On the Mount of Safa
When the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam saw the mission he had been entrusted with he knew
the difficulty ahead. As the last messenger he had to take the
light of Islam to the whole world. He had to proceed cautiously
and meticulously. The Makkans were respected as guardians of
the idols that were venerated by all the Arabs. It would have
been completely unwise for the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam
to attack the very den of idolatry as one man. For this reason
he first preached in complete privacy to his close friends and
those who he could trust. After three years of private preaching
Allah commanded him to announce Islam openly to the people.
"Therefore, proclaim openly
that which you are commanded and turn away from the idolators."
(Surah Al-Hijr, verse 94)
"And warn your tribe of near
kindred." (Surah Ash-Shuára, verse 214)
In obedience, the Prophet Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam ascended Mount Safah and called out "Yaa
Sabaahah". The Arabs knew these words well. It was
a call that was meant to summon them for facing a surprise attack
by the enemy. The alarming call drew all the Quraish quickly.
The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said to them:
"0 sons of Abdul Muttlib!
0 sons of Fihr! 0 sons of Kab! If I tell you that horsemen were
advancing to attack you from the other side of this hill, would
you believe me?" The Arabs knew the Prophet Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam to be honest. They unanimously replied, "Oh
yes, we would surely believe you." He then said to them,
"Well, I am a warner to you before a severe chastisement
overtakes you." Abu Lahab exclaimed in outrage, "May
you perish. Is it for this you have brought us here?" It
was on this occasion that Surah Lahab was revealed. (1)
here for a detailed commentary of Surah Lahab.
When the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam started speaking about Islam the Quraish began to oppose
him. They would not accept his message due to a number of reasons
1. Idol-worship had been the lifeblood
of the Arabs. Islam had come to give a death blow to this.
2. Their religiously based power and dominance over the people
would be crushed.
3. Their pleasures and sinful habits would have to stop and
they would have to follow the teachings of Allah and His Prophet
Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam.
4. Their unjust power over the weak and poor would come to an
5. The Arabs regarded wealth as the most important qualification
for leadership and Islam would strip them of the status they
enjoyed as a result of their wealth.
Abu Talib, the Prophet's Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam uncle, although a disbeliever, continued to
treat him kindly and defended him. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam continued preaching his faith. When the Quraish saw the
mission of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam spreading they
approached Abu Talib : "0 Abu Talib, we hold you in high
esteem. We asked you to restrain your nephew but you did nothing.
By Allah, we cannot any longer tolerate that our fathers be denounced
and our gods insulted. You must either stop him or we will fight
both of you, until one of us perishes."
The old man was in a difficult position.
He had to make a choice. He sent for his nephew and said, "Son
of my brother, your people came to me and threatened me with dire
consequences if you continue to preach your religion. Spare my
life and yours and do not impose on me a burden greater than I
The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam
answered, "0 my uncle, by Allah, if they were to place the
sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, and ask me to abandon
this course, I would not turn from it until Allah makes it victorious
or I perish therein."
Realising the situation, tears came
to the eyes of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Weepingly,
he got up to depart. But, Abu Talib could not look at his nephew's
sorrow. As he was about to leave Abu Talib called out to him,
"Come back, my nephew. Go where you please and say what you
will. I will never deliver you to your enemies." (2)
Once Utba, a leader of the Quraish,
approached the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam : "If you
desire wealth by your preaching, we will collect enough so that
you will be the richest of us. If you desire honour, we will make
you our leader and leave every decision to you. If you desire
kingship, we will make you our king. If you are possessed by a
ghost for which you have no remedy we will find a skilful physician
for you and see that your health is completely restored."
In reply the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam recited Surah Fussilat ending the recitation in prostration.
When Utba heard the verses he returned and explained to the Quraish
: "I have heard a discourse the like of which I have never
heard before. I swear to Allah, 0 Quraish, that it is neither
poetry, nor spells, nor witchcraft. Take my advice and leave this
man alone." (3)