Open Preaching part 3

Quraish Machinations against the Emigrants

The Quraish could not tolerate the prospect of a secure and safe place available for the Muslims in Abyssinia (Ethiopia). so they dispatched two messengers to demand their expulsion. They were “Amr bin Al-‘As and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Rabi’ah – before embracing Islam. They had taken with them valuable gifts to the king and his dergy, and had been able to win some of the courtiers over to their side. The pagan messengers claimed that the Muslim refugees should be expelled from Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and handed over to them, on the ground that they had abandoned the religion of their forefathers, and their leader was preaching a religion different from theirs and from that of the king. The king summoned the Muslims to the court and asked them to explain the teachings of their religion. So they gathered together there determined to speak the truth before him. He said to them. “What is this religion that has caused you to separate from your people, to not enter my religion or any of these others?” Ja’far bin Abi Talib Radiallahu anhoo stood up and addressed the king in the following words:

“O king We were an ignorant people. We worshipped idols and ate the meat of dead carcasses. We were accustomed to lewd behavior, to severing the ties of kinship, neglecting our neighbors.

and the strong among us consumed the weak. This is how we were, but then Allah sent a Messenger to us. We were aware of his lineage, his truthfulness, that he was trustworthy, and chaste. He began inviting us to Allâh, that we single Him out and that we worship him. So we left the religion of our forefathers that we had been previously following, we left the worship of stones and idols. of all others besides Allâh. He also commanded us to be truthful in our speech, fulfill trusts, nurture the ties of kinship, be kind to our neighbor, and to refrain from spilling blood unlawfully. He forbade us from lewd behavior, from bad speech, from consuming the orphan’s wealth, and from slandering chaste women. He commanded that we worship Allâh Alone without associating anything with him, he commanded us to perform the prayer, give charity, and fast so he listed the Islamic injunctions.” He continued, “So we trusted him and believed in him, and followed the religion of Allâh that he delivered. We began to worship Allah Alone, we would not associate anything with Him, and we began prohibiting what He made unlawful for us, as well as allowing what He had made lawful for us. For this our people rose as enemies against us, punishing us, torturing us to get us to leave our religion and return to worshipping idols instead of worshipping Allâh, and they expected us to consider all of the filthy things lawful as we previously did. So when they overpowered us. oppressed us and restricted us, when they came between us and our religion, then we came to your land, we chose you over others besides you, desiring to be your neighbor, and hoping that you – O king – will not wrong us.” The Negus said, “Is there any of this with you that he told you to be from Allah?” Ja’far Radiallahu anhoo said, “Yes!” The Negus said, “Then recite some of it for me.” He then recited the opening Verses of Surat Maryam (Chapter 19 – Mary) wherein is told the story of the birth of both John and Jesus Christ, down to the account of Mary having been fed with the food miraculously. Thereupon the king, along with the bishops of his kingdom, was moved to tears that rolled down his cheeks and even wet his beard. Here, the Negus exclaimed: “It

seems as if these words and those which were revealed to Jesus are the rays of the light which have radiated from the same source.” Turning to the depressed messengers of Quraish, he said. “I am afraid, I cannot give you back these refugees. They are free to live and worship in my kingdom as they please.” On the next

the two messengers again went to the king and said that Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ and his followers blasphemed Jesus Christ. Again the Muslims were summoned and asked what they thought of Jesus. Ja’far Radiallahu anhoo again stood up and replied: “We speak about Jesus as we have been taught by our Prophet ﷺ , that is, he is the servant of Allâh, His Messenger, His spirit and His Word breathed into Virgin Mary.” The king remarked that they believed the same. Then turning to the frowning members of the delegation and to his bishops who got angry, he mentioned that

fret and fume as they like but Jesus was nothing more than what Ja’far Radiallahu anhoo has said about him. He then assured the Muslims of full protection. He returned to the delegation of Quraish, the gifts they had brought with them and sent them away. The Muslims lived in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) undisturbed for a number of years till they returned to Madinah.” This is the version narrated by Ibn Ishaq, and others mentioned that ‘Amr bin Al-‘As went to the Negus after the battle of Badr. To bring these two views in accord, others say that the delegation went on two occasions. However, the question and answer session between the Negus and Ja’far as in that they say occurred on the second occasion, is the same in general content as that narrated here by Ibn Ishaq. From these questions it is obvious that the event took place when they first arrived in Abyssinia.

