Before the advent of Islam and the establishment of the Islamic Government in the Arabian Peninsula, the feudal system reigned over the Arabian Society. Each tribe had a separate chief, the Arabs' used to obey their chiefs and pay tax and tribute to them. Among the lords and feudals of Arabs, the generous Hatam Tai was one of the well-known chiefs and was counted as the head and chief of Tay Tribe.
After Hatam, his son Adi succeeded him. Tay tribe submitted to his rule. Under the title of tax and tribute, Adi took annually a quarter of everyone’s revenue. The rule of Adi coincided with the era of the Holy Prophet (S) and the expansion of Islam.
The people of Tay tribe were pagans, but Adi himself was a Christian, not exposing his own belief to his tribe.
After being converted to Islam and acquainted with the liberating principles of Islam, the people were willy-nilly emancipated of the yoke of chiefs who had hitherto imposed their obedience upon them.
Owing to this fact, Adi Ibn Hatam, like the other Arab chiefs and lords, considered Islam as the greatest menace for himself and became an enemy of the Holy Prophet (S).
Anyhow, the die was cast, people were embracing Islam in groups. Islam and Muslim affairs were flourishing day by day.
Adi knew very well that a day would come that the Muslims would come over and overthrow his power and kingdom. Therefore, he ordered his special steward, a slave, to keep the strong and light-footed camels ready beside his camp and inform him immediately as soon as he saw the Muslim army approaching towards them.
One day the slave came to him and said: "Take whatever decision you wish to, for the Muslims army is just round about."
Adi ordered his slave to make the camels ready, mounted his family on them, loaded all transportable items and escaped towards Syria where the inhabitants were Christians adhering to his own religion.
Due to precipitation, Adi forgot to take his sister, Safana with him, and she was left behind.
Adi had escaped before the Muslim army arrived and Safana was captured and brought along with the other captives to Madinah. The story of Adi's escape was also related to the Holy Prophet (S). There was an enclosure beside the Mosque of Madinah whose walls were short where the captives were sheltered.
One day, when the Holy Prophet (S) was passing by the enclosure to enter the Mosque, Safana, who was an eloquent and intelligent woman, moved from her place, stood up and said: "My father passed away, my guardian went into hiding, be gracious to me, may God be gracious to you!"
The Holy Prophet (S) asked her: "Who is your guardian?"
She said: "Adi Ibn Hatam."
The Prophet (S) said: "The one who escaped from God and His Prophet!?" On saying these words, the Holy Prophet (S) left her immediately.
Next day, when the Holy Prophet (S) was passing from there, Safana stood up, repeated the same words that she had said the day before, and heard the same reply. Once again, her request remained ineffective.
The third day, when the Prophet (S) was about to pass from the same way, Safana decided to keep silent since she had lost hope of her request being accepted, but a young man moving behind the Holy Prophet (S) made signs to her to stand up and reiterate her demand.
Thus, she rose and repeated her words: "My father passed away, my guardian went into hiding, be gracious to me, May God be gracious to you!"
The Holy Prophet (S) said: "All right, I am waiting to find some reliable persons so that I will send you with them. If you find such persons who have come to Madinah, inform me!"
Safana asked the people: "Who was the young man walking behind the Prophet (S) and making signs to me to rise and repeat my demand?"
They said: "He was 'Ali Ibn Abi Talib ('a)."
After a few days. Safana informed the Prophet (S) of the arrival of a reliable group of her own tribe in Madinah and asked him (S) to send her with them. The Holy Prophet (S) gave her a new dress, an amount of money for her expenses and an animal for riding. She set out towards Syria along with the group to meet her brother.
As soon as Safana saw her brother Adi, she began reproaching him and said: "You brought your wife and children along with you and forgot me. I was the souvenir of your father?!"
Adi apologized to her.
Since Safana was an intelligent woman, Adi always consulted her about his own business. He asked: "In your opinion what is advisable to my interest, since you have seen Muhammad from nearby? Shall I go to him and join him or stay aloof from him?"
Safana replied: "In my opinion it will be better for you to join him. If he is a true Prophet of God, what a great prosperity and dignity for you! If he is not a Prophet and looks for kingdom, you will not be dishonoured there, for your personality which you have among the people of Yaman, and since Yaman is not too much far from Madinah, you will not lose your dignity and honour as well."
Adi admired her viewpoint, he decided to go to Madinah in order to observe the Prophet's conduct minutely and see if he was a real Prophet. He would follow him like a member of the Muslim community, and if he was an ordinary man looking for kingdom and having the worldly ambitions, he would co-operate with him to the extent of their common benefits.
When the Holy Prophet (S) was in the Mosque of Madinah, Adi entered and saluted to Prophet (S).
The Holy Prophet (S) asked: "Who are you?"
"I am Adi, the son of Hatam."
The Prophet (S) respected him and took him to his house.
On their way a decrepit, skinny woman intercepted the Prophet (S) and began asking questions. It lasted some time and the Prophet (S) answered the questions with kindness and patience.
Adi said to himself: "This is the first sign of the character of this man indicating that he is a Prophet. The tyrants and the opportunists do not have such a nature and a humour to reply to an old and miserable woman's questions with so much patience and kindness."
On entering the Prophet’s (S) house, Adi found it to be very simple and without finery. There was nothing but a mattress which showed that the Prophet (S) used to sit on it. The Prophet (S) spread it for Adi. Adi insisted that the Prophet (S) should sit on the mattress, but the Prophet (S) refused.
Adi sat on the mattress while the Prophet (S) was sitting on the ground. Adi said to himself: “This is the second sign of the character of this man indicating the Prophet’s ethics, not that of the kings.”
The Prophet (S) turned the face to him and said: "Your religion was not a Rukoussi?"1
Adi replied: "Yes!"
The Holy Prophet (S) asked: "Then why and upon what justification did you take off a quarter of the people's revenue which is not permissible in your religion?!"
Adi, who had dissimulated his religious faith from all people even his closest relatives, was surprised by the Prophet’s (S) words. He thought: "This is the third sign indicating that this man is a Prophet."
Then the Holy Prophet (S) said: ''You look at the actual poverty and indigence of the Muslims; you see that they are poor in comparison to the other nations; you also observe that they are surrounded by multitude of enemies and have no security of their lives and properties, you find that they have no power in their hands but in the hands of other people. I swear by Allah that it will not last long when such a vast wealth will come to them that there will be no poor among them. By Allah that their enemies will be vanquished and such a perfect security will exist that a woman will be able to travel all alone from Iraq to Hijaz while nobody will pester her. I swear by Allah that the time is near when the white palaces of Babylonia will come under the authority of the Muslims."
Adi embraced Islam with perfect faith and immaculate intention and remained faithful till the end of his life. He survived for many years after the Holy Prophet (S) and recollected the words of the Holy Prophet (S) of his first meeting with him (S). He also remembered his forecasts about the future of the Muslims.
He used to say: "l swear by Allah that I survived to see the white palaces of Babylonia being conquered by the Muslims and the security being established to such an extent that a woman could travel all alone from Iraq to Hijaz, without being pestered by anybody. I swear by Allah that I am sure a day will come when there will be no poor among the Muslims."2