Some Miraculous events occurred before the Prophet (sws) was born although the authenticity of these events is questioned but they were mentioned. So first, Allah-hu-Alam, and second, due to their constant mentions in the books of seerah, it should be mentioned.
The palace of Kisra (the emperor of Persia) shakes and 14 balconies brake and fall off of the balcony. The people of Persia were mainly Zoroastrian, they worshiped fire. There was a fire that they worshipped, Al-Faris, which burned for 1000 years and it was extinguished on that night. The river of tigris became so low that the irrigation canals had no water and light was being noticed by people all the way to Sham. The king than holds a meeting and send someone to the Arab lands to find out what was happening. The man reaches, Abdul Masih, from tribe of Ghasin in Syria, who says that for the last few days, the leaders of Syria keep asking him the same question about what is going on in Al-Hijaz. Abdul Mashi calls on a man name Sauthi who was very knowledgeable about prophecies, who says that the man who is to be the prophet of the last times is to be born. He said that he has found that there will be fourteen more emperors of Persia and it will come to an end. Abdul Masih goes back to Persia with the guy and shares the news about last prophecy and that ten emperors would come into succession in four years which happens. The other four were the emperors before Uthman (R) Khlaifah in which Persia is taken. The dynasty Kisra ruled the area for 3,000 years before hand.
There were accounts from people of knowledge coming to the arabs generations before hand telling the people that something awesome was going to happen, “Understand that there is life after that remains for eternity and that is what you should look forward to, and the person who is from this place will leave here (prophet’s hijrah) and he will be a prophet who will be guided by god and will guide people to what is correct. He will reject the idols and he will completely have nothing to do with the worship of idols. He will worship one lord, one god. And Allah will give him death and take him in the best of places. And right now, the virtue of that place is lost on the people (yathrib at the time was known as a place you get sick). And this is being witnessed by the sky. There will be a man with the quality of As-Sadiq, when he makes a decision, he will speak the truth. He will return the rights to the people. He will not do anything this is not intelligent and will not be a push over and after him a man will inherit the rule who will be focused (Umar), he will be a man of experience. And he will be a man of great hospitality and he will be a man of great focus….”
Priest named Isa who moved close to Mecca, “I did not leave a place of luxury and abundance to come to a place of hunger and starvation, except to find that Prophet, that is why I come here to Mecca. This is the only reason why I am here” and every single time a child was born, he would go and investigate but would not disclose what he was looking for. Finally one time, fearing he would die, he shares some of the markers he was looking for and the day that the Prophet (sws) was born, someone comes to him and tells him about the birth. Isa cannot contain himself said that three signs have come together, “the star in the sky has been seen that shines when every prophet was born, he was born on a Monday and his name is Muhammad.” The man takes him to the child, and he says that the child will suffer for three days in which he will have trouble drinking milk. It is said that the Prophet (sws) did have issues drinking milk when he was born.
It is said that Jewish rabis acknowledged, came to the Arabs and said that the same star that came for Musa had shined, and was amongst the Arabs rather than the Jews. Some of these rabis would give the people information about the Prophet (sws) such as a mole on his back, that he would not live past 70 years old, that he will live at about 61 or 63 and this will be the average age of his ummah. They said that the leaders at the time will start to act very unjustly and that they should not say things about this man.
These are just a few things that happened before the prophet (sws) was born, and are very interesting to say the least :) I really liked this podcast, it was very awesome-ly explained, alhamulilah :) Another thing too, I remember one of my teachers telling me that the Jews knew he came but many denied the Prophet (Sws) because he was from the Arabs (who were seen an uncivilized at the time) unlike the many prophets beforehand who were from the Jewish people.
Alhamdulilah, may we all work at emulating the character of the mercy to mankind, Muhammad (sws).
Before his birth, certain miraculous events were taking place in different parts of the world, almost as a global sign of the Prophet (sws) coming.
