Third Branch is a great miracle about the protection and preservation of the Prophet by Allah.
T h i r d B r a n c h
The protection and preservation of Allah’s Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) was a clear miracle, and many instances of it are indicated by the clear truth of the verse, And Allah will defend you from men.1 For sure, when Allah’s Messenger appeared, he was not only challenging one group, or one people, or a few rulers, or one religion; he was rather challenging single-handed all kings and the people of all religions. And yet until he died in perfect ease and happiness and rose to the heavenly court, for twenty-three years he was without guard or protector and was exposed to numerous plots, with his own uncle his greatest enemy and his own tribe and people hostile to him. This shows what a powerful truth the above-mentioned verse expresses and what a firm point of support it was. We shall mention only a few events classed as definite as examples.
First Event: Scholars of Hadith and the Prophet’s biography report unanimously that the Quraysh had made a certain agreement to kill Allah’s Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace). Upon the suggestion of a demon in human form, so as to prevent discord within the Quraysh, at least one member of every branch of the tribe formed a group of nearly two hundred men under the leadership of Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab, and they staged a surprise attack on the Prophet’s house. ‘Ali was together with Allah’s Messenger. He had told him to sleep that night in his bed. The Messenger waited till the Quraysh came and completely surrounded the house, then he went out and threw a handful of earth at their heads, and not one of them saw him. He passed through them and disappeared.2 When he reached the cave of Hira, two pigeons and a spider became his guards, and protected him against all the Quraysh.3
The Second Event: It certainly occurred that when they emerged from the cave and set off towards Madinah, they were followed by a very brave man called Suraqa, who, for a large reward, had been sent by the leaders of the Quraysh to kill them. Allah’s Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) and Abu Bakr the Veracious had seen Suraqa coming when they came out of the cave. Abu Bakr had been anxious, but Allah’s Messenger said: “Do not be anxious, Allah is with us!”,4 as he had in the cave. Abu Bakr looked at Suraqa: his horse’s hooves were stuck in the sand. He was freed and started following them again. Then again the horse became transfixed, and something like smoke was rising from where its hooves were stuck. At that point he understood that it was beyond his power and anyone else’s power, to harm Allah’s Messenger. He cried for mercy. The Messenger freed him, but said: “Go back, but make sure no one else comes after us.”5
In connection with this incident, we should also mention that a shepherd spotted them and immediately set off for Makkah to inform the Quraysh. But on arriving at the city, he forgot why he had come. No matter how much he tried, he could not remember. He was obliged to return. Then later he understood that he had been made to forget it.6
The Third Event: The leading scholars of Hadith relate through many chains of transmission that at the Battle of Ghatafan and Anmar, a bold tribal chief called Ghurath got close to the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) without anyone seeing him, his sword ready in his hand. He said to Allah’s Messenger: “Who will save you from me?” Allah’s Messenger replied: “Allah!” Then he prayed: “O Allah, save me from him, if You thus will!” Suddenly, Ghurath received a blow from the Unseen between the shoulders and his sword fell to the ground. The Noble Messenger picked up the sword and said: “Now who will save you from me?” Then he forgave him. The man returned to his tribe. Everyone was astonished at the bold, valiant fighter, and asked him what had happened to him and why he had done nothing. He replied to them: “That’s the way it happened. I have come now from the best of men.”7
In an incident similar to this at the Battle of Badr, a dissembler approached the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) from behind when no one was aware of it. Just as he was raising his sword to strike, Allah’s Messenger turned and looked at him; the man trembled and his sword slipped to the ground.8
The Fourth Event: This is well-known almost to the degree of ‘consensus in meaning,’ and is given by most Qur’anic commentators as the immediate reason for the revelation of the verse,
Indeed We have put yokes round their necks right up their chins, so that their heads are forced up [and they cannot see]. And We have put a bar in front of them and a bar behind them, and further, We have covered them up, so that they cannot see.9
It is also related by the most learned commentators and scholars of Hadith. They relate that Abu Jahl took an oath, saying: “I shall strike Muhammad with a stone if I see him prostrating.” He took a large stone and went to find Allah’s Messenger. He lifted his hands to cast the stone, when he saw him prostrating, and they remained raised. Allah’s Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) stood up on completing the prayers, and Abu Jahl’s hand was released. He could move it either because the Prophet permitted, or because there was no longer any need for it to remain thus.10
In another similar incident, a man from the same tribe as Abu Jahl, al-Walid b. Mughira according to one narration, went to the Ka‘ba with a large stone in his hand, to strike the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) while he was prostrating, but the man’s eyes were sealed and he could not see the Messenger entering, nor was he able to see the people who had sent him; he could only hear their voices. When Allah’s Messenger finished praying, his eyes were opened, for no need remained for them to be sealed.11
Also, it is related through an authentic narration from Abu Bakr the Veracious that after the Sura about Abu Lahab had been revealed, his wife, Hammalat al-Hatab (the wood carrier) Umm Jamil, came to the Ka‘ba with a stone in her hand. She saw Abu Bakr, who was sitting beside the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and asked him, “Where’s your friend? I hear that he mocked me. If I see him, I will hit him in the mouth with this rock.” She could not see Allah’s Messenger, although he was sitting beside him.12 Of course, a wood-carrier of Hell like that could not enter the presence of the ‘Sultan of Lawlak,’13 who was under Divine protection, and see him. How could she?
