The Life of Prophet Mohammed Cd 4 - Early Life

CD 4 Early Life

The Situation in Arabia

The situation in Arabia and the world was very desperate, and for more information in that regard you could refer to an excellent book written by Shaikh Abu Hasan Al Nadavi, called “What has the World Lost by the Downfall of the Muslims?” He has a whole chapter in his book talking about the situation in the world at the time of Rasoolullah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). Over here, we just have the situation in Arabia, but over there, he talks about the situation in the Persian Empire, China, India, Roman Empire, all around the World. And it was in a very desperate state, it needed the light of prophethood.

It wasn’t entirely evil. People around the world still retained some good qualities. And Al- Boothy, he talks about some of the good qualities that the non-believers of the Arabs had in the time of Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). And he mentions a few examples like; generosity, and hospitality, fulfilling of a pledge, pride, and denial of shame and injustice, firm will, and determination, perseverance, and deliberateness, pure and simple life. So, these are some aspects that were taken advantage of by Islam.

Amazing Qualities of the Sahaba

You see, the Sahabah (ra) because they held these qualities, they were successful in spreading the religion. Their generosity and hospitality made them welcomed in the nations they would go to. I mean, people around the world would welcome the Sahaba (ra). They weren’t like a despised occupier. The Sahaba were welcomed in the lands they went to. The people saw them as a liberating army that would free them from slavery and the servitude that they were going through. This held true for example when it came to the people of Egypt and the people of Syria, who were ruled by the Romans. They didn’t see the army that is coming in as displacing another occupying army. No, they saw them as people who are liberating them.

And then there was something among the Sahabah (ra). They didn’t care for power and authority. In many places they would go, they would train among the local people leadership, and then they would hand it over to them. The Sahabah were out to call people to Islam, not to rip their resources, like we had in the colonial era of Europe. And the imperial powers of Europe, France, Britain, Italy, Holland. I mean, they went all over the world, these European powers went all over the world taking advantage of the people and stripping them of their wealth. That wasn’t the case with the armies of the Sahaba (ra). Their fulfillment of pledges, their firmness and determination, they were strong, you could count on them. They were powerful. When they gave a word, they would stick to it. So, these were qualities that were very important for da’wah, and that’s why Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) chose that particular area to host the last message. I mean, it wasn’t a haphazard thing that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) chose Mecca to be the birthplace of Rasool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). The people in that area at that time had qualities which made them the fittest to carry the message. And they pledged their lives for it, and they gave their lives. They sacrificed everything for Islam.

Anyway, we talked last time about the story of the Elephant (Al-Fil)

The Birth of Prophet Mohammed

(sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam)

Audio (4 min. & 16 sec.)

Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was born, he was born in the year in which Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) destroyed the army of Abraha. There are many stories mentioned referring to the birth of Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), miracles that happened, and you could go into other books to study these stories. We’re not going to go through them, for the simple reason that I am trying to stick to a simple standard of narration, and these stories are usually weak. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), when his mother Amina was pregnant, Abdullah, his father, was on a journey to Ash-Shaam. But he ended up dying close to Medina, and he was buried there. So, he died before the birth of Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was born and his mother saw a light that is coming out of her, and this light is reaching towards Ash-Shaam, and that was interpreted as the light of the message of Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) reaching to the world. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa salam) says about his lineage. There is a few hadith that we will state. First of all, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) says that, “Allah knows best where to place his prophethood.” So, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) chose the best to be His Messenger, Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).

Surat Al-An’aam 6:124 “Allah is most knowing of where He places His Message”

Hadith - Who Am I?

Now, Imam Ahmed narrates a hadith that people were talking different things about Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), for example, they said that Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was like a green tree growing in a desert. What they were trying to say is that Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was the only good person among his clan. So, Ibn Abbas said: “Certain things that people were saying reached the messenger of Allah so he mounted the pulpit and asked, “Who am I?” They replied and said, “You are the messenger of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala).” He replied, “I am Muhammed bin Abdullah bin Abdul Muttallib, which means son, I am Muhammed, son of Abdullah, son of Abdul Muttallib. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) divided the creation and made me part of his best creatures. He made them all into two groups, placing me in the better of them. He created the tribes and placed me in the best, and divided them into clans and placed me in the best one, and the best of you, both in clan and in spirit.

Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was saying that I’m not a good person among a group of evil people. So, he said I am the best, but I am also from among the best. So, my clan and my tribe are the most noble. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) also says, “Verily Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) granted eminence to Kinaana from amongst the descendants of Ishmael, and He granted eminence to the Quraish from among Kinaana, and he granted eminence to the Banu Hashim among Quraish, and He granted me eminence from the tribe of Banu Hashim.” So, Rasool Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) was the greatest from among Banu Hashim, and Banu Hashim was the most noble among Quraish, and Quraish was the most noble among Kinaana, and Kinaana was the most noble of the descendants of Ismail (as). Now, Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) says in another hadith, “I was the product of true marriage, not fornication, from Adam right on up to when my father and my mother had me. I was not at all tainted by the fornication of the Jahilliya.” In the time of Jahilliya, because of the corruption and lewdness, that occurs when people are away from the true message, their hearts become perverted. And a lot of immoral acts occur among the people. Rusool Allah’s (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is saying, even though part of my ancestry lived in those eras, in those times, but I was a product of marriage all the way up to Adam (as). So, there isn’t any of my ancestors who had a relationship of zina. It is all through marriage, all the way to Adam (as), and that is something that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) has granted to Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). It was all through true marriage. I hope the meaning of this is clear, that the lineage of Rusool Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), from him all the way up to Adam (as) was a product of marriage.

