This failure of the Qureysh embassy to Abyssinia, and the triumph of Muslims over them, led to an increase in the exasperation of the idolaters; the conversion of 'Umar (Rad-hiyallaho anho] to Islam added fuel to fire.
They grew more and more embittered, till things came to such a pass that a large number of the Qureysh chiefs conspired to kill Muhammad (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) outright and deal summarily with the whole affair.
But this was not so easy. Banu Hashim to which clan the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) belonged, were strong in number and still stronger in influence. Although all of them were not Muslims, yet even the non-Muslims among them would not agree to, or tolerate the murder of the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam).
The Qureysh, therefore, decided to place a social ban on the Banu Hashim, and their chiefs drew up a document to the effect that none of them or their clans would associate with, buy from or sell to those who sided with the Banu Hashim, unless and until they surrendered Muhammad (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) for the death penalty. All of them signed this document on 1st Moharram of 7th year of the Mission, and the scroll was hung up in the Ka'abah in order to give it full sanctity.
Then, for three long years, the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) was shut up with all his kinsfolk in the glen, which was a sub-section of one of the gorges that run down to Mecca. For three long years, nobody could see them nor could they see anybody. They could not purchase anything in Mecca nor from any trader coming from outside.
If any person was found outside this natural prison, he was beaten mercilessly and if he asked for anything it was flatly refused. Soon their stock of food was exhausted and they were reduced to famine rations. Their women and, more specially, the children and suckling babies would cry with hunger, and this was harder on them than their own starvation. During the last part of this period, their sole subsistence was the little food that the husbands of Hashimite women married into other clans managed to smuggle into the glen in the darkness of night.
At last by the Grace of Allah, after three years the scroll was eaten up by white ants and the ban was removed. The severity of the afflictions, which they bore during this period of ostracism, cannot be imagined. But the Sahabah not only remained steadfast in their faith, but also kept busy in spreading the light of Islam amongst their comrades in distress.
Look! How much the Sahabah have suffered in the path of Allah and for the cause of Islam. We claim to follow their footsteps, and dream of the material progress and spiritual elevation which was theirs, but how much have we suffered in the true cause? what sacrifice have we offered for the sake of Allah in His path? Success is always proportionate to the sacrifice. We wish to live in luxury and comfort, and are too eager to race shoulder to shoulder with the non-Muslims in enjoying the good things of this world, forgetting the Hereafter, and then at the same time we expect to receive the same help from Allah which the Sahabah received in their time. We cannot beguile anybody but ourselves by working like this. As the Poet has said,