The Expedition called Dhat-ur-Riqa' (in the year 7 A.H.):Having subdued two powerful sides of the Confederates coalition, the Prophet peace be upon him started preparations to discipline the third party, i.e. the desert bedouins, who took Najd for habitation, and continued in their usual practices of looting and plundering. Unlike the Jews of Khaibar and people of Makkah, they had a liking for living in the wilderness dispersed in scattered spots, hence the difficulty of bringing them under control, and the futility of carrying out deterrent campaigns against them. However, the Prophet peace be upon him was determined to put an end to this unacceptable situation and called the Muslims around him to get ready to launch a decisive campaign against those harassing rebels. Meanwhile it was reported to him that Bani Muharib and Banu Tha'lbah of the Ghatfan tribe were gathering army in order to encounter the Muslims. The Prophet peace be upon him proceeded towards Najd at the head of 400 or 700 men, after he had mandated Abu Dhar - in another version, 'Uthman bin 'Affan - to dispose the affairs of Madinah during his absence. The Muslim fighters penetrated deep into their land until they reached a spot called Nakhlah where they came across some bedouins of Ghatfan, but no fighting took place because the latter had agreed to go into reconciliation with the Muslims. The Prophet peace be upon him led his followers that day in a prayer of fear.
Al-Bukhari, on the authority of Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari, narrated that they set out on an expedition with the Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him. "We were six in number and had (with us) only one camel which we rode turn by turn. Our feet were injured. My feet were so badly injured that my nails came off. We, therefore, bandaged our feet with rags, so this expedition was called Dhat-ur-Riqa' (i.e. the expedition of rags.)"
Jabir narrated: In the course of Dhat-ur-Riqa' expedition, we came to a leafy tree where the Prophet peace be upon him sat shading himself off the burning sun. The others dispersed here and there seeking shelter from heat. The Prophet peace be upon him had a short nap after he had hung his sword on the tree. A polytheist, meanwhile came, seized the sword and unsheathed it.
The Prophet peace be upon him woke up to find his sword drawn in the man's hand. The bedouin here asked the Prophet (unarmed then): "Who would hold me back from killing you now?" The Prophet peace be upon him then answered: "It is Allâh." In another version, it was reported that the Prophet peace be upon him took the sword when it had fallen down and the man said: "You (the Prophet) are the best one to hold a sword." The Prophet peace be upon him asked the man if he would testify to the Oneness of Allâh and the Messengership of Muhammad. The Arabian answered that he would never engage in a fight against him, nor would he ally people fighting the Muslims. The Prophet peace be upon him set the man free and let him go to his people to say to them that he had seen the best one among all people.
A woman from the Arabians was taken prisoner in the context of this battle. Her husband, on hearing the news, swore he would never stop until he had shed the blood of a Muslim. Secretly at night, he approached the camp of the Muslims when he saw two sentries stationed there to alert the Muslims against any emergency. He shot the first one, Abbad bin Bishr, who was observing prayer, with an arrow but he did not stop prayer, he simply pulled it out. Then he was shot by three other arrows but would not interrupt his prayer. After he had done the closing salutations, he awakened his companion 'Ammar bin Yasir, who remonstrated that he should have alerted him to which the latter replied that he was half way through a Chapter and did not like to interrupt it.
The victory at the expedition of Dhat-ur-Riqa' had a tremendous impact on all the Arabians. It cast fear into their hearts and rendered them too powerless to antagonize the Muslim society in Madinah. They began to acquiesce in the prevailing situation and resigned themselves to new geo-political conditions working in favour of the new religion. Some of them even embraced Islam and took an active part in the conquest of Makkah and the battle of Hunain, and received their due shares of the war booty.
From that time onward, the anti-Islam tripartite coalition had been subdued, and peace and security prevailed. The Muslims, then started to redress any political imbalance and fill in the small gaps that still triggered unrest here and there in the face of the great drive of Islamization that enveloped the whole area. We could in this context mention some of these incidental skirmishes which pointed markedly to the ever-growing power of the Muslim society.
The Compensatory 'Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage)
When Dhul Qa'da month approached towards the close of the seventh year A.H., the Prophet peace be upon him ordered his people, and the men who witnessed Al-Hudaibiyah Truce Treaty in particular, to make preparations to perform 'Umrah (lesser pilgrimage). He proceeded with 2000 men besides some women and children, and 60 camels for sacrifice, to visit the Holy Sanctuary in Makkah. The Muslims took their weapons with them fearing the treachery of the Quraishites, but left them with a party of two hundred men at a place some eight miles from Makkah. They entered the city with the swords in their scabbards, with the Prophet peace be upon him at their head on his she-camel, Al-Qaswa', while the surrounding Companions attentively focusing their look on him, all saying: "Here I am! at Your service O Allâh!" The Quraishites had left the place and retired to their tents on the adjoining hills. The Muslims performed the usual circumambulation vigorously and briskly; and on recommendation by the Prophet peace be upon him they did their best to appear strong and steadfast in their circumambulation as the polytheists had spread rumours that they were weak because the fever of Yathrib (Madinah) had sapped their strength. They were ordered to run in the first three rounds and then walk in the remaining ones. The Makkans meanwhile aligned on the top of Qu'aiqa'an Mount watching the Muslims, tongue-tied at witnessing their strength and devotion. When they entered the Holy Sanctuary, 'Abdullah bin Rawaha walked before the Prophet peace be upon him reciting:
"Get out of his way, you disbelievers, make way, we will fight you about its revelation with strokes that will remove heads from shoulders and make friend unmindful of friend." After ritual walking and running between the two hills of Makkah, Safa and Marwah, the Prophetpeace be upon him with the Muslims halted at the latter spot to slaughter the sacrificial animals and shave their heads.
