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Islamic Stories

Islamic Stories

Publisher: www.alhassanain.org/english

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Alhassanain (p) Network for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Islamic Stories

Author:Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project


Table of Contents

A Call to Prayers On A Cold Wintry Morning 3

Bahlool Proves the Three Facts 6

Ahlul Bait at Mubahala 8

God Sees You Everywhere 9

Tit For Tat 10

Co-Operation the Key To Success 11

She Had True Faith 12

Al-Qur'an - The Great and Holy Book 13

Must God be Just? 15

From The Shadow of A Tree to the Shadow of Islam 16

On The Path of Religion 18

The Ant Prays For Rain 20

Care for Animals 22

Prophet Sulaiman (Solomon) the King Prophet 23

Here Comes Al-Amin - The Trustworthy 25

Hercules and Islam 26

Ja'far Al-Tayyar, The Refugee Who Brought Islam to Africa 28

Prophet Ibrahim and the Idol Worship 30

The Prophet Muhammad (S) Enters Madina 33

Nazr: A Vow with Allah to Be Fulfilled 36

For The Sake of Allah Only 38

Imamat Is Guidance We Need 40

The Learned Man and the Hungry Dog 42

The Five Loaves 43

A Call to PrayersOn A Cold Wintry Morning

It was a wintry morning with much snow falling coupled with the blowing of a strong cold wind. It was not easy to come out in the open air. Yet one could see people rushing to their work and students with books in their hands hastening to their schools.

In one of the mosques in Hamadan - Iran, religious students were assembling in order to attend a morning class. It was an important school of Islamic theology and the tutor was also a very great learned one. His discourses were indeed very thought-provoking and so were his students quite intelligent.

The tutor was none else but the world famous and a great Persian thinker and philosopher 'lbn Sina ', popularly known in Europe as Avicenna. His lectures and writings on various science subjects had become the standard text books for hundreds of years in the universities of Europe. Students admired his deep philosophical thinking. They felthonoured to sit in his class and hear his inspiring lectures.

That cold morning, students had already assembled in the mosque and were still anxiously awaiting the arrival of their learned tutor. They were wondering if the intense cold weather that day had delayed his coming.

A few minutes had passed when suddenly the students witnessed the graceful arrival of 'lbn Sina ', their great learned tutor. They felt very happy and stood up as a mark of reverence and respect for him. He sat down at his usual place and exchanged greetings with his students. He commenced his discourse in his usual lucid manner that held his students spellbound. He also gave satisfactory answers to their questions.

Among the students was one very young and enthusiastic by name 'Bahman Yar '. He was muchmore close and attached to 'lbn Sina ' the learned tutor. He was also the foremost among the clever and advanced students of the class. Every time he listened to the lectures of his tutor, he became more and more fascinated with his deep philosophy and knowledge on every subject. He would say to his class-mates: “I wonder why our tutor 'lbn Sina ' does not claim to be a prophet despite his supreme intelligence and magic personality”

It is said that one day by chance 'lbn Sina ' was standing at a baker and loaf-seller shop. His attention was drawn to a very smart young boy who was displaying signs of much intelligence. The boy was saying to the baker: “My mother is requesting for a little fire.” The baker responded: “Have you brought any pot to carry the fire?” “No! But I know how to carry it”, replied the boy instantly. So saying he applied some ash over his palm and stretched his hand to the baker who placed a piece of burning firewood over his palm. Without any hesitation, the boy took it and went home.

'lbn Sina ' was rather amazed to see the intelligence and courage of this boy. He thought of having him for special training and education under his personal care. The proposal was communicated to the parents who agreed and entrusted the boy to his full care. Thus 'Bahman Yar ' since then was staying at no other place except at the house of his tutor and care-taker, 'lbn Sina '. They were all the time to be seen together. The boy being highly intelligent derived the best of the knowledge that his tutor could impart.

Years passed and 'Bahman Yar ' grew up not only in age but also in knowledge and understanding under the patronage of his tutor. The learned tutor was also very proud of this most capable student.

