There were these and others whose families would not be patient for long with their persecution and infliction of harm upon them. Why, then, did the Messenger (PBUH) not let them stay with him to support him and to be a sign of possible power in his hands?
Here the eminence of Muhammad
, the Messenger of Allah shines. He did not want commotion or civil war, even if the probability of his success was there, or even if he was sure of his success! Here the Messenger's humanity and compassion are illustrated, for he could not bear to see people persecuted because of him, although he was well aware that sacrifice was the price paid in every noble struggle and in every great mission. Sacrifice should be made whenever it was inevitable. But now, when it is possible to avoid suffering, let the Muslims turn that way. Why, then, did he not join them?
He was not commanded to depart. His place was there where idols were. He would keep uttering the name of Allah, the One. He would keep receiving pain and harm without anxiety or disquietude since it was he who was harmed and not those weak people who believed in him and followed him and not even those noble men who also believed in him and followed him! Whoever knows examples of such cases of steadfastness and nobility of sacrifice, let him come up with them. It is a lofty matter capable only of leading messengers and chosen ones.
* * *
The man and the Messenger came together in Muhammad
in such a magnificent and well-knit encounter. Those who had doubts in his message did not have any doubt in his eminence, the purity of his quintessence, or the purity of his humanity. Allah, Who knew where to place His Message, had chosen such a man who was the best humanity could achieve in elevation, loftiness, and honesty. People heard him reprimanding them for any exaggeration in glorifying him or even when they merely stated his eminence without any exaggeration. He prohibited them even from standing up in his presence when he came upon them when they were seated. He said, "Do not stand as non-Arabs do when they glorify one another."
When the sun eclipsed on the day of the death of his beloved son Ibraahiim, the Muslims mentioned that it was an eclipse out of sadness for the loss of Ibraahiim. But the great and honest Messenger (PBUH) hastened to refute and negate this assumption before it turned into a legend. He stood among the Muslims, addressing them as follows: "The sun and the moon are two of the signs of Allah. They never eclipse for the death or life of anybody."
He was the one trusted with the minds of people and their thinking, and so accomplishing what was entrusted to him was more worthy than the glory of all the world. He was certain that he came to humanity to change their way of life and that he was not a Messenger to the Quraish alone, or to the Arabs only, but was Allah's Messenger to all the people on earth!
Almighty Allah directed his vision to how far his mission would reach and his banner flutter. He perceived the truth of the faith he announced, the living immortality it would have until Allah inherits the earth and those upon it. Nevertheless, he did not see in himself, or his religion or his unprecedented success more than a brick in the construction! This great man stood to proclaim this idea in one of his best statements, saying, "The relation between prophets who came before me and myself is like a man who built a house and constructed it well and decorated it, except for a brick in one of its corners. This made people go round it and express their astonishment, saying, Won't this brick be placed? I am such a brick, and I am the last of the Prophets."
All that long life he lived, all his struggles and heroism, all his glory and purity, all the victory achieved in his life for his religion and the victory he knew would be achieved after his death were nothing but a brick, a mere brick in a lofty and deeply founded building. He was the one who proclaimed this and reiterated it. In addition, he did not make up such a speech out of assumed modesty, to nourish a hunger for glory. He emphasized the situation as a fact. Its delivery and transmission he considered part of the quintessence of his message. Though modesty was one of the essential characteristics of Muhammad
, it was not the only sign of his greatness, which reached an unrivaled level of excellence and superiority to be a sign and a symbol itself.
* * *
That was the teacher of mankind and the last of the prophets. He was the light seen by the people, and he lived among them as a human being, and then after his departure from this world, he was seen by the whole world as a truth and a memory.
Now, while we meet a number of his noble Companions on the following pages of this book where we will be astonished by their faith, their sacrifices, and the good cause they set for their lives, which was unprecedented - the reason for their marvelous lives will be clear before us.
This reason was nothing but the light they followed who was Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah
. Almighty Allah had combined in him the vision of truth and self-dignity, which honored life and illuminated the destiny of mankind.