From the Beginning of Revelation to the Conversion of `Umar

Muhammad lapsed into perfect sleep while Khadijah's eyes, full of compassion and hope, were pinned on him. She withdrew from his room pensive and restless at what she had just heard. She looked to the morrow hoping that her husband would become the Prophet of this Arab nation long lost in error. She wished her husband could bring his people to the religion of truth and blaze for them the path of goodness and virtue. But she was very apprehensive of that morrow, fearful for the good of her loving and faithful husband. She reviewed in her mind the events he had reported to her, and imagined the beautiful angel appearing to her husband across the sky after conveying to him the words of His Lord. She tried to imagine the angel perched in the sky so that, following Muhammad's description, wherever one looked one could not lose sight of him, and she recalled the holy words which Muhammad recited to her after they had been carved on his memory. As she reviewed all this she may have at one moment smiled with hope and conviction and later frowned with fear for what might have befallen her husband. She could not bear her solitude long, and the alternation of sweet hope and bitter fear overpowered her. She therefore thought to divulge what she knew to someone sure of insight and wisdom who could give her some advice and good counsel.


The Conversation of Waraqah and Khadijah

Khadijah ran to her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal who, as we saw earlier, had already become a Christian and had translated part of the Evangel into Arabic. When she finished telling him what Muhammad had seen and heard and of her compassionate and hopeful response to her husband, Waraqah broke into these words: "Holy, Holy! By Him who dominates Waraqah's soul, if your report is true, O Khadijah, this must be the Great Spirit that spoke to Moses. Muhammad must be the Prophet of this nation. Tell him that he must be firm." Khadijah returned home and found Muhammad still asleep. For a while, she stared at him lovingly, faithfully, and hopefully. Suddenly she noticed that he was shivering, breathing deeply and perspiring. As he opened his eyes, he heard the angel say, "O you who lie wrapped in your mantle. Arise and warn. Glorify your Lord. Purify yourself. Shun uncleanliness. Give not in order to have more in return. For the sake of your Lord endure patiently." [Qur'an, 73:1-7]. Seeing him in this state, Khadijah pleaded that he returns to his bed and resumes his rest. But Muhammad sprang to his feet and said to her, "The time of slumber and rest is past, O Khadijah. Gabriel has commanded me to warn men and to call them to God and to His worship. But whom shall I call? And who will listen to me?" Khadijah tried to appease and reassure him, to encourage him with predictions of success. She told him what she had heard from Waraqah and declared to him her Islam, i.e., her faith in his prophet hood.

It was natural for Khadijah to be the first one to believe in Muhammad. For many long years she had known him to be the examplar of truthfulness, fidelity, honesty, charity, and compassion. In his many retreats during the last few years, she had noticed how he had been constantly preoccupied with the search for the truth, with the truth alone; how he had sought that truth with his heart, mind, and spirit beyond the idolatrous superstitions of the people and their sacrifices, and beyond the deities that are capable of neither good nor evil but which the people venerated without avail. She had witnessed his great doubt and utter perplexity on his return from the cave of Hira' after the first revelation. She asked him to tell her when the angel would come. When he did she seized Muhammad and placed him on her left leg, then on her right leg, then in her lap, always asking him whether he was still seeing the angel and Muhammad answering in the affirmative. She then uncovered herself and threw off her clothes and asked Muhammad whether he still saw the angel, but the angel then disappeared. At this her doubt that the appearance was that of the devil rather than of the angel was dissolved once and for all.


Waraqah and Muhammad

One day Muhammad went to the Ka'bah for circumambulation. He was met by Waraqah ibn Nawfal, who asked him about himself. Muhammad related the events as they had happened. When he finished, Waraqah said, "By Him Who dominates my soul I swear that you are the Prophet of this nation. The great spirit that has come to Moses has now come to you. You will be denied and you will be hurt. You will be abused and you will be pursued. If I should ever live to see that day I shall surely help the cause of God. God knows that I will." Waraqah then approached Muhammad, kissed his forehead and went away. Muhammad realized the faithfulness of Waraqah, and at the same time felt the burden weighing on his shoulder. Waraqah's warning that the struggle ahead would be hard only confirmed Muhammad's fears that the Quraysh were so attached to their false beliefs that they would fight to death for them. How could he fight. them when they were his very people, his nearest relatives?

Surely the Makkans were mistaken. Just as surely, it was to the truth that Muhammad was now calling them. He was calling them to transcend themselves, to commune with the God Who created them as well as their parents, and to worship Him alone in purity and faith. He called them to bring themselves near to God with good works, to give the neighbor and the wayfarer his due, and to reject the worship of those idols which they had taken as gods who overlooked their vices and immorality, their usury and robbery of orphans. But in doing all this, Muhammad was calling men whose minds and hearts were petrified and hardened beyond the stones to which their idol worship oriented them. Muhammad called men to consider the sky and the earth and all therein which God created, to perceive all this in its sublimity and gravity and grasp the laws by which heaven and earth exist. Muhammad called men to rise, through their worship of the sole Creator of all existence, beyond all that is mean and unworthy, to treat the misguided lovingly and to help him achieve proper guidance, to bring charity and goodness to every orphan, to the weak, the oppressed, and the poor. Yes, to all this did God command Muhammad to call men. But these obstinate souls, these coarse hearts, had committed themselves to remain forever loyal to the religion of the ancestors. Around this religion they had built trade relations which gave Makkah its eminence and centrality as a center of pilgrimage. Would the Makkans abjure the religion of their ancestors and expose their city to loss of prestige, a loss which would surely follow if all idol worship were to stop? Even if such a renunciation were possible, how could their hearts be purified of their chronic passion for every pleasure? How could they be lifted above the animal satisfaction of these passions? Muhammad called men to rise above their passions and above their idols. But what if they didn't respond to his call and refused to believe in him? What would he do?


