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The Second Five Years

Muhammad (pbuh)

45-50 years old



       A notable example of the cruelty dealt to Muslims was that of a slave from Abyssinia by the name of Bilal.  He became Muslim, and soon after, his master learned about it.  Furious, the master was determined to force Bilal to revert to paganism.  But Bilal firmly refused.

      The master, as angry as could be, often threatened Bilal and used foul language, mocking and cursing him.  He used force, hitting and kick him, and shouting in his face to renounce Islam.  But Bilal would never do so; he bravely took all kinds of punishment, yet never surrendered to his master's wishes.  Bilal simply refused to compromise—he was steadfast, hardy, and firm in his belief.

      It is always blistering hot in summer in Mecca, and the master escalated his pressure in a new way.  He decided to punish Bilal to the point of breakdown. Many times he dragged Bilal to a nearby hill, threw him on his back, beat him up severely, then carried heavy stones to lay them on his chest.  The master desperately wished to break Bilal's resistance, even to the point of making it difficult to breathe, how cruel!!

      Being under such conditions, Bilal was powerless, sweating profusely, feeling bone dry and faint.  Even his tongue was so dry he could hardly move it.  And the stones were so mercilessly heavy on his chest, he could hardly breathe.  His master, showing off before onlookers, would shout with foul language and insult him, to force Bilal to change from Islam back to paganism.

      As the master saw Bilal near faint, and Bilal moving his lips, he would listen, but to his dismay he heard Bilal saying:

"AHAD, AHAD, AHAD"     أحــد، أحــد، أحــد

To mean: Allah is one, Allah is one, Allah is one.

      What a love for Allah Bilal had and how strong his faith was!  What a magnificent will to stand in the face of all this abuse!

      The above scene happened a number of times, in front of the spectators and crowds!  You wonder where humane feelings had gone, don't you!?  At last Abu Bakr saw to it that Bilal, the slave, was bought, then set free.


BUT THIS WAS JUST ONE EXAMPLE  go to top of page

      Other Muslims were also tortured but in different ways.  A woman was tortured so much that finally she lost her life!  It was Abu Jahl, Muhammad's uncle, who hurt, hit, and tortured her so much that she bled and bled from her wounds.  She went into shock and the shock was too much for her to take.  She finally died, but her martyrdom added nothing but admirat­ion for her courage in sticking to Islam with no compromise.  Her name was Sumayah.  She was the first martyr for Islam.

      Her husband, Yasir, was another well‑known example.  He was also a slave who embraced Islam.  Furious, his master insisted that he change his religion, but Yasir was stubborn, unshakable, and unbending in his faith.  His frustrated master became so furious that he beat Yasir to exhaustion, then tied each of Yasir's legs to a separate animal.  The animals were suddenly whipped and startled into running in different directions, splitting Yasir's body in half!  This horror took place in front of a crowd, the crowd of disbelievers, be they cheering or disgusted!  It was a happy death for Yasir though, since his next life is certainly that of peace and happiness.  The two martyrs were the parents of Ammar, the famous companion of the Prophet (pbuh).      


MUHAMMAD (PBUH) HAD IT TOO  go to top of page

▪    Muhammad (pbuh) had his share of abusive treatment too.  Threats, foul language, defamation, and ridicule became ever more frequent and consistent, and it used to hurt him deeply.  Muhammad (pbuh) never answered in the like, it was his stand not to do so.  On the contrary, he never lost a chance to call for the belief in Allah and accepting His teachings.

▪    Umm Jamil, the wife of Abu Lahab, was so mean and of so evil intent that she used to throw sewer matter, thorn, dirt, and rocks in front of the Prophet's house.  This was done often just for the sake of hurting the very man who was a Messenger of Allah, calling for the belief in Him!  Muhammad never complained, and all that he did was to clear the area of the mess which Abu Lahab's wife often put in the way.

