The Third Phase: Calling unto Islam beyond Makkah
In Shawwal [Tareekh-e-Islam 1/122] (in the last of May or in the beginning of June 619 A.D.), ten years after receiving his mission from his Lord, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) set out towards At-Taif, about 60 kilometres from Makkah, in the company of his freed slave Zaid bin Haritha inviting people to Islam. But contrary to his expectations, the general atmosphere was terribly hostile. He approached the family of Umair, who were reckoned amongst the nobility of the town. But, to his disappointment, all of them turned deaf ear to his message and used abusive language as regards the noble cause he had been striving for. Three brothers from the chieftains of Thaqeef Abd Yaleel, Masud and Habeeb sons of Amr bin Umair Ath-Thaqafy met the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who invited them to embrace Islam and worship Allâh, but they impudently jeered at him and refused his invitation. "He is tearing the cloths of Al-Kabah; is it true that Allâh has sent you as a Messenger?" said one of them. "Has not Allâh found someone else to entrust him with His Message?" said the second. "I swear by Allâh that I will never have any contact with you. If you are really the Messenger of Allâh, then you are too serious to retort back; and if you are belying Allâh, then I feel it is imperative not to speak to." said the third. The Messenger of Allâh (Allah bless him and give him peace), finding that they were hopeless cases, stood up and left them saying: "Should you indulge in these practices of yours, never divulge them to me."
For ten days he stayed there delivering his message to several people, one after another, but all to no purpose. Stirred up to hasten the departure of the unwelcome visitor, the people hooted him through the alley-ways, pelted him with stones and obliged him to flee from the city pursued by a relentless rabble. Blood flowed down both his legs; and Zaid, endeavouring to shield him, was wounded in the head. The mob did not desist until they had chased him two or three miles across the sandy plains to the foot of the surrounding hills. There, wearied and exhausted, he took refuge in one of the numerous orchards, and rested against the wall of a vineyard. At a time when the whole world seemed to have turned against him, Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) turned to his Lord and betook himself to prayer and the following touching words are still preserved as those through which his oppressed soul gave vent to its distress. He was weary and wounded but confident of the help of his Lord:
"O Allâh! To You alone I make complaint of my helplessness, the paucity of my resources and my insignificance before mankind. You are the most Merciful of the mercifuls. You are the Lord of the helpless and the weak, O Lord of mine! Into whose hands would You abandon me: into the hands of an unsympathetic distant relative who would sullenly frown at me, or to the enemy who has been given control over my affairs? But if Your wrath does not fall on me, there is nothing for me to worry about."
"I seek protection in the light of Your Countenance, which illuminates the heavens and dispels darkness, and which controls all affairs in this world as well as in the Hereafter. May it never be that I should incur Your wrath, or that You should be wrathful to me. And there is no power nor resource, but Yours alone."
Seeing him in this helpless situation, Rabias two sons, wealthy Makkans, were moved on grounds of kinship and compassion, and sent to him one of their Christian servants with a tray of grapes. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) accepted the fruit with pious invocation: "In the Name of the Allâh." The Christian servant Addas was greatly impressed by these words and said: "These are words which people in this land do not generally use." The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) inquired of him whence he came and what religion he professed. Addas replied: "I am a Christian by faith and come from Nineveh." The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) then said: "You belong to the city of the righteous Jonah, son of Matta." Addas asked him anxiously if he knew anything about Jonah. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) significantly remarked: "He is my brother. He was a Prophet and so am I." Thereupon Addas paid homage to Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) and kissed his hands. His masters admonished him at this act but he replied: "None on the earth is better than he is. He has revealed to me a truth which only a Prophet can do." They again reprimanded him and said: "We forewarn you against the consequences of abandoning the faith of your forefathers. The religion which you profess is far better than the one you feel inclined to."
