In this part, we will see how Prophet Muhammad not only forgave but also supplicated and sought forgiveness for Shaybah ibn `Uthman though the latter was going to assassinate him during Hunayn Battle.
Shaybah ibn `Uthman
Before the Conquest of Mecca, Shaybah ibn `Uthman ibn Abi Talhah and his cousin `Uthman ibn Talhah were the doorkeepers of the Ka`bah. His father and uncle were killed at Uhud Battle as disbelievers at the hands of `Ali ibn Abi Talib and Hamzah ibn `Abdul-Muttalib.
On the Conquest of Mecca, it is said that Shaybah pretended that he converted to Islam. It is also purported that he was one of the men whom Prophet Muhammad obliged and gave a grace period.
Though, upon the Conquest of Mecca, he did not really convert to Islam according to any of the above two reports, Prophet Muhammad gave him and his cousin `Uthman ibn Talhah ibn Abi Talhah the Ka`bah key and said to them: “Take it forever till the Day of Judgment, O sons of Abu Talhah. Indeed, it should not be taken away from you except by an oppressor.”
For Hunayn Battle, along with the other Qurayshi men released by Prophet Muhammad on the Conquest of Mecca, Shaybah marched on Hunayn with Prophet Muhammad. During Hunayn Battle, Shaybah decided to take revenge on Prophet Muhammad.
In this regard, Shaybah reported: “I said to myself: ’Today, I will kill Muhammad.’ Then, I turned to kill the Messenger of God. But, something came and overtook my heart and I could not bear that. Then, I knew for a certainty that he is well-protected.” (Ibn Ishaq)
It is said that Shaybah said to Prophet Muhammad: “O Prophet of God, I see piebald horses!” Prophet Muhammad replied: “O Shaybah, they are seen only by a disbeliever.” Thereupon, Prophet Muhammad patted Shaybah’s chest and supplicated thrice: “O Lord, grant Shaybah guidance.” About that, Shaybah says: “No sooner had the Messenger of God lifted his hand away from my chest after the third pat than I felt that God created nobody beloved by me more than him (Prophet Muhammad).” From this point on, faith was affirmed in his heart and he kept fighting in defense of Prophet Muhammad. (Al-Bayhaqi)
Shaybah is also quoted as relating: “When the two armies met, the Messenger of God broke in, while riding his she-mule, I drew the sword and approached him to kill him. While I kept raising my sword until it was above his head, a flame kept rising against me like lightning which was about to burn me. Then, I put my hand on my eyes out of fear for them. Then, Prophet Muhammad turned to me and said: ‘O Shaybah, approach me.’ Then, he patted my chest and supplicated: ‘O Lord, protect him from the Devil!’ By God, he then became beloved by me more than my hearing, eyesight and myself. Then, God took away what I cherished. Then, he (Prophet Muhammad) instructed: ‘Approach me and fight.’ Then, I went before him, striking with my sword. God knows that I liked to protect him with myself from everything. Had I met my father at the time and had he been still alive, I would have put him to the sword. I kept standing by him along with those who stood by him until Muslims came back and then they carried out an all-out attack. Then, I brought the she-mule of the Messenger of God so that he could ride. Then, he kept chasing them until they dispersed everywhere. Then, he returned to his camp and entered his tent. Then, I came in to him whereas nobody other than me entered with me because I liked to see his face. Then, he said: ‘O Shaybah, what God wanted for you is better than what you wanted for yourself.’ Then, he told me about what occurred to me, about which I never told anybody. Then, I said: ‘I bear witness that there is no deity but God and you are the Messenger of God.’ Then, I said: ‘Seek forgiveness for me, O Messenger of God.’ Then, he supplicated: ‘May God forgive you!’”
Another report quotes Shaybah ibn `Uthman as narrating: “When I observed that the Messenger of God was left without coverage on the day of Hunayn Battle, I said to myself: ‘Today I will take revenge on the Messenger of God.’ When I went to him from his right side, I found Al-`Abbas ibn `Abdul-Mattalib standing, while wearing a white armor which was as white as silver while shining through dust. I said to myself: ‘He is his uncle who will not fail him.’ When, I went to him from his left side, I found Abu Sufyan ibn Al-Harith ibn Abdul-Muttalib. I said to myself: ‘He is his cousin who will not fail him.’ When I went to him from his back side and I was about to raise the sword above him, a flame was raised between me and him like lightning. Then, I feared that it should have burnt me. So I put my hand on my eyes and walked backwards. Then, the Messenger of God turned to me and said: ‘O Shayb, O Shayb, approach me! O Lord, protect him from the Devil!’ When I raised my eyes and looked at him, I felt that he became beloved by me more than my hearing and eyesight. Then, he urged: ‘O Shayb, fight against the disbelievers.’” (Al-Bayhaqi)
1- As-Sirah An-Nabawiyah, by Ibn Ishaq
2- Dala’il An-Nobowwah, by Al-Bayhaqi
Was Muhammad really a human being or an angel?