The Life of Muhammad (PBUH)

By: Allama Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi

Translation by: Abdullah al-Shahin

p. 139-164
Three years passed and the Islamic mission was still secret. After that, Allah ordered the Prophet (a.s.) to publicize it by revealing to him this verse, (And warn your nearest kin).[1] The Prophet (a.s.) received the order of his Lord and was determined to open his mission. He ordered his cousin Ali (a.s.) to invite the Hashemites, the children of Abdul Muttalib, the children of Nawfal, and other children of Abd Manaf, and asked him to serve a meal of a sheep leg, about one kilo of wheat, and three liters of yogurt. The invitees, who were forty men among whom were Abu Talib, Hamza, al-Abbas, and Abu Lahab, came. The Prophet (a.s.) offered the food and said to them, “Eat in the name of Allah!” They had food and yogurt until they were satiated. Though the food was too little, they all were saturate. They were astonished at that. The Prophet (a.s.) wanted to speak, but Abu Lahab said before him, “We have not seen magic like this of today. Let us leave!” All of them parted while mocking and making fun. The Prophet (a.s.) could not say anything, for Abu Lahab interrupted his speech. The next day, the Prophet (a.s.) invited them to have a meal too. They ate and drank, and then the Prophet (a.s.) got up making speech before them saying,

“O children of Abdul Muttalib, by Allah, I do not know that a young man among the Arabs has brought to his people a thing better than what I have brought to you. I have brought to you the good of this life and of the afterlife, and Allah the Almighty has ordered me to invite you to it. Which of you shall support me in this matter to be my brother, guardian, and successor among you?”

All of them kept silent except Ali who said zealously, “I, O prophet of Allah, will be your vizier on it.”

The Prophet (a.s.) put his hand on Ali’s neck and addressed the attendants saying, “This is my brother, guardian, and successor among you. You should listen to and obey him.”

They began mocking saying to Abu Talib, “He orders you to listen to and obey your son!”[2]

The Prophet (a.s.) compared his invitation to monotheism with the invitation to the caliphate, viziership, and imamate after him, and he entrusted these positions to his brother and the gate of the city of his knowledge Imam Ali (a.s.).

Anyhow, these people lent the Prophet (a.s.) deaf ears and no one of them responded to him except his uncle Abu Talib and his son Ali (a.s.).

Worry of Quraysh

The people of Quraysh were terrified by the Prophet’s mission. Their life was troubled, and hatred spread in their houses, for some of their children, wives, and slaves became Muslims. The weak and the disabled, such as Yasir, Sumayyah, and their son Ammar, also embraced Islam. Those, who became Muslims, were in disagreement with their parents, spouses, and brothers. A Muslim child rejected his polytheist parents, and a Muslim wife rejected her husband and left him because he was not a Muslim. As for slaves and the disabled, the Prophet (a.s.) opened to them new horizons of freedom, honor, and dignity, and brought them good news that they would be masters, and the tyrants of Quraysh would submit to them. Thus, troubles, upsets, and disputes were in all of the houses of Mecca.

Severe procedures

The people of Quraysh agreed on resisting and standing against the Prophet (a.s.) with all means of severity and violence they had. Quraysh was unable to bear Islam at all. They tried their best to do away with it by all means such as:

Mocking

At the beginning of the mission, the people of Quraysh began mocking at the Prophet (a.s.) and saying, ‘This is the son of Abi Kabsha;[3] he is spoken to from the heaven’ or ‘this is the boy of Abdul Muttalib; he is spoken to by the heaven’. But, when the Prophet (a.s.) criticized and scorned their idols, they were provoked and they agreed on plotting against him.

Inciting the children to harm the Prophet

The people of Quraysh ordered their children and encouraged them to harm the Prophet (a.s.). They threw stones, soil, and ashes on him. Quraysh did that to be excused before Abu Talib that it was their little children, who could not be punished, and not them who were responsible for that. The Prophet (a.s.) felt much pain and was too affected by the behavior of children. Imam Ali (a.s.), though very young then, accompanied the Prophet (a.s.) to protect him from the children. Imam Ali (a.s.) attacked children and beat them severely, and so they ran away. After that, when the Prophet (a.s.) went out and Imam Ali (a.s.) was with him, children ran away frightenedly.

