The chiefs of Quraish well perceived the overpowering influence that the Noble Qur’an had on souls. They failed to overcome it themselves. They resisted it, not with reason, sound argument, or facts, but by making loud insolent noises; singing and joking in the midst of its recitation so that even true listeners may not be able to hear.
They were too proud to believe and incited people not to listen to the Qur’an, saying, as the Noble Qur’an relates:
Do not listen to this Qur’an, and make noise in the midst of (reciting) it that you may overcome
(Fussilat 41: 26)
They went to extremes in obduracy, and to further frustrate the Messenger (pbuh) and stop him from inviting them to Islam, told him: Our hearts are under coverings, so none of your words reach us. In our ears is deafness, so we hear nothing of your preaching. Between you and us is a barrier, so leave us alone and persist in your way for we shall persist in ours.1 The Noble Qur’an quotes their words, saying:
Our hearts are within coverings from that to which you invite us, and in our ears is deafness, and between us and you is a barrier, so work (on your way). Indeed, we are working (on our way)
(Fussilat 41: 5)
It was only near the end of the fifth year of prophethood that the Prophet (pbuh) was able to recite the Qur’an to them in their assemblies and gatherings. It happened by way of surprise, without anyone discerning his intention before he (pbuh) began the recitation.2
In Ramadan of the fifth year, the Prophet (pbuh) went to the Sanctuary, where there was a large assembly of the chiefs and dignitaries of Quraish. Suddenly he (pbuh) rose among them and began reciting Surat An-Najm.
It was the first time they had heard the Words of Allah, for they had persisted in what they advised one another:
Do not listen to this Qur’an and make noise in the midst of (reciting) it that you may overcome
( Fussilat 41: 26)
But when the Prophet (pbuh) surprised them with the recital of the Surah and the Holy Words of Allah struck their ears, which were the most fascinating they had ever heard, he (pbuh) captivated their feelings.
They all forgot their previous advice and listened attentively, thinking of nothing else, to such an extent that when the Prophet (pbuh) reached the powerful, awe-inspiring images in the last Ayat of this Surah and then recited:
(So fall you down in prostration to Allah and worship Him (alone)
(An-Najm 53: 62)
and prostrated himself, none of them could restrain themselves and they all fell down in prostration.
In reality, it was the wonderful moment of truth that cleaved through the obdurate souls of these proud scoffers, and they could not help but prostrate themselves.
They stood aghast when they realized that the Words of Allah had conquered their will and made them do the very thing they had been trying hard to annihilate. Severe reproach and blame followed from every side from their co-Mushrikin who had not been present on the scene. They began to fabricate lies and calumniate the Prophet (pbuh), alleging that he had praised their idols and ascribed to them the power of intercession.
They brought forth this glaring falsehood to establish an excusable justification for prostrating themselves with the Prophet (pbuh), because they were people addicted to lying and intrigue.3
- Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Qur’an, interpretation of Surat Fussilat [41: 5], thirty-sixth edition, Dar Al-Shorouk.
- Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Second Phase (Open Preaching): The Diverse Tactics Used In Fighting the Islamic Call.
- Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtum; Second Phase (Open Preaching): Prostration of the Mushrikin with the Muslims