Seerah episode 51: The Amazing Story of Tufayl bin ‘Amr from Daws

— Summary of the First 10 years of Nubuwwah (Prophethood)

  • First 3 years of Nubuwwah was private & quiet
  • Then 4 years (when Islam became public) of persecution, torture, assassination attempts, migration to Abyssinia
  • Then 3 years of isolation & exile

— These 7 years were emotionally taxing for both the Prophet & the Believers

  • One of the blessings during those trying times was that non-Muslims led the end of the Boycott of Banu Hashim. They were sympathetic to the sufferings of the Muslims
    • Many Muslims were also receiving protection from the non-Muslims in the community

— Allah continues to provide Prophet with solace & wins

  • Suffering was by no means over. There were more difficult times ahead in the life of the Prophet
    • Year of Sorrow, when both Khadijah & Abu Talib passed away
    • Journey to Ta’if, where the Prophet was stoned
    • Prevented re-entry to Makkah
  • Allah consoles the Prophet, by giving him certain wins here & there. If a person keeps experiencing difficulty without any relief along the way, then that person will become fatigued
  • Surat Yasin talks about this reality to the Prophet, “Decisions have been made that a lot of these people will not believe. But you, Muhammad, are there to warn people who will follow you and congratulate those people with forgiveness & reward.”

— Spiritual fatigue & exhaustion is definitely a reality, because you can’t expect to have high Imaan all the time

  • The Prophets of Allah are perfect, & their spirituality is defined divinely & developed divinely
    • Part of their divine training is acknowledging that they have a task, & they should keep doing that task, knowing full well that it’s going to be difficult along the way
    • Even a Prophet needs small victories along the way to the ultimate goal
  • Allah taught us that even the Prophet needed small victories along the way because of the human reality of adversities
    • E.g. Prophet were consoled with the acceptance of Islam by Hamza & Umar ibn al-Khattab

— In terms of the ummah, none of us are divinely trained or inspired. We take training & inspiration directly from the divine source (the Qur’an), but we are not divinely connected (through revelations)

  • Leadership & scholarship of the community are responsible for the continued spiritual development of the individual & community at varying levels
  • At the higher level, we begin to take things for granted  & we tend to forget that spiritual fatigue & exhaustion is a reality
  • “Oh brother/sister if you were doing it for Allah or if you were sincere, then you’d not be fatigued in your deen.”
    • This rhetoric is contradictory to what Qur’an tells us. This is spiritual blackmail
    • For continued spiritual development, you need small victories, as shown from the Prophet’s life

— Prophet & his Sahaba had just come out from 3 years of trauma, only to deal with even more adversity

— Tufayl ibn Amr al-Dawsi was the leader of his tribe, Daws

  • He was also considered a great intellectual of his people & a source of pride for his people
  • The Quraysh recognized Tufayl’s status among his people
    • When Tufayl came to Makkah, all the leaders of Quraysh gathered to welcome Tufayl. Part of this was also to let him know of the situation in Makkah about a man claiming to be a Prophet & how a bunch of people are following him
  • The Quraysh told Tufayl, “We don’t want you to think we’re not on top of our game.”
    • They also want to warn him about the Prophet because of the potential disaster here
    • Tufayl is a leader of his people, he’s a genius, & he has a great reputation, but if he ended up falling prey to the Prophet’s rhetoric, then the Quraysh will have a tough time explaining it to people
  • Tufayl, when recalling this incident, said that the Quraysh forbade him from meeting with Prophet or listening to him
    • In fact, the leaders wouldn’t even let Tufayl leave until he swore to them that he will not meet with or listen to the Prophet, so much so that they scared him
    • Basically the next morning, when Tufayl decided to go to the Haram, he stuffed his ears with cotton before he left to go to the Haram

— Tufayl went to the Haram, minding his own business. He recalled, “I saw the Prophet praying near the Ka’bah, & I was intrigued. My natural mode was to investigate. I stood close to him, but I had trouble listening to him so I came close enough to listen to him, & I heard very beautiful things (the Qur’an).

