Yesterday we talked about the importance of studying Seerah. And now we will start with the first session on Seerah, itself.
Now usually the authors or the scholars, who write about The Life of Muhammad (saw), they do not usually start talking about his birth. They would go a little bit before that. Actually about a few thousand years before that. And they would talk about his father, Ibrahim (as). That’s usually where they would start, talking about Rasool Allah (saw), they would talk about his ancestry, starting by Ibrahim (as). The emphasis is on the Hajar and Ismael side of the story rather than the Ishaq and Sara (ra), because that is the lineage of Rasool Allah (saw). So, they would start by talking about the story of Ibrahim (as), Hajar and Sara when they traveled to Hijaz. Ibrahim (as), his wife and his new born son travelled in to Arabia, into the land of Hijaz. And Ibrahim took them to present day Mecca. At that time, there was nothing there. Nobody was living there, there was no cultivation. It was a dead valley, but the place where The House of Allah (swt) is built, the place where Al Kaaba was built was sacred since the day this world was created. In fact, there is a difference of opinion on who was the first one to build Al Kaaba. The majority of opinion is that it was Ibrahim (as) but there are some scholars who say that Adam (as) was the first one to build it. Now regardless of whether Ibrahim (as) or Adam (as) built it, the place itself, whether there was a building on it or not, was holy and sacred from day one. Ibrahim (as) and his wife and son, arrived to the valley, and in the place where Zam Zam is currently. Obviously, there wasn’t Zam Zam at the time. Ibrahim (as) left his wife and son Ismael. He left with them some water and a leather bag of dates. And he walked away. He just turned away and left.(Note 1, 2, 3 & 4)
Now Hajar (as) knew that Ibrahim (as) was going to leave them, but she didn’t expect to be left in such a place, in the middle of the desert. So, she followed him and she said, “Ibrahim, are you going to leave us in a place where there is no cultivation and there is no one living?” Ibrahim (as) did not answer back. She asked him again, no response. She asked him a third time, he didn’t answer back, and then Hajar (as) said, “Did Allah tell you to do so?” So, Ibrahim (as) said, “Yes.” “Then Allah will take care of us.” “If this is a command from Allah (swt), then I have trust in Allah (swt) that He will take care of us.” Because of the faith of this woman. In the middle of nowhere, “but if this is the command of Allah (swt), I have trust in Allah (swt), Allah (swt) will take care of us. Allah will not waste us, Allah (swt) will not neglect us.”
Ibrahim (as) left, and when he reached to a place where they could not see them anymore, Ibrahim (as) turned around and faced Al- Kaaba or the place of Al Kaaba, and he made dua to Allah. He said, (Ibrahim: 37)
Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord, that prayer may be established. So, make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful.
Ibrahim (as) said, “Oh Allah (swt) I am leaving my offspring in infertile land, a land where there's no cultivation, next to Your Sacred House. So, the place was known that it was sacred, even though Al Kaaba wasn’t built. And then Ibrahim (as) made a dua.
Now, you know the Maslow hierarchy of needs, the pyramids. What is the foundation of the pyramids? The bottom. What is the first need, human need that needs to be satisfied? What does it start with? The first thing is what? Physiological needs, right? That’s the bottom of the pyramid. So, that is the most important need for humans. That is the base of the pyramids. Then, what’s after that? What’s the next step? Psychological, and then the third? Social, Physiological on the bottom, social, Spiritual, and then the peak is Self-actualization. That’s the pyramids. First of all, as a human being you want to satisfy the Physiological necessary needs, which are food and shelter. After that, you want to have friends, have a Social life, have a belonging, an association. So, those are the Social needs. And then, you have these spiritual needs. So, after we have achieved the physiological needs and the Social needs, after that we start thinking about religion according to Maslow. Finally, you have the Self-actualization, which is on the top of the pyramid.
But According to Ibrahim (as), the pyramid is inverted. The first thing that he asked for was not food and drink, or shelter. The first thing he asked for was “that the prayer be established”. The first thing was asked for, even though it would make sense that he would ask for, I mean we would assume, that Ibrahim (as), since he left them in a valley where there is no cultivation, the first thing he would ask for is for is to provide his family with food for their survival. But Ibrahim (as) started in his dua by saying “Oh Allah, So, that they may establish prayer” So, the first need that he asked for, or the first thing that he mentioned was spiritual needs. Salat, Iqama as Salat, establishing the prayers. And then he said, “and then make their love, or put their love in hearts of people.” Make people love them. So, he is asking Allah (swt) to draw people to his family, and to make them love his family. So, he is asking for the Social needs. And then finally he said, “Then provide them with fruits”. So, Ibrahim (as) is starting by asking for Salat, spiritual needs, and then Social needs, and then, Physiological needs. But even when he asked Allah (swt) to provide them with fruits, he also connected it to Ibada “Laa’llhum yaskuroon”, so that they may be grateful. So, even when he was asking Allah (swt) to provide them with worldly things, he was still connecting it to religion. “Give them fruits, so that they will be grateful to You”. And that is the, that is true self-actualization, when Allah (swt) becomes everything for you. When you’re eating, when you’re drinking, when you’re sleeping, you’re doing everything for Allah (swt). That is the true tranquility. And that is the self-actualization that neither did Maslow or anybody else achieve, except the nabiyat of Allah (Azoja)
And then, Ibrahim (as) left. Hajar made use of the small amount of food that he left with them, but obviously after a short while, they ran out of food. And, Hajar (as) was breast-feeding Ismael and her milk was drying up, because she was thirsty and hungry. And now, Ismael (as) is beginning to cry. He’s hungry. So, Hajar (as) couldn’t afford seeing her son agonizing in pain. So, she left him and she started climbing a hill. A hill, which was called later As-Safa. She climbed on top of that hill to see if she could see anybody in the horizon. She would look left and right, and would see no one. So, she would climb down the hill, and when she would reach the valley, she would tuck up her clothes and run. And then she would climb another hill, which was later called Al-Marwa, and she would reach the top and look and in the horizon if she could see anybody. (Note 5)
Same place, but take a look!
And her son is twisting and turning in pain. And Hajar (as) is running up and down these hills, and she did that seven times. The seventh time when she reached the top of the hill, she heard a sound. And she was staring around to see where that sound is coming from, and to her amazement she saw that the sound was coming from beneath the feet of Ismael (as). Jibrael (as) descended and was digging the well of Zam Zam. And the water was coming out from beneath his feet. Hajar (as) was rushing in happiness to the source of the water, and because it’s a dry desert and it would soak up all of the water, she was making a pool around the water to contain it. Rusool Allah (saw), when he was narrating this story, he said… Rasool Allah said, “May Allah have mercy on the mother of Ismael. If she would have left the water alone, it would have been a flowing river.” But because of her interference, it was a well. She was trying to contain the water and she didn’t allow it to flow. If she would have left the miracle as it was, flowing without interfering, it would have been a flowing stream. So, Rasool Allah smiled (saw), and said, “May Allah (swt) have mercy on her.” (Note 6)
Click on the link above. Zam Zam well provides water for over 4,000 years, and refills in miraculous time!
After Hajr (ra)
Way After Hajr (as)!
So, dear brothers and sisters, as a Muslim, as a believer, when you are going through these trials, we might have a certain mind-set, we might have a certain feeling. But you don’t know what’s waiting for you on the other side. You don’t know what Allah (swt) is hiding for you in the future. This is the gift, this is a present that Allah (swt) has given Hajar in dunya. Just think about what Allah (swt) will give her in Akirah. So, when we go through some difficult situations, when Allah (swt) puts us through trials and tribulations, let’s always remember this. Let’s remember that Hajar went through this, and Allah (swt) provided her with something better, that Allah (swt) was hiding something for her. Musa (as) when he was with his family, when he was lost in the desert, it was a cold windy night. And Musa (as) lost his way, he didn’t know what direction was Egypt. And he saw a fire in the distance. So, he tells his wife, “I will go to that fire, so that I can bring you with light and guidance. He wants to bring light because it was a dark night, and he wanted to have some warmth in the cold weather. And he wanted guidance. He expected since there is a fire in the desert there must be some people there. It is a bonfire, and there are some people around it. So, I’ll go and ask for directions. That’s all that Musa wanted. He wanted some light for that dark night and he wanted guidance to Egypt. But Allah (swt) was hiding something better for him. Allah (swt) tells us the story in Qur’an. When Musa (as) went there he met Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) spoke to him. And rather than Musa (as) going back with light for that dark night and guidance to Egypt, he came back with light for humanity and he came back with guidance, not to Egypt, but to Jannah. He went there and that was the announcement of his Prophet hood. It was done right then and there. Musa (as) lost in the desert went to the fire, Allah (swt) told him. I am Allah, there is no God besides Me, worship Me, and establish prayer in My Name. Musa (as) wanted something, but he got something better. The sahaba (ra), they would go through difficulties, but Allah (swt) reserved for them the top levels of Jannah. So, let’s think about this when we ourselves go through moments of difficulty.
