Muhammad Ventures into Ta'if

The Reasons Behind Muhammad's Visit to Ta'if:
Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his Ahlul-Bait, had by now spent ten years to preach Islam. But after the death of his wife, Khadija, and his uncle, Abu Talib, it appeared that the Quraysh would even wrest from his hands the limited success that he had in converting 170 men in Mecca. Mecca was inhospitable to Islam and here, the life of Muhammad was in grave danger. Prophet Muhammad sensed that he ought to preach the new faith in some other city. The nearest city was Ta’if, 70 miles in the south-east of Mecca, and he went there in late 619 along with Zayd bin Haritha.

In Ta’if, Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, called on the three chiefs of the local tribes, and invited them to Islam, to acknowledge the Oneness of Allah, and to believe in the equality and brotherhood of all men.

The Reception At Ta'if:

The chieftains of Ta’if were a conceited and arrogant, and they did not want even to listen to Muhammad. They ridiculed him and made a mockery of him and set upon him the anti-social elements of the city. They pelted stones at Muhammad and Zayd.

Wounded and covered with blood, Muhammad staggered out of Ta’if and he almost collapsed outside the city walls, where a certain gardener took him into his hut, dressed his wounds, and let him rest and recover until he gathered enough strength to resume his journey across the rough terrain between Ta’if and Mecca.

No safety upon return in Mecca:
But when Muhammad drew near to Mecca, he sensed that he could not reenter his native city now that his uncle, Abu Talib, was not there to protect him. He realized that if he entered Mecca, he would be killed.

Muhammad sent message to three nobles in the city seeking each of them to take him under his protection. Two of them refused but the third one –Mutim ibn Adiy – responded to him. Mutim had, earlier, flouted the chiefs of Quraysh by tearing into pieces their covenant to boycott the Banu Hashim, and had brought the two clans of Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib from the Sh’ib Abu Talib back into the city.

Next morning, Mutim ibn Adi, his sons and nephews went fully armed to the public square of the Kaaba, and announced that Mohammed was under their protection. The protection of Mutim ibn Adi enabled the Apostle of Allah, Muhammad to return to Mecca.
None of the Meccan chieftains from whom Muhammad requested protection for safe entry into the city would extend him help; but a good-hearted pagan chief, al-Mut’im ibn-Adi, took him under his protection and brought him home. Thus did Muhammad re-enter Mecca - guarded by a polytheist!
Why believers deserted Muhammad?
The request of Muhammad Mustafa, the Apostle of Allah, upon his return from Ta’if, to Mutim ibn Adiy, a non-Muslim, seeking his protection, raises once again, a most uncomfortable question on the attitude and conduct of the Muslims.

Why didn’t the Apostle ask any of the Muslims to take him under his protection even though some of them were said to have been rich and influential, and some others were touted to have been the terror of the pagans? Why is it that the Apostle sought the protection of a non-Muslim but didn’t consider even to inform the Muslims that he wanted to reenter Mecca and was in need of protection?

Or why didn’t the Muslims themselves go to the city gate and escort their Prophet to his home? They did not do anything that would show that they had any anxiety for Muhammad's personal safety.

Chivalry and heroism were personified in Mutim ibn Adi, Abul Bukhtari and a few others. Even Muslims ought to acknowledge their debt of gratitude to them. After all it were they who dared the Quraysh in some of the most critical moments of the life of the Prophet of Islam. They considered it their duty to defend the defenseless.

The failure at Ta’if was utterly heart-breaking for the Prophet. The progress of Islam had come to a halt, and its future looked bleak. But did Muhammad never despaired of Allah’s boundless mercy. He knew that Allah would lead him out of the wilderness of hopelessness and helplessness to the destination of success and felicity.

It was in one of the darkest and most bitterest moments in his life that Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, was elevated by Allah to the highest heavens, perhaps in recognition of his refusal to accept defeat and failure in the line of duty. Allah honored His Messenger with Isra’ and Me’raj. Isra’ is his nocturnal journey from "the Sacred Mosque" to "the Distant Mosque" (Masjid el-Aqsa); and Me’raj is his ascension to the Heaven. Isra’ is referred to in the first verse of the 17th chapter of the Holy Qur'an as follows:

Glory to Allah who did take His slave for a journey by night from the sacred mosque to the farthest mosque whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our signs: for He is One who heareth and seeth all things.

Isra’ and Me’raj took place on the night of the 27th of Rajab in the 12th year of the Proclamation, a year before the Migration of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina.