Thumama bin Uthal (r.a.)
It was after the Migration. The struggle between belief and unbelief was going on severely. The sun of Islam was enlightening more and more people as days went by. The Prophet (pbuh) sent envoys to the tribes living around Madinah and invited them to Islam. He accepted the envoys sent by them and entertained them.
Once, Thumama bin Uthal came to visit the Messenger of Allah. Thumama was the chief of the tribe of Yamama living near the Persian Gulf. The purpose of Thumama in his visit was to kill the Messenger of Allah.
When he was in the presence of the Messenger of Allah, he tried to attack the Messenger of Allah. However, the Companions of the Prophet prevented Thumama. During the tumult, Thumama managed to run away. The Messenger of Allah gave a decree that Thumama be killed where he was found. He also prayed Allah so that he would be caught.
A long time passed after that incident. Once, Thumama set off to go to Makkah for umrah, which was a religious practice during the Era of Ignorance. He was going to pass near Madinah. When he approached Madinah, he was caught by the Islamic cavalrymen who were patrolling. They did not know who Thumama, about whom there was a decree to be killed, was; so, they took him to the presence of the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah recognized Thumama as soon as he saw him. He turned to the Companions around him and asked them,
"Do you know who he is? He is Thumama bin Uthal. Treat him as a good captive. Do not hurt him.”
By treating Thumama, who had wanted to kill him, well, the Messenger of Allah showed his vast compassion and mercy. Then, he went home and said to his family,
"Get what food you can and send it to Thumama ibn Uthal." When the Messenger of Allah passed by him, he asked,
“O Thumama! What do you have to say for yourself?” he said,
“O Muhammad! I have goodness in my heart. If you kill me, you will kill a bloody-minded person. If you do me a favor, you will do a favor to a person who appreciates a favor. If you want money in compensation, I shall give you whatever amount you ask.”
The Messenger of Allah visited Thumama three days on end and asked the same question. He received the same answer. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah showed his mercy and did something that Thumama could not dream of. He forgave Thumama and said, "Set him free."
Upon this order, the Companions set him free. All of the hatred and enmity in the heart of Thumama were replaced by gleams of love and belief when he saw that he was forgiven though he was expecting to be killed. He ran to the palm grove near the mosque. He washed himself and his clothes there. After being cleaned from material dirt, he went into the presence of the Messenger of Allah, ready for spiritual cleaning. He uttered kalima ash-shahadah and spoke as follows in tears:
"By Allah, there was never on this earth a face more detestable than yours. Now, yours is the dearest face of all to me. I swear that there was never on this earth a religion more detestable than yours. Now, yours is the dearest religion of all to me. There was never on this earth a land more detestable than yours. Now, yours is the dearest land of all to me."
Thus, a ferocious polytheist of yesterday became a mujahid of Islam today thanks to the vast mercy of the Messenger of Allah. Thumama asked permission from the Messenger of Allah to perform umrah in the Islamic way. When he gave permission, he set off for Makkah. When he was about to enter Makkah, he began shouting "Labbayk Allakumma labbayk. (Here I am at Your command O Lord, Here I am.)" Thus, he declared that he had become a Muslim. The polytheists got very angry. They grabbed him and wanted to kill him without thinking that he was the leader of Yamama. However, some polytheists intervened and said, “We need Yamama for food. Set him free.” They set Thumama free. However, Thumama was not afraid of them. He said,
“I have decided to follow the best religion. I follow the religion of Muhammad. I became a Muslim. I swear by Allah that I will not give you any grains of wheat without the permission of Muhammad (pbuh)."
When Thumama returned to his land, he did what he had said. His people embraced Islam thanks to him. He prevented the polytheists from taking any cereals from Yamama. The polytheists started to undergo a great difficulty. They wrote a letter to the Messenger of Allah and told him that they were in trouble and hungry. They even sent Abu Sufyan to him. Abu Sufyan went into the presence of the Messenger of Allah and said, "Did you not say that you were sent as mercy for all realms?" He asked the Prophet to help lift the boycott. The polytheists, who once applied a boycott of food and drinks against the Messenger of Allah and Muslims because they opposed their wrong religion, now asked mercy from him.
The Messenger of Allah showed that he was really mercy for all realms. He did not treat them in retaliation. He wrote a letter to Thumama:
"Lift the boycott of food and drinks. Do not prevent the polytheists from taking supplies Makkah."
Upon this order of the Messenger of Allah, Thumama lifted the boycott.
One of the greatest services of Thumama was his struggle against Musaylima, who was an impostor that emerged in Yamama, after the death of the Messenger of Allah. He preached to his people and prevented them from going astray by following Musaylima. According to some narrations, Thumama was martyred by polytheists.
May Allah be pleased with him!
Musnad, 2: 452; Tabaqat, 5: 550; Usdu'l-Ghaba, 1: 246-248; Isaba, 1: 203; Istiab, 203-207.
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