The Biography of

Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam

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Lesson 5

On the Mount of Safa

When the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam saw the mission he had been entrusted with he knew the difficulty ahead. As the last messenger he had to take the light of Islam to the whole world. He had to proceed cautiously and meticulously. The Makkans were respected as guardians of the idols that were venerated by all the Arabs. It would have been completely unwise for the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam to attack the very den of idolatry as one man. For this reason he first preached in complete privacy to his close friends and those who he could trust. After three years of private preaching Allah commanded him to announce Islam openly to the people.

"Therefore, proclaim openly that which you are commanded and turn away from the idolators." (Surah Al-Hijr, verse 94)

"And warn your tribe of near kindred." (Surah Ash-Shuára, verse 214)

In obedience, the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam ascended Mount Safah and called out "Yaa Sabaahah". The Arabs knew these words well. It was a call that was meant to summon them for facing a surprise attack by the enemy. The alarming call drew all the Quraish quickly. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said to them:

"0 sons of Abdul Muttlib! 0 sons of Fihr! 0 sons of Kab! If I tell you that horsemen were advancing to attack you from the other side of this hill, would you believe me?" The Arabs knew the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam to be honest. They unanimously replied, "Oh yes, we would surely believe you." He then said to them, "Well, I am a warner to you before a severe chastisement overtakes you." Abu Lahab exclaimed in outrage, "May you perish. Is it for this you have brought us here?" It was on this occasion that Surah Lahab was revealed. (1)

Click here for a detailed commentary of Surah Lahab.

When the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam started speaking about Islam the Quraish began to oppose him. They would not accept his message due to a number of reasons :

1. Idol-worship had been the lifeblood of the Arabs. Islam had come to give a death blow to this.
2. Their religiously based power and dominance over the people would be crushed.
3. Their pleasures and sinful habits would have to stop and they would have to follow the teachings of Allah and His Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam.
4. Their unjust power over the weak and poor would come to an end.
5. The Arabs regarded wealth as the most important qualification for leadership and Islam would strip them of the status they enjoyed as a result of their wealth.



Lessons to learn

The fact that the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam initially preached in privacy teaches us that a message which would be strange to the beliefs and intelligence of the general masses should not be made public until such a time as a following of devoted individuals has developed who would sacrifice everything to achieve it.



Abu Talib's dilemma

Abu Talib, the Prophet's Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam uncle, although a disbeliever, continued to treat him kindly and defended him. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam continued preaching his faith. When the Quraish saw the mission of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam spreading they approached Abu Talib : "0 Abu Talib, we hold you in high esteem. We asked you to restrain your nephew but you did nothing. By Allah, we cannot any longer tolerate that our fathers be denounced and our gods insulted. You must either stop him or we will fight both of you, until one of us perishes."

The old man was in a difficult position. He had to make a choice. He sent for his nephew and said, "Son of my brother, your people came to me and threatened me with dire consequences if you continue to preach your religion. Spare my life and yours and do not impose on me a burden greater than I can bear."

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam answered, "0 my uncle, by Allah, if they were to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, and ask me to abandon this course, I would not turn from it until Allah makes it victorious or I perish therein."

Realising the situation, tears came to the eyes of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Weepingly, he got up to depart. But, Abu Talib could not look at his nephew's sorrow. As he was about to leave Abu Talib called out to him, "Come back, my nephew. Go where you please and say what you will. I will never deliver you to your enemies." (2)

A bribe

Once Utba, a leader of the Quraish, approached the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam : "If you desire wealth by your preaching, we will collect enough so that you will be the richest of us. If you desire honour, we will make you our leader and leave every decision to you. If you desire kingship, we will make you our king. If you are possessed by a ghost for which you have no remedy we will find a skilful physician for you and see that your health is completely restored."

In reply the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam recited Surah Fussilat ending the recitation in prostration. When Utba heard the verses he returned and explained to the Quraish : "I have heard a discourse the like of which I have never heard before. I swear to Allah, 0 Quraish, that it is neither poetry, nor spells, nor witchcraft. Take my advice and leave this man alone." (3)



Lessons to learn

The Prophet's Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam words to his uncle and his refusal of wealth, women and position proved his sincerity and concern for the guidance of humanity. An invitor must, similarly, not be bribed and taken aback by the riches and promises of the rich. The pleasure of Allah and paradise is more valuable and precious than any wealth or position in this world.



(1) Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah Wan Nihayah

(2) Ibn Hisham

(3) Ibn Hisham




Dua when wearing a garment

Meaning : All praise be to Allah Who has clothed me with which

I may cover my shameand with which I add beauty to my life.


When wearing shoes or clothing it is Sunnah to begin from the right and when removing them to begin from the left.