Mu’ammar al-Qathafi in gratitude:
pray to Allah, and not ungrateful for the year.
Mu’ammar al-Qathafi’s desire only to help all !
Night of Qadr:
According to legend, a young Bedoin, roaming the desert, came across a spring of delicious crystal-clear water.
The water was so sweet he filled his old leather skin, so that he could bring some back to a tribal elder who had been his teacher.
After a four-day journey, he presented the water to the old man, who took a deep drink, smiled warmly, and thanked his student lavishly for the sweet water.
The young man returned to his home village with a happy heart.
Later, the teacher let another student taste the water. He spat it out, saying it was awful. (It apparently had become stale because of the old leather skin.)
The student challenged his teacher: “Master, the water was foul. Why did you pretend to like it?” The teacher replied, “You only tasted the water. I tasted the gift. The water was simply the container for an act of loving kindness and nothing could be sweeter. Heartfelt gifts deserve the return gift of gratitude.”
(parable from Michael Josephson)
THE LIFE OF MOHAMMAD
E. DINET and SLIMAN BEN IBRAHIM
ORNAMENTAL PAGES BY MOHAMMAD RACIM
“The man’s words were not false…
a fiery mass of Life cast-up from
the great bosom of Nature herself.”
(“On Heroes,” by THOMAS CARLYLE,
Project Gutenberg “eBook of ‘The Life Of Mohammad‘ “(PBUH)
THE PARIS BOOK CLUB, 11, RUE DE CHATEAUDUN
THIS WORK IS DEDICATED
BY THE AUTHOR-PAINTER
AND HIS ARAB COLLABORATOR
TO THE MEMORY OF THE VALIANT MUSLEM SOLDIERS
PARTICULARLY THOSE OF FRANCE AND ENGLAND
WHO, IN THE SACRED CAUSE OF RIGHT, JUSTICE AND HUMANITY
(WHO) HAVE PIOUSLY SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR
OF THE NATIONS.
Fearing to enlarge this work too much, we prefer to publish the notes, which we deem necessary for its justification, under the title: “L’Orient vu de l’Occident,” (The East Seen from the West), forming a pamphlet to be issued later on.
Nevertheless, we give as follows a list of those works which we have specially consulted.
WORKS IN ARABIC
“al-Qur’an wa huwa’l-Huda wa’l-Furqan.”—”Tafsir Anwaru’t Tanzil wa Asraru’t Tawil,” by Al-Baydawi, (Commonly referred to as “The Commentary of Al-Baydawi.”)—”Tafsiru’l Qur’ani’l Karim,” by the Shaykh Mohammad Abduh. (“The Commentary of the Shaykh Mohammad Abduh.”)—”Siratu’n-Rasul,” by Ibn Hisham. (Ibn Hisham’s “Life of the Prophet.”)—”Kitabu’t Tabaqat,” by Ibn Sad. (The “Tabaqat” of Ibn Sad.)—”Insanu’l-‘Uyun fi sirati’l-Amiri’l-Mamun,” by Ali ibn Burhanu’d-Dini’l-Halabi.—”Nuru’l yaqin fi sirati Sayyidi’l-Marsulin,” by Mohammad al-Khudri.—”Kitabu’s-Sahih,” by al-Bukhari. (The “Sahih” of al-Bukhari.)—”Rihlat,” by Abi’l Husayn ibn Jubayr. (The “Travels of Ibn Jubayr.”)—”Ar-Rihlatu’l Hijaziyya,” by Mohammad al-Batanuni.—”al-Bourdate,” by the Shaykh al-Busiri. (The “Burda,” or “Mantle Poem of Al-Busiri.”)—”Ummu’l Qura,” by al-Kawakibi.
ISLAMIC WORKS, IN ENGLISH
“The spirit of Islam”, by Ameer Ali Syied.—”Islamic Review,” edited by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, B.A., L.L.B.