From several Hadiths, we know that Monday is the day the prophet (sws) was born, the day divine revelation was given to him and the day that he died. The vast majority of scholars believe that the Prophet (sws) was born on the month of “RABI-AL-AWWAL” but as far as the date, there is a huge variation. Such as the 17th, 2nd, 8th , 10th and 12th of “Rabi-al-Awwal”, but a stronger opinion is that the prophet sws was born on the 12th of “Rabbi al-Awwal” about 50-55 days after the occurrence at the Kabah in the year of the elephant. This coincides with the 25th of April in the year 571.
It is important to know that the Prophet’s birth was out of marriage and not sin. The mother of the Prophet (sws) had some very interesting experiences before the birth of the Prophet (sws). For instance, Amina said that from the day she carried him to the day she had him, she never felt any pain, “nur” (Light) surrounded the house when the Prophet (sws) was born and when he was born, she heard “yahamkullah”, May Allah have mercy on you. Some say that when the prophet (sws) was born, he was looking to the skies and others say that he was actually on his knees. It is important though, to realize that some narrations about the Prophet (sws) are contested and may not be authentic but were worth mentioning.
After his birth, the Prophet (sws) was given the names of “Ahmed” (his mother) and “Mohammad” (his grandfather). His grandfather makes a dua for the child at the Kabah, “I praise Allah for giving me this blessed child. Who is blessed and noble. Already in the lap of his mother, he has become a leader of other boys and I put him into protection of Allah who is strong and firm and I put him in Allah’s protection to become a strong young man, and from anyone who will be jealous of him, and anyone that will try to approach him, may Allah lift his eyes and lift his tongue of those against him. You have been named in the sacred texts of God and your name Ahmed has been mentioned throughout time” Muhammad (sws) was a very rare name at the time, it comes from the root “Hamd” and means “the one that is constantly praised”. This is the man whom Allah praises. And today, one of the most common names is Muhammad.
There is a narration from (sws) which says, “I have many names, I am Muhammad. I am Ahmed. I am Al-Mahi, the one who removes or eradicates kufr. I am Al-Hashr, the one who gathers people as his feet I am Al-Aqib, one who comes last, he was the last messengers.” There are others in which he says that he is the Prophet of mercy and the prophet that will defend the deen. There are also the names that Allah calls him such as “Rasul”, Nabi”, “Muzzamil”, “Mudathir”,”Munir”, “Nabi ul Hidaya” “Nabi ul Rahma” Nabi ul furqan” and many more. The poet of (Sws) said, “His name was split from the name of Allah, so that he will be honored because Allah, the one who is on the throne, is Mahmood and he is Muhammad.” Allah is the one who named him.
There is also a side discussion about the circumcision of the Prophet (sws) and Allah-hu-Alam about the exact details about how it was done, who did it and when it was done.
As far as the Prophet’s birthday, “Malwid”, Allah-hu-Alam to everything, but there is balance to everything. Something out of the deen, is out of the deen and condemning people is not right. This issue is not fundamental of our deen.
Hashim: Great Grandfather. He is the one who assumed the job of giving water to anyone coming to visit the hajj after some civil unrest between the Quraish. Hashm was the first one to start giving the people food, which is a pretty big deal. His actual name was “Amr” but he got the name Hashim, because he would make (with his own hands) a certain type of curry with crushed bread for the people. The crushing of the bread is “Hashim” which is what he became known as. On his trip to Yathrib, he proposes to “Salma bint Amr”, this is where the Prophet (sws) lineage splits, he is from Medina as he is from Hashim. This is why the Prophet (sws) stops in Quba on his journey later in life. The great grandfather of the Prophet (sws) on his journey dies on his in Gaza and his wife Salma is pregnant with the Prophet’s grandfather, “Shayban”.
“Shaybah” (old man, he was born with a little white hair) was the name of the Prophet’s grandfather, she doesn’t tell anyone because they would take the son. She keeps him for a while but when he is older, the news breaks out that Hashim had a son, and his uncle, “Al Muttalib” comes to pick him up to fulfill the duties at the Kabah. No one in mecca know that Hashim had a son, and when the uncle comes back to mecca with the young boy, they assumed, that al Muattalib purchased a slave, so they named him “Abdul Muttalib” and he corrects them. Takes him under his wing.
