Series on Islamic History
PREACHING IN ADVERSITY
After the first revelation Khadija (ra) took the Prophet (saw) to her cousin Waraqah bin Nawfal who warned that the people will be hostile and evict him and he wished could be present at that.
For some time no further revelation descended. This period is called, aJ-Fatrah - The Pause". Finally one day when he was returning home from Cave Hira, he saw Hazrat Jibril al-Amin (as) again. He again felt afraid and went home. He wrapped a blanket around him and lay down. He then heard a voice full of majesty reciting in his ear:
O you wrapped up one! Arise and warn! Declare the greatness of your
Cherishing-Lord. Purify your garments and avoid filth. [al-Muddaththir:
Thereafter revelation descended continuously.
One day Hazrat Jibril al-Amin (as) took Rasulullah (saw) to the foot of a mountain. He performed Wudu in front of him and led him in Salah.
Upon receiving the command to convey the message of Allah's oneness, Rasulullah (saw) began to preach to the people that they should not ascribe partners unto Allah. Instead, they should recognise Him as One. The first people he turned to was his household. The first to believe in him was Hazrat Khadijah al-Kubra (ra). Hazrat Ali bin Abi Talib (ra) and Hazrat Zayd bin Harithah (ra) also believed in him from the beginning. These were all members of his household. Another early believer was his close friend, Hazrat Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafah (ra). Thus the first believers were his wife, his paternal cousin, his freed-slave and his close and sincere friend. These people were obviously well acquainted with his character and qualities. No aspect of his life was hidden from them. That they all believed in him is a strong testimony to his truthfulness and righteousness. In the beginning, Rasulullah (saw) confined his teaching to preaching to his relatives and friends.
Islam was propagated in this quiet manner for the next three years.
Proclamation on Mount Safa
Allah then commanded:
So expound openly with what you have been commanded with. [al-Hijr: 94}
In compliance with this command, one day Rasulullah (saw) climbed Mount Safa. There he loudly called out to each clan by name. Hearing the call, the Arabs began to gather, as was the custom. Once they had gathered, Rasulullah (saw) said to them, "0 Quraysh! If I were to inform you that the enemy is going to attack you in the morning or in the evening, would you believe me?" "Yes" they all immediately replied, "We have always found you to be true in speech." Upon hearing this reply, Rasulullah (saw) said, "Then I warn you that Allah's punishment is close. Believe, so that you may escape the divine punishment." The Quraysh laughed at these words. Abu Lahab exclaimed, "May your hands be destroyed! Have you gathered us for this?"
The people then dispersed, talking as they returned home. As Abu Lahab got up, the following was revealed:
May the hands of Abi Lahab be destroyed. .. [al-Lahab: I}
A few days later the following was revealed:
And warn your close relatives. [ash-Shu 'ara': 2I4}
Rasulullah (saw) therefore commanded Hazrat Ali (ra) to arrange a meal for guests. The arrangements were made and Rasulullah (saw) invited his close relatives. About forty relatives came. After they had eaten, Rasulullah (saw) commenced speaking, but Abu Lahab started spewing such uncouth words that Rasulullah (saw) could not continue and the guests dispersed. The next day Rasulullah (saw) again made arrangements and invited his relatives. After they had eaten he addressed them, "I bring you such a matter the like of which nobody has brought better unto his tribe. Who will assist me in this task?" All remained silent, not saying a word. Hazrat 'Ali (ra) then stood and said,
"Even though 1 am weak and the youngest of all, 1 shall be at your side."
When they heard this, everyone began laughing, mocked Hazrat Ali (ra) and left.
Rasulullah (saw) began to openly preach monotheism and Islam. It was during this time that persecution began to be inflicted upon him and his weak followers, who were few in number. He went to gatherings, festivals, markets and people's homes, explaining to them the beauty of monotheism and discouraging them from idolatry.
The idol worshippers saw this as a loss of honour and glory. Thus the great chiefs and nobility would in no way acknowledge him as messenger and prophet. They could not afford to lose their position and obey him. In addition, most of the Quraysh clans were enemies unto Banu Hashim, They could not tolerate that someone from an enemy clan could be a Prophet and that they had to obey him. The open preaching resulted in the Quraysh aligning themselves in opposition to the Muslims. The severe clash between disbelief and Islam commenced from the fourth year of Prophet Hood.
The First Classroom
During those days, Rasulullah (saw) started using the home of Hazrat Arqam bin Abi Arqam (ra) as a classroom. It was located at the foot of Mount Safa, Each person who wished to embrace Islam went there and was taught about Islam. Muslims began gathering there at all times. Rasulullah (saw) taught the people about Islam at Hazrat Arqam's home. He also led them in Salah there.
For three years the house of Hazrat Arqam (ra) was the headquarters of Islam. Whoever embraced Islam during those three years is considered to have entered the ranks of the first Muslims. The last person to join the noble list was Hazrat Umar al-Faruq (ra). By him becoming Muslim, the Muslims gained much strength. The Quraysh then decided to chose new methods to combat and persecute the Muslims.
Quraysh Delegation Meets) Abu Talib
A delegation from the Quraysh approached Abu Talib. They complained, "Your nephew does not want to desist from disparaging our idols. You should explain to him to stop such actions." Abu Talib was affected by these words and went to Rasulullah (saw) who said, “O my Uncle! I shall not abandon this effort for as long as Allah's work is not yet completed. I shall continue until I am destroyed." Abu Talib was now affected by Rasulullah's (saw) words. He called him and said, "You should definitely continue your work. For as long as I am breathing I shall never stop defending you. I shall never surrender you to the enemy."