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Jihad: Struggle Against One's Self or Holy War?

When most people hear the word jihad the first thing that comes to mind is Holy War by Muslims against all non-Muslims. Is this the actual meaning of jihad, or has this term been misused? How was jihad defined by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)1, the prophet of Islam? How has jihad been used by Muslims after the death of Muhammad (pbuh)? Has the media presented the Islamic or an alternative meaning of jihad to the public? Is jihad the struggle against one’’s self or is it holy war? One fifth of the human population2 has taken Islam as their way of life and it is very important that the real concept of jihad in Islam is presented in its truest form. Jihad means struggle and the greatest struggle is against the self.


 

The term jihad is taken from the origin of the word from the Arabic verb "jahada" which means to struggle or fight. When discussed in an Islamic context it is mans struggle against nature, man and himself. Man struggles against nature to protect himself from the weather, disease, natural disasters, and from animals that may do him harm. This struggle against nature is not the same as it was 1400 years ago because of advances in technology. We have better housing, living conditions, climate control, vaccinations and technologies that warn us when there is the threat of inclement weather. With all these advances the struggle continues because there are new viruses, no absolute defense against natural disasters, and many people are still getting attacked by wild animals every year. The struggles against nature will always exist. Man throughout history has struggled against one another in matters of land, ideology, wealth and religion. Some of these struggles have been resolved peacefully like the United States and Russia did during the cold war or not so peacefully like the United States and Iraq during this present war.’ ‘  Man’s struggle against man can be traced back Biblically to Cain verses Abel Genesis 4:8, ‘’¦So it came about that while they were in the field Cain proceeded to assault his brother and kill him’. This shows one person against another, and there are also wars where communities are against communities, and nations are against nations. This is nothing new and as long as men continue not to disagree agreeably this will continue to exist. Man verses himself is so universal that it effects all men in every society and in all times. There is never a time when man is not with himself. Man struggles constantly with his emotions, morality, mortality, sexuality, and religious beliefs. He struggles to do what’’s right in his home in the work place and society at large. These struggles are inescapable. This is why the jihad of the self is called great because it has to be waged at all times and in all places.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) like all prophets before him came to teach men how to be moral and upright. He was not an advocate of war nor did he take part in many. In her book "Muhammed," author Karen Armstrong writes:

Fighting and warfare might sometimes be necessary, but it was only a minor part of the whole jihad or struggle. A well-known tradition (hadith) has Muhammad saying on returning from a battle, ' We return from the little jihad to the greater jihad,' the more difficult and crucial effort to conquer the forces of evil in oneself and in one's own society in all the details of daily life.

Muhammad exhorted his companions to the worship of God alone and to self purification (jihad). While being oppressed in Mecca Muhammad never lifted a finger in his or his followers’’ defense. ‘The opposition began with ridicule and harassment and rapidly accelerated into an economic boycott and a threat to his personal life (Dr. Bashir Datoo 49). Muhammad and his followers were constantly beaten, spat on and two of them Samayya and her husband Yasser were murdered. Their murders and the continued persecution of the early Muslims caused the first migration of the Muslims from Mecca to Abyssinia and a later migration to Yathrib later named Medina. In Medina the first Islamic state was established 623 AD. There were Jews and Christians and pagans living there among each other in peace. There neither was any holy war (jihad) used to establish the Islamic State of Medina nor was there any compulsion used in trying to convert the non-Muslims. In Islam God has said ‘There is no compulsion in religion,’ (Holy Qur’an 2:256).’ ‘  When Muhammad and his followers returned victoriously to Mecca not one drop of blood was shed, and all that were there were forgiven. If jihad ‘holy war’ was to be waged against all non-Muslims all the pagans of Mecca and Jews and Christians in Medina would have been killed. Islamic historian Jafar Subhani writes in his book the Message,

Buoyed by the quickening pace of his revolution, the Prophet wrote letters and sent emissaries to neighboring rulers and heads of other religions to invite them to the fold of Islam. He set the stage for what unfolded, diffusion of Islam through vast areas of the Old World in the succeeding centuries. This was not achieved, as historians had previously alleged, by the force of the ‘sword,’ rather, as they themselves now readily acknowledge, by the intrinsic ‘appeal’ of the message itself. This appeal had to do with the emphasis that Islam laid on the moral and ethical development of a just and equitable society.

Muhammad led by example and his example was one of love, forgiveness and admonishing people to do good deeds and purify themselves through prayer, fasting and charity truly the great jihad.

