Chapter 3 : PERSECUTION IN MECCA
When the Quraish chiefs realized the futility of trying to bribe Muhammad (pbh), they began to mount a campaign of physical persecution of him and his followers. Muhammad would be pelted with stones and sheep uterus and Abu Lahab would follow him, crying out to the people not to listen to Muhammad and that Muhammad was a liar.
The Muslims were tortured to force them to renounce their faith. Among the victims were Bilal, an Ethiopian slave whose master, Umayyah, made him lie in the sun with a heavy stone on his chest, and the family of Ammar Yasir. From this family came the first person to be martyred for their belief in Islam, Summayah the mother of Ammar.
The Quraish also imposed a boycott of any form of economic transaction with the Muslims, prohibiting marriage to them, socially alienating them as well as spreading propaganda that Muhammad (pbh) was practicing witchcraft and was a liar.
After five years, the physical cruelties and social boycott did not let up. To the hospitable shores of Ethiopia which was under the rule of Negus, Muhammad (pbh) sent eighty-eight men and eighteen women among the believers under the leadership of Ja'far at-Tayyar, the brother of Ali to seek refuge. When the pursuing Quraish requested their extradition, Negus refused, learning that the Muslim believed what he believed.
When Muhammad (pbh) was 53 and after more than 25 years of marriage, Khadija passed away. With her death Muhammad (pbh) lost a loving and supportive wife who had spent her wealth for the sake of Islam. This was a second blow to the Holy Prophet (pbh) because just prior to that, the old patriarch and helper of Islam, Abu Talib had also died.
Meanwhile, the Khazraj tribe from Yathrib who had come to Mecca had embraced Islam and requested that Muhammad (pbh) send a missionary to their town. The Prophet assigned Mas'ab ibn Umir to accompany them back to Yathrib. Mas'ab soon reported back that the chiefs and influential leaders of not only Khazraj but also the other main tribe of Yathrib, the Uws which had long standing disputes with the Khazraj, have now professed the faith. A large number of the people of Yathrib then came to Mecca. Discovering that they had sworn secret allegiance to support Muhammad (pbh), the Quraish conceived a plot to kill him to hinder the advancement and prevalence of Islam.
Muhammad (pbh) received a Divine Revelation to leave Mecca by night and migrate to Yathrib. Along with Abu Bakr,
When the infidels rushed to Muhammad's (pbh) bed to kill him, they found Ali instead. For three days Muhammad (pbh) and Abu Bakr remained undetected in the cave of Thwar. A large cobweb covering the mouth of the cave as well as a pair of doves nesting at the entrance, made the Quraish not even suspect Muhammad (pbh) was inside. Then, meeting up with Ali at an appointed place called Quba, Muhammadís (pbh) migration or Hijira to Yathrib began. From this date, the Muslim until the present time, calculate their calender.