people talked about muhammad and his message. the obdurate and hardhearted among the makkans did not pay much attention to him, thinking that his cause would not go beyond what they had known of the causes of quss, umayyah, waraqah, and others among the wise men and priests. they were certain men will eventually return to the religion of their ancestors, and that victory would finally belong to hubal, al lat, al `uzza, isaf, and na'ilah. but they forgot that candid faith is invincible and that the truth must someday prevail.
muhammad's nearest relatives
three years after the revelation began, god commanded the prophet to proclaim islam openly and to bring his revelation to the public. the following verses were revealed: "warn, o muhammad, your nearest relatives. extend your gentle protection to all those believers who follow in your footsteps and obey you. as for those who disobey, proclaim your repudiation of their doings .... proclaim what you are commanded and turn away from the associationists." [qur'an, 26:214-216; 15-94.]
muhammad invited his kinsmen to a banquet in his home at which he tried to talk to them about islam and to call them unto god. his uncle, abu lahab, interrupted his speech and asked the guests to stand up and leave. muhammad invited them again on the morrow. after they had eaten he said, "i do not know of any man in arab history who served his people better than i have served you. i have brought you the best of this world as well as of the next. my lord has commanded me to call you unto him. who of you then would stand by me on this matter"? to this appeal, his kinsmen were unsympathetic and prepared to leave." `ali, however, though only a boy, arose and said, "prophet of god: i shall be your helper. whosoever opposes you, i shall fight as mortal enemy." the banu hashim smiled at this; others laughed loudly. all present looked once at `ali, once at abu talib, his father, and left full of ridicule for what they beheld.
after addressing his kinsmen, muhammad now directed his call to the makkans as a whole. one day he climbed to the top of al safi and called, "o people of quraysh !" hearing his call, the quraysh assembled around him and asked what was the matter. muhammad answered, "tell me, o men of quraysh, if i were to tell you that i see a cavalry on the other side of the mountain, would you believe me?" they answered, "indeed, for we trust you, and we have never known you to tell a lie." muhammad said, "know then that i am a warner and that i warn you of a severe punishment. o banu `abd al muttalib ! o banu `abd manaf ! o banu zuhrah ! o banu taym! o banu makhzum ! o banu asad ! god has commanded me to warn you, my nearest kinsmen, that i can guarantee to you no good on earth or in heaven unless you witness that there is no god but god." abu lahab, fat but quick of temper as he was, arose and said, "woe to you on this day! did you assemble us for this?"
severely shocked, muhammad looked toward his uncle for a moment. soon the following verses were revealed: "accursed be the hands of abu lahab and accursed may he be. neither his property nor his wealth will save him. he shall burn in the flames of hell." [qur'an, 111:1-3]