Sirah Rasul Allah by Amr Khaled (عمروخالد), Part 3
I have been learning about prophet Muhammad from Amr Khaled. The focus is on the Sirah Rasul Allah – Life of the Messenger of God or Biography of the Prophet of God. One of the most important biographical sources of prophet Muhammad’s life is Ibn Ishaq. The Encyclopaedia of the Quran says of Ibn Ishaq,
Muḥammad b. Isḥāq (Medina; ca. 85-150/704-67 [Baghdād]) is the most important author of sīra literature. He seems to have specialized early in narrations and history. His main teacher was al-Zuhrī, and several relatives of ʿUrwa b. al-Zubayr were informants of his. Not all scholars in Medina appreciated Ibn Isḥāq’s work. By his time, narratives were generally losing ground to legal ḥadīth with fully-fledged chains of transmission. He therefore left his native town and settled in Iraq, where he found a more appreciative audience. Caliph al-Manṣūr (r. 136-58/754-75) asked him to write an all-encompassing history book, from the creation of Adam to the present day. The material on the Prophet that Ibn Isḥāq had previously collected and dictated to his pupils, was integrated into this book and given a central position. His magnum opus consisted of three volumes. The first one, al-Mubtadaʾ (“In the beginning”) dealt with the creation of the world, the early prophets from Adam to Jesus, and the Arabs in pre-Islamic times. In the second part, al-Baʿth (“The mission”), the life of the Prophet was depicted until his emigration to Medina. In part three, al-Maghāzī (“Expeditions and battles”), Muhammad’s activities in Medina were described. A fourth volume was added about his successors, the caliphs. Ibn Ishaq did not merely collect materials, like his predecessors; he composed a work with a structure, sometimes chronological, sometimes arranged by subject matter.
Apparently there was only one copy of his work, and it was held in the court library in Baghdad. Ibn Ishaq continued “publishing” from it by dictating parts to his pupils, who wrote them down verbatim. Large parts of the book, especially of the first three parts, have been handed down to us in the dictations and extracts of his pupils, and in the works of later compilers who edited these. (Wim Raven, “Sīra and the Qurʾān.” Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe . Brill [Leiden and Boston], 2005. CD-ROM version).
While Ibn Ishaq is an important source for prophet Muhammad’s life, there are other early sources:
- Qissa – storytellers/preachers
- Wahb ibn Munabbih (ca. 34-110/654-728)
- ʿUrwa b. al-Zubayr (ca. 23-93/643-712)
- Mūsā b. ʿUqba al-Asadī (ca. 55-141/675-758) – only a fragment of his work on the expeditions of Muhammad (maghazi) has survived and is quoted by Ibn Ishaq.
- Muḥammad b. Muslim b. Shihāb al-Zuhrī (d. 124/742)
- Maʿmar b. Rāshid (96-154/714-70)
- Muḥammad b. ‘Umar al-Wāqidī (130-207/747-822)
- Ibn Saʿd Muḥammad b. Saʿd (168-230/784-845) – wrote Akhbār al-nabī, the life and times of the Prophet, which is the first extant full biography of the Prophet after Ibn Isḥāq.
These are the third and fourth of seven videos on propht Muhammad’s biography. One of the advantages of learning from Amr Khaled is that he gives a Muslim, non-Western, and Arabic speaking perspective on the Sirah Rasul Allah.
[Prophet Muhammad did something that shows his dutifulness; the Prophet gathered the Companions who had taken war spoils and asked them to give back the spoils and captives to their defeated enemies! They asked him why he wanted to do so] “and he said some of the captives were from his foster-family. Asked why he was doing that, he said it was to show dutifulness to his wet nurse Haleemah! God’s peace be upon Muhammad! See how loyal the Prophet was!”
“Some gave back war spoils to the enemies and others did not as he had not ordered them to do so and then the Prophet borrowed some money and paid the price of spoils to give them back to Hawazin because of his dutifulness to Haleema and his foster-family!”
