[By Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri]
Al HUDAIBIYAH TREATY (Dhul Qa‘dah 6 A.H.):
When Arabia began to witness the large impressive sweep in favour of the Muslims, the forerunners of the great conquest and success of the Islamic Call started gradually to loom on the demographic horizon, and the true believers restored their undisputed right to observe worship in the sacred sanctuary.
It was about the sixth year Hijri when the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) saw in a dream, while he was still in Madinah, that he had entered the sacred sanctuary in Makkah in security with his followers, and was performing the ceremonies of ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage). Their heads were being shaved and hair cut off. As soon as he informed some of his Companions the contents of his dream, their hearts leapt up with joy since they found in it the actualization of their deep longing to take part in pilgrimage and its hallowed rites after an exile of six years. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had his clothes washed, mounted his camel and marched out towards Makkah at the head of fifteen hundred Muslims including his wife Umm Salamah. Some desert bedouins whose Faith was lukewarm hung back and made excuses. They carried no weapons with them except sheathed swords because they had no intention of fighting. Ibn Umm Maktum was mandated to dispose the affairs of Madinah during the Prophet’s absence. As they approached Makkah, and in a place called Dhi Hulaifa, he ordered that the sacrificial animals be garlanded, and all believers donned Al-Ihrâm, the pilgrim’s garb. He despatched a reconnoiterer to hunt around for news of the enemy. The man came back to tell the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that a large number of slaves, as well as a huge army, were gathered to oppose him, and that the road to Makkah was completely blocked. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) consulted his Companions, who were of the opinion that they would fight none unless they were debarred from performing their pilgrimage.
The Quraishites, on their part, held a meeting during which they considered the whole situation and decided to resist the Prophet’s mission at all costs. Two hundred horsemen led by Khalid bin Al-Waleed were despatched to take the Muslims by surprise during Zuhr (the afternoon) prayer. However, the rules of prayer of fear were revealed meanwhile and thus Khalid and his men missed the chance. The Muslims avoided marching on that way and decided to follow a rugged rocky one. Here, Khalid ran back to Quraish to brief them on the latest situation.
When the Muslims reached a spot called Thaniyat Al-Marar, the Prophet’s camel stumbled and knelt down and was too stubborn to move. Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) swore he would willingly accede to any plan they put forward that would glorify Allâh’s sanctities. He then reprovingly spurred his camel and it leapt up. They resumed their march and came to pitch their tents at the furthest part of Al Hudaibiyah beside a well of scanty water. The Muslims reported thirst to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), who took an arrow out of his quiver, and placed it in the ditch. Water immediately gushed forth, and his followers drank to their fill. When the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had rested, Budail bin Warqa’ Al-Khuza‘i with some celebrities of Khuza‘ah tribe, the Prophet’s confidants, came and asked him what he had come for. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied that it was not for war that he had come forth: “I have no other design,” he said, “but to perform ‘Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage) in the Holy Sanctuary. Should Quraish embrace the new religion, as some people have done, they are most welcome, but if they stand in my way or debar the Muslims from pilgrimage, I will surely fight them to the last man, and Allâh’s Order must be fulfilled.” The envoy carried the message back to Quraish, who sent another one called Mikraz bin Hafs. On seeing him, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said that that was a treacherous man. He was given the same message to communicate to his people. He was followed by another ambassador known as Al-Hulais bin ‘Alqamah. He was very much impressed by the spirit of devotion that the Muslims had for the Sacred Ka‘bah. He went back to his men and warned them against debarring Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and his Companions from doing honour to Allâh’s house on the peril of breaking his alliance with them. Hulais was succeeded by ‘Urwa bin Mas‘ud Ath-Thaqafi to negotiate with Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) . In the course of discussion he said to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) : “Muhammad! Have you gathered around yourself mixed people and then brought them against your kith and kin in order to destroy them. By Allâh I think I see you deserted by these people tomorrow.” At this point Abu Bakr stood up and expressed his resentment at this imputation. Al-Mugheerah bin Shu‘bah expressed the same attitude and reprovingly forbade him from touching the Prophet’s beard. Here, Quraish’s envoy remarked indignantly and alluded to the latter’s treacherous act of killing his companions and looting them before he embraced Islam. Meanwhile, ‘Urwah, during his stay in the Muslim camp, had been closely watching the unfathomable love and profound respect that the followers of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) showed him. He returned and conveyed to Quraish his impression that those people could not forsake the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) under any circumstances. He expressed his feelings in the following words: “I have been to Chosroes, Caesar and Negus in their kingdoms, but never have I seen a king among a people like Muhammad among his Companions. If he performs his ablution, they would not let the water thereof fall on the ground; if he expectorates, they would have the mucus to rub their faces with; if he speaks, they would lower their voices. They will not abandon him for anything in any case. He, now, offers you a reasonable plan, so do what you please.”
