From Merchant to Messenger
Rukaya Saves her Father
2:114 And who is more unjust than those who prohibit mentioning of Allah in His mosques, and who even seek to destroy them. Those people should not have been allowed to enter them except in fear. For them there is disgrace in this world, and terrible punishment in the Hereafter.
Worshipping at the Ka’ba was not always the somber, ritualized spectacle you have today, during the Hajj for instance. The revelation pertaining to pre-Islamic worship at the Ka’ba is part of a series of revelation which begin with a verse about Allah outscheming (sic) the Meccans and thereby saving his Prophet’s life.
8:30 And [remember (Muhammad)] when the unbelievers plotted against you, so as to confine you, kill you or expel you. They schemed and Allah schemed, but Allah is the Best of schemers.
There were at least two attempts on the Prophet’s life during his time in Mecca. One rather disgusting attempt occurred about three years after he received the first communication from the Angel Gabriel.
He was kneeling in prayer at the Ka’ba when a fellow by the name of Abu Jahl came up behind him with the stomach of a dead camel which he placed like a sac on top of the Prophet’s head intending to suffocate him. Somehow, Abu Jahl managed to get God’s Messenger completely inside the camel’s stomach which he then sealed with the intestines of the animal.
None of the men who witnessed the attempted murder intervened; but one woman rushed to the house of the Prophet and told Rukaya what was being done to her father. She rushed to the Ka’ba and liberated her dad from the camel’s stomach saving his life.
My account of Rukaya saving her father is from what many consider the definitive non-Arab biography of God's Messenger: La Vie de Mahomet, Robert Lafont, 1962 by Virgil Gheorghiu. Arab scholars tend to argue that it was six-year-old Fatima, the Prophet's favourite daughter, and future wife of Ali who saved her father's life, not her then fourteen-year-old older sister.
The people of the Quraysh were trying every trick to trouble him. One day while he was performing Salãh in the Haram, on the instigation of the pagans of Makkak, Aqabah ibn Moeet brought the entrails of a camel and placed it on his neck whilst he was prostrating. Someone told Fatimah (R.A.) who was then just six years old. She came running and removed the stuff and cursed the non-believers.
Some of the Prophet's followers may have wondered why God did not punish, then and there, those who had attempted to suffocate His greatest and last messenger using a dead camel’s stomach. Allah had a ready answer:
8:33 And Allah did not wish to punish them while you (Muhammad) were in their midst, and Allah was not going to punish them while they were asking for forgiveness.
Some Meccans obviously regretted being part of the plot to kill the Prophet or not coming to the aid of God’s Messenger and asked for forgiveness. As to the believers being barred from the Ka’ba, the unbelievers had no right!
8:34 And what excuse do they have that Allah should not punished them, when they bar people from the Sacred Mosque (the enclosure surrounding the Ka’ba), although they were not its guardians? Its guardians are only those who fear Allah; but most of them do not know.
The Prophet owed his life to a brave teenaged girl while males stood by and watched. It was also a female, his first wife Khadijah, whose faith in her husband and wealth ensured his success as a merchant and later financed his activities as a budding prophet.
Knowing this, it is even harder to fathom Allah and His Messenger’s distrust and disparagement of females and the restrictions they have placed on their freedom of movement and action.
If the interdiction against women leaving the house unaccompanied by a close male relative or guardian had been in effect when the attempted suffocation of God’s Messenger’s was made, the Prophet’s progress would have come to an abrupt halt.
Rockin the Ka’ba
Having failed to rid themselves of the Prophet through assassination, and tiring of listening to him insult their ancestors for worshipping idols – the last straw was probably his insistence that their forefathers were burning in Hell because they died unbelievers and that is where they would end up if they followed their ancestor’s example – the Meccans banned God's Messenger and his followers from the Ka’ba. The believers defied the ordinance, prompting the Meccans, in 616, to send them all into exile. The next time the Prophet will enter Mecca, it will be as its conqueror.
What it was like worshipping at the Sacred Mosque before the believers became its guardians and it was the unbelievers who were denied admittance.
8:35 Their prayer at the House (the Ka’ba) is nothing but whistling and clapping; so taste the punishment for your disbelief.