The Tyrants’ Decision to kill the Prophetﷺ

Now that all the schemes and conspiracies of the Quraish had failed, they returned to their old practices of persecution and inflicting torture on the Muslims in more serious and brutal

manner than ever before. They also began to nurse the idea of killing the Prophet ﷺ In the case of the Muslims, those who remained in Makkah were very few. Of these, they were either notables, thereby safe from annoyances, or they were neighbors of such people. Still they had to hide their Islam, and keep it out of the public eye as much as possible. Even in these circumstances they were not safe from harm from their neighbors. As for Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ he would pray and worship Allâh openly before the eye of the tyrants, inviting publicly and quietly to Allâh. There was nothing to prevent or divert him from that. For this was the essence of the order to convey the Message of Allâh when He said:

“Therefore proclaim openly that which you are commanded,

and turn away from Al-Mushrikun.” [15:94] Among what is mentioned in the books of Sunnah and Seerah about the events of this period is the incident with ‘Utaibah bin Abi Lahab. He once approached the Prophetﷺ and most rebelliously and shamelessly shouted at him, “I disbelieve in:

“By the star when it goes down.’ (53:1] and in whom who:

…approached and came closer.””‘ (53:8] In other words: “I do not believe in any of the Qur’ân.” He then started to deal arrogantly with Hazrat Muhammadﷺ me and laid a violent hand on him, tore his shirt and spat at him, but he missed the face of the Prophetﷺ Thereupon, the Prophet ﷺ invoked Allâh’s wrath on ‘Utaibah and supplicated:

“O Allâhı Set one of Your dogs on him.” Allâh responded positively to Hazrat Muhammad’sﷺ supplication, and it happened in the following manner: Once ‘Utaibah with some of his companions from Quraish set out for Syria and took accommodation in Az-Zarga’

. There a lion approached the group to the great fear of ‘Utaibah, who at once recalled Hazrat Muhammad’sﷺ words in supplication, and said: “Woe to my brother! This lion will surely consume me just as Hazrat Muhammadﷺ supplicated. He has really killed me in Syria while he is in Makkah.” The lion jumped at “Utaibah, snatched him from his people, and crushed his head.

Abu Jahl, the archenemy of Islam, once addressed some of his accomplices: “O people of Quraish! It seems that Hazrat Muhammadﷺ is determined to go on finding fault with our religion, degrading our forefathers, discrediting our way of life and abusing our gods. I bear witness to our god that I will carry a too heavy rock and drop it on Hazrat Muhammad’sﷺ head while he is in prostration to rid you of him, once and for all. I am not afraid of whatever his clan, Banu ‘Abd Manaf, might do.” The terrible unfortunate audience approved his plan and encouraged him to translate it into a decisive deed. Demonstrating their intent to kill the Prophet ﷺ is what is recorded by Ibn Ishaq from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As within that some people of the Quraish were at Al-Hijr (of Isma’il) complaining that they had been too patient with the Prophet ﷺ, who suddenly appeared and began his usual circumambulation. They started to wink at him and utter sarcastic

remarks but he remained silent for two times, then on the third he stopped and addressed the infidels saying:

‘ “O people of Quraish! Listen, I swear by Allâh in Whose Hand is my soul, that you will one day be slaughtered to

pieces.” As soon as the Prophet ﷺ uttered his word of slaughter, they all stood shocked and switched off to a new style of language portraying fear and even horror trying to soothe his anger and comfort him saying: “You can leave Abul-Qasim, for you have never been foolish.” In the morning of the following day, they gathered talking again about him. So they confronted and surrounded him. I saw one of them strangling him with his upper-garment. Abu Bakr came over while crying and said, “Do you want to kill a man just because he says, ‘My Lord is Allâh?” Then they left him alone. Ibn ‘Amr ing said, “That was the worst behavior I had ever seen from the Quraish. (11 ‘Urwah bin Az-Zubair narrated: I asked Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al

