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#20: The Dawn of Prophethood

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بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم
الحمد لله رب العالمين الذي منّ علی المؤمنين اذ بعث فيهم رسولا من انفسهم يتلوا عليهم ايته و يزكيهم و يعلمهم الكتاب و الحكمة و ان كانوا من قبلُ لفي ضلال مّبين

The Prophet ﷺ had received the initiation of his Nuboowwah (Prophethood) on that beautiful Monday of Ramadhan, in the Night of Power. Now the Prophet ﷺ would arise – not just as the greatest man alive – but as the greatest and final Nabi (Prophet) of Allah. The light of Nuboowwah (Prophethood) was growing and flourishing in his blessed heart which contained the words of His Lord سبحانه وتعالی. He ﷺ was the first of all the Prophets in creation, the final of them to manifest and the foremost of them all in greatness. He ﷺ was the one who will now purify the world of Shirk (Paganism), and Jaahiliyyah (Ignorance), and connect them back to the light of the heavens of the earth: Allah  سبحانه و تعالی.

 قَدْ جَآءَكُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ نُورٌۭ وَكِتَـٰبٌۭ مُّبِينٌۭ

“Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a light (Prophet Muhammad ﷺ) and a clear Book (this Qur’aan).” (Surah Al-Maa’idah 5:15)

The First to Witness the Light of Islam

The Prophet’s ﷺ heart was now fortified by a force beyond human measure and illuminated with a light that could not be extinguished. The absolute Yaqeen (Conviction) of Tauheed, the power of his love for the All-Powerful and the magnificence of the Qur’aanic verses in his heart had an immense magnitude that could not be contained. This magnitude began drawing those who were blessed with hearts of purity, until the magnetism of this light brought them face to face with the Prophet ﷺ. Their hearts then became illuminated by his sight, and were filled with absolute Imaan (Faith) and Mahabbah (Love) for Allah  سبحانه و تعالی and His Beloved Prophet ﷺ.

The likes of Sayyidah Khadijah رضی الله عنها had instantly felt this irresistible magnetism from the first moment she was exposed to the spiritual magnitude and awe of the Prophet ﷺ upon his return from the Cave, as was Waraqah ibn Nawfal رضی الله عنه. This light continued to radiate from the heart of the Prophet ﷺ, until his entire house was illuminated by it, and the Prophet ﷺ began conveying the message of Allah  سبحانه و تعالی to his family. Within the first day of his Nuboowwah, the likes of Sayyidinaa Ali ibn Abi Taalib رضی الله عنه and Sayyidinaa Zayd ibn Haarithah رضی الله عنه – both of whom lived under the care of the Prophet ﷺ – accepted the message of Islam and their hearts were filled with the light of Imaan. (Uyun Al-Athar, Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Hisham)

As this magnitude increased and grew stronger, Allah  سبحانه و تعالی instilled an intense determination within the heart of the Prophet ﷺ to rise and spread this beautiful light of Islam. The force of this light within his ﷺ blessed heart now transcended beyond the walls of his home, growing stronger and stronger, an unstoppable force that would continue spreading till the end of time, until it flourished throughout the world.

After his blessed family, the Prophet ﷺ first set out to see his closest and dearest friend; Sayyidinaa Abu Bakr As-Siddique رضی الله عنه. The Prophet ﷺ informed him in regards to the message of Islam, and Allah  سبحانه و تعالی instantly filled his heart with absolute certainty for the truth of Islam. His heart was filled with Imaan (Faith) in an unmatched manner, and Allah  سبحانه و تعالی would likewise honour him with an unmatched status.

The Sahaabah: The Illuminated Stars

When the moon rises amidst the dark night – standing out in sheer brilliance – it begins by illuminating the stars that immediately surround it, and they begin twinkling through the reflection of its radiance. Likewise, the Prophet ﷺ was more radiant than the moon, in a world that was darker than the night sky. As this radiant moon rose over Makkah, the magnitude of his light began illuminated those stars that Allah  سبحانه و تعالی had chosen and placed to surround his ﷺ blessed vicinity. As the light of Nuboowwah began spreading throughout Makkah, these special souls started to witness dreams that Allah  سبحانه و تعالی showed them in the depths of their sleep. Dreams of a blessed moon that captivated them due its purity and brilliance, which they started following wherever it guided them. Each of them would be led to the Prophet ﷺ and guided to Islam, through our own uniquely inspiring journeys. (Ibn Hisham, Ibn Ishaq)

From amongst the first of these blessed souls were Sayyidinaa Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan, Zubair ibn Al-‘Awwaam, Abdur-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf, Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullah, Saa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas, Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn Al-Jarraah, Al-Arqam ibn Abi Al-Arqam, ‘Uthmaan ibn Maz’oon, Sa’eed ibn Zaid, his wife Faatimah bint Al-Khattaab (the sister of Sayyidinaa ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab), Asma bint Abu Bakr and many more virtuous souls who accepted Islam within the first few days, رضی الله عنهم اجمعین

They would continue to grow in number, becoming the first of the blessed Sahaabah (Companions) of the Prophet ﷺ. In addition to the beauty and perfection of the Prophet ﷺ, they were drawn by the magnitude of the Qur’aan in his blessed heart, and the spiritual radiances that emanated in his blessed presence. They attentively listened to his every word as it penetrated into the depths of their heart and soul, and they found the answer that every soul is yearning for, that every heart is beating is for: Allah  سبحانه و تعالی!

