a good effect.1 The men of Mecca saw that acceptance of Muhammad's teaching might mean war and possible defeat, and this feeling no doubt added strength to their increasing opposition. They now called him liar, sorcerer, poet, soothsayer, demoniac. Even at the door of the Ka'ba, they assailed him. Once he lost his temper and said: 'Hear, ye Quraish, I come to you with slaughter,' 2 a threat which he was not able to carry out for many years; but the Quraish could not know this and so the next day they attacked him again. Abu Bakr had to come to his aid, and there 'was no man that day,' says Ibn Ishaq, 'free or slave, who did not call him a liar and insult him.' All through these troubles his uncle Abu Talib, though not at all convinced of the truth of his nephew's claims, was his steady protector. The Quraish urged him to withdraw his protection, but all that he would do was to remonstrate with his troublesome nephew thus: 'Spare me and thyself, and do not burden me with more than I can bear;' but Muhammad was firm, and so his uncle, true to the ties of relationship, dismissed the deputation and told him to go on, adding these words, 'By Allah, I shall in no wise surrender thee to them.'

The conception of Muhammad as a poor man, a mere camel driver, forcing his own way, unaided,

1 He did unite Arabia in religious matters, but he failed to suppress the rival factions of the Mudarites and the Yemenites, which continued and for centuries wrought evil in Islam. See Sell The Umayyad and 'Abbasid Khalifates (C. L. S.), pp. 2-3.
2 Koelle, Mohammed and Mohammedanism, p. 87. This little incident also shows that from the first he had thoughts of political power.

against strong opposition is unfounded. He belonged to one of the most distinguished tribes in Arabia, and was a member of a highly aristocratic family. His relations were men of great political and social influence and that was used for his personal protection. If that support had not been given, Muhammad might have failed under the pressure of opposition and Islam might never have come into existence.

Some of Muhammad's followers, such as Abu Bakr and others who could claim connexion with some influential family in Mecca, though despised and insulted, were free from personal danger. The strong family affection was a safeguard against the serious molestation of any member of it, even though he had joined the new teaching; but, if Muhammad and some of his adherents were thus protected, it was otherwise with his followers who were gathered out from the slaves and the lower class of Arabs1 for whom there was no powerful protector from amongst the leading members of the great Meccan families. They were cruelly tortured and imprisoned. Muhammad was much concerned at this, and even encouraged them to dissemble in order to escape torture. One day he met a man called 'Ammar bin Yasir who was weeping. In reply to Muhammad's enquiries, he said, 'Oh Prophet, they would not let me go till I had abused

1 This was one of the objections urged against his claims by the Quraish :—

Then said the chiefs of the people, who believed not, 'We see in thee but a man like ourselves, and we see not those who have followed thee, except our meanest ones of hasty judgment, nor see we any excellence in you above ourselves: nay, we deem you liars.' Suratu Hud (xi) 29.