It was one of the coldest nights of the wintry season. Midnight had passed and the snow-falling was very heavy. Both 'lbn Sina ' and 'Bahman Yar ' were sleeping in one room under warm thick blankets. The light in the room was already extinguished but the student was still asking intricate questions on some deep subjects. The tutor was replying in his usual impressive manner. Fascinated by the supreme knowledge and deep philosophy of his tutor, he again made the suggestion which he had made before:

“Oh my learned tutor!” he pleaded, “with all this high status of knowledge that you enjoy and being master of all the sciences, why not declare yourself a prophet? Sir! Don't you think that you even excel some of the previous prophets in knowledge and your status today is unparalleled in the world! Should you decide to claimprophethood , no one would dare challenge you. Let me assure you that I shall be the first to offer my allegiance and would serve you with full faith.”

Since 'Bahman Yar ' was still young and immature, his above proposal to his tutor was rather emotional than logical. 'lbn Sina ' smiled but did not give any reply.

That night the cold weather had become extreme and there was heavy snow-falling. Both were already fast asleep. It was past midnight and suddenly 'lbn Sina ' woke up and raised his head out of the warm blanket. Incidentally he was very thirsty and the water-mug in the room was empty. So he decided to wake up his student to go out and bring him some water.

“Oh 'Bahman Yar '! My son 'Bahman Yar '! Please wake up and bring me some drinking water from outside”, he said repeatedly.

“Why is there no water in the water-mug near yourgoodself , Sir?” asked 'Bahman Yar .'

“No!” replied 'lbn Sina .'

'Bahman Yar ' raised his head and saw heavy snowfall outside. The thrilling sound of the strong cold wind also made him nervous to go out. Again 'lbn Sina ' grumbled:

“Oh 'Bahman Yar '! Why the delay? Bring me some water, I am toothristy .”

'Bahman Yar ' dared not come out of the warm blankets to face the cold weather outside the room. He was, therefore, putting forward lame excuses to his tutor.

“Oh my respected tutor! It is harmful for you to drink water now that you have just come out of the warmth of thick blankets. It is better you go to sleep again till the early morning which is not far off”, said 'Bahman Yar '.

“My son! Bring me water, I am too thirsty. I myself am a medical expert and know better what is harmful than you do. I am unable to sleep, please bring me some water from outside”, again appealed 'Ibn Sina '

In response 'Bahman Yar ' again put forward excuses and argued that he would catch cold and fall sick if he were to go out in that extreme cold weather. So saying he went back to sleep.

There was dead silence everywhere and no sound of anything was to be heard. Outside it was still pitch dark except the first light ofSubhe Sadiq (true dawn) in the eastern horizon had commenced to appear. Suddenly the silence broke with a melodious voice of a muezzin - caller to prayer from the top of a minaret at the nearby mosque. After reciting some verses of the, Holy Qur'an, the muezzin in a loud voice said, “Allaho Akber ” - Allah is the Greatest. “Ash-hado an lailaha illallah ” - I bear witness that there is no god except Allah.

Both the tutor and his student quietly listened to the melodious voice of the muezzin. The call to prayers thenproceeded to the words “Ash-hado anna Muhammadan Rasoolullah ” - I bear witness thatMuhammed is the Messenger of Allah.On hearing this, 'Ibn Sina ' thought of taking the opportunity of responding to the repeated proposal made to him by 'Bahman Yar '. He said:

“Listen to me, oh my son 'Bahman Yar '. Now I wish to reply to your repeated suggestion”. The student sat up to hear attentively of what his learned tutor abruptly wanted to say. 'Ibn Sina ' then proceeded:

“You have been suggesting to me several times to claimprophethood , that people would put full faith in me and that you would be the first one to do so. Now look, you have been my close student for several years and benefited from me a great deal, yet you did not think it prudent to obey me by coming out of your warm bed for a moment and bring me water that I badly needed to quench my thirst. Instead you chose to put forward lame excuses.”

“But think of this man who is now calling to prayers at the top of the minaret after coming out in the coldest weather and making ablution with cold water in the early hour of this morning. It is for no other purpose but in obedience to and respect for the command of Allah as conveyed by His apostle Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (S) some four hundred years ago.

“What a great difference there is between me and that Prophet sent by Allah!”

Bahlool Proves the Three Facts

AbuHanifa was once teaching Islamic beliefs to his students. He was arguing and challenging the validity of some of the statements which had been proclaimed by ImamJa'far al-Sadiq (a)Bahlool happened to be present as well. AbuHanifa proclaimed that he could not agree with the three understated statements as made by the Imam.

