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Muharram 26 Tuesday Hijrah 1439
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Title – The Message   Preface   Arabian Peninsula the Cradle of Islamic Culture   Arabia before Islam   Conditions of Roman and Iranian Empires   Ancestors of the Prophet   Birth of the Prophet   Childhood of the Prophet   Rejoining the Family   Period of Youth   From Shepherd to Merchant   From Marriage up to Prophethood   The First Manifestation of Reality   The First Revelation   Who were the First Persons to Embrace Islam?   Cessation of revelation   General Invitation   Judgement of Quraysh about the Holy Qur’an   The First Migration   Rusty Weapons   The Fiction of Gharaniq   Economic Blockade   Death of Abu Talib   Me’raj – The Heavenly Ascension   Journey to Ta’if   The Agreement of Aqabah   The Event of Migration   The Events of the First Year of Migration   Some Events of the First and Second years of Migration   The Events of the Second Year of Migration   Change of Qiblah   The Battle of Badr   Dangerous Designs of the Jews   The Events of the Third Year of Migration   The Events of the Third and Fourth years of Migration   The Jews Quit the Zone of Islam   The Events of the Fourth Year of Migration   The Events of the Fifth Year Of Migration   The Battle of Ahzab   The Last Stage of Mischief   The Events of the Fifth and Sixth years of Migration   The events of the Sixth Year of Migration   A Religious and Political Journey   The Events of the Seventh Year of Migration   Fort of Khayber the Centre of Danger   The Story of Fadak   The Lapsed ‘Umrah   The Events of the Eighth Year of Migration   The Battle of Zatus Salasil   The Conquest of Makkah   The Battle of Hunayn   The Battle of Ta’if   The Famous Panegyric of Ka’b Bin Zuhayr   The Events of the Ninth Year of Migration   The Battle of Tabuk   The Deputation of Thaqif goes to Madina   The Prophet Mourning for his Son   Eradication of Idol-Worship in Arabia   Representatives of Najran in Madina   The Events of the Tenth Year of Migration   The Farewell Hajj   Islam is completed by the Appointment of Successor   The Events of the Eleventh Year of Migration   A Will which was not written   The Last Hours of the Prophet  

The Message

By Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani

Contents

Chapter# /Title

1: Title – The Message
2: Preface
3: Arabian Peninsula the Cradle of Islamic Culture
4: Arabia before Islam
5: Conditions of Roman and Iranian Empires
6: Ancestors of the Prophet
7: Birth of the Prophet
8: Childhood of the Prophet
9: Rejoining the Family
10: Period of Youth
11: From Shepherd to Merchant
12: From Marriage up to Prophethood
13: The First Manifestation of Reality
14: The First Revelation
15: Who were the First Persons to Embrace Islam?
16: Cessation of revelation
17: General Invitation
18: Judgement of Quraysh about the Holy Qur’an
19: The First Migration
20: Rusty Weapons
21: The Fiction of Gharaniq
22: Economic Blockade
23: Death of Abu Talib
24: Me’raj – The Heavenly Ascension
25: Journey to Ta’if
26: The Agreement of Aqabah
27: The Event of Migration
28: The Events of the First Year of Migration
29: Some Events of the First and Second years of Migration
30: The Events of the Second Year of Migration
31: Change of Qiblah
32: The Battle of Badr
33: Dangerous Designs of the Jews
34: The Events of the Third Year of Migration
35: The Events of the Third and Fourth years of Migration
36: The Jews Quit the Zone of Islam
37: The Events of the Fourth Year of Migration
38: The Events of the Fifth Year Of Migration
39: The Battle of Ahzab
40: The Last Stage of Mischief
41: The Events of the Fifth and Sixth years of Migration
42: The events of the Sixth Year of Migration
43: A Religious and Political Journey
44: The Events of the Seventh Year of Migration
45: Fort of Khayber the Centre of Danger
46: The Story of Fadak
47: The Lapsed ‘Umrah
48: The Events of the Eighth Year of Migration
49: The Battle of Zatus Salasil
50: The Conquest of Makkah
51: The Battle of Hunayn
52: The Battle of Ta’if
53: The Famous Panegyric of Ka’b Bin Zuhayr
54: The Events of the Ninth Year of Migration
55: The Battle of Tabuk
56: The Deputation of Thaqif goes to Madina
57: The Prophet Mourning for his Son
58: Eradication of Idol-Worship in Arabia
59: Representatives of Najran in Madina
60: The Events of the Tenth Year of Migration
61: The Farewell Hajj
62: Islam is completed by the Appointment of Successor
63: The Events of the Eleventh Year of Migration
64: A Will which was not written
65: The Last Hours of the Prophet


35. The Events of the Fourth Year of Migration

Prohibition of Alcoholic drinks

Wine and the intoxicating drinks in general have been and are one of the greatest ruinous calamities for human society and it is sufficient to say in reproof of this deadly poison that it wages war against the greatest blessing of man which distinguishes him from other living beings viz. intellect and reason. The prosperity of man depends upon his wisdom and the difference between him and other living beings is because of his power of intellect, and alcohol is considered to be the greatest enemy of wisdom and intellect. It is on this account that all the divine Prophets have prohibited the use of alcoholic drinks. In fact they have been declared unlawful in all the revealed religions.