Heart-broken and depressed, Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) set out on the way back to Makkah. When he reached Qarn Al-Manazil, Allâh, the Almighty sent him Gabriel together with the angel of mountains. The latter asked the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) for permission to bury Makkah between AlAkhshabain Abu Qubais and Quayqaan mountains. Full narration of this event was given by Aishah [R] (the Prophets spouse). She said: "I asked the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) if he had ever experienced a worse day than Uhud. He answered that he had suffered a lot from those people (the idolaters) but the most painful was on the day of Aqabah. I went seeking support from Ibn Abd Yalil bin Abd Kalal, but he spurned me. I set out wearied and grieved heedless of anything around me until I suddenly realized I was in Qarn Ath-Thaalib, called Qarn Al-Manazil. There, I looked up and saw a cloud casting its shade on me, and Gabriel addressing me: Allâh has heard your peoples words and sent you the angel of mountains to your aid. The latter called and gave me his greetings and asked for my permission to bury Makkah between Al-Akhshabain, the two mountains flanking Makkah. I said in reply that I would rather have someone from their loins who will worship Allâh, the AllMighty with no associate." A concise meaningful answer fully indicative of the Prophets matchless character and the fathomless magnanimous manners. [Bukhari 1/458; Muslim 2/109]
The Messenger of Allâh (Allah bless him and give him peace) then came back to wakefulness and his heart was set at rest in the light of that invisible Divinely provided aid. He proceeded to Wadi Nakhlah where he stayed for a few days.
During his stay there, Allâh sent him a company of jinns who listened to him reciting the Noble Qurân:
"And (remember) when We sent towards you (Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace)) Nafran (three to ten persons) of the jinns, (quietly) listening to the Qurân, when they stood in the presence thereof, they said: Listen in silence! And when it was finished, they returned to their people, as warners. They said: O our people! Verily! We have heard a Book (this Qurân) sent down after Moses, confirming what came before it, it guides to the Truth and to a Straight Path (i.e. Islam). O our people! Respond (with obedience) to Allâhs Caller (i.e. Allâhs Messenger Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace)), and believe in him (i.e. believe in that which Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) has brought from Allâh and follow him). He (Allâh) will forgive you of your sins, and will save you from a painful torment (i.e. Hell-fire)." [Al-Qur'an 46:29-31]
The same incident is referred to in Sûrah Al-Jinn:
"Say (O Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace)): "It has been revealed to me that a group (from three to ten in number) of jinns listened (to this Qurân). They said: Verily! We have heard a wonderful Recital (this Qurân)! It guides to the Right Path, and we have believed therein, and we shall never join (in worship) anything with our Lord (Allâh)." [Al-Qur'an 72:1,2] Till the end of the 15th verse.
From the context of these verses and their relevant interpretation, we can safely establish it that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was not aware of the presence of that group of jinns. It was only when Allâh revealed those verses that he came to know of it. The verses also confirm that it was the first time they came. However, the context of the different versions suggests that the jinns repeated their visits later on. The presence of that company of jinns comes in the context of the Divine support given to His Messenger, and constitutes a propitious sign of ultimate victory and success for the Call of Islam. It provides an unshakable proof that no power however mighty could alter what is wrought by Allâh:
"And whosoever does not respond to Allâhs Caller, he cannot escape on earth, and there will be no Auliyâ (protectors) from him besides Allâh (from Allâhs punishment). Those are in manifest error." [Al-Qur'an 46:32]
"And we think that we cannot escape (from the punishment of) Allâ h in the earth, nor can we escape (from the punishment) by flight." [Al-Qur'an 72:12]
Given this support and auspicious start, depression, dismay and sadness that used to beset him since he was driven out of At-Taif, he turned his face towards Makkah with fresh determination to resume his earlier plan to expose people to Islam and communicate his Message in a great spirit of zeal and matchless enthusiasm.
Zaid bin Harithah, his companion, addressing the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "How dare you step into Makkah after they (Quraish) have expatriated you?" The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) answered: "Hearken Zaid, Allâh will surely provide relief and He will verily support His religion and Prophet."
