How was the Prophet welcomed in Taif, where he went to call people to Islam? What happened when he returned from Taif?

Details of the Question
How was the Prophet welcomed in Taif, where he went to call people to Islam? What happened when he returned from Taif?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The polytheists considered the deaths of Abu Talib and Hazrat Khadijah as an opportunity to do as they wished. It was as if they were waiting for this day; they tortured and abused our Holy Prophet (PBUH) at far greater levels than they had before. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was unable to deliver his message as a result of the immense cruelty, insults, and torture to which he was subjected.

The polytheists’ ruthless attitude was affecting our Holy Prophet (PBUH) greatly. For that reason, he decided to go to Taif. He intended to invite the city’s inhabitants to follow Islam and to seek patronage from the Thaqif Tribe that resided there.

Taif was one of Arabia’s important places. Its gardens were famous. Furthermore, Bani Sayed, the tribe to which our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) wet-nurse Halima belonged, lived close-by. Naturally, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was hopeful that the inhabitants of this region would feel partial to and convert to Islam. If his hopes were realized, he would have acquired a great force against the polytheists of the Quraysh.

The date was the 27th of Shawwal, 10th year of the prophethood.

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Hazrat Zaid bin Harith left Mecca in secrecy and later arrived in Taif. He invited its inhabitants to Islam. He explained that he had come to request their alliance against those who were opposed to him and attacking him within his tribe. However, he did not attain any positive results within the 10 days of his visit. In fact, they replied with insults and mocked him. Our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) also faced several accusations.

One of the chiefs went as far as to arrogantly say,

“Could Allah not have found someone else to send as a prophet instead of you?;”; this comment greatly saddened his holy heart.

Someone else said,

“By Allah, "I do not want to talk to you, for if you are in fact a Prophet, then to oppose you is to invite trouble, and if you only pretend to be one, why should I talk with an impostor?". 1

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) understood from their words and behavior that no good would come from the people of Thaqif and was saddened as a result.

He was worried that the polytheists would hear about this situation and become more audacious. For that reason, as he was leaving Taif, he said,

“At least keep this between us! No one else should hear what has happened.”

However, the inhabitants of Taif, who lived in a state of utter disbelief, did not comply with this request either. They were afraid that the youth would take interest in Islam thus they said to our Holy Prophet (PBUH):

Go wherever you want to go but just leave our country! You came to us when your tribe and countrymen rejected what you have said! By Allah, we are going to stay as far away from you as we can and will not accept your wishes.” 2

The people of Thaqif, who competed with the Meccan polytheists in their worship of Lat and Uzza did not stop there. They provoked their hooligans, street youth, and slaves against our Holy Prophet (PBUH), who was a guest in their region.

These raving and ill-mannered fools lined both sides of the street to stone the Master of the Universe (PBUH) and Hazrat Zaid. Our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) holy feet were completely drenched in blood; the wounds he had received from these strikes prevented him from walking. From time to time, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) would have no choice but to sit down. Nevertheless, these remorseless fools continued to stone his feet each time he lifted them from the ground, which he did with great difficulty. While our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was being tortured, their strikes, jeers, and cackles only further increased.

Hazrat Zaid thought nothing of his own life as he willingly used his body as a shield for our Holy Prophet (PBUH.) He was trying to hinder the rocks from reaching the Master of the Universe (PBUH.) However, his efforts were futile. He too was drenched in blood.

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was only able to escape this despicable attack by throwing himself in an orchard. The owners of this orchard were two brothers by the name of Utba and Shayba bin Rabia who were our Beloved Prophet’s (PBUH) distant relatives.

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) threw himself under a grapevine in a state of extreme exhaustion. After slightly recovering from the trauma of this shameful incident, he made this sorrowful appeal:

“My Lord! I only express and complain to you about the feebleness of my strength and about being held in contempt among the people.

“Oh Allah, Most Merciful of all those capable of showing mercy! You are the Lord of the weak. Only You are my Lord. You possess enough compassion not to allow me to fall into the hands of an ill-mannered and shameless enemy.

“My Lord! As long as I do not encounter Your wrath I will endure what I am given. However, Your mercy is expansive enough to not allow them to do this to me.

“I seek refuge in Your Divine light that illuminates darkness, puts the affairs of the afterlife in place; I seek refuge from acquiring Your wrath and not receiving Your consent!

“My Lord, I seek Your forgiveness until You are pleased!

“My Lord! Every power only exists through You!” 3

Addas, the Slave

The two brothers turned their feelings of sympathy into fruition after observing from afar the vile and atrocious attacks to which our Holy Prophet (PBUH) was subjected. They sent grapes to our Holy Prophet (PBUH) by means of their slave Addas.

Addas brought a plate with grapes to our Beloved Prophet (PBUH.) When the Master of the Universe (PBUH) said, “Bismillah” (in the name of Allah) and began eating, Addas paid close attention. He said to himself,

“By Allah, the people of this region do not know nor utter these words.”

The Master of the Universe (PBUH) asked,

“O Addas, which religion do you follow?”

Addas replied, “I am from Ninova and I am a Christian.”

“So you are a compatriot of the Prophet Yunus ibn Matta?”

“How do you know Yunus Ibn Matta?”

“He is my brother. He was a Prophet. I am also a Prophet.”

Upon this, Addas could not contain himself; he kissed our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) head, hands, and feet. One of the owners of the vineyard who was watching this scene from afar said to the other,

“Your man broke the slave’s creed right before your eyes.”

When Addas returned, they both suddenly scolded him.

“Shame on you, Addas! How could you kiss that man’s head, feet, and hands?”

Addas replied,

“There is no one on Earth who is more auspicious than him! He told me something that only a Prophet could know.” 4

Our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) Compassion and Mercy

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) left the orchard and sadly proceeded on his way since he had not reached any positive terms with the Thaqif tribe. There was a distance of a span of two palaces left until Mecca when he noticed a cloud shading him. After glancing carefully, he noticed that this cloud held Hazrat Jibril within.

Jibril shouted,

“Undoubtedly, Allah has heard what the tribe has said to you. He sent you the angel in charge of these mountains. You can command him to do what it is that you want for that tribe.”

At that moment, the angel of the mountains came forth and said he was willing to follow our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) commands and that he could have the Abu Qubais and Quayqan mountains come crashing upon the polytheists if our Holy Prophet (PBUH) wanted.

However, the wishes of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), who was a fountain of compassion and mercy, were different. He replied:

“No, I do not want that. I only hope from Allah that the descendants of these polytheists will worship Allah without associating any partners to Him.” 5

Yes, our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) purpose was not to eradicate others with his malediction nor was it to devastate them with troubles and calamities. On the contrary, his purpose was to have others attain faith, guidance and eternal happiness. His every step, action, and undertaking was in line with the realization of this goal. For that reason, our Holy Prophet (PBUH) spent his every minute performing various acts of worship and his every moment elapsed into time as a bright episode.

Footnotes:

1. Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 2, p. 61; Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 1, p. 211.
2. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 61; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 1, p. 211; Tabari, Tarikh, V. 2, p. 26.
3. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 61-62; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 1, p. 212.
4. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 63.
5. Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 2, p. 60-63; Bukhari, Sahih, V. 4, p. 83.

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