01 May 2007

Campaigning In The Bull Ring

Yesterday was a bright and breezy day in St Martin's in the Bull Ring.

From left to right, Cllr Mike Flower, Cllr Simon Jevon, Keeley Rogers PPC, Paul Uppal PPC, Maggie Throup PPC and the shadow chancellor George Osborne MP. Cllr Deirdre Alden PPC was out of shot and I met the man behind the increasingly unmissable West Midlands Conservative website.


Ellee said...

Good luck to everyone, I hope they have a successful day on Thursday.

Tony said...

I echo those sentiments. Good luck to all Conservative candidates on Thursday/Friday!

Anonymous said...

Mecca before Islam
As it is known Holy Muhammad (pbuh), the messenger of Allah and the last prophet sent as a grace to the universe was born in the city of Mecca within the Hejaz region on the west of Arabian peninsula which is in the center of the Asian continent, European continent and African continent known as the old world. For this reason, it will be useful to mention about the history of Mecca along with Kaaba and Quraish with their main features.

The known history of Mecca goes back to the period of Holy Abraham, yet there is not much information as to its previous history. After Holy Abraham brought His son Ishmael who was at an early age and His mother Hagar to Mecca with the order of Allah, He left them there to go back to Palestine.

Mecca Valley described as an “uncultivable valley” (Abraham 14/37) had an area of desert quality and its climate was hot and dry. Thus, the mother and son soon encountered with the problem of thirst. According to religious accounts, just as Hagar was running along the Safa and Marwa Hills in order to find water and became desperate and gave up on her son’s life, with the order of Allah a source of water sprung from where her son stood. The source which had abundance of water was called the zamzam and became the halting place of caravans. After a certain time, Jurhum tribe coming Yemen settled in outer sections of Mecca. Ishmael learned Arabic from them and married with a girl from this tribe.

Holy Abraham who was living in Palestine from time to time paid visits to Hagar and Ishmael. In His third visit to Mecca, Holy Abraham in accordance with the order of Allah began to construct Kaaba with His son Ishmael. It is understood from certain verses of Holy Qur’an (al-Baqarah 2/127; Al-Imran 3/96; Al-Hajj 22/26) that Kaaba existed before the time of Holy Abraham; however it was destroyed and its location was lost within time until Holy Abraham found its place and rebuilt it.1 Although there is no information about who built Kaaba before Abraham, yet it is recorded in some sources that it was built by Holy Adam or His son Seth. When Holy Abraham completed the construction of Kaaba, the archangel Gabriel appeared to him and taught Him how to perform the hajj worshipping.

The administration of Mecca and Kaaba was passed to Jurhum tribe one generation after Ishmael. Jurhum tribe first accepted the religion conveyed by Ishmael, but they deviated with time, performed immoral acts, stole gifts brought to Kaaba, and did not treated the people well who came to the city for Hajj. After a certain time, Khuza’ah tribe who migrated to Mecca from Southern Arabia defeated Jurhum tribe in a battle and removed them from the city. Jurhum tribe returned back to Yemen, their homeland, after removing Hajarul Aswad (Black Stone) from its place and covered the Zamzam Well to disguise its place. Ishmaelites did not take part in the battle due to their small number and they continued to stay in the city by reaching an agreement with Banu Khuza’ah. When Amr bin Luhay, one of the leading figures of the Khuza’ah tribe, broke the tauhid tradition and caused the emergence of idolatry when he took over the administration of Mecca and Kaaba.

Quraishis under the leadership Qusay bin Kilab, grandfather of the Holy Prophet from the fifth generation, took over the administration of Mecca in the first part of the fifth century by fighting against Khuza’ah tribe. Accordingly, Kaaba services which represent great honor and respect passed to the Quraishis. Qusay gathered Quraishi branches together which were living sparsely around Mecca, and he placed them around the Kaaba. Also by performing necessary regulations, Qusay gained control of the following services: administration of Mecca (administration of Darunnadwa), command-in-chief (kiyada), flagmanship (liva), maintenance of the Kaaba, security of the Kaaba’s door and keys (hijaba or sidana), supply of water to the pilgrims (sikaya), accommodation for the pilgrims (rifada). Darunnadwa which was built by him continued its existence up to Islamic period as a meeting place where important issues were discussed and various ceremonies were held.