▪    At one time, Abu Jahl, another uncle of the Prophet, tried to scare the Prophet and hurt him.  Full of spite, he had a piece of cloth in his hand, wrapped it around Muhammad's neck in an attempt to strangle him.  And of all things, this was done while the Prophet was worshipping at the Ka'ba.  The vicious Abu Jahl pulled the cloth tightly, even to such a degree that the Prophet could hardly breathe!  Fortunately, Abu Bakr saw what was happening and he came to the rescue.  After releasing him, Abu Bakr said in disgust, "Would you kill a man just for saying 'Allah is my Lord.'"  In spite of all this, once released, the Prophet didn't even protest, a real example of patience.

▪    At another occasion, the Prophet was kneeling during prayer, and while he was absorbed in worship, someone full of spite put his foot on the Prophet's head!  He pressed so hard that Muhammad (pbuh) could not in any way sit up—felt as if his neck was about to break.  Fortunately, the person must have changed his mind and moved away, thus relieving Muhammad (pbuh).  Even then Muhammad (pbuh) didn't protest, he simply took it in stride.

▪    It is said that at one time a disbeliever even threw manure on him, with all that smell and dirt soiling the meticulously clean Muhammad, just for the sake of hurt!  Why are people so mean when all that Muhammad (pbuh) was calling for was belief in the Almighty and His directives that lead to decent living!  Was it in response to their own repeated failures that they had to react so violently?  Was not their coming to Islam their greatest success?  Did they have to be that blind?


SOME COMFORT AT HOME  go to top of page

      It was a prolonged period, critical and trying, not only for Muhammad (pbuh), but also for all Muslims.  The Muslims were not numerous, and Muhammad as the leader would learn about exploitations and ill-treatment done to Muslims, just about every day.

      The Prophet (pbuh) felt extremely pained inside.  He would go home, inform his wife and receive some understanding.  Khadija listened, comforted, and gave solace to him, as much as she could, but the prolonged, constant inhuman treatment kept on and on.  It was demeaning to the dignity of man, so unnecessary!

      Muhammad (pbuh) of course did mind the grave situation, but he faced it bravely.  His course of action was to carry on the commands of Allah to the people, no matter what.  His was to keep the struggle, carry the torch, keep pressing for Islam, and so he did brilliantly.


HAMZA'S CONVERSION  go to top of page

      The power-hungry Abu Jahl, the veteran enemy of Islam, passed by Muhammad one day.  He used foul and demeaning language at Muhammad (pbuh).  The Prophet (pbuh) turned his face away without saying one single word.  Muhammad (pbuh) was feeling very hurt and it

showed on his face.  Although he was startled by the abuse and felt insulted, Muhammad (pbuh) preferred not to say anything in return.

      This incident came to the ears of Hamza, who was another uncle of Muhammad (pbuh) but equal in age to him.  Hamza was an accomplished sportsman and a hunter, highly respected by others.  He was a man of power and influence in the area.  When Hamza heard of what Abu Jahl said about Muhammad, he became very angry and his blood boiled inside.  He thought to himself: "Muhammad calls us for the most noble thing, patiently and nicely, yet he gets nothing but ill treatment and abuse in return!  What sense of decency is that, and what kind of people are we?!"

      Furious, Hamza rushed to the Ka'ba where Abu Jahl was.  He got in a fight with him, shouting and hitting Abu Jahl until Abu Jahl was wounded in the head and the blood poured all over his face.  The relatives of Abu Jahl wanted revenge, but Abu Jahl stopped them, fearing the possibility of grave trouble.  Abu Jahl confessed to them the bad treatment he dealt Muhammad, and the foul language he used against him.

      Hamza calmed down some, but he left the Ka'ba and went to Muhammad.  His intention was to become a Muslim.  He declared his acceptance of Islam, to the great happiness of the Muslims, especially Muhammad (pbuh).  Hamza became one of the very best defenders of Islam.  He did everything for Islam, even laying down his life for it.



      Quraish, being the leaders of the opposition to Islam, were feeling, and rightly so, that a serious powerful revolution was taking place.  It was the challenge of a growing Islam, spearheaded by Muhammad (pbuh).  The Meccans, especially Quraish, were extremely frustrated, since none of their solutions seemed to work and everyone talked of nothing but Muhammad and the Message of Islam.  In almost every house someone was becoming Muslim, fathers, mothers, and children.  It brought about tremendous conflict within the family, and became a remarkable subject for discussion or discord.  This seemed to go on and on, day and night, month in month out.


