• bookcover



    The Grand

    The House of Al-Arqam ibn-abil-Arqam,
    known afterwards as the House of Islam, was the secret place where the Faithful
    used to meet with their Prophet, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, away
    from the reach of the disbelievers of Quraish. In the
    sixth year of the Mission, two powerful citizens of Makkah, belonging to the
    big tribe of Quraish, an nounced their adoption of Islam and joined the party
    of the Faithful in their holy procession 
    towards realizing the Prophet's and their objective of gathering all the
    people round the worship of the One God, Allah. Those were Hamzah ibn-'Abdul
    Muttalib, the Prophet's uncle, and `Omar ibnul-Khattab. The story of the
    conversion of each of these two great men is very interesting. It happened that
    one day while the Prophet, Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him, was sitting
    contemplating on the rising ground of As safa, `Amr ibn-Hisham, Abu-Jahl, who
    was coming up then, saw the Prophet in that contemplative mood.  And as Abu-Jahl used to do during the
    last few years after the Mission, he showered the Prophet with
    the most contemptuous,  hideous and insulting  words, to which the Prophet gave no
    answer whatsoever. Soon each of them left the place and went his own way. A
    slave-girl, who had been passing by, had seen and heard everything. Hamzah ibn-
    Abdul-Muttalib, who was a very well-known hunter, chanced to be coming back
    from the chase  when the slave-girl met him. She related
    to Hamzah with indignation  what Abu-Jahl had said to Muhammad.
    Hamzah felt that his pride was offended  and he became as furious  as he had never been before. So, he went
    straight away to Al-Ka'bah; and there, before the Holy House, he found Abu-Jahl
    sitting with a company of Quraishite leaders. At once, Hamzah raised his bow
    and struck Abu-Jahl forcefully on his face saying: "Have you been
    insulting my nephew, and I, too, follow his religion? Now return the strike if
    you dare." The kinsmen of the wounded Abu-Jahl wanted to attack Hamzah,
    but Abu-Jahl motioned them away saying: "Leave him alone, for indeed I did
    insult his nephew most disgracefully. Having thus professed Islam in a moment
    of indignation and passion, Hamzah found himself, afterwards, deliberately  going to the House of Al-Arqam where
    Muhammad, Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him, was meeting with his Com
    panions. And there, he pledged  himself to the Prophet testifying that
    there was no god but Allah and that Muhammad was His Messenger. He kept
    steadily adherent  to his Faith  ever after.

     A short time after, `Omar ibnul-Khattab's conversion took
    place. At that time, he was a mature man of thirty to thirty-five years of age,
    though Ibn-Sa'ad's account is that he was twenty-six. Physically  'Omah was well-built and strong of
    muscle.  Temperamentally he was well known for
    his strong passion. He was addicted to drinking, and he loved amusements. In
    spite of his violence of character, he was never ruthless to his people. But to
    the Muslims, he was one of their strongest enemies, a merciless aggressor of
    their peace, security and religion. As a national of Makkah, he felt that his
    pride had been wounded by the first emigration of the Muslims to
    Abyssinia where they had sought  the Negus's protection from the torment
    they were undergoing at the hands of the disbelievers among their own
    compatriots How could it be that his own countrymen went to seek security and
    peace at a foreign king and country? This caused him much resentment  

     One day the Prophet, Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him,
    was meeting with his companions at the House of Al-Arqam. `Omar got information
    of that meeting, and prepared to go there with the intention of killing the
    Prophet, and thus relieve  Quraish of its burden, restore  its destroyed unity, and re-establish
    reverence  for the gods that Muhammad had very
    severely criticized and abused. On his way to the House of AI-Arqam, `Omar was
    met by a man from Banu Zohrah. When the latter knew what `Omar was resolved  to do, he said to him: "O `Omar, I
    am afraid you are deceiving yourself. Do you think that Banu Hashim, Muhammad's
    clan  would leave you alive once you have
    killed their son, Muhammad?" And he advised him to start back, hinting  that Fatimah bintul-Khattab (`Omar's
    sister) and her husband Sa'id ibn Zayd had already been converted. This
    information aroused `Omar's indignation, and consequently, instead of going to
    the House of Al-Arqam, he went straight to his sister's house. Without
    knocking, he entered the house and heard a man reading. This was Khabbab
    ibnul-Aratt, reciting theth Sura of the Qur'an while Fatimah and her husband
    Sa'id were
    listening. `Omar drew near, and overheard
     the murmur is low by definition murmur
    of the reading. When Khabbab heard his steps which could never be missed, he
    ran away and hid himself in a closet  at the back of the house. "What is
    this recital that I have heard just now?" asked `Omar as he entered
    angrily. Fatimah and her husband denied that there was any recital. But `Omar
    swore  that he had heard it, and added that he
    knew they had abandoned  their
    faith and believed in the new faith proclaimed by Muhammad. At this point, his
    brother in-law, Sa'id ibn Zayd, had the courage to say: "O`Omar! Don't you
    think there may be truth in another faith than yours?" `Omar was now
    positive of what he had heard, concerning the conversion of his sister and her
    husband. Consequently, and in a wild passion, he sprang upon Sa'id ibn Zayd and
    gave him a strong blow. His wife rose at once to stop her brother's aggression
    and protect her husband. But in the struggle, she too received some blows that
    caused her to bleed.  This violent aggression led Fatimah and
    her husband to fearlessly say together: "Yes, it is true We have become
    Muslims; we believe in Allah and in His Prophet. Now do what you will."
    This fearless spirit on the part of Fatimah and her husband caused `Omar to be
     particularly after seeing his sister's
    face covered with blood. He therefore asked to see the paper they had been
    reading. But Fatimah said he must first be cleansed
     for "none but the pure may touch