Subsiding of the Revelations

Muhammad expected the revelations to guide his path from day to day, but they subsided. Gabriel did not appear for some time, and all around him there was nothing but silence. Muhammad fell into solitude, separated from himself as well as from the people. His old fears recurred. It is told that even Khadijah said to him, "Does it not seem that your Lord is displeased with you?" Dismayed and frightened, he returned to the mountain and the cave of Hira'. There, he prayed for God fervently, seeking assiduously to reach Him. Particularly, he wanted to ask God about the cause of this divine displeasure. Khadijah did not dread these days any less than Muhammad, nor was she any less fearful. Often Muhammad wished to die, but he would again feel the call and the command of his Lord which dispelled such ideas. It was also told that he once thought of throwing himself down from the top of Mount Hira' or Mount Abu Qubays, thinking what good was this life if his greatest hope therein was to be frustrated and destroyed? Torn between these fears on one hand and despair on the other, revelation came to him after a long interval. The word of God was as clear as it was reassuring:

"By the forenoon, and by the night as it spreads its wings over the world in peace, your Lord has not forsaken you; nor is He displeased with you. Surely, the end shall be better for you than the beginning. Your Lord will soon give you of His bounty and you will be well pleased. Did He not find you an orphan and give you shelter? Did He not find you erring and guide you to the truth? Did He not find you in want and provide for you? Do not, therefore, oppress the orphan nor turn away whosoever seeks your help. And the bounty of your Lord, always proclaim."[Qur'an, 93:1-11]


The Call to Truth Alone

Oh, what divine majesty, what peace of mind, what joy of heart and exaltation to the soul! Muhammad's fears dissolved and his dread was dissipated. He was overjoyed with this fresh evidence of his Lord's blessing and fell down in worship to God and praise of Him. There was no more reason to fear, as Khadijah had done, that God was displeased with him, and there was no cause for his dread. God had now taken him under His protection and removed from him every doubt and fear. Henceforth there was to be no thought of suicide but only of a life dedicated to calling men unto God and unto God alone. To the Almighty God on High shall all men bend their brows. To Him shall all that is in heaven and earth prostrate themselves. He alone is the True, and all that they worship besides him is false. To Him alone the heart should turn, on Him alone the soul should depend, and in Him alone the spirit should find its confirmation. The other realm is better for man than this realm. In the other realm, the soul becomes aware of all being as well as the unity of being; and in this unity space and time disappear and the needs and considerations of this realm are forgotten. It is in the other realm that the forenoon with its brilliant and dazzling sun, the night with its widespread darkness, the heavens and the stars, and the earth and the mountains all become one; and the spirit which enters into awareness of this unity is happy and felicitous. That is the life which is the objective of this life. And that is the truth which illuminated with its light the soul of Muhammad. When revelation subsided for a while, it was this truth which inspired him anew to solicit and think of his Lord and to call men unto Him. The calling of men unto God demands the purification of oneself, the shunning of evil, and the bearing with patience all the harm and injury with which the caller may meet. It demands that he illumine the path of true knowledge for the benefit of ignorant mankind, that he never rebuke the inquisitive, and that he never reject the man in need or oppress the orphan. Sufficient unto him must be the fact that God had chosen him to convey His message to mankind. Let this message then be the permanent subject of his conversation. Sufficient unto him must be the fact that God had found him an orphan and given him shelter under the protection of his grandfather, `Abd al Muttalib, and his uncle, Abu Talib. Sufficient unto him must be the fact that God had found him in want and provided for him through his trustworthiness, and had shown him His favor by granting to him Khadijah, the companion of his youth, of his solitude and retreat, of his prophetic mission, and of love and kindness. Sufficient unto him must be the fact that God had found him erring and had guided him to the truth through His message. All this must be sufficient unto him. Let him now call to the truth and exert himself as heartily as he could. Such was the command of God to His Prophet whom He had chosen, whom He had not forsaken, and with whom He was not displeased.


Salat [Islamic Worship]

God taught His prophet how to worship. In turn Muhammad taught Khadijah, and both worshipped together. Besides their own daughters, 'Ali ibn Abu Talib, who was still a boy, lived with them in the same house. Ali's residence with Muhammad dated from the time that Makkah suffered from economic depression. Since Abu Talib had a very large family, Muhammad approached his uncle al `Abbas, who was the richest member of the Banu Hashim clan, saying, "Your brother Abu Talib has a very large family, and he is in a state of want as a result of this depression. Let us together lighten his burden and take into our homes some of his children." Al `Abbas agreed and took into his care Ja'far, and Muhammad took 'Ali. One day while Muhammad and Khadijah were worshipping together, 'Ali entered their room suddenly and found them kneeling and prostrating themselves and reciting together some of the Qur'anic revelations. Surprised at this behavior, the youth stood still at the door until the pair finished their prayer. To his question, "To whom did you prostrate yourselves?" Muhammad answered, "We have prostrated ourselves to God Who has sent me a prophet and Who has commanded me to call men unto Him." Muhammad then invited his nephew to worship God alone without associates, and to enter into the religion that He had revealed to His Prophet. He asked him to repudiate the idols, like al Lat and al `Uzza, and recited to him something from the Qur'an. `Ali was overwhelmed. The beauty and sublimity of the verses he heard gripped him. He pleaded for time to consult his father. After a tempestuous night, `Ali rushed to Muhammad and Khadijah and declared to them his conversion without consulting his father. The youth said, "God created me without consulting Abu Talib, my father. Why should I now consult him in order to worship God?" 'Ali was then the first youth to enter Islam. He was followed by Zayd ibn Harithah, Muhammad's client. [Arabic "mawla," the person standing under protection. This was the position of the manumitted slave. -Tr.] Islam remained limited to one house. Besides Muhammad himself, the converts of the new faith were his wife, his cousin, and his client. The problem of how to call Quraysh to the new faith continued to press for a solution. Considering how attached the Makkans were to the religion of their ancestors and to their idols, and how fiercely they resisted any innovation, there was no easy solution in sight.


