Walid ibn al-Mughirah

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Walid ibn al-Mughirah al-Makhzumi (Arabic: الوليد بن المغيرة المخزومي‎, al-Walīd ibn al-Mughīrah al-Makhzūmī) was the chief of the Banu Makhzum clan of the Quraysh tribe. His clan was responsible for warfare related matters.

Family[edit]

He was the son of al-Mughīrah ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Umar ibn Makhzūm.

Sons:

  1. Khālid ibn al-Walīd.[1] His mother was Walid's wife, Lubābah as-Sughrá, that is, al-Asmā bint al-Ḥārith ibn al-Ḥazn. Khalid was a prominent companion (sahabi) of the Prophet Muhammad and is considered the greatest general and one of the most famous people of the ensuing Islamic Empire during the Rashidun era. However, neither Khalid nor his brothers had as yet converted to Islam at the time of their father's death.
  2. Hishām ibn al-Walīd.
  3. Walīd ibn al-Walīd.
  4. Ammarah ibn Walid or ‘Umāra.[2]

Sources mention an Umar ibn Walid ibn Mughīrah, but it is unclear whether he was the son of Walīd.

Daughters:

  1. Najiyah bint al-Walid ibn al-Mughira who was married to Safwan ibn Umayya
  2. Fāṭimah bint al-Walīd who was married to Ḥārith ibn Hishām ibn al-Mughīrah of Banu Makhzum clan. Fatima was the mother of Umm Ḥakīm who was married to ‘Ikrima ibn Abu Jahl followed by Khālid ibn Sa‘īd.

Brothers:

  1. Abu Ḥudhaifah ibn al-Mughīrah
  2. 'Abdullah ibn al-Mughīrah
  3. Azwar ibn al-Mughīrah
  4. Abu Umayyah ibn al-Mughīrah: Father of Umm Salama
  5. Fākiha ibn al-Mughīrah: First husband of Hind bint 'Utbah
  6. Hishām ibn al-Mughīrah: Father of Abu Jahl
  7. Abu Rabī'ah ibn al-Mughīrah: Father of ‘Aiyyāsh.

Events before Islam[edit]

As one of the leaders of Quraysh in the pre-Islamic era, Walid ibn al-Mughira was one of the richest men in Mecca. His caravan trade was once estimated at one hundred camels until it was said to enter not just from one section of the city, but from all sections of Mecca until the camels reached the store at the same time.

During the pilgrimage season, which lasted forty nights, he would slaughter ten camels every day to feed the pilgrims.

It is said that Walid financed a quarter of the costs to rebuild the Kaaba (Qaaba) in Mecca in 605, with the rest of the clans combined contributing the rest. During the rebuilding of the Kaaba, Walīd asked the Quraysh leaders not to spend their ill-gotten gains and wealth for the purpose of renovation. When people were afraid to start the demolition of the Kaaba and withdrew in awe from it, Walīd said, ‘I will begin the demolition’. So he took a pick-axe, went up to it saying ‘O Allah, we intend only what is best.’ Then he demolished the part at the two corners. That night people watched, saying, ‘We will look out; if he is smitten we won’t destroy any more of it and will restore it as it was; but if nothing happens to him then Allah is pleased with what we are doing and we will demolish it.’ In the morning Walīd returned to the work of demolition and the people worked with him, until they reached the foundation of Ibrahīm.[3]

Attitude to Islam[edit]

When the Quraysh leaders saw that Muhammad refused to withdraw from his mission and continued preaching of monotheism under the protection of Abū Ṭālib, Walīd ibn al-Mughīra, along with ‘Utba ibn Rabī‘ah, Shayba ibn Rabī‘ah, Abu Sufyān ibn Ḥarb, Abu’l-Bakhtarī (al-‘Āṣ) ibn Hishām, al-Aswad ibn al-Muṭṭalib, ‘Amr ibn Hishām (Abu Jahl), Nubayh ibn al-Ḥajjāj, Munabbih ibn al-Ḥajjāj and al-‘Āṣ ibn Wā’il, went up to Abū Ṭālib and urged him to convince Muḥammad, his nephew, to stop insulting their gods. They offered him in exchange to be their King and marry as many beautiful women he liked, as long as he would abandon his mission of preaching Islam. To this, Muhammad answered, “By Allah, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, I would not abandon it.[4]

