[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
Although idol worship was widespread in pagan Arabia, there was a small number of people who still clung to the Abrahamic faith, in whatever form it was available.Waraqa bin Naufal was one of prominent monotheist of pagan Arabia.
Zaid bin Amr, the father of Sa’eed ibn Zaid, was one of the companions of Waraqa. Zaid, Waraqa, along few others, were totally against idol worship and prefered to cling to the original teachings of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). Once there was a festival related to one of the idols. A large number of people had gathered over a feast.Waraqa, Zaid and their companions got up and walked out of the gathering to show their disgust for idol worship.They stood at some distance (from the gathering) and denounced idol worship (publicly). They, then left Makkah in search of pure Monotheism and travelled widely. Ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said, “When the incident of Zaid was narrated to the Prophet ﷺ, “ Do you know Waraqa bin Nufail is an Ummah in himself?”
Zaid and Waraqa went together in pursuit of turth. On the way, they met a Christian monk. Though Zaid was still not convinced about the monk’s faith, Waraqa realised that the monk did have a trace of pure monotheism in his words. The Monk elaborated about the teaching of Ibrahim (peace be upon him). Waraqa decided to stay there to study Torah and Injeel. He learnt Hebrew language, too. Then he returned to Makkah to propagate monotheism. He used to gather his relatives and introduced them to Touhid and Torah.
Zaid continued his journey. On the way, he met a Jew who had been running a Jewish monastery.From his conversation, Zaid realised that the monk believed in monotheism. So he requested the monk to allow him to stay and learn from him. He requested to be converted into a Jew. The Jew asked him, “From which place have you come from?” Zaid said that he was from Makkah. Hearing this, the Jew refused to accept him into Judaism. This refusal surprised Zaid. The Jew explained, “If you enter into my faith, you too, would be met by the wrath of Allah, similar to the way our Jewish community is undergoing the wrath of Allah.” The Jewish scholars had realised that they were undergoing the punishment of Allah.
The Jew remained a Jew, but honoured the resident of Makkah and stopped him from becoming a Jew because he knew that his own religion was corrupted. Yet he himself did not embrace Islam. This is called ‘Ta’asub’ which means selfishly greedy about one’s own desire.
Zaid thought that the people of Makkah were the only ones who were rebelling against their Lord but even the Jews were doing the same. He dropped his idea of becoming a Jew. Then he proceeded towards Sham which was the headquarters of Christianity. He reached a city which had a huge Church. There, he met a monk and concluded that the Christian monk was better than the Jew. He proposed the Christian to allow him to accept his religion. The Monk said, “ I will not allow you to enter my religion because you will also be deviated the way my people are”.
He, then offered a suggestion to Zaid, “I will direct you to a religion and if you follow it, you will be rightly guided”. Zaid was excited to know about it. The Christian monk said, “The religion of Ibrahim (peace be upon him)”. Zaid exclaimed, “O Allah bear witness that I accept the religion of Ibrahim (peace be upon him)”.