Free AIOU Solved Assignment Code 5674 Spring 2021
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Course: Early Islamic History 570-661 (5674)
Semester: Spring, 2021
ASSIGNMENT No. 1
Q.1 Analyze the political and economic condition of Arabia before the advent of Islam.
Arabia before Islam
In writing the history of Islam, it is customary to begin with a survey of the political, economic, social and religious conditions of Arabia on the eve of the Proclamation by Muhammad (may God bless him and his Ahlul-Bait) of his mission as Messenger of God.
It is the second convention of the historians (the first being to give a geographical description of the region). I shall also abide by this convention, and will review briefly, the general conditions in Arabia in the late sixth and early seventh century A.D.
The most remarkable feature of the political life of Arabia before Islam was the total absence of political organization in any form. With the exception of Yemen in the south-west, no part of the Arabian peninsula had any government at any time, and the Arabs never acknowledged any authority other than the authority of the chiefs of their tribes. The authority of the tribal chiefs, however, rested, in most cases, on their character and personality, and was moral rather than political.
The modern student of history finds it incredible that the Arabs lived, generation after generation, century after century, without a government of any kind. Since there was no government, there was no law and no order.
The only law of the land was lawlessness. In the event a crime was committed, the injured party took law in its own hands, and tried to administer “justice” to the offender. This system led very frequently to acts of horrendous cruelty.
If the Arab ever exercised any modicum of restraint, it was not because of any susceptibility he had to questions of right or wrong but because of the fear of provoking reprisals and vendetta. Vendetta consumed whole generations of Arabs.
Since there were no such things as police, courts or judges, the only protection a man could find from his enemies, was in his own tribe. The tribe had an obligation to protect its members even if they had committed crimes. Tribalism or ‘asabiyya (the clan spirit) took precedence over ethics. A tribe that failed to protect its members from their enemies, exposed itself to ridicule, obloquy and contempt. Ethics, of course, did not enter the picture anywhere.
Since Arabia did not have a government, and since the Arabs were anarchists by instinct, they were locked up in ceaseless warfare. War was a permanent institution of the Arabian society. The desert could support only a limited number of people, and the state of inter-tribal war maintained a rigid control over the growth of population. But the Arabs themselves did not see war in this light.
To them, war was a pastime or rather a dangerous sport, or a species of tribal drama, waged by professionals, according to old and gallant codes, while the “audience” cheered. Eternal peace held no appeal for them, and war provided an escape from drudgery and from the monotony of life in the desert.
They, therefore, courted the excitement of the clash of arms. War gave them an opportunity to display their skills at archery, fencing and horsemanship, and also, in war, they could distinguish themselves by their heroism and at the same time win glory and honor for their tribes. In many cases, the Arabs fought for the sake of fighting, whether or not there was a cause belli.
- E. Grunebaum
“In the century before the rise of Islam the tribes dissipated all their energies in tribal guerrilla fighting, all against all.” (Classical Islam – A History 600-1258 – 1970)
The nomadic tribes ranged over the peninsula and plundered the caravans and the small settlements. Many caravans and villages bought immunity from these raids by paying a fixed amount of money to the nomadic freebooters.
It is important to grasp the fact that on the eve of the birth of Islam there was no government at any level in Arabia, and this fact may even have affected the rise of Islam itself.The total absence of government, even in its most rudimentary form, was a phenomenon so extraordinary that it has been noted and commented upon by many orientalists, among them:
- S. Margoliouth
“Arabia would have remained pagan had there been a man in Mecca who could strike a blow; who would act. But many as were Mohammed’s ill-wishers, there was not one of them who had this sort of courage; and (as has been seen) there was no magistracy by which he could be tried.” (Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, 1931)
“Manslaughter carried severe penalties according to the unwritten law of the desert. In practice the free Arabs were bound by no written code of law, and no state existed to enforce its statutes with the backing of a police force.The only protection for a man’s life was the certainty established by custom, that it would be dearly bought. Blood for blood and a life for a life. The vendetta, tha’r in Arabic, is one of the pillars of Bedouin society.” (Mohammed, 1971)
Herbert J. Muller
“In Mohammed’s Arabia there was no state – there were only scattered independent tribes and towns. The Prophet formed his own state, and he gave it a sacred law prescribed by Allah.” (The Loom of History, 1958)
The population of Arabia consisted of two main divisions, sedentary and nomadic. Hijaz and South Arabia were dotted with many small and a few large towns. The rest of the country had a floating population composed of Bedouins.
They were backward in the civil and political sense but they were also a source of anxiety and fear for the sedentary population. They lived as pirates of the desert, and they were notorious for their unrestrained individualism and anarchic tribal particularism.
The more important tribes exercised a certain amount of authority in their respective areas. In Makkah the dominant tribe was the Quraysh; in Yathrib, the dominant tribes were the Arab tribes of Aus and Khazraj, and the Jewish tribes of Nadheer, Qaynuqaa and Qurayza. The Quraysh of Makkah considered themselves superior to the Bedouins but the latter had only contempt for the town-dwellers who for them were only a “nation of shopkeepers.”
All Arabs were notorious for certain characteristics such as arrogance, conceit, boastfulness, vindictiveness and excessive love of plunder. Their arrogance was partly responsible for their failure to establish a state of their own. They lacked political discipline, and until the rise of Islam, never acknowledged any authority as paramount in Arabia.
They acknowledged the authority of a man who led them into a foray but he could command their obedience only if they had an assurance of receiving a fair share of the booty, and his authority lapsed as soon as the expedition was over.
Economically, the Jews were the leaders of Arabia. They were the owners of the best arable lands in Hijaz, and they were the best farmers in the country. They were also the entrepreneurs of such industries as existed in Arabia in those days, and they enjoyed a monopoly of the armaments industry.
Slavery was an economic institution of the Arabs. Male and female slaves were sold and bought like animals, and they formed the most depressed class of the Arabian society.
The most powerful class of the Arabs was made up by the capitalists and money-lenders. The rates of interest which they charged on loans were exorbitant, and were especially designed to make them richer and richer, and the borrowers poorer and poorer.
The most important urban centers of Arabia were Makkah and Yathrib, both in Hijaz. The citizens of Makkah were mostly merchants, traders and money-lenders. Their caravans traveled in summer to Syria and in winter to Yemen.
