Tuesday 17th of May 2022
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The Muslims' March on Makkah

Muslim Preparations for War

It was Muhammad's plan not to give the Quraysh the time to prepare for war. Armed by his confidence in Muslim power and in God's assistance, he sought to surprise the enemy before they could build up their defenses. His aim was to conquer without bloodshed. He therefore first commanded the people to get ready and informed them of his plans for Makkah later. He asked the Muslims to hurry and prayed that Quraysh would not find out his plan before it was too late.

While the Muslim army prepared to leave Madinah, Hatib ibn Abu Balta'ah wrote a letter informing the Quraysh about the Muslim move and gave it to a woman called Sarah, a client of some members of the house of Banu `Abd al Muttalib. He commanded her to take it to Makkah and to hand it over to the Quraysh leaders. Hatib was one of the foremost Muslims. How then could he now turn informant for the enemy? Apparently, there are sides of the human soul which remain weak despite the great strength achieved by other sides, and man remains forever at the mercy of his weaknesses despite his conscious effort to overcome them. At any rate, Muhammad, soon learned of Hatib's attempt and sent `Ali ibn Abu Talib and al Zubayr ibn al `Awwam to intercept the messenger. The latter was arrested and her horse and saddle searched, but no letter was found. `Ali threatened her that unless she produced the letter voluntarily, he would be forced to search her own person and to unveil her body in the process. When the woman realized how serious `Ali was, she unloosened her pigtails, brought out the letter and handed it over to `Ali. The woman was returned to Madinah, and Hatib was called to account. In his own defense, Hatib said: "0 Prophet of God, by God I swear that I am still a believer in God and in His Prophet. My faith has not changed by one jot or title. But I am a man here in the Muslim camp devoid of relatives, family or clan, whereas in Makkah, I have children, family, and relatives whom I want no evil to befall." Upon hearing his reply, `Umar ibn al Khattab asked the Prophet's permission to strike his neck on the grounds that he had apostatized. The Prophet answered: "0 `Umar, perhaps God has looked favorably on the men who fought at Badr and has permitted them to do whatever they wish; for their merit with God is truly great." Hatib was one of those who fought at Badr. In this connection, the following verse was revealed: "0 Men who believe, do not take My and your enemies as friends. Show such people no amity." [Qur'an, 60:1]


The Muslims' March on Makkah

The Muslim army proceeded from Madinah to Makkah bent upon conquering that city and seizing the sanctuary which God had declared a place of peace, security, and religious sanctification to all mankind. This army had more men than Madinah had ever seen before, since the tribes of Sulaym, Muzaynah, Ghatafan, and others had joined the Muhajirun and the Ansar in such numbers and with such armaments that the wide expanses of the desert were filled with them. As the force moved forward it covered the desert from horizon to horizon and no end of it could be seen. They moved fast, and at every station many more tribes joined their ranks and added to their armaments and equipment. Every soul was filled with the faith of Islam and entertained no doubt that God's help will bring them victory. Muhammad led this army at the forefront. His greatest concern was to seize the holy house without shedding any unnecessary blood. By the time the army arrived at al Zahran, four miles from Makkah, its number had reached ten thousand. Until then, the Quraysh knew nothing about it, and its leaders continued to consult with one another, to agree and to disagree regarding the measures to be taken by them to meet Muslim anger. Al `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib, uncle of the Prophet, withdrew from the conversation of the Quraysh leaders, took all members of his family, and went out in the direction of Madinah. At al Juhfah he met Muhammad and converted to Islam. [Some biographers relate that al 'Abbas met the Muslim army at Rabigh. Others assert that al 'Abbas had reached Madinah before Muhammad resolved to march against Makkah, that he converted to Islam in Madinah and accompanied the Muslim army on its march. This latter view, however, is refuted by the historians as a fabrication injected into the biography of Muhammad in order to please the 'Abbasi rulers during whose reign the biographies of the Prophet were first written down. The refutation of the historians is confirmed by the fact that if the claim were true, al Abbas, as the last notable of Makkah to join the ranks of Islam, would have been the first to be visited by Abu Sufyin for the purpose of extending the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. It would seem that despite his defense of his nephew when the latter was at Makkah, al 'Abbas did not join Islam. A1 'Abbas was a Makkan tradesman and, like all other tradesmen of the city, feared the disastrous consequences Islam would bring to his business.] It is rather likely that a group of the Banu Hashim heard a rumor regarding the Prophet's new expedition and sought to join him before the battle began. Two other Makkans came to join the ranks of the Muslims at Niq al `Uqab, both cousins of the Prophet: Abu Sufyan ibn al Harith ibn `Abd al Muttalib and `Abdullah ibn Abu Umayyah ibn al Mugbirah. The Prophet, however, refused to grant them their request, replying to Umm Salamah, who approached him on their behalf, that he had no need for either cousin. The first had previously injured the Prophet, and the second, the Prophet's brother-in-law, had broadcast all sorts of libels and calumnies about him. When a report of the Prophet's decision reached the ears of Abu Sufyan, he swore that either Muhammad would grant him this permission or he would take his son and strike out aimlessly into the desert and perish of thirst and hunger. Muhammad felt compassion toward him and his son, and permitted them to be received within the Muslim ranks. They entered his audience and were converted to Islam.

Al `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib saw that the armies of his nephew were disturbingly preponderant in power and numbers. Although a Muslim, he felt quite apprehensive for what might befall his own native city should this hitherto unrivalled army advance on it with hostile intention. After all, the city he had just left behind was full of his own people, friends and relatives, and he did not consider those relationships terminated by his entry into Islam. Perhaps he intimated some of these fears to the Prophet when he asked, "What would the Prophet do in case Quraysh asked for a guarantee of its own security?" And perhaps Muhammad was pleased that al 'Abbas had broached the subject with him. It might even be conjectured that the Prophet thought of using al 'Abbas as a delegate to the Quraysh that his apprehensiveness might be transmitted to the Makkans. Such measure would prevent the shedding of blood and enable the Muslims to enter Makkah without war. The sanctity of the city would thus be saved and its picture in the Arab mind as a place of security, refuge, and peace would be preserved. In fact, al 'Abbas was soon sent back to Makkah, riding on the Prophet's own white mule. When he approached the locality of al Arak, al 'Abbas looked for anyone from Makkah, be it a lumberman or herdsmen, with whoa) he might send a message informing the Makkan leadership of the Muslim's preponderant armies and advising them to come out to meet the Prophet and reconcile themselves to him before he should take Makkah by storm.


Abu Sufyan's Audience with the Prophet

The Quraysh, for their part, felt gravely apprehensive ever since the Muslims arrived at al Zahran. They sent Abu Sufyan, Budayl ibn Warqa', and Hakim ibn Hazzam, the relative of Khadijah, to reconnoiter the field and assess the danger. While riding in the area on the Prophet's white mule, al `Abbas overheard a conversation between Abu Sufyan and Budayl ibn Warqa'. To Abu Sufyan's exclamation that he had never seen any lights or encampments as wide and great as those which he had just beheld that night, Budayl answered that the said lights and encampments must belong to Khuza'ah tribe, now aroused to do battle. Abu Sufyan rejected this view of Budayl, affirming that Khuza'ah was known to 'be much fewer in number and much poorer than to afford all such lights and camps. Overhearing the voice of Abu Sufyan and recognizing it for what it was, al `Abbas called out to him using his title "Abu Hanzalah". Abu Sufyan, who recognized the voice, answered by using the title of al 'Abbas, "Abu al Fadl". Al `Abbas said: "Watch out, O Abu Sufyan ! What you see is the Prophet of God leading his people. Woe to the Quraysh tomorrow morning, when his armies storm their city." Abu Sufyan answered: "Oh the misery of it! What shall we do?" Al `Abbas invited him to mount on his mule, sent his companions back to Makkah and returned with him to the Muslim camp. As the Muslims recognized the mule of the Prophet, they let it pass unhurt with Abu Sufyan on its back. It ran between rows of thousands of Muslims who had built enormous bonfires. As the mule passed by the fire of `Umar ibn al Khattab, `Umar recognized Abu Sufyan and surmised that al `Abbas was about to take Abu Sufyan under his protection. He hurried to the tent of the Prophet and asked the latter to permit him to strike the neck of Abu Sufyan. Al `Abbas entered the tent of the Prophet saying: "O Prophet of God, I have extended my protection to this man on account of the urgent need of this hour of the night." After what must have been a hot discussion between `Umar and al `Abbas, Muhammad said: "O `Abbas, take your guest to your tent and bring him over in the morning."

On the next day, Abu Sufyan was brought to the Prophet and, in front of a court composed of the elders of the Muhajirun and al Ansar; the following conversation took place. Addressing himself to Abu Sufyan, the Prophet said: “Is it not time for you to know that there is no God but God, O Abu Sufyan?” Abu Sufyan answered: "How great, noble, and generous you are, O Prophet of God! By God I swear that if God had an associate, such had ample time to prove himself. But he didn't." The Prophet said: "Woe to you, 0 Abu Sufyan, is it not time for you to learn that I am the Prophet of God?" Abu Sufyan answered: "How great, noble and generous you are, O Prophet of God! While I entertain no more doubt that God has any associate, I am still not so sure about this claim." At this point, al `Abbas intervened and asked Abu Sufyan to convert to Islam and to witness, before he was put to death, that there is no God but God and that Muhammad is the Prophet of God. Faced with the threat, Abu Sufyan converted and recited the confession of faith. Al `Abbas then turned to the Prophet God's peace be upon him and said: "O Prophet of God, Abu Sufyan is a proud man. Would you not grant him some privilege?" The Prophet answered: "Yes, indeed! Whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyan shall be secure; whoever remains in his own house shall also be secure; and whoever enters the Mosque shall be secure."


The Historians' Estimate of These Reports

The veracity of the foregoing event is agreed upon by all historians and biographers. Some of them question whether these events took place accidentally or by previous arrangement. They point to the fact that when al `Abbas sought the Prophet, he meant to travel to Madinah, but we find him confronting the Muslim army at al Juhfah. They also point to the fact that Budayl ibn Warqa’ and Abu Sufyan ibn Harb left Makkah in order to reconnoiter, whereas we do know that the same Budayl had gone to Madinah and related to the Prophet how he encountered Khuza’ah on the road and learned from the Prophet that the Banu Khuza’ah had become the Prophet’s allies. How, then, is this consistent with the view that Abu Sufyan had left Makkah without prior knowledge that Muhammad and his army were already on the road to Makkah? Some historians therefore suggest that some prearrangement, whether little or much, must have taken place before these events unfolded, and that it was under some such prearrangement that al `Abbas went out to meet Muhammad. They point out that such an arrangement between Makkans and Muslims is implicit in the meeting of al `Abbas and Abu Sufyan in the night. Abu Sufyan stood in need of no argument to convince al `Abbas that Quraysh had no more means to stop Muhammad, especially since he had been in Madinah seeking to extend the term of the Hudaybiyah Treaty without success. These historians and biographers suggest that Abu Sufyan must have thought that if he could cooperate with the Prophet and prepare for the Muslim conquest of Makkah, his position of leadership in Makkan society would be safeguarded. That such a prearranged agreement did not go beyond Muhammad and the few persons concerned, the evidence of `Umar's request to kill Abu Sufyan eloquently proves. At any rate, it is conjecture for us to judge. But we certainly may decide, and do so with utmost conviction, that regardless of whether these events took place incidentally or by previous arrangement, they prove beyond doubt Muhammad's skill, sure insight, and precision in winning the greatest victory of Islamic history without war or bloodshed.


