As a new convert to Islam, what should you do if you find yourself in a hostile environment being targeted and attacked with abuse for being visibly Muslim (for example, wearing hijab or having a beard)?
In this situation, the sense of injustice you feel is likely to be very strong. This is a perfectly natural feeling.
But patience is the key to dealing with abuse and coping with injustice.
Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to give in to feelings of regret and self-pity. As we mentioned in Part 4, the early converts to Islam went through extreme hardships, but with a strong faith they were able to overcome intimidation and injustice.
A top priority for new converts is to take any measures needed to protect themselves from harm. The main higher objectives of Islamic law are the protection of religion, life, intellect, progeny, dignity and property (wealth), and Muslims should not take unnecessary risks that may jeopardize any of these pillars.
In today’s world, especially living in the West or in non-Muslim countries in general, we need to be wise and careful. As citizens, we are protected by the law of the land in which we live, as are our co-citizens of other faiths and backgrounds. But we must ensure we are involved in our wider communities and never allow ourselves to become isolated.
Being good to neighbours is another top priority in Islam. Our non-Muslim neighbors are just as important as our Muslim neighbors, so let’s not live apart from them. Islam is all about openness, dialogue, and good relations with people of other faiths, so don’t detach yourself from your non-Muslim friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Archangel Gabriel continued to urge me to be kind to neighbors until I started to think that he would tell me that they have a share of my inheritance. (Al-Bukhari)
So take good care of your neighbors and make sure never to offend them, as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Whoever believes in God and in the Day of Judgment must not offend his neighbor. (Al-Bukhari)
With this approach, we ensure that we live among our Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors in peace and harmony. This positive environment is the basic foundation for us to be secure in our homes, as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Whoever among you wakes up secure in his property, healthy in his body, and he has his food for the day, it is as if he were given the entire world. (Hadith in At-Tirmidhi)
The Plots of Abu Jahl
The early converts faced many hardships with amazing courage and bravery. Their strong faith and belief in Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) allowed them to endure the intimidation, abuse, and sometimes torture they faced.
The weak among them were the worst affected, but even those of noble descent were targeted for being Muslim. At this stage of the start of the public invitation to Islam, even Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself was not spared from the harm of the Quraish.
Abu Jahl, one of the worst enemies of Prophet Muhammad, swore that if he saw Muhammad (peace be upon him) praying he would step on his head. At that time, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pray in public in front of the Ka’bah; one day, when Abu Jahl saw him in prostration, he headed towards him to fulfill his promise.
Suddenly, however, he started to retreat from where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was praying and seemed to be pushing something away with his hands.
When he returned to his peers, they asked him what had happened. He told them that he saw a fire separating him and Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Allah (SWT) had sent angels to protect His prophet from that attack, and revealed verses in the Quran that mention this incident in the second half of Chapter 96:
Have you seen the one who forbids; a servant when he prays? Have you seen if he is upon guidance; or enjoins righteousness? Have you seen if he denies and turns away – Does he not know that Allah sees? No! If he does not desist, We will surely drag him by the forelock – A lying, sinning forelock. Then let him call his associates; We will call the angels of Hell. No! Do not obey him. But prostrate and draw near [to Allah]. (96:9-19)
Abu Bakr & Fatimah to the Prophet’s Rescue
Another incident took place near the Ka’bah as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was praying. This time, another fierce enemy, Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’eet, came from behind the Prophet (peace be upon him) and started to choke him with his garment. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was suffocating and could not move, but Abu Bakr was informed of this attack and rushed to his rescue.
On other occasions, the harm directed towards the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not only physical but also emotional. One day when he (peace be upon him) was praying, Abu Jahl told Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’eet to throw the remains of a dead camel on Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) head.
Uqbah agreed. He got the carcass of a camel that had been slaughtered in Makkah the previous day, then went to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), waited till he was in prostration, and threw the carcass on his head and back.
The people watching started to laugh and make fun of the Prophet (peace be upon him), who remained in prostration for a while. A short time later, Fatimah, Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) daughter, who was only 8 or 9 years old at the time, heard what had happened and, in tears, ran to rescue her father.
She brushed off all the dirt and cleaned his back, after which the Prophet (peace be upon him) returned home with his daughter. One can only imagine the pain they both went through at such a nasty ordeal.
As time progressed, matters got worse, and some years later the Quraish started plotting to kill the Prophet (peace be upon him) to get rid of him once and for all.
The next article in this series will continue to shed light on the events of years 4 & 5 of the revelation, including the first migration of converts out of Makkah.
Please stay tuned…
Suggested Activities for New Converts Following this Series
1- New Converts Dealing with Hardships
Practical Tips for Turning the Tides Against Islamophobia
5 Reasons Why Allah Tests Us with Hardships
Is Islam Really Easy for Reverts?
Islam is Not Isolation: Seek Good Friends
2- Neighbors in Islam
The Prophet’s Strong Words on Kindness to Neighbors
How to Deal With My Non-Muslim Neighbors?
How Did the Prophet Deal with His Neighbors?
3- Fatimah, the Daughter of Muhammad (peace be upon him)
Fatimah was the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) youngest daughter who came to the rescue of her father when he (peace be upon him) was attacked. She was the beloved daughter of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and was very attached to him. Learn more about her in the following links:
Story of Fatimah: The Favorite Daughter of the Prophet
Muhammad & Fatimah: The Perfect Father-Daughter Relationship
Fatimah: The Beloved Daughter of Prophet Muhammad
Fatimah bint Muhammad
Who Are the Five Children of the Prophet?
6 Facts About Fatimah bint Muhammad
On the Family of the Prophet: Fatimah & Ali
4- Send us your questions on this series to: [email protected]
As this is a special series for new converts to learn about Islam in a comprehensive way through learning the Seerah (Biography of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) in a gradual chronological way, we will add a few more resources of other areas of Islamic knowledge in each part of the Seerah at the end of each article as extra learning resources.
We will add new videos to this series as we progress from Year 1 to Year 23 in sha’ Allah.
The references we use in each article are given for further details, so please feel free to send us any questions you may have to this e-mail: [email protected]
You may also wish to join our Facebook Group, Islam 101, for further learning and also to interact with fellow new converts and those who are new to Islam here.
The Sealed Nectar – Sheikh Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarkpuri
Seerah of Prophet Muhammad – 15: Torture to the Prophet & Abyssinia (Dr. Yasir Qadhi)