  • Tufayl thought to himself, “What’s wrong with you? Why didn’t your mother disown you? I’m an intelligent man who’s very well-acquainted with poetry & eloquence. I can tell the difference between good & bad, between right & wrong. Maybe these simple-minded Quraysh can’t. So what’s preventing me from objectively listening to & analyzing what this man Muhammad has to say? If in reality what he has to say is remarkable, then I’ll embrace it. If what he says is reprehensible, then I’ll walk away from it. Really, what is there to lose?”
  • Tufayl stayed until the Prophet was done with his salah. Then he followed the Prophet to him home
    • Then he either knocked on the door of the Prophet or stuck his foot in Prophet’s door to stop it from closing
  • Tufayl said, “Ya Muhammad, there’s no reason to be alarmed, but your people have been saying this-and-this about you.  They kept on scaring me, so much so that I stuffed cotton in my ears. Then I decided to give you a fair chance & I decided to listen to you, & I heard something beautiful. So I’m asking you to make your presentation. I’m a fair man.”
    • The Prophet then presented Islam to Tufayl. The Prophet recited the Qur’an to him

— The Prophet was a very eloquent man. The Prophet was able to say a whole lot with very little words; there are 2-worded hadith, & one of these hadith alone would take hours to explain. But when he preached, he usually would use Quran as his mean of da’wah.

  • The Qur’an tells us, “We did not teach him poetry because it was not appropriate for him. Muhammad is the vessel & medium for divine revelation, so to not create any doubt about what is divine revelation vs. what is his poetry, Allah sealed the deal & did not teach the Prophet poetry.”
    • The Prophet didn’t even like to make his duas rhyme. He didn’t like overdoing things in making things rhyme & make it sound poetic
    • The Prophet didn’t forbid poetry, but he was just naturally eloquent
  • Subhannallah wa bihamdi, subhanallah al adheem
    • Light on tongue, heavy in deeds, beloved to Ar-Rahman – this is one of the beautiful hadith that shows how eloquent the Prophet was – this hadis can be found in Sahih Bukhari.

— After the Prophet recited the Qur’an, Tufayl said, “Wallahi, the Quraysh were wrong. I’ve never heard anything more beautiful & balanced (intellectually sound & pure) than the Qur’an.”

  • Tufayl took his Shahadah then and there
  • Tufayl said, “Ya Nabi Allah, I’m a man who is listened to amongst his people. I will go back & invite my people to Islam.”

— Scholars of Hadith & Seerah mention that the following part of the story is mursal (debated) in its authenticity

  • Tufayl said to the Prophet, “Make dua that Allah provides for me some type of miracle that will help me invite my people toward Islam.”
  • The Prophet made dua, “O Allah, make a sign for him.”
  • Tufayl then left for his city. All of a sudden, light shone from his forehead
    • Tufayl made dua, “O Allah, not in my face. Don’t put that sign on my face because my people will think that something bizarre is going on with me.”
  • He had a walking (traveling) staff. The top of his walking staff began to glow with noor

— Tufayl got back home, & the first person he met was his father

  • Because he was an intellectual & an academic, Tufayl was direct & straightforward
    • His people worshipped an idol. Tufayl didn’t really jive with it, but now that he accepted Islam, he now had little-to-no tolerance with this idol worship
  • His father is an elderly man. Tufayl said, “You & I are very different now, Father. You & I have different understanding of things.”
  • His father asked, “Why, my son?”
  • Tufayl said, “I have accepted Islam & way of life taught by Muhammad.”
  • His father said, “My beloved son, my religion is your religion. I trust you. I know that you want what’s best for me, so I’m in agreement with you.”
  • Tufayl said, “Go take a shower & clean your clothes. Then come to me so I can teach you what I’ve been taught.”
  • Tufayl’s father did as asked. He came back & Tufayl taught him about Islam, & his father accepted

