The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Urbanization of Madinah

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design International Islamic University Malaysia Jalan Gombak, 53100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia E-mail:

The Islamic theory of general planning and development is as old as the Muslim community. Its fundamental principles have been comprehensively laid in the Holy Qur’an, as well as in the sayings and practices of the Prophet (PBUH)1. Certainly, the best example of the earliest Islamic development and city planning is the establishment of the Muslim community in Madinah in the wake of the migration (Hijrah) from Makkah. Henceforth, the matter was evolving steadily, corresponding with both the rapid spread of Islam throughout the world and the incredible growth of the civilization and cultures inspired by the Islamic worldview. In this study, I attempted to identify and examine some principles of Islamic urban planning and development, which the Prophet (PBUH) under the aegis of revelation had bequeathed to the subsequent Muslim generations. Central to the study are some vital city planning and development issues as advanced by the Islamic perception of reality, truth, the world, space and time, and which the young Muslim mind was then intensively acquainting itself with. The issues discussed are: the philosophy of the Islamic city, the mosque institution, provision of social amenities, spirituality and development, peaceful coexistence with the environment, housing, the marketplace, and open spaces. By exploring these subjects, the strength and soundness of the fundamentals of the first Muslim community clearly come into sight, as does the visionary disposition of the Prophet (PBUH) to development, leadership, sustainability and management. The period covered by the study is the one which the first Muslims had spent in Madinah subsequent to the Hijrah, about the last ten years of the Prophet’s heavenly mission. Studying this period from the perspective of urban planning and development is of great importance indeed, because at the time of the Hijrah the ongoing revelation of Islam was already about thirteen years old and the Muslims were yet to set up a free and autonomous state of their own. Once the city of Madinah with most of its inhabitants wholeheartedly welcomed the new religion - so fiercely disapproved of by many where it had originated - the wait finally came to an end and the stage was set for broadening the focus of the nascent community’s undertakings. As a result, the focus of revelation was likewise widened. The religion of Islam thus began to assert itself as a universal code of life overlooking no segment of human existence, after having been


portrayed essentially as an inclusive belief system during the entire precarious Makkan episode. From the point of planning and development, the entire Madinah period, the first half in particular, was exceptionally eventful too. This study aims, firstly, to help its readers identify and understand the essence, purpose and origins of the Islamic theory of general planning and development; secondly, to help its readers understand, appreciate and promote the extent of the Prophet’s interest in the idea of planning and development and its objectives; and thirdly, to play a part in clarifying and removing some pervasive misconceptions/misunderstandings about Islam and its Prophet (PBUH), in general, and about the nature and achievements of the early Muslim community in Madinah, in particular. The city is an actual organic entity and so must be studied as such. If one wanted to understand really a city, its form, function and spatial arrangement, plus the values and decisions on which the former rests, one must try hard to experience it as if he is one of its users, as if he is of those affected by the said values and decisions. One, furthermore, ought to possess some hands-on experience of the city core components: what are they exactly like; how do they function in their natural and socio-economic contexts; how are they related to each other; how are they related to the climate, topography and cultural history of an area, etc.? A city cannot be properly studied from a distance: from pictures, videos, books, archives, and the like. The final outcome of this approach is bound to be an incomplete, patchy, and even unreliable and unscientific research output. Studying the city of Madinah, as it was during the Prophet’s era, cannot be viewed as an exception to this research principle just because of its historical remoteness. Though it was totally different then from what it is now, yet a number of Madinah’s earliest city elements, which were central to the planning and development process, are still traceable today. Besides, a few of the city’s original physical features are still on hand these days - albeit in a completely different form and with different functions. And that’s why in addition to an extensive library-based research, the outcome of which makes up the essence of this study, a field work (visiting the city of Madinah) was essential for collecting a bulk of indispensable data. Indeed, the data proved crucial for the successful completion of the project, and was obtained via observation, surveillance, taking photographs and conducting interviews.

Part One: Some Observations on the Phenomenon of the Islamic City (Madinah)
From Yathrib to Madinah Prior to the Hijrah (migration) of the Prophet (PBUH) from Makkah to Madinah, the latter was called Yathrib consisting of several loosely interrelated settlements. Its population was mainly made up of Arabs and Jews, the former being divided 2

into the Aws and Khazraj tribes and the latter into Banu Qaynuqa’, Banu al-Nadir and Banu Qurayzah tribes. Due to the delicate and incoherent social geography of the place in early days, it may be that the name Yathrib was not originally applied to the entire Madinah oasis, but rather only to a section thereof and to some of its settlements. However, after the arrival of the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions from Makkah (Muhajirs or Migrants), as well as after the conversion of many a Madinah citizen to Islam, the city morphology and its population structure were set to change forever. The first stage of such a drastic transformation hit the road as early as during the instant building of the principal mosque – ahead of anything else - which at once assumed the role of the center of gravity in the affairs and developments instigated and flavored by the aspirations and goals of the new community - as we shall see later. The city’s name was expectedly altered in the process. The name adopted for the prototype Islamic city was Madinah (simply “the City”), derived from the Arabic words maddana and tamaddun which mean to civilize (urbanize) and civilization respectively. From the same root the concepts madaniyy and mutamaddin, both of which denote civilized, civil and cultured, are derived too. The function, spatial arrangement and the content of Madinah - the prototype Islamic city - have been emulated for centuries by the Muslims all over their vast territories, as much as the indigenous geographical, climatic and other inherent factors and conditions permitted. The adoption of the name Madinah was a judicious, gradual and not at all a hasty and prejudiced course of action on the part of the Prophet (PBUH), thus enabling everyone to come to terms with the new phenomenon and its farreaching implications. This could be inferred from the substance of the Madinah Constitution written in the wake of the Hijrah. Therein it was still stated Yathrib rather than Madinah whenever the home of the migration and its general population was implied.2 The Prophet (PBUH) was not in favor of retaining Yathrib as the name of the novel and unique city-state for two major reasons: firstly, because its meaning was miles away from reflecting Madinah’s lure, uniqueness and dynamism; and secondly, because the name Yathrib, conversely, bore a couple of connotations which were not only improper for naming the impending urban marvel but were also, to an extent, offensive. The most compelling, upsetting and attention-grabbing meanings of Yathrib are reproach (tathrib) and malevolence or ill will (tharb). While still in Makkah, the Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said: “I was ordered to (migrate to) a town which will eat up towns. They used to say, Yathrib, but it is Madinah. It removes the bad people like the blacksmith’s furnace removes impurities from the iron.”3 Indeed, changing the name Yathrib was just one of the numerous examples in which the Prophet (PBUH) is seen altering the improper pre-Islamic names of the people and every so often of the places. Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani remarked that the Prophet (PBUH) loved very much beautiful and meaningful names, but hated ugly and worthless ones.4 In one hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) said that the dearest names to Allah are ‘Abdullah (the servant of Allah) and ‘Abdurrahman (the servant of the most Gracious). 5 As such, the two names were


the ones which the Prophet (PBUH) gave most frequently to his newly convertedto-Islam companions. In Muslim b. al-Hajjaj’s anthology of hadith (Sahih Muslim) there is a chapter entitled “Excellence of changing ugly names to good names”, which contains reports that the Prophet (PBUH) changed, for instance, the name of ‘Asiya (Disobedient) to Jamilah (Beautiful).6 The original name of the Prophet’s wife Zaynab was Barra (Pious), but he changed it to Zaynab saying: “I did not like that it should be said: “He had come out from Barra (Pious).”7 True to the expectations and anticipations of the Prophet (PBUH), the old name of Madinah, Yathrib, was occasionally the target of the Madinah hypocrites’ undying attempts to sneer at and ridicule the Prophet (PBUH), Islam and the Muslims. While discoursing on the battle of the Ditch (Khandaq) or Confederates (al-Ahzab) - one of the most perilous confrontations between the Muslims and their diverse enemies inside as well as outside Madinah - the Holy Qur’an reveals that the hypocrites, who had already displayed their true colors in the course of the battle, have at one point said to the Muslims intending to poke fun at them: “Ye men of Yathrib! Ye cannot stand (the attack)! Therefore go back!” (al-Ahzab 13) It should be noted that the event of the unholy Confederacy against Islam took place in the fifth year following the Hijrah. By then, the Madinah community was already standing firmly as a sovereign city-state with no single ambiguity left as regards its philosophy, purpose and vision. And for one to call then the inhabitants of Madinah “the People of Yathrib”, especially under the earlier-defined conditions, was really something of an oddity and could only mean covert mockery and ill intentions. The Prophet’s words in the aforementioned hadith: “…They used to say, Yathrib, but it is Madinah…”, some would rather link up with the Madinah hypocrites and nobody else. This way, yet another likelihood could be hewed, that is, the Prophet (PBUH) did not pronounce this hadith while in Makkah, as contended by many, but rather after his arrival in Madinah and in an appropriate context. Because of this, some people felt tempted to argue that once the Prophet (PBUH) changed the name Yathrib to Madinah he completely prohibited the usage of the former. Infringing this norm meant committing a considerable offence.8 The Islamic city: a microcosm of Islamic civilization The name Madinah (the City) was not given at the dictates of chance, as the advent of the new worldview and those who had already exemplified it in their thoughts, words and deeds implied the advent of a whole bunch of new concepts and philosophies. Of them was the idea of the urban settlement or the city which transcended the conventional divinity-free idea that the same is a relatively permanent and highly organized center of population, of greater size or importance than a village. Similarly, the city as perceived by Islam easily transcends what some theorists attempt to say even today on the historical phenomenon of the city in general, that the same – for instance - is a mere unique, cumulative, historical process, which takes its particular form “through a long chain of individual events,


subject to a host of accidents of history and of site, and to the broad influences of culture, climate, and economic and political structure”; or that the city should be solely looked at as a pattern “of activity in space which facilitate the production, distribution, and consumption of material goods”; or that the city is planted only “to dominate a subject countryside, to prevent a resource from falling into enemy hands, or to defend a border”, etc.9 The philosophy of the city in Islam partially or wholly runs parallel with what is meant by all these definitions; nonetheless, it is far more than that. In addition to being relatively that which the city phenomenon is and would always be thought of, the city in Islam, more importantly, stands for the ground for the people’s interaction with Allah Almighty – their Creator and Lord -, space, the environment and, of course, with themselves at various levels, given that the city is a scene where they live, work, play, learn, worship, rise and fall. The outcome of these and other activities which the people engage themselves in cities – and other settlements of theirs - is what we call cultures and civilizations but which vary by reason of the principles and values on which they rest, as well as by reason of the objectives intended to be thereby achieved. In other words, the city in Islam is a microcosm of Islamic culture and civilization in that individuals, families and virtually every other unit in the hierarchy of the Islamic socio-political, economic and religious structure, are bred and nurtured therein. Regardless of which is the cause and which is the effect, civilization and the Islamic urbanism seem to be destined to rise together and fall together. Hence, it was very much suitable for the name of the prototype Islamic city to be derived from the word tamaddun, which denotes civilization. For al-Farabi, an outstanding Muslim philosopher of the fourth/tenth century, who wrote on the ideal city (al-Madinah al-Fadilah), “the fashioning of a city (state) is not the outcome of a natural process; it depends, like the moral life of individuals, on the right decision being taken, it makes all the difference whether ‘will’ and ‘choice’ are directed towards the true good or not. The result will be either a good or bad city (state).”10 Furthermore, “the excellent city resembles the perfect and healthy body, all of whose limbs cooperate to make the life of the animal perfect and to preserve it in this state.” 11 The ruler(s) of the excellent city, the foundation and source of the policies by which the city will be governed, must align will, resourcefulness and energy with vision and pragmatism rooted in wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom and knowledge the ruler(s) must receive firstly by means of his predisposition to rulership by his inborn nature, and secondly from his fervent and fruitful relationship with the divine reality, i.e. the revelation conveyed to the Prophet (PBUH) and embodied in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah. Due to his central qualities, such a ruler may well become something like a visionary forecaster capable of warning of things and problems that are yet to come and befall the city, as well as of telling of and solving particular predicaments which exist at present, unlike those who had detached themselves from divinity and through their faulty judgments missed the right path, bringing about, in consequence, nothing but ignorance and wickedness to their cities.12


Ibn Khaldun - one of the greatest Muslim historians, and also known as the father of modern social science and cultural history – wrote in his celebrated “Muqaddimah” that apart from defense purposes cities are also built because people once risen above desert life and desert culture – as a necessary development in their civilizational growth - start seeking tranquility, restfulness and relaxation, and try to provide the aspects of civilization that were lacking in the desert. This unavoidably leads to the emergence of sedentary culture brought about by luxury and comforts, and which must be governed by someone who is superior over others and who shall act as a restraining influence and mediator, i.e. royal authority, upholding peace and order. Such developments can occur only in large and complex urban areas, hence, Ibn Khaldun proclaimed, while entitling some of the “Muqaddimah” chapters, that “Royal authority calls for urban settlement”, that “Dynasties are prior to towns and cities; towns and cities are secondary (products) of royal authority”, and that “Only a strong royal authority is able to construct large cities and high monuments”.13 It stands to reason, therefore, that the existence of Bedouins is prior to, and the basis of, the existence of towns and cities. Urbanization - and, as such, refined civilization - is found to be the goal of the Bedouin. The life and achievements of the city are the life and achievements of the dynasty: “If the dynasty is of short duration, life in the town will stop at the end of the dynasty. Its civilization will recede, and the town will fall into ruins. On the other hand, if the dynasty is of long duration and lasts a long time, new constructions will always go up in the town, the number of large mansions will increase, and the walls of the town will extend further and further. Eventually, the layout of the town will cover a wide area, and the town will extend so far and so wide as to be almost beyond measurement.”14 The Islamic city: a place for total submission to God One of the derivations of the word Madinah (the City) is the Arabic verb dana15 as well, which means to obey, to submit (to), to owe allegiance (to), whence the word din which means religion, faith. Thus, the city of the Prophet (PBUH) was dubbed Madinah so as to signify the Islamic pivotal precept that man is a vicegerent on earth and has not been created except to abide by and absolutely submit to the Will of the Lord of the universe. Since the Prophet’s role was to receive revelation from God, convey it to men, and by educating them and applying the guidance divinely given, lead them forth from the depths of darkness into light, he is to be as unquestionably respected, followed and obeyed. Obeying him means obeying God; rejecting and disobeying him means rejecting and disobeying God. Allah says to this effect in the Holy Qur’an: “He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah: but if any turn away, We have not sent thee to watch over them.” (al-Nisa’ 80) Also: “And obey Allah and His Messenger; and fall into no disputes, lest ye lose heart and your power depart…” (al-Anfal 46) The same gist also applies to the notion of obeying ulul-amr minkum (those charged with authority, or responsibility, or decision, or the settlement of affairs among you). The Qur’an says: “O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey


the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and his Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best, and most suitable for final determination.” (al-Nisa’ 59) Yusuf Ali, the translator and expositor of the Holy Qur’an, commented on the substance of this verse: “All ultimate authority rests in Allah. Prophets of Allah derive their authority from Him. As Islam makes no sharp division between sacred and secular affairs, it expects governments to be imbued with righteousness. Likewise Islam expects Muslims to respect the authority of such government for otherwise there can be no order or discipline.”16 Thus, the city of the Prophet (PBUH) – and every other Islamic city and, indeed, any form of Islamic settlement in any time and place – was a hub of worship (serving). Worship (‘ibadah) in Islam is a wide concept encompassing each and every action of man, irrespective of its nature and the level where it might be undertaken, on sole condition that God is intended to be pleased thereby and the divine norms pertinently conformed to. In such cities, Allah - be He exalted - is the only absolute authority and His words of guidance remain a source from which virtually everything as to managing this terrestrial life originates. Accordingly, the job of those who are entrusted to administer such cities and settlements and rule over their populace would not exceed the perimeter of what is right and the most efficient implementation of what has been already prescribed, in order to preserve the religion, self, psychological and intellectual strength, progeny and wealth of their subjects. In other words, their task would be but ensuring the masses their general wellbeing by finding a feasible and effective modus operandi of putting into operation the set of infinite standards and values. Owing to this, the ruler in Islam – regardless of the amount of authority vested in him – is called al-ra’i, guardian, and the subjects al-ra’iyyah, those who are cared for. An authority on this, Ibn Taymiyah, wrote in his acclaimed Book “Public Duties in Islam”: “The first essential is to understand that the aim of all authority in Islam is to ensure that all religion shall be God’s, and that the Word of God shall be all-high. For God – be He glorified and exalted! – created His creation for this purpose alone. To make it known He revealed the Scriptures and sent the Messengers. In this cause the Messengers and the believers strove.”17 The Islamic city and spiritual indebtedness Furthermore, of the meanings of the Arabic verb dana - which is one of the derivations of the word Madinah (the City) - is ‘to be indebted to someone’. Having named the first capital of the Islamic state Madinah, the Prophet (PBUH) indicated that by ceaselessly worshipping God, generating in the process civilizational components from which not only the followers of Islam but also the whole of mankind shall benefit, the people in fact embarked on returning the debt of creation and existence to their Creator and Sustainer. While the feat of returning and settling the debt to God had commenced for many individuals long ago when in Makkah, yet neither the full realization of the same by the Muslims as an organic, autonomous and self-directed entity, nor the sanctioned methods


of the successful dept repayment, could materialize until the historic migration (Hijrah) to Madinah came to pass. However, the nature of the debt is so total that man seeing that everything around him and in him and from him is what the Creator owns has no choice but to abase himself before his Lord and Master and give himself up in unconditional and complete service to Him, should he harbor any hope of avoiding living in a state of utter loss:18 “By the time, verily man is in loss, except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual enjoining of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” (al-‘Asr 2-3) Even before one’s coming to this world did one’s very self, his soul, acknowledge God as his Lord together with other souls when they all testified before Him as regards themselves, thus drawing upon himself the burden of the debt as early as then: “When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): ‘Am I not your Lord (Who cherishes and sustains you)?’ – They said: ‘Yea! We do testify!’ (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: ‘Of this we were never mindful.” (al-A’raf 172) “Seeing that he owns absolutely nothing to ‘repay’ his dept, except his own consciousness of the fact that he is himself the very substance of the debt, so must he ‘repay’ with himself, so must he ‘return’ himself to Him Who owns him absolutely. He is himself the debt to be returned to the Owner.”19 No sooner is man born than he sets out displaying his inherent readiness to benefit (borrow) from this world: to breathe, to wear apparel, to drink, albeit without possessing anything, save his very self, to give away in return. Man is therefore born, in a way, as an inveterate and insolvent consumer. Not only does he own nothing, but also he remains forever short of enjoying a power of bringing into being anything without making use of the available raw materials and elements created for him in nature. Creating ex nihilo (from absolute nothingness), as a sign of genuine richness, sovereignty and might, is the right and power of God alone. Indeed, everything that man invents, conceives, concocts and creates is possible only because of the unbounded bounties and munificence from God which man only discovers, manages, processes, uses and reuses in different ways most convenient and efficient for him. The upshots of man’s myriad civilizational pursuits on earth are never really his own possession and, as such, in no way could be solely utilized for returning the debt of creation and existence to God. Hence, being prudent, modest and grateful when dealing with God’s gifts, as well as with one’s own accomplishments, are of the virtues most appreciated, and the opposite of the vices most detested, in man. In short, whenever he rebels against God and His guidance, man becomes truly a destitute and helpless creature in every sense of the word. He needs God, depending on Him every moment of his life. God has no need of him: “O ye men! It is ye that have need of Allah: but Allah is the One Free of all wants, Worthy of all praise.” (Fatir 15) The only formula for man to survive and enrich himself, both spiritually and materially, is thus to give himself up humbly and appreciatively in unconditional and complete service to Him, the Creator, Lord and Sustainer of the worlds. Man cannot turn his back on this amazingly pressing


reality best described as a wonderful bargain in which man, in point of fact, is asked to give so little but promised in return so much. About this Allah says: “O ye who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous Chastisement? That ye believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that ye strive (your utmost) in the Cause of Allah, with your wealth and your persons: that will be best for you, if ye but knew! He will forgive you your sins, and admit you to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, and to beautiful Mansions in Gardens of Eternity: that is indeed the supreme Triumph. And another (favor will He bestow), which ye do love, - help from Allah and a speedy victory. So give the Glad Tidings to the Believers.” (al-Saff 10-13) “If ye loan to Allah a beautiful loan, He will double it to your (credit), and He will grant you Forgiveness: for Allah is All-Thankful, most Forbearing, Knower of what is hidden and what is open, Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom.” (al-Taghabun 17-18) “And remember, your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): ‘If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you; but if ye show ingratitude, truly my punishment is terrible indeed.” (Ibrahim 7) The Islamic city and the societal dimension of Islam Islam is so much concerned about quenching man’s thirst for socializing and interacting that some people could not help observing – albeit erroneously – that the Islamic ideals have a preference for the sedentary over the nomad and for the city dweller over the villager.20 This assertion is not totally baseless, though. To be sure, Islam’s treatment of human settlements and the standards as well as values that nurture and sustain them is such as no other religion or ideology is able to parallel it. Islam in its capacity as the only religion in the sight of God (Alu ‘Imran 19) carefully strikes a balance between its precepts and values meant for the personal and family realm, on the one hand, and such as are meant for the whole society (humankind), on the other. While a number of them govern each of the two poles, a big portion of the tenets of Islam is still shared by both. Unless propounded at the societal scale, Islam, a universal way of life and a religion that came to raze people’s erring living patterns and furnish them with those based upon the tawhidic paradigm instead, will, therefore, fail to materialize as such. Its real colors will thus be given no adequate ground to exhibit their glow and aptitude, and people will be left short of perceiving and experiencing fully the excellence, beauty and pragmatism of its worldview. Joel Kotkin also observed: “From its origins in the 7th century, Islam has always been a profoundly urban faith. The need to gather the community of believers required a settlement of some size for the full performance of one’s duty as a Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad did not want his people to return to the desert and its clan-oriented value system. Islam virtually demanded cities to serve as ‘the places where men pray together’. This urban orientation came naturally for a religion that first sprang to life in a city of successful merchants.”21 For this reason, no sooner had the Prophet (PBUH) migrated to Madinah than a shift in the focus of revelation occurred, from that dealing with the issues


concerning faith (iman) and individual spiritual upbringing - as witnessed in Makkah - to that of creating a solid community and all the issues related thereto as witnessed in Madinah. Having thus changed the milieu, from that dominated by his foes and the foes of Truth in Makkah to that dominated by his supporters and the supporters of the Islamic cause in Madinah, of the things that right away obsessed the Prophet’s mind was the urbanization and development of the first capital of the just-formed Islamic state, something that he could only dream of during the entire duration of his stay as Allah’s Messenger in Makkah. So significant was this far-reaching change in the pattern of the earliest Islamic mission that the Muslims during the reign of the second caliph ‘Umar b. alKhattab concurred that it should mark the commencement of the Muslim calendar, taking precedence over a host of other decisive occurrences which the young and dynamic Islamic society was never devoid of. The realization of the Muslim community in Madinah was viable in that the ground for it was exceptionally fertile. The elementary ingredients essential for creating a sovereign state and its ability to flourish, such as freedom, land, the people (followers), the solitary cause, the cohesive struggle, and legislation, were on hand ready to be utilized by the visionary leadership headed by the Prophet (PBUH) and guided by the heavenly will exemplified in revelation. The significance of this turnaround in the fortune of the nascent Islamic community in fact had some far more extensive consequences than it first appeared. The new beginning for Madinah signified a new beginning for a large portion of the human race and its socio-political and ideological configuration, since the Prophet (PBUH) was the seal of prophets and his message the final one suited to be applied in every place and time till the end of this terrestrial life. However, at that particular juncture, i.e. during and immediately after the Hijrah, such an astounding truth was yet to become a common and widespread mass conviction either because the Prophet (PBUH) was yet to spell out some vital aspects thereof, or he did - as much as the first Muslims were in need of it - but too new to the new worldview and code of life were some people that they could hardly come to terms with what that really meant. When the Prophet (PBUH) arrived in the town of Madinah, while getting down from his camel he uttered four times the following Qur’anic supplication: “O my Lord! Enable me to disembark with Thy blessing: for Thou art the Best to enable (us) to disembark.” (al-Mu’minun 29) Now, the Prophet (PBUH) had scores of supplications and prayers to chose from and pronounce at this particular occasion, but by no accident did he chose exactly this one. The Prophet Nuh (Noah) was the one who had uttered the supplication in question. He did so when the flood, by which Allah – be He exalted – punished and wiped out the immoral and rebellious section of mankind, subsided and the time came for Nuh and all those who were with him on the Ark - of both animals and humans - to disembark. Under the guardianship of revelation and its tawhidic paradigm they were to start afresh their life on earth, free from every pain and anxiety which the agnostics and polytheists formerly used to generate. By saying the supplication of Nuh, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) seems to have insinuated that his migration to Madinah marked the beginning of


the brightest and most significant epoch in the history of mankind. He knew that his followers before long will start playing a prominent role in shaping developments pertaining to the religious convictions, worldviews, and sociopolitical and economic structure of world societies. What’s more, the followers of the Prophet (PBUH) were bound to begin in a little while laying their claims to world dominion, aspiring to magnetize someday the center of gravity in all constructive human engagements to the territories that will be under their permanent control. Thus, it stands to reason that the Prophet’s arrival in Madinah entailed no less revolutionary connotations than the Prophet Nuh’s disembarkation from the Ark following the great flood, hence the same prayer having been uttered on both occasions. It must be said at this juncture that this striking philosophy of the city in Islam, and to an extent the morphological characteristics assigned to it - such as having a principle mosque in the center (jami’), having a central market (suq), etc. - are not distinctive to complex urban settlements alone. Every settlement, big or small, urban or rural, enjoyed the same character throughout different eras. Settlements have been created to function as a field for fulfilling the same purpose, in that they are created by man (in this case the Muslims) and are meant for man whose solitary task on earth ought to be the execution of his vicegarency mission, regardless of where and how he may live and what legitimate means he may have at his disposal. The only divergence found among these settlements, for the most part, is in the lines of the contextual functions of their components and the scale and intensity of such functions. Certainly, it was this reality that compelled I.M. Lapidus to assert that the city and the rural village in Islam are homogenous.22 By promoting the idea of “the excellent settlement” in both urban and rural contexts, rather than “the excellent urban settlement” only at the expense of the rural ones, Islam advanced an effective plan to do away with some persistent depressing social trends which are as old as the emergence of human urban settlements. Perhaps, one of the most disturbing trends is unremitting and hardly controllable migration from rural to urban areas. Via creating conducive and “excellent” not only urban but also rural settlements throughout the land - each settlement evenhandedly and equitably catering for the needs of its citizens who share the same vision and strive for the same set of goals - there would be no reason for the people to abandon en masse certain places in favor of the others. Since there would seldom be highly appealing and highly unappealing areas (settlements), nor will there be chance for inferiority complex to establish itself as an awkward psychological syndrome of a group. However, at the individual and even family level, a limited tendency towards dissatisfaction and desire to move from one place to another shall still remain a possibility, but then again that would thus be only on the strength of certain individual judgments normally influenced by lots of other human as well as natural factors. La darar wa la dirar (There is no inflicting nor returning of harm)


One of the most important Islamic principles that govern the relationship between the residents of the Islamic city (Madinah), and between them and the government is the one highlighted in a hadith of the Prophet (PBUH): “There is no harming nor reciprocating harm”, or “There is no injury nor return of injury.” 23 The message of the hadith is that everyone should exercise his full rights in what is rightfully his providing the decisions/actions do not generate harm to others. 24 Likewise, none shall return injury in case it has been inflicted on him, intentionally or otherwise. People are instead encouraged to share both their happiness and problems, care for each other, respect the rule of law and settle peacefully their disputes. This way, they will secure sound and friendly relations, as well as a healthy environment conducive to all kinds of human constructive engagements. Islam not only guarantees its followers the right to freely and honorably live and act, but also does everything to ensure that they enjoy a decent, healthy, peaceful, joyous, prosperous and quality life, contributing in the process to sustaining the welfare of mankind and the universe as a whole. In Islam, the concepts of equality, justice, righteousness and decency are universal and immutable, permeating and governing every aspect of human existence. Not in the slightest can anything thereof be compromised for whatever reason and by anybody. These are the rights God has ensured man under the aegis of His religion Islam, and they stand for some of the vital ingredients needed for the successful accomplishment of man’s vicegerency mission. Such are not the objectives of man’s life, as it always turns out to be following man’s abandonment of the heavenly guidance and direction. Likewise, of the rights which have been divinely assigned to man before he was even created, is freedom of worship, freedom of spiritual and intellectual enhancement, freedom of pursuing God’s bountiful gifts which God had bestowed on His vicegerent, right to honorably live in the shadow of ultimate justice, equality and security. It follows that unduly denying a person any of these favors by means of deliberate injustice, oppression and haughtiness falls in the category of greatest sins that one can perpetrate. This is fairly so because the perpetrators by such actions “encroach”, so to speak, onto the divine plan meant for the whole of mankind, thereby attempting to tamper with it for the sake of their own egoistic and shallow aspirations. So perilous is the evil of loose and unbridled tyranny and conceit that if aided by other grave vices it may easily turn into a form of shirk, or associating other gods with God. The best witness to this effect is definitely history many instances of which the Holy Qur’an keeps highlighting to mankind so that they may reflect on. Allah – be He exalted – says on the divinely given rights enjoyed by man: “Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete His favor to you, that ye may be grateful.” (al-Ma’idah 6) “Say who hath forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah which He hath produced for His servants, and the things, clean and pure, (which He hath provided) for sustenance? Say: They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) purely for them on the Day of Judgment. Thus do We explain the Signs in detail for those who know.” (al-A’raf 32)


“And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the religion of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation)…” (al-Hajj 78) Sadly, though, the aforementioned divinely-given rights and privileges of man have since time immemorial been disappearing from the scene of reality owing to different man-hewed factors. Due to their pertinence to man’s physical, spiritual and psychological survival, striving for securing a degree or amount of the same rights and privileges - as a consequence - had to become in the end the sole obsession and goal of a good number of ancient as well as recent ideologies, philosophies and movements with diverse characters and outlooks. Being thus excessively obsessed with the subject of means, man possesses neither enough energy nor productive time to spare for distinguishing and realizing the objectives to which such means may eventually lead. The essence of life for ordinary people - a majority in every society that has adopted and implemented the devious and vagrant philosophies, ideologies and movements – is perhaps the best illustration of how all-encompassing and dominant the said state of affairs and its distressing consequences are. If one thing is to be learnt by examining the present reality, then it would be the fact that people’s aspirations and, as such, aims of life do not exceed the parameters of enjoying a decent and proper dwelling, a decent job, enough nourishment, undemanding access to education, entertainment and other amenities, as well as enjoying an essential degree of justice, equality and security. Taking into consideration everything, however, human logic and consciousness cannot help inferring that man must have been created for something more virtuous and dignified to strive for and dream of; man’s life ought to be lived for the sake of fulfilling worthier and much more rewarding ideals. God says: “I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.” (al-Dhariyat 56) Also: “Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? - Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name) ?” He said: “I know what ye know not.” And He thought Adam the names of all things; then he placed them before the angels, and said: “Tell Me the names of these if ye are right.” They said: “Glory to Thee: of knowledge We have none, save what Thou hast taught us: in truth it is Thou who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom.” He said: “O Adam! tell them their names.” When he had told them their names, Allah said: “Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth, and I know what ye reveal, and what ye conceal?” (al-Baqarah 30-33) Isma’il Raji al-Faruqi wrote on this: “It is certainly the duty of the khalifah to make everything possible to enable every member of the ummah to earn and enjoy God’s bounty on earth. But this purpose, noble and necessary as it may, quickly degenerates into crass animality and degradation, a warping of human personality and betrayal of the whole divine will, once it is regarded as the sole or final end of human life. The material needs of life are innocent and indeed good; they are to be satisfied to as high a degree as possible. But they and the whole


material aspect of life which they are to sustain are only a means, an instrument, a carrier for the spiritual, whether for the individual or for the ummah as a whole. To hold the material pursuits as the final end is to deny the spiritual.”25 Every rebellion against God and His words of guidance creates costly and painful repercussions for man, not only in the Hereafter but also in this world. The Qur’an says: “But those who reject Faith and belie Our Signs, they shall be Companions of the Fire; they shall abide therein.” (al-Baqarah 39) “But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment.” (Ta Ha 124) By rebelling against God man commits nothing but injustice to himself, as he denies his soul its essential right and gift granted to it by its Lord in eternity, i.e. the right and predisposition to worship its Creator, Cherisher and Sustainer. Moreover, by virtue of his possession of the primordial disposition (fitrah) to worship, on the one hand, and by virtue of his fundamental qualities such as intellectual limitation, psychological feebleness, mortality, haste etc., on the other, man will have no choice but to seek an alternative for what he has previously repudiated. He will desperately attempt to furnish his demanding soul with the appeasing answers on a large number of compelling questions with respect to his existence and the existence of other surrounding animate and inanimate beings. However, this will only result in fashioning the myriad superstitions, cults and contrasting ideologies and religions, which will add nothing constructive to human knowledge or human well-being; they will only increase error and wrong-doing always associated with mutual hatred and enmity among people. In abandoning God and revelation, man is bound to abandon his inherent role and status on earth too. The quintessence of his existence in the end will be gravely distorted and at times relegated to that of animal kingdom - and sometimes even lower: “Many are the Jinns and men We have made for Hell: they have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle, - nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning).” (al-A’raf 179) Allah also says: “Or thinkest thou that most of them listen or understand? They are only like cattle; - nay, they are farther astray from the way.” (al-Furqan 44) Verily, the city in Islam (Madinah) is a place where the word of Islam – a comprehensive way of life - is thoroughly implemented at every scale. Hence, regardless of cultures, historical and geographical elements, Islamic cities always shared many common characteristics, such as form and function, unifying symbol systems, and individual, family and societal values, in addition to their inhabitants having one and the same perception of life, of reality, of space and time, of history, of man, and of the community. It must be also borne in mind that Islam with the hierarchy of its teachings and values was the sole force which furnished the Islamic city with both its essence and identity, relegating the indigenous geographical, climatic and other inherited factors and features to almost nonessential.


When studying the Islamic city, proper attention ought to be paid also to the implications of the fact that such a phenomenon, which originated with the advent of Islam on the world scene, has never existed before, even though the peoples that became instrumental in molding and perpetuating its conspicuous identity lived where they were for centuries before embracing Islam and possessed the cultures and civilizations of their own. To be sure, studying the Islamic city by no means can be separated from the total framework of Islam: its genesis, history, ethos, worldview, doctrines, laws and practices. Any approach by anybody and at any point of time to disconnect the Islamic city from that which held sway over its conception and formation would undoubtedly result in failure and, worse yet, may distort the real picture of the entire subject matter and with it the picture of Islam. With the provision and organization of its vital components, the city in Islam aims to accommodate the social, economic and religious requirements of its populace. It furthermore facilitates various highly dynamic activities meant for satisfying such requirements. That is not all, though. On account of the verity that comprehensive excellence and the Islamic notion of worship (the whole life of the devoted Muslim is worship, ‘ibadah) are inseparable, cities in Islam are created in such a way that various productive human engagements are not only accommodated and facilitated, but also stimulated and made attractive. This is done via the introduction and augmentation of sundry aesthetic elements, via the recognition of every citizen’s role and stature in the community (city) development process, and via the transparent unreserved exertion of both the government and public to ensure that the immutable values championed by revelation are duly attended to and applied. All the said values and amenities are essential in the city. If they are made available, only then will it be fair to ask its dwellers to listen, obey and embark on contributing their expected share in the long and demanding community building and sustaining process. By the same token, only then will it be fair to ask the people to guard the city (state) and the ideals upon which it has been founded against both internal and external threats, sacrificing in the process their personal whims and aspirations, and if necessary, lives. With its overall atmosphere, form and function, the city in Islam is bound to mirror the only Islamic criterion for discriminating between people, i.e. “… the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” (al-Hujurat 13) Never and under no circumstances can this criterion be violated. Anything else served by anybody and at any point of time as an alternative to this divinely prescribed standard to man is deemed alien to the Islamic tawhidic worldview, and as such ought to be rejected outright. If assented to, such alternatives, customarily shrouded in infidelity, materialism and egotism, will soon prove an obstacle in man’s genuine civilizational headway, adding nothing constructive to human well-being and increasing but error and wrongdoing. The Muslims are brothers to each other and their similitude is like a wall whose bricks enforce and rely on each other; or like a solid cemented structure held together in unity and strength, each part contributing strength in its own way,


and the whole held together not like a mass but like a living organism. 26 Highly creative and visionary urban planning concepts and models need to be put forth as the corporeal manifestations of the relationship that ought to exist among the Muslims, as well as the manifestations of the spirit that must pervade all the departments of their daily interaction. What makes a city Islamic? An ideal Islamic city is the one whose layout, urban form, design and function are inspired primarily by Islam, are permeated with the Islamic spirit, and stand for the embodiment of Islamic principles and values. It facilitates, fosters and stimulates man’s ceaseless ‘ibadah (worship) activities entrusted to him by his Lord, helping him thus to elevate his status over that of the angels and honorably live up to his reputation as the vicegerent on earth. Central to the standards by which a city may be categorized as Islamic is the holiness and purity of its philosophy, vision and utility, accompanied by convenience, efficiency, security, sustainable development, and anything else that Islam reckons as indispensable for living a decent and accountable life. The overall physical appearance is therefore inferior and matters only when it comes into complete conformity with the said criterion. Since it accounts for both a worldview and a comprehensive way of life, Islam draws no distinction between the religious and secular realm along ideological lines. God’s words of guidance are bidden to be evenly exalted, adhered to, implemented and made supreme in each and every department of human existence. The word ‘Islamic’ employed before ‘city’ thus does not denote a mere cultural phenomenon, philosophy or just another religious conviction, but a genuine faith and its enduring all-inclusive belief and value system. The word ‘Islamic’ is an adjective delineating a phenomenon vital for human socio-political, economic, psychological and spiritual advancement. That phenomenon is a settlement that imbibes and reflects the special qualities inherent in Islam, and whose outline, design and form are – to a large extent - dictated by the latter. In view of that, the idea of the Islamic city (Madinah) encompasses both its conception and the structural elements which make up its morphology, starting from mosques, madrasahs (schools), dwellings, and mausoleums, to what remains of the indispensable built environment constituents, such as markets, caravanserais, palaces, citadels, hospitals, gardens, street networks, open spaces, etc. Religious and secular functions are not separable in Islam, and, as such, not in the Islamic city either. If one wanted to understand really the Islamic city, one first and foremost must possess an intimate knowledge of Islam whose major precepts and values it exemplifies. Next, one ought to disengage himself for a moment and as much as he could from whatever he has formerly perused or has been told about the Islamic city, exerting an effort himself to experience it in its totality as if he is one of its users/inhabitants. One is to try really hard via hands-on experiences if one really wants to feel the spiritual and sensory aura the Islamic city exudes within its realm. Not to one or a few of its aspects, and not to a single and static


moment of time, should one’s comprehension and appreciation of the Islamic city be restricted. Rather, one’s thoughts and interest must encompass all its aspects and dimensions, honoring in the process its remarkable spiritedness and dynamism conditioned by neither the time nor space factors. Finally, whatever one’s approach in studying the Islamic city might be, one should never try to extricate it from the contexts which governed its commencement, rise, dominance and survival. The Islamic city ought to be viewed as a revolutionary world phenomenon as universal, omnipresent, perpetual and revealing as the standards and values that gave rise to it. It was as responsive to the climatic, geographical and cultural requirements as any other urban settlement, nevertheless, it never treated them apart from exigencies of a higher order. By means of skills, creativity and imagination, on the one hand, and by its distinctive combination of aesthetic and utilitarian ends, on the other, the Islamic city never, even by a whisker, dissociated man’s corporeal, psychic and spiritual needs. That relying solely on the five senses while studying the phenomenon of the Islamic city would be an inapt method could be corroborated by the following statement of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali with regard to investigating, grasping and experiencing the essence or the fundamental nature of a thing: “The eye perceives the outer and the surface of things, but not their inner essence; moreover, it perceives only their shapes and their forms, not their real nature.”27 Life in every city is dynamic and diverse. Consequently, the city must cope with the demands of ever increasing changes and developments, if it were to live up fully to the purpose of its establishment, and if it were to fulfill the trust “assigned” to it and, in consequence, be of assistance to man in discharging that which he has been created for. Hence, it can be safely asserted that the Islamic city is an educational and training ground or center. The solitary aim of its institutions is to produce in concert with each other a people qualified to be dubbed as real vicegerents on earth. Regardless of minor disparities in their intellectual, spiritual and socio-economic commitments and so accomplishments - which are, all things considered, unavoidable and inexorable - the same people’s efforts will enforce and rely on each other, holding together in unity and strength and each part contributing strength in its own way. Among every people there always exist a group of exceptionally devout, enlightened and visionary individuals capable of transforming entire communities they belong to. Thence, the same persons will contribute somehow or other their decent share to making this earth a better place for living. Without a doubt, the larger this group the smaller and thus less troublesome is the group on the diametrically opposite side of the scale. The latter group stands for the community liabilities rather than its assets, and so recurrently gets in the way of the community spiritual and material progress. On the other hand, the smaller the group of extremely devout, erudite, committed and visionary persons in a community, the more favorable the conditions become for mediocrity, incompetence, backwardness and ignorance to triumph and hold sway over people’s affairs. So therefore, if misconstrued and its role perverted, the city has a potential to become a breeding ground for diverse social and psychological diseases which if left unchecked could proliferate and one day paralyze entire


communities – the whole of mankind indeed - dragging them to the bottommost. In this case, the only remedy for the predicament will be the restoration of the original position and role of the city, that is to say, the recognition and restoration of the position and role of individuals, the family, and all the concepts and components of which the city phenomenon is made up. Certainly, it was because of what we have said thus far about the character of the Islamic city (Madinah), that the ‘Abbasid caliph al-Mansur, while starting off the mammoth project of building the city of Baghdad in the year 145/762, by placing the first brick with his own hand uttered: “In the name of Allah; praise be to Allah; the earth is Allah’s, to give as a heritage to such of His servants as He pleases, and the end is best for those who are righteous.” 28 The message conveyed in the supplication appears very clear: everything belongs to Allah – the only Creator, Sustainer and Ruler. He is the only Creator, the rest is His magnificent creation, His servants. Moreover, He is the real Owner of everything. Man possesses de facto nothing; everything around him has been subjected to him not that he may “own” it, or in the worse scenario play “god” with it, but that he in a responsible and unhindered manner may carry out his duties of vicegerency, returning then to his Creator clean and honorable - no more than that. Even his very self, i.e. his life, man does not own. It belongs to his Lord, and if needed he is to sacrifice it for Him and His cause: “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the Garden (of Paradise): they fight in His Cause, and slay and are slain; a promise binding on Him in Truth, through the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to His covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” (al-Tawbah 111) What’s more, the prayer of the caliph al-Mansur indicated that whatever the Muslims may build - and at whatever scale - the appropriated space will never be regarded as exclusively for man, nor will its owner(s) and tenant(s) do. Rather, the appropriated space will be viewed as something temporarily loaned to man, so as soon as he goes back to his Creator nobody but he alone will be held accountable for what he did to the loan, how he handled it, and what he managed to achieve with it. Thus, it is not surprising that the Muslims often store in their hearts and minds the following Qur’anic supplication: “Say: “O Allah! Lord of Power (and Rule), Thou givest Power to whom Thou pleasest, and Thou strippest of Power from whom Thou pleasest: Thou enduest with honor whom Thou pleasest, and Thou bringest low whom Thou pleasest: in Thy hand is all Good. Verily, over all things Thou hast power. Thou causest the Night to gain on the Day. And Thou causest the Day to gain on the Night; Thou bringest the Living out of the Dead, and Thou bringest the Dead out of the Living; and Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou pleasest, without measure.” (Alu ‘Imran 26-27) The Muslims keep their tongues busy reciting this supplication in their daily prayers, as well as during their individual and collective dhikr (remembrance of God) sessions. They even adorn their private abodes and public buildings and spaces with it, thereby reminding themselves constantly of this substantial - albeit often disregarded by many - truth. The same is true with other Qur’anic verses containing the similar message, such as: “Allah! There is no god but He, - the


Living, the Self-subsisting, Supporter of all; no slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth… “ (al-Baqarah 255); or: “To Allah belongeth all that is in the heavens and on earth. Whatever ye show what is in your minds or conceal it, Allah calleth you to account for it… “ (al-Baqarah 284) Surely, due to such an inimitable heavenly dimension, which Islam instituted in the field of building and urbanization, did the caliph al-Mansur engage a group of people endowed with virtue, integrity and fidelity from different regions in order to supervise the project of building the city of Baghdad, apart from one hundred thousand craftsmen, engineers, architects, masons, carpenters and blacksmiths whom he had hired from every province. The most prominent among the caliph’s workmen were Abu Hanifah of Kufah, one of the four most illustrious jurists in Islam, and al-Hajjaj b. Artah, a traditionalist and jurist who lived in Kufah along with Abu Hanifah and later served as the judge of Basrah. The latter was, furthermore, the architect of the Baghdad’s principal mosque, laying its foundations by himself. He also played a prominent role in planning the northern suburbs of the city of Baghdad.29 Also, when Mawlay Idris decided to build the city of Fas (Fez) in northern Africa (Morocco), having sketched the groundplan of the city and before construction got underway, he recited the following prayer: “O my Lord! You know that I do not intend by building this city to gain pride or to show off; nor do I intend hypocrisy, or reputation, or arrogance. But I want You to be worshipped in it, Your laws, limits and the principles of Your Qur’an and the guidance of Your Prophet to be upheld in it, as long as this world exists. Almighty, help its dwellers to do righteousness and guide them to fulfill that. Almighty, prevent them from the evil of their enemies, bestow Your bounties upon them and protect them from the sword of evil. You are able to do all things.”30 Enjoining good and forbidding evil (al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an almunkar) In addition to being a training ground for both individuals and groups, the Islamic city (Madinah) is at the same time the field of the inexhaustible confrontation between good and evil. The originators and advocates of sin may come from either within or without. Their damaging feat may be either transparent and direct, or opaque and indirect under the guise of modernity, development, leisure, freedom, emancipation, globalization, and the like. Nobody but the citizens whose vision and demeanor stand as the embodiment of the Islamic worldview and its value system will be able to grasp the essence of the conflict and, hence, rise to the task of engendering and spearheading the defense of the dignity, aspirations, and intellectual, spiritual, cultural and physical sovereignty of the community. Indeed, participation in the struggle is incumbent upon everybody - of course within the framework of everyone’s abilities - always remaining proportionate to the sort and intensity of the predicament. However, not only when facing difficulties should the city with its personality building and sustainability schemes be suddenly brought to life, but, on the contrary, it must at all times be at guard. It must ceaselessly rear the


causes of, and strive to create, sound and healthy civilizational constituents, while doing away with such as may lead towards generating and immortalizing the immoral acts that in turn assure man nothing but degradation and misery. As we have stated earlier, the city with all its sections ought to contain, further initiate, promote and stimulate the basic beneficial enterprises of man. This means it is neither fair nor productive for people to be asked to live an ethical life if the urban conditions where they live push them towards the contrary, or at least get seriously in the way of achieving the envisaged goal. The same applies to a number of other initiatives put forward, by and large related to education, work, social interaction, integration, entertainment, etc. It is on account of this that the injunction of enjoining good and forbidding evil (al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar) occupies such a remarkable position in Islam. It is as much a personal as social duty to get involved in stifling every element of wickedness, enjoining the establishment of good practices instead, by whatever legitimate means that a people may come up with and within the ambit of whatever capabilities they may enjoy. Hence, the reward for exercising universally al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar is enormous. In fact, the reward but commensurates with the massive impact of al-amr bi alma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar on the life and “survival” of the Muslim Ummah in particular, and on the triumph of good over evil across the globe in general. In one verse, Allah ta’ala reveals that the formula for the Muslims to become the best people ever evolved for mankind is to believe in God and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. (Alu ‘Imran 110) Allah also unveiled the path to the attainment of the Muslim Ummah’s cohesion and supreme potency when He said: “The Believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, pay Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.” (al-Tawbah 71) Against the background of this portrayal of believers stand hypocrites whose account is given in the same place in the Qur’an, just four verses earlier than the above verse: “The Hypocrites, men and women, are alike: they enjoin evil, and forbid what is just, and tighten their purse’s strings. They have forgotten Allah: so He hath forgotten them. Verily the Hypocrites are rebellious and perverse.” (al-Tawbah 67) Conversely, the punishment for abandoning the institution of al-amr bi alma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar is appropriately grave and severe. Again, the punishment is commensurate with the contributions of such an act to the suffering and desolation not only of the Muslims, but also of mankind as a whole. Says the Prophet (PBUH): “You will observe the commandment of al-amr bi alma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar or else Allah will mete out to you a stern punishment. Thereupon, you will (regret and) implore His mercy, but to no avail.”31 Also: “You will observe the commandment of al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa alnahy ‘an al-munkar, encouraging each other to do good, or else Allah will destroy


you with a torment, or will appoint the worst amongst you to rule over you. Thereupon, the best amongst you will implore Allah’s mercy, but to no avail.”32 The Qur’an explicitly says that curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith by the tongue of the prophets Dawud (David) and ‘Isa (Jesus) because they did not “forbid one another the iniquities which they committed: evil indeed were the deeds which they did.” (al-Ma’idah 79) Certainly, the Islamic weighty command of al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar had such a remarkable impact on both the psyche and moral fiber of the Muslims that its spirit saturated virtually all their actions and thoughts. Unavoidably, the same experience further mirrored itself very much in the urban form and function of the cities (settlements) in which the Muslims lived. This was the case because cities (all settlements of the Muslims) are the base for their cultural and civilizational pursuits, as well as because all human beings are predisposed to express in everything they do their outlook on life, on reality, and on the whole of the universe – unlike animals which act on the basis of their intrinsic instincts without reasoning or training. In order to illustrate our point, let us go through a few examples. Firstly, as the most conventional thing, in the heart of the Islamic city there was normally a principal mosque – rather, a mosque complex - which served as the focal point of the religious, intellectual and socio-political life. The mosque stood as a community development center with almost all basic amenities having been made available under the mosque roof, or under the roof of other abutting edifices built and integrated into the complex for the needed purposes. The physical stature of the mosque was advanced as a guidepost and its philosophy as an inspiration and guidance in all other urban development, building and planning undertakings. By this arrangement, accessibility, convenience, comfort, transparency, safety and better interaction among citizens were kept very much alive and trouble-free. Secondly, adjoining or in close proximity to the mosque, a market with goods like candles, incenses, perfumes, books, and even cloth, textile, jewelries and leather was consistently located. Having the market near the mosque complex meant facilitating the chore of commanding good and prohibiting evil in it, as the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions regularly did, thus setting a precedent which was followed ever since. Many mosque-bound individuals have been regularly passing through the market for discharging the duty of al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar. Such people may have had other matters to attend to in the market. Nevertheless, the subject of joining together in the mutual enjoining of Truth, and of patience and constancy, as well as the subject of helping one another in righteousness and piety and not in sin and rancor, remained forever a supreme one in their sight, taking precedence over all other matters and issues. In determining the market location, both traders and buyers have been given a chance to visit the mosque, a community center, not only for their daily worship practices but also for many other needed purposes. Along these lines, their working culture and moral fiber could be corrected and


enhanced by the pervading aura so effortlessly experienced in the mosque, as well as in the attitudes and manners of those patronizing it. Industrial trades like the blacksmiths, the dyers, and the tanners, as well as the market where goods from the countryside were sold, were customarily situated on the city periphery, lest they might cause disruption or nuisance to individuals and institutions. Nevertheless, such places have always been considered part of the general urban setting, and, as such, could never be neglected by the propagators of al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar, be they government employees or any other interested and fervent persons. This was one of the reasons why such trades and markets were normally positioned near the city gates, at the main geographical entrances into the city, and along the busiest thoroughfares leading towards the city. And thirdly, around the mosque complex private houses constituting compact neighborhoods would always cluster in the Islamic city (Madinah). Identical outwardly and often sharing public utilities, they were interconnected with narrow, labyrinthine - yet sufficiently expedient and functional – street patterns. Open public spaces were reduced to minimum. This spatial arrangement was pregnant with many benefits for the life in the city: it fostered interaction between the people; it promoted the role of the family institution and with it the role and stature of the house institution; it facilitated maintaining the cleanliness and orderliness of public places; it promoted maximum utilization of available spaces; and, last but not least, it played a role in preventing some potential social hazards from occurring, such as vandalizing public property, alienation, self-centeredness, social inequality, open transgression and its promotion, etc. It is not surprising, therefore, that the emergence of the institution of hisbah in Islam coincided with the emergence of the phenomenon of the Islamic city. Hisbah means maintaining law, order, fair trading and everything that is right, not only in the city markets but in all its public sectors. For Ibn Taymiyah, the scope of hisbah covers “ordaining that which is fitting and proscribing the improper in those spheres not reserved to the governors, the judges, the administrative officers (ahl al-diwan), etc.”33 The first instances of the hisbah activities are found nowhere else but in the city of Madinah, during the Prophet’s time, when the prototype Islamic city gradually came into being. The matter henceforth was evolving steadily. It corresponded with the incredible growth of the civilization and culture inspired by the Islamic world-view, as a result of which the emergence of a good many complex, bustling and thriving urban settlements in different corners of the Muslim vast land was necessitated.

