But the Quraish still mocked and said: 'Ah! this is he whom God hath sent as an apostle! Verily he had nearly seduced us from our gods, unless we had patiently persevered therein.' Indeed if it had not been for the powerful protection of Abu Talib, Muhammad would have been in great danger now; but that generous-hearted uncle, though not always pleased with the actions of his nephew, 1 stood manfully by him and on one occasion, when there had been some suspicion of foul play, said: ' By the Lord, had ye killed him, there had not remained one alive among you.'

Muhammad's position at Mecca, at this time, may be thus summed up. The Quraish were more hostile than ever to him, his followers were disheartened, the people generally were scornful or indifferent, though he himself was personally safe from danger, owing to the great influence of his uncle. To meet these adverse circumstances Muhammad adopted two lines of argument. In the first place, he produced a whole series of revelations showing that former prophets had been treated just as he now was and that this adverse treatment was, therefore, a clear proof of his divine mission:—

Already have we sent apostles before thee, among the sects of the ancients ;
But never came apostles to them whom they did not deride,

1 'He.said, "What will the Arabs say of me ?
That my own nephew has perverted me from my religion."
Muhammad said, " O Uncle confess the faith to me,
That I may strive with God for thee."
He said, " Nay : it will be published by them that hear;
A secret known to more than two is known to everyone",
Jalalu'd-Din, Mathnavi.

In like manner will we put it into the hearts of the sinners (of Mecca) to do the same;
They will not believe on him. Sura Al-Hijr (xv) 10-13.

The other argument was the continued and reiterated assertions of his divine call and of the truth of the revelations he gave forth. This period is also notable for the strong protest Muhammad makes against all who opposed his claims.

The following verses show the way in which the treatment of previous prophets is used to prove his own claim to be a Prophet:—

The people of Noah, and 'Ad and Pharaoh, the impaler, treated their prophets as impostors. Sura Sad (xxxviii) 11.

In Sura Al-Anbiya' (xxi), which, though verse eight is said to belong to Madina, was delivered in the middle Meccan period, the Meccans are warned of the great danger in which their city lies, by a reference to God's treatment of other places :—

How many a guilty city have we broken down, and raised up after it other peoples. 11.

Their gods are also challenged :—

Have they taken gods from the earth who can quicken the dead? 21.
Have they taken other gods beside Him? Say, bring forth your proofs (that they are gods). This is the warning of those who are with me and the warning of those who were before me. 24

Then follow references to God's care of preceding Patriarchs and Prophets of old, even down to Zacharias. God's favour to the Virgin Mary is referred to in a verse which teaches the immaculate