Accusing the Prophet of madness

Because the Prophet (a.s.) came with a new law unlike the habits and traditions of Quraysh, they accused him of madness, though he was the most knowledgeable of all mankind. They accused him of madness to frustrate his mission and prevent the public from following him and embracing his mission. However, they failed and the mission moved like light and reached all peoples and nations of the world.

Some men from Quraysh mocked at the Prophet (a.s.) and strove to tease and harm him, but Allah the Almighty ordered him to be fixed and not to pay attention to them. Allah revealed to him, (Surely We will suffice you against the scoffers).[4] Those men ran after the Prophet (a.s.) and mocked at him, but he raised his voice reciting, ‘in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful’ and they went back. Then, this verse was revealed to him, (and when you mention your Lord alone in the Qur’an, they turn their backs in aversion).[5]

Here, we mention the men who mocked at the Prophet (a.s.):

1. Al-Waleed bin al-Mughirah

Al-Waleed bin al-Mughirah was excessive in harming and mocking at the Prophet (a.s.). However, Allah avenged on him. A fragment from an arrow of a man from Khuza’ah hit him and cut his hand artery and he died while saying, “The god of Muhammad has killed me.”

2. Al-Aas bin Wa’il

The Prophet (a.s.) suffered too much from this man’s harming and mocking, but Allah afflicted him that one day a rock fell on him and killed him.

3. Al-Aswad bin Abd Yaghuth

He scorned and mocked at the Prophet (a.s.) and at his companions. Whenever he saw the Prophet (a.s.), he said to him mockingly, “Have you been talked to by the heaven today?” He said when he saw the Prophet’s companions, “The kings of the earth have come!” He said that because the Prophet’s companions were with poor clothes and their living was very simple.

One day, he and his servant went to receive his son. He sat in the shadow under a tree. Gabriel took his head and beat it against the tree. He asked his servant for help saying to him, “Protect me from this!” The servant said to him, “I can see no one.” Then, he cried out loudly, “The god of Muhammad has killed me.”

4. Al-Harith

He was one of those who scorned at the Prophet (a.s.). One very hot day, he left his house to somewhere. His face turned black. When he came back home, his family could not know him for his black face and so they killed him.

5. Al-Aswad bin al-Harith

He scorned too much at the Prophet (a.s.) until Allah made him perish. He ate a lot of salty whale meat and became too thirsty. He began drinking water until he died while saying, “The god of Muhammad has killed me.”

There was another group from Quraysh who wronged and hurt the Prophet (a.s.). They were too severe to him. Here, we mention some of them:

1. Abu Jahl

He was one of the bitterest enemies to the Prophet (a.s.). He was filled with grudge and enmity against the Prophet (a.s.).

Abdullah bin Mas’ud said, “Once, we were with the messenger of Allah in the mosque while he was offering prayer. Abu Jahl said to his fellows, ‘Can anyone of you bring the placenta of the camel of so-and-so and throw it on the shoulders of Muhammad when he is prostrating?

Uqbah bin Abi Ma’eet fetched the placenta and threw it on the Prophet (a.s.) while he was prostrating. No one of the Muslims, who were in the mosque, could remove the placenta from the Prophet’s back because of their weakness and inability to stand against the Prophet’s enemies at that time. Someone went to Fatima (a.s.) and told her what happened to her father. She came, removed the filth from her father’s back, and washed his body. The Prophet (a.s.) felt too pain and prayed Allah against Quraysh saying, “O Allah, avenge on Quraysh!” He repeated that for three times. Then, he kept on praying against those men saying, “O Allah, avenge on Abu Jahl, Utbah bin Rabee’ah, Shaybah bin Rabee’ah, al-Waleed bin Uqbah, Umayyah bin Khalaf, and Uqbah bin Abi Ma’eet.”

