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Episode 8: Hardships Of The Prophet And His Companions

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On the Path of the Beloved

 

Episode 8 : Hardships of the Prophet and his companions

 

 

 

In The Name of Allah, The All-Merciful, The Ever-Merciful.

 

 

 

Today's episode discusses the interval from the year 3 till the year 6 after the revelation. We stopped when Muhammad (SAWS[1]) set a plan for spreading Islam among Quraysh tribe by himself. He started with the selection phase. He chose distinguished characters, real men who excelled in practical life. He penetrated deep within Quraysh until they reached almost 100-150 believers. In the next phase, he got the protection of Bani-Hashem tribe with the consent of his Uncle Abu-Taleb. In the third phase Muhammad (SAWS) proceeded with da'wa (missionary activity) in public from on top of Mt. Al-Safa before the whole of Quraysh. He moved on smoothly from one phase to another. His companions never questioned his plans. Our Prophet (SAWS) always took the initiative and waited for Quraysh's reaction. He was aware that Quraysh would strongly challenge him. He planned everything without waiting for supernatural miracles. Jibril (Gabriel) only provided Muhammad (SAWS) with methodology and support. Great miracles were still to come such as Al-Israa and Al-Mi’raj[2] and many others. Major changes are caused by ourselves and not by miracles. Miracles are yet to come, and so will victories, but first, you must work hard and then you shall be supported by great miracles.

 

 

 

Quraysh moved in steps. First, they tried to distort the prophet's da'wa (SAWS). Next came ridicule and humiliation to shake his spirit followed with moral harm, hurting his family members and causing physical harm for him and the companions. They even tried to kill them and actually killed some of them. All of this was for the sake of Muslims and Islam.

 

 

 

Quraysh tried to distort the da'wa. They accused Muhammad (SAWS) of being a poet, a priest, a liar, of being insane, and a spy so that those listening to him would get confused and leave him. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, '"And the ones who have disbelieved have said, “Decidedly this is nothing except a falsehood he has fabricated, and other people have helped him to it.” …' (TMQ[3], 25:4).

 

 

 

Quraysh sent Al-Nader Ibn-Al-Harith to Persia to listen to the stories told by the Persian kings. When he came back, they told him to interrupt Muhammad (SAWS) by retelling what he heard, thus Muhammad (SAWS) was not able to talk to the people nor recite the Qur'an. His uncle Abu-Lahab did the same, he walked behind Muhammad (SAWS) and told the people to stay away from him. Life is hard and we must be patient just like our master (SAWS). He got more persistent, neither fought them back nor replied. The Qur'an gives him the support. "O you enwrapped (in your raiment). Rise up …" (TMQ, 73:1-2). Several Surah(s)[4] in the Qur'an start with "Rise up". Khadijah (RA), the prophet's wife, used to ask him to take some rest as he prayed all night and called for Islam during the day.

 

 

 

Quraysh moved on to ridiculing the Prophet (SAWS) to shake his spirit. They hurt his pride.

 

 

 

Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) is now 43 years old and is known for his extreme honesty and trustworthiness.

 

 

 

Quraysh decided that whenever anyone would spot Muhammad they would say "madman" aloud and run away. "And they said, “O you upon whom the Remembrance is being sent down, surely you are indeed a madman …"" (TMQ, 15:6). Such rumor spread to the extent that travelers coming from Yemen far away were warned to beware of the crazy Quraysh "lad". Do you feel like you want to stand up and defend him? You can follow his Sunnah (tradition) and do some good in this world without violence and just by working hard.

