Then I observed prayer beside him and looked at him with stealing glances and when I attended to my prayer, he looked at me and when I cast a glance at him he turned away his eyes from me. And when the harsh treatment of the Muslims towards me extended to a (considerable) length of time, I walked until I climbed upon the wall of the garden of Abu Qatada, and he was my cousin, and I had the greatest love for him. I greeted him but, by Allah, he did not respond to my greetings. I said to him: Abu Qatada, I adjure you by Allah, aren’t you well aware of the fact that I love Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) the most. He kept quiet. I again repeated saying: I adjure you by Allah. aren’t you well aware of the fact that I love Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) the most. He kept quiet. I again adjured him, whereupon he said: Allah and the Messenger (ﷺ) are best aware of it. My eyes began to shed tears and I came back climbing down from the wall and as I was walking in the bazar of Medina a Nabatean from amongst the Nabateans of Syria, who had come to sell food-grains in Medina, asked people to direct him to Ka’b b. Malik.
People gave him the indication by pointing towards me. He came to me and delivered to me a letter of the King of Ghassan and as I was a scribe I read that letter and it was written like this:” Coming to my point, it has been conveyed to us that your friend (the Holy Prophet) is subjecting you to cruelty and Allah has not created you for a place where you are to be degraded and where you cannot find your right place, so you come to us that we should accord you honor. As I read that letter I said: This is also a calamity, so I burnt it in the oven. When out of the fifty days, forty days had passed and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) received no revelation, there came the messenger of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) to me and said: Verily, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) has commanded you to remain separate from your wife. I said: Should I divorce her or what (else) should I do? He said: No, but only remain separate from her and don’t have sexual contact with her. The same message was sent to my companions. So I said to my wife: You better go to your parents and stay there with them until Allah gives the decision in my case. The wife of Hilal b. Umayya came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said: Allah’s Messenger, Hilal b. Umayya is a senile person, he has no servant. Do you disapprove of my serving him? He said: No, but don’t go near him. She said: By Allah, he has no such instinct in him. By Allah, he spends his time in weeping from that day to this day. Some of the members of my family said to me: Were you to seek permission from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) in regard to your wife as he has granted permission to the wife of Hilal b. Umayya to serve him. I said: I would not seek permission from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), for I cannot say what Allah’s Apostle may say in response to seeking my permission. Moreover, I am a young man. It was in this state that I spent ten more nights and thus fifty nights had passed that (people) had observed boycott with us. It was on the morning of the fiftieth night that I observed my dawn prayer and was sitting on one of the roofs of our houses.
And I was in fact sitting in that very state which Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, has described about us in these words:” Life had become hard for myself and the earth had compressed despite its vastness,” that I heard the noise of an announcer from the peak of the hill of Sal’ saying at the top of his voice: Ka’b b. Malik, there is glad tidings for you. I fell down in prostration and came to realize that there was (a message of) relief for me. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) had informed the people of the acceptance of our repentance by Allah as he offered the dawn prayer. So the people went on to give us glad tidings and some of them went to my friends in order to give them the glad tidings and a person galloped his horse and came from the tribe of Aslam and his horse reached me more quickly than his voice. And when he came to me whose sound I heard, he gave me the glad tidings. I took off my clothes and clothed him with them because of his bringing good news to me and, by Allah, I possessed nothing else (in the form of clothes) than these two on that occasion, and I asked one to lend me two clothes and dressed myself in them. I came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and on my way I met groups of people who greeted me because of (the acceptance of) repentance and they said: Here is a greeting for you for your repentance being accepted by Allah. (I moved on) until I came to the mosque and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) had been sitting there amongst persons. So Talha b. ‘Ubaidullah got up and rushed towards me and he shook hands with me and greeted me and, by Allah, no person stood up (to greet me) from amongst the emigrants except he. Ka’b said that he never forgot (this good gesture of) Talha. Ka’b further said: I greeted Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) with Assalam-o-‘Alaikam and his face was glistening because of delight, and he said: Let there be glad tidings and blessings for you, the like of which (you have neither found nor you will find, as you find today) since your mother gave your birth. I said: Allah’s Messenger. is this acceptance of repentance from you or from Allah? He said: No, (it is not from ma), it is from Allah, and it was common with Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) that as he was happy his face brightened up and it looked like a part of the moon and it was from this that we recognized it (his delight).
As I sat before him, I said: Allah’s Messenger, am I allowed to give in charity my wealth for Allah’s sake and for the sake of His Messenger (ﷺ)? Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Keep some property with you as it is better for you. I said: I shall keep with me that part (of my property) which fell to my lot (on the occasion of the expedition of) Khaibar. I said: Allah’s Messenger, verily, Allah has granted me salvation because of truth and, therefore, (I think) that repentance implies that I should not speak anything but truth as long as I live. He said: By Allah, I do not know whether anyone amongst the Muslims was put to more severe trial than I by Allah because of telling the truth. And since I made a mention of this to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) up to this day I have not told any lie and, by Allah, I have decided not to tell a lie and I hope that Allah would save me (from trials) for the rest of my life and Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, revealed these verses:” Certainly, Allah has turned in Mercy to the Prophet and the emigrants and the helpers who followed him in the hour of hardship after the hearts of a part of them were about to deviate; then He turned to them in mercy. Surely, to them He is Compassionate, Merciful and (He turned in Mercy) to the three who were left behind until the earth despite its vastness became strait for them and their souls were also straitened to them.” And this revelation reached up to the (words):” O you who believe, develop God consciousness, and be with the truthful” (ix. 117-118). Ka’b said: By Allah, since Allah directed me to Islam there has been no blessing more significant for me than this truth of mine which I spoke to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and if I were to tell a lie I would have been ruined as were ruined those who told lies, for in regard to those who told lies Allah used harshest words used for anyone as He descended revelation (and the words of Allah are):” They will swear by Allah to you when you return to them so that you may leave them alone. So leave them alone. Surely, they are unclean and their resort is Hell, recompense for what they earned. They will swear to you that you may be pleased with them but if you are pleased with them, yet surely Allah is not pleased with the transgressing people” (ix. 95-96). K’ab said that the matter of us three persons was deferred as compared with those who took an oath in the presence of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and he accepted their allegiance and sought forgiveness for them and Allah did not give any decision in regard to us. It was Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, Who gave decisions in our case, three who remained behind. (The words of the Qur’an)” the three who were left behind” do not mean that we remained back from Jihad but these imply that He kept our matter behind them who took oath and presented excuse before Him. This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Zuhri with the same chain of transmitters.
[Sahih Muslim 2769]