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Blockade of the Muslims

3615 2008/07/11 2024/06/17

the long duration of the blockade and, consequently, the great sufferings inflicted upon the muslims by the quraysh, caused a number of makkans to realize the hardness and injustice to which their very brethren, in-laws, and cousins, had been subjected. were it not for the few who compassionately furnished the muslims food, the latter would have surely starved. hisham ibn `amr was the most compassionate to the muslims in their tragedy. he used to load his camel with food and other supplies, take it during the night and pass by the entrance to the quarter where the muslims were isolated. he would detach the reins of the camel and let it go free, whipping it on the sides so that the camel would enter into the quarter and be seized by the muslims. the more muhammad and his companions suffered, the more disturbed a number of qurayshis became. unable to withhold his compassion, hisham ibn `amr went to zuhayr ibn abu umayyah, whose mother was `atikah, daughter of `abd al muttalib. he said, "o zuhayr, how could you eat and wear new clothes and marry and enjoy life when your uncles are locked up and isolated, unable to buy or purchase anything, to give or to take anyone in marriage? by god i swear that if the muslims were the uncles of abu al hakam ibn hisham and you had asked him to boycott them as he asked you to boycott the muslims, he would have never fulfilled your request." together the two men agreed to revoke the pact of the boycott and sought to convince others to do likewise, although secretly. al mut'am ibn `adiyy, abu al bakhtari ibn hisham, and zam'ah ibn al aswad agreed to denounce the pact of boycott and to work together for its repudiation.

one day after circumambulating the ka'bah seven times, zuhayr ibn abu umayyah addressed the makkans : "o people of makkah, would you that we eat food and enjoy ourselves while the banu hashim are dying one after another unable to buy or acquire anything? by god, i shall not sit still until this unjust pact of the boycott is revoked." upon hearing this, abu jahl immediately rose and said to zuhayr, "you are a liar. the pact is sacred and inviolable." at this, zam'ah, abu al bakhtari, al mut'am, as well as hisham ibn `amr, rose from their places to argue against abu jahl and to confirm zuhayr in his request. at this show of strength, abu jahl realized that a previous agreement must have been reached between these men and that direct opposition to them might not prove advantageous. he therefore withdrew. a1 mut'am rose to tear up the pact hanging on the wall of the ka'bah only to find that insects had already devoured most of it except the opening words "in the name of god." at this, muhammad and his companions were permitted to come out of their isolation and circulate in makkah, to buy and to sell as usual, although the antagonism and hostility remained as they were, and each party continued to look forward to a day when it could overcome the other.


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