now that all the schemes and conspiracies of quraish had failed, they resorted to their old practices of persecution and inflicting tortures on the muslims in a more serious and brutal manner than ever before. they also began to nurse the idea of killing the prophet [pbuh] . in fact, contrary to their expectations, this new method and this very idea served indirectly to consolidate the call to islam and support it with the conversion of two staunch and mighty heroes of makkah, i.e. hamzah bin ‘abdul-muttalib and ‘umar bin al-khattab[r] .
‘utaibah bin abi lahab once approached the prophet [pbuh] and most defiantly and brazenly shouted at him, "i disbelieve in: "by the star when it goes down." [53:1] and in "then he (gabriel) approached and came closer." [53:8] in other words: "i do not believe in any of the qur’ân." he then started to deal highhandedly with muhammad [pbuh] and laid violent hand on him, tore his shirt and spat into his face but his saliva missed the holy face of the prophet [pbuh] . thereupon, the prophet [pbuh] invoked allâh’s wrath on ‘utaibah and supplicated:
"o allâh! set one of your dogs on him."
allâh responded positively to muhammad’s supplication, and it happened in the following manner: once ‘utaibah with some of his compatriots from quraish set out for syria and took accommodation in az-zarqa’. there a lion approached the group to the great fear of ‘utbah, who at once recalled muhammad’s words in supplication, and said: "woe to my brother! this lion will surely devour me just as muhammad [pbuh] supplicated. he has really killed me in syria while he is in makkah." the lion did really rush like lightning, snatched ‘utbah from amongst his people and crushed his head. [tafheem-ul-qur'an 6/522; quoted from al-isti'ab, al-isaba, dala'il an-nubuwwah, etc]
it is also reported that a wretched idolater from quraish, named ‘uqbah bin ‘abi mu‘ait once trod on the prophet’s neck while he was prostrating himself in prayer until his eyes protruded. [mukhtasar seerat ar-rasool p.113]
more details reported by ibn ishaq testify to the tyrants’ deeply-established intentions of killing the prophet [pbuh] . abu jahl, the archenemy of islam, once addressed some of his accomplices: "o people of quraish! it seems that muhammad [pbuh] is determined to go on finding fault with our religion, degrading our forefathers, discrediting our way of life and abusing our gods. i bear witness to our god that i will carry a too heavy rock and drop it on muhammad’s head while he is in prostration to rid you of him, once and for all. i am not afraid of whatever his sept, banu ‘abd munaf, might do." the terrible unfortunate audience endorsed his plan and encouraged him to translate it into a decisive deed.
in the morning of the following day, abu jahl lay waiting for the arrival of the messenger of allâh [pbuh] to offer prayer. the people of quraish were in their assembly rooms waiting for news. when the prophet [pbuh] prostrated himself, abu jahl proceeded carrying the big rock to fulfill his wicked intention. no sooner had he approached closer to the prophet [pbuh] than he withdraw pale-faced, shuddering with his hands strained the rock falling off. thereupon, the people watching hurried forward asking him what the matter was. he replied: "when i approached, a male-camel unusual in figure with fearful canines intercepted and almost devoured me." ibn ishaq reported that the prophet [pbuh], in the context of his comment on the incident, said "it was gabriel[aws] , if abu jahl had approached closer, he would have killed him.[ibn hisham 1/298]" even so the tyrants of quraish would not be admonished, contrariwise, the idea of killing the prophet [pbuh] was still being nourished in their iniquitous hearts. on the authority of ‘abdullah bin ‘amr bin al-‘as, some people of quraish were in a place called al-hijr complaining that they had been too patient with the prophet [pbuh] , who suddenly appeared and began his usual circumambulation. they started to wink at him and utter sarcastic remarks but he remained silent for two times, then on the third, he stopped and addressed the infidels saying:
"o people of quraish! hearken, i swear by allâh in whose hand is my soul, that you will one day be slaughtered to pieces." as soon as the prophet [pbuh] uttered his word of slaughter, they all stood aghast and switched off to a new style of language smacking of fear and even horror trying to soothe his anger and comfort him saying: "you can leave abul qasim, for you have never been foolish." [ibn hisham 1/289]
‘urwa bin az-zubair narrated: i asked abdullah bin ‘amr bin al-‘as to tell me of the worst thing that the pagans did to the prophet [pbuh] . he said: "while the prophet [pbuh] was praying in al-hijr of al-ka‘bah, ‘uqbah bin al-mu‘ait came and put his garment around the prophet’s neck and throttled him violently. abu bakr came and caught him by his shoulder and pushed him away from the prophet [pbuh] and said: "do you want to kill a man just because he says, my lord is allâh?" [bukhari 1/544]