As soon as his message was publicly declared, violence against the Prophet (pbuh) and his followers began but after the failure of peace missions and attempts at bargaining and more so after the death of Hazrat Khadija and Hazrat Abu Talib, the lava of violence erupted with greater force; instead of weakening the mission, those who joined the movement emerged as sterling gold. The biggest target of violence was, of course, the Prophet (pbuh) himself. What his other companions and followers suffered has not been remembered fully, but whatever has been recorded by historians, is most heart-rending. Some instances are briefly quoted hereunder.
It is obvious that apart from the persecution the Prophet (pbuh) himself had suffered his sensitive heart was immensely pained and bruised by the sufferings of the poor people who had joined his movement.
Khabbab ibn-ul-Irs Tamimi was sold as a slave in pre-Islamic days to Umm-e-Numar. He accepted Islam when the house of Arqam was the centre of the movement from where the Prophet (pbuh) used to organize it. The hooligans of the Quraish threw Khabbab on live cinders and a man stood over him to prevent him from turning sides. The fire cooled under him. Later he once showed his back to Hazrat Umar which was all white due to this atrocity. He was an iron-smith by profession and when after accepting Islam he demanded his dues from the people, they said that he would not get a single shell until he had forsaken Islam. This was economic strangulation but his reply was: “Even if you die and rise again I will not recant.”
THROWN ON THE BURNING SAND
Hazrat Bilal was a slave of Umayya bin Khalaf and when he accepted Islam was thrown on the burning sand at noon time and a heavy stone was placed over him. When Umayya said he would die like this if he did not forsake Islam, his reply was only “One, One god”. Umayya got further enraged and tightening a rope round his neck asked children to drag him in the streets. Sometimes he was wrapped in cow-hide and sometimes he was forced to put on steel armour and seated in the hot sun. At last Hazrat Abu Bakr purchased him in return for another slave and freed him.
Ammar bin Yasir was from the clan of Qahtan. His father Yasir went to Makkah with his two brothers in search of a missing brother. His two brothers returned home but Yasir remained in Makkah and married there. His entire family accepted Islam and suffered cruel persecution. Ammar was thrown on burning sand and severely beaten till he became unconscious. His parents also suffered untold oppression. They were thrown in the water and forced to lie on live cinders. The Prophet(S.A.W) used to console them and raised their morale with assurance of better end.
Summaiyya, the mother of Ammar, on accepting Islam was cruelly stabbed to death by Abu Jehl. Yasir, the father of Ammar, died as a result of most cruel oppression. Suhaib had also accepted Islam at the same time as Ammar and he was beaten so severely that he lost his mental balance. At the time of migration the Quraish permitted him to go to Medina on the condition that he leave all his belongings in Makkah. Suhaib agreed and left without taking anything with him.
Abu Fakih Juhani was a slave of Safwan bin Umayya and accepted Islam at the same time as Hazrat Bilal. When Umayya heard of it he tied his legs with a rope and dragged him on the burning sand.
On the way they saw a beetle and Umayya asked Abu Fakih if that was his God. Abu Fakih said, “My God is Allah, Who is also your God.” On this Umayya strangled with such force that he seemed to have died. But he survived. Once a very heavy stone was put on his chest which brought his tongue out. Sometimes he was chained and thrown on hot sand. He was also purchased and freed by Hazrat Abu Bakr.
Hazrat Usman who deserved respect for his age and status was bound and beaten by his own uncle Hakam Ibn-ul-Aas on his accepting Islam.
Hazrat Abu Zarr on accepting Islam rushed to the Kaabah and proclaimed his conversion whereupon the Quraish fell upon him and beat him so severely that he fell down unconscious. Prophet’s uncle, Hazrat Abbas, rescued him. But next day he again went to Kaabah and reiterated his conversion and suffered severe beating.
WRAPPED IN A MAT
When Hazrat Zubair ibn-ul-Awwam accepted Islam his uncle wrapped him in a mat and passed smoke through his nose but he continued to declare firmly, “Now I will never return to idol worship.”
Saeed ibn Zaid was a cousin of Hazrat Umar. Who bound him with ropes on his accepting Islam.
Sa’ad ibn Waqqas also suffered cruel oppression on his accepting Islam.
Abdullah ibn Masud on accepting Islam for the first time loudly recited the Qur’an in the Kaabah. The Quraish ruffians fell on him and mercilessly beat him, but he continued to recite and returned home with a wounded face.
Usman bin Mazoon was not molested in the beginning because he was under the protection of Walid bin Moghira. But when he saw his fellow converts suffering cruel persecution he thought that it did not befit him to remain under the protection of a non-believer and he released himself and when he made public announcement and demonstrated firmness he was so severely beaten that he lost one eye. Walid came to him and said that he would not have lost his eye if he continued to be under his protection, upon which Usman said that he was now under the protection of One Who is much superior in respectability and honour than Walid and so he would not mind even if he had to sacrifice his other eye also.
When Hazrat Umm-e-Shareek accepted Islam her relatives forced her to stand under the hot sun and did not give her water after food. For three days she was kept under this torture and then she was asked to renounce Islam. Her mind had been so upset that at first she did not understand what was wanted and when she understood it she declared: “By God, I am firm in my conviction.”
Khalid ibn-ul-Aas on accepting Islam was so severely beaten by his father that his head was fractured. He was also starved but stood firm.
Besides these Hazrat Abu Bakr and Talha, Walid bin Walid, Ayash bin Abi Rabia and Slama bin Hisham suffered extremely cruel oppression. Hazrath Omar’s barbarous treatment of his sister and her husband is another example of the rage of the non-believers against the new converts.