The acceptance of Islam by Hamza, the Prophet’s PBUH uncle and Umar, son of Khattab, greatly upset and enraged the pagans. They could see the honour and prestige of the Holy Prophet PBUH and his followers growing. They also saw the respect with which Najashi had treated the Muslims and so they began to fear for themselves. They demanded that the Banu Hashim withdraw their protection from the Holy Prophet PBUH and hand him over to them or face a complete boycott. This demand was turned down.
Thereafter, in the 7th year of Prophethood, all the tribes of Quraish drew up a joint agreement that enforced a total social and economic boycott of the Banu Hashim. This agreement was put into writing and hung in the Ka’aba.
With the exception of Abu Lahab the Holy Prophet PBUH along with his tribe, whether believer or non-believer, was forced to live in a secluded valley, known as Shib Abi Talib, in the outskirts of Makkah, which was the property of Abu Talib. All the roads leading into the valley were blocked. The Muslims were excluded from all social and commercial activities. They were cut off from all trade dealings. No one could venture forth from the Shib except in the season of pilgrimage, when the besieged were allowed to come out.
Whatever little they had to eat, eventually finished and then came a time of extreme difficulty. Their condition became so bad that children cried with hunger, adults fed on boiled leather and leaves of trees and the valley echoed with the cries of helpless people.
These conditions continued for three years, until a few kind-hearted men among the unbelievers moved by pity. decided to break the agreement and lift the ban. The Banu Hashim were then able to come out of the gorge.
Although the period of boycott meant that the Muslims suffered great hardships, it was not without some benefit to Islam. Despite the boycott new converts continued to trickle through although on a very limited scale. The suffering of the Banu Hashim moved the kind hearted among the unbelievers to take action against the hardliners like Abu Jahl. This caused disunity among them.
Year of Grief:
In the 10th year of Prophethood. Hazrat Khadija died. In the same year the Prophet’s PBUH uncle Abu Talib too. passed away. The Holy Prophet PBUH was so deeply grieved by the deaths of his wife and his loving uncle that this year was called Am-ul-Hazn, “the Year of Grief.
The death of Abu Talib, provided an opportunity to the enemy, to harm and persecute the Holy Prophet PBUH Muslims shared in his sorrow, but they were too weak to stand up against the Quraish or to provide the kind of protection that he had lost due to, the death of Abu Talib.
Marriage with Sawdah and Aisha:
In the 10th year of Prophethood, the Holy Prophet PBUH married Sawdah, Widow of a companion who had emigrated to Abyssinia. She had returned to Makkah on the death of her husband. Later in the same year the Prophet married Aisha, daughter of his close friend Abu Bakr. The marriage was solemnised in Madinah.