Seerah episode 46: Political Unrest in Makkah

— Gender tenses in the Qur’an

  • When Allah addresses humans in the masculine, He’s addressing everyone universally (men & women)
    • Masculine gender = universal gender
  • In some parts of the Qur’an, Allah specifically mentions “men and women”
    • Those parts are where women are of special focus, where female-related issues are mentioned
    • E.g. Surat At-Tahrim (66), Surat Al-Mumtahanah (60), Surat An-Nisa (4), Surat Al-Ahzab (33)
  • Why these two different forms of addressing humans?
    • These verses were revealed after a certain incident occurred regarding the Believing women of the Sahaba. The women went to the Prophet & asked him, “O Rasulallah, why doesn’t Allah specifically mention us, the women?”
    • The Prophet replied, “When Allah says, ‘Ya ayyuhal ladhina amanu,’ He addresses you as well.”
    • The women said, “O Rasulallah, we would like for Allah to specifically address us as well, make demands of us specifically.”
    • From that point on, Allah revealed verses that called on the Believing manand the Believing woman

— All throughout the first 5 years of Nabua, the Prophet prayed openly at the Ka’bah

  • As for the other Muslims, the Prophet left it up to them to decide when they were ready to pray in public at the Ka’bah
  • After Umar ibn al-Khattab proposed that it was time for all Muslims to pray at the Ka’bah, the Prophet saw that the other Muslims at Darul Arqam were also ready, so he agreed, “Yes, let’s all go pray at the Ka’bah”
  • Hamza & Umar would stand on either side of the prayer congregation to protect the other Muslims when they all prayed at the Kab’ah
    • The other non-Believers could do nothing about it. The most vocal ones of the opposition (Abu Lahab & Abu Jahl) were not happy about the Muslims praying publically, but they were restrained by others from doing anything about it

— Instead, a council meeting with all the top leaders of Quraysh was called because of the public prayers taking place at the Haram

  • Utba & Shayba (the sons of Rabi’ah), Abu Sufyan, Abu Jahl, Walid ibn Mughira, Abdullah bin Abi Umayyah (paternal cousin of the Prophet), Al ‘As ibn Wa’il, Ummayyah ibn Khalaf (best friend of Abu Jahl), & anyone who has political/economic/social status in Makkah were at this meeting
  • They discussed a lot of issues
    • How at least 100 Muslims left Makkah & immigrated to Abyssinia
    • How the Quraysh went to get them back but only came back with their tails between their legs
    • How despite the majority of Muslims are in Abyssinia, the number of Muslims in Makkah only keep increasing
    • How the respectable elite people (Abu Bakr, Uthman ibn Affan, etc) have accepted Islam, & not only that, there are also now enforcers (Hamza & Umar) joining Muhammad’s side
    • How the Quraysh have ran smear campaigns & tried to defame the Prophet, but none of that worked
    • So now what do the Quraysh do? What option is there now to deal with the Muslims?
  • The council decided to try a strategy that they have tried before, through the uncle of the Prophet, Abu Talib
    • Before, the Quraysh went to Abu Talib to reason with Prophet, & Abu Talib told his nephew to keep doing his thing
    • Another thing the Quraysh did was offer Abu Talib a trade, money, protégé to hand over Muhammad, but that didn’t work either
  • But now, the Quraysh leaders decide to go to the Prophet with a blank check, meaning, “Let’s offer to recognize his religion as legitimate”

—12 of the Quraysh top dogs call on the Prophet for a meeting

  • The Prophet went to them very hopeful, thinking that maybe they’ve finally seen the light
  • Nabrul al Hadith may have been the representative of that meeting. He said, “Look, Muhammad. We’ve never had anyone in Makkah or in any major tribe of Arabia who has caused as much unrest as you have. You insulted our forefathers. You criticized our beliefs. You defamed our gods. You’ve made a complete mockery of our way of life. All of the trouble & misunderstandings were caused by you. We’re not sure what you want, but we’re extending the same offer that we’ve extended in the past. But we’re now willing to increase the terms of the offer. Number 1. We can offer you as much wealth as you want. We’ll pay you to the end of the years. We’ll declare you to be head of the council of Quraysh. You can have whatever you want.”
  • The Prophet responded, “I don’t want your money. I don’t want your leadership. Allah has sent me a message – the Qur’an. This is what I present to you. My counteroffer is: I offer you the Qur’an, I offer you Islam. If you abide by this, then you’ll reap the rewards & blessings of this life and the next. If you reject this, then it is between you and Allah, and Allah will settle the matter between us. Allah will settle the affairs. I’m not here to make threats, but Allah will be the judge.

