Calling the Near Ones
After three years, the call came from Allah:
And warn thy near relations (Qur'an, 26:214)
This ayat (verse) ended the period of secret preaching and heralded the open proclamation of Islam.
Abu Muhammad Husain al-Baghawi (in his Tafisir-Ma'alim ut-Tanzil), Shaikh 'Ala'uddin 'Ali ibn Muhammad al-Baghdadi, known as Khazin al-Baghdadi, in his Lubab-ut-Ta'wil, best known as Tafsir Khazin, Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Husain al-Bayhaqi (in his Dalail-un-Nubuwwah), Jalaluddin as-Suyuti (in his Jam'ul Jawami), 'Ala'uddin 'Ali Muttaqi (in Kanz-ul-'Ummal), Abu JaTer Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari (in Tarikh-ur-Rusul-wal-Muluk), Abu Sa'adat Mubarak ibn Athir al-Jazari (in Tarikh-ul-Kamil) and Isma'il Abul Fida (in his history, Kitab-ul-Mukhtasar fi Akhbar-il-Bashar) have quoted 'Ali as saying:
"When the verse Wa andhir 'Ashiratakal-aqrabin was revealed, the noble Messenger called me and ordered me, 'O 'Ali! The Creator of the world has made me warn my people about their doom, but in view of the condition of the people and knowing that when I will give them the words of Allah, they will misbehave, I felt depressed and weakened and therefore I kept quiet until Gabriel came again and informed me that there should be no more delay. Therefore, O 'Ali, take a measure of food grain, a leg of a goat and a big bowl of milk and arrange for a feast, then call the sons of 'Abdul Muttalib unto me, so that I may deliver to them the words of Allah.' I did what the Prophet had told me to do and the sons of 'Abdul Muttalib, who were about forty in number gathered together. Among them were the uncles of the Prophet: Abu Talib, Hamza, 'Abbas and Abu Lahab. When the food was brought, the Prophet lifted a piece of meat and tore it into small morsels with his own teeth and scattered the pieces on the tray and said, 'Start eating in the name of Allah,' All people present there had the food to their fill although the milk and the food were just sufficient for one man. Then he intended to speak to them, but Abu Lahab interfered and said, `Verily, your comrade has entranced you.' Having heard this, all of them dispersed and the Messenger did not get a chance to speak to them.
On the next day, the Messenger, of the Lord again said to me: 'O 'Ali? Make arrangements again for a feast as you had done yesterday, and invite the sons of 'Abdul Muttalib'. I arranged for the feast and gathered the guests as I was asked to do by the Prophet. Once they had finished the food, the Messenger addressed them thus: 'O sons of 'AbdulMuttalib, I have brought for you the best blessings of this world and of the next, and I am appointed by the Lord to call you unto Him. Therefore, who amongst you will help me in this cause in order that he should be my brother, my successor and my caliph?' Nobody responded. But I, although the youngest of the congregation, said, 'O Messenger of Allah, I am here to be your helper in this task.' The Prophet then patted my neck very kindly and said, 'O my people! This 'Ali is my brother, my successor and my caliph amongst you. Listen to him and obey him.' Having heard it from the Prophet, they all burst into laughter and said to Abu Talib, 'Hearken! You are ordered to obey and follow your own son! "'