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[III]-Introducing Islam, and friends turn foe
 Khadijah's Islam and her character

Khadijah hated the behaviour of the people of Makkah, as anyone of sound mind would have detested the atrocities committed by them. She was the first to believe in Allah and His Messenger. She was always at her husband's side helping him through difficult times. She used to lighten his burden and offer him comfort while assuring him of her confidence in his Message.


 Ali ibn Abi Talib and Zayd ibn Harithah accept Islam

After Khadijah, Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) accepted Islam. He was ten years old at the time and living in the house of the Messenger of Allah. When Abu Talib went through a period of hardship during a famine, the Messenger of Allah had taken his son Ali into his own home and brought him up.

Zayd ibn Harithah, the freed slave of the Messenger of Allah, whom he had adopted, also became a Muslim. The Islam of these people reflected the beliefs of those who knew the Messenger of Allah best. They had witnessed his truthfulness, sincerity and good behaviour. The people who live in a house always know best what is in it.


 Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah accepts Islam

Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah also accepted Islam. He had a high position among the Quraysh because of his intellect, strength and sense of justice. He made his Islam known. He was a simple likeable man who knew the full history of the Quraysh. He was a merchant known for his good character and fair dealing. He began to call others to Allah and those of his friends whom he trusted would come and sit with him to discuss the new ideas.


 Quraysh noblemen accept Islam

Through Abu Bakr's work, some of the powerful Quraysh noblemen became Muslims. Uthman ibn Affan, Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf, Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas and Talhah ibn Ubaydullah were among those he brought to the Messenger of Allah.

They were followed by other influential men of the Quraysh, including Abu Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah, al-Arqam ibn Abi'l-Arqam, Uthman ibn Maz'un, Ubaydah ibn al-Harith ibn al-Muttalib, Sa'id ibn Zayd, Khabbab ibn al-Aratt, Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, Ammar ibn Yasir, and Suhayb (may Allah be pleased with them all).

Men and women flowed into Islam until everyone in Makkah was talking about the new faith.


 The call to Islam on Mount Safa

The Messenger of Allah kept his mission secret for three years. Then Allah commanded him to display His religion openly, saying, 'Loudly proclaim what you are commanded and turn away from the idol-worshippers.'(l5: 94) He also said, 'Warn your clan, your nearest kin, and lower your wing to those of the believers who follow you' (26: 214-15) and 'Say: I am the clear warner.' (15: 89)

The Prophet climbed up on to the mountain of Safa and called out as loudly as he could, 'Ya Sabahah!'

This was a well-known cry used to assemble the community in an emergency. When there was any danger of an enemy attacking a city or a tribe, the call, 'Ya Sabahah' would ring out. The Quraysh were always quick to respond. They gathered round the Messenger of Allah, who said, 'O Banu Abdul-Muttalib! O Banu Fihr! O Banu Ka'b! If I told you that there were horses on the other side of this mountain about to attack you, would you believe me!'

The Arabs were practical and realistic. They saw in front of them a man noted for his truthfulness, trustworthiness and sincerity standing on a mountain. He was able to see both what was in front of him and behind him, while they could only see what was in front of them. Their intelligence and sense of justice allowed them to confirm this statement.

'Yes,' they replied.

Then the Messenger of Allah said, 'I warn you of a terrible punishment.'

The people were silent, except Abu Lahab who said, 'May you perish for this! Did you only summon us here for this!'

Enmity of the Quraysh and Abu Talib's concern


When the Messenger of Allah openly proclaimed the call to Islam and called out the truth as he had been commanded to do by Allah, his people did not distance themselves from him nor reject him. However, when he criticised their gods, they regarded him as a menace and united in opposition against him.

His uncle, Abu Talib, concerned about the Messenger of Allah protected him and stood up for him. The Prophet continued in his mission, loudly proclaiming the truth. Nothing deterred him and Abu Talib continued to Care for him and defend him.

Eventually, a group of men of the Quraysh went to Abu Talib threatening, Abu Talib! Your nephew has cursed our gods and criticised our religion and ridiculed our Customs and called our fathers misguided. Either leave him to us or there will be a split between us and you. You have the same religion and creed as we do.'

Abu Talib spoke reassuringly to them, and they left satisfied However, the Quraysh constantly discussed the Messenger of Allah and goaded each other on. They went to Abu Talib a second time, saying, Abu Talib! You have age, honour and position among us. We had hoped that you would stop your nephew, but you have not done so. By Allah, we cannot endure any longer this cursing of our fathers and ridiculing of our customs and criticism of our idols. Let us have him or we will put him and you in such a position that one or other of us will be destroyed.

