THE YOUTH OF THE HOLY PROPHET (S) As the Holy Prophet (S) grew up, the people around him noticed that this young man was not like others of his age. The people admired his character and bravery and all the Quraish liked him.
In his youth, the Holy Prophet (S) accompanied his uncle Abu Talib on trade journeys to Syria and Yemen. He soon gained a reputation in Makka for his good business sense, his honesty and trustworthiness.
People were so impressed by the qualities of the Holy Prophet (S), that they began to call him as-Sadiq (the Truthful) and al-Ameen (the Trustworthy).
When the Holy Prophet (S) would pass them, people would say:
"There goes the young man who behaves equally well with the high and the low. He is considerate to his equals, respects the elders and always shows love and affection to the children. He never speaks a lie or misuses anything entrusted to his care. He does not look at women with an evil intent and is never rude to anybody. He does not backbite or spend his time in finding faults in people." Such was the character of our Holy Prophet (S), and in later years even his enemies would still leave their belongings with him for safekeeping when they went on a trip away from Makka.
Once a man came to Makka and was cheated by a trader in the market place. He complained to the Quraish that he had been mistreated. At that time, some leading citizens formed a committee that would look into such incidents and try to help the people who were unfairly treated.
They decided that the main tribes of Quraish should make an agreement that would protect the rights of the people. This important covenant was called “Hilful Fudhool” or “Covenant of High Morals”. The Holy Prophet (S) participated in this agreement and was an active member of the Hilful Fudhool.
The Holy Prophet (S) also spent part of his youth as a shepherd.
Thus, by the time he was 25 years of age, the Holy Prophet (S) had built himself a good reputation in Makka and had gained the trust and affection of the people around him.
The Holy Prophet (S) built a good reputation in Makka. Write down the ways in which he managed to do this.
Now you know…
As the Holy Prophet (S) grew up, he stood out as an exceptional young man unlike others of his age. The Quraish admired him for his bravery and character.
He spent part of his youth as a shepherd and he also accompanied his uncle Abu Talib on trade journey to Syria and Yemen.
During the trade journeys he built a good reputation because of his honesty and trustworthiness. People used to call him as-Sadiq (the truthful) and al-Ameen (the trustworthy).
Even his enemies trusted him; many would leave their belongings with him for safekeeping when they went on a trip away from Makka.
The Holy Prophet (S) was an active member of ‘Hilful Fudhool’ – Covenant of High Morals. This was an agreement that protected the rights of the people.
By the age of 25, the Holy Prophet (S) had gained the trust and affection of the people around him.
Answer the following questions:
What did the Quraish notice was different about the Holy Prophet (S) compared to others his age?
What two titles were attributed to the Holy Prophet (S)?
What historical event showed that even the enemies of the Holy Prophet (S) admired him?
What committee did the Holy Prophet (S) join that ensured the rights of the people?
Why do you think he did this?
History Chapter 2
THE FIRST REVELATION The Holy Prophet (S) use to spend a lot of his time in the cave of Mount Hira, which is a mountain overlooking the Holy Ka’ba, some three miles north of Makka.
It was his habit to sometimes spend a few days continuously in the cave in prayers, and his wife Bibi Khadija (A) would bring him some food and water.
One night when he was in the cave of Mount Hira, he heard a voice calling his name and suddenly there was a dazzling light in the cave. The Holy Prophet (S) sat at his place calmly and saw that a man was approaching him. The person was none other than Angel Jibraeel (A) in human form.
Jibraeel (A) came very close to the Holy Prophet (S) and asked him to read what was written in a silken scroll that he had in his hands. The Holy Prophet (S) read the words which were the first revelation from Allah, and which later became the first five verses of Surah al-Alaq. These were:
[In the Name of Allah the Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
Read! In the Name of your Lord Who created (everything in the Universe). He created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Honourable. (He) Who taught (to write) with the pen. (He) taught man what he knew not.
When the Holy Prophet (S) had finished reciting, the angel announced, "O Muhammad! there is no doubt that you are the Apostle of Allah and I am his angel Jibraeel." After saying this, the angel disappeared.
This event told the Holy Prophet (S) that it was now time to start his mission. At this time he was 40 years old. The date was 27th of Rajab, 610 A.D. Also at this time, Allah blessed the Holy Prophet (S) with such a memory that, whatever he heard only once from Jibraeel (A), remained in his heart forever.
The Holy Prophet (S) then left the cave to return home, where he would begin his mission to preach the Unity of Allah and to invite all mankind to the path of worshipping only One God.
History Chapter 3
THE FIRST PEOPLE TO BECOME MUSLIMS
When the Holy Prophet (S) returned from the cave in Mount Hira after the first revelation, he immediately went home.
The Holy Prophet (S) lived with his wife Bibi Khadija (A) and his young cousin Imam Ali (A). Abu Talib could not afford to support his four sons due to his poor financial state. As a result, his son Ja'far was looked after by his brother Abbas, and his son Ali (A) was brought up by the Holy Prophet (S).
In addition, when Imam Ali (A) was born, the Holy Prophet (S) had just lost his own son and Abu Talib's wife Fatima binte Asad promised him that as soon as her child was a little older, she would turn it over to him. Imam Ali (A) was 9 years old when he came to live with Bibi Khadija (A) and the Holy Prophet (S).
When he reached his home, the Holy Prophet (S) informed his wife about what had happened, and she immediately believed in his mission and became a Muslim. The next person the Holy Prophet (S) spoke to was Imam Ali (A), who was only 10 years old at the time. Imam Ali (A) also accepted Islam on hearing the experiences of the Holy Prophet (S).
Thus Bibi Khadija (A) was the first woman to become a Muslim, and Imam Ali (A) the first man. The third person to become a Muslim was Zaid bin Harith, who was the Holy Prophet's (S) freed slave and adopted son.
The Holy Prophet (S) received further revelations from Allah and he gradually began to spread the religion of Islam. For the first three years of his mission, he did not make a general invitation to everybody, but selected certain special people who he saw were ready to embrace the religion of Allah.
As a result of his limited activity only 30 people became Muslims in these first three years.
The Quraish and their leader Abu Sufyan knew what was going on, but they were not bothered by the Holy Prophet's (S) activities at this time. They thought that this new religion would soon die out just like when Waraqah and Umayyah returned to idol worship after having become Christians for a short time after reading the Injeel.
During the three years, the Quraish did not harm the Holy Prophet (S), and continued to respect him. In return, he did not openly criticise their idols and remained busy in keeping in contact with his small group of Muslims.
The attitude of the Quraish remained relaxed until the day when the Holy Prophet (S) began to preach the religion of Islam openly on the command of Allah.
History Chapter 4
THE INVITATION OF ZUL ASHIRA Three years after his mission had started, the Holy Prophet (S) received the following revelation from Allah : And warn your nearest relatives... Shu'ara, 26:214] When this command came, the Holy Prophet (S) called Imam Ali (A) and instructed him to arrange a meal and to invite the sons of Abdul Muttalib so that he could deliver to them the words of Allah. Following the invitation, some forty men from the children of Abdul Muttalib gathered near the mountain of Safa. Amongst them were the Holy Prophet's (S) uncles Abu Talib, Abbas, Hamza and Abu Lahab.
The Holy Prophet (S) commanded Imam Ali (A) to serve the food to the guests. Imam Ali (A) kept the food - which was hardly enough to feed even one man - in front of the assembled guests. The Holy Prophet (S) blessed the food with the Name of Allah and asked the people to eat. Everyone of the forty guests had his fill and yet the food remained the same. After the feast was over, the Holy Prophet (S) wished to speak to the assembly, but Abu Lahab said to the people that the Holy Prophet (S) had displayed great magic and so the people all left.
