During the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (sa) stay in Makkah when he was distressed by the constant refusal and persistent opposition to his mission, he planned to go to Ta’if under God’s command. There he faced the worst torment and torture of his life. Once Hazrat A’ishah (ra) asked him, if he had ever faced greater agony than during the Battle of Uhud (when he was badly wounded).
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) replied, ‘O A’ishah (ra), I have undergone a great deal of torment by the hands of your people. The worst day of my agony was, when I went to the chief of Ta’if, Abd Ya Lail and sought his assistance in preaching. He refused to help, set the vagrants of the town to follow me and to throw stones on me. When I returned my feet were covered in blood, I returned from there in a very sad state.’ On this occasion the anguished prayer of our master shows the extent of the pain which he suffered. This prayer shows how defenceless he felt and the cup of patience of this courageous prophet was running over.
He incited God’s sensitivity for the honour of His prophets in the words, ‘O God, to whom shall I relate my state of weakness, frailty, pain and anxiety except You? I have little patience left. I do not see any solution to my predicament. I am humiliated and disgraced among the people. Your attribute is the Most Merciful of all who show mercy. You have shown mercy on me. Would You hand me over to my enemy who would destroy me, if you are not angry with me? I am not at all apprehensive of any one.’
When he reached the place called Qarn al-Tha’alib, he recovered. He looked towards the sky and heard the angel Gabriel (as) saying that God had responded to his prayers. The angel Gabriel(as) greeted him and said, ‘O Muhammad, what is your wish? If you wish, I will make these two mountains to fall on the valley and destroy it completely.’
Despite the fact that these measures of destruction of the enemy were available, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) did not want them to be destroyed. He replied ‘Do not do this, I hope God will raise such people from their progeny who would worship One God and would not associate partners with Him.’
He not only desisted from praying against them, he compassionately prayed in favour of them:
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ قَوْمِيْ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
‘O Allah, guide my people as they know not.’ This is an incident of the times of helplessness and vulnerability in which the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) received the worst pain of his life. Even in this situation he prayed for mercy and guidance of those people. When Makkah was conquered and he had the power to destroy Ta’if completely even at that time he sought God’s mercy for them.
When the Muslim army marched towards Ta’if and the people of Ta’if decided to fight by blockading themselves in a castle and rained arrows on the Muslims encamped in an open plain. The companions could not help and requested the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa), ‘The arrows of Thaqif tribe are causing us great harm, please pray against them.’
Even in the face of great hostility and brutality and possessing the power to punish them, our Holy master’s mercy and kindness prevailed. He replied:
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ ثَقِيْفًا
‘O Allah, guide the people of Thaqif tribe of the valley of Ta’if.’ This prayer from the depth of his heart was accepted by God and in the year 9th Hijrah, the people of Ta’if came to Madinah and accepted Islam.
Muhammad (sa)– The Perfect Man (Qadian, India: Nazarat Isha’at, 2015), 152-155.