WORKS IN FRENCH, OR TRANSLATED INTO FRENCH
Le Coran, traduction de Savary.—Le Coran, traduction de Kasimirski.—Le Coran, analysé par J. La Baume.—Le Coran, sa poésie, ses lois, par Stanley Lane Pole.—L’Esprit libéral du Coran, par Benâttar, El Hadi Sebâï et Abdelâziz Ettsalbi.—Encyclopédie de l’Islam, dirigée par le Professeur Houtsma.—Les Traditions islamiques d’El Bokhari, traduction de Houdas.—L’Islam, par le Comte Henry de Castries.—L’Islamisme, par Houdas.—”Oumm el Quora”, (la mère des Cités) de El Kaouakibi, compte-rendu littéral, d’après la version d’Omar Bouderba, par Christian Cherfils (en préparation).—L’Islamisme au point de vue social, textes d’Auguste Comte, publiés par Christian Cherfils.—Bonaparte et l’Islam, par Christian Cherfils.—Vie de Mahomet, par J. Gagnier.—Essai sur l’histoire des Arabes, par Caussin de Perceval.—Histoire des Arabes, de Sédillot.—Histoire des Arabes, de Huart.—”La Civilisation des Arabes”, par le Dr. Gustave Le Bon.—Essai sur l’histoire de l’Islamisme, par Dozy.—Histoire des Musulmans d’Espagne, par Dozy.—Le présent de l’homme lettre, pour réfuter les partisans de la Croix, par Abd Allah Le Drogman.—De l’état présent et de l’avenir de l’Islam, par E. Montet.—Les Héros (Mahomet, le héros comme Prophète), par Carlyle.—Averrhoës et l’Averrhoïsme, par E. Renan.—Les Musulmans français de l’Afrique du Nord, par Ismaïl Hamet.—Les vieux Arabes, par P. Radiot.—Voyage en Arabie, par Hubert.—Mon voyage à la Mecque, par G. Courtellement.—”Mohammed et la fin du Monde”, par P. Casanova.—L’enseignement de l’Arabe au Collège de France, par P. Casanova.—Revue du Monde Musulman, dirigée par A. Le Chatelier.—”L’Orient vu de l’Occident”, par E. Dinet et Sliman ben Ibrahim.
opening: There is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is the Prophet of Allah.
CHAPTER THE FIRST
opening: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
closing: Then when ye have ended the prayer, make mention of Allah, standing, and sitting, and reclining. (The Qur’an, iv, 104.)
CHAPTER THE SECOND
opening: Have We not opened thy breast for thee? * And taken off from thee thy burden? (The Qur’an, xciv, 1-2.)
closing: And provide for your journey; but the best provision is the fear of Allah. (The Qur’an, ii, 193.)
CHAPTER THE THIRD
opening: Verily, we have caused It (the Qur’an) to descend on the night of Power. (The Qur’an, xcvii, 1.)
closing: O thou enwrapped in thy mantle! * Arise and warn! * And thy Lord—magnify Him! (The Qur’an, lxxiv, 1-3.)
CHAPTER THE FOURTH
opening: Ye shall assuredly be tried in your possessions and in yourselves. (The Qur’an, iii, 183.)
closing: And before them have We set a barrier and behind them a barrier, and We have shrouded them in a veil, so that they shall not see. (The Qur’an, xxxvi, 8.)
CHAPTER THE FIFTH
opening: And fight for the cause of Allah against those who fight against you. (The Qur’an, ii, 186.)
closing: Believers! when ye confront a troop, stand firm and make frequent mention of the name of Allah; haply it shall fare well with you. (The Qur’an, viii, 47.)
CHAPTER THE SIXTH
opening: And be not faint-hearted, and be not sorrowful; For ye shall gain the upper hand if ye be believers. (The Qur’an, iii, 133.)
closing: Nay rather Allah is your liege lord, and He is the best of helpers. (The Qur’an, iii, 143.)
CHAPTER THE SEVENTH
opening: Verily, We have won for thee an undoubted victory. (The Qur’an, xlviii, 1.)
closing: Now hath Allah helped you in many battle-fields, and, on the day of Hunain, when ye prided yourselves on your numbers; but it availed you nothing. (The Qur’an, ix, 25.)
CHAPTER THE EIGHTH
opening: Accomplish the Pilgrimage and the Visitation of the Holy Places in honour of Allah. (The Qur’an, ii, 192.)
closing: Say: Go through the earth, and see how He hath brought forth created beings. (The Qur’an, xxix, 19.)
CHAPTER THE NINTH
opening: Thou truly art mortal, O Mohammad, and they truly are mortals. (The Qur’an, xxxix, 31.)
closing: Mohammad is no more than an apostle; other apostles have already passed away before him; if then he die, or be slain, will ye turn upon your heels? (The Qur’an, iii, 138.)
THE PROPHET’S PORTRAIT
opening: O my supreme Master, lavish thy Blessings and thy Favours for ever and ever on Thy Friend (Mohammad), the best of all created beings. (Al-Bourdate. Poem by the Shaykh Al-Busiri, in honour of the Prophet.)
closing: There is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is the Prophet of Allah.
CHAPTER THE TENTH
opening: Say: O my people! Act as ye best can: I verily will act my part, and hereafter shall ye know! (The Qur’an, vi, 135.)
closing: Allah will perhaps establish goodwill between yourselves and those of them with whom ye are at enmity, and Allah is Powerful: and Allah is Gracious, Merciful. (The Qur’an, lx, 7.)
One’s pen should be ennobled; that is, by treating of worthy matters.
Upon him, Mohammad, Salvation
Mohammad’s Seal. [Transcriber’s note: seal not found.]
CHAPTER THE FIRST.—Ornamental page
Praying round the Sacred Temple of the Ka’bah of Makkah
CHAPTER THE SECOND.—Ornamental page
The Night of the “Maulid,” the Prophet’s Birthday. Moslems
leaving a village Mosque.
SCENES OF THE BADYA, OR NOMADIC LIFE.
Watching over camels grazing
The Flocks 1 2
CHAPTER THE THIRD.—Ornamental page
“At Takbir,” or the Glorification
SCENES OF THE BADYA, OR NOMADIC LIFE.
The Encampment 1 2
Moslem woman praying on the terrace-roof of her dwelling
CHAPTER THE FOURTH.—Ornamental page
“Ar Ruku,” or the Inclination
The Friday Visit of Moslems to the Cemetery
SCENES OF THE BADYA, OR NOMADIC LIFE.
The Departure 1 2
CHAPTER THE FIFTH.—Ornamental page
Interior of a Mosque.—”Al Mihrab,” the niche marking the
direction of Makkah
The Mu’azzin’s Call
Believers perceiving the New Moon of the Month of Ramadhan
CHAPTER THE SIXTH.—Ornamental page
“As Sidjah,” or Prostration
Setting out for the “Jihad,” or Holy War 1 2
“Al Fitr,” the Prayer on the breaking of the Ramadhan fast 1 2
CHAPTER THE SEVENTH.—Ornamental page
An Arab horseman of the Desert
“Among all trees, one is blessed like the Mussulman; ’tis
the Palm,” said the Prophet 1 2
Bird’s-eye view of Makkah, the Most Sacred City, as seen
from the Jabal Abi-Qubais 1 2
CHAPTER THE EIGHTH.—Ornamental page
“Ad Dawah,” or the Invocation
The Pilgrims of Mount Arafa, on the Ninth day of
the Month of Zu’l Hijjah 1 2
CHAPTER THE NINTH.—Ornamental page
al-Madinah, the city of the Prophet. The Dome of Mohammad’ [PBUH]s Tomb
PORTRAIT OF THE PROPHET.[PBUH]—Imam leading the Prayer
CHAPTER THE TENTH.—Ornamental page
A writing lesson at a village school devoted to the teaching
of the Qur’an
Theological Students in the courtyard of al-Azhar, the great
Cairo Moslem University
Tombs of the Kaliphs. Under their rule, Muslem civilisation
enlightened the world
A traditional old scribe of the Desert
Final ornamental page
An existence, so full of stirring events as that of the Prophet Mohammad, cannot be described by us in all its details. As there are limits to all books, we have had to rest content with a selection of the most important episodes, so that each might be developed as we deemed necessary. Thus we present to the reader a series of pictures and not a complete history.
Our scaffolding and sketches are borrowed from very ancient authors such as Ibn Hisham, Ibn Sad, etc., without forgetting a more modern writer, Ali Borhan id-Din Al-Halabi who, in his book known by the title of “Es Sirat’al Halabia,” gathered together different versions from all the best-known historians. An incontestable proof of their veracity, in our opinion, is that these narratives, some dating as far back as twelve centuries, fit in perfectly with the manners, customs, hopes and language of the Moslems of the desert; those who at the present day, by their mode of living, are more akin to the Arabs of the Hijaz among whom Mohammad accomplished his Mission.
These remarks will serve to warn the reader that in this work will be found none of those learned paradoxes destined to destroy traditions, such sophisms delighting modern Orientalists by reason of their love of novelty.