When he was a short distance from Makkah, he retired to Hira Cave. Whence he despatched a man from Khuzaah tribe to Al-Akhnas bin Shuraiq seeking his protection. The latter answered that he was Quraishs ally and in no position to offer protection. He despatched the messenger to Suhail bin Amr, but to no avail, either. Al-Mutim bin Adi, a notable in Makkah, however, volunteered to respond to the Prophets appeal for shelter. He asked his people to prepare themselves fully armed and then asked Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) to enter into the town and directly into the Holy Sanctuary. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) observed a two-Raka prayer and left for his house guarded by the heavily-armed vigilant Adis.
It has been reported that later Abu Jahl, the archenemy of Islam, asked Mutim if his behaviour suggested protection or conversion, the latter replied it was merely protection. Abu Jahl was relieved and said that he would give Muhammad protection for his sake.
The Messenger of Allâh (Allah bless him and give him peace) never forgot Mutims favour. At the conclusion of the battle of Badr, he declared publicly that if Mutim had been still alive and asked for the release of the Quraishite captives, he would not deny him his request. [Ibn Hisham 1/419-422; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/46; Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.14; Rahmat-al-lil'alameen 1/71-74; Tareekh-e-Islam 1/123]
In Dhul Qa‘dah, the tenth year of Prophethood, i.e. July 619, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), returned to Makkah to resume his activities. The time for pilgrimage to Makkah was approaching so he hastened to introduce people both tribes and individuals to Islam and call upon them to embrace it, just as it was his practice since the fourth year of his Prophethood.
On the authority of Az-Zuhri, of the tribes that Islam was introduced to, we could speak of Banu ‘Amir bin Sa‘sa‘ah, Muharib bin Khasfa, Fazarah, Ghassan, Murrah, Haneefah, Saleem, ‘Abs, Banu Nasr, Banu Al-Buka’, Kindah, Kalb, Al-Harith bin Ka‘b, Udhrah and people of Hadrmout. Islam was not introduced to them in one single year but rather repeatedly from the fourth year till the last pre-migration season of pilgrimage. They however, remained obdurate and none of them responded positively. [At-Tirmidhi; Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.149; Tareekh-e-Islam 1/125]
The following is a resume of aspects relating to the Prophet’s appeals as regards the new faith he was preaching:
- He visited a sept of Banu Kalb known as Banu ‘Abdullah.
He called them to Allâh’s Message and entreated them to accept it for the
sake of Allâh Who had chosen a beautiful name for their father, but without
- He called on Bani Haneefah in their habitation, but
received very repugnant treatment.
- He addressed Bani ‘Amir bin Sa‘sa‘ah in their encampment, calling them to abandon idolatry and join him. One of them called Buhairah bin Firras, answered him back: "Should we give you allegiance and Allâh give you power over your opponents, will you give us right to inheritance and succeed you in power?" The Prophet replied: "The whole affair lies in Allâh’s Hands. He gives the power to whomever He desires." The man commented: "Do you expect us to incur the wrath and vengeance of the Arabs without the least hope of leadership? We can in fact readily dispense with your offers."
When Banu ‘Amir returned to their habitations, they narrated the story to an elderly man who had lingered behind because he was too old. They told him, "A young man of Quraish of Bani ‘Abdul Muttalib, claiming that he is a Prophet, contacted us, asked for support and invited us to embrace his religion." The old sheikh was struck by the news, and wondered if there was no way of making amends for the loss of that opportunity and swore, "He is really Ishmaelite (he descends from Ishmael). He is the Truth (he is a real Prophet). How did it happen that you misjudged his words?"
