for a while muhammad stood motionless in his place. it was a moment in which the history of being itself stopped without knowing which course to take. whichever word this one man was about to say, would be a judgment of mankind. should the world continue to wallow in its darkness? should zoroastrianism triumph over a corrupt and lifeless christianity? should paganism be allowed to raise its superstitious, rotten head? or should he, muhammad, proclaim to this world the unity of god, enlightening it with the light of truth, liberating the minds of men from the bondage of superstition, and raising the souls for communion with the supernal plenum? there was his uncle weakened by the people's opposition, unable to help or protect indeed, likely to betray him. and there were the muslims, few and weak, unable to wage war or to resist a strong and well-equipped army such as quraysh had. there was none to lend him support in this hour of dire need. only the truth which he proclaimed and of which he was the advocate could console or rescue him. nothing was left to count upon except his own faith and conviction of that truth. that alone was his whole force. well, let it be. the other realm is better than this one. let him then discharge his duty and convey his message. it is better to die faithful to the truth than to betray it or stammer in its cause. refreshened and energized by the strength and determination of new resolution, he turned to his uncle and said, "o uncle! by god almighty i swear, even if they should put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left that i abjure this cause, i shall not do so until god has vindicated it or caused me to perish in the process."
how great is the truth! and how sublime is faith in the truth! the old man was shaken to his depths when he heard the answer of muhammad. it was his turn to stand motionless and speechless in front of this holy power and great will which had just spoken on behalf of a life above life. choked with emotion at his uncle's request as well as at his own certainty of the course he was to follow, muhammad got up to leave. for but a moment abu talib hesitated between the enmity of his people and the cause of his nephew. immediately, he called muhammad back. "go forth, my nephew," he said, "and say what you will. by the same god i swear i shall never betray you to your enemies."