The study of innovations introduced in this way into the Prophet’s history has caused us to note that they were often prompted by feelings inimical to Islam which were not only out of place in scientific research, but were also unworthy of our epoch. As displayed by their authors, they generally denoted strange ignorance of Arab customs, notwithstanding that these commentaries were accompanied by considerable erudition, although too bookish. In order to refute such new-fangled assertions, it was enough to check each in turn. Being so contradictory, one killed the other. Their extreme improbabilities, from the standpoint of Oriental psychology, only served to enhance with still greater clarity the perfect likelihood of those traditions sanctioned in the world of Islam.
We have been guided by them. We have been satisfied to choose those that seemed most characteristic, setting each in its proper place, thanks to information gleaned in long interviews with pilgrims visiting the Holy Cities of the Hijaz, while reviewing these episodes in the light of our experience of Moslem life, in the Great Desert of Sahara, where one of us two had lived from birth and the other for the last thirty years and more.
In strict agreement with the Qur’an, the only indisputable book according to the Muslem Doctors of the earliest times and those imbued with the modern liberal spirit, such as the celebrated Shaikh Abdu, we have put aside all the posthumous miracles attributed to the Arab Prophet and which only serve to blur his true physiognomy.
Among all the Prophets founders of religions, Mohammad is the only one who, relying solely on the evidence shown by his Mission and the divine eloquence of the Qur’an, was able to do without the assistance of miracles, thus performing the greatest of all—the one which Ernest Renan, forgetting his example, declared to be utterly impossible. “The greatest miracle,” said he, speaking of Jesus Christ, “would have been if he had wrought not any. Never would the laws of history and popular psychology have been more violently infringed.”
On the other hand, we have taken care not to turn a deaf ear to tales in legendary shape. A legend, and above all, an Oriental legend, is an incomparable means of expression. It serves to paint mere facts in lasting colours and make them stand out in bold relief, far removed from the icy and so-called impartial account of an up-to-date reporter.
Our readers, enlightened by the foregoing warning, must therefore not let themselves be the victims of the numerous errors committed by Hellenism, Latinism and Scholasticism, when interpreting “literally” the sacred books of the East, while beneath seeming magic allegories scattered here and there in this narrative, will easily be discerned realities, poetically transposed, but not at all disfigured by the imagination of the Arabs.
With still more reason, the Qur’an should be read in the same way, for is it not written: “God setteth forth these similitudes to men that haply they may be admonished.” (The Qur’an, xiv, 30.)
It may also seem strange that in the illustrations accompanying the text, no portrait of the Prophet will be found, nor any picturing of events in which he figured as the hero.
(BUT THIS IS NOT ‘OFFICIAL DOCTRINE’: Mohammed was a Prophet (NOT DIVINE, still merely a man, though truly the ‘greatest of the Servants’) of Allah, as only ALLAH is DIVINE!!)
This has been so well understood by certain Persian painters of miniatures, that, having to sketch Mohammad in the varied phases of his nocturnal ascension, they veiled his face entirely, because they found themselves powerless to picture it, and feared also to impair features so revered. There is no greater proof of their intention than the meticulous care with which in the same pictures all other faces are treated, including that of Buraq, the winged steed with the head of a human being; and also the lineaments of the angels in the celestial procession.
In place, therefore, of an imaginary portrait and necessarily falsified drawings, we have adopted a more indirect style of illustration, but by its means we hope to have succeeded in evoking a few lights and shadows, undoubtedly emanating from the superman who came into the world at Makkah (Mecca).
His features, solely known by the descriptions of those who penned his history, appear to us dimly through a gauzy veil of dreamland that we shall not try to rend asunder, for behind this mysterious filmy mask, the sacred lineaments will enjoy the rare and precious advantage of not having been spoilt, like so many others, by impossible attempts of pictorial reconstitution. On the other hand, his ways and doings have been brought down to our own times, with religious fidelity, by three hundred millions of disciples, scattered all over the earth’s surface.
The constant thought of all Moslems, of whatever race, is to imitate in everything, in the most humble as well as in the highest, of life’s functions, the habits of the Prophet whose image is engraved in their hearts. And this is so true, that simply by the way in which he washes his hands, the difference can be seen between an Arab Moslem and an Arab Christian.
Looking upon true Believers going to and fro, we consequently view the movements of Mohammad. It is but a pale reflection, but nevertheless incontestably authentic; whereas, despite the perfection of their statues, the Roman Emperors can only offer to us their limbs and faces, stiffened in attitudes of awkward pride; remaining as corpses that our imagination is powerless to resuscitate.