A DIFFERENT APPROACH  go to top of page

      Quraish sent Ut'ba ibn Rabi'a on a mission, in an attempt to offer wealth and the highest position ever to Muhammad.  The aim was to give anything Muhammad (pbuh) asked for, but on one condition, that Muhammad stop his efforts for Islam.

      Muhammad (pbuh) answered Ibn Rabi'a simply by reading Chapter 45 of the Quran.  Ut'ba had at first listened, then a look of fear showed on his face, and he began to tremble.  Then he could stand it no longer.  He cried loud, asking Muhammad (pbuh) to stop, to please stop from reading any more.

      Ibn Rabi'a was so impressed and so taken by what he heard, that he knew his offer to Prophet Muhammad was senseless.  Ibn Rabi'a's head was swimming with an instinctive feeling that

his efforts were useless.

      Ibn Rabi'a left, knowing it was foolish to try to persuade Muhammad to agree to Quraish's offer, since it was obvious to him that Quraish did not have strong point on its side, none at all.  Quraish was fooling itself.

      When Ibn Rabi'a went back, he told the disbelievers of Quraish all about his meeting with Muhammad (pbuh).  But Quraish did not want to believe him.  They said, "Muhammad had charmed you!"  Little did they know that what charmed him was not Muhammad but the magnificence of the Holy Quran, the Book of Allah, and its deep touching meaning.



      Islam was about five years old by now, and conditions in Mecca had become so terrible and unbearably tense that something had to be done.  With so much turmoil, beating, and persecution, it was becoming impossible for many, many Muslims to live in Mecca anymore.

      At a council meeting, the Prophet gave them the good advice to leave Mecca and go to Abyssinia.  Negus, the king of Abyssinia, was fair and a kind man; he was Christian.

      Eleven men and four women left Mecca at first.  Most of those who left were eminent people in Mecca with respectable positions.  A second emigration followed sometime after, and it consisted of 80 men, not counting the women and children.  They were under the leadership of Ja'far Ibn Abi Talib.

      These Muslims had to leave behind most of their belongings, friends, and family, and go where freedom was.  They had no better choice.  They were to go to a foreign country, with different habits and customs.  They had to work and support themselves in the new country, a task not easy for anyone.  All this was done, just because there was some freedom of worship in Abyssinia.  Above all, however, it was done to escape the intolerable life in Mecca, the persecution dealt to every Muslim because of his faith.



      The two emigrations to Abyssinia were the biggest blow yet to the pride and self respect of the disbelievers of Mecca.  They could hardly believe it, especially when they knew that it would give publicity to the new faith (Islam) abroad.  Their anxiety and worry seemed to double, and they wanted to force the immigrants to come back.  The disbelievers of Quraish did not want to have their image or reputation tarnished.  The disbelievers sent emissaries to Abyssinia, under the leadership of Amr Ibnil Aas, known to be clever with his tongue.  The emissaries took costly gifts to King Negus, and they asked the King to force the Muslims back to Mecca, so that the Meccans could deal with them as they saw fit.  They first approached the Patriarchs to enlist them on their side.

       Being fair and wise, the King wanted to hear the other side too.  He sent for them, and Ja'far, the brother of Ali, and cousin of the Prophet, was their representative.  When he was asked, Ja'far presented a clear, very appealing picture of the positive effects on the Meccans of acceptance of the teachings of Islam.      


JA'FAR'S ANSWER  go to top of page

"O King, we were an ignorant people, we used to worship idols and eat dead bodies, and we committed indecencies and cut our own relations.  We trespassed on our neighbors, and the strong among us used to devour the weak.

"We were in this condition when Allah sent us a messenger of our own whom we knew to be noble by descent, to be truthful, honest and of chaste actions.  He called us to Allah, that we might declare His unity, serve Him, and leave all those deities which our forefathers used to worship, deities of stone.

"He commanded us to speak the truth, and to pay back our trusts, to unite with our relatives, to treat our neighbors with kindness, and to refrain from things forbidden and from blood shedding.

