The year was 617 A.D. The heads of the tribe Quraysh in Mecca were very much upset about the influence of Prophet Mohammad’s monotheistic religion, Islam, and therefore were contemplating a new countermeasure. They had tried different ones before but none of them worked out. Finally it was decided to subject Prophet Mohammad’s clan, Bani Hashem, and his followers to a boycott in order to slow down the propagation of his religion.
Therefore the chiefs of the tribe signed an accord, handwritten by Monsour Ben Akrameh and hung inside the Kaba, Which in it they pledged that Quraysh would follow these rules:
All types of trade with Mohammad’s followers is prohibited
Socializing with them is not permitted
No one is allowed to marry a Muslim
In all occasions adversaries of Mohammad should be supported
The only supporter of Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) among the heads of Quraysh, his uncle Abu Talib, ordered the whole clan and also followers of his nephew to come out from Mecca and settle in a valley called Shib Abi Talib near the city, so they could be away from nonbelievers and the polytheistic atmosphere of then Mecca.
Followers of Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) spent three years of immense hardship in the valley and suffered quite a lot during the sanction. They had to struggle to survive on very little food like one or half piece of date in a day or even to swallow a piece of skin of dead camel. The bitter wail of children reached the ears but not the hearts of pitiless residents of Mecca.
One day the Angel Gabriel descended and revealed to Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) that the entire sheet of the accord has been eaten up by termite and only the words: "In the name of the Lord” has survived. Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) informed Abu Talib and then they came out of the valley along with a group of people and sat near the Kaba. At this moment Quraysh circled around Abu Talib and told him: Isn’t the time ripe for recalling your kinship with us and stopping protecting Mohammad? Abu Talib said: Bring me the sheet of your accord. They brought it while it was sealed.
- Is inside the accord which you wrote all three years ago?
- Has anyone opened it since?
- My nephew has been informed about a fact by the Lord. If he is right will you abandon your policy?
- Yes, we will
- Otherwise if it turns out to be untrue I shall hand him over to you.
- Well, it is fair enough.
- My nephew says termite has eaten up the sheet of your accord.
They opened the seal and saw nothing survived from the sheet, all was eaten up by termite and only “In the name of the Lord” has remained.*
(*) Translated from the book written by Ja'far Sobhani, The Prophet's life (Forugh-e Abadiyyat)