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The disbelievers’ resistance to Islam

Wednesday 29/04/2009

When he was forty years old, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), first received the Divine revelation on a Monday morning of the month of Ramadan, in the cave of Hiraa' in Makkah. Then, there was a long interval, after which the revelation resumed with the verses of Allah The Almighty, in which He addresses him, Saying (what means): {O you who covers himself [with a garment], Arise and warn, and your Lord glorify, And your clothing purify, And uncleanliness avoid.} [Quran 74:1-5]

Following that, once again, for two or three nights, there was no sign of any verses being revealed to the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), so the Quraysh tauntingly remarked that Allah The Almighty had abandoned him. However, Allah The Almighty refuted them, Saying (what means): {By the morning brightness, And [by] the night when it covers with darkness, our Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muhammad], nor has He detested [you].} [Quran 93:1-3]
 
The process of receiving the revelation itself was not a light matter; the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), endured hardship when it descended upon him: his forehead would sweat profusely, his body would feel weighed down and he would hasten in receiving it entirely and concentrate fully for fear of forgetting it, so Allah The Almighty made clear that He had guaranteed to preserve it Himself.
 
The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), knew, ever since he was blessed with the first revelation, that he had been commissioned to bear and proclaim a Divine message. Therefore, he started by preaching to his household and Companions, later on expanding the scope of his Da’wah (propagation of Islam). At this point, he,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), still kept it under wraps to avoid the scrutiny of the disbelievers who would immediately put an end to it, should they get wind of his activities.
 
This phase of Da‘wah in secret, continued for three years, and was marked by the conversion of many people to Islam, such as Khadeejah, the Mother of the Believers, may Allah be pleased with her, as well as some Companions of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), including Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan, Az-Zubayr ibnul-‘Awwaam, ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib – cousin of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) – Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas, Abdur-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf, Khaalid ibn Sa‘eed ibnul-‘Aas, may Allah be pleased with them all. There were also some slaves, such as Zayd ibn Haarithah – a freed slave of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) – together with other men and slaves including ‘Ammaar ibn Yaasir, Bilaal the Abyssinian and Suhayb the Roman, may Allah be pleased with them all.
 
Hence, in the initial years, the number of Muslims increased and nobody suffered any abuse at the hands of Quraysh, owing to their secrecy and the obliviousness of Quraysh to the consequential effects of Islamic Da‘wah on their beliefs and interests.
 
However, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), then received a Divine order to proclaim the message publicly and warn his kith and kin. Allah The Almighty Said (what means): {And warn, [O Muhammad], your closest kindred.} [Quran 26:214] Accordingly, Da‘wah began to be conducted in the open, eliciting animosity and fierce resistance from the Quraysh toward the Muslims.
 
It is reported that after the aforementioned verse was revealed, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), set out to Mount As-Safa, calling out for the Quraysh to assemble. He asked the gathering whether they would believe him if he warned them of enemy forces amassed behind the nearby mountain. They all attested to his truthfulness and that they had never known him to be a liar. So, he told them of a very real, severe punishment to befall the disbelievers in Allah. Thereupon, his uncle, Abu Lahab, derisively spoke to the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), and left. Then, Allah The Almighty revealed the 111th chapter of the Quran in response to his disparagement, Saying (what means): {May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he….} [Quran 111:1] [Al-Bukhari]
 
As the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), openly criticized the pagan beliefs of the disbelievers and explained the Islamic creed of monotheism, he encountered an unfavorable reaction from Quraysh. They launched a campaign of propaganda against him,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), maligning him as a mad man, sorcerer or nothing but a poet.
 
They even began to slight him, by distorting his name, calling him "Muthammam" (i.e., dispraised), instead of "Muhammad" (i.e., laudable or praiseworthy). The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), discussed with his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, how Allah The Almighty shielded him from the denigration of Quraysh, saying: “they insulted and cursed Muthammam, while I am Muhammad.” [Al-Bukhari]
 
Not content with their maligning the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), the polytheists would even disrespect the Quran when they heard him reciting it in public. He,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), would intentionally pray at Al-Masjid Al-Haraam (the Sacred Mosque in Makkah), demonstrating the rites of Islam, its respect of the Ka‘bah and as a means of acquainting people with Islam. But, Allah The Almighty ordered him not to raise his voice when reciting the Quran, so as to avoid insults from the polytheists.
 