The March on Makkah Continued

The conversion of Abu Sufyan did not dissuade Muhammad from taking all necessary precautions before entering Makkah. Although understood that victory is a gift of God granted to whomsoever He pleases, it is still true that God does not grant His gift except to those who prepare for it perfectly and who avail themselves of every possible precaution to achieve it. Only in this way can it be explained why the Prophet ordered that Abu Sufyan be held at the gate of the valley in the outskirts of Makkah. He deemed it desirable that Abu Sufyan watch the Muslim armies at close range and describe them to his people accurately. But he was careful not to give the enemy any time to mobilize an army or to prepare any kind of opposition before the Muslims had entered the city. As the tribes passed by Abu Sufyan, he was in no way so much impressed as by the "green company" in which Muhammad stood surrounded by the Muhajirun and al Ansar. So close were their ranks and so well equipped that all one could see was a solid mass of iron. After they passed, Abu Sufyan said to al `Abbas : "O Abu al Fadl, no force can stand in the face of this. By God, the dominion of your nephew has become truly great." He then rushed toward Makkah calling to his people at the top of his voice: "O men of Quraysh, here comes Muhammad with an army such as you have never seen before. Put up no resistance. Whoever enters into my house shall be secure; whoever remains in his own house shall be secure; and whoever enters the Mosque shall be secure." Muhammad advanced with the army until he reached Dhu Tuwa. From there he realized that Makkah lay in front of him devoid of any army to give him battle. He stopped his forces, stood over this mount, and bent himself in prayers and thanksgiving. He was grateful to God that he had enabled him to conquer the first theatre of revelation. The sanctuary of the holy House was now to be opened to all the Muslims in peace and security. At the same time, Abu Quhafah who had not yet been converted to Islam like his son, asked a granddaughter of his to take him over to the mount of Abu Qubays. Being blind, he asked his granddaughter what she saw once they got to the top. She answered, "A black mass is all I see." He said, "That must be the cavalry." She said, "By God the black mass is spreading out." He said, "The cavalry must have been given orders to march over Makkah, Take me quickly to my home." Before they reached Makkah, however, the Muslim cavalry had entered the city and intercepted him on the road.


Deployment of the Muslim Forces

Muhammad praised God and thanked him for the conquest of Makkah. Nonetheless, he continued to take every precaution. He had divided the army into four groups and commanded them all not to engage in any fighting or shed any blood except in cases of extreme emergency. He gave the command of the left wing to al Zubayr ibn al 'Awwam and ordered him to enter Makkah from the north. He gave the command of the right to Khalid ibn al Walid and ordered him to enter Makkah from the south. He gave the command of the Madinese to Sa'd ibn 'Ubadah and ordered him to enter Makkah from the west. As for Abu 'Ubaydah ibn al Jarrah, he gave him the command of the Muhajirun and ordered him to enter Makkah from the north near Hind Mountain and joined his own company to the Muhajirun. While about to march, Sa'd ibn 'Ubadah was heard saying: "Today is the day of battle, the day of the great war, the day when all taboos will be lifted." Had he been permitted to proceed, this general would have violated the Prophet's commandment that no blood should be shed in Makkah. Hence, as soon as the Prophet learned of his attitude, he relieved him of the command of the forces and appointed his son, Qays, to replace him. The son was less active than the father on account of his voluminous size, but he was of a far more gentle disposition. The armies entered and occupied Makkah without opposition. Only the front assigned to Khalid ibn al Walid put up any resistance. That area, the south of Makkah, was populated by the most hostile and antagonistic members of Quraysh. Many of them were among the attackers of Khuza'ah who, together with their Banu Bakr allies, had violated the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. Not moved by the call of Abu Sufyan, they prepared for battle. Those of them ready to fight were led by Safwan, Suhayl, and `Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl. When Khalid's army entered their quarter, they showered it with arrows. Khalid, however, quickly dispersed them, losing two of his men and killing thirteen of the enemy, according to one version, and twenty-eight according to another. It is even said that the two soldiers missing from Khalid's army were not lost in battle but had strayed into the wilderness and lost their way. Safwan, Suhayl, and `Ikrimah took to flight as soon as they realized the futility of their stand, leaving their own men whom they had incited to resistance at the mercy of Muslim arms. Standing with a group of Muhajirun on a Makkan height and surveying the various quarters of the city he had just conquered without violence, Muhammad noticed toward the south the shining of swords in battle with the local inhabitants. The Prophet became angry and repeated his command that there should be no fighting. He was soon told the facts of the case and accepted God's judgment in the matter.


The Muslims Enter Makkah

The Prophet camped on a height opposite the mountain of Hind and in the proximity of the graves of Abu Talib and Khadijah. He was asked whether he wanted to rest in his old house in Makkah and answered, "No! They have leveled it." The Prophet then retired to his tent grateful to God for this glorious and victorious return, and for bringing to its knees the cruel city which had tortured and banished him. For a moment, he turned his gaze toward the valley of Makkah as well as to the surrounding hills. He recalled that in those hills he often found refuge from the persecution of Quraysh; that one of them, Hira', was the scene of his periodical retreats. Vividly, he represented to himself the moment when, in the cave of that same mountain, the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed; he could hear the holy words resound in his ears


"Read! Read in the Name of your Lord, Who created man from a clot! Read! For your Lord is the Most gracious. He has taught man to read and to write! He has taught man that which he does not know!” [Qur'an, 96:1-5]

The Prophet was naturally attracted by the view of Makkah spread out in expanding circles before him between these hills, at the center of which stood the sanctuary and its holy House. Muhammad, moved by the sight of Makkah and by the remembrance of God's revelation, let tears fall from his eye as he thanked God, praised Him, and witnessed that there is no truth and no power except in Him. He felt that his task as leader was coming to a natural conclusion. So agitating were all these feelings that he was unable to settle down to rest or, indeed, even to restrain himself within the tent. Mounting his she camel, al Qaswa', he rode toward the Ka'bah where he circumambulated the House without dismounting. He then dismounted and called upon `Uthman ibn Talhah to open the Ka'bah for him. Muhammad stood at the door surrounded by the many worshippers who had found their way to the holy House. He delivered a speech to the people present in which he said, quoting the Qur'an

"O men, We have created you from male and female and constituted you into peoples and tribes that you might know and cooperate with one another. In the eye of God, highest among you is the most virtuous. God is omniscient and all wise." [Qur'an, 49:13] He continued: "0 Men of Quraysh, what do you think I am about to do with you?" "Everything good," they answered, "for you are a noble brother and a noble nephew of ours." Muhammad went on: "Rise, then, and go. For you are free."

With this word, Muhammad gave a general amnesty to all Quraysh and all the Makkans.


The Prophet's General Amnesty

Oh, the beauty of pardon and forgiveness on the part of the mighty and powerful! How great is the soul of Muhammad which rose above hatred and above revenge, which denied every human feeling and ascended to heights of nobility man had never reached before! There were the Quraysh among whom were people whom Muhammad well knew had plotted to kill him, had persecuted him, and inflicted upon him and his companions all kinds of injury and harm, who fought him at Badr and at Uhud, who blockaded him in the Campaign of al Khandaq, who incited the Arab tribes to rise against him, and who would even then tear him apart if only they had the power. There, the whole of Quraysh stood totally under Muhammad's hand, indeed under his feet, totally subject to his command. Indeed, their very life depended upon the first word emerging from his lips. All these thousands of men, of Muslims in battle array, stood on the ready waiting for that one word to wipe out the whole of Makkah and its people within minutes. Muhammad, however, was no less than Muhammad! He was no less than the Prophet of God! No alienation, antagonism, or hostility could find any permanent abode in his heart. His heart was absolutely free of injustice, of malice, of tyranny or false pride. In the most decisive moment, God gave him power over his enemy. But Muhammad chose to forgive, thereby giving to all mankind and all the generations the most perfect example of goodness, of truthfulness, of nobility and magnanimity.


Cleansing the Ka'bah of Its Images

When Muhammad entered the Ka'bah, he saw that its walls were painted with pictures of angels and prophets. His eyes fell upon a picture of Ibrahim holding the divination arrows and a pigeon made out of twigs. He seized the pigeon, broke it into pieces and threw it to the ground and, looking at the picture of Ibrahim, he said: "Accursed be the Makkans ! They have made our ancestor an idolater and a diviner. What does Ibrahim have to do with divination arrows? He was neither a Jew nor a Christian nor yet an associationist, but a hanif,and a Muslim." On the walls of the Ka'bah, the angels were pictured as beautiful women. Turning to them, Muhammad denied that angels had any such bodily forms, that they were either male or female. He commanded the obliteration of all pictures and images. Attached with lead to the walls of the Ka'bah were the idols which the Quraysh worshipped as the associates of God; the idol Hubal stood in the center of the Ka'bah. Muhammad designated every one of these idols with his stick and recited the verse of the Qur'an

"Say, the truth is now manifest. Falsehood is truly confuted. And it is right that it should be." [Qur'an, 17:81]

The idols were then torn down and broken, and the holy House was purified. That which Muhammad had called for during the last twenty years was now accomplished before the first day of the conquest of Makkah was over. That which Makkah had opposed most strongly was now a fact of history. The destruction of the idols and the wiping out of paganism in the holy sanctuary was now completed before the very eyes of Quraysh. The Makkan idols, the objects of reverence and worship inherited from the ancestors, crumbled to bits under the hammering blows of Muhammad.


Al Ansar's Fears and the Prophet's Reassurance

As the Ansar of Madinah witnessed all this, and as they saw Muhammad on top of al Safa mountain invite the Makkans to embrace Islam, they feared he might now abandon Madinah and reestablish himself in his native city. Some of them inquired of one another, seeking to reassure themselves whether or not this was the case. Their apprehension was not out of place. Victor in his own hometown where stood the sanctuary, the holy House of God and center of worship, it was quite likely that the Prophet would now make Makkah his capital. Muhammad had hardly finished his prayer and preaching when he inquired concerning their fears. When, after long hesitancy, they intimated to him their concern, the Prophet said: "Never, by God! I have covenanted to join you in life and death. I shall remain true to my covenant." Evidently, neither relatives, nor native city, nor even the holy sanctuary itself could dissuade Muhammad from honoring a pledge he once gave to those who stood by him at his hour of need. His word given at the conclusion of the Covenant of `Aqabah was to be honored in exemplary faithfulness and loyalty, and the occasion proved to be just what the moral teacher needed. When the Ka'bah was purified of its idols, the Prophet ordered Bilal to mount to its top and from there to recite the adhan, to give the call to worship. The Muslims gathered and, led by Muhammad, performed the prayer. From that time until today, for fourteen long centuries without interruption, Bilal as well as his countless successors have recited the adhan calling men to prayer five times a day from that same spot on top of the Ka'bah. For fourteen long centuries since that day, Muslims all over the globe have worshipped God and invoked His blessing upon His Prophet, their face turned toward this holy House which Muhammad cleansed on that day of its images and idols and reconsecrated to the One Almighty God.

Quraysh, resigned to its fate, felt reassured by Muhammad's general pardon. They watched the Muslims go about their city with great surprise, not without a measure of fear and caution. Seventeen Makkans were excepted from Muhammad's general amnesty and were ordered executed even if found clutching to the coverings of the Ka'bah. Some of them went into hiding and others ran away from the city altogether. They all stood convicted of atrocious crimes they had committed. One of these men was `Abdullah ibn Abu al Sarh who once converted to Islam and wrote down the revelation for Muhammad, but who then apostatized, returned to Quraysh, and there spread tales about his falsification of the revelation. Another convict was `Abdullah ibn Khatal who converted to Islam, killed one of his clients, apostatized, and commanded his two slave women, one of whom was called Fartana, to castigate Muhammad in song. Both save women were indicted and ordered executed with their master. Another was `Ikrimah- ibn Abu Jahl, the most persistent enemy, who could not accept the Muslim conquest of Makkah and put up strong resistance in the face of Khalid ibn al Walid on the southern front.


