9.1 Qurayshi Greats listen to the Koran
Although the leaders of Quraysh fought Mohamed with every means at their disposal, by propaganda and lies, by persecuting his followers, by tempting them with money, slave girls, and allurements, by threats and rages against those of their class who entered into Islam, and by paying poets and entertainers to relate to people the tales of ancient civilizations in the hope that they would be diverted, many in their heart of hearts were not sure they were in the right, many felt uneasy, and many experienced internal conflicts and doubts.
One night four of the leaders of Quraysh, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, Al-Akhnas ibn Shariq, and Amr ibn Wahb decided, each separately and unknown to the other, to go and listen to the wondrous words that Mohamed read to himself during the night, for the Messenger used to spend the night in prayers and reading the Koran, stopping only after the dawn prayers.
Each of the four men sat listening in the dark, thinking he was the only listener, but when it was dawn and each rose to go to his house, they all met at the crossroads. They reproached each other and assured each other that this was the first time they had succumbed to such a temptation and that it would be the last. But the next night something stronger than them seemed to draw them to Mohamed's house again and each went thinking he would be the only listener. In the morning they again reproached each other and agreed never to be seen listening to Mohamed in case the common people heard of it, as it would encourage some to enter Islam. On the third night they met each other again sneaking away from Mohamed's house. They were truly alarmed and feared they were capitulating, so they swore a solemn oath, binding on the four of them, never to approach his house again.
The next morning AI-Akhnas was disturbed. He could not get out of his mind the grandeur and majesty of what he had heard, its deep wisdom and infallible truth. He put on his cloak and went to Abu Sufyan's house. He asked Abu Sufyan what he thought of what they had heard. Abu Sufyan answered that he did not know, he could understand some of it but some he could not.
Al-Akhnas left him and went to Abu Jahl and asked the same question. Abu Jahl said,
"So what! We and Banu Abdu Manaf (Mohamed's tribe) competed with each other for honour. They fed the poor and so did we. They carried water to the Kaaba (an honorary office) and so did we, until we became like two racehorses, neck to neck. Then they say,
'Among us is a prophet who receives the message from heaven.'
When are we going to be able to do something like that? By Allah we shall not believe him or believe in him ever."