What kind of tortures and slanders were inflicted upon the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) by Qurayshi polytheists after he declared his prophethood openly and called people to accept Islam on Safa Hill?

Details of the Question
What kind of tortures and slanders were inflicted upon the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) by Qurayshi polytheists after he declared his prophethood openly and called people to accept Islam on Safa Hill?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

After our Holy Prophet (PBUH) declared his prophethood and invited the community to Islam on Mount Safa, the polytheists of the Quraysh tortured him and targeted insults at him, and their abuse continued to increase.

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) invited them to the doctrine of “Tawhid” (oneness) whereas they insisted upon idolatry and polytheism, which they called “the religion of their fathers.” Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) invited them to the path of virtue and happiness both in this world and the hereafter whereas they tried to keep away from virtue and happiness just as a bat tries to flee from the light.

The Master of the Universe (PBUH) invited them to live humanely and to exhibit dignified behavior while they gallivanted by exhibiting ugly and dishonorable behavior and trampled over human dignity and honor with their feet.

He wanted them to enter Paradise and invited them to commit deeds that would earn them these incomparable blessings whereas they continued to commit deeds that would lead them to eternal punishment and hellfire.

Through his invitation, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) wanted to save them from falling into asfal as-safilin (the lowest of the low) and elevate them to a’la illiyyin (the highest of the high places), ranks of worth, and stations that would empower them to execute sublime duties. Nonetheless, they continued preoccupying themselves with worthless activities that would result in their entrance to the bottom pits of hell (asfal as-safilin.)

Of course, the polytheists who exhibited such desires and behavior would oppose our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) invitation, would struggle against him without mercy, would try to make him ineffective through all their means and break his perseverance, fortitude, courage, and zeal. For that reason, they attempted to commit all kinds of torment, persecution, insults, and murder attempts.

Undoubtedly, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was not the only one who faced such circumstances. Every prophet who has been sent was treated harshly, held in contempt, and subjected to torture and persecution by his tribe and community. Alongside these commonalities and other traits that all of the prophets shared, these prophets did not refrain from explaining their cause and did not make any concessions from their faith despite the torture, insults, persecution, and murder attempts they faced. As the amount of torture and persecution that they were afflicted with increased, their love, enthusiasm, and seriousness in their mission in working towards having the truth heard grew even more.

Abu Lahab and his wife, Umm Jamil, were among the leaders of those that tortured and persecuted the Master of the Universe (PBUH). Aba Lahab would continuously stalk our Beloved Prophet (PBUH), would strive to get the crowd to stop listening to him, and would attempt to instill doubts and apprehensions in their minds.

That day, Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) was inviting the crowd to testify to the Oneness of Allah and his own prophethood at the Ukaz Fair:

“O people! Say 'La Ilaha Illallah' so that you can save yourselves,” our Holy Prophet (PBUH) said to the crowd.

Abu Lahab came from right behind and shouted, “O people! He is my nephew; he is lying to you, stay away from him.” 1

This was an example that is and was filled with many lessons: His nephew was inviting the crowd to the path of happiness and to have faith in Allah whereas he, the paternal uncle, was opposing his own nephew by yelling at the crowd to not listen!

Abu Lahab did not stop there. One day, he threw rancid filth at the front of the door of our Holy Prophet (PBUH), who was his neighbor.  At that moment, despite not yet having become a Muslim, Hazrat Hamza caught up and spilled the filth and the rancid substances upon Abu Lahab’s head.

All that our Holy Prophet (PBUH) said in the face of his neighbor’s ugly action was, “O Sons of Abd Manaf! What kind of neighborliness is this?” as he swept away the filth in front of his home.

This man, who the Quran mentions will burn in the fierce fires of Hell, would sometimes stone our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) home just to bother him.

Abu Lahab did not want to be alone in torturing and persecuting the Master of the Universe (PBUH). One day, he commanded his son, Utaiba, to harass our Holy Prophet (PBUH). Utaiba went to our Holy Prophet (PBUH), who was reciting Surah an-Najm during that time. Upon hearing this, Utaiba remarked,

“I swear by the Lord of an-najm (the star) that I denounce your prophethood” and arrogantly spat toward the Master of the Universe (PBUH).

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) only replied to him with this invocation:

"O my Lord! Subject him to the power of a dog from among Your dogs."

