In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The means used by the enemies of faith when they failed to harm Muslims?

 Dear brother, today we start a new lesson in the series “Legal Rulings Extracted from the Prophet’s Life (Fiqh as-Sirah)”, and we are going to talk about the boycott and the Muslims’ stay in the mountain passes of Abu Talib.

 But first of all, you should firmly believe that Man will remain Man whatever the time and the place, that the believer will remain believer, that the unbeliever will remain unbeliever, that the enemies of the Truth will always be the enemies of the Truth, and that history repeats itself. Don’t we see today boycott strategies used against Muslims?

 Boycott is one of the means used in the eternal struggle between Good and Evil, and people with the right understanding will not be taken by surprise. I would like every brother believer to accept as absolutely true that the struggle between Good and Evil is an eternal, never ending struggle; Allah the Almighty ordained it in order to elevate Muslims to the highest of ranks. Allah the Exalted says:

"And if Allah willed He could have punished them (without you) but (thus it is ordained) that He may try some of you by means of sh3er. "

(Surat Muhammad, 47:4)

Let me give you an example:

 Consider a man who owns a restaurant that serves alcohol. One day this man turns to Allah in true repentance. In consequence, his earnings are reduced to a tenth part. Now, isn’t Allah capable of multiplying this man’s earnings after he had repented? The answer is obvious, but the wisdom of Allah the Almighty has it that this repentant person should pay the price of his courageous decision, and this will honor him and earn him the highest station in Paradise. At first it is a trial: either you choose to please Allah, or you choose to increase your income. But it is also the price of repentance and of his courageous act.

 This meaning can be inferred from the words of Allah the Almighty:

"O you who believe! Truly the mushrik are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque."

(Surat Al-Tawba, 9:28)

The result that the repentant takes:

 The mushriks were no longer allowed into Allah’s Sacred House, and in economy terms, this prohibition was like a blockade on the Muslims, a prohibition that diminishes revenues. Today, though, we opt for tourism rather than obeying Allah. For the sake of tourism we sacrifice our morals, our honor, our values, our principles … Allah the Almighty says:

"O you who believe! Truly the mushrik are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque."

 and

"If you fear poverty"

(Surat Al-Tawba, 9:28)

 due to loss of profit,

"Allah shall enrich you out of His bounty."

(Surat Al-Tawba, 9:28)

 This ayah seems to imply that the price must be paid in order for Allah to know that the repentance is honest and resolute. And, after this person forsakes the high income in order to please his Lord, Allah will be bountiful and will compensate his losses:

"If you fear poverty,"

 then, in His own time,

"Allah shall enrich you out of His bounty."

 If a man takes a courageous stance, a position that pleases Allah, he may pay it dearly, but this is the cost of his decision. When you are prepared to pay this price, then you have earned Paradise, where there’s what no eye has seen, no ear has heard nor has it ever crossed the human mind.

 Man will be Man, the believer will be the believer, the hypocrite will be the hypocrite, and all unbelievers are of the same breed.

Why did Quraish impose boycott on Muslims:

 So what made the Quraish impose boycott on the Muslims? What was its cause?

 When the Muslims emigrated to Abyssinia, as we explained in the previous lesson, the Quraish sent a delegation to the Negus, the ruler of Abyssinia, to convince him to give them up to the Mekkans. But the delegation failed when the Negus refused, and furthermore, offered the Muslims protection and security in his country. What is more, at that time Hamza entered Islam, and consequently the pressure on Muslims eased. Later on, Umar entered Islam, and the Muslims were now able to practice worship in Mekka. So, the Muslims were safe in Mekka because Umar and Hamza were prominent Quraishites, and in Abyssinia the Muslims enjoyed peace and security under the protection of the Negus. This situation made the Quraish impose boyocott on the Muslims.

 On the other hand, Bukhari mentions in his Sahih (his collection of authentic ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad) that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, indicated the Banu Kunana heights as the place where the Quraish pledged to fight this din, to persist in their disbelief and shirk, and agreed on boycotting the Banu Hashem, the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who sympathized with him. Their support of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, induced the Quraish to impose the total boycott on them.

 However, there is no hadith that relates in detail this boycott or the dwelling of the Muslims in Abu Talib’s passes, although the boycott itself was established beyond doubt. The detailed information that has reached us in the biographies has come to us by way of weak unauthenticated transmission chains. This does not mean that the facts mentioned did not actually take place; it only means that they are not authenticated, but the boycott itself is an established historical reality, and so is the place where the decision of imposing it was taken, as related by Bukhari in his Sahih. The boycott and the stay of the Muslims in Abu Talib’s passes are also mentioned in the incomplete hadith of Urwa Ibn Al-Zubair and his followers Al-Zuhri and Abu Al-Aswad.

