The Quraysh were originally a fierce enemy of the Prophet but after the introduction of Islam, the Quraysh gained supremacy and produced the three dynasties of the Ummayad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate and the Fatimid Caliphate.
First migration to Ethiopia
The series of persecutions, including the murder of Sumayyah, started late in the fourth year of Prophethood (around 614), slowly at first, but steadily accelerated and worsened day by day and month by month. The situation got so extremely grave and intolerable by middle of the fifth year, that the Muslims began to seriously think of feasible ways to avert the painful tortures meted out to them.
His Companions were on equal footing subjected to unspeakable torture and unbearable oppression to such an extent that his closest friend, Abu Bakr fled out of Makkah and wanted to leave for Abyssinia (Ethiopia), only for Ibn Ad-Daghanah to persuade him otherwise, and bring him back under his protection. [Bukhari 1/552; Ibn Hisham 1/372]
Surahs Al-Kahf and Az-Zumar provide solution to aggression
It was at that gloomy and desperate time that Surah Al-Kahf (Chapter 18 — The Cave) was revealed comprising definite answers to the questions with which the polytheists of Makkah constantly pestered the Prophet [pbuh] . It comprises three stories that include highly suggestive parables for the true believers to assimilate.
(The young men said to one another): "And when you withdraw from them, and that which they worship, except All? , then seek refuge in the Cave, your Lord will open a way for you from His Mercy and will make easy for you your affair (i.e. will give you what you will need of provision, dwelling, etc.)
Surah 18 Al-Kahf (The Cave), ayat 16
The story of the Companions of the Cave implies implicit guidance for the believers to evacuate the hot spots of disbelief and aggression pregnant with the peril of enticement away from the true religion
Next, there is the story of Al-Khidr (The Teacher of Arabia) and Moses [AWS] in a clear and delicate reference to the vicissitudes of life. Future circumstances of life are not necessarily the products of the prevalent conditions, they might be categorically the opposite. In other words, the war waged against the Muslims would in the future assume a different turn, and the tyrannous oppressors would one day come to suffer and be subjected to the same tortures to which the Muslims were then put.
Furthermore, there is the story of Dhul-Qarnain (The Two Horned One), the powerful ruler of west and east. This story says explicitly that Allah takes His righteous servants to inherit the earth and whatever in it. It also speaks that Allah raises a righteous man every now and then to protect the weak against the strong.
Surah ah Az-Zumar (Chapter 39 — The Crowds) was then revealed pointing directly to migration and stating that the earth is spacious enough and the believers must not consider themselves constrained by the forces of tyranny and evil:
Good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world, and Allah ’s earth is spacious (so if you cannot worship Allah at a place, then go to another)! Only those who are patient shall receive their rewards in full without reckoning.
Surah 39 Az-Zumar (The Groups), ayat 10
Ethiopia provides sanctuary for first Muslim migrators
The Prophet [pbuh] had already known that Christian Ethiopian Negus (King), Aṣḥama ibn Abjar of the Aksumite Empire, was a fair ruler who would not wrong any of his people, so he permitted some of his followers to seek asylum there in Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
In Rajab of the fifth year of Prophethood (around 615), a group of twelve men and four women left for Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Among the emigrants were ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan and his wife Ruqaiyah (the daughter of the Prophet [pbuh]). With respect to these two emigrants, the Prophet [pbuh] said: "They are the first people to migrate in the cause of Allah after Abraham and Lot [AWS]."
They sneaked out of Makkah under the heavy curtain of a dark night and headed for the sea where two boats happened to be sailing for Abyssinia, their destination. News of their intended departure reached the ears of Quraish, so some men were despatched in their pursuit, but the believers had already left Shuaibah Port towards their secure haven where they were received warmly and accorded due hospitality.
