The Young Generation Welcomed Islamic Teachings

When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) gave a call for embracing Islam in the great historical city of Mecca those who readily and positively responded belonged to the young and youthful generation. A majority of them had come from the tribe of Quraish. This group had intensely felt their backwardness in comparison with other tribes. They were fed up with Meccan idol-worship and superstitious rituals. So as soon as they heard the sweet call from the mouth of Mecca ’s most popular gentleman, Muhammad ibn Abdullah asking people to give up idol-worship and superstitions based on ignorance they were the first to come forward and embrace Islam and also decided to suffer every difficulty that could arise in their path.

Summary: The Holy Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.s.) had put forth his ideas in such a nice and attractive manner, which was both comprehensive and eloquent that it proved extremely effective and impressive. His words appealed directly the hearts of the people and made them readily responsive.

Consequently, those elite and high-class Meccan families, whose youth, both male and female, had left their elders and flocked around the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) became very anxious and fearful about the future and they began to stop their gatherings.

One of them said, “O Muhammad! You have brought an unprecedented calamity to us. You are sharply criticizing our elders for their ancient beliefs and mocking our religion and culture. You are using indecent words for our gods and misleading our youth, thus creating a rift in our families and disunity in the society. If the aim of your mission is wealth and property, we promise to give you so much money that you will become the richest man among us. If your intention is to gain name and fame, we are prepared to give you utmost honor and to make you the most respected person in the society. If you want to become a king, we will make you our ruler and if you are fond of the most beautiful woman in Mecca, just mention it and we will give you dozens of damsels, but the only condition is that you should stop talking ill of our gods.”

In reply, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “I do not require any wealth, name, fame or kingdom. My God has sent me to guide you to the true and straight path. He has revealed the Divine Book, Quran to me and commanded me to give you good tidings of His Mercy and Kindness and to stop you from disobeying Him. My duty is to propagate among you what He has sent through me for you. If you will accept it (Islam) you will get the good of both this world and the

Hereafter. But if you oppose me I will also confront you until I see what God wants.” [1]

After this event, relations between the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the idol-worshippers of Mecca were cut off and the latter began to harm the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his sincere companions in every way and planned many conspiracies. They began to oppress even their own daughters and sisters extremely. But what is all the more noteworthy and important is that the more force they applied the more the youthful and enthusiastic generation became firm in their conviction and became devoted to the heavenly teachings of the Holy Quran. More and more youths from Quraish joined the supporters of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and became so much devoted that they rooted out all ancient ignorant beliefs of their forefathers from their hearts and readied themselves to bear every difficulty for the sake of truth and justice.

In this way, confronting oppression unhesitatingly was the wonderful feat in the history of Islam, which has no parallel.

When the elders of Quraish did not succeed in their talks with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) they began to stall the path of the Holy Prophet’s youthful companions and to give every possible trouble to them. Some imprisoned their own sons to prevent them from meeting the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). They chained them and kept them in dark rooms for long periods.

[1] Sirat, Ibn Hisham, Vol. 1, Pg. 191 and SiratHalabiyyah, Vol. 1, Pg. 488

Abu Jahl who was considered the most wealthy and clever amongst Quraish, whenever he heard that a youth from his tribe joined the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), he used to say humiliatingly, “You have left the religion of your forefathers, which was better than what Muhammad has brought! Now just wait and see how I tear apart your youthfulness and how I destroy your new faith and belief. I will dishonor you in public.” To those men of age (elder ones) who embraced Islam, Abu Jahl said, “Very soon I will finish your trade and business and confiscate your wealth and property.” If a somewhat weaker man embraced Islam, Abu Jahl slapped him, whipped him and gave him every possible trouble.[1]

One of such weak and powerless persons was a black slave named Bilal. He had become a Muslim and started to act in accordance with Islamic teachings steadfastly. Consequently a fellow named Umayyah ibn Khalaf used to drag Bilal out of his house in scorching heat of midday, take him out of the city and force him to lie down on red-hot sand. Then he put a heavy stone on his chest telling him, “This stone will not be removed until either you die or revert to our religion and begin to worship the idols of Lat and Uzza.” But, what faith! Bilal would cry ‘Ahad’ ‘Ahad’ meaning ‘my God is the Only One God.’

Waraqa ibn Naufal was the uncle of Lady Khadijah and a leading personality of Quraish. Whenever he saw Bilal being tortured in a cruel manner and observed Bilal’s steadfastness, he would also cry out ‘Ahad’ ‘Ahad’.

[1] Sirat, Ibn Hisham, Vol. 1, Pg. 212

Among these youths was also a young man named Ammar Yasir. He also bore a lot of torture meted out to him by the Meccan idol-worshippers. They used to manhandle and chastise him in the worst ways. Some people belonging to Abu Jahl’s tribe Bani Makhzoom used to drag Ammar, his father, Yasir and his honorable mother Sumaiyah out of their homes and take them out of the town to burn their faces with hot sand at noon. Whenever the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) passed by them he would console them saying: O family members of Yasir, be patient. Your abode is Paradise.

