Magoosh GRE

Opposition of the Quraysh to the message of the Prophet Muhammad 

| February 9, 2017


The period that the Prophet Muhammad spent in Mecca is a critical component of the Islam religion. This essay will examine the time with the intention to assess the impact of the elements arrayed against the acceptance of the Prophet. The evidence presented found components in the establishment feared change and loss of power more than any other factor. This study will be of use to any researcher studying this period.

 1. Introduction

The opposition of the Quraysh to the Prophet Muhammad is a pivotal moment in history that has influenced the manner in which Islam has evolved. This paper will assess the impact of the factors that the opponents to the Prophet used in their opposition Beginning with a brief overview of the Quraysh and their position prior to the appearance of the Prophet Muhammad in Mecca, this work will illustrate the fundaments of the opposition. Following this segment with an examination of the events that took place in Mecca as the Prophet attempted to spread his message will allow for a demonstration of impact. The combination of the first elements will allow for a clear illustration of the significance of the factors that drove those that opposed the Prophet Muhammad in Mecca.

In the end this essay will have examined past practice, integration efforts and overall results in order to assess the impact that the opposition of the Quraysh to the message of the Prophet Muhammad in Mecca has had on Islam.

2 Background

2.1 The Young Prophet Muhammad

The Prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca on the 12th of the lunar mother Rabi’l. It is known that he was of the noble family Quraysh, yet he was not taught to read or write and often tended sheep. His tribe can be traced back to Ishmael, a son of Abraham. It was the high capacity for moral dependability that separated the early Prophet Muhammad from the Ibn Kathir, 2000. The life of the prophet Muhammad : a translation of Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya /
translated from the Arabic printed text of Mustafa other traders. During this period Muslims believe he worked and built a sterling reputation based on his integrity, truthfulness and overall dependability. From this recognition to truth and honesty came the youthful title of al-Amin, or the Faithful. From this early age as an emerging merchant, his hatred of idolatry was well known. Further, despite the fact that Mecca was known for their consumption of spirits, the character of the young Prophet was such that not a drop was known to pass his lips. his divine calling.

2.2 The Quraysh

After waging a bloody war against the tribe of Jarham, Qasiy, Ibn Kulaab established the Quraysh tribe in Mecca. This fact led to the Quraysh being in a position of considerable influence in Mecca during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad. A highly respected family that lived close to the Kabah and were therefore caretakers of Allah’s house was only one of the reasons the population of Mecca revered the Quraysh family so. It was common for virtually any and every request of the Quraysh to be accomplished quickly and thoroughly.

The Quraysh maintained two separate major merchandise caravans that travelled through Syria and Yemen, which endeared the clan to the city Mecca and entrenched their power into such that many Arabs would not consider making a move while the family stood against it. Rooting themselves ever more firmly in the fundament of society was the Quraysh role in maintaining the safety of the oppressed which in turn aided their perception of benevolence and wisdom. In a very real sense the Quraysh became rich and powerful by being the very best at trade and safeguarding the house of Allah.

With the rejection of Islam by the tribe of Quraysh of Mecca there were virtually no other Arab tribes that were willing to embrace Islam. The world waited upon the city of Mecca to accept or break the Prophet Muhammad.

3 The Quraysh Opposition to the Prophet Muhammad

As one of the prominent trading and mercantile houses in Mecca during the period of the Prophet Muhammad, there are several layers to the position of opposition that the Quraysh took against his message. On an economic, social and judicial level the ruling class felt threatened by the emerging form of religion. During the time of the initial emergence of the Prophet, the city of Mecca was enjoying a relative period of peace and prosperity. With the Quraysh firmly in control of the pagans that were drawn to the city for religious purposes, there was a perception of reliance on the income from the trade. As the Prophet Muhammad first emerged and firmly denounced the multitude of Idols and Idolaters in the city, many Muslims felt a sense of impending change. The message of the Prophet was feared to put the traders at odds with one of the strongest sources of income in the area. This dependence on trade was a hallmark of the family Quraysh effort to maintain power and sustain a high level of political influence in the region. This factor of trade became a primary component of the family Quraysh resistance to the message of Islam as they sought a means to secure their wealth and status, not endanger them both. This long time power in Mecca had been created from a centre of trade and commerce, which in turn provided the family with reputation for integrity good works.

The factor of pride was a central element in the Quraysh repudiation of the Prophet Muhammad and his sacred message. The changes that were sought by the emerging Prophet would have cast a form of aspersion on the forefathers of the family, and that was considered a stain upon their honour and therefore unacceptable. It was the current generation of the family Quraysh intention to follow strictly in the footsteps of their ancestors in order to maintain the propriety of their lineage. This sense of familial obligation was reflected in the Arab culture as each of the prominent families and tribes of the larger group continually competed for power and influence within the structure. A very real fear of the loss of power was at the root of much of the family Quraysh denial of the faith. The birth of such a powerful Prophet would bring respect and honour to his division of the tribe and several internal factions had no wish to follow the sub-tribe to which the Prophet Muhammad belonged. This factor alone was enough to generate a substantial amount of negativity form the associated tribes.

