34.1 Urwa ibn Masud
After the march to Tabuk and the retreat of the Romans before Mohamed, the Arabs who had not entered into Islam began to reconsider the matter. Here was an Arab like them, of noble birth and character, who called to a religion more sound and true than anything they had known. So why not forsake the stone and wooden idols and march under the banner of Allah, the One, and the Invincible? Many tribes now hurried to the Messenger, but some still clung to their tribal idols and tribal isolation. That year delegation after delegation came to the Prophet to profess Islam so that historians call it the Year of Delegations. It was the tenth year after the Hijra (Emigration).
The city of Al-Taif had strong forts and rich lands. Thaqif, the city's tribe, had an idol called AI-Lat which they cherished. Mohamed had besieged them after the battle of Hunayn in which they had participated, and then broke the siege, giving them time to think.
One of their great men, Urwa ibn Masud, who had acted as an intermediary between the Prophet and Quraysh at Hudaybiya, had been in Yemen when the Prophet had besieged Al-Taif. After his return, he went to Mohamed and pledged him allegiance and asked him to let him speak to Thaqif, but Mohamed feared he would not be able to cope with them.
"They will kill you," he said.
But Urwa insisted, saying,
"I am dearer to them than the apple of their eye."
He kept after the Prophet until Mohamed gave him permission. So he went to his people and spoke to them of Islam. They listened and then asked him to give them time to think it over. The next day Urwa woke up with the dawn and chanted the call to prayer. Fanaticism for their idol drove them to shoot arrows at him from every direction. Urwa fell down. His family gathered around him, and before his death, he said to them,
"This is a great thing that Allah has brought my way. It is martyrdom. Now I shall die like the martyrs who fought with the Prophet at Badr."
Then he asked his family to bury him with the martyrs of Badr. And his request was attended to.