Phase One: The Secret Call

From this day onwards, the first phase of the Prophet’s ﷺ mission had begun. This first phase was known as “Da’wah As-Sirr” (The Secret Call). Our Master Muhammad ﷺ would embark upon this first phase at the foundational level of Nuboowwah (Prophethood). As a Nabi, he ﷺ would spend the next three years calling to Allah  سبحانه و تعالی in secret, inviting those special souls that Allah  سبحانه و تعالی had chosen to be the foremost pioneers. This first phase would continue until the third year of Prophethood, after which the Prophet ﷺ would be blessed with the rank of Risaalah (Messengership), and the second phase of his mission would begin: “Da’wah Al-Jahr” (The Open Call).

Zaman Al-Fatrah: The Period of Cessation

During these first three years, the Prophet ﷺ did not receive any further revelation. The Prophet ﷺ was experiencing the Zaman Al-Fatrah (The Period of Cessation), explained as a grace period for the Prophet ﷺ bear the weight of Nuboowwah (Prophethood) and Wahi (Divine Revelation).

With each passing moment, the Prophet ﷺ yearned to be in contact with his Lord again, to feel the radiances of the spiritual realm, and enrich his heart with the revelation of the Qur’aan. The pain of this yearning would become unbearable as the days increased, until the Prophet ﷺ would stand atop a mountain and Sayyidinaa Jibra’eel علیه السلام would appear over the horizon and powerfully declare:

یَا مُحَمَّد ؛ اِنَّكَ رَسُوْلُ اللّٰهِ حَقًّا

“O Muhammad! ﷺ You are indeed the true Messenger of AIlah.” (Fath Al-Baari)

This would fortify the blessed heart of the Prophet ﷺ and would grant ease in to his yearning. This cycle continued for the remainder of the next three years of cessation until the Prophet ﷺ was commanded with the open call towards Islam and the following verses were revealed:

فَٱصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ

“Now, proclaim what you are commanded to, and turn away from those who ascribe partners to Allah.” (Surah Al-Hijr 15:94)

وَأَنذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ الْأَقْرَبِينَ ﴿٢١٤﴾ وَاخْفِضْ جَنَاحَكَ لِمَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿٢١٥﴾

“And warn, [O Muḥammad ﷺ], your closest kindred. And lower your wing [i.e., show kindness] to those who follow you of the believers.”(Surah Al-Shu’araa 26:214-215)

After that, revelation would continue to flow and increase in frequency. In time Allah سبحانه وتعالی would reveal powerful verses such as Surah Ad-Duhaa. In these verses, Allah سبحانه وتعالی assured His beloved Prophet ﷺ, that just as He سبحانه وتعالی never ever abandoned him ﷺ throughout his childhood and orphanage, likewise He سبحانه وتعالی will never abandon him ﷺ in his Prophethood, and will always be with him ﷺ:

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
وَالضُّحَىٰ ﴿١﴾ وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا سَجَىٰ ﴿٢﴾ مَا وَدَّعَكَ رَبُّكَ وَمَا قَلَىٰ ﴿٣﴾ وَلَلْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لَّكَ مِنَ الْأُولَىٰ ﴿٤﴾ وَلَسَوْفَ يُعْطِيكَ رَبُّكَ فَتَرْضَىٰ ﴿٥﴾ أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآوَىٰ ﴿٦﴾ وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ ﴿٧﴾ وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَىٰ ﴿٨﴾ فَأَمَّا الْيَتِيمَ فَلَا تَقْهَرْ ﴿٩﴾ وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلَا تَنْهَرْ ﴿١٠﴾ وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ ﴿١١﴾

“By the morning brightness. And [by] the night when it covers with darkness, Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muḥammad], nor has He detested [you]. And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life]. And your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied. Did He not find you an orphan and give [you] refuge? And He found you unaware of the way (the Shari’ah), then He guided you. And He found you in need, then made you need-free. So as for the orphan, do not oppress [him]. And as for the beggar, do not scold him. And proclaim the Grace of your Lord.” (Surah Ad-Duha 93)

