5 After the Boycott
THE DEATHS OF ABU TALIB AND KHADIJAH:
Soon after the end of the boycott, in the tenth year of prophethood, Abu Talib and Khadijah died. They had been good companions noted for their loyalty, support, and devotion. Abu Talib, however, never became a Muslim. At this time, troubles fell on the Messenger of Allah one after another.
At-Tufayl ibn Amr ad-Dawsi came to Makkah. He was a noble man, a poet, and intelligent. The Quraysh warned him against the Messenger of Allah. As a result, he was afraid to go near him to listen to him.
‘By Allah,’ At-Tufayl said, ‘they kept at me until I decided not to listen to him at all nor to speak with him, to the extent that I stuffed my ears with cotton. I went to the mosque and the Messenger of Allah was standing there praying at the Ka’bah. I stood near him and Allah had decided that I should hear some of his words. I heard some good words and said to myself, “By Allah, I am an intelligent man, a poet. The difference between good and evil is not concealed from me. Why should I not listen to what this man says! If what he brings is good, I will accept it. If it is evil, I will leave it.” ‘
At-Tufayl met the Messenger of Allah in his house and told him what had happened. The Messenger of Allah offered him Islam and recited the Qur’an to him. At-Tufayl became a Muslim and returned to his people to call them to Islam. He refused to live with his family until they all became Muslims. Eventually the whole tribe of Daws turned to Islam.
THE JOURNEY TO TA’IF:
After Abu Talib’s death, the Messenger of Allah suffered more than ever before. The Quraysh had been restrained during the lifetime of Abu Talib but now they stepped up their victimisation campaign. One even accosted him and showered dust on his head.
When the insults from the Quraysh became unbearable and they refused to have anything to do with Islam, the Messenger of Allah went to Ta’if to ask help of the Thaqif people and to call them to Islam. He hoped they would be sympathetic to his call.
On arriving in Ta’if, he went to the leaders and nobles of Thaqif, talked with them and called them to Allah. They, however, were rude to him and ridiculed him. They incited the town’s riff-raff to shout insults at him and stone him. He retired, distressed, to the shade of a palm-tree where he sat down. Nowhere had he encountered worse treatment than that which he received at the hands of the idol-worshippers in Ta’if.
The townspeople formed a line on either side of his path. When he passed they stoned him until he was bleeding. His feet were streaming with blood. He was so dejected that he complained to Allah of his helplessness and pitiable state. He sought refuge with Allah, pleading:
O Allah, I complain to you of my weakness, lack of resources and humiliation before men. You are the Most Merciful, You are the Lord of the oppressed and You are my Lord. To whom will You entrust me? To someone far away who will frown on me or to an enemy to whom You have given power over me? If You are not angry with me, I do not care, but Your favour is better for me. I seek refuge with the light of Your face which illuminates the darkness, and by which the affairs of this world and the Next are put in order, from having Your anger descend on me or Your wrath fall upon me. I repent to You, seeking Your forgiveness and Your favour until You are well-pleased. There is no power nor strength except by Allah.
Allah sent the angel of the mountains to ask if he wanted him to bring together the two mountains between which Ta’if lay. The Messenger of Allah replied, ‘No, for I hope that Allah will bring forth from them those who will worship Allah alone and not associate anything with Him.’
When Utbah ibn Rabi’ah and Shaybah ibn Rabi’ah saw his distress, they were moved with compassion. They called a Christian slave of theirs named Addas and told him to take a bunch of grapes to him. As Addas carried out his orders he noticed the kindness of the Messenger or Allah. He was so impressed that he became a Muslim.
The Messenger of Allah returned from Ta’if to Makkah where his people were even more opposed to him than they had been previously.
THE ASCENT TO THE HEAVENS (MERAAJ):
At this time the Messenger of Allah travelled by night from the Masjid al-Haram to the Masjid al-Aqsa. From there he was transported into the proximity to Allah that He wished him to experience. He travelled through the heavens, witnessed the signs of Allah and met the earlier Prophets .
‘His eye swerved not nor swept aside He saw one of the greatest signs of his Lord.’ (53: 1 7-18)
He received generous hospitality from Allah and solace and compensation for the distress he had endured in Ta’if.
