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Episode 7 : The First Four Years Following The Revelation

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On the Path of the Beloved


Episode 7 : The first four years following the Revelation




In the name of Allah the All Merciful, the Ever Merciful




Peace be upon you all. Welcome to a new episode of On the Path of the Beloved. Today is the seventh of Ramadan, how are you doing with your prayers, supplications, reciting, etc.?




Is this the best Ramadan you have had so far or not?


These are words of encouragement and support for us all so that this may be the best month of our life. May this night be a night of salvation from hell-fire!




Today, we are going to talk about the first four years that followed revelation. After receiving the Holy revelation form Jibril (AS) (Gabriel) and talking to Warqa Ibn-Nawfal, the Prophet (SAWS) was now ready to start his journey and spread his message. This message did not only intend to make people desert idols and worship Allah, but also to spread reform on earth, all over the world.




What means were available to the Prophet to serve this purpose? None.


He was on his own, no supporters, no money, no followers. However, he had a deep belief in his message, high principles, and twenty years of preparation.




Moreover, he had four Surahs of the Qur'an; he had Surat Al-Alaq that emphasized the value of knowledge, in which Allah says what can be translated as, "Read: In the Name of your Lord Who created,"[1] (TMQ, 96:1). He also had Surat Al-Muzzammil advising of night prayer, in which Allah says what can be translated as, "O you enwrapped (in your raiment), Rise up (to pray during) the night, except a little, " (TMQ, 73:1-2). He also had Surat Al-Muddaththir that ordered him to rise up, in which Allah says what can be translated as, "O you shrouded (in your mantle), Rise up (and) so warn!" (TMQ, 74:1-2). Finally, he had Al-Fatihah that asserted that he was the Prophet of mercy to all mankind, in which Allah says what can be translated as, "Praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds." (TMQ, 1:2). Our Prophet (SAWS) is a Prophet of mercy, not violence. His message is based on reform not destruction.




Many people think that spreading Islam was a straightforward process; people were invited to join Islam and responded. Not at all, it was based on a wise time plan. The Prophet’s plan consisted of gradual steps; moving from one step to the next depended on the success on the previous step. This is a humanitarian methodology suitable for anyone who wants to achieve revival. We are now in desperate need to follow suit, with the help of people who can learn from the Prophet and his companions.




The first step on the road to reform was not to break an idol or use violence; it was to merge within the society and form exceptional men and women who would be the deeply rooted foundation of the message. They were required to have high morals, great resilience and success. The Prophet’s choice was not random but selective, because sorting the youth of Quraysh and having outstanding followers would strengthen the message and make it impossible to uproot. This first phase lasted three years, in which he gathered two hundred followers.




In some books about the Seerah (the Prophet's biography) the first three years are wrongly described are as a secret phase, which is far from true, it was by special invitation only.




The first follower was a woman. The first one to fulfill all his conditions of morals, strength and success, was Khadijah (RA). All the scholars agreed that the first one to prostrate to Allah after the Prophet (SAWS) was Khadijah (RA). This is a matter of pride for all women. If nowadays, women are not treated properly, or if you misinterpret the Hadith that says, "Women are deficient in intelligence and religion"[2] remember the importance of Khadijah (RA) whom we can call the first believer after the Prophet (SAWS). I urge men to encourage women and insist on their important role in Islam. Islam needs every single one of us: men and women.




Abu-Bakr (RA) was the second person to enter Islam. He did not hesitate or ask for time to think like others; on the contrary, as soon as the Prophet spoke to him about Islam, he accepted it at once. Ali (RA) embraced Islam when he was ten years old, followed by Zayd Ibn-Haritha. The Prophet (SAWS) now had four followers.


Abu-Bakr (RA) understood that the Prophet was seeking extraordinary people. Therefore, in his first week of Islam, he gathered six other followers who were among the ten followers promised to enter Jannah (paradise) [3]. They were, Othman Ibn-Affan the last Caliph, Talha Ibn-Obaidullah, Al-Zubair Ibnul-Awwam, Abdul-Rahman Ibn-Awf who was a successful merchant, Saad Ibn-Aby-Wakkas who conquered Iraq, and Abu-Ubaydah Ibnul-Jarrah who conquered the Levant (Sham countries). All the good deeds of these great men will rest in Abu-Bakr's scale on the Day of Judgment. Abu Bakr's loyalty and commitment to the message were key to his success in converting such great men in his first week as a Muslim.


He might have been thin and weak, but if his faith were to be weighed against the faith of the entire Ummah, his scale would be heavier.




Over a period of six months, the number of followers increased to 45, most of them were young men whose ages did not exceed 30 years. They were 27 men, and 18 women. They consisted of 34 wealthy and eleven poor companions. Unlike what is usually said, most of the first followers were rich not poor. These companions were from 16 different tribes. This was part of the Prophet's plan in order to be integrated in society. There was a Muslim in every household now. These companions were of different social backgrounds: Ammar Ibn-Yasser and Belal Ibn-Rabah, the slaves, Othman Ibn-Ma'zoum, the great wealthy lord.




Every good thing we are now enjoying started with these 45 great companions. Let this be a lesson to us all, if we wish to change the wrong image attached to Islam and show the whole world its beauty, we must be part of the fiber of society and increase our good deeds, so that others follow suit. We will never achieve our revival unless we reach every alley and lane, every intellectual and illiterate. We must stop this state of deterioration of our religion! We must rise up and awake from our long slumber!




Let me repeat my question once again, would you have been chosen?


The same criterions apply for accompanying the Prophet (SAWS) in Jannah.


Yesterday, I read some words that really touched me. They were written by a 26 years old female. She said that she has learnt six languages to be able to spread the story of Muhammad (SAWS) to the world. She was wondering: would that be enough for him (SAWS) to choose her?




Another young man sent me his story saying that he excels every year in the faculty of medicine with the intention of being chosen. Being chosen to accompany the Prophet (SAWS) in heaven is not that easy, what have you done to deserve such an honor?




In the Prophet's household, everyone embraced Islam. The household consisted of ten members: the Prophet (SAWS), Khadijah (RA), the four daughters: Zainab, Ruqaya, Um-Kolthoum, and Fatima, in addition to two maids, and two young men: Ali Ibn-Abi-Talib and Zaid Ibn-Haritha. How we envy those who were the first followers!


I remember a saying of Saad Ibn-Aby-Wakkas, "There was a day when I represented a quarter of Islam!" He was the fourth one to embrace Islam. One of the companions, Al-Ash'ath Ibn-Kays narrated that once he came in the season of Pilgrimage to Makkah, for he was a merchant, to finish a business deal with Al-Abbas (RA) (the Prophet's uncle). While they were conversing, he saw a man, who was the Prophet (SAWS), coming out of a tent. He looked at the sun, and then started to pray. Then he was followed by a young man, who stood beside him to pray. Finally a woman came out from the tent and joined them in prayer. Al-Ash'ath was astonished and asked Al-Abbas about what they were doing. He told him they were praying. He then asked who they were. Al-Abbas replied “he is Muhammad my nephew, the young man is Ali my other nephew, and the woman is Khadijah, Muhammad's wife. He claims to be the Prophet and they are his only followers.” Then Al-Abbas asked Al-Ash'ath whether he wanted to be introduced to Muhammad, but Al-Ash'ath refused and preferred to finish the business deal. Al-Ash'ath, who entered Islam twenty years later, regretted the fact that he could have been the third person to join Islam, and stand beside Ali. Do not waste your chance to contribute to the revival when the opportunity knocks on your door, you may live to regret it.




After three years, the number of Muslims had increased by more than a hundred. Quraysh did not notice this rise, which meant that the Prophet's plan had succeeded. Three years had passed without confrontation or conflict, and now a few of the elite were on our side, and Islam was inside every house in Makkah. Three years had passed and marked the end of the first phase.




Now the Prophet (SAWS) had to take the next step; he had to announce Islam to the mass, boldly. Now was the time for the idea to reach everyone, everywhere.


They were strong together, but their goal exceeded this small group of believers.


The Prophet's attitude reflected the flexibility of his mind and his wise planning, for he always took the initiative while Quraysh reacted to his actions. They were never able to force him to follow a certain course of action despite their power.




Let us learn from our Prophet never to be intimidated when it comes to matters of righteousness. Two ayahs descend on the Prophet (SAWS), first, "So profess openly what you have been commanded and veer away from the associators (Those who associate others with Allah)" (TMQ, 15:94), warning him of opposition and harm. The second ayah states that it is no more the phase of selection: "And warn your kinsmen, the nearest kin," (TMQ, 26:214). Notice here that the Inspiration did not tell the Prophet where to start, but he was only ordered to make the matter public, and was left to plan for this action.




The Prophet (SAWS) chose to start with his own family, not with the whole of Quraysh. He invited all his family, men and women, to a feast. He let them eat first, then as soon as he started to speak, he was interrupted by Abu-Lahab who spoke ill of Muhammad's message, and warned them of the grave consequences that would befall them if Muhammad were not stopped. The Prophet (SAWS) did not lose his composure or temper; he did not even put his case forward on that occasion.




To those believers who are edgy and irritable, I advise you to learn from the Prophet. The Prophet did not want to start his call for Islam with an argument with his uncle, and decided to give it another try. Abu-Jahl's response was not out of hatred to the Prophet, on the contrary, the Prophet was dear to him ever since he (SAWS) was born to the extent that his two boys (Otba and Otayba) were engaged to the Prophet's two daughters (Ruqaya and Um-Kolthoum). However, Abu-Jahl was worried about his business, he knew that this message will turn Quraysh against them. The new religion called for removing the idols from the Ka'ba, which meant that the other tribes whose idols will fall would seek revenge by attacking their commercial caravans. Therefore, he chose to show everyone that he was against Muhammad to avoid any problems.


Do not ever put the right thing in one hand and your interests in the other hand.


Once again, the Prophet (SAWS) invited his family for a second feast, but this time he decided to talk to them while they were still eating. He did not exclude Abu-Lahab from the invitation, to avoid more hostility. The Prophet (SAWS) started to talk confidently telling them about Islam and how he was the Prophet (SAWS), “O sons of Hashem, rescue yourselves from the Fire; O sons of Abd al-Muttalib, rescue yourselves from the Fire; O Fatima, rescue thyself from the Fire, for I have no power (to protect you) from Allah in anything except this that I would sustain relationship with you."[4] Abu-Lahab, far from changing his attitude, continued his opposition to the Prophet, while Abu-Taleb, his other uncle who kept his promise to his late father of taking care of Muhammad, pledged to help and protect him (SAWS) as long as he lived.


The Prophet achieved his target from the feast: he wanted to gain the support and protection of his family. This does not undermine his trust in Allah. Islam teaches us to rely on Allah’s protection at all times, but also to take all the necessary measures and precautions. The Prophet (SAWS) still wanted another thing from them: he wanted them to believe in his message. Hamza and Al-Abbas turned their faces away; Abu-Taleb was reluctant to leave his father's beliefs although deep inside he felt Muhammad’s honesty. The rest of the family sat in silence. No one followed him, except for one young kid, Ali (RA) who was also invited, and answered the Prophet's call and gave him his hand to pledge loyalty. Why do we not do the same, why do we not gather our families to agree upon doing some rightful deeds together? Let us learn from our Prophet (SAWS).




The time had come to announce Islam to everyone. The Prophet (SAWS) chose a famous spot in Makkah (the mountain of Safa) climbed it, and started, boldly, to call people to gather. Let the Prophet's strength be an inspiration to you never to be ashamed of your religion, always be strong and daring. Remember the ayah that can be translated as: "A Book sent down to you, (i.e., The Prophet) so let there be no restriction in your breast on account of it, that you may warn thereby; and (it is) a Reminding for the believers." (TMQ, 7:2). The Prophet started calling, "O Bani Fihr! O Bani 'Adi!" addressing various tribes of Quraysh till they were assembled. Those who could not come themselves sent their messengers to see what was happening. Abu Lahab and other people from Quraysh came and the Prophet then said, "Suppose I told you that there was an (enemy) cavalry in the valley intending to attack you, would you believe me?" They said, "Yes, for we have never known you to tell anything other than the truth." He then said, "I am Allah's Prophet to you, I am a warner to you in face of a terrific punishment."




Abu Lahab said (to the Prophet) "May your hands perish all this day. Is it for this purpose that you have gathered us?" [5] Then the Qur'an was revealed: "Would the hands of Abu Lahab be cut up, (i.e., perish) and would he be cut up (too)! In no way did his wealth avail him, neither whatever he earned" (TMQ, 111: 1-2).




Betrayal is most painful when it comes from someone dear. Abu-Lahab was the only one whose name came in such a manner in Qur'an because he was the first one to provoke others to defy the Prophet. The Prophet (SAWS), a virtuous man, did not even answer him. Do not ever set a bad example to your friends, do not be the first to introduce a sin, for the Prophet (SAWS) said, "He who sets in Islam an evil precedent, there is upon him the burden of that, and the burden of him also who acted upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burden." [6]


Then the Prophet descended the mountain and started preaching for Islam. He talked to people about salvation and attracted them to religion. He did not start with warnings of hellfire, but with promises of Jannah. He wanted religion to appeal to them. Therefore, he did not push them away with words about torment and pain. He (SAWS) said, "oh people, say there is no deity but Allah and you will prosper."[7]


After this incident Quraysh stopped being neutral towards Muhammad (SAWS).