The first one was that “Allah can never be seen.” According to AbuHanifa it was impossible for a thing to exist and yet be invisible!

The secondthings that the Imam had stated was that “Satan (devil) will be thrown in the inferno of Hell which will scorch him bitterly.” AbuHanifa argued: “How was it possible for fire to hurt 'fire', the fact that Satan was created from fire itself!”

The third statement of the Imam was that “Man alone is responsible for his actions and Allah - the most powerful - has nothing to do with his actions.” “How is it possible, when Allah alone guides the destiny of man withoutWhose will nothing can happen?” This was AbuHanifa's third challenge.

As soon as the speaker, AbuHanifa , had made these three criticisms,Bahlool got up, took a piece of brick and aiming atHanifa , let it go and cracked AbuHanifa head.

Bahlool was caught and taken before the Caliph for punishment. In hisdefence , he pleaded that he had done nothing else except reply to the three criticisms which AbuHanifa had made against the Imam.

The Caliph asked him to explain as to how and why he chose to reply by hitting and injuring AbuHanifa .Bahlool said, “This man claims that if God is there, then he must be seen. He is now complaining of pain in his head due to the brick having hurt him. If the pain is definitely there, can he show me where it is? Well!just as pain can be there without being seen Allah also exists without being seen.”

“Secondly, he says that fire cannot burn fire. It is a fact that man is made out of clay and this brick with which I hit his head is also made out of clay, if clay can inflict pain and hurt clay, why can't fire do the same to fire?”

“The third thing he says is that man is not responsible for his own actions but Allah does all things. If this is so, then why does he want justice from you and why does he want me to be punished for hurting him? He might as well transfer the punishment to AllahWho , according to him - is responsible for all the actions of man!”

Everyone in the court was stunned at this and AbuHanifa was dumb founded - having nothing to say. SoBahlool was released without any punishment.

Thus, while some Muslim sects believe that Allah can be seen, perhaps on the Day ofJudgement , theShia Muslims say that Allah is the creator of everything; He was not created and as such he has no body like us that can be seen. If we can still believe in unseen things like air, electricity and human soul, why can't we believe in the unseen God?

If we are responsible for our actions and are to be punished or rewarded accordingly, then it is only fair and just that Allan should not manipulate or compel us to do things but leave us alone to act the way we see it fit, and be answerable for those actions ourselves.

Ahlul Bait atMubahala

In the south of Arabia, there is a place calledNajran . There lived the Christian tribe ofNajran who staunchly believed that Prophet Isa (a) i.e. Jesus was the son of God. The Prophet invited them to accept Islam. In response to that, a delegation of their priests and elders came toMadina . They wanted to discuss religion with the Holy ProphetProphet Muhammad (S).

Their argument was that Jesus was born without a father, so he was the son of God. The Holy Prophet explained to them that just as Allah created Prophet Adam without a father or even a mother, in the same way He created Jesus without a father. Hence Jesus was a servant of Allah as was Prophet Adam. The Christians did not agree with this simple truth. They stuck to their belief that Jesus was the son of God. The Prophet asked them to wait. Thencame the following Revelation (message from Allah):

“O Messenger! If they dispute with you in this matter after the knowledge has come to you, then, say, 'Come, let us call our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and our souls and your souls. Then let us earnestly invoke and lay the malison (curse) of Allah on those who lie”. (Quran:Sura Alelmran - verse 60)

It was then agreed that the Christians seek MUBAHALA with the Prophet. The meaning of MUBAHALA is that both of them invoke from Allah that he, who speaks thetruth may survive and he, who is untrue may perish.

On the day ofMubahala , the Prophet of Islam took with him his grandsons - ImamHasan (a) and Imam Husain (a), his daughter FatimaZehra (a) and his cousin and son-in-law Imam Ali (a). But on seeing the radiant faces of these sinless members of the household of the Prophet, the Christians got scared. They decided not to seekMubahala any more but accepted their defeat. They agreed to pay tribute and returned home.

The Prophet, before going forMubahala , was commanded by Allah to take with him his sons, his women and his souls. The Holy Prophet obeyed this command as under:

In place of his sons, he took with him ImamHasan (a) and Imam Husain (a). In place of women, he took Fatima Zahra (a). In place of his souls, he took Imam Ali (a).

