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Hard Times for Muslims - The Siege

As the chiefs of the Quraish had failed in their attempt to get back the immigrants, they malevolently poured their ill-will on the Muslims in Mecca. They arrived at a decision which was that thc Quraish would boycott the clan of Bani Hashim if Abu-Talib did not withdraw his protection from the Prophet.

At any cost, Abu-Talib would protect the Prophet (s.a.w.). He turned down the demands of the Quraish. Consequently, the chiefs of the Quraish drew up an agreement and hung it on the wall inside the Ka'ba. The clauses of the agreement announced a total boycott against the Bani Hashim regarding selling and buying social relations and marriage. It was signed by 40 of the Quraish chiefs. All of Bani Hashim, except Abu Lahab due to his great animosity to the message and Messenger of Allah, were besieged in the defile of Abu-Talib.

Abu-Talib fortified their surroundings. It was guarded by day and night. Bani Hashim could not, after that, leave the defile, except on some occasions, like that of Umrah ( the lesser pilgrimage) during the month of Rajab and the hajj (pilgrimage) during the month of Dhul-Hijjah due to the strained relations between them and the Quraish.

The Quraish cut off all provisions of food to their area. But secretly some sympathizers carried food to them, though it hardly satisfied them.

They were in great trouble and stress because of that, After the passage of three years of the boycott, Allah made a worm eat the agreement leaving only the words, In the name of Allah.

Allah revealed that to His Messenger, and he, in turn, informed his uncle Abu-Talib about it. Abu-Talib sought out the chiefs of the Quraish. He said to them,

...my nephew told me that Allah has sent a worm to your agreement and eaten it except the name of Allah, If he has said the truth you should change your ill intentions against him, but if he has lied, I will hand him over to you ... 37

It is a fair deal, they said.

When they went up to the agreement which was hung inside the Ka'ba, they found it as the Prophet had said.

Now division arose between the chiefs of the Quraish, but then they agreed on tearing the remains of the agreement into small bits. That meant the end of the boycott. Due to the failure of the Quraishi boycott of the faithful, new converts were won to Islam inside Mecca.

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37. Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd (The Groups - Ibn Sa'd), vol. l, p. 173 and p.192. Tarikh al-Ya'qubi, vol. 2, p. 22. al-Rowd al-Anif (The Fresh Garden), vol. l, p.231; Khazanat al-Adab al-Baghdadi, vol. l, p.252; Tarikh Ibn Kuthair. vol. 3, p.84.

Adapted from the book: "Muhammad The Messenger of Allah"