Three long years had passed and the circle of faith could grow only so much. Many people were aware of the change in Mecca, whether it was those who had witnessed a friend or a relative accepting Islam, or those who themselves had been invited to Islam, or those who had witnessed the hatred welling up inside the hearts of the Quraysh. The issue was being discussed everywhere.
Meanwhile, with every passing day, new revelation were coming and feeding the believers by way of faith, strengthening their resistance. Before long, a revelation had arrived that stated: “So from now on, proclaim what you are commanded to convey openly and in an emphatic manner, and do not care (whatever) those who associate partners with Allah (say and do)” (al-Hijr 15:94). It seemed that the provision was more general this time and it targeted Mecca in the first place and then the whole of humanity. How could one not carry out such an order?
The Beloved of Allah went to the top of Safa hill and called out to the whole of Mecca: “Ya sabaha! Ya sabaha!”
This was a kind of address that normally served to warn the people of the threat of a great enemy. When such a call was heard, normally everyone would take their own precautions and would wait ready for the enemy. That day, the Messenger of Allah was trying this call to wake the Meccans to an awareness of what was awaiting them tomorrow. No one could stay indifferent to such a call. Those who could come were coming and those who could not were sending people to report back as to what Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, had to say. There was a great crowd at Safa now, and the Messenger of Allah called the attention of the tribes present one by one: “O sons of Fihr! O sons of Adiyy! O sons of Abdimanaf; and O sons of Abdul Muttalib!”
Everyone was paying great attention and waiting for the news that was to come. In the meanwhile, there were also those who were asking who this man was who had called people here. The answer they received was: “Muhammad!”
Abu Lahab was among those who had come. The Messenger of Allah first asked the following question to those who were waiting eagerly to hear what he had to say: “If I should tell you that there is an army coming towards you from behind this mountain, would you say that I was lying to you?”
“No, we swear we have never seen you lie; we have never heard anything but the truth from you,” they said.
This was the answer he was expecting. He was going to build his argument on it: “O people of Quraysh!” he called out to them once again. “I am a clear cautioner for you concerning a grave grief that is drawing near. Come and save yourselves from the fire of Hell! If you don’t, I can do nothing for you in the eyes of Allah. You and I are like the man who comes to his tribe with the warning of an army approaching his town. He has seen that the enemy will come and harm his tribe and that’s why he has warned his kin. He has gone to the top of a hill and shouted: ‘Ya sabaha! Ya sabaha.’”
What more could he do? He was trying every possible way to help them but he was not able to get the result he wanted. But this wasn’t the crucial point. When doing all this, he was not concerned about the end result, but rather, he concentrated on whether he was following Allah’s will and orders. The underlying principle of the persistence of our noble Prophet, the Messenger of the Most Generous, was the awareness of doing his duty to the best of his capacity. He could not bear the idea of seeing people make their way towards Hell. Even though he was faced with insults and slander from his listeners, he believed that one day their hearts would soften.
Even if not these people themselves, their offspring might one day understand the value of Islam. On the Day of Judgment, Allah the Almighty would ask everyone what they had done in life and the excuse of “We had not been told” was no longer valid now. This is why the Illustrious Beloved of Allah started to say the following to his relatives who had gathered in this crowd: “O people of Quraysh! Do not leave your soul in bondage but buy your soul from Allah, and protect it from Hell; for tomorrow I will not be able to help or harm you in any way. Tomorrow I will not be able to help you when you are in the presence of Allah!”
He then started to address the crowd more specifically, calling out to them by their names:
“O sons of Ka’b ibn Luayy! O sons of Murra ibn Ka’b! O sons of Qusayy! O sons of Abdimanaf! O sons of Abdishams! O sons of Hashim! O sons of Abdul Muttalib! Take care to protect yourselves from the fires of Hell! Or else I will not be able to procure any help or harm for you; I will not be able to help you! Benefit now from what I come to you with, ask me anything and I will give it to you, but tomorrow in the presence of Allah, I will not be able to help you at all!
O Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib! I will not be able to do anything for you either in the presence of Allah.
O aunt of the Messenger of Allah, Safiyya bint Abdul Muttalib! I will not be able to help you either!
O daughter of the Messenger of Allah, Fatima bint Muhammad, if you want something from what I have at hand now, ask for it now! You protect your self from the fire of Hell as well! Or else I will not be able to do you any good or harm on that day, in the presence of Allah. All I can do today is to speak nicely to you with respect to our blood ties!”
All these were true and no one said anything against these words. The Messenger of Allah had done his duty; he had put himself forward for the sake of his relatives. Having listened to his advice, they were now returning to their homes, without having given any response. A familiar face from among them came forward and approached the Messenger of Allah. It was clear that he was enraged and was not at all happy that the fate of the coming days had thus been revealed to him: “Woe unto you! Is this what you called us here for; let your hands dry up!” He was saying and scolding his nephew.
Not long after this, Gabriel had come to the Prophet’s rescue and he was calming the Illustrious Beloved of Allah with the following words:
May both hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and are ruined are they! His wealth has not availed him, nor his gains. He will enter a flaming Fire to roast; and (with him) his wife, carrier of firewood (and of evil tales and slander), around her neck will be a halter of strongly twisted rope. (Tabbat 111:1–5)
This was at the same time a warning that even if he should be close to the Prophet by way of family, he would not be able to find salvation if he did not respond to the invitation from the Messenger of Allah.
Now Mecca would get to know about these verses and be truly shaken. The address that the Abu Lahab family was heading for was thus made public. Although they did not seem to care at first, inside they were full of doubt: What if what was said was true? What if there was a Hell? And what about Muhammad, what if he really was the Messenger people were waiting for?
But because he had already once said no, he would stay by his word, and when his day came, he would die like the Qur’an and the Messenger of Allah had foretold, consolidating the judgment passed on him.
The wife of Abu Lahab, the enemy to Allah, was Umm Jamil and she was in no way behind her husband when it came to enmity to the Messenger of Allah. He would spread pins and needles on the path where the Messenger was likely to pass, and she would pour rubbish on his doorstep. She had a nasty tongue and she would incite others against him; she was organizing people against the Messenger of Allah and was trying to turn enmity towards him into a popular cause. That’s why when speaking of her, the Qur’an would use the term “carrier of wood,” making clear her sorry state in Hell as an example to those that would come after her.
The Messenger of Allah, who paid such great attention to the sons of Abdul Muttalib, was slowly widening his circle of communication. He was now going to the Ka’ba to pray openly; he was inviting people to religion and reading them the Qur’an
Kesmez, Umit. “The Luminous Life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)” Tughra Books Press. December 2014.
- February 21, 2014
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