27th Rajab Holy Prophet's(S.A.W.) Appointment to the Prophetic Mission

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Monday, 18 June 2012


27rajab27th Rajab Holy Prophet's(S.A.W.) Appointment to the Prophetic Mission
It was a man from among themselves who was to lift the humanity from their slough of ignorance and depravity into the light of faith and devotion to one God.

Read in the name of thy Lord Who created, created man from a clot (of congealed blood): Read and thy Lord is most Bountiful, no taught with the pen, taught man that which he knew not. (Qur'an, 96:1-5)
These were the first ayats to be revealed, and the date was the 27th of Rajab, 40th year of elephant (610 C.E.).
The flow of the Divine message which continued for the next twenty-three years had begun, and the Prophet had arisen to proclaim the Unity of God and the Unity of Mankind, to demolish the edifice of superstition, ignorance, and disbelief, to set up a noble conception of life, and to lead mankind to the light of faith and celestial bliss.
The Shi'ah scholars are almost unanimous that Holy Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.) was appointed to the prophetic mission on the 27th of Rajab and his prophethood commenced from the same day. However, the Sunni scholars usually claim that he was appointed to this mission during the holy month of Ramadan.
As Shi'ahs claim to be the followers of the progeny of the Holy Prophet and consider their reports to be true and final in the light of 'Hadith Thaqalayn', they have accepted the report of the progeny of the Prophet's Household about the date of this appointment to the prophetic mission to be correct. The descendants of the Prophet say: "The chief of the family was appointed to the prophetic mission on the 27th of Rajab". In view of this, Shi'ahs do not entertain any doubt about the correctness of this date.
The thing which can be treated to be the basis for the other view is the very statement of the Holy Qur'an, wherein it has been stated that the verses of the Qur'an were revealed in Ramadan. And as the day of the commencement of the prophetic mission is the day of the beginning of revelation of the Holy Qur'an it may be said that the Prophet was appointed to prophethood in the very month of Ramadan. The verses of the Holy Qur'an which indicate that it was revealed in Ramadan are as follows:
In the month of Ramadan the Qur'an was revealed. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:185 ).
We swear by the Glorious Book that We revealed the Qur'an on a blessed night. (Surah al-Dukhan, 44:2-3).
And that is the very night of Qadr (glory) which has been mentioned in Surah al-Qadr (verse 1) wherein it has been said: "We revealed the Qur'an in the Night of Glory."
Reply By Shi'ah Scholars
The Shi'ah traditionalists and commentators have given various replies and explanations with regard to this argument; some of them are mentioned below:
The First Reply
The above-mentioned verses show that the Holy Qur'an was revealed in one blessed night of the Holy month of Ramadan, which is called the 'Night of Glory', but they do not mention the place of its revelation and do not also denote that they were revealed to the Prophet during the same night. It is quite possible that there may have been various revelations of the Qur'an and numerous Shi'ah and Sunni narrations confirm this possibility.
One of those revelations is the gradual revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet and the other is its revelation in installments from the Lauhul Mehfuz [1] to Baytul Ma'mu'r. [2] Hence there should be nothing wrong in a few verses of Surah al-Alaq being revealed to the Holy Prophet on the 27th of Rajab and the entire Qur'an, in one compact form, being revealed in the month of Ramadan from a place named by the Qur'an as 'Lauhul Mehfuz' to another place 'Baytul Ma'mur.'
This view is confirmed by the very verse of Surah al-Dukhan which says: We swear by the glorious Book that We revealed the Qur'an on a blessed night. It is evident from this verse (on the strength of the pronoun which turns towards the word 'Book') that it was revealed in its entirety during the Glorious Night (falling in the month of Ramadan), and it is only proper that this revelation should be other than the revelation which took place at the time of the appointment of the Prophet to the prophetic mission, because at that time only a few verses were revealed.
In short the verses which indicate that the Qur'an was revealed in the month of Ramadan during the 'Night of Glory' cannot be a proof of the fact that the day of the Holy Prophet's appointment to the prophetic mission, on which only a few verses were revealed, also coincided in the same month, because the aforesaid verses show that the entire Book (the Qur'an) was revealed in that month, whereas, on the day of the Holy Prophet's appointment to the prophetic mission only five or six verses were revealed.
Hence, the two schools, while explaining the meanings of the above-mentioned verses in their narrations, say that the entire Qur'an was sent down from the 'Lahhul Mehfuz' to 'Baytul Ma'mur in that very month. The Shi'ah and Sunni scholars have quoted the said narrations and in particular Professor Muhammad Abdul Azim Zarqani of 'Al-Azhar' university has mentioned them in his book in detail.[3]
The Second Reply
The most sound reply, which has so far been given by the scholars, is the second one. The learned scholar Allamah Tabatabai has explained it in detail in his precious book [4] and a gist of it is given below:
The real and actual purpose of the Holy Qur'an saying that: We revealed it in the month of Ramadan is that it was revealed to the Holy Prophet during that month, because besides being revealed in parts the Holy Qur'an possesses a reality about which Almighty Allah informed His great Messenger in a particular night of the month of Ramadan.
As the Holy Prophet possessed knowledge of the entire Holy Book, he was directed not to make haste in divulging its contents and to wait till he received orders regarding its communication to the people gradually. The Holy Qur'an says: Do not make haste in narrating the contents of the Qur'an till you receive orders in this behalf through revelation.
This reply shows that the Holy Qur'an possesses a total existence which was revealed in its entirety at one time in the month of Ramadan and it also possesses a gradual existence which lasted from the day of the Holy Prophet's appointment to the prophetic mission up to the end of his life.
The Third Reply
As has been explained briefly regarding the different kinds of revelation, it has evidently various stages. The first stage is that of true visions and dreams. The second stage is that of oracular and heavenly voices which are heard without facing an angel. And the last stage is that when the Prophet sees an angel and hears the words of Allah from him and learns through him about the realities of other worlds.
As the human soul does not possess the requisite strength to bear the different stages of revelation in the very first instance, it is necessary that the capacity to bear them should develop gradually, it may be said that: on the day of his appointment to the prophetic mission (27th of Rajab) and for some time thereafter the Holy Prophet heard only those Heavenly voices which informed him that he was the Messenger and Prophet of Allah and no verse was revealed during that period. And some time later gradual revelation of the Qur'an began in the month of Ramadan.
By this we mean that the appointment of the Prophet to the prophetic mission in the month of Rajab is not attached to the revelation of the Qur'an in that month. In view of this there should be no discrepancy between the Qur'an being revealed in the month of Ramadan and the Prophet being appointed to the prophetic mission in the month of Rajab.
Although what has been stated above does not conform to numerous texts (because many historians have said explicitly that the verses of Surah al-Alaq were revealed on the very day of the appointment of the Holy Prophet to the prophetic mission), still we possess some narratives, which tell us that on the day of the Holy Prophet's appointment to the prophetic mission he heard oracular voice, and which do not say anything about the revelation of the Holy Qur'an or its verses. They explain the matter by saying that on that day the Holy Prophet saw an angel who said to him "O Muhammad! you are the Messenger of Allah ". And in some of the narrations only hearing of the voice by the Prophet has been mentioned and nothing has been said about his seeing the angel.[5]
The Faith of the Prophet Before the Prophetic Mission
For quite some time the question of the religion of the Holy Prophet before his appointment to the prophetic mission has been a matter of discussion between the Shi'ah and Sunni scholars. They have raised the following issues and given reply to each one of them
Did the Holy Prophet profess any religion before his appointment to the prophetic mission?
