Episode 6: The First Muslims
Khadijah, the Prophetʹs wife, was the first believer in the new faith. She had
the opportunity of being his companion and helper, his consort and supporter.
She always stood behind him, consoling and giving him support against all those
who denied and scorned him. She tried to relieve his apprehensions and
encouraged him by reinforcing her trust in him.
‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib was the next to enter in the fold of Islam. He was then a youth of ten years, and had been brought up under the guardianship of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him since his early childhood. The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him had taken the charge of ‘Ali from his uncle Abu Talib, and kept him as a member of his family since the time a grievous famine befell Quraysh. The third person to accept Islam was Zayd Ibn Haritha who was a freeman of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him and whom he had adopted as his son).
Acceptance of the Prophetʹs faith by Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Quhafa, after Zayd, was of no minor significance. This merchant of sociable nature was known for his moderation and prudence, good character and kindliness, and enjoyed a still greater reputation for his wide knowledge of the genealogy of the Quraysh and expertise in commerce. He began to preach the truth that he had affirmed himself to all those that he had relied upon including those who are associated with him or those who came to seek his company. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 249‐59)
The persuasive businessman began to win over the elite of the Quraysh to place their trust in the mission of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him. Those who accepted Islam at invitation of Abu Bakr included ‘Uthman Ibn Affan, Zubayr Ibn Al ‘Awwam, ʹAbdul Rahman Ibn Auf, S’ad Ibn Abi Waqqa and Talha Ibn ‘Ubaydullah. Abu Bakr brought all of them to the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him upon whose hands they embraced Islam. (Ibn Hisham, pp. 150‐51).
Slowly, the mission of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him was made known to other respectable citizens of Makkah and some of them who followed after the first eight were: Abu ‘Ubayda Ibn al‐Jarrah, Al‐Arqam, ‘Uthman Ibn Maz’un, ‘Ubaydah Ibn al‐Harith Ibn Abdul Muttalib, Sa’id Ibn Zayd, Kahbbab Ibn Al‐Aratt, ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’us, ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir, Suhayb Ibn Sinan and others. People now began to accept Islam in large numbers; they came in throngs from different tribes and families until the news spread throughout the city that Muhammed taught some sort of a new faith. (Ibn Hisham, pp. 262)
Three years had elapsed from the time the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him had received the first revelation but he had remained a silent preacher throughout such period. He was now commanded to announce it openly:
“So proclaim that which You art commanded, and withdraw from the idolaters.” [Qurʹaan 15: 94].
“And warn Your tribe of near kindred, and lower Your wing (in kindness) unto those believers who follow thee.” [Qurʹaan 26:214‐15].
“And say: Lo! I, even I, am a plain Warner.” [Qurʹaan 15: 89].
It was an order to show himself to peoples of the world. The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him ascended the heights of mount Safa and cried aloud: “Ya Sahabah”. The Arabs were already familiar with the call, which was meant to summon them for facing a surprise attack by the enemy. The alarming call made the whole of the Quraysh come quickly round the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him while those who were unable to come, sent proxies for themselves. Looking down at the men who waited with their eyes strained at him, the Messenger of God peace be and blessings upon him said to them:
“O sons of ‘Abdul Muttalib! O sons of Fihr: O sons of K’ab! If I tell you that horsemen were advancing to attack you from the other side of this hill, would you believe me?”
The Arabs were practical‐minded, possessing a keenly logical outlook, which admitted no ifs, or buts. They saw the man whom they had always found, on every occasion, candid, honest and dependable, standing on the summit, having a full view of both the sides of the hill. They had, on the other hand, the rear of the hill concealed from their sight. Given their intelligence and understanding, experience with the man addressing them and the entirety of their own sane and sound mind led them to only one conclusion. They unanimously replied, “Oh yes, we would surely believe you.”
Absolute truthfulness, credibility, or dependability of the Messenger of God peace be and blessings upon him constitute the initial and the most essential factor for the acceptance of his mission. The question posed by the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him was thus meant to obtain a confirmation of these qualities from his audience. Meriting their approval, he said to them, “Well, I am a warner to you before a severe condemnation overtakes you.” The Prophets of God (peace be and blessings upon them) are endowed with the knowledge of crude or austere realities that are neither perceptible nor acceptable in human parlance. The way the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him had tried to explain to them the concept and essence of Prophethood was the most trenchant and effective method that could have been employed for the purpose. This was certainly the easiest as well as the best method to convey an accurate impact and significance of Prophethood, wherein the allegorical mode of expressing such a complex reality was without parallel in the teachings of any other Prophet or founder of religion. The words of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him so struck the Quraysh that they stood silent and still. Abu Lahab, at last, took courage and exclaimed, “May you perish! Is it for this that you have brought us here?ʺ