As to tell me of the worst thing that the pagans did to the Prophet ﷺ He said: “While the Prophet ﷺwas praying in Al-Hijr of Al-Ka’bah. “Ugbah bin Abi Mu’ait came and put his garment around the Prophet’s neck and strangled him violently. Abu Bakr came and caught him by his shoulder and pushed him away from the Prophetﷺ me and said: ‘Do you want to kill a man just because he

says: My Lord is Allâh’?”

In the narration of Asma’ she said: Someone came yelling to Abu Bakr, “Look at your companion.” So he left us while wearing four braids. He left while saying to them, “Do you kill a man simply because he says, ‘Allâh is my Lord’?” So they beat Abu Bakr. He returned to us, and whatever we touched of his hair, would fall out.

The Conversion of Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib Radiallahu anhoo

In a gloomy atmosphere infested with dark clouds of injustice and oppression, there shone on the horizon a promising light for the oppressed, i.e., the conversion of Hazrat Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib Radiallahu anhoo in Dhul-Hijjah, the sixth year of Prophethood. It is recorded that the Prophetﷺ was one day seated on the hillock of Safa when Abu Jahl happened to pass by and accused the religion preached by him. Rasool ﷺhowever, kept silent and did not utter a single word. Abu Jahl went on unchecked, took a stone and cracked the Prophet’s ﷺhead which began to bleed. The aggressor then went to join the Quraishites in their assembly place. It so happened that shortly after that, Hazrat Hamzah Radiallahu anhoo, while returning from a hunting expedition, passed by the same way, his bow hanging by his shoulder. A slave-girl belonging to ‘Abdullah bin Jad’an, who had noted the offensive behavior of Abu Jahl, told him the whole story of the attack on the Prophet On hearing that. Hamzah was deeply offended and hurried to AlKabah and there, in the courtyard of the Holy Sanctuary, found Abu Jahl sitting with a company of Quraishites. Hamzah rushed upon him and struck his bow upon his head violently and said: “Ah! You have been abusing Hazrat Muhammadﷺ; I too follow his religion and profess what he preaches.” The men of Bani Makhzum came to his help, and men of Bani Hashim wanted to provide help, but Abu Jahl sent them away saying: “Leave Abu ‘Umarah alone, by Allâh I did shamelessly abuse his nephew

The Conversion of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab

Another significant addition to the strength of Islam was the conversion of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab in Dhul-Hijjah, the sixth year of Prophethood, three days following the conversion of Hamzah. He was a man of fearless courage and determination, feared and respected in Makkah, and until then a bitter opponent of the new religion. The traditional account reveals that the Prophet ﷺonce raised his hands in prayer and said:

“O Allah! Give strength to Islam especially through either of two men you love more: ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab or Abu Jahl

bin Hisham.” “Umar, obviously, was the one who merited that privilege When we scrutinize the several versions that speak of ‘Umar’s conversion, we can safely conclude that various contradictory emotions were conflicting with one another in his soul. On the one hand, he used to highly regard the traditions of his people, and was used to the practice of indulgence in wine parties: on the other hand, he greatly admired the stamina of the Muslims and

their persistent dedication to their faith. These two extreme views created a sort of uncertainty in his mind and made him at times tend to believe that the doctrines of Islam could bear better and more sacred seeds of life, that is why he would always experience fits of rage directly followed by unexpected fatigue. On the whole, the account of his conversion is very interesting and requires us to go into some details. One day, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab set out from his house, and headed for the Holy Sanctuary where he saw the Prophet ﷺ offering prayer and overheard him reciting the beginning of Surat AlHaqqah (Chapter 69 – The Reality) of the Noble Qur’ân. He said to himself, “By Allâh! This is poetry as the Quraish have said.” Then the Prophetﷺ recited:

“That this is verily the word of an honored Messenger (i.e., Gabriel or prophet ﷺ auto which he has brought from Allâh). It is not the word of a poet, little is that you

believe!” [69:40-41] So He said to himself, “He is a soothsayer.” The Prophet ﷺcentre was then reciting:

“Nor is it the word of a soothsayer (or a foreteller), little is that you remember! This is the Revelation sent down from the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).”

[69:42-43] Up to the end of the Surah. ‘Umar de narrated: “Then Islam came into my heart. However, the dark layer of pre-Islamic tendencies, the deep-seated traditional prejudice as well as the blind pride in his forefathers overshadowed the essence of the great Truth that began to feel its

way into his heart. He, therefore, persisted in his violence against Islam and its believers, being unmindful of the pure man’s nature feeling that lay behind that fragile cover of Islamic ignorance and mentality. His sharp temper and excessive enmity towards the Prophet ﷺ led him one day to leave his house, sword in hand, with the intention of killing the Prophet ﷺHe was in a fit of anger and was irritated and fuming. Nu’aim bin ‘Abdullah, or a man from the tribe of Zahrah, or a man from the tribe of Makhzum – met him along the way. He asked him where he was headed. ‘Umar said furiously: “To destroy the man Muhammadﷺ.” He said, “How will you be safe from Bani Hashim and from Bani Zahrah while you have killed Muhammadﷺ? Why don’t you take care of your own family first and set them right?” “Which of the folk of my house?” asked ‘Umar angrily. “Your brother-in-law and your sister have apostatized (meaning to say: They have become followers of Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ and abandoned your religion.” ‘Umar headed to his sister’s house. As he drew near, he heard the voice of Khabbab bin Arattati, who was reciting the Qur’ânic Chapter Ta-Ha to them from some pages. Khabbab itu

, perceiving the noise of his footsteps went further into the house. Fatimah hot ‘Umar’s sister, took hold of the page and hid it. But ‘Umar had already heard the voice. “What sound was that I heard just now?” He said, entering angrily. Both his sister and her husband replied, “You heard nothing.” “Nay,” said he swearing fiercely. “I have heard that you have turned from your religion.” He moved forward towards his brother-in-law and beat him severely, but Fatimah ke rushed to the rescue of her husband. Thereupon, ‘Umar fell

upon

his sister and struck on the head. The husband and wife could not contain themselves and cried aloud: “Yes, we are Muslims, we believe in Allâh and His Messenger Hazrat Muhammad ﷺdo what you

will.” When ‘Umar saw the face of his dear sister smeared with blood. he felt pity and said: “Let me see what you were reading, so that I

may perceive what Muhammad ﷺhas brought.” Fatimah satisfied with the assurance, but said: “O brother, you are unclean on account of your idolatry, none but the pure may touch it. So go and wash first.” He did so, and took the page and read the opening Verses of the Chapter Ta-Ha until he reached:

“Verily! I am Allâh! La ilaha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I), so worship Me and maintain prayer

(Salat), for My Remembrance.” [20:14]. ‘Umar read the Verses with great interest and was much fascinated with them. “How excellent it is, and how graceful! Please guide me to Hazrat Muhammadﷺ.” He said. And when Khabbab heard that, he came out of concealment and said, “O ‘Umar, I hope that Allâh has answered the prayer of the Prophet ﷺ for I heard him say: ‘O Allâh! Strengthen Islam through either ‘Umar bin AlKhattab or Abu Jahl bin Hisham.” ‘Umar then left for a house in Safa where Hazrat Muhammad ﷺhad been holding secret meetings along with his Companions. ‘Umar reached that place with the sword swinging by his arm. He knocked at the door. The Companions of the Prophetﷺ turned to see who the intruder was. One of them peeped through a gap in the door and turned back in worry saying: “It is ‘Umar with his sword.” Hamzah dispelling the fears of his friends, said: “Let him in. As a friend he is welcome. As a foe, he will have his head cut off with his own sword.” The Prophet ﷺme asked his Companions to open the door. In came the son of Khattab. The Prophet ﷺ advanced to receive the dreadful visitor, caught him by his garment and scabbard, and asked him the reason of his visit. At that ‘Umar replied: “O Messenger of Allâh, I come to you in order to believe in Allâh and his Messenger and that which he has brought from his Lord.” Filled with delight, Hazrat Muhammadﷺ in together with his Companions shouted: ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allâh is Great) saying it so loud that it could be heard at the Ka’bah.”

