Download PDF: [S] The Boycott of the Quraish
It had been six years since Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – had announced his Prophethood and the oppression from the Quraish knew no boundaries even though, with the same tongue, they also proclaimed that he was “Al Ameen.” In fact, in their effort to suppress the message of Islam and the truth of Islam, they left no stone unturned.
In fact, they considered that by accepting Islam, it would be a personal insult to their power and influence. Daily, their aggression against the Muslims and their hatred for Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – increased to a higher level. In fact, their hatred for him became so intense that they openly admitted that he should be killed.
However, it was the promise of Allah Almighty as is mentioned in the Qur’an that as much as they endeavoured to murder Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – even more, Allah Almighty had promised to protect His beloved Habeeb – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. When Abu Taalib saw the actual intent of the Quraish and the evil plot which they were daily planning, he saw immediate danger in all of this for his beloved nephew. He then realised that they needed to take drastic action in this regard. Therefore, he called the two offshoots of the Abde Munaf, namely Hashim and Abdul Mutallib, together for a meeting.
Abu Taalib mentioned that the work which he had performed in protecting his beloved nephew should now be shared among them as well. He advised that they all get together and perform this important task. After hearing the advice of Abu Taalib, the Banu Hashim and the Banu Mutallib agreed to join forces to protect Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. This meant that even those who had not accepted Islam, also agreed to be part of this protection strategy.
However, the brother of Abu Taalib, namely Abu Lahab, completely refused to be part of this. He then separated himself from the entire family and joined the Mushriks of Mecca. He also supported them in whatever oppression they undertook against the Muslims and Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.
In the book Ar Raheeq Al Makhtum, it is recorded, “It is reported that in only four weeks, four major events took place which shook the Mushriks of Mecca. Hadrat Sayyiduna Ameer Hamza – may Allah be pleased with him – had accepted Islam. Hadrat Sayyiduna ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – had accepted Islam. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah had refused to accept any offer which they presented to him and finally, the Bani Hashim and the Bani Abdul Mutallib had joined forces of both Muslims and non-Muslims and had taken a pact to protect Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – with their lives.
Obviously, the Mushriks were greatly disturbed by what they saw. They also had this great fear that if they harmed Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – their blood would be all over the valley in Mecca Shareef. They even feared that they themselves would be wiped off the map. They then decided to abandon their idea of murdering Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – and adopted the strategy of oppressing him and those who supported him. This was also a very dangerous tactic which they had adopted.
They then had a private meeting and decided that there will be complete boycott of the Bani Hashim and Bani Abdul Mutallib. No one will be allowed to marry anyone of them. All business transactions will cease. No one will join their company, no one will visit them and no one will speak to them. This will continue until they do not agree to hand over Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – to them. They then drew up a set of rules and laws on a piece of paper and they also agreed that there will be no act of peace or agreement between them and the Bani Hashim. All of this was based on the fact that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – is handed over to them.
Ibn Qayim states that an agreement was drawn up by Akramah bin Amir bin Hashim. Some say that it was drawn up by Nadr bin Haarith. However, the majority view is that it was recorded by someone named Yaghees bin Amir bin Hashim. It is mentioned that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – also cursed him and his hands became paralysed. (Zaadul Ma’aad)
Suffice to say that this agreement was then drawn up and placed inside the Ka’ba. At the same time, all the members of the Bani Hashim and Bani Abdul Mutallib were then imprisoned in a valley which was called Sh’ebe Abu Taalib. This began in the month of Muharram during the seventh year of Prophethood.
Obviously, with this state of affairs, the situation became extremely dire for those trapped in this valley. The food quickly dried up and they were not given a chance to purchase any more food which came into Mecca because the Mushriks purchased all of these items first. They also grew thinner every day. Some of them were also forced to survive on nothing but dry leather. In fact, the immense hunger was so serious that the cries of women and children were heard all over the valley.
If there was anything which reached them, it reached them with great difficulty. In fact, most items were concealed before reaching them. They were not allowed to leave this valley except in the sacred months. If ever they had the chance to leave Mecca to purchase food, the price of these food items were extremely high because the Quraish were offering better prices in Mecca. In this way, even the idea of them purchasing anything became a near impossibility.
Hakeem bin Hazaam, who was the nephew of Sayyidah Khadijah – may Allah be pleased with her, sometimes used to bring some grain for his aunt. Once, Abu Jahl tried to stop this but Abul Bakhtara intervened and allowed the grain to be delivered to his aunt.
At the same time, in the valley itself, Abu Taalib was in constant fear that people will enter to try and kill his beloved nephew, hence he adopted a strategy in this regard. He asked Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – to sleep at a specific spot so that everyone would be aware of this. When everyone was sleeping, he then woke up Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – and made one of his nephews or grandsons to then sleep on this bed and placed Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – in another spot.
