The two men raced out of the city, the hooligans at their heels. They hatefully hurled rocks at the two lone travelers, furiously chasing them out of the city, showing no mercy.
By the time the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and his adopted son Zaid bin Harithah had made it out of Taif, the Prophet was bleeding and miserable. Zaid, may God be pleased with him, noticed that there was so much blood in the Prophet?s shoes that his feet were stuck. His visit to the city had garnered no new support for his cause. In fact, the Taifites had treated him with utter disrespect and disgust. Rejection is always painful. But this came at a time when he no longer had the support of his beloved wife Khadija or of his uncle Abu Talib, both of whom had died that same year. It was hard not to feel hopeless, dejected and demoralized.
But at this time, when he felt alone and helpless, he did what those with a vision greater than the present do: he turned to God. Here is a translation of his prayer:
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 receive me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom You have given power over me?
If 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 on their right courses 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?
Hope. The Prophet had hope for the future. He didn't lash out at God for putting him in this situation. Nor did he feel that the way things had turned out at Taif would remain this way or that his cause was no longer worth pursuing.
The Prophet also remained optimistic about the situation and the future. When God sent angels who gave him a choice to destroy the people of Taif for the way they had treated this Messenger of God, his response was this: "No, I hope that God will bring out from their offspring people who worship Him alone and associate no partners with Him."
It was a man born to these abusers of Taif who, within 80 years, brought Islam to South Asia which is now home to almost one-third of all Muslims in the world. The 17-year-old Muhammad bin Qasim was the son of the Thaqafi tribe of Taif, the same city where the Prophet could not find a single believer, but was hopeful that if not they, then their children would find their way to God.
Muhammad bin Qasim was sent to Sind to rescue a few Muslim women detained by a local pirate chief who refused to let them go via diplomatic channels. The chief was Hindu while the population of that area was mostly Buddhist. It was the character of Muhammad bin Qasim which helped open the doors of Islam to the population. I happen to be one of the Muslims whose forefathers were impressed by these children of the Taifite abusers.
May Allah's peace and mercy be on the Prophet who was forgiving to those who abused and tortured him. May His blessing be on the Prophet who remained hopeful while he had less than a 100 people who believed in One God. May his message of mercy touch the hearts of the believers and give hope to those who are under stress.
May we all learn from this great lesson and adopt the two Prophetic traits of hope and optimism in our lives as we witness the miserable situation of Muslims the world over. Let us remember that if we look only at what is today, we don't consider what could be in the future with the Will and Help of Allah.
"Old look-out tower - Taif (5344270938)" by Basheer Olakara - old look-out tower - Taif. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_look-out_tower_-_Taif_(5344270938).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Old_look-out_tower_-_Taif_(5344270938).jpg