Quraish’s Representative negotiates with Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ
Shortly after the conversion of these two powerful heroes. Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib Radiallahu anhoo and ‘Umar bin Al-Khattabb Radiallahu anhoo. the clouds of tyranny and oppression started to clear away and the
polytheists realized that it was no use meting out torture to the Muslims. They consequently began to direct their campaign on a different course. The authentic records of the biography of the Prophetﷺ show that it had occurred to the Makkan leaders to credit Hazrat Muhammadﷺ with ambition. They, therefore, time and again tried to tempt him. Ibn Ishaq reported a narration from Muhammad bin Ka’b Al-Qurazi who said it was narrated to him that one day some of the important men of Makkah gathered in the enclosure of Al-Ka’bah, and ‘Utbah bin Rabi’ah, a chief among them, offered to approach the Prophet ﷺ contract a bargain with him whereby they give him whatever worldly wealth he asks for, on condition that he keep silent and no longer proclaim his new Faith. The people of Quraish approved his proposal and requested him to undertake that task. ‘Utbah approached Hazrat Muhammadﷺ and addressed him in the following words: “O nephew! You are a man who holds an important family position among us, with noble lineage. Yet, you come to your people with a grave matter that separates their groups. You have outraged our gods and religion and taxed our forefathers and wise men with impiety and error and created strife amongst us. So listen to my proposals for you to consider, and perhaps you will accept one of them.” Allah’s Messenger ﷺsaid:
“Speak Abul-Walid, I am listening.” He said. “O nephew! If you are doing all this with a view to getting wealth, we will join together to give you greater riches than any Quraishite has possessed. If ambition moves you, we will make you our chief. If you desire kingship we will readily offer you that If you are under the power of an evil spirit which seems to haunt and dominate you so that you cannot shake off its yoke, then we shall call in skillful physicians to cure you.” “Have you said all?” asked Hazrat Muhammadﷺ and then hearing that all had been said, he spoke forth, and recited:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful Ha-Mim. A Revelation from Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. A Book whereof the Verses are explained in detail:- a Qur’ân in Arabic for people who know. Giving glad tidings and warning, but most of them turn away, so they listen not. And they say: ‘Our hearts are under coverings (screened) from that to which you invite us
…”” [41: 1-5) Allâh’s Messenger ﷺthe went on reciting the Chapter while ‘Utbah sitting and listening attentively with his hand behind his back to support him. When the Messengerﷺ reached the Verse that required prostration, he immediately prostrated himself. After that, he turned to ‘Utbah saying:
“Well Abul-Walid! You have heard my reply, you are now
free to do whatever you please.” ‘Utbah then retired to his company to tell them of the Prophet’s ﷺattitude. When his companions saw him, they swore that he had returned to them with an expression unlike the one he had before meeting the Prophetﷺ . He immediately communicated to them the details of the talk he gave and the reply he received, and added saying: “I have never heard words similar to those he recited. They definitely relate neither to poetry nor to witchcraft nor do they derive from soothsaying. O people of Quraish! I request you to take note of my advice and grant the man full freedom to pursue his goals, in which case you could safely detach yourselves from him. I swear that his words bear a supreme Message. Should the other Arabs rid you of him, they will then spare you the trouble, on the other hand if he gains power over the Arabs, then you will enjoy his kingship and share him in his might.” These words of course fell on deaf ears, and did not appeal to the infidels, who mocked at ‘Utbah and claimed that the
Prophet ﷺhad bewitched him.” In another version of the same event, it is related that Utbeh went on attentively listening to the Prophet ﷺuntil the latter began to recite Allâh’s Words:
“But if they turn away, then say (O Muhammad ﷺ): “I have warned you of a Sa’iqah (a destructive awful torment) like the Sa’iqah which overtook (the people of) ‘Ad and
Thamud.” [41:13] Here ‘Utbah stood up panicked and stunned putting his hand on the Prophet’s mouth requesting him: “I beg you in the Name of Allâh and the ties of kinship to stop lest the calamity should befall the people of Quraish.” He then hurriedly returned to his companions and informed them of what he had heard.
