The spread of Islam in the Arabian peninsula had been strikingly phenomenal. At the time when neither the internet nor mobile phone existed, everyone knew who “Muhammad” was. His name was a subject of people’s daily conversations.
Those who talked about him were found not only in his hometown, Mecca, but also in neighboring countries. While some argued that the new religion he was preaching was nothing than a blasphemy to the widely spread paganism, others saw some similarities between it and Christianity and thus welcomed the man sincerely.
Three Christian priests from Najran were curious. They wanted to meet this new Prophet whom people said had beautiful eyes and flushed cheeks, and who spoke with a golden tongue. A private discussion with him in which he could share about his teachings was something they longed for. Embarking on a journey from Najran to Medina that now would only take less than an hour, the priests rode their horses for nearly two days.
They arrived in Medina on Friday when a populace of newly converted Muslims were praying devotedly. The priests waited patiently. After the prayer, The Prophet welcomed them and had them staying in his humble house for the night.
The priests were planning for a whole day discussion on the following day so they could return to Najran late in the afternoon.
But the discussion went on really interestingly that The Prophet offered them to stay for another night. And so they did.
On the following morning, a group of The Prophet’s disciples were gathering in his house to bid the priests a farewell.
Just when the priests were going to say goodbye, one of them suddenly said, “Hang on. Today’s Sunday, isn’t it?”
The two other priests nodded.
The first priest then said to the disciples, “Before we go, could you please show us where we could pray?”
“I would love to do that, but unfortunately there’s no church here,” Ali bin Abi Thalib replied.
The priests exchanged glances. Their face displayed bemused expression. A momentary silence ensued.
Then Abdurrahman bin Auf broke the silence, “You could pray in my house. I’d be happy to host you.”
“No, please do it in my house. I have a huge living room for the three of you to do it comfortably,” Utsman bin Affan spoke with unrivaled fervent.
“But if you do it in my house, after the prayer, I will serve you delicious food. My wife’s an excellent cook,” it was now Umar bin Khattab who came up with the offer.
Now the priests were even more confused. They were gazing at the Prophet who remained calm. The first priest said to him, “What do you say?”
The Prophet smiled amiably and opened the window. He then pointed to the humble Nabawi Mosque, saying, “You are more than welcome to pray in there. The place is holy for those who glorify God’s name.”
And so The Prophet and his disciples redecorated the mosque for the priests to pray comfortably.