Tufayl bin Amr (r.a.)

The scorching desert sun continued burning the land and the people as usual. A small piece of shade, a handful of water and slight coolness gave great happiness to people.

The most terrible thing was that the Arab land and Arabs were burned by unbelief, polytheism and savagery. However, the people started to attain coolness, elixir of life and happiness. For, there was Hz. Muhammad (pbuh). Despite all kinds of trouble and tortures, he continued emitting his light.

One day, when the scorching sun was dominant and it was extremely hot, somebody came to Makkah. He was walking toward the Kaaba on his attractive horse with his smart clothes and chivalrous looks. He was the poet Tufayl bin Amr, one of the notables of the Daws tribe.

A group of people including Abu Lahab, Abu Sufyan and Abu Jahl surrounded him in excitement. Tufayl answered those who welcomed him and tried to understand why they were so excited.

When Allah protected His Messenger from the oppression of the polytheists, they started to prevent the people coming from other towns from meeting the Messenger of Allah. They wanted to isolate him and prevent him from talking to others. It was possible for Tufayl bin Amr to talk to him and to be influenced by him. Therefore, the notables of Quraysh surrounded him and tried to dissuade him from talking to the Messenger of Allah.

Unbelief was in fear; polytheism was wincing; injustice was shivering.  Finally, one of them started to speak: “O Tufayl! Welcome to our city! You know the man who emerged among us. Do not meet and speak to him. His words are like magic. They cause division between fathers and sons, between brothers and sisters and between husband and wife. If you do not want what happened to us happen to you and your tribe, do not speak to him and do not listen to him.”

Tufayl was a polytheist and he was there to visit the Kaaba and worship the idols. He was not expected to think differently from the other polytheists. He said,

“I swear that I will not listen to him and speak to him. My decision is definite. Should I meet him in the Kaaba, I will turn a deaf ear to him. I do not want to listen to him.”

Tufayl bin Amr left them and went to the Kaaba alone. He saw that the Messenger of Allah was performing a prayer there. He remembered the words he had just heard. The words of the polytheists rang in his ears. However, the Messenger of Allah was worshipping aloud and Tufayl heard him. What nice words he uttered! They did not sound like any Arabic poems he had heard. Were they really magic as the polytheists said? No, it was impossible. He heard so many magic words. This did not resemble any of them. Tufayl started to think: “I am one of the notables of the Daws tribe. I am a poet. I can distinguish between what is good and bad. Are there any signs of evil and bad things in his words? Why should I not listen to him from a closer place? If his words are nice, I will accept them. If they are bad, I will refuse them.”

When the Messenger of Allah finished his prayer, he headed toward his house. The poet of Daws could not help following him. When the Messenger of Allah arrived his house, Tufayl entered his house and said,

“O Muhammad! By Allah, they told me terrible things about you. I even plugged my ears so as not hear your words. However, I liked the words that I heard from you. Tell me about your religion.”

The Messenger of Allah read some verses from the Quran to Tufayl and told him about Islam. Tufayl accepted Islam at once. Then, he said to the Messenger of Allah,

“O Messenger of Allah! My people obey me so I want to return to my tribe and invite them to Islam.Pray to Allah to grant me a sign which will increase my influence on them.”

Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah said, “O Lord! Give him light.”

After leaving the Messenger of Allah, Tufayl set off in order to invite his tribe to Islam. He wanted to transmit the elixir of life he had to others. When he reached the place called "Saniyya", where his tribe could see him, a light radiated appeared on his forehead. He got very excited and prayed Allah Almighty as follows:

"O Lord! Put this light somewhere else, not on my forehead. I fear that my people will think that this is a form of illness because I left their religion.”

'The light then moved to the top of Tufayl’swhip. Therefore, he was given the nickname “Dhunnur [Owner of Light]”.

Tufayl bin Amr summoned his people and told them about Islam. However, they did not accept the invitation of Tufayl. Tufayl was excited and angry. He expected the people to accept Islam at once. He returned to Makkah, to the Messenger of Allah, hopelessly and sadly. He said,

“O Messenger of Allah! The people of Daws did not accept my call. Pray against them.”

The Messenger of Allah did not pray against those who could accept the true path. He prayed as follows: “O Lord! Guide the tribe of Daws.” Then, he turned to Tufayl and said,

“Now return to your tribe and call them to Islam. Do not treat them harshly. Use soft words to tell them about Islam.”

Obeying the order of the Messenger of Allah, Tufayl bin Amr stayed in the land of Daws for a long time and called people to Islam. During this period, the Messenger of Allah migrated to Madinah and the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq were over. When he told people about Islam in the way that the Messenger of Allah told him, his call was accepted by some people and the number of people from his tribe that accepted Islam reached to 70-80. 

As years passed, Tufayl’s desire to see the Messenger of Allah increased. He could not put up with it any longer and went to Madinah with the Muslims from his tribe to see the Messenger of Allah. He rejoined the Messenger of Allah. He took part with his tribe in the Battle of Khaybar.[1] Afterwards, he did not leave the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) until he died.[2]

He fought heroically in the wars against apostates during the caliphate of Hz. Abu Bakr. In his dream, he saw that he himself and his son Umar would be martyred in the Battle of Yamama. After a while, he was martyred in Yamama and his son Umar was martyred at the Battle of Yarmuk.

May Allah be pleased with him!


[1] Tabaqat, 4: 237.
[2] Isaba, 2: 225.

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