Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 2)


My summaries of Martin Lings' chapters of  'Muhammad - His Life Based on the Earliest Sources'. Dr. Lings who was also known as Abu Bakr Siraj Ad-Din, was born a Protestant. Born on 24th January, 103 years ago, he died an accomplished Muslim in 2005. One whose body was buried in his England rose garden, whose spirit remained a fragrant flower among prominent Islamic scholars.

4. The Recovery of a Loss

Abd al-Muttalib loved being in the Hijir
sitting and sleeping on the tomb of  Ishmael & Hagar
once upon a time he chanced upon a figure
"dig sweet clarity" he was told by the speaker

The second night it came again
"Dig beneficence"
then disappeared yet again
On the third night the thing showed up
"Dig the treasured hoard" it called out
On the fourth night Abd al-Muttalib heard it at last
"Dig Zamzam, dig her, thou shalt not regret..."

Abd al-Muttalib finally got the clues so clear
Got up and went about the Ka'bah
in search of her
From north to east to west to south
circumambulating around each and every corner
Black Stone - Iraqi - Syrian and Yemeni
going round opposite the sun
7 times until the lights shone brighter

Took the lock on Ka'bah door and said a prayer
when two birds perched on 2 statues a 100 yards yonder
there all the signs laid on the ground
of blood, ants' nest and dung

Abd al-Muttalib began the task
one axe for him and one for Harith
side by side, digging
some people protested, others surprised
Isaf & Na'ilah, two idols had to give way

Allah! He hit the well's covering
loads of treasures the Jurhum did bury
crowd started to gather and be merry
draw lots they did to divide
between Ka'bah and Abd al-Muttalib
none Quraysh to keep despite

5. The Vow to Sacrifice a Son

Abd al-Muttalib was a man so blessed
handsome, wealthy,
generous and wise
restored Zamzam all by himself

but deep down he was despondent
wish he had ten sons
prayed to Allah to make it happen
sacrifice one of them he secretly planned

the boys came along
one after another until the tenth
all grown up but he favored none
save 'AbdAllah the youngest one

Oh, was it time to fulfill the vow?
Abd al-Muttalib's word was his bond
Gathered the young men
and revealed his oath

father and sons headed for the Ka'bah
and the lots were cast as they stood patient
alas it was the one he loved the most
apple of his eye, little Abdullah

Fatimah, the mother came to witness
a pillar of strength for all grief-stricken
"Wherefore that knife?" yelled one after another
Abd al-Muttalib made to explain his intention

Mughirah, the chief of Makhzum
broke his silence
offered everything he owned
so 'AbdAllah would escape from doom

The 9 brothers finally speak up
defending 'AbdAllah, begged for ransom
consult a woman of Yathrib was one solution
hear her say about expiation

Abd al-Muttalib, set the journey
'AbdAllah and other sons kept his company
from Yathrib to Khaybar
in search of that lady

Ten camels against 'AbdAllah
cast lots again, the woman told
so they did, add ten camels each time the boy got hit
until the number increased to hundred camels
at last 'AbdAllah could be freed

But Abd al-Muttalib was still not certain
repeated the process two times more
arrow fell against the camels
hence sealed the score
animals were sacrificed
not 'AbdAllah, for sure!

6. The Need for a Prophet

Abd al-Muttalib never bowed to Hubal
To Allah he prayed
no matter how powerful the idols had become
Three "daughters of God"
al-Lat, al-Uzzah and Manat
Though he revered the Manat somewhat

But his devotion was always in Mecca
hosting pilgrims as best his ability
regardless of who they worshipped
to him God was the great reality

The Hunafa - devoid of innovation
only a few they were
Waraqah most prominent of the four he knew
a Christian, the son of Nawfal, his second cousin

Idols were abound,
in Mecca and houses all around
Christians, soothsayers and astrologers
agreed that a Prophet would soon to come

Waraqah was a learned theologian
with sister Qutaylah he often shared
anxiously waiting for the honorable figure
"he shall not speak of himself,
but whatsoever he shall hear,
that shall he speak"

Abd al-Muttalib intended to marry AbdAllah off
with Aminah daughter of Wahab, chief of Zuhrah
while he married Halah daughter of Wuhayb
who cared for Aminah since her father died

Father and son journeyed to Bani Zuhrah
for the double wedding full of joy
Passing by Bani Asad dwellings, Qutaylah stood by
Immediately she saw the signs in AbdAllah

Having heard so much from Waraqah
'could this charming man be the prophet
or might he be the father of the prophet?'
she quietly thought before speaking out loud

"Take me here and now as thy wife!"
she offered AbdAllah
but how could the man act silly
the two weddings came true as they should be

The day after the big day
AbdAllah crossed path with Qutaylah once more
but she was indifferent unlike before
"The light hath left thee that was with thee yesterday"
So AbdAllah could not offer that which Qutaylah fell for

The marriages took place in 569 CE
the following year was known
as the Year of Elephant
significant and historically weighty

(to be continued InshaAllah)

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