وَأَنذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ الْأَقْرَبِينَThe Messenger (saw) asked his cousin Ali (ra) to prepare a banquet and invite the leaders of his clan (Banu Abd al-Muttalib). Ali (ra) cooked the meal and invited about forty leading men. The men however left abruptly on the first occasion before the Prophet could address them. He invited them again and after eating said:
"And warn, (O Muhammad), your closest kindred." (Qur'an 26:214)
ِيا بَنِي عَبْدِ المُطَلِبْ، إنِي والله ما أَعْلَمُ شَابًا فِي العَرَبِ جاءَ قَوْمَهُ بأفْضَلَ مِمَا جِئتُكُم به، قَدْ جِئْتُكُم بخيّرِ الدُنيا والآخِرَة، وقَدْ أَمَرَنِي اللهُ تعالى أن أَدْعُوكُم إليهِ، فأيُكُم يؤازِرُنِي على هَذَا الأمرAll those in attendance rejected his offer, arguing they were unable to undertake all out conflict with other tribes, although the Messenger's uncle was happy to provide him protection (ijaarah) should he wish to suggest this to the other clans.
"O Bani Abd al-Muttalib, I don't know of any Arab youth who came to his people with a notion better than I came with.
I came to you with the goodness of this world and the hereafter. Allah (swt) ordered me to call you to Him.
Who is going to support me regarding this matter. (Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 322, Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 1, p. 259)
خَرَجَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم حَتَّى صَعِدَ الصَّفَا فَهَتَفَ " يَا صَبَاحَاهْ " . فَقَالُوا مَنْ هَذَا الَّذِي يَهْتِفُ قَالُوا مُحَمَّدٌ . فَاجْتَمَعُوا إِلَيْهِ فَقَالَ " يَا بَنِي فُلاَنٍ يَا بَنِي فُلاَنٍ يَا بَنِي فُلاَنٍ يَا بَنِي عَبْدِ مَنَافٍ يَا بَنِي عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ " فَاجْتَمَعُوا إِلَيْهِ فَقَالَ " أَرَأَيْتَكُمْ لَوْ أَخْبَرْتُكُمْ أَنَّ خَيْلاً تَخْرُجُ بِسَفْحِ هَذَا الْجَبَلِ أَكُنْتُمْ مُصَدِّقِيَّ " . قَالُوا مَا جَرَّبْنَا عَلَيْكَ كَذِبًا . قَالَ " فَإِنِّي نَذِيرٌ لَكُمْ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ عَذَابٍ شَدِيدٍ "When this attempt to call the nation (qawm) also failed to gain support, the Messenger (saw) focused increasingly on the leaders. Most of the companions who converted in the early years of Islam heard rumours of the Messenger's discussions with tribal leaders, asking they collectively reorient society according to a new worldview based on the divine. He critiqued fundamental polytheistic values of Meccan society, ancestralism and socio-economic practices.
"The Messenger of Allah (saw) set off till he climbed Safa and called loudly: Be on your guard!
They said: Who is it calling aloud?
They said: Muhammad.
They gathered around him, and he said: O sons of so and so, O sons of so and so, O sons of Abd Manaf, O sons of Abd al-Muttalib, and they gathered around him.
He (the Messenger) said: If I were to inform you that there were horsemen emerging out of the foot of this mountain, would you believe me?
They said: We have not experienced any lie from you.
He (saw) said: Well, I am a warner to you before a severe torment. " (Muslim 208)
وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ سَمِعْتُ قَوْلَ الْكَهَنَةِ، وَقَوْلَ السَّحَرَةِ، وَقَوْلَ الشُّعَرَاءِ، فَمَا سُمِعْتُ مِثْلَ هَؤُلَاءِ الْكَلِمَاتِ، فَهَلُمَّ يَدَكَ أُبَايِعْكَ عَلَى الْإِسْلَامِ. فَبَايَعَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ لَهُ: وَعَلَى قَوْمِكَ؟ فَقَالَ: وَعَلَى قَوْمِيAn interesting part here is the last question "Does this bay'ah include your tribe?" because it along with many other evidences confirms the Messenger (saw) would focus his dawa to collectives, societies and communities and not individuals.
"By Allah, I have heard the speech of clergymen, sorcerers and poets, but I have not heard similar words. Give me your hand to pledge allegiance (bay'ah) to you.
The Messenger (saw) took his bay'ah and said: 'Does this bay'ah include your tribe?'
He answered, 'Yes, it is the bay'ah of my tribe.'" (Ibn Kathir, al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah, Vol. 1, p. 452)
Abdullah bin Abbas (ra) narrates that when Abu Talib was about to leave the world, a group from the Quraysh came to see him. Among this group was Abu Jahl. They complained to Abu Talib about what his nephew was saying and doing, including insulting their gods. They expressed the wish that Abu Talib call for the Messenger and forbid him from what he was doing.After ten years of repeated dawa in Mecca, the Messenger (saw) was faced with repeated rejection by Quraysh and following the death of his uncle Abu Talib, the Messenger (saw) started approaching tribesseeking their mana'ah (protection) and nusrah (support) for Islam.