His (PBUH) prayers were never left unrequited; thus, his imprecation was answered sometime after the above incident. While Utaiba was sleeping among his friends in Hawran, a place that was in the vicinity of Yemen, a lion came and tore him to shreds!

The acceptability of his prayers is just one aspect of our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) many miracles.

Umm Jamil was the wife of Abu Lahab, the most violent opponent and enemy of the Islamic cause. This woman, referred to as the “wood carrier of Hell” in the interpretation of the Holy Quran, had become so mad and so wild in the face of the Islamic cause that she would sprinkle hard, spiked shrubs every day on the path that our Holy Prophet (PBUH) walked without showing the slightest sign of boredom; in fact, she derived great pleasure from this action.

While our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was on Mount Safa and openly delivering the Divine invitation to the Quraysh for the first time, she and her husband, Abu Lahab scolded him and even affronted him. Abu Lahab shamelessly said, “'May you perish for this! Is this what you have summoned us here for?” and hurled a rock that he had lifted from the ground towards our Holy Prophet (PBUH). Upon this incident, Allah revealed Surah Tabbat, which mentions the ugly behavior and aftermath of Abu Lahab and his wife.

Umm Jamil could not contain herself once she heard this surah. She carried a rock and went to the Masjid al-Haram. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was sitting there with his loyal friend, Hazrat Abu Bakr. Umm Jamil saw Hazrat Abu Bakr but did not notice our Holy Prophet (PBUH), who was sitting there right next to him. She said to Hazrat Abu Bakr:

"O, Abu Bakr! Where is your friend? I heard that he has satirized me. I am going to smash his mouth with this rock when I see him.”

Since Umm Jamil’s eyes could only see Hazrat Abu Bakr and failed to notice our Holy Prophet (PBUH), she had no choice but turn back since she could not achieve her goal.2

Of course her eyes could not see!! How could a wood carrier of Hell dare to see our Holy Prophet (PBUH), who was under Allah’s protection and grace?

Abu Jahl also had a similar experience. One day, he made a promise to his tribe:

“By God, if I see Muhammad prostrating I will smash his head with this rock!”

The next day, he carried a huge rock that was difficult to lift. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was in prostration. Abu Jahl’s arms stiffened and froze in the air right as he was lifting the rock and about to hit our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) head. They stood there until the Master of the Universe (PBUH) finished his prayer… When his prayer finished, Abu Jahl’s arms loosened; 3 since there was no longer any need for them to remain frozen.

Despite everything, Abu Jahl did not cease his attempts at disturbing our Holy Prophet (PBUH); and on another day, he swore,

“By God, if I see Muhammad in prostration, I will step on his neck and rub him against the floor.”

Right then, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) appeared. When Ibn Abbas explained the situation to him, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) became angry and without waiting to go through the door, he climbed (jumped) over the wall to enter the Masjid al-Haram. He recited Surah al-Alaq till the very end and prostrated.

Those who were around him immediately said to Abu Jahl, “O Abu Jahl there is Muhammad!”

As soon as Abu Jahl started to walk toward our Holy Prophet (PBUH), he returned. Those who were watching were puzzled and asked, “What happened? Why did you return?”

Abu Jahl responded in an even more puzzled manner:  “Do you not see what I see?” and then added, “By God, an enflamed rift opened between him and me.”4

In this manner, Allah protected His Beloved Messenger (PBUH) from the torture and murder attempts made by the polytheists’ leading figures! The torment, insults, and murder attempts that the Quraysh polytheists subjected upon our Holy Prophet (PBUH) took place in various forms.

One day, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was praying in the Kaaba in a very reverent manner. A group of polytheists had gathered around the Kaaba and were talking with one another; Abu Jahl was also in this group. He leaped forward and asked the group,

“Which of you will go and bring the stomach of so-and-so’s slaughtered camel and bring its rumen and placenta in their bloody state and place them on top of him while he is prostrating?”

Uqba bin Abi Muayt, who had been blinded with rage, came forward, said “I will do it” and left. Sometime later, this man, whose soul had been darkened, appeared next to our Holy Prophet (PBUH) with a camel’s rumen in his hands.

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was unaware of anything and had already gone into prostration.

The raving Uqba placed the camel’s rumen between our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) shoulder blades. The polytheists, whose souls and consciences were buried in darkness, watched the scene as they laughed loudly.

