The Harm and Torture to Which the Messenger was Subjected


The polytheists continued harming the Messenger of Allaah, , from the time he declared his Da‘wah (call) until he emigrated and Allaah The Almighty granted him victory over them. Many verses revealed to him in that period ordered him to adhere to patience, guided him to the means of patience, forbade him from being despondent and gave him examples of the harm that befell the previous prophets to clearly indicate the extent of this harm. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

  • {And be patient over what they say and avoid them with a gracious avoidance.}[Quran 73:10]
  • {So be patient for the decision of your Lord and do not obey from among them a sinner or ungrateful [disbeliever].}[Quran 76:24]
  • {And grieve not over them or be in distress from what they conspire.}[Quran 27:70]
  • {Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you. Indeed, your Lord is a possessor of forgiveness and a possessor of painful penalty.}[Quran 41:43]

Here are some examples that indicate the harm that was experienced by Prophet Muhammad, :

1- Abu Jahl once asked people whether Muhammad, , placed his face on the ground (performed Sujood) in their presence. The people replied in the affirmative. Hence, he said, “By Al-Laat and ‘Uzza, if I were to see him doing that, I would trample on his neck, or I would smear his face with dust.” He then went to the Messenger of Allaah, , as he was engaged in prayer and contemplated trampling on his neck and drew close to him, but all of a sudden he turned upon his heels and tried to repulse something with his hands. He was asked, “What is the matter with you?” He said, “Between me and him there was a ditch of fire, terror and wings.” Thereupon the Messenger of Allaah, , said:“If he were to have come nearer to me, the angels would have torn him to pieces.”[Muslim] In a Hadeeth on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas he said,

The Prophet was once praying when Abu Jahl came and said to him, “Have I not forbidden you from doing this? Have I not forbidden you from doing this? Have I not forbidden you from doing this?” The Prophet chided him. Then, Abu Jahl said, “You know that there is not anyone who has more associates than me.” Allaah The Almighty then revealed the verses (which mean) {Then let him call his associates. We will call the angels of Hell.} [Quran 96:17-18]” Ibn ‘Abbaas commented that had he called his associates, the angels of Hell would have taken him there and     then. [At-Tirmithi]

2- In a Hadeeth on the authority of ‘Abdullaah bin Mas‘ood he said, While the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa  sallam, was once praying at the Ka‘bah, there were some Qurayshi people present sitting in a gathering. One of them said, “Do you not see him [who does good deeds simply to show off]? Who amongst you can go and bring the dung, blood and the abdominal contents [intestines, etc.] of the slaughtered camels of the family of so-and-so and then wait until he prostrates and put that between his shoulders?” The most wretched amongst them [‘Uqbah bin Abu Mu’ayt] went [and brought them], and when the Messenger of Allaah prostrated, he put them between his shoulders. The Prophet remained in prostration and they laughed so much that they fell onto one another. A passer-by went to Faatimah,  who was a just a  young girl at that time. She came running and found the Prophet who was still in prostration. She removed them and cursed the Qurayshi people who had done this. When the Messenger of Allaah completed his prayer, he said: “O Allaah, take revenge on the Quraysh!”He said this thrice and     then added:“O Allaah, take revenge on ‘Amr bin Hishaam, ‘Utbah bin Rabee‘ah, Shaybah bin Rabee‘ah, Al-Waleed bin ‘Utbah, Umayyah bin Khalaf, ‘Uqbah bin Abu Mu’ayt and ‘Umaarah bin Al-Waleed.” ‘Abdullaah bin Mas’ood added, “By Allaah, I saw all of them dead on the battlefield on the Day of Badr and they were dragged and thrown in the open well of Badr. The Messenger of Allaah then said, ‘The curse of Allaah has descended upon the people of the open well.’”[Al-Bukhaari] The narration of this incident by Muslim specifies that the one who threw the dung and excretion of the camel was ‘Uqbah bin Abu Mu‘ayt, who was incited to do so by Abu Jahl. The polytheists were then gravely troubled by the supplication of the Prophet, , because they knew that a supplication in Makkah is answered.

