Seerah - Life of the Prophet Muhammad (saw)

14 - Inviting the People of Ta'if to Islam

In line with developments in Makka, the Quraysh’s harsh treatment of Prophet Muhammad continued to increase. There was virtually nothing left for the Quraysh to do in terms of the communication of Islam. In the period spanning the tenth year of Prophethood until the Emigration, the Prophet turned his focus outside Makka in communicating the message of Islam to the people. Taking Zayd ibn Harith with him, the Prophet went to Ta’if where the Thaqif tribe lived. He invited the three sons of the leading tribal figure ‘Amr ibn Umayr, ‘Abd Yalil, Mas’ud and Habib, to Islam, as well as other important members of the tribe. Just as none of the Thaqif, who were related to and had commercial ties with the Quraysh, accepted the Prophet’s invitation, they also did not respect his request to at least keep secret his invitation. On top of that, they incited the city’s mobs to stone both him and Zayd ibn Harith. Trying to protect the Prophet whose feet were left bleeding due to the stones being hurled at them, Zayd’s head was also injured. The physical and mental torment that the people of Ta’if inflicted continued until the Prophet entered the orchard of the Qurayshi 'Utba ibn Rabi'a and his brother Shayba. During these difficult times, the Prophet sought refuge in his Lord, expressed his full submission to Him, and asked for His approval and help. In the meantime, Addas, a slave belonging to the orchard’s owners brought the Prophet a plate of grapes. The Prophet’s saying, “In the Name of God” before eating the grapes caught Addas’ attention and the two began conversing. When Addas said that he was a Christian from Nineveh, the Prophet responding telling him that Nineveh was the home of Prophet Jonah. Addas asked him how he knew this. Prophet Muhammad replied: “He is my brother and a Messenger of God. I too am a Messenger of God.” Profoundly affected by the Prophet’s words, Addas accepted Islam then and there.

After resting for a while, Prophet Muhammad left Ta’if in order to return to Makka. The Prophet needed to find a member of the Quraysh who would take him under their protection, in order for him to enter the city. The many people that he appealed to while waiting at Mount Hira refused his request. Eventually, he was able to enter Makka under the protection of Mut'im ibn 'Adi, Chief of the Banu Nawfal sub-clan of the Quraysh tribe. As is related in various Prophetic Traditions, when ‘A’isha asked Prophet Muhammad whether he had experienced a day more difficult than that of the Battle of Uhud, he reminded her of his return from Ta’if and said: “When I recovered, I raised my head and saw a cloud which had cast its shadow on me, with Gabriel in it. Gabriel told me that so long as I wished, the angel who could destroy the people of Makka was given to my command. This angel approached me. But I replied, ‘I rather wish that God will raise from among their descendants people who will worship the One God, and who will not ascribe partners to Him (in worship).’”



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