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was not dismayed at all. He persisted in his mission for the fulfillment of which he had been commissioned to strive despite all odds. He did not confine his efforts to the tribes but also conducted contacts with individuals from some of whom he was able to receive a favourable response. Moreover, later in the same season, some of them did believe in his Prophethood and entered the fold of Islam. The following list included some of those early converts:
- Swaid bin Samit . He was an intelligent discreet poet from Yathrib (Madinah). During his stay in Makkah for pilgrimage (or lesser pilgrimage), he encountered the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) who invited him to embrace Islam. At this invitation, Swaid imparted to the Prophet some sound words from Luqman’s wisdom. The Prophet approved of that wisdom but told the man that he had something far better. He recited some verses from the Qur’ân, the man listened meditatively and the words appealed to his originally pure nature and accepted Islam as his faith at once. He was killed in the battle of Bu‘ath. That was in the eleventh year of the Prophethood. [Ibn Hisham 1/425; Rahmat-al-lil'alameen 1/74]
- Eyas bin Mu‘adh. He was still a youth from Aws tribe. He came as a member of delegation seeking alliance with Quraish against another rival tribe dwelling in Madinah, Al-Khazraj. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) met them and advised them to follow a better course than that they had in mind. He introduced himself and Islam to them, apprised them of his mission and narrated some verses from the Noble Qur’ân. Eyas’s heart immediately absorbed the Divine Message and agreed with the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Abul Haisar Anas bin Rafi‘, a member of the delegation disapproved of the boy’s behaviour and silenced him by hurling some dust into his face. The people then left Madinah after having failed in establishing alliance with Quraish. Shortly after arrival in Madinah, the boy breathed his last acclaiming Allâh’s Name and celebrating His Glory.[Ibn Hisham 1/424; Tareekh-e-Islam 1/126]
- Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari. He used to live in the suburbs of Yathrib. News of the Islamization of Swaid bin Samit and Eyas bin Mu‘adh reached him and constituted a turning point in his life per se. He sent his brother to Makkah for more details about the Prophet’s intentions. The man came back and reported to Abu Dhar that the ‘said man’ enjoined good and forbade evil. Abu Dhar was not satisfied and decided that he himself should go out and probe the real situation. After some attempts to identify the person of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), he managed to meet him though not without some difficulties due to the antagonistic atmosphere within which the proponents of the new faith were trying to work their way. No sooner than Abu Dhar was exposed to the real nature of Islam, he embraced it. Despite the Prophet’s earnest plea not to divulge his new move, Abu Dhar went directly to the Holy Sanctuary where he publicly declared that he had testified to the Oneness of Allâh and Prophethood of Muhammad. The heathens all around hurried and began beating him. He almost died when Al-‘Abbas intervened warning against killing someone whose tribe was in full command of the strategic commercial caravan routes leading to Makkah. The event recurred in the following morning with the same man to come to the scene and rescue him.[Bukhari 1/449-544]
- Tufail bin ‘Amr Ad-Dausi. He was an honest poet and chief of Ad-Daus tribe inhabiting an area close to Yemen in South Arabia. He arrived in Makkah in the eleventh year of Prophethood. Great reception ceremonies were accorded to him on his advent. The Makkans soon started to inculcate in his ears all sorts of antipathy against the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). They even alleged that he had caused the most horrible societal schism, dividing all sorts of social life even the family ties were subject to his schemes and plans of dissension. They even warned him against speaking or even listening to him. The man overpowered by these pleas, complied by their requests. He even stuffed his ears with a piece of cotton in order not to hear any word of his. However, when this tribesman entered the mosque, he saw Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) observing his prayer and out of curiosity, he approached him for it was a Divine Will to hear the Prophet’s sound and appealing words. The temptation to hear more was irresistible so he followed the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) into his house, briefed him on his advent and all the story of the people of Quraish. The Messenger of Allâh (Allah bless him and give him peace) recited some verses of the Noble Qur’ân and the man managed to taste something exceptionally beautiful and discern the truth latent within. He embraced Islam and testified that there was no god but Allâh and that Muhammad was His Messenger. He then said that he was an influential man among his people and that he would call them to profess Islam, yet he wanted the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to equip him with a supportive sign that would ease his future task. It was in fact a Divinely bestowed light in his whip. He called his father and wife to embrace Islam and they did respond. His people lagged a little but he exhorted them fervently and was fully successful. He and seventy or eighty of his followers emigrated to Madinah after the Trench Battle. He was a perfect fighter in the cause of Allâh and was martyred in Al-Yamama events.