Pardon Extended to the Convicts

As soon as he entered Makkah, Muhammad ordered that no blood should be shed and that only the seventeen people would receive their just punishment. While some of the seventeen condemned hid, others ran away from Makkah with their families. As the situation settled down and the news of the Prophet's clemency and all embracing forgiveness became fully known and appreciated by all, some companions dared to think that even the condemned could also be forgiven. `Uthman ibn `Affan, brother-in-nursing of Ibn Abu al Sarh, approached the Prophet in this regard and sought an order for the safe passage of his protege. Muhammad was silent for a long time sunk in thought, but he then consented to grant forgiveness. Umm Hakim, daughter of al Harith ibn Hisham and the wife of `Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl who ran away to Yaman, converted to Islam and sought pardon for her husband directly from Muhammad. She was granted it. She then went to Yaman and returned with her husband. Muhammad also forgave Safwan ibn Umayyah who accompanied `Ikrimah on his escape toward the sea and thence to Yaman. Both had been caught just before their ship was to sail. Muhammad also forgave Hind, wife of Abu Sufyan, who chewed the liver of Hamzah, uncle of the Prophet, after his martyrdom at the Battle of Uhud. Indeed, most of the men condemned to death had been forgiven. Only four were executed

al Huwayrith who tempted Zaynab, the Prophet's daughter, when she returned from Makkah to Madinah; two Muslims guilty of murder in Madinah who escaped to Makkah and apostatized; and one of the slave women of Ibn Khatal who used to castigate the Prophet in song. The other slave woman ran away, but was brought back and later forgiven.


Reconsecration of Makkah: The City as Inviolate

Following the conquest of Makkah, the Khuza'ah tribe discovered a Hudhayl tribesman in their midst who was still a pagan and killed him. Upon hearing the news, the Prophet was so angry that he delivered a speech in which he said: "O men, God made Makkah a holy place on the day heaven and earth were created. Makkah is therefore holy, holy, holy to the end of time. No man believing in God and the Day of Judgment may therefore shed any blood or destroy any tree in its precincts. Makkah has never been desecrated by anyone before me and it shall never be desecrated by anyone after me. Only for the brief hour of conquest and because of God's wrath upon its people, it was permitted to me to enter it with arms. But now Makkah fully enjoys her previous holiness. Let the present inform the absent. Whoever argues with you that the Prophet of God fought in Makkah, answer him that God had desanctified the city for His Prophet but not for anyone else, and surely not for you, 0 Tribesmen of Khuza'ah ! All killing must stop, for it is evil crime and brings no advantage when indulged in. You have killed a man, and I shall have to pay his bloodwit to his people. Henceforth, the heirs of a victim shall have the choice between executing the murderer or receiving bloodwit." Muhammad immediately paid the bloodwit of the Khuza'ah tribesman to his people. By his disposal of the case in this manner and his general proclamation concerning murder and retaliation, Muhammad struck a further example of clemency and justice. The force of Islam's appeal to the Makkans became irresistible, and they began to convert. The town crier proclaimed: "Whoever believes in God and the Day of Judgment will destroy on this day every idol and vestige of paganism in his home." The Prophet commissioned some Khuza'ah men to repair the walls of the holy city, thereby giving further proof of his respect for it. Under the circumstances, the love and esteem for Muhammad could only increase. Muhammad told the Makkans that he loved them the most, that they were the highest in his regard, and that he would have never left them had they themselves not rejected and banished him. With this praise, the Makkans' esteem for Muhammad broke all bounds.

Abu Bakr brought his own father, Abu Quhafah, the old blind man who went up to the mount of Abu Qubays guided by his daughter to find out what was happening before the Muslims entered the city, and placed him in the presence of the Prophet. When seeing him, Muhammad reproached Abu Bakr for bringing the old man over and said that it was he, Muhammad, that should have come to Abu Quhafah. Paying no attention to Abu Bakr's rejoinder that it was his father's duty to come to the Prophet and not vice versa, he asked the man to sit by him, wiped his face for him and invited him to enter into Islam. Abu Quhafah converted and became an ardent Muslim. Through this noble behavior of the Prophet, this magnanimous conduct, Muhammad succeeded in winning over a people who had nursed for him the strongest hatred. Thereafter, the Makkans revered the person of Muhammad, embraced Islam, and wholeheartedly subjected themselves to his rule.


Ibn al Walid and the Tribe of Jadhimah

Muhammad resided in Makkah fifteen days during which he organized its affairs and instructed its people in Islam. During this period, he sent forth delegations to call men peaceably to Islam to destroy the idols without shedding any blood. Khalid ibn al Walid was sent to Nakhlah to destroy al `Uzza, goddess of Banu Shayban. His task accomplished, ibn al Walid proceeded to Jadhimah. There, however, the people took up arms at his approach. Khalid asked them to lay down their arms on the grounds that all people had accepted Islam. One of the Jadhimah tribesman said to his people: "Woe to you, Banu Jadhimah! Don't you know that this is Khalid? By God, nothing awaits you once you have laid down your arms except captivity, and once you have become captives you can expect nothing but death." Some of his people answered: "Do you seek to have us all murdered? Don't you know that most men have converted to Islam, that the war is over, and that security is reestablished?" Those who held this opinion continued to talk to their tribesmen until the latter surrendered their arms. Thereupon, ibn al Walid ordered them to be bound, and he killed some of them. When he heard of the news, the Prophet lifted his arms to heaven and prayed: "0 God, I condemn what Khalid ibn al Walid has done." The Prophet gave funds to `Ali ibn Abu Talib and sent him to look into the affairs of this tribe, cautioning him to disregard all the customs of pre-Islam. Upon arrival, `Ali paid the bloodwit of all the victims and compensated the property owners for their damages. Before leaving, he surrendered the rest of the money which the Prophet had given him to the tribe just in case there were any other losses which may have escaped notice at the time.

During the two weeks which Muhammad spent in Makkah, he wiped out all the traces of paganism in the city. All the offices attached to the holy House were abolished except two

the sidanah which the Prophet assigned to `Uthman ibn Talhah, his children, and progeny after him till the end of days, and the siqayah,which he assigned to his uncle al `Abbas. Thus Umm al Qura [I.e., Makkah. -Tr.] embraced Islam and raised high the torch of genuine monotheism, illuminating the whole world for generations and centuries to come.


After its conquest, the Muslims remained in Makkah for two weeks during which they showed their joy over the victory which God had granted to them. They gave thanks that such a great victory had been achieved with such little bloodshed. They hurried to the sanctuary every time Bilal delivered the adhan calling them to prayer. They strove to be near the Prophet where he went. The Muhajirun visited their old houses and their relatives and friends whom God had guided to the truth after the conquest. Everybody was satisfied that Islam was now firmly established and that the greater part of the holy war had been victorious. Fifteen days of their stay in Makkah had hardly passed when news broke out which shook the Muslims out of their joy and feeling of security. They learned that Hawazin, the tribe living a few miles to the southeast of Makkah, had mobilized its forces and was marching against the Muslims in Makkah. This tribe had learned of the conquest of Makkah by the Muslims and of the subsequent destruction of the idols of the Ka'bah. Apparently, their men feared that the time would soon come for the Muslims to fight them on their own ground. Anxious to prevent such a tragedy, they thought this hour of Muslim intoxication with victory the right time to mobilize their forces for an attack. Their purpose, however, was the larger one of wrecking the Muslims' general plan of uniting all the tribes of the Peninsula under the banner of Islam.


Malik ibn `Awf's March against the Muslims

It was toward this end that Malik ibn `Awf al Nadri succeeded in uniting the Hawazin and Thaqif tribes and rallying the tribes of Nasr and Jusham in one front opposing the Islamic movement as a whole. Only the Ka'b and Kilab clans of Hawazin refused to join the new alliance. Durayd ibn al Simmah, of the Jusham tribe, was a very old man,. too old to fight, but he was extremely wise and had the advantage of an extensive military experience and career. The anti-Islamic alliance had mobilized all its members, men, women, and children, and carried to battle all the treasures it possessed. It completed its mobilization in the valley of Awtas. When Durayd, who was blind, heard the braying of donkeys and lowing of cattle mixed in with the crying of children and the bellowing of goats, he asked Malik ibn `Awf why he had brought women, children, and treasures to the front. Malik answered that he meant thereby to encourage the fighting men and to incite them to greater self-exertion in war. Durayd answered: "But what do we do in case of defeat? Does the vanquished ever keep anything he brings to the battlefield? If we are to be victorious, surely such victory will be brought about not by the women or children but by the fighting men and their swords, arrows, and javelins. But if we should lose the war, then we would be shamed and scandalized by the capture of our families and treasures." Malik disagreed with Durayd, and the people followed the former. Malik was a youth of thirty years, a man of strong will and firm resolution. Durayd, anxious to safeguard the newly forged unity, decided, against his better judgment, to go along with the majority. Malik commanded his people to stand by on the tops of the Sulaym hills at the entrance to the valley and, at the proper signal, to fall upon the Muslims like one man and break their ranks as they passed in file through the canyon. Such a plot would reduce the Muslim ranks to a rabble, and the Muslims would not be able to distinguish their own soldiers from the enemy. They would be vanquished; and with their defeat, their victory over Makkah would be cancelled and to the tribes of Hawazin and Hunayn would belong the honor of destroying a power which came close to engulfing the whole Peninsula. The tribes obeyed the orders of Malik and dug themselves in on the sides of the canyon.


The Muslims March to Hunayn

As for the Muslims, they went forth under the leadership of Muhammad with such power and such numbers that they themselves had never seen before. There were twelve thousand of them, ten thousand of which were those who conquered Makkah and two thousand who were newcomers from Quraysh including Abu Sufyan. Their war equipment was excellent and their armies were preceded by their cavalry and camel corps carrying their provisions and ammunition. Theirs was an army the like of which the Arabian Peninsula had never seen before. It consisted of many tribes, and each tribe had its own banner which it carried high above its ranks. It was a sight convincing any spectator of Muslim invincibility. Indeed, many Muslims told one another: "To say the least, our numerical strength has today made us invincible." They arrived at Hunayn in the evening and camped at the entrance of the valley until dawn. At dawn the following day the army began to move, and Muhammad, riding his white mule, was in the rear while Khalid ibn al Walid, commanding a group of soldiers from Banu Sulaym, was in the vanguard.



Muslim Defeat

As the Muslims passed through the canyon of Hunayn, Malik ibn `Awf ordered his army to attack in the darkness before dawn, first with arrows and then with a general charge. The Muslims' ranks broke up and were stricken with panic. Some of them ran out of the canyon as fast as they could in search of safety. Witnessing what had befallen the Muslims, Abu Sufyan felt no little pleasure at the defeat of his previous enemies who until now had been celebrating their victory over Makkah. He said, "The Muslims will not be defeated until they are thrown into the sea." Shaybah ibn `Uthman ibn Abu Talhah, whose father was killed at Uhud, said, "Today is my day of vengeance from Muhammad." Likewise, Kaladah ibn Hanbal said, "today, the fate of the Muslims is cast," only to be answered by his brother Safwan "Silence! Cursed be your tongue. By God, to be lorded over by a man from Quraysh is better than by a man of Hawazin." These remarks were exchanged while Muslim ranks were falling apart, and soldiers, fleeing in face of the enemy, were bypassing the Prophet in the rear unaware of his presence.


Muhammad's Resoluteness and Bravery

What would Muhammad do? Would he allow the sacrifices of twenty years to be lost in this moment of predawn darkness? Could he think that God had abandoned him in this hour? Such could never be! Better death and annihilation. Better that Muhammad die in the thick of battle! At any rate, when one's hour has struck, to what purpose is delaying or advancing it a little? Muhammad therefore held his ground and was surrounded by a number of Muhajirun, Ansar, and immediate relatives. As his men passed by, he called out to them and sought to rally them back to the ranks. But they neither heard nor wanted to hear. The sudden onslaught of Hawazin and Thaqif robbed them of their senses. This terrible picture the Muslims had of the enemy was not exaggerated. From the sides of the canyon the tribesmen of Hawazin poured down in overwhelming numbers. Their leader rode a red camel and held a black banner attached to a long spear which he plunged into the chest of every Muslim that came anywhere near him. Hawazin and Thaqif tribesmen, as well as their allies, fought in the same way. It was a sea of drawn spears. At one moment, Muhammad almost plunged with his mule into enemy lines to stop their torrent of blows. Abu Sufyan ibn al Harith ibn `Abd al Muttalib hold back the reins of the mule and prevented it from carrying the Prophet forward.


