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To whom belongs Godhead?
To whom belongs Lordship?
To whom belongs Worship?
To Allah1, the One, the Almighty alone, Who has no partner or associate. This is belief. This is religion. This is Islam.
To attribute partners instead of or besides Allah is Shirk2 and clear disbelief.
Either Godhead and Lordship are declared to Allah exclusively, which means submission to Allah alone, worship of Allah alone, obedience to Allah alone, and following the Law of Allah alone without any partner; for He alone is the One Who lays down for people the laws, the standards, the codes of their lives, and the systems of their societies.
No part of this right is permissible for any other than Him, whether individuals or groups, unless based upon the Law of Allah. This right exclusively appertains to Godhood and stands as its most prominent, distinctive sign.
Or Godhead and Lordship are claimed to belong to a creature of Allah (either as a partner with Him or entirely instead of Him), which is submission to other than Allah, worship of other than Allah, and obedience to other than Allah by following the codes, systems, laws, values, and standards laid down by humans, without founding them on the Book of Allah and His Authority. Rather, some humans found them on their own made up bases from which they derive their own authorities. This means no religion, no belief, no Islam, but rather Shirk, disbelief, disobedience, and rebellion.3
Jahiliyyah (Pre-Islamic Days of Ignorance of Allah) is not a past epoch of history. Jahiliyyah is every doctrine that embodies the worship of humans by humans, by people submitting to human-made beliefs and laws.
Islam is the only law of life that frees humanity from worshiping humans, because people receive all beliefs and laws from the Hand of the All-Merciful King.
When they bow their heads, they are bowing them to Allah alone. When they obey the laws, they are obeying Allah alone. When they submit to systems, they are submitting to Allah alone. They are truly freed from submission to humans, when they become slaves of Allah alone, without any other partner.4
This is Islam. Once it truly touches the human heart, it brings a total turnabout in beliefs, feelings, way of life, and relationships between the individual and groups. It is a turnabout based on full equality between all humans; none is superior over the other except by piety. It is based on dignity for all and absolute justice that tolerates no injustice and endures no wrong.
Once the humans feel the heat of this faith, they, with their whole being, move to fulfill it in their actual life. They can no longer tolerate falsehood, silence, or inaction.
The positive-directing spiritual energy of true faith, once it settles within human conscience, strives to realize itself outside in the form of righteous deeds. It cannot remain dormant and motionless inside, but must show signs of its life in the self of the believer; otherwise, it is false or dead. 5
The people of Quraish realized the true nature of this Call. They knew that the Testimony of Faith, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” was a declaration of mutiny against all human dominion and an escape to the Godhead and Dominion of Allah alone.
To them Islam was the breaking-free force that accompanied the pronunciation of this Testimony of Faith. The force of pulling oneself away from the community of Jahiliyyah, together with its beliefs, leadership, power, and laws, and pledging oneself body and soul to the leadership of the Islamic Call and the Muslim league that wanted to realize submission to Allah alone in the actual world.
That was the gravity of the Testimony of Faith in the eyes of the Quraish community, who witnessed and felt the danger they posed on their own entity and on the social, political, economical, and doctrinal status upon which that entity was based.
That was what truly troubled the people of Quraish, planting a nightmare of unrest in their minds from the spread of Islam, from this Qur’an.6
Therefore, the disbelievers of Quraish hungered to silence the advocate of the new Call once and for all. An obstinate obstacle stood in their way, embodied in Abu Talib, the Prophet’s uncle, and the powerful social standing he enjoyed, along with the protection and support he secured for his nephew.
Thus, the Mushrikin approached Abu Talib and insisted that he should either stop his nephew or not interfere between them and him; otherwise, this would embroil him in severe hostilities.7
Even if they put the sun and moon in my hands
Abu Talib was deeply distressed at this open threat and the imminent breach with his people and their enmity, but still he could not desert Muhammad (pbuh).
He sent for his nephew and told him his people’s threat. “Spare me and yourself and put not a burden on me that I cannot bear,” he said to him.
Muhammad (pbuh) understood his uncle to be deserting him and withdrawing his support, so he (pbuh) uttered his memorable words of unshakable adherence to faith, unsurpassable in sincerity, flowing with singular loyalty to the Religion of Allah: “O my uncle! By Allah, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand on condition that I abandon this cause, I will never abandon it until Allah makes it prevail or I perish therein.”
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was overcome with tears. He (pbuh) wept and then rose up. While leaving, his uncle called him back, saying, “Come back my nephew.” When he (pbuh) approached, Abu Talib said, “Go and preach what you please. By Allah, I will never desert you.”8
The Quraish realized that Abu Talib would never desert his nephew and hand him over to them, even if this incurred their enmity.
They attempted another compromise, taking with them a youth called ‘Amarah bin Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah to exchange for his nephew who opposed their ancestral religion, sowed dissension among people, and disparaged their way of life, for them to kill, just a man for a man.
Abu Talib replied, “By Allah, what an evil bargain you are making with me. You give me your son to feed him for you, and I give you my son to kill him. This by Allah shall never be.”9
The Mushrikin of Makkah started to devise other plans. They formed an alliance to boycott Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib. They decided not to have with them any sort of intermarriage, transactions, social relations, even verbal contact, until they handed over to them the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) to kill.
A parchment imposing these merciless measures was written down and hung inside the Ka‘bah: “Never to accept any reconciliation with Banu Hisham, and never to be taken by pity for them until they hand him over to be killed.”
Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttlib sided with Abu Talib when the Quraish signed this unjust pact. They joined him, believers and disbelievers, in his confinement in the mountain pass (Shi‘b of Abu Talib), all except Abu Lahab.
It was a stifling siege that lasted for three years.
The Mushrikin used to buy whatever food commodities entered Makkah to prevent any provisions from reaching them.
They tightened their grip on this siege so tightly that Muslims and those besieged with them used to eat tree leaves and animal skins. Cries of women and children suffering from hunger could be heard from outside the pass.
Under such a horrible siege, it was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) that Allah Almighty made termites eat the parts of the parchment that referred to oppression, rupture of relations, and injustice, leaving only those parts bearing the Name of Allah.
Abu Talib went to the Quraish and told them what the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)had informed him. He contended that if his words proved untrue they would no longer interfere between them and him; but if he (pbuh) was telling the truth, they should desist from the oppression and severance of relations they exercised against them.
They went, opened the door of the Ka‘bah, and entered to see the parchment, which they found completely eaten except for the words: “In the Name of Allah.”10
The war of starvation and banishment failed, just as the strategy of allurement by wealth and worldly supremacy before it, and so did the strategy of abuse, slander, mockery, and denial. The disbelievers were left with no other choice but to conspire to kill the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), especially after the death of Abu Talib.
They weaved a plot to accomplish that end without subjecting themselves to the reprisal of Banu Hashim. This conspiracy took place on the Eve of the Hijrah [the Prophet’s emigration from Makkah to Al-Madinah].
On Thursday, Safar 26, the fourteenth year of prophethood, (September 12, 622 A.C.) the Parliament of Makkah held its most serious meeting ever. Delegates representing all the Quraishi tribes attended the meeting to deliberate on a final plot that would take the life of the flag holder of the Islamic Call.11
Proposals of expulsion from Makkah and imprisonment for life were put forward and turned down. After a lengthy debate the arch criminal of Makkah, Abu Jahl bin Hisham, suggested a grievous proposal, unanimously accepted: they must assassinate the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).
Assassination by one man would expose the murderer and his family to the reprisal of Banu Hashim. A difficulty that was soon solved by Abu Jahl, who suggested that they should choose from every tribe a strong, highborn youth, and hand to each youth a sharp sword. They all should aim at Muhammad (pbuh) and stab him with their swords, the strike of one man, and thus kill him. The guilt of his shed blood would lie equally on all tribes. Thus Banu ‘Abd Manaf would not be able to fight all their people and would accept blood money.12
To execute their devilish plan, the chiefs of Makkah had chosen eleven men: Abu Jahl bin Hisham, Al-Hakam bin Abu Al-‘As, ‘Uqbah bin Abu Mu‘ait, An-Nadr bin Al-Harith, Umaiyah bin Khalaf, Zama‘ah bin Al-Aswad, Tu‘aimah bin ‘Adi, Abu Lahab, Ubai bin Khalaf, Nabih bin Al-Hajjaj, and his brother Munbih bin Al-Hajjaj.13
(But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the Best of planners.)
(Al-Anfal 8: 30)
Angel Jibril (Gabriel ) was sent down to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to reveal to him the plot of Quraish and give him his Lord’s Permission to emigrate from Makkah to Al-Madinah. He specified to him the time of Hijrah and told him not to sleep that night in his usual bed.14
The Prophet (pbuh) went to Abu Bakr may allah be pleased with him, his head and face covered, at an hour that was not his usual expected visiting time.
Abu Bakr may allah be pleased with him said, “Let my father and mother be sacrificed for him. By Allah, he has not come at this hour except for an urgent matter.”
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) came and asked permission to enter, and he was allowed in.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) entered and then said to Abu Bakr may allah be pleased with him, “Let those who are with you leave.”
Abu Bakr may allah be pleased with him replied, “They are only your family; let my father be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah.”
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “I have been given permission to emigrate.”
Abu Bakr may allah be pleased with him said, “Companionship, let my father be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of Allah.”
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Yes.”15
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to sleep during the early hours of the night after offering Isha’ (Night) Prayer, then go after midnight to Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque in Makkah) to spend the night there in prayer.
On that night the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) told ‘Ali bin Abu Talib may allah be pleased with him to sleep in his bed and cover himself with his green mantle, and he assured him that no harm would come to him.16
Under the cover of the darkness, when silence prevailed and most people were asleep, the assassins stealthily came and banded together at the door of the Prophet’s house, vigilantly watching him, thinking him asleep, waiting for the moment he (pbuh) would rise and leave his house to pounce on him and execute their plot.
They were too confident of the success of their devilish plan. They kept vigil all night long, laying a tight siege to the Prophet’s house and waiting for the zero hour, forgetting that Allah alone has full power and control over all affairs. In His Hand is the dominion over everything. He protects all, while against Him there is no protector.
The plot of the Quraish utterly failed. The Prophet (pbuh) came out of his house and made his way through them. He (pbuh) then took a handful of dust and started to sprinkle it over their heads after Allah took away their sight, so they did not see him, while reciting17:
(And We (Allah) have set a barrier before them, and a barrier behind them, and We have enshrouded them in veils so that they cannot see.)
(Ya-Sin 36: 9)
Dust was placed on the head of every man among them. Then the Prophet (pbuh) proceeded directly to the house of Abu Bakr may allah be pleased with him, who immediately accompanied him and both set out by night.
Knowing that the Quraish would leave no stone unturned to find him and that their eyes would be searching for him on the northern side, towards Al-Madinah, the Prophet (pbuh) took a road least expected, lying south of Makkah towards Yemen.
Prophet Muhammad r traveled along this road for five miles and then reached a mountain called Thawr that was high, rough, rocky, and difficult to ascend, which he (pbuh) climbed until his feet got sore. Some said that he (pbuh) walked on tiptoe along the road to hide his footprints. The Prophet (pbuh) and Abu Bakr t then took refuge in a cave at its lofty peak, called Thawr Cave, where they stayed for three days.18
The besiegers, however, kept waiting for the zero hour at the door of his house, when a man, who was not with them, approached them and asked, “What are you waiting for here?”
They answered, “Muhammad.”
He said, “Allah has defeated you. By Allah, Muhammad came out to you and left no man among you without placing dust over his head, and then he set out after his goal. Can you not see what has happened to you?”
Every man then placed his hand over his head and found that on it there was dust.19
The Quraish were mad with rage when they found out that the person they had watched all night who was lying in the Prophet’s bed was ‘Ali may allah be pleased with him , not Muhammad (pbuh), and they became certain of the Prophet’s escape.
They beat ‘Ali, dragged him to the Ka‘bah, and imprisoned him for an hour in an attempt to find out the whereabouts of the Prophet (pbuh) and Abu Bakr, but to no avail.
They went to Abu Bakr’s house and stood at his door. Asma’ came out to them. They asked her, “Where is your father, O daughter of Abu Bakr?” She answered, “I do not know, by Allah, where is my father.” Whereupon, Abu Jahl, who was vulgar and evil, lifted his hand high and slapped her face with such force that her earring was cast off.20
The Quraish decided, in an urgent meeting, to use all possible means to arrest the two men. All the ways out of Makkah were placed under heavily armed surveillance. A prize of a hundred camels was announced in return for each of the two handed to the Quraish, dead or alive.
