The successes of the Muslim arms, however, attracted every day members of various tribes, particularly those in the vicinity of Medina, to swell the ranks of the followers of the Prophet (Peace be upon him); and "the courteous treatment which the deputations of these various clans experienced from the Prophet (Peace be upon him), his ready attention to their grievances, the wisdom with which he composed their disputes, and the politic assignments of territory by which he rewarded an early declaration in favour of Islam, made his name to be popular and spread his fame as a great and generous prince throughout the Peninsula."
It is not un-frequently happened that one member of a tribe would come to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in Medina and return home as a missionary of Islam to convert his brethren; we have the following account of such a conversion in the year 5 (A.H.).
The Banu Sa'd b. Bakr sent one of their number, by name Dimam b. Tha'labah as their envoy to the Prophet (Peace be upon him). He came and made his camel kneel down at the gate of the mosque and tied up its fore-leg. Then he went into the mosque, where the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was sitting with his companions. He went up close to them and said, "Which among you is the son of 'Abd al-Muttalib? " "I am," replied the Prophet (Peace be upon him). "Art thou Muhammad?" "Yes," was the answer. "Then, if thou wilt not take it amiss, I would fain ask thee some weighty questions." "Nay, ask what thou wilt," answered the Prophet (Peace be upon him), "I adjure thee by Allah, thy God and the God of those who were before thee and of those who are to come after thee, hath Allah sent thee as a Prophet unto us?" Muhammad (Peace be upon him) answered, "Yea, by Allah." He continued, "I adjure thee by Allah, thy God and the God of those who were before thee and of those who are to come after thee, hath He commanded thee to bid us worship Him Alone, and to associate naught else with Him and to abandon these idols that our fathers worshipped?" Muhammad (Peace be upon him) answered, "Yea, by Allah." Then he questioned the Prophet concerning all the ordinances of Islam, one after another, prayer and fasting, pilgrimage, etc., solemnly adjuring him as before. At the end he said, "Then I bear witness that there is no God save Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah, and I will observe these ordinances and shun what thou hast forbidden, adding nothing thereto, and taking nothing away." Then he turned away and loosened his camel and returned unto his own people, and when he had gathered them together, the first words he spoke unto them were: "Vile things are Lat and 'Uzza." They cried out, "Hold! Dimam, take heed of leprosy or madness!" "Fie on you!" he replied. "By Allah! they can neither work you weal nor woe, for Allah has sent a Prophet and revealed to him a book, whereby he delivers you from your evil plight; I bear witness that there is no God save Allah alone and that Muhammad is His servant and His Prophet; and I have brought you tidings of what he enjoins and what he forbids." The story goes on that ere nightfall there was not a man or woman in the camp who had not accepted Islam.
Another such missionary was 'Amr b. Murrah, belonging to the tribe of the Banu Juhaynah, who dwelt between Medina and the Red Sea. The date of his conversion was prior to the Flight, in the same year (A.H. 5), and he thus describes it: "We had an idol that we worshipped, and I was the guardian of its shrine. When I heard of the Prophet, I broke it in pieces and set off to Muhammad, where I accepted Islam and bore witness to the truth, and believed on what Muhammad (Peace be upon him) declared to be allowed and forbidden. And to this my verses refer: 'I bear witness that God is Truth and that I am the first to abandon the gods of stones, and I have girded up my loins to make my way to you over rough ways and smooth, to join myself to him who in himself and for his ancestry is the noblest of men, the apostle of the Lord whose throne is above the clouds.'' He was sent by Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to preach Islam to his tribe, and his efforts were crowned with such success that there was only one man who refused to listen to his exhortations.
When the truce of Hudaybiyyah (A.H. 6) made friendly relations with the people of Mecca possible, many persons of that city, who had had the opportunity of listening to the teaching of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in the early days of his mission, and among them some men of great influence, came out to Medina, to embrace the faith of Islam.
The continual warfare carried on with the people of Mecca had hitherto kept the tribes to the south of that city almost entirely outside the influence of the new religion. But this truce now made communications with southern Arabia possible, and a small band from the tribe of the Banu Daws came from the mountains that form the northern boundary of Yaman, and joined themselves to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in Medina. Even before the appearance of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), there were some members of this tribe who had had glimmerings of a higher religion than the idolatry prevailing around them, and argued that the world must have had a creator, though they knew not who he was; and when Muhammad (Peace be upon him) came forward as the apostle of this Creator, one of these men, by name Tufayl b. 'Amr, came to Mecca to learn who the creator was.
