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Death of Abu Talib and Khadijah

5833 2008/07/11 2024/05/24

after the repudiation of the boycott pact, muhammad and his companions emerged from their quarters. muhammad immediately resumed his call to the quraysh and to the tribes that used to come to makkah during the holy months. despite the spreading of his fame among the arab tribes and the number of his followers, neither he nor they were quite yet safe from injury, and nothing he could do would have guaranteed such safety. a few months later two tragedies were to add to his troubles. first, the death of abu talib, his protector, and then that of khadijah, his wife. abu talib died at about the age of eighty. when quraysh knew of his approaching end, they feared that the conflict with the muslims would reach a new height now that their leadership would pass into the less temperate hands of hamzah and `umar, well known for their hardness and determined hostility. the leaders of quraysh went up to abu talib and addressed him as he lay on his deathbed

"o abu talib, we hold for you great respect and we appreciate your counsel and wisdom. now that you are about to leave us, and, knowing the conflict that has arisen between us and your nephew, do please call him and ask him to give us assurance as we are wont to give you for him, that he will leave us alone and we will leave him alone, that he will leave us to practice our religion and we shall leave him to practice his." muhammad and his companions came to the meeting in his uncle's house. after he was told about their purpose he said

"yes, indeed! all i want from you is this one word of assurance which, if given, will bring you mastery of all arabia as well as persia, namely . . ." "speak out," interrupted abu jahl, "by your father we shall give it to you! not one word but ten." muhammad continued: "namely, that you witness with me that there is no god but god and repudiate all that you worship besides him." some of them said to muhammad: "do you want to make all the gods one?" turning to one another, the men of quraysh said: "by god, this man is not going to give you any word of assurance such as you require." the leaders of quraysh left abu talib's house without satisfaction, and abu talib died a few days later, the situation between him and the quraysh being more hostile than ever before.

later on, khadijah, who supported muhammad with her love and goodness, her purity, gentleness and strong faith, passed away. at her death, muhammad lost an angel of mercy who reassured and reconciled him whenever he felt crushed under the burdens of his cause. henceforth, muhammad was forever to miss the believing eyes of khadijah and her reassuring smile, just as he had lost in abu talib his protection and refuge from his enemies. how deeply these tragedies must have cut into muhammad's heart! surely they were strong enough to shake the most determined soul, to bring doubt and despair to the most resolute, and to leave behind the greatest degree of emptiness and despondence.

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