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[II]-The arrival of Prophet
 Abdullah and Aminah

Abdul-Muttalib, chief of the Quraysh, had ten sons. Abdullah, the tenth, was the noblest and his father married him to Aminah, daughter of Wahb, leader of the Banu Zuhrah. At that time, her lineage and position made her the best woman in the Quraysh.

However before long Abdullah died, leaving a pregnant wife who was to become the mother of the Messenger of Allah. Aminah saw many signs and indications that her son would become an important figure in the future.


 Noble birth and pure lineage

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was born on Monday, 12 Rabi' al-Awwal, in the Year of the Elephant (570 C.E.). It was the happiest day ever. His ancestry can be traced back to the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him).

His full name is Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn Abd Manaf ibn Qusayy ibn Kilab ibn Murrah ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr ibn Malik ibn an-Nadr ibn Kinanah ibn Khuzaymah ibn Mudrikah ibn Ilyas ibn Mudar ibn Nizar ibn Ma'add ibn Adnan. The lineage of Adnan goes back to the Prophet Isma'il, the son of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon both of them).

The Prophet's mother sent a message to his grandfather, Abdul-Muttalib, telling him that she had given birth to a boy. He came and looked at the baby lovingly. Then he picked him up and took him into the Ka'bah. He praised Allah and prayed for his grandson whom he named Muhammad. The Arabs were not familiar with this name and were surprised by it.


 Babyhood

It was the custom in Makkah for suckling babies to be put in the care of a desert tribe where they grew up in the traditional healthy outdoor environment. Abdul-Muttalib looked for a wet-nurse for his fatherless grandson, whom he loved more than all his children. Halimah as-Sa'diyah who received this good fortune had left her home to find a suckling child. It was a year of severe drought and her people were suffering hardship. They needed some income, The baby (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had been offered to many nurses but they had refused him, because they were hoping for a good payment from the child's father. 'An orphan!' they would exclaim, 'What can his mother or grandfather do!'

Halimah also left him at first but her heart had warmed to him. Allah inspired her with love for this baby so she returned to fetch him and took him home with her. Up until this time she had been an unlucky person but now she found countless blessings. Her animals' udders and her own breasts overflowed with milk and her aged camel and lame donkey were rejuvenated. Everyone said, 'Halimah you have taken a blessed child.' Her friends envied her.

She continued to enjoy prosperity from Allah until the baby had spent two years with the Banu Sa'd and was weaned. He was growing up differently from the other children. Halimah took him to his mother and asked if she could keep him for a longer- period and Aminah agreed.

While the infant, who was to become the Messenger of Allah, was with the Banu Sa'd two angels came and split open his chest. They removed a black clot from his heart and threw it away. Then they cleansed his heart and replaced it.

He tended sheep with his foster brothers and was reared in an uncomplicated, natural environment. He lived the healthy life of the desert and spoke the pure Arabic for which the Banu Sa'd ibn Bakr were famous. He was sociable and popular. His foster brothers loved him and he loved them.

Eventually he returned to Makkah to live with his mother and grandfather. He thrived under Allah's care and grew up to be healthy and strong.


 The deaths of Aminah and Abdul-Muttalib

When the Messenger of Allah was six years old, his mother, Aminah, died. She had taken him to Yathrib to visit her relatives and on the journey back her death occurred at al-Abwa between Makkah and Madinah. Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) must have felt very lonely at this time but he went to stay with his grandfather who was extremely kind to him. He would sit Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) on his favourite seat in the shade of the Ka'bah and affectionately caress him.

When the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was eight, Abdul-Muttalib also died.


 His uncle, Abu Talib

The Messenger of Allah then went to live with his uncle, Abu Talib, the full brother of his father, Abdullah. Abdul-Muttalib had told Abu Talib to take good care of the boy so he was always protective towards him. He treated him with more kindness than he showed to his own sons, Ali, Ja'far and Aqil.


 Divine training

As he grew up, the Messenger of Allah was protected by Allah Almighty. He distanced himself from the obscenities and bad habits of the Jahiliyyah. He outshone everyone in manliness, character, modesty, truthfulness, and trustworthiness. He earned respect and the name 'trustworthy'. He respected family ties and shared the burdens of others. He honoured his guests and demonstrated piety and fear of God. He always provided his own food and was content with simple meals.

