When the Messenger (saw) first received revelation, he focused on calling his nation, the people of Quraysh, to accept Islam and reorient their way of life. Allah commanded him to focus on the tribal leaders, those whom society implicitly trusted, willing to follow them even if they changed their collective way of life.
He thus did not proactively call individuals, who could personally agree with him, whilst society still continued with their existing way of life. His mission was to change society, establish a civilisation, not change the faith of some individuals in a missionary sense.
Early companions (ra) would hear rumours of his dawa to the elites and approach him seeking knowledge of his call and them convert.
One of them was Dimad ibn Tha'labah al-Azdi (ra).
Dimad ibn Tha'labah al-Azdi (ra) was a trader from Yemen who visited Mecca and heard of a Messenger (saw), accused of possession by devils and insanity. He used to cure mad and possessed people, so he asked the Meccans to introduce him to the Messenger (saw) to help cure him.
Dimad (ra) approached the Messenger (saw) and tried to diagnose his alleged sicknesses. He asked him to recite some of his revelation. The Messenger (saw) did so and Dimad (ra) recognised the divine in what he recited. He converted to Islam and pledge an oath and promised his tribe's conversion.
Ibn Abbas (ra) narrated his conversion:
ضِمَادًا قَدِمَ مَكَّةَ، وَكانَ مِن أَزْدِ شَنُوءَةَ "وهى قبيلة من اليمن" ، وَكانَ يَرْقِي مِن هذِه الرِّيحِ، فَسَمِعَ سُفَهَاءَ مِن أَهْلِ مَكَّةَ يقولونَ: إنَّ مُحَمَّدًا مَجْنُونٌ، فَقالَ: لو أَنِّي رَأَيْتُ هذا الرَّجُلَ، لَعَلَّ اللَّهَ يَشْفِيهِ علَى يَدَيَّ، قالَ: فَلَقِيَهُ، فَقالَ: يا مُحَمَّدُ، إنِّي أَرْقِي مِن هذِه الرِّيحِ، وإنَّ اللَّهَ يَشْفِي علَى يَدَيَّ مَن شَاءَ، فَهلْ لَكَ؟ فَقالَ رَسولُ اللهِ صَلَّى الله عليه وَسَلَّمَ: إنَّ الحَمْدَ لِلَّهِ، نَحْمَدُهُ وَنَسْتَعِينُهُ، مَن يَهْدِهِ اللَّهُ فلا مُضِلَّ له، وَمَن يُضْلِلْ فلا هَادِيَ له، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنْ لا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ، وَحْدَهُ لا شَرِيكَ له، وَأنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسولُهُ، أَمَّا بَعْدُ … لقَدْ سَمِعْتُ قَوْلَ الكَهَنَةِ، وَقَوْلَ السَّحَرَةِ، وَقَوْلَ الشُّعَرَاءِ، فَما سَمِعْتُ مِثْلَ كَلِمَاتِكَ هَؤُلَاءِ، وَلقَدْ بَلَغْنَ نَاعُوسَ البَحْر قالَ: فَقالَ: هَاتِ يَدَكَ أُبَايِعْكَ علَى الإسْلَامِ، قالَ: فَبَايَعَهُ، فَقالَ رَسولُ اللهِ صَلَّى الله عليه وَسَلَّمَ: وعلَى قَوْمِكَ؟ قالَ: وعلَى قَوْمِي
"Dimad came to Mecca, from the tribe of Azd Shanu'a; he used to cure the person who was under the influence of charms.
He heard the foolish people of Mecca say Muhammad (saw) was under a spell.
He observed: If I were to come across this man, Allah might cure him at my hand.
He met him and said: Muhammad, I can heal (one) who is under the influence of charms, and Allah cures one whom He so desires at my hand. Do you desire (this)?
Upon this, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: Praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, ask His help; he whom Allah guides aright there is none to lead him astray,
and he who has led astray there is none to guide him, and I bear testimony to the fact that there is no god but Allah, He is One, having no partner with Him, and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger, to proceed …'
He (Dimad) interrupted and said: Repeat these words of yours before me again.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) repeated these to him thrice; and he said I have heard the words of soothsayers and the words of magicians, and the words of poets, but I have never heard such words as yours, and they reach the depth (of the ocean of eloquence); bring forth your hand so that I should take the oath of fealty to you on Islam.
Saying 'Give me your hand to take the Islamic oath of allegiance to you.'
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: It (this allegiance of yours) is on behalf of your people too?
Dimad said: It is on behalf of my people too." (Sahih Muslim 868)
Dimad (ra) heard rumours accusing the Messenger of being insane. He used to cure mad people, so asked the Meccans to guide him to the Messenger (saw) to help him seek a quick recovery. The Messenger (saw) recited some verses and supplications in front of him, Dimad (ra) converted.
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