Mecca – also known as Ummul Qurra – was inhabited during the period of Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s). When this city – with its culture and values and after passing through the vicissitudes of time – came on the threshold of sixth century, it witnessed a sea change in itself. The water of Zamzam had long been lost under stones and dust.
Among the ancient monuments only the Kaaba stood the test of time. The tradition of circumambulation (Tavaaf) of Kaaba had existed since the time of Hazrat Ismail (a.s). With the passage of centuries, the residents of Mecca became gradually inclined towards idol worship. People filled the house of Allah with idols. Several centuries of idol worship led to the establishment of several customs and rituals. The custom of circumambulation of Kaaba while being naked in order to fulfill ones needs had started long before (the advent of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a)). Invoking the idols by new names to overcome difficulties was firmly rooted in the depths of their existence. The land of this city was mostly barren and devoid of water. Apart from the two major tribes of Bani Hashim and Bani Umayyah, the other tribes collectively called as Quraish were known by their ancestors’ names. These big tribes by virtue of their inheritance were exercising control and influence over the city. There were no educational institutions to train and educate the youth. However the eloquence of Arabic language was famous everywhere. Everyday a new word – with various aspects of its meanings – was added to the language.
They were not willing to compromise with the quality of their language. Hence the Prince of the era of Jaahillyah (period before Islam) Amr al Qays, while using the sword in the battlefield would also put to use the sharpness of his poems. Here we are discussing the backdrop of Mecca before the dawn of Islam, wherein the tribe of Bani Hashim was held in great esteem. They excelled everyone else in eloquence, hospitality and nobility.
Their conduct in life came to the fore in the life of Hazrat Abdul Muttalib (a.s). They were monotheists and the caretakers of Kaaba. We do not find any indication in the annals of history that he promoted and encouraged idol worship. On the contrary we find that he, along with his twelve sons did ‘tavaaf’ of Kaaba on a particular day every year in such a manner that it was cause of envy for the onlookers. His last son Abdullah had a beautiful visage. Divine light emanated from his forehead. He married Amena binte Wahab who bore him Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a). Hazrat Abdullah expired six months prior to his (s.a.w.a) birth. At the delicate age of six years his mother too left for the heavenly abode and he came under the care of his grandfather Hazrat Abdul Muttalib (a.s) and later under the care of Hazrat Abu Talib (a.s).
At the same time the tribe of Bani Umayyah was also mushrooming (elsewhere in Mecca). This tribe was establishing its government in Syria and also on this basis had almost formed a government in Mecca. They used all immoral and unfair means to achieve worldly power and influence.
Abu Sufyan – with all his arrogance and oppression – was fast gaining power. The lavish lifestyle of his tribe later came to the fore. His home was the centre of lavishness. Musical gatherings and dances were held often and were frequented by other influential and wealthy people. The approach of Bani Hashim was in stark contrast to their approach, thereby increasing the distance and differences between the two. The resolute belief of Hazrat Abdul Muttalib (a.s) – the one intended in Surah Feel – played an important role in crushing the army of Abraha who had come on elephants to attack the house of Allah. The statement of Abdul Muttalib is still preserved in history:
Kaaba is the house of Allah and He will protect it.
Hazrat Abu Talib (a.s) did not spare any effort in the upbringing of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a). Moreover Janabe Fatima binte Asad – to ward off any potential danger that may befell him – was always at the service of his (s.a.w.a) mother (Janabe Amena) right from the time she conceived him. History narrates that the princess of Yemen – a Jewish lady – had come disguised as a slave girl had come in the service of Janab Amena with the intention of killing her at the first opportunity. While trying to hide something in her hair she was caught red handed by Janab Fatima binte Asad. She fled from the place, hid herself in a caravan and fled to Yemen. After this incident Janab Fatima binte Asad – to ward off any potential danger – would always be in the presence of Janabe Amena. When Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) came under the care of his uncle Abu Talib, Janab Fatima binte Asad emerged as an embodiment of sacrifice. Thus the conspiracies of the enemies, planned even before the birth of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a), never saw the light of the day.