Later on, he travels to Yemen and dies there. At the time, Abdual Mutaalib has been groomed as a keeper of the kabah, but after all of his older uncles dies, his younger uncle, “Nufal”, pretty much takes over although he was the one that was supposed to resume the responsibility of the protecting the Kabah. He goes to the other families in Quraish about the issues but after the other families in the Quraish did not want to solve the issues, He writes a letter to his uncles in “Yathrib” about the issues. His uncle comes with 80 horses, and “Nufal” backs down. He then becomes one of the most powerful men in Arabia.
Abdul Muttalib: Grandfather, raised him until he was 8 years old. In order to know him properly, you have to understand his father, “Hashim”.
His children: (at least) Ten sons, when zamzam, oath, one for sake, “Al Abbas”, “Abu Lahab”, “Abduallah”, “Abu Talib”, “Hamza”, “Al Harith”, “Al Zubair”, “Al Ghedam”, and others. He also had six daughters. One of the Aunts of the Prophet (sws) “Umm-e- Hakim” and was Albino, which gives solace to those going through any of those kind of struggles because it is not “weird” or “out there” to be going through any of these things.
Abduallah (prophet’s father) was one of the youngest and most well behaved of his ten sons and he was very close to his son. Abdul Muttalib made an oath of Allah that if he gives him sons, he will sacrifice one for his sake. And in order to fulfill his oath, he tells his sons, that he will have to sacrifice one of them to God. They draw straws and Abdullah’s name was pulled, so he gets his son and knife to sacrifice him. A lot of members of his family, his mother “Fatimah” and his older brothers like “Abu Talib”, try to stop him. So they go and talk to a soothsayer about the issue, her solution was to pull straws for the current blood money (10 camels) or Abdullah. If he pulls Abduallah’s name, then he must add ten camels, every time, he ends up pulling ten times equaling one hundred camels. He then after had to sacrifice one hundred camels which were no benefit to him but his son’s life was spared. There was a consistency that was divine, as his father was supposed to be sacrificed, so was Ismail (as) and Ibrahim (as).
Aminah, “flower of Makka” (Zahra tu Makkah” ), most sought out woman for marriage and he was considered the most eligible bachelor, and they were married to each other. On his travels, Abudallah dies at 25 years old and at the time, his wife was pregnant. When she finds out that he has died, she writes a few couplets. She says, “Very lonely has become the earth without Ibn Hashim (grandson of Hashim), he has gone to become the neighbor of a grave and he is out there amongst the noise. Death came to call him, so he had to answer but death has to remember one thing, that death did not leave anyone else that was at the caliber of Abduallah. In the evening, they are carrying Abduallah towards the grave yard, and they are switching hand to hand. And the uncertainty of death snatched him away but death should realize that Abudallah was a gift to this earth and abundant in his blessings. He was not just a leader but the sons of one of the greatest leaders of the Quraish but in spite of that, you still see his honesty and prestigious-ness.
Aminah: Mother, passed away when he was 6 years old
Are the parents of the Prophet (sws) going to Jannah?
Answer- The scholars would be angered when people would ask this question. Asking this question in a way, is a huge Allah-hu-Alam but what gain is this going to give you in your deen if they are or they aren’t?
All of the events before the prophet’s birth (sws) should not be overlooked, because they were a pre-lude to the birth of the great prophet (sws) specifically with his grandfather.
First incidence: rediscovery of the well of zamzam by Abu Mutallib, who was given the location in a dream.
Second incidence: invasion of elephant which defined these people.
Abaraha was a very strategic leader and him building a cathedral was not just for his own religious belief, but to make his homeland more viable by attracting the masses. He saw the Kabah as a competition and built his cathedral to rival with it in order to let the land flourish. A man by the name of “Kanani” went to the restroom in the cathedral and rubbed his feces all over it. He then goes and brags about it. When Abaraha discovers it, he sets on a mission to destroy the kabah. This is why there is etiquette in Islam, you give them the message but you leave them be. He gathers an army of 60,000 soldiers and an elephant breeder. The elephants alone will completely bulldoze down the towns and will instill fear in the people. When Abraha starts heading towards the kabah, people start gathering together to fight him.