They also traveled to Bahrain in the east and to Iraq in the northeast. The caravan trade was basic to the economy of Makkah, and its organization called for considerable skill, experience and ability.
- V. C. Bodley
The arrivals and departures of caravans were important events in the lives of the Meccans. Almost everyone in Mecca had some kind of investment in the fortunes of the thousands of camels, the hundreds of men, horses, and donkeys which went out with hides, raisins, and silver bars, and came back with oils, perfumes and manufactured goods from Syria, Egypt and Persia, and with spices and gold from the south. (The Messenger, 1946, p. 31)
In Yathrib, the Arabs made their living by farming, and the Jews made theirs as businessmen and industrialists. But the Jews were not exclusively businessmen and industrialists; among them also there were many farmers, and they had brought much waste land under cultivation.
Economically, socially and politically, Hijaz was the most important province in Arabia in the early seventh century.
On the eve of Islam the most complex and advanced human aggregate of the Arabian peninsula lived in the city of the Quraysh. The hour of the south Arab kingdoms, of Petra and Palmyra, had passed for some time in the history of Arabia. Now the future was being prepared there, in Hijaz (The Arabs – A Compact History, 1963)
The Arabs and the Jews both practiced usury. Many among them were professional usurers; they lived on the interest they charged on their loans.
- A. Belyaev
“Usury (riba) was widely practiced in Mecca, for in order to participate in the profitable caravan trade many a Meccan who had only a modest income had to resort to usurers; despite the high interest, he could hope to benefit after the safe return of the caravan. The richer merchants were both traders and usurers.
Money-lenders usually took a dinar for a dinar, a dirhem for a dirhem, in other words, 100 per cent interest. In the Koran 3:130, Allah addressing the faithful, prescribes:
‘Do not practice usury doubled twofold.’
This could mean that interests of 200 or even 400 per cent were demanded. The nets of Meccan usury caught not only fellow-citizens and tribesmen but also members of the Hijazi
Bedouin tribes active in the Meccan trade. As in ancient Athens, ‘the principal means of oppressing the people’s freedom were money and usury.” (Arabs, Islam and the Arab Caliphate in the Early Middle Ages, 1969)
Arabia was a male-dominated society. Women had no status of any kind other than as sex objects.The number of women a man could marry was not fixed. When a man died, his son “inherited” all his wives except his own mother.
A savage custom of the Arabs was to bury their female infants alive. Even if an Arab did not wish to bury his daughter alive, he still had to uphold this “honorable” tradition, being unable to resist social pressures.
Drunkenness was a common vice of the Arabs. With drunkenness went their gambling. They were compulsive drinkers and compulsive gamblers. The relations of the sexes were extremely loose. Many women sold sex to make their living since there was little else they could do. These women flew flags on their houses, and were called “ladies of the flags” (dhat-er-rayyat).
Sayyid Qutb of Egypt in his book, Milestones, published by the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations, Salimiah, Kuwait in 1978 (pp. 48, 49), has quoted the famous traditionalist, Imam Bukhari, on the institution of marriage in Arabia before Islam as follows:
The Shihab (az-Suhri) said: ‘Urwah b. az-Zubayr informed him that Aishah, the wife of the Prophet (God bless and preserve him), informed him that marriage in the Jahiliyah was of four types:
- One was the marriage of people as it is today, where a man betroths his ward or his daughter to another man, and the latter assigns a dower (bridewealth) to her and then marries her.
- Another type was where a man said to his wife when she was purified from her menses, ‘Send to N and ask to have intercourse with him;’ her husband then stays away from her and does not touch her at all until it is clear that she is pregnant from that (other) man with whom she sought intercourse.
When it is clear that she is pregnant, her husband has intercourse with her if he wants. He acts thus simply from the desire for a noble child. This type of marriage was (known as) nikah al-istibda, the marriage of seeking intercourse.
- Another type was when a group (raht) of less than ten men used to visit the same woman and all of them had to have intercourse with her. If she became pregnant and bore a child, when some nights had passed after the birth she sent for them, and not a man of them might refuse.
When they had come together in her presence, she would say to them, ‘You (pl.) know the result of your acts; I have borne a child and he is your (sing.) child, N.’ – naming whoever she will by his name. Her child is attached to him, and the man may not refuse.
- The fourth type is when many men frequent a woman, and she does not keep herself from any who comes to her. These women are the baghaya (prostitutes). They used to set up at their doors banners forming a sign. Whoever wanted them went in to them. If one of them conceived and bore a child, they gathered together to her and summoned the physiognomists.
sThen they attached her child to the man whom they thought (the father), and the child remained attached to him and was called his son, no objection to this course being possible. When Muhammad (God bless and preserve him) came preaching the truth, he destroyed all the types of marriage of the Jahiliya except that which people practice today.
The period in the Arabian history which preceded the birth of Islam is known as the Times of Ignorance. Judging by the beliefs and the practices of the pagan Arabs, it appears that it was a most appropriate name. The Arabs were the devotees of a variety of “religions” which can be classified into the following categories.
- Idol-worshippers or polytheists.Most of the Arabs were idolaters. They worshipped numerous idols and each tribe had its own idol or idols and fetishes. They had turned the Kaaba in Makkah, which according to tradition, had been built by the Prophet Abraham and his son, Ismael, and was dedicated by them to the service of One God, into a heathen pantheon housing 360 idols of stone and wood.
- AtheistsThis group was composed of the materialists and believed that the world was eternal.
- ZindiqsThey were influenced by the Persian doctrine of dualism in nature. They believed that there were two gods representing the twin forces of good and evil or light and darkness, and both were locked up in an unending struggle for supremacy.
- Sabines.They worshipped the stars.
- Jews When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and drove the Jews out of Palestine and Syria, many of them found new homes in Hijaz in Arabia. Under their influence, many Arabs also became converts to Judaism. Their strong centers were the towns of Yathrib, Khayber, Fadak and Umm-ul-Qura.
- Christians. The Romans had converted the north Arabian tribe of Ghassan to Christianity. Some clans of Ghassan had migrated to and had settled in Hijaz. In the south, there were many Christians in Yemen where the creed was originally brought by the Ethiopian invaders. Their strong center was the town of Najran.
- Monotheists There was a small group of monotheists present in Arabia on the eve of the rise of Islam. Its members did not worship idols, and they were the followers of the Prophet Abraham. The members of the families of Muhammad, the future prophet, and Ali ibn Abi Talib, the future caliph, and most members of their clan – the Banu Hashim – belonged to this group.
Among the Arabs there were extremely few individuals who could read and write. Most of them were not very eager to learn these arts. Some historians are of the opinion that the culture of the period was almost entirely oral. The Jews and the Christians were the custodians of such knowledge as Arabia had.
The greatest intellectual accomplishment of the pagan Arabs was their poetry. They claimed that God had bestowed the most remarkable qualities of the head upon the Greeks (its proof is their science and philosophy); of hand upon the Chinese (its proof is their craftsmanship); and of the tongue upon the Arabs (its proof is their eloquence). Their greatest pride, both before and after Islam, was their eloquence and poetry. The importance of poetry to them can be gauged by the following testimony:
- S. Margoliouth
In nomad Arabia, the poets were part of the war equipment of the tribe; they defended their own, and damaged hostile tribes by the employment of a force which was supposed indeed to work mysteriously, but which in fact consisted in composing dexterous phrases of a sort that would attract notice, and would consequently be diffused and remembered widely. (Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, 1931)
- A. Belyaev
Most of the information on the economic conditions, social regime and mores of the Arabs in the fifth and sixth centuries A.D., comes from ancient Arabic or pre-Islamic poetry, known for its ‘photographic faithfulness’ to all phases of Arabian tribal life and its environment. Specialists, therefore, accept this poetry as the ‘most important and authoritative source for describing the Arab people and their customs’ in this period (Arabs, Islam and the Arab Caliphatein the Early Middle Ages, 1969)
Arabic poetry was rich in eloquence and imagery but it was limited in range, and was lacking in profundity. Its content might be interesting but it was stereotyped. The masterpieces of their poetry follow almost exactly the same sequence of ideas and images. It was, nevertheless, a faithful mirror of life in ancient Arabia. Also, in cultivating the art of poetry, the Arab poets were, unconsciously, developing one of the greatest artifacts of mankind, the Arabic language.
The greatest compositions of the pagan Arabs were the so-called “Golden Odes,” a collection of seven poems, supposedly of unsurpassed excellence in spontaneity, power and eloquence. They were suspended in Kaaba as a challenge to any aspiring genius to excel or to match them. Sir William Muir writes about these poems as follows:
The Seven Suspended Poems still survive from a period anterior even to Mohammed, a wondrous specimen of artless eloquence. The beauty of the language and wild richness of the imagery are acknowledged by the European reader; but the subject of the poet was limited, and the beaten track seldom deviated from.
The charm of his mistress, the envied spot marked by the still fresh traces of her encampment, the solitude of her deserted haunts, his generosity and prowess, the unrivaled glory of his tribe, the noble qualities of his camel – these were the themes which, with little variation of treatment, and with no contrivance whatever of plot or story, occupied the Arab muse – and some of them only added fuel to the besetting vices of the people, vainglory, envy, vindictiveness and pride (The Life of Mohammed, 1877)
With the rise of Islam the emphasis shifted, temporarily, from poetry to prose, and poetry lost its prestigious position as the “queen” of the arts of Arabia.
The greatest “composition” of Islam was Al-Qur’an al-Majid, the Scripture of Islam, and it was in prose. Muslims believe that Qur’an was “composed” in Heaven before it was revealed to Muhammad, the Messenger of God. They believe that human genius can never produce anything that can match its style or contents. For the last fifty generations, it has been, for them, a model of literary, philosophical, theological, legal, metaphysical and mystical thought.
An attempt has been made in the foregoing pages to portray the general state of Arabia and the lifestyle of the Arabs before Islam. This “portrait” is authentic as it has been drawn from the “archives” of the pre-Islamic Arabs themselves.
Judging by this portrait, it appears that Arabia before Islam was without social amenity or historical depth, and the Arabs lived in moral bankruptcy and spiritual servitude. Life for them was devoid of meaning, purpose and direction. The human spirit was in chains, and was awaiting, as it were, a signal, to make a titanic struggle, to break loose and to become free.
The signal was given in A.D. 610 by Muhammad, the son of Abdullah, in the city of Makkah, when he proclaimed his mission of prophethood, and launched the movement called Islam on its world-girdling career.
Islam was the greatest blessing for mankind ever. It set men and women free, through obedience to their Creator, from slavery in all its manifestations. Muhammad, the Messenger of God, was the supreme emancipator of mankind. He extricated man from the “pits of life.”
The Arabian peninsula was geographically peripheral and politically terra incognito until the early seventh century A.D. It was then that Muhammad put it on the political map of the world by making it the theater of momentous events of history.
Before Islam, the Arabs had played only a marginal role in the history of the Middle East, and they would have remained forever a nation of animists and shepherds if Muhammad (may God bless him and his Ahlul-Bait) had not provided them the focus and the stimulus that welded their scattered nomadic tribes into a purposeful driving force.
He molded a “nation” out of a rough mass without basic structure. He invested the Arabs with a new dynamism, idealism and explosive creativity, and they changed the course of history. He created an entirely new mental and psychological ecology, and his work placed an emphatic period in world history; it was the end of one era and the beginning of another.
Writing about this watershed in history, Francesco Gabrieli says in his book, The Arabs – A Compact History, (1963):
Thus terminated the pagan prelude in the history of the Arabian people. Whoever compares it with what followed, which gave the Arabs a primary role on the stage of world, and inspired high thoughts and high works, not only to an exceptional man emerged from their bosom, but to an entire elite which for several generations gathered and promoted his word, cannot but notice the leap that the destinies of this people assume here.
The rhythm of its life, until then, weak and dispersed, was to find a unity, a propulsive center, a goal; and all this under the sign of religious faith. No romantic love for the primitive can make us fail to recognize that without Mohammed and Islam they would have probably remained vegetating for centuries in the desert, destroying themselves in the bloodletting of their internecine wars, looking at Byzantium, at Ctesiphon and even at Axum as distant beacons of civilization completely out of their reach.
AIOU Solved Assignment Code 5674 Spring 2021
Q.2 Evaluate the problems faced by the Holly Prophet (PBUH) and His Companions in the preaching of Islam at Macca.
During the birth of Islam, the polytheists persecuted the Muslims, those who proclaimed belief in one God and God’s messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (s). This resulted in Prophet Muhammad’s suggestion to them to leave Mecca and seek protection in Abyssinia. Many questions arise with respect to this migration: What factors led to this migration? When did it happen? Why did the Prophet Muhammad choose this country over others? And what events took place during the Muslims’ stay there?
In the following, I seek to answer these questions. Moreover, a brief account will be given on the Prophet’s contact with the king of Abyssinia years after the hijrah, or the migration to the city of Medina that marks the Islamic calendar. A final analysis will be provided regarding the importance of this event in sustaining and spreading Islam, as well as its lessons in teaching the Islamic approach of interacting with other nations.
During the first years of the Proclamation of Islam when the Prophet Muhammad (s) extended an open invitation to Islam, the polytheists were furious over the revolutionary ideas Islam brought forth. The Prophet taught people to worship the One God who is the Lord of the universe, to have faith instead of tribal and kinship pride, to provide for the poor, and to realize that all humans are equal regardless of race, geographical contiguity or a specific privilege.
Islamic teachings applied to all individuals and this meant that the polytheists would feel propelled to give up their gods, share their wealth and humble themselves with the realization that they are not better than others due to specific privileges. Though Islam attracted people from the lower class economically, the leaders of Quraysh were enraged, worried that these ideas would cause an immense change in the system that gave them power.
Furthermore, the polytheists did not tolerate the Muslims’ rejection of their gods and reacted with serious harassment and abuse. In the beginning, the maltreatment of Muslims by the polytheists was confined to jeers and insults. However, Muslims gradually became victims of physical violence in addition to insults1.
The polytheists harmed the weaker Muslims by instigating others against them, defaming them, or cheating them. Muslims were also left hungry and thirsty until they verbally professed the divinity of the two chief idols of the plytheists i.e. Lat and ‘Uzza. And as refraining from hurting people of other tribes was their custom, each leader abused the Muslims of his own tribe and members of other tribes could not intervene. Of course, if they had wanted to do so. Muslims were persecuted by being imprisoned in their own homes (there were no public prisons during that era) and more so by being prevented from seeing the Prophet.
In addition to mistreating lower class Muslims, the polytheists blackmailed the rich Muslims, causing a severe decline in business. However, during this period, the Prophet was not yet subject to the same maltreatment because he was under the protection of his uncle Abu Talib and enjoyed the support of the Bani Hashim tribe.
This severe abuse left some Muslims unable to stand firm against it and, full of remorse, they had no choice but to leave Islam. Others hid their monotheistic faith; in other words, they practiced taqiyyah, and preserved it thus. There were yet others who resisted and faced imprisonment, torture, and even martyrdom2.
There were Muslims whose steadfastness made them notable characters in Islamic history. Those to be named and described here are Bilal al-Habashi, Ammar bin Yasir and his parents, and Abdullah bin Mas‘ud. Bilal’s parents were brought as captives from Ethiopia to Arabia. Bilal became a slave of Umayyah bin Khalaf, one of the sworn enemies of the Prophet (s). After learning about Prophet Muhammad and his teachings, Bilal converted to Islam. When Umayyah learned that Bilal had converted to Islam, he ordered that he be taken into to the scorching sun. A large rock was placed on his chest as he was told to give up his faith in monotheism and submit to Lat and ‘Uzza. To Umayyah’s dismay, Bilal only replied “Ahad! Ahad!” (One! One!).
Upon seeing his condition, Waraqah ibn Nawfil, a Christian Arab scholar, was brought to tears and swore to Umayyah that if Bilal is killed, he will make Bilal’s gravesite become a sacred pilgrimage site3.
As said in Tabaqat by Ibn Sa‘d, a rope was tied around Bilal’s neck and Umayyah ordered children to drag him in the streets of Mecca.4
Another group that was among the early Muslims is ‘Ammar and his parents, Sumayyah and Yasir. ‘Ammar’s parents were tortured to death, making them the first martyrs in Islam. Subsequently, ‘Ammar himself was tortured, so much so that he had no choice but to verbally renounce Islam to the polytheists. With great sorrow, he ran to the Prophet, admitted his action, and declared that his heart is still overflowing with faith. The Prophet then advised him to continue to hide his faith to save himself from further discrimination and torture.5
Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, a new convert, participated in a Muslim group discussion where a member suggested that since the people of Quraysh had never heard the verses of the Holy Qur’an, one of them should publicly recite the Qur’an in Masjid al-Haram. Abdullah was willing to do so. He proceeded to the Masjid while the people of Quraysh were assembled there and read in a loud, melodious voice,
“In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. It is the Merciful who has taught the Qur’an” (55:1-2).
Upon reading the verses, the polytheists were struck with amazement, and in order to prevent the heavenly verses from affecting them, they pounded on him with their fists until he bled profusely. He ran back to the Prophet (s) in this condition, feeling overjoyed that the verses were heard6.
As a result of the persecutions experienced by the early Muslims, the following verses from the chapter The Bee (Al-Nahl) were revealed:
Those who migrate for the sake of Allah after having been wronged, We will surely settle them in a good place in the world, and the rewards of the Hereafter is surely greater, had they known. Those who are patient and put their trust in their Lord. (16:41-42)
According to historians, these verses were sent specifically as an instruction for migration to Abyssinia7. The threat of the polytheists became so serious that the Prophet decided to have the Muslims migrate to Abyssinia to save their lives and faith.
The moment the number of Muslims increased, faith in Islam became apparent, and they began to experience harassment and imprisonment with such intensity that some became apostates, the Prophet told them to scatter themselves on this earth. They asked, “Where should we go?” The Prophet replied, “Abyssinia.”
Those who have analyzed this migration say that the actual reason was entirely due to saving the Muslims from the polytheists’ harassments and preserving their faith. Urwat ibn Ishaq also confirms that Muslims’ becoming apostates was due to the polytheists’ abuse. Moreover, he says that the Prophet also knew that his protection was due to God and his uncle Abu Talib8.
As a result, the Prophet told them to go to Abyssinia. They, due to fear of turning back to idol-worshipping and in hopes of preserving their faith, headed towards Abyssinia. This became the first migration in Islam. Concerned about this situation, the Prophet supplicated, “Oh Allah, accept my companions and do not let them return back to their previous state.”
