Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Journey To Ta'if

The story of Ta'if is something I learnt from a very young. My mum actually told me this story and then I remember watching what happened in the 'The Message' film about the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

The Prophet pbuh had left Makkah to invite the Chiefs of Ta'if to Islam  - but they refused, and what was worse, they then sent the children after him to throw stones at him so much so that he was covered in blood. When the Prophet pbuh was away from the town, he prayed to Allah:

“O, my Allah! To Thee I complain of the feebleness of my strength, of my lack of resources and my being unimportant in the eyes of people, O, Most Merciful of all those capable of showing mercy! Thou art the Lord of the weak, and Thou art my own Lord. To whom art Thou to entrust me; to an unsympathetic foe who would sullenly frown at me, or to an alien to whom Thou hast given control over my affairs? Not in the least do I care for anything except that I may have Thy protection for myself. I seek shelter in Your Light-the light which illuminates the Heavens and dispels all sorts of darkness, and which controls all affairs in this world as well as in the Hereafter. May it never be that I should incur Thy wrath, or that Thou should be displeased with me. I must remove the cause of Thy displeasure till Thou art pleased. There is no strength nor power but through Thee.”

In this time of utter disappointment, humiliation and a sense of defeat in the journey to Ta'if  - look at how our Prophet [pbuh] responds to his Lord. I read humbleness, sincerity and submission to Allah in the dua above. It was this prayer that led Angel Jibrail (upon him be peace) to appear before Muhammad [pbuh] and inform him of the accompanying angel who was in charge of the mountains near Taif to be at his command. In other words, the angel said: “O, Prophet of Allah! I am at your service. If you wish, I can cause the mountains overlooking this town on both sides to collide with each other, so that all the people therein would be crushed to death, or you may suggest any other punishment for them.” To which the Prophet pbuh replied, “Even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from Allah that there will be persons from among their progeny who would worship Allah and serve His cause.”

It is these accounts of the Prophet pbuh's biography that absolutely amaze me. How truly amazing was his nature that he forgave and even better prayed for such people who caused him physical and emotional pain because he wished the sweetness of Islam for these people of Ta'if or their generations later to come. He was given the choice of retribution or mercy - and he chose mercy!

So with this story always in the back of my head whenever my husband mentioned he had to go to his Ta'if College campus for a meeting for work, and the weather getting warmer, we decided to make this journey to Ta'if. When we left after the mid-day prayer [dhuhr] we drove deeper and deeper into mountain ranges where the mountains were becoming bigger than the ones I was used to in Makkah. We were 20 minutes into the drive to Ta'if from Makkah with the mountains in the distance, I thought the Prophet pbuh made this journey too and it took much longer! Another half an hour or so later we began driving up the winding roads of the mountain, by now the mountains had surrounded us completely - and they were huge!  I did see a sign for a journey by foot - I wondered how the Prophet pbuh made his journey. See, I did not know Ta'if is situated after crossing a whole mountain range. Hada was the name of the top part of the mountain. We stopped for the view and tried to spot some wild mountain monkeys. I was in awe!

Road up the mountain to Hada

MashaaAllah I was very impressed with the roads that led us through the mountain ranges to Ta'if (I was comparing them to the ones I was used to in Pakistan where we are from back in the Murree Hills). And still in the back of my head I thought how did the Prophet pbuh make this journey?!

At the top the roads became less steep and drove on further following the signs for Ta'if - It was a very green town  - lots of date trees and well kept grassy green areas where families come for picnics. There were also many fairs and theme parks that we hope to visit again in the evenings. It really was a beautiful place to visit. Now when I when someone mentions Ta'if I think of Prophet Muhammad's mercy for that town and how beautiful it really is today! 
Date trees, blue skies and lovely fluffy clouds in the town of Ta'if

Ta'if Waterpark

Hada cable cars

Below is the view of Hada mountains as we were making our journey back down to Makkah - Allah's creation is truly amazing!

Mountains of Makkah on our way back to Makkah from Ta'if