Supposing that he was the follower of a religion, was it his own religion?
If he was the follower of any other religion was that religion revealed to him independently and he followed it independently or he was reckoned to be one of the followers of that religion?
If he acted on that religion independently or as a follower, to which of the former Prophets did that religion belong?
These are the four questions which one comes across in various books of Seerah (the Prophet's biography), history, and exegesis.
However, is it necessary that we should give definite replies to these questions? Is it basically necessary that we should study various books on history, exegesis and the Holy Prophet's biography and collect the requisite answers?
We feel that discussion of these particular points is not at all necessary.[6] Rather what is important is that we should conclusively prove that before his appointment to the prophetic mission the Holy Prophet believed in and worshipped only Allah the One, and was pious and chaste.
This can be proved by the following two methods:
Firstly by studying his forty years' life preceding his appointment to the prophetic mission, and secondly by scrutinizing what has been said on the subject by the leaders of Islam.
1. To sum up his forty years' life was a life of modesty and chastity, honesty and truthfulness, uprightness and righteousness, goodness and kindness to the oppressed and the needy and hatred for the idols and the idol-worshippers. So much so that once when he performed a journey to Syria in connection with trade and the other party, to a transaction, swore by idols he said "The most obnoxious things which always arouse my wrath are these very 'Lat' and 'Manat' by which you are swearing".
Besides this he prayed continuously in the cave of Hira during the month of Ramadan and performed Haj time and again, for as the sixth Imam says, he (the Holy Prophet) performed Haj secretly ten times and according to another narration twenty times. And, as we know, all Haj ceremonies are the performance of rites to which Prophet Ibrahim invited people and wished that by this means those who believe in Allah the One should assemble at one particular place during a fixed period.
Similarly the Prophet always remembered Allah while taking his meals and refrained from eating meat of the animals which had been slaughtered in an unlawful manner, and was very much disturbed to see obscene scenes, wine-drinking and gambling; so much so that at times he sought asylum in the mountains and returned home when a part of the night had passed. Now what demands our consideration is this:
Is it possible to doubt the faith of a man who has passed his life in the manner stated above and who does not possess even the smallest weak point from the very beginning of his life, and who passes a part of his life in hills and in secluded places to meditate upon the beautiful phenomena of the world. We consider an ordinary man to be pious, dutiful and righteous if we observe one tenth of these qualities in him, what to speak of the Holy Prophet?
2. The second method of finding out the real position is the study of numerous documents and narratives which have reached us from the leaders of Islam. One of them is the discourse of Imam Ali, the chief of the monotheists, in 'Khutbah-i Qasi'ah':
"From the time the Holy Prophet had been weaned, the Almighty Allah had associated the most distinguished angel with him so that he might show him the path of magnanimity and goodness during day as well as night" [7]
Comparison of Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.)
with Prophet Jesus(A.S.)
There is no doubt about the fact that the Holy Prophet of Islam enjoys superiority over all previous Prophets. And it has been stated explicitly in the Holy Qur'an about some Prophets that they were elevated to the position of prophethood during their very childhood and Books were also sent to them. For example, the Holy Qur'an says about Prophet Yahya:
To Yahya we said: Observe the Scripture with a firm resolve. We bestowed on him wisdom, grace and purity while he was yet a child. (Surah Maryam, 19:12)
When Prophet 'Isa was in his cradle the elders of Bani Israel pressed his mother to let them know the father of the child. Maryam pointed towards the cradle so that people should get the reply to their question from the child himself. 'Isa replied to them in these words with great eloquence and firmness:
I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Injeel and ordained me a Prophet. His blessing is upon me wherever I go, and He has commanded me to be steadfast in prayer and to give alms to the poor as long as I shall live. (Surah Maryam, 19:31)
The son of Maryam clarifies for us the principles and regulations of his religion during his very infancy and declares that he follows the law of the worship of Allah, the One. Now we call your conscience to witness and ask you: "When Prophet Yahya and Prophet 'Isa are true believers and pronounce the realities of nature, can it be said that the unique leader of mankind and the noblest of men did not possess an extraordinary faith till the age of forty years, although even at the time of the revelation in the cave of Hira he was already busy in meditation?"
[1] See: Allamah Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai, Tafsirul Mizan.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Manahilul 'Irfan fi 'Ulumil Qur'an, vol. I, page 37.
[4] al-Mizan, vol. II, pp. 14-16
[5] Biharul Anwar, vol. XVIll, pp. 184,190 and 193.
[6] Biharul Anwar, vol. XVIII, pp. 271 - 281.
[7] Nahjul Balaghah, vol. II, page 182.
Who Were The First Persons To Embrace Islam?
The advancement of Islam and its penetration into different peoples took place gradually. In the terminology of the Holy Qur'an those persons who preceded all others in embracing and propagating Islam are called as-Sabiqun (the preceding ones), and in the early days of Islam this precedence was in itself a criterion of virtue and superiority and, even amongst these persons, one who preceded another one enjoyed a more honourable position. Hence, we should consult the authentic sources and decide, without any bias, as to who were the first amongst men and women who embraced Islam.
It is an admitted historical fact that from amongst women Khadijah was the first to embrace Islam and there is no contradictory report on this point. We briefly mention here an important historical authority which has been quoted by the historians from one of the wives of the Holy Prophet.
A'isha says: "I was always sorry for not having seen the period of Khadijah and wondered at the kindness and love which the Holy Prophet expressed for her, because her dear husband always remembered her more than anyone else and if he slaughtered a sheep he found out the friends of Khadijah and sent them a share of the meat. One day, when the Holy Prophet was going out of the house, he remembered Khadijah and praised her. Eventually I could not control myself and said very boldly: "She was nothing more than an old woman and Allah has given you a better one".
My words had a very unfavourable effect on the Holy Prophet of Allah. Signs of anger and wrath appeared on his forehead and he said: "It is not at all so... I have not acquired a better one. She believed in my Prophethood when all people were drowned in infidelity and polytheism. She placed her wealth at my disposal in the most trying circumstances. Allah gave me through her issues, which I did not get through anyone else.[8]
Another evidence about Khadijah being the first woman in the world to embrace Islam is the very incident of the commencement of the revelation of the Holy Qur'an, because, when the Holy Prophet came down from the cave of Hira and related the incident to his wife she immediately confirmed her husband's statement and consoled him.
Furthermore, she had time and again heard from the sages of Arabia about the prophethood of her husband and it was on account of the truthfulness and righteousness of the Hashmite young man that she married him.
Almost all the Shi'ah and Sunni historians are unanimous that the first amongst men to embrace Islam was Ali.
Ali had been brought up from his very childhood in the house of the Holy Prophet and the latter endeavoured to educate him like a kind father. Most of the biographers say unanimously: "Before the appointment of Muhammad to the prophetic mission a severe drought appeared in Makkah. Abu Talib, the uncle of the Holy Prophet, had a big family to support. He was the chief of Quraysh, and his income was not at all in keeping with his expenditure and he was not as wealthy as his brother Abbas. The financial condition of Abu Talib prompted the Holy Prophet to discuss the matter with his uncle Abbas and they decided to take some of the children of Abu Talib to their own houses so as to alleviate his burden and to help him meet his requirements. Consequently the Prophet took Ali to his house and Abbas took Ja'far under his guardianship".[9]
In the circumstances it can be said that, when Ali went to the Holy Prophet's house his age was not less than eight or ten years. The reason for this presumption is that the object of the Holy Prophet in taking Ali under his patronage was to alleviate the burden of the chief of Makkah (Abu Talib) and besides the fact that separation of a child from his parents who is less than eight or ten years, is a difficult matter; it could not also have any appreciable effect on the conditions of life of Abu Talib.
