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Amr Ibn Hisham Biography

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Who is Amr Ibn Hisham?

Amr ibn Hisham was the Meccan Qurayshi polytheist leader of the Arab polytheists. He became popular for his opposition to the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. He stood out as the leading advocate against Islam.

Amr was born in Mecca around the year 570.

What was Abu Jahl real name?

His actual name was Amr, and his father’s name was Hisham ibn al-Mughira. The term “ibn” in the middle signifies “son.” Thus, he is Amr, the son of Hisham.

Amr was also known as Ibn al-Hanzaliyya, signifying that his mother belonged to the Hanzala tribe.

He was likewise recognized as the ‘lord of Mecca,’ and the Quraysh used the date of his death as the commencement of their calendar.

Amr was also recognized as Asad al-Ahlaf, signifying that he was the lion of the opposing factions that had pledged to combat Islam and the Prophet s.a.w.

How he was nicknamed Abu Jahl

Being the leader of the Makhzum clan, one of the wealthy clans of the Quraysh, Amr ibn Hisham was known as Abu al-Hakam, which means ‘Father of Wise‘. This name was given to him because the pre-Islamic Arabs saw him as a wise man. The prophet stated, “He who calls Abu Jahl ‘Abu Hakam’ has made a serious mistake. He should seek forgiveness from Allah for this.”

After Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. began advocating for monotheism (the belief in the oneness of God), Amr opposed him and frequently engaged in physical attacks against early Muslims. He persecuted numerous Muslim converts, including Sumayya (the first member of the Muslim Umma (community) of the Prophet) and her husband, Yasir ibn Amir.

Prophet Muhammad nicknamed him Abu Jahl, ‘Father of Ignorance‘, and Firawn al-Umma, ‘Pharaoh of the Umma‘, because of his ruthless torture methods inflicted on Muslims.

What is the Relationship Between Abu Jahl and Muhammad?

‘Amr ibn Hishām was nearly the same age as Prophet Muhammad. During their youth, they were seated together at the table of ‘Abdullah ibn Jud’ān at-Taymī.

Prophet Muhammad, being thinner than ibn Hisham, pushed him, causing him to fall to his knees, and one of them was scratched deeply, leaving a permanent scar.

The Death of Abu Jahl

The Death of Abu Jahl

After the migration to Medina, Amr assembled a sizable army of polytheists with the intent to attack Medina and harm Muslims. On March 13, 624, the Battle of Badr occurred, with Amr playing a significant leadership role. During the battle, Amr sustained fatal wounds inflicted by Mu’awwidh ibn Amr and Mu’ādh ibn ‘Amr, ultimately leading to his death at the hands of Abd Allah ibn Masud.

Amr ibn Hisham had a distinctive scar on his knee, aiding ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ūd in identifying him among the slain and wounded soldiers of Quraysh on the battlefield of Badr.

Amr Ibn Hisham Family Tree

Amr Ibn Hisham Family Tree

Who were the wives of Abu Jahl?

The wives of Abu Jahl were Mujalidya bint Amr and Arwa bint Abi al-As.

Abu Jahl’s Nocturnal Encounter with Prophet Muhammad

Amr ibn Hishām, Abu Jahl, once secretly went out at night with Abu Sufyan and Al-Akhnas ibn Shurayq to listen to Muhammad praying in his house. They continued this for two days, competing with Banū ‘Abd Manāf in various aspects.

However, when they heard about Muhammad receiving revelations as a prophet, Abu Jahl expressed reluctance, refusing to accept the message due to the competition between their tribes. Even when invited by Muhammad, he hesitated, citing his reservations about cursing their gods.

Al-Mughīrah ibn Shu‘bah, a man from at-Ṭā’if, once visited Mecca. While walking with ibn Hishām in the streets, they encountered Prophet Muhammad. He, the Prophet, invited ‘Amr ibn Hishām to Islam, saying, “Why don’t you accept Islam and acknowledge me as the Messenger of Allah?” ‘Amr ibn Hishām expressed reluctance, citing the issue of Muhammad criticizing their gods. Despite recognizing the truth, he hesitated due to the power struggle between the descendants of Quṣayy ibn Kilāb and Banū Makhzūm for authority in Mecca.

Amr ibn Hisham’s Oppression against Converts and Cruelty towards Slaves

Amr ibn Hisham, also known as Abu Jahl, played a pivotal role in inciting the Meccans against Muslims. When learning of someone’s conversion, especially those of social importance, he would scorn, insult, and threaten them. Merchants faced boycotts, while those of lower social standing endured physical abuse. Many converted slaves suffered severe cruelty under Hisham’s reign, enduring beatings and even losing eyesight.

He ruthlessly attacked Sumayya, the first Muslim martyr, and tortured Ammar’s family to death. The brutality extended to the mistreatment of slaves, with heavy stones used as punishment. The tale also recounts a violent encounter between Amr and Abdullah ibn Mas‘ūd in Mecca.

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