— The Quraysh leaders take a five minute recess.  They pulled over to the corner & talked about pulling out the wild card. The big guns.

  • They come back & tell the Prophet, “We know that you’re insisting that either we believe or not. You have a message, & you insist on that message. We’ll recognize your religion as completely valid, if and only if you recognize our religion as completely valid. You can prove that this way: One day, we worship your God. We pray in your direction and in your manner. Then another day, we all pray our way & worship our idols. It’s equal trade. Give us a little, take a little.”

— Allah had told Prophet in Surat Qalam, the second revelation:

  • “Then do not obey the deniers [of My Message]. They wish that you would soften in your position, so they would soften towards you.” [68:8-9]
    • Meaning: “What they want more than anything else, is that you be willing to bend just a little bit & compromise in your beliefs & in your imaan. But don’t ever do that. No matter how strategic it may seem, there are some things we may never compromise in.”
  • The Prophet told them respectfully that he is unwilling to budge from his position

— Then chaos broke out. The Quraysh leaders’ frustration started to show, & they started speaking out of turn. “You see how hard it is here. Life is hard. We live in the desert, in the middle of mountains. Water comes by scarcely, there’s not a lot of vegetation, it’s all desert. Why don’t you pray to your Lord to move the mountains & make it rain. Everything will be green & lush. There will be rivers flowing through here like in Iraq & Bilad as-Shaam. Why don’t you ask your God to make our lands like that? We’ll all benefit from that and your followers will to. If that happens, we’ll believe in you.”

  • The Prophet replied, “I understand that you’re getting frustrated. I believe in Allah. I believe in the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the message of Allah. If you believe, then you will receive blessings in this life and next. If you don’t, khalas.”
  • Then one of the Quraysh said, “Why don’t you pray to your God to raise up our forefathers (especially Qusai bin Kilaab). Ask your God to resurrect him. If you were anything like Qusai, you wouldn’t be doing this.”
    • Qusai ibn Kilab was the great-great-great grandfather of the Prophet. He established Quraysh as a power within Arabia, & was a very truthful & moral person
    • The Quraysh didn’t realize that even before the Prophet preached his message, he’d be likened to his grandfather Abdul Mutallib & Qusai ibn Kilab – Al-Sadiq Al-Amin

— From here, the Quraysh just become flat out unreasonable

  • One of the men looked up at the sky & said, “God, if what this man Muhammad says is the truth, then rain down upon us stones from the sky or bring us a painful punishment for not believing” [Surat Al-Anfal; 8:32]
    • “But Allah would not punish them while you, O Muhammad, are among them, and Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness.” [Surat Al-Anfal; 8:33]
  • One of the men said, “We’ll only believe in you if you come down with God himself and bring a whole army of angels with you.”
  • Another said, “No, we won’t believe you at all! Angels are the daughters of Allah & we worship these daughters.”
  • Yet another said, “You’re a liar! You keep quoting this Ar-Rahman. This Rahman is a no one but a man from Yamama (northern Arabia). You went there & you bring all these words from this Ar-Rahman.”
  • They all just lashed out at the Prophet

— The Prophet stayed quiet. He had already tried to reason with them many times, but he realized that it’s fruitless to change their minds. He said, “You’ve said what you needed to say. I’ve said my part. There’s not much else for us to talk about, so I’m going to get going.”

  • The Prophet got up & started to leave
  • His cousin, Abdullah bin Umayyah, was there at the meeting. He also got up & went to walk with Prophet
    • By this time, some family members (Hamza & Ali) had believed in Muhammad
    • Even one or two of his aunts had believed in the Prophet but were keeping their imaan secret
    • Abbas was still contemplating
    • Abu Talib hadn’t fully believed, but still supported his nephew
    • The Prophet thinks that maybe Abdullah is also this way, that maybe he believed, but is keeping his imaan to himself
  • Abdullah said, “Muhammad, your people have made very reasonable offers to you, but you keep refusing. They asked you very reasonably, that if you’re not willing to compromise, then show something, establish something that clearly shows that you’re right & they’re wrong. But you keep saying, ‘I leave it to Allah.’  You even refused things that they were willing to offer you that could have only helped you propagate your religion further, but you again you refused. ‘No, I’m happy with what Allah has given me.’ You’re being very stubborn here. O Muhammad, by Allah, I will never believe in you. I will never accept your message. You could bring a ladder that goes all the way up to the sky, and in front of my eyes you could climb up & you could come back down with four angels that testify that what you say is the truth, but even then I would not believe in you. This is a fight now.”
  • The Prophet very quietly & respectfully walked off without saying anything