Part Two: The Mosque Institution as a Community Development Center
The mosque as a necessity


The first urban element the Prophet (PBUH) introduced to the city of Madinah was the mosque that functioned as a community center. The Prophet (PBUH) and his first followers have been denied the existence and free utilization of the mosque during the entire duration of their stay in Makkah, although they were in dire need of it. In order to offset this deficiency while in Makkah, the Muslims have been utilizing certain spots to serve the purpose on an interim basis - like some Muslim houses or some quiet, secret and safe spots on the outskirts of Makkah - or as little as symbolically - like the case of Ka’bah (the Muslims used to visit the Ka’bah, albeit without openly and freely performing their religious rituals). Such was the case until God brought about a change and granted the Muslims that which they had been yearning for. To what extent the mosque institution was desirable to facilitate the overall progress of the Muslims and their community testifies the following. On the way to Madinah the Prophet (PBUH) rested four, or fourteen, or eighteen, or twenty two days34 in Quba’ - a suburb of Madinah about two to three miles to the southeast – whence he next proceeded to his final destination. Even though his stay in Quba’ accounted for a short interlude under some totally new circumstances, yet the Prophet (PBUH) succeeded in establishing a mosque, “the Mosque of Piety”, to which he frequently came, riding or walking, during his subsequent stay in Madinah. The Prophet (PBUH) is said to have positioned first a stone on the mosque’s qiblah side (the qiblah then was towards the al-Masjid al-Aqsa) followed by Abu Bakr, who positioned another stone. Next, the people started building. To be sure, the concept of the mosque was not fully instituted, nor was the mosque proper founded in Quba’, until the envisaged role and position of the mosque institution in the forthcoming broad-spectrum development of the Muslim community was aptly infused into the hearts and minds of its custodians and users. Hence the following Allah’s description of the Quba’ mosque and its patrons: “…There is a mosque whose foundation was laid from the first day on piety; it is more worthy of thy standing forth (for prayer) therein. In it are men who love to be purified; and Allah loveth those who make themselves pure.” (AlTawbah 108).35 That building and making the most of mosques was a matter of great urgency has been underscored yet again prior to the Prophet’s entrance into the town of Madinah. It was Friday when he set off from Quba’. On the way, before he arrived, the time for the Jumu’ah prayer drew near. Being used to offer prayers wherever they were due, even if it be in sheepfolds, the Prophet (PBUH) performed the Jumu’ah prayer with the tribe of Banu Salim b. ‘Uwq - most probably at a plain that functioned as their makeshift mosque - because he happened to be there at the time of the prayer. That was the Prophet’s first Jumu’ah prayer in Madinah. The number of the worshipers was about one hundred; some estimated that it was about forty.36 On his arrival in Madinah, one of the first concrete things that the Prophet (PBUH) undertook was marking out and then building his mosque - the principle mosque of the city. However, some accounts suggest that at the location where the mosque was constructed a small and improvised mosque had already


existed. The first Muslims of Madinah had set it up and in it, the Prophet’s companion by the name of As’ad b. Zurarah had led the people in their prayers, including the Jumu’ah prayer. On his arrival, the Prophet (PBUH) prayed too with the people therein.37 But almost immediately the mosque had to be modified and in the end absorbed altogether by the new much bigger in size and status mosque. Other accounts, on the other hand, either rebut the idea of having a mosque before the Prophet’s mosque partly or completely on the same location where the latter stood, or are completely silent on the subject. But what may have been the case is that a small plain precinct at the site where the Prophet’s mosque later was erected was reserved for serving as a mosque prior to the advent of the Prophet (PBUH) and the Muslims from Makkah. It was simply a plain area which at most had some wall at the qiblah side towards the al-Masjid al-Aqsa. The same place is believed to have been used by the companion Mus’ab b. ‘Umayr whom the Prophet (PBUH) had sent from Makkah to the first Muslims of Madinah to teach them the Holy Qur’an and to instruct them in matters relating to their new way of life. Some contend that after his arrival Mus’ab b. ‘Umayr was responsible for leading the people in their prayers too, whereas others claim that he did not; he remained concentrating his efforts exclusively on instructing the people in the Qur’an and matters concerning their new religion, while As’ad b. Zurarah – mentioned earlier - was in charge of leading the prayers.38 The mosque thus was set to be introduced to function as a nucleus of the believers’ existence, and as an epitome of the inexhaustible struggle between good and evil on earth. Its physical existence has been advanced as a guidepost and its message and philosophy as an inspiration and guidance in all the development, building and planning undertakings in the making. Following its establishment, the institution of the mosque served as both a religious and community center with activities of various types being conducted under its roof as well as in its immediate vicinity. Furthermore, the Prophet (PBUH) encouraged that other mosques mushroom in different parts and suburbs of Madinah - as well as wherever Islam was embraced - so as to intensify and boost the process of spiritual transformation and development that the people were subjected to. Mosques signified the ground for the implementation of a wide range of regulations and teachings of Islam, especially those with some distinguishable societal bearing. On the whole, there cropped up nine mosques in Madinah, besides the Prophet’s mosque. In those mosques the people prayed based on Bilal’s adhan (call to prayer), which sounded from the central mosque.39 Only in the Prophet’s mosque, however, the Jumu’ah prayer was performed. The first mosque in which the Jum’ah prayer was performed, aside from the Prophet’s mosque, was the mosque of ‘Abd al-Qays situated at Jawathi, that is a village at al-Bahrayn.40 In one of such mosques the companion Mu’adh b. Jabal used to lead his people in their prayers. However, for fear that he might lose out by spending less time with the Prophet (PBUH), he would occasionally pray in the Prophet’s mosque and then quickly return to the mosque of his people to pray with them. 41


And it was in this mosque that Mu’adh b. Jabal once while performing a night prayer with the people – having just returned from the Prophet’s mosque – prolonged it for them. A man, apparently being unable for certain reasons to carry on till the end, discontinued, prayed alone nearby and departed. He decided to see the Prophet (PBUH) after some people charged him with hypocrisy on the basis of what he had done. On hearing his case, the Prophet (PBUH) vindicated the man, but reprimanded Mu’adh telling him that he was not there to put people on trial. Mu’adh was asked not to prolong prayers henceforth with the people.42 There existed many other mosques outside Madinah. The Prophet (PBUH) directed his companions to have “masjids” in their quarters and to cleanse and odorize them on special religious occasions.43 He even consented to the idea of his companions earmarking places of worship (‘ibadah) in their private houses. The Prophet (PBUH) is said to have graced some of such places by personally praying in them.44 Of the first instructions that the Prophet (PBUH) used to give to the visiting tribes which professed Islam was to build, liven up and maintain mosques in their respective communities. Without a doubt, the mosque institution was seen as the focal point in the life of the Muslims. Around it, lots of other aspects of life were closely revolving, grounding on the mosque’s substance and magnitude the worth and authenticity of their own. From private rooms and dwellings, over villages, neighborhoods and urban settlements, and finally to the Ka’bah - the first House of God on earth towards which every Muslim turns his face five times a day in his daily prayers and yearns to visit and circumambulate it as many times as possible - all the way through this hierarchy was the mosque institution with its projected societal role set to have a hold over the fates of individuals, groups and entire communities. Surely, this is an immutable life pattern that governs the life of the Muslims in every time and space. And the scenario is unlikely ever to change for the reason that it stands for one of the permanent exigencies of the Muslim spiritual existence; “but no change wilt thou find in Allah’s way (of dealing): no turning off wilt thou find in Allah’s way (of dealing).” (Fatir 43) It stands to reason that for the fulfillment of the divine purpose on earth, the existence of the mosque is indispensable, hence its strong presence at every level of reality: a field of man’s multifaceted vicegerency mission. The mosque institution thus seems to be destined to rise together with the rise of Islamic civilization and fall with the latter’s fall, irrespective of which may be the cause and which the effect in this strong causal relationship. This is precisely the reason why the first man and prophet on earth, Adam, having descended on earth, is said to have yearned for the exaltation and praises of God by angels he had accustomed himself to in the Garden of Eden. He therefore desired to have a holy House (place of worship), which will resound with the prayers and praises of God on earth too. God fulfilled his wish and sent down the angel Jibril (Gabriel) to guide and help him in laying the foundations of the Ka’bah, al-Masjid alHaram. Some people even go further and assert that since God did not send Adam to earth until it was fully equipped and set to accommodate him, lest he shall be unable to smoothly and responsibly carry out his duties as a steward of


creation, one of the necessary requirements must have been the existence of a House of God, as a consequence of which the angels were assigned to build the al-Masjid al-Haram.45 Certainly, the proliferation of mosques at different levels and with varied standings, albeit with one and the same vision and purpose, came to pass neither haphazardly nor without prior planning, deliberation, consultation and consent of the chief instructor and guide: the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) did not miss out on selecting the right location, marking out, and even designing and building some of those mosques. An example of this is the mosque of a community the boundaries of which the Prophet (PBUH) himself established. In it he also nailed a piece of wood to indicate the qiblah direction.46 The planning and construction of the Prophet’s mosque is yet another, and indeed the finest, example. The promotion of the mosque institution in Islam reached a climax in the words of the Prophet (PBUH) that the whole earth has been created as pure and as a universal mosque for the Muslims.47 On account of the earth having been created essentially for man so that he could undertake and safeguard the Trust offered to him by God on it, the earth has a potential to be turned into a macro place of worship by man. It goes without saying, therefore, that if he takes seriously getting along with the exclusive objective of his existence, man shall then be ushered to worship God and submit to His will not only in particular places, during particular times and on particular occasions on earth, but everywhere, every time and through every utterance, deed and thought of his. In fact, not only the earth but also the universe in its totality could be classified as a mosque since all of its creatures - save a group of men and Jinns - incessantly worship and declare the praises and glory to the only Creator, Lord and Sustainer: Allah the Almighty: “Seest thou not that to Allah prostrate all things that are in the heavens and on earth, - the sun, the moon, the stars, the hills, the trees, the animals, and a great number among mankind? But a great number are (also) such as unto whom the chastisement is justly due. And such as Allah shall disgrace, - none can raise to honor: for Allah carries out all that He wills.” (al-Hajj 18) “The seven heavens and the earth, and all beings therein, declare His glory: there is not a thing but celebrates His praise; and yet ye understand not how they declare His glory! Verily He is Oft-Forbearing, Most Forgiving!” (al-Isra’ 44) Spirituality and the creation of mosques By way of erecting mosques, the Prophet (PBUH) taught the Muslims some memorable spiritual lessons with regard to building in general and what their outlook on the same ought to be. When completed, the form of the Prophet’s mosque was extremely simple – as simple, if not simpler, were other mosques. It consisted of an enclosure with walls made of mud bricks and an arcade on the qiblah side (towards Makkah) made of palm-trunks used as columns to support a roof of palm-leaves and mud. There were initially three entrances which pierced


the east, west and southern walls. The fourth, i.e. northern, wall was the qiblah side facing the al-Masjid al-Aqsa – the first qiblah that lasted about one year and a few months. However, as the qiblah was changed to face south towards Makkah the southern entrance was subsequently bricked up and a new one on the northern side pierced. Before the qiblah change there was, in all likelihood, no roofed area in the mosque, but after the change an arcade on the southern side facing Makkah was created. There was no ornamentation whatsoever within or without the mosque. It is reported that some companions from the ranks of the Helpers (Ansar) brought one day some money to the Prophet (PBUH) telling him: “How long shall we pray under these palm-leaves? Take this, build and adorn the mosque (zayyinhu) (improve its physical condition).” The Prophet (PBUH) did not reprimand them and their proposal but retorted: “I have no intention to differ from my brother Musa (Moses); an arbor like the arbor of Musa”. The arbor of the prophet Musa is said to have been so low that he could touch the roof if he raised his hand; or, when he stood up his head touched it - as narrated in another account.48 The following is a description of the mosque given by some scholars: “In the construction method a stone foundation was laid to a depth of three cubits (about 1.50 meters). On top of that adobe, walls 75 cm. wide were built. The mosque was shaded by erecting palm trunks and wooden cross beams covered with palm leaves and stalks. On the Qiblah direction, there were three porticoes, each portico had six pillars. On the rear part of the mosque, there was a shade, where the homeless Muhajireen took refuge. The height of the roof of the mosque was about equal to the height of a man, i.e. about 3.5 cubits (about 1.75 meters).”49 The message to be conveyed by the Prophet’s experience in building is that building in Islam - just like any other activity and craft - is but a vehicle for accomplishing the mission of Islam, not a goal itself. As such, it is an act of ‘ibadah (worship) and he who practices it will be rewarded accordingly. No matter what the Muslims – the vicegerents and God’s servants on earth - may build, where, when and how, the form and function of erected edifices are to be inspired primarily by Islam, be infused with its spirit, and stand for the embodiment of Islamic principles and values. Moreover, everything erected is to facilitate, foster and stimulate the ceaseless ‘ibadah activities of the Muslims, which have been entrusted to them by their Lord, thus helping them to live up to their honorable reputation on earth. Function is therefore central to building in Islam; size, along with the overall physical appearance, is inferior and matters only when it comes into complete conformity with the said criterion. For man, building as an indispensable facet of existence could be either an avenue for acquiring true felicity and God’s pleasure and approval on both worlds, or a platform for committing some of the most grievous vices, such as wastefulness, haughtiness, greed, envy, rivalry in building, and the like. The former is the case if man succeeds in keeping in check his desires and whims subjecting them to the fulfillment of his ultimate mission. The latter, on the other hand, is the case if man rejects Truth and, in turn, dazed and lost wanders aimlessly searching for a substitution for what he has already forsaken. About the


first situation, the Prophet (PBUH) has said - for instance - that whosoever builds for the sake of God and His religion a mosque - irrespective of its size - God will build for him a house in Paradise (Jannah).50 As regards the second scenario, the Prophet (PBUH) has said that no sooner does a people’s performance (‘amal) deteriorate than they embark on decorating their mosques.51 He furthermore divulged that one of the signs of the Day of Judgment’s imminence would be when people start vying in boasting with one another in mosques, 52 including constructing them and everything that goes with it.53 The Prophet (PBUH) also said that he was not directed (ma umirtu) to erect (tashyid) monumental mosques. The narrator of this hadith, ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas, commented: “You shall certainly end up decorating your mosques as both the Jews and Christians did.” 54 Surely, not on his own did ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas disclose this; rather, he just paraphrased a hadith in which the Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said exactly the same.55 The mosque is the nucleus of the believers’ existence. Throughout the history of mankind it constituted an epitome of the never-ending struggle for supremacy between good and evil. Every mosque is constructed by people and for people. Thus, at any point of time, the performance of mosques, together with the magnitude of their impact on reality, is determined by people themselves. The way in which the mosque functions is, as a matter of fact, the true reflection of the overall conduct of people: mosques builders and users. The more they regard the mosque as the House of their Creator and Lord, as well as the meeting site for His servants to execute their ‘ibadah requirements, the more prominent its position and the more effective its role in society; the more they are attached to the normative teachings of Islam, the bigger influence the mosque may hold over their lives. In short, the function of the mosque institution is - and shall always be – reflective of the fidelity and uprightness of those who fall heir to the onus of its utilization and management. Likewise, whenever people’s affinity with the mosque becomes unsteady and degenerate, its status and role grow degenerate too; whenever they abandon Islam as a direction, the mosque gets isolated and abandoned as well. Only do its aesthetic architectural motifs and artistic expressions within and without it - which were previously relegated to nonessential - remain therewith capable of attracting the attention of visitors and passers-by. Beside its original position and mission having been distorted, the mosque in some cases gets destroyed, or spared but totally forsaken, and even transformed into something that corresponds with the novel interests and obsessions of its trustees. Allah, therefore, declares that those who have a hand in disgracing and dishonoring mosques are most unjust, and “… for them there is nothing but disgrace in this world, and in the world to come, an exceeding torment.” (al-Baqarah 114) The notion of administering and preserving the position and mission of the mosque is comprehensively encapsulated in the following Qur’anic verses: “It is not for such as join gods with Allah, to maintain the mosques of Allah while they witness against their own souls to infidelity. The works of such bear no fruit: in Fire shall they dwell. The mosques of Allah shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish regular prayers, and pay


Zakat, and fear none (at all) except Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance.” (al-Tawbah 17-18) Some advantages of the original design of the Prophet’s mosque Introducing the first framework of the Prophet’s mosque in the form of a roofless and unpaved enclosure - we must admit - was the most appropriate and most viable thing under the circumstances. This was so in view of the general state of the Muslims and the young Islamic state, as well as in view of how novel the idea of the mosque as a concept and spatial formation was. At least four reasons may be given for this assertion. Firstly: it was quite easy for the mosque with such unpretentious form to meet the then existing worship (‘ibadah) requirements. At the end of the day, that is exactly what the mosque has been set up for. Secondly: the first priority, as far as the mosque is concerned, was that the people be taught its worth, role and position in the long and demanding process of abolishing people’s erring living patterns and furnishing them with such as are based upon the tawhidic paradigm instead, rather than paying any undue attention to the mosque’s physical appearance. And we have seen that getting the priorities right was always the main feature of the Prophet’s community building enterprise. Thirdly: in the wake of the Hijrah, there existed a host of pressing urban planning and development tasks that required vision, prudence, efficiency and an exceedingly thoughtful utilization of the available limited expertise and resources. Establishing the mosque was only one of such tasks, not the only one. Fourthly: in terms of material wealth, the Muslims as a community were in an inferior position. So in no way could they plan and build beyond that which they could afford. Introducing the mosque to the community was envisioned to be the latter’s asset rather than a liability. When inaugurated, the mosque with its numerous and colorful activities became an important facet of the Islamic community’s gradual evolution. It had to be subjected to the same laws and treatments that have been governing the steady rise of Islam since the inception of revelation. The two arresting elements that featured most in the whole process are definitely wisdom and gradation. This means that the religion of Islam was coming to the Prophet (PBUH) in various forms of revelation, gradually and in stages. Revelation spelled instructions, responses and answers to the various dilemmas and developments confronting the young Muslim mind, so that the heart of the Prophet (PBUH) and the hearts of his followers may be tranquilized and strengthened. Not only to the spheres of abstract comprehension and wisdom did this ruling apply, but also to the practical dimension of Islam, a universal code of life. It follows that the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah, a community development center and the ground for the implementation of many a regulation and teaching of Islam, could on no account be an exception to this principle - i.e. gradual revelation and application of Islam. Hence, some sporadic modifications before long started to befall its utility and, of course, spatial structure. Ultimately,


not only several new components have been added to the mosque structure during the Prophet’s life span, but also the first extension of the mosque was carried out by none other than the Prophet (PBUH) himself due to the ever growing multitude of worshipers. The extension was carried out a few years before the Prophet (PBUH) passed away.56 It stands to reason from this that the first extremely rudimentary form of the Prophet’s mosque was meant to be neither perfect nor final. It represented the first and perhaps most critical phase in the long evolution of the mosque as both a concept and sensory experience. That is why many Muslims, having been part of the total world-shattering process that the Madinah community was undergoing, have been able to forecast, and by their actions or suggestions sometimes even expedite, some forthcoming additions or adjustments to the original form and function of the mosque. Some examples of this phenomenon are: roofing the mosque, strewing the mosque ground with pebbles, illuminating the mosque with lamps rather than burning up fronds, introducing the concepts of the minbar (pulpit) and the dakkah or dukkan (seat, bench), etc.57 Since the mosque proper was an enclosure, mainly unroofed, it displayed much adaptability and flexibility throughout. The building materials that the people have been using then in Madinah were good enough for the mosque. The enclosure, furthermore, fulfilled some principles of economy with respect to design, construction and maintenance, which was an extremely important factor given the economic condition of the first Muslims. In addition, any side of the mosque could be repaired at any time without interrupting the hectic daily life in the rest of the edifice. Urgent requirements for some slight additions or alterations to the existing spatial arrangement could likewise always be entertained. The public, especially the immediate neighbors of the mosque, could not be much perturbed by the work inside the mosque, as the vast enclosure could serve as a shed for building materials and tools, and as the field for most of the activities. These technological and practical advantages appeared to be very significant, particularly when observed through the prism of the verity that the mosque constituted the midpoint of the city of Madinah. It was never devoid of activities either within or without it, and around it private dwellings kept clustering until at last the core of the city appeared just about circular - albeit irregularly. The significance of the Prophet’s mosque The Prophet’s mosque was the nucleus of the city-state of Madinah. Hence, tremendous significance was accorded to it. Such was the case from the very outset when deciding the site of the mosque and the Prophet’s residence – the latter abutting the former - came about. Upon entering Madinah, the Prophet (PBUH) planned to stay in the nearest house from the place where his camel stops and lies down till the completion of the midpoint of the new community. So delighted were the residents of Madinah on seeing the Prophet (PBUH) finally arriving to their realm that everyone ardently wished to have him as a guest until his house was ready. To have the most loved one on earth by both the people and the Lord of the universe as a guest was a windfall indeed,


but such entailed an entire bunch of other as momentous and coveted bequests. The most appealing of them was the privilege of adjoining the impending center of gravity of the most remarkable epoch in the history of human civilization. The center, exemplified in the mosque complex, was bound to materialize nowhere else but somewhere in the immediate vicinity of the Prophet’s provisional stay. And that’s why many people amicably contested to make the Prophet (PBUH) stay either with them or as near to them as possible. It seems as though the people have already been somewhat cognizant of the fact that the future Prophet’s mosque will be one of the most venerated spots on earth. The Prophet (PBUH) either someway hinted at the matter to the people via his intensive daily interaction with them, or they simply were able to forecast something to that effect due to their tremendous just-awoken cerebral and spiritual aptitude. However, some celestial elements presided over determining the location of the mosque and the Prophet’s residence, as demonstrated in the Prophet’s remark to those who could not contain their excitement and wanted to intercept his camel as she was passing by their houses: “Let go her reins, for she has been instructed (by God)…58 I shall disembark where Allah causes me to disembark.”59 And it was in the courtyard of the companion Abu Ayyub al-Ansari’s house that the camel stopped and kneeled down and the Prophet (PBUH) dismounted. While getting off the camel, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “This is, Allah willing, a site.” No sooner had the Prophet (PBUH) arrived and settled in his provisional residence than building the mosque complex was undertaken. There were graves of some pagans in the place earmarked for building and there were some date-palm trees in it. The Prophet (PBUH) ordered that the graves of the pagans be dug out and the unleveled land be leveled and the trees be cut down. The cut date-palm trees were later aligned towards the qiblah of the mosque.60 In the same place, an area used for drying dates existed. It belonged to two youths, orphans, named Sahl and Suhayl from whom the Prophet (PBUH) purchased their piece of land for ten golden dinars.61 There was also a walled piece of land that belonged to some people from the Banu al-Najjar clan. As soon as they learned that it was needed, they hastened to donate the lot to the Prophet (PBUH) and community. Notwithstanding its unpretentious and rudimentary structure, the Prophet’s mosque from the very first day served as a real community center quickly evolving into a multifunctional complex. It was meant not only for performing prayers at formally appointed times but also for many other religious, social, political and administrative functions. If truth be told, the mosque was the nervecenter of the wide spectrum of the activities and aspirations of the fast emerging Muslim Ummah. The impact of the mosque complex on the development of Madinah was such that the core of the city eventually grew to be just about ringshaped centering round the complex. Thus, the standard was set for every future Muslim city in terms of the role of its principal mosque(s), as well as its position vis-à-vis the rest of the city spatial components. So eventful and bustling with life was the Prophet’s mosque that after several years of existence it started to show signs that it could no longer


comfortably accommodate the ever growing number of worshipers, especially on Fridays. It therefore had to be enlarged, which the Prophet (PBUH) did following the conquest of Khaybar in the 7th year after the Hijrah. At the site towards which the extension was planned there was a piece of land which belonged to a Madinah native. The man refused to donate the plot in return for a house in Paradise (Jannah), though, whereupon the companion ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan hastened to purchase it for ten thousand Dirham, donating it then to the Prophet (PBUH) for the same reward, i.e. a house in Jannah.62 The large and ever-swelling number of worshipers – among other reasons - perhaps played a role in instituting a musalla (a praying place) independently from the mosque. In the musalla, which was a vast and open area west of the Mosque, the Prophet (PBUH) used to pray two ‘Ids (prayers in connection with the two Muslim festive occasions) and some exceptional prayers, like the prayer for rain (Salah al-Istisqa’). These two prayers were attended also by women, regardless of whether they were married, single, young or old, and children. The Prophet (PBUH) never prayed the ‘Id prayer in the mosque, except once because it was raining. Even menstruating women, who would usually be separated from others, were asked to go out and attend ‘Id prayers.63 Penalties for various offences were also carried out in the musalla. In it the Prophet (PBUH) sometimes prayed funerary prayers (al-Janazah) too, like to al-Najashi, an Abyssinian king, on the very day the latter died. 64 In fact, during the earliest years, the permanent location of the musalla was yet to be determined; several adjoining places in the same area, and stretching slightly to the southwest of the Prophet’s mosque, served the purpose. When the permanent location was later determined, a standard was placed to indicate the site of the musalla. No building activities were allowed in the place. The Musalla stood approximately at a distance of about four hundred meters away from the mosque.65 It definitely did not abut the mosque, nor did it stand somewhere in the latter’s immediate vicinity, since in a number of traditions we read about the Prophet (PBUH) walking to the musalla and returning home using different routes. It was for this significance and reverence enjoyed by the mosque institution, in general, and by the Prophet’s mosque, in particular, that the community of hypocrites in Madinah identified it as one of the main targets of their never-ending conspiracies and stratagems against the Muslims and their remarkable civilizational advances. We have already pointed out that while migrating to Madinah the Prophet (PBUH) rested in Quba’ before entering the town of Madinah. There the first mosque was built, the “Mosque of Piety”. But afterwards – approximately eight and a half years later, in the year of the expedition to Tabuk - hypocrites built an opposition mosque in Quba’, the “Mosque of Mischief”, pretending to advance Islam, but in reality they intended to cause harm to the Muslim society as well as division among its members. To damage the reputation of the mosque institution, thus afflicting and weakening the Muslims, was not decided until other expedients which the hypocrites of Madinah had contrived in close collaboration with other enemies of Islam, have failed. They went so far as to visit and consult even the rulers of the Byzantine Empire as to how best to disrupt and stifle the happenings in Madinah. 66


Eventually, through the means of revelation Allah Almighty ordered the Prophet (PBUH) to demolish the structure before it started to malfunction, confuse and mislead the masses. The mosque was destroyed and a garbage site was created on its ruins. Says the Holy Qur’an on this: “And there are those who put up a mosque by way of mischief and infidelity - to disunite the Believers - and in preparation for one who warred against Allah and his Messenger aforetime. They will indeed swear that their intention is nothing but good; but Allah doth declare that they are certainly liars.” (al-Tawbah 107-108) Because of the role that the mosque plays in society, it is called in Arabic masjid, meaning a place where one prostrates oneself in front of Allah – be He exalted –, i.e. worships only Him and unconditionally submits to His word and will. It is a place where every action, utterance and thought has not been employed by either individuals or groups except for the sake of pleasing God alone. The word al-jami’ (the assembly) is often attached to the word masjid, in particular if the mosques concerned are large and Jum’ah prayers are performed in them, thus unmistakably denoting the scale of its communal significance. This may become somewhat clearer if we juxtapose the gist of the term mosque (masjid) with the same of the musalla (a place for offering prayers). Whereas the former was a place of worship and a community development center, the latter was no more than a place where the Prophet (PBUH) used to pray some extraordinary prayers with the people. Hence it was appropriate to call it just musalla. What is more, musalla was frequently the appellation of the places earmarked in private houses for praying in them and executing some other ‘ibadah practices. The English word ‘mosque’ is anglicized from French ‘mosquee’ which in turn derives from Spanish ‘mezguita’. The extraction of the latter from the Arabic ‘masjid’ is readily apparent.67 Due to the civilizational stature of the mosque institution in society, it was only appropriate for the Prophet (PBUH) to erect his houses in closest proximity to his mosque. Thus, against the outer side of the eastern wall of the mosque the houses for him and his household were built. The doors of the houses on their western wall opened into the mosque.68 In total, there were nine houses. At first, only two houses were erected as the Prophet (PBUH) was yet to marry all his wives. The first two houses were for his then only two wives: A’ishah and Sawdah. As he was marrying other wives the new houses were likewise materializing. Some accounts suggest, however, that not only on the eastern side of the mosque were the Prophet’s houses concentrated, but were rather located either on all the sides, save the western one, or on the eastern as well as northern sides only.69 Such might have been the arrangement of the Prophet’s houses - the sizes of which varied, yet all were as spacious as needed for living a decent and convenient family life - that they did not necessarily form a regular raw against the mosque’s eastern wall and were not uniform in appearance. Some of them were definitely attached to the mosque, while the others might have been somewhat standing apart - some more and some less. 70 The possibility that one house stood between the mosque and another house - that is to say the latter did not stand directly next to the mosque - could not be utterly precluded either. More


so if we accept that all the nine houses were positioned on the mosque’s eastern side only, which was about 30 to 35 meters long in the first seven years of its existence, and then extended to 50 meters after the mosque was enlarged. In other words, to imagine nine houses aligned with the mosque wall, which was only 50 meters in the longest - not counting some passageways between the houses, as well as an entrance with a kind of pavement (balat) big enough that some beasts could be fastened, and that a death penalty by stoning could be carried out, on it -71 is, to all intents and purposes, quite difficult and even impossible. But then again, our concern not only raises the prospect of having the Prophet’s houses arranged against the mosque’s eastern wall in such a way that some of them did not border the mosque, but also adds to making the other scenario, i.e. that the Prophet’s houses were situated rather on more than just one side of the mosque, appear quite strongly as a realistic proposition. There is even a suggestion – surely in order to accommodate the above-raised objections – that the Prophet’s houses lay on the eastern side of the mosque only. They were in a row, but having needed more space than what the size of the mosque which they abutted was offering, about four or five houses extended beyond the northern boundary of the mosque.72 Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani even stated, on the authority of Ibn Bital and Ibn Habib, that Musalla al-Jana’iz (a vast plain area designated for offering funerary prayers) bordered the mosque proper on its eastern side where the Prophet’s nine houses are supposed to have existed.73 The word lasiq (literally adhesive, agglutinative, sticking, etc.) used by Ibn Hajar to indicate the position of Musalla al-Jana’iz vis-à-vis the mosque, could signify nothing but that the two stood next to each other with nothing standing between them. At any rate, yet another precedent, namely positioning the ruler’s official residence attached or next to the city’s principal mosque, has been inaugurated. From then on, the tradition was faithfully adhered to by virtually all Muslim rulers. The rationale behind this arrangement was above all that it provided convenience, accessibility, transparency and responsibility towards the people. Since it was a multifunctional community center positioned most strategically in the city, the mosque always provided everyone with easy access to its social services and facilities. The Prophet (PBUH) was always easily accessible too because of his constant presence if not inside the mosque proper then in his residence which adjoined the mosque. Hence, in Muslim b. al-Hajjaj’s anthology of the Prophet’s hadiths (Sahih Muslim) under the “Book of Manaqib” (The Outstanding Traits of the Prophet (PBUH)) there is a chapter entitled: “The Nearness of the Prophet (PBUH) to the People and Their Seeking Blessings from Him”. This quality, however, entailed a few bothersome implications for the peace and privacy of the Prophet (PBUH) and his household, which, nonetheless, were judiciously handled by revelation. Some people, such as bedouins and fresh converts from inside as well as outside Madinah, who had problems with proper communication, hospitality manners and refined social ethics, have been the protagonists in the implied regrettable incidents. They intended keenly - often with good and sincere intentions, though - to ask too


many questions, to talk to the Prophet (PBUH) in a manner they talk to each other, to meet him at some really inconvenient times, etc. In some of the divinely given cures for these and similar acts of misbehavior, Allah says - for instance: “O ye who believe! Enter not the Prophet’s houses, - until leave is given you, - for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation: but when ye are invited, enter; and when ye have taken your meal, disperse, without seeking familiar talk. Such (behavior) annoys the Prophet he is shy to dismiss you, but Allah is not shy (to tell you) the truth. And when ye ask (his ladies) for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for grater purity for your hearts and for theirs. Nor is it right for you that ye should annoy Allah’s Messenger, or that ye should marry his widows after him at any time. Truly such a thing is in Allah’s sight an enormity.” (al-Ahzab 53) Also: “O ye who believe, put not yourselves forward before Allah and His Messenger; but fear Allah: for Allah is He Who hears and knows all things. O ye who believe, raise not your voices over the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as ye may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and ye perceive not.” (al-Hujurat 1-2) Also: “Those who shout out to thee from without the Inner Apartments – most of them lack understanding. If only they had patience until thou couldst come out to them, it would be best for them: but Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (al-Hujurat 4-5) Also: “And know that among you is Allah’s Messenger: were he, in many matters, to follow your (wishes), ye would certainly suffer…” (al-Hujurat 7) Also: “O ye who believe, ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble…” (al-Ma’idah 101) On his part, however, the Prophet (PBUH) treated everyone patiently, tolerantly and with maximum respect and cordiality. Seldom was his beautiful face seen weary, grief-stricken and without a broad and delightful smile. In his presence, everyone – no matter how big an assembly may have been - felt as if he and nobody else was the focus of the Prophet’s profound attention, care and love. He was able to spare some of his invaluable time for everyone who needed him for whatever reason: men, women, old, young, rich, destitute, disabled, Muslims, non-Muslims, visitors, children, his own family, etc. While dealing with the people, the Prophet (PBUH) was always joyful and prudent in advice so that his addressee would not get bored; he was always considerate towards the psychological and intellectual state of his addressee so that he or she would understand his words; he was always drawing and keeping up his addressee’s attention by different practical means dictated by different circumstances, in addition to his arresting appearance, demeanor and communication capability. In other words, the life of the Prophet (PBUH) epitomized the life system espoused by Islam and which he was assigned to convey and explicate to mankind. Hence his wife A’ishah’s expression that the Prophet’s character (khuluq), a good example that must be followed by every Muslim (al-Ahzab 21), was the Holy Qur’an. The Qur’an itself recognizes that the Prophet (PBUH) surely possessed “sublime morals” (al-Qalam 4).


Instructing the Prophet (PBUH) as to how to conduct himself with people in his capacity as their Prophet and savior, Allah says in the Qur’an – for example: “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious…” (al-Nahl 125) Also: “It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them. Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee: so pass over (their faults), and ask for (Allah’s) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment)…” (Alu ‘Imran 159) Also: “And keep yourself content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life…” (al-Kahf 28) Also: “Therefore patiently persevere, as did (all) messengers of firm resolution, and be in no haste about the (Unbelievers)…” (al-Ahqaf 35) Also: “And lower thy wings to the Believers who follow thee.” (al-Shu’ara’ 215) The main functions served by the Prophet’s mosque74 The place for religious activities The Prophet’s mosque was a place where the Muslims offered in congregation their daily prayers. Other available mosques then served the similar purpose but the Jum’ah prayer in Madinah was conducted in the Prophet’s mosque only. The Prophet (PBUH) in many of his sayings (hadith) encouraged people to frequent and patronize mosques, promising abundant rewards for those who assume and keep up that habit. He, for instance, said that a prayer offered in congregation is twenty five or twenty seven times more superior in reward to that which is offered alone;75 that those who walk to the mosques in darkness are given good tidings that they will have a perfect light on the Day of Judgment;76 that if women ask permission to go to the mosque at night they are to be allowed (women are not requested to pray in mosques);77 that those whose hearts are attached to the mosques are promised God’s shade on the Day of Judgment when there will be no shade but His, etc.78 In one hadith the Prophet (PBUH) after having said that praying in a group in the mosque is extraordinarily worthier than doing it elsewhere and alone, encapsulated all other advantages that await those who visit the mosque with the intention of praying in it: “… If one performs ablution and does it perfectly, and then proceeds to the mosque with the sole intention of praying, then for each step which he takes towards the mosque, Allah upgrades him a degree in reward and forgives one sin till he enters the mosque. While he enters the mosque he is considered in prayer as long as he is waiting for the prayer and the angels keep on asking for Allah’s forgiveness for him and they keep on saying: ‘O Allah! Be merciful to him; o Allah! Forgive him,’ as long as he keeps on sitting at his praying place and does not pass wind.”79 Abdullah b. Mas’ud once remarked that he has seen the time – obviously the time of the Prophet (PBUH) – when no one stayed away from the mosque


except hypocrites whose hypocrisy was well known. The situation was such that a man would be brought swaying – due to his weakness or illness – between two men till he was set up in a row.80 The Prophet (PBUH) has said about hypocrites and their conduct with respect to mosques: “No prayer is harder for the hypocrites than the Fajr and ‘Isha’ prayers, and if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to crawl. Certainly, I contemplated to order the mu’adhdhin (he who calls for prayers) to pronounce iqamah and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses.”81 Hence, congregational prayers could be classified as fard kifayah (collective duty), that is to say, although they are not required to be performed by everybody in the mosque, yet a certain group must do it. However, if no group accomplishes a prayer in the mosque, each and every member of a community will be held answerable. Keeping away from praying in the mosque with no valid reason, irrespective of whether there is already a group doing it or not, is a minor sin which nevertheless can amount to a major one should it persist. Only mandatory prayers (wajib) are to be performed in mosques, whereas voluntary prayers, even though susceptible of being performed in mosques, are advised to be limited to private homes. This is for fear that the people someday might become carried away and start neglecting the role of their houses in creating together with the mosque institution and other societal establishments a healthy and virtuous society. The role of the house institution is as essential and laudable so it must be treated as such and be given its due respect. Lest the people should end up embracing the unsolicited practice of visiting and maintaining mosques at the expense of their houses, activating and upholding the latter has been further reinforced by advising the Muslim woman to discharge her mandatory prayers at home, let alone voluntary ones – although going to mosques, even at night, does her no harm. The Prophet (PBUH) used to say that the houses in which their inhabitants neither pray nor read the Qur’an are like the graves and Satan loves so much to frequent them.82 Some more light about the relationship between mandatory and voluntary prayers and about the places suitable for their fulfillment has been cast in the following account. The Prophet (PBUH) is said to have once gone out and prayed in the mosque the voluntary prayer Tahajjud in the middle of the night and some men prayed with him. The next morning the people spoke about it and so more people gathered and prayed with him in the second night. The same occurred in the third night when the number of the people increased greatly. In the fourth night the number of the people was such that the mosque could hardly accommodate them, but the Prophet (PBUH) did not turn up. He came out only for the Morning prayer. He informed them that their presence was not hidden from him, but he deliberately declined to appear fearing that the Tahajjud prayer might be made compulsory and they might not be able to carry it out.83 This function of the mosque - certainly the overriding one of all other functions – has had several implications for its spatial composition. The implications started to assert themselves more and more with the passage of


time and the number of worshipers was dramatically increasing and the Muslims were making more and more contacts with foreign cultures and civilizations. One of the best cases in point perhaps is the pulpit (minbar). Minbar was introduced as a novel mosque component because it was increasingly becoming difficult for everyone to see and hear properly the Prophet (PBUH), as well as because the Prophet (PBUH) wished to have something to sit on in case he gets tired of standing while speaking. Another case in point is the institution of adhan, i.e. calling for prayers, which was not established at the same time as the institution of prayer. It came about a bit later. In the beginning, the people either used to be called to the mosque by a mere public announcement that a prayer time was due, or have not been called at all but used to assemble on their own at fixed times. The Prophet (PBUH) had several men who were assigned with the duty to pronounce adhan, but the most prominent of them was Bilal. When calling for prayers, Bilal sometimes used to climb the roof of the house of a woman from Banu al-Najjar because it was the highest and loftiest of all the houses around the mosque. He used to do this primarily for the Morning prayer. 84 Bilal would most of the time call for prayers at one of the mosque gates, though, he is even said to have had climbed a pilaster stationed on the qiblah side, outside the mosque proper, in one of the neighboring houses for the same purpose.85 During the reign of the caliph Mu’awiyah b. Abi Sufyan the first minarets were introduced to mosque architecture. To the mosque of ‘Amr b. al-‘As in Egypt the first minarets were affixed when it was rebuilt and enlarged by the mentioned caliph. Four minarets stood at the mosque’s four corners. The first minarets to the Prophet’s mosque were constructed by the caliph al-Walid b. ‘Abd al-Malik about the year 88/707. The similar motives could be given for explaining a whole host of other changes that were appearing every so often on the framework of the Prophet’s mosque. Some of the most attention-grabbing changes were roofing the qiblah side prior to which there was no roofed section for sometime in the mosque;86 illuminating the mosque with lamps whereas before it was illuminated by burning up fronds;87 strewing the mosque’s ground with pebbles while it was formerly bare and exposed;88 emphasizing increasingly the notion of cleanliness and tidiness89 which was crowned by the Prophet’s words that at or near the mosque gates adequately equipped spaces for taking ablution as well as to relieve nature be set up;90 designating the qiblah direction, as well as the place for the imam (prayer leader), on the qiblah wall or barely in front of it, after which the mihrab (prayer niche) mainly for aesthetic purposes was later instituted, etc. Regarding the mihrab, it did not have the shape of a niche until the caliph al-Walid b. ‘Abd al-Malik embarked on his hitherto unparalleled architectural enterprises. Yet it is believed that at the time of the Prophet (PBUH) in the existing mosques there was a simple albeit clear indication as to the direction of the qiblah and the position of the imam.91 In the Prophet’s mosque, the Prophet’s praying place was fixed and between it and the wall there was a space as wide as a sheep’s passage. There was a rod there on which the Prophet (PBUH) used to put his right hand before every prayer, turn to the worshipers and ask them to straighten their lines (sufuf).92 In some other earliest mosques, the direction of the


qiblah may have been marked by means of spears stuck in the ground, known as ‘anazah.93 The place for learning activities The Prophet’s mosque was the first and undeniably the most outstanding Islamic center of learning. There under the Prophet’s vigilant eye studied the generation – both men and women - of which Allah – be He exalted – says: “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Taurat; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them…” (al-Fath 29) Pursuing and transmitting knowledge is one of the noblest and most rewarding things that man can do in this terrestrial life. In Islam, learning means comprehending and recognizing Allah as the Creator and Sovereign of the cosmos and man; recognizing man as the vicegerent of Allah and understanding his behavior and society; and understanding, as well as appreciating, natural world so that a peaceful, sensible and decent relationship with it could be fostered.94 For the Muslims, therefore, living means learning, and learning means worshiping. Al-Ghazali captures this inimitable Islamic spirit of learning when he asserted that man “was created only to know (learn)”.95 The Prophet (PBUH) once said: “If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, Allah will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge, the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned man over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave neither dinar nor dirham, leaving only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion.”96 Allah – be He exalted and glorified – says in the Qur’an: “Those truly fear Allah, among His servants, who have knowledge.” (Fatir 28) Also: “There is no god but He: that is the witness of Allah, His angels, and those endued with knowledge, standing firm on justice…” (Alu ‘Imran 18) Also: “…Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition.” (al-Zumar 9) Since at first there were no schools as such, it was natural that mosques became the first Islamic learning centers accessible to all, with the Prophet’s mosque standing out as a dynamic standard setter. While encouraging the people to make use of mosques for the said purpose, the Prophet (PBUH) revealed: “… He who treads the path in search of knowledge Allah will make with


it the path which leads to Jannah easy for him. And those persons who assemble in a house of Allah’s Houses (mosques) and recite the Qur’an, learning and teaching it among themselves, there would descend upon them the tranquility, and mercy would cover them, and the angels would surround them, and Allah makes a mention of them in the presence of those near Him…”97 The first generation of the Muslims was capitalizing on every opportunity to acquire and then disseminate knowledge. Some of them were disposed to persevere in it even at the expense of some things which they have been delighting in. That's why the Prophet’s mosque was always bustling with life. Study circles over which the Prophet (PBUH) often presided, intellectual discourses, meditation, devotion to learning on an individual basis, etc., made the mosque virtually never devoid of people. Neither women nor children have been disregarded in the process. The Prophet (PBUH) allocated some time during every week for teaching exclusively women, since they had their own themes and issues which they wanted very much to bring up and gain knowledge of, but in a comfortable and conducive atmosphere away from men. A’ishah, the Prophet’s wife once remarked about the native women of Madinah; “Blessed are the women of the Ansar (Helpers). Shyness did not stand in their way seeking knowledge about their religion.”98 The number of knowledge seekers in the early Islamic society was increasing rapidly, never showing signs of decline. On the whole, two reasons may be given for this phenomenon. Firstly: the revelation of Islam - that is to say, the revelation of new knowledge, new teachings and new counsels – did not come to an end until the demise of the Prophet (PBUH). So by no means could anybody “graduate” from the Prophet’s school ahead of his demise, or claim at any point beforehand that he or she had acquired enough knowledge and wisdom. And secondly: the number of new converts and migrants from different parts of the Arabian Peninsula was constantly increasing, crowding, in turn, the mosque’s learning circles, as well as such as have been arranged for the purpose in some private dwellings. Such was the situation that the Prophet (PBUH) had to assign some learned companions of his to help in meeting the escalating demand.99 Every kind of beneficial knowledge was pursued and cultivated – in keeping with the existing standards, of course. Poetry, in which many companions excelled and which was primarily used for propagating the Islamic cause, was no exception. Hassan b. Thabit was one of the most outstanding poets. He used to recite poetry in the very mosque of the Prophet (PBUH) and in the very presence of the Prophet (PBUH) who once said: “O Hassan! Reply on behalf of Allah’s Messenger. O Allah! Support him with the Holy Spirit.”100 Later, the caliph ‘Umar b. al-Khattab disapproved of reciting poetry in mosques, though.101 When he once encountered Hassan b. Thabit in the Prophet’s mosque, who was precisely doing that, ‘Umar demurred. But Hassan refused to give in, telling ‘Umar that he was reciting poetry in the same mosque and in the presence of one (the Prophet) who was far better than him. Hassan


even asked Abu Hurayrah to bear witness to what he was saying, which the latter did.102 Such a state of affairs, which later became the main feature of the principal mosques in Muslim cities, the caliph ‘Umar b. al-Khattab had surely in mind when he asked his Kufah governor Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas to position the treasury, which was robbed of some of its contents, as near as possible the congregation area. “For in the mosque there are always people present, day and night, they will act as guards of what is also their treasure”, wrote ‘Umar to the governor.103 Truly, the existence of the ‘People of the suffah’, who were the poorest in the community and who resided in a shaded structure (suffah, meaning a ‘raised platform or bench’) erected for them in a corner of the northern side of the mosque, contributed to the vivacity and intensity of the intellectual life in the Prophet’s mosque. Most of the suffah dwellers were from Makkah, but some were from Madinah, those who wanted to live a life of asceticism (zuhd) and poverty, despite the fact that they could afford not to do so, and had houses in Madinah.104 The suffah could house between seventy and one hundred individuals and the number of tenants was subjected to how fast their overall condition was improving. The suffah dwellers were never idle. They have been spending most of their time praying, remembering Allah ta’ala, reading, memorizing and contemplating the Holy Qur’an, meditating, discussing, studying, and the like. A man from them was chosen to be their spokesman and head, and he was directly answerable to the Prophet (PBUH) for what was transpiring in the suffah. A companion ‘Ubadah b. al-Samit was entrusted with teaching them apart from the Holy Qur’an writing and reading as well.105 The ‘People of the suffah’ would frequently go out to perform whatever work they could find in order to procure their sustenance. They actively participated in jihad and some of them died as martyrs on different battlefields. Notwithstanding their difficult state, they abhorred remaining a liability to the community. By virtue of the Prophet (PBUH) having dwelled close at hand - on the eastern side of the mosque - ‘the People of the suffah’ have actually been honored to spend more time with him, and hence learn from him, than a good number of other companions. The Prophet (PBUH) would often eat with them sharing with them what he and his household could afford.106 Some of the most prominent individuals who transmitted a great deal of the Prophet’s sayings and traditions, such as Abu Hurayra and Hudhayfah b. al-Yaman, have therefore been from the ranks of the ‘People of the suffah’. At the location where the Pillar of Repentance (Ustuwan al-Tawbah) stands today inside the Prophet’s mosque the Prophet (PBUH) used to sit after the Dawn (Fajr) prayer. By and large, he would be preceded in expectation by the poor, the weak, the needy, some guests, the People of the suffah, and others. There the Prophet (PBUH) would sit with them, talk to them, listen to what they had to say, recite the latest revelations to them, and see to their needs till the sun appears and the more affluent and the noblemen arrive finding no place to sit near the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet’s own wish was to give them their


share of his presence, but Allah revealed: “And keep yourself content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, and his affair has become all excess.” (al-Kahf 28)107 In one account some additional light has been cast on the nature of the intellectual life in Madinah in general and in the Prophet’s mosque in particular. There it is referred to seventy men from the Ansar (Helpers, or the natives of Madinah) who were called Reciters (al-qurra’). They used to recite the Qur’an, discuss and ponder over its meaning at night. In the day, they would bring water and pour it (in pitchers) in the mosque, collect wood and sell it, and from the sale proceeds buy food for the ‘People of the suffah’ and the needy. These seventy Reciters the Prophet (PBUH) sent to a group of the people who had asked for some men to be sent to them so as to teach them the Qur’an and the sunnah. However, those people were treacherous so they fell upon the Reciters and killed them all before they reached their destination.108 The center of the Prophet’s government The mosque of the Prophet (PBUH) played the role of the seat of the first Islamic government. In the mosque, the Prophet (PBUH) used to discuss, decide and execute many affairs related to administering the state. Jihad and state defense strategies were also initiated and concluded in the mosque compound. In his mosque, the Prophet (PBUH) received foreign dignitaries. A tent was set up in the mosque where from time to time some of the Prophet’s guests would stay. Some guests would stay even in the suffah. However, more often than not, most of his guests would stay in some lofty houses which belonged to some companions and which have been appointed for the purpose.109 Some of the Prophet’s guests were non-Muslims or recent converts. As such, receiving them and making them stay in the mosque could soften their hearts, as well as change for the better their stance on Islam and the Muslims. When receiving foreign delegations, the Prophet (PBUH) would put on the most beautiful apparel he had. He would furthermore ask his nearest companions to do the same. The mosque every so often also served as a revenue distribution center. When some goods collected in Bahrain as land tax – the biggest amount ever received during the Prophet’s time - came to the Prophet (PBUH), he gathered the people in his mosque where everything till the last coin was fairly distributed.110 The Prophet (PBUH) likewise acted in his mosque as judge and arbitrator. However, the execution of sentences took place outside the mosque proper, sometimes near the place for offering the Funerary prayers, as happened to a Jewish man and woman, both married, who were stoned to death for committing adultery - as prescribed by their religious law -,111 and sometimes in the musalla (the ‘Id praying place), as happened to a married Muslim man who was also stoned to death for committing adultery. After the Prophet’s demise, the caliphs


and those to whom the chore of administering justice have been delegated followed in his footsteps. The rationale behind keeping judicature for centuries under the very mosque roof and, to be precise, next to the minbar (pulpit), even though some of the mosque’s diverse functions have evolved and fanned out from the praying area into a variety of specialized structures, is to make the matter somewhat transparent and the assigned personnel at all times accessible to everyone: strong and weak, rich and poor, man and woman, black and white, Arab and non-Arab. It also helped both accusers and those who are accused, as well as witnesses - especially those who are weak, helpless and oppressed - feel courageous, secure, relaxed and unperturbed, because they find themselves at the moment of truth in the milieu that had been instituted so that the values and norms of piety, honesty, righteousness, justice, equality and brotherhood could be put into service not only within the boundaries of the Islamic state, but also worldwide. In view of the mosque having been the seat of the Prophet’s government, some messengers representing some external tribes and communities would routinely upon entering Madinah go straight away to the mosque. In it, they were able to find either the Prophet (PBUH) or somebody else who would come to get them and answer their queries. Some such messengers had acquaintance neither with the Prophet (PBUH) nor with the city of Madinah and its populace. Nevertheless, they had a sufficient idea as to the importance of the Prophet’s mosque, which posed a relief to them, as well as a springboard for discovering, knowing and experiencing everything that they came for. An example of this is the arrival of a man called Dimam b. Tha’labah who was dispatched by his people to meet the Prophet (PBUH). Entering the mosque, he found the Prophet (PBUH) with a group of his companions, but so similar to others in both apparel and demeanor was the Prophet (PBUH) that the man found it - like most other strangers did - as good as impossible to recognize him. So the man had to ask some companions who the Prophet (PBUH) was.112 The center for charitable activities The Prophet’s mosque also served as a charity center. We have already referred to the suffah, which was set up in a corner of the northern wall of the mosque. There, the poorest companions resided. There were actually two suffahs: one for men and the other for women, the former seemingly outnumbering the latter. It maybe due to the number of its tenants and its corresponding stature in the mosque proper, that the suffah for women is less known and less frequently referred to. And whenever it is brought up, such is usually done in an indirect manner, such as the companion ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar’s statement that the Prophet (PBUH) cut off a thief’s hand for stealing a shield from the women’s suffah.113 Like their counterparts in the male suffah, the women in the female suffah did not sit idle. Several activities for their own wellbeing and for the wellbeing of the whole community kept them busy.114