"He forbade us all from doing indecent acts, from lying and from the misappropriation of the property of the orphans and from the libeling of virtuous women.

"He commanded us to serve Allah and to join no one in His service, and he commanded us to pray, give alms (Zakat, be charitable), and fast.  So we believed in him and followed him in what he brought to us from Allah; we served Allah alone, we made lawful what He declared to be lawful and unlawful what He declared to be unlawful to us.

"But our people became our enemies, they tortured us and put difficulties in the way of our faith, attempting to revert us to the worship of idols, and that we should permit all the evils that we used to permit.

"At last, when we were oppressed and abused beyond our endurance, we left our country and chose yours above others, and we sought shelter in your neighborhood.  We hope that you will be just to us."


NEGUS IMPRESSED  go to top of page

      King Negus of Abyssinia was very impressed.  He asked Ja'far to read from the Holy Quran, and Ja'far read the chapter called Maryam (No. 19).  This impressed him even more.

      Then the emissaries of Quraish claimed the Muslims make serious charges against Jesus.  Ja'far gave a good reply which silenced the disbelievers, exposed their lies, and at the same time impressed Negus and the priests alike.  He explained, "We say as to Jesus what our Prophet had taught us to say: He was the servant of Allah, His messenger, and His word, which He sent to the Virgin Mary."

      The emissaries from Quraish were speechless and defeated, they lost their argument.  They left the area soon, like a dog with its tail between its legs.  The King had refused their demands, their effort was a complete failure.  The Muslims were glad to stay in Abyssinia for a little longer, until they could return to Medina.  They enjoyed the freedom of practicing their religion and worshipping without threats or harassment.

      Of those who went to extreme in giving trouble to the Muslims, Omar was one.  Omar was a strong man in mind and body, intelligent and very proud.  He was a patriot, a well known man, and he loved his relatives dearly.  He was in his twenties, a bitter opponent of Islam, and a grave enemy to the Muslims.  His pride was hurt greatly when he learned that a handful of Muslims had left the area for Abyssinia, to enjoy the relative religious freedom over there.

      He thought of the failure of the disbelievers of Mecca to stop the Muslims, or the turmoil in the area, and the divisions among the people.  His passion and anger made him boil.  Singularly, he decided to kill Muhammad (pbuh), no less, whom he thought was the cause of it all.  The idea was building up in his mind for some time.

      With a gloomy look and somber face, Omar headed with determination toward the area where the Prophet was.  On his way he met a friend, whose name was Na'eem ibn Abdullah.  They talked to each other, and Na'eem told Omar, "Why don't you look to your own family first and put them right?"  By this he meant that Omar's sister had become a Muslim and if Omar was to correct anything, he ought to start at home, first and foremost!  That just about crushed Omar!  How could his very own sister become a Muslim?  This was unbearable and unbelievable for Omar, he was boiling with anger.


OMAR GOES TO HIS FAMILY  go to top of page

      As a result, Omar changed direction, he wanted to see his sister immediately.  He was furious, literally fuming, when he entered her house.  She and her husband had become Muslims for some time, and in their house there was a Muslim guest reading the Quran for them.  When they heard that someone entered their house, the guest hid himself.

      But, for a few moments after entering her house Omar could hear unusual words that caught his attention.  The Quran was being read, it sounded heavenly, serene words, powerfully peaceful.  Omar, who was furious, had by now become curious.  There developed a feeling of turmoil inside, a powerful one, to say the least.

      "What did I hear?" Omar shouted. "Nothing."  His sister answered defensively; but by then Omar had caught hold of Sa'eed, his brother-in-law.  In a fit of anger he attempted to hit him.  Omar's sister intervened, and instead of preventing her husband from being hit, she was hit by Omar.  That was the climax, Omar was jarred, he was severely shaken, seeing that he hit his sister instead.  You see, Omar loved his family very much.

      She was cut on the head, blood poured down her face, making her look pitiful.  Still mixed up, Omar felt very bad, and his anger left him immediately.  Now he was feeling sorry and  guilty.

      Still bleeding, Omar's sister and her husband were defiant, saying they had embraced Islam, and they didn't care even if Omar intended to destroy them.  The emotions were quite high, and Omar's head was swimming.  He had gone through much turmoil in a short period, and he felt even worse when he hit his sister by mistake.

      Omar wanted to find out as to what made his sister such a fearless Muslim, and what was so attractive about Islam.  So, out of curiosity, Omar asked his sister to let him hear some recitation from the Quran.  It was this very thing, the mere recitation of certain passages from the Holy Quran, that did the miraculous work of transforming Omar completely.  His heart softened, and he had a cool feeling inside.  He felt the urge now to change, to change right away, to become a Muslim.  Omar wanted to be a friend of the Muslims and not their enemy, he wanted to have the honor of being a Muslim, to be its defender, its supporter and not its destroyer!  What a dramatic change!  He came with the intention to kill Muhammad (pbuh) only a moment before, and so quickly he wanted to change, to be Muslim in faith!  What a dramatic change!


WHAT DID OMAR HEAR?  go to top of page

     Omar heard Ayahs from the Holy Quran (Surah 57: Ayah 1-7) as follows:


ِ سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

هُوَ الأَوَّلُ وَالآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِي الأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاء وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا

وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ













TOWARD SAFA  go to top of page

      Omar walked the streets with a changed heart, he was eager not to kill but to meet Muhammad (pbuh) on friendly terms.  No, his intention by now was not to kill Muhammad, it was to serve Allah, and to declare his change to Islam.

      Prophet Muhammad and some Muslims were in a meeting.  They heard Omar's footsteps and someone said: "Omar is coming."  There was a hush of expectation; a feeling of impending trouble.  Omar asked permission to enter, and upon entering the house, he came face to face with Muhammad (pbuh) and the Muslims.

      It was a moment of suspense, yet expectation.  They were truly surprised and most delighted that Omar was asking to be accepted into Islam.  Omar, of course, was accepted right away, and with pleasure.  Muhammad (pbuh) was very happy on that occasion, and so were the other Muslims, among whom were Ali and Abu Bakr.


OMAR THE MUSLIM  go to top of page

      Omar, who at first was so much against Prophet Muhammad and Islam, suddenly and dramatically became an enthusiastic and energetic Muslim.  He talked to others about Islam from the depth of his heart, and he urged and encouraged everyone to see it as it is.

      Omar even began to pray in the open, at the Ka'ba itself, and the Muslims of the day happily joined him.  For them, this was an encouragement of the first degree.  The Muslims didn't dare do so before, and they used to worship in congregations in places far away, in the outskirts of Mecca.  They didn't dare to worship at the Ka'ba before or else the pagans could overreact and severely damage the Muslims.  With Omar around, the Muslims could pray at the Ka'ba with caution and some feeling of security.

      The Meccans, and especially Quraish, felt highly incensed, the news of Omar's conversion was a big blow.  Added to all the frustrations for Quraish they see the Muslims along with Omar praying in unison and freely, at Quraish's heart of hearts, the Ka'ba itself!  Muslims knelt, prostrated, then stood in reverence, united in action and intention, all worshipping Allah Almighty and nothing else.  That was very unsettling for the disbelievers at that time, a severe blow to their pagan way of life.


CHRISTIANS HAD HEARD TOO  go to top of page

      A fact-finding delegation of twenty Christians came to see what Muhammad was preaching.  The delegation asked Prophet Muhammad about Islam, and he explained about it and recited from the Quran to them.  They discussed many, many matters with him—they became impressed.  So impressed were they that all decided to change to Islam, and on going back to their people, they preached Islam to their community!  They converted many Christians to Islam, and became a good focus for it!

      This incident infuriated and frustrated the disbelievers even further.  Failures are hard to take, and Quraish couldn't tolerate this further success.  They saw Islam nibbling away at the very foundation of their social, economic and political strength.



      Even the leaders of Quraish, the ones posed as formidable enemies to Islam, began to doubt themselves.  Abu Jahl, Abu Sufyan and the like, questioned themselves, "For what real reason are we so hurtful to Muhammad and the Muslims?  Why are the Muslims increasing in number?  Why do they stand so bravely in the face of trouble and torture?  Why have our efforts to stop Islam failed?"

