Lessons from the Incident of Taif – The Forgiveness of Prophet Muhammad pbuh
Prophet Muhammad pbuh was very much distressed after the death of Abu Talib and Khadija RA. That year was considered as “THE YEAR OF GRIEF/SORROW [عام الحزن/ Ām al-Ḥuzn]”. When these two beloved personalities were lost. These painful events took place within a short lapse of time and added a lot to his grief and suffering. The Makkans now openly declared their campaign of torture and oppression. The Prophet pbuh lost all hopes of bringing them back to the right path, so he set out for Al-Ta’if, seeking a supportive atmosphere.
Years ago, travelling to Taif from from the city of Makah was very laborious and exhausting. The distance was approximately
80 km. Yet, the Prophet pbuh accomplished this strenuous journey up the rocky path with high hopes; there was no response after a decade of preaching to the people of Makkah, they continued to be hostile and aggressive with the reverted Muslims. The place of Makkah turned out to be a fruitless land for Islam. Hence, the Prophet pbuh decided to approach the people of the neighbouring city of Makkah- Taif, with great concern. Zayd ibn Harithah RA- prophet’s adopted son only accompanied him on the journey to Taif. Sadly, the response he received from the dwellers of Taif is best described as the most tragic incident of his entire life –
“Aisha RA asked the Prophet pbuh ‘Was there ever a day that was worse for you than the Battle of Uhud (where he was severely wounded)? The Prophet replied, ‘Yes, the day of Taif was worse for me than the day of Uhud; that was the most difficult point of my life.”
From the city where the Prophet (pbuh) had great hopes, he received an unforgettable memory of being the worst day of his life – The leader of Taif not only treated him unruly and ridiculed his message but also ordered the slaves, residents as well as the children there to scorn and physically harm the Prophet pbuh they pelted the beloved Messenger pbuh with stones making him literally run to escape from the place. He fled in the state of shock and unconsciousness until he reached a safe spot few miles away from Taif. Tortured, humiliated, tired, injured and profusely bleeding to the extent that his footwear clogged to his feet due to extensive blood.
The Prophet sat down under a tree and raised his hands to connect to the Creator Who is the sole witness of every intention and effort; it is one of the most beautiful Duas of Seerah :
اللهم إليك أشكو ضعف قوتي وقلة حيلتي وهواني على الناس
ياأرحم الراحمين أنت أرحم الراحمين
أنت رب المستضعفين وأنت ربي
إلى من تكلني إلى عدو يتجهمني أم إلى صديق مكلته إمري
إن لم يكن بك غضب علي فلا أبالي ولكن عافيتك هي أوسع لي
أعوذ بنور وجهك الذي أضاءت له السموات و الأرض
وأشرقت له الظلمات وصلح عليه أمر الدنيا والأخره
أن ينزل بي غضبك أو يحل علي سخطك
لك العتبى حتى ترضى ولاحول ولاقوة إلابك
To You, my Lord,
I complain of my weakness,
lack of support and the humiliation I am made to receive.
Most Compassionate and Merciful!
You are the Lord of the weak,
and you are my Lord.
To whom do You leave me?
To a distant person who receives me with hostility?
Or to an enemy You have given power over me?
As long as you are not displeased with me,
I do not care what I face.
I would, however,
be much happier with Your mercy.
I seek refuge in the light of Your face by which
all darkness is dispelled and both this life and the life to come
are put in their right course against incurring your wrath
or being the subject of your anger.
To You I submit,
until I earn Your pleasure.
Everything is powerless without your support.
When we read the above dua with deep understanding then we realise that Prophet Muhammad pbuh was totally shattered and was feeling very low complaining to Allah, not of Allah; but about his own weakness and incapacity he couldn’t convince to the people of Taif. He found peace in approaching the Creator. It’s the Creator Who is ever ready to hear from His creations and in Whose hands is all affairs. Prophet pbuh only wanted to have a consolation from the lord of the world.
Immediately after the Dua of Prophet pbuh a cloud hovers above and angel Jibrail AS descends along with another angel which the Prophet (pbuh) had never seen before. Allah had sent Jibrail along with the angel of mountain to the Messenger’s service.
The angel said, ‘O, Prophet of Allah! I am at your service. If you wish, I can cause the mountains 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 Prophet pbuh still bleeding says ‘No’, rather prays in favour of the people -“Even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from Allah that there will be persons from among their progeny who would worship Allah and serve His cause.”
If the Prophet pbuh willed, there would be no Taif today, but due to the vision and far-sighted mission of the Prophet, the city continues to live and flourishing to this day. The whole region is the now the follower of the Prophet pbuh who endured a great deal of suffering but forgave them and in return prayed for them. This is a great Sunnah of Prophet pbuh to forgive people despite of their arrogant behaviour. The Prophet pbuh was grieved and extremely hurt but he reacted in the most beautiful way – he not only forgot and forgave but prayed for their better future as well. When Angel Jibrail AS came along with the angel of mountain to the Messenger’s service. He controlled his emotions and allowed his side of mercy and forgiveness to overpower his grief and agony thus overlooking what the people of Taif had done to him a couple of minutes ago. We too have to adopt the same attitude of forgiveness what our beloved Prophet pbuh demonstrated it in the toughest situations. There is a great lesson for us to ponder upon.
May Allah bless the whole Humanity with His guidance and Keep us on the path of truth.