Al `Abbas's Call for Regrouping

Al `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib was a man of large stature who had a very resonant voice. He called loudly enough to reach all the Muslims: "O Ansar Company! O Men who opened their homes and helped Muhammad! O Muhajirun Company! O Men who pledged their allegiance under the tree! Muhammad is still alive. Charge forward with him." Al `Abbas repeated his call until the whole valley reverberated with its echo. Then, the miracle happened. The covenanters of al `Aqabah and the Muhajirun heard. They remembered Muhammad and their oaths of allegiance to him as well as their sacrifices in the cause of Islam. The other Muslims also heard and realized that Muhammad was still there, alive, holding his ground, and fighting the enemy just as he had held his ground and fought the enemy at the Battle of Uhud. Suddenly, they were gripped by a consciousness of shame at their conduct and of apprehension at what might befall their Prophet and God's religion in case the associationists carried the day. Al `Abbas's call continued to reverberate through the valley; the Muslims' hearts were immediately touched and their wills kindled. There and then, from every corner and quarter came the resounding cry, "At Your command, O God, at Your command!" The Muslims returned to battle and fought with utmost resolution and gallantry.


Muslim Counterattack and Victory

Muhammad was reassured as he saw them return to the battlefront. In the meantime, the whole Hawazin camp had come out of their trenches in the hills and confronted the Muslims face to face in the valley. At that time, too, the darkness was dissipated by sunrise. Around the Prophet a few hundred soldiers stood and repelled the attacks of the Hawazin. Their ranks began to swell as the fleeing Muslims returned. The Ansar began to call to one another, "Rally forth to battle." They quickly reorganized themselves according to tribes and clans while Muhammad watched the progress of the battle. As the Muslim soldiers refilled their ranks and began to march shoulder to shoulder together, the Prophet proclaimed: "Now the battle has begun. God will not fail the Prophet and will fulfill the promise He gave him." Then, turning to al `Abbas and asking for a handful of pebbles, the Prophet threw the pebbles in the face of the enemy with the war cry, "Woe to the enemies of God!" With this, the Muslims charged, throwing themselves upon their enemies. They were convinced that theirs would be the victory and the fate of the martyr would even be greater than that of the surviving victor. The battle raged and men fell on all sides. Soon Hawazin, Thaqif, and their allies realized that their efforts were vain and that they faced annihilation. They turned around and started to flee, leaving behind them their women, children, and all their properties: 22,000 camels, 40,000 goats, and 4,000 ounces of silver. The captives which numbered 6,000, were transported under Muslim protection to the valley of al Ji'ranah where they were held until the Muslims returned from their pursuit of the enemy and from their blockade of Thaqif tribe in the city of al Ta‘if.


The Muslims' Pursuit of Their Enemies

The Muslims gave their enemy close pursuit, and they were further encouraged by the Prophet's proclamation that whoever killed an associationist would receive his victim's booty. Ibn al Dughunnah overtook a camel carrying an open palanquin which he thought might be carrying a woman whom he could take captive. He brought the camel to its knees, looked into the palanquin and discovered an old man unknown to him. The old man asked his pursuer what he wanted. Ibn al Dughunnah answered, "I wish to kill you," and hit him with his sword. The blow was so light that the old man was not even cut. Aware of the shame that had befallen him and his people, the old man had no desire to live; he addressed his attacker in these words of disdain and pride: "Woe to your mother who taught you how to bear arms! Take my sword from my saddle and strike with it. Hit neither the chest nor the head but apply all your strength to one blow against the neck. In this way I used to kill my own enemies in days gone by. And if your miserable mother should ask you whom you killed in this fashion, tell her that you have killed Durayd ibn al Simmah. By God, it was a wretched day on which I extended my protection to your women and saved them by my arm." When Rabi'ah ibn al Dughannah returned and told the story to his mother, she cried in agonies of conscience and said to her son: "To fire with both your arms! What crime have they perpetrated! Durayd sought to remind posterity of our obligation to him. By God, it was he who granted freedom to three of your own mothers in one day;. myself, my mother, and the mother of your father." The Muslims followed Hawazin all the way to the plain of Awtas where they inflicted upon them the most terrible defeat, capturing all their women and property. Only then did they return to Muhammad. Malik ibn `Awf al Nadri gave the Muslims some resistance but then ran away with his people and some Hawazin tribesmen to Nakhlah. From there he escaped to al Ta'if where he took refuge.

Thus, Muslim victory was complete. The unbelievers were vanquished after they had almost defeated the Muslim army. The advantage they had secured by their surprise attack in pre-dawn darkness was shattered when the Prophet called his men back to their ground. The steadfastness of Muhammad and of the small number of believers that surrounded him turned the tide and proved the Muslims invincible. In this regard, the following verses were revealed

"God has given you victory on many occasions as well as on the Day of Hunayn. The numerical superiority of which you were so proud did not avail you. The tide overwhelmed you and you ran away in face of the enemy. But God brought down His peace upon the Prophet and believers. He sent forth soldiers whom you could not see to fight on the Prophet's side, and inflicted upon the unbelievers the great punishment they deserved. However, God accepts the repentance of whomsoever He pleases. He is merciful and forgiving. O Men who believe, the unbelievers are impure. They shall hence not enter the holy Mosque. In case you fear a reduction of your incomes as a result of this proscription, remember that God gives you of His bounty. For God is all wise and all knowing." [Qur'an, 9:25-28]



The Price of Victory

Victory was not cheaply achieved. The Muslims paid a very high price. True, they could have done it at much lesser loss had they not fallen back at the beginning and occasioned Abu Sufyan's derisive remark that they would be thrown into the sea. Although the source books of biography have not listed all the casualties of the battle, they did mention that two tribes of Muslims were almost totally annihilated, and that the Prophet held a funerary prayer for them in which he asked God to let them enter Paradise. Partially offsetting this tremendous cost in human lives was the unquestioned supremacy the victory brought to the Muslims. Moreover, victory brought more captives and booty than the Muslims had ever seen before. As long as the war itself is an honorable one, victory, its final objective, must be achieved regardless of prices. That is why the Muslims did not mind the initial loss, celebrated the victory, and awaited the distribution of the booty.

Muhammad, however, had other plans. Seeking to make the victory still more spectacular, he commanded the Muslims to march immediately. Malik ibn `Awf, leader of the enemy alliance, had taken refuge in the city of al Ta'if with the tribe of Thaqif, his allies against Muhammad. Full justification was therefore provided for the next Muslim move. Observing the same strategy employed at Khaybar following the Battle of Uhud, and at Qurayzah following the campaign of al Khandaq, the Prophet ordered the army to march against al Ta‘if. Perhaps Muhammad remembered on that day how, many years before the Hijrah, he came to al Ta'if calling its people to Islam ; how he was met with derision, driven away and pelted with stones; and how he sought shelter from its street children inside the closed vineyard. Perhaps he remembered how at that time he was alone, weak, and devoid of all support except God's; and how he had nothing but the great mountain moving faith which filled his soul. Today, Muhammad found himself going again to the same city but at the head of a Muslim army the like of which Arabia had never seen before.


The Siege of al Ta'if

The city of al Ta'if, capital of the Thaqif tribe and refuge of Malik ibn 'Awf, loomed before Muhammad and his companions as the next objective. It was a fortified city and, like most Arab towns in that period, had gates which shut out the undesirable intruder. Its people had wide military experience, especially in the art of siege. Their great wealth had enabled them to make their fortifications the strongest in the world. As the Muslims approached al Ta'if, they passed by Liyyah where stood a fortress of Malik ibn `Awf. The fortress as well as a nearby building belonging to a tribesman from Thaqif were destroyed. The army was commanded to put up camp in the vicinity, and the Prophet called his companions together to map out a strategy. Ta'if, on the other hand, learning of their approach, observed . Muslim movements from the top of its fortresses and towers, and showered the Muslims with volleys of deadly arrows. It was not possible for the Muslims to storm these strong fortresses with their old weapons. New means of waging war, destructive and innovative weapons were needed. It was suggested that perhaps they could starve Ta'if into surrender by simply maintaining the siege. Those who favored a frontal attack could not find the necessary means with which to launch it. One immediate decision had to be taken at once, namely, to move the Muslims' camp and forces beyond the reach of al Ta'if's arrows. Once this danger was removed, the Muslims thought they could afford the leisure requisite for a sound decision as to strategy. At the Prophet's command, the Muslims erected their tents at a distance from the fortresses. There they built a mosque which was handed over to the city after its surrender and conversion to Islam. This preliminary measure was unavoidable considering that the arrows of Ta'if had accounted for the deaths of 18 Muslims and the wounding of a great number, including one of the sons of Abu Bakr. In the same locality two red tents were erected for the Prophet's wives, Umm Salmah and Zaynab, who had accompanied him throughout this expedition. It was near his tents that Muhammad used to call men to prayer, and, perhaps, it was precisely in that spot that the mosque of Ta'if was subsequently built.


Bombardment of al Ta'if by Catapult

The Muslims encamped and waited for new orders. Some tribesmen spoke to the Prophet in favor of a prolonged siege, claiming that nothing the Muslims had would help them scale Ta'if's fortifications. Time alone, they argued, would eventually force Ta'if's people out of their safe foxholes. Muhammad, however, found it difficult to return without having achieved a victory over Ta'if. Banu Daws, one of the tribes living to the south of Makkah, were fully acquainted with the use of the catapult and had experience in tank-led assaults upon high fortifications. A1Tufayl, one of its leaders, who had accompanied Muhammad ever since the conquest of Khaybar, stood at the Prophet's side always on the ready to fulfill his wishes. At Muhammad's command, al Tufayl speeded to his tribe with a request for their assistance, and they responded by bringing with them their tools of war. Reaching al Ta'if four days after the Muslim siege began, they put their catapult to immediate use. They also brought their tanks into the battlefield, and sent a number of their men under their cover to the fortified walls. The soldiers of Ta‘if, however, were clever enough to force the men of Banu Daws to flee. Having heated pieces of iron to red hot temperatures, they threw these missiles onto the tanks and put them to flame. The Muslim soldiers which the tanks were covering had to flee or be burnt alive. As they emerged from under their tanks, they were shot at with arrows and a number of them were killed. Having failed at this new effort, the Muslims became convinced that there was no way to storm the fortresses of Ta'if.


Destruction of al Ta'if's Orchards

What was left for them to do? Muhammad pondered this question for a long while. Suddenly, the thought occurred to him that he had achieved victory over Banu al Nadir and forced their evacuation simply by destroying their orchards. The vineyards of Ta'if were far more important than the orchards of Banu al Nadir and were known throughout Arabia for their produce. It was due to them that the city of al Ta'if acquired the reputation of being a little paradise in the desert. Without further ado, Muhammad gave the order, and the Muslims began systematically to cut down and burn the orchards. Upon discovering this destruction and realizing that Muhammad really meant to spare none of their vineyards, the Ta'if tribesmen sent to him pleading that they would rather give away their vineyards to Muhammad, or to those citizens of al Ta’if-and there were large numbers of them who were bound to Muhammad in blood relationships. Muhammad stopped his men temporarily and called out to the besieged city that he would set free any man who surrendered to him. Twenty people responded to his appeal. From them he learned that enough ammunition and provisions were available that the city could withstand the siege for a very long time. Considering that his own men were anxious to return home and enjoy the fruits of their victory over Hawazin-indeed, that their patience would be at an end if the siege were prolonged-Muhammad ordered the Muslims to withdraw. With the arrival of the new moon (the month of Dhu al Qi'dah) the siege had become one month old, and the holy season during which no war was permitted had begun. Muhammad returned to Makkah with his army, visiting the holy places and performing the lesser pilgrimage or `umrah. He announced that he would resume the war against al Ta’if at the expiration of the holy months.


