In An-Nadwah (Council) House
The Parliament of Quraish
The polytheists were paralysed by the carefully planned and speedy movement of Muhammads followers towards their new abode in Madinah. They were caught in unprecedented anxiety and got deeply worried over their whole pagan and economic entity. They already experienced Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) as an influential leader; and his followers as determined, decent and always ready to sacrifice all they had for the sake of the Messenger of Allâh (Allah bless him and give him peace). Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj tribes, the would-be-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 averse to rancour and prejudice for they themselves had had bitter days of inter-tribal warfare. Madinah , itself, the prospective headquarters of the ever-growing Islamic Call, enjoyed the most serious 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 perpetuity of prosperous economic life. All those 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, 26th Safar, the year fourteen of Prophethood / 12th September 622 A.D [For details see Rahmat-al-lil'alameen 1/95-102] ., i.e. two and a half months after the Great Aqabah Pledge. On that day, "the Parliament of Makkah" held the most serious meeting ever, with one item on the agenda: How to take effective measures with a view to stopping that tidal wave. Delegates representing all the Quraishite tribes attended the meeting, the most significant of whom were:
- Abu Jahl bin Hisham, from Bani Makhzum;
- Jubair bin Mutim, Tuaima bin Adi, and Al-Harith bin Amir representing Bani Naufal bin Abd Munaf;
- Rabias two sons Shaibah and Utbah besides Abu Sufyan bin Harb from Bani Abd Shams bin Abd Munaf;
- An-Nadr bin Al-Harith (who had besmeared the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) with animal entrails) to speak for Bani Abd Ad-Dar;
- Abul Bukhtary bin Hisham, Zamaa bin Al-Aswad and Hakeem bin Hizam to represent Bani Asad bin Abd Al-Uzza;
- Al-Hajjajs two sons Nabih and Munbih from Bani Sahm;
- Omaiyah bin Khalaf from Bani Jumah.
On their way to An-Nadwah House, Iblis (Satan) in the guise of a venerable elderly man standing at the door interrupted their talk and introduced himself as a man from Najd curious enough to attend the meeting, listen to the debate and wish them success to reach a sound opinion. He was readily admitted in.
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 heart-touching words could entice the other Arabs to attack them in their own city. Imprisonment for life was also debated but also refused for fear that his followers might increase in number, overpower them and release him by force. At this point, the arch-criminal of Makkah, Abu Jahl bin Hisham suggested that they assassinate him. But assassination by one man would have exposed him and his family to the vengeance of blood. The difficulty was at last solved by Abu Jahl himself, who suggested that a band of young men, one from each tribe, should strike Muhammad simultaneously with their swords so that the blood-money would be spread over them all and therefore could not be exacted, and his people would seek a mind-based recourse for settlement. The sinful proposal was unanimously accepted, and the representatives broke up the meeting and went back home with full determination for immediate implementation. [Ibn Hisham 1/480-482]