The Quraysh were unable to divert these young Muslims from their religion and the Messenger of Allah remained defiant. The Quraysh became so irritated by their helplessness that the more foolish among them started to attack the Messenger of Allah. They even accused him of sorcery, divining and madness. They left no stone unturned in their efforts to harm him.
One day when the Quraysh nobles had met in the Hijr, the Messenger of Allah appeared and passed by them doing tawaf of the Ka'bah. They called out disparagingly to him three times. He stopped and spoke to them, 'Company of Quraysh, are you listening? By the One who has my soul in His hand, I have brought you slaughter.'
Shocked by these words, the people fell silent. Realizing that they had been rude, they began to speak to him more pleasantly.
The next day the Messenger of Allah appeared again but quickly they surrounded him and attacked him all together. One of them took hold of his cloak. Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) stood up weeping and cried, 'Would you kill a man just for saying: My Lord is Allah?' When Abu Bakr returned later that day however, they attacked him and tore out some of his hair and dragged him along by his beard.
On another occasion when the Messenger of Allah went out everyone he met, both free men and slaves, ignored him or tried to hurt him. He returned home and wrapped himself up warmly because he was so distressed by what had happened to him. Allah revealed to him, 'O you enshrouded, rise up and warn!' (74: 1)
The Quraysh attack Abu Bakr
One day Abu Bakr boldly invited the idolworship- pers to turn towards Allah and His Messenger. Furious, they fell upon him, beating him and trampling on him. 'Utbah ibn Rabi'ah beat him on the face with a pair of sandals until his face was so swollen that his cheeks could not be distinguished from his nose.
The Banu Taym carried the unconscious Abu Bakr home. They were certain that he was going to die. In the late afternoon he woke up and asked, 'How is the Messenger of Allah?'
His relations rebuked him as he had shown concern for the man on whose account he had been beaten up. They left him alone with his mother Umm Khayr who had not as yet become a Muslim. Then Umm Jamil, who had become a Muslim, approached him and he asked her about the Messenger of Allah. She reported, 'He is well and safe.'
'By Allah,' he said, 'I will not taste food or drink until
I see the Messenger of Allah!'
When it was dark and everything had calmed down, Umm Jamil and Umm Khayr took him to the Messenger of Allah who showed great tenderness towards him. He made supplication for Abu Bakr's mother and called her to Allah. She became a Muslim too.
The Quraysh are confused
The Quraysh were confused about the Messenger of Allah. They did not know how to cope with the problem of visitors from afar listening to him in Makkah. They asked the advice of al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah, an old man of some experience. It was at the time of the pilgrimage. Al-Walid said, 'Men of the Quraysh! It is the time of the festival and the delegations of the Arabs will be coming to you. They have already heard about this companion of yours. Therefore agree on one opinion about him and do not disagree so that you contradict and refute each other.'
They had a long discussion with much give and take but Al-Walid was not pleased with their conclusion and criticized it. They came back to him to ask, 'What then do you say, Abu 'Abd Shams?'
'The nearest thing to the truth is your saying that he is a magician who has brought a kind of magic that separates a man from his father, a man from his brother, a man from his wife, and a man from his tribe.'
The gathering then broke up and the Quraysh began to sit by the paths used by the people coming to the festival. They warned everyone who passed to keep clear of the Messenger of Allah and gave their reasons.
The Quraysh step up their hostilities
The Quraysh treated the Messenger of Allah harshly, ignoring the fact that he was a relative and deserved their respect.
One day while the Prophet was prostrating in the mosque surrounded by some of the Quraysh, 'Uqbah ibn Abi Mu'ayt threw the innards of a slaughtered animal on to the Prophet's back but he did not even lift his head. His daughter Fatimah came and removed them, cursing those who had committed the evil deed and the Prophet cursed them as well.
Another time, while the Prophet was praying in the Hijr of the Ka'bah, 'Uqbah ibn Abi Mu'ayt tried to throttle him with his own clothes. Abu Bakr grabbed 'Uqbah's shoulder and pulled him from the Prophet, saying, 'Would you kill a man just for saying, "My Lord is Allah"?'
Hamzah ibn 'Abdu'l-Muttalib accepts Islam
One day Abu Jahl passed by the Messenger of Allah at Safa hurling insults and cursing him, but when the Messenger of Allah ignored him, he left him alone.
Soon afterwards Hamzah ibn 'Abdu'l-Muttalib arrived on the scene, returning from the hunt, carrying his bow. He was the strongest of the Quraysh and the most courageous. A slavewoman of 'Abdullah ibn Jud'an told him what had happened to the Messenger of Allah. Hamzah was filled with rage. He entered the mosque and saw Abu Jahl sitting with his friends. He went towards him until he was standing over him, raised his bow and hit him with it, giving him a nasty head wound. Then he said, 'Do you insult him when I follow his religion? I say what he says.'
Abu Jahl was silent and Hamzah became a Muslim. That was a great blow to the Quraysh because Hamzah was widely respected and his courage was legendary.
'Utbah and the Messenger of Allah
When the Quraysh saw that the Companions of the Messenger of Allah were increasing in number, 'Utbah ibn Rabi'ah suggested that he go to the Messenger of Allah and try to patch up their differences. If the Quraysh made some concessions, he might agree to leave off his mission. 'Utbah was given permission to negotiate on their behalf. He went to the Messenger of Allah and sat down beside him. 'Nephew,' he said, 'you know your standing among us, but you have brought a matter of grave concern to your people. You have divided their community, made fun of their customs, criticized their gods and their religion and declared some of their ancestors to be unbelievers. Now, listen to me. I will make some proposals for you to examine and perhaps you will accept some of them.'
The Messenger of Allah said, 'Speak, Abu'l-Walid. I am listening.'