Abraha was a tyrant but being a military strategist, he was not blood thirsty. When he was heading to the kabah, he would actually stop and talk to the people and tell them why he wanted to destroy the kabah. Some people actually understood why he was going to do it but it stayed as they’re obligation to protect the kabah. Along his journey he meets a man name “Dhul Naffar”, who gathered his tribe to destroy Abraha who literally ran them over. At the end of the fight, when “Dhul Naffar” was brought to Abaraha, he told him to keep him alive in order to strategize with him against the people of kabah. They then come across a second tribe “Sharan and Nafis” which he runs over. He then captures their commander, “Nufain bin Abib”. He then establishes himself in the land and when he starts to come across more and more Arab tribes, they begin to not even try to fight him. When he gets to “Taif”, the commander completely surrenders and says that they are down with Abraha. The commander also gives Abaraha a man who is literally the human map and scout, “Abu Righal”. On their journey, “Abu Righal” died and his grave later became a plan to defile due to his treachery. Something interesting is that during the time of the people of Thamud, there was also a man named “Abu Righal” who was not killed with his people and when people found out, they stoned him to death because he was the ring leader with his people. Some tribes fought him, others laid low and others actually worked with him to accomplish his goal.
When Abraha gets to the outskirts of makah, he sends a man to tell the people that he was not there to kill people but to just destroy the Kabah. While the army was camped out, they began to raid a bunch of places. The man goes to Abu Mutallib and tells him the conditions. Abu Muttalib then speaks to Abraha, who is hit by a vast amount of respect for the man. Abu Muttalib only asks for the two hundred camels and Abraha is in completely taken back. Abu Muttalib then says, “What I want you to understand is that I own these camels and what you do not realize is that the house that you are trying to destroy also has an owner and he will take care of it…” Abu Muttalib gets his camels back and heads back to Makkah. When he gets back to makkah, he goes to the kabbah and while holding the door, he says some amazing words, “Oh Allah, stop them because if any man tries to attack his home, he defends it, so Allah please defend your home. Oh Allah, do not let their cross dominate here. All their energies are attacking you, oh Allah but if you deicide that you want to leave them be, you know what is best. “ And the city of Makkah is evacuated.
Abaraha starts to walk towards the Kabah. Then, “Nufail” (one of the captured commanders) who had been hanging out with “Onais” (elephant breeder) goes to the biggest elephant, “Mahmood” (the one Abraha used to ride on), lifts its ear and speaks to it, “Listen, you are about to attack the house and place that belongs to my creator and your creator. Sit down, Mahmood, and go back to where you came from”. “Nufail” then walks away and Mahmood sits down which goes completely against an elephant’s behavior. Onais tries to get him up but every time they turned to the Makkah, he would not move. The army then just leaves him, and enters Makkah. Then we know what happens with the surah,
Have you not considered, [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant?
Did He not make their plan into misguidance?
And He sent against them birds in flocks,
Striking them with stones of hard clay,
And He made them like eaten straw.
The birds came out of the blue, flew over Makkah with smalls stones and threw them down. These attacks completely destroy Abraha’s army. Although, physics might be involved, there are was something out of this world happening. When the stone would fall, it would literally cut off limbs or pierce through elephants. It was completely decimating. There were bodies everywhere yet there were people who survived which created more of a legend about the Kabah. Literally, two months before the Prophet (sws) birth.
What happened to Abraha?
He was hit with stones but was able to escape and when they take him back to Yemen, he begins to rot. When he reaches back to his kingdom, he was a vegetable, and almost all of his limbs had fell off. This is why there was something interesting about the rocks, because if someone was hit by a rock, later on they would get sick and they would literally rot.
This whole incident defined the generation by restoring sacredness around the Kabah.
Aisha (R) (born 40 years after she says, “Not only was the story of the elephants famous for how only protected the Kabah. The man who was the elephant breeder (Onias) and his assistant were still in Makkah and people used to know them and they had gone blind and would beg for food.” They remained as an example to people of the attack of the elephants.
After the incident, a huge storm comes in and literally washes the bodies away.
This podcast was very awesome and revived from the last podcast, alhamdulilah! It was very hard keeping up with the names though, so anyone got the names, please share, insha’Allah! :) Best telling of the story, I have heard yet!
