Story No. 155 – Muhammad, The Last Prophet’s (saw) invitation to relatives and the first Miracle
The propagation through practice of Islam by Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) and the increase in the number of his followers paved the way for the open invitation of the people to Islam. Allah (SWT) commanded Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) to invite his close relatives. “And warn your nearest relatives.” (Noble Qur’an, 26:214)
In this way, backbiters could not say, ‘Why do you not call your own relatives to worship the One God and warn them of God’s severe punishment?’ Moreover, the support of the relatives of Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) would help the promotion of Islam. So Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) told Imam Ali (as) to prepare a meal and invite their relatives, who numbered about 40. After preparing the meal, Imam Ali (as) invited them. All the relatives of Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) accepted the invitation and ate the meal prepared by the blessed hands of Imam Ali (as). Although the food was not sufficient for even one person, all 40 people were full after eating that blessed food and, strangely enough, the food had not diminished at all. This amazed all of them but the obstinate Abu Lahab ibn Abd Al-Muttalib, who said without thinking, ‘This is magic and charms’. The foolish man disregarded the fact that magic and charms cannot feed people!
On that day Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) said nothing about the matter. Perhaps his silence was due to the fact that he wanted them to realize the difference between a ‘miracle’ and ‘magic’ because if magic were the cause the guests would feel hungry after leaving the house of Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw).
Since this gathering did not give any favourable result, Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) invited them for the next day. Again the same reception was repeated and all were filled. Yet the food was not reduced even after the meal was over.
Then Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) said, ‘O sons of Abd Al-Muttalib. Allah (SWT) has assigned me to warn you of the painful torments of the wrongdoers and give you the good news of His reward to the pious believers. Become Muslims and follow me to achieve salvation. I swear by Almighty Allah (SWT) that among all Arabs I do not know anyone who has brought his people anything better than what I have brought you. I have brought you prosperity and salvation both in this world and in the hereafter. The Gracious God has commanded me to call you all to worship Him. Now which one of you is willing to help me with the task? Anybody who announces his readiness to help me will be my brother, my successor, and the executor of my will.’
Nobody answered but Imam Ali (as), who was the youngest. He stood up and said, ‘O Prophet of Allah (SWT). I am your assistant. I am your supporter.’
Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) asked him to sit down. He (saw) repeated the same saying three times but no one except Imam Ali (as) replied to him. Then Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) pointed to Imam Ali (as) and said, ‘He is my brother, my successor and the executor of my will among you. Listen to him and obey him.’
It was on this very day that a number of people came to believe in the faith of Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw), but ignorance and bigotry hindered some of his relatives from believing in his message. However, this gathering was effective in gaining support for Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw).
In addition to the fact of the extraordinary event – 40 people being fed with a small amount of food – there is another remarkable point in this event – the remarks Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) made about his cousin Imam Ali (as) on that day. They clearly prove the fact that Imam Ali (as) was Muhammad, The Last Prophet’s (saw) righteous successor and Caliph, and thus we must regard Imam Ali (as) as the successor of Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw).
Thus the way was paved for the public invitation of the people to Islam and open propagation of this divine faith. Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) demonstrated indefatigable perseverance in fulfilling this divine duty and did not stop his invaluable teachings, outreach and struggles for a single hour. It was then that the magnificent banner of Islam was hoisted and truth began to be promoted.
Public Mission of Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw)
Three years had passed from the time when Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) was divinely assigns to be a prophet, during which time he did his best to secretly guide those who were capable of being guided onto the path of piety and virtue. Whenever he observed a person who had gone astray, being drowned in the pit of idol worship and moral decay, he tried hard to save him. He entered the scene through the, gate of affection and benevolence and with his logical, eloquent speeches urged the people to adopt the monotheistic faith of Islam.
But since his faith had to prevail all over the world and be communicated to all human beings, Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) attempted to make his mission public and open and to declare his aims and plans to all.