[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
After Saffana accepted Islam, she was worried about her brother, Adi bin Hatim Ta’ee, and desperately wanted him to meet the noble Prophet ﷺ and accept Islam. Adi was a man of morals and ethics. “When I got the news that the army of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ would be invading my city”, Adi, recalling the incident said, “I left my place along with my wife and children and traveled to North to settle down in the outskirts of Rome, but I forgot to take my sister along.”
His sister was among the captives taken by the Muslims. She embraced Islam after witnessing the good akhlaq (character) displayed by the Muslims. After Saffana (May Allah be pleased with her) was freed and sent back to her home from Madinah with honour, protection and gifts, she went to see her brother. She shared her experiences with him and wondered why he was running away from a person who was noble in his akhlaq (character), humble in attitude and taught an excellent manner of living. She insisted that Adi should go to meet him and accept Islam.
Adi continues, “After hearing my sister’s experiences, I , too, felt the urge to go to Madinah and understand the actual facts myself, before concluding anything further. When I went to meet him, I had carried hatred and a strong apathy in my heart against the Prophet ﷺ. But I remained open minded; if the person was the true prophet (of Allah), then I would not hesitate to accept his religion, but if he was not, then I would refuse to accept Islam. The moment I entered Madinah, some people noticed and identified me.” Adi was a well known public figure and that was why he was identified easily.
“There was happiness on the faces of the Muslims of Madina and they welcomed me warmly. None of them seemed to harbor any dislike towards me.” Adi was surprised on this display of sincere respect towards him by people whom he believed were his enemies. For the people of Madinah , too, it was a pleasant sight to see a prominent figure like Adi, coming to meet the Prophet ﷺ.
Adi reached Masjid e Nabwi and the moment the Prophet ﷺ saw him, he welcomed him warmly, “Adi! Accept Islam, and be safe (from the wrath of Allah).” But he said, “But I am already a religious person.” The Prophet ﷺ replied, “I know your religion very well (or more than you).” Adi wondered how the Prophet ﷺ could know about his religion well or more than him! Adi asked him three times if the Prophet ﷺ really knew his religion (Christianity) well and every time the Prophet ﷺ answered in the affirmative.
The Prophet ﷺ then asked Adi, “Are you not a leader of your people and well versed with your religion?” Adi said, “Yes”. “Do you not call yourself Christian”? He replied in the affirmative again. The Prophet ﷺ then said, “I tell you, you are not a Christian, but a Rukusi”. A Rukusi, in those days, was a person who followed a religion with mixed beliefs and rituals of Sabiens and Christianity. Adi said, “I was a little surprised as to how did he know about it”.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) further asked, “Do you not take one-fourth of the earnings of your people?” Adi said, “I answered yes, and explained that it was a part of my religion.” But the Prophet ﷺ asked me to check my own scriptures to see if it was haram (forbidden) or not, and confidently declared it to be haram (according to my scriptures). I realized that he was a true Prophet (of Allah) indeed.
Then, he foretold three prophecies, “Perhaps, O Adi, the only thing that prevents you from accepting this religion is that you see Muslims in smaller numbers as compared to their enemies in larger numbers. By Allah, the time is near when you would hear of the woman setting out from Qadisiyyah (Yemen) on her camel alone until she reaches Makkah, not fearing anyone except Allah” (i.e peace would prevail under Muslim rule).
“Perhaps what prevents you from accepting this religion is that (right now) you see that sovereignty and power rest in the hands of those who are not Muslims. By Allah, you would soon hear of the white palaces of the land of Babylon opening up for them (Muslims) and the treasures of Kaiser and Chosroes, the son of Hormuz (Romans and Persians), falling in their (Muslims’) hands.”
“Perhaps, O Adi, the only thing that prevents you from accepting this religion is that you see Muslims in the state of destitution and poverty. By Allah, the time is near when wealth would flow amongst them until no one could be found (in need) to take it (from someone else).” 'The treasures of Chosroes, the son of Hormuz?' I asked (incredulously). “Yes! the treasures of Chosroes, the son of Hormuz,” he said. "Thereupon, I professed the testimony of truth, and declared my acceptance of Islam."
His acceptance of Islam was so well received that people used to travel great distances just to listen to his story of accepting Islam. He saw two of the prophecies to come true (in his life time) and even found a lady who had traveled all the way from Yemen to Makkah alone safely. It is said that he was amongst those young men who entered the palace of Kisra ( during the regime of Umar bin al Khattab, May Allah be pleased with him) victoriously along with the Muslim army. He used to say, “I have seen two of the prophecies (to come true) and mark my words that the third prophecy, too, would be fulfilled very soon.” The Prophecy of a person not finding anyone to accept zakat was seen to come true during the Caliphate of Umar bin Abdul Aziz.
Accepting Islam changed the life of Adi (May Allah be pleased with him). He was a well known philanthropist like his father, but with the intention of pleasing Allah. He used to reach the Masjid even before the call for prayer was given. In the book of Bukhari, there is an obvious narration about him. “Those who possessed goodness in the days of ignorance, will maintain their goodness even after becoming Muslims.”
Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) was very gentle and a kind hearted person before accepting Islam, and he remained that way even after embracing Islam. Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) too, maintained his strong character even after becoming a Muslim. Thus, when Adi (May Allah be pleased with him) became a Muslim, his traits of personality remained the same as they were, before accepting Islam. That was why he was well known amongst the masses.
After the death of the Prophet ﷺ, many people from Adi ibn Hatim’s tribe became apostates. Adi ibn Hatim (May Allah be pleased with him) used to confront them and refute their claims. He strove hard to revert them to Islam and tried to save others from following them blindly. One day he came and sat down in the gathering of Umar bin Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) and felt that the Caliph was ignoring him as he talked to other people (but not him). So he asked the Caliph if he had recognized him or not. The Caliph replied, “Why not? I saw you and recognized you. You accepted Islam when your people rejected. When people became apostates, you remained steadfast (on Islam). When your people showed disloyalty, you remained loyal to Islam.” He felt overwhelmed and out of fear of being (accounted for the sin of being) pretentious and showy, he requested the Caliph not to praise him too much.
As long as the Prophet ﷺ lived, he used to welcome Adi (May Allah be pleased with him) warmly, whenever he joined Prophet’s gatherings and highly regarded him. One day, he asked about his father Hatim Ta’ee, who was well known for his generosity and philathropy. The Prophet ﷺ explained gently that his father had been pretentious and showy and seeked to become popular in this world and that was all what he got.
This was the story of Adi ( May Allah be pleased with him) who along with his sister had accepted Islam, although they came from a very well known and prominent family.