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Why did the prophet (saw) focus on Mecca for so many years and far less for other tribes?
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Islamic researcher, graduated from Al-Azhar University, Islamic Studies in the English Language. I also studied at Temple University in the US.
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In a Nutshell
Mecca was the strongest shawkah in Arabia who could provide man'ah and nusrah for the deen. Mecca's ideal and leading religious and tribal status among the Arabs will allow them to follow its footsteps and leadership when embraced Islam. In addition, Mecca's international relationships and treaties with all the Arabian tribes and foreign empires will help in spreading the dawa by a recognised entity. The political structure of Mecca could also help the dawa to focus on a tribal unit that could adopt the deen, establish it and then expand it among the neighboring areas.

Background

The Prophet's (saw) dawa focused on Mecca mainly for the first six years
, and when they opposed the dawa with unmoving stubbornness, he tried to present himself to other tribes in the ritual places in the boarders of Mecca. But later on, in the tenth year, the Meccans tried to kill the Prophet (saw) after his uncle Abu Talib passed away, he started to call other tribes outside Mecca
. He was seeking the man'ah (protection) and nusrah (victory) for the deen
. So, only after ten years, he was ordered to give no weight to the people of Mecca and focus only on the other tribes.

The importance of Mecca

There are many reasons and wisdom behind this long and unshattered focused dawa on Mecca for ten years. I would suggest the followings:

Mecca's status among Arabian tribes:

Mecca was the only unoccupied city-state untouched by foreign Empires or even heavily mixed with other cultures and traditions. It was the pure state of the ideal Arab and a representative of their culture and tradition.

Mecca was also the holy city for all Arabs, as the forefather of Quraysh brought a representative idol for each tribe and fixed them around the Ka'ba and in the ritual places. The action that connected all the Arabs with Mecca and made them consider it nothing less than their homes. So, it was the centre of Arabia.

Contemporary with the revelation, there were rebellions of Arabian tribes against Rome and Persia, seeking independence. They sought alliances with Quraysh, happy to be even governed and united under the leadership of Quraysh, which is an unreachable status to any other tribe.

So, if the Prophet (saw) was seeking man'ah, nusrah and shawkah to establish the Islamic trajectory and theology, Mecca was the strongest of all the neighboring tribes. In addition, its status could lead the Arabian tribes to follow it and accept its leadership when it follows the Prophet (saw).

Mecca's international relations:

Mecca is a close friend and an ally to all the neighboring tribes in Arabia. It had treaties with all of them. Quraysh had the strongest man'ah and shawkah bolstered by its religious status. This means it could gather a huge army from its allies (similar to al-Ahlaf) as it did against the Prophet (saw) in the battle of al-Ahzaab. (Al-Shireef, Makka wa al-Madinah, pp, 156-170)

Mecca also had treaties and alliances all the powerful empires like Persia, Rome and Ethiopia. This will also allow them to present Islam to the empires as a recognised and fully respected entity (state).

Political Structure:

Mecca was divided into politically independent tribal units, connected by kin and benefits of trade and wealth. Everyone sought general leadership (even if nominal) of the tribe and were split into two political allied parties (al-Mutayibeen and al-Ahlaf), both of whom were potentially prepared to fight at any time. The religious status of Mecca prevented this from happening, and importantly disruption to their trade in the event of a conflict.

Whilst the public ruling in Mecca was issued from Dar al-Nadwah (that contains representatives from each clan as well as the tribal elites) and was based on shoora (consultation), the rule had no highly binding authority over the other asha'ir; each one could easily refuse when the decision harmed their interests. But the clans tended to agree on basic matters and avoided disagreements that could lead to disorder (that, in turn, would harm their trade and wealth). (Al-Shireef, Makka wa al-Madinah, pp. 126-127)
Therefore, if one tribal unit accepted the Prophet's (saw) dawa, he would be able to establish an independent unit capable joining other unites with it especially his clan who supported a protected him until the migration to Medina.

Conclusion

Mecca was the strongest shawkah in Arabia who could provide man'ah and nusrah for the deen. Mecca's ideal and leading religious and tribal status among the Arabs will allow them to follow its footsteps and leadership when embraced Islam. In addition, Mecca's international relationships and treaties with all the Arabian tribes and foreign empires will help in spreading the dawa by a recognised entity. The political structure of Mecca could also help the dawa to focus on a tribal unit that could adopt the deen, establish it and then expand it among the neighboring areas.

For more elaboration on this issue, I would suggest reading these two answers: the socio-political structure of Mecca
 and the structure of the Arabs and Quraysh
.

References
Al-Mas'oodi, Muruj al-Dhahab
Al-Shireef, Makka wa al-Madinah
Dinuri, Uyun al-Akhbar
Hashim Yahyah, Tarikh Makka
Jawad Ali, al-Mifsal fi Tarikh al-Arab
Suwidi, Saba'ik al-Dahab fi Ma'rifat Qaba'il al-Arab

 



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