Abu Muttalib, grandfather of the Prophet (sws), was key in two major events:
(1) He played a pivotal role in the revival of the re-digging up of the well of zamzam. He was inspired, like the mother of Musa (as), to re-dig the well of zamzam which was a myth for the time. This was a source of pride for them. Some consider him apart of the hunifa. During his digging of the well, he found gold in which he melted and put on the door of the Kabah. This is one of the first legacies that he had left behind, but why is it important? First, we know the story of zamzam, and Muhammad (sws) is a descendant of Ismail (as). Zamzam is an act of worship and apart of the Sunnah of hajj.
Iman is conviction, so when the messenger of Allah says that the water of zamzam will benefit you, a believer will know that Allah will fulfill his needs. If someone truly believes than they will drink zamzam. If someone has “nifaq” than he is skeptical, he is not going to really believe in it too much, “yeah, zamzam is okay”. This is a tool to see if we need some self-improvement in our iman.
The well of zamzam was later sold to Abu Mutalib’s brother Abbass for unpaid loans he used for attending to those coming to Hajj. and then his son, Abduallah ibn Abbass and then Ali (son of Abduallah) and then Dawud bin Ali then Suleiman bin Ali and then Isa bin Ali, then the Khalifa Al- Mansoor. After this
(2) The invasion of the elephants is the second incident (The prophet (sws) was born during this time). I noticed that the next seerah podcast is about this specifically. Abraha, builds a beautiful church (he was a pretty profound Christian), and it is soiled by a man who was upset about his issues with the Kabah. After this incident, he swears that he will not sleep until he destroys the kabah. He recruits about 60,000 soldiers and hires a man named “Onais” to recruit about a dozen elephants to instill fear until the people. Most Arabs have never seen an elephant. Abraha has proven to be a revolutionary leader who was very smart, confident and motivated. Abraha was not malicious to begin with but it took someone who disrespected his religion for him to lose it. This is what drives him mad. Disagreeing is another matter and stating the truth is an obligation but there is a line that should not be crossed. Allah says in the Quran, “Do not curse, do not slander, do not disrespect their Gods because then then will say vile things about Allah”.
The seerah was very detailed in stories that we always hear and I found it very amazing to read why Abraha wanted to destroy the Kabah. I love how things always repeat themselves and how the past is truly a lesson for the future.
A man among the Prophet said, “Before Islam, in the era of ignorance, if they could not find an idol, they would get together a bunch of dirt and build it into a mound, find the nearest goat, milk the goat on the mound of dirt and start doing tawaaf around the mound”.
This tell us two things:
-How bad the spiritual state was at the time
-Although, there state was sad, these people where still searching and looking for something; they still had some kind of search for some kind of spiritual connection.
This is why when the prophet (sws) came to the people, the lowest of people started to come first.
The worst situation for a person to be in is when someone does not have any kind of need to pray to anything. This is when the human being becomes so arrogant and is in the worse condition. But although these people were in a very sad state, they still had a spark to some kind of Iman.
At that time, there were a few who were “Al-hunifa” that kept with the beliefs of Ibrahim (as). There were a little more than a dozen but there are a few who actually interacted with the Prophet (sws). These were the last sparks of tawheed left in the community at that time.
A few of the Hunifa at the time:
-Zaid bin amr bin nufail: he was an eccentric old man who even before the prophet came would tell people that they were going against the teachings of Ibrahim. He would pray to the “Lord of Ibrahim” and say that he was the religion of Ibrahim (as). When the heart is connected to Allah on any kind of level, it will bring upon morality. It makes a person feel like they have to be a good person. He was a man on a mission, he would save the girls that were going to be buried. And he would not eat from the meat that was sacrificed to the idols and would only eat what was sacrificed in the name of Allah. He passed away before the Prophet (sws) received the message but it has been said that he will resurrected as an ummah by himself.
-Waraqah bin naufal: He had the same ideals as Zaid and traveled with Zaid in the search for the true deen but they took two different routes. Zaid stuck to having the deen of Ibrahim (as) and Waraqa favored “mockism” which was a pure form of Christianity. They lived on the outsides of the cities and try to practice the cleanest form of Christianity that they could. He was the first to translate the bible into Arabic and bring the bible to Hijaz. He was also the cousin of Khadija (as) who the Prophet (sws) was brought to after the first revelation.