Hawazin Captives liberated and Returned to Their Tribe

In their withdrawal to Makkah, the Muslims turned in the direction of al Ji'ranah where they had left their booty and captives. There, they stopped long enough to divide their spoils. The Prophet separated one fifth for himself and distributed the rest among his companions. Before they finished, a delegation from the Hawazin tribe who had already accepted Islam appealed to Muhammad to return to them the women, children, and property that the Muslim army had seized. They complained that they were anxious to see their families and that they had suffered enough from this war. Muhammad met this delegation in person and listened attentively as one of them said: "O Prophet of God; the captives in the wards of your army are themselves your relatives. Among them are your aunts on your father or mother's side and your nurse-mothers who held you in their arms as a baby. Had our women played similar roles to al Harith ibn Abu Shimr, or to al Nu'man ibn al Mundhir, and had any of these kings inflicted upon us what you have inflicted, he would have granted every request of ours if we but asked for his mercy and compassion and reminded him of his obligation. You, on the other hand, are the most merciful and compassionate and the least needful of being reminded of your obligations." The Hawazin delegation did not err in reminding Muhammad of his blood relationship to them. Among the captives, an older looking woman whom the soldiers had treated roughly shouted in their faces: "Woe to you! Learn that I am the sister of your leader by virtue of having had the same wet nurse as he." The soldiers did not believe her and brought her to Muhammad to verify her story. The Prophet immediately recognized her. She was al Shayma', daughter of al Harith ibn `Abd al `Uzza. Muhammad went out to meet her and spread out his mantle for her to sit on. After reassuring her of his devotion and respect, Muhammad asked the old lady whether she chose to stay in his camp or to return to her people. When she chose to return, Muhammad gave her some gifts and returned her to her people unharmed. It was natural for Muhammad, considering his relationship to the Hawazin Muslims who came pleading for mercy, that he granted their request. Such loyalty, remembrance, and considerateness to anyone who had shown him any respect or consideration, were second nature with Muhammad. Gratitude was with him a matter of course, and compassion for the wounded-at-heart was innate. After hearing their plea, Muhammad asked: "Which are more precious to you, your women and children or your property? They answered, "O Prophet of God, if you are giving us a choice between our relatives and our property, we take the former." Muhammad said: "All that I have set aside for me and for Banu `Abd al Muttalib is yours. After the noon prayer, rise in the midst of the worshippers and plead: `We appeal to all the Muslims in the name of the Prophet of God, and to the Prophet of God in the name of all the Muslims for the return of our women and children.' I shall then publicly declare that I relinquish my share as well as my tribe's share." The delegation followed the advice of the Prophet and pleaded as he taught them. No sooner than they did, the Prophet declared his plan as he had promised them. Thereupon, the Muhajirun rose and said: "Anything that is ours belongs automatically to the Prophet of God and is hereby relinquished." Al Ansar and all the Muslims did likewise except al Aqra` ibn Habis, speaking for Tamim; `Uyaynah ibn Hisn, speaking for himself; and al `Abbas ibn Mirdas, speaking for Banu Sulaym. The last named was immediately contradicted by his people. The Prophet said

"Anyone among you who has declined to give up his right in this instance has my word that if he does, I will make it up to him six-fold on the next campaign." Thus, all the captives of Hawazin were returned and the tribe converted to Islam en masse.


The People's Fear of Losing Their Booty

Muhammad inquired from the Hawazin delegation concerning Malik ibn `Awf al Nadri and learned that he was still in al Ta’if. The Prophet asked the delegation to inform Malik that should he surrender and convert to Islam, Muhammad would return to him his family and property as well as make a gift to him of 100 camels. Upon hearing of this promise and invitation of the Prophet, Malik did not hesitate to steal out of al Ta'if on his mare under cover of night. Upon arrival at the Prophet's camp, he proclaimed his conversion to Islam, picked up his family, his property, and the prize of 100 camels and then went home. Indeed, the people even feared that should Muhammad continue such giveaways to the defectors from the other camp, soon there would be little left of the booty. They therefore insisted that each Muslim should receive his share, and they whispered one to another to this effect. As this whispering reached the ears of Muhammad, he pulled out a hair of the camel nearest him, lifted it up for his people to see and said: "O Men! By God, no part of your booty shall come to me that exceeds my legitimate share by as much as this hair, and this very share of mine I hereby return to you." The Prophet then asked everyone to return what he had taken that Muhammad might redistribute it to each according to his due. The Prophet proclaimed that anyone un-justly taking anything however little, would be guilty of eternal shame and hellfire.

Muhammad made this proclamation while enraged against those of his followers who had picked up his mantle thinking that it was part of the spoils of war. However, they returned it to him after he called out to them: "Return my mantle to me, O Men. By God, even if your cattle were as numerous as the trees of Tihamah, I would still divide it all among you in absolute fairness and justice, without avarice, fear, or deception. That which I have given away belongs to the fifth which is my due." It was out of the fifth which was due him that Muhammad distributed some spoils to those who were previously Islam's strongest and most hostile enemies. He gave, for instance, 100 camels each to Abu Sufyan, to his son Mu'awiyah, to al Harith ibn al Harith ibn Kaladah, to al Harith ibn Hisham, to Suhayl ibn `Amr, and to Huwaytib ibn `Abd al `Uzza as well as to each of the nobles and chieftains of the tribes which he had won over after the conquest of Makkah. He gave 50 camels each to the lesser notables of the same tribes. Those who were so rewarded counted a few score, but the effect of this giving was far reaching. The Prophet of God was praised as the exemplar of hospitality and mercy by the very people who until recently indeed, until the day beforehand been fighting him with all their power. Now, they joined in an eloquent chorus of praise and gratitude. There was no request which Muhammad did not manage to fulfill for them. When `Abbas ibn Mirdas complained that Muhammad had given more favorable treatment to `Uyaynah, to al Aqra`, and others than to him, the Prophet sent his companions to give him more until he was perfectly satisfied.


Al Ansar and the Reconciliatory Gratuities

The reconciliation of the enemies of yesterday which the Prophet had just effected caused al Ansar to murmur that the Prophet had done what he did because the people involved were his own tribesmen and people. Sa'd ibn `Ubadah reported this murmur to the Prophet but sided with them and justified their complaint. The Prophet commanded him to bring his people together. When they were assembled, the Prophet said "O Ansar ! It has been reported to me that you were personally angry, that you do not approve of my distribution of the booty. Do tell me, when I came to you, did I not find you languishing in misguidance and error and did not God guide you to the truth through me? Did I not find you in a state of need and did not God make you affluent? Did I not find you enemies of one another and did not God reconcile your hearts?" Confused, al Ansar answered: "Indeed! God and his Prophet have been very generous and very loving;" and they fell into silence. Muhammad continued: "Will you not then say more than this, O Ansar? By God, had you replied, `Rather, it was you Muhammad, who were under our obligation. Did you not come to us belied by your fellow men and did we not believe in you? Did you not come to us vanquished and defeated and did we not come to your rescue? Did you not come to us banished and repulsed and did we not give you shelter? Did you not come to us in want and need and did we not give you of our bounty?' Had you replied to me in this vein you would have said nothing but the truth and I would have had to agree. O Ansar, are you angry because I have given away some goods to those whom I sought to win to Islam? Because I deemed their faith confirmable by material goods whereas I deemed yours to be based on solid conviction, to be candid beyond all dissuasion? Are you not satisfied, O Ansar, that all the people return from this conquest loaded with goods and camels whereas you return with the Prophet of God? By Him who dominates Muhammad's soul, except for the fact of my birth, there is no people to whom I love to belong beside al Ansar. If all mankind went one way, and al Ansar went another, I would certainly choose the way of al Ansar. O God, bless al Ansar, their children, and their grandchildren. Show Your mercy to them and keep them under Your protection." The Prophet said these words out of great affection for all the men of al Ansar who had pledged their loyalty and allegiance to him, who had helped him, who had reinforced his ranks and found their strength in him. Indeed, he was so moved by his feelings for them that he cried. The Ansar cried with him and declared their contentment.

Thus the Prophet showed that he was above the temptation of wealth. Although the booty of the Hunayn War surpassed anything he had ever seen, he showed that he had no wish for it. Rather he made of it a means for reconciling the hearts of those who had been associationists. He hoped that they might find in the new faith some happiness in this world besides the happiness of the hereafter. If in distributing this wealth Muhammad encountered such difficulties that the Muslims almost accused him of injustice, and if by giving liberally to those whose hearts he sought to soften he had infuriated al Ansar, he also proved his justice, farsightedness and such deep wisdom in administering the affairs of his people that he was able to cause the thousands to return home happy, contented and prepared to lay down their lives in the cause of God. The Prophet left al Ji'ranah to visit the holy places in Makkah. After performing the `umrah, or lesser pilgrimage, he appointed `Attab ibn Usayd governor of Makkah, and Mu'adh ibn Jabal to teach the religion and the Qur'an. Together with al Ansar and al Muhajirun, Muhammad returned to Madinah to await the birth of his son Ibrahim and to enjoy a moment of peace and security before undertaking the next expedition to Tabuk on the frontiers of al Sham.


Effect of the Conquest of Makkah upon the Peninsula

Muhammad returned to Madinah after his conquest of Makkah, his victory at Hunayn, and his siege of al Ta‘if. He had convinced all that no power could match his power within the Arabian Peninsula and that no tongue might henceforth vituperate him or spread any false information regarding himself or his cause. Both al Ansar and al Muhajirun returned heartened with joy that God had crowned His prophet's endeavor with such success; that He enabled Muhammad to conquer the city of the holy Mosque, that He guided its people to Islam ; and that He inspired all Arab tribes to pledge their allegiance, loyalty and obedience to him. They all returned to Madinah in order to settle down in peace. Muhammad had taken care to appoint `Attab ibn Usayd as governor of Umm al Qura, or Makkah, and Mu'adh ibn Jabal as teacher of the people in matters of religion and in the Qur'an. This victory, the like of which the whole history of Arabia and all its traditions have never known, left a profound impression upon the Arabs. Whether lords and masters of land and cities, men to whom it had never occurred that a day might come when they would be subject to Muhammad or accept his faith as their religion, or poets who labored as mouthpieces of those masters in exchange for their patronage and protection, or, finally, simple tribesmen for whom personal freedom was till death the most priceless possession, the Arabs were all strongly affected by the conquest of Makkah, Hunayn and the siege of al Ta'if. To one and all, it now seemed that the poetry of the poets, the mastery of the chieftains, and the personal freedom of the tribesmen were all to no avail before the tremendous power of Muhammad and his followers.


Conversion of Ka'b ibn Zuhayr

Muhammad's success among the Arabs of the Peninsula influenced them so profoundly that Bujayr ibn Zuhayr wrote a letter to his brother, Ka'b, after the Prophet's withdrawal from al Ta'if, informing him that Muhammad had killed a number of men in Makkah who had slandered his reputation by spreading false rumors concerning him. Bujayr, after informing his brother that a number of these men had run away in all directions, advised him to hurry to Madinah to give himself up and repent. He assured him that the Prophet would not kill anyone who came to him repentent and warned him that unless he was prepared to do so, he should escape to the most distant place on earth to remain alive. Bujayr had indeed told the truth. Muhammad commanded the execution of only four persons, one of whom was a poet who had vituperated the Prophet severely, and two of whom had hurt his daughter, Zaynab, when with her husband's permission, she sought to emigrate to Makkah to join her father. Ka'b recognized the veracity and timeliness of his brother's advice; and, anxious not to spend the rest of his life as an outlaw, he hurried to Madinah, spent the night at a friend's house, and came to the Prophet in the morning at the mosque to declare his conversion and pledge his allegiance. In the Prophet's presence, Ka'b recited his famous poem which opened with the verse: "Great distance now separates me from Su'ad. My heart is orphaned and bereaved. It awaits the sacrifice which will ransom my beloved." The Prophet forgave him and he became a good Muslim.