The main body of the pilgrims had now performed the basic rites of the lesser pilgrimage, but there remained those who were entrusted the charge of the weapons. The Prophet had these relieved, and they went through the same devotions as the others did.
On the morning of the fourth day of the pilgrimage, the notables of Quraish asked 'Ali bin Abi Talib to tell the Prophet peace be upon him to leave Makkah along with his Companions. He, of course, could not conceive of violating the terms of Al-Hudaibiyah Treaty, therefore he ordered his men to depart for a village called Sarif where he stayed for some time.
It was during this visit of the Prophet peace be upon him to Makkah for pilgrimage that his uncle 'Abbas offered the hand of his sister-in-law, Maimuna - the daughter of Harith, to him. The Prophet peace be upon him was kind enough to accept this offer since it was an effective step towards cementing the ties of relationship between the Prophet peace be upon him and the influential men of Makkah. The wedding took place in Sarif.
Narrators attached different designations to this lesser pilgrimage. Some called it the compensatory lesser pilgrimage, performed instead of that uncompleted of Hudaibiyah; and the other one, given preponderance by jurists, is the lesser pilgrimage consequent on certain terms of a treaty already agreed upon. On the whole, compensatory, judicial consent, retribution and reconciliation are all terms applicable to that visit.
Some military operations, directed against some still obdurate desert Arabians, took place at the conclusion of the lesser pilgrimage, of which we could mention:
- 1. A platoon headed by Ghalib bin 'Abdullah Al-Laithi in Safar or in Rabi' Al-Awwal 7 A.H. was despatched to muffle the provocative behaviour of Bani Al-Muluh. The Muslims managed to kill a large number of the enemy soldiers and captured a great deal of booty. A large army of polytheists rushed in their heel but floods hindered the pursuit, and the Muslims managed to withdraw in safety.
- 2. 'Umar bin Al-Khattab, at the head of a 30-soldier group, set out to a spot called Turbah in Sha'ban 7 A.H. to discipline the people of Hawazin. He no longer arrived at their habitation that they fled for their lives.
- 3. Thirty men with Basheer bin Sa'd Al-Ansari headed for Bani Murrah in Sha'ban 7 A.H. in Fadak area. He killed a large number of the enemy and seized a lot of their camels and cattle. On his way back, the enemy gathered up forces and overtook the Muslims at night. They showered Basheer and his men with arrows, and killed all the Muslims except Basheer, who took refuge in Fadak and stayed with the Jews there until his wounds healed.
- 4. Ghalib bin 'Abdullah Al-Laithi at the head of a platoon of 130 men launched an attack against Bani 'Awâl and Bani 'Abd bin Tha'lbah in Ramadan 7 A.H. They killed some of the enemy's men and captured their cattle and camels. 'Usama bin Zaid killed Mardas bin Nahik, a polytheist, but after he had pronounced the testimony of Allâh's Oneness to which incident the Prophet peace be upon him commented addressing his Companions: "Would you rip open his heart to discern whether he is truthful or a liar?"
- 5. A thirty-horseman group headed by 'Abdullah bin Rawaha marched towards Khaibar on reports that Aseer (or Basheer bin Razam) was rallying the ranks of Bani Ghatfan to attack the Muslims: They managed to persuade that Jew to follow them to Madinah encouraging him that the Prophet peace be upon him would institute him as a ruler of Khaibar. On their way back there occurred a sort of misunderstanding that gave rise to fierce fighting between the two parties resulting in the death of Aseer and the thirty men with him.
- 6. In Shawwal 7 A.H., Basheer bin Sa'd Al-Ansari marched towards Yemen and Jabar at the head of 300 Muslim fighters to subdue a large mob of polytheists who gathered to raid the outskirts of Madinah. Basheer and his men used to march at night and lurk during the day until they reached their destination. Having heard about the advent of the Muslims, the polytheists fled away leaving behind them a large booty and two men who later embraced Islam on arrival in Madinah.
- 7. In the year 7 A.H., shortly before the Compensatory 'Umrah (lesser pilgrimage), a man called Jashm bin Mu'awiyah came to a spot called Ghabah where he wanted to gather the people of Qais and entice them into fighting the Muslims. The Prophet peace be upon him, on hearing these reports, despatched Abu Hadrad with two men to see to the situation. Abu Hadrad, through a clever strategy, managed to rout the enemy and capture a lot of their cattle.
There was also an insignificant skirmish that occurred in Rabi' Al-Awwal 8 A.H. Shuja' bin Wahab Al-Asadi, along with 25 men, marched towards Bani Hawazin tribe where they encountered no resistance but managed to gain some booty.
The Battle of Mu'tah
It was the most significant and the fiercest battle during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him, a preliminary and a prelude to the great conquests of the land of the Christians. It took place in Jumada Al-Ula 8 A.H. / September 629 A.D. Mu'tah is a village that lies on the borders of geographical Syria.
The Prophet peace be upon him had sent Al-Harith bin 'Umair Al-Azdi on an errand to carry a letter to the ruler of Busra. On his way, he was intercepted by Sharhabeel bin 'Amr Al-Ghassani, the governor of Al-Balqa' and a close ally to Caesar, the Byzantine Emperor. Al-Harith was tied and beheaded by Al-Ghassani.
Killing envoys and messengers used to be regarded as the most awful crime, and amounted to the degree of war declaration. The Prophet peace be upon him was shocked on hearing the news and ordered that a large army of 3000 men be mobilized and despatched to the north to discipline the transgressors. It was the largest Muslim army never mobilized on this scale except in the process of the Confederates Battle.
