The city of Tā’if was ruled by the Banu Thaqif tribe.
The town is about 80 km southeast of Mecca. The walled city was a pagan religious centre. It housed the idol of the goddess al-lāt, who was then known as “the lady of Tā’if.” Its climate was different from its dry and barren areas closer to the Red Sea. Wheat, vines, and fruit were grown around Tā’if.
The death of Abu Talib signaled the beginning of a difficult period for the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). None of the Qurayshites dared touch the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) during the lifetime of Abu Talib, but now the restraint was gone. In one instance, dust was thrown over his head.
And to make matters far worse, the Quraysh, moved by the desire to impose themselves upon the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), insulted and mocked at him and made caustic remarks on Islam. When the pagans persisted with their mockery and sarcasm as well as resolute behaviour, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) thought of going to Ta’if to seek the help of Thaqif.(17)
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) intended to invite them to Islam for he believed that they would receive his message with sympathy. His expectation was apparently well grounded as he had spent his childhood with Bani S’ad who were settled near Ta’if.
Ta’if was a delightful city, only next to Mecca in its population and prosperity, holding an important position in the Peninsula as alluded to in this verse of the Qur’an.
“And they say: If only this Qur’an had been revealed to some great man of the two towns (Mecca and Ta’if)?” [Qur’an 43:31]
Taif was also a religious center since pilgrims from every part of the country visit its so-called “Temple of al-Lat” and thus, it competed with Mecca in such respect for the latter housed Hubal, the chief deity of Arabia. Ta’if was, as it still is today, the summer resort of the Meccan aristocracy. An Umayyad poet, ‘Umar Ibn Rabi’a said about his beloved:
“Winter in Mecca, living in clover, In Ta’if she spends the summer.”
The inhabitants of Ta’if, endowed with diversified large farms and vineyards, were wealthy and prosperous. They had become conceited and boastful embodying the following description of the Qur’anic verse:
“And we sent not unto any township a Warner, but it’s pampered ones declared: Lo! we are disbeliever’s in that which ye bring unto us. And they say: We are more (than you) in wealth and children. We are not the punished!” [Qur’an 35:34-35]
In Ta’if, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) first met the chiefs and leaders of Thaqif whom he invited to accept Islam. They were, however, rude and discourteous in their treatment of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Not being content with their insolent reply, they even stirred up some gangs of the town to harass him. He was forced to leave the city while the people are ridiculing him, insulting him, and throwing stones at him, so much so that the blood began to pour from his body and that his shoes became soaked with his own blood.
These riff-raffs followed the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), abusing,insulting and throwing stones on him.
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) consequently had to endure even more obstacles in Ta’if than he had to face in Mecca. After the people of Taif had stopped chasing him, and he sat down, tired and bleeding, being tortured and humiliated all alone under a tree. These oppression’s grievously dejected the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), whereby being in such a state of pain, turned to Allah Ta’ala citing his helplessness and pitiable condition and seeking the aid of the Almighty :
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 You have given power over me?
As long as 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 in their right course against incurring your wrath
or being the subject of your anger.
To You I submit,
until I earn Your pleasure.
There is no power and no might save in thee
Allah Ta’ala then sent the angel of mountains who sought the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) permission to join together the two hills between which Ta’if was located but the Messenger of God (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “No, I hope God will bring forth from their loins people who will worship God alone, associating nothing with Him.” (Muslim, Kitab-ul-Jihad)
Moved to compassion by the grief of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), ‘Utbah and Shayba Ibn Rabi’a sent for ‘Addas, one of their young Christian slaves, and told him to take a bunch of grapes on a platter for the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to which the bondman obeyed. While in the Prophet’s presence, Addas observed his kind demeanor that compelled him to talk to him and instantly professed his faith in Allah and His Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).(18)
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then returned to Mecca where the Quraysh were as bitterly opposed to him as ever, deriding, annoying and assailing him day after day.
 Authorities hold the view that the Prophet Undertook the journey to Taif towards the end of Shawwal in the tenth year of Apostleship (Khatim-un-Nabiyin by Sheikh Muhammad Abu Zuhra, Vol. I. p. 580).
 Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, pp. 419-22, Ibn Kathir, Vol. II, pp. 149-53 Zad ul-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 302.