Veils removed temporarily from the pagan's heart
In Ramadan of the same year, the Prophet [pbuh] went into the Holy Sanctuary where there was a large host of Quraish polytheists, including some notables and celebrities. Suddenly he began reciting Surah ah An-Najm (Chapter 41 — The Star). The awe- inspiring Words of Allah descended unawares upon them and they immediately got stunned by them. It was the first time for them to be shocked by the truthful Revelation. It had formerly been the favourite trick of those people who wished to dishonour Revelation, not only not to listen to it themselves but also to talk loudly and insolently when it was being read, so that even the true listeners may not be able to hear. They used to think that they were drowning the Voice of Allah ; in fact, they were piling up misery for themselves, for Allah’s Voice can never be silenced.
And those who disbelieve say: "Listen not to this Qur’an, and make noise in the midst of its (recitation) that you may overcome.
Surah 41 Fussilat (Explained in detail), ayat 26
When the unspeakably fascinating Words of All? came into direct contact with their hearts, they were entranced and got oblivious of the materialistic world around them and were caught in a state of full attentiveness to the Divine Words to such an extent that when the Prophet [pbuh] reached the stormy heart-beating ending:
So fall you down in prostration to Allah and worship Him (Alone).
Surah 53 An-Najm (The Star), ayat 62
The idolaters, unconsciously and with full compliance, prostrated themselves in absolute god-fearing and stainless devotion. It was in fact the wonderful moment of the Truth that cleaved through the obdurate souls of the haughty and the attitude of the scoffers. They stood aghast when they perceived that All? ’s Words had conquered their hearts and done the same thing that they had been trying hard to annihilate and exterminate.
Their fellow pagans who had not been present on the scene reproached and blamed them severely. To hide their temporary lapse into truthhood, the prostrators began to fabricate more lies against the Prophet, alleging that he tricked them into believing that the gods would provide divine intercession for them. Of course, this foolish and slanderous behaviour was in line with their life practice of telling lies and plot hatching.
News of this incident was misreported to the Muslim emigrants in Abyssinia (Ethiopia). They were informed that the whole of Quraish had embraced Islam so they made their way back home. They arrived in Makkah in Shawwal of the same year. When they were only an hour’s travel from Makkah, the reality of the situation was discovered. Some of them returned to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), others sneaked secretly into the city or went in publicly but under the tutelage of a local notable.
Second migration to Ethiopia
However, due to the news that transpired to the Makkans about the good hospitality and warm welcome that the Muslims were accorded in Abyssinia (Ethiopia), the polytheists got terribly indignant and started to mete out severer and more horrible maltreatment and tortures to the Muslims. Thereupon the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] deemed it imperative to permit the helpless creatures to seek asylum in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) for the second time.
Migration this time was not as easy as it was the previous time, for Quraish was on the alert to the least suspicious moves of the Muslims. In due course, however, the Muslims managed their affairs too fast for the Quraishites to thwart their attempt of escape. The group of emigrants this time comprised eighty three men and nineteen or, in some versions, eighteen women.
Envoy sent to return 'unfaithful' Muslims from Ethiopian king Negus
The Quraish could not tolerate the prospect of a secure haven available for the Muslims in Abyssinia (Ethiopia), so they despatched two staunch envoys to demand their extradition. They were led by ‘Amr bin Al-‘As and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Rabi‘a — before they embraced Islam.
They had taken with them valuable gifts to the king and his clergy, and had been able to win some of the courtiers over to their side. The pagan envoys claimed that the Muslim refugees should be expelled from Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and handed over to them on the ground that they had abandoned the religion of their forefathers, and their leader was preaching a religion different from theirs and from that of the king.
The king summoned the Muslims to the court and asked them to explain the teachings of their religion. The Muslim emigrants had decided to tell the whole truth whatever the consequences were. Ja‘far bin Abi Talib stood up and addressed the king in the following words:
O king! we were plunged in the depth of ignorance and barbarism; we adored idols, we lived in unchastity, we ate the dead bodies, and we spoke abominations, we disregarded every feeling of humanity, and the duties of hospitality and neighbourhood were neglected; we knew no law but that of the strong, when Allah raised among us a man, of whose birth, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we were aware; and he called to the Oneness of All? , and taught us not to associate anything with Him.
He forbade us the worship of idols; and he enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful and to regard the rights of the neighbours and kith and kin; he forbade us to speak evil of women, or to eat the substance of orphans; he ordered us to fly from the vices, and to abstain from evil; to offer prayers, to render alms, and to observe fast. We have believed in him, we have accepted his teachings and his injunctions to worship Allah , and not to associate anything with Him, and we have allowed what He has allowed, and prohibited what He has prohibited.
For this reason, our people have risen against us, have persecuted us in order to make us forsake the worship of Allah and return to the worship of idols and other abominations. They have tortured and injured us, until finding no safety among them, we have come to your country, and hope you will protect us from oppression.
Ja‘far bin Abi Talib
The king was very much impressed by these words and asked the Muslims to recite some of Allah ’s Revelation. Ja‘far recited the opening verses of S? ah Maryam (Chapter 19 — Mary) wherein is told the story of the birth of both John and Jesus Christ, down to the account of Mary having been fed with the food miraculously.
Thereupon the king, along with the bishops of his realm, was moved to tears that rolled down his cheeks and even wet his beard. Here, the Negus exclaimed: "It seems as if these words and those which were revealed to Jesus are the rays of the light which have radiated from the same source." Turning to the crest-fallen envoys of Quraish, he said, "I am afraid, I cannot give you back these refugees. They are free to live and worship in my realm as they please."
The two envoys again went to the king and said that Muhammad [pbuh] and his followers blasphemed Jesus Christ. Again the Muslims were summoned and asked what they thought of Jesus. Ja‘far again stood up and replied:
We speak about Jesus as we have been taught by our Prophet [pbuh] , that is, he is the servant of All? , His Messenger, His spirit and His Word breathed into Virgin Mary.
Ja‘far bin Abi Talib
The king at once remarked, "Even so do we believe. Blessed be you, and blessed be your master." Then turning to the frowning envoys and to his bishops who got angry, he said: "You may fret and fume as you like but Jesus is nothing more than what Ja‘far has said about him." He then assured the Muslims of full protection. He returned to the envoys of Quraish, the gifts they had brought with them and sent them away. The Muslims lived in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) unmolested for a number of years till they returned to Madinah. [Ibn Hisham 1/334-338]
Incensed by defeat, the Quraish accepted that they could not realize their grudge against the Muslims outside of Makkah and hatched new plans to silence the Prophet through various channels of brutality, or failing that, kill him.
Uncle Abu Talib provides protection
The Quraish approached Prophet's uncle Abu Talib who's protective shadow over the Prophet combined with his powerful social standing ensured minimum hostility. They asked him to warn his nephew and put an end to his activities, else face the severe consequences.
Abu Talib was deeply distressed at this open threat and the breach with his people and their enmity, but he could not afford to desert the Messenger too. He sent for his nephew and told him what the people had said, "Spare me and yourself and put not burden on me that I can’t bear."
O my uncle! by Allah if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on condition that I abandon this course, until Allah has made me victorious, or I perish therein, I would not abandon it.
Upon this the Prophet [pbuh] thought that his uncle would let him down and would no longer support him, so he replied
The Prophet [pbuh] got up, and as he turned away, his uncle called him.
Come back, my nephew.
(When he came back) Go and preach what you please, for by Allah I will never forsake you.
Abu Talib, Ibn Hisham 1/265
In 617 the leaders of Makhzum and Banu Abd-Shams, two important Quraysh clans, declared a public boycott against Banu Hashim, their commercial rival, to pressurize it into withdrawing its protection of Muhammad. The boycott lasted three years but eventually collapsed as it failed in its objective.
Abu Talib’s Death
In Rajab, the tenth year of the Prophethood (around 620), Abu Talib fell ill and passed away, six months after leaving the confinement at Ash- Sh‘ib. In another version, Abu Talib breathed his last in Ramadan, three days prior to the death of Khadijah [R] .
Prophet request uncle Abu Talib to believe in Allah
On the authority of Al-Musaiyab, when Abu Talib was on the death bed, the Prophet [pbuh] entered the room where he saw Abu Jahl and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Omaiyah.
My uncle, you just make a profession that there is no true god but Allâh, and I will bear testimony before Allâh (of your being a believer).
