10.6 Mohamed Goes to AI-Taaif
Quraysh were stubborn and heedless. Those of them who had the ability to understand had already entered into Islam, those who did not persisted in their idol worship and superstitions. Mohamed, whose duty it was to spread his call as far and as widely as possible, looked to new horizons hoping his words would find more responsive hearts elsewhere.
He went to the tribe of Thaqif who lived in Taif. This tribe enjoyed a temperate climate and fertile lands. They were opulent and engrossed in matters of this world. Moreover, they had an idol that they cherished and boasted of before the other tribes.
Taif's equable weather made it a summer resort for the rich of Quraysh, while the Thaqif themselves visited Mecca in the Sacred Months. The good will of Quraysh was therefore very important to them. Mohamed was aware of the situation, but he was trying to break the narrow circle Quraysh had woven around him, and to him the message from Allah was far more important than this world and all the riches in it. He hoped they would be able to grasp the magnitude of the gift sent down to man.
He went alone to speak to Thaqif. They received him with expressions of resentment and derision. He explained, gave examples, preached but they were deaf, blind, and dumb. At last Mohamed realized that they would not believe, so he asked them not to mention his visit to Quraysh for he knew they would gloat over his misfortune, but immediately they spread the news far and wide.
As he was leaving they incited their rabble to pelt him with stones, so he fled from them and took shelter behind a wall, which belonged to the two sons of Rabia. Then he looked heavenwards and said:
"My Lord, to Thee I complain of my weakness and lack of ability, my being scorned by men. Most Merciful of the merciful, thou art the Lord of the downtrodden and my Lord. To whom host Thou entrusted me? To a stranger who frowns upon me, or to an enemy in whose hands Thou host given me? If Thou art not angry with me, I do not mind, but Thy pardon is the greatest to me. I seek the aid of the light of Thy face that dissipates darkness and rectifies the condition of this world and the eternal world lest Thou let Thy wrath befall me or Thy displeasure overtake me. Thine is reproach until Thou art content. There is no power and no right without Thee. "
The two sons of Rabia sat and listened in wonder. Here was a man who was once the most honored of the honored. Whatever made him expose himself to the insults, jeers, and sneers of the rabble? He could have been the highest among his people if only he had renounced these strange ideas. Out of pity they sent their boy Addas to him with a bunch of grapes.
Before taking the grapes, the Prophet said,
"In the name of Allah."
Then he began to eat.
The boy started and said,
"The people of these parts do not speak like this."
The Messenger asked him what country he came from, and the boy said that he was a Nestorian Christian, that his name was Addas.
"From the country of the righteous man, Yunus son of Matta?" asked Mohamed.
"Do you know of him," asked Addas.
"Yes," said Mohamed,
"we are brethren. He was a prophet and I am a prophet."
Addas bent down and kissed Mohamed's forehead, hands, and feet, while the two sons of Rabia watched on in wonder. They had seen what happened to those who did not follow the ways of their fathers, so they called Addas and said to him,
"Addas, be careful! Don't let that man lure you away from the religion of your forefathers for it is better than this."
When they heard from Thaqif what had happened, Quraysh were in ecstasy. They increased the venom of their attacks, but whatever he had to suffer, whatever he had to endure for Allah's sake, Mohamed bore with a patient courage and indomitable will. Even after his hostile reception at the hands of Thaqif he did not give up but continued to address the tribes who came on pilgrimage to Mecca. Abu Jahl, however, would not let him alone and went wherever Mohamed went, to try and belittle him and his message in the eyes of the tribesmen.
The Messenger was not content to wait for the tribes to come to Mecca, but went to them in their own homes where he talked to them, read the Koran, explained that he was a messenger sent to them, but in vain. They were unmoved. Some of them answered ungraciously, while Banu Amr said they would follow him provided that if he were victorious they would rule after him. When Mohamed replied that such matters were in the hands of Allah, they lost interest.