In this part, we will see how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) tolerated `Uyaynah ibn Hisn’s abuse and betrayal and refused to kill him though he was such a hypocrite who did not really convert to Islam, and used to abuse and betray him.
`Uyaynah ibn Hisn
`Uyaynah ibn Hisn was a rude, rough Arabian nomad who used to abuse others, including Prophet Muhammad, both intentionally and unintentionally. It is said that he was such a hypocrite who apostatized after Prophet Muhammad’s demise for he did not sincerely convert to Islam. That is why he used to betray Prophet Muhammad.
It is reported that Badr ibn `Amr Clan was affected by severe drought which left them homeless. Then they went to Medina where he met Prophet Muhammad who invited `Uyaynah as the elder of Badr ibn `Amr Clan to Islam. Thereupon, `Uyaynah did neither accept nor not accept Islam.
Instead, he told Prophet Muhammad that he wanted to come near to him and wanted to make peace with him. So Prophet Muhammad made peace with him for three months so that no Muslims would raid any of them and none of them would raid any of Muslims.
When the negotiated term ran out, `Uyaynah and his people went back to their homeland after they as well as their animals had been fattened and lactated and liked Medina. However, on their way back home, `Uyaynah ibn Hisn raided Prophet Muhammad’s she-camels in the forest. Then, Al-Harith ibn `Awf wondered: “You have not returned Muhammad’s favor! You have been fattened in his homeland and now you invade him!”
Nevertheless, `Uyaynah did not pay heed. Rather, he drove away twenty camels and killed a son of Abu Dhar who was tending them. (Al-Bukhari)
`Uyaynah ibn Hisn was one of the elders of Ghatafan tribe that sided with other tribes along with Quraysh against Prophet Muhammad at Al-Ahzab (Confederated Tribes) Battle.
In his anguish over the siege that was laid to him as well as his Companions, Prophet Muhammad sent a message to `Uyaynah ibn Hisn and Al-Harith ibn `Awf, proposing: “What do you think if I give up to you one third of the dry dates of Medina? Will you return with your tribes and dissuade the Arabians?”
They agreed to this proposal and met Prophet Muhammad. While the inkwell and the sheet were being brought for the conclusion of a peace agreement between the parties, Usayd ibn Hudayr came in while `Uyaynah was stretching his legs out in front of Prophet Muhammad.
Coming to know what they wanted to do, Usayd scolded: “O eye of a young fox(1), bend your legs! Do you dare stretch them out in front of the Messenger of God? By God, were it not for the sake of the Messenger of God, I would have pierced you with the spear.”
Then, Usayd turned to Prophet Muhammad and said: “If this is such a matter which was dictated from Heaven, then go ahead. Otherwise, by God, We will give them only the sword.” Usayd then turned to them and said: “When did you dare covet to take this from us?” Then, he addressed Prophet Muhammad, saying: “By God, they used to eat the hairs of camels out of starvation. They cannot covet to take a single date from us except as a purchase transaction or an act of hospitality on our part. When God brought you to us, and blessed us with you, we should not give anything by force. We will never give them anything but the sword.”
When S`ad ibn Mu`adh and S`ad ibn `Ubadah made similar statements, Prophet Muhammad ordered them to cut the possible agreement sheet. When S`ad cut it, `Uyaynah commented: “By God, what you left is better for you than the plan you adopt. You do not have the ability to stand up to the people.”
Then, `Abbad ibn Bishr replied: “O `Uyaynah, do you frighten us with the sword? You will know which of us who is more impatient. By God, were it not for the standing of the Messenger of God, you would not have returned to your people.”
Then, `Uyaynah and Al-Harith returned, while saying to each other: “By God, we do not think that we can take anything from them.” When they returned to their tribe and they were asked about their meeting with Prophet Muhammad, they replied: “The matter (agreement) was not concluded. We saw such insightful people who are ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their companion.”
It is related that when the confederated tribes withdrew, `Uyaynah decided to withdraw and return in command of his people to their homeland.
It is purported that when `Uyaynah went to Medina prior to his alleged conversion to Islam, he encountered a caravan going out of Medina. He asked: “Tell me about this man (Prophet Muhammad)!” They replied: “In their relationship with him, people can be classified into three classes: a man who converted to Islam and fights with him against Quraysh and the Arabians; a man who refused to convert to Islam and fights against him and so they are going to massacre each other; and a man who tries to make him believe that he is a Muslim with him and makes Quraysh believe that he is with them at the same time.” He wondered: “How are those people (the last class) called?” They replied: “They are called the hypocrites.” He then said: “I am not close except to the descriptions of those people. Let you bear witness that I am one of them.”
Thus, `Uyaynah pretended to be Muslim but his hypocritical attitudes lasted even after his presumable conversion.
It is reported that `Uyaynah ibn Hisn came in to Prophet Muhammad without seeking the permission to enter while `A’ishah was sitting down with him prior to the revelation of the verse obliging the wives of Prophet Muhammad to veil themselves from marriageable men while at home.
Prophet Muhammad wondered: “Why did you not seek the permission to enter?” `Uyaynah replied: “I have never sought the permission to come in to a man from Mudar tribe.” `Uyaynah then wondered: “Who is this young white girl?” Prophet Muhammad said: “She is `A’ishah bint Abi Bakr, the Mother of the Believers.” Then, he suggested: “May I divorce a woman who is more beautiful than her for you to marry her?” Then, Prophet Muhammad replied: “No.”
When `Uyaynah went out, `A’ishah wondered in anger: “Who is this, O Messenger of God?” He replied: “This is such a fool who is obeyed by his people.”
`Uyaynah attended Al-Taif Battle with Prophet Muhammad. When the siege lasted for a long time, `Uyaynah sought Prophet Muhammad’s permission to enter Al-Taif Fort to talk to its people. Then, Prophet Muhammad permitted him to go.
Then, he went to them and wondered: “Can I approach you unscathed?” Then they replied: “Yes.” Abu Mihjan knew him, so he instructed: “Let him approach.” So he approached them and entered their fort. Then, he said to them: “I ransom you with my father and my mother. I am delighted at what I have seen from you. By God, the Arabs do not have other people who are better than you. Muhammad has never encountered any people like you. Indeed, he has been weary of stay here. So remain steadfast inside your fort. Surely, your fort is well-fortified, your weapons are numerous, your arrows are readily available, your provisions are so much and your water is permanent which you do not fear to come to an end.”
When `Uyaynah went out, Thaqif said to Abu Mihjan: “We did not want him to come in to us and fear that he should tell Muhammad about a defect in us or our fort.” Then, Abu Mihjan replied: “I knew him well. None of us dislikes Muhammad and those who are with him more than he does.”
When `Uyaynah came back to Prophet Muhammad, he said to him: “What have you said to them?” He replied: “I said: ‘Convert to Islam! By God, Muhammad will not leave your homeland until you get down from your fort. So gain protection for yourselves. He (Prophet Muhammad) conquered the previous forts of Qaynuqa`, An-Nadir, Quraydhah, and Khaybar who had rings, equipment and hill forts…’ I kept discouraging them.”
Prophet Muhammad kept silent while `Uyaynah was talking. When he stopped talking, Prophet Muhammad said: “You are lying! You said to them such and such.” Then, `Uyaynah said: “I seek forgiveness from God.” Then, `Umar said: “O Messenger of God, let me bring him forward and behead him.” Then, Prophet Muhammad replied: “No, lest people should say that I kill my Companions.” (At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra)
(1) `Uyaynah was pop-eyed. That is why he was called `Uyaynah. His real name was Hudhayfah. That is why Usayd likened his eyes to those of a young fox.
1- Sahih Al-Bukhari
2- As-Sirah An-Nabawiyah, by Ibn Ishaq
3- At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, by Ibn Sa`ad