The Conversion of Abu Bakr

Abu Bakr ibn Abu Quhafah al Taymi was a very close friend to Muhammad. He trusted Muhammad, whom he knew to be worthy of this trust, and whose truthfulness was, as far as Abu Bakr was concerned, beyond doubt. Outside Muhammad's own household, Abu Bakr was the first man to be called to the worship of God alone and to the repudiation of idols. He was the first outsider to whom Muhammad confided the vision he had seen and the revelations he had heard. Abu Bakr did not hesitate to respond favorably to the call of Muhammad and to believe therein. But what soul would hesitate to leave idol worship for the worship of God alone if it were open at all to the voice of truth? What soul would prefer the worship of stones to the worship of God if it were endowed with any kind of nobility and transcendent awareness? What soul would resist self-purification, giving of one's bounty and doing good to the orphan, if it had any degree of innate purity and goodness? Abu Bakr broadcast his conversion and new faith in God and in His Prophet among his companions. He was "a good man and a noble character, friendly to his people, and amiable and gentle. He enjoyed the noblest lineage in Quraysh and was the most knowledgeable of its clans and geneologies and its past and present history. Better than any other member of the tribe, he knew its strengths and weaknesses. By profession he was a trader, well known and honest. His people loved him and respected him for his knowledge, his honesty and his entertaining conversation [Unfortunately, in this as in many other cases, Haykal has quoted the author and placed his words between quotation marks but has not indicated the source. -Tr.]. Abu Bakr began to call unto Islam those of his people whom he trusted, and a number of them were converted. `Uthman ibn `Affan, `Abd al Rahman ibn `Awf, Talhah ibn `Ubayd Allah, Sa'd ibn Abu Waqqas, and al Zubayr .ibn al `Awwam were the first to respond favorably to his cause. Thereafter Abu `Ubaydah ibn al Jarrah was converted as well as a number of other Makkans. Whenever a man converted to Islam, he would seek the Prophet and declare his Islam to him and receive from him his instruction. Fearful of arousing the enmity and antagonism of Quraysh for their departure from idol worship, the new Muslims used to hide the fact of their conversion. They would go to the outskirts of Makkah in order to hold their prayers. For three years while Islam continued to spread among the Makkans, the Muslims continued to hide. In the meantime, the Qur'an was continually being revealed to Muhammad and this fortified the Muslims in their faith and confirmed them in it.

The personal example of Muhammad was the best support for the spread of his cause. He was merciful and charitable, humble yet manly, sweet of word yet just, giving to each his due yet full of compassion and sympathy for the weak, the orphan, the deprived, and the oppressed. In his night watch and prayer, in his chanting the Qur'an revealed to him, in his constant scrutinizing of the heavens and of the earth, he looked for the meaning of their existence and that of everything they contain; in his permanent orientation toward God alone, in his search for the meaning of existence and quintessence of life, deep within his own soul, he provided such an example for his followers that they became ever more convinced of their faith and ever more anxious to adhere to its precepts. The new Muslims did so notwithstanding the fact that they were repudiating the religion and practice of their ancestors as well as exposing themselves to injury by those who believed otherwise. Many noblemen and tradesmen from Makkah believed in Muhammad, but all were already known for their purity, honesty, kindness, and mercy. In addition, Muslim ranks included many converts from the weak, deprived, and oppressed classes of Makkah, The cause of God and His Prophet spread as men and women entered the faith wave after wave.


The Muslims and Quraysh

People talked about Muhammad and his message. The obdurate and hardhearted among the Makkans did not pay much attention to him, thinking that his cause would not go beyond what they had known of the causes of Quss, Umayyah, Waraqah, and others among the wise men and priests. They were certain men will eventually return to the religion of their ancestors, and that victory would finally belong to Hubal, al Lat, al `Uzza, Isaf, and Na'ilah. But they forgot that candid faith is invincible and that the truth must someday prevail.


Muhammad's Nearest Relatives

Three years after the revelation began, God commanded the Prophet to proclaim Islam openly and to bring His revelation to the public. The following verses were revealed: "Warn, O Muhammad, your nearest relatives. Extend your gentle protection to all those believers who follow in your footsteps and obey you. As for those who disobey, proclaim your repudiation of their doings .... Proclaim what you are commanded and turn away from the associationists." [Qur'an, 26:214-216; 15-94.]

Muhammad invited his kinsmen to a banquet in his home at which he tried to talk to them about Islam and to call them unto God. His uncle, Abu Lahab, interrupted his speech and asked the guests to stand up and leave. Muhammad invited them again on the morrow. After they had eaten he said, "I do not know of any man in Arab history who served his people better than I have served you. I have brought you the best of this world as well as of the next. My Lord has commanded me to call you unto Him. Who of you then would stand by me on this matter"? To this appeal, his kinsmen were unsympathetic and prepared to leave." `Ali, however, though only a boy, arose and said, "Prophet of God: I shall be your helper. Whosoever opposes you, I shall fight as mortal enemy." The Banu Hashim smiled at this; others laughed loudly. All present looked once at `Ali, once at Abu Talib, his father, and left full of ridicule for what they beheld.

After addressing his kinsmen, Muhammad now directed his call to the Makkans as a whole. One day he climbed to the top of al Safi and called, "O People of Quraysh !" Hearing his call, the Quraysh assembled around him and asked what was the matter. Muhammad answered, "tell me, O Men of Quraysh, if I were to tell you that I see a cavalry on the other side of the mountain, would you believe me?" They answered, "Indeed, for we trust you, and we have never known you to tell a lie." Muhammad said, "know then that I am a Warner and that I warn you of a severe punishment. O Banu `Abd al Muttalib ! O Banu `Abd Manaf ! O Banu Zuhrah ! O Banu Taym! O Banu Makhzum ! O Banu Asad ! God has commanded me to warn you, my nearest kinsmen, that I can guarantee to you no good on earth or in heaven unless you witness that there is no God but God." Abu Lahab, fat but quick of temper as he was, arose and said, "Woe to you on this day! Did you assemble us for this?"

Severely shocked, Muhammad looked toward his uncle for a moment. Soon the following verses were revealed: "Accursed be the hands of Abu Lahab and accursed may he be. Neither his property nor his wealth will save him. He shall burn in the flames of hell." [Qur'an, 111:1-3]


Islam and Freedom

Neither the rancor of Abu Lahab nor the antagonism of other opponents in Quraysh prevented the spread of the Islamic call among the people of Makkah. Hardly a day passed without some new person joining the faith. Those inclined toward asceticism accepted Islam more readily, as neither trade nor vested interest could prejudice their consideration of the call. Such men had observed that Muhammad depended upon Khadijah's wealth, but that he never allowed wealth to influence his religious judgment. The material considerations were always rejected wherever they ran counter to the dictates of love, compassion, friendship, and forgiveness. Indeed, revelation itself commanded that the will to wealth is a curse upon the spirit. Did it not say, "The pursuit of wealth has exhausted all your energies and preoccupied your life to the very end? But you will surely come to know-and you will surely come to know it well!-that your wealth will not avail a thing. Had you known it with certainty, you would have known of hell and you would have convinced yourselves of it. But it is on the Day of Judgment that you will be 'questioned concerning the moral worth of your deeds." [Qur'an, 102:1-8]. What is better than that to which Muhammad calls? He calls to freedom, to absolute and limitless freedom, to that freedom which is as dear to the Arab as his very life. Does he not liberate men from the bondage which the worship of other gods besides God imposes? Has he not destroyed all the obstacles that have once stood between man and God? Neither Hubal, al Lat, nor al `Uzza, neither the fire of the Zoroastrians nor the sun of the Egyptians, neither the astral bodies of the star worshippers, the apostles of Christ as princes of the church, nor any other human, angel or genii could stand between man and God. Before God and before Him alone is man responsible for his good and evil works. Man's works alone are his intercessor. On earthman's conscience alone is the final judge of his deeds, as it is its sole subject. Upon its everyday verdicts depends the last judgment of the person. What liberty is wider than this liberty to which Muhammad called men? Did Abu Lahab and his companions call to anything like it? Do they not call men to remain enslaved under superstitions so great that the light of truth and guidance can hardly penetrate and reach through them?


