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Who were the enemies of Prophet Muhammad (saw) in Mecca?

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Islamic Researcher based in Pakistan. Masters Graduate in Islamic Studies.
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In a Nutshell:
Amongst the disbelievers in Mecca, Muhammad’s (saw) staunch enemies were Abu Jahl , Abu Lahab, Walid bin Mughira, Umayyah bin Khalaf, Nazar bin Haris, Uqbah bin Abi Muayt and Abu Sufyan; all were leading Quraysh chieftains and elites.

Introduction

There were several reasons why Quraysh staunchly opposed the Messenger (saw); chief among them was the fact they did not see the need to change their way of life – they had political-power, economic prosperity, military alliances with surrounding tribes and prestige. The Messenger (saw) was calling for a new way of life that required to also be conveyed abroad – disrupting their entire way of life and bringing about risk and uncertainty.

Moreover, Islam declared the oneness of God and one of Muhammad's (saw) first actions was to purge the Ka'ba from all of its 360 idols that pagan Meccans and their ancestors worshipped. Hence they feared the loss of their ancestral paganism, and most importantly of their lucrative pilgrimage business that consequently meant the demise of their great power and influence. So, the greater the fear of harm or loss the severe the opposition towards Muhammad (saw).

Below are short bios of some of the leading enemies of Muhammad (saw).

Abu Jahl:

His real-name was Amr ibn Hisham. He was a member of the Banu Makhzum clan of the Quraysh. He was commonly known as Abu al-Hakam (‘Father of Wisdom’) among the Quraysh as he was considered a wise man. His relentless hostility and belligerence towards Islam earned him the name Abu Jahl (‘Father of Ignorance’) among the Muslims. He rejected Muhammad (saw) and his call towards Islam out of arrogance and pride as the following narration indicates:

Once Akhnas ibn Shariq went to Abu Jahl and asked his opinion about Muhammad (saw); to which he replied:

We competed with the family of Abd Manaf in everything to attain status and nobility. They fed the people, so we also fed the people. They gave charity, so we also gave charity. They looked after people, so we did the same. We did this until we became equals in all things. And now they say, ‘A prophet has come from us who receives revelations from the sky? How can we possibly be able to ever compete with this? By Allah we will never believe in him and we will never accept his message.’ ”

There are several-events that manifest Abu Jahl’s opposition against Muhammad (saw) and his message. Verses were revealed cursing him and condemning him. Some of such events are cited below:

  • When Muhammad (saw) began to perform Prayer in the Ka'ba; Abu Jahl in his arrogance and pride threatened the Prophet and forbade him to worship.

“Abu Jahl said: ‘If I see Muhammad praying, then I shall stomp upon his neck.’ So the Prophet said: ‘If he does, he will be visibly seized by the angels.’” (Tirmidhi, hadith 3671)

The Messenger (saw) was performing salat when Abu Jahl came to him and said: Have I not forbidden you from this? The Messenger turned and scolded him. So Abu Jahl said: You know that no one has more to call for assistance than me. So Allah revealed:

فلْيَدْعُ نَادِيَهُ ۔ سَنَدْعُ الزَّبَانِيَةَ ‏

‘Then let him call upon his council. We will call out the guards of hell.’ (Qur’an 96:17)

  • Once the Prophet (saw) went to the Dhu al-Majaz bazar. Abu Jahl followed him, humiliated him by throwing dust on him and recommended people “Do not to listen to Muhammad (saw), he wants you to give up the worship of Lat and Uzza (idols that pagan Meccans worshipped).” (Ahmed)
  • When the Quraysh understood the Messenger was going to migrate to Medina, they felt if he succeeded, he would be out of their reach and become formidable. To discuss the matter, they held an urgent meeting of their chiefs where one suggested Muhammad (saw) should be chained and imprisoned for life however this was not agreed. Abu Jahl suggested: “One person should be chosen from each tribe. They should all attack Muhammad (saw) at one and the same time and kill him. In this way, the responsibility for his blood will be divided equally among all the families of the Quraysh, and it will not be possible for Banu Abd Manaf, the clan of Muhammad (saw), to fight with all of them and they will be forced to accept blood-money for him". They approved this plan unanimously and agreed to execute it. (Shibli Noumani, Life of the Prophet)

However, Allah saved the Messenger (saw) and he safely reached Medina.

