From Darkness to Light!
Here is another Abu Sufyaan, a different one than Abu Sufyaan Ibn Harb. His story is one of being guided after straying from the path of truth, a story of love after hatred, happiness after suffering. It is the story of Allah's infinite mercy and how it opened the gates to someone seeking Allah's refuge after a long journey full of hardship and suffering.
Can you imagine, lbn Al-Haarith spent 20 years in a continuous fight against Islam! Twenty years from the beginning of the revelation until the Day of the Conquest. During this whole period Abu Sufyaan was encouraging the Quraish and their allies, attacking the Prophet (PBUH) by means of satires, never absent when a battle or fight was fought. His three brothers, Nawfal, Rabii'ah, and `Abd Allah, converted to Islam before him.
The Abu Sufyaan whom we are talking about was the cousin of the Prophet (PBUH), as he was the son of Al-Haarith Ibn `Abd Al Muttalib. Furthermore, he was the foster brother of the Prophet (PBUH), having been suckled for a few days by Haliimah Al Sa'diyah, the Prophet's wet-nurse.
One day destiny called him to meet his happy fate. He called his son Ja'far and said to his men that they were both going to travel. "Where to, Ibn Al-Haarith? What is your destination?" "To the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) to submit ourselves to Allah, Lord of the Worlds."
With a repenting heart he began to ride his horse. At a place called Al-Abuwaa', he could see a great army approaching. Soon he realized that it was the Prophet (PBUH) moving forward to enter Makkah. He began to search for a way out. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) had allowed the Companions to shed Abu Sufyaan's blood because of his long continuous fight against Islam, a fight in which he used his sword as well as his tongue.
If anyone in the approaching army saw him, he would no doubt take revenge. Therefore Abu Sufyaan had to find a clever way which would enable him to meet the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) first before any Muslim could see him. He disguised himself, hiding all his features, then took his son and walked a while until he could clearly see the Prophet (PBUH), who at that moment was approaching amidst a large number of the Companions.
Suddenly, Abu Sufyaan threw himself between the Prophet's hands, removing his disguise. As soon as the Prophet (PBUH) recognized him, he turned his face. Abu Sufyaan turned and approached him from another direction, in vain; the Prophet turned his face again. Abu Sufyaan and his son Ja'far both shouted, "We bear witness that there is no god but Allah.We bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah." They came nearer saying, "O Prophet, no reproach!" The Prophet (PBUH) replied, "No reproach shall be upon you, Abu Sufyaan." Then the Prophet (PBUH) handed him over to `Aliy Ibn Abi Taalib and said to him, "Teach your cousin ablution, the Sunnah and take him away right now." `Aliy took him and soon returned. The Prophet (PBUH) told `Aliy, " Tell people that the Prophet (PBUH) is pleased with Abu Sufyaan, so be pleased with him."
It was nothing more than a moment which Allah blessed in order to close a period of suffering, misery, hardship, and error while opening the gates of infinite mercy.
He nearly converted to Islam when, during the Battle of Badr, while fighting on the side of the Quraish, he saw something that confused his mind.
During that battle Abu Lahab stayed behind, sending Al-'Aas Ibn Hishaam in his place. Abu Lahab was waiting eagerly to hear the news when the shocking defeat was announced. He was sitting near the well of Zamzam in the middle of a group of the Quraish, when a horseman approached. It was Abu Sufyaan Ibn Al-Haarith. Abu Lahab did not give him a chance to rest, but asked him immediately, "Come nearer, my cousin. You have the latest news ! How was it?" Abu Sufyaan Ibn Al-Haarith said, "By Allah, we had hardly begun fighting when it was as if we offered them our bodies, let them do with us whatever they wanted, let them fight us as they pleased, took us prisoners as they liked. I swear, by Allah, I do not blame the Quraish, as we met white men riding piebald horses filling the space between heaven and earth. Nothing is like to them, nothing could stop them."
Abu Sufyaan surely meant that angels were fighting on the Prophet's side. Why is it then that Abu Sufyaan did not submit Himself to Allah at that time after having seen what he first described?
Doubt paves the way to certainty. The more obstinate and opinionated his doubt, the firmer and more persistent his conviction. Finally, it was the day of guidance and certainty, the day of his conversion as previously mentioned.
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From the very beginning, from the first moments after his conversion, he began to strive and to worship as if entering a race with time, hoping to erase all traces of his past to compensate for what he had missed during that time.
He took part in all the battles after the Day of the Conquest. On the Day of Hunain a very dangerous trap was prepared by the polytheists, who attacked the Muslims so fiercefully that a great deal of Muslim warriors lost their reason and retreated, but the Prophet (PBUH) stood firm appealing, "O people, I'm the Prophet, it's not a lie. I'm the son of `Abd Al-Muttalib."
During those fearful moments, a small group, not losing their reason, continued fighting. Among them was Abu Sufyaan and his son Ja'far. Abu Sufyaan was holding the bridle of the Prophet's horse, but when he saw what happened, he felt deeply that his chance had finally come, the chance of dying as a martyr in the cause of Allah, between the Prophet's hands.
He held the horse's bridle with one hand while cutting the throats of the polytheists with the other.
The Muslims regrouped around the Prophet (PBUH) and Allah blessed them with victory. Although the fight was over, when the Prophet (PBUH) looked around he could see a faithful believer still holding his horse's bridle. It was Abu Sufyaan, who had not left his place since the battle began. The Prophet (PBUH) glanced and asked, "Who is it? My brother Abu Sufyaan Ibn Al-Haarith?" Immediately after hearing the word "brother" Abu Sufyaan's heart was filled with joy and dignity. He knelt down and kissed the Prophet's feet, crying. His poetic sensibility was so much moved that he began to describe his joy and happiness because Allah had blessed him with so much braver and success.
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Abu Sufyaan turned to worship and adore Allah very persistently. It was after the Prophet's death when his soul longed for its meeting with the Prophet. He had desired for a long time to die soon, to the extent that people saw him digging out his grave at Al-Baqii', a grave which he prepared and arranged in a very nice way. When people expressed their astonishment he just said, "I'm preparing my grave."
Three days later he was lying at home, when his relatives began to cry and weep. When he opened his eyes, he said in complete "Don't cry. I didn't commit a single sin since I converted tranquility, to Islam."
Before his head fell upon his chest he said his last farewell to the world.