Ibn Mas’ud said, “By Him Who has sent Muhammad with the truth, I had seen those, whom he (the Prophet) had named, killed in the battle of Badr and then they were drawn to the well, the well of Badr and their carrions were thrown into it.”[6]

One day, the Prophet (a.s.) was in the Thil Majaz Bazaar inviting people to embrace Islam and saying, “Say: ‘there is no god but Allah’ and you shall be successful.” Abu Jahl was behind him throwing earth on him and saying to people, “Let this one not cheat you against your religion! He just wants you to leave the worship of al-Lat and al-Uzza (two idols).”[7]

Once, this villain tried to tread on the Prophet’s neck while he was offering the prayer, but he receded and when he was asked why, he said, “I saw that there was between me and him a terrible trench of fire and I saw winged angels.” This was told to the Prophet (a.s.) and he said, “If he approached me, the angels would snatch him part by part.” Then, these verses were revealed to the Prophet (a.s.), (Have you seen him who forbid a servant when he prays…)[8].[9]

2. Abu Lahab (the Prophet’s uncle)

Abu Lahab was one of the most spiteful enemies of the Prophet (a.s.) and the most daring and denying one against him. The Prophet (a.s.) suffered from him too much. He threw filth on the Prophet’s door because he was his neighbor. The Prophet (a.s.) removed the filth and said, “O children of Abd Manaf, what neighboring this is!”

Abu Lahab’s wife Umm Jameel, who was Abu Sufyan’s sister, was not less than her husband in her enmity and grudge against the Prophet (a.s.). She often met the Prophet (a.s.) with abuse and revilement. Her grudge against the Prophet (a.s.) increased when the Sura of al-Masad (111) was revealed about her and her husband Abu Lahab. Allah has said, (Perish both hands of Abu Lahab, and he will perish. His wealth and what he earns will not avail him. He shall soon burn in flaming fire. And his wife, the bearer of firewood. Upon her neck a halter of twisted palm-fiber.)[10]

When the Prophet (a.s.) invited people to the faith in Allah, Abu Lahab addressed the people of Quraysh saying loudly, “Let him not cheat you against your religion and the religion of your fathers.”[11]

3. Uqbah bin Abi Ma’eet

He had great grudge against the Prophet (a.s.) and was excessive in harming him. Once, he saw the Prophet (a.s.) offering the prayer inside the Kaaba. He put his garment around the Prophet’s neck and tried to throttle him, but Abu Bakr pushed him away from the Prophet (a.s.) and said to him, “Do you want to kill a man just because he says: ‘my god is Allah’ and has come to you with proofs from your God?”[12]

4. Al-Hakam bin Abil-Aas

Al-Hakam bin Abil-Aas bin Umayyah was the father of Marwan. He scorned and mocked at the Prophet (a.s.). He walked behind the Prophet (a.s.) and made ridiculous gestures with his nose and mouth. Once, the Prophet (a.s.) turned and saw him do that. He said to him, “Let you be so then!” His mouth began quivering until his death.

5. Umayyah bin Khalaf

He was one of the most malicious and spiteful men towards the Prophet (a.s.). Whenever, he saw the Prophet (a.s.), he vexed and annoy him. Then, Allah revealed these verses about him, (Woe to every slanderer, defamer, who amasses wealth and considers it a provision (against mishap)…).[13] This villain was killed in the Battle of Badr.[14]

Accusing the Prophet of magic

The people of Quraysh accused the Prophet (a.s.) of being a magician, for he recited before them the miraculous verses of Allah that they could not keep up with, besides his wonderful maxims that attracted all hearts. Moreover, he showed them miracles by the will of Allah to affirm his mission and make people believe in it. They could not resist his mission, so they accused him of being a magician.