The Poets of Quraysh

Abu Lahab and Abu Sufyan, noblemen of Quraysh and lords of its commerce and entertainment, began to feel the threat which the call of Muhammad presented. They therefore decided to begin by ridiculing him and belying his prophet hood. Their first act was to tempt their poet friends to attack Muhammad in their poetry. It was then that Abu Sufyan ibn al Harith, `Amr ibn al `As, and `Abdullah ibn al Zib'ari launched their vituperative attacks in verse. A number of Muslim poets undertook to answer these attacks in kind, despite the fact that Muhammad hardly needed their efforts. Besides the poets, others advanced and asked Muhammad to perform some miracles with which to prove his prophethood. They challenged him to do as much as Moses or Jesus had done. They asked, "Why don't you change Mount Safa and Mount Marwah into gold? Why don't you cause the book of which you speak so much to fall down from heaven already written? Why don't you cause Gabriel to appear to all of us and speak to us as he spoke to you? Why don't you resurrect the dead and remove these mountains which bound and enclose the city of Makkah? Why don't you cause a water fountain to spring whose water is sweeter than that of Zamzam, knowing how badly your town needs the additional water supply?" The unbelievers did not stop at these demands for miracles. In ridicule, they asked, "Why doesn't your God inform you of the market prices of the future in order to help you and us in the trade of the morrow?" Whether serious or in ridicule, all these questions and demands were answered once and for alt by revelation. God commanded Muhammad, "Say: `I have no power whatever to bring advantage or avoid disadvantage. What God wills, that will happen. If it were given me to tell the future I would have used such knowledge to my own advantage. But I am only a man sent to warn you, and a messenger to convey a divine message that you may believe." [Qur'an, 7:188]

Indeed: Muhammad was only a warner and a messenger. How could they demand of him that which reason denies while he demanded of them only that which reason commends-nay, dictates and imposes? How could they demand of him that which no morality can tolerate, whereas he called them to goodness and genuine virtue? How could they ask him to perform miracles when the Book that was being revealed to him, which was his guide to the truth, was the end of all miracles? How could they ask him to prove his prophethood with miracles that they might then see whether or not they would follow him, while their so-called gods were dead and cold, utterly devoid of power to do anything, whether miracle or nonmiracle? How could they ask him to prove himself with miracles when they worshipped their stone and wooden gods without ever asking them to prove their divinity? If they had only once asked their gods to prove their divinity, they would have seen through their wood and stone and convinced themselves that they were no gods at all but dead, immobile, and unable to defend themselves against anyone.


Muhammad's Attack against the Idols

Muhammad did take the initiative of attacking their gods. Hitherto he had not mentioned them at all. Now, hs attacked them directly. To the Quraysh this was so serious that it aroused deep hatred. This man had become a threatening problem to them demanding definite solution. Until then they had not taken him seriously but had ridiculed him. When they assembled in Dar al Nadwah or around the Ka'bah and its idols and happened to mention him, they would speak lightly of him and ridicule his cause. Now that he had directly attacked their gods, ridiculed their worship as well as their ancestors', severely condemned Hubal, al Lat, al `Uzza and all other idols, the matter called for' something more than ridicule. It called for a fight plan and serious thinking of how to combat and counterattack. If this man were to succeed in converting the people of Makkah and in turning them against their old worship, what would happen to Makkan trade? What would remain of Makkah's religious eminence? These and like thoughts were ominous and called for the most careful strategy.

Abu Talib, Muhammad's uncle, had not joined the faith, but he continued to protect his nephew and let everyone know of his preparation to fight for him. Led by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, some noblemen of Quraysh went to Abu Talib and addressed him in these words: "O Abu Talib, your nephew has blasphemed our gods, attacked our religion, ridiculed our ideals and condemned our fathers for unbelief. Either you stop him or you relinquish your protection of him. Our faith which he attacks is equally your faith. Why don't you let us take care of him for you?" Abu Talib talked to them gently and discharged them. Muhammad continued his preaching and intensified his missionary activity. His followers multiplied. Once more Quraysh plotted against him. They went to Abu Talib and brought with them `Umarah ibn al Walid ibn al Mughirah, the most handsome youth in Quraysh. They asked Abu Talib to adopt `Umarah as his son and to let them handle Muhammad. Once more they were turned down. As Muhammad continued his missionary activities, they continued to plot. Finally, they went to Abu Talib for a third time saying, "O Abu Talib, you are an honorable elder among us. We have asked you to stop your nephew but you have not. By God, we cannot permit him to insult our fathers, to ridicule our ideals, and to castigate our gods. Either you stop him or we shall fight both you and him until one of us perishes in the process." To alienate them and to arouse their enmity was too much for Abu Talib, and yet he was neither prepared to join the faith of his nephew nor to betray him. What would he do? He called Muhammad and told him what had happened and pleaded with him: "Save me as well as yourself, and do not cause me to carry a burden I cannot bear."


The Logic of History

For a while Muhammad stood motionless in his place. It was a moment in which the history of being itself stopped without knowing which course to take. Whichever word this one man was about to say, would be a judgment of mankind. Should the world continue to wallow in its darkness? Should Zoroastrianism triumph over a corrupt and lifeless Christianity? Should paganism be allowed to raise its superstitious, rotten head? Or should he, Muhammad, proclaim to this world the unity of God, enlightening it with the light of truth, liberating the minds of men from the bondage of superstition, and raising the souls for communion with the Supernal Plenum? There was his uncle weakened by the people's opposition, unable to help or protect indeed, likely to betray him. And there were the Muslims, few and weak, unable to wage war or to resist a strong and well-equipped army such as Quraysh had. There was none to lend him support in this hour of dire need. Only the truth which he proclaimed and of which he was the advocate could console or rescue him. Nothing was left to count upon except his own faith and conviction of that truth. That alone was his whole force. Well, let it be. The other realm is better than this one. Let him then discharge his duty and convey his message. It is better to die faithful to the truth than to betray it or stammer in its cause. Refreshened and energized by the strength and determination of new resolution, he turned to his uncle and said, "O uncle! By God Almighty I swear, even if they should put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left that I abjure this cause, I shall not do so until God has vindicated it or caused me to perish in the process."