Abu Jahl was killed in the battle of Badr. Abdur Rahman bin Auf (ra) narrated:

While I was fighting in the front line on the day (of the battle) of Badr, suddenly I looked behind and saw on my right and left two young boys and did not feel safe by standing between them. Then one of them asked me secretly so his companion may not hear, ‘O Uncle! Show me Abu Jahl,’ I said, ‘O nephew! What will you do to him?’ He said, ‘I have promised Allah if I see him (i.e., Abu Jahl), I will either kill him or be killed before I kill him.’ Then the other said the same to me secretly so his companion should not hear. I would not have been pleased to be in between two other men instead of them. Then I pointed him (i.e., Abu Jahl) out to them. Both of them attacked him like two hawks till they knocked him down. Those two boys were the sons of Afra (i.e., an Ansari woman).”(Bukhari, 3988)

Umayyah bin Khalaf:

Umayyah bin Khalaf Abi Safwan was a leading member of the Quraysh and head of Bani Jumah, known for his torture of his slave Bilal bin Rabi (ra), because he embraced Islam. When the Messenger began his call, he became a staunch opponent.

Along with other Quraysh leaders he led the opposition against Islam. He was a part of all the advisory councils that created strategies to counter the messenger as well as deliberations that sought to take his life before migration to Medina.

He believed Muhammad (saw) never lied but still did not believe in his (saw) prophethood out of his arrogance and bigotry as stated in the following hadith:

“Saad bin Muaaz came to Mecca with the intention of performing Umra, and stayed at the house of Umayyah bin Khalaf Abi Safwan, for Umayyah himself used to stay at Saad's house when he passed by Medina on his way to Sham. Umayyah said to Saad, ‘Will you wait till midday when the people are (at their homes), then you may go and perform the Tawaf round the Ka'ba?’ So, while Saad was going around the Ka'ba, Abu Jahl came and asked, ‘Who is that who is performing Tawaf?’ Saad replied, ‘I am Saad.’ Abu Jahl said, ‘Are you circumambulating the Ka'ba safely although you have given refuge to Muhammad and his companions?’ Saad said, ‘Yes’ and they started quarreling. Umayyah said to Saad, ‘don’t shout at Abu al-Hakam (i.e., Abu Jahl), for he is chief of the valley (of Mecca).’ Saad then said (to Abu Jahl). 'By Allah, if you prevent me from performing the Tawaf of the Ka'ba, I will spoil your trade with Sham.’ Umayyah kept on saying to Saad, ‘Don't raise your voice’ and kept on taking hold of him. Saad became furious and said, (to Umayyah), ‘Be away from me, for I have heard Muhammad saying he will kill you.’ Umayyah said, ‘Will he kill me?’ Saad said, ‘Yes.’ Umayyah said, ‘By Allah! When Muhammad says a thing, he never tells a lie.’’ (Bukhari, 3632)

For this reason Umayyah hesitated to take part in the battle of Badr because he believed he would be killed as Saad bin Muaaz had told him so. But to save himself from disgrace he participated in the battle of Badr and was killed by his former slave Bilal bin Rabiah.

Walid bin Mughira:

Walid bin Mughira was a wealthy chief of the Banu Makhzum clan of Quraysh. Walid along with Abu Sufyan, Abu Lahab and Abul Jahl lead the opposition against Islam.

According to Ibn Abbas (ra), his land, property and gardens were spread from Mecca to Taif.