This is how he showed to the worldwho the true and real members of hisAhlul Bait (People of the House of Prophet) were. To love them has been obligatory (wajib ) command of Allah on every Muslim. The Holy Quran says:

“Say, I do not ask for return of this (messengership ) from you except that you love (my) relatives.” (Sura As-shura , 26:23)

The Prophet and hisAhlul Bait sacrificed all the worldly comforts and even their lives in order to convey the true religion of Islam to us. In return of their sacrifices, we are commanded by God to love them. The aim is that through their love, we follow their footsteps. We follow the true teachings of Islam taught by them, so that we live a good and decent life in this world and earn the pleasure of God in the life hereafter.

God Sees You Everywhere

A teacher had many good students in his class but had particular regard and high respect for one of them. Some of the students one day asked the teacher the reason for this. In reply he said, I shall tell you tomorrow.”

The next day, he handed to each of those students one live chicken. He asked them to take the chickens to a place where they would not be seen by anyone and then slaughter them. After a while, they returned with their chicken duly slaughtered. But hisfavourite student came back with his chicken alive.

The teacher asked him why he had not slaughtered it. He replied. “You had asked me to go to a place where nobody would see me. I tried hard to find a place where God Almighty could not see me. But I failed. Everywhere went I was sure that God could see me and I could not hide from Him. So I could not carry out your instructions.

On hearing this, the teacher turned to the other students and remarked, “The reason why I respect this student more is because of his constant awareness of the existence of God who can always see him, no matter where he is. Consequently, he does not commit any sin”.

The sixth Imam,Ja'far al-Sadiq (a), said to one of his friends,lshaq BinAmmar , “Fear God as if you are able to see Him because He sees you. And if you think that He is not able to see you, then you become a non-believer. And if you believe that He sees you and you commit a sin in His presence, then you consider Him as the lowest of those seeing you”.

Tit For Tat

It is a law of nature that whatever action we take in this world, there is always a reaction. If we dogood , we stand to gain a good reward. If we dobad , we should expect a bad outcome ultimately. “What you sow, so you reap” is a popular saying.

The Holy Qur'an has also guided us on this subject. It says:

If you dogood , you do good to yourselves. (likewise )

If you do evil, you do evil to yourselves.

(Qur'an: Chapter 17, Verse 7)

One of the companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) was very fond of this verse of the Qur'an. He used to recite it loudly and repeatedly wherever he went.

A Jewish woman who had heard him once wanted to prove him wrong and thusmake him unpopular among his people. She thought up a plot against him.

She prepared some sweets mixed with poison and sent them to him as a present. When he received them, he went out of the city with them. On the way, he met two men who were returning home from a long journey. They appeared tired and hungry, so he thought of doing them a good turn. He offered them the sweets. Of course, he was not aware that they were secretly mixed with poison. No sooner had the twotravellers taken the sweets, they collapsed and died.

When the news of their death reached Medina, the city where the Prophet resided, the man was arrested. He was brought in front of the Prophet and he related what had actually happened. The Jewish woman who had mixed poison with the sweets was also brought to the court of the Prophet. She was stunned to see the two dead bodies of thetravellers there. They in fact turned out to beher own two sons who had gone away on a journey.

She admitted her evil intention before the Prophet and all the people present. Alas, the poison she had mixed in the sweets to kill the companion of the Prophet had instead killed her own two sons.

What a splendid example of a tragic reaction to a bad action. It shows how one reaps what he sows.

“Do as you would be done by” are words of wisdom from the learned and wise men of the past. They teach us to dogood to others in the same way as we like others to do good to us.

Co-Operation the KeyTo Success

Co-operation is to work together for a common good.

It is to undertake a job in which everyone plays his part sincerely to finish it. People in co-operation pool their resources for their common benefit. We come to hear or see co-operative societies established in many countries. Their benefit has been dignity oflabour and self-dependence. The co-operative movement has been the cause of rapid economic progress in many countries.

There is a story of an old man who was on his death-bed. He called his sons and asked them to break a bundle of sticks which was bound together. Although the sons were strong and tried hard to break it, they failed. The old man then advised them to untie the bundle and to break the sticks separately.Everyone of them could do so very easily. The bundle of sticks is like co-operation and working together in unity which cannot be destroyed. Thus co-operation is strength.

The Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (S). was once travelling with his companions. They stopped at a place to have something to eat and then rest. They decided to slaughter a sheep and roast it.

One of them said, “I shall do the slaughtering.”

The other said, “I shall remove the skin.”

The third one said, “I shall do the roasting.”

Each one of them volunteered to do one piece of work.

The Prophet of Islam said, “I shall collect and bring the firewood from the forest.”

The companions said, “Oh Prophet! You need not take the trouble. We shall attend to everything.”

The Prophet said, “I know you can do everything. But I do not like to enjoy a preferential treatment from you. God Almighty does not like to see a person distinguishing himself from his companions.” Thus the Prophet went and brought firewood from the forest;

This is one of the examples set by the Prophet of Islam on co-operation and working together for a common good.

She Had True Faith

AbuBaseer was once in the company of ImamJa'far al-Sadiq (a) when a woman came and said to the Imam, “I have come to ask a question. I am ill. Physicians in Iraq have told me to take liquor. Now I want to know what to do in such circumstances?”

The Imam asked her, “Why don't you drink what the doctors have prescribed for you?”

She replied, “As I am your follower, I shall obey what you say. If you permit me, I shall drink it; if not, I shall keep away from it; so that if I am asked by the Almighty God on the Day ofJudgement why I did so, I shall reply that I followed the instructions of the Imam of the day.”

ImamJa'far al-Sadiq (a) turned to AbuBaseer and said: “O AbuBaseer . Did you listen to what this woman has to say? Are you not moved by her faith?Inspite of her illness, she is refraining from taking liquor without the Imam's permission.”

The Imam then turned to the woman and said, “By God, I do not permit you to drink. If you do so, you shall be sorry when your soul reaches your throat (that is at the time of death)”.

So saying the Imam pointed at her throat; and asked her three times if she understood what he had said. The woman nodded her head.

One of the things which Islam has strongly forbidden is the taking of any intoxicating drink, like beer, wine. They are harmful to the body and mind. Under their influence one loses one's senses and is apt to commit criminal acts. We read of fatal accidents and crimes committed because of drinks.

Even trading in liquor and sitting in bars where people are drinking are also forbidden in Islam so that there is no temptation in the way of people to taking them.

The Holy Qur'an says,

“O Believers, Intoxicants and games of chance, idols and divining arrows, are abominations devised by Satan. Avoid them, so that you may prosper. Satan desires to stir up enmity and hatred among you by means of intoxicants and gambling, and to keep you from the remembrance of Allah and from your prayers. Will you not abstain from them?” (Chapter 5, Verses 90, 91)

The above verses from the Qur'an warn us of the effects of drinking.

The first Imam, Ali (a), said, “Suppose a drop of liquor is put in a well and from its water a land is irrigated. Grass grows on the land and a sheep grazes there. That sheep then gets mixed in a flock of other sheepwho have grazed elsewhere. If all the sheep are slaughtered making it difficult to identify the meat of the sheepwho had grazed on a land which was irrigated from the water of the well, then I shall not eat any of that meat.”

Thus Imam Ali (a) has emphasized the evil of alcohol.

For the sake of our own physical, mental and spiritual welfare, we should always keep away from drinks.

Al-Qur'an - The Great and Holy Book

About a hundred years ago, England had a powerful Prime Minister. He was a Christian to a high section of the Anglican Church. His name was Gladstone. One day in the year 1882, he was speaking in the British Parliament on how to weaken the power of Muslims in Egypt so that the British could continue to rule over them.

At one stage he raised a copy of the Holy Qur'an in his hand and said that so long as this book remained with the Muslims in that country and they respected and followed it, the British would never be able to dominate them. He added that the only solution was to try and separate the Holy Qur'an from the Muslims of Egypt.

At the end of the speech; a committee was formed to decide upon ways and means of carrying out Gladstone's recommendation. The committee resolved to send some experts to Egypt who would launch a campaign which would weaken the faith of people and make them suspicious of the truth of the Holy Qur'an. The aim was to discourage people to refer to the Holy Book and gradually make them turn against the Islamic way of life.