In the Arabian Peninsula drinking prevailed like a general calamity and a contagious disease, decisive campaign against which needed quite a long time, and the state of affairs prevailing in the society and the conditions of the Arabs in general did not also permit that the Prophet should declare it unlawful without taking preliminary steps. He was also obliged to prepare the temperament of the society for waging a decisive war against it.

Hence, the four verses which have been revealed to express aversion to wine are not alike. The Prophet commenced with advice till he was successful in declaring its use to be unlawful.

A careful study of these verses tells us about the method adopted by the Prophet regarding the propagation of the laws of Islam and it is appropriate that the proficient writers and orators should adopt this method of instruction and should campaign against social evils in the same manner.

The basic condition for campaigning against an evil practice at the first stage is to awaken the thinking of the society and to invite its attention to its disadvantages and harmful effects. Until there is spiritual preparedness and internal stimulation in a society and the people themselves are responsible it is not possible to undertake a campaign against an evil practice.

Hence, in the first instance the Holy Qur’an told the society, the part of whose life was drinking, that preparation of wine with dates and grapes was inconsistent with good nourishment and this way of speech was in fact a warning to awaken the thoughts of the people. It says:

(We provide you) fruits of the date palm and vine from which you derive strong drink and wholesome food.” (Surah al-Nahl, 16:67)

The Holy Book announced for the first time that making wine with these things is not ‘good nourishment’. ‘Good nourishment’ means that they should be eaten in their natural shape.

This verse gave a jolt to the thoughts of the people and made their temperaments ready so that the Prophet might make his tone more strong and declare through other verses that ‘some material utility’ derived from wine and games of chance is insignificant as compared with their evil effects. This fact has been mentioned in this verse:

They question you about strong drink and game of chance. Say: In both is great sin, and (some material) utility for men; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:219)

No doubt such comparison between profit and loss, which shows that something is more evil than good, is sufficient to make intelligent people express aversion to it. However, the people at large do not avoid an evil practice unless it is totally forbidden.

Notwithstanding the fact that the verse quoted above had already been revealed Abdur Rahman bin Awf arranged a feast and also served wine on the dining cloth. Those present began offering prayers after drinking wine. One of them read a verse incorrectly whereby its meaning was changed i.e. instead of saying ‘(O idolaters!) I worship not that which you worship’ he uttered a sentence with an opposite meaning by dropping the word ‘la’ (not) from it.

These incidents made the temperaments of the people ready that so far as the conditions permitted drinking of wine should be prohibited at least in certain special circumstances. In the light of these conditions it was declared openly that no Muslim was entitled to offer prayers while he was intoxicated and this Divine order was proclaimed in these words:

Believers, do not pray when you are drunk, till you know what you say.” (Surah al-Nisa, 4:46).[384]

The effect of this verse was that a group of persons gave up drinking permanently, and their argument for doing so was that a thing which was harmful for prayers deserved to be entirely eliminated.

However, some others did not forsake this habit, so much so that a person from amongst Ansar arranged a feast and notwithstanding the fact that he was aware of the said verse he served wine as well on the dining cloth. The guests, after having drunk wine, began to dispute and hurt one another. Thereafter they complained to the Prophet. The Second Caliph, who used to drink wine till that time, being under the impression that the above-mentioned verses did not make drinking of wine totally forbidden, raised his hands in prayer and said:

“O Allah! Reveal clear and convincing orders for us”.

It is evident that such unpleasant occurrences had made the atmosphere ready for this that if the use of wine was totally banned, all the Muslims would have accepted this ban wholeheartedly. Hence, at the last stage, this verse was revealed: Wine, gambling, idols and Azlam (a sort of lottery) are filthy acts of Satan and all of you should refrain from them. As a result of this eloquent and emphatic order those persons who had been drinking wine till that time on the excuse that orders regarding giving it up were not final also refrained from it. On hearing this verse the Second Caliph said,

“I renounce it from now onwards”.385

Battle (Ghazwah) of Za’tur Riqa’

In the Arabic language Riqa’ means a ‘Patch’. This sacred jihad is called Zatur Riqa’ for the reason that at this front the Muslims came across a chain of high and low places which appeared like patches. According to another version it is called Za’tur Riqa’ for the reason that to alleviate the hardship of walking the soldiers had wrapped their feet with rags.

