Walid was the chief of Makhzum and unofficial leader of Quraysh. One day an opportunity arose for the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to speak with Walid alone. When they were deep in converse, a blind man came by, and begged him to recite to him some verses of the Holy Qur’an. When asked to be patient and wait for a better moment, the blind man became so importunate that in the end the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) frowned and turned away. A new Surah was revealed almost immediately, and it began with the words:


(The Prophet) frowned
And turned away,


Because there came to him
The blind man (interrupting).


But what could tell thee
But that perchance he might
Grow (in spiritual understanding)?


Or that he might receive
Admonition, and the teaching
Might profit him?


As to one who regards
Himself as self-sufficient,


To him dost thou attend;


Though it is no blame
to thee if he grow not
(In spiritual understanding.)
(Surah Abasa; V-1-7)

His Prophethood would bring honour to the sons of Abdu Manaf, this was not acceptable to Abu Jahal. So one day Abu Jahal said to Utbah, "There is your prophet, O sons of Abdu Manaf, shouldst thou take it amiss if we have a prophet, or a king?" This last word was a reference to Qusay, and a subtle reminder to the Makhzumite that Abdu Manaf was Qusay’s son, whereas Makhzum was only his cousin.

Two of the most powerful clans of Quraysh at that time were Abdu Shams and Makhzum. Utbah and his brother Shaybah were the leaders of one batch of the Shamsite clan. Their cousin Harith, the former leader of its Ummayyed branch, had been succeeded on his death by his son named Abu Sufyan who was also the Prophet’sB.A..P.U.H foster-brother having been nursed by Halimah. He bore the closest family likeness to Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and among the characteristics they had in common was eloquence. Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was un-surpassed in his mastery of Arabic and in the beauty of his speech.

Wealth was not held to be an aspect of that greatness, but it was almost a necessity as a means to the end. A great person must be greatly in demand as an ally and a protector, which meant that he must himself have reliable allies. This he could partly contrive by weaving for himself, through his marriages and the marriages of his sons and his daughters, a network of powerful and formidable connections. Much in this respect could be achieved by wealth.

Umm-Jamil’s wealthy Ummayad cousin, UthmanR.A Ibn Affan had asked for the hand of RuqayyahR.A and had married her. This marriage was most pleasing to Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and KhadijahR.A. Their daughter was happy and their new son-in-law was devoted to her and to them. There was also another consideration that impelled them, to give thanks: RuqayyahR.A was the most beautiful of their daughters and one of the most beautiful women of her generation throughout all Makkah; and UthmanR.A was a remarkably handsome man. To see the two of them together was in itself a reason for rejoicing. "Allah is Beautiful and He loveth beauty".

ZaynabR.A and Abul-As loved each other deeply: she always hoped and prayed that he would join her in Islam. Verily thou guideth not whom thou lovest, but Allah guideth whom He will.

If the believers had disappointments, their opponents had to come face to face with a new and incalculable situation in Makkah that threatened to disrupt their way of life. It would also frustrate all their projects for the future, especially those related to planning the marriages of their children.

It was to Maymunah R.A and her three sisters, the wives of AbbasR.A, HamzahR.A and JafarR.A, that Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) referred when he said: "Verily the sisters are true believers".

When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had openly declared Islam, some people of Quraysh such as Abu Lahab and his wife Jamila resorted to throwing stones at him and his house, paying children to throw the remains of dead animals at him and abusing him in whatever form and whenever they could.

Whenever the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) moved out, children and vagrant people would throw stones at him that sometimes hit his face causing bleeding. He would say nothing but simply wipe it clean. KhadijahR.A once asked, "O Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) why do you bear such agony". He answered, "O KhadijahR.A, when one knows for what purpose and for whom one is bearing such suffering, then he is free of all pain and grief".

Abu Talib was succeeded by Abu Lahab after his death. He was now the chief of Hashim tribe. The protection that Abu Lahab gave his nephew was merely nominal. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was ill-treated as never before. On one occasion a passer-by leaned over his gate and tossed a piece of petrifying offal into his cooking pot. Once when he was praying in the courtyard of his house, a man threw over him a sheep’s uterus filthy with blood and excrement. Before disposing of it, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) picked up the object on the end of a stick and said, standing at his gate: "O sons of Abdu Manaf, what protection is this?" He had seen that the offender was the Shamsite Uqbah, step-father of UthmanR.A, Ruqayyah’sR.A husband. On another occasion, when the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was coming out from the Holy Ka’bah, a man took a handful of dirt and threw it on his face and over his head. When he returned home one of his daughters washed him clean. The daughter started crying, "Cry not, little daughter". He (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "Allah will protect thy father".

