As the enmity of persecutors increased, so did the number of the Prophet’s followers (radhiallahu ‘anhum). The Quraysh were baffled at how to stop the people from taking the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his teachings seriously; at how to make them hold aloof to him and thus finally disregard him.
Mecca was a commercial center frequented by tribes people from far and near and during the Hajj, or when it is about to draw near, a plethora of them were to come again. The people coming to Mecca had somehow to be kept at a distance from the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), lest they should hear his sermons and digest his words, or that they may contemplate or reflect and meditate upon them.
They went to Walid Ibn Al-Mughira, who was old and a man of standing, to seek his advice. He said, “O people of Quraysh, the time of Hajj has come around when delegations of the Arabs will come here. They have all heard about this man (the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), so agree upon a common ground hence you do not contradict one another and each one of you says the same thing.”
Different suggestions were put forward but Walid was not satisfied. At last, he was asked to suggest some way out. Thereupon he said, “The most convincing thing in my opinion would be that all of you present him as a sorcerer. You should say that he has brought a message through which he creates a rift between fathers and sons, or where brothers fall out from brothers, as well as husbands part ways with their wives and that families break up under his influence.”
The Quraysh came back to the shenanigan suggested by Walid. They sat when the time of Hajj commenced, warning everyone to keep clear of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), repeating what they had already agreed upon each other. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, p. 270)
CRUELTY OF THE QURAYSH
The persecutors of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) were consumed by a rancor disregard for every consideration of humanitarianism and kinship; their torture was embittered by the refinements of cruelty and their misbehavior and rudeness was helpless and ineffective enough to pollute the sacred asylum held as the holiest sanctum by the Arabs.
One day while the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was praying at the Ka’bah, a company of the Quraysh occupied their places in the sanctuary. ‘Utba Ibn Abu Mu’ayt brought the fetus of a camel from somewhere and when the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prostrated in prayer, he laid it on his back and shoulders. The Messenger of God (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) remained in prostration until his daughter Fatima (radhiallahu ‘anha) came running and threw it off him. She called down evil upon the one who had done it and the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also joined her in the condemnation. (Al-Bukhaari)
HAMZA ACCEPTS ISLAM
Once, Abu Jahl happened to pass by the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) near the mount of Safa. He insulted the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and heaped all manners of indignities upon him but the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) of God did not mind at all.
After a little while, Hamza returned from a hunting spree with his bow hanging by his shoulder. Hamza was essentially a warrior, the bravest and the most courageous amongst the Quraysh. A slave woman belonging to ‘Abdallah Ibn Jad’an told him what had happened to his nephew.
Hamza angrily turned back to the holy Mosque where Abu Jahl was sitting with his friends. Going straight to Abu Jahl, Hamza proceeded to strike his bow upon his head, saying, “Would you dare to insult and abuse him when I follow his religion and say what he says?” Abu Jahl kept quite while Hamza, returning to his nephew, declared himself a convert to Islam. The Quraysh were put to a great loss by the conversion of a man of unquestionable character and legendary courage. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 291-92)
PROPOSAL OF ‘UTBA TO THE PROPHET (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)
The number of the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) followers increased daily, threatening to turn the tide against Quraysh who as a tribe, chose to stay at the other end of the spiritual spectrum and therefore, took the situation as highly embarrassing. But they were unable to do anything to alter the course of Islam. ‘Utba Ibn Rabia, the old and wise aristocrat of the Quraysh realized that he must find a way to patch up the differences with the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He consulted the Quraysh for some concessions with him so that he might give up his mission. The Quraysh felt that it was a workable proposition and allowed ‘Utba to negotiate with the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) on their behalf.
‘Utbah went to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and sat by his side. Then he said, “O my nephew, you know the worthy position you enjoy among us. But you have created a rift in your people by ridiculing them, insulting their gods as well as their religion, declaring their forefathers as heathens and denying their customs. Now, listen to me, I will offer you some proposals that will hopefully include one which will merit your acceptability.”
“O Abu Walid,”(16) replied the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), “Go on, I am listening.”
‘Utbah continued, “My Nephew, if you want to have wealth by what you preach, we will collect enough of it that you will be the richest of us. If you desire honor, we will make you our chief and leave every decision to your choice. If you aspire for kingship, we will recognize you as our monarch. And if you are possessed of a ghost or a jinn for which you have no remedy, we will find a competent physician for you and spend our wealth lavishly until your health is completely restored.”
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) listened patiently. When ‘Utbah had finished talking, he asked him, “Is it all that you have to say?”, to which ‘Utba replied “Yes”.
“Now listen to me,” said the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, and he continued to recite Surah Fussilat, (Surah 41, Chap. ‘They are expounded’) ending the recitation at prostration, (Verse 37) putting his hands behind him and leaning on them. The recitation ended, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prostrated and then said to ‘Utbah, “Abul Walid, you have heard everything, now it is for you to decide.”
As the Quraysh saw ‘Utbah returning, they commented; “Honestly, he comes with an altered expression of his face.” And, when he finally came, they asked him what had happened.
“I have heard a discourse the like of which I had never heard before. I’ll swear to God, O Quraysh, that it is neither poetry, nor spell, nor witchcraft. Take my advice and leave this man alone.” The Quraysh berated ‘Utba, and said, “Now you may do whatever you think fit.” (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 293-94)
 Father of Walid. The Arabs called the elders by the name of their sons.