Impressed by these facts, we had the idea of illustrating this history of Mohammad by picturing the religious doings of his disciples; a few scenes of Arab life, and views of the Hijaz, his native land.
CHAPTER THE FIRST.—The Muslem Prayer.—Description of Makkah. —The Temple of the Ka’bah and the Black Stone.—The Marriage of Abdullah, Father of the Prophet.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Rosy ray lit up the horizon; the stars paled, and a voice cried out in cadence, in the silence of dawn:
“Allah is the greatest! There is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is the Prophet of Allah! Come and pray! Come to Salvation!“
High up above the flat housetops and the palm-trees of the oasis, the last notes of the Muazzin’s call, wafted from the balcony of the slender minaret, died away in the infinite space of the Desert….
Mohammedans who were still slumbering, enwrapped in the white folds of their shroud-like mantles, sprung to their feet with a start, like dead men coming to life. They hurried to fountains where they performed their ablutions; and then, with clean skins and pure thoughts, they gathered together in long processions, elbow to elbow, all turned in one direction: that of the Holy Ka’bah of Makkah (Mecca).
Standing erect, heads slightly bent, eyes downcast, perfectly still in the long folds of their garments, they seemed as if metamorphosed into a crowd of statues. Following the example of the Imam, in front of them, but in the same direction, and announcing each phase of the prayer by the Takbir: “Allah is the greatest!” they all lifted their open hands on a level with their foreheads, to bear witness to their ecstasy in the presence of the Almighty power of the Master of the Worlds. Then, every man made the same movement, bending their backs and bowing low before the throne of His Supreme Majesty.
But this did not suffice to express all the humility of their souls, so they dropped to the ground and prostrated themselves, piously pressing their faces against the earth. For a few moments they remained in this supplicating posture, as if crushed by the weight of the entire firmament which might have been prostrated with them.
They held up their heads at last and rose to a sitting posture, both knees on the ground, their heads bowed under the burden of their fervour. The prayer terminated by salutation, accompanied by the face being turned first to the right, then to the left, addressed to the two recording angels who unceasingly attend every true Believer.
Generally, however, the Faithful who ask nothing from Allah, not even their daily bread, remain a little longer on their knees, and placing, breast-high, their open palms under their eyes, as if reading a book, they implore Divine Mercy for the salvation of their souls, for their relatives, and for Islam.
Only a few parts of the Prayer: the Takbir, the Fatihah and the final salutation are loudly intoned by the Imam. The congregation pray inwardly; the Takbir alone is murmured in whispers that are barely audible.
Such half-silence enhances the grandeur of their gestures, so expressive and simple, in which dignity is closely allied to humility; and being totally devoid of affectation, constitutes the most poignant display of adoration imaginable.
Every day, each time the rays of the sun change colour: at rosy dawn; flaming noon; during gilded sunset, when it descends below the horizon in all the yellow sadness of its disappearance; and at the moment it is enshrouded in the blue veiling of night, not only in the Mosques, but also in the houses and streets, in cafés and market-places, in the country or the desert, all Moslems, alone or grouped together, wherever they may be, without needing to be called by the Muazzin or led by the Imam, are bound to stop short in their work and even interrupt their trend of thought, for a few minutes, thus glorifying the Benefactor.
For more than thirteen centuries, from the Atlantic’s African shore as far as the Chinese coast-line of the Pacific, more than two hundred millions of the Faithful turn five times daily in the direction of the Holy Ka’bah of Makkah; their millions of prayers being garnered there to be offered up to the Most High, bearing witness to the undying gratitude of the souls of Islam.
DESCRIPTION OF MAKKAH (Mecca)
This mysterious town, upon which the aspirations of so many human beings close in, was almost unknown in ancient times. What is it like?
Is it one of those cities, picturesquely situated, where ostentatious kings built splendid palaces, accumulating therein all the treasures of creation? Is it one of those vast commercial boroughs dominating land and sea routes to which the riches and produce of the universe came in abundance? Or was it an extensive imperial capital whose valiant warriors bent neighbouring peoples beneath their yoke?
Makkah has nothing in common with all this, being established in one of the most arid and forsaken spots on earth; and in olden times its only commerce consisted in desert caravan traffic, so that it was neither rich nor powerful. Nevertheless, many opulent towns are jealous of its glory, for it shelters in its midst the Holy Temple of the Ka’bah, besides being the birthplace of Our Lord Mohammad, the Prince of Prophets!
