Prophet Begins Call Too Islam
The Prophet, first of all, chose Ali (a.s.) to come to Islam(23). Ali was, at the time, a pure boy, unsullied by the practices of the pre-Islamic era. He was under the care of the Prophet (s.a.w.) who showed him with love and affection. Ali (a.s.) responded enthusiastically and his soul method in the new faith. The Prophet called his wife to Islam and she accepted it. This done, the first nucleus of the faithful community on earth took shape.
He proceeded with his call to Islam and his companions grew in number. They were 40 men, the majority of whom were young. These people were from different walks of society. Among them were the poor, the rich, the socially powerful and the downtrodden. First of all they would learn the Qur'an and the principles of the new faith. In the defiles, far away from the eyes of Quraish, they used to offer their prayers. The new convert, with the assistance of one of the old converts appointed by the Prophet (s.a.w.). would continue studying and comprehending the teachings of Islam.
THE HOUSE OF AL-ARQAM
As they grew in number, the Muslims feared lest their affair might be disclosed. As a precautionary measure, they made the house of al-Arqam al-Makhzumi a school and a meeting-place where they used gather to know more about Islam. There, they sat together learning the Qur'an, offering their prayers, contemplating the ayas and signs of Allah, examining the creation, gathering patience and fortitude and sublimating their wills to Allah and His Messenger.
CALLING THE RELATIVES
Three years passed before Allah ordered His Prophet (s.a.w.) to take advantage of the prevailing tribal atmosphere and call his relatives to Islam.
"And warn your nearest relations, And be kind to him who follows you of the believers, But if they disobey you, then say: Surely I am clear of what you do.."
Holy Qur'an (26:214-216)
The Prophet (s.a.w.) invited his relatives, numbering 40, to a feast. Before the Prophet could broach the subject to them, his uncle Abdul-Uzzah bin Abdul-Muttalib, also Abu-Lahab warned the Prophet (s.a.w.) from going on with the task of spreading the new faith. The invitation was a failure and the guests hastened to leave, and so the chance slipped out of the Prophet's hands. Once again, after the passage of many days, the Prophet (s.a.w.) invited his relatives to a feast. His guests being satisfied, he addressed them:
"O sons of Abdul-Muttalib, Allah has sent me, as His Messenger, to all people and particularly to you. He ordered me: 'And warn your nearest relations'. I invite you to accept two short sentences. They are easy on the tongue, but in the balance of action they are heavy and difficult. By them you will be the masters of the Arabs and non-Arabs. Nations will yield to you. Enter paradise and be saved from hell. They are the testimony of: There is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah. Whoever answers me and helps me in this affair and in carrying it on will be my brother, trustee helper, inheritor and the successor after me."
Murmuring rose from among the people. Abu-Lahab condemned and warned the Prophet (s.a.w.) from carrying out his mission. Abu Talib expressed his full support to the Prophet (s.a.w.) and said to him:
"Proceed with your task you are charged with. By Allah, I will protect you and prevent others from harming you."(24)
Ali, the youngest of all, come to his feet and said in a resonant voice:
"O Messenger of Allah, I will help you in this affair."
But the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered him to sit down.
The Prophet (s.a.w.) repeated, once again, his proposal, and no one except Ali responded. The third time when Ali answered the Prophet (s.a.w.), he said to him:
"Sit down. You are my brother, trustee, helper, inheritor, and the successor after me."(25)
The people stood up and, upon leaving they said to Abu Talib mockingly:
"Today, be happy at entering your nephew's religion. He made your son a commander over you!"(26)
PUBLIC CALL TO ISLAM
The Prophet (s.a.w.) called all of the Qurayash to Islam, in obedience to Allah' s order:
"Therefore declare openly what you are bidden and turn aside from the polytheists..."
He ascended the mountain of al-Safa and called out "It is daybreak! it is daybreak!" That was the custom of the Arabs when there was something critical to discuss together. The Quraysh gathered around him asking in wonder, "What is it?" "If I were to tell you, the Prophet (s.a.w.) asked them, that horsemen were descending from the mountains to attack you, in the morning or in the evening, would you not believe me?"
"We do," they replied.
"Then," he said to them, "I should warn you of the terrible punishment that lies in wait for you. O son of Abdul-Muttalib, O son of Abd-Manaf, O son of Zahrah...Deliver yourselves from the fire of hell. I can do nothing for you if you disobey to attack his home and people, so he hasten towards warning them."
"Shame on you!," Abu-Lahab interrupted him, "Was it for this you invited us?"
And so Allah, the Most Blessed and High, revealed to His Prophet the following chapter (surah):
"Perdition overtake both hands of the Abu Lahab, and he will perish. His health and what he earns will no avail him. He shall soon burn in fire that flames, And his wife, the bearer of fuel, Upon her neck a halter of strongly twisted rope."
Holy Qur'an (111:1-5)
This attempt was not in vain, for a number of the Quraishis entered Islam under the banner of "There is no god but Allah." Furthermore, the news of the faith forced itself into every house. This statement made by the Prophet (s.a.w.) was, indeed, to usher in a new era of bitter struggle between the new faith and the wounded pride of the pre-Islamic Arabs.