He called himself Wahid Ibn al-Wahid (son of exceptional one, the exceptional one). He used to say there is no precedent for me or my father (Mughira bin Abdullah) in the whole nation but this tyrant was ungrateful to the blessings of Allah and despite believing the Qur'an to be the word of Allah, he fabricated a lie and called the Qur'an a spell and the Messenger (saw) a sorcerer. (Marif ul-Qur’an)

He rejected and opposed the message out of pride and arrogance as he thought he was deserving to be bestowed with prophethood. He used to ask:

"Is the prophethood to be bestowed on Muhammad (saw), while I, the greatest of the Quraysh and their elder, am to get nothing? And there is Abu Masud, the chief of Thaqeef. Surely he and I are the greater of the two towns (Mecca and Taif)."

In the Qur'an, several-verses were revealed cursing and condemning the vicious ones. Although the method of expression used to be general, but it was known who is being addressed particularly. Following are some verses revealed particularly in the condemnation of Walid bin Mughira:

وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ عَلَىٰ رَجُلٍ مِنَ الْقَرْيَتَيْنِ عَظِيمٍ۔أَهُمْ يَقْسِمُونَ رَحْمَتَ رَبِّكَ ۚ نَحْنُ قَسَمْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ مَعِيشَتَهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۚوَرَفَعْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ دَرَجَاتٍ لِيَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُهُمْ بَعْضًا سُخْرِيًّا ۗ وَرَحْمَتُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ

“And they say ‘Why was this Qur'an not sent down upon a great man from (one of) the two cities?’ Do they distribute the mercy of your Lord? It is we who have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of this world and have raised some of them above others in degrees (of rank) that they may make use of one another for service. But the mercy of your Lord is better than whatever they accumulate.” (Qur’an 43:31-32)

وَلَا تُطِعْ كُلَّ حَلَّافٍ مَهِينٍ۔هَمَّازٍ مَشَّاءٍ بِنَمِيمٍ۔مَنَّاعٍ لِلْخَيْرِ مُعْتَدٍ أَثِيمٍ۔عُتُلٍّ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ زَنِيمٍ۔أَنْ كَانَ ذَا مَالٍ وَبَنِينَ۔إِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا قَالَ أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ۔سَنَسِمُهُ عَلَى الْخُرْطُومِ

“And obey thou not every man swearer, backbiter, going about with slander, hinderer of good, guilty aggressor, coarse-grained, moreover ignoble, because he has wealth and sons. When our signs are recited to him, he says, ‘Fairy tales of the ancients!’ We shall brand him upon the muzzle.” (Qur’an 68:10-17)

The people of Mecca feared if Muhammad (saw) started visiting the caravans of the pilgrims coming from throughout Arabia, his message would reach every part of Arabia and will influence countless people. Therefore, the Quraysh chiefs held a conference and decided they would start a propaganda campaign against the Messenger (saw) among the pilgrims as soon as they arrived.

After they had agreed on this, Walid bin Mughira said to the assembled people:

"If you said contradictory things about Muhammad (saw), we all would lose our trust among the people. Therefore, let us agree upon one opinion, which we should all say without dispute.

Some suggested saying he was a soothsayer, others he was possessed whilst others he was a poet.

Walid concluded: ‘Whichever of these things you said about Muhammad (saw), it would be known to be a false accusation. By God, his speech is sweet, his root is deep and his branches are fruitful.’ At this Abu Jahl said: ‘Your people will never be pleased with you unless you say something about Muhammad (saw).’ He said: ‘Let me think over it awhile.’

Then, after prolonged thought and consideration, he said: ‘The nearest thing to the truth is that you tell the Arabs he is a sorcerer, who has brought a message by which he separates a man from his father; and from his brother, and from his wife and children, and from his family.’ They all agreed on what Walid had proposed”. (Tafheem ul-Qur’an)

On Walid’s proposition Allah sent down verses:

“Leave me with whom I created alone. And appointed for him ample wealth and sons standing before him and made all things smooth for him; then he is eager I should do more. Nay, he is forward unto our signs and I shall constrain him to a hard ascent. Lo! He reflected and determined. Death seize him; how he determined. Again death seize him, how he determined. Then he beheld, then he frowned and scowled, then he retreated and waxed proud. He said, ‘this is naught but a trumped up sorcery; this is nothing but a moral-speech.’ I shall surely roast him in sakar; and what will teach thee what is sakar? It spares not, neither leaves alone scorching the flesh.” (Qur’an 74:11-29)

He died in the year 622.

