بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah The most Gracious The Most Merciful
The Persecution began with Abu Lahab flinging stones at the Prophet, forcing his two sons to divorce their wives Ruqaiya and Umm Kulthum, the Prophet’s daughters, gloating over him on the Prophet’s second son’s death calling him the man cut off with offspring’. His wife proved that she was not less than her husband in the enmity and hatred she harbored for the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). She used to tie bundles of thorns with ropes of twisted palm-leaf fiber and strew them about in the paths which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was expected to take, in order to cause him bodily injury. She was a real shrew, bad-tempered with abusive language, highly skilled in the art of hatching intrigues, and enkindling the fire of discord and sedition. She was deservedly stained as the carrier of firewood’ in the Noble Qur’an. On receiving this news, she directly proceeded to the Mosque with a handful of pebbles to hurl at the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Allâh, the Great, took away her sight and she saw only Abu Bakr who was sitting immediately next to the Prophet (Peace be upon him). She then addressed Abu Bakr most audaciously threatening to break his Companion’s mouth with her handful of pebbles, and recited a line of verse pregnant with impudent defiance: We have disobeyed the dispraised one, rejected his Call, and alienated ourselves from his religion. When she had left, Abu Bakr turned to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and inquired about the matter. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) assured him that she did not see him because Allâh had taken away her sight.
Al-Bukhari, on the authority of Ibn Masud, narrated that once when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was prostrating himself while praying in Al-Kabah, Abu Jahl asked his companions to bring the dirty foetus of a she-camel and place it on his back. Uqbah bin Abi Muait was the unfortunate man who hastened to do this ignoble act. A peal of laughter rose amongst the infidels. In the meanwhile, Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), happened to pass that way. She removed the filth from her father’s back. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) invoked the wrath of Allâh upon them, especially upon Abu Jahl, Utbah bin Rabia, Shaibah bin Rabia, Al-Waleed bin Utbah, Omaiyah bin Khalaf and Uqbah bin Muait. It is recorded that all of them were killed in the battle of Badr.
The uncle of Uthman bin Affan used to wrap Uthman in a mat of palm leaves, and set fire under him.
The mother of Musab bin Umair heard of her son’s conversion, she put him to starvation and then expelled him from her house. He used to enjoy full luxurious easy life, but in the aftermath of the tortures he sustained, his skin got wizened, and he assumed a horrible physical appearance.
Bilal, the slave of Omaiyah bin Khalaf, was severely beaten by his master when the latter came to know of his conversion to Islam. Abu Bakr was passing by; moved by pity, he purchased and emancipated him from slavery. Ammar bin Yasir, a freed slave of Bani Makhzoum along with his mother and father, embraced Islam in its early phase. They were repeatedly made to lie on the burning sand and were beaten severely. Ammar was at times tossed up on embers. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was greatly moved by the atrocities which were being perpetrated upon Ammar and his family. He always comforted them and raised his hand in prayer and said: Be patient, you will verily find your abode in the Paradise. Yasir, the father, died because of repeated tortures. Sumaiyah, Ammar’s mother was bayoneted to death by Abu Jahl himself, and thus merited the title of the first woman martyr in Islam. Abu Fakeeh, Aflah, a freed slave of Bani Abd Ad-Dar was the third of those helpless victims. The oppressors used to fasten his feet with a rope and drag him in the streets of Makkah.
Khabbab bin Al-Aratt was also an easy victim to similar outrages on every possible occasion. He experienced exemplary torture and maltreatment. The Makkan polytheists used to pull his hair and twist his neck, and made him lie on burning coal with a big rock on his chest to prevent him from escaping. Some Muslims of rank and position were wrapped in the raw skins of camels and thrown away, and others were put in armours and cast on burning sand in the scorching sun of Arabia. Zanirah, An-Nahdiyah and her daughter, Umm Ubais and many others had their full share of persecution at the hand of the oppressors.
The persecution continued and the ayah was revealed: Good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world, and Allâh’s earth is spacious (so if you cannot worship Allâh at a place, then go to another)! Only those who are patient shall receive their rewards in full without reckoning.” [39:10]. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had already known that Ashamah Negus, king of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), was a fair ruler who would not wrong any of his subordinates, so he permitted some of his followers to seek asylum there in Abyssinia (Ethiopia). In Rajab of the fifth year of Prophethood, a group of twelve men and four women left for Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Among the emigrants were ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan and his wife Ruqaiyah [the daughter of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)]. With respect to these two emigrants, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “They are the first people to migrate in the cause of Allâh after Abraham and Lot (صلى الله عليه وسلم) .”
The pagans of Makkah decided to approach Abu Talib and insisted that he put a stop to his nephew’s activities, which if allowed unchecked, they said, would involve him into severe hostility. Abu Talib was deeply distressed at this open threat and the breach with his people and their enmity, but he could not afford to desert the Messenger too. He sent for his nephew and told him what the people had said, “Spare me and yourself and put not burden on me that I can’t bear.” Upon this the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) thought that his uncle would let him down and would no longer support him, so he replied: “O my uncle! by Allâh if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on condition that I abandon this course, until Allâh has made me victorious, or I perish therein, I would not abandon it.” The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) got up, and as he turned away, his uncle called him and said, “Come back, my nephew,” and when he came back, he said, “Go and preach what you please, for by Allâh I will never forsake you.” Quraish, seeing that the Messenger of Allâh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was still intent on his Call, realized that Abu Talib would never forsake his nephew even if this incurred their enmity. Some of them then went to see him once more taking with them a youth called ‘Amarah bin Al-Waleed bin Al-Mugheerah, and said, “O Abu Talib! we have brought you a smart boy still in the bloom of his youth, to make use of his mind and strength and take him as your son in exchange for your nephew. Abu Talib’s reply was, “It is really an unfair bargain. You give me your son to bring him up and I give you my son to kill him! By Allâh, it is something incredible!!”
‘Urwa bin Az-Zubair narrated: I asked Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As to tell me of the worst thing that the pagans did to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). He said: “While the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was praying in Al-Hijr of Al-Ka’bah, ‘Uqbah bin Al-Mu’ait came and put his garment around the Prophet’s neck and throttled him violently. Abu Bakr came and caught him by his shoulder and pushed him away from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and said: “Do you want to kill a man just because he says, My Lord is Allâh?” It is recorded that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was one day seated on the hillock of Safa when Abu Jahl happened to pass by and accused the religion preached by him. Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم), however, kept silent and did not utter a single word. Abu Jahl went on unchecked, took a stone and cracked the Prophet’s head which began to bleed. On returning from a hunting trip Hamza heard the story from the slave of ‘Abdullah bin Jada’an, who had noted the impertinence of Abu Jahl. On hearing that, Hamzah was deeply offended and hurried to Al-Ka’bah and there, in the courtyard of the Holy Sanctuary, found Abu Jahl sitting with a company of uraishites. Hamzah rushed upon him and struck his bow upon his head violently and said: “Ah! You have been abusing Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم); I too follow his religion and profess what he preaches.”
The second most important conversion was that of Umar ibn Al Khattaab. Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) once raised his hands in prayer and said: “O Allâh! Give strength to Islam especially through either of two men you love more: ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab or Abu Jahl bin Hisham.” ‘Umar, obviously, was the one who merited that privilege.
Shortly after the conversion of these two powerful heroes, Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib and ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him), the clouds of tyranny and
oppression started to clear away and the polytheists realized that it was no use meting out torture to the Muslims. They consequently began to direct their campaign to a different
course. The authentic records of the biography of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) show that it had occurred to the Makkan leaders to credit Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) with ambition.
One day the Quraish approached the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and Utbah spoke on their behalf: He said, “We have seen no other man of Arabia, who has brought so great a
calamity to a nation, as you have done. You have outraged our gods and religion and taxed our forefathers and wise men with impiety and error and created strife amongst us. You
have left no stone unturned to estrange the relations with us. If you are doing all this with a view to getting wealth, we will join together to give you greater riches than any
Quraishite has possessed. If ambition moves you, we will make you our chief. If you desire kingship we will readily offer you that. If you are under the power of an evil spirit
which seems to haunt and dominate you so that you cannot shake off its yoke, then we shall call in skilful physicians to cure you.
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in reply to this recited this ayah from the Quran:
“In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. Hâ-Mîm. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’ân, and none but Allâh (Alone) knows their meanings]. A revelation from Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. A Book whereof the verses are explained in detail; — a Qur’ân in Arabic for people who know. Giving glad tidings [of Paradise to the one who believes in the Oneness of Allâh (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) and fears Allâh much (abstains from all kinds of sins and evil deeds.) and loves Allâh much (performing all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)], and warning (of punishment in the Hell-fire to the one who disbelieves in the Oneness of Allâh), but most of them turn away, so they listen not. And they say: Our hearts are under coverings (screened) from that to which you invite us …” [41: 1-5]
Utbah returned to his people and informed them of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) reply. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Well Abu Al-Waleed! You have heard my reply, you are
now free to do whatever you please.” When his compatriots saw him, they swore that he had returned to them with a countenance unlike the one he had before meeting the
Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). `Utbah explained to them, O people of Quraish! I request you to heed my advice and grant the man full freedom to pursue his goals, in which case you could safely detach yourselves from him. I swear that his words bear a supreme Message. Should the other Arabs rid you of him, they will then spare you the trouble, on the other hand if he accedes to power over the Arabs, then you will bask in his kingship and share him his might.” These words of course fell on deaf ears, and did not appeal to the infidels, who jeered at ‘Utbah and claimed that The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had bewitched him.
In Rajab, the tenth year of the Prophethood, Abu Talib fell ill and passed away. On the authority of Al-Musaiyab, when Abu Talib was on the death bed, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) entered the room where he saw Abu Jahl and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Omaiyah. He requested his uncle: “My uncle, you just make a profession that there is no true god but Allâh, and I will bear testimony before Allâh (of your being a believer)”. Abu Jahl and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Omaiyah addressing him said: “Abu Talib, would you abandon the religion of ‘Abdul-Muttalib?” The Messenger of Allâh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) constantly requested him (to accept his offer), and (on the other hand) was repeated the same statement (of Abu Jahl and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Omaiyah) — till Abu Talib gave his final decision and he stuck to the religion of ‘Abdul-Muttalib and refused to profess that there is no true god but Allâh. Upon this the Messenger of Allâh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) remarked:“By Allâh, I will persistently beg pardon for you till I am forbidden to do so (by Allâh)”.
It was then that Allâh, the Magnificent and Glorious revealed this verse:
“It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allâh’s forgiveness for the Mushrikûn (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh) even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in a state of disbelief).” [9:113]
And it was said to the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him):
“Verily! You [O Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ] guide not whom you like.” [28:56]
Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib narrated that he said to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) “You have not been of any avail to your uncle (Abu Talib) (though) by Allâh, he used to protect you and get angry on your behalf.” The Prophet said: “He is in a shallow fire, and had it not been for me, he would have been at the bottom of the (Hel (صلى الله عليه وسلم) l) Fire.”
Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudri narrated that he heard the Prophet (Peace be upon him) say, when the mention of his uncle was made, “I hope that my intercession may avail him, and he be placed in a shallow fire that rises up only to his heels.”
Only two months after the death of his uncle, did the Messenger of Allâh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) experience another great personal loss viz., the Mother of believers, his wife Khadijah passed away in Ramadan of the tenth year of his Prophethood, when she was sixty-five years old, and he was fifty. Khadijah was in fact a blessing of Allâh for the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). She, for twenty-five years, shared with him the toils and trials of life, especially in the first ten years of his ministry of Prophethood. He deeply mourned over her death, and once he replied in an honest burst of tender emotions:
“She believed in me when none else did. She embraced Islam when people disbelieved me. And she helped and comforted me in her person and wealth when there was none else to lend me a helping hand. I had children from her only.”
Abu Hurairah reported that Gabriel came to Allâh’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) and said: “Allâh’s Messenger, lo, Khadijah is coming to you with a vessel of seasoned food or drink. When she comes to you, offer her greetings from her Lord, and give her glad tidings of a palace of jewels in Paradise where there is no noise and no toil.”
These two painful events took place within a short lapse of time and added a lot to his grief and suffering. The Makkans now openly declared their campaign of torture and oppression. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) lost all hope of bringing them back to the right path, so he set out for Al-Ta’if seeking a supportive atmosphere. But there too, he was disappointed and he sustained unbearable tortures and maltreatment that far outweighed his miserable situation in his native town.
The death of Abu Talib rendered the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) vulnerable, and the polytheists availed them of that opportunity to give free rein to their hatred and highhandedness and to translate them in terms of oppression and physical tortures. Once an insolent Quraishite intercepted him and sprinkled sand on his head. When he arrived home, a daughter of his washed the sand away and wept. “Do not weep, my daughter. Allâh will verily protect your father.” The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said.
Rapid succession of misfortunes, led the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to call that period, ‘the year of grief and mourning’.
….(contd 3rd Phase)