The people of the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) lineage made him suffer so much that one day, disgusted with grief, he complained before Allah, "O Allah, You know it better that none of them is prepared to concede to Your religion".

At this, Jibril conveyed to him a few verses (mentioned in the Surah Al-Hijr of the Holy Qur’an). They are:


Therefore expound openly
What thou art commanded,
And turn away from those
Who join false gods with Allah.
(Surah Al-Hijr; V-94)

It is stated in verse 95 of Surah Al-Hijr:


For sufficient are We
Unto thee against those
Who scoff, ____.


Those who adopt, with Allah,
Another Allah: but soon
Will they come to know.

In verse 97 of the same Surah, Allah addresses the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace):


We do indeed know
How thy heart is distressed
At what they say.
(Surah Al-Hijr; V-97)


But celebrate the praises
Of thy Lord, and be of those
Who prostrate themselves
In adoration.

Allah has urged the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) to stand resolute in front of all hardships till his last. The verse 99 states:


And serve thy Lord
Until there come unto thee
The Hour that is certain.
(Surah Al-Hijr; V-99)

The above verses gave consolation to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) that the pagans would not be allowed to triumph and that one day Islam would reign supreme. Afterwards, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) endured all such hardships with great forbearance and courage.

One day Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and KhadijahR.A were at home when their two daughters, both wives of Abu Lahab’s sons, came with their belongings. They told their parents that they had been divorced and sent back. KhadijahR.A asked them how it all happened. They told her that their husbands had divorced them on the provocation of Abu Lahab and his wife. They had said that it was unseemly for Abu Lahab’s sons to have Muhammad’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) daughters as their wives, as he was the focus of humiliation and hatred. It would be shameful to have any relations with him.

KhadijahR.A was greatly grieved at hearing this but the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) comforted her. Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was as other fathers very much aggrieved for his daughters. In spite of all the psychological stress and family rancour, he held his ground and was not deterred in his mission. His enemies also remained irretrievably steadfast on their ancestor’s religions and exhibited great prejudice towards Islam.

The Bedouin are stubborn people. When a Bedouin fixes upon an idea, it becomes irreversible unless another one more strong and effective comes to him. Whenever his notions develop into an ‘ideology’, he will not change it easily for another.

If the reader wants to know more about a Bedouin’s stubbornness, the biography of the ancient poet Sanfara will be of great interest for him. He was very famous in his life time and even today many of his verses are recited by the Bedouins.

It is narrated that one day when Sanfara was passing through the desert, some people of Banu-Suleman tribe reproached and ridiculed him. He decided to take revenge from the whole tribe as was the custom. He took an oath to kill one hundred men of this tribe. The next day he left his tribe and went out to hunt those people down with his bow and arrow. After fifteen long years he was successful in slaughtering 99 people of Banu-Suleman tribe.

One day, when he was drawing water from a well, some bandits attacked and killed him. His dead body was consumed by desert animals and only his bones were left to scatter around. His frontal bone remained lying near the well. One day, some passer-by of Banu-Suleman stopped to drink water from the well. A dust-storm caused that bone to fly at and strike one person inflicting a deep wound. This wound could not heal and the person died. This is how Sanfara did not forget his oath even after death, and thus totalled the number of victims to a hundred.

It is obvious that the later part of the biography is only legendary and is unacceptable to a historian, but it depicts the Arab’s lust for revenge. Even after death, the blood feuds, the hatred, and the enmity were transferred as a parting gift to his progeny.

Thus despite the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) efforts to convince the Quraysh of the futility of idolatry and of belief in one Allah, they stuck to their ancient beliefs.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to go to Holy Ka’bah daily to pray. The Quraysh prohibited the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) from entering the Holy Ka’bah for prayers. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) told them that Holy Ka’bah is Allah’s house. To enter it, he did not need their permission.

One day when the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was prostrating in his prayers, Abu Jahal, along with some other tribesmen came there. He had tripe of the camel filled with blood and noxious materials with him. He placed this filthy tripe on the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) head and wound it around his neck tightly to suffocate him. This method was employed by the Arabs to kill a person. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) tried to release himself, but in vain. The people around the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) saw him struggling. They were also quite aware of his agony but did not help him since they were afraid of Abu Jahal. They could not afford his enmity.

