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THE CAMPAIGN OF KHAYBAR

 

After the Truce of Hudaybiyah, in the beginning of the seventh year of the Migration, the Prophet (a.s) decided to invade Khaybar. Khaybar is a word from the Hebrew lexicon. This means either a fort or a rampart. There is another saying that among `Amaliqah (the giants), there were two brothers by names of Yathrib and Khaybar. Wherever they resided, those places got named after them. Therefore, after the name of Yathrib the city of al-Madinah was originally named. So too was named Khaybar after the brother of that name.

Khaybar is located eighty miles from al-Madinah on the border of Hijaz and Syria. It was famous for its oases and greenery and was inhabited by the Jews. It was also the center of their armed forces. For defensive purposes they had built seven small and big forts. These forts were named as al-Na`am, al-Katibah, al-Shiqq, al-Natat, al-Wati, Salamlam and Qamūs. In these forts lived ten to fourteen thousand Jews. In this number those who were exiled from al-Madinah too were there who had fought the Muslims in collaboration with the infidels and had lost the battle notwithstanding their numerical strength and better battle equipment. When they heard that the Muslims had accepted the Quraysh’s terms of truce at al-Hudaybiyah, they thought that the Muslims now have no will to fight. Because of this misapprehension, they thought the Muslims have surrendered their spirit to fight and, therefore, the time was ripe for the Jews to start a campaign of attack and destruction against them to erase the shame of the Battle of Ahzab. Although the Jews were not lesser in numbers, even then to augment their forces, they made an agreement of cooperation with Banū-Ghatafan who were located about six miles from Khaybar. They promised to Banū-Ghatafan that they would give half the produce of Khaybar if they helped them win against the Muslims. The Banū-Ghatafan agreed to this offer and sent four thousand troops for the campaign.

When the Prophet (a.s) learned that the Jews of Khaybar were preparing to attack al-Madinah, he thought of taking punitive action at the earliest. Therefore, after return from Hudaybiyah, they stayed in al-Madinah for

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twenty days and with one thousand and six hundred Companions, of whom there were some cavaliers and the rest footmen, proceeded toward Khaybar. When the Islamic army reached the outskirts of Khaybar it was morning. The inhabitants of Khaybar were proceeding to their fields with the farm implements and pitchers of water. When they saw the Islamic army arrive, they ran back to their forts. When the Prophet (a.s) saw them running away, he raised the slogan of “allahu-akbar” and said:

“Khaybar is destroyed! Whenever we enter the borders of any place, those who were affected with bad times would have very bad times!”

The Prophet (a.s) knew that Banū-Ghatafan were committed to help the Jews if hostilities erupted. He therefore camped his army strategically at the place called Rajih which was between the habitations of Khaybar and Banū-Ghatafan. The plan was to prevent Banū-Ghatafan from reaching to help the Jews. When they heard of the arrival of Muslims and came out to go towards Khaybar, they were obstructed by the Muslim army. Fearing destruction of their own villages, they went back home. After the return of Banū-Ghatafan, the Muslims now moved for the siege of Khaybar. The Jews secured the women and children in the Fort al-Katibah and locking themselves in the other forts started a barrage of arrows on the Muslims. After a few skirmishes, the Muslims took some of the fortresses, but victory depended on subduing the fort of Ibn Abil-Haqiq that was situated on a sloping hillock and that was called Qamūs. The fort too was called with this name. This is the same fort that is mentioned as Khaybar in the traditions and the history. In front of the fort there was a deep trench. The fort was rather invincible because of its location and construction.

In the Ghazwah generally, the command used to be with the Prophet (a.s) the standard bearer was `Ali (a.s). But the Prophet (a.s) was suffering for some days with pain in the temples and `Ali (a.s) was not able to join the ranks at Khaybar because he had conjunctivitis. Because of this some people got a chance of asserting themselves and, taking the standard in their hands without formal approval, thought of annexing the Fort Qamūs. Therefore, `Umar held the flag in his hand and with one contingent of the army advanced to attack the fort He tried his best but did not succeed. He had to return disappointed and disillusioned. Then Abū-Bakr took the flag in his hand and got the same results. `Umar took the flag a second time and failed in his attempt. To cover

[1] Sahīh Muslim, Vol 1, Page 459

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his failure, he put the blame on the troops. But the troops squarely blamed him for the defeat terming it as the failure of his strategy of warfare! Al-Tabari writes:

“When `Umar went with some troops and confronted the men of Khaybar, he and his men ran away and returned to the Prophet (a.s). At that moment the troops said that `Umar had showed cowardice and `Umar said that the troops were a bunch of cowards!”[1]

When there was some reduction in the Prophet’s head ache, he emerged out of his tent and noticing the dropping morale in the troops he said:

“By Allah! I shall give the Standard to a person tomorrow who will attack ceaselessly and will not be the one who flees! He befriends Allah and His Prophet (a.s) and they are his friends. Allah will give us Victory on both his hands!”[2]

The Prophet (a.s), in spite of the leaders of the troops blaming them for the failure, did not make any changes in the troops who went for the previous attempts. He only changed the chief because the success of any operation depends on the perseverance and the leadership of the chief. When the chief shows his back to the battle, naturally the troops follow the leader! The words of the tradition too indicate the fact that the chiefs in the earlier attempts flew! Otherwise, there was no need to say that he would next time give the Standard to a person particularly stressing on his quality of steadfastness and that he would not flee. Anyway, this statement of the Prophet (a.s) is a mirror in which there is clarification of the facts of the matter and description of the traits of the conqueror of Khaybar. And the faces of the persons who chose to fly! The statement also gives the tiding of victory. In the beginning of the statement there is an oath and a positive expression that the next day victory will be theirs. This statement, therefore, is the result of a Revelation from Allah because predicting what is going to happen tomorrow is not permitted. Allah ordains that what one intends doing tomorrow, he should not say that it shall certainly be done. Therefore, Allah says:

وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَلِكَ غَدًا إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ. 

[1] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 300

[2] Tārīkh al-Khamīs, Vol 2, Page 53

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“And do not say of anything: Surely I will do it tomorrow, unless Allah pleases. (18:23)”

In the tradition quoted the words are few, but every word is reflective of praise and superiority for the person intended by the Holy Prophet (a.s) as the subject of his attentions.

The first expression is that he will be a ‘man’! If the word is used allegorically, it means that the person will be a paragon of valor and will fight with determination. The use of this word is also a pun against the earlier incumbents who lacked in the trait of valor. Otherwise all of them were men! A man is one who, after entering the arena of battle, does not show his back until victory is achieved or he succumbs to the onslaught of the enemy!

The second quality of the chief mentioned by the Prophet (a.s) is that he is valorous and not the fleeing type! After saying that he will be valorous, there seems no need to say that he would not flee. But this point was raised that those who had the dreams of becoming the standard-bearers should introspect whether their feet shook in the battlefield. If they did, then they should forget about becoming the standard-bearers.

The third quality of the chief mentioned by the Prophet (a.s) is that he is a friend of Allah and the Prophet (a.s), and they befriend him. It is the charisma of friendship that in the way of Allah, man faces all hardships. Therefore, Allah says:

“Allah befriends those who fight in his way in formations as if they are walls that have been impregnated with lead.”

Another indication the Prophet (a.s) made was that the fort would be annexed by him. Where there is perseverance, Allah helps. There was so much certainty of this victory that on return from al-Hudaybiyah, the Prophet (a.s) was given the vision in the following words:

“They will soon get victory”

Therefore, the Prophet (a.s) said,

“Allah will give victory at his hands.”

Allah had predicted victory and the Prophet (a.s) said that the one who carried the standard on the next attempt would be the victor!

After this announcement by the Prophet (a.s), the matter was on everyone’s tongue. There was an element of expectancy in the atmosphere. Every Companion wished that he was the lucky person tomorrow to get the standard

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in his hand. Even those who took the standard earlier during this campaign and failed were expecting to be chosen the next time! Ibn al-Athir writes:

“From the Quraysh everyone expected that he only will be the standard bearer.”[1]

If they had kept their attention on the words of the Tradition and kept in their minds the events of the past, each word was sufficient to put off the flame of the lamp of hope. But it is human nature that they claim positions of importance, however little they might have the hope of succeeding. They were sure that `Ali (a.s) would not be able to go to the front because the inflammation of his eyes would not allow him even to look at the ground under his feet. Therefore, they were assuring each other that they need not have any fear from `Ali (a.s) because of the ailment of his eyes. The only alternative to take the Standard would be one of the others. Here the persons were making conjectures, and on the other hand `Ali (a.s) was informed of the announcement made by the Prophet (a.s). Hearing this he became quiet.

“O Allah! The one whom You bestow, cannot be deprived by anyone, and the one whom You deprive, he cannot be bestowed by anyone!”