Yasir and Sumaiyah were martyred as a result of such torture but Ammar survived. Abu Jahl was the one who stuck his spear in the chest of Yasir’s mother and she became the first female martyr of Islam.

One day some people belonging to the tribe of Bani Makhzoom gathered and met their tribal chief, Hisham ibn Walid ibn Mughaira and said, “We intend to punish those youths who have created trouble among us by accepting a new faith. We want to finish them soon and nip the trouble in the bud before they mislead others and the affair becomes uncontrollable.” Incidentally, Hisham’s brother, Walid was also among the youth who had embraced Islam recently. He said, “Punish my brother also. It is essential to punish him. But see that his life is not put in danger.”

When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) saw that living in Mecca had become extremely difficult and hazardous for new Muslims, he advised some of them to migrate towards the Red Sea and enter Abyssinia , as the just king of that place did not oppress anyone.

According to the famous historian, Ibn Hisham, the caravan, which thus left Mecca and migrated to Abyssinia comprised of eighty-three men in addition to women and children. Leaving Mecca in the darkness of the night they stealthily reached the seashore and taking a boat reached Abyssinia . Then they went to the capital to live in peace.

What is interesting is that in that caravan there also were some ladies and gentlemen who were related to the nobles of Medina like Abu Huzaifah the son of Utba’ ibn Rabeeah. Utbah was the brother of Abu Sufyan’s wife Hind (who chewed the liver of Hamzah). There also was Sahlah, Abu Huzaifah’s wife and the daughter of Suhail ibn Umar, the man who was the deputy of the Quraish at the time of negotiating the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. (Remember that Utbah was killed by Ali in the Battle of Badr.)

Another name is that of Umme Salma, the daughter of Umayyah Ibn Mughaira Makhzoomi, a cousin of Abu Jahl. With her also was her husband Abi Salma ibn Abdul Asad, after whose demise she married the Prophet. Yet another famous name is that of Zubair ibn Awam, the son of the Prophet’s uncle and Khadijah’s sister. He migrated to Abyssinia at a very young age.

About him historians say that he was instigated by Talha to assist Ayesha in the Battle of Camel and was killed in it. Another well-known face is that of Ammar ibn Yasir whose family was not considered of any worth among Meccan nobles. Yet another distinguished name is of Musab ibn Umair who belonged to the family of Bani Abdud Daar. Most of the people of this tribe were dead against the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). He had fought the enemy’s front line in

the Battle of Badr. Many of his relatives were killed at the hands of Ali (a.s). Musab was quite young at the time of migrating to Abyssinia . He also was very handsome and good-looking.

Another name, oft repeated in history, is that of Umme Habiba who was in the caravan, which migrated to Abyssinia . She was the daughter of Bani Umaiyyah’s greatest figure, Abu Sufyan. She migrated to Abyssinia with her husband Ubaidullah ibn Jahash. History testifies that Abu Sufyan was the greatest enemy of Islam but his daughter embraced Islam along with her husband and therefore she migrated leaving her parents, relatives, town and motherland.

Her husband, Ubaidullah ibn Jahash was a strong and a handsome man and his youth was worth admiring. He met Negus, the King of Abyssinia several times. A woman who used to be present in the royal court at such times came into contact with him and expressed her love for him. Finally this new Muslim (Ubaidullah) embraced Christianity to marry that woman. This behavior of the husband of a lady (Umme Habiba) who was the daughter of a man like Abu Sufyan was a very big hindrance in the path of Islamic propagation. It could have resulted in a very serious harm for the faithful and this feeling of shame had put Umme Habiba in an extremely unbearable and awkward situation.

On the other hand when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) learnt of this ugly event he sent a letter to Negus, the just and gentle King of Abyssinia:

You are my representative in marriage contract. So please, read out the announcement of my marriage to Umme Habiba at a Dower of 400 gold coins.

This was the highest amount of Dower fixed by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) for his marriage. By this great deed, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) protected all the Muslims in Abyssinia , who were likely to be hit by deviation from the true path and raised the head of a self-sacrificing lady who suffered so much for the cause of Islam. On the other hand he disgraced Abu Sufyan by marrying his daughter. Now, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was the son-in-law of the greatest enemy of Islam. Later this honorable lady returned to Medina and entered the house of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as his respectful wife. Her former husband, after passing a few youthful days in apostasy passed away from this world.

A name, which dazzles in the history of Islam, is that of Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib. As he was the leader of the caravan of migration to Abyssinia , who had done exemplary work, it is necessary to set aside a chapter to briefly describe his life.