reality of the prophet

December 15th, 2011 by naqshbandi

This narration is from Ka`b al-Akhbar, who was known as Abu Ishaq. Ka`b was of the learned scholars of the Jews and during the blessed lifetime of the Holy Prophet {S} he lived in the land of Yemen. He did not accede to the honor of true faith during the Prophet’s {s} lifetime, but only thereafter, during the Khalifa of Abu-Bakr as-Siddiq, or, according to other accounts, during the time of ‘Umar. He is referred to in some of the hadith related by the honorable companions of the Holy Prophet {S}. One of these companions, Sahif bin ‘Umar al-Ansari, claims to have heard from his father ‘Amr:

During the Holy Prophet’s {s} lifetime I became acquainted with Ka`b and I used to meet him in a number of assemblies. It was his intention to come and attend the association of the Holy Prophet {S}, and without yet having met him, he confirmed that he was indeed the Seal of the Prophets; he frequently describe his characteristics to us. One day he told us that this was going to be the Holy Prophet’s last year, and that he very much wished he could make ready and go to meet him on time. He hastened his preparations and set out on the journey. There came one night, however, when he was seen to dart in and out (of the tent) at frequent intervals during the night, gazing intently at the night sky and weeping copiously.

As it dawned, I addressed him and said: “Oh, Abu Ishaq, what has befallen you? How is it that you have spent the night gazing at the sky and weeping? What hidden wisdom is there in your action?” He turned to me and answered, “During this night the Holy Prophet {S} at Madinah al-Munawwara was transported from this world to the next. I looked at the skies and saw that the gates of Heaven were opened wide to receive him, and I saw all the angels stand in attendance and celebrate his coming with songs of praise and honor. And on the whole earth there is no better place than that place where his blessed remains are to be buried; it is the choicest of all spots in this world.” Thus he spoke and swore by Allah.

I was completely dumbfounded by this explanation and therefore took exact note of the very date and hour when he uttered these words. So when we actually arrived in Madinah, we heard that it was indeed on that very night that the Holy Prophet {S} had departed from this passing abode to that of permanence. But at that time, I did not meet Abu Bakr as-Siddiq; only later, after his death, during the Khalifa of ‘Umar, when I went to see the Khalifa at Madinah, I heard that he was there. I met him and gave him Salams. He looked at me and recognized me, and he honored me by admitting me into his close company.

I then told him and all those assembled of what I had observed of Ka`b ul Akhbar. Everyone present marveled at this, saying he must be a sorcerer, a wizard. But Ka`b who was there with me spoke up and said: “God forbid, I am neither sorcerer nor wizard, Allahu Akbar!” and he took

from beneath his seat a small box which resembled a white pearl,

fastened by a golden lock which was sealed with a golden seal.

He broke the seal and opened the box that revealed a piece of green silk folded up in many folds.

“Do you know what this is?” he asked the assembly. “I don’t know,” I answered him. He said,

“In this is wrapped (a volume) of the divinely revealed books of the Torah and the Injil (Old and New Testaments)

in which the signs and characteristics of the Holy Prophet are set down by the revelation of the Almighty.”

Thereupon we all cried out: “Oh Abu Ishaq! May Allah Almighty have mercy on you! Do tell us of the very beginning of creation, when the Prophet was created!” We entreated him and he began to speak:

Verily, when Allah Almighty intended to create the most noble of all the sons of Adam u, He spoke to Jibra’il u, the trustworthy angel, ordering him to bring a sufficient quantity of clay from the purest and most exalted place on earth. Jibra’il u, being the highest in command of the sublime heavenly assembly, descended down to earth, and took a quantity of clay from the site of what is now the Holy Prophet’s {s} fragrant resting place, as there can be no better place on earth than this site.

Allah then took this bit of clay and mixed it with the waters of the river Tasnim which flows in Paradise.

He formed something akin to a white pearl.

Subsequently, the pearl was dipped into all the various rivers and streams of Paradise and endowed with their outstanding properties.

It was then shown to all the seven layers of the heavens and the earth, and amid showers of praise and glorification it was made known to all dwellers of Heaven and earth that this substance had found acceptance and high honor in the divine presence,

and that it was the very best of all created materials.

Now, when the time had come for Adam u to be created,

this light was placed upon his forehead, and the sound of a rushing river issued from it.

Adam u asked his Lord: “Oh my Lord, praised be Thy very mention, what is this voice upon my forehead?”

The Lord answered him, “It is the sound of the praise and glorification of the light of the seal of the prophets, Sayyiduna Muhammad {s}!

Be mindful of this light and hold it in high respect, and know that it will be passed on to your descendants.

Therefore, enjoin them to take only pure and virtuous women for their wives, and to refrain from folly and frivolous conduct until the time has come for the owner of that light to enter the world.”

This he solemnly vowed to undertake, and from that time on the light of Muhammad {s} shone upon his blessed forehead.

It is also said that at the time Adam u was created that light was first placed at his back upon his shoulders. Wherever Adam u went, rows upon rows of angels followed him, gazing at his back, and when he stood still, they stood behind him, praising and celebrating this shining light. Adam u finally addressed the Lord and said, “Oh my Lord, why is it that there are always so many angels gathered at my back, what is the wisdom in this?” The Lord answered him, “Oh Adam u, on your back I have placed the light of Muhammad, and the angels are forever paying their respects to it.”

Thereupon Adam u said, “Oh my Lord, do Thou place this blessed and revered light in front of me, so that the angels are not always behind me.” The Lord granted him this favor and placed the light of Muhammad {s} upon Adam’s u forehead. Now the angels always stood facing Adam u as they revered this blessed light. Adam u perceived the great love and devotion the angels held for this light, until at last he made supplication to his Lord, saying, “Oh my Lord, will You not grant me the privilege of once seeing this wonderful light which all these myriads of angels are incessantly adoring?”

The Lord heard his prayer and in answer to Adam’s u supplication He placed the light of Muhammad {s} upon the index finger of his right hand (which is called the Shahada finger).

The finger began ringing the praises of this most auspicious light, and Adam u along with all the angels heard it and named that finger ‘sajah’.

They then continued to praise the owner of that magnificent light, reciting Salawat upon the most noble and perfect of all prophets, upon whom be peace, and not only the angels, but all of creation began praising the light of Muhammad {s}.

At the time when Adam u and his wife Hawa were by divine command expelled from their blessed abode in the Garden of Eden, their Paradise clothing was stripped from them so that they grew aware of their nakedness and felt shame. They sought to conceal themselves from the blessed angels, and tried to hide behind the trees of Paradise. But the trees refused them, all except the ‘Ud tree (the aloes). Allah Almighty addressed this tree and asked it why it had sheltered Adam u and Hawa whereas none of the other trees had done so. The ‘Ud tree answered, “Oh gracious and merciful Lord! You have placed the light of Your beloved Muhammad {s} upon Adam’s u forehead and You have commanded all of creation to praise this wonderful light as they gaze upon it. Adam u came to me with this light upon him, begging for shelter. For the sake of this hallowed light, how could I refuse him? I felt shame for this blessed light and accepted it into my shade, oh Lord!”

Allah Almighty replied, “Oh, ‘Ud tree! For that you have so honored the light of My beloved, I will cause you to be more highly esteemed by My servants among men than any other tree, and I have made your leaves to be white; however, since you have acted as you did without My leave, you will not be able to give off your much-desired fragrance lest you are burnt to ashes.”

According to another narration: when Adam u and Hawa were stripped of their robes of Paradise and ordered to go down to earth and leave their celestial abode, they looked about at all the marvels and heavenly splendor they were to leave behind, and began to weep bitterly for what they had lost. All the trees of Paradise wept along with them, all except for the ‘Ud tree (the aloes). Allah Almighty addressed that tree, asking it, “Why are you alone of all trees in Paradise not weeping for Adam u and Hawa?”

The tree answered, “Oh my Lord, it is upon Thy command that they leave the Jannah (Paradise); out of respect for what Thou hast commanded I do not weep for them.” The Lord then said, “For that you have shown respect for my divine command, I decree that on earth they will not benefit from your fragrant essence until they have put fire to your wood.”

The tree then asked, “Oh my Lord, as You have willed me to be burnt, do tell me what is the wisdom of it?” The tree then received this reply: “It is because you have showed no compassion with My Prophet in his need that I have decree for you…”

When Adam u and Hawa stood naked they looked about from which tree they might take a few leaves to cover their nakedness. All the trees surrounding them lifted up their branches away from them and refused them even a single leaf. Desperately they searched, until they came to the fig tree. This tree took pity on them and gave them some of its leaves to cover themselves with. However, no sooner had they taken the leaves from this tree than they turned black and brittle and fell away from them, uselessly. Upon this, they wept even more bitterly than before, and there came to them a call which they heard and understood: “Know that whomever the Lord has stripped of his covering, no one has the power to clothe! The servant forsaken by his Lord can receive no help from any quarter!”

