Page 55 - Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum

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Four events of special significance occurred within less than four weeks — the conversion of
Hamzah, the conversion of ‘Umar, Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) refusal to negotiate any sort
of compromise and then the pact drawn up between Banu Muttalib and Banu Hashim to immunize
Muhammad (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him) theblood 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.
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 (Peace be upon him) and his supporters would discontinue until the
Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be
upon him) 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. 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
(Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him) 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. After three years of blockade and in Muharram, the
tenth year of Muhammad’s mission, the pact was broken. Hisham bin ‘Amr, who used to smuggle
some food to Bani Hashim secretly at night, went to see Zuhair bin Abi Omaiyah Al-Makhzoumy and
reproached him for resigning to that intolerable treatment meted out to his uncles in exile. The
latter pleaded impotence, but agreed to work with Hisham and form a pressure group that would
secure the extrication of the exiles. On the ground of motivation by uterine relations, there emerged
a group of five people who set out to abrogate the pact and declare all relevant clauses null and
void. They were Hisham bin ‘Amr, Zuhair bin Abi Omaiya, Al-Mut‘im bin ‘Adi, Abu Al-Bukhtari and
Zam‘a bin Al-Aswad. They decided to meet in their assembly place and start their self-charged
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