 As for the timing, the boycott was initiated after the Quraish had failed to apprehend the Muslims who emigrated to Abyssinia. When they saw that the followers of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had grown in numbers and had become stronger with Hamza Ibn Abd Al Muttalib’s and Umar Ibn Al-Khattab’s entering Islam, that the Muslims who emigrated to Abyssinia had found a country where they could enjoy peace and stability, that the Negus protected and defended them, and that Islam was spreading among the tribes, the Quraish, put into a rage, came down hard on the Muslims in Mekka and finally decided to assassinate the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

 I told you before how Umair Ibn Wahab said to Safwan: “Were it not for my debts and the fear of the hardship that would befall my children after I’m gone, I would surely go and rid you of Muhammad”, and what Safwan said in reply: “As for your children, they will be my children for as long as they live, and as for your debts, I will assume them no matter the amount, so go about your design.” So Umair poisoned his blade, got on his mount and headed towards Medina to kill Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. When he reached Medina, Umar saw him and said: “Here is Allah’s enemy, he’s after some evil.” So he tied him up with the belt of his sword and drove him to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. When he brought him in this way into the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, the Prophet said:

 “Release him, Umar.”

 Umar said: “This is Allah’s enemy seeking some evil!” He said:

 “Release him, Umar.”

 So Umar released him. Then the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to Umair:

 “Move away from him.”

 Then he said:

 “Come closer, Umair.”

 This he did. Then he said:

 “Sit down.”

 So he sat down. He said:

 “Greet us.”

 So Umair said:

 “Good morning to you, Muhammad.” So he said:

 “Rather say: Peace be upon you.”

 He said:

 “You are not that far removed from the pre-islamic greeting; this is how we greet ourselves.”

 The Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to him with compassion:

 “O Umair, what brings you to us?”

 He said:

 “I seek to liberate my son.”

 He said:

 “And what about that sword on your shoulder?”

 He said:

 “Damned swords; they were useless at Badr.”

 He said:

 “O Umair, didn’t you say to Safwan: ‘Were it not for my debts and the fear of the hardship that would befall my children after I’m gone, I would surely go and rid you of Muhammad?’ ”

 So Umair stood up and said: “I bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah, for what I said to Safwan was in confidence, and only Allah knows it, and you are Allah’s Messenger.” And he entered Islam.

 And Safwan, who on the outskirts of Mekka was waiting for the good tidings, questioning travelers about the death of the Prophet, was told that Umair Ibn Wahab had become a Muslim.

The details of the boycott:

 Dear brother, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had the talent to convert enemies into friends, while some people easily turn friends into enemies. He had a big heart and a beaming soul, and people felt at ease around him, even his enemies.

The Divine wisdom behind these affliction:

 Dear brother, what may come as a surprise to you is that when the Quraish got so exasperated, increasingly harassing the Muslims, and finally decided to assassinate the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and that the Abd Al-Muttalib clan decided to shelter the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in their property for protection, they all moved in there, both Muslims and mushirk, with the exception of Abu Lahab Ibn Abd Al-Muttalib, who joined forces with the Quraish mushrik. In this connection, it is reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

‘I was oppressed for Allah’s sake like none of you will ever be; and I was terrorized for Allah’s sake like none of you will ever be; and Bilal and I would live for fifteen consecutive days and nights on nothing that could sustain a living soul, except the little he carried
on him’.

(Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad and by Timizi and Ibn Majah, and by Ibn Habban in his Sahih)

  You may ask: Why the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, protected as he was, should be made to taste fear, harassment and hunger? The answer is: So that he might set an example for us to follow, in prosperity as well as in adversity.

 For instance: the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, knew poverty, and there were times when coming home he would ask:

“Is there any food?”

And they would reply that there was none, and he would say:

“Then I will fast.”

(Muslim from Aisha)

 The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, knew prosperity. Following a campaign, a bedouin prince asked him: “Who owns this valley of sheep?” And he answered:

 “You can have it.”

 He said: “Are you making fun of me?” He said:

 “By Allah, no, it is yours.”

 He said: “I bear witness that you are Allah’s Prophet, for you give like a man who does not fear poverty.”

