Tufayl Ibn ‘Amr al-Dausi was a prominent poet honored by the Arabs. When he came to Makkah, some of the Quraysh warned him against meeting the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him. They told him, as usual, that Muhammed had created dissension among the Quraysh and so he had to be careful lest he should also fall under the Prophet’s evil spell. Tufayl relates: “By God, they were so insistent that I decided not to listen or speak to him. I went as far as to stuff cotton in my ears before going to the holy mosque. Accidentally, my eyes captured the Prophet who was offering prayer near me. I stood by his side and thus God caused me to hear something of his speech. It was beautiful and noble. I thought, that my mother might curse me, for I am a poet and the connoisseur for nothing good or evil in a speech can elude me. Why should anything prevent me from listening to his speech? If it is good, then I shall accept it, but if contrarily bad, I shall reject it.”
He met the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him at his house where he invited him to accept Islam and recited the Qur’an to him. Tufayl embraced Islam and went back to his tribe determined to preach the faith of God. He refused to do anything with his household members until they had also acknowledged God and His Prophet peace be and blessings upon him. All of them became Muslims and Islam spread thereafter in the tribe of Daus. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 382-384).
Abu Bakr used to pray within his house. Not being satisfied with it, he further selected a place in the courtyard of his residence where he started offering prayers and reciting the Qur’an. Abu Bakr was tenderhearted and when he recited the Qur’an, shedding tears all the while, youths, slaves and women used to gather around him listening to his recitation. Now, the Qurayshite chiefs got alarmed at Abu Bakr’s open recital of the Qur’an so he sent for Ibn al-Dughunna who had pledged protection for him. When Ibn al Dughunna came, they said to him, “We accepted your pledge of protection for Abu Bakr on the condition that he prays inside his house but he has started praying and reciting in the open. We fear he might seduce our women and children. Now, if he agrees to offer his prayers secretly within his house, it is well, otherwise he should avert your protection. We neither want to make you break your word nor can we allow him to do it openly.” Ibn al-Dughunna informed Abu Bakr of what he had been told by the Quraysh, but he replied, “I renounce your guardianship; I am contented with the protection and custody of my Lord.” (Al-Bukhaari, On the authority of ‘Aisha, Chapter. Hijrah.).
Journey to Taif
The death of Abu Talib signaled the beginning of a difficult period for the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him. None of the Qurayshites dared touch the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him during the lifetime of Abu Talib, but now the restraint was gone. In one instance, dust was thrown over his head. And to make matters far worse, the Quraysh, moved by the desire to impose themselves upon the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him, insulted and mocked at him and made caustic remarks on Islam. When the pagans persisted with their mockery and sarcasm as well as resolute behavior, the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him thought of going to Ta’if to seek the help of the tribe of Thaqif. The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him intended to invite them to Islam for he believed that they would receive his message with sympathy. His expectation was apparently well grounded as he had spent his childhood with Bani S’ad who were settled near Ta’if. Ta’if was a delightful city, second only to Makkah in its population and prosperity, holding an important position in the Peninsula as alluded to in this verse of the Qur’an. “And they say: If only this Qur’an had been revealed to some great man of the two towns?” (meaning: Makkah and Ta’if) [Qur'an (43:31)].
Taif was also a religious center since pilgrims from every part of the country visit its so-called “Temple of al-Lat” and thus, it competed with Makkah in such respect for the latter housed Hubal, the chief deity of Arabia. Ta’if was, as it still is today, the summer resort of the Makkan aristocracy. An Umayyad poet, ‘Umar Ibn Rabi’a said about his beloved:
“Winter in Makkah, living in clover, In Ta’if she spends the summer.”
The inhabitants of Ta’if, endowed with diversified large farms and vineyards, were wealthy and prosperous. They had become conceited and boastful embodying the following description of the Qur’anic verse:
“And we sent not unto any township a Warner, but it's pampered ones declared: Lo! We are disbelievers in that which ye bring unto us. And they say: We are more (than you) in wealth and children. We are not the punished!” [Qur;an (35:34-5)].
In Taif, the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him first met the chiefs and leaders of Thaqif whom he invited to accept Islam. They were, however, rude and discourteous in their treatment of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him. Not being content with their insolent reply, they even stirred up some gangs of the town to harass
him. These riff-raffs followed the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him, abusing and crying and throwing stones on him, until he was compelled to take refuge in an orchard. The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him consequently had to endure even more obstacles in Ta’if than he had to face in Makkah. These ruffians, based on either side of the path, threw stones at him until his feet were injured and smeared with blood. These oppressions grievously dejected the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him, whereby being in such a state of depression, a prayer citing his helplessness and pitiable condition and seeking the aid of God spontaneously came thru his lips:
“O Allah”, said the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him, “To Thee I complain of my weakness, resourcelessness and humiliation before the people. You art the Most Merciful, the Lord of the weak and my Master. To whom wilt You confide me? To one estranged, bearing ill will, or, an enemy given power over me? If You art not worth on me, I care not, for Your favor is abundant upon me. I seek refuge in the light of Your countenance by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger should descend upon me or Your displeasure light upon me. I need only Your pleasure and satisfaction for only You enablest me to do good and evade the evil. There is no power and no might save in thee.”
The Lord then sent the angel of mountains who sought the Prophets peace be and blessings upon him permission to join together the two hills between which Ta’if was located but the Messenger of God peace be and blessings upon him replied, “No, I hope God will bring forth from their loins people who will worship God alone, associating nothing with Him.” (Muslim, Kitab'ul-Jihad).
Moved to compassion by the grief of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him, ‘Utbah and Shayba Ibn Rabi’a sent for ‘Addas, one of their young Christian slaves, and told him to take a bunch of grapes on a platter for the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him to which the bondman obeyed. While in the Prophet’s presence, Addas observed his kind demeanor that compelled him to talk to him and instantly professed his faith in Allah and His Prophet peace be and blessings upon him. The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him then returned to Makkah where the Quraysh were as bitterly opposed to him as ever, deriding, annoying and assailing him day after day.

 

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