How great is the truth! And how sublime is faith in the truth! The old man was shaken to his depths when he heard the answer of Muhammad. It was his turn to stand motionless and speechless in front of this holy power and great will which had just spoken on behalf of a life above life. Choked with emotion at his uncle's request as well as at his own certainty of the course he was to follow, Muhammad got up to leave. For but a moment Abu Talib hesitated between the enmity of his people and the cause of his nephew. Immediately, he called Muhammad back. "Go forth, my nephew," he said, "and say what you will. By the same God I swear I shall never betray you to your enemies."


Banu Hashim Protects Muhammad against Quraysh

Abu Talib communicated his resolution to Banu Hashim and Banu al Muttalib and spoke to them about his nephew with great admiration and deep appreciation of the sublimity of Muhammad's position. He asked them all to protect Muhammad against the Quraysh. All of them pledged to do so except Abu Lahab, who declared openly his enmity to him and his withdrawal to the opposite camp. Undoubtedly, the tribal bond they shared with Muhammad and their traditional enmity with Banu Umayyah influenced their decision to stand by Muhammad. Tribal solidarity and politics, however, do not completely explain their new opposition to all Quraysh in a matter so grave as to require them to repudiate the faith and beliefs inherited from the fathers. The attitude of Muhammad toward them, his firm conviction, his calling them in kindness to the worship of God alone, and their awareness that among the tribes of Arabia there were certainly other religions besides their own all these factors caused them to realize that to their nephew and fellow tribesman belonged the right to speak out his views, just as Umayyah ibn Abu al Salt and Waraqah ibn Nawfal and others had done before him. If Muhammad were saying the truth and they did not think that that was the case truth will certainly prevail, and they stand to share in the glory of its victory. If, on the other hand, Muhammad was not telling the truth, then people would pass his claim by as they had other claims before. In this case it would not destroy their traditions, and there was, therefore, no reason why they should betray him to his enemies and allow them to kill him.


Persecution of the Muslims by Quraysh

From whatever harm might come from Quraysh Muhammad took refuge behind his people. From the worries he generated within himself he took refuge in the person of Khadijah. With her faith and great love she was for him a refreshing source of joy. She supported him against every symptom of weakness or despondency generated by the harm his enemies had inflicted against him or against his followers. In fact, ever since Muhammad made public cause of his revelations, Quraysh knew no peace, and the tranquility of earlier days vanished. Instigated by the Quraysh, every clan and tribe began to attack its Muslim members to dissuade them from their faith. One unbeliever threw his Abyssinian slave, Bilal, onto the sand under the burning sun, laid a heavy stone on his chest and left him there to die, for no reason except his insistence upon Islam. Bearing himself gallantly under this torture, Bilal kept on repeating, "God is one, God is one." Abu Bakr saw him, bought him from his master and set him free. Indeed, Abu Bakr bought many of the slaves and clients who were being thus tortured by the unbelievers. Among these there was even a slave woman whom Abu Bakr had bought from `Umar ibn al Khattab before the tatter's conversion. One woman is known to have been tortured to death because of her attachment to Islam and her refusal to return to the old faith. Muslims of pure Arab blood were beaten and subjected to all sorts of maltreatment and contemptuous humiliation. Even Muhammad did not escape, despite the protection of Banu Hashim and Banu al Muttalib. Umm Jamil, Abu Lahab's wife, used to throw the refuse from her house onto Muhammad's door. All Muhammad could do was simply to remove it. While Muhammad was praying near the Ka'bah, Abu Lahab threw on him the entrails of a goat sacrificed to one of the gods; and Muhammad could only go to his daughter Fatimah for her to clean him and wash the dirt off his clothes. This abuse was all in addition to the terrible vituperation and vile calumnies the unbelievers directed against the Muslims on every occasion and in every quarter. Such persecution continued for a long time, but it only confirmed the Muslims in their faith and challenged them to sacrifice everything for the sake of their convictions.


Muslim Patience

This period of Muhammad's life is one of the noblest and greatest pages of human history. Neither he nor his followers sought wealth or reputation, power or sovereignty. Rather, they were seekers after the truth and believers therein. To those who did harm him, Muhammad prayed for guidance, for liberation from the yoke of vile paganism and from its immorality and villainy. It was for this noble spiritual objective that Muhammad suffered persecution. The poets insulted him; the tribe plotted against him, threw stones at his house, threatened his folks and followers, and came close to killing him near the Ka'bah. The more they persecuted, the more patience and resolve Muhammad showed in his mission. The believers repeated and were encouraged by Muhammad's pledge that he would not abjure this cause even if given both sun and moon. Great sacrifices became small, and death itself became a welcome alternative. One must appreciate the strength of these men's faith and the depth of their commitment at a time when the new religion was not even complete and the Qur'an was not yet fully revealed. No doubt Muhammad's gentleness, good character, truthfulness, resoluteness, strength of will, and conviction were contributing factors. But there were other factors besides.

