Restatement of the History of Islam & Muslims
By Sayed Ali Asgher Razawy
A List of “Firsts” in Islam
SOMEONE IN ISLAM WAS THE FIRST MAN OR THE FIRST WOMAN to do or to say something, and this made him or her pioneer. Following is a list of some of the deeds which made their authors “pioneers.” The list, of course, is not by any means exhaustive.
(1) Hashim, the great-grandfather of Muhammad ibn Abdullah and Ali ibn Abi Talib, inaugurated the mercantile system of Hijaz, which, for those times, was a revolution in the economic life of Arabia. By doing so, he changed the Quraysh from shepherds into merchant princes.
“It is alleged that Hashim was the first to institute the two caravan journeys of Quraysh, summer and winter, and the first to provide tharid (broth) in Makkah.”
(2) Khadija bint Khuwayled, the wife of Muhammad Mustafa, was the first convert to Islam.
(3) The first male who bore witness that God was One, and Muhammad was His Messenger, was Ali ibn Abi Talib.
(4) The first meeting place in Islam was the house of Arqam bin Abil-Arqam in Makkah.
“Early Islam was a youth movement, which was at first thought of as a harmless club. There were in those days about 40 members, and they took to meeting in a large house on the outskirts of town belonging to a rich young man named Arqam of clan Makhzum. The house of Arqam is remembered by Muslims as Islam’s first meeting place.”
(5) The Yasirs were the first “whole family” to accept Islam (outside the family of the Prophet himself). Yasir; his wife, Sumayya; and their son, Ammar; all three accepted Islam as soon as they heard the Call of the Messenger of God. Some people have claimed that it was Abu Bakr who was the head of the first “whole family” which accepted Islam. This claim lacks evidence. Abu Bakr’s son, Abdur Rahman, was an idolater, and he fought against the Apostle of God in the battle of Badr. Abu Bakr’s father, Abu Qahafa, was also an idolater who became a Muslim only after the conquest of Makkah in 630.
(6) The pagans in Makkah tortured Yasir and his wife, Sumayya, and their son, Ammar, day after day, for accepting Islam. All three of them were the first Muslims whom Muhammad Mustafa, the Messenger of God, gave the tidings that they would enter Heaven.
(7) Sumayya, the wife of Yasir, was the first Believer who became a Martyr in Islam.Her husband, Yasir, was the second Martyr in faith. Both of them were tortured to death by the pagans. Their son, Ammar, was also destined to win the crown of Martyrdom though he did so in the battle of Siffin in 657.They became, in this manner, a family of all Martyrs in Islam – a distinction which no one else has ever shared with them. God Himself picked them out for this great honor.
(8) The first man to read Qur’an out aloud in the Kaaba was Abdullah ibn Masood, the companion and friend of Muhammad.
“Yahya b. Urwa b. Zubayr told me as from his father that the first man to read Qur’an loudly in Makkah after the Apostle was Abdullah ibn Masood.”
(9) The first man to be killed in the precincts of the Kaaba was Al-Harith ibn Abi Hala, the nephew and adopted son of Khadija, the wife of Muhammad. When the latter proclaimed the unity of God in the Kaaba before an assembly of the idolaters, they subjected him to physical violence. Al-Harith ibn Abi Hala entered the fray to defend him. They stabbed him repeatedly, and he fell dead on the ground. He thus became the third Martyr in Islam.
(10) Ammar ibn Yasir was the first man in Islam to build a mosque. He built his mosque in Makkah itself.
“Sufyan ibn Uyayna mentioned on the authority of Zakariya from al-Shabi that the first man to build a mosque was Ammar ibn Yasir.”
(11) Mas’ab ibn Umayr was the first official in Islam. In 621, a group of the citizens of Yathrib (Medina) came to Makkah. They met the Prophet at Aqaba; they accepted Islam, and they requested him to send with them to Yathrib a teacher of Islam and Qur’an. The Prophet sent Mas’ab ibn Umayr, a cousin of his father, with them. This was the first time an official was chosen in Islam. Mas’ab ibn Umayr was the First Representative of Muhammad Mustafa, the Messenger of God, in any capacity.
(12) Abdullah, son of Abd al-As’ad, was the first man to migrate from Makkah to Yathrib (Medina) in 622.
(13) Bilal was the first “muezzin” of Islam. His voice rang out in Medina with the shout of Allah-o-Akbar (God is Great).
When Medina developed all the characteristics of a state, it also acquired a treasury, and Muhammad appointed Bilal its officer-in-charge. He was in-charge of the Bayt-ul-Mal of the State of Medina. This made him the First Treasurer of Islam. He made allocations of all funds. He was also responsible for distributing funds to the widows, orphans, the wayfarers and other poor people who had no means of supporting themselves.
(14) Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib, the uncle of Muhammad and Ali, was the first military commander in Islam. The Apostle of God had sent him at the head of 30 Muhajireen to intercept a caravan of the Quraysh, led by Abu Jahl. But there was no action, and the expedition returned to Medina.
(15) The first governor of Medina was Saad ibn Ubada Ansari. In the second year of Hijra, the Apostle personally led an expedition to Waddan. During his absence, Saad ibn Ubada officiated as the ruler of Medina.
(16) The first military commander whose men were involved in bloodshed, was Abdullah ibn Jahash, a cousin of the Apostle. He led an expedition of seven men to Nakhla.
(17) The battle of Badr, fought in 624, was the first encounter, on the battlefield, between Islam and paganism. A pagan champion, Walid bin Utba, challenged the heroes of Islam to single combat. His challenge was taken up, on the side of Islam, by Ali ibn Abi Talib, the first male convert to Islam.
Ali killed Walid bin Utba after a few minutes of fencing. This was the overture of the long struggle between Islam and paganism. It was to end as it had begun, with the triumph of Islam over paganism, and Ali was the architect of that triumph.
(18) Obaidah ibn al-Harith ibn Abdul-Muttalib, was the first Muslim to be killed in battle. He was a cousin of Muhammad and Ali, and he was the first Martyr of the battle of Badr.
Zayd ibn Haritha was the first Muslim to be killed on foreign soil. In September 629, the Apostle sent him as the General of the Army which was to engage the Romans in Syria. The two armies met in the battle of Mootah, and Zayd was killed in it.
(19) Akib ibn Usaid was the first governor of Makkah. It was the first permanent civil appointment made in Islam. Akib took charge of his duties as governor of Makkah in January 630.