“Let me ask you a question here: Do you show dutifulness to others? Can anyone succeed in this worldly life without showing dutifulness? One may succeed without being dutiful to others, but it will not be noble success! See how dutiful the Prophet was?!”
“This lesson regarding the Prophet’s dutifulness could be enough for today! I will not talk about student’s dutifulness to their teachers! Sorry to say that some people are not even dutiful to their own parents! How often do you visit your parents?! How often do the married people visit their parents?! How often do those who are abroad contact their parents? There are some youths who live with their parents, yet enter their rooms seeking to be alone and not be disturbed by their parents! Be motivated to show dutifulness to others!”
Amr Khaled discusses the time when Prophet Muhammad became an orphan
“Let’s move on to another stage in the Prophet’s life; it is the stage when the Prophet (PBUH) became an orphan! Let’s talk about orphanhood in the Prophet’s life; first of all, the Prophet’s father, Abdullah, died!”
Prophet Muhammad’s father, Abdullah, died two months before he was born
“Two months after Abdullah had married Amenah, 1Amina – Muhammad’s mother. “Her father was Wahb b. ‘Abd Manaf of the clan of Zubra of the tribe of Kuraysh, and her mother Barra bint ‘Abd al-‘Uzza of the clain of ‘Abd al-Dar. It is said that she was the ward of her uncle Wuhayb b. ‘Abd Manaf, and that on the day he betrothed her to ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib he also betrothed his own daughter Hala to ‘Abd al-Muttalib (Ibn Sa’d, i/1, 58). If this report is correct it may be an example of some forgotten marriage-custom. Amina seems to have remained with her own family and to have been visited there by ‘Abd Allah, who is usually said to have died before Muhammad’s birth. So long as Amina lived, Muhammad was under her charge, and hence presumably lived with her family (except when sent to a wet-nurse in a nomadic tribe). Amina’s death when Muhammad was six is said to have taken place at al-Abwa, between Mecca and Medina, as she returned from a visit to MuÈammad’s kinsmen there. Though this visit to Medina is mysterious, there are no strong reasons for rejecting the above details. The same is not true of the stories connected with her pregnancy, such as her alleged statement that she saw a light going from her, which lit up the palaces of Busra (Bostra) in Syria” (W. Montgomery Watt, “Amina”, Encyclopaedia of Islam). he went on a trade journey and he did not know that his wife was pregnant or that she would beget the best of mankind! Abdullah went to the Levant on a trade journey and on returning, he wanted to maintain his blood ties and visit his maternal uncles in Medina as Abdullah’s maternal uncles were from Medina! Abdul-Muttalib, the Prophet’s paternal grandfather, married a woman who was from Medina! God says, “…he sent a Messenger…from among themselves…” i.e., from among Medina’s people where he would live later on; God had planned that before the Prophet’s birth letting Abdul-Muttalib marry a woman from Medina!”
“So, while Abdullah was visiting his maternal uncles in Medina, he suddenly fell ill and his illness got severer! Then Abdullah died and was buried in Medina before the Prophet’s birth!”
“The Prophet was to emigrate to Medina later on to spread Islam from there; God willed his father to die in Medina so he would feel related to it! Abdullah was buried in Medina where his maternal uncles lived and his wife and father knew about that. Scientists say the severest degree of orphanhood is that of a baby’s losing his father before being born!”
“The Prophet must have been told about his father’s death at an early age, given he was growing up faster than other children! Hence, the Prophet never embraced his father; he was deprived of his father’s embrace and he never addressed anyone as “father”! He never said this word to anyone; however, he used to be kind to others just like a father and he used to say to his Companions: “I am to you as a father to his son.””
