A'asha was one of the great poets of the Age of Ignorance and his verses were quoted in the assemblies of Quraysh. He heard about the commandments of Allah and the splendid teachings of Islam at the time when he had grown old. He lived at a place which was at a far-off distance from Makkah.
The 'call' of the Holy Prophet had not yet been extended fully to that area, but even that which he had heard about Islam in brief terms created a great love for it in his heart. He composed a marvellous panegyric in praise of the Prophet and did not consider a gift better than that he should recite it in the presence of the Prophet.
Although the number of the verses of this panegyric does not exceed twenty four, these are the best and the most eloquent verses recited in the praise of the Holy Prophet during those times. The text of these verses may be seen in his poetical works.6 The poet commends upon the sublime teachings of the Prophet which had illuminated his mind.
A'asha had not yet been fortunate enough to come to the Prophet when the spies of the idol-worshippers contacted him and became aware of his feelings. They knew well that A'asha was a sensual person and was addicted to wine. They at once took advantage of his weak points and said: "O Abu Basir! The religion of Muhammad does not conform to your mentality and moral condition!" He said "Why not?"
They replied: "He has declared adultery unlawful." He said: "I have nothing to do with it and this thing does not stand in the way of my embracing Islam". They added: "He has also banned drinking of wine". On hearing this he became somewhat uneasy and said: "I am not yet satiated with wine. I shall return now and shall drink wine to my fill for a period of one year and shall come next year and embrace Islam at his hands". He then returned, but death did not permit him to do what he had said, for he died the same year.