Waiting for the morrow, the Companions were turning the whole night in their beds. In the morning they gathered in front of the Prophet’s tent. Muhammad Ibn Isma`il al-Bukhari writes:

“They all assembled near the Prophet (a.s) early in the morning. Everyone was hoping that the Standard would be given to him!”[2]

After the morning’s prayer, the Prophet (a.s) emerged from his tent with a white flag in his hand. Seeing the flag, there was a feeling of expectancy in every heart. Every one tried to push aside the others and come to the front. Some stretched their necks and others tried to rise on their haunches expecting that the Prophet (a.s) would give his attention to them. Some of them were so excited and restless that their names appeared in the History of Islam. Of these was also `Umar, who himself said:

“Before that day, I did not have the urge to be the leader as I had then! On that day I stretched my neck and hoped that the Standard would be given to me!”[3]

[1] Al-Kāmil fit-Tārīkh, Vol 2, Page 149

[2] Sahīh al-Bukhārī, Vol 1, Page 525

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Burayd ibn Aslamah who was present in the ghazwah Khaybar took the names of both `Umar and Abū-Bakr, saying this:

“On the second day, both Abū-Bakr and `Umar raised their necks in the hope of getting the Standard!”[1]

Sa`d ibn Abi-Waqqas says:

“I sat squatting near the Prophet (a.s), got up and stood in front of him!”[2]

The acts of valor of none of his Companions was hidden from the Prophet (a.s).that he would consider anyone claims if he raised his neck or reject the claim of one who squatted down! He glanced at the crowd and asked where was `Ali (a.s). None thought that `Ali’s name would come up. There were voices from all directions that he was down with the inflammation of the eyes. The Prophet (a.s) asked to send someone and fetch him. Therefore, Salamah ibn al-Akwa` went and asked him to come. The Prophet (a.s) put `Ali’s head on his lap and applied his saliva on the inflamed eyes and said:

“O Allah! Protect him from the effects of heat and cold, and help and support against his enemy.”

The saliva of the Prophet (a.s) worked as a medicine for the eyes of `Ali (a.s). Instantly the inflammation disappeared. At that time, Hassan ibn Thabit, praising the Prophet (a.s), composed the following couplets:

“Inflamed were the eyes of `Ali (a.s) in battle of Khaybar 

Saliva of the Prophet (a.s) worked as the remedy 

Without medicine, the saliva brightened the eyes 

Felicitous was the cure and felicitous the healing power 

The Prophet said I should give standard to him who is double-edged sword 

Valiant and destroyer of enemy columns and dotes on the Prophet (a.s)”

When the eyes of `Ali (a.s) were cured, the Prophet (a.s) himself put the armor over the cloak of `Ali (a.s), put the sword around his girdle, gave the Standard in his hand and asked him to conquer the fort of Khaybar. `Ali (a.s)

[1] Tabaqāt Ibn Sa`d, Vol 2, Page 48

[2] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 300

[3] Tārīkh al-Khamīs, Vol 2, Page 48

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stood up after taking the flag in his hand, turned towards the Prophet (a.s) and asked him how long he wanted him to fight? The Prophet (a.s) said he must fight them until they embrace Islam. Even if one person came to the right path because of you, it will be better than having a camel with red hair! `Ali (a.s) went running towards the arena. Some persons asked him to wait that they too would join him. But he did not stop for a while and stopped when he reached near the Fort Qamūs and planted the Standard there. One Jew saw him from the top of the fort and asked who he was. He said that he was `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (a.s) When he saw his demeanor, he said, “O group of Jews! Your defeat is certain!” The Jews were very proud of the invincibility of Fort Qamūs. Because of the failure of the earlier flag bearers of the Islamic army, their morale was high. But hearing such words from their own man there was pandemonium in their ranks and fear in their hearts. Now some persons from the Muslim army too reached near `Ali (a.s). The governor of the fort Marhab’s brother al-H arith, who had earlier come to the arena of the battle, made a surprise attack and martyred two Muslims. `Ali (a.s) moved like a lightning and killed him. When Marhab saw that his brother was killed, blood entered his eyes. He wore a second armor over the first and, on the head wore a helmet carved out of a stone and with two swords and a lance, came out of the fort. He was reciting the following martial poem:

“The people of Khaybar know I am Marhab 

I am armed and an experienced warrior!”

Marhab was bulky and an adept at fighting. When he called for a fight, very few responded! Diyarbakri writes:

“Amongst the Muslims, it was not possible for anyone to take him on.”[1]

When `Ali (a.s) listened to his rajz, he said:

“I am that whose mother named him Haydar 

I am a male lion and valiant like the tiger 

Whose knuckles are strong and the neck wide 

Like the tiger in the jungle, ferocious to look at 

I shall attack in a way to shatter your joints 

And leave the adversary to be fodder for the wild beasts 

Like a honorable and strong youth

[1] Tārīkh al-Khamīs, Vol 2, Page 50

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I shall use my sword on the columns of the infidels 

And slay you with my sword on a large scale.”

Marhab moved forward and attempted to attack `Ali (a.s). He evaded the attack and counter attacked him. `Ali’s stroke cut through Marhab’s helmet, his head and pierced the jaws. He fell down dead with a thud. Marhab’s death disheartened the Jews. And when some more renowned warriors met their end at the hands of `Ali (a.s), there was total chaos in their ranks and all of them ran towards the fort. `Ali (a.s) kept advancing forward when a Jew attacked his arm and, with the impact, his shield fell down to the ground. With his Divine Strength `Ali (a.s) picked up a heavy door and used it as a shield! This door was so heavy that later on eight persons were not able to lift it. Therefore, Abū-Rafi` says:

“I had seven men with me, and I was the eighth. We tried our best to turn that door but we were unable to do that!”[1]

`Umar too was much surprised at the incident. Therefore, he told `Ali (a.s) that he picked up very heavy load. `Ali (a.s) replied:

“It did not seem heavier than my own shield to me!”[2]

The Jews got scared with this show of strength and locked themselves inside the fort. `Ali (a.s) went forward and with one jerk both the shutters of the gate of the fort came in his hands. This incredible strength was nothing but Divine Strength! Therefore, `Ali (a.s) himself said:

“I did not break the gate of the fort of Khaybar with my own human strength. But it was the Divine Strength that helped me!”[3]

If someone does some service in the cause of Islam, it is a grave crime to attribute it to someone else! But this kept happening in the annals of Islamic history for the craze for power. Therefore, about the event of Khaybar too such attempts, however unsuccessful, have been made. They have concocted a tradition in the name of Jabir ibn `Abdullah al-Ansari, who was not even present in Khaybar at that time, that Marhab was killed by Muhammad ibn Maslamah al-Ansari! This they do blatantly, despite all the major historians are witness to the fact that Marhab was killed, while battling with `Ali (a.s), by the Imam (a.s) himself! Whether Muhammad ibn Maslamah’s name has

 

[1] Sīrat Ibn Hushām, Vol 3, Page 35

[2] Al-Manāqib, Vol 1, Page 444

[3] Tārīkh al-Khamīs, Vol 2, Page 51

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ever been mentioned in the histories as a man of valor, his name is certainly there with those of persons who refused to owe allegiance to `Ali (a.s) and openly opposed him! Perhaps this attitude of Ibn Maslamah prompted the adversaries of the Imam (a.s) to concoct the story! If Muhammad ibn Maslamah was really the killer of Marhab, then histories should have recognized him as the conqueror of Khaybar. Overpowering, and eliminating, Marhab was like overpowering Khaybar! If Ibn Maslamah is recognized by the historians as the conqueror of Khaybar, then they shall have to think of the Prophet’s tradition wherein he said, “Allah will give conquest at his hands.” It is unanimously accepted that these words were uttered by the Prophet (a.s) about `Ali (a.s). How could one imagine that the Prophet (a.s), through his Divine Knowledge, forecasts the name of the victor, and some people concoct stories to credit the event to someone else!

Although the tribes of the Jews had made agreements of peace and cooperation with the Prophet (a.s), whenever they got an opportunity they never abstained from mischief. As a result they were banished from al-Madinah Even after leaving al-Madinah their activities continued. There was no other alternative left than giving them punitive punishment. The battle was a result of all these events in which fifteen Muslims lost their lives and ninety-two Jews were killed. Women were taken captive, of whom there was Huyay ibn Akhtab’s daughter who was Safiyyah whom the Prophet (a.s) married. The other Jews were released on conditions that they worked as farm hands on the lands of Khaybar and shared half of the produce with the Muslims.

Khaybar was a very fertile area and it used to cater to a major portion of the food requirement of the Hijaz Province of Arabia. When this area came under the control of the Muslims, it brought economic prosperity to them. The Muhajirūn, who were living in penury after leaving Makkah, found avenues to improve their lot. `Abdullah ibn `Umar said:

“After the conquest of Khaybar, we got the ability and means to have our square meals.”[1]

Umm al-Mu’minin `A’ishah says:

“When Khaybar was captured, we thought that we would eat the dates to our fill!”[2]

[1] Sahīh al-Bukhārī, Vol 2, Page 40

[2] Sahīh al-Bukhārī, Vol 2, Page 40

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Buladhari writes in Futūh al-Buldan that from the produce of Khaybar, each of the spouses of the Prophet (a.s) was getting eighty wasq of dates and twenty wasq of barley.