The next day, the Holy Prophet (S) asked Imam Ali (A) to make the same preparations as before, but again the same thing happened. On the third day, the Holy Prophet (S) again invited the same group for a meal. This time, he stood up immediately the eating was over and said to the gathering:
"O sons of Abdul Muttalib! I swear by Allah, besides Whom there is no god, that I have been sent by Him as His Messenger. O my relatives! One day you will die as if you were going to sleep and some time later you will be brought back to life to be judged according to your deeds. The good people will live in Heaven, while those who are evil-doers will be put in Hell forever. No human being has ever brought a better thing for his people than that which I have brought for you. My Lord has ordered me to invite you towards Him. Which one of you will support me so that he may become my brother and successor after me?"
When the speech of the Holy Prophet (S) reached this point, the entire assembly remained silent. Suddenly Imam Ali (A), who was only 10 years old, stood up and said, "O Prophet of Allah! I am prepared to support you." The Holy Prophet (S) asked him to sit down, and repeated the question three times. Each time, however, none but Imam Ali (A) stood up to support him. After the third time the Holy Prophet (S) hugged Imam Ali (A) and holding his hand up high, he said, "People! This young man is my brother and successor amongst you. Listen to his words and follow him."
At this stage, the meeting came to an end and some of those present turned to Abu Talib and teased him saying, "Muhammad has directed you to follow your own son and to take orders from him and has declared him to be your elder."
However, the words of the Holy Prophet (S) proved to be true and many times in his life he repeated the same words about this special position of Imam Ali (A).
History Chapter 5
THE PERSECUTION OF MUSLIMS
After introducing Islam to his relatives, the Holy Prophet (S) began to tell all the people of Makka about his mission. He called all the tribes to the mountain of Safa, and then said to them, "If I tell you that an enemy is hiding behind this mountain ready to attack you all, would you believe me?" All of them replied, "Yes, because we have never heard you tell a lie." Then the Holy Prophet (S) said, "Save yourself from the punishment of Hell fire. Believe that there is no god but Allah, and you will be successful in your life." When they heard this message, there was confusion amongst the people and Abu Lahab said loudly, "You have wasted our time with all this nonsense."
The people of Makka forgot that they themselves used to call the Holy Prophet (S) “as-Sadiq”, which means “the Truthful one”. Instead they began to call him a mad man. They began to make life difficult for him by spreading thorns on his path and getting children to throw stones at him. Sometimes they would throw rubbish on him as he passed under their windows.
All these acts had no effect on the Holy Prophet (S), and he did not give up preaching belief in One God in place of the countless gods worshipped by the Makkans. When the number of Muslims began to slowly increase, the chiefs of some tribes became worried, and they came to Abu Talib, the uncle and guardian of the Holy Prophet (S), and asked him to stop his nephew from preaching his religion.
They offered to give the Holy Prophet (S) money, power or anything he wanted, as long as he would give up talking against their gods. When Abu Talib told the Holy Prophet (S) about their message, he said, "By Allah, even if these people put the sun in my one hand and the moon in the other, I would not give up what I have been commanded by Allah to do."
The Bani Umayyah, who were the enemies of Bani Hashim, began to harass the Holy Prophet (S) all the time. The main trouble makers included Abu Sufyan, Abu Jahl, and Utba bin Rabee'. Although they could not attack him openly because of the power and influence of Abu Talib, they took every opportunity to create difficulties for him.
Once, when the Holy Prophet (S) was offering prayers next to the Holy Ka’ba, Abu Jahl got some members of Quraish to throw the intestines of a goat on his shoulders while he was in Sajdah. After the Holy Prophet (S) had finished his prayers, he prayed to Allah to curse each one of them. History tells us that all the people who had taken part in this act, including Abu Jahl and Utba bin Rabee', were killed in the battle of Badr, which was the very first battle of Islam.
The Makkans then turned their attention to the new Muslims. Some Muslims came from powerful tribes, so they were safe from trouble. However, many Muslims were poor or slaves, and these began to face the most terrible cruelties at the hands of the Makkans.
Abu Zar Ghiffari was one of the early Muslims. When he declared that he had accepted Islam, the Quraish beat him up so badly that he was half dead. When the uncle of the Holy Prophet (S), Abbas, passed by and saw what they were doing, he reminded the Quraish that Abu Zar was from the tribe of Bani Ghiffar who used to live next to the route of the trade caravans. If they learnt that a member of their tribe had been tortured by the Quraish, they would not let the trade caravans pass safely. On hearing this, the greedy Quraish left Abu Zar alone.
Bilal Habashi was the Mu'azzin (prayer caller) of the Holy Prophet (S). He was the slave of Umayya bin Khilaf. When Bilal accepted Islam, his cruel master was very angry and began to torture him mercilessly. He would make Bilal lie bare-backed on the hot sands of the desert and place a large stone on his chest so that he could not escape the burning sand. At other times he would tie a rope around his neck and get him dragged around the hills of Makka. Despite these cruelties, Bilal continued to say "Ahad, Ahad", which means that "Allah is One". Finally, the Holy Prophet's (S) uncle Abbas bought him and then freed him.
Lubeena Khatun was the slave maid of Umar bin Khattab, who later was made Caliph of the Muslims. When Lubeena became a Muslim, he would beat her so much that he himself would get tired.
Ammar bin Yasir and his parents Yasir and Sumayya were amongst the first Muslims. The unbelievers tried to make them change their minds but they refused. The three of them were taken to the desert and beaten and tortured. This was repeated many times until at one time, Yasir died. When his pregnant wife Sumayya complained to Abu Jahl about this inhuman treatment he took his spear and thrust it into her heart.
Then they turned to Ammar and beat him so terribly that he was about to die. They threatened to kill him unless he declared that he was no longer a Muslim. To save his life, Ammar had to agree. Later, the Holy Prophet (S) approved his action saying that as long as Ammar had the faith in his heart, it did not matter what he was forced to say. Despite the tortures suffered by the Muslims, none of them changed their faith and their numbers increased day by day.
History Chapter 6
THE HIJRAT TO ABYSSINIA The unbelievers of Makka had made life very difficult for the Muslims. The Holy Prophet (S) was worried and concerned about the condition of the Muslims, so he advised a group of his followers to migrate to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), which was ruled by a kind Christian king whose name was Negus.
This was the first Hijrat in Islam and 10 people took part in it. It happened in the fifth year of Prophethood. A second, larger group of Muslims also migrated soon afterwards, under the leadership of Ja'far bin Abu Talib, the brother of Imam Ali (A). The Muslims were welcomed with much kindness in Abyssinia and found the life there very pleasant and comfortable.
When the chiefs of Makka found out that the Muslims had migrated and were living peacefully in Abyssinia, they became worried that the Muslims might turn Negus, the king of Abyssinia, towards Islam. They decided to send some gifts to the king and his ministers, and try to convince him to send the Muslims back to Makka. They sent two men after the Muslims.
When the two men reached Abyssinia, they first met the ministers and gave them expensive gifts. They convinced the greedy ministers to support their mission by backing them in the court of the king. On the following day, they met Negus, and after presenting him with gifts, they said: "A group of our young men have gone against the beliefs of our forefathers and have invented a new religion. These people have now run to your country. I request you to hand them over to us so that we can take them back to Arabia."
