Episode 39: A Diverse Community – Abu Dharr Ghifari & Dhimad Accept Islam
Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
Abu Dharr al-Ghifari
Abu Dharr was a successful, confident businessman, well respected in the community. When he heard about the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), he sent his brother to Makkah to find out everything about him. The brother reported on his return that he saw the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) telling people to have good character and that he was saying something that was not poetry. Abu Dharr was not satisfied with this information, so he himself set out for Makkah.
Abu Dharr did not know who he was looking for, but also did not want to attract attention and ask of his whereabouts. At night, he lay down in the corner of the Haram. Ali ibn Talib came along and noted Abu Dharr, wondering why this man was sleeping out. Ali offered Aby Dharr a place to stay, which Abu Dharr accepted. The next day, Abu Dharr failed to meet the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and again lay in a corner of the Haram. Ali again offered him a place to stay, which Abu Dharr accepted. The third day, after again failing to locate the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), Abu Dharr was offered a place to stay for the night. This time, Ali enquires why Abu Dharr came to Makkah. Abu Dharr takes an oath from Ali that he will help him and he discloses his wish to meet the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
Ali leads Abu Dharr to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Once Abu Dharr listened to what he said, he accepted Islam straight away. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked him to return to his people and share the message of Islam. However, Abu Dharr wanted to proclaim his faith to the people of Makkah. Thus, he goes to Haram and screams out the Shahada. The people of Makkah proceeded to beat him up, until the uncle of the Prophet, Abbas, torn through the crowds, physically lay on top of Abu Dharr and covered him to offer protection. Abbas reasoned with the people, asking them to think of the consequences of their actions: Abu Dharr came from the tribe of Ghifar and killing him would affect their business, as the trade route for Sham passed through the tribal area of Ghifar. Thus, they left him. The next day, Abu Dharr woke up and goes to the Haram again to declare the Shahada. Again he is beaten up, until Abbas comes to cover and protect him. Abbas takes him to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), asking him to talk some sense into Abu Dharr, and he calms down.
Dhimad came to Makkah from Yemen. He was well known for being a soothsayer. Dhimad came for business and whilst in Makkah, heard people talking ill about the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Thus, he approached the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), introduced himself and offers his assistance. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied:
‘Without a doubt, the ultimate praise was and always will be for Allah alone. We praise Him and we seek His assistance in everything we do. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide and whoever he misguides, there is none that can guide him. I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah and he is absolutely unique and he has no partners.’
Dhimad was awestruck and asked the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to repeat himself. After saying the words for a second time, Dhimad requests for the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to repeat the words a third time. Dhimad found the words mind-blowing: he commented that he had heard the words of soothsayers, magicians, sorcerers and poets, but he had never heard anything like this in his life. He asked for the Prophet’s hand so he could give him the oath of Islam. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) held his hand and he took Shahada, as well as agreeing to preach the message to his people.
Years later, in the Madinan days, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) sent a group of Sahaba to preach the message towards the tribe of Dhimad. The leader asked the group if anyone had taken something from these people: someone admitted to taking a water jug used for the purposes of purification. The leader said to return it, especially because they were the people of Dhimad.