Horsemen, infantry, and trackers set off in hot pursuit, spreading over the mountains, valleys, hills, and plains.21 The rapid, feverish paces drew nearer and nearer until the pursuers reached the mouth of Thawr Cave. Nothing stood in the way of finding their quarry but to look under their feet.
But indeed, Allah Almighty has full power and control over everything. The pursuers were thrown into confusion when they saw a spider web spun across the mouth of the cave. They said, “If he entered therein, a spider web would not be across its mouth!”22
- The name of the One True God that is indicative and all-inclusive of every Divine Name and Attribute of Absolute Perfection: the One and Only God, the Maker, the Almighty, the All-Merciful, etc. In Arabic, it means ‘the One exclusively worthy of deification and worship’.
- Associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship.
- Adapted from Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Qur’an, Surat An-Nisa’ [3: 13-14], thirty-sixth edition, Dar Al-Shorouk.
- Adapted from Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Qur’an, introduction to Surat An-Nisa’ , thirty-sixth edition, Dar Al-Shorouk.
- Sayyid Qutb, Dirasat Islamiyah, chapter of Islam Striving; and In the Shade of the Qur’an, Surat Al-Asr [103-1-3], Dar Al-Shorouk.
- Adapted from Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Qur’an, interpretation of Surat Al-Anfal [8: 31], thirty-sixth edition, Dar Al-Shorouk.
- Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah: Delegation of Quraish to Abu Talib concerning the Messenger r, vol. 1; Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Second Phase (Open Preaching): Delegation of Quraish to Abu Talib.
- Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah: Abu Talib Demanding From the Messenger r to Stop Preaching Islam and the Answer He r Gave Him, vol. 1; Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Second Phase (Open Preaching): The Quraish threatening Abu Talib.
- Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah: The Quraish offering ‘Amarah bin Al-Walid to Abu Talib, vol. 1; Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Second Phase (Open Preaching): The Quraish Approaches Abu Talib Again.
- Details of the boycott: Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah: The Boycott Parchment; Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum: General Boycott; Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah), Hadith no. 1487; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Muslim (2316), Abu Dawud (1719, 2522), Ahmad (6942, 10546), and Ibn Majah (2933).
- Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; The Outset of Hijrah.
- Details of the plot: Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; The Outset of Hijrah: In An-Nadwah (Council) House [The Parliament of Quraish]. Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah: Hijrah of the Messenger r, vol. 2. Musnad Ahmad, Book of Banu Hashim, Hadith no. 3081.
- Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Hijrah of the Prophet r: Besiegement of the Messenger’s House. Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Zad Al-Ma‘ad: The Conspiracy of the Mushrikin of Makkah to Kill the Messenger of Allah r before His Hijrah with His Companion.
- Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Hijrah of the Prophet r: The Planning of Quraish versus the Planning of Almighty Allah U. Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah: Departure of the Prophet r and Appointing ‘Ali to Sleep in His Bed, vol. 2. Musnad Ahmad, Book of Banu Hashim, Hadith no. 3081.
- Narrated by Lady ‘Aishah: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Manaqib, Hadith no. 3616; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (1994, 3784, 5360, 5615), Abu Dawud (3561), and Ahmad (24445, 24592).
- Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Hijrah of the Prophet r: Besiegement of the Messenger’s House. Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah: Departure of the Prophet r and Appointing ‘Ali to Sleep in His Bed, vol. 2. Musnad Ahmad, Book of Banu Hashim, Hadith no. 3081.
- Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Hijrah of the Prophet r: Departure of the Messenger r from His House. Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah: Departure of the Prophet r and Appointing ‘Ali to Sleep in His Bed, vol. 2.
- Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Hijrah of the Prophet r: From the House to the Cave.
- Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah, Departure of the Prophet r and Appointing ‘Ali to Sleep in His Bed, vol. 2. Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Hijrah of the Prophet r: Departure of the Messenger r from His House.
- Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah, Abu Jahl Beating Asma’, vol. 2.
- Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Hijrah of the Prophet r: In the Cave.
- Musnad Ahmad, Book of Banu Hashim, Hadith no. 3081; Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Hijrah of the Prophet r: In the Cave.