When Abu Talib sent for the Messenger, he promptly arrived and entered the house. When the Messenger (saw) came to the room, there remained a space for one person between the group of the Quraysh and Abu Talib.
Abu Jahl feared that if the Messenger occupied the empty space next to his uncle, Abu Talib may become more lenient. Therefore, he jumped to occupy the place, leaving no place for the Messenger near his uncle. For this reason, the Messenger (saw) was forced to sit near the door.
Addressing the Messenger (saw) Abu Talib said, 'Oh my nephew! Why are your people complaining that you insult their gods and tell them so many things?'
Upon this, those present started saying many things.
The Messenger (saw) finally addressed his uncle saying, "Oh my uncle! All I want these people to do is to accept a single statement that would make all the Arabs serve them and make all the non-Arabs pay them taxes."
Taken aback by this, they exclaimed, "Only one statement! By the oath of your father, we are prepared to accept ten such statements! What is this statement?"
Abu Talib also asked, "Oh my nephew! What is this statement?"
The Messenger (saw) replied, "Laa Ilaaha Illallah (There is none worthy of worship but Allah)."
Upon hearing this, they hastily stood up and brushing down their clothing, they said, "Does he make all the gods into one god... This is something very strange." (Ahmed, Nisa'i, Tirmidhi, Ibn Abi Hatim)
بِأَبِي أَنْتَ وَأُمّي، هَؤُلَاءِ غُرَرٌ فِي قَوْمِهِمْThey would also ask about the number of fighters, the protection they could provide, their forefathers, previous wars etc to evaluate their ability to defend and propagate Islam. If they were able to carry the responsibility, the Messenger (saw) would present the message of Islam and ask them for protection and support.
"O Prophet, they are with no respected clan among their people." (Sohili, al-Rawd al-Aneef, Vol. 4, p. 35)
فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ كَيْفَ الْعَدَدُ فِيكُمْ ... كَيْفَ الْمَنَعَةُ فِيكُمْ؟ ... كَيْفَ الْحَرْبُ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَ عَدُوّكُمْ؟… فَتَقَدّمَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ: "أَدْعُو إلَى شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لَا إلَهَ إلّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَنّي رَسُولُ اللهِ وَإِلَى أَنْ تُؤْوُونِي، وَتَنْصُرُونِيIn some cases, people said we have no mana'ah and we could not afford to fight the Arabs, Persia and Rome, so the Messenger (saw) and Abu Bakr (ra) would leave them. Once the Messenger (saw) met such people, so he left them without presenting Islam nor himself. When leaving, people asked him:
"Abu Bakr asked (the tribe), 'what are your numbers? … Can you provide mana'ah? … How does war look like with your enemies?' … (after the Messenger was assured they could provide the mana'ah) … The Messenger (saw) then said, 'I call to testify there is no god but Allah, with no association with Him; I am the Messenger of Allah. I ask you to provide me with shelter and support.'" (Sohili, al-Rawd al-Aneef, Vol. 4, p. 36)
قَالُوا: وَمَنْ أَنْتَ؟ قَالَ: أَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ. ثُمَّ انْطَلَقَThis gives the impression that the message of Islam is for the societies. The Messenger was about to leave without even introducing himself when he found them unable to support his message. This did not mean they were not important, rather they were not the target during this stage.
"And who are you?' He replied, 'I am the Messenger of Allah.' Then he departed." (Ibn Kathir, al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah, Vol. 2, p. 160; Darami, al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah)
فَقُلْنَا: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ عَلَامَ نُبَايِعُكَ؟ قَالَ " تُبَايِعُونِي عَلَى السَّمْعِ وَالطَّاعَةِ فِي النَّشَاطِ وَالْكَسَلِ، وَالنَّفَقَةِ فِي الْعُسْرِ وَالْيُسْرِ، وَعَلَى الْأَمْرِ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ والنَّهي عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ، وَأَنْ تقولوا في الله لا تخافوا فِي اللَّهِ لَوْمَةَ لَائِمٍ وَعَلَى أَنْ تَنْصُرُونِي فَتَمْنَعُونِي إِذَا قَدِمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ مِمَّا تَمْنَعُونَ مِنْهُ أَنْفُسَكُمْAll of these elements demonstrates the dawa of the Messenger (saw) focused on societies through influential tribal leaders who could change their nation.
"We (al-Ansar) said, 'O Messenger of Allah, for what are we to give bay'ah to you?'
He replied, 'Give me bay'ah for obedience at a time of vivacity and slackness;
affording expense in times of hardship and easiness;
enjoying the good and forbid the evil;
to be sincere to Allah and do not let the fear of blame of others stop you from carrying out the command of Allah;
to support and protect me when I join you in the manner you protect yourselves.'" (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 3, p. 248)
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