Seerah episode 44: Hamza (ra) Accepts Islam and the Aftermath of the Migration to Abyssinia

— Amr bin al-‘As, one of the leaders of Quraysh who was sent to Abyssinia to bring back the Muslims, returned to Makkah. He then locked himself in his house & would not come out or mingle with anyone

  • This was unlike him. People were curious, since Amr was very social, outgoing, & a leader of Makkah
  • When news reached him that people are inquiring about him, Amr said, “As-hama (real name of al-Najashi of Abyssinia) is convinced that this gentleman among our midst (Muhammad) that has all of Makkah in frenzy, is a Messenger.”
  • Amr was deeply affected by this. It made him contemplate. He wondered, “How is al-Najashi so convinced that Muhammad is a Messenger? What is it that I’m not seeing? Why does As-hama see Muhammad as a Prophet?”
    • This deep thought eventually led Amr ibn al-‘As to accept Islam. He furthered Islam into many areas later on

— Much later on, some people came from Habesha (East Africa) to Medina

  • The Prophet got up and started getting food, water, & pillows for the travelers. He showed them hospitality
  • The Sahaba, being the students of Prophet, told him, “Don’t trouble yourself, O Rasulallah. We’ll take care of all the hospitality.”
  • The Prophet replied, “No, no, no. These people honored & showed hospitality to my companions – when we were oppressed & few in number. My beloved Sahaba went to these people – the people of Habesha – and these people showed my people hospitality. Today, it is my honor & my privilege that I get to serve them.”
    • The Prophet had lasting gratitude to the people of Habesha

— Whenever As-hama Al-Najashi (King of Abyssinia) did something that was publically challenged, he had a tradition to deal with it

  • Al-Najashi had a piece of paper on which he had written the Shahada including, “Allah placed Isa divinely into the womb of his mother” (basically the aqeeda of al-Najashi). He had written down that he didn’t believe in Isa’s divinity
    • He kept that paper in his shirt, on top of his pocket on his heart
    • The people would sometimes confront & ask al-Najashi, “Do you say that Isa is the Son of God?”
    • Al-Najashi would say yes, while placing his hand on the piece of paper where he had written the Shahadah and that ‘this is what I believe in’.
  • Al-Najashi’s life was once threatened
    • He had a personal servant, who had also accepted Islam, told al-Najashi that some people in his court planned to assassinate him for forsaking Christianity
    • The piece of paper thing was his own trick so as to keep his enemies at bay while at the same time keeping his imaan intact

— After the migration of Abyssinia, the next major incident that occurred was Hamza’s acceptance of Islam

— Hamza ibn Abdul Mutallib

  • He was the paternal uncle of the Prophet & also the milk-brother of the Prophet. They were very close in age & grew up like brothers
  • Majority of scholars say that Hamza accepted Islam AFTER the migration of Abyssinia took place
  • The slave woman (owned by Abu Lahab) Thuyaba had nursed both Hamza & Muhammad.

— Hamza before Islam

  • He was a very respected individual
    • He was the son of Abdul Mutallib, so he had status. When Abu Talib, his father, had financial trouble, his uncle Abbas took him in, as the Prophet took Ali in. This was to ease the financial burden of Abu Talib.
    • He was also the cool guy, life of the party, focal point of the room. “A guy’s guy”. Fun to be around
  • Hamza was well-known for being a fighter
    • He was one of the few people in Arabia known for fighting with both hands. He would wield a sword on each hand. He was ambidextrous.

— Hamza’s hunting trips were famous. Sometimes he’d be gone for days at a time

  • Once, he was gone on one of these hunting trips
    • The Prophet had crossed paths with Abu Jahl on Mount Safa
    • Abu Jahl was in one of those I-gotta-torture-a-Muslim moods. He started to insult the Prophet. He got even more aggressive than he had ever been before. Abu Jahl kept getting more vile & disrespectful to Prophet, to the point that he created a huge scene & other people told Abu Jahl to knock it off already
    • Of course, Abu Jahl wouldn’t listen. He continued to insult the Prophet even as the Prophet tried to walk away from the situation
    • A slave woman was observing all of this quietly
  • Hamza returned later in the day after his hunt, all geared up with his bow & arrow & skins. He was in a good mood, ready to hang with his boys
    • He always had a spiritual nature to him. Whenever he would return from his hunts, he would go to the Haram, put everything down, and do Tawaf, expressing his gratitude for the hunt & coming back safely
    • Hamza returned from this hunt & everyone who sees Hamza greets him. The slave woman who watched the scene between Abu Jahl & the Prophet also saw Hamza  & walked over to him
  • Hamza was friendly in nature, so the slave woman felt comfortable walking up to him
    • The slave woman said, “You know you’re walking around with a big smile on your face while something disrespectful was done.”
    • Hamza said, “Why, what’s going on?”
    • The slave woman replied, “Your nephew, your brother, who you’re supposed to be so protective of, Muhammad, was just treated terribly. It was unbelievable what happened to him today.”
    • Hamza said, “Who messed with him?”
    • The woman told him what went on. “No one stepped in, no one told off Abu Jahl.”