As soon as this speech was over, the ministers loudly declared their support for this request. However, Negus took no notice of them and asked whether the Muslim refugees had killed anyone, or stolen anybody's property or had committed any crimes in Makka. They replied that their only crime was inventing a new religion.
The king then announced, "I cannot hand over the people who are living under my protection without a proper investigation."
He sent a message to the Muslims that their leader should come to the court. Ja'far bin Abu Talib came to present the case for the Muslims. The king turned to Ja'far and asked, "Why have you given up the beliefs of your forefathers and started a new religion?"
Ja'far replied, "We used to be ignorant people who worshipped idols. We ate dead bodies and committed bad deeds. We had no respect for our neighbours and fought amongst ourselves. The weak and helpless were bullied by the strong. We spent a long time in this manner, until a person from amongst us, who had a faultless character, invited us to worship One God.
He taught us to respect other people's property, to behave well with our relatives, to respect our neighbours and women and to avoid lying. He ordered us to offer prayers, to fast and to pay religious tax on our wealth. We have believed in him and worship Allah. However, the Quraish have behaved very cruelly towards us. We resisted them for some time, but now we have come to live here to save our beliefs. The fame of your kindness has brought us to your country and we have perfect faith in your justice."
The king was very impressed with the sincere speech of Ja'far, and he asked him to recite something from the Heavenly Book of the Muslims. Ja'far recited and explained some verses from Surah Maryam of the Holy Qur'an.
When the king and bishops heard the words of Allah about the virtues of Bibi Maryam (A) and Prophet Isa (A), tears came to their eyes as they recognised the truth. King Negus declared that he would never surrender the Muslims to the Quraish and asked them to leave his court.
One of the Makkans, who was a very cunning man, decided to try another approach. He knew that the Christians believed that Prophet Isa (A) was the son of God.
The next day he went to the king and said that the Muslims had special beliefs about Prophet Isa (A) that were totally different to the basic belief of the Christians, and so they were a danger to the official religion of Abyssinia.
King Negus again called Ja'far and asked him what the Muslims thought about Isa (A). Ja'far replied, "Our belief regarding Isa (A) is that which has been taught to us by the Holy Prophet (S). He was the servant and Prophet of Allah, and the Spirit of Allah with which He blessed Bibi Maryam (A)."
The king was pleased with this answer, and he praised the beliefs of the Muslims and allowed them full freedom to practise their religion in his country.
He returned the presents of the Quraish back to them and said, "God has not taken any bribe from me while giving me authority over the people. It is not right that I should gather wealth by means of your bribes." The two men had no choice but to return to Makka, having totally failed in their attempt to bring back the Muslims.
The Muslims continued to live in Abyssinia peacefully for a long time and only returned after the Holy Prophet (S) had migrated to Madina.
History Chapter 7
THE BOYCOTT OF BANI HASHIM
The chiefs of Quraish were very disturbed to see that the religion of Islam was gaining strength in spite of all their efforts. By now, well respected people like Hamza, the uncle of the Holy Prophet (S), and some powerful men of Quraish had become Muslims. The chiefs could not bear to stand by and watch Islam advancing in this manner and so they held a meeting to plan a way to stop it.
They decided to boycott all the Muslims and in this way stop their activities. An agreement was drafted and hung on the walls of the Holy Ka’ba, and the community of Quraish was told to act according to it. The agreement stated that:
All trade and business with the supporters of Muhammad shall be banned.
Any association with them is strictly prohibited.
Nobody is allowed to marry their daughters or sons to those of the Muslims.
All those who oppose Muhammad should be supported in all circumstances.
This agreement was signed by all the chiefs of the Quraish and was put into action straight away. Abu Talib, the uncle of the Holy Prophet (S), pledged the support of the entire Bani Hashim clan to his nephew. He also advised all the Muslims to move out of Makka into a valley in the mountains. Thus, the Muslims moved out of their homes into the place known as the "Valley of Abu Talib", and set up small houses and tents.
To protect themselves from a sudden attack from the Quraish, some men were posted as guards. The Muslims were forced to remain in the valley for three years. During this time they suffered terrible hardships. Food was in very short supply, and many had to survive on a single date or less per day. The Bani Hashim were only allowed out of the valley during the special months of Rajab and Zilhaj when fighting was not allowed.
During these times they came to Makka to buy food and other necessities. However some Makkans, like Abu Lahab, made things more difficult for them by encouraging the shopkeepers to raise the price of food so that the Bani Hashim could not afford to buy very much.
Throughout their difficult times, the Muslims did not lose heart and remained strongly attached to Islam and the Holy Prophet (S). Finally some of the Makkans began to regret their shameful action against the Muslims, who after all were their relatives. They became ashamed for having signed the agreement and began to look for a solution to the problem. They called a meeting of the Quraish proposing to end the boycott and allow the Muslims to return home.
Although Abu Jahl was not in favour of allowing them back, he was outvoted by the rest and had to remain quiet. The chiefs decided to tear down the agreement. When they brought it down from the Holy Ka’ba, they noticed that the entire sheet had been eaten away by termites and only the words "In the Name of our Lord" remained.
After being informed of the developments by his uncle, the Holy Prophet (S) decided to leave the valley and the Muslims returned to their homes in Makka once again.
The patience and reliance on Allah in the face of hardships by these early Muslims is a great lesson to us all.
History Chapter 8
THE DEATH OF ABU TALIB (A) AND BIBI KHADIJA (A) After the boycott on the Muslims had been lifted they returned to their previous lives in Makka. After three difficult years, they looked forward to improving their condition. However, certain events occurred that year that left the Holy Prophet (S) extremely sad and the Muslims shared in his sorrow. In that year the Holy Prophet (S) lost first his uncle Abu Talib (A), and then his wife Bibi Khadija (A) one month later. His sorrow and grief knew no bounds and he named this year "Aamul Huzn", the Year of Grief.
Abu Talib (A) had been the supporter and defender of the Holy Prophet (S) since the death of his father, Abdul Muttalib. He treated him better than his own sons. In order to protect the Holy Prophet (S) from being murdered by his enemies, Abu Talib (A) used to make one of his sons, usually Imam Ali (A), sleep in the bed of the Holy Prophet (S).
Abu Talib (A) believed so much in the excellence of the Holy Prophet (S) that he used to request the blessings of Allah by using his nephew's name. Once, when the Quraish were faced with a terrible drought, they came to Abu Talib (A), begging him to pray for rain. Abu Talib (A) held the hand of the Holy Prophet (S), who was then only a young boy, and raised his head to the skies, saying, "O Lord, send down rain for the sake of this young boy, and favour us with your blessings". This prayer was hardly over when rain began to fall heavily.
As the Holy Prophet (S) grew older, Abu Talib (A) involved him in his trade caravans, giving him experience in dealing with people. When he was 25 years old, it was Abu Talib (A) who arranged for a proposal of marriage to be sent to Bibi Khadija (A).
During the marriage ceremony, he declared the superiority of his nephew compared to all other youth and recited the marriage formula himself.
When the Holy Prophet (S) declared his mission, Abu Talib (A) stood faithfully by his side, never stepping back from the defence of his nephew.
Although Abu Talib (A) began to lose his position amongst the Quraish because of his support for the Holy Prophet (S), he did not for one moment think of asking him to hold back the message of Islam.
The actions of Abu Talib (A) throughout his life confirm that he was a Muslim and believed in the religion of Allah. Some people have said that he was an unbeliever, but the following fact is enough to prove that this is not true.