Although there was a large number of foot soldiers in the campaign, the victory was only at the hands of `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (a.s)! Although others too attempted to fight with the standard in their hands, they turned their backs away from the arena! After getting repeatedly repulsed, the Prophet (a.s) declared that he would give the standard in the hands of the victor on the morrow! There was high expectancy among the Companions, but the victor, as decided by Allah and his Prophet (a.s) was `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (a.s)!

THE LAND OF FADAK

Fadak is on the outskirts of Khaybar. It is a fertile and lush green settlement where Fadak ibn Ham was the first to pitch his tents. The place was therefore named after him. Like Khaybar, here too the Jews lived. They organized the irrigation facility and made the barren land bloom! Yaqūt al-Hamawi writes:

“This land had bubbling ponds and many oases.”[1]

After the conquest of Khaybar, the people living in the neighborhood owed allegiance to the Muslims without any conflict. The inhabitants of Fadak too surrendered the proprietary rights over the land and entered into an agreement to share the produce equally with the Muslims. Therefore, they sent word to the Prophet (a.s) that they had no intention of fighting and they were willing to accept the same conditions as were imposed on the people of Khaybar. The Prophet (a.s) accepted their offer and sent `Ali (a.s) to finalize the agreement with their chief, Yūsha` ibn Nūn. After the discussions, it was agreed that the people of Fadak would forego the proprietary rights over the land, until it and share the crop equally with the Prophet (a.s). By virtue of the agreement, the Land of Fadak became the property of the Prophet (a.s) because the land that was acquired without any fight or conflict, in terms of the Islamic Law, vested with the Prophet (a.s). Therefore, the Holy Qur’an says:

وَمَا أَفَاءَ اللَّهُ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ مِنْهُمْ فَمَا أَوْجَفْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ خَيْلٍ وَلَا رِكَابٍ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يُسَلِّطُ رُسُلَهُ عَلَى مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ .

And whatever Allah restored to His Messenger from them, you did not press forward against it any horse or a riding camel but Allah gives authority to His messengers against whom He pleases, and Allah has power over all things

The territories that are annexed through warfare are termed as ghanimah or Booty. The land and property that is acquired without any war or conflict is called fay’ or anfal. The land of Fadak too came in the category of anfal

[1] Mu`jam al-Buldān, Vol 14, Page 338

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because it was acquired without any physical conflict. Therefore, it was the personal property of the Prophet (a.s) on which the other Muslims had no right. Al-Tabari writes:

“Fadak was the exclusive property of the Prophet (a.s) because the Muslims neither ran their camels over it nor the horses!”[1]

Al-Buladhari writes:

“Fadak was an exclusive property of the Prophet (a.s) because the Muslims neither ran their camels nor the horses over it.”[2]

Yaqūt al-Hamawi writes:

“This village Allah gave to the Prophet (a.s) in the seventh century as a consequence of the truce.”[3]

After the clear Commandment of the Qur’an and the recorded history of the event by the reputed chroniclers, the fact is established that Fadak was the exclusive property of the Prophet (a.s). Therefore, in exercise of this right, he had transferred this property to Fatimah al-Zahra’ (a.s) during his lifetime through a written deed. `Allamah Jalal al-Din al-Suyūti writes about it:

“Ibn Mardawayh has quoted from Ibn `Abbas that when the Verse, ‘O Prophet! Give the right of your kin to them’ was revealed, he transferred Fadak to Fatimah (a.s).”[4]

Thana’ullah, the judge, writes:

“Al-tabarani and others have quoted from Abū-Sa`id al-Khidri that when the Verse, ‘O Prophet! Transfer the rights of your kin to them’ was revealed, the Prophet (a.s) called Fatimah al-Zahra’ (a.s) and gave Fadak to her.”[5]

Thereafter, until the Prophet (a.s) lived, the land of Fadak was in the possession of Fatimah al-Zahra’ (a.s). Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s), mentions about it in his letter:

[1] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 302

[2] Futūh al-Buldān, Page 27

[3] Mu`jam al-Buldān, Vol 14, Page 238

[4] Al-Durr al-Manthūr, Vol 4, Page 177.

[5] Tafsīr al-Ma¨harī, Vol 5, Page 432

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“Under this sky we had only the land of Fadak in our possession. Even on that, the mouths of some persons were watering! The Best Judge is Allah!”[1]

But after the demise of the Prophet (a.s), for certain ‘reasons of State’ the Land of Fadak was taken away from Fatimah (a.s). She went in appeal against this, but her claim was rejected! We shall deal with this matter in detail in a subsequent chapter. The pity is that the person against whom the appeal was preferred was also sitting in judgment!

This travesty of justice and fairplay resulted in Fatimah (a.s) not being accepted as the owner of the Land of Fadak despite holding the transfer deed nor in terms of her being the rightful successor to the inheritance of her father, Muhammad (a.s)! She was so upset with this injustice that she boycotted the person responsible for the act and did not talk to him until her death!

THE CONQUEST OF MAKKAH

At al-Hudaybiyah, a truce was declared between the Quraysh and the Muslims that both the parties will not indulge in fighting for he next ten years. If one of the parties infringed the agreement, then the other will not be bound by the terms. One of the tribes having a treaty with the Muslims, Banū-Khuza`ah and a tribe having a treaty with the Quraysh, Banū-Bakr, had been at loggerheads for long, but because of the wars between the Quraysh and the Muslims they were quiet for some time. They had both kept aside their differences and were united against the Muslims. When the long truce between the Quraysh and the Muslims became effective, Banū-Bakr attacked Banū-Khuza`ah and killed one of their men. The suppressed animosity was revived. Although Banū-Bakr was sufficient to deal with Banū-Khuza`ah, Quraysh supplied arms to Banū-Bakr. This was an infringement of the truce with the Muslims. Also, `Ikrimah ibn Abi-Jahl, Safwan ibn Umayyah and Suhayl ibn `Amr who were the signatories to the treaty with the Muslims took active part in the conflict between the two tribes in favor of Banū-Bakr. Banū-Khuza`ah took shelter in the Ka`bah to save their lives. Even there they were attacked and killed. When they were helpless, a delegation of forty persons from Banū-Khuza`ah under the leadership of `Amr ibn Salem went to the Prophet (a.s) in al-Madinah and lodged a protest that the Quraysh had infringed the truce taking part in the hostilities and supplying arms to Banū-Bakr against them, the vassals of the Muslims. The Prophet (a.s) agreed to provide help to them. He sent a message to the Quraysh to give the blood money to Banū-Khuza`ah for their lives lost during the conflict or abstain from aiding and abetting Banū-Bakr, or otherwise their treaty with the Muslims would become void. Quraysh refused to abide by the suggestions and said plainly that neither they would give the blood money nor they will abstain from helping Banū-Bakr. Because of this stubborn attitude of the Quraysh, the Prophet (a.s) made a public declaration that there was no more a treaty of peace with the Quraysh.

After this announcement by the Prophet (a.s), the Quraysh were restless. They started brooding over the consequences of their infringement of the terms of the truce. Realizing that they were incapable of meeting the onslaught of the

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Muslims, they started planning to keep the truce intact. Therefore, they deputed Abū-Sufyan to al-Madinah to negotiate and diplomatically save the situation. When he arrived at al-Madinah, Abū-Sufyan went straight to his daughter Ummu-Habibah who was one of the spouses of the Prophet (a.s). When Ummu-Habibah saw her father coming, she quickly folded the bedding of the Prophet (a.s). When Abū-Sufyan asked her why she moved away the bedding, Ummu-Habibah said that it was the bedding of the Prophet (a.s) and she would not like him to sit on that because he was an infidel and idolater. Abū-Sufyan went away from there with an unpleasant mood. He went to the Prophet (a.s) and requested him to renew the treaty for truce with the Quraysh. The Prophet (a.s) did not pay heed to any of his arguments. He sat there for a while and went to Abū-Bakr and asked him to recommend to the Prophet (a.s) for renewing the treaty. Abū-Bakr expressed his inability to help. He then went to `Umar and he too excused himself. When he was disappointed everywhere, he went to `Ali (a.s) and sought his help in the matter. He said that when the Prophet (a.s) arrives at a decision, none else has the right to interfere with it. Abū-Sufyan told Fatimah (a.s), who was sitting there, “O daughter! If your son, Hasan (a.s), intervenes and gets the truce renewed he will be called as the Chief of Arabs until the world exists.” She replied, “Hasan (a.s) is still a child and has nothing to do with these matters!” In the end he told `Ali (a.s) that if he cannot help, he must at least suggest what the Quraysh should do to save the situation. `Ali (a.s) suggested to Abū-Sufyan to make an announcement for renewal of the truce and go away to Makkah! Abū-Sufyan asked what benefit such an announcement will bring to the Quraysh? He replied that it could not be predicted whether the declaration would be of any advantage to the Quraysh or not. Any way, Abū-Sufyan did go to the mosque and made a public announcement that the Quraysh were unilaterally renewing their truce of peace with the Muslims. After this announcement, he went away to Makkah.

