having fully perceived that muhammad [pbuh] could never be desisted from his call, quraish, in a desperate attempt to quell the tidal wave of the call, resorted to other cheap means acting from base motives:
- scoffing, degrading, ridiculing, belying and laughter-instigating cheap manners, all of which levelled at the new converts in general, and the person of muhammad [pbuh] in particular, with the aim of dragging the spirit of despair into their morale, and slackening their ardent zealotry. they used to denounce the prophet [pbuh] as a man possessed by a jinn, or an insane person:
"and they say: o you (muhammad [pbuh]) to whom the dhikr (the qur’ân) has been sent down! verily, you are a mad man." [al-qur'an 15:6]
or a liar practising witchcraft,
"and they (arab pagans) wonder that a warner (prophet muhammad [pbuh]) has come to them from among themselves! and the disbelievers say: "this (prophet muhammad [pbuh]) is a sorcerer, a liar." [al-qur'an 38:4].
their eyes would also look at the good man as if they would ‘eat him up’, or trip him up, or disturb him from the position of stability or firmness. they used all sorts of terms of abuse ‘madman’ or ‘one possessed by an evil spirit’, and so on:
"and verily, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes through hatreds when they hear the reminder (the qur’ân), and they say: verily, he (muhammad [pbuh]) is a madman!" [al-qur'an 68:51]
amongst the early converts, there was a group who had unfortunately no strong clan at their back to support them. these innocent souls were ridiculed and jeered in season and out of season. referring to such people, the highbrow quraish aristocrats used repeatedly to ask the prophet [pbuh], with jest and scorn:
"allâh has favoured from amongst us?" [al-qur'an 6:53]
and allâh said:
"does not allâh know best those who are grateful?" [al-qur'an 6:53]
the wicked used to laugh at the righteous in many ways:
- they would inwardly laugh at their faith, because they felt themselves so superior.
- in public places, when the righteous passed, they used to insult and wink at them,
- in their own houses, they would run them down.
- whenever and wherever they saw them, they reproached and called them fools who had lost their way. in the hereafter, all these tricks and falsehoods will be shown for what they are, and the tables will be reversed. allâh had said:
"verily! (during the worldly life) those who committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed; and whenever they passed by them, used to wink one to another (in mockery); and when they returned to their own people, they would return jesting; and when they saw them, they said: ‘verily! these have indeed gone astry!’ but they (disbelievers, sinners) had not been sent as watchers over them (the believers)." [al-qur'an 83:29-33]
- distorting muhammad’s teachings, evoking ambiguities, circulating false propaganda; forging groundless allegations concerning his doctrines, person and character, and going to excess in such a manner in order to screen off any scope of sound contemplation from the public. with respect to the qur’ân, they used to allege that it was:
"tales of the ancients, which he (muhammad [pbuh]) has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon." [al-qur'an 25:5]
the iniquitous went on ceaselessly inculcating in people’s ears that the qur’ân was not a true revelation:
"this (the qur’ân) is nothing but a lie that he (muhammad [pbuh]) has invented, and others have helped him at it." [al-qur'an 25:4]
the wicked would also attribute to men of allâh just such motives and springs of action as they themselves would be guilty of in such circumstances. the pagans and those who were hostile to the revelation of allâh and islam, could not understand how such wonderful verses could flow from the tongue of the prophet [pbuh] without having someone to teach, and claimed:
"it is only a human being who teaches him." [al-qur'an 16:103]
they also raised another baseless and superficial objection:
"why does this messenger (muhammad [pbuh]) eat food and walk about in the markets (like ourselves)?" [al-qur'an 25:7]
they were sadly ignorant and painfully at fault for they could not perceive that a teacher for mankind is one who shares their nature, mingles in their life, is acquainted with their doings, and sympathises with their joys and sorrows.
the noble qur’ân has vehemently refuted their charges and allegations and has explained that the utterances of the prophet [pbuh] are the revelations of the lord and their nature and contents provide a bold challenge to those who attribute his prophetic expressions to some base origin, at times to the mental throes of a dreaming reformer, at others to the effusion of a frenzied poet or the incoherent drivelling of an insane man.
- contrasting the qur’ân with the mythology of the ancients in order to distract people’s interests from allâh’s words. once an-nadr bin harith addressed the quraishites in the following manner: "o quraish! you have experienced an unprecedented phenomenon before which you have so far been desperately helpless. muhammad [pbuh] grew up here among you and always proved to be highly obliging, the most truthful and trustworthy young man. however, later on when he reached manhood, he began to preach a new faith alien to your society, and opposed to your liking so you began to denounce him at a time as a sorcerer, at another as a soothsayer, a poet, or even an insane man. i swear by allâh he is not anyone of those. he is not interested in blowing on knots as magicians are, nor do his words belong to the world of soothsaying; he is not a poet either, for his mentality is not that of a rambler, nor is he insane because he has never been witnessed to develop any sort of hallucinations or insinuations peculiar to madmen. o people of quraish, it is really a serious issue and i recommend that you reconsider your attitude."
it is narrated that an-nadr, at a later stage, headed for heerah where he got conversant with the traditions of the kings of persia and the accounts of people like rustum and asphandiar, and then returned to makkah. here he would always shadow the messenger’s steps in whatever audiences the later held to preach the new faith and to caution people against allâh’s wrath. an-nadr would directly follow the prophet [pbuh] and narrate to the same audience long tales about those people of persia. he would then always append his talk with a question cunningly inquiring if he did not outdo muhammad [pbuh].[ibn hisham 1/299,300,358; tafheem-ul-qur'an 4/8,9]. ibn ‘abbas [r] related that an-nadr used to purchase songstresses who would through their bodily charms and songs entice away from islam anyone developing the least attachment to the prophet [pbuh]; in this regard, allâh says:
"and of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the path of allâh." [al-qur'an 31:6] [tafheem-ul-qur'an 4/9]
- in a fresh attempt to dissuade muhammad [pbuh] from his principled stand, quraish invited him to compromise on his teachings and come to terms with their pre-islamic practices in such a way that he quits some of his religion and the polytheists do the same. allâh, the all-high says:
"they wish that you should compromise (in religion out of courtesy) with them, so they (too) would compromise with you." [al-qur'an 68:9].
on the authority of ibn jareer and at-tabarani, the idolaters offered that muhammad [pbuh] worship their gods for a year, and they worship his lord for a year. in another version, they said: "if you accept our gods, we would worship yours." ibn ishaq related that al-aswad bin al-muttalib, al-waleed bin al-mugheerah, omaiyah bin khalaf and al-‘as bin wa’il as-sahmy, a constellation of influential polytheists, intercepted the prophet [pbuh] while he was circumambulating in the holy sanctuary, and offered him to worship that they worshipped, and they worship that he worshipped so that, according to them, both parties would reach a common denominator. they added "should the lord you worship prove to be better than ours, then it will be so much better for us, but if our gods proved to be better than yours, then you would have benefit from it." allâh, the exalted, was decisive on the spot and revealed the following chapter:
"say: "o al-kâfirûn (disbelievers in allâh, in his oneness, in his angels, in his books, in his messengers, in the day of resurrection, in al-qadar, etc.)! i worship not that which you worship, nor will you worship that which i worship. and i shall not worship that which you are worshipping, nor will you worship that which i worship. to you be your religion, and to me my religion (islamic monotheism). [al-qur'an 109] [ibn hisham 1/362]