By Sheikh Salman Al-Oadah at IslamToday.net
It had been a year of sorrow and misfortune for Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. First, his beloved wife Khadijah died. She was, from all people, the best supporter he had. Soon afterwards, his uncle Abu Talib died. As the head of the Prophet’s clan, he was the only person who was able to give him protection from the rest of the tribe of Quraish. Abu Talib loved his nephew Muhammad intensely, and it pained Prophet Muhammad all the more that his uncle died a disbeliever.
The death, in the same year, of the Prophet’s wife Khadijah and his uncle Abu Talib magnified the Prophet’s sorrows and doubled his feelings of estrangement and alienation and filled his heart with pain. Moreover, it left him and his followers politically isolated in Mecca, without support.
The tribe of Quraish seized this opportunity to increase their abuses and tighten their grips on the Muslims. Abu Lahab succeeded Abu Talib as the leader of the Prophet’s clan Banu Hashim, and he harbored the bitterest hatred for Islam and the Prophet, peace be upon him. He used to go up to the Prophet during the pilgrimage and in the marketplace and throw dirt and stones upon him, calling him a Sabian and a liar and warning people against following him.
Mecca became unbearable. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, had to seek support from outside of Mecca. He first headed for the neighboring town of Ta’if, looking for this support. But what did he meet with there?
The people of Ta’’if ordered their children to throw rocks and stones at Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to drive them out of the city. The rocks that were thrown at him by the children caused him to bleed seriously, so much that his feet became stuck to his shoes by the drying blood.
When Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was outside the city walls, he almost collapsed. They went a short distance outside of the town and stopped in a vineyard that belonged to two Meccans who were there at the time.
The owners of the vineyard had seen how he had been persecuted in Mecca and on this occasion they felt some sympathy toward their fellow citizen. They had his wounds dressed, and let him rest and recuperate until he felt strong enough to resume his journey across the rough terrain between Ta’if and Mecca. It was there that he had the famous encounter with the angel of the mountains.
We have the following account from Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, peace be upon him, when she asked him, “Was there ever a day that was worse for you than the Battle of Uhud?” The Prophet replied:
لَقَدْ لَقِيتُ مِنْ قَوْمِكِ مَا لَقِيتُ، وَكَانَ أَشَدُّ مَا لَقِيتُ مِنْهُمْ يَوْمَ الْعَقَبَةِ، إِذْ عَرَضْتُ نَفْسِي عَلَى ابْنِ عَبْدِ يَالِيلَ بْنِ عَبْدِ كُلاَلٍ، فَلَمْ يُجِبْنِي إِلَى مَا أَرَدْتُ، فَانْطَلَقْتُ وَأَنَا مَهْمُومٌ عَلَى وَجْهِي، فَلَمْ أَسْتَفِقْ إِلاَّ وَأَنَا بِقَرْنِ الثَّعَالِبِ، فَرَفَعْتُ رَأْسِي، فَإِذَا أَنَا بِسَحَابَةٍ قَدْ أَظَلَّتْنِي، فَنَظَرْتُ فَإِذَا فِيهَا جِبْرِيلُ فَنَادَانِي فَقَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ سَمِعَ قَوْلَ قَوْمِكَ لَكَ وَمَا رَدُّوا عَلَيْكَ، وَقَدْ بَعَثَ إِلَيْكَ مَلَكَ الْجِبَالِ لِتَأْمُرَهُ بِمَا شِئْتَ فِيهِمْ، فَنَادَانِي مَلَكُ الْجِبَالِ، فَسَلَّمَ عَلَىَّ ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا مُحَمَّدُ، فَقَالَ ذَلِكَ فِيمَا شِئْتَ، إِنْ شِئْتَ أَنْ أُطْبِقَ عَلَيْهِمِ الأَخْشَبَيْنِ، فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَلْ أَرْجُو أَنْ يُخْرِجَ اللَّهُ مِنْ أَصْلاَبِهِمْ مَنْ يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ وَحْدَهُ لاَ يُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئًا
Your tribes have troubled very much, and the worst was the day of ‘Aqaba when I presented myself to Ibn Abd-Yalail ibn Abd-Kulal and he did not respond to what I intended. So I departed, overwhelmed with excessive sorrow, and I could not relax until I found myself at Qarnath-Tha-alib where I lifted my head towards the sky to see a cloud shading me. I looked up and saw Gabriel in it. He called me saying, “Allah has heard your people’s saying to you and how they have replied. Allah has sent the Angel of the Mountains to you that you may order him to do whatever you wish to these people.” The Angel of the Mountains greeted me, and said, “O Muhammad, order what you wish. If you like, I will let the mountains fall on them.” The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “No, I hope that Allah will bring from their descendants people who will worship Allah alone without associating partners with Him.”
The people of Ta’if rejected the Prophet, peace be upon him, and what he came with most harshly. He departed from them in sadness and returned to Mecca only to find that its people had become even more enraged and infuriated with him. He was not even able to enter the city until he received the protection of al-Mut’im ibn Udayy. He had first sought the protection of al-Akhnas ibn Shurayq and Suhayl ibn Amr, but they had refused.
Presenting the Message to the Tribes
But he persisted in calling to Allah. After returning from al-Ta’if, he began to approach the tribes during the festivals and explain to them Islam. He would ask them for protection and support so he could convey the word of Allah.
Salim ibn Abu Al-Ja’d relates the following from Jabir: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, used to approach the people at the ground where they would settle, saying:
هَلْ مِنْ رَجُلٍ يَحْمِلُنِي إِلَى قَوْمِهِ فَإِنَّ قُرَيْشًا قَدْ مَنَعُونِي أَنْ أُبَلِّغَ كَلَامَ رَبِّي عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
Is there any man who will take me to his people? Indeed, the Quraish have prevented me from preaching the word of my Lord, the Exalted.
[Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of Sunnah, Number 4734]
Jabir continued: A man from Hamdan approached him. The Prophet, peace be upon him, asked him:
From whom are you?
He replied, “I am from Hamdan.” He said:
فَهَلْ عِنْدَ قَوْمِكَ مِنْ مَنَعَةٍ
Do your people have power?
He said, “Yes.” Thereafter, the man began to fear that his people would scorn him. He went to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said, “I will return to you and inform you.” The Prophet agreed. In the month of Rajab of the following year, a delegation came to him from Medina.” [Musnad Ahmad 14770]
One of the great achievements of calling the tribes to Islam was the meeting between the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and the delegation from Medina and the oath of allegiance they gave to him at Aqabah. This was followed by the emigration to Medina where the Muslims were finally able to practice Islam in peace and freedom.
This was the turning point for the Muslims. It was so significant that the emigration marks the first year of the Muslim calendar.
(www.faithinallah.org / 01.08.2012)