History of Islam during the Lifetime of the Prophet and the Rightly Guided Caliphs (1of 2)


In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)- A Brief Description

He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state, built a nation, laid down a moral code, initiated numerous social and political reforms, established a powerful and dynamic society to practice and represent his teachings and completely revolutionized the worlds of human thought and behavior for all times to come.

“HIS NAME IS MUHAMMAD” ,May Peace of God Be Upon Him

He was born in Arabia in the year 570 C.E., started his mission of preaching the religion of Truth, Islam (submission to One God ) at the age of forty and departed from this world at the age of sixty-three.

During this short period of 23 years of his prophet hood, he changed the complete Arabian Peninsula from paganism and idolatry to worship of One God, from tribal quarrels and wars to national solidarity and cohesion, from drunkenness and debauchery to sobriety and piety, from lawlessness and anarchy to disciplined living, from utter bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence.

Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since – and all these unbelievable wonders in JUST OVER TWO DECADES.

Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since – and IMAGINE all these unbelievable wonders in JUST OVER TWO DECADES.

Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, an administrative colossus, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father – all in one.

No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these different aspects of life – but it was only for the selfless personality of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to achieve such incredible perfection.

Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was nothing more or less than a human being but he was a man with a noble mission, which was to unite humanity on the worship of ONE and ONLY ONE GOD and to teach them the way to honest and upright living based on the commands of God.

He always described himself as, ‘A Servant and Messenger of God’ and so indeed every action of his proclaimed to be.

No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these different aspects of life – but it was only for the selfless personality of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

Caliph: An Introduction

Meaning of the Word ‘Caliph’

The word ‘Caliph’ is the English form of the Arabic word ‘Khalifa,’ which is short for Khalifatu Rasulil-lah. The latter expression means Successor to the Messenger of God, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). The title ‘Khalifatu Rasulil-lah’ was first used for Abu Bakr, who was elected head of the Muslim community after the death of the Prophet.

The Significance of the Caliphate

The mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), like that of the earlier messengers of God, was to call people to the worship of and submission to the One True God. In practice, submission to God means to obey His injunctions as given in the Holy Qur’an and as exemplified by Sunnah (the practice of the Prophet). As successor to the Prophet, the Caliph was the head of the Muslim community and his primary responsibility was to continue in the path of the Prophet.

Since religion was perfected and the door of Divine revelation was closed at the death of the Prophet, the Caliph was to make all laws in accordance with the Qur’an and the Sunnah. He was a ruler over Muslims but not their sovereign since sovereignty belongs to God alone. He was to be obeyed as long as he obeyed God.

He was responsible for creating and maintaining conditions under which it would be easy for Muslims to live according to Islamic principles, and to see that justice was done to all. Abu Bakr, at the time he accepted the Caliphate, stated his position thus:

“The weak among you shall be strong with me until their rights have been vindicated; and the strong among you shall he weak with me until, if the Lord wills, I have taken what is due from them… Obey me as long as I obey God and His Messenger. When I disobey Him and His Prophet, then obey me not.”

 The Rightly-Guided Caliphs (Al-Khulafa-ur-Rashidun)

Those Caliphs who truly followed in the Prophet’s foot steps are called ‘The Rightly-Guided Caliphs’ (Al-Khulafa-ur Rashidun in Arabic). They are the first four Caliphs: Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, Uthmân and Ali. All four were among the earliest and closest Companions of the Prophet (peace be on him).

They lived simple and righteous lives and strove hard for the religion of God. Their justice was impartial, their treatment of others was kind and merciful, and they were one with the people – the first among equals. After these four, the later Caliphs assumed the manners of kings and emperors and the true spirit of equality of ruler and ruled diminished to a considerable extent in the political life of Muslims.

It should be clearly understood that the mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), and hence that of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, was not political, social or economic reform, although such reforms were a logical consequence of the success of this mission, nor the unity of a nation and the establishment of an empire, although the nation did unite and vast areas came under one administration, nor the spread of a civilization or culture, although many civilizations and cultures developed, but only to deliver the true message of God to all the peoples of the world and to invite them to submit to Him, while being the foremost among those who submitted.

 

AUTHORITY, CONSULTATION and OBEDIENCE


 

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

AUTHORITY, CONSULTATION and OBEDIENCE

The family is a group of people closely related by blood or marriage who usually live together. In every human group there is a leader and a hierarchy of authority so that the members act in co-operation for the common good.