 

 

 

Om-Jameel, Abu-Lahab's wife used to gather garbage and thorns and put them on the doorstep of the prophet's house. She was relentless. She kept on provoking Quraysh and instigating disruptions. "And his wife, the constant bearer of firewood, Upon her (long) neck she will have a rope of palm-fibers." (TMQ, 111:4-5). She did not actually carry firewood, but the Qur'an uses this metaphor as if she was lighting the fire of disruption in Quraysh. She heard about Qur'an verses talking about her and went to the prophet (SAWS) to throw him with stones. However, Allah (SWT) allowed such suffering but only to a limit. He blinded Om-Jameel from seeing the Prophet (SAWS) when she asked Abu-Bakr about him though he was just in front of her. She ridiculed his name in a made-up poem about how they were going to defy his religion. She called him "Mudhammam"[5]. Quraysh disbelievers liked Om-Jameel's poem and sang it and spread it allover Makkah. The companions flamed with anger but the Prophet (SAWS) calmed them down. Others waited when he made tawaf[6], made fun of him and laughed aloud. He ignored them until the third round of tawaf. Then, he went to them and threatened them harshly. They knew him for a patient man so they got afraid and stopped what they did. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, " Surely the ones who are (guilty of) crimes used to laugh at the ones who believed, And when they passed by them (they used) to wink one to another. And when they turned over (to their families), they turned over jesting, And when they saw them, they said, “Surely these (people) are indeed erring.” And in no way were they sent preservers over them. So Today the ones who believed are laughing at the steadfast disbelievers, On couches, looking (down upon them). Have the steadfast disbelievers been requited for what they were performing? "(TMQ, 83:29-36).

 

 

 

This came as a strong support to raise the spirits of the prophet (SAWS) and his companions. "And indeed We already know that, for you, your breast straitens by what they say. So extol with the praise of your Lord and be of the prostrating. "(TMQ, 15:97-98). In another ayah, Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, "In no way is anything said to you except what already was said to the Messengers before you. Surely your Lord is indeed The Owner of forgiveness and The Owner of painful punishment..."(TMQ, 41: 43). Companions and believers increased in number. "You have been the most charitable nation brought out to mankind: you command beneficence, and forbid maleficence, and believe in Allah ..."(TMQ, 3: 110).

 

 

 

Judge yourself and see what you have done along the path of the beloved (SAWS). Have you betrayed his trust? " O you who have believed, do not betray Allah and the Messenger..."(TMQ, 8: 27). We want to prove to the whole world that Islam is not a religion calling for terror. One of the prophet companions looked happy after the death of Muhammad (SAWS). He was happy that he shall obey him when he is dead just like he used to do when he was alive so that his reward would be doubled. 'Prophet Muhammad says," I love to see my brothers. They (the hearers) said: Aren’t we your brothers-Messenger of Allah? He said: You are my companions, and our brothers are those who have, so far, not come into the world."'[7]

 

 

 

Quraysh even tried to hurt his family. Al-'Asi Ibn-Wael, the father of Amr Ibnul-Aas spread a saying that Muhammad (SAWS) was incapable of having boys, a shameful matter back then, his two boys being dead. Thus, they can get rid of him after his death as he has no one to carry his legacy. This hurt Khadijah (RA). She was 55 years old and too old to bear more children. To relieve them from their pains Allah (SWT) revealed these ayahs which could be translated as, "Surely We have given you the Abundance; So pray to your Lord and slaughter (the sacrifice). Surely your antagonist is he who is without offspring (Literally: curtailed). "(TMQ, 108: 1-3). Also, "Have We not expanded your breast for you, And laid aside from you your encumbrance. Which weighed down your back, And did We not raise for you your remembrance? So surely with difficulty comes ease, Surely with difficulty comes ease. So when you are at leisure, (i.e., not o) then labor, And to your Lord then be desirous (i.e., of His Grace)."(TMQ, 94: 1-8). After the companions exceeded 200 in number Quraysh tried to hurt the prophet's family even more. Abu-Lahab divorced his two sons from the prophet's two daughters. One of the girls later on married Othman Ibn-Affan, one of the prophet's companion and the other one, Om-Kulthoum, didn't get married until she went to Madinah as all the companions were younger than her. Khadijah (RA) however, did not mind this as most mothers are expected to do. She supported her husband even more.