-Ummaya bin abe al salat: The Prophet (sws) said that he was just about to become Muslim and his poetry oozed of Iman and Tawheed. He was a giant of poetry at the time and would speak of resurrection which was big for the Arabs. He lived till the Prophet (sws) got revelation, but did not accept Islam because he was very arrogant.
A key point in this seerah, I felt was that although the Arabs were in a very very very dark place in regards to their religion, there were still people who kept the deen of Ibrahim (as). I feel like this is a message to us all, that even when the world seems like a very dark place, although it is hard to find, there is always a small glimpse of light.
Even though many of the Prophet (sws)’s relatives turned their back on him when he publicly preached the message on the hill of Al-Safa, the Prophet (sws) did not give up. He (sws) took a more gentle approach with his relatives and would invite them over for dinner and then try to speak to them. The first time the Prophet (sws) did this, right after dinner, his uncle Abu Lahab went off before the Prophet (sws) could say anything and humiliated him. But the Prophet (sws) did not stop there. He invited them again to dinner a few days later including Abu Lahab and this time spoke before anyone else was able to and appealed to them in the most beautiful of ways:
“Praise be to God! I praise Him, seek His support, believe in Him, and rely on Him. I bear witness that there is no deity other than God, the only God who has no partners. A forerunner does not tell lies to his own people. If I were to tell lies to all mankind, I would not tell one to you. By God who is the only deity, I am God’s messenger to you in particular and to mankind in general. He has commanded me to call on you to believe in Him, saying “Warn your immediate kinsfolk”. I am calling on you to say to two words which are easily pronounced but weighty in God’s scale: to bear witness that there is no deity other than God and that I am His messenger. By God, you will die as you sleep, and will be resurrected as you wake up, and you will be held to account for what you do, and you will be rewarded well for your good actions and suffer retribution for your bad ones. It will be either heaven forever or hell forever. Children of ‘Abd al-Muttalib, by God, I know no one who has brought his people anything better that I am bringing to you. I am offering you the happiness of this world and of the life to come. Who will accept my call and support me in furthering it?” (*From, ‘Muhammad: Man and Prophet’ by Adil Salahi)
In such a concise way, the Prophet (sws) summed up Islam, something so basic and so beautiful: to worship Allah and to testify that the Prophet Muhammad (sws) is the last and final messenger. You can almost hear the level of care that he has for his people and the sincerity and sense of urgency in his appeal. May peace and blessings forever be upon the Prophet (sws).
The Early Muslims
The first person to accept Islam was the wife of the Prophet (sws)- Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her. She was the first one to become Muslim. She was the support of the Prophet (sws) throughout those early years, she was loyal to him, she gave him comfort when he faced opposition. When the Prophet (sws) would return home after a long hard day of preaching the message but receiving nothing but insults, ridicule, and even violence, he would we downhearted, tired but she was his strength. She would encourage him and return him to his optimistic self. As long as she was alive, she provided him with unwavering support and for that she is amongst the four women that were promised Jannah, radiAllahanha.
The first man to become Muslim was the Prophet’s servant- Zaid ibn Harithah. Zayd was kidnapped at a very young age and sold as a slave and eventually was brought to Khadijah’s house where he lived. The Prophet (sws) liked Zayd very much. Zayd’s father was very upset over his loss and eventually, many years later, found out that Zayd was living with the Prophet (sws). The father of Zayd came to the Prophet in request for his son to be sold back to him. The Prophet (sws) told Zayd’s father that he would let Zayd decide who he wanted to stay with- if he chose his father, then he was more than happy to go but if not, he would stay with the Prophet (sws). Zayd was brought and given the choice of who to choose and he chose to stay with the Prophet upon which Zayd’s father was really shocked. When questioned about this, Zayd replied: “I have seen certain things with this man and I will never leave him to go anywhere”. This shows how loving the Prophet (sws) was, how caring he was. When the Prophet (sws) received the message, Zayd has no hesitation in accepting and after his death, the Prophet said that Zayd was one of the people that he loved the most.