Hence, it is necessary that we should presume the age of Ali at that time to be such that his being taken away from Abu Talib had an appreciable effect on the latter's conditions of life.
The purpose of the Prophet in fostering Ali was to compensate Abu Talib to some extent for the services rendered by him and so far as the Prophet was concerned there was nothing more dear to him than to guide a person directly. Keeping all these things in view how can it be said that the Holy Prophet kept his cousin deprived of this great blessing, notwithstanding the fact that he (Ali) was an intelligent person with a highly enlightened mind? It would be better if we learn about this matter from the lips of Ali himself:
In the sermon entitled Qasi'ah he explains his rank and esteem in the eyes of the Prophet thus:
"You know the esteem in which the Holy Prophet held me on account of our near relationship and the high position and respect (which I enjoyed in his eyes). During my childhood he fostered me under his own care and stuck me to his bosom. He embraced me in his bed and I used to smell his sweet smell. I followed him just as the off-spring of a she-camel follows its mother. Every day he hoisted (showed) a sign of his moral virtues and ordered me to follow it. He stayed in Hira every year (before his appointment to the prophetic mission) and I used to go and see him there, whereas none else saw him.
At that time Islam had not reached any house except that of the Holy Prophet and Khadijah, and I was the third amongst them. I used to see the light of revelation and messengership and smelt the fragrance of prophethood".[10]
Narrating the life history of Afif Kandi, Ibne Hajar (in 'Al-lsabah), Ibne Abdul Bir (in Isti'ab) and many other scholars of history have quoted him to have said:
"During the Age of Ignorance I once went to Makkah. My host was Abbas son of Abdul Muttalib and both of us arrived in the precincts of the Holy Ka'bah. Suddenly l saw that a man came and stood by the side of the Ka'bah. Then a boy arrived and stood on his right side.
Soon after that I saw a woman came and stood behind them. I saw the boy and the woman performing ruku' and sujud (kneeling and prostration) in imitation of the man. This unprecedented scene inspired me to enquire from Abbas about it. He said:
"That man is Muhammad son of Abdullah and that boy is his cousin and the woman standing behind them is the wife of Muhammad".
Then he added: "My nephew says that a day will come when he will control the treasuries of 'Kisra' and 'Kaiser'. By Allah, there is no follower of this religion on the face of the earth except these three". Then the narrator says: "I wish that I had been the fourth of them!"
Since the above narrative is not directly concerned with Ali, even those persons, who fail to narrate his virtues have quoted it. [11]
In the sermons and dissertations of Ali we usually come across the following and other similar sentences:
"I am the servant of Allah and the brother of the Holy Prophet and the greatest truthful one, and none will utter this sentence after me except one who is a liar. I offered prayers along with the Holy Prophet for seven years[12] before anyone else did so."
The author of al-Ghadir (vol. III, page 222) has quoted authorities for these narrations from the books of traditions and history and we dispense with quoting the same briefly:
The following traditions of the Holy Prophet narrated by successive witnesses with various explanations have been quoted to this effect:
"The first person who will meet me on the Pool of 'Kauthar' and the first person who embraced Islam is Ali son of Abu Talib".
You may also study the authorities for these traditions in the third volume of 'al-Ghadir', page 320. The evidences for both the parts have reached the stage of consecutiveness and when a person studies these ahadith without any bias he becomes definite about Ali being the foremost among the believers. He does not, therefore, prefer at all the other two statements which are in a minority from the point of view of narration.
The number of the supporters of the first statement (viz. Ali was the first person to embrace Islam), who consist of distinguished companions of the Prophet and tabe'in (companions of the companions of the Prophet) exceeds sixty. So much so that even Tabari [13] who has left the matter open and has contented himself only with quoting the statement says that Ibn Sa'id asked his father:
"Was Abu Bakr the first person to embrace Islam? " His father replied: "No. Before he embraced Islam more than fifty persons had come round to the Prophet's way. "
Ibn Abd Rabbih quotes an interesting incident in 'Aqdul Farid' which may be summarized as under:
Mamun arranged a debating assembly and the famous scholar Ishaq occupied the foremost position in it. When Ali's precedence over others in the matter of acceptance of Islam was established, Ishaq said "When Ali embraced Islam he was only a boy but Abu Bakr was a mature man (at the time he became a Muslim). Hence his faith enjoys superiority over that of Ali".
Mamun suddenly intervened and said: "Did the Prophet invite Ali in his boyhood to adopt the faith, or his faith was due to divine inspiration? It cannot at all be said that his faith was inspired, because, not to speak of Ali, even the faith of the Prophet was not inspired but was the result of guidance and messages brought by Jibreel from Allah. Hence, when the Holy Prophet invited him to accept Islam, did he do so on his own account or had he been ordered by Allah to accomplish the deed?
We cannot imagine that the Prophet should subject himself or anyone else to hardship and responsibility without an order from Allah. Hence there is no alternative except that we should say that the Prophet's call is supported by divine order. And does the Omniscient Lord order His Prophet to invite an untalented boy (for whom 'faith' or 'no faith' are alike) to adopt Islam? Certainly such an act is not possible from the All-Wise and All-Knowing Allah.
Hence, it should be concluded that the faith of Ali was a true and firm faith which was not at all inferior to the faith of others and it is Ali, son of Abu Talib to whom the verses of Qur'an "and the foremost are the foremost, these are they who are drawn nigh (to Allah)", most appropriately applies.
[8] Biharul Anwar, vol. XVI, page 8.
[9] Seerah Ibn Hisham, vol. I, page 246.
[10] Nahjul Balaghah, vol. II, page 182.
[11] Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II. p. 211; Tarikh-i Kamil, vol. II, pp. 31 - 38, and A'lamul Wara, page 25.
[12] In some of the narratives the period has been mentioned to be five years and on the basis of numerous indications it may be said that a part of this period preceded to the prophetic mission.
[13] 2Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II, page 215.
Calling the Near Ones
After three years, the call came from Allah:
And warn thy near relations (Qur'an, 26:214)
This ayat (verse) ended the period of secret preaching and heralded the open proclamation of Islam.
