Muhammad_ His Life Based on the Earliest Sources ( PDFDrive.com ).pdf - I~ MUHAMMAD his life based on the earliest sources Contents I II III IV V VI VII

Muhammad_ His Life Based on the Earliest Sources ( PDFDrive.com ).pdf

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Unformatted text preview: I~ MUHAMMAD his life based on the earliest sources Contents I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII XXIII XXIV XXV XXVI XXVII XXVIII XXIX XXX XXXI XXXII XXXIII XXXIV XXXV XXXVI XXXVII XXXVIII XXXIX XL XLI XLII XLIII XLIV The House of God A Great Loss Quraysh of the Hollow The Recovery of a Loss The Vow to Sacrifice a Son The Need for a Prophet The Year of the Elephant The Desert Two Bereavements Bahira the Monk A Pact of Chivalry Questions of Marriage The Household The Rebuilding of the Ka'bah The First Revelations Worship "Warn Thy Family" Quraysh Take Action Aws and Khazraj Abu Jahl and Harnzah Quraysh Make Offers and Demands Leaders of Quraysh Wonderment and Hope Family Divisions The Hour Three Questions Abyssinia 'Umar The Ban and its Annulment Paradise and Eternity The Year of Sadness "The Light of Thy Countenance" After the Year of Sadness Yathrib Responsive Many Emigrations A Conspiracy The Hijrah The Entry into Medina Harmony and Discord The New Household The Threshold of War The March to Badr The Battle of Badr The Return of the Vanquished page I 4 6 10 12 IS 19 23 27 29 3I 33 37 4 1 43 4 6 50 52 56 58 60 64 67 70 75 77 81 85 88 93 9 6 101 105 108 II3 II6 II8 12 3 12 5 13 2 135 13 8 14 6 153 VIII Contents XLV XLVI XLVII XLVIII XLIX L LI LII LIII LIV LV LVI LVII LVIII LIX LX LXI LXII LXIII LXIV LXV LXVI LXVII LXVIII LXIX LXX LXXI LXXII LXXIII LXXIV LXXV LXXVI LXXVII LXXVIII LXXIX LXXX LXXXI LXXXII LXXXIII LXXXIV LXXXV The Captives Bani Qaynuqa' Deaths and Marriages The People of the Bench Desultory Warfare Preparations for Battle The March to Uhud The Battle of Uhud Revenge The Burial of the Martyrs AfterUhud Victims of Revenge Bani Nadir Peace and War The Trench The Siege Bani Qurayzah After the Siege The Hypocrites The Necklace The Lie The Dilemma of Quraysh "A Clear Victory" After Hudaybiyah Khaybar "Whom Lovest Thou Most?" After Khaybar The Lesser Pilgrimage and its Aftermath Deaths and the Promise of a Birth A Breach of the Armistice The Conquest of Mecca The Battle of Hunayn and the Siege of Ta'if Reconciliations After the Victory Tabuk After Tabuk The Degrees The Future The Farewell Pilgrimage The Choice The Succession and the Burial Map ofArabia (by Steven W. Johnson) Quraysh ofthe Hollow (genealogical tree) Note on Pronunciation ofArabic Names Key to References Index page ISS 160 16 3 16 7 170 172. 177 180 18 9 19 1 195 199 2. 0 3 2.06 2.15 2.2.0 2.2.9 234 2.37 2.4 0 2.43 2.47 2.52. 2.57 2. 6 3 2.7 0 2.74 2.80 2.86 2.9 1 2.97 3 04 30 8 313 317 32.0 32.6 32.9 332. 337 342. 34 6 347 34 8 349 35 0 I The House of God T H E Book of Genesis tells us that Abraham was ch.ildless, without hope of children, and that one night God summoned him out of his tent and said to him: "Look now towards heaven, and count the stars if thou art able to number them." And as Abraham gazed up at the stars he heard the voice say: "So shall thy seed be."' Abraham's wife Sarah was then seventy-six years old, he being eighty­ five; and she gave him her handmaid Hagar, an Egyptian, that he might take her as his second wife. But bitterness of feeling arose between the mistress and the handmaid, and Hagar fled from the anger of Sarah and cried out to God in her distress. And He sent to her an Angel with the message: "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude." The Angel also said to her: "Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. "2 Then Hagar returned to Abraham and Sarah and told them what the Angel had said; and when the birth took place, Abraham named his son Ishmael, which means "God shall hear". When the boy reached the age of thirteen, Abraham was in his hun­ dredth year, and Sarah was ninety years old; and God spoke again to Abraham and promised him that Sarah also should bear him a son who must be called Isaac. Fearing that his elder son might thereby lose favour in the sight of God, Abraham prayed: "0 that Ishmael might live before Thee!" And God said to him: "As for Ishmael, I have heard thee. Behold, I have blessed him . . . and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. 3 Sarah gave birth to Isaac and it was she herself who suckled him; and when he was weaned she told Abraham that Hagar and her son must no longer remain in their household. And Abraham was deeply grieved at this, on account of his love for Ishmael; but again God spoke to him, and told him to follow the counsel of Sarah, and not to grieve; and again He promised him that Ishmael should be blessed. Not one but two great nations were to look back to Abraham as their father - two great nations, that is, two guided powers, two instruments to work the Will of Heaven, for God does not promise as a blessing that which is profane, nor is there any greatness before God except greatness in the Spirit. Abraham was thus the fountain-head of two spiritual streams, I 15: 5. 