It has been recorded in Hujjatullah Alal Aalameen and Taarikh Ibn Asaakir that one thousand years before the arrival of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), the King of Yemen, Tabaa Awwal Hameeri assembled 12 000 of his scholars and officials, 132 000 horsemen and 113 000 soldiers on foot to accompany him on a tour of his kingdom. During this expedition, they arrived in the city of Makkah and were surprised to find none of its residents interested in coming out to salute them. When the king enquired from his officials as to the reason for this, his prime-minister responded, “There’s a structure in this city called ‘the House of Allah’ which people from all over, many more than his army, come to pay their respects towards and to the city’s residents. Why then would they concern themselves with this measly procession?”
The king became infuriated upon hearing this and swore, “I’ll tear that structure down and have all of these people killed!” He then suddenly found blood emerging from his eyes, nose and mouth, along with a liquid so horrendous in smell that no one in his company could bear sitting next to him. After seeking help from numerous doctors to cure this condition of his (all to no avail), one of his priests finally stepped forward and said, “O King! This sickness is from the Heavens, while we possess only cures from the Earth. The only way to rid yourself of it is to seek forgiveness from any bad intention you may have had recently.” So the king repented from his earlier plans against the Holy Ka’bah and the Makkans and immediately found his condition return to its normal state again. Unable to contain his happiness, he then ordered for a silk covering to be prepared and draped over the Ka’bah, before presenting every resident of the city with wealth and some silk clothing.
The army then proceeded to Madina Shareef. Upon their arrival, those that were scholars of the heavenly books examined the city’s sand, stones and landscape and immediately recognized the area to be the future residence of the Final Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). For this reason they turned to their king and said, “We’d rather die than leave this city! Should fortune favour us, the Final Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) will one day arrive and bless us with his companionship. Otherwise, the sand from his feet will surely land on our graves, and this will be sufficient for our salvation.”
So, the king built four hundred houses for them in the city, and in the region of his chief priest’s residence, he constructed a few houses better than others (intending that when Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) did arrive, he would choose to stay in one of them). After giving them enough money to begin their new lives, the king gave a letter to his chief priest with the following instruction, “Give this to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) if you see him in your lifetime. If not, keep it in your family till he arrives.”
This letter passed from generation to generation in the priest’s family for one thousand years until it finally came into the hands of the famous Companion, Hazrat Abu Ayub Ansari (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh), who requested his servant, Abu Laila to safeguard it. Written in it was the following:
“From the most insignificant creation, Tabaa Awwal Hameeri, to the Intercessor of Sinners and the Leader of the Prophets (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), Muhammadur-Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). O Beloved of Allah, I bring faith upon you, the book which will be revealed to you, and the religion that you will propagate. Should I see you in my lifetime, it would only be my good fortune. Otherwise, I ask that you intercede for me and do not forsake me. I am from your first Ummah and also pledge allegiance to you. I hereby testify that Allah Ta’ala is One and that you are his true Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).”
When Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) neared Madina Shareef at the end of his migration, its residents were so ecstatic to meet him that they came out in large numbers, decorating and tidying their homes and streets, all with the intention of having the Blessed Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) choose to stay with them over anyone else.
Since he did not want to show favour to one family over another, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) entered the city and said, “Leave the nose-string of my camel and let it walk freely; wherever it stops I will stay there.”
In this way, the camel roamed for a short while until it finally stopped outside the house of Hazrat Abu Ayyub Ansari (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh), who was incidentally, staying in the very same residence built by the King of Yemen one thousand years earlier. When his servant, Abu Laila presented himself before Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) noticed him and said, “You are Abu Laila; I am the Messenger of Allah. Give me the King’s letter.”
SubhanAllah! Look at the knowledge and insight of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), that he arrived for the first time in Madina Shareef, yet he already knew who he was talking to and that Abu Laila had a letter for him, written by the King of Yemen a thousand years ago. That is why Ala Hazrat Imaam Ahmad Raza Khan (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) states regarding the knowledge of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in one of his Naaths:
Khuda ne Kiya Tujh ko Aagah Sab se
Do Aalam main Jo kuch Khafi wo Jali hain
Allah Ta’ala has made you aware of everything
Whatever is hidden and manifest in both the worlds
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was then presented with the letter, and after reading it, he said in reply, “I congratulate the virtuous brother Tabaa.” [Mizaanul Adyaan]
We learn from this that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was praised even before his birth; and the people who praised him even received honour for their praise! How then can we, who are in the Ummah of the Beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), not be shown any favour by him?!
We also come to know that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is aware of the past, and that cleaning and decorating buildings on the arrival of esteemed personalities is not a bad practice. In fact, it is the practice of the Sahaabah.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us true love and respect for Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and the Taufeeq to sacrifice our lives for the sake of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), Ameen.