When he reached Makkah, people asked him what was the result of his visit to al-Madinah? He said that he had a discussion with the Prophet (a.s) but he would not agree to renew the truce. Then he told about going to Abū-Quhafah and `Umar ibn al-Khattab and getting no help. He said that he went to `Ali (a.s) who listened to him with attention and only on his suggestion he had made a unilateral public announcement of renewal of the truce by the Quraysh. The Quraysh asked whether the Prophet (a.s) approved of this measure. Abū-Sufyan said that he did not have the approval of the Prophet (a.s) for the renewal. The Quraysh said that any declaration of a truce has at least two consenting parties, if the other party has not agreed there is no sense in your announcement. `Ali (a.s) has pulled a fast one on you!

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The Prophet (a.s) was much affected with the bloodshed caused by Banū-Bakr and in terms of the agreements, he was bound to come to the rescue of Banū-Khuza`ah. Therefore, he asked his people to be ready for battle and asked others outside of al-Madinah to prepare for joining the troops. People started arriving in numbers on the call of the Prophet (a.s) and started preparing the arms for the fight. But none knew where they had to go for the fight! The Prophet (a.s) took full care to see that the Quraysh did not learn about these preparations to take them on unawares! The Companions who knew about the program were strictly warned to keep their confidence. But Hatib ibn Balta`ah, whose family was in Makkah, committed the mistake of revealing the secret by writing a letter to `Amr ibn `Abd al-Muttalib and sending it to him through his slave girl. In the letter, he mentioned that the Prophet (a.s) was preparing to attack Makkah. The Prophet (a.s) learned about this betrayal through a Revelation. He sent `Ali (a.s) and al-Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam to intercept the girl and bring her back to al-Madinah. She had only reached the Valley of Dhul-Halifah when she was captured. `Ali (a.s) asked her about the letter, but she flatly refused any knowledge about it. Al-Zubayr rummaged her belongings but did not find the letter. `Ali (a.s) said that it was not possible that she did not have the letter when the Prophet (a.s) had informed them about it. There is no question of a wrong statement from him. He sternly questioned the girl and told her that if she did not produce the letter a search of her clothes would be made. Because of this threat, she produced it from the hair of her head. `Ali (a.s) went with the letter to the Prophet (a.s) and reported to him about the entire episode. The Prophet (a.s) assembled all the Companions and told them that he had warned everyone to maintain the secrecy about the entire operation. But one of them tried to unsuccessfully reveal the secret to the Quraysh. The letter written in this connection has been intercepted and, therefore, the person should own his guilt. Otherwise, he might be put to grave shame! Hearing this, Hatib stood up shaking and said, “O Prophet of Allah (a.s)! I am the guilty person. I have not done it for the friendship of the Quraysh or enmity for Islam. I thought that I would be able to secure my children by earning the gratitude of the Quraysh. My family is living in Makkah at their mercy. `Umar angrily rose up and said:

“O Prophet of Allah! Permit me that I cut away his head. He is a hypocrite!”[1]

[1] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 328

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But the Prophet (a.s) forgave the person. The Holy Qur’an mentions about the episode:

…تُسِرُّونَ إِلَيْهِمْ بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَأَنَا أَعْلَمُ بِمَا أَخْفَيْتُمْ وَمَا أَعْلَنتُمْ وَمَنْ يَفْعَلْهُ مِنْكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ.

…would you manifest love to them? And I know what you conceal and what you manifest; and whoever of you does this, he indeed has gone astray from the straight path. (60:1)

On the tenth of Ramadan 4 A.H., the prophet (a.s) marched with one hundred thousand strong army of armed men Four hundred companions were on horses and the rest were footmen. When the army reached Ghadir, the prophet (a.s) asked the men to break their fasts and he too did the same. Some people hesitated in doing it. When the Prophet (a.s) learnt about it, he said that they were sinners. After this everyone broke his fast. When they reached Thaniyyat al-`Uqab, the Prophet’s uncle, `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, met him along his family members. `Abbas sent his family to al-Madinah and himself joined the entourage of the Prophet (a.s).Twelve miles before Makkah, the Prophet (a.s) established camp. `Abbas came out riding on the mule of the Prophet (a.s) to find a person who could go to the Quraysh to tell them to come to the camp and appeal for amnesty. He also suggested to them that they embrace Islam and save themselves from destruction. After the unsuccessful visit of Abū-Sufyan to al-Madinah the Quraysh had the fear that the Muslims would come anytime to settle scores with them. Therefore, they used to remain alert during the nights to quell any surprise attack in the darkness of the night. With this purpose Abū-Sufyan, Hakim ibn Hizam and Badil ibn Warqa’ were on rounds of the outskirts of Makkah when they noticed lights of fire at a distance in the direction of Marj al-Dharan. Abū-Sufyan asked who these people could be? Badil ibn Warqa’ said it could be the troops of Banū-Khuza`ah. Abū-Sufyan said that Banū-Khuza`ah had no means to mobilize such a huge army. They were still discussing the matter when they met `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib. Abū-Sufyan asked him if he knew about the army at some distance from there. He replied that it was the army of the Prophet of Islam (a.s). The Prophet (a.s) was marching towards Makkah with an army of one hundred thousand men and might attack with the dawn! He said none from the Quraysh will survive this onslaught. Hearing this, Abū-Sufyan shivered and asked what should be done to save themselves. `Abbas asked him to sit on his mule behind him and that he will get him amnesty by talking to the prophet. When `Abbas passed through the army with Abū-Sufyan, `Umar espied them and he went running to the Prophet (a.s

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and told him that the enemy of Allah was coming. He asked for his permission that he would kill him. When `Abbas heard `Umar stressing on killing of Abū-Sufyan, he said:

“Stop O `Umar! You are saying this because he is from the progeny of `Abd-Manaf. If he was from your tribe, Banū-`Adi, you would never have uttered any such thing.”[1]

The Prophet (a.s) told `Abbas to keep Abū-Sufyan in his tent and fetch him to his presence in the morning. When he was brought in the morning, the Prophet (a.s) said, “O Abū-Sufyan! You have still not understood that besides Allah, there is no other god!” Abū-Sufyan replied that it seemed like it. If there were any other god than Allah, he would come to their rescue. The Prophet (a.s) said, “You have still not understood that I am the Prophet of Allah (a.s)?”Abū-Sufyan replied that his mind was not clear about it! `Abbas told Abū-Sufyan that if he cared for his life, he should embrace Islam or else someone would kill him. When he saw that there was no other way, he recited the kalimah and joined the ranks of Muslims. `Abbas recommended that Abū-Sufyan loved pomp and show and that he may be given some important position. The Prophet (a.s) said that whoever took shelter in his house will have amnesty and those who take shelter in the al-Bayt al-Haram too will have amnesty. Those who lock themselves up in their homes too shall be safe. The Prophet (a.s) asked `Abbas to take Abū-Sufyan to such a spot that he could have a birds eye view of the vast army! `Abbas took him to a place from where he saw the well armed troops, row after row! He told `Abbas, “Your nephew has become the ruler of a great Empire!” `Abbas replied,” it is not an empire. It is only the grandeur of the prophethood!” Abū-Sufyan added, “I did not remember when I made the remark! It must be as you say!”

After seeing the army of Islam, Abū-Sufyan returned to Makkah. He told the Quraysh that Muhammad (a.s) had come with a huge army. People asked him if he had been there. What has he said? Abū-Sufyan informed them that the Prophet (a.s) had told him that those who took shelter in Abū-Sufyan’s house will have amnesty. The people said that his house was not big enough to take lot of people. He then told that those who took shelter in the al-Bayt al-Haram too would have amnesty. He then addressed the Quraysh and told them that they are not strong enough to fight the Muslims. It would be better for them if the embraced Islam. His wife, Hind bint `Utbah, hearing this came forward and caught hold of his beard and said, “O people! Kill this foolish old

[1] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 331

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man!” Abū-Sufyan told her,” remember! If you hesitate slightly in embracing Islam, you will lose your head!” The Quraysh were still brooding over the matter in surprise when Sa`d ibn `Abadah entered Makkah carrying the Standard of Islam.

