Spread of Islam in Mecca

Early Converts of Islam:

Though Abu Lahab frequently succeeded in dispersing the crowds that gathered to hear the Apostle, his words nevertheless spread in Mecca. It was a revolutionary message that Muhammad brought to the Arabs. Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, told the Arabs not to worship the multitudes of inanimate objects made of stone or wood which they themselves had fashioned, and which had no power either to give anything to them or to take anything away from them. Muhammad also called upon the rich Arabs to share their wealth with the poor and the under-privileged.

By preaching such revolutionary ideas, Muhammad had infuriated the old establishment, amongst them was the Umayyad clan of the Quraysh. In the years to come, they were to form the spearhead of an implacable war against Islam, and of die-hard opposition to Muhammad.

But there were also a few individuals who found a strong appeal in the new ideas which Muhammad was introducing and they found them so irresistible, that they accepted them. Among the earliest converts to Islam were Yasir; his wife, Sumayya; and their son, Ammar. Most of the early converts to Islam were poor and weak. But there were a few rich Muslims also like Hudhayfa bin Utba and Arqam bin Abil-Arqam. And all those men whom Abu Bakr brought into Islam – Uthman, Talha, Zubayr, Abdur Rahman ibn Auf, Saad ibn Abi Waqqas and Abu Obaidah ibn al-Jarrah – were also rich and powerful.

As Muhammad's movement began to gather momentum, the Meccans sensed that the ideas which Muhammad was preaching, were really dangerous. Especially the concept of equality was intolerable to the high and the mighty Quraysh! They considered them as rank blasphemy and it was then that they resolved not only to oppose Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, but also to destroy Islam before it could strike roots and become viable.

Persecution of Muslim Converts:

The Quraysh started the campaign against Islam by harassing and persecuting the Muslims. Bilal, Khabab ibn el-Arat, Suhaib Rumi, and other poor and unprotected Muslims were made to stand in the torrid sun, and were flogged by the infidels. Umayya and other infidels tortured Bilal, the Ethiopian slave of Umayya bin Khalaf, in the savage glare of the torrid sun of Mecca. They tortured him beyond the limits of human endurance.Abu Bakr bought Bilal from his master and set him free. When the Apostle migrated to Medina, he appointed Bilal the first Muezzin of Islam.

Lubina who was a female slave of Mumil bin Habib was tortured by Umar bin al-Khattab, the future khalifa of the Muslims, and whenever he paused, he said: "I have not stopped beating you out of pity. I have stopped because I am exhausted." He resumed beating her after he had rested. Zunayra was another female slave. hen she declared her faith in Islam, Umar ibn al-Khattab, and Abu Jahl, took turns in torturing her until she became blind.

Quraysh Target Muhammad:

The Meccans felt that Muhammad was driven by ambition in his mission to spread Islam. Utba called on the Apostle of God and offered to him that they can give him anything he wanted - wealth, power, beautiful wife if he gives up his mission. Muhammad heard everything that Utba said but declined to accept his offer.

Muhammad was protected by his uncle and guardian, Abu Talib. The Quraysh decided to send a delegation to Abu Talib and appealed to him to waive his protection of Muhammad. Abu Talib, of course, had no intention of waiving his protection of Muhammad. They then presented an ultimatum to Abu Talib: either he had to surrender Muhammad to them or else he would have to face the consequences of his refusal to do so. Abu Talib told Muhammad "O life of your uncle! Do not place a burden upon me that I may find beyond my strength to carry."

Muhammad answered: "O my uncle! If the Quraysh place the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left, I shall not refrain from proclaiming the Oneness of God. In the execution of this duty, either I shall succeed and Islam shall spread; or, if I fail, I shall perish in the attempt."

Abu Talib was not the one to dissuade Muhammad from preaching Islam. But he was testing his resolution. He then said: "Go my son, and do whatever you like. No one will dare to do any harm to you."

The First Martyrs of Islam:

Yasir and his wife, Sumayya, and their son, Ammar were savagely tortured by Abu Jahl and the other infidels. Sumayya, Yasir's wife, died while she was being tortured. She thus became the First Martyr in Islam. A little later, her husband, Yasir, was also tortured to death, and he became the Second Martyr in Islam. Muhammad, went into the Kaaba to read the Qur’an when suddenly he was surrounded by the idolaters. They mobbed him when Harith ibn Abi Hala, the nephew and the adopted son of Khadija, entered the melee to defend the Messenger of Allah. But in the fracas, he was stabbed repeatedly. He was the first Muslim to be killed in the precincts of the Kaaba.

Abu Talib protected his nephew as long as he lived. After his death, his duty devolved upon his son, Ali. Ali was still a teenager when he appointed himself the body-guard of Muhammad, the Apostle of God.

After the murder of Harith ibn Abi Hala, Ali accompanied his master whenever the latter went out of his house, and stood between him and his enemies. It was also in these early days, before the Migration of the Prophet to Medina, that Ali became "the first line of the defense of Islam." In fact, he also became, at the same time, the second line and the last line of the defense of Islam and Muhammad.