6.4 Hostility of Meccan Nobles
Abu Lahab and his wife were not the only people hostile to the new religion. Many of the eminent people of Quraysh began to feel it was a threat to their privileges and their way of life. They were not willing to sacrifice their privileges for the sake of the wronged; they were not ready to give up the customs of generations, customs that had secured their honorary titles and high status, for the sake of the truth. And they saw no reason why they should jeopardize their economic interests for the good, even if it was the good of all humanity.
They had no objection to following Mohamed as he came from a long line of men who were chiefs of the Quraysh and rulers of Mecca. He was the most noble of birth among them and he had dignity, intelligence, wealth, and was well connected. They were quite willing to follow him, if he would only stop these ruinous ideas. If only he would become more understanding and make a compromise with them. The Koran repeats their words, saying:
"When Our clear words are read to them, those who do not fear the meeting with Us say, 'Bring us a writ other than this or alter it.' Say, 'It is not for me to alter it by myself. I only follow what is communicated to me. I fear should I disobey my Lord, the suffering of a great day." (10:15)
Many of them could not grasp the great and terrible portent of these words. They did not realize that the Truth was not to be tampered with; they could not conceive that one does not compromise the ideal. They thought Mohamed was just being perverse, that he did not want to come to an understanding with them. But his ideas would cost them, indeed were already costing them much. They would have to stop him by arguments or by force, and if he did not stop, they would have to kill him.
The hostility of Abu Lahab and those like him did not prevent those who sought the truth from believing. This is what some had yearned for as parched earth yearns for water-to be free from evil superstition, from the degrading worship of stone, to worship with a pure heart Allah, the Creator of all the universe, and to be connected with all His beings in a bond of love and brotherhood. No more slaves, no more masters, all were brethren in Islam.
How different was this message of the Truth from Quraysh's love of wealth, lineage, and ostentation. They considered Mohamed's call to love all mankind a base idea unworthy of their greatness. They buried their daughters alive and sacrificed their children to Hubal, their chief god, yet saw nothing base in this. Islam came and revealed that to bury daughters alive was a great wrong-daughters were jewels to be nurtured and brought up with care, children were a gift from Allah, they had no right to kill them. Allah, the Provider, provided for both parents and children. It was a religion of enlightenment, justice, and mercy. Those whose hearts echoed these qualities were happy to follow it and to endure and sacrifice for its sake.