    `Omar did as
    his sister had required, and then, taking the paper and reading it, his face
    changed to an expression of regret 
    and sorrow for what he had done to his sister and her husband. The
    beauty and majesty  of what he had
    just read shook him to the depth of his heart and soul, and with the paper
    still in his hand, he exclaimed in a low voice, as though speaking to him self:
    "How excellent is this discourse, and how gracious! How noble is its call,
    and how generous  is its message!" In short, `Omar's
    good side got the better of him. It all happened in a flash of the moment, when
    Allah willed it to be. `Omar was inspired to take his decision on the spot.
    Khabbab, feeling secure now, came out of his hiding place, and said:
    "O'Omar I believe that Allah has indeed set you apart for Himself, in
    answer to His Prophet's plea  which I heard yesterday, and in which he
    prayed Allah to strengthen Islam by the nearer and more beloved to Him:
    `Amr-ibn-Hisham (Abu-Jahl) or `Omar-ibnul-Khat tab." With a pure soul and
    a heart full of certainty and determination, `Omar headed  straight for the House of Al-Arqam
    where the Prophet was meeting with his Companions and followers. At the door,
    there were a few of these, including Hamzah-ibn-'Abdul-Muttalib.


    They were
    scared  when they saw Omar pacing  towards them with his sword in his hand.
    But Hamzah, henceforth  the lion of Allah, said: "Yes';
    that is `Omar coming to us; if he is coming for good and aiming whole-heartedly
    at adopting our faith, that is what we will wish and hope; if otherwise, by the
    Will of Allah we will easily get rid of him." At the door of the house,
    `Omar asked the Prophet's permission to go in, and the Prophet gave him that
    permission. With his sword back into its sheath,  `Omar stepped in and beaded directly for
    the Prophet who at once caught hold of `Omar's garb  and the sword-belt saying: "How
    long, O`Omar, will you not refrain from persecuting, until Allah sends some
    disaster upon you?" And `Omar replied: "I testify that there is no
    god but Allah and that you are His Prophet!" Filled with delight the
    Prophet shouted, "Allahu Akbar! Greater is Allah," and all the
    Companions repeated it after him.

     The gain of two such men as Hamzah
    and `Omar was a real triumph to the cause  of the new Faith. Both were reputed for
    their great physical strength, their extraordinary courage, and their social
    position: thus securing for themselves a high prestige and an unparalleled  calibre among their mates in Makkah. Due
    to his courage and heroism,  Hamzah earned for himself, as mentioned
    before, the title of "The Lion of Allah." Had he lived longer, he
    might have had an unpredicted  influence on the destiny of Islam; but
    he was prematurely cut off  during the battle on the field of Ohod.
    As for `Omar, he was then in the pride of early manhood. His vigorous stature and ruddy heath,
    added to his boldness, keen glance and steady purpose, all made of him a man
    who was always ready in word and deed at the decisive moment. His anger was
    easily aroused, and Quraish stood in awe  of him, being certain that whatever he
    wanted to do he did, without fear of anybody or anything.

    conversion to Islam opened a new era for this religion to start its public,
    fearless pratice in Makkah. The House of Al-Arqam began to be abandoned; the
    claims of the new Faith began to prevail  over the ties of kinship, and members of
    the same family were to be seen openly taking sides here or there. The
    believers no longer concealed  their worship within their own
    dwellings, but with conscious strength and defiant  attitudes assembled  in companies around Al-Ka'bah, and
    there, performed their rites of worship openly. The conversion of `Omar caused
    a further division in Quraish; it reduced their power and caused them to
    reconsider their tragedy. In fact, it
    increased the Muslims' power very greatly and most significantly.  In short, `Omar's conversion made the
    Muslim courage rise, and filled Quraish with dread and uneasiness.
    This matter had been very decisively settled when `Omar asked the Prophet,
    Allah's Peace and Blessings be upon him, one day after his conversion:
    "Aren't we following the Truth, O Prophet, whether we die or live?"
    And the Prophet answered, "Yes, by Him in Whose hand is my soul O `Omar,
    you are following the Truth whether you die or live." "So why,"
    said `Omar earnestly
    "Do we still meet in secret? By Him Who has sent you with the Truth, you
    shall call in public." The Prophet's silence meant his approval of what
    `Omar had suggested. Soon the believers went out, led by the Prophet, in two
    rows, the first being headed by  Hamzah, and the second by`Omar. All
    headed for Al-Ka'bah, and there, performed the circumambulation and said the
    prayers, with the leaders of Quraish watching them without daring to utter a
    single word, or make a motion to wards these two rows headed by Hamzah and
    `Omar. The conversion of `Omar to Islam reduced the power of Quraish
    significantly in that `Omar brought with him to the new Faith the tribal
    loyalties with which he had fought Islam earlier. He did not hide himself or
    conceal his Islam. On the contrary, as we have seen, he proclaimed his new
    Faith to all the people, and fought them for not joining him. He did not at all
    approve of the Muslims hiding themselves, or holding prayers in the outskirts
    of Makkah, far beyond the reach of Quraish. He continued to struggle against
    Quraish until he could perform his prayer beside Al-Ka'bah, where his fellow -
    Muslims, his brethren in Islam, joined him. Since that time, Quraish became
    certain that no injury inflicted upon Muhammad or his Companions would stop men
    from embracing  the religion of Allah, as long as they
    could rely upon the tribal protection of `Omar, Hamzah, the Negus of Abyssinia,
    or others capable of protecting them. May Allah be pleased with you, `Omar, for
    your conversion to Islam was indeed a conquest- and a very successful one.


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