Seeing an overwhelming tendency towards reconciliation among their chiefs, some reckless, fight-prone youngsters of Quraish devised a wicked plan that could hinder the peace treaty. They decided to infiltrate into the camp of the Muslims and produce intentional skirmishes that might trigger the fuse of war. Muhammad bin Maslamah, chief of the Muslim guards, took them captives, but in view of the farreaching imminent results about to be achieved, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) set them free. In this context Allâh says:
“And He it is Who has withheld their hands from you and your hands from them in the midst of Makkah, after He had made you victors over them.” [48:24]
Time passed. Negotiations went on but with no results. Then the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) desired ‘Umar (rashiyallahu anhu) to see the nobles of Quraish on his behalf. ‘Umar excused himself on account of the personal enmity of Quraish; he had, moreover, no influential relatives in the city who could shield him from danger; and he pointed to ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (radhiyallahu anhu), who belonged to one of the most powerful families in Makkah, as the suitable envoy. ‘Uthman went to Abu Sufyan and other chiefs and told them that the Muslims had come only to visit and pay their homage to the Sacred House, to do worship there, and that they had no intention to fight. He was also asked to call them to Islam, and give glad tidings to the believers in Makkah, women and men, that the conquest was approaching and Islam was surely to prevail because Allâh would verily establish His religion in Makkah. ‘Uthman also assured them that after the performance of ceremonies they would soon depart peacefully, but the Quraishites were adamant and not prepared to grant them the permission to visit Al-Ka‘bah. They, however, offered ‘Uthman the permission to perform the pilgrimage, if he so desired in his individual capacity, but ‘Uthman declined the offer saying: “How is it possible that I avail myself of this opportunity, when the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is denied of it?” The Muslims anxiously waited for the arrival of ‘Uthman with mingled feelings of fear and anxiety. But his arrival was considerably delayed and a foul play was suspected on the part of Quraish. The Muslims were greatly worried and took a solemn pledge at the hand of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that they would sacrifice their lives to avenge the death of their Companion and stand firmly by their master, Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) , under all conditions. This pledge goes by the name of Bay‘at Ar-Ridwan (a covenant of fealty). The first men to take a pledge were Abu Sinan Al-Asadi and Salamah bin Al-Akwa‘, who gave a solemn promise to die in the cause of Truth three times, at the front of the army, in the middle and in the rear. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) caught his left hand on behalf of ‘Uthman. This fealty was sworn under a tree, with ‘Umar holding the Prophet’s hand and Ma‘qil bin Yasar holding a branch of the tree up. The Noble Qur’ân has referred to this pledge in the following words:
“Indeed, Allâh was pleased with the believers when they gave their Bai‘a (pledge) to you [O Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)] under the tree.” [48:18]
When Quraish saw the firm determination of the Muslims to shed the last drop of blood for the defence of their Faith, they came to their senses and realized that Prophet Muhammad’s followers could not be cowed down by these tactics. After some further interchange of messages they agreed to conclude a treaty of reconciliation and peace with the Muslims. The clauses of the said treaty go as follows:
1. The Muslims shall return this time and come back next year, but they shall not stay in Makkah for more than three days.