Conversion of Zayd al Khayl and Others

Another consequence of the same influence was that the tribes began to come to the Prophet to pledge their allegiance. Such was the case of a delegation headed by Zayd al Khayl who came to Madinah to pledge allegiance of the tribe of Tay'. Muhammad gave the delegation a fair welcome, conversed with their leader, and was so well pleased with him that he said: "No Arab has ever been praised before me but that when I finally met him I discovered that his eulogy surpassed his reality, except Zayd al Khayl concerning whom I had heard less than I have found." The Prophet then changed the name of his guest from Zayd a1 Khayl (meaning literally, "increase of horses") to Zayd al Khayr ("increase of goodness"), and the whole tribe of Tay' entered into Islam under Zayd's leadership.

'Adiyy ibn Hatim al Ta'iy was a Christian who felt the strongest hatred for Muhammad. As he witnessed the rise of the Prophet and the Muslims and the spread of their dominion over the Peninsula, he loaded his goods, family, and children on his camel and joined his fellow Christians in al Sham. Indeed, 'Adiyy escaped at the very time that 'Ali ibn Abu Talib destroyed, at the Prophet's command, the idol of Tay' and seized a number of captives, including the daughter of Hatim and sister of 'Adiyy and a large amount of booty. 'Adiyy's sister was brought to Madinah and was held in the captives' quarters by the Mosque's gate. As the Prophet passed through the gate one day, she said to him from behind the bars: "O Prophet of God! My father has perished and my supporter has deserted. Be merciful to me, that God may be merciful to you." When the Prophet learned that her supporter was 'Adiyy ibn Hatim al Ta'iy, the escapee, he refused to talk to her. She tried once more, and this time she succeeded. In conversation, the Prophet mentioned to her her father's old prestige and noble reputation in pre-Islamic days. He praised him for the good name his hospitality had given to all Arabs. The Prophet then granted her her freedom, gave her respectable clothes and pocket money to satisfy her other needs, and sent her to her people with the first al Sham-bound caravan. Upon joining her brother, she mentioned to him the noble treatment Muhammad had accorded her. 'Adiyy was so impressed by the Prophet's chivalry that he returned with her to Madinah and joined the ranks of Islam immediately.

Likewise, following the conquest of Makkah, the victory of al Sham, and the siege of al Ta'if, the great and the poor, the tribes and the individuals, all came to Muhammad to acknowledge his mission and to convert to Islam. In the meantime, Muhammad remained in Madinah and, feeling reassured that God has given him victory, he enjoyed a measure of peaceful existence.


Muhammad's Bereavement

The measure of peaceful existence which Muhammad enjoyed was not to last. His daughter, Zaynab, was seriously ill. After al Huwayrith and Habbar hurt her when she attempted to emigrate from Makkah, Zaynab suffered from a miscarriage from which she never recovered. With her loss, Muhammad's only surviving child was Fatimah, for Umm Kulthum and Ruqayyah had passed away earlier. Muhammad was saddened by the loss of Zaynab. He surely appreciated her compassionate disposition and loyalty to her husband, Abu al 'As! ibn al Rabi`, whom she had ransomed after his fall as captive at the Battle of Badr with jewelry her father had given her on her wedding. It did not matter that she, a Muslim, sought to ransom her husband, an unbeliever; nor that this unbeliever husband had fought against her father in a battle in which, had the Quraysh been victorious, Muhammad would have surely lost his life. The Prophet praised Zaynab's good disposition and strong loyalty to her husband, and bemoaned her suffering from sickness during the whole time since her emigration from Makkah. It is no wonder that he felt bereaved at her loss. He felt the same deep concern for the well-being and happiness of others. It was his nature to sympathize with every sufferer, every bereaved, and to take the trouble to go everywhere within and outside of Madinah to visit the sick, console the destitute, and reassure the wounded. The hand of fate had here touched his own daughter. His tragedy was not the first of its kind, but the fifth, as he had previously lost two of his daughters and two sons. If he had found in God's favorable disposition toward him a measure of consolation, he surely well deserved it.


The Birth of Ibrahim, Muhammad's Son

Soon, Muhammad's loss was to be compensated. Mariyah, his Coptic wife, gave birth to a son whom Muhammad called Ibrahim after the ancestor father of the Arabs as well as of hanifism and Islam. Until that day, and since the Archbishop of Alexandria had presented her to the Prophet, Mariyah had the status of a slave. She did not enjoy the benefits of a living quarter by the mosque as did the other wives of the Prophet, "the Mothers of Believers." Muhammad had provided Mariyah with a second-story residence in one of the outskirts of Madinah, called today Mashrabat Umm Ibrahim. Her house, which was surrounded with vineyards, was where Muhammad used to visit her every now and then. He had chosen her for himself and gave her sister Sirin to Hassan ibn Thabit. Muhammad did not expect to have any more children as none of his wives except the late Khadijah had ever conceived, though some of them were quite young and capable of bearing children. When Mariyah gave birth to Ibrahim, the event brought to Muhammad, a man past sixty years of age, great joy and filled his heart with reassurance and jubilation. By giving birth to a child, the status of Mariyah was raised in the Prophet's esteem; he now looked upon her as a free wife, indeed, as one enjoying a most favored position.


Jealousy of the Prophet's Wives

It was natural that this change would incite no little jealousy among his other wives who continued to be barren. It was also natural that the Prophet's esteem and affection for the newborn child and his mother increased that jealousy. Moreover, Muhammad had liberally, rewarded Salma, the wife of Abu Rafi`, for her role as midwife. He celebrated the birth by giving away a measure of grain to all the destitute of Madinah. He assigned the newborn to the care of Umm Sayf, a wet nurse, who owned seven goats whose milk she was to put at the disposal of the newborn. Every day Muhammad would visit the house of Mariyah in order to take another look at his son's radiant face and to reassure himself of the newborn's continued health and growth. All this incited the strongest jealousy among the barren wives. The question was, how far would these wives be able to bear the constant challenge?

One day, with the pride characteristic of new parents, the Prophet carried his son on his arm and walked into `A'ishah's quarters in order to show him to her. He pointed out to her his great resemblance to his offspring. `A'ishah looked at the baby and said that she saw no resemblance at all. When the Prophet observed how much the child was growing, `A'ishah responded waspishly that any child given the amount of milk which Ibrahim was getting would grow just as big and strong as he. Indeed, the birth of Ibrahim brought such disaffection to the wives of the Prophet as would go beyond these and similar unfriendly answers. It reached such proportions that revelation itself voiced a special condemnation. Undoubtedly, the whole affair had left its imprint on the life of Muhammad as well as on the history of Islam.

Such far-reaching effects were natural in the circumstances. For Muhammad had granted to his wives a position hitherto unknown in Arabia. `Umar ibn al Khattab said, "By God, in pre-Islamic days, we never gave consideration to our women. It was only after God had revealed in their regard what He did that we started to do so. My wife came once seeking to dissuade me from doing what I had planned to do. When I answered her that this was none of her business, she said: `How strange of you, `Umar ibn al Khattab! You refuse to be told anything whereas your daughter may criticize her husband, the Prophet of God-may God's peace and blessing be upon him-and do so so strongly that he remains worried the whole day long.' Upon hearing this, I took my mantle and went straight to my daughter, Hafsah, and said to her: `0 my daughter, is it true that you criticize the Prophet of God and do so so strongly that he remains worried the whole day long?' Hafsah answered: `Indeed, I and his other wives do criticize him.' I said: `You had better be warned that this will bring both the punishment of God and the wrath of His Prophet upon you. O Daughter, do not be deceived by that woman who became too proud of herself because of her beauty or Muhammad's love for her.' I left my daughter and went to visit Umm Salamah, another wife of the Prophet and a close relative of mine. Upon asking her the same question, Umm Salamah replied: `How strange of you, O Ibn al Khattab ! Are you going to interfere in everything, even in the Prophet's own domestic affairs?"' `Umar continued: "With this I was utterly rebuffed and I abandoned every thought I had entertained." Muslim has related in his Sahih that Abu Bakr once sought the permission of the Prophet to visit him, and so did `Umar. Upon entrance into the Prophet's living quarters, they found him sitting still and silent, surrounded by his wives. After announcing that he was about to break the silence with a story which he hoped the Prophet would find entertaining, he said: "O Prophet of God, if the daughter of Kharijah, [As in the Sahih of Muslim. In the account of Tabari there is no mention of a wife of 'Umar by this name. In Ruh al Ma,'ani of Allnsi, the same statement by 'Umar names "The daughter of Zayd" instead.] i.e., my wife, were ever seen or heard asking me for money, I would surely pull her hair." The Prophet laughed, saying, "Here are my wives surrounding me and asking me for money." Immediately, Abu Bakr rose to his daughter `A'ishah and pulled her hair and so did `Umar to his daughter, Hafsah. Both Abu Bakr and `Umar said to their daughters: "Do you dare ask the Prophet of God what he cannot afford to give?" They answered: "No, by God, we do not ask him any such thing." Actually, Abu Bakr and `Umar had sought to see the Prophet because the latter was conspicuously absent at the previous prayer in the mosque, and the Muslims had asked one another the cause of his absence. It was in connection with this conversation between Abu Bakr and `Umar and their daughters that the following verse was revealed

"O Prophet, tell your wives that in case they want the pleasures of this world and its ornaments, you will give them their freedom and send them on their way in fairness that they may elsewhere seek what they desire. But if they want God, His Prophet, and the other world, then remind them that God has prepared for the virtuous among them a great reward." [Qur'an, 30:28-29]


The Wives Plotting

As a matter of fact, the wives of the Prophet went as far as to plot against their husband. Muhammad was in the habit of visiting them immediately after the mid-afternoon prayer. According to one report, he once visited Hafsah (or Zaynab, daughter of Jahsh according to another version) and paid her an unusually long visit. This made all the other wives jealous. `A'ishah reported: "Hafsah and I plotted together that any wife whom the Prophet-May God's peace and blessing be upon him -will visit will complain to him that she finds his breath undesirable, and will ask him whether he has eaten any maghafir (i.e., sweets with bad smells, and the Prophet could not stand bad smells). As he entered upon one of his wives, she asked him that question to which he answered: "No, but I have taken some honey at the quarters of Zaynab, which I will never do again." Having agreed to the plot of `A'ishah and Hafsah, Sawdah related that when the Prophet approached her, she asked him whether he ate any maghafir to which he answered, "No." She asked him: "Where then does this bad odor come from?" Muhammad replied: "Hafsah gave me a little honey, so then it must be that the bees that made that honey had picked it up from the blooms of the awful tree which produces the maghafir." When he entered upon `A'ishah, the latter repeated to him the question of Sawdah, which he heard again from Safiyyah, whereupon he vowed never to touch that honey again. Upon hearing the other wives' reports, Sawdah said: "May God be praised! We have deprived him of something he truly likes." `A'ishah, however, looked askance at Sawdah and asked her to keep quiet.

Since the Prophet granted to his wives such an unusual position at a time when Arab women amounted to nothing at all in society, it was natural for his wives to abuse the liberty which none of their peers had known before, a liberty which went so far as to enable any of them to criticize the Prophet so severely as to spoil his disposition the rest of the day. He often ignored some of his wives, and avoided others on many occasions, precisely in order to discourage their abuse of his compassion. Even so, one of them was so moved by jealousy as to exceed all limits of decency. But when Mariyah gave birth to Ibrahim, they were incensed. They lost all the composure and self-mastery which Muhammad had for years been trying to instill into them. It was for this reason that `A'ishah had gone to the extreme of denying all resemblance between him and his son, a denial which amounted to an accusation of adultery on the part of the innocent Mariyah.