The words that Sa`d was uttering were manifesting his desire to avenge the atrocities that the Quraysh had inflicted on the Muslims and that he will advance killing people and letting their blood. `Abbas told the Prophet (a.s) that Sa`d had intensions to harm the people. The Prophet (a.s) had no plan to enter into unnecessary fights. He therefore asked `Ali (a.s) to:

“Go to Sa`d, take the Standard from him and enter Makkah!”[1]

`Ali (a.s) took the Standard from Sa`d and marched into Makkah with the army behind him. Quraysh had no courage left to encounter the huge army. They locked themselves up at homes. For those who had the doors of Makkah closed for them yesterday, the doors of victory and success were wide open today. This was a victory of Islam’s love for peace and amity! For this victory they did not have to fight any battles. But in every group there will be some trouble makers. They cannot live without being harsh to their adversaries. Therefore, Khalid ibn al-Walid, who had embraced Islam just before the conquest of Makkah, and Islam has not yet brought about any change in his thinking, while passing through the lower reaches of Makkah, started fighting with Banū-Bakr. The Prophet (a.s), passing through the Mount Hajūn, noticed the shining of the blades of swords. This upset him very much. He ordered, “This bloodshed must be stopped forthwith!” But many men from Banū-Bakr were already killed. When the Prophet (a.s) arrived from the upper reaches of Makkah, he came to the Ka`bah and circumambulated it. He noticed that the chiefs of the Quraysh were standing with bowed heads. These were the persons who did everything possible to harm the Prophet (a.s). they pushed him away from home and did not let him live in peace even in exile. He looked at them and asked what treatment they expected from the Muslims? They put their heads further down in shame! The Speaker of Quraysh, Suhayl ibn `Amr said,” You are the son of a noble brother and a noble uncle! We only expect good from you! “The Prophet (a.s) replied, “Today there will be no revenge taken on you! Go! You are all free!” This was the manifestation of the noble character and broadmindedness of the Prophet (a.s). Those who were his deadly enemies embraced Islam. Yesterday’s orphan was today’s ruler who not only ruled their bodies but also their hearts! The hegemony of Quraysh had vanished in thin air and infidelity died its own death!

[1] Al-Kāmil fit-Tārīkh, Vol 2, Page 166

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Although the men of Makkah embraced Islam and some of them were already having the seeds of Faith in their minds, but certainly, there was a vast majority of persons who had embraced Islam in their helplessness. Sudden change in the Faith and beliefs is difficult for the human nature. There were also some who were adamantly infidel. Many of them escaped from Makkah and were hiding elsewhere. They would have proved dangerous for Islam. Therefore, it was necessary to mete out to them punitive punishment. Although the Prophet (a.s) had declared general amnesty, he issued orders for some mischief mongers to be executed wherever they were found, even if they were hanging form the cover of the Ka`bah. Therefore, `Abdullah ibn Khatal and his slave girl who used to sing lampooning songs against the Prophet (a.s), Huwayris ibn Nuqayd and Mughith ibn Sabbabah were executed. Some persons were pardoned from orders of execution as well. Therefore `Abdullah ibn Abi-Sarh took shelter with `Uthman and was released on his recommendation. `Ikrimah ibn Abi-Jahl escaped towards Yemen. His wife Umm Hakim appealed for amnesty for him, that was granted. Habar ibn al-Aswad, `Amr ibn `Abd al-Muttalib’s slave girl Sara and Khatal’s slave girl saved themselves by embracing Islam. Besides these some other persons were hiding in Makkah with the intention of creating trouble. `Ali (a.s) heard that al-Harith ibn Husham and Qays ibn al-Sa’ib and some persons of Banū-Makhzūm were there in the house of Ummu-Hani’ bint Abi-Talib. He came to her house and asked that those hiding inside must be handed over. Ummu-Hani’ could not recognize `Ali (a.s). She said, “O person! I am the real sister of `Ali (a.s) and the daughter of Muhammad’s uncle! If you force me to surrender those whom I have given shelter, I shall complain to the Prophet (a.s). Now `Ali (a.s) removed the hood from his head when Ummu-Hani’ recognized him. She ran close to him and said that she had already resolved to complain to the Prophet (a.s). He said, “You may keep your resolution by complaining to the Prophet (a.s)! Ummu-Hani’ then came to the Prophet (a.s). The Prophet (a.s) asked her the reason for her visit. She said, “O Prophet of Allah! I have given shelter to some people from my husband’s family. `Ali (a.s) wants to take then in custody!” The Prophet (a.s) said, “To whomsoever you gave shelter, I have given shelter!”

About the events of the conquest of Makkah, `Ali’s attitude had been exemplary at all stages. He preferred obedience to the Prophet (a.s) over everything else. This attitude was so much engrained in his nature that everything he thought and did was a reflection of the actions of the Prophet (a.s).He was the keeper of the confidences of the Prophet (a.s) about the campaign for the conquest of Makkah and he never opened his mouth ever to

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assert his own importance when a Companion who was there at the Battle of Badr and at bay`at al-ridwan tried to reveal the secret to save his family from the Quraysh in Makkah. When Abū-Sufyan consulted him regarding the renewal of the truce with Quraysh, unlike Abū-Bakr and `Umar he adopted a soft, discreet attitude in denying to intercede with the Prophet (a.s) that was acknowledged by Abū-Sufyan on his return to Makkah. This was the reason that he had not returned to Makkah totally dissatisfied about his efforts at renewing the truce. If this were not the case, he would certainly have stressed that the Muslims might soon attack them. In that event, all efforts at keeping the plans of the attack confidential would have been futile. Then `Ali (a.s) also hinted to Abū-Sufyan that there was no guarantee that if he made unilateral announcement of renewal of the truce, whether it would be of any advantage or not. This advice by `Ali (a.s) to Abū-Sufyan appeared as if he wanted to momentarily shake him away. But even then Abū-Sufyan was grateful and did acknowledge it when he returned to Makkah.

During this campaign too the Standard of Victory was in the hands of `Ali (a.s) like in all other battles. Although in the beginning the Standard was given to Sa`d ibn `Abadah, but when his attitude was seen to be harsh and revengeful, the Prophet (a.s) took away the Standard from him and gave to `Ali (a.s). If the Prophet (a.s) had given the Standard to anyone other than `Ali (a.s), Sa`d would have deemed it a personal affront and might have hesitated to hand over the Standard But giving it to `Ali (a.s) was like giving it back to the Prophet (a.s) himself. `Ali (a.s) had the capability of handling matters both at war and during the peace times. One cannot even imagine that he would do anything under momentary emotions. It is an attractive aspect of his character that when at war, he is an adept warrior and in peace, he is so soft and pliable that he never took part in any warlike actions!

Here, he also manifested his attitude of following the rules. He did not want to spare even the persons who took shelter in his own sister’s house until the Prophet (a.s) himself ruled on the matter. This shows that in the enforcement of the law there was no dividing line between kin, friend or foe!

PURIFICATION OF THE KA`BAH

`Amr ibn Laha al-Khuza`i had seen the `Amaliqah (the giants) worshiping idols in the year 207 A.D. in Egypt and Syria. He did not find any advantage in idol-worship, but he liked the art of carving of the idols. He brought some of the idols to Makkah and installed them in the Ka`bah. In time, Makkah became a centre of idolatry. The biggest idol of the Quraysh was Hubal which was installed at the highest point in the Ka`bah. Around it there were kept hundreds of idols tied to each other. Out of the three hundred and sixty days of the year, one day was earmarked for the veneration of one particular idol. In emulation of the people of Makkah, the people in the surrounding areas too were attracted to idol worship. When they visited the Ka`bah during the Hajj, they would take home stones from there and carve out idols for themselves in the shape of the idols in Makkah. This way every tribe of Arabia had its own idols. About one stage away from Makkah, a place called Naqlah had an idol by name al-`Uzza. This place was venerated by the Quraysh and Banū-Kinanah. In Ta’if there was the idol of al-Lat. At some distance from al-Madinah there was Manat that was the god of Aws, Khazraj and Ghassan. For the Hamdan tribe of Najran the idol for worship was Ya`ūq. In Yanbu` and its environs the idol of Hudhayl, Sawah was installed. In Dawmat al-Jandal Banū-Kalab’s god, Wudd was installed. Some isolators considered these idols as the representatives of one and only God. They used to pray and ask for boons from these inanimate idols! They were unable to understand that those inanimate pieces of stone had no power to grant their wishes or save them from the natural calamities! They used to say that through them they were able to reach closer to God! The Holy Qur’an also records their thoughts:

وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ مَا نَعْبُدُهُمْ إِلَّا لِيُقَرِّبُونَا إِلَى اللَّهِ زُلْفَى …

“And as for those who take guardians besides Him, saying, We do not serve them save that they may make us nearer to Allah… (39:3)

The purpose for annexing Makkah was not that the Prophet (a.s) wanted to expand his territory and get termed as a conquer. The main purpose was to

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abolish idolatry and spread the message of Unity of Allah. After subduing Makkah the first step was to give attention to the destruction of the idols in the Ka`bah. Although there was the risk of the Quraysh rising against this step, the Prophet (a.s) decided to go ahead with the performance of his duty against all possible odds. First he erased the paintings of the prophets and the angels from the walls of Ka`bah. Then, along with `Ali (a.s), he destroyed the idols put at the lower levels of the Ka`bah. Now was the turn of the bigger idols at higher level. The Prophet (a.s) told `Ali (a.s) that he would climb on his shoulders to reach the idols. He did climb but he felt weakness and came down. He now asked `Ali (a.s) to climb on his shoulders and perform the task. `Ali (a.s) went up the shoulders of the Prophet (a.s) and besides the smaller idols he destroyed the big Hubal that was installed on a foundation of steel rods. He pulled it with such strength that it crashed to the ground and shattered to pieces. It would have been such a pathetic scene for the Quraysh that until the other day they were worshiping the idol that was lying today shattered on the ground!