Although the ‘People of the suffah’ tried really hard to live on their own, yet they found it impossible to make ends meet. So the community had to help them in the short term by providing necessities for them almost on a daily basis (inviting the suffah dwellers for a meal or bringing food into the mosque and eating in a group was a normal occurrence), and in the long term by providing some permanent work opportunities, thus allowing them to stand on their own two feet as soon as it was viable. The number of the suffah’s occupants was therefore always changing and fluid. There were always those who were leaving it and those who were coming in. Seldom, however, were the alterations in a commensurate mode, resulting in the place sometimes being overcrowded and at other times almost vacant. The Prophet (PBUH) never neglected the suffah and its occupants, and they were always on his mind. Whenever he received charity (sadaqah), he would send it to them without taking any of it for himself, and whenever he received a gift, he would send for them and share it with them. He often used to invite them to a meal in his house. When al-Hasan, the Prophet’s grandchild, was born, he asked his daughter Fatimah to give the weight of the baby’s hair in silver to the suffah dwellers as charity.115 There was also a tent in the mosque, or a small room with a low roof, set up for a black girl who was a slave belonging to an Arab tribe. She was unjustly accused of stealing a red leather scarf decorated with precious stone. After the truth had surfaced, she came to the Prophet (PBUH) as quickly as she could manage and embraced Islam. She stayed in the mosque in her tent regularly calling on ‘Aishah, the Prophet’s wife, and talking to her.116 Detention and rehabilitation center The Prophet’s mosque partly functioned as a detention center too. However, many aspects of this role remained shrouded in a number of ambiguities. Not only have some male captives been kept in what can be dubbed as the mosque detention center but also female ones. For the latter an enclosed space near one of the mosque entrances was allocated.117 It is reported that a man called Thumama b. Uthal from the Bani Hanifah clan in Najd was captured and fastened to one of the pillars of the mosque. However, the Prophet (PBUH) later ordered some of his people to release him. The man thereupon went to a garden next to the mosque, took a bath and entered the mosque proclaiming shahadah, i.e. he embraced Islam.118 The benefits of having a detention center within the mosque realm have been two-fold: it ensured safety and fair treatment of internees – generally war prisoners; and it helped them to slowly and via some hands-on experience come to terms with what Islam and the Muslims were all about and what they really stand for, taking into account the mosque’s societal significance. This resulted in many a detainee to be won over by the life and demeanor of the Muslims and to eventually accept Islam. In other words, the place was not a detention center per se; rather, it was a spiritual rehabilitation center never excluded from the ever-increasing scope of


da’wah islamiyyah (propagation of Islam). When Thumama b. Uthal - whom we have mentioned earlier - embraced Islam, having spent a couple of days tied in the mosque as a prisoner, he said to the Prophet (PBUH): “By Allah, there was no face on the earth more hateful to me than your face, but now your face has become to me the dearest of all faces. By Allah, there was no religion more hateful to me than your religion, but now your religion has become the dearest of all religions to me. By Allah, there was no city more hateful to me than your city, but now your city has become the dearest of all cities to me.”119 The first in Islam who is believed to have had real detention centers was the fourth caliph, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib. As for the three of his predecessors, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman, they followed the custom of the Prophet (PBUH). Of the three only ‘Umar is said to have once bought a house in Makkah - after the number of the Muslims had increased dramatically in wake of opening Persia and much of Byzantium to Islam - to function as a detention center. 120 Even this was nothing new. During the time of the Prophet (PBUH), the house of a certain Ramlah binti al-Harith al-Najjariyyah, apart from serving as one of the houses in which some of the Prophet’s guests or visiting delegations used to be accommodated, once served as an interim detention center too. In it, the members of the Jewish tribe Banu Qurayzah – around seven hundred in all – were imprisoned from the moment the judgment that their men are to be slain, property divided, and the women and children made captive, had been passed on them until the same was executed at least one day later.121 The Prophet (PBUH) gave Banu Qurayzah this treatment because of their treacherous acts against the Muslims during the terrifying battle of the Ditch (Khandaq) when the very existence of Islam and the Muslims was put in jeopardy, in spite of all the peace and collaboration treaties that existed between the Muslims and the Jews. It was due to this particular role played by the mosque that the Prophet (PBUH) wanted to tie a strong demon from the Jinns to one of the mosque pillars, having earlier caught him. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “A strong demon from the Jinns came to me yesterday suddenly, so as to spoil my prayer, but Allah enabled me to overpower him, and so I caught him and intended to tie him to one of the pillars of the mosque so that all of you might see him, but I remembered the invocation of my brother Sulayman (Solomon): ‘And grant me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me,’ (Sad 35) so I let him go cursed.”122 For the same reason, indeed, the companion Abu Lubabah b. ‘Abd alMundhir tied himself to one of the pillars in the Prophet’s mosque, after indicating to the treacherous Jewish tribe Banu Qurayzah, which the Prophet (PBUH) and the Muslims had besieged for days for the reasons earlier given, that if they surrendered they would be killed. Abu Lubabah was formerly an ally of the Jews and they consulted him about surrendering. Having hinted at their likely fate he regretted it very much believing that he has breached the limit and in certain ways betrayed the Muslims. He then tied himself in the mosque and refused to be set free until his repentance was accepted, which eventually happened. 123 Abu Lubabah remained at the pillar for some ten or fifteen days. Before every payer, or whenever it was necessary, his daughter would come to untie his bonds; then


after he had prayed, he would bid her bind him once more.124 Subsequently, the pillar which Abu Lubabah had tied himself to became known as the Pillar of Repentance (Ustuwan al-Tawbah).125 At the time of the Muslim military expedition to Tabuk, there was a group of ten men who together with several other groups failed to march with the army. Each group had its own reasons for the default. The Qur’an says about them: “Others (there are who) have acknowledged their wrong-doings: they have mixed an act that was good with another that was evil. Perhaps Allah will turn unto them (in mercy): for Allah is Oft-forgiving, most Merciful.” (al-Tawbah 102) Pressed by guilt, seven of the ten men tied themselves in the mosque to its pillars until the revelation of the said verse in which they have been forgiven. Abu Lubabah b. ‘Abd al-Mundhir was one of the ten men and was one of those who tied themselves. A place for medical treatment and nursing In the Prophet’s mosque there was occasionally a place dedicated for medical treatment and nursing as well. A tent or more have at times been erected there for the purpose. On the day of the battle of the Trench (al-khandaq) the companion Sa’d b. Mu’adh was injured and the Prophet (PBUH) pitched a tent in the mosque so that he could be looked after properly. Besides, he wanted very much to be near him so as to visit him on a regular basis and monitor his situation. A woman by the name of Rufaydah was most renowned of those who were nursing the sick and wounded.126 Some women used to accompany the Muslim armies to the battlefield in order to look after the ailing and wounded soldiers. Returning to Madinah, some people with serious wounds still needed a continual and more intensive healing procedure. In view of the quantity and regularity of the combats conducted by the Muslims, the number of the wounded must have been at all times quite sizeable. A place for some leisure activities The mosque of the Prophet (PBUH) was a place where some sport and recreation activities were occasionally held, both inside and outside. A’ishah, the Prophet’s wife, narrated that once during the ‘Id festival she saw the Prophet (PBUH) at the door of their house watching some Ethiopians who were playing in the mosque proper displaying their skill with spears, whereupon she joined him.127 The same or another group ‘Umar b. al-Khattab scolded, but the Prophet (PBUH) asked him to leave them alone. And to them he said that they are safe and should carry on.128 Also, immediately after the sunset prayer (maghrib), the companions would sometimes compete in archery inside or barely outside the mosque in the Prophet’s presence till the full darkness descended and the targets were no longer visible.129 When the Prophet (PBUH) got married to one of his wives, the mother of the companion Anas b. Malik prepared some food and sent it to the Prophet


(PBUH). The number of his guests was about three hundred all of whom had come upon invitation. As most of them could not enter the house, they stayed in the mosque, in the suffah, waiting for their turn to go in the house and eat.130 Even some people would spend their free time in the mosque, knowing that there will always be somebody there to talk to, to listen to, to teach or learn something new from, etc. There was regularly something constructive going on there. Even the Prophet (PBUH) used to spend some of his scarce free time in the mosque enjoying some light moments with his companions, making them beam and he himself beaming at whatever they might have been talking about, like some amusing tales from the Jahilyyah period. This ubiquitous sentiment was quite effortlessly sustained because of the fact that the community was rapidly expanding, its ideology reaching new horizons, and revelation (wahy) constantly coming down to guide the people and facilitate and spur their spiritual and civilizational headway. The mood, however, often metamorphosed into excitement, curiosity, hope and the sense of responsibility. A number of individuals fervently tried everything possible to stay in permanent touch with what was occurring. They aimed to identify and absorb what was affecting them, outlining then the scope of their immediate and subsequent participation as well as contribution. It is said about ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, who was living at a distance from the Madinah center and was unable to be with the Prophet (PBUH) every day, that he made an agreement with one of the Ansars (Helpers) that they would be present with him on alternate days, and report to each other everything they saw and heard from him. It is also said of Abu Hurayrah that he kept his constant company with the Prophet (PBUH) for three years, sacrificing all worldly pursuits, in order to see and hear what he did and said, and regularly devoted a period of time to memorizing the words he had heard.131 In both above-mentioned instances the Prophet’s mosque must have played a pivotal role, irrespective of whether the Prophet (PBUH) was always there or not. However, if there was nothing going on, or there was nobody, in the mosque – something that was very unlikely – the people knew that its doors were always wide open welcoming such as were entering to read and contemplate the meaning of the Qur’an, engage themselves in meditation and remembrance of God (dhikr), offer voluntary prayers, and the like, until the time for an approaching prayer was due and everybody assembled. In the meantime, however, to have a meal, a nap, or even spend a night in the mosque was a normal drill admonished by nobody. Abdullah b. Umar reported that during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) he as a youngster used to sleep in the mosque.132 Also, once there was some misunderstanding between ‘Ali b. Abi Talib and his wife Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, at which the former got angry and went out. He went to the mosque where he slept. But it happened just then that the Prophet (PBUH) was looking for ‘Ali and when told where ‘Ali was, he went to the mosque and found him there. ‘Ali was sleeping. His upper body cover had fallen down to one side of his


body and he was covered with dust. The Prophet (PBUH) started cleaning the dust from him saying: “Get up! O Abu Turab (father of dust).”133 Some people have even seen the Prophet (PBUH) lying flat (on his back) in the mosque with one leg on the other.” The caliphs ‘Umar b. al-Khattab and ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan used to do the same.134 Rules of respect for mosques135 Since the mosque was the nucleus of the Muslim life and activities, a code of ethics had to be established under the guardianship of revelation, lest some people might start misusing it - on purpose or otherwise – or start developing a code of moral principles on their own dominated by the norms and rituals of the Jahiliyyah (ignorance) era. However, as the religion of Islam was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) gradually and in stages, through instructions, responses and answers to various dilemmas and developments confronting the emerging community, so that the heart of the Prophet (PBUH) and the hearts of his followers may be calmed and strengthened - likewise the mosque, the ground for the implementation of many a regulation and teaching of Islam, could not be an exception to this rule - i.e. gradual revelation and application of Islam. While subjecting the evolution of the mosque: its utility and spatial structure, to the principles of gradation, the Prophet (PBUH) appears to have been very sensitive and responsive to the needs of the young but fast expanding Muslim community. In so doing, he was not hasty, impatient or autocratic; rather, he was prudent, farsighted and not at all snobbish. The following are some examples of the code of ethics for the mosque institution in general: • Mosques are to be maintained clean and tidy for cleanliness is part of faith (iman). The Prophet (PBUH) said that the rewards of his people had been presented before him, so much so that even the reward for removing a mote by a person from the mosque was presented to him. 136 At the beginning some people were not cleanliness-conscious and they needed some time to develop certain manners. They were most likely of those who have freshly entered the fold of the new religion. Among other things, they had a habit of spitting phlegm inside the mosque without doing away with it afterwards or covering it up. The Prophet (PBUH) disliked the habit very much. Nevertheless, the habit needed to be overcome gradually and with a great deal of wisdom and goodly counsel. The Prophet (PBUH) thus advised such as were prone to doing this that phlegm be scraped off and the place be overlaid with saffron or crocus (za’faran) or anything else which is pleasant and fragrant. The Prophet (PBUH) himself on a couple of occasions scraped off some people’s spits after having seen that they had been left behind. He would likewise shower with praises those who did the same.137 Towards this end is a hadith wherein the Prophet (PBUH) has said that whoever does away with a disturbance from the mosque God will build a house for him in Paradise (Jannah).138 An Abyssinian (Ethiopian) woman later took up the chore of looking after the cleanliness


of the Prophet’s mosque (some believe it was a man). So high a regard did the Prophet (PBUH) have for her that he told her one day that a double portion of reward awaits her. When she died, some people treated her affairs as of little account and buried her without informing the Prophet (PBUH). Nevertheless, on discovering that she was missing, he asked concerning her. When told what had happened he replied that they should have informed him. Then, he asked to be shown her grave where he prayed for her.139 The Prophet (PBUH) said that no admittance to the mosque was allowed for those who have eaten beforehand of either of the two: garlic and onion.140 The hadith message, however, comprises not only these two vegetable plants, because of their strong smell and flavor, but also everything else, eaten or worn, the smell of which may in one way or another disturb the people. Towards this end are the Prophet’s words: “Were it not hard on my ummah, I would order them to use the tooth-stick at the time of every prayer.”141 The Prophet (PBUH) also advised that women should apply no perfume when going to the mosque.142 Since the mosque and what goes on in it is an extremely serious affair, children and madmen are to be kept away from it whenever considered necessary. Unless they are supervised by a parent or a guardian they are not to linger there.143 On one occasion the Prophet (PBUH) retired to the mosque and heard some people reciting the Qur’an in a loud voice. He told them: “Everyone of you should call his Lord quietly. One should not trouble the other and one should not raise the voice in recitation or in prayer over the voice of the other.”144 The Prophet (PBUH) also said: “One who recites the Qur’an in a loud voice is like one who gives alms openly; and one who recites the Qur’an quietly is like one who gives alms secretly.”145 The Prophet (PBUH) prohibited buying and selling in the mosque, announcing aloud about a lost thing, reciting a poem, and sitting in a circle on Friday before the prayer.146 The Prophet (PBUH) prohibited poem recital in the mosque as he felt it is nonsensical and did not serve the cause of Islam. As for sitting in a circle on Friday before the prayer, it was prevented because it might disturb those who used to cram the mosque as early as possible, as encouraged by the Prophet (PBUH). That some special attention has been given to public gatherings and the ways people ought to behave in them may be corroborated by the following Qur’anic verse: “O ye who believe! When ye are told to make room in the assemblies, (spread out and) make room: (ample) room will Allah provide for you. And when ye are told to rise up, rise up: Allah will raise up, to (suitable) ranks (and degrees), those of you who believe and who have been granted knowledge. And Allah is well-acquainted with all ye do.” (alMujadalah 11) Every illegitimate action committed in the mosque is to be purged with a great degree of patience, wisdom and kind advice. The sanctity of the mosque is to be honored and, at the same time, imparted in the most


• • •

beautiful and effective ways to those who are yet to perceive and imbibe it. Anas b. Malik reported that while they were one day sitting with the Prophet (PBUH) in the mosque, a desert Arab came and stood up and began to urinate in the mosque. The companions of the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Stop, stop!” They even rushed to beat him. But the Prophet (PBUH) asked them to leave him alone telling them that they have been sent to make things easy for the people and not to make things difficult for them. To the man, when he finished urinating, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “These mosques are not the places meant for urine and filth, but are only for the remembrance of Allah, prayer and recitation of the Qur’an.”147 The Prophet (PBUH) insisted that mosques belong to everybody and that reserving certain places for certain people - like a camel which fixes its place - is not acceptable.148 Certain supplications have been prescribed for entering and leaving the mosque. On entering a mosque, the people are advised to pray two rak’ahs before sitting.149 The mosque is not to be made a thoroughfare. When coming to and entering the mosque, people are bidden to portray a sober, calm and dignified deportment. No running or scrambling is advised. One is not to enter the mosque unconsciously, talking and laughing loosely, as if one is not aware of the place where he actually is. When coming to or leaving the mosque men and women are not to mingle freely in the road. They are to keep to different sides.150 When going to the mosque, people are advised to wear their beautiful adornments or apparel. However, even here when one solemnly applies his mind to the presence of Allah the caution against excess applies: “O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.” (Al-A’raf 31) Once the Prophet (PBUH) was in the mosque when a man came in with disheveled hair and beard. The Prophet (PBUH) motioned with his hand that he should be sent out to groom his hair and beard. The man did so and then returned. The Prophet (PBUH) thereupon said: “Isn’t this better than that one of you should come with his head disheveled as if he were a shaytan (satan).”151

Part Three: Nurturing Exemplary Community Members
The worldview and urban development People are both the creators and demolishers of every civilizational accomplishment. They too are the only beneficiaries of civilizational valuable upshots. Similarly, people are the creators and inhabitants of cities. They create cities and then live and work in them either commendably, thus securing the fruits of their right acts so long as they stick to the right schemes which led them to such a state, or dissipatedly with no clear purpose or direction. In the latter scenario, things soon start working against the inhabitants of a city making their 50

life proportionately miserable and detrimental. Allah says to this effect: “Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of (the meed) that the hands of men have earned, that (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from evil).” (al-Rum 41) If a city is well-ordered, clean, efficient, corruption-free, balanced, safe, free from stress and nuisance, it is all due to the right conduct, attitudes and mindset of its inhabitants. The same is also reflected when a city’s amenities are adequate and accessible, when its environment is conducive towards social interaction and coherence, when it conserves material and energy resources, and when it prevents ecological disruption. The good virtues of a city’s inhabitants must have been modeled in accordance with a sound worldview that regulates their relationship with fellow community members, nature (space) and God. All the policies and schemes originated and implemented in this kind of the city are merely an expression of the city’s upbeat total atmosphere that has been avidly generated and then made pervasive over every department of living. All persons live and work in line with the adopted thinking paradigm, striving together to contribute within the realm of their abilities in realizing a set of fixed goals and ideals. Hence, it is understood that in this case every attempt towards any deviational tendency, by either an individual or a group, shall on time be diagnosed and in a resolute fashion jointly dealt with. However, if the opposite is the case, that is to say, if the conditions in a city are awful and detrimental to living, who is to be blamed? The demeanor, attitudes and mindset of the city dwellers – everyone in the socio-political hierarchy – as well as certain policies and their enforcement, are as a rule pointed at as the causes of the trouble. This may be partly true and acceptable, yet a majority of the root causes would definitely be related to the snags in the people’s commitment to an adopted worldview (philosophy of life) – provided the worldview itself is free of them and other imperfections - which can gradually lead to as far as forsaking the same altogether. Deviating from an established vision and worldview, or abandoning them completely, has always produced a chain reaction in everything that people do. It follows that all the phenomena witnessed in a community and its urban and rural settlements, irrespective of whether they are good or bad, are reflective of the nature and strength of people’s association with a philosophy of life and reality on whose principles the community had been established and had been surviving for years. The stronger and healthier the relationship between people and the philosophy of their community (their settlements) the more is it likely that they (their community) will keep moving ahead longer, and vice versa. Therefore, understanding fully all the aspects of the problems that beset a city, linking the symptoms with their root causes, before embarking on a healing process, shall always be vital. Of the essence is thus constantly and painstakingly educating, purifying, nurturing and cherishing individuals: elderly, adults and children, along the lines of an adopted philosophy and vision, as well as overseeing and monitoring their progress and involvements. This is so because individuals make up groups and societies, and they are the planners, makers, beneficiaries, consumers and


demolishers of every civilizational triumph. Hence, in view of the developments that the Islamic message was living through in the city-state of Madinah following the Hijrah, such a thing, i.e. nurturing community members consistent with the values and beliefs of Islam, instantaneously attracted much of the Prophet’s attention. It should be noted at this point that at the time of the Hijrah, the ongoing revelation of Islam was entering its 13th year and the Muslims were yet to set up a free and autonomous state of their own. Once the city of Madinah with most of its inhabitants wholeheartedly welcomed the new religion, so fiercely disapproved of by many where it had originated, the wait finally came to an end and the stage was set for broadening the focus of the young community’s undertakings. As a result, the focus of revelation was likewise widened. The religion of Islam thus began to assert itself as a universal code of life overlooking no segment of human existence - a momentous development indeed after having been portrayed essentially as an inclusive belief system during the precarious episode in Makkah. From the point of development, urbanization and community building, the whole Madinah period of revelation - in particular the first half, about four to five years – was, as expected, exceptionally eventful. The Prophet’s vision of the subject of personality and community building was well-structured and arresting. He championed that under the auspices of Islam and its unique tawhidic worldview, the Muslims are seen as brothers to each other and their similitude is like a wall whose bricks enforce and rely on each other; they are like a solid cemented structure held together in unity and strength, each part contributing strength in its own way, and the whole held together not like a mass, but like a living organism.152 The Muslims are furthermore related to each other in such a way that if one of them (a part of an organic and formidable formation called the Ummah) is troubled by a problem of whatever kind, the rest of the body parts will remain disturbed and restless until the matter became fairly solved. Surely, for the reason of nurturing community members did the Prophet (PBUH) upon arriving in Madinah disclose to the assembled crowd some of the paths which invariably lead towards Jannah (Paradise) in the Hereafter, as well as towards individual and collective felicity in this world. Such paths are: implementing and spreading peace and concord wherever possible and by whatever lawful means, sharing and compassion, maintaining good relations with relatives (as well as with others), and praying at night when everybody else is asleep. A companion ‘Abdullah b. Salam has said that these were the first words he had heard from the Prophet (PBUH).153 Without doubt, these were among the very first advices the Prophet (PBUH) gave following the Hijrah, because ‘Abdullah b. Salam was among the first to see, meet and hear the Prophet (PBUH). No sooner had he done so than he embraced Islam, as he realized that the Prophet’s face “seemed by no means like the face of a phony.”154 For the same reason did the content of the Prophet’s sermon at the first Friday prayer (Jum’ah) in Madinah – as well as the content of the other sermons of his at this juncture - emphasize the importance of such issues as faith (iman), taking hold of the good and leaving the evil, brotherhood, sincerity,


steadfastness, gratefulness for the blessing of Islam, the significance of helping one another in righteousness and piety and not in sin and rancor, the common cause of the Muslims, and the like.155 Some of the underlying societal qualities and features of Islam, such as commitment to the established cause, justice, equality, and mutual understanding and cooperation, have also been manifested as early as during the exercise of determining the site of the Prophet’s mosque and marking out its boundaries. At the earmarked location there was a walled piece of land that belonged to some people from the Banu al-Najjar clan. The Prophet (PBUH) sent to them and asked them to suggest to him the price of the land. They replied: “No! By Allah! We do not demand its price except from Allah.” The Prophet (PBUH) accepted the offer and the occurrence typified as well as inaugurated, so to speak, a new phase of the unreserved keenness of the first Muslims to sacrifice whatever they possessed for the cause of strengthening Islam and the Muslims.156 Additionally, the mosque proper was about to expand into an area used for drying dates which belonged to two youths, both orphans, named Sahl and Suhayl. The Prophet (PBUH) asked them too to suggest to him the price of the place. However, when they said that they demand no price for it, the Prophet (PBUH) insisted that they tell the price, since they were orphans and possessed little. Eventually, he paid them ten golden dinars. The money was Abu Bakr’s.157 The Prophet’s scheme of personality and community building reached its pinnacle when he legislated the system of mu’akhah (brotherly association) among the Migrants (Muhajirs) from Makkah and Helpers (Ansar) from Madinah. The mu’akhah included 90 men, 45 from either side. While some claim that the mu’akhah took place after the building of the Prophet’s mosque, albeit before the battle of Badr, others contend that it in fact occurred during the process of building the mosque.158 The mu’akhah was accomplished in the house of Anas b. Malik.159 So binding was the treaty that the Migrants for sometimes were the heirs of the Helpers, and vice versa, instead of their own kindred by blood. Later, however, the verse 33 from the chapter al-Nisa’ was revealed and the matter of the Migrants and Helpers inheriting one another was cancelled.160 Shortly after arriving in Madinah, the Prophet (PBUH) also organized the relationship between the various inhabitants of Madinah, including the Jews, and recorded it in a document (the Constitution of Madinah). The commitments of each group within Madinah and its rights and duties were comprehensively enshrined in the document. That the society of Madinah was founded and was set to progress on the basis of commitment, love, mutual understanding, cooperation and support, was thus demonstrated in a striking applied fashion. As was the Islamic perception of believers envisaging them in their mutual love and affection as one entity whose components depend on and complement each other. The community building process based on wisdom and pragmatism When seen against the backdrop of the conditions that preceded the advent of Islam to the Madinah realm, the Prophet’s scheme of personality and community


building with its significance for the future of the city and the future of the whole Ummah, could perhaps be better perceived. The Arabs of Madinah (the Aws and Khazraj tribes) have lived enveloped in greatest ignorance and moral degradation for centuries. Having been unable to make any noteworthy civilizational headway, they remained overshadowed by the Jews, their mystifying and hypocrisy-prone neighbors. On top of all this, the Arabs of Madinah were torn with civil and tribal wars and feuds, so much so that they appeared on the brink of an absolute destruction. However, no sooner had the Prophet (PBUH) established a reliable relationship with them and then together with other Migrants set his foot on the Madinah soil than the life there set out to undergo some drastic transformations. In due course, the entire socio-political, economic and ideological landscape was set to change and never to be the same again. The Holy Qur’an hints in a dramatic mode at the past dismal Madinah scenario: “And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the Pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: that ye may be guided.” (Alu ‘Imran 103) When the Prophet (PBUH) met for the first time some people from Madinah during their pilgrimage to the Ka’bah, after a few questions had been asked and answered they immediately testified to the truth of the Prophet’s message. While describing the state of affairs in Madinah (then Yathrib) to the Prophet (PBUH) they rightly remarked, summing up some of the most harmful adversities which were plaguing them, that there is no people so torn asunder by enmity and evil as the people whom they had left behind. 161 In the wake of the battle of Hunayn in the eighth year, the Prophet (PBUH) while distributing the spoils of war addressed the Helpers (Ansar) in the following fashion, thus reminding them of their original condition and reaffirming the special bonds that were linking him forever with them: “… Didn’t I find you erring and God guided you, poor and God enriched you, enemies each of the other and God reconciled your hearts? …Are you not well content, o Helpers, that the people take with them their sheep and their camels, and that you take with you the Messenger of God unto your homes? If all men but the Helpers went one way, and the Helpers another, I would go the way of the Helpers. God have mercy upon the Helpers, and on their sons, and on their sons’ sons.”162 Nurturing exemplary community members in Madinah was additionally dealt with by God’s direct intervention, by means of prescribing directives that targeted at both men’s and women’s steady spiritual development, as well as at defining their role and standing in the community. For instance, in the night of alMi’raj, which occurred sometime between one and two years before the Hijrah, the institution of prayer (Salah) was prescribed to the Muslims. Initially, the prayers of those not traveling and of those traveling had both been of two rak’ahs, except the Maghrib (sunset) prayer which remained of three rak’ahs from the beginning. But about a month after the arrival of the Prophet (PBUH) in


Madinah two rak’ahs in Zuhr (noon), ‘Asr (mid afternoon) and ‘Isha’ (evening) prayers were added to the prayers of those who were not traveling.163 Certainly, this addendum had scores of benefits for the spiritual maturity of many Muslims, some of whom had just entered the fold of the new code of living, given that the task of one’s prayers is to restrain one from shameful and evil deeds (al-‘Ankabut 45) and foster honesty, goodness, conformity and dedication. As the Prophet (PBUH) experienced a midnight journey from the al-Masjid al-Haram to the al-Masjid al-Aqsa (al-Isra’), whence he traveled to the seven heavens (al-Mi’raj) where the prayer commandment was decreed, every human soul similarly ought to undergo a journey of its own in its religious growth in life. Praying five times a day at the divinely appointed times and as many rak’ahs as God asked us to take on - i.e. conversing with our Lord and Sustainer, plus powering our soul and mind with the spirit of Truth - is the most invaluable asset that one may possess all through the long and thorny journey. Every single prayer is thus expected to elevate its executor a step or degree off the wickedness and confines of this world and toward the spiritual fulfillment. So, the bigger number of those who are willingly and enthusiastically on the said spiritual journey, ever ready to better themselves and those around them, the better prospects for their ideals to materialize and flourish. With such people aboard, imposing a struggle for the supremacy of God’s Word as the sole objective of existence will never be an impossible proposition, as plainly shown by historical reality. For the purpose of creating the healthy and upright individuals who will constitute a healthy and virtuous society, the prescription of Adhan (calling to prayers), Siyam (fast), Zakah (the alms), Sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fastbreaking), Jihad (struggle for the holy cause), and some other legislative moves with regard to halal (lawful) and haram (forbidden) – all these came about as well during the earliest Madinah period.164 Although the city-state of Madinah was just about a few years old, yet some of the most crucial and decisive aspects of the individual, family and societal life have already been duly taken up. Under the vigilant eye of the Prophet (PBUH) and revelation, the same trend continued throughout and at times was even intensified. Every obstacle standing on the way of the dynamic personality and Ummah building strategies was dealt with wisely, gradually, steadfastly, and with a great deal of beautiful counsel. In the introduction to the al-Baqarah chapter, the longest Qur’anic chapter and one of the first to be revealed in Madinah, Yusuf Ali thus observed: “The Islamic Ummah having thus been established with its definite center and symbol, ordinances are laid down for the social life of the community, with the proviso that righteousness does not consist in formalities, but in faith, kindness, prayer, charity, probity, and patience under suffering. The ordinances relate to food and drink, bequests, fast, Jihad, wine and gambling, treatment of orphans and women, etc.”165 One of the most notable community building methods adopted by Islam was judicious gradation. The do’s and don’ts of the new faith were laid down in a slow but steady way attending to the most pressing individual and societal needs. The intellectual, as well as psychological, state and capacity of the people have


been considered most in the process. Never have the people been fed with more than what they really needed in a situation and could aptly understand and in an approved manner apply. This was so because “On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear…” (al-Baqarah 185); and also because “…Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties…” (alBaqarah 185); and also because “…Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete His favor to you, that ye may be grateful.” (al-Ma’idah 6) While their overall progress has been closely monitored by revelation, never was the people’s general welfare in real life neglected even for a moment by their guide, teacher and savior: the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) succeeded in setting some high standards concerning the psychological aspect of interpersonal and mass communication. Instructing the Prophet (PBUH as to how to deal with the people, Allah – be He exalted and glorified – says in the Qur’an: “Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.” (alNahl 125) The relationship between revelation and the people was comparable to a physician-patient relationship based on understanding, goodwill and trust. Before an ailment is treated it must be beforehand thoroughly examined and correctly diagnosed by a physician. The more complex and serious an ailment the more attention ought to be given to the examination stage. Next, the therapy process must be meticulous and gradual, corresponding with the patient’s physical defense system, with his body’s immediate reactions to the already executed actions, as well as with the intensity and extent of the first signs of the patient’s recovery. So important is the matter of mutual understanding, trust and collaboration between a physician and his patient that the latter’s life and the former’s reputation and integrity depend on it. For instance, if a patient uses up more medication than prescribed, or he uses it in a wrong way, he may well endanger his life by his action. By the same token, if a medication prescribed for a certain period of time and for a certain stage of an ailment is used at different times and at different stages, it too may kill the patient. This is exactly what A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet (PBUH), had in mind when she once commented on the nature of the Islamic mission: “The first thing revealed in the Qur’an is a detailed Surah (Qur’anic chapters) replete with the mention of Jannah and the Hell, until such time when people (in large numbers) entered the fold of Islam, the injunctions relating to Halal (approved) and Haram (prohibited) were revealed. If at the very outset they had been ordered to abstain from drinking, the people would have said that they would not give it up; and if it was ordained that they should keep away from fornication, they would have said that they would never refrain from it.”166 The Prophet’s companion Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud used to make harangue to people every Thursday. Once somebody implored him to do it everyday, whereupon Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud replied: “I do not do so because I am afraid I


would become a burden to you. I preach to you as the Prophet (PBUH) used to preach to us at intervals so that we might not get tired of it.”167

Part Four: Peaceful Coexistence with the Environment
The concept of the environment in Islam168 In Islam, all things have been created with purpose and in proportion and measure, both qualitatively and quantitatively, (al-Qamar 49). Concerning the environment, which is God’s creation too, its role is dual: to worship its Lord and Creator, and to be subjected to man whom it surrounds. As for the former, Allah says: “Seest thou not that to Allah prostrate all things that are in the heavens and on earth, - the sun, the moon, the stars, the hills, the trees, the animals, and a great number among mankind? But a great number are (also) such as unto whom the chastisement is justly due. And such as Allah shall disgrace, - none can raise to honor: for Allah carries out all that He wills.” (al-Hajj 18) “Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, declares the Praises and Glory of Allah: for He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (al-Saff 1) Truly, there are many verses in the Holy Qur’an which repeatedly and in different styles testify to this truth. The message hereby to men, especially to those who worship or unduly revere some of the natural marvels, is very clear: how can something which worships God, and is completely dependent on Him, be an object of worship or of any kind of exaltation!? By virtue of being the last revelation, the Holy Qur’an along with the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) have explicated the real position and role of the environment in such a way as no room whatsoever has been left for any doubting or questioning in the mind of whosoever may desire to distinguish Truth from falsehood. The Islamic methodology in dealing with the subject in question can be divided into three major segments. First segment: Islam corrects some of the erroneous notions with regard to the environment founded upon a number of past events in which many God’s prophets, such as Adam, Nuh (Noah), Musa (Moses), Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon) and ‘Isa (Jesus), are often the main protagonists. Such events are documented in the Old and New Testament and, as such, in the course of time have been subjected to many an act of distortion or outright interpolation. It would be worthwhile for the matter of exposing the truth and eliminating confusion if a comparative study between the Qur’an and the Bible be undertaken on the issues of, say, Adam’s descent on earth,169 the Flood,170 the conquest of the Holy Land by the Israelites,171 the might and overall conduct of Dawud (David) and his son Sulayman (Solomon),172 the teachings and character of ‘Isa (Jesus),173 etc. Besides, there are many instances in the Qur’an where the truth about the environment has been strikingly brought to light, but on which the earlier Books


are completely silent. One of the examples is the prophet Nuh (Noah).174 While propagating Islam to his disobedient people, he is said to have been regularly capitalizing on the natural wonders and splendors communicating to the masses that they are merely God’s sings on earth and the source of man’s sustenance. The second example is the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) who was attempting, albeit to no avail, to avert his people from worshiping anything other than Allah, notably some of the natural phenomena, such as the sun, the moon and the stars, in addition to the idols that they had fashioned for themselves. (alAn’am 74-82, al-Anbiya’ 51-71) The Qur’an applies the resembling approach while dwelling on the subject of other prophets and their ways of tackling the disparate patterns of polytheism embraced and nurtured by their respective nations and tribes. In the Bible, however, many of such prophets are in no way depicted as prophets in the first place. Rather, they were simply righteous men, blameless among the people of their time, and they walked with God. Nonetheless, the righteousness of most of them was not absolute, for which reason they sometimes erred, thus in turn loosing favor in the eyes of God. Seyyed Hossein Nasr commented on the Christian theology of nature visà-vis the same within the framework of Islam: “As far as the question of the spiritual metaphysical significance of nature is concerned, Islam has placed greater emphasis upon it than the mainstream theological tradition of Western Christianity and had always emphasized and preserved even to this day teachings which have been either forgotten or marginalized in religious thought in the West. This does not mean, however, that Judaism and Christianity are in themselves responsible for the environmental crisis. Moreover, this marginalization combined with the acceptance of the secular view of the cosmos and even condonation, if not out and out approval of the rape of nature by secularized man, was the result of Christianity’s battle for five centuries with humanism, rationalism and secularism although Western Christianity did fail to emphasize the spiritual significance of nature in its mainstream theology even before Renaissance.”175 Second segment: The second segment of the Islamic way of correcting people’s wrong assumptions about the environment is the Qur’anic verses wherein God in some general terms and in a unique fashion speaks of numerous environmental facts. In some instances, not only is the Prophet (PBUH) asked to convey what had been revealed to him, but also is he urged to argue in a gracious manner with unbelievers about the matter. After the Prophet (PBUH) had gone, though, the onus of doing so fell on his successors, i.e. scholars (‘ulama’), and whosoever may be in a position to add any good to human knowledge and human wellbeing. Some examples of this method are the following verses: “Say: “To whom belongeth all that is in the heavens and on earth?” Say: “To Allah.” (al-An’am 12)


“They ask thee concerning the mountains: say, “My Lord will uproot them and scatter them as dust; He will leave them as plains smooth and level; nothing crooked or curved wilt thou see in their place.” (Ta Ha 105-107) “See ye the seed that ye sow in the ground? Is it ye that cause it to grow, or are We the Cause? Were it Our Will, We could make it broken orts. And ye would be left in wonderment… See ye the water which ye drink? Do ye bring it Down (in rain) from the Cloud or do We? Were it Our Will, We could make it saltish (and unpalatable): then why do ye not give thanks?” (al-Waqi’ah 63-70) “Say: “See ye? - if your stream be some morning lost (in the underground earth), who then can supply you with clear-flowing water?” (al-Mulk 30) Third segment: The third segment of the Islamic methodology in dealing with the issue of the environment as God’s faithful servant is that which the Prophet (PBUH) featured in his numerous sayings and practices. Some examples of these are: *The weeping of the date-palm tree – or a date-palm trunk - against which the Prophet (PBUH) used to stand in his mosque in Madinah when delivering the Friday prayer speeches (khutbah) before he got the pulpit (minbar). It wept like a child, so the Prophet (PBUH) went toward it and rubbed it with his hand.176 *The utterance of praises to God by some of the Prophet’s food.177 *Some inanimate realities, such as a stone, a mountain and a tree, saluting the Prophet (PBUH).178 *The prostration of some trees and animals before the Prophet (PBUH). Some companions who had witnessed one of these miracles said that they too wanted to do the same, in that they as humans were more qualified. However, the Prophet (PBUH) reminded them that no man is allowed to prostrate himself before another man. He went on to confide that everything in the universe knows and admits that he is the Messenger of Allah – be He exalted – save those who are disobedient from among Jinns and men.179 *On one occasion, the Makkan unbelievers requested a sign from the Prophet (PBUH) whereupon the moon appeared cleft asunder. After they had turned away branding the occurrence as sheer sorcery, the Prophet (PBUH) told the believers, many of whom were present and witnessed everything, to testify (ishhadu).180 The incident was one of the reasons for revealing the Qur’anic chapter al-Qamar (the Moon)181 the first three verses of which we cite here: “The Hour (of Judgment) is nigh, and the moon was cleft asunder. But if they see a sign, they turn away, and say, “This is (but) continuous magic.” They reject (the warning) and follow their (own) lusts but every matter has its appointed time.” (AlQamar 1-3) *Once while climbing the Uhud hill with his nearest companions Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, the Prophet (PBUH) felt that it was trembling. He thereupon said unto it: “Calm down, for on you are none other than the Prophet, al-Siddiq (Abu Bakr) and the two martyrs (Umar and Uthman).”182 *One day when passing by two graves in which their tenants were subjected to a grievous suffering (one never saved himself from being soiled with


his urine and the other used to go about with calumnies - to make enmity between friends) the Prophet (PBUH) asked for a green leaf of a date-palm tree, broke it into two pieces and put one on each grave. When asked why he had done so, he replied (due to the fact that trees worship Allah and declare the praises and glory of Him as long as they ‘live’): “I hope that their torture might be lessened, till these get dried.”183 To all this can we add the unprecedented manner in which the Prophet (PBUH) treated water, plants, animals etc., and insisted from his followers in every age to follow suit. In a while, we shall dwell on these issues in a systematic and more exhaustive manner. The immediate benefit of this Prophet’s approach was that his companions, who firmly believed in whatever they had been told about the past prophets and their peoples, had a chance to enhance their faith by bearing witness to the equivalent, but in their own context. Inasmuch as the revelation of Islam to the Prophet (PBUH) was a gradual and painstaking process, such an approach helped many soften their hearts and open their minds and other faculties of understanding, delivering them cautiously from the shackles of the old superstitious beliefs and bringing them to the light of Islam. While preserving these momentous occasions from one generation to another, the people immortalized them, and as they had held sway over the lives of the Prophet’s nearest companions, they, by the same token, did - and will always do - over the lives of the Muslims of every ensuing generation. Subjecting the environment to man As regards the subjection of the environment by God to man’s use, it is certainly a manifestation of God’s immeasurable mercy over man. Lest he shall become unable to smoothly and responsibly carry out his duties as khalifah, God did not send man to earth until he became fully prepared for that; nor did He send him before earth became fully equipped and set to accommodate him. The Holy Qur’an says: “O ye people! worship your Guardian Lord, Who created you and those who came before you that ye may become righteous; Who has made the earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy; and sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith fruits for your sustenance; then set not up rivals unto Allah when ye know (the truth).” (al-Baqarah 21-22) “It is Allah Who hath created the heavens and the earth and sendeth down rain from the skies, and with it bringeth out fruits wherewith to feed you; it is He Who hath made the ships subject to you, that they may sail through the sea by His Command; and the rivers (also) hath He made subject to you. And He hath made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses; and the Night and the Day hath He (also) made subject to you. And He giveth you of all that ye ask for. But if ye count the favors of Allah, never will ye be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.” (Ibrahim 3234) “And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold, in that are Signs indeed for those who reflect.” (al-Jathiyah 13)


In order to restrain man from freely abusing his control over the environment, God made it a source of his sustenance, as well as clean and mosque (masjid) to him.184 Regarding the former, any degeneration or decay in the relationship between man and the environment - as decreed by the commands of the Creator of both - shall ultimately result in backfiring on man and his welfare, something that has been proven time and again throughout the history of mankind. Being clean and the place for worship, on the other hand, the environment and the whole earth are bound to receive the most decent treatment from those who have grasped the actual meaning of the concept of worship and the places designated for it. Indeed, these people are those who will esteem the environment as if it is their mosque, rendered to them for glorifying the Lord of the universe through every religious as well as profane activity of theirs. Their worship will never cease, nor will their stupendous respect for the environment, for their words, acts and thoughts are executed only because of God and for God alone. After all, both Jinns and men have been only created that they may worship God. And that’s why it has been duly communicated to them that to God belong the east and the west so “whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah’s Face. For Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.” (al-Baqarah 115) This kind of people should stand in the forefront of the struggle for the preservation of the environment in every age and in every place, along with correcting the manners and attitudes of such as are yet to attain the same degree of awareness in relation to the matter. Their struggle will be faithful in the extreme, stemming from the sincere and unadulterated motives saturated with the spirit of tawhid and its worldview. In doing so, they will desire nothing but to please their Lord and Cherisher, who plainly ordained that not only doing good and avoiding evil but also the constant enjoining of the former and the proscribing of the latter ought to be of man’s top priorities on earth - should he covet to cause peace, harmony and righteousness to prevail on it. Luqman, a mysterious wise and knowledgeable man mentioned in the Qur’an, gave his son the following advice: “And swell not your cheek (for pride) at men. Nor walk in insolence through the earth: for Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster. And be moderate in thy pace, and lower thy voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass.” (Luqman 18-19) Furthermore, the environment stands for a source of man’s spiritual enlightenment too, provided his treatment of it is apt and derived from divine teachings, in that the environment in its totality is an expression of God’s oneness, mercy and omnipotence. By the power of reason and insight that has been given to him to subdue the forces of nature, man will at the same time be able to penetrate through and grasp properly its countless mysteries and phenomena. Consequently, this will lead to a considerable enhancement of his physical well-being, as well as to expediting the process of his spiritual advancement. On this the Holy Qur’an says: “Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of Night and Day, - there are indeed Signs for men of understanding, - men who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders) of creation in the heavens and the earth, (with the saying): “Our Lord not for naught hast Thou


created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us Salvation from the Chastisement of the Fire.” (Alu ‘Imran 190-191) What’s more, the environment, in a sense, participates in revealing Truth to man; it is in fact a revelation itself. Therefore, in addition to having the composed or written Qur’an (al-Qur’an al-tadwini) there is a cosmic or ontological “Qur’an” (al-Qur’an al-takwini) as well. Both revelations complement each other, as it were, in furnishing man with the necessary substance so as not to let him betray the trust of inhabiting earth which he had wittingly accepted. It follows that those who fully submit to the Divine Will and read, understand and apply the written Qur’an, easily see upon the face of every creature letters and words from the pages of the cosmic Qur’an. For this reason are the phenomena of nature referred to in the Qur’an as signs or symbols (ayat), a term that is also used for the verses of the Qur’an.185 For Taha J. al-‘Alwani mankind has been commanded to undertake the reading of the two books, the Book of Allah’s revelation and the Book of His creation, so that they could understand their role and significance in the universe by understanding how the two complement each other. “To undertake a reading of either of these two books without reference to the other will avail humanity nothing at all, nor will it lead to the sort of comprehensive knowledge necessary to the building and maintenance of civilized society, or to knowledge worthy of preservation and further development or exchange among the civilized peoples of the world. In fact, such a one-sided reading will never enable humankind to fulfil its role as the stewards of Allah (istikhlaf), or the keepers of His trust (amanah).”186 While discoursing on study of natural history in Islamic civilization, Seyyed Hossein Nasr remarked: “Nature thus did not play the negative and dark role that it did in medieval Christianity. Rather, it was a fountain of joy and beatitutude, as can be seen both in the scientific and literary studies of nature, and in the art that was created and cultivated in Islamic civilization.”187 Madinah: “The watered land, rich in date palms” The first phase of the Prophet Muhammad’s mission took place in Makkah, his birthplace. It lasted about 13 years and was not as fruitful as coveted. Having almost given up his hopes of making any further progress in Makkah under the existing circumstances and by applying the current preaching methods then, the Prophet (PBUH) started to mull over shifting to another locality which will be more responsive and conducive than Makkah and, as such, will serve as a base for his arduous task. He gave his thoughts to more than one urban settlement. However, some celestial elements presided over determining the place of the Hijrah (migration), as disclosed by the Prophet (PBUH) to his companions on one occasion before the Hijrah had been even planned. He told them: “I have been shown the place of your emigration: I saw a well watered land, rich in date palms, between two tracts of black stones.”188 It is worth taking note that in the said account, the exact name of the future center of Islam, as well as its geographical position, have been withheld.


