Background of the Birth of Islam
- :S. T. H. Khwarazmi
Background of the Birth of Islam
S. T. H. Khwarazmi
The well known writer and analyst of historical developments, the late Martyr of Islam, Ayatullah S. M. H. Beheshti, better known as Shaheed Beheshti to his innumerable admirers, both in Iran and abroad, narrates in an interesting free style the historical conditions attending upon the birth of Islam. In his book of the same title, "Background of the Birth of Islam" he sets forth the sociological, political and religious conditions in the wide area surrounding Arabia. Probing deeply into the ancient history of the neighbouring peoples and states and the two great imperial powers of the day, namely Persia and Eastern Roman Empire, as well as the Yemen, Egypt, Abyssinia, Jordan and Syria, Shaheed Bcheshti carries the reader on a wide ranging journey around those ancient lands. Narrating skill fully the captivating tales of the fire-worshipping Zoarastrians and Mani and Mazdak religions of ancient Persia, the influence of Christian church in Egypt and Abyssinia and the pagan tribes of the interior of the Arabian peninsula, the writer brings out the essentials of the socio-political factors which lead the more pronounced effects of the early days of what was to become the universal faith of Islam.
The book comprises a series of lectures delivered by Shaheed Beheshti during the years 1966-7 in the Hamburg Islamic Centre. Addressing predominantly a group of Iranian students in Germany every Saturday he attracted a general audience of international students and others interested in Islam. The last of those lectures was delivered on 28 October 1967. In the opening chapters of his book, Shaheed Beheshti has delved at some length on the characteristics of an appropriate research methodology to deal with religious subjects which he then follows in setting out his geographically distributed chapters concluding each chapter with brief question answer discussion and conclusion.
Undoubtedly this brief work will be a valuable addition to his other numerous writings and prove an inspiration for all while reflecting his devotion to research study and deep insight. May his soul ever rest in peace.
The topic under discussion is understanding Islam and the world Muslims. But what I wish to discuss first is what research methodology is suitable for theological discussion; or, in other words the approach is research in religious matters.
Discussion of any subject itself dictates when that the method should be appropriate to that subject. For example, today, when a researcher wishes to discuss and carry out research of a particular disease, he selects a particular methodology, makes a survey of the symptoms and effects of the disease and its treatment, and recommends that a number of patients suffering from that particular disease should be placed under observation and subjected to various clinical tests of their tissues, blood, urine etc. and analysed to prepare a scientific table in order to diagnose the peculiarities of that disease and the manner of its treatment, and identify the bacterial factors and establish the cause of infection. Today if someone wishing to establish the symptomology of the disease and arrive at a diagnosis, instead of employing the necessary means such as well-equipped laboratories and hospitals, statistical data, and experiments on animals and human beings, declared that for the diagnosis he has decided to proceed by conducting a nightly study of the stars for forty nights past midnight to discover the symptoms and cause of illness and the procedure for treatment of that disease, he will be made fun of in the scientific circles. He would be told that in choosing this course, even if he went to a well-equipped observatory to study the movement of the stars, their form, and how they rise and set, such activities and thoughts would not bear even the slightest effect on the patient, or the cause of his disease, on an its effects nor its treatment. Or if he were to declare that for the purpose of studying this matter he had decided to place an astrolabe in front of him and in accordance with special signs and calculations provided by the astrolabe and even computing by the art of arithmetical numbers, he will discover the cause and effects of that disease and its cure, again science would laugh at him, and say to him: To identify a disease as far as human intellect has been able to establish requires that a study of the patients be made and laboratory tests and experiments be conducted and their results compared in order to diagnose that disease.
If someone declares in a session how nice it would be to secure some information about the way the people lived in Indonesia three thousand years ago, and if the interest of those present in the session was aroused in studying the precise details about the life and beliefs of those people scientifically and thus undertake a scientific project, naturally we would ask them about their approach to this research. If they answer that they have decided to confine a number of Indonesians in a hospital and give them blood tests in order to analyse these people's life three thousand. years ago, this, too, would provoke laughter. For such proceedings as the blood and tissue tests, no matter how useful those might be for the diagnosis of a disease or its treatment, yet it would not be of the slightest value for learning about the life of Indonesians who lived three thousand years ago.
Let us take a step further. Among the various political systems which is the best system for organising and administering a society, the communist or socialist or the capitalist one; which is more valuable and beneficial from an economic point of view. Either democratic or dictatorial forms among the existing political systems are more suitable? How should a researcher set about this task? Someone might suggest that observation would be the best way to clarify this problem. If we were to ask how could observation be applied, they would answer by carrying out calculations about the 'physics' of the society and see what form the society and its organism should take. But the research methodology used by an atomic scientist for atomic research would hardly be practicable for a study of various social systems, and its conclusions would be irrelevant. Thus it is quite evident that the method chosen for the study and research in any subject must be appropriate for that subject.
The foremost issue in our discussion is what method without any prejudice, is suitable for gaining an understanding of a religion? In my opinion the proper method for an understanding of a religion is to get hold of the original source material of that religion, and work on it in the way of research in narratives and traditions - neither experimental nor intellectual approach - but rather as in the study of history which in modern methodology is called 'Historical Research Methodology'. Working on the reliable sources of that faith we can gain an understanding of it whether we believe in that religion or not.
Let us take the example of a religion which we do not believe is. For instance, wish to study Buddhism and know what Buddhism is. Neither intellectual, mathematical or scientific discussions, nor physical or chemical arguments would produce any result. Astrological or celestial discussions would equally be of no value. The correct way to understand Buddha's laws would be to refer to reliable historical sources, and evaluate them from the viewpoint of authenticity and validity, and then compare them, and gather all that has been for and against the Buddhist faith, and through a comparative study draw scholarly conclusions about what Buddhism really is, whether we believe in it or not. This is the first consideration about understanding any religion.
Suppose we wish to know what Judaism is, and what is the religion of the Jews. Here exist two aspects: either the object is to know what the present day Jews believe in and what are their actions and beliefs, or the purpose may be to know what the original Jewish faith was at the time of its appearance, and what had (Moses) Musa (a.s.) delivered to the Israelites as a religion. There are two different methods for these two aspects.