He requested his uncle
Abu Jahl and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Omaiyah addressing him said: "Abu Talib, would you abandon the religion of ‘Abdul-Muttalib?" The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] constantly requested him (to accept his offer), and (on the other hand) was repeated the same statement (of Abu Jahl and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Omaiyah) — till Abu Talib gave his final decision and he stuck to the religion of ‘Abdul-Muttalib and refused to profess that there is no true god but Allâh. Upon this the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] remarked: "By Allâh, I will persistently beg pardon for you till I am forbidden to do so (by Allâh)".
It was then that Allâh, the Magnificent and Glorious revealed this verse:
It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allâh’s forgiveness for the Mushrikûn (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh) even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in a state of disbelief).
Surah 9 At-Tawbah (The Repentence), ayat 113
Verily! You (O Muhammad [pbuh]) guide not whom you like.
Surah 28 Al-Qasas (The Stories), ayat 56
Loving but pagan uncle condemned to shallow hell
It goes without saying that Abu Talib was very much attached to Muhammad [pbuh]. For forty years, Abu Talib had been the faithful friend — the prop of his childhood, the guardian of his youth and in later life a very tower of defence. The sacrifices to which Abu Talib exposed himself and his family for the sake of his nephew, while yet incredulous of his mission, stamp his character as singularly noble and unselfish. The Prophet [pbuh] did his best to persuade his octogenarian uncle to make profession of the true faith, but he remained obdurate and stuck to the paganism of his forefathers, and thus could not achieve complete success.
Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib narrated that he said to the Prophet [pbuh]: "You have not been of any avail to your uncle (Abu Talib) (though) by Allâh, he used to protect you and get angry on your behalf."
The Prophet [pbuh] said: "He is in a shallow fire, and had it not been for me, he would have been at the bottom of the (Hell) Fire.
I hope that my intercession may avail him, and he be placed in a shallow fire that rises up only to his heels.
Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudri narrated that he heard the Prophet [pbuh] say, when the mention of his uncle was made, "" [Bukhari 1/548]
Khadijah passes away to the Mercy of Allâh
Only two months after the death of his uncle, did the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] experience another great personal loss viz., the Mother of believers, his wife
Khadijah passed away in Ramadan of the tenth year of his Prophethood, when she was sixty- five years old, and he was fifty [Talqeeh Fuhoom Ahl- al-Athar p.7; Rahmat- ul-lil'alameen 2/164].
Khadijah was in fact a blessing of Allâh for the Prophet [pbuh] . She, for twenty-five years, shared with him the toils and trials of life, especially in the first ten years of his ministry of Prophethood. He deeply mourned over her death, and once he replied in an honest burst of tender emotions:
She believed in me when none else did. She embraced Islam when people disbelieved me. And she helped and comforted me in her person and wealth when there was none else to lend me a helping hand. I had children from her only.
Musnad Imam Ahmad 6/118
Abu Hurairah reported that Gabriel came to Allâh’s Messenger [pbuh] and said: "Allâh’s Messenger, lo, Khadijah is coming to you with a vessel of seasoned food or drink. When she comes to you, offer her greetings from her Lord, and give her glad tidings of a palace of jewels in Paradise where there is no noise and no toil."
More injustice of uncle Abu Lahab and fellow Makkahans
Prophet Muhammad's wife Khadijah (RAH) and his uncle Abu Talib both died in 619. These two painful events took place within a short lapse of time and added a lot to his grief and suffering, the year thus became known as the "year of sorrow".
With the death of Abu Talib, the leadership of the Banu Hashim clan was passed to the Prophet's other uncle Abu Lahab, who hated the Prophet's preaching. Soon afterwards, Abu Lahab withdrew the clan's protection from Muhammad. This placed Muhammad in danger of death since the withdrawal of clan protection implied that the blood revenge for his killing would not be exacted.
Abu Jahl, the great enemy of Islam, used to walk about haughtily and arrogantly jeering at Muhammad’s words, saying to the people around him: "Muhammad claims that if you follow him, he will appoint you rulers over the Arabs and non-Arabs and in the Hereafter your reward will be Gardens similar to those in Jordan, otherwise, he will slaughter you and after death you will be burnt in fire."[Ibn Hisham 1/483]
The Prophet [pbuh] became vulnerable, and the Makkans now openly declared their campaign of torture and oppression. They now had the opportunity to give free rein to their hatred and highhandedness and to translate them in terms of oppression and physical tortures. Once an insolent Quraishite intercepted him and sprinkled sand on his head. When he arrived home, a daughter of his washed the sand away and wept.