A woman belonging to the Quraysh tribe saw this whole incidence and could not bear its sight. She ran towards the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) house and informed RuqayyahR.A, the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) daughter of the whole incident. Quite perturbed, by this news the daughter ran towards the Holy Ka’bah where she quickly removed the tripe from her father’s head. She then cleaned his face from the filth so that he could breathe. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) could not breathe properly for about an hour. He slowly recovered, rose to his feet with the help of his daughter and went home. On reaching home, RuqayyahR.A cleaned his face, and washed his clothes. The very next day, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) went again to Holy Ka’bah and started his prayers. His will was so strong that nothing could deter him from his path.

His opponents were also extremely prejudiced and stubborn. When they saw Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had turned up at Holy Ka’bah, they connived again to assassinate him.

This time, a person named Aqba, carrying a piece of cloth approached barefooted from behind the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) silently. When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) prostrated, Aqba threw the cloth upon him and attacked him. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) started bleeding from his nose and mouth. He was eventually successful in freeing himself of the attack. He later on reached home, cleaned his face and made no complaint.

The Bedouin Arabs had a one word constitution: "Benevolence", which covered hospitality, protection of the aggrieved and complete submission to tribal laws. A Bedouin considered these principles his law. It was an individual responsibility to be brave. He could not retreat from the battlefield. He had to be courageous enough either to stake his life or return victorious. The Bedouins gave asylum to the aggrieved purely on the basis of manliness. The Arab nomadic life could not afford any ‘compassion’. Those who were witnessing the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) being choked did not intervene because of their pride. Some of them even thought the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was executable since he had confronted their tribal laws.

Geographical distribution, lifestyles and environmental factors deeply affect the traits and characteristics of different nations of the world. The findings of the French scholar Ernest Raynon about Pre-Islamic Arabian culture are of great interest. He attributes the absence of compassion from the Arabs to their environment.

In areas where living becomes tough such as Europe’s highlands, the dwellers tend to be tight-fisted and miserly. Any loss or hardship of a person is immaterial to others as these areas. In the hot deserts where life is much harder, it has been observed that a Bedouin who had only his camel for sustenance, slaughtered it for the hospitality and entertainment of his guest.

Raynon in his book, ‘The Desert Culture’ states that no other culture of the world is more interesting and fascinating as the Arab nomadic culture. Whenever an aggrieved person sought refuge in someone’s tent, the protector never hesitated to use his sword in favour and support of the aggrieved. He would die protecting the aggrieved from harm.

In the eyes of the Quraysh Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was not an aggrieved person, therefore, no one came to rescue him from his enemies. An "aggrieved person" was defined as a person who was a stranger, a victim of cruelty and who sought asylum from another tribe.

If a person of another tribe sought protection of the Quraysh to escape cruelty, they would protect him. They did not consider the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) an outsider. Those who saw him being attacked repeatedly, considered the act justified and legal. The prevailing laws allowed any tribe to prosecute a member of its own. Just as modern law is considered supreme in the present day states, the Arabian tribal laws were considered unquestionable.

The four early converts to Islam, KhadijahR.A, Abu BakrR.A, AliR.A, and ZaydR.A were helpless. They could not stop the cruelty inflicted by the Quraysh. Four years after the Prophethood of Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), the number of believers increased considerably. Most of the new Muslims were blacks, slaves, and strangers. They were helpless, needy and defenceless. Before the appearance of Islam, these people had never even dreamt of a day when they could have social equality. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) announced all humans as one entity devoid of any difference between them. He said, Allah has created every body from earth and all men are equal.

Surah 55 (Al-Rahman), verse 14, of the Holy Qur’an states;


He created man
From sounding clay
Like unto pottery,
(Surah Al-Rahman; V-14)

It was through the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) they came to know that the rich and the poor were made up of the same constituents. The difference in colours, races, appearances were only there to differentiate them from each other.

The first slave, after ZaydR.A, whom the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) emancipated was a black man named "BilalR.A". He was slave of a rich Makkan, Umayyah bin Khalaf Samai. When Umayyah came to know of BilalR.A’s acceptance of Islam, he took him outside Makkah, undressed him, tied his hands and feet and made him lie on the scorching sands under the blazing sun. He asked him to quit Islam or else be left there to die.