Upon these words, Adam u turned to his Lord, the Almighty Source of All Things, and pleaded with Him to grant them the gift of covering their nakedness. Again they came to the fig tree, and it willingly gave them a few leaves. Adam u shook the tree, and three leaves fell from it. With these Adam u covered himself. He then shook the tree a second time, and this time five leaves fell from it. These Hawa used to cover herself with. From that time onwards, it has been the custom to wrap men’s bodies for burial in three pieces of unstitched cloth, while women are wrapped in five pieces of cloth.

The Lord then said to the fig tree, “Oh fig tree, why did you make Adam u a gift of your leaves?” The tree replied, “Oh my Lord, You had not prohibited it, so I gave them some of my leaves.” The Lord then spoke to the fig tree, “As you took pity on Adam u when My Wrath was upon him, I shall make you very brittle and hollow from within, so that men shall not climb upon you nor use your wood for any purpose, nor will they burn you for fuel. Your leaves I will make brittle and harsh, and no living creature on earth will find them tasty or sweet.”

When the Lord of the Worlds issued His divine command for Adam u to go down from Paradise and settle upon the earth, Adam u in his distress called upon the souls of all the prophets who were to be his offspring, and he called upon the noble soul of Muhammad {s}, the seal of the prophets, to intercede with the Lord on his behalf, and he wept long and much. “What is the hidden meaning of this,” he cried, “that my Lord has created me and placed me in these Paradise gardens, only to remove me now from this abode of bliss and making me to live in the lower world, upon the earth?”

The Lord Almighty answered his wailing thus:

“Oh Adam! In My majesty and might, I have created you to be My representative on earth; the reason I first set you to live in these gardens of Paradise is this:

so that from this day on until the Last Day you and all your descendants may look to this realm of bliss as to their real and true native land;

that they may turn their hearts towards it full of longing and desire, and

that they may believe in My unity and confirm the message of all My prophets and messengers, and respond in their words and works to My command.

Thus they will exert themselves to regain their homeland of Paradise.”

Therefore some of the learned in the scriptures have interpreted the saying of the Prophet {S}: “Love of one’s homeland is a part of faith” as referring to Paradise, the original home of man, and this saying is a sign and indication of this secret. Adam u, when he received his Lord’s words, understood His intention and left Paradise behind him.

Adam u descended upon the mount of Sarandib (Sri Lanka) while Hawa came to earth at Jeddah.

Shaytan was cast out also, but opinions differ as to where he landed: some say it was at Basra, some say at another place Near Bali, but some even say he alighted at no particular place at all.

Now, when Adam u and Hawa were expelled along with Iblis, Iblis conceived within himself an evil suggestion.

“I have succeeded in driving Adam u and his mate out of Paradise,” he thought to himself,

“what damage can I do him now that he is coming to earth, what intrigue can I work against him there?”

Wondering about this, he called together all the wild beasts living on earth and told them that Adam’s u advent would result in his progeny peopling the whole earth and hunting all the wild beasts to extinction. “Woe on us,” they cried, “what are we to do?” Shaytan replied, “This is what you must do: gather all together at the spot where Adam u is to descend, and as soon as he arrives, attack him all of you and tear him to pieces. That will be the end of him for all times.”

Thus Iblis excited the wild beasts against Adam u before he came to earth. When Adam u set foot on the ground he found all the animals gathered round him, prepared to attack. Adam u was bewildered at this reception and knew not what to do. The angel Jibra’il u came to him in less than an instant and told him, “Oh Adam, put out your hand and stroke the head of the dog, that you might witness the power of our Lord to effect the strange and wondrous.” Adam u did as the angel counseled him, and no sooner had he touched the dog than it turned against its fellow creatures and fell upon them, so that they dispersed in confusion. Since that day the dog is the enemy of all other beasts of prey, and he attacks them wherever he chances upon them.

Adam u spent his first long years on earth weeping constantly, entreating the Almighty to forgive him and show him mercy. At long last he also prayed to the Lord to reunite him with his wife, Hawa. His prayer was then accepted, and it is written that the Lord Himself inspired in Adam u the words of supplication that made his prayer acceptable:

Thereafter Adam received certain words from his Lord, and he turned towards him…. (The Cow, 35)

The commentators have written much on this subject; here only two of their remarks shall be mentioned. One is transmitted from Sayyiduna ‘Ali who relates that Adam’s u prayer for forgiveness was this:

La ilaha illa anta, subhanaka, Rabbi, a‘amiltu su’an wa zalamtu nafsi wa anta arham-ur-rahimin. (There is no God but Thou, Glory to Thee; my Lord, I have done wrong, I have wronged my own soul, and Thou art most merciful of those that show mercy).

The Holy Prophet {S} says that Allah Almighty will pardon him who entreats Him with these words, even if his sins be as numerous as the foam upon the waves of the ocean, or the grains of the desert sands.

Secondly, Hasan of Basra relates that the words given to Adam u were these verses of the Holy Quran:

…Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if Thou dost not forgive us, and have mercy upon us, we shall surely be among the lost. (The Battlements, 23)

When Adam u pleaded to the Lord in these words, Allah Almighty forgave him, and sent down to him from Heaven a house which had been made in Paradise,

that was called the ‘Bayt al-Ma’mur, the heavenly house.

Two doors it possessed, one of which opened to the east, the other to the west, and it was set down at the spot where today the Kaba stands at Mecca.

Adam was then commanded through revelation to circumambulate this heavenly house, and he was taught the rites of the Hajj and the Sa’i by the angel Jibra’il u himself.

After completing the Tawaf and Sa’i,

he was led out to Arafat to be reunited with Hawa. She had spent the long years of separation looking for him in this place, and as it was the place of meeting and, as it were, re-acquaintance, it was known henceforth as ‘Arafat’ which means ‘to get to know’.

The angel then asked them what they hoped for from their Lord, and they answered, “We seek nothing but His pardon and forgiveness,” wherefore this place is called Muna (hope, wish, desire).

Now every time Adam u wished to consort with his wife Hawa, they would proceed by purifying themselves and by making preparations so that the sublime light that was housed in Adam’s u body might be transferred to his wife while in a state of purity, and they persisted in these efforts. Each time Hawa became pregnant, she would look at her husband Adam u, and when she perceived the light of Muhammad {s} upon his brow, she knew that she had not yet conceived his successor.

Hawa was pregnant twenty times, and each time she bore him twins, a boy and a girl.

Until one day she conceived the father of the prophets, Seth u: she then saw the light upon Adam’s u brow disappear from its place only to relocate upon her own.

She greeted it with great joy and celebration.

Allah Almighty created Seth u as the only single birth in her womb, as an honor to the light of Muhammad {s}.

This was an omen to them that the owner of this illustrious light was about to be born into the world and that though he was of mankind, there was none like him and no one matched him in perfection.

When the child was born, they named him Seth u, and the meaning of this name is ‘gift of God’.

When Hawa had born her son Seth u, she looked at him and saw the light of Muhammad {s} sparkling upon his brow.

The Almighty also placed a veil between Seth u and Shaytan, so that he was shielded and protected from his wiles.

The angels circled round the child and honored him, and from the heavens on high a call was heard: “Good tidings to thee, oh earth, and all thy inhabitants!

The proof of the light of Muhammad {s} has shone forth upon Seth u, it illuminates the heavens and the earth!

This light will continue to pass from the pure to the pure, until such a time as its rightful possessor will appear in the world of men!”

This heavenly voice was heard every day until the boy Seth u had reached the age of puberty. Adam u then called his son to him, gazed at his forehead and said to him, “Oh my son, truly the Lord of might and glory has promised to me that this light of Muhammad {s} which is upon your brow shall not be taken from the world and shall not disappear. However you must take care that it is passed only to such women as are very chaste and pure, and of outstanding virtue.”

Thereafter Adam u turned to the Lord and prayed: “Oh Allah! I have received a promise from this servant that he will carefully preserve this noble light, and I bear witness to this, his commitment. Oh Lord, wilt Thou not send a witness to confirm this solemn pledge?” The Lord then sent the angel Jibra’il u with a host of seventy thousand angels. They brought with them a piece of white silk from Paradise, as well as a pen from the heavenly pens.

They saluted Adam u and spoke to him, “The Lord Almighty says: Verily, the time is nigh for the light of My beloved Muhammad {s} to travel down through the generations; therefore, prepare and make your bequest to your son Seth. Let him swear a solemn oath that he too will pass this on to his sons, and they to theirs, until the time is ripe for the rightful possessor of this noble light to come into his own. The heavenly angels this day bear witness to this solemn pledge that you undertake, to ensure that this light is carried down through the generations only by those of pure and chaste comportment, who refrain from all manner of lewdness and sinful action and seek to keep the line of transmission untainted. Today this oath is witnessed by the angels and penned down upon this white silk from Paradise.”

Jibra’il u had brought another object from Paradise:

this was a box in which were kept the descriptions of the great prophets and messengers.

The piece of white silk was placed therein.

Next, two crimson robes were brought and Seth u was clothed in them.

Then a contract of nikah (marriage) was drawn up for him with a woman by the name of Nahwailat al-Baida who in beauty and nature resembled his mother Hawa.

The angel Jibra’il u performed the nikah ceremony and recited a khutba (sermon) for them and thus they were man and wife.

