The early converts to Islam were severely persecuted and tortured by the Quraysh. They were small in number and unable to defend themselves. During these harsh times, they needed support of the strong ruling class of Quraysh. This happened as Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib (uncle of the prophet) and Umar bin Khattab converted to Islam.
Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib
Hamza (May Allah be pleased with him) converted to Islam during the sixth year of prophet hood. One day the prophet peace be upon him was sitting on mount Safa and Abu Jahal (a prominent leader of the Quraysh) happened to pass by. He abused the religion that the prophet peace be upon him was preaching and struck him with a stone due to which his head started bleeding. Abu Jahal went on to join the Quraishites in their meeting place. Hamza (May Allah be pleased with him) was returning from a hunting expedition and took the same way. He was informed of the whole through the slave girl of Abdullah Bin Jadan. He couldn’t stand the rudeness of Abu Jahal towards his nephew and went to the meeting place of the Quraishites immediately. He struck Abu Jahal with his bow saying
Ah! You have been abusing Mohammad; I too follow his religion and profess what he preaches.
He claimed to follow the religion of Mohammad peace be upon him although he was upon the religion of his forefathers. Later on, when his anger subsided, he managed to grasp the situation and finally became a Muslim. He conversion was a great source of strength to the early converts. He was a very strong and courageous man. No on among the Quraishites dared to stand against him.
Umar Bin Alkhattab
Umar bin Alkhattab was a bitter enemy of Islam until the sixth year of prophet hood. He was a bold and determined man. He was feared among the Arabs due to strong battle skills. The prophet peace be upon him is reported to have said:
اللهم أعز الاسلام بأحب الرجلين إليك : بعمر بن الخطاب أو بأبي جهل بن هشام
O Allah! Give strength to Islam especially through either of two men you love more: Umar bin Alkhattab or Abu Jahal bin Hisham
One day Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) headed out to the Ka’abah where he saw the prophet peace be upon him praying. He heard the prophet peace be upon him reciting Surah Alhaqqa ( Chapter:69, The Reality)
He said to himself:
By Allah! This is poetry as the Quraysh have said.
Then the prophet peace be upon him recited:
إنه لقول رسول كريم وما هو بقول شاعر قليلا ما تؤمنون
This is verily the word of an honored Messenger ( Jibreel or Prophet peace be upon him) It is not the word of a poet, little is that you believe! (69: 40-41)
So he said to himself, “He is a soothsayer.”
The prophet peace be upon him then recited:
ولا بقول كاهن قليلا ما تذكرون تنزيل من رب العالمين
Nor is it the word of a soothsayer (or a fore teller), little is that you remember! This is the revelation sent down from the Lord of the worlds. (69: 42-43)
Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “Then Islam came into my heart.”
His conversion is narrated in ‘Tarikh Umar bin Alkhattab’ as follows:
His sharp temper and excessive enmity towards the Prophet led him one day to leave his house, sword in hand, with the intention of killing the Prophet . He was in a fit of anger and was fretting and fuming. Nu‘aim bin ‘Abdullah, a friend of ‘Umar’s, met him accidentally half way. What had caused so much excitement in him and on whom was the fury to burst, he inquired casually. ‘Umar said furiously: “To destroy the man Muhammad () this apostate, who has shattered the unity of Quraish, picked holes in their religion, found folly with their wise men and blasphemed their gods.” “‘Umar, I am sure, your soul has deceived you, do you think that Banu ‘Abd Munaf would let you walk on earth if you slain Muhammad Why don’t you take care of your own family first and set them right?”
“Which of the folk of my house?” asked ‘Umar angrily. “Your brother-in-law and your sister have apostatized and abandoned your religion.”
‘Umar directed his footsteps to his sister’s house. As he drew near, he heard the voice of Khabbab bin Aratt, who was reading the Qur’ânic Chapter Tâ-Hâ (mystic letters, T. H.) to both of them. Khabbab, perceiving the noise of his footsteps retired to a closet. Fatimah, ‘Umar’s sister, took hold of the leaf and hid it. But ‘Umar had already heard the voice. “What sound was that I have heard just now?” shouted the son of Khattab, entering angrily. Both his sister and her husband replied, “You heard nothing.” “Nay,” said he swearing fiercely, “I have heard that you have apostatized.” He plunged forward towards his brother-in-law and beat him severely, but Fatimah rushed to the rescue of her husband. Thereupon, ‘Umar fell upon his sister and struck upon her head. The husband and wife could not contain themselves and cried aloud: “Yes, we are Muslims, we believe in Allâh and His Messenger Muhammad so do what you will.” When ‘Umar saw the face of his dear sister smeared with blood, he was softened and said: “Let me see what you were reading, so that I may see what Muhammad has brought.” Fatima was satisfied with the assurance, but said: “O brother, you are unclean on account of your idolatry, none but the pure may touch it. So go and wash first.” He did so, and took the page and read the opening verses of the Chapter Tâ-Hâ until he reached:
“Verily! I am Allâh! Lâ ilâha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I), so worship Me and offer prayers perfectly(Iqâmat-as-Salât), for My Remembrance.” [20:14].
‘Umar read the verses with great interest and was much entranced with them. “How excellent it is, and how graceful! Please guide me to Muhammad .” said he. And when he heard that, Khabbab came out of concealment and said, “O ‘Umar, I hope that Allâh has answered the prayer of the Prophet , for I heard him say: ‘O Allâh! Strengthen Islam through either ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab or Abu Jahl bin Hisham.’” ‘Umar then left for a house in Safa where Muhammad had been holding secret meetings along with his Companions. ‘Umar reached that place with the sword swinging by his arm. He knocked at the door. The Companions of the Prophet turned to see who the intruder was. One of them peeped through a chink in the door and reeled back exclaiming: “It is ‘Umar with his sword.” Hamza, dispelling the fears of his friends, said: “Let him in. As a friend he is welcome. As a foe, he will have his head cut off with his own sword.” The Prophet asked his Companions to open the door. In came the son of Khattab. The Prophet advanced to receive the dreadful visitor, caught him by his garment and scabbard, and asked him the reason of his visit. At that ‘Umar replied: “O Messenger of Allah, I come to you in order to believe in Allah and his Messenger and that which he has brought from his Lord.” Filled with delight, Muhammad together with his Companions, cried aloud: ‘Allah Akbar’ (Allah is Great).