2. They shall not come back armed but can bring with them swords only sheathed in scabbards and these shall be kept in bags.
3. War activities shall be suspended for ten years, during which both parties will live in full security and neither will raise sword against the other.
4. If anyone from Quraish goes over to Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) without his guardian’s permission, he should be sent back to Quraish, but should any of Prophet Muhammad’s followers return to Quraish, he shall not be sent back.
5. Whosoever to join Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), or enter into treaty with him, should have the liberty to do so; and likewise whosoever wishes to join Quraish, or enter into treaty with them, should be allowed to do so.
Some dispute arose with regard to the preamble. For example, when the agreement was to be committed to writing, ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, who acted as a scribe began with the words: Bismillâh irRahman ir-Raheem, i.e., “In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful” but the Makkan plenipotentiary, Suhail bin ‘Amr declared that he knew nothing about Ar-Rahman and insisted upon the customary formula Bi-ismika Allâhumma, i.e., “In Your Name, O Allâh!” The Muslims grumbled with uneasiness but the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) agreed. He then went on to dictate, “This is what Muhammad, the Messenger of Allâh has agreed to with Suhail bin ‘Amr.” Upon this Suhail again protested: “Had we acknowledged you as Prophet, we would not have debarred you from the Sacred House, nor fought against you. Write your own name and the name of your father.” The Muslims grumbled as before and refused to consent to the change. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), however, in the larger interest of Islam, attached no importance to such an insignificant detail, erased the words himself, and dictated instead: “Muhammad, the son of ‘Abdullah.” Soon after this treaty, Khuza‘a clan, a former ally of Banu Hashim, joined the ranks of Prophey Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and Banu Bakr sided with Quraish.
It was during this time while the treaty was being written that Abu Jandal, Suhail’s son, appeared on the scene. He was brutally chained and was staggering with privation and fatigue. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and his Companions were moved to pity and tried to secure his release but Suhail was adamant and said: “To signify that you are faithful to your contract, an opportunity has just arrived.” The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “But the treaty was not signed when your son entered the camp.” Upon this, he burst forth and said, “but the terms of the treaty were agreed upon.” It was indeed an anxious moment. On the one hand, Abu Jandal was lamenting at the top of his voice, “Am I to be returned to the polytheists that they might entice me from my religion, O Muslims!” but, on the other hand, the faithful engagement was also considered to be necessary, above all other considerations. The Prophet’s heart welled up with sympathy, but he wanted to honour his word at all costs. He consoled Abu Jandal and said, “Be patient, resign yourself to the Will of Allâh. Allâh is going to provide for you and your helpless companions relief and means of escape. We have concluded a treaty of peace with them and we have taken the pledge in the Name of Allâh. We are, therefore, under no circumstances prepared to break it.”, in silent resignation was therefore, Abu Jandal borne away with his chains.