In spite of this boycott, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – and other Muslims used to appear in public during the days of Hajj. They used to also deliver the message of Islam to these visitors. In this manner, three years passed.
Then, in the month of Muharram the miracle of the agreement in the Ka’ba being destroyed took place. It must also be borne in mind that not everyone in Mecca was agreeable about the drawing of such an agreement from the very beginning. There were some who were happy and some who were not happy at all about this. In fact, there was also a plan made between certain people to go to the Ka’ba and destroy this agreement.
The first person who initiated this plan was a person named Hisham bin Amar who was from the Bani Aamir bin Luwi. He used to send food and grain in the middle of the night to the people in the valley very secretly. This person then went to Zuhair bin Abi Ummayah Makhzumi, the mother of Zuhair, who was Aatikah and the daughter of Abdul Mutallib and the sister of Abu Taalib. He said Zuhair, “Are you happy with the fact that you are eating in great comfort and enjoying your food while your uncle is in this state?”
Zuhair said that he was alone and being alone, what could he do. He also mentioned that if there was someone with him, he would certainly go to the Ka’ba and destroy this piece of recording. He told him that Hisham would also support him in this effort.
Hisham approached Mut’am bin Adi. He explained to him that being a close relative of both of these tribes, it was a tragedy that he could do nothing to help these oppressed people. Bear in mind that Mut’am was also from the family of Abde Munaf. Mut’am informed him that if another person supported him, he would certainly go and destroy this document. Hisham then informed him that there were already three people involved and he revealed his name and the other two who were prepared to join them. Finally, all five of them decided to undertake this mission.
They decided to meet the next morning and make it public that this agreement is totally unfair and that it should be destroyed. In the morning everyone joined their own families. Zuhair was the first person to present this objection. After completing the Tawaaf, he proclaimed to everyone present, “O people of Mecca! We are eating and wearing clothes, yet the Bani Hashim is been destroyed in front of us. No one can sell to them and they are not allowed to purchase anything. I swear by the Lord that I will not rest until this agreement is not cancelled or destroyed.”
Abu Jahl who was sitting on one corner stood up and said, “You are wrong. I swear by my Lord that it cannot be destroyed.”
At that moment Zam’ah bin Aswad stood up and said, “You yourself are wrong, when this agreement was drawn up even at that time, we were unhappy.”
At that moment, Abul Bakhtara also stood up and said, “Zam’ah has spoken the truth. Whatever is recorded on it, we are not prepared to accept it.”
Mut’am bin Adi also stood up and supported this view and he also said that whatever is recorded on this, they are in total disagreement with it.
However, Abu Jahl stated that whether they agree or not, this was prepared in the night and it was agreed at another venue. At that moment also Abu Taalib also entered the Haram Shareef and was standing in one corner. The reason that he had entered the Haram Shareef was because Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – had already indicated to him the actual state of this document at that moment and that most of what was recorded on this had already been destroyed by the Divine Command of Allah Almighty.
In fact, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – had revealed to his uncle that everything had been destroyed on this except the Divine Name of Allah Almighty. He was also told to inform the Quraish that this is what his nephew had revealed to him. He was also to inform the Quraish that if this was untrue, then he would could cancel his pledge of protection for his nephew. However, if Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – was correct, then they should immediately cease this unjust boycott.
On the other side, when Mu’tam bin Adi and his other supporters stood up to enter the Ka’ba, they were shocked to the see that white ants had eaten most of what was recorded. The only words which remained were the Name of Allah Almighty. Wherever the Name of Allah Almighty was recorded, that part of the recording was not destroyed.
This unjust notice was then destroyed and the rest of the people were released from this valley. The Mushriks were also able to see with their own eyes a great miracle of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. In spite of this great miracle, they continued to insist that it was mere magic. This fact is mentioned in Surah Qamar, verse 2. (Sahih Bukhari Shareef, Zaadul Mu’aad, ibn Hishaam, etc).
In another version of this incident recorded by Ibn Katheer through ibn Hishaam it is recorded that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – informed his uncle, “O uncle! Allah Almighty has overpowered (the notice on the Ka’ba) with white ants. They had destroyed all the unjust and false information on it, except the Divine Name of Allah Almighty”.
Abu Taalib asked, “Has you Lord given you this information?”
Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – replied that yes, this was so.
When he heard this, Abu Taalib replied, “By Allah! No one will be able to reach you.”
Thereafter, he left the valley and approached the Quraish and then addressed them as follows: “O Quraish, the son of my brother (Muhammad) has informed me that besides the Divine Name of Allah Almighty, everything else of this document has been destroyed. Therefore, go and look at this document and if this is exactly what is seen, then you should desist from this boycott against us and if my nephew has given false news, then I surrender him to you.”
The Quraish agreed to this. When they went and looked at this document, they found it in exactly the same condition which was revealed to them by Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. (Al Bidaayah wan Nihaayah; Seerat Ibn Hishaam)