The Life of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)
FROM THE MIGRATION TO ABYSSINIA
UNTIL THE MIGRATION TO MADEENAH
During this period the following important events took place:
1. Abu Taalib, the paternal uncle of the Prophet (ﷺ), died in the tenth year of the Prophet's mission. During his life he was a strong defender of his nephew, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). Quraysh could not do any harm to the Prophet so long as Abu Taalib was still alive, out of respect to him. But when Abu Taalib died, Quraysh were able to increase their persecution of the Prophet. Hence, his death was a source of deep grief for the Prophet. The Prophet was keen that Abu Taalib should speak the words of Islam on his death bed, but Abu Taalib refused, fearing that it would be a cause of his people speaking ill of him.
2. Khadeejah (R) died in the same year. She had eased the worries of the Prophet and the grief he felt at the persecution of Quraysh. When she died, he grieved deeply for her. The year in which his uncle Abu Taalib and his wife Khadeejah died is known as the Year of Grief
3. When the persecution of Quraysh intensified following the death of his uncle and his wife, the Prophet (ﷺ) went to At-Ta'if, hoping that (the tribe of) Thaqeef would listen to him and support him. But they rejected him in an unpleasant manner and incited their sons to throw stones at him until blood flowed from his feet. Then he sought58 From the Migration to Abyssinia refuge in one of the gardens of At-Ta'if and offered the following humble supplication to Allah:
"O’ Allah, to You do I complain of the my weakness, little resource and lowliness before men. O' Most Merciful of those who show mercy, You are the Lord of the weak and You are my Lord. To whom will You leave me? To a far-off stranger who will mistreat me? Or to an enemy to whom You have granted power over me? If You are not angry with me, I care not, but Your favour is better for me. I seek refuge in the Light of Your Countenance by which the darkness is illumined and the things of this world and the next are set aright, lest Your anger descend upon me or Your wrath light upon me. It is You Whom we beseech until You are well pleased. There is no power and no strength except in You.”
4. The Prophet (ﷺ) came back from At-Ta'if without Thaqeef responding to his call, apart from 'Addaas, the slave of 'Utbah and Shaybah, the sons of Rabee'ah. He was a Christian slave whose masters told him to offer a bunch of grapes to the Messenger (ﷺ) when he was in the garden, because they saw that he was exhausted after Thaqeef had attacked him. When 'Addaas offered the grapes to the Messenger (ﷺ), he took them and started eating them, saying, "Bismillah". This attracted the attention of 'Addaas, because he had never seen anyone saying anything like this. After they spoke for a while, 'Addaas became Muslim.
5. The miracle of the Isra ' and Mi 'raaj (night journey and ascent into heaven) took place. There was some difference of opinion among the scholars as to when it occurred, but it is certain that it happened before the Hijrah, in the tenth year of the Prophet's mission or later. The correct view of the majority of scholars, is that it happened in one night, when the Prophet (ﷺ) was awake, and it happened to him in body and soul. He was taken by night from AI-Masjid al-Haraam (in Makkah) to Al-Masjid al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem). Then he was taken up into the highest heavens, and came back to his house in Makkah on the same night. He told Quraysh about the miracle, but they mocked him and made fun of him, but Abu Bakr and those who had strong faith believed him.
6. On that night, the prayer was made obligatory, five prayers each day for every adult, sane Muslim.
7. Whilst the Prophet (ﷺ) was passing among the tribes on the occasion of Hajj -as was his custom every year -- to call them to Islam and to give up idol-worship, he was at Al-'Aqabah where the Jamaraat are stoned, when he met a group from Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj (tribes from Madeenah). He called them to Islam and they became Muslims. There were seven of them, who returned to Madeenah and told their people about their meeting with the Prophet and their conversion to Islam.
8. The following year, in the twelfth year of his mission, twelve men of the Ansaar (Madeenan Supporters of the Prophet) came during the Hajj season and met with the Prophet (ﷺ) and swore allegiance to him. When they went back, the Prophet (ﷺ) sent Mus'ab ibn 'Umayr with them to Madeenah, to teach the Muslims the Qur'an and Islam, ater which Islam spread far and wide in Madeenah.
9. In the following year, a group of Ansaar came to Hajj and met with the Prophet (ﷺ) in secret. There were seventy men and two women. They swore their allegiance to him and promised to support him and to protect him as they protected their own wives and children. Then they went back to Madeenah ater he chose from among them twelve men to be leaders of their people.
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
1. The daa 'iyah may be protected by one of his relatives who do not follow his call, because that is in the interest of the call when it is in a position of weakness, and this protects the life of the daa'iyah. The protection of the daa 'iyah’s tribe or family may be of benefit to the daa 'iyah and his call, so long as he does not approve of or support their evil.
2. A righteous wife who believes in the call to truth may relieve many of the difficulties faced by her daa 'iyah husband if she shares his concerns and suffering. In this manner, she can reduce his burden of stress and encourage him to continue and remain steadfast, thus playing a role in the success of the call. The attitude of Khadeejah (R) in supporting the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) is the best example of the great role that a believing wife may play in the success of her husband's da 'wah work, and in making him steadfast and helping him to continue his da'wah. The loss of such a wife, when the struggle to reform is at its most intense, is an immense loss which inevitably fills the husband with grief and sorrow.
