Mighty Wind of Islam — Book I

Years of the Prophet

Charlotte Solarz cr

Desert Dwellers, Bedouin Nomadic Tribesman (original Arab) [1]

Chapter 1 ~ Before Islam Was, I AM!

Desert TRIBAL LIFE BEFORE ISLAM ~ Major Tribes of the Desert ~

Islam‘s birthplace was cradled in sand dunes and rocky boulders of mountains that lead toward the Red Sea. The mother-home of Islam is the largest peninsula in the world, a place whose name came to be named Saudi Arabia in 1923. But this is a leap of time of more than a thousand years from where the mighty wind of Islam begins its entry into the world.

Ancient records speak of two main geographical areas of this peninsula “Arabia”, and define its topography by terms that include “The Hejaz” and “The Nejd.” Arabia was written of by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus, as destiny for seafarers’ ventures, and where incense, myrrh, cinnamon, frankincense could be traded as very exotic and desirable commodities. Commerce such as that would have been transacted at port centers along the Coastal land near to the Red Sea which has,since early times been known as The Hejaz.

The coastal land along the Red Sea climbs to a range of mountains away from the coast, and then, beyond the range to the east the region is an extremely arid desert region. And here is the Nejd region, home of the original “Arabs” composed of nomadic and pastoral tribes with a long history of presence.

Looking north to the upper coastal mountain range, is a region known as the “Paran.” The Paran refers specifically to the wilderness with mountains forming a backdrop to Mecca. The highest mountain in the Paran wilderness is Mt. Hirra, known also as the Mountain of Light. Mt. Hirra; with cool secluded caves providing refuge from heat. In this mountain is a special cave where came a frequent visitor seeking solitude away from the city crowds — a young man named Muhammad. But first before this could have been such a refuge for Muhammad, this environment bears so greatly on Islam for such a long period of time, it seems to our benefit to look closer to its features so to better understand Islam.

Mt. Hirra situated on the Paran Wilderness

Paran as Holy Ground in Legendary Accounts


Those stories we know: the bold exodus of the Jews fleeing the rule of Egypt’s pharaoh; and in flight, the Jews entered the Paran. The first books of Genesis, Numbers, Exodus, describe this “Paran” as a “wild and terrible wilderness” where the 40 year trek to the Promised Land of milk and honey Moses led his people, the Jews.

The location of the Paran as desert exodus of the Jews, is yet — for Jewish scholars — a debated question of exact location, for the Sinai is likewise a huge barren place marked as a place of transit for Moses’ exodus, as he lead his people. But many scholars suggest that the Paran is within the Sinai Plateau, leading southward to Yemen from the northern mountain range at the point where Egypt and the peninsula join.

Whatever the arguments, the desert wilderness was the grueling place of transit for the Jews; therefore, Jewish history holds this time of exodus, and the place of Sinai’s Paran as a special and sacred. Without absolute clarity of marking different maps of the Hejaz and Nejd may or may not show a large area identified as “Paran.” But situated right in the midst of the Hejaz, there is the settlement of Mecca, where signs of prosperity were barely discernable. This location, desert, Mecca, with the events that history has recorded is interesting to us as we study Islam. So as we turn to Abraham, in an earlier time, He had, in antiquity, entered the Paran Wilderness to set down the foundation of Islam with his son Ishmael, as will be described soon.

The Paran, before the exodus out of Egypt,further back, more distant, in time carried the feet of Abraham, and his family. The Paran was sparse, wild and unknown, an unkempt home to rough and wily tribal inhabitants. It is somewhat graced by mountains and wind blown dunes, relieved with some grace by uncommon oases. So there you have it, the Paran: an untamed vastness, honored for its note as a holy place for world-shaking, milestone events — visited by Abraham, then the ground for the foot steps of Moses leading his Jews into exodus to preserve their identity, “Chosen by God;”and ultimately, a vast space of ground serving as theater for the new day of Islam.

And we contemplate how Paran and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt related to this wilderness, and then how the Paran with the birth of Islam are conjoined by the same common earth and, it comes out clear: the same Common Will, Yahweh or Allah — and the world has epic legends that serve both faiths sharing each their times that bleak plateau.

“The Paran plateau contains a lot of gravel because with a lack of rain, there is no soil formation. If any soil is formed the wind blows it off.” Bible Places.Com

In ancient antiquity, preceding the era of Moses, a desolate Wilderness began its destiny and its wait — just like an impoverished groom anticipates arrival of a promised debt of a royally-robed bride who will appear in beneficent recompense for his plainness and poverty — for a new beginning, with treasures of rich blessings, one upon another!

We now introduce the story of Abraham and Sarah’s maid Hagar and their son Ismael.

Hagar and Ishmael came to this region [in Paran] after leaving Abraham and Sarah. “And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran…”[2]

That is the conclusion of this story. But it began like this:

Jewish history found in testaments of the Torah and likewise revealed in the Qur’an,, in the Arabic tongue, share the familiar chronicles Jews, Christians and Muslims alike read and ponder. Of Abraham, inspired Testaments describe his wanderings to end his exile in a homeland where Monotheism hopefully may take root. Religons’ Father is Abraham. Every story of his life is a repeat lesson to us to be like him in steadfastness to God’s commands, even under the most severe trials. The desert of Paran [3] is regarded as a theater of miracle with Abraham as its star. Books, regarded as sacred by Jews and Muslims, have it how Abraham, trod the desert to the west of Canaan with Hagar and his son Ishmael. Both the Old Testament and the Qur’an explain the story of the Egyptian princess Hagar, bonded as maid to Sarah, Abraham’s beloved wife. Sarah was childless and old. Sarah then gave her maid Hagar to Abraham to bear a child for him as was the custom of those days when the wife was barren. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, a name which means “God will hear!” but, then, Sarah did give birth, to a babe named “Isaac” (he who laughs”!) Hagar, according to most accounts, became troublesome and antagonistic to Abraham’s wife Sarah. So the arch angel Gabriel, visited Abraham and “advised” Abraham to expel Hagar from the household. Abraham so loved Ishmael their son, and now came this command to take his wife’s maid Hagar together with their son Ishmael into the desert. [4]

So, with a sad heart, but always, trusting God, Abraham escorted Sarah’s servant Hagar together with their son Ishmael, into banishment, out of Canaan, deep into Arabia’s desert of the southwest — out 40 traveling days distant from the household of Sarah. The faithful Abraham gave some provisions to Hagar before leaving his son and Hagar on their own to trust only in God’s provisions. As Abraham departed Hagar called out and asked if God had commanded the separation, and hearing that it was so she turned back to the desert and said she would trust (this situation)if this is what God had commanded.

Days later, isolated and desperate with thirst and all but drained of hope, Hagar and Ishmael were near death. Hearing the child Ishmael cry and desperate, Hagar ran about the dunes looking for help. By God’s will, there was an angel who also heard Ishmael’s cries, and descended to a nearby shallow near a dune and began digging for water. Some legends then describe how the angel, losing ground by sand refilling the spot, shouted aloud, calling Hagar to help dig in that spot. According to the Qur’an, this location is the very spot where a sudden gushing of water freed from its weight of sand saved Hagar and Ishmael’s life.

This source of water became a well which is known as “Zam Zam.” [5][8] A new source of water in this harsh land had to be seen to be the most welcome miracle for the nearby tribal peoples then situated near what will gradually grow into the commerce and spiritual capital of Mecca. But then, it may well be that by the flow of the “gift of life” (water,) settlers, overwhelmed with gratitude, received Ishmael with reverence for being in the presence of the visible cause of this miraculous favor. These settlers were then acknowledged as Ismaélite tribes, accepting the lordship of Ishmael who grew up there, as an archer, preaching monotheism by the legacy of his father Abraham’s teachings of worshiping but one Creator. Ultimately under Islam, Ishmael became identified as a prophet by Arabs to be theirs, just as Isaac is center point for the Jewish state. Ishmael for his endowment of superior wisdom, with that legacy of Abrahamic monotheism divinely bestowed upon him is therefore claimed to as the monotheistic patriarch to Islam by the will of God. [6]

But. Be that as it was, apparently, most Ismaélite tribes were not steadfast to monotheism, and reverted to idol worship.[8] But the legendary tale of Ishmael, as the well-beloved chosen of God,with all the blessings and promise of honor given him by Abraham belongs to all generations, is universal, its facsimile lifted into each progressive Revelation ever since. And these Ismaélite tribes, were temporally recipients of many favors bestowed upon them through the watchful beneficence of God. The succeeding generations partook of great favors and a special greatness of Mecca evolved, in spite of the Ismaélites’ back-sliding loss of faith and the populace’s reverting to polytheism. Backsliding into idol worship brought biblical contempt, and its negligence to divine guidance was condemned spiritually for its superstitious generations; tribal life suffered ignominious degradation and was repeatedly on the brink of annihilation by forces seeking to opportunistically overwhelm the whole of the Paran — the Nejd and the Hejaz. The tribes were a debased lot, truly bereft of the blessings of Ismael’s teachings, and so suffered a long wait for the time when a better receptivity for the return to the resurrected faith in one God, that is, when the faith in the singleness of God would take “hold.”

Thus, this paternal ancestry between Abraham to Ishmael to Muhammad is incorporated into Islam as a matter of identity for the Arab of today. Back in the day, ancestral lines that connected one to another was “bottom-line” core to tribal culture for any claim to define one’s proper place — his correct status. It is tribal status that sets the course of life: to rule or be ruled — to lead or follow. And this inheritance of status is an old strong thread of great importance within Islam —right to today, but with a shift in nuance. Today, ideally speaking, the status of tribe has been sublimated to the status of the brotherhood among diverse tribes in Islam, by “the will of God.”


The bones of Islam : A look at the times and places associated with where Islam was born:

Outside the Nejd and Hejaz, prosperous kingdoms were long established such as the kingdom seated at Jafar, (Yemen) at the southern Kingdom of Himyar, and to the upper north on the peninsula the wealthy kingdom of Hirrah, to the top. But home for the Arabs was within the peninsula , the Nejd and the Hejaz. The Nejd is the desert home of the Arabian nomads — such as we see even today with dark skinned Bedouin tribes. But, as for the Hejaz, along the Red Sea, fortified merchant port settlements haphazardly were strewn along the shoreline. In summary, the whole of this region of the Arabian Peninsula is, even yet, an inhospitable topography that has seen the passage of time and claimed “home” to a hardy people since those days described of Abraham, more especially since the days of his loyal son Ishmael.

The Arabian Nejd region tantalizes archaeologists and scholars for evidence of ancient robust vitality as it compares with the stereotypical describing of a longstanding nomadic culture with, supposedly, no greatness to boast of. What baffles minds of present day are such remnants of pre-historic civilizations such as is signified by mysterious stone outlines of villages with its inscriptions and ruins, also, in an instance of an ancient cemetery in an unidentified wasteland, or weighty boulders built up to great heights and breadth, a great achievement showing unfathomable skill; likewise, the evidence of ancient mining of bronze and copper — also, looked at are indications of settlements of sedentary farming life even in the arid zone of the Nejd where the relief of oases provided for them, and where farming was practiced.

Then along the sea in the area of the Hejaz were ancient ports, some sections inhabited as they had been so many millennia ago. Port settlements sparsely dotted the coastal deep water bays, where sailing ships were loaded under watchful eye and control of the wealthy kingdoms of the south. They returned to home ports as far away as China and India, Greece and Persia with goods brought out of the interior of the Nejd, the boats’ holds full of its cargo of animals, the greatly sought after spice trade of myrrh, frankincense, cinnamon, dates, copper, gold, and…slaves.

But, what is “Arab” in the anthropological sense?

Academic scholars have long looked for solid evidence to identify the roots of the peoples of Arabia as it is a place humans have occupied as far back as an estimated time of 106,000 to 130,000 years. Archaeologists of today dig into uncovering ruins and hints left in the area of the Hejaz-Nejd. Academics do everything reasonable, politically, to keep tracts of findings open for the richness of understanding life as it was: the ancient travelers’ routes, by its rubble-signs of settlements that fed the peoples’ crossings bound East to West and back. The comings and goings with drivers leading burden-laden camels across Nejd’s arid wastelands of the Paran. An analysis of Arabia’s coastal history long being vibrant with inter regional commerce by sea, with the consequent human intermingling that lead to the conclusion that with the ages’ comings and goings, the ambitious invasions , its trading allure, millennia of interchanges of human traffic, all this that such a long period that time allowed, these crossings bled, as it were, into the Arabian pool of the name: “Arab.” Vast numbers of disparate transients and immigrants came to the Peninsula’s sea settlements by way of the bi-seasonal monsoon winds enabling ships to cross the Red Sea from the western kingdoms of Egypt and Axum, from the southern and northern kingdoms, from Africa, even from China and India, all in this long flow of time.

And as centuries succeed one another through the ages, the Persian, Hellenic, Axsumite, presences, the spates of ambitious military invasions or diplomatic goods’ in trade through expeditions sent from greater or smaller kingdoms trading for spices and goods, these influxes pooled these “strangers” into the “Arab” identity. They obviously intermixed with local tribes, to settle in outposts with all typical implications — in this way did such a potpourri of outsiders become Arabized. Thus, the identity of “Arab” did — in this way — come to be applied to identify a great deal more diversity than the rather singular Bedouin nomad camel drivers whose identity “the original Arabs,” came to be the stereotypical “Arab.” [9] The name of the land, “Arabia,” and its people, “Arab” stretched over the peninsula, except the southern toe and the northern highlands, so, that one who is “Arab” was historically defined purely by geography. “Arab” to the outside world was one who was whether by native of specific indigenous tribal identity or it was one who was an immigrant settler settling there from other domains. They intermingled and dwelt in land, of both the Nejd and the Hejaz.

One more identifier of one who is “Arab” is language. Although this qualifier as to being “Arab” is problematic for those immigrants who settled there, those who kept the spirit within their clan of the customs of their mother-home especially secure by keeping the “home” mother tongue. The Persians are an example of those expats who lived on the Peninsula but who did not identify as being Arab. These outsiders did speak Arabic however, as Arabic is the language that carried over in trade and became understood widely before Islam was born.

Arabic language is of Semitic origins, as spoken by the prevalent thousand year control of the Arabian Peninsula by the southern Himyarite Power, whose strength in Himyar was due to its monopoly of sea trade in spices. This is history that if a fuller description of its time were included it would show, interestingly, its probable link with Sabean monotheism.

Then for the later period, late research makes claim of Himyar having roots with Judaism in the period called “later antiquity.” Deciphering remnants of inscribed tablets show how Himyar thrived under Jewish influence for 150 years after Christianity was a presence in Byzantium, Greece. The older Himaryite tablets reveal inscriptions of many gods’ names removed and replaced by one consistent (Sabean) name, “Rahamanan.” And,[10] one uncovers a Yussuf, (Joseph) a Jewish zealot king who brutally persecuted Christians and forced tribal pagans to accept Judaic monotheism. The reaction to this persecution excited an “opportunity” for a military rally from Constantinople, (Byzantine or Abyssinia possibly, but, either way) Himyar was attacked and subdued by Ethiopian Christians who used elephants to transport the soldiers from Axsum. This was around 525 CE. But, by then, the sun was setting on Himyar’s sea monopoly of trade. Other kingdoms, such as Persia and Egypt and had cracked the hold of Himyar’s monopoly of spice trade and became too competitive against Himyar. Himyar quietly disintegrated as a power without influence on the peninsula. Himyar, is now Yemen.

Summary: generally speaking, Arab, by definition, is by two categories: (1)the original (‘Aribah) descendent of Yemenites, the nomad tribes, about whom the very etymological definition of Arab fits, that is, “desert dweller,” and (2) the Arabized tribes described as having descended patrilineally, in the legendary sense, from the offspring of Ishmael in the region of the Hejaz, especially Mecca.[11]

Caricature ?

“Arab,” as terminology with duration of thousands of years, has been described and thought to be understood by the West. So what definitions, that is, by the Western slant, define “Arab”? One easily comes across this view of “Arab” out of published papers even as described by “Arabs,” but more typically the descriptions of itinerant travelers to the peninsula. For some examples:

“In the century before the rise of Islam the tribes dissipated all their energies in tribal guerrilla fighting, all against all. ‘Their hand is against every hand.’” [12]

“All Arabs were notorious for certain characteristics such as arrogance, conceit, boastfulness, vindictiveness and excessive love of plunder. Their arrogance was partly responsible for their failure to establish a state of their own. They lacked political discipline, and until the rise of Islam, never acknowledged any authority as paramount in Arabia.” [13]

As time moves to more recent accounts of pre-Islamic era travelers we find chronicles of the desert dwellers in the Nejd, that the nomadic tribes of the desert were rough and “best to be avoided” [14]— under no civil law, without state recognition, tribe peoples infamously without regard for learning, without refinement of civilized societies, and given to drunkenness; few observers could imagine the Arab capacity for brilliance that bespoke then their unimaginable destiny — beyond expectation of those wielders of powers into the era of the ambitious Christian empire 500 years after Christ. These contentious forces came from Byzantine in response to the Jewish negus of Himyar’s pogrum of Christians in its capital city to make righteous revenge, descending out from its satellite rebellious kingdoms of Ethiopia and Axsum, where two Christian sects, Monophysites and Nestorians, amusingly, though declared heretic by the pope, were still useful to Constantinople! These forces within the Hejaz of the Peninsula were the disparate ambitions juggling for position of power the very year Muhammad was born.

Some of the gods worshiped in Pre-Islamic Arabia: the style form of wathan (imagery) and sanam (statuary)

The Times and Life of the Arab in 500 CE

Consideration of entrenched customs in the time the prophet was born:

Readiness to convert to a system of belief in one God, could not be further from the wildest imagination at the time of the birth of the prophet. At that time in the world of Arabia tribal groups of the desert held each to their own gods with a severity to the point of establishing taboo for other clans to hunt an animal, bird or fish that “belonged” as talisman guardian to a tribe. For the Bedouin, manner, prayer and sacrifice concerned the jinn. The jinn, by the Bedouin mythology has ability to appear as wild animals. Animals played out like clients of the gods with special animals allotted to particular tribes. “The Bedouin believed that the gods (ālihah) were related to the jinn and the jinn to the wild animals thus with the jinn ultimately personifying the merciless and hostile side of nature that was to be respected, worshiped and feared.”[15]

Tribal Affairs in the Nejd and Hejaz
 Life in the Nejd carried tensions that inevitably arose for tribes by the problems such as the tribe outgrowing itself. Or, threat came from outside invasions, because resource was often a matter of life and death. Or, another kind of aggression would be out of pure warfare based on a disdainful perception of a clan’s weakness that invited attack. Then, by such or similar necessities, a tribe split into a sub-clans sometimes called “sept,” with ties to the alpha tribe for support and mutual protection.

The tribes’ capability to avenge and protect its own members and territory is described by traveling Western chroniclers who described the forbidding appearance of wild lawlessness of tribes and bestowed them with a fierce reputation that borrowed a phrase right from the Old Testament prophesy for Ishmael and his progeny, “their hand is against every hand and every hand is against them.” To help perpetuate this view came this illustrative Bedouin boast: “I am against my brothers, I and my brothers against my cousins, I and my brothers and my cousins against the world!” But yet, studying more deeply, this bravado is somewhat mitigated by another reputation held for the Bedouin tribes, who, in camp. are well known to this day for hospitality. The desert dwelling tribes received travelers as guests for as long as it pleased, in full gracious accommodation.

Pre-Islam Maps — 1. 5th Century CE Himyar of the Jewish Empire Era; 2. 6th Century CE Christian overthrow; 3. bottom map is a map showing Hejaz and Nejd location of some of the major Arab tribes.

Late Antique Southwest Arabia, map based on I. Gadja, Le royaume de Himyar à l’époque monothéiste (Paris, 2009), p. 139.(Courtesy of Oxford University Press)
Tribes of Yemen, Oman, the Nejd and Hejaz 500 CE

Naming Tribes and Clans

Nomadic marauder bands of the Arabian peninsula provides the common view of “desert nomad” and holds to be“fair enough!” But a more sophisticated point of view does present itself when we dig deeper. There is ample evidence of the term “nomad” being of complex identity [16]as you have already read. And so for a closer look since an all-encompassing identity of the combined desert people by race, or religion or state is not definable, identity can only be made according to tribe.

TRIBES: Jewish, Christian, Arab and Miscellaneous

For instance, inhabitants of the Paran’s Nejd and Hejaz were of tribal and clan affiliations from disparate ethnic and religious identities: for instance, among the ethnic Arabs on the Peninsula were Jews, such as the Banu Quraza — sub-clan of the al-Kahinan; the Banu Nadir — sub-clan of the al Kahinan, located in Yathrib, and other tribes, including the Banu Juw — sub clan of the Banu Qaynuqa; and there were Christian tribes, such as the Abd-Al-Qays, the Arab Christian converts of the Ghassan tribe, the Masīḥiyyūn ʿArab) also Christian; and other Christian groups having proximity to the polytheistic tribes, those, such as the Kahlani Qahtani tribes of the ancient history of Yemen, and those such as the Ghassanids, and Banu Judham, or the Arabized Christians, such as Melkites and Antioch Greek Christians. [17] All were a presence on the Arabian peninsula and counted themselves as Arabs. Arab tribes include the Banu-Ghifar, the Banu -Layth, the Banu-Sa;d Ibn Bakr, the Banu Sulaym, the Muzaynah, the Juhaynah, tribes of great count who will in the near years ahead of this time ride with the Prophet into Mecca to restore it to the call to prayer to the one, single God. [18]

Others with no original nomad blood line to boast of included Eastern Orthodox Nestorian Christians who were clans that composed a solid presence in pre-Islamic Arabia. Nestorians, were of the Banu Kalb, and the Hata Clan.[a-18]And, another presence that played their part in exiting the annals of (Islam-relevant) history on the very year the Prophet was born was the Monophysites (of Axsum across the Sea) whose belief was a thing they thought worth fighting for (that the “human and divine nature are one within the Christ”). Story is that the Monophysite doctrine was an anger to the Nestorians’ who held apart from Church Doctrine that declared that Mary is the Mother of God. This Mary doctrine was very popular with the masses. By Rome Church’s ecumenical Councils, decrees against both the Nestorians and the Monophysites put both in the dangerous category of “heretic.”