Famous Names

Audio (9 min. & 30 sec.)

The famous names of Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) that we know are; Muhammed and Ahmed, but he has some additional names. And we’ll talk about the meanings of these names. The name that was given to him by his parents was Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). And who was the one that named him Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam)? Who was it? His grandfather, Abdul Muttallib, is the one that named him Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). Now, the name ‘Muhammed’ means to be eternally praised. For he (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), obliges praise from people for his characteristics, his sayings, his actions, and he is the embodiment of praise. And he is for Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). So, Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) means the person who draws praise. Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), as we mentioned earlier, is praised eternally. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) has fulfilled the meaning of his name. There is no human being that ever lived in history who was praised like Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). He is praised day and night.

Ahmed, the name Ahmed comes from the same root. You see, Mohammed and Ahmed come from the root ‘Hamd’. And what does Hamd mean? ‘Praise’. When we say Alhamdulallah, Praise Be to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). So, both the name Mohammed and Ahmed are derived from the same root. Mohammed means the person who draws praise; So, he is praised. Ahmed means that, ‘he praises’ Allah. So Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is the most among us in praising Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). So, there is no person that ever lived who praises Allah (Azolza), like Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). So, here we have two meanings, Mohammed means he is the most praised, Ahmed, he praises Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) the most. These are the two famous names of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). But he has also told us some of his other names, and these are from Ahadith. One of his other names is Al-Hashir. Al-Hashir means: the gatherer to whom humanity will be resurrected in his wake. The prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is the first to be resurrected among the creation, then mankind will be resurrected following him. So, the first person to be resurrected will be Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and then people will come after that. So, he is the first on The Day of Judgement. ‘Al-Muqqaffi’, ‘the successor’, for he (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is the last of the Prophets and messengers and there shall be none succeeding him. So, Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is the last. Muqqaffi is the last. ‘Al-Maahi’, ‘the eraser’ that erases and eradicates Kufr. There is no prophet that will succeed in eliminating Kufr entirely except Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). Now, that mission has not been fulfilled yet, because his ummah are still carrying on that mission. But the eventual victory of Islam, which will be the combination of human history, will be a moment of time when the whole world will be Muslim. And, that would be carried on by the ummah of Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) under the leadership of, Isa (as). Jesus, may peace be upon him. So, Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is the one who will be successful in eradicating, erasing kufr from the face of the earth. So, he’s called Al-Maahi. He will erase and eradicate kufr. One of his other names is Nabbiyyin Mulhuma, ‘The Prophet of the Fierce Battle’. Now, Mulhuma is a fierce battle and it’s also a series of battles. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was named the prophet of Al-Mulhama, the prophet of the fierce battle. One can give different interpretations to that. One meaning is that his ummah are the greatest in term of Jihad. There is no ummah that has fought Jihad like the ummah of Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). That’s one meaning. Another meaning that could be drawn from this name of Rasool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), that the future of humanity after Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) will be that of very fierce battles. And we have seen examples of that in WWI and WWII. History is divided into stages. We’re now living in the stage of Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), which extends until the Day of Judgement. So, events that are happening now, even though they might not be done by Muslims, but we are still living in the era of Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). And everyone living on the face of the earth, is part of the ummah of Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), in the sense that he is their prophet. Now, whether they accept it or not, is a different question. But, they are part of his ummah. And they will come on the Day of Judgement, and they will be asked about who? They won’t be asked about Isa (as), they won’t be asked about Musa (as), they will be asked about Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). Did you follow him or not?

Um Ayman

Audio (14 min. & 45 sec.)

Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was nursed initially by his mother, and Um Ayman, whose name is Baraka. And Um Ayman is an Abyssinian woman who lived in Mecca, she later on became Muslim. And, Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) married her to his emancipated slave, Zaid bin Harith. Zaid bin Harith was a slave, and Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) freed him, and he married him to Umm Ayman. So, she also nursed him. It was a tradition among the urban Arabs to send their children to grow up in the desert. They used to believe that the desert is more pure, and is a cleaner environment, and is healthier for them to grow in. They also believed that this will strengthen their character, because of the harshness, it will make them stronger people. So, they would send their children out of the cities to live in the desert. And, that happened to Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). He (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was brought up in the land of Banu Sa’d.

Miracles with Halima Sadia

Halima Sadia narrates to us this story, she says that she came with her friends to Mecca so that they could take with them children to nurse. And for them this was something that they were paid for. So, you would have these Bedouin women come into Mecca and they would try to adopt or nurse some children. Halima Sadia came into Mecca and she said that that particular year, was a year of famine. So, they were very poor. Now, she and her friends went around houses of Mecca searching for children who to be nursed.

She said that Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was presented to each and every one of them, and they all declined to accept him. They all refused to accept Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). Why? Because he was an orphan. And, they were saying, “What good is an orphan? Who will pay us, if his father is dead?” So, they wouldn’t agree on a certain amount of money. What they would do is nurse the child and then they will be given some kind of financial compensation as a gift. Since Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was an orphan, no one accepted him because he doesn’t have a father to pay for him. And, they said his mother wouldn’t be able to pay as much. So, they all declined to accept Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).

Halima says, “At the end of the day, all of my friends were going back to their camps with children except myself. I found no one to take with me. So, at night I told my husband, “I’m going to go tomorrow morning and accept that child called Muhammed, since we have no one else, I am not going to go back empty handed.” She said, “My husband agreed. So, I went the day next in the morning. I went to Muhammed’s (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) mother, Amina bint Wahb, and I said that, ‘I accept to take your child.’ Halima says that, “The night before we couldn’t get any sleep because our camel was not providing any milk, and because of the famine, and the hunger, I wasn’t able to provide my own child with milk. So, he would cry throughout the night and keep us awake.” That was their situation, very poor.

Halima says that, “As soon as I picked up Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and took him back to my camp, my breast immediately welcomed him, and provided him with all the milk that he needed, until he was satisfied. And the milk was enough for my son. And that was the first night that we were able to get a full night of sleep because my son wasn’t able to sleep for quite a few nights. So, immediately the barakah of Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was apparent. She says, “And then my husband went out to milk the camel and it was providing so much milk that my husband came back and said, “Oh Halima, you have brought us a blessed soul.” “There is something going on. All of this blessing is showering us since you brought this young child in our house.

So now, they’re still camping in Mecca, and they’re ready now to go back to the desert. Halima says that, “When we were coming to Mecca, I was riding a donkey that was so old and weak, it was slowing down the whole group, and it was annoying everybody else. She says that this donkey was old and weak. You know, sometimes you will have a donkey, rather than going straight, it would go sideways, very tired and disoriented. She said when we were going back, my donkey was the fastest, among the group. She said my friends were asking me, ‘Is this the same animal you brought with you when we came to Mecca?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ They said, ‘By Allah something is going on.’”

Now they were back to their land. Halima said, “Me and my husband would send out our goats to graze. They would come back full, and we would milk then whenever we want. While everybody else in our tribe, their animals would be hungry without any milk.” Now, people are starting to complain to the shepherds, telling them, ‘Why don’t you go and graze the animals in the same place Halima is grazing hers’. She said, “So they would take their animals, after us, following us to the same place, yet ours would come back full and theirs would come back empty.” And she said, “The child was growing up, and we were seeing the blessing of Allah on all of us, because of him. She says, there is a statement here, And God went on blessing us this way and we recognized it. Then he reached 2 years of age, he was already growing up a very fine boy. Not like the other children. I swear that by the age of 2 he was a sturdy boy.” So, we took him to his mother, when he was two years old. Now, it’s time for them to return the child. That’s it. And, Subannallah, it seems that the Arabs of Mecca learned that the city is not a very healthy environment. Especially with Mecca, because it receives a lot of visitors from all over Arabia. You know they could bring with them different diseases and germs into town, but the desert is very pure. The desert is hot and dry, and that makes it an unsuitable environment for the growth of bacteria. And it would be a very healthy place to be.

So, now they felt it was time for them to return Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) to his mother. They went to Mecca. They told Amina, we want to keep Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) with us. You know it’s not good for him to be in Mecca and it might be dangerous. They were bringing up all of these excuses. They wanted to keep Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). They loved Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) so much, they knew that he (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was blessed. They wanted to keep him, and they kept on trying, and trying, and trying, until Amina agreed. Subannallah, that was the blessing of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) following Mohammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). She eventually agreed. So, they took him (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) back with them. One day Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was playing with his foster brother. His foster brother came in rushing and said, ‘My brother from Quraish!’ They said, ‘What happened to him?’ He said, ‘Two men dressed in white, came down and knocked him to the ground and then they opened up his abdomen.” So, Halima said, “Me and his father went rushing, and we came to see Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), his color was pale, and we asked him what happened? He said, ‘two men came and opened my chest, and they took out something from it.’” Halima, she loved Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) so much, and she didn’t want anything to harm him. Plus she didn’t want anything bad to happen to him when he (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is with her.

So, she rushed back to Mecca, and went to Amina, and said, “Here is Muhammed, you can now have him. We have fulfilled our responsibility.” Amina said, “How come you are bringing him back when you were so interested in keeping him?” They said nothing. She insisted. She said, “Tell me what happened. You were so insistent on keeping him, and now you want to bring him back. What happened?” Halima said, “She kept on questioning us, until we eventually told her.” Amina responded and said, “Are you afraid for him, that Satan might hurt him? By Allah, that will not happen, when I was pregnant with him, it was the lightest pregnancy, and when I delivered him, his birth was unlike any other child. And when he came out, I have seen light that was reaching to Ash-Shaam. So the protection of Allah is with him, and I am sure that he will have a great future.”

Abu Talib

Audio (25 min. & 8 sec.)

So now, Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was back with his mother. His mother passed away when he was at the age of six. So now, he lost his father and mother. He was adopted by his grandfather Abdul Muttallib, who raised him up. And Abdul Muttallib passed away when Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was at the age of 8. And now, Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was taken care of by his Uncle Abu Talib, who protected him, and helped him, and supported him for the next 40 years, in the life of Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).

And this is the early age, the early years of Muhammed’s (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) life. We will talk about a few events here and there that happened before prophethood. We’re not going to spend much time on the pre-prophethood era. But we’ll talk about the important events that happened.

Event #1

Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was protected by Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala); he would not commit sins which were usual and normal amongst his people. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) was keeping him (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) away from these sins. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) narrates an example of this. He (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) says that, “I was a shepherd, and one day I told my friend, who was also a shepherd with me, I told him, ‘tonight I want to go in to Mecca to attend the parties my peers attend.’ Rusool Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) was a young man at the time. And, all of his friends would attend parties, except he. He was the only one who would not join them in these parties. So, Rusool Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) said one day, I wanted to go and see what they were doing. So I told my friend to take care of my flock until I come back. He agreed. Rusool Allah said, I went into Mecca, and I arrived at the place where they were having this party. And Rusool Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) said as soon as I was hearing the music, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) struck my ears, so I fell down asleep. By the time I woke up, the party was over. He said the next day, I decided to attend another party. Rusool Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) said, I went into Mecca, same arrangement with my friends. I went into Mecca, and as soon as I reached the place and I was hearing the music, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) struck my ears again, and I fell down asleep. And I woke up after the party is over, and I realized that this is a sign to me from Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala).” Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) is giving me a sign.

Event #2

We have another example that was mentioned by Zaid bin Haritha. Zaid bin Haritha, who was a servant of Rasool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). Zaid, he narrates, he says: “There was a brass idol called Isa’f and Na’ila, which the polytheists would touch as they performed tawaaf. The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘don’t touch it.’” So, you had Isa’f and Na’ila. And, the people of Quraish, when they would make Hajj or Umrah, they would touch these two idols. It was part of their worship. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) told Zaid, don’t touch it. Now, how did Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) know that he wasn’t supposed to touch the idols? It was hidaayah coming from Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). So, as we went around (again) I told myself I would touch it to see what would happen. When I did so, the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) asked me, 'Were you not forbidden to do that?'" Zayd then stated that, “The Messenger of Allah never saluted an idol, right up to when Allah The All Mighty honored him and He gave him the Revelation.”

Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) never made sujood to an idol, never touched the idols in the sense of worship. And, Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) had a natural dislike to idol- worship, and he even applied those rules on his family. Zaid bin Haritha, who was his servant, Rusool Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) told him don’t be involved in touching these idols. And that is why Ali ibn Talib (ra), he never worshiped an idol. Why? Because he was raised up in the house of who? In the house of Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). When Abu Talib was poor, Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) offered to take care of his son, Ali bin Abu Talib. So, Ali bin Talib was raised up by Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). And Ali bin Talib therefore never made sujood to an idol. He never worshiped idols because he was brought up in the house of the Messenger (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).

Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) was guiding him (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) towards some of the ibaadat that nobody else knew about. Among the people of Quraish, during Hajj, they would be the only people not to participate in Arafaat. So, you have different rituals of Hajj. You have tawaf around Al-Kaaba, you have Sayi between Al-Safa and Al-Marwa, you have standing in Arafat, you have camping in Mina. The people of Quraish would participate in all of these rituals with the exception of Arafat. Why? Because Arafat is considered out of Al-Haram. Arafat is outside the boundaries of the sacred place, Al-Harem. Arafat is outside. So, all of the Arabs would go to Arafat in Hajj, with the exception of the people of Quraish. They would say, ‘We are the dwellers of Al-Haram, how can we go outside of Al-Harem?’ That was their logic. If we are a part of Al-Harem, we are a people of Mecca, how can we get out of the boundaries of Mecca? So, they would stop at the borders with Arafat. Al-Mutam bin Jubair, he lost his camel, and he went to look for it. And he ended up searching for his camel in Arafat. To his amazement, who does he find there? Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). Ibn Jubair says, “Isnt he from among the people of Quraish? What is he doing in Arafat?” But Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) was guiding Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) by fitrah to go to Arafat during the time of Hajj.

The first profession for Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was shepherding, that’s the first thing he did. And in Bukhari, Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) says, “Allah has not sent a prophet that was not a shepherd.” His companions then asked, “And you?” He (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Yes, I used to herd sheep, with compensation from the people of Mecca.” Every prophet has been a shepherd. It is striking that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) has trained all of his anbiya, by going through this line of work. Being a shepherd. Picture*

What are the lessons that we can learn from Anbiya being shepherds? There are lessons to be learned from them being shepherds, and there are lessons to be learned from them being shepherds of specifically sheep. Because that’s what the hadith states. It didn’t just make an unqualified statement that they were shepherds, it says that they were shepherds of sheep. Actually, the hadith says Galaganim, and ganim could mean either sheep or goats. The same word in Arabic, refers to both.

Audio (33 min. & 24 sec.)

Lessons from Being a Shepherd

Lesson #1

• The most important lesson to learn from that, we’re talking about lessons that the Anbiyah learned from being shepherds. The most important lesson that they learned, the most important training that they get from being shepherds is responsibility. And Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) says in the hadith, “You are all shepherds and you are all responsible for your herds.” And then he says that the imam is responsible for his people”, the imam, being the leader of the Muslims. The man is responsible for his household, the woman is responsible, everyone is responsible. So, the first lesson to learn from being a shepherd is responsibility.

You know a shepherd is usually working for somebody else, who owns the flock. So, they’re hired by someone else. So, they have to report to a higher authority. They have to report to someone else. Now a shepherd, cannot go back to the owner and say, ‘Well, I’m sorry I lost one sheep because that sheep happens to be stupid. It doesn’t matter what the sheep do, you are responsible. Anything that happens to the flock, even if the sheep was wrong, you are responsible for it. We can’t go back and say well the sheep was wrong, it’s not my fault. No, it’s your fault. So, they learned to be responsible for a herd, even if the herd is not responsible for itself. They still feel that they are going to be held accountable for the flock. Regardless if, whether the flock is intelligent or not. Whether their united or not. Whether they obey or not. I’m accountable for that. So, it’s a very important lesson for the leader. You are responsible for your herd. And the Anbiya of Allah, one day, are going to be accountable for Allah (swt,) for their people. So, that’s the first lesson they learned, being responsible.

