The Prophet Muhammad: General Social Boycott

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Sunday, 18 April 2010

General Social Boycott

General Social Boycott


Four events of special significance occurred within less than four weeks — the conversion of Hamzah, the conversion of ‘Umar, Muhammad’s Pbuh refusal to negotiate any sort of compromise and then the pact drawn up between Banu Muttalib and Banu Hashim to immunize Muhammad Pbuh and shield him against any treacherous attempt to kill him. The polytheists were baffled and at a loss as to what course they would follow to rid themselves of this obstinate and relentless obstacle that had appeared to shatter to pieces their whole tradition of life. They had already been aware that if they killed Muhammad Pbuh their blood would surely flow profusely in the valleys of Makkah and they would certainly be exterminated. Taking this dreadful prospect into consideration, they grudgingly resorted to a different iniquitous course that would not imply murder.

A Pact of Injustice and Aggression:

The pagans of Makkah held a meeting in a place called Wadi Al-Muhassab, and formed a confederation hostile to both Bani Hashim and Bani Al-Muttalib. They decided not to have any business dealings with them nor any sort of inter-marriage.

Social relations, visits and even verbal contacts with Muhammad Pbuh and his supporters would discontinue until the Prophet Pbuh was given up to them to be killed.

The articles of their proclamation, which had provided for merciless measures against Bani Hashim, were committed to writing by an idolater, Bagheed bin ‘Amir bin Hashim and then suspended in Al-Ka‘bah.

The Prophet Pbuh invoked Allâh’s imprecations upon Bagheed, whose hand was later paralysed.[]

Abu Talib wisely and quietly took stock of the situation and decided to withdraw to a valley on the eastern outskirts of Makkah.

Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib, who followed suit, were thus confined within a narrow pass (Shi‘b of Abu Talib), from the beginning of Muharram, the seventh year of Muhammad’s mission till the tenth year, viz., a period of three years.

3 years in Abu Talib Shi‘b

It was a stifling siege. The supply of food was almost stopped and the people in confinement faced great hardships. The idolaters used to buy whatever food commodities entered Makkah lest they should leak to the people in Ash-Shi‘b, who were so overstrained that they had to eat leaves of trees and skins of animals. Cries of little children suffering from hunger used to be heard clearly. Nothing to eat reached them except, on few occasions, some meagre quantities of food were smuggled by some compassionate Makkans. During ‘the prohibited months’ — when hostilities traditionally ceased, they would leave their confinement and buy food coming from outside Makkah. Even then, the food stuff was unjustly overpriced so that their financial situation would fall short of finding access to it.

Hakeem bin Hizam was once on his way to smuggle some wheat to his aunt Khadijah ?- may Allah be pleased with her - when Abu Jahl intercepted and wanted to debar him. Only when Al-Bukhtari intervened, did Hakeem manage to reach his destination. Abu Talib was so much concerned about the personal safety of his nephew. Whenever people retired to sleep, he would ask the Prophet Pbuh to lie in his place, but when all the others fell asleep, he would order him to change his place and take another, all of which in an attempt to trick a potential assassin.

Despite all odds, Muhammad Pbuh persisted in his line and his determination and courage never weakened. He continued to go to Al-Ka‘bah and to pray publicly. He used every opportunity to preach to outsiders who visited Makkah for business or on pilgrimage during the sacred months and special seasons of assemblies.

This situation ultimately created dissension amongst the various Makkan factions, who were tied with the besieged people by blood relations.

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