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Seerah episode 32: The Next 3 Converts: Ali bin Abi Talib, Zayd bin Harithah & Abu Bakr (ra) July 2, 2014

Filed under: Seerah — visitor74 @ 9:44 am

— The Prophet (saw) was born on a Monday, received Divine Revelation on a Monday

  • Some narrations say that by Tuesday, Ali was a Muslim & praying with the Prophet
  • Ali was 10 years old at the time, he was just a child

— Ali was afraid of how his father Abu Talib would respond about his acceptance to Islam, so he stayed a few weeks at Prophet’s house instead of going regularly to visit his parents. He usually would regularly visit his parents and family even though he lives with Prophet Muhammad.

  • Since Islam was very new at the time, the Prophet was commanded by Allah to keep Islam within the home
  • Ali respected the Prophet’s wishes to not talk about Islam openly just yet, so Ali did not tell his father about the divine revelations & prayers

— Normally, Ali would go home & visit his parents. He lived with the Prophet, who provided the cost of living & raising a child, but Ali still visited his parents almost everyday

  • Because Ali was afraid of his father’s reaction, he actually didn’t visit his parents for at least 3 weeks. He was very nervous about telling his father
  • Some narrations say that Ali accepted Islam a year after Revelation began, but these narrations are rejected, because we have other narrations saying that Ali accepted Islam the very next day of Revelation
    • We reconcile these 2 narrations by acknowledging that as a child, Ali kept his Islam very quiet. As a child, he did not have a lot of interaction with other adults. It was only a year later that other people start to realize that Ali had joined the ranks of the Believers

— Ufaif, a powerful leader of Arabia at the time, once came to do business at Makkah

  • Abbas (the Prophet’s uncle) was there to do some trading with Ufaaif. While they were sitting there, a man came up to their tent & faced the Ka’bah & started to pray. A woman came & stood behind the man & prayed along with him. Then a boy came out and stood to the right of the Prophet and prayed with him
  • Ufaif questions what’s going on & of what religion is this ritual
    • Abbas tells Ufaif, “This is Muhammad, and that the treasures of the emperors of Rome & Persia will be opened for his followers. This is his wife Khadijah who has believed in him. This boy that you see next to him is Ali, his cousin, who has also believed in Muhammad”
  • Ufaaif recalls years later that he wishes he had believed in that day, I could’ve been one of the early companions

— Another narration says that the Prophet faced Qibla and prayed with Ali & Khadijah

  • We often assume that salah was established only after Al-Isra wa Al-Mi’raj, but salah was from the very beginning, something that was part of the previous Prophets’ lives
    • Maryam, Banu Israel, & Ismail (as) were all told to perform salah
  • The man went into ruku, followed by the woman & child. Then the man stood up, followed by the woman & child. Then the man fell into sujood, & along with the woman &child
    • Ufaif looks to Abbas and questions what’s going on
  • Abbas says, “Do you know who they are?”
    • Ufaif replies, “No, I don’t know”
  • Abbas says, “This is my nephew, Muhammad, the son of Abdullah. The boy is my nephew as well. The woman is Khadijah, the wife of my nephew. Your Lord is the one who has commanded him to do what you’re seeing. Wallahi, I don’t know anyone but these three who follows this religion today.”

— It’s important to understand how the Prophet dealt with people who accepted Islam

  • The Prophet and Khadijah prayed together; salah was a quality activity they engaged in together. Ali, a child, also prayed with the Prophet & Khadijah
    • It’s from the sunnah of the Prophet to pray together as a family. Teach your children to pray & how to pray
  • The very first activity that the Prophet would engage a new convert in Islam in was prayer
    • In order to engage them in prayer, you have to teach them to pray
  • We, as a community, what’s the first thing to we engage a new convert in? What’s the very first thing we tell/ask them?
    • It ranges from asking them to whether s/he’s married, to whether their spouse has accepted Islam. No? Then we leave them
    • That happens unfortunately. We can’t expect that within 5 minutes of saying the shahadah, the convert will change their name (which isn’t even a requirement), start wearing hijab, grow a beard, start wearing a thobe, get circumsized, etc.
    • There’s a process to all of this. People new to Islam need to build a relationship with Allah first, to establish salah & build a foundation of their deen

