Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) part 2
Resonance of His Call
The followers of the new religion start to grow, and so does the concern of the Quraysh towards them. The elders of Quraysh send Abu Talib, the trusted uncle of the Prophet to him, asking him to stop his call for this new religion, and in return they would give him whatever he would want. “If you want wealth, we will give you as much as you want, if you want women we will marry you the most beautiful women of Arabia, and if you want position and status we will make you the owner-king over us.” When Abu Talib conveys the message of the elders of Quraysh to his nephew-prophet, the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) replies,
“I swear by the Almighty that if they put the Sun in my right hand and the Moon in my left on condition that I desist from this affair I would not leave it until Allah causes it to prevail or I die in the process.”
Then the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) began to weep and rose and made to leave, but Abu Talib called him and said:
‘Come back my nephew. Say what you like my nephew, for by Allah I will never hand you over to them ever.’
The Quraysh realized that it is dealing with a true and determined prophet. From then on, open hostility towards this new religion, its prophet, and its followers started to increase. Lady Khadijah (Sa) dedicates all her wealth and resources for the cause of her prophet-husband’s mission. The extent of this hostility reaches blatant persecution of the followers of the new religion and its prophet.
Neutralise the Messenger and his Message
Then the Quraysh plotted amongst themselves about the companions of the Messenger of Allah who had entered Islam with him from amongst the tribes. Abu Talib protected the Messenger of Allah, and seeing what the Quraysh were doing to the sons of Hashim and Abdul-Muttalib, he called for them to protect the Messenger of Allah just as he was protecting him. So they gathered with him and stood up with him, except for Abu Talib’s brother Abu Lahab and his sons who had assisted the Quraysh against the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) .
Then the Quraysh openly decided to kill the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) .When this news reached Abu Talib he gathered the sons of Hashim and Abdul-Muttalib and took the Messenger of Allah to his quarter and protected him from those who sought to kill him.
The Quraysh imposes total and complete embargo against the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and his followers in all its forms; social, economic, political, etc. No citizen of Mecca is allowed to buy from or sell to them, no one is allowed to marry anyone of them, or even befriend or socialise with them, not even help them. Nor should a peace settlement be accepted from them ever, nor should they be shown mercy until they hand over the Messenger of Allah to be killed.
The Quraysh agreed to draw up a document to this effect, and one of them wrote this document in his own hand, which subsequently was afflicted by paralysis, and then they hung the document inside the Ka‘bah.
The Prophet and many of his followers, and members of the Hashim clan withdrew to Abu Talib and entered the Abu Talib Quarter known as ‘She’b Abu Talib’, which had become their virtual open-top prison. Their condition deteriorated as time went by, and although some friends of sympathisers managed to smuggle in some help to the Muslims, but this was few and far between. There they remained in the quarter for three years until they were exhausted. The voices of the children could be heard from the quarter crying of hunger. They also increased the pressure on those who had entered Islam but had not entered the quarter. The trials became grave and the Muslims were severely shaken. It is reported that Imam Ali (As) son of Abu Talib used to secretly leave the quarter in disguise and fetch foodstuff to the besieged, carrying it on his back, into the quarter.
On one of the divine revelations made to him, the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) informed his uncle Abu Talib that Allah had sent woodworms to their document that had eaten every word except the name of Allah. Having heard this Abu Talib said:
‘No by the falling stars, you have not lied to me.’
Abu Talib set out with a group of the clan of Abdul-Muttalib until he reached the vicinity of the Ka‘bah, which was full of the people of Quraysh. He spoke and said to them:
‘Something has occurred which may be a cause for a settlement between you and us so bring out your document.
‘The time has come for you to accept and recant. Only one man has caused the split between us and you, and you have put your people in jeopardy because of him.’
Abu Talib said:
‘I propose a matter for you in which there is fairness. My nephew has told me and he has not lied to me, that Allah distances Himself from this document and has erased all your treachery and enmity and all that remains written is His name. If it is as he has said then by Allah, we will never hand him over to you until the last of us dies. If what he has said is false then we will hand him over to you so that you may kill him or spare him as you wish.’
‘We agree.’ Then they opened the document and found it as they had been told but some of them clung to their falsehood and obstinacy and said: ‘This is sorcery from your companion.’
Then some of those who had made the pact spoke and tore up the document.
Facing the Torments
The clan of Hashim then felt safe enough to emerge from their quarter and once more mingle with the people. This was in the tenth year of the noble prophethood, circa 620CE.