Preventing praisers from coming to him

The people of Quraysh were so spiteful toward the Prophet (a.s.) that they spent much monies to prevent poets from coming to him. Historians mention that al-A’sha, the poet, had composed a poem in which he praised the Prophet (a.s.). When the people of Quraysh knew about that, they lay in wait for him. When they saw him, they asked him where he wanted to go and he said, “I want to go to Muhammad to be a Muslim.”

They said to him, “Muhammad prohibits adultery, usury, drinks, and gambling.”

He said, “Adultery has left me but I have not left it.” He became uneasy when they mentioned to him that Islam had prohibited wine.

Abu Sufyan said to him, “Would you accept what is better than what you want to do?”

He asked what it was and Abu Sufyan said to him, “You take one hundred camels and go back to your country. You wait for what we shall do. If we defeat him (the Prophet), you shall have taken your recompense, and if he shall defeat us, you can come to him.”

Abu Sufyan collected to him from Quraysh one hundred camels, and the poet took them and went back to his country…and he could not be blessed by meeting the Prophet (a.s.). Abu Sufyan made him lose that blessing.[15]

Preventing people from embracing Islam

Quraysh tried the best to prevent those who were willing to be Muslims from embracing Islam. One day, Marwan met Huwaytib and asked him about his old. When he told him, Marwan said to Huwaytib, “O sheikh (old man), your faith in Islam has been late and events have preceded you.”

Huwaytib said, “By Allah, I intended to embrace Islam more than one time, but your father hindered me from that every time. He said to me: You lose your honor. You leave your fathers’ religion for a new religion and be inferior.”[16]

Thus was the situation of the people of Quraysh at the head of whom were the Umayyads. It was a situation of absolute enmity to Islam and far grudge against the Prophet (a.s.). They followed all means to put out the light of Islam but they failed.

Persecuting the believers

The tyrants of Quraysh wreaked their wrath on everyone that believed in the Prophet (a.s.) and became a Muslim. They pursued the weak and slaves who had no supporters that could protect them against the oppression of Quraysh. Those weak and disabled people were the base and the strong fort of the Islamic mission. The Prophet (a.s.) said, “Allah gives victory to this nation through its weak people; through their propagandizing, prayers, and devotion…”[17]

The men of Quraysh were excessive in scorning and oppressing those first Muslims. Allah has said about them, (Lo! The guilty used to laugh at those who believed, and when they passed by them, they winked at one another, and when they returned to their own followers they returned exulting, and when they saw them, they said: Most surely these are in error.)[18]

However, they remained no long until Islam destroyed them and did away with their ignorance and moldy minds, and then the weak and the disabled became the masters of the earth.

As an example, the tyrants of Quraysh tortured Yasirs’s family with unbearable torment. The Prophet (a.s.) passed by them when they were being tortured and felt great pain and pity for them. He said about them (Yasir, Sumayyah, and their son Ammar), “Be patient O Family of Yasir! Your promise is the Paradise.”[19]

Yasir and his wife Summayah were martyred under the pressure of torment, and their son Ammar remained receiving heavy torment. He could bear no more. Consequently, Quraysh asked him to abuse the Prophet (a.s.), and he responded unwillingly and they set him free. He hurried to the Prophet (a.s.) crying and feeling very sad. He told the Prophet (a.s.) what he did, but the Prophet (a.s.) wiped his tears and said to him, “If they do again (punish you), you do the same (to abuse).” Therefore, Allah revealed this verse, (He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is content with the faith).[20]

Ammar’s soul was filled with faith and devotedness until he was martyred for the sake of Islam in the desert of Siffin with the leader of wisdom and emir of justice; Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.).

Bilal al-Habashi was another one from those who were tortured in the way of Islam. Umayyah bin Khalaf poured on him all kinds of torment. After leaving him hungry and thirsty for a day and a night, he took him out at midday and made him lie down on his back in the desert and ordered his men to put a heavy rock on his chest, and then he said to him, “It is so until you die or disbelieve in Muhammad and worship al-Lat and al-Uzza.”

