you who covers himself (with a garment)!
Arise and warn!
And your Lord glorify!
And your garments
And uncleanliness avoid!)1
Arise! There is no longer time for rest. Pull
yourself away from the warmth of home and family and come to striving. Arise
and shoulder the Message. Arise for humanity to worship their Creator. Arise to
defeat darkness, eliminate Shirk2, and uplift the Word of Allah most high.
With these powerful summoning Words began the Call to Islam, at
first secretly, for Islam was born a stranger among harsh people. Their only
religion was stones. Their only pretext was that they found their fathers
worshiping idols, and they were to follow in their footsteps. The sword solved
any conflicts in their torn community, where obscenities were committed,
daughters buried alive, ties of kinship severed, neighbors abused, and the
strong devoured the weak. So, it had to start as a stranger. “Islam started
a stranger and it will return a stranger as it has started, so Tuba (all kinds
of happiness or the name of a tree in Paradise)
is to the (likewise) strangers.”3
The chosen environment for the birthplace of Islam represented
one of the hardest challenges that falsehood ever threw into the path of faith
and the worst of doubts that ever troubled souls. Success of Islam in uplifting
this tribal community from the abyss to the summit means it has the ability to
achieve this uplift anywhere. 4
Clouds of thick darkness covered the
minds and lives of the people of Jahiliyyah (Pre-Islamic Days of
Ignorance of Allah), who were dragged down into the evil depths of idolatry,
debauchery, and sin.
An idol was worshipped inside almost every house in Makkah.
When traveling, the last ritual before leaving home and the first on coming
back was to rub the body against the idol as a blessing. Idolatry even crept in
and desecrated the Ka‘bah, the first house built on earth for the
worship of Allah Alone, where three hundred and sixty idols were laid within it
and its courtyard. The illness showed its symptoms everywhere: sculpted images,
raised statues, erected rocks with devout worshipers circumambulating and
prostrating. It even reached the worship of bare substances:
traveling and stopping at a place would take four stones and choose the best
one to make it his god and the other three as andirons. When he departed, he
left his god, and did the same on traveling to another place.”5
“We used to
worship stones; when we found a better stone than the one we had, we would
throw it away and take the better one. If we could not find a stone, we would
collect some earth and then bring a sheep and milk that sheep over it, and
would circumambulate it.”6
Shirk and idolatry originated in their minds from the
conviction that angels, messengers, prophets, and pious people were the closest
to Allah U,
Who raised them to the highest ranks and gave them special powers to avert harm
or bring good, which entitled them to be mediators between Allah and the
people. So, no help should be sought, a need begged for, or worship offered to
Allah except through them.
Once this false belief was rooted and ingrained in their minds,
they sculpted images and statues of them, took them as helpers and protectors,
and made them the indispensable means of reaching Allah and drawing closer to
who take Awliya’ (protectors and helpers) besides Him (say), “We worship them
only that they may bring us near to Allah.”)8 (And they worship besides Allah things that harm
them not, nor profit them, and they say, “These are our intercessors with
Daybreak slowly pushes darkness out
until daylight spreads everywhere; so was the Prophet of Mercy r
commanded to preach Islam, slowly pushing darkness, breaking the idols, and
guiding people to Allah U.
‘Amr bin ‘Abasah As-Sulami t
I used to believe that people were astray
and totally in the wrong in their worshipping of idols. In the meantime, I
heard of a man in Makkah who was conveying news. I rode my mount and went to
The Messenger of
was at that time hiding because of his people’s boldness against him. I adopted
a friendly attitude (towards the Makkans) until I came to him in Makkah and
said to him, “Who are you?”
said, “I am a prophet.”
I said, “What is
said, “Allah has sent me.”
I said, “With
what has He sent you?”
said, “He has sent me to join the ties of the wombs, break the idols, and
declare that there is one God – nothing is to be associated with Him.”
I said to him, “Who
is with you in this (faith)?”
said, “A free man and a slave.”
Abu Bakr t
and Bilal t
were there with him, among those who had believed in him at that time.
I said, “I shall
said, “You cannot do so this day of yours. Can you not see my (hard) state
and that of the people? But return to your folk and when you hear that I have
been granted victory, come to me.” So, I returned to my family.10
During these days of the progressive retreat of darkness with
the advance of the dawn light, Allah U commanded His Messenger
to recite the Noble Qur’an in a low voice to avert the evil of the Quraish, who
were lying in wait for him.