`Ali (a.s), after breaking this big idol, dropped down to the ground and smilingly told the Prophet (a.s), “I have jumped form such height but was not hurt a little!” The Prophet (a.s) replied, “How could you get hurt when Muhammad (a.s) raised you and Jibril (Archangel Gabriel) helped you down!” This was the greatness of `Ali (a.s)! In other words, this was the Mi`raj (Ascension) on the shoulders of the one who had the privilege of the Real Mi`raj. `Ali (a.s) himself has said:

 

“If I wished, I could have touched the heights of the sky!”

There were other people too with the Prophet (a.s) at that time. This task could have been entrusted to any other person by the Prophet (a.s). But the Prophet (a.s) did not want any one else to be associated with the work of the purification of the Ka`bah. The reason was that `Ali (a.s) had never bowed down before the idols in the past and always prostrated before Allah, the Real Creator! Other persons, at some time in their past lives, were idolaters! If they were asked to destroy the idols, they might have hesitated in performing the task. One example is the people of Ta’if, who, even after embracing Islam, did not like to break the idol with their own hands. Therefore, when they embraced Islam at the hands of the Prophet (a.s), they requested him to leave their idols untouched for one year. When the Prophet (a.s) turned down their request, they refused to break the idols with their own hands and wanted someone else to do the task!

THE DAY OF AL-GHUMAYDA’

After the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet (a.s) was still there when he arranged to send delegations to various places in the neighborhood to propagate the Message of Islam. For this purpose Khalid ibn al-Walid was sent to Judhaymah with a group of three hundred and fifty persons. He was strictly told not to pick up a fight with anyone. He was asked to restrict himself to the task of propagating the Faith. Ibn Sa`d writes:

“The Prophet (a.s) sent Khalid ibn al-Walid to Banū-Judhaymah to propagate the Message of Islam and not to fight with them.”[1]

In the period before Islam, Khalid’s uncle, Fakihah ibn Mughirah and `Abd al-Rahman’s father `Awf were killed by some youths of Banū-Judhaymah on their return journey from Yemen. The Quraysh, to avenge these killings, attacked them, but they paid the blood money and settled the claim. Now that Khalid chanced to go there at the head of the delegation, his desire for revenge revived and he could not control himself from fulfilling his vile wish. When the party reached the Well of Ghumayda’, at a distance of two stages from Makkah, they broke journey there. This well was the property of Banū-Judhaymah and they lived in its environs. When they saw Khalid camping with his men near the well, they feared that he intended to fight with them. They therefore armed themselves and got ready to fight. When Khalid saw them in readiness to fight, he asked them who they were. They replied that they were Muslims; they had constructed a mosque in their neighborhood, given regular call (adhan) for prayer and regularly offer prayers in the mosque! Khalid said that if they were Muslims, why they were carrying arms with them. They expressed their fear that on account of the past enmity, he might start fighting with them. He assured them that he had no intention of fighting and asked them to unarm themselves. They replied:

“When we are Muslims, we shall not take to arms against Allah and His Prophet”[2]

[1] Al-Tabaqāt, Vol 2, Page 147

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Saying this, they started unarming themselves. One person from their tribe, Jahdam, asked them to think before they unarmed. He thought that after disarming them, Khalid would tie them up and then execute them to death. He said that in no event he would disarm and wanted his people to do the same. His people told him the period of battles was over and they should not disturb the peace again. They said that Khalid was now a Muslim and there was no need to fear him. Thus, they all removed their arms and kept them aside. When Khalid saw them unarmed, he asked his men to charge and overwhelm them. He asked the men, who were mostly from his own tribe, to tie them securely with ropes and confiscate their arms. Then he got them executed one after the other. `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf, who was a member of the delegation, was very upset with the act of Khalid. Both had an altercation and `Abd al-Rahman said, “You have committed an act of the period of ignorance in the times of Islam!” Khalid said, “I have avenged your father `Awf!” `Abd al-Rahman said, “You are a liar! I have myself killed my father’s killer! You have avenged the killing of your own uncle Fakihah ibn Mughirah!”[1]

The historian Al-Ya`qūbi writes:

`Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf said, “By Allah! Khalid has killed those persons who had embraced Islam!” Khalid told him, “I have avenged the killing of your father `Awf!” `Abd al-Rahman said, “You have only avenged the killing of your uncle Fakihah ibn Mughirah!”[2]

When the Prophet (a.s) learned about the killing of the people of Banū-Judhaymah, he was very sad, turned towards the Ka`bah and said:

“O Allah! I express in Your Presence my displeasure over the act of Khalid ibn al-Walid.”[3]

Then he asked `Ali (a.s) to go with the cash received from Yemen to Banū-Judhaymah at the well of Ghumayda’ and pay the blood money for every life lost by them. `Ali (a.s) went there, paid the blood money to every family and made good their losses. In the end he asked, if they had any more claims. They said they did not have any further claims. Then `Ali (a.s) said that some more money was left with him and he did not want to take it back. Therefore,

[1] Tārīkh al-Ya`qūbī, Vol 3, Page 47

[2] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 32

[3] Tārīkh al-Ya`qūbī, Vol 3, Page 47

[4] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 242

THE EXPEDITION OF HUNAYN

During the conquest of Makkah, the Quraysh had laid down arms in front of the Prophet of Islam (a.s) and then the fear of the Muslims became rooted in the minds of the infidel tribes of Arabia. Most of them sought amnesty from the Muslims. But the naughty tribes of Banū-Hawazin and Banū-Thaqif were still rebellious. They were still planning to be mischievous. One of the chiefs of Banū-Hawazin, Malik ibn `Awf al-Nasri, colluded with Banū-Jathm and Banū-Nasr to raise an army for a result oriented battle with the Muslims. Banū-Thaqif who had once stoned away the Prophet (a.s) from Ta’if joined hands with them. Malik ibn `Awf also sent word to Banū-Sa`d to join hands with them. Banū-Sa`d did not agree with the offer saying that Muhammad (a.s) had his upbringing with them and they would not like to fight with him. But some of their men did join the collaborators. The size of the army reached a total of five thousand. Malik ibn `Awf was named the Commander-in-chief and Abū-Jarwal the standard bearer. They started on the campaign along with their families, children and flocks of animals! In this army was the famous warrior of Arabia, Durayd ibn Samah. His age at the time was 120 years but he was brought sitting in a litter on the back of a camel to make use of his vast experience of planning the strategies of battle. When the army halted at the Valley of Awtas he said that the place will be suitable for the movement of horses and for undertaking combats! He also said that the place was neither too soft nor very stony. At that moment, he heard the sounds of children and sheep. He enquired of Malik ibn `Awf about the sounds. He informed that women and children too were there with the army. He asked why they were brought with the troops. He was told that with the families and children along, no one will think of showing his back to the battlefield! He said that when the fear of the enemy dominates the minds of the troops, nothing can stop them from running away! If defeat was faced in these circumstances, the shame will not leave them forever! Then he asked, “Are Banū-Kalab and Banū-Ka`b too with you?” He replied that they had not joined with them. The old man said that if luck had favored them, they too would have joined the army! He expressed his frank opinion that they return to their respective habitations! If then the Muslims attacked them, they would be able to defend themselves and

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other tribes too might come to their rescue against the aggressors. Malik did not agree with his advice. Durayd said that then he would not have anything to do with the campaign! In fact Malik did not want his interference because he would claim credit if the battle was won by them! Therefore, rejecting a wise suggestion, the troops advanced forward to fight!

When the Prophet (a.s) learned that Banū-Hawazin and Banū-Thaqif were advancing for a battle with the Muslims, he deputed `Abdullah ibn Hadrad to reconnoiter about their movements. He returned after his investigations and reported to the prophet (a.s) that their intention to battle was very evident and that the Muslims must be ready to repulse their attack. The Prophet (a.s) called `Umar and told him what he had heard from Ibn Abi-Hadrad. `Umar said Ibn Abi-Hadrad cannot be trusted because he is a liar. At this point Ibn Abi-Hadrad addressed `Umar and said:

“O `Umar! If you are refuting me, you were used to refuting the Truth in the past”[1]

The Prophet (a.s) trusted the intelligence of Ibn Abil-Hadrad and ordered the troops to be in readiness. They loaned from Safwan ibn Umayyah, who had not still embraced Islam, a hundred armors and other equipment of war and on 8 Shawwal 8H moved with 12,000 troops. In this contingent there were 10,000 persons who had accompanied him from al-Madinah. The other 2,000 were the recent converts from Makkah. The numerical strength was thrice as much as that of the Infidels. This has created a subtle feeling of pride among the Muslims. Therefore, seeing the strength of the army of Islam, Abū-Bakr said, “Today we shall not face defeat because of paucity of numbers!” The enemy arrived at the Valley of Hunayn and entrenched the men in the crevices and passages of the passages of the hills Hunayn is a valley lying on the hills between Makkah and Ta’if and had plain grounds on one side and ravines and ditches on the other. When the Muslims reached the Valley of Hunayn in the morning, and advanced on the difficult and sloping terrain, the enemy started throwing stones and arrows on them. The Muslims did not expect this sudden attack on them. Pandemonium broke out in the troops. First the Front Guard flew! The commander of the group was Khalid ibn al-Walid! When those coming from behind saw Khalid running away, they too took to their heels! The pandemonium was such that no one bothered about the others. They were all running helter-skelter. Abū-Qutadah who was one of the deserters said:

[1] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 346

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“The Muslims flew! I too flew with them. Suddenly I noticed `Umar Ibn al-Khattab among the deserters I asked him, ‘What has happened to the people?’ He replied, ‘It is Allah’s Wish!’”[1]

The books of Hadith and biographies certainly recorded about this flight, but the Holy Qur’an too records the incident thus:

لَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمْ اللَّهُ فِي مَوَاطِنَ كَثِيرَةٍ وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ إِذْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ كَثْرَتُكُمْ فَلَمْ تُغْنِ عَنْكُمْ شَيْئًا وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ ثُمَّ وَلَّيْتُمْ مُدْبِرِينَ.

