The Bitter Experience - Rasulullah ﷺ & Zayd Ibn Harithah RA

Bitter Experience in Ta’if
We referred to Rasulullah answer to the question put by Saidatuna Aisyah RA, his wife: “Have you ever gone through a day harder than that of Battle of Uhud?”

The Rough Terrain From Makkah To Ta'if

Let us read his answer, explaining what happened at Uhud to make it rank as one of the hardest days in the life Rasulullah ﷺ.
Rasulullah answer took Saidatuna Aisyah RA back to the days when Rasulullah was in Makkah. For ten years he had struggled hard to persuade its people to accept Islam, but they put up stiff resistance and were determined to stick to their pagan faith. When Rasulullah suffered a double personal tragedy in the death of his wife Saidatuna Khadijah RA and his uncle Abu Talib, both of whom gave him valuable support, Rasulullah felt that he had to explore new avenues in his search for support. After long deliberation, Rasulullah set out on foot for Ta’if, a mountainous town about 110 km from Makkah. Rasulullah only companion on this trip was his faithful servant, Zayd ibn Harithah RA.
Ta’if was populated by the Thaqif, the second largest tribe in Arabia. As he began his journey, Rasulullah was full of hope. If the Thaqif would respond favorably to the call of Islam, that would signify a new, happier phase in the history of the divine message.
Once at Ta’if, Rasulullah approached its leading personalities, explaining his message and calling on them to believe in Allah and to support him in his efforts to establish the Islamic code of living. Ta’if was the town where the major idol, Al-Lat, had its temple. The Thaqif had tried to give Al-Lat a special status and to make its temple one to be visited by other Arabs, on a similar footing to the Kaabah. The Thaqif were fully aware of what Rasulullah advocated. Its leaders had similar considerations to those of the Quraish in determining their attitude to Rasulullah . For ten days Rasulullah spoke to one of their chiefs after another. None gave him a word of encouragement. The worst response came from three brothers, the sons of Amr ibn Umayr. These three brothers, Abd Yalil, Masud and Habib, were the recognized leaders of Ta’if. One of them was married to a Quraishi woman and Rasulullah hoped that this relationship would work in his favor. In the event the three men were extremely rude in their rejection of Rasulullah approach.
Wadi Mathna.Mithna..where Rasulullah ﷺ took refuge.
The first one said: “I would tear the robes of the Kaabah if it was true that God has chosen you as His Messenger.” The second said: “Has God found no one other than you to be His Messenger?” The third said: “By God, I will never speak to you. If it is true that you are God’s Messenger, you are too great for me to speak to you. If, on the other hand, you are lying, you are not worth answering.”

