Study Guide December 2022
- Abu Talib was born in the city of Mecca in the Hijaz region in 535 CE. He was the son of the Hashimite chief, Abd al-Muttalib, and a brother of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWS) father, Abdullah, who had died before Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) birth. After the death of prophet’s mother Aminah bint Wahab, Prophet Muhammad (SAWS), a child still, was taken into the care of his grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib. When Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) reached eight years of age, Abd al-Muttalib died. One of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS)’s uncles was to take him in. The oldest, Al-Harith was not wealthy enough to accept guardianship for his nephew. Abu Talib, despite his poverty, took in Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) in an act of selfless generosity. Another tradition states that while on his deathbed, Abdul Muttalib, the father of Abu Talib, chose the latter amongst his sons and entrusted him with the task of raising Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). Although Abu Talib was responsible for providing Siqaya and Rifada (Food and Beverages) of Hajj pilgrims, he lived in poverty. In order to fulfill his obligations towards the pilgrims, he had to borrow money from his uncle Abbas, which he failed to return, thus being forced to letting Abbas take over the duty. Nevertheless, his social position did not take any harm from this failure.
- Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) loved his uncle, and Abu Talib loved him in return. Abu Talib is remembered as a gifted poet, and many poetic verses in support of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) are attributed to him. Once, as Abu Talib was about to leave for a trading expedition, Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) wept and could not bear being separated from him. To this Abu Talib responded, “By God I will take him with me, and we shall never part from each other.”
- Later in life, as an adult, Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) saw that Abu Talib was struggling financially after a severe drought. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) decided to take charge of one of Abu Talib’s children and he convinced Al-‘Abbas to do the same. They discussed this matter with Abū Ṭālib, who asked that his favorite child ‘Aqīl be left with him. Al-‘Abbās chose Ja’far, and Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) chose ‘Alī.
- Courage of Abu Talib: Quraish were really disappointed from Najashi. They tried their best to convince Najashi but did not agree to return the Muslims emigrants. In this way Quraish’s malicious intentions backfired on them and their plans met with utter failure. They came to fully realize that the grudge they nursed against Muslims would not operate but within their realm of Makkah. They consequently began to entertain a horrible idea of silencing the advocate of the new Call once and for all, through various channels of brutality, or killing him. An unbending difficulty, however, used to cut any move in this direction embodied by the Prophet’s uncle Abu Talib and the powerful social standing he used to enjoy as well as the full protection and support he used to lend to his nephew. The pagans of Makkah therefore decided to approach Abu Talib for the second time and insisted that he put a stop to his nephew’s activities, which if allowed unchecked, they said, would involve him into severe hostility. Abu Talib was deeply distressed at this open threat and the breach with his people and their enmity, but he could not afford to desert the Messenger too. He sent for his nephew and told him what the people had said, “Spare me and yourself and put not burden on me that I can’t bear.” Upon this the Prophet (Peace be upon him) thought that his uncle would let him down and would no longer support him, so he replied: “O my uncle! by Allâh if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on condition that I abandon this course, until Allâh has made me victorious, or I perish therein, I would not abandon it.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) got up, and as he turned away, his uncle called him and said, “Come back, my nephew,” and when he came back, he said, “Go and preach what you please, for by Allâh I will never forsake you.” He then recited two lines of verse pregnant with meanings of full support to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and absolute gratification by the course that his nephew had chalked out in Arabia.
- Once more Quraish approached Abu Talib: Quraish, seeing that the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) was still intent on his call, realized that Abu Talib would never forsake his nephew even if this incurred their enmity. Some of them then went to see him once more taking with them a youth called ‘Amarah bin Al-Waleed bin Al-Mugheerah, and said, “O Abu Talib! we have brought you a smart boy still in the bloom of his youth, to make use of his mind and strength and take him as your son in exchange for your nephew, who has run counter to your religion, brought about social discord, found fault with your way of life, so that we kill him and rid you of his endless troubles; just man for man.” Abu Talib’s reply was, “It is really an unfair bargain. You give me your son to bring him up and I give you my son to kill him! By Allâh, it is something incredible!!” AlMut’im bin ‘Adi, a member of the delegation, interrupted saying that Quraish had been fair in that bargain because “they meant only to rid you of that source of hateful trouble, but as I see you are determined to refuse their favours.” Abu Talib, of course, turned down all their offers and challenged them to do whatever they pleased. Historical resources do not give the exact date of these two meetings with Abu Talib. They, however, seem more likely to have taken place in the sixth year of Prophethood with a brief lapse of time in between.
Allah recounting His favors bestowed upon His Messenger,
- Have We not expanded your breast for you such that it readily accepts the laws of the religion, the duty of calling to Allah.
- And relieved you of your burden, which weighed down so heavily on your back? Allah says in another place, That Allah may forgive you your faults of the past and future Allah has made you pure there is no burden of sin on you,
- And raised you high. No other creature has reached such a station. Hence, on many occasions, Allah is not mentioned except that His Messenger is mentioned alongside Him.
Allah has raised remembrance of his beloved Prophet. Any individual or group uses indecent language or makes any bad images they are degrading themselves but not the beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم .Truly with hardship comes ease; truly with hardship comes ease, in this lies great tidings! Each time a person is faced with hardship and difficulty, ease comes with it and accompanies it. Allah, Most High, says, Allah will grant, after hardship, ease. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, Relief accompanies distress, and with hardship come ease.
Moreover, this verse proves that no matter what the hardship, no matter how great, ease must follow. Then Allah orders His Messenger, specifically, and therefore all the believers indirectly, to be grateful to Him and to establish the dictates of gratitude: So when you have finished, all your duties, and there no longer remains anything in your heart that would hinder it, work on worship and supplication. Be not of those who, when they are free, waste their time and turn away from their Lord and His remembrance and as such end up being amongst the losers.
It is also said that the meaning of this is that when you have finished your prayer, expend effort in supplication, and the proponents of this opinion went on to say that And turn all your attention to your Lord, means to ask Him to fulfil your needs. Those who followed this latter opinion then used these verses to prove the legality of supplication and remembrance after the prescribed prayers.