 

 

 

The persistence of Muhammad (SAWS) bothered Abu-Jahl to the extent that he asked him to leave him alone as he will not listen to him anyway. " We already know that surely it indeed grieves you (the things) they say. Yet surely they do not cry lies to you, but the unjust (people) repudiate the signs of Allah. "(TMQ, 6:33). A friend of Abu-Jahl accused Muhammad in front of him that he is a liar, but away from him he later said that he knew that Muhammad was saying the truth but he was only doing this because his family used to be competitors to Abdul-Muttalib’s family. He was driven by greed and selfishness. Therefore, never ever place your own interests before the truth. Allah (SWT) always tests our conscience, so beware. Our Muslim women also have a major role in this. They must always support their husbands in doing what is right regardless of the temptations.

 

 

 

As to physical hurt, Okba Ibn-Abu-Ma'eet took off his gown, wrapped it in a rope-like shape and put it around the neck of our beloved (SAWS) while praying in front of the Ka'ba until he fell from suffocation. Not only this, Okba further went and slaughtered a camel, took out its guts and put it on the prophet's back while he was prostrating in prayer. The prophet remained still until his daughter came. She cleaned him while crying from the sight itself but her father told her not to cry, as Allah (SWT) shall support her father. In heaven, the prophet shall hold his hand for you to drink from, but the angels will come and take the weak believers away.

 

 

 

Another disbeliever hid in the desert of Makkah and filled his handful with sand and threw it in our beloved's face. He went home with his clothes full of sand and dust and his little girl Fatima (RA) saw this and tried to rub the dust away crying. He soothed her and told her not to cry because Allah (SWT) shall support him. Listen to this ayah and wake up. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, "And in no way is Muhammad (anything) except a Messenger; the Messengers have already passed away before him. Then, will it be that, in case he dies or is killed, will you turn (Literally: turn (s) over on) on your heels? ..."(TMQ, 3:144).

 

 

 

Do you know why Okba Ibn-Abu-Ma'eet defied prophet Muhammad (SAWS)? He was a close friend to Abu-Jahl and started to listen to Muhammad (SAWS) and to believe in what he was saying. He was about to embrace Islam. At that time, Abu-Jahl was away on a trip and when he returned back, he threatened Okba that he shall not look at him nor talk to him again until he would go to spit on the prophet’s (SAWS) face.

 

 

 

Stay away from bad companions and listen carefully to your parents who warn you against such friends. Okba chose his friend and spitted on the face of our beloved (SAWS). " And the Day that the unjust (person) will bite at both his hands, (and) say, “Oh, would that I had taken to myself a way along with the Messenger. Oh, woe to me! Would that I had not taken so-and-so to myself for a (close) fellow. Indeed he readily made me err away from the Remembrance after it had come to me.”" (TMQ, 25:27-29).

 

 

 

The Prophet was not only supportive of Islam, but of all forms of justice. Once a man came to Makkah claiming that Abu-Jahl owed him money. To have a good laugh, some disbelievers advised him to go to Muhammad and ask for his help. Despite the conflict with Abu-Jahl, the Prophet took the man to Abu-Jahl and told Abu-Jahl to pay the due money. In effect, Abu-Jahl paid the due money.

 

 

 

Examples of Hardships Undergone by Companions:

 

 

 

Abdullah Ibn-Masood, a companion who was very weakly built, decided to make Quraysh listen to the Qur’an. He went to the K’aba and started to recite ayahs from Surat Ar-Rahman as loud as he could. Day after day the disbelievers gathered and beat him up, yet he did not stop, until the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) advised him to do so. The message is that we must not be shy to stand up for what is right.