When this lady now became pregnant from Seth u, she heard a voice calling to her: “Oh Nahwailat-al-Baida! Good tidings to you, you have conceived the successor of that luminous light which is upon your husband’s brow!” Thus she was cheered.

When she bore the child, they named him Enush. The child was protected from the wiles of Shaytan the Accursed by this noble light. When the boy had grown, his father Seth u said to him, “Oh my son, when you marry, be mindful of selecting a pure and chaste woman, for you are to be my successor.”

Enush heeded his father’s words, and in time he passed on

the trust to his son Kan’aan, and he to

his son Mahalalel, and

he to Yered, his son.

Yered took to wife a woman named Birra who bore him a son, Enoch who is known to us as Idris u. Yered bequeathed to his son Enoch all the pledges that were written and recorded, and Enoch accepted them from him. He married a woman by the name of Barukhanan, and had a son by her. This son they named Methusalah; and he sired a son named Lamaq. Lamaq was as a lad extremely bright and gifted, and he also was very strong. Lamaq took to wife Kaswir and she became the mother of Nuh u. Lamaq bequeathed to Nuh u all he had; Nuh u married Na’ama and had a son named Sam by her. Upon his brow Nuh u perceived the light of Muhammad {s}, and he bequeathed to him the holy trust that had come to him from the time of Adam u.

Sam had a son by name of Arpachshad, and his son was named Shalach. Shalach married Marhana and had a son by her whom he named Abir. (He was to become the Prophet Hud u). Abir married a woman named Munshaha and had a son by her whom he named Peleg. Peleg had a son named Arghu, and Arghu’s son was named Saruq. Saruq’s son was Nahor. Nahor had a son and called him Terah. Terah married a pure woman named Edna, and their son he named Ibrahim u.

When Ibrahim u came into the world two banners of light were set up, one in the east and one in the west.

Ibrahim u grew and became aware of a voice coming from his hands that was praising the light of Muhammad {s} which he held in his blessed hands.

He begged the Almighty to tell him about this voice, and the Lord answered him,

“It is the voice of the light of My beloved Muhammad {s}, and it is reciting praises of My Glory and Unity.

Now your turn has come to preserve this light; it has come down to you from the time of your father Adam u, you are the next in line to pass it on.”

Ibrahim u told his wife Sarah what the Lord had told him, and for a very long time she expected the successor to that light to make his appearance through her.

Until such a time as her maid Hagar conceived the intended heir to that blessed light; then Sarah was stricken with disappointment and jealousy, being deprived of the honor and happiness of bearing the Prophet Ibrahim’s u sole and single heir.

Her husband consoled her and said, “Don’t give in to sorrow; our Almighty Lord is full of grace and bounty and does not rescind on His promise. It is His decree that you too will be blessed and made glad.”

So Sarah was patient until Allah’s time was fulfilled and she bore her son Ishaq u.

When Ishaq u had reached the age of maturity,

Ibrahim u called all his six children to him, gathered them round him and showed them the box which had come to him as inheritance from his forefather Adam u.

He opened the box for them and in it they saw many small boxes, as many as there are prophets and messengers sent to this world.

Each of the boxes contained a description of one of the prophets.

The very last box contained the description of the earthly form of the seal of prophets, Muhammad {s}.

He was shown in the position of Qiyam (standing in prayer).

On his right side stood Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, and upon his forehead were written these words: ‘he was the first to believe in me’; on his l

left was depicted ‘Umar ibn Khattab, upon whose forehead were written the words: ‘in his righteousness he fears neither blame nor blamer.’

Behind him, stood ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, and upon his forehead was written: ‘Modesty is his virtue.’

Before him stood ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, and upon his forehead was written: ‘His virtue is generosity, and in faith he is the brother of the Prophet Muhammad {s}.’

All around him stood the sainted uncles and companions and the elders of the community of Madinah, and their names were written upon their depictions.

Ibrahim u showed all his children the family tree and this chain of succession of the Holy Prophets. They saw that henceforth all prophets were to be descended from their brother Ishaq u, with

one exception: the seal of the prophets was to be born of the line of Ismail .

The Prophet Ibrahim spoke to his son Ismail , “As you can tell, the pride of all the worlds and seal of the prophets is to descend from your line;

therefore, take the utmost care for yourself and enjoin upon your sons, to marry only the purest and most virtuous women of your age, so that this unrivalled light may come down through the ages to its rightful owner unsoiled.”

Ismail u married a woman by the name of Ri’lah and she conceived and bore him a son Qaydar.

Qaydar grew into a strong and comely youth, the first and best among the spear throwers and a champion wrestler as well.

Ismail u perceived the light of Muhammad {s} upon his forehead and to him he bequeathed the box he had inherited from his father and made him his heir.

Qaydar, thinking it preferable to marry from the tribe of Ishaq u, chose women from that line, and he married no less than one hundred times. For two hundred years he lived with them, but they bore him not a single child. One day, as he was returning from the hunt, the wild animals assembled round him and addressed him in distinct and eloquent speech. “Oh Qaydar,” they said, “what is it with you? Already you have passed a large portion of your life on earth, how is it that the successor to the light upon your forehead has not yet appeared? Could it be that you have been wasting your time? And what of the solemn pledge you made to your father.”

Qaydar, upon hearing these words, felt hurt and fell into a mood of gloom and foreswore all worldly enjoyments, until he could solve this problem. As he was wandering about in his perplexity, Allah Almighty sent an angel to speak to him who assumed the shape of a man, and said to him, “Oh Qaydar, in a short while Allah Almighty will adorn you with new strength, and you will bring under your dominion great cities and towns. You will also deliver the holy light which is deposited in your safekeeping to a pure woman who is not of the tribe of Ishaq u. Allah demands a sacrifice of you, so that you may be directed towards that woman who is destined for you.”

Qaydar then slaughtered seven hundred rams as a sacrifice to his Lord, and from Heaven descended a fire like a streak of white light and burned his sacrifices. A heavenly voice was heard saying: “Oh Qaydar! Your sacrifice is made and accepted, your prayer is granted. The box you have inherited is with you and guidance shall come to you through your dreams.”

That night Qaydar saw a dream; in it he was told that the prophet who was to be the ultimate heir of the holy light was to come from the pureblooded Arab tribes of Arabia. He was told to go to those tribes and ask for the hand of one lady named Fakhira in marriage, so that through her he might attain his goal. Qaydar joyfully awoke from his dream, praised the Lord and thanked Him. He sent out his scouts and envoys forthwith to all the tribal chiefs of the Arabs to ask for the hand of such a woman. But no one could be found fitting the description.

At long last he himself set out to search among the Arab tribes. He came into the realm of Jurhum ibn Zuhri bin Amir bin Yaru’ bin Qahtan, and learned that this king indeed had a daughter named Fakhira and that she was a woman of modesty and virtue. He asked for her and they were united in marriage. Qaydar traveled back with her to his home country and this lady conceived from him. Qaydar then wished to open the box that had been passed down to him, but a voice was heard coming from it, that said: “Beware and refrain! Only the hand of a prophet may open this chest! Desist, lest harm befall you!” Qaydar heeded the warning and took the box to the son of Ishaq u who was Ya’qub u.

His wife Fakhira meanwhile bore him a male child and they named him Hamil. Hamil grew up, and when he was old enough his father said to him, “Come with me, I will take you to the building which your grandfather Ibrahim has built at Mecca, and I will show the holy sites and teach you the rites.” They set out for the holy house, the ‘Baytullah’, and when they had come to a place known as Sabil which is quite close by the holy house, they encountered the angel of death who had assumed a human form. “Where are you going?” he asked Qaydar. Qaydar answered, “We are going to the holy house of the Lord so that I might show my son the holy places and teach him the rites.” The angel of death said to him, “Come up to me, I have something to tell you in private..” Qaydar stepped up to him, and the angel took from his soul while yet engaged in conversation with him. Hamil saw his father fall and rushed to attack the killer. But the angel of death addressed the young man, “Will you not check at least to see whether he is really dead..?” and while Hamil bent to do so, the angel vanished.

When Hamil looked up and found himself alone, he realized he had been speaking to an angel. Just then, by the grace of God, some people from the tribe of Ishaq came by that place. They attended to the dead man; they washed and prepared him for the funeral, prayed over him and laid him to rest.

Hamil then returned to his home. He grew up and married a woman, Javda by name, who bore him a son whom they named Lais. Lais in his turn had a son called Hamisa; Hamisa begat Adnan, and this is the chain of descent from our father Adam u to Adnan and the Holy Prophet Muhammad {s}. However, there is no end to dissent and dispute concerning this genealogy. Our Holy Prophet {S} only confirmed the line of succession up until Adnan; he refrained from telling particulars of the family tree before that.

Ibn Abbas relates that from Ishaq to Adnan there were thirty generations, but he did not name them. He said, “If Allah Almighty had wished for these to be known, He would have made His Holy Prophet {S} instruct us about them.” No real disagreement exists concerning the genealogical chain from Adnan to Muhammad’s r father Abdullah. Adnan had a son Ma’add; Ma’add had Nizar. Nizar married Sauda bint Adnan. The sons of Nizar were four: Mudar, Rabi’, Yaman and Ayar. Some sources claim that Sauda bint Adnan was the mother of all four, while others maintain that she was only the mother of Mudar, while his brothers were the sons of her sister, Shafiqa bint Adnan, Mudar was a great hunter and he read and recited with great reverence the scriptures that were handed down from the time of Adam u.