From the other kinds of punishment against Bilal was that the men of Quraysh tied him with ropes and made their children draw him in the streets of Mecca. He did not care for all that, but he said: He is One. He is One.[21]

Anyhow, the steadfastness of those tortured ones astonished the tyrants of Quraysh and made them too angry. The most spiteful one of those tyrants against whoever became a Muslim was Abu Jahl who whenever knew that some man turned a Muslim, he went to him to scold him. If that new Muslim was a notable man in his tribe, he (Abu Jahl) said to him, “You have left the religion of your father who is better than you! We will confute your opinion, refute your belief, and degrade you.” If he was a merchant, he said to him, “We will stagnate your trade and deaden your capitals.” And if he was a helpless one, he punished him and incited others against him.[22]

Sa’eed bin Jubayr narrated, “I said to Abdullah bin Abbas, ‘Did the polytheists punish the messenger of Allah’s companions to a degree that they were obliged to give up their religion?’ Ibn Abbas said, ‘Yes by Allah. They punished a companion, starved, and made him thirsty until he was unable to sit erect because of the damage he had, and then he would respond to their ill will. Then they said to him: Are al-Lat and al-Uzza your gods away from Allah? He said: Yes. He said that just to save himself from their torment.’”[23]

The Prophet asks Muslims to be steadfast

The men of Quraysh were excessive in harming and tormenting Muslims with unbearable kinds of torment, until some of them could not resist more and so they abandoned their religion; though some of them remained fixed and did not yield to the severe punishment of Quraysh. The Prophet (a.s.) invited Muslims to withstand and be patient with their affliction. Once, al-Khabbab bin al-Art asked the Prophet (a.s.) to pray Allah against Quraysh, but he said to him, “The believers (of nations) before you were combed with iron combs. The flesh and nerves on their bones were combed but that did not make them abandon their religion, and saws were put on the partings of their heads and were split into two but that did not make them abandon their religion. Surely, Allah will complete this matter (Islam) until a rider shall move from Sana’a to Hadhramaut not fearing except Allah the Almighty.”[24]

Abu Talib protects the Prophet

Abu Talib was the strongest fort that defended and protected the Prophet (a.s.) against the plotting and evil of Quraysh; otherwise, the Prophet (a.s.) could not withstand determinedly to fulfill his mission.

In his great revolution, Prophet Muhammad (a.s.) founded an intellectual and social rise that made Quraysh fear for their habits and traditions that the Prophet (a.s.) refuted. Therefore, they were angry and full of spite against him. They resisted and fought him, but his uncle Abu Talib encouraged him to be determined and steadfast. Abu Talib addressed his nephew with these verses of poetry,

“Announce your mission and never mind anything,

and let your eyes be delighted.

You invited me and I knew that you were sincere to me.

You are the most truthful, the most honest.

I have known that the religion of Muhammad

is the best of religions among all of the peoples.

By Allah, they won’t reach you whatever numerous they were,

until I am buried under the ground.”

These verses declare Abu Talib’s deep faith in Islam and his devotedness in defending the Prophet (a.s.). Abu Talib was too careful for his nephew; he did not leave him alone or let him be liable to the expected or unexpected evils of the polytheists of Quraysh. He was too kind to him. He loved and pitied him more than his own children. He was very loyal in defending and supporting him. He refuted the men of Quraysh who asked him to leave the Prophet (a.s.) alone. He replied to them saying,

“I swear by the House of Allah that you have told lies!

We never give up Muhammad; we struggle and fight for him,

we support him until we are killed around him.

For him we ignore our wives and children.”

He added praising the Prophet (a.s.),

“And a white-faced, with whose face it is prayed,

so that the clouds bring goodness.

He is the shelter of the orphans and the guardian of the widows.

They know well that our son had never been a liar,

nor we care for absurdities.

