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Delegation of `Utbah ibn Rabi ah

6599 2008/06/09 2020/08/12

undaunted by any harm or injury that befell them, their faith unshaken, the muslims kept on increasing in numbers and strength. they proclaimed their faith loudly and performed their prayers publicly all to the alarm of quraysh, who were at a loss what to do next. for a moment they thought that they could get rid of muhammad by satisfying what they took to be his personal ambitions. obviously they forgot the greatness of the islamic call, the purity of its spiritual essence, and its noble transcendence of any political partisanship. `utbah ibn rabi'ah, one of the distinguished leaders of arabia, convinced the quraysh at one of their community meetings to delegate him to approach muhammad with a number of alternative offerings of which, he thought, muhammad would surely accept one. he therefore went to muhammad and said, "o nephew, you certainly enjoy among us great eminence and noble lineage, and you have brought about a great issue and divided your people. listen to me for i am about to make several offers to you, certain as i am that one of them will prove satisfactory to you. if by bringing about the conflict you did, you have sought to achieve some wealth, know that we are prepared to give you of our wealth until you become the richest man among us. if, on the other hand, you desired honor and power, we would make you our chief and endow you with such power that nothing could be done without your consent. even if you wanted to be a king, we should not hesitate to crown you king over us. finally, if you are unable to cure yourself of the visions that you have been seeing, we shall be happy to seek for you at our expense all the medical service possible until your health is perfectly restored." when he finished, muhammad recited to him, the surah "al sajdah." [qur'an, 32].`utbah listened attentively to the divine recitation. facing him was a man devoid of all ambition for wealth, prestige, honor, power, or sovereignty. neither was he sick. facing him was indeed a man telling the truth, calling to the good, answering him with arguments yet more soundly and sublimely expressed than any he had ever heard. when muhammad finished, `utbah returned to quraysh spellbound by the beauty and sublimity of what he had seen and heard and by the greatness of this man and his eloquence. the quraysh were obviously not happy with this turn, nor did they agree with `utbah's opinion that they should leave muhammad for all the arabs together to deal with; they would thereby reap a harvest of pride in the event that muhammad wins, or enjoy an effortless victory in the event he loses, in fact, quraysh resumed their attacks upon muhammad and his followers, intensified their aggression, and inflicted upon his companions all sorts of injuries from which muhammad was saved only through the protection of abu talib, banu hashim, and banu al muttalib.

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