Now the Prophet and his followers became subject to some persecution and indignity. The hostile Quraish prevented the Prophet from offering his prayers at the Sacred House of the Ka'ba; they pursued him wherever he went; they covered him and his disciples with dirt and filth when engaged in their devotions; they scattered thorns in the places which he frequented for devotion and meditation. Amidst all these trials the Prophet did not waver. He was full of confidence in his mission, even when on several occasions he was put in imminent danger of losing his life. At this time Hamza, the youngest son of Abdul Muttalib, adopted Islam. Hamza was a man of distinguished bravery, an intrepid warrior, generous and true, whose heroism earned for him the title of the "Lion of Allah." He became a devoted adherent of Islam and everlost his life in the cause.
The Prophet continued preaching to the Arabs in a most gentle and reasonable manner. He called thepeople, so accustomed to iniquity and wrong doings, to abandon their abominations. In burning words which excited the hearts of his hearers, he warned them of the punishment which Allah had inflicted upon the ancient tribes of 'Ad and Thamud who had obstinately disobeyed the teachings of Allah's messengers to them. He adjured them by the wonderful sights of nature, by the noon day brightness, by the night when it spreads its veil, by the day when it appears in glory to listen to his warning before a similar destruction befell them. He spoke to them of the Day of Reckoning, when their deeds in this world will be weighed before the Eternal Judge, when the children who had been buried alive will be asked for what crime they were put to death. Almighty Allah said:
"Nay, they wonder that there has come to them a Warner (Muhammad) from among themselves.
So the disbeliveers say: "This is a strange thing! When we are dead and have become dust (shall we be resurrected)? That is a far return." We know that which the earth takes of them (their dead bodies), and with Us is a Book preserved (i.e., the Book of Decrees).
Nay, but, they have denied the truth (this Qur'an) when it has come to them, so they are in a confused state (can not differentiate between right and wrong). Have they not looked at the heaven above them, how We have made it and adorned it, and there are no rifts in it? And the earth! We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and have produced therein every kind of lovely growth (plants).
An insight and a reminder for every slave turning to Allah (i.e., the one who believes in Allah and performs deeds of His obedience, and always begs His pardon). And We send down blessed water (rain) from the sky, then we produce therewith gardens and grain (every kind of harvests that are reaped). And tall date palms, with ranged clusters; a provision for (Allah's) slaves. And We give life therewith to a dead land. Thus will be the resurrection (of the dead). Denied before them (i.e. these pagans of Makka who denied you, O Muhammad) the people of Noah, and the dwellers of Rass, and the Thamud, and 'Ad, and Pharaoh, and the brethren of Lot, and the dwellers of the Wood, and the people of Tubba, everyone of them denied their Messengers, so My Threat took effect." (Ch 50: 2-14 Quran) Almighty Allah also declared:
"All praises and thanks be to Allah Who Alone created the heavens and the earth, and originated the darkness and the light, yet those who disbelieve hold others as equal with their Lord. He it is Who has created you from clay, and then has decreed a stated term (for you to die). And there is with Him another determined term (for you to be resurrected), yet you doubt (in the Resurrection).
And He is Allah (to be worshipped Alone) in the heavens and on the earth, He knows what you conceal and what you reveal, and He knows what you earn (good or bad). And never an Ayah (sign) comes to them from the Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord, but that they have been turning away from it.
Indeed, they rejected the truth (The Qur'an and Muhammad) when it came to them, but there will come to them the news of that (the torment) which they used to mock at. Have they not seen how many a generation before them We have destroyed whom We had established on the earth such as We have not established you? And We poured out on them rain from the sky in abundance, and made the rivers flow under them. Yet We destroyed them for their sins, and created after them other generations." (Ch 6:1-6 Quran)
As the number of believers increased and the cause of the Prophet was strengthened by the conversions of many powerful citizens, the Prophet's preaching alarmed the Quraish. Their power and prestige were at stake. They were the custodians of the idols, which the Prophet had threatened to destroy; they were the ministers of the worship, which he denounced; in fact their existence and living wholly depended upon the maintenance of the old institutions. The Prophet taught that in the sight of his Lord all human were equal, the only distinction recognized among them being the weight of their piety. Allah the Exalted said:
"O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you in the Sight of Allah is that believer who has At Taqwa (one of the Muttaqun, pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much, abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden), and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained. Verily! Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware." (Ch 49:13 Quran).
The Quraish would have none of this leveling of distinctions, as it reflected upon their long inherited privileges. Accordingly, they organized a system of persecution in order to suppress the movement before it became firmly established. They decided that each family should take upon itself the task of stamping out the new faith on the spot. Each household tortured its own members or adherents or slaves who were supposed to have connected themselves with the new religion. With the exception of the Prophet, who was protected by Abu Talib and his kinsmen, and Abu Bakr, and a few others who were either distinguished by their rank or possessed some influence among the Quraish, all other converts were subjected to different sorts of torture. Some of them were thrown into prison, starved, and then flogged. The hill of Ramada and the place called Bata thus became scenes of cruel torture.
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