 

 

 

One day ten men from Quraysh gathered around the prophet (SAWS) and assaulted him. Abu-Bakr, who is "the bravest of all men", according to Ali (RA), defended the Prophet (SAWS). Consequently, the gathered disbelievers left the Prophet (SAWS) alone and started to attack Abu-Bakr. He was brutally beaten on his face until he fainted and they thought he was dead. After being taken to his house, he awoke at night asking about the Messenger of Allah (SAWS). Exhausted as he was, he asked his mother and Fatima bintul-Khattab to take him to the Prophet (SAWS), so as to be re-assured. This is the real love for the Prophet (SAWS).

 

 

 

Many companions underwent severe torture. For instance, Belal was left by the disbelievers in the hot weather of Makkah’s desert wearing iron shields, and on his body the would put extremely heavy stones. The youth, Al-Zobeir Ibnul-Awam (16 years old) was tortured by his uncle. The latter used to wrap him up in a piece of cloth and hang him above a fire, so that only the hot smoke would reach him. Young as he was, Al-Zobeir suffered a serious lung disease.

 

 

 

Another example is given by Saad Ibn-Abu-Waqas, who used to be quite rightful to his mother. Nonetheless, when he embraced Islam, his mother threatened him to stop eating and drinking, so that he might change his belief. In effect, she starved herself and became very ill after three days. However, he firmly told her that he is adamant on his belief. Ayahs were revealed to the Prophet (SAWS), telling Saad to be more merciful, “And We have enjoined upon man the fair (companionship) to his parents; and in case they strive with you to make you associate with Me that whereof you have no knowledge, then do not obey them" (TQM, 29:8). Watching all these sacrifices, the question is, “what did we do?”

 

 

 

Complete families and household also suffered. This is illustrated in the story of the family of Yasser. The wife, Somaya Bintul-Khayat, a slim, weak, 60 years-old woman, was often tortured by Abu-Jahl, until she died. She became the first Muslim martyr. It is noteworthy that the first Muslim after the prophet was a woman, the first to support the messenger of Allah was a woman and the first martyr was also a woman. Reflecting on this issue, I think the message is: this should boost all men to work hard and strive for the cause of Islam. Two days later, Somaya’s husband, Yasser died, leaving behind the young, Ammar Ibn-Yasser, who suffered greatly, as well. Ten years later, when Abu-Jahl was killed in the Battle of Badr, the Prophet (SAWS) summoned Ammar to tell him the Allah avenged his mother.

 

 

 

These examples are not meant to tell us that we have to undergo the same suffering. The point is that we have to carry the message so forcefully and relentlessly as the prophet (SAWS)’s companions did. We may take pigeons as an example. Pigeons so much value there message that they fly very high, despite all rain or heat, so as to avoid hunters and they do not stop for food, in order to deliver their message safely. Why don’t we indeed take the pigeons an example to follow!

 

 

 

Hamza and Omar embrace Isalm:

 

 

 

1. Hamza:

 

 

 

Hamza was a man who sought his own pleasures and never cared about the issues of Makkah. One day after a hunting trip, a Muslim woman (again, a woman) met him and asked how he could go hunting while his nephew was assaulted by Abu-Jahl. Hamza was enraged. He headed to the Ka’ba with his bow. He asked Abu-jahl, "How dare you abuse him while I embraced his religion?" and he hit him on the head. Now, Hamza is unintentionally involved. This indeed is the real meaning of Allah's name, "The Guide". The next day Hamza went to his nephew after a sleepless night. The Prophet (SAWS) proposed Islam and Hamza accepted. He encouraged the prophet (SAWS) to proceed with his message because Hamza will always be by his side. This is indeed the type of Muslims we are in need of.

 

 

 

2. Omar:

 

 

 

Unlike Hamza, Omar embraced Islam in a gradual process. He used to be an extremely tough person. He used to walk after the prophet (SAWS) wherever he went, and used to prevent him from talking to people and spreading the message of Islam. Omar tells the story of his Islam. He says that the first time Islam found a way to his heart was when he used to beat up his female slave. Strong as he was, he would beat her until he would get tired, yet she remained quite unexhausted. Once again, a Muslim woman demonstrated her strength and capability to fortify the society.