BilalR.A, knowing that his master really meant what he said, did not care what happened to him. He opted to embrace death rather than to revoke Islam. While Umayyah was lashing out at BilalR.A, Abdullah bin UthmanR.A, well known as Abu BakrR.A came there and offered to buy BilalR.A from the owner. He offered such a high price, that his owner consented to sell BilalR.A. Later Abu BakrR.A freed him.

At a later stage in Islam’s history, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) appointed BilalR.A as ‘Moazzan’. In Arabic, a Moazzan is a person who delivers messages to the people. However, the term is more applicable now to a person who invites people to prayers in an audible and loud voice. This method of calling Muslims for prayers is universally maintained even today.

Later on two women, both maid-servants of UmarR.A, Labeenah and Zaneerah accepted Islam. UmarR.A sentenced both of them to whipping. He ordered them to quit Islam or die. He would surely whip them to death. These valiant women refused to revoke their religion even though they were drenched in blood. Here too Abu BakrR.A came at the scene and bought the two slaves from UmarR.A. The number of Muslims had now reached seven, which included three women and four men.

The fourth woman who accepted Islam was from outside Makkah. Her name was ‘Ghazia’. She accepted Islam after coming to Makkah and began to preach Islam openly. The Arab Bedouin women, like their men, were intrepid and bold. She remained dauntless in spite of the threats of the Quraysh.

When the Quraysh saw that she would never revoke Islam, they kidnapped her and fastened her tightly with rope on a camel’s back. They directed the people of a caravan to let her starve of hunger and thirst till she died and then to throw her dead body in the desert to be eaten by wild beasts. The Arab Bedouin woman escaped un-harmed.

She later narrated her story and said, "I was exhausted by hunger and thirst for three days. On the fourth day, I felt cold moisture at my lips and tried to quench my thirst to the full. The next day, the people of the caravan were stunned to find me still alive. When I told them about the previous night’s incident they felt ashamed of their deed and set me free. I was then treated with reverence and honour". All the people of the caravan that was carrying the kidnapped woman accepted Islam.

Abu Jahal had a maid-servant called Samiyah. The name Samiyah is derived from ‘Sama’ that means famous and popular. She used to serve as mid-wife and counselled the pregnant women. She was thus held in more esteem than other slaves. When she became Muslim, Abu Jahal was infuriated, and he started whipping her. She fell down. On knowing about the incident, Abu BakrR.A rushed to Abu Jahal’s house and found her lying on the earth. She was unable to move.

He told Abu Jahal that he wanted to buy her but the offer was denied. He then offered one hundred Dinars for Samiyah’s freedom. Abu Jahal still growled negatively. He raised the price to one hundred and fifty Dinars but again Abu Jahal did not accept it. He kept on raising the "Qaziah"- the amount he would pay in return for Samiyah.. (This term was typically reserved for those camels that were offered as blood-money to the heirs of the victim by the murderer or his tribe.) Abu Jahal harboured such hatred and enmity against the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) that he turned down every offer. Till then, Abu BakrR.A had freed six slaves, two men and four women, but this time he could not rescue Samiyah. The Quraysh women also pleaded Abu Jahal to stop whipping her. Every request fell flat on his ears. In spite of such severe punishment, she was not willing to revoke the new religion. When everything failed, Abu Jahal took her to the Holy Ka’bah. He asked her for the last time to surrender. When she did not revoke Islam, he plunged his spear forcefully into her chest, its head piercing out of her body. SamiyahR.A became the first female martyr of Islam.

When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) found out about Abu BakrR.A’s efforts to save Samiyah, he prayed before Allah for his dignity and honour. Abu BakrR.A sacrificed all his wealth in the cause of Islam. It was due to his efforts that many slaves and servants who accepted Islam could be freed and saved from the wrath of their Quraysh masters.

After this incident, four people among who were Abu Sufyan, Abu Lahab and his wife Jamila restricted Makkans from selling their slaves to Abu BakrR.A. They knew that Islam was spreading fast among the poor and downtrodden.

In spite of this restriction, those free men who were not slaves, such as UthmanR.A bin Affan - nephew of Abdul Muttalib, Abd-ur-Rahman bin AufR.A and Sa’ad bin Abbi WaqasR.A - nephew to Aminah, Talha bin Ubaid-UllahR.A and Saad bin UmroR.A became Muslims. They belonged to the well-off families of Makkah. The increasing number of Muslims created panic among the Quraysh. The Quraysh then proclaimed that Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had been prohibited from entering the Holy Ka’bah.

According to tradition, Holy Ka’bah is the first house of worship built on earth by human hands. The foundations of Holy Ka’bah were laid down by AdamR.A. IbrahimR.A completed it and when NoahR.A’s flood commenced, the Prophet Noah circumbulated Holy Ka’bah seven times in his boat. This is why the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to pray there. The Holy Ka’bah was considered holy by the Bedouin, even then they violated its sanctity.

One day when the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was returning from Holy Ka’bah, some Qurayshites injured him severely. He fell down and could not go to the Holy Ka’bah next day. When the Muslims came to offer prayers in Holy Ka’bah, the next day, they heard the news that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would be unable to come. They began offering prayers on their own. When they were prostrating before Allah, the Quraysh suddenly attacked them. Many Muslims were seriously injured. One of them, Harith, the son of KhadijahR.A (the Prophet’s step-son) died on the spot. He was the first male martyr of Islam. After this incident, the Quraysh started guarding the Holy Ka’bah day and night to prevent the Muslims from entering it. When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) observed that he could not offer prayers inside the Holy Ka’bah, he selected a place outside Makkah and began to offer his prayers, along with his companions twice a day. This special place was situated in the wilderness. Prayers were offered in the following way: BilalR.A used to call people to the prayers by saying ‘Azan’ (a call to prayer). The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to teach Holy Quranic verses to the Muslims. All Muslims (as they were not allowed to offer prayers in Makkah), were compelled to offer collective prayers in the wilderness.

European readers might ask why the Quraysh objected so strongly and reared such enmity particularly against the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) as Makkah was an international city tolerating many religions. It was a place to which followers of all the religions of the world had full access. The Holy Ka’bah had many sections where one or more idols were kept for worship. It seems strange that the Quraysh opposed this new religion to such an extent.

The Answer is a simple one. The followers of other religions did not pose any threat to the idols present in the Holy Ka’bah.. They also did not condemn the practice of idolatry. The people of all trades would come for pilgrimage and pay homage to their idols. As a result trade bloomed and Makkan merchants sold their wares. When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) began to preach Islam, it required complete negation of all idols. Islam would purge all idols from the Holy Ka’bah and the Makkan international market that continued for four months in the wake of idol-worshipping pilgrims, would also come to an end.

Makkah was devoid of any cultivation. Its residents either engaged in trade or reared live stock and camels. If Holy Ka’bah were to become empty of idols, then nobody would come for pilgrimage, causing an economic collapse of Makkah. Permission to spread Islam would bring their economic death.

The second reason to oppose Islam was its direct attack and negation of their idols. To accept Islam was like waging a war against their forefathers and their religious taboos. This was the negation of their history. The Quraysh worshipped even their forefathers as idols. Preservation of their traditions was vitally important for them.

A basic observance, which has been made is that people pay more homage to ritual than the soul and spirit of religion itself. Not many are prepared to delve deeper into faith. We follow the rut, and the ritual. These rituals continue from generation to generation and each generation passes on its traditions to the next. Idol worshipping had been passed on to the Arabs in a continuous flow. No body could be allowed to interrupt it. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) went against the wrath of the Quraysh with great courage. This was their reason for being after his life.

When the Quraysh came to know about the new place where the Muslims had begun to gather for prayers, they started to create obstacles for them.

Saad bin Abi Waqas, states, "We, the Muslims, could not gather in Makkah for prayers, therefore, we used to assemble in one of the Muslim’s house. This practice was soon stopped due to the strict vigilance of the Quraysh. If the people of the neighbourhood had seen us entering a house, they would have attacked and killed us".

"By reason of this, we used to leave Makkah one by one in such a way that they did not suspect us. We used to gather at a far off place to say our prayers. After the prayers, we selected a new place of meeting for the next day. The Quraysh would have easily found us if we had gathered at the same place twice".

"One day when we had gathered at a valley named ‘Abu Daud’ for prayers and had hardly been half way through our prayers, that Abu Sufyan and Akhnas bin Sharif attacked us. We had to defend ourselves. I picked up a camel bone lying nearby and hit an attacker’s head. He was injured and returned with blood smearing his face. I was the first person in Islam to shed blood of an infidel".

When the Muslims were greatly subdued, there was only one person who used to leave his house undaunted, and that was the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) himself. Other Muslims left their houses only before sunrise, so that they could not be seen by other people. In spite of all suppressive acts, the number of Muslims was increasing. The majority of new Muslims were downtrodden and labourers. Some were high-born too but the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not consider about their lineage. His criterion for good Muslim was that person’s character. He did not base his opinion on the judgements of others.

