The Year of Grief
Khadijah bint Khuwaylid and Abu Talib died in the same year: the tenth year of Prophethood. The Prophet’s grief was deep. He was keenly aware that he was left not only without a caring wife, but also without a protector. His pagan enemies saw in the death of Abu Talib an opportunity to harm and persecute him. The neighbours of the Prophet (pbuh) who were opposed to him, under the leadership of Abu Jahl and his wife Umm Jameel, intensified their attacks against him. The Prophet (pbuh) used to remove the dirty refuse, which they repeatedly threw into his courtyard and in front of his door.
The year in which Khadijah and Abu Talib died became known as Aam al-Huzn (the Year of Grie) because of the great loss to the already persecuted Prophet (pbuh).
The believers shared in the Prophet’s sorrow, but they were too weak and too oppressed to provide the kind of protection Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) had lost due to the death of Abu Talib.
The Prophet (pbuh) soon renewed his efforts to proclaim his Lord’s commands to “rise and warn”. But the Quraysh were adamant. They refused to have anything to do with lslam. The stubbornness of the Quraysh continued to increase. Some other place had to be found now where people would be more responsive to Allah’s Call.
The Trip to At-Taif
The Prophet’s hope for support was directed to At-Taif, which was a green, beautiful city, not very far from Makkah. Accompanied by Zayd ibn Haarithah, his freed slave, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) left for At Taif, only a few weeks after the death of Khadijah and Abu Talib. It was the month of Shawwal in the tenth year of Prophethood
At-Taif, whose people worshipped idols, was populated by the Thaqeef, the second largest tribe in Arabia. As he began his journey, the Prophet (pbuh) was full of hope
Once he went straight to a leading family in the city. They were Abd Yaleel, Mas’ud and Habeeb the sons of Amr ibn Umayr. The three men were extremely rude in their rejection of the Prophet’s call to Islam. The first one said, “I will tear the covering of the Ka’bah if it was true that Allah had chosen you as His Messenger.”
The second said, “Did Allah not find anyone else to be His Messenger?” The third said, “I do not want to talk to you. If it is true that you are Allah’s Messenger, you are too great for me to speak to you. If you are lying, then you are not worth answering.”
He stayed there for ten days calling people to Islam, but without success. To hasten his departure, people among the rabble of the city hurled abuse at him and even threw stones at him until his feet began to bleed. Zayd did his best to shield him. He received a painful wound in his head. The mob continued to chase the Prophet (pbuh) and his companion until they were driven to the outskirts of the city. There the Prophet (pbuh) and Zayd took shelter in a vineyard which belonged to Utbah and Shaybah, who were the sons of Rabee’ah. There he prayed to Allah for help and support, using touching words.
When Utbah and Shaybah saw the Prophet (pbuh) weary and bleeding, they were moved to pity. They sent their slave Addaas with a tray of fresh grapes. Addaas was a Christian and belonged to Nineveh. He was deeply impressed by the noble character of the Prophet (pbuh) and by his prayers when he received and ate the grapes. When the Prophet (pbuh) learnt that Addaas was from Nineveh, he mentioned the Prophet Yunus. The mention of the Prophet Yunus completely won the heart of Addaas so much so that he kissed the Prophet’s hands.
The Long Journey Back Home
Heart-broken, the Prophet (pbuh) and Zayd (as) set out on the way back to Makkah. When he reached Qarn Al-Manaazil, Allah sent Jibraeel along with the Angel of the Mountains, who asked his permission to bury Makkah between Al-Akshabayn, the two mountains flanking Makkah. The kind-hearted Prophet (pbuh) replied, “No, I hope Allah will bring forth from them those who will worship Allah alone and will not associate anything with Him.”
The Prophet (pbuh) proceeded to Waadee Nakhlah where he stayed for a few days. One night, when he stood up to offer the night prayer, a huge crowd of jinn, who were attracted by the beautiful verses of the Quran, gathered to listen to his recitation of the Quran Completely lost in this recitation, he was unaware of the extraordinary gathering around him.
Angel Jibreel gave him the news of the extraordinary event that was taking place in Waadee Nakhlah. Surat al-Jinn (Surah 72) was revealed to him. Allah had caused a company of jinn to come to the Prophet (pbuh) and listened to the Quran. When it was finished, they returned to their folk and asked them to believe and follow what they had heard from Allah’s Messenger (pbuh).
After leaving Waadee Nakhlah, the Prophet (pbuh) stopped at Hira. He sent a message to Mut’im ibn Adi, a notable in Makkah, and asked him if it was possible to give him his protection. Mut’im instantly agreed. He called his sons and asked them to take their weapons and assemble near the Kabah, when they had assembled, Mut’im called out loudly that he had given protection to the Prophet (pbuh) and that whoever harmed him would have to face the consequences.
So the Prophet (pbuh) managed to enter Makkah safely. After visiting the House of Allah, he went home in peace.