After the death of Prophet Muhammad, Islam continued to expand at an unprecedented rate. However the Muslims were divided after the Prophet’s death into two main groups the Sunnis and the Shiites. The divide came because one group the Sunnis believed that the Prophet never named a successor to follow him so one needed to be elected and the other ‘Shiites’ believed that any successor to any Prophet had to be divinely chosen. This split did not lead to any wars directly following the death of the Prophet and the leaders that followed him were careful not to use compulsion in converting the people to Islam. This may seem contradictory and controversial in view of the state of Islam today in a place like Iraq where civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites is taking place. Some leaders from among the Islamic sects do see this type of fighting as Jihad, holy war, against other Muslims that don’t exactly believe the same way they do, they refer to them as Kufars ‘non-believers’ and they feel like it is their duty to purify the Muslim ranks of these non-believers. These groups misinterpret passages and verses from the Qur’an and traditions to try to justify their actions. Craig Branch agrees when writes, ‘A small percentage of Muslims who are from the extreme, radical and violent wing of Islamic Fundamentalism, and who are "...passionate, [deeply] religious and anti-Western...’ might dwell on passages or verses dealing with conflict, war, and resistance to oppression.’ The majority of Muslims adhere to the advice that was given by Ali ibn Abi Taleb3 to his governor in Egypt, ‘Oh Malik always remember that if a man is not your brother in faith he is your brother in humanity’ (Ordak 86). So despite the few renegades the majority of the Muslims view the greater jihad as, ‘the intimate struggle to purify one's soul of evil influences -- both subtle and overt. It is the struggle to cleanse one's spirit of sin’ (Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid).

In recent years Islam has come under attack in the media some justified some not. The biggest buzz words used by the media are Islamic Jihad, terrorism and fundamentalism. All have become terms that non-Muslims view as calls for all Muslims to unite against them. The majority of the conflicts that involves Muslims take place in the Middle East where there are mostly Arabs involved. This is ironic because the vast majority of Muslims are non-Arabs and according to Abdulrahman Al-Motrif, ‘Arabs only make up ten percent of the world wide population of Muslims’, and it seems like the call for holy war comes from that part of the world according to the media. Osama bin Laden is from Saudi Arabia and it has been reported that the majority of the hijackers in the 911 tragedy were also from Saudi Arabia. Some Muslims have begun to adopt the westernized view of jihad that has been reported from the Middle East by the media, that they should fight non-Muslims. This goes against the thinking of the majority of the Muslims and against what God says in the Qur’an, ‘Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and reason with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance’. (H.Q. 16:125). It would be unfair to say that all media on Islam has been negative, many in the media have tried to explain the Islamic view of jihad most notably, PBS video "Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet" (Dec. 18, 2002), The PBS video "Islam: Empire of Faith" (2001) and History Channel/A & E's (summer 2002) "Inside Islam". The media it seems has been reflective of society, some view Islam as a terrorist religion bent on ruling the world through holy war and others see the few renegades as derelicts misrepresenting what Islam and jihad are ultimately about. Although the overwhelming reports given by the media has shown jihad to mean holy war there are those that have championed jihad as the struggle against the self.

The question still remains, is jihad the struggle against the self or holy war? The answer is, it is both.’  Jihad means struggle and struggles exist internally and externally. Jihad of self on a personal level involves as stated by Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid:

Putting "Allah ahead of our loved ones, our wealth, our worldly ambitions and our own lives."
Resisting pressure of parents, peers and society; strive against "the rejecters of faith..." (Quran 25:52)
"...strive and struggle to live as true Muslims..."
"Striving for righteous deeds."
Spreading the message of Islam. "The (true) believers are only those who believe in Allah and his messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their selves for the cause of Allah. Such are the truthful." (Quran, 49:15)

He further stated jihad has a verbal level:

To strive for justice through words and non-violent actions. Muhammad encouraged Muslims to demand justice in the name of Allah. When asked: "'What kind of jihad is better?' Muhammad replied, 'A word of truth in front of an oppressive ruler!'"‘  According to the Institute of Islamic Information and Education: "The life of the Prophet Muhammad was full of striving to gain the freedom to inform and convey the message of Islam. During his stay in Makkah [Mecca] he used non-violent methods and after the establishment of his government in Madinah [Medina], by the permission of Allah, he used armed struggle against his enemies whenever he found it inevitable."

