Prayer of Taif


The following is the transcript of the jum’ah khutbah given by Luqman Ali. It is a very moving and, to my mind, appropriate comment on the reactions to the Danish cartoons. Brother Luqman has kindly given his permission for it to be posted here and I feel it would be good if others wish to post it also so it receives a wide reading. Luqman is also the artistic director of the Khayaal Theatre Company in Luton, England.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

While many Muslims once again fall into the reactionary trap set for them and confirm the thesis of the offending cartoons by exploding in rage and violence, we would do well to reflect upon the Prophet’s supplication in Taif. This is the dua he recited with shoes full of
blood, wounds all over his body and after having been insulted, ridiculed and abused by the people of Taif to whom he had taken recourse seeking a place of refuge. Moreover, this occurs after three years of suffering a boycott at the hands of the Quraysh as a result of which Muslims were reduced to eating grass and leaves off of trees.

The Prophet (s) as he walks out of Taif:

“O Allah! I complain to You of my weakness, my scarcity of resources and the humiliation I have been subjected to by the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too. To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair? So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favour is of a more expansive relief to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Face by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or Your displeasure descend upon me. I desire Your pleasure and satisfaction until You are pleased. There is no power and no might except by You.”

If those who claim to love the Prophet(s) so much that they are willing to infringe upon prophetic conduct with their blind rage and fury would reflect upon this prayer, it would be a guiding light for them and a clear instruction as to how a Muslim should respond to our
current situation. It is also the only salve by which troubled hearts and souls will find peace. It will not be found on pickets and demonstrations – not that these may not be useful in making clear our reverence for the sacred and the divine and our indignation at the injustice and double standards of the European press.

In my jum’ah khutbah today, I spoke on this prayer and while there were some whose hearts and eyes were cooled by it, it was obvious to me that there were many who were so caught up in anger that they could not hear.

For whom does the Prophet’s saying: ‘Islam is good character’ mean anything anymore?

Are we to revert to pre-Islamic tribal norms of vengeance and retribution rather than see this as an opportunity to turn hearts by sharing the example of our beloved Prophet’s centredness and compassion in the face of hate and enmity with those whose hearts are
open?

Are we to fall into the major sin of despair-fuelled violence rather than maintain hope as the Prophet (s) did when the angel of the mountains met him outside Ta’if following his supplication and offered to cause the mountains surrounding Taif to crumble over the
town and obliterate it to which the Prophet (s) replied: ‘No, I hope that these people will one day come to worship only Allah and Him alone’?

Unless we have the centredness and the Allah-consciousness of the Prophet (s) by which every event whether favourable or unfavourable (in material terms) offers us the opportunity of strengthening our relationship with Allah, we will continue to be the victim of every ruse and ploy.

Rather than reacting with violence and rage we should intensify our work to share the beautiful and merciful message of the Deen especially now that the Prophet (s) is headline news. Let the Prophet’s prayer of Taif be printed in European newspapers as the
example of his supreme magnanimity and patience.

Violence, death threats and fury only betray a lack of trust in the power and light of the sacred which is illustrated in the Prophet’s experience in the garden outside Taif when persons who overheard his prayer were moved by it to come to Islam. Moreover, on the way back to Mecca after this experience, many jinn who happened to hear the Prophet’s recitation of the Qur’an in his night prayer also came to Islam. And not long thereafter the Prophet (s) was conveyed on his night journey and ascent to heaven. Verily with difficulty comes ease.

Yet with the announcement by ’eminent’ Muslim scholars of a ‘Day of Outrage’, I fear we have become nothing but saboteurs. Why not a Day of Remembrance of the Prophet, Why not a Day of Tremendous Prophetic Character? Why not a Day of the Prayer of Taif?

I recommend that we circulate the Prayer of Taif at this time as an antidote to all of the madness and poison of rage, violence and emotional maelstroms. May Allah guide us to that which is right and grant us the tremendous fortune of seeing our enemies as our close friends (see Qur’an 41:34-36) to whom we have the duty of conveying the reverence and love of Allah and his Prophet (s). Ameen.

Allah knows best.
Luqman Ali
03 February 2005

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