In An-Nadwah (Council) House – The Parliament of Quraish

The polytheists were paralyzed by the carefully planned and speedy movement of Muhammad’s followers towards their new abode in Madinah. They were caught in unprecedented anxiety and were deeply worried over the future of their pagan economic establishment. They had already experienced Muhammad as an influential leader; and his followers as determined, righteous and always ready to sacrifice all they had for the sake of Allah’s Messenger. Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj tribes, the proposed hosts of the Makkan Muslims, were also known in Arabia for their might and power in war, and judicious and sensible approach in peace. They were also opposed to enmity and prejudice for they themselves had bitter days of inter-tribal warfare. Madinah, the prospective headquarters of the evergrowing Islamic Call, enjoyed the most advantageous strategic position. It commanded the commercial routes leading to Makkah whose people used to deal in about a quarter of a million gold dinar-worth commodities every year. Security of the caravan routes was crucial for the continuity of prosperous economic life. With all these factors borne in mind, the polytheists felt they were in the grip of a serious threat. They, therefore, began to seek the most effective method that could avert this imminent danger. They convened a meeting on Thursday morning, 26th Safar, the fourteenth year of Prophethood (12th September 622 C.E.), i.e., two and a half months after the Great `Aqabah Pledge. On this day, `the Parliament of Makkah’ met with one item on the agenda: How to take effective measures to stop the tidal wave of Islam? Delegates representing all the Quraishite tribes attended the meeting, the most significant of whom were:

  • 1. Abu Jahl bin Hisham, from Bani Makhzum;
  • 2-4. Jubair bin Mut’im, Tu’aimah bin `Adi, and Al-Harith bin `Amir representing Bani Naufal bin `Abd Manaf;
  • 5-7. Rabi`ah’s two sons Shaibah and `Utbah besides Abu Sufyan bin Harb from Bani `Abd Shams bin `Abd Manaf;
  • 8. An-Nadr bin Al-Harith to speak for Bani `Abdud-Dar;
  • 9-11. Abul-Bukhtari bin Hisham, Zam`ah bin Al-Aswad and Hakim bin Hizam to represent Bani Asad bin `Abdul-`Uzza;
  • 12, 13. Al-Hajjaj’s two sons Nabih and Munbih from Bani Sahm;
  • 14. Umaiyah bin Khalaf from Bani Jumah.

On their way to An-Nadwah House, Iblis (Satan) in the guise of a respected elderly man standing at the door interrupted their meeting and introduced himself as a man from Najd curious to attend the meeting, listen to the debate and wish them success to reach a sound opinion. He was admitted in readily.

There was a lengthy debate and several proposals were put forward. Expulsion from Makkah was proposed and debated in turn but finally turned down on grounds that his sweet and touching words could entice the other Arabs to attack them in their own city. Imprisonment for life was also debated, but refused upon consideration, for fear that his followers might increase in number, overpower them and secure his release by force. At this point, the arch-criminal of Makkah, Abu Jahl bin Hisham suggested that they kill him. However, if one man were to carry out the killing, it would expose him and his family to the revenge of blood. The difficulty was at last solved by Abu Jahl himself, who suggested that a band of young men, one from each clan, should strike Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) simultaneously with their swords so that the crime would be shared by them all and therefore could not be avenged, causing his people to seek a peaceful means for settlement. The heinous proposal was unanimously accepted, and the representatives broke up the meeting and went back determined to implement the decision immediately.

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