Instead, its natural affluence and potentials for decent and comfortable living have been brought into play. It goes without saying that this hadith has been uttered before the content of the following hadith was made known to the Prophet (PBUH): “I was ordered to (migrate to) a town which will eat up towns. They used to say, Yathrib, but it is Madinah…”189. In what the Prophet (PBUH) had been informed of and shown - as in the first hadith - the existing spiritual and civilizational potential of the Madinah (then Yathrib) populace was perhaps metaphorically implied. As might have been implied the fact that by the advent of their brethren from Makkah, and by the full integration of the latter with the former, such potential will considerably increase. The Prophet’s refraining from letting anybody know anymore about the subject, not even for some encouragement and glad tidings purposes, may suggest that even he at that particular point actually knew no more about it. When a companion Abu Dharr al-Ghifari came all the way from his tribe Banu Ghifar, lying on the Hijaz trading route to Syria, to meet the Prophet (PBUH) and embrace Islam, the Prophet (PBUH) asked him to go back to where he had come from and invite his people to Islam, since Makkah was not really safe for anyone and the migration place was yet to be fully determined. The Prophet (PBUH) further told him that the Hijrah destination would be a land abounding in date palms, and even though he had not been absolutely sure, yet he was of the opinion that it could be none other than Yathrib (Madinah).190 What the Prophet (PBUH) had been informed of about Madinah accounted for the basic elements then needed for the establishment or the expansion of an urban settlement: water for both men and animals whereby convenience, cleanliness and health could be upheld; good pastures for livestock of the inhabitants since each household needed domestic animals for breeding, for milk and for riding; fields suitable for cultivation as grain and dates were the basic food; wood used for firewood, building material and for the many other necessities for which it was employed.191 One of the names given to Madinah therefore was Dhat al-Nakhl (that which has many date-palms).192 For the same reasons, it was also dubbed as Tabah and Tajjibah both of which denote a thing which is good, pleasant and nice.193 In a hadith mentioned by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in his commentary of alBukhari’s “Sahih” a wolf caught a sheep that belonged to a man called Ahban b. Aws. The man shouted at the wolf. Thereupon, the wolf stopped, sat on its tail and said unto the man that it was not his right to forbid the provision which Allah has provided it. At this the man clapped his hands saying: “By Allah, I have never seen anything more curious and wonderful than this.” But the wolf told him that there was something more extraordinary and beautiful; that is, Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) inviting people to Islam. This incident occurred during the Madinah phase of the Prophet’s mission and the wolf identified the seat of the goings-on in all likelihood pointing towards its direction - as “in those palm trees”.194 Then the man went to the Prophet (PBUH), informed him what had happened and embraced Islam. Furthermore, it is held by some scholars that the Jews had arrived and settled themselves in Madinah because they possessed in the Holy Books of


theirs a detailed exposition as to the name of the last Prophet (PBUH), his qualities and features, his struggle, and the land of his origin and refuge. The Qur’an says to this effect: “Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (Scriptures), - in the Taurat and the Gospel… “ (al-A’raf 157) In the chapters al-Baqarah, verse 146, and al-An’am, verse 20, the People of the Book are charged with distorting and concealing the facts about the last Prophet (PBUH) even though they know him from their Scriptures as well as they know their own sons. With reference to the description of Madinah in the same Books, it has been stated even there – before it has been taken out, of course that it is “a country rich in date palms, between two tracts of black stones.” So the People of the Book at an appropriate time set off from Syria (Sham) in quest for the clearly described piece of land, finding it eventually in Hijaz, i.e. in Yathrib (Madinah), which they then inhabited.195 That some clear hints in respect of Madinah and its natural position are – have been – available in the Scriptures of the People of the Book can be further substantiated by a companion Salman al-Farisi’s journey to Islam. Salman was a wealthy Persian worshiping fire, a religious conviction which he never felt comfortable with. One day he accidentally made a contact with Christianity, instantly becoming captivated by its origin and teachings. Having become a Christian, he consequently and on his own request found himself in Syria, moving from one priest to another trying to consolidate his Christian faith. The last priest whom Salman met told him - after the former was about to die - that it looks as if an epoch in which there will appear a prophet in the pure creed of Ibrahim (Abraham) was their epoch. So Salman was counseled to set out to search for that prophet nowhere else but in the land of palm trees where his migration would in the end be. Several other manifest signs, as found in the Holy Scriptures, Salman was notified of by the priest. Salman took the priest’s words seriously and with an Arab caravan arrived firstly in Wadi al-Qura which resembled very much the description given, but it was not the one. In Wadi alQura, Salman was wronged by the Arabs who sold him to a Jew who happened to be from Madinah. Thus Salman landed in Madinah which was then yet to welcome Islam and its last Messenger. Salman narrates that he had hardly seen the city when he knew that it was the land described to him by the priest. When the Prophet (PBUH) migrated, it was not hard for Salman to authenticate the rest of the evidence disclosed to him. He then in next to no time declared that he has finally found what he had been looking for for a long time, and in the search of which he had traversed many lands abandoning his native Persia and everything that he had previously reveled in there.196 The Prophet’s first environmental lessons in Madinah Almost immediately after the Hijrah when the first urbanization and planning enterprises were embarked on, the Prophet (PBUH) wasted no time to underline and in rather practical terms spell out the position of Islam on the environment and sustainable development. To begin with, in a place earmarked for building


the Madinah principal mosque there were graves of some pagans, and there were some date-palm trees in it. The Prophet (PBUH) ordered that the graves of the pagans be dug out and the unleveled land be leveled and the trees be cut down. The cut date-palm trees were not wasted. Rather, they were later reused as an alignment towards the qiblah of the mosque forming a wall.197 Against a tree absorbed by building or just a palm-trunk fixed in the ground is where the Prophet (PBUH) leaned when delivering his addresses (khutbah) in the mosque. However, some time later he got a pulpit (minbar) which he at once started to make use of. On the first occasion when he resorted to the pulpit abandoning the palm-trunk, the latter yearned and even cried like an infant. Next, the Prophet (PBUH) descended from the pulpit, came to the trunk and rubbed it with his hands, after which it released no voice again. 198 The trunk (tree) stayed where it was until the mosque was rebuilt and enlarged by the caliph ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan when it was either buried somewhere in the mosque proper or taken away by the Prophet’s companion Ubayy b. Ka’b. The latter kept the trunk (tree) with him until it was eaten by woodworms.199 Even before building the mosque, the Islamic general idea of peaceful coexistence with the total natural setting has been underscored by the fact that the Prophet (PBUH) prior to the realization of the mosque institution used to offer prayers wherever the prayer time was due, even if it be in sheepfolds. This was so on account of the whole earth having been created pure and a place of worship (masjid) to the Muslims.200 The message meant to be put across by these and other experiences of the Prophet (PBUH) was that nature is God’s faithful servant. Its perfectly executed equilibrium preceded the existence of man, God’s steward on earth, who while becoming a member of the web must every time rightly fit in and keep maintaining the inherited balance, convenience and comfort. However, should he ever and for any reason fall short of living up to his noble status and mission, declaring a war against the environment, nobody but man himself will be held responsible for the ensuing inevitable consequences which will rage across land and sea. The truth did the Almighty, the Creator and Lord of the universe, say: “By the time, verily Man is in loss, except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual enjoining of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” (al-‘Asr 2-3) Madinah as a Haram (Sanctuary) The Prophet’s unique treatment of the environment later reached a climax when he declared that the city of Madinah is sacred or a sanctuary (Haram). According to the declaration, the city flora and fauna must be protected not only by the general Islamic commandments encompassing the whole of earth, but also by specific ones meant for it alone. This is something like what the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) did to Makkah.201 Except for some pressing legitimate necessities such as safety, welfare, medication and saving one’s life, the Madinah ecosystem is to be neither perturbed nor exploited even to the slightest degree by any means and by anybody. For example, because the residents of Madinah


are not self-sufficient in terms of animal feed, they are allowed to use trees and grass for their animals. The residents of Makkah, on the other hand, are not permitted to cut even the grass for the purpose, because they have sufficient supply for their animal feed.202 The Prophet (PBUH) permitted the people of Madinah, furthermore, to cut trees for making plows, carts and other necessary tools and equipments.203 For some scholars, the penalty for cutting trees and killing the game in Madinah is that the perpetrator be dispossessed of what he has appropriated of the city ecosystem. The spoils will thereupon be handed over either to the poor of the city or to the city treasury. 204 Some scholars would even suggest stripping the perpetrator of his clothes as penalty - of course except that which covers the ‘awrah (body parts which must be at all times covered).205 While dwelling on the subject in question, Sayyid al-Sabiq concluded, however, that “killing the game or cutting off the trees in the sanctuary of Madinah carries no penalty nor requires any compensation, although doing so is a sinful act.”206 The Prophet (PBUH) said on the subject of the Madinah inviolability: “Ibrahim declared Makkah as sacred and I declare sacred the area between its (Madinah) two stony grounds (lava lands)”.207 In another hadith with almost identical content, the Prophet (PBUH) added: “No tree should be (therefore) lopped and no game is to be molested (in Madinah).”208 The Prophet (PBUH) once pointed with his hands towards Madinah and said: “That is a sacred territory and a place of safety.”209 The Prophet (PBUH) declared Madinah as a sanctuary (Haram), in all likelihood, when he was returning from Khaybar in the seventh year. Why did he wait that long to make such a momentous move is as good as impossible to ascertain. Nonetheless, regardless of when, how and under what circumstances really instituted, the move had definitely aimed at cementing the preservation and sustainability of the bionetwork of the city-state of Madinah, thus making all the environmental matters run henceforth parallel with the city’s consolidated new vision and new outlook on life. After the right moment had come, and after the people had undergone what it takes of spiritual and mental training, the final revolutionary lessons in environmental ethics and sustainability were intended to be taught next, as a fresh dimension of the Prophet’s total reformatory educational system. So gripping and comprehensive the lessons had to be that their impact was to be felt perpetually on the conscience of man. And surely, there was no better a milieu for fulfilling the task and setting some high standards in the subject at hand than the rising urban marvel of Madinah forever associated with the Prophet (PBUH) and his incredibly successful prophetic mission. Al-Tahawi puts forward the issue of Madinah as a sanctuary (Haram) to the effect that the natural environment of Madinah was its exclusive ornament. Since it was the home of the Hijrah, its natural beauty and affluence had to be preserved so that the people might be attracted to it and, once there, they could satisfactorily cope with the new life challenges. Without a doubt, this might have been one of the reasons but not the only one. Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani inferred that if such had been the only reason, the status of Madinah as a sanctuary would


have come to an end once the Hijrah to Madinah became no longer a requirement, after the city of Makkah had been conquered in the eighth year.210 All things considered, however, Madinah was a sanctuary and will remain so till the end of days. One of the most pertinent implications meant to be thus presented was the fact that since the city of Madinah – together with Makkah always occupies a special place in the heart and soul of every Muslim, its ordained environmental status is likely to constitute a benchmark for the overall conduct of the Muslims towards the environment elsewhere on earth. Whenever facing an environmental crisis and whenever at a crossroads with reference to any perplexing environmental issues, even the non-Muslims could draw a degree of inspiration from the Prophet’s environmental experiences, provided they are examined scientifically with an open mind and without prejudice. One of the permanent names given to Madinah was therefore al-Haram (Sanctuary) or Haram Rasul Allah (The Prophet’s Sanctuary).211 The Prophet (PBUH) also said about Madinah: “Madinah is a sanctuary from that place to that (from the ‘Ayr mountain to the Thawr hill near the Uhud mountain). Its trees should not be cut and no heresy should be innovated nor any sin should be committed in it, and whoever innovates in it a heresy or commits sins (bad deeds) then he will incur the curse of Allah, the angels, and all the people.”212 The ‘Ayr mountain is the southern boundary of the Madinah Haram, while the Thawr hill is the northern boundary, both as identifiable today as at the time of the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) once said that “the ‘Ayr mountain detests us and we detest it; it is one of the gates of Jahannam (Hellfire).”213 By saying in another hadith that Madinah is a Haram between the two stony grounds (lava lands), the Prophet (PBUH) meant the city’s eastern and western boundaries known as al-Harrah al-Gharbiyyah (the western lava land) and alHarrah al-Sharqiyyah (the eastern lava land).214 Since Madinah is surrounded by numerous mountains and hills, the ‘Ayr mountain and Thawr hill - which in fact are not as easily identifiable and recognizable as the western and eastern lava lands - have not been quite known to everybody in Madinah, especially to the Migrants from Makkah and elsewhere. Because it is relatively small, plus “hidden” behind the Uhud mountain on the latter’s northern side, it was the Thawr hill that stirred some extensive debate as to its location. Such was not as much the case with regard to the ‘Ayr mountain, however, which, as a matter of fact, accounts for one of the prominent mountains in Madinah about six miles away from the Prophet’s mosque. Hence, determining exactly the boundary of Madinah as a Haram (sanctuary) was for some a difficult task to do. As a result, some people even ended up asserting that the Prophet (PBUH) might have mentioned the ‘Ayr and Thawr names extemporaneously without really intending any specific places in Madinah. Yet some suggested - on the other hand - that the Prophet (PBUH) actually meant by mentioning ‘Ayr and Thawr the two known places with the same names in Makkah - already a sanctuary (Haram) – which the Prophet (PBUH) and the Migrants were familiar with. In this case, the boundary of the Madinah Haram would be equivalent to the distance between the two points in the city of Makkah.215


Shedding more light on the words of the Prophet (PBUH), which we have referred to earlier, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib said: “Madinah is a sanctuary from the ‘Ayr mountain to such and such a place, and whoever innovates in it a heresy or commits a sin, or gives shelter to such an innovator in it will incur the curse of Allah, the angels, and all the people, non of his compulsory or optional good deeds of worship will accepted. And the asylum (of protection) granted by any Muslim is to be respected by all the other Muslims; and whoever betrays a Muslim in this respect incurs the curse of Allah, the angels, and all the people, and none of his compulsory or optional good deeds of worship will be accepted…”216 The companion Anas b. Malik was asked whether the Prophet (PBUH) had declared Madinah as sacred. He said: “Yes, it is sacred, so its tree is not to be cut; and he who did that let the curse of Allah and that of the angels and of all people be upon him.”217 Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet (PBUH) declared sacred the territory between two lava mountains of Madinah. He then added: “If I were to find deer in territory between the two mountains, I would not molest them.”218 Abu Ayyub al-Ansari once came across some boys who had driven a fox into a corner, and he chased them away from it saying: “Is this done in the sanctuary of the Prophet (PBUH)?”219 Malik b. Enes, the most outstanding jurist of Madinah, said about Madinah: “The Prophet had declared an area of 12 miles around Madinah as reserved for the protection of shrubs growing there and an area of four miles prohibiting hunting in it.”220 Moreover, the Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have designated al-Naqi’ – an area about sixty miles from Madinah - as a conservation site for the horses of the Muslims to graze in. The size of the area was one mile by eight miles. The Prophet (PBUH) also proclaimed that the valley of al-‘Aqiq in the vicinity of Madinah was a blessed one, on the basis of what the angel Jibril had previously informed him about it.221 Later, the second caliph ‘Umar b. al-Khattab designated another two areas: al-Sharaf and al-Rabadhah, which lie between Makkah and Madinah, as preserved ones for livestock and camels to graze in them.222 In order to ward off adverse effects on the agricultural industry of Madinah, ‘Umar b. al-Khattab further appointed a man whose main duty was to monitor the implementation of the Islamic code on crops and reserved areas for grazing, as well as to penalize those who violated it.223 The initiative, which forthwith affected the whole of the natural environment, certainly was not only confined to Madinah, the capital of the Islamic state, but also to the rest of ever-proliferating Islamic cities and provinces. Because it is a sanctuary, on the one hand, and because of its exceptional historical role, as a result of which the Prophet (PBUH) and most members of the first and best Muslim generation lived and died there, on the other, some scholars deduced that Madinah is even superior to Makkah in many ways. In his book Wafa’ al-Wafa, al-Samhudi gave as many as 99 reasons for which Madinah is different from other places.224 However, since some of the cited qualities are


common to both Makkah and Madinah, and since there is a whole bunch of exclusive merits enjoyed by the former, it goes without saying that Makkah was the finest spot on earth during the early phase of Islam, i.e. before the Hijrah. However, after the Hijrah, Madinah became almost as superior due to the creation of the spiritual, intellectual and socio-political foundation in it, and on which the future of Islam, the Muslims and the Islamic state depended. Certainly, this is a gist implied by the Prophet’s words that he was ordered to migrate to a town – that is, Madinah - which will swallow (conquer) other towns.225 Still, the majority of scholars believe that Makkah has preference over Madinah, as asserted by al-Sayyid Sabiq. They back their claim by a hadith in which the Prophet (PBUH) has explicitly said that Makkah is the best of Allah’s land, and most beloved to him. “Had I not been driven away from you, I would have never departed from you”, the Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said while “unwillingly” migrating from Makkah to Madinah.226 Apart from being a sanctuary (Haram) where the first and best generation of the Muslims, together with their Prophet (PBUH), lived through the most crucial period of the Islamic mission, Madinah is likewise protected from terrors and evils to establish themselves in it and reign, including such as will be caused by Dajjal (the Impostor, Antichrist) when the Day of Judgment nears;227 Madinah was and still remains as a nucleus of belief and righteousness, it expels the bad persons from its domain “as fire expels the impurities of iron”;228 between the Prophet’s house and his pulpit (minbar) there is a garden (rawdah) from the gardens of Jannah;229 a valley of Madinah called Batahan is also reported to be on a pool of Jannah;230 as is said about the Mountain Uhud to be on one of the gates of Jannah;231 etc. So much did the Prophet (PBUH) love Madinah that whenever he returned from a journey he would make his mount go fast as soon as the first city elements came into sight.232 When returning from one of such journeys –from the expedition to Tabuk - the Prophet (PBUH) said upon sighting the mountain of Uhud: “This is the mountain which loves us and we love it.”233 Relationship between treating the environment and faith234 The relationship between man and the environment ought to be as sober and upright as practical and rightly poised. Any deviation from this philosophy shall invariably result in pushing man to the extremes on either side, all of which, however, are resolutely rejected by Islam. Not only does this doctrine apply to man’s relationship with the environment, but also to everything else related to each and every segment of his existence. This is so because Islam as a universal code of life, and with it the whole Islamic community (Ummah), is made justly balanced, “that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves.” (al-Baqarah 143) Man must respect the environment in that he is dependent on it. As God subjected it to his use, so did He make it an indispensable field of the vicegerency activities entrusted to man. To put it in a nutshell, man cannot but coexist with the environment, giving away and receiving in return proportionally to what he offered. From this partnership, man is bound to attain either peace and


prosperity in this world, plus salvation in the Hereafter, or frustration, humiliation and chastisement in both worlds. For this reason will it be apt to depict this world as a plantation or a farm (mazra’ah), which must diligently be taken care of, should its owner harbor any hope of a good harvest on the Day of Judgment. The Qur’an proclaims: “But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief.” (al-Qasas 77) Man’s rights over nature are rights of sustainable use based on moderation, balance and conservation. Nature’s rights over man, on the other hand, are that it be safe from every misuse, mistreatment and destruction. Greed, extravagance and waste are considered a tyranny against nature and a transgression of those rights.235 Ali b. Abi Talib, the forth Muslim caliph, once told a man who had developed and reclaimed abandoned land: “Partake of it gladly, so long as you are a benefactor, not a despoiler; a cultivator, not a destroyer.”236 The creation of nature and its perfect equilibrium has preceded the creation of man. Nonetheless, no sooner had man come into existence than he became part thereof. Yet, the guardianship of nature became confided to him constituting a considerable portion of his vicegerency assignment. Inasmuch as he is endowed with the power of free will and other faculties, such as intelligence and knowledge, man is capable of steering his own bark. Provided he uses his prowess rightly, he is furthermore in a position to attain to some extent a mastery over the forces of nature and subdue them to his services. Hence, if the perfectly executed environmental equilibrium is sustained, man ought to be commended for that, for he lived up to his reputation as the vicegerent and the custodian of earth. If the same is troubled and disturbed, it is man again who must be held responsible for the disorder, in that he breached the trust put on him distorting his primordial nature and committing a grave sin against his Lord, himself and the rest of creation. In most cases, however, it is they who rebelled against God and His will that actually rebel against and ill-treat the environment and the flawless forces that govern it. They intend thereby to satisfy their personal delirious greed and secure some societal short-term gains on the expense of the long-term vision and mission of whole mankind. When consequently Allah’s wrath descends on such men, and the favorable position in which Allah has placed them beforehand changes, there is no turning back. Only a substantial change in their conduct and attitude may give those men a reasonable hope of God’s mercy, as well as a possible turnaround in their fortunes. The Holy Qur’an is pretty clear about this: “Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of (the meed) that the hand of men have earned, that (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from evil).” (al-Rum 41) “If the people of the towns had but believed and feared Allah, We should indeed have opened out to them (all kinds of) blessings from heaven and earth; but they rejected (the truth), and We brought them to book for their misdeeds.” (al-A’raf 96)


“Allah sets forth a parable: a city enjoying security and quite, abundantly supplied with sustenance from every place: yet was it ungrateful for the favors of Allah: so Allah made it taste of hunger and terror (in extremes) (closing in on it) like a garment (from every side), because of the (evil) which (its people) wrought.” (al-Nahl 112) “And remember! your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): “If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you; but if ye show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed.” (Ibrahim 7) “…Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (al-Ra’d 11) Isma’il Raji al-Faruqi while discoursing on the theme of “The Principle of the Economic Order” concluded that Islamic responsibility demands that no damage occurs to nature in process of man’s utilization of it. “Islam teaches that nature’s materials and forces are gifts granted by God to us. The gift, however, is not transfer of title. It is a permission to use for the given purpose. The owner is and always remains Allah (SWT). As the Mesopotamian used to say: ‘He is the Lord of the manor, and man is merely the servant.’ This attitude is perfectly Islamic as well. The gift then must be returned to the Creator at our death or retirement, improved and increased through our production. At the very least, it must be returned intact, as it was when received. The Qur’an has emphatically reiterated that to Allah (SWT) everything in creation returns.”237 From the Islamic perspective, man’s treatment of the environment is closely related to his faith. The more he is attached to the normative teachings of Islam in carrying out his daily acts, the healthier his relationship with the environment is. Similarly, when man distances himself from Islam and its teachings, his behavior degenerates. This affects his surroundings - comprising all animate and inanimate realities - and his fellow human beings. So significant is man’s relationship with the environment in Islam that in some instances the same is able to take precedence over other deeds of man, placing him then on the highest or dragging him to the lowest. For example, under certain circumstances certain noble environmental acts can obliterate man’s past misdeeds and guarantee him Paradise, whereas some atrocious ones under certain circumstances can make his past good deeds gain naught, promising him nothing in the Hereafter but Hellfire. On the subject of animals - for example - the Prophet (PBUH) once said: “A woman was sent to the Fire because of a cat. She imprisoned her and neither fed her nor set her free to feed upon the rodents of the earth.”238 The Prophet (PBUH) also related the story of a woman from among the Children of Israel guilty of fornication, who found a dog near a well panting with thirst. She took of a shoe, tied it with her veil, and then managed to collect some water for the dog which it drunk. The dog quenched its thirst, and as a consequence God forgave her.239 Animals


There are many other sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) on animals in which any act of ill-treating them, such as making them fight each other, the castration, killing them without a just cause and the like, is strictly prohibited. 240 The Prophet (PBUH), for instance, said that if one kills a sparrow in jest, it will yell out on the Day of Judgment at the perpetrator: “O Allah, he killed me in jest and not for a use.”241 The Prophet (PBUH) once went to the grave of a Helper (the native of Madinah). There he saw a camel which after looking at him began to moan piteously and tears welled up in its eyes. The Prophet (PBUH) went to the camel and wiped its tears and then asked who its owner was. The owner came and the Prophet (PBUH) said to him: “Don’t you have any fear of God in relation to this animal?”242 Branding animals with hot irons for the sake of distinction is also prohibited. The Prophet (PBUH) saw a donkey that was branded on the face whereupon he said: “Cursed be the person who did this.”243 The Prophet (PBUH) abhorred dogs very much but could not ask for their total extermination as they accounted for a community on earth, which has a role to play in keeping up the established equilibrium.244 About animal species representing diverse communities (umam, the plural of ummah) on earth, the Qur’an says: “There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.” (al-An’am 38) Islamic position on animals is comprehensively encapsulated in the following words of the Prophet (PBUH), which in fact encompass not only animals but also all other terrestrial beings: “… Have mercy upon whatever is on earth, God will have mercy upon you.”245 The Prophet (PBUH) once related that one of the earlier prophets was bitten by an ant, whereupon he ordered the whole colony of the ants to be burned. Soon after, Allah revealed to him: “Because of an ant’s bite you have burnt a community from amongst the communities which sings My glory.”246 According to another version of the same hadith, Allah revealed to the prophet concerned: “Why one ant (which had bitten you) was not killed?”247 So, irrespective of whether animals are used as beasts of burden, as an ornament, for food, or for any of those refined uses, they are not to be mistreated by any means. In addition, their status on earth in general and their services rendered to man in particular must be justly valued. Allah says: “And cattle He has created for you (men): from them ye derive warmth, and numerous benefits, and of their (meat) ye eat. And ye have a sense of pride and beauty in them as ye drive them home in the evening, and as ye lead them forth to pasture in the morning. And they carry your heavy loads to lands that ye could not (otherwise) reach except with souls distressed: for your Lord is indeed Most Kind, Most Merciful. And (He has created) horses, mules, and donkeys, for you to ride and as an ornament; and He has created (other) things of which ye have no knowledge.” (al-Nahl 5-9)


Animals have their rights which must be duly respected. Once the Prophet (PBUH) said that one of the rights of a she camel is that it should be milked at a place of water.248 The Prophet (PBUH) was asked on one occasion whether there is a reward in serving the animals. The reply was: “Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate (creature).”249 The following is a glimpse of the reward for serving and looking after the horse – for example - which is kept for Allah’s cause (participating in holy battles): “…He (the owner) will get a reward equal to what its (a horse’s) long rope allows it to eat in the pasture or the garden. If that horse breaks its rope and crosses one or two hills, then all its foot-steps and its dung will be counted as good deeds for its owner. And if it passes by a river and drinks from it, then that will also be regarded as a good deed for its owner even if he has had no intention of watering it then…”250 The Prophet (PBUH) was seen one day wiping the face of his horse with his cloak. Somebody questioned him about it and he said: “I was reproached in the night about horses (for not taking proper care of them).”251 Indeed, one of the most amazing ways by which Islam intends to exhibit and inculcate in the mind and soul of man its extraordinary care for animals are some authentic hadiths in which some animals - like a wolf and a cow - are given ability to talk and stand up for their rights assigned to them by the Creator and Lord of the worlds. The Prophet (PBUH) has said that while once a man was riding a cow, it turned towards him and said: “I have not been created for this purpose (i.e. carrying); I have been created for sloughing.”252 According to another hadith, a wolf caught a sheep, and when the shepherd chased it, the wolf said: “Who will be its guard on the day of wild beasts, when there will be no shepherd for it except me?”253 The content of this story is somewhat similar to the content of yet another hadith, mentioned earlier in this book, according to which a wolf spoke to a man near Madinah while the Prophet (PBUH) was still there spreading his prophetic mission. The man soon after hastened to the Prophet (PBUH) and having been formerly an infidel wholeheartedly accepted Islam. The story has it that a man called Ahban b. Aus was among his sheep in the environs of Madinah when suddenly a wolf caught a sheep. The man shouted at the wolf which did not run but sat on its tail addressing the man: “Who will look after it when you will be busy and not able to look after it? Do you forbid me the provision which Allah has provided me?” At this the man clapped his hands saying: “By Allah, I have never seen anything more curious and wonderful than this.” But the wolf told him that there was something more extraordinary and beautiful; that is, Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) in those palm trees (Madinah) inviting people to Islam.254 While discussing the subject of animals, Yusuf al-Qardawi rightly concluded: “Thirteen hundred years before any societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals were established, Islam had made kindness to animals a part of its faith and cruelty to them a sufficient reason for a person to be thrown into the Fire.”255 Perhaps one of the best attestations to the fair and just treatment of animals that Islam upholds is the fact that seven Qur’anic chapters bear the


names of different animal species: al-Baqarah (the Heifer), al-An’am (Cattle), alNahl (the Bee), al-Naml (the Ants), al-‘Ankabut (the Spider), al-‘Adiyat (Those that run, i.e. horses), al-Fil (the Elephant). Water The Islamic position on rivers, trees and plants is also remarkable. There are many Qur’anic verses,256 as well as the Prophet’s sayings, that testify to it. 257 For instance, regarding the importance of rivers and the necessary respect and care that we ought to accord to them, it is sufficient to say that four earthly rivers: the Nile in Egypt, the Euphrates in Iraq, the Sayhan in Turkey and the Jayhan in Syria, are all the streams from Paradise, as expounded by the Prophet (PBUH).258 Indeed, water is one of the most priceless items on earth without which man’s existence would be a short-lived affair. As such, water must be honored and cherished most. Allah Almighty reminds man of this, often taken for granted, gift, aiming to stir in him a sense of appreciation, humility and submission: “Say: “See ye? - if your stream be some morning lost (in the underground earth), who then can supply you with clear-flowing water?” (al-Mulk 30) The Prophet (PBUH) went so far as to say that water is the best thing to be given away as sadaqah (charity) on the basis of the verse in the Qur’an in which the inhabitants of Jahannam (Fire) will call to the inhabitants of Jannah (Paradise): “Pour down to us water or anything that Allah doth provide for your sustenance.’ They will say: ‘Both these things hath Allah forbidden to those who reject Him.” (al-A’raf 50) ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas was once asked what the best form of sadaqah is. His answer was water, quoting these Prophet’s words as a proof.259 The Prophet (PBUH) said that humans are partners in three natural resources: water, pastures and fire.260 He also said on the subject of water: “Do not withhold the superfluous water, for that will prevent people from grazing their cattle.”261 Of the persons whom Allah will not even look at on the Day of Judgment, nor will He purify them and theirs shall be a severe punishment, is a man who possessed superfluous water on a way and he withheld it from travelers. 262 We have already cited the hadith according to which a woman from the Children of Israel, guilty of fornication, was forgiven because she quenched the thirst of a dog which was helplessly lingering near a well. Flora Concerning trees and plants, to begin with we shall refer to one of the Prophet’s sayings wherein he stressed that whosoever cuts for no valid reason a Lote-tree (sidrah) in a desert, under which previously both travelers and animals used to shade themselves, God shall direct him to Hellfire.263 The same can be safely said of any unnecessary and ill-intended disturbance of people, crops, flora and fauna by an individual or a group, if the actions were bound to cause, in either


the short or long term, some detrimental repercussions for the global natural setting. This is so because cutting a tree (eliminating or damaging anything on earth) in the manner described in the hadith, implies one’s de facto detachment from the divinely prescribed code of living as to the relationship between man and God, and between man and nature. Indeed, such things as accountable custody of earth, the trust, appreciation of nature as a fountain of joy, inspiration and enlightenment, are no longer to be found in the demeanor of the perpetrator of the said actions, whereas some novel and bizarre alternatives, customarily shrouded in egotism, materialism and domination and conquest of nature, have been pursued instead. As a result, the very concepts of God, man and existence taken as a whole, have, at last, been either distorted beyond recognition or dispensed with completely. Furthermore, the Prophet (PBUH) strongly encouraged the Muslims to plant and nourish trees and crops. Whenever one plants something and a human being, an animal or a bird later on eats or enjoys any benefit thereof, one shall get a handsome reward from God, for it counts as if he gave in charity. Even if one steals of it, the same applies. If the world is about to end, even then if one holds a plant intending to plant it, one is advised to go on and try to complete the job.264 Some go further and believe, backing up their assertion by some hadiths, that he who plants a palm tree, digs up a well and causes a stream to flow will have his good deeds being recorded even after his demise, as long as the effects of his actions still exist on earth. Irrespective of whether the Prophet (PBUH) has really proclaimed so word for word or not, however, this is in no contradiction with another tradition (hadith), and which is an authentic one. According to it, the Prophet (PBUH) has said that the recording of one’s good deeds comes to an end the moment one dies except when he leaves behind a long-lived charity (sadaqah jariyah), knowledge from which people derive benefit, and upright descendants who shall supplicate for him. The acts of planting date-palm trees, digging up wells and making streams flow, unquestionably fall under the category of the long-lived charity (sadaqah jariyah).265 In yet another hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) somewhat elaborated on the nature of the long-lived charity. In it he categorized all of bequeathing a copy of the Holy Qur’an, building a mosque, building a house for travelers, making a stream flow, giving out sadaqah (charity) in the state of health, as the deeds for which their executors will procure reward even after their demise.266 The Prophet (PBUH) on one occasion said that the date-palm tree is as blessed as a Muslim. What the Prophet (PBUH) possibly had in mind was the enormous value and diversified excellent properties held by both in their respective contexts.267 And the Holy Qur’an says that a goodly word is just like a goodly tree which is at all times characterized by stability, good health and the abundance of its nutritious fruit; whereas an evil word is comparable with an evil tree which stands diametrically at opposite side due to its instability, rottenness, vanity and infertility. (Ibrahim 24-26)


Indeed, this was one of the reasons why the first generation of the Muslims possessed such a remarkable stand on the matter of peaceful coexistence with flora. So concerned were they about planting and land cultivation - food provision was certainly the main reason, but not the only one – that both the Migrants (Muhajirun) and Helpers (Ansar) were called the people of planting and cultivation (ahl zar’).268 Once a man saw Abu al-Darda’, a companion of the Prophet (PBUH), planting a nut (jawzah). Asked why he was doing that for he was old and the tree will need a very long time to yield the fruits, Abu Darda’s answer was that others (future generations) will benefit from his effort. As a result, he will be rewarded accordingly.269 Another Prophet’s companion, Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, even combined gardening with imparting knowledge.270 It is not surprising, therefore, that issues like public land and its cultivation, public water and its use, reviving dead land, enclosing land, and the like, have been treated in-depth in virtually every inclusive work on Islamic jurisprudence. As a result, numerous rulings related thereto have been generated and meticulously conserved. The Prophet (PBUH) said on reviving dead land - for instance: “Dead land belongs to him who revives it, and no trespasser has any right.”271 Also: “He who revives dead land acquires it and what is consumed by the ‘Afiah (of its crops) is considered his sadaqah (charity).” “The ‘Afiah are those poor religious men and the ‘followers of the way’, seeking the means of subsistence of which they are deprived, and also birds and beasts.”272 To this all can we add – as a concluding remark - that Islam shores up its matchless stance on the subject of the environment by viewing cleanliness, be it the cleanliness of the body, dwelling places, courtyards, streets, markets, rivers and the whole surroundings, as a branch of faith (iman). The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said so on many an occasion. 273 A branch of faith is also removing what is injurious from the path.274 In order not to cause any damage to the environment or inconvenience to themselves and humans in general, the Muslims are furthermore cautioned against defecating or urinating in water springs, on paths and in shaded places. The Prophet (PBUH) called such acts as serious abominations.275

Part Five: The Prophet (PBUH) and Housing
The essence of building in Islam We have seen above that the first urban element set up by the Prophet (PBUH) in Madinah following the Hijrah was the mosque complex with its wide spectrum of activities catering for the basic social needs of the expanding community. As expected, the complex served as a center of gravity where all the forthcoming development undertakings were planned and whence they were fanning out


towards every direction. In the wake of the mosque completion, demarcating, planning and building the houses of the Migrants was the next pressing task. In Islam, houses ought to be planned, designed and constructed in such a way as to reflect and further promote and enhance the unity, brotherhood and equality of the Muslims. Their layout, plan and design have to mirror the only Islamic criterion for discriminating between people, i.e. “… the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” (al-Hujurat 13) Never and under no circumstances can this criterion be disregarded. Anything else dished up by anybody and at any point of time as an alternative to this divinely prescribed decree to mankind is deemed alien to the Islamic tawhidic paradigm and, as such, ought to be rejected outright. If assented to, such alternatives, customarily shrouded in infidelity, materialism and egotism, will soon prove an obstacle in man’s genuine civilizational headway, thus adding nothing constructive to human interests and increasing but error and transgression. Due to a possible long-term impact of housing on society, the Prophet (PBUH) himself was involved in allotting and marking out many dwellings. Quite a long list of such dwellings, both their locations and owners, is supplied by some historians.276 Likewise, the Prophet (PBUH) may have been involved in some way in planning and building some houses as well, as seen in an incident which occurred when the caliph ‘Umar b. al-Khattab decided to enlarge the Prophet’s mosque. ‘Umar bought the surrounding houses which stood on the way of the mosque enlargement and one such house belonged to al-‘Abbas b. ‘Abd alMutallib who was reluctant to sell it. Eventually he donated it to the Muslims. While disputing with the caliph about the matter, al-‘Abbas remarked that the house had been marked to him by the Prophet (PBUH) who had also built it with him. “The house water-spout which pours in the mosque had been installed by the Prophet’s hand”, revealed al-‘Abbas.277 Indeed, the Prophet’s eagerness to solve the problem of housing faced by the Muslims in Madinah after the Hijrah was remarkable. Apart from the typical reasons given for that, the very perception of the house in Islam contributed its share too. In Islam, the house is a place to rest, relax the body and mind, enjoy legitimate worldly delights, worship, teach, learn and propagate the message of Islam. It is one of the fundamental rights that must be enjoyed by every Muslim. Allah - be He exalted - says in the Qur’an: “It is Allah Who made your habitations homes of rest and quite for you… “ (al-Nahl 80) The house was, and will always be, a microcosm of Islamic culture and civilization in that individuals and families bred and nurtured therein constitute the fundamental units of the Islamic Ummah. While the houses were marked out, planned and constructed, the Prophet (PBUH) certainly made use of the on-going events to teach the Muslims in rather practical terms some essential lessons in the Islamic faith, as well as in the Islamic system of moral principles. His warnings against the major vices committed in building such as wastefulness, display of haughtiness, mutual envy, rivalry in building etc.; Islamic perception of the neighbor, neighborhood, and relations among neighbors; Islamic idea of privacy, beauty, ornamentation, and interaction with space - all these definitely have been somehow or other communicated to the Muslims and in a language that they could at that juncture


comprehend. Although no accounts imply what the Prophet (PBUH) had exactly uttered to this effect at this particular stage, but then again, given that building issues were preoccupying the mind and time of a good many Muslims and that the same remained for quite sometime the order of the day, it was important that certain issues be clarified, and solutions and answers on the matters arising be given. At any rate, as to the subject in question, some standards have been clearly set: houses are but one of the noble means by which the noblest goals are attained, not a goal in itself; people are not to build more than what they really need, for the reason that every building activity is harmful to its executor, unless carried out due to a real necessity.278 If adulterated by jahiliyyah (ignorance) elements, the idea of building may in the long run prove disastrous for the future of the Muslim community as a whole. The reason for this is that under some unfavorable circumstances not only will the concept of the house and its splendid goals be garbled, but also will people start drifting away, little by little, from purposeful moderation, in the end becoming liable even to warp the character and role of their very existence on earth. No sooner does this come about than breeding the causes which the Prophet (PBUH) had singled out as responsible for every upcoming cultural and civilizational slump of the Muslims, happens next. The causes highlighted by the Prophet (PBUH) are: exaggerated love of this world and having aversion to death.279 Verily, the more people fritter away their time, energy and resources on building, the greater affection do they develop for the results of their work and this world in general, and the more they are attached to this world, the ‘farther’ and more detested death and the Hereafter appear. ‘The dwellings in which you delight’ has been referred to in the Qur’an (alTawbah 24) as one of the potential hindrances in Allah’s cause, in that man’s heart is prone to clinging to it in this world together with wealth and prosperity, commerce, and kith and kin. And if it be that any of these turns out to be a hindrance “…then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious.” (al-Tawbah 24) Vices such as wasting, haughtiness, mutual envy, rivalry in building etc. have been refrained from most by the Muslims as both the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) seriously condemn them. Regarding the Qur’an, it is - for instance - referred to ‘Ad, the people of the prophet Hud, who are said to have been materialists feeling quite secure in their fortresses and resources, and believing but in brute force when dealing with those who came within their power. They were accused, among other things, of excessively priding themselves on show and parade, building palatial monuments on every high place in order to amuse themselves and impel others to hold them and their material prosperity in awe and utmost respect, (al-Shu’ara’ 123-140). When the prophet Hud came to them with Allah’s message and clear signs, they ridiculed and rebuffed them, so God destroyed them by a furious wind, exceedingly violent. “Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe.” (al-Shu’ara’ 139) Thamud, the people of the Prophet Salih, are also said to have been building for themselves palaces and castles in open plains, and have been


carving out homes in the mountains for the reasons similar to those of the people ‘Ad. In the end, a terrible earthquake as a punishment came and buried them destroying their boasted civilization. It took them unawares “and they lay prostrate in their homes in the morning!” (al-A’raf 78) Some vestiges of the houses of Thamud were still there during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) and he wanted his companions to learn from what had befallen those people. Once when he and his companions were passing by al-Hijr - the homeland of Thamud the Prophet (PBUH) told his companions: “Do not enter the domiciles of these tormented people except in the state of weeping. If you do not weep, do not enter then, lest what had befallen them should befall you too.”280 In the surah al-Hajj, Allah ta’ala having referred to some of the peoples that disbelieved their prophets and belied the signs brought to them concludes: “How many populations have We destroyed, which were given to wrong-doing? They tumbled down on their roofs. And how many wells are lying idle and neglected, and castles lofty and well-built? Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not the eyes that are blind, but the hearts which are in their breasts.” (al-Hajj 45-46) The Prophet (PBUH) too on many an occasion warned of the vices associated with building, as well as of the unsolicited consequences that they always give rise to.281 The most conventional evil committed perhaps most often in building is wastefulness, although it is so much abhorrent that after explicitly forbidding extravagance, spendthrifts are described by the Qur’an as brothers of Satan. (alIsra’ 27) The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have advised his companions to enjoy this world’s rightful delights so long as they are free from extravagance and conceit.282 He also said on seeing Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas taking ablution: “Why this wastefulness, O Sa’d?” Asked whether even in ablution wastefulness could be perpetrated, the Prophet (PBUH) retorted: “Yes, even if you are (standing) at a flowing stream.”283 Next, people’s haughtiness is often a reason for building. In Islam, this vice, no matter how insignificant and for what reasons it may be committed, is unconditionally rejected. It is associated with Satan who basically for that nature of his was of those who reject Faith. (al-Baqarah 34) The Prophet (PBUH) once said: “He in whose heart a mustard seed’s weight of arrogance is found will be thrown on his face into Hellfire.”284 Also: “He who dies free from three things: arrogance, malignancy (ghulul) and debt, shall enter Paradise.”285 Once the Prophet (PBUH) asked his companions whether they want to know some characteristics of the occupants of Hellfire to which they replied in the affirmative. Then he told them: “Those who are cruel (‘utull), egotistical (jawwaz) and haughty (mustakbir).”286 Finally, as a consequence of this approach by many an individual to the subject of building, the tendency towards vying with each other in erecting private monumental edifices inevitably ensues. So damaging is this evil that it easily turns into a pervasive social disease. Moreover, if aided by other similar in power


and effect factors, it has a potential to evolve so far as to become an integral part of the boundless chaos that will herald the imminence of the Day of Judgment. Thus, the Prophet (PBUH) has proclaimed that one of the signs of the approaching of the Day of Judgment would be when people start vying in boasting with one another in building.287 When a delegation from the al-Azd tribe came to the Prophet (PBUH), he advised them among other things not to build that which they will not occupy (utilize), and not to compete in that which they soon will leave.288 Nevertheless, before rivalry in building - coupled with other grave transgressions, such as hypocrisy and deadening formalism in religion becomes a lucid sign of the Day of Judgment’s proximity, the same vice will represent one of the root causes of disunity, decadence and intellectual impotence of the Muslims, exactly as their Lord has cautioned them against: “And obey Allah and His Messenger; and fall into no disputes, lest ye lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” (al-Anfal 46) Also: “And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of Pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: that ye may be guided.” (Alu ‘Imran 103) Against the background of these damaging vices often committed in building – sometimes unconsciously and under the influence of popular and widespread dissolute trends, though – must we view the saying of the Prophet (PBUH) in which he has said, on seeing an imposing dome erected over a house in Madinah, that every building activity is harmful to its doer, unless carried out due to a real necessity.289 The same is true about every other Prophet’s tradition and those ascribed to his nearest companions in which building at first glance is denounced.290 The Migrants and the problem of socio-cultural adjustment Strengthening fraternity among the Migrants (Muhajirs) and Helpers (Ansar) was at all times one of the major goals of the Prophet’s actions. His planning and development pursuits were no exception. His insistence on building the mosque before anything else, apart from the intentions and purposes to be thus accomplished and which we have referred to earlier, has had also some significant bearing on the adapting and acclimatization of both the Migrants and Helpers to what was transpiring in Madinah: the former as to the new environment, climate, and their painful economic and psychological conditions, and the latter as to the new socio-political landscape in their homeland, as well as to the new code of life which most of them had freshly embraced. While building the mosque, the Prophet (PBUH) deferred for a time building domiciles for the Migrants. During that period – approximately six or seven months – the Migrants stayed together and shared almost everything with the Helpers. The


Helpers not only had no objection to the prospects of being of service to their brethren from Makkah, but also felt quite honored about it. Indeed, the longer they stayed together, the stronger and warmer relationship between them could have been fostered. The Prophet (PBUH) himself stayed in the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari till the mosque and with it his first houses have been completed. All the Migrants, save the Prophet (PBUH), were distributed amongst the Helpers by drawing lots.291 That the Migrants were going through some hard time following the Hijrah and that they really needed some time for hospitable adaptation before even thinking of self-reliance testifies the fact that Yathrib was well known throughout Arabia as a place where at certain seasons there was a great danger of fever, especially for those who were not native to the oasis.292 Not long after their coming to Madinah, many of the Prophet’s companions, including Abu Bakr and Bilal, suffered from severe fever. It was on this occasion that the Prophet (PBUH) prayed: “O Allah, make Madinah as congenial and dear to us as You made Makkah congenial and dear, or more than that. Make it conducive to health, and bless us in its sa’ and its mudd (sustenance), and transfer its fever as far as alJuhfa.”293 The Prophet (PBUH) also prayed: “O Allah, increase in Madinah twice the blessings (You showered) on Makkah.”294 It has been narrated that some people from the Uraina tribe came to Madinah but its climate did not suite them, so the Prophet (PBUH) allowed them to go to the herd of camels (given as Zakah) and they drank their milk and urine (as medicine). However, as their condition improved they killed the shepherd and drove away all the camels. So the Prophet (PBUH) sent some people to catch them. After they had been caught and then brought to the Prophet (PBUH), he had no choice but to punish them proportionally to their crime.295 When the Prophet (PBUH) and a large multitude of the Muslims set off to Makkah in the seventh year to perform ‘Umrah (the Lesser Pilgrimage) the issue of the people’s susceptibility to fever in Madinah was drawn attention to by the Makkan polytheists as one of their stratagems aimed at disgracing the Muslims, mainly the Migrants from Makkah. They used to say that the Muslims appeared too weak because of the effects of the notorious Madinah fever which had finally got the better of them. If truth be told, however, the outer appearance of the Muslims served to the Makkans as a boosting factor for enriching and further articulating their charges. The Muslims were bare-headed and white-robed; they entered Makkah partly riding on camelback and partly on foot. Each man was wearing his upper garment as a cloak, but at the entrance to the sacred Mosque the Prophet (PBUH) asked the people to adjust it, passing it under the right arm, leaving the shoulder bare, and crossing the two ends over the left shoulder so that they hung down back and front. The Prophet (PBUH) then asked the people to walk swiftly and even jog during the first three rounds while circumambulating the Ka’bah (Tawaf) so that the Makkans, some of whom were scrupulously observing from a nearby spot, should see their fitness and endurance. The Prophet (PBUH) did not command his companions to walk quickly for the remainder of the ritual - which is seven rounds – out of compassion and pity for them. The similar strategy was adopted when Sa’y, walking between the hills