Next morning, he told the Quraysh what had happened to him. They rejected it, thinking him mad, calling him a liar and mocking him. Abu Bakr Said, ‘By Allah, if he said it, he has spoken the truth. What makes you wonder at it! By Allah, he tells me that news comes to him from heaven to the earth in any hour of the night or day and I believe him, and that is more unlikely than what you are astounded by.’
During the Ascent, Allah made fifty prayers each day obligatory for his Ummah. The Messenger continued to ask Allah to reduce the number of prayers until He reduced them to five prayers each day. Allah decreed that all who perform their prayers with sincerity and in expectation of a reward will receive the reward of fifty prayers.
THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH OFFERS HIMSELF TO THE TRIBES:
The Messenger of Allah contacted members of various Arab tribes when they came to Makkah during their festivals. He explained the beliefs of Islam to them and asked them to protect him from his enemies, saying,
‘O people! I am your Messenger of Allah. He commands you to worship Him and not associate anything with Him and to abandon the worship of those you consider equal with Him. He commands you to believe in Him and confirm Him and to protect me so that I may make clear what Allah has sent to me.’
When the Messenger of Allah finished speaking, Abu Lahab usually got up to say, ‘O people! This man calls on you to abandon al-Lat and al-Uzza and your allies among the jinn for this innovation and misguidance he has brought! Do not obey him and do not listen to him!’
THE ANSAR ACCEPT ISLAM:
While the Messenger of Allah was at Aqabah during the festival he met a group of the Khazraj of Yathrib and called them to Allah, the Mighty and Exalted. He offered them Islam and recited the Qur’an to them.
They were neighbours of the Jews in Madinah and had heard mention of a Prophet who was about to come. They said to each other, ‘People! By Allah, you know that he must be the Prophet whom the Jews have promised you. Don’t let them get to him before us.’
They accepted his teachings and became Muslims, saying, ‘We have left our people and no people are more rent by enmity and evil as they are! Perhaps Allah will join us together by means of you. We will go to them and call them to this religion which we have accepted from you. If Allah gathers them to you, then no man will be mightier than you.’
They went back to their land having confirmed their faith. When they came to Madinah, they mentioned the Messenger of Allah to their brothers and called them to Islam. News soon spread among them until there was no house of the Ansar in which the Messenger of Allah was not discussed.
THE FIRST PLEDGE OF AQABAH:
The following year, twelve Ansar attended the festival in Makkah. They met the Messenger of Allah and gave him their pledge, the First Pledge of Aqabah, that they would believe in one God, abstain from theft, fornication and killing children, and obey him in what was right and proper.
When they left, the Messenger of Allah sent Mus’ab ibn Umayr with them. He commanded him to read the Qur’an to them, to preach Islam and to instruct them in the religion. He also led them in prayers. He was called ‘The Reader’ in Madinah where he stayed with As’ad ibn Zurarah.
ISLAM SPREADS THROUGHOUT MADINAH:
Islam began among the people of the Aws and the Khazraj in Madinah. Sa’d ibn Mu’adh and Usayd ibn Hudayr became Muslims. They were the leaders of their people, the Banu Abdul-Ashhal of Aws. They were convinced of the truth because of the wisdom and kindness of those who had become Muslims before them, particularly by the excellent presentation of Islam by Mus’ab ibn Umayr. All the people of the Banu Abdul-Ashhal became Muslims, and not a household of the Ansar remained in which some men and women had not accepted the faith.
THE SECOND PLEDGE OF AQABAH:
Mus’ab ibn Umayr returned to Makkah the following year and a number of the Muslim Ansar accompanied those of their people making hajj who were still idol-worshippers. The Muslims arranged to meet the Messenger of Allah at Aqabah. When they had finished the hajj, they met in the valley near Aqabah late at night. There were seventy-three men and two women. The Messenger of Allah came with his uncle, al-Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib who was still an idol-worshipper at that time.
The Messenger of Allah talked to them, recited the Qur’an and prayed to Allah and encouraged people to become Muslims. Then he said,’ ask for your allegiance on the basis that you protect me as you would protect your wives and children.’
They pledged their allegiance to him. They asked him to promise that he would not leave them and return to his people. The Messenger of Allah gave his promise, ‘I am from you and you are from me. I will fight those you fight and will be at peace with those with whom you are at peace.’
He chose twelve leaders from among them: nine from the Khazraj and three from the Aws.