6 facts about Shaib-e-Abi Talib

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and Sahaba took refuge in Shaib-e-Abi Talib for three years when the people of Makkah boycotted against them. The interesting facts about this incident are as follows.

Abu Jahal v/s Abu Talib

In the early years of Islam, the people of Makkah, led by Abu Jahal, were outraged with Prophet Muhammad ﷺ for preaching Islam. 

Therefore, they wanted Abu Talib, the uncle of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, to hand him over to them, or else the consequences would be fatal for the whole tribe and the people who stood with them.

Abu Talib did not respond to this threat and gathered the people of Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib to convince them to stand by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ no matter how grieving the circumstances may be. The foundation of Shaib-e-Abi Talib was being set.

Shaib-e-Abi Talib location

Quraish boycotted Banu Hashim

When Abu Talib did not hand over Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the Quraysh decided to take action against the tribes of Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib. They held a meeting and decided to social boycott both the tribes.

They decided to outcast the tribes, terminate business with them, stop meeting them, terminate any peace treaty, not marry their daughters, and not provide them with any service or goods until they handed over Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

The conditions were written down by a person named Baghdad, and the deed was hung on the Holy Kaaba to give it importance and authority. 

View of Shaib e Abi Talib

Prophet Muhammad left Makkah

When the tribes refused to hand over Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, they were forced to withdraw from Makkah and live in Shaib-e-Abi Talib. The valley is a subsection of one of the gorges that ran down to Makkah.

The Muslims had to stay in this valley for three years under terrible circumstances. The food was scarce, and the supplies were limited. Shaib-e-Abi Talib is behind Jabal Abu Qubais in Makkah.

 view of the former Valley of Abu Talib with Mount Abu Qubais on the right
view of the former Valley of Abu Talib with Mount Abu Qubais on the right

Nothing to Eat

Muslims living in Shaib-e-Abi Talib had no supply of goods because the people of Makkah had stopped the merchants from selling goods to the people living in Shaib-e-Abi Talib. The only help they received was from some good-hearted people of Makkah who would secretly supply food to the place.

Even in the most terrible circumstances, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did not give up on his mission and continued to invite people to Islam.

 view of the former Valley of Abu Talib with Mount Abu Qubais on the right
view of the former Valley of Abu Talib with Mount Abu Qubais on the right

Boycott Ended

After almost three years, some fair and good-hearted people of Makkah started to stand against the boycott. Hashim ibn ‘Amr gathered the excellent men of Quraysh and asked them to stop this shameful act. Gradually many people stood up against this unfair boycott and wanted to end it.

Termites had eaten the parchment.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had received the revelation that termites had eaten the parchment inside the Holy Kaaba. The only words remaining on the parchment were “باسمك اللهم.”

Abu Talib challenged the people to see the parchment inside the Holy Kaaba, and if this was revealed was not true, he would no longer stand between the Quraysh and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

When the Quraysh checked the parchment, it had indeed been eaten by termites, and the only words remaining were ‘باسمك اللهم.”

Abu Talib had won the challenge, and the boycott ended, which meant the Muslims could come out of Shaib-e-Abi Talib after almost 3 years. 

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