Beyond Hijrah of Prophet Muhammad (II)

IN the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, Hajj, 22:46, “Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and mind) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts.

Moreover, Prophet Salih (AS) and those who believed his message of the unity of God went on emigration (hijrah). The she-camel that was given to them as a symbol to graze freely so as to check the arrogance of the rich over the poor; greed of the oppressors from giving water to the people and the selfishness of the powerful from allowing sheep of the poor from grazing freely in the land (Qur’an 7:73-79).

But they hamstrung the she-camel sent to graze freely in the land. The people of Prophet Salih (AS) were asked to emigrate with him. By the third day, Almighty Allah perished them with their fine buildings in an earthquake (Qur’an 11:61-68; 26:141-159; 27:45-53). Qur’an 11:66 relates, “When our decree issued, we saved Salih and those who believed with him by (special) grace from ourselves and from ignominy of that day, for thy Lord He is the strong one, and able to enforce His will.”

So also Prophet Lut (AS) and his people were made to emigrate from the cities of the plain Sodom and Gomorrah.

The people of Lut had rejected the message of the oneness of God and relished homosexuality. Hence, they were killed by the pellets of hot stones sent down to destroy them, including his wife who served as informant to the detractors.

Qur’an 11:77-83 relates on the destruction of the people engaged in homosexuality: “When Our Messengers came to Luṭ, he was grieved on their account and felt himself powerless (to protect) them. He said: ‘This is a distressful day’. And his people came rushing towards him, and they had been long in the habit of practising abominations. He said: ‘O my people! Here are my daughters. They are purer for you (if ye marry)! Now fear God and cover me not with shame about my guests! Is there not among you a single right-minded man?’ They said: ‘Well dost thou know we have no need of thy daughters. Indeed, thou knowest quite well what we want’.  He said: ‘Would that I had power to suppress you or that I could betake myself to some powerful support’.   (The Messengers) said: ‘O Luṭ! We are Messengers from thy Lord! By no means shall they reach thee! Now travel with thy family while yet a part of the night remains, and let not any of you look back but thy wife (will remain behind). To her will happen what happens to the people. Morning is their time appointed. Is not the morning nigh?’ When Our decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer, marked as from thy Lord. Nor are they ever far from those who do wrong!”

In July 2005 and September 2007, I was at the Dead Sea on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan, where the event took place. One could still see the relics of the stone pillar of salt and the Dead Sea produces only salt. In fact, the water from the rivers and boreholes of Jordan remains undrinkable because of the evil deeds of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Jordan imports water from Israel for domestic and industrial use to date.

Moreover, Prophet Ibrahim (AS), the Father of Faith, embarked on Hijrah in his propagation of the Message of the oneness of Allah. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was born in Ur of the Chaldees, a place on the lower reaches of the Euphrates, not a hundred miles from the Persian Gulf. This was a cradle, or one of the cradles, of human civilisation. Astronomy was studied here in very ancient times, and the worship of the sun, moon and stars was the prevailing form of religion. Prophet Ibrahim revolted against this quite early in life, and his argument is referred to in Qur’an 6:74-82. The people Ur also had idols in their temples, probably idols representing heavenly bodies and celestial winged creatures.

Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was a youth when he broke the idols (Qur’an 21:60). The Holy Qur’an, Anbiyaa – The Prophets, 21:51-73, relates the story of the hijrah (holy flight) of Prophet Ibrahim (AS): “We bestowed aforetime on Abraham his rectitude of conduct, and well were We acquainted with him. Behold! He said to his father and his people, ‘What are these images, to which ye are (so assiduously) devoted?’ They said, ‘We found our fathers worshipping them’. He said, ‘Indeed ye have been in manifest error—ye and your fathers’. They said, ‘Have you brought us the truth, or are you one of those who jest?’ He said, ‘Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, He Who created them (from nothing). And I am a witness to this (truth). And by God, I have a plan for your idols—after ye go away and turn your backs…’ So, he broke them to pieces (all) but the biggest of them, that they might turn (and address themselves) to it. They said, ‘Who has done this to our gods? He must indeed be some man of impiety!’ They said, ‘We heard a youth talk of them. He is called Abraham’. They said, ‘Then bring him before the eyes of the people, that they may bear witness’. They said, ‘Art thou the one that did this with our gods, O Abraham?’  He said: ‘Nay, this was done by this—there is their biggest one! Ask them, if they can speak intelligently!’ So, they turned to themselves and said, ‘Surely ye are the ones in the wrong!’  Then were they confounded with shame. (They said), ‘Thou knowest full well that these (idols) do not speak!’ (Abraham) said, ‘Do ye then worship, besides God, things that can neither be of any good to you nor do you harm? Fie upon you, and upon the things that ye worship besides God! Have ye no sense?’ … They said, ‘Burn him and protect your gods, if ye do (anything at all)!’ We said, ‘O Fire! Be thou cool, and (a means of) safety for Abraham!’ Then they sought a stratagem against him but We made them the ones that lost most. But We delivered him and (his nephew) Luṭ (and directed them) to the land which We have blessed for the nations. And We bestowed on him Isaac and, as an additional gift, (a grandson), Jacob, and We made righteous men of every one (of them). And We made them leaders, guiding (men) by Our command, and We sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practise regular charity. And they constantly served Us (and Us only).”

After the destruction of the idols in the temple, Prophet Ibrahim was marked down as a rebel and persecuted. Perhaps, some years passed before the incident of being thrown into the fire (Qur’an 21:68-69).

Traditionally, the fire incident refers to the period of King Nimrod (Qur’an 11:69). If Nimrod’s capital was in Assyria, near Nineveh (site near modern Mosul), we may suppose either that the king’s rule extended over the whole of Mesopotamia or that Prophet Ibrahim (AS) wandered north through Babylonia to Assyria. The People of King Nimrod used various stratagems to get rid of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), but God Almighty saved him by His mercy (Qur’an 21:70).

The final break came when he was probably a man of mature age and could speak to his father with some authority. This incident is referred to in Holy Qur’an, Mariam, 19:41-48 thus: “(Also) mention in the Book (the story of) Abraham. He was a man of truth, a prophet. Behold! He said to his father: ‘O my father! Why worship that which heareth not and seeth not, and can profit thee nothing? O my father! To me hath come knowledge which hath not reached thee: So, follow me. I will guide thee to a way that is even and straight. “O my father! Serve not Satan, for Satan is a rebel against (God) Most Gracious. O my father! I fear lest a penalty afflict thee from (God) Most Gracious, so that thou become to Satan a friend’. (The father) replied: ‘Dost thou hate my gods, O Abraham? If thou forbear not, I will indeed stone thee. Now get away from me for a good long while!’  Abraham said: ‘Peace be on thee. I will pray to my Lord for thy forgiveness, for He is to me Most Gracious. And I will turn away from you (all) and from those whom ye invoke besides God. I will call on my Lord. Perhaps, by my prayer to my Lord, I shall be not unblest.’”

May Almighty Allah continue to bless the Prophets that embarked on hijrah (holy flight) in their da’wah efforts. Ameen.

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