We have previously discussed the ‘Miracles of Islam’ and in that article we very briefly touched on the advent of the ‘Hijrah,’ the Flight to Medina by the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), that incidentally also marks the start of the Muslim Calender.
We also spoke about Qureish’s (leading Arab tribe in Mecca, at that time) plan of getting rid of Muhammed (pbuh) once and for all, by appointing the seven young men of all the seven tribes of Mecca to strike as one and kill the Prophet (pbuh).
We discussed how Allah revealed to Muhammed (pbuh) Qureish’s evil intentions and how the Prophet (pbuh) got his cousin Ali(son of Abu Talib) to sleep in his bed, knowing that Qureish would not harm Ali, and how the Prophet (pbuh) slipped past the seven young men during the night and disappeared into the desert, accompanied by his close friend, Abu Bakr.
One point of note, though, is Qureish’s newfound boldness in going over to such drastic action of actually killing Muhammed (pbuh)!
We learnt previously how the clansmen seemed satisfied with persecuting and terrorizing the Prophet’s (pbuh) followers, and how they relished abusing Muhammed (pbuh) personally, by casting thorn bushes in his path where he walked, or emptying filth over his person while he performed his ‘Five Daily Prayers’ at the ‘Kaabah’ (black-clothed building in the center of Mecca)!
It is recorded that Abu Jahl, a relative of the Prophet (pbuh), took immense pleasure in pouring the entrails, as well as the faeces, of a dead goat over the Prophet (pbuh) while he went into prostration—especially since this caused the Prophet (pbuh) great distress and stopped him from continuing his prayers.
Strangely enough though, Qureish, on their part, did try to come to some sort of arrangement with the Prophet (pbuh) when they ultimately realized that Islam was not just another fly-by-night entity, dreamt up by some ambitious trier—especially when people like Hamza and Umar and some other notables embraced the Religion.
They first sent someone by the name of Utbah bin Rabiah to the Prophet (pbuh) to find out what it was he wanted, hence his passion in spreading the ‘Message of Islam’.
And the words of Utbah bin Rabiah have been recorded, who said, ‘O Muhammed (pbuh) why do you persist in spreading the Religion of Islam? Can you not see the enmity and hatred you are causing between the people of Mecca? Can you not see the division you are causing between brothers and sister, even your own family! What is it you want, Muhammed (pbuh)?’
The Prophet (pbuh) did not answer immediately and Utbah continued. ‘I swear that if it is power that you want you can have it. The clansmen of Qureish are prepared to make you king of Arabia if you so want to. They have instructed me to tell you that!’
And still the Prophet (pbuh) did not answer.
‘Or perhaps a woman..?’ Utbah enquired slyly. ‘Perhaps a lady of very high standing and exquisite beauty..?’
Muhammed (pbuh) suddenly started reading a verse from the Holy Quran and Utbah looked at him strangely. ‘Why are you doing this?’
The Prophet (pbuh) continued reading and Utbah fell silent as he listened to the words. He couldn’t exactly fathom what was happening to him, but whatever it was, it was so beautiful that he sat open-mouthed as the Prophet (pbuh) ended off.
‘By God! I swear to you, O Muhammed (pbuh)…’ Utbah bin Rabiah exclaimed, jumping up when the Prophet (pbuh) finished. ‘On the lives of my family…You shall not be harmed…I swear to you! You shall not be harmed by any one of us!’ And he left.
Naturally, Qureish were not impressed when they heard Utbah bin Rabiah telling them that what he had heard was not the rantings of a mad man or the fancies of a power-hungry fortune seeker, but rather the ‘Divine Injunctions’ of a ‘Much Higher Being’, and that Muhammed (pbuh) was truly a messenger of this ‘Being’!
Qureish then sent a delegation to Abu Talib, the Prophet’s (pbuh) uncle, imploring him to stop his nephew from preaching Islam, and to stop vilifying their deities as well.
Abu Talib summoned his nephew and started off by telling the Prophet (pbuh) that he, Abu Talib, was an old man and that the last thing he wanted was for any harm to come to Muhammed (pbuh). Qureish, he had lamented, were desperate in their intentions of halting the Prophet’s (pbuh) mission, but they had repeated their offer that they had initially sent Utbah bin Rabiah with, and they were serious in making Muhammed (pbuh) king of Arabia, if that’s what he desired.
The Prophet’s (pbuh) answer to all this was: ‘If they should put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left I shall not turn my back on Allah!’
But during the 10th year of prophet-hood (the year the Prophet (pbuh) ascended into the ‘Seventh Heaven’ to receive the Revelation about the ‘Five Daily Prayers’) Muhammed (pbuh) suffered a major blow in his life. First: He lost Khadija, his beloved wife, his soul-mate who had stuck with him through all the trials and tribulations; the one who had consoled him when he had stood at the edge of the precipice of despair so many times! and who happened to be one of the ‘First Muslims’.
Not long after that (some reporters say a few days, others a few weeks), Abu Talib, his beloved uncle, passed away.
One can only imagine what this must have done to Qureish’s morale. Here, finally, was the answer to all their prayers! Abu Talib, perhaps the only person who stood in their way of eradicating Muhammed (pbuh), was gone!
As we have explained previously, there were many tribes in Mecca that came under the umbrella of the leading tribe of Qureish. And in some way or another they were all related or connected, either by blood lineage or intermarriage. Banu Hashim, the tribe which the Prophet (pbuh) belonged to, was a very strong tribe with great influence. In fact, they were the tribe who were the custodians of the ‘Kaabah’ and one could only enter the holy sanctity of the black-stoned building with their permission. They held the key to the ‘Kaabah’.
Abu Talib, being the leader of the Banu Hashim, held great sway in Mecca. Nobody questioned his authority. But what none of the clansmen could understand was why he backed up the Prophet (pbuh) since he didn’t accept Islam himself.
Nonetheless, now that he was gone, Qureish could put their heinous plans into action, and we find that after the seven young men of all the seven tribes of Mecca reported their failure at killing the Prophet (pbuh)—as we have explained before—the clansmen summoned all their able-bodied men and mounted a manhunt that was unequaled in that time, or any other time, for that matter.