By Ayatollah Jaffer Subhani
Besides being the chief of Makkah and possessing some offices with regard to the Holy Ka’bah he enjoyed a very high position in the Arab society and as he had been the guardian of the Prophet after the demise of Abdul Muttalib the other chiefs of Quraysh approached him in the form of a group and addressed him thus: “O Abu Talib! Your nephew abuses our gods speaks ill of our religion laughs at our thoughts and beliefs and considers our forefathers misguided. Ask him to keep aloof from us or surrender him to us and refrain from supporting him”.
The elder of Quraysh and the head of the family of Bani Hashim replied to them in a tactful manner and in a soft tone and consequently they abandoned their activities. However Islam was penetrating and expanding day after day and the spiritual rapture of the religion of the Prophet and the attractive and eloquent words of the Heavenly Book (the Qur’an) were lending support to it. The Prophet especially presented his religion before the people in the months in which fighting was prohibited when a large number of pilgrims gathered in Makkah.
His eloquent and sweet speeches and his attractive beliefs impressed many persons. In the meantime the Pharoah of Makkah also realized that the Holy Prophet had gained popularity amongst all the tribes and had acquired many followers amongst the settled and unsettled Arab tribes. They therefore decided to approach the Prophet’s only supporter (Abu Talib) once again and to make known to him the dangers to which the liberty of the Makkans and of their religion had become subjected owing to the propagation and expansion of Islam.
Hence they once again approached him jointly and referring to their former demands spoke to him thus: “O Abu Talib! You are superior to us in the matter of nobility and age. However we met you earlier and requested you to restrain your nephew from propagating the new religion but you did not pay any heed to our words. The position had now become unbearable for us. We cannot tolerate any longer that a person should abuse our gods and should consider us to be foolish and ignorant. It is necessary for you to restrain him from all these activities failing which we will fight against him as well as against you who are his supporter so that the duty of each group should become specific and one of them should be wiped out”.
Abu Talib the distinguished supporter and defender of the Prophet realized through his sagacity and perfect wisdom that it was appropriate to show forbearance to the people whose entire dignity of existence was now open to danger. He therefore adopted a peaceful attitude and promised that he would convey the sentiments of the chiefs to his nephew. No doubt this reply was given primarily with the object of quenching the fire of their wrath so that an appropriate way of solving the difficulty could be adopted later. Hence after the departure of the chiefs he contacted his nephew and conveyed their message to him and incidentally in order to test his faith in his own object demanded a reply from him.
However while replying the Holy Prophet uttered a sentence which is considered to be one of the outstanding and golden lines of history. Here is the text of his reply: “Dear uncle I swear by Allah that even if they place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand (i.e. even if they provide me with rule over the entire world) I shall not desist from propagating my religion and pursuing my object and shall continue my efforts until I overcome the difficulties and achieve my final goal or lay down my life for its sake”.
Thereafter the Prophet’s eyes were filled with tears on account of his love and enthusiasm for his object and he stood up and departed from his uncle’s presence. His penetrating and attractive speech made such a wonderful impression on the chief of Makkah that notwithstanding all the dangers to which he was exposed he called back his nephew and said to him: “By Allah! I will not give up my support to you and you may very well pursue your object to its end”.