Now, in the desert, whenever you have a source of water it would immediately attract forms of life. So, now birds were beginning to hover over the well, because nothing was living there. It was a death valley. There was a tribe called Jurhum, who were nomads in that particular area. And where did Jurhum come from? Jurhum was a tribe that moved out of Yemen. Yemen was the birthplace of the Arab people and the Arabic language. And that is where the Arab tribes immigrated from. And there were many mass immigrations that happened, or waves of immigration that happened from Yemen in different times. One of them when the dam was destroyed and there’s a whole chapter in Qur’an called Saba, which was the name of that kingdom. Allah (swt) tells us the story, that, these were people who built the first dam in the world. And because of that dam, they had a year-round source of water. So, even though you don’t have a lot of rain in Arabia, the precipitation level is low, but because of this dam, they had a year-round source of water. And they had a massive network of irrigation that went for hundreds of miles. So, suddenly you have this semi-Arab area holding a huge population because of the existence of water. And there are some stories, it might be an exaggeration, but it says a woman was a, or a person would travel from, or a woman would go out from her house and go for a walk with a basket on her head, and she would come back home with the basket filled with fruits, the fruits are just dropping from the trees. But it does say in Quran, that because of their wealth and the cultivation that they had, they didn’t feel any pain in travelling. Because this was a continuous series of colonies, wherever they would go there would be villages and towns, and there was so much wealth, so they did not feel the suffering and the difficulty of travelling like the rest of the people of the world would. So, these people, because of their arrogance and disbelief in Allah (swt), they said, we want to feel the pain of travelling like everybody else. So, they asked Allah (swt), Oh Allah (swt) make it difficult on us like everybody else, and Allah (swt) did make it difficult on them. And they rejected the message of Allah (swt), So, Allah (swt) destroyed the dam. The dam was destroyed and it flooded the area. And suddenly all of their agriculture collapsed. So, you had a huge wave of immigration which spread the Arab people out of Yemen, into An-Najd, Al- Hijaz, Iraq, Ash-shaam. So, you had some tribes settling in Oman, some of them settled in Majd, some of them settled in Hijad, Al Alkharaj settled in Al Medina. And then you have a few of the Arab tribes went to Syria, and some of them went into Iraq. So, that is how the Arab people spread out of their small locality in Yemen. I’m giving you this background history because Jurham was one of these tribes. However, Jurham might have immigrated from Yemen before the dam, Allahu Alim, but anyway, they are one of the tribes that ended up moving out of Yemen and they went into Hijaz. They were familiar with the area around Mecca, and they knew that there was no water in that area. So, when they saw birds hovering in the sky, they wondered what was going on in that particular area. So, they sent one or two people to go and investigate the matter. So, these two men went and they came back and reported to their clan that there is a well in that area. So, now Jurhum, they go to the place where Zam Zam is located, and they ask Hajar a strange question, and they get a stranger answer. They told Hajar, “Can we settle in this place?” Now the reason why this question is strange is because this is a tribe of warriors, and here they are getting permission from a lonely woman with her child. And if they want, they could’ve just pushed her away. But they were very kind to ask her permission to stay there. Even though it was an empty place, there was no one was living there, it’s subtle. And her answer was more amazing, because she started to bargain and negotiate with them. I mean here you have a woman who is alone with no power, and no strength, no weapons, no army to help her, and she’s negotiating and bargaining with them, and telling them “Well if you want to stay, I have a condition, and that is that the water belongs to us.” “You can stay here, but the water is mine”. “The well belongs to me.” They agreed.
Rusool Allah (as) says, “Deep in her heart, she wanted them to stay from the beginning because she wanted to have some company, but she was just negotiating with them to get a better deal. And she did. And they ended up settling in that area which later became known as Mecca. Ismael (as) grew up with them, and he adopted their language, he learned their language which was. What was their language? Arabic. Because Ibrahim’s (as) language was? What was the language of Ibrahim? Aramen from Iraq. Ibrahim (as) was from Iraq. And they used to speak a different language in Iraq at that time. So, Ismael (as) was brought up by this Arab tribe. And he adopted their language. And he married a woman from among them. So, this is the beginning of the lineage of Rusool Allah (saw), through Ismael (as) in Mecca. Now, Jurhum had the political leadership in Mecca. Later on, Ismael (as) grew up and his father came, and they built Al-Kaaba. The religious leadership in Mecca was with Ismael, and it continued down along the line of his descendants. So, Jurhum never had the religious authority over Al-Kaaba. It was always in the hands of the descendants of Ismael (as), but the political leadership was with Jurham.
