Discuss how the pagans of Makkah worked against Islam and the Noble Prophet (peace be on him) in the Makkan period

Praise be to Allah,


Prophet Muhammad’s twenty-three years of Prophetic life can be divided into two major categories:

  • The Makkan phase lasted for close to thirteen years.
  • The Medinan phase lasted for ten years.


The Makkan period lasted about 13 years, from the first revelation up to the Hijrah to Madina. The Makkan phase can be further divided into three stages based on the mode of preaching, hostility from the pagans:


The first stage lasted for three years from the time of the first revelation. Call to Islam restricted to near kins and the method was mostly secret.


The second stage lasted for seven years from the time-lapse of the first phase up to the 10th year of the prophetic mission. This phase is characterized by massive humiliation and physical torture inflicted upon the few newly converts. The call towards Islam was within Makkah.


The third stage lasted from the lapse of the second phase until the migration to Madina. The call towards Islam was carried beyond Makkah and surrounding regions.


From the time of the first revelation until the migration to Medina, the Makkans left no opportunity to either humiliate him, accuse or physically harm him. Allah revealed several verses to pacify him and ordered him to be patient. For example,


“Nothing is said to you except what has already been saying [earlier] to the apostles before you. Indeed your Lord is forgiving and One who metes out a painful retribution”. Quran (41:43)


“and be patient over what they say, and keep away from them in a graceful manner”. Quran (73:10)


At the beginning of prophethood, his (PBUH) preaching was hidden to not let the Quraish hear about him. He preached to his nearest relatives and friends. The early converts were approximately 40[i]. Al Arqam ibn Abee Arqaam’s house was the secret place where they would meet to learn and pray. Sometimes, they would go on valleys and mountains in the outskirts of Makkah. In this phase, the disbelievers did not take Muhammad (Peace be upon him) seriously although kept a close watch on his movement. Similarly, the prophet (PBUH) and his followers did not rebuke their idols openly.



The prophet (peace be upon him) preaches publicly.


Once the followers were adequately trained in patience, Unity of God, worship, it was the time for open preaching. Allah revealed the verse:


“Warn the nearest of your kinsfolk, and lower your wing to the faithful who follow you, But if they disobey you, say, ‘I am absolved of what you do.’ Quran (26:214-216)


Upon the revelation of this verse, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ascended on Mount as-Safa and warned the disbelievers about the punishment in the hereafter. Abu Lahab who was present there exclaimed,” Perish you all the day”. Immediately, the Qur’anic verse was revealed:


“Perish the hands of Abu Lahab, and perish he!, Neither his wealth availed him, nor what he had earned”. Quran (111: 1-2)


The notables amongst the disbelievers of Makkah were not able to directly harm prophet Muhammad, reached to his uncle Abu Talib. They requested him to stop Muhammad (peace be upon him) from preaching monotheism and cursing their idols. Abu Talib refused their request and continued to protect Muhammad allowing him to preach Islam.


The disbelievers started taunting prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by calling him ibn Abi Kabshah (the son of Abu Kabshah) because he rejected their polytheism to become a Christian[ii].


Despite all the taunts and hardship, prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) remained firm in preaching Islam. He started to pray openly in the vicinity of Kaaba. This only made the disbelievers angrier and saw this as a challenge and threat to their dominion.


Worried of pilgrims 


The notables amongst the pagans of Makkah were increasingly worried as the time of the annual pilgrimage was close. They were worried if the Muslims would influence the visitors about their new faith. They planned to call him a poet, a madman, a magician, a diviner, a sorcerer to the extent they spread the rumor that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is suffering from fits and seizures. Moreover, they formed small groups to spread this false accusation. Despite all this, the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) preached the final message of Islam to the pilgrims. Consequently, the whole of Arabia came to know about him.


When the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recited the Quran, even some of the pagans would listen to it attentively. Fearing that more people will convert, one of them went to the extent of purchasing a singing girl from a foreign land. If they found anyone from them keen to hear the Quran, they would take that person to that girl for entertainment to divert his mind[iii].

Click here to know When the Pagans of Makkah fell down in prostration with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) hearing the Quran.


Strange Proposal


When all the methods of conspiracies, mockery failed, they went to his Uncle once more. They came up with a strange proposal. They offered him a boy named, ‘Amarah bin Al-Waleed bin Al-Mugheerah in exchange for prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The boy would take care in his old age and relieve him of all the distress caused by the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). To this Abu Talib replied, “ It is an unfair bargain. You give me your son to bring him up and I give you my son to kill him! By Allâh, it is something incredible!!”


One day, when prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was performing Tawwaaf around Kaaba, some of the disbelievers encircled him. One of them strangled him with his garment but Abu Bakr came and saved him.


Another Negotiation with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)


When the Quraish realized that despite threatening and mockery, Muhammad (peace be upon him) is firm on his preaching, they came up with a new proposal. They said,


“If you are doing all this intending to get wealth, we will join together to give you greater riches than any Quraishite has possessed. If ambition moves you, we will make you our chief. If you desire kingship we will readily offer you that. If you are under the power of an evil spirit which seems to haunt and dominate you so that you cannot shake off its yoke, then we shall call in skillful physicians to cure you”


Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) responded by reciting Quran, chapter 41 verse 1-5 and then continued till verse 37:


“Among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Do not prostrate to the sun, nor the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created them, if it is Him that you worship”. Quran( 41:37)


Thereupon, the prophet (peace be upon him) prostrated on the ground and said, “you have heard what you have heard, Abu Al-Waleed, the rest remains with you.[iv]


Another proposal


Despite the increasing number of converts and continuous failure in stopping the prophet (peace be upon him) from preaching Islam, the Quraish did not lose hope. They have come with a new proposal. They offered to worship his God for a year in return that prophet would worship their gods for a year. Upon this, Allah revealed:


“Say, “O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship, Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” [Surah Al-Kafirun( 1-6)]



The Boycott


Having tried all means to stop Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)  from preaching, the Quraish unitedly decided to boycott all the Muslims. The agreement was written down and hanged over the wall of the Kaaba. They prohibited anyone to have any contact whatsoever with any members of Banu Hashim and Banu al Muttalib until they handed over prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or he dies. This long hardship continued for two years. He remained patient, steadfast, and thankful to his Lord.




As we have seen, the Makkans tried all their means to stop the last and final messenger of Allah from preaching. He (peace be on him) never got frightened, instead, he was confident of the ultimate victory. These unfortunate people of Makkah did not realize that by opposing Muhammad (peace be on him), they were opposing the religion of Allah.


Allah Knows Best.



[i] The Noble Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Dr. Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, Vol 1- 161

[ii] When the Moon Split, A biography of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, page 43

[iii] Ma’ariful Quran, A compressive commentary on the holy Quran, Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi, vol-7, page 27

[iv] Portraits from the Life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Ibn katheer, page 23

Similar Posts

Al Fudool Alliance

Praise be to Allah,   Fudool comes from the word ‘Fadl’, which has several meanings