Story 65: The Words Which Made Abu Talib Strong

Not concerning himself with the consequences, the Holy Prophet (S) resisted against Quraysh and continued on his path with a clear mind towards his purpose and with firm endurance. He continued humiliating and offending their idols, considering the idolators to be feeble-minded, and he accused their ancestors of aberration and misconduct. The heads of the Quraysh could not tolerate these provocations and raised the case with his uncle Abu Talib, asking him either to personally keep his nephew under control or to let Quraysh confront him directly.

Abu Talib tried to calm down Quraysh in a conciliatory manner, but the situation gradually worsened and became intolerable for them. Muhammad (S) was the common talk of every household. Whenever two people met, they started discussing him restlessly, mentioning his words and conduct pertaining to the joining of followers to his religion, either individually or in groups. Thus, it did not bode well for them to wait. They all agreed on trying to stem this looming disaster at any cost. They decided to talk to Abu Talib once again about this matter, but this time, more serious and determined.

The Chiefs and leaders of Quraysh came to Abu Talib and said, “We asked you to put a stop to your nephew, but you did not pay us any heed. Because of your seniority and the high esteem we have for you, we did not disturb him before raising the case with you. However, we cannot tolerate any longer that he abuses our gods, mocks us, and considers our ancestors astray and ignorant. Therefore, we are here to give an ultimatum. If you do not stop your nephew, we will not respect you, nor take your seniority into consideration any longer, and we will fight against you as well as your nephew until one of the groups is wiped out.

This alarming ultimatum made Abu Talib very concerned. He had never seen before such brusque words from Quraysh. It showed that Abu Talib could not endure resisting or fighting Quraysh. If the situation was to become dangerous, he and his nephew along with his family would be destroyed. He therefore sent somebody to the Messenger of Allah (S), conveyed their message to him and said, “Now that the situation has reached this point, keep quiet, for we both are in danger.”

The Holy Prophet (S) saw that the ultimatum had left a strong impression on Abu Talib. In reply, the Prophet (S) uttered a sentence which made Abu Talib forget all the words of Quraysh forever. He (S) said, “Dear Uncle, I am pleased to say that, even if they place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand so that I might desist from propagating my faith and pursuing my goal, I would never give up until Allah’s religion is revealed or lay down my life for its sake.”

His eyes filled with tears, the Holy Prophet (S) made this statement and stood up to leave.

He (S) had not taken but a few steps before his uncle called him (S) to return and said, “By Allah! I will not withdraw my support for you until my last breath!”1

  • 1. Sirah Ibn Hisham, v. 1. p. 265.