Husband and wife - relation of coordination

The head of the family in an Islamic marriage is the husband, by virtue of his role as the maintainer of the family:

﴿الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُواْ مِنْ أَمْوَلِهِمْ فَالصَّـلِحَـتُ قَـنِتَـتٌ حَـفِظَـتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ وَاللَّـتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِى الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلاَ تَبْغُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلاً إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيّاً كَبِيراً ﴾

 “Men shall take full care of women with the bounties which Allah has bestowed more abundantly on the former than on the latter, and with what they may spend out of their possessions. And the righteous women are the truly devout ones, who guard the intimacy which Allah has (ordained to be) guarded … ” (Qur’an 4:34)

(وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِى عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكُيمٌ)

“And women have rights equal to the rights incumbent on them according to what is equitable; and men have a degree above them.” (Qur’an 2:228)

This “degree” of difference in legal rights in marriage and divorce is a reflection of the husband’s leadership role, and in no way implies that the woman is inferior as a moral and spiritual being. This point is stated in several Qur’an verses and Hadith.

(فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ أَنِّى لاَ أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِّنْكُمْ مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَى بَعْضُكُم)

“And their Lord answered them: Verily I will never cause to be lost the labour of any of you. Be you a male or a female the one of you is as the other.“(Qur’an 3:195)

﴿إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَـتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَـتِ وَالْقَـنِتِينَ وَالْقَـنِتَـتِ وَالصَّـدِقِينَ وَالصَّـدِقَـتِ وَالصَّـبِرِينَ وَالصَّـبِرَتِ وَالْخَـشِعِينَ وَالْخَـشِعَـتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَـتِوالصَّـئِمِينَ والصَّـئِمَـتِ وَالْحَـفِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَـفِـظَـتِ وَالذَكِـرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيراً وَالذَكِرَتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْراً عَظِيماً﴾

(Verily, the Muslims: men and women, the believers: men and women, the Qanit: men and the women, the men and women who are truthful, the men and the women who are patient, the Khashi`: men and the women, the men and the women who give Sadaqat, the men and the women who fast, the men and the women who guard their chastity and the men and the women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward.) (Qur’an 33:35)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“All people are equal, as equal as the teeth of a comb. There is no claim of merit of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a white over a black person or of a male over a female. Only God-fearing people merit a preference with Allah.” (Ahmad)

A wife should therefore acknowledge her husband’s administrative leadership and not dispute it or set herself up as a rival in taking ultimate decisions that affect the whole family. A ship with two captains will never reach its destination.

However, leadership in Islam also has its obligations. The leader at all levels is to be motivated by love and concern for those under his care, who will naturally respond by loving their leader.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

“The best of your leaders are those whom you love and who love you, for whom you pray and who pray for you, and the worst of your leaders are those whom you hate, and who hate you, whom you curse and who curse you. “(Muslim)

All forms of tyranny, oppression and exploitation of the weak are condemned, and the tyrant is warned:

“Fear the prayer of the wronged, for truly there is no veil between him and Allah.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, Abu Dawud,)

“The tyrant shall not enter into Paradise.” (Abu Dawud and Ahmad)

The leader is moreover obliged to consult his followers. A chapter of the Qur’an is entitled “Shura” (meaning Consultation) and it contains a description of the believers as those

(وَالَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُواْ لِرَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُواْ الصَّلوةَ وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ)

“Whose rule (in all matters of common concern) is consultation among themselves…” (Qur’an 42:38)

Leadership in Islam is identified as a responsibility. It exists at various levels both in pub1ic affairs and in the family.

According to a saying of the Prophet:

“Take care: each of you is a shepherd and each of you shall be asked concerning his flock. A leader is shepherd over (his) people, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a man is a shepherd over the people of his house, and he shall be asked concerning his flock; and a woman is a shepherd over the house of her husband and over his children, and she shall be asked concerning them; and the servant of a man is a shepherd over the property of his master, and he shall be asked concerning it. Take care, then, each of you is a shepherd and each of you shall be asked concerning his flock.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi.)

As can be seen from this Hadith the wife is given responsibility within the family for the smooth day-to­day running of the household and the upbringing of the young. We shall return to this aspect of her role in another section. Here we are concerned only with the aspect of leadership and authority in the home.

This brings us to the use of the words “ordering” and “obeying” which are used in translating some Qur’an verses or Hadith about husband/wife relationship, for example “when he orders her, she obeys”. The Arabic word “amr” used in the original text certainly has the general meaning of “to order” or “to ordain”. However, in the context of family life it obviously does not have the same connotation as it would have in, for example, the army! The family is not a military unit, and for a husband to give out orders to his wife like a sergeant-major on the parade would be most out of place, and indeed probably counter-productive. The relationship of husband and wife is quite different. They are not described as matter and servant in the Qur’an but as “garments to each other” -loving, sympathetic and protective. The records of the Prophet’s relationship with his wives are an example of this.