Abu Muhammad Husain al-Baghawi (in his Tafisir-Ma'alim ut-Tanzil), Shaikh 'Ala'uddin 'Ali ibn Muhammad al-Baghdadi, known as Khazin al-Baghdadi, in his Lubab-ut-Ta'wil, best known as Tafsir Khazin, Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Husain al-Bayhaqi (in his Dalail-un-Nubuwwah), Jalaluddin as-Suyuti (in his Jam'ul Jawami), 'Ala'uddin 'Ali Muttaqi (in Kanz-ul-'Ummal), Abu Jafer Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari (in Tarikh-ur-Rusul-wal-Muluk), Abu Sa'adat Mubarak ibn Athir al-Jazari (in Tarikh-ul-Kamil) and Isma'il Abul Fida (in his history, Kitab-ul-Mukhtasar fi Akhbar-il-Bashar) have quoted 'Ali as saying:
"When the verse Wa andhir 'Ashiratakal-aqrabin was revealed, the noble Messenger called me and ordered me, 'O 'Ali! The Creator of the world has made me warn my people about their doom, but in view of the condition of the people and knowing that when I will give them the words of Allah, they will misbehave, I felt depressed and weakened and therefore I kept quiet until Gabriel came again and informed me that there should be no more delay. Therefore, O 'Ali, take a measure of food grain, a leg of a goat and a big bowl of milk and arrange for a feast, then call the sons of 'Abdul Muttalib unto me, so that I may deliver to them the words of Allah.' I did what the Prophet had told me to do and the sons of 'Abdul Muttalib, who were about forty in number gathered together. Among them were the uncles of the Prophet: Abu Talib, Hamza, 'Abbas and Abu Lahab.
When the food was brought, the Prophet lifted a piece of meat and tore it into small morsels with his own teeth and scattered the pieces on the tray and said, 'Start eating in the name of Allah,' All people present there had the food to their fill although the milk and the food were just sufficient for one man. Then he intended to speak to them, but Abu Lahab interfered and said, `Verily, your comrade has entranced you.' Having heard this, all of them dispersed and the Messenger did not get a chance to speak to them.
On the next day, the Messenger, of the Lord again said to me: 'O 'Ali? Make arrangements again for a feast as you had done yesterday, and invite the sons of 'Abdul Muttalib'. I arranged for the feast and gathered the guests as I was asked to do by the Prophet. Once they had finished the food, the Messenger addressed them thus: 'O sons of 'Abdul­Muttalib, I have brought for you the best blessings of this world and of the next, and I am appointed by the Lord to call you unto Him.
Therefore, who amongst you will help me in this cause in order that he should be my brother, my successor and my caliph?' Nobody responded. But I, although the youngest of the congregation, said, 'O Messenger of Allah, I am here to be your helper in this task.' The Prophet then patted my neck very kindly and said, 'O my people! This 'Ali is my brother, my successor and my caliph amongst you. Listen to him and obey him.' Having heard it from the Prophet, they all burst into laughter and said to Abu Talib, 'Hearken! You are ordered to obey and follow your own son! "'
This event has also been recorded by Thomas Carlyle in Heroes and Hero Worship, by Gibbon in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Davenport in Apology for Muhammad and The Koran and by Washington Irving in Muhammad And His Successors, with all its details.
Abul-Fida, in Kitabul-Mukhtasar fi Akhbaril-Bashar states that some of the verses composed by Abu Talib prove the fact that he had accepted the Prophethood of the Prophet from the core of his heart. A translation of a few poetic verses is given here:
You have called me (to Islam) and I believe that you are truthful, straightforward and trustworthy. And there is no doubt in my belief that the religion of Muhammad is the best of all the religions of the world. By God! As far as I am alive, not a single person from among the Quraish can harm you.
Persecution begins
Then one after another came the Divine commands:
Disclose what has been ordained to thee. (Qur'an, 15.94)
O thou wrapped (in thy mantle) Arise and warn, and thy Lord do magna. And thy raiment do purify. And uncleanness do shun. And show not favor seeking gain! And for the sake of thy Lord be patient. " (Qur'an, 74:1-7)
The method to be employed was:
Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and dispute with them in the best way. (Qur'an, 16:125)
The Prophet proclaimed the Oneness of God in the Ka'bah. The Quraish were aghast. Till then, they had held the Prophet and his followers in contemptuous disdain, but now they were genuinely alarmed. The new movement amounted to a denunciation of their forefathers. It meant the termination, in one stroke, of their authority and privilege as the guardians of the Ka'bah.
The Quraish retaliated violently. A life and death struggle for-Islam ensued. The Prophet was not allowed to worship in the Ka'bah, thorns were strewn in his way, dirt and filth were thrown at him while he was engaged in prayers, and street urchins were incited to follow him, shouting and clapping their hands in derision. He and his followers were subjected to all types of calumnies and humiliation. They were taunted and insulted.
Oppression and relentless persecution were let loose. In an effort to force believers to renounce the new faith and to go back to the old cults, they were subjected to extremes of physical torture. They were mercilessly beaten, made to lie on burning sand while heavy blocks of stones were placed on their chests, or nooses were put around their necks and their bodies dragged.
One of the faithful, Yasir by name, succumbed to these tortures and, when his wife Sumayyah, an African, protested, her legs were tied to two camels, and the animals were driven to opposite directions, tearing her body in halves. These were the first martydoms in the cause of Islam. The believers, under the inspiration of their great Teacher, were, however, fired with holy zeal. They braved all persecutions and danger and bore up against all agonies and tortures.
Sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.)
Charity
A man giving in alms one piece of silver in his lifetime is better for him than giving one hundred when about to die.
To meet friends cheerfully and invite them to a feast are charitable acts.
To extend consideration towards neighbors and send them presents are charitable acts.
Education
To acquire knowledge is binding upon all Muslims, whether male or female.
The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.
He who travels in the search of knowledge, to him God shows the way of Paradise.
Acquire knowledge, because he who acquires it, in the way of the Lord, performs an act of piety; who speaks of it praises the Lord; who seeks it, adores God, who dispenses instruction in it, bestows alms; and who imparts it to its fitting objects, performs an act of devotion to God.
Knowledge enables its possessor to distinguish what is forbidden from what is not; lights the way to Heaven; it is our friend in the desert, our companion in solitude, our companion, when bereft of friends; it guides us to happiness; it sustains us in misery; it is our ornament in the company of friends; it serves as an armor against our enemies.
With knowledge the creatures of Allah rises to the heights of goodness and to noble position, associates with the sovereigns in this world and attains the perfection of happiness in the next.
Envy
Keep yourselves far from envy, because it eats up and takes away good actions, like the fire that eats up and burns wood.
Supression of Anger
Whoever suppresses his anger, when he has in his power to show it, God will give him a great reward.
He is not strong and powerful, who throws people down, but he is strong who withholds himself from anger.
Behavior
Deal gently with a people, and be not harsh; cheer them and condemn not.
Much silence and a good disposition; there are no two works better than these.
The best of friends is he who is best in behavior and character.
One who does not practice modesty and does not refrain from shameless deeds is not a Muslim.
Parents and Family
Paradise lies at the feet of thy mother.
He who wishes to enter Paradise must please his father and mother.
Pride
No one who keeps his mind focussed entirely upon himself, can grow large, strong and beautiful in character.
Remembrance of God
Whoever loves to meet God, God loves to meet him.
The five stated prayers erase the sins which have been committed during the intervals between them if they have not been mortal sins.
Sympathy
God is not merciful to him who is not so to humankind.
He who is not kind to God's creation and to his own children, God will not be kind to him.
Whosoever visits a sick person, an angel calls from Heaven: "Be happy in the world and happy be your walking; and take your habitation in Paradise."
Wordly Love and Materialism
The love of the world, is the root of all evils.
Wealth properly employed is a blessing; and a man may lawfully endeavour to increase it by honest means.

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When Muhammad (S.A.W.) was 38 years of age, he spent most of his time in meditation and solitude. The cave of the mount Hira was his favorite place. It is there that he used to retire with food and water and spend days and weeks in remembrance of Allah. Nobody was allowed to go there except Khadijah and 'Ali. He used to spend the whole month of Ramadhan therein.