In any case this battle was not a primary campaign so that the army of Islam should have fallen upon a community on the plea of their being polytheists. In fact their aim was to extinguish a spark which was about to flare up i.e. to suppress the enthusiasm which was being displayed by two families of Ghatfan (Bani Maharib and Bani Sa’labah) against Islam.

It was customary for the Prophet to depute wise and intelligent persons to different areas so that they might inform him about their general conditions. Suddenly a report was received that the above-mentioned two families were gathering arms and men to conquer Madina. The Prophet proceeded to Najd with special columns and encamped near the territory of the enemy. The brilliant past record of the army of Islam and their self-sacrifice and valour which had astonished the Arabian Peninsula made the enemy retreat and take refuge in mountains and high regions without fighting.

However, as the Prophet offered the obligatory prayers in this battle, along with the soldiers of Islam, as Salat-i Khawf (offering prayers during the time of danger) and taught the Muslims the method of offering it by means of 103rd verse of Surah al-Nisa, it may be conjectured that the enemy’s forces were well-equipped and that the fighting had assumed a very delicate shape, but eventually Muslims were victorious.

Forbearing Guards

Although in this battle the army of Islam returned from the headquarters of the enemy to Madina without fighting, they acquired a small booty. On their way back they stayed at night in an extensive valley to take rest. Here the Prophet appointed two brave soldiers to undertake guarding the mouth of the valley. These two soldiers named ‘Abbad and ‘Ammar divided the hours of the night between themselves and it was agreed that ‘Abbad should guard the mouth of the valley during the first half of the night.

A man belonging to the tribe of Ghatfan was pursuing the Muslims so that he might do them some harm and then return immediately. This man took advantage of the darkness of the night and shot an arrow at the person guarding the valley while the latter was offering prayers. The sentry was so much absorbed in invocations that he did not much feel the prickly sensation caused by the arrow. He pulled out the arrow from his foot and continued his prayers. However, the attack was repeated thrice. The last arrow of the enemy struck his foot so severely that he could not continue his invocations as he wished. He, therefore finished his prayers immediately and then awakened ‘Ammar.

The tragic condition of ‘Abbad moved ‘Ammar very much and he said by way of protest;

“Why did you not awaken me at the very outset?”

The wounded sentry replied:

“I was praying and was reciting a surah of the Holy Qur’an when suddenly the first arrow hit me. The enjoyment of invocations and the deliciousness of attention towards the Almighty Allah kept me from breaking my prayers. If the Prophet had not made me responsible for guarding this point I would not at all have broken my prayers and the surah which I was reciting and would have surrendered my very life making invocations to Allah before I intended to break my prayers.”[386]

The second Badr

At the end of the Battle of Uhud, Abu Sufyan declared:

“Next year we shall meet you in the desert of Badr at this very time and shall take a greater revenge upon you”.

Under orders of the Prophet the Muslims announced their readiness to fight. The fixed time of one year expired and Abu Sufyan, who then ruling over Quraysh, was involved in various difficulties. Na’im bin Mas’ud, who had friendly relations with both the parties arrived in Makkah. Abu Sufyan requested him to return to Madina immediately and dissuade Muhammad from deciding to come out of Madina. He added:

“It is not possible for us to leave Makkah this year and the demonstrations and military manoeuvres of Muhammad in Badr, which is a common market of the Arabs, will bring about our defeat”.

Whatever motive he might have, Na’im returned to Madina. His words did not, however, make the least effect on the morale of the Prophet. He encamped in Badr in the beginning of the month of Zi Qa’dul Haram with 1500 warriors and some horses and a quantity of merchandise, and stayed there for eight days, which coincided with the annual public market of the Arabs. The Muslims sold their merchandise there and earned enormous profit. Thereafter the people who had come from different areas dispersed, but the army of Islam continued to wait for the arrival of the army of Quraysh.

Reports reached Makkah that Muhammad had arrived in Badr. The chiefs of Quraysh had no alternative left to save themselves from disgrace, except to leave Makkah for Badr. Abu Sufyan, who was well-equipped, came up to Marruz Zahran, but returned from mid-way making an excuse of famine and dearth. The return of the army of the idolaters was so shocking that Safwan protested to Abu Sufyan and said:

“By this retreat we have lost all the honours that we had gained, and if you had not made a promise last year of waging a war we would not have been faced with this psychological defeat”.387

Notes:

384. Refer to Sunan-i Abi Daud, vol. II, page 128.

385. Mustadrak, vol. IV, page 143 and Ruhul Ma’ani, vol. Vll, page 15.

386. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, pp. 208-209.

387. According to Mughazi-i Waqidi, vol. I, page 484, this incident took place in the 45th month of migration.

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