'Nephew,' 'Utbah continued, 'If you want money by this business, we will collect some of our property and make you the wealthiest among us. If you want honour, we will make you our chief so that every decision is yours. If you want a kingdom, we will make you our king. If you are possessed by a ghost of a jinn that you cannot drive away from yourself, we will find skilful doctors to help you. We will spend our wealth on it till you are cured.'
When 'Utbah had finished, the Messenger of Allah asked, 'Have you finished, Abu'l-Walid?'
'Then listen to me.'
'I will,' said 'Utbah.
Then the Messenger of Allah recited some verses from Surah Fussilat. 'Utbah listened intently, putting his hands behind his back and leaning on them. When the Messenger of Allah reached the place mentioning prostra- tion, he prostrated and then said, 'You have heard what you have heard, Abu'l-Walid. It is now up to you.'
'Utbah returned to his companions who com- mented, 'Abu'l-Walid has come back with a different expression on his face to the one he went with."
When he sat down beside them, they asked him what had happened.
'By Allah!' he said, 'I have heard words the like of which I have never heard before. By Allah, it is neither poetry nor magic nor soothsaying. O men of Quraysh! Obey me! Leave this man alone with what he has. Be considerate towards him and don't interfere.'
'By Allah,' they said, 'He has bewitched you with his tongue, Abu'l-Walid!'
'This is my opinion about him,' he replied. 'You do as you see fit.'
Mohammad The Last Prophet A Model For All Time
The Muslims' hijrah to Abyssinia
When the Messenger of Allah saw the persecution to which his Companions were subjected and from which he could not protect them, he suggested to them, 'If you were to go to Abyssinia, you would find a king there who does not wrong anyone. It is a friendly land and you could stay there until Allah grants us relief.'
A group of Muslims left for Abyssinia and it was the first hijrah in Islam. Ten men, over whom 'Uthman ibn Maz'un was in charge (may Allah be pleased with him), went first. Then Ja'far ibn Abi Talib departed and other Muslims followed them. Some took their families and some went alone. In all eighty-three made the hijrah to Abyssi- nia.
The Quraysh pursue the Muslims
The Quraysh were even more annoyed when they saw that the Muslims were safe and secure in Abyssinia. They sent 'Abdullah ibn Abi Rabi'ah and 'Amr ibn al-'As ibn Wa'il there bearing gifts collected for the Negus and his generals. The choicest goods of Makkah were used to try to influence the Abyssinians in their favour. The delegation won over the generals who were pleased with their gifts and they were able to speak to the king. They told him, 'Some of our foolish fellows have taken refuge in your majesty's dominions. They have abandoned the religion of their people, but have not entered your religion. They have brought an invented religion which neither we nor you know. The nobles of our people - their fathers, uncles and clans-have sent us to ask you to return them to us. They are closest to them and know them best."
The generals added, 'They are speaking the truth, O King. Hand them over to them.'
However, the Negus became angry and refused to accept what they said. He would not surrender anyone who had taken refuge with him in his realm. He swore by Allah and summoned the Muslims. He also summoned his bishops. He said to the Muslims, 'What is it that you have abandoned the religion of your people for, yet not entered into my religion nor any other religion?'
Ja'far ibn Abi Talib defines Islam
Ja'far ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of the Messenger of Allah, rose to explain:
O King! we were a people of ignorance who worshipped idols, ate dead animals, committed abominations, broke off ties of kinship, treated our neighbours badly, and the strong among us abused the weak. We were like that until Allah sent a Messenger to us. We knew his noble birth, his honesty, trustworthiness and decency. He called us to proclaim the oneness of Allah and to worship Him and to renounce the stones and idols which we and our fathers were worshipping. He commanded us to speak the truth, to be faithful, to maintain ties of kinship, to be good to neighbours and to refrain from crimes and bloodshed. He has forbidden us abomi-nations, lies, taking property from orphans and slandering chaste women. He has commanded us to worship Allah alone and not to associate anything with Him and to pray, give zakat and fast.
He enumerated the other commands of Islam. Then he continued:
So we have affirmed him and believed in him and have followed him in whatever he brought from Allah. We worship Allah alone and do not associate anything with Him. We consider unlawful what he has told us is unlawful and lawful what he has told us is lawful. For this reason alone our people have attacked us, tortured us and forced us from our religion. They intend to make us revert to the worship of idols instead of praising Allah Almighty. They want us to consider lawful the evil actions which we used to consider lawful.
When they tortured us and hemmed us in, and came between us and our religion, we left for your kingdom, choosing you because we needed your protection. We hoped that we would be treated fairly while we were with you, O King!
The Negus listened to all of this patiently. Then he asked, 'Do you have with you anything your companion brought from Allah?'
'Yes,' said Ja'far.
'Then recite it to me.'
Ja'far recited the beginning of Surah Maryam. The Negus wept until his beard was wet and the bishops wept until their books were damp with their tears.
The Qurayshi mission fails
Then the Negus said, 'This and what 'Isa brought have come from the same source.'
He turned to the deputation of Quraysh, saying, 'Go! By Allah, I will never hand them over to you.'
The next morning 'Amr ibn al-'As went to the Negus with a shrewd plan. 'O King, they say terrible things about 'Isa son of Maryam!'
The King turned to the Muslims and said, 'What do you say about 'Isa ibn Maryam?'
'We say about him what our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) brought,' Ja'far ibn Abi Talib replied. 'That he was the servant of Allah, His Messenger, His Spirit and His word which He cast to the blessed Virgin Maryam.'
The Negus took a stick from the ground and said, 'By Allah, 'Isa ibn Maryam did not add to what you have said by so much as the length of this stick!'
He treated the Muslims with honour and gave them security. The two Qurayshi messengers had to leave in disgrace.
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