If we scroll the annals of history we find several incidents that could have proved fatal to the life of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) . However his character, morals, manners, trustworthiness and other such attributes had made such a strong impact on the people that the feelings of love and honesty were sprouting and surfacing in the hearts of even the cruel hearted idolaters.
Even before the declaration of prophethood, an undercurrent of ethical and cultural revolution had begun which was ripping apart the darkness of ignorance. However the age old ignorant people did not approve of the revolution that would give a lethal blow to the very foundation of idol and self-worship. The inhuman incidents of the period before Islam are mentioned (from different parts of the world). However the instances of oppression and injustice perpetuated by Quraysh and other wealthy persons can hardly be found in any other nation. The sermon of Janabe Zahra (s.a) after the usurpation of Fadak lifts the curtain and exposes the immoral conditions, dishonesty, defective thinking and the collapsing economy of the age of Jaahiliyyah. So, anyone – who raises the slogan of “there is no god except Allah” and proceeds to destroy the idols – in such a nation that revels in idol worship, had to be prepared to face persecution and bloodshed. The gathering of Zul Asheera (Dawate Zul Asheera) points out how those who were present left in a state of anger and fury. None except Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) and his successor remained there.
The declaration of prophethood created an upheaval in Mecca. Swords were unsheathed; the hands of children were filled with stones. The elders – who were concerned about their idols and more about the possibility of power and influence slipping from their hands – wanted to put an end to this movement, even at the cost of human lives. Hence conspiracies of massacre were planned. Masses were mobilised to put an end to this revolution.
The first and the most dangerous plan
The sufferings at the “Sheebe Abu Talib” – after passing through the various conspiracies of Abu Sufyan and the enemies of Islam – are such heart rendering that they cannot be described. How could these sacred souls have borne such troubles? But Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) – the one entrusted with the shariat of Islam and whose integrity was unanimously accepted by the idolaters of Mecca – did not let any harm come near it (Islam).
They finally bid farewell to Mecca and migrated to Madina. Both the migrants (muhajirs) and the helpers (ansaars) lived in the domain of Islam. They fulfilled the rights of hosts and the guests. The establishment of brotherhood made them equal to each other. Equality was so well established that slaves too were liberated. The second plan occurred during migration.
The second unsuccessful plan
The most subtle and dangerous plan was to gather the leaders of forty tribes and suddenly attack Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) thereby putting an end to his life and also his mission. However all were baffled and taken aback and had to withdraw their swords when they saw Ameerul Momeneen (a.s) lying on the bed of the prophet (s.a.w.a). This incident crushed the morale of the polytheists of Mecca.
The Third Unsuccessful Plan
When Janab Jafar Tayyar recited the verses of Surah Maryam before the king of Ethiopia his eyes were filled with tears. The conspiracy of the idolaters of Mecca – under which they had sent precious gifts to him and hoped he would hand over the migrants to them – also failed miserably.
The Fourth Unsuccessful Plan
Mecca was in turmoil and Islam was gaining strength in Madina. The migrants were honoured and respected. The camel of the prophet (s.a.w.a) halted at the door of Abu Ayyub Ansari. The influential Jews of Madina started frequenting Mecca the chief of which was Abu Sufyan. Wars started and conspiracies unfolded themselves one after another – all unsuccessful. The battle of Badr, the first war was won at the hands of Ameerul Momeneen (a.s). After their defeat at the battle of Badr the Meccans cunningly concluded that the only way to overpower Muslims was to penetrate into their army and create discord among them. Under this plan Abdullah ibn Obaiy married his daughter to a Muslim named Hanzala bin Aamir. Hanzalah had sincerely accepted Islam and cherished martyrdom in the way of Allah. In the battle of Uhud, Abdullah ibn Obaiy with an army of three hundred left for Madina. As a result only seven hundred Muslims remained to fight against an army of one thousand. The battle of Uhud too was won due to Ali, but Muslims suffered heavy casualties and several great personalities were martyred. The teeth of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) too were martyred. Ameerul Momeneen (a.s) received ninety nine wounds. When the dust had settled, the enemies were clear about their new dangerous weapon i.e. to get as close as possible to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) by outwardly accepting Islam and proclaiming their sincerity. But the hidden agenda was to cut the roots of Islam and also prepare ground for forming a government. But all the conspiracies of the world would in no way harm Islam, whose roots were strengthening with every passing day. Allah had given such a successor to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) who in the words of Iqbal, trembled in the presence of Allah during worship but whose name sent down shivers down the spines of the bravest and the most courageous warriors of Arabia. The slogan of “there is no victory except Ali and no sword like Zulfiqar” resounded everywhere.