Prophet Muhammad was fatherless but affectionate toward others
Prophet Muhammad’s affection toward Zaid ibn Harithah
“Many of those fatherless people do not know how to deal with others kindly, but Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was once in his house and he was told that Zaid ibn Harithah returned from a journey; he loved Zaid so much and regarded him as his son! Zaid knocked on the door of the Prophet’s house, and the Prophet was wearing trousers only and due to his happiness on Zaid’s return, he forgot to wear his cloak and just hurried to embrace Zaid, while wearing the trousers only; see how affectionate he was! Thenk the Prophet embraced Zaid and Zaid wondered how the Prophet was wearing only trousers! The Propeht then kissed him on his forehead saying he missed him so much! How lucky Zaid was! What if the Prophet kissed you like he did Zaid?! Zaid was a true reliable man, and so Prophet Muhammad loved him; what did you do for Muhammad to embrace you on Doomsday? Done something great to deserve his love?! One will be loved by others as a result of their great deeds; what did you do to win Prophet Muhammad’s love? Be motivated to act like Zaid so you will deserve the Prophet’s love!”
Prophet Muhammad’s affection for girls of Banu An-Najar
“Some of the little girls of the Helpers met the Prophet singing, “We are girls of Banu An-Najar welcoming Muhammad, the best of neighbors.” He asked if they loved him and they said they did and then, he embraced those little girls and said that God knew how much he loved them! God’s peace be upon Muhammad!”
“This is really an amazing aspect of the Prophet’s life! Through Prophet Muhammad was fatherless as we saw, he was so affectionate to others!”
Prophet Muhammad’s mother – Amenah – and her dutifulness toward her dead husband. Muhammad visits Medina at age 6.
“After Prophet Muhammad’s father had died, he lived in his mother’s house. When the Prophet was 2 years old, he lived with his mother till he became 6 i.e., he lived four years with her. He and his mother lived alone and they then had a slave woman, Umm Ayman, who was from Abyssinia or Sudan; the Prophet and his mother loved her so much. When he was six, his mother decided to do something; she wanted to take him and travel a distance of 500 km to Medina so he would visit his father’s grave and so he would get to know his father’s maternal uncles. See how Amenah was dutiful to her husband?! She went to visit her husband’s grave six years after his death! The main lesson that we are focusing on today is dutifulness! The last program was on Truth and today’s is on dutifulness; our aim is to enhance good manners through Muhammad’s Biography. See to what extent Amenah was dutiful to her husband?! She traveled with her son for 500 km to visit his father’s grave and to visit his father’s maternal uncles to be acquainted with his father’s family. Women are to imitate Amenah who let her son be close to his father’s family! How loyal of her!
“Then, Muhammad, his mother and Umm Ayman went to Medina where he stood by his father’s grave, given Muhammad was just six years old then! Muhammad looked at his father’s grave then! The first time for him to travel was when he was 6 years old; his first journey was to Medina when he was an orphan, but 50 years later, he would leave it heading to Mecca as a great conqueror! See how God prepared the whole universe for Muhammad’s Message?! The Prophet did not forget his visit to Medina when he was 6 years old as when he emigrated to Medina later on, he knew the place of his father’s grave and he even referred to a well where he had learnt swimming! The Prophet learnt swimming in Medina when he was six years! So the Prophet recalled the details of that visit.”
“Try to imagine how Muhammad felt when standing by his father’s grave! God’s peace be upon Muhammad! So he visited his father’s grave when 6 and visited Banu An-Najar’s people, his father’s maternal uncles. When he emigrated to Medina, many people of Medina wanted to host him, but he told them to let his she-camel go where God commanded it to go! It stopped by the quarter of Banu An-Najar, his father’s maternal uncles. As he was dutiful to his people, God willed that his she-camel to stop by his father’s maternal uncles’ quarter.”
“The Prophet and his mother were dutiful then! He was dutiful to Haleema just like his mother had been to his father! If parents want their children to be dutiful to them when they grow old, they have to be dutiful to their own relatives! Your children will imitate you and so, they will not be dutiful to you if they see you ignoring your relatives! Muhammad’s she-camel knelt by his father’s paternal uncles’ quarter as ordered by God so He would teach us dutifulness to our relations! This is a very significant point.”
Prophet Muhammad’s mother – Amenah – dies returning from Medina.