The research into the religion Moses brought for the Israelites, has no relation with physics, chemistry, mathematics, celestial aspects and the rest. Research in this aspect requires close study of the Old Testament, the interpretation of the Old Testament, and the books written about this faith by the contemporary Greek and Egyptian historians because unfortunately no other sources are available. To proceed with our study we collect these sources make a comparative study taking into account all pros and cons about this faith to be able to conclude, in a scholarly manner, what had Musa (a.s.) really delivered.
But if the object were to understand the Jewish faith in the contemporary world, we should send a number of investigators to various parts of the world to see how the Jews practise their religion in their every day lives. We should study their publications in various languages, interview their religious leaders, and collate all the information gathered to reach conclusions about the Jewish ideology and their practice in the present day world.
Similarly with regards to Islam, if we wish to study it, irrespective of being Muslims, there are two approaches: firstly, when we wish to know what the Muslims believe in and how they practise it, and, secondly when our purpose is to study the Islamic faith, namely the nature of Islam which was delivered by Muhammad (a.s.) bin-Abdullah. If we wish to study the Muslims of to-day, or those of one, two or five centuries ago the approach is the same. To study their state to-day, we should travel to various countries. In this respect the Europeans adopt the proper method, and thus most of their writings are accurate, since they travel to various places, and observe things closely, make personal contact, ask questions, take pictures and make films, and so they declare that the Muslims of certain regions live in such and such a manner. Of course sometimes they make hasty judgment after visiting only a few towns and villages and announce their views, whereas such a conclusion does not conform to a scientific methodology. what they can conclude after such insufficient visits and observation is that in such and such villages and towns Muslims live in such a manner and not generalise it to include the entire Muslim population of the world, since such a generalisation would be incorrect and contrary to the scientific method.
If we wish to say what kind of Islam was brought by Muhammad (a.s.) for mankind from Allah, we should first gather all the reliable sources including the Qur'an, traditions, contemporary history and writings of the Prophet's time, even those opposed to the Prophet, and after a thorough study, comparative research and evaluation conclude that this is what Muhammad (a.s.) introduced as Islam. There is no other way, since none of the other scientific or investigative research methods bear any relation this topic which deals with the original form of a religion and its present day practice.
The next issue is related to one's desire to accept a religion, or when someone sincerely wishes to follow a certain religion and be convinced of his choice. How should one proceed in such a case? In my opinion, in this case there is but one way and that is that once one out of conviction declares, "I believe firmly that so and so is a Prophet of God and what he proclaims is based on divine revelation, and he quotes the words of God. I believe in the sayings and teachings of this Prophet, I affirm that all these are true."
The point that merits attention is that when a person accepts a religion, the basis of his conviction in that he regards the Prophet to be a true Prophet and that his source is incontrovertible and certain. He knows that the Prophet speaks the truth. No scientific reason is needed to substantiate the Prophet's proclamation since the fact of his being a prophet is in itself sufficient reason. The Prophet's being righteous or that someone believes in him may not be scientific reasons but support his being a prophet. If one should accept the words of a prophet on the basis of sufficient scientific reasoning, it is fine and there is no harm in it, but this is not faith and we cannot call it religious conviction. Religious conviction means accepting the words of the prophet because he is a prophet. If I declare that Islam is a true religion and base this assertion on certain wise and ingenuous laws of Islam, it is fine there being no harm in it, indeed it is highly desirable, but yet it cannot be termed religious conviction. If, for example, on the basis of this Islamic law that ablution and taking a bath is necessary after sexual intercourse, I should enumerate a number of advantages and benefits for this bathing from the hygienic, medical and spiritual points of view, it would be fine and there is no harm in it. But should a polluted person resort to bathing because of those benefits, his action would not be approved as a religious obligation, since his washing would resemble washing the hand when it is dirty. Bath after a sexual intercourse is obligatory for every Muslim because Prophet Muhammad (a.s.) ordered it and all Muslims follow it because Muhammad (a.s.) is the Prophet.
Principally this is the proper religious attitude and belief; nothing else would be called a religious attitude whether a religion is true or not, and whether Islam be a true faith or otherwise. Therefore a religious attitude with regard to this matter for a Muslim is that wherever he performs a sexual intercourse, he is obliged to take a bath and he does so because the Prophet said so. But if he resorted to reasoning, saying that pollution held many disadvantages on account of exudations from the root of every single hair and hence bathing was a wise and advisable thing to do and then added a number of other benefits for his action, no harm is done but then what is the real motive behind cleansing the body for a Muslim? Is it on account of these benefits and qualities, or because the prophet said so? What motivates a Jew to stop work on Saturdays? If you ask him why he doesn't work on Saturdays, he answers that Moses (a.s.) has said so. It would not be right to call the Jew ignorant or stupid from a scientific viewpoint. Or should we then expect him to ponder philosophically about this matter in search of an answer.
With regard to the second point which is related to the belief in religion, the proper course is that as the first step using deep reflection and reasoning one should discover convincing reasons as to the existence of a God and then believe that Abraham (a.s.) or Moses (a.s.), or Jesus (a.s.) or Muhammad (a.s.) is the Prophet of God. These two steps should be taken with the aid of intelligence and reflection. It is these two stages which warrant the application of our intelligence. If a person's reflection, intelligence, wisdom and knowledge fail him in securing a belief in God and in a prophet of God such as Moses (a.s.) or Jesus (a.s.) or Muhammad (a.s.) or Abraham (a.s.) or Noah (a.s.) or in Buddha as a prophet, or in Zoroaster as a prophet, it would mean failure in his first step. But if after reflection, reasoning and applying his intelligence he developed a belief in one God and in a prophet of God, then the steps that follow would require no intellectual, or scientific reasoning, since thenceforth every word of the prophet would have validity for him and he would act accordingly. On the other hand whosoever, inspite of convincing reasons, fails to comprehend that these are indeed the Prophet of God has lost in the first step.
Thus the proper methodology suited to theological discussion is that while discussing belief in God, in a prophet and prophethood, we can apply intellectual and the so-called scientific reasoning.1 But as we descend from the level of God and prophet, and come to discuss such problems as the reason why pork was forbidden, our answer is: Because it is forbidden in accordance with such and such a verse of the Qur'an. This is sufficient reason and nothing more remains to be said. When they ask what is the reason for such and such a form of government in Islam, we answer: Because such and such a tradition, or such a historical record or such a verse of the holy Qur'an say so. Or we may say that according to such and such a verse of the Qur'an, such form of Government is wrong in Islam.
