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Old 01-12-2016, 01:19 PM
quantumfanatic quantumfanatic is online now
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The life of Muhammad...continued



The locals intensified their mockery of Muslims and made life particularly difficult for some of them. Although Muslims today often use the word "persecution" to describe this ordeal (justifiably, in some cases), it is important to note that the earliest and most reliable biographers (Ibn Ishaq and al-Tabari) record the death of only one Muslim during this period, an older woman who died from stress.

This fact is a source of embarrassment to modern apologists, who do not like admitting that Muslims were the first to become violent at Mecca (see MYTH: The Meccans Drew First Blood against Muhammad) and that Muhammad was the first to resort to militancy... and at a later time, when it was entirely unnecessary.

To deal with this unpleasant truth, sympathetic narratives of the early Meccan years usually exaggerate the struggle of the Muslims with claims that they were "under constant torture." They may also include apocryphal accounts that are unsupported by earliest and most reliable historians (see MYTH: Persecution of Muslims at Mecca - Many Deaths).

Modern storytellers and filmmakers (such as those behind 1976's The Message) have even been known to invent fictional victims of Meccan murder, either to dramatize their own tale or to provide justification for the "revenge killings" that followed. But, in fact, the only Muslim whose life was truly in danger was that of Muhammad - after 13 years of being allowed to mock the local religion. (See also MYTH: Muhammad was Tortured at Mecca).


The Hijra - Flight from Mecca to Medina

The death of his uncle, Abu Talib, in 619 left Muhammad without a protector against the Meccan leadership, which was gradually losing patience with him. The true agitator in this situation, however, is quite clearly Muhammad himself, as even Muslim historians note. Consider this account of what happened at Abu Talib's deathbed, as the Meccans implored him a final time for peace with his nephew:

[Muhammad's chief adversary] Abu Sufyan, with other sundry notables, went to Abu Talib and said: "You know the trouble that exists between us and your nephew, so call him and let us make an agreement that he will leave us alone and we will leave him alone; let him have his religion and we will have ours." (Ibn Ishaq 278)

Muhammad rejected the offer of peaceful co-existence. His new religion was obviously intended to dominate the others, not be on equal standing with them. Meanwhile, the Muslims were beginning to become violent with the people around them.

Muhammad's search for political alliance led him to make a treaty of war against the Meccans with the people of Medina, another Arab town far to the north (Ibn Ishaq 299-301). This was the last straw for the Meccans, who finally decided to capture Muhammad and put him to death. (see also MYTH: Muhammad and his Muslims Fled Mecca because of Persecution)

Although this sounds harsh against Western standards, it is important to note the contrast between the Meccan reaction and that of Muhammad when he had the opportunity to deal with perceived treachery in Medina at a later date on the part of those who hadn't even harmed anyone.

The Meccans limited their deadly aggression to Muhammad himself. This is quite clear from the episode in which Muhammad escapes his home by using his son-in-law, Ali, to trick his would-be assassins into thinking that they had him trapped (Ibn Ishaq 326). No harm was done to Ali or his wife, both of whom subsequently remained in the city for several days to complete the transfer of Muhammad's family business to Medina.

Compare this to the episode of the Banu Qurayza (below), in which Muhammad slaughtered an entire tribe of people based on their leader having switched loyalties in a conflict in which none of them even participated.

The year that Muhammad fled Mecca for Medina was 622, which marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.
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