Ta’if is a city in the Makkah Province of Saudi Arabia at an elevation of 1,879 m (6,165 ft) on the slopes of the Sarawat Mountains (Al-Sarawat Mountains). It has a population of 521,273 (2004 census). The city is the centre of an agricultural area known for its grapes, roses and honey.
In the 6th century the city of Ta'if was dominated by the Banu Thaqif tribe. The town is about 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Makkah. The walled city was a religious centre as it housed the idol of the goddess Allat, who was then known as "the lady of Ta'if." Its climate marked the city out from its dry and barren neighbours closer to the Red Sea. During the Year of the Elephant, this city was involved in the events.
Both Ta'if and Makkah were resorts of pilgrimage. Ta'if was more pleasantly situated than Makkah itself and the people of Ta'if had close trade relations with the people of Makkah. The people of Ta'if carried on agriculture and fruit‑growing in addition to their trade activities.
Taif (means "encompassing") is located in the mountains of Saudi Arabia, 2 hours driving time from Jeddah. Because of its 6,000 foot elevation and generous rainfall, the city has a pleasant year round climate with mild summers (80-90F degrees) and cool winters (40F, warm clothing is needed).
It had been a year of sorrow and misfortune for Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. First, his beloved wife Khadîjah رضي الله عنه died. She was, from all people, the best supporter he had. Soon afterwards, his uncle Abû Tâlib died. As the head of the Prophet’s ﷺclan, he was the only person who was able to give him protection from the rest of the tribe of Quraysh. Abû Tâlib loved his nephew Muhammad ﷺ intensely, and it pained Prophet Muhammad ﷺall the more that his uncle died a disbeliever.
The death, in the same year, of the Prophet’s ﷺ wife Khadîjah رضي الله عنه and his uncle Abû Tâlib magnified the Prophet’s ﷺsorrows and doubled his feelings of estrangement and alienation and filled his heart with pain. Moreover, it left him and his followers politically isolated in Makkah, without support.
The tribe of Quraysh seize this opportunity to increase their abuses and tighten their grips on the Muslims. Abû Lahab succeeded Abû Tâlib as the leader of the Prophet’s ﷺ clan Banû Hâshim, and he harbored the bitterest hatred for Islam and the Prophet ﷺ. He used to go up to the Prophet ﷺ during the pilgrimage and in the marketplace and throw dirt and stones upon him, calling him a Sabian and a liar and warning people against following him.
The Prophet ﷺ replied: Your tribe (Quraysh) had troubled me a lot, and the most severe of this trouble was on the day of 'Aqaba when I presented myself to Ibn `Abd Yalâyil b. `Abd Kulâl and he did not respond to my request. So I departed, overwhelmed with sorrow, and proceeded on, without rest until I found myself at Qarn al-Tha`âlib where I lifted my head towards the sky to see a cloud shading me unexpectedly. I looked up and saw within it Gabriel عليه السلام. He called me saying: “Allah سبحانه و تعالى has heard what your people have been saying to you, and how they have disputed you. Allah سبحانه و تعالى has sent the Angel of the Mountains to you so that you may order him to do whatever you wish to these people.”
I said: “No, for I hope that Allah سبحانه و تعالى will bring forth from their progeny people who will worship Allah سبحانه و تعالى Alone, and none besides Him.” Sahîh al-Bukhârî Vol 4:81, Vol 8:168 and Sahîh Muslim 3/1420
The people of Ta’if rejected the Prophet ﷺand what he came with most harshly. He departed from them in sadness and returned to Makkah only to find that its people had become even more enraged and infuriated with him. He was not even able to enter the city until he received the protection of al-Mut`im b. `Udayy. He had first sought the protection of al-Akhnas b. Shurayq and Suhayl b. `Amr, but they had refused.