The Biography of

Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam

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Lesson 14

In Madinah

Slowly the foundations were laid to create an Islamic state that would soon topple that of Rome and Persia. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam set about this by creating a number of important institutions :

1. Masjid-un-Nabawi

Immediately on his arrival in Madinah, the Prophet's Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam first divine urge was to build a masjid. The vacant site adjoining the house of Abu Ayub Ansaari Radhiyallahu Anhu was the ideal place. Two young Ansaari orphans, Sahl and Suhail Ibn Amr Najjari, were the owners of this piece of land. The orphans and their guardian, Mu’aaz Ibn Afra offered to donate the land for the masjid. But, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam preferred to buy it. (1)

A few graves of the idolaters were levelled out and some date palms were cleared away. The building of the masjid had a deep effect on the lives of the Sahabah Radhiyallahu Anhum because the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam personally worked like an ordinary artisan with them. The walls were of mud bricks and the up-right columns were shaped from trunks of date palms. Leaves of date palms were used for the roof. (2) The floor was unpaved and became muddy when it rained. The masjid had three entrances: Babur-Rahmah (door of mercy), Babun-Nabi (door of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which is today known as Bab-ul-Jibraeel and the third entrance was at the rear of the building.

In the eastern section of the masjid were the private apartments for the family of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. In one section of the masjid, a raised platform was built for the Ashaab-as-Suffa (companions of the platform). This was a place made for those poor Muslims who had dedicated their lives to the cause of Islamic education, preaching, memorising verses of the Qur’an, compiling and recording of every action and deed of their beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Abu Hurairah Radhi Allahu Anhu, who was one of the Ashaab-as-Suffa, relates that there were seventy Sahabah who lived here. They were very humble and very often went without a full meal for the day. They never stretched their hands to anyone for charity but laboured to earn a living by collecting firewood and selling it in the market place. Solitary treatises regarding the Ashaab as-Suffa have been written by scholars like Ibn al-Arabi Rahimahullah and others.

When the masjid was completed the need arose for congregational Salaah. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam asked the Sahabah Radhi Allahu Anhum to formulate some method of getting the Muslims together for Salaah. Some of the suggestions that came forth were the beating of drums, the ringing of a bell like the Christians, the lighting of fire like the Zoroastrians and blowing a horn like the Jews. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam rejected all these suggestions.

One day Abdullah Ibn Zaid Radhi Allahu Anhu, in his dream, heard an angel teaching him the wording of the Azaan. He related his experience to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam who in turn asked Bilal Ibn Rabah Habshi Radhi Allahu Anhu to learn the words and call the Azaan. When Umar Radhi Allahu Anhu heard the words he rushed up to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and reported that he had also heard the same words in his dream. Bilal Radhi Allahu Anhu, thus, became the first Muazzin in Islam. His powerful and melodious voice used to resound through the city of Madinah summoning the Muslims to prayer.

At first the Qibla of the Muslims in Madinah was towards Baitul Maqdis. This was for one year and four months after migration to Madinah. Later Allah commanded the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam to face the Ka’bah and perform Salaah. Allah mentions in the Quran :

“We see the turning of your face to the heavens. Now We shall turn you to a Qibla that shall please you. Turn then your face in the direction of the Masjid al-Haraam, and wherever you may be, turn your face in that direction”. (Surah Baqarah, Verse: 144)

The Muslims changed their direction promptly in prayer in compliance with the divine command. The Kabah was now the Qiblah for all the believers living in any part of the world for all time to come.

Click here for a special supplement on 'Masjids in Islam.'



2. Islamic Brotherhood

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam assembled the Muhajireen and the Ansaar in Masjid-un-Nabawi and issued the proclamation of brotherhood. He ordained that they should pair off in couples : one man from the Muhajireen and one from the Ansaar. The Muhajireen had sacrificed all their possessions in Makkah and had nothing. The Ansaar were rich and settled. They paired with the Muhaajireen and shared half of all their possessions with them. The Qurán makes reference to this brotherhood :

“Those who believed, migrated and fought for the faith, with their property and their persons in the path of Allah, as well as those who gave (them) refuge and aid, these are all brothers one of another”. (Surah Anfaal, verse 72)

Some men of the Ansaar were willing to divorce their wives and marry them to their brothers. They would proclaim : "I have two wives. Tell me which one you prefer and I will divorce her and allow you to marry her." (3)

The Allah-fearing Muhajireen did not take undue advantage of all the facilities offered to them. They laboured and persevered and were soon able to fend for themselves. Some Muhajireen borrowed just enough money from their Ansaar brothers and began to trade. Later they were able to repay their loans and become independent and wealthy Muslims. When the Jews left Madinah many of the properties and orchards were allotted to the Muhajireen and they gratefully repaid their obligations to the Ansaar.