      Meanwhile, the people listening to the Prophet's teachings were steadily on the rise.  They met in a house to hear Muhammad preaching Islam, worshipping the Almighty, and reciting the Holy Quran.

      One day, Abu Sufyan, Abu Jahl and a third arch enemy of Islam, each going individually, attended the Islamic discussions the Prophet was conducting.  None knew the others were present to hear Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  Later in the evening, when the congregation had dispersed, Abu Sufyan was surprised upon meeting Abu Jahl and the other opposition leader. After all they were the enemy, weren't they?

      They were embarrassed, each taken by surprise to see they all had come for the same purpose—to hear Muhammad!  Though they claimed it was out of curiosity that they joined the Prophet's congregation, none of them believed the others.  Deep in their hearts they knew that was not the truth.

      The night after, the same three were at the congregation again.  They felt they were inspired and had learned from the congregation of the night before, and they enjoyed what they had heard.  When the congregation was over, the three bumped into each other again, and they were even more embarrassed to see each other for a second time.

      By the third night, the experience repeated itself, and when they saw each other afterwards, they took a solemn oath not to go back to Muhammad's teachings—the sessions were too magnetic!  This shows how attractive the congregations were.  Even his worst enemies couldn't resist the temptation to attend, not once or twice but three times!


THE PROPHET IN THE MIDDLE OF IT  go to top of page

      With Muslims persecuted constantly, kicked around and cursed regularly, Muhammad (pbuh), had his share of ill treatment too.  On top of that, a large number of influential Muslims was still far away in Abyssinia.  It was a painful time, and threatening, especially for Muhammad.        But the Prophet would not even blame individuals, he never even used a single bad word against anyone, or lost his temper!  He didn't force his way on anyone, or push Islam on anyone; instead, he embraced all people with care, love and tenderness.  His patience and endurance in the face of all difficulties were beyond human capacity.  Keeping his poise, calmness, and ability to help at all times was a magnificent example for all.  He was always delighted when someone embraced Islam.

      He was a very good teacher and a superb example.  The Muslims found him to be the finest example of a human being, rich with the best of qualities.  At home he was the kind loving father and the ideal husband.  As in early days of his marriage he helped at home with the chores and he even used to sweep the floor.  He even mended his own sandals, and this was at a time when such a thing was a unheard of for a man of his position in society.

      His example as being persistent, persevering, energetic, patient, considerate, kind, loving, caring, and helpful, was imitated by the Muslims, as much as they could.  He, of course, was under the scrutiny of everyone, and his enemies were always on the lookout for a weak spot in him, but to their dismay, they could never find one.


A WAR OF PROPAGANDA  go to top of page

      Having failed in every attempt, the formidable Quraish started a war of propaganda, aiming at the people who came to Ukadh State Fair and other nearby places.  Those gatherings took place during the sacred months of the year.

      Quraish and other disbelievers tried to counteract Muhammad (pbuh) and the Message of Islam, but to no avail.  Quraish was so fearful that Islam, the new magnetic religion, was going to destroy its own livelihood, that they developed an obsession to stop the spread of Islam, or better still destroy it.

      The disbelievers accused Muhammad (pbuh) of being a magician, a fortune-teller, and a wizard of speech but the general public did not take to that.  To their dismay, the disbelievers discovered that their campaign had boomeranged, in other words their campaign attracted people more toward Muhammad (pbuh) than away from him!  The campaign in effect became a means to help Muhammad (pbuh) rather than hinder him—they saw influential people, though not Meccans, attracted to the call of Muhammad (pbuh).  The non‑Meccans at Ukadh Fair, could appreciate for themselves the precious Message of Islam.  They loved the Islamic call for decent living with Allah's consciousness at its heart.  Many of them liked it so much they decided to convert to Islam.  They became a means to spread Islam in different parts of Arabia, areas at a distance from Mecca.