After realizing that Abū Ṭālib would not give up on Muḥammad on any account, the Quraysh leaders went to Abū Ṭālib with Walīd's son ‘Umāra, and said, ‘O Abū Ṭālib, this is ‘Umāra, the strongest and most handsome young man among Quraysh, so take him. You will have the benefit of his intelligence and support. Adopt him as a son and give up to us this nephew of yours who has opposed your religion and the religion of your fathers, severed the unity of your people, and mocked our way of life, so that we may kill him. This will be man for man.’ But Abu Talib refused this offer.[5]

At the gharaniq episode, in which Muhammad recited Sura 53, and Muslims and polytheists prostrated together in a communal act of worship, Walid was too old to prostrate himself. Instead, he took a symbolic handful of dirt and bent over it.[6]

In 619 Walīd provided protection to the Muslim ‘Uthmān ibn Maẓ‘ūn. When ‘Uthmān saw the misery in which the apostle’s companions were living while he lived night and day under al-Walīd’s protection, he said, ‘It is more than I can bear that I should be perfectly safe under the protection of a polytheist while my friends are afflicted for God’s sake.’ So he went to Walīd and renounced his protection. Walīd asked him to renounce his protection publicly as he had given it publicly. So ‘Uthmān said in public, ‘I have found him loyal and honorable in his protection, but I don’t want to ask anyone but Allah for protection; so I give him back his promise!’[7]

Verses of the Quran about Walid[edit]

Walīd ibn al-Mughīra was one of the Quraysh leaders who were indirectly mentioned in several verses of Qur'an. He was one of the five principal offenders of Muhammad, the others being al-Aswad ibn al-Muṭṭalib ibn Asad, al-Aswad ibn ‘Abdu Yaghūth, al-‘Āṣ ibn Wā’il ibn Hishām and al-Ḥārith ibn al-Ṭulāṭila (from Banu Khuzā‘a).

Sura 74: The Trade-Fair[edit]

Walid was a personage of great influence among the Quraysh. After he heard Muhammad reciting, Walid went to Quraysh and said: "I have just heard Muhammad's words, which for sure are neither a human's nor a jinn's. They are euphonious and relaxing, like a tree full of reachable fruits. They are of the highest quality and cannot be out-perfected." He told them, "The time of the fair has come round again, and representatives of Arabs will come to you and they will have heard about Muhammad. So agree upon one opinion without dispute, so that none of us will give the lie to the other." He recommended that they call Muhammad a sorcerer who has brought a message by which he separated a man from his father, brother, wife or family. The Quraysh accordingly warned the people attending the fair about Muhammad’s doings. So, according to a Muslim historian, "Allah revealed verses 11-25 in Sura 74 concerning al-Walid."[8]

Sura 21: Discussion of Hell[edit]

One day Muhammad was sitting with Walid in the Kaaba when al-Naḍr ibn al-Ḥārith came and sat with among the assembly of the Quraysh. When Muhammad spoke, al-Naḍr interrupted him. Muhammad responded until he silenced him. Then he read to them all:

"Verily ye and what ye serve other than Allah is the fuel of Hell. You will come to it. If these had been gods they would not have come to it, but all will be in it everlastingly. There is wailing and there they will not hear." (Sura 21: 98)

After Muhammad had left, ‘Abdullah ibn al-Ziba‘rā al-Sahmī arrived. Walid said to him, "By Allah, al-Naḍr could not stand up to Muhammad just now, and he alleged that we and our gods are fuel for Hell." ‘Abdullah replied, "If I had found him, I would have refuted him. Ask Muhammad, 'Is everything that is worshipped besides God in Gehenna with those who worship it?' We worship the angels; the Jews worship ‘Uzayr; and the Christians worship Jesus Son of Mary." Walid and those with him in the assembly marveled at ‘Abdullah’s words and thought that he had argued convincingly. When Muhammad was told of this he said: "Everyone who wishes to be worshipped to the exclusion of God will be with those who worship him. They worship only satans and those they have ordered to be worshipped." Then this verse of the Quraan was produced:

"Those who have received kindness from us in the past will be removed far from it and will not hear its sound and they abide eternally in their heart’s desire." (Sura 21:101-102)[9]

Sura 43: Discussion of Worldly Prestige[edit]

When Walid said: "Does Allah send down revelations to Muhammad and ignore me, the greatest chief of Quraysh, to say nothing of Abū Mas‘ūd ‘Amr ibn ‘Umayr al-Thaqafī, the chief of Thaqīf, we being the great ones of Ṭā’if and Mecca?" The response to this question was:

"They said, 'If this Qur’ān had been revealed to a great man of the two towns than what they amass.'" (Sura 43: 30)[10]

Sura 109: The Suggestion to Combine Religions[edit]

One day as Muhammad was going round the Kaaba, Walīd approached him along with al-Aswad ibn al-Muṭṭalib ibn Asad ibn ‘Abdu’l-‘Uzzā, Umayya ibn Khalaf and al-‘Āṣ ibn Wā’il to offer him a proposition. They said: "Muhammad, let us worship what you worship and you worship what we worship. If what you worship is better than what we worship we will take a share of it, and if what we worship is better than what you worship, you can take a share of that." The response to this proposition was:

"Say, O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship, and you do not worship what I worship, and I do not worship what you worship, and you do not worship what I worship; You have your code of life (Deen) and I have mine.” (Sura 109)[11]

Sura 80: Ibn Umm Maktum[edit]

Walīd was having a long conversation with Muhammad, who greatly desired to convert him to Islam. Then Ibn Umm Maktūm, a blind man, passed by and began to ask Muhammad to recite the Qur'an. Muhammad "found this hard to bear and it annoyed him," because Ibn Umm Maktum was diverting him from Walīd and spoiling the chance of his conversion. When the man became "importunate", Muhammad went off frowning and left him. The verse produced on this occasion was:

"He frowned and turned his back when the blind man came to him. I sent you only to be an evangelist and a reprover; I did not specify one person to the exclusion of another, so withhold not (the message) from him who seeks it, and do not waste time over one who does not want it." (Sura 80, ‘Abasa)[12]

Suras 6, 68 and 15: Mockery[edit]

One day Muhammad passed by Walīd, Umayya ibn Khalaf and Abu Jahl ibn Hisham. They reviled and mocked him, which caused him distress. The Quraan addressed this situation:

"Apostles have been mocked before thee, but that which they mocked at hemmed them in." (Sura 6: 10)[13]

In another incident when Walīd insulted Muhammad, he produced Sura 68 simultaneously, including the line:

"Cruel, after all that base-born."

This exposed his illegitimate birth. The Muslims considered this a miracle when the allegation was later found to be true.

When Walid and his friends persisted in constant mockery of the Muhammad, this verse was recited:

"Proclaim what you have been ordered and turn away from the polytheists. We will surely protect you against the mockers who put another god beside Allah. In the end they will know." (Sura 15: 94)

According to a Muslim tradition, the five mockers suffered divine vengeance.

The same Yazid told me from Urwa (or it may have been from some other traditionist) that Gabriel came to the apostle when the mockers were going round the temple. He stood up and the apostle stood at his side; and as Al-Aaswad ibn Al-Muttalib passed, Gabriel threw a green leaf in his face and he became blind. Then Al-Aaswad ibn Abdu Yaghuth passed, and he pointed at his belly, which swelled so that he died of dropsy. Next Al-Walid passed by. He pointed at an old scar on the bottom of his ankle (the result of a wound he received some years earlier as he was trailing his gown when he passed by a Khuza’i who was feathering an arrow, and the arrowhead caught in his wrapper and scratched his foot – a mere nothing). But the wound opened again and he died of it. Al-Aas passed. He pointed to his instep, and he went off on his ass making for Al-Taïf. He tied the animal to a thorny tree and a thorn entered his foot and he died of it. Lastly Al-Harith passed. He pointed at his head. It immediately filled with pus and killed him.[14]

The Battle of Badr[edit]

Walid was among those taken prisoner at the Battle of Badr in March 624.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ at-Tabari (1998). The History of al-Tabari Vol. 39: Biographies of the Prophet's Companions and Their Successors. Translated and annotated by Ella Landau-Tasseron. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 201–202. 
  2. ^ The Sealed Nectar [1] on sunnipath.com
  3. ^ A. Guillaume, p85
  4. ^ Guillaume, p119
  5. ^ Guillaume, p. 119.
  6. ^ Guillaume, p. 166.
  7. ^ Guillaume, p169
  8. ^ Guillaume, p121
  9. ^ Guillaume, p163
  10. ^ Guillaume, p164
  11. ^ Guillaume, p165
  12. ^ Guillaume, p167
  13. ^ Guillaume, p181
  14. ^ Guillaume, p. 187.
  15. ^ Guillaume, p. 339.