In the course of this political and viciousprogramme , a learned man by the name of Dunlop was sent to Egypt as a teacher. He prepared many books containing lessons which were nothing but propaganda in disguise. One of the lessons on history was based on showing how Egypt was lagging behind and was not making progress because of Islam and the Qur'an. It alleged that people of Egypt were much more civilized prior to the coming of Islam.

Such ill-intentionedprogramme first succeeded to a small extent in influencing the youths at schools.

Then the Holy men of Al-Azhar university protested to the authorities and demanded that an end be put to it.

Now let us find out what are the qualities of this book which the enemies wished to remove from the Muslims.

The Holy Book is known as Al-Qur'an which means 'The Reading', the reading of the Prophet of Islam who never went to any school. Prophet Muhammad (S) had retired to a cave on MountHira not far from Mecca. One day AngelJibrail (Gabriel) came to him and said “Read”. The Holy Prophet said: “What should I recite?”Jibrail said: “Read in the name of thy Lord, who created; created man out of a mere clot of congealed blood; read; and thy Lord is most bountiful; He who taught (The use of) pen; taught man that which he did not know”.

The Holy Qur'an as word of God, the Almighty, as revealed to his Prophet Muhammad (S)This book gives guidance for our daily life. It appeals to our power of reasoning, and exhorts us to follow the commands of Allah. It is a living miracle of Prophet Muhammad (S), the last of the Prophets who came from God. It is not surprising at all that this Holy Book has remained intact for the last 1400 years. And it shall remain so till the Day ofJudgement , for Allah has taken it on himself to protect it.

“Surely we have sent down the reminder (The Qur'an) and we will most surely be its guardian (Sura Al-Hijr , 15:9)

The Qur'an is divided into 114 chapters (Suras ). There are in it 6226 verses (Ayats ) containing 99,464 words made up of 330,110 letters.

ImamJa'far Sadiq (a) has said that one should at least recite 50Ayats everyday . Let us, therefore, value and respect this Great Book by reading it with understanding and follow its teachings.

Must God be Just?

Kisra , A Persian King, was once asked, “How did you learn justice?”

He replied, “Because I know for sure that every man willhe judged according to his deeds.”

He was then asked: “How do you know that?”

He replied: “One day when I was on my way in the forest, I saw a gazelle. I sent my dog after it and it caught the gazelle by the leg. But the dog did not catch the gazelle in the usual way, for it bit and broke the gazelle's leg.

Not long after, the dog was in front of a horse, that kicked it in the leg and the dog's leg was broken.

Soon after, the horse's leg slipped into a hole and it broke.

Therefore, Irealised that every person's award depends upon his deeds. When he does a good deed, he will be rewarded for it, and if he does an evil deed, he will be punished. Hence, I always do good deeds.”

God does no wrong or evil. Anybody who commits wrong or injustice does so either because he does not know that it is wrong (but God knows everything or because he needs something which cannot be obtained without wrong doing (but God has no need) or because he has been compelled by somebody else to commit that wrong (but God is All-Powerful and nobody can compel Him to do anything. So it makes sense that it is impossible for God to do any injustice or wrong.

So logically we say that God isAdil , meaning that he is just. He is neither cruel nor does he do anything that lacks in wisdom. Whatever he does be it endowing life or giving sustenance or depriving us of anything, it has inherent benefit in it; though the Benefit may not be apparent to us.

For example, when a doctor treats an illness, we know the patient benefits from the treatment, though we do not know how the treatment brings about the benefit. Thus, when we see God endowing one with riches, while leaving another in poverty, or granting one person greatness while denying it to the other, or bestowing health on one while the other is stricken with disease, we have to accept that these actions are based on rationalism even though we may not be able to understand the wisdom behind them.

“And Allah is not in the least unjust to His servants” - Qur'an: (Chapter 8 Verse 51)

From The Shadow ofA Tree to the Shadow of Islam

Taif is a fertile green area around Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It has plenty of fruit gardens and a pleasant climate.

The people of the tribe ofBani Sakeef used to relax under the shadow of fruit trees in theTaif area. From thetravellers of Mecca passing by, they used to hear reports about the mission of Prophet Muhammad (S). They came to learn from them how truthful, trustworthy and kind the Prophet of Islam was. They also came to know that among womenHazrat Khadija , the Prophet's wife and among the men Imam Ali (a) - the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law were the first to declare faith and accept Islam.