Physical Abuse
 
The foolish disbelievers did not hold themselves back from physically resisting against Islam, by causing the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), bodily harm. They threw excrement and the blood of a dead camel at him while he was prostrating in prayer, and jeered. Faatimah, may Allah be pleased with her, saw this and came and cleaned the filth off her father. Then, he,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), invoked Allah against them, not out of personal vengeance, for they frequently harmed him; but rather because they belied his message and were obstinate when it came to accepting and embracing Islam.
 
In a separate incident, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), was praying in the courtyard of the Ka‘bah, when ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu‘ayt approached him, clenched his shoulder and garment so that it wound around his neck, strangling him,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, hurried and pushed ‘Uqbah away, asking: "Do you kill a man [merely] because he says, 'My Lord is Allah', even though he has brought you clear proofs from your Lord?" [Al-Bukhari]
 
Even during Abu Taalib’s life, the Quraysh tried to unsuccessfully convince this uncle of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), to prevent him from continuing his Da‘wah activities. That is because the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), displayed his resolute intention in proceeding with his task of proclaiming the message as it was a Divine order.
 
But, perhaps, the ultimate harm the disbelievers intended was their attempt to kill the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), towards the end of his stay in Makkah, foreseeing which directly culminated in his decision to emigrate to Madeenah.
 
It was also the persecution by the disbelievers of the followers of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), that prompted emigration. The weak were especially vulnerable to torture; the disbelievers would clad them in iron armor and chain them under the scorching sun. One of them, Bilaal, may Allah be pleased with him, would endure that torture patiently; and even when he was dragged through the small alleys of Makkah by young boys, he kept bearing witness: "Allah is One! Allah is One!"
 
Among those who were tortured because of their adherence to Islam were also ‘Aamir ibn Fuhayrah, Natheerah, Um ‘Ubays, An-Nahdiyyah and her sister, as well as a slave girl in the tribe of Banu ‘Amr ibn Mu̕ ammil. One of the first who embraced Islam, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, would buy off believing Muslim slaves from their masters among Quraysh to save them from being tormented; he would then set them free. So, his father, Quhaafah, suggested that he would be better off setting free strong men who would protect him. So, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, replied his actions were only for the sake of Allah The Almighty, and not personal gain. [Al-Haakim: Al-Mustadrak. (Hasan chain of narrators)]
 
Several narrations have also been reported describing the different ways that ‘Ammaar ibn Yaasir and his family were brutalized, as was Khabbaab ibnul-Aratt, may Allah be pleased with them all, who eventually implored the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), to ask Allah The Almighty to stop the torture of the weak. However, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), instructed him to be patient, hoping for a reward from Allah The Almighty. He further advised him to exercise self-control and abstain from using force to deal with force and attacks to counter attacks. Perhaps, this precaution was taken to preserve their lives and the future of the Da‘wah that was still in its early stages, and to avoid playing into the plan of the disbelievers who had hoped for a decisive confrontation with Muslims with the intention to put an end to it. The wise Islamic approach of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), denied them that goal.
 
He,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), intently raised his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, to strengthen their bond with Allah the Almighty, drawing close to Him through acts of worship. For almost a year, he directed them to offer prayers during the latter half of the night, until their feet became swollen and their bodies fatigued. And so, their struggle against their whims and baser desires became evident and Allah The Almighty eased matters for them after knowing of their intense devotion seeking His satisfaction.
 
The outcome of this meticulous upbringing of the early believers bore fruit when Muslims willingly endured the hardship of Jihaad (struggle against belligerent disbelievers) and the difficulties in the establishment of the Islamic state in Madeenah.
 
Hence, it becomes clear that Muslims in Makkah suffered all kinds of problems at the hands of the disbelievers, whether it may be psychological, in the form of mockery and insults; physical, such as exposure to beatings and the glaring sun on the scorching sand of the desert; or, economic, by being prevented from mixing with people and doing business with them.
 
Despite such zealous resistance to Islam, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), and his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, were being constantly coached by the Quran to remain steadfast on their path. Verses revealed during this time deepened their knowledge of faith-related issues, taught them to adhere to good morals, including patience, wisdom and justice, and purified their behavior and customs from the flaws of the pre-Islamic era. They were being trained to seek help through prayer and closeness to Allah The Almighty, so that their faith would grow and they would be able to face their enemies.
 
Hence, when they emigrated to Abyssinia, leaving behind their own land, they remained strong in their belief, firm in the conviction that Allah The Almighty will fulfill His Promise of rewarding patient believers with victory in the worldly life and a great reward in the Hereafter, which He did.
 
Thus, we learn that no matter how great the disbelievers’ resistance to Islam, whether in the time of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), or ours, Allah The Almighty surely supports His religion and His allies, and will retaliate Himself against His enemies.

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