2 16: IO-II. J 17: 2.0-1. Muhammad 2 which must not flow together, but each in its own course; and he entrusted Hagar and Ishmael to the blessing of God and the care of His Angels in the certainty that all would be well with them. Two spiritual streams, two religions, two worlds for God; two circles, therefore two centres. A place is never holy through the choice of man, but because it has been chosen in Heaven. There were two holy centres within the orbit of Abraham: one of these was at hand, the other perhaps he did not y~t know; and it was to the other that Hagar and Ishmael were guided, in a barren valley of Arabia, some forty camel days south of Canaan. The valley was named Becca, some say on account of its narrowness: hills surround it on all sides except for three passes, one to the north, one to the south, and one opening towards the Red Sea which is fifty miles to the west. The Books do not tell us how Hagar and her son reached Becca; perhaps some travellers took care of them, for the valley was on one of the great caravan routes, sometimes called "the incense route", because perfumes and incense and such wares were brought that way from South Arabia to the Mediterranean; and no doubt Hagar was guided to leave the caravan, once the place was reached. It was not long before both mother and son were overcome by thirst, to the point that Hagar feared Ishmael was dying. According to the traditions of their descendants, he cried out to God from where he lay in the sand, and his mother stood on a rock at the foot of a nearby eminence to see if any help was in sight. Seeingno one, she hastened to another point of vantage, but from there likewise not a soul was to be seen. Half distraught, she passed seven times in all between the two points, until at the end of her seventh course, as she sat for rest on the further rock, the Angel spoke to her. In the words of Genesis: And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out ofheaven and said to her: What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise and lift up the lad and hold him in thy hand, for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water,' The water was a spring which God caused to well up from the sand at the touch of Ishmael's heel; and thereafter the valley soon became a halt for caravans by reason of the excellence and abundance of the water; and the well was named Zamzam. As to Genesis, it is the book of Isaac and his descendants, not of Abraham's other line. Of Ishmael it tells us: And God was with the lad; and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness and became an archer? After that it scarcely mentions his name; except to inform us that the two brothers Isaac and Ishmael together buried their father in Hebron, and that some years later Esau married his cousin, the daughter of Ishmael. But there is indirect praise of Ishmael and his mother in the Psalm which opens How amiable are Thy tabernacles, 0 Lord of hosts, and which tells of the miracle of Zamzam as having been caused by their passing through the valley: Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee; inuihose heart are the ways of them who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well:' I :1.1: 17- 2 0 • 2 ibid. 3 Psalm 84: 5-6. The House of God 3 When Hagar and Ishmael reached their destination Abraham had still seventy-five years to live, and he visited his son in the holy place to which Hagar had been guided. The Koran tells us that God showed him the exact site, near to the well of Zamzam, upon which he and Ishmael must build a sanctuary;' and they were told how it must be built. Its name, Ka'bah, cube, is in virtue of its shape which is approximately cubic; its four corners are towards the four points of the compass. But the most holy object in that holy place is a celestial stone which, it is said, was brought by an Angel to Abraham from the nearby hill Abu Qubays, where it had been preserved ever since it had reached the earth. "It descended from Paradise whiter than milk, but the sins of the 'sons of Adam made it black."! This black stone they built into the eastern corner of the Ka'bah; and when the sanctuary was completed, God spoke again to Abraham and bade him institute the rite of the Pilgrimage to Becca- or Mecca, as it later came to be called: Purify My House for those who go the rounds of it and who stand beside it and bow and make prostration. And proclaim unto men the pilgrimage, that they may come unto thee on foot and on every lean camel out ofevery deep ravine.' Now Hagar had told Abraham of her search for help, and he made it part of the rite of the Pilgrimage that the pilgrims should pass seven times between Safa and Marwah, for so the two eminences between which she had passed had come to be named. And later Abraham prayed, perhaps in Canaan, looking round him at the rich pastures and fields of corn and wheat: Verily I have settled a line of mine offspring in a tilth less valley at Thy Holy House . . . Therefore incline unto them men's hearts, and sustain them with fruits that they may be thankful. 