When the Quraysh saw that the companions of the Messenger of Allah were increasing in number, ‘Utbah ibn Rabi’ah suggested that he go to the Messenger of Allah and try to patch up their differences. If the Quraysh made some concessions, he might agree to leave off his mission. ‘Utbah was given permission to negotiate on their behalf. He went to the Messenger of Allah and sat down beside him.
‘nephew’ he said, ‘you know your standing among us, but you have brought a matter of grave concern to your people. You have divided their community, made fun of their customs, criticised their gods and their religion and declared some of their ancestors to be unbelievers. Now listen to me. I will make some proposals for you to examine and perhaps you will accept them.’
The Messenger of Allah said, ‘speak Abu’l-Walid I am listening.’
‘Nephew,’ Utbah continued, ‘if you want money by this business, we will collect some of our property and make you the wealthiest among us. If you want honour we will make you our chief so that every decision is yours. If you want a kingdom we will make you our king. If you are possessed by a ghost of a jinn that you cannot drive away from yourself, we will find a skilful doctor to help you. We will spend our wealth on it till you are cured.’
When ‘Utbah had finished the Messenger of Allah asked ‘Have you finished Abu’l-Walid?’
‘Then Listen to mee.’
‘I will,’ said ‘Utbah.
The Messenger of Allah recited some verses from Surah Fussilat. ‘Utbah listened intently, putting his hands behind his back and leaning on them. When the Messenger of Allah reached the place mentioning prostration, he prostrated and then said, ‘you have heard what you have heard Abu’l-Walid. It is now up to you’
‘Utbah returned to his companions who commented ‘Abu’l-Walid’ came back with a different expression on his face to the one he went with.’
When he sat down beside them, they asked him what happened.
‘By Allah!’ he said, ‘I have heard words of the like of which I have never heard before. By Allah it is neither poetry nor magic nor soothsaying. O men of Quraysh! Obey me! Leave this man alone with what he has. Be considerate towards him and don’t interfere.’
‘By Allah,’ they said, ‘He has bewitched you with his tongue, Abu’l-Walid’
‘This is my opinion about him,’ he replied. ‘You do as you see fit.’