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Friday 2nd of December 2022
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Economic and Social Boycott Imposed on Ban£-H¡shim

Economic and Social Boycott Imposed on Ban£-H¡shim

The chiefs of Quraysh failed to contact with Ab£-±¡lib and to force Muslims in Abyssinia to come back to Mecca. Some socially significant personalities were absorbed by Islam. In view of these two facts, they had no alternative but to impose an economic and social boycott on Ban£-H¡shim in the hope that they would cease their protection of the Holy Prophet and submit him to Quraysh. To this end, they reached an agreement that none would marry a woman from Ban£-H¡shim or have any transactions with them.[1]

The life of the people of Mecca was based on trade; economic activities were in the hands of Quraysh; therefore, they were able to deprive anybody or any group of this asset. They had an effective weapon at their disposal and it was expected that Ban£-H¡shim would be made destitute within a short time. Hence, the chiefs of Quraysh imposed such sanctions on Ban£-H¡shim so as to make them socially deprived.[2]

On Ab£-±¡lib's recommendation,[3] all the members of Ban£-H¡shim, both Muslims and non-Muslims,[4] except for Ab£-Lahab, gathered at Ab¢-±¡lib Col and for three years after the boycott, they lived there. Although Quraysh’s sanctions were both social and economic in nature, Ab£-±¡lib asked the Holy Prophet and Ban£-H¡shim to reside in that col because people of Quraysh had become outrageous; and the only thing which could satisfy them was to kill Mu¦ammad (¥). Ab£-±¡lib appointed forty men[5] of Ban£-H¡shim to guard the col and each night he asked the Holy Prophet to change his bed so that he might be secure. Ab£-±¡lib’s son, `Al¢, then used to replace the Holy Prophet in his bed so as to save him from any anticipated danger.[6]

During this harsh time, Quraysh stopped any food from entering the col. The residents of this col could only buy their sustenance during the sacred months.[7] Even at that time, Quraysh warned the caravans that entered Mecca not to sell anything to Ban£-H¡shim, lest their wealth would be plundered.[8] If Ban£-H¡shim desired to buy anything, the prices would rise dramatically so that they could not have any buying power.[9]

At times, Ab£’l-`ª¥ ibn Rab¢`[10] or °ak¢m ibn °iz¡m[11] secretly took some foodstuff for Ban£-H¡shim. Among Ban£-H¡shim, Imam `Al¢ (a.s) used to leave the col to bring some foodstuff.[12] During this period, the Holy Prophet, Ab£-±¡lib and Khad¢jah lost all their wealth.[13] Khad¢jah, in particular, spent all her money for the Holy Prophet in that col.[14]

Three years later, the Holy Prophet informed[15] people of Quraysh, through Ab£-±¡lib, that the treaty was rotted by termites and some of the signing parties had become sorry[16] for having signed on such a shameful treaty. Only then, they volunteered to annul this treaty.[17] In this way, Ban£-H¡shim returned home.[18] In one of his letters to Mu`¡wiyah, Imam `Al¢ (a.s) remembers those harsh days:

Our own tribe (i.e. Quraysh) decided to murder our Prophet and destroy us completely; they added to our disasters and worries and they did strange things to us. They made our lives bitter, causing us to live in worry and pain. They forced us to live in difficult conditions. They kindled the fire of war and hatred against us. However, God willed that we would be the supporter of His religion. The believers among us hoped that God would bless them and give them rewards. However, the unbelievers continued protecting the interests of their own households. None of Quraysh who had converted to Islam received any torture that we received, because each one of them had somebody among their relatives to take care of him. So, they were secure.[19]



[1] Ibn Hush¡m, Al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah 1:375; ±abar¢, op cit, 2:225; al-Bul¡dhar¢, Ans¡b al-Ashr¡f 1:234.

[2] al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, 1:234; Ibn Sa`d, Al-±abaq¡t al-Kubr¡ 1:209; Ibn Ab¢’l-°ad¢d, Shar¦ Nahj al-Bal¡ghah 4:58.

[3] al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, pp. 230; Is op cit, 1:63; Ibn Is¦¡q, al-Siyar wal-Magh¡z¢, pp. 159; al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 19:18.

[4] Ibn Ab¢’l-°ad¢d, Shar¦ Nahj al-Bal¡ghah 14:64; al-Fatt¡l al-Nays¡b£r¢, Raw¤at al-W¡`i¨¢n, pp. 63.

[5] Ibn Shahr¡sh£b, op cit, 1:63; ±abars¢, I`l¡m al-War¡, pp. 49.

[6] Al-Fatt¡l al-Nays¡b£r¢, Raw¤at al-W¡`i¨¢n, pp. 64; Ibn Shahr¡sh£b, op cit, pp. 64; ±abars¢, op cit, pp. 50; Ibn Ab¢’l-°ad¢d, op cit, 14:64; see Ibn Is¦¡q, op cit, pp. 160.

[7] Ibn Shahr¡sh£b, op cit, pp. 65; Ibn Sa`d, op cit, pp. 209; al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, pp. 234; Ibn Is¦¡q, op cit, pp. 159.

[8] ±abars¢, op cit, pp. 50.

[9] al-Majlis¢, op cit, 19; Ibn Is¦¡q, op cit, pp. 159.

[10] Ibn Shahr¡sh£b, op cit, pp. 65; ±abars¢, op cit, pp. 51.

[11] Ibn Is¦¡q, op cit, pp. 161; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 1:379; al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, pp. 235; al-Majlis¢, op cit, pp. 19.

[12] Ibn Ab¢’l-°ad¢d, Shar¦ Nahj al-Bal¡ghah 13:254.

[13] Ibn W¡¤i¦, T¡r¢kh al-Ya`q£b¢ 2:25; ±abars¢, I`l¡m al-War¡, pp. 50.

[14] ±abars¢, op cit, pp. 50; Is op cit, 1:65.

[15] Ibn Is¦¡q, op cit, pp. 161; al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, 1:234, Ibn Sa`d, op cit, 1:210; Ibn Shahr¡sh£b, op cit, 1:65.

[16] Ibn Is¦¡q, op cit, pp. 162, 165, 166; al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, p236; Ibn Ab¢’l-°ad¢d, op cit, 14:59; Ibn al-Ath¢r, Al-K¡mil f¢’l-T¡r¢kh 2:88; al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 19:19.

[17] That took place on the tenth year of Hegira. See Ibn Sa`d, op cit, 1:210; al-Bul¡dhar¢, op cit, 1:236.

[18] ±abars¢, op cit, pp. 51-52.

[19] Nahj al-Bal¡ghah, letter 9.

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