In the year 6 A.H., Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sent thirty Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) on an expedition towards Najd under the leadership of Sayyiduna Muhammad bin Maslamah Ansaari (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).

In this expedition, they captured a man of the Banu Haneefah tribe, named Thumaamah bin Uthaal (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). He was the leader of the area of Yamaamah. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were however unaware of whom they had captured. When they reached Madeenah Munawwarah, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) explained to the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who he was, and bade them to take good care of him. He (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also asked his pure wives to send for him whatever food they had, and instructed that his camel’s milk should be presented to him in the morning and in the evening. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) then tied Sayyiduna Thumaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to one of the pillars of Masjid Nabawi on the instruction of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) thereafter approached Sayyiduna Thumaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and asked him regarding his thoughts on how he would be dealt with. He explained that he had hope of being treated in a good manner (since Rasulullah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam] did not oppress people, but rather forgave and treated them with kindness). He further said, “If you kill me, then you will be killing a guilty person (i.e. one who has killed others and therefore deserves to be killed). And if you favour (me by freeing me), you will be favouring a person who will be grateful (for your favour). (Further,) if you want wealth, then ask for whatever amount you wish.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) (did not respond to him and) left him (in that condition). The next day, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked him the same question and he gave a similar answer. When the same happened on the third day, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) instructed that he be released and said to him, “O Thumaamah! I have forgiven you and freed you.”

When Sayyiduna Thumaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was set free, he proceeded to a date orchard near Masjid Nabawi, took a bath and came back to the masjid saying, “I testify that there is none worthy of worship besides Allah Ta‘ala, and that Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is the messenger of Allah Ta‘ala.”

He then said to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “By Allah, there was no face on earth more hated to me than your face. Now your face has become the most beloved face to me. By Allah! There was no religion more hated to me than your religion. Now your religion has become the most beloved religion to me. By Allah! There was no land more hated to me than your land. Now your land has become the most beloved land to me.”

Sayyiduna Thumaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then enquired from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “Your horsemen captured me whilst I was proceeding for ‘umrah, so what do you say (i.e. should I proceed for ‘umrah, return home, or remain in Madeenah Munawwarah)?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave him glad tidings (of the forgiveness of his sins, entry into Jannah, and securing the best of both worlds, or of him being able to perform his ‘umrah safely without any harm being caused to him by the Quraish) and instructed him to perform ‘umrah.

When Sayyiduna Thumaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) approached Makkah Mukarramah with the intention of ‘umrah, he recited the talbiyah. Subsequently, the Quraish caught hold of him and rebuked him for his boldness and audacity. They even went to the extent of contemplating to kill him. However, one person from among them advised them not to do so as the Quraish were in need of the grain that would come from Yamaamah. (Hence, if they were to kill him, their supply of grain would be cut off due to him being the leader of Yamaamah.)

Sayyiduna Thumaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said to them, “By Allah! Yamaamah will not supply you with a single grain of wheat unless Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) allows it.” Thereafter, he returned to Yamaamah and instructed the people not to supply the Quraish with grain. As a result, there was a shortage of food in Makkah Mukarramah and the Quraish suffered from severe starvation. They thus sent a letter to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) pleading to him, by virtue of the bond of family relations that they enjoyed, to intercede on their behalf. Shortly thereafter, Abu Sufyaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), who was still a disbeliever, personally travelled to Madeenah Munawwarah and said to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “Do you not claim to be a source of mercy to the worlds?” When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied in the affirmative, he exclaimed, “You have (previously) killed the fathers with the sword and are (now) killing the children with hunger!” Despite this hard approach of Abu Sufyaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sent a letter to Sayyiduna Thumaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) instructing him to resume the supply of grain to Makkah Mukarramah.

(Saheeh Bukhaari #4372, Saheeh Muslim #4589, Fat-hul Baari and Sharhuz Zurqaani vol. 3, pgs. 101 – 106)


1. The enemies of Islam portray the negative picture of Islam spreading through the sword. However, it was actually the ‘sword’ of forgiveness and kindness that had totally transformed the staunchest enemies into the most ardent lovers and greatest supporters of Islam. (For more in this regard, see here and here)

2. Perhaps the reason for tying Sayyiduna Thumaamah bin Uthaal (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to a pillar of the masjid was to expose him to the environment of imaan and give him an opportunity to witness the ‘ibaadah, character, ways, etc. of the Muslims first hand, as this is extremely effective in motivating a person to leave his wrong ways and come onto the correct path. Often, the turning point in a person’s life is the change of his environment. We should therefore, ensure that we and our families remain in a Deeni friendly environment and avoid negative environments and influences at all times.

3. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was an epitome of sympathy, compassion, kindness and mercy. Hence, he instructed Sayyiduna Thumaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to supply grain to those very people who boycotted him and his family in the valley of Abu Taalib for three years, not allowing any food to reach them, until they were forced to eat leaves, grass etc.