After the death of Abu Talib, the Quraish increased their attacks against the Holy Prophet PBUH. This new situation meant that he could no longer stay in Makkah with any hope of victory. Before things became too critical, he had to explore new avenues in his search for support. So, accompained by his adopted son, Zaid bin Haris, he set out for Taif, to preach the Divine Message to its people.
Taif was populated by Saqeef, the second largest tribe in Arabia. As he began his journey he was full of hope that if they responded favourably it would signify a new phase in the history of Islam.
In Taif the Holy Prophet PBUH approached the chiefs calling upon them to believe in Allah and to support him in his efforts to establish Islam; but none gave him a favourable response. Instead, they set upon him a crowd of teenagers to follow him and shout abuses at him. They even threw stones at him. He was so badly wounded that his shoes were filled with blood. Zaid tried hard to defend and protect him from the stones. In trying to shield the Holy Prophet PBUH his head was badly wounded. The mob followed them until they were driven to the outskirts of the city.
The Holy Prophet PBUH then sought refuge in an orchard that belonged to two brothers, who although opposed to Islam and to the Holy Prophet, felt sorry for him. They sent their Christian slave with a bunch of grapes for him.
Afterwards, the Holy Prophet PBUH set out on his journey back to Makkah.
While resting in the orchard. the Holy Prophetu prayed to Allah to show the people of Taif the right path. He said: “Why should I pray for the destruction of these people? I hope that their posterity will certainly be among the believers in one Allah. ” (Muslim)
In 9 A.H., the whole of Taif embraced Islam.
Pledges of Aqabah
On his return to Makkah from Taif, the Holy Prophet PBUH resumed his preaching concentrating more on strangers, who came to Makkah for the pilgrimage. In the eleventh year of Prophethood, six pilgrims from the tribe of Khazraj in Yasrib came to Makkah. The Holy Prophet PBUH invited them to Islam.
After hearing the teachings of Islam, they embraced the faith. When they returned to Yasrib, they introduced Islam to their friends and relatives.
In this way, the message of Islam reached Yasrib. Next year, that is, the 12th year of the Prophethood, twelve persons from Yasrib met the Holy Prophet PBUH at Aqabah, accepted the faith and agreed to abstain from idol worship. cruelty and falsehood, to lead a righteous life and to believe in One God. This is called the First Pledge of Aqabah. These Muslims promised to spread Islam in Yasrib, and the Holy Prophet PBUH sent two persons with them preach Islam to the residents of that city.
In the 13th year ot the Prophethood, a deputation consisting of seventy-five
persons came from Yasrib to take the same pledge. This is called the Second
Pledge of Aqabah. They also invited the Holy Prophet PBUH to Yasrib and pledged full support for him and his followers. On the return of this deputation, Islam began to Spread rapidly in Yasrib.