By Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlawi رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ
Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه narrates that when Abu Taalib was about to leave the world, a group from the Quraysh came to see him. Among this group was Abu Jahal. They complained to Abu Taalib about what his nephew (Rasulullaah ﷺ) was saying and doing, including insulting their gods. They expressed the wish that Abu Taalib call for Rasulullaah ﷺ and forbid him from what he was doing. When Abu Taalib sent for Rasulullaah ﷺ, he promptly arrived and entered the house. When Rasulullaah ﷺ came to the room, there remained a space for one person between the group of the Quraysh and Abu Taalib.
Narrating further, Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه states,
“The accursed Abu Jahal feared that if Rasulullaah ﷺ occupied the empty space next to his uncle, Abu Taalib may become more lenient. Therefore, he jumped to occupy the place, leaving no place for Rasulullaah ﷺ near his uncle. For this reason, Rasulullaah ﷺ was forced to sit near the door. Addressing Rasulullaah ﷺ, Abu Taalib said, ‘0 my nephew! Why are your people complaining that you insult their gods and tell them so many things?’ Upon this, those present started saying many things.”
Rasulullaah ﷺ finally addressed his uncle saying, “0 my uncle! All I want these people to do is to accept a single statement that would make all the Arabs serve them and make all the non-Arabs pay them taxes.” Taken aback by this, the people exclaimed, “Only one statement! By the oath of your father, we are prepared to accept ten such statements! What is this statement?” Abu Taalib also asked, “0 my nephew! What is this statement?” Rasulullaah ﷺ replied, “Laa Ilaaha Illallaah (“There is none worthy of worship but Allaah”).”
Upon hearing this, the people hastily stood up and brushing down their clothing, they said,
‘”Does he make all the (many) gods (that we worship) into one god? This is indeed something strange!”
Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه states that it was with reference to this that Allaah revealed the verses
(٥) اَجَعَلَ الۡاٰلِهَةَ اِلٰهًا وَّاحِدًا ۖۚ اِنَّ هٰذَا لَشَىۡءٌ عُجَابٌ
(٦) وَانْطَلَقَ الۡمَلَاُ مِنۡهُمۡ اَنِ امۡشُوۡا وَاصۡبِرُوۡا عَلٰٓى اٰلِهَتِكُمۡ ۖۚ اِنَّ هٰذَا لَشَىۡءٌ يُّرَادُ ۖ
(٧) مَا سَمِعۡنَا بِهٰذَا فِى الۡمِلَّةِ الۡاٰخِرَةِ ۖۚ اِنۡ هٰذَاۤ اِلَّا اخۡتِلَاقٌ ۖۚ
(٨) ءَاُنۡزِلَ عَلَيۡهِ الذِّكۡرُ مِنۡۢ بَيۡنِنَاؕ بَلۡ هُمۡ فِىۡ شَكٍّ مِّنۡ ذِكۡرِىۡۚ بَلْ لَّمَّا يَذُوۡقُوۡا عَذَابِؕ
(The Mushrikeen say,) “Does he (Rasulullaah ﷺ) make all the (many) gods (that we worship) into one god? This is indeed something strange!” A group of their leaders passed saying, “Carry on (with what you are doing without paying attention to what Rasulullaah ﷺ says), and remain devoted to your gods (idols). Undoubtedly, there is some ulterior motive behind this. We have not heard about such a thing (this message) in the other religions. This is (therefore) merely some fabrication. Does some speech (revelation) descended on him (when he is merely a human being) from among us (and not an angel)?” (Allaah says further,) However, (the fact of the matter is that) they are in doubt concerning My revelation. The truth is that they (behave in this manner because they) have not yet tasted My punishment. (Surah Saad, verses 5-8)
This Hadith has been reported by lmaams Ahrnad, Nasa’ee, Ibn Abi Haatirn and Ibn Jareer in their books when discussing the commentary of Qur’aanic verses. Tirmidhi has also reported the Hadith and states that the Hadith is reliable. A similar Hadith has been narrated by Ibn Katheer in his commentary of the Qur’aan (Vol.4 Pg.28), by Bayhaqi (Vo1.9 Pg.188) and by Haakim (Vol.2 Pg.432). Haakim states that the chain of narrators is authentic even though the Hadith is not narrated by Imaams Bukhari and Muslim. lmaam Dhahabi also states that the Hadith is authentic.
Rasulullaah ﷺ Presents the Kalimah to his Uncle Abu Taalib
Hadhrat Abdullaah bin Abbaas رضي الله عنه reports that several leaders of the Quraysh once went to Abu Taalib to speak to him about Rasulullaah ﷺ. Among them were Utba bin Rabee’ah, Shayba bin Rabee’ah, Abu Jahal bin Hishaam, Umayyah bin Khalaf and Abu Sufyaan bin Harb. Addressing Abu Taalib, they said,
“You are well aware of the high position you hold among us. The condition of your health is apparent and it makes us ‘concerned for your life. Since you know well the differences that exist between us and your nephew, we need you to call him (so that you could mediate between us) and (in doing so) accept some of our requests as well as some of his. In this manner, he could stop opposing us, we would stop opposing him, he would leave us to our religion and we would leave him to his religion.”
Consequently, Abu Taalib sent for Rasulullaah ﷺ.When Rasulullaah ﷺ arrived, Abu Taalib said to him,
“0 my nephew! These prominent leaders of your people have come to you to give you (some of your requests) and to take from you (some of their requests).”
Rasulullaah ﷺ replied, “Very well. I require you, people, to give me a single statement which would give you control of all the Arabs and which would make the non-Arabs follow you.”
Hearing this, Abu Jahal exclaimed, “Certainly! By the oath of your father! We are prepared to accept . . . – ten such statements.”
Rasulullaah ﷺ said, ‘You should then say, ‘Laa Ilaaha Illallaah (“There is none worthy of worship but Allaah”) and discard everything that you worship besides Him.”
Those present then started clapping their hands (mockingly) saying,
“Do you wish to make all our gods into one! This is indeed most strange!”
They then said to each other, “By Allaah! This man will not give in to any of your requests. Let us leave and continue practicing the religion of our forefathers until Allaah decides! between us and him.” They then dispersed.
(When they had all left) Abu Taalib said to Rasulullaah ﷺ , “O my nephew, I don’t think that you asked anything difficult of them.”
Hopeful that his uncle would accept the message of Islaam, Rasulullaah ﷺ said to him,
“0 uncle! Why don’t you say it (the Kalimah) so that I may be permitted to intercede for you on the Day of Qiyaamah.”
Seeing the enthusiasm of Rasulullaah ﷺ, Abu Taalib said,
“0 nephew! By Allaah! I would certainly utter this Kalimah to please you if it were not for my fear that I and my progeny would become targets of insults and that the Quraysh would say that I said it only for fear of death.” – Ibn Is’haaq, as quoted in Al Bidaayah wan Nihaayah (Vo1.3 Pg.123). There is one unknown narrator in the chain of narrators.
Hadhrat Sa’eed bin Musayyab رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ reports from his father that Rasulullaah ﷺ visited Abu Taalib when he was on his death-bed at a time when Abu Jahal was also present. Rasulullaah ﷺ said,
“O my uncle! Say ‘Laa Ilaaha Illallaah’ so that I could defend you in the court of Allaah.” Abu Jahal and Abdullaah bin Abi Umayyah then said to Abu Taalib, “Are you turning away from the religion of (your father) Abdul Muttalib?” The two of them continued speaking to Abu Taalib in this manner until the final words he uttered (as he passed away) were, “I remain on the religion of Abdul Muttalib.”
Rasulullaah ﷺ then said, “I shall continue seeking Allaah’s forgiveness for you (0 my uncle) until I am forbidden from doing so.” Allaah then revealed the verses of the Qur’aan which state:
مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِىِّ وَالَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡاۤ اَنۡ يَّسۡتَغۡفِرُوۡا لِلۡمُشۡرِكِيۡنَ وَ لَوۡ كَانُوۡۤا اُولِىۡ قُرۡبٰى مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمۡ اَنَّهُمۡ اَصۡحٰبُ الۡجَحِيۡمِ
It is not (permissible) for the Nabi ﷺ, nor (is it permissible for) the Mu’mineen to (ever) seek forgiveness for the Mushrikeen, even if they be their relatives after it has become clear to them (when these Mushrikeen died without Imaan) that they (the Mushrikeen) are to be residents of the Blaze (Jahannam). (Surah Taubah, verse 113)
اِنَّكَ لَا تَهۡدِىۡ مَنۡ اَحۡبَبۡتَ وَلٰـكِنَّ اللّٰهَ يَهۡدِىۡ مَنۡ يَّشَآءُؕ وَهُوَ اَعۡلَمُ بِالۡمُهۡتَدِيۡنَ
Verily you (0 Rasulullaah ﷺ) cannot guide (to Islaam) those whom you love (such as Abu Taalib), but Allaah guides whoever He wills. He is best aware of those who are (deserving to be) rightly guided (and who deserve to be guided to Imaan). (Surah Qasas, verse 56)
– Bukhari and Muslim.
Another similar report states that Rasulullaah ﷺ continued presenting the Kalimah to Abu Taalib as the two Mushrikeen (Abu Jahal and Abdullaah bin Abi Umaayyah) repeated their words to him. Eventually, Abu Taalib passed away with the words,
“I remain on the religion of Abdul Muttalib” without reciting, “Laa Ilaaha Illallaah”
Rasulullaah ﷺ then said, “Behold! I shall continue seeking Allaah’s forgiveness for you (0 my uncle) until I am forbidden from doing so.” It was after this that Allaah revealed the two verses (mentioned above). – Bukhari and Muslim, using a chain of narrators different from the narration just mentioned.
Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه narrates that Rasulullaah ﷺ came to see his uncle Abu Taalib when he was about to pass away. Rasulullaah ﷺ said to him, “0 my beloved uncle! Say ‘Laa Ilaaha Illallaah’ so that I may be witness to it on the Day of Qiyaamah.” Abu Taalib said, “I would have certainly said it to please you if I did not fear that Quraysh would ridicule me by saying, ‘He said it only because he feared death.’ I would have then definitely said it only to please you.” It was on this occasion that Allaah revealed the verse: Surah Qasas, verse 56
– Ibn Is’haaq, as quoted in Al Bidaayah wan Nihaayah (Vo1.3 Pg.123). There is one unknown narrator in the chain of narrators.