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The Holy Prophet's Journey to ±¡’if

The Holy Prophet's Journey to ±¡’if

Seventy-two kilometers away from Mecca, ±¡’if is a countryside with mild weather. It was known for its vineyards in those days.[1] Some of Quraysh’s noblemen had gardens and pastures there. The citizens of ±¡’if were wealthy; they were famous usurers. It was the resort of the strong tribe of Thaq¢f.

After the death of Khad¢jah and Ab£-±¡lib, the tormenting of the Holy Prophet by Quraysh increased and propagating the religion became difficult. However, the invitation to Islam could not be stopped. Therefore, the Holy Prophet decided to journey to ±¡’if in order to invite its people to his religion. He hoped to find some protectors there. On this journey, Zayd ibn °¡rithah[2] and Imam `Al¢[3] accompanied him.

The Holy Prophet met three brothers of the noblemen of Thaq¢f; the wife of one of these three was from a branch of Quraysh, called Ban£-Juma¦.[4] He invited them to Islam and asked them for help. However, they refused and used strong words in reply. He also asked them to keep his journey secret so that the chiefs of Quraysh might not be annoyed. But they did not pay attention to what he said.

The Holy Prophet visited other leaders of ±¡’if as well, but they rejected his invitation and feared that their youth might be inclined towards Islam.[5] The leaders of ±¡’if provoked the rogues, the destitute, and their slaves to curse, humiliate and throw stones at him. In this conflict, some parts of the Holy Prophet's legs were badly hurt and Zayd's head was wounded.

The Holy Prophet headed for a vineyard which belonged to `Utbah and Shaybah, two chiefs of Quraysh, and rested in the shade of a vine, praying to God.

`Utbah and Shaybah, who had been watching the tormenting of the Holy Prophet, sympathized with him; they sent him some grapes through their Christian servant, `Add¡s, who was from Nineveh. While eating the grapes, the Holy Prophet said, “In the Name of Allah.” This statement roused `Add¡s's curiosity. After some conversation through which the Holy Prophet told `Add¡s about his Divine mission, `Add¡s threw himself at the Holy Prophet's feet, kissed his hands and feet,[6] and became Muslim.[7] Having stayed in ±¡’if[8] for ten days and discouraged by the refusal of the Thaq¢f tribe, he returned to Mecca.

Did the Holy Prophet seek Refuge?

It is said that the Holy Prophet, upon his return to Mecca, asked Mu§’im ibn `Ad¢ to give him refuge; he then entered Mecca under his protection. However, with regards to a series of evidence, this seems highly improbable:

(1) How could the Holy Prophet, after ten years of hard struggles and severe confrontations with the idolaters, have accepted the humiliation of asking an idol-worshipper for refuge and asylum while this humiliation he never accepted during his whole life?

(2) Despite the death of Ab£-±¡lib at that time, the rest of Ban£-H¡shim were still on the scene; among them, there were brave individuals like °amzah whom Quraysh feared very much as is shown in their attempts to unite several tribes to murder the Holy Prophet at the night of his emigration to Yathrib.

(3) According to some historical documents, Zayd and Imam `Al¢ accompanied him. So, they were a group of three persons who could depend on themselves and needed no assistance.

(4) The Holy Prophet was one of the bravest Arabs; weakness has never seen on him. Recalling the Holy Prophet's bravery in battles, Imam `Al¢ (a.s) remarks:

When the fire of war was severely kindled, we used to resort to the Holy Prophet; under those circumstances, there was nobody closer to the enemy than he was.[9]

(5) The Holy Prophet severely struggled against the system of tribalism which was the source of his calamity. How could he approve of the tradition of taking refuge which was an offshoot of tribalism? How could he confirm it?

(6) As is reported by Bul¡dhar¢ and Ibn Sa`d, the Holy Prophet's journey to ±¡’if took place at the end of month Shaww¡l. If we accept this report as valid, it means that his stay in ±¡’if and his return to Mecca could have occurred within the sacred month in which bloodshed and molestation are suspended. Thus, there was no danger against the Holy Prophet's life and consequently he did not need any protection.

With regards to these documents, we may infer that the Holy Prophet, on his return from ±¡’if, had entered W¡d¢ Nakhlah before he entered Mecca. On his return, he spent a night there[10] when a group of jinn[11] heard the verses of the Holy Qur'¡n.[12]

[1] Y¡q£t al-°amaw¢, Mu`jam al-Buld¡n 4:9.

[2] ±abar¢, T¡r¢kh al-Umam wa’l-Mul£k 2:230; al-Bul¡dhar¢, Ans¡b al-Ashr¡f 1:237.

[3] Ibn Ab¢’l-°ad¢d, Shar¦ Nahj al-Bal¡ghah 14:97 and 4:127-128.

[4] ±abar¢, op cit, pp. 230; Ibn Hush¡m, Al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah 2:60.

[5] Ibn Sa`d, op cit, pp. 212.

[6] ±abar¢, op cit, 2:230; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 2:62.

[7] Ibn W¡¤i¦, T¡r¢kh al-Ya`q£b¢ 2:30.

[8] Ibn Sa`d, op cit, 1:212; Ibn Ab¢’l-°ad¢d, op cit, 14:91; al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 19:22. It is also reported that the Holy Prophet stayed at ª¡’if more than this period.

[9]Nahj al-Bal¡ghah, pp. 530.

[10] This incident took place at a place between ±¡’if and Mecca. See al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah 3:63.

[11] ±abar¢, op cit, pp. 231; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, pp. 63.

[12] Al-¯a¦¢¦ min S¢rat al-Nab¢ al-A`¨am 2:167-168.

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