He final says jihad has a physical level:

This relates to the use of physical force in defense of Muslims against oppression and transgression by the enemies of Allah, Islam and Muslims. Allah commands that Muslims lead peaceful lives and not transgress against anyone. If they are persecuted and oppressed, the Qur'an recommends that they migrate to a more peaceful and tolerant land: "Lo! Those who believe and those who emigrate (to escape persecution) and strive (Jahadu) in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah's mercy..." (Quran, 2:218). If relocation is not possible, then Allah also requires Muslims to defend themselves against oppression by "fighting against those who fight against us." The Qur'an states: "To those against whom war is made, permission is given [to defend themselves], because they are wronged - and verily, Allah is Most Powerful to give them victory." (Quran 22:39)

The above references show that both views of jihad are used in Islam. It can also be said from the above references that violence is looked at as the final alternative to resolving issues. It shows that problems should be talked out and if that isn’’t working that one should leave the place where the conflicts are taking place to avoid physical fighting. Then when all else has failed permission has been given to fight in order to protect oneself. Nowhere in the Qur’an or tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is there to be found any passage that makes it okay for a Muslim to be aggressive against any other human being. The Qur’an urges Muslims to fight against the oppressions and transgressions from the enemies of Islam and it warns the Muslims not to transgress the limits of others, ‘And fight in the way of Allah those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits’. (Quran 2:190)

Ayatollah Aga Pooya in his commentary of this verse says:

. Islam promotes peace, order and harmony in the human society and keeps man on the right path. When the enemies of Islam found that the light of this message was sweeping darkness from every corner, the disbelievers vowed to annihilate it. It was only then that, no recourse being left for the believers, they had to resolutely take up the sword in defense. Verses 39 and 40 of al Hajj also give permission to fight when any people is wronged, oppressed and persecuted.

If Numbers 25: 1 to 3 and 31: 7 to 18 in the Old Testament are read carefully one comes to the conclusion that when the Israelites, in Shitim, began to worship the gods of Moab the Lord God asked Moses to "take all the leaders of the people and hurl them down to their death before the Lord."

And they made war on Midians as the Lord has commanded Moses, and slew all the men. The Israelites took captive the Madianite women and children, and carried off all their cattle, their flocks and their property. They burnt all their cities. Moses asked them to kill every male child and every women who has had intercourse with a man.

So in the way of Allah, the prophets were commanded to put an end to the activities of the disbelievers who wanted to destroy the true devotees of Allah in order to stop the advancement and progress of the religion of Allah. The Quran commands the Muslims not to exceed the limits but to fight evil until its power base is dislodged, and if the kafirs (non believers) desist then to show mercy. Compared to what the other prophets did, as commanded by Allah, to destroy the unbelievers, the role assigned to the Holy Prophet as the "mercy unto the worlds" was the most benign of all the campaigns undertaken by His messengers to liberate mankind from the clutches of the enemies of Allah. He fought and killed the enemy whenever war was imposed on him.

Here Pooya shows how other Prophets (pbut) killed their enemies and how Muhammad was told to desist killing the enemy if they stopped fighting.

In conclusion Islam is growing about 2.9% per year which is faster than the total world population which increases at about 2.3% annually. It is thus attracting a progressively larger percentage of the world's population4. This is happening despite the overwhelming negative reports given by the media. According to aimpress.com, ‘6.4% of the world's population is converting to Moslem every year.’ They aren’’t converting to Moslem they are converting to Islam. The Middle East Media Research Institute reported that after 9/11, 34,000 Americans converted to Islam. In an article written in the New York Times October 2001 says, ‘One expert estimates that 25,000 people a year become Muslims in this country; some clerics say they have seen conversion rates quadruple since Sept. 11. With people entering the religion of Islam in such great numbers, reason must dictate that the Holy war that is being waged has to be one of the intellect and not of weapons. More people are asking about Islam and the answers they are finding are that Islam appeals to them and they are converting. Most people want peace and statistics show that more people are moving toward Islam which incidentally means peace. This shows that although jihad means Holy war more people believe that it is the struggle of each individual to please his maker. Again both views of jihad are present in Islam but as the Prophet Muhammad has said,’ The best jihad [struggle] is (by) the one who strives against his own self for Allah, The Mighty and Majestic."

Works Cited

Growth of Islam; https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

Holy Bible: New World Translation

Karen Armstrong, "Muhammed: A biography of the Prophet," Harper San Francisco, (1993).