Rasul Ja’farian adds that had the immigrants stayed in Mecca, more conflicts would have emerged between them and the polytheists, and the Prophet wanted to prevent this. The Quraysh would also feel less threatened by the growing number of Muslims in their city9
Furthermore, the Quraysh felt humiliated by the migration since foreigners may come to know of their persecutions. Ja‘farian points out that the primary reason for the migration is not entirely due to the polytheists’ abuse; rather, in the long run, Islam was under the risk of being annihilated, had the Muslims continued to live in Mecca10.
It is true that the Muslims were persecuted, and the verse was sent to advise Muslims to leave; however, not all the Muslim migrants left because of abuse. One of these people was Ja‘far ibn abi Talib who was under the protection of the Bani Hashim tribe.
Historians agree that the migration took place on two different occasions. The first one occurred in the fifth year of the Proclamation of Islam in the month of Rajab. In this month, twelve to seventy men and women migrated to Abyssinia. They stayed there during the months of Sha‘ban and Ramadan until some Muslims heard of the Gharaniq rumors and returned to Mecca. After learning that the Gharaniq reports were false, the Muslims headed back to Abyssinia.
The exact time of the second migration is unknown. However, Ja‘farian states that there was only a short gap between the two migrations, because both migrations happened before the Quraysh drafted and signed in the 7th year after the Proclamation a document that ordered the Bani Hashim to surrender or they would be subjected to economic and social boycott11. Therefore, the time in between the two migrations could not have extended for more than two to three years.
Ja‘farian refutes Ibn Ishaq’s view that the migration took place only once. Eighty people traveled with Ja‘far ibn Abi Talib leading the group. Thirty-three people returned, although Ibn Ishaq does not believe in the fiction of Gharaniq. Biladhari compiled a list of those who migrated, and according to Ja‘farian, this proves that some migrants went twice.
The members of this group did not belong to one family, and according to Ibn Hisham every one of these ten persons belonged to a separate family12. Ja’far the son of Abu Talib was the leader of the second migration. This migration was arranged with perfect freedom and some of the migrants were, therefore, successful in also taking their women and children with them. Consequently, the number of the Muslims in Ethiopia reached eighty-three and taking into account the children taken there or born there the number exceeds this figure.
According to Sayyid Ali Asgher Razvy in A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims, the king of Abyssinia welcomed the Muslim refugees from Mecca into his kingdom. He gave them sanctuary and they enjoyed peace, security, and freedom of worship under his protection. About a year later, the Muslims in Abyssinia heard rumors (Gharaniq) that the Quraysh in Mecca had accepted Islam. They were homesick and found no reason to live in exile: thus, they decided to return to Mecca. Upon their arrival, they found out that not only were the rumors they had heard false, but also that the Quraysh had intensified their abuse of the Muslims.
For this reason, the Muslims left for Abyssinia once again. Many other Muslims also accompanied them. This new group comprised of 83 men and 18 women. All narrations agree that the Prophet Muhammad selected his first cousin, Ja‘far ibn Abi Talib, an elder brother of Ali, as the leader of this group. This second migration of the Muslims to Abyssinia took place in the sixth year of the Proclamation, or 616 C.E.13. Ja‘far appeared to be the only member of the Bani Hashim to leave for Abyssinia with the other refugees. All other members of Bani Hashim stayed in Mecca14.
Upon searching for a solution to the persecution of the polytheists, the companions sought the Prophet’s advice regarding migration and he (s) replied:
If you were to go to Abyssinia (it would be better for you), for the king (there) will not tolerate injustice and it is a friendly country, until such time as Allah shall relieve you from your distress15.
Thus, his companions went to Abyssinia, while afraid of apostasy and fleeing to God with their religion. This was the first hijrah (migration) in Islam.
The Prophet’s words about the country encouraged his companions to move as soon as possible, mounted or on foot, without the enemies’ awareness. He was familiar with Abyssinia, and in comparison to other countries with their oppressive rulers, this was a good choice. The Red Sea passed through Abyssinia and was close to Yemen. Business vessels passed through this path and Muslims made use of this when migrating to the country. The Muslims went to Jeddah, a developed trading port, where two trading vessels were ready to sail for Ethiopia. Though the Quraysh heard about their departure, by the time they reached Jeddah, the vessels had already left16.
The Prophet’s objective in sending his companions to this country was none other than giving them the freedom to perform their religious duties without insecurity and abuse. He knew that migration to any area inhabited by Arabs, who were idol- worshippers and reluctant to receive Muslims, was dangerous. Migrating to Christian and Jewish areas was also not recommended because conflicts of spiritual penetration between the two existed. In addition to their stance, they considered Arabs to be inferior17.
Yemen was not a preferred option because it was under the rule of Khusrow Parviz, the King of Iran who, upon receiving a letter from the Prophet inviting him to Islam in the year eight A.H., wanted him (s) arrested. Syria, on the other hand, was far from Mecca. Furthermore, Yemen and Syria were not chosen because they were markets for the Quraysh and they had close ties with them. If the Muslims had migrated to either of these areas, they would have been expelled at the request of the Quraysh18.
As the Prophet predicted, the Muslims found Ethiopia to be a prosperous country with a calm and free atmosphere. Umm Salamah, the Prophet’s future wife, said, “When we settled in Ethiopia we found ourselves under the protection of the best supporter. We did not experience any trouble.19”
AIOU Solved Assignment Code 1 5674 Spring 2021
Q.3 Highlight the factors which formed Abu Jahal’s opposition to Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Muhammad unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. Muslims and Bahá’ís believe he is a messenger and prophet of God. The Quran, the central religious text in Islam, alludes to Muhammad’s life. Muhammad’s life is traditionally defined into two periods: pre-hijra (emigration) in Mecca (from 570 to 622 CE) and post-hijra in Medina (from 622 until 632 CE). There are also traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad (the sira literature), which provide additional information about Muhammad’s life. Muhammad is almost universally considered by Muslims as the last prophet sent by God to mankind. While non-Muslims regard Muhammad as the founder of Islam, Muslims consider him to have restored the unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets.
Muhammad was born around the year 570 CE to the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe, one of Mecca’s prominent families. His father, Abdullah, died almost six months before Muhammad was born. According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad was sent to live with a Bedouin family in the desert, as desert life was considered healthier for infants. Muhammad stayed with his foster mother, Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, and her husband until he was two years old. At the age of six, Muhammad lost his biological mother, Amina, to illness and was raised by his paternal grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib, until he died when Muhammad was eight. He then came under the care of his uncle Abu Talib, the new leader of Banu Hashim.
