What offers did the polytheists who could not succeed through tortures and pressures make through Abu Talib in order to make the Prophet (pbuh) abandon his cause?

The Details of the Question
What offers did the polytheists who could not succeed through tortures and pressures make through Abu Talib in order to make the Prophet (pbuh) abandon his cause?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Complaint to Abu Talib

None of the applied acts of torture and persecution could restrain our Holy Prophet (PBUH) from delivering his message. Furthermore, his uncle, Abu Talib, did not object to anything he said or did and would protect him instead.

This time, the polytheists tried something else. Ten individuals from among the leading figures came to Abu Talib and said,

“O Abu Talib, your nephew has cursed our idols, has decried our religious practices, said we were stupid, and continued saying that our fathers and forefathers were on the wrong path.
Now, you need to detain him from saying and doing such things or you will have to move out of the way.”

What could Abu Talib do in the face of such an ultimatum? On one side, there were his tribe’s customs and traditions and on the other side, the genuine love that he had for his nephew! Which one would he prefer? At last, he was able to dismiss the committee through his soft and kind words.2

The polytheists made another offer to Abu Talib when they received no results following their first complaint.

“O Abu Talib, you are among one of our elders and are one of our leading figures. We petitioned you to dissuade your nephew from his actions. However, you did not comply with what we wanted. By God, we will no longer put up with his disapproval of our fathers and forefathers, his allegations that we are stupid, and his insults against our idols. Either you will dissuade him from doing this or we will continue fighting both of you until one of the parties is eliminated.”3

Abu Talib realized that he was facing a very dangerous situation. He did not want to be abandoned by his tribe but he could not abandon his nephew, the Master of the Universe (PBUH), either. What could be done in this situation? After thinking very deeply for some time, he called forth our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and begged:

“O, my brother’s son, the leading figures have petitioned me and repeated what you had said to them.  Please feel sympathy for yourself and for me! Do not put upon us a load that we cannot carry. Give up saying words that displease the tribe.”4

This was a very delicate situation. Until that day and in some way, Abu Talib had been his sole protector from among his tribe. Was he going to forgo his protection? Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was downcast upon hearing this proposal and thought deeply for some time. Afterwards, in the comfort of knowing that Allah was the true Guardian, he replied with an answer that was as sharp as a sword:

“O Uncle, know that if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left in return for my giving up this cause, I would not give it up. Either Allah will make this religion dominant, or I will die in His service."5

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH was concerned that his own uncle would abandon him, thus he burst into tears while saying these words. It was as if his holy tears were trickling upon his uncle’s heart. How could his uncle leave him alone after seeing him in this state? How could he abandon his nephew whom he loved personally and very dearly?

Abu Talib understood that his nephew, who possessed indestructible willpower, would never give up exclaiming his cause, therefore he hugged him and said:

“My Nephew, continue your work, do whatever you want. By God, I am not going to surrender you to anyone for any reason whatsoever.”6

After making this promise, the polytheists absolutely understood that Abu Talib would not leave his nephew alone and would continue to protect him despite everything.

Another Offer Made to Abu Talib

The polytheists could not tolerate seeing so many people running to attain Divine Guidance right before their eyes. They thought of some other maneuver. They appealed to Abu Talib once more and made the following offer:

"O Abu Talib!, let us give you Umara bin Walid, the strongest, toughest, most handsome, and the most intelligent youth from among the Quraysh for you to adopt as your own son. You will benefit from his intelligence and help. In return for this, you will give us your brother’s son; we will kill him! A man in exchange for another man, what more could you want?"

Abu Talib responded to this senseless offer, “First, give me your own sons so that I can kill them. Only then will I give him to you.”

The polytheists reacted to this offer: "But our children are not doing what he is doing!

Abu Talib did not leave these words without an answer as he replied in a stern manner: “By God, Muhammad is much more auspicious than your own children. And you are making me this ugly offer? How can this be? You will give me your own son for me to raise and then take mine so that you can kill him? I will never permit this to happen!"7

The polytheists’ spite and hatred came to a head. These bad feelings were no longer directed towards our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Muslims alone; they had now shifted towards Abu Talib as well.

Fate had a strange twist; the negative attitude the polytheists struck towards Abu Talib helped the Sons of Hashim take our Holy Prophet (PBUH) under their wing. There was only one individual who avoided protecting him: Abu Lahab.

During this time, Abu Talib gathered the Sons of Hashim and warned them to be careful in protecting our Holy Prophet (PBUH). Abu Talib’s action led the polytheists to finalize their decision to kill Allah’s Apostle (PBUH)!

They convened at the Masjid al-Haram to execute their inauspicious plan. Abu Talib heard this and gathered the youth from among the Sons of Hashim. He immediately went to the Kaaba with them and threatened the polytheists once he arrived there:

“By God, if you kill my nephew, Muhammad, know that none of you will remain alive. We will not stop following you until we and you perish in this path.”

The polytheists did not utter a single word against Abu Talib’s threat and they quickly dispersed. At the end of his speech, Abu Talib spoke about the Master of the Universe (PBUH) as follows:

“How could this person, for whose sake the clouds were invoked for rain, be abandoned? He possesses such kindness; the orphans depend on him just as the widows and the poor trust in him. The destitute from among the Sons of Hashim take refuge in him."

“O Community of Quraysh! I swear to the Baytullah that you are mistaken for disclaiming him and that you are overcome with empty dreams. Do you think that your assassination of Muhammad will take place without a fight as we all circle around him? We will not release you until we all die around him, until our children cause us to forget about, and until we stop defending him.”8

After all this, the polytheists of the Quraysh understood that our Holy Prophet (PBUH) would not succumb to their inflicted torture, force, and tyranny.

For that reason, they continued to contrive new plans and tried to invent imputations and slanders against him. Their goal was to belittle his exalted character (God forbid), to have the people think poorly of him, and to hinder the people from hearing about his sublime purpose and goal.

They gathered around Walid bin Mughira, one of their elders whom they highly respected and regarded in this matter. They began to talk about our Holy Prophet (PBUH), the representative of the thriving Islamic cause that was bestowing immense happiness within the hearts of its followers.

Walid bin Mughira, one of their founding fathers, spoke to his friends, who circled around him and whose faces reflected the ugliness of disbelief,

“O Qurayshis, the Hajj season has arrived. The Arab tribes are going to flood our territory. Surely, they have heard of Muhammad’s situation. They are going to ask you a series of questions. For that reason, we must share and agree upon some idea regarding him so that we will not fall into some conflict.”

This was a sly idea. Separate and differing ideas would surely put them in a situation in which their words would be unbelievable and unreliable. Thereby, they would not be very influential upon the influx of people.

The Qurayshis wanted to hear Walid bin Mughira’s opinion on how to take precaution in this matter. They said, “Tell us about your ideas, thoughts and precautions regarding this matter too so that we can make the same claims and behave in the same way.

However, Walid wanted to hear their ideas first.

The polytheists proposed their ideas, “We will call him a soothsayer.”

Walid did not agree with this idea and said,

“No, by God, he is not a soothsayer. We have seen soothsayers and what he recites is not what the soothsayers mutter and invent. A soothsayer will tell both the truth and will lie. However, we have not heard a single lie from Muhammad!”

The polytheists then said, “In that case, we will say that he is mad.”

Walid objected to this as well, “No, he is not mad, either. We have seen mad people and know what insanity is. His state does not resemble that of an insane person at all.”

The polytheists made a third offer, “Then we will say he is a poet.”

Walid did not deem this option as appropriate, “No, he is not a poet. We know of every kind of poems and his recitations do not resemble any kind.”

The polytheists made one last offer, “We will call him a magician.”

Walid did not deem this option as acceptable, either.

