The Psychology of Waleed bin Mugheera (one of the worst)

Allah had blessed Walid Ibn Mughirah with immense wealth, properties, and children. According to Ibn `Abbas, his land, properties, and gardens extended from Makkah to Ta’if. According to Thauri, his annual income was estimated to be ten million Dinars, although some scholars suggest it may have been less. Nevertheless, it is agreed upon that his fields and gardens produced a substantial yield throughout the year, regardless of the season. This is mentioned in the Quran:

‘And I gave him abundant wealth and sons present [with him].’ (Quran 74:12-13)

Walid Ibn Mughirah was recognized as a prominent leader among the Arabs and was known by the title of “the Fragrance” of the Quraish among his fellow citizens. He would boastfully refer to himself as Wahid Ibn-ul-Walhid, meaning ‘Unique, the son of the Unique,’ indicating that he believed himself to be unmatched among his people, just as his father Mughirah was. [Qurtubi]”

His worldly prestige was well-known to his people. “They say: “Why was this Qur’an not sent down upon some great man from the two (main) cities?'” (Sura 43: 31) It is considered that Qurayesh thought one of such men to be Walid Ibn Mughirah. [1]


1: Waleed bin Mugheera embraced Islam but later reverted to idolatry


Allah SWT says:

33. Have you then seen him who turns his back?
34. And gives a little and (then) withholds.
35. Has he the knowledge of the unseen so that he can see?
36. Or, has he not been informed of what is in the scriptures of Musa?
37. And (of) Ibrahim who fulfilled (the commandments):
38. That no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another-
39. And that man shall have nothing but what he strives for-
40. And that his striving shall soon be seen-
41. Then shall he be rewarded for it with the fullest reward-

(53: An Najm)

This passage recounts the story of al-Waleed ibn Mugheera, who embraced Islam but later reverted to idolatry due to the influence of his pagan companions. Initially, they tempted him with promises of increasing his wealth. Concerned about facing punishment from Allah for his past sins, Waleed expressed his fear. In response, one of his friends proposed a deal: if Waleed gave him money, he would bear some of Waleed’s expected punishment on his behalf. Waleed agreed and paid the requested amount. However, his friend demanded more money, leading to a conflict between the two. Eventually, Waleed consented to pay the additional sum. A formal contract was documented, witnesses signed it, and as a result, Waleed remained a follower of paganism. However, Allah says: ‘No bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another’.


2: The Orchestrated Propaganda that Led Waleed ibn Mugheera astray


Allah SWT says:

18. Surely he reflected and guessed,
19. But may he be cursed how he plotted;
20. Again, may he be cursed how he plotted;
21. Then he looked,
22. Then he frowned and scowled,
23. Then he turned back and was big with pride,
24. Then he said: This is naught but enchantment, narrated (from others);
25. This is naught but the word of a mortal.
26. I will cast him into hell.

(74: Mudassir)


These verses were about the same man named Walid, who was an experienced and wise old man among the Arabs. He used to make fun of the Messenger of God.

The Messenger of God would sit in a certain place and recite the Qur’an for the people. One day, the Quraysh people surrounded Walid and asked him, “What is Muhammad saying? Is it poetry, fortune-telling, or a sermon?”

“I want to hear what he says first,” replied Walid. He approached the Messenger of God and asked, “Muhammad, recite some of your poetry for me!”

The Prophet calmly responded, “This is not poetry, but it is the speech of God. It is what He has chosen for His angels, prophets, and messengers.”

Walid demanded, “Recite some of it for me.”

The Prophet started reciting a chapter called Surah Fussilat. When he reached the verse that says, “But if they turn away, say: I warn you of a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt that struck ‘Ad and Thamud,” Walid began to tremble. Every hair on his head and face stood on end. Instead of going back to the Quraysh, he went straight home.

The Quraysh went to Abu Jahl and said, “Abu al-Hakam, it seems that Walid has converted to Muhammad’s religion. He didn’t come back to us.”

The next day, Abu Jahl visited Walid and complained, “Uncle, you embarrassed us by converting to Muhammad’s religion. You have given our enemies a reason to criticize us.”

“I haven’t converted to his religion,” explained Walid. “But I heard a very moving speech from him that sent shivers down my spine.”

“Was it a sermon?” asked Abu Jahl.

“No, because a sermon is a continuous speech, while his words were scattered and not all parts were comparable to each other,” replied Walid.

“Was it poetry, then?”

“No. I have heard all genres of Arabic poetry, but his speech is not poetry.”

“What is it, then?”

“Give me some time to think about it,” said Walid.

The next day, the Quraysh asked him, “What do you think of our inquiry?”

“Tell them that his speech is like magic because it captivates people’s hearts,” replied Walid.

Upon hearing this, God revealed a verse to His Messenger, referring to this story: “Leave Me with him whom I created alone.” The verse refers to Walid as “alone” because he had promised the Quraysh, “I alone will pay for the cover of the Ka’ba for one year, and all of you will pay for it the next year.” Walid was wealthy, owned many gardens, had ten sons in Mecca, and had ten servants, each entrusted with a thousand dinars to trade on his behalf.


Identifying the psychology of Waleed ibn Mugheera:


  1. Curiosity and Openness: Walid initially approaches the Messenger of God to satisfy his curiosity about Muhammad’s message. He is willing to listen and asks for a recitation, showing an openness to explore and learn.
  2. Skepticism and Critical Thinking: Walid evaluates the speech of the Prophet with a critical mindset. He carefully assesses whether it fits into existing categories such as poetry, fortune-telling, or sermons. His skepticism demonstrates a tendency to analyze and scrutinize the information presented to him.
  3. Emotional Sensitivity: When the Prophet recites a verse about a thunderbolt striking ‘Ad and Thamud, Walid experiences a powerful emotional response. He trembles, and every hair on his head and face stands on end. This suggests that he has a strong emotional sensitivity and is deeply affected by impactful and thought-provoking messages.
  4. Intellectual Struggle and Reflection: After hearing the Prophet’s words, Walid engages in introspection. He ponders the nature of the speech and takes time to carefully reflect upon it before reaching a conclusion. This demonstrates a willingness to engage in intellectual struggle and seek deeper understanding.
  5. Concern for Social (Disbeliever’s) Standing / love for the power: Despite being moved by the Prophet’s speech, Walid is conscious of the potential social repercussions of embracing Muhammad’s religion. He is concerned about how his actions might be perceived by others and worries about the criticism and embarrassment it may bring upon himself and his community. Probably he didn’t want to loose his power and position among the Qurayesh. Allah knows the best.

Identifying the psychology may help us develop startegy for Islamic dawah work among the people around us.

Guidance comes from Allah SWT only:


However, it is important to recognize that the guidance to the truth ultimately rests solely in the hands of Allah. No human being has any share in this process. This is explicitly mentioned by Allah to His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) in the Quran:

“Verily, you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.” [al-Qasas 28:56]

Allah has the power to guide whomever He wills and lead astray whomever He wills. He has informed us that He guides those who obey Him and sincerely turn to Him:

“While as for those who accept guidance, He increases their guidance and bestows on them their piety.” [Muhammad 47:17]

However, those who disobey Allah and turn away from Him, He will not guide them:

“Truly, Allah guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever.” [al-Zumar 39:3]

Therefore, it is crucial to recognize that true guidance is solely in the control of Allah, and it is His prerogative to guide those who sincerely seek Him and obey His commands.



[1] Guillaume, Alferd (1955). The Life Of Muhammad : A translation of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-636033-1

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