[Ibn Hisham 1/385; Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.144]
- Dhumad Al-Azdi. He came from Azd Shanu’a in Yemen, specialist in incantation. He arrived in Makkah to hear the fools there say that Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) was out of his mind. He decided to practise his craft on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who on seeing him said: "Praise is to Allâh, we entertain His praise and seek His help. Whomsoever Allâh guides, none will lead astray, and whomsoever Allâh leads astray, none will guide. I testify there is no god but Allâh and Muhammad is His servant and Messenger." Dhumad heard the words and requested the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to echo them again, and he was granted his wish thrice. Here he said: "I have heard the soothsayers, sorcerers and poets, but never have I experienced the sweetness of your words." He then gave a pledge of a sincere convert. [Mishkat Al-Masabeeh 2/525]
It was during the pilgrimage season, in the eleventh year of Prophethood, that the Islamic Call found the righteous seeds through which it would grow up to constitute tall trees whose leaves would foster the new faith and shelter the new vulnerable converts from the blows of injustices and high-handness of Quraish. It was the Prophets wise practice to meet the delegates of the Arabian tribes by night so that the hostile Makkans would not debar him from achieving his objectives.[Tareekh-e-Islam p.129] In the company of his two truthful Companions Ali and Abu Bakr, he had an interesting talk regarding Islamization with Bani Dhuhal, but the latter suspended their conversion.[Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.150] In pursuit of the same objective, the Prophet and his Companions passed by Aqabat Mina where they heard people talking. They went at their heels until they encountered six men from Yathrib, all of whom from Khazraj tribe: Asad bin Zurarah, Awf bin Harith, Rafi bin Malik, Qutbah bin Amir, Uqbah bin Amir and Jabir bin Abdullah. The last two being from Aws and the former four from Khazraj.
The Madinese always heard the Jews say that a Prophet was about to rise, for the time for a new dispensation had arrived. Him they would follow and then smite their enemies as the children of Ad and Iram had been smitten. [Rahmat-al-lil'alameen 1/84; Ibn Hisham 1/429; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/50]
"Of what tribe are you?" asked the Prophet. "Of the tribe of Khazraj," they replied. "Are you the allies of the Jews?" The Prophet enquired. They said: "Yes." "Then why not sit down for a little and I will speak to you." The offer was readily accepted for the fame of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) had spread to Madinah and the strangers were curious to see more of the man who had created a stir in the whole area. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) presented to them an expose of Islam, explained its implications, and the responsibilities that fell upon the men who accepted it. When the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) concluded his talk, they exchanged among themselves ideas to the following effect: "Know surely, this is the Prophet with whom the Jews are ever threatening us; wherefore let us make haste and be the first to join him."
They, therefore, embraced Islam, and said to the Prophet, "We have left our community for no tribe is so divided by hatred and rancour as they are. Allâh may cement our ties through you. So let us go and invite them to this religion of yours; and if Allâh unites them in it, no man will be dearer than you."
The handful of Madinese converts remained steady to the cause and they preached the Islam with full zeal and devotion with the result that they succeeded in winning adherents for Islam from amongst their fellow citizens and hardly was there a house in Madinah not talking curiously and enthusiastically about the Messenger of Allâh (Allah bless him and give him peace). [Ibn Hisham 1/428-430]
In Shawwal of the same year, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) concluded a marriage contract with Aishah [R], the truth verifier, when she was six of age and consummated his marriage with her in Shawwal, the year 1 A.H. in Madinah when she was nine. [Bukhari 1/551; Talqeeh Fuhoom Ahl-al-Athar, p.10]