Their Rebellion

One day Hafsah went to her father's house complaining about this situation. While the Prophet was in her room, Mariyah came to him and stayed with him some time. Upon Hafsah's return she found the Prophet and Mariyah in her quarters and, as she waited for them to come out, her jealousy broke all bounds. When, finally, Mariyah left the quarters and Hafsah entered, she said to the Prophet: "I have seen who was here. By God, that was an insult to me. You would not have dared do that if I amounted to anything at all in your eyes." At the moment Muhammad realized that such deep-lying jealousy might even move Hafsah to broadcast what she had seen among the other wives. In an attempt to please her, Muhammad promised that he would not go unto Mariyah if she would only refrain from broadcasting what she had seen. Hafsah promised to comply. However, she could not keep her promise as jealousy continued to affect her disposition. Hence, she intimated the secret to `A'ishah, who in turn reported it to the Prophet. He took it as evidence of Hafsah's failure to keep her promise. Perhaps the affair did not stop with Hafsah and `A'ishah but spread to the other wives. Perhaps, too, all of them had noticed the high esteem in which Mariyah was held and sympathized with `A'ishah and Hafsah's opposition to the Prophet. There is nothing unusual in the whole story, such gossip and petty jealousies being commonplace between man and his many wives. A man's affection belongs where he puts it within his household, and the controversy which the daughters of Abu Bakr and 'Umar had woven around the Prophet's affection for Mariyah was utterly groundless. Previously we had seen that some disaffection had risen between the Prophet and his wives on various occasions because of the pocket money he allocated to them, or because of the honey Zaynab used to serve. Therefore, they had all the more reason to feel slighted and no little alienated when they discovered their husband's inclination toward 'A'ishah or his esteem for Mariyah.

An explosion was soon to come. One day, while the Prophet was staying with 'A'ishah, his other wives delegated Zaynab, daughter of Jahsh, to go in and, in their name, to accuse him of injustice and unfairness to them, and to plead that his love for `A'ishah was a violation of the code which he himself had set down of a day and night for each of his wives. On the other hand, realizing that the Prophet did not care very much for her charms, and being no longer anxious to please him, Sawdah had given up her day and night to `A'ishah. But Zaynab was not satisfied with expressing the other wives' indignation at this apparent injustice. She attacked `A'ishah personally. The latter was anxious to defend herself, but kept still in response to the Prophet's reconciliating pleas. Seeing that `A'ishah was defenseless, Zaynab went to excess in her accusations, and the Prophet finally had to permit his favorite wife to take her defense into her own hands. `A'ishah spoke out with great eloquence in refuting Zaynab's claims. The Prophet listened with obvious satisfaction and admired the perspicacity of Abu Bakr's daughter.

Indeed, favoritism for some of his wives had created such controversy and antagonism among the "Mothers of the Believers" that Muhammad once thought of divorcing some of them, but they soon agreed to let him distribute his favors as he pleased. When Mariyah gave birth to Ibrahim, their jealousy was at its strongest, especially in the case of `A'ishah. Certainly, Muhammad's leniency and gentleness encouraged rebellion, and the new status which he had conferred upon women in society fanned their vanity. Muhammad, however, was not free to spend his time dealing with household problems. The need soon came to be felt for a decisive lesson to reestablish discipline and to liberate him for teaching the message and fulfilling the mission of his prophethood. Hence, he decided to ignore his wives and, indeed, to threaten them with divorce. A lesson had to be taught to them, and the time had apparently come for a decision. Either these women were to return to reason or they would be given their freedom in a mutually convenient divorce.


The Prophet's Separation from His Wives

Muhammad isolated himself from all his women for a full month and refused to talk about them to anyone. Nor did anyone dare talk to him concerning them. During this month, his mind was absorbed by his mission and the requirement of carrying the message of Islam beyond the Arabian Peninsula. Abu Bakr, `Umar, and his other in-laws as well, were deeply concerned over the sad fate that awaited the "Mothers of the Believers" now that they had exposed themselves to the anger of the Prophet and the consequent punishment of God. It was even said that Muhammad had divorced Hafsah, `Umar's daughter, after she had divulged the secret she had promised to keep. The marketplace of Madinah hummed with rumors about the impending divorce of the Prophet's wives. The wives, for their part, were repentent and apprehensive. They regretted that their jealousy of one another had carried them away, that they had abused and harmed their gentle husband who was to each one of them at all times an elder brother, a compassionate father, a nearest kin, and the best of everything that might be hoped for in this life and the next. Muhammad spent most of his time in a storeroom he owned, placing his servant Rabah at its doorstep as long as he was inside. Therein he used to sleep on a very hard bed of coarse date branches.


`Umar's Reconciliation of the Prophet and His Wives

At the end of the month during which Muhammad vowed to separate himself from his wives, the Muslims were despondent over the prospect of Muhammad's domestic affairs. Many signs of dejection and sorrow were apparent on their faces as they gathered in the mosque. `Umar ibn al Khattab sought out the Prophet in his isolation. He went to the storeroom and called out to his servant, Rabah, asking for permission to enter. Rabah went in to speak to the Prophet but came out silent, a sign that Muhammad did not wish to see anyone. `Umar asked once more. Once more Rabah went in and came out silent. At this, `Umar raised his voice that the Prophet might hear and, repeating his request for an audience, said: "O Rabah, seek permission for me to see the Prophet of God. I fear that he thinks that I have come to intercede for my daughter, Hafsah. By God, if he were to ask me to strike off her head, I would do so without hesitation." The Prophet then permitted him to enter. He came in, sat down as his eyes roved around the room, and began to cry. Muhammad asked him why he was crying. Actually `Umar cried out of severe shock at seeing the Prophet lying on the only piece of furniture in the room, the miserable straw mat, whose pattern of weaving had imprinted itself on the Prophet's side. He cried out of compassion for the Prophet's isolation in a room absolutely empty except for a little barley, a skin, and a small container of water. After hearing `Umar's explanation, Muhammad taught him a lesson on the necessity of renouncing the pleasures of the world in order to achieve inner peace. `Umar then said: "O Prophet of God, what difficulties do your wives present? If you have truly lost them through divorce, you still have God, His angels Jibril and Mikhail, Abu Bakr and me, and all the Muslims on your side." He kept on talking to the Prophet in this vein until the latter felt pleased and even smiled. As the Prophet's mood changed for the better, `Umar told him about the despondency of the Muslims gathered in the mosque and their bemoaning of his separation from his wives. The Prophet explained that he had not divorced his wives but that he meant only to teach them a lesson. `Umar immediately asked for and was granted permission to inform the Muslims waiting in the mosque. He hurried thither to announce the good news that the Prophet of God-May God's peace and blessing be upon him -had not divorced his wives. It was in connection with this incident that the following verses of the Qur'an were revealed

"O Prophet, why do you forbid yourself that which God has made legitimate for you, namely, to seek to please your wives? God is certainly compassionate and merciful. God has made it legitimate for you to release yourself from your vows. He is your Lord, and He is the All-Wise and All-Knowing. The Prophet had intimated information to one of his wives, but she did not keep the secret. When God brought knowledge to the Prophet of her insincerity, and the Prophet blamed her for it, her asking who had told him the news thus divulged her secret. The Prophet answered that God, the All-Knowing and Omniscient, had informed him of the deed. If the insincere wife and her insincere confidante were to repent to God and purify their thoughts, then they would be forgiven. But if they persist in striving against him, then God will compensate him with His friendship, with that of Jibril, Salih, the believers and angels, who will assist him in his plight. In case he should divorce his wives, God might even replace them with better ones, with women who are Muslims, believing, pious, repentant, and virtuous, whether widowed or virgins." [Qur'an, 30:1-5] With this revelation, the whole affair was brought to a close. The wives of the Prophet, having regained their wisdom and common sense, returned to their husband repentant, pious, and confirmed in their faith. Once reconciled by their repentance, Muhammad returned to his wives and his domestic life resumed its peace-the necessary prerequisite for any man with a mission to perform.


The Judgment of Critical Historiography

In my opinion, the foregoing is the true account of the story of Muhammad's self-imposed isolation from his wives, of the choice he gave them, of the incidents which led to his isolation as well as of its causes and consequences. This account is confirmed by all the evidence of the books of Qur'anic exegesis and of Hadith, as well as by the accounts of various biographies. The fact remains, however, that not one of these biographies has presented all these data in the proper sequence, beginning with the causes and ending with the consequences in the manner we have done here. Most of the biographers have passed by this matter too quickly and too simplistically. They give the impression that they found the material too rough to handle. Some accounts have pondered the story of the honey andmaghafir at length but have omitted to point to the affair of Hafsah and Mariyah. As for the Orientalists, they regard the story of Hafsah and Mariyah and the former's divulgence to `A'ishah of the secret she promised to keep as the cause of all that had happened. Their purpose is precisely to add to their already alienated readers further occasion to condemn the Arab Prophet by presenting him as a shameless runner after women. It is also my considered opinion that the Muslim historians are not justified in ignoring these incidents, or in omitting to examine all the data available with a view to giving them an objective interpretation. That is what we have sought to do here, though only in part. While the mistake of the Muslim historians was to underestimate the importance of these events, that of the western Orientalists is to exaggerate their importance, to violate historiographic precision, and to vent their Christian prejudice. Genuine historical criticism will not attribute to any man as great as Muhammad such a petty conduct as would be implied by referring his self-imposed exile solely to Hafsah's divulgence of a domestic secret to `A'ishah. In fact, Muhammad had nothing to hide since the women in question were all his own legitimate wives. Indeed, whatever the nature of that domestic secret, it is too insignificant to cause Muhammad to threaten to divorce all his wives. Genuine historical criticism would also refuse to explain these events as due to the "honey" affair. A man as great, forbearing, and compassionate as Muhammad, as all historians and biographers acknowledge, would not regard such incidents as justifying a whole month's isolation, let alone divorce. The critical attitude is satisfied only when all these incidents are arranged in such historical sequence as would not violate the causal interrelationships between them. Only such history-writing satisfies the requirements of objectivity and presents its data as elements in factual interrelationships acceptable to reason. The arrangement we have given these events seems to us to have achieved precisely this, and to accord perfectly with what is known of Muhammad's wisdom, greatness, determination and farsightedness.


Refutation of the Orientalists' Claim

Referring to some of the verses at the beginning of surah "Al Tahrim" quoted above, some orientalists argue that none of the holy books of the Orient make any mention of domestic problems such as those of Muhammad. I do not think we need to quote here the similar stories and accounts of other scriptures. Suffice it to mention here the People of Lot and their argument with the two angelic visitors of Lot, the story of Lot's wife and her vagrancies. Indeed, the Torah does tell the story of Lot's two daughters, of their deliberately intoxicating their father with wine that he might commit incest and save their seed, and how they then suffered the punishment they deserved. We may say that in fact, contrary to the Orientalists claim, all the holy books have told stories about the prophets and have given accounts of what happened to them so that they might serve as examples for the education of mankind. Likewise, the Qur'an tells many stories for the same purpose, stories which God related to His prophets for the best of purposes. The Qur'an was not revealed for Muhammad's benefit alone but for that of all men. Muhammad is a prophet and a messenger preceded by many prophets and messengers, some of whose tales the Qur'an took upon itself to tell. That the Qur'an should find it fitting to tell some of the stories of Muhammad's life and to give some account of his biography to provide examples for the education of Muslims, and that it should find it fitting to give aspects of Muhammad's wise, pious, and virtuous conduct so that the Muslims might find in him an example to emulate, is no different from the contents and purpose of any other holy book. Moreover, what the Qur'an reported about Muhammad is not different in content or purpose from what it reported of the lives of the former prophets. If, therefore, it is now asserted that Muhammad isolated himself from his wives, not for any single reason deducible from that fact, nor for Hafsah's divulgence to `A'ishah of Muhammad's legitimate love for Mariyah-a right which belongs to any man toward his free and slave wives-this would not be far from the truth. But it does expose the Orientalists whose claim stands on the shallowest grounds and whose historiography flies in the face of the biographical data common to all holy scriptures.


