From Hero to Enemy

“Woe to you” exclaimed Abu Lahab, “Is it only for this that you have gathered us together?”

This was the response that Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) received. He had been commanded by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), “And warn your tribe (O Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)) of near kindred” [1. Surah al-Shu’ara verse 214] yet when he announced that he was a Prophet he was met with disapproval and disappointment. This was just the start of the trials and tribulations that he was to face.

No sooner had he declared the truth but his reputation was tarnished. He was no longer referred to as ‘al amin’ [2. the Trustworthy] and ‘as Sadiq’ [3. the Truthful] but as a soothsayer, poet and a magician. Others would openly mock him saying, “Have you not been spoken from the heavens today!”

His suffering was not only limited to verbal abuse but also physical abuse. He was spat on the face. In another incident when the Prophet was praying besides the ka’bah and was in prostration, a member of the Quraysh – Uqbah – took the entrails of a camel and placed it on his back. So heavy was its weight that Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) could not get up. It was left to his daughter, Fatima raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) to remove the filth from his back.

The abuse was not only targeted at him but those close to him. His two daughters, Umm Kulthoum raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and Ruqayyah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who had just been married to Abu Lahab’s sons, Utbah and Utaybah were divorced. This was considered a huge shame in the society of that time.

Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was beaten so badly that blood covered his face, to the extent that it was difficult to tell the back of his face to the front.


We complain when a fingernail is broken or at the pettiest of things, yet not once do we hear in the seerah of the Prophet or his companions complaining. In fact it added to their character and personality. They suffered in every possible way: physically, mentally and verbally but they bore it with patience.

This is the lesson that we need to learn dear sisters. When we go through any calamity, big or small Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is testing as to how we react. Complaining seems to be the easy escape route, but when you feel that your life is tough remember the struggles of those who laid the foundations of our deen. It is their example that we should adhere to.

Finally remember that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Whenever the believer is afflicted with (the pricking of) a thorn or anything greater than that (i.e. in terms of harm), because of it Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) raises him one ranking or removed from him one sin” [4. Saheeh Muslim].

A person might have a high ranking with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that he couldn’t have achieved through his deeds alone, and so Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tests him with trials and raises him to that high ranking.

So let’s see trials and tribulations as a way of increasing our rank with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and may we inshAllah be raised close to the rank of the righteous who suffered the biggest calamities.


The Author

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3 Responses

  1. sadia October 26, 2012 / 8:57 am

    SubhanAllah indeed!!!
    JazakAllahu khairan!

  2. Madeeha Tariq October 29, 2012 / 10:19 am

    true that! v complain at the pettiest of issues… rather non-issues… jazakAllah khair for the beautiful reminder… and experience has proven that if we get up and actually do something for Allahs deen and the messengers cause, Allah takes care of all our problems in life Himself… then we develop a positive attitude in life, quit complaining, and learn from whatever test Allah puts us through! they become a means of closeness to Allah SWT!!

  3. islamiagirlsschoolreport October 29, 2012 / 7:21 pm

    Jzk, I’m glad that you benefited from it. Sometimes we feel that our problems are worse than everyone else’ but in comparison to what the Prophet endured they are small.
    When we come to think of it, it was the prophet that went through the hardest trials and tribulations so that we could learn how to do deal with it if we ever went through it!
    What a perfect role model :)

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