The society at obscure Mecca where Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) opened his eyes was rife with vices and oppression. It was as barren as the harsh Arabian landscape, with declining morals, rising perversion, ignorance and poverty. Like the rest of Arabia it was polytheist in nature, deeply engrossed in the worship of a multitude of idols.
The Meccan society roughly speaking was divided into three classes as follows:
1. The Arrogant Wealthy:
In their hands was vested the wealth, authority and leadership of Mecca, and it was this class which vehemently opposed the Messenger of Allah and his call to Islam. They terrorized and forbade people from believing him, for fear of losing their unjust hegemony over Mecca. To this class belonged Abu Jahal, Abu Sufyan, Abu Lahab, Walid bin Mughira, Uqba bin Abi Moayyit, Aas bin Wael Sahm and others, who had built up large fortunes by oppression and foul means.
2. The Deprived (slaves and the oppressed):
This class was composed of the downtrodden like Ammar and his parents Yaser and Sumaiyya, Bilal the Abyssinian, Suhaib the Roman, Khabbab bin Arat and etc., who all eagerly hastened towards the call of Islam, because they found it to be the truth and a way of deliverance from oppression, slavery and disbelief.
3. The General Public:
These were neither part of the landed oligarchy nor were subjected to slavery. They could well be termed the middle class. Affiliated to their respective tribal chiefs or clan heads they blindly followed the path chosen by their leaders.
Thus since the Islamic Da’wah (call) strives for justice and equality among the human race, removing the artificial barriers of class set up by ‘Jahiliyyah’, the tyrants and oppressors did all they could to stop its eventual spread. Sensing that its Monotheist message, preaching submission to the One and Only Creator and forsaking the worship of idols and man-made images, would bring and end to their domination over Mecca, the pagan Quraish, decided to gang up against Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).