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First Centre of Education
About the same time, Allah’s Messenger () used the house of Al-Arqam at the bottom of the Mount of Safa as a centre for education.
Every new Muslim would come to this centre to learn the teachings of Islam.
Gradually, this centre became a crowded place.
The Prophet () himself would lead the prayer there. Al-Arqam’s house served as the centre for all Islamic activities. The last person to accept Islam in Dar Al-Arqam (the House of Al-Arqam) was Umar ibn al-Khattab . His acceptance of Islam was a turning point in the history of Islam.
Enmity of the Quraysh
Among the new Muslims some were slaves. Some of them had no powerful tribes or relatives to defend them. Such weak and defenseless people became the easy victims of the disbelievers and suffered a great deal of torture. Muslims in general were put to ridicule. The Quraysh treated them most unkindly so that other people would not dare to join the new faith.
Bilal () was the slave of Umayyah ibn Khalaf. He put Bilal () to great torture. He used to bring him out at about noon time in the hot sun. He would then throw him on his back on the burning sand and would order a heavy rock to be placed on his chest. At times both his arms were tied behind his back and he was lashed mercilessly. Sometimes he was kept hungry. Sometimes he was handed over to street urchins with a rope tied round his neck. They would pull him through the streets and lanes and to the hills beyond the city. But Bilal would bear all these miseries with patience, saying Ahad, Ahad ( Allah is One, Allah is One).
Ammaar embraced Islam along with his father Yaasir and mother Sumayyah.
Abu Jahl tortured them mercilessly. The wicked Abu Jahl stuck his spear in Sumayyah’s body and killed her. She was the first martyr in Islam. Abu Jahl once gave Zanirah such a severe beating that she became blind. It makes one’s hair stand on end to think of the cruelties of the disbelievers against the slaves and the weak. But Islam is such a powerful force that nobody turned away once
accepting it because of these tortures.
Uthman ibn Affan () was a wealthy man of the Umayyah tribe. On becoming Muslim he was tied with a rope, thrashed severely and put to many physical tortures. Az-Zubayr ibn Al-Awwam’s uncle tried to control him by wrapping him in a mat.
Abu Dhar al-Ghifaree was so mercilessly beaten that he fell unconscious. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud was also beaten to unconsciousness. Khabbab ibn al-Aratt was once made to lie down on burning embers. A man sat on his chest so that he could not move or change sides. The result was the flesh and the skin on his back and waist were burnt off.
Exercises
A. Name the following.
1 . The centre the Prophet () set up for education:
2. The last person to accept Islam in the centre:
3. The slave of Umayyah ibn Khalaf:
4. The parents of Ammar:
5. A wealthy man of the Umayyah tribe:
B. Answer the following questions.
1 . The centre served many uses. Explain.
2. Describe the different ways in which Bilal () was tortured.
3. How was Sumayyah, Uthman ibn Affan and Khabbab ibn al-Aratt tortured?
Once Allah’s Messenger () was offering his prayers at the Ka’bah. Uqbah ibn Abee Mu’ayt twisted his neck with a piece of cloth until the Prophet () was nearly
strangled. When Abu Bakr heard of it, he rushed to the spot and saved the Prophet () from this mischief. He then asked the Quraysh, ‘Would you kill a person simply because he says that Allah is his Lord?’ So they left the Prophet () and fell on Abu Bakr. They treated him very roughly.
On another occasion, Allah’s Messenger () was performing prayers in the courtyard of the Ka’bah in the presence of the Quraysh. Abu Jahl said, ‘A camel has been slaughtered at such and such a place. Its intestines are lying there. Someone should fetch them and put them on Muhammad.’ Uqbah ibn Abee Mu’ayt got up. He fetched the intestines and put them on the back of the Prophet () when he prostrated. The disbelievers were overtaken with laughter. Fatimah who was then of tender age, removed the intestines from the back of her father. She scolded them in strong words.
They also used to throw stones, filth and rubbish at his house. Once the Prophet () said, ‘O Banu Abd Manaf, how well you are at fulfilling the rights of a neighbour!’ The Prophet () was sometimes called a poet. At times, he was called a sorcerer, a soothsayer, or a madman. In short, the disbelievers left no stone unturned in putting the Prophet () and his companions to the utmost harm.
They did everything to block his mission. But the Prophet () was determined to fulfil his duty with unshakable faith.
When the Quraysh felt that their opposition to the Prophet’s mission would bear no fruit, they adopted another plan.
Answer the following questions.
1 . In what different ways would the Prophet () be tortured while performing prayers?
2. What different names was the Prophet ( H ) branded with?
The Quraysh ’s Offers and the Prophet’s Reply
The Quraysh consulted with each other and sent Utbah ibn Rabee’ah to the Prophet () with offers. He said very politely, ‘Muhammad, you are noble and belong to a noble family. But you have created divisions among your people. Tell me what you want. If you want wealth, we will collect enough of it for you till you become the richest of all of us. If you desire to be a leader, we will make you our chief. We are ready to accept your rule. If you want kingship, we will readily give you that. If you are under the power of an evil spirit which seems to haunt you and dominate you so that you cannot get rid of it, we will surely call in skilful physicians to cure you.’
When Utbah had finished, Allah’s Messenger () asked, ‘Have you finished Abul Waleed?’ ‘Yes’, came the reply. The Prophet () said, ‘Now listen to me.’ The Prophet () began to recite Surat Fussilat. Utbah listened attentively. When the Prophet () reached the verse that requires prostration he prostrated. After that, he turned to Utbah and said, ‘Well, Abul-Waleed, you have heard my reply. You are now free to do whatever you want.’
Utbah left the place and went back to the Quraysh and said, ‘Take my advice and leave this man alone. Be neutral in his case. If he brings Arabia under his control, his success will be your success because he is your brother. If he meets his doom, you are happily safe.’
Hearing this, the Quraysh said to Utbah, ‘It appears Muhammad has cast a spell on you.’ Utbah replied, ‘You say whatever you like. I have given you my opinion.’
Exercises
A. Answer the following questions.
1 . Who was sent to make offers to the Prophet ()?
2. Was Utbah successful in his mission?
3. Why did the Quraysh make fun of Utbah?
B. Think-up.
1 . Do you think Utbah was an ordinary person?
2. What is the Kunyah of Utbah? Find the answer in the text.
3. What is the number of Surat Fussilat in the Qur’an?

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