Safa and Marwah, was performed during which the designated distances were also covered by jogging. Expectedly, the Makkans were proven wrong and defeated yet again in the long and exhaustive psychological warfare with Madinah. By means of their own observation, they took in that the Muslims were safe and sound, and worse still, they appeared much stronger and healthier than many others.296 On arriving in Madinah, the Migrants have had also some problems pertaining to drinking water. They found much of it being far from pleasant, especially during the earliest stage. There was a well called the Rumah, about three miles to the northwest from the Prophet’s mosque, which apparently was gratifying the Migrants most. However, the well owner - who was either a Jew or a man from the clan Banu Giffar - took a hard line on the Muslims by selling the well water unjustly: one skin of water for half bushel or mudd (a dry measure) of, in all likelihood, dates or grain. The Prophet (PBUH) had to intervene and ask the man to donate the well to the Muslims for a better well in Paradise. Nevertheless, the man rejected the bargain under the pretext that he had no other source of income for him and his family. When the news of the Prophet’s failed attempt reached Uthman b. ‘Affan, allured by the lucrative offer, he hastened to the man and purchased the well for 35000 dirhams. Uthman then went to the Prophet (PBUH) donating the well to the Muslims in exchange for a better one in Paradise.297 Prior to the Hijrah, Madinah was a dirty place, which the Migrants could hardly come to terms with. Thus, the Prophet (PBUH) ordered that the city be cleaned and its dirt and filth be removed. A’ishah, the Prophet’s wife, said: “We came to Madinah and it was the most polluted land of Allah. The water there was stinking”. In order that the rigorous Islamic cleanliness requirements were duly met, the Prophet (PBUH) also asked his companions to dig wells in different parts of the city. It is mentioned that more than 50 wells were opened in the city of Madinah and there was enough clean water for every one.298 Some of the adversities experienced by the Migrants in Madinah were psychological in nature. For instance, it was said to them that the Jews had bewitched them, and so they would not be able to produce any offspring. Some people were unduly worried, but when Abdullah b. al-Zubayr was born shortly after his parent’s migration – Asma bint Abi Bakr, his mother, conceived him while in Makkah – everyone was very happy.299 Furthermore, there were some minor glitches related to culture as well. The Muslims needed considerable forbearance and resolve if they were to triumph over such glitches seeing them as no obstacle in a long and exhaustive society-building process. It was thus but ideal for the Migrants to stay for sometime with the Helpers and freely intermingle with them, tearing down thereby every possible psychological and cultural barrier that may have existed between them. It has been narrated to this end that some Helpers, who lived while they were idolaters in the company of the Jews, adopted the latter’s custom of having sexual intercourse with women on one side alone, i.e. the women will lie down on their backs. However, the clan of the Quraysh - most of the Migrants – used to uncover their women completely, and seek pleasure with them from in


front and behind and laying them on their backs. And it so happened that shortly following the Hijrah a man from the Migrants married a woman of the Helpers. He began to do the same kind of action with her, but she disliked it divulging to him the reason of her discontentment. Having told him the way she wanted him to approach her, she then let him know: “Do it so, otherwise keep away from me.” This matter spread widely at last reaching the Prophet (PBUH) whereupon the following Qur’anic verse was revealed: “Your wives are as a tilth unto you so approach your tilth when or how ye will.” (al-Baqarah 223)300 Once a man from the Migrants came to the Prophet (PBUH) and informed him that he had contracted to marry a woman from the Helpers. The Prophet (PBUH) asked him: “Did you cast a glance at her?” The man said: “No.” The Prophet (PBUH) thereupon advised him: “Go and do so, for there is something in the eyes of the Ansar.”301 While building the Prophet’s mosque, the Helpers and Migrants mainly stayed together. It was not until the completion of the mosque that the houses for most Migrants started to mushroom mostly around it. Therefore, in the course of building the mosque, the Prophet (PBUH) worked hard on enhancing relations between the Helpers and Migrants. He solicited both parties to keep mixing together and take part in whatever work they could. He himself was active working and interacting with the people, thus setting an example to be followed. As a result, the general feeling was such that everybody worked together as a team and not a soul looked upon work as a burden or a strain. Even certain poetic verses were recited in the process. The Prophet (PBUH), apparently content with the goings-on, thus kept saying: “There is no goodness except that of the Hereafter, o Allah! So please forgive the Helpers and Migrants.”302 The significance of the Prophet’s housing planning policies No sooner had the mosque been completed than the private houses started clustering round it under the Prophet’s supervision. As the position of the mosque was chosen primarily by a divine intervention – as we have seen earlier - so could be to some extent asserted about the emerging residential area(s) too, taking into account the latter’s affiliation with the former in the city’s spatial arrangement as dictated by the philosophy of the new religion. Erecting houses around the Prophet’s mosque and his own residences by many companions albeit mostly by the Migrants - contributed a lot towards the projected promotion of social justice, equality and integration among the first Muslims. Geographically, the chosen site for the mosque and city core was the most fitting one for the future of Madinah and its overall development, since there were no acute natural hindrances, such as big and steep hills or completely infertile land, in its immediate vicinity. As such, development activities could be for quite a long time freely planned and evenly dispersed, thus avoiding the disproportionate exploitation of the limited natural resources and the concentration of growth on one area at the expense of the other. This also meant that most people would live at an equal distance from that which they now treasured most: the Prophet (PBUH) and his mosque. As it meant that access to


the social amenities which were available under the mosque complex roof will become easily accessible to all, more or less at approximate distance from most of the extremities of the city proper. This way, evenly balanced population distribution could be attained too, and there would hardly be such a thing as highly appealing and highly unappealing quarters. The thrust on even and fair distribution of the population was extremely important and the Prophet (PBUH) handled it with utmost prudence and wisdom. For instance, once the people of the Banu Salamah tribe - which was from the Khazraj ranks - wanted to shift to a place near the Prophet (PBUH) and his mosque, but the Prophet (PBUH) disproved of the idea saying: “O Banu Salamah! Don’t you think that for every step of yours (that you take towards the mosque for prayers) there is a reward?”303 By positioning the new midpoint of Madinah between the existing settlements rather than either too far away from them or within the ambit of any of them, the Prophet (PBUH) offered several new development opportunities. Some new portions of uncultivated land now became cultivated and the others, which had been previously owned but neglected, revived. Communication network between the old settlements now improved and further extended to the new ones. Expectedly, to the novel and encouraging developments in Madinah the Migrants contributed their own share. Having been established on a relatively uninhibited but productive land and next to the mosque, justice has been done to them for all the services which they had rendered earlier to the Islamic cause while in Makkah. As this also meant that they at the same time were encouraged to work hard and become self-reliant and start a life on their own as soon as they could, thus becoming an asset to the modest and nascent community rather than a liability. Had the mosque been constructed somewhere within the ambit of any of the available settlements and the Migrants had to settle elsewhere, there would have existed a real possibility of marginalizing – albeit inadvertently - some of them in certain aspects. This would have made the plight of the Migrants all the more difficult and the solicited integration a distant and easier-said-than-done aspiration. In this case, their initial stay with the Helpers would have been undeniably prolonged as well – longer than really considered necessary - and both their self-sufficiency and needed contribution to satisfying the socio-political and economic needs of the community would have been somewhat deterred for sometime. And to remain needlessly dependent on their brethren from Madinah was the last thing the Migrants were asking for. The response of a Migrant Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Awf to his adopted brother Sa’d b. al-Rabi’, a Helper, who suggested that everything he owned, including his two wives, be shared between them, is perhaps one of the best attestations to this reality, as well as a personification of the Migrants’ attitude. Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Awf told his brother: “I am not in need of all that. Is there any market-place where trade is practiced?”304 Displaying their undying keenness to becoming fully self-reliant and an asset to the community that was pretty much devoid of plentiful and affluent assets, the Migrants on one occasion told the Prophet (PBUH) that the Helpers got the entire reward by their sacrifices and commitments. By these words, the


Migrants implied to the Prophet (PBUH) that they are ready to partake of the Helpers’ burden and offer their own contributions in developing the community as soon as the necessary means become available to them. The Prophet (PBUH) retorted, trying to both comfort and encourage them: “No, so long as you pray to Allah for them and praise them.”305 Nor were the Helpers held in contempt by selecting the mosque site and with it the future city nucleus where in terms of housing the Migrants were shortly to dominate. The arrival of Islam and the Prophet (PBUH) in Madinah meant that each and every avenue for reviving the centuries old antagonism between the two major Arab tribes in the region: Aws and Khazraj, must be blockaded for good. Doing a favor to the Helpers either from Aws or Khazraj while neglecting the other party, could have been one of such avenues, as most of the Helpers had only recently embraced the new religion. Moreover, while some refused to accept Islam until the Prophet (PBUH) arrived, there were still some Helpers who needed some time even afterward to reconcile themselves to the new code of living and finally bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger. Above all, there was a considerable group of hypocrites, the undying ally of the Jews - ever active and ready to deceive God, His Prophet and those who believed - who were attempting by all possible means to cause mischief, discord, confusion and unfaithfulness to prevail and thus push back Madinah to the state of its old dark days. Doing any careless and imbalanced favor to either Aws or Khazraj to the detriment of the other side would have surely been exploited by the forces of evil in Madinah, which were at the outset such in quantity and vigor that a long time was needed for their utter defeat and elimination. The idea of the mosque, as well as housing, had to be cautiously and optimally utilized for the purpose of purging forever the old indigenous conflicts and disparities, and for the purpose of making some decisive steps towards permanent pacification and union. Hence, not positioning the Prophet’s mosque in the ambit of either Aws or Khazraj was one of the most productive moves that could have been made under the circumstances. The sensitive relations between Aws and Khazraj remained for quite sometime. The matter is illustrated in the following incident. On one occasion a Jew passed by a group of both Aws and Khazraj. Having witnessed an enviable degree of understanding and harmony between them, where only several years ago this was unthinkable and absolutely out of the question, the Jew became distressed. So he decided to do something about it. He chose a man (probably a hypocrite) who consented to frequent the assemblies of the two leading Arab tribes and try his best to revive their old bloody rivalries during discussions between the two groups. The man did as directed. In the end, so overwhelmed by fury and desire to settle some outstanding disputes did some people become that they started yelling out at each other in anger. The old warring slogans were repeatedly shouted and the weapons were sought out. The news reached the Prophet (PBUH) who at once hastened to the people. On his arrival, he calmed them down advising them that revisiting the age of ignorance (jahiliyyah) will do them and anyone else no good, especially now when he, Allah’s Messenger, is in their midst. Then, he recited to them the Qur’anic verse: “And hold fast, all


together, by the Rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the Pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: that ye may be guided.” (Alu ‘Imran 103) Having heard the words which they had actually heard, understood and heeded before, but now under the momentary lapse of concentration somehow paid no attention to, the culprits from both Aws and Khazraj repented, embraced each other, and dispensed with the weapons.306 By and large, with the exception of some sporadic inconsequential incidents such as this, both Aws and Khazraj – except the hypocrites - were so delighted with the advent of Islam, the Prophet (PBUH) and their brethren from Makkah that in their stride they took the whole affair. They enthusiastically, but amicably, competed with one another in doing what was best for the community, generating in the process an atmosphere of optimism, confidence and buoyancy which was very much gratifying the Prophet (PBUH) and other Migrants.307 Some of the land which stood on the way of the Prophet’s housing scheme was neither public, nor uncultivated, nor vacant. It belonged to the Helpers some of whom lived right there or close by, such as Abu Ayyub alAnsari, in whose house the Prophet (PBUH) had resided until the completion of the mosque complex, and several other households mainly from the Banu alNajjar clan. Nevertheless, no sooner had the Helpers become acquainted with the urbanization plans of the Prophet (PBUH) than they hastened to donate the needed land to him and their brethren from Makkah. There were instances, however, where the Helpers, too, embarked on building for themselves close at hand - although such cases might have taken place after some time. Certainly, the only thing that the native people of Madinah - those who managed to erect houses near the mosque - wished was to become an integral part of the growing world-shattering phenomena, and to everlastingly blend themselves with the emerging Islamic pattern of the urban settlement. Surely, had it not been for the revelation of the verse 12 from the Qur’anic chapter Ya Sin, a larger number of the Helpers would have aimed to move as close as possible to the mosque.308 This verse in which it is understood that even one’s steps made for Allah’s sake are generously rewarded – in this case the steps rewarded are the ones made to the Prophet’s mosque - reads: “Verily We shall give life to the dead, and We record that which they send before and that which they leave behind, and of all things have We taken account in a clear Book (of evidence).” (Ya Sin 12) Such was the ensuing development of the city of Madinah that most of its suburbs having been inspired by the Islamic concepts of fraternity and integration before long started expanding freely and towards each other recognizing no boundaries rooted in socio-economic and cultural considerations. Thus, the decisive standing and roles of both the Helpers and Migrants have been duly recognized, needing but a wise and visionary planning paradigm, as well as some workable harmonization systems, during the subsequent maturing process. Their respective roles were complementing each other and, as


such, they never ceased to grow from strength to strength. In consequence, the stage was set for writing a chapter in human history never paralleled afterwards by anybody and anywhere. The triumphs of the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions were emulated by every subsequent generation of the Muslims who strove to either emulate them or just draw an inspiration and impetus from such triumphs, while making a civilizational headway of their own and within their own context. In the process of solving the housing problem, the Prophet (PBUH) did not neglect those Migrants who have been so poor that they could not afford even their daily sustenance, let alone the shelter. They were called the ‘People of the suffah’. The Prophet (PBUH) set up for them a shaded structure in a corner of the northern side of the mosque. Most of the suffah dwellers were from Makkah, but some were from Madinah - as we have seen earlier when we discussed the theme of the mosque as a community development center. The Islamic unique treatment of the poor covered everyone, no matter who the individuals might have been and from which economic and social background they might have come from. Although the Islamic state was not so affluent financially, in particular for the duration of the first few years after the Hijrah, the poor and needy of the state were not to worry at all. Not only to housing did this apply, but also to all other exigencies needed for living a respectable and normal life. It was for this reason, therefore, that the prescription of Zakah (the alms) and Sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast-breaking) came about during the earliest Madinah period, aiming at creating the ethical and caring individuals who will constitute a sound, principled and caring society. So critical in Islam is the injunction of caring for others that a trait of a believer is to wish his fellow believers only that which he wishes himself. In Islam, charity and kindness to others, as a noble form of virtue, are to be preached, acted upon, encouraged and even commanded if the need arises. One of the reasons for which the inhabitants of the Hellfire shall undergo such a painful and agonizing chastisement will be their deliberate refusal to feed the indigent. In the Qur’anic chapter al-Muddaththir, “being not of those who fed the indigent” has been singled out as the second chief reason for the sinners’ misery on the Day of Judgment (al-Muddaththir 44), the primary reason being “being not of those who prayed”. According to the chapter al-Haqqah, on the Day of Judgment the wrongdoers will be seized, bound and then, inserted in a chain the length of which will be seventy cubits, will be burned in the blazing Fire because they did not believe in Allah Most High, firstly, and did not encourage the feeding of the indigent, secondly. (al-Haqqah 30-34) Due to its enormous significance for the sound and unremitting growth of the community, the Prophet (PBUH) gave his full weight behind the issue of communication in Madinah. This had to be the case because the people needed to be kept abreast of current affairs in the dynamic, exciting and ever-growing city-state, of whatever decision that the Prophet (PBUH) might have made, and of the latest revealed Qur’anic verses and chapters which have been molding and directing people’s lives. In part, the Prophet’s mosque was able to satisfy this need, however, not everybody for different legitimate reasons could perform


regularly his daily prayers in it. Almost all male adults have been attending Friday prayers (Jum’ah), but then again, so urgent some issues and affairs were that they could not wait for a next Friday prayer. The multifaceted function of the Prophet’s mosque, plus its strategic position vis-à-vis the old and newly emerging Madinah settlements, aided considerably the subject of communication in Madinah. Yet, a few additional mechanisms had to be designed to help dealing with the increasingly complex problem of communication. The following were immediate solutions: firstly, some prominent companions would pray with the Prophet (PBUH) and then leave to the mosques of their respective far-flung neighborhoods, leading the people in their prayers there and instructing them in the Qur’an and matters concerning the new religion – something like what the companion Mu’adh b. Jabal was doing. 309 Secondly, the Prophet (PBUH) himself fell into the habit of visiting the people all over Madinah, teaching them, talking, eating and praying with them in both their houses and mosques. Thirdly, the Prophet (PBUH) had his own couriers who would when needed dash to the districts of Madinah disseminating the news to the people, like in the case of fasting on the day of ‘Ashura,310 the case of absolute prohibition of alcohol,311 the case of changing the qiblah direction from the al-Masjid al-Aqsa to the al-Masjid al-Haram312 - to name but a few. The housing area surrounding the Prophet’s mosque The housing area surrounding the mosque in the end emerged nearly in the shape of a circle, though it was anything but evenly formed. Some houses were so close to the mosque proper that the Prophet (PBUH) one day ordered that the direction of the houses facing the mosque be turned away from the mosque lest a menstruating woman or a sexually defiled person should come in or pass through.313 The doors of some houses even opened into the mosque. The Prophet (PBUH) ordered all the doors walled except Ali’s, since the latter had no other exit from his house. The companions replaced the doors with small apertures through which they could still enter the mosque from their houses. Later on, the Prophet (PBUH) ordered these apertures closed except that of Abu Bakr.314 That many houses were near the mosque, yet were adjoining it, could be easily twigged from the events which accompanied the caliph Umar b. alKhattab’s decision to enlarge the mosque. The mosque was extended about twenty meters in length and about ten meters in width. Nevertheless, of the problems that the caliph had to solve first before the actual job could start was purchasing the adjoining houses in a manner that would satisfy their owners. One of such houses belonged to al-‘Abbas b. Abd al-Mutallib, the Prophet’s uncle, as mentioned earlier. The number of houses encircling the mosque at the peak of the Prophet’s urbanization scheme might have varied between 250 and 350. Our approximate estimation is based on the following: Firstly:


The total number of houses in Madinah, inclusive of its suburbs, at the time of the Prophets demise has been roughly estimated by some researchers at between 2000 and 2500.315 As advised by the Prophet (PBUH), most of the settlements of the Helpers did not move closer to the mosque, remaining in the same positions as before the Hijrah. While the houses of many a Migrant have been mainly clustering around the mosque, quite a number of them settled for different reasons elsewhere, some near and some far, especially after the first waves of the Hijrah abated and after the expulsion of the Jews. So, the above estimated number of the houses surrounding the Prophet’s mosque - between 250 and 350 - is unlikely to exceed the real figure or fall below it by a big margin. Moreover, the width of the residential area surrounding the principal mosque did not exceed a few hundred meters from the mosque towards each direction, given that its natural - albeit not strictly permanent - perimeters on the western, northwest and southeast sides appear to have been the musalla, the market which extended up to the Sal’ hill, and al-Baqi’, the first Muslim cemetery, respectively. While the nearest point of the market and musalla stood approximately at a distance of six hundred and four hundred meters respectively from the mosque,316 al-Baqi’ was located barely about two hundred meters or so away. It was maybe on account of this position of the musalla vis-à-vis the core of the city (the musalla formed the virtual perimeter of the Madinah core on the western side) that al-Sayyid Sabiq referred to it as having been lying in the outskirts of the city, despite its actual nearness.317 As for the proximity of al-Baqi’ to the mosque, it is sufficient to say that a companion Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, when once asked about the nature of the prayer of the Prophet (PBUH), reported that the noon prayer (Zuhr) would start and one would go to a place near al-Baqi’ and, having relieved himself, would come to his home, then perform ablution and go to the mosque only to find the Prophet (PBUH) still in the first rak’ah.318 Abdullah b. Umar is even said to have heard one day the iqamah being pronounced in the mosque while he was in al-Baqi’, so he increased his walking pace to the mosque.319 Also, the Prophet (PBUH) did not find it hard towards the end of the night to go out to al-Baqi’, spending quite a long time meditating and praying for the dead. He was doing this very often and his wife A’ishah once secretly followed him.320 However, because it was located at the edge of the central residential area which surrounded the mosque, al-Baqi’ – just like the musalla - is often referred to as having been lying near or outside Madinah, notwithstanding its actual closeness. It is written in the Arabic World Encyclopedia (al-Mawsu’ah al-‘Arabiyyah al-‘Alamiyyah) that al-Baqi’ stood outside the city life and development (‘umran), but nowadays after the rapid expansion of the ‘umran, al-Baqi’ became absorbed by it, making it an integral part of the city.321 One of the reasons for having a burial ground in close proximity to residential areas was that the people could easily frequent it, pray for the dead and reflect on that which inevitably awaits them, i.e. death and ultimate return to God. Between the mosque and al-Baqi’, adjacent to the mosque’s eastern side, there was a place for performing the funerary prayers (al-Jana’iz).322 Al-Baqi’ did not function as a burial ground before the arrival of the Prophet (PBUH) in


Madinah. The first Migrant to have been buried therein was ‘Uthman b. Maz’un, while the first Helper was As’ad b. Zurarah.323 Besides, the central residential area all over was not so densely inhabited. There existed several open spaces, including privately owned gardens and estates within the residential area. One of such gardens was called Bairuha and it belonged to a Helper Abu Talhah. The garden stood in the vicinity of the mosque. The Prophet (PBUH) was very much fond of taking a walk in it to relax himself and drink its clean and fresh water. When the verse: “By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love: and whatever ye give, Allah knoweth it well.” (Alu ‘Imran 92) was revealed, Abu Talhah got up and said to the Prophet (PBUH) that his garden, Bairuha, was the most beloved property to him, so he was giving it freely as a charitable gift in Allah’s cause hoping to attain Allah’s satisfaction in return. At this, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Bravo! That is a fruitful property! That is a fruitful property! I have heard what you have said and I think that you should distribute the garden amongst your relatives.” So Abu Talhah did as advised by the Prophet (PBUH).324 Shortly after the conquest of Khaybar in the seventh year, the Prophet’s mosque was no longer able to accommodate the ever-growing number of worshipers. Thus, it had to be enlarged. At the side towards which the enlargement was planned, there was a piece of land owned by a Madinah native (a Helper). The man refused to donate the plot in trade for a house in Paradise (Jannah), though, whereupon the companion ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan hastened to purchase it for ten thousand Dirhams, donating it then to the Prophet (PBUH) for the same reward, i.e. a house in Jannah.325 Thus, if the Prophet’s mosque was an enclosure at first about 60X70 326 cubits and after the said extension about 100X100 cubits (50X50 meters), and if the immediate residential area around it extended irregularly a few hundred meters towards each direction from the mosque, then the size of the same residential area could be estimated to be more or less 100, 000 square meters. Now, if the houses, together with their stables for some domestic animals and all other facilities needed for a household, are realistically estimated to have occupied between 150 and 350 square meters each - in addition to the existence of open spaces, including some gardens around the mosque and the place for the funerary prayers (al-Jana’iz) - then again the estimation that the number of houses surrounding the mosque at the peak of the Prophet’s urbanization scheme varied between 250 and 350 could be very much a plausible one. Secondly: It appears as if the western and northwest sides, where the musalla and market respectively stood, have been for quite sometime less developed and the houses there were more scarce than elsewhere around the mosque. According to a hadith transmitted by Anas b. Malik, a man entered the mosque on Friday and addressed the Prophet (PBUH) who was standing on the minbar delivering his sermon: “O Allah’s Messenger, livestock are dying and the roads are cut off; please pray to Allah for rain.” The Prophet (PBUH) raised both his hands and did


as implored. Anas b. Malik added: “By Allah, there were no clouds in the sky and there was no house or building between us and the Sal’ hill. Then a big cloud like a shield appeared from behind it (Sal’) and when it came in the middle of the sky, it spread and then rained. By Allah, we could not see the sun for a week.”327 The hill of Sal’ stands at the northwest side of the mosque and is about one mile away from it. On it, some people used to graze some of their livestock.328 Since the Sal’ hill practically marked the natural boundary of the Madinah populated sectors in general, not many houses have been erected behind it. Yet, several clans – one of them the Banu Salamah clan – for various reasons still lived on the other sides of the hill. We have seen earlier that Banu Salamah wanted to move closer to the Prophet’s mosque, but the Prophet (PBUH) was not in support of the idea. If the cited hadith proves one thing than it is the verity that the houses and other forms of buildings between the mosque and the hill of Sal’ have been so scarce that the latter could be easily seen right from the mosque. However, to understand the hadith in literal terms, i.e. to believe that there were no houses or buildings at all between the mosque and Sal’, would be quite inappropriate because no sooner had the Prophet (PBUH) completed building his mosque than he set out to mark plots for houses to the homeless Migrants around it. On both the west and northwest sides of the mosque, some plots had been given and on them the houses were erected in no time.329 Besides, in view of the fact that the summit of the Sal’ hill could easily and clearly be seen from the mosque (such is true even today from certain spots) it could be that the hadith, in fact, implied that there were no big and high-rise houses or other buildings in the said direction, which could get in the way of the clear view. Thus, simple and low-rise buildings – the two chief characteristics of most Madinah houses – which must have existed between the mosque and the Sal’ hill and which could hardly disturb one’s view of the hill, may not have been even taken into account by the narrator of the hadith, Anas b. Malik. Only lofty and elevated buildings were meant as non-existent. Why there was less development towards this direction is difficult to say, nevertheless, the existence of the stony Sal’ hill may have played a role in making some of its environs less fertile and less habitation friendly. The presence of the city market, as well as of the musalla, close at hand may have also been part of the cause, as these two public institutions, needing trouble-free access from all directions, obviously affected the decision of providing spaces for housing projects close to that particular sector. The existence of the valley or watercourse of Batahan near the Sal’ hill – possibly on its eastern side – traversing the Madinah oasis from south to north while passing through that zone, should not be overlooked either. There are several watercourses which crisscross the landscape of Madinah and its suburbs. The valley of al-‘Aqiq, one of the most important valleys in Madinah, also traverses the Madinah area from south to north passing by the Sal’ hill, by the latter’s western flank. Eventually the Batahan and al-‘Aqiq valleys join their waters in one stream that ends in al-Ghabah (the Forest) near the Uhud mountain. Though these waterways normally contain water only after rain, they


maintain a fairly high water table, so that there are many wells and springs. 330 In addition, a number of floods have been recorded regularly at different locations adjoining these watercourses, a fact that may have well influenced some development schemes specifically towards Sal’. It goes without saying that the existence of these valleys made the land better and provided rich soil and irrigation water.331 So, developing farms and orchards was the core interest of the people of these areas, making them – as yet another factor – less densely populated. What exactly we mean here can be further elucidated by recalling the excuse of a Helper when he asked the Prophet’s permission to pray when it rains in his house and not in the mosque of his people. He told the Prophet (PBUH): “I have weak eyesight and I lead my people in prayers. When it rains the water flows in the valley between me and my people so I cannot go to their mosque to lead them in prayer. O Allah’s Messenger! I wish you would come to my house and pray in it so that I could take that place as a musalla (praying place).” The Prophet (PBUH) consented, and then next day with Abu Bakr visited the man and together they prayed in his house.332 When did the incident of the man entering the mosque and begging for rain occur is equally difficult to ascertain because the cited hadith contains no clear-cut clues about that. What we can be sure of, however, is that the incident could not have happened shortly after the Hijrah and after the Prophet’s mosque had been constructed. This is because when the man entered, the Prophet (PBUH) was standing on the minbar which was only introduced quite sometime subsequent to the completion of the mosque. Before that while delivering sermons the Prophet (PBUH) used to stand against either a tree absorbed by building or just a palm-trunk fixed in the ground for the purpose. Relationship between neighbors In the course of planning and implementing his housing scheme, as well as later when life in Madinah was at full swing, the Prophet (PBUH) always laid emphasis on the importance of honoring the rights and property of neighbors. In the Qur’an, for instance, Allah ta’ala categorically orders that kindness be done to “neighbors who are kin and neighbors who are strangers.” (al-Nisa’ 36) The Prophet (PBUH) further accentuated the matter by saying: “On the Day of Judgment, the first adversaries will be two neighbors.”333 He also said: “He whose neighbor is not safe from his misconduct shall not enter Paradise.”334 Also: “He who believes in God and the Day of Judgment should not disturb his neighbor.”335 Also: “To God, the best neighbors are those who are good to each 336 other.” Also: “By Him in Whose hands is my life, none of you will believe (be a perfect believer) until he wished to his neighbor (or his brother - the narrator is unsure) what he wishes to himself.”337


Also: “To commit adultery with ten women, one is in a better position than doing it with the wife of his neighbor; to steal from ten houses, one is again in a better position than doing it from his neighbor’s house.” 338 The Prophet (PBUH) in another hadith warned that committing illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of a neighbor is categorized as one of the biggest sins in the sight of Allah.339 The Islamic emphasis on respecting the rights and property of neighbors is comprehensively encapsulated in the following Prophet’s words: “The angel Jibril kept exhorting me about the neighbor, so much so that I thought that he would grant him the right of inheritance.”340 In light of the Prophet’s hadith, according to which there can be neither injury nor return of injury in anything that people may do, including the matters pertaining to the built environment,341 one is not to usurp unjustly anything from his neighbors; nor is one allowed to deny his neighbors any of their rights; nor is one allowed to depreciate the value of his neighbors’ property by any unauthorized building activity of his. Among the actions that can cause the value of the neighbor’s property to depreciate are: exclusion of air and sun by unscrupulous building higher within one’s own air space; disrupting water supply and drainage system; affecting the access to one’s property; generating intolerable noise and unpleasant smell, especially if their sources are located adjacent to or near a wall separating two neighbors, and the like. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Those who constrict (people’s) houses (by building excessively and gratuitously for themselves) and encroach on the road will not be credited with jihad (holy war).”342 This, the Prophet (PBUH) said during one of his military expeditions. By the words “…will not be credited with jihad”, he wanted his companions to be aware of the seriousness of such issues as house inviolability, privacy, freedom of movement, and other people’s basic rights within the realm of the built environment. In order to encourage better interaction between neighbors, the Prophet (PBUH) has recommended: “A neighbor is not to prevent his neighbor from inserting a wooden beam in his wall.” The narrator of this hadith, Abu Hurayrah, said after disclosing these Prophet’s words to some residents of Madinah from the second generation of the Muslims (tabi’un), who were ignorant of and thus averse to them, that if they do not start implementing this meritorious advice, he would then coerce them to do so.343 Certainly, Abu Hurayrah was in a position to carry through his warnings, had it been necessary, as he, in all likelihood, at the time of uttering these words was the governor of Madinah to the Umayyad caliph Mu’awiyah b. Abi Sufyan. As one is required to safeguard his privacy and that of his family, he is likewise required to respect the privacy of his neighbors. The Qur’an warns of disrespecting one’s privacy by any means and any degree in the following dramatic mode: “O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it … But fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Returning most Merciful.” (al-Hujurat 12)


The Qur’an at the same time provides some suggestions as to how to cure such a menace: “O ye who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until ye have asked permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order that ye may heed (what is seemly). If ye find no one in the house, enter not until permission is given to you: if ye are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves: and Allah knows well all that ye do.” (al-Nur 27-28) In another verse, some rules of refined social ethics, which help safeguarding people's privacy too, have been laid: “O ye who believe! Enter not the Prophet’s houses, - until leave is given you, - for meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation: but when ye are invited, enter; and when ye have taken your meal, disperse, without seeking familiar talk. Such (behavior) annoys the Prophet who is shy to dismiss you, but Allah is not shy (to tell you) the truth. And when ye ask (his ladies) for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs …” (al-Ahzab 53) Some hospitality manners, as well as general rules of cultured social ethics contained in this verse, have been enumerated by Yusuf Ali in his translation and commentary of the Holy Qur’an.344 The Prophet (PBUH) also cautioned: “…Do not trouble or gibe your Muslim brothers; do not pursue their faults for he who pursues his brother’s faults, his faults will be pursued by God…”345 Also: “He who encroaches on a dwelling without the permission of its occupants, he allows them to puncture his eye.”346 Also: “The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim, he does not wrong or betray him; he who is a friend in need to his brother will have God as a friend; he who relieves his Muslim brother an agony, God will relieve him some agonies of the Day of Judgment; he who shields his Muslim brother, God will shield him on the Day of Judgment.”347 Also: “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for others’ faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; and o Allah’s worshippers! Be brothers (as Allah as ordered you!”348 Allah the Almighty gives in the Qur’anic chapter al-Tawbah a parable of the life of the true Muslim - who must be pure in body, mind and heart, and whose foundation is devotion, sincerity and purity of all motives – in terms of building on a firm foundation which is immune to putrefaction and destruction, no matter what may befall it. In contrast to true Allah’s servants are they who laid their foundation on an undermined sand-cliff ready to crumble to pieces any time under the unremitting impact of the forces they hardly can envisage. (al-Tawbah 109) The cohesiveness and resolve of true believers’ struggle in Allah’s cause has also been likened to a solid cemented structure. (al-Saff 4) As there are many Prophet’s traditions wherein the Muslims are envisaged as brothers to each other. Their similitude is like a wall whose bricks enforce and rely on each other, or like a solid building held together in unity and strength, each part contributing strength in its own way. In other words, if one wanted to procure benefits and ward off injuries for the perfection of his welfare in this world and in the next, one has no choice but to live in a community interacting with his fellow


brothers and sisters – sometimes even with non-Muslims. In doing so, he/she shall benefit from people’s accomplishments, services and help, and, at the same time, shall endure their faults and delinquency never giving hope of correcting them. The Muslim’s participation in life must be neither passive nor apathetic. Practicing and promoting passiveness and apathy run utterly counter to the dynamic spirit of Islam, which has been revealed to revolutionize the world, delivering mankind from the darkness and ignorance (jahiliyyah) to the light and spiritual emancipation and fulfillment. Three reasons may be given for the support of this thesis. Firstly, the Muslims ought to be exemplars amongst mankind, and so witnesses in this world to Allah’s Truth over the nations (alBaqarah 143), or for mankind (al-Hajj 78), and tomorrow on the Day of Judgment witnesses against such as have persisted in their falsehood. With passiveness and apathy under one’s belt, one will hardly be qualified to be a witness; such a person will be of little use when it matters both in this world and – Allah knows best – in the Hereafter, “on the Day when the Witnesses will stand forth”. (Ghafir 51) Secondly, Islam is a religion with a pragmatic and optimistic worldview. It views this terrestrial life with all its ingredients as the only avenue to earning God’s satisfaction and His Paradise. This life’s similitude, therefore, is that of a farm or a plantation (mazra’ah) which must be diligently taken care of on a continuous basis and in all of its departments for its owner to stand any chance to enjoy a good harvest when the season arrives. To possess any different outlook on life is a sheer illusion and deviation from the authentic Islamic way. And the third reason for which the Muslim should stand firm and steadfast while actively and keenly participating in the life’s perpetual conflict between good and evil, is the message of a hadith in which the Prophet (PBUH) proclaimed that the Muslim who mixes with people putting up with their troublesome deeds is better then the Muslim who does not mix with people and does not put up with their troublesome deeds.349 Now, taking into consideration how much Islam emphasizes the importance of the house and family institutions, the rights of individuals, socialization and mutual understanding and collaboration, as well as the concept of al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar - it would not be difficult at all to comprehend why the nearest neighbor, solely on account of his nearness, enjoys more rights than anyone else - as propounded by the Prophet (PBUH).350 The wife of the Prophet (PBUH), A’ishah, asked one day the Prophet (PBUH): “O Allah’s Apostle! I have two neighbors and would like to know to which of them I should give presents.” He replied: “To the one whose door (gate) is nearer to you.”351 As regards the neighbor who receives gifts, the Prophet (PBUH) has stated: “O Muslim ladies! A (female) neighbor should not look down upon the present of her (female) neighbor even if it were the hooves of a sheep.”352 Nearness is a decisive factor in making distinction between neighbors because no matter how sound, functional and healthy a neighborhood - or any form of urban settlement - may be, its worth rests primarily in the worth of its single units and the strength of the bonds that bind them. It follows that if a single


unit fails to perform, breaking away from the adjoining units, the coherence and concord of the whole organization will be affected and if not promptly remedied the problem can only consolidate itself looking for a chance to expand and threaten the other units. Thus the similitude of a neighborhood is like that of a chain whose strength lies in the links that hold it together. It is for this reason that differences between two brothers (two neighbors) must be patched up immediately. There should be no delay in settling disputes. The more the delay, the greater is the degree of animosity and ill-will. The longer period that two brothers (neighbors) can stay away from each other is three days. While settling disputes, showing forbearance is of the best things one can do. The Prophet (PBUH) has said: “A Muslim who refuses to accept pardon from his brother is equal in sin to a collector of illegal taxes.”353 The Muslims have got scores of rights over one another, which nevertheless vary in proportion to kinship, proximity and acquaintance. In other words, the entire Muslim community - in fact, the whole of humankind – is but a big neighborhood (family) with one origin, mission and purpose. People have been divided into nations and tribes only to know each other, learn from each other and cooperate at various scales in righteousness and piety - not that they may despise each other: “…Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” (al-Hujurat 13) It is true that the Muslims are brothers to one another and every Muslim must wish to his brother (sister) only that which he wishes to himself, but the hierarchy of one’s duties towards his brothers and sisters - who are not of his kith and kin – starts with his neighbors as the highest point and unfolds downward on the basis of proximity, and the extent of acquaintance and communication. Of the neighbors that one may have, the most important one will always be the one whose door is nearest, i.e. the one with whom he has most contact, both intentionally and unintentionally. As for the hadith in which the Prophet (PBUH) instructed that forty surrounding houses be proclaimed as the houses of one’s neighbors, it – on condition that it is authentic (sahih) – should not be taken literally. The message of the hadith on no account denotes that no sooner does one buy, build or rent a house than one is required to count the surrounding houses, the first forty of which will receive his unfeigned neighborly treatment. Rather, what should be seen in the said hadith is that it highlights and further buttresses the established Islamic concepts of neighbor(hood), community and fraternity - as both unprecedented concepts and actual realities hitherto unknown - albeit somewhat in a different mode, style and language. Limiting the number of one’s neighbors and their houses to as many as forty - as narrated in the hadith - may well imply that although one’s neighborly (brotherly) treatment should not extend only to his immediate neighbors (brothers) but also to the rest of the community members, yet the prioritization on the basis of proximity and the intensity, as well as frequency, of communication is as pertinent and so must be duly respected. Having said this, even the likelihood that the number forty the Prophet (PBUH) chose in a random fashion appears, to


some extent, reasonable and should not be completely ruled out. While intending to infuse no new major components to the general and standard notion of neighbor(hood) in Islam, as if the Prophet (PBUH) by means of the hadith content rather aimed to expound and underscore the significance of the same but somewhat in an evocative and metaphorical language. What's more, it could be argued that the content of the said hadith may have been fairly interpolated – at most – or rendered inaccurate and ambiguous by narrators - at least – on account of more than a few weaknesses found mainly in its chain of narrators. Our thesis can be corroborated by the fact that the ample accounts in which the rights and duties of neighbors are exhibited in a clear and striking fashion – without restricting the amount of one’s neighbors, though - are unanimously authentic, whereas the authenticity of those few accounts which contain the notion of forty houses as a perimeter of one’s neighborhood are frequently seriously questioned - but practically never completely rejected - by many a scholar. Therefore, the latter set of hadiths is regularly branded as weak (da’if) or very weak (da’if jiddan) traditions.354 This is not all, however. The content of the hadiths which limit neighbors and their houses to forty is not always consistent: it sometimes denotes forty houses (neighbors) from every side, in which case one’s neighbors will amount to 160 or so, and at other times it denotes 40 in total, that is, ten houses (neighbors) from each side. In his concluding remarks on the hadiths which contain the idea of forty houses as the range of one’s neighbors (neighborhood), Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani wrote: “Everything attributed to the Prophet (PBUH) as regards limiting the neighborhood to forty (houses) is weak (da’if) and erroneous. Thus, it is evident that such a limitation is rather on the basis of certain customs (‘urf).”355 That the number forty was not meant to lay any de facto restriction to the question of one’s neighbors and their houses could additionally be substantiated by the verity that there exist different views on the same matter held by different people, who by no means were ignorant of the Prophet’s traditions. According to some of such views, all the people who pray the Fajr (Morning) prayer in a mosque are considered neighbors; and according to others, the citizens of a city (madinah) are all neighbors, etc.356 All in all, the substance of the hadith on the number of neighbors and their houses should not be taken in literally. It stands to reason that if the same were understood correctly, then it would not be difficult for its implications to be digested and put successfully into operation in some unprecedented and atypical contexts that may be imposed by the volatile space-time factor. Some of such contexts are, for instance, small villages/settlements where the households do not number forty or 160, big but vastly dispersed forms of the urban settlement, modern high-rise residential buildings, poor and highly dense settlements where several households may share a house, etc. The Islamic notion of neighbor applies to non-Muslim neighbors as well. The Prophet (PBUH) has said that there are three kinds of neighbors; the first kind has got one right, the second two, and the third three rights. The one who has got one right is a non-Muslim neighbor; his right is the right of being a


neighbor. The second one with two rights is a Muslim neighbor; his rights are the right of being a neighbor, as well as a Muslim. And the third kind of neighbors enjoying three rights is a family member Muslim neighbor; his has got three rights because he is a neighbor, a Muslim and a family member.357 This and other similar hadiths have had some significant implications for the life in Madinah since all of its Arab citizens did not immediately enter the fold of Islam, and its Jewish community was not entirely driven out until the fifth year when its last tribe, Banu Qurayzah, were made to pay for their wicked and treacherous deeds during the Battle of Khandaq – the other two Jewish tribes, Banu Qaynuqa’ and Banu Nadir, were expelled from Madinah in the third and fourth year respectively also for their deliberate failure to live up to the requirements of the treaties which they had made with the Muslims. In view of the above, no sooner had the first Muslims become acquainted with how essential the ideas of neighbor(hood) and fraternity in Islam are, than they made the house institution and everything that might transpire within as well as immediately without its realm as one of the permanent vehicles for the relentless preaching of Islam (Da’wah Islamiyyah). Such was the obsession of the first Muslims with performing the chore of Da’wah Islamiyyah that they never ceased looking out for new methods, strategies, media and channels whereby the same could be enhanced, intensified and diversified as much as possible. They soon learned that the house institution and entire neighborhoods are one of the excellent fields in which the task of propagating and inviting people to Islam can fruitfully be executed in the course of everyday activities. Such remarkable trend in the earliest Madinah society was anchored in the fact that Da’wah Islamiyyah, which is practically tantamount to the task of al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar (enjoining good and forbidding evil), must be acted upon by everyone - proportionally to his/her competence - through diverse means and media and everywhere, not only by a certain group, through words and in places of worship. As we have pointed out earlier, the Islamic house is a microcosm of Islamic culture and civilization. The same could be stated about the Islamic neighborhood too, on account of it being composed of a number of such houses. If really permeated with the vitality of Islam, and the fundamental principles of Islam become embodied in its form and function, the house - as both a concept and sensory experience - will then clearly and in many ways communicate the message of Islam to its neighbors, visitors and passersby, to the Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Its tacit, albeit inexhaustible and efficient, Da’wah mission will last as long as its position and role remained unchanged. The importance of translating the underlying values of Islam onto every field of life - including housing, neighborhoods and whole urban settlements - for the sake of Da’wah becomes clearer if we recall a verse in the Holy Qur’an wherein the Prophet (PBUH) was instructed to grant protection to those enemies of Islam who are in a position to require it, so that they may “… hear the Word of Allah… “ (al-Tawbah 6) The truth about this verse is that while under the protection of the Muslims, the mentioned people will certainly enjoy more contact with the religion of Islam as embodied in the daily practices of the Muslims, and


as the sole driving force behind their cultural and civilizational accomplishments, rather than as a set of beliefs and rituals. This will, sure thing, have more positive and more lasting effect on them as they will not frequent the places of worship, nor will they always feel disposed to listening to the preachers who would try hard to sway them with their preaching. For example, one of the first converts to Islam, Abu Bakr, is said to have had even in Makkah in the courtyard of his house a masjid (mosque), an earmarked place in which the domestic worship practices were conducted. He got into the habit of praying there and reading aloud the Qur’an. The religious conduct of Abu Bakr captivated the women of the infidels and their children who would regularly stop by and listen to him. On the other hand, by his actions, Abu Bakr was confounding and frightening the noblemen of the polytheist Quraysh, especially by reciting the Qur’an, because whenever he was doing so, he profusely cried. Furthermore, what counted most, the chiefs of the Quraysh pagans were anxious that their children and women might be affected by the unusual, albeit appealing, deeds of Abu Bakr.358 Promoting further the role of the house and neighborhood as both the means and fields of Da’wah Islamiyyah, the Prophet (PBUH) has said that one can wish to be the like of only two men: “A man whom Allah has thought the Qur’an (and has given him the knowledge of it) and he recites it during the hours of the night and during the hours of the day, and his neighbor listens to him and says: ‘I wish I had been given what has been given to so-and-so, so that I might do what he does; and a man whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it on what is just and right, whereupon another man may say: ‘I wish I had been given what so-and-so has been given, for then I would do what he does.”359 Because of both the regularity and intensity of people’s interaction in them, neighborhoods could be rightly portrayed as a ground in whose domain either happiness or desolation in this world and in the Hereafter can be secured. The Prophet (PBUH) once was informed of a man who fasts all day and prays all night, but he gives trouble to his neighbor. The Prophet (PBUH) replied: “He is in Hell.”360 According to yet another hadith, the house is one of the things where both fortune and misfortune lie. Fortune occurs when it is specious and its neighbor is good, and misfortune comes when it is narrow and its neighbor is bad.361 In one hadith reported by Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, the Prophet (PBUH) summarized the rights and duties of neighbors: “Do you know about your duties towards your neighbor? Help him if he seeks your help, give him loan if he wants it, remove his wants if he is in wants, follow his bier if he is dead, join him in joy if he gets good news, show him sympathy and express sorrow if he is in danger, don’t raise up your building so high without his permission so as to obstruct his air, don’t give him trouble. If you purchase some fruits, give him something. If you do not do it, take them secretly to your house. Don’t allow your children to come out with them as it may cause displeasure of his children. Don’t give him trouble by the smoke of your cook-shed. There is no harm in sending food cooked in your cook-shed to your neighbor’s house.”362


Abu Hamid al-Ghazali recapitulated on the rights of neighbors: “In short, the rights of a neighbor on you are the following: salute him first, don’t talk with him for long, don’t ask about his condition long. Call on him when he is ill, show sympathy in his distress, be sorry in his sorrows, be happy in his happiness, share enjoyment in his happiness, pardon his faults, don’t look at the inner side of his house from the top of your roof, don’t trouble him by replacing your rafters on his wall, don’t let water flow down his courtyard, don’t shut up the outflow of water of his house through your boundary, don’t make the path to his house narrow, cover his fault if it is out, try to remove his distress as soon as possible, take care of his house in his absence, don’t hear his backbiting, talk with his sons and daughters with affection and read out to him what he is ignorant about of the worldly and religious matters.”363 The form of Madinah houses Not all Madinah houses were same. In the beginning when the city was a fewreligious and few-cultural one, and when its vast riches were acquired, distributed and consumed discriminatorily, houses considerably varied in size, design and function. After the arrival of Islam and the Muslims, particularly after the successful eviction of the Jews and after a majority of the Madinah populace had made the Islamic world-view and its systems for living their happy choice, unfair disparities within the sphere of housing started spontaneously to evaporate - as they did in every other sector. Islam, a recent fascination for many people, preached that the house is a place to rest, relax the body and mind, enjoy legitimate worldly delights, worship, teach, learn and propagate the message of Islam. It is of the fundamental rights which Islam assures every Muslim. Possessing a dwelling falls within the necessary minimum that must be procured by everyone, given that the lack of it causes people to be displeased with God and even sometimes to deny him.364 To be sure, the advent of Islam in Madinah has had considerable bearing on everything that the people used to do - somewhere more and somewhere less. Although the process of total transformation was a gradual and meticulous one, nonetheless, the Prophet (PBUH) and the first Migrants had barely set their foot on the Madinah soil when it became lucid and unmistakable that the city was bracing itself for such changes that life in it will never be the same again. Due to its prominent role in the society building scheme, the house institution: its form, standing and function, was very much affected by the novel and hitherto unfamiliar phenomena in Madinah. By and large, most Madinah houses during the Prophet’s time were characterized by several notable features, the most important one was, perhaps, their adequate spaciousness. As we are absolutely sure that loftiness was not their trademark, we are likewise confident that spaciousness, as much as needed and in line with the standards of the day, of course, was their underlying quality. Our argument is based first and foremost on the Prophet’s saying to the effect that of man’s happiness are a good wife, a spacious residence, a good neighbor, and a good mount.365 The Prophet (PBUH) himself prayed to God to forgive him,


make his house more spacious and bless his sustenance.366 Once Khalid b. alWalid complained to the Prophet (PBUH) that his house was too small to accommodate his family. At this, the Prophet (PBUH) asked him to build more rooms on the roof of the existing house and to ask God for abundance.367 That the houses of Madinah have been sufficiently spacious and some of them even very lofty and exalted, can be corroborated by the fact that the Prophet (PBUH) stayed in the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari in the wake of the Hijrah before his house(s) were constructed. It was near the courtyard of this house that the Prophet (PBUH) on arrival from Makkah alighted from his camel. Initially, he stayed downstairs, something that was making Abu Ayyub and his wife who stayed upstairs very uncomfortable in that they could not accept walking above the head of the Prophet (PBUH). Short while later, they moved downstairs and the Prophet (PBUH) moved upstairs.368 It should be borne in mind that in terms of dwelling most of the Migrants in the beginning shared the same fate, i.e. they stayed with the Helpers, hence the Prophet’s encouragement after the mosque had been completed that houses be constructed and the people help each other in the matter. Also, since the Prophet’s mosque did not have a minaret, Bilal used to climb the roof of a house of a woman from the Banu al-Najjar clan to call for the Morning prayer because it was the highest and loftiest of all the houses around the mosque.369 So big and spacious some houses with their courtyards have been that the Prophet (PBUH) used to accommodate some of his guests or visiting delegations in them. The house of Ramlah binti al-Harith al-Najjariyyah, which reportedly had date-palms in its courtyard, apart from being one of such houses once served even as an interim detention center – as we have mentioned somewhere earlier.370 In it, the members of the Jewish tribe Banu Qurayzah – around seven hundred in all – have been imprisoned from the moment the judgment that their men were to be slain, property divided, and the women and children made captive, had been passed on them until the same was executed at least one day later.371 The house of ‘Abdurrahman b. ‘Awf, the first that was constructed by a migrant in Madinah, served as a guest-house too. It was termed as al-Dar alKubra (the Largest House) as well as Dar al-Difan (Guest-house). The Prophet (PBUH) is said to have taken part in its construction. 372 By the way, ‘Abdurrahman b. ‘Awf was a wealthy companion of the Prophet (PBUH). He was among those dubbed as Khuzzan Allah (Allah’s treasurers) on account of earning their wealth lawfully and consuming the same lavishly not for their own interests but for the interests of the community and its growing needs.373 That some people of Madinah were aware of some relatively advanced building styles, designs and techniques and were moderately employing them along the lines of the standards of those days, of course - could be backed up by the following account. One day some companions from the ranks of the Helpers brought a considerable amount of money to the Prophet (PBUH) telling him: “How long shall we pray under these palm-leaves (referring to the conditions in the Prophet’s mosque)? Take this, build and adorn the mosque (zayyinhu) (that is, improve its physical condition).” The Prophet (PBUH) did not reprimand them


and their proposal but retorted: “I have no intention to differ from my brother Musa (Moses); an arbor like the arbor of Musa”. The arbor of the prophet Musa is said to have been so low that he could touch the roof if he raised his hand; or, when he stood up his head touched it - as said in another account.374 However, the Prophet (PBUH) and his household remained indifferent to the prospects of erecting and possessing more than what was extremely rudimentary and really necessary. Such was the case throughout, even after the economic condition of the Muslims had notably improved. Some of the most often referred to furnishing elements in the Prophet’s houses were: a bed, a mat, a blanket, and curtains of black-hair cloth. The Prophet’s austere living was such that when Umar b. al-Khattab one day paid a visit to him he was moved to tears. The Prophet (PBUH) asked: “Ibn Khattab, what makes you weep?” Umar answered: “The Messenger of Allah, why should I not shed tears? This mat (which ‘Umar found the Prophet (PBUH) laying on) has left its marks on your sides and I do not see in your store room (except these few things) that I have seen. Persian and Byzantine sovereigns are leading their lives in plenty whereas you are Allah’s Messenger, His chosen one, and yet that is your store!” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Ibn Khattab, aren’t you satisfied that for us is the prosperity of the Hereafter and for them the prosperity of this world?”375 Nevertheless, the houses of the Prophet (PBUH) – many of them if not all - were far bigger and roomier than what appears to many people who erroneously perceive them as small huts or no more than mere tiny rooms rather than adequate houses. Most of such houses must have had at least and in accordance with the standards and norms of the day a bathroom, a kitchen, a sleeping room, a room (place) for visitors, a storage, etc. All these are real necessities indeed not only desirable for normal and decent living but also necessitated by some religious tenets, such as privacy protection, neatness and cleanliness. When Umar b. al-Khattab visited the Prophet (PBUH) – as in the aforementioned hadith – though he was moved to tears by the simplicity of the Prophet’s living, yet he reported that he found the Prophet (PBUH) in the attic of one of his houses to which one must climb by means of a ladder made of datepalm. At the end of the ladder the Prophet’s servant, Rabah, through whom Umar had beforehand obtained the Prophet’s permission to enter, was sitting. After the visit Umar climbed down with the Prophet (PBUH). While Umar had to do so catching hold of the wood of the palm-tree, the Prophet (PBUH) did the same with such ease that he seemed as though he was walking on the ground – he needed not hold anything for support. If truth be told, had the Prophet’s houses been as small and as inconvenient as alleged by some, his life and the same of his household would have been over and over again seriously disturbed and interrupted, as there were always those coming to him for various purposes: to serve him, to visit him and his family, to learn from him, to ask questions, to seek counsel from him, etc. It would have been especially so during the early years when scores of hospitality manners, plus general rules of cultured social ethics, were yet to be consolidated in the hearts and minds of many individuals. In reality, every period of the Prophet’s mission was pretty much susceptible to this kind of discomfort


for him, sometimes more and sometimes less, because scores of people from different places in the Arabian Peninsula never ceased to throng Madinah (the trend actually kept intensifying as time was passing by) accepting Islam and offering their allegiance to the Prophet (PBUH). Before the doors of the Hijrah became closed after the conquest of Makkah, some people would habitually seek to settle themselves in Madinah having embraced Islam and pledged their allegiance, whereas the others, after spending sometime as the Prophet’s guests and the guests of the state, would return to their respective tribes and communities henceforth maintaining strong relationship with the center. When the Prophet (PBUH) married Zaynab binti Jahsh, he asked Anas b. Malik, the Prophet’s servant for ten years, to invite whoever he could meet for a meal which Anas’s mother had prepared beforehand and sent to the Prophet (PBUH) as a gift. Anas did as directed and a crowd of about three hundred men soon congregated in the mosque. The Prophet (PBUH) invited them in batches of ten to come in and eat. In no way could the given food satisfy the said number of the people; however, as yet another miracle of the Prophet (PBUH), who had earlier supplicated God for abundance, they all ate and nobody returned hungry and discontented. Having enjoyed their meal, all the guests returned except a few who longer than required remained in the house talking. The Prophet (PBUH) was unhappy about it but remained patiently silent. He went out to the dwellings of his other wives staying there until everyone was gone, whereupon he returned. As a lesson to people for their future conduct with the Prophet (PBUH) and his household, the following Qur’anic verse was revealed: “O ye who believe! Enter not the Prophet’s houses, - until leave is given you, - for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation: but when ye are invited, enter; and when ye have taken your meal, disperse, without seeking familiar talk. Such (behavior) annoys the Prophet who is shy to dismiss you, but Allah is not shy (to tell you) the truth. And when ye ask (his ladies) for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs. Nor is it right for you that ye should annoy Allah’s Messenger, or that ye should marry his widows after him at any time. Truly such a thing is in Allah’s sight an enormity.” (al-Ahzab 53)376 Since the peaceful and uninterrupted family life of the Prophet (PBUH) was at stake, instituting and then firming up the rules of refined social ethics with regard to visiting and talking to the Prophet (PBUH) was so pertinent, and thus so painstakingly handled, that revelation had to intervene sporadically. Protecting the Prophet (PBUH) and his family from any untoward psychological disturbance or annoyance, Allah – be He exalted - in the chapter al-Hujurat (the Inner Apartments) said: “Those who shout out to thee from without the Inner Apartments – most of them lack understanding. If only they had patience until thou couldst come out to them, it would be best for them: but Allah is OftForgiving, Most Merciful.” (al-Hujurat 4-5) Also: “O ye who believe, raise not your voices over the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as ye may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and ye perceive not.” (al-Hujurat 2)


