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The Battle of Ta'if


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A deputation of the Hawazin consisting of fourteen persons called upon the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). They requested him to take pity on them and return their kinsmen and property. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) replied, “You see the people accompanying me. What I like best is that you come out with the truth. Now tell me, which of the two is dearer to you?” Your children and your women or your property?”

They replied with one voice, “We treasure nothing more than our children and women.”

Now, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) advised them, “Tomorrow morning when I have finished the prayer you get up and say: We ask the Prophet's (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) intercession with the Muslims and the Muslims’ intercession with the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) that our children and women be returned to us.” When they did as told by the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) he gave the reply, “Whatever was appointed to me and the Bani ‘Abdul Muttalib is yours. To others I make a recommendation for you.” Thereupon the Muhajirrin and the Ansaar said, “Whatever share has been given to us is passed on to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam).”

The persons belonging to Bani Tamim, Bani Fazara and Bani Sulaym refused to leave their shares. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said to them, “These fellows have come after accepting Islam. I waited their arrival and gave them choice but preferred nothing to their women and children. Now, if anybody has slaves whom he wants to donate cheerfully, the way is open to him. But if anybody does not want to do so, he may refuse. He who holds a right to such captives shall be given six shares in lieu of each from the first booty Allah grants us.”

Everyone replied, “We give back our shares cheerfully for the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)’s sake.” The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), however, said, “I do not know who among you is contented and who is not. You go back now and your chiefs will tell me correctly about your affairs.” All of them returned the captives, women and children, and not one of them decided to retain his share. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) also offered a garment to every released captive. (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. I, p. 449, Bukhari)


Among the captives rounded up during the battle, the Muslims took Shayma bint Halima S’adiya also into custody. The men taking her captive did not know her although she told them that she was the foster-sister of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), they did not pay any heed to her and treated her roughly.

When Shayma was presented before the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) she said: “O Prophet of God, I am your foster sister.” The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) asked for a proof and she replied, “The bite you gave me at my back when I carried you in my hip. The mark is still there.” The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) accepted the proof and stretched out his robe for her to sit on then treated her courteously. He gave her the choice of living with him in affection and honor or going back to her people with presents. She chose to be reunited with her tribe. She accepted Islam and the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) gave her three bondsmen, a slave girl and some goats. (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. I, p. 449)


After distributing the spoils and captives at J’irrana, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) wore the Ihram needed in performing the lesser pilgrimage for this was the place from where the people going for pilgrimage to Mecca from Ta’if changed into Ihram. After completion of the lesser pilgrimage the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) returned to Madeenah. (Ibn Hisham , Vol. II, p. 500)

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) came back to Madeenah in Dhul Q’ada, 8 A.H.(66)

While the forces were returning from Ta’if, the Prophet of God (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) asked the men to recite: “We are those who revert and repent and worship and glorify our Lord.” Some of the people then asked the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) to call down evil on Thaqif. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) raised his hands to entreat, “O Allah! Guide Thaqif on the right path and bring them here.”

‘Urwa b. Mas’ud al-Thaqafi met the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) while he was on his way back to Madeenah. He became a Muslim and returned to his people inviting them to Islam. He was very popular and enjoyed the esteem of his clansmen but when he broke the news that he had accepted Islam, the people turned against him. They shot arrows at him from all directions until one hit him causing his death.

Thaqif held out for a few months after killing ‘Urwa but after taking counsel among them they reached the conclusion that it would be beyond their power to fight all those tribes which had already taken the oath of allegiance at the hands of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Ultimately, they decided to send a deputation to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam).


When the deputation of Thaqif came to Madeenah, a tent was pitched for them in the Prophet’s mosque. They requested the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) not to destroy their chief deity, the idol of al-Lat, for three years. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) refused: then continued to reduce the period by one year, but the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) remained firm in refusing their request until they finally asked for period of one month after they had returned to their homes. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) again rejected their request and ordered Abu Sufyan and Mughira b. Shu’ba al-Thaqafi to destroy al-Lat. Thereafter the Thaqif asked the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) that they might be excused from offering prayers. To this the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) replied, “Nothing remains of a religion which has no prayer.”

Abu Sufyan and Mughira b. Shu’ba accompanied the deputation of Thaqif when they returned to Ta’if. Mughira smote al-Lat with a pickax and broke it into pieces. Thereupon, the people of Ta’if accepted Islam liberating all of them from paganism. (Zad al-Ma'ad, Vol. I, pp.458-59)


K’ab b. Zuhayr paid a visit to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) after the latter returned to Medinah from Ta’if. K’ab was a poet whose father had also been a versifier. He had composed many satirical poems ridiculing the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) but when he fell on evil days, his brother Bujayr wrote to him that he should better go to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) as a repentant and a sinner and accept Islam. K’ab’s brother also warned him of the dire consequences of disregarding his advice. K’ab at last, came to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and composed the famous panegyric ode praising the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) beginning with Banat Su’ad. (Meaning Su'ad has departed)

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