Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Boycott of the Quraish

The Quraish decided to try to neutralize the power that Prophet Muhammad had gained after the conversion of Hamza and Umar to Islam. They said that they would act in accordance with existing laws and kinship of the Hashemite and Muttalibis. However, they declared that these two tribes were enemies; they stopped conversing with them and stopped trading with them. They wrote the terms of the boycott and hung it on the wall of the Kaaba. In response to this social boycott, Abu Talib brought his nephew and the Companions to the Shi'bu Abu Talib (the neighborhood of Abu Talib) in order to protect them. The Prophet moved there from the Dar al-Arqam, where he had been continuing his conveyance of the religion. Except for Abu Lahab and his sons, who preferred to stand beside the idolaters, all the Hashemites and Muttalibis, whether Muslim or not, moved there and lived under boycott for as long as three years (616-619). Khadija and Abu Talib spent all their wealth during these harsh times. Except for the pilgrimage season and the sacred months it was not possible for these people to perform trade activities or to go out shopping. Idolaters caused problems when the Muslims went shopping by increasing the prices. Finally, some conscientious people, such as the son of Abu Talib's sister Zuhayr ibn Umayya and Hisham ibn Amr, spoke to Mut‘im ibn Adî and Zam‘a ibn Asvad, both of whom were prominent members of the Quraish. After gaining the support of these two, they went to the Abu Talib neighborhood and released the Muslims, putting an end to the boycott.

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