— Story Zayd bin Harithah

  • When he was a little boy, he had wandered off one day to play. A caravan passes by, sees a boy on his own, & snatches him up. The caravan brings the boy to Makkah to be sold as a slave. That was the situation at the time.
  • One of Khadijah’s cousins, named Hakim, bought him, and gave Zayd to Khadijah as a marriage gift
    • Khadijah later gives Zayd to Muhammad, who treated Zayd as a son – Muhammad would take Zayd to run errands
  • Shortly after Revelation, Zayd was also exposed to the 3 people praying. Prophet explains Islam to Zayd, & Zayd becomes a Believer

— Zayd’s father Harithah was desperately looking for his son

  • Harithah would recite poetry about the loss of his son, about longing for his son. His poetry was so powerful that it eventually became “viral” and famous around Arabia about the emotionally tormented father about his lost son Zayd
  • This story of the father’s search for his son eventually reaches Makkah, & people think that there’s some familiarity between Haritha’s story & the slave boy Zayd who lives in their city
    • Some people ask Zayd if he remembered his father’s name. Zayd replied that his father’s name is Harithah, & he’s from such-and-such tribe

— News reaches back to Harithah, that his son is found & lives in Makkah. Harithah then rushes to Makkah with his brother

  • Harithah finds that Zayd is under the care of a man named Muhammad ibnu Abdullah
    • Harithah & his brother recognize Muhammad as the grandson of the great Abdul Mutallib. They have heard only great things about Muhammad, knowing him as Al-Sadiq, Al-Ameen
    • They tell Muhammad, “Please return our son to us. We realize that he’s a slave who was given to you. We’ll pay you whatever you want. Just let him come home.”

— Muhammad was moved by the father’s emotions. At the same time, Muhammad understood the relationship that he & Zayd had built, so he says, “I’ll do one better. I’ll call Zayd & let him make the decision.”

  • Zayd at this point was a teenager. He was called & asked if the two men were his father & uncle. He replies, “Yes, I recognize them.” They embrace, have a reunion.
  • The Prophet tells Zayd that there’s a matter to settle. “They’re here to take you back home. You’re a young man now; I’ll let you do whatever you want.”
  • Zayd said, “I would like to stay here with Muhammad.”
    • Harithah was surprised. “Son, you’re a slave. You choose slavery over your family?”
  • Zayd said, “Father, I found something here that I won’t find anywhere else [Islam]. I’m grateful to see that you’re all fine, but I don’t want to leave the company of Muhammad.”
    • Harithah couldn’t understand this. He was distraught
  • The Prophet was moved by both the father’s emotions & Zayd’s devotion. The Prophet says, “Harithah, don’t worry. I adopt Zayd as my own. He’s no longer a slave. He’s my son.”
    • From that day on, Zayd became known as Zayd bin Muhammad
  • Harithah stayed for a few days & left content knowing that his son was with his family

— ادْعُوهُمْ لِآبَائِهِمْ هُوَ أَقْسَطُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ

“Call [your adopted children] by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah” (Surat Al-Ahzab; 33:5)

  • Zayd was the son of Harithah, not Muhammad, so he should be called Zayd bin Harithah, not Zayd bin Muhammad
  • About 150 years ago, the seerah, books of fiqh, & books of tafseer were being translated from Arabic to English
    • A lot of these translations were done by Orientalists, who were not well-versed with Islam & Islamic law from a classical perspective. A good part of the translations were also done by professors of the English language who were found in places like Egypt & India & other parts of the Muslim world
    • As a consequence, in some early books of tafseer or fiqh, you’ll find a huge & gross mistranslation
  • As a result of these mistranslations, you’ll have come to hear that “Adoption is haraam”
    • This is absolutely incorrect. Adoption is permissible within Islam
    • In regards to a yatim (orphan), it’s recommended to care for them
  • These mistranslations occurred due to the lack of familiarity & grasp of Arabic terminology

— At-tabanni means to “make someone your son”. It comes from ibn, so at-tabannimeans “to claim someone as your biological son”

  • People translated tabanni as “adoption”, & ended up saying that it was impermissible, but this is wrong
    • Tabanni means to claim someone as your biological son – this is what is impermissible in Islam
    • However, taking care of an orphan is a great rewardable act, but be sure to not deny them their lineage
  • When you refer to someone as your “adopted son”, then you’re clearly acknowledging the fact that he is not your biological son
  • Some Orientalists who were not familiar with Arabic mistranslated tabanni, & others who translated were not familiar with English, so you ended up with a big mess of mistranslation

