18-Arrival in Yathrib
when the people of yathrib heard that the prophet w(pbuh) had left mecca and was on his way to their city, they anxiously awaited his arrival. each morning they would go to the edge of the city to see if he was coming. finally, on monday, september 27, in the year 622 a.d., someone saw him in the distance and shouted to everyone, 'here is muhammad! (pbuh) the messenger of allah has arrived!' all the muslims went out to greet him, shouting, "allahu akbar"! allah is great! muhammad the messenger of allah has arrived!' the women and children sang songs to show how glad they were to see him. the prophet (pbuh) entered the city with his friend abu bakr.
most of the people there had not seen him before and as they gathered around they did not know which of the two was the prophet (pbuh), until abu bakr got up to shield him with his cloak from the burning sun. yathrib would now be called al-medina, which means, the city.
the messenger of god (pbuh) stayed in quba', which is a place at the entrance of medina, for three days. on the first friday after his arrival the prophet led the congregation in prayer. after this many of the wealthiest men invited him to come and live with them and share their riches. but he refused and, pointing to his she-camel, qaswa', said, 'let her go her way', because he knew that his camel was under allah's command and would guide him to the spot where he should stay. they let the camel go until she finally knelt down beside a house belonging to the bani an-najjar, the tribe to whom the prophet's mother was related. this house was used as a drying-place for dates and belonged to two young orphan boys named sahl and suhayl.
they offered to give it to the prophet (pbuh) but he insisted on paying them for it, and so their guardian, as'ad the son of zurarah, who was present, made the necessary arrangements.
the prophet (pbuh) ordered that a mosque and a place for him to live be built on the site. all the muslims worked together to finish it quickly-even the prophet (pbuh) joined in. it was here that the muslims would pray and meet to make important decisions and plans. the building was quite plain and simple. the floor was beaten earth and the roof of palm leaves was held up by tree trunks. two stones marked the direction of prayer. at first worshippers faced jerusalem, but soon after the direction of prayer was changed towards the ka'bah in mecca.
after the building of the mosque, the prophet (pbuh) wanted to strengthen the relationship between the people called the muhajirah or emigrants, who had left mecca with him, and the people of medina, who were known as the ansar, or helpers. each man from medinah took as his brother a man from mecca, sharing everything with him and treating him as a member of his own family. this was the beginning of the islamic brotherhood. in the early days of islam, the times for prayer were not announced and so the muslims would come to the mosque and wait for the prayer so as not to miss it. the prophet (pbuh) wondered how to tell the people that it was time for prayers. he discussed it with his friends, and at first two ideas were put forward; that of blowing a horn as the jews did, and that of using a wooden clapper like the christians.
then a man called 'abd allah ibn zayd came to the prophet (pbuh) and told him he had had a dream in which he had seen a man dressed all in green, holding a wooden clapper. he had said to the man, 'would you sell me your clapper in order to call the people to prayer?' the man had replied, 'a better way to call the people to prayer is to say: "allahu akbar, allah is most great!
" four times, followed by "i bear witness that there is no divinity but allah, i bear witness that muhammad is the messenger of allah, come to prayer, come to prayer, come to salvation, come to salvation. allahu akbar, allahu akbar! there is no divinity but allah!"'
when the prophet (pbuh) heard this, he said it was a true vision from allah. he sent for bilal, who had a beautiful, strong voice, and ordered him to call the people to prayer in just this way. bilal did so and soon after 'umar came out of his house and told the prophet (pbuh) that he had seen exactly the same vision himself.
the prophet (pbuh) replied, 'allah be praised for that.' the adhan, or call to prayer, which came to 'abd allah ibn zayd in his dream and was performed by bilal on the instruction of the prophet (pbuh), is the one we still hear today being called from the minarets of mosques all over the world.