Mir Ahmed Ali, Translation of the Holy Qur’an

Dr. Bashir Datoo, ‘Perspectives on Islamic Faith and History’ (2007) Page 49

Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani, ‘The Message’ Islamic Seminary Publications Karachi, Pakistan Chapter 2 Arabia before Islam

George Jordac, ‘Voice of Human Justice’ Lebanon (1956). Online http://www.geocities.com/ahlulbayt14/ali4.html excerpts from ‘Voice of Human Justice’

"Save a Life, Save All Humanity--Take a Life, Kill All Humanity: What the Islamic scriptures really say about jihad and violence," Beliefnet, at: http://www.beliefnet.com/story/

Multi-lingual Qur’an, http://al-islam.org/quran/ Pooya Commentary on 2:190

Muslim population, http://muslim-canada.org/muslimstats.html

What America needs to know about Islam, aimpress.com

Islam in America Post 911, Middle East Media Research Institute (2001)

The rise of Islam in America, New York Times October 2001


Source: http://www.almujtaba.com

 

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Islamic Articles - Prophet Muhammed (P.)

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The World Before Islam
The chaotic situation of the world prior to Islam is clearly reflected in the accurate mirror of history. The outline of decline, oppression, bloodshed, idol-worship is evident in this mirror. Before Islam, it was as if mankind were leaning over the edge of the precipice of ruin and destruction, and there was the fear that at any moment it could roll down and be annihilated in it.

The Religions and Beliefs of the Peoples

a) In the Arabian Peninsula.
The Arabs prior to Islam were committed in their hearts to idols, and what they saw around themselves with their own eyes they made into idols. Not only did they lower their heads and prostrate before them, but they donated everything they had, even gifts of agricultural produce, to their idols (see VI:137).
They believed that apart from the life of this world there was no other life (see XLV:24). Obviously those who did not see the wretchedness of their idols whom they had chosen as their gods could not grasp the idea and truth of the resurrection. So it was no wonder that they turned the House which Hazrat Ibrahim(A.S.) had built at the command of and in the name of Allah into quarters for their idols. As for the origins of idol-worship in the Hejaz, some believe that the first person to introduce it was 'Amr ibn Luhayy. Al-Ya'qubi writes in his history: "He (ibn Luhayy) journeyed to Syria and saw all of the inhabitants worshipping idols. When he asked about the virtues of the idols, they told him, 'They have befriended us, and they bring down rain for us.' He took a liking to them and asked them to give him an idol.
They gave him Hubal and he took him to Mecca." Ibn Hisham writes that 'Amr ibn Luhayy brought this idol from Mu'ab. In any case, Hubal was the most famous of the gods in the Ka'bah: he was built in the form of man, and holy arrows, which the diviners used fot casting auguries, were set in front of him. The influence of idol-worship grew to the point where idols were built in the form of animals, plants, men, jinn, angels and stars; even stones were the object of worship. 'al-Lat' was in Ta'if in the form of a cubic stone, and had a special field and meadow near Ta'if which was a holy place, and cutting trees, hunting and the spilling of blood were not lawful in its vicinity; the people of Mecca and other places made pilgrimage to it. 'al- 'Uzza' was a very powerful god equivalent to the planet Venus, and was situated in Nakhlah east of Mecca, and was worshipped there. It was given much more honour than the other idols.
The sanctuary of al-'Uzza took the form of three trees and human sacrifices were offered to it. Manat was the god of predestination, and its original place of worship was a black stone at Qudayd (on the road between Mecca and Medina). It belonged especially to the tribes of Aws and Khazraj. Ba`l was the embodiment of the spirit of wells and underground waters. Sometimes a well with clean, invigorating water became worshipped in the dry desert. A cave, when it had connections with the gods and the underground powers, was also sanctified. The temple of Ghabghab in Nakhlah (see above) was in such a place. Dhat Anwat, from which things were hung, was in Nakhlah, and in some years the Meccans made pilgrimage there. Dhu'sh-shara was respected in the form of a heap of black shining cubic stones.
The spirit of arable lands was the god of good works and sacrifices had to be made to it. The spirit of barren land was a wicked devil who had to be avoided. They had idols made of wood or metal or stones with no definite form round which they made several turns whenever they went into their houses, and from which they took permission when they went out on a journey, and then took with themselves. The town of Harran, where Ibrahim had started his campaign against star-worship, was the center of the Sabaeans. In this town, stars were the object of veneration. Belief in the stars and in the connection between the movements of the stars and earthly destiny was very strong. Each star was the god of one event Images of Mars, Jupiter, Venus, etc. were erected in the temples, and they asked for help from them, and sometimes sacrificed to them. The thoughts of the Sabaeans sometimes turned to angels and jinn. The angels were the daughters of god, and were thought to influence events. They imagined that god had a wife who was one of the jinn.
b) In Iran