Institution of Zakat and Kharaj

All the foregoing conflicts between the Prophet and his wives did not in the least affect the conduct of public affairs. After the conquest of Makkah and the conversion of its people, the cause of Islam confronted less danger than hitherto. The whole Peninsula had begun to feel the passing of inter-Arab war. The holy sanctuary held as sacred by the Arabs, to which they had performed pilgrimages for generations, had become an integral institution of the new religion. Its attendant functions of sidanah, rifadah, and siqayah [1] had been equally integrated into the order of Islam as Makkah passed under the control of Muhammad. The conquest of Makkah therefore led to a strengthening of public Muslim life and civil order, and the Muslims felt more confident as their power increased everywhere throughout the Peninsula. With the widening of Muslim society, public functions naturally demanded an increase in public expense. It was therefore inevitable that the Muslims be asked to pay zakat of al `ushr; [Le., "the tax of the tenth," levied on the Muslims' annual incomes at the rate of 10%. -Tr.] and that the Arabs who decided to maintain their pre-Islamic faith to pay whatever kharaj[Le., income tax levied on the annual incomes of non-Muslims at varying rates not exceeding 10%. -Tr.] was imposed upon them. Taxes are always uncomfortable, and taxpayers might always complain or even rebel against them. Nonetheless, the new order imposed by the new religion on the Peninsula necessitated a large public expense, impossible to meet without the additional incomes from zakat al `ushr and kharaj. For this purpose, soon after his return from Makkah, Muhammad sent his collectors to levy and collect a tenth of the income of the tribes now converted to Islam. He commanded the collectors explicitly to restrict themselves to the incomes, never to touch the people's capitals. These collectors went in different directions to fulfill their duty.

The tribes welcomed the collectors and remitted to them the amounts due wholeheartedly with the exceptions of a branch of the tribe of Banu Tamim and another of Banu al Mustaliq which refused to pay. While the collector, 'Uyaynah ibn Hisn, was in the neighborhood making collections, a branch of Banu Tamim, called Banu al 'Anbar, jumped upon him with their arrows and swords and threw him out of their territory even before he had asked them to remit their due. When 'Uyaynah ibn Hisn told the news to Muhammad, he was sent right back at, the head of fifty riders to reestablish order. 'Uyaynah launched a surprise attack against the Banu al 'Anbar, captured over fifty men, women, and children and seized some of their wealth. The Prophet received the captives and the seized properties and kept them in Madinah. Some of the Banu Tamim had been converted to Islam a long time before and had fought alongside the Prophet in the battles of Makkah and Hunayn while others were still unconverted. When these Muslims knew what their relatives, the Banu al 'Anbar, had done and what had happened to them, they sent a delegation of notables to seek the Prophet. They asked for an audience in the Mosque of Madinah calling out to the Prophet to come out to meet them. This impropriety disturbed the Prophet so much that he decided not to see them. Soon, however, the time of prayer arrived and 'Utarid ibn Hajib called the Prophet to lead the worship in the mosque as was his custom. After prayer, the delegation approached the Prophet and related to him what 'Uyaynah had done with their people. They took especial pains to remind him of his comradeship in arms with those of them who had joined Islam as well as of their high esteem among the Arabs. They then said to him, "We have come here in order to compete with your followers in poetic eloquence and rhetoric. Would you please permit our poet to recite some of his poems for you?" 'Utarid ibn Hajib, their orator, rose and delivered his speech. When he finished, the Prophet of God called Thabit ibn Qays to respond; when he finished, al Zabriqan ibn Badr, their other poet, rose and recited his eulogy in verse, whereupon Hassan ibn Thabit responded in verse also. When this contest was ended, al Aqra' ibn Habis said, "I swear that this man (i.e., Muhammad) is surely going to win, for his orator is more eloquent and his poet more poetic than ours. Indeed, the voices of the Muslims are higher than our voices." With this confession, the tribesmen converted to Islam, and the Prophet set the captives free and enabled them to return home.

When the Band al Mustaliq saw the tax collectors run away, they feared the consequences and immediately sent word to the Prophet explaining to him that the zakat collector has nothing to fear from their quarter and that the whole affair with Banu al `Anbar was a regrettable misunderstanding.

Indeed, not one of the provinces of the Arabian Peninsula failed to feel the power of Muhammad. Every tribe or clan that attempted to resist faced the Prophet's overwhelming power and was compelled either to convert to Islam and pay the zakat or submit to Muslim political power and pay the kharaj.


The Threat of Byzantine Invasion and Muslim Reaction

While still engaged in bringing security and order to the distant regions of the Peninsula, the news reached Muhammad that Byzantium was mobilizing an army to invade the northern approaches of Arabia to avenge the last engagement at Mu'tah. It was also rumored that this imperial army would seek to stamp out the nascent power of the Muslims who now stood at the frontier of both the Byzantine and Persian empires. At once and without hesitation, the Prophet decided that the imperial army must be met and destroyed so completely that the Byzantines would not think again of attacking Arabia or interfering in its affairs. It was autumn, but the desert heat, being greater in the beginning of autumn than in summer, was all the more deadly. Moreover, a long distance separated Madinah from al Sham. Any venture to cross it required great amounts of water and provisions. Inevitably, therefore, Muhammad had to tell the people of his plan if they were to prepare themselves adequately. Equally, it was necessary this time to alter his old diversionary strategy of ordering the army to march in the opposite direction, for no such expedition as he was preparing for could be kept a secret. Indeed, Muhammad sent messengers to all the tribes asking them to mobilize the greatest army ever, and to the Muslims of large means everywhere to give liberally for the equipment of the army. The Muslim force, the Prophet decided, should be so large and preponderous as to overwhelm an enemy long known for their numbers and military equipment.


The Muslim's Response to Muhammad's Call to Arms

How were the Muslims to receive this new call to leave their families and properties in the height of summer heat, to venture in desolate and waterless deserts, and to confront an enemy powerful enough to defeat Persia and even too mighty to be defeated by the Muslims? Would their Islamic conviction, love for the Prophet, and loyalty to God's religion inspire them to give up wealth, armour, and life, and to do so in such proportion as to instill terror in the heart of such an enemy? Or, would the discomforts of desert and summer heat, of thirst and hunger, force them to sit back and refuse to move? In those days, Muslim ranks included two kinds of people: those who entered Islam with hearts full of guidance and light and minds certain of their convictions, and those who did so in search of material gain or out of fear of Muslim arms. Those who belonged to the former group volunteered their own persons and offered all the equipment they could muster. They put themselves and their wealth entirely at the Prophet's disposal. Among them were the poor who walked on foot and the wealthy who provided for themselves and others, All hoped for martyrdom and closeness to God. The other group complained and looked for excuses to justify their recalcitrance. Secretly, they derided Muhammad's call to arms and ridiculed its timing and strategy. These were the munafiqun about whom Surah "Al Tawbah" had spoken. How great was its call to jihad! And how terrible the punishment it promised to he who failed to answer the Prophet's call!


Al Munafiqun

Some of the munafiqun counseled one another not to venture out in the desert at that time. In response to them, God said

"They counseled against venturing out in the desert heat. Answer: `The fire of hell is hotter, if only they knew.' They laugh now, but their pleasure is short lived. They shall weep far more, and they will have deserved every bit of it." [Qur'an, 9:81-82]

The Prophet asked an older tribesman of Banu Salamah: "Uncle, will you fight the Byzantines?" The man answered: "O Prophet of God, permit me to stay behind and do not tempt me. For I am known to be a ladies' man and I am especially weak in front of Byzantine women." Commenting upon him, the Qur'an said "Among the munafiqun some impertinently begged to be permitted to stay behind so as not to be exposed to temptation. In temptation shall be their undoing. Then will they be cast into hell." [Qur'an, 9:49] Those who in secret hated Muhammad and resented his leadership seized the opportunity to strengthen the munafiqun's suspicion and disobedience. Fearing that they might get bolder unless they were shown some firmness, and learning that they were meeting in the house of a Jew called Suwaylim, the Prophet angrily sent Talhah ibn `Ubaydullah to deal with them. Talhah and his companions put Suwaylim's house on fire while the munafiqun were meeting inside. As the flames engulfed the house, one of them jumped from the roof and broke his leg. The others escaped without injury, but they never dared to meet again in Madinah.


Recruitment of Jaysh al `Usrah

This firmness in dealing with the munafiqun was not devoid of effects on all fronts. Even the wealthy Muslims came out to spend more liberally of their wealth in equipping the army. `Uthman ibn `Affan alone spent one thousand Dinars. Many others spent of their wealth each according to his means. Those who were capable of equipping themselves did so on their own. But there were many others who offered all they had: their energies and their lives. The Prophet took as many of them as he could equip and apologized to the rest. These wept in sorrow at their poverty and were for this reason called al bakkda’un, or "the weepers." The army was finally assembled and counted thirty thousand men. Because of the difficulties encountered in its mobilization, this army was given the name Jaysh al 'Usrah, or the "hardship army."


The Muslims' March

While Muhammad was busy settling the affairs of Madinah-handing over the reins of government to Muhammad ibn Maslamah, appointing `Ali ibn Abu Talib as guardian of his household and giving to each the necessary instructions-he left the army under the command of Abu Bakr. The latter led the assembled men in prayer, and when the Prophet returned, he handed the command back to him. Responding to Muhammad's call, `Abdullah ibn Ubayy came out at the head of a little band of soldiers and asked for permission to march alongside the Muslim army. The Prophet, however, preferred that `Abdullah stay in Madinah, for he was not quite sure of his good faith. At Muhammad's command, the army began its march, raising great dust and making a tremendous roar. The people of Madinah hurried to the rooftops to see this great mass of men, animals, and equipment move toward al Sham. They were anxious to catch a glimpse of this large mass of humanity venturing out against heat, thirst, and all kinds of hardship in order to fulfill their duty to God and to win His pleasure, the pleasure which they had deemed worthier than all the good things they had left behind. Indeed, the sight of this army on the march pioneered by ten thousand cavalrymen and the stupefied people of Madinah watching it, moved to action those whom the very command of the Prophet failed to stir. Such was the case of Abu Khaythamah who, after seeing the Muslim army, went straight to his house where each of his two wives had cooked for him a delicious meal, drew some fresh water to drink, and sprinkled the tent and surroundings to cool off the place. Abu Khaythamah could not advance into his own house a single step before exclaiming, "The Prophet of God is battling the heat, sand, and thirst of the desert and I, Abu Khaythamah, languish in the cool, eat delicious food, and enjoy the company of beautiful women? No, by God, that cannot be! Prepare for me quickly some provisions that I may join him." He shot off like an arrow. There were probably many more who did likewise after realizing the shame that would befall them if they remained in the city.


Encampment at Al Hijr

The army arrived at al Hijr where the rock-hewn remains of Thamud stood, and the Prophet commanded the army to dismount for a watering and a brief rest. When it was time to leave, he ordered against drinking the water or using it for ablutions. "If you have used any of it to knead bread," he said, "give your dough to the camels and do not eat it. Let no one go out into the open desert alone." Muhammad knew that the place was desolate and often struck by blinding sandstorms. Two men disobeyed and went out of camp. One was carried away by the wind and the other buried in the sand. When morning came and the people saw that the sandstorm had filled the well with sand, they panicked. Soon rain fell upon them from a passing cloud. They drank, filled their skins, and felt reassured. Some of them thought this was a miracle. Others thought it was only a passing cloud.


source : http://witness-pioneer.org
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