Adolescence and Early Adulthood
While still in his teens, Muhammad accompanied his uncle on trading journeys to Syria, gaining experience in commercial trade, which was the only career open to him as an orphan. Islamic tradition states that when Muhammad was either nine or twelve, while accompanying a caravan to Syria he met a Christian monk or hermit named Bahira, who is said to have foreseen Muhammed’s career as a prophet of God. Little is known of Muhammad during his later youth; available information is fragmented, and it is difficult to separate history from legend. It is known that he became a merchant and “was involved in trade between the Indian ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.” Due to his upright character during this time, he acquired the nickname “al-Amin,” meaning “faithful, trustworthy,” and “al-Sadiq,” meaning “truthful.”
Muhammad worked as a trader for Khadija, a widow, until he married her in 595 CE at the age of 25. The marriage lasted for 25 years and was reported to be a happy one. Muhammad relied upon Khadija and did not enter into a marriage with another woman during his first marriage. After Khadija’s death, Khawla bint Hakim suggested that Muhammad that should marry Sawda bint Zama, a Muslim widow, or Aisha, daughter of Um Ruman and Abu Bakr of Mecca. Muhammad is said to have asked for arrangements to marry both.
According to a text collected by historian Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad was involved with a well-known story about setting the Black Stone in place in the wall of the Kaaba in 605 CE. The Black Stone, a sacred object, had been removed to facilitate renovations to the Kaaba. The leaders of Mecca could not agree on which clan should have the honor of setting the Black Stone back in its place. They agreed to wait for the next man to come through the gate and ask him to choose. That man was the 35-year-old Muhammad, five years before his first revelation. He asked for a cloth and put the Black Stone in its center. The clan leaders held the corners of the cloth and together carried the Black Stone to the right spot; then Muhammad set the stone in place, satisfying all who were present.
Muhammad received revelations from 609-632 CE, and they became the basis for the Quran, the central religious text of Islam.
Muhammad’s First Revelations
When he was nearly 40, Muhammad began spending many hours alone in prayer and speculating over the aspects of creation. He was concerned with the “ignorance of divine guidance” (Jahiliyyah), social unrest, injustice, widespread discrimination (particularly against women), fighting among tribes, and abuse of tribal authorities prevalent in pre-Islamic Arabia. The moral degeneration of his fellow people, and his own quest for a true religion, further lent fuel to this, with the result that he began to withdraw periodically to a cave called Mount Hira, three miles north of Mecca, for contemplation and reflection. During this period Muhammad began to have dreams replete with spiritual significance that were fulfilled according to their true import; this was the commencement of his divine revelation. Islamic tradition holds that during one of his visits to Mount Hira in the year 609 CE, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and commanded Muhammad to recite verses that would later be included in the Quran. Upon receiving his first revelations, Muhammad was deeply distressed. When he returned home, he was consoled and reassured by Khadijah and her Christian cousin. Muhammad feared that others would dismiss his claims as evidence of him being possessed. On the other hand, Shi’a tradition maintains that Muhammad was neither surprised nor frightened at the appearance of Gabriel, but rather welcomed him as if he was expected.
Muslims believe that the Quran was verbally revealed from God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel gradually over a period of approximately 23 years, beginning on 22 December 609 CE, when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death. At the beginning of these revelations, Muhammad was confident that he could distinguish his own thoughts from the messages. Sahih al-Bukhari narrates Muhammad describing the revelations as, “Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell,” and Aisha reported, “I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was over).”
Muhammad’s first revelation, according to the Quran, was accompanied by a vision. The agent of revelation is mentioned as the “one mighty in power,” the one who “grew clear to view when he was on the uppermost horizon. Then he drew nigh and came down till he was (distant) two bows’ length or even nearer.” The Islamic studies scholar Welch states in the Encyclopaedia of Islam that he believes the graphic descriptions of Muhammad’s condition at these moments may be regarded as genuine, because he was severely disturbed after these revelations. According to Welch, these seizures would have been seen by those around him as evidence for the superhuman origin of Muhammad’s inspirations. However, Muhammad’s critics accused him of being a possessed man, a soothsayer or a magician, since his experiences were similar to those claimed by such figures well known in ancient Arabia. Welch additionally states that it remains uncertain whether these experiences occurred before or after Muhammad’s initial claim of prophethood.
The Quran describes Muhammad as “ummi,” which is traditionally interpreted as “illiterate,” but the meaning is more complex. Medieval commentators such as Al-Tabari maintained that the term induced two meanings: firstly, the inability to read or write in general, and secondly, the inexperience or ignorance of books or scriptures. However, priority was given to the first meaning. Muhammad’s illiteracy was taken as a sign of the genuineness of his prophethood. For example, according to Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, if Muhammad had mastered writing and reading he possibly would have been suspected of having studied the books of the ancestors. Some scholars such as Watt prefer the second meaning.
According to the Quran, one of the main roles of Muhammad is to warn the unbelievers of their punishment at the end of the world. The Quran does not explicitly refer to Judgment Day, but provided examples from the history of extinct communities and warns Muhammad’s contemporaries of similar calamities. Muhammad did not only warn those who rejected God’s revelation, but also dispensed good news for those who abandoned evil, listening to the divine words and serving God. Muhammad’s mission also involves preaching monotheism; the Quran commands Muhammad to proclaim and praise the name of his Lord and instructs him not to worship idols or associate other deities with God.
The key themes of the early Quranic verses included the responsibility of man towards his creator; the resurrection of the dead, God’s final judgment followed by vivid descriptions of the tortures in Hell and pleasures in Paradise; and the signs of God in all aspects of life. Religious duties required of the believers at this time were few: belief in God, asking for forgiveness of sins, offering frequent prayers, assisting others, particularly those in need, rejecting cheating and the love of wealth (considered to be significant in the commercial life of Mecca), being chaste, and not killing newborn girls.
Rise of Islam in Mecca
According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad’s wife Khadija was the first to believe he was a prophet. She was followed by Muhammad’s ten-year-old cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib, close friend Abu Bakr, and adopted son Zaid. Around 613, Muhammad began to preach to the public. Most Meccans ignored and mocked him, but he did begin to gain followers. There were three main groups of early converts to Islam: younger brothers and sons of great merchants; people who had fallen out of the first rank in their tribe or failed to attain it; and the weak, mostly unprotected foreigners.
Basic Tenets and Practices of Islam
Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Quran, which is considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Allah), and, for the vast majority of adherents, by the teachings and normative example (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad. An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim. Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and that the purpose of existence is to worship God. Nearly all Muslims consider Muhammad to be the last prophet of God.
Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Muslims believe the Quran to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God. Religious concepts and practices include the Five Pillars of Islam and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to the status of women and the environment.
The Five Pillars of Islam are five basic acts in Islam; they are considered mandatory by believers and are the foundation of Muslim life. They are summarized in the famous hadith of Gabriel. The Five Pillars are:
- Shahada(faith): there is only one God (Allah), and Muhammad is God’s messenger. It is a set statement normally recited in Arabic: lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāhu muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh (لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله) “There is no god but God (and) Muhammad is the messenger of God.”
- Salat(prayer): consists of five daily prayers, the names referring to the prayer times: Fajr (dawn), Dhuhr (noon), ʿAṣr (afternoon), Maghrib (evening), and ʿIshāʾ (night). All of these prayers are recited while facing in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, and are accompanied by a series of set positions including bowing with hands on knees, standing, prostrating, and sitting in a special position.
- Zakāt(charity): the practice of charitable giving based on accumulated wealth. It is the personal responsibility of each Muslim to ease the economic hardship of others and to strive towards eliminating inequality. Zakāt consists of spending a portion of one’s wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy, like debtors or travelers.
- Sawm(fasting): three types of fasting are recognized by the Quran: ritual fasting, fasting as compensation for repentance, and ascetic fasting. Ritual fasting is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan. The fast is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness to and look for forgiveness from God, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him, to atone for their past sins, and to remind them of the needy.
- Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca): every able-bodied Muslim is obliged to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his or her life. The main rituals of the Hajj include walking seven times around the Kaaba, termedTawaf; touching the Black Stone, termed Istilam; traveling seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah, termed Sa’yee; and symbolically stoning the Devil in Mina, termed Ramee.
AIOU Solved Assignment 2 Code 5674 Spring 2021
Q.4 The Holy Prophet (PBUH) wanted to settle the pact between different parties of Madina. Discuss how and why it came into existence.
According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad’s wife Khadija was the first to believe he was a prophet. She was followed by Muhammad’s ten-year-old cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib, close friend Abu Bakr, and adopted son Zaid. According to Islamic belief, in the fourth year of Muhammad’s prophethood, around 613, he was ordered by God to make his propagation of this monotheistic faith public. Muhammad’s earliest teachings were marked by his insistence on the oneness of God, the denunciation of polytheism, belief in the last judgment and its recompense, and social and economic justice.
Most Meccans ignored and mocked him, though a few became his followers. There were three main groups of early converts to Islam: younger brothers and sons of great merchants; people who had fallen out of the first rank in their tribe or failed to attain it; and the weak, mostly unprotected foreigners. According to Ibn Sad, one of Muhammad’s companions, the opposition in Mecca started when Muhammad delivered verses that condemned idol worship and polytheism. However, the Quran maintains that it began when Muhammad started public preaching. As Islam spread, Muhammad threatened the local tribes and Meccan rulers because their wealth depended on the Kaaba. Muhammad’s preaching was particularly offensive to his own Quraysh tribe because they guarded the Kaaba and drew their political and religious power from its polytheistic shrines.
The ruling tribes of Mecca perceived Muhammad as a danger that might cause tensions similar to the rivalry of Judaism and Bedouin Polytheism in Yathrib. The powerful merchants in Mecca attempted to convince Muhammad to abandon his preaching by offering him admission into the inner circle of merchants and an advantageous marriage. However, Muhammad turned down both offers.
At first, the opposition was confined to ridicule and sarcasm, but later morphed into active persecution that forced a section of new converts to migrate to neighboring Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia). Upset by the rate at which Muhammad was gaining new followers, the Quraysh proposed adopting a common form of worship, which was denounced by the Quran.
Muhammad himself was protected from physical harm as long as he belonged to the Banu Hashim clan, but his followers were not so lucky. Sumayyah bint Khabbab, a slave of the prominent Meccan leader Abu Jahl, is famous as the first martyr of Islam; her master killed her with a spear when she refused to give up her faith. Bilal, another Muslim slave, was tortured by Umayyah ibn Khalaf, who placed more and more rocks on his chest to force his conversion, until he died. Muhammad’s wife Khadijah and uncle Abu Talib both died in 619 CE, the year that became known as the “year of sorrow.” With the death of Abu Talib, Abu Lahab assumed leadership of the Banu Hashim clan. Soon after, Abu Lahab withdrew the clan’s protection from Muhammad, endangering him and his followers. Muhammad took this opportunity to look for a new home for himself and his followers. After several unsuccessful negotiations, he found hope with some men from Yathrib (later called Medina). The Arab population of Yathrib were familiar with monotheism and were prepared for the appearance of a prophet because a Jewish community existed there as well. They also hoped, by the means of Muhammad and the new faith, to gain supremacy over Mecca; the Yathrib were jealous of its importance as the place of pilgrimage. Converts to Islam came from nearly all Arab tribes in Medina; by June of the subsequent year, seventy-five Muslims came to Mecca for pilgrimage and to meet Muhammad. A delegation from Medina, consisting of the representatives of the twelve important clans of Medina, invited Muhammad as a neutral outsider to serve as the chief arbitrator for the entire community. There was fighting in Yathrib (Medina) mainly involving its Arab and Jewish inhabitants for around a hundred years before 620. The recurring slaughters and disagreements over the resulting claims, especially after the battle of Bu’ath, in which all the clans were involved, made it obvious that the tribal conceptions of blood feud and an eye for an eye were no longer workable unless there was one man with authority to adjudicate in disputed cases. The delegation from Medina pledged themselves and their fellow citizens to accept Muhammad into their community and physically protect him as one of their own. The Hijra is the migration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina, 320 kilometers (200 miles) north, in 622 CE. Muhammad instructed his followers to emigrate to Medina until nearly all of them left Mecca. According to tradition, the Meccans, alarmed at the departure, plotted to assassinate Muhammad. In June 622, when he was warned of the plot, Muhammad slipped out of Mecca with his companion, Abu Bakr.