There were several areas of social responsibility that the Prophet Muhammad taught that were at odds with the administration of the period, which in turn caused even further dissention and denial by the family Quraysh. In every case the emerging message from the rising power was teaching a transformation of the current societal structure, which was very frightening to those in power. Included among the many sections with which the Quraysh family took issue were the equality of tolerance aspects that spoke to the core of humanity and spirituality within the person. The Prophet Muhammad taught that it was right to be both generous and merciful to all, including the weak and destitute. Further, it was of God to show companionship to those that were considered low born and furtive. In a very real way, the Prophet Muhammad was teaching the Muslim population that the Quraysh family was not of true religion and it could be seen in their day to day actions. This fact also contributed to the initial growth of Islam through the lower strata of Meccan society. There was a very real perception that the emerging message was in direct opposition to the entitlement that the Quraysh felt that they had earned throughout the generations. Many historians note the fact that Quraysh were commonly thought to feel themselves as being better, or above, the common person.Therefore the resistance to impose a method of change that ran counter to their entire fundament came naturally.

Driving much of the uncertainty surrounding the Prophet Muhammad and his message of Islam was the fear the new method would cause a core breakup of the Meccan society. Not only did the family Quraysh have their material wealth and lifestyle to lose, there were the accompanying political and religious appointments that would be lost as well. This factor of continual loss of the part of the powerful Quraysh family did not provide any path to acceptance.

3.1 Methods of Opposition

The Quraysh family took the time to carefully consider and plan their rejection of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. There was a very real sense that this emerging threat to their power needed to be dealt with in a methodical manner. To this end, the efforts to discredit and vilify the Prophet Muhammad took on new shapes that had never before been utilized. The Quraysh family had influential people close to the Prophet through the ties of familial bonds formally reject his teachings. The element of denial by the family communicated in clear and certain terms that even though the Quraysh were of the same blood as the Prophet Muhammad, they did not speak the same message. This was a cornerstone of the campaign to destroy his message. His closest relative would publicly humiliate the Prophet in an attempt to further discredit not only him, but his message in front of the assembled crowds. Accusing him of lying, the assembled would fling dirt on his face and chest in a display of utter contempt in a show of denial. This was at the hands of those that had previous to his message, held the Prophet Muhammad as one of the most trustworthy and upright of men. The drastic change was in direct response to the threat that the family Quraysh felt his message held for their lifestyle.

Another method adopted in order to diminish the acceptance of the Prophet Muhammad rested in the Quraysh painting the teachings as being an innate rejection of their own ancestors. With the cessation of the Al-Lat and he Al-Izza as well as cease seeking assistance from the Jinn, there came a clear division of interest for the Quraysh family which rested their power in tradition. The animosity of the family is further illustrated as they went so far as to reject the ties of kin to the Prophet, despite the fact that he only sought to protect himself from their taunts and fallacies.

As the ranks of the Prophet’s followers continued to grow several members of the ruling merchant class turned to money or power as a possible incentive to stop the message of Islam. Despite his being feted by the very richest and most powerful among the ruler of Mecca there was no method to be found for reconciling the emerging religion with the need for power. As each method of assault upon the message of the Prophet was rebuffed, there was a clear perception of building dismay to be seen in the increasingly violent and abusive reactions of the Quraysh family. It became common for the ruling class to maim and torture the lower class in an attempt to sway them from their growing beliefs. There were concerted efforts to take every element of comfort away from those that would refuse to abandon these new and emerging traditions.

As a result of the considered and well financed attacks the life of the Prophet Muhammad during this period is cited as extraordinarily hard. With a perception of being a madman and outcast from his own family few people were likely to accept either him or his message. It became common for these disturbances to force the Prophet to run bleeding from his spot, and in turn his message was never fully delivered.

As a final method of denial, the Quraysh family sought to turn the very strength of the Prophet, his religion against him. Creating a test of sorts with the added element of the acceptance of Islam is he could answer the questions, the family felt their scholarship would be the true means to discredit the faith. The Muslim belief cites the wisdom of his learning as enabling the Prophet Muhammad able to overcome this test and prove himself.

4 Conclusion

The opposition of the Quraysh Family to the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad is a critical lesson in history. With a family that was firmly entrenched, the Quraysh, in power there was an established pattern of expectations in place. As the Prophet Muhammad, a member of this same family, grew to manhood he began to teach that the idols that were prevalent in the city took away from the spiritual purity of the region. This attack on the very cornerstone of regional commerce that the Quraysh family subsisted on was the first round in a very bitter battle to deny the Prophet and all of his teachings.

The family Quraysh utilized extreme methods in their desire to mute the Prophet Muhammad. From public familial repudiation, to humiliation and shaming they sought to utterly and completely discredit the Prophet in order to maintain their hold both the commerce and religious establishment of the Meccan society. As the followers of Islam grew in number so did the family Quraysh issues with the calls for equality and tolerance. This fact continued to fuel the animosity of the family against the Prophet Muhammad.

This period of life in the Prophet Muhammad is both heroic and demonstrative. Not only did he rise above the petty societal limitations to preach his message, he continued to do this despite his loss of almost everything he held dear.

5 Bibliography

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Ibn Hishām, ʻ. A. and Ibn Isḥāḳ, M. 1955. The life of Muhammad. London: Oxford University Press.

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Garnet, 1998-2000, p. 278-310.

Mcauliffe, J. D. 2006. The Cambridge companion to the Qurʼān. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Peters, F. E. 1994. Mecca. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Rahman, F. 1976. Pre-foundations of the Muslim Community in Mecca. Studia Islamica, (43), pp. 5–24.

Ramadan, T. 2007. In the footsteps of the prophet. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Rubin, U. 1995. The eye of the beholder. Princeton, N.J.: Darwin Press.

Ṭabarī. 1988. The history of al-Tabari =. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Venardos, A. M. 2009. Handbook of Current Islamic Banking and Finance Issues in South East Asia. Hackensach, NJ [u.a.]: World Scientific Pub Co Inc.

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