فَٱصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ
“So proclaim what you have been commanded, and turn away from the polytheists.” (15:94)
وَأَنذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ ٱلْأَقْرَبِينَ
“And warn ˹all, starting with˺ your closest relatives.” (26:214)
وَٱخْفِضْ جَنَاحَكَ لِمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“And be gracious to the believers who follow you.” (26:215)
Rasūlullāh (SAW) continued to invite people towards Islām for 3 years in a personal manner. Once Rasūlullāh (SAW) had been given the clear guidance, he climbed Mount As-Ṣafā; and called all the clans of Quraysh by their names. When they all gathered, he said to them: “If I was to tell you that behind this mountain there is an army which wants to attack, would you believe me?” They all said that we would of course believe you, we have never heard anything from you apart from the truth. Then Rasūlullāh (SAW) said, “I am warning you from a severe punishment” When Abu Lahab, his uncle heard Rasulullah’s message, he said, “Perish you, is this the reason why you have called us?” Allah (SWT) then sent down Surah Lahab.
Even though Abū Lahab was the uncle of Rasūlullāh (SAW), he caused him many problems. As mentioned earlier, before the advent of Islām, his 2 sons, ꜤUtbah and ꜤUtaybah had been married to 2 of the daughters of the Rasūlullāh (SAW), Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum (RA). This made Abū Lahab their father-in-Law. After Rasūlullāh’s (SAW) open call, he made both of his sons divorce the daughters of Rasūlullāh (SAW) just so he could make him upset. But Allāh (SWT) had something better planned for them, for they were both married to ꜤUthmān (RA) one after the other.
Delegation to Abū Ṭālib
Whilst Rasūlullāh (SAW) invited people towards Islām privately, the Quraysh had not really complained about him. Rasūlullāh (SAW) had now been given the command to invite people openly and he was stopping people from disbelief and polytheism. Rasūlullāh (SAW) was also telling people about the futility of idol worship and encouraging them to turn away from the false religion of their predecessors.
The Quraysh got increasingly worried about the situation and sent a delegation to Rasūlullāh’s (SAW) uncle Abū Ṭālib. Rasūlullāh (SAW) had been under Abū Ṭālib’s protection since he was 8 and his uncle cared for him deeply.
The delegation said that your nephew says bad things about our idols and our religion, he says that our forefathers were astray. Either you stop him or don’t come in between us and him. Abū Ṭālib turned them away in a kind manner and Rasūlullāh (SAW) continued as he was.
The enmity of the Quraysh increased again, and they sent a second delegation to Abū Ṭālib. They said that they cannot let anyone say bad things about their forefathers and their Gods. Either you stop your nephew, or we will fight them (the Muslims) and one of the two parties will get destroyed. The Quraysh said this and went away.
When Rasūlullāh (SAW) came, AbūṬālib addressed him lovingly and said some men from your people came to see me (meaning the Quraysh) and related what had happened. Abū Ṭālib then told Rasūlullāh (SAW) to have mercy on him and on himself. He advised him to not force a burden upon him which he couldn’t bear.
Rasūlullāh (SAW) said “I swear by my Lord, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand and tell me to leave this work, then I will definitely not leave it until Allāh (SWT) makes my religion victorious or I become destroyed” After saying this, Rasūlullāh (SAW) got up and started to leave. Abū Ṭālib addressed him lovingly once again and told him to do whatever he wished, he will never surrender him to his enemies.
As each day passed, the Quraysh saw that the number of Muslims was increasing. The season of Ḥajj was approaching and news of this new Prophet was reaching people from outside of Makkah. When these people come and ask about him, what should the Quraysh say?
The Quraysh went to Walīd ibn Mughayrah who was one of their elders and asked him what they should say if anyone asked about Muḥammad. All of them had to have one answer. If their answers differed, then people will realise they are not sure themselves.
Walīd told them to tell him what their opinions were, he would listen to them and then decide. They said we shall call him a soothsayer. The people then said, we shall say he is a madman. Some people said, let’s say he is a poet. The people then said, let us say he is a magician.
Walīd considered their opinions and advised them to say that Rasūlullāh (SAW) is a magician, and his words are also magic which cause differences between husband and wife, between father and son, between brother and brother. The people agreed upon this opinion.
The Quraysh’s Plan
The time for Ḥajj came and people started to come from outside. The Quraysh sent people to all the roads leading into the city. Whoever would pass, they would tell them about Muḥammad (SAW). They would tell them that he is a sorcerer so stay away from him. This plan of the Quraysh didn’t cause any harm to Islam whatsoever, in fact it had the opposite effect. All the people who were coming from the outside, now became aware of Rasūlullāh (SAW).
The Quraysh’s compromise
The Quraysh now tried different ways to stop Rasūlullāh (SAW). On one occasion, the Quraysh told him to stop talking bad about their idols, if you cannot do that, then one compromise is that for one year you worship our idols and for one year we will worship your god. Allāh (SWT) then sent down Sūrah Kāfirūn.
The Quraysh were desperate and even sought help from outside, but all their efforts were in vain. Question after question had been asked to Rasūlullāh (SAW), and Allāh (SWT) would send down the Revelation to answer their questions. Islam was on the rise and more people were turning to the true religion. People were being invited towards Islām openly, the futility of idol worship was being discussed openly. The Quraysh could not bear it and their enmity towards Rasūlullāh (SAW) and the Muslims increased. They decided that they will cause Rasūlullāh (SAW) so much difficulty that he will stop inviting people towards Islām.
(Sirah of Muhammad, Part 4- The Early Years of Prophethood by Maulana Ebrahim Noor)