Journey to Taif

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Despite the extraordinary efforts of the Messenger of Allah and his Companions, nothing seemed to be progressing in Mecca and the Meccans had closed their doors to new openings. Tabligh, on the other hand was a duty to communicate, one that had to be carried out continuously to people elsewhere in the world who needed Islam as well.

The Meccans were filled with hatred against Islam, one that grew day by day, and they gave the Muslims no space to take any further steps. One could hear the grating of the teeth of those who wanted to get rid of the physical presence of the Messenger of Allah now that the protection of Abu Talib was no longer present. Allah had made a promise that one day this cause would cover the whole of the earth, and there was no doubt about that. But this did not seem very probable in the Mecca of that day. There was need for a new opening and to make that opening possible, on a day in the month of Shawwal, our noble Prophet took his Companion Zayd ibn Haritha and made his way for Taif.

Taif was a place well-known for its orchards, gardens and greenery. It was about ninety kilometers to Mecca and here lived some relatives of the Messenger of Allah from his mother’s side. At the same time this was a place close to the region where Halima as-Sadia, our noble Prophet’s nursing mother, was from and the region where Allah’s Messenger had spent his first formative years.

The Messenger first went to the people of Saqif on the way to Taif; a road he had set off on to meet new faces who would accept the messages sent by Allah, to meet warm faces that he could not find in Mecca so that he may be able to walk towards the future with sturdier steps, with believers who wanted to take Allah’s cause further. The people of Saqif were known to be the leading tribe of Taif and they were well-respected.

The first people they met were the three sons of Amr ibn Umayr; Abdiyalayl, Mas’ud and Habib. One of them was married to a woman from the Quraysh. The Messenger of Allah approached them, saluted them and then started to speak with all his sincerity. He was inviting them to know Allah as One and to further his cause; he was asking them to help him in his mission of Prophethood. But Taif seemed just as difficult as Mecca. The first of the three brothers whom the Messenger of Allah had met with affection took word and said rather rudely: “If Allah has sent you as Prophet, I will take the veil of the Ka’ba and throw it on the floor.”

The most beloved servant of Allah had come to him to save his world and afterlife but he was intent on making fun of him. A man of great bashfulness, the Messenger of Allah preferred to stay silent once again in the face of such arrogance and insolence. But such ill-mannered behavior was not going to stop there. The other brother came to the fore and remarked: “Could Allah not find another man to send as Prophet?”

It looked like things were going to get more complicated. The third brother, who also wanted his share in arrogance, said: “I swear I will not speak to you any more! I am sure you will make me regret what I said to you! But if you are lying in the face of Allah, then it is not proper for me to speak to you anyway.”

These degenerate people were mocking the Pride of Humanity, peace and blessings be upon him, and having a good time.

The Messenger of Allah was extremely upset. He had come all that way hoping that they may understand something, for he just wanted to set open the doors of Paradise for them. But now he didn’t even feel the urge to answer their questions. Had he really sought to “respond” to their mockery, a Divine response would have been given on his behalf and they would have been finished, but he was the Prophet of mercy and his bosom was big enough to embrace all, even his enemies. He was hoping that they too may one day come and join the true cause. Even if not them, he believed there would be there someone from their progeny who would join to cause, and so today, one needed to be patient for that bright future.

The Messenger of Allah had only one thing to ask: “It may be that you have made your choice; but let what has passed between us stay between us.”

He did not want this news to reach Mecca, for it would encourage the Meccans and this would set into motion even those who had not acted against them, making Mecca a place even harder to live for Muslims.

His sadness was reflected in his walk. On the face of it, it seemed that he was returning empty handed, however, he knew that one was not meant to do one’s duty with the expectation of seeing an immediate result. He had done what it was upon him to do, he had communicated his duty of tabligh, and it was up to Allah to create the result. Our noble Prophet was the most careful in not meddling with actions that was up to Allah to carry to fullness, just as he was foremost in executing his duty without flaw.

However, these people who were not aware that they had turned away good fortune that had come to their very door would not be content with what they had already done and getting some street children to their dirty work, they would shower this auspicious guest with stones.

The Messenger of Allah stayed in Taif for ten days. During this period he wanted to meet with many people but most of them did not have the heart that could accept him, and they preferred to stay away from him and his ideas due to their fears, and they quite unashamedly said: “O Muhammad! Leave our land, you may go wherever you like!”

 Zayd had made himself a shield and was trying to protect the Messenger of Allah from the stones that were raining down on him. The hovering stones did not seem to stop. This was a behavior that could cause Divine stones to be showered on the offenders themselves and extinguish them for eternity. The Messenger and Zayd were pursued thus for about three kilometers. Blood was dripping from the feet of the Beloved of Allah, the noble Messenger. Zayd’s head and eyes had been wounded, and he was also covered in blood.

The Refuge in Taif and a Manifestation

They had at last gone far away from this troublesome place and they had taken some time to rest under a tree. First, the Messenger of Allah started to perform his Prayers. It was these Prayers which he called the “light of my eye,” and so he prayed two units under the tree. It was clear that in such situations when everyone had turned their backs on him, he had to turn towards the real holder of power with all sincerity. In order to be cleansed from worldly weaknesses and to clothe oneself in graceful aspects, one first had to be fitted with the right position. Maybe all this was a message to the Ummah to stop them from acting rashly; for he was a model to be followed in all respects, and when he would be faced with situations where he needed to be angry, he was to show his Ummah how one was to act in such situations.

When he completed his Prayer, he opened his hands high and wide, and started to supplicate his Lord. Zayd was watching him in awe. It was as if he was looking at a great statue made out of light. He listened closely. The Messenger of Allah was saying the following prayer: “My Lord! I offer to Your Knowledge the weaknesses I have, my inability to find solutions and the way people look down on me.

You are the most Merciful among the Merciful!

You are the Lord of the weak and the powerless!

You are my Lord!

Who do you leave me to?

To bloody and cruel enemies, or my brash and ruthless relatives to whom You please to submit my work?

If You are not angry with me, then I do not care for anything in the world; the Wellbeing that You bestow upon me is more important to me than anything else in the world.

I seek refuge in You that You may not treat me with Your wrath, that You may not manifest Yourself to me with your rage.

I seek refuge in You, You who arrange all worldly and otherworldly things, You with whom all darkness turns into light, I seek to enter Your face of light.

I will be at Your gate until I have earned your Contentment!

There is no support other than You, nor any other power one can count on!”

The Messenger of Allah had not finished his prayer when the Truthful Gabriel and another angel, the angel of mountains, descended to his side. It was clear that the supplications of the sad Messenger had shaken the High Heavens and Allah had sent down two of His angels for help. Gabriel was saying: “O Muhammad! Verily Allah the Almighty knows what your tribe said to you and what they did after turning their faces away from you, and here, in order that you may do as you please to those who did these against you, He sent you the angel whose orders the mountains obey!”

The angel keeper of the mountains saluted our noble Prophet and said: “If you should want it, O Muhammad, I will pull down these two mountains over the people of Taif!”

It was then that one would witness, once again, the true character of the Prophet of Mercy. Despite everything, his decision would set an example for his followers. That is why the Messenger of Allah said without a moment of hesitation: “No, never! I still hope that Allah the Almighty will create from their offspring servants who worship Him and who hold no false gods!”

One’s true nature could be observed on such crucial occasions; the response of the noble Messenger also showed what kind of a man he was.

Then, the angel of the mountains, who had been sent down to pull the mountains over the heads of the people of Taif, started to speak in awe: “You truly are merciful and gracious like your Lord has named you!”

They had at last gone far away from this troublesome place and they had taken some time to rest under a tree. Meanwhile, a distant relative of our Prophet who owned the gardens had sent them grapes with his slave named Addas, who accepted Islam after a short conversation. A group of jinns also accepted Islam after watching our noble Prophet pray and listening to the Qur’an he was reading.

 

Kesmez, Umit. “The Luminous Life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)” Tughra Books Press. December 2014.