Travelers of Madina

Tubba تُبَّع  As‘ad Abu Kurib al-Himyari

The first person to cover the Holy Ka'bah with full Kiswah and set up a door that could be locked in the Holy Ka'bah was As‘ad Abu Kurib al-Himyari , who believed in the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) four centuries prior to his mission.


Ibn Shahr Aashob has narrated that Tubba is one of those five kings who ruled over the entire world. He reached every part of the world and took ten wise and learned men from every city with him and came to Makkah. When the people did not respect him, he became angry. He consulted his vizier Ayaareesaa. He said, These are ignorant people. They are proud of this Ka‘bah. So the king decided in his heart to break this building and to kill the residents of Makkah. Allah made his head and brain so sick that dirty material began to flow from his eyes and ears and nose. Doctors could not cure it and they said this ailment is divine (a trouble arrived from above) and hence they could not help. They went away. At night, a scholar approached the minister of the king and told him in a very slow tone that if the king is prepared to reveal the intention he has in his heart I will be able to treat him. The minister told this to the king and with his permission called the scholar there. The scholar asked the king whether he had any bad intention about Ka‘bah. The king said, Yes, I had intended to break it and kill the residents of Makkah. The learned man advised him to give up this thought and to repent so that he may get the good of both this world and the Hereafter. Tubba said, I repent and I give up this idea. He got relief instantly. From then he believed in Allah and Ibrahim Khalilullaah. He covered Ka‘bah with seven pieces of precious cloth and went toward Medina. Medina was situated at a place where a spring was flowing. When they reached there, 400 from the 4000 Ulama came to the king and told him: We left our cities and traveled with you for a long time. Now we wish you to allow us to reside here forever. The king asked the wisdom behind it. The learned men said, O vizier! The grandeur of the Holy Ka‘bah is due to Muhammad who holds the Qur’an and Kiblah and flag and pulpit. He will be born in Makkah. He will migrate from there and arrive here to settle. We intend earnestly that we or our progeny may be fortunate to serve him. When Tubba heard this, he also decides to camp there for one year hoping to be able to get the honor of serving the holy Prophet. He built 400 houses for those 400 Scholars there and married them with 400 freed slave girls. He gave them a lot of wealth and wrote a letter for the holy Prophet mentioning therein his faith and obedience (Islam) and appealed to him to intercede for him in the court of Allah Almighty.

The opening of that letter was: This is a letter from Tubba to Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah who is the last Messenger of Allah and a Prophet for all the worlds. He handed over this letter to the learned man who had give him good guidance (and prevented him from harming the Haram and Makkah city). Then he left Medina and went toward India and died in Ghaslaan. One thousand years passed between the date of his death and the birth of the Holy Prophet. Finally, when the Holy Prophet was sent by Allah most of the residents of Medina had become Muslims. They sent Abu Ya’la Laila with Tubba’s letter to the Holy Prophet. When he reached the holy Prophet he (the Prophet) was among the tribe of Bani Salim. When the holy Prophet saw the courier, he asked: Are you Abu Laila? He replied, “Yes.” Then the holy Prophet asked, “Have you brought Tubba’s letter?” He replied, “Yes, O Prophet of Allah!” and handed over that letter (the courier was astonished that the holy Prophet knew the details of that man and the letter in advance). The holy Prophet gave the letter to Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali to read. He read it out to the holy Prophet. Then the holy Prophet said thrice: Well done, O My Pious brother! and told Abu Laila to go back to Medina.

Source: Hayat Al-Qulub, Vol. 1, Stories of the Prophets
        By Allamah Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi