34.2 Al-Taif Enters into Islam
When the people of Al-Taif killed one of their own nobles because he proclaimed what he believed in, the tribes around them who had entered into Islam would have nothing to do with them. If one of them went out singly he did not return, and even in a group they were not safe. Soon they realized that they would have to come to an understanding with their neighbors. They chose an emissary to go and speak to Mohamed since these tribes and in effect the whole peninsula was now under his rule. But the man chosen feared he would be treated in the same way by the tribes, so he would not go until five others from different tribes went with him, so that each would have a tribe to avenge him should he get killed. They came recalcitrant and wary of the Muslims. One of them carried out negotiations between them and the Prophet.
Curiously they professed their willingness to enter into Islam provided that their idol was left to them and that they did not have to pray.
The Prophet refused their request. He said,
"There is no good in religion when there is no prayer."
He used to tell his Companions,
"He who wants to speak to his Lord, let him pray: he who wants his Lord to speak to him, let him read the Koran."
At the end they agreed to pray and break their idol, but requested that they should be spared doing it themselves. To this Mohamed acquiesced. He sent Abu Sufyan and Al-Mughira ibn Shuba, who were liked and respected by the people of Thaqif, to break it. They broke it with the women of Al-Taif wailing around them, then Al-Mughira, by the Prophet's permission and in agreement with Abu Sufyan, took the money in the idol's temple and paid a debt with it that Urwa ibn Masud had left behind. With this all of the Hijaz became Muslim.
The delegation of Al-Taif remained with Mohamed the whole month of Ramadan and fasted with him. Mohamed initiated one of them in Islam so that he could teach people when he returned home. He charged him to be brief in prayer and to think of the old man and the child praying behind him, to make religion easy and not difficult for them. To each Mohamed gave of religion according to his readiness to understand.
When Mohamed prayed with his Companions, he prayed for hours sometimes, and when he prayed alone, he prayed for long, long watches of the night. Nothing gave him more spiritual content than calling upon his Lord.