On the night of his departure, Muhammad’s house was besieged by the appointed men of Quraysh. It is said that when Muhammad emerged from his house, he recited the a verse from the Quran and threw a handful of dust in the direction of the besiegers, which prevented them seeing him. When the Quraysh learned of Muhammad’s escape, they announced a large reward for bringing him back to them, alive or dead, and pursuers scattered in all directions. After eight days’ journey, Muhammad entered the outskirts of Medina, but did not enter the city directly. He stopped at a place called Quba, some miles from the main city, and established a mosque there. After a fourteen-days stay at Quba, Muhammad started for Medina, participating in his first Friday prayer on the way, and upon reaching the city was greeted cordially by its people Among the first things Muhammad did to ease the longstanding grievances among the tribes of Medina was draft a document known as the Constitution of Medina, “establishing a kind of alliance or federation” among the eight Medinan tribes and Muslim emigrants from Mecca. The document specified rights and duties of all citizens and the relationship of the different communities in Medina (including between the Muslim community and other communities, specifically the Jews and other “Peoples of the Book”). The community defined in the Constitution of Medina, Ummah, had a religious outlook, also shaped by practical considerations, and substantially preserved the legal forms of the old Arab tribes.
The first group of pagan converts to Islam in Medina were the clans who had not produced great leaders for themselves but had suffered from warlike leaders from other clans. This was followed by the general acceptance of Islam by the pagan population of Medina, with some exceptions. Around 628 CE, the nascent Islamic state was somewhat consolidated when Muhammad left Medina to perform pilgrimage at Mecca. The Quraysh intercepted him en route and made a treaty with the Muslims. Though the terms of the Hudaybiyyah treaty may have been unfavorable to the Muslims of Medina, the Quran declared it a clear victory. Muslim historians suggest that the treaty mobilized the contact between the Meccan pagans and the Muslims of Medina. The treaty demonstrated that the Quraysh recognized Muhammad as their equal and Islam as a rising power.
AIOU Solved Assignment Code 5674 Autumn 2021
Q.5 Discuss the events succeeding the Holy Prophet (PBUH) confinement in the valley of Abu Talib.
This is the Valley of Abu Talib (She’eb Abi Talib), where the members of Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib (Muslims and non-Muslims) were forced to withdraw from Makkah and live here in a painful boycott for three years. The area was also known as the Valley of Bani Hashim. It’s currently known as the Ali Valley in tribute to Ali bin Abi Talib (رضي الله عنه).
Quraysh force a boycott of the Muslims
- When Islam began to spread the Makkans asked Abu Talib, the uncle and protector of the Prophet (ﷺ), to hand him over to them for execution but he steadfastly refused. Abu Talib acted fast and called on the members of Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib to meet at the Ka’bah and convinced them to pledge that they would protect their clansman, Muhammad (ﷺ). Abu Lahab, another of the Prophet’s uncles and self-proclaimed sworn enemy, refused to take the pledge and declared he was on the side of the Quraysh.
- The Quraysh held a meeting and decided to outcast the Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib by placing them under a total social boycott. The other clans from the Quraysh would not marry their daughters, transact business with them, keep company with them, nor would they accept any peace overtures from these two clans until they handed over the Prophet (ﷺ).
- Once all the people present had agreed with the points mentioned above, Baghid bin Amir bin Hashim put this pact in writing. The Quraysh chiefs signed this document and the parchment was hung in the Ka’bah in order to give it authority. This was done on the 1st Muharram, in the seventh year of the Prophet’s (ﷺ) mission. When the deed was done, Baghid’s hand, or at least some of his fingers, became paralysed.
The hardships the Muslims had to face
- The Prophet (ﷺ), along with Abu Talib and clan members of Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib were forced to withdraw from Makkah and live in She’eb Abi Talib, which was a subsection of one of the gorges that ran down to Makkah. The valley rested between Mount Abu Qubais to the south, and Mount Abyad to the north.
- The boycott was devastating and for many months they lived in misery. It was so rigorously applied and food was so scarce that they had to eat the leaves of trees. The women, and more specially the children and suckling babies would cry with hunger which could be heard all over the valley. The Quraysh told the merchants not to sell any goods to them. Prices were increased to prevent them from buying even essentials. They remained in that state for three years. Apart from some kind Qurayshi people who secretly sent food to them they were totally abandoned. Despite such grim circumstances, the Prophet (ﷺ) never ceased inviting non-Muslims to Islam. He was particularly active during the time of Hajj. It was at this time that he would speak to tribes that had travelled to Makkah from all over the Arab world.
Support by some of the Quraysh
- A group of fair-minded Quraysh, led by Hisham ibn ‘Amr, hated this unfair boycott. Hisham was highly respected among his people. He contacted some men of the Quraysh whom he knew to be kind-hearted and considerate. He told them it was shameful to allow such tyranny to continue and asked them to abandon the unjust contract. When he had persuaded five men to agree, they met together to work towards this end. When the Quraysh were assembled the next day, Zuhayr ibn Abi Umayyah, whose mother was the aunt of the Prophet (ﷺ), faced the people and demanded, “People of Makkah! Do we eat and clothe ourselves while the Banu Hashim are perishing, unable to buy or sell? By Allah, I will not sit down until this unjust document is torn up!”
- Abu Jahal became suspicious of the sudden rebellion but Abu Talib saw his opportunity to step in. He had come into the precincts of Ka’bah to tell the Quraysh that the Prophet (ﷺ) had received a revelation about the fate of the wicked parchment. He stood up, and facing the Quraysh, told them that Allah had revealed to the Prophet (ﷺ) that termites had eaten the parchment inside the Ka’bah. The only thing that remained of the document, Abu Talib said, were the words “In Your Name, O Allah.” Abu Talib then challenged the Quraysh, saying that if the Prophet’s claim turned out to be false, he would no longer stand between them and the Prophet (ﷺ). However, if the Prophet had spoken the truth, the Quraysh should end the boycott. The Quraysh accepted Abu Talib’s challenge.
The boycott is nullified
- When Mut’im bin Adiy rose to retrieve the parchment, the assembly saw that it had been destroyed. Its only remaining words were “Bismika Allahumma” (In Your Name, O Allah) and Allah’s name. Allah (ﷻ) had given the Quraysh yet another sign but once again they refused to admit their error and accept Islam. Their only concession was to end the boycott. The Prophet (ﷺ) and his Companions came out of the mountain pass and were allowed to live in Makkah once again.