Muhammad lived in a free country very much like a republic. As far as social eminence and nobility of lineage, he ranked among the highest and best. Muhammad did not have much wealth, but he had all he needed, and so did Banu Hashim. To them belonged the sidanah of the Ka'bah and the siqayah and all that they wished by way of religious titles. Therefore, Muhammad stood in no need of money, prestige, political power, or religious eminence. In this respect, Muhammad was quite different from the prophets that preceded him. Moses, for instance, was born in Egypt when Pharaoh was worshipped by its people as God. It was he who called to them, "I am your supreme God." [Qur'an, 79:24]. The priesthood assisted Pharaoh in tyrannizing over the people and in exploiting them. The revolution that Moses led by command of his Lord was a revolution against the political as well as the religious order. Did Moses not seek to reduce Pharaoh to the equal of the most ordinary peasant in front of God, even though that peasant was of the meanest class who drew their water from the Nile with the shadoof? Pharaoh's divinity, Moses thought, as well as the social order on which it stood, must all be destroyed. The revolution must first be political. Consequently, from the very beginning the Mosaic call was met by Pharaoh with all-out war, and miracles were necessary that the Mosaic call might be believed by the rank and file. When, for instance, Moses threw his stick on the ground, it became a living serpent devouring what Pharaoh's magicians had created. These miracles, however, turned out to be futile, for Moses had to flee from his country of birth. His flight was assisted by another miracle, that of the splitting of the waters of the sea. As for Jesus, he was born in Nazareth, in Palestine, a province under the yoke of Roman colonialism. He called men to patience in their suffering of injustice, to forgiveness after repentance and to forms of love and mercy which the rulers regarded as tantamount to rebellion against their tyranny. The miracles of resurrecting the dead, healing the sick, and all that Jesus did with the support of the Holy Spirit were necessary for the success of his cause. In their essence, the doctrines of Jesus and Muhammad were built on the same premises and led to the same conclusions, with differences in detail not relevant for our present discussion. The point is that these various factors, especially the political among them gave to the call of Jesus the orientation it took. As for Muhammad, since his circumstances were what we have just seen, his message was spiritual and rational. At every stage of its development, it rested on a foundation of truth, goodness, and beauty for their own sakes. Because of its distance from any political struggle, Muhammad's message did not disturb the republican regime of Makkah in the least, nor was it disturbed thereby.


The Call of Muhammad and Modern Scientific Inquiry

The reader may be surprised by our emphasis on the similarity of Muhammad's teaching to the methods of modern science. The scientific method demands that were one to undertake an investigation, he should suspend his personal views, beliefs and doctrines. It demands that he begins his study by observation, classification, comparison, experimentation, and then draw his conclusions from these scientific observations as premises. A conclusion reached through this method is scientific and, by the same token, it remains susceptible to further scrutiny and investigation. It remains valid as long as further scientific study has not disproved any one of the premises on which it is based. This scientific method is the highest human achievement in the cause of free thought. And yet this very method is none other than that of Muhammad, the very foundation of his cause. How did his followers become convinced of it? They repudiated all their previous beliefs had began to concentrate their thoughts on what lay before them. But what was before them? What were the facts of religious life in Arabia? Every one of the Arab tribes had its own idols; but which one was true and which false? Besides, within Arabia as well as in the surrounding countries, there were Christians, Jews, Sabeans, Zoroastrian fire-worshippers, and others who worshipped the sun. Whose faith was true and whose false?


The Essence of Muhammad's call

Suppose we lay all this aside and completely avoid its influence upon our minds and hearts. Suppose we cut ourselves loose from every view and every doctrine we have previously entertained. And suppose we observe and consider. The first truth to stand out is that every being is somehow connected with all other beings. In the case of man, the clans, the tribes, and nations are obviously interconnected. Man is also connected with the animals and the world of things. This earth of ours is connected with the sun, the moon, and all the heavenly bodies.

Necessary and immutable laws regulate and govern all these interconnections. Neither may the sun overtake the moon nor the night overtakes the day. If any one being in the universe were to alter or change these laws, the cosmos itself would change and would no more be what it is. If the sun, for instance, failed to provide the earth with light and heat and thus violate the laws by which nature has been running for millions of years, the earth and the sky would not be what they are. As long as this does not happen it is not possible for the totality of the cosmos to hold itself together except by a moving spirit, a spirit from which it has arisen and has developed and to which it must return. This spirit alone is that to which man should be subject. Everything else in this universe is subject to that spirit just as man is. Man, the cosmos, space, and time are therefore a unity; and this spirit is the origin and substance of this unity. To this spirit alone therefore belongs worship. To this spirit alone all minds and hearts should be oriented. Everywhere in this universe we should be able by reason and meditation to discover this spirit's eternal laws. Hence, whatever men worship besides God be it idols, kings, Pharaohs, fire, or sunrise a falsehood and an illusion unworthy of man, of human reason, of the human capacity to discover the laws of God through examination of the creation with which God has endowed man.

That is the essence of the message of Muhammad as the early Muslims knew it. It was conveyed to them by Muhammad as a revelation cast into such sublime form that it is still regarded as a miracle. This revelation has combined the truth of content with the perfection of form. Upon contact with it, the souls of the Muslims became ennobled, and their hearts were moved to seek communion with the noble spirit of Muhammad. Muhammad led them to the realization that good works constitute the road of felicity and that men shall be rewarded for their works on the day they complete in piety their duties in this world, i.e. when every soul shall receive its due. "And whosoever does an atom's weight of good shall be rewarded therefore, and whosoever does an atom's weight of evil shall be punished therefore." [Qur'an, 99:7-8]

What great and ennobling respect for human reason! What sweeping destruction of all the impediments that stands in the way of human reason ! Sufficient is it to man to understand this for him to appreciate it, to believe in it, and to realize what it demands of him to rise to the highest level of humanity. As long as one takes his stand on the side of reason, every sacrifice demanded by such heights seems easy.


The Conversion of Hamzah

The majestic stand of Muhammad and of his followers convinced Banu Hashim and Banu al Muttalib to strengthen their protection of him. Once, on encountering Muhammad on the road, Abu Jahl insulted him and abused his new religion. Muhammad did not answer him and walked away. Hamzah, Muhammad's uncle and brother-in-nursing, still followed the religion of Quraysh and was very strong and fear inspiring. He was an addicted hunter who would circumambulate the Ka'bah every time he returned from a hunting trip and before he entered his home. As he entered the city on the day that Abu Jahl insulted Muhammad and learned of what had happened to his nephew, he became furious, and went straight to the Ka'bah. Upon entering the Mosque, he did not greet anyo a as he used to do. Rather, he went straight to Abu Jahl and hit him very hard with his bow. Some members of Banu Makhzum rose to the help of Abu Jahl, but Abu Jahl pushed them aside. He acknowledged that he had insulted Muhammad and then decided that the dispute had better be cut short rather than allowed to spread. Hamzah then declared his conversion to Islam, took the oath of allegiance to Muhammad and promised to sacrifice everything for the sake of God.


