But once it forsook disbelief and unbecoming practices, it could, as a result of the same geographical position, easily become the center of enlightenment, radiating guidance and knowledge to the entire world. When Muhammad was 38 years old, he spent most of his time in meditation and solitude. It is there that he used to retire with food and water and spend days and weeks in remembrance of Allah.
Nobody was allowed to go there except Khadija and Ali. He used to spend the whole month of Ramadan therein. The period of waiting had come to a close. His forty years of life had varied experiences, and from the world's point of view, he had developed a maturity of mind and judgement, although in reality he was the embodiment of perfection from the very beginning.
It was during the month of Ramadan of the year of the elephant A. This event will always be immortalized in the history of the human species. It changed the history of mankind for all time to come. Nobody has ever influenced the events on our planet more than Muhammad. Nobody ever will. The flow of the Divine message which continued for the next twenty-three years had begun with that date, and the Prophet had arisen to proclaim the Unity of God and the unity of mankind, of the human family, to demolish the edifice of superstition, ignorance, and disbelief, to set up a noble concept of life, and to lead mankind to the light of faith and celestial bliss.
Revelation was received in different ways: sometimes the Almighty inspired him to do something or say something, sometimes through visions, sometimes Gabriel came to him in human form and sometimes in his angelic appearance…. The task was stupendous. The Prophet, therefore, started his mission cautiously, confining it initially to his own close relatives and friends. He was met with immediate success.
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His wife Khadija testified to his truth as soon as she heard the news of the revelation from God. Abu Bakr ibn Abu Quhafah was thirty-eight years old when he made a trip to Yemen where he met an old and learned sage of the Azd tribe who predicted that a prophet was to appear in the near future in Mecca.
Upon his return from the trip, he paid a visit to his friend Muhammad who invited him to accept his religion, Islam, declaring himself the Prophet. Muhammad was not there to witness the incident which involved only Abu Bakr and the sage of the Azd tribe. He was at Mecca during the entire period while Abu Bakr was in Yemen. Abu Bakr accepted Islam. At that time, Ali was only ten years old and Muhammad forty. These celebrated companions have given Ali preference over others.
Justice Ameer Ali writes the following in his Spirit of Islam : It is a noble feature in the history of the Prophet of Arabia, and one which strongly attests the sincerity of his character, the purity of his teachings and the intensity of his faith in God, that his nearest relations, his wife, beloved cousin and intimate friends, were most thoroughly imbued with the truth of his mission and convinced of his inspiration. Those who knew him best, closest relations and dearest friends, people who lived with him and noted all his movements, were his sincere and most devoted followers.
John Davenport writes the following: It is strongly corroborative of Muhammad's sincerity that the earliest converts to Islam were his bosom friends and the people of his household, who, all intimately acquainted with his private life, could not fail to have detected those discrepancies which more or less invariably exist between the pretensions of the hypocritical deceiver and his actions at home. Slowly the message spread.
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During the first three years, he gained only thirty followers. In spite of the caution and care exercised, Quraish were well posted with what was going on. At first they did not make much note and only jeered at the Prophet and the plight of his followers. They doubted his sanity and thought he was possessed. But the time had come for proclaiming the will of God in public.
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This ayat verse ended the period of secret preaching and heralded the open proclamation of Islam. The Creator of the world has commanded me to warn my people about their doom, but in view of the condition of the people and knowing that when I give them the words of Allah, they will misbehave, I felt depressed and weakened and, therefore, I kept quiet until Gabriel came again and informed me that there should be no more delay. Therefore, who amongst you will help me in this cause so that he may be my brother, vizier, and successor? Nobody responded.
This Ali is my brother, my vizier and my successor amongst you. Listen to him and obey him. You are ordered to obey and follow your own son! Disclose what has been ordained to thee.
Qur'an, Arise and warn, and thy Lord do magnify. And thy raiment do purify. And uncleanness do shun.
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And show not favour seeking gain! And for the sake of thy Lord be patient. Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and dispute with them in the best way. Quraish were aghast. Their reaction was sharp and violent. They mobbed the Prophet. Al-Harith son of Abu Halah tried to protect him but was slashed to death. It was the first martyrdom in the cause of Islam. Till then, Quraish had held the Prophet and his followers in contemptuous disdain, but now they were genuinely alarmed.
The new movement amounted to a denunciation of their forefathers. Quraish retaliated violently. A life and death struggle for Islam ensued. When he prayed, they made loud cries, hooted or sang wild songs in order to drown his voice. To their great disappointment, they could not prevent him or discourage him. Such is the mark of great men. Such are men of God; nobody and nothing stands in their way.
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He and his followers were subjected to all types of calumnies and humiliation. His followers were taunted and insulted. Oppression and relentless persecution were let loose. In an effort to force the believers to renounce the new faith and to go back to the older cults, they were subjected to extremes of physical torture. They were mercilessly beaten, made to lie on burning sand while heavy blocks of stones were placed on their chests. Nooses were put around their necks and their bodies were dragged. One of the faithful, named Yasir 1 , succumbed to toture and, when his wife Sumayya, an African, protested, her legs were tied to two camels, and the animals were driven to opposite directions, tearing her body in halves.
The believers, under the inspiration of their great Teacher, were, however, fired with holy zeal. They braved all persecution and danger and bore up against all agonies and torture. In around A.
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And those who become fugitives for Allah's sake being oppressed, verily We shall give them good abode in the world and surely the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if they only knew. What was all this tyranny and persecution for? They were just for believing in one God and for leading a chaste and pious life!
Further migration of some people led to intensified persecution of those left behind. The Prophet advised a second Hijra to Abyssinia. Thirty men and eighteen women left Mecca individually or in small groups fleeing to Abyssinia. Having won the favour of the clergy, the deputations tried to prejudice the king against the fugitives. We were plunged into the depth of ignorance and barbarism; we adored idols; we lived in unchastity; we ate dead animals, and we spoke abomination.
We disregarded every feeling of humanity, and the duties of hospitality and neighbourhood. We knew no law but that of the strong.
At that time, God raised from among us a man of whose birth, truthfulness, honesty and purity we were aware, and he called us to the Unity of God and taught us not to associate anything with Him. He forbade us from worshipping idols and enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful, and to regard the rights of neighbours.
He forbade us from speaking ill of women and from eating the subsistence of orphans. He ordered us to flee from vices, to abstain from evil, to offer prayers, to render alms, and to observe the fast.
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