The Heads of the Quraish challenge the Messenger ﷺand Abu Jahl passes judgment on him
Still the Quraish had hope. This was because the Prophetﷺ not clearly rejected their offers in a way that would completely rule out an agreement. One day they consulted, gathering behind the Ka’bah after sunset. They sent a message to the Prophetﷺ inviting him to attend. When he came they presented him with the same proposals that ‘Utbah had previously. He made clear to them that none of these applied, that he was merely a Messenge conveying the Message of his Lord. If they accept then it will benefit them in this life and the Hereafter, if they reject then be will be patient until Allâh judges between them and him. Then they asked him to produce a sign, asking his Lord to either move a mountain for them, level the city, make the dawn appear or bring to life some of the dead so they would believe him. He responded in a way similar to before.
Then they the told him to ask his Lord to send an angel to them attesting to what he says, bringing gardens, treasures, and castles of gold and silver. He answered again in the same manner. Then they asked him to bring a punishment; that he have a piece of the sky fall down upon them, he replied:
“That is up to Allâh, as He wills, He does.” So they criticized him sharply .
Ibn Ishaq reported that some people were mocking Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ while he was in circumambulation around the Ka’bah. They included Al-Aswad bin Al-Muttalib bin Asad bin ‘Abdul-‘Uzza, Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah, Umaiyah bin Khalaf, and Al-‘As bin Wa’il As-Sahmi, and these were the elders of their people. They said, “O Muhammad!ﷺ Come and let us worship what you worship, and you worship what we worship. We can be partners with you in this matter. If the one you worship is better than what we worship then we will get some kind of benefit Whereas, if what we worship is better than the one you worship then you will get some kind of benefit. So Allâh revealed:
At-Tabari and others report that Ibn ‘Abbas ini said that the Quraish said, “Worship our gods for one year, and we will worship your god for one year.” So Allâh revealed; “Say: ‘Is it other than Allâh that you order me to worship O you fools?”
The Quraish’s Bewilderment and their Consultation with the Jews
The route the pagans had taken began to seem dark after these events, and they were perplexed over what to do. Finally one of their devils, An-Nadr bin Harith stood to advise them saying: “O Quraish! By Allâh! You have experienced an unprecedented phenomenon before which you have so far been desperately helpless. Hazrat Muhammad ﷺgrew up here and nursed among you, and he always proved to be highly obliging, the most truthful and trustworthy young man. However, when his sideburns began to gray, he brought this problem. You said, ‘He is a sorcerer.’ No by Allâh! He is not a sorcerer for we have seen sorcery and its spells. Then you said, ‘He is a soothsayer.’ No by Allâh! He is not a soothsayer, for we have seen soothsayers and their taste for passions and we have heard their rhymes. Then you said, ‘He is a poet.’ No by Allâh! He is not a poet, for we have seen poets and heard their sayings of song and filth. Then you said. ‘He is possessed.’ No by Allâh! He is not a possessed, for we have seen the possessed and he has never been witnessed to develop any sort of hallucinations or fits peculiar to madmen. O people of Quraish, this is really a serious matter and I recommend that you seriously consider what to do.” Then the Quraish decided to contact the Jews for help in this matter. They authorized An-Nadr bin Harith to go with some
others to the Jews of Madinah. There the rabbis told him, “Ask him three questions. If he informg you about them then he is indeed a Messengerﷺ. Ask him about the children who went away in earlier times; what happened to them Ask him about a man whose journeys reached the east and west of the earth; what was his prophecy? Ask him about the soul: what is it?” When he returned to Makkah he said that he had returned with some details that could be used against Muhammad ﷺand he informed them about what the Jews said. So, the Quraish asked Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ about these three matters. After a few days, Surat Al-Kahf was revealed; it told of the story of the children known as the People of the Cave. It also narrated about the journeys of the man known as Dhul-Qarnain. The answer about the soul was revealed in Surat Al-Isra’. This clarified to the Quraish that the Prophet content was following the truth. yet the wrongdoers were bent on disbelieving.”
Hazrat Abu Talib assembles his Family
While the pagans were doing this,Hazrat Abu Talib Radiallahu anhoo still had a deep sensation of fear for his nephew. He considerably thought about the previous series of incidents including the case of ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu’ait’s attempt to choke the Prophet ﷺ .Abu Jahl with his rock, and finally ‘Umar’s (before conversion) intention to kill Hazrat Muhammadﷺ. Since all of these men were from Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib, the wise man understood that all of these unequivocally smacked of a serious plot being hatched to kill the Prophet ﷺ. Hazrat Abu Talib Radiallahu anhoo exhorted them to protect the Prophet ﷺ. All of them,responded positively except his brother Abu Lahab, who sided with the idolaters.
(1) Ibn Hisham 1/299-301,  Ibn Hisham 1/269.