“Certainly Allah helped you in many battlefields and on the day of Hunayn, when your great numbers made you vain, but they availed you nothing and the earth became strait to you notwithstanding its spaciousness, then you turned back retreating. (9:25)

When Abū-Sufyan saw the Muslims running away he said, “Wait! When they are vanquished, they will run to the sea shore!” Kildah ibn Hanbal said, “Today the spell of Islam has been broken!” Some said that al-Lat and Manat had avenged their destruction! Although they were in the army of Islam, but their hearts were not with them. They would certainly have showed their backs if defeat looked into their faces. But the surprising fact was that those who were there at the bay`at al-ridwan and swore to lay down their lives for the Cause chose to fly! Within no time, a major portion of the 12,000 men vanished in thin air! Very few persons remained with the Prophet (a.s). According to one narration, only four persons, `Ali (a.s), `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, Abū-Sufyan ibn al-Harith and `Abdullah ibn Mas`ūd remained steadfastly with the Prophet (a.s). According to another narration there were ten persons with him, viz: `Ali Ibn Abi-Talib (a.s), `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, al-Fadl ibn `Abbas, Abū-Sufyan ibn al-Harith, Rabi`ah ibn al-Harith, `Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, `Utbah and Mu’tah sons of Abū-Lahab and Ayman ibn `Ubayd. The Prophet (a.s) was astride a pony in the battlefield. `Abbas and al-Fadl were standing on the right and left of him. Abū-Sufyan was at the back holding the saddle of the mule and `Ali (a.s) was in the front meeting the attacks of the enemy with his sword. The other persons formed a protective circle around the Prophet (a.s). The enemy’s pressure increased every moment. Malik ibn `Awf came forward to attack the Prophet (a.s). Ayman ibn `Ubayd countered his attack and was martyred defending. The history records that in the moment of trial the

[1] Sahīh al-Bukhārī, Vol 3, Page 45

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Prophet (a.s) was the most steadfast. He had these words on his lips:

“It is true that I am the Prophet (a.s) I am the son of `Abd al-Muttalib!”

When he saw the Muslims deserting the theatre of war, he turned left and right, and called them:

“O Allah’s Creatures! Where are you heading to?”

When he found none heeding his call, he turned to his uncle, `Abbas, and asked him to call the deserters in a loud voice. `Abbas shouted at the top of his voice:

“O men of Ansar! O those who were present at the bay`at al-ridwan!”

On this call, some of the deserters came back. `Ali (a.s) gathered them under his Standard and advanced to attack the enemy. On the other side, the enemy too was alert. Both the sides attacked each other with swords. Sparks came out of the clashing swords. The Prophet (a.s) said:

“The oven of battle is hot now!”

The Standard Bearer of Banū-Hawazin, Abū-Jarwal was riding on a camel. He was waving his black flag, and he attacked reciting martial poems. `Ali (a.s) was looking for a chance to attack him. From the back he hit the legs of the camel with his sword. The camel fell down and Abū-Jarwal was not able to keep his balance. At that moment `Ali (a.s) gave him such a blow that he was cut into two. With the killing of Abū-Jarwal the morale of the enemy sank low. Their men started running away. The deserters from the Muslim army who were hiding themselves in the crevices of the hills came back and attacked the enemy in unison. Some of the enemy men were killed and others were taken captive. The fight was on when the time for meals arrived. The Prophet (a.s) said that they should stop fighting now and those taken captive should not be executed. But despite this order, two of the captives were killed. One of them was Ibn al-Akwa` who was functioning as a detective for Banū-Hudhayl during the campaign for conquest of Makkah. When `Umar found him helpless, he motioned to an al-Ansari to slay him. The other person killed was Jamil ibn Mu`ammar. He too was killed by an al-Ansari. When the Prophet (a.s) asked for an explanation from him, he said that `Umar had prompted him to kill the person. The Prophet (a.s) said that he had personally asked them not to kill the captives, looked angrily at `Umar and turned away his face! After some days, on the intervention of `Umayr ibn Wahab, the

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Prophet (a.s) overlooked that act of `Umar. Similarly, the Prophet (a.s) was disturbed at the killing of a woman. Looking at her dead body, he asked who had killed her. The people informed that it was Khalid ibn al-Walid who killed her. He asked the persons to go to him and tell:

“The Prophet of Allah (a.s) prohibits you from slaying women, children and laborers.”[1]

The war was over but the Muslims continued to chase the infidels. They took custody of the enemy’s animals and materials. They took lot of prisoners of war, among whom were women and children. The Prophet (a.s) wanted one person, Bahad, to be apprehended alive. Therefore, the Muslims held him and his family members. Among the captives was al-Shayma’ bint al-Harith, who was the prophet’s sister by the virtue of her mother being his foster mother during his childhood. When she was put to hardship by the Muslim troops, she told them that she was their Prophet’s foster sister. They did not believe it and brought her to the presence of the Prophet (a.s). She said, “I am al-Shayma’, your foster sister! Once you had bitten my back in your childhood! The mark is still there! “The Prophet (a.s) recognized her and made her sit on his own quilt. He asked her, “Would you like to live with us, or return to your own tribe?” She preferred to get back to her tribe. The prophet (a.s) gave her a slave, one camel and some sheep and sent her away with respect.

During this campaign, four Muslims were martyred and seventy infidels were killed. Thousands were taken captive. They got large amount of booty of war. In that, there were 24,000 camels, 40.000 sheep and lot of silver. The captives and the booty were left in the charge of Badil ibn Warqa’ al-Khuza`i at Valley al-Ju`aranah. Those who were able to escape with their lives went to Ta’if. The chief of Banū-Hawazin, Malik ibn `Awf was among the fugitives who reached Ta’if. One group went to Awtas and another reached Naqlah.

Ghazwah of Hunayn was a big trial for the Muslims. In the beginning, they were unable to meet the sudden attack of the enemy. They were under the illusion of the large force they had. If they had exercised care and forethought to the possibility of the enemy troops attacking from the caves and crevices, they would not have faced the initial setbacks. There was also a group of the capitulators of the campaign for conquest of Makkah who were not wholeheartedly participating in the battle. If, during this battle, the prophet (a.s) and his near relations were not steadfast, the battle was nearly lost.

[1] Al-Kāmil fit-Tārīkh, Vol 2, Page 180

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In this victory too, `Ali (a.s) played the major part. He never left the company of the Prophet (a.s) for a moment and was fighting the enemy like a shield for his Master. It was his example that brought back many a deserter to the battlefield!

THE SIEGE OF AL-TA’IF

Banū-Thaqif and their chief, Malik ibn `Awf al-Nasri, escaped from Hunayn and took shelter in Ta’if. They kept accumulating the equipment of warfare for one full year and locked themselves up in the fort. The army of Islam, under the command of the Prophet (a.s) chased them and laid siege of the Ta’if Fort. From both sides there was exchange of arrows. The Muslims were in open ground and the Infidels were in the security of the fort. They rained so many arrows from the fort that some of the Muslims got martyred and many more injured. When there was no means of subduing the well-entrenched enemy, Salman al-Farisi came up with the idea of Catapult. With a specially devised catapult they started hurling fairly large stones on the fort. Thus they were able to breach the wall of the fort. When the Muslims tried to enter the fort through the breach, the infidels threw red-hot iron rods from the top. The Muslims were forced to withdraw a little and did not succeed in capturing it.