In our own times, despite gifts brought from the furthermost corners of the world by the hundred thousand pilgrims who come each year to prostrate themselves in its temple, Makkah, “The Mother of Cities,” by the splendour of its palaces and mosques, cannot vie with any great capital. In the eyes of the True Believers, its treasures are radiant with incomparable brilliancy, but which is not terrestrial.
As a matter of fact, the aspect of Makkah—”Allah’s Delight”—is no different from other Arab desert centres. There are more numerous and loftier dwellings, better decorated than in general, but its characteristics, on the whole, are unchanged.
From the top of the Jabal Abi-Kubeis which dominates it on the eastern side, it can be viewed stretching from north to south in a narrow valley. At first, it seems to form part of the earth on which it stands, because the bare and rocky mountains surrounding it are not separated from these heights by any oasis or verdant strip, and the terrace-roofs of the houses do not stand out from the heaps of stony fragments that have rolled down from the crags. The spectator’s eyes gradually get used to the landscape and pick out architectural lines; mysterious entrances to dwellings; lace-work of tall, straight minarets; and then, astonished at the sudden apparition of a big town that he never thought was there, he sees it, as in a kind of mirage, increasing excessively. Now it is the turn of the rocks to look as if changed into houses; hills becoming immense suburbs extending boundlessly.
If, in this chaos of sharply-outlined shapes, it is difficult for the eye to distinguish dwellings from steep rocks; one cannot fail to be startled at once by the strange aspect of a great cube of masonry, built up in the middle of a spacious quadrangular courtyard and veiled by black silk, shining in violent contrast to the dull tints of the entire sun-scorched landscape.
This black cube is the Holy Ka’bah, the veritable heart of Islam, and like so many veins bringing blood to the heart to vivify the body, all the prayers of Islam flow towards this Temple to vivify souls. It is the only spot on earth where Moslems, when adoring the Eternal, can meet face to face.
THE TEMPLE OF THE KA’BAH AND THE BLACK STONE
The Ka’bah is not the tomb of the Prophet, nor an object to be worshipped, as many Europeans imagine. It is a temple called “Beit Allah al Haram” (the Holy House of Allah), and its origin can be traced to the most distant days of antiquity.
According to the Arab tradition, it was built by Adam, the father of the human race. Destroyed by the Flood, it was rebuilt on the same foundations, by the Prophet Abraham, with the help of his son, Ishmael, the ancestor of the Arabs. Since then, often repaired, but retaining the same lines and proportions, the Ka’bah became the goal of Arab pilgrims flocking to adore Allah, the Only One, and perform seven ritual circuits instituted by their forefathers under the title of “Tawaf.”
Little by little, the worship of Allah, the Only One, having degenerated in the memory of the pilgrims who added the practice of idolatry, Mohammad was sent to destroy the three hundred and sixty images they adored.
In the east angle of the monument is incrusted the famous black stone “Hajaru’l-Aswad”, framed in a silver circle.
This stone, which came down from Paradise, was brought by the angel Jibra’il (Gabriel) to Abraham and his son, during the rebuilding of the Temple, and they placed it where it is still to be seen this day, in order to serve pilgrims as a starting-point for their ritual circuits. Primitively as white as milk, its present characteristic ebony tint is due to the pollution of the sins of the pilgrims who came to touch and kiss it, while imploring the Merciful to pardon them.
Close to the Ka’bah is the well of Zamzam. Its miraculous water gushed forth from the earth to save Ishmael from the tortures of thirst when lost in the desert with his mother, Hajar (Hagar). Neglected by the Arab tribes, in the dark Days of Ignorance, it became choked up by sand and was dug anew by Abdul Muttalib, a few years before the birth of Mohammad. The water, ever since, is revered by pilgrims who use it for drinking purposes and for their ablutions, thereby sanctifying themselves by the remembrance of their ancestors.
The two functions of “Siqayah,” (Management of Water Supply), and of “Hajaba,” (Superintendence of the Ka’bah) were posts greatly sought after on account of their prerogatives. At the epoch at which our story begins, they were both united in the hands of Abdul Muttalib bin Hashem, of the Quraish tribe, the grandfather of the future Prophet.
THE MARRIAGE OF ABDULLAH, FATHER OF THE PROPHET
One day, Abdul Muttalib, custodian of the Ka’bah, set forth from the Sanctuary, his favourite son, Abdullah, holding his hand.
