This is another excerpt from Bill Warner’s book Mohammed and the Unbelievers, which is an abridged version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sira. It skips poetry, avoids too many foreign names, and uses a modern language.
Mecca was a town with two sources of money. The first was trading. Mohammed had made his money in the caravan trade. The other was fees from pilgrims to the shrine of the Kabah, and fairs combined a little of both. All the tribes came for a fair where people would see old acquaintances and buy, sell, and trade goods. Since Mecca was one of several sacred or pilgrim sites, rituals for the different tribal gods were performed around the Kabah and Mecca.
I171 It was time for the fair and the Quraysh were in turmoil. They did not want the divisions and rancor that had come with Mohammed’s preaching not spread to the other clans outside Mecca. A group of concerned Quraysh talked and decided to meet with Al Walid, a man of respect and influence. He told them that all the visitors would come to them and ask about this man Mohammed and what he was preaching. It was a foregone conclusion that Mohammed would preach.
I171 But what could they agree on to tell the visitors so that there could be one voice. What would they call him? Was he possessed? Crazy? An ecstatic poet? A sorcerer? Who was he? What was he? Finally they agreed that Mohammed was a sorcerer since he separated a son from his father or brother or wife or other family.
I171 They split up and went out on the roadsides of town to speak with the travelers before they even got to Mecca.
I171 Mohammed delivered a message from Allah about Al Walid, the leader of the Kafirs:
74:11 Let me deal with my creations, whom I have given great riches and sons to sit by their side, and whose lives I have made smooth and comfortable. And still he wants me to give him more. No, I say. He is an enemy of Our revelations. I will impose a dreadful punishment on him because he plotted and planned.
74:19 Damn him! How he planned. Again, Damn him! How he planned.
74:21 Then he looked around and frowned and scowled and turned his back with vain pride and said, “This is nothing but old magic; it is the work of a mere mortal.”
74:26 We will certainly throw him into Hell.
I172 The plan of hurting Mohammed by warning the visitors just made everyone more curious. When they heard Mohammed’s soaring words from the Koran, many visitors were impressed. When they left they took all the stories from Mecca, the Quraysh, the new Muslims, and, of course, Mohammed. Soon all of that part of Arabia was talking.