Jurhum stayed in Mecca for a very long time, two thousand years. They became corrupt, tyrannical. So, Allah (swt) sent on them Khuza’a. Khuza’a kicked them out of Mecca. This is another tribe that came out from Yemen and they settled in Hijaz. They went in and evaded Mecca and they kicked Jurhum out. Jurhum before they left, they did two things; Number one, they dumped the well of Zam Zam. They filled it up, and they erased all of its marks. And, they stole the treasures which were inside Al-Kaaba. Khuza’a now became the new leaders of Mecca, while the descendants of Ismael by that time have already increased in numbers, branched out, and spread all over Arabia, but there was one branch that remained in Mecca, and that branch was Quraish. So, Quraish was one of the many different tribes, who descended from Ismael (as). They are called the descendants of Adnan. So, Quraish was still living in Mecca, but now Mecca was ruled by Khuza’a. (Note 8)
The leader of Khuza’a, one of the leaders, his name is Amr bil Laqi Al KHuzai, and we’re going to talk about his story later on when we touch upon the religious background of Arabia. But now, we want to stick to the lineage of Rasool Allah (saw). The head of Quraish, Qusayy bin Kalab, he was able to unify Quraish and to lead a revolt against Khuza’a. And he was able to drive them out completely from Mecca. So now, finally, a descendant of Ismael (as) combined the political and religious leadership of Mecca. Not only that, Qusayy bin Kulab, he consolidated all of the authorities, or all of the different aspects of power, in his hands. He controlled (Al Hijaba), which was the guardianship of al-Kaaba. It was a very noble thing. So, he was the guardian of Al-Kaaba. He controlled Siqaaya and Nifaada, which is the provision of water and food to the pilgrims. Now to you, this might not seem as a big deal. So, what, if he was providing food and water to the pilgrims, but to them, this was considered to be such a great honor. That you are the one providing for the guests of Allah (swt). So, they used to fight on this. So, what’s the responsibility entails is that, is that all of the Arabs who would come for pilgrimage, would be hosted by the people of Quraish. They would provide them with food throughout their stay in the season of Hajj. So, Qusayy ibn Kalab, also was responsible for that. He also had control over An-Nadwa, An-Nadwa was the assembly of Quraish, it was like their parliament. He held control over that. And he also held control over Al-Luwa, Al-Luwa is the banner of war. In other words, he was the one who had the power to declare war. So, these were the authorities that Qussay bin Kalab had. Basically, he had every authority that existed in Mecca. So, he was the absolute ruler of Mecca. (Note 7)
Qussay ibn Kalab, when he died, these different aspects of authority were split among his children. Some of them were with Abu Manaf, some of them were with his other brothers. The grandson of Qussay, his name is Amr, he ended up inheriting from his father the provisions of Al-Hajjaj, providing them with food and drink. Amr did something new in feeding Al Hajjaj, rather than providing them with soup. You know they would cook the meat in big containers, and then they would feed the people soup, because that way you could feed a larger number. What Amr did is, he started crushing bread into the soup. So, he would mix bread with the soup, which was an upgrade to their meal. Now then, rather than just having soup, they are having soup with bread. Now the process of crushing the bread, in Arabic, is hashim. When you crush something, it’s called “hashim.” So, he was nicknamed Hashim. So, they nicknamed this man Amr, Hashim. And this was the great-grandfather of Rusool Allah (saw). So, he was named Hashim because of crushing bread. That wasn't his real name. His real name was, Amr. Hashim married from Al-Madina. He got married from Al Madina. And then he went to Palestine to do business. And he passed away in Gaza. He died in Gaza, he died and was buried in Gaza. His wife became pregnant and she gave birth to a child who was named ‘Shayba’. Shayba means old man. Now why would anybody call a child Shayba? The reason is, he was born with some gray hair. So, they named him Shayba. And because his father passed away, the mother stayed with her parents in Medina. And he was brought up by his family in Medina. (Note 9)