(Revile not those unto whom they pray beside Allah lest they wrongfully revile Allah through ignorance…) [5:108].
Said ibn ‘Abbas, according to the report of al-Walibi: “They [the idolaters] said: ‘O Muhammad, either you stop reviling our idols or we will revile your Lord’. And so Allah, exalted is He, warned against reviling their idols lest they wrongfully revile Allah through ignorance”.
Qatadah said: “The Muslims used to revile the idols of the unbelievers and the latter used to react against them. Allah, exalted is He, therefore, warned the Muslims against being the cause which drives ignorant unbelievers, who have no knowledge of Allah, to revile Allah as a result of reviling their idols”.
Said al-Suddi: “When Abu Talib was dying, [some chiefs of] the Quraysh said: ‘let us go to this man and ask him to forbid his nephew from reviling our idols, for we feel shame to kill him after he passes away and drive the Arabs to say: ‘He used to defend him but once he passed away, they killed him’. And so Abu Sufyan, Abu Jahl, al-Nadr ibn al-Harith, Umayyah and Ubayy the sons of Khalaf, ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu‘ayt, ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, al-Aswad ibn al-Bukhturi went to see Abu Talib. They said to him: ‘You are our master and chief, but Muhammad has harmed us and harmed our idols. We would like you to call him and warn him against speaking ill of our idols. And from our part, we will leave him alone to his Allah’. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, went when he was summoned. Abu Talib said to him: ‘These are your people and cousins!’ The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, asked them: ‘What do you want?’ They said: ‘We want you to leave us alone with our idols and we will leave you alone with your Allah’. Abu Talib said: ‘Your people are being fair with you, so give your consent’. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘If I agree to this would you agree to give me one sentence, if you were to utter it, you would rule over the Arabs and non-Arabs alike?’ Abu Jahl said: ‘Yes, by your father, we will give it to you and also give you ten other things like it; but what is it? He said: ‘Say: there is no god but Allah!’ They refused and expressed their aversion at this proposal, upon which Abu Talib said; ‘Son of my brother, ask for something else, for your people are wary of this’. He said: ‘O uncle, I am not one who would ask for other than that. If they were to place the sun in my hand, I would not ask for anything other than that’. The chiefs of Quraysh said: ‘You would better stop reviling our idols or we will revile you and revile He Who commands you’. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”.
Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi , trans. Mokrane Guezzou