— Tufayl did the same with his wife. He gave dawah to her, & she accepted Islam as well

  • Dhush-shira was the idol that Tufayl’s people worshipped
    • Women had responsibility of offering devotion to the idol
  • Tufayl said to his wife: “Absolve yourself of any obligation to the idol. Hands off. You’re done with that.”
    • She accepted Islam later

— Tufayl then went to address his people about Islam, but they didn’t accept Islam

  • Tufayl then went back to Makkah, to meet with the Prophet
    • Tufayl recalled, “I was basically beaten by fornication (the people of Daws care more about their decadent lifestyle).” The people of Daws were obsessed with alcohol & fornication
  • Tufayl said, “O Rasulallah, make dua upon the people of Daws. Pray against these people. Pray for the destruction of these people.”
  • The Prophet raised his hands to make dua. Some narrations say that the Sahaba who were there say that they were terrified for the people of Daws.
    • But when Prophet parted his lips, he said, “Oh Allah, guide the people of Daws. Bless the people of Daws with guidance.”
  • The Prophet told Tufayl, “Now you go back to your people. Invite them to Allah.”
  • Tufayl replied, “Check. Already tried that.”
  • The Prophet said, “Be very gentle. Be very kind with them. Give them time. Nurture their imaan.”

— Tufayl went back. Again, he was not successful. Tufayl tried his best, but he wasn’t built to be very nurturing; he tended to be a bit harsh & direct. He had to be gentle with people & invite his people Allah on the methodology of Prophet’s dawah

  • Tufayl recalled, “I continued to stay & invite my people to Islam until the Messenger migrated to Yathrib. Not only did he migrate to Medina, but 2 years passed & Battle of Badr happened, & another year passed & Battle of Uhud happened, & 2 years passed & Battle of Trench happened, until I reached Rasulallah at Battle of Khyber (5 and ½ years into the Medinan era).”
  • Tufayl had been living & preaching amongst his people for eight years
    • This is the same guy who went home & returned to Makkah 2 days later, with the mentality, that’s it. They’re done; just make dua that Allah destroys this people. Let’s just cut our losses. You got me, my dad, my wife; the three of us are good to go. You can’t win ‘em all
    • This same guy went back & stayed with his people for over 8 years, preaching to them in baby steps, inviting them to Islam & guiding them in their new religion

— Tufayl then arrived in Medina with 70-80 baytamin dawsen (70 families of tribe of Daws; perhaps 500 people).”

  • These 500 people recognized Allah. Tufayl started from the bottom, with just his father & wife accepting his dawah, and now 8 years later, he raised up to 500 new Muslims
  • Tufayl recalled, “I stayed with Prophet at Khyber until Allah gave the Prophet victory over Makkah. I asked the Rasulallah to send me to the tribe that worships Dhil Kafain so that I can destroy that idol.”

— The Prophet sent Tufayl to that place. Tufayl has been holding it in for 8 years (a model of patience) & now wants to wreak some havoc

  • As Tufayl was destroying the idol, he said, “O Dhul Kafain, you are not to be worshipped. What we worship is much older than what you worship. I have put fire inside of your mouth (I’m burning you from the inside out).”
  • Tufayl then came back to Medina & stayed with the Prophet until he passed away

— Many of the Bedouin tribes left Islam after the Prophet’s death. Tufayl went out there to deal with that situation

  • Tufayl had a son that time as well
  • Tufayl had a dream, in which his head had been shaved. A bird came out from his mouth. Then he was entered back into the womb of a woman. Tufayl’s son is in the dream. They’re trying to reach to each other, but are unable to
  • Interpretation of the dream was realized as Tufayl was dying. Tufayl was injured in a battle, & died as a shahid
    • His shaved head meant that he receive a fatal wound
    • Bird being released from his mouth meant his soul leaving
    • Entering the womb meant he would enter earth (grave)
    • Being unable to reach his son meant that his son was also injured in that battle, but recovered & died in another battle as a shahid

Link to the next episode


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