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Islamic Ideology ( 24 Nov 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Refutation of Raymond Ibrahim’s Article Entitled ‘Islamic State Beheads, Mutilates, As the Quran Instructs’ - Part 2: The Dreadful Story of Abu Jahl’s Torture of Early Muslims



By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

24 November, 2014

To prove his unwarranted point that “Islamic State beheads, mutilates as the Quran instructs”, Mr. Raymond Ibrahim mentioned the slaughtering incident of ‘Amr bin Hisham, a pagan Arab chieftain known as “Abu Jahl”. He forgets that Abu Jahl regularly persecuted, brutalised and tortured in every possible way the Muslims including women, elderly persons, orphans and the young in the early period of Islam. Before showing sympathy for the then chief terrorist, Mr. Ibrahim should have looked at the violent initiatives of Abu Jahl right from the early days of Islam.

Briefly saying, Abu Jahl was the greatest tyrant of Makkah. He stirred up the Arab pagans against the Muslims. When he heard that a man or a merchant had become a Muslim, he reprimanded him, branded him as fool, boycotted his goods and reduced him to beggary or beat him.  He inflicted heavy losses on, tortured and mercilessly killed the early Muslims. He used every stratagem to make them waver but they remained steadfast in their faith. His animosity towards the prophet was so severe that he swore by al-Laat and al- Uzza that he would not return to Makkah unless he crushed Muhammad.  He had declared even a bounty of 100 finest Arab camels for bringing Muhammad (pbuh) dead or alive. It is reported that he sacrificed three camels to these goddesses. He was hankering for drinking and the music of girls to spur the Quraysh on to fight.

Besides, the evil and offensive nature of Abu Jahl can be perceived from this Hadith narrated by 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud: Once the Prophet was offering the prayer in the shade of the Ka’bah. Abu Jahl and some Quraishi men sent somebody to bring the abdominal contents of a she-camel which had been slaughtered somewhere in Mecca, and when he brought them, they put them over the Prophet. Then Fatima (i.e. the Prophet's daughter) came and threw them away from him, and he said, "O Allah! Destroy (the pagans of) Quraish; O Allah! Destroy Quraish; O Allah Destroy Quraish," naming especially Abu Jahl bin Hisham, 'Utba bin Rabi'a, Shaiba bin Rabi'a, Al Walid bin 'Utba, Ubai bin Khalaf and 'Uqba bin Abi Mitt. (The narrator, 'Abdullah added, "I saw them all killed and thrown in the Badr well)”.  (Sahih al-Bukhari)

The following are some of the merciless acts of Abu Jahl that consequently compelled Muslims to wage defensive war against him and his pagan fellows.    

Early Muslims Tortured By Abu Jahl

Torture of Hadhrat Bilal (ra)

Hadhrat Bilal (RA), or Bilal Ibn Rabah, or "Bilal the Ethiopian", was born in Abyssinia and this is why he is also known as "Bilal al-Habshi”. (The old name for Abyssinia is Habsh). Born as a slave, he was among the emancipated slaves freed by Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA). When he accepted Islam, his master Umayyah ibn Khalaf and Abu Jahl dragged Bilal (ra) to the city square, torturing him beyond the limits of human endurance.

In the savage glare of the torrid sun of Mecca, Abu Jahl who wanted Bilal (RA) to abandon Islam would lay down his naked back on the scorching sand. Then he would place a big rock on the chest of Bilal (RA). Abu Jahl would tie him to horses and make him run, dragged by horses. He would whip Bilal (RA) all night long until he became tired.

However, fortified by inner sources of strength emanating from love of God and His Messenger, Hadhrat Bilal (RA) endured torture with cheer, saying “Ahadun…..Ahad” (Allah, the one, one). Abu Jahl and Umayyah ibn Khalaf continued to torture him with unkind words "You must either die or disown Mohammad's Lord." But Bilal (RA) was not negligent even for a moment and repeated the word "Allah is One, Allah is one." Finally, when Abu Bakr knew about merciless persecution of Hadhrat Bilal (ra), he asked Umayyah bin Khalaf whether he would sell his slave to him (Abu Bakr). Umayyah initially refused. Abu Bakr (RA) kept increasing the amount he was offering until Umayyah eventually agreed to sell Bilal.  

