The Early Years: Prophet Muhammad In Makkah (Islam 1.9)

1.9 Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) In Makkah

Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) Call To Be A Prophet

The Prophet would go to the cave of Hira, at a mountain near Makkah, seeking seclusion and nearness to Allah. After receiving Prophethood, he never commanded or encouraged anyone to visit or seclude themselves in that cave.

He would frequently spend several days and nights in the cave, until he received the Revelation of the Qur’an [1]. He was 40 years old. He would receive true dreams, and continue secluding himself at Hira [2], Khadijah would support him. Even rocks in Makkah would greet him [3]. On one occasion two angels descended and opened up his chest and cleansed his heart from the share of the Shaytān. After informing his wife, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), she said: “This, by Allah, sounds good! So be pleased.” (Al-Bayhaqee)

On Monday 21st Ramadan (613CE) at the age of 40 whilst in the cave of Hira, revelation took the Prophet by surprise. The angel Jibreel took hold of him and said: “Read!” He replied: “I do not know how to read.” The angel pressed him hard against himself, then let him go and said: “Read.” He gave the same answer. So he seized him again and pressed him hard and tight, and repeated the request: “Read.” So he told him once again: “I do not know how to read.” Then the angel seized him for the third time and again pressed him hard against himself. Then letting him go and said:

“Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created all that exists. He has created man from a clot of thick coagulated blood. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous; Who has taught the writing by the pen [the first person to write was Prophet Idrees]. He taught man that which he knew not.” (Qur’an 96: 1-5)

He returned to Khadijah much disturbed, saying: “Cover me.” She covered him with a blanket until he recovered. Then he said: “Khadijah, I don’t know what’s happening. I am afraid for myself.” Then he informed her about what had taken place. She said: “By Allah, He will not forsake you. You tie the bonds of kinship, you speak the truth, and you help those in difficulty.” Later on she took him to her uncle, Waraqah Ibn Nawful. He had become Christian in the times of before the advent of Muhammad’s Prophethood – he knew and understand the Hebrew scriptures – he was old and blind. Khadijah said: “Listen to what your nephew has to say.” So the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) narrated all that had taken place. Waraqah listened and then said: “This is the same angel who came to Moosa (Moses). Indeed they will exile you! No one ever brought what you brought except that he was antogonised and persecuted. If I am alive at that time, I shall aid you and strengthen you.” Soon after Waraqah died, as a Muslim (see Bukhari and Muslim).

After this first revelation, Jibreel did not come back for a while. The Prophet became worried. Then the Revelation returned. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “While I was walking I heard a voice from the heavens. I raised my eyes and lo! The angel that came to me at Hira was sitting on a chair between the heavens and earth. I was over-awed and afraid, and returned asking Khadijah to cover me in garments and pour cool water on me.” Then Allah revealed:

“O you enveloped in garments! Arise and warn! And glorify your Lord! And your garments purify! And keep away from the idols!” (Qur’an 74:1-5)

Thus began the messengership and duty to call the people to the worship of Allah, and the abandonment of idolatry. Thereafter, the Revelation came down at a regular pace (reported by Bukhari and Muslim).

Opposition To Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) began his call, and over time its news spread amongst the Arabs, the message was met with opposition. The heads of Quraish accused the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) of madness and of inventing the Qur’an yet Muhammad was illiterate – he could not read or write, so how could he invent it? They alleged he was a magician, they accused him of lying, they accused him of spinning fables, they claimed that the Qur’an was not from Allah, they accused him of being misguided and of misguiding others. Furthermore they would mock and ridicule him. They abused the followers of the Prophet and began to torture them, beat them and even killed some of them.

Then they tried to bribe the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) with money, leadership and women. He refused all of that seeking from them that they worship Allah only, abandon the worship of the idols, to stop immoral acts and to stop the crime of murdering their young daughters by burying them alive. He called them to look after the weak, to feed the poor and maintain the ties of kinship and family. Through all of this, he did not plot their killing or overthrow, nor did he steal from them or carry out attacks. Rather, he remained patient and focused, worshipped Allah and called others to do the same.

He remained sincere, honest and truthful, and gradually more and more people followed him. But the leaders of Makkah were not willing to accept the message because:

a. They were proud of their customs and idolatrous practices. They regarded them to be a part of their heritage and tradition – and now Muhammad was attacking that way of life.

b. They felt that Muhammad was taking away their authority over the people because were listening to him and turning away from them. They took this as a challenge to their authority. Yet, the truth was that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) never sought leadership from the Makkans. In fact when it was offered to him, he refused it.

c. Makkah was a very important trading centre, and people would come from far and wide to trade there and to perform pilgrimage to the Ka`bah, so they saw Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and his message as a threat. Again, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had no designs against honest trade or the traders, but he did call the pilgrims who visited the Ka`bah to abandon idolatry and worship the one God, Allah.

Task: What encouragement and inspiration can a Muslim draw from these aspects of the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

Footnotes:

[1] (see hadeeth in Bukhari, no. 3902)

[2] (see hadeeth in Bukhari, no. 6982)

[3] (see hadeeth in Muslim, no. 2277)

 


NOTE:

I initially compiled these worksheets for my students at the Redstone Academy (aged between 13 and 16 years), Moseley Road, Birmingham, UK who are working towards their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). I felt that others who do not attend the school can also benefit from these topics since they are presented in simple bitesize chapters. I have relied upon GCSE text books and adapted them for my classes.

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