“Muhammad and his mother were returning from Medina when they were in a difficult situation; his mother started to feel so ill! She suffered a severe illness and they were alone in the desert! Try to visualize that scene when he was just 6; Muhammad’s mother’s illness go severer and then she died! See?! Prophet Muhammad saw his mother dying! Imagine that?! They were in the desert, away from people, and none was with him but Umm Ayman who buried the Prophet’s mother. He saw his mother while she was dying and while she was buried, too! Remember he had visited his father’s grave a short while before; he visited his father’s grave, then saw his mother being buried! So, he, as a child, saw the grave of his father, and that of his mother, too!
Biography of Prophet Muhammad by Amr Khaled (عمروخالد), Part 4
This is a continuation of the previous episode in which Amr Khaled is discussing the death of Muhammad’s mother, Amenah.
[Remember he had visited his father’s grave a short while before; he visited his father’s grave, then saw his mother being buried!] So, he, as a child, saw the grave of his father, and that of his mother, too! So, Prophet Muhammad’s mother died while he was too young, but why did all that happen to God’s Messenger?! This question might be raised by many people! He was to travel 500 km back to Mecca without his mother! His mother was buried in a place called Al-Abwa’, 150 km away from Medina; she died in the desert and there were no men to bury her and Umm Ayman had to dig her grave and bury her in front of him! Visualize how the Prophet saw those scenes while he was just 6 years old; he saw his mother being buried! By the way, he was so much attached to his mother; many years later, when he (PBUH) was going to conquer Mecca, he passed by Al-Abwa’ where his mother was buried. He asked God to visit his mother’s grave and He allowed him to do so. So, the Prophet stood by his mother’s grave and kept crying till all those around him cried! So, Prophet Muhammad was so attached to his mother and he was aware of many realities through 6 years old!”
Amr Khaled says tht the deaths of Prophet Muhammad’s parents prepared him to realize the reality of life and death
“Know why all that happened to Prophet Muhammad? Because God wanted to prepare him for greatness, but what does this imply? God wanted him to realize the reality of life and death and to know that life is so short. God wanted Prophet Muhammad in his childhood to realize life is short so he would devote it to spreading God’s Message. God willed his mother and father to die suddenly so as not to be allured by life and God willed all that to happen out of love for His Messenger as Muhammad is the best of mankind and the leader of humanity. He had to be prepared to realize the reality of life and death that some people do not realize but in their 30s when a beloved dies! There are some youths who cannot realize the reality of death; God save all of us! I want to show how God prepared the Prophet so as not to be allured by life as later on, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) became very well-known and God says: “And raised your renown?””
Amr Khaled says Prophet Muhammad was altogether divorced from worldly pleasures
“Seeing his mother dying, Prophet Muhammad realized that life is so short, so when he became very well-known and people knew him well, he used to say he had altogether divorced worldly pleasures! He was not allured by worldly pleasures! He described himself in life as a man who walked on a sizzling day and sat in the shade of a tree for an hour, then left it! So, he was not taken in by worldly pleasures and knew the Hereafter is eternal and one could die suddenly and he had to devote his life to his Message, not to be allured by life.”
“So Prophet Muhammad was not taken in by fame or wealth. He (PBUH) once had a large flock of sheep, then a Bedouin wondered if all these sheep belonged to him. The Prophet looked at him and when he knew the sheep appealed to him, he gave them to him! The Bedouin could not believe it, but he (PBUH) told him to take them and the man went away looking behind him, thinking the Prophet might renege on his word! He went to his people saying he had met the best of people, adding “…Muhammad donates so much, as if he did not fear need.” The Prophet was not blinded to the truth by worldly joys and he realized the reality of life i.e., he realized that life is so short as he saw his mother’s and father’s grave when just 6! His father died away from Mecca and so did his mother; he returned with Umm Ayman after his mother’s death to Mecca!”
