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The Makkans had tried many times to conquer the Muslims and force them to reject Islam. The Makkans wanted Islam to be eradicated from their society. In the past, the Makkans had been unsuccessful in all their attempts to finish Islam and but they remained hopeful. The Muslims always remained steadfast to Islam and would not behave badly nor fight with the Makkans. The Makkans on the other hand treated the Muslims badly and were very unjust towards them.

Abu Talib supported his nephew and gave him protection from the Makkans. The Makkans knew that if they harmed Muhammad (pbuh), they would need to face Abu Talib and his family (Bani Hashim). The Makkans tried many times to apply pressure on Abu Talib hoping he would remove his protection of Muhammad (pbuh). Every time they tried this tactic, Abu Talib rejected their offer and remained faithful to his nephew.

They also tried to tackle the ‘problem’ by approaching Muhammad (pbuh) directly. In one such incident, they tried to make a deal with Muhammad (pbuh) so that they could compromise in idol worship. The Makkans proposed that everyone should worship Allah one year and the following year everyone should worship the idols. The Makkans didn’t truly understand the concept of Tawheed – the belief in the one Supreme, all powerful creator. Their proposal went against the basics of all true religions. The fact that there is only one God can never be compromised. Surah Kafiroon was revealed which explicitly told the Makkans this. The prophet (pbuh) rejected their proposal and would not compromise the first pillar of Islam.

Once Utbah bin Rabi'a was in a meeting with the Makkans and they decided that Utbah should reason with Muhammad (pbuh). Utbah was a good talker and they thought that he would be able to win Muhammad (pbuh) over. Utbah left the meeting and went to speak to Muhammad (pbuh) whilst the Makkans eagerly awaited his return. They were hopeful that Utbah could persuade Muhammad (pbuh) to leave Islam.

Utbah spoke to Muhammad (pbuh) about the effect the new religion was having on the Makkan society. Utbah said that families were getting divided with some members of the family accepting Islam and others rejecting it. Utbah said Muhammad’s message was against idol worship that meant everyone who worshipped idols was wrong. He said the Makkans would never accept their forefathers as being wrong! He insisted that the only way these problems in the Makkan society could be resolved is if Muhammad stopped preaching Islam!

After speaking for a while, he put forward three offers which had the condition that Muhammad (pbuh) must stop preaching Islam. If Muhammad (pbuh) wanted wealth, the Makkans were prepared to make Muhammad (pbuh) the richest man in all Makkah. If Muhammad (pbuh) wanted power then they would make him their king and would obey his commands. If Muhammad (pbuh) was possessed by a jinn then they would spend all their wealth to cure him. All he had to do in return was stop preaching Islam!

as a reply, Muhammad (pbuh) recited some verses of the Qu'ran and Utbah listened to him with great interest. After hearing the reply he left the company of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and went to the waiting Makkans. When the Makkans saw Utbah's face, they were sure something important had been achieved. Utbah told them about his conversation with Muhammad (pbuh) and told them that the best advice was to leave Muhammad (pbuh) alone.

He said that from his words and actions, Muhammad (pbuh) was neither a liar nor possessed by a Jinn. He advised that if the Makkans were not prepared to follow Muhammad (pbuh) then they should leave him alone. If Muhammad (pbuh) fails in his mission then the rest of the Arabs would kill Muhammad (pbuh). This would save the Makkans any problems with Abu Talib and would prevent bloodshed in Makkah. However, if Muhammad (pbuh) succeeds in his mission then the Makkans would also be able to enjoy and share this success and power.

The Makkans were annoyed with Utbah and expressed their disappointment. They had hoped that Utbah would have been able to bribe Muhammad (pbuh) so that he would no longer preach Islam. They disregarded all the advice Utbah had given and decided that they would speak to Muhammad (pbuh) on their own.

Later the Makkans met the prophet (pbuh) and made similar proposals. The Prophet (pbuh) rejected all their offers saying that he was just a messenger and the Makkans can only be successful if they accepted the message. The Makkans then taunted the prophet (pbuh) and asked him to perform miracles like move mountains, flatten the city of Makkah or make an angel appear so that they could question it personally.

Muhammad (pbuh) explained to them that he did not have power to do these things and that he was simply a messenger. If Allah wanted to do these things then it is entirely up to Allah. The Makkans then argued more with the prophet (pbuh) and spoke to him in unkind words. The Makkans and Muhammad (pbuh) then parted company.