There is no room for such discussions as are normal for social issues. Of course it would be valid to say that we ought to understand each of these injunctions of Islam, since many of them have been misunderstood, or wrongly interpreted or not understood at all. This would be another approach. For instance, all of us accept the question of slaughter (of animals to food), but it is another matter to ask about its underlying philosophy and what has Islam ordained about it.
Let us choose a better example to make the subject clearer, namely the question of pronouncing the marriage vows or the marriage rites. Why is it that the marriage vows make a man and a woman lawful for each other? The answer is: Because this verse and that tradition say so. This is an sufficient reason. But then: What are the marriage vows? To comprehend this matter fully, it needs to be explained. In Hamburg a man and woman came to be married, both of them were Iranian Muslims. When I spoke to them about the matrimonial vows and explained the term and recited it to make their marriage legal. When the rites were over, they said: "we wish someone had explained these things to us in Iran". I asked how was that? They said, "what we have seen in Iran is that a number of men and women get together and a priest comes along and recites a number of Arabic phrases which no one understands, and then they declare that the concerned pair had become lawful to each other. This we do not understand".
Naturally it is necessary to understand the meaning of the marriage vows, apart from the reason for it. Whenever the subject of marriage comes under discussion, does it mean merely the recitation of a number of Arabic phrases for half an hour or does it imply something different, if so what is it? For a proper comprehension of these matters the field for free discussion is wide open to attempt to understand what Islam had said on the basis of the divine Book, traditions and history.
The third question is related to our desire to understand the benefits; virtues and or occasionally even disadvantages in Islamic injunctions. Should someone say that Islam has created a problem in forbidding the use of alcoholic beverages, here too, the matter is open to debate. Even if we were to make up a thousand and one advantages for the ban on alcohol, those still would not constitute a reason for the ban on alcohol in Islam, since the only real reason for it is the verse of the holy Qur'an or a tradition.
Let us recapitulate the main points of the discussion thus far:
For a proper understanding of a religion, the basis is its original sources which should be studied in the manner of historical research and not experimental investigation nor philosophical inquiry.
To believe in a religion one should first acquire a belief in God and prophet through sufficient intellectual reasoning. Then in the next stage, whatever the prophet has said becomes religion for the believer; no other approach is of any consequence.
For a proper understanding of Islam and the spirit of its teachings or any other religion it is necessary to verify those subjects with one's personal and social life and then evaluate them in close interrelation. This is another field open for discussion for understanding the commandments of Islam or of any other religion.
One can freely discuss all the good or bad points of any precept of Islam or any religion which come to the mind. One is free to examine them. Should one count thousand and one defects, it still would not constitute a reason for its invalidity, nor would a thousand and one virtues be a reason for its validity. In this manner, I believe we could proceed to discuss. Any other approach to evaluate Islam, Judaism or Zoroastrianism would mean a deviation from the right path. For instance if we begin to discuss the importance of fire from a physical and practical viewpoint or problems of life and such matters and thereby conclude that Zoroastianism is a true faith, or vice versa, prove it to be a false religion, either approach would be a deviation from the right course.
The question that arises here is, if a person in his choice of a religion wishes to know whether Islam was better or Christianity or Judaism and has not yet reached a decision, what should he do? As a supplementary to complete the method, we can add that at this stage all blasphemy is permissible and nothing is forbidden. Now if a total nonbeliever says that he has no faith, what should he do in his choice of a faith, should we tell him to go and make a survey of all the religions, and compare them and then decide which one is better and then make his choice? And if this procedure were necessary, would a person's lifetime and his capabilities suffice?
In this regard my answer concerning the choice of a religion is that this approach is not feasible What he should do is to follow the phased method which I have indicated earlier.
First step: Is the person who is to be accepted as a prophet by the seeker as truly a prophet and a prophet of God, and is there really a God who has this man as his prophet? This is common to all religions, namely those which profess belief in one God. Here the word religion is used in a general sense to include those faiths which profess a belief in God and a prophet. If this seeker found adequate evidence that God exists then a comparison and survey of various religions would be to no avail or not of much use at the least not essential. What is important is the conviction that God exists and He has a prophet and it is essential that the teachings of that prophet be strictly followed. And should that prophet be followed by another prophet who I may believe has been sent by God, then it would be necessary to study this new faith and if it proved to be true then the new prophet takes precedence.
As for those whose prophet was the last prophet, no verification about subsequent claimants to prophethood is required. If sufficient evidence was provided by the acknowledged Prophet that he would have no successor, further verification is not necessary since our belief in him and in his declaration that he would not be succeeded by another prophet would be sufficient reason to believe in him. But had he predicted a successor to himself, the task before his followers would be easier and shorter. Therefore a study and comparison of all religions is neither necessary, nor practicable and nor is it likely to produce any effect.
Question: For a proper recognition of a religious school, as you said, faith in God is a simpler method, but each divine religion explains God in its own peculiar way. So in order to identify which one is the true God, we must have recourse to the original prophet. In the present age it is no easy task to gain access to that prophet and verify his actual sayings.
Answer: Every person who wishes to acquire belief in a faith, must follow this process, whether it is a simple task or a hard one. Each person must study and confirm that a prophet called Jesus did actually exist or not and whether he was a prophet or not. If it was confirmed that Jesus (a.s.) was a prophet, it would be enough, since you would be a reliable source. Having recognised that Jesus (a.s.), Moses (a.s.), or Muhammad (a.s.) is a prophet, you must acknowledge his teachings and act upon them. Of course which of his sayings we should act upon is the next stage, not our primary objective. However, what proof is there that Muhammad was a prophet? Our investigations in this case should proceed as for historical research with an extensive study of historical sources in order to acknowledge the fact that fourteen centuries ago, one Muhammad, had indeed existed who was a prophet of God. Other than this there is no way.
Concerning the fundamentals of religion, one can commence at two starting points: one of them is God, and the other the Prophet. Most people begin with the Prophet. In the case of Islam they begin with Muhammad (a.s.) as a man endowed with extraordinary powers and is in communication with a supernatural being. Thus they come to believe in him. From here they deduce that the force that Muhammad (a.s.) represents is God, and thus most of them acquire faith. In the times of the Prophet himself a number of persons were seized with a belief about God Salman (Farsi) was one of those who reflected about God, and then followed up this research. They realised that the teachings about God that prevailed around them were nothing but a set of illusions and superstitions When such individuals heard that a prophet had risen in Mecca who talked about God, they went there and saw that indeed he possessed both the merit to be God's representative as judged by his words, and also manifested the signs which proved that he was truly the Prophet of God. In this case their faith in God existed prior to their faith in His prophet, and even prior to their contact with the Prophet.