3. Grief for the loss of a relative who was protecting the call to truth even though he did not believe in it, and for the loss of a sincerely believing wife, is a natural result of sincere devotion to the call and of sincerity towards the wife whose sacrifice and support were exemplary. Hence, when Abu Taalib died, the Messenger (ﷺ) said:
"May Allah have mercy upon you and forgive you. I will keep on praying for forgiveness for you until Allah forbids me to do so."
The Muslims followed the example of their Prophet (ﷺ) and prayed for forgiveness for deceased mushrik family members, until Allah revealed the words:
"It is not [proper] for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allah s forgiveness for the Mushrikeen, even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire [because they died in a state of disbelief" (Qur'an 9: 113)
So the Prophet (ﷺ) stopped praying for forgiveness for Abu Taalib, and the Muslims stopped praying for forgiveness for their deceased relatives. The Messenger (ﷺ) continued for the rest of his life to mention the virtues of Khadeejah, to pray for mercy for her, and to honour her friends, so much so that 'Aa'ishah felt jealous of her -even though she was dead -because she so often heard the Prophet praising her. Bukhari narrated that 'Aa'ishah (R) said:
"I never felt as jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet as I did of Khadeejah, although I never saw her. But the Prophet mentioned her a great deal, and sometimes he would slaughter a sheep, cut it up and distribute it among the friends of Khadeejah. Once I said to him, 'It is as if there is no one in this world but Khadeejah,' and he said, 'She was like that and like that (mentioning good things about her), and I had children from her."'
4. The fact that the Prophet went to At-Ta'if after the people of Makkah had turned away from him, indicates that he was determined that the call should continue and that he had not given up hope that the people would respond. So he looked for new territory for his call after the barriers had gone up in the first territory. The fact Thaqeef incited their children and fools against the Messenger indicates that the nature of evil is the same, no matter where it occurs, which is to use the foolish to attack those who advocate good. The flowing of blood from the feet of the Prophet, when he was a noble Prophet, is the greatest example of the harm and persecution that the daa 'iyah may face for the sake of Allah. The prayer of the Prophet in the garden uttering those immortal words, is confirmation of the truth of his mission and his determination to continue his efforts, no matter what difficulties lay in his path. It demonstrates that his only concern was the pleasure of Allah, and that he did not care about the approval of leaders or of the simple-minded common folk."If You are not angry with me, I care not."It also demonstrates that he was seeking strength from Allah by turning to Him and seeking strength from Him when the persecution grew intense. And it illustrates the fact that the daa 'iyah’s primary fear must be of the wrath and anger of Allah, not the wrath and anger of anyone else.
5. The miracle of the Isra' and Mi'raaj teaches us many things, of which we will mention just three here:
5.a It shows us that Al-Masjid al-Aqsa (the Farthest Mosque) and the land around it -Palestine - is part of the Muslim world because of the strong connection between Jerusalem and Makkah which became the center of the Muslim world and the focal point of its unity after the mission of the Prophet (ﷺ). Defending Palestine means defending Islam itself, so every Muslim must undertake to defend it, no matter where in the world he lives. Neglect with regard to defending it and liberating it is neglecting an aspect of Islam and is a sin for which Allah will punish every negligent believer in Allah and His Messenger.
5.b It is a symbol of the high ambition that every Muslim should have, and how he should rise above the whims and desires of this world, and be distinct from all others in his high status, lofty goals and continual pursuit of the highest example.
5.c It also indicates that it is possible to explore space and move beyond the gravitational pull of the earth. During the Isra' and Mi'raaj, our Messenger was the first space explorer in the history of the entire universe. Exploring space and retuning safely to earth is something that is possible. It happened to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) by means of a miracle at his time, but it can happen to people now by means of science.
6. The fact that prayer was enjoined on the night of the Isra' and Mi 'raaj points to the reason why prayer is enjoined. It is as if Allah is saying to His believing slaves: If the ascent of your Messenger's body and soul into the heavens was a miracle, then you can ascend five times every day as your hearts and souls ascend to Me, so you may ascend spiritually which will enable you to rise above your whims and desires, and bear witness to My greatness, Might and Oneness, which will motivate you to seek control of the earth, not by means of enslaving, force and conquest, but by means of goodness and noble character, by means of purification and sublime characteristics, by means of prayer.
7. The Prophet's custom of presenting his da ’wah to the tribes during the Hajj season indicates that the daa 'iyah should not limit his da 'wah efforts to his own gatherings and environment, but he should go to every place where people gather or where they might gather. He should not despair if they turn away from him, time and time again, for Allah will provide him with supporters who believe in his call from a place that he could never think of or imagine. The small number of people who follow him on some occasions may play a great role in spreading the call of truth and goodness, and in attaining the ultimate victory over evil and its supporters. The conversion of the first seven of the Ansaar who met the Messenger of Allah for the first time led to the introduction of Islam in Madeenah, and that introduction led to the spread of Islam in that city, and paved the way64 From the Migration to Abyssinia for the persecuted believers in Makkah to find in Madeenah a place to which they could migrate and gather. It gave the Messenger of Allah a safe haven, where he could establish his state and from which he could spread his call, and his Companions could set out to combat shirk (polytheism), and the mushrikeen in wars and battles which ultimately resulted in victory for Islam, and in eternal defeat for shirk. May Allah be pleased with the Ansaar of Aws and Khazraj who did so much good for Islam and the Muslims, and may Allah be pleased with their brethren the Muhaajireen (emigrants) who believed before them and sacrificed their most precious wealth and forsook their homeland for the sake of Islam. May He join us with them all in the Paradise of Ar-Radvaan.