When the Messenger (saw) first received revelation, he focused on calling his nation, the people of Quraysh, to reorient their way of life to Islam. He focus his efforts on tribal elites, leaders and influentials, those whom society implicitly trusted, happy to follow them even if they changed their collective way of life.
He therefore did not proactively call individuals, who could personally agree with him, whilst societal structures and institutions still ensured the collective trajectory remained the same. His mission was to change society, establish a civilisation, within which individuals could choose to change, not try to change the faith of some individuals in a missionary like manner.
Early companions (ra) who believed in him would hear rumours of his efforts and approach him enquiring about his call and then belief in its truth.
One of these was Khalid ibn Sa'id ibn al-Aas (ra).
Khalid ibn Sa'id Ibn Al-Aas's Conversion
Khalid ibn Sa'id ibn al-Aas (ra) was one of the first three to five companions in Islam. He saw a dream where he was at the edge of hell and some people were trying to throw him in the fire, but the Messenger (saw) saved him by holding him tightly.
He subsequently narrated the story to Abu Bakr (ra) who had recently embraced Islam. Abu Bakr told him about the Messenger (saw), who received revelation, who saved people from hell. Khalid (ra) approached the Messenger (saw) and asked him about his deen, believed in its truth, embracing Islam.
Al-Bayhaqi narrated his story:
كَانَ إِسْلَامُ خَالِدِ بْنِ سَعِيدِ بْنِ الْعَاصِ قَدِيمًا وَكَانَ أَوَّلَ إِخْوَتُهُ أَسْلَمَ. وَكَانَ بَدْءُ إِسْلَامِهِ أَنَّهُ رَأَى فِي الْمَنَامِ ...
فَلَقِيَ أَبَا بَكْرِ بْنَ أَبِي قُحَافَةَ فَذَكَرَ ذَلِك لَهُ، فَقَالَ أُرِيدَ بِكَ خَيْرٌ، هَذَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَاتَّبِعْهُ، فَإِنَّكَ سَتَتَّبِعُهُ وَتَدْخُلُ مَعَهُ فِي الْإِسْلَامِ... فَلَقِيَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَهُوَ بأجياد،
فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُول الله يَا مُحَمَّد إلام تَدْعُو؟ قَالَ: " أَدْعُوكَ إِلَى اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ، وَتَخْلَعُ مَا أَنْتَ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ عِبَادَةِ حَجَرٍ لَا يَسْمَعُ، وَلَا يضر، وَلَا يبصر: وَلَا يَنْفَعُ، وَلَا يَدْرِي مَنْ عَبَدَهُ مِمَّنْ لَا يَعْبُدُهُ ".
قَالَ خَالِدٌ: فَإِنِّي أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ.
"The conversion of Khalid ibn Sa'id ibn al-Ass to Islam was very early and he was the first of his brothers to accept Islam. His story starts with seeing a dream (the above one). He then met Abu Bakr and told him what he experienced.
Abu Bakr told him: (Allah) wanted better for you. This is the Messenger of Allah (saw), so follow him. When you follow him you will enter with him into Islam.
He met the Messenger (saw) in Ajyad (a valley far from the centre of Mecca) and said: O Messenger of Allah, O Muhammad, what do you call for?
The Messenger (saw) said: I call you to serve Allah alone with no partner and to believe in me as his servant and Messenger; stop what you are doing of serving stones, that do not hear, nor harm, nor see, nor benefit and are not aware of who serves them.
Khalid (ra) said: I testify there is no god but Allah and you are the Messenger of Allah." (Ibn Kathir, as-Seera al-Nabawiyyah, Vol. 1, pp. 444-445, Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 3, p. 32)
Khalid ibn Abd al-Aas (ra) experienced a dream where he saw the Messenger (saw) saved him from falling in a fire. He narrated the story to Abu Bakr (ra) who accompanied him to the house of the Messenger (saw). He learned about Islam and embraced it.
Ibn Kathir, as-Seera al-Nabawiyyah
Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah
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