The other dangerous conspiracy was to bring an equal to Ali and his Zulfiqar to neutralise the growing influence of Hazrat Ali (a.s). The conspirators feared that if they failed in this plan then the standard (flag) of Islam will spread in the entire world. Hence Khalid bin Walid, a criminal who killed Maalik ibn Nuwayrah and disrespected his wife the same night was given the title of the “sword of Allah” (Saifullah) in the era of the first caliph. Nowadays a book by the name Sword of Allah is being printed wherein Khalid ibn Walid is mentioned as the only warrior who never retreated in any war of Islam. This is an open lie. After reading such literature one concludes that Islam has spread by the strength of the sword.
While the idolaters of Mecca had openly declared war against Islam, the hypocrites of Madina thought of a very subtle and a far dangerous approach. They put on the garb of Islam and began weakening its roots. The effect of these conspiracies was so severe, that by 61 AH the spirituality and values of Islam were breathing their last moments.
Yazid, while representing his past had joined hands with ibn Ziyad and was declaring the end of Islam. In his couplets he mentioned that there was never any revelation (of Holy Quran) nor any religion and Bani Hashim had played with power. He, in his defective thinking had destroyed Islam and he had no values except to rise to power. After hinting at these various conspiracies which I will try to discuss in detail in future let me draw your attention to Karbala and the manner in which Imam Husain (a.s) – before and after the battle of Karbala – reduced these conspiracies to dust.
This poison of greed and power spread with time paving the way for enemies of Islam for forming a government that constituted such rules that would suppress the voice of the oppressed and give free hand to the oppressors. This would weaken the base of the teachings of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a).
The first half of the first century (till 50 AH) was full of turmoil. Muawiyah was firmly established in Syria. The conspiracies of Bani Umayyah had started yielding fruits. Remaining in the fold of Islam, its teachings had undergone a radical change. The efforts of the conspirators under the garb of Shariat began seeing the light of the day and with the martyrdom of Ameerul Momeneen (a.s) the foundations of Islam were totally destroyed paving the way for the enemies of Islam to attain their long cherished power.
Based on this opinion and twenty years after the martyrdom of Ameerul Momeneen (a.s) Muawiyah and Amr Ibn Aas while leading the government of Syria exposed their hitherto hidden intentions. However his advisors were aware of the decisiveness and will power of Imam Husain (a.s), and that this sacred personality – busy worshipping Allah day and night – would certainly confront them. They had enough power at their disposal to subdue his voice. All the means at their disposal were used against him. He (a.s) left Madina on twenty eight of Rajab and after halting briefly at Mecca proceeded towards Kufa. He thus adorned and honoured the land of Karbala by his (a.s) presence and bestowed so much splendour upon it that even tyrants like Mutawakkil and Saddam Husain could not dim its grandeur . The list of the conspiracies against Islam is long and we shall analyse the one which ended after Karbala. When Mukhtar Saqafi rose after the event of Karbala, Abdullah bin Zubair also rose with a similar slogan. But their aim was to avenge the Bani Umayyah due to their personal and tribal enmity, not to avenge the blood of Imam Husain (a.s). This movement resulted in huge losses because of which a multitude of people were deprived of the teachings of Ahle Bait (a.s) and became obsessed with gaining power. However Mukhtar and his valiant soldiers like Ibrahim Ibn Maalik Ashtar killed many of the soldiers of the enemy camp and thus preserved the mission of Imam Husain (a.s) till the day of judgement. Finally at the age of sixty seven he (a.s) was martyred by the soldiers of Abdullah Ibn Zubair.