Then there were others who had no faith in God. They were materialists or naturalists, and did not believe in the existence of God at all. However their contact with the Prophet altogether transformed them, and through the Prophet they acquired faith in God Of course, later they turned directly to God, but the foundation of their faith was initially laid by the Prophet. Thus the principle of faith in God as well as disbelief in Him both co-exist among the Prophet's contemporaries. Through a comparative study of recognition of God as it appears in various religions we can conclude that a certain religion conforms more appropriately with our intellect and reasoning yet it is not proof enough for believing such and such a person is a prophet. Likewise the prophethood of a prophet cannot be proved only through his sublime teachings pertaining to recognition of God. Let us suppose that a priest comes along and through theological discourse delivers excellent instruction about God, would he then be a prophet, and would his teachings be adopted as the way of faith? Certain great philosophers who had no belief in religion, made noteworthy statements about God. Would you then regard them to be prophets? Although they did not claim to be prophets, but what if they did? Therefore this is no ground. To acknowledge someone as a prophet, we should study his life, his antecedents and his education, and when we observe that his mental, and spiritual personality is not an acquired one, only then we conclude that he has gained that exalted personality from an extraordinary source, and that proves him to be a prophet.
That is why the Qur'an reiterates the fact that the prophet was unlettered. Therefore, we acknowledge our faith in God and the Prophet simultaneously without placing one before the other and declare one faith in God and the prophet at the same time. Then the words of that Prophet would have validity for us, and to reach this conclusion a prior study of comparative religions was never needed.
With this brief introduction, we can proceed to the main topic of discussion which is recognizing Islam and Muslims of the world under the title of "Islam and world Muslims".
1. We should say 'intellectual reasons' rather than 'scientific reasons', since it is not appropriate to use the latter term, and to a certain extent is not pertinent to the prophet.
In order to acquire a close familiarization with Islam it is necessary to know the environment in which Islam took birth and started to spread since such an understanding greatly aids the recognition of that entity.
It is possible to have a superficial knowledge of certain matters without being familiar with their knowing their background or the conditions of their origin. But a profound understanding of a certain being or phenomenon depends wholly on a thorough familiarization of the background of that being or phenomenon. This applies equally to individuals or technical , artistic or social phenomena. For this reason, a deep understanding of the environments of Islam at the time of its birth is essential. The environments at the time of the birth of Islam may be misconstrued to mean the region including Mecca, or Mecca and Medina, or Mecca, Medina and Ta'if, or Hejaz or Arabia. It should be noted though that the noble Prophet of Islam from the very outset as he began his call to Islam while he was still at Mecca and Islam had not yet spread to Medina, began his call in the following manner:
"Come and embrace a faith the light of which will spread over Iran, Rome, Abyssinia and all other places." Thus from beginning the Prophet's call was a universal one addressing the civilised world of that time. Moreover, in the 6th year of (Hijra) migration, namely six years after the prophet's immigration to Medina, he wrote letters all of which are found in historical records namely . to Khusrow Parviz King of Persia, Heraclius 2 ruler of a part of the Roman Empire, Mequqass ruler of Egypt, 3 Najashi (or Negus) ruler of Abyssinia, 4 Ruler of Ghassan as a deputy of Rome, 5 and to the ruler of Hira of the tribe of AI-e-Mundir and a vice regent of the throne of Iran, inviting all of them to accept Islam. Thus it becomes apparent that in order to know the background of the rise of Islam, we cannot con fine ourselves to Mecca, Medina and Ta'if, or to the Arab Lands but expand our view to at least include all such regions as the Prophet himself called to accept Islam in his own time.
The name Arabia is applied to a land populated by Arabic-speaking people. At the time of the birth of the Prophet, the Arabic-speaking region was not so vast as it is to-day; on one side it was bounded by the Persian Gulf much as it is to-day, since at that time, too, the southern borders of the Persian Gulf were inhabited by Arabs In Iraq the boundary was almost along the Tigris and the Euphrates namely that side of the Tigris where Arabic is now the main language In the region between Iran and the Tigris the main language was not Arabic, but Kurdish, Persian and some local dialects with Arabic as the main language that side of River Tigris. In fact the Arabs now inhabiting Khuzestan are not the original inhabitants but migrated to this region after Islam. In the north were the present countries of Shaam or Syria and Jordan where a number of Arab migrant tribes lived in the time of Islam, the period of that migration will be explained later. In the north, too, Arabic was not, unlike to-day, the main language, though a considerable Arab migrants had settled in the valley of the Jordan River. It may be observed that at present the Arab land, have extended as far as Turkey, whereas at that time it was limited more to the south towards Jordan. The present Lebanon and Syria were not Arabic speaking. In Jordan, too, Arabic was not the main language, and only the Arab migrants spoke Arabic. In this respect Jordan resembled the present Khuzestan where a group speak Arabic and another speak Persian.
In the west, in a significant part of Africa where Arabic is now spoken, the main language at the time was not Arabic. Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and even Abyssinia and other parts where Arabic is now spoken, Arabic was not the main language at that time. Thus we see that at the time of the birth of Islam the region of Arabia and the Arab land from the viewpoint of the Arabic language was located in the south of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman extending in the west up to the Red Sea - beyond which Arabic was not prevalent - and in the north till the Jordan River valley beyond which Arabic was not prevalent, and in the east to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This, then was the extent of Arabia at the time of the birth of Islam.
Here it should be pointed out that the language spoken in the regions beyond these frontiers, namely in a part of Africa, Shaam, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and to the east of the Tigris and Euphrates in Iraq, had been branches of Semitic languages, having a common root with Arabic - in the same way that Persian has a common root with German, Indian Sanskrit and Indo-European languages. The local languages of Somalia, Abyssinia, Egypt and a part of Jordan (which was Hebrew) and those of the present Lebanon and Syria (which had been Phoenician), and those of other parts (which had been Chaldean, Assyrian etc.) were all like the Arabic language Semitic in origin and are recognised as Semitic languages and both from the viewpoint of script as well as vocabulary linked together.