The period of waiting had come to a close. His forty years of life had varied experiences, and from the world's point of view, he had developed a maturity of mind and judgement, although in reality he was the embodiment of perfection from the very beginning. He has said: "I was a prophet when Adam was between water and clay." His heart was overflowing with profound compassion for mankind and a pressing urge to eradicate wrong beliefs, social evils, cruelty and injustice. The moment had arrived when he was to be allowed to declare his prophethood. One day, when he was in the cave of Hira, Jibril (Gabriel) came to him and conveyed to him the following message of Allah:
Read in the name of thy Lord Who created, created man from a clot (of congealed blood): Read and thy Lord is most Bountiful, no taught with the pen, taught man that which he knew not. (Qur'an, 96:1-5)
These were the first ayats to be revealed, and the date was the 27th of Rajab, 40th year of elephant (610 C.E.).
The flow of the Divine message which continued for the next twenty-three years had begun, and the Prophet had arisen to proclaim the Unity of God and the Unity of Mankind, to demolish the edifice of superstition, ignorance, and disbelief, to set up a noble conception of life, and to lead mankind to the light of faith and celestial bliss.
The Shi'ah scholars are almost unanimous that Holy Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.) was appointed to the prophetic mission on the 27th of Rajab and his prophethood commenced from the same day. However, the Sunni scholars usually claim that he was appointed to this mission during the holy month of Ramadan.
As Shi'ahs claim to be the followers of the progeny of the Holy Prophet and consider their reports to be true and final in the light of 'Hadith Thaqalayn', they have accepted the report of the progeny of the Prophet's Household about the date of this appointment to the prophetic mission to be correct. The descendants of the Prophet say: "The chief of the family was appointed to the prophetic mission on the 27th of Rajab". In view of this, Shi'ahs do not entertain any doubt about the correctness of this date.
The thing which can be treated to be the basis for the other view is the very statement of the Holy Qur'an, wherein it has been stated that the verses of the Qur'an were revealed in Ramadan. And as the day of the commencement of the prophetic mission is the day of the beginning of revelation of the Holy Qur'an it may be said that the Prophet was appointed to prophethood in the very month of Ramadan. The verses of the Holy Qur'an which indicate that it was revealed in Ramadan are as follows:
In the month of Ramadan the Qur'an was revealed. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:185 ).
We swear by the Glorious Book that We revealed the Qur'an on a blessed night. (Surah al-Dukhan, 44:2-3).
And that is the very night of Qadr (glory) which has been mentioned in Surah al-Qadr (verse 1) wherein it has been said: "We revealed the Qur'an in the Night of Glory."
Reply By Shi'ah Scholars
The Shi'ah traditionalists and commentators have given various replies and explanations with regard to this argument; some of them are mentioned below:
The First Reply
The above-mentioned verses show that the Holy Qur'an was revealed in one blessed night of the Holy month of Ramadan, which is called the 'Night of Glory', but they do not mention the place of its revelation and do not also denote that they were revealed to the Prophet during the same night. It is quite possible that there may have been various revelations of the Qur'an and numerous Shi'ah and Sunni narrations confirm this possibility.
One of those revelations is the gradual revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet and the other is its revelation in installments from the Lauhul Mehfuz [1] to Baytul Ma'mu'r. [2] Hence there should be nothing wrong in a few verses of Surah al-Alaq being revealed to the Holy Prophet on the 27th of Rajab and the entire Qur'an, in one compact form, being revealed in the month of Ramadan from a place named by the Qur'an as 'Lauhul Mehfuz' to another place 'Baytul Ma'mur.'
This view is confirmed by the very verse of Surah al-Dukhan which says: We swear by the glorious Book that We revealed the Qur'an on a blessed night. It is evident from this verse (on the strength of the pronoun which turns towards the word 'Book') that it was revealed in its entirety during the Glorious Night (falling in the month of Ramadan), and it is only proper that this revelation should be other than the revelation which took place at the time of the appointment of the Prophet to the prophetic mission, because at that time only a few verses were revealed.
In short the verses which indicate that the Qur'an was revealed in the month of Ramadan during the 'Night of Glory' cannot be a proof of the fact that the day of the Holy Prophet's appointment to the prophetic mission, on which only a few verses were revealed, also coincided in the same month, because the aforesaid verses show that the entire Book (the Qur'an) was revealed in that month, whereas, on the day of the Holy Prophet's appointment to the prophetic mission only five or six verses were revealed.
Hence, the two schools, while explaining the meanings of the above-mentioned verses in their narrations, say that the entire Qur'an was sent down from the 'Lahhul Mehfuz' to 'Baytul Ma'mur in that very month. The Shi'ah and Sunni scholars have quoted the said narrations and in particular Professor Muhammad Abdul Azim Zarqani of 'Al-Azhar' university has mentioned them in his book in detail.[3]
The Second Reply
The most sound reply, which has so far been given by the scholars, is the second one. The learned scholar Allamah Tabatabai has explained it in detail in his precious book [4] and a gist of it is given below:
The real and actual purpose of the Holy Qur'an saying that: We revealed it in the month of Ramadan is that it was revealed to the Holy Prophet during that month, because besides being revealed in parts the Holy Qur'an possesses a reality about which Almighty Allah informed His great Messenger in a particular night of the month of Ramadan.
As the Holy Prophet possessed knowledge of the entire Holy Book, he was directed not to make haste in divulging its contents and to wait till he received orders regarding its communication to the people gradually. The Holy Qur'an says: Do not make haste in narrating the contents of the Qur'an till you receive orders in this behalf through revelation.
This reply shows that the Holy Qur'an possesses a total existence which was revealed in its entirety at one time in the month of Ramadan and it also possesses a gradual existence which lasted from the day of the Holy Prophet's appointment to the prophetic mission up to the end of his life.
The Third Reply
As has been explained briefly regarding the different kinds of revelation, it has evidently various stages. The first stage is that of true visions and dreams. The second stage is that of oracular and heavenly voices which are heard without facing an angel. And the last stage is that when the Prophet sees an angel and hears the words of Allah from him and learns through him about the realities of other worlds.
As the human soul does not possess the requisite strength to bear the different stages of revelation in the very first instance, it is necessary that the capacity to bear them should develop gradually, it may be said that: on the day of his appointment to the prophetic mission (27th of Rajab) and for some time thereafter the Holy Prophet heard only those Heavenly voices which informed him that he was the Messenger and Prophet of Allah and no verse was revealed during that period. And some time later gradual revelation of the Qur'an began in the month of Ramadan.
By this we mean that the appointment of the Prophet to the prophetic mission in the month of Rajab is not attached to the revelation of the Qur'an in that month. In view of this there should be no discrepancy between the Qur'an being revealed in the month of Ramadan and the Prophet being appointed to the prophetic mission in the month of Rajab.
Although what has been stated above does not conform to numerous texts (because many historians have said explicitly that the verses of Surah al-Alaq were revealed on the very day of the appointment of the Holy Prophet to the prophetic mission), still we possess some narratives, which tell us that on the day of the Holy Prophet's appointment to the prophetic mission he heard oracular voice, and which do not say anything about the revelation of the Holy Qur'an or its verses. They explain the matter by saying that on that day the Holy Prophet saw an angel who said to him "O Muhammad! you are the Messenger of Allah ". And in some of the narrations only hearing of the voice by the Prophet has been mentioned and nothing has been said about his seeing the angel.[5]
The Faith of the Prophet Before the Prophetic Mission
For quite some time the question of the religion of the Holy Prophet before his appointment to the prophetic mission has been a matter of discussion between the Shi'ah and Sunni scholars. They have raised the following issues and given reply to each one of them
Did the Holy Prophet profess any religion before his appointment to the prophetic mission?
