The house of Arqam: The center of education for the first Muslims…
For the first three years, the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- called people to Islam secretly, asking those who declined the offer not to disclose the matter to anyone. The house of Arqam ibn Abi Arqam –Allah be well-pleased with him- served as a secret meeting place for the Companions, after he became Muslim during the first year of Prophethood.
The House of Arqam, also known as the House of Islam, was situated by the Hill of Safa in Mecca. Here in this sacred house, the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- would take refuge to explain Islam, recite and teach the Quran to those who would come, away from Meccan idolaters. There, they would offer salat in congregation. It was here that many became acquainted with Islam. Until Omar’s –Allah be well-pleased with him- acceptance of Islam in the sixth year of prophethood, the house lent tremendous service in the way of teaching and calling others to Islam. Arqam –Allah be well-pleased with him- was to later donate the house as a trust. The deed of trust is as follows:
“In the Name of Allah, the most Merciful and most Compassionate…This is Arqam’s will regarding his house at Safa just ahead, the land of which has been deemed as part of the Sacred House, and has therefore also became sacred and inviolable. It cannot be sold or bequeathed. To this, Hisham ibn As and his slave bear witness’. (Ibn Saad, III, 242-244; Hakim, III, 574-575/6129)
The House of Arqam has today been demolished by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and incorporated into the land of the Sacred House, the Kaabah, and has thus returned to its origin.
The Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- spent the first three years of prophethood calling to Islam in secret. This was not from fear of incurring torment and hardship but was rather for the benefit of Islam. Besides the fact that there had not yet been revealed a Divine command for open calling, had Islam been proclaimed openly during that period, many new Muslims, most of whom were poor and weak, would have fallen into danger, and their perishing could have put an end to the religion even before it began.
From the experience of the House of Arqam, we can draw the following lessons with regard to the method of Islam.
- When needed, covertness must be essential to a mission.
- Education is the necessary first step in the realization of any given social, religious and political aim. To acquire quality, individuals must be conversant with the logic and morals of the mission.
The course to be taken and the method to be followed in Islamic activities till the Day of Judgment must be observed in the light of the model of the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-. Any effort toward revitalizing Islam and taking it to places it has not yet been must take into essential consideration these educational blueprints.
Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş, The Prophet Muhammed Mustafa the Elect, Erkam Publications