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At the end of the game, the King and the Pawn goes into the same box

Seerah episode 40: The Prophet, Utba bin Rabi’ah, & Surah Fussilat August 3, 2014

Filed under: Seerah — visitor74 @ 4:25 pm

— The leaders of Quraysh got together & discussed about who amongst them would be the best at identifying magic, jinn possession, mental instability & insanity

  • They were talking about the Prophet (saw), whom they saw as someone who divided their community, belittled their way of life, & exposed the faults within their religion
  • They decided that Utbah bin Rabi’ah would be the most qualified person to determine the issues of magic/mental illness

— Utbah bin Rabi’ah 

  • He was a leader of Quraysh. He was very well-read, politically influential, wealthy, & very well-traveled. Utbah was also one of the few people who has stood in the court of kings of that time (Emperor of Rome & King of Abyssinia)
  • He approached the Prophet & tried to emotionally blackmail him. “Are you better than your own forefathers?”
    • The Prophet stayed quiet.
  • Utbah continued, “Your forefathers used to worship these idols that you talk badly about all the time. If you think you’re better than them, let’s see what you have to say. We’ve never seen anyone be more of a troublemaker for his people than you. You’ve divided our community. You’ve humiliated us in front of other Arabs. You’ve mocked our way of living. We’re not going to wait for anything. We’re done with you. You stop what you’re doing. People are saying that there’s a possessed man among the Quraysh. We’re done dealing with you. We’ll raise our swords against you. But we don’t want to get to that point, so we have another offer for you. We’ve gathered up enough wealth from all the wealthy people from Quraysh; we’ve created a fund to make you the wealthiest man in Makkah. All we need is for you to quit this foolishness. We’ll even marry you to 10 of the most beautiful women in Makkah.”
    • Utbah kept making offers.

— The Prophet had been quiet this entire time. He asked, “Are you done?”

  • Utbah said, “Yeah, that’s all.”
  • The Prophet next said, “Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim. I begin by seeking the help of Allah”
  • The Prophet continues with the first 13 verses of Surat Fussilat: “This is a book that has been laid out in great detail. This is a Qur’an that’s meant to be read in Arabic & for people who are meant to learn. This Qur’an inspires & lifts people up. It warns people. Most of the people turn away from it, but that’s because they don’t bother to listen to it. And they say our hearts are covered up in a seal (kidna – peel of a fruit; it’s delicate). Our ears seem to be blocked. And there’s something that stands between us and you. So you go do what you have to do, and let us do what we have to do. Qul. Listen, I’m one of you. I’m just like the rest of you. But there’s one primary difference. I receive direct messages from Allah. The object of your worship needs to be One alone, Allah. So stand up & serve Him, & seek repentance from Him. How unfortunate are those people who associate partners to Allah. Those same people are not socially aware. They don’t serve their own communities. Those people deny belief in the Hereafter. But for those who believe in Allah and do good deeds and turn to Allah, good things await them for eternity. Say to them, that do you people really deny in the One who created this earth in only 2 days?”
    • Iqramim – For Allah to put 2 whole days into creating the earth/world shows care in creating. Of course Allah can create the entire universe in one second but He wanted to show us that He took the care to create this world.
    • E.g. someone spending 2 whole days cooking for their guests vs. ordering takeout & picking it up 45 minutes later, it’s not the same, is it?
  • The Prophet continued, “And after all of that you create partners for Him? He alone is the sustainer of everything that’s in existence. After creating the earth in 2 days, Allah set down mountains into the earth, & then He blessed this earth. Then He fixed, determined, & planned all the sustenance for His creations for 4 days. This is information for anyone who wants to know. For 4 days He just adorned this earth. Then He raised Himself above the Heavens. Heavens at the time was smoke. Then He commanded the earth & heavens to submit to Him & worship Him, & both the heavens & the earth bowed down willingly. He completed the Heavens in 7 different levels. Then He gave each of the levels its objective & its role. Then Allah says He took the lowest of the skies of the heavens & adorned it with stars, like lanterns. He put them there as protection (they’re for guidance & direction). All of this was determined by One who is All-Knowing. After all of this, if people continue to neglect & ignore this truth, then you tell them, I’ve warned you. I’ve warned you about Sa’iqatan (punishment – ball of fire, thunderbolt, basically a very destructive force). Just like the destructive force that destroyed & obliterated the people of A’ad (the Arabs are familiar with the ruins of A’ad & Thamud)”
    • The Prophet quotes this ayah to Utbah: “But if they turn away, then say, ‘I have warned you of a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt that struck ‘Aad and Thamud’” [Surat Fussilat; 41:13]

— One narration of Utbah’s reaction

  • Utbah screamed, “Hasbuk, hasbuk (please stop, please stop). Isn’t there anything else you can say to me besides this?” He’s panicking because of the words that Prophet uttered.
    • The Prophet replied “No, that’s my message to you.”
  • Then Utbah reached out & grabbed Muhammad’s mouth, & said, “Uskut. Quiet.”
  • When Utbah was recalling the Prophet’s words to the Quraysh, he said, “I was afraid that if Muhammad kept going, the sky would have come right down on me. It was going to fall on me.”
    • The Quraysh replied, “What’s wrong with you? We sent you to Muhammad to get him to be quiet, & you come back with your tail between your legs, talking about how scared you are?”
  • Utbah replied, “Muhammad has never lied. And I’ve traveled across the world. I’ve met the greatest soothsayers, the most eloquent speakers, the greatest poets, and I’ve talked with these people. What I heard from Muhammad was not of this earth.”