“No, no! He is not a magician. Besides, we have seen their spells and the magicians themselves. His recitations are not what the magicians recite and blow, nor is it what they knot and tie.”

The polytheists, whose every offer had been rejected transferred the burden to Walid, “Then tell us what to say, Father of Abdushshams.”

Walid’s response was surprising:

“By God, there is a completely different kind of sweetness in his words. No words can be sweeter than his. He is a light. He possesses such sweetness; he is like a date tree with lush fruits whose roots have grown in very fertile land and in water-filled gardens and whose branches extend to its surroundings.”

The polytheists were alarmed upon hearing this expression. Had Walid, one of their “masterminds” from whom they sought advice, become a Muslim? Walid left them and went to his home, which further increased their worries; they even began to say, “Walid has left his religion.”

However, Walid had not left his religion. He had withdrawn to his home to think about what kinds of slander and accusations would be most suitable. After he made his decision, he came back to the polytheists and said:

“Out of all of the options that you have mentioned, which are all bound to be proven to be lies and as being completely groundless in a short time, saying that he is a magician is the most plausible one. He has arrived with such a captivating message that it is driving a wedge between children and their fathers, brothers, husbands and their wives, as well as clans and their tribes.”9

They all agreed upon this view. From now on, they were going to call our Holy Prophet (PBUH) a “soothsayer” (God forbid) and attempt to keep him away from the community by spreading this allegation and slander.

In the verses that Allah Almighty sent, the cunning plan of Walid b. Mughira was referred to as, “Woe to him! how he plotted!”; Allah informed us about the end of him as follows: 

"And, woe to him! how he plotted!― Yea, woe to him! how he plotted!― Then he looked round; Then he frowned and he scowled; Then he turned back and was haughty; Then said he: "This is nothing but magic, derived from of old;" "This is nothing but the word of a mortal!" Soon will cast him into Hell-Fire! And what will explain to thee what Hell-Fire is? Naught doth it permit to endure, and naught doth it leave alone!―"10

The Master of the Universe (PBUH) was not a soothsayer as the polytheists had said he was since a soothsayer’s words are based on estimation and are ambiguous. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) spoke the truth and of reality which every sound mind would affirm. His words were far from being ambiguous and based on estimation since they had very clear and definite meanings.

He was not crazy as they had claimed since his friends were not the only ones who witnessed the excellence of his intelligence; his most unruly enemies also testified to this truth when the occasion arose.

He was not a poet as the polytheists had claimed since the bright, luminous truths that he mentioned were far from needing the ornamentation of poetry.

Allah Almighty sent a verse that addressed our Holy Prophet (PBUH) following the allegations, slander, and planning the polytheists had devised:

“Therefore, remind (mankind of Islamic Monotheism, O Muhammad). By the Grace of Allah, you are neither a soothsayer, nor a madman…”11


1. Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 1, p. 283-284; Ibn Kathir, Sirah, V. 1, p. 473.
2. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 1, p. 284; Tabari, Tarikh, V. 2, p. 218; Ibn Kathir, ibid, V. 1, p. 473.
3. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 1, 284; Tabari, Tarikh, V. 2, p. 218; Ibn Kathir, ibid, V. 1, p. 474.
4. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 1, 284; Tabari, ibid, V. 2, p. 220.
5. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 1, p. 285; Tabari, ibid, V. 2, p. 220; Ibn Kathir, ibid, V. 1, p. 474.
6. Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 1, p. 285; Tabari, Tarikh, V. 2, p. 220; Ibn Kathir, Sirah, V. 2, p. 475.
7. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 1, p. 285; Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 1, p. 202; Tabari, ibid, V. 2, p. 220; Ibn Kathir, ibid, V. 1, p. 475.
8. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 1, p. 295.
9. Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 1, p. 288-289; Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa, V. 1, p. 512-513.
10. al-Muddaththir, 19-26.
11. at-Tur, 29.

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