He took very seriously the task of passing on the light of Muhammad {s}, bequeathing it to his son. This he wrote down in the form of a solemn pledge, which he hung upon the Kaba. His sons after him married pure and worthy women to protect the sanctity of the light. Mudar belonged to the nation of Ibrahim u, and the light of Muhammad {s} upon him shone forth brightly so that whoever met him felt love for him in his heart. He also possessed a most beautiful voice.

When Nizar felt death approaching, he gathered his sons around him to give them his blessing and his last advice. To Mudar he bequeathed a tent of red leather, and willed that any other tents of this kind should be his. Thereafter he was known as Mudar the red. Nizar also had a gray horse; this one he gave to Rabi’ and willed all similar horses to be given to Rabi’. Therefore he was called Rabi’ of the horses. Nizar possessed a slave, him he gave to Yaman, and willed that all like him should belong to Yaman. Lastly, he had a black mattress, this he bequeathed to his last son, Ayar, willing all similar ones to be his. He recommended them to go to the seer Af’a who lived in Bahrain, in case any disagreement arose concerning their inheritance.

After Nizar had died, dissent arose between the brothers, and they set out towards Bahrain, each upon his camel. Af’a was known to be a great seer and soothsayer. As they traveled along their way, they came to a pasture which had been unevenly grazed, green in places, eaten away in others. Mudar remarked to his brothers, “A camel has pastured here; moreover a camel that is blind in one eye, its left eye, to be sure.” To this Rabi’ added, “And its right leg was lame.” Yaman joined in, saying, “And its tail was clipped.” Ayar concluded, “And it had run away from its owner.”

After a little while they met an Arab mounted upon a camel. They asked him, “Who are you?” He replied, “I have lost my camel and I am looking for him.” Mudar asked the man, “Perchance it was blind in its left eye?” “So it was,” answered the Arab. Then Rabi’ said, “And its right foot was lame?” “Indeed,” said the Arab. Yaman then said, “And was its tail clipped?” “Yes, it was,” said the Arab. Finally Ayar said, “And your camel had run away and was on the loose?” “To be sure, it was,” said the Arab. Then they told him, “Your camel has passed by such-and-such a place, go and find it there.” The man however said, “No, you must have stolen my camel and taken it away, how else could you know my camel so well?”

The brothers denied this and told him they knew all this from the signs of its grazing and they swore to that, but the man would not believe them. “No,” he said, “you have told me all these details about my camel, it must be with you. I demand it back from you.” “We have never set eyes on your camel,” the brothers assured the man again and again. He then asked them where they were headed for. “We are going to Bahrain to see a certain soothsayer named Af’a,” they said, so the man decided to join them, and they rode off together towards Bahrain.

When they had arrived at the soothsayer’s, the Arab called out to him, “Oh Af’a, help me, for these four men have absconded with my camel that I lost in the desert.” The wise man then turned to the brothers and asked them, “Since you claim never to have seen the camel, how is it you know so much about it?” Mudar answered, “I knew the camel was blind on its left eye because wherever it had grazed, the grass was eaten only on the right side.” Rabi’ then spoke, “I could tell from its tracks that it was a camel whose right foot was lame: its left footprint was very clear, while the right one was weak and indistinct.” Next Yaman spoke and said, “I knew that its tail had been clipped because it is the habit of the camel to disperse its excrement as soon as it has defecated; this camel had not done so, therefore I knew it must have a clipped tail.” Lastly, Ayar spoke up and said, “I noticed that this camel had been grazing here and there, as it pleased; therefore, I concluded that it had escaped from its owner.”

The wise man Af’a listened to the brothers’ testimony and marveled at their cleverness. He turned to the Arab and told him, “Go now and look for your camel, for these brothers have told the truth, they have not stolen your camel.” Then he said to the four brothers, “Who are you and why have you come?” They answered, “We are the sons of Nizar, and we have a problem which we hoped you could help us with.” Af’a invited them to stay with him the night as his guests, and he would look into their case in the morning.

The seer Af’a set before them a roast lamb to eat and a wineskin full of wine to drink. They sat down to eat and busied themselves with their meal. Their host did not sit down with them but concealed himself in a corner where he could overhear their conversation. He heard Mudar say, “This wine is excellent, but the grapes it is made from grew in a cemetery.” His brother Rabi’ spoke up next, “This lamb is nicely roasted, however the animal was fed on dog’s milk.” The next brother, Yaman, then said, “This is very good bread, only the dough was kneaded by a menstruating woman.” At last Ayar also spoke and said, “Our host, the seer, is a good man, even though he is a bastard.”

Hearing their words, Af’a went out to check the truth of their claims. He asked the man who had brought the wine where the grapes were grown. The man said, “There was no other wine left, so I gave you the wine made of the grapes that grow on your father’s grave.” Next he went to the shepherd and asked him about the lamb. The man told him, “It was a motherless lamb and there were no other ewes left in the herd to suckle it, so I gave it to a bitch who accepted it and suckled it on her own milk. I could have found no better lamb to give you when you asked me for one.”

Next Af’a went to his kitchens and asked about the slave girl who had kneaded the bread dough that day. He found out that it was indeed as the son of Nizar had said. At last he went to his mother and asked about the circumstances of his own birth. “Tell me the truth,” he said to her, “who was my father? Is it true that I am a bastard?” His mother answered him, “Your father was the governor of this province and he was a very rich and powerful man, but he was childless. I feared that after his death a new governor might take his place and that all our fortunes might be ruined. Therefore, one night a guest came to our house, and I spent the night with him. That is how I conceived you, my son.”

Af’a went to a trusted friend and told him about all he had learned. He asked him to go to the strangers and ask them how they came to know all these hidden things. The man went and asked them, but they knew it was their host who had sent him. Nonetheless, they answered him. Mudar said, “Normally, when one drinks wine, all one’s troubles and worries fade away; but with this drink, I found it brought trouble to my mind and it did not quench my thirst. From this I understood that the vine must be growing on a gravesite.” Next Rabi’ answered, “The fat of sheep and goats is found on the upper side of their meat, while the fat of the dog is found below. The fat of this lamb was below, therefore I knew it had been fed on dog’s milk.” Then Yaman spoke, “When you dip bread in gravy, it soaks up the liquid. This bread did not do so, hence I knew that the woman who had kneaded it was menstruating at the time.” Lastly, Ayar said, “I knew that our goodly host must be a bastard, because a lawfully born son will sit and partake of the meal with his guests. This our soothsayer did not do, he kept apart from us and joined us not for the meal, therefore I knew he must be of illegitimate birth.”

Af’a heard their explanations and he wondered much at their sharp wit and sagacity, went to them and expressed his admiration. The brothers then said, “Will you not now hear our case and help us decide our matter?” The seer said, “How can I be of assistance to the likes of you, who possess learning and wisdom in such great measure? Can there be anything you wouldn’t be able to solve for yourselves?”

Then they told him, “Upon his deathbed, our father willed that we should go to you so that you might distribute among us justly what we have inherited from our father.” Af’a then said, “What has your father left you then?” “To one of us he left a red leather tent, and to another a gray horse; to another a slave and to the last he left a black mattress.” Af’a then said, “The message of this bequest is clear to me: as much as there is red gold in my possession, I leave it to Mudar; All the horses, cows, camels and sheep I own are to go to Rabi’. To Yaman I leave all the silver and brocade and costly cloth that I own, and Ayar shall have all my vineyards and fields.” The brothers all accepted this decision and were glad, each with his portion.

Ibn Abbas relates that the Holy Prophet {S} said to his companions:

“Do not be against Mudar and Rabi’, for they became Muslim.”

Following these events, Mudar married a woman named Karima who was also known as Umm Habib, and with her he had a son whom they called Iliyas. Iliyas, like his father, was a believer. In the book Muntaqa, it is related that often a sound akin to the buzzing of bees was heard when Iliyas passed by; this was the sound of the light of Muhammad {s} reciting Talbiya (Labbayk allahumma labbayk).

Iliyas married a woman, Fatha, and begat a son on her, Mudrika. Mudrika married Quz’a and their son was Khuzayma. Khuzayma saw in a dream that he married a certain Barra bint Adwin, who was also called Tabiha. He awoke and found this woman, married her and Kanana was born to them. Kanana in his turn married a lady named Rayhana and they called their son Nadhir. Later he came to be called Quraysh, on account of a dream his father Kanana had one night. In this dream he saw a tree growing out of his back. It had many, many branches and its foliage was green and abundant. The tree grew as high as the sky and spread out into the heavens. Suddenly men of pale countenance appeared and embraced the branches of the tree.

When Kanana awoke from this dream, he went straight to an interpreter of dreams, and told him about it. The wise man said, “Should your dream be a true vision, it means that you are destined to be the forebear of the prophet of the last times. People from all around the world will show him honor, venerate him and follow his religion.”

