Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Masjid al-Dirar: And the Story of a Christian Monk.

Masjid al-Dirar was a Medinian Mosque that was erected close to the Quba Mosque and which the Islamic Prophet Muhammad initially approved of but subsequently had destroyed while he was returning from the Battle of Tabuk.

The demolition or burning of Masjid al-Dirar, also referred to as the Mosque of Opposition [Muhammad was asked to lead prayer there but received a revelation (9:107 and 9:110) in consequence of which the mosque was destroyed by fire. Hencerforth, it was known as the Mosque of Opposition] or the Mosque of Dissent is mentioned in the Qur'an.

In the main account narrated by the majority of scholars, the mosque was built by twelve disaffected men from the Ansar on the commands of Abu Amir al-Rahib; And Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri relates a very interesting story of the cause of their dissatisfaction. He says that the men, who built the al-Dirar mosque "for mischief and for infidelity and to disunite the Believers" refused to pray in Masjid al-Quba claiming that it was built in a place where a donkey used to be tied up.[al-Baladhuri, Ahmad ibn Yahya (30 March 2011). The Origins of the Islamic State. Cosimo Classics. pp. 16–17.]

God prevent His Rasul before he goes to the Mosque to attend a salah by a revelation. And inform about the hypocrisy and ill design of the builders of the Mosque. Thus the Prophet ordered Sahaba's to burn it down.

The detail story:
There was a Christian named Abu Amir ar-Rahib who lived in Medina. One of the son of Amir was Hanjala- the famous companion of Prophet Muhammad, the one and only man in the world whose dead body was bathed by the Angels.

When the Prophet
came to Medina, Amer met him and complain a various subjects accusing Islam. Muhammad answers those questions appropriately to clarify his complaint. But he was not satisfied with that. He said, ‘He, who is liar among us may cursed and die abandoned in a place separating from his family and relatives.’ And when he was leaving, said, ‘From now, I will always help your opponent.’

Abu Amir, this man from the very beginning was involved in conspiracy against Islam. And once he tries to influence Roman Emperor for an operation in Medina and evicting Muslims. At that time, he wrote this letter to the hypocrites of Medina-

‘I am trying to convince Roman Emperor for an operation in Medina. But you would have a combined force to help Emperor at the right time.

So, build a house at Medina with the name Mosque. And then organize yourself in that house, collect and store there war equipment and materials as much as you can. Then on discussing each other, take necessary steps against Muslims.’

At the Battle of Hunayen, Amer also take parts, but he was against Muslims. Later, when the stronger tribe like Howyajin was defeated by the Muslims, he became hopeless and went to Syria. He died there being separated from his family and relatives.

On the other hand, as per the direction of Amer, a group of 12 (twelve) hypocrites build a Mosque at Quba. Then they declared that Muhammad himself will take part in a salah (prayer) to inaugurate the Mosque. This is to feel Muslims doubtless and thus to cheat them. Qur’an named this Mosque as ‘
Masjid al-Dirar’.

It is noted, Quba was that place where the prophet takes his shelter for the first time after his Hijrat (emigration). He also builds a Mosque and that was the first mosque ever builded after the prophethood of Muhammad.

However, according to the decision, a delegates from Quba came to the prophet and proposed him- ‘There is only one Mosque in Quba. And people from a distance particularly those are sick and weak facing problem attending salah in time. So we build another Mosque there to facilitate people. Now if you take part in a salah there, we will be gracious.’

It was 630 CE. And the prophet was in a preparation for the Battle of Tabuk. So he said, ‘I am on the preparation of a journey. On returning I will take part in a salah there.’

On the way returning from Tabuk, When the prophet resting with his army at a place near Medina, the following verses of Qur’an sent down- 
And among those around you of the Bedouins are hypocrites, and (also) from the people of Medina. They have become accustomed to hypocrisy. You, do not know them, (but) We know them. We will punish them twice (in this world); then they will be returned to a great punishment.-(9:101)

And (there are) those (hypocrites) who took for themselves a mosque for causing harm and disbelief and division among the believers and as a station for whoever had warred against Allah and His Messenger before. And they will surely swear, "We intended only the best." And Allah testifies that indeed they are liars. Do not stand (for prayer) within it - ever.

A mosque founded on righteousness from the first day is more worthy for you to stand in. Within it are men who love to purify themselves; and Allah loves those who purify themselves. Then is one who laid the foundation of his building on righteousness (with fear) from Allah and (seeking) His approval better or one who laid the foundation of his building on the edge of a bank about to collapse, so it collapsed with him into the fire of Hell? And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people. Their building which they built will not cease to be a (cause of) skepticism in their hearts until their hearts are stopped. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.

ibn Kathir's commentary as:
(If we come back from our travel, Allah willing.) When the Messenger of Allah came back from Tabuk and was approximately one or two days away from al-Madina, Jibril came down to him with the news about Masjid ad-Dirar and the disbelief and division between the believers, who were in Masjid Quba' (which was built on piety from the first day), that Masjid ad-Dirar was meant to achieve. Therefore, the Messenger of Allah sent some people to Masjid ad-Dirar to bring it down before he reached Al-Madinah.