On the threshold of the temple was seated Quotila, a woman of the Bani Asad tribe. On catching sight of the lad, she started to her feet, evincing sudden surprise. She stared at him with strange persistence, because she was fascinated by a supernatural light that radiated from his brow. ‘Whither art thou going?’ she called to him.—’To where my father leadeth me.’—’Stop and listen to me. I offer thee a hundred camels, being as many as thy father was bound to sacrifice to save thy life, if thou wilt consent to throw thyself upon me, now at once.’—’I am in my father’s company and cannot disobey him, nor leave him,’ replied Abdullah, petrified at such shamelessness, especially in the presence of such a respectable person as Abdul Muttalib.
The young man turned away, filled with confusion, and rejoined Abdul Muttalib who took him to the house of Wahb ibn Abdi Manaf, whose daughter the Superintendent of the Well thought would make a good wife for his boy.
Wahb was one of the chieftains of the Bani Zahrah tribe and Abdul Muttalib being numbered among the princes of the Quraish, a most noble tribe, an alliance between two such authentically aristocratic families would be easily brought about and so the marriage of Abdullah, with Aminah, daughter of Wahb, took place without further loss of time.
Abdullah went off with his bride to the dwelling of Abu Talib, his uncle. There the marriage was consummated during the young couple’s sojourn of three days and three nights. When the newly-married young man went out of the house, he came face to face again with Quotila, the woman who had previously hailed him with such lack of decency and he was surprised at her complete indifference as she saw him pass by. Abdullah was considered to be the handsomest youth in Makkah. His manly bearing had aroused the sensual passions of most of the women of the city to such an extent that, when his marriage was announced, they fell ill by dint of jealousy and disappointment. Quotila, however, was not a victim to vulgar lust, being the sister of Waraqah ibn Taufal, the learned man renowned throughout Arabia for his knowledge of the Sacred Books. From him she had learnt how, in that part of the country, a Prophet was about to come into the world, whose father would be known by rays of light illuminating his face with a pearly or starry sheen. This sign she had detected on the brow of Abdullah, and was haunted by the ambitious desire of becoming the mother of the coming Apostle. Her hopes dashed to the ground, she no longer heeded Abdullah, notwithstanding his good looks.
Knowing nothing of all this, he felt hurt at her indifference, following so quickly on her great ardour. ‘How comes it that thou dost not ask me again for what thou hungered for but a little while ago?’ he asked Quotila.—’Who art thou?’ she replied.—’I am Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib.’—’Art thou the stripling whose brow seemed to me to be surrounded with a luminous aureola which has now disappeared? What hath befell thee, since we first met?’
He apprised her of his marriage, and Quotila guessed that the radiance surrounding the future Prophet had passed away from the forehead of Abdullah into the womb of Aminah, his wife.—’By Allah, I made no mistake!’ she told him. ‘On thy brow I discovered the pure light that I would have dearly liked to possess in the depths of my body. But now it belongeth to another who will be delivered of “The Best Among Created Beings,” and there remaineth naught of thee that I care for.’
Thus it came about that Abdullah, by the words that fell from the lips of this learned woman, got to hear of his wife’s pregnancy and the future in store for his son. Abdullah did not live long enough to have the happiness of knowing his offspring, for Mohammad’s father died at Yasrib two months before Aminah was delivered.
Aminah, mother of Allah’s Chosen One, spoke thus:
“Since the day I carried my son in my womb, until I brought him forth, I never suffered the least pain. I never even felt his weight and should not have known the state I was in, if it had not been that after I conceived and was about to fall asleep, an angel appeared to me, saying: ‘Dost thou not see that thou art pregnant with the Lord of thy Nation; the Prophet of all thy people? Know it full well.’ At the same instant, a streak of light, darting out of my body, went up northwards—yea, even unto the land of Syria.
“When the day of my deliverance came due, the angel appeared to me again and gave me a warning: ‘When thou shalt bring forth thy child into the world, thou must utter these words: ‘For him I implore the protection of Allah, the Only One, against the wickedness of the envious,’ and thou shalt call him by the name of Mohammad which means The Lauded, as he is announced in the Taurat and the Injil, for he will be lauded by all the inhabitants of Heaven and Earth.'”