Al-As bin Wa'il Sahmi:

Al-As bin Wa'il Sahmi was a wealthy landowner and chieftain from the Banu Sahm clan of the Quraysh tribe of Mecca.

Some people amongst Quraysh used to think the highest office of prophethood would be given to one of the nobles of Mecca or Taif. In their view the noblest was the one who was the wealthiest with the most sons. The Messenger (saw) was devoid of these gifts. Amongst Quraysh, those who felt they were the most entitled included Walid bin Mughira, Umayyah bin Khalaf, Al-As bin Wa'il Sahmi and Abu Mas'ud al-Thaqafi.

Due to his vitriol towards Muhammad (saw), along with other Quraysh leaders he persecuted and humiliated Muhammad (saw) and obstruct his call to Islam.

It is narrated that whenever the name of Muhammad (saw) would be mentioned in his presence, he would say,“Leave him, for indeed he is a man who is cut off having no descendants. So when he dies he will not be remembered,” because all of Muhammad’s male offspring had died. Thus, Allah revealed

انَّ شَانِئَكَ هُوَ الاٌّبْتَرُ

"For he who hates you, he will be cut off." (Qur'an 108:3)

Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr and Qatadah all said, “This Ayah was revealed about Al-As bin Wa'il.”

Nazar Bin Haris:

Nazar bin Haris was a member of Banu Abd Manaf clan of Quraysh. He was one of the main proponents who wrote a document along with others to boycott the clan of Muhammad (saw).

When Islam began to spread, Quraysh asked Abu Talib (the Messenger’s paternal-uncle) to hand him over to them but he steadfastly refused. Quraysh held a meeting and decided to outcast Bani Hashim and Bani Abdul Muttalib by placing them under a total-social-boycott. They wrote a document that stated:

The other clans from Quraysh would not marry their daughters, transact business with them, keep company with them, nor would they accept any peace overtures from these two clans until they handed over the Prophet (saw).”

Once all the people present had agreed with these terms, the Quraysh chiefs signed this document and the parchment was hung in the Ka'ba in order to give it authority.

After this the Messenger (saw), along with Abu Talib and clan members of Bani Hashim and Bani Abdul Muttalib, were forced to withdraw from Mecca and live in Sha’ib Abi Talib (the valley of Abu Talib), which was a subsection of one of the gorges that ran down to Mecca.

Nazar bin Haris was a trader whose travels to various countries allowed him to hear the books of the Jews and Christians and to encounter their ways of worship. So when he heard the stories of the previous ummahs in the Qur'an, he said they had already heard all these stories, if we want we can also say. The following verse of Qur’an was revealed about him:

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا قَالُوا قَدْ سَمِعْنَا لَوْ نَشَاءُ لَقُلْنَا مِثْلَ هَٰذَا ۙ إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّأَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ

And when Our verses are recited to them, they say, "We have heard. If we willed, we could say [something] like this. This is not but legends of the former peoples." (Qur’an 8:31)

When some of the companions said to him, "If you can say such a thing, then why don't you do it?" The Qur'an challenged the world to create even a small verse similar to that of the Qur'an. He knew he couldn’t, no matter what; so to save himself from disgrace he said:

وَإِذْ قَالُوا اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كَانَ هَٰذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِنْدِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِنَ السَّمَاءِ أَوِ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

And [remember] when they said, "O Allah, if this should be the truth from You, then rain down upon us stones from the sky or bring us a painful punishment." (Qur’an 8:32)

So Allah revealed:

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنْتَ فِيهِمْ

"But Allah would not punish them while you, [O Muhammad], are among them" (Qur’an 8:33)

He was captured in the Battle of Badr and was one of the two captives who were executed afterwards.