 The Prophet, peace be upon him, knew poverty, and he was an example of forbearance; and he knew prosperity, and he was an example of generosity. He also knew the taste of victory when he conquered Mekka, but he entered this city with the tail of his turban almost touching his camel’s neck out of modesty. And he knew persecution at Taif and he said:

‘O Lord, if you are not angry with me, I do not care about what has happened, and I seek to please You until You are satisfied.’

(Biography of the Prophet by Ibn Hisham)

 He tasted poverty and he was an example. He tasted prosperity and he was an example. He tasted victory and he was an example. He tasted persecution and he was an example. He tasted the loss of a son, tears came to his eyes and he said:

‘The eye weeps, and the heart grieves, but we only say what pleases our Lord; and we sorrow, O Ibrahim, to part with you’.

(Reported by Bukhari from Anas)

  He suffered the divorce of two of his daughters, he suffered people calling his wife adulteress due to a false accusation (al-ifk), and he was patient. He was rejected and suffered expulsion. One day some of his companions described Mekka in spring, tears came to his eyes and he said:

 “Do not stir our feelings, Usail.”

 He tasted expulsion, the death of a son, the divorce of daughters, poverty, prosperity, victory, defeat, and he was an example to follow in all those situations. This is the reason why Allah the Almighty says:

"Verily in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example for him who looks unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much. "

(Surat Al-Ahzab, 33:21)

The conditions of Muslims during the bycott:

 So the Quraish resolved to kill the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Abd Al-Muttalib clan decided to head for their passes for protection. They all moved to the passes, Muslims and the mushrik, except for Abu Lahab who joined the Quraish and teamed with them. Then the Quraish pagans deliberated among themselves and decided no longer to socialize with the Banu Hashem and Banu Abd Al- Muttalib, or associate with them or buy from them, or to enter their dwellings, until they desisted.

 When a blockade was imposed on some Islamic countries, the salary of the highest ranking officer in the army plummeted to the price of a carton of eggs. A blockade can be catastrophic, may Allah preserve us, this is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

‘I was oppressed for Allah’s sake like none of you will ever be; and I was terrorized for Allah’s sake like none of you will ever be; and Bilal and I would live for fifteen consecutive days and nights on nothing that could sustain a living soul, except the little he carried on him’.

(Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad and by Timizi and Ibn Majah, and by Ibn Habban in his Sahih)

 So the Quraish imposed boycott on the Banu Hashem and Banu Abd Al- Muttalib, and ceased to buy from them or sell them or socialize with them, putting in this way pressure on them, expecting they would force Muhammad to abandon his mission. Their conditions were even crueler: their boycott would only end when Muhammad was surrendered to them so that they could kill him. This was the price: the boycott would go on until the Banu Hashem and the Banu Abd Al-Muttalib delivered Muhammad to be killed. And they wrote this down on a sheet which they hung inside the Holy Ka’bah, in the month of Muharram, of the seventh year of the Mission.

 Dear brother, some of the Prophet’s biographers assert that the boycott lasted three years, in which the Muslims and their supporters of the Banu Hashem and the Banu Abd Al-Muttalib clans endured hardship, overstrain and hunger. Their only sustenance was smuggled in to them. Some of their providers were Hakim Ibn Khuzam, Hisham Ibn Umar Al- Amiry, Zuhair Ibn Abu Umayya, Al-Mutem Ibn Udai, Zuma Ibn Al- Aswad and Abu Al-Buhturi Ibn Hisham, who were related to the Banu Hisham and Banu Abd Al Muttalib in several ways.
Why are Muslims afflicted?
 The blockade was an ordeal, and incidentally, dear brother, every tribulation is followed by a donation from Allah, and every hardship brings you closer to Allah. And it is the Way of Allah the Almighty when He tries the faithful, to reward them generously if they prove successful. When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was in Taif, and the people of Taif went to extremes to hurt him –beat him, mocked him, accused him of lying– he raised his hands to the sky and said:

‘O Lord, I complain to you of my weakness and of my perplexity, and of the little respect people have for me. O Lord of the oppressed, to whom do you abandon me? To a friend who rejects me, or to an enemy of whom I must depend? If You are not angry with me, I do not care about what has happened, and You can reproach me until You are, but Your clemency will be of more relief to me’.

(Narrated by Tabarani from Abdallah Ibn Jaafar)

 And what happened after Taif? There was the Ascension of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, where he reached the Lote Tree of the Uppermost Boundary (Sidrat-al-Muntaha), and where Allah the Almighty told him that he was the leader of Adam’s children, and the leader of the Prophets and Messengers.

