Condition of Arabs and Meccans before the Arrival of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)
Hayat Al-Qulub Volume 2, A Detailed Biography of Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)
By: Allamah Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi
It is mentioned in a reliable, rather true tradition that Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) said: “The trusteeship of Kaaba had always remained among the descendants of Ismail (a.s.) They were always in charge of issues pertaining to Hajj and religion. They inherited leadership by birth from their elders until the time of Adnan bin Awad when their hearts hardened and they became corrupted. They began to create innovations in the religion of Allah. They expelled some people from the holy precincts.
Most of them dispersed to earn livelihood and some to escape quarrels. Their majority remained loyal to the way of Ibrahim (a.s.) like obeying the Divine Commandments (as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an) like prohibition of marriage with mothers, sisters and daughters. But they considered marriage with step mothers and with daughters and sisters and with sisters of existing wife lawful. They believed in Hajj. Talbiyah and ritual bath after sexual intercourse but they had created innovations in Hajj and Talbiyah etc.
They had also indulged in polytheism and idol worship. In these circumstances, Musa (a.s.) was appointed between the times of Ismail (a.s.) and Adnan. It is narrated that when Maad bin Adnan feared that the Kaaba would become untraceable after being dilapidated, he made marks and signs of its identification. When the tribe of Jurham took control of Mecca and the trusteeship of Kaaba came in their hands, they continued to pass it on to their heirs as heritage until mischief and corruption spread among them too. They degraded the value of Kaaba and grabbed its property and wealth and began to oppress whoever came to Mecca.
Their lawlessness increased. In those days it so happened that whoever dishonored Kaaba was soon destroyed and so also the one who made mischief in Mecca. That is why this city is called Mecca meaning the city which breaks the necks of oppressors. It is also called Basasa as it destroys those who resort to oppression therein.
This city is also called Umm Raham (merciful mother or the source of mercy) as one who serves and respects it, becomes the rightful gainer of Divine Mercy. So when the people of Jurham community became lawbreakers and mischievous, Allah punished them through plague, which killed many of them.
Then the people of Khaza came together with an intention to drive the remaining people of Jurham out of the Sanctuary. The chief of Khaza was Amr bin Rabiah bin Harith and the leader of Jurham was Amr bin Harith bin Jurhami. They fought with one another. Khaza overpowered the Jurhams. Some of the Jarhamis who had survived went away to a place called Jahina and settled there.
A flood there killed them all. Thereafter Khaza became the trustees of Mecca until the time of Qusayy bin Kalab who was the great grandfather of the Messenger of Allah (S). He drove the Khaza out of Mecca and became the trustee of Kaaba. The trusteeship of Kaaba remained in their progeny till the time of the Holy Prophet (S).
It is narrated that Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said: The Arabs to some extent, continued to serve and follow the religion of Ibrahim (a.s.) and also to be kind to the kith and kin. They were serving their guests and performing the pilgrimage of Hajj of Kaaba. They used to say that one must always refrain from grabbing the property of an orphan because it is like a rope which ties up man. They were also desisting from many prohibited things due to the fear of Divine punishment because no sooner than they did anything unlawful they were caught in one or another calamity.
They were hanging the skin of the trees growing in the limits of Sanctuary in the necks of their camels and then let them free (untied) but then no one could ever dare to steal those camels or to put another skin belt in their necks. If anybody did so he used to be punished soon. But today they have been given a respite and the Almighty Allah does not grab them forthwith and does not chastise instantly. He keeps the matter pending till Judgment Day. Once the people of Syria invaded Kaaba.
They installed a catapult on mount Abu Qubais to attack the Kaaba. Allah sent a cloud like the wings of sparrows wherefrom a lightning fell and killed seventy persons standing around that catapult. Another reliable tradition says that once a man came to the Holy Prophet (S) and said: “A girl was born in my home. I nourished her. When she matured, I dressed her in nice clothes and jewellery, took her to a well and pushed her in it.
The last words which I heard from her were: ‘My dear father!’ Now please let me know how I can compensate for this misdeed?” The Holy Prophet (S) asked: “Is your mother alive?” He said: “No.” Then the Holy Prophet (S) asked: “Have you a maternal aunt?” He said: “Yes.” The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Behave nicely with your aunt as she is like your mother. Perhaps it would compensate.”
The narrator asked Imam (a.s.): “When was this misdeed committed?” He replied: “Before the advent of the Holy Prophet (S), in the days of ignorance people used to kill their daughters so that the enemy may never be able to apprehend them and get sons from them, putting them to shame.”