[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
While the prominent Jews were embracing Islam after confirming the signs of Prophethood, well known figures of Christian community ,too, were amongst those who embraced Islam. One was Adi bin Hatim Ta’ee. Hatim Ta’ee was very famous for his generosity in Arabia. Even today his name has proverbial fame regarding charity and philanthropy. His son Adi and his daughter Saffana were strict orthodox Christians. Saffana was the first in the family to embrace Islam. Here is her story:
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent an army against the tribe of Taiee, Saffana was among those who were captured. She was put in a tent pitched close to the house of Prophet (SAW), near the Prophet’s Masjid. She says “One day, the Prophet ﷺ passed by my tent and someone told me that he was the Prophet, so I shouted out, “O Messenger of Allah! My father has died and my guardian has fled. Show me mercy so that Allah will show mercy to you”. The Prophet ﷺ asked me, “Who is your father and who was your guardian?” I replied, “I am the daughter of Hatim Ta’ee and my brother fled (leaving me).”
My brother was well known for his anti-Prophet stance. The Prophet ﷺ heard it and went away without saying anything further. The next day I waited for him to pass again and when he passed, I repeated my plea. “Had my father been alive, he would have had me freed, so please show kindness to me and Allah would show kindess towards you.” The Prophet ﷺ passed by without any reaction. The third day when he passed by, I stood on his way but was afraid to talk. A person who was walking behind the Prophet ﷺ instructed me to rush to the Prophet ﷺ and talk to him. I was happy to note that the young man was encouraging me to make an appeal to the Prophet ﷺ. I went to him and said, “The rest of the prisoners have been freed by their relatives but I do not have anyone to help me. So if you show mercy, Allah will show mercy to you.”
The Christian captive not only set free but sent under protection-
The Prophet ﷺ set me free but instructed me not to leave the tent and not to hurry to return home until I find a travel companion, who can escort me to my home safely. I was impressed by the noble character of the Prophet ﷺ and his companion who encouraged me to make an appeal for my freedom. It was Ali bin Abi Talib (May Allah be pleased with him). The Prophet ﷺ further asked me that I should inform him before I leave for my home. Later, I came across a caravan which was supposed to go by my village.
I approached them and they agreed to escort me. I went to the Prophet ﷺ and informed him. The Prophet ﷺ honoured me and gifted me a good dress as well as a camel to travel. He provided a good amount of food for my comfortable journey.
Upon returning to her village, Saffana met her brother Adi and they discussed about her experience in Madina as a prisoner. The brother was shocked to note the noble character of the Prophet ﷺ after hearing the story. She encouraged her brother to hurry to Madina and embrace Islam at the hand of Prophet ﷺ. Thus, the generosity of the Prophet ﷺ became a reason for the prominent Christian family to embrace Islam.