The fifth way that the Quraish tried to stop the spread of Islam was by challenging the prophet for a miracle. Allah mentions these demands many times in the Quran: ‘They say, “We will never believe in you until you cause the Earth to spring forth water. Or you are simply blessed out of nowhere, and this desert is converted into grapes and dates so we can eat from it. Or you break up the sky – as you say it will be on the day of Judgement – and show it to us now. Or why don't you bring Allah himself and bring the angels so that we see them; or have your house transform into gold; or go up into the heavens as we are watching you. And we will never listen to your murmurings until we see a book coming down from the heavens”.’ And then Allah tells Muhammad to say to them, ‘I’m only a messenger, not a God walking on Earth.’

Now why did Allah not give these miracles to the Quraish? Well first of all Allah did give them many miracles, the greatest of which was that of the Quran itself, and He emphasised again and again that this was their miracle. But as well as that, the most apparent and famous miracle that was given to them was that of the splitting of the moon; mentioned in the Quran, Allah showed them the two halves of the moon on either side of Mount Saffa. And yet they rejected it, turning away and saying, ‘He’s bewitched our eyes,’ because indeed, they were only asking out of arrogance and Allah knew this. And He says, ‘If we were to bring down the angels, and we were to resurrect the dead in front of them, and all of the creation were to speak to them face to face – they would still not believe.’ Now there was one incident where the people of the Quraish begged the prophet to turn Mount Saffa into gold, and the prophet felt that they were especially sincere and so he made a special du’a. And so Allah sent down the angel Jibrael, but with a condition: If the prophet wanted, then Allah would convert the mountain into gold, but if they rejected then they would not get a second chance – the punishment would come down immediately. In the end, the prophet decided against the miracle – as even he knew that some of the Quraish were so blinded by arrogance that they still would not accept – and so took the safer choice of continuing with the hidaya.

The sixth way that the Quraish tried to prevent Islam spreading was by attempting to bribe and negotiate with the prophet.  And so they told him, ‘One day we’ll all be Muslim, and the next day we’ll worship our idols.’ Now of course, there is no negotiation in the truth, and so Allah revealed Surah Al-Kafirun:

O you who reject faith

   1.     قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ

I do not worship what you worship

   2.     لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ

And nor are you worshippers of what I worship

   3.     وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ

And nor am I a worshipper of what you worship

   4.     وَلَا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدتُّمْ

And nor are you worshippers of what I worship

   5.     وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ

For you is your religion, and for me is mine 

   6.     لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ


There are many repeated ideas in this Surah. Some scholars say that the second and third ayat refer to who is worshipped, i.e. Allah, and the fourth and fifth and about the way the worship is performed.

Now the most famous incident of negotiation is that Utbah ibn Rabi'ah, who was a wise man of the Banu Hashim. Once the Quraish were sitting and cursing the prophet Muhammad , when Utbah asked, ‘Have any of you tried to negotiate with him?’ When they told him no he said, ‘Send me as a representative, I’m sure we can work something out.’ And so he went to the prophet and said, ‘O my nephew, you know your status and lineage but now you've come forth with a matter that has caused havoc in our society. Are you better than Abdullah? Are you better than Abdul Muttalib?’ This was of course a trick question, as for the jahili Arabs it was impossible to be better than your ancestors, but as a prophet he must be. And so Muhammad remained silent, and Utbah carried on. He promised money, power, women and anything the prophet wanted, all in an attempt to get him to stop the spread of Islam. When he had finished talking, the prophet simply asked, ‘Are you done?’ before beginning to recite Surah Fussilat. Now initially Utbah had been sitting back relaxed, but as the Surah went on he sat up and began to tremble. When the prophet reached an ayat reminding of the punishment dealt to the people of A’ad, Utbah could not take it any longer, and he put his hand over the prophet’s mouth and said, ‘I beg you, do not bring this punishment.’ He then turned and ran back to the same group who had sent him and told them, ‘Listen to me! Leave this man alone, because I have heard from him a speech that I have never heard before. And I could not comprehend all of it; however he is going to have an importance. If the other Arabs get rid of him for us then our hands are clean, but if he overcomes them, then by Allah his victory is our victory and his power is our power.’ Now from this we can see wisdom in his advice to the Quraish, and indeed later on before the battle of Badr Utbah would also warn them against fighting the Muslims, however both times the Quraish refused to listen to him and said, ‘He has bewitched you as he has bewitched everyone else.’

Now we can see that the noblemen of the Quraish had a very severe opposition to the dawah, and it all stemmed from their arrogance and pride. They could not accept Islam, because why should they have to follow Muhammad when they were wealthier, more prestigious and older than him? And as we mentioned, lineage was everything to the Arabs, so for the prophet to come claiming that their ancestors were wrong was blasphemous in their eyes. And this jahili mind-set, as well as Shaitaan’s influence led to extreme, unreasonable levels of hatred against The Message, which culminated in violence and opposition. And it is for these people that the fire of Hell has been promised.


Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 013