Do not weep, my daughter. Allâh will verily protect your father.
The Prophet [pbuh] said. [Ibn Hisham 1/416]
Now, not just the elite of Mecca attacked Prophet Muhammad, but even young children hurled dust and insults at him. Prophet Muhammad soon realized that there was no hope left for the Meccans to accept his religion, and he thus looked to the south, to the sister city of Ta’if, for aid and support, so Prophet Muhammad and Zayd ibn Harithah, a freed slave and also his adopted son, went to Ta’if to invite the people there to Islam.
In Shawwal (in the last of May or in the beginning of June 619), ten years after receiving his mission from his Lord, the Prophet [pbuh] set out towards At-Ta’if, about 60 kilometres south of Makkah, in the company of Zaid bin Haritha inviting people to Islam. This was his first attempt to spread Islam beyond Makkah. But contrary to his expectations, the general atmosphere was terribly hostile and he sustained maltreatment that far outweighed his miserable situation in his native town.
Three brothers taunt Prophet
He approached the family of ‘Umair, who were considered one of the noble families of At-Ta'if. Three brothers from the chieftains of Thaqeef —‘Abd Yaleel, Mas‘ud and Habeeb — sons of ‘Amr bin ‘Umair Ath-Thaqafy met the Prophet [pbuh], who invited them to embrace Islam and worship Allâh.
They let him freely have his say, however, they turned a deaf ear to his message. After a while they used abusive language as regards the noble cause he had been striving for and even showed signs of apprehension lest his welcome in Ta’if might embroil them with the Meccans.
"He is tearing the cloths of Al-Ka‘bah; is it true that Allâh has sent you as a Messenger?" said one of them. "Has not Allâh found someone else to entrust him with His Message?" said the second. "I swear by Allâh that I will never have any contact with you. If you are really the Messenger of Allâh, then you are too serious to retort back; and if you are belying Allâh, then I feel it is imperative not to speak to." said the third.
Rejecting Islam, they left the Prophet and Zaid to be dealt with by street urchins and the riff raff of the town.
Public beating with stones
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], finding that they were hopeless cases, stood up and left them saying: "Should you indulge in these practices of yours, never divulge them to me."
For ten days he stayed there delivering his message to several people, one after another, but all to no purpose. Stirred up to hasten the departure of the unwelcome visitor, the people of Ta'if ordered their children to throw rocks and stones at Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Zayd. They hooted him through the alley-ways, pelted him with stones and mocked and jeered him. Both were wounded and bleeding as they left Ta’if behind them. Muhammad bled so heavily from the stoning that blood flowed down both his legs and his feet became clotted to his shoes. Zaid, endeavouring to shield him, was wounded in the head.
The mob did not stop until they had chased him two or three miles across the sandy plains to the foot of the surrounding hills. There, wearied and exhausted, he took refuge in one of the numerous orchards, and rested against the wall of a vineyard. At a time when the whole world seemed to have turned against him, Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] turned to Allah and prayed for salvation, confident of the help of his Lord. His words echo the distress felt by an oppressed soul.
O Allâh! To You alone I make complaint of my helplessness, the paucity of my resources and my insignificance before mankind.
You are the most Merciful of the mercifuls. You are the Lord of the helpless and the weak, O Lord of mine! Into whose hands would You abandon me: into the hands of an unsympathetic distant relative who would sullenly frown at me, or to the enemy who has been given control over my affairs? But if Your wrath does not fall on me, there is nothing for me to worry about.