“So, Prophet Muhammad realized the reality of life; he was to lead people so he had to be far from being allured by worldly joys and so, when a Bedouin went to the Prophet (PBUH), he was afraid of him; he thought he was before a king, but the Prophet patted him to calm him. He assured him that he was not a king, adding he was the son of a woman who use to eat dried meat i.e., his family was not rich enough to afford good meat! He added that he used to eat and sit the way a slave would eat and sit! Peace be upon Prophet Muhammad!”
“God willed him to lose his parents to make him self-reliant and willing to give; that was the Will of God, Glory be to Him! I hope politicians and media men will know the truth about life; businessmen, leaders and ministers must know that fact. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) realized when he was just six! I wish there would be religious media men, knowing life is short so they would hasten to make reform, and religious politicians who know life is short and hasten to make reform! I hope our businessmen will know the truth about life and start making reform! See why God willed him (PBUH) to lose his parents?! That was the very Will of God!”
“I once talked to a woman whose son had died; she was a very rich woman of a high social status! Her son died when 20, then 2 years after the death of her son, I asked her how losing her son affected her and she said it helped her know the truth about life! That woman I am talking about was not that old; she was in her fifties. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was orphaned when still 6 so he would realize the truth about life when young! When I asked her about her goal in life then, she told me after her son’s death, she made her goal doing good in life!”
“Young people who have not realized the truth of life and death so far must think of death and of the deaths of many people who are still young too! These are God’s Signs aiming at letting you know the truth of life and death! Life is short and is of no value per se!”
“I could have boasted of this program and of appearing on TV screens, but the undeniable fact is that one day [I] will stand before no cameras! Worms will feed on my corprse after the end of my temporal life! The Hereafter is the true life; “…the Hereafter is better and everlasting…” Catastrophic events may take place in our lives and we may show dissatisfaction, then find them blessing in disguise!”
“Here is an expressive saying by Ibn Ata’ellah; God might deny a person a blessing just to grant him a better one! He (PBUH) was orphaned, yet God says about him, “…raised your renown”. So God might deny one a blessing, knowing one would not benefit from it and so, one can but leave it all to God and be pleased with God’s Way of managing all affairs! Be sure whatever God does is good! “…you may be averse to a thing while it is good for you, and you may like a thing while it is bad for you.””
Prophet Muhammad lived with his grandfather, Abdul-Muttalib, from ages 6-8
“Anyway, the Prophet (PBUH) started off on his way back; he must have been thinking of such events all the way back to his destination. He (PBUH) was still a child at that point! Imagine him holding Umm Ayman’s hand, thinking of his mother; he might have been pondering on his mother’s death! Anyhow, Umm Ayman took him to Abdul-Muttalib’s house; Abdul-Muttalib, seeing Prophet Muhammad alone with Umm Ayman, asked where his mother was; he knew she had died! After her death, he moved to the house of Abdul-Muttalib, his grandfather, given Abdul-Muttalib was an old man, about 90 years old at that time; he held his grandchild, Muhammad, tightly to his bosom warmly, doing so out of sincere love for him! He (PBUH) moved to Abdul-Muttalib’s house when 6 and stayed there till 8. So, he spent the first 2 years in his life with Haleema, then lived with his mother Amenah till he became 6 years old, then lived at Abdul-Muttalib’s house till 8.”
“Was he (PBUH) unhappy on living with Abdul-Muttalib? Did moving to the latter’s house upset him? No, it did not! Why? Because his mother used to endear his father’s relatives to him! See the wisdom of his mother?! She saved him then; many prevent their children from seeing their relatives though they may need them later on! Such parents do not care about their children; they care about themselves. They should have let their children maintain their blood ties as their relatives may be the only to help them later on!”
“Thus, the Prophet (PBUH) lived with his grandfather and you know, his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib was a great man; it was he who stood up to Abraha. Abdul-Muttalib used to hold daily sessions by the Kaaba; he used to spread his cloak and sit on it alone. The notables of Quraish used to sit with him and discuss with him the latest news of Mecca as he was Mecca’s chieftain. Imagine that scene?”