Delegation of `Utbah ibn Rabi ah

Undaunted by any harm or injury that befell them, their faith unshaken, the Muslims kept on increasing in numbers and strength. They proclaimed their faith loudly and performed their prayers publicly all to the alarm of Quraysh, who were at a loss what to do next. For a moment they thought that they could get rid of Muhammad by satisfying what they took to be his personal ambitions. Obviously they forgot the greatness of the Islamic call, the purity of its spiritual essence, and its noble transcendence of any political partisanship. `Utbah ibn Rabi'ah, one of the distinguished leaders of Arabia, convinced the Quraysh at one of their community meetings to delegate him to approach Muhammad with a number of alternative offerings of which, he thought, Muhammad would surely accept one. He therefore went to Muhammad and said, "O Nephew, you certainly enjoy among us great eminence and noble lineage, and you have brought about a great issue and divided your people. Listen to me for I am about to make several offers to you, certain as I am that one of them will prove satisfactory to you. If by bringing about the conflict you did, you have sought to achieve some wealth, know that we are prepared to give you of our wealth until you become the richest man among us. If, on the other hand, you desired honor and power, we would make you our chief and endow you with such power that nothing could be done without your consent. Even if you wanted to be a king, we should not hesitate to crown you king over us. Finally, if you are unable to cure yourself of the visions that you have been seeing, we shall be happy to seek for you at our expense all the medical service possible until your health is perfectly restored." When he finished, Muhammad recited to him, the surah "al Sajdah." [Qur'an, 32].`Utbah listened attentively to the divine recitation. Facing him was a man devoid of all ambition for wealth, prestige, honor, power, or sovereignty. Neither was he sick. Facing him was indeed a man telling the truth, calling to the good, answering him with arguments yet more soundly and sublimely expressed than any he had ever heard. When Muhammad finished, `Utbah returned to Quraysh spellbound by the beauty and sublimity of what he had seen and heard and by the greatness of this man and his eloquence. The Quraysh were obviously not happy with this turn, nor did they agree with `Utbah's opinion that they should leave Muhammad for all the Arabs together to deal with; they would thereby reap a harvest of pride in the event that Muhammad wins, or enjoy an effortless victory in the event he loses, In fact, Quraysh resumed their attacks upon Muhammad and his followers, intensified their aggression, and inflicted upon his companions all sorts of injuries from which Muhammad was saved only through the protection of Abu Talib, Banu Hashim, and Banu al Muttalib.


Emigration to Abyssinia

Makkan persecution of the Muslims increased in intensity. Many Muslims now became so subject to torture and murder that Muhammad instructed them to disperse throughout the world. When they asked where they should go, he advised them to escape to Abyssinia, the Christian kingdom-where "a king rules without injustice, a land of truthfulness-until God leads us to a way out of our difficulty." Fearful of Makkan persecution and desirous of worshipping God in peace and freedom, a number of Muslims emigrated to Abyssinia at Muhammad's advice. The first group to emigrate included eleven men and four women. After secretly leaving Makkah, they arrived in Abyssinia where they lived under the protection of the Negus until they heard that the Muslims in Makkah had become secure against Quraysh's attacks, as we shall see a little later. When upon return they found the Quraysh's persecution stronger than it ever was before, they emigrated once more to Abyssinia, this time about eighty men strong, not counting women and children. This larger group, of Muslims lived in Abyssinia until after the Prophet's emigration to Yathrib. Their emigration to Abyssinia is usually referred to as "the first emigration in Islam."


Quraysh's Delegation to the Negus

It is perfectly appropriate for the biographer of Muhammad to ask whether the purpose of this emigration undertaken by the Muslims at the advice and command of Muhammad was merely to escape from the pagans of Makkah and their persecution and harm. Or was it dictated by an Islamic political strategy by which Muhammad sought to realize a higher objective? These questions are indeed proper when we consider that the whole history of the Arab Prophet confirms ever more clearly that he was a profound and farsighted statesman in addition to being the carrier of the divine message and a man of unrivaled discipline and magnanimity. What makes this matter especially questionable is the report that the Makkans were so upset at this exodus of the Muslims to Abyssinia that they immediately sent a delegation to the Negus carrying precious gifts in order to bring about the emigrants' extradition and return to Makkah. Abyssinia, as well as its Negus, were all Christians and, therefore, there was no fear that they might follow the religion of Muhammad. Did the Makkans then fear that the Negus' protecion of the Muslims might provide support for the cause of Muhammad's religion within Arabia? Or did they think that the Muslim emigrants would one day return greater in numbers, wealth, and power in order to wage a retaliatory war against them?

The two ambassadors, `Amr ibn al `As and `Abdullah ibn Abu Rabi'ah, presented to the Negus and his patriarch their precious gifts and asked for permission to have the Muslim emigrants extradited and sent back to Makkah. They said to the Negus, "O King! A number of ignoble plebeians from Makkah have taken refuge in your county. They have apostasized from the religion of their people and have not joined your religion. They follow a new religion, known neither to us nor to you, which they created. The leading noblemen of Makkah, who are their parents, uncles, and relatives, have sent us to you to ask for their return. Their elders at home are better judges of the differences between them" The two ambassadors had already obtained the approval of the patriarch for extradition without prior reference of the matter to the Negus. Apparently, the Makkan gifts to the patriarch were instrumental in obtaining this summary decision.. The Negus, however, refused to concur in the judgment of his patriarch until he had had a chance to hear the refugees plead their own case. He sent after them and asked, "What is this new religion which caused you to separate yourselves from your people, a religion which is different from mine as well as from any other of the known religions?"


The Muslims' Answer to the Ambassadors' Claims

Ja'far ibn Abu Talib rose and said in answer, "O King! We were in a state of ignorance and immorality, worshipping idols, eating carrion, committing all sorts of iniquity. We honored no relative and assisted no neighbor. The strong among us exploited the weak. Then God sent us a prophet, one of our own people, whose lineage, truthfulness, loyalty, and purity were well known to us. He called us to worship God alone and to repudiate all the stones and idols which we and our ancestors used to worship. He commanded us always to tell the truth, to remain true to trust and promise, to assist the relative, to be good neighbors, to abstain from blood and things forbidden, and to avoid fornication, perjury, and false witness. He commanded us not to rob the wealth of the orphan or falsely to accuse the married woman. He ordered us to worship God alone and never to associate any other being with Him, to hold prayers, to fast, and to pay the zakat (the five pillars of Islam were here enumerated and explained). We believed in him and what he brought to us from God and followed him in what he enjoined and forbade. Our people, however, tried to sway us away from our religion and persecuted us and inflicted upon us great suffering that we might re-enter into the immoral practices of old. As they vanquished and berated us unjustly and made life intolerable for us in Makkah, we chose you and your country and came thither to live under your protection in justice and peace." Thereupon the Negus asked, "Will you show me some of the revelation which your Prophet claims to have come to him from God?" Ja'far answered, "Yes!" and recited to the Negus the surah of Mary from its beginning until the following verses