Torture of Zinnirah al-Rumiya (ra)

Another merciless act of Abu Jahl can be seen in the life of Zinnirah al-Rumiya, (Zinnirah, the Roman) (RA) who was a slave-girl and concubine of the Banu Makhzum. When she embraced Islam, Abu Jahl asked her owner to hand her over to him. He deprived her of sleep, food and water. He brutally tortured her to such extreme that she lost her eyesight and remained steadfast. The following day when Abu Jahl came back to beat her some more, she was looking at him, as her sight was miraculously restored. When Abu Bakr (RA) knew about her facing torture and atrocity by Abu Jahl, he spoke to her owner, bought and freed her along with her companion in slavery, Lubaynah.

Torture of Ammar bin Yasir (ra) and Brutal Killing Of His Family by Abu Jahl

During the earliest period of Islam the most brutally tortured family was of Ammar bin Yasir (RA), one of the most beloved companions of the holy prophet peace be upon him. Having embraced Islam, Hadhrat Ammar (ra) would sneak out at night to Darul Arqam so as to sit and worship with the prophet peace be upon him. Once, his father, Yasir and mother Sumayyah noticed his sneaking habits. They asked him what was going on. Hadhrat Ammar (RA) explained everything to them. His parents were shocked and worried about the grave repercussions from the Arab pagans. However, something had affected his parents so deeply that they too converted to Islam.

When Abu Jahl heard that Ammar (ra) and his little family had become Muslims, he led a group of polytheists and went to Yasir’s house. They burnt the house, took the family to a desert outside Makkah and tied them up to poles for days. They mercilessly tortured them, hoping the trio would abandon Islam. First, they whipped them till blood flowed out and then started burning their bodies with torches. Abu Jahl placed rocks on their chests. It is hard to put into words the searing pain and bitter cry of the innocent family who were breathing hard,   yet they did not leave Islam. Abu Jahl boiled in anger, raised his spear high and began to stab her body until she died. Thus Sumayya became the first martyr in Islam. Abu Jahl, then, kicked Yasir on the belly to death. Hadhrat Ammar (RA) wept at the sight of what happened to his parents. Abu Jahl shouted stormily, saying “if you do not disbelieve Muhammad (peace be upon him), I will kill you”. Ammar (RA) could not bear with that extreme atrocity. So in order to escape from more torture, he reluctantly said, “Fine, fine! I don’t believe in Muhammad.” Finally the torturers unchained him, feeling that they had achieved some sort of victory.

Shrouded in blood, Ammar bin Yasir (ra), somehow, went to the Prophet (pbuh) and confessed his recantation. The Prophet asked, “What was in your heart”? When Ammar responded that he was still a Muslim in his heart, the prophet (pbuh) said all was well. In the related context, Allah Almighty revealed a verse validating the faith of Ammar bin Yasir (RA):

“The one who disbelieves after having believed, except someone who is forced to do so, and at heart remains contented with belief (as before), but (of course) he who (adopts) disbelief (afresh) wholeheartedly with an open mind, on them is a wrath from Allah and for them is a fierce torment”. (16:106)

Torture of Hadhrat Asma (ra)

When Abu Jahl heard that Muhammad (pbuh) had migrated with Abu Bakr (ra), he rushed to the house of Abu Bakr and asked Abu Bakr’s daughter Hadhrat Asma (RA) their whereabouts. When denied, he slapped her so hard that some of her teeth came loose and her earring flew off.

In spite of confronting with severe persecution by Abu Jahl, not a single one of the then Muslims including slaves, women and the prominent members of elite families abandoned Islam. However, Abu Jahl did not stop torturing and killing Muslims until he was killed by two young boys of the Ansar, Mu'adh ibn Afra and Mu'adh ibn Amr ibn Jamuh'. When the victimized and oppressed Muslims heard that Abu Jahl had died, they heaved a sigh of relief, even more than the peaceful people did at the news of Osama bin Laden’s death. 

A regular columnist and English-Arabic translator for New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background. He has completed the classical Islamic sciences from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Zakir Nagar, New Delhi with specialization in Tafseer, Hadith and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia Manzar- e- Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He has graduated in Arabic (Hons) and is pursuing his M.A in Arabic from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

(To be continued)

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