Georgie Zeydan, in his book, 'History of Civilisation, 6 narrates that at that time if someone went from Arabia to Abyssinai, or from Jordan or the Lebanon to Hejaz, he did not feel like an alien, the languages were so much alike that he could understand the local language without the aid of an interpreter, and if he stayed there for a little while, he could learn the local language - the same way that a Persian-speaking person visiting Kurdestan can learn the local language within a short time. Thus the Arabic speaking region of to-day used to be the region of Semitic languages, which have common roots with Arabic, and is thus easily understood by their neighbours, while the Arabian peninsula was the home to Arabs who spoke pure unmixed Arabic.
The inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula who were generally called Arabs, were in two groups: Qahtani Arabs' and 'Adnani Arabs.' Qahtani Arabs were those whose original abode was Yemen. The Yeminis and Yemen of that time included the present Aden, the Sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf littoral and the Sea of Oman.
The Adnani Arabs were centered around Najd and Hejaz that is to say around Mecca stretching as far as the Hejaz Desert. Both the Qahtani and Adnani Arabs share a common historical root, originating from the same ancestors. You can imagine an Arab family of three thousand years ago steadily multiplying in numbers, then branching into two sections The descendants of Ya'rib Ibn Qahtan went to Yemen. Others who went to Mecca - and founded Mecca - the descendants of Ismail, because they had an ancestor named Adnan, came to be called Adnani.
Arabs who went to Yemen, the Qahtani Arab, had come to the land of good fortune, because Yemen was a better land compared with Mecca, Najd and the Arabian Desert from the viewpoint of natural potential climate and water. Accordingly in the lands of Yemen, civilisation and industry and urban development began much sooner. The history of urban development and civilisation in Yemen, the home of the Qahtani Arabs, dates several centuries before Hejaz and Najd, the home of the 'Adnani Arabs. It would be pertinent at this stage to consider how the factor of environment influenced the development of two branches of a common stock who shared common language as well as many other characteristics. According to historians, not only from the viewpoint of urbanisation and development, but also from the viewpoint of political organisations and government, Yemen and Qahtani Arabs were centuries ahead of Najd and Hejaz and the Adnani Arabs. Further explanations will follow about this aspect.
In Yemen the Hemyari Kings ruled as the crowned monarchs at the time when in Hejaz social organisations had not developed beyond tribal ways. Ya'qubi, the great Islamic historian narrates that the crown worn by Hemyar, founder of the Hemyari dynasty was made of silver with a large ruby set in the middle and such was the situation prevailing in Yemen several centuries before the establishment of a government in Hejaz, Najd and Arabia. From the viewpoint of technology and civilisation, long before the appearance of such developments over the ordinary tribal life in Najd and Hejaz, the historical 'Mareb Dam' had been constructed. In this regard a historian narrates that this dam was six kilometers in length situated between two mountains so that the winter rains and torrents would collect in the form of a lake. It had a number of sluice gates through which passed seventy irrigation channels passed for irrigating seventy agricultural sectors. Mareb Dam had been built eight centuries before Islam and as it happened two centuries before Christ, the object is to show the background of the birth place of Islam, as also to compare Yemen with Hejaz which was the location of the advent of Islam.
Mareb Dam played an effective role in the development of Yemen which flourished alongside of it. Strabon, the famous Greek geographer and traveller (about 63 B.C. to 26 A.D ) whose name is mentioned frequently in the annals of history, has written many strange accounts about the city of Mareb and its wonders and fine palaces which have been quoted in various books of history. This city had attracted travellers from many parts of the world and flourished until the second century A.D. From the beginning of the second century A.D. it started to deteriorate. The interesting point which historians have recorded is that since individuals were unable to maintain the Dam, this task had to be performed by their governments, but as public authorities had become inefficient and were too busy feasting and drinking, they neglected their responsibility of preserving the Dam. Consequently it fell into disrepair. This shows that in those times the people of Yemen expected their government to undertake such tasks. Mareb Dam began to deteriorate in the beginning of second country A.D. so that all realised that it would collapse within the next ten or twenty years So the Qahtani Arabs of Yemen began to abandon their homes fearing that with the collapse of the Dam no water would be available for irrigation or farming. They were also alarmed that when the Dam collapsed it would release a torrent which would destroy their homes and fields and everything else that came in its way Consequently such fears caused the Qahtani tribes to begin emigrating.
One group emigrated towards Hira and the land of Iraq and settled along the banks of the Tigris, and founded the government of Munadherah or Al-e-Mundher. The people & Munadherah on account of their proximity to Iran, became tributaries of the Iranian governments possibly maintaining political relations with them. Another group migrated to the territory near the present day Jordan, and settled in the flourishing Jordan Valley. They were the earliest Arabs to settle there and set up the Ghassani dynasty which normally had relations with Rome. A third group of them in their migration came to Yathrib (the present Medina) which was at that time home to the Jews, however this subject will be discussed later in the chapter related to Judaism. These last Arabs formed the twin tribes of 'Aus' and 'Khazraj' whose names appear frequently in the course of the history of Islam. These two tribes settled in Yathrib where some farming land and water were available. Another group, namely Bani Khuza'a moved to Mecca and fought the Adnani Arabs of Mecca, drove them out and took control of Mecca themselves. Yet another group called Bani 'Addi went to Najd and became the rulers of the greater part of the desert.
What is note worthy here is that a civilised people accustomed to urbanisation and well developed social existence should as a result of an anticipated catastrophe, migrate from their home land, and then organise their communities wherever they set foot.
Those who went to Shaam, established the Ghassani rule; those who went to Hira, founded the dynasty of Al-e-Mundher, No'manian and Munadherah; whose who settled in Medina, namely the tribes of Aus and Khazraj, will be discussed in subsequent chapters; and the group that went to Mecca, pushed away the Adnanis who were the least developed. These were the ones who went to the desert, dominated the waste lands of the Arabian Desert. The remaining Arabs who stayed back in Yemen, either on account of laziness or hoping that no calamity such as the collapse of the Dam would occur, were annihilated by the well-known flood of 'Arem in the end of the second century A.D. which has been mentioned in the Chapter of Saba of the holy Qur'an, where a brief history of Yemen is narrated.
Thus the structure of Arabia in the second century A.D. consisted of the government of one group of Arabs in the present day Jordan neighbouring ancient Rome; another group building a city state in the present Iraq and Hira set up a state neighbouring Iran; another group settled in Yathrib as neighbours of the Jews, and lastly another group of Qahtani Arabs settled in Mecca and its suburbs. This then was the situation four centuries before the birth of Islam.
All historians are agreed that the highest manifestation of the development of Arab culture in the century preceding Islam was poetry which was not known before that time. A well known historian named Ya'qubi has written that poetry among the Arabs had taken the place of science, philosophy, history and everything else. 7 If an Arab had a bright idea he would give it the form of a few verses and thus express it. Thus if someone should question what Arab culture was at that time, the answer would be 'a few stanzas of poetry'.
The Arabs were a people with a poetic bent even though their land was no land of flowers and nightingales, but only thorns and sand, yet it nurtured many a poet. As poetry was esteemed by them to be the highest manifestation of culture, their poets were on the lookout for a suitable spot to present their poems. The finest of their poems were then inscribed on posters and hung on the walls of the Ka'aba in the annual rendezvous of the Arabs. They called these posters 'Mu'allaqat' meaning 'hanging verses'. Such display on the walls of the Ka'aba was the the reward for the poets, who as a result became famous. Amra' al-Qais and other contemporary poets of early Islam were among the poets thus honoured. They were the authors of 'the seven hanging pieces' that had found place of honour on the walls of the Ka'aba and in history Beside poetry there was another cultural source in the Arabia of that time, namely Jewish culture which will be discussed in detail later on.
The leading aspect of the Arabs economy of that time from the viewpoint of production was animal husbandry and agriculture wherever it was possible. As far as trade and exchange were concerned, their main trade was with foreign lands. Both the Arabs of Yemen and Hejaz were engaged in this activity, but since foreign trade must have links with home trade in order to exchange home-made products with foreign goods, the Arabs of that age resorted to the same practice in keeping with the level of their civilisation as they do in modern times. In the developed world of today one of the most significant essential and effective of economic practices is the organising of commercial and industrial fairs. The Arabs, too, at that time arranged fairs in the form of seasonal bazaars In the same way that today in each season a fair is held in a city or locality in relation to local conditions, the Arabs, too, followed the same practice at different times and in particular places. A few examples of the extensive and famous exhibitions which were held in Hejaz and Najd were as follows:
The 'Dumatul-Jandal Fair', held in the month of Rabial-Awwal under the auspices of two local tribes of Ghassan and Kalb near Shaam.
The Mashqar Fair' held in the month of Jamadi-al-'Ula in a place of the same name, under the auspices of Banu-Tim tribe. 8
The 'Sahar Fair', held on the first of the month of Rajab. 9
The 'Ria Fair' following their Sahar Fair' in the same month of Rajab, under the patronage of the Jalandi tribc and its ruler. 10
The 'Aden Fair', held at the beginning of the month of Ramadhan, According to historians since this fair dealt exclusively with perfumes and scents, it was the great market of perfumers. 11
The 'San'a Fair', held in the middle of Ramadhan
The 'Rabia Fair', held in the present Hadamut.
The 'Ukaz Fair', held in the month of Dhil-Qa'dah near Ta'if
The 'Dhil Majaz Fair', held when all other fairs had concluded and the merchants who had been busy making a round of these fairs during those months, finally headed to Mecca, making a pilgrimage to the Ka'aba in the month of Dhil Hajjah, and dispersed after performing the Hajj ceremonies.
These fairs and seasonal bazaars were the most valuable and cherished commercial events in Arabia of those days. The merchant class who profited from those fairs did their best not to let them become mere exhibitions. They organised colourful ceremonies and musical shows and other celebrations as well as exhibits of literary works, poetry and arts. Thus these exhibitions were show places worth a visit both for those who intended to buy new and fineries and goods, or listen to the latest and the finest pieces of verse, or fine music. Thus the poets, too, were drawn to these exhibitions to recite their poems before judges who judged their poems. In this manner the fairs served both as commercial shows and literary societies.
Sociologists say that in those days when man lived alone (if indeed there were such days!) he had no need of a master, since he was his own master and servant; his own ruler, his own government and his own nation. But as soon as he emerged from this solitary state and formed a family, and as soon as their number rose to four, there rose the question of who headed the family and who was the chief. Sociologists claim that in most parts of the world headship belonged to the men while in certain parts to the women, that is to say the father acting as the head in the former case, and the mother in the latter. As the family grew larger, several families formed a group, called tribe, the family then acquired a tribal form. Thereby the question of the chief, the elder, the senior and the 'grey-beard' of the tribe came up who should settle the affairs of the group.
When several tribes took form, the issue became more extensive and there came into existence national government, and the issues in turn became international though yet such a government has not appeared.
With the rise of several tribes, these tribes that lived alongside each other neither knew their common ancestors nor did they regard each other as kith and kin. As they coexisted in one area and shared common interests, they found that they had need for a government in order to preserve their social system. Thus the formation of a government from the viewpoints of history and sociology began with the tribes' realisation of a need for a guardian to safeguard their common interests and social system. This guardian then became their government.
From the viewpoint of political process, this was the most critical phase, namely the transfer of power from the tribal system and tribal chief to a central government. This critical phase had been accomplished in Yemen many centuries before Islam where a central government in its true sense had been formed and this was also the case in Ghassan and Hira where governments ruled. On the other hand in the interior of Arabia such a governments did not exist except in very rare instances.
Ya'qubi says in his book of history: "The tribal disputes or problems between individuals were usually settled by a number of persons known to be wise and far-sighted as well as unprejudiced and impartial. They settled the disputes through elderly intervention and arbitration. Such arbitrators were called magistrates. Ya'qubi mentions in his book of history (Vol. 1, p. 337) the names of a large number of such magistrates, who were not heads of a government but only arbitrators who adjudicated in the matters of disputes. In the history of the corresponding period in Arabia we come across only one or two cases when government is mentioned in connection with the interior of Arabia, namely in Hejaz and Najd. Among these accounts a Jewish historian writes that in the fifth century A.D., that is one century before Islam, Abu Karab, king of Yemen had assigned his son as the regent of Median. Since this governor had been installed by the ruler of Yemen, it could hardly be called the government of Medina.
Thus at that time while there existed governments along the borders outside of Arabia, such as the Chassanis and Mundherian, and those who had remained in Yemen and in the coastal regions of the Persian Gulf, no progress had been made from a tribal society towards a central government in the central parts of Arabia.
In order to make a thorough study of the history of Islam, we should also make a survey of the part played by Judaism and Christianity in side Arabia.
We are not altogether certain of the date of the Jews migration to Arabia, however the writer of the 'History of Judaism' writes in this connection: "There are different views concerning the migration of the Jews to Arabia and its causes and factors, but there is little doubt that most of the Jews abandoned their homes owing to the oppression of Roman rulers and sought refuge in Arabia. If the Jews had been denied peace and tranquility in Palestine, Europe and in the Roman holdings, in Arabia on the contrary their living conditions were satisfactory, since there they were no longer subjected to threats and persecution by Christian priests, being treated kindly by their neighbours.
What is certain is that owing to the remoteness of the Hejaz and Najd regions, a number of Jews had migrated to Arabia centuries before the birth of Islam, and in all probability concurrent with the appearance of Jesus (a s.) Christ or in the second and third centuries A.D.
According to the existing books of history, their migrations to the Hejaz must have begun at least about five centuries before Islam, that is to say by the end of the first century A.D. The Jews had realised that in that region they could live freely far removed from the oppression of Roman governors. The most important center of Jewish settlements was Yathrib, the present Medina. The Jews who came to Arabia, found that there was land and water in the Yathrib region, so they built a fort for themselves and settled down. In Mecca, too, the Jews were present but in small numbers.
Those who migrated from the north to the south found their way to Yemen, where the number of the Jews was not so great, but there occurred an event as a result of which Judaism became the official religion of Yemen. It so happened that Abu Karab's son was the governor of Yathrib, when his father was king of Yemen in the fifth century A.D. The inhabitants of Medina rose in revolt against this governor and killed him. Abu Karab, despite being engaged in a war with the kings of Iran over Yemen, on his way came to Yathrib and in order to punish the Jews and Arabs of Yathrib who had risen against him, and thereafter to proceed to the war with Iran. When he reached Yathrib, the inhabitants went inside their forts and shut the gates and took refuge within: Abu Karab besieged the forts, and as the siege drew on, the people in the forts were faced with acute shortage of food. At this time a number of Jewish rabbis came out of the forts and approached Abu Karab and declared that only four foolish men had killed his son, and begged the king for his forgiveness. In this meeting they started reciting some Jewish teachings for Abu Karab who was a heathen; their ardor so influenced him that he embraced Judaism and at once returned to Yemen. When Abu Karab and his courtiers accepted Judaism as their religion, they began to propagate that faith. After Abu Karab died some time later, one of his sons, named 'Dhunavas' or 'Dhunuvas' became the king of Yemen and formally and zealously propagated the Jewish faith in Yemen and so it became the official religion of Yemen where they set about building a number of synagogues for the Jews. This happened about eighty or a hundred years before the rise of Islam.
Thus we witness that in the Arabia of that time, in the north existed the Jews and Christians, in the east the Zoroastrians and followers of Mazdak, the Iranians' religion, in the south and in a part of Yathrib the Jews, and in other parts were idolaters and Sabeans and followers of numerous other religions.
The author of the 'History of Judaism' has recorded that the Arabs treated the Jews kindly and associated with them treaty resulting in frequent intermarriages among them. On the whole the Jews exerted a great influence upon the Arabs since, firstly, they were well versed in economics and could hence manage the economy of those regions and, secondly, compared to the Arabs lettered and a people of the Book and consequently possessed higher learning than the Arabs who were quite illiterate. They could narrate tales and talk about many topics with the Arabs and hence gained considerable respect. While the Arabs could neither read nor write, most of the Jews were familiar with reading and even writing to some extent. Judaism exerted such a strong influence that a group of the Quraish tribe, namely Banu Kunanah had embraced Judaism.
The position of Christianity was a special one in Hejaz and in the Arabian peninsula. This religion had not made any inroads into Arabia till about the time of the Prophet of Islam, that is to say about a century and a half before the birth of Islam. Just as today the Christian missionaries go to African and South American lands and penetrate into the forests to propagate their faith, at that time, too, they went to the dry deserts of Arabia with the object of spreading their religion. The first group of Christian missionaries went to the Najran area. They so greatly influenced the people there that the first Christian sector took shape in Arabia. The Christians of Najran commenced their missionary work, and alongwith other missionaries who arrived from outside, founded a center of propagation in the interior of Arabia. At this time, as it has already been stated, Dhunuvas, the King of Yemen had embraced Judaism. Then there occurred a collision between this Jewish king who applied much pressure to spread Judaism in Arabia and the Christians of Najran. This clash had a political background in that the Emperor of Abyssinia coveted Yemen, the neighbour across the sea. To retaliate this clash, Dhunuvas came to Najran to wipe out the Christians of Najran. Thhis episode has been narrated in the holy Qur'an under the title of "the story of Ukhdood" 12 where this deed has been condemned. Dhunuvas killed many of the Najran Christians and burnt a number of them alive. This roused the Christian Emperor of Abyssinia as well as the Roman Emperor to come to the aid of the Najran Christians. But as the Emperor of Rome was too far from Yemen he asked the Emperor of Abyssinia for help and asked him to take the revenge of this massacre from Dhunuvas and the people of Yemen. That is how the episode of Abraha and the Abyssinian campaign to Yemen occurred. Abyssinian troops reached Yemen and captured it. Dhunuvas and a large number of Yemenese were killed, and thus Christianity replaced Judaism in Yemen By the order of the Abyssinian governor officially churches were built there, eventually resulting in the story of Abraha and 'Amul-Feel.'
In this way, in Arabia at the time of the rise of Islam, Judaism took the first place, Christianity the second, Zoroastrianism third, Sabeans, who followed a kind of idol worship reaching as far back as the creeds of the time of the Prophet Abraham (a.s.) came fourth and some local faiths followed fifth in place as mentioned in the holy Qur'an. 13 Thus from the viewpoint of religion, the Arabian peninsula of that time was under of influence of multiple faiths.
To get better acquainted with the peculiar conditions prevailing in Mecca, Medina and Ta'if, the three cities closest to the birthplace of Islam, further explanations are in order As already stated, in the second and third centuries A.D. the Qahtani Arabs migrated to various parts of Arabia, and a group of them named Banu Khuza'ah went to Mecca and seized the reins of affairs there however, before the arrival of Banu Khuza'ah group, various Isma'ili tribes of the 'Adnani Arabs had dominated that region, the most important of whom were the Quraish tribe. Till that time however, this tribe had not assumed the importance it gained later on. When Banu Khuza'ah gained predominance in Mecca and secured control over the affairs of the Ka'aba, a child was born in the house of Quraish named Qussi bin-kalab, whose mother was of Banu Khuza'ah and father from belonged a branch of the Quraish tribe. As Qussi grew up, he decided to take back from the non-Quraish all the positions which had been taken away from the Quraish family at whatever the cost. This included the custody of the keys and coverings of the holy Ka'aba, positions that were highly esteemed and which position should have been inhabited by his uncle on the mother's side. Qussi's uncle was a drunkard and a libertine. 14 Qussi as it happened, bought this position from his own uncle for a wine skin and one camel to barbecue and this idiotic deal became proverbial in the history of Arabia, 15 thus the phrase 'Qussi Deal' implying an infamous and a stupid deal.
Qussi was a competent youth who gradually came to dominate Mecca completely and took control over all its affairs. From the time of Qussi bin Kalab onward, although no government had been formed, however a set up in Mecca takes shape as a result of his policies and ideas. According to his views the various tribes of Mecca, especially the branches of the Quraish tribe were involved into creating a central organisation and establishing a relative order in the society.
2. Heraclius the First (about 575-641 A.D.), Emperor of Byzantine (Eastern Roman Empire) from 610 to 641 A D. Mo'in Dictionary Vol. 6.
3. A name given by the Arabs to Cyrus, governor of Alexandria Mo'in Dictionary 6.
4. Negus is the title of rulers of Abyssinia, similar to Khusrow fur Iranian kings, and Caesar for Emperors of Rome. (Various Arabic sources).
5. Haaris bin-Abi-Shenlr, a Ghassani king residing in Damascus who died in the year of capture of Mecca, (Similar Arabic Arabic sources.)
6. ".... Moreover, the language of the Arabs was similar to those of their neighbours, having the same Semitic root. And as it can be seen to-day, much as in that period, the Arabic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Hebrew, Abyssinian and Phoenician languages are similar, their relation resembling the relation between colloquial and the scholastic Arabic. At that time if an Arab travelled from Hejaz to Iraq or Abyssinia or Phoenicia he could follow the local language without an interpreter," History of Islamic Civilisation, Gergie Zeydan. Translated by Javaher Kalam, p. 9.
7. Ya'qubi recorded: The Arabs placed poetry above all knowledge and philosophy and if a poet understanding and discerning poetry was found in the tribe, they invited him to their seasonal markets of the year such as their pilgrimage to recite his poetry in front of various tribes, and considered this a sign of honour and distinction for themselves. They had nothing else to give but poetry. History of Ya'qubi, Vol. I, p. 342.
8. Ya'qubi's book gives this name as Bani-Teem, sub-tribe of Mundher-bin-Sawi, but the correct name is Bani-Tamim, because Mundher bin Sawi was Tamimi and not Timi, Book of Mustadrak Hawashi, p. 531.
9. A village in Yemen where Sahari cloths were made. Ya'qubi History, Vol. I.
10. Ruler of Omman, History of Ya'qubi, Vol. 1, p 349.
11. Ya'qubi speaks of 'Shahr Fair' before this one under the patronage of a tribe of Qada'a, called Malhreh History of Ya'qubi, Vol. I, p 35.
12. Al-Qur'an, Chapter 85 (Boruj), Verses 4 onwards.
13. The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 2 (Baqarah), verse 62; Chapter 6 (Ma'idah), verse 69. Chapter 22 (Hajj), Verse 17.
14. Abu Ghubshan, History of Ya'qubi, Vol. 1, p. 307.
15. Akhassa min-Safqat-e-Abi Ghabshan, History of Ya'qubi, Vol. 1, p. 307.
The Quraish tribe had many sub-tribes, however the leading ones were: The Hashemis, Umavis, Nufelis, Abduddaris, Asadis, Timis, Makhzumis, 'Adavis, Jamhis and the Sahmis.
There were the prominent sub-tribes' branches, but there were also others, less significant clans. At that time there existed only two or three positions in connection with the Ka'aba. To make these clans to co-operate with one another, Qussi bin Kalab created a number of new positions, giving each of the clans a position to be content with, and so abstain from internecine fighting. Thus it would appeal that the creation of designations had a long precedent! Concurrent with the birth of the Prophet of Islam there existed about 15 positions in Mecca, each of which pertained to one of the prominent clans of the Quraish as follows:
Position of the provider of water to the pilgrims. During the pre-Islamic pilgrimage those who visited Mecca were not familiar with the water wells, and as they all needed water, the task of bringing water from the neighbouring wells and offering it to pilgrims was assigned to a branch of the Quraish to act as wardens over water Georgie Zeydan narrates that they devised open tanks of hides and filled them with water for the pilgrims to take.
Position of reception and hospitality. To attract more visitors to Mecca and make their market brisk, as well as to preserve the Arab custom of acting as lordly hosts, they laid out feasts for the pilgrims as their guests, and this task was assigned to a particular branch of the Quraish tribe For this purpose they collected contributions to provide free meals to the pilgrims.
Position of flag-bearer. Mecca had a flag called the Eagle banner which was used in the time of war. This flag was kept in the family whose chief would bring it out in the event of war. In the time of the Prophet this banner was in the hands of the Bani Umayya.
Position of Dar-un-Nadwa or Dar-u-Showra. One of Qussi's initiatives was to build a house near the Ka'aba, called Dar-en-Nadwa. 16 Dar-ul-Nadwa means a meeting place or assembly for consultation. Whenever an issue of importance rose for the Quraish in general, their chiefs and elders who were truly the people's representative assembled in that place, discussed the matter and came to a decision about it and whatever the majority's decision carried it out. What is noteworthy however is that according to the laws of elections of Qussi bin kalab, one of the pre-conditions was that the tribes and clans representatives should not be less than forty years of age. Today young people could well protest against such a law on the plea that it meant favouring the old people as they accepted only over forty years old. In those days, however, they wished to have well tried and experienced peoples' representatives, though at the same time we read in the biography of the holy Prophet of Islam that Abdul-Mutallib took Muhammad (a s.) as a child along with him to Dar-un-Nadwa, even though the admission of a person below the age of forty was forbidden. The first time Muhammad (a.s.) was taken there, they were displeased, but after that they agreed that he could enter - but that is another story.
The charge and leadership of trade caravans was held by the Bani-Umayya.
The institution for the payment of blood-mone
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