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How did the prophet try to convey his message to others?

The communication of the Divine Message was the most essential characteristic of God�s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. We are troubled whenever we are hungry or thirsty, or when we have difficulty in breathing; but he was troubled if a day passed when he could not find someone to whom he could convey the Divine Message. He was so concerned about the guidance of people, and so physically pained by unbelief, that God advised him to be careful of his health, saying:

Well, [O Muhammad] it may be that you will kill yourself, following after them, with grief that they do not believe in this Message. (al-Kahf, 18.6)

There was nobody left in Makka whom God�s Messenger had not invited in public or in private to God�s path. He had called some, like Abu Jahl who was extremely stubborn, at least fifty times. One of those whom he particularly desired should believe was his beloved uncle Abu Talib, who protected him against the cruelties of the Makkan polytheists. In the eleventh year of his Prophethood, when Abu Talib was on his death-bed, God�s Messenger again invited him to belief, but the Makkan chiefs surrounded him so as to prevent his embracing Islam. God�s Messenger was so grieved at Abu Talib�s unbelief that he said:

I will ask forgiveness from God for you as long as I am not forbidden to.2

A verse was revealed some time later, forbidding him to do this:

It is not fitting for the Prophet and those who believe that they should invoke (God) for the forgiveness of the polytheists, even though they be near of kin (to them) after it has become clear to them that they are companions of the Fire. (al-Tawba, 9.113)

Abu Bakr, the closest Companion of the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, knew how much God�s Messenger had desired his uncle�s belief. He took his aged father to God�s Messenger upon his conversion on the day of the conquest of Makka, and doing so, sobbed bitterly. When asked why he was sobbing, he explained:

O God�s Messenger, I desired very much that my father should believe, and now he has believed. But I desired the belief of Abu Talib even more than that because you desired it. However, God did not grant him belief. That is why I am weeping.3

His invitation of Wahshi to Islam

One of the best examples of the Messenger�s concern was his invitation to Wahshi, who had killed his beloved uncle, Hamza, in the Battle of Uhud. After the conquest of Makka, God�s Messenger sent for him to accept Islam, but the latter returned the invitation with a letter, including the following verses:

And those who invoke not with God any other deity, nor kill a soul that God has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse � whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled on him on the Day of Judgement and he will abide therein forever in disgrace. (al-Furqan, 25.68�9)

After the verse Wahshi added:

You invite me to accept Islam, but I have committed all these sins mentioned in the verse. I have lived immersed in unbelief, had illegal sexual intercourse and, in addition, killed your uncle, who was most beloved by you. Will a man like me be forgiven that he should become a Muslim?�

God�s Messenger sent him a written reply containing the following verse:

Surely, God forgives not that partners should be associated with Him, but He forgives save that (anything else) to whom He wills. Whoever associates partners with God, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. (al-Nisa�, 4.48)

Wahshi returned the letter with the excuse that the forgiveness promised in the verse depended on God�s Will. Upon this, God�s Messenger sent him a third letter in which the following verse was included:

Say: �O My slaves who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of God. Surely God forgives all sins. Truly, He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Compassionate.� (al-Zumar, 39.53)

Through this correspondence, God�s Messenger had, in fact, affected Wahshi�s heart and made it propitious for belief so that Wahshi could become a referent of the verse included in the last letter. He had enabled Wahshi to repent sincerely of his previous sins and elevated him to the rank of being a Companion.4 Nevertheless, the martyrdom of Hamza had affected God�s Messenger so deeply that he whispered to Wahshi:

Will you try not to present yourself to me too often; it may happen that I will remember Hamza, and may be unable to show you the proper affection.

Wahshi did try to keep out of sight of God�s Messenger. He used to stand behind a pole and try to catch a glimpse of God�s Messenger in the hope that he might allow him to present himself to him. However, it was not long before God�s Messenger passed away and Wahshi set out to find an opportunity to make up for having killed Hamza. So, when the war of Yamamah broke out against Musaylimah the Liar, he hastened to the front with the spear with which he had killed Hamza. At the most critical point of the fighting, he saw Musaylima trying to flee and, straight away, threw his spear at the impostor. This was the end of Musaylima, and Wahshi prostrated himself before God.5 While tears were flowing from his eyes, he was as if saying : �Will you now allow me to show myself to you, O God�s Messenger?�

We cannot but wish that God�s Messenger was present in spirit at Yamama and embraced him to show his pardon and full admission into his noble company.

Ikrima�s conversion

Another fine example of God�s Messenger�s nobility and altruism, his love for mankind and concern about people's guidance, is his acceptance of Ikrima as a Companion. Ikrima was one of the most bitter enemies of Islam and the Messenger. He had participated in all the plots against Islam and its noble Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings. He fled to the Yemen with his wife on the day Makka was conquered while many of his comrades chose conversion. His wife, Umm Hakam, convinced him to go to God�s Messenger and ask forgiveness. Despite his previous crimes, Ikrima was welcomed by God�s Messenger with the compliment: Welcome, O emigrant rider! After the conquest of Makka, there was no longer any �emigration� in the true sense, but God�s Messenger, upon him be peace, alluded, by this compliment, to his long journey from the Yemen to Madina.

Ikrima was deeply affected by the nobility of God�s Messenger and requested him to ask God�s pardon for his sins. When the Messenger did so, Ikrima felt exhilarated and promised the Messenger that he would spend for the sake of Islam the double of what he had spent in fighting against it.

Ikrima fulfilled his promise at the Battle of Yarmuk. He was wounded there and taken to a tent. On seeing his wife weep beside him, he said to her: �Don�t weep, for I will not die before I witness the victory.�

Some time later his uncle, Hisham, entered the tent and announced the good news that God had granted the Muslims victory. Ikrima asked to be helped to stand up, and when they did so, whispered: �O God�s Messenger, have I carried out the promise I gave you?�

Then, he recited the verse, Make me die as a Muslim and join me to the righteous (Yusuf, 12.101), and submitted his soul to God.6

God�s Messenger grieved throughout his life for the misfortunes of mankind

God�s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, grieved throughout his life for the misfortunes of mankind. There was no rest for him, and he called people to God�s way all the time. During his years in Makka, he walked in streets and visited the fairs held every year around Makka, in the hope of gaining a few converts. Insults, derision and torture were not able to to make him forsake the communication of his Message. When the verse, Warn your tribe of the nearest kindred (al-Shu�ara�, 26.214) was revealed, he invited his nearest relatives to his house for a meal. �Ali, the son of Abu Talib, later narrated the incident as follows:

God�s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, invited his relatives to his house. After the meal, he addressed them and said: God has commanded me to warn my nearest relatives. You are my tribe of the nearest kindred. I will not be able to do anything for you in the Hereafter unless you proclaim that �there is no deity but God�. At the end of his speech, he asked them who among them would support him in his cause. I was, at that time, a boy with puny legs and arms. When I saw that no one responded to God�s Messenger, I put aside the pitcher in my hand and declared: �I will, O Messenger of God!� The Messenger repeated the call three times and each time no one, except me, answered him.7

God�s Messenger continued to convey his Message without being tired and daunted. He met reactions of the harshest kind: he was derided, degraded and beaten; he was expelled from fairs, and he was stoned in Ta�if. Years passed until he met, in the twelfth year of his mission, at �Aqabah, outside Makka, with a group of people from Madina. He communicated his Message to them, and they accepted Islam. The following year, seventy people from Madina became Muslims at the same place. These new Muslims took the oath of allegiance to God�s Messenger and promised to support him if he emigrated to Madina. This was the beginning of a new phase in the life of God�s Messenger. He appointed Mus�ab ibn �Umayr to teach them Islam. When he emigrated to Madina the following year, there was left no house without, at least, one convert.8

2. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, 3.153.

3. Ibn Hisham, Sira, 4.48; Ibn Hanbal, 3.160; I. Hajar, al-Isaba, 4.116.

4. Haythami, Majma� al-Zawa�id, 7.100�1.

5. Bukhari, Maghazi, 21; Ibn Hisham, Sira, 3.76�7.

6. Hakim, Mustadrak, 3.241�3; I. Hajar, al-Isaba, 2.496.

7. I. Hanbal, 1.159; Haythami, 8.302�3.

8. I. Hisham, Sira, 2.73.


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