So, as it happened, to escape harsh consequence from being declard “heretic,” the Nestorians fled, and found refuge on the Arabian peninsula. They, in their larger numbers, eventually settled in Persia, where the Sassanid King Chroses welcomed them as a buffer in behalf of the Sassanian power as it faced off against the Byzantine Empire.

Another Christian sect who intersected with the idol worshiping Arabs were the Monophysites, [a-19] The Monophysites were large enough in numbers to settle away from the Byzantine power of the Eastern Rome Church, and formed protective enclaves which included a large center in Axsum, a kingdom across the Red Sea, south east of the Arabian peninsula. It is the Monophysites of Axsum (Abyssinia) who supplied troops joining the colonial Ethiopians by orders to muster from Byzantium to invade Mecca — by mounts on elephants (at least in part) but, I digress.

Of course this list of clans leaves out many tribes in this pre-Islamic period because they are uncountable. Those names posted here are representing the totality of desert and coastal tribes, who, being of vastly independent arbitrariness to what’s right and what’s wrong enables one to infer the chaos and upheavals in this tribal world of uncertain allegiances. And, this, in turn, speaks of how constricted the range of any societal development could take place in this tribal world.

So existence in Arabia to the 6th Century CE was bleak and full of threat. Severe conditions for survival was contingent upon the vagaries of tribal loyalties. Tribal inter mingling was by a negotiation between the clans with the success of compatibility secured by proving an ancestral patriarchal lineage being the link to ward off hostility. A crucial protocol of blood line proclamation was the formality, and, each nomad, each Arab, since childhood, would have memorized his ancestry in order to establish mutual confidence of cooperative affiliation between strangers — otherwise, not? Then, assessed as suspicious infiltration that would have to be dealt with quickly.

Women and Children of the Tribal World before Islam

An accounting of Pre-Islam History has to commit space to a harshness difficult to comprehend: that is, when a girl was newly born, her life was most insecure. She was likely to be taken from the hands of her mother to be buried alive in the desert.[19] So how are we to think of this? Several issues made girl-child burial an accepted code of behavior among the nomadic tribes of the Nejd. One issue was on the occasions where a weak clan faced probable loss of war against a stronger clan. But. Always there is another picture of any generalization: among the Bedouin most woman were free to a greater degree in the past, even greater than today. She was “at home” keeping the hospitality and family organized. She had “voice.” She was unveiled and proud. But for the tribal woman of the Hejaz Coast and Nejd interior, in times of warring, defeat of her tribe meant slavery for survivors and abduction and rape of the women. The honor of women and girls in such circumstance would be total shame for the whole clan, and burying the girl alive in sand was seen as saving her honor. Another issue for girl-child burial in sand was the threat of famine; saving a boy, when choice was there, would be to his favor for he will grow into the strength needed for survival. In oral and written acknowledgement of this sad issue of girl-child burial — as the birth of the girl-child being so regretted that her mother might, by her own decision, bury her. Wailing in parental grief of disappointment at the birth of a girl child was a behavior the Prophet addressed in a severe scolding tone.[20]This issue, according to the Qu’ran, at time of its revelation, was to forbid the practice of burying newborn girls. ‘And when the female infant is buried alive is questioned — for what crime she was killed.’ — Qur’an 81:8–9 It will be shown ahead in this narrative how The Prophet mitigated this harsh tribal custom to raise the value of women up from abject servitude.

Circumstance was not in the days preceding Islam in favor of women. It will come as a leap forward when Muhammad as Prophet revealed laws in behalf of women: for one example, to protect widows who were originally outcasted upon the death of protector husband by being dispossessed of inheritance. And this economic dependence on the male patriarch compounded the threat of protection, and put women terribly vulnerable to chance. About protection of women, more will come from the revelation of the Prophet that will redress women’s vulnerability as being unjust in the sight of God.

Tribal Life in Coastal Hejaz ~Summary

Summarizing , in this wild harsh desert environment, a solitary independent life without tribal affiliation would have been impossible. There were no laws. There were no courts. Very few could read or write. Transacting was oral. Justice and retribution was the same thing, often pure vendetta. And warring was thought of as “manly.” So clans, by making cooperative arrangements secured themselves against these bleak circumstances.

So, up unto the era of tribal unification bringing clans into a cohesion of the greater cause of brotherhood, with oneness under Islam, no mark of a grand and advancing Arabic civilization existed for reasons — that the tribal people of the desert peninsula had no cohesive rule of law and no civil organization. Life was raw, an existence of survival and, even for the coastal port cities of the Hejaz where settlements managed well enough through the economics of trade, the interior of the Nejd and the coast of the Hejaz remained in this rudimentary stage of civilization generation after generation ever since the days of Abraham.

Meanwhile, going inland, for the Bedouin nomadic tribes: two kinds of life prevailed: one, the farming life on the oasis for grains, olives, oils, and goat herd raising, and this includes the famous world view of the Bedouin nomadic life of movement on the Nejd — Bedouin life of seasonal migration to fresh pastures for their livestock. The wealth was in camels or sheep and the tribe watched over their care with great husbandry.

Otherwise,it is worth a mention that known element of nomad rogue bands of highwaymen — nomads with a deserved reputation for banditry, piracy, and violence; threat was ever present to pose a do-or-die challenge for human survival. As character forms on this basis, the Arab’s capabilities were such that one may infer great inherent gifts of brilliance, sharpness and capacity as yet collectively untapped— It was constant challenge that that defined sudden dangers circling life in the Nejd desert.

But, mercifully, where there is life, there is grace. And just as desert flowers burst open for a gorgeous display after the seasonal monsoon, so Islam similarly burst forth out of the chaos of lawlessness. Neither desert nomads nor the coastal merchants could ever have imagined that a great event was coming to them, just as a great mighty wind, and redound as an event such as had never before been known throughout the world. It is to be a divine, mighty Wind that will over-take their desert by the Will of God. This is the Mighty Wind of Islam.

The Hejaz and the Nejd of the Peninsula (Wikipedia Creative Common Use)

Interior of the arid region of the Nejd —

Rocky plateau of the Nejd (Wikipedia Common Use)

The Wider Perspective: A quick, wide view of history for contrast~

Let us now consider history’s parallels that coincide with the desert world of ancient time to compare civilizations — all the better to appreciate the miracle of Islam. The better known ancient western history of the world passed right over the stagnant tribal regions while the ancient kingdoms waxed and waned in splendor and glory. These years are inclusive of King Solomon and Jewish greatness, the great Babylonian, Persian Achaemenid, with its reach of the Persian great empire of Cyrus the Great, and the generations that built and maintained this benevolent era time to the era that belonged to the Greeks for which the greatness of their day is still memorialized — but which eventually fell to the vast resurgent spread of the Persian Sassanian Empire, culminating in detente with borders negotiated with the upsurge Byzantine Epoch of the powerful Eastern Church — and inclusive also of the kingdoms of Eastern Africa that built great monuments in cities that contemporary scholars have yet the capacity to appreciate — of the Jewish warrior-king of Himyar, (Yemen) all these emblems of great warrior/kings, and patriarchs and their empires and dynasties, their rise, their fall, yet not a whit of their influence touched the peninsula’s tribes to submit to monotheism of the Jews or Christians, since the period of the Ismaélites, or to be under the thumb of anything other than Arab tribalism with their idol worship.

Indeed, it is worthy to emphasize that throughout the march of “great empire-civilizations” the contrast of life in the city-states of Persia (such as Persepolis with its beautiful palaces and later at the Sassanian capitol Ctesiphon on the Tigris River) — Persia, with its laws and justice, and princely courts and poets and festivals in flowered gardens surrounded by columned architecture and relative social stability, to the splendor of Greece with theater and senate and poets and court, or, later, with Christianity’s spread, over to the Eastern border of the Christian ramparts at “Rûm,” (another name for the “The Byzantines” at Constantinople”) — all these sources of civilization versus the itinerant and settlement life in the desert could not be more stark for disordered contrast. There, on the Hejaz Coast, traders grousing in settlements with chieftains setting prices for selling goods, buying and trading, and money lending under heavy usury, with money lenders often demanding 100% interest, and bands of nomads living under Nature’s harshest conditions, on barely habitable lands, isolated and insular, took to themselves not a whit of such civilizing influences from these great empires. Theirs it was to survive through the exercise of arbitrary strength and wit, making negotiations based on clan loyalties — for centuries as such it was, in a code of tribal honor.

As for religious expressions as there were many gods and distinctive ways of serving them, it’s not that the people were not receipt of spiritual experiences in a polytheistic world, but that worship of many gods and goddesses could not serve to form cohesiveness. Travelers going and coming into the Hejaz must have told of the splendor of Constantinople over to the west or have tales to share of the magnificent palaces of Himyar to the southern tip of the peninsula. And even with all the Himyarite aggressive empire building of Jewish monotheistic statehood at the foot of Arabia, or the Ethiopian Christian monotheism and priestly order with religious power represented by architectural splendor — all these emblems of empire were totally alien on the Arabian peninsula. The peninsular tribes lived their lives oblivious to any gains such that civilization could offer; tribes composed a polytheistic life style with tribal adherence to their 360 gods and goddesses, (one for every day of the year) with rituals, with pilgrimage, laden with many superstitions and taboos, and so on; and, as the story goes, very little identification with the recurring effects of monotheism in spite of forced conversion to Judaism of Arab soldiers under bond to the monotheist negus king Joseph to Judaism as it massacred Christians there. Since the third Century CE, the Jews’ removal of imagery of the gods and goddesses and replacement with stone engraved inscriptions that called for worship of one God called Rahmanan, “the Lord of Heaven” or “Lord of Heaven and Earth.”[21]as correct as it was, it did not reach the Arab mentality.

Likewise, Jews were powerful for wealth and civil position. They were in power in the major communities of Yathrib and Mecca. Also, there was significant Christian presence on the Coast, and in Mecca and Yathrib, as well. And, having said this, although there were Arab converts to both Judaism and Christianity from tribes, one intriguing probability of why monotheism brought so few conversions was the lack of a distinctive enough difference of religious practice for both Christians and Jews to the prevalent pagan worship of many gods. Christians, to all appearance, worshiped similarly as polytheists did, as Christians had their idol niches for their worship at the Ka’bah (place of worship) as well! This can be taken as: “When in Rome..!” or translating: “When in Mecca, do as the Meccans do” (to get along, and to make a living.)

Time made progress stagnate. The tribal peoples on the Arabian Peninsula were doing what they were doing, in their own way.

Coast of the Hejaz

Hejaz Marketplace 1920's


Yet! This all said, even then there was one particularly astounding marvel proving the genius of desert people: Language! The Arabic language, of Semitic roots, with its glottal sounds and and is a tour de force, considered the most rich language spoken anywhere. In stark contrast to those aspects of the raw life of that time, the wonderfully rich Arabic language, closely rooted to the Semitic linguistic tree, lent itself in all its cultural richness to barter transactions, inter tribal alliances and arousing as spoken in its poetry! As described by scholar H.M. Balyuzi , “No one has ever explained how this disparate group of people, whose past is buried in legend and myth, managed to develop such a poetic, highly expressive and extremely malleable language.” [22] Arabic is a language endowed with varied expressions and tone that send chills down the spine even when you do not understand a word!

The Machismo of Poetry

Poets held great power among the tribal peoples throughout the Middle-East. So hard-wired core was poetry to the tribe and clans that the poet among them was the“charm” used to set course of action for the tribe. The poet, by wit and satire aroused aggression — or peace — toward another clan. It is like every age has its “stars,” like we have today. In the days in nomadic tents, the poet was the charmer, the wit, by taking hints of the chief, spoke of the heroic deeds of the clan and craftily stirred up friction, fanned feuds, created wars, setting clan against clan, and surely brought raucous and often, drunken mirth. Arabic is such a language as to insinuate double meanings useful to the current politic of raising up ire and bullying by — mocking — and, conversely stoking the egos through flattery for the brave and “manly” warriors of his tribe, thus did the poet stir the furies and passions for raids and all mayhem that goes with it. Yet, surely there were the best times of the sheer pleasure of poetry recited to the men as they sat on woven rugs in tents surrounded by colorful cushions. Words have always been powerful instruments for the inhabitants of the Arab region, and as a matter of fact the whole region: Persia, Yemen, and so on were delighted with the skills of the poet. Mighty Wind, Book II of this 3 part Narrative will show some examples of poetry at its height of expression.

And it is Poetry, that at the time of the advent of the Prophet, was used as an antagonistic tool toward the fledgling faith of God in its early years, at Mecca, in efforts to dissemble Islam. Poetry was used to ridicule the Prophet which was more than a sore bane for him as well as the new followers. But that story is a bit ahead of this time.


Introducing The Quraysh and the Qusayy Tribes

After tribes and clans’ strengths rise and fall through the many years, approaching C.E. 500, a particular tribe had achieved a wide-reach of power, renown and respect in the Hejaz. This was the Quraysh Tribe, and its clan the Qusayy, of the House of Hashim. The Qusayy tribal chief Hashim found a way of negotiating two safe treks for caravans of trade through treaties of truce administered from Mecca. Then Hashim’s son, Shaybah, (better known as Abdul Muttalib) succeeded his father in Mecca as chief. He famously re-discovered that source of water, and brackish as it was, it was accepted to be the reincarnation of that sacred miracle, indicative of God’s grace the very spring, the “lost” spring, of water that, remember, had saved the life of Abraham’s banished wife Hagar and Ishmael.[21]Much was made of this discovery as being a marvel, and certainly it served well as a much needed resource to better serve the growing population of Mecca. Likewise, the chief Muttalib famously established an annual inter-tribal truce that was honored by all factions. The truce and the Ka’bah with water as (a “blessing of the gods”) brought pilgrims and trade to Mecca, and at this point, Mecca was the sign of what was to come: the singular center for religious pilgrimage to its ka’bah, and the busy prosperous trading center under the tribe’s Qusayy administrators. [22]

So, by 510, C.E. Mecca, had become the region’s capital for trade.

And the places of the Hejaz, Mecca and the more healthful city of Yathrib— these two centers of population provide the ground floor for the Story of Islam.

Pilgrimage, its Desert History

Background of the Ka’bah its Commonness

The Ancientness of the Ka’bah

In centuries before Islam, the wide expanse of desert was dotted with oases as refuges for travelers. Oases were such places and where they were expected to be was not reliable. Windblown sand may submerge the watering hole and that could mean disaster to the caravan intending to relieve its thirst there. Such unpredictability presented a dire problem for the travelers. It is easy to imagine the relief travelers had in finding drinkable water which meant their god was due for a ritual of thankfulness for life is in the hand of the gods! Stones were set up for such like and this sets up the generic “ka’bah.” Each oasis as such had niches set up for the ka’bah, for special stones or images, which meant that the “ka’bah” was a place of thankfulness a refuge, set up throughout the desert region. And, far enough back in time, Mecca was one such oasis, but with a difference, because the tribal administration of Mecca was refining itself to attract to it a rare stability.

Oasis and village

Story of the Ka’bah

Ka’bah indicates “place of respect. Other spellings include: Kaaba, Qibla, and Quiblih, a place in Arabic سورة المائدة, “Allah has made the Kaaba, the sacred house, a maintenance for the people, and the sacred month and the offerings and the sacrificial animals with garlands; this is that you may know that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and that Allah is the Knower of all things.” Qur’an-5 97 Sura of Hud (سورة المائدة, Al-Maaida, ) www.searchtruth.com

Even the sparrow has found a home,

And the swallow a nest for herself

Where she may have her young — A place near your altar,

O Lord Almighty, my King, my God.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

Who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca, *

They make it a place of springs.

Psalms 84–3–6 (*Baca is Mecca)

Legend and History

In the Qur’an, are references to the Ka’bah as a special spot named, and there are stories in Hadith which comprise “sayings of the Prophet” as remembered by his close followers, as legendary traditions well integrated into Islam regarding the original Ka’bah having been set down for worship at the beginning of the history of worship, even dating back to Adam, the first Messenger of God. The Book of Psalms (84–3–6-) prepares the future designation of Mecca as a particularly auspicious water hole location specifically. Polytheism had become so encrusted in religious practice by the time Abraham was anointed by God to reform superstition with a difficult people. This he always stayed steadfast to doing, the call to worship and bear witness to the singleness of God. And during the course of his long life, in Abraham’s return to the place where, before, he had left Hagar and his son Ishmael, that story relates how the angel Gabriel instructed Abraham to lay a Ka’bah (stone for worship) near where the waters of Zam Zam gushed for Ishmael and Hagar. That was near what was to become the prosperous city of Mecca. There, Abraham took Ishmael to set a special stone cube down for Ishmael to call his people to the worship of one God. This Ka’bah is remembered as the First Mosque or House of Worship. [23]

Then, recall, the influence of Ishmael withered, and pagan idol worship returned to the Nejd of the Paran Desert. The strong and capable tribes of the Qurayysh of Mecca of pre-Islamic time constructed a ka’bah around the cube, the stone, and organized the city to handle great trade and pilgrimage. And, while the stone “Ka’bah” of Abraham and Ishmael had not been completely forgotten, keeping steadfast to the original blessing of Abraham, and secured by the steady presence of Ishmael as guide for the purpose to keep the ka’bah as the place of the worship of the one God — that was a thing long forgotten. The succeeding generations profaned the ka’bah by polytheistic worship. So, as history records, it is this: that Mecca evolved ultimately to be a place under brilliant leadership the streets safe with traders having put all weapons strictly away from reach, with getting to Mecca and returning home routes made secure so merchants and pilgrims may come for peaceful business transacting, tax collecting, and, moreover, a place where pilgrims were invited to attend the ka’bah for annual pilgrimage to the gods, but by Will of God, a place needing great rebirth of spirit.

So— for each day a god, for each one a favorite god, for each clan a revered protector god: “images, images, and images of gods,” and this was the life of the Arab that remained entrenched over the Arab Peninsula for centuries right up and beyond the year 572 CE, the year of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad who will challenge the norm of tribal society— to the victory. Ultimately, as we shall see, Mecca is to become the holy city now known as the city of the birth of Islam where thousands today on pilgrimage willingly submit that there is but one God. It seems as though the long centuries of trial and error prepared a people for a major paradigm shift!

And outside Mecca is that vast harsh desert of the Nejd, the Paran Wilderness as we know, and the struggle of living there was a rhythm of nomadic life with special stones placed as homage to the gods at the watering holes of each desert oasis. We can well imagine the relief of travelers reaching water as their life source, and their desire to express gratitude to their gods for such life-giving provision. This is the spirit of thankfulness that underscores ka’bahs at scattered desert oases were havens associated travelers, rich and poor alike, with a way of expressing deep gratitude, gathering around the marker “stone” (cube) ka’bah.

One other interesting story that persists about the first ka’bah is the story that this original stone’s origins is a fragment of a comet that fell to earth in Adam’s day; Scientists have tried to prove or disprove this very old tale, but, of course, it cannot be allowed that one should chip away on the sacred stone housed within the Ka’bah at Mecca.[24]

“The first temple that was founded for mankind, was that in Becca, blessed, and a guidance to human beings. In it are evident signs, even the standing place of Abraham: and he who entereth is safe.” [25 ]

Arabian Tree

Lineage and Family of the Prophet

1. Tribal and Clan Lineage of the Prophet Muhammad

2. Life In Mecca, Muhammad’s Birth Place

3. Muhammad as a Young man

4. Muhammad and Khadijih

5. The Family and Wives of Muhammad

Clan — Tribe — Lineage of the Prophet

Point was already made that lineage is important in the tribal world. Travelers in the deserts were required by custom to relate their history of familial credentials to each other, the credentials being which tribe and which clans proved friend or foe. And so the hosts’ attentiveness to the protocol of names becomes crucial: “ is this guest in our tent rightfully claiming relation to us?” This helps explain the names you read here seem long because personal names include the generational begotten links. Furthermore (in mercy) I have shortened names for ease to identify the familiar name thread. So if you, in your future studies of Islam, look up one of the “actors” in this narrative you may not recognize the same person by name — by reason that difference is sometimes due to different transliterations, and sometimes other names can be more recognizable according to Arabic familiarity with the same person.

Now, moving to the story of Islam being born in this culture, surely we will wish to partake with this custom by lining up the most important ancestry of Muhammad’s pedigree. So important was lineage to Muhammad, that the first thousand years of Islam’s years claimants for leadership in Islam created the continuous drama of which Islam either faltered or rose greatly. Assassinations, tragic exiles, the brave daring-do of those patrilineally endowed to rights’ of claim, made in spite of false practitioners of “malice in the palace.” This is that history that created coming generational schism by claims of Imams versus Caliphs. This is to be explored later. An understanding of Islam is made easier by understanding pedigree, as briefly summarized as it is.

Of first interest is the main and secondary branches of the ancestral line of the Prophet.

Ancient Desert Tribes

Map below: Where tribes were settled at the time of the birth of Muhammad. Tribal territories were well defined.

