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11. Opposition to Islam

The Makkans were not happy, in fact they were maddened with rage and fury. They had in their midst a kind and honest man who was preaching a simple message, which their own souls told them was the truth. These words and messages, however, went against everything they believed and were against the beliefs of their forefathers. This message told them that the worship of idols was wrong and only Allah alone is worthy of worship.

This gentle human being was Muhammad (pbuh) who had been selected by Allah, the lord of all Mankind, to deliver the message of truth. They could not do anything to stop him because he was from Quraish and had the protection and support of Abu Talib – a respected old man – the prophet's uncle. They wanted to stop this message from getting out because it preached that Allah is one without partners and sons. They believed in many gods and their city was dedicated to these ‘gods’. They felt that the Arabs who came to perform the pilgrimage, came to see and worship these idols. If Muhammad (pbuh) told them that they were wrong and that Allah was one, then this city would begin to decline.

The Makkans got together to try and get rid of Muhammad (pbuh) and his teachings. They had already openly opposed it in public and had even tried to ridicule and slander the Prophet (pbuh). They had spoken to Abu Talib and asked him to withdraw his support and protection for Muhammad (pbuh). They had failed each time and Muhammad (pbuh) continued to preach and slowly the message was spreading.

There were only a few months until the pilgrimage would be performed and Makkah would be flooded with many Arabs from all over the peninsula. They wanted to get together and sort out Muhammad (pbuh) and his preaching. They wanted to get together and formulate a new plan! They wanted to minimise the effect of the teachings of Islam upon the pilgrims.

They didn’t want to upset the tribes that came to perform the pilgrimage. They were worried in case the Arabs threw out the Quraysh from Makkah and appointed another tribe to look after the pilgrims. They knew that history had recorded this happening many times. They enjoyed this lofty position of looking after the pilgrims, which was a position of honour and respect amongst the Arabs.

They decided if they joined forces they might be able to sort out Muhammad (pbuh). They would make things up, spread rumours and lies so that people stay away from Muhammad (pbuh) and don’t listen to his message. Someone suggested that they accuse Muhammad (pbuh) of being a sorcerer, using magic to trick and influence people. Another said they say that Muhammad (pbuh) is just a madman and is preaching nonsense. Another suggested they say that an evil spirit possesses Muhammad (pbuh) and that the Arabs should ignore him and keep away from him. Another suggested that they say that Muhammad (pbuh) was just a poet and the message of the Qu'ran was just poetry.

The fact of the matter was that none of these allegations were true and the Makkans knew this. How could they try and combat the message of Muhammad (pbuh) and how could they halt his message from being preached. They decided that they would consult Al-Waleed bin Al-Mugheerah – a very influential person in his tribe.

Al-Waleed listened to all these allegations against the prophet (pbuh) and dismissed them all. He, however, found that the most plausible way would be to suggest that Muhammad (pbuh) was a magician and that he used magic words to influence people. They said that his ‘magic’ words would separate a father from his son, a husband from his wife, a man from his clan… They finally decided that this was the best excuse they could use to discredit Muhammad (pbuh). They would tell the pilgrims that Muhammad (pbuh) was a powerful sorcerer and that they should avoid him at all costs.

So when the season of Pilgrimage came, the Makkans waited at the main roads leading to Makkah. When the pilgrims came they would tell them about Muhammad (pbuh) and warn them to stay away from Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers. Abu Lahab, the prophet's uncle and enemy of Islam, would follow Muhammad (pbuh) about the market and tell the people that Muhammad (pbuh) was a madman and a liar! Abu Lahab would advise the people not to listen to any of his words or that they would be led astray.

Despite all their efforts Muhammad (pbuh) managed to win over some of the Arabs with this message of tawheed and goodness.

Abu Dharr was a highwayman who robbed caravans when they passed through his territory. He had heard of the prophet (pbuh) from his brother and was making his way to Makkah to speak to the prophet (pbuh). He wanted to see with his own eyes this man who claimed to be a prophet. He was stopped by the Makkans on the way to the city and they informed him that Muhammad (pbuh) was a sorcerer and to avoid him.

Abu Dharr did not worship idols and paid little heed to this warning. After asking a few people, he found out where the prophet stayed and went straight to the prophet’s house. The Prophet (pbuh) was sleeping when Abu Dharr got to the house. He woke Muhammad (pbuh) up and asked if he could speak to him. He questioned Muhammad (pbuh) about his mission and about this ‘poetry’ he recited. The Prophet (pbuh) explained to him that he was the messenger of Allah and the ‘poetry’ was the actual words of Allah, known as the Qu'ran. These words were not poetry nor were they his own words. They were revelation that came from Allah, the Almighty. Abu Dharr listened to the wisdom and beauty of the words of the Qu'ran and accepted Islam by testifying to the Shahadah.

Another person who was approached by the Makkans was Tufayl, from the tribe of Bani Daws. Tufayl was a well-respected poet in his tribe and was frightened by what the Arabs had told him. He was so frightened that he stuffed cotton wool into his ears so that he would not hear the prophet (pbuh). However, when he entered the precinct of the Ka'bah, he saw Muhammad (pbuh) praying the Salah and became a little curious. Although the prophet (pbuh) was not reading the Salah aloud, he heard some of the verses from the Qu'ran.

Tufayl was impressed with these few words that he managed to hear through the cotton wool earplugs. He thought to himself, I am an intelligent person and indeed I am a gifted poet. I am not a child that I can’t tell the difference between what is good and what is false. If the verses are fair then I will accept them and if they are foul I will reject them. At this point Tufayl made up his mind to hear some of the Qu'ran and make his own mind up about these accusations the Makkans had frightened him with. Tufayl decided to follow Muhammad (pbuh) to his house.

Tufayl told the prophet (pbuh) about his encounter with the Makkans, in the desert outside the main entrance to Makkah. He told him that the Makkans had stopped him and warned him about Muhammad (pbuh). He then asked Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) about his mission and about the words he had recited in salah.

The prophet (pbuh) explained to him that he was a prophet of Allah and that the verses he had heard were the words of Allah – the Qu'ran. The prophet (pbuh) recited some more verses of the Qu'ran and Tufayl accepted Islam. He then went back to his people and tried to propagate Islam. Over a period of years he was successful in bringing the truth of Islam into the hearts and lives of his tribe.

During this period, Islam became much talked off throughout Arabia. Some spoke of Muhammad (pbuh) and his preaching in bad terms whilst others spoke of the truth of Islam very highly. Things in Makkah were certainly getting more difficult for the few Makkans that had accepted Islam. The Makkans considered Islam to be a threat to their way of life. Anyone who accepted the pure teachings of Islam was becoming a target for their aggression. They wanted to rid themselves of Islam and this man Muhammad (pbuh) who’s teaching were a direct threat against their evil practices.

The Makkans wanted to put an end to these teachings: an end to Muhammad (pbuh) and to the people who had accepted Islam and now believed and worshipped only one God! They wanted to finish off Islam and its followers….

Next week inshallah.