— When the actual definition of tabanni was revealed as a verse, Muhammad told people not to call his adopted son as Zayd bin Muhammad, but to call him Zayd bin Harithah

  • Zayd was saddened by his name not being affiliated by the Prophet anymore, but of course, this is command of Allah; he therefore became known as Zayd maula Muhammad.
    • Maula – term used if you had a close family-like relationship with someone
      • In classical Arabic, if someone freed a slave, the relationship between the two is each other’s maula
      • Zayd maula Muhammad – Zayd the close associate of Muhammad

— First free man to accept Islam was Abu Bakr. First man to be public about his Islam was Abu Bakr

  • Because he was the first free man & public figure (outside of the home), Abu Bakr is mentioned as the first convert to Islam.
    • In fact, the first three converts were Khadijah, Ali, & Zayd; all three people of the Prophet’s home
  • Abu Bakr was a respected leader of his people. He was a leader amongst Quraysh. He was also very wealthy person & a motivated caller of Islam
    • Abu Bakr would later go on to freely spend all of his resources in the obedience of Allah

— A day or two after the Prophet’s whole divine revelation process started, Abu Bakr met with the Prophet & asked him, “Is it true Muhammad that you’re leaving these idols? That you’re rejecting the religion of our forefathers?”

  • The Prophet replied, “Of course.”

— Another narration says that Abu Bakr asked the Prophet, “Why is it, O Muhammad, that I see you leaving the gatherings of our people? I haven’t seen you coming to the council meetings. You’ve been distant for a few days. What’s going on?

  • Muhammad replied, “I am a Messenger of God & His Prophet, & he has sent me to spread & deliver His message. I call you to Allah with the truth, because I swear by God that is the Truth. I call you, O Abu Bakr, to Allah alone. There are no partners for Him, & do not worship anyone other than Him. Relations will be established based on the obedience of Allah.”
  • Then the Prophet recited the Qur’an to Abu Bakr
  • Abu Bakr did not hesitate; he accepted Islam. He attested to the Truth.

— Years later, the Prophet would tell the Muslims when they were greater in number, “Never ever did I call anyone to Islam except that the person hesitated. They would sleep on it, take their time to process it. Except for Abu Bakr. He did not back away from it when I mentioned it to him. Nor did he have any doubts.”

  • Abu Bakr & Muhammad were very good friends from the age of 10. They were childhood best friends

— The first 40 years of Muhammad’s life were a testament to the truth of his message. Abu Bakr knew the Prophet for at least 30 of those years – he knew the Prophet when he was an adolescent, a young man, when he got married, when he went into business etc.

  • The second Abu Bakr hears of the Prophet’s call to Islam, is the second he believes in it, because it makes total sense given Muhammad’s character. The Prophet never lied & always had great character, so Abu Bakr didn’t doubt him for a second

— Abu Bakr once had a dispute with Umar ibn al-Khattab. They brought the matter up with the Prophet.

  • The Prophet said, “Allah sent me as a Messenger to you all. And what did you all say to me? You all responded to me by saying, ‘You lie.’ But Abu Bakr said, ‘He speaks the truth.’ I was sent by Allah as a Messenger and a Prophet to all of you all, and all of you all said that I am a liar. But Abu Bakr said that I was speaking the truth. He supported me. He aided me with his life & his money. So now will you treat him badly? Will you treat my best friend badly now? You give the respect he deserves. You can have disagreements with him, fine, but respect him.”
  • From that day on, no one ever misbehaved with Abu Bakr, because they understood what he meant to the Prophet

— Abu Bakr is not only the first man outside of the Prophet’s home to accept Islam, but he was also the first person to go public with his Islam

— Hasan bin Thabit (ra), a Sahabi who was a poet, says of Abu Bakr: “If you want to remember sacrifice, & you want to recall belief & bravery, then remember my brother Abu Bakr. He was the best of people. He was the most trustworthy & just of people after the Prophet. He was the first one to carry what the Prophet had brought. He was the first one to line up behind the Prophet, the second of the two in the cave, one who was praised by Allah & His Messenger, & the one who stood by the side of the Prophet throughout Prophethood. He was the first one from amongst the people to attest to Muhammad being a Messenger. He lived a life that was very praiseworthy, & he followed the command of Allah, & he followed the command of his companion the Prophet after he was gone. He departed from this world by living the command of Allah. These are the virtues & this is the praise of Abu Bakr.”


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