I seek protection in the light of Your Countenance, which illuminates the heavens and dispels darkness, and which controls all affairs in this world as well as in the Hereafter. May it never be that I should incur Your wrath, or that You should be wrathful to me. And there is no power nor resource, but Yours alone.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Christian Addas shows compassion
Once Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Zayd were outside the city walls, the Prophet almost collapsed. They went a short distance outside of the town and stopped in a vineyard that belonged to two Meccans who were there at the time. The owners of the vineyard, Rabi'a's two sons, wealthy Makkans, had seen the Prophet been persecuted in Mecca and on this occasion they felt some sympathy toward their fellow townsman.
They sent the Prophet one of their Christian servants named Addas with a tray of grapes and ordered him to dress the Prophet's wounds. They let him rest and recuperate until he felt strong enough to resume his journey across the rough terrain between Ta’if and Mecca. The Prophet [pbuh] accepted the fruit with pious invocation: "In the Name of the Allâh, Ever Gracious, Most Merciful." (Arabic Bismillah ar-Rahman, ar-Raheem) The Christian servant ‘Addas was greatly impressed by these words and said: "These are words which people in this land do not generally use." The Prophet [pbuh] inquired of him whence he came and what religion he professed. ‘Addas replied: "I am a Christian by faith and come from Nineveh." The Prophet [pbuh] then said: "You belong to the city of the righteous Jonah, son of Matta." ‘Addas asked him anxiously if he knew anything about Jonah.
The Prophet [pbuh] significantly remarked: "He is my brother. He was a Prophet and so am I." Thereupon ‘Addas paid homage to Muhammad [pbuh] and kissed his hands. He declared his acceptance of Islam so the Prophet's journey to Ta’if did not prove entirely fruitless. His masters admonished him at this act but he replied: "None on the earth is better than he is. He has revealed to me a truth which only a Prophet can do." They again reprimanded him and said: "We forewarn you against the consequences of abandoning the faith of your forefathers. The religion which you profess is far better than the one you feel inclined to."
Prophet stops Jibrail from annihilating Ta'if so someday one will obey Allah
Heart-broken and depressed, Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] set out on the way back to Makkah. When he reached Qarn Al-Manazil, Allâh, the Almighty sent him Angel Jibrail (AS) together with the angel of mountains. Angel Jibrail (AS) asked the Prophet [pbuh] for permission to bury Makkah between Al–Akhshabain —Abu Qubais and Qu‘ayqa‘an mountains.
Aishah [R] said: "I asked the Prophet [pbuh] if he had ever experienced a worse day than Uhud. He answered that he had suffered a lot from those people (the idolaters) but the most painful was on the day of ‘Aqabah. I went seeking support from Ibn ‘Abd Yalil bin ‘Abd Kalal, but he spurned me. I set out wearied and grieved heedless of anything around me until I suddenly realized I was in Qarn Ath- Tha‘alib, called Qarn Al-Manazil. There, I looked up and saw a cloud casting its shade on me, and Gabriel addressing me: Allâh has heard your people’s words and sent you the angel of mountains to your aid.
The latter called and gave me his greetings and asked for my permission to bury Makkah between Al-Akhshabain, the two mountains flanking Makkah. I said in reply that I would rather have someone from their loins who will worship Allâh, the All–Mighty with no associate."
Bukhari 1/458; Muslim 2/109
This reply further demonstrated the Prophet’s matchless character and his magnanimous manners - even after being humiliated and beaten black-and-blue, he still wanted Allah to forgive the people of Ta'if and not blow the mountains over them least, one day in the future, one of them worships Allah.
Jinns listen to his recitation of Qur'an
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] then came back to wakefulness and his heart was set at rest in the light of that invisible Divinely provided aid. He proceeded to Wadi Nakhlah where he stayed for a few days.
During his stay there, Allâh sent him a company of jinns who listened to him reciting the Noble Qur’ân.
And (remember) when We sent towards you (Muhammad [pbuh]) Nafran (three to ten persons) of the jinns, (quietly) listening to the Qur’ân, when they stood in the presence thereof, they said: ‘Listen in silence!’ And when it was finished, they returned to their people, as warners. They said: ‘O our people! Verily! We have heard a Book (this Qur’ân) sent down after Moses, confirming what came before it, it guides to the Truth and to a Straight Path (i.e. Islam). O our people! Respond (with obedience) to Allâh’s Caller (i.e. Allâh’s Messenger Muhammad [pbuh]), and believe in him (i.e. believe in that which Muhammad [pbuh] has brought from Allâh and follow him). He (Allâh) will forgive you of your sins, and will save you from a painful torment (i.e. Hell- fire).’