— When Utbah was first going back to his people & the Quraysh looked at his face, they were thinking, “He looks different. This is not the same man who went to talk with Muhammad.”

  • Utbah said to them, “I said everything you wanted me to say to him.”
  • The people asked, “Did he understand?”
  • Utbah replied, “I don’t remember what he said. All I remember is that he’s warning you of a punishment that awaits you like the people of Aad & Thamud.”
  • The people were disheartened & turned away

— Another narration of Utbah’s reaction:

  • Utbah said to the Quryash, “I put my hand on his mouth & told him to stop for the sake of his family. You people know that when Muhammad speaks, he doesn’t lie.”

— When Utbah came back from talking with the Prophet, he was stricken & terrified that he seemed just dazed. Everyone was confounded, & word was going around Makkah that Utbah now believes what Muhammad believes

  • Abu Jahl hears about this whole situation & goes to Utbah for some damage control. Utbah is older than Abu Jahl, & is someone Abu Jahl respects
    • Abu Jahl said to Utbah, “Your own people believe that you’ve forsaken the religion of your forefathers. The people would like to gather money & give you a gift (bribe). We want to make sure you’re okay. It seems as though you’re not the same as before you spoke to Muhammad.”
  • Utbah replied “I don’t need their money. I got more money than all of them put together.”
    • Abu Jahl said, “Then what’s wrong with you? If you won’t accept their gift, you have to say something that can be put out as an official press release that Utbah rejects Muhammad.”
  • Utbah said, “What am I supposed to say? Because there’s not a single person among you who knows poetry like I do. No one amongst you knows poetry & eloquence better than I do. Nobody knows the poetry (black magic) of the jinns better than I do. What this man Muhammad said to me was nothing like magic or soothsaying. What he said had a certain sweetness to it, unlike anything I’ve ever tasted in my life. It was soothing. It’s as though the top of the tree bears fruits, & its roots are very deep & strong. It overcomes & does not become overcome or defeated by anything, & it crushes anything that it steps on.”
    • Abu Jahl said, “If you don’t have anything other than what you said to me, your people will reject you. All the wealth & respect of your people will be gone.”
  • Utbah said, “Leave me. I have to think about this.”

— Utbah didn’t feel any differently about Prophet, Qur’an, & the Message. He realized what he’ll have to give up, what was at stake

  • Utbah had seen Abu Bakr beaten into unconsciousness at the Haram. He had seen Uthman bin Affan chained up & tortured. He saw Ammar & his parents Yasir & Sumayyah tied up & tortured, with both of his parents killed by Abu Jahl
  • Not willing to make sacrifices for the truth, Utbah makes a public announcement: “I was recovering from Muhammad’s powerful magic. This is magic that really messes with you. That’s why I was absent & dazed for 2 days. You know that I’m the strongest & most educated amongst you. I was able to overcome Muhammad’s magic, unlike his followers. That’s because I’m genetically & intellectually superior. But the rest of his followers, they’re sheep.”

— When the Prophet heard this, he was hurt. “These people don’t get it.” When the Prophet was giving his speech to Utbah, he saw the Message penetrate Utbah’s heart. He saw the look in Utbah’s eyes when Utbah put his hand on Muhammad’s mouth & begged him to stop

  • Allah revealed this ayat to the Prophet to console him:
    • “Leave Me with the one I created alone. And to whom I granted extensive wealth and children present with him and spread everything before him, easing his life. Then he desires that I should add more. No! Indeed, he has been toward Our verses obstinate. I will cover him with arduous torment. Indeed, he thought and deliberated. So may he be destroyed for how he deliberated. Then may he be destroyed for how he deliberated. Then he considered again; then he frowned and scowled, then he turned back and was arrogant and said, ‘This is not but magic imitated from others. This is not but the word of a human being.’ I will drive him into Saqar. And what can make you know what is Saqar? It lets nothing remain and leaves nothing unburned, blackening the skins.” [Surat Al-Muddaththir; 74:11-29]
    • It’s like when someone messes with you & somebody else steps in to get your back. “Why don’t you go ahead, carry on, & I’ll take care of this.”

— The entire city of Makkah hadn’t resorted to violence against the Muslims yet – just Abu Jahl & Abu Lahab. They were the kind of people who just look for an excuse to harm someone

  • However, the rest of Quraysh were looking for an alternative solution to get rid of the Prophet’s preaching, so they went to Utbah to speak on their behalf to speak some sense to Prophet
  • But after Utbah’s “hocus pocus” incident, the Quraysh decide that they have exhausted their other resources & they need to deal with the Muslims the harsh way
  • At the same time, the Prophet realized that there’s something more important than the Truth for the Quraysh. The Quraysh cared more for their power, wealth, & honor than the Truth. They know it’s the Truth; the Prophet looked at the Truth reach Utbah’s eyes, Utbah all but says & acknowledged the Truth, but he still rejected
  • From here on out, things in Makkah took a turn for the worse for the Muslims. The violence & aggression of Muslims increased & now became the publically accepted procedure & policy of all of Quraysh & all of Makkah
    • This led to the Muslims migrating to Habesha (Abyssinia) to escape the persecutions

— One of the verses that the Prophet recited to Utbah that left Utbah dumbfounded was this ayah:

  • “Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and He forbids all shameful deeds, and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.” [Surat An-Nahl; 16:90]
  • This ayah was so powerful that it left Utbah speechless

Link to the next episode



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