An amazing aspect of this brotherhood was that the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam linked two individuals as brothers who had a similar mindset and disposition. This made them learn and benefit from each others skills and knowledge. As an example, Sa'id Ibn Zaid Radhi Allahu Anhu was one of the most learned of the Muhajireen being an early convert to the faith. He was assigned as brother to Ubay Ibn Ka'b Radhi Allahu Anhu who was a master in reciting the Qurán and the first secretary to the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Similarly, Abu Huzaifah Radhi Allahu Anhu, the son of the powerful Quraishi chief, Utba Ibn Rabiá was aligned to Abbad Ibn Bishr Radhi Allahu Anhu, the chief of the Ash'hal tribe. (4)


Lessons to learn

  • This brotherhood is hailed as one of the greatest gifts of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam to the future Muslims of the world. The degree of devotion attained by this brotherhood of religion was stronger than the ties of blood. These mens hearts, united in the love of Allah, were now but a single heart, beating in different breasts. Each man loved his brother better than himself. The brotherhood showed the great community setup encouraged by Islam. Where, in any other nations history, would you find such a glorious spirit of sacrifice and nation building.
  • The ability of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam to link people of similar characters together showed his wisdom and foresight. He knew that Muslims would soon rule vast lands and he began working to develop and train individuals who would run a state based on knowledge, skill and experience.
  • By creating a brotherhood the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam had, in effect, taught man how to deal with the problem of refugees fleeing from a land of oppression.



3. Treaty with the Jews and Christians

Next the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam devised a plan to weld together the different tribes and conflicting groups of Madinah into an orderly confederation. It was the Prophet's Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam greatest desire that there should be peace and harmony in Madinah and the Muslims should be able to worship Allah without hindrance from any quarter. At the same time he desired that people of other faiths should be able to live freely and peacefully.

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam exerted all his efforts to achieve stability and harmony in Madinah. As a precaution against any unforeseen confrontation he drew up a treaty which was signed by every ethnic group of Madinah. Some of the more important clauses of the treaty were as follows :

1. The Jews of the Banu Auf are one community with the believers. The Muslims and Jews are free to profess their individual religions.
2. If attacked by a third party each party will assist the other.
3. Mutual consultation will take place based on justice.
4. Neither party shall prejudice the other by committing a sinful act against them.
5. Madinah shall be a sacred place for all those who sign the treaty.
6. In the event of a disagreement between the parties to the treaty the issue shall be decided according to the verdict given by Allah and His Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam.
7. The parties to the treaty shall boycott the Quraish commercially and will not support them.
8. Each party will assist in defending Madinah from an outside attack.

It was during this period that a Jew of great learning and intellect, Abdullah Ibn Salaam Radhi Allahu Anhu, accepted Islam. He was a Jewish rabbi from the tribe of Banu Qainuqa. His name before accepting Islam was al-Husain. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam changed it to Abdullah. He describes in his own words his first encounter with the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam : “I, together with other inhabitants of Medina, came to see the Prophet upon his arrival in Medina. I looked at him and examined his face closely. I realized that it could never be the face of a liar. The first thing I heard him say was : ‘O people, spread salaam amongst you. Feed people. Establish family ties. Perform Salah at nights while people are asleep. You will enter paradise with ease.’” He was one of those fortunate companions who were given the glad tidings of paradise by the Prophet. (5)



Lessons to learn

  • The agreement made between the Muslims and the Jews showed the communal justice of Islam. The emphasis was on mutual benefit, co-operation and fighting an outside enemy in unity. Islam was the factor which brought peace to the warring tribes and pacified them. Islam does not accept that non-believers in an Islamic state be harmed because of their religious beliefs.
  • This agreement was in fact the first written constitution that the world had seen.
  • The basis of any successful Islamic state can only be on the teachings of Islam. When a Muslim state chooses a constitution other than that of Islam this can only lead to destruction and chaos.