In regard to the Saying of Allah U: (And
offer your Salah (Prayer) neither aloud nor in a low voice, but follow a way
between.)11 Ibn ‘Abbas t said: “This Ayah
was revealed while the Messenger of Allah r was hiding himself in
Makkah. At that time, when he r led his Companions in Salah,
used to raise his voice with the recitation of Qur’an. When the Mushrikin12 heard him, they cursed the Qur’an, the One
Who revealed it, and the one who brought it. Therefore, Allah U
told His Prophet r:
(And offer your Salah
neither aloud), i.e. do not recite aloud lest
the Mushrikin should hear and curse
the Qur’an, (nor in
a low voice)
lest your Companions do not hear you; (but
follow a way between.)”13
After three years of secret preaching
of Islam to individuals a group of first believers emerged, firmer than
mountains, closer than brothers, ready to shoulder and convey the Message,
following which the Prophet r received the Divine
Command of declaring the Call to the Quraish: (And
warn, (O Muhammad), your closest kindred.)14
The Messenger of Allah r complied, and on Mount As-Safa
near the Sanctified Ka‘bah,
rose and started calling, “O Banu Fahr! O Banu ‘Adi!,” addressing the
clans of Quraish until they assembled. Any man who could not come himself sent
a messenger to see what was happening. Abu Lahab and the people of Quraish
arrived. The Prophet r
then said, “Suppose I told you that there are horses (cavalry) in the valley
intending to raid you, would you believe me?” They said, “Yes. we have
not known you to tell anything other than the truth.” He r
said, “Truly, I am a warner to you before a severe torment.”15
“O Banu Ka’b bin Lu’ay! Rescue yourselves from the Fire. O
Banu Murrah bin Ka’b! Rescue yourselves from the Fire. O Banu ‘Abdu Shams!
Rescue yourselves from the Fire. O Banu ‘Abd Manaf! Rescue yourselves from the
Fire. O Banu Hashim! Rescue yourselves from the Fire. O Banu ‘Abdul-Muttalib!
Rescue yourselves from the Fire. O Fatimah (daughter of Muhammad)! Rescue
yourself from the Fire. Truly, I can avail you nothing against Allah, except
that you have a kinship (with me) that I would dutifully and kindly maintain.”16
People dispersed after hearing the ultimatum. Abu Lahab, the
Prophet’s uncle, responded evilly, saying to the Prophet r:
“Perish you all day! Is it for this (purpose) you have gathered us?” In
consequence, Allah U
the two hands of Abu Lahab, and perish he! His wealth will not avail him or
that which he gained.)18
The warner’s cries kept reverberating
through Makkah. Shortly thereafter, Allah U revealed His Command of
openly preaching Islam to all, saying: (Proclaim openly that
which you are commanded, and turn away from the Mushrikin.)19
The Messenger of Allah r rose and publicly
preached Islam in the assemblies and societies of Quraish, reciting to them the
Book of Allah, saying to them what the Messengers before him said to their
people: (“O my people, worship Allah. You have no god other
The Messenger r alone carried upon his
shoulders the mountainous task of guiding humanity to their Creator and went
from one house to another in Mina, crying out: “O people, Allah, the Exalted
and the Glorious, commands you to worship Him and associate nothing with Him.”21
The way to the goal was beset with intolerable hardships and
challenges, which the Messenger r wisely surmounted; he r
patiently endured persecution while conveying the Message.
An eyewitness, Rabi‘ah bin ‘Abbad Ad-Daili t,
related: “I saw the Messenger of Allah r with my own eyes in
Dhil-Majaz marketplace, walking through its streets, crying, ‘O people, say,
‘La ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but Allah)’ and you will succeed.’
People crowded around him, but I did not see anyone saying anything. Yet he was
never silent and kept saying, ‘O people, say, ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ and you
will succeed.’ Close behind him was a man, squint-eyed, handsome, with two
braids, who was saying, ‘He is an apostate, a liar.’ I asked, ‘Who is
this?’ They said, ‘Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah, and he speaks of prophethood.’
