and Allah said "And proclaim the pilgramage among men; they will come to thee on foot and on every kind of camel. Lean on account of Journeys through deep and distant mountain highways" Surah 22 ~ Al Hajj Part 27

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It is related that, about this time, a certain Usman Ibn Huwairith, supported by Byzantine gold, made an attempt to convert the territory of Hijaz into a Roman dependency, but the attempt failed instrumentality because of Muhammad (pbuh).

These are nearly all the public acts related by historians in which Muhammad (pbuh) took part in the first fifteen years of his marriage to Khadijah. As for his private life he is described to have been ever helpful to the needy and the helpless. His uncle Abu Talib had fallen into distress through his endeavors to maintain the old position of his family. Muhammad (pbuh), being rather rich at this time by his alliance with Khadijah, tried to discharge part of the debt of gratitude and obligation which he owed to his uncle by undertaking the bringing up and education of his son 'Ali. A year later he adopted Akhil, another of his uncle's sons.

Khadijah bore Muhammad (pbuh) three sons and four daughters. All the males died in childhood, but in loving Ali he found much consolation.

About this time, Muhammad (pbuh) set a good example of kindness, which created a salutary effect upon his people. His wife Khadijah had made him a present of young slave named Zaid Ibn Haritha, who had been brought as a captive to Mecca (Makkah) and sold to Khadijah. When Haritha heard that Muhammad (pbuh) possessed Zaid, he came to Mecca and offered a large sum for his ransom. Where upon Muhammad (pbuh) said: "Let Zaid come here, and if he chooses to go with you, take him without ransom; but if it be his choice to stay with me, why should I not keep him?' Zaid was brought into Muhammad (pbuh)'s presence. He declared that he would stay with his master Muhammad (pbuh), who treated him as if he was his only son. Muhammad (pbuh) no sooner heard this than he took Zaid by the hand and led him to the black stone of Kabah, where he publicly adopted him as his son, to which the father acquiesced and returned home well satisfied. Hence forward Zaid was called the son of Muhammad (pbuh).

Muhammad (pbuh) was now approaching his fortieth year, and his mind was ever-engaged in profound contemplation and reflection. Before him lay his country, bleeding and torn by fratricidal wars and intolerable dissension's; his people, sunk in barbarism, addicted to the observation of rites and superstitions. With all their desert virtues, lawless and cruel. His two visits to Syria had opened to him a scene of unutterable moral and social desolation, rival creeds and sects tearing each other to pieces, carrying their hatred to the valleys and deserts of Hijaz, and rending the townships of Arabia with their quarrels and bitterness.

For years after his marriage, Muhammad (pbuh) had been accustomed to secluding himself in a cave in Mount Hira [Picture], a few miles from Mecca (Makkah). To this cave he used to go for prayer and meditation, sometimes alone and sometime with his family. There, he often spent the whole nights in deep thought and profound communion with the Unseen yet All-Knowing Allah of the Universe. It was during one of those retirements and in the still hours of the night, when no human sympathy was near, that an angel came to him to tell him that he was the Messenger of Allah sent to reclaim a fallen people to the knowledge and service of their Lord.

Renowned compilers of authentic traditions of Islam agree on the following account of the first revelations received by the Prophet.

Muhammad (pbuh) would seclude himself in the cave of Mount Hira [Picture] and worship three days and nights. He would, whenever he wished, return to his family in Mecca (Makkah) and then go back again, taking with him the necessities of life. Thus he continued to return to Khadijah from time to time until one day the revelation came down to him and the Angel Gabriel (Jibreel) appeared to him and said: "Read (IQRA)!" But as Muhammad (pbuh) was illiterate, having never received an education in reading or writing, he said to the angel: "I am not a reader." The angel took a hold of him and squeezed him as much as he could bear, and then said again: "Read!" again the Prophet said: "I am not a reader." The Angel again seized the Prophet and squeezed him and said: "Read! In the Name of Your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), has created a man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught (the writing) by the pen, has taught man that which he knew not." (96:1-4 Quran) .

Then the Prophet repeated the words with a trembling heart.


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