The division and enmity of his people was a terrible burden for Abu Talib but he did not want to surrender the Messenger of Allah to them. He said, 'Nephew, your people have come to me with threats. Spare me and yourself and do not burden me with more than I can bear.'

If the sun had been placed in my right hand and the moon in my left ...


The Messenger of Allah saw that Abu Talib was very upset by what had happened and was finding it hard to carry on helping him. He said, 'Uncle, by Allah, if they were to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand on condition that I abandon this business, I would still not leave it until Allah makes it victorious or I die doing it.'

The Messenger of Allah wept, then rose and turned away. Abu Talib called out to him, 'Turn round, nephew!'

The Messenger of Allah returned. Abu Talib told him, 'Nephew go and say whatever you like. By Allah, I will never surrender you to anyone.'


 The Quraysh torture the Muslims

The Messenger of Allah continued to call people to Allah and the Quraysh despaired of both him and Abu Talib. Their anger descended on those of their fellow tribesmen who had become Muslims and were defenceless.

Every clan targeted those who had become Muslims. They began to imprison them and torture them with beatings, hunger and thirst, even leaving them exposed on the sun-baked ground of Makkah when the heat was most intense.

Bilal, an Abyssinian, who had become a Muslim, was taken out on to the plain of Makkah by his master Umayyah ibn Khalaf and left flat on his back in the midday heat. His master ordered that a huge stone be placed on his chest and declared, 'By Allah, this stone will not be removed until you die or reject Muhammad and worship al-Lat and al-Uzza.'

While he was suffering, Bilal would only say, 'God is One! God is One!'

Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) passed by when he was lying there. He gave Umayyah a black slave who was stronger and sturdier in exchange for Bilal and he set Bilal free.

The Banu Makhzum took out Ammar ibn Yasir and his mother and father, who were all Muslims, into the midday heat. They tortured them by leaving them exposed to the midday sun of Makkah. The Messenger of Allah passed by them and said reassuringly, 'Fortitude, family of Yasir! You have the promise of Paradise.'

They endured their persecution until Ammar's mother was killed because she refused to reject Islam.

Mus'ab ibn Umayr was a handsome young man of Makkah whose mother was very wealthy and dressed him well. He heard that the Messenger of Allah was preaching in the house of Arqam ibn Abi'l-Arqam. After hearing about Islam, he became a Muslim. He concealed his religious beliefs because he feared the reaction of his mother and his family and he kept secret his visits to the Messenger of Allah.

However, Uthman ibn Talhah saw him praying and reported it to Mus'ab's family. He was seized and imprisoned. He was denied freedom until he was able to leave for Abyssinia in the first hijrah. When he returned with the other Muslim refugees, he was a changed man. His mother refrained from censuring him, once she saw his piety and destitution.

Some of the Muslims were under the protection of the Quraysh noblemen who were idol-worshippers. Uthman ibn Maz'un was protected by al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah until he felt ashamed of what he was accepting. He dismissed al-Walid's offer of patronage, saying that he wanted the protection of none but Allah.

A heated conversation between him and one of the idol-worshippers ended up with Uthman getting a black eye. Al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah, who was nearby, saw what had happened. He exclaimed, 'By Allah, nephew, your eye would not have suffered like that if you had been well-protected.

'No, by Allah,' Uthman said, 'my good eye needs to suffer the same as happened to its fellow for the sake of Allah. I am under a protection which is stronger and more powerful than any you could give me, O Abu Abd Shams!'


 The Quraysh attack the Messenger of Allah

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. Realising 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 idol-worshippers 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 criticised 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 it a magician who has brought a kind of magic that separates; 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 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' shoulder and pulled him from the Prophet, saying, 'Would you kill a man just for saying, "My Lord is Allah"?'


 Hamzah ibn Abdul-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 Abdul-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, criticised 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, Abul-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, Abul-Walid'

'Yes.'

'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 prostration, he prostrated and then said, 'You have heard what you have heard, Abul-Walid. It is now up to you.'

Utbah returned to his companions who commented, 'Abul-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 soothe-saying. 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, Abul-Walid!'

'This is my opinion about him,' he replied. 'You do as you see fit.'


 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 Abyssinia.