The Fifth Event: It is related through a sound narration that ‘Amir b. Tufayl and Arbad b. Qays conspired to assassinate Allah’s Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace). ‘Amir said: “I’ll keep him busy, and you strike him.” They went, but Arbad did not do anything. Amir asked him later why he did not strike him. Arbad answered: “How could I? Every time I intended to hit him, I saw you between us. How could I have struck you?”14
The Sixth Event: It is related through an authentic narration that at the battle either of Uhud or Hunayn, Shayba b. ‘Uthman al-Hajabayya, whose uncle and father Hamza had killed, crept up stealthily on the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) in order to avenge them. On his raising his drawn sword, it suddenly slipped from his hand. Allah’s Messenger turned and looked at him, putting his hand on his chest. Shayba later said: “At that moment there was no one in the world I loved more.” He believed in him. The Messenger told him to go and fight. Shayba said: “I went and fought in front of Allah’s Messenger. If I had come across my own father at that time, I would have struck him!”15
Also, on the day of the conquest of Makkah, a man called Fadala approached Allah’s Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) with the intention of striking him. The Messenger looked at him, and said, smiling: “What have you told yourself?”, praying that he might be forgiven. Fadala became a believer, and said: “At that moment there was no one in the world I loved more.”16
The Seventh Event: According to a sound narration, at the very moment some Jews, with the intention of assassinating him, were going to drop down a large rock on Allah’s Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace), while he was sitting, he rose through Divine protection; so the plot came to nothing.17
There were many events similar to these seven. The scholars of Hadith, and foremost Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim, relate from ‘A’isha that after the verse, And Allah will defend you from men was revealed, Allah’s Messenger told those who guarded him from time to time: “O men, leave me, for Allah, the Great and Mighty, protects me!”18
Thus, from the beginning up to here, this treatise shows that every species of being, every realm of creation in the universe, recognized the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and was connected with him. His miracles were manifested in every one of them. This means that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the official and Messenger of Allah Almighty, but in regard to His titles of Creator of the Universe and Sustainer of all Creatures. For example, every office or department of government knows and recognizes a high-ranking official, an inspector, of the king, and whichever of them he enters, those in it show an interest in him, for he acts in the name of the king of all of them. If he is only an inspector in the judiciary, then only that department of government recognizes him; the other offices do not. And if he is an inspector in the army, the civil service does not recognize him. It is understood, then, that all the realms and spheres of Divine rule, every species and group from the angels to the flies and spiders, knew and recognized Allah’s Messenger, or had been informed about him. That is to say, he was the Seal of the Prophets and the Messenger of the Sustainer of All the Worlds. And his prophethood was more comprehensive and all-embracing than those of all the preceding prophets.
1. Qur’an, 5:70.
2. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 349; Musnad (Tahqiq: Ahmad Shakir) iv, 269 no: 2009; al-Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawa’id ii, 228.
3. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 349; al-Khafaji, Sharh al-Shifa’ iii, 236; see page, fn. 246, 247.
4. Qur’an, 9:40.
5. Bukhari, Anbiya’ (Bab: ‘Alamat al-Nubuwwa fi’l-Islam, Fada’il Ashab al-Nabi, Manaqib al-Muhajirin wa Fadlihim, Hijrat al-Nabi wa Ashabihi); Muslim, no: 2009; Ibn Hibban, Sahih 65; ix, 11. See, Concordance.
6. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 351; Âli al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 715.
7. Bukhari, Jihad 84, 87; Maghazi 31-2; Muslim, Salat al-Musafirin, 311 no: 843; Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 347-8; al-Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawa’id ix, 7-8; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak iii, 29-30.
8. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 347; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 710.
9. Qur’an, 36:8-9.
10. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 351; al-Khafaji, Sharh al-Shifa’ iii, 241; al-Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawa’id viii, 227; Muslim, No: 2797; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa’l-Nihaya iii, 42-3.
11. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 351; al-Khafaji, Sharh al-Shifa’ iii, 242.
12. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 349; al-Khafaji, Sharh al-Shifa’ iii, 233; al-Haythami, Majma^ al-Zawa’id i, 353; Ibn Hibban, Sahih viii, 152; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak ii, 361.
13. This refers to the Hadith Qudsi: “But for thee, but for thee, I would not have created the spheres.”(Tr.)
14. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 353; al-Khafaji, Sharh al-Shifa’ iii, 249; Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa v, 318.
15. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 353; al-Khafaji, Sharh al-Shifa’ iii, 248; al-Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawa’id vi, 183-4; ^Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 718; al-‘Asqalani, al-Isaba ii, 157.
16. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 353; al-Khafaji, Sharh al-Shifa’ iii, 248; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 718.
17. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 353; al-Khafaji, Sharh al-Shifa’ iii, 243; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 176; Abu Na^im, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa ii, 489-90.
18. Tirmidhi, v, 351 no: 3406; Tirmidhi (Tahqiq: Ahmad Shakir) no: 3049; Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 352; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak ii, 313.