4. Madinah becomes the school of Islam

Madinah developed into a centre of the Muslim Empire. More and more Muslims were drawn towards Madinah and the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam vigorously expounded the principles of Islam to his faithful followers. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam began to put into effect the Islamic administrative machinery that was to make Islam one of the greatest powers of the world. It was a pleasure for the Muslims to lead a chaste life. The five pillars of Islam changed the concept of life for the Arabs.

Five times daily Salaah was established in Masjid-un-Nabawi. This brought about a close congregational spirit and harmony amongst the Muslims. Saum and Zakaah became compulsory. In this way, feelings of compassion for the needy and less privileged were inculcated. The just laws of marriage, divorce and inheritance made family life secure and very pleasant.

Gambling, usury, vulgarity, intoxication, adultery, stealing and killing were punishable by stringent Islamic laws. While Islam continued to grow, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam did not relax at any time from the ever-lurking danger from his enemies.

The hypocrites of Madinah

Abdullah Ibn Ubay Ibn Sulool was a very prominent personality of Madinah. He was intelligent, experienced and very shrewd. He had developed a great influence over the tribes of Aus and Khazraj. Whenever these warring tribes took up arms against each other, Abdullah Ibn Ubay Ibn Sulool intervened to bring about peace between them. All his efforts were directed towards the ultimate aim that he would one day be acknowledged as the leader of Madinah. He had succeeded in this quest for fame to the extent that he was often addressed as the ‘prince of the Ansaar’.

Preparations were well under way for his magnificent coronation. A crown had been made for the occasion. It was at this stage that the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam arrived in Madinah. In due course, nearly all the people of Madinah including the Jews acknowledged the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam as their leader and as the supreme authority on matters affecting the whole population of Madinah.

Abdullah Ibn Ubay Ibn Sulool’s hopes and ambitions of becoming king of Madinah were dashed to the ground. But, being a cunning person, he did not confront the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and show his rivalry openly. He and his followers accepted Islam only in name but in their hearts they rejected the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and his teachings. They were ever ready to turn against the Muslims at the first opportunity. They were a source of considerable danger to the new-born commonwealth. In return, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam always showed the greatest patience and forbearance, hoping in the end to win them over to Islam.

When the Quraish of Makkah heard of the acceptance of the leadership of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam in Madinah, they were furious and turned to tactics of plotting and conspiracy. They sent threatening ultimatums to Abdullah Ibn Ubay Ibn Sulool and other non-Muslims of Madinah that if they did not fight and drive out the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, the Quraish would attack Madinah and kill all their young men and take away their women folk.

In response to this threat, Abdullah Ibn Ubay Ibn Sulool gathered the people around him and incited them to overthrow the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. On hearing this, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam addressed the people stressing the need for peace. He reminded them of the treaty that had been signed by all the parties of Madinah. If, however, the Quraish persisted in their plan to attack Madinah the Muslims would be prepared to repulse them.

The determination of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam left Abdullah Ibn Ubay Ibn Sulool dumb-founded. He decided that it would be in his own interests to work from within the Muslim fold to pursue his worldly ambitions. With a group of his followers he embraced Islam. These hypocrites began to spy on the Muslims and sow seeds of mutiny, revolt and mischief. They befriended the Jews and assured them that they were their allies against the Muslims. When in the company of the Muslims they expressed piety and holiness. The Quran makes reference to them :

“Of the people there are some who say: ‘We believe in Allah and in the Last Day but they do not believe.' They seek to deceive Allah and those who believe, but they only deceive themselves and realise not”. (Surah Baqarah, verse 8-9)



(1) Bukhari

(2) Bukhari

(3) Bukhari

(4) Naumani, Sirat-un Nabi, p. 263

(5) Ibn abd al-Barr, Istiaab, vol. 3, p. 923



Dua for a sick person

Meaning : I ask Allah the Great, who is the Sustainer

of the Great Throne to cure you.


One should always encourage the sick person and should not speak of things that may cause despair and loss of hope. (Tirmidhi)