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.
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?
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.”
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.
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.
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*
Audio (49 min. & 03 sec.)
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.