Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 4)


10. Bahira the Monk

Abd al-Muttalib didn't leave much wealth for his children
Except Abu Lahab who made his own fortune
Abu Talib the uncle was rather poor
so Muhammad earned a living as a shepherd wanderer

One day his uncle took him to Syria
Their caravan halted at Bostra
near a cell where a Christian monk lived
Bahirah noticed the caravan's extraordinaire
a cloud stopped above and tree branches lowered
some signs he knew of a coming Prophet

Curious Bahirah held a feast
invited each and everyone on the caravan
scanned the faces of all who came
but none seemed to fit the description
apparently young Muhammad had been left behind
to care for the men's camels and baggage
Bahirah summoned his presence at once
only to confirm Muhammad was the wanted man

Bahirah interviewed him knowingly
even asked to see his back
Lo! the seal of the Prophet he behold
To Abu Talib, Bahirah pressed on
"What kinship hath this boy with thee?"
"He is my son," said Abu Talib
but Bahirah knew better: "it cannot be that this boy's father is alive"
"Take thy's brother's son back to his coutry, and guard him against the Jew,
for by God, if they see him and know of him that which I know,
they will contrive evil against him.
Great things are in store for this brother's son of thine."
Thence Bahirah acknowledged the Prophetic signs

11. A Pact of Chivalry

Abu Talib returned to Mecca with his nephew
where the latter mingled with Abbas and Hamzah
Muhammad was an average man, in archery he excelled
a promising bowman blessed with great eyesight
as did his ancestors Abraham and Ishmael
Hamzah was gifted with physical stamina
a good swordsman and a strong wrestler

Muhammad flexed his skills in archery
in the battles between Kinanah and Hawazin
Zubayr and Abu Talib employed him
impressed they were with their nephew's bravery

A time came for the Quraysh to make a pact
to uphold justice and protect the weak
pledged unity to defend the Meccan
at AbdAllah ibn Jud'an's they took an oath
Muhammad was proud to be one of the folks
So was Abu Bakar, a relative of Jud'an

12. Questions of Marriage

Muhammad now in his 20s
travelled ever more frequently
amidst a good life with Abu Talibs 3 sons
Talib, Aqil and Jaafar
and the uncle's 3 daughters
including Umm Hani a special one

Love grew between them
but Abu Talib turned Muhammad down
in favor of Hubayrah
a man of Makhzum Umm Hani to marry

Muhammad's fate took a sudden turn
in the hands of  a rich lady merchant
Al Amin as he had come to be known
Khadijah paid him double for a trade to Syria
honest, reliable and trustworthy were his reputation

Accompanied by Khadijah's Maysarah
their caravan stopped again at Bostra
caught the sight of a monk named Nestor
who spotted Muhammad standing under a tree
"none other than a Prophet" claimed he
Maysarah was not surprised at the monk's words
for he too saw Muhammad's worth
protected beneath two angels' shades
honorable was he

On concluding the trade Muhammad reported to his employer
Khadijah was becoming aware of his charming physique
not just his poised demeanor
At 25, Muhammad was of a medium stature
his broad shoulder framed a proportioned body
his hair and beard were black and curly

lights shone from his forehead and large oval eyes
eyelashes were long, extensive brows adorned
had a beaked nose and lips were wide
and white skin tanned by glorious sun

Khadijah conscious of the 15 years difference
wondered if he would marry a mature woman
Nufaysah was soon appointed as spokeperson
By this time Maysarah related to Khadijah
what the monk had said about Muhammad the prophet
she consulted cousin Waraqah who confirmed the epithet

Khadijah eventually invited Muhammad
expressing her intention:
"Son of mine uncle,
I love thee for thy kinshipwith me,
and for that art ever in the center,
not being a partisan amongst the people for this or for that,
and I love thee for thy trustworthiness,
and for the beauty of thy character
and the truth of thy speech."
So loved up he made her

To begin the sacred ceremony
young Hamzah was given the task
with his nephew Muhammad
off they went to see uncle of the bride
20 camels would be her dowry

[to be continued InshAllah]

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