WHAT RUKANAH, THE WRESTLER, SAID ABOUT OUR MOST NOBLE PROPHET MUHAMMAD Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam
A person of Makkah suggested to our Noble Prophet Muhammad SALLALAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM to go to Rukanah – the most famed and unbeatable wrestler of Arabia, – and invite him to Islaam. The Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu alayhi wasallam accepted and went to see Rukanah.
When Rukanah came to the door , the Prophet invited him to bear witness that there is none worthy of worship besides Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah.
Seeing the Prophet, Rukanah, who stood one and a half heads taller than the Prophet and twice as large, quickly and amusingly agreed …. but on the condition that the Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam must accept to fight him. If the Prophet defeated him, which in the eyes of Rukanah was impossible, Rukanah would accept Islaam. And if Rukanah defeated the Prophet, then the Prophet was to give up his mission.
The Prophet agreed and a match was arranged to take place three days later. The whole of Makkah turned out to cheer Rukanah, while Abu-Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, with tears in his eyes, followed his dear friend, Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam.
The Prophet asked Abu-Bakr the reason for his weeping.
Abu-Bakr replied that he wouldn’t be able to bear the pain of seeing the Prophet slammed down because he knew that the Prophet hadn’t eaten anything in the last three days, while Rukanah was a well fed giant.
The Prophet replied:
“The One Who has given Rukanah the strength, the Giver of victory, Allaah, is with me now.”
When the two met at the appointed place, Rukanah asked the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam whether he had ever wrestled before.
The Prophet informed him that he had not. So Rukanah set out the rules: One wrestler would attack while the other would defended himself and vice versa to determine the winner.
He asked the Prophet whether he would like to start the attack. Our Noble Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam declined saying that he was sent as a mercy to mankind and that he would not like to be remembered as the one who attacked his people.
Rukanah then charged at the Prophet who very deftly and gently lifted him up, held him close to his chest and put him down with care, as a mother would do to her child.
Rukanah quickly stood up and asked for another round. The Prophet agreed. The second time the Prophet did the same, and likewise a third time.
AMAZED at this totally unexpected turn of events, Rukanah whom none could floor before this, stood up and said:
“I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship besides Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah.”
Other narrations state that he embraced Islam after the conquest (fath)of Makkah” (Al-Hakim, Abu Dawud, and At-Tirmidhi).
The whole crowd was shocked at what they had seen and they walked away disappointed. His close friends came to him and asked:
“O Rukanah! How can you accept that he is the Prophet of Allaah? Has he bewitched you?”
Rukanah said that in the midst of the desert sun’s heat, he had felt the coolness of the Prophet’s heart each time the Prophet had lifted him up and held him to his chest. He also testified that a normal wrestler would have lifted him up and slammed him down.
He had witnessed the power with which the Prophet had lifted him up, and the mercy and the love with which he gently put him down. Only a TRUE PROPHET OF ALLAH would do this.
ALLAHUMMA SALLI ALA SAYYADINA MUHAMMAD WA ALA AALI MUHAMMAD