Friday, May 23, 2008

The Beginning of Islam

After the Prophet saw Jabreel AS at Al Hirah cave he went back home to Khadijah and told her "Cover me, cover me". He was shivering and shaking from the cold weather and because he was afraid of what he saw.
The Prophet still did not know that he was a Prophet or that the creature he met was Jebreel AS.

When his wife asked him what's wrong, he told her what happened at the cave and she firmly reassured him that she believes him and boosted his morals.

Her response was quick and firm. She said, “No, By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you! You foster family relations; you bear the burden of the weak; you help the poor and the needy; you entertain the guests and endure hardships in the path of truthfulness”[2].
It's narrated that the Prophet upon hearing her words relaxed and calmed down. She then took him by the hand and said, "we are going to consult someone, I have a cousin, his name is Waraqa Ibn Nawfal, an old man near his ninety years, But he is an educated man, one who has studied the Torah and the Gospel very well'.

Waraqa Ibn Nawfal was a very old man, who had lost sight from excessive reading of the Torah and the Gospel. He was the only Christian in Makkah and wasn't interested in the idols of Quraysh. He believed in true Christianity, maybe Allah made him reach that old age just for him to meet the Prophet PBUH. Glory is to Allah who made Waraqa Ibn Nawfal learn so much to know the truth and say it.

Prophet Mohammed PBUH explained to Waraqa Ibn Nawfal what he saw, he told him about the strange creature he saw. He did not say he was an angel because he didn't know that yet. As he was talking, Waraqa was listening, sometimes amazed and sometimes smiling. He was listening to what he had read in the Holy books about the last prophet who was to come. When the Prophet PBUH finished, Waraqa responded with only four sentences. The meeting lasted about 20 minutes so that no Orientalist can claim that the Prophet learned about religion from Waraqa.

In the first sentence Waraqa said, “You are the prophet of the final age. You are this nation's prophet”.

The second sentence was, “You have been visited by the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Jebreel) whom God had sent to Musa ‘Moses”. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out.”

The third sentence, “your people will bully you, hurt you, beat you, fight you and expel you”.

The fourth sentence, “I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would expel you.”

The Prophet interrupted him for the first time and asked, “Will they expel me?” Waraqa said, yes, anyone who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility, and if I see your day I shall help you wholeheartedly.

The Prophet engaged in deep thought about what Waraka told him and waited for Jebreel AS to descend again to confirm what Waraqa told him since he wasn't certain yet that he was right in his explanation.

However, Jebreel AS did not descend for a few days. God meant to let Mohammed think first and decide whether or not he was willing to take on this difficult mission. Having made up his mind to take on the mission and having longed to see Jebreel AS, Mohammed PBUH saw him one week later sitting on a throne between the earth and heavens filling the entire horizon and telling him, “Mohammed, you are Allah’s messenger and I am Jebreel from heavens.”

Having told him that, Jebreel AS came down to earth and took Mohammed outside Mekkah to give him the first lesson. He hit the earth with his wing and a spring of water came forth. Then, he started performing ablution and the prayers while Mohammed was watching and imitating him. Afterwards, Jebreel AS told him to pray two Rak3as (units of the prayer) in the morning and two Rak3as in the evening.

This is how prayers started based on the simulation (imitation) method before any modern theories in this regard were made.

The five pillars of Islam were set as follows:
“Narrated Ibn 'Umar, Allah's Apostle said, “Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Mohammed is Allah's Apostle.
2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
3. To pay Zakat (mandatory alms-giving)
4. To perform Hajj. (Pilgrimage to Mecca)
5. Fasting during the month of Ramadan.”


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Beginning of The Resalah (Prophetic Call)

When the Prophet PBUH was 40 years old he was at Al Hira cave overlooking the Ka3ba and that night wasn't like the other nights he spent reflecting in the cave as he did the last 2 years..

The Prophet heard a voice, a voice that wasn't familiar or normal, it was Jebreel AS (an angel sent from God).

Prophet Mohammed narrates,
Jebreel AS told me "Read" and I replied, “I do not know how to read.” The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, “I do not know how to read.” Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time until I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?” Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said what can be translated as, "Read: In the Name of your Lord Who created, Created man from clots. Read: And your Lord is The Most Honorable, Who taught by the pen. He taught man what he did not know." (TMQ, 96:1-5). Then Allah's Apostle returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely.” [11]

And this was the first verse of the Holy Quran that Mohammed PBUH read although he was illetrate.. It's a miracle how he read and memorized those verses..

The Islamic preacher Amr Khaled describes the significance of this dialogue as follows:
This dialogue symbolizes mercy, love and peace. This is exactly the mission of Islam, which rejects all kinds of violence, oppression or unjust. Secondly, it was to prove to the Prophet that he was not dreaming, but rather he was awake; notice that Prophet Mohammed PBUH spent six months, prior to the revelation, dreaming of good dreams that came true, like bright day light. Thirdly, the beginning of the revelation was meant to be powerful to indicate the seriousness of Islam's mission.

Another point Amr Khaled stresses is that the first word Jebreel AS asks the Prophet PBUH is: “Iqra” which means recite.

Why did the mission of Islam start that way, although Prophet Mohammed PBUH himself was illiterate?

It indicates that the era of miracles is over. A new era of knowledge, science and planning has started by Mohammed PBUH. Nevertheless, 60% of our nation is illiterate. People are still waiting for a miracle that would turn their lives to the better. They cannot realize that that miracle would never happen unless they became true Muslims.

Such a start, with the word "Iqra" which means "recite", leaves no doubt about the truth of Islam. Islam is applicable to all ages, and this is the age of knowledge. God says what can be translated as, "Read: In the Name of your Lord Who created, Created man from clots. Read: And your Lord is The Most Honorable, Who taught by the pen. He taught man what he did not know." (TMQ, 96:1-5). He mentioned knowledge along with its tools six times in just five verses. Miracles are over. If we are to take this mission seriously, we would be the miracle.

After the Prophet saw Jebreel AS, he was very frightened. It indicates that he was not going after the prophecy.

click to listen to the first Verse of the Holy Quran:


Monday, May 19, 2008

Stages before the Resalah (Prophetic Call)

The Prophetic call started when Mohammed PBUH was 40 years old however when he was 38 he started seeing visions and intensively dreaming at night.

The Prophet would be walking in the street and hear the trees greeting him, “peace be upon you messenger of Allah.” He would turn back to look and find no one.
The prophet also started having good dreams, that he related to his wife and four daughters after waking up only to see them come true during the day.

The Prophet started loving seclusion, so he started to look for a place where he could contemplate peacefully. He wanted a place with a warm feel and overlooking the Ka3ba and so he chose the cave of Hira which was 3 miles away from the Ka3ba. He used to climb the mountain to reach the cave and that took him about an hour and a half. The prophet used to spend many days there just thinking and reflecting about the universe.

God wanted the Prophet to develop his spiritual beliefs, thus striking a balance between the material world and the spiritual realm. The Prophet contemplated life and creation and deeper meanings of existence. No man or woman have found guidance until the love of being closer to God was bestowed upon them.

Khadijah used to visit the Prophet and spend two or three days with him in the cave.
She approved of what her husband was doing and supported him.

Khadijah was a great wife, she was a wise and smart woman and would not leave her husband all this period alone. On the other hand, she did not impose on him during the whole period. She showed him her approval of his choice, her care through her visits, and her trust in him by not imposing on him.

When Khadijah married the Prophet, she was forty years of age. Fifteen years had past, she was now fifty-five. It is amazing how a fifty-five year old woman can climb a mountain to join her husband in the cave, only to sit and reflect with him. She was a great women and one of the greatest graces that Allah bestowed on the Prophet. He was told to “give Khadijah the good tidings that she will have a palace made of Qasab (pearls) in paradise and there will be neither noise nor any trouble in it.” Qasab is a type of hollow pearl that resembles the cave, because the reward is of the nature of the deed.

Narrated by Ali bin Abu Taleb, The Prophet said, “The best of the world's women is Mary (at her lifetime), and the best of the world's women is Khadijah (at her lifetime).”