Villages, City States, and Settlements at the Time of the Birth of Islam [Bing Image Feed]

Tribe: Quraysh: (remote ancestor of Muhammad) Tribe divided and subdivided. Quraysh tribal name derived from the ancestor. This was the dominant tribe of the whole of the Hejaz. The Quraysh ruled the Coastal Hejaz as a kingdom. [26]

Tribe: Qusayy, descendent from the Quraysh Tribe: able administrator who successfully developed Mecca as center for pilgrimage and merchant crossings. The Tribal name “Qusayy” came out of the recognition of this Chief. Qusayy’s son, Abda-da, is the first Qusayy, who became custodian of the Ka’bah.

Grandsons of Qusayy had a “falling out” which brought about the decision to share the responsibilities of Mecca’s administration. Abu’Dar became Custodian of the Ka’bah, “keeper of the city standard.” The standard was used throughout the tribal world for identifying a tribal chief and his presence wherever it was set; and probably, in this case of the keeper of the standard in Mecca its occasional display would be a way of announcing to Mecca’s citizens ’accessibility to the Ka’bah and its administrative buildings, and access to the custodian himself. 
The other grandson was Abd-Shams who was administrator of water and revenue in Mecca. Added below is some additional information regarding the House of Hashim the direct forebear of Muhammad by the Prophet’s grandfather, ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib.

Hashim, subsequently inherited the position of administrator of revenue and water. He was especially capable for successfully developing two additional treks for trade — northwards in summer to Syria and to Yemen in the winter.[27] He was able to win these routes to provide safe enterprise, and that is exactly what Hashim did by negotiation and diplomacy. He was the progenitor of the honorable “House of Hashim.”

‘Abdu’l-Muttalib succeeded Hashim as administrator of revenue and water, and was the grandfather of Muhammad. It was under the care of ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib that Muhammad spent some years after his parents left him orphaned. The Qusayy chief, ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib, grandfather of Muhammad, held on to signal authority over Mecca nearly 60 years, a “feat of supreme cleverness!” Abdu’l Muttalib had ten sons, the youngest of whom was Abdu’llah, the father of Muhammad. There were two other sons whose histories tie in strongly with Islam: His uncle Hamzah, who will give his all for the Faith of Islam, and Abbas who was famous for “sitting on the fence so long,”[28] and whose descendant will bring about the overthrow of the Umayyad Empire (as we will see ahead.) One other uncle (Lahab) was to become an inveterate enemy of Muhammad during the Prophet’s lifetime.

Umayyah, son of Abd Shams, was the progenitor of the Umayyads who in the next century will usurp ecclesiastical power from the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, and wield power in the expansion of the Islamic Empire. He founded the House of Umayyad as a distinct clan of the Qusayy Tribe. The Umayyah historically were rivals of the Qusayy.

Summary: The Lineage and Kinsmen of Muhammad

Quraysh (tribe) — Qusayy (clan)

(1) Hashim (Noble House of Hashim, likewise from the Qusayy clan) (d. 510 CE) Hashim’s son, Abdu'l-Muttalib (also known as Shaybah) is the grandfather of Muhammad, the Prophet.1) Abd Shams (Qusayy — House of (2) Umayyah progenitor) — To note here that the other significant branch of Qusayy led by the Umayyah ‘Abd Shams from whom three future Caliphs were descended. Marwan (684–85), Uthman, and Mu’awiyah.

Muttalib had five sons of note: Hamzah: Abu Talib; Abdullah (who with wife Aminah)were father and mother of the Prophet; ‘Abbas; and Abu Lahab

Father of Muhammad: ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (died early childhood of Muhammad) reared by his uncle Abu Talib who also is the father of ‘Ali who will be adopted by Muhammad.

Mother of Muhammad: Aminah bint Wah


The following list shows the chiefs said to have ruled the Hejaz and to have been the patrilineal ancestors of Muhammad. Going from later to earlier two centuries in time they were:

570 CE — Muhammad

545 CE — ‘Abd Allah

497 CE — Abd al-Muttalib

464 CE — Hashim

439 CE — ‘Abd Manaf

406 CE — Qusai — (Qusayy)


Life in Mecca in — 570 or 571 C.E. —Birth Year of the Prophet of God


Birth and childhood portraits of Messengers of God, have stories that compose meaning to each Era; each era holds a memory of each Messenger, who, when as a child, exhibited amazing precocious capacities. These stories, separated by time and Name hold a highly treasured place in the hearts of the believers. Because each messenger of God, by legendary acts revealed heavenly qualities, early in life, that showed portents of his universally distinctive Calling. The world’s faiths celebrate such stories with festivals and observances. Some of these are mythic legends and rich with metaphor, or they may be literal; and whether literal or metaphor these events are typically solemn to its body of believers. For some examples, the story of Moses hidden to save him in the bulrushes in Egypt, and the legend of a brilliant star at the time of Christ’s birth that attracted the three Zoroastrian priests who traveled from far away Persia to give honor to Jesus at the manger in Bethlehem. Likewise There are birth-stories of Krishna in the Hindu tradition; and in the next dispensation, the Lord Gautama Buddha with stories or myth of deeply understood spiritual journey he made before his birth; and let’s not forget Adam and Eve, snake, tree and apple metaphor; and most certainly, there is legends of the young Muhammad for Islam, one of which is that Muhammad is said to have had the experience of having his heart removed by angels and a celestial heart put in its place. [29]

Another story of Muhammad as a young man is the story of how Muhammad as a youth solved the argument of four feuding contenders in Mecca wrangling for the right of honor to return the sacred stone (having been removed - for Ka’bah repairs)by placing the sacred stone on a carpet so the four contenders could each carry it to its rightful place in the Ka’bah.

And, furthermore, we may peruse history to read detailed accounting of the prophet Muhammad because Islam’s records were preserved for posterity during his lifetime and into the years afterwards. There are touching stories about him when yet very early in his years. He was but a small child when Muhammad’s father died. So His grandfather sent him to be reared by a foster mother, Halmah, of the nomadic tribe, the Banu-i-Asad. (This was a common way of managing “orphaned” children at this time.) Living with nomads, Muhammad moved from place to place according to needs for seasonal pastures for the livestock. Then, at the age of six, Halmah brought young Muhammad to his mother, Aminah living with her kinfolk in Yathrib. [30] So, young as he was, Yathrib, a more pleasant oasis-city than Mecca offered him familial refuge; just as later in His life, it would again. Yathrib is today Medina or Madinat.

And, in Yathrib, the child, Muhammad, was welcomed by the household, especially his mother who dearly loved her only child. But, sadly, it was but a brief two years’ sojourn together. For Aminah suffered a fatal illness and died. Then Halmah returned him to Mecca to his grandfather, ’Abdu’l-Muttalib, the grand patriarch of Mecca, who was by now a very old man who would soon die. By the wishes of his grandfather, Muhammad, then about six years old, was taken in by his uncle Abu’Talib. Abu’Talib was not a rich man. But he was a good man and a merchant who took Muhammad in his youth on his caravan trading trips to Busra, a flourishing center of trade. There, Muhammad came into contact with Christian Byzantine merchants as well as the Nestorian monk, Bahirah. Bahirah was so taken in by young Muhammad that he advised Muhammad’s astonished uncle Talib to, in his words, “take special care of this Nephew, Muhammad, for he saw in him the very essence of the Christ.”[31]

Another story regarding the Prophet is most persistent: and it is that He was given and known by a distinguished title: Al Amin, which means the Trustworthy One. His youth time, serving his uncle on camel treks and his ability to bring peace to settle the frictions of life among the clans won for him this title.


Of the year 570 or 571, C.E., when Muhammad was born to Aminah in Mecca Muhammad is purported to have said, “I was born during the reign of the just king”. This would have been Chosroes I, (also spelled: Khosrau), a Zoroastrian king of the Sassanid Dynasty. These years: 570, (or) 571 saw several forces converge their military ambitions towards Mecca, for it was a very attractive bait due to the notable success which Mecca enjoyed in the lucrative business of trade as well as Mecca’s draw for thousands of pilgrims.

Recap that the first challenge of this year to the Gulf cities of the Hejaz was from the Jewish King Dhu Nuwas (Yusuf or Joseph) who had decimated the Christians in Himyar, and now wished to break up a Christian stronghold in Mecca. This Jewish threat to the Christian security was challenged by the Eastern Roman Church. Their reaction to the designs of Dhu Nuwas to for the Church to capture Mecca, and to demolish the Ka’bah with its idols. The Church contracted Christian Ethiopian or possibly Abyssinian soldiers to capture Mecca and to rid Mecca of its idols to their very last one.

The invasion that year explains why a special name was given to the year of Muhammad’s birth. Year 571 was named “The Year of the Elephant.” [32]

This referred to the invasion of the Ethiopians besieged the city of Mecca to “conquer the idolators” and invaded on the backs of elephants! This elephant invasion as vehicles of war may or may not have been true, but this story is in several accounts. But what is true is that the Ethiopians intimidated and rough-handled the inhabitants of the region of Mecca for several years. However, the Ethiopians could not hold on against compounded troubles of a plague, followed by a new invasion destined to besiege them. For on the heels of the Ethiopians’ brief victory came, rank by rank, the Persians who utterly decimated the Ethiopians. The Sassanian armies under Chroses’ command were welcomed by the Meccans as liberators after the harsh treatment the Ethiopians suffered them. [33] History records the kind words of Muhammad naming Chroses I “the just monarch”.

stock photo

Muhammad as Youth~ under the care of his uncle Abu Muttalib~

Muhammad, when in his youth, accompanied His uncle’s camel caravan loaded with merchandise, such as tea and metal, to trade in Busra. His uncle, Abu Muttalib, chief of his clan, was the organizer of their treks, and Muhammad proved brilliant as He performed the work of caring for the camels and moving among the fellow travelers, keeping the peace, bringing them in to town safely for negotiations with merchants and agents of Christian, Jewish, and pagan traders. The honesty and capability of Muhammad drew the attention of a wealthy widow, Khadijah, and she drew the young Muhammad in to her business dealings. So with Muhammad representing Khadijah as deal negotiator, his trustworthiness, his honesty, and integrity brought greater success to Khadijah. And she became even wealthier by her business partnership with Muhammad. She was older than Muhammad — some put at fifteen years difference in age; she must have been forty when she proposed marriage to Muhammad, because we know that Muhammad was twenty-five when he married Khadijah. [34]

Family of Muhammad and his beloved wife — the first to believe in him, Khadijah:
His immediate family in the years of his monogamous marriage with Khadijah included four daughters, three of whom did not live past thirty, and a fourth, Fatimih who lived slightly past the death of Muhammad. Muhammad brought into his household, Ali, his cousin the son of Abu Talib; and a young slave, Zaid. He was Christian, and had been, as a child, captured in a northern raid and brought into Mecca as a slave and given to Muhammad. Muhammad offered Zayd his freedom. When Zayd said he preferred to stay, Muhammad adopted him as well. All was well with this family and its extended members. His household was a pleasant loving place.

As stated. Muhammad wedded Khadijah when Muhammad was 24 years old. And Khadijah was in her mid-forties. The desert life, in common custom, was polygamous with marriage and woman-slave arrangement for men of the desert. However, Muhammad’s relationship with Khadijah was completely monogamous and they were utterly devoted to each other. Together, as records show, children born to Muhammad and Khadijah were six totally, plus one other child fathered by the Prophet with the last of His wives, Mariah, (Mary). This marriage with Mariah would be as years passed, well after the death of Khadijah. As to his other wives, Muhammad, when as Prophet, in His Calling as God’s Messenger, totally brought into his household eleven other wives after the death of Khadijah.

Wives of the Prophet (spanning the Prophet’s life-time)

In Consideration of Polygamy — in context of time and place: Now, we turn to consider the household of Muhammad noting Muhammad’s thirteen wives who came into the holy household during the life-time of Muhammad. This history gets much attention and condemnation from the West seeking to describe the Prophet as “salacious.”[33] But fair consideration must be given to the times and conditions of desert life in 500 -600 C.E. Most of the wives were brought into the safety of His house after their husband warriors were killed as monotheistic Islam met the resistance of the Meccan Qurayysh armies in league with hostile armed tribes. Also,the situation of betrothal with the Prophet came about through acknowledgement of respect to Muhammad by chiefs of other tribes as proof of tie-building though peace treaties — and were accepted by the Prophet to signify the bringing together, a forging of alliances between tribes. This was understood as a symbol proving the divine will of being one family in Islam, in peace. Times were different then, and the actions of the people of that day are explainable according to understanding life in these regions in the 6th Century.

Summary: Wives and Family of Muhammad 595 632 CE

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (595-619)-had four sons who did not live past childhood and three daughters, only one of whom, Fatimih lived to bear children: Hasan and Husayn. Khadihah was beloved by the Prophet Muhammad and she died when the Prophet was in his 40’s.

Other Wives of the Prophet:

Sawda bint Zam'a (619-632)

Aisha bint Abi Bakr (619– 632)

Hafsa bint Umar (624–632)

Zaynab bint Khuzayma (625–627)

Hind bint Abi Umayya (629–632)

Zaynab bint Jahsh (627–632)

Juwayriya bint al-Harith (628-632)

Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan (628-632)

Rayhana bint Zayd (629–631)

Safiyya bint Huyayy (629-632)

Maruma bint al-Harith (630-632)

Maria al-Qibtiyya (Mariah)(630-632) bore one child who did not live past childhood.

(With Khadijih there were Four Sons: Tahir ~al-Qasim, ~ ‘Abd-Allah, Ibrahim (none of whom lived beyond infancy) — and three daughters: Zainab, Kulthoom Umm and Fatimah [35]


Chapter 2 Mecca — First Period

Earliest Years at the Dawning Point of Islam: Mecca “Read in the Name of the Lord!”

Various Titles of the Prophet Muhammad

Warner, Reminder





Bearer of Good Tidings




Muhammad, Chosen of God, Messenger of God, the Anointed One

The traditional story of Muhammad as a Prophet of God begins in a cave tucked within the Mountain of Light (Hirra) near Mecca, where Muhammad often secluded himself. Upon one such visit there where Muhammad sought his seclusion, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad. It is said that the Angel Gabriel held up a Tablet for Muhammad to read. The unschooled Muhammad explained that He could not read for he had not learned how. He was commanded again, and yet again: “Read!”, and still Muhammad protested. The third time, the Word of revelation reached Muhammad: “Read in the Name of thy Lord Who created Man of blood congealed. Read, thy Lord is the Most Beneficent; who taught by the Pen; Who teacheth Man what he knoweth not’” (Sirat al-‘Alaq). [1]

Muhammad was so overcome that he would have hurled Himself down the mountainside, but the Angel Gabriel, in a clear Voice spoke again and informed Muhammad that he had been chosen to be the Messenger of God to mankind. The shock was overwhelming and Muhammad fled to his wife, Khadijah, fearing he had lost his mind. But she consoled him with perfect understanding! He was shivering so Khadijah wrapped Muhammad in a mantle. He said he felt his soul left His body. His beloved Khadijah responded by proclaiming to him with joy that there was no doubt that this experience of the visit of the angel Gabriel (Jibreel) was real! [2]She assured Muhammad, saying that she believed in Him; and indeed, it was so: God had chosen Muhammad as His Messenger for mankind.

Khadijah, the wife of the Prophet, was the first Muslim. The first believer. Islam was born that minute.

In haste, Khadijah visited her cousin, Waraqah, a Christian, and spoke of this astounding experience to him. Intently, Waraqah listened and enthusiastically exclaimed that Namus, the Spirit of God, had descended upon Muhammad. Most asuredly, “Muhammad is the Chosen Messenger of God,” asserted Waraqah. [3]

And the world shaking momentous milestone is reached: The world is ready. Islam is born.


Cave Entrance at Mt. Hira — Stock photo Wikipedia

But three years passed and … nothing!

Muhammad and his household were quite anonymous for such a circumstance as being chosen of God. And he conducted his affairs without any special notice from the townspeople of Mecca for a painfully long time.

When such a long time passed and nothing more happened, Muhammad became fretful, “Why has He not come to me again?” he worried. And when his worry turned to despair, the angel Gabriel again spoke to Muhammad, assuring Him:

The Qur’an’s First Surah (placed further into the flow of the Qur’an, toward its end) according to the decisions of a later Caliph)

Surah xciii, Ad-Duha –The Forenoon

By the bright forenoon,

And the brooding night.

Thy Lord hath not forsaken thee, nor doth He hate thee.

Verily the life hereafter shall be better for thee than the life in this world.

And ere long shall thy Lord reward thee, whereby thou shalt be pleased.

Did He not find thee an orphan and give thee shelter?

Did He not find thee erring and gave thee guidance?

Did He not find thee in need and provide for thee?

As to the orphan, do not oppress him. As to the beggar, do not turn him away. And declare the goodness of thy Lord.

Some fundamental definitions of Islam:

It is suggested to accostom our ears to the everyday words that belong with the lexicon of Islam and here is a quick review: a Muslim is a follower; The Qur’an is the Holy Book revealed by Muhammad as one chosen as the Prophet of God; The Qur’an is composed of Surah (also “surah” or “surat”) which is similar in meaning to the word “chapter” in the Bible, with the important caveat that the Surahs of the Qur’an are direct Revelation , whereas “Books” and “chapter and verse” of the Torah and Gospels are are of the Messengers’ post- ascension and is scribed through inspiration and memory,With Muslims this is a distinction to allow. The Prophet’s Revelation, meaning the process of revealing the Holy Qur’an was continual throughout the lifetime of the Prophet. The settling of the compilation of the revealed Qur’anic verses was accomplished after his passing. The Qur’an is expressed as the singular miracle of Islam, and its accompanying work the Hadith comprise the collected sayings and doings of the Prophet, as put together by the early Caliphs who were close to the Prophet during his lifetime basically are of memory of the Prophet’s doings and sayings. Another work, the Sunnah, are collected memorials of the Imams which maintain a continuity of judiciary influence upon the Muslim community.

The year revelation came to Muhammad was 610 AD, the Prophet was 40 years old, and from 610 to 613 there was no public announcement of the God-given Mission to Muhammad. Those who accepted Muhammad’s primacy as a Messenger of God in those first years were very few but served to everlasting honor.

Earliest believers, staunch and sacrificing ~

Most of Mecca’s inhabitants in these first years were unaware of Muhammad as Prophet. Muhammad, who lived among them and was of the ruling clan the Quraysh there in Mecca. He must have been seen as a man with great charisma, but his station and authority were hidden as behind a veil. A most outstanding exception was the recognition of the station of Muhammad as God’s Messenger by a child of ten years, son of Abu Talib, and a cousin of the Prophet, who was to serve with total devotion to the Prophet all his life. This is Ali who is to this day beloved of Muslims, more especially the Shi’ah, and yet to be more fully introduced. The third to vow allegiance to Muhammad as the Prophet of God was Zayd, also a member of the Prophet’s house and his adopted son, and the fourth believer, “without a doubt,” was Abu-Bakr of the Quraysh Clan. Abu Bakr was with the Prophet closely throughout the years. And his powerful personality impacted Islam for all time. [5]

A most significant, very early conversion in Mecca came from two former antagonistic clan members. They accepted Muhammad as the Prophet of God, joining together as brothers in faith from antagonistic clans. One was Uthman, from the House of Uthman, and the other convert was Khalid Ibn Sa’id, a descendant from the rival house of Umayyah (that had been rival to Qusayy.) [6] Another early believer that is remembered as hero to this day is Balal, the Ethiopian slave who was freed under the dictum of Muhammad. These two distinct aspects separate Islam from the social construct of that day and is of immense significance because by tradition it is Tribe or Clan that identified any person, and slaves were non-people. But, Islam now professed the single identity of its followers, a new brotherhood of Muslims, equal in the sight of God for submission to the new law. It meant a radical change of belonging and a new sense of loyalty that supersedes the former identity to tribe or clan.

One must know that this was a step converts took by pure faith. The superseding of identity removed from the clan was a dangerous step to take. The alignment of identity within a new inter-tribal brotherhood in Islam was the equivalent of betrayal, according to tribal life in the Hejaz. But will the Meccans become awakened to this call to independence from their own kin? Islam means “Peace!” Salaam! How challenging such a prospect!

Caravan Passage-stock photo


Calligraphic Rendering of the Name of Muhammad

The Announcement

The story of the Prophet’s first public declaration in his home city of Mecca foreshadowed the early difficult years in the development of Islam. The uncle, Abu-Talib, (the same uncle, under whom Muhammad spent his early youth as his helper in the camel driving treks), came across a small band of the earliest Muslims, including Ali, and Zayd, as they were performing their prostrations in accordance with the new Laws decreed by Muhammad. Abu’-Talib was astounded at this odd behavior. So the Prophet Muhammad explained His being called by God to His uncle. Abu’Talib declined to convert, telling his Nephew that he was too old to change his ways. Gentle as Muhammad was, He treated his uncle with courtesy and gentle understanding.

Soon afterwards, Muhammad bade his nephew Ali to invite the Hashim Clan and his and Quraysh kinsmen to a gathering where they would hear from the Muhammad the glad-tidings of His Prophethood. But, according to scholars writing of this, they generally agree that just as the gathering happened, another uncle of Muhammad’s, Abu Lahab, laughed and sarcastically sent the guests away before the declaration. So there was no immediate opportunity for the gathered crowd to react to the declaration made by Muhammad. [7]

The Prophet then made a second attempt to awaken the Meccans to his being the living Presence of God’s Apostle among them. All of the House of Hashim,[8] and all Meccans were invited, this time to Mount Safa. The Prophet’s kinsmen and Meccans came. A historian in the era of Islam’s early years recorded the response: Abu Lahab heaped scorn upon Muhammad: “Abu Lahab made himself the spokesman of denial” complaining as he did of the bother of having to go to a gathering to listen to “sweet nothing!” He said that Muhammad should not be listened to as He had taken leave of His senses. The populace of Mecca thus saw two most respected leaders of the house of Hashim, as well as the House of Umayyah, mutually heap scorn upon Muhammad and His declaration of being divinely chosen to be a Warner to the people.

In addition to this, Abu-Jahl of the powerful Quraysh clan threw in his lot with the deniers. Abu-Jahl would, throughout his life, remain a ruthless enemy. All of this mocking and derision by the established and powerful clansmen did not bode well for the position of the band of believers in the year 614 CE. Nonetheless, there was growing positive attention and commitment from the Meccans to Islam. One story is of Abu-Jah. having insulted the Prophet so viciously it infuriated a young man, an unbeliever, name Hamseh, and he rushed forward to slay Abu-Jahl. Abu Jahl saved his life by saying he had overstated his remarks unfairly; Hamzeh soon after turned to Muhammad and espoused allegiance to Islam. He would become a hero whose name is revered in the annals of the history of Islam.

New converts were invited to gather at the compound of a young and wealthy merchant of another band of the Quraysh tribe. The meetings took place near the Kab’ah, in a home nearby which became Mecca’s center point of busy and energetic activity for the teaching of Islam.

But lines were being drawn between believers and deniers, and the deniers pressured the believers with no mercy. This pressure to reject Muhammad’s station is not surprising given the large population of Quraysh together with the general populace and sub clans all under the Quraysh thumb. Islam’s abolition of idols was perceived an attack to both custom and business.

One story that sheds light regarding the tribal psychology of the times is the story of Umar’s conversion. Umar was to become an important figure throughout these inaugural years of Islam.

Umar was a stubborn and hot-tempered man who vowed to go straight to the central meeting compound where Muhammad was teaching — to kill him! On the way there, with sword in hand, Umar was stopped by a person who suggested that before Umar killed Muhammad, Umar should “look into your own nest because your sister and her husband had become Muslims.” In complete rage, Umar rushed to his sister’s home where, at that moment a freed slave was making a presentation of a recent revelation of Muhammad and was reading it aloud. Umar raised his sword to slash his brother-in-law, as host of that gathering, but Umar’s sister shielded her husband from the blow and took the sword-cut, causing her to bleed. At the sight of blood from his sister’s wound from protecting her husband Umar was surprised. Umar asked his sister to show him what was being read. But his sister said, “Umar, you are unclean, you worship idols, and you should go home and bathe and put on clean garments before handling the sacred text!” Surprisingly, he did exactly as his sister demanded and returned. After reading the Text, Umar went to Muhammad who Himself greeted Umar saying, “How much longer art thou going to persecute me?” Umar replied: O Messenger of God! I have come to offer thee my allegiance!” [8]

What Verse of the Qu’ran did Umar read? It was the opening Verse of the majestic Surah of Ta-Ha:

We have not sent down the Qur’an unto thee that thou shoudst grieve. But for an admonition unto him who feareth God, being a revelation from Him Who created the earth and the lofty heavens. The All-Merciful sitteth on His throne. To Him belongeth whatsoever there is in the heavens and on the earth, and whatsoever there is between them, and whatsoever there is neath the soil. And shoudst thou raise thy voice, He assuredly knoweth all that is secret and all that is yet more hidden. God — beside Whom there is no other God, and to Whom belongeth the Names most excellent.” (xx, 17)

The earliest believers numbered about 50. And among those early believers was Muhammad’s cousin , Zubayr, and also a young seventeen-year-old, Sa’ad Ibn Abi-Waqqas who, in the future for the cause of Islam “humble” the Sassanian empire which was, at this time, holding the Hejaz as its own after their defeat of the Ethiopians. These early believers enthusiastically submitted to the dictates of Islam and its basic tenets just being laid down, (1)to renounce the worship of their idols, and (2) to accept Muhammad as His Prophet and Messenger. There was no other Islamic obligation, yet, in these early days of this New Day of God.

Yet, for Meccans to renounce idols that had belonged to their ancient custom and life style was terribly difficult! To become Muslim meant cutting oneself away from all that was embedded within the established culture. And for a new Muslim, to accept the Prophet posed a threat to their very personal security. Tribal and Clan identity was supremely powerful and dictated position of respect and honor. Thus, to sever ties of clan kinship and change identity to a new religion cut off the primary means of familial protection.

Story of the Ethiopian Hegira (“Lesser Emigration”)

A story that tells of how this new faith had a special power of certitude over the earliest of converts” is about a famous incident for Muslims called “the Lesser Hegira.” Hegira a common Arabic term means “emigration.”

In the year 615, C.E, some early believers’ in Mecca departed for Ethiopia, quietly and quickly. “Why is that?” is not clear.[9] But during their time there, most emigrants to Christian Ethiopia remained faithful, and observed the new Laws required of Muslims. This hegira was not the major Hegira, but can be considered a prelude to the Hegira out of Mecca which is yet to happen.

The reason for the Ethiopian “lesser” migration is guessed that perhaps the Muslim migrants left Mecca for the spread of their Faith abroad. But, having fewer Muslims to lend support in Mecca, the fragile, early community came to know even greater hardship amidst the non-believers in the pagan city of Mecca. Remaining Muslims then fell unto hard times in Mecca where they were more vulnerable so suffered more persecution.

Meanwhile in Ethiopia, this “famous incident” occurred so early in these dawning days of Islam: Because of the absence of this delegation of Muslims there was fear from the Qurayshi chiefs of Mecca that these Muslims may be seeking Ethiopian assistance to overthrow their power. So, a Qurayshi delegation was sent to the king of Ethiopia. The Quraysh wanted these Muslim expatriates returned to Mecca, and put under the Qurayshi watchful control. To persuade the king-emperor to release the Muslims, the emigrants were accused by the Quraysh delegation of upsetting the stable life of the tribal communities of Mecca. The accusation was serious enough that the delegation of Meccans won an audience with the emperor of Ethiopia. Through gifts and flattery they thought to influence the Negus (king), with accusations that these Muslim people had disgraced their villages by making up a corrupt religion of their own.

The Negus, a Christian, was fair and asked the Muslims to come and present their side of the story. The Muslim, Jafar, addressed: “Oh King, ask this delegation of the Meccan Quraysh, if we have been guilty of theft, or murder.” “Well?” asked the King. “No, they committed neither murder nor theft”, they had to admit. The Negus then turned to the Muslims. “So what would you like to say?” Jafar, for the Muslims, said, “Oh, King! We had been idolaters, lustful, and cruel, and then God gave us the Prophet Muhammad who led us out of that life of indulgence into shunning evil ways and to worship the one true God”.

Next, the Negus asked to hear some of what the Prophet Muhammad had taught them. Jafar had memorized a Surah and recited it in part.

It was the nineteenth Surah, the Surah of Maryam (or Mary), in which the infant Jesus, while in His cradle said, “Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised up alive.” This recitation satisfied the king who granted them permission to stay.

Still, even after this, the determined delegation from Mecca tried again to extradite the Meccan Muslim group from Ethiopia and the Negus complied with a second hearing. The Meccans had thought of a trick. By having the Muslims answer the question, “How do you feel about Christ?”, surely (they thought) the Muslims would confess that Christianity held some inferior position to Islam which would displease the Negus. Jafar’s answer was an Islamic fundamental principle, as taught by Muhammad, that Christ was the Servant of God, His Apostle, His Spirit and His Word; He was born of Mary, the Blessed Virgin.

The Meccans lost. The Muslims were welcome to stay in Ethiopia.

Difficult Times in Mecca

However, back in Mecca, hardships were unabated for the Messenger of God and His followers. Muhammad’s uncle, ‘Abu Talib, as leader of the House of Hashim was a staunch protector of Muhammad, but the larger population of clans maintained a three year boycott that prevented financial transactions between Muslims and the markets of Mecca. Likewise, the Quraysh imposed sanctions against inter-marriage as well as other penalties that were intended to choke the vitality of the new faith. As the years of Quraysh sanctions passed, in all actuality, these measures did not prove to do as much harm as the Quraysh and their allies had hoped. [10]

Then successive calamities hit the band of Muslims! Khadijah, the beloved consort and main support and helper of Muhammad for twenty five years became terminally ill and died. Muhammad’s “sense of desolation must have been immense” His consort, His well-beloved, the first to believe in Him, Khadijah was gone, and no consolation was to be had. This was a blow that brought to the early history of Islam a year of little activity. It was at this time that at the bidding of Muhammad the Ethiopian contingent returned to Mecca to rejoin their grief-stricken and harassed brethren for needed support.

Then the poets of Mecca voiced ridicule. The poets’ antagonism brought much dismay to the early Muslims. The sarcasm the poets heaped upon the religion caused much hardship for the Prophet Muhammad. Even brazen mockery was hurled upon the Prophet Muhammad, Himself! Yet, Muhammad remained safe because all members of his immediate family — with one exception — stood ready to defend Muhammad even though they were not full- fledged Muslims .For the patience shown by the converts at the instruction of Muhammad, to the insulting behavior in Mecca, the clans became even bolder in their ridicule of the Muslims. This harassment built to potential danger for the very lives of the faithful. Eventually, the Prophet would deal with “dissemblers” severely. Yet, in spite of this, numbers of believers did increase under the charismatic influence of the Prophet.

And then Muhammad’s uncle, Abu Talib, the Hashimite chief, died. This was a calamity! The death of Abu Talib meant that Muhammad’s protector was gone, leaving the security of the faithful to the hands of Abu Talib’s successor: the noisy, furious enemy of Muhammad: Abu Lahab. So the very lives of Muhammad, as well as his followers, were in great peril. [11]

Emigration over the horizon — The Hegira

At this time, agonies of Muhammad were equal to the agonies of those blessed Messengers of God Who preceded Him, from Noah to Abraham, to Moses to Christ. As the Meccan threats to life and property intensified, the community of Muslims, was always on the defensive. Muhammad wished to protect His flock, and needed a place that would provide safe haven. Muhammad decided to depart Mecca.

Muhammad’s first sojourn away from Mecca in search for a place of security for Him and His followers was to a Bedouin center called Ta’if, an oasis village with delicious water and fruits and all manner of produce in abundance. He approached leaders of this village, thinking perhaps this place would provide a refuge.

A group of Bedouins in a particular compound in Ta’if took to ridiculing Muhammad, pelting Him with stones. A different group, remembering the Muslims from their days in Ethiopia, provided a place of safety for Muhammad. Muhammad asked, “What is your faith, and where your tribe is from? “ “Christians from Nineveh!” said the spokesperson. The Prophet responded, “The home of Jonah, son of Matthew.” This astonished one of the men, who kissed the head, hands, and feet of the Messenger of God. This upset the others. “Why did you do this?” one Bedouin asked. “Because he knows only what a Prophet of God would know,” was the defense; “Oh, now!” said a compatriot, “Do not abandon your religion for this when yours is a better one!” So any flowering of new faith was nipped in the bud by the doubts of another. The Prophet, rebuffed and still bodily injured by the stones thrown at him, prayed, “O God! I grieve before Thee for the feebleness of my powers and the insignificance of my being amongst men. O God, the Most merciful! Thou art the Lord of the weak and Thou art my Lord!” [12]

The Ka’bah and the Idol Worshipers

The second story describes an occasion of the annual pilgrimage to the Ka’bah at Mecca. Idol-worshiping pilgrims poured into Mecca as usual for circumambulating the Ka’bah and paying homage to the 365 idols. The crowds moved around the Ka’bah as per custom. The Ka’bah was decked out, and Muhammad approached the crowd of worshipers. With all his mighty being, he called upon the worshipers to cease worshiping idols, to renounce them and draw nigh unto the oneness, the singleness of God. While Muhammad addressed the astonished crowds, His own uncle Abu-Lahab as well as three others of the antagonistic Quraysh clan waved off the people drawn to listen to Muhammad, saying not to listen to Him, that He had taken leave of His senses. Nevertheless, the Prophet approached — perhaps sixteen different clans with His message. But only one clan, though of low status, accepted Him as the Messenger of God.

The Mi’raj, the Night Journey

At the time Muhammad was endeavoring — with little success, to proclaim His divine revelation among the Meccans an event took place which Muslims believe to be a miracle indicating the relationship of Jerusalem to Mecca. It is deemed as a sacred event termed as the Mi’raj, or: “The Ascent”, termed also as “The Night Journey”. The story of the Mi’raj as recited in the Qu’ran, as interpreted by Muslims is mostly taken to be a literal experience. The Night Journey as revealed by Muhammad is found in the seventeenth surah called Bani’Isra’il. It says:

Glory by to Him, who carried His servant by night from the Holy Mosque to the Further Mosque, the precincts of which We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs. He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing.”[13]

What this verse is alluding to is now embedded in literal theology of Islam’s basic teachings. The Holy Qur’an records through the Revelation of Muhammad a dream — or a vision –as follows: In the night He rose from the near Mosque, (which is theologically interpreted as being the Ka’bah in Mecca, and was physically transported to the far Mosque, (which is theologically interpreted either as being Heaven or — for the literalists: Jerusalem) However, a symbolic interpretation of this sacred vision is possible, in light of this new age, and an appreciation of God’s great Covenant that stresses that all Manifestations of God receive their revelation from One God, seated in His throne on high, the same Heavenly Place, so to speak metaphorically. But within Islam, Jerusalem is fixed for being the sacred spot to which the Prophet was physically transported, and this “miracle” explains how Jerusalem is for Muslims the 2nd most holy spot for Ka’bah and protection after Mecca.

It in this very period that while Muhammad resided in Mecca, some visitors arrived to Mecca from Yathrub, the very city of Muhammad’s birth mother, and where he resided until her death. There were seventy two men, and three women, and Muhammad read to them portions of the Qur’an. They accepted Him as the Messenger of God, and one by one filed past the Prophet, touching His hand as a pledge of loyalty. Twelve of these were selected by Muhammad as his disciples. [14]

Such occurrences caused a stir among the Meccans who suspected that something was amiss. As the Muslim contingent left Mecca to return to Yathrub, the Meccans pursued the Muslims and successfully brought one Muslim convert back to Mecca. The convert narrowly escaped death by invoking the protection of one of the clans under obligation to his clan. But this death threat proved to the band of Muslims remaining in Mecca that their lives were hanging by a thin thread. So the believers were counseled by the Prophet to take leave, quietly, few by few, and go to Yathrub. Muhammad, himself and three of his earliest believers, Ali, Zayd, and Abu-Bakr remained in Mecca a while longer.

This exodus resulted in hardships for the new converts. As Muslims they were required to disregard kinship ties and abandon the safety of homes, if persecution by kin made it necessary. Furthermore, the entire fabric of their lives was altered for a new kind of life. Such independent severing of ties was a total insult and offensive to the other Meccans who had been for centuries committed to the social structure of loyalty to clan.

So upset were the idolaters in Mecca that the Quraysh leader met together to arrange an assassination of Muhammad. The details are known to this day: There would not be just one assassin, but forty assassins appointed by the opposing clans, and each would deal the knife blow simultaneously! However, because Muhammad was not in his bed, his nephew and adopted son Ali was there [15] and thwarted any wrongdoing because when the assassins came, they could not do as they intended. Muhammad and others had gone to a cave where they were protected under the watchful eye of a trusted clansman, though himself not Muslim. Later, when the band of Muslims received some provisions such as food, from sympathetic non-believers to sustain their coming journey, the Prophet found no way to transport it! A townswoman, who had brought the food, Asma, by name, took off some clothing, a girdle, and made of it a sling for the food. And so the fortified little caravan headed out into the desert.[16]

The Quraysh in Mecca offered a substantial reward for any tribesmen who might overtake and return Muhammad and His two compatriots, Zayd, and Abu-Bakr. And two attempts to gain the reward have become part of the history of Islam.

The first person who succeeded in overtaking the small caravan of believers was a tribesman from a Jewish settlement. But, his horse was exhausted and fell lame. The would-be abductor begged the help of Muhammad. And help was granted: a fresh horse was given, and the tribesman returned to Mecca claiming Muhammad and his band of followers were nowhere to be found.

The second encounter with trouble came from a group of seventy riders galloping toward the Muslims. Muhammad met and spoke with them. Such was the power of His speech that the group became confounded, and asked, “Who are you?” The Prophet replied, “I am Muhammad, the son of ‘Abdu’llah, the son of ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib, the Messenger of God — the Lord of all the worlds.”[17]

This amazed the leader of armed horsemen, all of which then and there affirmed conversion to Islam. The horsemen joined the believers, still making their way to Yathrub, arranging themselves behind Muhammad with the headman riding in front as the Prophet’s protecting guardsmen!

Muhammad, wearing a fresh white tunic entered Yathrub as a king! The Muslims of Yathrub had been waiting, anticipating His arrival, and were overjoyed to see Him. As He approached, five hundred believers — men, women, and children — met Him and sang, “The Prophet has come, the Messenger of God has come!” [18-see note] This was the famous “hegira of the Prophet,” what we call His emigration. He came as a King into a city whose name was soon changed from Yathrub to “Medina, The City of the Prophet.


Chapter 3~ Medina Period

Islam in its Medina Period Under Governorship of the Prophet

“The Prophet has come!”

· Muhammad arrives In Medina ~ Islam Bursts Forward: Consolidation and Expansion

· The Battle of Badr; The Battle of Uhud;

· Crisis within the walls of Medina

· Mecca:The Jewel in the Crown for Islam

· Medina: The City of the Prophet

· The Prophet Addresses the Kings

. Fundamental beliefs and laws for Muslims

Yathrub now “Medina,” “City of the Prophet”

The date of Islam’s official genesis, “A.H.” is when Muhammad arrived to Yahthrub and is termed “After Hegira.” The Prophet named the city“Medina,” (or Medinat), the City of the Prophet. So, that was Year 1 A.H. and Islam (meaning “Submission to Will of God,” also meaning “Peace”) begins its meteoric rise!

The dawning days of Faiths are the heroic times, and Islam’s era in Medina has many dramatic stories. The story of Islam colonizing within Medina, is certainly no less engaging than stories of the early days of every faiths’ days of genesis. So, for stories, let us now take in some seminal bursts of enthusiasm meeting mighty challenges that accompanied this hegira, or emigration.

In Medina, Muhammad was greeted by enthusiastic crowds of citizens and, for his welcome, the Prophet was presented with a camel. One day, He mounted His camel, saying he would stay wherever the camel would take him. That place would be signified by where the camel lay down. As He rode he passed the city’s compounds, each “headman” pleaded with Muhammad to honor their compound by making His residence there. But His camel passed by each these quarters. After some time the camel rested, somewhat outside Medina, near some trees but not near a home. The closest home was the residence of some poor, orphaned brothers. The brothers were happy to receive their Lord and would gladly have turned everything over to Him. But to alleviate their circumstances, Muhammad stayed nearby for a while, and by and by, a Mosque was built upon that spot. [1*see end note] The construction was accomplished with the help of His cousin, ‘Ali as well as Muslims who came from Mecca with the Prophet to Medina. When Muhammad gave his first sermon there, He leaned against a tree, and this holy place would become the site where Muhammad would be buried some years later.

Muhammad named the Meccans who joined him in Medina, “al-Muhajirun”, or Emigrants. And he named the Muslims, the local citizen converts of, Medina “al-Ansar,” the Helpers. His next acts were to align by adoption a brotherhood between Muslims, sometimes crossing the Meccans with the Medinites thereby forging Muslim brotherhood between some of which had, by former clan allegiance been separate if not outright antagonistic.

The Prophet also named ‘Ali as His own brother. In this period, many adoptions of this sort drew together ties of kinship that solidified the Muslim identity. The Prophet’s uncle Hamzeh, so dear to him, was designated as “the Lion of God,” and “The Lion of the Prophet” was selected to be brother to Zayd, the freedman of the Prophet and son. Abu’Bakr to Uma as brothers, and ‘Uthman, the uncle of Muhammad from the Umayya of Mecca given a brother from the Ansar. Some adoptees benefitted by these arrangements of kinship by gaining wealth or connections otherwise denied them. But most of the believers were actually dirt poor. The Prophet Himself was so impoverished in those days in Medina that He pawned off his armor!

To earn his pittance, ‘Ali worked as a water carrier for the gardens of a Jewish land owner.[2]

But the discipline of adhering to this new Faith, Islam, was being deeply rooted. The call to prayer, the Adhan, was instituted at this time; and the Mosques built around the city kept the focus on learning the ways of a new Faith that were so different from past norms.

This time period also saw Muhammad marry His third wife, A’ishah. There was no wedding feast, however. A’ishah was only nine years old. She was the daughter of Abu-Bakr, who was the fourth declared Muslim, the stalwart companion of Muhammad who accompanied Him to Medina. It was Abu Bakr who had given Muhammad everything of his dwindling possessions, and who served the community of Muslims giving everything of value he had for their comfort, and who expected the honor of having his daughter become wife to the Prophet. Also, A’isha was the first child born in the Islamic faith.[3]

Muhammad’s daughter Fatimih and the families of the earliest believers from Mecca, like Zayd, were brought into Medina. In this same early time of Hegira in Medina, the Prophet’s beloved daughter Fatimih, married Ali.

Likewise, from close to the time of hegira, the Prophet Muhammad assumed His place as the Governor of Medina. He drew up a charter for all the inhabitants of Medina unifying the disparate clans and sub-clans into an integrated whole city. Interestingly, within the Charter, Jews were given freedom to practice their own faith. The charter outlined the taxation of the Jews . If the Jews participated in any warfare, the Jews would contribute to the war chest, but if they chose not to participate, their security was guaranteed, and they were to be allowed complete freedom. The Jews in turn pledged to Muhammad not to aid the enemy, should Medina be attacked.[4]

Even so, grumblings posed problems to the Muslims in Medina: The Jews for centuries had been the dominant people of Medina. They held the wealth, honor and culture. Some of the Jewish sectors in Medina chafed under the banner of Islam, and found the introduction of Islamic decrees that involved them to be humiliating. This in spite of the friendly hand the Prophet proffered (taxation was imposed only when Jews did not want to join military expeditions to protect Medina. But Jewish inclusion of their clan leadership was core with the Muslims in planning fortifications for Medina because the expected assaults from Mecca were clearly going to happen. [5]The Jews did, for a great part, recognize the brilliance of their new governor, but it was not a total win-over, and some of the Jewish enclaves maintained frosty dissent. Added to this, there were many Medinite Arabs who observed tenets of Islam only superficially. Then there were the Bedouins, not yet tamed under the shepherding of Muhammad, and they were rude and crude in manner toward the believers and careless of decorum in the Mosques. But Muhammad bade his loyal followers to be patient with the Bedouins.

Meanwhile, the Messenger of God continued to reveal laws and guidance by Revelation. Since the Night Visit to Jerusalem, prayers had been performed facing Jerusalem and the Prophet Messenger of God changed the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca. (And that was a test causing recanting for some!) Then, during the second year of the Hegira He introduced the ordinance of fasting, with all its instructions. Fasting henceforth would take place annually during the month of Ramadan, culminating in the course of time with the festival of Eid.

Skirmishes against the Muslims in Medina led by the Quraysh of Mecca were at first tentative and beaten back easily by the Muslims in Medina. But the Quraysh, tribes and allied clans were if anything more determined to win back some sense of honor they felt was degraded by the defenses put up around the adopted city of the Prophet.

Scholar Sayed Ameer Ali, described the crisis of those days.[6]

“He who never in his life had wielded a weapon, to whom the sight of human suffering caused intense pain and pity, and who, against all the canons of Arab manliness, wept bitterly at the loss of his children or disciples, whose character ever remained so tender and so pathetic as to cause his enemies to call him womanish, — this man was now compelled, from the necessities of the situation, and against his own inclination, to repel the attacks of the enemy by force of arms, to organize his followers for purposes of self-defense.”

This is an important historical perspective to consider, since those who seek to belittle Islam, often depict Muhammad — this Messenger of God — as a war-monger.

As chronicled in the Qur’an, ultimately the battles were going to be toward gaining submission of the idolatrous people to God’s will which stated that there is but one God and His will is to spread that sacred call to the nations.

Thus, a mood for righteous battle was brewing, but at an awkward time: The time was the month of fasting. And there was great concern, for the prohibition of fighting during the month of fasting was known. So Revelation came, and was recorded: The surah reads:

“[F]ighting [in the holy month] is reprehensible, it bars the way to God and is negation of faith; but in the sight of God, more grave is the expulsion of the people from the Holy Mosque, and fitnah, [schism, or sedition, or persecution], is more offensive than slaying.” (Surah ii, 214.

With Mecca’s holy Mosque, the Ka’bah, having become a focal point of commerce, and worse, under the shadow of idolatry, Muhammad knew the ultimate battle would center there, in Mecca, at the very Ka’bah, the apocryphal symbolic center of pilgrimage since oral records of sacred law of gathered worship were translated into written history! The Ka’bah was not to be desecrated by false gods.

Meanwhile, a new threat to the Muslims came from Mecca by the Quraysh warriors. They were arrogant enough to approach Medina, though at first, rather tentatively. The Muslims gathered themselves to meet the Meccan Quraysh outside the walls of Medina. The initial forays bore few casualties. But the skirmishes became more intense, and there were losses for both the idolaters of Mecca, and the converts to Islam who were protecting Medina.

There were other problems for the Muslim believers. There were defections of loyalties that hurt the Muslims and excited possibilities of insurrection particularly encouraged by some Medinites and the Jewish Banu’n Nadir Clan. And these “dissemblers” who gave no end of grief to Muhammad tried to carry out the assassination of the Prophet Muhammad. The premise for the attempt was based upon a hypocritical pretense by the assassin to “return to the fold” ploy. But Muhammad remained unscathed.[7] These early days of the Hegira were fraught with challenges to the cause of Islam! And yet Revelation came to assure Muhammad of his safety.

“O Messenger, let them not cause thee sorrow, who hasten to infidelity, with of those who say, “We believe” with their mouths but whose hearts believe not, or the Jews who listen to lies and to other people, who have not come to thee. They pervert the words [of the law] from their places …” [8]

There were in Medina pretenders and back sliders playing two sides to undermine, rather than submit with faith to the Messenger of God’s given mission of building a constructive and solid base to erect a monotheistic Faith meant by God to endure through the coming ages. These subversives received a harsh hand. By a clear decisive action of expulsion or death did the severity of the establishment of God’s will assure victory against the pagans.

That the Western world, in its denial that Islam’s battles were just and for defensive purposes, but were rather vengeful and “bloodthirsty,” and that in Islam there was forced conversion, the Qur’an itself explains the error of such accusation. The Qur’an must even today be read with mindful alignment of context to the time the Qur’an was revealed to protect its Cause against aggressive denial of God’s will, and/or willful perfidy, and, mindful of this time, in its fledge, where there was yet no legal footing, no court of law for redress; therefore, the response is a reflection of need for commandments swiftly solving those excesses.

Quran 9:12–13 — “But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and taunt you for your Faith, — then fight the chiefs of Unfaith: for their oaths are nothing to them: that thus they may be restrained. Will ye not fight people who violated their oaths, plotted to expel the Messenger, and took the aggressive (path) by being the first (to attack) you? Do ye fear them? Nay, it is Allah Whom ye should more justly fear, if ye believe!”

Quran 2:256 — Let there be no compulsion in religion…

Qu‘ran’ 37:1009–120: “Peace and salutation to Abraham… and we gave him the good news of Isaac, a prophet — one of the Righteous. We blessed him (Abraham) and Isaac; but of their progeny there are (some) who do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong to their own souls… Again (of old) we bestowed our favor upon Moses and Aaron. And We gave them the Book, which helps to make things clear. And We guided them to the Straight Way. And we left (this blessing) among them among for generations (to come) in later times. “Peace and salutation to Moses and Aaron.” [9]

Several battles took place during the second and third years of the Hegira that give later generations insight to the specific needs of those days. Muhammad issued a call for the desert people to come into submission to the will of God (Islam). The means to the call of the spread of law and order through the will of God. And by that word we now know of, “Jihad” to that end to establish good order, which was, for those untamed peoples at that time, precisely perfect a means to secure a new order for them. For this period in world history the Laws of “Jihad”(Holy War), were revealed by the Prophet as being the way of Islam to the establishment of the singleness, the absolute unknowable oneness of God.

Two of the early battles in those days are part of the bedrock of Islam.

Two Battles

The Battle of Badr

The first musters for the Battle of Badr were nearby Medina and drew the muhajirun, the emigrants from Mecca, to the field of battle. But after that first battle, the al-ansar, or helpers, the residents of Medina, soon outnumbered the Emigrants and reinvigorated the muhajirun’s waning will for victory. Although their provisions for fighting were meager, yet, with great confidence the Muslims from Medina drew closer to Mecca and stopped at the well nearby Badr, which was a caravan station having a source of water to refresh the warriors, camels and horses. The Quraysh had earlier approached the outskirts of Badr as spies and returned to warn their confederates of the approaching Muslim “enemy.” So the Quraysh, already there, within Badr, were ahead of the Muslim fighters. The Prophet’s companions suggested preventing water from getting to Badr. And the Prophet secluded Himself to think about this, the first Jihad. As Muhammad reflected, He received a Revelation, which said, “Should they incline to peace, do thou likewise; and put thy trust in God; He is verily the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” (Surah viii, 63.).[10]

Umar was sent by Muhammad into the ranks of the Quraysh gathered at Badr. The Prophet called upon the Quraysh and their allies to reconsider fighting the Muslims. Umar conveyed the wishes of the The Prophet that He entertained no ill will to fight His kith and kin of Mecca. Some notable clan leaders wished to listen to the plea for peace, but they were shouted down by the Quraysh who were sure of victory over the Muslim forces who were noticeably fewer than their own forces.

The Quraysh chief Utbah turned to the Meccans and tried to prevent the clash with the Muslims. But , Abu-Jahl, who was the arch-instigator of clashes against Muhammad insulted Utbah. Utbah , smarting under those insults, now shifted his battle focus of Meccan forces warring against Muhammad’s forces to call for a hand-to-hand battle to settle who would be victor at Badr that day. The outcome of this was three Meccans, including Utbah, against three Muslims who were of the same house as Utbah! And this is how Utbah, originally pleading for peace, having to keep his honor asked for fellow clan members of the Emigrants from Medina to come fight their own Meccan idolater kinsmen. The fight took place and the three Meccans, including Utbah, did fall before the sword, and one of the Muslims, Ubaydah, was fatally wounded.

Muhammad was overcome with grief as He received the dying Ubaydah. [11]This heroic man asked Muhammad if he was a martyr in the sight of Muhammad who replied, “Indeed thou art! Indeed thou art!” Then Muhammad cried out, “O God! Fulfill what Thou hast promised me, fulfill what Thou hast promised me! Were this band of Muslims to perish, none would be left on earth to worship Thee.”

The Meccans were much more heavily armed. Their numbers out sized the Muslims’ army three to one. The Meccans seeing this, were eager to battle.

Muhammad mounted his steed and went among his followers to urge them to the fight. The spirit of righteous battle was caught and a decisive victory went to the Muslims. The dead included Abu-Jahl,, as well as many of sub-leaders of the Quraysh. As the dead were put in a deeply dug grave, Muhammad spoke:

“O people of the pit! Did you find what your god promised you to be true? I have found what my God promised me to be true.”

Many scholars believe that if the battle at Badr had not been won that day, Muhammad would have had no quarters to establish Islam. [For had the battle been lost, the ramparts of Medina would have soon fallen. Without Medina and its ramparts built for protection, with its population of committed Muslims and allies, the progress of Islam would have been so severely compromised that it is difficult to imagine the speedy success of Islam. Because, all being said, to the battle-customized tribal mind, this famous incident was the beginning of making evident the power of the will of God to the clans and tribes assessing the challenge presented by Muhammad and Islam. Those Medians of which there were many who had been wavering pledged loyalty to Islam in droves! Islam was now on the march. [12]

The Battle of Mt. Uhud

After the Muslims had won at Badr, misfortune struck. The outer ranks of Muslims were told to hold a nearby hill. But, these Muslims observed their brothers helping themselves to the booty from a victorious battle on the slopes of Mt. Uhud. [13]Though these troops had been ordered to stay their position, they left to share in the booty. The opening left a weak hold against the Quraysh coming up from behind, and the battle unexpectedly turned against the Muslims. The chaos became so great that Muslim was assaulting Muslim without knowing!

The surge against the Muslims became even greater. At one point a Qurayshi who was the most adept at stone throwing hit Muhammad on the face, and, seeing this, another Qurayshi shouted, “Muhammad is dead!” Ali, (Muhammad’s son-in-law) called out, “Liar!” But the rumor spread and created a panic. A soldier who was close to the Prophet at this moment shouted and what he said became part of the verses in the Qur’an:

Muhammad is naught but a Messenger; and verily, other Messengers have passed away before him. Should he die or be killed would ye turn around on your heels’ and he who turns round on his heels, nothing would ever harm God; and God will recompense the thankful.”[14] (Al-Imran).

The stone-thrower hit the face of the prophet again whereupon he lost two teeth. The shout went up as the Idolaters sensed victory. Muhammad was wounded repeatedly, and spoke with the soldier standing by; “How can a people attain salvation who cause blood to flow over the face of their Prophet, whilst He is calling them to God?” And at this moment Muhammad received revelation:

“No part of the matter is thine, whether He turns toward them again, or chastises them; for they are evildoers”[15]

The Muslims fled the field of battle at Mt. Uhud. Many heroic efforts to win and protect their gains did occur and were noted for posterity, but for the time being, the loss of this battle was a painful humiliation for the Muslims. Hamzah the beloved uncle of the Prophet was fatally struck down there, which was to bring tremendous grief to Muhammad upon learning of this loss. The Qurayshi new leader, Abu Sufyan, (Abu Jahl was killed at Badr) shouted that Muhammad would see Muslims dead and mutilated; he had not ordered it, but he was not sorry. (Abu Sufyan is to be in this narrative again later)

Muhammad’s wife A’ishah and his daughter Fatimah, (Ali’s wife), soon heard of the bloody losses on Mt Uhud and rushed to see for themselves whether Muhammad had been killed in battle. The Prophet met and assured them that He had not been killed. After Fatimih burnt some straw for ash to clean His wounds the Prophet returned with Fatimih and A’ishah down the slope to bury their dead.[16] Learning that His uncle Hamzah had been slain He wept, and utterly grief-stricken, Muhammad vowed revenge. But another Revelation was again bestowed upon Muhammad by God:

“Were ye to inflict chastisement on anyone, do it in the measure of what was done to you; but if ye be patient well shall it be with those who practice patience. Be patient, and thy patience shall be the bestowal of God to thee. Do not grieve over them, and do not be sad at heart because of what they devise. Verily God is with those who fear Him, and they are the people of good deeds.”[17 ]

Muhammad expressed regret for this show of temper and vowed that He would be patient.

Crisis Within the Walls of Medina

In the long flow of history, some events seem to repeat themselves age-to-age until they are fully resolved. Happily, there are some reasons for hope: (one) divine will and (two) sheer necessity of survival steers toward an ultimate reconciliation. The following story ominously forewarns the long story of strained and difficult relationships between Jews and Muslims. This story echoes the well-known biblical tale of Isaac and Ishmael, the brothers who became separated. What was surely difficult for the Jews in Medina is that the new religion of Islam was in process of becoming the dominant arbiter of all civic affairs, supplanting the Jews who had held this power.

Formidable difficulties did present themselves for the new Muslim power base. And they included hardships suffered within the Jewish held settlements by Jews who were naturally holding unto their accustomed positions of power. These Jews tried to block the growing power of the Muslims under the guidance of the Prophet. Another difficulty politically speaking came from a formidable and large group of Medinites, who held on to the old ways of idolatry and who came to be called “dissemblers”. The “dissemblers” took delight in a set-back the Muslims suffered on the field of battle. And their jeers and mockery delighted the Jews. [18]

Then in-fighting broke out among two bands of Jews within Medina: the Banu’n-Nadr, and the Banu-Qurayzah. The Prophet heard their complaints, which centered around different interpretation of law in the Torah. Muhammad heard both sides and agreed that the Jews that held the right interpretation was the smaller, weaker band. This larger band, being ruled against by Muhammad, (the Banu’n-Nadr), was angered and joined up with the idolaters and dissemblers, of Medina, and they together plotted murder of the Prophet. The attempt was discovered, and their evil intentions were brought to light. This incident forced Muhammad to expel the larger clan of Jews from Medina.[19]


It is good, and actually important, to note here a bit of drama, having to do with the conversion of several Jews from this community at this time. The other Jewish community, the Banu-Qurayzah, kept its secure place within their familiar walled area of Medina and promised to be loyal to Muhammad and not get in the way of any of His dictates over affairs having to do with the protection of Medina. They would not have to fight to protect Medina unless the Jews wished.

As the Banu’n-Nadr vacated their homes, leaving their homes for posession by the Medinites, a decision was made by the Prophet. The Meccan emigrants had been supported and housed by the Muslim Ansar of Medina. Muhammad approached the Ansar, and asked them if they agreed to giving the homes of the expelled Jews to the Muhajirun, (the Emigrants). The Ansar not only agreed to this but offered the continuance of their support to their Meccan Muslim family. This generosity of good spirit brought forth a prayer by Muhammad:

‘O God! Show mercy to the Ansar, and the sons of the Ansar, and the sons of the sons of the Ansar”

“And those who made their dwelling in the abode, and in belief, before them, love whosoever has emigrated to them, not finding in their breasts any need for what they have been given, and preferring others above themselves, even though poverty be their portion. And whoso is guarded against the avarice of his own soul, those — they are the prosperers.[20]

Two early campaigns ensued after the expulsion of the Banu’n-Nadr Jews. One was a rout by the Muslims against an antagonistic nomad village. Despite the protection of the Quraysh Meccans, who tried to assist the nomadic settlers, the Muslims’ very arrival put the tribe on the run! The Meccans were demoralized. The rout gave the Muslims a nice booty. And the second campaign came soon after: Under the guidance of, Muhammad, Medina tightly secured the important trading routes for the merchant trading by ridding the route of its dangerous robbers.

The Jews who had been expelled were worried that their own affairs would be further curtailed by the growing strength of Muslim forces. The Banu’n-Nadr sent a delegation of twenty chiefs to the idol worshiping Quraysh in Mecca to forge alliances to quash Islam for good.

Alliances for battle against the Muslims were made right within the Ka’bah in Mecca. Treaties forged by every means- bribery, promises of booty, land and glory- were made between the Quraysh, the Banu’n-Nadr and various other tribal forces who shared their willingness to fight the Muslims “to the very last man.” These negotiations came out very successfully: Ten thousand combatants emerged onto the plains from Mecca to move upon Medina.

The Prophet heard of this alliance, but time was short for Muhammad to meet so large an enemy in open field for battle. The leaders among the Muslims of Medina quickly gathered to make their plans for defense. They could not go out to meet the opposition, though that was a great temptation. The Persians suggested digging a trench around Medina which had been a proven defense back when Persians had previously been threatened by strong armies such as the Eastern Romans.[21] Muhammad immediately agreed to this tactic because the Meccans had never encountered such a method of defense and this would likely stall any assault.

The Trench

The digging of the trench went into full activity to circle around Medina. The Prophet of God Himself worked without rest, leading and assisting in the heavy work.

Stories from this time tell of the challenges in digging the trench. In one story, the teams worked feverishly. One group of men came to a rock of huge dimensions and weight. To leave the rock in place would have enabled a crossing into Medina by the enemy. Despite all their labor, the rock remained in place. The Prophet came with an axe and in three strokes demolished the stone. This seemed a wonderful miracle and brought cheer to the whole gathering.

Another incident equally epochal occurred during this same time of digging the trench. A beloved follower came upon Him, and saw that the prophet was exhausted and very pale. (Muhammad was more than 50 at this time.) Because the people of Medina were virtually “locked in” their city for safety, the provisions of food had dwindled down to a dire scarcity. The believer was shocked at the condition of Muhammad and begged the Prophet to take time to eat, and come home with him for rest. The follower bade his wife to prepare a goat and bread to restore the energy of his beloved Prophet. Muhammad replied that only if everyone would be invited to eat would He partake. The size of the goat was not that big to make a possible meal for so many . . . but it did! All were fed! Some food was even left over which the Prophet ordered sent to those who did not attend the feast.

This feast story resurrects itself in memory of the fish-and-loaves miracle of the time of Christ’s sojourn on earth, once again revealing the power of God. However, this is a reference that, perhaps, resonates more with the non-Muslim Western student than with Muslims. Miracles are not (officially) important to Muslims as they are taught by the Qur’an to rely on the Qur’an as sufficient miracle. (Even so, tales of wonder do get passed on from generation to generation!)

The moat around Medina was completed. The rebellious among the Quraysh tribes of Mecca arrived with the combined forces of those 10,000 warriors mentioned earlier. What a surprise for them it was to see a moat so deep, so steep and wide that their horses could in no way be used to charge the city. The army retreated back to the plain and to an uneasy impasse. The distance between their homes in Mecca, the need for provisions, including food, and the weight of their fighting armor, galled the fighters. They were impatient for a speedy victory — and booty was obviously not going to be immediate. The chiefs decided they must resort to trickery. The Banu’n-Nadr proposed that they work on gaining entrance into Medina by way of the Jewish settlement of the Banu-Qurrayzah. The ramparts of this settlement were unguarded because of the trust of Muhammad had given for their pledge of loyalty. Some members of the Banu’n-Nadr exiled Jewish community gained the entrance there and sought to get the Banu-Qurrayzah to open their gates to the marauders. Though reluctant, the Banu-Qurrayzah did agree. And by this, Medina and its protection was most egregiously threatened.

The siege had been going well for the protection of Medina. Some warriors from the enemy Quraysh forces begged Muhammad as turn-coats to accept their services against the confederate forces. Muhammad asked their motive. They honestly replied, “For the booty!” Muhammad refused their offer, saying only the sincere believers were to fight for the cause of the true Faith.

Meanwhile, the soldiers from the Quraysh tribe of Mecca were infiltrating into Medina through the gate opened by the Banu-Qurrayzah. A new convert to Islam among the Jewish clan reported the dangerous situation to Muhammad, causing Him great alarm. The convert said that because he was a new believer no one knew of his sympathies. The convert suggested planting mutual suspicion between the Banu-Qurrayzah and the infiltrators. And by this counter-measure, the danger was indeed neutralized.

Twenty four days the siege went on. And it was indecisive. There were few casualties, then a wearing down of will on the part of the Quraysh and even more so on the part of the confederate tribes who were less revenge-seeking than the Quraysh and the Banu’n-Nadr. When next an unseasonable cold spell swept the camps of the army on the open plains that was the final breaking point. The armies dispersed and returned home, lifting further Quraysh threat away from Medina, the City of the Prophet.

Nonetheless, the threat to Medina from inside the city still had to be addressed. The Banu-Qurrayzah had violated the understanding of non-interference in the affairs of Medina’s protection. Muhammad had protected their rights, and they were to remain in their homes in Medina. But the clan had double-crossed the Prophet. A court was convened by Muhammad, and many people gathered within the Mosque to witness the proceedings. A Jewish elder, a highly esteemed member of the Banu-Qurrayzah was brought, on donkey, before Muhammad. Muhammad asked the elder what should be done to restore safety and order. This elder, a man very near to natural death from his age and ailments, gave no leniency to the Banu-Qurrayzah for their infidelity to their oaths of allegiance. The elder pronounced death to the male members, their property to be divided among the Muslims, and the women and children to become slaves. After the Qurayzah were eliminated, there were but few Jews left in Medina. Some Jews remained who purchased those women and children who had been made slaves.[22]

This harsh justice was typical of the first century of the birth of Islam. There has been criticism of this sentence and its consequences, but there is likewise a fundamental factor here that bears analysis to the issues it raised. To quote from Professor Montgomery Watt.

“There is no need to suppose that Muhammad brought pressure to bear on the Clan elder for the sentence he delivered [ A far-sighted man like [the Jewish elder] must have realized that to allow tribal or clan allegiance to come before Islamic allegiance would lead to a renewal of the fratricidal strife from which they hoped the coming of Muhammad had delivered Medina.” [23]

(This is other side of the coin and point of view for us as peace-maker to bear in mind with those who draw upon this history to maintain the historic hard feelings between Arab and Jew.)

The point that the Professor Watt then made was that the expulsion and execution of the Jews of Medina had nothing to do with their being Jews. Rather it was for reason of the securing the city as a city where Islam would safely exist. The Jews were criticizing the Revelation of the Qur’an and undermining the Muslim community in every hostile way possible. And justice ruled with swift expediency.


Truce of Al-Hudaybiyyah

A story now bears telling about the hot-tempered Umar who was shown every affection from the prophet, and how the Prophet’s beneficence to Umar was the universal lesson of divine forgiveness. On many occasions. One occasion is recorded about the days when Meccan hostility to their muhajirun kin was vitriolic, and for that, the Muslims of Medina were on tenterhooks, itching and ready for manly defense. And after those several indecisive battles against the Muslims of Medina, it was sheer embarrassment to the Quraysh to bear the impossibility of them to humiliate the Muslims. And the impasse remained unsettled. By and by, there came a time when the Prophet, according to the honors and laws of pilgrimage gathered his followers and led the eight day trek from Medina to Mecca for the purpose “of pilgrimage.” The Muslims approached Mecca anticipating — maybe hoping the time had come for the chief of Mecca to submit to the forces from Medina to set in place the standard flag of Islam. The Muslims wanted to see their flags waving from the parapets of Mecca, that this victory might, at last, be Islam at last winning the day. And with that mood the Muslims set down near the closed gate of Mecca as pilgrims, under flags of peace waiting on their compatriot Muslim deputies, to be sent inside the ramparts to present due protocols, seeking permission to be let in to Mecca.[24]

The Prophet appointed Umar to seek permission to enter Mecca. Muhammad told Umar whom he was to take with him for presenting the petition. Umar was hot-tempered enough to wrangle with the prophet and even disagree about who would best present the petition to the Quraysh for entry. Umar took an Umayyad believer over Muhammad’s choice of his son-in-law Ali to represent Him to the chief as coming to Mecca in peace.

After a long wait the emissaries from Muhammad returned with the message that the gates would not open for the Muslims to enter Mecca! The Muslim company gathered, waiting to enter Mecca with the Prophet took this refusal hard! The perception of insult to Muhammad their Prophet put the Muslims to anger and they were ready to fight to redress lost honor. Muhammad counselled patience rather than invading Mecca (as he could well have done) and thus Muhammad held back his men. His party of petitioners felt humiliated for the refusal of entry and Umar was furious and he stirred up the fellow Muslims. But Muhammad had, while Umar and his deputy were in Mecca seeking permission, initiated a sacred oath of loyalty among the Muslims, waiting outside, encamped; and because this request to the Meccan chief of the Ka’bah stated that the purpose of gaining access to Mecca was that of pilgrimage, so the pledge to keep that promise kept the waiting camp from invading. They must stay the purpose of the trek to Mecca was described as a peace mission as pilgrims to the Kab’ah which had to be contingent upon the formalities of reception by the administrators (the Quraysh) of Mecca.[25] We may imagine the groans of disappointment at not being urged to force their way in yet! But, there was a great result for this patience.

The result of accepting the Quraysh’s refusal to enter the gates of Mecca, became a victory though to to appearance it was humiliation. Because, in spite of his followers’ frustration, the Prophet’s patience brought about a Meccan delegation into Medina with an agreement for a ten year truce between Medina and Mecca; this was the Truce of Al-Hudaybiyyah, and it was a major victory for Islam.

And God was pleased for the loyalty to the pledge of patience.

Verse 19 of surah xiviii (Victory) “God was well pleased with the believers when they were swearing fealty to thee under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down the Sechina* upon them and rewarded them with a nigh victory and many spoils to take and God is ever All-mighty, All wise. [26]

And, another boon for the Muslims in Medina was after the elimination of the confederates with the Qurayysh and the Banu Qurayzah Jews, the Muslims enjoyed a period of safety and calm and mostly successful desert campaigns. The truce between Mecca and Medina was strong enough that the Muslims as well as the idolaters of Mecca could travel between the two cities and not be molested. Pilgrimage was permitted; and kin ties could be maintained. This is a marked stage in the development of Islam called the Truce of al-Hudaybiyyah. It was a milestone victory for Islam. Idolator and believer alike were free to travel between the cities of Mecca and Medina unmolested in regard to what a traveler held to be true. For ten years this diplomacy lasted and creating additional bonds of trust between Medina and Mecca.

*a Hebrew word meaning “calmness.”


Chapter 4 ~ 2nd MECCA PERIOD

The Prophet Receiving Mecca into the fold of Islam by removal of 365 idols

MECCA: Jewel in the Crown of Islam

So then, in the 6th year of the Hegira, (627–28), the Muslim forces did settle particularly difficult grievances against the Meccan clans of nay-sayers and dissemblers in Mecca. There were still in that time of truce a series of quick Muslim campaigns against pagan clan-villages of the Hejaz who were, for the most part, not overly committed to fighting the Muslims. So, with success by the Muslim campaigns who suffering surprisingly few losses, there came into the fold more Muslims, or, also added allies of Muslims.

And there was the continuing nastiness and assaults by the Jewish community of Khabar, a city of five fortresses. Finally, what came to light was the very reasonable cumulative anger for the Jews’ fury against the Muslims.The fury was by reason that a Jewish leader of Khabar, a certain Kinanah, had hid away assets of jewelry and gold which the Jews had had to leave behind by their surrender to the Muslims, and Kinanah had blamed their missing gold on Muhammad saying Muhammad had broke his oath to keep their possessions protected. As this lie came to light, Kinanah was dealt with justly according to the times, by death; and his wife, after being claimed by a Muslim was ransomed into the safety of the household of the prophet. This is Safiyyah, and she became Muslim.[1]And so, after this crisis, by the seventh year of Hegira the Jews of the North were no longer a threat to Islam.

There was a contingent of Muslims who were sent to avenge a deliberate insult by the Christians near the border to the Paran in the north (where Jordan is at this time.) Eager for a show-down against the alarming fast spread of Islam, Christian Arabs tribes, and Greeks, in great numbers under the Byzantine standard of war, met the Muslims who had marched many miles and many days to meet their Byzantine enemy. The Byzantine forces so outnumbered the Muslims that the forces, led under ‘Abdu’llah, and Zayd expected only to lead the battle into the field surely to die as martyrs. The battle proceeded, and it was ultimately lost. The Christian army brought down — first ‘Abdullah, then Zayd. Zayd: remember him? He was Muhammad’s adopted son. By the time of Zayd’s fall on that battlefield, to protect Islam’s border-land, Zayd had achieved a high rank within Islam and conducted many successful campaigns; and it was Zaid, who, as Muhammad’s emissary, rode into villages and fortified oases to receive clans’ chiefs’ pledges for Islam. But at this time, a defeated army without ‘Abdullah, or Zayd returned home, beaten with loss that saddened all of Medina. The Prophet consoled the bereaved and praised the bravery of his soldiers upon their return home. [2]

What else could be next but gaining Mecca!

As the Muslims expanded their influence over the oasis villages and added converts to their ranks, there was an almost overwhelming eagerness to pull Mecca into the orbit of Islam. With Muslim forces numbering 10,000, including tribes of Bedouins by this time, the army ventured out toward Mecca on the first day of the year 630 C.E.

Just twelve miles out of Mecca, the Prophet made camp. An elder uncle of Muhammad who all the while had not been favorable to the claims of Muhammad was, with his family, on his way to Medina. At the camp they met. Muhammad addressed his uncle: “You are the last of the Emigrants as I am the last of the Prophets.” The uncle then sent his wife on to Medina and stayed as a convert with his Nephew. [3] Others, likewise, filtered out of Mecca to join the Muslim forces awaiting entrance into Mecca. They swore fealty to Islam before being granted permission to join the troops waiting for the signal from Muhammad to gain Mecca.

Meanwhile in Mecca, the inhabitants looked out over their parapets and saw the whole plain before Mecca ablaze with the camp fires of Muhammad’s army. Without time to muster their forces, those inside Mecca were in panic. Abu’ Sufyan, the clansman most antagonistic to Muhammad, came out from Mecca on his own to parlay with Muhammad. But for the chance that he was seen by a Muslim kinsman, Abu ‘Sufyan would certainly have been killed as he approached the camp. He was put under the protection by this kinsman, and ushered to the tent of the Prophet. It was late. Abu ‘Sufyan was bid to rest there the night to wait for a visit with Muhammad come morning. In morning’s first dawning light Abu ‘Sufyan heard Balal sing the call to prayer and witnessed the ritual cleansing of the faithful before prayer. As he gazed toward where the Prophet stood, Abu ‘Sufyan was astounded to see the reverence of the Muslims toward Muhammad, of Whom he had so sarcastically belittled to the Meccan Idolaters in the time of the Prophet’s Announcement just eight years earlier. [4]

Then Abu ‘Sufyan came into the presence of the Apostle of God. Muhammad addresed him with such words as, “Is it not time for you to acknowledge the one true God?” And Abu ‘Sufyan became humbled at that instant by this gentle reproof. He admitted that there could only be one God, for if there was any power in the gods that the Meccans had been worshiping, the cause of the Quraysh would have been blessed. And so it happened that this former arch-enemy of Muhammad, perforce of Islam, confessed that Muhammad was “the Apostle of God, and that there is no God but God”. [5]

In return, Muhammad guaranteed protection for the Quraysh as follows:

The house of Abu Sufyan would be guaranteed safety in the southern section of Mecca. Further, the northern section the House of Hakim would be secure. Finally, whosoever lay down arms or went into their own houses would also be safe from the forces about to subdue Mecca.

And then, as Abu ‘Sufyan was leaving, Muhammad’s uncle Abbas suggested that lest Abu ‘Sufyan revert to idolatry once he returned to Mecca, he should witness the might of the forces waiting to move on Mecca. [6] Muhammad agreed. And at dawn the next morning Balal’s call to prayer collected the troops and Abu ‘Sufayan was present to witness such a display — of battalion after battalion. The camel riders and the horsemen with the glint of swords shone in the early morning sun. And archers, row upon row, added to the 10,000 in full armor gathered on the fields surrounding Mecca! In this way did Abu ‘Sufyan see up close the evident Might of God ready to converge upon the sacred city of Mecca. An astonished Abu ‘Sufyan bore witness to the fortune had come to favor the One he took on as enemy, for Abu ‘Sufyan’s assessment had proven to be severely underestimated!

Abu ‘Sufyan rushed to his house in Mecca and warned his family of the oncoming rush of Muslims who are ready for whatever it would take to subdue — to the last — the idolators. His wife, thinking him mad, beat him, and put him out in the streets shouting, pleading that he be beheaded! [7] (Then sentries from the top towers spotted the billowing clouds of desert sands rising up from the onward movement of the Muslim forces.

10,000 troops the sentries of Mecca saw. The idolaters of Mecca were watching billowing winds of dust from the horses and camels whose waving standards the Meccans recognized because the flags were those of the clans who had once fought the Muslims along side their forces of denial — and some not so long ago — fighting to obliterate the Muslims! They saw Muhammad with his escort accompanying him, with Abu Bakr at his side, their green armor glistening in the morning sun, moving relentlessly toward Mecca, so dazzling that this sight came to be called, “the green dome” because the green of the coats of armor glistened so brilliantly. [8]

As the armies approached, Muhammad called a halt. Eight years ago, He had spoken in anguish to God in remembrance of Mecca. “God knowest that I love thee (meaning Mecca). Had not thy people expelled me, never would I have chosen any other city above thee, nor exchanged any other city for thee. Separation from thee grieves my heart.” [9]

And so now, his gaze turned to Mecca. And It was the time of redemption, the Return! Muhammad was coming back to the city that nurtured him as a young man and housed him as husband of his beloved wife, Khadijah and father and protector of adopted sons and his own children, the city that turned violently against him as he pronounced his call as befitted the Apostle of God to bring the establishment of the singleness of God to be worshiped, a city with its Ka’bah to find purity of space, unencumbered by idols which, by an act of cleansing would henceforth sanctify pilgrimage; and he will do just that, this day, accompanied by 10,000 believers. The Prophet, riding in glory into His holy city of Mecca, its inhabitants being Quraysh, His kin, who had battled Him in the plains and there: enter! Right to the gate: He paused. Muhammad the Prophet of God, gave thanks, and then told His men, “Enter!” And the Prophet with His Ansar , the Medina Helpers, and the Muhajirun, the Meccan emigrants flanking their Prophet, accessed the inner city. There was little serious resistance. Only one Muslim commander met a fighting challenge to the Muslims and this was swiftly resolved by definitive measures.

And into the Ka’bah Muhammad entered. Not as a pilgrim but as one who would right the wrongs of idol worship. He took up his sword.

Three hundred and sixty idols in various niches around the Ka’bah were smashed by the very hand of the Prophet Himself, as Muhammad, with His chosen guard, encircled that holy cube. This is the stone relic which pointed out earlier, tradition held to be the remnant of the days of Adam to Abraham as a place originally set aside to worship the one God. The Ka’bah was, by the hand of the Prophet, redeemed to its rightful dignity by total annihilation of the idols. “Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me!” spoke God and recorded in the Torah. And this singleness of God was to be the over-riding emblem of Islam, the very cornerstone for the faithful to endure for all time. As each idol was knocked down from its pedestal, Muhammad proclaimed: “Truth has come and the false has departed, indeed the false has truly gone.” [10]

This was the supreme climax, the moment of Truth, a supreme victory for Islam, and as many quantify: “the most brilliant moment of Muhammad”.

Following this event is yet another significant action by Muhammad. A most surprising action by the Prophet came soon after the destruction of the idols around the outside of the Ka’bah. After the elimination of the idols, Muhammad entered inside the Ka’bah itself. Here, Muhammad found human likenesses or images on the walls. These He ordered effaced. Then, there came into view some graphic representations of the Virgin Mother Mary with her Infant son Jesus in her arms. Muhammad ordered that those images of Mary and the infant Jesus be left untouched.[11] He exemplified reverent respect for Christian beliefs, as of course the same Heavenly Father of Jesus is also the Progenitor of Muhammad!

The Prophet turned over the keys of the Ka’bah to Uthman, the Meccan believer, making him custodian. Soon afterwards, Muhammad visited Mount Safa where He could see the totality of the Ka’bah within Mecca. To the eager crowds of Meccans who pursued Him, the Prophet accepted oaths of loyalty. And, soon after this, He received the most venomous of the idolaters who opposed Islam, and asked of the city’s leaders what would be a fair judgment upon them for their many misdeeds and the great harm they perpetrated. The spokesman for the idolaters, named Suhayl, said that he was thinking of the goodness of Muhammad. The story of the forgiveness Joseph had for his brothers who had tried to murder him was the undercurrent of this comment by Suhayl. Muhammad wept at this, and He forgave the idolaters and let them go. [12]And so for Mecca the Prophet bestowed the same benevolence, with His kinsmen, whether faithful or unconfirmed, and now the holy city of Mecca was under the protection …. Of Islam!

One of those who regretted his unworthy actions against God’s Apostle despaired of ever receiving forgiveness of God. Muhammad quoted His own Revelation that comprises the 54th of Surah xxxix (Surat-az-Zummar, the Companies),

Say: “O my people who have been prodigal against yourselves, do not despair of God’s mercy; surely God forgives sins altogether; surely He is the All-forgiving, the all-compassionate.” [13]

This Surah was noted by Muhammad, and later by the Imam Ali (as according to tradition), that this verse is the best in the whole of the Qur’an.

Mecca was secured. And now Muhammad felt he must turn His attention to what was left of the idol worshippers in the Hejaz region surrounding Mecca. Some of the tribes in the territories outside of the ramparts of Mecca had quickly made treaties to defeat the forces carrying the standard of Islam. To help the Muslims, two thousand additional Meccans joined the ranks of the army at this point.

Safyan was accounted as an idolater yet he provided armor and weapons for Muhammad’s forces. Sufyan also went out in battle with the Muslim army at Hunayn. But, even with the additional numbers of soldiers, the Muslims were almost routed. It was the booming voice of Muhammad’s uncle Abbas that stopped those who were fleeing for their lives. Abbas’ shouts inspired the fearful Muslim soldiers and roused them back into action. The company of Muslim soldiers on verge of fleeing saw that the first to return to the field of battle were the newly converted soldiers of Mecca! And following them from behind were the Ansar. Their bravery rallied the cause, and Hunayn ultimately fell to the Muslims. The spoils of war from Hunayn was tremendous; and Muhammad was especially generous to his Ansar and even more so to the new Muslim converts of Mecca. Sufyan, as an idolater, was not entitled to spoils, but Muhammad, grateful for Sufyan’s material support rewarded him handsomely enough that Safyan became overwhelmed at the kindness and swore his steadfast allegiance to Islam.[14]

And it was at this time of victory that Ikrimah, the son of the Arch-enemy of Muhammad, Abu’Jahl, likewise swore loyalty and his personal riches to the support of Islam. Ikrimah had spent a fortune to fight Muhammad and His forces, and even maintaining a stubborn stance of warfare just two weeks prior was devising ways and providing means for routing the Muslims. So here, in this jubilant time this son of the most formidable former enemy dedicated himself to the on-rushing destiny of Islam. Ikrimah would in future years brilliantly lead conquest after conquest for Islam against the remaining idolatrous states, ultimately falling in engagement with the Byzantines who rose to challenge the Muslims in Syria.

An expedition to Tabuk was initiated by the Prophet that was intended to meet threat to a Muslim garrison on the part of Christian Arabs to the north. The season for doing this was late summer when all grazing for the animals was dried up and would be severe hardship for the troops, and very few responded to the call to muster issued by the Prophet. No battle came from this trek. Just fatigue. This concluded the ninth year of Hijii which really was an odd year. For the great victory of gaining Mecca for Islam, Tabuk and other situations reveal a crowd of agitators still amidst the faithful. The prophet showed great patience, and also masterful control. Relating to his patience, the prophet forgave an old unrepentant enemy and at his death bed comforted him, even supplying him with his own clothing for a shroud. (This angered Umar.) For masterful control, he ordered burning down a mosque that had been built not to honor Islam but rather to honor the builder. (See Ch 5.) But the year’s contrasting events to the good of fortune was an event of “welcome!” Bedouin tribesmen came to pledge fealty to the cause of Islam. Also, a delegation from the beautiful oasis city of Ta’if came to Muhammad, still in Mecca, and pleaded to be accepted as adherents of Islam. They had one hope: not to have to to give up their favorite god. “Just that one?” But, of course, that was not granted, and two former idol worshipers were called upon to go to Ta’if to pull down the idol that represented him. So that is exactly what happened and the job was done, and Ta’if was now under the protection and laws of Islam.

Finally to relate, the Helpers (the al-Ansar — the Medinite Muslims) were beside themselves with concerns that Muhammad would move his quarters to Mecca, but the Prophet assured the Ansar of Medina that He always had planned to come back to the City of the Prophet, the administrative capital city of Islam: Medina. Soon, He and many followers departed Mecca for Medina, leaving behind many — who chose to stay in Mecca — the large part of the al muhajarun, (emigrants,) those early contingent of believers who had left their homes and kin in Mecca to join the forming capitol base of Islam in Medina. The al muhajarun remained in Mecca, totally vindicated and elevated in status with the job to build the new glory that is Mecca.

Chapter 5 — Medina, Capital for Muhammad: “ City of the Prophet”

Medina, 2nd period : “City of the Prophet”

Upon the Prophet’s return to Medina, for administration, Islam continued to advance the cause for monotheism and to regulate order. The Campaigns ordained to set claims of Islam’s mission of advancement of the singleness of God were formulated and administered from Medina. Protection from false claimants were dealt with. Core leadership was always close to the Prophet, for the Muslim population was extremely diverse and keeping the discipline of brotherhood a constant preaching. Generals returned to Medina for advice to maintain peace in the distant posts that stretched far and wide. Affairs were led by the Prophet, Who by Revelation as well as consultation with His advisers, met the inevitable complexities that sprang up. As problems arose, its solution would take, in one case a subtle diplomatic approach, or, in another case it would take tough discipline in order to integrate these parts into a whole Islamic unity.[1]

Of course, expansion of the Faith of Islam was on the agenda, and equally important: leadership was needed to coordinate response to antagonistic acts of war. It was always the prophet Muhammad who steered the course. His advisers were called in but if necessary, the Prophet Himself directly engaged with the campaigns whose goals were to strengthen the roots Islam was cultivating for its full future blossoming. All these issues required sharp administrative capabilities, and managed from the center point of Medina.