“Abdul-Muttalib used to take Prophet Muhammad to such sessions and let him sit where no body but Abdul-Muttalib was allowed to sit! So, Abdul-Muttalib would sit with his grandchild on the cloak of the first. Abdul-Muttalib might have wanted him to play then, being just 6, but he was surprised to find his grandchild not playing! Instead of playing, he used to listen to old people’s discussions!” (continued…)
Prophet Muhammad and Jesus
One of the contrasts between Jesus and Muhammad was that Muhammad grew up on a godless and pagan society. Were Muhammad’s parents worshippers of the true God or polytheists? Who did Muhammad pray to when his mother was sick? What did Umm Ayman say to Muhammad when he was 6 about life after death? Did Muhammad worship God as a little boy? Did he believe about his parent’s deaths as a little boy that God does all things good? 2Francois De Blois, Teaching Fellow at the Department of the Study of Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, offers the following context of Islam’s beginning,
The picture that I propose for the religious landscape in Mecca at the dawn of the Islamic era includes thus the existence of a “Jewish Christian” (Nazorean) community, which used Arabic as its cultic language, which practiced circumcision, shunned the consumption of pork, prayed toward Jerusalem, and adored a “trinity” consisting of God the Father, his son Jesus, and a female Holy Spirit (the mother of Jesus), and which had a canon consisting of the Torah and some form of the Gospel, but excluding the prophetic books of the Old Testament (the Nazoreans do not seem to have recognized any prophets between Moses and Jesus). Muhammad was brought up as a pagan (as indeed the sira informs us). As a young man he had close contacts with the Nazoreans at Mecca and adopted many of their teachings. But he also got to know about Catholic (presumably Melchite) Christians, and his criticism of Nazoreism, with its implied tritheism, is essentially from a Catholic position. At an early state in his prophetic career, Muhammad adopted the Nazorean practice of praying towards Jerusalem, but after his break with the Nazoreans he reinstated the (pagan) Ka’ba as the house of the one true god, reinterpreting it as a shrine erected by Abraham in his (Pauline) capacity as the paradigm of the salvation of the Gentiles (Francois De Blois, “Islam in Its Arabian Context” in The Quran in Context, edited by Neuwirth, Sinai, Marx [Brill 2010], pp.622,623).
Jesus grew up in a God-fearing family and a society that had the Word of God (Luke 2:41-42). As a boy, Jesus was taught the Scriptures and delighted to talk with others about the Word of God (Luke 2:46-47). Jesus’ childhood was one of His keeping the 5th Commandment (Luke 2:51 with Exodus 20:12).
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References [ + ]
|1.||↥||Amina – Muhammad’s mother. “Her father was Wahb b. ‘Abd Manaf of the clan of Zubra of the tribe of Kuraysh, and her mother Barra bint ‘Abd al-‘Uzza of the clain of ‘Abd al-Dar. It is said that she was the ward of her uncle Wuhayb b. ‘Abd Manaf, and that on the day he betrothed her to ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib he also betrothed his own daughter Hala to ‘Abd al-Muttalib (Ibn Sa’d, i/1, 58). If this report is correct it may be an example of some forgotten marriage-custom. Amina seems to have remained with her own family and to have been visited there by ‘Abd Allah, who is usually said to have died before Muhammad’s birth. So long as Amina lived, Muhammad was under her charge, and hence presumably lived with her family (except when sent to a wet-nurse in a nomadic tribe). Amina’s death when Muhammad was six is said to have taken place at al-Abwa, between Mecca and Medina, as she returned from a visit to MuÈammad’s kinsmen there. Though this visit to Medina is mysterious, there are no strong reasons for rejecting the above details. The same is not true of the stories connected with her pregnancy, such as her alleged statement that she saw a light going from her, which lit up the palaces of Busra (Bostra) in Syria” (W. Montgomery Watt, “Amina”, Encyclopaedia of Islam).|
|2.||↥||Francois De Blois, Teaching Fellow at the Department of the Study of Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, offers the following context of Islam’s beginning,