In Iran also many religions were being practiced, but the one which most people followed was Zoroastrianism, the official religion. If we accept that Zoroaster was a true prophet who had a religion based on tawhid, we must also acknowledge that his true teachings had been changed by the passage of time. Gradually, they changed their direction and even their form and identity to the benefit of the ruling classes. Its very general and pleasant maxims were covered by a veil behind which the foundations and principles were transformed by the Magi and the priests to the advantage of themselves and the ruling classes. Thus it was that tawhid became polytheism, and the pure sweet and excellent teachings did not stay: the shell remained, but the nut was thrown out, and the empty shells were filled with the ancient gods of the first times of the Aryan tribes.
c) In Europe

The religious situation in Europe was like it was in Iran. Christianity had given up its original form, and had become stuck in polytheism and the dogma of the Trinity. In France, Britain and Spain, people did not believe in a Unique God.
d) In India
There were various religions, but idolatry prevailed.

Class and Racial Differences

In Iran people were divided into classes, and each class had special restrictions and privileges. The class connected with the ruling council had the most privileges. Similarly in Europe and India, society was divided into classes and the right to possess land, to trade, and the exemption from taxes was the prerogative of the nobility. At that time also, everyone of the people of the world thought themselves superior in terms of race over everyone else.

The Situation of Women in Pre-Islamic Society

In Arabia, woman was a commodity, counted in the wealth of the father, husband or son; and after death she was inherited like the other possessions and became the property of the descendents. It was a disgrace to have a daughter, and in some tribes the family buried this shameful thing with their own hands (see XVI: 59). In Iran, also, the form of class society did not bring anything better for women. In Greece, woman was a creature of perpetual filthiness, a child of Satan, similar to an animal. In India, throughout her life, she was under the control of her father, husband or son, and had to address her husband as god, master and lord, and, like a slave, she had no right to ownership - after the death of her husband she had no right to take another husband.
The revolting custom of Sati, the burning of the widow alive with the funeral pyre of her husband, was also practised at that time. In Japan, as well, woman was under the control of her father, husband or son for the whole of her life, and the daughter had no share in inheritance. In China the father was master of the house and had so much power that he could sell his wife and children into bondage and slavery, and sometimes he even had the right to kill them. On top of this, daughters had no esteem and sometimes they were left in the desert to be the prey of the wild pigs. The Romans also considered women to be the incarnation of evil and as harmaful spirits, and kept them like children under their control. So every human society at that time, wherever it was, was sunk in darkness, decline and oppression. Throughout the whole of the world, no glow or gleam of light met the eye, and although the desire for goodness and virtue still flickered in the depths of the heart of human nature covered by a dark opaqueness, it had been almost extinguished on the one hand in the blackness and gloom of humiliations, passions and oppression, and on the other hand in the prominent features of poverty and wretchedness. It could not illuminate the path for the seekers after light, purity and felicity.
A darkness like a thick heavy cloud in the sky had submerged the daily life of all societies of the time in a deep sleep; and a horrible, powerful obscurity reigned which only the rising of a radiant sun could disperse. This darkness was more overpowering in Arabia than in any other place, as if they had been invaded to the depths of degradation and debasement. Hear what Imam 'Ali (A.S.) says about those days: "...You people of Arabia followed the worst religion; you dwelt amongst rough stones and poisonous serpents. You drank putrid water and ate filthy food. You shed the blood of one another and payed no heed to relationships. Idols were established among you, and sins clung to you." (Nahjul-Balaghah, Sermon 26).
(The Roots of Religion, p. 111-117)

The Birth of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam (S.A)
Muhammad (S.A.) opened his eyes to the world on the 17th of Rabi' al-awwal of the 53rd year before the Hijrah (570 A.D.). His father, 'Abdullah, was from the family of Hazrat Isma'il, and had died before he could see his son. His mother was one of the most pious women of that time. Muhammad (S.A.) was entrusted to a virtuous woman called Halimah, who suckled him and nursed him. One day, Muhammad (S.A.), who had not yet reached the age of four years, asked Halimah if he could go into the desert with the other boys... Halimah said: "I bathed Muhammad an anointed his hair with oil. I put collyrium on his eyes and hung a Yemenite stone on a string and put it round his neck so that no harm could come to him from the spirits of the desert. But Muhammad tore the stone from his neck and said, 'Don't worry about me.
My God is taking care of me!"' So we see that from childhood he was the object of God's favour and grace, and was always guided by Divine power and help in works that were in their right time and place. Muhammad's behavior and speech in childhood were such that everyone's attention was attracted. In his youth, also, he was far from that which tainted those people in his environment. He took no part in their riotous poetry gatherings.
He drank no wine, was an enemy of the idols; he was perfect in speech and act. Years before he became a prophet, the people called him 'al-Amin' (the trustworthy one). He had a pure mind and radiant intellect, and a godly and heavenly character. Every year for one month he went to the cave of Hira and was with God in His mysteries and in prayer. At the end of the month, before returning to his home, he went to the Ka'bah and made seven or more circumambulations. At the age of forty, while busy in worship in the cave of Hira, he was elevated to the station of Messengership.
For three years the Prophet of Islam (S.A.) received no command to call people openly to Islam, and during that time only a few people had faith in Muhammad (S.A.). Among men, the first person who loved and followed him was Hazrat 'Ali (AS.), and among women, Khadijahl(Tarikh at-Tabari, vol. I, p. 240 - 245. ). Then after three years he received the command to invite people openly to Islam, and he called his close family to be his guests; about forty of these people assembled together. The food which the Prophet (S.A.) had prepared was no more than enough to satisfy the appetite of one man, but by the power of God that little food filled everyone, and this was the cause of much amazement. Abu Lahab, without thinking what he was saying, cried out: "Muhammad is a magician!" That day the relatives dispersed before the Prophet could speak, so he called them again the next day. After they had partaken of the food and hospitality, he spoke: "O Sons of Abdul-Muttalib! No youth has brought to his people better than what I bring to you. I have brought you the best of this world and of the world of the resurrection. I have been commanded by Allah to call you to Him.
Which of you will extend his help to me and become my brother, executor and successor?" Apart from 'Ali (A.S.), no one answered. The Prophet placed his hand on 'Ali's shoulder and said: "This is my brother, executor and successor among you. Listen what he says and obey him!''(Tarikh at-Tabari, vol.v 3, p. 1171-1173). One day the Prophet (S.A.) went up on Mount Safa and called the people around him. He said: "If I told you that an enemy, was going to fall on you this morning or this evening, would you trust me?" All together they replied: "Yes ! " He said: "I warn you of a severe torment that is soon to fall on you." Out of fear that the speech of Muhammad (S.A.) would take effect in the hearts of those present, Abu Lahab broke the silence and said to him: "Did we assemble here just to listen to this nonsense?" The Prophet of Islam (S.A.) started his call with the slogan of tawhid and the worship of one God, and established tawhid as the basis of all other beliefs. He made known to men Allah, who is nearer to man than man himself; he abolished all forms of idol-worship, revolutionised the atmosphere of Mecca, and drew people to his religion. Meanwhile, the Quraysh (( the most powerful tribe in Mecca, to which Muhammad (S.A) belonged,, were becoming ill at ease with the progress he was making and tried hard to stop his preaching, even once trying to kill him; but with the help and protection of Allah and with His care and intercession all their tortures, persecutions and schemes were without effect and came to nothing. Day by day the call to Islam, and also the acceptance by people, spread, even to those who came from outside Mecca. People rose up with their souls in answer to this Divine invitation. In the eleventh year of the prophethood, some people from Medina belonging to the Khazraj tribe came to Mecca to perform the ceremonies of Hajj.
The Prophet invited them to Islam and they accepted, with this promise that when they went back to Medina they would call the people to Muhammad's religion. They went to Medina and spread around the invitation of the Prophet (S.A.). The next year twelve Medinese accepted the faith of the Prophet of Islam (S.A.) at 'Aqaba and resolved: not to associate any with Allah, not to steal, not to fornicate, not to indulge in infanticide, not to bring malicious accusations against anyone, not to disobey the Prophet in any thing which he indicated. Then the Prophet sent a man by the name of Mus'ab along with them to teach the Qur'an, and thus a large group in Medina pledged their faith in the Prophet.
(The Roots of Religion, p. 117-120)

Source: http://www.al-shia.org

 

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