It should be observed that the chapter al-Hujurat was revealed in the ninth year, the Year of Deputations, when a large number of deputations of all kinds thronged to Madinah to meet the Prophet (PBUH) and offer their allegiance to Islam.377 Due to the frequency of such meetings, as well as the number of delegations and delegates, the Prophet (PBUH) used to meet the people right in front of his houses inside the mosque. The pillar which stands today at the said location is thus called “the Pillar of Deputations” (Ustuwan al-Wufud). Scholars unanimously agree that so essential in the life of a Muslim are the said moral principles pertaining to guaranteeing privacy and peacefulness to the Prophet’s life that conforming to them was binding not only when the Prophet (PBUH) was alive, but also in every subsequent era whenever one paid a visit to his grave.378 A partial description of the Prophet’s houses is given by Ibn Sa’d in his alTabaqat al-Kubra, due to a narrator named ‘Abd Allah b. Yazid, who saw them just before they were knocked down by the order of the caliph al-Walid b. ‘Abd alMalik from Syria in the year 88/707 who wanted to enlarge the Prophet’s mosque. “There were four houses of mud brick, with apartments partitioned off by palm branches plastered with mud, and five houses made of palm branches plastered with mud and not divided into rooms. Over the doors were curtains of black hair-cloth. Each curtain measured 3 by 3 cubits. One could touch the roof with the hand.”379 Several other eyewitnesses have given similar accounts on the matter, which have been recorded elsewhere.380 It looks as if the Prophet’s house in which his wife Maymunah resided was not partitioned into rooms, because Abdullah b. ‘Abbas once slept as a youngster there – Maymunah was his aunty – when it was the Prophet’s turn to sleep in Maymunah’s house. So detailed and accurate is Ibn ‘Abbas’s account on how the Prophet (PBUH) had spent his night in worship that they all must have slept in one big room which was not partitioned.381 By the time the framework of the Prophet’s houses was witnessed by different narrators and chroniclers on whose narratives our understanding of the subject depends, the same must have been considerably impinged on by the time factor, since the houses had been erected using the ephemeral materials. Nevertheless, the accounts given above may well help in perceiving the original state of the Prophet’s houses, which served as a standard for the largest part of Madinah houses built during the same period, particularly in terms of building materials, plan and function. The mentality of many a Muslim in Madinah towards the notion of the house and building in general is well epitomized by the experience of Salman al-Farisi, a celebrated companion of the Prophet (PBUH), who once summoned a mason to build a house for him. Salman asked the man how he was going to do the job. Knowing the extent of piety, devotion and simplicity of Salman, hardly matched ever since, the mason replied: “It is a house for you to protect yourself against the heat of the sun and dwell in the cold weather. When you stand erect in it, it touches your head.”382 In his book “History of Madinah Munawwarah”, Muhammad Ilyas asserted that each of the Prophet’s houses had a residential part as well as a tiny backyard. “The backyard was enclosed by the branches of palm trees and


unbaked bricks. Blankets of hair were thrown on them to ensure privacy in the yard. The door of each Hujrah (apartment) was not built from an expensive wood. Each door had a rough blanket hanging there for privacy. Hence each Hujrah reflected humbleness and modesty. Dimension of each Hujrah was approximately 5m X 4m and the backyard was 5m X 3 1/2m. A person standing in a Hujrah could touch the ceiling by his hand. Hasan Basri said, ‘I had not yet come of age and I used to visit the Hujrah. I could touch the ceiling with my hand when I was standing in a Hujrah’.”383 Normally, Madinah houses were divided into several sections, each section functioning differently. A typical house was big enough to have a bathroom, a kitchen, a bedroom, a room for visitors, a storage for food, weapons, firewood, and other necessary items, a stable for some domestic animals (horses, donkeys, or camels) serving as a mode of transportation as well as a source of sustenance. The houses that belonged to extremely poor families, or to such as were bent on out-and-out asceticism, had fewer rooms and, as such, had to be multi-functional. The Prophet’s storage had to be big enough to accommodate as many dates as would cover the needs of his family for a whole year, in addition to other food articles which had to be stored therein sporadically, such as cereal, meat, etc.384 The Prophet (PBUH) used to order during hard times that the meat of sacrifices (qurban) be consumed by means of feeding others within the first three days of the ‘Id festival. However, if the situation of the Muslims was better, he would then ask them to eat of their meat, feed others of it, and store of it and eat later on, i.e. after the three days of the ‘Id festival.385 Some households had their own wells, while others had to share bigger public ones. Even some businesses have been conducted in certain houses – as we shall see in the next chapter. The external walls of Madinah houses were generally built of mud bricks. Rooms were partitioned of by palm branches plastered with mud. Mud bricks may have been used for this purpose as well. The ground was covered with mats made of date-palm branches. In some instances – rare though – carpets were used. It was not odd if some portions of a house were bare or strewn with pebbles. Stone must have been used as a building material in various situations and in different degrees, as it was plentiful and had some desirable technical advantages, such as resisting weathering, firmness and durability. In the main, roofs were made of palm-leaves. Mud must have been added in order to mitigate rain dripping onto the ground, something that could be a hazardous inconvenience during the cold rainy season. Some roofs might have been made even of timber or any other strong and permanent material, and were designed in such a way as to be utilized for other benefits, such as sleeping during hot nights, drying dates, etc. It seems as though towards this end is, in part, the Prophet’s counsel against sleeping on an exposed and unsafe surface, alluding thereby to the significance of both privacy and safety.386 Even some houses were surmounted by a kind of domes. Once the Prophet (PBUH) saw an imposing dome erected over a house in Madinah whereupon he could not help saying that every building activity is harmful to its executor, unless carried out due to a real necessity.387 That timber was often used not only as a roofing and


building material but also for house furniture, regardless of the degree of the latter’s simplicity, we can corroborate by the verity that carpentry was very well represented in the hierarchy of the Madinah industries and businesses. When the Prophet (PBUH) arrived in Madinah from Makkah, the people warmly welcomed him; some, especially women, ascended the roofs of their houses rejoicing and yelling out some poetry verses.388 In addition, there were so many fortresses – maybe as many as 200 in all389 - in Madinah that the Prophet (PBUH) once said that they should be kept intact as they were the city’s adornment.390 Not only the adornment but also the vital defensive elements did the Madinah fortresses stand for, as proven particularly during the decisive battle of Khandaq – as we shall see later. Much earlier then the battle of Khandaq, on the eve of the battle of Uhud the idea of utilizing the city fortresses and its lofty houses and strongholds for defensive purposes was put forward by none but the Prophet (PBUH) himself. He proposed that the enemy be confronted within the city and the women and children be stationed in the fortresses, thus enabling them to add to the strength of the city defense by troubling the enemy through different means from the roofs of the houses. Before making this suggestion, it should be noted, the Prophet (PBUH) saw in a dream that he was wearing an impregnable coat of mail which he later construed as the city of Madinah.391 While standing one day on the top of a Madinah fortress, whence he could apparently catch sight of much of Madinah, the Prophet (PBUH) said to those accompanying him: “I see the spots where afflictions will take place among your houses as numerous as the spots where rain-drops fall.”392 Even the roof of some houses of the Prophet (PBUH) might have been made of something stronger than just palm-leaves. Abdullah b. Umar has said that one day (when exactly is unknown) he had to climb the roof of one of the Prophet’s houses, the one in which one of the Prophet’s wives Hafsah, Abdullah b. Umar’s sister, dwelled, in order to do something on it. It was on this occasion hat Ibn Umar caught a glimpse of the Prophet (PBUH) answering the call of nature while sitting screened on two bricks not facing the Qiblah direction. (The Muslims are asked not to face the Qiblah direction or turn their backs to it whenever they defecate or urinate; they are to face any of the two other sides.) It is understood that the roof of the Prophet’s house had to be strong enough to hold up Ibn Umar who could be then either a youngster approaching the age of adulthood or already a fully grown-up man, given that he was 13 years old during the battle of Badr which took place in the first year of the Hijrah.393 The Prophet (PBUH) married Hafsah, the daughter of Umar b. al-Khattab in less then a year after the battle of Badr. When the Prophet (PBUH) died, Abdullah b. Umar was about 22 years old. Before the advent of Islam, entrances in the whole region of Arabia often had no doors; there were only curtains. Yet, seeking permission prior to entering a house was nonexistent in the culture of the Jahiliyyah Arabs. Seldom was somebody seriously concerned about the subject of privacy, as a result of which anyone running into a husband and wife indulged in some intimate affairs was frequent. The most that one was expected to say upon entering was “I am in”, or


“Here I am”, and the like.394 This is nothing of peculiarity, though, if we bring to mind that some pilgrimage rituals of some Arab tribes, including the Quraysh, entailed circumambulating the Ka’bah in a state of nakedness whistling and clapping the hands.395 However, following the arrival of the Islamic code of life, which lays special emphasis on honoring human privacy, appropriate entrance screenings were bound to be introduced shortly to Madinah houses. Securing not only doorways but also the rest of house openings against the acts of privacy invasion was further promoted by the commandment of seeking permission prior to entering anybody’s house: “O ye who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until ye have asked permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order that ye may heed (what is seemly). If ye find no one in the house, enter not until permission is given to you: if ye are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves: and Allah knows well all that ye do.” (al-Nur 27-28) Guarding privacy, furthermore, is required to be circumspectly practiced among family members too, a decree which had some serious implications for planning the inner spaces of houses. Allah says: “O ye who believe! Let those whom your right hands possess, and the (children) among you who have not come of age ask your permission (before they come to your presence), on three occasions: before morning prayer; the while ye doff your clothes for the noonday heat; and after the late-night prayer: these are your three times of undress: outside those times it is not wrong for you or for them to move about attending to each other: thus does Allah make clear the Signs to you: for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. But when the children among you come of age, let them (also) ask for permission, as do those before them: thus does Allah make clear His Signs to you: for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” (al-Nur 58-59) The Prophet (PBUH) abhorred very much saying anything else except alSalam (Peace be upon you) before entering a house. Of the things which he disliked to be uttered was, for instance: “Greetings on you in the morning (evening)”, “Here I come”, “It is I”, etc. It has been reported that a man peeped through the hole of the door of the Prophet (PBUH), and at that time the Prophet (PBUH) had with him a scratching instrument with which he had been scratching his head. When the Prophet (PBUH) saw him, he said: “If I were to know that you had been peeping through the door, I would have thrust that into your eyes.” The Prophet (PBUH) went on to say: “Permission is needed as a protection against glance.”396 The Prophet (PBUH) also stressed that the act of designing houses and conducting life activities therein must give maximum heed to all the necessary security and safety standards, for two of the principal objectives of the Shari’ah are the preservation of one’s life and wealth. The Prophet (PBUH) advised that all the doors be locked, the lamps extinguished, the food and drinks covered, and fire extinguished before one goes to sleep.397 He also said: “When night falls, stop your children from going out, for the devils spread out at that time. However, when an hour of the night has passed, release them and close the doors and mention Allah’s Name, for Satan does not open a closed door. Tie the mouth of your water-skin and mention Allah’s Name; cover your containers and utensils


and mention Allah’s Name. Cover them even by placing something across it, and extinguish your lamps”398 One night a house in Madinah was burnt with its occupants. The Prophet (PBUH) spoke about them, saying: “This fire is indeed your enemy, so whenever you go to bed, put it out to protect yourselves.”399 The most common furnishing components found in Madinah houses were: cupboards, leather dining sheets, leather mats, mats made of palm leaves, leather bags, pillows and cushions (made of leather or any other suitable material which on occasion was decorated), trays, plates, jugs, vessels, utensils, baskets, beds (some of which were very strong and raised of the ground), covering sheets or blankets, benches and sometimes even dining tables, lamps (even though many a house for quite sometime might have been illuminated by burning up fronds), a kind of cooking stoves, hooks on the walls for hanging different objects, etc. Having carpets could have been a normal thing in rich families, because when a companion Jabir b. Abdullah got married, the Prophet (PBUH) asked him whether he had gotten one. Jabir replied that he was so poor that he could not afford it. At this, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “You shall soon possess them.”400 Although the emergence of the courtyard inspired by the Islamic vision of life and the reality needed sometime to materialize, yet some instances of the courtyard in Madinah houses could be tracked down. In spite of some of the courtyards having been created much earlier prior to the advent of Islam, nevertheless, no sooner had the Islamic world-view illuminated the land of Madinah, and the minds and souls of its people, than the Islamization of the courtyard function got under way. The Prophet (PBUH) is not reported to have had a courtyard per se, but the house of his Egyptian concubine (surriyyah) Mariya, the mother of his son Ibrahim, is said to have been positioned in the midst of gardens on the eastern side of Madinah. Next to the house he had a loggia or terrace where he used to sit during summer.401 The Prophet (PBUH) was very much fond of walking and relaxing in gardens, such as in that which belonged to the companion Abu Talhah called Bairuha. Once he visited the garden of one of his companions Jabir b. Abdullah where he ate of ripe fresh dates. Next, he asked for a bed to be spread out for him in a hut in the garden, whereupon he entered it and enjoyed a nap.402 So did the Prophet’s companions have a fondness for gardens. Some of them even conducted religious discussions in them. It is reported in relation to this that a companion Abu Salamah once told another companion Abu Sa’id alKhudri: “Won’t you come with us to the date-palm trees to have a talk…”, to which the latter agreed and they talked about the Night of Qadr.403 In their gardens some companions had huts set up amid the shade of the trees which they used to sprinkle with water on days of great heat. In them they would spend some of their leisure time or have a meal. As often as not, water which had been cooled in earthenware jars would be served.404 At the Prophet’s time every community or tribe had their meeting room or hall (saqifah: portico or roofed gallery) which normally was positioned in a garden. Muhammad Ilyas wrote that such meeting halls’ construction had a special pattern. “Brick walls were built on the eastern, western and southern


sides of such facilities. Northern side was left open for easy circulation of air. A window was installed in eastern wall to further facilitate the air circulation. Roof was built by the trunks of the palm trees and was covered by branches and mats of palm trees. Length and width of each meeting hall differed considerably.”405 The meeting hall of Banu Sa’idah (saqifah Bani Sa’idah), which lay on the western side of the Prophet’s mosque, about 450 meters away, the Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have once visited with his companions. The Prophet (PBUH) asked for some drinking water there which was given to him from a nearby well called Bi’r Buda’ah. This well existed just north of the Banu Sa’idah’s meeting hall until the second Saudi extension of the Prophet’s mosque.406 Leaders of a tribe or community used to meet in their meeting halls to discuss and solve their social and cultural issues. The companions of the Prophet (PBUH) met in the meeting hall of the Banu Sa’idah tribe to choose the first Muslim caliph following the death of the Prophet (PBUH).407 The Prophet (PBUH) on one occasion exhorted the Muslims to keep their both internal and external courtyards (afniyatakum) clean. This, however, he did not by chance utter subsequent to declaring that Allah is good and loves goodness; He is clean and loves cleanliness; He is generous and loves generosity; He is perfect and loves perfection.408 By this, the Prophet (PBUH) aimed to awaken the Muslims to the truth that the house institution in general and courtyards in particular spell two excellent avenues to strengthening the position of the word of Allah on earth and with it man’s relationship with the same, with the natural environment, and with his peers. As a small digression, the following underlying factors: Islamic emphasis on the subject of privacy: the right to it and respect of it; Islamic remarkably delightful and optimistic view of reality which not only is man advised but also with divine guidance asked to enjoy; the Muslims’ desire to remain in perpetual contact with the whole of space, the physical realm of their Creator and Lord notwithstanding their humble and unpretentious appropriation of some of it; the Muslims’ appreciation of and interaction with the environment, taking full advantage of its subjection by God to man for the latter’s own well-being; the Muslims’ arresting preference for an extended family so that the proper and uninterrupted upbringing, education, socialization and acculturation of the young is ensured - all these basically necessitated the proliferation of courtyards in many sections of the Muslim world as soon as the pure Islamic architectural identity started to assert itself. Due to their copious religious, social, economic, ecological and technological advantages, Islamic courtyards in the end evolved into the most appreciable feature of Islamic architecture in general and Islamic domestic architecture in particular. It is not surprising therefore that the Islamic courtyard nearly always and everywhere featured flowers, trees, birds, well-developed natural ventilation systems, richness and vibration of light, abundant decoration aimed at reminding the observer of Allah’s transcendental Oneness, enclosure walls with no openings, water used so creatively that it always offered the qualities of tranquility and depth, coolness and moisture, etc.


“La hijrah ba’d al-fath” (No migration after the conquest) In the wake of the conquest of Makkah, in the eighth year after the Hijrah, most of the Arabian Peninsular communities wittingly entered the fold of Islam. Those declining to do so - covertly or overtly - peacefully accepted the rule of Islam and the Muslims. It was around this time that the Prophet (PBUH) proclaimed that there is no Hijrah (migration) to Madinah after the take-over of Makkah; there remained only jihad and niyyah (intending good in all actions) afterward.409 The Prophet (PBUH) used to encourage the people from then on to stay where they were and contribute whatever they could in implementing and disseminating the Word of God elsewhere, since “To Allah belongeth all that is in the heavens and on earth…” (al-Baqarah 284), and “To Allah belong the East and the West: whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah’s Face. For Allah is All-Embracing, AllKnowing.” (al-Baqarah 115) At first, owing to the conditions which the Muslims and Islam were living through in Makkah, performing the Hijrah was imposed as an individual duty, particularly after the successful formation of the Muslim community in Madinah came to pass. Mainly, undertaking the Hijrah was incumbent on each person because of the dangers the Muslims were exposing themselves to in Makkah and elsewhere. Such dangers, some of which were life threatening, incapacitated the followers of Islam from living peacefully and practicing under normal circumstances their new religion. Also, the Hijrah was an individual duty because the young community in Madinah was in dire need of abundant human resources with diversified capabilities and talents. The city-state of Madinah needed to evolve swiftly into a strong, thriving and respectable community capable of defending itself and its ideals. According to some scholars, because it was the home of the Hijrah, Madinah was declared a Haram (sanctuary) so that its rich and delightful natural environment may be preserved and kept intact. In turn, the people will be lured to migrate and settle therein. Urging the people to take the trouble to migrate to Madinah, Allah says in the Qur’an: “Those who believed, and migrated and fought for the Faith, with their property and their persons, in the cause of Allah, as well as those who gave (them) asylum and aid -, these are (all) friends and protectors, one of another. As to those who believed but did not emigrate ye owe no duty of protection to them until they emigrate; but if they seek your aid in religion, it is your duty to help them, except against a people with whom ye have a treaty of mutual alliance. And (remember) Allah seeth all that ye do.” (al-Anfal 72) Allah also says: “When angels take the souls of those who die in sin against their souls, they say: ‘In what (plight) were ye?’ They reply: ‘Weak and oppressed were we in the earth.’ They say: ‘Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to move yourselves away (from evil)?’ Such men will find their abode in Hell. – What an evil Refuge! – Except those who are (really) weak and oppressed - men, women, and children who have no means in their power, nor can they find a way (to escape), for these, there is hope that Allah will forgive: for Allah doth blot out (sins) and forgive again and again. He who forsakes his home


in the cause of Allah, finds in the earth many a refuge, and abundance should he die as a refugee from home for Allah and His Messenger, his reward becomes due and sure with Allah: and Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Merciful.” (al-Nisa’ 97100) The Prophet (PBUH) also encouraged the people to migrate to and remain in Madinah by numerous sayings and actions of his. The Prophet’s language in this respect varied: he would sometimes single out the positive sides of the city, and at other times, he would try to lessen and, if possible, eliminate totally the damaging impact of the city’s disadvantageous aspects on the migrants’ easy and stress-free acclimatization and settling down. For instance, the Prophet (PBUH) prayed shortly after his arrival in Madinah when some of the Migrants were down with unbearable fever: “O Allah, make Madinah as congenial and dear to us as You made Makkah congenial and dear, or more than that. Make it conducive to health, and bless us in its sa’ and its mudd (sustenance), and transfer its fever as far as al-Juhfa.”410 The Prophet (PBUH) also prayed: “O Allah, increase in Madinah twice the blessings (You showered) on Makkah.”411 He said: “For one who shows endurance on the hardships and rigor of it (Madinah) I would be an intercessor or a witness on his behalf on the Day of Resurrection.”412 Also: “He who intends to do harm to the people of this city (Madinah) Allah would efface him as salt is dissolved in water,”413 Also: “There are angels guarding the entrances (roads) of Madinah, neither plague nor Dajjal (the Impostor, Antichrist) will be able to enter it.”414 When appointing anyone as leader of an army or detachment, the Prophet (PBUH) would exhort him to adhere to the Islamic ethics concerning everything that he and the soldiers might have to come into contact with, such as spoils distribution, the treatment of enemy’s dead bodies, the treatment of the children and women of enemies, the treatment of prisoners, and the like. The Prophet (PBUH) would insist that enemies firstly be invited to accept Islam. If they did so, they would then be invited to migrate from their lands to the land of the Migrants (Madinah), if they wanted to have all the privileges and obligations of the Migrants. However, if they refused to migrate, they would then have the status of Bedouin Muslims, that is to say, they would be subjected to the commands of Allah like other Muslims without receiving any share from the spoils of war or land tax (fay’), except when they actually fight along with other Muslims.415 This Madinah sentiment was in sharp contrast with what was transpiring in Makkah prior to the Hijrah, when the Prophet (PBUH) and those who followed him felt insecure and uncertain about almost anything that the upcoming days had in store for them. During such times, it was as good as impossible to have any elaborate long-term plans as to the future of the community which was short of liberty, land, sovereignty and security. It has been reported that during an early phase of this precarious period a man called Abu Dharr – later one of the prominent companions - arrived all the way from his tribe Banu Ghifar, lying on the Hijaz trading route to Syria, to meet the Prophet (PBUH) and embrace Islam. Having accomplished what he had come for, and having been beaten in the


process on two occasions in two consecutive days by the Quraysh because he cried out aloud declaring his Islam in close proximity to the Ka’bah where the Quraysh noblemen were assembled, Abu Dharr was then asked by the Prophet (PBUH) to go back to his people and invite them to Islam until his new command reached him.416 Eventually, Abu Dharr not only converted his tribe Banu Ghifar to Islam, but also the tribe of Banu Aslim in their own country.417 However, after the conquest of Makkah, when whole tribes and tracts of countryside started accepting Islam and giving the Prophet (PBUH) adhesion collectively, the duty of migration to Madinah was annulled. Nevertheless, the same duty was still binding – and shall always do – in places where the Muslims lived as a minority and were experiencing trials and tribulations of the kind experienced by the first Muslims in Makkah. Not only to Madinah could they in such case migrate but also to any part of the lands controlled by the Muslims. Bringing the Hijrah to Madinah to a close has had several implications for the future of the city. Three are most significant: Firstly: It precluded undesired crowding in the city. The Prophet’s move was timely indeed, taking into account the dramatic conquest of Makkah and the number of people who accepted Islam thereafter. There are several accounts in which some people are reported to have come to Madinah on the pretext of accomplishing the Hijrah, but were told to return where they had come from by the Prophet (PBUH). They were told that the Hijrah to Madinah is no longer considered necessary. Nonetheless, there remained an undying all-out struggle for the Islamic cause (jihad) which entails as much dedication and sacrifice, and so reward, as the act of Hijrah itself did.418 That the Prophet (PBUH) was really concerned about the subject of unsolicited crowding in Madinah in general, and in certain places on the expense of the others within it in particular, testifies the fact that the people of the Bani Salamah clan, who were staying near the Sal’ hill about one mile from the mosque, wanted to shift to a place near the Prophet (PBUH) and his mosque, but the Prophet (PBUH) disapproved the idea saying: “O Banu Salamah! Don’t you think that for every step of yours (that you take towards the mosque for prayers) there is a reward?”419 Commentators of the Qur’an assert that this occurrence was behind the revelation of the following verse in the Ya Sin chapter (the whole chapter Ya Sin with the exception of this verse was revealed in Makkah420): “Verily We shall give life to the dead, and We record that which they send before and that which they leave behind, and of all things have We taken account in a clear Book (of evidence).” (Ya Sin 12) Abdullah b. ‘Abbas said that it was not only the clan of Banu Salamah that wanted to move closer to the Prophet’s mosque but also many more families and clans of the Helpers. However, following the revelation of the said verse, they all gave up their plans.421 Secondly:


After the Hijrah of the Prophet (PBUH), the Muslims from outside Madinah set out to throng the newly established city-state from wherever they had embraced Islam, but chiefly from Makkah. Initially, they all stayed together with the citizens of Madinah, shared with them, as well as amongst themselves, whatever they could procure, until the new houses were built and some new employment opportunities were created for them. In order to help the non-Madinah citizens settle down fast, the Prophet (PBUH) legislated the system of brotherly association (mu’akhah) among the Migrants and Helpers. The mu’akhah included 90 men, 45 from either side. Before long, the projected integration of the Helpers and Migrants was set to be consolidated further after the mixed marriages started to take place. Of the first Migrants who got married from the ranks of the Helpers were Abu Bakr, ‘Umar b. al-Khattab and ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Awf.422 Consequently, the number of the Madinah citizens grew very fast. The increase was several times the original population volume. Following the expulsion of the Jews, who numbered between 6000 and 7000 and whose estates and houses were reoccupied by the incoming Muslims, the population growth was for a short term brought to a halt. However, it was not so long before it started increasing again.423 According to an estimation, the size of the Madinah populace at the time of the Prophet’s death was about 30000.424 Some researchers have also estimated that in the sixth year subsequent to the Hijrah, the houses of Madinah numbered approximately 800, and by the tenth year the number must have climbed the figure of between 2000 and 2500.425 Obviously, due to this sharp population increase in Madinah, the Prophet’s mosque, a community development center, had to be enlarged after the conquest of Khaybar in the seventh year. Nevertheless, before long the mosque yet again appeared to be too small to accommodate comfortably the everincreasing number of worshippers, especially on Fridays during the Jum’ah prayer. An unmistakable hint at this is found in a proclamation of the second caliph Umar b. al-Khattab, who some years after the Prophet’s death enlarged significantly the mosque. Umar has said that if he had not heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying - perhaps shortly before he had passed away – that the mosque should be enlarged (yet again)426 he, in all probability, would have refrained from doing anything to it. This only goes to prove that the number of the Migrants in Madinah was constantly increasing, whereas the number of the Helpers remained virtually static. The ratio of the Helpers vis-à-vis the rest was steadily becoming in favor of the latter. How the population pattern in Madinah was fast changing against the interests of the Helpers could be seen from the statistics on the number of Muslim warriors in the battle of Badr, which occurred eleven months after the Hijrah. The number of the fighters from the Migrants was only over sixty, whereas the number of the Helpers was over 249.427 Apart from the battle of Uhud, about one year later, this kind of disparity was not to recur in any forthcoming military expedition. The Prophet (PBUH) was very much concerned about this new phenomenon, doing his best to safeguard the identity, interests, role and standing of the Helpers. The Prophet’s words that the Hijrah to Madinah following


the conquest of Makkah is no longer needed, could be safely viewed as one of the strategies adopted for protecting the Helpers. One day during the illness from which he never recovered, the Prophet (PBUH) came out from his house to the mosque where he sat on the minbar and addressed the people: “The people will go on increasing, but the Helpers will go on decreasing till they become just like salt in a meal. So whoever amongst you will be the ruler and have the power to harm or benefit others, should accept the good of the good-doers amongst them (the Helpers) and excuse the wrong-doers amongst them (the Helpers).”428 Surely, the Prophet (PBUH) could not forget what the Helpers had done for his own sake, for the sake of Islam, and for the sake of their brethren from Makkah. He one day remarked that the Helpers are those with whom he finally found a safe haven.429 Abu Hurayrah commented while narrating one of the hadiths on the virtues of the Helpers that the Prophet (PBUH) was not unjust by loving and having a high regard for the Helpers for they sheltered and helped him.430 On the eve of the materialization of the Hijrah, when the Prophet (PBUH) concluded a pact in Makkah with the future Helpers, he so did on condition that the allegiance they pledged him shall bind them to protect him even as they protect their women and children. It should be noted that at this point a man from the Aws tribe anxiously remarked: “But might it not be that if we do this, and if then God gives you victory, you will return to your people and leave us?” At this, the Prophet (PBUH) just smiled and said: “Nay, I am yours and you are mine.”431 The name Helpers (Ansar) was not given by chance to the Muslim citizens of Madinah. The name Ansar was actually given after the Ansar of the Prophet ‘Isa (Jesus), i.e. Hawariyyun or Disciples, who pledged to dedicate their lives to helping their prophet in conveying, disseminating and putting into action God’s words of guidance, exactly which the Helpers of Madinah did to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Qur’an says: “When Jesus found unbelief on their part he said: ‘Who will be my helpers (ansari) to (the work of) Allah?’ Said the Disciples: ‘We are Allah’s helpers (ansar Allah) we believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.” (Alu ‘Imran 52) Also: “O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah (ansar Allah): as said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples: ‘Who will be my helpers (ansari) to (the work of) Allah?’ Said the Disciples: ‘We are Allah’s helpers!” Then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: but We gave power to those who believed against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed.” (al-Saff 14) Anas b. Malik, a Helper himself, was asked in Basrah by Ghaylan b. Jarir about the name al-Ansar whether they had called themselves by it or Allah had called them by it. Anas’s reply was: “Allah called us by it.”432 The Helpers came to the Prophet’s rescue when he and the rest of the Muslim fragile community needed a helping hand most. When the hopes of making any new notable da’wah progress in Makkah started to fade away, and at the same time the assaults on the existing position of Islam and the Muslims seem to have reached some novel and most perilous proportions, the Prophet (PBUH) embarked on an exercise of meeting the people from different regions during the pilgrimage season, telling them in the frankest manner: “Who is going


to help and shelter me so that I can convey the message of my Lord, since the Quraysh had prevented me from doing so?”433 In one of such seasons, the Prophet (PBUH) came across some people from Madinah and the meeting marked the commencement of incubating the ideas and strategies that led to what later turned out to be the most significant event in the history of Islam, i.e. the Hijrah. So many statements did the Prophet (PBUH) make on the merits of the Helpers that al-Bukhari in his “Sahih” grouped some of them under the title “The Merits of the Helpers in Madinah”. The Prophet (PBUH) said, for example: “None loves the Helpers but a believer, and none hates them but a hypocrite. So Allah will love him who loves them, and He will hate him who hates them.”434 Also: “The sign of belief is to love the Helpers, and the sign of hypocrisy is to hate the Helpers.”435 One day the Prophet (PBUH) saw some women and children from the Helpers returning from a wedding party. The Prophet (PBUH) stood up and said thrice: “By Allah! You are from the most beloved people to me.”436 In reality, had it been improperly administered, exceedingly sensitive and at times even hazardous would the situation in Madinah have turned out to be, especially at the early stages when all the reconciliation measures between the Migrants and Helpers were yet to be implemented and the process of total Islamization was far from its completion. Besides, whenever given a chance, the hypocrites of Madinah - a considerable portion of the city’s overall population never failed to capitalize on the existing state of affairs so that a commotion of any kind or degree could be stirred, thus opening the door for their trickery and deceit. They would normally target at those Muslims, from either the Helpers’ or Migrants’ ranks, who were not all the time perfectly staunch, not from contumacy or ill-will, but from thoughtlessness, slackness and human weakness. One such chance was the Prophet’s military expedition against the tribe Banu Mustaliq in the sixth year and in which a large number of Migrants took part. The number of the Helpers was large too. The leader of the Madinah hypocrites, Abdullah b. Ubay b. Salul, was also there with some of his men, hoping for attaining any of his filthy goals. Among the Migrants was a man who used to fool around, so he jokingly stroked a Helper on the hip. The Helper got so angry that both of them called their people. The Helper called: “Help, O Helpers!” And the Migrant called: “Help, O Migrants!” The Prophet (PBUH) came out and said: “What is wrong with the people as they are calling this call of the period of Ignorance?” When told what had happened, the Prophet (PBUH) demanded that such evil calls be immediately stopped. However, when Abdullah b. Ubay b. Salul heard what had come about, his malevolent comment was: “The Migrants have called (and gathered against us), so when we return to Madinah, surely, the more honorable people will expel therefrom the meaner.” So offensive was the statement that Umar b. al-Khattab wasted no time to ask the Prophet (PBUH) to allow him to kill its author. The Prophet (PBUH) replied, reflecting further the complexity of the situation in Madinah: “No, lest the people should say that Muhammad used to kill his companions.”437 This incident was the immediate cause for revealing the following verse: “They say: ‘If we return to Madinah,


surely the more honorable (elements) will expel therefrom the meaner.’ But honor belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the Believers; but the Hypocrites know not.” (al-Munafiqun 8) Thirdly: By bringing the Hijrah to Madinah to an end, the Prophet (PBUH) virtually opened the door for, and even indirectly encouraged, the establishment of new Muslim urban settlements in a foreseeable future. Such a strategy was inevitable, however, in order to cater for the needs of both the conquering army and the conquered Islamized population in the increasingly vast and vibrant Muslim state. Thus, due to the incredible nature of the spread of Islam, and due to the overwhelming Muslim socio-political, economic and cultural dominance in the territories opened to Islam, several new urban settlements were soon established (having undergone a necessary inclusive Islamization process, a number of conquered cities were simply adopted as such to serve the same purpose). They quickly emerged as the fresh political and economic centers of the Muslims. However, because of the ensuing socio-political and economic developments in the state, the new centers rivaled and some even challenged Madinah with regard to the latter’s political dominance. Ultimately, as well as unfortunately, Madinah was stripped of its reputation as the center of gravity in the Muslim state, dominating thereafter the life of the Muslims but in the matters pertaining to the religious and, now and again, intellectual domain. As a result, many people were enticed into leaving Madinah intending to settle somewhere else. As early as during the reign of the fourth orthodox caliph, Ali b. Abi Talib, Madinah started to lose its luster steadily to some other cities such as Kufah in Iraq and Damascus in Syria. In order to accommodate and tackle head-on the new challenges generated by the new conditions, Ali b. Abi Talib too had to ponder over moving out of Madinah for the interim until the differences with his opponents were once and forever resolved. Eventually, Ali made Kufah a new provisional capital of the state. On leaving Madinah, Ali was confronted by Abdullah b. Salam, a renowned Prophet’s companion, who took hold of his reins, warning: “Do not leave Madinah, commander of the faithful! By Allah, if you do, neither you nor the rule over the Muslims will ever return here again.”438 Surely, Ali wished to restore the deserving role of Madinah at all costs, but after the rule had incongruously passed from him to Mu’awiyah b. Abi Sufyan in a conflict of two philosophies of and two approaches to rule and leadership, Damascus was made the capital of the state and what ensued next was precisely that which the companion Abdullah b. Salam had forecasted. The Prophet (PBUH) was in some way able to predict the phenomenon of some Muslims abandoning Madinah in support of other cities for various political, economic, social and personal reasons. Therefore, he was regularly reminding the people of the copious advantages enjoyed in Madinah. He was also urging them to stay in it and commit themselves to the preservation, appreciation and promotion of its magnificent struggle and colorful legacy, which embodied everything that Islam as a comprehensive life system stands for. The Prophet


(PBUH) has said, for example: “Yemen will be conquered and some people will migrate (from Madinah) and will urge their families and those who will obey them to migrate (to Yemen), although Madinah will be better for them, if they but knew. Syria will be conquered and some people will migrate (from Madinah) and will urge their families and those who will obey them to migrate (to Syria), although Madinah will be better for them, if they but knew. Iraq will be conquered and some people will migrate (from Madinah) and will urge their families and those who will obey them to migrate (to Iraq), although Madinah will be better for them, if they but knew.”439 Once a bedouin came to the Prophet (PBUH) and gave a pledge of allegiance for embracing Islam. However, the next day he came with fever and asked for permission to cancel his pledge of embracing Islam and of migrating to Madinah. The Prophet (PBUH) refused the request three times and said that Madinah is like a furnace; it expels out the impurities (bad persons) and selects the good ones and makes them perfect.440 As a final point, let’s quote al-Samhudi, who while winding up a discussion on the houses of the Migrants in Madinah during the Prophet’s time, boldly and emphatically asserted, summing up, as it were, the gist of most of our inferences in this chapter: “If one were to ponder over what has been mentioned about the territories and areas occupied by the Migrants and the houses of their tribes, in addition to what has been said about the houses of the Helpers, one would see an awesome thing regarding the extent of Madinah’s development and urbanization, and regarding how closely the city’s residential areas were related to one another. The traces remaining today are an attestation to such development and urbanization (al-Samhudi died in 911/1505). And the name Madinah (the City) testifies to that all. We shall see when we come to discuss about Quba’ that it was a big city joined with Madinah, i.e. by means of its palm trees gardens. It was for this that the Jum’ah prayer was performed only in the Prophet’s mosque. If Quba’ and other suburbs - which are separated today were separated at the Prophet’s time, and in them lived all those tribes and communities, performing the Jum’ah prayer would have become obligatory in every community with forty (individuals required to perform the Jum’ah prayer). Nonetheless, (that was not the case) they all were considered as one city. So glory be to Him Who inherits the earth and what is on it, and He is the best Inheritor.”441

Part Six: The Significance and Role of the Madinah Market
Islam and the idea of work In the wake of the arrival of Islam and the Muslims in Madinah from Makkah, a major change in the economic life of the former occurred. The phenomenon, however, was part of the total change that was sweeping across the Madinah oasis, and which appeared to be spontaneous, after such splendid concepts of


Islam as work considered a form of ‘ibadah (worship), almsgiving (Zakah), charity, honest and just wealth acquisition and distribution, equality and equity, financial prudence, humility, etc., had been comprehensively institutionalized and solidly imbibed by the people. Such was the case also because - as Isma’il Raji al-Faruqi put it - “in contrast to Christianity’s separation of Church and state, Islam holds that the “church” demands the “state”; that the existence and good health of the state are of the essence of religion, and similarly, economic activity. The economy of the ummah and its good health are of the essence of Islam, just as Islam’s spirituality is inexistent without just economic action.”442 Of the first things that the Prophet (PBUH) soon upon his arrival in Madinah emphasized to both the Migrants and Helpers was the idea of work as an act of worship, as well as an avenue to realizing some of the finest goals of the new and fragile community. The people have been fervently encouraged to seek work opportunities and labor vigorously so that everyone in line with his/her ability may be turned quickly into a community asset rather than to remain as its liability. The people were to satisfy their innate craving for food, shelter and comfort, and to realize balance and harmony in their relations with men and nature. The earth was to be thus transformed into a productive orchard, a fertile farm and a beautiful garden.443 In so doing, however, spirituality was never to be bartered for the trivial delights of this world. Maximum efforts were always to be made towards absorbing fully, putting into action, and disseminating to whoever, wherever and however possible the Word of God, making it stand highest among all other sham and pretentious ‘words’. The net result of this strategy in the end could only be procuring benefits and warding off injuries for the perfection of welfare in this world and in the next. As early as during erecting the Prophet’s mosque did the first effects of this philosophy clearly come into sight. The assertion that work and matters directly and indirectly related to it attracted much of the Prophet’s attention could be backed up by the fact that the Prophet (PBUH) was habitually encouraging people to revive and cultivate the land, build houses if they were homeless, and do any legitimate work so that they may not end up asking others for fulfilling some basic needs of theirs. The bounty of Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, is the privilege of nobody, and one of the best things that one could do is to eat from the earnings of his own manual labor. It is illegitimate for a healthy adult male to be dependent in terms of acquiring basic life provisions on another individual, organization, or the government. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “By Him in whose hand myself is! To take your rope and gather firewood on your back is better for you than that you come to a man to whom Allah has given some of His favor and ask him, so he gives to you or refuses.”444 Also: “Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than that which one has earned by working with one’s own hands. The Prophet of Allah, Dawud (David) used to eat from the earnings of his manual labor.”445 Also: “If anyone brings barren land into cultivation, it belongs to him, and the unjust vein has no right.”446 Also: “If anyone reaches a water which has not been approached before by any Muslim, it belongs to him.” The narrator of this hadith remarked that


having heard these words the people went out running and marking (on the land).447 Also: “There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.”448 Accordingly, land cultivation amounts to a form of sadaqah jariyah (long-term charity). Also: “Whoever takes a piece of the land of others unjustly, he will sink down the seven earths on the Day of Resurrection.”449 Also: “Beware, if anyone wrongs a contracting man, or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment.”450 However, if the idea of work and sustenance procurement is misconstrued, in turn becoming one’s egocentric goal of life, then the whole thing instead of being a vehicle for achieving God’s pleasure in both worlds turns out to be the source of one’s sorrow and misery in this world as well as in the Hereafter. Certainly, this the Prophet (PBUH) had in mind when he proclaimed on seeing a coulter (sikkah) and some land cultivation tools: “No sooner do these enter a house than God brings about ignominy to it.”451 Material wealth is to remain a means, an instrument, a carrier of the spiritual. Islamic message never approves of it to be transformed into a goal of one’s existence; to do so is to renounce the spiritual. Since work in Islam is a form of ‘ibadah it goes without saying that only those efforts infused with the spirit of excellence, merit and genuineness are acceptable, for the reason that God is good and He loves and accepts only that which is good. Premeditated mediocrity, procrastination, laziness, apathy, frivolity, ineptitude, and the other similar qualities, are all foreign to Islam and are thus intolerable. Striving for comprehensive excellence is in fact one of the major characteristics of Islam. According to a hadith, the angel Jibril came one day in the form of a human to the Prophet (PBUH) and a group of his companions to teach them some arresting lessons as to how their new religion ought to be perceived and put into practice. In front of everyone he explicitly asked the Prophet (PBUH) about Islam (submission) - the practical dimension of the religion of Islam - about Iman (faith) - the inner dimension of Islam - and about Ihsan (excellence) - the aspect of Islam which pervades, as well as holds sway over, the first two aspects. The angel Jibril every time approved of the Prophet’s answer by the words “The truth have you said”. When Jibril asked the Prophet (PBUH) about Ihsan (excellence), the Prophet (PBUH) answered: “Excellence is to worship Allah as if you see Him, for if you do not see Him He sees you.”452 It should be borne in mind here that both men and Jinns have not been created save to worship God. They are to do so not only in their plain religious rituals and in the places designated for the purpose, but in every utterance, undertaking and thought of theirs, every time and everywhere, (al-Dhariyat 56). Hence, as far as the Muslims are concerned, the life is all about worship and total submission to God; it is all one sweet song of praise to the Creator and Lord of the universe. However, if the same were not anchored in talking, living out and


proliferating comprehensive excellence, then it is bound to remain short of reaching the state of perfection and, as such, short of securing – the Almighty knows best – God’s full appreciation and reward: “Say: ‘Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works.” (alKahf 103-104) So remarkable a place does the subject of excellence occupy in Islam that it has been as explicitly prescribed (kataba) as other fundamental obligations, such as praying (Salah), fast (Siyam), struggle for the holy Islamic cause (Jihad), etc. As early as in the process of constructing the Prophet’s mosque did the Prophet (PBUH), to a degree, put forth to the Muslims the idea of comprehensive excellence as propagated by the new religion. Al-Samhudi reported that a man participating in the work was treading expertly clay for making bricks. On seeing him, the Prophet (PBUH), apparently impressed, said: “May Allah show mercy to him who became an expert in his profession.” And unto the man he said: “Keep doing this job for I see that you excel in it.”453 When the Prophet’s son Ibrahim died and was buried, some unevenness had been left in the earth on his grave. Noticing that, said the Prophet (PBUH): “When one of you doeth aught let him do it to perfection.” He then smoothed the uneven earth over with his hand.454 Madinah and its economic dynamism When the Migrants migrated to Madinah, they came without anything in their hands, while the Helpers possessed lands and date palms. In actual fact, some Migrants were fairly rich while in Makkah, but on deciding to migrate as Muslims to Madinah, the Makkans did not let them transfer their wealth. Everything that they had left behind in Makkah, the Makkans dispensed with by either putting it up for sale or simply destroying it. A wholesome illustration of this appalling situation is the migration of a companion Suhayb b. Sinan. Suhayb was supposed to migrate together with the Prophet (PBUH) and Abu Bakr. However, the Makkans decided to prevent at all costs the migration of the Prophet (PBUH) and intending to kill him, they set several traps. The Prophet (PBUH) and Abu Bakr by Allah’s blessing evaded the traps, but Suhayb fell into one of them and so was hindered for some time from emigrating. Eventually, he somehow managed to get rid of the infuriated Makkans and instantly went following in the footsteps of the other Muslims across the desert. However, the Makkans sent their hunters to follow him. When they reached him, they agreed to take away his wealth in exchange for letting him go freely. The Makkans told Suhayb: “You came to us as a poor wretch.455 Your money increased in our land and among us you claimed high rank and now you want to escape together with your money?” Suhayb guided his foes to the place where he had hidden his fortune, and then they parted their ways as agreed beforehand. Suhayb continued hurriedly his journey towards Madinah, and when he came into view, the Prophet (PBUH) was sitting surrounded by his companions. No sooner had the Prophet (PBUH) noticed him than he called to him cheerfully: “O Abu Yahya, a profitable sale, a


profitable sale!”456 Hereupon, the following Qur’anic verse was revealed: “And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is full of kindness to (His) devotees.”457 Originally, after the Migrants had arrived in Madinah, the Helpers asked the Prophet (PBUH) to divide the date-palm trees between them and their brethren from Makkah, which he nevertheless disapproved of. Then they all concurred that the Helpers divide their properties with the Migrants on the condition that the latter would give half the fruit from the orchards every year, and they would recompense the Helpers by working with them and putting in labor. This situation continued for several years and was as good as over subsequent to the conquest of Khaybar in the seventh year when all the Migrants economically became virtually self-supporting.458 So concerned have the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) been about planting and land cultivation - aside from other modes of work - that both the Migrants and Helpers were regularly dubbed as the people of planting and cultivation (ahl zar’).459 Such a dominant milieu of Madinah has been - even though humorously yet clearly - implied on an occasion when the Prophet (PBUH) narrated a story from the life in Jannah. He said: “One of the inhabitants of Jannah will ask Allah to allow him to cultivate the land. Allah will ask him: ‘Are you not living in the pleasures you like?’ He will say: ‘Yes, but I like to cultivate the land.” The Prophet (PBUH) said that the man will be then allowed to sow the seeds and the plants will grow up and get ripe, ready for reaping and so on till they will be as huge as mountains within a wink. Allah will then say to the man: “O son of Adam, take here you are, gather (the yield); nothing satisfies you.” Of those who were listening to the Prophet’s address was a bedouin who remarked on hearing the account: “The man must be either from Quraysh (a Migrant) or a Helper, for they are farmers, whereas we are not farmers.” The Prophet (PBUH) smiled (at this).460 The new developments in Madinah made the management, distribution and consumption of water, land irrigation, and digging up and sharing inland waterways of the most significant factors impinging on the Madinah economic reality. There is a well documented case in which a Helper argued with alZubayr, a Migrant, in the presence of the Prophet (PBUH) about the Harra canals used for irrigating the date-palms. The Prophet (PBUH) passing his judgment said: “O al-Zubayr, irrigate your land first and then let the water flow to the land of others.” On that, the Helper said to the Prophet (PBUH): “Is it because he is your aunt’s son?” On that, the color of the Prophet’s face changed and he said giving al-Zubayr his full right: “O al-Zubayr, irrigate your land and withhold the water till it reaches the walls that are between the pits around the trees and then stop (i.e. let the water go to the other’s land).” The following Qur’anic verse was revealed in that connection: “But no by thy Lord, they can have no (real) Faith until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction.” (alNisa’ 65)461 However, the appellation that both the Helpers and Migrants have been the people of planting and cultivation was more of a personification of the


Prophet’s companions’ attitude towards the subject of work, production and sustainable development by means of agriculture, in particular, and towards the subject of realizing balance and harmony in their relations with men and nature, in general, rather than an attempt to categorize the real means of making their livelihood. This is so because the Helpers were generally famous for their interest and expertise in land cultivation, whereas the Migrants were known rather as merchants both before and after the Hijrah. But then again, the Madinah society was so much oriented towards integration, balance and unity that its radical transformation process before long started rendering the delineation of the Helpers as farmers and the Migrants as traders - in so far as the latest economic experiences of the city-state were concerned - something of an impracticality. There have been Helpers who were very successful traders prior to and after the advent of Islam and the Prophet (PBUH) in Madinah, 462 as there have been many a Migrant who quickly against all the odds started excelling in agriculture. Even some women are reported to have been practicing a degree of trade in Madinah, under the conditions which called for it, and the Prophet (PBUH) voiced no objection whatsoever to it.463 In consequence of this, in addition to being a fertile oasis bent on agriculture, Madinah was likewise recognized as a noteworthy trade point in which the Jews, nonetheless, have been economically much stronger than the Arabs. The strategic geographical location of Madinah was pivotal in encouraging its people to indulge in business, not only internally but also with the outside world. It was lying near the bustling trade route between Yemen and Syria. The value of the trade done by the people of Makkah alone on this route - not to count that of Taif and other places - amounted to about two hundred thousand dinars annually.464 It was thus logical that the Muslims after the Hijrah right away embarked on retaliating against the Makkans by blocking the said route and striking at their caravans. This kind of warfare was the immediate cause of the first and perhaps most decisive battle between the Muslims and Makkans, i.e. the battle of Badr. The battle took place in the second year after the Hijrah. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Awf has shed some light on the nature of the developments which the new Muslim community was putting up in Madinah in the wake of the Hijrah. He said: “When we came to Madinah as emigrants, the Prophet (PBUH) established a bond of brotherhood between me and Sa’d b. alRabi’. Sa’d b. al-Rabi’ said to me: “I am the richest among the Helpers, so I will give you half of my wealth and you may look at my two wives and whichever of the two you may choose I will divorce her, and when she has completed her prescribed period (before marriage) you may marry her.” ‘Abd al-Rahman replied: “I am not in need of all that. Is there any market-place where trade is practiced?” Sa’d replied: “The market of Banu Qaynuqa’ (the Jewish tribe).” ‘Abd al-Rahman went to the market the following day. He continued going there regularly, and few days later he came having traces of yellow (scent) on his body. The Prophet (PBUH) asked him whether he had got married and ‘Abd al-Rahman replied in affirmative. Then the Prophet (PBUH) asked him to give a wedding banquet (walimah) even if with one sheep.465 By the way, ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Awf ultimately emerged as one of the wealthiest companions of the Prophet (PBUH).