The administration of Mecca and Kaaba services were continued by sons and grandsons of Qusay bin Kilab after his death. Hashim bin Abdumanaf, the grandson of Qusay and grandfather of the Holy Prophet from the third generation, worked hard to provide food and water for both pilgrims who came to Mecca and Quraishi tribe. Hashim, known for his generousness and his brothers Abdushems and Nawfal made trade agreements with Byzantine, Yemen, Ethiopia and Iran. They also signed nonaggression treaties with the tribes on the trade route. Accordingly, Mecca trade gained an international importance. Quraishis began to make trade purposed travels safely to Yemen and Ethiopia in winters, and to Syria and through Anatolia in summers with the prestige gained from performing the Kaaba services. Hashim married Salma, daughter of Amr bin Zayd from Najjarian, in Yathrib (Medina) where he stayed for a while on his way to Syria. Abdulmuttalib (Shayba), grandfather of the Holy Prophet, was born as a result of this marriage. Hashim died in Gazza in Palestine during his travel, and he was buried there. Abdulmuttalib stayed in Medina for eight years and later was brought to Mecca by his uncle Muttalib. Abdulmuttalib was raised by his uncle and his uncle transferred his tribe leadership duty to him before his death. Upon a dream, Abdulmuttalib located the place of the Zamzam Well that was covered by Jurhum tribe before they left Mecca, and he reopened the well. He undertook the duty of bringing food and water to the pilgrims.

Due to the fact that Mecca was a religious and commercial center apart from its geographic location, it caught the attention of the states such as Byzantine, Iran (Sassanian) and Ethiopia. Abraha, autonomous Yemen governor to the Kingdom of Ethiopia, built a church in San’a to prevent the visits of Arab to Kaaba. When he failed to do this, he decided to destroy Kaaba and abolish the religious center status of Mecca by invading it and stop the trade activities of the people of Mecca. Abraha came up to the surrounding area of Mecca with his army and stayed there. Abdulmuttalib, the leader of Hashimites branch of Quraishis and grandfather of the Holy Prophet, met Abraha and reminded him that his Owner would protect Kaaba, which was known as the House of Allah (Baytullah). Abraha ordered his soldiers to strike but the elephant in front of his army never take a step towards Kaaba. According to the Al-Fil surah (105/1-5) his army was smashed down by the small stones thrown by the birds sent by Allah. This incident was called the Elephant Incident, and the year in which it occurred was called the Elephant year. The fact that Abraha’s attempt failed caused Arabs to give more importance to hajj worshipping that was never seen before. The prestige of Mecca and Quraishis was raised.

Of the three prominent cities of Hejaz region, Mecca was the leading one. (other two; Yathrib (Medina) and Taif). Mecca, the intersection point of the roads leading to Yemen in the South, Mediterranean in the North, Persian Gulf in the west, Red Sea port Jeddah in the west, was located at a very strategic point in terms of economy. Moreover Kaaba, thus the city itself was the religion center of Arabia. People from all parts of Arabia would come to visit Kaaba during certain months of the year and provide vibrancy to the trade activities of the city. People would set fair grounds and poem competitions would be performed. As Mecca was unsuitable for agriculture due to geographical conditions, the trade constituted the essence of the business life.

Like the rest of the Arabian Peninsula in general, the idolatry was also prevalent in Mecca. The number of idols in Kaaba and its surroundings was 360; the biggest of these idols was Hubal which was the most significant idol of Quraish. In addition to this, there were idols in most of the houses. Arabs accepting Allah as the creator and ruler of the skies and the earth, worshiped idols which they thought would make them closer to Allah and which would be constitute a graceful quality before Him. They deviated from the belief of tauhid which ordered the sole devotion to Allah and thus they committed shirka by associating with Allah Moreover, although their numbers were not many in Mecca, there were also Hanifs of the tauhid belief which was formed by the Holy Abraham.


Anonymous said...

Errrrmmmm Didn't the Bull mind - they can often be touchy about the Ring area??