"Mary, therefore, pointed to the child as her only answer. Her people asked, `How can we inquire of an infant in the cradle?' At this, Jesus spoke, `I am the servant of God to whom He has given the Book and whom He has blessed and commissioned with prophethood; whom He has enjoined with holding the prayer and giving the zakat as long as he lives. My mother is innocent and I am neither unjust nor evil. Peace be upon me on the day I was born, on the day I shall die, and on the day I shall be resurrected." [Qur'an, 19:29-33]


Answers of the Negus and the Patriarchs

When the patriarchs heard this statement confirming as it did the message of the Evangel, they were pleasantly surprised and said: "These words must have sprung from the same fountainhead from which the words of our master Jesus Christ have sprung." The Negus then said, "What you have just recited and that which was revealed to Moses must have both issued from the same source. Go forth into my kingdom; I shall not extradite you at all." On the following day, `Amr ibn al `As returned to the Negus and pleaded, "There is another side to the Muslims' new religion in which they judge Jesus, Son of Mary, in totally different but condemnable terms." The Negus sent after the Muslims, brought them back into his presence and asked them to tell him more about Jesus. The same Ja'far ibn Abu Talib answered for them, "Our judgment of Jesus is exactly the same as that which was revealed to our Prophet; namely, that Jesus is the servant of God, His Prophet, His spirit, His command given unto Mary, the innocent virgin." The Negus drew a line on the floor with his cane and said with great joy, "Between your religion and ours there is really no more difference than this line." Thus the Negus was convinced, after hearing the two parties, that the Muslims not only acknowledged Jesus and Christianity as true religion but worshipped the same God as well. The Muslims found under his protection the peace and tranquility they sought, and lived in his country until they found cause to return while Muhammad was still in Makkah. Apparently they had been misinformed that Quraysh's antagonism to the Muslims had subsided. When they discovered that the Makkans were still persecuting Muhammad and his followers, they returned to Abyssinia, this time eighty strong besides women and children. The question remains, however, whether these two emigrations were merely for escape from injury or were, at least in the foresight of Muhammad alone, devised for a political motive which the historian ought to investigate and clarify.


The Muslims and Abyssinian Christianity

The historian may certainly ask why Muhammad trusted that his companions and followers would go to a country whose religion was Christianity, a scriptural religion, and whose prophet was Jesus, whom Islam acknowledged as prophet and in whose message it concurred, without fearing that they might be exposed to abjuring their faith even though in favor of one different from that of Quraysh. How did he trust that his followers would remain faithful and loyal when Abyssinia was a far more fertile and affluent country than that of Quraysh? One of the Muslims that emigrated to Abyssinia did, in fact convert to Christianity, thus establishing that the danger was real. It was natural for Muhammad to have felt such fears, especially since Muhammad, himself, was still weak and his old followers were still in great doubt as to his ability to protect them or to come to their rescue. Assuming, therefore, Muhammad's great intelligence and foresight, -his charity, kindness and compassion, it is most likely that such fears must have stirred within his soul. But he felt absolutely secure in this regard. Islam was on that day, as it was to remain throughout the Prophet's life, absolutely pure and unspoiled by internal doubts, divisions, and deviations. On the other hand, Abyssinian Christianity, like the Christianity of Najran, al Hirah, and al Sham, was mixed up with devious doctrines brought into the faith by the apotheosizers of Mary, the apotheosizers of Jesus, and the opponents of both. The Muslims, drawing directly from the pure fountainhead of prophetic revelation, could not possibly stand in any danger of being swayed by any such confusion.


The Spirit in Islam

In actual fact, most religions did not survive for a number of generations without becoming polluted by some kind of idolatry. Even if it were not of the same ignoble kind prevalent in early days in the Arabian Peninsula, it was still some form of idolatry. Islam is diametrically opposed to idolatry in any form or kind. From the earliest days of church history Christianity has accorded to the priesthood a special status in the religion itself; Islam has never given such position to anyone. On the contrary, Islam both condemned the priesthood and transcended it. Then as now, Islam has remained precisely the religion which enables the human soul to rise to the greatest heights. It has not tolerated any link between man and God except a person's own piety and good works and his wishing for his fellow men that which he wishes for himself. Nothing neither idols nor priesthood, diviners nor officiators-could prevent the human soul from rising to a consciousness of unity with ultimate reality and to a unity of good will and good works, and, thereby, from winning its great reward with God. The human soul! That spirit which is from God! That spirit which is connected to eternal time! That spirit, which as long as it does the good, is not separated from God by anything whatever and is subject to no being whatever other than God. The rich, the mighty, and the evil can all lay hold upon the body. They can torture it and prevent it from realizing its passions and pleasures. They can even destroy it and rob it of its life. But they can never reach the soul as long as that person wants the soul to rise above matter, above power, and above time to link itself with ultimate, total reality! Only on the Day of Judgment will the human soul receive the punishment or reward that is its due. On that Day no father may take the place of his son, and no son may replace his father. On that Day neither the wealth of the rich, the strength of the mighty, nor the argument of the eloquent will avail them. Good works will be the only witness and the only defense for or against their author. On that Day, all being its eternal past as well as its eternal future will stand as one integral unit. On that Day none will be done an injustice, and none will receive aught except his due.

How could Muhammad fear that his companions would abjure the spiritual meaning and values which he had so well inculcated upon their hearts? Why should he fear that they might be diverted from this conviction and faith when his example was ever present to them in his own person, so beloved of them that they cherished him more than themselves, their families and people? How could there be any chance of their deviation from the faith when Muhammad's resolution not to abjure the cause even if they should place the sun in his right hand and the moon in his left hand is a living reality, ever present to their minds? How could they abjure their faith when the spirit of Muhammad filled their being with the light of conviction, wisdom, justice, goodness, truth, and beauty; when their character and ethos had been molded by Muhammad's humility, charity, loving kindness, and compassion? Muhammad felt at ease toward the emigration of his companions to Abyssinia. The religious freedom and security the emigrants enjoyed under the Negus had caused the Quraysh no little embarrassment. That the Muslims were free among total strangers but persecuted by their own relatives, despite the closest bonds of family and tribe, must have been an annoying spectacle for Quraysh. It must have hurt their tribal pride to see their fellow tribesmen enjoy security and peace after having been subjected to all kinds of injustice and injury. After the victims had suffered much despair and helplessness, they began to see in suffering and patience, although this view runs counter to the logic of Islam, a very rapprochement to God, an attunement of themselves to His mercy.