The Environment of Arabia before the Advent of Islam
At that time, the whole world, especially Arabia, was steeped in ignorance, corruption, and turmoil. The Arabs were suffering immensely from superstitions and unchasteness. Ignorance had darkened the lives of the Arabs, who were leading tormented lives. Plunder and murder were quite prevalent - plunder of the people's meager properties and unjust killing! Most shameful of all was their worship of lifeless statues -idols. 60 False beliefs and class differences were strong. What was lacking was law and justice. The apathetic, wealthy people amassed wealth by exploiting the weak and by overcharging the orphan and the widow. They lorded over the poor class and exploited them. Their manners in business were so illogical and unjust that they would hold women responsible for their husbands' debts and would detain the husbands for the indebtedness of their poor wives. 61
Instead of acquiring knowledge and virtue, they prided themselves in their ancestors and in the large numbers of their relatives; sometimes they even went to cemeteries 62 and counted the number of their dead relatives to prove there were more people in their tribe than in other tribes. Murder, bloodshed, drinking, and illegitimate sexual intercourse were quite ordinary and commonplace. 63 Amr ul-Qays, the famous Arab poet, discussed his satanic sexual relationships with his cousin 'Anizah. Curiously, such poems were ranked among the greatest works of literature and were hung in the Ka'aba. 64 Such was the situation and moral conditions of a miserable society out of whose dark horizon came the light of Islam. It is crystal clear that a person who not only is not affected by such a corrosive society, but also grieves over it and attempts to combat it, possesses a great divine character and is competent to lead people and guide them onto the path of salvation:
PROPHETS WERE NOT PRODUCTS OF THEIR ENVIRONMENTS: THEY CREATED THEM
All went to the idol-temples except the Prophet who, without being taught by anybody, made his way to Mount Hira, the mountain where he devotedly worshipped the Creator of the universe and praised His glory and power. 65 'And you did not recite before it any book, nor did you transcribe one with your right hand, for then could those who say untrue things have doubted (29:48).
Favoured by Almighty God, he distinguished his path from the very beginning, denounced the wrong manners of his people without any hesitation or fear, and proceeded against those wrong deeds and beliefs. 66 Not only was not one single moment of his blessed life spent in idolatry, but, as we have already mentioned, he hated to hear the names of idols. 67
His chasteness and purity were known to all. His extreme honesty led the people to give him the title of 'the Trustworthy', and this great virtue led Khadija to trust him with her commercial property. The behaviour of the Prophet toward the people and his manners were so pleasant and excellent that they attracted all people. 'Ammar said, 'The Prophet and I were engaged as shepherds before the advent of the prophetic mission. One day I suggested to him, 'Let's go to the Fakh pasturage'. He agreed. 'The next day I went there and saw that he had preceded me but prevented his sheep from grazing there. I asked him the reason. He replied, 'I did not wish my sheep to graze here before your sheep because we had taken this decision together' . 68
Thus the Prophet took a different direction than his people and was by no means infatuated with tribal customs and moods. In reality, under the control of the divine power, he advanced on his path of evolution and perfection. For all these reasons, people had great respect for him and relied heavily on his views in solving their problems.
THE INSTALLATION OF THE BLACK STONE
When the Holy Prophet was 30 years old, the Quraysh decided to repair the House of God, the Ka'aba, and since all the tribes of the Quraysh wished to have the honour of this great task, each took on the task of repairing one part of the House of God. First Walid started to demolish the House and then the others helped him until the pillars that the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had laid down, appeared. Now it was the time for the reconstruction of the Holy House, and each tribe undertook one part of it. When the process of construction reached the point where the Black Stone was to be installed, severe disputes arose among the Quraysh tribes. All of them wanted to have the honour of completing the task. Little by little, the dispute turned into harsh enmity, and the various tribes got ready for a bloody war. The sons of Abdul Dar filled a large jar with blood and put their hands into it, thereby giving each other a pledge of death at the battlefield. This terrible discord went on for four or five days until Abu Amayah, who was the oldest of the Quraysh, said, 'My proposal is that we select the first person who enters the mosque as an arbiter and that all of us accept his view on the problem so it will be solved'. The Quraysh accepted his proposal and waited to see who would enter the mosque first. Suddenly the Holy Prophet of Islam came in. As soon as the people caught sight of him, they said, 'This is the Trustworthy one. This is Muhammad. We will accept his decision'. The Prophet did not know about the matter. When they explained their problem to him, he said, 'Bring me a piece of cloth'. Although the Quraysh did not know what he meant by that order, they brought the cloth immediately. The Holy Prophet spread the cloth, put the Black Stone in the middle of it, and said, 'Each tribe should take hold of one side of the cloth so all can share in the honour'. The Quraysh did as he had told them and lifted the Black Stone to the point where it was to be installed. Then the Holy Prophet, who observed that if he let any of them install it, conflict and disputes would arise, himself lifted the Black Stone and installed it in its place. Through this excellent device, he put an end to the terrible enmity and conflicts. 69
This incident clearly demonstrates the supreme character of the Holy Prophet of Islam and his excellent thought and intelligence, which ended a serious dispute without any bloodshed.
61. Da'irat ul-Ma'arif, Farid Vajdi, Vol. 6, p.250.
62. Majma' ul-Bayan, Vol. 10, p.534, new edition.
63. Al-'Asr ul-Jahili, Dr. Sufi Diyf, fifth edition in Egypt, p.70.
64. Sharh ul-Mu'allaqat ul-Saba'a by Alz-Zuzani, p.3.
65. Bihar ul-Amrar, Vol. 18, p.280.
66. Ibid., pp.277-281; Nahj ul-Balaghah of Fiydul-Islam, p.802.
67. A'lam Alwari, pp.17-18; Bihar ul-Anwar, Vol. 15, p.410.
68. Bihar ul-Amrar, Vol. 16, p.224.
69. Sirihi ibn Hisham, Vol. 1, pp.192-197; Bihar ul-Anwar, Vol. 15, pp.337, 412.
Adapted from: "A Glance at the Life of the Holy Prophet of Islam" by : "Dar Rah Haqq's Board of Writers"
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