The conversion of ‘Umar Radiallahu anhoo a real triumph for the cause of Islam. So great and instant was the effect of his conversion on the situation that the believers who had until then worshipped Allah within their four walls in secret, now assembled and performed their rites of worship openly in the Holy Sanctuary itself. This raised their spirits, and anxiety and uneasiness began to seize the Quraish Ibn Ishaq narrated on the authority of ‘Umar Radiallahu anhoo : “When i embraced Islam, I remembered the archenemy of Muhammad ﷺ

ie. Abu Jahl. I set out, and knocked at his door. When he came out to see me, I told him directly that I had embraced Islam. He immediately slammed the door repulsively disapproving my move as infamous and my face as ugly.”(1) In fact, ‘Umar’s conversion created a great deal of stir in Makkah that some people denounced him as an apostate, yet he would never waver in Faith, on the contrary, he persisted in his stance even at the risk of his life. The polytheists of Quraish marched towards his house with the intention of killing him. It is recorded by Al-Bukhari that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar narrated: “While ‘Umar was at home in a state of fear, there came Al-‘As bin Wa’il As-Sahmi Abu ‘Amr, wearing an embroidered cloak and a shirt having silk hem. He was from the tribe of Bani Sahm who were our allies during the pre-Islamic period of ignorance. Al-‘As said to ‘Umar: ‘What’s wrong with you?’ He said: ‘Your people claim that they will kill me if I become a Muslim.’ Al-As said: ‘Nobody will harm you after I have given protection to you.’ So Al-‘As went out and met the people gathered in the whole valley. He said: ‘Where are you going?’ They replied: ‘We want son of AlKhattab who has embraced Islam.’ Al-‘As said: There is no way for anybody to touch him.’ So the people backed away.’ With respect to the Muslims in Makkah, ‘Umar’s conversion had a different tremendous impact. Mujahid, on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas Radiallahu anhoo related that he asked ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab why he had been given the epithet of Al-Farooq (he who distinguishes truth from falsehood), he replied: “After I embraced Islam, I asked the

Prophet ﷺAren’t we on the right path here and Hereafter?’ The Prophetﷺ answered:

‘Of course you are! I swear by Allâh in Whose Hand my soul

is, that you are right in this world and in the Hereafter.’ 1, therefore, asked the Prophet ﷺ’Why then do we have to conduct secret activities. I swear by Allâh Who has sent you with the Truth, that we will leave our concealment and proclaim our noble cause publicly.’ We then went out in two groups, Hamzah leading one and I the other. We headed for the Mosque in broad daylight when the polytheists of Quraish saw us, their faces went pale and got incredibly depressed and resentful. On that very occasion, the Prophet ﷺ attached to me the epithet of Al-Farooq.” Ibn Mas’ud related that they (the Muslims) were never able to pray at the Ka’bah until ‘Umar bien embraced Islam. Suhaib bin Sinan Ar-Rumi edition, in the same context, said that it was only after ‘Umar’s conversion, that they started to proclaim the Call, assemble around and circumambulate the Sacred House freely They even dared to retaliate against some of the injustices done to harm them. In the same context, Ibn Mas’ud en said: “We have been strengthened a lot since ‘Umar embraced Islam.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s