8.1 Calling All Arabs to Islam, Quraysh’s Reaction
After being commanded to proclaim the worship of Allah to his kin, then to all Quraysh, Mohamed was commanded to call all the Arabs to Allah, as he was later commanded to call all men. Like everything introduced by the Koran, the process was gradual, in phases. There is nothing arbitrary, nothing abrupt or exorbitant in the legislation or the concepts that the Koran introduces. It is free of the characteristics of haste and tyranny that often mark the work of the human legislator. It is a gradual and steady transition, a wise guidance from wrong towards right, from falsehood towards truth by Him who has the time and the destiny of all men in His hands.
In answer to the command to call all the Arabs to Allah, Mohamed thought of addressing the Arabs who came every year on pilgrimage to the Kaaba, from different parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Quraysh heard of this and decided to prevent him. But how were they to go about it? There were now in each tribe, in each family of Quraysh, men who believed in Allah and His Messenger. Men for whom, if any of them was touched by harm, a whole tribe would retaliate even if it had not entered into Islam. If they could not prevent Mohamed by force, then let it be by cunning. The first weapon they chose was propaganda. Years earlier they had set their poets upon him and had not succeeded. Now they wanted a way to vitiate his call and belittle him in the eyes of the Arab pilgrims who were coming in the Sacred Months.
In one of their meetings, they plotted together in order not to say contradictory words and belie each other thus proving the falsehood of all their statements. Someone suggested that they tell the pilgrims that Mohamed was a soothsayer, but AI-Walid ibn AI-Mughira, who was heading the meeting, rejected the idea, saying that Mohamed's clear, majestic words were very different from the mumblings of the soothsayer. Another suggested that they say that Mohamed was mad, but this idea was also rejected as Mohamed's words, so orderly and reasonable, were obviously not madness and his whole bearing and manner further proved his sanity. Then it was suggested that they say he was a magician, but Mohamed never practiced magic. At last AI-Walid ibn AI-Mughira came up with the idea that they should say that Mohamed was a magician of words for he bewitched people by his words and made them desert the religion of their forefathers. He separated father and son, mother and daughter, brother from brother, and this, at least, they could prove. There were so many examples among them. The visitor had only to look at Quraysh who were once the epitome of unity and solidarity - that should be sufficient warning to the tribes who came. If they listened to Mohamed it would be at their peril; he would bewitch them, divide them, and break their unity. As an extra precaution they hired a man to relate to the pilgrims the ancient legends of Persia, just in case they listened to him out of boredom.