Zaid bin Haritha was appointed to lead the army. Ja'far bin Abi Talib would replace him if he was killed, and 'Abdullah bin Rawaha would succeed Ja'far in case the latter fell. A white banner was raised and handed over to Zaid.
The Prophet peace be upon him recommended that they reach the scene of Al-Harith's murder and invite the people to profess Islam. Should the latter respond positively, then no war would ensue, otherwise fighting them would be the only alternative left. He ordered them:
"Fight the disbelievers in the Name of Allâh, neither breach a covenant nor entertain treachery, and under no circumstances a new-born, woman, an ageing man or a hermit should be killed; moreover neither trees should be cut down nor homes demolished." At the conclusion of the military preparations, the people of Madinah gathered and bade the army farewell. 'Abdullah bin Rawaha began to weep at that moment, and when asked why he was weeping, he swore that it was not love for this world nor under a motive of infatuation with the glamour of life but rather the Words of Allâh speaking of Fire that he heard the Prophet peace be upon him reciting:
"There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell); this is with your Lord, a Decree which must be accomplished." [19:71]
The Muslim army then marched northward to Ma'ân, a town bordering on geographical Syria. There news came to the effect that Heraclius had mobilized a hundred thousand troops together with another hundred thousand men of Lakham, Judham and Balqain - Arabian tribes allied to the Byzantines. The Muslims, on their part had never thought of encountering such a huge army. They were at a loss about what course to follow, and spent two nights debating these unfavourable conditions. Some suggested that they should write a letter to the Prophet peace be upon him seeking his advice. 'Abdullah bin Rawaha was opposed to them being reluctant and addressed the Muslims saying: "I swear by Allâh that this very object which you hold in abhorrence is the very one you have set out seeking, martyrdom. In our fight we don't count on number of soldiers or equipment but rather on the Faith that Allâh has honoured us with. Dart to win either of the two, victory or martyrdom." In the light of these words, they moved to engage with the enemy in Masharif, a town of Al-Balqa', and then changed direction towards Mu'tah where they encamped. The right flank was led by Qutba bin Qatadah Al-'Udhari, and the left by 'Ubadah bin Malik Al-Ansari. Bitter fighting started between the two parties, three thousand Muslims against an enemy fiftyfold as large.
Zaid bin Haritha, the closest to the Messenger's heart, assumed leadership and began to fight tenaciously and in matchless spirit of bravery until he fell, fatally stabbed. Ja'far bin Abi Talib then took the banner and did a miraculous job. In the thick of the battle, he dismounted, hamstrung his horse and resumed fighting until his right hand was cut off. He seized the banner with his left hand until this too was gone. He then clasped the banner with both arms until a Byzantine soldier struck and cut him into two parts. he was posthumously called "the flying Ja'far" or "Ja'far with two wings" because Allâh has awarded him two wings to fly wherever he desired there in the eternal Garden. Al-Bukhari reported fifty stabs in his body, none of them in the back.
'Abdullah bin Rawaha then proceeded to hold up the banner and fight bravely on his horseback while reciting enthusiastic verses until he too was killed. Thereupon a man, from Bani 'Ajlan, called Thabit bin Al-Arqam took the banner and called upon the Muslims to choose a leader. The honour was unanimously granted to Khalid bin Al-Waleed, a skilled brave fighter and an outstanding strategist. It was reported by Al-Bukhari that he used nine swords that broke while he was relentlessly and courageously fighting the enemies of Islam. He, however, realizing the grave situation the Muslims were in, began to follow a different course of encounter, revealing the super strategy-maker, that Khalid was rightly called. He reshuffled the right and left flanks of the Muslim army and introduced forward a division from the rear in order to cast fear into the hearts of the Byzantine by deluding them that fresh reinforcements had arrived. The Muslims engaged with the enemies in sporadic skirmishes but gradually and judiciously retreating in a fully organized and well-planned withdrawal.
The Byzantines, seeing this new strategy, believed that they were being entrapped and drawn in the heart of the desert. They stopped the pursuit, and consequently the Muslims managed to retreat back to Madinah with the slightest losses. The Muslims sustained twelve martyrs, whereas the number of casualties among the Byzantines was unknown although the details of the battle point clearly to a large number. Even though the battle did not satisfy the Muslims' objective, namely avenging Al-Harith's murder, it resulted in a far-ranging impact and attached to the Muslims a great reputation in the battlefields.
The Byzantine Empire, at that time, was a power to be reckoned with, and mere thinking of antagonizing it used to mean self-annihilation, let alone a three-thousand-soldier army going into fight against 200,000 soldiers far better equipped and lavishly furnished with all luxurious conveniences. The battle was a real miracle proving that the Muslims were something exceptional not then familiar. Moreover, it gave evidence that Allâh backed them and their Prophet, Muhammad, was really Allâh's Messenger. In the light of these new strategic changes, the archenemies among the desert bedouins began to reconcile themselves with the new uprising faith and several recalcitrant tribes like Banu Saleem, Ashja', Ghatfan, Dhubyan, Fazarah and others came to profess Islam out of their own sweet free will.
Mu'tah Battle, after all, constituted the forerunner of the blood encounter to take place with the Byzantines subsequently. It pointed markedly to a new epoch of the Islamic conquest of the Byzantine empire and other remote countries, to follow at a later stage.