— Hamza’s blood is boiling. He walked to the Haram, & Abu Jahl is sitting there, gloating with his friends about the scene he had caused earlier that day

  • Hamza walked up to Abu Jahl, & looked down at him, very furious. Abu Jahl said, “What are you looking at?”
  • Hamza then pulled off his bow from his shoulder & cracked Abu Jahl over the head with it. Abu Jahl started bleeding from the forehead
    • Hamza said, “You disrespect Muhammad? You deal with me.”
    • Abu Jahl said, “Hamza, you sound like you’ve left the religion (of the unbelievers) as well.”
    • Hamza replied, “I have. I believe in what Muhammad believes. I believe Muhammad is the Messenger. Wanna mess with me? Come on.”
  • Other people then start to approach Hamza with their fists raised. Hamza started to get into his warrior-mode
    • Abu Jahl said, “No, no, no. Back off. Dawu Abu Imara. Leave Aba Imara (Hamza) alone.”
    • This could turn into a very ugly situation. Before you know it, both tribes will be fighting
    • Abu Jahl then said, “Leave Abu Imara alone, because I most definitely did curse his nephew very badly. I was out of line.” By this time, blood was covering his face
    • Hamza said, “Let me know if you wanna rumble. Time and place. Let me know. Then he walked away

— Hamza went home. He started to think about what he had done. He started to feel very nervous. “What have I done? I love Muhammad with all my heart. But do I truly believe in his message?”

  • He had doubts. He made du’a. “Oh Allah if this is true, what Muhammad says, then put the truth of that into my heart. Let me be firm in my belief of it. And if it’s not, then Allah give me a way out of this situation.”
  • Hamza beat Abu Jahl over the head while making a loud public proclamation of accepting Islam. He can’t back out of it, “Oops, yes, I made you bleed, but I take it back.”
  • He tossed & turned that whole night

— In the morning, Hamza went to the Prophet. “Dear nephew, I’ve put myself in a position I don’t know how to get out of. This matter I’ve stepped into, I don’t know if it’s good or bad. So talk to me, please. I just want you to talk to me.”

  • The Prophet sat down with Hamza & laid out the truth for Hamza. By the time the Prophet was done, imaan had been put in Hamza’s heart
    • Hamza said, “I fully testify to the fact that you tell the truth. Lay the framework of what you’re teaching. Because I swear to Allah, I would not go back to the religion I was following.”
  • 3 days after Hamza accepted Islam, Umar ibn al-Khattab also accepted Islam
    • This was a huge wake-up call for the Quraysh, because now they knew that the Prophet had enforcers
    • The Prophet is already untouchable due to having protection from Abu Talib, but Abu Jahl & Abu Lahab fancied themselves to be just as powerful as Abu Talib
    • Now Hamza is on the Prophet’s side, the Prophet’s enemies have to evaluate themselves, because Hamza just don’t care – he’ll crack you on the head with his bow

— Hamza accepted Islam in the early part of the 5th year of Prophethood

  • This brought the Prophet a lot of peace & tranquility. Anyone accepting Islam brought the Prophet a lot of happiness, but the Prophet’s own family members accepting Islam was especially beloved to the Prophet
  • Hamza’s acceptance of Islam also reaffirmed the relationship between him & the Prophet, because Hamza always looked out for Muhammad like an older brother, a protector of Muhammad
    • So the Prophet was used to Hamza always having his back. It was shocking enough to the Prophet that 5 years had gone by without Hamza accepting Islam & standing side by side to the Prophet in imaan

Umar al Khattab accepting Islam

— Banu Hashim and Banu Amir are top 2 families of Quraysh. They’re bit of rivals

  • Umar ibn al-Khattab’s mother was the sister of Abu Jahl. Abu Jahl is maternal uncle of Umar ibn al-Khattab
    • Umar himself had been mentored by Abu Jahl
  • Abu Jahl was a diplomatic leader of Makkah & Quraysh. He would manage relations between all the tribes & families. The Secretary of State of Makkah
  • Umar’s pre-Islamic position in the community was being a delegate of negotiating terms of contract to the other tribe. He was the deputy to the Secretary of State. He used to be sent by Quraysh by Abu Jahl to negotiate terms with other people
    • From the get-go Umar ibn al-Khattab had leadership qualities. He was very confident & decisive. He was also a bit imposing & a little intimidating

— At the time, prostitution, gambling, fighting, & drinking were rampant

  • Umar was the representative of Quraysh, but he was a bit of a loose cannon, taking part in those activities. How can it look good for a representative of Quraysh to be acting like that?
    • Without his imaan, there was nothing to contain Umar’s social gifts properly. He was a bit of trouble
  • The leaders of Quraysh were not sure whether Umar was reliable, but Umar was just so gifted & talented at what he did that when it was time for him to negotiate terms with another tribe, he’d sober up, go in, take care of business, problem solved. “I’ll be partying if you need me again.”

— Umar ibn al-Khattab had close brushes with Islam, even before the occasion on which he accepted Islam

  • He had built up pride & ego due to his status. He had a bit of a rowdy lifestyle
  • One time, Umar was out all night & drinking. He later walked into a temple that was for worshipping idols, laid down, & passed out
    • Of course, normally people would be upset – you can’t just get drunk & then pass out a temple, but this was Umar, so people aren’t going to say, “Get lost” to him. So they pretend that he’s not there, passed out at the corner of the temple
  • Ritual of the temple was people would bring in an animal & sacrifice it to the idol that was in the temple. Then the worshippers would take out the innards of the animal & lay it on the feet of the idol. They’d also soak the idol with the animal’s blood as part of the ritual
  • Umar was lying down & woke up after the people walked in the temple. Even before Islam, the worship of idols didn’t sit well with Umar. It just seemed unintelligent to him
    • When those worshippers dragged in the goat that was kicking & screaming, Umar was thinking, “Here you go, these superstitious people. They’re gonna waste a perfectly good goat on this idol.”
  • Umar was watching the scenario. The worshippers slaughter the animal & take out the animal’s guts.
    • Then all of a sudden, a voice comes from inside the dead animal
    • Umar acknowledged that he was hangover & a little out of it, but even the people who slaughtered the goat heard the voice & jumped back
  • The voice from inside the goat said, “This whole ritual business – it’s time for this nonsense to stop. The time of Muhammad has arrived & it’s time to go back to original worship of one Allah.”
    • Basically a dead animal was saying this
    • The worshippers all just left the animal half-cut open there & ran out the temple
    • Umar kept laying there in his drunkenness. In time he forgot about the incident

— Umar ibn al-Khattab’s second close encounter with Islam

  • Umar was hanging out the Haram. The Prophet walked by & stood in front of the Ka’bah on the side where he’d not only pray toward the Baytullah but also toward Bayt al Maqdis (Masjid al Aqsa). This was the Prophet’s way of offering salah & combining both the Qiblas.
    • The Prophet offered salah openly in broad daylight. He would occasionally be violated, but he also had protection from his uncle Abu Talib. Abu Talib commanded enough respect in Makkah to offer protection to his nephew & allow the Prophet a certain amount of freedom
  • Umar saw the Prophet & thought, “What’s all the big fuss about? What’s all the hoopla about? What he’s got to say, let’s hear him out. Let me just go listen to what Muhammad has to say.”
    • Umar got behind the Prophet & listened to him recite Surah 69 (Surat al Haqqa)
  • Umar was very captivated. He narrated years later, “I was completely gripped. It had a powerful grip on me, but at the same time, the stubbornness was still there. I thought to myself, listen man, don’t get too caught up on this guy. Muhammad is just a really, really talented poet.”
    • The second Umar thought that in his head, the Prophet recited, “These are not the words of a poet; little do you believe.” [69:41]
    • This caught Umar off guard. Umar thought to himself, “How did he know what I was thinking? I know. He’s a kahin. He’s a sorcerer. He’s a soothsayer. He’s into the hocus-pocus.”
  • The Prophet then recited the next ayah: “Similarly, this is not the word of a soothsayer or magician either; little do you remember.” [69:42]
    • Now Umar was completely floored
  • The next ayat were, “Rather this is something that’s gradually been revealed by the Lord of the Worlds. You think Muhammad is making this up? IF in the craziest scenario possible, that Muhammad had the audacity to make these things up & attribute them to Allah, then We would grab him by the right hand and stab him in the heart. No one would be able to protect him. Rather, this is a powerful reminder of those who are God-conscious. We know some of you won’t believe. Some of you will deny & call it lies. And all that does, is it makes the situation of the unbelievers all the more pathetic. But this is as real as it gets. So exalt the name of your Lord, the Most Great” [69:43-52]
    • This end part of Surat al-Haqqa had a profound effect on Umar. It broke him down spiritually as he was standing there. Umar walked away from the Haram, completely bewildered


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