4 . I J XII, 2.6. 2 Saying of the Prophet, Tir. VII, 49. (See Key to References, p. 349.) K. XXII, 2.6-7. 4 K. XIV, 37. II A Great Loss X RAH AM 'S prayer was answered, and rich gifts were continually brought to Mecca by the pilgrims who came to visit the Holy House in increasing numbers from all parts of Arabia and beyond. The Greater Pilgrimage was made once a year; but the Ka'bah could also be honoured through a lesser pilgrimage at any time; and these rites con­ tinued to be performed with fervour and devotion according to the rules which Abraham and Ishmael had established. The descendants of Isaac also venerated the Ka'bah, as a temple that had been raised by Abraham. For them it counted as one of the outlying tabernacles of the Lord. But as the centuries passed the purity of the worship of the One God came to be contaminated. The descendants of Ishmael became too numerous to live all in the valley of Mecca; and those who wentto settle elsewhere took with them stones from the holy precinct and performed rites in honour of them. Later, through the influence of neighbouring pagan tribes, idols came to be added to the stones; and finally pilgrims began to bring idols to Mecca. These were set up in the vicinity of the Ka'bah, and it was then that the Jews ceased to visit the temple of Abraham.' The idolaters claimed that their idols were powers which acted as mediators between God and men. As a result, their approach to God became less and less direct, and the remoter He seemed, the dimmer became their sense of the reality of the World-to-come, until many of them ceased to believe in life after death. But in their midst, for those who could interpret it, there was a clear sign that they had fallen away from the truth: they no longer had access to the Well of Zamzam, and they had even forgotten where it lay. The jurhumites who had come from the Yemen were directly responsible. They had established themselves in control of Mecca, and the descendants of Abraham had tolerated this because Ishmael's second wife was a kinswoman of Jurhum; but the time came when the Jurhumites began to commit all sorts of injustices, for which they were finally driven out; and before they left they buried the Well of Zamzam. No doubt they did this by way of revenge, but it was also likely that they hoped to return and enrich themselves from it, for they filledit up with part of the treasure of the sanctuary, offerings of pilgrims which had accumulated in the Ka'bah over the years; then they covered it with sand. Their place as lords of Mecca was taken by Khuza'ah', an Arab tribe lLL,I5· 2 See index for note on pronunciation of Arabic names, p. 348. A Great Loss 5 descended from Ishmael which had migrated to the Yemen and then returned northwards. But the Khuza'ites now made no attempt to find the waters that had been miraculously given to their ancestor. Since his day other wells had been dug in Mecca, God's gift was no longer a necessity, and the Holy Well became a half forgotten memory. . Khuza'ah thus shared the guilt of jurhum. They were also to blame in other respects: a chieftain of theirs, on his way back from a journey to Syria, had asked the Moabites to give him one of their idols. They gave him Hubal, which he brought back to the Sanctuary, setting it up within the Ka'bah itself; and it became the chief idol of Mecca. III Quraysh of the Hollow X OTH ER of the most powerful Arab tribes of Abrahamic descent was Quraysh; and about four hundred years after Christ, a man of Quraysh named Qusayy married a daughter of Hulayl who was then chief of Khuza'ah, Hulayl preferred his son-in-law to his own sons, for Qusayy was outstanding amongst Arabs of his time, and on the death of Hulayl, after a fierce battle which ended in arbitration, it was agreed that Qusayy should rule over Mecca and be the guardian of the Ka'bah. He thereupon brought those of Quraysh who were his nearest of kin and settled them in the valley, beside the Sanctuary - his brother Zuhrah; his uncle Taym; Makhzum, the son of another uncle; and one or two cousins who were less close. These and their posterity were known as Quraysh of the Hollow, whereas Qusayy's more remote kinsmen settled in the ravines of the surrounding hills and in the countryside beyond and were known as Quraysh of the Outskirts. Qusayy ruled over them all as king, with undisputed power, and they paid him a tax every year on their flocks, so that he might feed those of the pilgrims who were too poor to provide for themselves. Until then the keepers of the Sanctuary had lived round it in tents. But Qusayy now told them to build themselves houses, having already built himself a spacious dwelling which was known as the House of Assembly. All was harmonious, but seeds of discord were about to be sown. It was