"Husband and wife are garments to each other" -loving, sympathetic and protective

Basically women (even strong-willed ones) still feel that it is natural for a husband to lead, provided he does so in the manner mentioned above, with wisdom. It is one of the comforts of marriage for a woman that she does not have to take sole responsibility for all major decisions in the family.

Allah has created men and women as complementary to one another in co-operation and not in competition.

Source:  The Ideal Muslim Wife by Aisha Lemu,Islamic Education Trust

The Story of a Blind Man


The Story of a Blind Man

(Quran Surah Abasa 80:1-12)

Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum a blind man, was a companion of Prophet (pbuh). He was one of the early converts to Islam. He was also the cousin of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Mother of the Believers, may Allah be pleased with her. His father was Qays ibn Said and his mother was Aatikah bint Abdullah. She was called Umm Maktum (Mother of the Concealed One) because she gave birth to a blind child.

Guidance for All

“One day the Messenger of Allah (saws) was addressing one of the great leaders of the Quraysh while hoping that he would accept Islam. While he was speaking in direct conversation with him, Ibn Umm Maktum came to him, and he was of those who had accepted Islam in its earliest days. He (Ibn Umm Maktum) then began asking the Messenger of Allah about something, urgently beseeching him. The Prophet (phub) hoped that the man would be guided, so he asked Ibn Umm Maktum to wait for a moment so he could complete his conversation. He frowned in the face of Ibn Umm Maktum and turned away from him in order to face the other man.” Thus, Allah revealed,

﴿عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّى – أَن جَآءَهُ الاٌّعْمَى – وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّى ﴾

(He frowned and turned away. Because there came to him the blind man. And how can you know that he might become pure) meaning, he may attain purification and cleanliness in his soul.

﴿أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَى ﴾

(Or he might receive admonition, and the admonition might profit him) meaning, he may receive admonition and abstain from the forbidden.

﴿أَمَّا مَنِ اسْتَغْنَى – فَأَنتَ لَهُ تَصَدَّى ﴾

(As for him who thinks himself self-sufficient. To him you attend;) meaning, `you face the rich person so that perhaps he may be guided.’

﴿وَمَا عَلَيْكَ أَلاَّ يَزَّكَّى ﴾

(What does it matter to you if he will not become pure) meaning, `you are not responsible for him if he does not attain purification.’

﴿وَأَمَّا مَن جَآءَكَ يَسْعَى – وَهُوَ يَخْشَى ﴾

(But as for him who came to you running. And is afraid.) meaning, `he is seeking you and he comes to you so that he may be guided by what you say to him.’

﴿فَأَنتَ عَنْهُ تَلَهَّى ﴾

(Of him you are neglectful and divert your attention to another.) meaning, `you are too busy.’ Here Allah commands His Messenger to not single anyone out with the warning. Rather, he should equal warn the noble and the weak, the poor and the rich, the master and the slave, the men and the women, the young and the old. Then Allah will guide whomever He chooses to a path that is straight. He has the profound wisdom and the decisive proof.

Allah says,

﴿كَلاَّ إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ ﴾

(Nay; indeed it is an admonition.) meaning, this Surah, or this advice in conveying knowledge equally among people, whether they are of noble or low class. Qatadah and As-Suddi both said,

﴿كَلاَّ إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ ﴾

(Nay; indeed it is an admonition.) “This means the Qur’an.”

﴿فَمَن شَآءَ ذَكَرَهُ ﴾

(So, whoever wills, let him pay attention to Him (it).) meaning, so whoever wills, he remembers Allah in all of his affairs. The pronoun could also be understood to be referring to the revelation since the conversation is alluding to it.

Source: Tafsir Ibn Kathir

The Prophet (pbuh) always used to guide people towards Islam. During this incident he (phuh) devoted his complete attention to the leaders of Quraysh with the hope of guiding them towards Islam and hence ignored the blind man. As a result of this Allah revealed the above verses.

After this incident, the Prophet (pbuh) always treated Ibn Umm Maktum with kindness and generosity. He (pbuh) often greeted Ibn Umm Maktum with these words of humility:

“Welcome unto him on whose account my Sustainer has rebuked me.”

Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum would also pronounce the iqamah for the Prayer. Bilal (ra) would call the adhan.

Narrated Salim bin Abdullah: My father said that Allah s Apostle said, “Bilal pronounces ‘Adhan at night, so keep on eating and drinking (Suhur) till Ibn Umm Maktum pronounces Adhan.” Salim added, “He was a blind man who would not pronounce the Adhan unless he was told that the day had dawned.”

Source:  Sahih Al-bukhari