Dhat As-Salasil Campaign:
Dhat As-Salasil is a spot situated ten days' walk north of Madinah. The Muslims are said to have encamped in a place with a well of water called Salsal, hence the terminology Dhat As-Salasil. In view of the alliance between the Arabian tribes on the borders of Syria and the Byzantines, the Prophet peace be upon him deemed it of top urgency to carry out a wisely-planned manoeuvre that might bring about a state of rapport with those bedouins, and would at the same time detach them from the Byzantines. For the implementation of this plan, he chose 'Amr bin Al-'As, whose paternal grandmother came from Bali, a tribe dwelling in that area. This motive in mind, combined with provocative military movements, by Bani Quda'a, precipitated this preemptive strike which started in Jumada Ath-Thaniya, 8 A.H.
'Amr bin Al-'As was awarded a white flag with a black banner to go with it. He set out at the head of 300 Emigrants and Helpers assisted by a cavalry of 30 men, and was recommended to seek help from Bali, 'Udhra and Balqain tribes. He used to march at night and lurk during the day. On approaching the enemy lines and realizing the large build up of men, he sent for reinforcements from Madinah, and these arrived on the spot headed by Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah leading further 200 men as well as other platoons including Abu Bakr and 'Umar bin Al-Khattab. All of them were given strict orders to cooperate, work in harmony and never leave any area for disagreement. At noon, Abu 'Ubaidah wanted to lead the Muslims in prayer, but 'Amr objected on grounds that the former came only to assist, and leadership in prayer was given to 'Amr.
The Muslim army reached the habitations of Quda'a and penetrated deep in their land, destroyed the enemies and obliged the others to flee for their lives in different directions. At the conclusion of the military operations, a courier was despatched to the Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him to brief him on the developments of events and the ultimate victory achieved.
In Sha'ban month 8 A.H., news reached the Prophet peace be upon him of amassing troops by Bani Ghatfan, still outside the domain of Islam. He urgently summoned Abu Qatadah and sent him at the head of fifteen men to discipline those outlaws. It took fifteen days to teach them an unforgettable lesson. Some were killed, others captured and all their property confiscated.
The Conquest of Makkah
Ibn Al-Qaiyim described the conquest of Makkah as the greatest one by which Allâh honoured His religion, Messenger, soldiers and honest party. He thereby rescued the Sacred House, whose guidance all people seek. It was the greatest propitious event in heaven and on earth. It was the most significant prelude to a new era that was to witness the great march of Islamization and the entry of people into the fold of Islam in huge hosts. It provided an ever shining face and a most glowing source of inspiration to the whole earth.
According to the terms of the treaty of Hudaibiyah, the Arab tribes were given the option to join either of the parties, the Muslims or Quraish, with which they desired to enter into treaty alliance. Should any of these tribes suffer aggression, then the party to which it was allied would have the right to retaliate. As a consequence, Banu Bakr joined Quraish, and Khuza'ah joined the Prophet peace be upon him. They thus lived in peace for sometime but ulterior motives stretching back to pre-Islamic period ignited by unabated fire of revenge triggered fresh hostilities. Banu Bakr, without caring a bit for the provisions of the treaty, attacked Banu Khuza'ah in a place called Al-Wateer in Sha'ban, 8 A.H. Quraish helped Banu Bakr with men and arms taking advantage of the dark night. Pressed by their enemies, the tribesmen of Khuza'ah sought the Holy Sanctuary, but here too, their lives were not spared, and, contrary to all accepted traditions, Nawfal, the chief of Banu Bakr, chasing them in the sanctified area - where no blood should be shed - massacred his adversaries.
When the aggrieved party sought justice from their Muslim allies, the Prophet peace be upon him, as their leader, demanded an immediate redress for not only violating the treaty but also slaying men allied to him in the sanctified area. Three demands were made, the acceptance of any one of them was imperative:
- 1. A platoon of 50 men led by Ibn Abi Al-'Awja' was despatched by the Prophet peace be upon him to the habitations of Bani Saleem inviting them to embrace Islam, but all the words fell on deaf ears. Fierce fighting erupted between both parties during which the Muslim leader was wounded, and two of the enemy were captured.
- 2. Ghalib bin 'Abdullah at the head of 200 men was despatched to Fadak where they killed some rebels and a lot of booty fell to their lot.
- 3. Banu Quda'a had gathered a large number of men to raid the Muslim positions. On hearing the news, the Prophet peace be upon him despatched Ka'b bin 'Umair Al-Ansari at the head of 15 men to deal with this situation. They encountered the army, and called them to enter into the fold of Islam but the rebels gave a negative response and showered the Muslims with arrows killing all of them except one who was carried back home later seriously wounded.
This behaviour on the part of Quraish was clearly a breach of the treaty of Al-Hudaibiyah and was obviously an act of hostility against the allies of the Muslims, i.e. Banu Khuza'ah. Quraish immediately realized the grave situation and feared the horrible consequences looming on the horizon. They immediately called for an emergency meeting and decided to delegate their chief Abu Sufyan to Madinah for a renewal of the truce. He directly headed for the house of his daughter Umm Habiba (the Prophet's wife). But as he went to sit on the Messenger's carpet, she folded it up. "My daughter," said he, "I hardly knew if you think the carpet is too good for me or that I am too good for the carpet." She replied, "It is the Messenger of Allâh's carpet, and you are an unclean polytheist."
Being disgusted at the curt reply of his daughter, Abu Sufyan stepped out of her room and went to see the Prophet peace be upon him, but the latter was well aware of his tricks and did not hold him any assurance. He then approached Abu Bakr, but the latter too declined to interfere. He contacted 'Umar to intercede but this great Companion made a point-blank refusal. At last he saw 'Ali bin Abi Talib and began begging him in the most humble words, cunningly alluding to the prospects of mastery over all the Arabs if he were to intercede for the renewal of the treaty. 'Ali also briefly regretted his inability to do anything for him. Abu Sufyan turned his steps back to Makkah in a state of bitter disappointment and utter horror. There he submitted a report of his meeting with his daughter, Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Ali's reaction and the meaningful silence of the Prophet. The Makkans were dismayed, but did not expect imminent danger.
