Apr 20, 2009, 7:00 AM
Quraish’s conspiracy against Muslims immigrating to Abyssinia:
Polytheists hated to allow Muslims to enjoy a haven of tranquility and peace for their lives and religion away from their home and families. They selected two tactful and cunning men, ‘Amr Ibnul-‘Ass and ‘Abdullah Ibn Abu Rabi’a (before their conversion to Islam) and dispatched them to Negus and his patriarchs with munificent presents. They gave these presents to the patriarchs and provided them with the pretexts by which Muslims could be banished and expelled. So, after the patriarchs agreed to propose expelling Muslims from their country to Negus, the two envoys went to him, offered their presents and said: "O the king! Some simple people took refuge in your country, renounced the religion of their tribes, refused to embrace your faith and came up with a new religion neither of us knew about. The notables and prominent people of their families and clans sent us to ask you to send them back. For they are worthier of caring about them and more aware of what they blamed for."
After they had finished giving their pretexts and allegations, the patriarchs intervened and said: "O the king! Those two men told the truth. So deliver these people to them so that they will return them to their clans and homeland." But Negus saw that the issue was to be investigated and scrutinized and he should hear the other party, He summoned Muslims. They all attended and before entering his residence they all agreed to tell the truth whatever this might cost them. Negus asked them: "What’s the religion, because of which you left you people and refused to convert to my religion or any of other faith instead?"
Ja’afar Ibn Abu Talib, the spokesman of Muslims relied: "O the king! We were among the pagans who worshipped idols, ate dead animals’ committed abominable acts, severed good relations with kith and kin, mistreated neighbors and oppressed the weak. We continued to be like that till Allah sent a Messenger from us; his lineage, truthfulness, honesty and chastity were well-known to us. He called upon us to worship Allah alone, profess belief in His Oneness and abandon idolatry that our people were involved in. He commanded us to tell the truth, return the trust, keep good ties with relatives, treat neighbors in a good way and give up unlawful things and bloodshed; he forbade us from abominations, giving false testimonies, embezzling the orphan’s property and slandering chaste women. He also ordered us to worship Allah alone and not to setup a partner with Him. He ordered us to perform prayer, pay zakat and fast." (Ja’afar mentioned many rituals in Islam, including the aforementioned ones.) We believed him and followed the religion Allah sent him with. We surely worshipped Allah as only One God, abstained from what is unlawful and committed ourselves to what is lawful. But our people persecuted and infringed upon us. They tried to make us renounce our religion, revert to idolatry and deem as permissible bad things we did before. When they oppressed and attacked us and restricted our freedom, we immigrated to your country choosing you in personal as we hope for your just treatment and security, o the king."
Negus asked him: "Do you have anything to bring (the Prophet) of Allah?" He said: "Yes. "Negus said: "Then recite it to me." Ja’afar recited the opening verses of the chapter of Maryam. Thereupon Negus was in floods of tears. The bishops also wept so profusely that their manuscripts got wet when they heard the Quran. Then Negus said: "These words and those which Jesus brought stem from a single lamp." He told the two envoys that he would never hand over Muslims to them and ordered then to go away. When they got out, ‘Amr Ibnul-‘Ass said to ‘Abdullah Ibn Abu Rabi’a: "I will come to him tomorrow and tell him something that could exterminate them (the Muslims)." ‘Abdullah Ibn Abu Rabi’a said to him: "Don’t do that, for they are our relatives on matter how they disagree with us." But ‘Amr insisted on his stance. In the morning he went to Negus and said: "O the king! They (Muslims) say about Jesus, the son of Mary serious words." So Negus recalled them to enquire about what they said about Jesus. The worried so much but agreed unanimously to tell the truth what ever this might cost them. They entered and allowed Ja’afar to speak. He said: "We say about Jesus what the Prophet (PBUH) bought: he is the servant, Messenger, Spirit and Work of Allah which threw into Virgin Mary."
Then he picked a rod from the ground and said: "By Allah, Jesus, the son of Mary did not exceed what you said." Thereupon his patriarchs got weary and he said: "Even if you do so." Then he said to Muslims: "Go wherever you like; you are safe in my land. He who offends you will be punished. I don’t like to hurt to harm one of them even if I should receive a mountain of gold in return." He said to his servants: "Give them (the two envoys of Quraish) back their presents. I don’t need them. Allah never took a bribe from me when He restored my dominion to me. Would it be sensible to take it now because of my power?" Umm Salama said: "They (‘Amr and Abdullah) got out disappointed and their presents were turned down. As for Muslims, we stayed in security and peace."
This is the version of Ibn Ishaq while other biographers said that Amr went to Negus as an envoy after the battle of Badr. But some of them said that delegation happened twice. As for the question and answers that were reciprocated by Negus and Ja’afar Ibn Abu Tabil, they were the same ones as those mentioned by Ibn Ishaq. On the other hand, these questions indicate that they were asked at the first argument submitted to Negus.
Escalating torture and attempting to assassinate the Prophet (PBUH)
When Quraish failed in their conspiracy against Muslims and couldn’t persuaded Negus send them back, they flew into rage and escalated their attacks on the rest of Muslims and delivered their savage assaults at the Prophet (PBUH) himself. They behaved in a way that indicated their intention to put an end to the Prophet (PBUH) and eliminate the trouble that deprived them of sleep, according to their own opinion. As regards the Muslims who remained in Mecca, they were very few. They were either prestigious and with high social standing or under the protection of other people. Despite their cautiousness and concealing their adherence to Islam from the oppressive polytheists, they were not safe from persecution and attacks.
The Prophet (PBUH) continued to pray and worship Allah before the highhanded polytheist. He proceeded with his calling publicly and secretly without hindrances, putting Allah’s command into practice:
Announce what you are commanded with and disregard polytheists. (Al-Hijr: 94)
This was a strong motive for polytheists to attack the Prophet (PBUH) if they liked to do. But, apparently, the Prophet’s high dignity and veneration as well as his uncle’s protection and the probable retaliation of Banu Hashim prevented Quraish from harming him. This was no longer important to them as they began to belittle him when they perceived the downfall of their heathen entity and religious leadership in front of the calling of Islam.
Here are some incidents transmitted in the books of biography:
‘Utaiba Ibn Abu Lahab came to the Prophet (PBUH)
One day and said: "I disbelieve in
By the star when it descends. (An- Najm: 1)
And that who:
Then he approached and descended. (An-Najm: 8)
Then he attacked the Prophet (PBUH) and tore up his garment and spat on his face. But the spit did not fall on his face. Upon this the Prophet (PBUH) imprecated him and said: "O Allah! Set upon him one of Your dogs." the Prophet’s invocation was indeed answered by Allah; in the wake of this incident ‘Utaiba traveled with a group of Quraishtes to Ash-Sham and settled at a place called ‘Az-Zarqaa’ where they spent the night. There a lion encircled them and ‘Utaiba said: "Woe be to me! It seems that this lion will devour me as Muhammad invokes evil upon me in Mecca. He caused me to kill in Mecca while I am in Ash-Sham." His fellow travelers made him sleep amidst them and he slept. But the lion passed through them all and squeezed his head.
To be continued