Abu Lahab:

His full name was Abd al-Uzza bin Abdul Muttalib. Because of his red (inflamed) cheeks, he was called Abu Lahab (Father of flame). He was a paternal-uncle of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and one of his ardent and most violent enemies in Mecca. He did everything in his power to persecute the Messenger (saw) and obstruct his call to Islam. Below are some of the manifestations of his disgraceful and vile behavior:

  • Ali (ra) reported he organized a banquet with the Messenger for his clan, When the Messenger of God (saw) was on the point of addressing them, Abu Lahab, God damn him forestalled him by saying, 'Well, what a feast your host served to you to eat!' At that they dispersed without the Messenger of God (saw) addressing them.”(Ibn Kathir, Life of Prophet (saw))
  • At mount Safa, The Messenger called all of the clans to Islam, however Abu Lahab interrupted saying: Destruction to you! Is it for this you have gathered us? These verses were then revealed:

تَبَّتْ يَدَا أَبِي لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ۔ مَا أَغْنَىٰ عَنْهُ مَالُهُ وَمَا كَسَبَ۔ سَيَصْلَىٰ نَارًا ذَاتَ لَهَبٍ

“Perish the hands of Abu Lahab, and he indeed perished. His wealth will not avail him or that which he gained. He will [enter to] burn in a Fire of (blazing) flame.”(Qur’an 111:1-3). (Muslim, 208 a)

  • Rabi'a b. Abbad (ra), who had been an idol-worshipper and had accepted Islam, recalled, "I saw the Messenger of God, before the coming of Islam, at the fair of Dhu al-Majaz, and he was saying, '0 you people, say, ‘there is no God but Allah, and you will prosper.’ There were people gathered all around him, while behind him stood a mean-looking, squint-eyed man wearing two plaits who was saying, 'He's a lying Sabian!' This man followed him wherever he went. I asked who he was and was told it was his uncle, Abn Lahab." (Shibli Noumani, Seerat un Nabi)
  • After the death of Abu Ṭalib, Abu Lahab succeeds to the leadership of the clan of Hashim. He instantly withdraws the clan’s protection from Muhammad (saw), which meant the latter can now be attacked without the fear of retribution by the Arabs and is therefore no longer safe at Mecca.

Abu Lahab died seven days after the Battle of Badr with a disease called ‘adasa’ i.e (a malignant ulcer). For the fear of the transmission of his disease to others, his corpse was left on the ground for a few days۔. When his corpse began to rot, people dug a pit and his corpse was thrown into it with the help of the wooden log and stones were thrown on it from a distance. (Bayan ul-Qur’an)

Uqbah Bin Abi Muayt:

He was a Quraysh leader and the head of the Banu Abdu Shams clan. He constantly ridiculed Muhammad (saw) when he was preaching in Mecca and assaulted him verbally and physically.

Uqbah bin Abi Muayt was one of the polytheistic chiefs. Once he invited Quraysh leaders and Prophet (saw) to his home. When the food was served Muhammad (saw) said: “I will not eat it until you bear witness Allah is One and there is no associate to Him and I am Allah's Apostle.” Uqbah said so and then Prophet (saw) ate the food.

Abi bin Khalaf was a close friend of Uqbah. When he heard that Uqbah had become a Muslim, he became very angry. Uqbah justified himself saying the distinguished guest of Quraysh had come to my house and if he had left my house without eating, it would have been a disgrace to me. That's why I said that word.

Abi bin Khalaf said: "I will not believe you unless you go and spit on his (saw) face." At the behest of his unfortunate friend, Uqbah agreed to this insolence and did it.