Though warned by the Quraysh of the dangerous influence that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) might exercise over him if he entered into conversation with him, he followed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to his house one day, after watching him at prayer by the Ka'bah. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) expounded to him the doctrines of Islam, and Ṭufayl left Mecca full of zeal for the new faith. On his return home he succeeded in converting his father and his wife, but found his fellow-tribesmen unwilling to abandon their old idolatrous worship. Disheartened at the ill-success of his mission, he returned to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and besought him to call down the curse of God on the Banu Daws; but Muhammad (Peace be upon him) encouraged him to persevere in his efforts, saying, "Return to thy people and summon them to the faith, but deal gently with them." At the same time he prayed, "Oh God! guide the Banu Daws in the right way." The success of Ṭufayl's propaganda was such that in the year A.H. 7 he came to Medina with between seventy and eighty families of his tribesmen who had been won over to the faith of Islam, and after the triumphal entry of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) into Mecca, Ṭufayl set fire to the block of wood that had hitherto been venerated as the idol of the tribe.
In A.H. 7, fifteen more tribes submitted to the Prophet and after the surrender of Mecca in A.H. 8, the ascendancy of Islam was assured, and those Arabs who had held aloof, saying, "Let Muhammad and his fellow-tribesmen fight it out; if he is victorious, then is he a genuine Prophet," now hastened to give in their allegiance to the new religion. Among those who came in after the fall of Mecca were some of the most bitter persecutors of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in the earlier days of his mission, to whom his noble forbearance and forgiveness now gave a place in the brotherhood of Islam. The following year witnessed the martyrdom of 'Urwah b. Mas'ud, one of the chiefs of the people of Ta'if, which city the Muslims had unsuccessfully attempted to capture. He had been absent at that time in Yaman, and returned from his journey shortly after the raising of the siege. He had met the Prophet (Peace be upon him) two years before at Hudaybiyyah, and had conceived a profound veneration for him, and now came to Medina to embrace the new faith. In the ardour of his zeal he offered to go to Ta'if to convert his fellow-countrymen, and in spite of the efforts of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to dissuade him from so dangerous an undertaking, he returned to his native city, publicly declared that he had renounced idolatry, and called upon the people to follow his example. While he was preaching, he was mortally wounded by an arrow, and died giving thanks to God for having granted him the glory of martyrdom. A more successful missionary effort was made by another follower of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in Yaman—probably a year later—of which we have the following graphic account: "The apostle of God wrote to al-Harith and Masruh, and Nu'aym b. 'Abd al-Kulal of Himyar: ' Peace be upon You so long as ye believe on God and His apostle. God is One God, there is no partner with Him. He sent Moses with his signs, and created Jesus with his words. The Jews say, "Ezra is the Son of God," and the Christians say, "God is one of three, and Jesus is the Son of God." He sent the letter by 'Ayyash b. Abi Rabi'ah al-Makhzumi, and said: 'When you reach their city, go not in by night, but wait until the morning; then carefully perform your ablutions, and pray with two prostrations, and ask God to bless you with success and a friendly reception, and to keep you safe from harm. Then take my letter in your right hand, and deliver it with your right hand into their right hands, and they will receive it. And recite to them, "The unbelievers among the people of the Book and the polytheists did not waver," etc. (Surah al-Baiyinah 98:1), to the end of the Surah; when you have finished, say, "Muhammad has believed, and I am the first to believe." And you will be able to meet every objection they bring against you, and every glittering book that they recite to you will lose its light. And when they speak in a foreign tongue, say, "Translate it," and say to them, "God is sufficient for me; I believe in the Book sent down by Him, and I am commanded to do justice among you; God is our Lord and your Lord; to us belong our works, and to you belong your works; there is no strife between us and you; God will unite us, and unto Him we must return." If they now accept Islam, then ask them for their three rods, before which they gather together to pray, one rod of tamarisk that is spotted white and yellow, and one knotted like a cane, and one black like ebony. Bring the rods out and burn them in the market-place.' So I set out," tells 'Ayyash, "to do as the Apostle of God had bid me. When I arrived, I found that all the people had decked themselves out for a festival: I walked on to see them, and came at last to three enormous curtains hung in front of three doorways. I lifted the curtain and entered the middle door, and found people collected in the courtyard of the building. I introduced myself to them as the messenger of the Apostle of God, and did as he had bidden me; and they gave heed to my words, and it fell out as he had said."
In A.H. 9 a deputation of thirteen men from the Banu Kilab, a branch of the Banu 'Amir b. Sa'sa'ah, came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and informed him that one of his followers, Dahhak b. Sufyan, had come to them, reciting the Qur'an and teaching the doctrines of Islam, and that his preaching had won over their tribe to the new faith. Another branch of the same tribe, the Banu Ru'as b. Kilab, was converted by one of its members, named 'Amr b. Malik, who had been to Medina and accepted Islam, and then returned to his fellow tribes and persuaded them to follow his example.
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