A Muslim woman cannot remain married to an unbeliever. It is a fact of history that Fatima binte Asad was one of the first women to accept Islam. She was also the wife of Abu Talib (A), and remained his wife till he died. If he had not been a Muslim, it would have been unlawful for her to remain his wife.
It was no wonder that the Holy Prophet (S) missed his uncle so much. Abu Talib (A) had been his guardian for 50 years.
In the same year, the Holy Prophet (S) lost his dear wife Bibi Khadija (A), the mother of his beloved daughter, Fatima Zahra (A). Bibi Khadija (A) had been the richest woman in Arabia when she married the Holy Prophet (S). She was 40 years old when the marriage took place. When the Holy Prophet (S) declared his Prophethood 15 years later, she was the first woman to believe in him and accept Islam.
Thereafter, she gave her entire wealth for the sake of Islam. The Holy Prophet (S) used her wealth to spread the religion and to buy the freedom of many slaves who had become Muslims. The Holy Prophet (S) always used to remember her saying that she believed in his message when everyone around him was calling him a liar.
The double tragedy was a bitter blow to the Holy Prophet (S), at a time when he needed the encouragement and support of his loved ones.
History Chapter 9
THE ASCENSION (MI'RAJ) OF THE HOLY PROPHET (S) Mi'raj is a very important event in the history of Islam. It is the occasion when Allah raised his beloved Prophet (S) to the heavens and showed him the marvels of His creations. This great honour had never been given to any of Allah's other Prophets (A). The Holy Qur'an says:
[Glory be to Him Who made His servant go by night from Masjidul Haraam to Masjidul Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, so that We might show him some of Our signs. He alone hears all and sees all.
Bani Israa'il 17:1] The great journey began from the house of Umme Hani, a sister of Imam Ali (A). The Holy Prophet (S) was resting there when he was awakened from his sleep by Angel Jibraeel (A). He was asked to mount on a winged animal called Buraaq. He then went from Makka to the mosque of al-Aqsa in Baytul Muqaddas (now known as Jerusalem). On the way he stopped at the mountain of Sinai and offered 2 raka'at prayers there, because it is the mountain on which Allah spoke with Prophet Musa (A).
On the second part of his journey, the Holy Prophet (S) rose from Masjidul Aqsa through the seven heavens with Jibraeel (A). Here he met the Prophets Isa, Musa, Nuh and Adam (A). He also saw the places of blessing and pleasure (Heaven) and the places of torture and suffering (Hell).
After this he came to the place known as Sidratul Muntaha where Jibraeel (A) left him. From here the Holy Prophet (S) was alone in the presence of Almighty Allah. He received from Allah all the rules of Islam including the new order to all Muslims to perform the five daily prayers. He then returned the same way he had come, first to Baytul Muqaddas, and then to Makka.
On the way to Makka the Holy Prophet (S) met a trading caravan of the Quraish who had lost a camel and were making a search for it. He drank some water from one of their containers and then continued onwards to Makka. He reached the house of Umme Hani at the time of daybreak.
On the next day the Holy Prophet (S) talked about his experiences to a large group of people in Makka. Many were amazed and believed his account but there were some who did not believe him. They asked him to describe the mosque at Baytul Muqaddas as proof of his truthfulness. When the Holy Prophet (S) gave the detailed description of the mosque, some people who had been to the place confirmed that it was true.
The Holy Prophet (S) then told the disbelieving Quraish that he had met one of their trade caravans at Tanim, and they had been looking for a lost camel.
He also told them that the caravan was being led by a brown camel and that the group would soon enter Makka. In was not long before a caravan, as described by the Holy Prophet (S), entered Makka. The leader of the caravan, Abu Sufyan, confirmed everything that the Holy Prophet (S) had said. Now the people had no doubt that the Holy Prophet (S) had indeed made the miraculous journey, and word spread like wild fire around Makka about the events of Mi'raj. The leaders of the Quraish were very upset at the whole issue, especially because a lot of people became Muslims as a result of it.
It is important to understand that the journey was an actual physical one and not a spiritual dream as claimed by Ayesha, one of the wives of the Holy Prophet (S). She stated that he was asleep in her house the whole night. This report is untrue, because at the time of Mi'raj, Ayesha was not yet married to the Holy Prophet (S), and only became his wife one year after the Hijrat to Madina. Muawiya, the son of Abu Sufyan, also claimed that the Mi'raj was a "true dream". He made up his story because he was an enemy of the Holy Prophet (S). He was not born at the time and did not convert to Islam until 9 years after Hijrat so he could not know all the facts about the Mi’raj.
The time taken for the entire Mi'raj was one third of the night or slightly less. The reason why the Holy Prophet (S) was taken to Baytul Muqaddas, which was a centre for Jews and Christians was to show that Islam was a continuation of the message of Prophets Ibrahim, Musa and Isa (A). It also showed that the religion was universal and not confined to Makka and Madina only.
Amongst the things that were revealed to the Holy Prophet (S) during his time in the heavens were:
The appointment of Imam Ali (A) as the leader after him. This gives us an idea of the importance of planning beforehand for leadership.
Five times daily prayers. The Wajib Salaat as we know them today only became compulsory for the Muslims after the event of Mi'raj.
The Holy Prophet (S) was also taught some Du'as and special prayers.
It is a measure of the closeness of the Holy Prophet (S) to Allah that he was given an opportunity to see and hear wonderful things, the like of which have never been seen or heard before.
History Chapter 10
THE JOURNEY TO TA'IF After the death of Abu Talib, the Holy Prophet (S) was faced with increasing difficulties and problems in Makka. Without his uncle's protection, his life was in constant danger, and there was not much opportunity to spread Islam.
He decided to try to preach Islam outside Makka. In those days the town of Ta'if was a busy and important centre of trade. The Holy Prophet (S) went to Ta'if alone and contacted the tribe of Bani Saqeef with a view to invite them to Islam.
After arriving in Ta'if, he met the chief and elders of that tribe and explained to them the belief in One God and asked them for their support. However, his words did not have any effect on them and they rejected his message. The Holy Prophet (S) realised that the people of the town could become a threat to him because he was alone and away from his home town. He therefore took a promise from the Bani Saqeef that they would not talk about his presence in Ta'if.
The elders of Bani Saqeef did not keep their promise to the Holy Prophet (S) and instead asked the loafers and hooligans of the town to harass him. The Holy Prophet (S) found himself suddenly surrounded by a mob who began to insult him. When they began to throw stones, he was forced to retreat and take refuge in a garden.
The garden belonged to two wealthy people of the Quraish. The Holy Prophet (S) had sweat on his face and parts of his body were hurt from the cruel attack. He sank down under a tree for some rest, and began the following prayer: "O Lord! I present my weakness and lack of strength before You. You are the kind Nourisher and the Helper of the weak. To whom are You abandoning me?"
Although the owners were idol worshippers and enemies of Islam, they were moved by the condition of the Holy Prophet (S) and felt sorry for him. They told a Christian slave to take a plate of grapes to him.
When the Christian presented the grapes to the Holy Prophet (S), he took one and ate it, saying, "In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful". The Christian was very surprised to hear these words and remarked that he had not heard the Arabs pray to anyone but Laat and Uzza, the great idols.
The Holy Prophet (S) asked him about his birth place and his religion. He replied that he came from Naynivah and was a Christian.
On hearing his answer, the Holy Prophet (S) stated, "That is the place where my brother Yunus (Jonas) son of Mata (Matthew) lived". The Christian was very surprised to hear these names. He asked, "How do you know Yunus son of Mata? Nobody in this country has heard of them". The Holy Prophet (S) then said, "Yunus was a Prophet of Allah like myself".
The words of the Holy Prophet (S) had a great effect on the slave and he immediately bowed and kissed the hands of the Holy Prophet (S) and expressed his faith in him.
When he returned to his masters, they asked him what the conversation was all about. He replied, "The person who is sitting in your garden is the chief of all humanity. He has told me things that only a Prophet can know." This reply annoyed them very much but all they said to him was that his own religion was better than Islam.
The Holy Prophet (S) left Ta'if disappointed that he had not been successful in bringing these stubborn and ignorant people to the right path. He decided to return to Makka. However, he could not enter Makka in safety because his life was in danger. He therefore sent word to Mu'tam bin Adi, a powerful Makkan, for help. Mu'tam was an idol worshipper but agreed to provide security for him, due to his respect for his family. He sent a message to the Holy Prophet (S) to enter Makka and come straight to his house.
On the next day Mu'tam told his sons to arm themselves and escort the Holy Prophet (S) to the Holy Ka’ba.
When Abu Sufyan and others who wanted to harm him saw that he had the protection of Mu'tam, they were disappointed, but did not harm him. After performing Tawaaf, the Holy Prophet (S) went to his own home.
Soon afterwards, the Holy Prophet (S) migrated to Madina. In the later years, the Holy Prophet (S) was to take over Ta'if and defeat the Bani Saqeef. However, he never forgot the services of Mu'tam in his time of need, and when news of Mu'tam's death reached Madina, the Holy Prophet (S) remembered him for his goodness.
The journey of the Holy Prophet (S) to Ta'if in difficult circumstances shows us how committed he was to his duty to spread the religion of Islam.
History Chapter 11
LADY FATIMAH (A) - PART 1 Name : Fatimah
Title: Az Zahra (The Radiant)
Kuniyat: Ummul A’immah
Father: Prophet Muhammad (S)
Mother: Bibi Khadija (A)
Birthdate: 20th Jamadil Aakhir, 7 years before Hijra, in Makka
Martyrdom: 3rd Jamadil Aakhir 11AH
Buried: Madina, Saudi Arabia
Lady Fatimah (A) was the only daughter of Prophet Muhammad (S) and Lady Khadijah (A). When Lady Khadijah (A) was about to give birth, the women of Makka refused to assist her saying that she had betrayed them by supporting the Prophet (S). However, Allah granted Lady Fatimah (A) a very special birth. Lady Khadijah (A) received four midwives by the command of Allah and these were the four chosen ladies named: Lady Sarah – the wife of Prophet Ibrahim (A), Lady Maryam – the mother of Prophet Isa (A), Lady Asiyah – the wife of Fir’awn and Umme Kulthum – the sister of Prophet Musa (A).
It was only up to the age of five that Lady Fatimah (A) enjoyed the blessings and affection of her mother because when she was five years old, Lady Khadija (A) passed away. So from then on she was looked after by her father, Prophet Muhammad (S).
Lady Fatimah (A) is known as “Sayyidatu-n-nisa i‘l Alameen” which means Leader of all the women of the world. She inherited the many qualities of her father including wisdom, will-power, piety, patience and knowledge. Her generosity and compassion for the poor was such that no beggar ever returned from her door without being attended to. Imam Husain (A) has said, “I often witnessed my mother absorbed in prayer from dusk to dawn.”
The Prophet (S) has been reported to say, “Fatimah is a piece of my heart.” Whenever she came into his presence, the Prophet (S) would stand up in respect, not because she was his daughter, but because she possessed the highest qualities of piety and faith amongst all women. Although the Prophet (S) was a perfect example for men, it was Lady Fatimah (A) who undertook the duty to preach to the women. She was and still is the perfect model for all women to follow.
The excellence of this pure lady was such that even at a young age, the Prophet (S) received numerous offers for her hand in marriage from wealthy families and chiefs of tribes. He refused them all, saying that he was waiting for the order of Allah regarding the person to whom his daughter should be married.
The Muslims realised that the person who married this great lady would not need to be rich and powerful, but would have to possess her qualities of truthfulness, piety and excellence. Therefore, some people suggested to Imam Ali (A) that he should go to the Prophet (S) and place a proposal for himself. Imam Ali (A) also wished this, and he approached the Prophet (S). Imam Ali (A) felt shy at his request but when the Prophet (S) encouraged him to speak what was on his mind, he managed to tell him.
On receiving the proposal of Imam Ali (A), the Prophet (S) was so pleased that he smiled and said, "It is a welcome and happy proposal." However, he asked Imam Ali (A) to wait till he asked his daughter. When the Prophet (S) mentioned the proposal of Imam Ali (A) to Lady Fatimah (A), she remained quiet due to her modesty. However, from her silence, her approval was clear to the Prophet (S) and he declared, “Fatimah’s silence is her acceptance.”
In those days, Imam Ali (A) owned nothing except his sword and battle armour. He was advised by the Prophet (S) to sell the armour to meet the expense of marriage. With the money from the sale, the items of dowry for Lady Fatimah (A) were purchased. The marriage ceremony was performed by the Holy Prophet (S) in the month of Ramadhan 2 A.H. All the Muhajireen and Ansar gathered for the wedding, and Imam Ali (A) arranged for a feast (Walimah).
The Prophet (S) informed his daughter of the virtues and qualities of her husband. Then he turned to Imam Ali (A) and mentioned the excellence of his daughter and said that if Imam Ali (A) had not been born, there would have been none else to match her. He then divided the duties of life between them. He told Lady Fatimah (A) to take care of all the household affairs while he made Imam Ali (A) responsible for the outdoor duties.
From this marriage Imam Ali (A) and Lady Fatimah (A) were blessed with two sons, Imam Hasan (A) and Imam Husain (A), and two daughters, Lady Zainab (A) and Lady Umme Kulthum (A). All their children were well-known for their piety and noble virtues and it was their strength of character and actions that changed the course of history.
History Chapter 12
LADY FATIMAH (A) - PART 2
After her marriage, Lady Fatimah (A) was very devoted to Imam Ali (A). She never once demanded anything from her husband and instead used to help their maid Lady Fidha with the housework. They lived in a simple house next door to the Holy prophet (saw) due to the love and affection they shared. It was in this house that Lady Fatimah (A) gave birth to the new stars of Islam, her children Imam Hasan (A), Imam Husain (A), Lady Zainab (A) and Lady Umme Kulthum (A).
The status of this pure lady can be seen in the event of Mubahila, when the Prophet (S) faced the Christians and they arranged to meet together and curse one another to decide which was correct, Islam or Christianity. The Prophet said, “Come let us summon our sons and your sons, our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, and then let us humbly pray and invoke the curse of Allah on the liars!” (3:61). When we see who the Prophet (saw) brought as his women, it was no other than Lady Fatimah (A).
The tasbih that we recite after every obligatory prayer was in fact a gift from the Prophet (S) to his beloved daughter, which is why we call it Tasbihat-e-Fatimah Zahra (A). In it we recite Allahu Akbar 34 times, Alhamdulillah 33 times and Subhanallah 33 times.
Up to now striving in the way of Allah with her beloved father was quite pleasant when compared to the difficulties that Lady Fatimah (A) had to face after the demise of the Prophet (S). The death of the Prophet (S) affected Lady Fatimah (A) very much and she was deeply saddened and grief-stricken.
After the death of her father she had to go through so much torture as she witnessed how Imam Ali (A) was deprived of his rightful claim to the caliphate. Those who falsely seated themselves in the position of Imam Ali (A), stole the gift of Fadak that the Prophet (S) had given to Lady Fatimah (A), and as if that was not enough, they even went to the extent of setting her house on fire. At one event, these cruel tyrants resorted to physical violence by pushing down the door of this pure lady’s house so that it injured her greatly and killed the unborn baby boy she was carrying.
After having suffered so much, it was no surprise that her life in this world came to an end only seventy-five or ninety-five days after the death of her father, at the age of only eighteen years. She breathed her last on 3rd Jamadil Aakhir 11 A.H. but before she departed from this world she told Imam Ali (A) to make sure she was buried in the night and that anyone that had displeased her should not be allowed to attend her funeral. After going through such torment, the daughter of the messenger of Allah was finally laid to rest in Jannatul Baqi, Madina.
The Prophet (S) had said:
“Whoever injures Fatimah, injures me; and whoever injures me injures
Allah; and whoever injures Allah practises unbelief. O Fatimah! If your
wrath is incurred, it incurs the wrath of Allah; and if you are happy, it
makes Allah happy too.”
History Chapter 13
IMAM HASAN (A) - PART 1 Name : Hasan
Title: Al Mujtaba (The Chosen one)
Kuniyat: Abu Muhammad
Father: Imam Ali (a.s.)
Mother: Bibi Fatima Zahra (a.s.)
Birthdate: 15th Ramadhan, 3AH, in Madina
Imamat: From 40AH to 50AH
Martyrdom: 28th Safar 50AH
Buried: Madina, Saudi Arabia
The Holy Imam (A) was the eldest child of Imam Ali (A) and Lady Fatima Zahra (A). When the Prophet (S) received the happy news of the birth of his grandson, he came at once to his beloved daughter's house. He took the newly born baby in his arms and recited the Adhaan in his right ear and the Iqamah in his left ear. Then, in accordance with the command of Allah, he named the child Hasan.
HIS QUALITIES: The Holy Imam (A) spent the first seven years of his life under the care and guidance of his grandfather, the Prophet (S). This early training made the Holy Imam (A) outstanding in his knowledge, piety, tolerance, intelligence and courage.
The Holy Imam (A) and his brother Imam Husain (A) were very dear to the Prophet (S). He used to carry them on his shoulders and once told the people, "Hasan and Husain are the leaders of the youth of Paradise."
Lady Fatima (A) once brought her two sons to her father and said, "O Apostle of Allah, these are your two grandsons. Give them something as an inheritance." The Prophet (S) replied, "Hasan shall have my form and my nobility and Husain shall have my generosity and bravery."
As a child, the Holy Imam (A) used to listen attentively to the verses of the Holy Qur'an as they were revealed. To the surprise of the Prophet (S), his daughter Lady Fatima (A) would often recite the exact text of a newly revealed verse before he personally told her about it. When he asked her how she knew, she informed him that the Holy Imam (A) had already taught her the verse when he heard the Prophet (S) recite it in the mosque in front of the people.
He was quite wealthy and could have lived in luxury if he desired, but he preferred to spend his money to help the poor and needy. Twice in his life he gave away his entire wealth in charity and began all over again.
IMAM HASAN (A.S.)’S GUEST HOUSE: Once a stranger arrived in Kufa and asked a man working in a garden for directions. The man showed him the way and then invited him to share his meal. The stranger was touched by this offer and accepted. But when he was handed some flat bread to eat, he found that it was so hard that he could not even break it on his knee, let alone with his teeth. He tried dipping it into some water but that did not help. The gardener saw the stranger's discomfort and pointed him towards a guest house where free meals were given to all.
The guest house belonged to Imam Hasan (A), who himself welcomed the stranger and arranged a hot meal for him. After a while, the Holy Imam (A) saw that the stranger was eating one morsel and putting one morsel in a bag on his side. The Holy Imam (A) told him to eat peacefully, and if he needed extra food for his family, it would be provided before he left. The stranger said that he had no family but was putting some food aside for the kind gardener down the road who had only hard bread to eat. When he heard this, the Holy Imam (A) smiled and informed him, "That is my father Ali, the Caliph of the Muslims. He lives on simple food so that no needy subject may be embarrassed in front of him."
The Holy Imam (A) helped his father throughout his life until Imam Ali (A) died when the Holy Imam (A) was 37 years old. At this age he inherited his father and became the guardian of the Ahlul Bayt and the Shia. In his well-known will Imam Ali (A) appointed him as the next Imam.
History Chapter 14
IMAM HASAN (A) - PART 2 The martyrdom of Imam Ali (A) on the 21st of Mahe Ramadhan, 40 A.H. marked the beginning of Imam Hasan's (A) Imamat. The Muslims pledged their allegiance to him and finalised the formality of Bay'at (Oath of Allegiance).
REMOVING THE EVIL MUAWIYA:
No sooner had he taken the reins of leadership in his hands than he had to meet the challenge of Muawiya bin Abu Sufyan, the governor of Syria, who began trying to undermine his authority. The Holy Imam (A) decided that Muawiya would have to be ousted by force and he prepared for war. He appointed a representative in Kufa and proceeded to Nukhayla where he had asked the army to gather. After 10 days, only 4,000 men had assembled, so he went back to Kufa and made another call for people to come to arms, sending out Hujr bin Adi to do the same.
Slowly the people answered the call for Jihad. A mixed band of people formed the army:
Some were sincere Shia,
Others were Kharjites who wished to fight Muawiya by any means possible,
Some were men who loved fighting and desired war booty,
Some were unsure about the right of the Holy Imam (A) to the Caliphate,
Others blindly followed their tribal leaders with no thought for religion.
ATTACK ON THE IMAM:
The Holy Imam (A) gave an address to the army in which he first praised Allah and the Prophet (S). He then told the people that he was their sincere advisor and urged them to unite rather than be divided in factions. This message was misunderstood by some, who thought that he planned to hand over authority to Muawiya. There was a riot amongst the people and a group of them attacked the Holy Imam (A) while he was in his tent. The Shia gathered around him and protected him.
Later, during the march towards Syria, a man from the Bani Asad attacked the Holy Imam (A) and struck him on the thigh with an axe.
Due to the injury, the Holy Imam (A) was forced to stop at Mada'in, from where he sent Ubaidullah bin Abbas with 12,000 men to stop Muawiya, who had advanced into Iraq.
Muawiya managed to bribe and threaten many of the Holy Imam's (A) followers into abandoning him, including Ubaidullah, who was paid one million dirhams to betray the Holy Imam (A).
The Holy Imam (A) realised that he could not trust the intentions of most of his men and the only people he could rely on were his Shia, who were too few to resist the Syrian soldiers. Meanwhile, Muawiya wrote to him suggesting a truce and peace treaty on the Holy Imam's (A) terms.
In compliance with the Will of Allah and with the view to avoid the massacre of the few sincere Muslims, the Holy Imam (A) entered into a peace treaty with Muawiya on terms which were meant to save Islam and stop a civil war.
Muawiya accepted all the terms except the last one, but agreed not to abuse Imam Ali (A) in the presence of the Holy Imam (A). With the passage of time, Muawiya broke all the conditions of the treaty.
The Holy Imam (A) used this opportunity to strengthen the belief of the Muslims and increase their awareness of Islam. He moved back to Madina, where he catered for the religious requirements of the people and devoted his life to the propagation of Islam.
Muawiya was still not satisfied with affairs. He knew that the treaty was never meant as a surrender of authority by the Holy Imam (A), because he was Divinely Appointed as the Imam.
It was merely an interim transfer of the administration of the Islamic State, subject to the condition that it would be returned to the Holy Imam (A) after Muawiya's death and then it would be in turn inherited by Imam Husain (A). However, Muawiya had plans to declare Yazid, his son, as his successor, and he decided to get rid of the Holy Imam (A) first.
THE DISLOYAL WIFE:
One of the Holy Imam's (A) wives was Ju'da binte Ash'ath bin Qays. Muawiya conspired with Ju'da to give the Holy Imam (A) some poison. In return she would get 100,000 dirhams and he would marry her to Yazid. This evil woman put poison in the Holy Imam's (A) drinking water and he immediately fell gravely ill as a result. After great suffering, the Holy Imam (A) departed from this world. Just before he died, he entrusted the affairs of Imamat to his brother Imam Husain (A) and made him the guardian of his own family.
ATTACK ON IMAM (A.S.)’S COFFIN:
The Holy Imam (A) wished to be buried near the Prophet’s( pbuh) grave, however, if the enemies were to resist, He was to be buried in Jannatul Baqee, avoiding all sorts of conflicts with them. When the Bani Hashim attempted to carry out the last wishes of the Holy Imam (A), they were stopped by Ayesha and members of the Bani Umayyah, who thought that they wished to bury him next to his grandfather.
Imam Husain (A) did not want bloodshed so he directed that the body be taken straight to Jannatul Baqee, where Imam Hasan (A) was buried next to his grandmother Fatima binte Asad. He was 48 years old when he was martyred.
When Ju'da came to Muawiya to claim her reward, he gave her the money, but refused to marry her to Yazid, declaring that a woman who could poison one husband would certainly not hesitate to poison another.
History Chapter 15
IMAM HUSAIN (A) - PART 1 Name : Husain
Title: Sayyidush Shuhada (Chief of Martyrs)
Kuniyat: Abu Abdillah
Father: Imam Ali (a.s.)
Mother: Bibi Fatima Zahra (a.s.)
Birthdate: 3rd Shabaan, 4AH, in Madina
Imamat: From 50AH to 61AH
Martyrdom: 10th Muharram 61AH
Buried: Kerbala, Iraq
The Holy Imam (A) was the second son of Imam Ali (A) and Lady Fatima (A). He is the third of our Holy Imams (A). His birth was an occasion of great joy for the Ahlul Bayt (A) and was celebrated on earth and in the heavens. When he received the news, the Prophet (S) came and recited Adhaan and Iqamah in the new born child's right and left ears respectively. On the seventh day of his birth the ceremony of Aqeeqa was performed and he was named Husain.
The Prophet (S) had kept the names of his grandsons as commanded by Allah. Prophet Musa's (A) brother Prophet Haroon (A) had also had two sons, Shabbar and Shabbir. The names of the sons of Imam Ali (A) were Arabic equivalents of the Jewish words Shabbar and Shabbir. The significance was to emphasise the relationship of Imam Ali (A) to the Prophet (S), who has said, "O Ali, you are the same to me as Haroon was to Musa, except that there is no Prophet after me." These words show that Imam Ali (A) had the same position as Prophet Haroon (A), who was the brother and the successor after Prophet Musa (A).
On the day when the Holy Imam (A) was born, Allah ordered the angel Jibraeel (A) to descend and congratulate the Prophet (S) on His behalf.
While descending, Jibraeel (A) passed over an island where the angel Fitrus had been banished due to his delay in executing a command of Allah. He had been deprived of his wings and expelled to the island, where he had remained for several years praying and asking for Allah’s forgiveness.
When Fitrus saw Jibraeel (A), he asked where he was going. Jibraeel told him that he was going to the house of Imam Ali (A) to congratulate him on the birth of the Holy Imam (A). When he heard this, Fitrus said, "Can you carry me also along with you? Perhaps Muhammad (S) will recommend my case to Allah”
When the angels arrived at the house of Imam Ali (A), Jibraeel (A) delivered Allah's message and then stated the matter of Fitrus. The Prophet (S) said, "Ask the angel to touch the body of the newly born child and return to his place in Heaven."
On doing this, Fitrus instantly got his wings back and ascended to Heaven, promising the Holy Imam (A), "O Husain, from this day onwards, whenever anyone sends their Salaams to you, I will always deliver it to you."
For the first seven years of his life, the Holy Imam (A) grew up under the guidance of his grandfather who loved him very much. He used to say, "Husain is from me and I am from Husain." Once he said, "Hasan and Husain are the leaders of the youth of Paradise." At the time of Mubahila, the Prophet (S) took Imam Hasan (A) and the Holy Imam (A) along with him as his children.
The Prophet (S) has also said, "Hasan and Husain are Imams whether they are sitting or standing." This statement meant that his grandsons were always to be obeyed, whether they sat in peace or came out to war.
The Holy Imam (A) inherited his excellent qualities from his parents. He was a generous and gentle person but would not tolerate anyone violating the principles of Islam.
His generosity was well known. He would always prefer to fulfil the needs of those who came to ask him for money from behind a curtain. This was because he did not want the man to feel embarrassed by facing the person who was giving him charity.
The Holy Imam (A) looked after many widows and orphans personally. At nights he would carry baskets of food on his shoulders and distribute them amongst the needy. The marks of these burdens were seen across his shoulders after his death.
The Holy Imam (A) enjoyed the presence and guidance of his father till he was 36 years old and for the next 10 years he served his brother Imam Hasan (A) faithfully. At the time of his death, Imam Hasan (A) appointed the Holy Imam (A) as his trustee and transferred the duty of Imamat to him.
History Chapter 16
IMAM HUSAIN (A) - PART 2 BURYING HIS BROTHER:
In 50 A.H., when his brother Imam Hasan (A) passed away, the Holy Imam (A) took over the responsibility of Imamat. Imam Hasan (A) wished to be buried near the Prophet’s (pbuh) grave, however, if the enemies were to resist, He was to be buried in Jannatul Baqee, avoiding all sorts of conflicts with them. When the Holy Imam (A) tried to carry out this last wish, his way was blocked by the Bani Umayyah. One of them, Marwan, who had been the secretary of Uthman, said, "How can Uthman be buried outside Madina while Hasan is buried next to the Prophet of Allah." Ayesha, a widow of the Prophet (S), came out on a mule to insist that the body of Imam Hasan (A) be turned away. Abdullah bin Abbas said to her, "What mischief you bring about, one day on a mule and one day on a camel!" The Holy Imam (A) said to the Bani Umayyah, "By Allah! If my brother had not told me to avoid bloodshed, you would have known how our swords would have taken their toll from you." He then took the body of Imam Hasan (A) to Jannatul Baqee.
The Holy Imam (A) began his Imamat at a very difficult time for the Muslims, especially the Shia. Muawiya was busy stirring up trouble in every way he could. The Shia of Iraq approached the Holy Imam (A) and wanted to pledge their allegiance to him, but he reminded them that they were bound by the agreement between Imam Hasan (A) and Muawiya, and the whole matter should be reviewed after Muawiya's death. From his side, Muawiya had violated every condition of the agreement and the only thing he had left to do was to nominate his son Yazid as his successor. The problem was that Yazid was totally unsuitable to assume power and Muawiya and his supporters knew this very well. Thus Muawiya devoted the rest of his life to securing the Caliphate for his unworthy son. Slowly, by bribing, threatening and killing any opposition, he began to achieve his objective. Meanwhile, the Holy Imam (A) continued his life on the path of peace and devoted himself to guiding the people in matters of religion.
The Holy Imam (A) was well known for his generosity. Once a Bedouin Arab came to him saying that he had heard the Prophet (S) say that, when in need, one should ask help from a noble and generous man. He had come to the Holy Imam (A) for help because he found these qualities in him. The Holy Imam (A) told him that he would ask him three questions, and for each correct answer, he would give the man one-third of the money he had in his purse. The conversation was as follows:
Holy Imam (A): What is the best thing to do?
Bedouin: To believe in Allah.
Holy Imam (A): What is the best means for man to be safe from destruction (in the hereafter)?
Bedouin: To trust in Allah.
Holy Imam (A): What is the best quality a man can have?
Bedouin: Knowledge associated with intelligence.
Holy Imam (A): If this is not available, what then?
Bedouin: Wealth accompanied by generosity.
Holy Imam (A): What if this is out of reach?
Bedouin: Poverty allied with patience.
Holy Imam (A): What if this too is not practicable?
Bedouin: Then let lightning consume the man to ashes.
The Holy Imam (A) smilingly gave his whole purse to the Bedouin.
A man once came to the Holy Imam (A) for advice, saying that he could not stop himself from committing sins. The Holy Imam (A) asked him to do any of the following five things and then he could sin as he wished:
Do not eat from the sustenance (Rizk) of Allah and then sin as you like.
Go out of the kingdom of Allah and then sin as you like.
Find a place where Allah does not see you and then sin as you like.
When the Angel of Death approaches you to remove your soul, stop him from doing so.
When you are dragged into the hell-fire at the command of Allah, refuse to enter.
THE GREAT TRAGEDY OF KERBALA:
Muawiya died in 60 A.H., having secured Yazid as the next Caliph. He had committed the worst possible crimes to make this possible and had killed many pious people, notably Hujr bin Adi. Before his death, Muawiya had left strict instructions to his son not to interfere with the Holy Imam (A), because he was the only man who could affect their power. However, Yazid was too arrogant to listen to such advice and one of the first things he did was to write to his governor in Madina demanding the oath of allegiance from the Holy Imam (A).
The Holy Imam (A) flatly refused this demand but he had to leave Madina, because his presence would mean danger for the Muslims of that city. Thus began the series of events that ended in the tragedy of Karbala. The Holy Imam (A) told his brother Muhammad al-Hanafiyyah, that he was leaving Madina only to reform the religion of his grandfather, the Prophet (S).
The Holy Imam (A) left with his family for Makka and then for Kufa, whose citizens had sent numerous letters for him to come to their city to guide them in their religious affairs. On his way he was diverted to Karbala by a unit of Yazid's army led by Hur.
After three days hunger and thirst the Holy Imam (A) and his small group of faithful companions were martyred in Karbala. He left this world on the 10th of Muharram, 61 A.H. when he was 57 years old.
History Chapter 17
PROPHET SALIH (A) The land of the people of Aad was taken over by the tribe of Thamud. They were strong workers and they made many gardens and parks and built beautiful buildings.
In order to protect themselves they built their houses inside the mountains. The people of Thamud passed their life with ease and comfort. However, they were not thankful to Allah for His many blessings, and they were proud. They thought that their good life was a result of their own strength. Instead of turning to Allah, they used to worship part of a mountain and offer sacrifices to it.
Allah sent Prophet Salih (A) to the people of Thamud to guide them to the right path. He was from their own tribe, and was respected because he was kind-hearted and wise, even as a young man.
Why was it so important that Prophet Salih (A) was from the same tribe as the people of Thamud?
Prophet Salih (A) invited the people to worship only Allah, Who was their Creator. He tried to teach them how useless it was to worship a mountain, which could not harm or help anyone. He reminded them that he was from their own tribe and had their best interests at heart. He said,
"You are all my brothers. I am not saying anything that will harm you. Come and seek the forgiveness of Allah and He will answer your prayers and grant your wishes." However, the people of Thamud turned a deaf ear to him. They said,
"O Salih, we thought you were a sensible man. We saw in you signs of goodness and wisdom, and wanted to rely on your advice in difficult times. Why have you started talking this nonsense now? Do you want us to stop worshipping what our ancestors worshipped for a long time? We will never listen to you!" Prophet Salih (A) patiently tried to teach them the truth. He made it clear that he was only guiding them so they could benefit themselves, and he did not want anything from them. He said that his reward would come from Allah. He reminded them of the many blessings that Allah had given them. He warned them not to continue in their ways in case the punishment of Allah came on them.
When Prophet Salih (A) had started his mission he was 16 years old. Although he continued to preach till he was 120 years old, his words were accepted by only a few people. Most of the people of Thamud called him names, saying he was a madman or a liar. Prophet Salih (A) replied to them by saying,
"O People, I am not a liar. I have clear arguments from Allah as a proof of my Prophethood." The leaders of Thamud had not listened to Prophet Salih (A) because they were afraid that he might become powerful and they would lose their position as heads in the community. They decided to make Prophet Salih (A) look weak in front of the people.
Therefore, they challenged him to prove his words by bringing out a she-camel from the side of their holy mountain. Prophet Salih (A) caused this miracle to happen with the permission of Allah.
The people had never seen such a camel in their lives. On one day, it would drink all the water in the town and on the next it would allow the people to drink the water. On the day that the she-camel drank all the water, it would give the people as much milk as they wanted.
The Holy Qur'an says:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Kind, the Merciful
And to (the people of) Thamud, (we sent) their brother Salih. He said, "O my people, worship Allah. You have no god but Him. Indeed a clear proof from your Lord came to you. This she-camel of Allah is a Sign for you. Leave it free to graze on Allah's earth and do not harm her, otherwise you will be overtaken by a painful punishment.
Suratul A'araf, 7 : 73 This powerful miracle made a lot of people believe the words of Prophet Salih (A) and they embraced his faith. It also made the leaders of the tribe worried because they knew that as long as the people could see the she-camel, they would listen to Prophet Salih (A). The cruel leaders decided to kill the animal, although Prophet Salih (A) had warned them that the punishment of Allah would certainly come if they harmed the she-camel.
A few wicked men ambushed the she-camel when it was returning after drinking the water. One man shot an arrow at its leg and another came forward and cut the muscles of its back legs so that the she-camel fell down. Then a man called Qadar struck the animal's neck with his sword and killed it. Then they came to Prophet Salih (A) and proudly said,
"O Salih! Bring us the punishment if you really are a Prophet." Prophet Salih (A) told them that they had committed a great sin and asked them to return to their homes for three days and beg for Allah's forgiveness. But the people only laughed at him.
After three days, Prophet Salih (A) received a command from Allah to leave the town with his followers. Then the punishment of Allah came down on the people of Thamud. A great thunderbolt came from the sky and a powerful earthquake shook the town and totally destroyed the buildings and houses. The people fell down dead and the fire from the sky turned their bodies to ashes. No one was left alive in the town after that terrible day.
When Prophet Salih (A) saw the tragic end of the people of his own tribe, he turned to their remains and said,
"O People, I delivered to you the message of Allah and guided you to the right way, but you always thought I was your enemy." The Holy Prophet (S) has said,
"The most wicked person from the olden times is the one who killed the innocent she-camel of Prophet Salih (A) and the most wicked person in these times is the one who will murder Imam Ali (A)."