When he was about fourteen years old, the Fijar War broke out between the tribes of Quraysh and Qays. The Messenger of Allah was at some of the battles, passing arrows for his uncles to fire. He learned about war and about horsemanship and chivalry during these tribal encounters.


 Marriage to Khadijah

When the Messenger of Allah was twenty-five, he married Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, a Qurayshi woman of excellent character who was then forty years of age. She had a fine intellect, noble character and great wealth. She had been widowed when her husband, Abu Halah, died.

Khadijah was a businesswoman who hired men to trade goods for her and gave them a share of her profits. The Quraysh were a merchant people. She tested the truthfulness of the Messenger of Allah, his noble character and his sincerity when he took some of her goods to Syria to trade. When she was told about his outstanding competence on this journey she expressed her desire to marry him although she had refused the offer of many noblemen of the Quraysh. The Messenger of Allah also wished to marry her. His uncle Hamzah conveyed the khutbah, the marriage proposal, to Khadijah's family and they all readily agreed to it. When the marriage took place Abu Talib delivered the khutbah at the ceremony.

Khadijah was the first woman that the Messenger of Allah married and she bore him all his children except Ibrahim.


 Rebuilding the Ka'bah

When the Messenger of Allah was thirty-five, the Quraysh decided to rebuild the Ka'bah. Apart from needing a new roof, they found that the stone walls, that were higher than a man's head, had no clay to bind the stones together. They had no alternative but to demolish the building and erect it again.

When the rebuilding had reached the point where the traditional Black Stone had to be put in place, they began to argue. Each clan wanted to have the honour of carrying out this prestigious task. They began to argue fiercely among themselves. During these pagan days far more trivial issues than this could spark off a war.

They prepared to fight. The Banu Abdu’d-Dar brought a large bowl filled with blood. They and the Banu Adi put their hands in the blood and took a vow to fight to the death.

It was a sign of death and evil. The Quraysh remained in that sorry state for several days, before agreeing that the first person to enter the door of the mosque should make the decision about placing the Black Stone. The first to enter was the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). When they saw him, they said, 'This is the trustworthy one. We are pleased. This is Muhammad.'

The Messenger of Allah called for a piece of cloth He took the stone and placed it in the centre of the cloth. Then he said that each clan should take a corner of the cloth and lift it together. They did this, bringing it to its position. He put the Black Stone in place with his own hands, and then the building continued.

This was how the Messenger of Allah prevented a war from breaking out among the Quraysh by a supreme demonstration of wisdom.


 Hilf al-Fudul

The Messenger of Allah was present at the Hilf al-Fudul. This was the most renowned alliance ever heard of in Arabia. It was formed because a man from Zabid had arrived in Makkah with some merchandise and al-As ibn Wa'il, one of the Quraysh nobles, bought goods from him and then withheld payment. The Zabidi asked the Quraysh nobles for help against al-As ibn Wa'il, but they refused to intervene because of his position. The Zabidi then appealed to the people of Makkah as a whole for support.

All the fair-minded young men were full of enthusiasm to put the matter right. They met in the house of Abdullah ibn Jud'an who prepared food for them. They made a covenant by Allah that they would unite with the wronged man against the one who had wronged him until the matter was settled. The Arabs called that pact Hilf al-Fudul, 'The Alliance of Excellence'. They said, 'These people have entered into a state of excellence.' Then they went to al-As ibn Wa'il and took from him what he owed to the Zabidi and handed it over.

The Messenger of Allah was proud of this alliance. He held it in such high esteem that, after receiving the message of Islam, he said, 'In the house of Abdullah ibn Jud'an I was present at an alliance which was such that if I was invited to take part in it now in Islam, I would still do so.' The Quraysh pledged to restore to everyone what was their due and not to allow any aggressor to get the better of those he had wronged.

In Allah's wisdom, His Messenger was allowed to grow up unlettered. He could neither read nor write. Thus, he could never be accused by his enemies of altering other ideologies. The Qur'an indicates this when it says, 'Before this you did not recite any Book nor write it with your right hand for then those who follow falsehood would have doubted.' (29: 48)

The Qur'an called him 'unlettered' and said, 'those who follow the Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, whom they find written down with them in the Torah and Evangel.' (7:157)


 Intimations of Prophethood

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was forty when the first glimpses of light and of his future happiness appeared. The time of his mission approached. It had always been the Divine practice that whenever the darkness had become too intense and the wickedness widespread, a Messenger appeared.