He and the other wealthy companions were dubbed as Khuzzan Allah (Allah’s treasurers).466 The Prophet’s companion Abu Hurayrah once while disclosing the reasons why neither the Migrants nor the Helpers narrate from the Prophet (PBUH) as much as he does, portrayed vividly the state of the Muslims’ eagerness for work and productivity in Madinah: “My brothers from the Migrants were busy in the market while I used to stick to the Prophet (PBUH) content with what fills my stomach; so I used to be present when they were absent and I used to remember when they used to forget. And my brothers from the Helpers used to be busy with their properties and I was one of the poor men of suffah. I used to remember the narrations when they used to forget.”467 Isma’il Raji al-Faruqi wrote: “Upon arrival in Madinah, after his Hijrah, the Prophet (PBUH) asked the Ansar (Muslims of Madinah) to adopt the Muhajirin, their fellow Muslims who emigrated thence, running away from death at the hands of their enemies. Many of the Muhajirin accepted to be adopted, to be thus relieved of the trials of having to reestablish themselves. Some accepted a little loan to start with, and which they paid back later. Those who pleased the Prophet (PBUH)) most, however, were those who were too proud to accept any aid. Without capital, tools, or a profession, they went to the open fields to gather timber for fuel, to carry it on their backs for sale in the city; and, little by little, they made for themselves a niche in the business world.”468 It was reasonable, therefore, that the Prophet (PBUH) after expelling the Jewish tribe Banu al-Nadir from Madinah in the fourth year gave most of their land and plentiful date-palm trees to the Migrants, to the absolute consent and delight of the Helpers. Only to two Helpers did the Prophet (PBUH) grant of the abandoned property. He did so just because the two were truly destitute and so in need as much as the Migrants. The members of the Banu al-Nadir tribe were allowed to leave Madinah in safety carrying along of their riches only that which their camels could carry. Endorsing the actions of the Prophet (PBUH) pertaining to the treatment of Banu al-Nadir, as well as to the distribution of their confiscated possessions, the Qur’an said in the chapter al-Hashr (the Gathering or Banishment) which was revealed in consequence of the conflict with Banu alNadir:469 “(Some part is due) to the indigent Muhajirs, those who were expelled from their homes and their property, while seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure, and aiding Allah and His Messenger: such are indeed the truthful.” (al-Hashr 8) Praising the splendid attitude of the Helpers, not only during the incident with Banu al-Nadir, but also throughout the trials and tribulations that they in particular and the Muslims in Madinah in general have been constantly going through, Allah says in the same chapter and aptly in the next verse: “And those (the Helpers) who before them, had homes (in Madinah) and had adopted the Faith, - show their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertain no desire in their hearts for things given to the (latter), but give them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their (own lot). And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls, - they are the ones that achieve prosperity.” (alHashr 9)


Yusuf Ali, the translator and explicator of the Qur’an, commented on the latter verse: “…Until the Ummah got its own resources, the Helpers regularly gave and the Refugees (the Migrants) regularly received. The Helpers counted it a privilege to entertain the Refugees, and even the poor vied with the rich in their spirit of self-sacrifice. When the confiscated land and property of the Banu alNadir was divided, and the major portion was assigned to the Refugees, there was not the least jealousy on the part of the Helpers. They rejoiced in the good fortune of their brethren. And incidentally they were themselves relieved of anxiety and responsibility on their behalf.”470 How Islam views the idea of work (seeking of Allah’s bounty) and how it can be related to other religious and societal duties at various stages or grades has been to some extent encapsulated in the verses wherein the Qur’an speaks about the Muslim weekly Day of Assembly, Friday, and its mandatory congregational prayer: “O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): that is best for you if ye but knew! And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah: and remember Allah frequently that ye may prosper.” (alJumu’ah 9-10) Introducing the Muslim market in Madinah We have seen to what transformations the city-state of Madinah had been subjected following the Hijrah. Since production and trade are two key elements for the development of a city, it was natural that the markets of Madinah, both conceptually and spatially, had been affected too. At first, the Muslims used to avail themselves of the existing markets most of which have been controlled by the Jews. Because in these markets the blasphemous and perverse Jews perpetrated many errant practices, the Muslims gradually developed a strong aversion to doing business there. And so a new market controlled by the Muslim community was shortly set up. What kind of inconveniences the Muslims had to swallow in the existing Jewish markets could be discerned from two incidents. Firstly, in the aftermath of the battle of Badr, the Prophet (PBUH) went to the market of one of the Jewish tribes, Banu Qaynuqa’ – it was the most recognized and most widely used market in Madinah – hoping that reflecting on the miracle of Badr, in which a small Muslim army emphatically defeated the Makkans, might bring a change of heart in them. However, they snubbed the Prophet (PBUH) haughtily telling him: “O Muhammad, do not be deluded by that encounter, for it was against men who had no knowledge of war, and so thou didst get the better of them. But by God, if we make war on thee, thou shalt know that we are the men to be feared.”471 The second incident is that in the same market-place a Muslim woman, who had come to sell or exchange some goods, was grossly insulted by one of the Jewish goldsmiths. A Jew and a Muslim man, a Helper who came to the woman’s rescue, have been killed as a result of the occurrence. This brought


things to a climax and the Banu Qaynuqa’ tribe had to be banished from Madinah.472 After selecting the site of the new market, the Prophet (PBUH) said to the Muslims: “This is your market, it is not to be narrowed (by acquiring and building, for instance) and no tax is to be collected from it.”473 The system of occupying the market space followed the pattern of occupying the mosque space: he who came first to a space occupied it, and it remained his until he wanted to leave. 474 The Prophet (PBUH) has said about mosques that they belong to everybody and that reserving certain places for certain people - like a camel which fixes its place - is not acceptable.475 So unwavering was the Prophet (PBUH) about observing the instituted rules and regulations pertaining to the market that he once asked that an illegally erected tent in it be burned. A man from the Banu Harithah clan had earlier erected it and had been selling dates in it.476 The existence of the new market powered with the new tawhidic vision quickly necessitated the establishment of a new institution called al-Hisbah, the center of attention of which was the maintenance of law, order and fair trading in the market. In other words, its focus was enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil (al-Amr bi al-Ma’ruf wa al-Nahy ‘an al-Munkar). The Prophet (PBUH) used to go occasionally to the market to look for himself into what was going on there and correct the actions of errant traders, thus setting a precedent that was followed for a long time by subsequent Muslim caliphs and governors. The market was positioned roughly on the northwest side of the mosque, not too far from it. A number of houses stood between the market and the mosque complex. The market was approximately five hundred meters long and more than one hundred meters wide.477 When the first site for the market was selected a section thereof belonged to Ka’b b. al-Ashraf - one of the most perfidious and high-ranking Jews in Madinah. No sooner had the site been chosen and a tent put up than Ka’b arrived and contemptibly cut the tent ropes. The Prophet (PBUH) calmly remarked: “Surely, we shall reposition it to a place which will frustrate him more.”478 Some of the land needed for the market also belonged to the Banu Sa’idah clan, but they wittingly renounced it giving it to the Prophet (PBUH) and the community.479 The market was large enough to comfortably accommodate everything expected from a city market. It was in fact bigger than what was needed at that juncture. It was yet another manifestation of the Prophet’s visionary disposition, as Madinah was expanding at a fast pace in almost every regard, and the surrounding tribes and communities were increasingly spawning their interest to be on familiar terms with what was then considered as a rising wonder. The significance of the market location Thanks to the Madinah topography, the market was situated in close proximity to the “natural main entrance” to the city, also located on the northwest side. 480 Irrespective of the direction from which individuals or caravans might have approached the city, they would customarily use that entrance. Its strategic location, rich and diverse commodities supply, and its reputation as a “clean”,


conducive and fair place for doing business, made the market alluring to whosoever entered Madinah for whatever motive, even those who were remotely keen on trade. The Jewish markets were thus significantly reduced in importance and with them the Jews as a community and their overall standing in the region. Indeed, this was an important psychological victory for the Muslims, which proved of the essence in the impending broader conflict between the two sides and which at the end resulted in the expulsion of the Jews from the city. If one were to examine the overall economic situation in Madinah on the eve of the advent of Islam, and in which the Jews had the upper hand over the Arabs, one could easily grasp the significance of the said Muslim triumph over the Jews. In his introduction to the commentary of the Qur’anic chapter alHashr, Abul A’la al-Maududi furnishes us with a comprehensive account concerning the subject in question: “Economically they (the Jews) were much stronger than the Arabs. Since they had emigrated from more civilized and culturally advanced countries of Palestine and Syria, they knew many such arts as were unknown to the Arabs; they also enjoyed trade relations with the outside world. Hence, they had captured the business of importing grain in Yathrib and the upper Hijaz and exporting dried dates to other countries. Poultry farming and fishing also were mostly under their control. They were good at cloth weaving too. They had also set up wine shops here and there, where they sold wine which they imported from Syria. The Banu Qaynuqa’ generally practiced crafts such as that of the goldsmith, blacksmith and vessel maker. In all these occupations, trade and business these Jews earned exorbitant profits, but their chief occupation was money lending in which they had ensnared the Arabs of the surrounding areas. More particularly the chiefs and elders of the Arab tribes who were given to a life of pomp, bragging and boasting on the strength of borrowed money were deeply indebted to them. They lent money on high rates of interest and then would charge compound interest, which one could hardly clear off once one was involved in it. Thus, they had rendered the Arabs economically hollow, but it had naturally induced a deep rooted hatred among the common Arabs against the Jews.”481 We have already seen that on the northwest side of Madinah “the natural main city entrance” was situated. In almost the same direction, the new city market was located. From that side, the Makkan polytheists approached the city for both the battle of Uhud and the battle of Khandaq. Also, to the northwest lies an area called al-Jurf. There the Muslim army made camp prior to setting out for the Mu’tah expedition in the eighth year, and then again before being sent by the Prophet (PBUH) to Syria under the leadership of Usamah b. Zayd in the tenth year.482 The Prophet (PBUH) once said that Dajjal (the Impostor, Antichrist), whose appearance will account for one of the major signs of the Day of Judgment’s imminence, will also approach Madinah from almost the same side. He will be able to come to and stand on the mountain Uhud, but he will be denied entrance to the city proper by the angels who will guard it on each side by their drawn swords.483 However, when migrating to Madinah, neither the Prophet (PBUH) nor the rest of the Migrants entered the Madinah oasis using the northwest way in.


Rather, they all arrived from almost the opposite, i.e. southern, side where the Quba’ district lay. There are three reasons for this: Firstly, the Hijrah was a secret and very dangerous mission. The Makkans have not been happy at all about it, so they relished very much to thwart it at all costs, or disrupt its smooth execution, at least. Thus the road(s) to Madinah threaded by the Migrants, including the Prophet (PBUH), for the most part had to be unconventional. Besides, the “natural main entrance” to Madinah was only the main one, not the only one. Secondly, the Prophet (PBUH) was coming from the south and the Quba’ suburb to the south of Madinah was the nearest spot for the travelers from south in general. Besides, some prominent Arab as well as Jewish clans lived either right there or nearby, thus rendering that part of the Madinah oasis very significant economically, politically and socially. So, entering Madinah at the Quba’ gateway rather than at the “main entrance” to the northwest meant a slight lessening of the distance and fatigue on the part of the exhausted Migrants who often lacked supplies. As it also meant that some aspects of the most vital issues, which will be consistently confronting the to-be-established community such as the relationship between the Arabs and Jews, the relationship between the Migrants and Helpers, the relationship between the Aws and Khazraj tribes, and the like - could be tackled immediately right there before proceeding any further. It was maybe because of this that the Prophet (PBUH) prolonged his “rest” in Quba’, during which he even managed to build the first mosque in Islam, the Mosque of Piety. The Prophet (PBUH) once said about the outstanding position of the Quba’ mosque (the Mosque of Piety), which is to stay unchanged until the Day of Judgment: “He who purifies himself at home and then proceeds to the Quba’ mosque for a prayer will procure the reward of the ‘Umrah (the Lesser Pilgrimage).”484 This strategic importance of Quba’ - together with the importance of its vicinity - might have been among the reasons why the Prophet (PBUH) used to frequent it, sometimes walking and at other times riding. Thirdly, the Prophet (PBUH) came to Madinah to guide its people to Truth. However, most people neither saw him nor heard from him ever before; nevertheless, they firmly believed in him and ardently practiced and propagated his teachings. Now, since the Prophet (PBUH) was coming to their sphere, seeking refuge, the people of Madinah have been keenly looking forward to seeing and interacting with him, witnessing and experiencing thereby the entire message of Islam as epitomized by his everyday demeanor. Therefore, before moving further north to the place of the final disembarkation and which was divinely determined, it was certainly wise and tactful for the Prophet (PBUH) to fulfill the wishes of the people of Quba’ and its environs by staying for sometime with them and by interacting in as many life aspects as possible. Verily, had the Prophet (PBUH) entered Madinah not in Quba’ but at the city “main entrance”, thence proceeding right away to his predestined destination, the move would have been less consequential and definitely with less bearing on the public’s perception of him and his (their) cause, in that there existed not many settlements in that particular zone.


The market was neither too close to nor too far from the Prophet’s mosque complex. Its location was ideal under the circumstances and posed a few crucial implications for the spatial planning of future Islamic cities. Since Madinah was yet to become purely Islamic in terms of its citizenry, it was inappropriate to position the market too distant from the mosque complex, because the latter in its capacity as a community center and a personification of the Islamic cause, had been established to radiate by means of its form and function the rays of the magnificent Islamic struggle, serving in that way as an inexhaustible and efficient means of da’wah islamiyyah (propagation of Islam). Since it was a busy place offering access to everybody, including the Jews, hypocrites and polytheists, the market was set to be affected someway by the general ambiance generated by the mosque and its wide-ranging activities. Of course, the nearer was one to the complex the more and stronger impact could one come into contact with, nonetheless, though it was separated from the mosque by some houses, yet the market in reality was by no means too far to be influenced by the extraordinary mosque complex dynamism. Furthermore, being separated from the mosque by some houses proved no less strategic for the market, given that those houses – chiefly such as were built by the Migrants – in a way accounted for an extension of the mosque complex. In fact, they accounted for a sector of another larger complex, i.e. the genuine Islamic neighborhood, which was encompassing the mosque complex. In an Islamic settlement, it could be safely asserted, the houses which surround the principal mosque not only draw benefits from the latter’s facilities but also complement it in fulfilling the divine purpose, in that the house institution, owing to its outstanding role in the society, also stands in its own way as an epitome of Islamic culture and civilization – as seen earlier. As a result, those non-Muslims who would come to the Madinah market were able to enjoy - involuntarily though - a great deal of contact with the religion of Islam as embodied in the daily practices of its followers, and as the sole driving force behind their cultural and civilizational accomplishments, even though it as a set of beliefs and rituals failed initially to appeal to them. Indeed, this was an excellent opportunity to gradually lead some people towards softening their position on Islam and the Muslims, and even towards a complete change in their standpoint, for such people did not frequent the places of worship, nor did they feel every time disposed to listening to the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions who have been trying hard to win them over with their preaching. Having the market near the mosque complex also meant facilitating the chore of commanding good and prohibiting evil in it. Some people may have been asked by the Prophet (PBUH) to do so on either a regular or a temporary basis, yet many a mosque-bound individual would be regularly passing through the market for no other purpose except discharging the duty of joining together in the mutual enjoining of Truth, and of patience and constancy, as well as the duty of helping one another in righteousness and piety and not in sin and rancor. What’s more, in determining the market location, both traders and buyers were given a chance to every so often visit the mosque a moment or two not only for their daily prayers, but also for any other reasons that could be fulfilled under the mosque


roof. Such being the case, their attitudes and working culture could be influenced and enhanced by the pervading aura so effortlessly experienced in the mosque, as well as in the attitudes and manners of those patronizing it. That the market was not so far-flung from the mosque and that it was located in close proximity to the axis leading to the most strategic spot, the ‘main entrance’ to Madinah, may be corroborated by an incident in which the Muslims are said to have been performing the Friday prayer (Jumu’ah) with the Prophet (PBUH) in the mosque. When the Prophet (PBUH) was delivering his sermon (khutbah), a commercial caravan from Syria came to the city. Although the Muslims were in the mosque attending the prayer, yet the news of the caravan’s arrival easily reached them; they may have even caught a glimpse of it, as the area between the mosque and market was not densely populated, especially during the early years, as explained earlier. Thereupon, they, except twelve persons, went to the caravan leaving the Prophet (PBUH) standing. And so the following verse was revealed: “But when they see some bargain or some pastime, they disperse headlong to it, and leave thee standing. Say: ‘That which Allah has is better than any pastime or bargain! And Allah is the Best to provide (for all needs).’” (al-Jum’ah 11) The Prophet (PBUH) revealed afterward: “By Him in whose hand is my soul, had you all followed each other from the mosque with nobody remaining in it, a torrent of fire flaring through the valley would have befallen you.”485 Judging the incident by the astonishing reaction of a majority of the Muslims – those most intimate with the Prophet (PBUH) like Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, ignored the caravan and stayed in the mosque - it appears as though it took place not long after the Hijrah when many people submitted their wills to Allah – be He exalted - but Faith was yet to fully penetrate and conquer their hearts. Also, it was a time when a code of ethics as to the conduct during the Jum’ah prayer and toward the mosque on the whole was yet to be completed. It should be also noted here that for sometime the Prophet (PBUH) used to pray the Jum’ah prayer in such a way that he always performed the prayer first and then delivered the sermon - something like what he always did with the two ‘Id prayers. Nevertheless, after a period, the sequence was reversed: the sermon came first and the prayer second. Ibn Kathir opined that the said incident, in all probability, occurred during the first period, that is to say, when the sermon used to be delivered after the prayer.486 By the same token, it was timely then for the market to be at a distance from the mosque rather than adjacent to it, since the market was receptive to trading all lawful goods, irrespective of their character, quantity, origin and odor. Even camels and livestock were traded there. Besides, there still existed numerous Arab ancient traditions in the market some of which were objectionable but the Prophet (PBUH) was yet to disallow them. Postponing the admonishment of certain abhorred practices in the market until the right moment happened because the revelation of Islam was a gradual and meticulous process, which lasted about 23 years (13 in Makkah and 10 in Madinah), providing instructions, responses and answers to various dilemmas and developments that the community was going through, so that the heart of the


Prophet (PBUH) and the hearts of his followers may be calmed and strengthened. The matter was as gradual and prudent a course of action as the imposition of a majority of the precepts of Islam. The misdemeanors committed in the market for the most part were related to noise, communication, cleanliness and neatness. Hence, the market with its multifarious bustling life was rather unfit to abut the mosque complex. Had it been so, it would have appeared something of an oddity whenever juxtaposed with the character of the on-going pursuits within the complex domain. The efficiency, serenity and required reverence of the mosque would likewise have been at times seriously affected. Activities in the market Due to its size, position and role, the market of Madinah was a lively and fascinating place. Diverse crafts and industries operated in it. There were butchers, blacksmiths, skin tanners, carpenters, perfumers, tailors, weavers, moneychangers, as well as the sellers of a variety of articles, such as food, grain, water, milk, fruits, vegetable, baskets, vessels, utensils, swords, bows, arrows, firewood, articles for home, articles made of gold and silver, a range of clothes and textiles including silk, etc. Camels, horses and sheep, plus all the items associated with domestic animals, were also traded in the market. There have been many porters who worked either for some charitable purposes or to secure a sustenance of their own.487 Not only the citizens of Madinah, including the Jews and those Arabs who were yet to embrace Islam, could be found trading in the market but also some foreign traders. In a hadith, a companion Ka’b b. Malik narrates how he met in the market of Madinah a Christian farmer from Syria who came to sell his grain.488 So familiar have the Muslims been with various crafts and industries that the Prophet (PBUH) occasionally made use of some of them when teaching his companions in parables. It is understood that if parables were to attain their projected results, they must be expounded in a language easily comprehended by listeners. The Prophet (PBUH) thus once said: “The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows; from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.” 489 Umar b. al-Khattab once said that if he were to be a trader someday, he would choose nothing over the perfumes business, because even if he failed to make profit from it he would then at least be let to enjoy the odor of his merchandise longer.490 It should be observed, however, that as a form of spiritual lessons the parables employed by the Qur’an and the Prophet (PBUH) in agricultural terms are far more abundant and repetitive than those in relation to commerce. This is because agriculture by and large played a more prominent role in the economic life of Madinah. However, trading was not the only preoccupation of those who would frequent the market. Some people used to come to the market for discharging the duty of enjoining good and forbidding evil (al-amr bi al-ma’ruf wa al-nahy ‘an al-munkar) because markets in general - more than many other places indeed -


represent a fertile ground for committing many unsolicited deeds. If left unchecked, a number of vices may gain a foothold in markets, proliferating then in ways that could painfully affect other societal establishments. Against the background of this trademark of the market institution will it only be appropriate to view a hadith wherein the Prophet (PBUH) has stated that while mosques (regardless of their size and location) are the dearest sites to Allah - be He exalted - the markets are most loathed (if their status and role are misused or altered).491 Allah says in the Qur’an: “As for those who sell the faith they owe to Allah and their own solemn plighted word for a small price, they shall have no portion in the Hearafter: nor will Allah (deign) to speak to them or look at them on the Day of Judgment, nor will He cleanse them (of sin): they shall have a grievous Chastisement.” (Alu ‘Imran 77) This verse was revealed after a man had displayed some goods in the market swearing by Allah that he had been offered so much for that – that which was not offered – and he said so only to cheat a Muslim.492 With regard to the obligation of commanding good and prohibiting evil in the market, the Prophet (PBUH) himself was an example that the companions enthusiastically strove to emulate. One day, on coming across a man who was attempting to cheat his customers by selling some food that seemed outwardly nice-looking but on the inside it was quite bad, the Prophet (PBUH) told the man that deficiencies in goods ought to be made public. He then made that famed statement of his that whosoever cheats the Muslims he does not belong to him, i.e. to the Prophet (PBUH), or to them, i.e. to the Muslims.493 Even when going somewhere else and when it was feasible, the Prophet (PBUH) would at times deliberately pass through the market, like in the case of going to a people to mark out and help build a mosque for them.494 Abdullah b. Umar narrated that a man was often cheated in buying. The Prophet (PBUH) said to him: “When you buy something, say (to the seller): ‘No cheating.” The man used to say it thenceforward.495 The Prophet (PBUH) also said: “The trustworthy and honest Muslim trader will be with martyrs on the Day of Judgment.”496 A man called al-Tufayl b. Ubayy b. Ka’b one morning visited Abdullah b. Umar and went out with him to the market. When they were out, Abdullah b. Umar did not pass by anyone selling poor merchandise or selling commodities or a needy person or anyone but that he greeted them. When asked why he would go in the morning to the market if he did not want to do what people normally do in it, Abdullah b. Umar replied that he was doing so only for the sake of greeting. “We greet whoever we meet”, said Abdullah b. Umar. 497 Although this occurrence happened – in all likelihood - after the death of the Prophet (PBUH), yet it attests to a significant legacy bequeathed by the Prophet (PBUH), which his companions tried hard to safeguard and uphold. This being the case, it should be furthermore remarked that among the Prophet’s companions Abdullah b. ‘Umar was more than anybody else looking at what the Prophet (PBUH) was doing in every matter and then was humbly imitating his deeds to the finest details. Since he lived a long blessed life loyally adhering to the Prophet’s way of life (Sunnah), many


people besought God: “O Allah, save Ibn Umar as long as I live so that I can follow him. I don’t know anyone still adhering to the early traditions except him.”498 As a result of this amazing attitude of the first generation of the Muslims towards the concepts of marketplace, business and work in general, Allah depicts them in the Qur’an as: “…men whom neither trade nor sale can divert from the remembrance of Allah, nor from regular Prayer, nor from paying Zakah; their (only) fear is for the Day when hearts and eyes will be turned about.” (al-Nur 37) In the market, the Prophet (PBUH) also executed the men of the Jewish tribe Banu Qurayzah because they had been conspiring with the Makkans who together with their confederates laid a protracted siege around Madinah during the critical battle of the Khandaq in the fifth year following the Hijrah. Trenches have been dug beforehand in the market and in them, the execution took place.499 Business activities outside the market Some crafts and businesses were conducted in some private houses as well, albeit on a smaller scale. Perhaps one of the most attention-grabbing instances is the house of the Prophet’s son Ibrahim’s foster-family, Umm Sayf, the fostermother, and Abu Sayf, the foster-father who was a blacksmith. The house of Abu Sayf was in one of the Madinah suburbs. One day the Prophet (PBUH) went to see Ibrahim. He was accompanied by his servant Anas b. Malik. When they reached the house, they found Aby Sayf blowing fire with the help of blacksmith’s bellows and the house was filled with smoke.500 Some women have been very active and productive at home. They performed various household duties. Some jobs that they did could even bring additional income to the family. According to a hadith, a woman brought to the Prophet (PBUH) a woven cloak with an edging. She told the Prophet (PBUH): “I have woven it with my own hands and I have brought it so that you may wear it.” The Prophet (PBUH) accepted it, and at that time he was in need of it.501 Many women were busy spinning (gazl), i.e. making thread by drawing out and twisting wool or cotton, in their houses. Spinning was deemed as women’s favorite pastime which could give pleasure to the soul and at the same time show the Satan the door.502 Every now and then, some women would perform spinning even in the Prophet’s mosque. They continued to do so until the caliphate of Umar b. al-Khattab when he put an end to this custom.503 How productive and hard-working the women of Madinah were can be seen from the following two accounts. Firstly, the Prophet’s daughter Fatimah, the wife of Ali b. Abi Talib, went one day to her father’s house complaining about the bad effect of the stone hand-mill on her hand. She wanted to ask the Prophet (PBUH) to provide her, if he could, a servant. At the time of Fatimah’s visit, the Prophet (PBUH) was not around, so she spoke to A’ishah, the Prophet’s wife. No sooner had the Prophet (PBUH) returned home and had been told of his daughter’s request than he paid a visit to her. He told Fatimah and her husband


Ali: “Shall I direct you to something better than what you have requested? When you go to bed say ‘Subhan Allah’ thirty three times, ‘Alhamdulillah’ thirty three times, and ‘Allahu Akbar’ thirty four times, for that is better for you than a servant.” Ali b. Abi Talib had said that he never failed to recite this ever since.504 Secondly, Abu Bakr’s daughter Asma said that when she got married with al-Zubayr, they had neither land nor wealth nor slave. She grazed his horse, provided fodder to it and looked after it, and ground dates for his camel. Besides this, she grazed the camel, made arrangements for providing it with water and patched up the leather bucket and kneaded the flour. She was not good in baking the bread, so her female neighbors used to do it for her. Asma continued: “I was carrying on my head the stones of the dates from the land of al-Zubayr which the Prophet (PBUH) had endowed him and it was at a distance of two miles from Madinah.” Sometime later, Asma’s father Abu Bakr sent a female servant to her who took upon herself the responsibility of looking after the horse, thus partly relieving Asma of her burden.505 Moreover, there existed some small vendors operating at different spots in the city where no harm could be inflicted on anybody. In this case, both the operators and their customers had to respect the rights of thoroughfare users. Such businesses on average were small in nature and catered to certain immediate daily needs of the people. It is reported in a hadith that a destitute man came one day to Asma, al-Zubayr’s wife, asking for permission to set up a business under the shadow of her house. Wondering why of so many places in Madinah he chose to start the business right next to her house, Asma asked the man to come back when al-Zubayr, who was absent then, returns so that decision could be made. When al-Zubayr returned, the man came and he was granted the request. Asma said that the man eventually earned so much that they even sold their slave-girl to him.506 The Prophet (PBUH) explicitly prohibited conducting trade within his mosque507 but not outside it.508 Several instances of trading activities on a very limited scale outside the mosque during the Prophet’s era have been reported. On account of this, certain markets and even industries abutting the mosque, specifically such as were with tolerable visual, auditory, aromatic and kinetic consequences for every day city life, have been before long introduced to the morphology of the Islamic city, i.e., they constituted part of the city’s midpoint. Other markets and industries, some of which were bound to cause a kind of serious disruption or nuisance to either individuals or institutions, remained customarily situated on the city’s periphery. The extent of their remoteness from the city principal mosque and the residential area surrounding it varied depending on a number of issues, such as the geography of an area, the compactness of residential areas and the availability of space, the vitality and function of the mosque complex, the dynamism and richness of markets activities, the overall socio-political and economic condition of an area, etc.


Part Seven: The Function of Some Open Spaces in Madinah
Roads and their function In the Prophet’s urbanization scheme, roads played a very important role. They linked up different city points, thus facilitating communication, access and unhindered movement of people and goods. The Prophet (PBUH) was very much concerned about the rights of the road and its users, as well as about the roads width, cleanliness, the smooth flow of the traffic, etc. The lesson bequeathed by the Prophet (PBUH) in this regard is that roads are to be planned, constructed and maintained in such a way that no harm or inconvenience is caused to anyone. About the width of the road, the Prophet (PBUH) said that if a people disagree about how wide a road should be, then they should make it as wide as seven cubits (about 3.50 meters).509 The word is that by saying seven cubits the Prophet (PBUH) meant the minimum width of public roads, and the basis for that is to allow two fully loaded camels to pass.510 However, the bigger and wider a road the better; the only thing that matters is that the full consent of every party involved be sought, as well as that no resolution is reached that may contravene any of the objectives of the Islamic law (Shari’ah), namely the preservation of religion, soul, intellect, progeny and wealth (personal, societal and natural). The Prophet (PBUH) said in one hadith: “Those who constrict (people’s) houses (by building excessively and gratuitously for themselves) and encroach on the road will not be credited with jihad (holy war).”511 This, the Prophet (PBUH) said during one of his military expeditions. By the words “…will not be credited with jihad” he meant to make his companions aware of the seriousness of such issues as the importance of houses and roads, privacy, freedom of movement, accessibility, and other basic rights that one is expected to enjoy in a settlement. Drawing attention to the distinctive significance of roads, the Prophet (PBUH) directed his companions to avoid needlessly sitting on them, lest the projected role and function of roads might be affected, one way or another. The companions, however, replied that such a thing is sometimes difficult to desist. On this, the Prophet (PBUH) said that they, in that case, must respect the rights of roads, as they belong to the public and everyone is entitled to their free and unobstructed use. Asked about the rights of roads, the Prophet (PBUH) answered: “Avoid staring, do not create harm, salute back to those who salute you, and enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.”512 Allah says in the Qur’an: “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when out of doors): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (al-Ahzab 59) During the early days of the Madinah community, some city profligates used to come out, especially at night, to the city thoroughfares intending to disturb the women who used to pass by looking after their affairs. The problem must have been relatively alarming, given that women actively participated in religious and community activities customarily held in the mosque complex. The Prophet


(PBUH) also directed men to allow women to go to the mosque even at night.513 Thus, the categories of women mentioned in the verse had been decreed to cast their outer garments over themselves when they are outdoors in order to be recognized as pure, virtuous and respectable, and, as such, stay protected from harm and molestation.514 It was partly because of this, and partly because of the other principles that govern the relationship between opposite sexes unrelated to each other, that the Prophet (PBUH) instructed men and women not to mingle freely in the road. They are to keep to different sides. One day the Prophet (PBUH) came out of the mosque and on seeing men and women mingling in the road he exclaimed: “Draw back, for you must not walk in the middle of the road; keep to the sides of the road.” Then women were keeping so close to the wall that their garments were rubbing against it.515 Having finished the prayer in the mosque, the Prophet (PBUH) used to stay at his praying place for a while until the women who also prayed depart and enter their houses.516 This was in all probability the routine of all the men inside the mosque, since the Prophet’s companions did their utmost to emulate their mentor in virtually everything and in the minutest detail. There were several main roads that led from the Prophet’s mosque to different points of Madinah crisscrossing the city landscape. On the strength of some reliable historical accounts, it is obvious that one of such thoroughfares led up to the Sal’ hill in the northwest, another led through as far as to the suburb of Quba’ in the south, whence a third one stretched up to the burial ground of alBaqi’ in the southeast in the vicinity of the Prophet’s mosque. 517 These highways regularly branched off on both the right and left forming a network of smaller streets and roads which led to residential areas, gardens, estates, and the like. In view of the remarkable importance of the road and how vital the concepts of cleanliness, orderliness, public convenience, excellence and management are in the Islamic world-view, it is not surprising that maintaining roads and keeping them in good condition is very much commendable in Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) has said on many an occasion that cleanliness - be it the cleanliness of the body, dwelling places, courtyards, streets, markets, rivers and the whole surroundings - is a branch of the faith (iman).518 He also said: “God is good and loves goodness; He is clean and loves cleanliness; He is kind and loves kindness; He is generous and loves generosity.” 519 In order to cause no damage to the environment, or inconvenience to themselves and humans in general, the Muslims are cautioned against defecating or urinating in water springs, on paths and in shaded places. The Prophet (PBUH) called such acts as serious abominations.520 Furthermore, the Prophet (PBUH) has said that a branch of faith is the removal of that which is injurious from the road. 521 Such an act under certain circumstances can be a cause of one’s forgiveness and admission to Jannah (Paradise). The Prophet (PBUH) disclosed: “While a person was going along the path he found a thorny branch upon it. He pushed it to a side and Allah approved this action of his and granted him forgiveness.”522


Abu Hurayrah reported the Prophet (PBUH) as saying that he saw a person enjoying himself in Jannah because of the tree that he cut from the path, which was a source of inconvenience to the people.523 A man called Abu Barza reported that he asked the Prophet (PBUH) to teach him something so that he could derive benefit from it. The Prophet (PBUH) told him to remove the troublesome thing from the paths of the Muslims.524 Recognizing the worth of the subject at hand and what attention the Prophet (PBUH) had paid to it, Muslim b. al-Hajjaj in his compilation of hadith (Sahih Muslim) entitled one of the subtitles in the “Book of Virtue, Good Manners and Joining of the Ties of Relationship” (Kitab al-Birr wa al-Silah wa al-Adab) as “The Merit of Removing of Anything Troublesome from the Path”. Aiming to establish and sustain a healthy and upright interaction between road users, the Prophet (PBUH) introduced several measures. Apart from what has been said thus far, it is worth mentioning that the institution of greeting occupied a very prominent place too. The people have been advised to greet everyone:525 the young should greet the old, the passer by should greet the sitting one, the riding one should greet the walking one, and the small group of persons should greet the large group of persons.526 The Prophet (PBUH) used to salute even the children.527 Many forms of charity – a deed required of every Muslim on a daily basis – could be easily accomplished on the road if people were mindful of the actual status and purpose of the road. To this end, the Prophet (PBUH) has said: “Charity is obligatory everyday on every joint of a human being. If one helps a person in matters concerning his riding animal by helping him to ride it or by lifting his luggage on to it, all this will be regarded charity. A good word, and every step one takes to offer the compulsory congregational prayer, is regarded as charity; and guiding somebody on the road is regarded as charity.”528 Leisure and sports activities In Islam, people are not allowed to overtax their bodies. Since bodily energy has a limit, it cannot withstand long excessive pressure. Even excessive ‘ibadah (worship) has been shunned for the same reasons. Whenever one gets exhausted because of his work, study, or any other occupation which is aimed at fulfilling his needs and the needs of his family as well as the Ummah, one is to take a break and relax. The Prophet (PBUH) has said: “…Your body too has its rights on you; your eyes too have their rights on you.”529 Spending free time by practicing certain sports that entail no harm is strongly recommended by Islam so that the Muslims can keep fit and make their bodies healthy and sound. Once fit, the body is bound to contain a healthy mind too, and to cultivate, in turn, sound morals in it becomes a less challenging proposition. The Prophet (PBUH) has said that children should be taught swimming, archery and horse-riding.530 He also said that a strong believer is better and more beloved by Allah than a weak one.


During the time of the Prophet (PBUH) the Muslims used to spend their leisure time at home, in private gardens, in mosques, and in some open and public areas in the city of Madinah.

At home
In Islam, the best recreation is that which is a family affair where one spends his free time talking, joking, sporting and playing around with his household. Indeed, the best model to us in this regard is nobody but the Prophet (PBUH). A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet (PBUH), said that while she was on a journey along with the Prophet (PBUH) she had a race with him and she outstripped him on her feet. However, later when she became fleshy, she again had a race with the Prophet (PBUH) but now he outstripped her. He said to her afterward: “This is for that outstripping.”531 Once a man called Aqra b. Habis presented himself before the Prophet (PBUH) who was playing with and kissing his grandson Hasan. The man was astonished to see this and said: “O Messenger of Allah, you also cuddle children. I have ten children, yet I have never shown any affection to them.” The Prophet (PBUH) replied: “What can I do if Allah has deprived you of love and compassion.”532 The Prophet (PBUH) also said that if a man plays with his wife such is one of the best forms of amusement.533 Indeed, this is one of the reasons why the house in Islam is recommended to be as spacious and comfortable as considered necessary for meeting all the family needs. Also, this was one of the reasons that dictated the proliferation of courtyards as an integral part of Islamic domestic architecture in most sections of the Muslim world as soon as the pure Islamic architectural identity started to assert itself. Apart from all the technological and environmental advantages that courtyards could offer, they in addition warranted almost all advantages desired to be enjoyed in a dwelling: they were the place for carrying out domestic work, for manufacturing some products, for cooking, for keeping small domestic animals, for vegetable, flowers and trees planting, for both children and adults to play, for entertaining guests, for discussion and study, for safe and undisturbed day or night relaxation and retirement - for both men and women - away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world; etc. At home, the people of Madinah used to see to their favorite legitimate pastimes, play and sing during the two ‘Ids (Festivals), have wedding celebrations, celebrate births, rejoice at the return of a traveler, etc. An atmosphere of joy and happiness has always been intended to be thus generated, and very often by means of singing and playing, so as to comfort soul, please the heart and refresh the ear. A’ishah, the Prophet’s wife, said that the Prophet (PBUH) came to her apartment during the ‘Id Festival while two girls were singing beside her about a war which had taken place between the tribes Aws and Khazraj before Islam. On entering, the Prophet (PBUH) lied down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr, A’isha’s father, came and spoke to A’ishah harshly saying: “Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (PBUH)?” The Prophet (PBUH)


turned his face towards him and said to leave them because it was a festive occasion (‘Id).534 A’ishah also narrated that she once prepared a lady for a man from the Helpers as his bride and the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Haven’t you got any amusement (during the wedding ceremony) as the Helpers like amusement?”535 When the Prophet (PBUH) returned from one of his military expeditions, a black slave-girl came to him telling him that she had made a vow if he returned safe and sound she would play a tambourine (daff) and sing in front of him. The Prophet (PBUH) replied: “If you had done so than go ahead (play and sing), otherwise I would not let you do it.” So, the woman played and sung until all of Abu Bakr, Ali b. Abi Talib, Uthman b. ‘Affan and Umar b. al-Khattab entered the house. Umar b. al-Khattab was the last to enter and when he did the woman stopped playing and singing. Thereupon the Prophet (PBUH) disclosed that even Satan is afraid of Umar, and that was the reason why the woman did not stop until he entered.536 Some people used to have cats and even birds as pets at home. The companion Abu Hurayrah, “the kitten man”, was so called because he was very fond of cats and often had a kitten to play with. The Prophet (PBUH) loved cats too. There was a boy in Madinah called Abu Umayr, the brother of Anas b. Malik, who had a sparrow or bulbul (nugar), which he used to cherish and play with. However, one day the bird died and the boy became very sad. When the Prophet (PBUH) met him in such a state, he tried to console him by saying in a rhythmical style: “O Aby Umayr, what did the small sparrow do (Ya Aba Umayr ma Fa’ala al-Nugayr)?”537 It goes without saying that hunting birds and then keeping them was governed by a set of strict Islamic rules and regulations pertaining to the treatment of animals. Besides, in the seventh year after Madinah had been designated as a sanctuary, hunting and then keeping any animal species within its precincts became forbidden completely.

In mosques
Some amusement as well as sports activities have been held in the Prophet’s mosque, and in other mosques, too. A’ishah reported that one day during the ‘Id she saw the Prophet (PBUH) at the door of their house watching some Ethiopians who were playing in the mosque proper displaying their skill with spears. The Prophet (PBUH) told them: “Carry on, o Bani Arfidah!” Thereupon, A’ishah joined the Prophet (PBUH) and watched the play until she “got tired (of it)”.538 The same or another group of Ethiopians ‘Umar b. al-Khattab scolded, but the Prophet (PBUH) asked him to leave them alone. And to them he said that they are safe and should carry on.539 It was the practice of Ethiopians to play with their spears at almost every joyful event, sometimes in the mosque and at other times on streets or elsewhere. When the Prophet (PBUH) arrived from Makkah to Madinah as a migrant, while warmly welcoming him, they then also performed their distinctive play.540


Moreover, immediately after the sunset Prayer (maghrib) the companions would sometimes compete in archery inside or barely outside the Prophet’s mosque in the Prophet’s presence till the full darkness descends and the targets become no longer visible.541 Practicing archery under the said circumstances was a feasible thing, taking into consideration the size and design of the mosque, as well as considering the fact that at the Prophet’s time a kind of pavement (balat) on the eastern side of the mosque existed. There were also some gardens close at hand. That there was a fairly spacious pavement near the Prophet’s mosque could be verified by the account in which the companion Jabir b. ‘Abdullah is said to have tied his camel on the pavement at the mosque gate before meeting the Prophet (PBUH), as narrated by al-Bukhari.542 Al-Bukhari also recorded that an adulterous Jewish man and woman, both married, were stoned to death on the mosque pavement (stoning to death is a penalty prescribed by the Jewish law for the said offense).543 The pavement appeared to be much wider than an ordinary thoroughfare and it served different functions. A few or more roads leading from the neighboring houses to the mosque might have ended up right at the pavement, making the entrance to the mosque from the pavement more commonly used compared to some other mosque entrances. When the Prophet (PBUH) got married with one of his wives, the mother of the companion Anas b. Malik prepared some food and sent it to the Prophet (PBUH). The number of his guests was about three hundred, all of whom had come upon invitation. As they could not enter the house at one time, they stayed in the mosque, in the suffah, waiting for their turn to go in the house and eat.544 Their favorite pastime, spinning (gazl), i.e. forming thread by drawing out and twisting wool or cotton, many women have been carrying out in their houses. However, every so often some women would perform spinning even in the Prophet’s mosque, and they continued to do so until the caliphate of Umar b. alKhattab when he put an end to the custom.545

On streets and other public open spaces
Apart from private houses and mosques, a number of legitimate amusement and sports activities have been carried out sometimes on streets and at other times in vast open public spaces, on sole condition that no harm was thereby to be inflicted on humans, animals, or property. Subsequent to the battle of Tabuk in the ninth year when the Prophet (PBUH) with the Muslim army approached Madinah, women, boys and girls came out to welcome their heroes singing (chanting): “The full moon rose over us, from the valley of al-Wada’; we are duty bound to show gratefulness, so long as there is call to Allah”. 546 While some scholars think that this occasion actually happened during the Prophet’s migration to Madinah and not after the said battle, 547 al-Kattani in his “al-Taratib al-Idariyyah” inferred that it might have occurred during both occasions: during the Prophet’s first entrance into Madinah (Hijrah), and again after the battle of Tabuk.548 Al-Samhudi, however, in his “Wafa’ al-Wafa” mentioned the incident only in connection with the Prophet’s arrival in Madinah as a migrant.549


Also, when the Prophet (PBUH) arrived in Madinah and his camel knelt down in the courtyard of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari’s house – the Prophet’s provisional residence – a group of neighboring young girls from the rank of Helpers came, and while playing tambourines (daff, dufuf) they recited (sang): “We are the young girls from (the clan) Banu al-Najjar; how nice it is, Muhammad became a neighbor!”550 Practicing archery, training horses, horse-riding and even wrestling - to an extent - were the most widespread outdoor leisure activities. The Prophet (PBUH) has said that a man’s training of his horse, his playing with his wife, and his shooting with his bow and arrow, are the best forms of amusement. 551 He denounced very much if one learned the art of archery only to neglect it afterward.552 The Prophet (PBUH) and his companions used to hold races between horses and camels. Both the horses which had been made lean by training and those which had not been made lean participated. Races between the lean horses were held from al-Hafya to the valley al-Wada’ (a distance of about five to six miles), and races between the unprepared horses were held from the valley of al-Wada’ to the mosque of the Banu Zurayq clan (a distance of about one mile).553 In one of such races Abdullah b. Umar, the son of Umar b. al-Khattab, took part. He won the race and his horse jumped into the mosque with him.554 Once in a race a bedouin’s camel outperformed the Prophet’s camel called al-Adba’. The Muslims felt sad and the Prophet (PBUH) noticed their distress. He then said: “It is Allah’s law that He brings down whatever rises high in the world.”555 The Prophet (PBUH) even said that there is no harm in placing stakes in racing.556 The city’s organization of spaces in aid to the city defense Madinah is a vast oasis surrounded from each side by mountains kept apart irregularly by narrow valleys and exposed open terrain. Thus, due to the city geography that offered a great degree of natural protection against a sudden and large-scale invasion, there was no need for an immediate or forthcoming walling up of the city. The city got its first walls during the reign of the Abbasid caliph alTa’i’ Lillah b. al-Muti’, somewhere after the year 363/973.557 The existence of numerous fortresses, as well as the overall organization of spaces and the compactness of neighborhoods, as promoted by the Islamic vision of life and reality, additionally aided the cause of the city defense. Such a strategic spatial highlight of the Madinah city clearly manifested itself during the battle of Uhud in the third year. On the eve of the battle, the Prophet (PBUH) suggested that the city fortresses, its lofty houses, and the scarcity of vast open spaces in a number of areas, especially within the ambit of the populated ones, be optimally utilized for defensive purposes. He proposed that the enemy be confronted inside the city and the women and children be stationed in the fortresses. The women and children thus could enhance the strength of the city defense by troubling the enemy from the roofs of the houses by whatever means they could get hold of.