Whenever the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) found a ‘debauch’ person wishing to enter Islam, he would check to see if the person was debauch practically or labelled as such by the rulers and the rich. If he found him innocent, the man was welcomed to Islam. On the other hand, if the person was found guilty and he sought penitence, he was also welcomed to Islam. One such example is that of Abu ZarrR.A of Ghaffar tribe.

In the North of Makkah was a dreaded stretch of land, where dwelled a tribe called ‘Ghaffar’. This tribe excelled in plundering and robbery. This area comprises high and rugged mountains. Steep rocks of low height are sliced into precarious passes. If seen from above, one will shiver with fear on seeing black, green, and yellow stones of irregular sizes lying scattered at the base of these rocks. During summer, these rocks are unbearably hot and heat seems to seethe out of them. It is suicidal to stand shelterless here even for a few hours. The tribesmen living in such barren, hot area survived by plundering. A good booty meant pride and glory for them. Normally robber tribesmen of Arabia avoided bloodshed and spared women and children during their attack on caravans. In addition, during the four forbidden months for fighting, the pilgrims were also spared. The people of Ghaffar clan who lived in the North of Makkah however blatantly violated these rules. Once during the month of Ziqa’d, (one of the sacred months), they attacked a caravan. After killing the men, they began slaughtering women and children. Abu ZarrR.A who was among the attackers could not stand the sight and cries of the victims. He decided to abandon his tribe forever. He took his mother and young brother and left.

This act of Abu ZarrR.A was suicidal. No one could survive without a tribe especially if one had previously belonged to the Ghaffar clan. His clan was known for its violation of tribal laws and chivalric traditions. After travelling a few days Abu ZarrR.A left his family at his maternal relatives and moved out in desert alone.

He wandered there for a month. He finally reached lands where he fed himself on acacia. To survive on dates and on milk or on barest amounts of food was a quality Bedouins were used to.

A British traveller who visited Arabia in 1850 AD. (when there were no roads) narrates in his travelogue: "According to Bedouins one dies when one is bellyful and not with hunger. They say that a Bedouin remains healthy when he is hungry, but dies within a couple of years when he uses diverse foods in cities".

Abu ZarrR.A wandered in the deserts for several months fighting off thirst and hunger. In the peaceful starry and moonlit nights of the desert, he often indulged in deep thought trying to reach a decision. He then decided to go to Makkah. He stayed there for a month without letting anyone know of his lineage to the Ghaffar Clan. During these thirty days he heard about the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) calling people to Allah and his message against evil and idolatry. When he asked a passer-by about the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) house, the man looked at him in astonishment for a moment and then shouted, "O people, come here quick, capture and kill him. He is a Muslim".

The people who heard this call attacked him. He ran for his life but they pelted stones at him. He fell down. They left him for dead. When he gained consciousness he found himself blood-stained. When it was dark, two persons lifted him from there. Later he came to know that one of them was Abu BakrR.A who, with the help of another Muslim had carried him to safety. Afterwards it was learnt that Abu ZarrR.A was not a Muslim. He had come to meet the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

The next day he met the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) who asked him about his clan. He said that he belonged to the Ghaffar Clan. When he had come to Makkah, he had heard about the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and his Message. Hence he had decided to meet him so that he could follow Allah Almighty through the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) teachings.

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) asked him for how many days had he been at Makkah. Abu ZarrR.A replied, "The previous day has completed my thirty days of stay here". The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) then asked, whether he had any source of income. Abu ZarrR.A answered negatively. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) then asked what he had done for his sustenance. He answered that he fed himself on Zamzam (the water from the well - Zamzam) alone for thirty days. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) questioned again whether he had anything to eat during the entire period. Abu ZarrR.A replied, "Absolutely not".

Though the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) knew that Abu ZarrR.A was a bandit, yet he allowed him to embrace Islam. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was convinced that he had sought conversion honestly. Later on Abu ZarrR.A was among the leading Muslims who converted his whole tribe to Islam.

To quote Abu ZarrR.A’s example, on one hand, serves the purpose of showing that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) accepted people to Islam provided they really sought penance. On the other hand it shows the intense enmity of the Makkans against the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), who were ready to kill anyone who was a Muslim or would be Muslim.