Muhammad's Attack against the Idols

muhammad did take the initiative of attacking their gods. hitherto he had not mentioned them at all. now, hs attacked them directly. to the quraysh this was so serious that it aroused deep hatred. this man had become a threatening problem to them demanding definite solution. until then they had not taken him seriously but had ridiculed him. when they assembled in dar al nadwah or around the ka'bah and its idols and happened to mention him, they would speak lightly of him and ridicule his cause. now that he had directly attacked their gods, ridiculed their worship as well as their ancestors', severely condemned hubal, al lat, al `uzza and all other idols, the matter called for' something more than ridicule. it called for a fight plan and serious thinking of how to combat and counterattack. if this man were to succeed in converting the people of makkah and in turning them against their old worship, what would happen to makkan trade? what would remain of makkah's religious eminence? these and like thoughts were ominous and called for the most careful strategy.

abu talib, muhammad's uncle, had not joined the faith, but he continued to protect his nephew and let everyone know of his preparation to fight for him. led by abu sufyan ibn harb, some noblemen of quraysh went to abu talib and addressed him in these words: "o abu talib, your nephew has blasphemed our gods, attacked our religion, ridiculed our ideals and condemned our fathers for unbelief. either you stop him or you relinquish your protection of him. our faith which he attacks is equally your faith. why don't you let us take care of him for you?" abu talib talked to them gently and discharged them. muhammad continued his preaching and intensified his missionary activity. his followers multiplied. once more quraysh plotted against him. they went to abu talib and brought with them `umarah ibn al walid ibn al mughirah, the most handsome youth in quraysh. they asked abu talib to adopt `umarah as his son and to let them handle muhammad. once more they were turned down. as muhammad continued his missionary activities, they continued to plot. finally, they went to abu talib for a third time saying, "o abu talib, you are an honorable elder among us. we have asked you to stop your nephew but you have not. by god, we cannot permit him to insult our fathers, to ridicule our ideals, and to castigate our gods. either you stop him or we shall fight both you and him until one of us perishes in the process." to alienate them and to arouse their enmity was too much for abu talib, and yet he was neither prepared to join the faith of his nephew nor to betray him. what would he do? he called muhammad and told him what had happened and pleaded with him: "save me as well as yourself, and do not cause me to carry a burden i cannot bear."

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