Fearing that the news of their rejection would serve to intensify the Quraish’s hostility to Islam, Rasulullah requested the Thaqif notables not to publicize his mission. They refused him even that. Instead, they set on him a crowd of their teenagers and servants, who chased and stoned him. Rasulullah ﷺ’s feet were soon bleeding and he was in a very sorry state. Zayd Ibn Harithah RA tried hard to defend him and protect him from the stones.
Rasulullah ’s take shelter near Wadi Mathna.   The sanctuary of Rasulullah ’s which is now used as a mosque.
Later when Saidatuna Aisyah RA his spouse, asked Rasulullah if he had ever experienced a worse day than Battle of Uhud? Rasulullah answered that:
 "I had suffered a lot from those people, but the most painful day was when I went to Ta’if and they spurned me. I was returning wearied and grieved when in Qarn Al-Manazil Archangel Gabriel addressed me saying Allah has sent the angel of mountains to ask for my permission to bury Ta’if between the two mountains flanking Ta’if, but I replied that I rather wish that Allah will raise from among their descendants people who will worship the One God-Allah and who will not ascribe partners to Him (in worship)."
Further to that they move out of the city of Ta’if. Once Rasulullah and Zayd ibn Harithah RA were outside the city walls, Rasulullah almost collapsed. They went a short distance outside of the town and stopped in an orchard that belonged to two Makkans who were there at the time.
Rasulullah then sought refuge in an orchard that belonged to two brothers from Makkah. They were in their orchard, and they saw Rasulullah when he entered. At first they watched him quietly, but Rasulullah did not see them.
Wadi Mithna in Ta'if
The owners of the orchard had seen Rasulullah been persecuted in Makkah and on this occasion they felt some sympathy toward their fellow townsman. They sent a slave who took Rasulullah into his hut, dressed his wounds, and let him rest and recuperate until he felt strong enough to resume his journey across the rough terrain between Ta’if and Makkah.
As Rasulullah sat down, Rasulullah said this highly emotional and touching prayer:
 “To You, My Lord, I complain of my weakness, lack of support and the humiliation I am made to receive. Most compassionate and merciful! You are the Lord of the weak, and You are my Lord. To whom do You leave me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom You have given power over me? If You are not displeased with me, I do not care what I face. I would, however, be much happier with Your mercy. I seek refuge in the light of Your face by which all darkness is dispelled and both this life and the life to come are put on their right courses against incurring Your wrath or being the subject of Your anger. To You I submit, until I earn Your pleasure. Everything is powerless without Your support.”
The owners of the orchard were none other than Utbah and Shaybah, the two sons of Rabi’ah, who commanded positions of high esteem in the Quraish. Although the two brothers were opposed to Islam and to Rasulullah , they felt sorry for him in his unenviable plight. Therefore, they called a servant of theirs, named Addas, and told him to take a bunch of grapes on a plate to Rasulullah . Addas, who was a Christian from the Iraqi town of Nineveh, complied.
As Rasulullah took the grapes he said, as Muslims do before eating: “In the name of God.” Surprised, Addas said: “This is something no one in these areas says.” When Addas answered Rasulullah ’s question about his religion and place of origin, Rasulullah commented: “Then you come from the same place as the noble divine, Jonah.” Even more surprised, Addas asked: “How did you know about Jonah? When I left Nineveh, not even ten people knew anything about him.” Rasulullah said: “He was my brother. Like me, he was a prophet.” Addas then kissed Rasulullah ’s head, hands and feet in a gesture of genuine love and respect. As they watched, one of the two owners of the orchard said to his brother: “That man has certainly spoilt your slave.”
Musolla in Wadi Mithna - Ta'if
When Addas joined them they asked him the reason for his very respectful attitude to Rasulullah . He said: “There can be no one on earth better than him. He has indeed told me something which no one but a prophet would know.” They said: “You should be careful, Addas. He may try to convert you while your religion is better than his.”
It is clear from their attitude that although they might be kind to Rasulullah in a situation that aroused their nobler feelings of pity and compassion, they begrudged him even the slightest gain from his unsuccessful trip. Addas did not follow his masters’ religion. Their opinion of Christianity was not at all flattering. Yet they would rather have their slave sticking to it than following Rasulullah , so that the Islamic camp might remain weak. In this, the two Makkan chiefs were no different from others who have taken a stand of opposition to Islam throughout history. Even the slightest gain Islam achieves pains them.

Rasulullah then set out on his journey back to Makkah. Rasulullah stopped at Nakhlah, not very far from Makkah. Considering the situation he was in from all angles, he realized that the Quraish might prevent him from entering Makkah again. Worse, they might kill him or have him locked up. There was only one way out: To seek the protection of one of their notables.
The nature of Arabian tribal society was such that any individual coming into a town or a tribe needed to have an alliance with, or protection from, a man of good standing in that town or tribe. Normally people of such standing would extend their protection to anyone who sought it, because by doing so they enhanced their own standing and reputation. In the case of Rasulullah , however, the first two people his messenger approached, Al-Akhnas ibn Shariq and Suhayl ibn Amr, declined. The third, Al-Mut’im ibn Adiy, responded favorably. He and his children and nephews took up their arms and went to the mosque. He then sent word to Rasulullah to enter. Rasulullah came up to the Ka’abah and walked round it seven times, guarded by his protectors.
Abu JahI, dismayed at the loss of this chance of putting an end to Rasulullah , asked Al-Mut’im: “Are you a follower or a protector?” Al-Mut’im confirmed that he was only protecting Muhammad. Abu Jahl then declared that there would be no intervention to threaten such protection.
Rasulullah then went home safely. He had learned, however, a very important lesson: That he must not venture outside Makkah before first completing the necessary groundwork which ensured a good reception for his message and his own safety.
View Wadi Mathna from various angles. Here