The Prophet and the Muslims in Dar al-Arqam

The fifth year of the prophethood of the Messenger of God…

Year 615…

The pressure, torture and trouble of Quraishi polytheists (mushriks) on Muslims increased day by day. Muslims had faced a circumstance in which they could not worship comfortably.

A safe place was needed to worship and to learn Islam and the teaching of the Faith. The Messenger of God himself searched for that place and found it. It was the house of, Arkam bin Abil Arkam bin Asad, one of the first Muslims, located in a narrow street in the east of the hill ‘’Safa’’. That house was suitable for entering and going out secretly and for controlling the street.

The Master of the Universe, our Prophet (pbuh) was the teacher and the first Muslims were students there. They informed the other Muslims about what they had learned there within possibilities. In this sense, we can regard Arkam’s house the first Islamic school, the first university that the Prophet had taught.

Till Umar’s acceptance of Islam, the Messenger of God carried out the duty of teaching and informing about Islam there. A lot of people including Umar were became Muslims there.

Arkam Bin Abil Asad left his house to his son on the condition that it would not be sold and passed by inheritance to anybody.

This house, which has a great importance in the history of Islam, is now called  “Daru’l-Khayzuran”; it is opposite the Kaaba and is used as a religious school today. (1)

THE MISFORTUNES THE FAMILY OF YASIR SUFFER

Yasir had come to Mecca from Yemen.

Here, he was under the protection of Abu Huzayfa bin Mughira who was from the Sons of Mahzum. Afterwards, Abu Huzayfa wed him to his slave, Sumayya and two sons entered the world through this marriage: Ammar and Abdullah…

The polytheists, including the Sons of Mahzum who were at the forefront, did not cease subjecting this family, whose every member had become Muslims to unbearable torture and intolerable persecution. The Sons of Mahzum would torture the family on a stony area that had become as hot as hellfire, so to speak, during a time in which the sun’s heat was scorching so that they would abandon their faith.

The Prophet advises patience!

One day, while the polytheists were cruelly persecuting the Yasir family, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) appeared. When he came across this heartbreaking situation, he advised them to be patient by saying, “Be patient, O Yasir Family! Be patient, O Yasir Family! Be patient, O Yasir Family! Your reward is heaven; be patient, O Yasir Family!”

Yasir, who was suffering on account of this torture, asked, “Oh God’s Apostle, how long will this last?”, to which our Holy Prophet (PBUH) answered with a prayer:

“My Lord! Do not withhold your compassion and mercy from the Yasir Family.”

Some time after this situation, Hazrat Yasir gloriously surrendered his soul to His Creator under the unbearable torture that he faced. In this way, he had attained the honor of being the first “martyr” among the Muslim men.

Sumayya, Yasir’s wife, a rather old, weak, and frail woman, was handed over to Abu Jahl to be tortured.

Abu jahl would audaciously say, “You have testified to Muhammad because you have fallen in love with the beauty of his physical appearance!” to this old, physically weak, and lonely woman whom he continuously tortured.

When Hazrat Sumayya, an example of a true believer, retorted with the harshest remarks that could be said to a polytheist, Abu jahl further became furious and stabbed her with his spear; she was the first martyr among the women.

What Befell Ammar

What Ammar suffered was heartbreaking: He would be forced to wear an iron casing and would be taken outside when the sun scorched the entire face of the Earth with its full heat and as a result, his bone marrow would melt in the iron casing.

When Ammar was relieved from being tortured for a brief moment, he rested next to our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and awaited some consolation. He expressed his state by saying, “We have experienced every kind of torture, O God’s Apostle.” (PBUH). Once again, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) provided advice and offered a supplication:

“My Lord, do not have anyone from the Ammar family experience hellfire.”

Being branded with fire was another kind of torture that Hazrat Ammar was subjected to. On another day, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) came upon him while he was suffering such torment. He placed his holy hands on top of Hazrat Ammar’s head and said to the fire “O Fire, just as you were cool and safe for Ibrahim (PBUH), be so for Ammar!” Afterwards, he informed Ammar of this news:

“O Ammar, you are not going to die from this torture but you are going to live for a long time.  Your death will be at the hands of a wild crowd.” (2/3)

“I have the contentment of belief in my heart!”

