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Wednesday 1st of December 2021
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Harmony and Discord

The holy Prophet gave orders that his newly acquired courtyard should be into a mosque, and as in Quba they began work on it immediately.

Most of the building was done with bricks, but in the middle of the northern wall, that is, the Jerusalem wall, they put stones on either side of the prayer niche.

The palms in the courtyard were cut down and their trunks were used as pillars to support the roof of palm branches, but the greater part of the courtyard was left open.

The Muslims of Medina had been given by the Prophet the title of Ansar which means Helpers, whereas the Muslims of Quraysh and other tribes who had left their homes and emigrated to the oasis he called Muhijirah, that is, Emigrants.

All took part in the work, including the Prophet himself, and as they worked they chanted two verses which one of them had made up for the occasion:

"O God, no good is but the good hereafter, So help the Helpers and the Emigrants."

And sometimes they chanted:

"No life there is but life of the Hereafter. Mercy, 0 God, on Emigrants and Helpers."

It was to be hoped that these two parties would be strengthened by a third, and the Prophet now made a covenant of mutual obligation between his followers and the Jews of the oasis, forming them into a single community of believers but allowing for the differences between the two religions.

Muslims and Jews were to have equal status

If a Jew were wronged, then he must be helped to his rights by both Muslim and Jew, and so also if a Muslim were wronged.

In case of war against the polytheists they must fight as one people, and neither Jews nor Muslims were to make a separate peace, but peace was to be indivisible.

In case of differences of opinion or dispute or controversy, the matter was to be referred to God through His Messenger.

There was, however, no express stipulation that the Jews should formally recognise Mohammad as the Messenger and Prophet of God, though he was referred to as such throughout the document.

The Jews accepted this covenant for political reasons. The Prophet was already by far the most powerful man in Medina, and his power seemed likely to increase.

They had no choice but to accept; yet very few of them were capable of believing that God would send a Prophet who was not a Jew!

At first the Jews were outwardly cordial, whatever they may have said amongst themselves and however set they were in the consciousness of their own superiority, the immense and incomparable superiority of the chosen people over all others.

But though their skepticism with regard, the new religion was normally veiled, they were always ready to share with any Arab who might have doubts about the Divine origin Revelation.

Islam continued to spread rapidly throughout the clans of Aws and Khazraj, and some believers looked forward to the day when, thanks to the covenant with the Jews, the oasis would be one harmonious whole.

Revelation now gave warning of hidden elements of discord. It was this time that the longest Surrah of the Koran began to be revealed Al-Baqarak(the Heifer), which is placed at the beginning of the immediately after the seven verses of Al-Fatihah,(the Opening).

It starts with a definition of the rightly guided:

"Alif - Lam - Meem. This beyond doubt is the Book, a guidance unto the God fearing, who believe in the Unseen and perform the prayer and give of that which We have bestowed upon; and who believe in that which is revealed unto thee and in that which was revealed before thee, and who are certain of the Hereafter. These are they who follow guidance from their Lord and these are they who shall prosper."

Koran:II - verses:2/5

Then after mention of the disbelievers who are blind and deaf to the truth, a third body of people is mentioned:

"And of men there are some who say:
We believe in God and in the last day, yet they are not believers...
When they meet those who believe they say:
We believe. And when a part unto their Satans, they say:
Verily we are with you; we did but mock."

Koran:II - verses:8/14

These were the waverers and doubters and hypocrites of Aws and in all their varying degrees of insincerity; and their Satans, that inspirers of evil, were the men and women of the disbelievers who they could to sow the seeds of doubt

The Prophet was here warned of a problem by which he had been altogether untroubled in Mecca. There the sincerity of those who embraced Islam was never to be doubted. The reasons for conversion could only be spiritual, since as regards the things of this world a convert had nothing to gain and in many cases much to lose.

But now there were certain worldly reasons for entering the new religion and these were steadily on the increase. The days of the total absence of hypocrites from the ranks of the Muslims were gone for ever.

Some of the Satans referred to were of the Jews. The same Revelation also said:

"Many of the people of the Book long to bring you back into disbelief after your belief through envy that is in their souls."

Koran:II - verse:109

Eagerly the Jews had looked forward to the coming of the predicted Prophet, not for the sake of the spiritual enlightenment it would bring but so that they might regain their former supremacy in Yathrib and in Palestine; and now to their utter dismay and disgust they saw that it was a descendant of Ismaeel, not of Ishaq, who was proclaiming the truth of The One God, Allah, with a success which was truly suggestive of Divine support.

The Jews feared that Mohammad was indeed the promised Prophet, that they have long been promised in their Scriptures and urned for his coming. Whence their envy of the people to whom he was sent.

And, yet, in their hearts they hoped that he was not, and they sought continually to persuade themselves and others that he had not the true requisites of a Heavenly-sent-Messenger.

"Mohammad claimeth that tidings come to him from Heaven, yet he knoweth not where his camel is!"

Mockingly said by a man of the Jews on a day when one of the Prophet's camels had strayed.

"I only know what God giveth me to know, and this He hath shown me: she is in the glen that I will tell thee of, caught to a tree by her halter!"

Said the Prophet when it was revealed to him by God. And some of the Helpers rushed out to look at the glen he spoke of, and there they found her where he had said she was.

The Convenant
Many of the Jews welcomed at first what seemed to be the end of all danger of a further outbreak of civil war in the oasis. There had none the less been advantages in that danger, for the division between the Arabs had greatly enhanced the status of the non-Arabs, who were much in demand as allies.

But the union of Aws and Khazraj made the old alliances unnecessary, while at the same time it gave the Arabs of Yathrib a formidable strength.

The covenant of the Jews with the Prophet made it possible for them to share in that strength. But it also meant incurring obligations for a possible war against the far greater Arab strength which lay beyond the oasis.

There might be other grave disadvantages for them in the new order of things, which was as yet untried, whereas the old order they knew and they were so well versed in its ways that many of them soon longed to return to it.

The Jews Exploiting the Discord Between The Arab Tribes
One elderly Jewish politician of the Bani Qaynuqa, a master in the art of exploiting the discord between the Arab tribes, felt particularly frustrated by the new friendship between the Aws and the Khazraj.

He therefore instructed a youth of his tribe who had a beautiful voice to go and sit amongst the Helpers when they were assembled together and to recite to them some of the poetry which had been composed by men of both tribes immediately before and after Bu'ath, the most recent battle of the civil war - poems in revilement of enemies, glorying in deeds of prowess, elegies for the dead, threats of revenge.

The youth did as he was told, and he quickly held the attention of all who were there, transporting them from the present into the past. The men of Aws vehemently applauded the poetry of the Aws and those poetry of the Khazraj; and then the two sides began to argue with each other, and to boast, and to shout abuse and threats, until, finally the cry burst forth:

"To arms! To arms!"

And they went out into the lava tract, bent on fighting the fight once again. When the news reached the Prophet he gathered together all the Emigrants who were at hand and hastened out to where the two hosts were already drawn up in battle order. The Prophet said to them:

"O Muslims! Allah! Allah! Will ye act, as in the days of Ignorance, what though I am with you, and God hath guided you unto Islam, and honoured you with it, and there by enabled you to break with the pagan ways, and there by saved you from disbelief, and there united your hearts?"

At once they realised that they had been deliberately been led astray, and they wept, and embraced each other, and returned with the Prophet back to the city, attentive and obedient to his wise words.

The Prophet choses Ali as his Brother
In order to unite the community of believers still further, and to underline the importance and closeness of his cousin Ali to himself.

The Prophet now instituted a pact of brotherhood between the Helpers an Emigrants, so that each of the Helpers would have an Emigrant brothers, who was nearer to him than any of the Helpers, and each Emigrant would have a Helper brother who was nearer to him than any Emigrant.

But he made himself and his Family an exception, for it would have be invidious for him to choose as his Brother anyone else present in Medina, be it one of the Helpers or be it anyone from the Emigrants from Mecca.

So the only logical choice for his stature and character would be his beloved and devoted cousin and son in law Ali Ibin Abe Taleb, who happened to be the closes of all present in his likeness in manner and in his character as to the holy Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf).

So the holy Prophet took his young cousin Ali by the hand and outstretched it up high in the air significantly and said out loudly to all before him:

"This is my Brother, Ali!"

And then the holy Prophet made his uncle the formidable Hamzah the brother of his own adopted son Zayd. He then turn and ordered the people gathered before him to chose a brother.

"Now you chose amongst you a brother."

Amongest the people standing before the Prophet and witnessing the brotherhood of the Prophet and Ali, and that of Hamzah, and that of Zayd were both Abu Bakir, and Umar, who felt left out of the priverlage of having a brother as their equal from Quraysh. So they being Emigrants themselves, reluctantly saw that they had no choice but to chose their brother of one of the Helpers of Medina.

Chief Adversaries to Islam
Were two cousins, the sons of two sisters, but of two different tribes. One being of the clan of Aws and the other being of the clan of Khazraj through their fathers, each being of a great influence in his own tribe.

The man of Aws, Abu Ameer, was sometimes called "the Monk"
Because he had long been an ascetic and had been known to wear a garment of hair. He was answered in the words of the Revelation which had more than once defined it as the religion of Ibraheem.

He claimed to be of the religion of Ibraheem, and had acquired a certain religious authority amongst the people of Yathrib. He came to the Prophet soon after his arrival, ostensibly to ask him about the new religion. He was answered in the words of the revelation which had more than once defined it:

"....as the religion of Ibraheem."

"But I am of it!"

Said Abu Ameer and persisting in the face of denial he accused the Prophet of having falsified the Abrahamic faith. The Prophet said:

"I have not! But I have brought it white and pure."

 

Said Abu Ameer.

"May God let the liar die outcast exile!"

The Prophet replied,

"So be it! May God do that unto him who is lying."

Abu Ameer soon saw that his authority was rapidly losing weight was still further embittered by his son Hanzalah's devotion to the Prophet. It was not long before he decided to take his remaining followers, about ten in all, to Mecca, seemingly unaware that this was the beginning of self-imprecated exile.

The man of Khazraj was Abd Allah Ibin Ubayy
Who also felt himself to have been frustrated by the coming of the Prophet and robbed not just of spiritual authority but of the chief temporal power in the Yathrib oasis. He likewise had the bitterness of seeing his own son Abd Allah altogether won over by the Prophet, as well as his daughter Jameelah.

But unlike Abu Ameer, Ibin Ubayy was prepared to wait, thinking that sooner or later the newcomer's overwhelming influence would begin to ebb. Meantime it was his policy to be as non-committal as possible, but he sometimes betrayed his feelings despite himself.

One such occasion was when another chief of Khazraj, Sa'ad Ibin Ubadah, was ill and the Prophet went to visit him. All the rich men oasis had their houses built as fortresses, and on his way he passed by Muzaham, the fortress of Ibin Ubayy, who was sitting in the shadow of its walls surrounded by some of his clansmen and other men of Khazraj.

Out of courtesy to this chieftain, the Prophet dismounted from his ass and went to greet him. He sat for a while in his company, reciting the Koran and inviting him to Islam. When the Prophet had said all that he felt moved to say, Ibin Ubayy turned to him and said:

"Naught could be better than this discourse of thine, were it but true. Sit then at home, in thine own house, and who so cometh unto thee, preach unto him thus, but who so cometh not, burden him not with thy talk, nor enter into his gathering with that which he liketh not!"

"Nay!"

Said a voice.

"Come unto us with it, and visit us in our gatherings and our quarters and our houses, for that do we love, and that hath God given us of His Bounty, and thereunto hath He guided us."

The speaker was Abd A11ah Ibin Rawahah, a man whom Ibin Ubayy had thought he could count on for support at every turn. The disappointed chieftain now sullenly uttered a verse to the effect that when one is deserted by one's friends one is bound to be overcome. He had learned more clearly than ever that it was useless to resist.

As to the Prophet, he went away deeply saddened, despite Abd Allah's glowing tribute; and when he entered the sick man's house the rebuff he had received was still as it were written on his face.

Sa'ad immediately asked what was troubling him, and when he was told about Ibin Ubayy's impenetrable disbelief he said:

"Deal gently with him, O Messenger of God, for when God brought thee unto us, even then were we fashioning for him a diadem where with to crown him; and he seeth that thou hast robbed him of a kingdom."

The Prophet never forgot these words; and as to Ibin Ubayy, he soon saw that his influence, once so great, was rapidly dwindling and that if he did not enter Islam it would vanish altogether.

On the other hand he knew that a nominal acceptance of Islam would confirm him in his authority, for the Arabs were averse to breaking their old ties of allegiance unless there was a great reason for doing so.

It was therefore not long before he decided to enter Islam; but although he formally pledged himself to the Prophet and regularly there after attended the prayers, the believers never came to feel quite sure of him.

There were others about whom they were equally doubtful, but Ibin Ubayy was different from the majority of lukewarm or insincere converts by reason of his far-reaching influence, which made him all the more dangerous.

Prophet's Companion As'ad Dies
During the first months, while the Mosque was still being built, the community suffered a great loss in the death of As'ad, the first man in the oasis to pledge himself to the Prophet.

It was he who had been the host of Mus'ab, and who had worked so closely with him during the year between the two Aqabahs. The Prophet said:

"The Jews and the Arab hypocrites, now will surely say of me:

'If he were a Prophet, his companion would not have died!'

And indeed my will availeth nothing for myself or for my companion against the Will of God."

The Seal of Prophecy
It was perhaps at the funeral of As'ad that the second meeting of Salman Al-Farisi with the Prophet took place.

Salman the Persian, had known the Prophet would be there, and he contrived to absent himself from his work in time to reach the cemetery after the burial.

While the Prophet was still sitting there with some of the Emigrants and the Helpers. For Salman himself described this meeting in later years to the son of Abbass, saying:

"I went to the Messenger of God when he was in the Baqi Al-Gharqad, the cemetery located at the south-cast end of Medina, whither he had followed the bier of one of his Companions.

I greeted him, and then I circled round behind him in the hope that I might be able to look upon the Seal.

And he knew what I desired, so he grasped his cloak and threw it off his back, and I beheld the Seal of Prophecy even as my Master had described it unto me. I stooped over it and kissed it and wept.

Then the Messenger of God bade me to come round and I went and sat in front of him, and told him my story, and he was glad that his Companions should hear it. Then I entered Islam."

But Salman was kept hard at work as a slave among the Bani Qurayzah, and for the next four years he was able to have little contact with his fellow Muslims.

Another man of the people of the Book who embraced Islam at this time was a Jewish learned Rabbi of the Bani Qaynuqa, Husayn Ibin Sallam. He came to the Prophet in secret and pledged allegiance to him.

The Prophet thereupon gave him the name Abd Allah, and the new convert suggested that before his Islam became known his people should be questioned about his standing amongst them.

The Prophet concealed him in his house and sent for some of the leading men of Qaynuqa. They said in answer to his question

"He is our chief! And the son of our chief; he is our Rabbi and our man of learning."

Then Abd Allah came out of hiding to them and said:

"O Jews, Fear God! And accept that which He hath sent unto you, for ye know that this man is the Messenger of our Lord God."

Then he affirmed his own Islam and that of his household; and his people reviled him, and denied his good standing amongst them which they had previously affirmed.

Islam was now firmly established in the oasis. The Revelation prescribed the giving of alms and the Fast of the month of Ramadan, and laid d own general what was forbidden and what was allowed.

Call to Prayer
The Five daily Prayers were regularly performed in congregation, and when the time for each prayer came the people would assemble at the site where the Mosque was being built.

Everyone judged of the time by the position of the sun in the sky, or by the first signs of its light on the eastern horizon or dimming of its glow in the west after sunset; but opinions could differ, and the Prophet felt the need for a means of summoning the people to when the right time had come.

At first some of the his companions thought of appointing a man to blow a horn like that of the Jews, and some even suggested to use a wooden clapper, such as the Oriental Christians used at that time, and two pieces of wood were fashioned together for that purpose.

But they were never destined to be used; for the Prophet refused both suggestions. The Prophet had other ideas. That is ideas from Allah the Almighty Creator.

What simply natural and better, than the sound of a man's voice filling the surrounding flowing air over roof tops and desert land but with the magnification of his Creator's name, of Allaho Akbar and the call to prayer of His faithful worshippers. Five times a day.

So the holy Prophet orderes to Bilaal to show the people what he had taught him:

Al-Athan - translated to mean - The Call to Prayer

The Prophet taught Bilaal, the Athan or The 'Call to Prayer', because he was a most faithful follower and who had an excellent voice.

The highest house in the neighbourhood of the Mosque belonged to a woman of the clan of Najjar, and Bilaal would come there before every dawn and would sit on the roof waiting for the daybreak far over the horizon.

When he saw the first faint light in the east he stretched out his arms and said aloud to himself a sincereprayer of supplication to Allah for the Leaders of Quraysh:

"O God I praise Thee, and I ask Thy Help for Quraysh, that they may accept Thy religion."

Then Bilaal would stand on the roof, and lift both of his hands to cup his mouth and utter the Call to Prayer, to awaken the Muslim worshippers for Prayer.

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