The Battle of Mu'ta
It has already been mentioned that the envoy sent to the Ghassanid prince of Busra had been killed en route at the hands of Shurahbil, a feudatory of the Byzantine emperor. In order to exact reparations, the Prophet, on his return to Medina after the pilgrimage, sent a force of 3,000 men with an order to go to the place where the envoy (Harith ibn 'Umayr al-Azdi) had been killed.
The Holy Prophet gave to Zaid ibn Harithah the command of the army, saying, "If Zaid is killed, then JaTar ibn Abi Talib will be the commander, and if he, too, is killed, then 'Abdullah ibn Rawahah will command the army. And if he is killed, then the Muslims should select someone as their commander."
Hearing it, a Jew said: "If he is a true Prophet, none of these three will remain alive." Before dispatching this expedition, he instructed them as follows:
These instructions imparted in an age when hardly any scruples were exercised during bloody engagements indicate the depth of the Prophet's compassion and the efforts he was exerting to effect reforms in all walks of life.
The Muslim force marched under the command of Zaid ibn Harithah to Mu'ta in Syria. In order to meet it, the Syrians had raised a huge army. Although far outnumbered, the Muslim force gave a heroic account of its valor, but the disparity in number was too great. When its commander, Zaid, was slain, the command was taken over by Ja'far ibn Abi Talib, a cousin of the Holy Prophet. He, too, was killed and 'Abdullah ibn Rawahah, took the command. When, as prophesied by the Holy Prophet, he, too, was martyred, the command went to Khalid ibn al-Walid who was able to bring about a successful retreat.
The Holy Prophet was much grieved by the death of Zaid and Ja'far. About Ja'far, whose hands were both severed before he fell down, the Holy Prophet said that Allah had given him two wings of emerald in place of his arms whereby he flies in the Garden with the angels. That is why Ja'far is known as at-Tayyar (the flyer).
The Fall of Mecca
One of the conditions of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah was that the Quraish would not fight against any ally of the Muslims, nor should the Muslims fight against any ally of the Quraish. In simple language, the clause of 10-years' cease-fire included the allies as well as the principals.
During the month of Ramadhan of 8 A.H., the Banu Khuza'ah, an ally of the Muslims, were attacked by Banu Bakr and their allies, the Quraish. By virtue of their alliance with the Muslims, the Banu Khuza'ah sought the aid and protection of the Prophet. The Prophet sent an emissary to the Quraish to persuade them to accept any of the following terms:
Reparations should be paid for the massacred people of Banu Khuza'ah, or The Quraish should break their alliance with Banu Bakr, or The treaty of Hudaibiyah should be abrogated.
The Quraish accepted the last alternative. The time had come to free the citadel of Islam from idolatry and to end the reign of oppression in Mecca. The Prophet marched with ten thousand men on the 10th of the month of Ramadhan and camped a short distance from Mecca. The Meccans sent a few scouts, including Abu Sufyan, to find out the strength of the Muslim army. Abu Sufyan was seen by 'Abbas, uncle of the Holy Prophet, who took him to the Holy Prophet.
The Prophet, in honor of the recommendation made by his uncle, offered protection to Abu Sufyan. Then the Prophet said, "Isn't it time for you to know the creed: La ilaha illa-Allah?!" Abu Sufyan replied, "Why not?" Then the Prophet further asked him, "And is it not the time for you to confirm that I am the Messenger of Allah?!" Abu Sufyan said, "I have still some doubt about it." At this response, 'Abbas rebuked Abu Sufyan: "Fie upon you, fellow! Confirm his prophethood or you will be killed!" So Abu Sufyan recited both declarations of the creeds of confirmation, and with him Hakim ibn Hizam and Budail ibn Warqa' also accepted the Islamic creed.
Abul-Fida writes the following in his Tarikh:
"Then the Prophet asked 'Abbas to take Abu Sufyan round the valley of Mazeeq and to show him the army of Islam. 'Abbas said, 'O Messenger of Allah! Abu Sufyan is a boaster! Perhaps you should give him some distinctive order so that he may have a chance to boast about it among the Quraish.' The Prophet said, 'Well, then, whoever seeks refuge in Abu Sufyan's house shall be given protection. And also he who seeks refuge in the Sacred Mosque and in the house of Hakim Bin Hizam or shuts the door of his house shall be given protection'. 'Abbas further says, 'Then I took Abu Sufyan for a review of the Islamic army. At Abu Sufyan's request, I pointed out to the eminent people from every clan who were present in the Islamic regiments. In the meantime, the Prophet passed by his army, which was clad in green uniforms. Abu Sufyan cried out `O 'Abbas! Verily your nephew has acquired quite a kingdom!' 'Abbas said to him, 'Woe unto thee! This is no kingship! It is prophethood!"
Apart from a slight resistance offered by 'Ikrimah and Safwan, Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) entered Mecca almost unopposed. It happened on a Friday, the 20th of the month of Ramadhan, 8 A.H.
