7.6 Quraysh Persecute Muslims
As more and more people began to listen to the words of Allah, Quraysh became increasingly alarmed. They began to take vicious and spiteful action against the Muslims in their tribes. Each tribe fell upon those of its members who had entered Islam. They tortured them, they beat them, they starved them, they abandoned them to die in the wastes of burning rock surrounding Mecca. There were those who were tortured so severely that, no longer in control of themselves, they said whatever Quraysh wanted them to say, and there were those who held on, steadfast, no matter how extreme the torture.
A humble family, Banu Yasir, which consisted of father, mother, and son, entered into Islam, so the leaders of their clan, the Banu Makhzum, used to torture them in the rocky wastes around Mecca. The Muslims numbering less than forty men could do little to protect their own. Seeing Banu Yasir being tortured, the Messenger said,
"Banu Yasir, our appointment is Paradise."
The mother died of torture without giving in. The father and son also refused to submit, but somehow they survived the terrible ordeal. Years later when the Muslims were ordered to fight their oppressors for the sake of the freedom of religion, the son became a very brave soldier of Islam.
The viciousness of Quraysh knew no bounds. One man, AI-Walid ibn AI-Mughira, put Bilal, his black slave, out in the desert sun with a great stone over his chest and left him there to die a slow death because he would not return to idol worship. Bilal persisted in repeating,
"The One, the One, the One," as he lay dying in the sun.
Abu Bakr passed by, and seeing him in this condition, bought him and set him free. Bilal turned out to have a strong, clear voice. Years later when the Muslims emigrated to Medina, he became the first man to call the believers to prayer. The majestically beautiful words of the call to prayer were called out in his clear, melodious voice. He was the first muadhdhin. After the Prophet passed away, he excused himself to the first Khalif, Abu Bakr, and would call to prayer no more. He loved Mohamed with such great and passionate devotion that fulfilling the special task the Messenger had given him was too painful a reminder of his loss.
Abu Bakr made it his job to buy such unfortunate slaves and set them free. Another such case was Ibn Fahayra whom he set free and even employed as a shepherd for his flocks.
A slave whose craft was forging iron entered into Islam, so the woman who owned him took the very tools he used in his trade and tortured him with them. She would not kill him-slaves cost money-but she would torture him day after day. One day Mohamed passed by and saw the sight. He felt great pity for the man but could do nothing since slaves were the property of their masters. All he said was,
"My Lord, save him, save him!"
The word "ansur" in Arabic means to save, to revenge, or to give victory. It implies all these three together.
The woman was bitten by a mad dog, and the only recourse physicians had at that time in such cases was cauterization with the same hot irons she had used on the smith.