Monday, February 4, 2013

Reading Martin Lings' Biography of Prophet Muhammad (Part 11)

Dr. Martin Lings (Shaykh Abu Bakar Sirajuddin)
Author of 'Muhammad - His life based on the earliest sources'
(1909 - 2005)


31. The Year of Sadness

In the year 619, the Prophet lost his wife
Siti Khadijah died at 65
she left the Prophet who was 50
leaving 25 years of sweet memory
of a wife, friend, mother and counselor

Four daughters, Ali and Zayd all grieved
Comforted the ladies the Prophet did
Their mother was one upon whom God sent His greetings
Gabriel the angel brought glad tidings
an abode in Paradise awaiting

Soon another tragic loss looming
Ill Abu Talib visited by Qurayshi leaders
Persuade a dying man they attempted
that Abu Talib would tell the Prophet
"...he should let us be, and we will let him be."
To leave them alone and their religion free

"So be it." replied the Prophet
Towards his dear uncle he tried to convince
Say: 'There is no god but God.
And you must renounce what you worship apart from Him.'

Abu Talib refused out of fear for the Qurayshis
But professed he did on his final breath
Abbas witnessed with his eyes and ears
Told the Prophet about his uncle's last words
But the Prophet remarked: "I heard him not."

Things got worse in Mecca
for all who had no official protection
Abu Bakar suffered severe aversion
disliked for being one who inspired many conversions
including Aswad son of Nawfal

Angry Nawfal plotted an attack
Abu Bakar and Talhah were tied and abandoned
none bothered to help
Umayyah, Bilal's former master, became his foe too
leave Mecca became his only option

En route the Red sea he met Ibn ad-Dhugunnah
Chief of a tribe, ally of the Quraysh
Offered protection to Abu Bakar
one he considered "an ornament to your clan,
a help in misfortune, a doer of right,
ever fulfilling the needs of others."

Ibn ad-Dhugunnah took Abu Bakar back to Mecca
proclaimed his protection for the son of Abu Quhafah
The Qurayshis agreed on condition
that Abu Bakar should pray alone in confinement

Abu Lahab succeeded Abu Talib as chief of Bani Hashim
He afforded the Prophet with little protection
People chucked offal in his cooking pot
While praying in his courtyard
bloody uterus of a sheep landed on the Prophet

On the way back from Kaabah
he had dirt thrown on his face and head
His daughters cried as they helped him wash
"Weep not little daughter, God will protect your father" the Prophet said

Seek help from Thaqif, the Prophet then resort
how grave the situation in Mecca
Thaqif was guardian of al-Lat the goddess
what prospect could the people of Taif offer?
on arrival the Prophet met up with their three leaders
the sons of Amr ibn Umayyah responded with much sneer

The Prophet left them and escaped to a private orchard
Tied his camel to a palm tree, sat and prayed:
"O God, unto You I complain of my weakness,
of my helplessness, and of my lowliness before men.
O Most Merciful of the Merciful,
You are Lord of the weak. You are my Lord.
Into whose hands will You entrust me?
Unto some far off stranger who will ill-treat me?
Or unto a foe from whom You have empowered against me?"

The Prophet was not alone
Owners of the orchard were around to witness
Utbah and Shaybah took pity of him
made Addas, a Christian slave deliver grapes

The Prophet impressed Addas with his religion
kissed his hand, head and feet the maid did
when he told him he was a prophet,
a brother of Prophet Jonah the son of Matta
seeing Addas' strange actions
Utbah and Shaybah were quick to blame

The Prophet left Ta'if in the end
Stopped at Nakhlah on the way to Mecca
Stood in prayer in the middle of the night
Seven jinn of Nasibin heard him recite the Qur'an

The Prophet knew his role for both men and jinn
Fascinated by the words of the Quran
the jinn returned to their community as believers
became followers of the God's summoner

On his way back to Mecca, reluctant
the Prophet thought of seeking the help of Akhnas ibn Shariq
but to no avail and nor did Suhayl agreed to offer protection
on account of tribal concerns

The Prophet did not proceed to Mecca
hide in Mount Hira' a choice he opted
from there he sent out another request for aid
this time was to Mut'im the chief of Nawfal
one of five responsible to get the ban annulled

Mut'im was willing to grant assurance
The morning after, he, sons and nephews
escorted the Prophet to the Ka'bah
Abu Jahal and the Makhzumite could only concede
said to Mut'im: "Whom you protect, to him we give protection."

32. The Light of Thy Countenance

The widow of Abu Talib, Fatimah entered Islam
as did her daughter Umm Hani
Once this family prayed the night prayer behind the Prophet
and offered him to sleepover at their place
he obliged but only briefly

The Prophet then headed for the Ka'bah
Fell asleep in Hijir Ismail
Awakened when Gabriel came
showed him out of the mosque
a white beast was waiting

Buraq the winged mighty beast
together with Gabriel by the Prophet's side
flew them into Jerusalem
where Abraham, Jesus, Moses and other apostles
all prayed behind him at the Temple

Two goblets were presented to the Prophet
He chose to drink the milk
to which Gabriel commended
and forbid the wine

Gabriel and the Prophet mounted the Buraq
from the rock at the center of the Temple
in flight they were once again
across the skies into the heavenly realms

Passed the seven heaven
he saw all the Prophets who prayed behind him before
but in a celestial form they had transformed
Yusuf appeared strikingly beautiful
so was Harun of all the other brethren

"The Lote Tree of the Uttermost End"
that was the ultimate destination
beyond which is transcendental mystery
not known to any except He

At the Lote Tree, a divine commandment given
Fifty prayers a day was the requirement
But on his descent, Musa rationalized with the Prophet
about such a weighty commitment

Back to the Lord the Prophet returned
several times to get the terms lessen
until 5 daily prayers was all that remained
the Prophet admitted of being ashamed

Back to Jerusalem the Prophet and Gabriel descended
Then to Mecca where they first started
it was still night when the Prophet reappeared at Umm Hani's
just in time for dawn prayer, he told her of his wonderful journey

Umm Hani reminded him not to divulge
for fear that it might invite insult
but the Prophet insisted he would 'By God'
His enemies rejoiced for they now had a point to chide

Some people went to consult Abu Bakar
on the incident they thought a cheat
a caravan from Mecca would take a month to get to Syria
How could Muhammad achieve such a feat?

But Abu Bakar kept saying: "If so he says, then it is true."
believed in the Prophet, not a speck of doubt he had
As-Siddiq - a noble title he was later conferred
he was "the great witness of truth"

Some of those who doubted began to believe
when he described the caravan he had overtaken
on the timing and details of which all so accurate
only to the close companions did he share the mikraj portion
his miraculous ascent to the seven Heavens.

33. After the Year of Sadness

In the year after the Year of Sadness
during Pilgrimage, on the Feast of the Sacrifices
the Prophet would visit groups of tents in Mina
propagating his messages, reciting Quranic verses

At Aqabah, from the Khazraj tribe he met six men
who accepted his preaching and embraced Islam
anticipated the coming of the Prophet
the Jews had already forewarned

The Prophet would visit Abu Bakar regularly
Much to the delight of his younger daughter Aishah
whom he saw in his dream wrapped in a silky piece
one he would eventually marry

In the meantime Abu Bakar built a small mosque
in the vicinity of his house with walls all around
attracting passers-by still
with prayers and reverence for the Quran

this brought fear to the Quraysh especially Umayyah
that Abu Bakar might invite more converts
But as-Siddiq insisted to keep his mosque
hence broke his protection pact with Ibn ad-Dhugunnah


Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad
Part 12 - To be continued bi-iznillah

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