The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets(saw) – Part 13

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Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra) was one of the sons of the Promised Messiah(as). Born on April 20, 1893 he passed his matriculation in 1910 with distinction, and according to the wishes of the Promised Messiah(as), attained an MA in Arabic in 1916. A great religious scholar and prolific writer, his books and speeches are easily understandable by the average reader. Some of his important works include Siratul Mahdi (Life of the Mahdi), Silsila-e-Ahmadiyya (The Ahmadiyya community), Tabligh-e-Hidayat (Propagation of Guidance), Kalimutal Fasl (The Decisive Word) and Hamara Khuda (Our God). He also contributed countless articles to magazines and periodicals of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, such as the daily Al-Fazl, and was Editor of The Review of Religions for many years. Sirat Khatamun Nabiyyin is his magnum opus; an outstanding biography of the Holy Prophet(saw), which includes insightful analysis and commentary on various aspects of his life. For the first time this book has been translated into English. The English rendering, “The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets,” will be serialised in various parts in The Review of Religions.

Continued serialisation of the English rendering of Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra)’s outstanding biography, ‘Seerat Khatamun Nabiyyin’, on the life and character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). After the initial attempts of the Quraish to demoralise the Muslims failed, they intensified their persecution against the Prophet Muhammad(saw) and his followers to extreme levels.

Alliance of the Quraish and their Boycott of the Muslims

The constant failures of the Quraish had greatly infuriated them. Firstly and foremost they were compelled to face humiliation in the matter of Abu Talib and they failed to separate the Banu Hashim from the Muslims. After this, by subjecting the Muslims to countless hardships and torture, they witnessed that this rock was not about to move from its place. After this, the acceptance of Hadhrat Hamzah(ra) and Hadhrat ‘Umar(ra) opened their eyes to the actuality that, despite remaining in opposition from the start, even eminent people were not safe from merging into the flow of Islam. After this, the delegation to Abyssinia returned from the royal court of the Negus in loss and failure, and the Quraish were confronted with severe humiliation in this matter. Now they had failed profusely in their direct negotiation with the Holy Prophet(saw). These continuous failures and humiliations had set the Quraish aflame. Therefore, as a practical endeavour, through mutual deliberation they decided that all relationships with the Holy Prophet(saw), and all the members of the Banu Hashim and Banu Muttalib be severed, and if they refused to relinquish their protection of the Holy Prophet(saw), they should be besieged in one place and destroyed.

Motorway towards Makkah

Therefore, in Muharram of 7 Nabawi1 a proper agreement was drafted that ‘no individual shall marry any member of the Banu Hashim or Banu Muttalib dynasty. None shall sell anything to them or purchase anything from them, nor shall they let any food or drink reach them. They shall not keep any relations with them until they separate themselves from Muhammad(saw) and hand him over to them.’2 This agreement, in which the Banu Kinanah were also included, along with the Quraish3, was formally written and signed by the main chieftains of the Quraish and hung to the wall of the Ka‘bahin the form of a significant national testament.

Approximate locations of the main tribes in the Arabian Peninsula (approximately 600 CE)

Hence, the Holy Prophet(saw) and all of the Banu Hashim and Banu Muttalib, whether Muslim or disbeliever (except Abu Lahab the paternal uncle of the Holy Prophet(saw), who in the infatuation of his animosity sided with the Quraish), were besieged in a mountainous valley called the Valley of Abu Talib. In this way two large tribes of the Quraish were completely cut off from the social life of Makkah and were imprisoned under close watch, in the Valley of Abu Talib, which was a valley belonging to the Banu Hashim.4 The very few other Muslims who still resided in Makkah were also with the Holy Prophet(saw).

To read about the difficulties and hardships that these detainees were compelled to bear makes the body tremble. Companions of the Holy Prophet(saw) narrate that sometimes, like animals, they survived by eating the leaves of wild trees.5 Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas(ra) stated that once, during the night, his foot fell upon something that seemed to be moist and soft (perhaps it was the piece of a date). At that time, he was in such a state of hunger that he immediately picked it up and swallowed it. He states that until this day I do not know what that thing was. On another occasion, due to extreme hunger, when he found a dry piece of skin on the ground, he took it, softened it and cleaned it with water, cooked it, and ate it. He spent three days in this state of divine hospitality.6 As far as the children were concerned, the sounds of their crying and screaming could be heard outside the encampment, and this would please the Quraish.7 However, all the enemies of Islam were not the same. When some witnessed these grievous sights, their hearts would develop sentiments of mercy. Hence, Hakim bin Hizam(ra) would sometimes secretly take food for his paternal aunt Hadhrat Khadijah(ra). However, once Abu Jahl learnt of this and this ill-fated man strictly forbade him on the way, thus the situation escalated to a physical confrontation.8 This tribulation remained for approximately two and a half to three years. During this time Muslims could not come out, except during the season of Hajj, when there was peace due to the sacred months.9

Deliverance of the Muslims from Persecution

The Ka’bah in Makkah

As mentioned above, there were some soft-hearted and compassionate people among the Quraish as well. When these people witnessed such cruelties, they would condemn them within their hearts, but they did not have the power to dispute the unanimous verdict of their people. For this reason, they would remain stagnant in the anxiety of their hearts. At last, such circumstances were created by God enabling these people to courageously muster the strength to step forward in this regard. The details of this are mentioned in the manner that when a time-period of approximately three years had passed in this boycott, one day, the Holy Prophet(saw) said to his paternal uncle, Abu Talib, “God has informed me that the text of the entire agreement which was written against us has been expunged, except the name of God, and the parchment has been devoured.” Abu Talib reached the Ka‘bah at once where the chieftains of the Quraish were gathered, and addressed them saying:

“How long will this cruel agreement last? My nephew has told me that God has erased the entire script of this agreement, except His name.10 Go and fetch this agreement so that we may see to which extent my nephew is correct.”

Various others said, “Yes, Yes! Indeed we should see.” Therefore, the agreement was fetched and it had in fact been devoured by ants. Except the name of Allah in the beginning, no word could be read. At this, among the Quraish there were some who became even more enflamed, but those whose hearts were already developing sentiments of justice, mercy and kinship, found an excellent opportunity at hand to raise a voice against this agreement.11

Therefore, among the chieftains of the Quraish, Hisham bin ‘Amr, Zuhair bin Abi Umaiyyah, Mut‘im bin ‘Adiyy, Abul-Bakhtari and Zam‘ah bin Aswad, mutually proposed that this cruel and merciless agreement should now be ended. At this proposal, these people went to the assembly of the other chieftains of the Quraish, and one of them addressed the Quraish saying “O Quraish! Is it just that you lead a life of luxury while your brothers suffer days in such hardship? This agreement is cruel and should now be abrogated.” His other associates endorsed him, but Abu Jahl said, Nay! This agreement shall continue, and none can touch it.” Someone responded, “No, it can no longer continue, for when it was first written, even then we were not at consent.” Amidst this dispute, Mut‘im bin ‘Adiyy extended his hand and tore apart this decomposed document. Abu Jahl and his associates stood gazing in disappointment. 12

After tearing the parchment, these people went to the entrance of the Valley of Abu Talib armed, and under the shadow of swords, these detainees were escorted out. This incident happened in the tenth year after prophetic commission.12  Therefore, the Holy Prophet(saw) remained besieged for two and a half to three years, because as it has been mentioned above, the Holy Prophet(saw) was besieged in the seventh year of prophethood in the month of Muharram.

Continues in the Next Edition with ‘The Miracle of the Splitting of the Moon’

Endnotes

  1. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, by Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Vol.1, p.100, Babu Dhikri Hasri Quraisha Rasulillahi(saw) wa Bani Hashim fish-Sha‘bi, Darul-Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
  2. * As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p.256, Babu Khabris-Sahifah, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
    * At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, Vol.1, p.100, by Ibni Sa‘d, Babu Dhikri Hasri Quraisha Rasulillahi(saw) wa Bani Hashim fish-Sha‘bi, Darul-Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
    * Tarikhut-Tabari, by Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Al-Jarir Tabari, Vol.2, pp.236-237, Babu Dhikril-Khabri ‘amma kana min Amri Nabiyyillahi(saw) ‘inda Ibtida’illahi Ta‘ala…, Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)
  3. Sahih Bukhari, Kitabul-Hajj, Babu Nuzulin-Nabi(saw) Makkah, Hadith No. 1590
  4. Tarikhut-Tabari, by Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Al-Jarir Tabari, Vol.2, pp.236-237, Babu Dhikril-Khabri ‘amma kana min Amri Nabiyyillahi(saw) ‘inda Ibtida’illahi Ta‘ala…, Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)
    *At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, by Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Vol.1, p.100, Babu Dhikri Hasri Quraisha Rasulillahi(saw) wa Bani Hashim fish-Sha‘bi, Darul-Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
    *As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p.256, Babu Khabris-Sahifah, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
  5. Ar-Raudul-Anf, by Imam Abul-Qasim ‘Abdur-Rahman Suhaili, Vol.2, p.161, Babun ‘Anish-Sha‘bi wa Naqdis-Sahifah, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
  6.  Ar-Raudul-Anf, by Imam Abul-Qasim ‘Abdur-Rahman Suhaili, Vol.2, p.161, Babun ‘Anish-Sha‘bi wa Naqdis-Sahifah, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
  7. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, by Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Vol.1, p.100, Babu Dhikri Hasri Quraisha Rasulillahi(saw) wa Bani Hashim fish-Sha‘bi, Darul-Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
  8. As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p.259, Babu Khabris-Sahifah, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
  9.  At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, by Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Vol.1, p.100, Babu Dhikri Hasri Quraisha Rasulillahi(saw) wa Bani Hashim fish-Sha‘bi, Darul-Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
  10. It was the custom of the Quraish that they would write the words Bismi Kalla Huma the beginning of their writings, and it was only these words that remained of the agreement. (Author)
  11. As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, by Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, pp. 273-274, Babu Naqdis- Sahifah, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
    *At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, by Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Vo.1, p.101, Babu Dhikri Hasri Quraisha Rasulillahi(saw) wa Bani Hashim fish-Sha‘bi, Darul-Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
  12. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, by Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Vol.1, p.101, Babu Dhikri Hasri Quraisha Rasulillahi(saw) wa Bani Hashim fish-Sha‘bi, Darul-Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
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