THE PROPHET'S JOURNEY TO TA'IF
For nine years, since his selection by Allaah for His mission the Prophet delivered the message of Allaah in Mecca and made all-out efforts to guide and reform his community. Excepting a few persons who had either embraced Islam or who helped him, though not accepting his creed, all the rest in Mecca left no stone unturned in persecuting and deriving him and his followers. His uncle Abu Talib was one of those good-hearted people who helped him in spite of their not entering into the fold of Islam.
The following year, on the death of Abu Talib, the Qureysh got a free hand and therefore accelerated their sinister pursuits without check and hindrance. At Ta'if, the second biggest town of Hijaz, there lived Banu Thaqif - a clan strong in number. The Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) left for Ta'if with the hope of winning them over to Islam, thus providing quarters for Muslims from the persecution of the Qureysh, and also establishing a base for the future propagation of Islam. On reaching Ta'if he visited the three chieftains of the clan separately, and placed before each of them the message of Allaah, and called upon him to stand by his (Prophet's) side. Instead of accepting his message they refused even to listen to him, and notwithstanding the proverbial Arab hospitality each of them treated him most contemptuously and rudely. They plainly told him that they did not like his stay in their town. The Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) had expected a civil, even a cordial treatment and due courtesy in speech from them as they were the heads of the clan. But one of them sneered:
"Hey, Allaah had made you a prophet!"
The other exclaimed with derision:
"Could Allaah not lay His hand on anyone else, beside you, to make him His Prophet?"
The third one gibed at him:
"I don't 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 imposter?"
The Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam), who was a rock of steadfastness and perseverance, did not lose heart over this check from the chieftains, and tried to approach the common people; but nobody would listen to him. Instead, they asked him to clear off from their town and go wherever else he liked. When he realised that further efforts were in vain, he decided to leave the town. But they would not let him depart in peace, and set the street urchins after him to hiss, to hoot, to jeer at, and to stone him. He was so much pelted with stones that his whole body was covered with blood and his shoes were clogged to his feet. He left the town in this woeful plight. When he was far out of the town, and safe from the rabble, he prayed to Allaah thus:
"O' my Allaah, To Thee I complain of the feebleness of my strength, of my lack of resourcefulness, and my insignificance in the eyes of people. O Most Merciful of all capable of showing mercy! Thou art the Lord of the weak and Thou art my own Lord. To whom art Thou to entrust me, to an unsympathetic foe who would sullenly frown at me, or to an alien to whom Thou hast given control over my affair? Not in the least do I care for anything except that I may have Thy protection for myself. In the light of Thy face do I seek shelter - the light of which illumines the Heaven and dispels all sorts of darkness, and which controls all affairs in this world as well as in the hereafter. May it never be that I should incur Thy wrath, or that Thou should be displeased with me. I must remove the cause of Thy displeasure till Thou art pleased. There is no strength nor power but through Thee."
The Heavens were moved by the prayer and Jibrail appeared before the Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam) greeting him with Assalaam u alaikum and said:
"Allaah knows all that has passed between you and these people. He has deputed an angel in charge of the mountains to be at your command."
Saying this Jibrail ushered the angel, greeted the Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam) and said:
"O' Prophet of Allaah! I am at your service. If you wish, I can cause the mountains overlooking this town of both sides to collide with each other, so that all the people therein would be crushed to death, or you may suggest any other punishment for them."
The Merciful and Noble Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam) said:
"Even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from Allaah that there will be persons from among their progeny who would worship Allaah and serve His cause."
Behold the conduct of our noble Prophet whom we profess to follow! We get so much irritated over a little trouble or a mere abuse from somebody that we keep torturing and taking our revenge throughout our lives in every possible manner. Does it become people who claim to follow the magnanimous Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam)? Look, even after so much suffering at the hands of the Ta'if mob, he neither curses them nor does he work for any revenge even when he has the full opportunity to do so.