 

 

 

Another day, Omar went to meet his drinking friends as usual, but he did not find them. Nor did he find the wine seller. He decided to go to the Ka’ba. When he arrived he found the prophet (SAWS) praying. He decided to listen quietly and see what he said. The Prophet (SAWS) was reading Surat Al-Haqqah. After listening for a while, he thought that Mohammad was a magician, then he heard the prophet (SAWS) reciting what can be translate as, "And in no way is it the saying of a poet- little do you believe" (TQM, 69:41). He thought the prophet was a soothsayer, then the prophet (SAWS) recited what can be translated as, "Nor the saying of a soothsayer- little are you mindful of!" (TQM, 69:42). He reflected on what this was all about, only to hear the prophet (SAWS) reciting what can be translated as, "A successive sending down from The Lord of the worlds" (TQM, 69:43). He said, “I felt a tremor in my body and Islam found further way to my heart”.

 

 

 

The final stage in the Omar's way to Islam, was when he decided to kill the prophet (SAWS), because of all the confusion he felt. On his way, he met a Muslim man who asked him where he was going. Omar told him about his intention. The companion was worried about the prophet (SAWS), so he told him to see his own sister first. He told Omar that his sister, Fatima, was a Muslim. Omar, burning with anger, went to his sister's house, where he found her reciting Surat Ta-Ha, together with her husband and Khabath. He recited some ayahs and then, asked for Muhammad. Khabath told he was at Al-Arqam's house. Omar immediately went to Al-Arqam's house and declared that he embraced Islam, in a new victory for the Muslims at the time.

 

 

 

On his first day as a Muslim, Omar had a number of great achievements. One minute after declaring himself a Muslim, Omar asked the Prophet (SAWS) to go out and declare that there is not God to be worshipped but Allah. The Muslims went to the Ka’ba in two queues, one led by Hamza and the other by Omar, in a scene that is totally new to the people of Makkah. This is a message to businessmen, politicians and media people; "what did you do for Islam and for your country?".

 

 

 

Moreover, Omar wanted all Quraysh to know that he became a Muslim. He went to Abu-Jahl and to Abu-Sufyan and told them. However, this was not enough. He went to a man called Jamil Ibnul-Moamar, who is well known as the tattle monger of Makkah. No sooner did Omar tell him than he started to run in the streets and announced the news.

 

 

 

On the same day, Omar knew that Quraysh decided to gather at Ka’ba to discuss this issue. Omar went to them and was engaged in a brutal fight with them. When Omar eventually, arrived home, he summoned his children and ordered them, to embrace Islam, only to find that his youngest son Abdullah Ibn-Omar had been a Muslim for a year.

 

 

 

Summing-up the lessons we are to learn from this episode:

 

 

 

* Do not live only to seek your benefits.

* You have to sacrifice for the sake of your message.

* Women play a pivotal role in supporting the society.

* Islam and our nations are in dire need for all men of power, financiers, businessmen and media professionals…etc.

* Youth must have a solid intention to succeed in life.

 

 

 

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.

 

 

 

[1] SAWS=Sala-llahu Alaihi Wa-Sallam = All Prayers and Peace of Allah be upon him.

 

[2] The night journey of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) from Makkah to Jerusalem and his ascension to the seventh Heaven

 

[3] TMQ=Translation of the Meaning of the Qur'an. This translation is for the realized meaning, so far, of the stated (Surah:Ayah) of the Qur'an. Reading the translated meaning of the Qur'an can never replace reading it in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed.

 

[4] Chapter of the Qur'an.

 

[5] Dispraised, opposite of the meaning of Muhammad in Arabic

 

[6] Circumambulation of the Ka'ba.

 

[7] Narrated by Abu-Huraira. Good Hadith, Sahih Muslim, Book 002, Number 0482.

 

 

 

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