Salaah: The First Act of Worship

During these first three years of secret call, Sayyidinaa Jibra’eel علیه السلام came to the Prophet ﷺ and illustrated the first act of ‘Ibaadah (Worship) for Allah سبحانه وتعالی. This was a milestone moment for the Prophet ﷺ to witness and learn how to worship the one true God, in the true manner. Sayyidinaa Jibra’eel علیه السلام struck his heel upon the ground, from which a spring of water was made to gush forth. He then illustrated the performance of Wudhu (Ablution), the method of purification required for the slave to address Allah سبحانه وتعالی, who is Al-Qudoos (The Pure One). Thereafter Sayyidinaa Jibra’eel علیه السلام demonstrated the method of performing Salaah (Prayer) to Allah سبحانه وتعالی, including the Ruku (Bowing) and Sujood (Prostration) to Allah سبحانه وتعالی who is the Rabbul ‘Aalameen (Lord of the Worlds) and Al-Aa’laa (The Highest).
(Ibn Ishaaq)

The Prophet ﷺ then returned home to Sayyidah Khadijah رضی الله عنها, and just as she was chosen to be the first to hear and believe, she also became the first to learn and practice. The Prophet ﷺ taught her the method of Wudhu and Salaah, as they would now pray together and Sayyidah Khadijah رضی الله عنها would bear the honour of being the first member of this Ummah to prostrate to the Lord of the Worlds.

Thereafter the Prophet ﷺ taught the method of Wudhu and Salaah to the rest of the Sahaabah, as the blessed soil of Makkah was once again honoured by feel of feet standing in the worship of Allah  سبحانه و تعالی, and the touch of faces in Sijdah (Prostration).

The Shooting Stars & The Shielding of the Heavens.

The area above the first heaven is a pivotal station, whereby the forthcoming commands of Allah  سبحانه و تعالی descend and are dictated to the responsible angels, who then carry out their duties and travel through the busy portal of the first heaven. For millions of years, the Shayateen (Devils) would ascend towards the border of the first heaven, and attempt to eavesdrop into this station of descending commands, taking whatever sounds they could decipher as foretold news to the devils of man, such as the soothsayers and fortune-tellers. However, things were about to change for these dark creatures.

As they began to approach to the edge of the heavens – per their usual practice – they suddenly felt a strange shift in the atmosphere. To their sudden shock they looked up to see that the border of the heavens was suddenly shielded. Before they could even comprehend the nature of this sound-proofing barrier, the edge of the heavens became a visual spectacle, as they witnessed huge beams of blinding light in the form of shooting stars that speedily began striking them one by one. As these devils plummeted towards the earth, the remaining spirits turned back in fear and panic as they rushed to Iblees (The Arch-Devil). Frantic and terrified, they began blurting out the shocking changes they had just witnessed and beseeched him to help them. Iblees immediately sent his minions to scour the earth and bring a soil sample from every piece of land. Iblees’ response was strange and suspicious to the Jinn and Shayaateen, almost as though he feared something they were unaware of.

As soon as they returned, he began examining each sample, until he reached a particular town and looked as though his fear had come true. He told them the answer to the heavens being shielded in such a manner would be found in the land of Makkah. The agents of darkness immediately rushed to Makkah to identify what had happened. They travelled through the streets and mountain passes in search of an answer when suddenly, they witnessed a scene that set them back. They watched as the Prophet ﷺ stood above a mountain, and the foremost pioneers of this Ummah stood closely behind him performing Salaah. They listened in awe as they heard the Prophet ﷺ recite the Qur’aan and glorify Allah  سبحانه و تعالی, an experience that even their hearts could not resist being affected by. The blessed feet of Allah’s greatest Prophet ﷺ, and the feet of his firm followers had transformed the entire soil of Makkah, and the spatial border of the first heaven had been now been shielded, for the Qur’aan was to descend through it. (Ibn Ishaaq, Uyun Al-Athar)

Daar Al-Arqam

As the days went by, the number of Sahaabah entering into Islam through the private efforts of the Prophet ﷺ were increasing. With many of them being enslaved or socially weak and oppressed. Due to the nature of the secret call, they yearned for a space where they could meet and learn about Allah  سبحانه و تعالی without being spotted.

From amongst these blessed pioneers, Sayyidinaa Al-Arqam ibn Abi Al-Arqam رضی الله عنه dedicated a residence of his known as Daar Al-Arqam for the the lovers of Allah  سبحانه و تعالی and His Prophet ﷺ to gather and study.

These blessed Sahaabah would work through the day and risk their lives to secretly convene after dark. They would be the first students to enrol into the Madrasah of the Prophet ﷺ, learning and growing within the humble precincts of Daar Al-Arqam. Together, they would form a league of the most extraordinary individuals in all of humanity, under the leadership and guidance of the most extraordinary individual in all of creation. They would be honoured by their Lord in the Qur’aan as As-Saabiqoon Al-Awwaloon (The Foremost Pioneers).

These first three years had proved pivotal in setting the foundation for the blessed mission of the Prophet ﷺ, the first of those to accepted Islam, the humble base of Daar Al-Arqam and the journey to the open call on Mount Safa would have lasting effects throughout the next twenty years of the Prophet’s ﷺ Nuboowwah.

Join us tomorrow as we continue in the blessed Seerah with our next article: “As-Saabiqoon Al-Awwaloon: The Foremost Pioneers”

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