By Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
52. The Events of the Ninth Year of Migration
The eighth year of migration, with all its joys and sorrows, came to an end and the greatest base of polytheism fell into the hands of the Muslims. The Prophet of Islam returned to Madina after achieving complete victory and the military power of Islam spread all over Arabia. The rebellious Arab tribes, who had never thought before, that Islam would achieve such a victory, now began to think gradually that they should get nearer to the Muslims and should adopt their religion. In view of this the representatives of different Arab tribes and at times their groups headed by their chiefs had the honor to present themselves before the Prophet and to express their faith in Islam. During 9 A.H. so many representatives of the tribes came to Madina that it began to be called the year of deputations.
On one occasion a group comprising persons belonging to Tayyi’ tribe came to see the Prophet under the leadership of Zaydul Khayl. Zayd began talking in the capacity of the chief of the tribe and the Prophet wondered at his coolness and intelligence. He said about him:
“I have met well-known personalities of Arabia and have found them of lesser qualities than what I had heard about them, but I have found Zayd better than what he is renowned to be. It would be better if he is called Zaydul Khayr (Zayd the good) instead of Zaydul Khayl “.621
Demolition of the Idol-Temple
It was the foremost and basic duty of the Prophet of Islam to propagate the religion of monotheism and to eradicate polytheism totally. In order to reform the misguided persons and the idol worshippers, therefore, he, resorted, in the first instance, to argument and logic and tried, with forceful arguments to make them understand the absurdity of polytheism. In case, however he found that his logic cut no ice with them and they continued to be head-strong and obstinate, he considered himself entitled to use force against these spiritual invalids, who were not amenable to reason.
If during these times cholera breaks out in some part of the country and some persons decline to be vaccinated on account of lack of foresight, the Health Department of the State considers itself entitled to vaccinate such persons by force in order to ensure their safety as well as that of others from this contagious disease.
The Prophet of Islam had learnt in the light of the Heavenly teachings that idol-worship is like the germs of cholera. It destroys virtue, excellence and good morals, and, pulling down man from his high status, makes him humble even as compared with stones, clay and other inferior beings. He was, therefore, appointed by Allah to eradicate the disease of polytheism, to abolish all sorts of idol-worship, and to use force against those who stood up to oppose him in the discharge of Divine mission.
The military superiority of Islam provided an opportunity to the Prophet of Islam to depute parties to different parts of the Hijaz to destroy all idol-temples and not to spare even one idol in this region.
The Prophet had received information earlier that there was a big idol with the tribe of Tayyi’ and some persons still had faith in it. He, therefore, dispatched Ali, his wise and experienced officer along with one hundred and fifty mounted soldiers to go and pull down the idol-temple and to break the idol. The Commander of the Faithful came to know that the said tribe would oppose the action of the army of Islam and the matter would not be settled without warfare. He, therefore, attacked, early in the morning, the spot where the idol was placed and achieved complete success in the performance of his mission. He also arrested some persons belonging to the opposing group and took them to Madina as a part of war booty. Adyy bin Hatim, who later joined the ranks of the brave Muslim warriors and held chief ship of that area after his generous and noble-minded father Hatim, narrates the story of his flight in these words:
“Before embracing Islam I was a Christian and had enmity against the Prophet of Islam on account of the adverse propaganda which had been carried on against him. I was also not unaware of the great successes of Islam in the Hijaz and was certain that one day its power would also reach the area of Tayyi’, of which I was the ruler. However, as I did not wish to forsake my religion and did not also like to fall a prisoner in the hands of the Muslims, I had ordered my slaves to keep the camels ready for journeying so that whenever I was faced with danger I should immediately proceed to Syria and get beyond the approach of the Muslims.”
In order that I might not be caught unawares I had posted sentries at different points of the highways, so that they might inform me as and when they saw dust rose by the march of the army of Islam, or observed the signs of their standards.
One day one of my slaves came all of a sudden, gave the alarm and informed me about the advance of the army of Islam. On that very day I, accompanied by my wife and children, proceeded to Syria, which was the centre of Christianity in the East. My sister, the daughter of Hatim, remained with the tribe and was arrested.
After her being transferred to Madina my sister was kept under detention in a house near the Masjidun Nabi where all other prisoners were also accommodated. She has related her story thus: One day, while the Prophet was going to offer prayers in the mosque, he chanced to pass by the house where the prisoners had been accommodated. I availed of the opportunity and standing opposite the Prophet said to him:
“O Prophet of Allah! My father is dead and my guardian has disappeared. Do me a favour. Allah will do favour to you.’