Supposing that he was the follower of a religion, was it his own religion?
If he was the follower of any other religion was that religion revealed to him independently and he followed it independently or he was reckoned to be one of the followers of that religion?
If he acted on that religion independently or as a follower, to which of the former Prophets did that religion belong?
These are the four questions which one comes across in various books of Seerah (the Prophet's biography), history, and exegesis.
However, is it necessary that we should give definite replies to these questions? Is it basically necessary that we should study various books on history, exegesis and the Holy Prophet's biography and collect the requisite answers?
We feel that discussion of these particular points is not at all necessary.[6] Rather what is important is that we should conclusively prove that before his appointment to the prophetic mission the Holy Prophet believed in and worshipped only Allah the One, and was pious and chaste.
This can be proved by the following two methods:
Firstly by studying his forty years' life preceding his appointment to the prophetic mission, and secondly by scrutinizing what has been said on the subject by the leaders of Islam.
1. To sum up his forty years' life was a life of modesty and chastity, honesty and truthfulness, uprightness and righteousness, goodness and kindness to the oppressed and the needy and hatred for the idols and the idol-worshippers. So much so that once when he performed a journey to Syria in connection with trade and the other party, to a transaction, swore by idols he said "The most obnoxious things which always arouse my wrath are these very 'Lat' and 'Manat' by which you are swearing".
Besides this he prayed continuously in the cave of Hira during the month of Ramadan and performed Haj time and again, for as the sixth Imam says, he (the Holy Prophet) performed Haj secretly ten times and according to another narration twenty times. And, as we know, all Haj ceremonies are the performance of rites to which Prophet Ibrahim invited people and wished that by this means those who believe in Allah the One should assemble at one particular place during a fixed period.
Similarly the Prophet always remembered Allah while taking his meals and refrained from eating meat of the animals which had been slaughtered in an unlawful manner, and was very much disturbed to see obscene scenes, wine-drinking and gambling; so much so that at times he sought asylum in the mountains and returned home when a part of the night had passed. Now what demands our consideration is this:
Is it possible to doubt the faith of a man who has passed his life in the manner stated above and who does not possess even the smallest weak point from the very beginning of his life, and who passes a part of his life in hills and in secluded places to meditate upon the beautiful phenomena of the world. We consider an ordinary man to be pious, dutiful and righteous if we observe one tenth of these qualities in him, what to speak of the Holy Prophet?
2. The second method of finding out the real position is the study of numerous documents and narratives which have reached us from the leaders of Islam. One of them is the discourse of Imam Ali, the chief of the monotheists, in 'Khutbah-i Qasi'ah':
"From the time the Holy Prophet had been weaned, the Almighty Allah had associated the most distinguished angel with him so that he might show him the path of magnanimity and goodness during day as well as night" [7]
Comparison of Prophet Muhammad(S.A.W.)
with Prophet Jesus(A.S.)
There is no doubt about the fact that the Holy Prophet of Islam enjoys superiority over all previous Prophets. And it has been stated explicitly in the Holy Qur'an about some Prophets that they were elevated to the position of prophethood during their very childhood and Books were also sent to them. For example, the Holy Qur'an says about Prophet Yahya:
To Yahya we said: Observe the Scripture with a firm resolve. We bestowed on him wisdom, grace and purity while he was yet a child. (Surah Maryam, 19:12)
When Prophet 'Isa was in his cradle the elders of Bani Israel pressed his mother to let them know the father of the child. Maryam pointed towards the cradle so that people should get the reply to their question from the child himself. 'Isa replied to them in these words with great eloquence and firmness:
I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Injeel and ordained me a Prophet. His blessing is upon me wherever I go, and He has commanded me to be steadfast in prayer and to give alms to the poor as long as I shall live. (Surah Maryam, 19:31)
The son of Maryam clarifies for us the principles and regulations of his religion during his very infancy and declares that he follows the law of the worship of Allah, the One. Now we call your conscience to witness and ask you: "When Prophet Yahya and Prophet 'Isa are true believers and pronounce the realities of nature, can it be said that the unique leader of mankind and the noblest of men did not possess an extraordinary faith till the age of forty years, although even at the time of the revelation in the cave of Hira he was already busy in meditation?"
[1] See: Allamah Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai, Tafsirul Mizan.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Manahilul 'Irfan fi 'Ulumil Qur'an, vol. I, page 37.
[4] al-Mizan, vol. II, pp. 14-16
[5] Biharul Anwar, vol. XVIll, pp. 184,190 and 193.
[6] Biharul Anwar, vol. XVIII, pp. 271 - 281.
[7] Nahjul Balaghah, vol. II, page 182.
Who Were The First Persons To Embrace Islam?
The advancement of Islam and its penetration into different peoples took place gradually. In the terminology of the Holy Qur'an those persons who preceded all others in embracing and propagating Islam are called as-Sabiqun (the preceding ones), and in the early days of Islam this precedence was in itself a criterion of virtue and superiority and, even amongst these persons, one who preceded another one enjoyed a more honourable position. Hence, we should consult the authentic sources and decide, without any bias, as to who were the first amongst men and women who embraced Islam.
It is an admitted historical fact that from amongst women Khadijah was the first to embrace Islam and there is no contradictory report on this point. We briefly mention here an important historical authority which has been quoted by the historians from one of the wives of the Holy Prophet.
A'isha says: "I was always sorry for not having seen the period of Khadijah and wondered at the kindness and love which the Holy Prophet expressed for her, because her dear husband always remembered her more than anyone else and if he slaughtered a sheep he found out the friends of Khadijah and sent them a share of the meat. One day, when the Holy Prophet was going out of the house, he remembered Khadijah and praised her. Eventually I could not control myself and said very boldly: "She was nothing more than an old woman and Allah has given you a better one".
My words had a very unfavourable effect on the Holy Prophet of Allah. Signs of anger and wrath appeared on his forehead and he said: "It is not at all so... I have not acquired a better one. She believed in my Prophethood when all people were drowned in infidelity and polytheism. She placed her wealth at my disposal in the most trying circumstances. Allah gave me through her issues, which I did not get through anyone else.[8]
Another evidence about Khadijah being the first woman in the world to embrace Islam is the very incident of the commencement of the revelation of the Holy Qur'an, because, when the Holy Prophet came down from the cave of Hira and related the incident to his wife she immediately confirmed her husband's statement and consoled him.
Furthermore, she had time and again heard from the sages of Arabia about the prophethood of her husband and it was on account of the truthfulness and righteousness of the Hashmite young man that she married him.
Almost all the Shi'ah and Sunni historians are unanimous that the first amongst men to embrace Islam was Ali.