His people heard about his dream and the interpretation the seer had given it, and all voiced their surprise and said, “Just look at him, this Kanana, he just wants to promote his son Nadhir’s importance and standing among us, whereas he is only a Quraysh.” The term “Quraysh” denotes a small sea fish that chases and eats up other, larger fish and sea creatures. This nickname stuck with Nadhir son of Kanana, pointing to his strength in overcoming obstacles.

Nadhir, who was henceforth called Quraysh, married Hint bint Adwan, and their son was Malik. Malik married Jedlaka bint Harith, and their son was named Fihr. Fihr married Selma bint Said and their son was Ghalib. Ghalib married Wahshia bint Madih, and their son was Lu’ayy. Lu’ayy married Selma bint Harith and they had Ka’b. Ka’b married the daughter of Shadwan and they had Murra. Murra married Nu’ma bint Sa’d, and they had a son, Kilab. Kilab married a woman, Fatima bint Sa’d, and their son was Qusayy. Qusayy married Atiqa bint Murra, and their son was named Hashim.

This was Hashim who is known to us as the felicitous great-grandfather of the Prophet of the last times r, was famed among the Arabs in his own time for his wealth and lordliness. All tribes wished to be connected through marriage to that pureblooded and powerful tribe. Many offered to him their daughters in marriage, even the Emperor of Byzanz, Constantine, sent his messengers to Hashim, saying, “I have one daughter whose grace and beauty is unrivalled among the women of this age. I will give him the hand of my daughter in marriage, if he will come to me.” For he had probably learned from his study of the Injil that the Prophet of the last times, Muhammad {s} was to be born of the tribe of Hashim ibn ‘Abdu-Manaf.

In order to secure the honor of being connected to that prophet he wished to marry into that tribe, and he sent out his envoys with many persuasive gifts and promises. But Hashim was mindful of the solemn pledge of his forefathers to marry only women of pure and chaste extraction, therefore he was not tempted or swayed by the Emperor’s proposals. He refused, but he did wonder how to fulfill his pledge and whom to marry. While he was pondering this in a state of indecision, he was shown in a dream the daughter of ‘Umra, Selma bint Zayd, of the tribe of Jurshum. In the dream he was commanded to ask for her hand in marriage. He promptly acted on this and the marriage contract was concluded.

This girl Selma was similar to Khadija al-Kubra in that she possessed wealth and dignity, and eloquence of speech and culture. She was married to Hashim and they had a son whom he called Shayba, but afterwards he came to be called Abdul-Muttalib. Abdul-Muttalib had great personal beauty and charisma. His eyes were ‘mukahhal’ from birth, that is to say, they were naturally rimmed with black as if with antimony by the Hand of the Almighty, and he carried himself with grace and dignity. When he was grown, his father Hashim married him to Wasifa bint Jundab from the tribe of Sa’sa. Abdul-Muttalib had a son with her named Harith (wherefore Abdul-Muttalib is also called Abu Harith).

When Abdul-Muttalib was twenty-five years of age, his father Hashim fell ill and called for his son. “Assemble all the chiefs of the tribe of Nadhir,” he told his son, “the Abdu-Shams, the Bani Mahzum, the Bani Lu’ayni, the Bani Fahri and the Bani Ghalib, and invite them to come here.” Abdul-Muttalib did as his father bade him, and when all were assembled, Hashim addressed them, “Oh ye tribal chiefs of Quraysh! You are directly descended from the Prophet Ismail and Allah Almighty has chosen you to be the custodians of the holy places, the Haram of Mecca. I am the leader of this tribe, so hear today my bequest: all the honorable offices of this custodianship I am passing on to my son Abdul-Muttalib: the banner of Ismail, the distribution of water to the pilgrims and the keys to the holy house, the shrine of the Kaba. Do you all accept my decision and pledge to abide by it?” “We hear and obey,” replied the chiefs of the tribes. Then Hashim passed away and Abdul-Muttalib took his place as ruler and chief of Mecca, and he became a personality of rank and eminence. Many kings from far and near sent him their respects accompanied by gifts, excepting the Khosroe of Hormuz.

No rain had fallen in the lands of the Quraysh for a number of years, and there was a drought. Abdul-Muttalib joined his people filing up Mount Yasira to pray for rain, and Allah in His grace and boundless mercy sent rain upon the land, for the sake of the blessed light of Muhammad {s} which was present in Abdul-Muttalib. That year they had plentiful fruit and abundance. Due to the light which was with him at all times, Abdul-Muttalib was well loved and respected by everyone, and people hastened to show him courtesy and to do him favors.

In a dream it was shown to Abdul-Muttalib that one of the sons of Ismail u had hidden two deer-shaped ornaments in the well of Zamzam, made of red gold, as well as one hundred swords from the time of the prophet-king Sulayman u, and one hundred suits of mail from the time of the Prophet Da’ud u. Abdul-Muttalib was ordered to bring them out of the well in his dream.

When he came before the assembly of the Quraysh and told them what he had seen, they were not pleased and declined to assist him. Abdul-Muttalib at that time had only one son, Harith. He had no way to oppose the ranks of the Quraysh. He went to the holy house of the Kaba and prayed fervently to his Lord, Allah Almighty, invoking as intercessor the light of Muhammad {s} upon his forehead. He vowed at that time that were he to beget ten sons and live to see them grown, and should they be obedient and willing to dig up the old well of Zamzam despite the Quraysh’s opposition; should they, furthermore succeed in this task without losing one drop of holy Zamzam water and unearth the objects he had seen in his dream, then he would sacrifice one of his sons at the threshold of the Kaba, in the Name of the Almighty Lord.

Abdul-Muttalib then married Hala bint Wahhab bint Abdu Manaf, and she bore him Hamza. After her he married Lubba bint Hajari, and through her he became the father of Abu Lahab. His mother died and Abdul-Muttalib married Atila bint Hubaba and she bore him Abbas, and his two brothers.

Abbas relates: One day my father Abdul-Muttalib lay asleep in his chamber when he suddenly started and woke up trembling. Hurriedly he tied his loincloth around his waist and rushed from the house. Wondering where he was going in such a hurry, I followed him hastily, and saw him go to the house of a fortuneteller skilled in the interpretation of dreams. The fortuneteller saw in him the signs of intense fright and asked him what he had seen. Abdul-Muttalib then told him his dream.

“I saw a great white chain rise up at my back,” he said, “which then divided into four branches, stretching to the east, to the west, up into the skies, and down into the ground. While I gazed at this vision, I saw it change into a great green tree of incredible beauty. All sorts of fruit were growing upon its boughs, as are found in all parts of the world. Such a tree of marvels has never been seen before. All peoples of the world bowed down before it, Arabs and non-Arabs alike, and performed prostration. From moment to moment its light grew stronger. Among the people, I saw also the tribe of Quraysh: one group clung to the branches of the tree, while another group gathered round, trying to cut down that beautiful tree. Someone I have never seen stepped forward to prevent them, and he was more beautiful than anyone I have ever set eyes upon.

“I stretched out my hand to take hold of that bit of light, and I ask that beautiful person whose portion of light that would be; he answered me that it would fall to those who were clinging to the branch of that tree. Then I just stood gazing at the beauty of that person, and as I looked on, I saw two great and venerable Sheikhs by the foot of the tree. They, too, were radiant with inner beauty. I asked them who they were, and one of them said, ‘I am Nuh’, the other one said, ‘I am Ibrahim’.”

When my father had finished telling him his dream, the soothsayer went pale. He said, “If your dream is a true one, it means that the Prophet of the last times will come to the world through you. The whole world, East and West, the earth and the heavens will testify to his prophethood and accept to be part of his nation. He will ascend to the heavens during his lifetime (Mi’raj), and in the end he will pass into the other world, and his body will remain to be buried. One faction of the Quraysh will accept his prophethood, while another will not, and they will be vanquished. The radiant person you saw is the religion of Islam; thereby they will be crushed and vanquished. The Prophet Nuh u standing at the foot of that tree means that those opposing that prophet to come will be drowned, as were the people of Nuh, in a flood of trials and affliction. The Prophet Ibrahim u standing at the foot of the tree means that those who follow the coming prophet will be honored by belonging to the nation of Khalil Ibrahim u and will attain their innermost desires. This prophet will bring with him a law that will be safe from later accretions and changes, and on the Last Day it will stand out as incontrovertible proof; this law and this nation will stand until the Last Day has come. This religion is true, and it is light and easy to bear.” That is how the seer interpreted my father’s dream.

After this Abdul-Muttalib married Fatima bint ‘Umri bin A’izz, and he had further children with her. Her last child was a son, Abdullah, who was destined to become the father of the Holy Prophet Muhammad {s}. Abdullah was the youngest child of Abdul-Muttalib.

Scholars of the unbelievers of Sham knew that the father of the last Prophet had been born, for they possessed the blessed Prophet Yahya’s u mantle in which he had been martyred, and his blood was upon it yet. Furthermore, in their scriptures they had found a prediction that told them that whenever this dried blood would flow afresh, it would be the sign that father of the last Prophet was born at Mecca.

