This area, at the foot of Mount Safa iss the approximate area where Daarul Arqam (The house of Arqam (رضي الله عنه)) was located. It was here in the initial period of Islam that the Prophet (ﷺ) secretly preached Islam.
Arqam (رضي الله عنه)
- The house belonged to a Sahabi named Arqam bin Abil Arqam (رضي الله عنه). He had several houses on his property, and he donated this one as a secret centre for propagation. It was situated at the northern base of Mount Safa, with at least one door hidden from the view of its neighbours.
- Arqam (رضي الله عنه) was only 12-16 years old when he embraced Islam which he kept secret. The house was an inheritance from his father. He was from Bani Makhzum, the same tribe headed by Abu Jahal.
The first ‘Madressa’ in Islam
- For some time after the Prophet (ﷺ) proclaimed his Prophethood, the Muslims gathered here to perform salah and to learn about Islam without fear of torture or persecution. As it was a short walk away from the Ka’bah and its bustling crowds, the pagans who lived nearby did not take notice of the many people who used to gather here. It effectively became the first Madressa (Islamic school) in Islam.
- Many verses of the Quran were revealed here and it was also here that many verses of the Quran were first taught by the Prophet (ﷺ).
- It was here that the following verse from Surah al-Anfal was revealed: “O Prophet, Allah is sufficient for you, and for those who follow you among the believers.” [8:64]
The conversion of Umar bin Khattab (رضي الله عنه)
- Many people embraced Islam at Daarul Arqam including Ammar bin Yasir and Suhayb bin Sinan (رضي الله عنهم) who embraced Islam together. Hamza (رضي الله عنه) also embraced Islam here, followed a few days later by Umar (رضي الله عنه).
- When Umar (رضي الله عنه) wanted to take his Shahadah (declaration of the faith of Islam) he asked Khabbab (رضي الله عنه) where he would find the Prophet (ﷺ). Upon hearing of his desire to accept Islam, Khabbab (رضي الله عنه) exclaimed,“Umar, I have hope that Allah hath chosen thee through the prayers of His Prophet, whom yesterday I heard pray: ‘O Allah, strengthen Islam with Abu Hakam (Abu Jahal) the son of Hisham or with Umar the son of Khattab!”. “O Khabbab,” said Umar, “where will Muhammad now be, that I may go to him and enter Islam?” Khabbab (رضي الله عنه) told him that he was at the house of Arqam near the Safa Gate with many of his companions.
- Umar went to Safa, knocked at the door of the house, and said who he was. The Sahabah had been warned that he was coming but they were struck by the subdued tone of his voice. One of the companions went to the door and looked through a chink and came back in some dismay. “O Messenger of Allah” he said, “it is indeed Umar and he is girt with his sword”. “Let him come in,” said Hamza (رضي الله عنه). “if he has come with good intent, we will give him a wealth of good; and if his intent be evil, we will slay him with his own sword.” The Prophet (ﷺ) agreed that he should be admitted and, advancing to meet him, he seized him by the belt and pulled him into the middle of the room saying, “What has brought thee here, O son of Khattab? I cannot see thee desisting until Allah sent down some calamities upon thee”. “O Messenger of Allah,” said Umar, “I have come to thee that I may declare my faith in Allah, and in his Messenger and in what he has brought from Allah”. “Allahu-Akbar!,” said the Prophet, in such a way that every man and woman in the house knew that Umar had entered Islam; and they all rejoiced.
- Because the valour and courage of Umar (رضي الله عنه) was acknowledged by all, it was after his conversion to Islam that the Muslims started performing salah in the open and Islam was propagated in public.
- Al Arqam’s property later became known as Dar al-Khayzuran, while the house in which the Muslims used to gather with the Prophet (ﷺ) was later converted into a mosque by al-Khayzuran bt. Ata, the wife of Caliph al-Mahdi (and the mother of Caliph Harun al-Rashid) who purchased this property.
Learn more about Daarul Arqam
Shaykh Omar Suleiman from Yaqeen Institute explains more about Al Arqam and the house he gave in the service of Islam:
References: Muhammad – Martin Lings, Virtues of Hajj – Sheikh Zakariyya Kandhalvi, Makkah at the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) – BinImad Al-Ateeqi