Both were killed in the battle of Badr and their torment in the Hereafter is mentioned in the following verse, its ruling is general:

وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلً۔ يَا وَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا

“And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands (in regret) he will say, ‘Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend.’ ” (Qur’an 25:27-28)

Amr bin Maimun (ra) narrated Abdullah told us: 'The Messenger of Allah (saw) was praying in the Ka'ba and a group of the nobles of Quraysh were sitting there. They had just slaughtered a camel and Abu Jahl said: ‘Which of you will take these stomach contents with the blood and wait until he prostrates, then put them on his back?’ Abdullah (ra) said: 'The one who was most doomed got up and took the stomach contents, then went and waited until he prostrated himself, and put it on his back. Fatimah (ra), the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (saw), who was a young girl, was told about that, and she came running and took it off his(saw) back. When he had finished praying he said: ‘O Allah! Punish the Quraysh, ’ three times, ‘O Allah, punish Abu Jahl bin Hisham, Shaybah bin Rabi'ah, Utbah bin Rabi'ah, Uqbah bin Abi Muayt until he had listed seven men from Quraysh.' Abdullah said: 'By the One Who revealed the Book to him, I saw them dead on the day of Badr (their corpses) in a single dry well.'” (Nisa’i, 309)

After the Muslims won the battle of Badr, the enemy soldiers were taken captive. As ordained by the Prophet (saw) two of these captives were to be executed; Uqbah was one of them; given his vitriol towards the Muslims and the suffering he had caused.

Abu Sufyan:

His real-name was Sakhr ibn Harb, but was more commonly known by his epithet i.e., Abu Sufyan. He was a chief of Banu Abd shams clan of the Quraysh and an arch-enemy of Muhammad. He was a prominent merchant, engaged in trade in Syria, often heading Meccan caravans to the region which made him one of the most powerful and well respected men in Mecca.

Throughout the past, Abu Sufyan shunned no means to achieve political-power. He saw himself as the guardian of the dictatorial-regime of the Quraysh and as the upholder of the pre-Islamic Age of ignorance. Therefore, when Muhammad (saw) began to call to Islam, he opposed him and urged the other Quraysh leaders to do the same. He was the leading member of Quraysh councils that devised strategies to curb and humiliate Muhammad (saw) whether it was the plot to kill him or to put clan of Muhammad (saw) under total-social-boycott etc.

After the humiliating defeat in the Battle of Badr a year earlier, Quraysh made preparations to muster a great army to fight the Muslims again and take revenge. Abu Sufyan was the commander-in-chief of the Meccan army.

“Abu Sufyan ascended a high place and said, ‘Is Muhammad present amongst the people?’ The Prophet (saw) said, ‘Do not answer him.’ Abu Sufyan said, ‘Is the son of Abu Quhafa present among the people?’ The Prophet (saw) said, ‘Do not answer him.’ Abu Sufyan said, ‘Is the son of Al-Khattab amongst the people?’ He then added, ‘All these people have been killed, for, were they alive, they would have replied.’ On that, Umar (ra) could not help saying, ‘You are a liar, O enemy of Allah! Allah has kept what will make you unhappy.’ Abu Sufyan said, ‘Superior may be Hubal!’ On that the Prophet said (to his companions), ‘Reply to him.’ They asked, ‘What may we say?’ He said, ‘Say: Allah is More Elevated and More Majestic!’ Abu Sufyan said, ‘We have (the idol) Uzza, whereas you have no Uzza!’ The Prophet (saw) said (to his companions), ‘Reply to him.’ They said, ‘What may we say?’ The Prophet (saw) said, ‘Say: Allah is our Helper and you have no helper.’ Abu Sufyan said, ‘(This) day compensates for our loss at Badr and (in) the battle (the victory) is always undecided and shared in turns by the belligerents. You will see some of your dead men mutilated, but neither did I urge this action, nor am I sorry for it.’ (Bukhari, 4043)

Abu Sufyan was a ring-leader, responsible for carrying out several-Meccan campaigns against Medina, and he also was the military leader in the Battle of Uhud and the Battle of the Trench, but could not attain a final-victory.

He later embraced Islam on the eve of conquest of Mecca in 630. He died in 653.

Rabi’ah Brothers:

Utbah bin Rabi’ah and Shaybah bin Rabi’ah both were brothers, belonging to the clan of Banu Abd Shams from the tribe of Quraysh; both were influential-individuals of the Quraysh and were the leading members of the opposition led against Muhammad (saw).

