Quraish could not tolerate the prospect of a secure haven available for the Muslims in Abyssinia (Ethiopia), so they despatched two staunch envoys to demand their extradition. They were 'Amr bin Al-'As and 'Abdullah bin Abi Rabi'a — before embracing Islam. They had taken with them valuable gifts to the king and his clergy, and had been able to win some of the courtiers over to their side.
Quraish, seeing that the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) was still intent on his Call, realized that Abu Talib would never forsake his nephew even if this incurred their enmity. Some of them then went to see him once more taking with them a youth called 'Amarah bin Al-Waleed bin Al-Mugheerah, and said, "O Abu Talib!
Now that all the schemes and conspiracof Quraish had failed, they resorted to their old practices of persecution and inflicting tortures on the Muslims in a more serious and brutal manner than ever before. They also began to nurse the idea of killing the Prophet (Peace be upon him). In fact, contrary to their expectations, this new method and this very idea served indirectly to consolidate the Call to Islam and support it with the conversion of two staunch and mighty heroes of Makkah, i.e. Hamzah bin 'Abdul-Muttalib and 'Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him).
In a gloomy atmosphere infested with dark clouds of iniquity and tyranny, there shone on the horizon a promising light for the oppressed, i.e. the conversion of Hamzah bin 'Abdul-Muttalib in Dhul Hijjah, the sixth year of Prophethood. It is recorded that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was one day seated on the hillock of Safa when Abu Jahl happened to pass by and accused the religion preached by him. Muhammad (Peace be upon him), however, kept silent and did not utter a single word. Abu Jahl went on unchecked, took a stone and cracked the Prophet's head which began to bleed.
Another significant addition to the strength of Islam was the conversion of 'Umar bin Al-Khattab in Dhul-Hijjah, the sixth year of Prophethood, three days following the conversion of Hamzah. ] He was a man of dauntless courage and resolution, feared and respected in Makkah, and hitherto a bitter opponent of the new religion. The traditional account reveals that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) once raised his hands in prayer and said:
"O Allâh! Give strength to Islam especially through either of two men you love more: 'Umar bin Al-Khattab or Abu Jahl bin Hisham."
Shortly after the conversion of these two powerful heroes, Hamzah bin 'Abdul-Muttalib and 'Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him), the clouds of tyranny and oppression started to clear away and the polytheists realized that it was no use meting out torture to the Muslims. They consequently began to direct their campaign to a different course. The authentic records of the biography of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) show that it had occurred to the Makkan leaders to credit Muhammad (Peace be upon him) with ambition. They, therefore, time and again plied him with temptation.
The new and welcome changes notwithstanding, Abu Talib still had a deep sensation of fear over his nephew. He deliberated on the previous series of incidents including the barter affair of 'Amarah bin Al-Waleed, Abu Jahl's rock, 'Uqbah's attempt to choke the Prophet (Peace be upon him) , and finally 'Umar's (before conversion) intention to kill Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The wise man understood that all of these unequivocally smacked of a serious plot being hatched to disregard his status as a custodian of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), and kill the latter publicly.
Four events of special significance occurred within less than four weeks — the conversion of Hamzah, the conversion of ‘Umar, Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) refusal to negotiate any sort of compromise and then the pact drawn up between Banu Muttalib and Banu Hashim to immunize Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and shield him against any treacherous attempt to kill him. The polytheists were baffled and at a loss as to what course they would follow to rid themselves of this obstinate and relentless obstacle that had appeared to shatter to pieces their whole tradition of life.
The pagans of Makkah held a meeting in a place called Wadi Al-Muhassab, and formed a confederation hostile to both Bani Hashim and Bani Al-Muttalib. They decided not to have any business dealings with them nor any sort of inter-marriage. Social relations, visits and even verbal contacts with Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his supporters would discontinue until the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was given up to them to be killed.
The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) left his confinement and went on preaching his Faith as usual. Quraish, likewise, repealed the boycott but went on in their atrocities and oppression on the Muslims. Abu Talib, the octogenarian notable, was still keen on shielding his nephew but by that time, and on account of the series of tremendous events and continual pains, he began to develop certain fits of weakness. No sooner had he emerged victorious from the inhuman boycott, than he was caught in a persistent illness and physical enervation.