Boycott of Bani Hashim
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Q-1. History testifies that when Hadhrath Muhammad (saaws) declared his Prophethood (saaws), the Quraysh1 subjected the Bani Hashim to a boycott. Hadhrath Abu Talib (as) took the tribe to an area called Shib Abi Talib where they remained for three years, suffering from immense hardship. Where were Hadhrath Abu Bakr and Hadhrath Umar during that period? They were in Makkah so why did they not help the Holy Prophet (saaws)? If they were unable to join the Prophet (saaws) at the Shib Abi Talib is there any evidence that they provided any type of support (food etc), breaching the agreement that the Quraysh boycott all food / business transactions with Bani Hashim?
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Boycott of Bani Hashim
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
It is indeed true that the Quraish laid a boycott on Banu Hashim for approximately three years in Makkah. To understand the situation, one must try to understand the prevalent qabail or tribal systems of the times.
Since Prophet Mohamed (saws) was of the tribe of Banu Hashim, all the tribes of the kuffars of Quraish combined together and laid a boycott on this tribe. Every person who belonged to the family of Banu Hashim were included in the boycott, whether they were believers or not! There were a lot of people who were not muslims, but belonged to the Banu Hashim tribe; and they were all included in the boycott. Conversely, there were a lot of muslims who did not belong to the Banu Hashim tribe, and thus they were not included in the boycott. Hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat Umar were not of the tribe of Banu Hashim, and thus were not included in the boycott.
The kuffars of Quraish demanded that Banu Hashim hand over Prophet Mohamed (saws) to them, or at least relieve him of the protection of this tribe. But the tribal system in those days was such, that the people, whether they believed in the appointment of Mohamed (saws) as the Prophet or not, would protect a person of their tribe at all costs. That is the reason, all of the tribe of Banu Hashim, whether they believed or not, stood with the Prophet (saws) and underwent the boycott of the Quraish.
To understand the situation, lets take an example of todays times. Todays superpowers, the United States and its allies, have laid an economic boycott on Afghanistan, because they want Afghanistan to surrender Ossama bin Laadin. There are many people in Afghanistan who do not like Ossama bin Laadin, but they are included in the boycott. Similarly, there are many people out of Afghanistan, who agree with Ossama bin Ladin, but are unable to help Afghanistan, because of the boycott laid on it.
A few people who were sympathetic to the Banu Hashim, and the people who had proclaimed Islam before the boycott, and were not of the tribe of Banu Hashim, did try in their own ways to breach the boycott and help the Banu Hashim. Whether Hadrat Abu Bakr or Hadrat Umar helped directly or indirectly, Allah Alone knows best. There is no authentic evidence of what exactly transpired, but the boycott was broken in about three years. Some believers like Hadrat Uthman had received permission from the Prophet (saws) to migrate, thus they went to live in Abyssinia (present Ethiopia).
And just to give another example of the prevalent tribal system of protection at the time of the Prophet (saws), when Abi Taalib died, the Prophet (saws) went to Taif along with his adopted son Hadrat Zaid bin Haritha (r.a.) to see if they would receive any help in the Cause. But the people of Taif rejected the Message and threw the Prophet (saws) out of Taif. Now since the leader of Banu Hashim, Abi Taalib was dead, the Prophet (saws) needed someones protection or sponsorship to live in Makkah. Even though eminent believers like Hadrat Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib, Hadrat Ali ibn Abi Taalib, Hadrat Jaafar al Tayyar, etc. were alive and living in Makkah, they could not offer the Prophet sponsorship or protection. The Prophet had to take protection from a dis-believer by the name of Mutam bin Abi to live in Makkah. Such was the tribal system prevalent in those times.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother in Islam,