Note particularly the advancement of Islam under the Prophet’s governorship from Medina (stock graphic from Wikipedia)

Because the map posted above uses the term “conquests” it is easy to draw a conclusion that Islam was expanded by wars the Muslim armies forced upon the tribes and settlements in those days. But far from it! There are clear prohibitions in the Qur’an to recognize people of the Book which were the Jews and the Christians and the Zoroastrians. Those who became Muslim converts by these campaigns were welcomed as brothers, united in faith in one God (Allah) as far-flung the distances between former tribal territories had been before Islam united them. Choice to become Muslim was theirs, and so long as there was no rebellion or acts of war against Islam there was no pressure to put on them to convert. A tax was imposed, initially for those who chose not to join the Muslim armies under siege from near or far. Non Muslim wives were not to be forced to the disciplines of Islam. But the main, most heart-warming aspect of the growth of Islam is that non-Muslims were not conscripted to fight battles or join campaigns for Islam.

Nevertheless, some events weave a picture of an archetype Islamic identity that took place between Medina and Tabuk. Historians note that no actual engagements with the opposition occurred on a later route to Tabuk toward in the ninth year of the Hijrah. Non-Muslims within jurisdiction of Muslim authority who agreed to pay a poll-tax were exempted from participating in the campaigns. In Tabuk the chiefs who powered Tabuk’s city enclaves met with Muhammad and simply agreed to terms which meant accepting Islam and Muhammad as its Prophet. So the Tabuk campaign seemed to set aside any problems with the Byzantine antagonistic presence tin Tabuk for the time being.

Also at this time, a story offers another lesson that is core, even universal beyond Islam. A Messenger of God’s or the Prophet’s authority for followers’ submission to the Will of God as revealed by Muhammad, the Prophet of God comes out of this trek to Tebuk.[2] It so happened as the troops were gathering in Medina in preparation for the Tabuk trek, Muhammad was requested to honor a particular Mosque just finished in construction. The Prophet already had made preparations for the trek to Tabuk, so the time to bless the Mosque was unsuitable. The Prophet said he would be back to visit the Mosque and continued on to Tabuk. But. His real intent is known through His orders to his forces coming with Him. “Go back to that Mosque and burn it down!” Muhammad knew that the builder of this Mosque was seeking his own grandness and power. This mosque sought to draw focus away from Muhammad, a serious breach within the code of brotherhood and equality that is core to Islam. Surah ix, 108 refers “to this doomed mosque constructed by the partisans[3] This story has ramification to the station of the Prophet, and his unerring reception of divine guidance. In the large sense, this is the covenant between God to His chosen Messengers, and the Messenger’s stream of guidance to humankind. Justice and protection of the true faith called for expulsion of the hypocritical deniers, pretenders to authority in human ego-contest with God’s Chosen One.

“And those who have taken a mosque in opposition and unbelief, and to divide the believers, and as a place of ambush for those who fought God and His Messenger aforetime — they will swear “We desired nothing but good’’ and God testifies they are truly liars.” [4]

But, the expedition to Tabuk brought advantage to the Muslims for consolidation of the Muslim outposts between Tabuk and Medina, and Muhammad returned after a month of diplomacy rather than fighting. He and His troops were sheepishly welcomed by the Ansar and the Muhajarun who had decided to remain home. This return put a bit of a pall for the area showed itself vulnerable to some future needs. Obviously, it was unfinished business.

The Prophet’s Summons to the Chiefs and Rulers

That ninth year of Hegira that was so amazing saw Muhammad the Prophet issuing calls to chiefs and kings for allegiance to the true Faith. And in so far that chiefs realized the visible strength of Islam, many deputies from the tribes near and far came to Medina to pay respects to Muhammad and swear allegiance to Islam. Even the most difficult tribes to hold-out against the new laws of Islam, presented their petitions acknowledging their submission to Islam.

The conversion of the beautiful oasis city Tai’if predeced by mere days the conversion masses of Bedouins [5] just as Muhammad knew they would. Up to this time the Bedouin had been the crudest and noisiest declaimers with which Muhammad had to contend. Yet He stayed the anger of the other Muslims from too severe a retribution for earlier associations against the Bedouins for what was insultingly raucous disrespect. And by patience through Muhammad’s insistance, Bedouins did find their way into their true home of Islam.

Other tribes sent deputies to inquire about Muhammad’s teachings. One tribesman, a very proud man named Dimam, asked where the son of Abul ‘Muttalib was. [6] Muhammad replied that He was that son. Then Dimam asked Him not to be offended, but he would ask of Muhammad questions to which he wished straight answers. Muhammad answered the questions to the satisfaction of Dimam who returned to his village, had all idols demolished, and brought his tribe and its clans under the protection of Muslim brotherhood.

The chiefs of the most generous and chivalrous tribe of Hatim also came to Medina to investigate Islam. They did so at the bequest of a captured Christian woman who had been returned home by Muhammad, who also provided guards for her safety in travel. This great kindness of Muhammad drew the Christian tribesmen of the Hatim tribe to Medina to learn more. They, too were totally satisfied with what they saw and learned while investigating Islam in Medina, converted and brought their tribal high-minded ways and strengths into the young faith of Islam, earning for their contributions honor to the name Hatim for centuries to come. [7]

Yemen sent delegations, as well. The Christians of Najran came originally to dispute the poll-tax, but in the end made a pact with Muhammad, even asking the Prophet to name a governor for Najran. [8]

And another delegation from Yamamah came purely for personal advantage and false claim to Apostleship. The delegation had hoped to create a wedge between them and Islam. They failed utterly, for the time being.

And revealing to our day is the Prophet’s act of Announcement, that, as it turns out, connects the past with the present. It is how the proclamation Muhammad issued to tribal chiefs of the Nejd and the Hejaz , likewise, to kings and sultans of the Middle East were issued. The Prophet of God’s Announcement of being the Apostle, the Warner, the Messenger of God to the world through deputized delegations to present his summons as an invitation to peace by their choice and willing submission to the Will of God.The story below has a bit of the nature of legend, but these stories bear enough substance and credibility to have come down throughout generations to hold up as factual.

The Persian Sassanid enemy had long been Christian Byzantium. Truces between Ctesiphon and Constantinople were made and broken and renegotiated to great cost to the Eastern Church for many years. From the year 570 with the birth of Muhammad, into the time of the arrival of Muhammad into Mecca with his 10,ooo troops, the Hejaz was under the Sassanian power, with northern borders against Byzantine extending and receding according to strength or weakness. [9]

And by this 9th year of Hegira, with delegations from tribal territories, being received in Medina by Muhammad, and by their declaring allegiance to Islam, their territories were on the Muslim map now, and for that placement were under Muslim protection; therefore Islam was absorbing lands that had been held by either the Sassanids or the Byzantines!

Chroses II was ruler for the Sassanids, receiving the throne upon the death of his father Chroses I . Chroses I had secured Constantinople. His Sassanid armies defeated the Byzantines who were forced to retreat from their seat of power, their “Eastern Rome” (Rum) as Constantinople was also called. Honorious was then Pope, residing in mainly in Constantinople due to the political and fractious atmosphere in Rome; (he was going to be declared heretic) so that is how Constantinople was the safer, Christian Greek center. Its Eastern Church Patriarch, Heracleus, shared with Honorious the highest positions of power for Christianity, but were exiles while the Sassanids occupied their former resident city palaces, and relished in the riches brought by victory.

In the midst of this, Muhammad received revelation, the Surah-ar-Rum xxx:(vv 1–5)

“Rum, (the Byzantines) were defeated in the near land. They, after their defeat, shall be victorious in a few years. Command belongs to God, before and after, and on that day the believers shall rejoice in God’s aid. God will aid whomsoever He willeth. And He is the All-Mighty, the Merciful. The promise of God: God faileth not to fulfil His promise, but most men do not know it.[See End Note 2]

Chroses II, was seated in beautiful Ctesiphon. [10]However, he was an inadequate strategist, unable to hold onto the gains his more illustrious father, Chroses I made of the sacking of Byzantium. In 24 years of combat, Chroses’ II forces were broken and the Sassanids succumbed against the Byzantine forces, led by Heraclius. The seat of Rome had re-established itself in Constantinople.

Back in the palace at Ctesiphon there was rising rebellion. Chroses II was never liked as had been his predecessor (Chroses I). So after Chroses chopped off the heads of his generals for losing, and thus, infuriating the councils around him, the king was searching for ways to keep afloat. As he received the delegation from Muhammad, King Chroses II sought to turn the invitation to accept Islam into his own ambitious opportunity!

This interchange of pride and ambition meeting the will of God now proves a pivot in fortunes. New history is fomenting, like yeast, and this very aspect of Chroses II receiving the divine Call by Muhammad’s proclamation to him is an event that is woven into the very warp of Islam in pattern to the present age for its nuance that helps the future generations comprehend the Plan (and power) of God. We will content ourselves with the most brief of summary, [10]with hopes you find the hidden significances that divine Revelation provides us. [11]

Saying it again, that it had been a life-death 24 year battle after the victory of Chroses I’s army winning Constantinople against the Byzantines. Then loss! Total Sassanian defeat with loss of the jewel of Constantinople throughan all out onslaught under the masterful Byzantine general Heraculus restored the Christian presence in Constantinople. This humiliation put Chroses II in a dark mood. [12]He was in terrible strain at the time the summons to God to Islam was issued from Muhammad to Chroses II personally as Muhammad’s delegation to the King met and presented the formal summons to the Will of God.

What was in Chroses’ hand was a proclamation portending the reality of a new Faith on the horizon, a new day’s signal of its rise in the sun. But, this summons was received through the thick veils of imperial ambition. In combatant temper with all his troubles and fears, Chroses II looked to turn the divine summons around to his advantage. So he sent his delegation back to the Prophet with his demand that the forces, under Muhammad, come to the aid of Chroses against the Christian Byzantine armies! And, for good measure, Chroses II threatened military retaliation against Mecca and Medina and all that had been gained, should the Prophet dare lack of disposition to the king’s demand! The prophet received this missive quietly but gave no reply.[13]

After waiting, Chroses’ delegation came to the prophet again seeking his reply. The prophet then replied that a reply was not necessary. The delegation was mystified at this, but soon the news came that Chroses II had been murdered [14]… by his own son, it is said. The delegation was so dumbfounded that this was known by Muhammad before they knew that they converted to Islam on the spot! These delegates were Yemeni, among the first of a huge reception of Islam by believers other than Arab.

The Murder of Chroses II in Ctesiphon


The Ethiopian King graciously received the delegation from the Prophet with his proclamation. It is the same Negus who had listened to the first of the emigrants (the First Hegira) those early Muslims who had been accused as fomenters of discord by the Meccans to the Negus who, after hearing the two sides out, ruled in favor of the Muslims. And this time, upon receiving the prophet’s delegates, Negus responded with humble respect and for a show of diplomacy, but perhaps not submission, he sent a shipload of soldiers assigned as guards to the prophet for life. Unfortunately on sea, such a storm hit that the ship went down giving the world this a story which is remembered with honor to this day. [15]


The ruler of Egypt was not drawn to accept Islam, but was diplomatic. He sent back with the deputies some gifts. Two were women, and another pair of gifts was a mule and a donkey which was ridden by the Prophet for the rest of his life, even unto Ali and then his son Hasan. One of the women sent to Muhammad was Mariyah who became the last wife of Muhammad, and who bore him a son (Ibrahim) who sadly, died in infancy. [16]

The Ghassanids received the delegation from the Prophet and were infuriated. They were Christians written about earlier, whennaming the tribes. They were ready to launch an invasion, but it is believed that Heraclius in Constantinople dissuaded him.


The leader of Bahrain received the summons to Islam most enthusiastically; practically all the islands previously under the Sassanian dominion accepted Islam and pledged allegiance.

The season was approaching for the traditional pilgrimage to Mecca in the year 631 C.E., but Muhammad decided not to go. The period of grace granted by Muhammad to allow the idolaters’ pilgrim access to the Ka’bah was henceforth to be closed. Muslims and only Muslims could circum-ambulate the Ka’bah from this point on. Muhammad appointed Ali to reveal the Qur’anic Verses that relate to these shifts from the old ways to the new, including people allowed into the Ka’bah, and those denied access. Muhammad also appointed ‘Abu Bakr to lead the pilgrims. Ali and Abu-Bakr were singled out from among all the others to lead the faithful for their special capacities of steadfastness and sincerity. However, this delegation of authority to these two brought immature interpretations as the years rolled on, although at this time the mutual comradeship of Ali and Abu-Bakr is indisputable.[17]

A look at the Prophet’s decisions of his Medina Period demonstrates the vitality of Islam. His appointed leaders were of diverse representation of many tribes, even formerly competitive tribes, which often had affiliation and clan loyalties going back centuries. Likewise, the newly selected leaders came from places set apart by miles of sand desert. The process of their being selected came simply by a standard of proven capabilities, especially of trust. These trusted faithful were appointed directly by Muhammad to positions such as revenue collecting, and in this capacity went from oasis to villages, to cities, and wherever Muslims held ground in the ever- expanding geographical boundaries of Islam.

On a sober note, the undercurrent of this development of Medina centered for administration of Islam was timely and done in order that the Prophet prepare for His passing; and yet, that event would prove a catastrophe for which no one could be adequately prepared.


Chapter 6— The Prophet’s Ascension

Muhammad’s Passing ~Year 10 A. H. (after the Hegira) (632 C.E.);

Muhammad led Pilgrimage on the tenth year of Hegira. It was His last Pilgrimage, and is known as the “Farewell Pilgrimage.” In His sermon Muhammad told the crowds that He would never meet them in the same place.

The Prophet’s Last Sermon (Excerpt)

Dr. Balyuzi’s wrote: “He [Muhammad] particularly emphasized the fraternity of the Muslim community. All the blood-feuds of the past He unequivocally expunged from the body-politic. He affirmed the right of private property, but condemned usury. The months of year He declared to be twelve, four of them being months in which raids and warfare [were placed under taboo]. Also in his last sermon the Prophet declared: ‘You have rights over your women and they have rights over you,’ the Prophet declared…He exhorted the vast congregation to put aside all vainglory.[1]

‘O people’, said Muhammad, ‘your God is one God, your fathers are one; you are all of Adam and Adam is of earth. In the sight of God he is more worthy who is more devoted to Him.’ Fear of God and devotion to Him were the measure of the worth of a man, not his lineage and ancestry, not the glories of the group to which he might belong.”

And at the closing of this sermon Muhammad, asked the congregation if He had not brought to them all they need to know, and if He had not completed “the Mission entrusted to Him.” The crowd called back, “By God, Thou hast!” Muhammad then lifted up His head and exclaimed: “O God! Bear Thou witness!” And to this day, the rites of pilgrimage in Mecca follow this same declaration.

Muhammad stayed in Mecca the ten days of Hajj, and left Mecca for Medina for the last time.

The crowd of believers accompanied the Prophet back to Medina. On the way there, it is believed by many, that is, the Shi’ah (as yet unformed) that the Prophet ordered a halt at a place by a pool at Khum and set up saddles to rise high enough to be heard by the crowd. He asked them to pledge loyalty to his adopted son Ali, and required each to place their hand on the hand of Ali, signifying their oath of acceptance of the prophets designation of Ali as his succession as Imam, to take the leadership of Islam in behalf of his illustrious Prophet father. The sermon he gave is known as the Saddle Sermon, but authenticity of the occasion is disputed and is not to be found in records.

Back in Medina, the Prophet called for an expedition into the Christian-held Byzantine territory, to redress the lack of a solid win in Tabuk. The Prophet appointed a young untried believer to act as Chief of this campaign, placing him over the well-respected and proven generals, such as Abu-Bakr and Umar, for this planned battle. This appointment tested the leadership as well as the rank and file. And in the course of letting the dust settle Muhammad paid visit to the field at Uhud where His beloved Uncle Hamzah had fallen. [2] Muhammad prayed for all those who died in that terrible battle, but especially Hamzah for whom He still grieved.

And then the Prophet of God suddenly was stricken with illness. He lay in the apartment of Aisha who tended Muhamad most attentively. He could not lead the prayers at the mosque and appointed Abu Bakr to lead. As He lay near He could hear the prayers. When He heard Umar reciting the prayer instead of Abu-Bakr, Muhammad sent word that it was given to Abu-Bakr to lead and for Umar to desist. [3] In the ensuing confusion, or possibly on one more later occasion, Muhammad ascended the pulpit to lead prayer, but He remained seated as He did so. There are conflicting stories on these last hours in the life of the Prophet, so traumatic was this time.

Speculation remains as to the cause of Muhammad’s final illness. He Himself is reported to have said that He suffered the effects of poison he had received earlier by the Jewish woman Khaybar.[4] There is also speculation that the Prophet was stricken with pneumonia. He did rally for a brief period, but His fever rose once again, and in this condition Muhammad requested that He dictate His last wishes. Again there is speculation as to what happened next. There is some agreement that Umar expressed that Muhammad was delirious, and said “the Book of God sufficeth us.” And then the company around the Prophet became agitated with one opinion crossing another. Muhammad told everyone to leave, “at once!”

Then at dawn in late May or early June, 632, C.E. in the 11th year of the Hejira, He rose from His sick bed and, perhaps accompanied by Ali and Abu Bakr ascended the pulpit of the Mosque , and conducted dawn prayers.

Muhammad appeared strong, as though He had recovered His health. Abu-Bakr asked permission to go visit his kin, and Muhammad gave assent. Muhammad returned home and after bathing, returned to bed. His head rested on the breast of his wife A’ishah, and He passed away. He died on a Monday, at noon.

Early Qur’an by carbon test estimated to been scribed at the time of the living Prophet Muhammad

Chapter 7

Basic Islam Structure~What Practices do Muslims Partake in

Basic Islamic Structure in religious practice includes these following aspects: “The pattern of daily life which is unique with Islam regarding the everyday life for a Muslim?” and “What Fundamental Islamic Laws govern their lives?”

Below comprise basic laws of Islam, by the Prophet’s Revelation in the Qur’an.

1.(Call to Prayer) Muslims in the earliest time of the Revelation of the Quran in Mecca began their day with the a new formed practice of prayer. Then in Medina, after hejira one of the first acts of the Prophet was to institute the vocal call to prayer, which in Arabic is “Adhan.” (The caller is “ Mu’adh-dhin or, muezzin). The call to prayer begins: “Allah’ho Akbar!” (God is great!). Ablutions (washing face and hands) are required prior to prayers. This is the English version of the prayer recited with various gestures, five times daily:

Prayer in translation from Arabic: First and foremost tenet of Islam requires each Muslim to acknowledge, five times daily that Allah is one God and that no person, creature, or thing may be associated with him or accorded divine attributes. This prayer is recited:

Allahu Akbar (God is great!) — recited 4 times

Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah (I bear witness that there is no god except the One God. — said 2 times

Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasool Allah (I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God) — said 2 times

Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah (Hurry to the prayer or Rise up for prayer) — said 2 times

Hayya ‘ala-l-Falah (Hurry to Salvation) — said 2 times

Allahu Akbar (God is great) — said two times

La ilaha illa Allah (There is no god except the One God)

Other laws include:

2. Abstinence from alcoholic drink.

3. To perform Hajj, or pilgrimage to the House (Kab’ah) in Mecca at least one time, in a life time, (if possible).

4. The Quiblih (the point of adoration) is fixed in Mecca. At first the prayers were toward Jerusalem; then came Revelation that turned their adoration to Mecca. Muslims face Mecca in their daily prayers from wherever they are.

5. Fasting: the Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar: The month of Ramadan is the month of Fast, during which no food or drink from dawn to sunset, for 29 or 30 days. The Festival of Eid is the time for breaking fast.

6. Muslims worship God, rather than His Apostle Muhammad. Muhammad was the God chosen Messenger the medium of revelation to warn and guide the people to do the will of God. Muhammad’s own Revelation established this tenet for all time.

7. There are various laws pertaining to money and property, including prohibitions against usury, (and that’s a big change from the old order of things, where lenders charged as much as 100% interest on loans), also laws on settlement of properties at the death of a believer. Laws of marriage limiting wives with detailed description of suitability for selection in first ever Scriptual Law in curtailment of the number wives to a household to four.

8. Dietary laws, including the prohibition of eating pork and provisions for the humane slaughter of food animals. The Muslim looks for butchered meats that are done correctly, that is by “Halal”.

9. Marriage Laws In Context of Time and Place

Muhammad set the limit of marriages for the believers to four. This is the first revelation in sacred scriptures limiting the number of wives. Yet as the Prophet, he, himself would ultimately in the course of his earthly span of life marry thirteen wives. The Prophet chose each wife for either a political honor or humane reason; and that would be in consideration of the context of the age and cultural customs, also of when and where new laws were introduced, revealed as they were, through God’s will. First consideration is the reasons of honor and protection that called for marrying the widow of a heroic husband killed in battle for the Cause of Islam. Where were the innocent wives to go for provisions and protection? This was every wife’s terror that her husband would not return to the household.