On another day, Ammar was crying because of the torture that he faced. When our Holy Prophet (PBUH), the Example of Compassion, saw Ammar in this state, he wiped his teardrops and said, "Did the disbelievers capture and push you into water? If they capture you again, say this-and-this to you, and then continue to torture you, say what they want you to say so you can be freed.”

This permission was given to Ammar so that he could save his life from the hands of the cruel polytheists!

Awhile after this permission was given, Ammar was again captured and continuously tormented by the polytheists. While he was being tortured, the following offer was made to him:

“We are not going to cease torturing you until you curse at Muhammad and say that worshipping Lat and Uzza is more favorable than his religion!”

Poor Ammar was desperate; thus, he uttered the polytheists’ words. The oppressors achieved their goal and released him.

Ammar went straight to our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) presence. When our Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “It can be seen from your face that you have been freed” Ammar responded:

“By God, I have not been freed!”

“Why?” asked our Holy Prophet (PBUH.) Ammar answered: “I was forced to abandon you. They forced me to say that the religion of Lat and Uzza was more favorable than yours.”

Ammar was sad and confused. He was standing straight in front of our Holy Prophet (PBUH) in a state of nervousness and fear as if his entire world had come crumbling over his head. He had been saved from the torture and persecution that the polytheists subjected him to but now he had come face-to-face with another danger!

“How was your heart when you uttered the polytheists’ words?” asked our Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Ammar replied with an answer that came straight from his heart:

“I found that the comfort and contentment that is in and the loyalty that I have towards my faith is stronger than steel.”

Upon this, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “There is no sin upon you, O Ammar! If they capture you again and want you to repeat this, then repeat what they say and be freed.” (4) Ammar’s heart was overwhelmed with relief when he heard these words.

Upon this incident, God, the Exalted, sent down the 106th verse of Surah an-Nahl:

“Anyone who, after accepting faith in God, utters unbelief― except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith― but such as open their breast to unbelief― on them is Wrath from God, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.” (5)

In that case, permission is given to a believer whose heart is determined to accept faith. When he/she comes across a situation in which his/her life or an organ of his is in danger of being eliminated by an enemy, it is permissible for him/her to utter words of unbelief with the tongue alone. However, it must be remembered that this is only permissible when the heart is filled with belief. Besides, it is best to take the chance of becoming a martyr by saying the truth and protecting the dignity/honor of Islam and not to utter a single blasphemous word, even if it is only through speech. In this matter, it is considered more virtuous to perform one’s religious duty to the fullest extent than to exercise this privilege. (6)

HAZRAT ABU BAKR SUFFERS TORTURE

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was sitting in Darul Arkam amid many of the first Muslims. With Hazrat Abu Bakr at the forefront, they were all fervently longing to explain the doctrine of Tawhid to the polytheists. They requested permission from our Holy Prophet (PBUH) to actualize their wish. However, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) did not want to relinquish his habit of precaution since such an undertaking would require the passing of some time. He said, “We are small in number, we will not be enough for this task.”

However, these new Muslims were so enthusiastic and zealous in their faith that they were unable to stay put in their place. At last, the Master of the Universe (PBUH) went with them to the Masjid al-Haram. They all sat on one side; a group of polytheists was also there.

Hazrat Abu Bakr, who burned with his love for God and His Messenger (PBUH) could not suppress his desire to proclaim the truths that he carried in the depths of his heart to the people; so, he turned to the polytheists and shouted about the exaltedness and holiness of having faith in God and about the wretchedness of idolatry.

The polytheists who were filled with enmity and hatred towards the Muslims attacked Hazrat Siddiq and injured him, leaving him with blood flowing. He was only saved when a few people from his tribe, the sons of Taim, intervened.

Hazrat Abu Bakr became unconscious after having been subjected to the pounds of the polytheists’ shoes with iron nails. They took him back home while he was in this unconscious state. He remained unconscious for an entire day and regained his consciousness during the evening.

