The following account is narrated in Al Mustazarf, Hajjatullah `alal-Alamīn’ and in Tārīkh ibne Asākir and translated from an article by Abū Nūr Mohammad Bashīr.
Once the King of Yemen, Tab’a Awwal Hamirī, about 2,500 years ago, went on tour of his country and those surrounding it. He was a very rich King indeed. In his entourage he had 12,000 `ulama, physicians and learned men in addition to his army of 114,000 soldiers. Wherever they went, the procession of these men and soldiers which marched in much pomp and ceremony that people lined the roadside to watch them, gathered wherever they went and welcomed them.
When the entourage reached the outskirts of Makkah, no one came to see them or welcome them to the town. This greatly surprised the King. He asked his Chief Minister, “Wherever we have gone people have gathered in droves to see and welcome us. But not here. What is the reason?”
The Chief Minister replied, “Your Highness! There is a House in this town. It is called Baitullāh. The people of this town and its Khādim have a great respect for it. Our entourage has no comparison to it. People in large numbers from places near and far come for Pilgrimage to this House. In this town no one will heed you or give you any importance. They respect the holy House more than kings.”
Hearing this, the King was furious. In his anger, he swore and declared, “I will raze this House to the ground and have the people of this town killed.” No sooner had the King uttered these words that blood began spurting from his mouth, nose and eyes. The blood was so foul smelling that his companions moved away from him and no one would come near him. He called upon his Physicians and doctors for treatment, but no one could help or treat him any way. His condition got worse. He could not sleep at night and kept on tossing and turning. He wanted to get treated by any means and at any cost.
Amongst his entourage there was a physician who was a God-fearing scholar as well. He came to the King, inspected him, took his pulse and said, “O King! Your illness is spiritual. Medicines will not work on you. Did you intend to do anything bad or evil, your Highness? If you did, He will pardon you and relieve you of your misery and illness if He wishes should you repent.”
Taking the Physician’s advice, the King immediately changed his evil plans to destroy the Ka’ba and to kill the people of Makkah. No sooner had he repented that the foul smelling blood stopped spurting from his mouth, nose, and eyes. He was completely cured. He was very happy for his recovery. He ordered a silk ghīlāf for the Ka’ba to be made and a gift of 7 gold sovereigns and 7 pieces of silk clothing for each of the residents of Makkah.
Having recovered, the King of Yemen
then continued with his tour. His entourage next arrived in
The King, having
heard the `ulama and Counsellors, agreed to build four
hundred homes for them as well as a big house for our Prophet (s). He
left instructions that when the Prophet (s) came to
The letter was passed down from the
Chief Alim to his descendants. After more than 1,000 years, the number of
children from the four hundred `ulama had increased greatly and
comprised a large percentage of the inhabitants of
When he people of
The camel was let loose. It went down the streets and stopped outside the house which the King of Yemen had built for Prophet Muhammad (s). Prophet (s) and the people came to this house. Abū Laila was then asked to bring the letter which he had for safe-keeping. Abū Laila appeared before Prophet (s) with the letter which had been passed down from generation to generation over a thousand years from King Tab’a Awwal Hamirī.
Prophet Muhammad (s), seeing Abū Laila approaching him, asked him, “Are you Abū Laila?” Abū Laila was stunned, having his name mentioned by the Holy Prophet (s). He was surprised that the Holy Prophet (s) had just arrived from Makkah but knew his name. Prophet Muhammad (s) then said, “I am Muhammad Rasūl Allah (s). I will have the King of Yemen’s letter that you have for me.” Prophet Muhammad (s) then looked at the letter and said, “Congratulations to my pious servant Tab’a Awwal Hamirī.”
The letter from King Hamirī stated, “O Prophet of Allah, I pledge my faith in you and in the Book that will be revealed to you and I follow the path of your religion. If I am fortunate to see you, it will be with great pleasure. However, if this is not possible, I would request that you intercede for me and not to forget me on the Day of Judgment. I believe in your Prophethood. I seek your ba`yat (pledge of allegiance) in advance of your arrival. I swear that there is only one Allah and Muhammad (s) is his true Prophet.” (Mīzānul Adyān)
Note: The mention of the Prophet Muhammad (s), dhikr and gatherings in a majlis have been held in the past and will continue in the future. The fortunate have been able to receive the blessings of such gatherings (fā’id). This article shows the Prophet (s) had knowledge of the past as well as of the future.
It is worth noting that the King had made Prophet (s) a wasīla and looked forward to intercession from the Prophet (s) on the Day of Judgment and the Prophet (s) congratulated him for his faith.
We also learn that to decorate houses and celebrate his birth is the Sunnah of the Sahabas and to have processions, decorate houses and streets as we do today is not a bid’a.