Muslim Persecution by the Quraish When the Holy Prophet declared Allah’s message in public and called upon the people of Makkah to adopt Islam as their religion, he moved into a new stage in Islamic history. Before this, the Holy Prophet’s had only been preaching on very minor scales to his close fellows. The declaration of the message changed the picture. It called upon the people of Makkah to accept a total change – to pay homage to Allah instead of their idols and to bring a complete alteration in social, economic, political and commercial conduct.
The response of the people of Makkah was aggressive. They felt that unless Islam was not faced with a tough opposition, it would be accepted by a large number of people, especially the poor and the slaved. Among those who took a lead in the opposition were the most influential chiefs of the Quraish, specifically Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab, Abu Sufyan, Waleed bin Mughaira and Abta bin Rabi. The poor and the weak converts like Hazrat Bilal were tortured and made to suffer.
They would be starved, beaten and exposed to the scorching heat of the desert. Some slaves even died due to the effects of torte. However, none of the slaves or poor renounced their religion. Even rich and respected people like Hazrat Usman, Hazrat Abu Bakr and Abdullah bin Zaid would not be spared. The opposition increased gradually. Rubbish, twigs and thorns would be thrown at the Holy Prophet and abuses would be launched at him. A Quraish once tried to strangle the Holy Prophet with a sheet while he was praying in the Kaabah.
Another time, Abu Jahl placed filth on the Holy Prophet’s back when he was prostrating during prayers. The Quraish also hurled campaigns against the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet was called a madman. Poems were written to ridicule him. When the Holy Prophet’s second son died in infancy, Abu Lahab called him ‘abtar’ – a man with no male offspring. The Quraish would try to physically harm the Prophet. However, in spite of all these horrible measures, the Holy Prophet continued to preach Islam.
When insults and physical harm had no effect on the Holy Prophet, the Quraish tried to bribe the Holy Prophet. They offered him large fortunes, the seat of the king, marriage to the fairest maiden in the land if he gave up preaching Islam. The Holy Prophet refused all such offers. Abu Talib was approached and told to tell his nephew to stop preaching. However, the Holy Prophet pledged to continue preaching Islam until the day he perishes.
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