Remarkably, before putting forth his suggestion, the Prophet (PBUH) saw in a dream that he was wearing an impregnable coat of mail, which he later interpreted as the existing defense potential enjoyed by the city of Madinah. 558 However, the battle eventually took place outside the city proper - in the vicinity of the mountain Uhud. Thus, the thesis that Madinah’s plan and the organization of its spaces were capable of enhancing the Muslim defense was yet to be tested. In the fifth year during the battle of Khandaq, the advantages of the location of Madinah and its layout in terms of defense once again were in the spotlight. So great was the number of the enemy armed forces, which consisted of the Makkans and their numerous allies, that it was impossible for the Muslims to face them directly in an open battlefield. The Muslims found themselves in a precarious situation. The Prophet (PBUH) assembled his companions for consultation and a companion Salman al-Farisi, originally a Persian, came forward with a solution: digging a trench. Short of better options, other companions, who had never witnessed such a warfare strategy before, enthusiastically accepted it. Having much experience in warfare and its tactics, Salman realized that Madinah was surrounded by mountains, hills and exposed open territory, which could be broken through by the enemy, so he proposed to the Prophet (PBUH) that a trench be dug in the exposed places.559 Martin Lings (Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din) wrote about the nature and position of the trench:“…The trench did not need to be continuous; at many places a long stretch of fortress-like houses at the edge of the city was adequate protection; and to the north-west there were some masses of rock which in themselves were impregnable and merely needed to be connected to each other. The nearest of these known as Sal’, was to be brought within the entrenchments, for the ground in front of it was an excellent site for the camp. The trench itself would bound the camp to the north in a wide sweep from one of the rocky eminences to a point on the eastern wall of the town. This was to be the longest single stretch of the trench and also the most important.”560 Researchers vastly differed as to the exact length, site and form of the trench;561 nonetheless, several points are nearly unanimously agreed upon. Firstly, the most critical part of the trench was dug at the north-west, western and northeast sides of the city due to the vastness of open terrain there, and due to the existence of the “natural main entrance” to the city on the northwest side routinely used by outsiders who would come in for trade or other purposes. Secondly, there was some digging exercise elsewhere around he city, but the natural landscape all-around dominated by hills and mountains have been impenetrable. Where neither hills nor mountains could be depended on, there were fortress-like houses forming at places integrated and connected neighborhoods. Some houses could not guarantee adequate protection, so they needed to be sufficiently upgraded in order to do so. The accesses to neighborhoods, narrow or wide, were blockaded by anything that was deemed helpful under the circumstances, from building and placing heavy and massive objects to digging trenches.


At any rate, although it was not continuous, the trench had to be several miles long, maybe four to five miles. This estimation could be authenticated, firstly, by examining the size of the Madinah oasis. We have seen that the hill Sal’ is about one mile from the Prophet’s mosque to the northwest, and the suburb Quba’ is about two to three miles to the south-east from the Prophet’s mosque. Secondly, the Prophet (PBUH) planned the execution of the trench project in such a way as he ordered every ten men, who constituted one unit, to dig as much as forty cubits (about twenty meters) of the trench.562 There was no particular criterion for deciding on the members of units, except that the members of a clan would generally dig near their own houses, if the trench was meant to be there.563 Practically, all units consisted of both the Migrants and Helpers. Now, if the Muslim defense consisted of about three thousand combatants, most of whom must have played a part in the arduous task of digging the trench for fear that it may not be completed properly and on time, then the estimated length of the trench appears likely and credible. The four or five miles length of the trench was dug by three thousand men divided into between 200 to 300 units, each unit being responsible for about a 20 meters length of the trench. Thirdly, when the siege of Madinah commenced, women and children were stationed in the city fortresses. A’ishah, the Prophet’s wife, was in the fortress of the Banu Harithah clan reputed as the most impregnable one in the city and which was right behind the trench.564 Certainly, not only for security reasons have women and children been positioned in the city fortresses, but also for defense purposes. Should the city defense, which was concentrated on the trench, fail to ward off the enemy’s assaults, then the entire city would instantly be converted into a battleground. In that case, from the roofs of the houses women and children would be able to cause some considerable impairment to the enemy by whatever means they could get hold of, especially in neighborhoods with narrow, labyrinthine street patterns - exactly like what the Prophet (PBUH) had suggested prior to the battle of Uhud two years earlier.

In the wake of the Hijrah, the city (settlement) of Madinah underwent many a drastic change in virtually all departments of its life. Perhaps the best illustration of such a revolution was changing the very name of the place: from Yathrib to Madinah. The significations of the latter unmistakably implied the novel character and features of the rising city-state. Since people are both the creators and demolishers of every civilizational accomplishment, and since they are the makers and inhabitants of cities, the Prophet (PBUH) through a number of celestially inspired legislative moves paid some special attention to creating the healthy and upright individuals bound to constitute a healthy and virtuous society. He was aware more than anybody else that such people’s relationship with God, the environment and other men will become and remain perpetually sound and just, thus making the living places of theirs - and if given a chance, the whole of earth - better and more conducive places for existence.


The first city element introduced by the Prophet (PBUH) to the city of Madinah was the mosque institution. Since its inception, the mosque was a community center with activities of different types being conducted within its realm. In addition to serving as a place for congregational prayers, as well as for other collective worship (‘ibadah) practices, the mosque likewise furnished the Muslims with some other crucial social amenities: it was the seat of the Prophet’s government, a learning center, a kind of hospital, a kind of detention (rehabilitation) center, a welfare center, and the place for some legitimate recreational activities. In the wake of the mosque completion, demarcating, planning and building houses for the Migrants was the next pressing task. Due to the possible longterm impact of housing on the community advancement, the Prophet (PBUH) himself was involved in allotting and marking out many dwellings. By means of housing, the Prophet (PBUH) together with the rest of the Muslims in a striking fashion promoted and put into practice some glorious Islamic principles pertaining to the philosophy of the house: its stature, form and function. Given that production and trade are two of the city key elements, the idea of market as both a concept and spatial phenomenon has been given its due consideration too. Due to the deep-seated transformations that the city-state of Madinah was subjected to, the existing markets of Madinah, most of which were dominated and controlled by the Jews, shortly proved inadequate to meet the demands of the new tawhidic perception of work, business, production, distribution, consumption, etc. And so a new market was established. In it, all the Islamic precepts and values about the subject of commerce and everything that could be related thereto were to be steadily preached, applied and by diverse means and channels propagated. In the Prophet’s development scheme, open spaces also played a very important role. The Prophet (PBUH) spoke of their importance, function, utilization, and the rights and responsibilities of their users. The Prophet’s aim was teaching and training the Muslims a new dimension as to the preservation of the immutable shari’ah objectives, as well as the honoring of the Islamic precept that not even slightest harm is to be inflicted on anybody or anything. A number of the Prophet’s planning and development undertakings have been deeply rooted in, and have been considerably impinged on, by the Islamic perception of human interaction with the natural environment. In Islam, man is not to conquer, squander or mistreat the environment. On the contrary, in order to fulfill his khilafah mission on earth, man is to understand – as much as possible -, look after, and rightfully avail himself of the created phenomena and gifts in nature. Man’s treatment of the environment is closely related to his faith. So serious is the subject in question in the Islamic worldview that under certain circumstances certain noble acts related to it can cause one’s past misdeeds to be blotted out guaranteeing him Jannah (Paradise) in the Hereafter, whereas some vicious and horrendous ones under certain circumstances can cause one’s past good deeds to gain naught, promising him nothing but Jahannam (Hell) in the Hereafter. This is so because constant interaction with the created natural setting is what the life on earth is all about, and civilization, which is the sole


terrestrial goal of man, is no more than the immediate outcome of such interaction.



“PBUH” stands for “Peace Be Upon Him” which Muslims are strongly advised to utter whenever a reference to Prophet Muhmmad is made. 2 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1985), vol. 3 p. 223. 3 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab Fada’il al-Madinah, Hadith No. 1871. 4 Al-‘Asqalani Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, (Cairo: Maktabah al-Kulliyyat al-Azhariyyah, 1978), vol. 8 p. 216. 5 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 2759. 6 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 5332. 7 Ibid., Hadith No. 5335-5336. 8 Al-‘Asqalani Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 8 p. 216. 9 Lynch Kevin, Good City Form, (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1998), p. 327-343. 10 Al-Farabi on the Perfect State, a revised text with introduction, translation, and commentary by Richard Walzer, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), p. 433. 11 Ibid., p. 231. 12 Ibid., p. 245-253. 13 Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, translated from Arabic by Franz Rosenthal, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967), vol. 2 p. 235-238. 14 Ibid., vol. 2 p. 235. 15 ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Abdullah b. Idris, Mujtama’ al-Madinah fi ‘Ahd al-Rasul, (Riyad: Jami’ah al-Malik Su’ud, 1992), p. 22. 16 The Holy Qur’an, English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary; see the commentary of the verse 59 from the al-Nisa’ chapter (Note No. 580). 17 Ibn Taymiyah, Public Duties in Islam, translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland, (Leicester: the Islamic Foundation, 1992), p. 19. 18 See: Al-Attas Syed Muhammad al-Naquib, “Islam: the Concept of Religion and the Foundation of Ethics and Morality”, in: The Challenge of Islam, edited by Altaf Gauhar, (London: Islamic Council of Europe, 1978), p. 37. 19 Ibid., p. 37. 20 See: From Madina to Metropolis, edited by L. Carl Brown, (Princeton: the Darwin Press, 1973), see the editor’s introduction, p. 38. 21 Kotkin Joel, Islamic Cities: Can the Past Be the Key to the Future?, http:/ 22 Miura Toru, “Reinterpreting Urban Studies: Towards a New Perspective (Conclusion)”, in: Islamic Urban Studies, edited by Masashi Haneda and Toru Miura, (London: Kegan Paul International, 1994), p. 335. 23 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Ahkam, Hadith No. 2331. 24 Hakim Besim Selim, Arabic-Islamic Cities, (London: Kegan Paul International, 1988), p. 19. Akbar Jamel, Crisis in the Built Environment, p. 93. 25 Al-Faruqi Isma’il Raji, Al-Tawhid: its Implications for Thought and Life, (Herndon: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1995), p. 151. 26 The Holy Qur’an, English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary; see the commentary of the verse 4 from the al-Saff chapter. (Note No. 5433) 27 Gonzalez Valerie, Beauty and Islam, (London: I. B. Tauris Publishers, 2001), p. 26. 28 Ibn al-Faqih, Kitab al-Buldan, (Beirut: ’Alam al-Kutub, 1996), p. 282. 29 Al-Tabari, The History, Translated and Annotated by John Alden Williams, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985), vol. 29 p. 6. 30 Moustapha Ahmad Farid, Islamic Values in Contemporary Urbanism, (unpublished), paper presented at the First Australian International Islamic Conference organized by the Islamic Society of Melbourne, Eastern Region (ISOMER), 1986, p. 6. Burckhardt Titus, Fez City of Islam, (Cambridge: The Islamic Text Society, 1992), p. 64. 31 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Fitan ‘an Rasulillah, Hadith No. 2095. 32 Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal, Baqi Musnad al-Ansar, Hadith No. 22223. 33 Ibn Taymiyah, Public Duties in Islam, p. 25. 34 See: Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 3 p. 196. 35 Ibn Hisham, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, (Cairo: Matba’ah Mustafa al-Babi al-Halabi wa Awladuhu, 1936), vol. 2 p. 139. 36 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1997), vol. 1 p. 258. 37 Ibid., vol. 1 p. 325. 38 Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-Ashraf, (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1996), vol. 1 p. 276, 314. 39 See the names of those mosques in: al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-‘Arabi, 1980), vol. 1 p. 77.

40 41

Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 657. Ibid., Hadith No. 936, 939. 42 Ibid., Hadith No. 936, 937. 43 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Jum’ah, Hadith No. 542. 44 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Masajid wa al-Jama’at, Hadith No. 146, 747, 748. 45 See: Al-Razi Fakhr al-Din, Mafatih al-Ghayb, (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1985), vol. 2 p. 52-54. Al-Azraqi, Akhbar Makkah, ( n.pp., 1980) vol. 1 p. 3-17. 46 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2 p. 76. 47 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tayammum, Hadith No. 323. 48 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 339. See also: Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, (Beirut: Dar Sadir, 1957), vol. 2, p. 240. 49 Abbas Hamid, Story of the Great Expansion, (Jeddah: Saudi Bin Ladin Group, 1996), p. 226. 50 Al-Bukhari,Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 431. Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Masajid wa Mawadi’ al-Salah, Hadith No. 828. 51 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Masajid wa al-Jama’at, Hadith No. 733. 52 People’s vying in boasting with one another generally in building is considered one of the signs of the Day of Judgment’s imminence. (Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Fitan, Hadith No. 6588) 53 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 379. 54 Ibid., Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 378. 55 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Masajid wa al-Jama’at, Hadith No. 732. 56 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 338. 57 For more details on these events see: Omer Spahic, Studies in the Islamic Built Environment, (Kuala Lumpur: International Islamic University Malaysia, 2002), p. 120-125. 58 Ibn Hisham, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 2 p. 140. 59 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 3 p. 197. 60 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 420. 61 Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, vol. 1 p. 239. Ibn Hisham, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 2 p. 140. 62 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 338. 63 Sabiq al-Sayyid, Fiqh al-Sunnah (Kitab al-‘Ibadat), translated into English by Muhammad Sa’id Dabas and Jamal al-Din M. Zarabozo, (Washington: American Trust Publications, 1991), vol. 2 p. 148. 64 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jana’iz, Hadith No. 337) 65 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 3 p. 781. 66 Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 2 p. 169. 67 The Encyclopedia of Religion, (New York, Macmillian Publishing Company, 1987), vol. 10 p. 122. 68 Abbas Hamid, Story of the Great Expansion, p. 226. 69 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 2 p. 459. 70 Ibid., vol. 2 p. 460. 71 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jihad, Hadith No. 113; Kitab al-Hudud, Hadith No. 6320. 72 Abd al-Ghani Muhammad Ilyas, History of Madinah Munawwarah, (Madinah: al-Rasheed Printers, 2003), p. 93. 73 Al-‘Asqalani Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 6 p. 243. 74 Omer Spahic, Studies in the Islamic Built Environment, p. 87-105. 75 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 466. 76 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 561. 77 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 1, Book 12, Hadith No. 824. 78 Ibid., Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 629. 79 Ibid., Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 466. 80 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 1376. 81 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Adhan, Hadith No. 626. 82 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab Salah al-Musafirin wa Qasruha, Hadith No. 1300. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 413. Al-Darumi, Sunan al-Darumi, Kitab Fada’il al-Qur’an, Hadith No. 3208. 83 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jum’ah, Hadith No. 872. 84 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 519. 85 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-‘Arabi, 1980), vol. 1 p. 79. 86 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1, p. 335. 87 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Masajid wa al-Jama’at, Hadith No. 752. 88 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 2, p. 655. 89 Cleanliness is one of the weightiest things in Islam. Yet, some guidelines pertaining to it had to be imposed and implemented in a slow and gradual mode, partly due to the nature and character of a sizeable number of new

converts, and partly due to the fact that wisdom and gradation are the cornerstones of da’wah islamiyyah (propagation of Islam). 90 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Masajid wa al-Jama’at, Hadith No. 742. 91 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 1 p. 64. 92 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 380. 93 Jairazbhoy R. A., An Outline of Islamic Architecture, (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1972), p. 38. 94 Ali Muhammad Mumtaz, Islam and the Western Philosophy of Knowledge, (Petaling Jaya: Pelanduk Publications (M) Sdn, Bhd., 1994), p. 91. 95 Wan Daud Wan Mohd Nor, The Concept of Knowledge in Islam, (London: Mansell Publishing Limited, 1989), p. 62. 96 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-‘Ilm, Hadith No. 3634. 97 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Dhikr wa al-Du’a wa al-Tawbah wa al-Istigfar, Hadith No. 6518. 98 Ibid., Kitab al-Hayd, Hadith No. 649. 99 ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Abdullah b. Idris, Mujtama’ al-Madinah fi ‘Ahd al-Rasul, p. 229-230. 100 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 444. 101 ‘Umar was not against poetry as such; rather, he was against reciting it in praying areas since the time and people keep changing, bringing along some unprecedented conditions and phenomena. As for the Prophet’s mosque, he had set aside a section near it called al-Butayha and said: “Whosoever wishes to talk nonsense or recite poetry or raise his voice should go to that section.” (Malik b. Anas, al-Muwatta’, Book 9, No. 9.24.96) 102 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Khalq, Hadith No. 434. 103 Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 13 p. 72. 104 ‘Umari Akram Diya’, Madinan Society at the Time of the Prophet, (Herndon: The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1991), p. 87. 105 Jassem Laith Su’ud. 1998. Al-Ri’ayah wa al-Khidamat al-Ijtima’iyyah fi ‘Asr al-Nubuwwah wa Dawr al-Mar’ah alMuslimah fiha. Al-Hikmah. 14: 343-413. 106 ‘Umari Akram Diya’, Madinan Society at the Time of the Prophet, p. 92. 107 Hamid Khalid Muhammad, Ma’alim al-Masjid al-Nabawi al-Sharif, (Beirut: Dar al-Ma’mun li al-Turath, 2003), p. 91. 108 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Imarah, Hadith No. 4682. 109 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 1 p. 445-450. 110 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 413. 111 Ibid., Kitab al-Jana’iz, Hadith No. 413. 112 Ibid., Kitab al-‘Ilm, Hadith No. 63. 113 Al-Nasa’i, Sunan al-Nasa’i, Kitab Qat’ al-Sariq, Hadith No. 4825. 114 Jassem Laith Su’ud, Al-Ri’ayah wa al-Khidamat al-Ijtima’iyyah fi ‘Asr al-Nubuwwah wa Dawr al-Mar’ah alMuslimah fiha, p. 372. 115 ‘Umari Akram Diya’, Madinan Society at the Time of the Prophet, p. 93. 116 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 430. 117 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 1 p. 299. 118 Ibid., Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 451. 119 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Jihad wa al-Siyar, Hadith No. 4361. 120 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 1 p. 297-299. 121 Ibid., vol. 1 p. 446. 122 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Anbiya’, Hadith No. 634. 123 ‘Umari Akram Diya’, Madinan Society at the Time of the Prophet, p. 137. 124 Lings Martin (Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din), Muhammad, (Kuala Lumpur: A.S. Noordeen, 1983), p. 230. 125 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 2 p. 442. 126 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 1 p. 454. 127 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 445. 128 Ibid., Kitab al-‘Idayn, Hadith No. 103. 129 Ibid., Kitab Mawaqit al-Salah, Hadith No. 534. 130 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Nikah, Hadith No. 2572. 131 See: Siddiqi Muhammad Zubayr, Hadith Literature, (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1993), p. 4. 132 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Taharah, Hadith No. 325. 133 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 432. 134 Ibid., Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 464. 135 Omer Spahic, Studies in the Islamic Built Environment, p. 105-109. 136 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 461.

137 138

Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 2, p. 656-661. Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 390. Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Masajid wa al-Jama’at, Hadith No. 749. 139 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 438. 140 Ibid., Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 814. 141 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Taharah, Hadith No. 47. 142 Ibid., Kitab al-Tarajjul, Hadith No. 4162. 143 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Masajid wa al-Jama’at, HAdith No. 742. 144 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 1327. 145 Ibid., Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 1328. 146 Ibid., Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 1074. 147 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 149. Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Taharah, Hadith No. 559. 148 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 861. 149 Al-Bukhari Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 435. 150 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 5252. 151 Malik b. Anas, al-Muwatta’, Book 51, Number 51.2.7. 152 The Holy Qur’an, English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary; see the commentary of the verse 4 from the al-Saff chapter. 153 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 3 p. 208. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab Sifah al-Qiyamah wa alRaqa’iq wa al-Wara’ ‘an Rasulillah, Hadith No. 2409. 154 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 3 p. 208. 155 Ibid, vol. 3 p. 211. Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 7 p. 2. 156 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 420. 157 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 324. Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, vol. 1 p. 239. Ibn Hisham, al-Sirah alNabawiyyah, vol. 2 p. 140. 158 ‘Umari Akram Diya’, Madinan Society at the Time of the Prophet, p. 66. 159 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 106. 160 Ibid., Kitab al-Fara’id, Hadith No. 739. 161 Lings Martin (Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din), Muhammad, p. 105. 162 Ibid., p. 313. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 4 p. 356. 163 Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 7 p. 9. 164 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 3 p. 230. 165 The Holy Qur’an, English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary; see the introduction to the al-Baqarah chapter, p. 5. 166 Islahi Amin Ahsan, Call to Islam and How the Holy Prophets Preached, translated from Arabic into English by Sharif Ahmed Khan, (Kuwait: Islamic Book Publishers, 1982), p. 70. 167 Ibid., p. 82. 168 Omer Spahic, Studies in the Islamic Built Environment, p. 10-19. 169 We mean here the Biblical words: “Cursed are you (the serpent) above all the livestock and all the wild animals… And I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman, and between your offspring and hers… Cursed is the ground because of you (Adam)” Genesis 3: 14, 17. 170 In the wake of the Flood, God regretted his action saying: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” (Genesis 8:21) God then established His covenant with Noah and his descendents that all life will never be cut off by the waters of a flood. (Genesis 9:11) God’s rainbow was made the sign of the covenant, thus becoming, together with some other natural phenomena related to it, the object of inordinate reverence and regard by many. Such a perception is likely to develop under fertile circumstances into a sort of superstition or even cult. 171 The hatred of Israelites toward their enemies was such that they upon conquering the Holy Land indiscriminately massacred not only them, including old, women and children, but also their livestock (cattle, sheep, donkeys etc.) leaving no living thing therein. Needless to point out that most of the settlements in the Land have been entirely burned with everything in them. (See the entire Book of Joshua in the Old Testament) 172 They are depicted in the Bible as sinners, yet the latter even ended up as a polytheist. (2 Samuel 11:2-26; 1 Kings 9:20-22, 11:1-13) Unlike in the Qur’an, nothing is said of their graceful and noble conduct toward numerous elements from nature, which have been subjected to their use so that their struggle for the sake of God’s religion, Islam, could be further intensified and bolstered. 173 According to the New Testament, the death and resurrection of Christ is accompanied by a withering and rejuvenation of nature pointing to the cosmic character of Christ, Son of God. Whereas in Islam, Christ was but a man, God’s messenger, assigned to do exactly what every other prophet did, nothing more and nothing less. He

was not killed nor crucified. The miracles that he performed took place actually by God’s grace and help, and were nothing exceptional if compared with the miracles of some other past prophets. (Maryam 16-40; Al-Nisa’ 156-158) Isma’il Raji al-Faruqi wrote: “Christian cosmology regards nature as creature of God which was once perfect, but which was corrupted in the “fall” and hence became evil. The evil of creation, ontological, essential and pervasive, is the reason for God’s salvific drama, of His own self-incarnation in Jesus, of His crucifixion and death. After the drama, Christianity holds, restoration has and has not come to creation, theoretically. Practically, the Christian mind continued to hold creation as fallen, and nature as evil.” (Al-Faruqi Isma’il Raji, Al-Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life, p. 49. 174 See the entire chapter Nuh (Noah). 175 Nasr Seyyed Hossein, “Islam and the Environmental Crisis”, in: Islam and the Environment, edited by A. R. Aqwan, (New Delhi: Institute of Objective Studies, 1997), p. 25. 176 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Manaqib, Hadith No. 3319. 177 Ibid., Kitab al-Manaqib, Hadith No. 3314. 178 Ibid., Kitab al-Fada’il, Hadith No. 4222. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Manaqib, Hadith No. 3559. 179 The hadith has been recorded by Ahmad b. Hanbal in his Musnad from Jabir b. ‘Abdullah. See: Ibn Kathir, alBidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 6 p. 142-144. 180 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Manaqib, Hadith No. 3365. 181 See: Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Ikhtasarahu al-Sabuni Muhammad ‘Ali, (Beirut: Dar al-Qur’an al-Karim, 1981), vol. 3 p. 408-409. 182 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Manaqib, Hadith No. 3423. 183 Ibid., Kitab al-Wudu’, Hadith 211. 184 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tayammum, Hadith No. 323. 185 Nasr Seyyed Hossein, “Islam and the Environmental Crisis”, in: Islam and the Environment, p. 17. 186 Al-‘Alwani Taha J., The Islamization of Knowledge: Yesterday and Today, (Herndon: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1995), p. 7. 187 Nasr Seyyed Hossein, Science and Civilization in Islam, (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1987), p. 125. 188 Lings Martin (Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din), Muhammad, p. 107. 189 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab Fada’il al-Madinah, Hadith No. 1871. 190 Ibid., Kitab Fada’il al-Sahabah, Hadith No. 4520. 191 Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, vol. 2 p. 247. 192 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 15. 193 Al-‘Asqalani Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 8 p. 218. 194 Ibid., vol. 14 p. 159. 195 Al-Hamwi Yaqut, Mu’jam al-Buldan, (Beirut: Dar Sadir, 1984), vol. 5 p. 84. 196 Khalid Khalid Muhammad, Men Around the Messenger, translated into English by Shaykh Muhammad Mustafa Gemeiah, (n.pp: al-Manarah, n.d.), p. 34-37. 197 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 420. 198 See: Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 2, p. 388-398. Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Manaqib, Hadith No. 3318. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Manaqib, Hadith No. 3560. 199 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 2 p. 393-394. Ibn Battuta who visited the Prophet’s mosque in the year 727/1326 wrote in his travels memoirs that he “reverently touched the fragment that remains of the palm-trunk against which the Prophet stood when he preached.” (Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa, Translated and selected by H. A. R. Gibb, (London: Darf Publishers LTD, 1983), p. 74) Now, what Ibn Battuta was referring to was either the place where the thing had truly existed or where it was interred, for anything thereof to continue to exist for many a century appears to all intents and purposes impossible. It is likewise probable that some fake articles did really exist believed by some to be genuine trunk (tree) remnants. 200 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tayammum, Hadith No. 323. 201 If truth be told, Makkah was purified and sanctified by Allah Almighty as early as when the universe was created, and again by the prophet Ibrahim when he left his wife Hajar and son Isma’il there, as well as when he constructed the Masjid al-Haram. One of Ibrahim’s supplications thus was: “My Lord, make this a City of Peace, and feed its People with fruits, - such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.” (al-Baqarah 126) Also: “O my Lord! make this city one of peace and security; and preserve me and my sons from worshipping idols.” (Ibrahim 35) Allah – be He exalted - too, when He swore by Makkah termed it “the City of Security.” (al-Tin 3) (See: Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 1 p. 121) 202 Sabiq al-Sayyid, Fiqh al-Sunnah (Hajj and ‘Umrah), vol. 5 p. 64. 203 Ibid., vol. 5 p. 64.

204 205

Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 108. Ibid., vol. 1 p. 108. 206 Sabiq al-Sayyid, Fiqh al-Sunnah (Hajj and ‘Umrah), vol. 5 p. 64. 207 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Hajj, Hadith No. 3151. 208 Ibid., Hadith No. 3153. 209 Ibid., Hadith No. 3177. 210 Al-‘Asqalani Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 1 p. 210. 211 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 13. 212 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Madinah, Hadith No. 91. 213 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Manasik, Hadith No. 3106. 214 Al-‘Asqalani Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 8 p. 218. 215 Ibid., vol. 8 p. 209. 216 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Madinah, Hadith No. 94. 217 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Hajj, Hadith No. 3160. 218 Ibid., Hadith No. 3169. 219 Malik b. Anas, al-Muwatta’, Book 45, No. 45.3.12. 220 Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj, Translated by A. Ben Shemesh, (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1969), p. 121. 221 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Hajj, Hadith No. 1436. 222 Ibid., Kitab al-Musaqah, Hadith No. 2197. 223 Abd al-‘Aziz Abdullah b. Idris, Mujtama’ al-Madinah fi ‘Ahd al-Rasul, p. 205. 224 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 73-89. 225 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Madinah, Hadith No. 95. 226 Sabiq al-Sayyid, Fiqh al-Sunnah (Hajj and ‘Umrah), vol. 5 p. 65. 227 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Madinah, Hadith No. 101-106. 228 Ibid., Hadith No. 100, 108, 109. 229 Ibid., Hadith No. 112. 230 Hamid Khalid Muhammad, Dhikra min al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, (Beirut: Dar al-Ma’mun li al-Turath, 2002), p. 120. 231 Ibid., p. 93. 232 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Madinah, Hadith No. 110. 233 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Hajj, Hadith No. 3157. 234 Omer Spahic, Studies in the Islamic Built Environment, p. 19-31. 235 Abd-al-Hamid, “Exploring the Islamic Environmental Ethics”, in: Islam and the Environment, p. 59. 236 Bakadar Abubakar Ahmad, “Islamic Principles for the Conservation of the Natural Environment”, in: Islam and the Environment, p. 75. 237 Al-Faruqi Isma’il Ragi, Al-Tawhid: its Implications for Thought and Life, p. 176. 238 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Musaqah, Hadith No. 2192. 239 Ibid., Kitab Bad’ al-Khalq, Haith. No. 3074. 240 Ibid., Kitab al-Dhabaih wa al-Sayd, Hadith No. 5090, 5091. Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Sayd wa al-Dhabaih wa ma Yu’kal min al-Hayawan, Hadith No. from 3615 to 3620. 241 Al-Nasa’i, Sunan al-Nasa’i, Kitab al-Dahaya, Hadith No. 4370. 242 Rafiq M. and Ajmal Mohd., “Islam and the Present Environmental Crisis”, in: Islam and the Environment, p. 138. 243 Ibid., p. 138. 244 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Ahkam wa al-Fawa’id, Hadith No. 1406. 245 Ibid., Kitab al-Birr wa al-Silah ‘an Rasulillah, Hadith No. 1847. 246 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Salam, Hadith No. 5567. 247 Ibid., Hadith No. 5568. 248 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Distribution of Water, Hadith No. 565. 249 Ibid., Hadith No. 551. 250 Ibid., Hadith No. 559. 251 Malik b. Anas, al-Muwatta’, Book 21, No. 21.19.47. 252 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Muzara’ah, Hadith No. 517. 253 Ibid., Hadith No. 517 254 Al-‘Asqalani Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 14 p. 159. 255 Al-Qardawi Yusuf, Halal and Haram in Islam, (New Delhi: ALBOOKS, 1988), p. 343. 256 See for example: Ibrahim 24-26; Al-Mu’minun 20; Al-Tin 1-2. 257 See for example: Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 5553. Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab alTaharah, Hadith No. 439, Kitab al-Musaqah, Hadith No. from 2901 to 2904.


Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Jannah wa Sifah Na’imiha, Hadith No. 5073. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Kitab Baqi Musnad al-Mukaththirin, Hadith No. 9297. 259 Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 2 p. 23. 260 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Buyu’, Hadith No. 3016. 261 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, The Book of Distribution of Water, Hadith No. 543. 262 Ibid., Hadith No. 547. 263 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 4561. 264 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Muzara’ah, Hadith No. 2152. Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Musaqah, Hadith No. 2900, 2904. 265 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2 p. 42. 266 Ibn Majah, Sunan ibn Majah, al-Muqaddimah, Hadith No. 238. 267 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 7, Book 65, Hadith No. 355. 268 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2 p. 44. 269 Ibid., vol. 2 p. 102. 270 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 438. 271 Ibid., Kitab al-Muzara’ah, see the chapter “Reviving dead Land”. 272 Qudama b. Ja’far, Kitab al-Kharaj, Translation by A. Ben Shemesh, (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965), p. 31. 273 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Taharah, Hadith No. 328. 274 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Iman, Hadith No. 56. 275 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Taharah, Hadith No. 24. 276 See: Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 2 p. 717-734. 277 Ibid., vol. 2 p. 489. 278 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 4559. 279 Ibid., Kitab al-Malahim, Hadith No. 4284. 280 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 415. Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Zuhd wa al-Raqaiq, Hadith No. 5293. 281 See for example: Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal, Kitab Baqi Musnad al-Mikaththirin, Hadith No. 12823. Al-Mawsu’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, (The Encyclopedia of Islamic Jurisprudence), (Kuwait: Wizarah al-Awqaf wa alShu’un al-Islamiyyah, 1986), vol. 8 p. 207-210. 282 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Libas, Hadith No. 3595. 283 Ibid., Kitab al-Taharah wa Sunanuha, Hadith No. 418 and 419. 284 Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal, Kitab Musnad al-Mukaththirin min al-Sahabah, Hadith No. 6719. 285 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Siyar, Hadith No. 1497. 286 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Tafsir al-Qur’an, Hadith No. 4537. 287 Ibid., Kitab al-Fitan, Hadith No. 6588. 288 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah , vol. 5 p. 85. 289 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 4559. 290 Omer Spahic, Studies in the Islamic Built Environment, p. 155-160. 291 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jana’iz, Hadith No. 334. 292 Lings Martin (Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din), Muhammad, p 134. 293 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Hajj, Hadith No. 3178. 294 Ibid., Hadith No. 3160. 295 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Zakah, Hadith No. 577. 296 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Hajj, Hadith No. 2904. Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 3 p. 354. 297 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Manaqib ‘an Rasulillah, Hadith No. 3636. 298 See: 299 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-‘Aqiqah, Hadith No. 378. 300 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Nikah, Hadith No. 2159. 301 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Nikah, Hadith No. 3314. 302 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 420. 303 Ibid., Kitab al-Adhan, Hadith No. 625. 304 Ibid., Kitab al-Buyu’, Hadith No. 264. 305 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 4794. 306 Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 1 p. 306. 307 See: Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 4 p. 139. 308 Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 3 p. 157. 309 AL-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 4 (Kitab al-Salah), Hadith No. 936, 939. 310 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Sawm, Hadith No. 2530, 2531, 2532.

311 312

Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Mazalim, Hadith No. 644. Ibid., Kitab al-Iman, Hadith No. 39. 313 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Taharah, Hadith No. 232. 314 Hamid Khalid Muhammad, Ma’alim al-Masjid al-Nabawi al-Sharif, p. 111. 315 Badr ‘Abd al-Basit, al-Tarikh al-Shamil li al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, (Madinah, n.pp, 1993), vol. 1 p. 251. 316 The market was approximately five hundred meters long and more than one hundred meters wide - as we shall see in the next chapter. 317 Sabiq al-Sayyid, Fiqh al-Sunnah (Kitab al-‘Ibadat), vol. 2 p. 148. 318 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 917. 319 Malik b. Anas, al-Muwatta’, Book 3, No. 3.1.10. 320 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 2126-2127. 321 Al-Mawsu’ah al-‘Arabiyyah al-‘Alamiyyah, (Riyadh: Mu’assasah A’mal al-Mawsu’ah li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi’, 1996), vol. 23 p. 52. 322 Al-Samhudi, Wafa al-Wafa, vol. 3 p. 783. 323 Ibid., vol. 1 p. 270. 324 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Tafsir al-Qur’an, Hadith No. 76. 325 Al-Samhudi, Wafa al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 338. 326 One cubit or dhira’ is equivalent to about 50 cm. 327 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Istisqa’, Hadith No. 127. The door through which the man entered the mosque and addressed the Prophet (PBUH) is called today Bab alRahmah, the Mercy Door. 328 Ibid., Kitab al-Dhaba’ih wa al-Sayd, Hadith No. 409, 410. 329 For the names of some such houses see: Abd al-Ghani Muhammad Ilyas, Buyut al-Sahabah hawla al-Masjid alNabawi al-Sharif, (Madinah: Matabi’ al-Rashid, 1999), p. 125-151. 330 Encyclopedia of Islam, (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1986), vol. 5 p. 994. 331 Ka’ki Abd al-‘Aziz, al-Majmu’ah al-Musawwarah li Ashhur Ma’alim al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, (Beirut: Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1999), vol. 1 p. 99. 332 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 417. 333 Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad b, Hanbal, Kitab Musnad al-Shamiyyin, Hadith No. 16732. 334 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Iman, Hadith No. 66. 335 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Nikah, Hadith No. 4787. 336 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Birr wa al-Silah, Hadith No. 1867. 337 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Iman, Hadith No. 65. 338 Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal, Kitab Baqi Musnad al-Ansar, Hadith No. 22734. 339 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Tafsir al-Qur’an, Hadith No. 284. 340 Ibid., Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 5555. 341 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Ahkam, Hadith No. 2331. 342 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Jihad, Hadith No. 2260. 343 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Mazalim wa al-Ghasb, Hadith No. 2283. 344 The Holy Qur’an, English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary, see the commentary of the verse No. 53, Surah al-Ahzab. 345 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Birr wa al-Silah, Hadith No. 1955. 346 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 4016. 347 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Mazalim wa al-Ghasb, Hadith No. 2262. 348 Ibid., Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 90. 349 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab Sifah al-Qiyamah wa al-Raqa’iq wa al-Wara’ ‘an Rasulillah, Hadith No. 2431. 350 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, Book 35, Hadith No. 459. 351 Ibid., Hadith No. 460. 352 Ibid., Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 46. 353 See: Abbasi S.M. Madni, Islamic Manners, (Karachi: International Islamic Publishers, 1987), p. 154-155. 354 Nasb al-Rayah fi Takhrij Ahadith al-Hidayah, Kitab al-Wasaya, 355 Al-Albani Muhammad Nasiruddin, Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Da’ifah wa al-Mawdu’ah, (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1985), vol. 1 p. 296. 356 Nasb al-Rayah fi Takhrij Ahadith al-Hidayah, Kitab al-Wasaya, 357 See: Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 1 p. 388. 358 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 456. 359 Ibid., Kitab Fada’il al-Qur’an, Hadith No. 544


Al-Ghazali Abu Hamid, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, Translated into English by Fazlul Karim, (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 1982), vol. 2 p. 164. 361 Ibid., vol. 2 p. 164. 362 Ibid., vol. 2 p. 165. 363 Ibid., vol. 2 p. 164. 364 Abul Qasim Muhammad, The Ethics of al-Ghazali, (Kuala Lumpur: Central Printing Sendirian Berhad, 1975), p. 127. 365 Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal, Kitab Musnad al-Makkiyyin, Hadith No. 14830. 366 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Da’wat, Hadith No. 3422. 367 ‘Uthman Muhammad ‘Abd al-Sattar, al-Madinah al-Islamiyyah, (Kuwait: ‘Alam al-Ma’rifah, 1988), p. 333. 368 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 264. 369 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 519. Ibn Hisham, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 2 p. 156 . 370 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 1 p. 445. 371 Ibid., vol. 1 p. 446. The Prophet (PBUH) gave Banu Qurayzah this treatment because of its treacherous acts against the Muslims during the terrifying battle of Khandaq when the very existence of Islam and the Muslims was put in jeopardy, in spite of all the peace and collaboration treaties that existed between the Muslims and the Jews. 372 Ibid., vol. 1 p. 445. 373 Ibid., vol.2 p. 403. 374 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 339. See also: Ibn Sa’d, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, vol. 2, p. 240. 375 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Talaq, Hadith No. 2704, 2705. 376 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 7, Book 62, Hadith No. 92m. 377 The Holy Qur’an, English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary; see the introduction to the al-Hujurat chapter. 378 Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 3 p. 359. 379 See: Creswell K.A.C., A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture, (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 1989), p. 4. 380 See: Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa’, vol. 1 p. 516 - 517. 381 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-‘Ilm, Hadith No. 117. 382 Khalid Khalid Muhammad, Men Around the Messenger, p. 42. 383 Abd al-Ghani Muhammad Ilyas, History of Madinah Munawwarah, p. 93. 384 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 7, Book 64, Hadith No. 270. 385 Ibid., Kitab al-Adahi, Hadith No. 475-477. 386 Al-Thirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 2781. 387 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 4559. 388 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa’, vol. 1 p. 262. 389 Encyclopedia of Islam, vol. 5 p. 994. 390 Al-‘Asqalani Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 8 p. 210. 391 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 4 p. 13. 392 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Madinah, Hadith No. 102. 393 Ibid., Kitab al-Wudu’, Hadith No. 150. 394 Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 2 p. 597. 395 Ibid., vol. 2 p. 103. 396 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 5366. 397 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Isti’dhan, Hadith No. 5819; Kitab Bad’ al-Khalq, Hadith No. 3038. 398 Ibid., Kitab al-Ashribah, Hadith No. 527. 399 Ibid., Kitab al-Isti’dhan, Hadith No. 309. 400 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Libas wa al-Zinah, Hadith No. 5188. 401 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2 p. 84. 402 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 7, Book 65, Hadith No. 354. 403 Ibid., vol. 1 Book. 12 Hadith No. 777. 404 Martin Lings (Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din), Muhammad, p. 319. 405 Abd al-Ghani Muhammad Ilyas, History of Madinah Munawwarah, p. 144. 406 Ibid., p.144. 407 Ibid., p. 144. 408 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 2723. 409 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jihad wa al-Sayr, Hadith No. 2613.

410 411

Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Hajj, Hadith No. 3178. Ibid., Hadith No. 3160. 412 Ibid., Hadith No. 3181. 413 Ibid., Hadith No. 3194. 414 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Madinah, Hadith No. 104. 415 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Jihad wa al-Siyar, Hadith No. 4294. 416 Ibid., Kitab Fada’il al-Sahabah, Hadith No. 4520. 417 Khalid Khalid Muhammad, Men Around the Messenger, p. 48. 418 Al-Nasa’i, Sunan al-Nasa’i, Kitab al-Bay’ah, Hadith No. 4099. 419 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Adhan, Hadith No. 625. 420 Al-Suyuti Jalal al-Din, al-Itqan fi ‘Ulum al-Qur’an, (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1979), vol. 1 p. 16. 421 Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 3 p. 157. 422 Badr ‘Abd al-Basit, al-Tarikh al-Shamil li al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, vol. 1 p. 240. 423 Ibid., vol. 1 p. 240-242. 424 Ibid., vol. 1 p. 243. 425 Ibid., vol. 1 p. 251. 426 Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad al-‘Asharah al-Mubashsharin bi al-Jannah, Hadith No. 312. 427 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Magazi, Hadith No. 292. 428 Ibid., vol. 3, Book 58, Hadith No. 144. 429 Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal, Kitab Musnad al-Ansar, Hadith No. 20945. 430 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, Book 58, Hadith No. 123. 431 Lings Martin (Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din), Muhammad, p. 111. 432 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, Book 58, Hadith No. 120. 433 Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 1 p. 285. 434 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, Book 58, Hadith No. 127. 435 Ibid., Hadith No. 128. 436 Ibid., Hadith No. 129. 437 Ibid., Vol. 4, Book 56, Hadith No. 720. 438 Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 16 p. 47. 439 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Madinah, Hadith No. 99. 440 Ibid., Hadith No. 107. 441 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 2 p. 765. 442 Al-Faruqi Isma’il Raji, Al-Tawhid: its Implications for Thought and Life, p. 157. 443 Ibid., p. 82. 444 Malik b. Anas, al-Muwatta’, Book 58, No. 58.2.10. 445 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Buyu’, Hadith No. 286. 446 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Kharaj wa al-‘Imarah wa al-Fay’, Hadith No. 3067. 447 Ibid., Hadith No. 3065. 448 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Muzara’ah, Hadith No. 513. 449 Ibid., Kitab al-Mazalim, Hadith No. 634. 450 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Kharaj wa al-‘Imarah wa al-Fay’, Hadith No. 3046. 451 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Muzara’ah, Hadith No. 2153. 452 Ibid., Kitab al-Iman, Hadith No. 48. 453 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 333. 454 Lings Martin (Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din), Muhammad, p. 325. 455 When he was a boy Suhayb b. Sinan was brought to Makkah from Iraq as a slave. He was later emancipated by his master on account of his extraordinary intelligence and sincerity, becoming thereupon an active and affluent trader. (Khalid Khalid Muhammad, Men Around the Messenger, p. 106) 456 Khalid Khalid Muhammad, Men Around the Messenger, p. 109. 457 Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 1 p. 184. 458 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Jihad wa al-Siyar, Hadith No. 4375. Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Hibah, Hadith No. 799. 459 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2 p. 44. 460 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Muzara’ah, Hadith No. 538. 461 Ibid., Kitab al-Musaqah, Hadith No. 548-550. 462 Khalid Khalid Muhammad, Men Around the Messenger, p. 262. 463 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2 p. 116.

464 465

Abul A’la al-Maududi, The Meaning of the Qur’an, (Lahore: Islamic Publications Limited, 1992), vol. 4 p. 111. Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Buyu’, Hadith No. 264. 466 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol.2 p. 403. 467 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Buyu’, Hadith No. 263. 468 Al-Faruqi Isma’il Raji, Al-Tawhid: its Implications for Thought and Life, p. 174. 469 The Jewish tribe Banu al-Nadir was banished from Madinah because they, as a climax of their continuous wrongdoing and deceit, intended to assassinate the Prophet (PBUH) when he once paid a formal visit to them. 470 The Holy Qur’an, English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary; see the commentary of the verse 9 from the al-Hashr chapter. (Note No. 5383) 471 Lings Martin (Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din), Muhammad, p. 161. 472 Ibid., p. 161. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 4 p. 4.. 473 Ibn Majah,Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Tijarat, Hadith No. 2224. 474 Uthman Muhammad ‘Abd al-Sattar, al-Madinah al-Islamiyyah, p. 253. 475 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 861. 476 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 2 p. 749. 477 Badr ‘Abd al-Basit, al-Tarikh al-Shamil li al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, vol. 1 p. 236. 478 Ibid., vol. 1 p. 236. 479 Ibid., vol. 1 p. 236. 480 Abd al-‘Aziz Abdullah b. Idris, Mujtama’ al-Madinah fi ‘Ahd al-Rasul, p. 209. 481 Abul A’la al-Maududi, The Meaning of the Qur’an, vol. 14 p. 101. 482 Hamid Khalid Muhammad, Memories of the Luminous City, (Beirut: Dar al-Ma’mun li al-Turath, 2002), p. 138. 483 Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal, Kitab Awwal Musnad al-Kufiyyin, Hadith No. 18207. 484 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab Iqamah al-Salah wa al-Sunnah fiha, Hadith No. 1402. 485 Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 3 p. 501. 486 Ibid., vol. 3 p. 502. 487 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Zakah, Hadith No. 497. 488 Ibid., Kitab al-Magazi, Hadith No. 702. 489 Ibid., Kitab al-Buyu’, Hadith No. 314. 490 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2. 32. 491 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 1416. 492 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Buyu’, Hadith No. 1946. 493 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Iman, Hadith No. 147. 494 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2 p. 76. 495 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Istiqrad wa Ada’ al-Duyun…Hadith No. 597. 496 Ibn Majah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Tijarat, Hadith No. 2130. 497 Malik b. Anas, al-Muwatta’, Book 53, No. 53.3.6. 498 Khalid Khalid Muhammad, Men Around the Messenger, p. 79. 499 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 4 p. 126. 500 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Fada’il, Hadith No. 5733. 501 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jana’iz, Hadith No. 367. 502 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2. p. 120. 503 Ibid., vol. 2 p. 120. 504 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Nafaqat, Hadith No. 274, 275. 505 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Salam, Hadith No. 5417, 5418. 506 Ibid., Kitab al-Salam, Hadith No. 5418. 507 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 1074. 508 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 3, Book 47, Hadith No. 782. 509 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Musaqah, Hadith No. 3026. 510 Hakim Besim Selim, Arabic-Islamic Cities, (London: Kegan Paul International, 1988), p. 20. 511 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Jihad, Hadith No. 2260. 512 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Libas wa al-ZInah, Hadith No. 3960. 513 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jum’ah, Hadith No. 22. 514 Mukhtasar Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 3 p. 115. 515 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 5252. 516 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 809. 517 ‘Uthman Muhammad ‘Abd al-Sattar, al-Madinah al-Islamiyyah, p. 58. 518 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Taharah, Hadith No. 328. 519 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 2723.


Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Taharah, Hadith No. 24. Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Iman, Hadith No. 56. 522 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Birr wa al-Silah wa al-Adab, Hadith No. 6339. 523 Ibid., Hadith No. 6341. 524 Ibid., Hadith No. 6343. 525 Ibid., Kitab al-Libas wa al-Zinah, Hadith No. 5129. 526 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Isti’dhan, Hadith No. 250-251. 527 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 5183-5184. 528 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jihad, Hadith No. 141. 529 Ibid., Kitab al-Sawm, Hadith No. 1839. 530 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2. 119. 531 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Jihad, Hadith No. 2572. 532 Abbasi S.M. Madni, Islamic Manners, p. 135. 533 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Jihad, Hadith No. 2507. 534 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-‘Idayn, Hadith No. 70. 535 Ibid., Kitab al-Nikah, Hadith No. 92. 536 Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Manaqib ‘an Rasulillah, Hadith No. 3623. 537 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Adab, Hadith No. 5735. 538 Ibid., Kitab al-Salah, Hadith No. 445. 539 Ibid., Kitab al-‘Idayn, Hadith No. 103. 540 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2 p. 139. 541 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Mawaqit al-Salah, Hadith No. 534. 542 Ibid., Kitab al-Jihad, Hadith No. 113. 543 Ibid,, Kitab al-Hudud, Hadith No. 6320. 544 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Nikah, Hadith No. 2572. 545 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2 p. 120. 546 Ibid., vol. 2 p. 130. 547 There are actually two valleys of al-Wada’ in Madinah: one on the south, mentioned here in connection with the Hijrah, and the other on the north or northwest, mentioned here in connection with the battle of Tabuk. 548 Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2 p. 130. 549 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 1 p. 262. 550 Ibid., vol. 1 p. 262. Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol. 2 p. 131. 551 Abu Dawud, Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Jihad, Hadith No. 2507. 552 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Imarah, Hadith No. 4712. 553 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jihad, Hadith No. 120-122. 554 Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Imarah, Hadith No. 4611. 555 Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jihad, Hadith No. 124. 556 Malik b. Anas, al-Muwatta’, Book 21, No. 21.19.46. 557 Al-Samhudi, Wafa’ al-Wafa, vol. 2 p. 766. 558 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 4 p. 13. 559 Khalid Khalid Muhammad, Men Around the Messenger, p. 31. 560 Martin Lings (Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din), Muhammad, p. 216. 561 See some of these views and maps in: Badr ‘Abd al-Basit, al-Tarikh al-Shamil li al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, vol. 1 p. 189-195. 562 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol.4 p. 101. 563 Mu’annas Husayn, Atlas Tarikh al-Islam, (Cairo: al-Zahra’ li al-I’lam al-‘Arabi, 1987), p. 102. 564 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 4 p. 109.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful