10.2 Breaking the Covenant
When Hisham ibn Amr could no longer bear to see the Muslims in this condition, he decided to campaign against the hard-hearted and unfair behavior of Quraysh. So he went to another of the Qurayshis called Zuhayr and said to him,
"Zuhayr, are you content to eat food and marry women when your uncles are starving in the mountains? If they were my uncles, I would not endure this wrong."
The two men agreed to work diligently together to break this unfair boycott. They spoke secretly to three others and the five men set to work to sway public opinion.
Then one day, when they felt the time was ripe, Zuhayr went seven times around the Kaaba, then called out to the people,
"People of Mecca, shall we eat food and wear fine clothes when Banu Hashim are perishing in the mountains? By Allah, I will not rest until this unfair and wrongful covenant is broken."
As soon as Abu Jahl heard these words, he cried,
"Never, it shall not be broken!"
The other four rose up to support Zuhayr. Abu Jahl then saw by the hostile faces around him that he had no support and that, by the persistence of the five men, the matter had already been settled. He feared speaking up when he found himself alone, so he said no more.
They went inside the Kaaba to tear up the hateful covenant but found the work had already been done. Termites had eaten up all of the covenant except the first line which read: In Thy name, O Allah,
Now Mohamed's people could come down from the mountains, buy, sell, and resume a normal life. But those three years in the mountains had taken a heavy toll from them physically and financially. Khadija, genteel and delicate, was not used to the hard life of privation and her health had suffered. Abu Talib, who was in his eighties, had also felt the strain and soon after they returned he lay on his death-bed.