Appeared in the Sunday Times 4 February 2015
from the life
of the Prophet Muhammad
Hameed Abdul Karim
There is a story a very touching one among many in the life of the Messenger Muhammad (peace be on him) that can move people to tears.
It goes like this.
One day the blessed one decided to travel to a place called Ta’if in Arabia to convey his message of Islam to the people there.
Ta’if was an upscale city where you could hardly find a poor
person except those who were servants to their rich masters.
( pboh )called upon the
three tribal leaders and told them about the grave errors of their way in
worshiping idols telling them they had no power to do good or evil and that
worship was due only to Allah (may He be glorified). But his message fell on deaf
The tribal chiefs, in their arrogance, rejected Muhammad’s message out of hand and said they would continue to worship idols as had their forefathers before them. Then in a shock move the tribal leaders let loose the urchins and other riff-raff on Muhammad and Zayd
ibn Harithah who had accompanied him on his mission.
They were vilified and pelted with stones. The prophet was hit on the head, which caused him an injury. Whilst wiping the injury from his bloodied face and wiping the tears from his eyes, the Prophet staggered out of the city with his attendant. They sought shelter in a place near a vineyard. Not far away were seated a few men who felt the treatment meted out to Muhammad and his aide was not in accordance with their tribal laws. Taking pity on the Prophet they summoned their servant and told him to take a cluster of grapes to the Prophet. Before eating the Prophet mentioned the words
bismillahi rahamani raheem
(in the name of God, the mericul, the mercy giver). Addas was the name of the
servant. He looked searchingly at the Prophet’s face and said he had not heard
such words from the people of Ta’if. The Prophet asked him from where he was
and he said he was Nineveh and that he was a Christian by faith. ‘You are from
the city of the righteous man Jonah (Yunoos) the son of Matta?’, said the
Prophet. ‘But how would you know such things,’? asked Adddas. The Prophet
replied ‘he is my brother. He was a Prophet and I am a Prophet’. Then,
overwhelmed with emotions, Addas bent over the Prophet kissed his head, his
hands and his feet in a sincere display of devotion.
If the story ended there it would not have much significance. What happened afterwards goes to show us the compassionate nature of Muhammad, the messenger of God, may the blessings of God almighty be on him and his progeny.
A while after Addas went on his way deep in his thoughts, Arch Angel Gabriel (Jibreel – may peace be on him) came to the Prophet and told him God’s wrath has been aroused and that if he wished God would bring the two mountains that surrounded Ta’if together and crush to dust all those who dwelt therein. All the Prophet had to do was command and vengeance would be his. But what did he say? He said ‘No. I am sent as a mercy to mankind and maybe one day these very arrogant people would embrace my message. If not them, then certainly their children will be Muslims’. And so it is today.
Yet this is the man that people take pleasure in vilifying him by drawing cartoons depicting him as a ‘terrorist’ and a pleasure seeker. Then there are those who kill, loot and plunder in his name, in my name and in the name of all Muslims. It’s about time those Muslims who claim they are following the teachings of the beloved of Allah, take a cue from this story from his life and his nature and his compassion for humankind and mend their ways so that they could be worthy of his name.