For the first three years after the first Revelation, Muhammad (SA) propagated Islam in secret, to a selective few. In spite of the secretive call, news leaked to the Quraish, but they paid little attention to it, since the Prophet was not assaulting their religion nor speaking about their gods.
For three underground years of activism, a group of believers emerged stamped by a spirit of brotherhood and cooperation, with one definite objective in their mind, that of, propagating and deeply establishing the call of Islam.
Then came the Revelation : ' And warn your tribe of near kindred' [ 26:214]
Now the time had come to preach the faith openly, the duty to publicize it for his people, to confront them, invalidate their falsehood, and crush down their idolatrous practices.
In obedience to Allah's Commands, Muhammad (SA) called his kinsmen of Bani Hashim. There counted forty five men.
Abu Lahab showed his enmity by taking the initiative of speaking in a threatening tone, in reply to which Moulana Abu Talib (SA) replied : " We love to help you, accept your advice and believe in your words. These are your kinspeople whom you have gathered and I am one of them and I am the fastest to do what you like. Do what you have been ordered, I shall protect and defend you…"
Once Muhammad (SA) became sure of Moulana Abu Talib's commitment to protect him, while he called the people unto Allah, he stood up on Mount Safa one day and called out loudly
" Ya Sabahah!" (this is an Arabic expression used when one appeals for help or draws the attention of others to some danger) Groups of Quraish came to him. He called them to Tawhid, faith in Allah, his Messengership and the Day of Resurrection.
The Prophet's voice kept reverberating in Makkah and the following Verse was revealed:
' Therefore proclaim openly that which you are commanded, and turn away from Al-Mushrikun (polytheists) [15:94]
Allah's Messenger (SA) began to proclaim the invitation to Islam at the gatherings and assemblies of the polytheists. He began to worship Allah right before their eyes, praying aloud in Ka'bah during the day time while they watched. He started disapproving the superstitious practices of idolatry, and revealing its worthless reality and utter uselessness.
All this resulted in increased acceptance of the call, people were entering Allah's religion one after another. This caused enmity to develop between the converts and their relatives, and it all made the Quraish shudder in disgust over what they saw.
Having fully perceived that Muhammad (SA) could never be prevented from accomplishing his mission, the Quraish became really frightened and in a desperate attempt to suppress the tidal wave started resorting to cheap means. They started taunting, degrading, ridiculing, especially the new converts in general and Muhammad (SA) in particular.
Among the early converts, there was a group who had unfortunately no strong clan to support them These innocent souls faced inhuman torture.
They started distorting Muhammad (SA) teachings, creating doubts, circulating false propaganda, allegations etc: An-Nadr who got himself acquainted with old history and tales, would follow Muhammad (SA) and after him would narrate the stories of yore, and taking help of female singers and their body charms, would try to entice away from Islam anyone developing the least attachment to Muhammad (SA)
By the middle of the fourth year of the Call, the Quraish realized that their taunts and propaganda had failed to stem the tide, and becoming desperate they started torturing the converts.
(In one of my earlier article entitled "Make your Choice') I have narrated in detail some of the inhuman tortures inflicted to the hapless victims.
The pagans would also throw some of the converts into animal enclosures and then drag them into hot sun. They would put iron armor on some of them and throw them upon boulders to fry in the desert sun.
As for the prophet, it was not easy to harm him because he had such significance, nobility and matchless perfection of character that prevented his enemies from committing any act of foolishness against him. Moreover, there was also full support of Moulana Abu Talib (SA)
The Quraish infidels found to their horror the power of Islam rapidly and steadily marching to cancel their religious and worldly authority. The notables approached Moulana Abu Talib (SA) and pleaded with him to restrain Muhammad (SA) from cursing their gods, finding faults with their way of life etc: When they came a second time Moulana Abu Talib (SA) called his nephew and narrated the appeals made by the Quraish chieftains, to refrain from propagating Islam.