Preparations for the Attack on Makkah, and the Prophet's Attempt at imposing a News Black-out:
On the authority of At-Tabari, the Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him asked 'Aishah ÑÖì Çááå ÚäåÇ, his spouse three days prior to receiving news relating to breaching of covenant, to make preparations peculiar to marching out for war. Abu Bakr, meanwhile, came in and asked 'Aishah ÑÖì Çááå ÚäåÇ what the matter was, showing surprise at the preparations being made as it was not, as he said, the usual time for war. She replied that she had no idea. On the morning of the third day 'Amr bin Sâlim Al-Khuza'i arrived in the company of forty horsemen to brief the Prophet peace be upon him on the plight of his people and seeking the Muslims' help for retaliation. People of Madinah then got to know that Quraish had breached the covenant. Budail followed 'Amr, and then Abu Sufyan and the news was unequivocally confirmed.
With view of securing a complete news black-out concerning his military intentions, the Prophet peace be upon him despatched an eight-men platoon under the leadership of Qatadah bin Rab'i in the direction of Edam, a short distance from Madinah, in Ramadan 8 A.H., in order to divert the attention of people and screen off the main target with which he was preoccupied.
There was so much dread and fear everywhere that Hatib, one of the most trusted followers of the Prophet peace be upon him secretly despatched a female messenger with a letter to Makkah containing intimation of the intended attack. The Prophet peace be upon him received news from the heaven of Hatib's action and sent 'Ali and Al-Miqdad with instructions to go after her. They overtook the messenger, and after a long search discovered the letter carefully hidden in her locks. The Prophet peace be upon him summoned Hatib and asked him what had induced him to this act. He replied, "O Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him! I have no affinity of blood with Quraish; there is only a kind of friendly relationship between them and myself. My family is at Makkah and there is no one to look after it or to offer protection to it. My position stands in striking contrast to that of the refugees whose families are secure due to their blood ties with Quraish. I felt that since I am not related to them, I should, for the safety of my children, earn their gratitude by doing good to them. I swear by Allâh that I have not done this act as an apostate, forsaking Islam. I was prompted only by the considerations I have just explained."
'Umar wanted to cut his head off as a hypocrite, but the Prophet peace be upon him accepted his excuse and granted him pardon, then addressed 'Umar saying: "Hatib is one of those who fought in the battle of Badr. How do you know that he is a hypocrite? Allâh is likely to look favourably on those who participated in that battle. Turning then, to Hatib, he said: "Do as you please, for I have forgiven you."
After making full preparation, the Prophet peace be upon him proceeded to Makkah at the head of ten thousand soldiers on the 10th of Ramadan, 8 A.H. He mandated Abu Ruhm Al-Ghifari to dispose the affairs of Madinah during his absence. When they reached Al-Juhfa, Al-'Abbas bin 'Abdul Muttalib and his family came to join the Prophet peace be upon him. At Al-Abwa', the Muslims came across Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith and 'Abdullah bin Omaiyah, the Prophet's cousins, but, on account of the harm they had inflicted, and their satiric language, on the believers, they were not welcomed. 'Ali addressed Abu Sufyan to go and beseech the Prophet peace be upon him for pardon and confess his ill-behaviour in a manner similar to that of Yusuf's (the Prophet Joseph) brothers:
"They said: 'By Allâh! Indeed Allâh has preferred you above us, and we certainly have been sinners.'" [12:91] Abu Sufyan observed 'Ali's counsel, to which the Prophet quoted Allâh's Words:
"He said: 'No reproach on you this day, may Allâh forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!'" [12:92]
Abu Sufyan recited some verses paying a generous tribute to the Prophet peace be upon him and professing Islam as his only religion.
The Muslims then marched on in a state of fasting until they reached a place called Al-Qadeed where water was available. There they broke fast and resumed their movement towards Mar Az-Zahran. The Quraishites were quite unaware of the development of affairs, but the Prophet peace be upon him did not like to take them by surprise. He, therefore, ordered his men to kindle fire on all sides for cooking purposes. The idea behind this was that Quraish should be afforded full opportunity to assess the situation in which they were pitchforked correctly, and should not endanger their lives by leaping blindly in the battlefield. 'Umar bin Al-Khattab was entrusted with the guard duty. In the meanwhile, Abu Sufyan along with Hakim bin Hizam and Budail bin Warqua', two terrible polytheists, went out to reconnoiter. Before they got near the camp, they met 'Abbas, the Prophet's uncle. He apprised Abu Sufyan of the situation and advised him to accept Islam and persuade his people to surrender before Muhammad peace be upon him; otherwise, his head would be struck off.
Under the prevailing compelling circumstances, Abu Sufyan went in the company of 'Abbas seeking the Prophet's peace be upon him audience. The Muslims were furious to see Abu Sufyan and wanted to kill him on the spot. But the two men managed, not without difficulties, to see the Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him who advised that they see him the following day. The Prophet peace be upon him addressed Abu Sufyan saying: "Woe to you! Isn't it time for you to bear witness to the Oneness of Allâh and Prophethood of Muhammad?" Here, the archenemy of Islam began to beseech the Prophet peace be upon him in the most earnest words that testify to the Prophet's generosity and mild temper begging for pardon and forgiveness, and professing wholeheartedly the new faith. On request by 'Abbas, the Prophet peace be upon him, in the context of the general amnesty he proclaimed, gave Abu Sufyan, who had a liking for bragging, a special privilege, saying: "He who takes refuge in Abu Sufyan's house is safe; whosoever confines himself to his house, the inmates thereof shall be in safety, and he who enters the Sacred Mosque is safe."
On the morning of Tuesday, 17th. Ramadan, 8 A.H., the Prophet peace be upon him left Mar Az-Zahran. He ordered Al-'Abbas to detain Abu Sufyan at a commanding gorge that could afford a full view of the Muslim army parading on its way towards Makkah, and hence give him the chance to see the great and powerful soldiers of Allâh. The different tribes successively passed with their banners flown up, until at last the battalion of the Emigrants and Helpers with the Prophet peace be upon him at their head heavily armed marched by. Abu Sufyan began to wonder who those people were, to which Al-'Abbas told him that they were Muhammad peace be upon him and his Companions. Abu Sufyan said that no army however powerful could resist those people and addressing Al-'Abbas, he said: "I swear by Allâh that the sovereignty of your brother's son has become too powerful to withstand." Al-'Abbas answered, "It is rather the power of Prophethood," to which the former agreed.
Sa'd bin 'Ubadah carried the flag of the Helpers. When he passed by Abu Sufyan, he said "Today will witness the great fight, you cannot seek sanctuary at Al-Ka'bah. Today will witness the humiliation of Quraish." Abu Sufyan complained about this to the Prophet peace be upon him who got angry and said "Nay, today Al-Ka'bah will be sanctified, and Quraish honoured," and quickly ordered that Sa'd should be stripped off the flag, and that it should be entrusted to his son Qais, in another version, to Az-Zubair.
Al-'Abbas urged Abu Sufyan to hasten into Makkah and warn the Quraishites against any aggressive behaviour towards the Muslims. There in Makkah, he shouted at the top of his voice and warned against any hostilities advising them to seek safety in his house. His wife got indignant and tugged at his moustache cursing him and abusing his cowardly stance. The people within Makkah mocked Abu Sufyan and dispersed in different directions, some into their houses, others into the Holy Sanctuary while some undisciplined reckless ruffians led by 'Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, Safwan bin Omaiyah and Suhail bin 'Amr encamped themselves in a place called Khandamah, with a murderous intent in their minds.
The Prophet peace be upon him, on his part, was quite modestly and calmly drawing the final touches for the military breakthrough awaiting the Muslims, by Allâh's Will. He appointed Khalid bin Al-Waleed as a leader of the right flank of the army with Aslam, Sulaim, Ghifar, Muzainah and Juhainah tribes under his command to enter Makkah through its lower avenues. Az-Zubair bin 'Awwam was to lead the left flank and would storm Makkah from the upper side holding up the Messenger's banner. Abu 'Ubaidah took command of the infantry and was to penetrate into the city via a side valley. They were given full and decisive orders not to kill unless in self defence and in that case they would exterminate any aggressive elements and quell any opposition.
The Muslim battalions marched out each in its already drawn route to fulfill the missions they were supposed to carry out. Khalid bin Al-Waleed worked his way into the heart of the town quite successively killing twelve of the ruffians and sustaining two martyrs. Az-Zubair set out and reached the fixed destination where he planted the banner at Al-Fath (conquest) Mosque and waited there for the arrival of the Prophet peace be upon him. A tent was pitched for him where he offered prayers of thanks to the All-Mighty Allâh, Who, out of His immense grace, had granted him a splendid victory. But he did not repose long. He, in the company of the Helpers and Emigrants, got up and proceeded towards Al-Ka'bah, the Sacred House, which is an emblem of the Oneness and Supremacy of Allâh. It was unfortunately infested with idols that numbered 360. He knocked them down with his bow while reciting the verse of the Noble Qur'ân:
"And Say: 'Truth (i.e. Islamic Monotheism or this Qur'ân or Jihâd against polytheists) has come and Batil (falsehood, i.e. Satan or polytheism, etc.) has vanished. Surely! Batil is ever bound to vanish.'" [17:81] And Allâh further said:
"Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him): "The Truth (the Qur'ân and Allah's Inspiration) has come, and Al-Batil (falsehood - Iblis) can neither create anything nor resurrect (any thing)." [34:49] He then started the usual circumambulation on his ride. He was not in a state of Ihram (ritual consecration) then. On completion, he called for 'Uthman bin Talhah, the janitor of Al-Ka'bah, from whom he took the key. He went in and saw images of Prophets Ibrahim and Ishmael, ÚáíåãÇ ÇáÓáÇã, throwing divination arrows. He denounced these acts of Quraish and ordered that all idols be dismantled, images and effigies deleted. He then entered the sacred hall to face the wall opposite the door and there again performed devout prostrations, and went around acclaiming Allâh's Greatness and Oneness. Shortly afterwards, he returned to the door-way and standing upon its elevated step, gazed in thankfulness on the thronging multitude below and delivered the following celebrated address:
"There is no god but Allâh Alone. He has no associates. He made good His Promise that He held to His slave and helped him and defeated all the Confederates along. Bear in mind that every claim of privilege, whether that of blood, or property, is under my heel, except that of the custody of Al-Ka'bah and supplying of water to the pilgrims. Bear in mind that for anyone who is slain, even though semi-deliberately, with club or whip, for him the blood-money is very severe: a hundred camels, forty of them to be pregnant.
"O people of Quraish! surely Allâh has abolished from you all pride of the pre-Islamic era and all conceit in your ancestry, (because) all men are descended from Adam, and Adam was made out of clay." He then recited to them the verse:
"O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you near Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqûn: i.e. pious and righteous persons who fear Allâh much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden), and love Allâh much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)]. Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Aware." [49:13] He further added:
"O you people of Quraish! What do you think of the treatment that I am about to accord to you?" They replied:
"O noble brother and son of noble brother! We expect nothing but goodness from you." Upon this he said:
"I speak to you in the same words as Yusuf (the Prophet Joseph) spoke unto his brothers: He said: "No reproach on you this day," [12:92] go your way, for you are freed ones." As for the door-keeping of Al-Ka'bah and supplying of water to pilgrims, the Prophet peace be upon him ordered that these jobs remain in the hand of 'Uthman bin Talhah and that the key will stay with him and his descendants for ever.
When time for prayer approached, Bilal ascended Al-Ka'bah and called for prayer. Abu Sufyan bin Harb, 'Itab bin Usaid and Al-Harith bin Hisham were meanwhile sitting in the yard. 'Itab bin Usaid commented on the new situation (Bilal ascending Al-Ka'bah and calling for prayer) saying that Allâh honoured Usaid (his father) having not heard such words. The Prophet peace be upon him approached and assisted by Divine Revelation told them that he had learnt about what they had spoken of. Al-Harith and 'Itab, taken by incredible surprise, immediately professed Islam and bore witness to the Messengership of Muhammad peace be upon him adding that "We swear by Allâh that none had been with us to inform you."
On that very day, the Prophet peace be upon him entered 'Umm Hani's house where he washed and offered prayers of victory. 'Umm Hani had sheltered two Makkan relatives of hers in her house in which act she was granted support by the Prophet peace be upon him.
Shedding blood of nine arch-criminals was declared lawful even under the curtains of Al-Ka'bah. Nevertheless, only four of them were killed while the others were pardoned for different reasons. As for those who were killed, mention could be made of 'Abdul 'Uzza bin Khatal who had become a Muslim and then deputed to collect alms-tax in the company of a Helper. They had also a slave with them. 'Abdullah, in a fit of rage, killed the Helper's slave on account of a mere trifling dispute, and joined the pagan Arabs as an apostate. He was never repentant at this heinous crime but rather employed two women singers and incited them to sing satirically about the Prophet peace be upon him.
The other man who was put to death was Miqyas bin Sababa. He was a Muslim. A Helper accidently killed his brother Hisham. The Prophet peace be upon him had arranged the payment of blood money to him, which he had accepted. His revengeful nature, however, was never appeased, so he killed the Helper and went to Makkah as an apostate.
Similarly, Huwairith and one woman singer went to death.
On the other hand, every attempt was made to grant pardon to the people. 'Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl, who had attacked Khalid's detachment at the time of the entry into Makkah, was forgiven. To Wahshi, the murderer of Hamzah, the Prophet's uncle, and to Hind, who had chewed his liver, was also extended his generous clemency. The same generous treatment was accorded to Habar who had attacked the Prophet's daughter with a spear, while on her way from Makkah to Madinah, so grievously that she ultimately died of the fatal injuries.
In the same context of magnanimity peculiar to Muhammad peace be upon him, two chiefs of Quraish were pardoned once they had embraced Islam. They were Safwan bin Omaiyah and Fudalah bin 'Umair. The latter had attempted to assassinate the Prophet peace be upon him while circumambulating in the Holy Sanctuary. The Prophet's matchless tolerance and broad-mindedness instigated by his mission as 'A mercy to all people', converted a terrible hypocrite into a faithful devout believer.
On the second day of the great conquest, the Prophet peace be upon him stood up and addressed the people in matters relating to the holy status of Makkah. After entertaining Allâh's praise, he proclaimed that Makkah was a holy land and would remain so till the Day of Judgement. No bloodshed was allowed therein. Should anyone take the liberty of fighting within Makkah on grounds derived from the events that characterized the conquest, he should remember that it had been a licence granted temporarily to the Prophet, and virtually does not go for others. Ibn 'Abbas ÑÖì Çááå ÚäåãÇ narrated: The Prophet Õáì Çááå Úáíå æ Óáã said: "Allâh has made Makkah, a sanctuary, so it was a sanctuary before me and will continue to be a sanctuary after me. It was made legal for me (i.e. I was allowed to fight in it) for a few hours of a day. It is not allowed to uproot its shrubs or to cut its trees, or to chase (or disturb) its game, or to pick up its fallen things except by a person who would announce that (what has found) publicly." Al-'Abbas said: "O Allâh's Messenger! Except the lemon grass (for it is used) by our goldsmiths and for our homes." The Prophet peace be upon him then said: "Except the lemon grass." In this context, out of the spirit of revenge, the tribesmen of Khuza'ah killed a man from Laith Tribe. Here the Prophet was indignant and ordered Khuza'ah to stop those pre-Islamic practices. He, moreover, gave the family of anyone killed the right to consider either of two options, blood-money or just retribution (the killer is killed).
After having delivered his address, the Prophet peace be upon him rode to a small hill, Safa, not far from Al-Ka'bah. Turning his face towards the Sacred House, amidst a vast admiring and devotional multitude, he raised his hand in fervent prayer to Allâh. The citizens of Madinah who had gathered round him entertained fear, as Allâh had given him victory over his native city, he might choose to stay here. He insisted on explanation of their fear and so they spoke openly. He immediately dispelled their fears and assured them that he had lived with them and would die with them.
Immediately after the great conquest, the Makkans came to realize that the only way to success lay in the avenue of Islam. They complied with the new realities and gathered to pledge fealty to the Prophet peace be upon him. The men came first pledging full obedience in all areas they can afford. Then came the women to follow the men's example. The Prophet peace be upon him with 'Umar bin Al-Khattab receiving the pledge of fealty and communicating to them for him. Hind bint 'Utbah, Abu Sufyan's wife, came in the trail of women disguised lest the Prophet peace be upon him should recognize and account for her, having chewed the liver of Hamzah, his uncle. The Prophet peace be upon him accepted their allegiance on condition that they associate none with Allâh, to which they immediately agreed. He added that they should not practise theft. Here Hind complained that her husband, Abu Sufyan, was tight-fisted. Her husband interrupted granting all his worldly possessions to her. The Prophet peace be upon him laughed and recognized the woman. She implored him to extend his pardon to her and efface all her previous sins. Some other conditions were appended including the prohibition of adultery, infanticide or forging falsehood. To all these orders, Hind replied positively swearing that she would not have come to take an oath of allegiance if she had had the least seed of disobedience to him. On returning home, she broke her idol admitting her delusion as regards stone-gods.
The Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him stayed in Makkah for 19 days. During that period he used to define the way to Islam, guide people to the orthodox path. He ordered Abu Usaid Al-Khuza'i to restore the pillars of the Holy Sanctuary, sent missions to all quarters inviting them to adopt Islam and break down the graven images still lying in the vicinity of Makkah, and he did have all of them scrapped, inculcating in the believers' ears his words:
"Whoever believes in Allâh and the Hereafter is supposed to scrap out the idols that should happen to be in his house."
Shortly after the great conquest, the Prophet peace be upon him began to despatch platoons and errands aiming at eliminating the last symbols reminiscent of pre-Islamic practices. He sent Khalid bin Al-Waleed in Ramadan 8 A.H. to a spot called Nakhlah where there was a goddess called Al-'Uzza venerated by Quraish and Kinanah tribes. It had custodians from Bani Shaiban. Khalid, at the head of thirty horsemen arrived at the spot and exterminated it. On his return, the Prophet peace be upon him asked him if he had seen anything there, to which Khalid gave a negative answer. Here, he was told that it had not been destroyed and he had to go there again and fulfill the task. He went back again and there he saw a black woman, naked with torn hair. Khalid struck her with his sword into two parts. He returned and narrated the story to the Prophet peace be upon him, who then confirmed the fulfillment of the task.
Later, in the same month, 'Amr bin Al-'As was sent on an errand to destroy another idol, venerated by Hudhail, called Suwa'. It used to stand at a distance of three kilometres from Makkah. On a question posed by the door-keeper, 'Amr said he had been ordered by the Prophet peace be upon him to knock down the idol. The man warned 'Amr that he would not be able to do it. 'Amr was surprised to see someone still in the wrong, approached the idol and destroyed it, then he broke the casket beside it but found nothing. The man immediately embraced Islam. Sa'd bin Zaid Al-Ashhali was also sent in the same month and on the same mission to Al-Mashallal to destroy an idol, Manat, venerated by both Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj tribes. Here also a black woman, naked with messy hair appeared wailing and beating on her chest. Sa'd immediately killed her, destroyed the idol and broke the casket and returned at the conclusion of his errand. Khalid bin Al-Waleed at the head of 350 horsemen of Helpers, Emigrants and Bani Saleem was despatched once again in the same year 8 A.H. to the habitation of Bani Khuzaimah bedouins to invite them to the fold of Islam. He was instructed to carry out his mission with peace and goodwill. There, the people were not articulate enough to communicate their intentions, so Khalid ordered his men to kill them and take the others as captives. He even had in mind to kill the captives but some of the Companions were opposed to his plan. News of bloodshed reached the Prophet peace be upon him. He was deeply grieved and raised his hands towards the heaven, uttering these words: "O Allâh! I am innocent of what Khalid has done," twice. He immediately sent 'Ali to make every possible reparation to the tribes who had been wronged. After a careful inquiry, 'Ali paid the blood-money to all those who suffered loss. The remaining portion was also distributed amongst the members of the tribe in order to alleviate their suffering. Khalid, due to his irrational behaviour, had a row with 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Awf. Hearing this, the Prophet peace be upon him got angry, and ordered Khalid to stop that altercation adding that his Companions (meaning 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Awf) were too high in rank to be involved in such arguments.
That is the story of the conquest of Makkah and the decisive battle that exterminated paganism once and for all. The other tribes in the Arabian Peninsula were waiting and closely watching the final outcome of the bitter struggle between the Muslims and idolaters, already convinced that the Holy Sanctuary would not fall but in the hands of the righteous party. It had been a conviction deeply established in their minds ever since the elephant army of Abraha Al-Ashram advanced from Yemen intending to destroy the Sacred House 50 years before.
Al-Hudaibiyah Peace Treaty was the natural prelude to this great victory in which people believed deeply and over which people talked a lot. The Muslims in Makkah, who had feared to declare their Faith in public, began to appear and work ardently for this new approach of life. People began to convert into Islam in hosts, and the Muslim army that numbered 3000 only in the previous Ghazwah, now came to reach 10,000 in number. In fact, this decisive change provided people with the keen insight to perceive things and the world around them as a whole in a different perceptive. The Muslims were then to steer the whole political and religious affairs of all Arabia. They had monopolised both the religious supremacy and temporal power.
The whole post-Hudaibiyah phase had been well-fledged in favour of the new Islamic movement. Streams of the desert Arabians began to pour in paying full homage to the Messenger of Allâh peace be upon him, embracing the new faith and then carrying it to different quarters for propagation.
- a) to pay blood money for the victims of Khuza'ah,
- b) to terminate their alliance with Banu Bakr; or
- c) to consider the truce to have been nullified.