I said, ‘Who is this one belying him?’ They said, ‘His uncle, Abu
witness, a sheikh from Banu Malik bin Kinanah, said: “I saw the Messenger of
moving through Dhil-Majaz marketplace while saying, ‘O people, say, ‘La
ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but Allah)’ and you will succeed.’ Abu
Jahl was casting dust upon him and saying, ‘O people, do not let this delude
(tempt) you away from your religion. He only wants that you desert your gods
and desert Al-Lat and Al-‘Uzza (two idols of the pagan Arabs).’ But the
Messenger of Allah r
did not heed him.”23
The Messenger of Allah r was asked about the Ayah
that was the hardest on him when revealed from heaven, and he r
I was in Mina during
Hajj season when Arab Mushrikin and people from various places would
gather for the (Hajj) season. Jibril (Gabriel u) came down to me and
said: (O Messenger, proclaim (the Message) that has been
revealed to you from your Lord. If you do not, then you have not conveyed His
Message. Allah will protect you from mankind. Verily, Allah guides not the
people who disbelieve.)25
I stood at
Al-‘Aqabah and called out, “O people, who will support me in conveying the
Message of my Lord and have Paradise (as
reward)? O people, say, ‘La ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but Allah),’ and
that I am the Messenger of Allah for you, and you will succeed and Paradise will be yours.” But not a man, woman, or
child remained who did not cast dust and stones at me and spit in my face,
saying, “A liar, an apostate.”
Then there appeared
to me one who said, “O Muhammad, if you are the Messenger of Allah, it is
time for you to invoke Allah against them as Nuh (Noah) invoked destruction
against his people.” The Prophet r said, “O Allah,
guide my people, for they know not, and support me over them so that they
respond to me in obeying You.”
In this struggle of one against all, the Prophet r openly started
to worship Allah, the Most Exalted,
before the eyes of Quraish
at the Ka‘bah, in broad daylight, without regard for the Mushrikin
and their persecution.
stone-worshipers thought themselves invincible
and, with hearts turned into the stones they worshiped, they brazenly carried
out their persecution and attempts on his life, before all eyes.
Ibn ‘Abbas t narrated26 that the Prophet r
was praying when Abu Jahl came and said, “Have I not forbidden you this (praying)!
Have I not forbidden you this! Have I not forbidden you this!”
Upon finishing Salah, the Prophet r rebuked Abu Jahl, who replied, “You know that
there is not a council (people and tribe) in it (in this valley) greater than
consequently revealed: (Then
let him call upon his council (of helpers). We will call
out the guards of Hell.)27
Abu Jahl defiantly said, “Indeed if I see Muhammad praying
at the Ka‘bah, I will tread on his neck.” It reached the Prophet r who said, “If he
does it, the angels will seize him.”28
Despite this, Abu Jahl did not desist. Abu Hurairah t
narrated that Abu Jahl asked, “Does Muhammad soil his face with dust (i.e.
prostrate himself) in your presence?” It was said (to him), “Yes.”
He said, “I swear by Al-Lat and Al-‘Uzza (two idols), if I see him do this,
I will trample on his neck, or I will rub his face in the dust.”
He came to the Messenger of Allah r
while he was praying and thought of trampling on his neck, but the people were
surprised to see him only turning upon his heels and parrying (something) with
his hands. It was said to him, “What is wrong with you?” He said, “There
is between him and me a ditch of fire, terror, and wings.”
The Messenger of Allah r said, “If he had
come near me, the angels would have snatched him limb by limb.”29
Then Allah U
revealed30: (Nay! Verily, man does transgress, because he
considers himself self-sufficient.
Surely, unto your Lord is the return. Have you seen
him who forbids a servant when he prays? Have you seen if he is upon
guidance or enjoins righteousness?
Have you seen if he denies and turns away?
Knows he not that Allah sees? Nay! If he ceases not, We will
by the forelock. A lying, sinful forelock. Then let him call
upon his council (of
helpers). We will call out the guards of Hell. Nay! Do not obey him. Fall prostrate and draw near (to
Another trial is reported by ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud t,
who said: “The Messenger of Allah r was standing in prayer
near the Ka‘bah. A group of Quraish was sitting there in a gathering,
one of whom said, ‘Do you not see this show-off? Who among you will go and
bring the dung, blood, and entrails of the slaughtered camels of the family of
so-and-so, and then wait until he prostrates and put that in between his
shoulders?’ The most wretched among them (‘Uqbah bin Abu Mu‘ait) went (and
brought them), and when the Messenger of Allah r prostrated himself, he
placed them (on his back) between his shoulders. The Prophet r
remained in prostration while they laughed until they fell over one another
laughing. Someone hurried to Fatimah, who was still a little girl, and she came
running. The Prophet r
remained in prostration until she threw it away from him. Then she turned to
them and cursed them.”32
‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As t was asked about the
worst thing he saw the idolaters inflict on the Prophet r,
and he said:
While the Messenger of Allah r was praying in the
yard of the Ka‘bah, ‘Uqbah bin Abu Mu‘ait came and seized the Messenger
of Allah r by the shoulder, twisted his garment
around his neck, and severely throttled him with it. Forthwith Abu Bakr t came, seized ‘Uqbah’s
shoulders, and threw him away from the Messenger of Allah r and said, ‘Would
you kill a man because he says, ‘My Lord is Allah,’ and has come to you with
clear Signs from your Lord?’”33
Translated meanings of Al-Muddaththir 74: 1-5.
Associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship.
3 Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Sahih Muslim, Book of Iman,
Hadith no. 208; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Ibn Majah
(3976, 3977, 3978), At-Tirmidhy (2553), Ad-Darimy (2637), and Ahmad (8693,
4 Adapted from Muhammad Al-Ghazali, Fiqh As-Sirah, The Teaching Messenger r, Dar
Ibn Al-Kalbi, Book of Al-Asnam (Idols).
Narrated by Abu Raja Al-‘Utaridi: Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Al-Maghazi
(Expeditions), Hadith no. 4027.
7 Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum,
Religions of the Arabs.
Translated meanings of Az-Zumar 39: 3.
Translated meanings of Yunus 10: 18.
10 Sahih Muslim, Book of Salah Al-Musafirin wa
Qasriha, Hadith no. 1374; a similar version of the Hadith is also reported
by Ahmad (16405).
Translated meanings of Al-Isra’ 17: 110.
12 Plural of Mushrik: One who associates others with Allah in His
Divinity or worship.
13 Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Tafsir Al-Qur’an,
Hadith no. 4353; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary
(6936, 6971, 6992), Muslim (677), At-Tirmidhy (3070, 3071), An-Nasa’y (1001,
1002), and Ahmad (150, 1756).
Translated meanings of Ash-Shu‘ara’ 26: 214.
15 Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas: Sahih Al-Bukhary,
Book of Tafsir Al-Qur’an, Hadith no.
4397; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (4427,
4589, 4590), Muslim (307), At-Tirmidhy (3286), and Ahmad (2413, 2664).
16 Narrated by Abu Hurairah: Sahih Muslim, Book of Iman,
Hadith no. 303; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Muslim
(305), Al-Bukhary (2548, 3264, 4398), At-Tirmidhy (3109), An-Nasa’y (3584,
3586, 3587), and Ahmad (8246, 8372, 8812, 9417, 10307).
17 Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas: Sahih Al-Bukhary,
Book of Tafsir Al-Qur’an, Hadith no.
4397; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary (4427,
4589, 4590), Muslim (307), At-Tirmidhy (3286), and Ahmad (2413, 2664).
Translated meanings of Al-Masad 111: 1-2.
Translated meanings of Al-Hijr 15: 94.
Translated meanings of Al-A‘raf 7: 59.
21 Narrated by Rabi‘ah bin ‘Abbad Ad-Daili: Musnad
Ahmad, Book of Makkans, Hadith no. 15449; similar versions of the Hadith
are also reported by Ahmad (15446, 15447, 15452).
22 Musnad Ahmad, Book of Makkans,
Hadith no. 15448; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Ahmad
(15445, 15446, 15447, 15449, 15450, 15451, 15452, 18234).
23 Transmitted by Ash‘ath: Musnad Ahmad, Book of Al-Ansar,
Hadith no. 22108; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Ahmad
Narrated by Ibn Abbas: Jalal Ad-Din As-Suyuti, Ad-Durr
Al-Ma’idah [5: 67]
Translated meanings of Al-Ma’idah 5: 67.
26 Sunnan At-Tirmidhy, Book of Tafsir
Al-Qur’an, Hadith no. 3272; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by
Ahmad (2207, 2887).
27 Translated meanings of
Al-‘Alaq 96: 17-18.
28 Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas: Sahih
Al-Bukhary, Book of Tafsir Al-Qur’an, Hadith no. 4576; similar versions of
the Hadith are also reported by At-Tirmidhy (3271) and Ahmad (2115, 3302).
29 Sahih Muslim, Book of Sifat Al-Qiyamah wa Al-Jannah wa An-Nar (Description
of the Day of Resurrection, Paradise, and
Hellfire), Hadith no. 5005; a similar version of the Hadith is also reported by
30 Circumstances of
revelation: Sahih Muslim, Book of Sifat Al-Qiyamah wa Al-Jannah wa An-Nar, Hadith no. 5005.
Translated meanings of Al-‘Alaq 96: 6-19.
32 Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Salah (Prayer),
Hadith no. 490; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by Al-Bukhary
(233, 2717, 2948, 3565), Muslim (3349, 3350), An-Nasa’y (305), and Ahmad (3537,
33 Sahih Al-Bukhary, Book of Tafsir Al-Qur’an, Hadith no. 4441; similar versions of the Hadith are also reported by
Al-Bukhary (3402, 3567) and Ahmad (6614, 6739).