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that ibn Abbas said about this Ayah (9:107), "They are some people of the Ansar to whom Abu Amir said, "Build a Masjid and prepare whatever you can of power and weapons, for I am headed towards Caesar, emperor of Rome, to bring Roman soldiers with whom I will expel Muhammad and his companions."

When they built their Masjid, they went to the Prophet and said to him, "We finished building our Masjid and we would like you pray in it and invoke Allah for us for His blessings". -[Tafsir ibn Kathir on 9:107].

al- Tabari's account as:
"The Messenger of God proceeded until he halted in Dhu Awan, a town an hour’s daytime journey from Medina. The people who had built the Mosque of Dissent had come to him while he was preparing for Tabuk saying, ‘O Messenger of God, we have built a mosque for the sick and needy and for rainy and cold nights, and we would like you to visit us and pray for us in it.’

[The Prophet] said that he was on the verge of traveling, and he was preoccupied, or words to that effect, and that when he returned, God willing, he would come to them and pray for them in it.

When he stopped in Dhu Awan, news of the mosque came to him, and he summoned Malik b. al-Dukhshum, a brother of the Banu Salim b. Awf, and Ma’n b. Adi, or his brother Asim b. Adi, brothers of the Banu al-Ajlan, and said, "Go to this mosque whose owners are unjust people and destroy and burn it".

They went out briskly until they came to the Banu Salim b. Awf who were Malik b. al-Dukhshum’s clan. Malik said to Ma’n, "Wait for me until I bring fire from my people."

He went to his kinsfolk and took a palm branch and lighted it. Then both of them ran until they entered the mosque, its people inside, set fire to it and destroyed it and the people dispersed. Concerning this, it was revealed in the Quran... [Tabari, Volume 9, The last Years of the Prophet, pg 60-61]

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab at-Tamimi (founder of the Wahabbi movement) mentioned in an abridged version of Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya's biography of Muhammad (named Zad al-Ma'ad), that the mosque was burnt down, and he also used this event to justify his belief that burning down places of sin is permissible in Islam.

"We also derive from this story the permissibility of burning places of sin and disobedience, as the Prophet burnt Masjid Ad-Dirar (the Mosque of Harm); and it is incumbent upon the Imam to destroy it, either by demolishing it or burning it, or by altering its shape and changing its function.

And if that was the case regarding Masjid Ad- Dirar, then the shrines where Shirk is practised should with all the more reason be destroyed and likewise the houses of the wine merchants and those who do evil deeds; Umar burnt down a whole village in which wine was sold. And he burnt down the palace of Sa'd when he secluded himself in it from the people and the prophet intended to burn down the houses of those who did not attend the Friday prayer or the Congregational prayers; and the only thing which prevented him was the presence therein of persons whom it was not obligatory...". [Abridged Zad al Ma'ad, Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya, 429]

However, With the above verses, Allah flashed the secret conspiracy of the hypocrites and cause of building the Mosque. So Muhammad ordered some of his companion- ‘Demolish the said Mosque and set that fired at once.’
They moved at that time and did the job as per instruction.

It’s the month of Ramadan. Muhammad came back to Medina with his army. When he reached the place of the said Mosque, he found that the place fallen vacant. So he permitted Asem Bin Adi to build his house there. But politely he said- ‘Ya Rasulallah, it is not my wish and likeliness to build a house on a cursed place.’

From then, still the place remains vacant.

The End.
Not Yet Verifed.

Hawarey, Dr. Mosab (2010). The Journey of Prophecy; Days of Peace and War.
Osman, Ghada. "Pre-Islamic Arab Converts to Christianity in Mecca and Medina:  Retrieved 3 July 2011.
Kathir, ibn. "Masjid Ad-Dirar and Masjid At-Taqwa". Tafsir Ibn Kathir. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
al-Baladhuri, Ahmad ibn Yahya (30 March 2011). The Origins of the Islamic State. Cosimo Classics. pp. 16–17.
George Sale (1850). The Koran, William Tegg. p. 162. See footnote S, also republished in 2009 , Biblio Bazaar
Tabari, al (25 Sep 1990), The last years of the Prophet, New York Press, p. 60, See footnote 425
Rahman al Mubarakpuri, Saifur. Tafsir ibn Kathir. p. 515. see also Tafsir ibn Kathir, 9:107,
Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur (2005), The Sealed Nectar, Darussalam Publications, p. 273
Baynes, The Encyclopaedia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, and general literature, p. 457
Muḥammad Ibn ʻAbd al-Wahhab, Imam (2003). Mukhtaṣar zad al-maʻad. Darussalam publishers Ltd. p. 429.

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