It was less than six months after the end of this trial when Abu Talib passed away. Then the Prophet’s wife Lady Khadijah (Sa) also died only three days after Abu Talib according to some accounts. Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) was very saddened and named this year the ‘Year of Sorrow’.
The loss of Abu Talib and Lady Khadijah (Sa) dealt a severe blow to the Prophet at a time when he needed these two most. The death of Abu Talib cleared the last hurdle for the Quraysh, and if the presence of Abu Talib imposed certain limits and drew some red lines for the Quraysh that they could not cross, now his death leaves them free to do what was the unthinkable to the Prophet while Abu Talib was alive.
With the death of Abu Talib, the trials meted out by his tribe to the Messenger of Allah grew more naked and audacious.
When the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) was praying by the Ka‘bah, one of the idolaters approached and violently tried to strangle him.
The Quraysh encouraged the foolish ones to throw dirt on the Prophet’s face and head. They used to throw filth and blood and thorns at his door. Ommayah ibn Khalaf used to insult the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) until his face became red but still the Prophet would not say anything to him.
When a fool threw the dirt in the face of the Messenger of Allah, he entered his house with the dirt still on his head. Fatima (As) began to clean the dirt from his head and crying and the Messenger of Allah saying:
‘Do not cry my daughter, Allah will protect your father.’
Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h)
Migration of the Messenger of Allah
The Quraysh and their allies make the decision that Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) must be physically eliminated in order to finish with him and his religion once and for all. But whoever does this would have to deal with the consequences and face the wrath of the respectable Bani-Hashim clan. In order to divide the guilt between as many clans and tribes as possible, forty clans are made to be involved in the task. The best warrior from each clan is chosen for the task. They are instructed to storm the house of Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and every single one of them is to ensure to strike Muhammad (p.b.u.h) with his sword at least once. This is so that if Bani-Hashim, Muhammad (p.b.u.h) clan, were to seek revenge for his blood, they would be confronted with forty clans, and thus making it impossible for them to seek any retribution.
The Almighty instructs the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) to leave for the city of Yathreb, which later became known as Medinat al-Rasul or the City of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) , or Medina for short.
In 622CE, after some thirteen years of calling the people to Islam, the Messenger of Allah left Mecca for Medina. The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) asked Imam Ali (As) son of Abu Talib to stay behind to deal with a number of issues, and Imam Ali (As) volunteered to sleep in the Prophet’s bed acting as a decoy. The Messenger of Allah manages to slip through those who were surrounding his house just before they stormed it. When they stormed the house to kill him they found Imam Ali (As) instead in the Prophet’s bed with no sign of their target.
On his way out of Mecca, Abu Bakr came across the Prophet as he was leaving the city, and asked the Prophet where he was going at that time. The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) could not tell him other than the truth, and thereafter the Messenger of Allah asked him to join him on his migration to Medina, in order to keep the news of this mission secret until he is out of danger.
With first daylight, the forty brave warriors set off in pursuit of the Prophet by following his track. They used an expert guide to help them track him, and the guide led the warriors to the cave of Thawr, some five miles outside Mecca, where the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and his companion were actually inside, but the pursuers did not enter the cave. It is reported that the pursuers did not enter the cave since by the time they had arrived, through divine intervention, a spider had spun its web across the opening of the cave, and a pigeon had placed its nest near there, after the two had entered the cave. The chasers did not attempt to enter the cave on the presumption that had anyone entered the cave, the spider web and the pigeon nest would have been disturbed.
Having failed to capture the Prophet, the Quraysh announced a reward of 100 camels for anyone capturing him or giving information leading to his capture.
The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) left Mecca on the eve of the first day of the lunar month of Rabi‘-I, and arrived at the outskirts of Medina, some 400 km north of the city of Mecca, on Monday the 12th day of the same month.
Another task that Ali ibn Abu Talib (As) had to do when the Prophet had left Mecca was to return any goods and valuables that people had given to the Prophet for safekeeping. Many of those who were the Prophet opponents also used to give their valuables to the Prophet for safekeeping every time they went on a long journey and such like. This is because the Prophet was recognized for his trust worthiness even towards his foes; they could not trust their best friends for safekeeping of their valuables, but they trusted Muhammad (p.b.u.h) al-Amin (the trustworthy one) . Imam Ali (As) returned all the goods and valuables that were given to the Prophet for safekeeping, including those of the Prophet’s foes.
“if anyone has any claim against Muhammad (p.b.u.h), or had entrusted him with anything that he has not got back yet, then they should come forward.”
It is reported that nobody did.
Having discharged all his tasks in Mecca, Ali (As) set off for Yathreb .