The disbelievers wanted to kill the Prophet, but the Bani Hashim, the people of his clan, decided to protect him, as allowing this would be an insult to their honour. That is, all of them except Abu Lahab, the Prophet’s uncle! The Qurayshi leaders gathered again to devise a cunning plan.
Abu Jahal: So the Banu Hashim have decided to protect him and prevent us from getting rid of him. In that case, let’s take revenge against them, and hit them all hard with a boycott, Muslim or not.
Abu Lahab: Yes… let them die of starvation. No one will buy from them, nor sell to them, and no one should marry them. Each clan must break ties with them.
Abu Sufyan: Let’s draw up a pact to record this agreement for each of Mecca’s clans to sign. We’ll place it in the Ka’aba as a permanent reminder for those who sign it.
The blockade lasted for three years during which the Banu Hashim suffered terribly. Fathers were unable to obtain any food for their children and were forced to feed them with grass and leaves in order to avoid starvation. The Prophet and his companions began to tie stones to their stomachs to relieve the pain they experienced from severe hunger.