What a great blessing from God was the arrival of the Prophet in Madinah! Before accepting Islam, the two Arab tribes of Madinah, al-Aws and al-Khazraj were fighting frequently. Then, God made the hearts of both tribes inclined to Islam and love for God and His Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him.
The Muslims who Immigrated from Makkah were called the Muhajirun (the Immigrants) and the Muslims of both tribes of Madinah were called the Ansar (the Supporters). After arriving in Madinah, our Prophet ﷺ paired men from the two groups to be special Muslim brothers. The ”brother” from the Ansar welcomed and helped his ”brother” from the Muhajirun get established in Madinah. The Muhajirun brother helped his Ansar brother by teaching him from what he learned from our Prophet ﷺ while in Makkah. God instilled love in their hearts for one another.
The Ansar farmed their land and helped the Muhajirun learn this skill. Also, there were marketplaces in Madinah where the Muhajirun could conduct the work they were used to in Makkah.
Many Jewish tribes were also settled around Madinah. The Ansar had been used to living and dealing with them before our Prophet came. After his arrival, our Prophet ﷺ called the Jews to Islam. Their top scholar, ^Abdullah ibn Salam recognized our Prophet as the final Prophet of whom Prophet Moses peace be upon him, had told his people. He embraced Islam and became a good, honorable Companion. Other Jews, among their scholars and laymen, also became Muslim. Despite this, a number of Jewish scholars remained stubborn and refused to accept the Prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ .
Our Prophet ﷺ made a treaty with the Jewish tribes, in which they promised not to fight the Muslims or assist others against them. The Jews did not keep to this treaty, as we shall see.
Also in Madinah, a group of its residents were the munafiqun (hypocrites). These people said the two Islamic Professions of Faith (I profess that no one is God except Allah and I profess that Muhammad ﷺ is the Messenger of God) but in their hearts they really hated Prophet Muhammad ﷺ . They stealthily worked to destroy the new Islamic society of Madinah. They would come to the Mosque and appear to pray, but they secretly cooperated with the Jews and hostile Arab tribes to attack and destroy the Muslim society.
God protected our Prophet ﷺ and his followers from being defeated by both of these groups. Despite their harm, the city of Madinah began to flourish with the light of faith and became al-Madinatul-Munawwarah, ”the Illuminated City.”
As was mentioned earlier, ^Abdullah ibn Salam was the top scholar of the Jews of Madinah. He knew and taught the Torah revealed to Prophet Moses, peace be upon him. When Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, became a Prophet, and called the people to follow the new set of laws revealed to him, the Jews made the serious mistake of not accepting the book revealed to Jesus (the Injil) and instead stuck to the Torah.
^Abdullah ibn Salam knew from the Jewish teachings that there were three questions, the answers of which only the last prophet would know. When the news reached him that a man had arrived in Madinah, who claimed to be the last prophet, ^Abdullah ibn Salam went to meet him.
When ^Abdullah ibn Salam posed these three questions to our Prophet, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ told ^Abdullah that Angel Gabriel had already told him the answers to these questions. ^Abdullah ibn Salam stated that Gabriel was the enemy of the Jews.
The three questions were:
1. What is the first (major) sign of the Day of Judgment?
2. What is the first food of the people of Paradise? And
3. Why is it that some children resemble their father and others resemble their mother?
It was revealed to our Prophet ﷺ by Angel Gabriel, that the first (major) sign was a fire that drives the people from the east to the west. Knowing this, our Prophet answered ^Abdullah.
Angel Gabriel had told our Prophet ﷺ that the first food the people of Paradise will eat is the caudate (extra lobe) of the whale’s liver. Knowing this, our Prophet ﷺ answered that question of ^Abdullah.
Angel Gabriel had informed our Prophet ﷺ that some children resemble their father and others their mother due to the fact that if, during the sexual intercourse which caused that pregnancy, the fluid of the man comes out first, the child will resemble him. If the fluid of the woman comes out first, the child will resemble her. Knowing this through Revelation, our Prophet ﷺ answered that third question of ^Abdullah as well.
Upon hearing the clear truth, wisely ^Abdullah Ibn Salam said the two Professions of Faith and entered Islam. After that, ^Abdullah hid nearby, while our Prophet ﷺ spoke with the people of ^Abdullah.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ asked them, ”What do you say about ^Abdullah ibn Salam?’‘
His people said, ”He is our best and son of our best and most learned and the son of our most learned.”
Our Prophet ﷺ asked, ”What would you say if he embraced Islam?”
They said, ”O God, protect him from that!”
Then ^Abdullah ibn Salam came out from his hiding place and professed his Islam in front of them. They said, ”He is our worst and the son of our worst, and our most ignorant and the son of our most ignorant”.
It is narrated in the collection of Hadith, Sahihul-Bukhariyy, that our Prophet ﷺ gave the good news that ^Abdullah ibn Salam will be one of the people of Paradise.