I swear I love Ahmed as a passionate lover;

I sacrifice my soul for him,

I defend him with all I have…”[25]

Ibn Katheer commented on this poem saying, “It is a very great, eloquent poem that no one can compose except that one to whom it is ascribed. It is more perfect and more eloquent in delivering the meaning than all the (famous) Seven Poems (hanged on the wall of the Kaaba).”[26]

In any case, Abu Talib was too loyal in his love and protection to the Prophet (a.s.) and without him the Prophet (a.s.) would not be able to announce the principles and values he adopted in his immortal mission.

Quraysh ask Abu Talib to deliver them the Prophet

Some chiefs of Quraysh went to Abu Talib asking him to deliver Muhammad to them to kill him and to give Imarah, who was the noblest and most handsome young man of Quraysh, to him (Abu Talib) instead. Abu Talib replied to them saying, “O fools, you have not been fair to me. Fie and woe be to you! Do you want me to give you my soul and son to kill him and you give me your son to bring him up for you? How do you judge?! Do you want me to replace Muhammad by Imarah bin al-Waleed? By Him in Whose hand my soul is, if you give me the whole world, I will not replace it by a nail from Muhammad’s foot. Be away from me! Do not talk to me; otherwise, I will strike your heads with the sword.”

They went back disappointedly, and Abu Talib left spite filling their hearts against the Prophet (a.s.).

Abu Talib orders Ja’far to follow the Prophet

One day, Abu Talib saw the Prophet (a.s.) offer prayer while Imam Ali (a.s.) was on his right side. He turned to his son Ja’far and said to him, “Protect the wing of your cousin and offer prayer on his left side.”[27] Then, he recited these verses which he himself had composed,

“Ali and Ja’far are my trusts,

whenever the time brings distresses and disasters.

O you both! Support your cousin and don’t fail him.

He is my blood-brother’s son.

By Allah I won’t fail the Prophet

Nor will any of my sons.”[28]

Once, the Prophet (a.s.) came into the Kaaba to offer the prayer. Abu Jahl said, “Who would come to this man and interrupt his prayer?” Ibn az-Ziba’ra fetched feces and blood and stained the Prophet’s face. The Prophet (a.s.) stopped his prayer and went to his uncle Abu Talib who asked him who had done that to him and he replied that it was Abdullah bin az-Ziba’ra. Abu Talib got up, held his sword, and came to those men. When they saw him coming, they tried to get up, but he said, “By Allah, if any man from you gets up, I will strike him with my sword.” They all sat down. He took feces and blood and stained their faces and beards while abusing them.[29]

Abu Talib invites an-Najashi to Islam

Abu Talib invited the king of Abyssinia to embrace Islam. He sent him a letter and ended it with these verses of poetry,

“You know O king of Abyssinia!

Muhammad is a prophet like Moses and Jesus, the son of Blessed Marry.

He came with guidance as they both had come with.

Each-according to the order of Allah-guides and educates.

You recite it in your Book as a true speech not a divination.

So don’t make a partner with Allah and let you come to Islam;

the way of the truth is not dark.”[30]

Hamza becomes a Muslim

Hamza’s becoming a Muslim was a victory and honor to Muslims. He was famous among all people of Mecca for his courage, intelligence, and true determination. He was very respectable, honorable, and of a high position near all the people of Quraysh. The sources of history mention the reason behind his becoming a Muslim that once Abu Jahl passed by the Prophet (a.s.) at as-Safa and was excessive in abusing and harming him (the Prophet) and criticizing Islam. The Prophet (a.s.) kept silent and did not answer him. One of Abdullah bin Jad’an’s maids heard Abu Jahl’s impolite speech to the Prophet (a.s.). She went to Hamza (one of the Prophet’s uncles) and said to him, “O Abu Imarah, I wish you saw what your nephew Muhammad met from Abul Hakam bin Hisham (Abu Jahl). He found him sitting there- in as-Safa- and he harmed, abused, and made him hear what he hated, and then he left, but Muhammad did not spoke to him.”

