Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Beginning of the Persecution.

Description: Initially the Quraish confined themselves to mockery, as weapon against the Open Call of the Prophet SAW, but when found unsuccessful they embarked into persecution campaign against the Muslims and the Prophet SAW.

By Ben Al-Hussaini.

When Prophet Muhammad SAW received the command to preach openly and to speak out against idolatry, the Quraish elders initially ignored the converts as strange little group and treating Muhammad as a case of self-deception. But When they began to realize that his preaching, which was attracting adherents among the poor and the dispossessed, which they now perceived as a threat to them. The Quraish opposed with a campaign of mockery against the Muslims and Prophet Muhammad SAW with hope it could suppress the wave of the Call.

The tension in the city began to increased gradually, as Prophet Muhammad’s influence had spread, undermining the hegemony of the elders of Quraish and bringing division into their families and the clan. This influence became even more dangerous to the established order when the content of the successive revelations was broadened to include denunciation of the heartlessness of the Meccan Quraish.

The opposition was now led by Abu Jahal, together with Abu Lahab and the latter’s brother-in-law, a younger man who was more subtle and more talented than either of them, Abu Sufyan. Whenever Abu Jahal learned of a conversion of a man high standing he would degrade his dignity and if he was a merchant he would threaten him with a terrible consequences.

If he was a socially weak person he would beat him mercilessly and put him to unspeakable tortures. [1] In the case of 'Uthman bin ‘Affan he was wrapped by his uncle in a mat made of palm leaves, and set fire under him. [2]

A black slave named Bilal bin Rabah, the slave of Umaiyah bin Khalaf was severely beaten, sometime put a rope around his neck and inhumanly dragged on the street. He was pegged down naked under the scorching sun with a heavy stone on his chest and left to die of thirst. He was taunted by the pagans to renounce his religion in return for remission of torture, but his only reply was ‘Ahad! Ahad!’ [‘God is One! God is One!’]. It was in this state, on the point of death, that Abu Bakar As-Siddiq found him and ransomed him for an exorbitant fee. He was nursed in Prophet Muhammad’s home and became one of the closest and best-loved of the companions.

When, much later, the question arose as to how the faithful should be summoned to prayer, Bilal became the first mu’ezzin (the call to prayer announced with a loud voice from the Muslim place of worship, called masjid) of Islam: A tall, thin black man with a powerful voice and, so it is said, the face of a crow under a thatch of grey hair; a man from whom the sun had burned out, during his torment, everything but love of the One and of the messenger of the One.[3]

The others that were ruthlessly tortured were such as the family of ‘Ammar bin Yasir, Abu Fakih, Aflah, Khabbab bin Al-Arat. Abu Bakar would buy the slaves and freed them.

The Quraish approached Abu Talib

As for Prophet Muhammad SAW it was not easy to harm him because of his stature and was protected by his uncle Abu Talib, a Quraish noble. The Quraish went to see Abu Talib and said that his nephew had cursed their gods, denounced their way of life, their religion and degraded their forefathers. They asked him to stop Muhammad or allowed them to get him. Abu Talib calmed them down with polite answers. [4]

Prophet Muhammad continued his preaching, and make the Quraish unhappy with him The Quraish came again and insisted he put to stop his nephew’s activities, if not it draw him severe hostilities. This had made Abu Talib deeply distressed at the open threat of his people and their enmity. Abu Talib told The Prophet:

‘‘Spare me and yourself and put not burden on me that I can’t bear.”

Upon this the Prophet thought that his uncle would no longer support him, so he replied:

“O my uncle! By Allah ‘even if they set against me the sun on my right and the moon on my left on condition that I abandon this course, I will not abandon my purpose until Allah grants me victorious or until I perish therein.”

Prophet SAW got up and left, but Abu Talib said: “Come back, my nephew,” and when Prophet turned back Abu Talib said with a sigh: ‘O my brother’s son, I will not forsake you.’ [5]

When the Quraish saw that there was still intent on his Call and Abu Talib would never forsake Prophet Muhammad even if they incurred their enmity , the Quraish confronted Abu Talib again but this time they brought a youth ‘Umarah bin Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah and asked to be exchanged with the Prophet SAW so as they could kill him. And got rid off the endless hateful troubles, a man for a man. Abu Talib told them that was an unfair bargain, turned their offer and challenged them to do whatever they pleased. It is believed that the two events took place in the sixth year of the Prophethood.

Atrocities against Allah’s Messenger.

Abu Lahab who lived next door the Prophet initiated the new series of persecution against the Prophet SAW. He threw stones at him, forcing his two sons to divorce their wives Ruqaiyah and Umi Kalthum, whom were the Prophet daughters,[6] and showed his delighters over the death of Prophet’s second son and called Muhammad as “the man who had severed off with offspring”[7] And shadowing Prophet Muhammad when he met the pilgrims and the Bedouins.

His wife, Umi Jamil binti Harb, the sister of Abu Suffian had also had her share in the merciless campaign. In order to cause bodily injury to Prophet SAW she would tie bundles of thorns with ropes of twisted palm leaf fiber and scattered them in the paths which Prophet SAW was expected to take. She had a high skill in the art of hatching intrigues and enkindling the fire of hatred and enmity so much so she is mentioned in the Quran as “the carrier of firewood”. An on receiving this news she directly proceeded to Ka’abah with pebbles to throw at the Prophet SAW. Allah SWT took away her sight and could only see Abu Bakar next to Prophet SAW and said to Abu Bakar:

“We have disobeyed the dispraised one, rejected his Call, and alienated ourselves from his religion.”

When she left the Prophet said to Abu Bakar: “He did not see me. Allah prevented her from being able to see me” [8].

Similarly other neighbors of the Prophet too would cause harm at his house as well. This included Abu Lahab, Al-Hakam bin Abul-‘As bin Umaiyah, ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu’ait, ‘Adi bin Hamra’ Al-Thaqafi and Ibn Al-Asda’-Al-Hudhali. One of them threw the womb of a sheep on him while he was praying; another threw a pot of prepared. Prophet had to find rock to shield from them when he conducted the solah.

Al-Bukhari, on the authority of Ibn Mas’ud narrated: “Once Prophet was offering prayers near Ka’abah; Abu Jahal was sitting with his companions. Some of them said, who among you will bring the camel and put it on the back of Muhammad, when he prostrates? Uqbah bin Abi Mu’ait got up and brought it and waited till the Prophet prostrated and put on his back. I was watching but could not do anything. They started laughing and falling on none another. Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet SAW came and removed it.

The Prophet raised and said thrice: “O Allah Destroy the (infidel of the) Quraish.” The Prophet also invoked Allah SWT against Abu Jahal and his seven companions:

‘O Allah! Destroy Abu Jahal, ‘Utbah bin Rabi’ah, Shibah bin Rabi’ah, Al-Walid bin ‘Utbah, Umaiyah bin Khalaf, and ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu’ait…’".

They were killed in the Battle of Badar. [9]. The seventh person was ‘Umarah bin Al-Walid [Sahih Al-Bukhari, no. 520]

Umiayah bin Khalaf would slander against the Prophet. It was about him Allah revealed:

“Woe to every slander and backbiter.” [Surah Al-Humazah, 104:1]

Ibn Hisham said, “Al-Humazah is the one who publicly mocks a person… and Al-Lumazah is the one who secretly declares the defects of people and defames them. [10].

The same with Al-Akhnas bin Shuraq Al-Thaqafi. The Quran in direct reference to him state the nine repulsive characteristics:

“ And obey not everyone who swears much, and is considered worthless, a slanderer, going about with calumnies, hinderer of the good, transgressor, sinful, cruel , after all that of illegitimate birth.” [Surah Al-Qalam, 68: 10-13] [11]

Darul Al-Arqam.

In the midst of the midst of harassment and persecution by the Quraish the Prophet advise his followers to conceal their conversion, both words and deeds. He met them secretly lest the Quraish in order to avoid the open confrontation. But the Quraish followed their footsteps and abused them. Once in the fourth year of the Call Sa’ad bin Waqas beat a polytheist and shed blood thus recorded the first instance in the bloodshed in the history of Islam. [12]. When he preached openly there was the need for the general welfare of the converts and the consideration of the strategic interest of Islam. He took Darul Al-Arqam, the estates of Al-Arqam bin Abul-Arqam Al-Makhzumi on As-Safa as a temporary center to meet his followers secretly and instructs them the Quran and the Islamic wisdom.


1. Ibn Hisham 1/320.
2. Rahmatul-lil-‘Alamin 1/58.
3. Ibn Hisham 1/317-318
4. Ibn Hisham 1/265.
5. Ibn Hisham 1/266.
6. Usdul-Ghabah
7. Tafsir Ibn Kathir; Surat Al-Kawthar.
8. Ibn Hisham 1/335, 336.
9. Sahih Bukhari 1/37.
10. Ibn Hisham. 1/356. 357.
11. Ibn Hisham 1/356.
12. Ibn Hisham1/263.

®srikandeh: The Sealed Nectar.

See: Prophet Muhammad.10.

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