When the planet Al-Moushtari passed, a line of light darted for the second time from Aminah’s body in the direction of faraway Syria and it illuminated the palace of the town of Busra. At the same time, other prodigies astonished the world: the Lake Sowa suddenly dried up; a violent earthquake made the palace of Chosroes the Great tremble, and shattered fourteen of its towers; the Sacred Fire, kept alight for more than a thousand years, went out, in spite of the exertions of its Persian worshippers, and all the idols of the universe were found with their heads bowed down in great shame.
All these portents caused fear in the hearts of those who witnessed them; but, despite the predictions of Al Moudzenab, the Parsee sorcerer, who had been warned in a dream that a great upheaval in the destiny of the universe would be caused by an event to take place in Arabia, the occurrence was unperceived: the birth of a child of the Quraish tribe at Makkah, a tiny town lost in the midst of the wilderness, unknown to the gorgeous monarchs of East and West alike, or else despised by them.
(The book is too long to reproduce here on WP; so, use the google links provided.)
CHAPTER THE SECOND.—The Birth of Mohammad.—Mohammad’s Childhood with the Banu Sad Tribe in their Badya-Land.—Mohammad and the two Angels.—Aminah’s Death.—Mohammad’s first Journey to Syria.—How Mohammad met the Monk Bahira.—The second Syrian voyage.—The Marriage of Mohammad and Khadijah.—How the Temple of the Ka’bah was rebuilt. (PBUH)
CHAPTER THE THIRD.—Desert Retirement.—The Revelation.—The First Moslems.—The Announcement of the Hour.—The First Hostilities.—The Incident of the Blind Man.—How Hamzah was converted.—Utbah’s proposals.—The Miracle of the Holy Qur’an.—How it was forbidden to listen to the Qur’an (!!!).
CHAPTER THE FOURTH.—Persecution.—The Emigration to Abyssinia.—The Conversion of Umar, son of al Khattab.—The Exile of the Banu Hasham.—The Decree of Expulsion destroyed by a Worm.—The Death of Abu Talib and Khadijah.—The Journey to Taif.—The Nocturnal Journey and Ascension.—How six Inhabitants of Yasrib were converted.—The two Oaths of the Aqabah.—The Plot against the Prophet.
CHAPTER THE FIFTH.—The Hegira, or the Migration of the Prophet to Al-Madinah.—Suraqa’s Mishap.—The Prophet’s Arrival at Quba. —The Era of the Hegira.—Arrival of the Prophet at Yasrib. —How the Mosque of Al-Madinah was built.—The Qiblah of Makkah. —Institution of the Azan, or Call of the Mu’azzin.—The Fast of Ramadhan.—Property bestowed in Alms, and the prohibition of fermented liquors.—Ayishah in the House of the Prophet. —Hostility of the Jews and the Munafiqun.—Al-Jihad (the Holy War), and how it was instituted.—The Gazwah of Badr.—The Sojourn at Badr and the Return to Al-Madinah.
CHAPTER THE SIXTH.—Ali’s Marriage.—The Prophet’s Marriage with Hafsah and Ummu’l Masakin.—The Battle of Uhud.—The Marriage of Mohammad and Zainab.—The Ghazwah, or Expedition of Zat-ir-Riqua.—The Ghazwah, or Expedition of the Banu Mustaliq.—The Tayammum, or the Ceremony of Ablution performed with Sand.—The Battle of the Ditch.—The Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyah.
CHAPTER THE SEVENTH.—Expedition against the Qaynuqa Jews. —Expedition against the Jews of the Banu Nadir.—Expedition against the Jews of the Banu Quraizah.—Expedition against the Jews of Khaibar.—Importance of Horse-breeding according to the Prophet.—The Poisoned Lamb.—Amratu’l-Qada, or the Pious Visitation.—The Prophet sends Ambassadors to the Principal Monarchs of the World.—The Expedition of Mutah.—The Taking of Makkah.—Entry of the Prophet into Makkah.—The Prophet at Safa.—Ghazwah, or Expedition of Hunain.
CHAPTER THE EIGHTH.—Ayishah slandered.—The Birth and Death of Ibrahim.—Ghazwah, or expedition of Tabuk.—The Thamud Country. —Arrival and Sojourn of the Prophet at Tabuk. The Prophet goes back to Al-Madinah.—The Valedictory Pilgrimage.
CHAPTER THE NINTH.—Illness and Death of the Prophet (PBUH).—Abu-Bakr elected.—The Prophet’s Burial.(PBUH)
CHAPTER THE TENTH.—The March of Islam.—Influence of Moslem Civilisation in Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. —The Future of Islam.—Conclusion.