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The consequences and reactions of Opposition to the Qur'¡n

The consequences and reactions of Opposition to the Qur'¡n

With the daily increase in the number of Muslims,[1] Quraysh who had not reached any conclusion with Ab£-±¡lib, who were observing Ban£-H¡shim’s support for the Holy Prophet and who had earned nothing from threatening his life, started torturing Muslims in the hope of stopping them from following Islam. The problem for Quraysh was that the newly-converted Muslims did not belong to one tribe so that they could have been discouraged somehow; rather, a few of these new Muslims belonged to different tribes. A look at the immigrants to Abyssinia, who due to the tortures by the infidels had to leave Mecca, reveal that these escapees were from the following tribes: Ban£-`Abd Shams, Ban£-Asad, Ban£-`Abd al-D¡r, Ban£-Zuhrah, Ban£-Makhz£m, Ban£-Juma¦, Ban£-`Ad¢, Ban£-°urayth, Ban£-Am¢r and Ban£-Umayyah. For this reason, the infidels decided to torture Muslims inside their own tribes so that through the interference of other tribes their prejudice might not be excited and not to show any harsh reaction.

Most of torture was leveled against the young who had converted to Islam. These young people, as we have already mentioned, were mostly slaves or strangers who had no tribal protection of any sort.[2] Y¡sir and his son `Amm¡r, Bil¡l ibn Rab¡¦, Khabb¡b ibn al-Aratt, Ab£-Fukayhah, Am¢r ibn Fuhayrah, ¯uhayb ibn Sin¡n, and, among women and female slaves, Sumayyah, Umm-`Ubays, Zinn¢rah, Lab¢bah (or Lubaynah) and finally Nahdiyyah[3] were tortured by various means such like keeping them hungry or thirsty, imprisonment, striking and hitting, being forced to lie on the hot sands of the desert of Mecca at noon or to wear iron coats, or being tied up with rope and ridiculed by children.

Emigration to Abyssinia

Having been protected by Ab£-±¡lib and Ban£-H¡shim, the Holy Prophet was safe from the aggressions of Quraysh. However, since Muslims were unprotected and vulnerable, the Holy Prophet recommended that they might migrate to Abyssinia and told them, “It is a land of truth and there lives a just king.”[4] In those days, the only safe place for Muslims was Abyssinia. Neither Iran nor Rome or the dominated areas by these super-powers, such as Damascus or Yemen, would accept the Muslims. Besides, Abyssinia was a well-known land to Muslims because Meccans used to make trade journeys to that land.[5] Furthermore, people of Abyssinia were Christians; they had a lot in common with Muslims, such as belief in God. It is said that the Abyssinian people were Ya`q£bian Christians who considered God as one entity and not part of a Trinity. For this reason, they were close to the Islamic monotheism.[6]

On the Prophet's recommendation, a group of fifteen[7] defenseless Muslims in the fifth year after the Divine Mission secretly headed for Abyssinia and arrived there through Shu`aybah port or the Red Sea. This group stayed there for two or three months. Upon the spread of the rumor that people of Quraysh embraced Islam and ceased torturing Muslims, they returned to Mecca.[8]

However, since the torture of Muslims continued, a group of them headed for Abyssinia. This time, there were one hundred and one Muslims (both men and women).[9] They were sponsored by Ja`far ibn Ab¢-±¡lib. With the passage of time, Muslims' migration brought about worry to the people of Quraysh who, then, dispatched an envoy to the royal court of al-Naj¡sh¢, asking for the Muslims' deportation. Realizing the conspiracy, Ab£-±¡lib wrote a letter to al-Naj¡sh¢ asking him to protect the Muslims.[10]

After Quraysh had set forth their claim for the return of the Muslims to Mecca, Ja`far ibn Ab£-±¡lib vehemently defended the Muslims. The king of Abyssinia was greatly moved; he consequently refused to let the Muslims go and decided to protect them.[11]

Of course, the emigrants included both the tortured ones and others from the strongest tribes whom nobody dared to punish. However, Mecca remained an area of pressure, torture and suppression of beliefs. By sending them to Abyssinia, the Holy Prophet had in mind to build up a center for struggle against idolatry. At the same time, he planned to keep Muslims out of danger. As we know, the Muslims’ stay in Abyssinia was accompanied by Islamic propagation, because al-Naj¡sh¢ accepted Islam and established some relations with the Holy Prophet.[12] Quraysh, most probably, were worried of this issue; they therefore dispatched their representatives to that area to stop such relationships.

In accordance with some documents, the Holy Prophet followed the news of the emigrants; he received the news of the apostasy and later death of `Ubaydull¡h ibn Ja¦sh.[13]

This time, the Muslim emigrants stayed there even longer. Eleven of them passed away there. Thirty-nine of them returned to Mecca prior to the Holy Prophet's emigration. Twenty-six men and some women returned to Mecca after the Battle of Badr. The last group, supervised by Ja`far Ibn Ab¢-±¡lib, returned home on the 7th year of Hegira and met the Holy Prophet after the Conquest Khaybar.[14]

The Birth of F¡§imah

Sh¢`ite historians unanimously contend that Lady F¡§imah was born in Mecca in the fifth year after Hegira.[15] The youngest child of the Holy Prophet and Khad¢jah, F¡§imah (¥) married Imam `Al¢ (a.s) in Medina after the Holy Prophet's Hegira. During her early age, she witnessed her father's severest struggles against the unbelievers; she could vividly remember all the troubles of that period.

The Night Ascension (Mi`r¡j)

The Holy Prophet's nocturnal journey from Mecca to Jerusalem (isr¡' [Qur'¡n 17:1]) in a supernatural way and his journey from Jerusalem to the Heavens (mi`r¡j [Qur'¡n: 70]) through God's power are both significant events of Mecca, because these two events are recorded in the Meccan s£rahs; however, there are disagreements related to the exact date of their occurrence.

The Holy Prophet's objectives of these two journeys was to closely observe God's Grandeur across the heavens and skies, to meet the angels and the souls of the previous prophets, to watch Paradise and Hell and to observe the differing ranks of the dwellers of Paradise and the residents of Hell. God refers to this journey as follows:

Glory be to Him who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the Remote Mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our Signs; Surely, He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (17:1)

Concerning mi`r¡j, God remarks:

Certainly, he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord. (53:18)

Imam al-Ri¤¡ (¥) was asked, “Why did God take the Prophet to the skies when He has no definite place?” Imam al-Ri¤¡ (¥) replied, “God would not need any place or time. By taking the Holy Prophet to the skies, God intended to glorify the angels and the sky-dwellers. God also wanted Mu¦ammad (¥) to observe the extension of the creation so that upon his descent he could inform people of God's Grandeur. God does not need time or place as the skeptics erroneously assume.”[16]

The Evaluation of the Narrations on mi`r¡j

Concerning the Holy Prophet's Divine journey, there are several narrations available. However, ±abirs¢, a well-known exegete of the Holy Qur'¡n, has divided these narrations into four headings:

(1) Uninterruptedly reported narrations (mutaw¡tir); they are definite and certain; one of these is the principle of mi`r¡j.

(2) Narrations reporting issues that are logically and rationally accepted and are not in opposition with any known principle; such as those reporting the Holy Prophet's travel in the skies for the purpose of visiting Paradise and Hell.

(3) Narrations that are superficially in conflict with the absolute principles derived from the verses of the Holy Qur'¡n and Islamic traditions, but are interpretable anyway. Such narrations should be interpreted in such a way that they could be in harmony with correct beliefs. An example is the content of the traditions reporting the Holy Prophet’s meeting with a group of people in Paradise and another group in Hell. These scenes are a kind of allegory for us to visualize Paradise and Hell.

(4) Materials that are superficially unacceptable and not interpretable, such as the report that the Holy Prophet saw God with his own eyes, talked to Him and sat on His Throne next to Him. Such issues are null and void.[17]

In the opinion of the Twelvers Im¡miyyah, the Holy Prophet's heavenly journey was material; i.e. he made this ascension in body and soul.[18] According to Islamic narrations, during the mi`r¡j, the daily and nightly prayers were set at five.[19] If, prior to mi`r¡j, some prayers are observed being performed by either the Holy Prophet or Imam `Al¢, it has been either a non-compulsory prayer or a kind of prayer based on the specific situations which was not a regular daily prayer with which we are familiar.[20]

[1] T¡r¢kh al-±abar¢ 2:221.

[2] al-Bul¡dhar¢, Ans¡b al-Ashr¡f 1:197; Ibn al-Ath¢r, Al-K¡mil f¢’l-T¡r¢kh 2:66.

[3] al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, pp. 156-196; Ibn al-Ath¢r, op cit, 2:66-70.

[4] Ibn Hush¡m, Al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah; ±abar¢, T¡r¢kh al-Umam wa’l-Mul£k 2:222; Ibn al-Ath¢r, Al-K¡mil f¢’l-T¡r¢kh 2:76.

[5] ±abar¢, op cit, pp. 221.

[6] `Umar Farr£kh, T¡r¢kh ¯adr al-Isl¡m wa’l-Dawlah al-Umawiyyah, pp. 54; `Abb¡s Ziry¡b, S¢rat Ras£lill¡h, pp. 169.

[7] Ibn Sa`d, op cit, pp. 204; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, pp. 344; ±abar¢, op cit, pp. 221-222.

[8] al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, pp. 227.

[9] Ibn Sa`d, op cit, pp. 207. The number of emigrants is recorded even less. But the number of their names, recorded in books of history, is the same as the above. See Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, pp. 346-353; Dr. Mu¦ammad Ibr¡h¢m ªyat¢, The History of The Prophet of Islam, pp. 122-132.

[10] Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 1:357; al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 18:418.

±abars¢ has recorded that Ab£-±¡lib wrote the following poetic verses in his letter:

King of Abyssinia, be it known to you that Mu¦ammad, just like Moses and Jesus son of Mary, is a Prophet.

He came with the true guidance with which they had come; and all of them guide to God’s commission and seek His protection.

Verily, you are uttering his name in your Book through authentic, not fabricated, report.

So, do not associate others with God and follow Islam, for the path of the Right can never be darkened.

[11] ±abars¢, op cit, pp. 43-44, Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, pp. 356-360; Ibn al-Ath¢r, op cit, 2:79-81.

[12] It is reported that Ja`far ibn Ab¢-±¡lib was escorted by seventy Abyssinians on his way back to Mecca. All of these, converted to Islam after they had had a conversation with the Holy Prophet. See Majma`` al-Bay¡n 3:234.

[13] Ibn Sa`d, op cit, pp. 208.

[14] Ibn Sa`d, op cit, 8:97; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, pp. 238; Ibn Kath¢r, al-Bid¡yah wa’l-Nih¡yah 4:143; ªyat¢, op cit, pp. 132.

[15] al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 43:7.

The majority of Sunni scholars believe that Lady F¡§imah was born five years after prophethood. See Sayyid Ja`far Shah¢di, Life of F¡§imah.

[16] Tafs¢r al-Burh¡n 2:400.

[17] Majma` al-Bay¡n 6:395.

[18] al-Majlis¢, op cit,; 18, pp. 290; Tafs¢r Nem£neh 12:17. A physics-based explanation of the Night Ascension can be seen in Tafs¢r Nem£neh 12:17-20 and Fur£gh Abadiyyat 2:393.

[19] Shaykh al-Kulayn¢, al-Fur£` min al-K¡f¢ 3:482-487; Ibn Sa`d, al-±abaq¡t al-Kubr¡ 1:213; ¯a¦¢¦ al-Bukh¡r¢; al-°urr al-`ªmil¢, Was¡'il al-Sh¢`ah 3:76; al-Majlis¢, op cit, 18:238; Tafs¢r al-Burh¡n 2:933.

[20] All¡mah Am¢n¢, al-Ghad¢r 3:242.

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