Every morning they would inspect the robe for these traces. The night Abdullah, Muhammad’s r father was born at Mecca, the blood on the cloak became fresh and began to flow anew, as if it has been shed just that night, hence they knew this sign was fulfilled. They took counsel with each other, for they saw this event as a threat to themselves. They said, “If we don’t rid ourselves of this one while he is yet a child, he will grow up and become the father of this Arab prophet. He will then go forth and avenge the blood of Yahya u upon the unbelievers.”

They discussed ways and means of doing away with this boy Abdullah while he was yet a child. In the end they agreed on a plan: under the pretext of a trade delegation, the unbelievers would travel to Mecca and keep a close watch over the boy Abdullah, until a good opportunity presented itself. Seventy of their strongest and bravest men set out, each one armed with a poisoned sword and they turned towards Mecca. Having set up their camp there, they were watchful day and night for an opportunity to slay the boy, but Allah Almighty, Exalted be He, kept the boy out of harm’s way. The light of Muhammad {s} grew stronger with each passing day, and his beauty and virtue increased. It was a much-discussed fact that he was to be the father of the Prophet of the last times.

Abdul-Muttalib now had ten sons, including Abdullah. When they had all reached manhood, they stood by their father and represented an influential faction. Abdul-Muttalib himself was a man of eminence among all the tribes of Arabia, and Quraysh could not oppose him unaided. Abdullah one night had a dream that instructed him to unearth the precious objects that were hidden in the Zamzam well for such a long time, so Abdul-Muttalib and his ten sons began digging at the site. They eventually found all, as Abdul-Muttalib had been told in his own dream long ago. The swords of steel they melted down and made from them a pair of doors for the Kaba, and the golden deer figures they also melted and fashioned from this a golden ornament to place above those doors. Therefore, the first person to use gold on the doors of the Kaba was Abdul-Muttalib, the Prophet’s {s} grandfather.

Now, Abdul-Muttalib was also mindful that he had vowed to Allah to sacrifice one of his ten sons, should he be able to complete his task. He therefore drew the lots three times to determine which one of his sons should be sacrificed. Thrice the lot fell upon Abdullah. So it was decided that he should be sacrificed in fulfillment of his father’s vow.

The mother of Abu Talib was from the tribe of the Bani Mahzum. She went to her uncles to tell them of Abdul-Muttalib’s intention. They put their heads together and discussed what was to be done. They took Abdullah aside, and spoke to Abdul-Muttalib: “You are now the chief of the tribes of Quraysh, and if you institute such a practice, it will be done so ever after and become a custom. It is not a good thing to sacrifice your own son in fulfillment of a vow, we implore you not to do so.” Abdul-Muttalib thought about their objections, then he asked them, “What do you suggest I do then?” They replied, “There lives a very wise man at Khaybar; go to him and ask what course you should take.” Abdul-Muttalib went to the soothsayer at Khaybar who was known as Saja. He stated his case and Saja advised him, “Give ten camels for your son, then draw the lots once more. If the lot still falls on your son, increase the number of camels by ten, and keep on doing so until the lot you draw finally falls upon the camels. That number will then be the ransom for your son Abdullah. You will slaughter the animals in his stead.”

Abdul-Muttalib was gladdened when he heard these words and he returned to Mecca and did as the wise man had told him. He took ten camels and drew the lots, and again the lot fell on his son Abdullah. He increased the number of camels by ten each time he drew the lot, until he had reached one hundred camels, and his son Abdullah was spared. Perhaps it is for this that in Islamic law the blood money paid in compensation for a murder is the equivalent of a hundred camels.

The Holy Prophet’s {s} word: “Ana ibn zabihayn”, I am the son of the two (intended) sacrifices, refers to these events as well. One of those intended for sacrifice was his forefather Ismail u, the other his own father Abdullah.

Abdullah saw many visions and experienced many strange things. One day he said to his father Abdul-Muttalib, “I came to a certain place in Mecca where I saw a light rise up from behind me; it divided in half and became two branches. One went to the east and one to the west. This light spread out all over the world, and yet in less than a second it returned, rolling itself up in a ball and hovering over my head. I saw the gates of Heaven open and this light rose up, and descended again into my back. Also, every time I sit down, I hear a voice coming up from the ground that says to me: ‘Greetings of peace be with you! The light of Muhammad {s} is with you and in your care!’ Every time I sit down beneath a dry and barren fig tree, it comes back to life and springs again, sprouting leaves, so that I have shade. When I get up and leave, it instantly dies and withers away.”

All these things Abdullah told his father when he was yet a child. Abdul-Muttalib told his son, “If your vision is true, it confirms the dream that I saw and had interpreted, according to which you are indeed the blessed child I was promised, and that you will engender the Prophet of the last times r.

Because of all the strange and wonderful events surrounding this child, many of the great and powerful wished to connect themselves through marriage to this family. Abdullah was offered the hand of many a princess. But his father Abdul-Muttalib said, “The girl he marries must be of the tribe of Quraysh,” and he considered none of these proposals seriously. Abdullah reached his twenty-fifth year, and he was in his prime, a model of a youth, and the light of Muhammad {s} shone upon his brow.

Many who saw him were infatuated with him, propositioning him with secret get-togethers and forbidden pleasures, but each time the angels showed themselves to him in their frightful aspect and prevented him from committing any unlawful act, by the grace of Allah Almighty. Abdullah never went to the house of idols, then housed in the Kaba. Each time he even thought of doing so, the idols within cried out with a voice of their own: “Oh Abdullah! Beware, do not come near us! The light of the Pride of all the Worlds r is in your safekeeping, it is the light of the Prophet of the last times, and through his hand all idolatry will be wiped out–he will destroy us and all our worshippers!”

Abdul-Muttalib convened a family council and said to them, “My son Abdullah has now reached the age that he should get married. Already there have been many proposals, but I wish to discuss the question with you. Are there any daughters of the Quraysh who would make a suitable bride for my son?” They answered, “There lives in Madinah a judge named Wahb bin Abdu Manaf bin Zuhra whose daughter Amina would make a suitable bride for your son. She is a model of beauty and modesty and good upbringing, unique among the girls of her generation. Moreover, the scholars insist that both father and mother of the last Prophet be descended from an ancestor named Abdu Manaf. Both grandfathers were named Abdu Manaf, so this condition is fulfilled thereby.”

The family council agreed heartily, and Abdul-Muttalib said to them, “Your words ring good and true. The girl you have suggested is in all respects a perfect match. However, her father has not given her to anyone yet, even though she is known among the tribes for her excellence and virtue; great men of all descriptions, men of fabulous wealth and power have asked for her hand, yet her father has consented to none. We have not the means to match their precious gifts, and if we appear as paupers, he may refuse us, too.”

Thus they held their counsel and were worried and in doubt as to what they should do. But Allah, the Creator of Causes, made the knowledge of the seers and sorcerers of Madinah known through the unbelievers, concerning that sun of comeliness and prodigy of virtue who was to become the father of the last Prophet {S}, and it reached the ears of Wahb, the father of Amina. He received it with great joy in his heart and an immediate surge of affection. He was inspired to wish to marry his daughter Amina to Abdullah, and considered sending a message to this effect to Mecca. But being a man of prudence, he opted for a cautious course, and decided to leave a deputy in his place in Madinah, and personally travel to Mecca himself, thus performing a pilgrimage as well as viewing the prospective groom. He was prepared to draw up the marriage contract right there and then, should things turn out to his satisfaction.

Having thus made up his mind, he set out on his own from Madinah to Mecca, for he was a forthright and courageous man. Meanwhile in Mecca, Abdullah was sitting with his father one day, when a person came by with a fine Hijin camel. Seeing the camel, Abdullah asked leave of his father to take that camel and ride out hunting. Abdul-Muttalib permitted him to go out with a group of his friends, and they all picked their camels.

Word of their planned venture spread through the town, and it came to the ears of the seventy unbelievers who lay in wait for him. Instantly they left the city and went to a nearby hilltop to wait in ambush. Through the grace of the Almighty God, just that very night, Wahb arrived before the gates of Mecca, but as he was very tired, he decided to spend the night outside the gates. By divine providence it so happened that he chose as a resting place just that spot where the seventy unbelievers lay in wait. He dismounted from his camel and sat down to rest.

Abdullah had set out from Mecca on his swift Hijin camel, and was making straight for the hill where Wahb was resting and the unbelievers lay in ambush. Wahb saw him coming from afar, a handsome youth mounted on a beautiful Hijin camel, a radiant light upon his brow. Wahb said to himself, “This can be no other than Abdullah, the son of Abdul-Muttalib whom I have come to see, for the light of Muhammad {s} is shining on his brow. My doubt vanishes before this sight; he must be the destined father of the last Prophet, Muhammad {s}. Quickly I will wed my daughter to him.”