a marked characteristic of Qusayy's line that in each generation there would be one man who was altogether pre-eminent. Amongst Qusayy's four sons, this man was'Abdu Manaf, who was already honoured in his father's lifetime. But Qusayy preferred his first-born, 'Abd ad-Dar, although he was the least capable of all; and shortly before his death he said to him: "My son, I will set thee levelwith the others in despite of men's honouring them more than thee. None shall enter the Ka'bah except thou open it for him, and no hand but thine shall knot for Quraysh their ensign of war,nor shall any pilgrim draw water for drink in Mecca except thou give him the right thereto, nor shall he eat food except it be of thy providing, nor shall Quraysh resolve upon any matter except it be in thy Quraysh ofthe Hollow 7 house." Having thus invested him with all his rights and powers, he transferred to him the ownership of the House of Assembly. Out of filial piety 'Abdu Manaf accepted without question his father's wishes; but in the next generation half of Quraysh gathered round 'Abdu Manaf's son Hashim, clearly the foremost man of his day, and demanded that the rights be transferred from the clan of 'Abd ad-Dar to his clan. Those who supported Hashim and his brothers were the descendants of Zuhrah and Taym, and all Qusayy's descendants except those of the eldest line. The descendants of Makhziim and of the other remoter cousins maintained that the rights should remain in the family of 'Abd ad-Dar. Feeling rose so high that the women of the clan of 'Abdu Manaf brought a bowl of rich perfume and placed it beside the Ka'bah; and Hashim and his brothers and all their allies dipped their hands in it and swore a solemn oath that they would never abandon one another, rubbing their scented hands over the stones of the Ka'bah in confirmation of their pact. Thus it was that this group of clans were known as the Scented Ones. The allies of 'Abd ad-Dar likewise swore an oath of union, and they were known as the Confederates. Violence was strictly forbidden not only in the Sanctuary itself but also within a wide circle round Mecca, several miles in diameter; and the two sides were about to leave this sacred precinct in order to fight a battle to the death when a compromise was suggested, and it was agreed that the sons of 'Abdu Manaf should have the rights of levying the tax and providing the pilgrims with food and drink, whereas the sons of 'Abd ad-Dar should retain the keys of the Ka'bah and their other rights, and that their house should continue to be the House of Assembly. Hashim's brothers agreed that he should have the responsibility of providing for the pilgrims. When the time of the Pilgrimage drew near he would rise in the Assembly and say: "Omen of Quraysh, ye are God's neighbours, the people of His House; and at this feast there come unto you God's visitors, the pilgrims to His House. They are God's guests, and no guests have such claim on your generosity as His guests. If my own wealth could compass it, I would not lay this burden upon you."? Hashim was held in much honour, both at home and abroad. It was he who established the two great caravan journeys from Mecca, the Caravan of Winter to the Yemen and the Caravan of Summer to north-west Arabia, and beyond it to Palestine and Syria, which was then under Byzantine rule as part of the Roman Empire. Both journeys lay along the ancient incense route; and one of the first main halts of the summer caravans was the oasis of Yathrib, eleven camel days north of Mecca. This oasis had at one time been chiefly inhabited by Jews, but an Arab tribe from South Arabia was now in control of it. The Jews none the less continued to live there in considerable prosperity, taking part in the general life of the community while maintaining their own religion. As to the Arabs of Yathrib, they had certain matriarchal traditions and were collectively known as the children of Qaylah after one of their ancestresses. But they had now branched into I LL 83. Throughout this book, everything between quotation marks has been translated from traditional sources. 2 I.I. 87­ 8 Muhammad two tribes which were named Aws and Khazraj after Qaylah's two sons. One of the most influential women of Khazraj was Salrna the daughter of 'Amr, of the clan of Najjar, and Hashim asked her to marry him. She consented on condition that the control of her affairs should remain entirely in her own hands; and when she bore him a son she kept the boy with her in Yathrib until he was fourteen years old or more. Hashim was not averse to this, for despite the oasis fever, which was more of a danger to newcomers than to the inhabitants, the climate was healthier than that of Mecca. Moreover he often went to Syria and would stay with Salma and his son on the way there and on his return. But Hashim's life was not destined to be a long one, and during one of his journeys he fell ill at Gaza in Palestine and d...
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