Story of the Chief of the People of Yamaamah when he converted to Islam
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, said:
“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, sent some cavalry towards Najd and they brought a man from the tribe of Banu Haneefah who was called Thumaamah ibn ‘Uthaal. They fastened him to one of the pillars of the Mosque.
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, went to him and said, “What have you got, O Thumaamah?” He replied, “I have got a good thought, O Muhammad! If you should kill me, you would kill a person who has already killed somebody, and if you should set me free, you would do a favor to one who is grateful, and if you want property, then ask me whatever wealth you want.”
He was left till the next day when the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said to him, “What have you got, Thumaamah? He said, “What I told you, i.e. if you set me free, you would do a favor to one who is grateful.”
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, left him till the day after, when he said, “What have you got, O Thumaamah?” He said, “I have got what I told you.”
On that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Release Thumaamah.”
So he (i.e. Thumaamah) went to a garden of date-palm trees near to the Mosque, took a bath and then entered the Mosque and said, “I testify that None has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, and also testify that Muhammad is His Messenger! By Allaah, O Muhammad! There was no face on the surface of the earth most disliked by me than yours, but now your face has become the most beloved face to me. By Allaah, there was no religion most disliked by me than yours, but now it is the most beloved religion to me. By Allaah, there was no town most disliked by me than your town, but now it is the most beloved town to me. Your cavalry arrested me (at the time) when I was intending to perform the ‘Umrah. And now what do you think?”
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, gave him good tidings (congratulated him) and ordered him to perform the ‘Umrah. So when he came to Makkah, someone said to him, “You have become a Saab’ (i.e. renounced your past religion)?” Thumaamah replied, “No! By Allaah, I have embraced Islam with Muhammad, Messenger of Allaah. No, by Allaah! Not a single grain of wheat will come to you from Yamaamah unless the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, gives his permission.”(1)
Amongst the lessons drawn from the above-mentioned Hadeeth are:
1- The permissibility of fastening the captive in the Mosque. Al-Qurtubi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “Fastening him in the Mosque may be permissible for he can look at the good prayers of Muslims and their gathering so that he may feel intimacy in this.” Al-‘Ayni said: “This explains what Ibn Khuzaymah reported in his book entitled Saheeh from ‘Uthmaan ibn Abi Al-‘Aas that when a delegation from Thaqeef came, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, hosted them in the Mosque so that their heart may become tender.”
2- It implies the permissibility of sending military units to the non-Muslim countries and capturing whoever is found from them and then choosing to kill or keep him.
3- The Imaam (leader or governor of Muslims) has the right to kill, enslave or release the captive, or take ransom to in return for leaving him.
4- Highlighting greatly the matter of pardoning the mistaken. That is because Thumaamah took oath that his hatred changes to love all at once when the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, pardoned him while he got no return or benefit from him.
5- The permissibility of taking bath at converting to Islam.
6- Benevolence and good deeds removes hatred and instills love firmly. Thus, Muslim individual has to do his best in doing good deeds and being benevolent to the people. This will be even more necessary for the one who calls people to Islam so that the hearts may love him and respond positively to his call.
7- If the non-Muslim individual wants to do something good and then converted to Islam, he is allowed to go on doing this good deed.
8- It implies dealing kindly with the one who is expected to adopt Islam amongst the captives if there is a benefit in this for Islam, especially those whom many individuals of their people may follow in adopting Islam.
9- Polytheists used to call the one who adopts Islam among them Sabi’ (i.e. the one who renounced his religion) so that they may make people keep away from him and dishonor him. This is the way of the non-Muslims and hypocrites in all times i.e. to dishonor the one who adheres to the truth and defame him with bad descriptions to weaken him and make people turn away from him. Accordingly, Muslim individual has to adhere firmly to the truth and show patience towards harm for surely the best outcome is for the righteous.(2)