Surah 46 Al-Ahqaf (The Sand-Dunes), ayats 29 - 31
Say (O Muhammad [pbuh]): "It has been revealed to me that a group (from three to ten in number) of jinns listened (to this Qur’ân). They said: ‘Verily! We have heard a wonderful Recital (this Qur’ân)! It guides to the Right Path, and we have believed therein, and we shall never join (in worship) anything with our Lord (Allâh).’
Surah 72 Al-Jinn (The Jinn), ayats 1 - 15
From the context of these verses and their relevant interpretation, we can safely establish that the Prophet [pbuh] was not aware of the presence of that group of jinns. It was only when Allâh revealed those verses that he came to know of it. The verses also confirm that it was the first time they came. The presence of jinns demonstrates the Divine support given to His Messenger, and is a sign of ultimate victory for the Call of Islam.
And whosoever does not respond to Allâh’s Caller, he cannot escape on earth, and there will be no Auliyâ (protectors) from him besides Allâh (from Allâh’s punishment). Those are in manifest error.
Surah 46 Al-Ahqaf (The Sand-Dunes), ayat 32
And we think that we cannot escape (from the punishment of) Allâh in the earth, nor can we escape (from the punishment) by flight.
Surah 72 Al-Jinn (The Jinn), ayat 12
Return to Makkah
Given this support and auspicious start, the depression, dismay and sadness that initially followed the At-Ta’if event had now turned to fresh determination for the Prophet (pbuh). He now turned his attention back to Makkah with fresh impetus to resume his earlier plan of exposing people to Islam and communicating his Message in a great spirit of zeal and matchless enthusiasm.
Zaid bin Harithah, his companion, addressing the Prophet [pbuh] said, "How dare you step into Makkah after they (Quraish) have expatriated you?".
Hearken Zaid, Allâh will surely provide relief and He will verily support His religion and Prophet.
The Prophet (pbuh) in reply to Zaid
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not dare to return openly to Makkah because he realized that if he entered the city, he would be killed. Thus there was no other place to go to. When he was a short distance from Makkah, he rested in the Cave of Hira - the same cave where the Qur'an was revealed to him. From there he despatched a man from Khuza‘ah tribe to Al-Akhnas bin Shuraiq, a notable in the city, seeking his protection and asylum (Istijarah). The latter answered that he was Quraish’s ally and was in no position to offer protection. He recommended the Messenger to Suhail bin ‘Amr, but to no avail, either.
Al-Mut'im provides protection for return into Makkah
Al-Mut‘im bin ‘Adi, another notable in Makkah from the tribe of Banu Nawfal, however, volunteered to respond to the Prophet’s appeal for shelter. Mut‘im ordered his sons, nephews and other young men of his clan to put on their battle-dress and then marched, in full panoply of war, at their head, out of the city. He brought Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with him, first into the precincts of the Kaaba where the latter made the customary seven circuits (Arabic: Tawaf), and then escorted him to his home. The Prophet [pbuh] observed a two-Rak‘a prayer and left for his house guarded by the heavily-armed vigilence of ‘Adi’s.
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] never forgot Mut‘im’s favour. At the conclusion of the battle of Badr, he declared publicly that if Mut‘im had been still alive and asked for the release of the Quraishite captives, he would not deny him his request. [Ibn Hisham 1/419-422; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/46; Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.14; Rahmatal-lil'alameen 1/71-74; Tareekh-e-Islam 1/123]
It has been reported that later Abu Jahl, the archenemy of Islam, asked Mut‘im if his behaviour suggested protection or conversion, the latter replied it was merely protection. Abu Jahl was relieved and said that he would give Muhammad protection for his sake.
The patience and stoicism Muhammad (S) displayed during this phase has been a source of strength to many a Muslim who has found himself beleaguered by apparently hopeless circumstances.
Javeed Akhter, author of 'The Seven Phases Of Prophet Muhammad’s Life'