The Messenger of Allah's distaste for what he saw reached a peak. It was as if he was being guided towards a certain spiritual destination. He loved going into retreat. He was always content when he could be on his own. He used to walk away from Makkah until he was well out of sight of the houses. He got to know all the paths, the flat areas and the valleys outside Makkah. From every rock or tree he passed he heard, 'Peace be upon you, Messenger of Allah.' But when he looked around, to his right, to his left and behind him, he could see nothing but trees and rocks.

The first intimations of the future came in the form of dreams, so vivid that they were as clear as the break of day.


 The Cave of Hira

The Messenger of Allah usually went to the Cave of Hira. He would remain there for several nights in a row, having taken along with him enough food to last for that time. He used to worship and pray in the manner of his ancestor, Ibrahim, the Hanifiyyah, and followed the pure human need to turn to Allah.


 The mission begins

The Messenger of Allah was alone in the Cave of Hira on the day destined for the start of his prophetic mission. He was forty-one years old and it was the seventeenth day of Ramadan, the sixth of August 6~O C.E. Suddenly an angel appeared and said to him,

'Read!'

'I cannot read,' he replied.

Later, the Messenger of Allah, when recounting what had happened, said, 'He seized me and squeezed me as hard as I could bear and then let me go and said,

"Read !"

'I said, "I cannot read."

'Then he squeezed me as hard as I could bear a second time and let me go. Again he said, "Read."

'I cannot read.'

'Then he squeezed me a third time and let me go and said:

"Read in the name of your Lord' Who created, created man of a blood-clot. Read, and your Lord is the Most Generous, Who taught by the Pen, taught man what
he did not know."'(96: 1-5)

This was the first day of his prophethood and these were the first verses of the Qur'an to be revealed.


 Khadijah's reaction

Naturally, the Messenger of Allah was alarmed by the experience. He had not known what was happening and he had not heard of anything like this ever happening before. It had been a long time since there had been a Prophet. In any case, the Arabs had only a remote connection with prophethood. He was very frightened and returned to his house trembling.

'Wrap me up! Wrap me up!' he said. 'I fear for myself! '

When Khadijah asked why, he told her what had happened. She was an intelligent lady and had heard of prophethood, prophets and angels. She used to visit her cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, who had become a Christian. He had read many books and had learned much from the People of the Torah and the Evangel.

Khadijah knew the character of the Messenger of Allah better than anyone because she was his wife and close to his thoughts. She was well aware of his noble character and enviable qualities. She realised that he had always been given success and support by Allah, he was a man chosen from among His creation, whose life and conduct He was pleased with.

No one with a character like his need ever be in fear of Satan or of being affected by the jinn. That would be incompatible with what Khadijah knew of the wisdom and compassion of Allah and His way of dealing with His creation. She declared with trust and belief, strongly and forcefully,

'No! Allah would never disgrace you! You maintain close ties with your relations, you bear others' burdens and give people what they need. You are hospitable to your guests and help those with a just claim to get what is due to them.'


 Waraqah ibn Nawfal

Khadijah thought it would be a good idea to consult her cousin, the scholar Waraqah ibn Nawfal, and she took the Messenger of Allah to see him. When Waraqah heard what he had seen, he said, 'By the One who holds my soul in His hand, you are the Prophet of this people. The same Great Spirit has come to you which came to Musa. Your people will reject you, abuse you and drive you out and fight you.'

The Messenger of Allah was astonished at what Waraqah said, especially about the Quraysh driving him out because he knew his position among them. They had always addressed him as the 'truthful' one and the 'trustworthy' one.

In amazement he asked, 'Will the people drive me out?'

'Yes,' Waraqah said, 'No man has ever brought anything like what you have brought without his people opposing him and fighting him. If I am alive on that day, and have already lived a long time, I will give you strong support.'

After this first revelation there was a long gap before the revelations began again. Then the Qur'an started to come down at regular intervals over the following twenty-three years.