Lesson #2

• Second lesson, it teaches them patience. Taking out sheep to graze, they take their time, they’re slow, and you have to wait. You have to be patient. They might end up fighting with each other. They might end up playing with each other. You have to wait. You have to be patient. And you can’t really tell them, come on guys, finish up, we have to leave. You can’t. They’re going to take their time. And you have to sit there waiting. You see shepherds, sometimes when their sheep are grazing, they would just sit on a rock, and wait until the sheep have their fill. So, it teaches patience. And you’re doing this day in and day out, on a daily basis. You leave in the morning, you come back at sunset. You have to be patient with these animals, you have to bear with them. Even if you’re not communicating well with them, and if they’re not communicating well with you. You still have to be patient and bear with them.

So, the Anbiya learnt to be very very patient with their people. I mean look at what Musa (as) went through with Bani Israel. Unbearable! But Musa (as) had a training in shepherding longer than maybe any other prophet. He was a shepherd for ten years when he left Egypt and he got married to the daughter of Shuaibh. What did the father, What did his father in law tell him? You work for me eight years or ten. So, the contract was eight years, and then he told him, if you want to add two years to that, it’s a favor that you would do me. Now the ayat in the Quran doesn’t state whether Musa (as) worked for eight or ten. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) wanted to know. So he (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) asked Jibril how long did Musa (as) work? Jibril told him, “He worked the most complete and perfect term.” In other words, ten years. Being a Nabi of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), he’s going to do the best job. So, he, even though the contract stated eight years, he did ten. Musa (as) went through a lot, but he was patient. He was patient with his people.

Nuh (as), nine hundred and fifty years in da’wah and he was still patient with his people. He tried every different way, “I tried publicly, and privately. I tried at night and daytime. I tried every way and they were rejecting my message.” Imagine doing the same thing, meeting the same people who are turning you down, for nine hundred and fifty years.

Lesson #3

• The third lesson, Protection: the shepherd protects the flock. Now, there are various dangers, seen or unseen. You have wolves. You have other beasts, and then you have diseases. All of this, the shepherd needs to be on top of it all. And needs to consistently make sure no dangers are affecting the flock.

And the Anbiya of Allah, are very protective of their people. They tried to protect them from physical and psychological dangers. In Medina, at night, suddenly a commotion was heard. So, some of Sahabah immediately picked up their weapons, and on their horses, and racing towards the source of the sound. They went there and to their amazement they found Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) already on his way back, telling them that everything is fine. So even though these Shabah were so fast and swift in getting there, Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was already there before them. And he checked it out, made sure that it’s fine, and came back. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would warn them from Shaitan, would warn them from every, Rusool Allah (sal Allahu Alahi wa Salam) had not let any danger that could afflict us without warning. Everything. He even talked about events in the future, Ad-Dajjal. He told the Sahaba, he said, I have warned you about the Dajal, like no other prophet has warned its people. Meaning, I have given you more details than anybody else. If he comes out while I’m among you, I will take care of that. If he comes out after I pass away, then everyone is responsible for their own protection. So, that’s another lesson the Anbiya leaned from being shepherds.

Lesson #4

Audio (40 min. & 12 sec.)

• A fourth lesson. These animals are closer to Earth, and their sight is very limited. Sheep can only see so far. Any small obstacle would block their view. But a human being standing up tall has a longer view. And from that vantage point can see danger while it is approaching. The sheep cannot. Because the shepherd is standing up and staring in every direction, the first to notice danger, would be the shepherd. And the shepherd therefore, would give an advance warning to the flock. So, you’d have this flock of sheep, grazing around happily, and they don’t know that there’s some danger a few feet away. But because of their short sightedness, they cannot see it while the shepherd can.

And that is the case with the Anbiya, they sense and they detect the danger before it approaches us. And they have the clearest vision and they have the longest view. And they have a vantage point that none of us has. And they know what is good for us.

The Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) says, “The analogy of me and you; is like someone sitting next to a fire at night. When you have a fire at night, what happens? It would attract insects. If you have a lamp outside of your house, and its night time, you’d have all these moths flying around it. They’re attracted by any source of light. Now, if the see fire, they think it is light, not knowing that it will burn them. So, all of these moths and flying insects are attracted to this fire, thinking it’s light. And they get there and they burn. You just, hearing sounds. What you’re hearing is really an insect exploding. Just burning alive.

Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) says, “That’s the analogy of me and you. I’m like somebody standing next to this fire. And you are attracted to it, and you’re jumping in it, while I am grabbing you by your clothes, dragging you away and you are forcing yourselves into it.” I’m holding you, dragging you by your clothes, and you are releasing yourself from me, jumping into the fire. He knows that it’s fire, we don’t. He sees the danger we don’t. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was inviting the people to Jannah, and they are forcing themselves to the path of hell fire. So, the shepherd sees the danger and realizes it. And is warning, giving very strong warnings to the flock. I mean, if you have in front of you, if you see a blind man walking. And in front of this man, is a deep trench. And this man is blind, he cannot see. So, within a few steps, he’s going to fall into that trench, and he might kill himself. In that situation, what would your response be? You would jump up and scream. And give that man an immediate warning. Be careful! You’re not going to sit there and think about it, and try to think about some very polite and pleasant words that you could deliver to this man. You’re going to scream to the top of your voice and tell him, Be Careful! And that’s what the Anbiya were doing. They were giving a very plain straight forward warning, not because they’re lacking sensitivity. And they are attempting to hurt the feelings of others. No, because they want to save the other people. Because they really cared about them.

And the rayee (shepherd) might hit some of the animals, not because he wants to hurt them, but because he wants to save them. So, whenever we see a Nabi of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), standing up and giving what seems to be a very direct and staunch warning, it is because they care about their people. When Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) stood on the mimbar (pulpit) and said, it is reported that Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) stood on the pulpit in the masjid and told the people, “I am warning you, hell fire!” “I am warning you, hell fire!!” “I am warning you, hell fire!!!” And his voice was going up and up an up, the narrator of the hadith said, “The people in the marketplace could hear Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) in the masjid.” And he was repeating the same thing again and again, I am warning you, hellfire. So, they have a long view.

Lesson #5

• Number five - Simplicity: A shepherd is living a very simple life. He cannot have all of the accessories of life with you in the desert. You cannot take your Mercedes Benz car, and your refrigerator with all of the different fruits and types of food. And you have a couch with you in the desert, and you have a tv and a remote control. You can’t have that in the desert. In the desert, all what you can carry with you is a few items and that’s it. You have to give up all of the things you have. Even if you’re a wealthy person, you can’t have these things with you out there when you’re shepherding. You can’t have it. You’re going out in the desert walking with these animals, you have to be light. So, it teaches them to lead a simple life. A shepherd is eating very simple food, he’s having very simple accommodations. It teaches them simplicity. They become very simple. And it teaches them to get accustomed to different environments; it could be raining, you still have to feed the animals. It could be cold, hot, windy, all different climates. A shepherd has to deal with that. And a shepherd is the last to take cover. You’re responsible for these animals. You have to take them in, you have to protect them. So, it teaches them to get accustomed to different ways of life. So, Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would travel from one place to another, would go out in battles. And he was able to get accustomed to all of this because of his experience as a shepherd.

Lesson #6

• Six - Closeness to the creation of Allah. It pulls you out of the artificial world. You are out with the creation of Allah, close to nature. Dear brothers and sisters, the life that we are leading could leave some harmful scars on our hearts and our way of thinking. Living in this concrete world where everything is artificial, is against the natural disposition of our creation. We were created from this Earth, and we are close to nature, we are part of it. And keeping us away from that in this artificial world, is keeping us away from contemplating in the creation of Allah.

Look at how many references are made in Quran to the creation of Allah; the sun, the moon, stars, heavens, mountains, rivers, oceans, plants. All of this is mentioned in the Quran, why is Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) talking about all of these things? To draw our attention to His Creation because His Creation is a mirror, of His Abilities. The Creation of Allah is a mirror of the attributes of Allah. If you want to learn about the Greatness of Allah, look at His Creation. If you want to learn about the Wisdom of Allah, look at His Creation. If you want to learn about the Knowledge of Allah, look at His Creation. Basically, if you want to learn about all of the names of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), you’ll find some reflection of them in the Creation of Allah. So, when we want to learn about Allah, all what we have to do is look at His Creation. That is how we can learn the Alim (knowledge) of the Greatness of Allah. A shepherd spends a lot of time close to nature, and that gives them a chance to contemplate. Now, I’m not, every shepherd will take advantage of that, but the opportunity is given. And the Anbiyah of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) took advantage of that opportunity. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) would spend time thinking about the creation of Allah, wondering about it. So, these are some lessons, there are some others. Some lessons to be learned from being shepherds.

Audio (49 min. & 03 sec.)

Audio (49 min. & 03 sec.)

Why Sheep?

Now, what about sheep? How come specifically sheep? How come it didn’t say they were shepherds of camels? Shepherds of cows? How come specifically sheep? Now, we might say that in the case of Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), brought up in Arabia, it was not their custom to raise cows, but they did raise camels. And Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was never in his life a shepherd of camels. Other Anbiya, who lived in different areas, why was it specifically sheep?

Well, sheep are very weak animals. They are weaker than cows, and much weaker than camels. Therefore, they need more protection. They need more care. And because of this weakness, they could easily fall prey. And when Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) wanted to warn us from Shaitan, what did Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) say? He (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) brought in his experience and he said, “Stick with the jamaah, be with the group, be close to the group of the Muslims because the wolf eats from the straying sheep.” So, Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) learned as a shepherd that if one sheep goes astray, that will be the target of the wolf. The wolf will not hit the flock. The wolf will hit the one that is alone.

And we are weak as these sheep when it comes to Shaitan. Shaitan can tempt us and attack us. We talked about the weakness of sheep and how similar that is to our weakness. But there is another important lesson to learn. And that is the fact that we are affected by the environment we work in. Our work leaves permanent influence on our personality. Shepherds of sheep are different than shepherds of camels or shepherds of cows. Shepherds of sheep are different than cowboys. And cowboys are different than shepherds of camels. Why? Because they are dealing with a different animal. Sheep tend to be very compassionate, very merciful. And they are weak. So, the shepherd learns to become merciful and kind with them because they are very fragile animals; you cannot be too harsh with sheep.

