It’s well known historically that Islam came to life in the Arabian peninsula and particularly in Mecca in the heart of Hejaz‘s primitive environment that was ruled by religious ignorance, false Idols and home-made Gods. Each tribe had a God of their own; each family had an Idol, and per home a different kind of prayer was recited.
In that society, morals and principles as well as heavenly religions seized to exist; to worship stones and wood that has no feelings or awareness, that can’t do you good nor harm you; a handmade statues made to order; to speak for them on resurrection day in-front of God!
Mecca was THE merchants hub in those days for all the caravans that were used to take its road returning from the south of the peninsula carrying India‘s and Yemen‘s goods to Syria, Palestine and even Egypt. Towards the end of the sixteenth century it became a flourished marketplace providing all who approached it with all types of goods from all around the world known to man back then. All thanks to its geographical location; and the abundance of water in it; beside it’s being a religious hub accommodating thousands of pilgrims every year from all around the middle east that visits the holy Kaaba, who normally resides for a bout three months, or attending Okaz’s renowned market that was very near to Mecca and was attended by Arab‘s most prestigious merchants and poets beside the Persians and Africans amongst many others. In my opinion the main reason back then for people to visit Mecca beside the pilgrimage was this market for the attractions they had back then could be compared (if not exceeds) today’s tourist attractions; poetic debates, horse races, night life, music, alcohol, and sex of course.
Mecca’s very own merchants took advantage of such seasons for their own benefit; deriving their influence amongst Tribes based on their political and moral powers anchored by their monetary strength. From there Mecca’s merchants knew the in’s and out’s of trading that led them to an endless source of power and political strength, making their home town a trading nation of buyers and sellers thinking of nothing else but making more money no matter how.
Naturally; the neighboring tribes would count on them for their financial support; which was done with high rate of usury, making Mecca’s merchants the most known and treacherous lenders of their time; maneuvering with the debts, enslaving the debtors in result; then investing their producing power in all means their sick minds (and the adverse laws of these times) could think of. As an example, the creditor normally would force the debtor’s wife or daughter to work as a prostitute until their husband’s or father’s debt is paid in full; knowing they increased it on a daily basis so the woman would work for life for their benefit. Debtors (back then) never dreamt of getting the creditors of their back, but rarely; which forced many debtors into either fleeing into the desert and join burglars and wanted criminals or become slaves and be done with the way the creditors sees fit. That occurred in a time when the pilgrims numbers were increasing making the rich richer and the poor poorer; which made it necessary for the merchants to take good care of their clients and provide them all they seek; leaving them with no choice but prepare way ahead for the Hajj season and the commencing of Okaz’s market place, along side with Al Majanna, Thee Majaz, and Mena markets. they had two trips a year one takes place in the summer, the other during the winter season, voyaging to Syria, Palestine, and the south of the Arab lands to sell their goods, and buy what’s available in these markets to bring it back home.
The funds these merchants invested and traded with, were not theirs only, for they have endless funds to utilize pooled from rich personnel from Mecca and Ta’if governed by contracts and conditions for both parties benefits and obligations. That’s what encouraged Mecca’s public to look after the merchants caravans and pick only men who are well-known for their integrity, wisdom and courage to accompany them of their trips as a guarantee for the high net worthy to contribute their funds.
Many men were hired for the sake of protecting their interest, specially with the growing numbers of bandits and outlaws back then; mainly were bought from eastern Africa; their numbers increased to a level that they formed a well organised army of their own funded by Mecca’s richest; which means they were making very high profits, or else how would they afford it.
All the above paved the way for segregating the Meccan society into two; one with a filthy rich, politicians, merchants, and landlords. The second one is of those poor, slaves, and thugs; of course and them whom lives depended on the rich groups. the second group were people who were manipulated, used, and abused, as these was nothing to stop the current situation and the balance of powers.
That was just a glimpse of how that society in particular was before the new religion was brought upon them. For they have lost their humanity and lost their way to a level that it was hardly possible to call the way they lived a society. One that is binded by laws and rights; and not managed as much as a cattle was.
Imagine how a person is determent and brave to be able just barely to think for a second to change such a society to transform them from being a bunch of heartless Bedouins into thinkers, writers, and scientists. Into men and women, hand in hand equal in rights and obligations towards an Arabian version of utopia.
Praying to have a splinter of what he had to spread it around all of us; for I’m sure it will be more than enough…
It’s a long way to heaven, and it’s closer to hell…
Dr. Ahmed Alkhuzaie