Both the Holy Prophet’s (S) uncle, Abu Talib, and his (S) wife, Khadijah, passed away within a few days of each other. Thus, the Prophet (S) lost two of his best supporters and protectors. Abu Talib, supported him in public and was his closest associate, and Khadijah, was his source of comfort at home.
The demise of Abu Talib was a threat to the Holy Prophet (S) to the extent that it allowed Quraysh to persecute him more. A few days after Abu Talib’s death, as the Prophet (S) was passing through an alley, they emptied a container of garbage on his head. He (S) returned home full of dust and soil. The youngest of his daughters, Fatimah (‘a), ran to him and washed the dust off her father’s head. Seeing his dearest daughter shedding tears, the Holy Prophet (S) said, “My sweet daughter, do not weep or worry, your father is not alone. Allah is his protector.”
After this incident, he (S) left Makkah alone and moved to Taif where he would spread the Message of Allah to the tribe of Saqif, situated to the south of Makkah. Taif was well known for its pleasant climate and abundant wealth. It was also a common place for the rich of Makkah to visit, at the time. Leading a comfortable life, the people of Taif had no differences with the Makkans.
The people of this city had the same mentality as those who lived in the vicinity of the Ka’bah. The Holy Prophet (S) knew this well, but he (S) was not one who despaired or pondered too long over difficulties. Rather, he (S) was ready to face the most challenging problems in order to conquer a man's heart or to attract a suitable person.
On entering Taif, the Holy Prophet (S) heard the same words which he had heard from the inhabitants of Makkah.
One man said, “Did Allah did not find anyone else on this earth to convey his message but you?”
Another said, “I would have stolen the cover of the Ka’bah if you were the Messenger of Allah.”
A third said, “I will not at any cost have a discussion with you” ….and so on.
They disagreed with his call to Islam, but they also feared that some might listen to him. They encouraged a group of children, who were hooligans and rascals, to expel him from Taif. They persecuted the Holy Prophet (S) by insulting him and throwing stones at him. Wounded, the Holy Prophet (S) took refuge in a garden outside Taif with much difficulty.
This garden belonged to Atbah and Shaybah, two wealthy Chiefs of Quraysh. They were both present in the garden when this incident happened, and they witnessed it all from a distance and were quite pleased about it. The children of Taif returned. The Holy Prophet (S) sat under the shade of vine leaves far from Atbah and Shaybah.
He (S) was alone, all alone with Allah. He raised his humble face towards Almighty Allah and prayed, “O Allah, I present before you my complaint about my weakness, my helplessness, and about the mockery and derision to which I have been subjected. O most Merciful of all the Merciful, you are the Lord of the oppressed. You are my Allah. To whom are You leaving me? To the strangers who will ill treat me? Or to my enemy who has an upper hand on me? O Allah, if whatever has befallen me is not because of Your wrath nor because I am unworthy, I shall not fear. The dominion of Your security and prosperity is broad enough for me. I seek refuge in the Light of Your Essence which illuminates darkness and straightens out the affairs of the Hereafter; that neither Your wrath nor Your chastisement may descend upon me. Because of You, I am pleased with what befalls me. There is no change, no power and no transformation that takes place, but by You and from You.”
Being happy watching the defeat of the Holy Prophet (S), Atbah and Shaybah, in accordance with tribal ties and customs, sent their Christian servant, Adas, to offer a plate of grapes to the man sitting under the vine leaves and then to quickly return.
Adas brought the grapes, put it before the Holy Prophet (S) and said, “Eat this!”
The Holy Prophet (S) stretched out his hand and picked a few grapes, but before putting the grapes in his mouth, he uttered ‘Bismillah-e-Rahman-e-Rahim’ (In the name of Allah, the most Merciful, the most Compassionate). Adas had never heard such words before in his entire life.
Fixing a profound gaze on the Holy Prophet’s (S) face, he said, “These words are not ordinary words of conversation among the people of this region. What are these words?”
The Holy Prophet (S) asked Adas, “Where are you from and what is your religion?”
“I am originally from Nainawa, and I am a Christian.”
“From Nainawa? The city of the virtuous servant of Allah, Yunus ibn Mata?”
“How strange! You live here, among these people and you know the name of Yunus ibn Mata? Even when I lived in Nainawa, there were hardly ten people who knew his father’s name Mata?”
The Holy Prophet (S) said, “Yunus is my brother. He was a Prophet of Allah, and I too am a Messenger of Allah!”
As Atbah and Shaybah saw Adas standing and talking to the Prophet (S), their hearts sank. They feared nothing more than people talking to the Holy Prophet (S).
Suddenly they noticed Adas falling to his knees before the Prophet (S) and kissing his hands, head and feet.
One said to the other, “Have you seen how quickly he managed to corrupt the poor servant?”1
- 1. Sira’i ibn Hisham, v. 1, p. 419-421.