In the meantime, the Prophet (a.s) asked `Ali (a.s) to visit areas surrounding Ta’if and ordered him to destroy any place where idols were installed. `Ali (a.s) took a group of men with him and passed near the habitation of Banū-Khatm while it was still dark. They resisted and one of their well-known fighter came forward and challenged for a fight. `Ali (a.s) asked someone of his men to go ahead and kill the infidel. When none took courage in his hands, Abul-`As ibn Rabi`ah saw that `Ali (a.s) was himself getting ready to confront the enemy. He offered that he would go. But the Imam stopped him and told him that if he succumbed during the fight, Abul-`as should take the command. Saying this, `Ali (a.s) advanced swiftly and killed the infidel in one stroke. When Banū-Khatm saw their warrior killed, they retraced their steps. `Ali (a.s) went forward and destroyed all the idols of Banū-Hawazin and Banū-Thaqif. When the entire area was free of the idols, he returned. When the Prophet (a.s) saw him coming, he loudly raised the slogan of ‘allahu-akbar’ and took `Ali (a.s) to a corner. They were quietly exchanging confidences for quite some time.

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Some persons did not like this quiet talk. They said, “Today the exchange of confidences with the cousin is quite long!” `Umar could not control himself. And he told the Prophet (a.s) directly that he talked with `Ali (a.s) in private and did not allow others to come near him! The Prophet (a.s) replied:

“I have not exchanged confidences with `Ali (a.s), but Allah has done it.”[1]

During these days of the siege, Nafi` ibn Ghaylan, with some cavaliers of Banū-Thaqif, emerged out of the fort. He was chased and killed. The cavaliers fled in fear. Now the besieged persons did not have any courage to come out of the fort. During this time the people living in the environs of Ta’if accepted Islam. Some slaves of Banū-Thaqif came out of the fort and accepted Islam on condition that they would be free men. The siege was now over twenty days and there was no indication of the fort being captured. The Prophet (a.s) asked Nawfal ibn Mu`awiyah about the matter. He said that the enemy was like a fox in its den. On waiting it can be caught, if the chase is given up, there is no fear of harm. The Prophet (a.s) thought it better to lift the siege and leave Banū-Thaqif to their own scruples. He made an announcement that they were leaving from there the next day. Therefore, the Companions prepared for traveling on the following day. `Uyaynah ibn Hasan al-Fazari talked of Banū-Thaqif in laudatory words when the Muslims prepared to lift the siege. Despite being a member of the Islamic army, he praised the enemy in these words:

“By Allah! I did not come with you to fight with Banū-Thaqif. My purpose was that when Muhammad (a.s) captured Ta’if, I take a woman of Banū-Thaqif as my slave!”[2]

Someone said, “O Allah’s Messenger! At least curse the Banū-Thaqif!” Instead of cursing, the Prophet (a.s) uttered these words:

“O Allah! Guide Banū-Thaqif and send them to me!”[3]

The Prophet’s prayer was answered very soon after that. One delegation of Banū-Thaqif came to al-Madinah and called on the Prophet (a.s). They offered to embrace Islam but made a condition that their idol of al-Lat should be left unharmed for three years! The Prophet (a.s) rejected this condition. Then they reduced the period to two years, one year and finally to one month!

[1] Sahīh al-Tirmidhī, Page 487

[2] Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 355

[3] Al-Kāmil fit-Tārīkh, Vol 2, Page 181

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Every time the Prophet (a.s) refused to accept the condition. Then they said that if he insisted to break the idol, he should ask someone else to perform the task and should not ask them to break their own idol! The Prophet (a.s) accepted their request. Then they asked to be exempted from offering mandatory prayers. The Prophet (a.s) said:

“There is no good in a Faith Where there is no prayer!”

 

Then he uttered these words of warning:

“You accept Islam, or else I shall send one, towards you, who is from me, (or he said, he is like my Conscience)! He will cut your necks and enslave your women and children and confiscate your wealth and property.”[1]

`Umar said that a wish came to his mind that the Prophet (a.s) meant him as that person! But the Prophet (a.s) caught hold of `Ali’s hand and said twice: “This is him! This is him!”

The delegation returned to Ta’if and made their report about the meeting. They all agreed to unconditionally accept Islam.

In this expedition too, `Ali’s presence is prominent. Along with the duties of the jihad, he is also active propagating the Faith. During the siege he destroyed the idols of Banū-Thaqif and Banū-Hawazin and brought about a change in the thinking of the people in the environs of Ta’if preparing them to embrace Islam. He killed a strong warrior of Banū-Khatm forcing them to capitulate. He killed Nafi` ibn Ghaylan and chased away his cavaliers. In the end, they all embraced Islam fearing his valorous attacks!

In this campaign, certain aspects of `Ali’s superiority are very evident. The Prophet (a.s) exchanged confidences with him within sight of the other important Companions! When others expressed their objections, the Prophet (a.s) said that `Ali (a.s) was not only the keeper of his confidences, but of Allah as well! Then the Prophet (a.s) compared `Ali (a.s) with his own Conscience, with his Own Self!

[1] Al-Istī`āb, Vol 2, Page 477

DISTRIBUTION OF THE BOOTY

When the Prophet (a.s) returned from Ta’if and camped at the Valley of al-Ju`ranah on the fifth of Dhul-Qa`dah, a delegation of Banū-Hawazin embraced Islam and came to his presence. They requested the persons of their tribe taken captive be freed. One chief of Banū-Sa`d, Zuhayr ibn `Amr, said that among the captives were two of the Prophet’s own aunts who had brought him up in their own arms. If any Arab chieftain had taken the milk of one of our ladies, he would certainly have respected her. You too must treat us with dignity, and we do not expect anything else from you. The Prophet (a.s) told him that when the Muslims assembled, he should broach the subject of the release of the captives with them. He said that at that moment he will raise the matter of the release of the progeny of `Abd al-Muttalib. Therefore, when the Muslims came after the ²uhr Prayer, the captives said that the Prophet (a.s) had taken the milk of one of their tribeswoman and on that strength; they ask to be freed from captivity. The Prophet (a.s) said that he was foregoing the share of Banū-`Abd al-Muttalib. The Muhajirūn and the Ansar said that their share too belonged to the Prophet (a.s) and that they had foregone their rights in his favor. However, `Aqrah ibn Habis, `Abbas ibn Mirdas and `Uyaynah ibn Hasan were a bit reluctant. When the captives were released, the Prophet (a.s) asked the delegates about Malik ibn `Awf al-Nasri. They said that he was with the Banū-Thaqif at Ta’if. The Prophet (a.s) asked them to send word to him that if he came there, the members of his family will be released from captivity. When Malik got the message, he immediately started from Ta’if, and reaching al-Ju`ranah, he went to the presence of the Prophet (a.s) and embraced Islam. The Prophet (a.s) released his family, gave back his confiscated assets and gave him a hundred camels as a gift.

When the captives of Hawazin were released, the Muslims insisted on the distribution of the booty of war and said that the camels, goats and sheep might be distributed there and then! The Prophet (a.s) gave his approval and the distribution started. The Prophet (a.s), from his khums, gave a hundred camels each to the persons who had newly embraced Islam. Abū-Sufyan and his sons Mu`awiyah and Yazid were given a hundred camels each. Besides

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them, `Aqrah ibn Habis, `Uyaynah ibn Hasan and some other persons received a hundred camels each. Some persons were given lots of fifty camels. Generally, the rest of the men got four camels and forty sheep each. The Ansar too received the booty in the same manner. They complained that the Prophet (a.s) preferred his own people, although the Ansar supported him in the time of need. When he heard about these murmurs, he assembled them and told them that he had given some preferential treatment to the Quraysh that they do not recant from Islam! He said that they had their camels and sheep with them and you, the Ansar, have with you your Prophet (a.s)! He asked them what was preferable. The eyes of the Ansar watered and they said, “O Allah’s Messenger (a.s)! We wholeheartedly accept the distribution of the booty! In their share is the worldly wealth and you are in our share!” The Prophet (a.s) offered a prayer for the Ansar and their progeny!

`Abbas ibn Mirdas al-Aslami too was expecting a larger share of the booty than the ordinary Muslims got. He wrote some couplets to express his displeasure, “Hasan and Habis were not superior to my father Mirdas in any society, neither I am inferior to `Uyaynah and `Aqrah. But whom you down grade will not rise again!

The Prophet (a.s) said, “Cut his tongue!” meaning that he be quietened by giving him some more of the booty! But he did not understand the allegory and shivered thinking that his tongue was about to be cut! When `Ali (a.s) asked him to come, he asked where he was being taken. He said that he was being taken along to comply with the orders of the Prophet (a.s)! He therefore accompanied `Ali (a.s) to the place where the camels and sheep were penned. `Ali (a.s) asked him to take more camels to bring his tally to hundred and join the group of the al-Mu’allafatu-Qulūbuhum (the Pretenders) or remain contented with the four camels and continue in the group of Muhajirūn!” `Abbas ibn Mirdas asked `Ali (a.s) to let him be with his four camels because he could not imagine to be counted among the al-Mu’allafatu-Qulūbuhum!

Amir al-Mu’minin had placed before him both the situations and had also explained the consequence of each of them giving him the right to maintain the privilege of being in the group of the Migrants or going to the side of the Pretenders!

After the distribution, the Prophet (a.s) returned to Makkah and performed the minor pilgrimage of `Umrah. `Attab ibn Usayd was appointed the governor of Makkah and then the Prophet (a.s) left for al-Madinah in the beginning of the month of Dhul-Hijjah.

 


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