Muhammad (SA) replied : ' O my uncle ! By Allah, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on condition that I abandon this course. I would not abandon it until Allah has made me victorious or I perish therein.'
Thus saying as Muhammad (SA) got up and 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 Allah, I will never forsake you.'
He then recited two lines of verse with significant meanings of full support to the Prophet (SA) and absolute gratification by the course that his beloved nephew had chalked out in Arabia.
"Wal'lahey Layn Yasallu ilaiyka Bey'jamihim;
Hatta O Was'sada Fit Turabey Dafina"
Wallah! They (Mushrikeen of Quraysh) will never hurt you even if they have large force and power, till the time I am buried in the grave.
"F'asd'a Bey Amreka Ma Aliyka Ghizazah;
W'abshir Bey'zaka Waqarra Minka Uyuna"
You continue Dawat with full force, no one has power to stop you; be happy and may Allah always cool your eyes.
Note: The above verses are taken from the article :
The Founder of N'aat Legacy by Qazi Dr. Shaikh Abbas Borhany.
The heathen Quraish now became desperate and started atrocities against Allah's Messenger. Abu Lahab took the initiative in the new series of persecutions. He started throwing stones at Muhammad (SA) until his ankles bled, showing delight on his second son's death and calling Muhaamd (SA) ' the man cut off with offsprings' Allah revealed Surat Al Kawthar to assuage his Prophet.
Abu Lahab's wife Umm Jamil bint Harb, the sister of Abu Sufyan had also her share in this merciless campaign. She proved she was no less than her husband in the enmity and hatred . In order to cause bodily injury to Muhammad (SA) she used to tie bundles of thorns with ropes of twisted palm leaf fiber and scatter them in the paths of the Prophet (SA)
She was really an ill mannered and bad tempered woman with abusive language, skilled in the art of hatching intrigues and en-kindling the fire of enmity and hatred. She was deservedly stained as ' the carrier of firewood' in the Noble Qur'an.
Ibn Ishaq said: ' The group of those who used to harm Allah's Messenger (SA) in his house included Abu Lahab, Al-Hakam bin Abul-'As bin Umaiyah, 'Uqbah bin Abi Mu'ait, 'Adi bin Hamrah' Ath Thaqafi and Ibn Al-Asda' Al-Hudhali. All these were his neighbours. One of them would throw the womb of a sheep on him while he was praying, another would throw it in his prepared pot (of food)
To this insensitive torture Muhammad (SA) would say " O Bani 'Abd Manaf ! what kind of neighborly treatment is this ?" He would bear this inhuman tortures with fortitude and continue with his Mission.
The first migration to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) took place in Rajab in the fifth year of the Prophethood. A group comprising of twelve men and four women left in the dark of the night, and reached the Port of Shu'aibah were two boats were ready to take them to the court of Ashamah, who held the title of Negus, and this group of emigrants were received warmly and accorded due hospitality.
The news of the hospitality and good treatment accorded to the emigrants reached the Makkans, and the polytheists became more annoyed and started to inflict more horrible ill-treatment and tortures to the Muslims.
In due course, another group managed to evade the Makkans and managed to emigrate to Abyssinia. This group comprised of eighty three men and nineteen, or in some versions eighteen women. It included Moulana Ja'far bin Abi Talib.
The Quraish could not tolerate the prospect of secure and safe place available for the Muslims in Abyssinia, so they dispatched tow messengers to demand their expulsions. They were the wily 'Amr bin Al-'As and Abdullah bin Abi Rabi'ah. They had taken with them valuable gifts to the king and his clergy, and had been able to win some courtiers over to their side.
However, the eloquence of Moulana Ja'far bin Abi Talib made a very favorable impression on Negus, who was convinced of the Truth. He returned the gifts of the Quraish and sent both the messengers back, licking their wounds. He assured the Muslims full protection. The Muslims lived in Abyssinia undisturbed for a number of years.
to be contd: