Abu Sufyan Ibn al-Harith

The Ansari went on censuring me in a loud voice while other Muslims glared at me in anger. At that point, I saw my uncle, al-Abbas, and went to him seeking refuge.

‘O uncle,’ I said. ‘I had hoped that the Prophet, peace be on him, would be happy about my acceptance of Islam because of my kinship to him and because of my position of honor among my people. You know what his reaction has been. Speak to him then on my behalf that he may be pleased with me.’

‘No, by God,’ replied my uncle. ‘I shall not speak to him at all after I have seen him turning away from you except if an opportunity presents itself. I do honor the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, and I stand in awe of him.’

‘O uncle, to whom then will you abandon me?’ I pleaded.

‘I do not have anything for you except what you have heard,’ he said.

Anxiety and grief took hold of me. I saw Ali ibn Talib soon after and spoke to him about my case. His response was the same as that of my uncle. I went back to my uncle and said to him: ‘O uncle, if you cannot soften the heart of the Prophet towards me, then at least restrain that man from denouncing me and inciting others against me.’

‘Describe him to me,’ said my uncle. I described the man to him and he said: ‘That is Nuayman ibn al-Harith an-Najjari.’ He sent for Nuayman and said to him: ‘O Nuayman! Abu Sufyan is the cousin of the Prophet and my nephew. If the Prophet is angry with him today, he will be pleased with him another day. So leave him…’ My uncle continued trying to placate Nuayman until the latter relented and said: ‘I shall not spurn him anymore.’

“When the Prophet reached al-Jahfah (about four days journey from Makkah), I sat down at the door of his tent. My son Jafar stood beside me. As he was leaving his tent, the Prophet saw me and averted his face. Yet, I did not despair of seeking his pleasure. Whenever he camped at a place, I would sit at his door and my son Jafar would stand in front of me… I continued in this fashion for some time. But the situation became too much for me and I became depressed. I said to myself:

‘By God, either the Prophet, peace be on him, shows he is pleased with me or I shall take my son and go wandering through the land until we die of hunger and thirst.’

When the Prophet came to hear of this, he relented and, on leaving his tent, he looked more gently towards me then before. I so much hoped that he would smile.”

Eventually the Prophet relented and told Abu Sufyan, “There is now no blame on you.” He entrusted the newcomer to Islam to Ali ibn Abi Talib saying: “Teach your cousin how to perform wudu and about the Sunnah. Then bring him back to me.” When Ali returned, the Prophet said:

“Tell all the people that the Messenger of God is pleased with Abu Sufyan and that they should be pleased with him.”

Abu Sufyan continued: “The Prophet then entered Makkah and I too entered in his entourage. He went to the Sacred Mosque and I also went, trying my best to remain in his presence and not separate from him on any account…

Later, at the Battle of Hunayn. the Arabs put together an unprecedented force against the Prophet, peace be on him… They were determined to deal a mortal blow to Islam and the Muslims.

The Prophet went out to confront them with a large number of his companions. I went out with him and when I saw the great throngs of mushrikin, I said: ‘By God. today, I shall atone for all my past hostility towards the Prophet. peace be on him, and he shall certainly see on my part what pleases God and what pleases him.’

When the two forces met, the pressure of the mushrikin on the Muslims was severe and the Muslims began to lose heart. Some even began to desert and terrible defeat stared us in the face. However, the Prophet stood firm in the thick of battle astride his mule “Ash-Shahba” like a towering mountain, wielding his sword and fighting for himself and those around him… I jumped from my horse and fought beside him. God knows that I desired martyrdom beside the Messenger of God. My uncle, al-Abbas, took the reins of the Prophet’s mule and stood at his side. I took up my position on the other side. With my right hand I fended off attacks against the Prophet and with my left I held on to my mount.

When the Prophet saw my devastating blows on the enemy, he asked my uncle: ‘Who’s this?’ ‘This is your brother and cousin. Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith. Be pleased with him. O Messenger of God.’

‘I have done so and God has granted forgiveness to him for all the hostility he has directed against me.’

My heart soared with happiness. I kissed his feet in the stirrup and wept. He turned towards me and said: ‘My brother! Upon my life! Advance and strike!’

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