Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet's (Peace Be Upon Him) wife, was the first believer in the new faith. She had the opportunity of being his companion and helper, his consort and supporter. She always stood behind him, consoling and giving him support against all those who denied and scorned him. She tried to relieve his apprehensions and encouraged him by reinforcing her trust in him.
ALI IBN ABU TALIB AND ZAYD IBN HARITH
(May Allah be pleaced with them)
'Ali Ibn Abi Talib (May Allah be pleaced with him) was the next to enter in the fold of Islam. He was then a youth of ten years, and had been brought up under the guardianship of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) since his early childhood. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) had taken the charge of 'Ali (May Allah be pleaced with him) from his uncle Abu Talib, and kept him as a member of his family since the time a grievous famine befell Quraysh. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, p. 245) The third accession to Islam was made with the conversion of Zayd Ibn Haritha (May Allah be pleaced with him) (Ibn Hisham Vol. I, pp. 247) who was a freeman of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and whom he had adopted as his son).
ABU BAKR (May Allah be pleaced with him)
Acceptance of the Prophet's (Peace Be Upon Him) faith by Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Quhafa (May Allah be pleaced with him), after Zayd (May Allah be pleaced with him), was of no mean significance. This merchant of sociable nature was known for his moderation and prudence, good character and kindliness, and enjoyed a still greater reputation for his wide knowledge of the genealogy of the Quraysh and expertise in commerce. He began to preach the truth that he had affirmed himself to all those that he had relied upon including those who are associated with him or those who came to seek his company. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 249-59)
FLOWER OF QURAYSH FIND CREDENCE
The persuasive businessman began to win over the elite of the Quraysh to place their trust in the mission of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Those who accepted Islam at invitation of Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleaced with him) included 'Uthman Ibn Affan, Zubayr Ibn Al 'Awwam, 'Abdul Rahman Ibn Auf, S'ad Ibn Abi Waqqa and Talha Ibn 'Ubaydullah (May Allah be pleaced with them). Abu Bakr brought all of them to the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) upon whose hands they embraced Islam. (Ibn Hisham, pp. 150-51)
Slowly, the mission of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was made known to other respectable citizens of Mecca and some of them who followed after the first eight were:
Abu 'Ubayda Ibn al-Jarrah, Al-Arqam, 'Uthman Ibn Maz'un, 'Ubaydah Ibn al-Harith Ibn Abdul MuttAli (May Allah be pleaced with him)b, Sa'id Ibn Zayd, Kahbbab Ibn Al-Aratt, 'Abdallah Ibn Mas'us, 'Ammar Ibn Yasir, Suhayb Ibn Sinan and others (May Allah be pleaced with them).
People now began to accept Islam in large numbers; they came in throngs from different tribes and families until the news spread throughout the city that Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) taught some sort of a new faith. (Ibn Hisham, pp. 262)
ON MOUNT SAFA
Three years had elapsed from the time the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) had received the first revelation but he had remained a silent preacher throughout such period. He was now commanded to announce it openly:
"So proclaim that which thou art commanded, and withdraw from the idolaters." [Qur'an 15: 94]
"And warn thy tribe of near kindred, and lower thy wing (in kindness) unto those believers who follow thee." [Qur'an 26:214-15]
"And say: Lo! I, even I, am a plain Warner." [Qur'an 15: 89]
It was an order to show himself to peoples of the world. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) ascended the heights of mount Safa and cried aloud: "Ya Sahabah". The Arabs were already familiar with the call, which was meant to summon them for facing a surprise attack by the enemy. The alarming call made the whole of the Quraysh come quickly round the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) while those who were unable to come, sent proxies for themselves. Looking down at the men who waited with their eyes strained at him, the Messenger of God (Peace Be Upon Him) said to them:
"O sons of 'Abdul Muttalib! O sons of Fihr: O sons of K'ab! If I tell you that horsemen were advancing to attack you from the other side of this hill, would you believe me?" The Arabs were practical-minded, possessing a keenly logical outlook, which admitted no ifs, or buts. They saw the man whom they had always found, on every occasion, candid, honest and dependable, standing on the summit, having a full view of both the sides of the hill. They had, on the other hand, the rear of the hill concealed from their sight. Given their intelligence and understanding, experience with the man addressing them and the entirety of their own sane and sound mind led them to only one conclusion. They unanimously replied, "Oh yes, we would surely believe you."
A COGENT ARGUMENT
Absolute truthfulness, credibility, or dependability of the messenger of God constitute the initial and the most essential factor for the acceptance of his mission. The question posed by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was thus meant to obtain a confirmation of these qualities from his audience. Meriting their approval, he said to them, "Well, I am a warner to you before a severe condemnation overtak es you." The prophets of God (Peace Be Upon Them) are endowed with the knowledge of crude or austere realities that are neither perceptible nor acceptable in human parlance. The way the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) had tried to explain to them the concept and essence of Prophethood was the most trenchant and effective method that could have been employed for the purpose. This was certainly the easiest as well as the best method to convey an accurate impact and significance of Prophethood, wherein the allegorical mode of expressing such a complex reality was without parallel in the teachings of any other prophet or founder of religion.
The words of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) so struck the Quraysh that they stood silent and still. Abu Lahab, at last, took courage and exclaimed,
"May you perish! Is it for this that you have brought us here? (14).
BEGINNING OF PERSECUTION
The Prophet of God (Peace Be Upon Him) preached Islam openly in the streets of Mecca, yet the Quraysh remained cool and indifferent to him; neither did they turn against him nor did they ever feel that their Religion was at stake. They did not even care to refute the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) but when he started talking critically of their gods, they felt offended and decided to rebuke him. Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) would have been at the mercy from the radicals of the merchant's republic of Mecca, but Abu Talib, the Prophet's uncle, continued to treat him kindly and stood up in his defense. And, the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), equally determined to actively propagate his new faith, continued to call the people to Islam. Nothing could stop the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) from preaching the commands of his God, in the same way that nothing could also dissuade Abu Talib to waive his protection from the nephew he so loved more than his sons.
ABU TALIB'S ANXIETY
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was now the much-talked about problem among the Quraysh. They conferred and consulted one another how to face the danger that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) with his sweet tongue portended before them. At last, the leading men of the Quraysh approached Abu Talib and said to him, "O Abu Talib, you are old and we hold you in high esteem. We had asked you to restrain your nephew but you did nothing. By God, we cannot tolerate any longer that our fathers should be denounced, that we should be labeled ignoramuses and frivolous and our gods insulted. Either you must stop him or we will fight both of you, until one of us perishes." (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 256-66)
The old leader of Mecca remained deep in thought, distressed at the rift with his people and their hostility but he was nither willing to desert his nephew surrender give him to his enemies. He went for the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and said, "Son of my brother, your people came to me and threatened me with dire consequences if you continue to preach your religion. Spare my life and yours and do not impose on me a burden greater than I can bear." The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) thought that his uncle was no longer willing to shield him, that he intended to give him up. He answered, "O my uncle, by God, if they were to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, and ask me to abandon this course, I would not turn from it until God makes it victorious or I perish therein."
Tears flowed from the eyes of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). With a heavy heart, he got up to depart. But, Abu Talib could not bear to look at his nephew's sorrow. Before he had reached the threshold, Abu Talib cried out, "Come back, my nephew." And when he returned, Abu Talib said, "Go where you please and say what you will. By God, I will never deliver you to your enemies." (Ibn Hisham Vol. I. pp. 265-66)