Thus he reflected, when suddenly he saw the seventy unbelievers emerging from hiding with swords drawn. They rushed upon Abdullah to surround him and strike him down. Wahb instantly rose to the occasion; he mounted his camel and ran to Abdullah’s aid. But again he realized that there must be hidden wisdom in these events: if Abdullah was truly destined to be the father of the Holy Prophet {S}, no one could harm him, even if whole armies gathered against him, let alone seventy men. Allah Almighty would make him safe from harm and secure him from all their wiles. If he were not that person, then surely, he would be slain. While these thoughts were still passing through Wahb’s mind, he suddenly perceived a company of tall men on heavenly steeds descending out of the skies. These fighters of the Lord surrounded the attackers, and the unbelievers were struck down even as they raised their sabers, and their heads rolled–all seventy perishing in a mere moment. Abdullah rode on, unscathed. Wahb now mounted his camel and followed him into the city of Mecca.

Abdul-Muttalib and his kinsmen were still discussing how to ask Wahb for the hand of his daughter Amina when a messenger came in, announcing the arrival of Wahb himself. Abdul-Muttalib himself rose and went out to meet Wahb. When he had welcomed the guest and made him comfortable, Wahb began, “Oh my friend, Abdul-Muttalib! I have come to you with a far-reaching request. If you permit, I will speak to you of it in front of this honorable assembly.”

“We are at your command,” replied Abdul-Muttalib, “whatever it is, feel free to name it.” Wahb then said, “As you may have heard, I have a daughter, Amina, who is a model of virtue and chastity, she is ranked among the best women of this age. Kings and princes have asked for her hand, yet I consented to none of their offers. Now, Abdul-Muttalib, my friend, I have come to you to tell you that I have decided to give my daughter Amina to your son Abdullah; if this is agreeable to you and if you accept, then let this assembly of nobles witness our agreement and the contract be drawn up forthwith.”

Abdul-Muttalib consented joyfully and a marriage contract was concluded without delay. The wedding feast was prepared and both sides made ready. The wedding took place, congratulations were exchanged, and the couple entered their nuptial chamber on the eve of the first Friday (Thursday night) of the month of Rajab wherefore this night is called “Laylat-al-Raghaib,” which means “night of desires”.

That very night the pure elements composing the light-filled body of Muhammad {s} descended from Abdullah’s loins and settled within Amina’s womb, as a pearl will form in the shell of the sea. The scholars maintain that this event took place while their bodies were in a state of ritual purity.

Sahil ibn Abdullah reports: When the Lord Allah Almighty applied His Will to the creation of Muhammad {s}, He commanded the guardian of Paradise gardens to open wide its gates and to give all inhabitants of Paradise the glad tidings of the coming of the Prophet Muhammad {s}. Messengers were sent out to spread the good news to all who dwelt in the heavens and the earth that this very night the concealed light of Muhammad {s} was to descend into his mother’s womb. Thus the Mercy to the Worlds would be conceived and born to earth.

It is related that at the time the precious elements of Muhammad’s r physical existence were embedded in Amina’s blessed body, a call went out in the spiritual kingdoms of the other world: “Oh blessed ones! Anoint your abodes with perfume and incense and prepare for a feast of holiness! Mark the coming of Muhammad {s} to the lower world with exuberant celebration and joyful festivity!”

In that same night innumerable strange and wondrous events took place of which we can only relate a small number here: the animals in Mecca all spoke fluently in human speech on that night of conception, and they said, “By the Lord of the Kaba! Tonight the Prophet Muhammad {s} is conceived in his mother’s womb, the guiding light of all the world, the lodestar of the entire universe”!

That night the wild beasts and birds congratulated one another on the coming of the Mercy to the Worlds. That night the thrones of all the kings of the whole world shook and trembled, the idols fell down upon their faces and broke; the roofs of many churches collapsed and the seers and soothsayers became tongue-tied. All the sorcerers and soothsayers assembled and held counsel, debating the portent of these signs.

They concluded that all these signs heralded the coming of the Prophet Muhammad {s}, the long awaited prophet of the Arabs who that night was conceived in his mother’s womb in the holy city of Mecca. Of this they informed their kings and potentates, and told them that they would be overcome and defeated, their sovereignty wrested from them and their code of law abolished. It was to be replaced by the divine law this messenger of light was to bring the world. They informed their kings that the revelation he would bring was to remain on earth until the last day of the world. It would supersede all previous revelations and invalidate them. Thereupon great fear and apprehension seized the hearts of the kings for the awesomeness of this divine envoy.

The mother of the blessed Prophet Muhammad {s} would hear a heavenly voice calling to her at the beginning of every month of her pregnancy that seemed to come from above as well as from below: “Blessings upon you and tidings of joy! The felicitous advent of Abu-Qasim to the world has indeed drawn nigh!”

It is related from Amina, the blessed mother of the Prophet {S}:

“I first became pregnant at the beginning of the month of Rajab. One night as I lay sleeping, I saw a very fair-faced man entering my chamber. He gazed at my heart and pointed to the unborn child in my belly, and said, ‘As-salamu alaykum, ya Muhammad! Peace be upon you!’ I asked this person, ‘Who are you, sir?’ He answered, ‘I am the father of mankind, Adam Safiullah, and I have come to give you the glad news that you are now pregnant with the Crown of Creation, the Prince of the Worlds!’

“At the start of my second month of pregnancy, I saw another man enter my room. He was very calm and dignified and shone with great light and beauty. He gazed at my heart and spoke, ‘Peace be upon you, oh much beloved, as-salamu alaykum, oh goal of all desires!’ I asked this person who he was, and he answered, ‘I am the Prophet Seth, oh Amina, and I have come to confirm the joyful auspicious prediction, for you are to become the mother of the most illustrious prophet of all!’

“At the beginning of my third month, again I saw a person of immense beauty and dignified bearing enter my abode, and he too gazed at my heart and spoke, ‘Peace be upon you, oh thou enwrapped in thy robes, (ya ayyuhal Muzammil); as-salamu alaykum, oh thou shrouded in thy mantle, (ya ayyuhal Muddahthir)!’ I then asked this person who he was, and he answered. ‘I am the Prophet Idris, and I have come to bring to you the joyous news that you are pregnant with the prince of all prophets who is invested with Allah’s mercy and compassion.’

“At the beginning of my fourth month of pregnancy a person of dark color appeared in my room who was of gentle gaze and luminous countenance. He looked at my heart and made a sign to the unborn child within me and greeted him thus: ‘Peace be upon you, oh you choicest of created beings!’ I asked this person who he was and he answered, ‘I am the Prophet Nuh, good news and joyful tidings to you, oh Amina, who are to be the mother of the celebrated and victorious Prophet of the last times!’

“In my fifth month, I beheld another person entering my chamber whose perfect grace and enlightened features were awesome. He, too, gazed at my heart and signaled to the unborn innocent within me, greeting him, ‘As-salamu alaykum, oh seal of the prophets!’ I asked this person, ‘And who are you?’ He answered, ‘I am the Prophet Hud, and I compliment you, Amina, on your good fortune of bearing the most praiseworthy of all prophets, who excels in generosity and munificence.’

“In the sixth month of my pregnancy, a person of illustrious aspect and radiant mien entered my room, gazed at my heart and addressed the unborn child within me, ‘Peace be upon thee, oh Messenger of Allah, as-salamu alayk, ya Habibullah (oh Beloved of Allah)!’ I asked this person who he might be, and he answered me, ‘I am the Prophet Ibrahim, oh Amina, the Friend of God, and I give you tidings of your bright fortune: you are to become the mother of a mighty prophet fair to behold.’

“In my seventh month, another winsome person entered my chamber, whose features were gentle and pleasing. This man looked at my heart and addressed the child within me, ‘As-salamu alayk, oh Prophet of Allah, peace be upon you, oh true friend of Allah!’ When I asked this man who he was, he said, ‘I am the Prophet Ismail, oh Amina, the Offering to Allah. I have come to give you the joyous news that you are to be the mother of a mild tempered prophet whose tongue excels in eloquence and whose portion is mercy.’

“My eighth month began, and a man came to my apartment who was of tall build and amiable expression. He gazed at my heart and spoke to the unborn child within me, ‘Peace be upon you, oh Beloved of Allah, oh mighty prophet of the Almighty!’ I asked him, ‘Who might you be, oh noble lord?’ I am Musa, the son of Imran, and I bring you the good news that you are to be the mother of the great prophet to whom will be revealed the holy book of the Quran.’

“At the beginning of the ninth month again a person entered my room whose undergarment was of pure wool. He gazed at my heart and spoke to my child, ‘Peace be upon you, oh Messenger of Allah, as-salamu alayk, ya Rasulullah!’ I asked this person, ‘Who are you?’ and he said, ‘I am `Isa, the son of Maryam, the Messiah. Best of tidings to you, oh Amina, the time is near that you will give birth, so prepare yourself and make ready.’”

In that year when Amina became pregnant, the people endured great hardship from drought and famine, and there had been a great deal of tribal warfare. When Amina conceived, all these troubles suddenly ceased, the Almighty sent down from Heaven the blessing of rain, and their land was refreshed and food prices came down. Because of the relief they experienced in that year, the people took to calling it “the year of the solving of difficulties”. So favorable was this year that all the women who were pregnant gave birth to a son.