The Prophet asked me:
“Who was your guardian?”
“My brother Adyy bin Hatim”.
The Prophet said:
“Is he the same person who ran away from Allah and His Prophet to Syria?”
Then he proceeded to the mosque. On the following day also the same conversation took place between me and the Prophet but it did not produce any result. On the third day I had lost all hope of any such conversation with the Prophet proving fruitful. However, while the Prophet was passing from the same spot I saw a man coming after him. He made a sign to me to get up and repeat the same words which I had spoken on the previous day. The sign made by that man revived my hopes. I therefore got up and repeated the aforesaid sentence before the Prophet for the third time. He replied:
“Don’t be in a hurry to go. I have decided to return you to your place with a reliable person; but for the present the arrangements for your journey are not complete”.
My sister says that the man, who was walking behind the Prophet and had made a sign to her to repeat her words before the Prophet, was Ali, the son of Abu Talib.
One day a caravan which contained some of our kinsmen also, was going from Madina to Syria. My sister requested the Prophet to permit her to go to Syria with that caravan and join her brother. The Prophet acceded to her request and managed all the facilities for her journey. I was sitting in Syria by a window of my residence. Suddenly I saw that a camel stopped at my house. On observing carefully I saw my sister sitting in the litter. I brought her down from the litter and took her in. She began complaining of my leaving her in the area of Tayyi’ and failing to bring her to Syria.
I considered my sister to be a wise and intelligent woman. One day I had a talk with her about the Prophet and enquired from her:
“What is your opinion about him?”
“I have observed excellent virtues and sublime qualities in him and I consider it advisable for you to conclude a pact of friendship with him as early as possible. I say this because, if he be a Prophet of Allah, the superiority will be with him, who expresses his faith in him earlier than others, and if he be an ordinary ruler you will not at all meet any harm from him and will benefit from the power that he possesses.”
Adyy Bin Hatim proceeds to Madina
“My sister’s words impressed me so much that I set my heart on leaving for Madina. On reaching there I went straight to see the Prophet and found him in the mosque. I sat down by his side and introduced myself to him. When the Prophet came to know about me he got up from his place and holding my hand, took me to his house. While we were on the way an old woman came up before him and spoke some words to him. I saw him listening to the old woman attentively and giving replies to her. His high morals impressed me and I said to myself: “He is decidedly not an ordinary ruler”. When we arrived in his house his simple life attracted my attention. He placed at my disposal a mattress made of palm fibers which was available in the house and requested me to sit on it. The topmost person of the territory of the Hijaz, who wielded authority over all powers, sat down on the ground. I was extremely amazed to observe his modesty and realized from his excellent manners, high morals and the respect which he extended to every person, that he was not an ordinary man or a common place kind of ruler.
In the meantime the Prophet turned his face to me and mentioned minute details of the particulars of my life and said; “Were you not a follower of the Rakusi religion?622 I said: “Yes”. Then he asked me: “Why did you appropriate one-fourth of the income of your nation yourself? Did your religion allow you to do this?” I said: “No”. I was convinced, on account of his occult knowledge that he had been sent by Allah.
While I was thinking on these lines he spoke to me for the third time and said: “The poverty and indigence of the Muslims should not restrain you from embracing Islam, because a day is coming when the wealth of the world will flow towards them, and there will be none to collect and retain it. And if the numerical strength of the enemies and the comparative smallness of the numbers of the Muslims prevents you from adopting this faith I swear by Allah that a day is coming when, on account of the prevalence of Islam and a large number of the unprotected Muslim women will come from Qadisia for the pilgrimage of the Ka’bah and none will molest them. And if you observe today that power and authority is in the hands of others, I give you my word that a day will come when the forces of Islam will occupy all these palaces of yours and will conquer Babylon”.
Adyy further says:
“I remained alive and saw that under the security provided by Islam, unprotected women came from far off places for the pilgrimage of the Ka’bah and nobody interfered with them. I also saw that the territory of Babylon was conquered and the Muslims occupied the throne and crown of Kisra. I hope that I shall see the third thing as well i.e. the riches of the world will flow towards Madina and none will be inclined to collect and retain them”.623
621. Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 577.
622. A religion in between Christianity and Sabi’i.
623. Mughazii Waqidi, vol. III, pp. 988 – 989; Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, pp. 578 – 581 and Darajatur Rafi’ah fi Tabaqatish Sh’iah Imamiyah. pp. 352 – 354.