— This was the Quraysh’s last attempt to rationalize with the Prophet. But the Prophet was unwavering in his convictions

  • They were troubled by the fact that the number of Muslims continue to grow, prominent people of Makkah continue to join Muhammad’s ranks. The Quraysh keep making offer after offer to the Prophet (“basically humiliating ourselves”), but he is unwavering in his convictions.
  • The meeting concluded. Abu Jahl who was there, wasn’t happy with the proceedings, of course
  • Abu Jahl said to the rest of Quryash council, “You did what you wanted to do. I wasn’t on board with this, but I shut my mouth and sat here quietly. I didn’t lash out because you said to give your strategy a chance. What did it get you? It didn’t get you anything. So why don’t we try my strategy? I need one thing from you. I want all of you to swear to me right now that you promise me & guarantee me your full support and protection.”
  • The rest asked, “What are you talking about?”
  • Abu Jahl said, “Look, every single day, Muhammad comes to the Haram & prays there. He rubs it in our faces. When he prays, he bows down on the ground. Tomorrow when he comes to pray, I’m gonna get a big rock & smash his face in. That’s it, I’m gonna kill him. End of story. The reason we haven’t done that yet, is that Banu Abd Munaf, Banu Hashim, will basically will come after whoever harms Muhammad as retribution – Abu Talib has guaranteed as much. But you’re all influential enough to where if you stand with me we might be risking a little bit of civil unrest & small scale civil war among Quryash. But if you all stand with me then most of his family members might even be hesitant to take up arms against us, and the few who do – we’ll easily defeat them. That’s all I need you to do – stand with me.”
  • They were all so angry that they agreed to Abu Jahl’s terms

— The next day, when the Prophet came to pray at the Haram, he made eye contact with all those who were at the meeting

  • As soon as the Prophet went into sujood, Abu Jahl took the biggest rock he found earlier, held it above the Prophet’s head, & was about to step forward and bring it smashing down on the Prophet’s head
    • Abu Jahl immediately went pale. His knees started to shake. He brought the rock down & walked backwards from there (didn’t even turn around). He just sat down & made no eye contact with anyone
  • People were wondering what just happened. The Prophet finished his salah & left the Haram
    • People asked Abu Jahl, “What happened? Chickened out?”
  • Abu Jahl said, “I swear by Al-lat and Uzza, I was ready. I was willing. I walked up & I saw a huge camel. It was so huge & so ferocious looking, that it was more like a demon than a camel. It had sharp teeth. As soon as I walked up to Muhammad, it looked like it came from the shade of the Haram. It just kept growing until it towered over me. It was looking down at me with angry eyes. When I looked into its eyes I was overcome with fear. I froze. I stepped away from there. As I continued to retreat, the camel retreated back to wherever it originated from. I retreated until I put the rock down & looked down because I couldn’t stand to look at the camel anymore.”
    • While listening to this story, people were thinking, “Abu Jahl is insane. There are demon camels walking around the Ka’bah apparently. Crazy guy.”
    • Only Abu Jahl was stupid enough to consider killing Muhammad. No one was going to step and take over the job of killing Muhammad

— The Prophet was brought the news that someone tried to kill him today. He said, “Really? Who?”

  • Person replied, “It was Abu Jahl. He had a big rock & he was about to kill you. Apparently his story is that he was about to smash your head in with the rock and then he says he saw some huge demon camel that scared him away.”
  • The Prophet smiled & said, “That was Jibril. I go & I pray with Jibril.”
    • “I have two ministers in the heavens and two ministers in the earth.”
    • In the heavens – Jibril and Mikai’l
    • In the earth – Abu Bakr and Umar
    • The Prophet referred to Jibril as his friend. Toward the end of his days, the Prophet would recite the Qur’an to Jibril & Jibril would recite it back. Jibril was  the Prophet’s Quran & prayer buddy
  • Jibril must have seen Abu Jahl about to do something stupid, & decided to teach Abu Jahl a lesson by turning into a big demon camel

— After the attempted assassination of the Prophet, Allah revealed an ayah to the Prophet from Surat al Ma’idah:

  • “Ya Rasul, announce to its full extent, deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord. Because if you don’t do everything in your capacity to deliver this message, then you have not delivered this message at the end of the day. As far as repercussions are concerned (as far as someone trying to kill you or harm you), Allah will completely protect you from the people. Indeed, Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” [5:67]

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