Be Careful Choosing Your Profession!

Audio (51 min. & 44 sec.)

So, the Anbiya of Allah learn how to be compassionate with their followers. But when it comes to camels for example, camels tend to be very arrogant animals. And you cannot be soft with a camel, otherwise it will take advantage of you. With the camel, we have to meet that arrogance with strength, you meet the pride with pride. And that makes the shepherds of camels rough, and it makes them very tough. And they could be rude. And that is something that is learned because of the environment that they’re living in. And we could talk about the qualities, or the characteristics of cows and draw their influence on the shepherds. What you do affects you. Teachers tend to have a different personality than doctors. Doctors have different personalities than engineers. Engineers have different personalities than skilled workers. Farmers have different personalities than so and so. Your work affects your personality. So, after being a doctor for a few years, you lose your ability to write, start scribbling. Being a teacher for a very very long time, makes a person such a fatherly figure, and is always giving advice. And they might do this with people who are their peers, but because their used to dealing with children, they start dealing with others in a similar way. People who stay in the academic field for a very long time, tend to be very scholarly, even when they’re outside the academic world. The way they speak, this is a specification of the way they talk. The words that they pick would be different that somebody who has less education. And mechanics, since they are always dealing with machines will tend to have the personality that is different than a farmer who is always dealing with plants and is close to nature. Actually, the influence is both ways. Your personality will affect your profession, and your profession will affect you. Because people with a certain interest would tend to choose a profession that suits their personality. But then that profession would push them further in those traits. And they would end up developing those. People who stay in the political world for a very long time, tend to be more deceptive than others. And it also depends on the political situation that you’re your working in. I mean, because that’s your daily business. That’s how you have to be from morning till night. You have to put on, for an example an actor. Somebody who’s always acting, putting on a different face, imitating different personalities. That teaches them something. Doesn’t it? It affects their personality. So, our work affects us. Therefore, as Muslim we need to be careful on what type of work you do. Now this is not to say that we should not spread in different fields, but keep in mind that you need to choose a work that will suit your personality. And also keep in mind that your work will affect you, and influence you. Every type of work out there has something good in it. Try to take advantage of that good and try to eliminate the bad in that field. I mean, I mentioned for example, being deceptive and lying in politics. Now that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t go into that field. Because as Muslims, we need to change that image of politics. With the Sahaba (ra), almost every Sahabi had that involvement. When you look at a certain time after Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) passed away, you would rarely find a Sahabi who did not assume office in one place or another. Whether it was governorship, or whether it was mayorship of a town, or whether it was leading an army, but the political environment during then, was absolutely different than what we have today. It was an environment of honesty and straightforwardness. And being accountable and responsible to the people, and serving them. So, our work does affect and influence us.

Fair enough said about shepherds of sheep.

The right well, Ibn Hajar, a side note, just a little bit about him. Ibn Hajar, is one of the classical scholars. He wrote the most prominent commentary on Sahih Al-Bukhari. Ibn Hajar was a scholar in different fields, hadith, fiqh, aqidah. His commentary on Bukhari is the most famous and the most prominent. There are other commentaries on Bukhari, but none of them gained the prominence of Fath Al-Bari by Ibn Hajar Al-Khalani. Since this hadith is in Bukhari, here I have a quote from Ibn Hajar, commenting on this particular hadith.

He says, “The wisdom behind having the Prophets as shepherds before Prophethood, is that they may become skilled in herding a flock, as they will be responsible for their respective nations in the future. In herding, one attains forbearance and mercy and it endues patience. For when a shepherd is obliged to gather his flock, and herd it from one area to another at once, knowing the traits of all, and all the while protecting the flock from predators, he has thus attained the skills necessary to lead a nation and protect it from its enemies both within and abroad. Thus the Prophets learned patience when leading their people and attained an understanding of the different natures of people, they learned to show kindness to the weak and resolve with the dominant.

The reasons for which Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), chosen the sheep for the Prophets as opposed to the communal cows or camels, is that they are animals that are weak and need extra guidance and attention. Sheep are more difficult to maintain as a flock, because of their propensity to go astray and wander away. This is a kin to human traits within a society and it is the divine wisdom of Allah, to train these prophets accordingly. The prophet’s (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) mentioning of these humble traits shared by all prophets, attests to his humility to Allah.”

Audio (58 min. & 20 sec.)

Muhammed al- Abdahu, is a current writer. He also comments on this. He states,

“This faith excels through the free-thinkers, the courageous, the intelligent, and those who are just and one cannot encompass it except by distancing themselves from lowly character. It is therefore incumbent upon the Muslims to take on the pure characteristics embodied in humanity’s natural disposition.

This was the example that was sought by the early Khalifa, Umar bin Khattab (ra), when he pleaded with his people to toughen up and learn how to ride a steed. He feared for his people the longing for this life and adopting the reprehensible characteristics. This does not mean that one must abandon an urban living in order to achieve the stated objectives. But it does mean that one should abandon those things in their life that turned them away from the difficulties of this message.”

Muhammed Al-Abdahu is actually commenting on Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) living as a shepherd in the desert, and also Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) being brought up in the desert in the early years of his life. And then he draws in the saying of Umar (ra), when he was a Khalifa. He could have access to the best of this world could offer, but he lived, still lived a simple life, and he was warning the Muslims, telling them they need to toughen up. Because this message, demands sometimes, you going through some difficult situations and you need to be prepared and ready for that.

