Click to View


The Quraish stood firm in their convictions and persisted in calling all this Jewish history, and so the next verse reads:—

Tales of the Ancients that he hath put in writing and they were dictated to him morning and evening. 6.

The Quraish now adopted another course. They cut off the family of Muhammad from all social intercourse with the rest of the people, or, in modern language, boycotted it, and for a while Muhammad and his kinsmen were confined to an isolated quarter of the city. At length, however, some of the Quraish began to relent, but just at this time Muhammad lost by death Abu Talib, his protector, and five weeks later Khadija, his wise and loving wife. This brought matters to a crisis. The Prophet, saddened, lonely and well-nigh hopeless, thought he would try whether the people of Ta'if, a city about seventy miles east of Mecca, would receive the man whom Mecca rejected. Accompanied by the faithful Zaid, Muhammad entered the city, waited on the chief men and explained his mission, but they would neither receive him nor accept his teaching. After ten days, he was stoned and so, wounded and weary, he had to flee away from the city. About half way on the return journey he halted in the valley of Nakhla. Excited by all he had gone through, saddened at the rejection of his message by men, he saw, in imagination, crowds of Jinn (Genii) embracing the faith.

Then Sura Al-Jinn (lxxii) was revealed 1:—

Say: it hath been revealed to me that a company of

1 ' Rodwell, Qur'an, p. 157, note 3. For a good account of this journey, see Muir, Life of Mahomet, vol. ii, pp. 200-7.

Jinn listened, and said, 'Verily, we have heard a marvellous discourse' (Qur'an);
It guideth to the truth wherefore we believed in it. 1, 2.
When the servant of God stood up to call upon Him,
the Jinn almost jostled him by their crowds. 19.

This eager acceptance by the Jinn of his message was a very great consolation to the Prophet, after the contemptuous indifference shown to him and to it by men. This event is referred to in one of the latest Meccan Suras:—

And remember, when we turned aside a company of Jinn to thee, that they might hearken to the Qur'an. Sura Al-Ahqaf (xlvi) 28.

Still the mission was a failure. It was a great and striking effort, but it did not command success. As Muir well says, 'There is something lofty and heroic in this journey of Muhammad to Ta'if; a solitary man, despised and rejected by his own people, going boldly forth in the name of God, like Jonah to Nineveh, and summoning an idolatrous city to repentance and to the support of his mission. It sheds a strong light on the intensity of his own belief in the divine origin of his calling.' He returned to Mecca, but found the opposition of the Quraish as strong as ever. It was now quite clear that either he or they must give way, and gradually the idea of retiring altogether from Mecca suggested itself to the mind of the Prophet. 1 The failure at

1 This is hinted at in a late Meccan Sura, Sura Al-'Ankabut (xxix) 56 :—

O my servants who have believed! Vast truly is my earth; me, therefore, do ye worship me.

Rodwell comments on this thus: 'That is, you may find places of refuge where you may worship the true God in some other parts of the earth, if driven forth from your native city. This verse is very
 [Footnote continued on the next page]

Click to View