Utbah bin Rabi’ah also known as Abul Walid was one of the prominent Quraysh pagan leaders. He used all the levers of power at his disposal-along with other Quraysh chiefs’ i.e., Abu Sufyan, Abu Jahl, Uqbah bin Abi Muayt etc to force Muhammad (saw) to give up the preaching of Islam.

One day some of the Quraysh chiefs were sitting in their assembly in the Masjid al-Haram, while in another corner of the Mosque there was the Prophet (saw) sitting by himself. This was the time when Hamza (ra) (paternal-uncle of prophet) had already embraced Islam and the people of the Quraysh were feeling upset at the growing numbers of the Muslims. On this occasion, Utbah bin Rabi'ah suggested to the Quraysh chiefs he would try putting some proposals to Muhammad (saw).They all agreed to this, and Utbah suggested wealth, power and medical treatments all of which the Messenger rejected, reciting Surah Fussilat. He returned saying, "By God! I have heard something; the like of which I had never heard before. By God, it's neither poetry, nor sorcery, nor magic. O chiefs of the Quraysh, listen to what I say and leave this man to himself. I think what he recites is going to have its effect. If the other Arabs overcome him, you will be saved from raising your band against your brother, and the others will deal-with him. But if he overcame Arabia, his sovereignty would be your sovereignty and his honor your honor." Hearing this the chiefs spoke out: "You too, O father of Walid has been bewitched by his tongue." Utbah replied, "I have given you my opinion; now you may act as you please." (Seera Ibn Hisham)

Prior to the battle of Badr, Quraysh were desperate for war, but there were also some good-hearted people. Among them was Hakim bin Hazam (who later embraced Islam). He said to Utbah, "If you wish, this day will always be remembered for your goodness." Utbah asked ‘How?’ Hakim said that the Quraysh’s only motif is to avenge the blood of Hazrami. He was your ally, why don’t you pay his blood money. Utbah agreed. But the consensus of Abu Jahl was necessary. So Hakim went to Abu Jahl and gave the message of Utbah. Hearing Utbah's message, Abu Jahl said, "I see, Why Utbah's courage has shattered." Abu Hudhaifa, the son of Utbah, had converted to Islam and was with the Prophet in this battle. On this basis, Abu Jahl suspected that 'Utbah is hesitating to combat so that his son would not be harmed.

When Utbah heard the sarcasm of Abu Jahl, he became very angry and said the battlefield will tell who carried the stain of impotence and who was fearful. Quraysh reached the battlefield and Utbah along with his brother Shayba and son Walid bin Utbah was killed in the battle of Badr. The story of his death is narrated by Ali (ra):.‏

“(At the battle of Badr) Utbah bin Rabi'ah came forward followed by his son and his brother and cried out: Who will be engaged in single combat? Some young men of the Helpers responded to his call. He asked: Who are you? They told him. He said: We do not want you; we, in fact, want only our cousins. The Messenger (saw) said: Get up Hamzah, get up Ali; get up Ubaydah bin Haris. Hamzah went forward to Utbah, I went forward to Shaybah; there and then they both were killed and after two blows had been exchanged between Ubaydah and Walid, they wounded one another severely; so we turned against Walid and killed him, and we carried Ubaydah away.” (Abu Dawud, 2665)

Conclusion

When Muhammad (saw) started to call people to Islam, Quraysh inflicted harm upon the Messenger (saw) and his followers. Quraysh elites and influentials formed his enemies and comprised: Abu Jahl (d.624), Abu Lahab (d.624), Walid bin Mughira (d.622), Umayyah bin Khalaf (d.624), Nazar bin Haris (d.624), Uqbah bin Abi Muayt (d.624) and Abu Sufyan (d.653).

References

Ibn Hisham, Seera Ibn Hisham
Abul A’la Maududi, Tafheem ul-Qur’an
Ibn Kathir, The Life of Prophet Muhammad
Ibn Kathir, Tafseer Ibn Kathir
Muhammad Shafi, Marif ul-Qur’an
Shibli Noumani, The Life of Prophet Muhammad


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