The first person to become Muslim outside the Prophet (sws)’s immediate family was Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr was the Prophet’s childhood friend, a very close friend and he knew the Prophet very well and was familiar with his character. Abu Bakr knew how truthful the Prophet was and when the Prophet (sws) told Abu Bakr about the message, he did not hesitate in the least bit to accept. Abu Bakr became an active supporter of the Prophet and stood by the Prophet (sws)’s side. After the Prophet (sws) passed away, Abu Bakr served as the first Khalifah.
*From, “Muhammad, Man and Prophet” by Adil Salahi
"I know a man who lost his parents but refused to be called an orphan. He was man enough to love a strong woman years older than him; worked for her and made her stronger, opened his heart to her, shared his fears with her, cleaned after himself, sewed his clothes, and was faithful to her till her last breath. He was good looking, courageous and fearless. He never judged anyone on their pasts or looks, and was moderate, open-minded and tolerant. His neighbor was Jewish and his cousin-in-law was a Christian priest. He was beaten and exiled when he was helpless. Was merciful when he became stronger. Intelligent, wise and a hard worker. He loved his daughters and grandchildren. His last will was of equality, piety and good action. This man is the Prophet Mohammed, a man worth looking up to - peace be upon him.”
The Prophet Muhammad (sws) came to warn the people of an imminent danger out of sincere compassion for his people because these people have not been warned for a very very very long period of time.The Prophet (sws) was not the first to bring the message to these people, but they had not received a messenger in a very very very long time, Hud & Thamud were prophets who were sent to these people beforehand.
Religon at that time
Amr bin Luhay, a leader of his people, was the first to bring the worship of idols to the Arabs. He traveled to Sham and saw those people worshipping idols, so he brought it back to his people and the practice began to flourish among the Arabs. Within this idol worshipping, they had a stranger structure because they still believed in Allah. They believed that Allah was the supreme God, they believed in him and worshiped him BUT, they worshiped the idols as connectors.
Practices common among the Arabs were offering certain things to the idols such as camels and money, making different objects aligned with the “Gods”, in order to make a decision they would gamble, use birds to determine decisions, and the crow was a symbol of superstitions. To say the least, the Arabs had a lot going on in terms of religion. It completely infiltrated every aspect of their lives.
The Christians and Jews had a very minimal influence on the Arabs. In the area of Hijaz they played a minor role although powerful kingdoms surrounded hijaz. People did not convert to these religions and dawah efforts were very minimal for both religions.
Although they had a corrupt religious background, there were still a few things they were doing correctly. First, although they associated their idols with Allah, at the end of the day, the idols were not in charge but answered back to Allah. Second, the Kabah was still seen as a very sacred place although they built mini satellite kabahs, they still saw the original kabah as the house of Allah. They would still do the Hajj, go to minna, and other sacred places. Although distorted, they still had crumbs of the original message.
What role did religion play in their lives?
Religion was completely marginalized, it was symbolic but had a sincere sacredness. As talked about in Surah Taubah, there were certain things in their religion that would dictate major parts in their lives. There were scared months in which they could not fight, if they came to one of these months while in battle, they would delay the month. For example, October is a sacred month and we are in battle, but October is in two weeks, so we will delay October and bring November forward and once the battle is wrapped up, we would celebrate the scared month of October but next year, they would keep the month back to how it is supposed to be. And they would skip months to avoid the scared months if it messed with what they were doing at the time. This is one example of how religion was marginalized. Religion was symbolic at best, very ceremonial at best, and for most people, it was not even that.
The Arabs used to make idols out of cake similar to halwa and when a drought came along and they were hungry, they would eat their idol. These were the people of “Hanifa”, a poet said, they ate their lord in a time of hunger, how pathetic of a people and how pathetic of a lord that they worshipped. Look at this complete spiritual decay that they had, only in this do we see how amazing the prophet (sws) was and what he was able to accomplish. Look where these people were and they became those who were mentioned in the Quran and the best of mankind. Subhanallah! This was a time of complete darkness and the Prophet (sws) was sent as a light that was “mubeen”, that would spread to the people. The Prophet was a lantern whose light spread.