When the peace treaty had been concluded, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) ordered his Companions to slaughter their sacrificial animals, but they were too depressed to do that. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) gave instructions in this regard three times but with negative response. He told his wife Umm Salamah about this attitude of his Companions. She advised that he himself take the initiative, slaughter his animal and have his head shaved. Seeing that, the Muslims, with rended hearts, started to slaughter their animals and shave their heads. They even almost killed one another because of their distress. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) prayed three times for those who shaved their heads and once for those who cut their hair. A camel was sacrificed on behalf of seven men and a cow on behalf of the same number of people. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) sacrificed a camel which once belonged to Abu Jahl and which the Muslims had seized as booty at Badr, thus enraging the polytheists. During Al-Hudaibiyah campaign, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) permitted Ka‘b bin ‘Ujrah, who was in a state of Ihram (state of ritual consecration of the pilgrim) for ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) to shave his head due to illness, on the condition that he will pay compensation by sacrificing a sheep, fasting for three days or feeding six needy persons. Concerning this, the following verse was revealed:
“And whosoever of you is ill or has an ailment in his scalp (necessitating shaving), he must pay a Fidyah (ransom) of either fasting (three days) or giving Sadaqa (feeding six poor persons) or offering sacrifice (one sheep).” [2:196]
Meanwhile some believing women emigrated to Madinah and asked the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) for refuge which they were granted. When their families demanded their return, he would not hand them back because the following verse was revealed:
“O you who believe! When believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them, Allâh knows best as to their Faith, then if you know them for true believers, send them not back to the disbelievers, they are not lawful (wives) for the disbelievers nor are the disbelievers lawful (husbands) for them. But give the disbelievers that (amount of money) which they have spent [as their Mahr] to them. And there will be no sin on you to marry them if you have paid their Mahr to them. Likewise hold not the disbelieving women as wives …” [60:10]
The reason why the believing women were not handed back was either because they were not originally included in the terms of the treaty, which mentioned only men, or because the Qur’ân abrogated any terms dealing with women in the verse:
“O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the Bai‘a (Pledge), that they will not associate anything in worship with Allâh …” [60:12]
This is the verse which forbade Muslim women from marrying disbelieving men. Likewise, Muslim men were commanded to terminate their marriages to disbelieving women. In compliance with this injunction, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) divorced two wives he had married before he embraced Islam; Mu‘awiyah married the first woman, and Safwan bin Omaiyah married the second.
AL HUDAIBIYAH TREATY: SOCIO-POLITICAL IMPACT:
A series of events confirmed the profound wisdom and splendid results of the peace treaty which Allâh called “a manifest victory”. How could it be otherwise when Quraish had recognized the legitimate Muslims’ existence on the scene of political life in Arabia, and began to deal with the believers on equal terms. Quraish in the light of the articles of the treaty, had indirectly relinquished its claim to religious leadership, and admitted that they were no longer interested in people other than Quraish, and washed their hands of any sort of intervention in the religious future of the Arabian Peninsula. The Muslims did not have in mind to seize people’s property or kill them through bloody wars, nor did they ever think of pursuing any coercive approaches in their endeavours to propagate Islam, on the contrary, their sole target was to provide an atmosphere of freedom as regards ideology or religion:
“Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve.” [18:29]
The Muslims, on the other hand, had the opportunity to spread Islam over areas not then explored. When there was armistice, war was abolished, and men met and consulted together, none talked about Islam intelligently without entering it; within the two years following the conclusion of the treaty double as many entered Islam as ever before. This is supported by the fact that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) went out to Al-Hudaibiyah with only 1,400 men, but when he set out to liberate Makkah, two years later, he had 10,000 men with him.
The article of the treaty pertaining to cessation of hostilities for ten years points directly to the utter failure of political haughtiness exercised by Quraish and its allies, and functions as evidence of the collapse and impotence of the war instigator.
Quraish had been obliged to lose those advantages in return for one seemingly in its favour but does not actually bear any harm against the Muslims, i.e., the article that speaks of handing over believing men who seek refuge with the Muslims without their guardians’ consent to Quraish. At first glance, it was a most distressing clause and was considered objectionable in the Muslim camp. However, in the course of events, it proved to be a great blessing. The Muslims sent back to Makkah were not likely to renounce the blessings of Islam; contrariwise, those very Muslims turned out to be centres of influence for Islam. It was impossible to think that they would become apostates or renegades. The wisdom behind this truce assumed its full dimensions in some subsequent events. After the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had reached Madinah, Abu Baseer, who had escaped from Quraish, came to him as a Muslim; Quraish sent two men demanding his return, so the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) handed him over to them. On the way to Makkah, Abu Baseer managed to kill one of them, and the other one fled to Madinah with Abu Baseer in pursuit. When he reached the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) , he said, “Your obligation is over and Allâh has freed you from it. You duly handed me over to the men, and Allâh has rescued me from them.” The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Woe is his mother, he would have kindled a war if there had been others with him.” When he heard that, he knew that he would be handed back to them, so he fled from Madinah and went as far as Saif Al-Bahr. The other Muslims who were oppressed in Makkah began to escape to Abu Baseer. He was joined by Abu Jandal and others until a fair-sized colony was formed and soon sought revenge on Quraish and started to intercept their caravans. The pagans of Makkah finding themselves unable to control those exiled colonists, begged the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to do away with the clause which governed the extradition. They implored him by Allâh and by their ties of kinship to send for the group, saying that whoever joined the Muslims in Madinah would be safe from them. So the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) sent for the group and they responded, as expected, positively.
These are the realities of the clauses of the truce treaty and as it seems they all function in favour of the nascent Islamic state. However, two points in the treaty made it distasteful to some Muslims, namely they were not given access to the Holy Sanctuary that year, and the seemingly humiliating attitude as regards reconciliation with the pagans of Quraish. ‘Umar (radhoyallahu anhu), unable to contain himself for the distress taking full grasp of his heart, went to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and said: “Aren’t you the true Messenger of Allâh?” The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied calmly, “Why not?” ‘Umar again spoke and asked: “Aren’t we on the path of righteousness and our enemies in the wrong?” Without showing any resentment, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied that it was so. On getting this reply he further urged: “Then we should not suffer any humiliation in the matter of Faith.” The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was unruffled and with perfect confidence said: “I am the true Messenger of Allâh, I never disobey Him, He shall help me.” “Did you not tell us,” rejoined ‘Umar, “that we shall perform pilgrimage?” “But I have never told you,” replied the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), “that we shall do so this very year.” ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was silenced. But his mind was disturbed. He went to Abu Bakr and expressed his feelings before him. Abu Bakr confirmed what the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had told him. In due course the Chapter of Victory (48th) was revealed saying:
“Verily, We have given you [O Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)] a manifest victory.” [48:1]
The Messenger of Allâh (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) summoned ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) and imported to him the happy tidings. ‘Umar was overjoyed, and greatly regretted his former attitude. He used to spend in charity, observe fasting and prayer and free as many slaves as possible in expiation for that reckless attitude he had assumed.
The early part of the year 7 A.H. witnessed the Islamization of three prominent men of Makkah, ‘Amr bin Al-‘As, Khalid bin Al-Waleed and ‘Uthman bin Talhah. On their arrival and entrance into the fold of Islam, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Quraish has given us its own blood.”
CONQUEST OF MAKKAH
Ibn Al-Qayyim 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), 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:
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.
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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), 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 (radhiyallahu anhu) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) asked ‘Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) his spouse three days prior to receiving news relating to breaching of covenant, to make preparations peculiar to marching out for war. Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu), meanwhile, came in and asked ‘Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 pre-occupied.
There was so much dread and fear everywhere that Hatib, one of the most trusted followers of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) secretly despatched a female messenger with a letter to Makkah containing intimation of the intended attack. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) received news from the heaven of Hatib’s action and sent ‘Ali and Al-Miqdad (radhiyallahu anhum) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (radhiyallahu anhu) wanted to cut his head off as a hypocrite, but the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). 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 (radhiyallahu anhu) addressed Abu Sufyan to go and beseech the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (radhiyallahu anhu’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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) otherwise, his head would be struck off.
Under the prevailing compelling circumstances, Abu Sufyan went in the company of ‘Abbas seeking the Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) who advised that they see him the following day. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) left Mar Az Zahran. He ordered Al-‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (radhiyallahu anhu) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 ibn Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu), in another version, to Az Zubair.
Al-‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), 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 (radhiyallahu anhu) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). 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. Islam 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 sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): “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 (alayhimussalaam), 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 semideliberately, 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (radgiyallahu anhu) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) adding that “We swear by Allâh that none had been with us to inform you.”
On that very day, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) entered ‘Umm Hani’s (radhiyallahu anha) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam.
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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated: The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) should recognize and account for her, having chewed the liver of Hamzah (radhiyallahu anhu), his uncle. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi easallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), who then confirmed the fulfillment of the task.
Later, in the same month, ‘Amr bin Al-‘As (radhiyallahu anhu) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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, 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.
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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), embracing the true faith and then carrying it to different quarters for propagation.