Prophet Muhammad and his early followers,’ peace be upon them, were being persecuted and harassed by the idol worshippers of their tribe, the Quraishi tribe in Mecca. The idol-worshippers would degrade them, scoff at them, and ridicule them. They would call Prophet Muhmmad a madman, a liar, a sorcerer, a magician, and one that is possessed by a Jinn. They would prevent Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims from praying at Allah’s Sacred House, the Kaaba, and they would cover them in dirt and filth when praying.
They couldn’t kill Prophet Muhammad personally as he was the grandson of Abdul Muttalib—who was amongst the elites of the tribe of Banu Hashim, and it was a strict custom and a law of theirs to protect noble blood.
Despite all the ridicule, Prophet Muhammad continued to preach and teach the Message of Islam to the Arabs of Mecca in a gentle manner. He warned them that if they continued to worship other gods besides Allah and not follow the path of Allah, they would face a serious punishment like the previous nations did, who also disobeyed Allah and His Messengers.
The idol-worshippers of Mecca told Prophet Muhammad if you are really a Prophet of God, why don’t you split the moon in half, proving you are a Prophet? Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, responded, if I do this with the will of God, will you then believe I am a Prophet? They answered, yes! Prophet Muhammad then pointed to the moon, and in front of their eyes, the moon split in half. However, Mecca’s idol-worshippers arrogantly turned around, saying that he’d blinded them to the truth and had bewitched their eyes.
As the small number of Muslims started to grow in number, the idol worshippers of Quraish became alarmed and worried that their power and prestige were at risk. They were the custodians of the idols in Mecca and would receive money from them, which was also at risk now that Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims were preaching to remove them. The non-believers offered Prophet Muhammad money, honor, and high rank as a leader in an attempt to stop him from spreading Islam, which, of course, he rejected. He was not interested in any of that and only wanted to spread Allah’s Message to the people.
The people of Quraish plotted to stop the Muslims from growing by organizing a full-scale opposition campaign. They tortured their family members that accepted Islam as their religion and way of life.
When the persecution by the people of Quraish grew more severe and unbearable, some of the Muslims decided to migrate to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) to seek refuge in the Kingdom of the Christian King of Abyssinia, who was a fair and righteous king that would welcome the Muslims. This was known as the first Hijrah (Migration) of the Muslims. Later, more Muslims who were being harassed would join them.