Hazrat Fatima came running when she heard that her Honorable Father (PBUH) was being subjected to the polytheists’ despicable cruelty. She held the rumen and tossed it towards the group of polytheists.

When our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) completed his prayer the words, “My Lord, I leave the Quraysh to you” spilled from his holy lips and were repeated thrice.

Afterwards, he recited the names of the ringleaders individually and referred them to Allah, who is the Possessor of Infinite Power.5

Hazrat Abdullah bin Amr explained another instance in which the polytheists insulted and troubled our Holy Prophet (PBUH):

“One day the leading figures of the Quraysh gathered in a place called Hijir and I was also there. The Quraysh were talking about Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) and said:

“We have never shown as much patience to anything as we have to this man’s mission. This man accuses you of stupidity. He has insulted our fathers and grandfathers, has condemned our religion, has ruined our unity, and has defamed our idols. We have been patient with all that he has done.”

“While the Quraysh were discussing this, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) suddenly appeared. He came walking and kissed the Hajar al-Aswad. Afterwards, he walked by them to circumambulate the Kaaba. In the meantime, the Quraysh were dissing at him. Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) was greatly saddened. I noticed his sadness from the immediate change of color that was seen on his face."

“When Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) walked by them for the third time, the Qurayshis continued to diss at him in the same manner. Upon this, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) stopped and said to them:

“O Qurayshis, do you hear my words? I swear by Allah, Who possesses my existence in His powerful hands, that a disaster is going to befall upon you.”

"Our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) address deeply influenced the crowd. No one moved from his spot. At last, even those who initially spoke against our Holy Prophet (PBUH) the most and provoked their friends (primarily Abu Jahl) tried to please him by saying:

“O Abal Qasim! Go in peace. By God, you are not among the ignorant or among those who do not know themselves.”

Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) walked away.

The next day, the Qurayshis gathered at Hijir again and I was among them once more. In the same manner, the leading figures were talking about Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) and said:

“You keep talking about what Muhammad has done to you and the news that has been brought regarding him. However, when he stands in front of you and says bad things to your face, you let him free and do not touch him.”

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) appeared while they were talking. The Qurayshis quickly sprung up from where they were sitting and surrounded him. They cited his words regarding their idols and religion and asked, “Are you not the one who made these comments about us?”

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) answered, “Yes, I am the one who said them.”

And they all pounced on him upon hearing this answer. Someone clung to his throat. In the meantime, someone ran and notified Hazrat Abu Bakr and he rushed to the Haram ash-Sharif. Amid his tears, he shouted at the polytheists:

"May Allah damn you! Do you want to kill an individual who says, “My Lord is Allah?”

When our Holy Prophet (PBUH) heard this he said, “Leave them alone, O Abu Bakr! I swear by Allah, Who possesses my existence in His powerful hands, that I will deal with them all.”

The Qurayshis got scared, quickly dispersed, and released our Holy Prophet (PBUH) upon hearing these words.”6

The ugly acts our Holy Prophet (PBUH) were inflicted because he said, “My Lord is Allah” and invited the community to this Divine reality did not end here. On another day, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was found praying near the Kaaba again. As soon as he placed his forehead on the ground before the presence of his Supreme Creator, the savage Uqba bin Muayt took his cloak, coiled our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) throat, and squeezed it with all of his strength in order to choke him.

During that time, Hazrat Abu Bakr was able to catch up and save our Holy Prophet (PBUH) from this savage. Then, he recited the following verse from the Quran as if he wanted the entire universe to hear:

"Would you kill a man because he says: 'My Lord is Allah', and he has come to you with clear signs (proofs) from your Lord? And if he is a liar, upon him will be (the sin of) his lie; but if he is telling the truth, then some of that (calamity) wherewith he threatens you will befall on you." Verily, Allah guides not one who is a Musrif (a polytheist, or a murderer who shed blood without a right, or those who commit great sins, oppressor, transgressor), a liar!"7


1.Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 1, p. 287.
2. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 1, p. 381-382; Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa, V. 1, p. 684.
3. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 1, p. 319-320; Qadi Iyad, ibid, V. 1, p. 688; Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Mektûbat, p. 164.
4. Qadi Iyad, ibid, V. 1, p. 690-691.
5. Muslim, Sahih, V. 5, p. 180.
6. Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 1, p. 309-310; Tabari, Tarikh, V. 2, p. 223.
7. al-Mu’min, 28.


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