Da’wah is one aspect. A da’i cannot be sincere and whole heartedly involved in da’wah, if they cannot have patience and they are not willing to go into situations that might be difficult.

A Pledge / Contract to Protect All People

The next important event that happened during the early years of Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), was a pact called ‘Helf al-Fudool’. The story behind this is, there was a man who came in from Zabid, in Yemen, came to do business in Mecca. His merchandise was taken by, Al-As bin Wail, who promised to pay him back. He was going to sell it and pay him back. Al-As bin Wail, after a while refused to pay this man, he was taking advantage of the fact that he was a foreigner. He’s not from Mecca. He told him frankly, I’m not going to pay you.

Al-As expected that this man would just walk away. I mean, he’s a foreigner, who will help him? But the man didn’t. The man stood up for his right. And he went to a public place in Mecca, and he started calling the people of Quraish. And he was telling them, “I was oppressed in your land, and all you people, who are going to stand up for my rights? Will you allow this oppression to happen in your land?” And he said a few emotional words, so some of the clans of Quraish decided to meet together to bring about an agreement, on protecting the rights of the weak in Mecca. We cannot allow this to happen.

And among these families of Quraish, was the family of Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), his uncles. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) at the time was a young boy, but he said, “My uncles took me with them, to attend this meeting.” The meeting was held in the house of Abdullah bin Jadaan. Abdullah bin Jadaan, this was symbolic for them to have it in his house, because he was a man who is very generous, very kind to others. And he was a person who would stand up for what is right. So, they decided to honor him by having this meeting in his house. So, they came together and they made an agreement, that we will stand together, all of us present here, we will stand together to protect the rights of the oppressed, of the weak. This happened before Prophethood, it was a pact that occurred between non-believers, between mushrikeen. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “I witnessed in the house of Abdullah bin Jadaan, a pact made that I wouldn’t have exchanged it for the choicest herd, and if it had been suggested after Islam, I would have responded positively to it.” Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is saying that, if I am invited to it today, after the message of Islam has been given to me, I would have still responded to it, even though it was held by non-believers.

The important lesson to learn from this is that, Muslims should side with what is right no matter what the source is, no matter where that is coming from. Muslims should stand for human rights, should stand for the oppressed, should stand for the needy, no matter what their religious background is. We should stand up for what is good. As a Muslim, we stand up for what is right. Rusool Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was making this point by stating that I would respond to it today if I was invited. The man was given back what belonged to him.

After that, an incident happened later on, in the time of Al-Maloween. We’re talking about a few decades after the death of Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) passed away. It happened between Al Hussain bin Ali, the son of Ali bin Abi Talib and Al-Waleed bin Uqba bin Abu Sufyan, who was the governor of Medina. Because Al-Waleed was the governor of Medina, he was taking advantage of his position, and he has taken away some property that belonged to the son of Ali bin Abi Talib, Al-Hussain. Al Hussain, what he did is, he went to Al-Waleed and told him, “You either give me back what belongs to me, otherwise I’m going to walk into the masjid, and invite the people to Helf A- Fudool. I’m going to remind them about Helf Al- Fudool.”

Now, Abdullah bin Zubair was with Al-Waleed at that time, and he said, “and I too swear by Allah, that if he does invoke it, I’ll draw my sword and stand there with him, until he gets his justice, or we’ll all die together.” And then, some other people heard about that, Al Masra bin Al-Mukama, Abdur Rahman bin Uthman bin Ubaid, and others. And they gave similar statements. So, now it was picking up. And Al-Waleed realized that it could become quite dangerous, so he gave back Al-Waleed (he means Al-Hussain) what belongs to him. And the reason why I’m bringing this in is, even though it happened after the seerah of Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), is to show that Muslims would not allow wrong to happen in front of them. I mean, here you have people who are living under a particular leader, Al- Waleed bin Utba. Nevertheless, they stood up and they protected their brother, who was in need, even if they have to give up their lives. So, Muslims should stand up for what is right.

Commentary

Sheikh Muhammed Ghazali, he comments on this pact, he says, “This pact shows that no matter how dark life becomes, and oppressive dictators become, noble characteristics will still remain in certain people who stand up for justice and ‘birr’. Birr is (righteousness). Allah has made cooperation in enjoining good, an obligation upon Muslims, which He has called to in the verse…

…And cooperate in virtue (righteousness) and taqwaa (piety), and do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty. surah Maaidah (5:2)

So, for a group of Muslims to enter into a treaty or a contract, such as the afore mentioned, is made permissible because it is only a reinforcement for an Islamic obligation. However, this by definition must be dissimilar to the situation of Masjid Baraa, this was a mosque created in Medina made to exclude groups of Muslims. He said, where the cooperation turns into a nationalistic or lithest strategy to exclude Muslims. As for the Muslims contracting with the people of other faiths in order to remove oppression or to face an oppressor, this becomes permissible for them, if there is in it the welfare of Islam, and Muslims in the present and the future. The basis for this is essentially the Prophet’s (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) willingness to answer the call of the pact even after Islam.”

Notes

Shaikh Abu Hasan Al Nadavi: was an Indian historian, Islamic scholar, and author of well over fifty books in various languages

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