Despite the fact that Quraysh started using violence against him and his followers, the Prophet (SAWS), unlike them, never leaned towards violence, because one could never fight or kill one’s own people.




Although the followers were only about 200, while Makkah’s population was around 25.000 to 30.000, those followers were able to shake Quraysh's resolve because they were deeply rooted in the society. I am addressing this point now to tell those who prefer isolation, that Muslims must be flexible: we must address people in their language without losing our sense of the religion. Quraysh tried to stop him in many ways. They started spreading doubts about the Prophet (SAWS), mocking and ridiculing what he said, trying to cause psychological and physical harm, until they even attempted to kill him (SAWS).




They started calling him several names from poet, sorcerer to insane, until they discussed the matter with Al-Walid Ibnul-Moghirah and all agreed to call him (SAWS) the sorcerer who could stand between a man and his wife, a man and his father, and a man and his son. Al-Walid knew that Muhammad was truthful, but he was too arrogant to admit it. Then Allah sent some ayahs that describe how Al-Walid was scheming. Allah says what can be translated as, "Leave Me with him whom I created alone, And set up (Literally: made) for him extensive wealth, And sons always in presence, And made (life) smooth for him in an accessible (way). Thereafter he expects that I increase (My favors). Not at all! Surely he has been stubborn to Our signs. I will soon oppress him to a (hard) mounting (in calamities). Surely he did think and he determined! So, may he be slain, how he determined! Again, (Literally: Thereafter) may he be slain, how he determined! Thereafter he looked (round); Thereafter he frowned, and he scowled; Thereafter he withdrew, and he waxed proud. So he said, “Decidedly this is nothing except sorcery, transmitted relics. Decidedly this is nothing except the speech of mortals. I shall soon roast him in Saqar." (TMQ, 74:11-26).




As the Prophet went on speaking to people about Islam, he was being followed by his uncle Abu-Lahab who told people that his nephew Muhammad was insane and incited them not believe him. They even sent one of them, Al-Nadr Ibnul-Harith, to Persia for a year to learn tales and fables like the ones Muhammad narrated. They went to the extent of claiming that the Prophet was a secret agent! They also said that he had someone dictating him these myths, "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.” So they have already come with injustice and forgery (i.e., they have committed injustice and forgery) And they have said, “Myths of the earliest (people) that he has had written down so that they are dictated to him before sunrise and at nightfall" (TMQ, 25:4-5).




However, nothing could stop the Prophet (SAWS) who dedicated all his time and efforts to his message, to the point that Allah pitied his Prophet, as He says what can be translated as: "Yet, it may be that you will consume yourself of sorrow over their tracks (i.e., their tracks or footprints when they turn away) in case they do not believe in this discourse. " (TMQ, 18:6). In spite of their attempts to shake the trust in him, the number of believers was in constant increase, because truth always prevails. Let me give you an example, imagine if all the people around the globe used broomsticks to try to stir the dust and make it reach the sky and make it dirty, will they ever succeed? The dust will only fall back on them, while the sky will remain clear and glittering.




Today, there is only one lesson: we must dedicate our lives to truth, follow in the Prophet's footsteps, and reform earth like he did. Never feel embarrassed by the truth, plan your objectives to serve it and make it shine.




Tomorrow insh’Allah, we will talk about a painful topic. We will talk about the harm suffered by the Prophet (SAWS), yet we will rejoice when Omar and Hamza embrace Islam. As if Allah had sent light from the heart of darkness.




[1] 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.


[2]Authentic hadith in Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301. Narrated by Abu-Said Al-Khudri.


[3] ÇáãÈÔÑíä ÈÇáÌäÉ


[4] An authentic hadith in Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0399. Narrated by Abu Huraira.


[5] An authentic hadith in Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 293. Narrated by Ibn-Abbas.


[6] An authentic hadith in Shaih Muslim, Book 005, Number 2219. Narrated by Jarir Ibn-Abdullah


[7] An authentic hadith in Sahih Bukhari. 3/465. Narrated by Monieb Abu-Ayub Al-Azdy Al-Ghamdy.





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