After he had made the supplication, Muhammad (PBUH) looked up. He saw a cloud providing shade to him and in that cloud was seated the Angel Jibril (Gabriel). Jibril said,
"Allah has heard what your community has said and He had also witnessed what the people of
Ta'if had done to you. He has sent you the Angel who is entrusted with the mountains. Whatever you command, he will carry it
The Angel who is entrusted with the mountains approached Muhammad (PBUH) and said,
"O Muhammad, I am the Angle of Mountains. I am at your command. If you command me I shall destroy this town by smashing it with the Mountain Akhshab.Ó"
At this moment of trial, what the Prophet of mercy had to say simply surprised the Angel. The Prophet
(PBUH) said, "I beg forgiveness for them. Even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from Allah that there will emerge from there a people submissive unto Him who will not associate any partners to
No man has ever uttered such words for those who caused so much suffering. But such was the person Muhammad
(PBUH). No wonder that he is described in the Qur'an as the Rahmatal-lil 'alameen -- the mercy to the entire universe
In later years, when asked by his wife A'isha (R) if there was ever a more troubling moment in his life than that of Uhud, the Prophet
(PBUH) replied, "I had the most troubling time in Ta'if."
It was all too natural for the Prophet of Islam to forgive all his tormentors on the day of the conquest of Makkah some ten years later. After entering the city of his birth from where he was forced to flee, Muhammad
(PBUH) performed the ritual tawaf (encircling of the Ka'bah) on his camel, surrounded by the Muslims. When he had finished, he said, 'There no divinity except Allah and He has no partner. Men and women of Quraysh be not proud for all are equal; we are all the sons of Adam, and Adam was made of dust.' Then he recited this verse to them:
O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes so that you may know each another. Surely the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is All-knowing, All-aware.
After this he said to them: 'O Quraysh, what do you think I am going to do to you?' The people thought carefully before answering because they knew that according to the laws of war they could all be taken prisoners. They also knew, however, that the Prophet Muhammad
(PBUH) was generous, so they replied, 'You will treat us as a kind nephew and a generous brother would.' To this he replied with the words used by the Prophet Joseph when his brothers came to Egypt: 'God forgives you and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.' Later the Prophet
(PBUH) went to the hill of Safa and there the crowd followed him and surged forward, taking his hand one by one, to declare their faith in Islam. He then turned to the Ka'bah and, pointing his staff at the three hundred and sixty-five idols, which were placed there, recited from the
... Truth has come and falsehood has vanished away. Lo! Falsehood is ever bound to vanish.
At this, each idol fell over onto its face. Together with his followers the Prophet
(PBUH) then proceeded to purify the Ka'bah, after which he ordered Bilal (RA), the Abyssinian companion, to climb on top of it and perform the call to prayer.
Since then the call to prayer has been heard five times a day in Makkah. The Ka'bah has served the purpose for which it was built by Abraham thousands of years ago -- as a sanctuary for the worship of Allah, our Creator, and Makkah continues to be the spiritual center of Islam. That nascent faith of Islam has now grown to become the faith of some 1.6 billion people in our planet. No fear-mongering and xenophobia will be able to stop a faith that is global and growing fast.
(Speech delivered at the Ramadan celebration in the Trinity Church, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania on August 28, 2010. The stories are extracted from the
author's upcoming book - The Book of Devotional Stories in Islam, pub. A.S. Noordeen, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.)
Dr Habib Siddiqui has authored nine books. His book: "Democracy, Politics and Terrorism - America's Quest for Security in the Age of
Insecurity" is available at Amazon.com.