Hamza became angry and lost his mind. He went to the mosque. When he saw Abu Jahl, he struck his head with his bow that wounded his head. He shouted at him, “Do you abuse him while I am on his religion? I believe in what he says. Refute me if you can do that!”

Some men from bani Makhzum rose to assist their fellow Abu Jahl who prevented them saying, “I had abused his nephew too impudently.”[31]

Hamza announced his faith and promised the Prophet (a.s.) to defend and protect him and to sacrifice himself for supporting Islam. When Hamza became a Muslim, the Prophet (a.s.) was relieved from much of Quraysh’s harm, because Hamza was very courageous and daring and most of people feared him. He announced his faith in Islam openly and withstood the tyranny of Quraysh.

The first emigration to Abyssinia

When the Prophet (a.s.) saw that his companions met much harm and torment from the polytheists of Mecca, he ordered them to emigrate to Abyssinia whose king was just and fair to everyone, until Allah would grant them with a deliverance from what they were in.

A group of the first Muslims, who were punished and persecuted, fled to Allah to keep their faith. They were eleven men and four women. Then, other Muslims joined them little by little. Among the first group of emigrants was the martyr Ja’far at-Tayyar. Some believers emigrated by themselves and others with their families. Negus, the king of Abyssinia, welcomed very well and assured them with security and protection, and they found under his care much kindness and comfort.

Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal sees that the purpose of the Prophet’s order to the Muslims to emigrate to Abyssinia was not the escape from the persecution of Quraysh, but it had an important political goal; it was to propagandize for Islam and to show the Muslims’ sufferings. I myself think that this thought is so far true, for the Prophet’s procedures were not, in any case, spontaneous, but they were intentional and they had important political purposes. The Prophet (a.s.) ordered the believers to emigrate to Abyssinia and not any other place such as Yemen that was near to Mecca, because the people and the rulers of Abyssinia were Christians and their divine books had brought good tidings about the appearance of the Prophet Muhammad (a.s.). Therefore, they would be worthier of responding to Islam than the people of the towns dominated by idolatry and Judaism. Anyhow, the emigrants were safe, there, from the punishment and persecution of Quraysh.

The men of Quraysh were terrified by the emigration of Muslims to Abyssinia. They feared that events might develop against them and Abyssinia might be taken as a center for the Islamic mission. Therefore, they sent a delegation to the King of Abyssinia asking him not to protect the emigrant Muslims of Mecca and to deliver them back to Quraysh. They chose for the delegation Amr bin al-Aas and Abdullah bin Abi Rabee’ah and sent with them precious gifts. On the other side, Abu Talib sent a letter to the king of Abyssinia asking him to protect and be kind to the emigrant Muslims and he ended the letter with these verses of poetry,

“I wish I knew what affairs of Ja’far among people there,

and of Amr and the kin enemies of the Prophet!

Did the goodness of Negus reach Ja’far and his companions,

or it was prevented by a seditious offender?

You know O Negus, glory be to you, that you are so generous,

that whoever resorts to you won’t be disappointed.

You know that Allah has given you great authority,

and every means of goodness,

that still keep to your high qualities.

And you are a fount of goodness,

that enemies and relatives can get its benefits.”[32]

Anyhow, the two deputies of Quraysh came before Negus, and one of them said to him, “O king, some silly young men from us have come to your country. They have abandoned the religion of their people and they have not embraced your religion. They have invented a religion that neither we nor you know it. The notables of their people from their fathers, cousins, and tribes have sent us to you that you may send them (emigrant Muslims) back to them, for they are more aware of them and of what they have done to and faulted them.”

The retinue of Negus asked him to respond to the delegation of Quraysh, but he refused and said, “I do not deliver them to them. How can I do that whereas they have come to my country and chosen me from among all others? I will inquire them (Muslims) about what they (the delegation of Quraysh) say. If they are as they say, I will deliver them to them and send them back to their people; otherwise, I will protect them against them.”

When the emigrant Muslims appeared before Negus (and there were many bishops in the palace), he asked them, “What about this religion by which you have parted with the religion of your people and not embraced my religion or any other religion?”