Likewise, political matches were made to show sincerity in blending former tribal identity into that of Muslim identity. As for the nine year old child-bride (who was the only one who was virgin), her having been brought to Muhammad was the highest honor Muhammad could bestow to her father, Abu-Bakr, a loyal believer who had placed everything he owned to the disposal of the Prophet and who expected Muhammad in return to marry his daughter.

Comment regarding Wives of Muhammad: The prophet had children with only two of his wives: with Khadijah with whom the Prophet was monogamous the Prophet had six children; and with Maria, his last wife, with whom he had one child who died in infancy. Obviously, by marrying wives after Khadijah had died, Muhammad was not looking for anything but what served the spirit of Islam: ie.,to protect the vulnerable widows and in other cases, a gracious political move that set the melding of former often rival tribal identities into the larger identity of being of one faith — Islam — as Muslim.

And let us stress one, perhaps the most significant, religious milestone issue that comes with the Prophet’s personal exception to the Qur’anic law stipulating for the believer the limit to four wives, whereas wives of Muhammad numbered 13. This is that of which is made such fuss in efforts to stir negation between faiths. It is by Revelation of God which supported this exception to the rule of four wives — for the Prophet. A surah, the Surah–al-Ahzab (the Confederates) reveals the prerogative of the Messenger, Muhammad: “O prophet, we have allowed thee thy wives unto whom thou hast given their dower, and also the slaves which thy right hand possesseth … which God hath granted thee; … and any [other] believing woman, if she give herself unto the prophet; in case the prophet desireth to take her to wife. [This is] a peculiar privilege [granted] unto thee above the rest of the true believers.”

And what is one of the great lessons in this Surah? Consider an analysis by the following :

This surah has the importance of clarifying the relationship of special favor of God to Muhammad. The supra-right given the Prophet makes crystal-clear the sharp distinction between the Prophet’s divine station delineating and separating and raising his station from the mainstream of followers. Muhammad is Chosen of God. His is a mission divine in the great Plan of God. Each human creatures’ place is actually born to choose to submit to the will of God through His gracious revelation of the Qur’an. Islam is the fruit of the Qur’an which was made alive (metaphorically) when recited by a flash of inspiration directly from the heavenly Realm to Muhammad, and, in turn, to the world for the duration of the Age of Islam. The difference of number of wives in this marriage law was for Muhammad only. It was a lesson to the followers that Muhammad was chosen to lead and theirs’ it was not to question the Prophet, but have faith accepting him as their guide to God in all perfection.

Women and Islam

By grace of the Prophet Muhammad’s Revelation, rather, that is, through the continuum of divine revelation, women having partnership status with men is found in many verses of the Qur’an. The Prophet’s stream of revelation raised up women’s position surpassing layers of customary tribal laws where placing women to be bonded into subservience with no legal rights as found in the earlier dispensations not only of desert tribal custom, but likewise laws regarding women in Judaism and Christianity — of laws set according to theological interpretation of “original sin” theology that Eve, being created (as it is taken literally) out of the rib of Adam, “the first man,” and Eve was his (“devil”) temptress to cause of Adam’s disobedience to God by partaking of the fruit of the tree of life. “Religious” Patriarchy uses this Genesis story to an unfortunate condemnation of women. Metaphorically the meanings of Adam and Eve in the Garden are many and provide good lessons. In summary, then, all degradation of female life from various religious as well as various tribal customs of women’s low status were accordingly equally annulled through the clarity of the original purity of the Teachings introduced by God’s Apostle Muhammad, and such forbearance was “official” through Islam’s coming 1000 years of prosperity. Setting the status of men to women is relative to the will and capacity of the believers who progress (or not) according to how close to the Creative Word’s pure intent the believers adhere.

As a specific example of the extension of women having rights never allowed before, the potential bride has to agree to her marriage by Qur’anic law, even as it was, to the Prophet himself she had to consent. Furthermore, she was to receive a dowry from her husband, also, bestowed on wives even the Prophet! Add to this that the honor of woman is implicit in each Word of Guidance found in the Qur’an as written in the marriage laws, as well as the actions of the Prophet showing every consideration of womankind by acts recorded for all to realize the example of respect.

Deeper study of Islam consistently reveals, to a most enlightening degree, the laws and guidance in the Qur’an as being like “wholesome medicine,” revealed as a divine prescription for the desert tribal peoples, to unite wild, disparate and antagonistic forces so they could become one people who could take their honorable place in history of the ever-advancing and civilizing Plan of One God over all of his creation.

Contemporary Calligarphic Qur’an

God is the Creator of the Universe, independent of time and place, well beyond the grasp of the minds of men supreme over all things. He is nowhere and everywhere. ‘God is the East and the West; whithersoever ye turn, there is the Face of God; God is the All-Empracing, All-knowing,” (Qur’an ii 109. “We indeed created man, and We know what his soul whispers within him, and we are nearer to him than his jugular vein.” (Surah 1 15 — Qaf.)[1]


Foot and End Notes — Book 1 — Chapter 1

[1] Refer to Wikipedia contributors, “Desert of Paran,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Desert_of_Paran&oldid=781500430 Moshe Gil and 2nd ref. “the following places Moses used as reference points: from the Torah. “in the Arabah” or valley plain (distinct from the Arabah valley between the Dead and Red Seas), Between Paran (which was due south), and Hazeroth (south of Paran, two stops after Mt. Sinai. Num 12:16; 33:17) See also: Deut. 1:19; 8:15, Genesis, 14–16, 21:21

[2] BiblePlaces.Com Wilderness of Paran — Genesis 21:20–21 King James Version ~Oxford University Press

[3] Qur’an 2:127 http://sunnahonline.com/library/stories-of-the-prophets/294-7-story-of-ishamel-ismail,

[4]Genesis 21:8–21 King James, Oxford University Press

[5] Frances Worthington, “Abraham, One God Three Wives Five Religions — ~Baha’i Publishing, Wilmette Illinois 2011, 108; also: Genesis 21:15–16, New International Version,Bukhari,

[6] Bukhari, The Hadith of Bukhari 3:55;583; Darr, Shaheen “The Miracle of ZamZam Water” Http:// www.helium.com/items 1052721-the miracle of Zam-Zam-waterre. Abraham’s son, Ishmael refer: ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Chapter 4 14, (Baha’i World Center Publication 2014)

[7]refer: ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Chapter 4, 14, (Baha’i World Center Publication 2014) re God’s Promise of bestowing on Abraham future Prophets of Israel.

[8] Psalms 83, Song of Psalms of Asaph 83 (re Ismaélites reversion to false worship)and, Ismaélites revert to idol worship story refer to Quora Sam Voron, Islam (on line)

[9] Bedouin, derived from the Arabic badawī بدوي, a generic name for a desert-dweller, is a term generally applied to Arab nomadic pastoralist groups, who are found throughout most of the desert belt extending from the Atlantic coast of the Sahara via the Western Desert, Sinai, and Negev to the eastern coast of the Arabian Desert.” (ref.New World Encyclopedia)

[10]Himyarites: (1) Glen W. Bowerstock, Oxford University Press “The Throne of Adulis/ Sea Wars on the Eve of Islam” — as reviewed by Jacob Mikanowski, and published on line; or(2) Glen Bowerstock: The Rise and Fall of a Jewish Kingdom In Arabia Arabia;” and (3) http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and culture/books/130366/himyar-yemenon; also, (4) wikipedia.org- of Himyarite_Kingdom, cite_note-Nebes-6; finally (5) Christian Robins on Haaritz Israel News “When Arabia was a Jewish Kingdom” by Ariel David

[11]Center for Sinai paper by Ahmed El Sadek, (on line) re. Greek and Biblical references to origins of Arabia name and Arab lineage

[12] Al-Islam Org.: Ahul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project — Tribal Era “each man for himself” etc.

[13] From Al-Islam.Org.: Ahu Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project Classical Islam — A History 600–1258–1970) quote of G.E. Grunebaum

[14] (From Al-Islam.Org) Ahu Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project Classical Islam — A History 600–1258–1970)quote of Herbert J. Muller

[15]wathanism.blogspot.com/2013/04/totemism-animism-and-spirits-in-pre.html in reference to pre-Islamic gods and jinn

[16] On-line: Nomads, Tribes, and the State in the Ancient Near East: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives Conference March 7–8, 2008 ~The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Organizer, Jeffrey also: Szuchmanhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribes_of_Arabia time of Muhammad, map by Murraytheb; Creative Commons usage, see also referencing Christian Tribes, reference to Philip K. Hitti A History of the Arabs 6th 77–84, and 87–100, 6th Ed., Macmillan and St. Martin’s Press 1967

[17]Refer to Wikipedia contributors, “Desert of Paran,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Desert_of_Paran&oldid=781500430 Moshe Gilref. (Arabian tribes)

[18] Balyuzi, Muhammad and the Course of Islam, 131

[a-18] Nestorian: Oxford Reference www.ancient/origins.net/ancient

[a-19] Monophysite: History of the Later Roman Empire, J.B.Bury, Macmillan and Co. 1923 Open Domain

[19] Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance org (Women’s Rights) Copyright 1999 to 2010–6th Century Islam’s Women Jewels of Islam

[20] Two versions of the Quran’s verses where the Prophet excoriates tribal customs of girl child killing: “And they ascribe daughters unto God! Glory be to Him! But they desire them not for themselves.” “For when the birth of a daughter is announced to any one of them, dark shadows settle on his face and he is sad: He hideth [the girl child] from the people because of the ill tidings: shall he keep it with disgrace or bury it in the dust? Are not their judgments wrong?” Qur’an 16–58 ~ and: “Lost are they who, in their ignorance, have foolishly slain their children, and have forbidden that which God hath given them for food, devising an untruth against God! Now have they erred; and the when news is brought to one of them of the birth of a female child) his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people, because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain in on suffering or bury it in the dust? Ah! what an evil choice they decide.” Qur’an 16–58

[21] H.M. Balyuzi, Muhammad and the Course of Islam, George Ronald, Oxford 1985, 8

[22] Ibid, 13

[23]H.M. Balyuzi, (MCI pp 12, 13] Note: It is from both tribes, the Quraysh and its off-shoot the Qusayy Tribe that Muhammad the Prophet is descended from.

[24] Frances Worthington, One God Three Wives Five Religions Baha’i Publishing 2010 , 110 re Becca “Valley of Lamentations” or “Weeping Valley”

[25] Ancient Origins, August 2015 author Bryan Hill — on line magazine

[26] Qur’an 390–91, Rodwell Translation

[27] Balyuzi, MCI 12

[28] Ibid 12

[29] Ibid 13

[30] Hadith “heart wash” Hadith 34 ~ (w/482 Hadith references) ~AHadithCo. UK

[31]Ibid 16

[32] Ibid 17

[33] Creative Commons cc en.encyclopedia.org/wiki/Year_of_the_Elephant

[34] Balyuzi, MCI 11

[35] Ibid 20

[36] Ibid 15

Chapter 2

[1]Qur’an: See Rodwell translation: SURA XCVI.–THICK BLOOD, OR CLOTS OF BLOOD [I.] Mecca period (19 verses) available @ Ocean - On Line “TRANSLATED FROM THE ARABIC BY THE REV. J.M. RODWELL, M.A. WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THE REV. G. MARGOLIOUTH, M.A.”

[2] H. M. Balyuzi, Muhammad and the Course of Islam-George Ronald, Oxford 2002, 23

[3] Ibid 23

[4] Ibid 23, and Rodwell translation Qur’an - SURA XCIII.1–THE BRIGHTNESS [IV.] (sometimes called Surah of THE FORENOON)

[5]Ibid 24, 25

[6] Ibid 26

[7] Ibid 28

[8] Ibid 31

[9] Ibid 32

[10] Ibid 36

[11] Ibid 38

[12] Ibid 40

[13] Qur’an Translation~ Rodwell Edition Surah 67

[14] Balyuzi MCI, 43

[15] Ibid 48

[16, 17] Ibid 49

Note: Story told of the Messenger of God’s Arrival to Medina:

The children of (then Yathrub) Medina saw the Prophet arriving and shouted out calling, “Everyone, come! Come! The Prophet has come!” Hundreds of townspeople thronged to the city gates and there, as the Prophet arrived dressed in fresh attire, seated majestically upon his horse, a poem prepared especially for his arrival was recited:
 “The full moon is shining on us from the area of gardens. We must offer thanks (to Allah) so long as anyone prays before Allah.”

Ayuhal Mab-Uthu Fiina Je’ta Bil Amril Mutai

Je’ta Shar-Raftal Madina

Marhaban Ya Khaira Dai”

Je’ta Bil Amril Mutai. Je’ta Shar-Raftal Madina, Marhaban Ya Khaira Dai


“O’ the One sent to us, you have come with Commands which we shall obey. You came and graced Madinat, we salute and welcome you, ‘O’ the best caller (towards Allah).” (Al Islam.Org — Ayul Bayt Digital Library Project)

Chapter 3

[1] Balyuzi, MCI 54~* Note: Regarding the spot where the first Mosque, and House of the Prophet, near Medina in Islam’s first days, built by the newly converted Muslims of Medina and the emigrants from Mecca as led and assisted by the Prophet himself, together with his adopted son Ali who labored so hard: Such tone that accompanied this story would presumably not be acceptable to the present day authorities in Saudi Arabia,who are the current custodians of the sites in Medina and Mecca and who are in mutual support of the ullama (judges) of the Wahabi sect of Islam. This is the pan-Islamic ultra-conservative sect is also called” Salafi” and assumed to be behind the reported murder of Hajj pilgrims (probably Shiite) seeking to pray at this spot. Neither the tomb nor the House of the Prophet, has any sign of its identifying green dome or architecture that had marked the spot that began the history. The current custodians under the Sharia Law as set forth by the collusion between religion (Wahabi) and Saudi Kingdom State have allowed “Muslims’ murders of Muslims” whom they have decreed to be “heretic.” (therefore not Muslims) And to venerate objects or to mark history with special commemorations is deemed “heretic.” That which allows this is out of Hadith, particularly a school that has interpreted this action to their own desires. 
Such dissonance against veneration of early Islam’s milestone markers or personnages is more an excuse to be dominant, and when put side to side with the Qur’an is a corruption of the spirit of openness revealed in Qur’an. But this type of destruction has previous history, under similar tensions, as will be described in the Mighty Wind of Islam, Book II. This harshness of the Wahabi interpretation of “jihad” is terror of fanaticism let loose in its contemporary manifestation and their desecration of significant spots and declassifying heroes that marked glorious milestones for Islam is derived in this generation of Wahabism. (or “Unitarianism” or “Salifi” — all the same Movement — which is pan-Arabism, initially seeded in Saudi Arabia.) Of course, the wealth of Saudi Kingdom is the current power that administrates Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia and is in collusion and protection of Wahabism. Lastly, “Wahabi Movement” is not a term used by the school that follows the Wahabi philosophy but rather by outsiders. More Information on this subject is worth the trouble and available on the inter-net. There must be elements in Saudi Arabia who stand for human rights, and religious freedom , and who are not hypocritical about friendship. Seek and ye shall find, and if you do, give praise! Such a balance of righteousness and justice is less visible however. CS.

“The administrative authority of the Hejaz passed into the hands of Najdi Wahabi Muslims from the interior, (1935)the Wahabi Ulama viewed local religious practices as unfounded superstition superseding codified religious sanction that was considered a total corruption of religion and the spreading of heresy. What followed was a removal of the physical infrastructure, tombs, mausoleums, mosques and sites associated with the family and companions of Muhammad.Wikipedia article referencing Angawi, Dr. Sami Feb 19, 2002 interview PBS NewsHour on transcript retreived Oct 29, 2010.

[2] Ibid 55

[3] Ibid 56

[4] Ibid 57

[5]Letter declaration of war from the Quraysh of Mecca to Medina:“Now that you have admitted that our enemy is in your home, we swear by God and declare that we, the people of Mecca, will join in an attack against Medina unless you, the people of Medina, turn him out of Medina or give him a joint fight. When we attack Medina, we will put the sword to all able-bodied men and enslave all women.” (Abu-Dawud, Kitab al-Kharaj, Life of Muhammad, Islam International Publications, 2014, page 46).

[6] Ibid 62 Syyid Amir Ali quoted

[7]Ibid 70, 71

[8]vv.45–61 Surah al Ma’idah — ‘The Table’

[9]see“The Qur’an and Violence against Non-believers” by Ted Brownstein 2017 Published paper on Baha’i Library Online

Muslims are commissioned to protect Jewish and Christian institutions: Qur’an 22:40 — (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right, — (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah… Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure (if Muslims did not protect them).

[10] Ibid 67 Battle of Badr

[11] Ibid 67

[12] Ibid 71

[13] Ibid 75

[14] Ibid 79

[15] Ibid 80

[16]Ibid 81

[17] Ibid 82 (Revelation) Note: Muhammad wept upon hearing of his uncle Hamzah’s death on the battle field. He said, “ O Hamzah, O remover of sorrows, O author of righteous deeds, O Lion of God and the Lion of His Messenger!” He then vowed revenge upon the Meccans. It was upon this outburst that Muhammad received the revelation quoted p 82

[18] Ibid 86, 87~ Note: Lg. Jewish clan expelled from Medina. This incident is still a volatile one, Some Jewish scholars recall it with tenacious bitterness for it is a story still being exposed from the vantage point of having been expelled from their homes unjustly. CS

[19] Ibid 88, 89

[20] Ibid 88

[21] Ibid 94

[22] Ibid 100

[23] Ibid 100

[24] Ibid 110

[25] Ibid 110

[26] Ibid 111 End note: [1]This story could be seen as a precursor of what “covenant” means in terms of the believer avowing a faith by giving testimony of submission to the higher kingdom of God, thereon being of his name truly Muslim in acts and deeds, sublimating the “insistent self” to the overpowering Word of His messenger as God’s (Allah’s) Apostle. For this reason the “seeking pilgrimage permission”story-incident revealing of the Umar’s recalcitrance is a hint of what is, by Umar’s will — not God’s will — that indicated a destined mark of divergence ahead. But, the “victory” that it was in truth, (by the revelation as then recited by the Prophet) was the choice fruit of the Truce of al-Hudaybiyyah resulting from staying the oath and this is what stands symbolic of great mercy and patience of God for that time. (Opinion)


Chapter 4 ~Mecca the Crown

[1] Balyuzi MCI 120

[2] Ibid 124

[3] Ibid 129

[4] Ibid 129

[5] Ibid 130

[6] Ibid 130

[7] Ibid 131

[8] Ibid 131

[9] Ibid 132

[10] Ibid 133

[11] (“Mary (Jesus’ mother) painted on fresco within inner Mosque wall ordered by the Prophet to leave untouched”) Ibid [133]

[12] Ibid (benevolence of Joseph) 134

[13] 54th verse of Surah xxxix (The Companies, i.e. Surat az Zummar) translation by A.J.Arberry ~ Ibid 136

[14] Ibid 138


Chapter 5 ~ Medina, 2nd Period

[1] Ibid 147

[2]Ibid 142

[3] Ibid 142

[4]Surah 1x,108, quoted Ibid, 142

[5]End Note (1): The Prophet is imparting an important lesson of the definitive centralized Authority under a Covenant by God by God’s plan for his creation, and given from God to His Chosen Messenger; then from this comes the flow of Inspiration by His Messenger to His followers. The station of the Messengers is far above the station of the Followers of God’s Manifestation. The burning of the Mosque by order of the Prophet himself, shows followers are restrained by God, through this covenant, from claiming direct inspired authority to make claims to confound the faithful

[6] Ibid 146

[7] Ibid 146

[8]Ibid 147

[9]Ibid 116

[10] Ibid 114

End Note (2): End Note~ Many Meccans voiced preference for the Sassanids oversight over Mecca: these were those Meccans who were remnants of the former idolatrous ways, and they were banking on the sustained strength of the Sassanids holding Constantinople (Rum). The strength of the Sassanids would be good for the status quo of life without Islam in the Hejaz. So as it goes, this revelation brought snide derision by the Meccans who did not want to see this overthrow as Muhammad had prophesied as any kind of possibility.

End Note (3)~ Muslim scholars have locked this surah of Rum in the category of literal meaning rather than a surah with revelation of uncertain meaning, being of poetic revelation with numerous meanings, hidden in metaphor. But, in an almost contemporary look at that assumption is a commentary that unlocks the literal “it happened and that’s what the surah is about” take. Scholar and Arabic translator Moojan Momen, enables the wider view to be understood. Dr. Momen translated a commentary in Arabic by the pre-eminent spiritual master, ‘Abdu’l-Baha who declaimed metaphorical meanings to the number of nine for the one word “Rum.” The commentary, addressed to a Sunni based on his seeking information, we quote just one of the meanings as it leads to an exposition of the journey of the soul… This is how it starts off of this Surah of Rum quoted above; that we may read and ponder.

“1. “Rúm” signifies the existent realities and those veils which issue forth as a result of the specifications of existence. “Over thrown” refers to the overcoming and vanishing of these with the coming of the Manifestation of God.” [11]

[11] Referencing: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Commentary on the Qur’ánic Verses Concerning the Overthrow of the Byzantines: The Stages of the Soul, by Moojan Momen, in Lights of Irfan, 2 (2001). Published Articles. Lights of Irfan pp 199–118, Wilmette, Il. Irfan colloquia, 2001; also Baha’i Studies

[12] Ibid 116

13 Ibid 116

14 Ibid 114

[15] Ibid 115

[16] Ibid 116

[17] Ibid 148


Chapter 6 ~The Ascension of the Prophet

[1] Balyuzi, Muhammad and the Course of Islam George Ronald, Oxford 2001 paper edition 149

[2] Ibid 151

[3] The 152

[4] Ibid 152


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