 Note these words: when Allah the Almighty tries a true, honest believer with an affliction and he shows constancy, a great gift will follow this trial. And if Allah straitens this person’s way of living, and he shows patience, this hardship will draw him nearer to Allah the Almighty.

 Trials are great gifts:

‘Remarkable is the case of the faithful! There is good for him in everything he does, and this is true only for the faithful. If he prospers, he is thankful, and he is rewarded. And if a misfortune befalls him, he endures patiently, and he is rewarded, and this is only for the faithful’.

(Reported by Muslim from Abu Yahya Suhaib Ibn Sannan)

 Moreover, these hardships that befall the faithful are referred to in the Holy Quran as unseen rewards, Allah the Exalted says:

"And (Allah) has made His bounties flow to you in exceeding measure, (both) seen and unseen."

(Surat Luqman, 31:20)

 Indeed, at the beginning of the third year, after three years of boycott, the Quraish started blaming each other for what had happened, and they decided to remove the sheet from the Ka’bah, and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had already told them that only the words of shirk and injustice remained in it. It was the end of the boycott, and the Muslims left the passes in the tenth year of the Mission. It had lasted three years.
Does this world stay unchanged?
 In this connection, dear brother, it should be said that righteous deeds and afflictions may come to an end, but their fruits live. The life of this world, with all its delights and desires, ends too, but its consequences endure. Wickedness ends, but the reward of steadfastness endures. Blessings end, but the consequences of disobedience endure. A king once said to his vizier: “Explain to me the wisdom in the saying ‘if you are glad, be sad; and if you are sad, be glad.’” He replied: ‘All circumstances must end.’ ”

"And be patient and your patience is not but by (the assistance of) Allah."

(Surat Al-Nahl, 16:127)

"Lo! they love fleeting life, and put behind them (the remembrance of) a Grievous Day."

(Surat Al-Insan, 77:27)

"… and verily the Hereafter will be better for you than the present."

(Surat Al-Duha, 93:4)

"For the End is for the righteous."

(Surat Hud, 11:49)

 When Qarun went forth to his people in all his finery

"Those who desire this world's life said: O would that we had the like of what Qarun is given; most surely he is possessed of mighty good fortune. And those who were given the knowledge said: Woe to you! Allah's reward is better for him who believes and does good, and none is made to receive this except the patient."

(Surat Al-Qasas, 28:27-28)

 Dear brother, Allah in His wisdom gave Man an ever hasty nature. And when man chooses to hold on to the Hereafter, till after his death, he is acting against his desires and against his nature, and this is how he ascends in rank.

Did the prophet stop calling to Allah after the boycott:

 Dear brother, in spite of the boycott, and the consequent sufferings that the Muslims went through, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, never stopped calling on Allah. In the pilgrimage season, he would go out to meet the pilgrims heading for Mekka and propose Islam to them, as well as to all the mushrik that entered in contact with him. The faithful is unwavering; his goal is firmly established; his conduct is constant. Allah the Exalted says:

"Of the believers are men who are true to that which they covenanted with Allah. Some of them have paid their vow by death (in battle), and some of them are still waiting; and they have not altered in the least."

(Surat Al-Ahzab, 33:23)

 Yet, some men in the Battle of the Trench (al-khandaq) said: “Your companion promises us the conquest of Caesar and Chosroes, yet none of us can even find a safe place to relieve ourselves.”

 That is why Allah the Almighty says:

"When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when eyes grew wild and hearts reached to the throats, and you were imagining vain thoughts concerning Allah. There were the believers sorely tried, and shaken with a mighty shock. And when the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, were saying: Allah and His Messenger promised us naught but delusion."

(Surat Al-Ahzab, 33:10-12)

 Then Allah the Almighty says:

"Of the believers are men who are true to that which they covenanted with Allah. Some of them have paid their vow by death (in battle), and some of them are still waiting; and they have not altered in the least."

(Surat Al-Ahzab, 33:23)

 To sum up, the subject of this lesson was boycott, and all unbelievers are one and the same, and the boycott recurs occasionally against Muslims, may Allah preserve us from it, and help us have patience, anticipating only His reward, and to reconcile ourselves with Him. For when a man turns back to Allah, a crier proclaims in the heavens and on earth: ‘Praise him, for he has reconciled himself with Allah’.

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations