3.4 The Life Of Mecca
War between the tribes did not take up more than a few days of every year. Between wars the Meccans had ample time to attend to trade, to amuse themselves, and enjoy life generally. They were fond of drink, women, poetry, and spending the warm summer nights in revelry. Mohamed, now on the threshold of manhood, cared for none of these pleasures of the night. He had a deep penetrating mind, an observant eye, and there was so much to see and hear in this world of marvels that afforded greater pleasure than drink and oblivion.
Like other Meccans youths he worked as a shepherd, tending the sheep of his people. Remembering this period of his life in later years, he used to say,
"Moses became a prophet while tending sheep and David became a prophet while tending sheep and I used to tend the sheep of my people at Al-Ajyad. Allah has made no man a prophet who was not a shepherd."
This job was in harmony with his meditative, incorruptible nature. He had the wide-open spaces, the high mountains, the skies, all the majesty of creation to himself, away from the narrow streets of Mecca, away from its narrower superstitions and futile worship of stones.
He relates that on two rare occasions he felt like going down to Mecca to enjoy its gay nightlife. He left his sheep with a companion and descended towards Mecca. The first time he saw a wedding procession and, being amused by it, stood to watch the wedding rites, then he felt drowsy and succumbed to sleep. On the second occasion, he heard strange and enthralling music as he was descending the mountain, so he sat to listen, fell asleep, and did not go down. So he remained elevated and un-spoilt by the life of the city. He lived a life of observation and contemplation of the grandeur of creation, its exquisite harmony and variety.