Sunday, January 29, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 5)


13. The Household

Muhammad left his uncle to live with his new bride
she was more than his beloved wife
a friend, a confidante and a mother
of two sons and four daughters
basking in happiness of their family life
in joy and sorrow bonded together

Qasim the eldest died before his second birthday
Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Khaltum and Fatimah
all their girls survived
while the last boy passed away

On his wedding day Muhammad had set his slave Barakah free
but he was gifted with a new slave
15 year old Zayd - a present from his wealthy wife
one who was proud of his ancestry

His father Harithah hails from a prominent
northern tribe of Kalb
His mother was from the Tayy
whose chieftain was Hatim, a poet-knight
Zayd had been accidentally captured and made a slave
On seeing a pilgrim of his tribe at Mecca,
Zayd sent a poem home
"Though I myself be far, yet take my words,
Unto my people, at the Holy House
I dwell, amidst the places of God hallowed,
Set then aside the sorrows ye have grieved
Weary not camels, scouring the earth for me
For I praise be to God, am in the best
of noble families, great in all its line"

When news of Zayd reached his father and uncle Ka'b
they both rushed to free him
but Zayd, much to the dismay of his family
had chosen to stay with Muhammad the renowned
from then Zayd ibn Muhammad he became known

The family received these guests regularly
Safiyyah - Muhammad's aunt
Zubayr - her little son
Salma - who delivered all of Khadijah's children
Halimah - Muhammad's foster mother
Then Ali - son of Abu Talib too joined the family
Together with Zayd, the two boys kept their 4 girls company

Those who were also considered family were:
Abu Sufyan - Muhammad's foster brother and cousin
AbdAllah - his cousin from Umaymah & Jahsh
Zaynab - AbdAllah's beautiful sister
Abu Salamah - the son of Muhammad's aunt Barrah

From Khadijah's side were:
Halah - her sister
Abul As - her nephew who later married their daughter Zaynab
While Ruqayyah and Umm Kalthum married the sons of Abu Lahab
Last but not the least one to be among the household
was noneother than Umm Ayman
one whom Muhammad called "the mother"

14. The Rebuilding of the Ka'bah

The Ka'bah's walls were not very high
just slightly above the height of a man
to rebuild it was the intent
adding a roof to protect the Holy House's content
but a snake had prevented the good plan

Until an eagle came to snatch it away
the Qurayshis felt relieved
God had finally consented
Still they were fearful
Abu Lahab attempted to lift the stone but failed

Walid then braved himself
Axed part of the walls and waited for some signs
When it was all clear Walid continued on
all the walls were hacked
but green cobble stones made them stop
no further could they proceed
loud shudder ran through Mecca
as a man tried to uplift the foundation of Ka'abah

Inside the corner of the Black Stone
was a piece of note in Syriac
No one knew until it was shown to a Jew
"I am God, the Lord of Becca
I created her the day I formed the sun and the moon
and I placed round about her 7 inviolable angels
She shall stand so long as her two hills stand
Bless for her people with milk and water"

Another note came under the Station of Abraham
"Mecca is the holy house of God
Her sustenance cometh unto her from three directions.
Let not her people be the first to profane her"

Then it was time to lift the Black Stone
The Qurayshis argued for 4 or 5 days
An arbitrer had to be appointed
one who first entered the mosque
it happened to be Muhammad
what a great coincident

Clever plan he devised
using a cloak, fair for all 4 clans
as he made the final step
placed the Black Stone with his own hands

15. The First Revelations

Muhammad's authority had since then become more apparent
He began to see true visions in his sleep
increasing preference to solitary
a tradition of the Ishmael's family

Years passed by and Muhammad's expedition continued
climbing up to Hira became a routine treasured
coming down only to fetch his meals
Muhammad would be greeted
"Peace be on thee O messenger of God"
though he was alone with the stones and trees

In his 40th year in Ramadhan
Muhammad by himself in Hira Cave
an angel in the form of man greeted
but he couldn't
The angel embraced and said
"I am not a reciter" confessed he
The angel hugged again and repeated once more

"Recite in the name of thy Lord who created
He createth man from a clot of blood
Recite, and thy Lord is the most Bountiful
He who hath taught by the pen
taught man what he knew not."

So he recited and the words engraved in his heart
Fearful of being possessed
he fled down the mountain
suddenly a voice filled the air
"O Muhammad, thou art the Messenger of God
and I am Gabriel"
it was the man who visited him in the cave
but he was so huge filling the entire horizon

Ran to Khadijah he did
"Cover me, cover me!"
Obliging and patient a wife she was
until her man calmed down
and related his experience nervously

she consulted Waraqah
who affirmed Muhammad's noble stature
Muhammad then get on with his rites in Mecca
one day he saw Waraqah in the House's vicinity
"Thou will be called a liar and ill treated
and they will cast thee out
and make war upon thee
and if I live to see that day
God knoweth I will help His cause"

Then the time came for the second revelation
So Muhammad was appeased
"Nuun, by the pen and by that which they write
no madman art thou
through the grace of thy Lord unto thee
and thine shall be a meed unfailing
and verily of an immense magnitude is thy nature"

There was a brief silence before the third revelation
so Prophet Muhammad was further reassured
it was clear to him what his roles were
and what his mission must be.

[to be continued InshaAllah]

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