The Prophet’s (ﷺ) Journey to al-Ṭāʾif and His Interaction with a Christian Slave

Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah

A story of how the Prophet (ﷺ) exhibited righteous behaviour even during times of hardship. On his journey to al-Ṭāʾif he endured physical abuse from the public and yet still maintained faith in Allāh and patience with his circumstances. Upon meeting a Christian slave, he convinced him of his Prophethood and assured him that Allāh would grant victory to the Muslims.
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Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 AH) said:

When the difficulty of [giving daʿwah] to the Quraysh had considerably increased [for the Prophet (ﷺ)], he left for al-Ṭāʾif,a well-known city two nights travel towards the east of Makkah. He stayed there for ten days with Zayd ibn Ḥārithah (may Allāh be pleased with him). He did not leave a single reputable person except that he entered his home and spoke to him, calling him to tawḥīd. No one from among them answered him. However, they feared for their younger generation, that he may have been able to beguile the foolish among them. So they took to pelting him with stones as he walked, to the extent that his feet began to bleed and Zayd, his ward, protected him using his body. They took shelter in the shade of a grapevine, close to a wall that belonged to ʿUtbah and Shaybah, the two sons of Rabīʿah. The foolish among them ceased following him. He [the Prophet (ﷺ)] invoked [Allāh] saying:

“‘O Allāh! I complain to You alone regarding my weakness in strength, the paltry nature of my stratagems, and my despicable position before the people.’ O Most Merciful of all those who show mercy. You are the Lord of the miserably oppressed. You are my Lord! Who else shall I put my trust in? For, [I have traveled] from afar only to be attacked. To an enemy that you have allowed ownership over my state. But if you are not angry with me, I care not [for their harm]. Your pardon is most pleasing to me. I seek refuge by the Light of your Face which illuminates the darknesses, and by which this worldly life and the hereafter find goodness, that Your anger should ever descend on me or that I should be deserving of Your annoyance. I seek Your pleasure until You are pleased. There is no change of state nor power except by You.”

When the two sons of Rabīʿah saw him, they lamented his state and said to their servant boy, a Christian named ʿAddās: “Take a cluster of grapes and place it in a dish and bring it to that man so he may eat.” So ʿAddās did so and brought [the dish] before the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ). When the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) stretched forth his hand, he said: “In the Name of Allāh” and then he ate. ʿAddās looked at his face and said: “By Allāh, these are words that have not been uttered by anyone from among the people of this country.” So the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) replied to him: “What city are you from, and what is your religion?” ʿAddās said: “I am a Christian; A man from the people of Nīnwá.” The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said: “Do you come from the region of the pious man Yūnus ibn Mattá?” ʿAddās replied: “How do you know Yūnus ibn Mattá? By Allāh, I left Nīnwá and there are not even ten people there who know of Mattá. Where have you heard of Mattá? For you an illiterate man, from an illiterate nation.” So the Prophet (ﷺ) said to him: “He was a prophet just as I am a prophet.” Upon this, ʿAddās pounced upon the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) and began kissing his head, hands, and feet. When ʿAddās returned, [the two sons of Rabīʿah] said: “Woe to you ʿAddās! What is the matter with you that you kiss the head of this man and his hands and feet?” He replied: “‘O my master, there is no one on the face of the earth better than this man. He has told me that which no one could have known except for a prophet.”

Then, the Prophet (ﷺ) left al-Ṭāʾif and returned to Makkah in a state of sadness as no man or woman among them answered his call. Zayd ibn Ḥārithah said to him: “How could you enter upon them [the people of Makkah], when they have committed [atrocities, and he began naming the despicable things they had done towards him]? He replied: “O Zayd, Indeed Allāh—the Powerful, the Exalted—shall make from that which you see before you a means of escape and relief from sorrow. Verily, Allāh will grant victory to His religion, and make His prophet apparent.”

Source: Al-Jawāb al-Ṣaḥīh 1:389-392
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: January 18, 2023
Edited: February 7, 2023

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