      Pagan Quraish and other disbelievers reached a high point of frustration.  Every day, every week, every month or year, each of their efforts were a failure to stop Islam.  They were frightened and anxious about their future.  They knew well that their points of view were extremely weak, and they were certain to fail whenever they confronted the Muslims.  They could think of only one more measure, which promised to be successful, as a desperate move.  Quraish took the following decision:


      The intention was to force Muhammad (pbuh) to stop his efforts, by completely cutting him off, so that he would no longer attract people to Islam.  This was a passive-active form of punishment, extremely cruel and very dangerous.


THE AREA  go to top of page

      The valley was fairly spacious, surrounded by high "moun­tains" on three sides.  The area was outside Mecca, very rugged, almost without trees.  The valley was spacious alright but it was extremely restrictive, especially with armed guards at strategic elevations observing every move, day and night.  The besieged, Muhammad (pbuh) and the Hashim clan, were to be more or less imprisoned—imprisoned for no crime but answering the call to Allah's commands and improving the society.

      To be in that area, even in this day and age, gives you a somber, eerie feeling, a feeling of the atrocities dealt not only to Muhammad (pbuh) but also to his family, his clan and the others who accepted Islam.


THE SIEGE  go to top of page

      For three long, very tough years, except for the sacred months, Benu Hashim (Muhammad's family) along with Benu Mut'talib, stood side by side, determined to defend Muhammad and to support him, and each other.

      It was an imprisonment in its ugliest form, a very trying period—devastating to say the least.

      The siege continued from the seventh to the tenth year of the Islamic mission.  When the siege began, Muhammad (pbuh) was forty seven years old, and Khadija sixty two.  During the siege, not even human communication was allowed with the Meccans or the outside world, just imagine!  It must have felt like a jail, but mind you it was not for any crime, it was only because Muhammad (pbuh) was calling for the worship of the Almighty and the goodness of man!

      Many armed guards were stationed on top of the hills which overlooked the eerie, almost treeless valley.  If you were the guard, you would see little in the area except some tents, some human figures, and an occasional tree!  The duty of the guards was to prevent any form of contact, whatsoever, between the besieged people in the valley and the outside world.

      Not only were Muhammad (pbuh) and his family forced out of their homes, put in the hostile valley, but they were also prevented from any communications or dealing with the outside world.  As a result, everyone of the besieged suffered.  Food, shelter, possession, human feelings, or human contact, all suffered.  They suffered to beyond limits of endurance.  There was untold misery, and not for a short period, a season or two, but for three long years.

      As to the Muslims who were not of the Hashim clan, they suffered even more at the hands of the tribes they belonged to, not only persistently but also severely—it seems everyone took advantage of them during this cruel period of trying to wipe out Islam.


QUESTIONS  go to top of page

  1. How was the treatment of Bilal?

  2. Why did the disbelievers take advantage of Bilal?

  3. Who finally bought Bilal from slavery and set him free?

  4. Yasir and his wife, Sumayah, were repeatedly tormented by Abu Jahl until they lost their lives in a most cruel way.  How was that?

  5. How much abuse did Muhammad (pbuh) himself receive from the disbelievers in Mecca?

  6. Who is Hamza?

  7. How did Hamza convert to Islam?

  8. In dealing with Muhammad (pbuh), did Quraish try diplomacy?

  9. What did the Meccan disbelievers try to do to the Muslims in Abyssinia?

  10. How did the king of Abyssinia react to the delegation of pagan Quraish?

  11. What is the name of the king of Abyssinia?

  12. How did Omar convert to Islam?

  13. What did Omar discover in the house of his sister that dramatically changed him?

  14. Being as angry as could be, Omar went with the intention to kill Muhammad (pbuh).  What made Omar become Muslim?

  15. How did the Muslims receive the conversion of Omar to Islam?

  16. The cruelest period of persecution for the Muslims was when the pagans of Quraish tried to boycott the clan of Benu Hashim.  Describe the boycott.

  17. For how long did the boycott of Muhammad (pbuh) and Benu Hashim last?

  18. During the boycott, did Muhammad (pbuh) and the Muslims give up?

  19. How old was Khadija when the boycott started?

  20. How old was Muhammad (pbuh) when the boycott started?