3- A group from the people of the Quraysh gathered and beat the Messenger of Allaah, : The noble people of the Quraysh gathered one day at Al-Hijr (part of the Ka’bah) and said, “We cannot bear this man any more for he discredited our minds, cursed our ancestors, criticized our religion, disunited our group and abused our gods. We have borne a very difficult matter.”All of a sudden, the Prophet, , appeared while they were talking about him. At once they leaped at him as if it was the leap of one man. They surrounded him saying,“Are you saying such-and-such [namely, what they knew about him criticizing their gods and religion]?”He replied: “Yes, it is I who is saying so.”A man then gripped the garment of the Messenger of Allaah, , squeezing his neck. Abu Bakr then defended him while sobbing and reciting the verse in which Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):{Do you kill a man [merely] because he says, ‘My Lord is Allaah’?}[Quran 40:28]

4- Abu Lahab, the uncle of the Prophet, , and his wife, Umm Jameel, were the staunchest adversaries of the Prophet, . Umm Jameel would drive wedges between the Prophet, , and the people through her tale-bearing. She would also place thorns in his path and throw rubbish at his door. Little wonder then that a chapter of the Quran was revealed regarding these two: Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he. His wealth will not avail him or that which he gained. He will [enter to] burn in a Fire of [blazing] flame. And his wife [as well] – the carrier of firewood. Around her neck is a rope of [twisted] fiber.}[Quran 111:1-5] When she heard the revealed verses concerning her and her husband, she went to the Messenger of Allaah, , while he was sitting at the Ka‘bah beside Abu Bakr . She was carrying a stone in her hand and when she reached them, she asked Abu Bakr, “Where is your companion? I was informed that he is satirizing me. By Allaah, if I had found him, I would have struck his mouth with this stone.” Then, she went away. Abu Bakr said, “O Messenger of Allaah, did she not see you?” The Messenger of Allaah, , replied: “Allaah had caused her not to see me.”

She then recited some poetic verses dispraising the Prophet, , indicating her utter rejection of him and dubbing him as “Muthammam” [which means ‘dispraised’; this was the Arabic opposite of the real name of the Prophet, which was Muhammad – ‘the praised one’]. The Messenger of Allaah, , would in fact rejoice at the polytheists cursing Muthammam; He said: “Does it not astonish you how Allaah protects me from the abuse and curses of the Quraysh? They abuse Muthammam and curse Muthammam while I am Muhammad [and not Muthammam]!”[Al-Bukhaari]

Also, Abu Lahab would follow the Messenger of Allaah, , around in the markets, gatherings of people and during the seasons of Hajj and accuse him of lying.

What was mentioned in the last article was only part of the harm that the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, experienced and faced at the hands of the polytheists. The polytheists’ ultimate attempt to harm him was an attempt to kill him at the end of the Makkan phase. The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would mention the harm of the Quraysh before the harm that touched any of his followers saying: “I was intimidated in the path of Allaah when no one was intimidated like me. I was harmed in the path of Allaah when no one was harmed like me – thirty nights and days passed when Bilaal and I had no food which a living being could eat, except something that was kept under Bilaal’s armpit.”[At-Tirmithi, Al-Albaani – Saheeh]

In spite of the great rank and high nobility of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he suffered tremendously and underwent great afflictions from the very first day that he declared his Da‘wah (call). He faced much harm from the foolish people of the Quraysh. When he passed by their gatherings, they would mock him, saying “This is the son of Abu Kabshah (the Prophet’s father through suckling relation) who receives revelation from heaven.” Some of them would pass by the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and ask him sarcastically, “Has anybody talked to you today from heaven?”

The harm was not restricted to mockery, sarcastic comments and psychological harm; rather, it also took the form of physical harm. The enemy of Allaah, Umayyah bin Khalaf spat in the face of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Even after his migration to Madeenah, the pressure of affliction and harm did not stop. Rather, it took a new form because after the enmity was confined to the people of the Quraysh, new hostile groups appeared in Madeenah such as the hypocrites of Madeenah, the Jews, the Persians, the Romans and their allies. After leaving the harm in Makkah, which was in the form of mockery, insults, blockade and beating; the new harm took the form of military and armed confrontations including pursuit and killing. Hence, this was an affliction regarding lives and property. Throughout the period of his mission and his life were continuous series of ordeals and afflictions. He never weakened in the face of these trials; rather, he was patient and sought the reward for this from Allaah The Almighty until he died.

The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, faced much harm and many trials that one cannot begin to imagine and in many situations. His affliction was in proportion to the status of the message that he carried; hence, he deserved the highest degree in Paradise and the highest rank before His Lord. He was very patient out of mercy for his people and in the fear that they would be afflicted with a widespread torment like the previous nations, and in order to be a good example for Islamic callers and reformers.

If depraved aggression befell even the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then, none— due to the honor of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – would rise above the trial and ordeal. This is the norm of Allaah The Almighty regarding such missions. In a Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Sa‘eed Al-Khudri he said, “’I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, who suffers most among people?’ He replied:‘The prophets, then those who come next to them, then those who come next to them. A man is afflicted according to [the degree of his adherence to] his religion. If he is firm in his religion, his trial is severe, but if there is weakness in his religion, it [the affliction] is made lighter for him, and it continues like that until he walks on earth having no sin.’” [Ibn Maajah]

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