It was as if he had not received so many beatings and that it was someone else’s eyes and face that was drenched in blood since the first words that spilled from his mouth were:

“What is God’s Apostle (PBUH) doing? What kind of state is he in? They had insulted him”

These words were just an example of the immense and magnificent amount of loyalty that Hazrat Abu Bakr had towards our Holy Prophet (PBUH).  Without looking at the bloody state that he was in and without minding the pain of his bruises and wounds, he wanted to learn of the Master of the Universe’s (PBUH) condition. Moreover, he asked about him amid the presence of those who strongly opposed our Holy Prophet (PBUH).

They offered him food and water and said, “You were left hungry and thirsty, do you not want to eat and drink?”

Whereas he kept on asking, “What state is God’s Apostle (PBUH) in, what is he doing?”

His mother did not know of our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) cause. At that time, she was among those who had not attested to faith. In any case, she was bound to learn about the condition of God’s Apostle (PBUH). Hazrat Abu Bakr said to his mother, “Go and ask Hattab’s daughter, Umm Jamil and bring news about God’s Apostle (PBUH) to me”.

Umm Jamil was a fortunate woman who had become a Muslim. Nonetheless, she acted with discretion and prudence due to what she had learned from our Holy Prophet (PBUH).

When Hazrat Abu Bakr’s mother said to her, “Abu Bakr asks you about the condition of Abdullah’s son, Muhammad”, Umm Jamil replied, “I do not know anything but if you like, we can both go to your son.”

Actually, Umm Jamil knew of our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) condition. However, she had answered in this manner because she was taking into account that she may be in the wake of a trap.

When Umm Jamil saw that Hazrat Abu Bakr’s eyes and entire face had been severely bruised, her heart became deeply saddened and she could not contain herself from shouting, “a tribe that deems this fitting for you is undoubtedly savage and aberrant. I pray to God that He takes your revenge on them.”

Despite having learned from Umm Jamil that our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was safe, Abu Bakr’s heart was still not at ease and so he said to his mother, “By God, I will not eat or drink until I see God’s Apostle (PBUH)!”

She had no other choice but to take him to our Holy Prophet (PBUH). However, how could he go in this condition? How could he walk to Darul Arkam?

When there were few people around, he went to our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) presence by tottering and leaning on his mother and Umm Jamil. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Hazrat Abu Bakr embraced one another like two close friends who had not seen each other for years. After he saw our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) condition with his own eyes, he said, “May my mother and father be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of God! I am only saddened that that savage and aberrant man (Utba bin Rabia) dragged and rubbed my face against the ground and brought it to an unidentifiable condition; however, I am not upset about anything else.” (7)

At that moment, Hazrat Abu Bakr’s heart was burning ablaze with his love of being in the service of Islam.

He presented his mother to our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and said, “This is my mother, Salma. I desire that you pray to God on her behalf and hope that God will save her from hellfire for your sake.” (8)

This sincere wish conjoined with a severe prayer and right there at that moment, Lady Ummul Khayr Salma joined the ranks of the fortunate (the Muslims.)

 

[1] Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 3, p. 267; Abu’l-Walid al-Azraqi, Kâbe ve Mekke Tarikhi, Trns., p. 426; Prof. Dr. Muhammed Hamidullah, İslam Peygamberi, V. 1, p. 80.

[2] Hazrat Ammar was killed in the Battle of Siffin at a much later time. Hazrat Ali argued that Muawiya’s adherents were rampageous. However, Muawwiya interpreted it differently. Amr bin As said, “The ones who are rampageous are his murderers; generally, we are not.” (See. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, The Letters).

[3] Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 3, p. 248.

[4] Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 3, p. 249.

[5] an-Nahl, 106.

[6] Hazin, Tafsir, V. 3, p. 136; M. Hamdi Yazır, Hak Dini Kur’an Dili, V. 4, p. 3132.

[7] Halabi, Insanu’l-Uyun, V. 1. p. 275.

[8] Halabi, Insanu’l-Uyun, V. 1. p. 276.

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