7.4 Mohamed Claims Redress from Abu Jahl
A man stood in the heart of Mecca and cried,
"People of Mecca, I am a stranger among you. I came to you with camels that I sold to Abu Jahl. I have waited and pleaded until my patience has run out but Abu Jahl will not give me the price of my camels. Which of you will intercede with him on my behalf?"
Some of the group of people he was addressing were friends and intimates of Abu Jahl, but they did not see why they should exert themselves and perhaps displease Abu Jahl for the sake of this stranger. Then someone, thinking it would be a capital joke, pointed out Mohamed to him. Mohamed was at some distance from them, praying by the Kaaba . They said to him,
"Do you see that man over there? He will intercede for you with Abu Jahl."
They did not tell him that Abu Jahl was Mohamed 's bitterest enemy, who had plotted time and time again against him. They thought they were going to have an amusing time at the expense of Mohamed and the stranger.
The stranger went to Mohamed, not knowing who he was nor his relationship to Abu Jahl. Mohamed listened to the man's story. He could have excused himself, saying that his intercession could not be expected to be successful in enabling the man to find favor with Abu Jahl, but he would let nothing stand in the way of justice-there was wrong to be redressed. He rose with the man, saying that they would go to ask for the money together.
Quraysh followed at a distance to see what would happen. Perhaps Mohamed and Abu Jahl would fight, which might in turn lead to civil war among the tribes, so they sent, from among them, a spy to discover exactly what the two men would say to each other.
When Mohamed and the stranger reached Abu Jahl's house, he knocked at the door.
"Who is it?" said Abu Jahl.
Abu Jahl came out trembling and pale-faced.
"Could you give this man his money?" asked Mohamed.
"Certainly,” said Abu Jahl, “if you wait a moment."
He went in, brought the money and gave it to the stranger, and the stranger went on his way. As was often the case with these Qurayshis, they plotted behind his back, but when face to face with Mohamed, they cowered and obeyed although Mohamed was gentle, patient, and forbearing.