: Abu Lahb's Enmity


Emad Fadel
10-06-2010, 05:40 AM
Ibn Isĥāq related the following report by Rabī`ah Ibn `Abbād al-Daylī: When I was young I once watched, with my father, Gods Messenger preaching Islam to the Arab tribes, saying O sons of... (calling their respective tribal names), I am Gods Messenger sent to order you to submit to, and worship Him alone, invoking nothing else beside Him, and to believe in me and protect me until I carry out what God has entrusted to me. A cross-eyed, bright-faced man was behind him, who used to say, after he had finished, O sons of ... This man wants you to forsake al-Lāt and al-`Uzzā [two prominent idols worshipped by the pagan Arabs] and your allies of the jinn, the children of Mālik Ibn Aqmas and to substitute for them these innovations and nonsense he has come up with. Do not listen to him, nor follow what he preaches. I asked my father who that man was and he told me that it was Abū Lahab, the Prophets uncle. [Related by Aĥmad and al-Ţabarānī.]


This is but one incident of Abū Lahabs intimidation and ill-will towards the Prophet and his message. His wife, Arwā bint Ĥarb Ibn `Umayyah, Abū Sufyāns sister, gave him unfailing support in his virulent, relentless campaign.


Such was Abū Lahabs attitude towards the Prophet from the very start of his divine mission. Al-Bukhārī relates, on Ibn `Abbāss authority, that One day the Prophet went out to al-Baţhā, a large square in Makkah, climbed a hill and summoned the people of the Quraysh. When they came to him, he addressed them, saying, Were I to tell you that an enemy is drawing near and will attack you tomorrow morning or evening, would you believe me? Yes, they replied. o listen to me, he went on, I am warning you of [Gods] gruesome torment. Abū Lahab was there and snapped at him, Damn you! For this have you called us?


[Another version says: Abū Lahab stood up shaking the dust off his hands and saying, Damn you all day long...] Then this sūrah was revealed.

Another instance was when the Banu Hasim clan [i.e. the Prophets own clan], under Abū Ţālibs leadership, decided on grounds of tribal loyalty to protect the Prophet despite their rejection of the religion he preached. Abū Lahab was the only one to take a different stand. He joined with the Quraysh instead, and was with them in signing the document imposing a complete social and business boycott on the Banu Hasim so as to starve them out unless they delivered the Prophet to them.


Abū Lahab and his wife, Arwā, who was also called Umm Jamīl, continued with their persistent onslaught against the Prophet and his message. The fact that they were close neighbors of the Prophet made the situation even worse. We are told that Umm Jamīl used to carry thorns and sharp wood and place them along the Prophets path [although it is thought that the phrase the carrier of firewood in the