Arabia was submerged and engulfed by the violent and unwise practices of its people. The birth of the prophet in the “Times of Ignorance” was a sign of Allah’s mercy upon mankind. He had chosen yet once again to guide His people towards the right path through His messenger peace be upon him. The prophet peace be upon him belonged to one of the most famous tribes in Arabia. He was an orphan since his birth. His mother died when he turned six. After the tragic death of his grandfather too, Abu Talib, his uncle took him in his custody. The Prophet was an illiterate man and worked as a shepherd in his youth. After receiving the divine revelation, the Prophet [Peace be upon him] started to preach the message of Islam to his close family and friends. Khadijah, Abu Bakr, Ali, Zaid [May Allah be pleased with them all] were amongst the first ones to embrace Islam. The Quraysh couldn’t tolerate the principles of Islam as it condemned acts of violence, corruption, and idol worship. As a result they started persecuting the newly converted Muslims.
Open preaching of the prophet peace be upon him had the Quraysh annoyed. They could not bear a word against their gods. The prophet was under the protection of Abu Talib, his uncle and the head of Bani Hashim. Arabs belonging to prestigious tribes enjoyed protection through their tribes in the pre islamic era. As a result, the people of Quraysh were not able to harm the Prophet peace be upon him. They decided to talk to Abu Talib about the developing situation. A delegation led by Quraysh came to Abu Talib and said: “O Abu Talib, you are one of our elders and you have a high and lofty position among us, and we have asked you to put a stop to your nephew’s activities but you have not done so. By Allah, we cannot endure that our fathers should be reviled, our reason denigrated and our gods insulted until you make him stop doing that to us, or else we will fight the pair of you until one side perishes.”
Seerat Ibn Hishaam, p. 240
The people of Quraysh rejected the message of Islam because it opposed the ideology of their ancestors. Had the people kept thinking the same way, there would be no place for great leaders, thinkers, scholars, and inventors in their society. The prophet peace be upon him wanted them to open up their minds and think in a rational way. By “insulting their gods” they meant Islam’s rejection of the worship of idols.
Abu Talib understood the graveness of the situation and called upon the prophet to talk to him. He told the prophet peace be upon him about the threat to their clan if he continues to preach openly. He also asked him not to burden himself and his uncle with what he could not bear. Upon hearing this the prophet peace be upon him answered: “O uncle, by Allah, if they were to put the Sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, on condition that I abandon this course, until Allah makes it victorious or I perish there in, I would not abandon it.”
The prophet of Allah thought that Abu Talib would abandon him. On the other hand, Abu Talib understood that the prophet peace be upon him would not give up his mission on account of any threat or harm. He called the prophet peace be upon him and said: “Go, O my nephew, and say what you please, for by Allah I will never give you up on any account.”
Thus, the prophet kept preaching openly.
Al-Haamidi, M. 2008. Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for the Global Village. Darussalam.