shortly after the conversion of these two powerful heroes, hamzah bin ‘abdul-muttalib and ‘umar bin al-khattab[r] , the clouds of tyranny and oppression started to clear away and the polytheists realized that it was no use meting out torture to the muslims. they consequently began to direct their campaign to a different course. the authentic records of the biography of the prophet [pbuh] show that it had occurred to the makkan leaders to credit muhammad [pbuh] with ambition. they, therefore, time and again plied him with temptation. one day some of the important men of makkah gathered in the enclosure of al-ka‘bah, and ‘utbah bin rabi‘a, a chief among them, offered to approach the prophet [pbuh] and contract a bargain with him whereby they give him whatever worldly wealth he asks for, on condition that he keep silent and no longer proclaim his new faith. the people of quraish endorsed his proposal and requested him to undertake that task. ‘utbah came closer to muhammad [pbuh] and addressed him in the following words:
we have seen no other man of arabia, who has brought so great a calamity to a nation, as you have done. you have outraged our gods and religion and taxed our forefathers and wise men with impiety and error and created strife amongst us. you have left no stone unturned to estrange the relations with us. if you are doing all this with a view to getting wealth, we will join together to give you greater riches than any quraishite has possessed. if ambition moves you, we will make you our chief. if you desire kingship we will readily offer you that. if you are under the power of an evil spirit which seems to haunt and dominate you so that you cannot shake off its yoke, then we shall call in skilful physicians to cure you.
"have you said all?" asked muhammad [pbuh]; and then hearing that all had been said, he spoke forth, and said:
"in the name of allâh, the most beneficent, the most merciful. hâ-mîm. [these letters are one of the miracles of the qur’ân, and none but allâh (alone) knows their meanings]. a revelation from allâh, the most beneficent, the most merciful. a book whereof the verses are explained in detail; — a qur’ân in arabic for people who know. giving glad tidings [of paradise to the one who believes in the oneness of allâh (i.e. islamic monotheism) and fears allâh much (abstains from all kinds of sins and evil deeds.) and loves allâh much (performing all kinds of good deeds which he has ordained)], and warning (of punishment in the hell-fire to the one who disbelieves in the oneness of allâh), but most of them turn away, so they listen not. and they say: our hearts are under coverings (screened) from that to which you invite us …" [al-qur'an 41: 1-5]
the messenger of allâh [pbuh] went on reciting the chapter while ‘utbah sitting and listening attentively with his hand behind his back to support him. when the messenger reached the verse that required prostration, he immediately prostrated himself. after that, he turned to ‘utbah saying: "well abu al-waleed! you have heard my reply, you are now free to do whatever you please." ‘utbah then retired to his company to apprise them of the prophet’s attitude. when his compatriots saw him, they swore that he had returned to them with a countenance unlike the one he had before meeting the prophet [pbuh] . he immediately communicated to them the details of the talk he gave and the reply he received, and appended saying: "i have never heard words similar to those ones he recited. they definitely relate neither to poetry nor to witchcraft nor do they derive from soothsaying. o people of quraish! i request you to heed my advice and grant the man full freedom to pursue his goals, in which case you could safely detach yourselves from him. i swear that his words bear a supreme message. should the other arabs rid you of him, they will then spare you the trouble, on the other hand if he accedes to power over the arabs, then you will bask in his kingship and share him his might." these words of course fell on deaf ears, and did not appeal to the infidels, who jeered at ‘utbah and claimed that the prophet [pbuh] had bewitched him. [ibn hisham 1/293,294]
in another version of the same event, it is related that ‘utbah went on attentively listening to the prophet [pbuh] until the latter began to recite allâh’s words:
"but if they turn away, they say (o muhammad [pbuh] ): "i have warned you of a sa‘iqa (a destructive awful cry, torment, hit, a thunder-bolt) like the sa‘iqa which overtook ‘ad and thamûd (people)." [al-qur'an 41:13]
here ‘utbah stood up panicked and stunned putting his hand on the prophet’s mouth beseeching him: "i beg you in the name of allâh and uterine ties to stop lest the calamity should befall the people of quraish." he then hurriedly returned to his compatriots and informed them of what he had heard. [tafseer ibn kathir 6/159-161]