As the Makkans sat down and talked about the discussion with the Prophet (pbuh), Abu Jahl said that he would finish it once and for all. He would take a heavy rock and throw it on the prophet (pbuh) when he was in sajdah. This way Muhammad (pbuh) would be no more and the message would also die out.

Abu Jahl decided to put his plan into action. He took a big rock and waited for the prophet (pbuh). When the prophet (pbuh) came and was in sajdah, Abu Jahl approached him with the big rock. Suddenly, Abu Jahl dropped the rock he was carrying and ran away as if running away from a fierce animal. They later asked him about this incident. He told them that he had seen a fierce male camel charging towards him as if it was going to eat him.

The Makkans were not sure about what they should do. They decided that maybe it would be a better idea if they went and spoke to the Jews. The Jews also believed in one Allah and maybe they could help them overcome the Muslims. The Makkans travelled to Yathrib (Madina) where there was quite a large Jewish community.

The Jews had travelled and settled in Yathrib because their books told them a prophet (pbuh) would come to this area. The description of the prophet (pbuh) and the place he was coming to was clearly told in their books. They knew that the prophet (pbuh) would succeed against his enemies and the truth would prevail over falsehood. The Jews thought that they would join the prophet (pbuh) and would over come the rest of the Arabs.

The Jews were quite interested in the events in Makkah. They had heard about this man Muhammad (pbuh) who claimed to be a prophet. They were not sure if he was a prophet but were following the developments closely. However, the Jews had assumed that the prophet would be from the Jews and not from the Arabs. The Bible had actually told the Jews the prophet would be from their cousins who are actually the Arabs. Both the Jews and the Arabs are decedents of Prophet Ibrahim (as) - one through Ismael and one through Ishaq.

The Makkans travelled to Yathrib and spoke to the Jewish learned scholars. The Jews told them that they should go and ask the prophet about three things. After they had got the answers from Muhammad (pbuh) they should come back to them. Only a true prophet would be able to answer these questions properly. These three questions were about the story of the youths who left their people (people of the caves); about the great traveller who travelled to the edges of the earth (Dhu l-Qarnayn) and about the soul.

The Makkans returned to Makkah and went to ask these three questions to the Prophet (pbuh). Whenever an incident or question came, Allah would send down revelation that would answer that particular question or problem. These answers came in the form of verses or Surahs that are always true revelation. The prophet (pbuh) told the Makkans that he would give them the answer tomorrow. The prophet (pbuh) thought that Allah would send him the revelation soon and he could give the answer the next day.

The next day came and the revelation had not come. The prophet was surprised and again told the Makkans to return the following day. The Prophet (pbuh) was waiting for the revelation to come down with the answers. This continued for a few days and everyone got worried. The Makkans started to laugh and joke at the prophet (pbuh) because the revelation had not come. They thought he did not know the answers and they had finally caught him out.

Finally, the revelation came down and answered the three questions. Not only did it answer the questions it gave a lot more information which proved that Islam was the truth. The Makkans then went and told them Rabbis who confirmed that these answers were true and only a prophet could know this information.

The Makkans that were laughing and joking at Muhammad (pbuh) now remained quiet. The people that did not believe in Muhammad (pbuh) were now assured that he was a true prophet. The Muslims who did not have any doubt in the Qu'ran and the Prophet (pbuh) were pleased with the whole outcome.

The reason that Allah had not granted the revelation straight away was because Muhammad (pbuh) said that the revelation would come the next day but did not say the word ‘inshallah’. This was a valuable lesson to all the Muslims. Whenever we do something we should always say Inshallah, which means if Allah wills.

This was also proof for the people that Muhammad (pbuh) did not make things up or spoke his own opinion. He would have answered the questions himself and not waited for revelation to come down. The Makkans knew that Muhammad (pbuh) was a prophet, only a prophet could answer these questions. The Jews also knew that there was a prophet in Makkah because the Makkans had come back with answers that only a prophet could give.

In Yathrib, the word had reached the Jews that there was a prophet in Makkah who had just passed their test. The Jews would warn the Arabs in Yathrib saying “Wait till the prophet comes he will sort you out!” The Jews and Arabs would have problems with each other and there would be many arguments and fights. The two main Arab tribes were the Aws and Khazraj who would often fight amongst themselves.

This incident marked the last of the negotiation and a new phase was ready to begin. The Makkans knew that now was the time to take more direct action against the Muslims, the Makkans that supported them and the Bani Hashim and Bani Al-Mutallib. This action was also directed against the elderly Abu Talib who had protected the prophet (pbuh). The Makkans would fall to new levels of barbarism and injustice to stop the spread of Islam.

That’s for next week, inshallah.