When the Holy Prophet {S} was within his mother’s womb for two months, Abdul-Muttalib spoke to his son Abdullah, “Oh my son, within this year you are to become the father of the Arabian prophet whose coming is foretold in all the holy scriptures and who is expected by all in this year of blessings. Both you and I have been shown the high rank and station of this blessed child in our dreams. Therefore, it is only right and proper that we make suitable preparations for the birth of this extraordinary child.

The best form of congratulation I can think of is this: now is the time of the date harvest, and there are no better dates than the ones that grow in Madinah. Hence, I see it fit that you repair to Madinah to gather the best dates you can find and bring them back to celebrate the birth of your son.” So Abdul-Muttalib sent his son Abdullah to Madinah to fetch dates.

Abdullah set out on his journey, accomplished his errand and made to return. During the rest stop of the second night he passed away and was buried there. At this all the angels in Heaven became highly perturbed, and spoke to the Lord of the Worlds, “Oh, All-Powerful Lord! How is it that You have made him who is the noblest of all Your creation and the Pride of the Worlds to whom all dwellers of Heaven and earth owe reverence and praise how is it that You have chosen to make this superb being a weak and fatherless orphan before he has yet beheld the light of day? What secret significance is there to this?” Thus the angels mourned and wailed. The Almighty Lord Allah spoke to them, “A child has need of his father in this world for protection, training and education. My Beloved however has no need for anyone but Me to teach him all these things. I am his supreme protector, and through Me he is to learn all things he is needful of knowing. Other children will call to their fathers when they are in need of help; but My Beloved will call out only ‘Oh my Lord,’ when he needs assistance, he will ask support and succor from none but Me, Allah Almighty.”

The Holy Prophet {S} himself points to this fact when he says:

Truly, Allah Almighty has taught me, and His was the most excellent teaching.

When Abdullah died, he left a flock of sheep and five camels, as well as an Abyssinian slave woman who was nursing a child at the time. Her name was Umm Ayman. When the Holy Prophet {S} came into the world, this woman, Umm Ayman, became his first wet-nurse. When he had grown up, he gave her freedom and even married her to his adopted son (another freedman) Zayd bin Harith, and she bore him `Usama.

There are differing opinions as to how long his mother carried the Holy Prophet {S}. Some say it was six months, some say seven, or eight or nine months. Ibn Abbas says on this subject that it was nine months. It is also reported that his mother never experienced any of the discomforts of pregnancy, nor the pangs of childbirth that most women go through. The Prophet’s {s} mother Amina says:

“The whole duration of my pregnancy I felt none of the weight or pressure that pregnant women often feel. I only realized that I was pregnant from the absence of my monthly courses.

“From my belly there always emerged a beautiful scent, and at night I would hear the voice of dhikr and tasbih (praise and invocation) coming from within. I heard angels’ voices saying to me, “Oh Amina, you who are pregnant with the most excellent creature in all the universe, surely you are most favored of womankind!” In the sixth month of my pregnancy I saw in my dream a person who said to me, “When you have given birth, you must give the babe the name Muhammad and be sure to take the best care of this outstanding being.”

Ibn Abbas relates:

“The heavenly angels descended and surrounded the Prophet’s {s} mother Amina on all sides, so that she was placed in the middle and thus protected from the invidious gaze of the Jinn, and so no harm could befall her. Then one of the angels addressed her and spoke, ‘Oh Amina, I bring you good news of the blessed boy you bear, for this son is meant to be the last and the seal of all prophets, and the prince of them all, and a leader of his people. Allah Almighty bears witness to this from his beginning up to the end.

When you have given birth to this blessed child, recite over him these words for his protection:

Bismillahi astar’ika rabbak, wa a’wwadhuka bil-wahid

(In the Name of Allah, I beseech Thy Lord for Thy protection

and I place Thee in the keeping of the One.)

Min sharri kullu hasidin wa qa’imin wa qa’id

(From the evil of every invidious one, be he standing or seated.)

Wa kullu khalqin za’id (and whatever other creature)

wa ‘an il-fasadi jahilin wa kullu khalafin fasid

(and from the mischief of the ignorant and every evil consequence)

min nafizhin au ‘abithin wa kullu jinnin marid

(from the meddler or disturber, and from every defiant Jinn)

ya’khudhu bil-murasidin bi-t-turuq-il-muwarid.

(who takes advantage of any easy way of access )

La yadurrahu wa la ya’tunahu fi yaqazhatin wa la manam wa la fi zha’ni wa la fi maqam

(that they may not approach with harm while he wakes or sleeps,

in no circumstance or place)

Sajis-al-layali wa awakhar-al-ayyam Yad-allahi fauqa aydihim wa hijab-allahi fauqa ‘adiyatihim.

(Allah’s Hand is above theirs, and Allah’s Shield over their misdeeds.)’”

This protective prayer is mentioned also by Muhammad bin Abdullah al Karim ibn Khalid al-Baghdadi, who reports that the Holy Prophet’s {s} mother Amina said, “One night in a dream I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Oh Amina, verily Amina, you are to be the mother of the most excellent of all beings and the prince of them all, the last and the seal of all the prophets of Allah. When you have born him, you are to name him Muhammad; and know that in the Torah his name is given as Ahmad. Attach this amulet to him..’ Upon waking I found a page of silver at the head of my bedstead upon which was written: Bismillahi astar’ika wa a’wwadhu bil-wahid…. etc.”

As those versed in holy learning teach us: Any child that has this ta’wiz (amulet) placed upon him will be safe from interference and enmity of the Jinn, by the leave of Allah.

Abul-’Umar said: “Whoever carries upon his person this protective talisman of the Prophet, let him lie down to sleep wherever he wishes and fear not, for no harm can befall him then, for the sake of the blessed Prophet of Allah.”

There is also dispute concerning the month the Holy Prophet {S} was born; most scholars agree that it was the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal. There is also disagreement as to the exact day, but largely it is assumed to have been the twelfth night of the month, though there is dissent concerning even the time of day: some think it more correct to say he was born in daytime. Some, however say there is really no disagreement in this matter at all, but rather that both may be true, in that the hour of the noble and blessed birth of the Prophet Muhammad {s} may have been the early dawn, before the actual rising of the sun. Therefore, those claiming it was nighttime have justifiable point to argue, while those claiming it to have been day are also not wrong, depending on the point of view. At any rate, it seems certain to have taken place in the early hour of dawn.

There is dispute as well concerning which day of the week it was, but it seems most correct to say that it was a Monday. It was a Monday also when the Holy Prophet {S} set out on the Hijra (migration from Mecca to Madinah) and he entered Madinah on a Monday as well. The Sura al-Maida (The Table) was revealed on a Monday, he was blessed with the Mi’raj (the Ascension) on a Monday eve, and the victory of Mecca also took place on Monday, and finally, the Holy Prophet {S} exchanged this passing world for his eternal abode on a Monday also. Peace and Blessings be upon him and his blessed family and his noble companions, from now on until eternity, Amin.

The religious scholars (‘Ulama) say that the decisive battle in the Year of the Elephant took place when nine days remained to the month of Muharram. Fifty days later was the twelfth of Rabi’ al-Awwal, and it was a Monday. According to some authorities it was the twenty-first day of April, while others maintain it was the second day of that month that the Holy Prophet {S} was born to the world.

Because it was in the month of April that the Pride of Creation appeared in this world, the Lord Almighty blessed the water that rains from the sky during this month in a special way so that it is of particular benefit and usefulness to men, for the sake of His beloved Prophet {S}. The sun stood at the end of the sign of Aries, and the moon in the sign of Libra, and all the planets stood in a place of exaltation at that hour. It was six hundred years after ‘Isa bin Maryam’s u ascension to the heavens, two thousand years after the death of the Prophet Ibrahim u, and six thousand sixty-two years after Adam u was sent down to be the representative of Allah Almighty on earth.

People might ask why was the Prophet {S} born during the month Rabi’-al- Awwal, rather than during Ramadan or one of the holy months; why was he born on a Monday rather than on the eve of Jum’a (the night of Thursday to Friday), or on Laylat-al-Qadr, or the fifteenth of Sha’ban,

or any other holy night? Had the birth of Allah’s Beloved r occurred on one of these blessed days or nights, ignorant people could easily have imagined that the Holy Prophet’s {s} eminence and high spiritual station, his extraordinary gifts and special powers were due to his birthday falling on these dates.

However, quite the opposite is the case: any place or date is honored by its being associated with the Holy Prophet {S}. Muhammad {s} was born in the city of Mecca and spent most of his life there, being called to prophethood in his fortieth year; he then spent thirteen years in the city of his birth, preaching Islam to his people before he migrated to Madinah where he lived for another decade teaching his message.

Finally, he surrendered his noble soul and took up his station in the abode of permanence. His pure body was laid to rest in the soil of Madinah, not in Mecca, so that Madinah should be honored above other places by harboring his blessed remains in her soil. Perhaps it is that this place is especially distinguished by the Owner of the Throne on High, and He chose to honor this city by making it the burial site of His Beloved. May Allah grant us the visit to his fragrant tomb and make our way there easy, Amin.

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December 15th, 2011 by naqshbandi

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