They were also informed that the followers of the Prophet were still very few. That majority of the people from the tribe ofQuraish did not yet accept Islam and were opposing the spread of the religion. They had even offered Prophet Muhammad (S) bribes of large sums of money and high post if he would stop preaching against idol worship.

One day when the people were resting under the shadow of fruit trees, they received news that AbuTalib , his uncle had come and told the Prophet “O my Nephew!the leaders ofQuarish say that whatever wealth you demand they are willing to give provided you abandon the teaching of Islam.”

TheQuraish tried again by sendingAtaba to persuade the Prophet and offered everything that he would wish to have. In reply the Prophet recited this verse from the Holy Qur'an:

“Say: I am only a man like you, it is revealed unto me that your God is but one God. Therefore, whoever desires to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not joinany one in the service of his Lord.” (18:10)

Ataba was very moved to hear this and returned to theQuraish saying, “From Muhammad (S) I have heard words which did not at all sound like a poemnor witchcraft”! He advised theQuraish to leave him on his own and added: “Muhammad grew up among you and has always been most trustworthy and of good character. Now that he has come out with a message of one God, it is not fair to accuse him of witchcraft or lying. Do not molest him and let us see what will happen!”

Thus the Prophet of Islam went on preaching the message of one God and persuaded people to abandon the worship of Idols. On the other hand, the people ofQuraish continued to interfere and oppress him and the new followers of Islam.

They asked everyone to boycott and not to have any dealings with them. They wrote the following orders on the skin of a sheep and hung it on the door ofKa'aba in Mecca.

“Do not buy or sell to Muslims.”

“Do not salute the Muslims nor speak to them.”

“Do not give or take daughters in marriage from any Muslim. Do not have any dealing with them.”

Thus the people ofQuraish went on oppressing and torturing the Prophet and his followers. They would throw dirt on him when he walked on the streets of Mecca.

One day Prophet Muhammad (S) secretly went out ofTaif to convey the message of Islam to the people there. But the leaders of that place laughed and jeered at the Prophet. They were always intoxicated by drinking wine made from the grapes. The Prophet was persuading them to leave this bad habit and was saying that drinking wine has no benefit, it makes man senseless, it badly affects health and more so, it draws man far away from God.

That day, the Prophet having conveyed to the people ofTaif what he wished to about Islam, decided to return to Mecca. But on the way the children threw stones and laughed at him,When he managed to be rid of them, he took shelter and rested under the shadow of a grape tree. He raised his face toward the sky and said:

“Oh God! I complain to Thee for my inability.”

“Oh God! I pray to Thee to lead these people to the right path.”

“Oh God! You are the Forgiver and Kind”.

IncidentallyAtba and his brotherShaiba were in the same garden. On hearing this prayer of the Prophet, they felt sorry.

They called their servantAdas and gave him a plate full of sweet grapes and asked him to deliver them to the Prophet so that he may recover from fatigue.

Adas took the plate of grapes and presented it to the Prophet. Before he started eating the grapes, the Prophet said “Bismillah ” (in the name of one God).

Adas was an Iraqi Arab. On hearing this, he began to wonder and asked whatare these words . “I have never heard them before!”

Prophet Muhammad (S) asked, “Where are you from?”

Adas replied, “I have come fromNainawa ” (a region in Iraq presently known asKerbala .

The Prophet asked, “Have you heard of the ProphetYunus ?”

Adas said, “Yes!Yunus was a Prophet. But why have you mentioned his name to me?”

The Prophet replied, “I, likeYunus , also am a Prophet and have come from the One God for the guidance of mankind.”

Adas had already heard before of the truthfulness and trustworthiness of Prophet Muhammad (S). Now he became attracted towards him because of his kindness and good character. With tearful eyes he said: “Oh Muhammad I put my faith in yourProphethood , because no one would be willing to face such torture and trouble unless he was on the right path and had come to lead others on the path!”

This is howAdas , a pagan unbelieving Arab accepted the religion of Islam whilst under the shadow of a grape tree and joined the Islamic brotherhood.

Thus Islam spread gradually, not with compulsion or at the point of a sword, but through noble character and kindness of Prophet Muhammad (S).