By Sajad Ahmad Mir
The superstructure of a divine worldview was to be based, for all times to come, for entire mankind; and that too not only at a speculative level but a complete code of life was to be drafted in practical terms without any room for any mystery or ambiguity. Therefore, the greater the purpose, the harder the hardships.
The people of Mecca left no stone unturned in persecuting and deriding the Prophet (PBUH) and his followers. Moreover, the magnitude of cruelties and miseries grew manifold after the death of his uncle Abu Talib, as they got a free hand and therefore accelerated their sinister pursuits without any hindrances. Thereafter, Sayyidena Muhammad (SAW) planned to move to another habitat of a strong clan Banu Thaqif. Sayyidena Muhammad (SAW) left for Taif with a hope of winning them over to Islam so that Muslims would get respite from the persecutions of the Meccan people. Sayyidena Muhammad (SAW), having reached Taif, visited the three chieftains of the clan individually, set before each of them the message of Allah (SWT), and urged them to stand by his side. Instead of accepting his noble message they declined even to listen to him and, notwithstanding exemplary Arab hospitality, every one of them treated him most contemptuously and rudely. They told him in clear words that they did not want him in their town. Sayyidena Muhammad (SAW) had expected a polite, even cordial, treatment, as they were the patrons of the clan, but they sneered.
This could have been enough to discourage even one with an iron will. But Sayyidena Muhammad (SAW) proved to be strong and steadfast as a rock and showed a higher degree of perseverance. He did not lose heart over this inhuman treatment and approached the common people. The message of Islam is not meant for leaders and elders alone but is open to all mankind irrespective of social or economic status. However, Sayyidena Muhammad’s (SAW) effort to get the chieftains under the fold of Islam was a wise move for smooth functioning of dawah, as common people are always under the influence of their patrons and heads. Having been refused by the chieftains, common people followed the same scheme and nobody would listen to him. Instead, they harshly asked him to clear off from their town. He realised that further endeavours were in vain, and therefore decided to leave.
However, heaven wanted to yet test his courage, commitment to the cause; after all, the guidance of humanity and his mercifulness was to set to be an unparalleled example for all times to come. As soon as he began to move out, they set the street urchins and vagabonds after him to hoot, hiss, to jeer at him and to stone him. He was pelted with so many stones that his body bled. He left the town in this woeful plight. When he was far out of the town and felt calm, his inner voice gushed out in words. These were not revengeful words, cursing those people for their inhuman treatment or inviting God’s wrath upon them. How could he think so, as he was to show all humanity how mercy showers blessings even when surrounded by unspoken miseries. The prayer goes: “Oh my Allah! To thee I complain of the feebleness of my strength, of my lack of resources and my being unimportant in the eyes of people. O, most merciful of all those capable of showing mercy! Thou are the lord of the weak and thou are my lord. To whom art thou to entrust me; to an unsympathetic foe who would suddenly frown at me, or to an alien to whom thou has given control over my affair? Not in the least do I care for anything except that I may have thy protection for myself. I seek shelter in your light, the light which illuminates the heaven and dispels all sorts of darkness, and which controls all affairs in this world as well as in the hereafter; may it never be that I should incur thy wrath or that thou should be displeased with me. I must remove the cause of thy displeasure till thou art pleased. There is no strength nor power but through thee.”
The heavens were shaken by the prayer and Jibril (AS) appeared before him and said, “Allah knows all that went between you and these people. He has deputed an angel in charge of the mountain to be at your command.” Thereupon the angel greeted him and said, “O, Messenger of Allah! I am at your service. If you wish I can cause the mountain overlooking this town on both sides to collide with each other so that all the people therein would be crushed to death, or you may suggest any other punishment for them.” The “mercy to mankind” and the embodiment of magnanimity enunciated the historical words: “Even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from Allah (SWT) that there will be persons from among their progeny who would worship Allah alone and serve His cause.”
History stands witness that the people of the same clan, Banu Thaqif, carried the message of Islam as far as Sindh in the South Asian subcontinent. It was the fruit of exemplary tolerance, illustrious steadfastness and, above all love, sympathy and mercy for humanity that ferocious foes turned out to be kind and loving friends.