The city which had scoffed and jeered at Muhammad's prophetic mission, ruthlessly persecuted him and his disciples and ultimately driven his disciples away, had created all manner of obstacles in the propagation of the faith and had waged war upon war on the Muslims. This same city now lay at his feet. At this moment of triumph, he could have done anything he wished with the city and the citizens, but he had not come to the world to cause misery or bloodshed but as a benefactor of mankind, to proclaim the message of God and to guide erring humanity to the righteous course: to the worship of the One and Only God.
'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud says:
"Entering Masjidul-Haram, the Holy Prophet started breaking and demolishing the idols. There were three hundred and sixty idols fixed in the walls and on the roof of the Ka'bah with lead or tin. Any idol near which the Prophet went and towards which he pointed his cane, saying:
Right has come and falsehood has vanished; verily falsehood is destined to vanish (Qur'an, 17:81)
The idol fell headlong on the ground without anyone touching it. Lastly, there remained an idol of Banu Khuza'ah on the rooftop of the Ka'bah. It was made of polished brass. The Prophet ordered 'Ali to climb on his shoulders, which 'Ali did, throwing that last idol down which shattered into pieces on impact."
Then he ordered Bilal, the Ethiopian, to go on the rooftop of the Ka'bah to call the adhan. The wordings of the adhan, coupled with the fact that it was called by a freed Negro slave, caused much heartache among the Quraishites. After clearing the Ka'bah, the first House of God built by Ibrahim (a.s.), of all the symbols of idolatry, he assembled the Quraish and delivered the following sermon to them:
"There is no god but Allah. He has no partners. He has fulfilled His promise and helped His slave and defeated all coalitions (allied) against him. All authority, revenge and blood reparations are under my feet. The guardianship of the Ka'bah and the arrangements for the supply of water to pilgrims are exempt. O! You Quraish! The arrogance of the heathen days and all pride of ancestry God has wiped out. All mankind descended from Adam, and Adam was made of clay."
He then recited the following verse of the Qur'an:
O people! Surely We have created you of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes so that you may identify one another. Surely the most honorable ofyou with Allah is the one among you who is most pious; surely Allah is Knowing, Aware. (Qur'an, 49:13)
Having dwelt upon the equality and brotherhood of mankind and preached the Unity and the Omnipotence of God, he inquired from the Quraish: "Descendants of Quraish! How do you think I should act towards you?" "With kindness and pity, gracious brother and nephew," beseeched they.
The Prophet magnanimously declared:
"I shall speak to you as Yusuf spoke unto his brothers: 'There is no reproach against you today; God will forgive. He is the most Merciful and the most Compassionate."' (Qur'an,12:92)
Then he said to them:"Go; you are free!" Mecca lay conquered but not a single house was plundered, nor any woman insulted. Cruelties, insults and oppression perpetrated during a long period of twenty-one years were now forgiven. The Muhajirun were asked even to forego their houses and properties, which on their migration to Medina had been occupied by the Meccans. Through all the annals of history, there have seldom been any conquests like this.
The result of this magnanimity and' compassion was that those very die-hards who had relentlessly opposed the Prophet and refused to listen to the Divine message converged around him in their multitudes and accepted Islam. The glad tidings given by God about the peace of Hudaybiyah came true and His injunction had been obeyed:,
When there comes assistance from Allah and victory, and when you see men entering the religion ofAllah in companies, then celebrate the praise of your Lord, and implore His forgiveness; surely He is oft-returning (to mercy). (Qur'an, Ch. 110)
Once the Meccans submitted to the faith, disciples were sent out to all neighboring tribes to invite them, with peace and good will, to embrace Islam. Many tribes responded positively to the call. However, there was one tragic incident, which must be mentioned. Khalid ibn al-Walid (who had accepted Islam a few months before the fall of who had already accepted
Mecca) was sent to Banu Khuzaimah Islam. When they learned of Khalid's arrival, they came out cautiously armed. Khalid asked them who they were and in reply he was informed: "They are Muslims following the teaching of Muhammed; they pray in the recognized form of prayer, have built a mosque, recite the adhan and the iqamah and gather together on Fridays for prayers." Khalid then asked them why they had come out to meet him armed. They said that they were on inimical terms with a fellow Arab clan and mistook Khalid's men for their enemies. But Khalid did not accept their explanation and asked them to yield their arms. They at one yielded. Khalid then ordered his companions to tie their hands behind their shoulders, then he placed them in the custody of his comrades. Early next morning, he ordered that the custodian of each of the prisoner should himself kill that prisoner. Thus, these innocent Muslims were killed then and there.
Another version of this incident says that when Banu Khuzaimah submitted their arms at the order of Khalid, he himself unsheathed his sword and killed one hundred men of that clan. Someone from Banu Khuzaimah informed the Prophet about this tyranny. The Prophet was angered and in dismay thrice repeated, "O Lord! I deplore Khalid's action!"
Abul-Fida adds: "Then the Prophet sent 'Ali with gold to Banu Khuzaimah and ordered that the blood money of the victims and compensation for their lost properties should be paid with the same. 'Ali did as he was bidden."