Ja’far bin Abi Talib said, “O king, we were a people of ignorance; worshipping idols, eating dead animals, committing adultery, abandoning kinship, doing badly to neighbors, and the strong eating the weak. We were on that until Allah sent us a prophet from us that we know his lineage, truthfulness, loyalty, and virtuousness. He invited us to Allah; to believe in His oneness and to worship Him, and to abandon what we and our fathers were worshipping of stones and idols away from Him. He ordered us to be truthful in speech, give deposits back (to their owners), maintain kinship, be good to neighbors, and to refrain from sins and shedding of blood, and he prohibited us from adultery, vices, falsehood, eating up the properties of orphans, and accusing chaste women of adultery, and he ordered us to worship Allah alone without associating any partner with Him, and ordered us to perform prayer, zakat, and fasting…so we believed in and followed him in all what he had brought from Allah. We worshipped Allah alone with no partner, refrained from what he prohibited, and practiced what he permitted to us, but our people oppressed, tortured, and tempted us to renegade our religion and come back to idolatry away from Allah the Almighty, and to practice the vices we practiced before. When they wronged, persecuted, pressed, and tried to prevent us from our religion, we left to your country, chose you from among others, wished to be your neighbors, and hoped that we would not be wronged near you O king.”

The king asked Ja’far, “Would you recite to me from what he (the Prophet) has brought from Allah the Almighty?”

Ja’far recited the Sura of Maryam from its beginning until he reached these verses, (Then she pointed to him. They said: How should we speak to one who is a child in the cradle? He said: Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet, and He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and poor-rate so long as I live, and (has made me) dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, unblessed. Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive.)[33]

These verses occupied Negus and the bishops’ hearts and affected their feelings that made them cry. Negus said to Ja’far, “This and what Jesus has brought come out of one niche. (he addressed the delegation of Quraysh) Go away! No, by Allah, I do never deliver them to you.” Then, he ordered his men to drive away Amr bin al-Aas and his companion.

Amr bin al-Aas became very angry and tried to plot against the Muslims. He said to Negus, “The Muslims say odd things about Jesus son of Mary.” Negus asked the Muslims about what they said concerning Prophet Jesus (a.s.), and Ja’far said, “Our prophet says: he (Prophet Jesus) is Allah’s servant, messenger, spirit, and word that He has cast to Virgin Mary.”

Negus became too delighted. He drew a line on the ground and said to Ja’far, “There is nothing (different) between our religion and your religion more than this line.”

Negus was certain that Muslims were true and their opponents were false. He let Muslims live in Abyssinia and assured to them security against the harms of Quraysh. The deputies of Quraysh returned empty-handed, whereas the Muslims lived under the full protection of the king and became free in practicing their rituals. Umm Salama narrated, “When we arrived in the land of Abyssinia, we neighbored the best of neighbors; Negus who secured to us our religion. We began worshipping Allah the Almighty without being harmed and without hearing anything that we hated.”[34]

The second emigration of Muslims

The news that Negus received and accepted the emigrant Muslims to be under his protection and that the deputies of Quraysh were disappointed spread among the Muslims in Mecca. Consequently, eighty Muslim men with their wives and children emigrated to Abyssinia too. This emigration had a great impact in Mecca and outside Mecca and it affected the public opinion in those areas. It showed the Prophet’s political expertness that he had planned to, and made people in those societies ask about Islam and that made them embrace Islam as a result.

Umar turns a Muslim

Umar was hot-tempered and he quickly became furious. Imam Ali (a.s.) described him in his ash-Shaqshaqiyyah sermon as ‘the harsh region’. He was fond of amusement and wine.[35] He was one of the cruelest men of Quraysh towards Muslims. When he knew about the Muslims’ emigration to Abyssinia, he became angry and distressed. Therefore, he decided to kill the Prophet (a.s.) to relieve Quraysh from him, and so he set out to fulfill his task. He met Na’eem bin Ab


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