Ali had been brought up from his very childhood in the house of the Holy Prophet and the latter endeavoured to educate him like a kind father. Most of the biographers say unanimously: "Before the appointment of Muhammad to the prophetic mission a severe drought appeared in Makkah. Abu Talib, the uncle of the Holy Prophet, had a big family to support. He was the chief of Quraysh, and his income was not at all in keeping with his expenditure and he was not as wealthy as his brother Abbas. The financial condition of Abu Talib prompted the Holy Prophet to discuss the matter with his uncle Abbas and they decided to take some of the children of Abu Talib to their own houses so as to alleviate his burden and to help him meet his requirements. Consequently the Prophet took Ali to his house and Abbas took Ja'far under his guardianship".[9]
In the circumstances it can be said that, when Ali went to the Holy Prophet's house his age was not less than eight or ten years. The reason for this presumption is that the object of the Holy Prophet in taking Ali under his patronage was to alleviate the burden of the chief of Makkah (Abu Talib) and besides the fact that separation of a child from his parents who is less than eight or ten years, is a difficult matter; it could not also have any appreciable effect on the conditions of life of Abu Talib.
Hence, it is necessary that we should presume the age of Ali at that time to be such that his being taken away from Abu Talib had an appreciable effect on the latter's conditions of life.
The purpose of the Prophet in fostering Ali was to compensate Abu Talib to some extent for the services rendered by him and so far as the Prophet was concerned there was nothing more dear to him than to guide a person directly. Keeping all these things in view how can it be said that the Holy Prophet kept his cousin deprived of this great blessing, notwithstanding the fact that he (Ali) was an intelligent person with a highly enlightened mind? It would be better if we learn about this matter from the lips of Ali himself:
In the sermon entitled Qasi'ah he explains his rank and esteem in the eyes of the Prophet thus:
"You know the esteem in which the Holy Prophet held me on account of our near relationship and the high position and respect (which I enjoyed in his eyes). During my childhood he fostered me under his own care and stuck me to his bosom. He embraced me in his bed and I used to smell his sweet smell. I followed him just as the off-spring of a she-camel follows its mother. Every day he hoisted (showed) a sign of his moral virtues and ordered me to follow it. He stayed in Hira every year (before his appointment to the prophetic mission) and I used to go and see him there, whereas none else saw him.
At that time Islam had not reached any house except that of the Holy Prophet and Khadijah, and I was the third amongst them. I used to see the light of revelation and messengership and smelt the fragrance of prophethood".[10]
Narrating the life history of Afif Kandi, Ibne Hajar (in 'Al-lsabah), Ibne Abdul Bir (in Isti'ab) and many other scholars of history have quoted him to have said:
"During the Age of Ignorance I once went to Makkah. My host was Abbas son of Abdul Muttalib and both of us arrived in the precincts of the Holy Ka'bah. Suddenly l saw that a man came and stood by the side of the Ka'bah. Then a boy arrived and stood on his right side.
Soon after that I saw a woman came and stood behind them. I saw the boy and the woman performing ruku' and sujud (kneeling and prostration) in imitation of the man. This unprecedented scene inspired me to enquire from Abbas about it. He said:
"That man is Muhammad son of Abdullah and that boy is his cousin and the woman standing behind them is the wife of Muhammad".
Then he added: "My nephew says that a day will come when he will control the treasuries of 'Kisra' and 'Kaiser'. By Allah, there is no follower of this religion on the face of the earth except these three". Then the narrator says: "I wish that I had been the fourth of them!"
Since the above narrative is not directly concerned with Ali, even those persons, who fail to narrate his virtues have quoted it. [11]
In the sermons and dissertations of Ali we usually come across the following and other similar sentences:
"I am the servant of Allah and the brother of the Holy Prophet and the greatest truthful one, and none will utter this sentence after me except one who is a liar. I offered prayers along with the Holy Prophet for seven years[12] before anyone else did so."
The author of al-Ghadir (vol. III, page 222) has quoted authorities for these narrations from the books of traditions and history and we dispense with quoting the same briefly:
The following traditions of the Holy Prophet narrated by successive witnesses with various explanations have been quoted to this effect:
"The first person who will meet me on the Pool of 'Kauthar' and the first person who embraced Islam is Ali son of Abu Talib".
You may also study the authorities for these traditions in the third volume of 'al-Ghadir', page 320. The evidences for both the parts have reached the stage of consecutiveness and when a person studies these ahadith without any bias he becomes definite about Ali being the foremost among the believers. He does not, therefore, prefer at all the other two statements which are in a minority from the point of view of narration.
The number of the supporters of the first statement (viz. Ali was the first person to embrace Islam), who consist of distinguished companions of the Prophet and tabe'in (companions of the companions of the Prophet) exceeds sixty. So much so that even Tabari [13] who has left the matter open and has contented himself only with quoting the statement says that Ibn Sa'id asked his father:
"Was Abu Bakr the first person to embrace Islam? " His father replied: "No. Before he embraced Islam more than fifty persons had come round to the Prophet's way. "
Ibn Abd Rabbih quotes an interesting incident in 'Aqdul Farid' which may be summarized as under:
Mamun arranged a debating assembly and the famous scholar Ishaq occupied the foremost position in it. When Ali's precedence over others in the matter of acceptance of Islam was established, Ishaq said "When Ali embraced Islam he was only a boy but Abu Bakr was a mature man (at the time he became a Muslim). Hence his faith enjoys superiority over that of Ali".
Mamun suddenly intervened and said: "Did the Prophet invite Ali in his boyhood to adopt the faith, or his faith was due to divine inspiration? It cannot at all be said that his faith was inspired, because, not to speak of Ali, even the faith of the Prophet was not inspired but was the result of guidance and messages brought by Jibreel from Allah. Hence, when the Holy Prophet invited him to accept Islam, did he do so on his own account or had he been ordered by Allah to accomplish the deed?
We cannot imagine that the Prophet should subject himself or anyone else to hardship and responsibility without an order from Allah. Hence there is no alternative except that we should say that the Prophet's call is supported by divine order. And does the Omniscient Lord order His Prophet to invite an untalented boy (for whom 'faith' or 'no faith' are alike) to adopt Islam? Certainly such an act is not possible from the All-Wise and All-Knowing Allah.
Hence, it should be concluded that the faith of Ali was a true and firm faith which was not at all inferior to the faith of others and it is Ali, son of Abu Talib to whom the verses of Qur'an "and the foremost are the foremost, these are they who are drawn nigh (to Allah)", most appropriately applies.
[8] Biharul Anwar, vol. XVI, page 8.
[9] Seerah Ibn Hisham, vol. I, page 246.
[10] Nahjul Balaghah, vol. II, page 182.
[11] Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II. p. 211; Tarikh-i Kamil, vol. II, pp. 31 - 38, and A'lamul Wara, page 25.
[12] In some of the narratives the period has been mentioned to be five years and on the basis of numerous indications it may be said that a part of this period preceded to the prophetic mission.
[13] 2Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II, page 215.
Calling the Near Ones
After three years, the call came from Allah:
And warn thy near relations (Qur'an, 26:214)
This ayat (verse) ended the period of secret preaching and heralded the open proclamation of Islam.
Abu Muhammad Husain al-Baghawi (in his Tafisir-Ma'alim ut-Tanzil), Shaikh 'Ala'uddin 'Ali ibn Muhammad al-Baghdadi, known as Khazin al-Baghdadi, in his Lubab-ut-Ta'wil, best known as Tafsir Khazin, Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Husain al-Bayhaqi (in his Dalail-un-Nubuwwah), Jalaluddin as-Suyuti (in his Jam'ul Jawami), 'Ala'uddin 'Ali Muttaqi (in Kanz-ul-'Ummal), Abu Jafer Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari (in Tarikh-ur-Rusul-wal-Muluk), Abu Sa'adat Mubarak ibn Athir al-Jazari (in Tarikh-ul-Kamil) and Isma'il Abul Fida (in his history, Kitab-ul-Mukhtasar fi Akhbar-il-Bashar) have quoted 'Ali as saying:
"When the verse Wa andhir 'Ashiratakal-aqrabin was revealed, the noble Messenger called me and ordered me, 'O 'Ali! The Creator of the world has made me warn my people about their doom, but in view of the condition of the people and knowing that when I will give them the words of Allah, they will misbehave, I felt depressed and weakened and therefore I kept quiet until Gabriel came again and informed me that there should be no more delay. Therefore, O 'Ali, take a measure of food grain, a leg of a goat and a big bowl of milk and arrange for a feast, then call the sons of 'Abdul Muttalib unto me, so that I may deliver to them the words of Allah.' I did what the Prophet had told me to do and the sons of 'Abdul Muttalib, who were about forty in number gathered together. Among them were the uncles of the Prophet: Abu Talib, Hamza, 'Abbas and Abu Lahab.
When the food was brought, the Prophet lifted a piece of meat and tore it into small morsels with his own teeth and scattered the pieces on the tray and said, 'Start eating in the name of Allah,' All people present there had the food to their fill although the milk and the food were just sufficient for one man. Then he intended to speak to them, but Abu Lahab interfered and said, `Verily, your comrade has entranced you.' Having heard this, all of them dispersed and the Messenger did not get a chance to speak to them.
On the next day, the Messenger, of the Lord again said to me: 'O 'Ali? Make arrangements again for a feast as you had done yesterday, and invite the sons of 'Abdul Muttalib'. I arranged for the feast and gathered the guests as I was asked to do by the Prophet. Once they had finished the food, the Messenger addressed them thus: 'O sons of 'Abdul­Muttalib, I have brought for you the best blessings of this world and of the next, and I am appointed by the Lord to call you unto Him.
Therefore, who amongst you will help me in this cause in order that he should be my brother, my successor and my caliph?' Nobody responded. But I, although the youngest of the congregation, said, 'O Messenger of Allah, I am here to be your helper in this task.' The Prophet then patted my neck very kindly and said, 'O my people! This 'Ali is my brother, my successor and my caliph amongst you. Listen to him and obey him.' Having heard it from the Prophet, they all burst into laughter and said to Abu Talib, 'Hearken! You are ordered to obey and follow your own son! "'
This event has also been recorded by Thomas Carlyle in Heroes and Hero Worship, by Gibbon in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Davenport in Apology for Muhammad and The Koran and by Washington Irving in Muhammad And His Successors, with all its details.
Abul-Fida, in Kitabul-Mukhtasar fi Akhbaril-Bashar states that some of the verses composed by Abu Talib prove the fact that he had accepted the Prophethood of the Prophet from the core of his heart. A translation of a few poetic verses is given here:
You have called me (to Islam) and I believe that you are truthful, straightforward and trustworthy. And there is no doubt in my belief that the religion of Muhammad is the best of all the religions of the world. By God! As far as I am alive, not a single person from among the Quraish can harm you.
Persecution begins
Then one after another came the Divine commands:
Disclose what has been ordained to thee. (Qur'an, 15.94)
O thou wrapped (in thy mantle) Arise and warn, and thy Lord do magna. And thy raiment do purify. And uncleanness do shun. And show not favor seeking gain! And for the sake of thy Lord be patient. " (Qur'an, 74:1-7)
The method to be employed was:
Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and dispute with them in the best way. (Qur'an, 16:125)
The Prophet proclaimed the Oneness of God in the Ka'bah. The Quraish were aghast. Till then, they had held the Prophet and his followers in contemptuous disdain, but now they were genuinely alarmed. The new movement amounted to a denunciation of their forefathers. It meant the termination, in one stroke, of their authority and privilege as the guardians of the Ka'bah.
The Quraish retaliated violently. A life and death struggle for-Islam ensued. The Prophet was not allowed to worship in the Ka'bah, thorns were strewn in his way, dirt and filth were thrown at him while he was engaged in prayers, and street urchins were incited to follow him, shouting and clapping their hands in derision. He and his followers were subjected to all types of calumnies and humiliation. They were taunted and insulted.
Oppression and relentless persecution were let loose. In an effort to force believers to renounce the new faith and to go back to the old cults, they were subjected to extremes of physical torture. They were mercilessly beaten, made to lie on burning sand while heavy blocks of stones were placed on their chests, or nooses were put around their necks and their bodies dragged.
One of the faithful, Yasir by name, succumbed to these tortures and, when his wife Sumayyah, an African, protested, her legs were tied to two camels, and the animals were driven to opposite directions, tearing her body in halves. These were the first martydoms in the cause of Islam. The believers, under the inspiration of their great Teacher, were, however, fired with holy zeal. They braved all persecutions and danger and bore up against all agonies and tortures.
Sayings of the Holy Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.)
Charity
A man giving in alms one piece of silver in his lifetime is better for him than giving one hundred when about to die.
To meet friends cheerfully and invite them to a feast are charitable acts.
To extend consideration towards neighbors and send them presents are charitable acts.
Education
To acquire knowledge is binding upon all Muslims, whether male or female.
The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.
He who travels in the search of knowledge, to him God shows the way of Paradise.
Acquire knowledge, because he who acquires it, in the way of the Lord, performs an act of piety; who speaks of it praises the Lord; who seeks it, adores God, who dispenses instruction in it, bestows alms; and who imparts it to its fitting objects, performs an act of devotion to God.
Knowledge enables its possessor to distinguish what is forbidden from what is not; lights the way to Heaven; it is our friend in the desert, our companion in solitude, our companion, when bereft of friends; it guides us to happiness; it sustains us in misery; it is our ornament in the company of friends; it serves as an armor against our enemies.
With knowledge the creatures of Allah rises to the heights of goodness and to noble position, associates with the sovereigns in this world and attains the perfection of happiness in the next.
Envy
Keep yourselves far from envy, because it eats up and takes away good actions, like the fire that eats up and burns wood.
Supression of Anger
Whoever suppresses his anger, when he has in his power to show it, God will give him a great reward.
He is not strong and powerful, who throws people down, but he is strong who withholds himself from anger.
Behavior
Deal gently with a people, and be not harsh; cheer them and condemn not.
Much silence and a good disposition; there are no two works better than these.
The best of friends is he who is best in behavior and character.
One who does not practice modesty and does not refrain from shameless deeds is not a Muslim.
Parents and Family
Paradise lies at the feet of thy mother.
He who wishes to enter Paradise must please his father and mother.
Pride
No one who keeps his mind focussed entirely upon himself, can grow large, strong and beautiful in character.
Remembrance of God
Whoever loves to meet God, God loves to meet him.
The five stated prayers erase the sins which have been committed during the intervals between them if they have not been mortal sins.
Sympathy
God is not merciful to him who is not so to humankind.
He who is not kind to God's creation and to his own children, God will not be kind to him.
Whosoever visits a sick person, an angel calls from Heaven: "Be happy in the world and happy be your walking; and take your habitation in Paradise."
Wordly Love and Materialism
The love of the world, is the root of all evils.
Wealth properly employed is a blessing; and a man may lawfully endeavour to increase it by honest means.

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