Once, the Prophet (pbuh) left Makkah with Zayd bin Haritha secretly and went to Taif in order to convey the message of Islam to the notables of Taif. However, let alone accepting Islam, they insulted and mocked the Prophet. One of the notables of Taif said, “Did Allah not find anybody else but you to send as a prophet?” The Prophet was attacked by stones and sticks by some young people who were agitated by the notables.
The attitude of the Messenger of Allah against this treatment was really exemplary. Although Jibril said, “I will destroy them if you want”, he did not even curse them. He hoped that they would accept Islam in the future and prayed Allah to guide them.
Years passed after this incident. The prayer of the Messenger of Allah for the people of Taif was accepted. The people of Taif accepted Islam in groups. The sun of Islam illuminated the whole Arabia. It shed light to the world from there. Urwa bin Mas’ud, who was one of the notables of Taif, was among the first people of Taif that accepted Islam. With the love that Islam brought about in his heart, he set off from Madinah from Taif. After a journey that lasted for days, he arrived in Madinah. He found the Prophet and accepted Islam.
Urwa bin Mas’ud wanted to convey the message of Islam to others. He thought he had to spread the light of guidance to distant places. He thought of starting from his own tribe. He believed that he had to call them to Islam. He thought he could do it very well because he was a person that was loved by his tribe. They would obey him. They believed him so much that when the Messenger of Allah called them to Islam, they said, “If anyone were to be sent as a prophet, it would be Urwa.” They were loyal to him so much and loved him so much.
Urwa bin Mas’ud (r.a.) told the Messenger of Allah about his thoughts. He explained them in detail. The Messenger of Allah was worried. He knew the characteristics of the people of Taif. He knew that they did not accept Islam due to their conceitedness. He told his worries to Urwa bin Mas’ud as follows:
“O Urwa! I am worried that they might kill you.”
Hz. Urwa bin Mas’ud said, “O Messenger of Allah! They love me more than their own children. They would not wake me up if they saw me sleeping.” When the Messenger of Allah saw that he was insistent, he said, “All right! You can go if you want but be very careful.”
Hz. Urwa set off. He arrived in Taif after a few days. Many people did not notice his arrival since he came at night. Those who saw him did not like it when they saw that he went home without visiting the idol Lat. However, they did not say anything thinking that he ignored visiting Lat because he was tired.
In the morning, his tribe came to visit him, who was away for a long time. They greeted him with the greeting of Jahiliyya. Urwa said he did not want the greeting of Jahiliyya and said, “Greet me by saying, ‘assalamu alaykum’, the greeting of the people of Paradise. The situation was clear. However, he had to tell them why he had come. He said,
“O my tribe! Can you accuse me of anything bad?”
They all said, “No.”
Then, Urwa continued: “The reason why I became a Muslim is the truth I found in Islam. I saw something that others did not see in it. Listen to my advice. Do not oppose me. I swear that no messenger brought to his tribe any truths superior to the ones that I brought to you.”
The people of Taif were astounded when they heard these words because Urwa had changed completely. The Urwa that they knew was gone. There was an Urwa that was enlightened by the light of Islam.
They surrounded him and said, “We felt suspicious when you went directly home without visiting Lat.” They opposed him.
However, Urwa continued to speak. When the polytheists saw that he was determined, they left. At dawn, Urwa bin Mas’ud went up to the roof of his house and called the adhan of the morning prayer. When the polytheists heard the adhan, they got crazy. They took their bows and shot arrows at him. Hz. Urwa was seriously wounded. Blood was coming out of his whole body. However, he shouted,
“This is an honor for me. Martyrdom is a grace of Allah. Allah is one and Muhammad is His Messenger. My belief in the Messenger of Allah got stronger because he told me about this. O my relatives! I want only one thing from you: Bury me near the Companions that fought together with the Messenger of Allah and that were martyred. I want to be with them.”
When the Messenger of Allah heard about his martyrdom, he felt very sorry. He likened his situation to a saint of Allah who called people to the truth in the past: “His situation is similar to the person described in the chapter of Yasin (Habib an-Najjar). He called the people of his tribe to Allah but was martyred by them. Praise be to Allah who created a person from my ummah who was like the person described in the chapter of Yasin.”
May Allah be pleased with him!
Usdu’l-Ghaba, 1: 406.
Tabaqat, 1: 312-313.